APRIL APOCALYPSE COMES TO A CLOSE
Hey Douglas. What’s up?
Well, we’re now near the end of boxing’s “Apocalyptic April.” We certainly haven’t been getting the brutal kind of crunch-action we got during the “March Mayhem,” though Saul Alvarez-Austin Trout was a good one and we still got two championship fights tomorrow night.
Let’s start with Alvarez-Trout. Sure Alvarez won because he’s Oscar’s Golden Boy and he has that upcoming mega-fight in September (against whom, though?), but I’m certain that Canelo’s underrated boxing skills along with his more damaging punches had something to do with his win as well. In fact I scored the fight 7-rounds-to-5 for Alvarez based on those reasons alone.
I also agree with your buddy Fleetwood when he stated that Alvarez can beat any of those other 154-pounders. Well almost.
I really think Alvarez would be too skilled for guys like James Kirkland, Ishe Smith and Alfredo Angulo. Not sure how he’ll handle Erislandy Lara’s puzzling, ugly-ass style, though.
As for Tyson Fury, he might be a flawed fighter but a fun one nevertheless. I’d rather watch him brawl it out with the Chris Arreolas and David Hayes of the world than watch the Klitchkos carefully control any of their overmatched opponents.
Moving onto this weekend, I’m predicting Danny Garcia to kick Zab Judah’s ass rather handily. I know this is “the year of upsets” but I also know that Judah’s probably still that self-destructive headcase who has all the focus of a fruit fly.
And Garcia will have too much focus as well as too much gusto to lose this one.
Martinez-Murray? It’s like this. Road Warrior Murray is certainly no chump! Just ask Felix Sturm! Maravilla is pushing 40 and he’s been in those really punishing fights in the last four years, especially that last one against Chavez. He’ll probably still have more than enough in the tank to give his screaming mob of fans what they want and kick this upstart’s ass. But if Martinez hits the wall overnight upstart Murray might score the year’s biggest upset yet. Not likely but I remember thinking that Ricky Hatton will be no match for Kosta Tszyu.
Granted, Murray doesn’t have the luxury of fighting in his hometown like Hatton but Marvilla has more wear and tear than Tszyu did at the time. We’ll see what happens. – Dave
I think Murray will acquit himself well against Martinez but unlike his promoter (Hatton), I don’t think he has the style to make the aging champ get old overnight. Hatton’s rough-and-smothering style was the best weapon against Tszyu, who had always been poison for boxers who operate from a distance. Murray stands straight up and likes to punch and then cover up (somewhat like Darren Barker, though more aggressive). I don’t think that style beats Maravilla tomorrow night, plus I think the 38-year-old champ will be pumped up fighting in front of his countrymen. I like Martinez by late stoppage or UD.
Like you, I favor Garcia to beat Judah and retain his RING, WBA and WBC 140-pound titles in Judah’s hometown, but I also expect the 35-year-old challenger to have more than one or two moments in the fight – especially early. But even if he has to get up off the canvas, I think Garcia is going to be patient and resilient and wait for the right moment to land a monster counter punch that turns the fight. Garcia by mid-to-late rounds stoppage.
I’ll say it right now. I’m a Fury fan. I want to see him fight The Hayemaker next and if he somehow gets by his fellow brash Brit, I say let him at one of the K-Brothers. He has no shot of beating either Ukrainian but he’ll force the world to pay attention to the heavyweight division. Beyond the Klitschkos there are the winners of Arreola-Stiverne, Deontay Wilder-Audley Harrison and Seth Mitchell-Jonathan Banks. Fury-Wilder would be a lot of fun for as long as it lasts.
I would strongly favor Canelo over Angulo and Kirkland. I think Smith would be a difficult fight for the 22-year-old champ. Lara is a pain in the ass for any 154 pounder, but don’t forget that he was lucky to get that draw against Carlos Molina and he didn’t do much in that technical draw with Vanes Martirosyan. Canelo outpoints the version of Lara that fought both Molina and Martirosyan.
The month of March had the badass slugfests (Bradley-Provodnikov, Rios-Alvarado II), but the month of April hosted the bigger events (Canelo-Trout; Martinez-Murray, Garcia-Judah).
DREAM MIDDLEWEIGHT MATCH
I want Trout vs Golovkin, and soon. I feel they are about the same size and that Trout possesses the tools, reach, and aggressiveness to cause Golovkin all sorts of fits.
