Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Friday mailbag

WELTER SKELTER

Hey Dougie,

Have you noticed any reoccurring opposing views that The Ring Ratings panelists offer as to how to rank fighters? How do you think The Ring (panel and board) is doing with its divisional rankings?

I know guys campaigning in one division is rare these days and that a big win can make a difference but the current Welterweight rankings seem especially devoid of actual Welters (who’ve fought Welters):

Malignaggi 4 fights

Bradley 2 fights

Bailey 5 fights (since 2009)

Lopez 3 fights

Ortiz 6 fights (since 2009)

Guerrero 1 fight

At this rate if Ricky Hatton takes out Michael Katsidis at 147 he’ll be a shoe-in for a top 10 ranking!!!

Anyways enjoy the packed fall schedule. – Ad Rock, Whitby, Ontario, Canada

I will. The last three months of 2012 will fly by and I’m expecting a few gems before the end of the year.

Hatton would not be considered for THE RING’s welterweight top 10 if he beat Katsidis in his anticipated comeback fight in November. Katsidis is not ranked by THE RING in any division.

The fighters you mentioned did not have many fights at 147 pounds but they beat RING-ranked welterweights to break into the magazine’s ratings. Malignaggi beat Vyacheslav Senchenko (No. 5 at the time). Bradley “beat” Manny Pacquiao (No. 1 at the time, and still is). Bailey KO’d Mike Jones (No. 6 at the time). Lopez stopped Victor Ortiz (No. 3 at the time). Ortiz beat Andre Berto (No. 3 at the time). Guerrero beat Selcuk Aydin (No. 10 at the time).

I think the current Ring Ratings Panel is an excellent group of enthusiastic and knowledgeable young boxing scribes – which includes RingTV’s Corey Erdman, Ryan Songalia, Mike Coppinger and Harry Pratt, as well as Boxingscene’s Ryan Maquinana, MaxBoxing’s Anson Wainwright and The Queensbury Rules’ Mark Ortega – mixed in with us old farts (Joe Koizumi, Martin Mulcahey and Yours Truly).

We have lively (but respectful) debates about THE RING’s ratings via group emails every week. RING Editor Michael Rosenthal gets everyone’s POV on every ratings issue before he and I make any decision. I’ve been on the magazine’s Ratings Panel since the Championship Policy was restarted 10 years ago and I can honestly say that there’s never been this much communication between the Editorial Board and the Ratings Panel.

(And if you think I’m bulls__ting just email or tweet some of the panelists I mentioned, such as Mulcahey, Maquinana, Ortega or Wainwright, and ask them.)

MYTHICAL MATCHUPS

Hi Doug.

How are you doing? I wonder what you would think about these match ups.

1. Finito Lopez vs Brian Viloria (at 112)
2. Edwin Valero vs Adrian Broner (at 135)
3. Kostya Tszyu vs Lucas Matthysse (at 140, the battle of right hand!)
4. Tommy Hearns (the version who pancaked Duran in 2) vs Canelo (at 154)
5. Bernard (the version KOed Tito) vs Sergio Martinez (of few years ago) (at 160)
6. Joe Calzaghe (prime) vs Andre Ward (current version) (at 168)

Keep up the good work! – Naoki, Reno, NV

Nice to hear from you, Naoki. Here goes (in order):
1. Finito Lopez vs Brian Viloria (at 112)—I think Lopez was as close to technical perfection I’ve ever witnessed in a prize fighter, but I also believe that 108 pounds was his upper limit. I don’t think the Mexican master would be anywhere near his best at flyweight and Viloria’s greater size, strength, athleticism and underrated boxing ability would carry him to a tight but unanimous decision.
2. Edwin Valero vs Adrian Broner (at 135)—‘The V-nom’ knew how to outbox, outmaneuver and break down taller, rangier fighters. I think his underrated southpaw jab and footwork, along with his vaunted power, volume punching and mad heart would combine to overwhelm Broner to a late TKO. Broner’s speed would make it interesting in the early rounds, however, the Floyd Mayweather-style he employs is not as effective against southpaws (especially those who jab) than it is orthodox fighters (just ask Daniel Ponce De Leon).

