First I want to say even though I think most of you boxing writers can be too contentious and divisive for the sport nowadays, you do a good job and know what the hell you’re talking about.
Now, on to my first question: What the hell is Nonito Donaire trying to accomplish in his career? I see that he turned down the Abner Mares fight and instead will face Guillermo Rigo (not attempting to spell that last name) or Vic Darchinyan. (Really?)
What do you think his goals are as far as his legacy is concerned? I look at his resume to date and see no definitive victories. I know he is the consensus fighter of the year, but what stamp is he trying to leave on his sport? He’s 30+ and not getting younger; and I can’t help but compare him to his fellow Pinoy pugilist Manny Pacquiao. By the time Pacman was 30 he had already defeated the likes of Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Bararea, and Juan Manuel Marquez (albeit controversial).
When are we going to see Donaire in these types of fights? – Manny, Cincinnati, Ohio
Probably not until he steps up to the featherweight division, where he could face promotional and gym stablemate Mikey Garcia or Mares, if the Mexican Olympian can win a title at 126 pounds.
I think Donaire has had more than a few definitive victories but unfortunately for him they took place between 112 and 122 pounds, so only hardcore fans took notice. Let’s face it, there aren’t many bona-fide stars with crossover name recognition who campaign below featherweight. (That’s the reason THE RING went with Marquez as Fighter of the Year for 2012 instead of Donaire. JMM is an established legend who knocked out a superstar. Personally, I agree with the BWAA’s choice of Donaire as Fighter of the Year.)
Pacquiao earned a lot of “casual-fan” respect by fighting the Mexican trio of Marquez, Barrera and Morales – fights that took place at 126 and 130 pounds, weight classes that receive more exposure on U.S. television than the sub-featherweight divisions.
Jorge Arce had the same name recognition as Pacquiao’s Mexican rivals but he was too faded for Donaire to get any accolades for beating.
Still, I think Donaire’s body of work, so far, is something special; and I believe that he’s on a hall-of-fame trajectory. (I’m sure that if you asked him what his ultimate goals were in the sport, he’d tell you to be recognized as the pound-for-pound king and to be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.) He’s not there yet, but I think he’s put down a solid foundation with stoppage victories over Darchinyan, Fernando Montiel and Toshiaki Nishioka.
Darchinyan was undefeated (28-0) at flyweight and was on most pound-for-pound lists when Donaire cold cocked his crazy (but dangerous) ass in 2007. Montiel is a three-division titleholder who held two major bantamweight belts when Donaire nearly decapitated him in 2011. The talented Mexican was also on most P4P lists. Nishioka was the consensus No. 1-rated junior featherweight when Donaire stopped him last year.
Between these fights, Donaire has clearly bested former and current beltholders such as Omar Narvaez, Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., and Jeffrey Mathebula. I think his victories over Tyson Marquez and Moruti Mthalane are notable as both fighters went on to win flyweight titles after being stopped by Donaire.
A repeat victory over Darch Vader doesn’t mean that much at this point of the Armenian veteran’s career, but if Donaire beats Guillermo Rigondeaux (see, it’s not so hard to spell) – an undefeated beltholder and two-time Olympic gold medalist who has his own cult of hardcore fans who swear the Cuban lefty is a combination of Willie Pep and Sandy Saddler – I think he’ll take another step toward gaining crossover respect (in part because it will be his seventh consecutive fight on HBO).
However, the Filipino Flash won’t be headlining any pay-per-view shows (as Pacquiao was at age 30), until he steps up to the 126-pound division.
By the way, thank you for the kind words at the start of your email.
GOMEZ VS. LANE
Nice article on Frankie Gomez. I like his aggression which makes him fun to watch. Do you expect him to have any trouble with Lanard Lane? Regards. – Ken
Thanks Ken. I do expect Gomez to have some trouble with Lane, who has fast hands, a good jab, decent power and solid fundamentals. Lane also proved in his last fight – a majority decision loss to Joseph Elegele – that he’s got Philly heart.
I think Gomez has heart, too (and underrated boxing ability). He’s only 20 but he hasn’t been babied by Golden Boy, who put him in tough with Ramon Montano in 2010 and Adrian Granados in 2011 (and both fighters gave him hell). I expect the Lane fight to be another tough encounter and a fun scrap for fans to watch (on Fox Sports Net/Fox Deportes). I’m looking forward to it. I think Gomez will win a hard-fought decision in his first 10-round bout.
Dougie, been a reader for a while, appreciate all your work.
