THE FILIPINO STALKER
What up Dougie,
HBO seems to have a different opinion, but I see Nonito Donaire as a stalker with power and a chin. All he needs is a jab and he runs through most of his division and the featherweights. Am I wrong? Bring on Abner Mares. A Guillermo Rigondeaux matchup will be boring, especially compared to a fight with Mares. Both these guys are true fighters. Mares just had the dance partners to prove it. These two will bring out the best in each other. I’m not gonna call it. I just wanna see it. – Matto, Atlanta, Ga.
Me too, Matto. Donaire vs. Mares is a fight I’d gladly pay to see. I think it could sell out a number of major arenas in California and in Texas.
Both junior featherweights are also among my favorite boxing people. Nonito and Abner are very nice guys with bright personalities and a sense of humor. They obviously have championship ability in the ring, but they also hold the potential – thanks to their charm and styles – to become real stars/attractions in the sport.
I don’t want to sound like Bob Arum and tell fans who want to see Donaire-Mares to “go f__k themselves,” but I do feel like this matchup should marinate a little bit. Both fighters just arrived to the deep 122-pound division and both young men still need to establish themselves as the two top dogs (or at least two of the top four or five).
Donaire is ahead of Mares after knocking off two RING-ranked 122 pounders and collecting two alphabet titles. Mares looked damn good winning his vacant WBC belt, but he beat an older bantamweight contender for it. I’d like to see Mares defeat one or two RING-ranked junior featherweights (decisively) and Donaire score a KO (to remind fans that he isn’t all “Flash”) before they lock horns.
Mares could instantly prove that he’s a top 122-pounder if he beat Rigondeaux or Nishioka – but both fights are very risky (as you well know). Still, Mares has never been one to avoid a tough fight (as you well know). If those fights can’t be made, I’d be happy to see Mares defend his belt against a couple lower-top-10 contenders, such as Rico Ramos (which would make for a nice Los Angeles-area show), Jorge Arce (a big event anywhere lots of Mexican fans reside), or Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. (Mexico vs. Puerto Rico usually sells well and produces a good fight, no?).
I know Hardcore Harry and Diehard Dave roaming around out there in the Twitterverse and the message board badlands will scream that Donaire and Mares are ducking “the great” Guillermo Rigondeaux (or claim that both are being protected by their promoters – which might be true to an extent), but the facts are that Cuban southpaw has 10 pro bouts and very limited exposure against world-class opposition.
The only RING-ranked fighters he’s faced – Ricardo Cordoba (SD 12 in November of 2011) and Ramos (KO 6 in January) – were broadcast on a pay-per-view undercard (Pacquiao-Margarito) and a ShoBox.
I think it’s cool that internet boxing mavens are championing Rigondeaux as “the man” in the division and I’m tickled that some view him as a combination of Willie Pep and Sandy Saddler, but the fighter needs to make his own noise. He needs to fight as often as possible and continue knocking his opponents the F out. During his post-fight interviews he needs to tell Luis DeCubas to quiet down and state clearly to the interviewer and to the TV audience (in Spanish or English) that he wants to fight Donaire and Mares.
Regarding Donaire, I agree that he needs to develop his underused jab and be a little more consistent with his offense, but even if he added those wrinkles to his game, I doubt that he would “run through” the best of the featherweight division.
His jump from 118 to 122 pounds reminds me of Roy Jones’ move from 168 to 175. Jones was super bad at super middleweight but je was “just” ultra talented at light heavy. Like the 175-pound Jones, Donaire gets respect with his power-pot shots but he doesn’t put fools away like he used to. The toughest featherweights might walk right through Donaire’s hardest punches.
SATURDAY NIGHT IN EUROPE
I’ll start with the two heavyweight mismatches: Did anyone give Tony Thompson a chance? I certainly didn’t. Who do you want to see Wlad Klitschko fight next? Tyson Fury looked classes above in his fight (with Vinny Maddalone) and was more about when he wanted to finish it! I want to see him step up to the Euro level next and fight Robert Helenius.
In Sheffield, you saw a good solid performance from Gavin Rees but I feel his defence will let him down I have watched him a lot and seems easy to hit at times! Finally Carson Jones showed so much heart and gained a lot of respect over here. I had Kell Brook winning by 2 rounds at the end. Will this man ever get his shot Doug??
Anyway I’m off to David Haye v Dereck Chisora next Saturday. Chisora is a bad ass but Haye will hit him with power shots he just won’t see coming. Haye KO round 9. What’s your prediction? – Dave, Weymouth, UK
I like Haye by close decision in Britain’s “un-civil” war of heavyweight bad boys. I think he’ll pot shot the crap out of Chisora while constantly moving, but Del Boy will take the Hayemaker’s power and keep charging all night like a deranged rhino.
Honestly, I think it will be a hell of a fight, kind of like a big man’s (and poor man’s) version of the Brook-Jones fight (Haye will obviously play the part of Brook). I expect Chisora to come on very strong over the second half of the fight and do some damage, just as Jones did.
Hats off to both Brook and Jones, by the way. both welterweights proved something. Brook showed that he could gut it out in a grueling distance fight and Jones finally proved that he is indeed a world-class fighter.
