Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Friday mailbag

HORRIFIC RESPONSES

Hi Dougie,
I enjoy reading the articles on The Ring’s website and like to follow the rankings even though they differ from what I think. I also frequently read your mailbag to see what other fans of the sport have to say about the results from the week. Your responses often make me cringe, Dougie. I appreciate you have made a career out of something you love and I admire you for that, however I feel that you have a real problem acknowledging the achievements of some of the top fighters of the era. Anytime you mention Floyd Mayweather it is with sarcastic praise, backhanded compliments or just general snide comments. Like it or not, he is an all time great and would have mixed it with anyone of any era at the weights he has competed in. Give him his dues, give him his props and please stop letting your hatred ruin your writing and making you pick against him, you should get a TMT hat and enjoy one of the greats while you can.

I’m gonna ask you for your opinion on some fights that you should be able to assess impartially, who wins and why?:

Kell Brook vs Vyacheslav Senchenko

Anthony Mundine vs Shane Mosley

Darren Barker vs Felix Sturm (if it happens)

Adrien Broner vs Marcos Maidana

Amir Khan vs Devon Alexander

Thanks for reading! – AP, UK

Thanks for writing, even though you’re wrong about Mayweather being an all-time great (at least for now).

I’ll try to give you my honest opinions of the matchups you presented without being biased, hateful or partial to a particular fighter:

I think Brook outpoints Senchenko. The Sheffield native is the better overall boxing talent, with a style that should trouble the solid-but-ordinary Ukrainian.

I think Mundine will outpoint Mosley. The former super middleweight beltholder is not only the naturally bigger man, his style is all wrong for Mosley. Mundine is a terrific athlete who is willing to fight anyone, but he can be downright skittish in the ring. He’s not going to stand and trade with Mosley all night. I think Aussie hits and runs his way to victory. I hope I’m wrong, though. I’ll be rooting for the Sugar Man. (Oops, that wasn’t an impartial comment, was it? Oh well.)

I think Barker-Sturm is a toss-up distance fight. If it takes place in Germany (which I don’t see happening), I slightly favor the Sturminator. If it takes place in England, I slightly favor the defending IBF middleweight beltholder.

I think Broner beats up on Maidana en route to a decision victory or late stoppage. Maidana has improved under the guidance of Robert Garcia, but he’s still too raw to deal with Broner’s blend of talent and skill. Having said that, I’m hoping Maidana knocks Broner TFO. (Oops, that was beyond biased, wasn’t it? That’s what you kids call “hating,” right? Sorry about that.)

Khan vs. Alexander? Who cares? I’m tired of reading, hearing and talking about this matchup. Is it just me or does it seem like the Khan and Alexander camps have been negotiating for nine-to-10 months? I gotta be honest with you, AP, I know Khan’s a big name in the UK, and he definitely has my respect as a fighter (as does Alexander), but I’m just not interested in this matchup. I don’t think he and Alexander will mesh to make an entertaining fight. Yes, there will be lots of speed on display, but there will also be a lot clinching, a lot of awkward offensive bursts, a lot of missing and waaaaaaay too much yelping (with every freakin’ punch) from both fighters. (OK, I’m hoping that my two-way “hate” technically makes this an impartial opinion.)

Regarding Mayweather, why is it so important to you that every fan and boxing writer on the planet pick him to win every fight, appreciate his style and consider him to be an ATG? I just don’t feel that way about Mayweather, who I acknowledge is the best boxer on the planet, the best pure/defensive boxer of his era and have probably stated 1,000 times during the past six-or-seven years that he’s a first-ballot hall of famer.

Those aren’t backhanded compliments or snide comments. That’s high praise and I don’t dish that out for just any fighter.

If I told you I’m going to put on a TMT hat and enjoy watching an entertaining boxer I consider to be an all-time great from here on out, I’d be lying to you. I don’t hate watching Mayweather fight, but I don’t look forward to his bouts and I generally don’t enjoy them (there have been exceptions, such as the Miguel Cotto fight). I don’t think he’s an all-time great. That’s not an insult to Mayweather. For the most part, I don’t think it’s possible to really assess a boxer’s accomplishments/greatness/historical standing until he’s finished with his career. There’s only one active fighter that I consider great, and that’s Bernard Hopkins (and I’ve gone over those reasons many times).

