Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

MACHO TIME!

What’s up Dougie,

Kudos on the piece about the late Hector “Macho” Camacho. I was at a big Mexican family gathering on Thanksgiving and all of my uncles were talking about how even though they couldn’t stand the “Macho Man,” they liked watching his fights and thought he was quite the showman (of course, they kept bringing up his fight with Julio Cesar Chavez), and were giving him respect because he fought the best out there. Some of them even made the same comparison you made to Floyd Mayweather, but noted the difference, “Camacho tenia huevos” Camacho had balls. Camacho would fight anybody in their prime and his record shows it.

I remember as a kid in the early and mid 1980s when I was starting to like boxing Camacho, JC Chavez, Mike Tyson, and Pernell Whittaker were my favorite fighters. RIP Hector ‘Macho’ Camacho…..”What time is it? It’s Macho time!” – Miguel, LBC

The boxing world has lost some iconic originals this year – Angelo Dundee, Bert Sugar, Johnny Tapia, Emanuel Steward, Carmen Basilio – but Camacho was arguably the most colorful and charismatic of that legendary group that has passed on.

I hear what you’re saying about Camacho in the early-to-mid ‘80s. That was the period between Sugar Ray Leonard’s 1982 retirement and ’87 comeback against Marvin Hagler when I was more into my comic books than boxing. The only boxing-related things that caught my attention during these years were the young Camacho and Tyson and two breathtaking knockouts involving Thomas Hearns (his near-decapitation of Roberto Duran in ’84 and his classic shootout loss to Hagler in ’85). For me to know about Camacho at that time (when I was living in Springfield, Mo., which ain’t exactly a boxing hotbed) meant that the Spanish Harlem-bred Puerto Rican was a star.

The 23-year-old version of Camacho that outclassed Jose Luis Ramirez, who was 90-4 (with 74 KOs!) at the time, to earn the WBC lightweight title in ’85 was untouchable. And even though he chose to take a less-offensive approach to his fights following his close call with murderous-punching fellow Boricua Edwin Rosario in ’86, I still found him to be a fascinating and entertaining standout up until his brutally one-sided loss to Chavez (81-0 at the time) in ’92.

I remember purchasing a VHS tape of his 1989 fight with come-backing Ray Mancini (which I believe was a closed-circuit show), getting a “bootleg” tape of his “Put Up or Shut Up” showdown with Vinny Pazienza from a fellow hardcore fan in early 1990, and watching him fight Tony Baltazar on an HBO tripleheader (that included Meldrick Taylor and Pernell Whitaker) during the summer of ’90.

In enjoyed those fights (particularly the Pazienza bout). Camacho and Tyson were the first fighters to make me pay attention to the ring walk-in. Tyson did it with his hardcore “no robe, no socks, all malice” walk-in to the latest Hip-Hop jam backing him up. Camacho was the opposite. His ring walk was a vibrant celebration. He was colorful and creative, flashy and flamboyant. He usually entered the ring to McFadden & White’s “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” disco/R&B anthem.

Although his lifestyle got the better of him in the ‘90s, and he probably lost a step or two after the 12-round beatdown Chavez gave him, he was still willing to get into the ring with younger, bigger, taller, stronger fighters who were gifted with skill and speed as evidenced by his ’94 bout with Felix Trinidad and his ’97 showdown with Oscar De La Hoya.

Your uncles were right about Camacho. He had huevos.

 

CAMACHO MYTHICAL MATCHUPS

How do you think Hector “Macho” Camacho would have fared in his prime in the early 2k 130-lb division that featured Floyd Mayweather, Diego Corrales, Acelino Freitas and Joel Casamayor? – Gopal

Believe it or not, I think Camacho would have had his speedy hands full with all of the junior lightweight beltholders you mentioned, which is saying something because the 130-pound version of Camacho was one of the brightest talents I’ve ever seen. But the group you mentioned were also talented, especially Mayweather, who might have been at his best at junior lightweight.