Trout is gonna need a comeback fight in the spotlight fairly soon and this is the ticket. Also Golovkin probably isn’t going to be scoring any big fights with other middles after Macklin for awhile. Would Gennady even give him a shot? I’m sure you’ve got some insight to this type of fight.
Thanks. – Neal
Team Golovkin would welcome a challenge from a classy fighter like Trout. The only thing that would get in the way of this fight happening would be the network situation. GGG is an HBO player, while Trout has been a Showtime product since arriving on the world-class scene a few years ago.
However, although Trout is managed by Al Haymon, he’s promoted by Greg Cohen, who has no particular allegiances with either U.S. cable giant, so maybe they could get it done.
Trout would need at least one really strong comeback win, preferably at middleweight (I would suggest Marco Antonio Rubio or the winner of the May 4 J’Leon Love-Gabriel Rosado fight) before the end of summer, and then maybe he could be the last 2013 opponent for Golovkin.
By the way, I was talking to an HBO boxing executive during the undercard of the Rios-Alvarado rematch and he told me that GGG was the “only” HBO boxer who accepted “every” opponent suggested or approved by the network.
BOXING KICKS MORE ASS
Canelo did it! He pounded out Trout and showed all those Faceboobs that he is the real f___in’ deal! All the while making those no-nothings be thankful that it wasn’t anyone of them in there taking those brutal shots, especially those right-handed crunchers to the noggin!
Not that there’s many guys out there that would have withstood them and fight hard down the wire like Trout did! That guy has a fighting heart wider than the ass-imprint in James Toney’s couch. All the more credit to Canelo for beating such a tough, determined opponent! And who ever thought that Canelo will be that hard to hit? The dude brawled and boxed to what I strongly KNOW was a well-deserved decision. Right on!
Where does Alvarez go from here? The dude’s still in his early 20s and still has plenty of time to polish up some more. Scary thought for future opponents. Mayweather included!
Cunningham-Fury: I originally picked Cunningham but sometimes it works out that the bigger, stronger guy wins it. I’ll credit Fury for tearing into Cunningham the way a huge guy like him is supposed to do it! He also doesn’t candy-coat his words which makes this hulking Irish bastard one of the most fun guys to interview.
Can’t say much for his “singing” though. He sounded like a baby elephant getting pinched in the privates!
I also won’t overlook those flush shots Fury caught in the early going. Especially that one that knocked him hard on his ass! Had me wondering if the big Irishman would have still came back like gangbusters if that was Wladimir Klitschko landing those shots.
Altogether it was another kickass night for Boxing! And another bloated blackeye on all those “boxing-is-dead” c___suckers. As fight fans we have better things to do than to take time out and smell their horses__t! See ya buddie!! – Todd The Terminator
Last Saturday a non-title heavyweight bout was televised live on NBC in the afternoon and later that evening close to 40,000 fans watched Canelo prove himself against a credible opponent in San Antonio. Tomorrow night close to 50,000 fans will cheer on the middleweight champ as the two major subscription cable networks televise boxing from Argentina, England, Southern California and Brooklyn.
Anyone who says “boxing is dead” deserves one of ‘Bam Bam’ Rios’ trademark titty twisters.
I’ll say it now. I’m looking forward to Fury’s next fight.
I’ll also say this – you’ve got the best two lines in this week’s Friday mailbag:
“He sounded like a baby elephant getting pinched in the privates!”
“That guy has a fighting heart wider than the ass-imprint in James Toney’s couch.”
I think the next step for Alvarez is to headline a major PPV card. Mayweather is the perfect A-side. If Floyd’s not ready (and who knows? He might never be), Miguel Cotto makes a good B-side.
Alvarez learned a lot during those 12 rounds of “speed chess” (as Larry Merchant put it) with Trout and I have no doubt (sorry for the pun, Austin) that he will continue to improve. That tells me that if Mayweather is going to fight Canelo, he should do it this year.
RING CHAMPIONSHIP FIGHTS
Just giving a rundown on this month full of title matches.
Rigondeaux-Donaire. While many fans ripped Donaire for his poor strategy many others ripped Rigo for not going for the knockout. The way I see it is that Donaire fights best when his opponent comes straight at him. He’s not exactly a prime JC Chavez Sr when it comes to cutting the ring off. And if Rigo opened up more that might have played into Donaire’s hands. Boxing like he did was what threw Donaire off. Why mess with what works?
