Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Friday mailbag

 

HBO VS. GBP

Hi Doug,

Thanks for the response last Friday. It was good to see my name in one of your mailbags. Been a long time! Since the Maxboxing days I think.

The Golden Boy vs HBO (and Top Rank) Mexican Novela is now in its climax. I haven’t made up my mind if this is good or bad for the sport. At first my logic is that this is very bad for our “dying” sport. A divided stable of boxers by two promotional companies in two different cable networks makes it more difficult to make fights between them. Goodbye to Abner Mares vs Nonito Donaire or Canelo Alvarez vs Sergio Martinez.

But the good news is that with Golden Boy in control of most of the top welterweights (“juniors” and “supers” included); we can get a sort of “UFC” like league. Boxing needs to stay away from the governing bodies and go to a single place where there are unified rules. I kind of like that. Most of the top fighters in those divisions know what’s best for them. If they want to fight the big boys they have to join Golden Boy.

Now, what happens to Bob Arum, Top Rank and HBO? They’ll survive, of course. They’ve always weathered the storm! Remember Mike Tyson at Showtime? Or how bout the Don King era? HBO is strong, and Arum is a real promoter. These guys know what they’re doing. No need to worry here. Boxing will survive. Or will it?

My main concern is that the American market has already turned its back on boxing in favor of the UFC. Even me, who would never turn to the dark side have watched a couple of high profile MMA fights that include such talents as George Saint Pierre and Junior Dos Santos. What most worries me is that this new sport is now starting to mature, and with the marketing genius of Dana White and his UFC structure it will further make boxing and all its soap opera headlines obsolete. Humans love combat sports. There’s no denying that here in my native Tijuana people go to sports bars, watch the UFC and then the boxing main event and cheer every fighter. It’s human nature! Boxing can make it back in America. It’s still big in other countries (ask the Europeans). But now, more than ever, we need a single commission. Let the U.S. be the one to regulate this great sport! IBF, WBA, WBC, Top Rank, HBO, Golden Boy, Showtime… they’re all governing bodies to me.

There are big fights coming ahead! Looking like a good year in terms of quality fights! See you soon Doug! – Juan Valverde, Tijuana

We’ve literally got a dozen world-class matchups to look forward to during the next eight weeks. I know I probably sound like a boxing booster or apologist, but I think the sport is in a healthier place now than it was a four or five years ago when Golden Boy and Top Rank were still working together and the UFC was seemingly at its apex (maybe it’s just me but it seems like America’s premiere MMA league has plateaued in recent years).

I’m not trying to diss the UFC. That’s a badass outfit and its deal with Fox was sheer genius. But boxing ended 2012 with live afternoon boxing shows on CBS and NBC, thanks to Golden Boy and Main Events. Boxing’s all over basic cable, Spanish and English; Main Events will have its second NBC show on April 20 (Tyson Fury-Steve Cunnigham); and the May 4 Mayweather-Guerrero event will have an unprecedented presence on CBS. Boxing is still alive and well.

A national commission could be good for the sport if it focuses on uniform rules, PED testing, improved health standards and setting up some kind of pension for the fighters and trainers. However, I think the business of boxing is best left to the promoters, managers and networks, even though they often act like tribal war chiefs.

Regarding HBO’s announcement not to do any business with Golden Boy for the foreseeable future, I really don’t have much of an opinion – yet.

I’m not going to waste too much time and energy wondering what might happen or what might not happen because of the split. I’m content to let this thing play out. I want to see if it’s a divorce or a legal separation, if you know what I mean. Who knows if this is going to last past six or nine months?

I’m not even bothering to ponder that far ahead. Why? There are too many good matchups on deck. HBO and Top Rank just gave us Tim Bradley-Ruslan Provodnikov, and in eight days they’re going to give us Brandon Rios-Mike Alvarado II. And two weeks after that anticipated rematch they’re giving us Nonito Donaire-Guillermo Rigondeaux.

