Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

 

THE COBRA

Hi Doug,

Been a while since I wrote, college exams and whatnot. The Carl Froch-Mikkel Kessler rematch had the kind of intensity that you couldn’t take your eyes off the screen. I might be in the minority, but I think this version of Froch – ie. utilising his boxing skills more – presents a stiffer challenge to Andre Ward. Don’t get me wrong, Ward should and would be odds on favourite but I don’t think it would be the simple case of rinse and repeat that some commentators seem to believe.

Lucas Matthysse lands his bombs precisely because he isn’t crude. I think he stops Danny Garcia late and that is in no way meant to disrespect Garcia who is a really good fighter in my humble opinion. I know this fight is a long ways off but if Manny Pacquiao can rediscover his form he beats the tar out of Brandon Rios. If not, well …….

One last note, 118-110 ?????

Look after yourself. – Ken, Cork, Ireland

Thanks for checking in Ken. 

I didn’t get that 118-110 score for the Froch-Kessler rematch, either. Perhaps that score would have made sense if the bout were conducted under amateur rules or if Kessler’s punches lacked all snap and pop, but we both know that the Danish star was landing bombs (55 percent of his power punches, according to CompuBox), as was Froch.

I scored it 115-113 for Froch, and can see a 116-112 total for the Brit, but the 118-110 scorecard seems a bit disrespectful to Kessler in my opinion and does not convey the competitive nature of the bout.

I agree that if Pacquiao can regain the form he had two-to-three years ago, he’ll punish Rios. However, I don’t think the Filipino hero can turn back the clock or regain the hunger he had as “the Pac-monster,” so I see a brutally competitive fight that makes for good TV. And I don’t count “Bam Bam” out in that fight, either.

I’ve been saying (and writing) that Matthysse has good technique and boxing ability since before his fight with Devon Alexander. (And unlike a lot of other boxing writers and bloggers, I can back my claims up with actual stories – here’s a 2011 Gym Notes I wrote on Matty about a week before he traveled to St. Louis, where he was blatantly screwed.)

Anyone who classifies Matthysse as “crude” doesn’t know what they are looking at.

And anyone who thinks Ward will “have his way” with Froch in a rematch is sadly mistaken. I would still favor Ward to win a return bout with The Cobra, but I think it’s a fight worth seeing, especially if the promoters and networks involved can work out a deal to entice the American champion to leave the U.S. and face the Brit in the UK.

SHERIFF OF NOTTINGHAM

whats up dougie?

first of all let me start off with the cobra. i believe he won decisively but was in a competitive fight, not sure about the 118-110 scorecard, but i had about 4-6 rounds depending on how you view the 4th or 12th rounds. but all the judges were neutral, so there can be no real complaints from team kessler, not that they were. they’re classy people.

i was impressed with carl’s accurate snappy jab in the first 3 rounds, they came from his waist. it was a little reminiscent of tommy hearn’s flicker. kessler didn’t see it coming, but like a real champ he adapted and remained competitive, even rocking the cobra in the 11th, but that chin is made off that plaster s__t margarito put in his gloves.

what are your views on froch? he’s regarded as a british great now, but what do you think he has to achieve to be a great in this era.

mythical/potential matchups:

froch vs ward and calzaghe, not both at once (lol)

calzaghe vs ward

also i know you’re not too fund of p4p discussions but surely froch deserves to be ahead of some of these young guns, just my 2 cent, as you guys say.

mythical matchups:

w. klitchko vs lennox lewis and larry holmes, all have great jabs and defence, but does wladdy’s size and reach behind his jab beat them?

(and what do you think he has to achieve to become recognised as a truly great heavyweight by the u.s., beat joe louis title defences record?)

hopkins vs monzon

duran vs arguello

would appreciate a shoutback. – abdirahman from london

“Big ups” (as Lennox used to say after his fights) to my man Abdi from London – the top of the food chain! How’s that for a shoutback?

I scored both rounds four and 12 for Kessler, which is why my very unofficial scorecard was so close. I fully recognize that both of those rounds were close and could easily be scored for Froch.

Froch’s jab – along with his activity and refusal to be backed up – was the difference in the fight. The way he fired it from his hip was a little reminiscent of Hearns’ left stick. Too bad Froch doesn’t possess the Hitman’s speed and power, he’d be unstoppable!

(Come to think of it, too bad Hearns didn’t possess Froch’s iron chin – he really would have been unstoppable! LOL.)

I think Froch has earned the right to be considered a British great. He’s arguably accomplished enough to merit eventual hall of fame consideration. In order to be considered an all-time great, though, he’ll have to accomplish more – starting with a rematch victory over Ward. A successful run at light heavyweight would also help his argument for greatness.

As for the current pound-for-pound ratings, yes, I think Froch is definitely worthy of a spot in the top 10 (certainly more worthy than Saul Alvarez and Adrien Broner).

