I read pretty much all your stuff and correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think I’ve really heard that much from you about Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez IV. Is that because you haven’t gotten that many questions on it or because you’re just not that interested? I hope you don’t mind if I make an assumption but I’m thinking it’s probably a combination of both.
I’m a huge Marquez fan (my Juan Manuel-Rafael signed glove is probably my most prized possession) and I’m writing this with the HBO replay of Pac-Marquez 3 on in the background, and I’m sure I’m not the only one (although many people will buy it, prob me too), but I’m just not that interested in this fight. Honestly, I’m not accusing anyone, but as a guy who knows people who take steroids, combined with the way Marquez looks physically now along with Memo Heredia, I just don’t think Marquez is natural anymore. As for Pacquiao, this guy just bores me now and although I’ve taped the 24/7’s I can’t even bring myself to watch them because I’ve seen it so many times. I know you thought Marquez was going to get slaughtered last time so I’m interested in what you think will happen this time even though I’m not so interested in the fight because I think they are both kind of phony now in different ways. Thanks Doug. – Dave, San Jose
The first thing I must say is what sad era of sports we live in where a decorated athlete and consummate professional, who has never been connected to banned substances, performance-enhancing drugs or cheating of any kind, is suspect because his body looks lean and muscular. I know about Heredia-Hernandez’s history, and I understand the skepticism, but I also know of Marquez’s character and honor and I refuse to believe or entertain such unfounded speculation. I hate this culture of rumors and insinuation that persists in the one and only sport that I love.
Anyway, you are correct, a combination of personal disinterest and lack of emails on Saturday’s fight has limited my commentary on the subject. (Although I did provide some analysis on the fight on the latest episode of Leave It In The Ring radio)
I think HBO and Top Rank have done a tremendous job hyping and promoting the fight, but I am also bored with Pacquiao and this particular matchup, even though I know that it is a good one. I’ve also DVR’d the 24/7: Pacquiao-Marquez 4 shows, but haven’t been able to sit through any of them with real interest (although I thought the third one was decent because it focused more on their gym preparation).
Having said that, I don’t think either fighter has become “phony.” Marquez is as real as fighters get and as real as everyday people can be. And although I believe there has been some careful matchmaking during Pacquaio’s historic 9-1 run from 2008 to the present, I also think the Filipino icon is challenging himself by facing Marquez, who knows how to fight him better than any boxer on the planet. So this fight doesn’t detract from the legacy of either fighter in my opinion. I’m just not super excited about it.
I do, however, expect a good fight on Saturday, one that will feature more action than their third bout. And speaking of bout No. 3, I have to correct your statement that I thought Marquez would get “slaughtered” in that fight. I predicted a Pacquiao victory by late TKO. Never once did I write or say that the PacMan would have his way with the master technician from Mexico City. I thought Marquez would give Pacquiao sheer hell until his corner stepped him to save him from undue punishment after being busted and repeatedly rocked (seriously, Google that s__t, homie. Or check out the issue of THE RING that previewed the fight.)
The big question of the week: Who wins this time?
Going back to the first three fights I have Pacquiao winning all three. I think those knockdowns he scored in the first two plus his still-more damaging shots in the last one were all enough to score each fight closely in his favour. And I’m pulling for Pac to win it again.
I just think that the Pacman’s superior speed, power and athleticism will always gave him that narrow edge no matter how many times they fight.
Sure Marquez has himself pumped up to the size of a frigging bodybuilder and is really pounding his chest hard declaring that he’s gonna decapitate Pacquiao this time. And his arms now look big enough to do it. But it’s not gonna happen. One really big advantage for Pacquiao is that he’s got one of the strongest chins in the game. He can also shrug off bodyshots pretty well too. Hey, most middleweights or even most super middles probably couldn’t knock this guy out. And no way a bulked-up Marquez is gonna do it.
Marquez always gives Pac hell no question. But never enough to truly beat him.
One more thing: What’s your take on this newest roid-rage thing that’s flooding the pages whenever this fight is discussed? Despite Marquez’s swiftly bulked up arms and Pacquiao’s determination not to take any of those tests I’ll like to think that both guys are too honourable to be bothered with this kind of s__t but then I stupidly thought the same about Erik Morales.
I also wonder if all that extra muscle will help Marquez at all or will it just make him a bigger target. Your thoughts? Well Dougie that’s it for me. Keep the faith as always. See ya! – Dave
I don’t think extra muscle will help Marquez against Pacquiao, but I believe the modern exercises the veteran put his 39-year-old body through to build that muscle (and burn off fat) will increase his speed and reflexes, which he will put to good use against his arch rival.
I agree that both Marquez and Pacquiao are too talented, professional, proud and honorable to use steroids or any sort of PED.
