Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

 

WHAT A FIGHT!

What’s up Dougie,

Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios and “Mile High” Mike Alvarado have given us two great fights and I can’t wait for the third! Mike used his movement and landed that right at will towards the end to earn the decision. Rios-Alvarado III is must see TV! What do you think, Dougie?

Also, props to Jose Carlos Ramirez. He grew up 15 minutes from where I grew up in the Central Valley. He’s got that killer Mexican liver punch. I’m looking forward to seeing this youngsters’ career unfold. – Miguel, LBC

Ramirez certainly has promise, Miguel. I think he’ll do the Central Valley area of California proud. He’s a very strong-willed and tenacious boxer/pressure fighter and he’s got an extensive amateur foundation, so there’s a lot to build on.

Ramirez isn’t the most naturally gifted boxer and there are some technical flaws that need to ironed out, but Top Rank is known for their skill in developing young talent so he’s in good hands. How fast Ramirez develops depends on where he decides to train, in my opinion. For now he’s keeping his camps close to home, even though he frequently traveled south to the Wild Card Boxing Club and to Robert Garcia’s gym in Oxnard, Calif., as an amateur.

I think he should relocate to Southern California for at least the first two years of his career and have his amateur coach work with Freddie Roach or Garcia, both of whom would be willing to train the young man, but ultimately it’s his call.

What else can we say about Alvarado and Rios, other than “Thank you”? They gave a lot in their first fight; they gave it all in the rematch. What’s left for the rubbermatch?

Probably enough to make for another fight-of-the-year candidate. However, I agree with their promoter, Bob Arum, who does not like the idea of an immediate third bout. These two can’t help but go all out and empty their tanks against each other and their styles ensure that both will absorb inhuman amounts of punishment no matter how long the fight goes.

I’m as much of a blood-thirsty ghoul as the rest of you sickos, but I think it would be greedy and short sighted for us to demand or push for an immediate rubbermatch.

Remember, Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez fought three consecutive fights, giving us a trilogy for the ages, but both warriors were essentially finished after their series. Same deal with Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward.

Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo were never the same after their two fights.

Rios is only 26 years old. Alvarado is a young 32. I want to see these guys fight at their best for at least another four years so I’m hoping their next bouts are against different opponents.

ALL PROPS TO ALVARADO

What’s Up Doug?

I got some good friends together and had a pizza and beer party Saturday night where we watched my copy of Rios/Alvarado 1 and then got set for another exciting punchup with the rematch.

The two principals did not disappoint. While I have always liked Rios (as a fighter not necessarily as a person) I figured him to win, but found myself rooting for Alvarado vocally as the fight progressed. We all knew that Rios had heart and the will to fight but I did not know how deep the well was concerning Mike. Saturday night he truly showed what he is made of. He did not get discouraged in the face of cuts and swelling incurred during the fight and he stuck to his game plan, boxing, moving, power punching and really made it work. I was happy and relieved when the decision was announced, that the Vegas judges had not screwed over another deserving boxer.

I was also happy to read on your website the next morning, something I had said the night before… there should not be an immediate rematch. It could ruin both guys at this point. Let them fight some other guys first. There are interesting opponents out there for both fighters. (I would like to see Rios put Adrian Broner through the meat grinder.) There will still be interest in a third fight between these two whenever it is made.

I was disappointed but not surprised at Rios’ behavior after the fight, breaking in on Alvarado’s post-fight interview and generally acting like a d__k. At this point, Mike should go home and enjoy his victory as his performance also reinforced the views of many that the first fight was stopped prematurely. Hats off to him. It looks like a good Spring and Summer for boxing ahead. Can’t wait.

Finally, here is a random thought for you. I think it was Larry Merchant who called boxing the theater of the unexpected. Ya never know WHAT is going to happen. When Larry Holmes was kicking ass and taking names he fought Michael Spinks in 1985 to tie Rocky Marciano’s record of 49-0. I would have bet my house that he would blast the much smaller man into next week (like he had so many others) and then break the legendary record but….. boxers get old overnight sometimes. Punchers are punchers until they die but boxers lose a step, reflexes slow, and you really never know when it’s going to happen. They might have been great their last time out but…. That being said, do you think it might happen with Floyd Mayweather when he meets a pressure fighter who can think like Robert Guerrero? I would love to be there when it does. – David, Nashville

Mayweather has slowed down a little bit and he will continue to gradually decline in reflexes and speed every year from now until he retires, but I don’t see him getting “old overnight” against Guerrero (who isn’t really a pressure fighter, by the way).

