WHAT’S UP WITH RUSSELL MORA?
Hello Dougie Fresh!
I’m very happy with boxing, 2012 was great and it seems 2013 is on its way with some exciting match-ups. However, I was compelled to make some time and write you because of referee Russell Mora’s officiating at the Richard Abril-Sharif Bogere fight. I still remember the Abner Mares-Joseph Abegko debacle and how furious I was after his poor officiating. Supposedly they were going to re-train or rehab him or something of the like…none of this seemed evident in his officiating last night.
Now I know you are the real deal Dougie, hence can you please help shed some light on what on earth was going on with this ref? I simply don’t understand why he deducted a point from Abril first and then waited until the end to deduct a point from Bogere?
I truly hope the commission or whoever is in charge of officiating works with Mora because this was a second big stage match up that did not fare well for him.
On another note a couple of questions I would like to respectfully request your opinion on:
Lastly, I want you to know I truly enjoy your work, your mailbags and gym notes are awesome. However, my two favorites pieces were from a while back, one was your chronological breakdown of when you did boxing commentating with one of your boxing idols, Sugar Ray Leonard and two the press conference for Rios vs. Acosta. Reading it from your point of view was so much more exciting, you are a great writer!
Here’s a link to an article I thought you might enjoy: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/clarence-haynes/storm-x-men_b_2592234.html
I know this is a long email sorry about that Dougie…keep up the great work! – Athena
Thanks for the kind words about my writing, Athena. It means a lot.
And thanks for the link to the blog on my favorite fictional African goddess, Storm. She wasn’t my favorite X-man (that’s Nightcrawler), but she was and continues to be one of my favorite Marvel mutants and female characters.
My opinions on your notes:
1.) Juan Diaz is coming back for three reasons: He’s young (only 29), he misses boxing, and he can fight!
2) Why Malignaggi-Broner? It’s not a matchup that I ever considered, and I can’t say that it intrigues me all that much, but it makes sense for Golden Boy Promotions to see if the boxing public is interested in it because they’re struggling to find a marquee opponent for Paulie (the Hatton rematch went down the drain when the Hitman was KO’d by Senchenko, and negotiations fell apart with Shane Mosley) and they want a “name” opponent for The Problem. Broner’s got a few challenges at 135, more than a few at 140, but the only “names” for him at junior welterweight is Amir Khan, who is in a rebuilding phase right now, and Danny Garcia, who’s got a title defense on April 27. (There’s Juan Manuel Marquez and Brandon Rios, but they play for the other team.) The winner of Peterson-Matthysse will be a “name,” but Malignaggi is ready and willing right now.
3.) Kirk had a way with words, didn’t he? I think he just got burnt out on all the silly ass politics of boxing and decided to take a break from the sport. I hope he hasn’t given up on boxing forever because he was a real fan and we had some great times at the fights during the 2000s. One of the most satisfying – and hard partying – times I ever had as a boxing writer was the night I covered an outdoor Showtime doubleheader featuring the Marquez brothers with Steve Kim, Kirk and his good buddy Daryl. (Edwin Valero won his first world title that same night.)
Regarding Mora, the Nevada State Athletic Commission demoted him to officiating four- and six-round bouts for about a year following the first Agbeko-Mares fight, and he did fine with those bouts that I saw (on TV or from ringside). I think Mora runs into trouble whenever he officiates a very rough and physical type of fight. He gets flustered and either doesn’t take action – and points – when he needs to, or he goes in the other direction and penalizes the wrong fighters at the wrong times during the bout.
Agbeko-Mares I and Abril-Bogere aren’t the only rough-and-tumble fights in which Mora seemed out of sorts. The Robert Guerrero-Michael Katsidis lightweight fight in April of 2011 comes to mind. He docked Katsidis two points right when the Greek warrior was rallying with a wicked body attack in the eighth round. And then he penalized Guerrero a point in the ninth for nothing. It seemed like he regretted taking two points from Katsidis for what were borderline low blows and wanted to “even” the score. It was a mess.
Abril-Bogere was a mess, too, but we can’t totally blame Mora for that. It was just a messy style matchup to begin with. I think Mora can do a fine job on most reffing assignments but it might be prudent for the NSAC to keep him away from style matchups that will likely produce an overly physical or ugly fight.
Long time reader, first time writing in. I’m an Aussie fight fan, and have been following Billy Dib since his loss to Steven Luevano. I think he’s done well to improve the way he has. He’s much more versatile than he used to be, and can do a bit of everything (fight on the inside, box from the outside, good counter puncher, can fight out of a southpaw or orthodox stance, etc, etc). However he has a tendency to pull his head straight back from straight right hands, and I feel like he would have been better off circling to his right and trying to ‘lead’ Evgeny Gradovich a bit more who was reaching in with his jab quite a lot. Instead he kept going straight backwards and got mugged for it.
Gradovich was impressive. I had it 1 point for Dib after six, but the Russian really piled it on down the stretch – very impressive for someone who’s never fought a 12 rounder. I think he deserved a UD not SD, and had it scored his way 114-111. Looking forward to seeing his next fight, and certainly wouldn’t mind seeing a rematch. Where do you think both these guys go from here?