And one week after Donaire-Rigondeaux, Showtime and Golden Boy are giving us Saul Alvarez-Austin Trout. One week later, they’re giving us Danny Garcia-ZabJudah, and one week after that they give us the first major pay-per-view event of the year with Mayweather-Guerrero/Ponce de Leon-Mares.

Maybe I’m just a glass-half-full kinda guy but I’m going to enjoy watching/covering every one of these fights (as well as the Brian Viloria-Juan Francisco Estrada offering on HBO2).

If the GBP-SHO alliance gives us fights like Canelo-Trout and the June 8 Marcos Maidana-Josesito Lopez showdown, and the Top Rank-HBO team-up gives us more fights like Bradley-Provo and Rios-Alvarado, I’m not going to have much to complain about.

I know what all the hardcore heads are saying right now: “What about fights like Donaire-Mares?”

What about ‘em? I read your Tweets and your comments under articles. Most of you said Mares didn’t have a chance against Donaire, anyway. Well, now Nonito is facing the guy way too many boxing nutcakes said he was ducking – Rigondeaux. The Cult of Rigo finally got the fight they were clamoring for. So why not be happy about that?

Same deal with the Canelo-Trout fight. For months all these loud-ass hardcore fans were saying that Alvarez will never fight Trout. They said he was going to fight Miguel Cotto even though the Puerto Rican star was soundly defeated by the American southpaw. They flat-out said that the red head is scared… and all that blah, blah, blah. Well, now Canelo is fighting the boogey man of the of the 154-pound division. Be happy about it! This is a fight you guys demanded.

Don’t waste all of your time gossiping and bitching about the GBP/Top Rank/HBO/Showtime soap opera. We’ve got real fights coming up to discuss and debate, some of which – like HBO’s May 25 offering of Froch-Kessler II and Pascal-Bute – have nothing to do with GBP or Top Rank.

REAL WELTER SKELTER

What’s happening Dougie?

Great fight last Saturday. I was really impressed with both Provodnikov’s strength and power and even more taken with Bradley’s skill and determination. Both of these guys really raised their stock and I further respected Timmy for giving Ruslan his props instead of falling back on some tired old excuse over why it was a more taxing battle than expected.

Good for you also for putting Timmy’s mobs of detractors in their place when you did the following Monday Mailbag. All this constant hate towards Mr. Bradley is indeed really ridiculous, especially after a physically draining battle like that.

With that said and done I do have a few points and questions to bring up with you.

1) After that war, what are Timmy’s chances of living up to his original plan of fighting three times altogether before the year is up? I know he really got banged up but you look at a guy like Paulie Malignaggi. He took worse punishment from Miguel Cotto in ’06 and look how swiftly he rebounded. Could Timmy do the same?

2) Changing the topic, who are these sparring partners of Manny Pacquiao that are taking a toll on him? And who should Manny fight next? Same with J. Manuel Marquez for that matter.

3) We all know that if Floyd Mayweather beats Robert Guerrero he’s supposed to challenge Saul Alvarez providing Alvarez gets past Austin Trout. What if Guerrero and Trout win? If Alvarez does win but Guerrero scores that big upset will The Ghost actually be expected to fight Alvarez? Considering that Guerrero’s clearly no smaller than “little guy” Floyd I guess it’s not that far-fetched. Although I do think that Guerrero would make for more appealing fights at welter than Floyd would right now.

4) In your opinion who’s the hardest hitter in the 147 pound division right now? I myself have it narrowed down to Provodnikov, Marcos Maidana, Pacquiao, and Keith Thurman. Yes, I still consider Pac a serious puncher.

Take care guy! – Phil

Thanks for your email and your kind words, Phil. I’ll respond to your questions in order:

1) Bradley certainly has the drive to bounce back from a grueling fight as Malignaggi, who won the IBF title one year after losing to Cotto, did in 2007. I think he will, but I’m not sure if he’ll keep his goal of a busy 2013. Prior to the Provodnikov fight, he said he’d like to try for four fights this year. Now I think he’ll be content with three fights and would be even be OK with just two (especially if his second fight this year is against Juan Manuel Marquez).

