Once should have been enough, Josue. Bundrage smashed Spinks in five rounds to win the IBF belt in 2010 and both should have gone their separate ways forever after that fight. However, the IBF thought a mandatory rematch was in order after Spinks won a close (some say controversial) 12-round decision over Sechew Powell in my hometown of Springfield, Missouri, earlier this year. Whatever. At least Bundrage-Spinks I and Spinks-Powell were off-TV.
Bundrage-Spinks II was a mess. I was happy that the two Midwestern veterans got some Showtime exposure (along with the extra dough from Golden Boy Promotions’ winning bid on their mandatory tussle), but DAMN, those two were awkward! You’re absolutely right – it looked like they didn’t know how to fight at all. They do, of course, but their styles and technique do not mesh at all.
Kudos to Bundrage for finally finding range and closing the show in the seventh round (and props to Spinks for getting up three times with the willingness to continue even though his legs were gone). Still, “K9” can bark about fighting Canelo all he wants during his funny post-fight interviews, I did not see pay-per-view worthy B-side to Saul Alvarez’s Sept. 15 date.
To be fair, the only pay-per-view worthy junior middleweight out there not currently doing time in jail is Miguel Cotto, who was selected by 60 percent of the readers who voted in RingTV.com’s recent poll on who Alvarez should fight on Sept. 15.
If Alvarez’s fight is not a pay-per-view event Bundrage might be passable as an opponent. But I think most would agree that Erislandy Lara, who outclassed Freddy Hernandez on the Bundrage-Spinks undercard, is more deserving of a shot at the Mexican star. (Lara garnered the next highest percentage of votes – 14.2 – on RingTV.com’s poll.)
It certainly looks like the Cuban southpaw could give Alvarez fits – I’m just not certain it would be a fight worth watching.
LOPEZ, LUCAS, GUS & BEST 15 ROUNDS
I’ll keep it quick:
1. Showtime needs to get Josesito Lopez and Lucas Matthysse in a ring together asap!! Lopez’s activity, uppercuts and “bring-it” attitude coupled with Matthysse’s stalking, body crunching and thunder rights could only lead to another fight as exciting as the two they engaged Saturday night! How do you think that match up would play out?
2. List time. Anyone ever asked you what your favourite 15 individual rounds of boxing are? I know there’ll be a few obvious ones like Hagler-Hearns Round 1 and Gatti-Ward Round 9 but I thought it’d be an interesting question to pitch.
3. Gus Johnson’s ecstatic hollering makes watching fights all the more awesome. The Showtime team is brilliant.
All the best. – Joe, Ireland
Thanks for writing Joe and thanks for keeping it quick. I’ll answer your questions in order:
1. Lopez-Matthysse is an excellent 140-pound matchup, one that guarantees sustained back-and-forth action. I think it’s a fight that would be welcomed by Lopez’s people, who would like him to return to the junior welterweight division (if he isn’t fighting Ortiz in their contracted rematch). Matthysse is willing to fight anyone, as we all know. The only thing that would deter the Argentine smasher is the lack of a title being on the line, but perhaps the WBC or another sanctioning organization could make their showdown a final title elimination bout (I think we all agree that both fighters are worthy of a shot at a major belt). How would this fight play out? Jeez, I see lots punching, blood and guts, but I think Matthysse’s superior power and technique, as well as his uncanny poise under fire, would allow him to prevail by way of close decision.
2. I’m not sure I have 15 favorite rounds of all time. I seldom isolate one round – even if it’s a real barnburner – from a good fight. A particular round has to be truly special or spectacular to make me remember it apart from the total fight. The rounds that immediately come to mind that I had the honor of covering live include the 10th round of Diego Corrales-Jose Luis Castillo I and the 12th round of Israel Vazquez-Rafael Marquez III. Those are rounds that literally made my jaw drop as I uttered the word “unbelievable” (sandwiched by profanity, of course). Rounds that standout from my favorite fights of the past include the seventh round of Michael Carbajal-Humberto Gonzalez I (that’s the round ‘Little Hands of Stone,’ who had been twice dropped in previous rounds, knocked ‘Chiquita’ out flat on his face – I always get emotional watching that ending; all these years have not lessened its impact), the dramatic 15th round of Rafael “Bazooka” Limon-Bobby Chacon IV (THE RING’s Fight of the year for 1982 – and for good reason), and the 14th round of Gomez-Pintor. (I treasure the image of the gallant Pintor sitting on the canvas after getting knocked down, spitting out his giant mouthpiece to catch a breath and then popping it back in before getting up and going out on his shield against the Puerto Rican powerhouse, ending a truly epic ring battle.) The 14th round of Ray Leonard-Thomas Hearns, the first round of Marvin Hagler-Hearns, the 10th round of Evander Holyfield-Riddick Bowe I, and round nine of Gatti-Ward I would also make my top 15. Hey, that’s nine rounds! Maybe I could come up with 15 favorites.