3. Kostya Tszyu vs Lucas Matthysse (at 140, the battle of right hand!)—Yikes! This would be brutal. Matthysse has the kind of style that would eventually get to the normally cold-blooded/iron-willed Russian. However, I think Tszyu’s sharper shooting, edge in hand speed and ability to match Matthysse’s strength on the inside would enable him to narrowly outpoint the Argentine hardass in a tough 12-round bout.
4. Tommy Hearns (the version who pancaked Duran in 2) vs Canelo (at 154)—I like Saul Alvarez. I actually think the kid is underrated, but the junior middleweight version of “the Hitman” would toy with him before decapitating him sometime between the second and fifth rounds.
5. Bernard Hopkins (the version KOed Tito) vs Sergio Martinez (of a few years ago) (at 160)—B-Hop by close unanimous decision. Hopkins knows how to fight southpaws and the 2001 version was still at his athletic peak. Maravilla is a hell of a fighter, but he’s not a “great” middleweight. He went life and death with Paul Williams in their first fight, and fighters who are downright one-dimensional in comparison to Hopkins (Kelly Pavlik, Darren Barker and Matthew Macklin) were competitive with him.
6. Joe Calzaghe (prime) vs Andre Ward (current version) (at 168)—The current version of Ward beats every current 168 and 175 pounder in the game, but the prime version of Calzaghe had a style that was every bit as difficult and adaptive as S.O.G’s only the Welshman was busier and more athletic. Calzaghe by close, perhaps majority, decision.

FIRST-TIME WRITER

Hey Doug,
Been reading a lot of your mailbags for quite some time and decided to write you for the first time.

‘Been itching to ask you about the following matchups. How do you see them go?
- Adrien Broner vs. Yuriorkis Gamboa @135 (I must admit, I don’t see this matchup being brought up that much in boxing columns/forums considering Gamboa was close to fighting at LW before against Rios)
- Gary Russell Jr. vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux @126 (yeah I know Russell is still a prospect at this point, just tell me how it goes based on talent alone & considering Rigo will be moving up)
- Danny Garcia vs. winner of (Brandon Rios – Mike Alvarado) <– this one has fireworks written all over it.
- Kelly Pavlik vs. JCC Jr. @168

Some Featherweight stuff…

What ever happened to Celestino Caballero? Looks like he’s been under the radar for quite a while.

Do you think Juanma Lopez can still be force @126 when he gets back? He’s got all the power he needs but a lot less of the conditioning to go through a full 12-round battle it seems.

Who wins Mikey Garcia vs. Orlando Salido? D’you think you’ll crown a lineal champ soon @126? Hehe.

Do you think Gary Russell Jr. has the P4P potential in the next 2-3 years?

Will a change of trainer work for Amir Khan? I mean, work like Wladimir Klitschko-Emanuel Steward worked? (I seriously doubt it. lol)

If I let you play the role of Andre Ward’s manager, how would you steer him towards an all-time great status? Any compelling future matchups you see? Because as far as LHW’s are concerned, B-Hop is the only one remaining there. Beating an old B-Hop doesn’t really excite me unless it’s a KO (haters would point to B-Hop’s age to downgrade such a win of course). Inviting Martinez to 168 would be an option though that would hardly mean anything seeing how badly Martinez got hurt by a big guy in JCC Jr. and seeing recently how Ward handled Dawson. – Joopabs from the Philippines

Thanks for finally writing, Joopabs. (Man, they would have had fun with your name in school back in Missouri – and not just in elementary, I’m talking all the way up through college.)

I’ll start from the bottom of your email and work my way up.

If I was Ward’s manager I wouldn’t worry about his all-time great status. Stuff like that is better left to boxing nerds like you and I. If I was Ward’s manager my only concerns would be making him a worldwide star, getting him the biggest paydays available and keeping him unbeaten (and relatively unscathed). If he earns ATG recognition along the way or when it’s all said and done, that’s just icing on the cake.

I’d go after Andre Dirrell sometime next year (after Ward’s Olympic teammate and buddy looked good in a comeback fight or two). There are storylines in that matchup that would make for an interesting promotion, plus Dirrell’s size and talent make him a legit threat (at least in some peoples’ minds).

The winner of the Froch-Bute rematch is another attractive 168-pound opponent and either fighter could make for a lively promotion, especially if I could get Ward to travel outside of the USA to their home regions. Beyond those two fights, Ward could stick around at super middleweight and wait for young guns such as George Groves and Edwin Rodriguez to mature, or he could toss his hat in to the light heavyweight mix. I would push for the jump to 175 pounds.

A decent domestic title bout with IBF beltholder Tavoris Cloud could kick-off Ward’s light heavy campaign, but the big fights would take place outside of the U.S. against former champ Jean Pascal in Quebec and against WBO titleholder Nathan Cleverly somewhere in the UK.

I think Ward would win those bouts in entertaining fashion (because of the styles or talent level of his opponents) in front of very large crowds. I believe he would be paid very well for those fights and I think the boxing media would celebrate his willingness to travel to his opponents’ home turn and many scribes would suggest that he had earned hall of fame status with that five-bout run.  