I also agree with your prediction on fight No. 4.Their previous three bouts were all draws on my very unofficial scorecard, and I have no doubt that tomorrow’s showdown will also be hotly contested, but my pick is Pacquiao by close but unanimous decision. I think Pacquiao will knock down Marquez (at least once) and hurt his courageous rival a few times en route to a clear edge on the official scorecards. However, I think there will be plenty of Marquez fans, sympathetic hardcore heads and members of the media who believe that the Mexican technician did enough to earn a draw or close nod.
FIRST FIGHT NIGHT, BUY YOU A BEER?
So… heading to Vegas tomorrow to see the Pacman-Marquez fight. After being a fight fan since I was a boy watching with my Dad in the 80’s, I’ll be going to my first live fight Saturday night. Really excited – and it’s great because I can root for a great fight. I like both guys and am okay with either winning if it’s a great show. And I have to say, my gut is telling me that it won’t be more of the same. I think that this time, there is going to be the type of action that may lead to more drama than the last fight – knockdowns and perhaps a KO. I still favour Pacman to win, and maybe finally stop the Mexican legend, but wouldn’t be shocked if it were the other way around. Do you think we have a chance of seeing real drama this time around?
I am so pumped to experience the atmosphere of a mega-fight. Can’t wait. And after the fight, is there a hangout where the scribes like yourselves hang out for a pint? Would love to buy you a Guinness! Thanks….. Corban, Toronto
Thanks for the kind thought, Corban. I’m certain that you will thoroughly enjoy your first live fight experience. Nothing compares to the atmosphere of a major boxing event in Las Vegas, especially when the participants of the main event are future hall of famers with loyal fan followings and have styles that mesh to make for a competitive fight.
Unfortunately, I will not be ringside at the MGM Grand tomorrow night. That’s because I will be providing ringside commentary for a Fox Sports Net-televised show headlined by the Luis Ramos Jr.-Ricardo Williams fight in Anaheim, Calif.
I’m hoping that Ramos and Williams put on a good show and that Pacquiao-Marquez IV is not the last live fight you attend in Vegas (or the U.S.). I have a feeling you’ll be attending more major boxing shows in the future, so I hope I can take a rain check on that Guinness offer.
FIRST-TIME MAILBAG QUESTIONS
I’m a newcomer to the sport of boxing, and it’s a pleasure to read your insights and thoughts on the sport. I have a few random questions and please forgive me if some of them are elementary.
1- Is the shoulder roll a relatively new tool? Are there fighters before Floyd Mayweather who employed it? I understand that not just anyone can use it successfully, as evidenced by Andre Berto, however why isn’t it used more, considering it’s effectiveness?
2- I noticed that most of the top P4P fighters, such as Martinez and Mayweather, are in their mid-30s. Do boxers tend to mature later than athletes in other sports, or is it a result of the long process needed to prove oneself?
3- Does Miguel Cotto’s loss to Austin Trout in any way diminish the luster of Mayweather’s win, which was only 6 months prior?
4- I’m determined to watch my first live fight, and there are two cards in the near future that I’m considering checking out. Which one of these two interests you more? – the Jan. 19th card with Gennady Golovkin and Mikey Garcia at MSG, or the Feb 9th Barclays Center card, featuring Danny Garcia, Quillin, and Matthysse?
Thanks for reading, and I’m looking forward to your reply! – Jason S., NY, NY
Thanks for writing. It’s always a pleasure to hear from a new boxing fan, Jason. I’ll answer your questions in order:
1. The “shoulder-roll” defense, “Philly Shell,” “pull-counter” or whatever you want to call what Mayweather often does in the ring is not new. It’s been around in various forms since the Golden Age of the sport. Most well-schooled pros of the 1940s and ‘50s would employ the technique to some degree when fighting in the pocket (in close to their opponents) or when pressed along the ropes by an aggressive fighter. In later decades, it was used more often by African-American boxers. I’ve got video of Hedgemon Lewis, a welterweight contender and title challenger during the late 1960s to mid-‘70s, working the shoulder roll in much the same manner as the fighting Mayweather clan (Floyd Sr., Roger and Floyd Jr.). It’s probably no coincidence that Lewis is from Michigan (Detroit), where he received the same education from knowledgeable old-timers that Floyd Sr. did when he was learning to box. I was once trained by a former fighter, Willie “Birdlegs” Jensen, who taught variations of the shoulder roll. Jensen, a former flyweight and junior bantamweight contender (late ‘70s/early ‘80s), used the technique when he fought – as did many African-American standouts of that era, such as Philadelphia middleweights Bobby “Boogaloo” Watts and Willie “the Worm” Monroe – however, he mixed in more offense. James Toney was masterful with this technique (although he did his shoulder roll differently than Mayweather, who tends to stand straight up and lean back more). I think was sets Mayweather apart from other fighters who use this technique is that he commits to it more and he uses it to enhance his defense more than his offense.
