Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

RIOS-ALVARADO

What’s up Dougie,

The countdown has begun! Brandon Rios vs. Mike Alvarado is the type of fight we hardcore boxing fans relish! I can’t wait. Much props to both of these guys for being willing to step into the ring with each other. I wish others had the guts to do the same (Yuriorkis Gamboa).

How do you see this fight panning out? I like both of these guys and look forward to watching! I’ll be at the Home Depot Center, the best venue for boxing in SoCal hands down! – Miguel, LBC

I’m looking forward to covering the Nonito Donaire-Toshiaki Nishioka card on Saturday and, of course, a huge reason for my anticipation for the HBO-televised show is the Rios-Alvarado showdown.

What’s not to like about the matchup? Rios and Alvarado are aggressive boxer-punchers in their athletic primes. I don’t even care that they are unbeaten in a combined 64 pro bouts. This fight is all about styles and mentalities. Both fighters seek to break down their opposition. Both have scored come-from-behind KO victories in high-profile bouts. Both are card-carrying tough guys outside of the ring who have had their troubles with the law. Both have matured significantly in recent years.

My gut tells me that Alvarado, who at 33 is the older man by six years, is the more mature of the two outside of the ring. I’m not ready to make a hard pick in this even matchup yet (I’ll probably do so in Lem Satterfield’s boxing insider predictions article later this week), but I’m feelin’ Mile High Mike after talking to him at The Rock gym in Carson, Calif., last Thursday. His head seems to be in the right place going into this fight.

Of course, I might get the same feeling for Rios after talking to him at one of the media events Top Rank has scheduled this week. Hey, it’s that type of fight and that’s why we can’t wait to watch it.

KAMEGAI-SILVA

Yoshihiro Kamegai-Jorge Silva was one of the top 10 fights I’ve seen this year. Had a few thoughts on it:

- The best part about the draw is that maybe they can do it again? Considering both guys’ style, I think there’s a real good chance a 2nd fight would be even better.

- I was trying to put my finger on why Silva is so effective and figured it was some of those “sneaky” punches he was getting in there. Later in the round you said the same thing, so kudos to you on the great call. Frequently, Kamegai would throw a hook and Silva would roll with the punch and throw his own left hook a split-second later. That’s not easy to do.

- I thought Kamegai hurt Silva twice with lefts to the body, but either didn’t quite realize it or perhaps was too occupied thinking about those cute little moves he was making in there. While that cutesy stuff can work for some guys, it doesn’t work for him, so he should forget about it and put more focus into even more body punches.

- I thought your analysis was quite good and hope you continue to work these Fox Sports Net cards. Successfully recording them has been TV Azteca-esque in the past, but last night was on schedule. – Gordon

Thank you for the kind words, Gordon.

Kamegai-Silva was the combination of fate, good match making and two fighters willing to take a gamble. Kamegai’s promoter, Hall-of-Famer Akihiko Honda (president of Teiken Boxing Promotions), originally wanted a tough-as-nails veteran to test his welterweight fighter. He chose Antonio Pitalua, who gives everyone but the late Edwin Valero a hard night. However, Felix “Tuto” Zavala Jr. of All-Star Boxing has a piece of Pitalua’s contract as well as an on-going lawsuit against Golden Boy Promotions (over promotional rights to Saul Alvarez). Tuto put the kibosh on the fight as well as Pitalua’s proposed replacement, Cosme Rivera (who he also has paper on).

Credit Golden Boy matchmaker Robert Diaz for scrambling and finding a young, hungry badass for Kamegai to face instead of another old former contender. And credit Kamegai for accepting the fight despite knowing nothing about the kid.

And credit both Silva and Kamegai for letting it all hang out once the bell rang in Sacramento, Calif., on Saturday. That fight was A LOT of fun to call.

I’ll reply to your excellent points and questions in the order you presented them to me:

-I think a rematch is very possible for sometime next year after both guys have another fight or two against different opponents. Kamegai wants to return to the U.S. and he was not happy with his defense and some of his strategy in Saturday’s fight (although I thought he did enough to earn a close decision – I scored it six rounds to four for the Japanese fighter). I think he would relish the opportunity to make improvements against the kid who made him look ordinary in front of a national U.S. television audience. And I know Silva would accept a rematch in a second. He’s managed by Erik Morales’ younger brothers, Diego and Ivan, and he definitely has the “El Terrible” mentality of not being intimidated by anyone. Silva, who thinks he deserved the decision, also accused Kamegai of being a “dirty fighter” but I think he knows that he could have fought a more disciplined fight. (If he doesn’t know I hope someone around him tells him so.)

-Silva was definitely sneaky at times. Part of the reason is that he seems to “freestyle” in the ring. He’s a natural fighter, unlike Kamegai, who you can tell is thinking very hard about everything he does in the ring. Silva just lets it flow, and his punches were more fluid and powerful than Kamegai’s. My only problem with the kid was that despite landing many sneaky hooks throughout the bout, the only time he came back with a right cross was in round six when he seriously rocked Kamegai. He almost scored a knockdown in that round because he followed up with the right. I have no idea why he didn’t do it more often.

-I agree that Kamegai should give up on his Pernell Whitaker imitations and focus on sharpening up his basic defense and offense technique. I think he did hurt Silva a few times to the body and I believe he could have wore the 20-year-old banger down had concentrated on a body attack.

