Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Friday mailbag

SUPER SEPTEMBER

Hey Doug,

Finally!! Golden Boy Promotions signed the two fights everyone wanted to see – Floyd Mayweather vs. Canelo Alvarez and Danny Garcia vs. Lucas Matthysse (on the same card)!! I got my money on Canelo and Matthysse. I never bet against Mayweather and his last performance was vintage PBF but I can see Canelo jabbing hard at Mayweather’s solar plexus and stomach and basically being smarter than anticipated.

Matthysse by KO! I expect Garcia to stand his ground and do well but his tendency to go to war will be his downfall.

I hope Austin Trout will be on the card as well. So many people were saying that he would win against Canelo then after the fight they dismiss Canelo’s win as if Trout wasn’t all that. I’d pick him against everybody at 154 (a rematch with Canelo would be a close one as well). The Golden Boy vs Top Rank cold war is bringing us incredible fights because they want to stand out by putting on the best events. Just keep it going!!

Olusegun Ajose back in the ring!! He’s gonna run through Hank Lundy!! Lundy is coming up in weight against a very strong, tough, well conditioned, awkward jr. welterweight… Bad move!

Dereck Chisora back in the ring and in the “shape of his life”… He better be otherwise he will become just an opponent. Peace. – V.

I think Del Boy’s style is tailor-made for Malik Scott even if the pressure-fighting Brit is in the best shape of his life. However, even though I’ve always been a believer in Scott’s ability, I can’t be sure that that the unbeaten American will get a fair shake in London.

I thought Scott won seven out of 10 rounds against Vyacheslav Glazkov in February in New York but he had to settle for a draw. Still, I like Scott by decision in tomorrow’s fight (at least in the eyes of most observers).

I don’t think Ajose will run through Lundy. I know Lundy has come up from lightweight and he’s lost his last two bouts, but I always thought Ajose was a little overrated. Yes, the Nigerian southpaw is as tough and game as a prize fighter can possibly be but he seems sloppy to me.

I think Ajose has more question marks than Lundy does coming into tonight’s attractive Friday Night Fights main event. I wonder if he’s fully recovered from the extended beating he took from Matthysse and I wonder how his relative inactivity (only five bouts in the last 3½ years) will affect his performance against a smart boxer as fast and experienced as Lundy. I like Lundy by decision.

I agree that Trout would be a welcome addition to the Mayweather-Canelo pay-per-view broadcast (especially if he’s in with a solid junior middleweight or middleweight). He earned it with the effort he gave against Alvarez in April. By the way, the fans who now dismiss Trout as a “so-so fighter” (even though they picked him to “expose” Canelo) are the same boobs who said Matthysse was scared of Ajose and would catch a beatdown from Lamont Peterson.

Speaking of “The Machine,” congrats to the Argentine puncher for finally landing his well-earned world 140-pound title shot and kudos to the young champ, Danny Garcia, for finally signing on the dotted line. Big kudos must also go out to Richard Schaefer, Al Haymon, Stephen Espinoza and Showtime for making the fight and having it serve as the co-feature to the biggest boxing event of the year.

I think it’s gonna be a lot of fun (and competitive) while it lasts, but I also expect Matthysse to eventually stop Garcia. No disrespect to the Philly native. I think Garcia is a hell of a fighter but he’s in with a bona-fide puncher who isn’t easy to nail clean and the young champ eats too many rights hands.

I don’t bet on fights (or anything else) but if I did, I’d definitely put some money on Matthysse and Canelo, as well.

THE EXECUTIONER VS. LIGHTS OUT

Hey Doug,

How is it going? This is only the 2nd time of me writing to your mailbag and I pray this makes it (I hope to write more though).

I know u love Mythical Matchups and I wanted to give you one with a bit of a twist.

Bernard Hopkins has often mentioned himself as the “Third child” behind Roy Jones and James Toney during the 1990s. RJJ beat both of them so there was never a debate about that. However, Hopkins was great at middleweight and James Toney was also fantastic at middleweight and super middle.