The only one I can see Camacho dominating is Corrales, who was a rather plodding stalker, which made him especially vulnerable to the Macho Man’s great footwork and ability to punch on the fly. However, “Chico” would never give up and he had the power to turn the fight with one shot (and I’m assuming you’re talking about Corrales when he was at his best at 130 pounds, not the weight-drained version who faced Mayweather). But even if he clipped Camacho, the tricky southpaw had a great chin and he knew how to survive rocky moments. I like Camacho by comfortable decision.

I think Camacho would take close decisions over Freitas and Casamayor. Popo, like Corrales, had the power to threaten Camacho and put him into a defensive mode, but unlike Chico, the 130-pound version of the Brazilian bomber had decent technique and could press the action faster. Still, I thought Casamayor edged Freitas with his southpaw savvy and I believe Camacho would have done a better job of neutralizing Popo’s aggression and putting it on him late in the bout.

Camacho would have had a difficult time with Casamayor because the Cuban amateur star was just as skilled, tough and cagey, and perhaps more ruthless. It would have been a dirty chess match. I like Camacho because of his superior athleticism, but it would be close.

Camacho vs. Mayweather at 130 pounds is a toss-up matchup between two ultra-talents that would have likely ended in a “controversial,” “either-way” decision. I wish Camacho would have fought Roger Mayweather at some point in the ‘80s and that Floyd would have fought Casamayor at some point in the early to mid 2000s, so I could have some idea of how each would have dealt with somewhat similar styles.  

My gut tells me Camacho would have edged Mayweather out by close majority or split decision. I think he had the ring smarts, physical tools (and stance) to nail Mayweather early in the fight, especially with his jab and the straight left. His smooth lateral movement and defensive prowess would have also bothered Mayweather, who isn’t used to fighting fellow ring generals. But I think Mayweather would gradually make adjustments and time Camacho with right hands in the middle rounds. I think both junior lightweights would try their best to rally down the stretch without getting careless. Camacho, in my opinion, would have been the busier and flashier of the two in the late rounds, which would have caught the attention of the judges.   

 

BERTO’S NEW STYLE

Hey Doug,
You had to love the Robert Guerrero-Andre Berto brawl Saturday; despite all the grabbing and mauling, there was a lot of suspense and sustained action. I think part of what did Berto in was coming out in the Mayweather shoulder roll style. I’d never seen him do that before, and it appeared that once Guerrero started feeding him straight lefts and then mauling him on the ropes, he didn’t know what to do. It was like he had no Plan B when that didn’t work. But I admire Berto for enduring through a tough first couple of rounds and making an exciting fight out of it. I couldn’t help but think that if he’d followed some of those right uppercuts in the middle and later rounds with left hooks, he might have fared better, though to be fair, those were often thrown with his left hand pinned under Guerrero’s right arm.

Guerrero is such a smart, tough boxer, it’s hard not to admire him. And who knew he had that kind of chin? It was only a couple years ago an almost shot Casamayor knocked him down with a jab. Unfortunately, I think we’re going to see him fighting Floyd Mayweather, which I don’t think will be very competitive, or entertaining, because he’s a southpaw and Floyd will be able to effectively box him without mixing it up too much.

Keith Thurman is bad ass. I realize Carlos Quintana’s on the downside of his career, but Thurman disposed of him a lot quicker and more impressively than a lot of more established fighters would have, IMO. After fighting another gatekeeper type guy, I think he’ll be ready to compete with any top 10 welterweight who isn’t named Floyd, Manny, or Tim.

Congratulations on the latest issue of The Ring, I think it’s the best issue since you and Mike Rosenthal took the helm. I see the comic book influence in the color illustration of the top 10 fighters in the RING 100 piece. I also loved Don Stradley’s article “Going Fourth,” and Bernard Fernandez’s article on Orlando Cruz.