By the way, I agree with you that Mayweather would have been competitive with the best boxers of any era at the weights he has competed in. I just don’t think that he would have beaten them all.

This is my opinion. Everyone who reads these mailbags and either loves or hates Mayweather knows this. So if you ask me who I think would win a welterweight or junior middleweight fight between Thomas Hearns and Mayweather, you know what I’m going to say. If you think my answers to these types of questions are based on “hate” rather than an earnest analysis – and this bugs you – my suggestion for you and other diehard Floyd Followers is to REFRAIN FROM EMAILING ME ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT MAYWEATHER.

Ask me about anything else. As you’re aware of, I’m 100 percent impartial when it comes to other boxing subjects and questions (well, almost).

B-HOP’S ASSESSMENT OF MAYWEATHER

Quick question Doug (I’m going to keep them short now),

Is Bernard Hopkins now a Mayweather nuthugger?

Just because a person holds this opinion of Floyd (and I consider B-Hop great also), I don’t think that necessarily makes them a cheerleader or nuthugger.

But I definitely respect cats like yourself who hold a different opinion. I can see where different criteria for greatness can lead to different opinions.

I’m looking forward to David Haye-Tyson Fury and Adonis Stevenson-Tavoris Cloud next week.

Peace. – Steve

Haye-Fury and Stevenson-Cloud are gonna be fun fights; so will Julio Cesar Chavez-Bryan Vera, I think. I’m looking forward to next Saturday.

I don’t agree with “The Immortal B-Hop’s” opinion of Mayweather, but I’d never call him a “nuthugger.” For starters, I’m scared of him, but beyond that he’s never been prone to hyperbole in regard to his peers in the past.

I think Hopkins really does respect Mayweather’s skills and longevity (on a level that you and I can only imagine) and I believe him when he says he thinks Floyd is great.

I don’t believe him when he says Mayweather is No. 3 all time behind Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali, as he told the media at the Mayweather-Alvarez post-fight press conference.

I think he had his promoter’s hat on when he said that. I think he was pumping Mayweather up as partner with Golden Boy and he may be pumping Mayweather up as a potential future opponent, if we are to take his claims of dropping back down to 160 pounds after the Karo Murat fight seriously. Don’t put it past Hopkins, Golden Boy, Al Haymon or Showtime to try to make that bizarre catch-weight matchup if Mayweather finds himself in dire need of a marketable showdown next year.

B-Hop might want to encourage everyone to view Mayweather to be in Robinson’s and Ali’s league so he can take that status if he beats the new Pernell Whitaker.

By the way, feel free to write as long as you want and as often as you want, Steve. I’m glad you emailed me this week after I flipped out on you in the Monday mailbag because it gives me an opportunity to publicly apologize for needlessly going off.

Thanks for not holding a grudge.

WE’RE WITH YOU

Hi Doug,
There are millions of fans that agree with you. Yes, Mayweather is a half-turtle, half-rabbit defensive wizard. But it’s also true that Saturday’s fight lacked any drama because of HIS choice not to take any risks and cruise to a “W.” Was Canelo ever in trouble? Was Canelo ever hurt? It’s like being unable to pick up a chicken off the ground within 36 minutes. They are fast, hard to catch, but did they really win if you couldn’t catch it? Mayweather clearly has an advantage in speed and reflexes but rarely uses them to finish an opponent. More respect would go his way if he did. I prefer clear wins and yes boxing is the art of hit and not get hit but it’s not – or shouldn’t be – the art of hit and not get hit, not get hit, not get hit, tap, not get hit, tap, tap, not get hit, not get hit, you get the point.