3. Showtime does indeed have a terrific broadcast booth (and they were without Antonio Tarver last Saturday). A note about Gus Johnson: he’s got pipes that could put Pavarotti to shame. Seriously. You can hear his booming voice outside of the arena. He doesn’t need a mic.
I have four completely unconnected and potentially ignorant questions, probably because I am a fairly recent convert to boxing (2007). Hell of an addiction once you have it, though, eh?
1) Do you want to see Mayweather/Cotto again in December? I see no rationale for that one whatsoever, beyond (obviously) money.
Looking forward to reading more of your work, even if you don’t get time for this one! – Seb, Scotland
Thanks for the kind words, Seb. I’m honored to make anyone’s work more bearable. I’ll try my best to address your questions in order:
1. I don’t need to see Mayweather-Cotto II. Cotto’s good enough to give Mayweather a tough 12 rounds every time they fight, but he doesn’t have the natural talent/dynamic athleticism to upset the undefeated American. I’d rather see Cotto fight Alvarez or a hungry young 154-pound contender, such as Vanes Martirosyan or James Kirkland. I’d rather see Mayweather fight Sergio Martinez (assuming the middleweight champ beats Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.).
2. I think Burns is the real deal. I believe your countryman will retain his WBO title with a close but unanimous decision over Mitchell in an entertaining fight. I agree that the 135-pound division is one of the better weight classes right now. I think it will heat up considerably if we can get the winner of Burns-Mitchell to fight either IBF beltholder Miguel Vazquez or the winner of the Antonio DeMarco-John Molina WBC tilt (Sept. 8). The winner of that potential showdown could earn THE RING’s title.
3. Personally, I view the four main sanctioning bodies – the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO – the same. I think they confuse the casual fan, but I recognize their role in the sport and I understand how much their belts mean to the fighters. (I figure winning a major world title is akin to earning a legitimate college degree from a respected four-year institution – yeah, it’s just a piece a paper or a strap of plastic with fake jewels on it, but it has value to the holder because of the years of hard work and sacrifice it took to get it.) The sanctioning organization belts are a goal that all young fighters strive for, and they do receive a degree of respect, exposure and financial pay off when they win those titles.
4. Kimball was every bit the master scribe that Sugar was – in fact, he was a better writer than the iconic “Hat” in many ways. I met both men numerous times before they passed away and I was friendly with both but I did not know them well, so I really can’t speak on their personal relationship with each other. (And I should note that I tend to stay out of the many beefs that exist between boxing writers.) The old guard – those grizzled newspaper men who made up press row when I first began covering the sport – were a passionate and volatile group. They had each other’s backs when one was in need (they went to bat for their comrade if he was banned by a particular promoter, or if he was being sued, or needed to bailed out of jail), but they’d get into drunken fist fights at the Boxing Writer Association of America awards dinners.
HITTERS & QUITTERS
Hey there Doug,
Several observations about the previous weekend.
For starters, I was hoping for Victor Ortiz to win big time but certainly didn’t rule out the possibility of Lopez scoring a crucial upset. And now that it’s all done with for now I’m certainly not slapping the “quitter” label on Vic like many others are still doing. Yeah, Vic is not one of those Kamakazi do-or-die warriors that Diego Corrales or Arturo Gatti were. Few fighters really are. On the other hand Vic shouldn’t be thrown in the same clump with a true s__t-artist like Andrew Golota who crapped out or ran off whenever a punch came his way. As you pointed out, not one of us was the guy with the busted jaw.
A couple of my fight buddies are wondering what happened to the Ortiz who out-brawled Andre Berto. Simple. He could hurt the china-chinned Andre Berto. He couldn’t hurt the iron-chinned Lopez who also had more in the tank. Just like Marcos Maidana was also tougher and wasn’t going to run out of fuel, either. Will a Lopez-Ortiz rematch be any different even without the unlucky jaw-break? I doubt it. Superior staying-power usually wins out over superior-spraying power. Think back to Hagler-Hearns, Ramirez-Rosario, and Holyfield-Tyson. The tougher fighter usually beats the harder puncher.
