Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

NO TO CANELO-COTTO

Hey Doug,

Thanks for answering my first email, hope all is well. First off, as a big Miguel Cotto fan it is always bitter to see him lose but I believe that Austin Trout truly deserves the win just by beating him at Madison Square Garden, which certainly isn’t easy, as well as maintaining composure in such a big step up in competition before one of the most difficult crowds.

Some people still have interest in Cotto vs. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (the official badluck charm for fighters lined up to face him), but I believe it is not worth it for Cotto. He has proven to be one of the best of the generation and has made millions of dollars. The Canelo fight might just end up in a very bloody fight for him – his faced seemed pretty banged with Trout’s punches who has less power – but then again it is another big pay day for him. I would rather see Canelo fight Cotto’s last conqueror, Trout. I see this fight as a toss-up since Trout proved to be a very slick and talented fighter. He could outbox the Mexican red head. Your thoughts?

One last note, what’s not to like about Daniel Jacobs? He has a good technique, speed and power. Plus, he has incredible back story with a very charismatic personality to back it up. Jacobs is rapidly becoming one of my favorite fighters and I hope he reaches the super-stardom level he desires. Do you think he will be back as contender, if not already, soon? Thanks Doug. – Jose A. Lopez

Jacobs is definitely back, and I liked his form against Chris Fitzpatrick, but he was never a contender (even before his knockout loss to Dmitry Pirog) and he’s got a ways to go before earning that status post-cancer/surgery/layoff. Fitzpatrick was a solid comeback opponent for this stage of Jacob’s return because the tough club fighter was able to take him rounds which gave fans time to remember how talented the Brooklyn native is. He’s talented enough for Golden Boy and Al Haymon to take fairly large steps in reestablishing him as a name in the 160-pound division.

I think the next step should be a card-carrying tough guy with experience and ability who will not only take Jacobs rounds but actually have a chance at winning a few while pushing the 24-year-old standout a bit. Ossie Duran is a good choice. The 35-year-old veteran has never been knocked out, he can fight and will try to win but he’s naturally smaller and not a puncher so he won’t threaten to upset the apple cart.

If Jacobs shines against an opponent of Duran’s level, I think he should face a tough gate-keeper, such as Brian Vera or Elvin Ayala. If takes care of biz there, I believe he’ll be ready to face a top 10-rated middleweight. Whatever course he takes, I’ll be watching with interest because there’s nothing not to like about Jacobs.

Cotto’s one of top five fighters I’ve enjoyed covering from the start of their careers, so as you stated, it’s tough to see him lose. However, I’m happy for Trout, a wonderful person and hard-working pro who has been grinding under the radar for many years. He deserved the decision over Cotto and I think he deserves a shot at “Canelo.”

However, I wouldn’t be surprised if Cotto gets that opportunity first. I agree that Alvarez has too much for the Puerto Rican star at this stage of his career, but if Cotto wants the fight I’m sure Team Alvarez and Golden Boy Promotions will oblige him. After all, that fight makes the most sense in terms of business. Cotto is a “name” fighter, a bona-fide East Coast attraction, who taps into the loyal Puerto Rican fan base. Canelo is quickly becoming a “name” fighter in the U.S., a bona-fide West Coast attraction, who taps into the loyal Mexican fan base. Even coming off a loss, there’ no way a Cotto-Canelo pay-per-view does not do solid numbers.

On the other hand, Trout is the more respected opponent in the eyes of the boxing media and hardcore fans. He’s young, undefeated, he’s got a major belt and now he’s known to dedicated boxing followers thanks to the Cotto win (and Showtime’s exposure leading into Saturday’s fight).

Regardless of which fighter Golden Boy goes with as an opponent for Canelo, the Los Angeles-based company can expect a considerable dose of negative feedback from hardcore heads, the boxing media and industry folk. If they go with Cotto it will be said that they’re unfairly rewarding a guy who has lost his last two bouts or they will be chided for “feeding” a “faded veteran” to a young lion. If they go with Trout they will be criticized for jeopardizing their freckle-face cash cow with a risky matchup that will be a hard sell to the general public (especially if it’s a pay-per-view bout).

My thoughts on the Alvarez-Trout matchup is that it would be a more competitive fight than Cotto-Trout with more sustained action. Trout certainly has the ability to outbox Alvarez but my pick would be Canelo. Trout was nailed by Cotto’s left hook all night. He was lucky Cotto is not a natural junior middleweight.

DÉJÀ VU

Hey Dougie,
So seeing the result of Cotto v Trout, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Morales v Raheem. Your thoughts? – Todd

You took the words right out of my mouth, Todd. This scenario reminds me of when Zahir Raheem upset Erik Morales on an HBO double header (here in L.A.) that was designed to set up the Mexican hero’s rematch with Manny Pacquiao (who fought in the co-featured bout). Morales lost a decision (and looked like a fading vet in the process) but Bob Arum went ahead with the Morales-Pacquiao matchup anyway.

