Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Friday mailbag

CATCHWEIGHT?

Dougie,

Hope all is well my friend.  I have to say that I’m really confused…….I saw Floyd Mayweather is fighting Saul “Canelo” Alvarez at a catchweight and I said to myself that can’t possibly be true because in Floyd’s own words he said he “never fights people at catchweights because he is the best so he always wants his opponents to be fighting at their best weights.”  

There has to be some mistake right? Floyd isn’t a hypocrite is he? And if this is true, will Floyd still consider Canelo undefeated even after Floyd beats him?  Because he considered Miguel Cotto undefeated because his two losses were to a cheater and at a catchweight, which he said didn’t count.

Anyway, as much as I don’t like the p___k, I can’t ignore the skill. Canelo in my opinion is still two fights away from beating Floyd. If he beat a guy that’s defensive and awkward like Erislandy Lara and maybe Devon Alexander then I’d say he’s ready but here’s to hoping he’s more advanced then he appears. I see another Floyd boxing lesson. 117-111. Maybe a couple rough spots but nothing he can’t handle.  With his dad back in his corner, he’s refocused on his defense which makes him better but also less exciting. – Brendan, Philly

True. I agree that Canelo is about two fights away from being “ready” for Mayweather (if anyone is ever truly ready for Floyd’s style and ring IQ/mentality). I think Mayweather saw that the young man is learning added technique in the Austin Trout fight and is getting Canelo before he develops any further.

I favor Mayweather by a close decision. 116-112 and 115-113. I don’t think it will be a boxing clinic like the Robert Guerrero fight because Alvarez is more versatile and powerful than The Ghost. He’s also a smarter boxer than the smaller southpaw. Alvarez can make Mayweather miss and he can hurt him with one punch. That makes him dangerous, which leads us to the catchweight.

Weight was an issue in this fight, even though Mayweather has twice fought at junior middleweight (vs. Oscar De La Hoya and Cotto) and currently holds the WBA’s “super” 154-pound title. In a very clear way, Mayweather is paying Canelo the ultimate compliment by having their fight contested two pounds under the junior middleweight limit. He’s basically telling the boxing world that he views Canleo as more of a threat than the two future first-ballot hall of famers.

Yes, Mayweather is flip-flopping his so-called stance against catchweights that he used to promote last year’s Cotto fight (and to take digs at Manny Pacquiao). That shouldn’t come as a surprise to fans. He fought Juan Manuel Marquez at a contracted 144 pounds at a time when the Mexican veteran had never fought above 135 pounds – and then he came in at 146.

However, something that Mayweather’s very vocal and extremely sensitive fans fail to grasp is that it’s not the catchweight that most fans are criticizing; it’s the hypocrisy.

WARD-FROCH II, MAYWEATHER-CANLEO

Hi Dougie,

Just thought I nudge you for you thoughts of a couple of up and coming events, firstly Andre Ward vs Carl Froch II; I know, I know it’s not official but let’s face it apart from Julio Chavez Jnr who else is there for Ward to fight? It’s not as if there are people knocking down his door to get him into the ring (even allowing for his injuries) and Sergio Martinez looks more likely to retire than move up. 

I thought Froch’s comment that “(Ward’s) style would put a glass eye to sleep” is pretty bang on the mark and must have really needled Andre who had a face like a slapped arse when he was being interviewed on Sky TV! As for his comment about Froch having to go to America to earn the fame and money I think nothing could be further from the truth. He has done more travelling around outside of his home country than most champions today and given that a fight of this magnitude could fill Wembley stadium (for you Yanks think Madison Square Garden squared) I don’t see why the ‘True’ champion can’t get off his arse and prove he can fight outside of his own little safety net. After all, he got home advantage throughout the whole Super Six tournament whereas everyone else had to ensure they had up-to-date passports.

Also, if Ward wants a legacy and a guaranteed place in the HOF he needs to fight Froch again instead of weight drained light heavyweights whether they are champions or not. I still think the result may be the same but this time it might be a bit closer and the atmosphere not entirely to his liking and we’ll discover if he can really perform when his back is truly against the wall.

The other issue is Mayweather vs Alvarez. As happy as I am in the fight being made am I the only one who is pissed off with this 152-pound catchweight limit? It has been reported that the fight is for all of the belts, which correct me if I’m wrong, are for the Light Middleweight division which is 154 lbs not 152 or 155 or any other number Mr. Money wants to come up with. If you are fighting Light Middleweights the weight is 154, just because you can’t get that big doesn’t mean you get to handicap your opponent. If you really want to “give the fans what they want” then start with a level playing field. I’m sick of this catchweight s__t, if you can’t make the weight (like Broner or Rios) move out of the division. If you can’t put on the weight (Pacman, Moneyweather) then stop fighting the big boys. I mean there are 17 f____ing divisions!!! Surely you fit into one of them!