In my opinion the biggest winner that night is Argentine bad-ass Lucas Matthysse. He really pounded the f__k out of Soto. I can’t think of any other junior welter who could have wiped out a tough bastard like Soto that easily. Lucas here is definitely strong and hard-hitting as Maidana but clearly more skilled. Which is why I will pick him over Maidana if they do indeed ram heads down the road. And I would sure love to see that one.
Of course if you really want to see two skilled boxer-punchers go at it how about a clash between Matthysse and Lamont Peterson. Talk about a war of attrition. How do you think would that one would play out? Or Matthysse versus Mike Alvarado?
So who will Saul Alvarez face this September? He would have been too big and strong for Ortiz to handle anyways. Too big and strong for Lopez as well. Eris Lara? The Cuban’s too skilled and tricky. S__t, I’m not even sure if Miguel Cotto could get past Lara. Alvarez-Cotto? Maybe. Cotto’s obviously a big step as well but there’s more in the cash grab-bag to make it more worth Canello’s risk. James Kirkland? He’s a massive puncher but he doesn’t have the greatest chin. Those kind are usually exciting to watch. That means asses would fill up the seats and it’s a fight the tougher-chinned Alvarez could clearly win. So yeah, Alvarez-Kirkland would be ideal. Too bad the vacant spot’s on Showtime while Kirkland and Cotto for that matter are HBO guys. Maybe Andre Berto who might actually be stronger as a 154-pounder. Maybe. If the spot can actually be moved to HBO then I’ll pick Kirkland. If not then Berto might be an actually good choice. Thanks for hearing me out Dougie. – Dave W.
Kirkland will fight on any network as long as he’s paid what he feels he’s worth. I’d love to see Alvarez-Kirkland but I think we’re gonna get Alvarez-Bundrage, which might turn out to be a good fight.
The only beltholder I see giving Lara a shot is Austin Trout, and I don’t think that would turn out to be a good fight.
I would pick Matthysse to beat Alvarado and Maidana. I think Peterson would edge Maidana in a body-punching scorcher. I agree that Matthysse would beat Maidana thanks to his superior skill and technique.
Matthysse is one of my favorite active fighters. I love the guy because of his laid back attitude in training and during the build up to his fights. He’s so nonchalant about everything. Matthysse had no need for any trash talk prior to facing Soto in the ring. He never even made a harsh face to the Mexican veteran. All he did was smile and shake Soto’s hand whenever their paths crossed prior to the fight (even when they were in the ring just before they were introduced). But once the bell rang, he was on a mission to decapitate Soto. That’s the kind of fighter I want to watch and root for.
You make a good point about the better chin (or tougher fighter) usually overcoming the better puncher. Still, I think Lopez-Ortiz II is one of the better fights that can be made in the welterweight division. If Ortiz wants to win the return match, he’ll have to think of himself as a boxer, not a puncher.
Although I’m not going to candy coat what happened on June 23 by saying Ortiz didn’t quit on his stool, I agree that he is not a “quitter.” And I don’t consider him to be a weak-willed fighter or a self-defeating head case like Golota.
BRING BACK THE TERMINATOR!
I say the Terminator has served long enough of his self imposed suspension… Bring Back Todd!!!
On a side note here’s a match up for you: Roy Jones Jnr vs Evander Holyfield at lightheavyweight (I think I’m right in saying the real deal started his pro career at light heavy). Cheers. — Leo
That’s a good mythical matchup, Leo. I’ll go with Commander Vander by late stoppage. I never thought Jones was extra special at light heavyweight, and while Holyfield was probably weight drained at 175 pounds we all know what kind of heart beats in his barrel chest: that of a warrior born. I think his underrated boxing ability (and he exhibited classic form early in his career), iron chin, stamina (let’s not forget that Holyfield’s first title was won in a 15-round war) and relentless nature would have eventually overwhelmed Jones.
Wow. Todd The Terminator has fans? I’m almost as shocked as I was when Bradley was announced a split-decision winner over Pacquiao. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Triple T has that raw, non-PC tell-it-like-it-is honesty that Danny Garcia’s father/trainer Angel Garcia wields like a Samurai sword; and he’s also a funny mother f___er.
Well, Todd, if you’re reading this, come out, come out wherever you are… Floyd Mayweather may have to serve all of his jail sentence but we think you’ve done enough time.
Email Dougie at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @dougiefischer