Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

MALIGNAGGI-BRONER, LARA-ANGULO II

I read about the Paul Malignaggi-Adrien Broner press conference. Was it as bad as it sounds? These guys are dragging the sport into the gutter for this one. I hope these clowns knock each other out in a fabled double-knockout. 

Also saw a comment from you to another reader on FB about his girlfriend enjoying the Erislandy Lara-Alfredo Angulo fight, suggesting he marry her. I took my girl to the fight as well and she had a good time – it’s true what they say about Home Depot Center (I refuse to call it StubHub). She was disappointed that Angulo (whom she calls “the Caveman”) didn’t get the win; he certainly seemed to have the momentum. 

Think there will be a rematch? It was pretty damn entertaining, as was the main event. – Jay Vanian, Long Beach, CA

I can see Lara and Angulo doing it again but only if “the Caveman” can bounce back with a decent win or two and if the Cuban wins a major title. Let’s face it, most 154 pounders do not want to deal with Lara – even if he gets his savvy southpaw hands on a title belt. Angulo is one of the few names in the division who is crazy enough to do it. Angulo, being an entertaining fighter, will always have options but he’s a proud man and I’m sure he’d like to get revenge on Lara and win that elusive world title at the same time.

Lara, on the other hand, is need of an attractive opponent. The Mayweather-Alvarez winner won’t go near him. I doubt Showtime is interested in televising Lara vs. the Ishe Smith-Carlos Molina winner. Maybe he can get Austin Trout in the ring for the WBA’s vacant “regular” title. Maybe if Demetrius Andrade beats Baysangurov for the WBO title, he can get the U.S. Olympian in the ring. But it says here that the highest-profile fighter willing to fight Lara is Angulo. Can Angulo comeback from his latest setback? Can Lara get a titleholder into the ring? I don’t know. But if they can do it, we’ll likely be treated to a rematch.

I was in Las Vegas for the Mayweather-Guerrero fight but I did not attend the Malignaggi-Broner kick-off press that took place the morning of the big May 4 event. I had RingTV.com regular contributor Mike Coppinger – an unabashed fan of trash talk, Broner and “boxer swag” – cover the presser.

I don’t mind some trash talking from fighters but I don’t care for non-stop insults, personal attacks and needless bickering between combatants. Call me “old-school”but I think there should be some basic respect between two professional boxers who are going to face each other in a high-profile title bout. If there’s absolutely zero respect, I don’t think they should be fighting. Hey, that’s just me. I know that a lot of fans are into the back-and-forth. If YouTube views are any indication of public interest in a bout, Showtime should garner some decent ratings from Saturday’s main event.

I don’t think we’re going to get an explosive double KO, but I believe – and I know I’m in the minority with this opinion – we’ll get a competitive boxing match.

I expect Malignaggi to frustrate Broner with his jab, footwork and upper-body movement in the early rounds of the bout. It might take Broner a few rounds – or more than a few rounds – to time Malignaggi as he’s coming in or pulling out of range. Once The Problem nails Malignaggi with a solid power shot the complexion of the fight should change and favor the younger challenger. However, the fight won’t end abruptly. I think Malignaggi will still be difficult thanks to his solid chin and roughhouse tactics when in close and grappling.

I see a distance fight that is won by Broner. I won’t be surprised if Malignaggi does well enough to complain about the decision.

SHOT?

I used to have this mailbag link with a question asked of you at another site, circa 2000. The fan asked “what is the definition of a shot fighter?”

Your response had something to do with when a boxer no longer had the balance necessary to compete….. and so on.

My question to you is: despite the talent level of the opponent, are we owe to being able to call Juan Manuel Lopez a shot fighter?

I mean not only was his balance off when he threw punches, but it seemed like he was struggling just to stay up straight as he moved around the ring and walked to his corner.

I want your opinion. Now, I will say this – Amir Khan used to always seem to have balance problems when he threw punches and he was far from shot. This was before his fight with Cheaterson.

Something just didn’t seem right with Lopez. He was falling all over the place it seemed, even before Mikey’s big shots.

Weird thing about Mikey – at least on television (and not including last night) – his punches don’t look like they are doing a whole lot and then next thing you know the opponent is on the ground in pain. Can you recall anyone in the past whose punches didn’t look all that sharp and hard but he just knocked everybody out? – Mitch in Baltimore

Diego Corrales was like that. He would throw what looked like arm punches from ringside but the nose of his opponent would flatten and spew blood upon impact. He’d launch a looping hook that would graze an opponent’s chin or forehead and that dude would drop like someone shot him.

The late “Chico” wasn’t as precise or technical as Mikey is, but he had heavier hands, as Garcia’s older brother can attest to. (A side note about Corrales – and you can ask Cameron Dunkin, who managed Corrales and manages Garcia now – his technique was almost as sharp as Mikey’s when he was a prospect trained by Kenny Adams. Corrales left Adams and brought his foster dad in as head trainer before he won the IBF 130-pound title from Robert Garcia and his technique took a downward slide from that point until he went to jail after the Mayweather loss. Believe it or not, Chico scored a lot of counter-punch KOs as a prospect.)

Regarding Lopez, I hate to say it but he looks shopworn if not completely shot to me. It’s not just his balance, which sometimes (as it was with Khan and Marcos Maidana until recently) can be chalked up to improper foot placement. It seems neurological. His legs are never under him 100 percent and once he gets nailed with a good punch, he doesn’t recover.