Anyway, rant over. Your thoughts? – Chris

I don’t blame you for ranting about catchweights. Sometimes they allow for matchups that nobody asked for to happen (such as Bernard Hopkins-Winky Wright) and when they result in a fan-friendly showdown (such as Pacquiao-Cotto) they give the fighter who lost the extra pounds (as well as his fans) a built-in excuse if he gets beat. So they can take the edge off anticipated fights.

However, catchweights and prominent fighters using their leverage to make notable rivals come up or come down in weight is nothing new. Sugar Ray Leonard fought for and won the WBC light heavyweight title from Donny Lalonde in 1988, even though Lalonde had to come down to 168 pounds (allowing for Leonard to pick up the WBC’s newly minted super middleweight title).

Mayweather lovers, who think fans are unfairly picking on their hero by complaining about the 152-pound catchweight, should know that Leonard was heavily criticized by hardcore fans and the boxing/sports media before and after the Lalonde fight.

Ward took a page out of Leonard’s book by having reigning light heavyweight champ Chad Dawson drop down to 168 pounds in order to challenge for his super middleweight belts lat year. Had they met at a catchweight, such as 170 or 171 pounds, Dawson’s titles would have been on the line, but Ward knew that losing seven pounds would take more out of Bad Chad than losing four or five. And he was right.

Ward’s a shrewd cat in and out of the ring.

I agree that a rematch with Froch is the way to go for the American champion and that the return bout belongs in the UK, where it would be a bona fide super fight. I also agree that it would be more competitive bout the second time around (although I would favor Ward like pretty much everyone else).

I don’t agree that Ward’s legacy and eventual spot in the hall of fame depends on a Froch rematch. Had the first bout been close, you may have had a point, but it wasn’t (despite two bogus official scores of 115-113).

I think Froch is the most lucrative option for Ward outside of a showdown with Junior, which may or may not happen. Ward would receive more worldwide respect for fighting Froch again – especially if he traveled overseas for the first time as a pro. But as Ward is fond of saying, he’s a prize fighter, not a pride fighter. Winning and minimizing risk while maximizing profits come before the adulation and gratification of the fans in his book. The same can be said about Mayweather.

We can complain about them all we want but at the end of the day they have a responsibility to take care of themselves and their families financially and in terms of the health, and both Mayweather and Ward are doing a great job of that. (Hopefully, as Mayweather gets older and wiser, he’ll take a page from Ward’s book and be responsible with the money he’s making – ‘cause I guarantee you that Dre has and will continue to save every penny he’s made in boxing.)

Rather than bitch and moan about modern boxers and catchweights, I’d rather celebrate the popular old heads, who probably could have forced weight stipulations on their opponents but chose not to (or better yet – didn’t even think about making a reigning champion drop down in weight in order to have an edge). I’m thinking about ATGs, like Sugar Ray Robinson and Roberto Duran.

FROCH IN THE POUND-FOR-POUND

Hi Doug,

I’m still coming down from the high that was Froch v Kessler 2. I was privileged to be at the 02 Arena and thought Froch was clear winner but Kessler put up one hell of a fight. The atmosphere was buzzing and I would love to see Andre Ward come in to us Brits baying for his blood and see how he reacts. 

Anyways, I know you don’t have much time for p4p ratings but I am shocked Froch isn’t included still in The Ring’s when he is on ALL other boxing sites. The Ring p4p ratings are so outta kilter with the other sites that it surely must be a concern that the magazine will lose credibility. I understand the argument of its just fanboy stuff but it really does matter as boxing is predominately a fanboy sport.

That said I’m big fan of yours and us Brits need you to put forward Carl’s case to Chuck Giampa. (Does he watch European boxing?)

On a final note, am I the only one who see’s Matt Macklin giving your guy GGG some serious problems?

Here are some mythical match ups for you:

Froch v Calzaghe – as many opinions are now changing!!!

Prince Naz v Morales

Hatton v Khan

Froch v Eubank

See ya. – Dan Smith, Canterbury, England

Despite Froch’s improvement over the years and his excellent body of work, I still think Calzaghe’s speed, punch volume, lateral movement and equally reliable chin would have enabled him to outpoint The Cobra in a good fight.

‘El Terrible’ would survive a knockdown and a few wobbly moments to outbox, outgut and beat up Hamed down the stretch of a thriller. Morales by close UD or MD.

I think Hatton at his best at 140 pounds (take the guy who beat Kostya Tszyu), fighting in Manchester, would wear down and stop Khan in the late rounds of a fight he’d probably be losing on the scorecards.

