Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

RICKY BURNS

Hi Dougie,
Just finished watching Ricky Burns vs Kevin Mitchell, a hugely impressive victory for RB! I never expected a stoppage, from either guy to be honest, but hats off to my fellow Glasgow man, he timed the right hand well from the first round on, and caused Mitchell problems with it, so naturally it was a perfect left hook that was the beginning of the end for KM!

RB seems so physically strong at the weight, has a good jab, a good straight right, a decent left hook by the looks of it, and is totally comfortable going 12 rounds if need be! I feel he will be a handful for ANYBODY at 135. Not sure if you got to see the fight Dougie, but what’s your thoughts?

What beltholders matches up well, or not so well, vs RB? Is he up there with the likes of Ken Buchanan and Jim Watt yet?

Take care Dougie, until next time… – Peter, Glasgow, Scotland

I did get a chance to see the fight, Peter, and I was very much impressed by Burns (who I was high on anyway). Like you, I didn’t think the fight would end by way of knockout and I was not expecting Burns to exhibit fight-ending power. However, as you noted, he is stronger at lightweight than he was at 130 pounds, and he has excellent punching technique and very good timing. It all came together in the fourth round of the bout.

The beautiful hook that produced the first knockdown in round four and the manner in which Burns jumped on his hurt opponent after Mitchell got to his feet reminded me of the second-round hook and furious follow-up that the late Edwin Valero put on poor Antonio Pitalua a few years ago. I never thought I’d put Burns and Valero in the same sentence, seeing that they are as different as night and day (as boxers and human beings), but it turns out that the Scotsman has a killer instinct in the ring, which will serve him well in future showdowns.

I had two immediate thoughts while admiring Burns’ textbook boxing form against Mitchell and while marveling at his ability to force the stoppage in the fourth round:

1. Adrien Broner may have dodged a bullet in not having to face Burns for the WBO 130-pound belt last November; and

2. Burns makes for even-money mantchups against his fellow 135-pound beltholders and Broner.

Who do I think he matches up well with? Anyone who is considered a top lightweight! A fight with Miguel Vazquez could be a little ugly, but the awkward IBF beltholder matches that way with everyone.

I’d like to see Burns fight THE RING’s No. 1-rated lightweight, WBC beltholder Antonio DeMarco, next (or the winner of the proposed DeMarco-Broner fight) so he can get his wish – to fight for the vacant RING title.

I don’t think Burns rates with Buchanan or even Watts yet but I think he’s on his way to equaling Watts’ considerable accomplishments at 135 pounds. And I think it’s great that he’s beginning to draw comparisons with those two exceptional Scottish boxers by taking on worthy foes and beating them with disciplined boxing style highlighted by a wonderfully effective jab – just as Buchanan and Watts used to.

JUNIOR’S PROBLEM

Hey Dougie,
It’s been years since I last emailed, but I’ve been thoroughly enjoying your work since 2001 or 2002. Do you think Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is doing other drugs we haven’t necessarily heard about, or are you talking about an “addiction” to Marijuana? – Max, Colorado Springs

Good to hear from you Max. Thank you for following this column for so many years.

I don’t know about any other drugs – illegal, “recreational” or otherwise – that Chavez may or may not be using. I haven’t heard any rumors about Junior using the kind of hard drugs, such as cocaine, that plagued his father during the later stages of the hall of famer’s career and during his retirement.

When I brought up the word “addiction” in the Friday mailbag I didn’t mean to attach it to any particular drug. I was suggesting that he might suffer from the problem of general addiction where he constantly seeks experiences or altered states of mind that “protect” him from dealing with the challenges of real life.

Time will tell.

FIGHTS THAT RUIN BOTH FIGHTERS

Hi Doug,
I can’t be the only one that died laughing when you recounted times when you laughed out loud watching fights in the mailbag a couple of weeks ago. Can we have an encore?

I’m not a big fan of JCC Jr., but can you tell me why people are so outraged over his rehydrated weight? If a boxer can cut weight sans drugs (and I’m aware he was once busted for a diuretic, hence the reason for testing), then what’s the big deal? It’s not cheating, and it takes a toll on the body (see DLH vs PacMan). Also, he may be considered a spoiled brat, but how many spoiled brats have the nads to take shots to the dome for a living? Which reminds me – can you tell us if fighters are tested for alcohol and painkillers?