I’m not saying Guerrero won’t give him a fight, but I don’t see a similar scenario as the Holmes-Spinks fight. Guerrero is good, but “the Jinx” was top-five pound-for-pound level boxer at the time he faced Holmes. Spinks, the undisputed light heavyweight champ, had a better amateur background, more natural ability and sharper skills than The Ghost. The St. Louis native also had a very awkward style and good power. Guerrero is an honest “grinder” with underrated boxing ability and a lot of toughness but he’s not a puncher and he’s not unpredictable as Spinks was.

Rather than write off the Spinks’ upset as Holmes “getting old,” I see it as an all-time great 175 pounder rising to the occasion against an aging but not faded all-time great heavyweight. It was also a bad style matchup for Holmes, just as the Tyson fight was both future hall of famers. Holmes obviously had more in the tank because was a top-10 rated heavyweight in the 1990s.

Yes, hats off to Alvarado, who proved us all wrong (except for my buddy Rich Marotta) and put forth the fight of his career against the very determined and always dangerous Rios.

Who would you like to see both fighters face next? I think Alvarado deserves a bit of a breather. I’m not saying Top Rank or his management should find him a journeyman to fight. He should face a good fighter, but not a fellow punisher like Rios or Ruslan Provodnikov. I’m thinking someone like Ricardo Williams Jr. or Filipino standout Jayson Pagara (who happens to have a top-five WBO ranking). Those two don’t have Alvarado’s size and power but they have better speed and good footwork which could make for interesting matches.

I think Rios should test the waters at welterweight for his next fight. I think semi-name such as Jorge Paez Jr. or the winner of the June 8 Jesus Soto Karass-Yoshihiro Kamegai would make for a fun (but somewhat low-risk) TV fight for Bam Bam.

NO-CLASS RIOS; WARD VS. GOLOVKIN

Hey Dougie,
I found Brandon Rios incredibly off putting during the post-fight interview on HBO. I’ll be rooting against him from now on.

I was great to see Alvarado get the win. It looked pretty clear to me that he won it in the gym. His wind was phenomenal, especially in light of the pounding he took. There was some stylistic shift, but honestly, it was as much a matter of Rios pressing less effectively (instead plodding after Alvarado) as it was Alvarado moving more.

Gennady Golovkin looked excellent. His power looked scary. I really don’t think there’s much threat to him at 160. I think the fight that could define his career is Andre Ward, if Ward ends up having the heart to fight him a few years down the road. Edison Miranda gave Ward way more trouble than he should have, especially early, and I think Golovkin’s right is harder, faster, and better thrown. I don’t think Ward’s fought anyone with near the combination of skill and power that Golovkin has.

Also, I’ve got Nonito Donaire stopping Guillermo Rigondeaux. I don’t think it’s a close fight, and I think Fernando Montiel was much tougher competition. Take care. – Todd

I agree with your call on Donaire-Rigondeaux. I think there will be a number of low-contact feeling-out rounds early on but once Donaire picks up on Rigo’s rhythm and style he’s going to time the Cuban lefty with a one-hitter quitter reminiscent of sling-shot right hand bomb GGG iced poor Nobuhiro Ishida with on Saturday.

I also agree that Golovkin’s career-defining fight will come against Ward. However, I disagree that Golovkin doesn’t have any “threats” at middleweight (I think Sergio Martinez, Daniel Geale and Mathew Macklin all present various challenges to the undefeated WBA beltholder) and I don’t think there should be any question of Ward’s heart or willingness to face the Kazakhstan native.

Ward’s on record saying that he will fight Golovkin once the middleweight standout builds more of a name by beating a few world-class fighters. (Watch the end of this RingTV.com interview with THE RING super middleweight champ for those comments.)