-Thanks again for the nice words about my analysis during the bout. I’ll be doing commentary on Golden Boy Live! shows (with broadcast partner Mario Solis) whenever the series takes place in California. I’m hoping GBP teams up with Hall-of-Famer Don Chargin and does another card in Sacramento real soon. I think they could quickly build up a local audience that would pack the Memorial Auditorium on a regular basis.

DREAM ‘PRIZE FIGHTER’ TOURNAMENT

Hey Dougie,

Hope you are well. Wondered if you had ever watched any of the Prizefighter tournaments which are shown in the UK? The format is 8 pros (generally just below domestic championship class) who face each other in a knockout 3-round tournament held in one night, obviously at one weight division. It’s scored in the pro 10- point format.

Whilst the quality of the fighter might not be always be the highest, it is always great entertainment and a lot of non-boxing fans amongst my friends love the action it generates. It’s a winner-takes-all prize of around $50 K as well to add to the fun.

So in a slight twist on the usual mythical match ups, what would be your dream line up for this format spanning the ages and divisions?

Although it’s a relatively new class, I would love to see a super middleweight version with a line-up of prime Bernard Hopkins (although I don’t think he ever fought at 168 lbs), James Toney, Roy Jones Jr., Joe Calzaghe, Steve Collins, Nigel Benn, Chris Eubank and Andre Ward.

Who do you think would come through the demands of 3 x 3 round fights in one night to win from that line up? With his amateur experience and all round skills, I would have to go with Jones Jr (only if it wasn’t held in South Korea, JK ), although I could see Calzaghe with his busy style, causing an upset if he avoided any knockdowns, given there are only 3 rounds in the contest.

A comment I found interesting was from Jones after he fought Calzaghe, “I just couldn’t figure him out” which I think reflected just how awkward Calzaghe was to fight.

If it was held in Germany the winner would obviously be Sven Ottke (even if he was only in the crowd).

Would love to hear your thoughts on this and your dream tourney. Cheers. – Russell , Scotland

Funny line about Ottke, Russell.

I’ve seen individual Prize Fight bout son YouTube but I’ve never watched an entire show. It appears to be a winning formula with British fans. I’m glad it’s given some older fighters an opportunity bounce back in their careers.

I could come up with a dozen all-time great lineups for a mythical Prize Fight-style tournament, and I think your group of 168-pound standouts would make the list.

I agree that the three-round format would favor Jones and Calzaghe, while hurting the guys who typically liked to take their time, such as Hopkins, Toney and Eubank. The dark horse of that mythical tournament would be Benn, in my opinion. He could conceivably catch a super-talent like Jones, Calzaghe or Ward with one of his patented first-round blitzes. I’d be rooting for “the Dark Destroyer.”

Here’s a good line up, hall-of-fame-enshrined former junior welterweight champs from the early 1930s to the present: Tony Canzoneri, Barney Ross, Nicolino Locche, Antonio Cervantes, Wilfred Benitez, Aaron Pryor, Julio Cesar Chavez, and Kostya Tszyu. “The Hawk” is my favorite to win it all but I wouldn’t count out King Kostya, who was an awesome amateur boxer.

How about top fighters from a specific decade, such as the middleweight beltholders of the early 1990s: Jones Jr., Toney, Benn or Eubank, Mike McCallum, Julian Jackson, Reggie Johnson, Gerald McClellan, and John David Jackson. Jones would be my favorite. His amateur nemesis, “The G-Man” McClellan would be my dark horse.

How about the top heavyweights of the early ‘90s? Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, Riddick Bowe, Ray Mercer, George Foreman, Tommy Morrison and Donovan “Razor” Rudduck. Tyson, being the ultimate frontrunner that he was, would have to be at least a slight favorite, right? I’d be looking forward to the Bowe-Mercer grudge match.

THIS AND THAT…

Did you get the chance to see a fight at the Blue Horizon? What was it like? Did it live up to the hype?

Is there any venue today that reminds you of the Horizon?

A lot of great hall of fame boxers like Jack Dempsey became referees after their careers were over. I never really heard if these boxers also were great referees.

Who were some of the former boxers that also were standout referees?

Finally, I was a little pissed that so many people were criticizing Lucian Bute and Chad Dawson for their last fights. Here we have two guys that took fights against top opponents in their hometowns, no less. Fights they did not have to take, yet they did. Considering the many readers that bitch about top guys not fighting each other, I think we should cut these two a little slack. They had nothing to be ashamed about their performances. They both stepped up. Thanks, Doug. – BP from Toronto

You make a great point, BP. Hardcore fans should not complain about top fighters avoiding each other if they insist on tar and feathering the guys who lose those high-profile showdowns.

Two former pro boxers who became referees that immediately come to my mind are the late Lou Filippo, who fought the great Carlos Ortiz twice in 1957 and was a prominent California referee and judge for decades, and James Warring, a former kickboxing champ and boxing cruiserweight titleholder who has been a competent Florida-based referee for the past 10 years.

I think it was more common for former fighters to become referees during boxing’s Golden Age, particularly if they were popular champs like Dempsey. However, I’ve never read or heard that any of those big-name fighters of the past who refereed matches after retiring were particularly good.

The only former boxer who is enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame for his work as a referee is Rudy Goldstein, who had an accomplished pro career in the 1920s and ‘30s.

I never covered a fight at the Blue Horizon. In fact, I’ve never covered a fight in Philadelphia (which is something I’d like to do eventually).  

I once asked the recent Hall-of-Fame-inductee Michael Katz if the Blue Horizon “lived up to the hype.” The veteran boxing scribe told me it was a dump and the most overrated venue in the U.S.

Katz said that about a lot of places.

 

 

 

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

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