Froch’s height, reach, activity and solid chin would enable him to narrowly outpoint Eubank, whose unorthodox style and underrated heart made him a difficult outing for any 168 pounder, even one as formidable as The Cobra.

You’re not alone in thinking that Macklin will give “my guy” a tough scrap. Hey, that’s what Macklin does. But if he thinks Sergio Martinez was strong and could hit hard, he’s about to witness a different level of power (and punching precision) with Golovkin.

Mr. Giampa watches European boxing. He just has very strong ideas about what “pound for pound” is, which is different from how I (and others, like yourself) view that admittedly nebulous label. I could be wrong (because I haven’t had any long discussions with him about his pound-for-pound criteria), but I think being unbeaten is important to Giampa.

I think that quality of opposition – and the willingness one has to challenge himself – is the most important factor in ranking a fighter in a pound-for-pound or all-time sense; followed by fight-by-fight performance and longevity.

I gotta be honest with you. I didn’t push for Froch to be included in the pound-for-pound top 10 after he beat Kessler. It’s not that I don’t think he’s worthy. I do. I can see him being ranked anywhere in the bottom four or five. I just wasn’t thinking about the mythical ratings after that fight. (I know, I know, I’m a terrible fanboy. I’m sure the International Fanboy Federation is going to revoke my fanboy card any day now.) Also, after Giampa inserted Mares at No. 5 (with Adrien Broner just behind him at No. 6) and Canelo at No. 10, I kind of threw my hands up on the damn “mythical” ratings. I voiced my disagreement, but Giampa is less willing to receive input on the P4P than he is on the divisional rankings.

But having heard from dozens of passionate British fans, I’ll fight the good fight and push for Froch’s inclusion the next time somebody needs to be dropped from the top 10 (such as if Broner is undressed by Malignaggi or Canelo is embarrassed by Mayweather or Pacquiao grows old against Rios).

FROCH NEEDS TO BE IN THE RING P4P

Hi Dougie,
It’s been a loooooong time since I wrote in to one of your mailbags but I’m genuinely shocked by the fact that Carl Froch still hasn’t made the mythical pound-for-pound ratings with The Ring. I just don’t see how anyone can justify having Saul Alvarez, Tim Bradley, Abner Mares or Adrien Broner rated so highly when they have never fought anyone of the calibre of the opponents Froch has fought and beaten.

Froch’s last 10 fights reads like a Who’s Who of the Super Middleweight elite:

Pascal, Taylor, Dirrell, Kessler (2), Abraham, Johnson, Ward, Bute and (admittedly the weak link) Mack; which includes four currently Ring-rated 168 pounders (including the #2 and #3 as well as the current champion). At the time that he fought them, I believe Johnson and Taylor were also rated.

For comparison, let’s take the ninth and tenth on The Ring’s P4P listing and compare their last 10 fights.

Bradley has taken on Witter, Cherry, Holt, Campbell, Peterson, Abregu, Alexander, Casamayor, Pacquiao, Provodnikov. My memory is a bit hazy but that’s three Ring rated, although including the (at the time) P4P King. But he didn’t beat Pacquiao, let’s be honest.

And now Alvarez who has Cuello, Baldomir, N’Dou, Hatton, Rhodes, Gomez, Cintron, Mosley, Lopez, Trout. Again, I may be wrong as I’m going from memory but I believe that only Trout and Cintron were rated by The Ring at the time.

Not only does he have a stronger CV than Bradley and Alvarez, I would say his last 10 fights have been tougher than almost anyone else in the P4P Top 10. I don’t think the Broners and the Mares deserve to be listed based on talent alone considering neither have fought the truly elite (Mares hasn’t fought Rigondeaux who I think beats him with ease nor Donaire around his weight class), and Broner hasn’t fought anyone of real note.

I know the P4P ratings are entirely mythical and completely subjective but I think it’s almost universally accepted that Froch has fought the best of the best over the last four to five years, coming out on top more often than not, always making for a close fight and ALWAYS making for an entertaining fight.

So I guess to cut a very long story short, my question is, why on Earth doesn’t he at least creep in to the top 10? For what it’s worth, and I admit I might be ruled by my heart rather than my head on this one being a Brit, but I think he has a really good shot at beating Ward in the rematch. Even at his age Froch is improving with every fight!!

I’d like to see that fight in the UK and see if Ward has the stones to go travelling rather than staying safe in Oakland. I’m sure he’d have no problems winning on the road so be a fighting champion and get to stepping.

I hope I make the bag because this one really boggles my mind! – Marcus

Hey, there’s a new nickname for our Ratings Chairman: Chuck “The Mind Boggler” Giampa. I love it!

