MEMES, KHAN & DIRRELL
1- I wasn’t able to catch Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez 4 when it was being played live, however I was following it on Twitter. It was kind of disturbing for me to see people, including an ESPN pundit, posting memes featuring Pacquiao knocked out. Some were admittedly funny, but am I overreacting? Maybe it’s because I’m coming from the perspective of an NFL fan, where hits to the head are taken seriously. Don’t get me wrong, I think that the KnockingTF out of someone is exciting, but mocking them afterwards isn’t cool with me, especially if it’s done by a professional sports writer.
2- I just watched some Amir Khan fights for the first time, including the recent one against Molina, and I was amazed by his ridiculous hand speed. Are there other current elite fighters with comparable speed?
3- Speaking of Khan, I’ve heard people knocking him for having a weak chin. Is an iron chin something that’s inherent, developed, or both? Also, in Khan’s case, is that a fair assessment or does the blame lie in the fact that he is overly aggressive and defensively careless?
4- So I got tickets to the Gennady Golovkin fight on Jan. 19th. I’m freakin excited. Anyways, I read somewhere that Andre Dirrell was also fighting that day. I haven’t seen anything official on it, but is he being added to the MSG card?
– Jason S., NY, NY
Thanks for the nice words, Jason. I’ll answer your questions in order:
1) One of the things I hate about boxing is the need of so many people who follow it – both fans and industry folks – to kick a man when he is down. It’s always been this way, especially when the guy who went down was one of the stars of the sport, but thanks to the incredible worldwide number of people who are now connected through their computers, mobile devices and social media, mean-spirited internet memes spread like the plague and linger like a disease. In Pacquiao’s case, I think it’s obvious that a lot of fans and members of the sports media have been waiting for the day he got KTFO. A lot of people don’t like the man. Some hate him (and there’s a WIDE variety of hate out there for this little Filipino dude that I don’t even want to get into right now). Some were just sick of Pacquiao, which I get. I hadn’t really been into a Pacquiao fight since he took on Miguel Cotto in late 2009. Some folks couldn’t stand it when Pacquiao was being called an all-time great and compared to the legends of the sport. Seeing him face down on the canvas was kind of a victory or vindication in their eyes that needed to be celebrated. I get that, too. There was a part of me that was glad when Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. were knocked out for the first time. It pissed me off when people said Tyson would have beat Muhammad Ali’s ass and when fans and sports media folk said that Jones was the G.O.A.T. Same deal with Floyd Mayweather. Part of me will be glad when he gets beat. However, I want to note that I didn’t celebrate or gloat after Tyson’s first loss (to James Douglas, even though “Buster” was an Ohio native). I didn’t kick Jones when he was down or rub it in to his fans (even though they were among the most obnoxious nut-huggers of the modern boxing era). And I promise you, I won’t piss on Mayweather if he ever gets KTFO (even if Canelo winds up doing it.)
2) I’ve talked to fighters who have been in the ring with Khan, most recently with Danny Garcia, and they all told me he’s got the fastest hands of any fighter they had ever faced – in the amateurs and professional ranks. Garcia said it’s the kind of speed you can’t imagine or prepare for. He said he couldn’t even see the punches that were hitting him during the first two rounds of their fight. Garcia said Khan is even faster than he appears on TV. Khan’s the fastest fighter I’ve seen since Pacquiao was in his prime. The only current elite fighters I can think of who have comparable hand speed are Nonito Donaire, Andre Dirrell, and maybe Brian Viloria. But Khan trumps them in my opinion all because he lets his hands go more.
3) I believe an “iron chin” is something a person is born with, just like one-shot KO power and blinding hand speed. I don’t think Khan has a glass chin. He has only been hurt or knocked out by fighters who can really punch hard. His “Achilles heel” is not his chin, it’s a combination of so-so whiskers, and being “overly aggressive and defensively careless” as you astutely observed.
4) I heard that Dirrell told young fight scribe Mike Coppinger that he was going to return to the ring on Jan. 19, but the talented super middleweight is not currently scheduled to appear on the undercard of either televised U.S. boxing card on that date (the NBC Sports Net show headlined by Gabriel Campillo-Sergey Kovalev in Uncasville, Conn., or the HBO tripleheader topped by Gennady Golovkin-Gabriel Rosado). Maybe he’ll have his own card somewhere. I won’t see him fight live if he does fight on Jan. 19 because I’ll be in New York City for the Golovkin/Salido-Garcia card. Holla at me if you see me.
KING ARTHUR & GOLLUM
Watched the Hobbit this weekend, then noticed that your URL has both Ring and Crave in it. I feel like Gollum would be a faithful reader. – Todd
Gollum is indeed a faithful reader. You may have seen his many RingTV Facebook comments under the name “Khalif Moffett” (before I had to ban the racist cretin).
Regarding a potential Abraham-Bute showdown, prior to the Romanian southpaw’s knockout loss to Carl Froch, I would have favored him to win by decision, but now I slightly favor the Armenian brute. I think Abraham would either punk Bute en route to a decision or corner and clip him late in a competitive fight.
SUPER SIX/MYTHICAL BUSINESS
Hello to the Westside,
I must say that I usually envy you Californians during my long-ass Canadian winters, but not at this time of the year; Christmas without snow would truly be Bizarro World (shout out to Chuck Giampa). Anyway, do you know if there are any more Super Six-style tournaments in the works? I think that tournament did some great things: it established a true top dog, and it gave more exposure to the division and the fighters involved.
Speaking of “tournaments”, who would you want in the 2000s-era equivalent of the Four Kings? And who would fare best if they were thrown in with those 1980′s rainmakers?
Anyway take care, happy holidays, God Bless, drive safe. – Brendan
Thanks Brendan. Happy holidays to you and all the other boxing fans.
