Doug Fischer

Dougie’s very late Friday mailbag

WHO WINS? WHO KNOWS!?

Hey Douglas.

Thanks for getting back to me on Monday. Gave me something to boast to my buddies about! Just kidding!

Anyways, when the Lucas Matthysse-Lamont Peterson fight was first announced I blatantly declared that Matthysse was going to pound the s__t out of Peterson. No ifs or buts about it. Now I’m not too certain. Not that anything is certain in boxing!

For starters, my predictions have been downright crappy to say the least. Also, Peterson is a big step above Matthysse’s last few victims like Ajose Olusegun and Mike Dallas.

I never saw the Peterson-Ortiz fight but I certainly saw Peterson’s bout with Tim Bradley. And I have to laugh at those who carry on like Bradley destroyed Peterson outright. What fight were they watching? Bradley certainly scored the points put Peterson did the damage. (Actually, you can say the same about Bradley’s other crucial fights!)

As for the Khan fight and all this drug bulls__t that followed, I read so many variations of the story along with so many varied opinions that I’m not going to even touch that one.

Altogether I’m thinking that Matthysse’s power should win out here but Peterson’s certainly no chump and can really bang the body himself (just ask guys like Bradley and Kendall Holt!) So I’m not picking a winner. This time I’m watching the fight first before making a jackass out of myself (as opposed to those alphabet idiots who refuse to recognize this hard-hitting battle as a title-fight)! All the while throwing in this 141 pound “catchweight” rule. OK! But that’s beside the point. We should get a real poundathon here that should determine the most worthy opponent for The Champ, Danny Garcia. And that’s the main thing here.

As for the Devon Alexander-Lee Purdy fight I’m not sure what we’re going to get here. I always respected the fact that Devon always squares off against top-notch opposition, but his style just plain stinks! I can’t help but look back at the Devon who completely took apart Junior Witter and Juan Urango a few years ago. Whatever happened to that guy! Anyhow, get to me soon! – Dave Ward

Good question about Alexander’s style. He seemed to be more aggressive, more willing to trade punches in close a few years ago. Maybe he believed in his punching power more at the start of his first title reign, but I think three consecutive difficult fights (vs. Andreas Kotelnik, Bradley and Matthysse) brought him down to earth a bit, let him know that he wasn’t untouchable or invincible. Against Marcos Maidana and Randall Bailey (both of whom we know can crack), Alexander boxed careful, calculating fights. And he won without harm, so maybe his confidence is back to a place where he might risk a little bit against an unheralded British opponent. We’ll see.

We’ll also see what happens in the main event of Showtime’s broadcast from Atlantic City. I agree that Peterson-Matthysse is a toss-up fight. Isn’t it great to get a matchup like this and not even be bothered with “picking the winner”? The best fights are even matchups between aggressive boxer-punchers where you don’t give a damn who wins and don’t even try to analyze it or predict what will happen. You just enjoy the fight. What a concept!

I slightly favored Matthysse when the matchup was made, not because I think Lucas is the second coming of Roberto Duran or the American titleholder wasn’t up for the challenge, but because Peterson likes to fight! Peterson isn’t a slick boxer with fancy footwork. He’s an aggressive technician who is at his best when he’s pressing the action and grinding the opposition down. I thought this mentality would make for a terrific fight – and I still do – but that it would eventually cost him against such a strong opponent (who also possesses good technique, and underrated ring smarts).

My prediction was Matthysse by late-round TKO.

However, after learning about Matthysse’s ridiculously late arrival to the States for this fight, I have to wonder if he’s not going to be just a step slower in the early going of the fight, which allows Peterson to set the tone and pace. I think professional fighters (boxing and MMA) should at least give themselves one full week to acclimate to where they are fighting if they trained in a different part of the country or world.

Maybe it will go the distance. Maybe Peterson will outwork him. I think Peterson can hurt Matty to the body if he commits to it. (And by the way, you’re not alone in thinking that Peterson did the damage in the Bradley fight – and he did it to Timmy’s body.) Maybe Peterson stops Matty late? Maybe Matty clips Peterson early. Who knows? This is why we’re all going to watch.