What can I tell you, Marcus? Giampa thinks Froch is very good, the best at 168 pounds not named Andre Ward, but he doesn’t see an elite talent or a pound-for-pound top 10 worthy fighter.

I haven’t spoken to him on this subject but I have to believe that Froch’s two losses – to Ward and Kessler – have something to do with the British veteran not being in THE RING’s P4P ratings.

Some people (more than you think) believe you can’t be considered elite if you’ve been soundly beaten, and if you have losses (like our heavyweight champ), you better come back and completely dominate your division for years in order to break into the pound for pound.

I’m not saying that I agree with this logic, but I understand it. A fan can look at Ward and say “There’s an elite boxer. He’s soundly beaten every fighter put in front of him, including top dogs like Kessler, Froch and Dawson.” That same fan can say that an “elite boxer” dominates Kessler the way Ward did, or soundly beats him the way Joe Calzaghe did. That fan can say “You don’t lose to Kessler and then go life-and-death with him in a rematch if you’re an elite boxer. You don’t need a hometown decision to beat Andre Dirrell and you don’t need a come-from-behind stoppage to beat a faded Jermain Taylor.”

You’re right about Froch facing a murderer’s row of 168-pound standouts. I give him credit for going in against tough opposition in back-to-back fights. I think he’s more deserving of a P4P ranking than Alvarez, who has only defeated three RING-rated fighters (Rhodes, Lopez – who was rated at 147 – and Trout), and Broner, who has only defeated four RING-rated fighters (Ponce DeLeon – who was rated at featherweight – Eloy Perez, Antonio DeMarco and Gavin Rees).

I think Bradley (who fought and “beat” six RING-rated fighters in Witter, Holt, Peterson, Alexander, Pacquiao and Provodnikov) and Mares (who has fought six RING-rated fighters in Yonnhy Perez, Vic Darchinyan, Joseph Agbeko – twice – Eric Morel, Anselmo Moreno and Ponce De Leon in consecutive fights over three weight classes) deserve to be rated in the P4P as much as Froch does. Although I think Mares is currently rated too high.

We can go on and on about who deserves to be among the pound-for-pound top 10 and who doesn’t. Some fans think Vitali Klitschko deserves the “honor” (and I agree); but many others don’t. I think one could argue that Bernard Hopkins is worthy given his record-breaking body of work and current form.

If you’re into unbeaten records, longevity and lots of alphabet title defenses, Chris John is your man. (A lot of American fans crap on The Dragon, but I think if he was from the U.S. and portrayed a “swag” attitude about his record and boxing style, he’d have a legion of idiots claiming he’s on par with Willie Pep.)

I think there are more than a few little guys (sub-featherweight boxers) from Asia and South America who are arguably elite and pound-for-pound worthy given their talent and accomplishments. Undefeated junior flyweight studs Roman Gonzalez and Kazuto Ioka have won titles in two divisions and defeated their share of RING-rated fighters before the age of 25 (Ioka, 24, has done so in just 12 bouts) are two such fighters. Current RING flyweight champ Akira Yaegashi, who dropped a razor thin decision to Ioka in a 105-pound unification bout before leapfrogging 108 to strike gold at 112 pounds, is another.

There are so many excellent fighters in so many divisions from so many different parts of the world I’m afraid there’s never going to be a consensus on who deserves to be considered the best 10 boxers, pound for pound, so my suggestion is that all the “fanboys” who really care about this sort of thing compile their own top 10 list.

RING CHAMPS

Hey Doug ,

Quick couple of questions for you. First , as I was scrolling through the rankings I noticed we now have 11 Ring Magazine champions, is that a record? Surely this must be a good sign of the best fighting the best, if you start at heavyweight and move down we have a champion all the way down as far as lightweight, not surprisingly we don’t have as many champions at the lighter weights with so many fighters jumping the weights. Do you ever think we will see the day when The Ring belt are recognised as the most important?

Couple of potential future matches for you to give your expert opinion on:

Matthysse vs Broner @140

Golovkin vs Froch  @168

Mares vs M. Garcia @130

 

Who wins? – Ronan, Waterford, Ireland

Matty by mid-to-late round TKO, Froch by close decision, and Mares by close, maybe controversial decision.

I believe 11 RING champs is the most since the magazine’s championship policy was reinstated in 2002.

Whether it’s a good sign depends on how you view THE RING’s updated (and more flexible) policy (which has allowed for more champs to be crowned).

Whether THE RING’s belts will ever be recognized as the most important world titles in boxing depends on the men who hold them (as well as their promoters/managers, and to a lesser degree the major networks). If the current champs hold on to their RING titles, fight often and challenge themselves, they will promote the magazine’s recognition in a positive manner that will eventually catch on with the media and the public.  

 

 

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

 

 

Around the web