Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Friday mailbag

PRE-SUMMER MADNESS

Wow Doug!

Big weekend coming up! First with The Avengers assembling for the first time on the big screen and then the fight that everyone has been talking about for the past three months.

Last weekend first. I certainly wasn’t expecting much from Dawson-Hopkins nor did we get much. I know Hopkins won’t retire but c’mon, he just got outpointed by a guy too passive to really open up. How’s he going to hold off more aggressive contenders like Gabriel Campillo or Tavoris Cloud? I just hope B-Hop doesn’t become the Evander Holyfield of the 175-pound division. As for Dawson I’m not even sure how he’ll do against these contenders I just mentioned. He’s should consider himself fortunate that he wasn’t up against the Hopkins who took apart Antonio Tarver and Kelly Pavlik.

As for Mayweather-Cotto, I’m clearly with the majority in hoping that Cotto kicks “Floyd X’s” arrogant ass. But it’s probably wishful thinking. Off course there’s that possibility that Floyd might be hampered by all those outside distractions and I haven’t forgotten how unimpressive he kind of looked when he last fought at 154 pounds. And Cotto still has more in the tank now than De La Hoya had back then. Anyways, I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

How do you think that Avengers movie will do at the box-office? Will it kick major ass or will it be a box-office stinkbomb like most comic-hero movies that don’t feature Batman. Again here’s hoping for the best. Brace yourself and enjoy the whole weekend smash. – Phil

Thanks Phil. With the general release of The Avengers today and the Mayweather-Cotto PPV on Saturday, I’m suffering from geek overload this weekend but I’m loving it. I have no doubt that both events will succeed financially, but like you, I hope they deliver action and entertainment come show time.

The dude at the comic shop I often go to (Comics Ink in Culver City, Calif.) saw an advanced screening of The Avengers on Tuesday and he said watching it was like being a kid and reading comics for the first time. He’s going to see it again this weekend, which is something he never does. This guy (Jason) is a discriminating movie critic, especially when it comes to comic book adaptations. He’s never been wrong about a movie or a prediction. I almost asked him who would win Mayweather-Cotto, but I know he’s more of an MMA fan and I didn’t want to spoil the surprise on Saturday.

I’ve stated this numerous times, but I don’t mind repeating it: I think the Saul Alvarez-Shane Mosley fight will be entertaining and I think Cotto’s going to give Mayweather a fight.

I thought Mayweather handled his biz against Oscar in his first junior middleweight bout back in 2007, but I noticed he didn’t like it when Oldie Goldie stuck him with the jab. Lucky for Mayweather “it wasn’t the night of the jab,” as De La Hoya put it during his weird post-fight interview.

Cotto’s got a good, heavy jab. It’s not as educated as Mayweather’s so he won’t be able to outjab the undefeated American as he did with Mosley in ’07, but I still think it will help him earn respect, land his power punches and basically keep the fight competitive.

Of course the only way we’re really going to get a good show is if these guys really try to hurt each other. I think they can and will do just that.

Regarding B-Hop, I’m positive we’ll see him fight at least once more. He wants to go out with a victory, and I’m sure he’ll do that. He won’t pick a slick, busy southpaw like Campillo, but he might challenge a hard-headed tough guy like Cloud if the IBF beltholder beats Jean Pascal but looks vulnerable enough doing so.

Whoever he chooses to fight next, don’t expect Hopkins to stick around much longer. He’s too smart (and rich and proud) to hang around and lose as often as he wins, out of the U.S. spotlight, as Holyfield has for the past seven or eight years.

I think Dawson would look good against Cloud and WBA beltholder Beibut Shumenov, but those strong-willed brutes would force him to fight hard and make for entertaining bouts. I think Campillo would give Dawson a stern challenge.

GREAT WEEKEND?

What up Doug! Pretty excited about this fight weekend because I’m still trying to get the bitter taste of that YAWNson-Hopkinzzz fight out of my system.