PETERSON-MATTHYSSE PREDICTION

Hey Dougie,
I wanted to weigh in with my prediction for Matthysse-Peterson. I think I’m going with Peterson by late stoppage, or near stoppage. I think Matthysse’s power is real, and I think his boxing is underrated, but I think Peterson has a very tight defense and great durability lately, and I think he’ll grind Matthysse down at a work rate the Argentine isn’t comfortable with. I think Matthysse’s elite at 140 pounds, I don’t think he’ll be “exposed,” I just think Peterson’s the sort of rugged, skilled in-fighter that can spell trouble for a kind-of-slow Kostya Tszyu-type fighter. Take care. – Todd

Mattysse might not be a speed merchant, and though he’s got heavy hands like King Kostya, he’s not like Tszyu in that he becomes stifled when his opponent takes it to him. Tszyu would hold and grapple in an attempt to break down good in-fighters (sometimes that tactic worked, as it did with Sharmba Mitchell in their first fight; but it did not in his losses to Vince Phillips and Ricky Hatton).

Matthysse doesn’t hold and grapple in close in an attempt to slow down the pace of a fight. From what I’ve seen, he welcomes a hard fight contested in close. At least he did the last time an opponent tried to take it to him. That was former lightweight titleholder Humberto Soto, who tried to get inside and outwork Matty with combinations.

However, Matty (who did a good job of blocking and picking off punches from the outside) was able to match Soto’s work rate in close. He didn’t try to tie Soto up and he didn’t allow Soto to push him back on his heels. Matty dropped his own body-head combinations and he gradually beat up and overpowered the skilled Mexican veteran. By the time Soto tried to switch tactics and box from a distance his arms and his body were too wore down for him to do so.

Of course, Peterson is naturally bigger and more durable than Soto, who began his career at featherweight, so I don’t expect Matty to grind the Washington D.C. native down to a mid-rounds stoppage.

I think we have an even fight tomorrow night. I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility for Peterson to score a late TKO or come close to it, as you predict. He’s as tough and durable as pro fighters come. However, I’m not sure I agree with you on his “very tight defense.” Apart from his high guard and occasionally dipping his upper body, I don’t see much defense from Peterson. Covering up behind your gloves and forearms is not “defense” because you’re still getting hit. Peterson’s not the slickest cat out there.

But that’s OK because neither is Matthysse. These two badasses – THE RING’s Nos. 1- and 2-rated junior welterweights – are going to throwing hard punches and they’re going to get hit tomorrow night. We’ll who can take as much as he dishes out.

TIME FOR PACQUIAO TO HANG THEM UP?

Hey there Dougie,
I am writing in regards to Manny Pacquiao’s upcoming bout with Brandon Rios in Macau, China. After more than 20 years in the sport and after being the first in boxing history to become an “Octuple” champion (8 weight divisions) I am left wondering how much “Pac-Man” has left in him. It is clear that the brutal ring wars with Barrera, Morales, and Marquez have taken their toll on the Filipino Icon. I am not just talking about the KO in his last fight with Marquez (those right hands would have KO’ed King Kong). In his fight with “Desert Storm,” Pacquiao appeared to coast a bit, doing just to enough to ensure the victory (or so he thought). “Pac-man” seemed a bit winded at times and was not able to really pour it on when he had Bradley rocked. I was disappointed with the decision in that fight, but Manny took the loss very graciously.

I do believe, however, that Manny has what it takes to beat Brandon Rios. I think if “Pac-man” fights smart and utilizes his speed advantage, moving in and out he will beat “Bam-Bam” by a wide margin; as long as Manny does not get baited into a slugfest with Rios.

As a fan, I would like to see Manny retire on a win. Pacquiao always delivers; at times his opponents did not show up to fight, but “Pac-Man” is always the aggressor pressing the action. Manny has given the fans great fights from his trilogy with Morales, slugfests with Barrera to highlight reel stoppages of David Diaz, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, and Miguel Cotto, there is nothing left for the Philippine phenom to prove. Winning titles in 8 different weight classes, and brining his ferocious power with him all the way to junior middleweight, Pacquaio is an all time great. I would hate to see Manny suffer unnecessary damage by becoming a stepping stone for some of the upcoming fighters.

What’re your thoughts Doug? Do you think it would damage Pacquiao’s legacy if he were to retire after his fight with Rios? Or do you think there is more for “Pac-Man” to accomplish in boxing at this point in his career?