After a period where Anthony Mundine really dominated the domestic Australian fight scene commercially, there is a perception that a new crop of fighters are coming through trying to restore a bit of credibility to the sport by taking tough fights overseas. So it’s disappointing that Dib didn’t pull out the win after what I think was a gutsy effort like Geale and Soliman have been able to recently. At the end of the day though if you travel and fight good opposition overseas you’re going to lose a fight every now and again (unless your name is Floyd Mayweather). I hope this trend continues amongst Australian boxers (although not the losing part :P) and that the ones that do lose get a second chance and are not punished by fight fans (and the media) for taking risks.
Cheers. – Ryan (from Sydney)
I agree that Dib did improve a lot since losing to Luevano back in 2008. I also thought that he fought a game fight against Gradovich. He was in with a relentless brute who was clearly the stronger man, physically speaking, but he never stopped trying, despite getting his bell rung a few times and dealing with a lot of blood in his face.
I think Dib should comeback with against a mid-level opponent at home and then return to the States in the fall against a young featherweight or junior lightweight standout, such as Gary Russell Jr., Ronny Rios, Rances Barthelemy or Francisco Vargas. A domestic showdown with 130-pound prospect Will Tomlinson would be interesting, no?
I don’t know enough about Tomlinson to make a prediction on that matchup, but I think Dib’s speed, movement and unorthodox style would give Russell trouble. I think he could beat Rios and Vargas. He’d give Barthelemy a good fight, too.
As for Gradovich, I’d just like him to be a “fighting champ.” He has a crowd-pleasing style (Mexican fans seem to dig his nickname) and I think he makes for good TV. I wouldn’t mind it if he just took on the top IBF-ranked contenders, starting with undersized Argentine Maruicio Munoz (currently ranked No. 1), moving to Filipino slugger Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista (remember him?), before taking on Dib in a rematch or targeting whoever wins the Ponce de Leon-Mares fight.
I’d love to see Geale fight in the U.S. on one of the premium cable networks. He’s earned his No. 1 RING ranking at middleweight and I think he makes for fun fights. I’d consider him a live dog against both RING champ Sergio Martinez and WBA boss Gennady Golovkin. I think he and Chavez Jr. are an even matchup, and I’d pick Geale to spring the upset on Junior. I’d pick him to beat Kid Chocolate, too, but it would be a hell of scrap. Bottom line: Those are 160-pound matchups I want to see and I don’t think I’m alone in that thought.
ADRIEN THE CHERRY PICKER
Your mailbag is the highlight of my Monday and Friday mornings, and I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels that way. I’m hoping boxing fans will one day get the chance to watch fights called by you, Paulie Malignaggi, and Jim Lampley throwing in a “Bang! Bang! Bang!” every now and then.
I just read that Broner might fight Malignaggi. I don’t want to see that happen. Instead, I want to see Broner clean out his division (which he is close to accomplishing) and then move up to 140 and do the same. Roy Jones didn’t gain my respect by beating Ruiz; similarly, Pacquiao didn’t prove anything by beating De La Hoya. They ALREADY HAD my respect (then proceeded to lose my admiration). I liken such fights to Kobe Bryant and LeBron James joining the Harlem Globetrotters… what’s the point?
The fight that I would pay the most to see right now is JMM vs Broner at 140. Do you think that JMM will ever fight again at that weight and, if so, what do you foresee happening in that fight?
Prime Riddick Bowe vs. a prime Wladimir Klitschko…who wins in a best out of three trilogy?
Finally, JCC Superstar Jr. getting fined $900k is an outrage. What are your thoughts? I’m sure that Harriet Tubman and Jack Johnson (the fighter…and the musician, for that matter!) broke many rules, too…but even MLK believed that we should break unjust laws! – BK in High Point, NC
I’m not a marijuana activist, don’t care if it’s ever legalized or not, but I don’t think smoking a joint or two helped Chavez in his fight with Martinez in any way. I’m sorry but I just don’t see weed as a performance enhancer and I think the NSAC’s fine and suspension was the kind of punishment that should be laid down for athletes who cheat, not boxers who get high.
Sure, fine the idiot $5,000-$10,000. If he had somehow pulled it out in the 12th round and scored a KO vs. Maravilla, make the official result a No Contest, but to take 30% of his check seems like overkill to me. It seems like the NSAC was trying to be extra hard on the goofball given his history (in Nevada and Texas). But hey, that’s just my opinion.
I think the prime Big Daddy would win two out of three vs. prime Wladdy. The Brooklyn native’s infighting ability would give him the edge, but I’m sure Klitschko would clip him with a hook off a jab in one of those fights.
I doubt we’ll ever see Marquez at 140 pounds again and I know we’ll never see him face Broner. If he ever comes down to junior welterweight, it will be for a showdown with Brandon Rios, who I think would retire the great fighter in a classic ring war. If he ever fought Broner I think he’d get outpointed in similar fashion to the way he lost to Mayweather. It’s just a bad style matchup for Marquez, who always had trouble with fast and slick boxers, even ones who weren’t powerful (such as Julian Wheeler, Freddy Norwood and Chris John). Broner is not only fast and slick, he’s also got serious pop on his punches.
