IS CARLOS REALLY “KING”?
It’s Jason from Connecticut. I’m new to boxing and you posted my questions in last Monday’s mailbag and encouraged me to write back, so I did. I wanted to thank you for answering my questions, I really appreciated it.
Is Carlos Molina the real deal? Let me preface this e-mail by saying I have the utmost respect for anyone professional or amateur who gets in the ring to fight. I think it takes tremendous heart and guts. With that said, I’m going to be a little critical of the Molina-Cory Spinks fight and would like to know what you think of my assessment. I saw someone who had been through a few too many tough fights (Spinks) versus someone who didn’t have a deep amateur background (Molina).
The first thing I noticed at the end of the first round, was how high Spinks was keeping his hands. I kept watching this through the rest of the fight and it didn’t change. He has a very high defensive posture. I think you will agree with that. So why didn’t Molina attack to the body? I’m no CompuBox calculator but it seems like the majority of Molina attacks were too the head? I believe someone with a deep amateur background might pick that out and adjust their fight plan to exploit it.
I heard so much about what an underrated fighter Molina was, and how he’s been robbed in the past. From all that I was hearing I guess I had expected a little bit more from him. It didn’t seem like he adjusted to the opportunities Spinks was giving him until really late in the fight (rounds 10-12). I guess with all the hype I read about Molina going into Friday night’s fight versus what I saw him give against a fighter who wasn’t doing much more then defensive holding, I was left feeling let down. I don’t see him doing well against elite-level competition.
Do you think this fight was a fair showcasing of his talent? So those were just some of my thoughts about this fight I wanted you to take a look at and let me know if you think that was a fair assessment.
Also, good news I read today is that Gennady Golovkin will be fighting again soon against Nobuhiro Ishida. I have never heard of Nobuhiro before, is there any fight you would recommend I check out to get an idea of his skill level? – Jason H., CT
Ishida’s claim to fame is a first-round knockout of James Kirkland, who was lucky to get a DQ victory over Molina last March.
The durable-but-limited Japanese veteran hasn’t earned the right to fight for a middleweight title and shouldn’t be in the ring with Golovkin. That “fight” is just a stay-busy bout for GGG. Nothing more.
I agree that Molina didn’t look great against Spinks, but don’t judge him based on that fight. For starters, nobody looks good against Spinks, even the faded version that Molina faced on Friday. Spinks is a savvy southpaw with a basic – somewhat negative – boxing style. Molina had never been Mr. Excitement himself. He’s a crafty dude with an unorthodox boxing style, so nobody should have expected that Friday Night Fights main event to produce a highly entertaining bout. I dubbed the matchup The Stinker vs. The Spoiler.
Molina is the spoiler. He’s earned that label by upsetting former titleholder Kermit Cintron, former contender Danny Perez and one-time prospect Alexis Camacho, and by holding Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Erislandy Lara to draws. He also gave Mike Alvarado hell in a close eight-round decision loss.
I thought Molina, who was outclassing Kirkland before being disqualified on a technicality, won the draws with Chavez and Lara and I believe he’s earned his No. 7 RING rating at 154 pounds.
I’m sure his management knew the fight with Spinks was not going to be pretty but it was necessary because it moved him to the No. 2 position in the IBF and it gave him some much-needed TV exposure.
If Molina gets a shot at the winner of the upcoming IBF junior middleweight title bout between beltholder Cornelius Bundrage and Ishe Smith later this year, I would not count him out. I also think he would trouble WBC titleholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
FIGHT-NIGHT WEIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS
First time writer here. What is your opinion on having the weigh ins on fight night? – David , Hazleton, PA
As long as professional boxers’ official weigh-in takes place the day before their fights, fans and the media are going to wonder how much weight they put on overnight and during the day of their bouts.
Personally, I find it annoying when the weight that high-profile boxers re-hydrate to by bout time becomes a major story before the damn fight begins, but I can’t deny that those added pounds can affect their performances and/or the outcome of their fights.
So I guess my opinion is that I’m not a fan of fight-night weigh-ins (and I should note that I’m not a fan of official weigh-ins being pushed as big media events), but I’m not against them and I understand why they are done.
WHAT HAS BECOME OF KOROBOV?
I saw that Matt Korobov was fighting last weekend, but buried in obscurity on the undercard. Still feeling the after-breeze of that Gennady Golovkin hype-train that blew by the previous weekend got me to thinking, wasn’t Korobov the prospect shizznit awhile back?
I mean, when GGG was more of a mountain whisper, and other names at the prospect level like David Lemieux and Danny Jacobs and the likes have seemed to rise faster and farther in pro experience since Korobov was spoken highly of. Dude’s undefeated, but ain’t fought any big name yet. ‘Sup wit that?? – JB
I have no idea. The last time I spoke directly to Korobov was before he fought on the undercard of the Brandon Rios-Ubano Antillon fight in July of 2011. He fought twice more that year (a total of four bouts) but he only fought once in 2012, an eight-round decision over Milton Nunez.