1) For being 21 Canelo’s resume is bad ass!! It doesn’t make sense to me when people say he hasn’t been tested, HE’S 21!!! What current 21 year old pro boxer has the kind of resume that Canelo has? Canelo by KO 9

2) Am I the only person who realizes how bad Mosley’s speech is slurred? He sounds like Meldrick Taylor after the second Chavez fight. And can we please stop referring to Naazim Richardson as one of the “Top Trainers” in the sport. Hopefully they both retire after the Canelo beat down.

3) If Mayweather fights the way he fought Victor Ortiz (minus the Cheap Shot heard around the world) not only will the fight be exciting, he can definitely stop Cotto in the late rounds.

Viva Mexico!!! All the best Dougie, hope you enjoy the fights with some Coronas or/and Margaritas! — Adrian H, Milwaukee, WI

I’ve got a six-pack of Guinness Draught waiting for me in the fridge. Yeah, I know, I’m not really getting into the “Drink-O De Mayo” spirit with that beer, but the main event of this show doesn’t even feature a Mexican fighter. It’s between an African American and a Puerto Rican. I should be alternating shots of Hennessy and rum in “honor” of Floyd and Miguel but I will have work to do during and after the pay-per-view broadcast, so I can’t get TOO f___ed up. LOL.

I’ll respond to your statements in order:

1. I can’t think of any 21-year-old pros with Alvarez’s resume. There are a few talented young beltholders out there who are Canelo’s age (or close to it), such as Adrien Broner (22-year-old WBO junior lightweight titleholder) and Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr. (21-year-old IBF 115-pound beltholder), but those two I mentioned don’t have as many fights combined (38) as Alvarez has compiled (40). That’s because Alvarez turned pro at 15 and has kept a very busy schedule by modern standards, even after he made his HBO PPV/HBO debuts. Canelo fought five times in 2010; four times last year. He isn’t fighting the best of the 154-pound division, but he fought guys who are (or were) considered tough tests for any up-and-comer – such as Larry Mosley, Euri Gonzalez, Michel Rosales and Lanardo Tyner – when he was still a teenager. He’s young, but he’s experienced. I think that experience will enable him to outpoint Mosley.

2. Mosley’s not as bad as Taylor is, but if he keeps fighting he will be. He couldn’t properly pronounce “WBC” during yesterday’s final press conference. It sounded like he was saying “ABC” over and over again. Shane’s tongue is getting thick. There’s no denying it. If he gets knocked out tomorrow, as you think he will be, let’s hope the people closest to him – mainly his father and Richardson (who IS a good trainer) – tell him to hang up the gloves. Mosley can still be a good ambassador for the sport, especially here on the West Coast, but that role won’t work if he’s got marbles in his mouth.

3. I can see Mayweather scoring a knockout if he puts his mind to it, but I don’t think he’ll do it if he fights Cotto the same way he fought Ortiz. I thought Mayweather went to the ropes too much against the young buck. I think he needs to stand his ground, and eventually seek to back Cotto up, in order to score a stoppage tomorrow night. (Basically, he needs to fight Cotto the way he fought Mosley.) I believe Cotto can score with damaging punches (especially to the body) if Mayweather is backed to the ropes or a corner.

RING CHAMPIONSHIP POLICY

Hey Dougie,
I was pretty skeptical when I first heard The Ring was changing its championship policy and so I read it with a sense of dread even though I agreed it was in need of some tweaking since there are so few true champions. There seems to be quite a backlash from fans who absolutely hate it and now consider it to be as worthless as the sanctioning bodies’ belts. After thinking about it for a while I am willing to give it a try and here’s why:

1. The retention policy is a major upgrade. It forces those “champions” who want to take it easy fight after fight to actually get in the ring with legit challengers. That’s something EVERY boxing fan wants.

2. While I initially thought having the vacancy possibly filled with a number 2 vs 5 was ludicrous, I’ve backed down somewhat because:
a. I don’t think we got the complete info on how it works… do all fights involving 2 vs 5 fill a vacancy or just when it makes more sense like the former policies 1 vs 3?
b. I don’t think this will be THAT huge of a deal because the vacancies will fill up pretty quickly and then it’ll be champion vs challenger and we won’t have to worry about who is eligible to fight who for the vacant belt. It won’t come up as often as people think. At least after the first “filling” period is done.