(P.S. thanks for the Rugged Man boxing freestyle link; I must have watched it about 10x last week!) – Hank, Prince George, Canada

R.A. put it down with that one. No doubt about it.

There’s also no doubt in my mind that Pacquiao’s legacy is secured. I think he could retire before the Rios fight and remain a hero in the Philippines and a respected fan favorite worldwide for the rest of his life. He’s given more than enough to the sport (especially to Filipino boxing).

The only thing left for him to do is fight Mayweather, but given the deep personal, promotional and network divide that exists, I don’t think it’s ever going to happen – even though Pacquiao is less of a ring threat.

Pacquiao has faded considerably over the last three years. I think he peaked in 2009. His ridiculously busy lifestyle, fighting and training at unnaturally heavy weights, and Father Time have clearly taken their toll. Not only do I think his body is rapidly declining, I think his desire to fight has been waning, probably since he won a congressional seat back home and since he won his eighth title vs. Margarito.

I think the Rios fight should be his last, even if he scores early knockout, but I’m certain that it won’t be. Too many people benefit (monetarily and otherwise) from Pacquiao’s fighting career and like most Filipino fighters, Manny is an extreme “people pleaser.”

I don’t think Pacquiao will hang up his gloves until he’s knocked out at least one more time; and by the way, I think it’s very possible that Rios could be the next fighter to stop the future hall of famer.

MAYWEATHER’S ALTERNATIVES

Hi Doug (or do you prefer Douglas or Dougie?)!

Topic of the week is who will be the next loser (or soon to be) fighting Mayweather. I still think Mayweather is nummer ett (Swedish for number one) so let’s have a discussion who the contender should be.

I agree with some fans that Canelo is too heavy (more like 170 lb than 147 lb). Which leaves us with two alternatives as I see it; Bradley (if he wins against Marquez) and Danny Garcia. What do you think? Any of those fighters would stand a chance? Any other options?

I saw an interview with Danny G and when asked about the next opponent for Mayweather I was surprised he did not even suggest himself (or is that bad manners)?

There are two weight classes you wanna be in right now, like the equivalence to NY and LA – middleweight and lightweight. That’s where it happens. (Stockholm is more like junior lightweight).

I wish there would be a new tournament for those weight classes like the Super Six but it seems unlikely. But what do you think would happen with the contenders:

Middleweight: Martinez, Geale, Golovkin, Quillin, Alvarez and Chavez?

And in featherweight: M Garcia, Chris John, Mares, Rigondeaux and Nonito?

Best. – Stefan “King of the North” von Ajkay, Stockholm

What’s up, Stefan? Thanks for writing. I’ll answer to any form of “Doug.”

It looks like you’re one shy of a Super Six at featherweight. May I suggest “The Russian Mexican,” IBF 126-pound titleholder Evgeny Gradovich, of some UK flavor with either Carl Frampton or Scott Quigg?

What happens in either Super Six depends on the matchups. I think Rigo would do well against the other guys you included except for John, whose constant jab and lateral movement would through off the Cuban lefty’s counter-punching style. So if Rigo was matched with the Indonesian icon in his first match, I could see an upset that would affect the rest of the tournament. If I have to pick an eventual winner, I’ll with the underappreciated dark horse, John.

If a middleweight Super Six with the guys you included took place two years ago, I’d pick Martinez without hesitation but Father Time has clearly gotten to the once-dynamic southpaw. Now I favor GGG. I think he’s too strong for the old man, Geale and Alvarez; and he’s too sharp and smart for Kid Choc and Junior.

Regarding Mayweather’s next opponent, I can’t get excited about anyone unless it’s Canleo. Yeah, I know he’s bigger and heavier than Mayweather. That’s why it’s an interesting fight. He’s 22 years old, dude. He’s not on Floyd’s level in terms of skill, ring generalship and experience. Alvarez’s size, underrated versatility and ability to turn the fight with one punch should make for a competitive fight.

I honestly don’t understand all this talk about him being too big for Mayweather, who has won two titles at 154 pounds and has faced a dozen other fighters (from Castillo to Ortiz) who put on considerable weight after the weigh in.