I wanted to get your thoughts on the April 27 date that looks like will be loaded with some big fights. I don’t know about you and the rest of the boxing public, but these conflicting boxing cards on the same night sucks. It seems to be an all-too-often trend these days. Instead of picking one of the 51 other weekends in the year, promoters and the networks decide it’s a great idea to cram all these fights on the same night. The insane thing about this is, what is the significance of April 27? It’s not like it’s Cinco de Mayo or Mexican Independence Day. We got Sergio Martinez fighting that night, the Danny Garcia card in Brooklyn that night, and apparently also the Guillermo Rigondeaux fight that night also. Please bring some sanity to the moronic scheduling… – Kyle from CT
I wish I could Kyle but I can’t. I have no control over fighters suffering fight-postponing injuries in training, or any control over which dates are available for major arenas.
As you know, the Showtime-televised Garcia-Zab Judah show was originally scheduled for Feb. 9. Garcia suffered bruised ribs in sparring and needed time to heal. April 27 was the earliest available date (factoring in Garcia’s recovery time) to reschedule the date at Barclays Center, which wants the fight. Golden Boy Promotions has a deal with the Brooklyn arena. They have to deliver a certain number of fights every year and they’d already agreed to deliver the Garcia-Judah show.
I don’t think they wanted to go head-to-head with HBO (who they also have a relationship with) and the Martinez-Martin Murray fight. But they couldn’t do the fight earlier than April 27 because it would mean cutting into Garcia’s healing time and they couldn’t push it back any further because that would jeopardize the entire card (Judah and the undercard fighters are not going to want to wait any longer than they already have to) and disrupt their fight schedule with Barclays Center.
I know it’s a messed up situation and it sucks for fans, but it’s going to happen in a sport as fragmented as professional boxing.
Hey, at least it looks like if Donaire and Rigondeaux are fighting that month it will be on April 13 and not the 27th.
Reading your poll is troubling.
Who will be remembered as the greatest fighter when their careers are over?
· Manny Pacquiao 44.3%
· Floyd Mayweather Jr. 25.4%
· Juan Manuel Marquez 10.7%
· Roy Jones Jr. 8.5%
· Bernard Hopkins 7.1%
· Evander Holyfield 3.4%
· Shane Mosley 0.4%
Who do you think is the best? You know I went with my granddad (Bernard Hopkins)…
I think his accomplishments will stand the test of time, he was not the most exciting fighter by far, but his longevity, title defenses, stranglehold on the divisions, his willingness to fight the best (except rematch RJJ in their primes, which was probably smart), etc. I think historically his accomplishments put him on another level. Pac has the 8 division thing, but the Margarito belt was utter and total bullsh*t. I think the one punch KO loss to Marquez diminishes him. Mayweather, eh, I really like the guy, but I say historically BHOP has done more.
Your thoughts? – Jason C. Brown
I agree with you, but this kind of thing is subjective. When RING editor Michael Rosenthal posted this poll, I told him Hopkins was my choice, followed by Evander Holyfield.
I favored those two because they didn’t duck anybody in the divisions they campaigned in, they made sure to unify all the major belts (Holyfield did it in two weight classes – cruiserweight and heavyweight), and they remained world-class fighters into their 40s. Hopkins edges out the Real Deal in my mind because of the all-time records he set (20 middleweight title defenses and being the oldest legit champ in history).
Rosenthal didn’t see it that way. There’s no doubt in his mind that Jones will be remembered as the greatest fighter of his generation. Why? Because he says Jones is by far the most talented boxer he’s ever seen (live or on film). He says nobody comes close to equaling the prime Jones’ talent, boxing ability and athletic prowess – and I think a lot of fans and members of the media agree with Rosenthal.
I see their point. Jones also accomplished a lot, winning major titles in four weight classes and unifying three 175-pound belts. I pointed out that there was some typical WBC shenanigans involved with his acquisition of the green belt and that he wouldn’t entertain the idea of fighting WBO (and lineal) titleholder Dariusz Michalczewski, but Rosenthal called that a lot of hardcore fan B.S. We argued (good naturedly, of course) about it for a few minutes and then realized that B-Hop and RJ would be lucky to receive 10 percent of the poll’s votes each.
Polls are pretty much popularity contests, and Hopkins and Jones are old news to most fans who read boxing websites. Pacquiao (who had 45.5 percent of the votes as of last night) is the most popular boxer on the planet, followed by Mayweather (who had 24.6). Marquez is a distant third (10.6), even after cold cocking Manny. It is what it is.
So what should our next poll subject be? Something about the pound-for-pound ratings? I’m just kidding.
Email Dougie at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @dougiefischer