Mythical/potential matchups:

I think both Ward (obviously) and Calzaghe at their best beat Froch at his.

I think Calzaghe beats Ward.

Mythical matchups:

Wladdy vs. Lewis is matter of who strikes first – both have tremendous power and athleticism with mortal chins. I’ll go with Big L to land the first fight-ending combo in that fascinating mythical matchup, which would be fun while it lasted.

I think Holmes’ quickness, ring savvy, underrated heart and chin, plus his big right hand would eventually spell doom for Wlad in what would likely amount to an intense chess match until the Easton Assassin struck in the late rounds of a closely contested fight.

I think Wlad already has hall-of-fame numbers, but in order to have any hope of being considered an ATG, he’ll have equal or break Louis’ record of consecutive title defenses.

Monzon outjabs Hopkins from the outside and out-roughhouses the Philly badass on the inside en route to a narrow but deserved decision.

Duran outboxes Arguello and then physically overwhelms his fellow Latino legend to a late stoppage.

IN AWE OF TWO WARRIORS

Well Dougie, what a fantastic, fantastic fight.

Clearly, I’m lost for superlatives after the showing. The most incredible facet of this epic fight was the fact that neither of these two absolute gladiators hit the deck. What’s more, when either fighter did get caught with any number of the monstrous hits that we saw in the fight, they would just come back swinging, let alone any holding (and god forbid either touching down on the canvas!).

Carl’s jab was fantastic and Mikkel was thunderous with his looping, concussive hooks (well, concussive to any other man on this planet save Nottingham’s very own Cobra). Kessler was not the flat-footed plodder some thought he had become since the Calzaghe fight; he showed fantastic upper-body movement in ducking under Froch’s hooks, as shown even in the last throws of the twelfth round – when many thought the fight might be coming to an early halt – when Mikkel was clearly dazed but still somehow managed to show the wherewithal to duck Carl’s left hook and move into relative safety to hear the final bell. Kessler also showed his class as he started to slip Carl’s jab from the fourth. Carl showed that he has the capacity to box skillfully, as opposed to being the crude, limited brawler many have proclaimed him to be.

It was a privilege to witness such a fiercely contested war; to see the fight’s momentum swinging to and fro, from where it looked like Kessler might stop Froch in the 11th, for Froch to then come back to nearly stop Kessler in the final round.

A fascinating theme of the fight was to see the contest between Kessler’s superior punching and Froch’s slightly superior chin. These men are hewn from granite, and while we can contest the differences in their respective arsenals, one thing is for sure: they both have cast iron wills.

Carl deserved the win but I had it a lot closer than the judges (I think the 118-110 scorecard was outrageous). I had Carl by one round, and could even see a case for a draw or a win for Mikkel.

I’d like to see Mikkel hang the gloves up now as I think the fight would have taken more out of him than Froch (and also bearing in mind that Kessler has had almost 20 more fights than the Sheriff of Nottingham), whereas I’d like to see Carl have another couple of fights.

These two men have my utmost respect, which was further enhanced by their joint interview for SkySports straight after the fight. I was left in total awe.

Sorry for the length of the message and good luck with dealing with the rest of the English and Danish fanatics for the mailbag!

Keep well. – James, London

Thank you for the heartfelt and well-worded email on a terrific fight, James. Obviously, the Froch-Kessler rematch was a special one of European boxing fans, especially those of the UK and even more so for those who reside in the host city, London.

It’s been awhile since London was the site for a super middleweight contest as heated and special as Froch-Kessler II. Off the top of my head, I’d say it was the most dramatic 168-pound bout hosted by the city since the tragic rematch between Chris Eubank and Michael Watson back in 1991.

It would be great if Froch could fight in London a few more times before he hangs up his gloves. My guess is that Ward-Froch II would sellout the O2 Arena just as quickly (3 hours) as Froch-Kessler II did, maybe faster. A domestic showdown with London native George Groves would also be a massive event at O2 Arena.

It’s hard to believe the days of “the Dark Destroyer” fighting regularly in London are now 18-to-26 years behind us.

I didn’t get a chance to watch the SkySports post-fight interview with both Froch and Kessler but both veterans already had my respect going into to Saturday’s return bout and both enhanced it with the class they showed during those 12 rounds.

I agree that Kessler displayed impressive head/upper-body movement (as well as a tight guard, and nice step-around moves after he slipped punches) to compliment his accurate power punching during the fight. Which is why, I disagree that he should retire after Saturday’s fight.

Apart from Froch and Ward, I think Kessler would have outclassed any other super middleweight on the planet with the fight he put forth on May 25. Kessler spoke of possible retirement if he lost going into the fight, so if he doesn’t feel the hunger and passion he once had for the sport, I agree that he should hang up the gloves.