I for one won’t be buying his PPVs anymore. It’s sad to think Tim Bradley-Juan Manuel Marquez may have more fireworks than Canelo-Mayweather did. And most certainly Mike Alvarado-Ruslan Pronodvikov and Brandon Rios-Manny Pacquiao will deliver. Canelo came to fight, Mayweather came to win. This is why everybody loves Pacquiao fights, because he not only comes to beat his opponents but he comes to beat up his opponents, which makes for exciting fights and leaves him open for risks. I would rather see Canelo v Cotto, Canelo v. Trout 2, Canelo v. Garcia, Canelo v. Pacquiao than any of those guys v Mayweather. I’d prefer him retire at this point. I wouldn’t have mind a draw this past weekend as it may have motivated Mayweather to actually go for the KO next time. He has the talent to do it, just not the warrior mentality to go for it. It’s like watching the Yankees bunt and steal their way to wins, rah rah, or the Patriots always win by field goals only, rah rah.

A win is a win, but ratings would suffer if every game went that way. Most sports fans prefer home runs, touchdowns, and KOs. You may not always get a KO, but damn it, you’re getting millions to at least try for one. – Eddie

I feel ya, Eddie. That’s what made Sugar Ray Leonard special, in my opinion. Leonard had once-in-a-generation talent and superlative skills and technique, but he usually went for the knockout and he always stopped outclassed opponents that he was dominating.

Mayweather does not have that mentality, but I can’t blame him for boxing the way he does. It’s super effective and he still has a legion of admirers and supporters among fans and media, who adamantly proclaim his greatness. Oh yeah, he’s also making CRAZY MONEY doing what he’s doing. He definitely had a lot of help from Alvarez’s popularity, but “The One” promotion is the highest grossing boxing event in history and Mayweather is the one who benefitted the most from its success.

There’s absolutely no reason for Mayweather to try to cater to action addicts and blood thirsty ghouls like you and I at this late stage of his career.

However, fans who share your opinion have every reason and right to pass on Mayweather’s next pay-per-view events if you think they will deliver the same one-sided distance bout in the main event.

I’d like to make a few points:

While I wasn’t thrilled or thoroughly entertained by Mayweather-Alvarez, I wasn’t bored to tears, either. I thought it was a compelling boxing match that was controlled by a razor-sharp but respectful old master. I thought the young buck did OK early in the bout and in spots down the stretch.

I don’t solely blame Mayweather for the lack of drama and competition. I think Alvarez had a part in that. He played too nice, in my opinion. I didn’t expect him to fight like a prime Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., but I thought he needed to mix in more aggression with his boxing and press the fight hard whenever he got Mayweather on the ropes. He didn’t do that. I think he was a bit intimidated by Mayweather.

DUCK, DUCK, GOOSE…

What’s cracking Doug? First time writing, but been a loyal follower since my early high school years way back in ’97 when Hootie and The Blowfish were selling out arenas, and you were starting out Maxboxing. I know every few years we see crazed fans label their fighter as the greatest of all time; like you say, huggers gonna hug! For a fighter who ducked Margarito (despite being offered a career high 8 million I think), ran from Pacman like the plague, spent years avoiding other greats like Sergio, and challenged smaller dudes while refusing to make weight; how the hell can supposed boxing writers/ experts label Floyd as one of the GOATS if he didn’t even fight the best of his own era? I’m not “hating” on Money, in fact he is one of the purest boxers I’ve seen. The thing is, most of his contemporaries all made a living by fighting one another at their primes (Tito, Oscar, Shane, Pacman, Barrera, etc). This is probably the reason why they all
have losses on their records, and are battle worn; but isn’t this what boxing is about?

I don’t expect ESPN to run cover stories hailing guys like Guillermo Rigondeaux week after week, but for so many sites and boxing writers to basically ignore Floyd’s complete fighting history (or lack thereof) is truly disappointing. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but the s__t’s getting loco. With this latest win from Floyd do you think we’ve even surpassed the insanity of the Roy Jones GOAT days? I hate the GOAT and P4P talk anyways, but I just can’t respect Floyd’s wins when compared to fellow fighters of his era; let alone dudes like Robinson or Chavez.