Lastly, while some won’t agree with me, I always thought that Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito would not be the same fighters after they clashed the first time. Can you mention any wars between relatively young lions that left BOTH forever changed (for the worse)? – BK in High Point, NC

That last question is an easy one to answer, BK. The most brutal and dramatic prize fight I ever covered – the first bout between Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo in May of 2005 – was a showdown between two relatively young lions that forever changed both warriors for the worse. Corrales was clearly a spent bullet after the 10-round ring war that he won. He just had nothing more to give after that inhuman effort. Castillo’s body was never able to make the 135 pound weight limit following their first fight and he never regained the sharp form he exhibited in impressive lightweight victories over Juan Lazcano, Joel Casamayor and Julio Diaz leading into the bout.

Good question about boxers being tested for alcohol and pain killers, both of which are legal “over-the-counter” drugs. I don’t know to be honest. It’s something I will ask Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) Executive Director Keith Kizer the next time I’m in Vegas or have him on the phone.

I don’t think the people who analyze the boxers’ urine are looking for alcohol but I believe if a fighter has ingested enough it to dull the pain he feels in a fight it will be evident in his piss test. (I have to note that it’s highly unlikely that a fighter would do such a thing because as I’m sure you know drinking enough booze to dull pain also dulls a person’s mental sharpness and reflexes, which would put one at a disadvantage in professional boxing match.)

Pain killers is another story. I’ve heard of some well-known MMA fighters getting busted for pain killers (most notably and recently Chris Leben after UFC 138 last November), so my guess is that boxers are tested for them as well. MMA and boxing are regulated by the same state athletic commissions in the U.S.

The fight Leben was pinched for (against Mark Munoz) took place in England, so maybe there are substances they test for there that aren’t tested for in the U.S. but I’ve read that female fighter Jessica Rakoczy was suspended for nine months by the NSAC for testing positive for pain killers, so at least some boxing commissions in American jurisdictions do so.  

I agree that fan outrage for Chavez’s eye-popping post-weighin weight gain needs to be directed more at day-before-fight weighins than at the fighter. Chavez is merely taking advantage of a flawed system while his young body is able to. He won’t be able to do it much longer. Mark my words: Playing the weight game inevitably bites every fighter who boils himself down to an unnaturally light weight right in his dehydrated ass. Very soon Chavez is going to find that he can’t make 160 pounds without severely weakening, or he simply won’t be able to make 160 at all – no matter what he does.

I’m glad you enjoyed learning of my “LOL moments” in boxing. I’ll think about some others. In the meantime, I’d love to hear some from you and other mailbag readers.

PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS

Hey Doug,

Let’s talk Ricky Burns… Firstly, although Kevin Mitchell is no world beater, on his day he is a dangerous opponent who looked sharp on Saturday. Despite this, Burns still beat him in every aspect of the fight. I liked the speed and aggression he showed. I thought the jab-jab-straight right would get predictable after a while but Mitchell kept getting hit with it, so if it ain’t broke why fix it. I never really thought much of Burns when he won his first title and thought he’d lose it once he stepped up his competition, but this kid keeps getting better every fight. He doesn’t have one spectacular trait and isn’t flashy like an Adrian Broner, but he’s got something about him… determination, grit and now belief. His win over Roman “Rocky” Martinez is looking all the more spectacular since we saw how much of a stud he is when he fought on the Martinez-Chavez undercard (I knew he was good after seeing him destroy Nicky Cook a few years ago).

My question to you is, how do you see him fairing against the likes of DeMarco, Broner and Vasquez? Would he be considered the underdog for these fights? And because he has such a big following in Scotland, could he demand a fight in his backyard?

A few other thoughts:

I’m no Chavez Jr. fan, I don’t like the favouritism and “leg ups” he gets from certain boxing organisations *cough*WBC*cough* but he proved to me that he had reason to be in a world title fight. I thought he’d get destroyed by Martinez and he would have done if it wasn’t for his size but he made the middleweight limit (fairly or unfairly is just conjecture for now) and he kept himself in the fight (admittedly by being a punchbag for 11 rounds) and almost caused the upset. All this from a guy who is labelled as “lazy”. I still don’t like him though, but I respect what he does, he is privileged but he doesn’t need to be a boxer, he doesn’t need to risk his life by stepping into the squared circle, so that in my book commands a little respect.