He was unapologetic about the decision to ignore the “Z-Man.” Raheem didn’t set the world afire with his victory. Arum couldn’t sell a Morales-Raheem rematch or a Raheem vs. Pacquiao matchup. Morales-Pacquiao II still packed the Thomas & Mack Center, still made for a good, dramatic fight, and did respectable PPV numbers. Oh, and it also pushed Pacquiao – who won by 10th-round TKO – further into icon status in the Philippines.

Same deal with Canelo vs. Cotto. Despite Cotto’s loss to Trout, it’s a fight that will pack any major arena and it would do strong TV ratings or PPV buys. And if Alvarez wins, he will become even more popular among Mexican/Mexican-American fans because of the respect Cotto commands and the Mexico-Puerto Rico rivalry.

Again, if GBP decides to make Alvarez-Cotto, they can expect their share of harsh criticism – including from Arum & Co. (LOL).

YES TO CANELO-COTTO

What up Dougie? We have another great weekend of fights in the books. Here’s a couple of thoughts:

First of all, I am completely ashamed of myself, I should be banned from your mailbag and website, because as the scores for the Cotto-Trout fight were about to be announced, I actually was hoping for a controversial decision in Cotto’s favor so the Canelo fight would be salvaged. I know, I’m a monster! Well anyway I think Canelo would lay an a** whooping on Trout. I would welcome that matchup. Your thoughts?

Quite the homage “Sanchez II” paid his uncle huh? Did he really think he could win?

And finally, the most ridiculous thing of the year came when Andre Berto came out with the shoulder roll, sorry I know it was last week but I’m still laughing about it. All the best friend. – Adrian “Dre” Milwaukee, WI

I agree the shoulder-roll style was all wrong for Berto but I won’t be laughing at him for his mistake because the image of him fighting as best he could with both eyes nearly swollen shut during the heated final four rounds of the Guerrero bout is much stronger in my mind.

Berto isn’t the first to foolishly try to emulate an elite fighter that he admires to his detriment and he won’t be the last. Decade after decade, scores of talented young fighters have paid the price trying to box like their heroes and celebrated pound-for-pound kings, such as Sugar Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Mike Tyson, Pernell Whitaker and Roy Jones Jr. I recall watching Brian Viloria try to box off the ropes like James Toney in his first title defense, which he lost. Why did he do that? Because Toney was “the man” in the boxing world and in the Wild Card gym where Viloria trained when coming up the pro ranks. He watched “Lights Out” do amazing things in sparring sessions and then back up his big mouth (and overweight ass) in major fights. It was only natural for him to try some of those savvy moves in the gym and during fights, but he learned (the hard way) that Toney’s style ain’t for everybody. Viloria is 31 years old and he’s only recently found the right ring identity and style, and, consequently, he’s exhibiting the best form of his career and enjoying the most success. There’s still time for Berto to find the right ring identity and style.

Did Sal Sanchez II really think he could win on Saturday? Of course he did. He’s a fighter! The question is whether his management really thought he had a chance given his ability. My guess is that they did believe that Sal had a realistic shot because Jayson Velez did not look like a world-beater struggling to close decision sover the likes of Carlos Valcarcel and Jose Beranza. Some might crap on Sanchez’s manager (Grant Elvis Phillips) for playing up his fighter’s connection to his beloved uncle, but I give Phillips props for somehow getting the mediocre pug 30 wins, maneuvering the kid onto a Showtime-televised co feature, and encouraging him to rock a Fro in 2012.

I’m glad you didn’t get your wish of a controversial decision for Cotto, but I don’t think you’re a monster for wanting to see the Puerto Rican veteran challenge the young Mexican star. It’s a classic crossroads match that would probably be a barnburner based on their styles and it’s fueled by the most passionate national/ethnic rivalry in boxing. You’re a blood-thirsty ghoul, but you’re not a monster.

I think Canelo can beat Trout, but I don’t think he’d lay a total ass whipping on the New Mexico native. Trout is too tough and too savvy to allow Alvarez to steamroll him. And as Trout has pointed out Canelo is not difficult to hit. However, I think the red head can take whatever Trout dishes out and I don’t think it will be too hard for him to land his heavy hook on the southpaw. Alvarez will also pound the body more than Cotto did.

You know what? The more I think about this matchup the more I wouldn’t mind seeing it.