Alvarez-Trout. Fans can keep dumping on Alvarez all they want. But we all saw the look on Trout’s face afterwards. Even he knew he lost. Why didn’t he commit more? He was thrown off by Alvarez’s surprising boxing skills plus it was clear that Alvarez was also the stronger, harder-hitting fighter. That’s all there is to it.
By the way, since Mayweather is going to stay at welter according to a recent article who do you think Alvarez will face next?
Garcia-Judah. I’m no Judah fan but I’ll admit that he still has the physical tools to pull off a big upset. But does he have the mindset to do it? Especially since this is probably do or die for him? We all know how fired up Garcia is for this one. If we can get a fully focused Judah here, we could be in for a real intense bout between two fast hard-hitting boxer-punchers. If we get the Judah who choked against Amir Khan or the one who stupidly walked into Kosta Tszyu, it’s Garcia’s fight!
Martinez-Murray. I’m giving Murray all the credit for not only challenging Martinez but for also venturing in front of a massive hostile crowd to tackle Argentina’s finest. Who says European fighters are all homebodies?
I know it’s a longshot for Murray to pull it off. But I wish him the best.
One thing that should be noted. Back in 2010 and early 2011 Maravilla was destroying the opposition. In his last three fights he’s been having a much tougher time. Why? Kelly Pavlik had already crashed and burned. Paul Williams was basically a junior middleweight. So was Maravilla’s Ukrainian opponent in early 2011. His last three opponents were full-fledged middleweights in their primes.
One more thing. Remember how I criticized Fleetwood for his Tim Bradley-Zab Judah comparison? This time I’m going to give him his props for his past weekend observations. Especially the way he credited Alvarez. There’s not a biased or racial bone in this guy’s body.
By contrast have you noticed that many of Alvarez’s critics (at least on Facebook) are non-Mexican? Just like some Mexican fans rip just about every non-Mexican fighter there is. More annoying are some of the racial slurs that some of these Facebook toughguys are coming up with. Do any of them have even have lives or what’s their deal here? Anyways they should go by Fleetwood’s example. Thanks for hearing me out Dougie! Cheers! – Phil
The worst thing about the internet is the ignorant/hateful comments we have to endure on message boards, forums and social media.
I agree that Fleetwood is a real fan of boxing, not a cheerleader for boxers of a particular ethnic/national/regional background. I wish more folks who followed boxing were like Fleet.
Martinez, who is a natural 154-pounder himself, has had a tough time in his last three bouts, physically speaking, but I thought he clearly outclassed Chavez, Macklin and Barker and won the majority of rounds in each contest. Murray won’t be easy but I think the veteran southpaw has too much talent and too many tricks for the young contender.
Both Judah and Garcia have something to prove tomorrow night, so I think we’re going to get a good fight.
I agree with your take on Alvarez-Trout, and I think Cotto is next for Canelo.
I also agree with your take on Rigondeaux-Donaire. Rigo fought/boxed the near-perfect fight against Donaire, who didn’t use his head enough, in my opinion.
Marcus from Ohio here with a couple questions:
1 – Would Felix Trinidad vs Fernando Vargas be a RING championship fight if THE RING was awarding titles at the time, or would Winky Wright’s presence in the division make that it something like 1 vs 3?
2 – What chance would you give Canelo Alvarez against Vargas or Wright?
3 – How did you score De La Hoya vs Mosley 2?
4 – What chance would you give the late Vernon Forrest against prime 147 versions of Mayweather, Pacquiao, Guerrero, Marquez, and Bradley?
Thanks! – Marcus
Thank you for writing, Marcus. I’ll answer your questions in order:
1 – Trinidad-Vargas would have been for THE RING’s 154-pound title had the “new” championship policy (which was re-started in 2002) been around in 2000. Tito was rated No. 1; Vargas was No. 2. Wright wasn’t among the magazine’s top three junior middleweights at the time. In 2000, the future champ of the division was No. 7, behind David Reid (No. 3), Ike Quartey (No. 4), Francisco Castillejo (No. 5) and Harry Simon (No. 6).