However, if he was pleased with his effort (which he should be) and still has some fire in his belly, I certainly wouldn’t mind watching Kessler test London’s young guns – Groves and James DeGale – or challenge fellow veteran and promotional stablemate, Robert Stieglitz, who would make for a big fight in Denmark or Germany.

There’s also Arthur Abraham (a loser-must-retire bout if there ever was one) and the winner of Sakio Bika-Marco Antonio Periban.

Oh yeah, and there’s a lucrative rubbermatch with Froch.

This is just a hunch, but I don’t think we’ve seen the last of “The Viking Warrior.”

WHAT’S NEXT FOR FROCH?

Greetings Dougie,

I’m still buzzing about Froch- Kessler II. What a fight! Froch takes bombs so well sometimes you’d be forgiven for thinking they have missed!

The question is what now for Froch? When he asked Kessler on Sky if he’d like a rubber match Kessler didn’t seem that enthusiastic. Maybe he wants to retire or see his ease out his career in Denmark (and who can blame him after that?)

Froch mentioned a rematch with Andre Ward after the fight in the UK, and I’m not certain what Andre Ward was saying on HBO but he was interviewed after the fight on Sky and said and I quote “First and foremost, America is where you got to come to become a star, you can be a great domestic fighter but if you want to be a great worldwide fighter you got to steak you claim there.” Seems to me he’s not interested in a fight in the UK, and I don’t think I’m alone in saying I don’t want to see it anywhere else. Ward is all wrong for Froch anyway.

So who else is there? At 175 there’s Bernard Hopkins and Nathan Cleverly, however Froch did signal his intent before the Kessler fight to stop at 168 and unless one of them two are willing to drop a weight that doesn’t look likely either (although something tells me Hopkins might be willing to AND come to the UK).

Of the current 168 fighters, I think a rematch with Bute is out of the question at this stage with him fighting Pascal in December. George Groves looked good on the undercard but needs more significant wins. Robert Stieglitz is a belt holder but I think Froch’s promoter Eddie Hearn is eyeing him up as one of Groves significant wins.

So how about this? Carl Froch v Gennady Golovkin? GGG has been struggling to get big fights with a lot of middleweights have and will continue to duck him. Froch certainly doesn’t have a long history of ducking fighters and we will see for sure if Golovkin is the real deal or when he’s fed to The Cobra he’s just the new Arthur Abraham/ Lucian Bute, and we will also see if anything can dent Froch’s iron jaw.

Take Care. – Sam, Blackburn, UK

Despite the American champion’s comments, don’t rule out a Ward-Froch rematch in the UK just yet.

Though he is still proving it, I think Ward is cut from an old-school cloth, which means he’s willing to travel overseas for suitable challenges or business opportunities. The nonsense about a fighter having to fight in the U.S. to be star is just Ward’s way of kicking off the negotiations between his people and Froch’s representation. Ward went from wearing his commentator’s hat to wearing his businessman hat with those post-fight comments, but under any hat he wears is a boxing brain.

He knows he can beat Froch and he knows that the rematch is probably a much bigger event in the UK than it is in the U.S. However, Ward wants to see if he can get Froch on his turf, and if there’s good money to be made with the fight in the States. If he can’t get Froch to budge, or if there isn’t enough money in a U.S.-based rematch, my guess is that Ward will give serious consideration to fighting the Englishman in the UK.

Why? Because Ward doesn’t have many lucrative options at 168 pounds or at light heavyweight. He’s already defeated the light heavyweight champ, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is at least two comeback wins away from being ready or viable as a high-profile challenger, and the only super middleweight who approaches Ward’s class and accomplishment is Froch.

If Ward’s reps and Froc’sh reps can’t make a deal, they’ll go their separate ways and I believe our man Golovkin will wind up in the American’s path, not Froch’s. GGG is a player on HBO, which is hoping to build the Kazakhstan puncher into a potential pay-per-view B-side for Ward. Of course, Golovkin will have to defeat Matthew Macklin next month and then probably beat the winner of the Daniel Geale-Darren Barker fight before the U.S. cable network will start beating the drums for Ward-Golovkin.

I think the lucrative options for Froch (beyond return bouts with Ward and Kessler) are showdowns with Hopkins or Cleverly. You’re correct that Froch doesn’t see himself as a light heavyweight and would expect a 175-pound beltholder to meet him at a catchweight. I don’t know if Cleverly is willing (or physically able) to come down enough in weight to suit Froch, but I know that Hopkins is. And “The Immortal B-Hop,” who fought both Winky Wright and Kelly Pavlik at 170-pound catchweights, is also willing to travel to the UK.

Hopkins vs. Froch makes sense (and dollars), if B-Hop gets by Karo Murat in July.