Will a change of trainer work for Amir Khan? Only time will tell. It really comes down to whether or not Khan still wants to learn at this stage of his career. If the answer is yes I think he can more than regain his prior status in the sport.

I think Russell does have pound-for-pound potential given his stellar amateur background, high-level of talent and technique, and the division he occupies. However, he’s got to stay healthy and fight more often – against much better opposition than he’s been fighting – in order to fulfill his promise.

I like Mikey over Salido in a very good fight. It’s very possible that the vacant RING featherweight title could be up for grabs in that fight. Salido is No. 1 and Garcia is No. 3 in THE RING ratings. No. 2 Chris John has publicly stated that he’s winding his career down and I doubt he ever fights a top dog in the States again. This is definitely a question for the Ring Ratings Panel.

I don’t know if Lopez is ever going to be the same after those two beatings he absorbed from Salido. I have to see how heavy he fights when he comes back and observe his form (with a close eye on his legs) before I give an opinion on whether he can be a force at featherweight again.

Caballero is under the radar because he hasn’t fought since outpointing Satoshi Hosono in Japan last December. He can still be a player in the 126-pound division but he’s got to make a move soon. The volume-punching string bean is 36 years old.

Your contemporary matchups:

- Adrien Broner vs. Yuriorkis Gamboa @135—I think Gamby is tailor-made for The Problem. Broner scores a sick-ass mid-rounds KO.

- Gary Russell Jr. vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux @126—Russell has a lot more talent and ability than the other prospects that Rigo has feasted on recently, but he’s not ready for the Cuban amateur legend. Russell has yet to fight past eight rounds and he’s never faced a fellow southpaw with Rigo’s skill, savvy and control. However, his speed and power would keep Rigondeaux honest for much of the bout. I think the older man would land the harder shots and avoid most of the younger man’s bombs en route to winning a 116-112-type unanimous decision in a chess match.

- Danny Garcia vs. winner of Brandon Rios-Mike Alvarado—Where do I buy tickets for this one? I like Alvarado by late TKO or close decision. I like Garcia by close decision over Rios. (Of course, if Rios beats Alvarado in impressive fashion I’ll probably change this pick.)

- Kelly Pavlik vs. JCC Jr. @168—This would be a fight. If Junior’s chin holds out (and I believe it would) I think he would outwork Pavlik to a close but unanimous decision.

ATG

Wassup Doug,

I love your mailbags and was hoping you can clarify something for me.

1. Is there a difference between a great fighter and an ATG fighter or are they the same? If they are different what’s the difference?

2. Do you consider any of these fighters great; Roy Jones, Felix Trinidad, Oscar De la Hoya and Ricardo Lopez?

Thanks. – SRJ

Good question. For most fans and members of the sports and boxing media, I think a “great” fighter and an “all-time great” are one and the same. But those who are into the sport’s deep history probably make a distinction. Personally, I separate the truly exceptional fighters into three groups: hall of famers, greats and all-time greats.

Hall of famers are very accomplished, often very popular, boxers who either burned extremely bright for a short period of time (such as Aaron Pryor, Jeff Fenech and Mike Tyson) or strung together impressive victories and title defenses over an extended period (such as Khaosai Galaxy and Terry Norris).

“Great” fighters, in my opinion are first-ballot hall of famers who fought the best fighters of their era, including fellow hall of famers when those rivals were in their primes. They can be guys who burned bright for a few years (such as Salvador Sanchez, Aaron Pryor and Joe Frazier) or badasses who managed to have long careers despite their willingness to face the best (such as Luis Rodriguez, Tommy Hearns and Julio Cesar Chavez).

“All-time greats” are great fighters who had long, accomplished careers and numerous victories over fellow hall of famers and “greats” (such as Archie Moore, Jake LaMotta and Emile Griffith). Many ATGs established themselves as the best fighters ever in a particular division (or two), such as Willie Pep (featherweight), Roberto Duran (lightweight), Ray Robinson (welterweight and middleweight), Ezzard Charles (light heavyweight) and Muhammad Ali (heavyweight). Others broke records that stood for decades (some still stand today, such as Joe Louis’ record for title defenses in one division). Louis is also arguably the greates heavyweight ever.

I don’t consider any of the fighters you mentioned (Jones, Trinidad, De La Hoya or Lopez) to be ATGs. They are all first-ballot hall of famers in my opinion. (I voted for Finito the first time I saw his name on the IBHOF ballot and I will do so when I see the names of the others.) They are arguably “great” (especially Lopez, who set a division record by defending his WBC 105-pound title 23 times and is arguably the best strawweight of all time).