Brook will likely get a title shot within the next nine-to-12 months. At 25, time is on the side of Jones, who I believe will eventually get a title shot, too. If Brook fulfills his promise and wins a major belt it would great if he gave Jones a shot at it. Who wouldn’t want to see a rematch between those two?
It’s nice to see Rees extend his win-streak at 135 pounds. I don’t view him as a world beater at lightweight, but I think he would make for a suitable challenger to any of the current beltholders, especially the winner of WBC titleholder Antonio DeMarco’s Sept. 8 defense against John Molina.
Fury looked classes above Maddalone because he was. Fury-Helenius would be a hell of a matchup but I’d rather see Fury prove that he’s Britain’s best heavyweight by fighting the Haye-Chisora winner and then David Price.
I didn’t give Thompson much of a shot to beat Klitschko, but I thought the 40-year-old veteran would be more competitive than he was. Thompson can beat a lot of heavyweights ranked in THE RING’s top 10, but Baby Bro is just too damn good.
Klitschko is rightfully the real champ of the division and I don’t see anyone changing that fact. If Chisora beats Haye, I’d like to see how Del Boy does against Wladdy. If Chris Arreola can look good against at-least a fringe-contender-level heavyweight, I wouldn’t mind seeing The Nightmare challenge Baby Bro. (I guess it’s obvious that I want W-Klitch to take on a tough pressure fighter next.)
Wanted to know if you got any coverage of Kell Brook v Carson Jones in the US? Good fight, back and forth and I must point out that Jones has got a good chin and came forward all night. I thought he could have done more when he got inside (heavier punches, maybe thrown with more accuracy) but he bloodied Kell’s face so he was connecting. I thought Kell got the job done but this is a wakeup call for the more elite fighters that await him in the future. His stamina level dropped around the 6th and I never seen him like this in previous fights. Love to hear your opinion.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get coverage of Donaire’s fight or Pavlik’s. Like to know what you thought of their performances. Thanks for your time. – Malcolm, Dublin, Ireland
You saw the best world-class fight of the weekend, Malcolm. Donaire-Mathebula and Pavlik-Rosinky can’t hold a candle to Brook-Jones.
Donaire performed well enough to keep a very tall, extremely busy and fundamentally sound titleholder in check in enough rounds to win a decision (one which should have been closer than the official scorecards). Donaire’s aggression and powerful pot shots on the fly were impressive, but he was soundly outworked by Mathebula in more than a few rounds. The Filipino Flash was the superior athlete and talent, but I’m not sure he was the better boxer. Still, I give him credit for beating a determined, world-class fellow beltholder.
Pavlik did what he should have done against a solid and game but lesser experienced fighter. Apart from the first-round knockdown I thought his fight was rather uneventful.
It appears that Brook-Jones was as good as the matchup looked on paper. I followed the early rounds on Twitter until Alfonzo Gomez tweeted a link, where I watched from the seventh round on. So I witnessed Jones’ second-half surge, which didn’t surprise me at all. The Oklahoma native is very experienced for a 25 year old and in recent years he’s been quietly putting in hard work under the sagely eye of Abel Sanchez in Big Bear, Calif. He’s been a regular sparring partner with Saul Alvarez and others in Abel’s talented high-altitude stable (which includes Gennady Golovkin), so I knew he’s be strong – physically and in terms of stamina – down the stretch of the Brook fight.
Brook surprised me by fighting back in spots in the late rounds and by hanging on in the 12th (I thought he was done). He’s an immense talent who gained some much needed grit by gutting it out against Jones, who I hope has earned worldwide respect.
GUT CHECK IN SHEFFIELD
Talk now is of Brook going up against Hector Saldiva in a final eliminator. As for Jones, I think he will give most guys at 147 a hard night! Credit both guys for putting forth a dam good fight!!! What would be your route for both guys now? Take care, Dougie. – Peter, Glasgow, Scotland
For Brook, I would take the IBF-elimination route, because I think he can knockout Saldiva as quickly as Said Ouali did (without getting dropped and rocked) and I like his chances against the Randall Bailey-Devon Alexander winner.
For Jones, I’d take a slower route. He’s gained respect in the UK with his fine showing against Kell Brook but he’s still largely unknown in the U.S. hardcore American fans have heard of him , but they’ve only seen him fight a few times on national broadcasts – and not against true world-class opposition. He stopped raw prospect Tyrone Brunson on a ShoBox after being outpointed by Jesus Soto Karass on Azteca America in 2009 but he’s mostly been under the radar in recent years.
So I would try to get him on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights against solid-but-beatable opposition for two or three fights before pushing for a co-featured spot on a Showtime Championship Boxing broadcast. (I’d mention HBO, but my guess is that they’d hate on his record, even for an opening bout on Boxing After Dark). My short-term goal would be to get Jones some much-deserved exposure a hopefully some kind of a TV following (apart from being a good fighter, he’s articulate and personable). I’d have him fight tough but limited sluggers on FNF (slightly faded vets like Sebastian Lujan and his old buddy Soto Karass – who won a good fight on Saturday – or young guys with a name like Jorge Paez Jr.) and I’d roll the dice a little with for his SCB appearance, and maybe go after a scary undefeated prospect like Thomas Dulorme or a once-beaten contender who is on the comeback trail, such as Vyacheslav Senchenko or Mike Jones.