Terrible news from South Africa, I still remember watching a repeat of Sanders’ fight with Wladimir Klitschko with South African commentators who went absolutely nuts when he KO’d Wlad. He had a tremendous punch and was a gentleman outside the ring, it’s sad he went out like that.

And finally a word on promoting boxing as a sport:

With the internet being so prominent in our everyday lives I’d like to see boxing being publicised more. HBO and Showtime do a great job with the big fighters but I’d like to see more promoting being done to the guys who aren’t that well known. One thing the UFC does really well is give you some background info on all the fighters on a card, so that when they are fighting you know a little about them. It’s hard for people to watch a fight when they can’t relate to them, when there’s no hype. UFC does this well by releasing top quality videos of conference calls, press conferences, weighins etc. More needs to be done to bring other fighters in the public eye, this way we can build more stars and boxing will certainly flourish and remain in the mainstream.

On that note, here’s a promotional video I made about what fighters go through in the ring: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhcS7wKhnOs

I thank you for your time Dougie, sorry for the long winded email (it’s the first of many). Keep up the great work you’re doing at RingTV.com. – Yaser, London

Write again soon, Yaser. I’ve seen your YouTube video (“Boxing – Pain, Hurt and Sacrifice”). It’s a work of art and very moving. Your choice of clips and music was brilliant.

Regarding the better promotion/publicity of pro boxers who are not at the HBO/Showtime level (or coveted by those two American cable networks), I think the social media age of the internet will help at the grassroots level and I also believe that basic cable networks that televise the sport will do more to hype their boxing programs and the fighters in action on their various shows in the coming years. I think NBC Sports Net’s Fight Night series has strong production value and has taken a page from HBO and Showtime by producing a documentary-style show to accompany some of their main events (such as the one that followed Eddie Chambers for two days before his fight with Tomasz Adamek). The new Golden Boy Live! series is advertised like crazy on Fox Sports Net and Fox Deportes (and replayed on Fuel TV, which reaches beyond boxing’s usual audience). I recently saw a 30-minute Countdown-type show for a WealthTV-televised boxing card (the one headlined by Anthony Mundine a few months ago), so it looks like everyone’s trying get in on the acts of Showtime and HBO, who have recently stepped up the number of features that support their boxing programming.

The sport still has a long way to go to equaling the successful marketing strategies of the UFC (never mind the NBA, NFL and MLB), but I think this is a positive start.

Regarding Burns, I might be in the minority (among American boxing writers and fans) but I think he can beat DeMarco, Vazquez and Broner on a good night. However, my guess is that he would be at least a slight underdog if he were to fight any of those big three here in the U.S. (Who am I kidding? If Burns fought Broner this year American odds makers would probably make him a 10-1 underdog even though “The Problem” has never faced a world-class lightweight let alone beat one.)

Of the three potential opponents I think Vazquez would be the most willing to travel to Scotland because he’s practically unknown in the U.S. and not very popular among Mexican fans (certainly less popular than DeMarco is). DeMarco would fight Burns in Scotland if the money was right but I’m sure his promoter Gary Shaw would try hard to land that fight in the U.S. and showcase it on HBO or Showtime, which would help Burns get a solid payday.

There’s no way in hell Al Haymon allows Broner to go Scotland. HBO wouldn’t want to travel there, either. They think Broner is already a superstar, which means his opponents fight where the young man wants to face them.

I respect Chavez as I respect all prize fighters. I have more respect for other world-class boxers than Junior, however, for the simple fact that I know so many who work a hell of lot harder in the gym and between fights than he does.

Yes sad news about Sanders. He wasn’t the most dedicated heavyweight standout to come around in the last 15 years but he was very talented, extremely dangerous (as one would expect a 6-foot-4 southpaw with deceptively quick hands and good power to be) and he made for good TV. His HBO-televised showdowns against Hasim Rahman, Wladdy and Vitali Klitschko (which I was ringside for) delivered a lot of thrills. May he Rest In Peace.

CARLOS THE JACKAL

Hey Dougie,
First off I’ve got to thank you, it’s been a few weeks since my first mail and it really surprised me that you replied to it. Well it’s been a mixed weekend for boxing, a great weekend for British and Irish boxing offset by the tragic death of Corrie Sanders. Although I only seen his fights against Rahman and the Klitschkos, you’ve got to respect anybody who enters the squared circle, R.I.P.