So I wanted to get your thoughts on a matchup between “B-Hop” and “Lights Out” in the following scenarios (please base this on both fighters at their best condition)

 

1. A 12 round fight

2. A 15 round fight (Like in the old days)

3. A Fight to the finish, so until one of them quits or gets KO’ed (Considering both of them have never been stopped)

4. As Trainers, so if they both had to take an average fighter and train him. If these fighters met how would it pan out?

5. A street fight, in this case both guys are out of the ring and bump into each other in a back alley.

6. A Press conference trash talk showdown, so who would get the most talking, who would get into the others head etc.

Thanks a lot man, stay cool! – Anu

This has always been a fascinating mythical matchup, one I admit to waffling and flip-flopping on due to the iron wills, rock-solid chins, versatile styles and high-degree of skill and technique that both men possess.

It’s too bad this middleweight fight never happened when both campaigned at 160 pounds. Although I must note that Toney was more developed and experienced at the world-class level than Nard was at the time when “Lights Out” moved up from 160 pounds to challenge (and dominate) Iran Barkley for the IBF 168-pound title in February of ’93. It was a still-raw Hopkins who fought and lost to Jones for the vacant IBF middleweight belt that Toney vacated in May of ’93. Had Toney and Hopkins fought in late ’92 or early ’93, I think Toney would have outpointed that version of “The Executioner.”

But if you take the late ‘90s/early 2000s version of Hopkins and match him with the prime-middleweight Toney you got yourself a real tit-for-tat toss-up that would probably look a lot like Lights Out’s first showdown with Mike McCallum, which ended up a split-draw. McCallum, like Hopkins would be vs. Toney, was the better technician and more consistent puncher (especially with his jab), but the young Michigan badass counter-punched the hell out of the hardnosed veteran.

I was always fine with the draw but I thought Toney deserved to win that 1991 classic. (By the way, that was one of my all-time favorite fights. Anyone who thinks I don’t appreciate boxing can eat a d__k. I love to watch a good, technical boxing match, it just has to be QUALITY craft on display – for an example of what I mean, just check out McCallum-Toney I)

So I’m going to go with Toney edging Hopkins out by majority or split decision in a 12-round middleweight bout.

I’ll go with Hopkins by close unanimous decision in the 15-round bout because I think those extra three rounds would weigh on Toney’s mind and the middleweight version would try to pace himself by laying on the ropes more than usual and fighting in spots. That strategy would enable B-Hop to outwork him.

A fight to the finish is almost impossible with these two. Neither man has ever been knocked out and neither has ever shied away from world-class punchers. Both boxers are great at conserving energy, too. If I have to pick someone, I guess I’ll go with Toney by technical stoppage midway through round 78. Toney’s chin has been tested by hard-punching heavyweights, plus he’s the slicker of the two, so he’s probably take less shots over the extended distance. I think B-Hop would eventually break both his hands on Toney’s head and be held back on his stool before round 79.

I’ll go with the Hopkins-trained fighter over Toney’s guy. B-Hop stresses fundamentals and conditioning/nutrition. Toney can’t teach what he knows or what he does in the ring.

In a street fight I gotta with B-Hop.

In a press conference verbal battle, there’s no doubt that Hopkins would get the most talking done, but he wouldn’t get in Toney’s head and I think Toney would win the contest in the eyes of most observers because he would be the more outrageous (and probably the more vulgar) of the two.

 

FEEDING THE ADDICTION

Doug,

I have never boxed before, nor do I claim to be an expert. I started watching boxing when I could afford HBO about three years ago. Since that time, I have become addicted and purchased Showtime a year later. I watch all fights that are on TV: HBO, Showtime, ESPN2, NBC, Fox Sports and most of the PPV fights. I’ve read and enjoyed the Al Bernstein book. Most of what I “know” about boxing I learned from the fights themselves, the color commentary, you (Doug Fischer) and Steve Kim. I visit the following websites: The RingTV website, boxingscene.com, boxrec.com, maxboxing.com, fightnights.com, and boxingnews24.com.