3. Boxing needs champions, not titleholders and so I think it’s worth trying something new to fix that problem. This could turn out to be a terrible idea or it could turn out to be a great idea so why not try it? I’m sure as it gets going and if something is clearly not working it can be tweaked for improvement.

A quick side note since it is the big fight week… I’m looking forward to Mayweather-Cotto! I think it’ll be just as good as it would have been pre-Margz. Cotto’s a warrior and deserves this shot and while I’m picking Mayweather by late stoppage I think Cotto will make for a great fight (when doesn’t he?) – Brian, London, ON

You and I think alike, Brian, regarding Mayweather-Cotto and the updated championship policy, which wasn’t written in stone. If it ain’t working in about a year, it can definitely be tweaked.

But I think it deserves a chance. The magazine never seemed to recognize more than six or seven champions (among the sport’s 17 weight classes) at one time during the 10-year span of the previous policy.

I agree that the retention policy was needed. THE RING doesn’t want to stripfighters with the ridiculous frequency of the sanctioning organizations but it wasn’t fair to magazine’s top contenders to continue to recognize RING champs who didn’t defend their title after winning it (such as Paulie Ayala, who won the mag’s vacant junior featherweight title with his rematch decision over Bones Adams and then never fought at 122 pounds again). Some fans got pissed off when we removed Juan Manuel Marquez as THE RING’s lightweight champ, which was just plain silly because we all knew that the Mexican master had no intention of EVER fighting at 135 pounds again following his defense against Michael Katsidis in November of 2010. Everyone knew the final goals of his hall-of-fame career was to fight Pacquiao again and to win a major title in a fourth weight class.

The best option to fill a championship vacancy is still No. 1 vs. No. 2. It will be the rare occasion when a bout involving the Nos. 2 and 5 contenders (or the Nos. 1 and 4, or the Nos. 2 and 3 or 4) will be considered to fill a vacancy. However, if it looks like the ideal matchup (1 vs. 2) isn’t going to happen in a particular division and a bout involving the Nos. 2 and 5 contenders is made we can now at least consider the winner of that fight to fill the vacancy. The RING’s Editorial Board will consult with Ratings Panel before making any final decision. If the No. 5 contender isn’t that good, we won’t recognize the winner as our champ. If he’s as accomplished or nearly accomplished as the contenders rated above him, we will. And hopefully the winner of the bout will eventually fight the Nos. 1, 3 and 4 contenders and end any debate among fans and media about who’s really the best in the division.

PROPS TO MALIGNAGGI

Hey Dougie,

I hope things are good. Haven’t written in a while but I’ve just got a few points to share.

I haven’t seen the fight, but props to Paul Malignaggi for the victory last weekend. Everyone thought he was finished after he was broken down by Amir Khan, but you’ve gotta give the guy credit for travelling to Ukraine and forcing a rare stoppage over a Ring-rated titleholder. I think he’s too small for any of the top 4 in the division, but I’d like to see him in with Kell Brook, Mike Jones, or Devon Alexander next, as I think he’ll provide a good test and we might get to see if any of them are the real deal. IMO, Brook is substantially better than Jones and Alexander, but living in Sheffield I’m more than likely just being biased!

I think people have gotten a bit carried away in calling for B-Hop to retire. I saw the fight much closer than everyone else, calling the first round even, then rounds 3, 4, 6, 9 and 11 to Hopkins. Dawson was stylistic all wrong for him at this stage in his career, but I’d fancy him over any of the other Ring-rated light heavyweights. Dawson had very few technical floors for Hopkins to expose, but that’s not the case with any of the others. Do you think he’s still got a future in the sport?

I’d also like to see Nathan Cleverly step up his level of competition. I think he’s the real thing but he’s gonna have to face better fighters to prove it. Whilst I think he’s capable of beating Cloud or Pascal in close fights, he should at the very least fight another Ring-rated fighter. Any of the next 4 rated below him would provide good tests and aid in his development. I have no interest in seeing him face another Tommy Karpency!