Anyways, keep up the solid work and good luck with the steady bombardment from Floyd-huggers I’m sure you will be receiving in your inbox for the next week or two! – Emilio

It hasn’t been so bad, Emilio. Thanks for following me for so many years. By the way, MaxBoxing.com dates back to early 2001. It was HouseofBoxing.com that goes back to the Hootie glory years. LOL. Time flies.

Anyway, I think the many vocal members of the Roy Jones Jr. cult (or “Jones Town,” as Steve Kim called them) had more of a case to proclaim their hero the G.O.A.T. following Jones’ heavyweight title-winning victory over John Ruiz than the Floyd Faithful have in calling Mayweather T.B.E. following the Alvarez win.

For the record, I thought talk of Jones being the best ever was ludicrous. You know what I think of Mayweather’s claim to all-time greatness.

My real problem with the members of the media who said Jones was the G.O.A.T. is that they backed off that stance as soon as Antonio Tarver KO’d him. The way I see it, if a fighter has done enough to prove that he’s greatest fighter who ever lived, one or two or even five or six consecutive losses isn’t going to erase that legacy – if it indeed exists. Sugar Ray Robinson lost five of his last 10 bouts (with one No Contest) but those losses didn’t make the sports press at the time forget about everything the former welterweight and middleweight champ had accomplished during his amazing career and there isn’t a single boxing historian worth his salt who doesn’t place him at or very near the top of the all-time great heap.

The reason much of today’s media “basically ignore Floyd’s complete fighting history” and are often quick to crown the best of this era as the best EVER is because they don’t give a rat’s ass about boxing history – recent or long term. They don’t study the 1930s, ‘40s, ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, so they have no perspective. And more than a few want to stay on the good sides of the fighters and fighters’ promoters/management, so they’re careful with their criticism.

It was what it is, and yes, huggers are gonna hug. Jones beat Ruiz in March of 2003, so in 10½ years the sport has found another “G.O.A.T.” I betcha that in less than 10 years Mayweather will be replaced by a new G.O.A.T., and I’m guessing it will be Andre Ward (if he beats GGG or Sergio Martinez and then wins a couple light heavyweight titles) or Adrien Broner (if “the Problem” beats Maidana, Danny Garcia or Matthysse at 147 pounds and then wins a 154-pound belt). And the fans and media that declare this won’t give much thought to Robinson, Willie Pep, Henry Armstrong, Sam Langford, Ezzard Charles and other old timers who have been dead for decades.

ENOUGH OF THE MAYWEATHER DEBATES

Dougie,

Long time reader, first time writer.

I felt compelled to write to you. I’ve always felt a publication like The Ring should strive for editorial excellence. Editorial excellence should extend to your mailbags. So what’s with you chewing out people that write to you with an opinion? Of late you’ve really unloaded both barrels with no or little apparent provocation.

Have you ever witnessed a manager tearing an undeserving employee a new one in public? You know, give him a real dressing down. Hell, even if the employee deserved it, it makes uncomfortable viewing. My question to you is, if these fellows bother you so much, why answer their emails? You give a lot of time to Mayweather fans – it’s obvious he’s not your favourite boxer (nothing wrong with that), but if they provoke you so much why respond to them? More importantly I think a lot of us are a little tired of it, as your consumers that should matter. Can’t you just draw a line under it? You’re not a Mayweather fan, you will no longer get drawn into arguments about wither he’s the GOAT, or even great. You don’t have to get drawn into this debate every week. Editorial excellence.

Several months ago you said something along the lines of ‘I’m one of the only boxing writers who has integrity’. I thought you had started down a slippery slope, but dude, you’ve sped down the slope faster than the Jamaican Bobsleigh team at the 1988 Winter Olympics!! You’ve a position of power, and you have a duty to use it responsibly. I personally don’t think you should even tear deserving arseholes a new one in public (ignore the motherfuckers), but s___ting on fans (not just The Ring’s fans, YOUR fans. Some of these guys obviously look up to you) because you have the pulpit makes you a bully, and dare I say it, a bit of a p___k.