2 – I’d favor the prime versions of both Vargas and Wright to outpoint Canelo at this stage of his career.
3 – I had Mosley winning 115-113.
4 – I’d give the late “Viper” a very good chance of beating every boxer you mentioned.
GOOD TIMES FOR BOXING
Great times for boxing at the moment – Canelo vs Trout was exactly what boxing should be about & despite open scoring (& one odd scorecard) it didn’t disappoint. I think the end result was right & what makes it all the more great for boxing: Trout in defeat. No complaining, no blaming lack of prep, no claims of bad judging, no crap about open scoring; he had praise for his opponent & accepted his defeat. He deserved a belt for such champion calibre behaviour.
On the flip side I was disappointed with Donaire’s half hearted effort against Rigondeaux. I always expect a 110% performance from him and I think that’s what makes great champions great champions. I read a lot of articles about how he was schooled & Rigondeaux put on a clinic… I highly disagree & I think the close scores were accurate. There were some rounds I wondered afterward if Rigo had even threw a punch other than a windy jab. Martinez on Chavez Jr was a CLINIC. someone should send Rigo a copy of that fight (even includes a late round knockdown ;)).
Along with everyone else, I’m looking forward to May Day & would like to know who you are picking? I’m going with The Ghost for the upset decision – you don’t eye off the top dog as long as he has just to lose. Mayweather has been training for Guerrero for a few months whereas Guerrero has been training for Mayweather for years.
Also what’s your pick for Broner vs Malignaggi? For me it’s the Magic Man – Broner is overrated, overhyped & very good at avoiding anyone resembling a threat… He has pretty much ruined the P4P Rankings for me.
Keep up the good work Doug! – Dale Paddon
Thanks, Dale. I’ll pass that last comment on to Chuck Giampa.
I think Malignaggi will give Broner fits for 12 rounds but his lack of pop will bite him in the ass when it comes to the official scorecards. I think Broner wins a very close, maybe controversial decision (although I hope I’m wrong about the controversy).
Good point about Guerrero. You’re right. He’s had Mayweather in his mind and sights for a few years now. Still, I like think Mayweather’s talent, intelligence and experience will enable the veteran to score a competitive but clear unanimous decision.
I thought Rigo clearly won the majority of rounds even when he wasn’t letting his hands go because Donaire wasn’t very active as he stalked and he was missing with many of his shots.
Trout’s class and maturity after the Alvarez fight was refreshing and one of the highlights of that event. He’s made a lot of lifelong fans.
A FAN’S P.O.V ON P4P
I’m a fan of yours, and I got to admit that I look for your articles and mailbags every week. Of all the boxing writers I read, you are my favorite, and the mailbag is part of the reason, keep it up.
You mention, quite often now, how you hate pound for pound rankings. Well, I wanted to explain why it is important to casual and hardcore fans both. Maybe even convince you, that you think it is important.
Often times I will read an article by boxing writers, including yourself, mention that one boxer beat another boxer who was considered by many to be a pound for pound top 10. You used this argument yourself a few mailbags back to mention that Donaire’s win over Montiel was significant because many writers considered Montiel a top 10 pound for pound fighter. That carries significance, especially when people write about Donaire 10 years from now. Many, many times when trying to educate younger boxing fans about important fights in history, writers go out of their way to mention that both fighters were considered at the top of the pound for pound list (see Sugar Ray Leonard vs Roberto Duran). Same goes for relaying significance to new fans about upsets. Do you know how many times I’ve read that Mike Tyson was considered #1 pound for pound when he lost to Buster Douglas?
If Manny had of fought Floyd the fight would have been huge, and for generations it would of always been mentioned that both fighters were #1 and #2 on the pound for pound list and that this hardly ever happens. People wouldn’t explain that they were the top 2 welterweights, they would mention they were considered the top 2 in all weight classes. Pound for pound carries historical significance in my humble opinion.
I would love to hear back from you. – Jordan
You’re absolutely right. The Pound-for-Pound rankings are more important than divisional ratings in the minds of many hardcore fans, the promoters and network executives (especially those with HBO, who pushed the mythical ratings to the public during the 1990s in order to hype up their contract fighters, such as Pernell Whitaker, Roy Jones Jr., Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, Mayweather, etc.).