I can’t go without mentioning Mayweather-Cotto, and I’m afraid I’m gonna have to be boring and predict a unanimous decision for Floyd. I think it’ll go a bit like the De la Hoya fight, Cotto will be competitive behind his jab in the opening rounds, but as soon as Floyd figures it out he’ll start landing flush rights over the top that’ll be fight over. Cotto won’t be as plodding as De la Hoya, but at the same time I think Floyd will be able to hurt him more than he was Oscar. How do you see this one shaping up?

Thought I’d end with a top 5. After so many disappointing ‘super-fights’ in the last few years, what’re your top 5 that have lived up to their billing in terms of action inside the ring? Always enjoy reading the mailbags, keep up the good work! – Callum, UK

It’s been awhile since a real “super fight” has lived up to or surpassed its hype. Thankfully, you didn’t limit me to the past 10 years – otherwise I don’t think I’d be able to compile a top 5. Anyway, off the top of my head here’s the five that I enjoyed most as a fan:

5. Iran Barkley-Roberto Duran

4. Evander Holyfield-Riddick Bowe I

3. Marvin Hagler-Thomas Hearns

2. Hagler-Sugar Ray Leonard

2. Leonard-Hearns I

Top five super fights (defined as major pay-per-view bouts that were staged in arenas configured for 10,000 or more fans) I’ve covered as media:

5. Cotto-Antonio Margarito I

4. Erik Morales-Manny Pacquiao I

3. Hopkins-Felix Trinidad

2. Marco Antonio Barrera-Morales III

1. Oscar De La Hoya-Fernando Vargas

I also like Mayweather by UD, but I think I’m envisioning a tougher fight for Floyd than you are.

I know B-Hop can still beat some world-class light heavyweights but I’d much rather watch Cleverly take on – and prove his rather lofty RING ratings against – the likes of Zsolt Erdei, Gabe Campillo, and Beibut Shumenov than the 47-year-old future hall of famer. Do you really enjoy watching Hopkins fight at this stage of his career?

I’m not from Sheffield, but I still think Brook is the best 147-pound fighter without a belt (yes, I think your boy would school both Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto). I don’t think we’ll see a Malignaggi-Brook matchup anytime soon because the UK standout is still relatively unknown in the U.S. and Paulie is looking to get back on Showtime or HBO, which means he needs to fight a name known to American fans. I think Malignaggi vs. Alexander or the winner of Ortiz-Berto II (or Robert Guerrero if The Ghost beats Selcuk Aydin in July) is more likely. I’d like to see Brook get an eventual crack at the Jones-Randall Bailey winner.

We all gotta give Malignaggi his props for defeating Senchenko to earn the WBA welterweight title. Even fans and boxing writers who thought he still had his legs and reflexes favored the undefeated Ukrainian to retain his belt in his home country (although I’m proud to say that Michael Rosenthal and I were among the few who believed in the Magic Man and picked him to win on record). If Malignaggi plays his cards right with his next three or four fights he can make some decent dough and finally gain the recognition and respect he’s wanted from the boxing world for so many years.  

MONEY OVERLOAD

What’s up Dougie,

And when I asked what’s up I wasn’t referring to the non-stop bulls__t coming from Floyd’s crap-hole of a mouth. There’s no shovel big enough to bury that increasingly massive pile of dung. Which brings us to this question: What’s the point behind these lame televised interviews and that stupid ongoing 24/7 series?

I know what some readers are probably thinking. If I don’t like it, don’t watch it. I just wonder why HBO doesn’t instead expend their money and energies on helping to put together some more meaningful bouts and providing more coverage on the sport’s rising contenders like Erislandy Lara, Gennady Golovkin, and Abner Mares among others. Hey, who wouldn’t rather see these young guns get more coverage and more fight opportunities as opposed to all this Mayweather glut?

And it’s not just Mayweather. In the past, the 24/7 show provided us shots of Ricky Hatton’s bare ass and Juan Manuel Marquez drinking piss. And HBO needs all this to boost up public interest? F__k it!

Give us some more fights in between these huge pay-per-view events instead!