2) No specific sparring partner(s) has taken a toll on Pacquiao in any one camp. Part of his recent decline is the result of a cumulative effect from 100s of rounds of sparring against numerous sparring partners in many camps. Over the years, I’ve seen more than a few sparring partners “put hands” on Manny, from Jose Armando Santa Cruz to Jorge Linares to Urbano Antillon to Shawn Porter and even Mike Dallas. His sparring sessions during the Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Josh Clottey and Antonio Margarito camps were especially hard. It eventually takes a toll. I can’t speak on Marquez. I’ve never witnessed a single sparring session of his. Who should Pacquiao fight next? Nobody. I think he should retire. But if he wants to continue he might as well go for the glory and try to get JMM in the ring a fifth time.

3) If Guerrero upsets Mayweather and Trout beats Alvarez (as many boxing pundits expect) we’ll get rematches of both fights. If Guerrero and Alvarez win, I don’t think The Ghost would challenge Canelo but I wouldn’t put it past him. The dude is fearless.

4) I gotta go with “the Thurminator.” He’s the only natural 147 pounder of the group you mentioned.

WARD-MAYWEATHER

What up Doug?
Long time no write :(! I was hitting you up in regards to Andre Ward/Mayweather. To me Mayweather barked up the wrong tree. Ward is a good guy and humble but not mentally weak. Ward is also a gold medalist and former Olympian like Floyd. I would give up my left leg to see them fight at a catch weight. It won’t happen because Ward is the future and a threat to anybody. Let Mayweather fight Adrien Broner at 147! Won’t happen because Broner is also a problem. I love Mayweather’s skill set but he can’t possibly think Ward is afraid! Ward is a young but faster Bernard Hopkins. He is a beast. So watch out calling out a younger Lion. He might bite back faster and harder! – Aaron “Precise” Blount

Floyd knows. If Ward was a welterweight I think Mayweather would have second thoughts about facing him due to the style difficulty and high boxing IQ of the “Oakland Raider.”

Given the size disparity, I think we can all consider this a mythical pound-for-pound matchup and something that is not remotely possible. Think about it, Mayweather struggled in his two bouts above 147 pounds – his junior middleweight title wins over Oscar De La Hoya and Cotto – and those bouts came against somewhat faded veterans who were not natural 154 pounders.

There’s no way Mayweather would want to tangle with Ward. Aside from the seemingly impossible challenge in the ring, he’d also have to deal with his former manager James Prince during all of the pre-fight media events and promotional buildup.

That would not be a comfortable scene for the future hall of famer.

PROVO VS THUNDER-BUTT

What’s up Douglas?

Regarding the torrid USA-Russia battle we just witnessed last Saturday: On my scorecard I had Provo pounding out an extremely close decision due to his more damaging shots and strong late-round surge. But in all fairness I’ll admit that Timmy really fought his ass off and I’m OK with those who felt that ol’ Thunder-Butt’s greater punch output won him the fight.

The big question is what happens after both of these warriors are done licking their wounds?

I still don’t think that Timmy belongs in the elite. His clear yet unofficial loss to a somewhat complacent Manny Pacquiao says it all.

On the other hand, I’m certainly all for T-Butt vs Provo Part 2. Will we get another war or do you think that Timmy will do the smarter but less macho-thing by boxing more and brawling less?

And what about Keith Thurman? Didn’t Ring TV mention that the crazy-looking Mad Bomber was supposed to be next in line? How will Bradley do against this kind of puncher?

I don’t know if Thurman has Ruslan’s raw power but he can certainly unload his bombs at a more sustained pace. Actually I’ll rather see a poundathon between Provo and Thurman which would be like a welter version of Tua-Ibeubuchi.

Two more players I’ll like to add are the Josesito Lopez and Marcos Maidana. Their own upcoming fight in itself will be hell in the ring! Raw power vs. sheer, unrelenting volume. Much like T-Dome’s clash with Provo.