Garcia didn’t mention himself as an opponent for Mayweather because he knows he still has work to do at 140 pounds, like face the winner of Peterson-Matthysse. I can’t get excited about him facing Mayweather any time soon. He faded against Zab Judah, the guy who fades in big fights. And an ancient El Terrible out-jabbed him in their first fight.

Bradley is promoted by Top Rank and he’s got a deal with HBO. Why is anyone even tossing his name into the hat of potential Mayweather opponents? And how can you get hyped about Mayweather fighting a guy who just went life and death with Ruslan Provodnikov?

BURNS BIASED

Hey Dougie,

It’s been a while since my last email, work has gotten the better of me but I’m still reading the mailbag! I felt compelled to write in after reading Tom Gray’s article on Ricky Burns, “Burns too hot for Chelo Gonzalez”, it was a well written article, but if you had not seen the fight, grossly mis-informative! Now I know scoring rounds is a subjective business at the best of times, but Mr. Gray paints a picture of Ricky Burns putting on a boxing clinic vs Gonzalez. I’m a fan of Ricky but he was outclassed for 7 rounds, credit to him for showing a big ol’ haggis sized heart in never giving up and mention closing the fight well, but Gonzalez had completely gassed and had basically given up after the 8th round, not because Burns had “disassembled the Puerto Rican with jeweler’s care”! Tom Gray is either suffering with severe cataracts or has worse judgment than the judges who scored Rios vs Abril…

I’m sorry if I seem a little bitchy, but The Ring is THE Bible of boxing. I can live with P4P rankings as their hypothetical bulls__t at the best of times, and people who say that the divisional rankings are GBP propaganda are morons. But it just rakes against me when misleading information is posted in the main feeds! (Not that it happens often, as this is the first I’ve encountered of fights that I’ve watched.)

To this weekends action, who do you feel will come out on top in the Peterson vs Matthysse fight? My heart says Lucas pulls off the KO, but I can’t help shaking the feeling Lamont’s whiskers will hold up and he’ll rise from a knockdown and win a close fought (and disputed) split decision. Regardless this is going to be a slugfest and I can’t wait! If Matthysse does manage to brutally KO Peterson, the only outcome is to send him up into Outer Space a la World War Hulk, cause Danny Garcia won’t want a piece of him!

I’m also looking forward to hearing who Carl Frampton’s next opponent is, I’ve heard their looking at Terrazas, Romero and Mathebula, who do you think is the most likely?

Anyway apologies for the long winded poorly written rant! I’ll try to be more concise next time.  Regards. – Tosh, Ireland

You did just fine, Tosh. This email was almost as well-written as a Tom Gray deadline report. (I just had to go there, didn’t I?)

In Gray’s defense, sometimes the fight you see from press row is different from what others see on TV. I thought Saul Alvarez was in firm command of his fight with Austin Trout watching it live from ringside, but those watching on TV thought it was a toss-up throughout (and more than a few thought Trout edged the ginger dandy).

I thought Gonzalez was ahead on points at the time of the stoppage but I saw a competitive bout. I didn’t agree with Tom’s take that Burns was in control or the take of the British commentators (led by the wonderful Jim Watt) that Gonzalez was outclassing the defending titleholder. I thought it was a competitive fight but that Gonzalez had won more rounds going into the pivotal seventh round. After that, it was all Burns.

I think Burns was just a little rusty and caught off guard by an unknown quantity. Nobody knew that Gonzalez boxed like that. In many ways, he was like a mirror image of Burns when the Scotsman is at his best – tall and rangy with a sharp jab, quick counters, and good footwork; only the Puerto Rican also had quicker hands and better upper body movement.

Hopefully we see both in the ring against top 135 pounders asap.

Regarding Matthysse-Peterson, I don’t care who wins or what happens. I just want a good fight with no controversy. I’m confident that we’ll get the first part of my wish; if only I could be sure about the second part.

If Matty wins, I think Garcia will surprise you by defending his titles against the Argentine hammer.

I don’t know who Frampton will fight when it comes time to go for a title (or title elimination bout), but we can’t go wrong with either of the three you mentioned. All three can fight and will test how good the young contender is (and I think he’s very good).

 

 

Photo / Naoki Fukuda

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

Around the web