GOOD TIME TO BE A BOXING FAN

Dear Mr. Fischer,
I got so say first of all that I really enjoyed the Trout vs Cotto fight, loved it for all of the right reasons a boxing fan as myself should. It had the right atmosphere, perfect story line leading into the action and in the end just a fantastic display of experience, talent and just boxing ability in general.

I am a huge Cottofan, and even though I always try to be objective when it comes to analyzing a fight, it is very hard for me not to take sides when the dude is fighting. Still, I gave it to Trout 7 rounds to 5.

A few things to mention:

1. Trout showed to the world his ring skills in any circumstance, either in his comfort zone as a boxer, going back, moving forward, the inside, taking those killer left hooks, then also handling the pressure coming from the crowd, getting the wrong side of the middle rounds and then adjusting and taking the fight back to his opponent. Man, I am very impressed. I can’t wait to see this kid fighting El Canelo, this dude deserves his money day.

2. Loved Cotto’s performance. It takes two to dance and that was a hell of a fight, with Cotto coming forward, trusting his lifelong friend “the left hook”, mixing things up to the head, to the body, I ain’t touching gloves till the last round, this is a damn fight! You can’t do nothing but respect this dude. I would really like to see him retiring today, on this high note, but we all know he won’t, and that’s a shame. I do see some sad performances coming in the future from Cotto, but that’s how the game goes.

3. I also wanted to show some love for the ref, not taking points away from the low blows, his quick non – disrupting explanation to Trout when he was complaining about the blows to the back of the head (I think it was in the 10th or 11th round), and of course, THE FREAKING SCISSORS IN HIS POCKET! Are you kidding me? That was genius, loved it.

4. And of course the judges for not screwing this one up, boy we need this kind of fights, and we need them to stay away from bad decisions.

5. The Showtime team of commentators is just great, love it. I do like HBO, but it is good to know that they are not the only ones doing an elite job out there.

And that is it, just wanted it off of my chest, my boy Cotto lost, but we boxing lovers have a lot to celebrate. Peace! – Eduardo, Gdansk, Poland

I like your attitude, Eduardo. You’re very positive. You wouldn’t be very popular on Twitter, but I like the way you think.

I thought Cotto-Trout was a good fight, not “great” or even “very good,” just good, which is OK. Given Trout’s boxing style and Cotto’s short stature and methodical, somewhat plodding style, I think the fight turned out to be as compelling as we could expect.

Trout put on the performance of his career and Cotto’s will and experience made the fight interesting in the middle rounds. I scored it 117-111, or nine rounds to three for Trout. The only rounds I scored for Cotto were the third, fourth and sixth. However, although I think you were giving Cotto the benefit of the doubt by scoring the fight as close as you did, I don’t think that 115-113 is a terrible scorecard. I believe the fifth round was close enough to go to Cotto and I thought that Trout took his foot off the gas pedal in the first half of the 11th round. That’s a round Cotto could have stolen. I’ll put it this way: I prefer a 115-113 tally to Adalaide Byrd’s 119-109 scorecard.

I’ll comment on your “few things to mention” in order:

1) I was also impressed with Trout. Although I wanted him to fight with more of a sense of urgency – particularly during the first half of the fight – I thought he did what was necessary to neutralize Cotto’s offense (except for the hook) and gradually bust up and break down the veteran. He did so with the right amount of lateral movement, a consistent jab, nice straight lefts to the body and compact right hooks down the stretch of the bout. I think he deserves a shot at Archie.

2) Cotto did his best, as he always does. Anyone who can’t respect that is just a miserable cretin. I would also like to see him hang up the gloves because he had the tired look of an old fighter by the end of the fight with Trout. His face was a battered mess (even though Trout was not applying constant pressure and offense), his movements were labored and his reflexes were slow. I’m sure he’ll fight at least once more and if he’s in with an offensive threat I’m sure he’ll go out on his shield. And still have the utmost respect for him.

3) Referee Charlie Fitch did a professional job on Saturday. He kept things flowing, didn’t get over involved or make the necessary breaks in action about himself (like too many refs do these days), and he managed not to accidently stab himself or anyone else with the scissors in his pocket during the course of the fight. Well done, Charlie!

4) Byrd dissed Cotto a little bit with her 11 rounds-to-one scorecard, but at least the right guy won.

5) I enjoy Showtime’s expanded commentating crew for their big events. They definitely make for an “elite” boxing broadcast. #TeamShowtime!

SHADES OF WINKY WRIGHT

Doug: I see shades of Winky with Trout: not always the most exciting to watch but very tough to beat and even tougher to look good against. Cotto hasn’t slipped, he just found such an opponent IMO. If none of the majors want to test him – Canelo, Floyd, Sergio and Pac-Marquez winner – what do you think his trajectory should be? – Kevin Key, Minneapolis, MN

I also had some flashbacks of the Winskter while watching Trout do his thing vs. Cotto. Wright stood his ground more and did more damage with his jab, but Trout is deceptively tough and crafty like the Floridian.