2. I think boxers mature at the same rate as other athletes do, it simply takes many years for a top talent to prove that he is an elite fighter. At least that’s the way I think it should be.
3. I don’t think Trout’s victory over Cotto takes away from Mayweather’s victory. I still think Mayweather was impressive against an experienced and determined titleholder. (I was impressed with both veterans after that fight.) What Trout’s victory brings to light, in my opinion, is the fact that Mayweather is not a natural junior middleweight and he’s starting to slow down a little bit from age. Cotto’s not a natural 154 pounder, either, but he started his pro career heavier than Mayweather and he is probably the stronger man, physically. Against Trout, he was the smaller, older man, and he was unable to impose his physical strength on the naturally bigger beltholder. Trout was also able to get off the ropes whenever he needed to because of his fresh legs. Mayweather, either due to his age or his style of boxing, languished along the ropes or in corners a little too long versus Cotto and got nailed more than usual because of that.
4. I have a little more interest for the Golvokin-Gabriel Rosado/Orlando Salido-Garcia double header on Jan. 19 because I’m super high on “GGG” and I think the featherweight title bout should be a pretty good scrap. However, I think the Feb. 9 Garcia-Zab Judah showdown in Brooklyn will draw a much bigger crowd and create an electric, “big event” atmosphere. (By the way, I’m hearing Matthysse might be fighting Hank Lundy on the Alexander-Brook undercard in L.A.) If I can swing it, I’m going to try to be at both shows.
COTTO IS STILL A BADASS
What’s up Dougie,
First of all, I want to say that Miguel Cotto has been one of my favorite fighters to watch over the last 10 years or so. The guy will fight anybody and their grandmother. Boxing can use more guys like him. I’ve only rooted against him twice, his first fight against Antonio Margarito (you know, the whole Mexico-Puerto Rico rivalry), and when he fought Manny Pacquiao. After Margarito got caught cheating I was glad Cotto whooped him.
Anyway, Miguel lost on Saturday and it seems like his time as an elite fighter might be done. However, even though Austin Trout beat him I think the fans would like to see Cotto instead of Trout against Canelo. I don’t think Golden Boy is too anxious to put Canelo in with Trout, but what do I know? Cotto is still a badass and has more name recognition. What do you think, Dougie? – Miguel, LBC
I think if Golden Boy helps to make Canelo vs. Cotto (it’s ultimately up to the star fighters) they will do good business (tickets sold, TV ratings/PPV buys, sponsorship money, etc.). If GBP helps to make Canelo vs. Trout they will do less business but appease hardcore fans and finally put to rest the skepticism that exists for their beloved redhead.
Personally, I’d rather see Canelo-Trout. I think Cotto has turned the corner and I think Canelo is ready to face a fellow young, unbeaten titleholder. If he beats Trout (and I think he can) he’ll shut a lot of people up and earn a new level of respect.
Which young boxers are you looking to make a big move next year? Someone going from contender to champion or just taking a big step up in competition.
How do you think Marvin Hagler’s career would’ve went had he not retired when he did? Wasn’t one of the reasons because Sugar Ray Leonard would not give him a rematch?
I always appreciate your little nuggets you give regarding boxers and sparring sessions. I always like reading how a young fighter did against so and so “champion or big name boxer.” Thanks. – BP from Toronto
Thanks for the kind words, BP.
I think Hagler could have made a lot of money (perhaps tens of millions) had he not retired after the Leonard fight in 1987. Even if Leonard didn’t face him in a return match (and I believe Sugar Ray eventually would have), Hagler could have made huge paydays with rematches with Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran from 1988-’90. I don’t think Hagler would have fared well against the young middleweight standouts of the late ‘80s (except for Iran Barkley, who would have made for hell of a scrap with the Marvelous One) because he was already past his prime when he fought Leonard in ’87 and likely would have continued to slide in the next few years.
I think Mike McCallum, Michael Nunn, Frank Tate and Sumbu Kalambay would have given “the old man” fits.
A few highly regarded young guns who will make moves next year include Canelo Alvarez and Robert Guerrero (both of whom are in the running to face Mayweather, if the pound-for-pound king fights twice in 2013 as his mouthpiece Leonard Ellerbe has recently stated), Adrien Broner, Brandon Rios, Nonito Donaire and Abner Mares (who hopefully face each other), Danny Garcia, Tyson Fury and David Price (who could fight each other in a huge British showdown but I hope they wait until 2014), Nathan Cleverly, and Leo Santa Cruz.
Young contenders who might win their first world titles in 2013 include: Kell Brook, Mikey Garcia, Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg (who could fight each other before or after winning belts).
Big fights I definitely see happening next year: Mayweather-Canelo, Mayweather-Guerrero, Pacquiao-Rios, Martinez-Chavez II, Donaire-Rigondeaux, and Garcia-Matthysse.