Us readers enjoy reading your views because you obviously know and love boxing. Give us readers what we want. We don’t always expect you to be right (who is?), but we expect you to be insightful and (I think) respectful of those of us who purchase/read The Ring.

Lighten up and give us some of that old variety in the mailbag we used to get. Let go of the Mayweather ‘debates’, and ease up with arguing with us, the reader. We don’t always have to agree, but the insults demean what has been a great publication.

Don’t you hate it when an arsehole tears you a new one for no apparent reason?

Yours – A. Hole

Thank you for sharing your opinions, Mr. (or Mrs.) Hole. I’m sure you speak for a lot of readers, and I apologize for offending you or making you feel uncomfortable with some of my meaner responses to Mayweather fan boys.

However, I’m also sure that you don’t speak for all of the mailbag readers. Some readers (perhaps more than you think) look forward to some heated back-and-forth in the mailbag. They don’t want every exchange of opinions to be measured, reasonable and balanced debates. That can get boring real quick, A.H. Strong, often irrational emotions and passionate loyalties are part of boxing.

The mailbag is a 12-year-old letters-to-the-editor-type column that was started as a public response to a legion of relentless, crazy ass fans (Felix Trinidad’s followers). It was never intended to be a bastion of journalistic integrity and it predates my involvement with THE RING by many years. The mailbag is supposed to be the boxing gym or the barber shop, and sometimes it becomes the boys’ lockerroom. We fans are encouraged to speak our minds, have fun, and occasional get a little out of control.

Having said that, I don’t want the mailbag to be completely out of control all of the time, excessively vulgar or consistently disrespectful. That can get boring real quick, too.

So I appreciate your concern. I do consider myself to be a man and a professional of integrity, but I’m also a human being. I have an ego, I have a temper, I can become obsessed with things, and I can lash out at times. And I don’t always realize it when I’m crossing the line.

I thought I had toned down the mailbag when I made the move from MaxBoxing to RingTV.com nearly five years ago. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but I used to REALLY go off on certain readers in the mailbags. I used to have entire mailbags (that I called “Bitch Bags”) that were packed with ugly verbal battles rife with profanity, politically incorrect slurs and even physical threats. I won’t go into details because I’m not proud of it.

I bring it up because I want you to know that I’m not perfect. I’m not a college professor or a Buddhist monk and I’m not running for public office. I’m a flawed individual but I do strive to get better and I don’t like alienating people.

One of the readers that I snapped pretty hard at in this week’s Monday mailbag (Steve, who thankfully didn’t give up on me) was understandably upset by my response and he sent me an email expressing his feelings. I immediately emailed him back and apologized (and also explaining my thought/emotional process). I’ll also apologize to his face the next time I see him at a fight.

I may not promote editorial excellence or exhibit the wisdom of King Solomon, but I’m not so f__ked up that I can’t admit when I’m wrong.

I think a solution to the endless Mayweather/greatness debate is to pen a separate column of my opinion on that matter and refer Floyd fans to that article when they bring it up in a mailbag email. That way I won’t have to continually repeat/defend my opinion and criteria for greatness.

SURPRISED BY COMMENTARY

Hey Doug!

I was surprised by the commentary after the Mayweather-Alvarez fight. I am surprised that there is not more appreciation of Alvarez’s qualities and criticism of Floyd’s shortcomings given the fact that almost everyone picked Floyd to win the fight. Notwithstanding his superlative talent Floyd neither got the KO nor gave Canelo a beating. I didn’t see it as outrageous domination and I gave Canelo some of the close rounds.

I saw Floyd win convincingly but he showed the kid a lot of respect and fought very carefully. Canelo had his moments and connected with some good shots. Canelo stood in front of Mayweather and managed to evade many of Floyd’s punches, notably not getting hit with multiples of Floyd’s trademark clean, hard right hand to the face. I thought Canelo showed tremendous heart as well as substantial skill. I saw Floyd use his tremendous skill and boxing acumen to fight his usual safety first style of fight.

