Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

MARTINEZ-CHAVEZ

What up Dougie?
Two questions: Is Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. getting too much credit for beating guys just outside the top ten and/or at the bottom of the top ten? Do you still think Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez will beat the brakes off of Junior like I do?

Disclaimer: I’m a Chavez Jr. hater.

Observation: $5 says Arum and Co. try and make the Martinez fight a catch weight closer to super middleweight. – Bobby

If Arum & Co. want Martinez to fight Chavez above 160 pounds they won’t be able to have the WBC middleweight title on the line. (In fact, I think DiBella/Lewkowicz & Co. could try to have Junior stripped of the green strap.)

Anyway, I think Chavez can make the middleweight limit at least until the end of this year.

Disclaimer: I don’t hate Chavez Jr.

But I wasn’t a believer until recently. It’s not that I thought he was a bad fighter or a complete hype job. I thought he was solid, even back when he was a welterweight prospect. I just didn’t view him as a real contender, not even after he won the WBC belt by narrowly outpointing Sebastian Zbik.

However, I think he’s fought very well in his three bouts since his title victory one year ago (the fifth-round TKO of Peter Manfredo Jr., the decision over Marco Antonio Rubio, and the seventh-round stoppage of Lee); he’s done well enough to justify his RING ranking in my opinion.

Now I’ll answer your two questions.

Are we giving Chavez too much credit for defeating fringe contender types? If he was viewed as an elite middleweight, I’d say yes. But many fans believe (as I once did) that he’s barely worthy of a top-10 ranking. If Chavez is really a lower top 10 (or top 15)-level middleweight, I’d say he’s doing well and showing gradual improvement by beating fellow fringe contenders.

I give him credit for beating Lee, a tall, rangy, athletic southpaw who had a world-class amateur background. The Irish boxer-puncher is not rated at middleweight by THE RING but he was ranked in other parts of the boxing world.

Lee, who more than a few message board loudmouths predicted would “expose” Chavez, was rated No. 1 by the WBO, No. 2 by the WBA, No. 3 by the WBC, No. 6 by BoxRec.com, No. 7 by FightNews.com, and No. 8 by Dan Rafael/ESPN.com going into Saturday’s fight.

Do I still think Martinez will “beat the brakes off” Chavez? No. I don’t see a total beatdown anymore. Chavez has proven his chin against solid middleweight punchers and shown the ability to impose his will on various styles. I don’t think Chavez can impose his will completely on Maravilla, who I still favor to win (if they actually fight), but I think he can make for a good, competitive fight.

CHAVEZ-LEE, ONE-ARMED EDDIE, COLE

Good evening,
Starting off I picked Andy Lee to beat Junior, and was more excited for this than I was for Pacquiao-Bradley. Even when things were getting tough by the mid-rounds, I still hoped Andy would pull something out last or late rounds, such as he did against Craig McEwan, but he just couldn’t hurt that tough son of a b___h! Now my question is, can Maravilla hold off The Train that is Junior or would he get ground down (Chavez Sr.-Meldrick Taylor style)? Or do you think Martinez could pull off another frightening kayo like against P-will?

Next, let’s give it up to Eddie Chambers, the one armed scrapper showed Philly still produces tough customers. Also, from what I saw of the fight (missed about the middle 8 rounds for Chavez-Lee, and trust me it HURT to change that channel to HBO). I felt the fight could have went either way. Chambers was extremely slippery and I felt fought better with his right than many fighters do with both hands. But wow, if only all heavyweights fought like they did last night. Do you think the audience cheers swayed the judges in this one? Maybe I need to see the middle rounds, again but I felt it was closer, because Chambers showed excellent and savvy upper-body movement, reminded me some of James Toney.

Finally, forgot to mention our beloved referee Lawrence Cole (have you seen that guys neck? It’s massive!) I cringed for the fighters’ safety at his announcement and was kind of annoyed at his warnings, but luckily he did not get caught up in the action. I think the stoppage was a few seconds premature but guessing from how Lee reacted, he welcomed the intervention. Glad to see Cole stepped in and stopped the fight. Who knows? Margarito may still be boxing if the fight against Pac was stopped. – Mike, upstate NYS

I thought the Lee stoppage was a tad premature when I witnessed it in live action, but after watching a few of HBO’s super SloMo replays, I agreed with Mr. Cole’s timely intervention. Lee was in a bad way and he was a sitting duck for Junior’s follow-up hammers. (Maybe if Lee had Cole’s Tysonesque neck he could absorb those kinds of bombs, but he doesn’t! Good stoppage.)