I can truly say that I am addicted to this sport. But, I am truly embarrassed as to my knowledge of the long history of boxing (outside of the last three years). I can hold my own (as far as conversations go) with today’s current boxing news. I was wondering if you could suggest websites or books to brush up on the history of boxing and today’s boxing news (besides the websites I’ve listed of course). Thank you. And thanks for the lessons. Sincerely. – Zach (from Milwaukee)

Don’t mention it, Zach. (I hope I haven’t misled you too much.)

Three books that are good for gaining an appreciation and foundation for boxing’s rich history were brought up in this week’s Monday mailbag and I’m happy to mention them again: “In This Corner…! Forty Two World Champions Tell Their Stories” by Peter Heller, “The Arc of Boxing: The Rise and Decline of the Sweet Science” by Mike Silver and “The Boxing Register,” which is the official record book of the International Boxing Hall of Fame (currently in its fifth edition), by James B. Roberts and Alexander G. Skutt.

As far as historical website to check out, I’d be remiss if I didn’t direct you to the Cyber Boxing Zone. It’s gotta be one of the oldest boxing websites in existence (it was around before HouseofBoxing was founded) and it’s totally dedicated to boxing history.

There’s also a really good blog site – bestboxingblog.com – that gives a lot of love to the sport’s long history. Check out their This Week In Boxing History, Pugilistic Profiles and The Top Twelve sections for a healthy dose of hardcore history, as well as The Critics Corner, which is a collection of boxing book, film and documentary reviews.

WHAT IF? EDWIN VALERO…

Dougie,

If Edwin Valero was still alive:

1. What would his record be?

2. What weight class would he be in?

3. Would the knockout streak have been stopped?

4. If he fought Manny Pacquiao in mid-2012 who wins and how?

5. If he’d lost by now, who would the losses most likely be to?

6. How would he have fared against Timmy Bradley, Rios, Mayweather, Alvarez, and (for $1,000 and a double bonus Alex) Matthysse?

Thank You. – Rahmon Ford, Los Angeles

This email is the latest bit of evidence in my mind that proves that hardcore boxing fans are very close in nature to hardcore comic book geeks. Marvel’s “What If?” comic book (which dealt with hypothetical scenarios for the company’s popular characters or alternative situations to established story lines) hasn’t been an on-going series since the late ‘90s, but I’m starting to think “What If” boxing magazine would be a decent seller.  

I’m not giving you a hard time, Rahmon. I’m a boxing nerd and a comic book geek. I love this s__t as long as folks don’t take it too seriously. So having said that, please take the following (admittedly biased) “What-if” Valero opinions with a total grain of salt:

1) I think Valero would have suffered at least one loss by now – most likely to Pacquiao (if the fight took place above 140 pounds, which it probably would have) – and he’d probably fight no more than three bouts a year, so I’ll say he’d have an excellent ledger of 34-1 with 34 knockouts. (And I think he’d be a very popular TV fighter, though not necessarily a ticket seller unless he was facing an established attraction – like PacMan.)

2) He would be a junior welterweight by now and he’d probably hold a major belt.

3) I don’t think so. I don’t see anyone (under 147 pounds) going the distance with Valero. He was either going to score a stoppage or be stopped himself.

4) That’s a tough one. I would have picked Valero to beat Pacquiao had they fought as junior lightweights, lightweights or maybe even 140 pounders. But I think junior welterweight was probably Valero’s ceiling. I could be wrong, but he would have been pretty small for even a junior welter. Pacquiao seemed to lack passion for the sport last year, which contributed to his losses, but he is a real welterweight, though small for the division. Pacquiao’s proven at 147; Valero never got a chance to fight at 140. I gotta give PacMan the edge. I think Valero’s reputation and intention to do him harm would force Pacquiao to train hard and take the fight (and his training) seriously (as he did for Cotto). I’ll go with Pacquiao via up-from-the-canvas KO in a bloody shootout. (I know Juan Manuel Marquez iced Pacquiao in the Filipino icon’s last bout, but it took the Mexican master FOUR bouts to finally land that monster punch.)

5) Pacquiao.

6) If Valero fought Bradley when he was supposed to (there was some talk after the DeMarco fight) I think Valero would have worn the game American down to a late stoppage. I think he and Rios would have gone to war in a classic confrontation, but the V-nom would have stopped Bam Bam in the middle rounds. Being a Top Rank-promoted fighter at the time of his death, I don’t think he’d ever face Mayweather, but if he were to somehow break away from Bob, I don’t think he’d fare well vs. Mayweather because the fight would be at welterweight. Don’t get me wrong, Valero wouldn’t shy away from that match and his underrated ring generalship would make it an interesting fight in the early rounds, but carrying that extra weight against a sharp-shooting counter puncher like Mayweather would eventually cost him. He’d either get stopped late or outpointed. Alvarez is too big for Valero. That fight would never happen. I’m going to go with Valero over Matthysse via late TKO thanks to his lateral movement, faster hands and great punch output.

DOG DAYS OF SUMMER

What’s up, Doug?

Well, considering the very lean action coming up in the next few weeks or so, there’s really nothing much to look forward to. And that’s for the whole summer to be exact. In fact, from what I have observed, it has been the actual practice for the last few years as far as I can remember. So for some reason whatsoever, promoters hold out the big fights up until the fall season. Which leads me to these couple of questions, why do you think we don’t come to witness big money fights for this period, could you shed some light on this? Then again, during the glory days of boxing, I don’t actually believe that would be the exact same trend as well, as I could only imagine lots of exciting fights happening week in & week out, the whole year round, no matter what month or season. So which summer year would you deem to be the most fortuitous in terms of excitement and memorable matches?

One last thing Doug, I just wish you could give a warm shoutout to my old man, Bernardino Gaviola, who’s turning 75 by the end of the year, but still a true-blue boxing aficionado up until this moment. And should I say he’s the most substantial reason why I also became a huge fan of this sport. Yeah, boxing is where we get connected.

Big thanks Doug, cheers!– Bernard Gaviolafrom the Philippines, working in Kuwait

Here’s a MASSIVE mailbag SHOUTOUT to Bernardino Gaviola, a boxing fan for seven decades and still goin’ strong.

Interesting question you have about the lean summer months for boxing. I think there are two major factors – at least here in the U.S. – that have led to less major boxing shows being scheduled in June, July and August in recent decades. The first is the emergence of pay-per-view events. The strongest shows have taken place in May (around Cinco De Mayo), September (around Mexican Independence Day), and November. So some of the big fights take place before the summer and then the summer months are a time when other big fights are made and promoted (like the Mayweather-Canelo/Garcia-Matthysse) bouts. The fall and winter is when most of them take place (and believe me, it’s better to be in Vegas in September, October or November than in July or August.)

(However, there have been a few occasions when big shows were scheduled during the summer in recent years. Top Rank put on Manny Pacquiao-David Diaz in June of 2008 and followed it up with the first Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito fight in July of that year – both were pay-per-view shows in Las Vegas. Golden Boy put on Marquez’s rematch with Juan Diaz in July of 2010. It was also a PPV in Vegas – and damn it was HOT.)

The second reason boxing takes a bit of a break during the summer months is that a lot of Americans take family vacations at this time.

But it ain’t so bad, Bernard (if I may paraphrase Rocky from his rematch with Clubber Lang).

There’s enough going on this summer to hold us over for what should be a spectacular September.

Showtime’s July 27 tripleheader from San Antonio, headlined by the Berto-Soto Karass fight, should be a lot of fun. The Friday Night Fights main events look like quality matches all the way to the Aug. 23 season finale.

HBO’s Aug. 17 dual-site doubleheader (Cleverly-Kovalev/Geale-Barker) looks good.

And I can’t wait for another outdoor summer night at StubHub arena (formerly the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.) on Aug. 24 when Abner Mares faces Jhonny Gonzalez and Leo Santa Cruz goes for his second world title vs. Victor Terrazas.

 

Photos / Al Bello-Getty Images, THE RING, Toru Yamanaka-AFP, Omar Torres-AFP

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

 

 

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