No doubt Floyd won. Canelo couldn’t get it done. That is not in question. What surprises is that the press and fans are reacting like Floyd did something extraordinary instead of him getting the expected win using his extraordinary skills to fight like an accountant. – Stephen, Montreal

LOL. “…extraordinary skills to fight like an accountant.” That’s a good one. You’re a hater.

And not surprisingly, I agree with much of your take on the fight.

I didn’t see the total domination that everyone was raving about. I scored two early rounds for Canelo, along with the eighth and the 12th, which made my scorecard the closest of any notable boxing media watching the fight.

It wasn’t my best scorecard. However, I don’t agree at all with the 120-108 and the 119-109 scorecards that much of the media had. Those tallies aren’t an accurate depiction of the fight in my opinion, because I agree that Mayweather showed a lot of respect to Alvarez, who boxed well in spots and had his moments. (However, I don’t think Canelo “showed tremendous heart.”)

I think the best media scorecard I saw belonged to Steve Busfield, the Sports Blogs Editor for the U.S. edition of the Guardian. Busfield did something that most American boxing media will not do because it’s frowned upon – he scored more than one round even. Busfield had three even rounds (the third, fifth and sixth) and scored two rounds (the second and the eighth) for Alvarez, which gave him a final tally of 118-113.

I like that card. I wish that was my final score. It shows that Mayweather clearly won the fight, and by a comfortable margin, but it also shows that Alvarez wasn’t completely dominated or shutout.

MAYWEATHER VS. MARTINEZ

As of two or three years ago, I thought the only way Mayweather would have a shot to beat Sergio Martinez was to make the fight so boring that people fell asleep and so did Sergio. He would have to frustrate him that bad. But that Sergio, especially at 154, could move around the ring, and had the excellent foot speed to go with those fast hands. He was a counterpuncher, which could be a bad matchup (chess match), but he also could press and hurt Mayweather over 12 rounds. I didn’t think he couldn’t KO Mayweather even with punches that didn’t land fully. He would have to be busy to get the KO.

That guy is non-existent now. The knee surgery has killed his movement and balance. A lot of his knockdowns have been balance problems. His hand speed is still close, but I’m not so sure he can punch as often as he use to. Where May would flat out dodge him before, now is the time to make the fight. Sergio will be 39. He can still make 154, that shouldn’t be hard, but I’m sure Mr. Doubts will try to get him to come to 150, which is B.S. I think Martinez should retire now. If he loses, I think his age and constant injuries will be a huge part of it. And I wouldn’t give a lot of credit to May either, because he looks to still be in his prime. Still, though, it will probably be a 50-50 fight, just not IMO. – Mauro

I think Martinez is THE fighter that Mayweather should pursue because in doing so he will be pursing true greatness – especially if he fights the Argentine southpaw at 155 or higher so THE RING/WBC middleweight titles are on the line.

I think the fight also makes business sense. Martinez is well known because of all of his HBO appearances and he’s got one major PPV bout (the Chavez Jr. fight) under his belt. He doesn’t have the huge loyal following of Canelo, Chavez or Cotto, but I think he’d make for a solid pay-per-view B-side.

I used to think Martinez’s southpaw stance and awkwardly mobile power-boxing style was all wrong for Mayweather, but it’s clear that age, boxer mileage and fighting at middleweight has taken its toll on his body. I now view it as an even fight but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Mayweather was installed as a slight odds favorite if the match was made.

I don’t know who would win the fight but I’d give Mayweather major props just for taking the fight. It’s a legit step toward all-time greatness because that’s what Henry Armstrong, Kid Gavilan, Jose Napoles and Roberto Duran did. That ATG quartet, all of whom began their careers at featherweight or lighter, made their names at welterweight and they challenged the middleweight champs of their eras.

They all came up short in those middleweight challenges except for Duran who pulled it off in his second shot (against Iran Barkley in ’89). Can Mayweather do it in 2014?

 

 

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