I haven’t heard of any Super Six-style tournaments being in the works for 2013. That tourney was the brain child of Ken Hershman, who is now with HBO Sports and doesn’t seem to have the same drive for innovation as he did as the head of Showtime’s boxing programming.
2000s-era four-man tournaments that I would have loved to see include Mayweather, Joel Casamayor, Diego Corrales and Acelino Freitas at 130 pounds, and Felix Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoya, Ike Quartey and Jose Luis Lopez at 147 pounds. We got glimpses of how those fighters matched up with some individual fights that were made but I’m curious about how single-elimination and round-robin style tournaments would have turned out.
I know I sound like a crusty old fart, but I don’t think the eight fighters I mentioned can hold a candle to the Four Kings of the 1980s (Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran).
TEN YEARS OF BOXING
The end of 2012 marks my tenth year as a follower of this great sport. In 2002, I pestered my mother enough to take me to our local sports club in Brisbane/Australia on a Sunday afternoon to watch the much anticipated Lennox Lewis v Mike Tyson showdown.
The first undercard fight we saw that day was Jorge Julio v Manny Pacquiao. We didn’t understand the “junior” featherweight concept at first – we thought that Julio looked a little bit too old to be competing in the boys age-division. Anyway, we figured it out!
Ten years on, I just wanted to say that I am still waiting to see a more brilliant/blazing fighter than the young Filipino my mother and I watched all those years ago.
Happy Christmas Dougie – your great work is always much enjoyed.
(P.S. Your top 5 active fighters who have serious KO power in BOTH hands?) Cheers. – Tim, Australia
Thank you for the kind words, Tim.
Who knew that the 122-pound Filipino kamikaze you saw blow out Julio (a very solid bantamweight and junior featherweight titleholder in his day) would go on to dominate a fighter as talented, skilled and experienced as Marco Antonio Barrera and then win major titles at 130, 135, 140, 147 and 154 pounds?
You got into boxing at the right time to witness Pacquiao’s meteoric ascent and ultimate crash, Bernard Hopkins evolve from the undisputed middleweight champ to an all-time great, Juan Manuel Marquez establish himself as the best Mexican fighter since Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., the thrilling Arturo Gatti-Micky Ward and Israel Vazquez-Rafael Marquez trilogies, and De La Hoya transition from super star boxer to the president one of the world’s foremost promotional companies. Not bad.
My top five active fighters with KO power in both hands: Nonito Donaire, Danny Garcia, Brian Viloria, Roman Gonzalez and David Haye.
UNFAIRNESS TO KHAN AND MARQUEZ
What impressed me most about his performance against Molina was his ability to fight up close. He covered up well and was landing some big uppercuts which he was unable to do against Maidana and Peterson, and would have lead to more convincing victories in each case. I like the talked about matchup with Josesito Lopez which is being mooted right now. Lopez will keep coming and it will be a good test to see how his training with Hunter will allow him to deal with constant pressure from a legit contender. I think in particular the sparring he’s getting with Angulo will be invaluable. What fight do you want/expect to see next for Khan? And how do you think he matches up with the other top dogs at 140?
On another issue, I think it’s a joke the amount of s__t Marquez is getting when there’s no evidence whatsoever that he’s taken any PEDs, especially given the complete bye that guys like Berto, Mosley, Peterson and Chaves Jnr., who have all tested positive for PEDs, get. Larry Merchant said he was “surprised how brazen [Marquez] could be” in expecting us to believe that his improved physique since taking on his strength and conditioner was a coincidence, which is such a stupid thing to say (although I did enjoy Roy Jones saying that “that won’t happen again” (referring to the Marquez knocking Pacquiao down with a right hand) 1 minute before the end of the 6th, then claiming he saw it coming after the fight!) I am in complete support of enhanced anti-doping procedures but innocent til proven guilty is a thing for a reason! I am still in disbelief that the second De La Hoya-Mosley fight is still recorded as a Mosley win. It’s a bit of a joke when you look at the sanctions imposed on boxers involved in the BALCO scandal compared to athletes.
Don’t want to drag up P4P lists again, but given their highly subjective nature maybe it would be more balanced if the whole of The Ring’s Ratings Panel got the chance to weigh in?
Anyway, rant over! I look forward to the mailbag as always, and I hope you enjoy Christmas with the family. Take it easy. – Callum
I will Callum. I hope you do too.
After Chuckie’s inaugural “revision” of the magazine’s mythical rankings, most of the members of THE RING’s Ratings Panel now make it a point to kick forth their thoughts on the pound-for-pound top 10. I think their input helped influence Giampa’s decision to put Donaire ahead of Adrien Broner following the Filipino Flash’s third-round TKO of Jorge Arce, which capped a Fighter-of-the-Year caliber 2012. The list is still a mess, in my not-so-humble opinion, but this is a start to returning it to some sort of legitimacy.
I think the recent pontification and blatant insinuation of Marquez’s connection to PEDs is no joking matter. Much of what has been said borders on slander, and a lot of what’s been written is potentially libelous. And I’ll be honest with you, Callum, if Marquez was a high-profile American athlete, and not a Mexican boxer, I think boxing writers and sports broadcasters would have been more careful about what they’ve put out for public consumption.
I’m probably in the minority among U.S. boxing writers, but I think Khan looked very sharp in his “rebound” matchup with Molina and I believe that he has the potential beat the best fighters of the 140-pound division, including Garcia, Peterson (who I also think lost to the British star), and even my favorite junior welterweight, Lucas Matthysse.
I’d like to see Khan face a tough fringe contender, such as Olusegun Ajose or Josesito Lopez, in his next bout and then go for the “elite” 140 pounders I mentioned in the second half of 2013.