Lastly, I’m completely done with any 24/7 featuring Manny Pacquiao. I don’t need to see him dancing at his daughter’s birthday party, I don’t want to watch him shoot hoops with his friends. I don’t need to know about his wife running for office. I just don’t. I watched the latest episode and I felt like instead of Liev Schreiber, it should’ve been narrated by Robin Leach. I think 24/7 is a great idea, but I think it would be better to apply it to non-ppv fights. Show me guys like Guerrero and Berto, who both have interesting stories and have not quite reached the very top yet.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read my email. – Pete Sheehy, Seattle, WA

I agree with you on 24/7. I couldn’t force myself to pay attention to the last episode. It ain’t just Pacquiao. I don’t care to see where Mayweather, Marquez, Chavez Jr. or Sergio Martinez live and I really don’t care about their personal lives. I only care about the fights. And if I’m not into the fight itself I’m not going to be into the 24/7.

Thanks for the props on the January issue of the mag. I had almost nothing to do with it but I’ll pass your kind words on to Rosenthal, contributing editor Brian Harty, new art director Sharon Kaplan, illustrator Stanley Miller (who did those awesome caricatures of the P4P top 10) and the other writer contributors.

I was impressed with Thurman. I favored him to win the fight but I thought Quintana, who was in great shape and supremely confident coming into this bout, would take him into the late rounds of the fight. Thurman did the right thing by “tapping” the veteran’s body as soon as he could. The body shot knockdown in the first round changed everything. It was only a matter of time after that… Is it only a matter of time before Thurman breaks into the top 10 welterweight or 154-poundratings? I think so, but I agree that he need to beat another gatekeeper. MaxBoxing’s Steve Kim Tweeted this fan-friendly matchup: Thurman vs. Luis Carlos Abregu. I’d like to see that.

I’m not saying Guerrero has earned the right to face Mayweather, but I think he’ll make the most of his shot if he gets it. I’ll put it this way: I don’t think “The Ghost” won’t embarrass himself as Marquez, Shane Mosley and Victor Ortiz did against Mayweather. I believe he’ll make for a tough, physical – probably aesthetically unappealing – fight, and win enough rounds to hold his head up at the end of the night.

I thought the Guerrero-Berto fight was ugly and awkward early on, but as Berto began to punch back in the middle rounds I was pulled into the drama of the bout, which was enhanced by the swollen eyes and overall punishment both fighters suffered. Berto obviously got the worst of it and the Mayweather imitation early on certainly did not help him out.

It’s funny, as soon as Berto skipped out of his corner with his left shoulder high, right hand up and left elbow sticking out I turned to retired judge and new RING Ratings Chairman Chuck Giampa, who sat next to me, and said:

“Unless you’ve literally grown up practicing that style, as Mayweather has, doing the shoulder-roll defense is a big mistake against a fighter as compete as Guerrero.”

Giampa, who made many astute observations throughout the fight, nodded in agreement. Berto was nailed and stunned with a straight left less than a minute after I made that statement.

I watched the HBO broadcast when I got home and they commented early in the first round that it makes sense for Berto to try that style because he’s got the speed to get away with it. Nah. Speed does not equal skill. One must have good balance (which Berto lacks), technique, coordination, timing and A LOT of practice to employ that style.

 

THERE’S ONLY ONE RICKY HATTON

Hey Dougie, hope you’re doing good. Haven’t written in a while but there’s something I want to share.

I was devastated watching a shadow of Ricky Hatton get KOd by Senchenko last night. I really believed that we were gonna see Hatton back near his best (hey, don’t be too hard on me, fans have to believe!) and having spent what feels like a lifetime defending him against people calling him an “overrated, one dimensional, slugger” it felt like they’d just been handed a f___ ton more ammunition. But then I thought: Who cares?

People will remember whatever they want to remember. I’ll remember him beating all the odds to overcome the one of the best 140 pounders ever to win the title, defending it straight away in a unification fight against a fighter awkward as hell, moving up in weight and straight away challenging a naturally bigger southpaw to become a two-weight world champion, moving back down to beat an undefeated titleholder, knocking out the P4P rated Jose Luis Castillo with a vicious body shot, taking 35,000 fans to Las Vegas in a valiant losing effort to the P4P no. 1 Mayweather, packing out the City of Manchester Stadium on the back of a KO loss, then dominating the next best guy in the division, before coming up short against a prime Pacquiao.