If Jones were to beat Dulorme or Senchenko, he’d get a good push up the WBA rankings, and I’d go for the newly crowned WBA beltholder Paulie Malignaggi. If a fight with “the Magic Man” isn’t available or feasible for whatever reason I’d target the winner of the Robert Guerrero-Selcuk Aydin bout since the WBC interim title they are fighting for on July 28 might be the full title by the time Jones is ready to go for it.
Regarding Brook’s stamina, I seriously doubt that fighting five times in 12 months had anything to do with his late rounds fade against Jones. I give full credit to Jones’ pressure and body work for breaking Brook down by the championship rounds. And if 15 rounds were still the championship distance there’s no way Brook would have made it to the final bell.
Fighting more should help a fighter make weight and increase his endurance, not hinder it. Just look at Jones, who averages five-to-six fights a year.
BOXING DOESN’T NEED CENTRAL REGULATION
Maybe because I understand central authority in a market, coming from an econ and antitrust background, it’s easier for me to see. But if having a boxing commissioner really makes a better product, then let’s see someone put together the financing to bring enough guys in house to make it viable, then see how long it lasts competing against more innovative, nimble competition, or when fighters who don’t think they’re getting a fair shake jump ship. Or better yet, how long it lasts when the new boxing commissioner comes up with a bright idea like open scoring, and consumers are free to go across the street to fights that don’t suck.
People don’t plan markets well. As soon as we learn how to, capitalism will join mercantilism on the scrap heap of discarded economic theory. Our foremost academics in econ haven’t gotten there yet, so I doubt concussed, old boxers; scabby, octogenarian promoters; or state regulators riddled with phlebitis are quite there either. In the meantime, it’s best to let HBO go right on fighting Showtime, Top Rank continue fighting Golden Boy, and leave Vegas, New York, New Jersey, Texas, and California slugging it out to see who gets to regulate. Boxing fans deserve better than to join the NFL fans who talk about the good old days when it was still a contact sport, or MMA fans who remember how much cooler it was before the UFC. – Todd
Well stated, Todd. I hear what you’re saying and I agree with you to a large extent. I don’t think professional boxing – especially in the U.S. – can be run like a team sports league, and even if it can, I don’t want that. I like the “wild, wild west” nature of boxing. (Let’s face it, if it was centrally organized the way the NFL, NBA or MLB is, I probably wouldn’t have been able to pry my way into the sport and do what I’m doing now.)
However, I do believe boxing is in need of uniform safety standards, rules and regulations that are upheld and enforced in every state. The way things are with state-by-state regulation invites too much sub-standard officiating and too many mismatches to be ignored. There isn’t enough accountability the way it is now and fighters are going to continue to have their careers ruined, or worse, get serious hurt by poor decisions or actions made by promoters, matchmakers, commissioners, referees and judges.
I’ll give you a few examples of what needs to be addressed from two fight cards that took place in Southern California this past weekend.
Undefeated junior middleweight contender Vanes Martirosyan was scheduled to fight journeyman Ryan Davis on the undercard of the Top Rank/HBO card in Carson that was headlined by Donaire-Mathebula.
The mismatch was cancelled because Davis failed his medicals, but a wise old boxing head (and former commissioner) reminded me that Davis was denied a license in Las Vegas when he failed an eye exam prior to a bout with Deandre Latimore in February. So why did Davis fight in Missouri in April? And why was he selected to face Martirosyan? Why did the boxing commission in Missouri allow Davis to fight?
Shouldn’t Top Rank, a Las Vegas-based promotional company, and the California commission been aware of a medical suspension that was made earlier this year?
If the promoters and the state commissions aren’t aware of medical suspensions (or just don’t give a s__t), who should be on top of the problem?
On the Golden Boy Promotions/Fox Sports Net card in Costa Mesa, there was a scheduled four-round heavyweight bout between Javier Torres and Francisco Diaz. The bout sheet for the card, which was used on the broadcast, had both big men with losing records – Diaz was listed as 2-5; Torres was listed at 3-6. I refereed to both as “club fighters” but only Diaz, who had lost four bouts in a row (which were separated by a five-year absence from the sport) was a club fighter. Torres was not what he was billed to be.
BoxRec.com listed Torres as 1-0. The tall and athletic-looking 24 year old was an amateur standout, according to Wikipedia, which notes that he was “the second rated U.S. amateur boxer in the Super Heavyweight division and a member of the Mexican Olympic team.” He was also a member of the L.A. Matadors of the World Series of Boxing.
So why was he billed as a journeyman? And why was he fighting an obviously overmatched opponent like Diaz, who nearly decapitated with a left hook midway through the first round of their bout?
Again, who’s in charge of this stuff? Who’s responsible? Who’s looking out for poor schmucks like Diaz and Davis? Who’s going to save them from themselves?
If the promoters and the state commissions aren’t going to do it, we need a national commission to do so.
Email Dougie at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @dougiefischer