Ricky Burns. I’ve always liked Burns, but the manner of his win has really made me a fan. I picked him to beat Kevin Mitchell but I thought it would be a tough, close UD! Lightweight really seems to suit him, he seemed a lot stronger but was also sitting into his punches more. I’d love to see him matched up against Antonio DeMarco, that fight would be fantastic. I think Ricky would just edge. How do you think the fight would go? (Burns also seems to have huge respect for The Ring belt, which is great to see.)

Carl Frampton really impressed me. I remember Barry McGuigan talking about him a few years back, just before his debut and I’ve tried to follow him since. I really think he’s the best FW in Europe at the moment. Although Molitor didn’t seem to show up, I think it was due to the pace that Carl set. I’d love to see him school Rendall Munroe or Scott Quigg before a title shot. I’m slightly worried about the level of ability in the division though. Of the current champs (plus Nishioka and Moreno) who would you like to see him matched against? I think Mares would be a war! Maybe he can fight Rigondeaux, the winner can keep the nickname “El Chacal”, he can’t do any worse than the last time Rigondeaux fought an Irishman! Ha!

What is your thoughts on Ricky Hatton’s comeback, and rumoured opponent Michael Katsidis?

Afterthought, have you seen Chris Eubank Jr yet? He has ability but annoys me more than Senior! He seems to have no respect for other fighters, hopefully he gets some sparring with GGG to teach him some respect!

Finally some mythical matchups:
Roberto Duran vs Julio Cesar Chavez @130
Joe Calzaghe vs Steve Collins @168
66-67 Muhammad Ali vs Larry Holmes

Cheers Dougie – Tosh, Longford, Ireland

Thanks for writing again, Tosh. Nice mythical matchups:
Roberto Duran vs Julio Cesar Chavez @130 – Hands of Stone by close, hard-fought decision (I know junior lightweight wasn’t Duran’s best weight but I just can’t see a pressure fighter – even one as great as JCC was at 130 pounds – beating him)
Joe Calzaghe vs Steve Collins @168 – Calzaghe by close unanimous or majority decision
66-67 Muhammad Ali vs Larry Holmes – Ali by close but unanimous decision

I’ve seen Eubank Jr. I think he’s pretty good. I didn’t know he was jerk. A couple rounds with Golovkin in the gym definitely would be an attitude adjuster.

Katsidis makes sense as Hatton’s comeback opponent. The Aussie is a natural lightweight who is on the downside of his career, but he makes for entertaining scraps and he’s known and respected by British fans. Hatton should prevail given the bout will probably take place at welterweight, but we really have no idea what he’s got left after three years out of the sport. I’ll be interested in this fight if it happens. I’ll be saying a prayer for both guys the night before the bout.

I was also impressed by Frampton, who exceeded my expectations by dominating Molitor to a sixth-round stoppage. I think Barry and Shane McGuigan have done a tremendous job teaching, training and developing Frampton into what he is today: a lower-top 10 junior featherweight contenders. That’s saying something given that the 122-pound division is arguably boxing’s deepest weight class and he only has 15 fights.

The only fighter with 15 bouts or less who is more advanced than Frampton is the “other Jackal,” Rigondeaux. I don’t think Frampton is quite ready for the counter-punching Cuban master but if he gets just one more year to add to pro experience I would give him a good shot at upsetting the southpaw.

However, before we talk about the Battle of the Jackals I think Frampton needs to prove that he’s the best junior featherweight in the UK by taking on the winner of the proposed Munroe-Quigg rematch.

I think Burns-DeMarco is an even fight but if I had to pick a winner I would go with Burns (and no, I’m not saying that because he’s a big fan of THE RING titles. Truth be told many world-class fighters feel the same way Burns does about the magazine’s championship belts but they are often shushed by their promoters and the sanctioning organizations if they happen to hold an alphabet strap.)

WHAT I WANT TO SEE

Doug,

here it is what I want to see next:

Junior knocked out by Gennady Golovkin within 3 rounds

Sergio Martinez knocking out Geale or Sturm or whom so ever at 160

Both men getting a huge fight in a different weight class: Martinez ko 10 Mayweather at 154 / Golovkin SD Ward at 168.

In 2014 they meet for the final count down for the ring championship at 160 and the p4p crown.

What a pity that this never will take place.– Matthias from Germany 

Never say never, Matthias. Stranger things have happened in this sport.

 

 

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

Around the web