I’m also not interested in Malignaggi-Broner. It’s not because I don’t think Malignaggi can compete with Broner, it’s just that, like you, I think Broner has yet to truly establish himself as the top dog at 135 pounds. Sorry, beating Antonio DeMarco and Gavin Rees isn’t enough. In fact, it’s considerably less than what Miguel Vazquez and Ricky Burns have done at 135. Broner needs to fight at least one of those two beltholders before moving up in weight.
And when he makes his inevitable move up in weight, I don’t want him to skip the 140 pound division. There are too many worthy challenges – titleholders and top contenders who are also promoted by Golden Boy Promotions – for Broner to face at junior welterweight. Danny Garcia. Lamont Peterson. Amir Khan. Lucas Matthysse.
There’s no reason to look to the 147-pound division right now.
It’s been a long time since I’ve sent my thoughts in, but I never miss your mailbags. That’s the first thing I do when I get to work. LOL. Well, just couple questions and thoughts:
I prefer to see Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs Austin Trout on a different date than on the Mayweather PPV card. I agree with Canelo and I think he doesn’t need to help Mayweather boost his PPV buys. People can say all they want about Canelo, but at the end of the day Canelo puts butts on seats.
With Mayweather’s six-fight deal, and the possible five opponents that have been rumored are approved by Showtime do you think Canelo is going to be the last one? Well, if I was Mayweather I would probably leave Canelo till the end.
Call me crazy or whatever you want but I’m actually more excited about the Abner Mares vs Daniel Ponce De Leon fight than the Mayweather fight, ain’t that weird?
I think Broner has a lot of talent and he’s very good but there are no good fighters at 135 pounds. He should move to 140 or 147. With Mayweather and Pacquiao on their last years and the next stars emerging like Broner, Canelo, Mares, Donaire and others, do you see a future fight between Canelo and Broner? Because I think these two are taking over the torch for Mayweather and Pacquiao.
Who do you pick in these upcoming fights?
Donaire vs Rigo
Canelo vs Trout
Ponce De Leon vs Mares
Peterson vs Matthysse
I know there are more fights but I think these are the ones that are going to be more competitive, at least on paper.
Can you tell me what exactly does an advisor does for a boxer? I hear every boxer always thanking Al Haymon, so he must do miracles. At first I thought it was more like “I advise for you to fight so and so fighter instead of this other fighter” but I know there has to be more than that.
Is the Chavez vs Haugen fight in Mexico the boxing fight with more attendance?
Mythical matchups! Who do you think would win?
JC Chavez vs Broner
Canelo vs Fernando Vargas
Donaire vs El Terrible Morales
Take care. – Jaime, Phoenix, AZ
Thanks for writing, Jaime, and thank you for the kind words. This was a lot more than a “couple questions and thoughts” but it’s all good, brother.
JC Chavez vs Broner – Chavez by late TKO.
Canelo vs Fernando Vargas – Vargas by late TKO.
Donaire vs El Terrible Morales – Morales by late TKO (at 122 pounds)
Yes, Chavez’s 1993 junior welterweight title defense against Greg Haugen is the fight with the most spectators in boxing history, more than 130,000 in Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca.
An advisor works out the deals a fighter has with promoters, networks and venues. And yes, Mr. Haymon is pretty darn good at it.
Donaire vs Rigo – Donaire by early to mid-rounds KO
Canelo vs Trout – Canelo by decision
Ponce De Leon vs Mares – Mares by decision
Peterson vs Matthysse – Matthysse by late TKO
I don’t think Broner and Canelo will ever fight (Alvarez is too big), but I agree that they will be the sport’s biggest stars by the time Mayweather and Pacquiao are retired.
It’s not weird at all that you’re looking forward to Ponce de Leon-Mares more than Mayweather-Guerrero. You’re obviously a hardcore fan (and I’m gonna guess that you’re of Mexican descent, too!)
I have no idea what Mayweather’s plans are beyond Guerrero on May 4, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he decided to hold off on a Canelo showdown until later. Alvarez is the biggest draw of Mayweather’s realistic potential opponents. He might want that potentially record-breaking PPV matchup to build up a little more. He also might hope that a tough fight with Trout takes some steam out of the young buck. Alvarez is a dangerous fight for Mayweather because it would take place at 154 pounds, where Floyd has looked decidedly human against much older, somewhat faded stars (De La Hoya and Cotto). It’s a dangerous fight, one he could lose, so it makes business sense to save that fight for last (or next to last) on his Showtime contract.
On the flip side, Mayweather might see enough flaws during the Trout fight that it will make more sense for him to fight Canelo this year, while the Mexican star is still work-in-progress, rather than facing him in 2014 when the red head will be more mature and more experienced.
Canelo definitely puts butts in the seats, which is why I’m looking forward to seeing how many fans he can attract to the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, and I can’t wait to cover that fight.
Email Dougie at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @dougiefischer