The only active fighter I consider to be hands-down “great” is Hopkins. He has two records (the most middleweight title defenses and the oldest boxer to hold major belts), he faced the best fighters in two divisions over two and half decades (and beat most of them), and he’s arguably one of the best middleweights ever (at least top 10). He also engaged in numerous return matches and was willing to travel outside of the U.S.

PUNCHES IN BUNCHES

just got done watching the second episode of the all access show for the alvarez vs. lopez fight and I got to say I like it when they go into the aftermath of the fight and show what happens behind the scenes after the dust has settled. 24/7 did it for the Ortiz-mayweather fight and I think both series should make a point of doing an episode after the fight has aired all the time…..

canelo is so fundamentally sound its retarded (in a good way), and I think he stops both trout and cotto in the later rounds if they end up fighting. I think Lara gives him fits if they tango, and I’d love to see that scrap…..

speaking of cubans, I think Rigondeaux is the best out there at 122. A bit untested yes, but hes not a two time gold medalist for no reason (say what you want about the amateur boxing system, yes I put value in the fact he has those medals on his resume). I see him outboxing Donaire on to a comfortable UD, scoring a knockdown on the way….

I kind of don’t want to see a chavez martinez rematch mainly because I think theres a good chance JCC Jr. gets his act together, trains like hes supposed to and stops martinez in the rematch. He’s just so big for that weight class its retarded (in a scary way). That or, martinez polishes up and makes sure he doesn’t include trading with junior in his game plan and dances circles around them in the fight…….

what do you think it does for mayweather’s legacy if he beats martinez at 54? more or less signifcant than what a win over pacquiao at 47 would do provided he gets by marquez?……

lets talk legacy for a split. I think Ward’s as good as it gets but the win over dawson for me is tainted because of the fact that it was at 68. How much more significant would that win have been had it happened at 75? Enough for your colleagues to have him displace mayweather/pacquiao atop the pound for pound rankings?…….

whats the word on bhop? i know this comments a bit outdated but damn, picking to fight dawson was such a “bad” decision (see what I did there). Everybody and their moms could have told him that was a bad stylistic match up for him. Where does he rate in your list of all time middleweight greats? How about at 75? ( if you even think his short resume at the weight deserves consideration)…..

and finally, i caught pwill’s interview with jim gray on showtime the other day and I have to say, his optimism for the future is inspiring. He’s got such a great outlook on life. How do you think his fight with canelo would have played out had it happened?– Canadian Slickster

I think Canelo’s harder, more accurate power punches would have carried him to a very close, extremely hard-fought 12-round battle with Williams, whose optimism in the face of his misfortune is indeed inspiring. I won’t be surprised if we see him walking around ringside in a few years. The combination of his positive attitude and fighter’s iron will can work miracles.

I don’t rate B-Hop in my top 10 light heavyweights but he’s in middle of the list among my all-time middleweights. The only 160 pounders I firmly set ahead of him are ATGs, such as Robinson, Monzon, Greb, LaMotta and Hagler. As I stated in the previous email response, I think B-Hop is great, which means he can take his time before announcing what he plans to do next.

I do believe a victory over Dawson at 175 pounds would have been more significant for Ward. He would have faced a physically stronger version of Dawson and earned lineal championship recognition in a second division.

I think that could have been enough for him to leap-frog the dynamic duo in the mythical P4P ratings that everyone cares too much about.

A win over Pacquiao at 147 would have meant a lot more than a win over Martinez at 154 had Mayweather faced the Filipino icon in 2010 or 2011. Now that it’s clear that the Manny is no longer a Pac-Monster, I think the victories would be about equal. Personally, I would give Mayweather more credit for beating Martinez, who I think is more dangerous than Pacquiao.

Interesting, your reasoning for your hesitation to watch a Martinez-Chavez rematch actually makes me want to see it.

I think Donaire knocks Rigondeaux retarded (in the bad way) and the f___ out. I think Rigo is very good, but I also think he’s tad overrated by hardcore heads.

I agree that Canelo has what it takes to defeat Cotto and/or Trout, but I don’t see him stopping either man. I think Trout would give Alvarez a more difficult fight. Erislandy Lara gives every junior middleweight not named Carlos Molina a difficult fight. Let’s see how the Cuban fares against Vanes Martirosyan before we talk up Alvarez-Lara too much, though.

I agree that post-event documentary style coverage of big fights is often more compelling than the usual pre-fight stuff. I think both HBO and Showtime will give us more of this in the future.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, C.S. Your subjects and random capitalization were retarded (in a good way).

 

 

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

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