Now for the big fight. I’m not much for making predictions. I’m seldom right anyways. But I’m clearly rooting for Cotto. He’s a true fighter with class and win or lose, he’s always given fans their money’s worth. Even in the fights he lost, he never made it easy for his opponent. Anyone else notice that Antonio Margarito himself was never the same fighter after their first war and that Manny Pacquiao took some crushing hits in the initial rounds that would have crushed most lesser guys.

As for the “sideshow” there’s no doubt that Shane Mosley’s clearly past his prime and against Manny Pacquiao he made Joshua Clottey look like Henry Armstrong by comparison. But he isn’t facing Pacquiao here and I’m not sure how good Saul Alvarez is or will be. So no brash predictions there either.

One more question Doug, prime for prime who wins between Bernard Hopkins and Dick Tiger. Whether as middleweights or light heavyweights. Thanks. – Dave Ward aka Super-Dave

I like B-Hop in that very interesting mythical matchup, narrowly on points in a rough and rugged 12- or 15-round fight. I think the prime version of Hopkins would be able to use his height and reach advantages along with is underrated footwork to outbox Tiger in a slight majority of rounds. It wouldn’t be an easy fight Nard. Tiger beat Nino Benvenuti late in his career and the underrated Italian hall of famer was also tall and crafty with good footwork.

I understand your frustration with the 24/7 series. It’s become a tired formula (especially when Mayweather is doing his obnoxious shtick). However, the program is not meant for hardcore fans like you and I. HBO knows that we will purchase tomorrow night’s pay-per-view show. 24/7 was created to entice casual fans to plunk down their money to watch Mayweather or Pacquiao vs. whomever.

If it didn’t work, I don’t think HBO would continue to produce the show.

Yes, I’d much rather see HBO make fights with young badasses such as Lara, Golovkin and Mares against the best talent in their respective divisions, but I know that those matchups won’t likely lead to pay-per-view events that will earn the subscription cable network millions of dollars.

I’m also sick of the so-called “behind-the-scenes” life and antics of Mayweather, but I can’t deny that his PPV shows do well (in part because of the outrageous persona he’s created with the help of 24/7) and make HBO money. The network needs that money to help fund its boxing budget, which will hopefully be used to showcase the next generation (young guns like Lara, Golovkin and Mares).

MORE CREDIT FOR MORENO

Hey Dougster,
Reading the Ring ratings update and the argument over who should be included as the 10th best pound for pound fighter, I feel like The Ring made a poor decision with having either Gamboa or Dawson in contention. Personally I think Anselmo Moreno is more deserving of a top 10 spot than either guy. He seamlessly combines the best attributes of both Dawson (in his tricky defense) and Gamboa (in that he can be offensively explosive). He hasn’t lost since 2002, he’s had quite a few split decision victories, but all of them in the home country of his opponent, he hasn’t been afraid to go on the road, and he’s 8-0 against former world champions like Vic Darchiniyan, Lorenzo Parra, Thomas Rojas, Nehomar Cermeno, Mayher Monshipour, and Vladamir Sidorenko. That is a tremendously talented gauntlet of highly rated fighters he’s managed to beat, and a higher overall level of competition than either Dawson or Gamboa.

Since I like fantasy match-ups and very much enjoy your take on them in the mailbags, I have a good one for you. A heavyweight Ezzard Charles (the version that first won the title from Walcott) against a prime Muhammad Ali, how would you see that fight playing out? – Andy from Philadelphia

I love me some Ez, but the prime Ali beats almost every other notable heavyweight in history – hands down (which his often were, but it didn’t matter because his hand speed, reflexes, hand-eye coordination and legs were so amazing). I like Ali by clear decision.

You’re not alone in your admiration for Moreno. There are members of RING Ratings Panel – led by Cliff Rold – who are pushing hard for the savvy southpaw. If THE RING had a pound-for-pound top 12 list Moreno would be 11 or 12. He’s knocking on the door and I think his time will come – soon.

 

 

Email Dougie at dfischer@ringtv.com. Follow him on Twitter @dougiefischer

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