I agree that Golovkin is a much better puncher and overall fighter than Miranda and that Miranda gave Ward some trouble when they fought, but that was the prospect version of the Oakland native. Ward has since advanced to legit champion status thanks to his experience in the Super Six tournament.

Anyway, it’s never too early to beat the drums for a matchup like Ward-Golovkin. Trust me, the good folks at HBO are thinking the same thing.

140-147 POUND DIVISIONS ARE STACKED

Wow Doug, another great fight (I had it 116-112 for “Mile High” Mike, but could easily have gone 115-113, or even 114-114).

With Lamont Peterson-Lucas Matthysse pending, it’s nice to see boxing with some much needed momentum. I know this isn’t fantasyland, and the promotional scene will prevent us from getting all the matchups we’d like, but hopefully even boxing can’t screw up the current landscape at 140-147 pounds.

Between Alvarado, Rios, Tim Bradley, Provodnikov, Peterson, Matthysse, Juan Manuel Marquez, Danny Garcia and Amir Khan, there are exciting, interchangeable matchups to be made. You can also throw in Mayweather, Guerrero, and the PacMan to the mix. Maybe even Zab Judah. And the young guns like Adrien Broner and Keith Thurman. That’s a ridiculously deep pool of talent, with five or six guys who are (or could be) pound for pounders, and everyone else more than capable of springing an upset against a pound for pounder.

No, it’s not as exciting as the Leonard-Hagler-Hearns-Duran days (and I shouldn’t leave out the underrated Mike McCallum from that group), but it’s hard not to be fired up. I think all of us, as boxing fans, have the obligation to spread the word to our friends. This could be a great time to give boxing a shot in the arm!– James

I agree, and even with the current divisions that exist among the U.S. power brokers (with the Showtime/Golden Boy and HBO/Top Rank alliances basically creating two separate boxing leagues), I believe fans will still be treated to enough prime matchups to keep us busy for the next two years. In fact, the current division between the two top U.S. promoters and cable networks might even force the powers that be to make the best fights within their talent stables.

Top Rank/HBO has given us two terrific 140/147-pound matchups with Rios-Alvarado and Bradley-Provodnikov. Now it’s Golden Boy/Showtime’s turn with Mayweather-Guerrero, Peterson-Matthysse and Maidana-Lopez.

(I can already hear some anti-GBP fans groan as they call Mayweather-Guerrero a “mismatch.” Settle down, nerds, Bradley-Provodnikov was also viewed as a mismatch.)

Going into the fall HBO/Top Rank could give us Marquez-Bradley, Pacquiao-Rios or Alvarado-Provodnikov; while Showtime/GBP could deliver Guerrero-Lopez, the Argentine civil war of Matthysse-Maidana, Garcia-Peterson, Broner vs. Garcia or Peterson or Khan, or Thurman vs. Malignaggi or Devon Alexander. (Mayweather might go to 154 to face Canelo if he beats The Ghost, or maybe he’ll stay at 147 and defend against one of GBP’s welterweights.)

We’ll see what happens. You should be fired up.

By the way, I can see a 116-112 scorecard for Alvarado but from ringside I had it 115-113 for Mile High Mike. I scored rounds 1, 2, 7, 9 and 11 for Rios. There were a lot of close rounds but I can’t think of any others that clearly belonged to Bam Bam.

GGG: OMG THAT WAS IMPRESSIVE

I don’t care whether or not Ishida is a world beater – the guy had never been stopped and had fought quality opposition who could punch. YOWSA! That was frightening stuff – I thought it would take at least until the half way point to get him outta there – this was a statement right?

Who is GGG gonna fight on his next HBO date? Haven’t been this excited and eager to see a fighter perform in years, but just don’t think anyone is ever gonna give him the opportunity – tell me I’m wrong, right? – Ed from UK

I think the names of the 160- and 168-pound division will fight GGG after this year when he’s more established and HBO puts its money and marketing muscle firmly behind him.

I think this year is all about activity (fighting five times) and gaining popularity. I think Team Golovkin will fight anyone who is willing to step into the ring with him at this point. I’ve read some Tweets from top-10 contender Mathew Macklin, who said he would be ready to fight Golovkin in June or later in the year. If Golovkin’s management want a fight that would sell well in NYC or the UK, I think Macklin is the perfect opponent (and a worthy challenger).

I’ve heard Golovkin’s people are thinking about staging his next fight in the Los Angeles area. If that’s true, my good friend and East L.A. native Sergio Mora would like to make it known that he’s willing to step into the ring with “Superman.” Golovkin’s management wanted Sergio for sparring in preparation for the Ishida bout. The Latin Snake turned the sparring offer down and told them he’d rather box GGG without headgear in an arena.

Bold talk, but like Ishida (prior to facing Golovkin), Mora’s has never been stopped. He also doesn’t have much power, like the Japanese vet, but he’s got much better footwork and lateral movement. Could Golovkin look as good against Mora as he did against Ishida? I don’t know. But regardless of who he fights if he keeps bludgeoning guys as he did to Gabe Rosado or knocking them out cold as he did with Ishida, he’ll continue to gain fans and the big fight will eventually be made.

BRADLEY & ALVARADO: GANSTERS OF THE YEAR SO FAR

Wasup dude?! Been a minute I know but I’m bankin my credit is good with you dawg. Getting to the point. I’m going to go back a few weeks and just ask you a question. If I, a guy who WATCHES boxing knows better than to stand right in front of Provodnikov, then how come a guy that actually BOXES and has access to unlimited tape of his opponents didn’t know that? SMMFH! He had Bradley looking like a dime store version of Zab Judah after discovering that going back in a straight line against Tszyu was akin to leaving ones nuts laying around on a chopping block.

What can I say about Alvarado? Dude came ready to box and bang. Rios came to bang and though he does have some underrated subtle inside stuff that he does, he didn’t really adjust in this fight when he had to. Other than briefly re-discovering his jab in the late rounds he pretty much just stalked and tried to walk through the Denver A__Kicker! Hell of a fight though. I’d really like to see both of these guys take a break and then come back against a tad bit softer opposition before going in on one another again. Maybe I’m getting soft, lol.

Wouldn’t mind seeing Terrence Crawford again either. He looks like he can be something if they bring him along the right way. You know I’m partial to boxers so I’m glad to see another potential Sweet Scientist on the horizon. Holla back dawg cuz it been a long time since I hit up the bag and you need to go like my spice page. Check your FB inbox. – Fleetwood

I will. Thanks for reminding me that I have a Facebook inbox. And thank you for this instant classic line: “He had Bradley looking like a dime store version of Zab Judah after discovering that going back in a straight line against Tszyu was akin to leaving ones nuts laying around on a chopping block.”

You still got it, Fleet. That “cracked my s__t,” as my southern Missouri hillbilly pals used to say.

I was impressed with Crawford. He handled his first step-up fight (one taken on short notice), the bright lights of HBO, and a much bigger and more experienced foe with a lot of poise. I think we all saw a future contender – at lightweight. He should definitely drop back down to 135 pounds. The top contenders at 140 pounds are far more versatile than Prescott.

And yes, that includes Rios, who a lot of fans (not you) are s___ing on right now. I don’t understand why. I know he wasn’t able to make any effective adjustments against Alvarado but he still pushed the 32-year-old vet to the limit, made it a close fight on the scorecards and as you forced a hell of a fight.

So he’s not perfect. That’s part of the reason he’s so much fun to watch. Of course, we can all have too much fun. And I don’t think you’re being soft by hoping these card-carrying tough guys take a break before waging Ring War III.

NO REVERSE GEAR

I remember when BHOP beat Felix Trinidad (I bet a lot of your readers don’t know who he was or how fearsome he was at that time), they asked him how he did it so easily. I mean BHOP completely declawed him. It wasn’t even close and it was eventually a brutal career-ending beatdown. BHOP said Trinidad “didn’t have a reverse in his gearbox.”

Chico Corrales was a monster in the lighter weight classes when he fought Floyd, then PBF, and got dominated until his father stopped that fight as well. Moving on to Rios, Alvarado had more tools in his toolbox. He had more things he could do. I like Rios, he has a lot of balls, great chin, very aggressive, but his time at the top was always limited, fighting with your chin doesn’t make for long careers (not disrespecting him, he has a lot of inside infighting craft) although it does make for fun fights for fans. Rios was not undefeated before heading into the rematch. He got a decision but lost to Abril. Rios was losing several other fights at the time of the stoppage. I believe his title winning fight against a slick boxer puncher was rocking his head and Rios balls and chin wore the dude down to a brutal stoppage. In those weight classes Rios was too big and too strong. Going into the first fight people were surprised that Rios was the stronger man, maybe a slightly premature stoppage skewed things. I believe Alvarado might have been up at the time of the stoppage or maybe pretty close to even when the stoppage came from nowhere. As Bradley showed, if a guy has the right conditioning, he can overcome being hurt to come back, Alvarado did not get that chance and Rios won.

I’m not complaining. I’m saying all of that to say this, which I have been saying for a long time, whenever Rios races a guy he can’t stop, he will lose. His style is to wear you down and take punches doing so, and Alvarado had the right temperament to box and punch. Toward the second half of the fight, Rios was just following him around the ring not knowing what to do. He wanted to get close and just rip punches, but Alvarado wouldn’t give that to him, so Rios could never get set to punch and get off “three punch combinations” like Garcia wanted. I don’t think Rios will win the rubbermatch either, and that is why Arum doesn’t want to see it. I know he wants them to go other ways, I get it, but Alvarado will beat him when they fight again. Rios has to be in with the right guys to win, brawlers who will fight in a phone booth or guys he can crack and hurt and wear down to make them stand there and get taken to the woodshed. That is why Arum put Rios in the first Alvarado fight after losing to Abril, he knew he had to match him the right way as he was hot so he didn’t lose to an Abril. Rios is who he is, a big balls inside brawler and that is enough to produce some exciting wars if matched right, but it will also lead to some disappointing nights as last night was, the second half of the fight I hate to say he was outclassed, but maybe controlled? Put it this way, the second half was very easy to score and Rios looked lost, he looked like he wanted to just shout “stop boxing and FIGHT”. In the higher weight classes Rios will have problems. Good for Alvarado, he looked real good in turning the tables, he is a very good boxer-puncher. – JCB

I get what you are saying JCB. Rios is limited. That was no secret. I don’t think he was “exposed” against Alvarado. As you stated, he was being outboxed by Miguel Acosta (the slick dude he won the WBA lightweight title from) and he should have lost to Richar Abril. Fellow slugger John Murray was even with him through the middle rounds of their battle. And I had Alvarado ahead at the time of the stoppage in the first fight.

But here’s my reply to your observation: So what?

Apart from the Abril fight, all of those fights where Rios struggled were entertaining.

Maybe he was controlled for long periods during the Alvarado rematch. His never-say-die attitude and relentless stalking still made for an intense fight. And even though Alvarado fought and boxed the fight of his life, he still took A LOT of punishment. Please don’t make it sound like it’s a walk in the park for a boxer who has “a lot of tools” to beat a guy like Rios.

And don’t sell fighters who lack a “reverse gear” short, either. Felix Trinidad is going to get into the International Boxing Hall of Fame next year.

Some of boxing’s most celebrated icons and all-time greats lacked a “reverse gear,” including Harry Greb, Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Julio Cesar Chavez and Mike Tyson. Aside from The Rock, these legends all lost a few fights to the highest-level boxers of their eras. But again, so what? A loss here and there didn’t negate the excitement they generated or the adulation they received from fans after their boxing careers had ended.

There’s no doubt that Rios will have some “disappointing nights” before his career, however long it lasts, is over. Maybe it’s true that whenever he “races a guy he can’t stop, he will lose.” Again, so what? Rios hates losing but he isn’t in the sport to be undefeated. He wants to entertain and thrill. And he’s doing a great job of that. And when he’s done fighting, boxing fans will flock to him the same way the crowded around Tyson and Fernando Vargas in Las Vegas this past weekend.

Those fans didn’t care about their losses. They don’t mind that Tyson and Vargas had their share of limitations as prize fighters. All those fans remembered was the excitement.

 

 

Photos / Naoki Fukuda, Josh Hedges-Getty Images

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

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