However, that wasn’t the case when I was a young boxing fan. The “pound-for-pound” concept was around in the ‘70s and ‘80s but fans, the sports media and the networks weren’t obsessed with a top 10 list of the so-called “elite” fighters. Sugar Ray Leonard’s bouts with Roberto Duran and Thomas Hearns (in ’80 and ’81) could have been billed as pound-for-pound showdowns but they weren’t. Fans didn’t get too caught up in that, or the fact that Leonard and Hearns were unifying the WBC and WBA 147-pound titles, or how much money each fighter was making, etc. They were simply promoted as “super fights:” two bona-fide stars at their physical peaks going at it in bouts we all knew would be competitive and dramatic.
It used to be about the FIGHTS, not the damn RANKINGS (especially not “mythical rankings”).
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not AGAINST the pound-for-pound concept or rankings. I think, for the most part, that they are harmless and fun. I just don’t like how serious some fans are about an imaginary system of ranking the most accomplished or talented boxers in the sport. Again, I’ve got nothing against imaginary s__t. I collect comic books for Christ’s sake. But I’m not going to be that guy who argues with other collectors about who the best writers, artists, companies, and so on are. I’m not one of those comic fans who complains about a cartoon adaptation of one of his favorite titles not being “true to the characters,” “hardcore” or “realistic” enough.
You know why? I don’t care about that bulls__t, and even if I did give a rat’s ass, I don’t have time for it. I have a life.
If you’ve been following me for more than five years than you know I used to compile a semi-regular pound-for-pound list ranking 25 fighters, as well as periodic all-time divisional rankings, which always had comprehensive reasons for each ranking. Well, I had to stop doing those lists because the feedback was overwhelming and extremely annoying. I don’t mind people disagreeing with me, but when I provide my typical long-winded explanations for each damn ranking I don’t want to get 30-50 emails asking me “why” or “how” I rated so-in-so over so-in-so.
There would be a huge fight coming up but half of my emails would still be about a pound-for-pound ranking or an all-time list that I compiled a month ago. So I said to hell with it. It’s not worth it.
I want to discus fights, not rankings.
HEAD-TO-HEAD IN SEPTEMBER?
Do you think they (GBP & top rank) will once again go head to head on that big September 14th PPV weekend?
I have to use a credit I have for a flight after canceling when Floyd decided to fight Guerrero instead of Canelo on May 4th. Is the MGM booked by GBP on the Mexican Independence Day? It’s looking like Marquez vs Bradley from the Thomas and Mack, which is a super solid fight. In my eyes Mayweather vs Canelo is THE PERFECT fight to happen on this date, but I have a feeling Floyd will give Alvarez the Pacquiao treatment.
Who wins and how (fights I want the most)
Sergio Martinez vs Golovkin
Thanks champ. – Mike from CT
I think it’s possible we could get head-to-head pay-per-view shows on Sept. 14. It might come down to what Mayweather wants to do (or who he wants to fight on that date, or if he’s willing to move his second bout of 2013 to October); or it could come down to what Mexican television wants.
If the Mexican television partners (Azteca for Top Rank; Televisa for Golden Boy Promotions) and beer sponsors (Tecate for TR; Corona for GBP) want the top two U.S. promoters to put big shows on Sept. 14, we’ll probably get head-to-head shows again. Then again, Mexican Independence Day falls on a Monday (Sept. 16) this year, so they could ask for a Sunday boxing show (rare for the U.S.) to be the lead-in to the live broadcast of the president of Mexico’s midnight Independence Day speech.
We might get MID shows in more than one city this year. The MGM Grand is indeed reserved for a Mayweather fight on Sept. 14. If his opponent is Canelo, I think GBP/Showtime PPV has the bigger event on that night. If not, I wouldn’t be surprised if Canelo headlined his own show somewhere else (Texas, L.A., maybe NYC vs. Cotto?) and the Showtime PPV is a dual site broadcast. Or maybe Canelo will fight on Sunday in Mexico. Who knows?
We’re getting ahead of ourselves (as usual). There are a lot of good fights to be fought before September. We have plenty of time later to debate or complain about boxing politics.
Sergio Martinez vs Golovkin – GGG by come-from-behind late stoppage
Matthysse vs D. Garcia (won’t happen) – Matthysse by close and competitive UD
Khan vs Garcia II – Khan by uneventful UD
Canelo vs Floyd – ask me after May 4