That’s what I’m going to remember, and if other people don’t, I’m okay with that. He had his problems, but he got himself back and returned from 3 years out against a very good opponent, and he came 2nd. Hopefully he can retire with his head held high, knowing his fans will always love him no matter what.

Take it easy Dougie, keep up the good work. – Callum, Sheffield, UK

Hatton’s legacy is his fans. He had loyal fans. Real fans. Fans by the thousands who backed him up as he made his gradual climb through the ranks, cheered him on to a career-defining 11th-round stoppage against a future hall of famer, and who were willing to follow him to Las Vegas where they literally took over the Strip and shared his pain when he fell short to two legends of the sport.

He wasn’t a great fighter but he was a great attraction. Anyone who can practically sell out a 20,000-seat arena on his name alone is pretty damn special.

Who knows? His popularity and his victories over Tszyu (for the undisputed 140-pound championship) and current or former titleholders Castillo, Paul Malignaggi, Luis Collazo, Vince Phillips, Juan Urango, and Carlos Maussa might be enough to earn induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

 

COUSIN KEITH & TRENCH WAR

Dougie,
I guess you’ve got another family member moving up the ranks, eh? While “One Time” needs more polish, he can crack and has decent awareness of distance to land that power. Fear those half-breeded ponytailed cats man… fear ‘em! Which brings me to my next observation:

Did Berto try this new Adiren Broner/Mayweather look out on any sparring partners before showing up in the ring with it?? I hate to shine any more light on the ridiculous (yet funny) Broner, but seeing Andre fail to cover up while shooting his jab and the lack of defensive prowess on the inside versus “The Ghost” (who should really be named “the sheet” after this fight) only amplifies what makes Broner dare I say… special. Berto doesn’t have a great chin, confirmed. The Ghost does in fact, and did just what you need to do against a guy with fast hands and good power who leaps in.

Reffing was horrid in both fights. Quintana could have damn near gone into cardiac arrest without any intervention. And either let both guys maul each other, or actually ref the damn thing. Don’t decide to do so on occasion and then only warn one guy. End of the fight was even worse. And by the post-fight interview, I think both guys want another go. And you know what? So does everyone else!! – JB

I wouldn’t mind seeing Guerrero-Berto II but only after Andre pledges never to do his Mayweather imitation again and after he defeats at least TWO solid welterweights. I’d like to see what he does against Selcuk Aydin, who he claimed wasn’t in his class prior to facing The Ghost. I’d like to see him fight Josesito Lopez, too. I wouldn’t mind watching rematches with Jan Zaveck and Victor Ortiz (if his jaw ever heals), either.

As for Guerrero, I  know he wants Mayweather but if Floyd elects to face someone else for his annual appearance in 2013, I think The Ghost should target one of the other beltholders (Bradley, Malignaggi or Alexander). All three are boxers with good hand speed, but as you noted, Guerrero knows what to do with those styles.

Thurman, my younger brother from another mother, has the style/mentality, punching power and intense personality to capture the attention of casual boxingfans. I hope trainer Dan Birmingham continues to help develop Thurman’s technique and I hope Al Haymon and Golden Boy Promotions don’t feel the need to rush the 24-year-old boxer-puncher for HBO’s sake. I’m not saying they should spoon-feed him. He needs tough, competent opponents in order to get the quality rounds he needs to continue to work on and improve his craft. However, I don’t think he’s ready for top 154-pounders or the elite welterweights yet.

By this time next year, however, I think he’ll be ready for some very attractive matchups, including showdowns with James Kirkland and Alfredo Angulo.

 

THE GHOST’S CHIN

Text “Agree” to Chip if you think Ghost Guerrero has one of the Top 5 chins in boxing. Lol. – Chip in Baltimore

“A-G-R-E-E”

If not top five, then definitely top 10. I think Guerrero is in the granite-chin mix with Vitali Klitschko, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Brandon Rios, and Carl Froch.

 

REST IN PEACE

Doug –

Do you think Manny Pacquiao could have KOd Hector Camacho at prime 135? – Kevin Key, Minneapolis, MN

Nope. I’m not even sure he could beat the lightweight version of the “Macho Man.”

 

 

 

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

 

 

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