My guess is that he’s got promotional/managerial issues. Either he’s not happy with Top Rank and co-manager Cameron Dunkin or they aren’t happy with him. He’s co-managed by his father, which is often worse than the father/trainer-son/boxer combination.
I hope I’m wrong because you are absolutely right, Korobov was touted as one to watch a few years ago. The Russian amateur star signed a promotional deal with Top Rank to much fanfare. Top Rank was supposed to develop him primarily on the East Coast and mainly in New York City, where a Russian fan following could be cultivated, but that never happened.
Also, Korobov’s didn’t progress as well in the pro ranks as many expected. He always got the job done, but there were more than a few fights that I covered live where he looked ordinary. I think part of his problem was that he was still looking for a professional style/ring identity two or three years into his career due to the numerous times he’d changed trainers. (He’s gone from Dan Birmingham to Robert Garcia to Ken Adams to Mike McCallum – three excellent pro trainers and one hall of famer, but each has a very distinct style of coaching and each tried to bring out different attributes.)
Even though he just turned 30, I don’t think it’s too late for him to make some noise in the middleweight division. Mickey Bey Jr. showed on Saturday that it’s possible for a mature boxer with an extensive amateur background to regain some career momentum with the right opponent and some TV exposure.
Bey, a 29-year-old former U.S. amateur standout, was inactive in 2012 and hadn’t looked good in two out of the three bouts he had in 2011. But he’s talking about fighting for a lightweight world title after his third-round TKO of Robert Rodriguez and some hardcore fans believe he’s almost ready to do so. I’m inclined to agree with those fans if the Cleveland, Ohio native gets a solid 10-rounder or two against a tough fringe contender under his belt in a timely fashion. Bey’s got 20 pro bouts under his belt, plus 160 amateur bouts (151-9 record). He knows how to fight.
And so does Korobov. Although the southpaw hasn’t had a consistent trainer as Bey has (with Floyd Mayweather Sr.), he was a more decorated amateur. Bey won multiple national titles; Korobov won three world amateur titles during a career that consisted of more than 300 bouts (300-12 record). With that kind of a foundation, plus 18 pro bouts, he doesn’t need any more seasoning.
All Korobov needs to do is fight a tune-up bout to knock off any rust accumulated from his inactive 2012 and then he needs to be put in with a tough former contender/title challenger who will push him and bring the best out of him. Someone like Peter Manfredo Jr. would be perfect, in my opinion.
WHY P4P RATINGS MATTER IN BOXING
It makes some intuitive sense too. If, for example, you’re a fan of Saul Alvarez or Nonito Donaire (I pick them because they’re on the way up) they’ve probably been underdogs in, what, one? Two fights between the two of them? The only one I can name off the top is the Vic Darchinyan fight. You can’t really, as a fan of a blue chip or young champion, ever talk about whether they’ll win their next fight because with modern matchmaking, guys are only in a pick ‘em fight about three or four times a career. So what do you do for the four to six months between fights, or the two years between competitive match ups? You guess at how they’d do against the guys they’re not fighting . . . and the logical end of those discussions is hypothetical rankings.
Would pound for pound matter to me in the 1940s? Probably not. But now, hell, they’re all we got.
(As a side note, I picked up a print copy of THE RING today, the February issue. Chris Byrd’s “The Best I’ve Faced” was the most interesting read in a while. Every one of his answers surprised me, especially “Smartest” and “Best Puncher.” It’s worth picking up a copy for that article alone). – Todd
Thanks for the plug, Todd. Be sure to check out March issue of the mag, which is on newsstands now.
I see what you’re saying about boxing pound-for-pound ratings, but I’m not sure I’d include the word “logical” with “hypothetical rankings,” especially if you’re “guessing” how a particular boxer would fare against a fellow “elite” fighter who campaigns in a radically different weight class.
I know pound-for-pound top 10 lists are popular among fans and are used as a marketing tool by promoters and networks, and I’m fine with that, but they’re no longer my cup of tea.
DO BOXING BOOKS SELL?
Last year, you answered one of my messages. I asked you if you ever thought about writing a book and you asked me “Do boxing books sell?” OK, I see you’re not interested in that… so I decided to save in a Word page the most interesting things you say in your mailbags. I have already 60 pages and I will print my first volume when I reach the 300 pages. So continue to do your great work, you’re always respectful, and it’s a pleasure to read you. – Carlos, Paris, France
Thank you for the kind words, Carlos. Good luck with the Mailbag book. You’ve got your work cut out for you if you really plan on filling 300 pages of “interesting things” I’ve written during this 12-year-old internet column.
All I ask is that you send me a copy of the finished product (and that you think up a good name for it – something better than “Dougie’s Mail-book”).
Email Dougie at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer