Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

MAYWEATHER-CANELO

Hi Doug,

I can’t wait to see Canelo Alvarez and Floyd Mayweather square off on Sept. 14 because yet again the fans tune in to see if Canelo is “The One” to finally steal Mayweather’s doughnut. I don’t think the bloodthirsty ghouls are watching because they appreciate Mayweather’s chess like boxing style!

My thoughts are that if Canelo wants to beat Mayweather, he has to rely on countering Mayweather’s hand speed and foot speed. I think in general these are the two areas Mayweather really outshines Canelo. To do this I think he needs to feint his shots upstairs and go to work downstairs.

I noticed Mayweather actually got Guerrero really nice with straight rights to his body which definitely made the “Ghost” drop his hands down after which he was eating those right hand leads for fun. I think this is what Canelo needs to do to Mayweather, power shots to the body followed by work upstairs. I think that, contrary to what many are saying about if the fight goes the distance it will be a UD for Mayweather. Canelo can get a SD if he gets Mayweather to respect his power. I can’t see Mayweather getting knocked out because: 1) That would just be too sensational and 2) My personal belief is that Mayweather has got one of the best set of whiskers in boxing today.

What do you think Canelo needs to do to beat Mayweather?

Moving on to Lucas Matthysse vs. Danny Garcia. I actually think Garcia survives an early knockdown to grind out another controversial SD. As much as I hate Angel Garcia, I think Danny is a pretty decent boxer and durable. I think Garcia will just be better prepared for such a mega event and handle the pressure better to get the victory. Do you think Canelo or Matthysse will be affected by the magnitude of this event?

Lastly, if Mayweather had to fight himself in the ring, how would it play out? Regards. – Riz, London, UK

Mayweather fighting himself in the ring would be about as interesting as Mayweather playing with himself in the ring. (And for the record, I am not interested in watching Floyd masturbate. Let’s move on to your other questions.)

I do not think that Alvarez or Matthysse will be affected by the magnitude of the Sept. 14 event. Alvarez, who is used to the spotlight and pressure, feels that he was born for this moment. Matthysse is just one of those cool-tempered guys who isn’t bothered by anything. Nothing gets under his skin or worries him. When Matthysse’s passport was destroyed during a home invasion in Argentina, he wasn’t able to get to the U.S. for the Lamont Peterson bout until just a few days before the fight. Did any of that mess with him? Nope.

I think Matthysse will get the better of Garcia but I believe he will have to work hard for it and maybe survive a wobbly moment or two. But I see him stopping Garcia by the mid-to-late rounds.

I think Alvarez has to do a lot of what you suggested – counter punching and feinting upstairs before firing to the body – plus what he usually does in the ring. In other words, I think Canelo should be Canelo. He should be himself against Floyd. It’s OK to add certain tactics to one’s gameplan going into a huge fight against an elite fighter, but I think it’s a mistake for one to change his style when facing top opposition.

I believe Canelo will be himself, which means he’ll mix his punches up well, he’ll counter when he can, he’ll work the body, he won’t over-commit to his offense or walk in recklessly, he’ll move his head and upper body, and he’ll back up or fight off the ropes if he feels it’s the right thing to do.

Alvarez will do a lot of things against Mayweather that many fans and members of the media refuse to acknowledge he can do at all. And I think he’ll surprise a lot of people.   

I can see Mayweather getting knocked out. That scenario would surprise me, but it would not shock me. I definitely think it’s possible.

STILL MAD ABOUT THE COLD WAR

Hey Doug. How’s it going?

I read your article every week and thought I would show some love from the UK.

You have shown me what boxers to look out for (GGG, Matthysse & Rigo).

Boxing has been great this year but I’m still annoyed with the whole Top Rank/Golden Boy feud. We have our own version over here with Frank Warren v Eddie Hearn (Matchroom). I think it’s amazing we have the exact situation over here and it’s s__t for us boxing fans. Warren has a TV station called BoxNation which is great because we get to see American fighters every week and even have the Mayweather card on there, which is superb for us. Hearn has Sky TV and his stable has a lot more talent than Warren’s. Why can’t the boxing board sort these silly feuds out?

Anyway, less of the silly politics. What is Amir Khan’s chances against Devon Alexander? If he gets past him I honestly think he would be one of Floyd’s toughest tests because of his mad speed. What you reckon?

I won big money on Deontay Wilder the other week so can’t wait for my next winnings from GGG and Kovalev, and I fancy Garcia v Mathhysse because everyone is writing him off.

David Haye v Tyson Fury is gonna be massive over here but Haye will KO him within three. Who would you fancy between Haye and Wilder? They’re sparring right? Any secrets if Wilder has sparked Haye in training? Haha

I fancy Wilder by KO in rounds 1-3 in every fight until he fights a Klitschko.

One last thing, I would love George Groves to beat Froch. Has he got a chance? Froch thinks/says he’s a legend and disrespects greats like Ward who bossed him for 12 rounds and disrespects Joe Calzaghe, who would have showed him a lesson as well.

Thanks for your insight every week, pal. Can’t wait til Sept 14th. Floyd on points is the big money bet.– Nikkie, S. London, England

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Nikkie, and for sharing some of that “UK love,” LOL. Actually, I get quite a lot of love from UK boxing fans. (Do me a favor and tell that to BoxNation’s Steve Bunce; it will piss him off.)

Floyd on points is the safe bet. No doubt about it. That was my pick when the fight was first made. I didn’t think Canelo was quite ready for this particular challenge. Now that we are just two weeks away, I’m not so sure.

Groves has the ability to beat Froch if the Nottingham veteran is not at his absolute best. All of these young guns – Groves, Canelo, Fury, Brandon Rios – have the smarts, guts and ability to upset their more experienced opponents if the odds favorites are not 100 percent. Mark my words, there will be at least one big “youth-over-experience” upset in boxing this fall.

If Wilder can connect with a clean right hand to either Klitschko in the first three rounds, I think he can take them out, too. Of course, if either K-Brother lands a big right hand to Wilder at any time in the fight, the American’s gonna take a nap.

Wilder just joined Haye’s camp. He’s not looking to make a name for himself by showing out against the former WBA titleholder and cruiserweight champ, Wilder’s looking to learn from a smart veteran. I think he will and I think he’ll give Haye good (but respectful) gym work.

I tell you what, though, Haye’s gonna be taking notes on Wilder in case they ever do meet in the ring. If there were to fight late this year or early in 2014, I would pick “the Hayemaker” to win by early to mid rounds KO.

I think Haye will do the same to Fury, but if it goes into the late rounds… well, Irish eyes might be smilin’.

I like Khan’s chances against Devon. I don’t think he’s got much of a shot vs. Mayweather.

Regarding the U.S. Cold War between Golden Boy/Showtime and Top Rank/HBO, I’m not in favor of divisive business politics and general animosity between major power brokers in the boxing industry, but I think the split has helped to create the terrific matchups and action we have all enjoyed this year.

Both GBP and Top Rank have pressure to make the best fight possible within their vast and talented stables now that they are pretty much the sole boxing providers for America’s top two subscription cable networks. And the two factions are trying to outdo each other, so we’ve had their top dogs within specific divisions – such as junior welterweight with the Rios-Alvarado rematch and Matthysse-Peterson – going at it.

It continues during the fall and winter schedule: Garcia-Matthysse (Sept. 14), Juan Manuel Marquez-Tim Bradley (Oct. 12), Alvarado-Provodnikov (Oct. 19) and maybe Broner-Maidana (Nov. 9).

I’m good with this, so far. I think we’ll continue to get good fights through much of 2014. But when the smoke clears and there are proven top guns in both the GBP and Top Rank stables in shared weight classes, like 140 pounds, and the Cold War is still on – that’s when I will have a problem with the politics.

If Matthysse beats Garcia and then maybe Zab Judah in a rematch, and if Alvarado beats Provo and then maybe Rios in a rubber match; I’m going to want to see Matthysse face Alvarado for 140-pound supremacy (and more importantly, because it would be a hell of a fight).

I’d like to see how Bradley and Broner match up at 147 pounds. If Omar Figueroa and Terence Craford keep winning at 135 pounds, I’m fans are going to clamor for that matchup. Likewise, if Rigo and Leo Santa Cruz keep winning at 122 pounds.

But we’ve still got some time to enjoy a lot of really good in-house matchups. Hopefully, the two sides can work out their differences before they run out of options.

WELTERWEIGHT TOURNAMENT

Dougie,

Create this 16 man tournament, and tell me what you envision happening. Choose from the fighters Pacquiao, Mayweather, Marquez, Bradley, Brooks, Khan, Guerrero, Broner, Alexander, Thurman, Maidana, Malignaggi, Alvarado, Provodnikov, Rios, and Ortiz.

You can choose the starting round matchups, and so forth all the way to the championship. How great would this tournament be? Would the market value reach half a billion? Gamblers would lose their minds! – Jordan

Gamblers are crazy to begin with.

If Floyd and Manny were involved the tournament’s market value might exceed half a billion.

It would be great indeed, and smart on the part of the organizers if Mayweather and Pacquiao are seeded high and apart from each other in the early stages.

I don’t need to go through the starting round matchups to get to the championship match. Mayweather has proven to be the best welterweight on the planet in recent years and he’s proven the ability to prevail over a variety of styles. I know he’d make it to the championship round. It would be great if Pacquiao could make it there, too. He could do it, but I could also see him being upset on the way there.

I could see Brooks surprising a lot of American fans making it to the Final Four or even the championship match.

There would be a lot of upsets and surprises and a lot of competitive and entertaining fights but Mayweather would beat his opponents in rather uneventful fashion all the way to the ultimate tournament title.

OLD VS. NEW

Hi Doug,

I’m going to rekindle the debate between Golden Age boxers and the Modern Era. I’ve read a great deal of boxing literature and viewed a number of classic fights and while I think fighters of the past were mentally tougher, more technically sound, and had excellent exposure to stylistic variation, I would not go so far as to say that they would wipe up today’s competition.

I have two reasons for this:

1) Regardless of whether or not you subscribe to the concept of advancement in nutrition and training as a plausible advantage, we cannot deny that fighters today are trained for explosiveness. This makes mythical match ups more interesting because just as modern fighters are at a disadvantage from their predecessors’ skill and experience, Golden Era boxers are facing opponents who have been designed to execute with explosive speed and power, even if this deteriorates more rapidly during the fight.

Do I admire this? No. Do I believe that all Golden Era fighters would get knocked out early against their modern counterparts? No. But I do believe that back in the day fighters were tougher but also more compromised. They fought a lot and gained incredible experience and mental toughness, but also accumulated a good deal of damage and rest deprivation. Today the opposite is true. This probably mitigates some of those advantages.

2) There is a modern focus on knockouts. What does this mean? In the past, fighters engaged in a physical chess match, being very deliberate in their risk aversion. Essentially, being smart. Today, there is a much stronger focus on overwhelming your opponent and proving superiority via knockout. This ties into the focus on explosiveness, but there is more at play. Fifty years ago you may have gotten knocked down from a smart, well-planned punch. Today fighters are less risk averse which leads to more exchanges and more fight-altering damage. Matthysse, Golovkin, Stevenson, Kovalev. These are the extreme examples of the game-changing effect of the interaction between explosive training and KO focus.

Again, I am not implying that past era boxers would never win. But I do strongly believe that a piece of their greatness is tied to the prevalent training, strategy, and fight frequency of the time period. Those guys had to execute on a weekly or monthly basis and probably were not near 100% all the time. And they all knew this, which means they had to be smarter and more strategic. But just as modern fighters are at a disadvantage in this respect, classic boxers would be facing a much different beast than they were accustomed to.

Ultimately, I believe it is very difficult to assess mythical match ups for these reasons. But I would also be very cautious to jump to the conclusion that old beats new most of the time. I realize you may disagree with me on this position, but I feel it is a valid argument. – Vincent, New York, NY

It’s a valid argument. I agree that modern boxers (and modern athletes in general) are more explosive than those of the past, especially more so than those who fought in the 1940s/’50s (boxing’s Golden Age). However, championship boxing is more of a distance run than a sprint.

Today’s top boxers might have a better chance of scoring early stoppages against the top Golden Age fighters than the old timers would against them, but only if they are allowed to weigh-in the day before the fight as opposed to the same-day weigh-ins that fighters from the mid-1980s on down had to take part in.

The lightweight version of Shane Mosley – who was the poster boy for modern training methods in the late 1990s – would probably overwhelm or wear down a lot of very good 135-pound champs from the past, but only if these mythical matchups are assumed to take place under modern rules, which include previous day weigh-ins. If the “lightweight” Sugar Shane isn’t allowed to re-hydrate to 147 or 154 pounds on fight night, I think he would be taken to school by boxers such as Carlos Ortiz, Ismael Laguna and Ken Buchanan.

Also, I don’t agree with your assumption that Golden Age fighters were “very deliberate in their risk aversion,” you put it, due to their active fight schedules. (Watch Carmen Basilio’s fights with Tony DeMarco and Johnny Saxton when you have the time). They were complete and competent fighters because their management and the industry took the time to develop talent in those days, but they fought often adn they fought HARD. They were able to do so BECAUSE of their great activity. Fighting often made them sharper and may have enabled those who lived relatively clean to have much longer careers than that of the average modern boxer.

The old timers fought a lot more, and sometimes they found themselves in ring wars, and because of that, they didn’t kill themselves in the gym and in training camp like a lot of today’s fighters do.

The Golden Age fighters fought at their natural fighting weights because of the same-day weigh-ins. Their busy fighting schedules helped keep their weight down between fights and they didn’t have the concept of “drying out” for the weigh-in so they could “re-hydrate” that night and the morning of the fight. I think this weight game that many modern boxers take part in uses up their bodies as much as taking too many punches, and it often shortens their careers. Fernando Vargas is an example.

Modern fighters have to go at their training MUCH harder than the old timers did in order to make up for their inactivity and to make unnaturally lighter weights. Where the old timers were sparring just to get timing down and to work on certain techniques or tactics, the modern guys are going at in gym wars in order to drop weight, get into “fighting shape” and to get used to getting punched after a long layoffs.

I’ve only been covering boxing for about 15 years and in that time so many high-profile fighters have come and gone I can’t even list them all. I’ll put it to like this, how many standouts from the 1996 Olympic Games are still on top? Only Mayweather and Wladimir Klitschko. How many standouts from the 2000 Olympics are still around? Where’s Jermain Taylor and Jeff Lacy? They were big, strong and explosive weren’t they? They re-hydrated into light heavyweights on fight night, but I’d still go with most of the middleweight champs from the ‘40s through the ‘80s in mythical matchups involving those two because both were overpaid and inactive during the primes of their careers, and because of that they were underdeveloped front runners.

Boxers like Mayweather, Marquez and Bernard Hopkins are anomalies for our era (and it should be pointed out that they all had/have old-school trainers and they don’t focus on power/explosiveness). For most of today’s boxers, fighting less pro fights and training to be explosive is not extending their careers – and I’m not convinced that it makes them more effective in the ring.

 

 

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