That’s bottom line for me. Lopez used to be able to take a decent shot and he also used to have the legs and reflexes to get out of the way of incoming punches. Those abilities no longer seem to be with him. He’s a vulnerable fighter, especially when facing world-class opposition, such as Garcia.

JUANMA’S DEMISE

Dougie:
The faithful PR boxing fans knew going in that Juanma only had a puncher’s chance versus Mikey, but at least were expecting an interesting fight. Juanma got destroyed, he had no strategy, did not adapt, and looked really out of his class.  When Juanma was a prospect, he showed some flashes of good technique and the possibility of becoming a good boxer/puncher. After he started knocking people out, he fell in love with his power and I think that affected his development in other areas (i.e. defense).

It’s really a shame, with that kind of power, he could have achieved more if he perfected his craft or had a better trainer. Not that he had a bad career. I think the Ponce De Leon fight was his climax, and now he will be a gatekeeper/veteran opponent. In my opinion, he underachieved based on his talent.

Mikey did what he had to do. He should go up in weight and target Yuriorkis Gamboa for a big money fight. Do it now while it can be hyped! Look what happened to Juanma in a 2-year period.

Christian Formby – San Juan, PR

Mikey vs. Gamby could be interesting. I don’t think Bob Arum would be so set on letting this one “marinate” as he was with Gamboa-Lopez. However, I think we’ll see Garcia vs. WBO 130-pound titleholder Rocky Martinez before we see him take on “Super Flea” (my new nickname for the Cuban jumping bean).

I think you’re right about Lopez. Given his talent and the form he had as a prospect and during the early parts of both his 122- and 126-pound title reigns, the popular Puerto Rican underachieved. The form he had vs. Ponce de Leon and Steven Lueveno was formidable indeed.

It’s a shame that it was ruined by KO lust and a lack of discipline (allowing his weight to balloon) between fights. There are few key factors in JuanMa’s downfall, in my opinion: 1. Staying at 122 pounds too long (he pulled an “Erik Morales” by killing himself to make junior featherweight for so long that when he finally stepped up to featherweight his body still felt depleted), 2. Not controlling his weight between fights, and 3. Not working on the technical and defensive side of his craft (or as you put it “falling in love with his power”).

RING POLICY

Hi,
Can you clarify The Ring’s policy on a fighter missing weight? Does Garcia automatically lose The Ring belt because he weighed in 2 pounds heavy. In most cases the fighter is leaving the division so the point is moot. But if Garcia does choose to continue at 126, will he remain champion? Thanks. – Taylor

That’s a good question, Taylor, and it’s one THE RING’s Editorial Board and Ratings Panel will discuss this week. As far as I can recall, this is the first time a RING champion has failed to make weight in defense of the title. The sanctioning organizations automatically strip a fighter when he misses weight, but I don’t think that’s our policy.

I think the first action on our part is either Ratings Chairman Chuck Giampa or RING editor Michael Rosenthal contacting Team Garcia and manager Cameron Dunkin and finding out what their plan is for Mikey. If he’s moving up to 130 pounds then the point is moot, as you stated. The title will be vacated. If Garica wants to try to boil down to 126 pounds one more time or a few more times, well, we have some debating to do amongst ourselves. And we’ll let you all know as soon as we (or just Chuck) come to a decision.

TERENCE “BUD” CRAWFORD

Hey Doug,
Hope this finds you doing well.  I wanna get right down to business and get your opinion about Terence Crawford.  I think he’s the next big thing in the lightweight division. He put on two back to back impressive performances this year. I find him to be a very entertaining fighter to watch when he’s playing the “defensive counter puncher” and even more entertaining in Saturdays role of pressing the action.

It’s like I’ve seen two completely different fighters in him. I think he’s a hard puzzle to figure out. Everyone I would like to see him get in the ring with, if he went back up to Jr. Welterweight, is with Golden Boy so I’m not too sure what kind of competition is out there for him. Hopefully, he get’s promoted heavily because I think he’s a fan friendly fighter who can do some serious adapting in the ring.  What are your thoughts?

Were you impressed, or was the opposition too weak?  Who should be up next for him? Peace. – Jason, CT

I think Crawford is a very talented boxer with solid fundamentals and good skill set. I was ringside for his step-up fight against Breidis Prescott and I was impressed with the manner in which he took over the fight and closed the show. I was also impressed with his aggression and power on Saturday but I’m familiar with Alejandro Sanabria and I viewed the Mexican strictly as a “showcase opponent” for the Omaha native.

There’s nothing wrong with HBO showcasing a talented American boxer, but I take Max Kellerman’s comment about Crawford arguably being “the best lightweight in the world” with a big ole grain of salt.

I think Crawford could be rated in the lower top 10 (like No. 9 or No. 10) of THE RING’s lightweight contenders, but I still view him as a prospect. Yeah, he outboxed Prescott, but we’ve seen that done (by veterans Miguel Vazquez, Kevin Mitchell and Pau McCloskey). And the Colombian’s TKO loss to Mike Alvarado had to have taken something out of him.

I want to be very clear and state that I think Crawford has tremendous ability and I believe he has a bright future, but to call him one of the best lightweights (let alone THE best) right now is a disrespectful slap across the faces of Vazquez, Ricky Burns and Richard Abril.

If Crawford were to fight any of those three titleholders this year or in early 2014, I would favor the veteran to win. By the way, those are the fights I want to see him take when he’s ready. I don’t want to see him at 140 pounds where he’s undersized and lacks KO power. I want to see him at his sharpest and against the guys that I think are the best at 135 pounds (and none of ‘em are with GBP, so there’s no excuse for these bouts not to be made or televised on HBO). 

Around the web