Altogether, how do you rank the Bradley-Provonokov fight in comparison with the other welterweight brawls in the past 6 years. As in fights like Cotto-Judah, Margarito-Cotto, Ortiz-Berto, and Marquez-Pacquiao 4? Anyways have a good one! Was certainly great this past weekend being a fight-fan! Best part yet? More to come! – Dave

I think Bradley-Provodnikov rates with the four welterweight bouts you mentioned. It had about as much sustained action and at least as much drama as the others.

I’m expecting Maidana-Lopez to uphold the tradition of ring wars at The Home Depot Center, where Bradley-Provo, Rios-Alvarado I, and my personal favorite showdown at the cozy outdoor venue, Vazquez-Marquez III.

I don’t know if you read it on RingTV.com but Thurman is indeed the No. 1 contender to the WBO belt that Bradley (please don’t call him “Thunder-Butt”) holds. That doesn’t mean that fight will happen anytime soon. The feud between their promoters will hold off any negotiation until Thurman becomes the mandatory, and even then, the WBO has been known to switch out its No. 1 contenders.

How would Bradley do against a puncher like Thurman? He’d have some trouble but he’d deal with it, as he did last Saturday. And I think he’d limit the exchanges against Mr. “One Time.” I’m sure he’s learned his lesson about staying in the pocket too long against a bigger puncher.

However, if the Thurman-Provodnikov poundathon” (I like that, the “slugfest” term had become kind of cliché) can be made (and I think it’s possible if the right money offer was made to the Russian’s promoter, Artie Pelullo), well, that’s one I’d gladly buy tickets to watch.

One question for you: which welterweight would be Tua and which one would be Ibeabuchi?

I’m all for Bradley-Provo II, but I’m sure Thunder-Bu… ah, I mean Desert Storm is going to try and get Marquez into the ring next.

And I’m sure Provodnikov’s management will keep a close on eye on the winners of the Rios-Alvarado rematch, Alexander-Brook, Maidana-Lopez, and Malignaggi-Broner fights as potential opponents for the Siberian Rocky.

THE WAR IN CARSON

Doug,

I was at “The War in Carson” … I’m still mentally and emotionally drained from what I witnessed that night. Getting right to it, Tim Bradley’s heart, WILL TO WIN, Courage; have you ever seen anything like this in sports? If so, what do you equate it to? Evander Holyfield is all I can think of. I recall Bert Cooper on short notice fighting Evander Holyfield and almost knocking him out, only for Holyfield to come back and put him away. It happens.

There’s no doubt Tim Bradley having to lose over 40 pounds in a matter of 8 weeks diminished his ability to move and handle the punches (I say “handle” because he still showed an incredible chin, but I think the weight loss caused his body to react to the punches in a more severe manner, unable to fully shake the effects of them), from the Pit Bull aka Siberian Rocky aka Impending Doom!

What are your thoughts on Tim, and how do you see Provodnikov stacking up with future opponents? Thanks. – Coop

I think the weight that Bradley put on after the Pacquiao fight and then lost during his short but intense camp for Provodikov and then packed back on following the weighin (he was nine pounds heavier than the compact Russian on fight night) definitely affected his ability to take a shot as well as his elusiveness. Bradley’s body looked too thick to me.

I’m sure his inactivity also played a part in his susceptibility to Provo’s punches, but it was mostly due to his willingness to trade with the underrated boxer-slugger.

We can’t fault the chip on Bradley’s shoulder, though. That crazy will power and thirst for a challenge is the reason he’s so hard to beat.

I would consider Providnikov to be even money vs. Malignaggi, Maidana, Lopez, and Broner (if the wild-eyed stripper taster manages to overcome his own drama and beat Paulie). I’d make the Russian a slight underdog against Brook and Thurman. I’d make Guerrero and Alexander solid favorites to beat Provo. And, of course, I’d heavily favor Mayweather.

 

 

Email Dougie at dfischer@ringtv.com. Follow him on Twitter @dougiefischer

Around the web