Not to take anything away from Trout, but I do think Cotto has slipped a little bit. If it wasn’t evident to you in Saturday’s fight I have a hunch that it will be in his next fight.

“No Doubt” can forget about Mayweather and Martinez fighting him. Floyd is probably headed back down to 147 pounds and Sergio’s dance card is filled next year. Manny and Juan Manuel are too small for him. Trout’s best bet for a mega-fight is Canelo, who might be young, proud and crazy enough to face him. If that doesn’t happen, he should just concentrate on cleaning out the 154-pound division, where Bundrage, Vanes Martirosyan, Erislandy Lara, James Kirkland and Carlos Molina reside. I’m sure all of those contenders, and Alfredo Angulo (after another comeback fight or two), would LOVE to face Trout.

THE BRIT PACK + AUSTIN TROUT

Hello Doug,
I’ll keep it short and sweet. Who do you see winning the three fights British fans can’t wait for?!

1) Quigg v Frampton. I’m edging towards Frampton. He looks the real deal and with Barry McGuigan behind him I see Frampton heading all the way to the top.

2) Price v Fury. Real pick ‘em fight. Fury has shown that he can adapt in his last few fights. But Pricey looks unbeatable. How do you see this one going?

3) Brook v Khan. I’m picking my boy Khan in this. Respect to Brook, he is world class but I really believe Khan can be elite as long as he engages his brain and doesn’t fight with his heart. Hopefully, Virgil Hunter will get that through to him!

Plus huge credit for Austin Trout. He was superb. I have to admit, I didn’t see that coming. I had Cotto to win but where do you see these two fighters heading now?
Alvarez v Trout in May? Or will Canelo look for the bigger payday against Mayweather? And could this have been the last time we saw Cotto in the ring?

Keep up the good work. – Hasan, England

Thanks Hasan.

I doubt we’ve seen the last of Cotto. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw him in the ring with Canelo in his very next bout. Then again, Canelo wants to fight on Cinco de Mayo weekend and Cotto might want to take more time off than just a few months. Who knows? Alvarez vs. Trout makes more sporting sense but Canelo-Cotto makes more business sense and money usually dictates what happens in boxing.

I don’t think we’ll see Mayweather-Cotto II. That’s a hard sell now that Cotto has lost to Trout. If Trout doesn’t get a shot at Canelo next I’m guessing he’ll be matched against fellow American beltholder Cornelius “K9” Bundrage.

These three matchups you bring up are a reminder that the pro boxing scene is very strong on your side of the Pond. All three fights would be heavily anticipated among hardcore fans on this side of the Pond if they took place sooner rather than later but if those bouts are allowed to “marinate” – say for a year or a little more – I think they could be huge events in the UK that would merit live U.S. television. We’ll see what happens.

I think all three fights are toss-up bouts. I like what I’ve seen from Frampton, but I would slightly favor Quigg if that fight took place in the next nine-12 months. Frampton is a controlled beast — I love his smart pressure – but I think Quigg has the edge in experience and I believe he’s the more versatile of the two (right now). It would be an excellent 122-pound fight.

So would Price-Fury because it would be a legit grudge match between two talented giants. Price has the edge in maturity/focus, power and technique, but Fury has more quality rounds under his belt, and like Quigg, he is fairly versatile (especially for a big man). If the fight happened in the next nine-12 months, I would favor Fury, who can move if he needs to (and he would need to vs. Price) but is also a busy combination puncher who does not neglect his jab or body shots.

Khan-Brook is a tough one to call. Both Brits are skilled and immensely talented. Khan has the decided edge in world-class experience but he’s unproven at welterweight. Brook is the natural 147 pounder, but so far his best win is a very close call over Carson Jones. However, Brook showed us a lot of grit in that decision victory (and believe me, Jones was in great shape and came to win that night – I have to wonder if Khan could have survived the distance against such a determined welterweight).

If Khan were to take on the Sheffield native in his first welterweight bout, I would probably slightly favor Brook (via decision). But that’s just a hunch. I honestly don’t know how good Brook really is. I’ll have a better idea after his challenge against difficult American southpaw Devon Alexander (which I plan to cover from ringside). I’ll also have a better idea of how Khan is getting along with Hunter after the Carlos Molina fight next Saturday.

Get back to me on this matchup after Jan. 19 (the date for Alexander-Brook). I might have a different opinion on the outcome.

I might have a different opinion on the Frampton-Quigg and Price-Fury matchups by mid-2013, too.

 

 

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

 

 

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