BRUTALITY AT ITS BEST

What’s up Doug?

Didn’t hear back from you last Monday so here’s my four cents worth regarding the last two weeks of crunch-action:

I KNEW that Matthysse was going splatter Peterson! And man, “The Machine” just swiftly pounded out Peterson like Petey was the inbred c__ksucker that ransacked Matty’s home.

Peterson can gripe all he wants about the “premature stoppage.” Matthysse nearly decapitated him with a grazing punch for f__k’s sakes! If that fight was allowed to continue Petey would had his face looking like someone’s bare ass after it was dragged across bad road.

And speaking of which, as much as I respect Danny Garcia, if he doesn’t do some smart boxing when he takes on The Argentine War-Machine later this year it will be his face looking like road-rash (or road-kill)! If Amir Khan wants to be next in line, no problem. He’ll just get his chandelier chin smashed into little, bitty microchips!

As for Devon Alexander he looked pretty good in pounding Purdy into putty with one arm. Now if he can keep fighting like that against real contenders like Keith Thurman or Ruslan Provo and actually win then I’ll be impressed!

And what’s with Devon’s grunting out loud when he throws a punch? The dude sounds like a rhino in heat having an orgasm!

Froch-Kessler: Brutal fight! The thing about Froch is that he’s this rangy mother-f-ing, meat-grinding mutt of a fighter who cracks like he has paving stones in his mitts! The look on Kessler’s banged-up kisser says it all.

But man, the one thing harder than Froch’s fists is his head! Those were some really massive shots that Kessler cracked him with. If that was any other 168 pounder, Kessler’s right fist would’ve been rammed down the poor bastard’s throat and out his ass. 

And yet here was Froch in round 12 tearing into Kessler like he wanted to splatter him all over the ropes. Kessler scored the harder shots but Froch’s greater aggression won him the fight. 

While the bloodthirsty bastard in me would like to see these two pound each other to pieces once again or fight other badasses like Cleverly, Bika or Sergei Kovalev, I won’t blame Froch if he was to beat on a stay busy opponent or two like Robert Stieglitz before going back to waging war on the division’s murderer’s row. Well I’m done! Cheers!! – Triple T

Given the magnitude of his latest victory and the sellout crowd he and Kessler attracted to the O2 Arena, I think Froch has reached a certain level (and pay scale) in the sport that usually precludes “stay busy” opponents (not that I think Stieglitz is easy work for anyone).

I don’t think Stieglitz, Kovalev or Bika are big enough names (or accomplished-enough fighters) for Froch at this point in his career. Cleverly is still a pup compared to Froch, but he’s got a name in the UK and could make for an interesting domestic showdown. I can see Froch-Cleverly happening in the future. However, if Froch is going to take on a light heavyweight titleholder, it will be Bernard Hopkins, who has the biggest name among 175-pound fighters (and is arguably the most accomplished boxer in the sport).

My guess is that Froch will be a very interested observer when Hopkins defends his IBF belt against Murat on July 13.

I won’t fault Froch for fighting Hopkins, and I’ve got nothing but respect for the great B-Hop, who is still willing to challenge himself at 48, but I’d rather watch The Cobra and Kessler do it a third time.

I think their styles, physical attributes (and limitations), and mentalities will always mesh to make for a rousing 12-round fight.

I agree that Froch’s chin is harder than his granite mitts, and along with his high punch output, I think his ability to take a great shot was what earned his rematch victory. Froch’s ability to absorb flush punches without much “wobble” or pause detracted from the perceived “effectiveness” of Kessler’s offense.

I have no idea why Alexander has to provide extra sound effects for his punches, but thanks you and your sick imagination, every time I hear him bark during his next fight I’ll think ofa rhino in heat having an orgasm. That’s just nasty (but, hey, it made me laugh).

Hopefully, Alexander will be in with a live body in his next fight – either the Paul Malignaggi-Adrien Broner winner, Josesito Lopez (if he upsets Marcos Maidana on June 8), the winner of Kell Brook-Carson Jones II, or The Thurminator.

Nobody has to tell Garcia or Khan not to be too brave in the ring if they take on Matthysse. I think from now on everyone who faces The Argentine War Machine (love that name!) will unashamedly make tracks like Usain Bolt for as long as they can.

And ya know what? I think that gameplan/mentality will help them go rounds with him but it won’t help them win the damn fight. I don’t believe the strategies that Alexander and Zab Judah used to barely outpoint Matty a few years ago will work against him anymore. He starts faster these days and he’s just as crafty as he is busy with his punch selection.

No, he doesn’t cut the ring off like a prime Julio Cesar Chavez (nobody does), but he’s got a way forcing supposedly superior boxers and better athletes to stop running and exchange with him. And once that happens they’re in a world of pain.   

 

 

Photos / Scott Heavey-Getty Images

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

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