I haven’t watched the Adamek-Chambers fight in its entirety yet (I will, though). I switched to HBO to watch the Chavez-Lee fight after the early rounds (stanzas I thought Chambers did well in, despite his damaged left wing). However, I picked Adamek to win a close decision, and when I switched back to NBC Sports Net and heard that BJ Flores (who seemed to REALLY appreciate “Fast Eddie’s” skillset) only had it 115-113 for Chambers, I had no doubt that the popular Pole would get the nod. Going into this matchup I thought hometown advantage was a big factor and I’m guessing that Adamek’s vocal fans probably did sway the judges’ scores a bit (at least the two that had it 116-112 for Tomasz; the guy who scored it 119-109 probably filled out his scorecard before the fight.)

Chambers is a very nice guy, but he’s as tough as he is skilled. He reminds me of Toney in that regard. However, I think his ring savvy and style is closer to Chris Byrd’s (another super nice but very tough guy) than Toney’s.

Can Maravilla hold off the Chavez Train? I don’t think THE RING champ will try to hold him off. I believe Martinez is smart enough to recognize that he’s facing a giant, heavy handed stalker, much like Kelly Pavlik, and I think he’ll fight Chavez in much the same way he fought The Ghost.

That means he’ll stick and move for much of the fight and maybe make a late charge if he thinks Junior has been broken down or is lacking stamina. However, I don’t think Martinez will wear down Chavez the way he’s broken down Dzinziruk, Barker and Macklin. I definitely don’t see Martinez knocking Junior out cold with one big shot as he did to Paul Williams.

And don’t see Chavez being able to grind Martinez down to a dramatic late TKO the way his old man did with Meldrick Taylor. Martinez won’t stand in front of Chavez with that Philly attitude and I think he’s a better puncher at 160 pounds than Taylor was at 140.

CLOSE DECISIONS GO TO BUSIER FIGHTERS

Hi Doug,

How’s everything going? Thanks for answering my last email. I always appreciate your responses, which is why I write you.

Obviously, controversial decisions are the topic of the moment. I don’t believe in all the conspiracy theories. I have a very simple theory: incompetence. It’s a specific kind of incompetence. Judges reward the busier fighter. The three worst decisions of the past year had the same pattern. In Williams-Erislandy Lara, Tavoris Cloud-Gabriel Campillo, and Pacquiao-Bradley, the man the judges sided with threw more punches, while the man everyone else thought deserved to win landed more. In addition to landing more, the latter group also seemed to hit the target more cleanly and more powerfully. I believe the same issue bit Alan Rubenstein, who scored Adamek-Chambers 119-109 for Adamek. (I thought it was close and could have gone either way, but had Adamek winning slightly).

What do you think of this theory to explain the poor decisions over the past year? How can poor judging be corrected? Thanks. Be well. – David, Washington DC

I think your theory nails this issue right on the head. I agree with you 100 percent. All too often official boxing judges are ignoring the words of the late great John Wooden by mistaking activity for achievement during high-profile prize fights.

I think the problem can be corrected by making sure that young, aspiring judges are trained to recognize punches landed (not just thrown) during a fight in the seminars administered by the veterans and state commissions; and by the commissions making sure that the most competent and experienced (but not burnt out) judges officiate world-class boxing matches. The judges in the Williams-Lara bout were not very experienced and they were fried (having judged all of the undercard bouts of that show). The judges in the Cloud-Campillo fight (especially the two who scored it for Cloud) did not have much world-title experience (if any). The judges in the Pacquiao-Bradley fight were experienced but getting long in the tooth. We gotta wonder about their eye sight.

I definitely think Nevada can bring in some new (and younger) blood when it comes to the referees for world-class boxing. The NSAC has been experimenting with sharing/exchanging officials with CSAC for big shows, just to mix things up a bit and not have the same refs and judges on all the major cards. California officials Jack Reiss and Pat Russell were flown in to work two of the title bouts under Pacquiao-Bradley (Reiss judged Bailey-Jones; Russell judged Rigondeaux-Kennedy). I think both guys are among the most the best refs in the biz and both are also solid judges.

I’d like to see more of this. Max DeLuca – a young judge from Tustin, Calif., who is in the WBC’s pool – is one of the better judges in the game, IMO. Let’s get him and some of the other competent up-and-comers among boxing’s officials into more of these high-profile fights instead of the “usual suspects.”  

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