Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

MAYWEATHER MORATORIUM

Dear Hater,

Just kidding about that. I just think it’s hilarious that you’re “a hater” just for having an opinion.

But seriously, a lot of good fights coming up to end 2013, but you wouldn’t know it by reading the mailbag. Stop getting goaded into Floyd Mayweather GOAT emails. Anybody who reads the mailbag, at least, semi-regularly knows your position already. And everybody knows haters gonna hate and huggers gonna hug.

Neither side is willing to budge on their opinion of the guy. How about a moratorium on publishing anything Mayweather related in the mailbag (unless it truly is a legit question) until the end of 2013.

Talk about all those other fights. Which of the remaining fights interests you the most? I’m thinking Mike Alvarado vs. Ruslan Provodnikov is going to be a blast and make a serious push for fight of the year.

Thanks for the response to my Teddy Atlas question a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t expecting a full-fledged response like that. Awesome job.– Anonymzb

Thanks. Don’t worry too much about the plethora Mayweather-related questions, debates, complaints and arguments in the mailbag.

The guy is the most polarizing figure in the sport and he just fought and looked awesome in the highest-grossing boxing event in history. That’s going spark a lot feedback and debate for a couple of weeks, but since Mayweather won’t be fighting again until next May, and there are some anticipated matchups coming up, the “Floyd buzz” will gradually die down as we turn our attention to Chavez-Vera, Stevenson-Cloud, Klitschko-Povetkin, Bradley-Marquez, Alvarado-Provodnikov, Golovkin-Stevens, Ward-Rodriguez and Pacquiao-Rios, as well as the return of established names like Marquez, Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto and Bernard Hopkins.

The fights I’m looking forward to the most are Alvarado-Provo, Pacquiao-Rios, Stevenson-Cloud and Golovkin-Stevens – in that order. I can’t envision those matchups NOT providing action and drama. Alvarado and Provodnikov were both in Fight of the Year candidates earlier this year and there’s no reason to think they won’t be when they face each other next month.

Regarding the “Mayweather GOAT” emails, I won’t be printing anymore long-winded arguments for or against his all-time great status in these mailbags. I’ll post one or two in an upcoming separate column where I’ll state my position once and for all (if not this week than next week). And whenever I get those types of emails going forward I’ll just privately reply with a hyperlink to that article.

Sound like a plan?

THE ALL-TIME GREAT DEBATE

Yo,
This is a good debate Doug, there are some good points made on both sides. It’s nice to hear knowledgeable fans go at it. You are a historian (at least from my perspective), so you should jump in the ring with some of these cats and go a few rounds.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4A3Bd-1K7Y

Peace. – Steve

I thought “78sportstv” and “Bloodboxing” put forth good arguments for and against Mayweather being an ATG during an enjoyable near-40-minute debate. I’m glad you forwarded this to me (and I’m happy to share it with my readers, even though I know there are many who are sick of this particular argument).

I obviously agree mostly with Blood, who argued against Mayweather. However, I thought 78 made some good points, too.

One point that both got wrong (which I hope you noticed) was the argument of whether Sugar Ray Robinson ducked Charley Burley. Both guys made it sound like Robinson came before Burley, but it was the other way around.

Burley turned pro in 1936 at welterweight. Robinson turned pro in 1940 at lightweight. Burley had fought top middleweights at middleweight – such as Billy Soose, Holman Williams, Nate Bolden and Georgie Abrams – before Robinson turned pro. Robinson didn’t grow into a welterweight (and a small one at that) until 1942, when Burley was fighting primarily above 150 pounds and butting heads with top young middleweights, such as Ezzard Charles, Lloyd Marshall and Williams. Burley retired in 1950, the year Robinson officially moved from welterweight to middleweight.

I would have pointed that out and argued that Robinson didn’t duck Burley.

YOU AND KIM

Doug,
I’ve been following your mail bags since Maxboxing. You and Steve Kim were the best and helped satisfy my craving of pugilistic dialogue. I still read your mailbag every Monday and Friday morning.

I wanted to tell you that I really liked the idea of you finally posting one nice write up of why Floyd is not in the top 20 of greatest fighters of all time. I feel the same way and would love for a boxing historian such as yourself to give us all the ammunition we need to hold off these Floyd nut huggers.

If Floyd moves up and wins the middleweight title, I think the conversation can then begin regarding Floyd in top 20. Your thoughts?

Golovkin is a beast and will rule the middle/super middle divisions by 2014.

Loyal follower. – Dan G., Connecticut

Thanks for following all these years, Dan, but what do you mean when you say that me and Steve “were the best”?!? Are you trying to say we’re like shot fighters now? LOL. Even if that’s true, I appreciate the kind words and being put in the same sentence with Mr. Kim.

We’ll see what happens with GGG. I think he’s the truth but he’s gotta get past Stevens in November and then lure at least one of his fellow 160-pound beltholders in the ring before he can even begin to fulfill your prophesy.

I think if Mayweather fights and beats Martinez above 154 pounds (even if it’s just one pound over, which would enable the Argentine veteran’s RING/WBC belts to be on the line), we can all start to earnestly talk about him as one of the ATGs.

I’m definitely going to state my position on the all-time great status of Mayweather (and the other top dogs of the past 20 years, such as Pacquiao, the Klitschko brothers, Roy Jones Jr., Joe Calzaghe, James Toney, and the three Mexican masters – Juan Manuel Marquez, Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales) in a special column. Soon.

Part of the article will explain the difference – at least in MY view – between a hall of famer, a “great” fighter and an “all-time great” fighter.

GGG-MAY-PAC

What’s good Dougie?

I know this is the beaten dead horse of boxing topics but I don’t think Manny Pacquiao is shot. I’m with the majority of fight fans that saw him outpoint Tim Bradley. I’m with the minority of fight fans that saw him look awesome against Juan Manuel Marquez before getting KTFO. Seriously watch that fight again and if you erase the horrific knockout, Pac looked as fast and aggressive as he did before Bradley. Hype around his personal life and one scary knockout are the two reasons he’s being written off. I don’t think he beats Mayweather but I doubt he looks worse trying to than he would have in his prime.

By the way, my hope was for Money to take on GGG next or Sergio Martinez. If only Golovkin was marketable enough. Maybe in a year?

Take er ease. – Wes

If the plans of Team Golovkin, K2 promotions and HBO play out, GGG will be one of the better-known fighters in the U.S. by the end of 2014. Still, I doubt the Kazakhstan native will ever be popular enough for a 37- or 38-year-old Mayweather to want to risk fighting him or even bother with the network conflicts.

Martinez is another story. THE RING middleweight champ has a relationship with HBO but he’s also clearly nearing the end of his career. Martinez and his team will want to “cash out” against the biggest name they can (perhaps after a comeback fight early next year, perhaps not). There’s no bigger cash cow in boxing than Mayweather, so if The Money Team is open to that matchup, my guess is thatMartinez would entertain the idea of moving to Showtime for the most significant fight of his career.

I think Mayweather vs. Martinez is a fight that can be sold to hardcore fans, the media and to the general public. Of course, the biggest possible fight for Mayweather is still the showdown with Pacquiao because of the Filipino icon’s giant international loyal following.

If Pacquiao beats Rios, and looks good doing so (which is not a given), I think the drums will once against start beating for that super fight.

I don’t think the boxing media will give Pacquiao much of a shot to win (if any) but I believe a significant segment of the fans will fancy his chances (as the Brits would say).

I would’ve picked Pacquiao to win had they fought when they SHOULD have, in 2010, and I would have leaned toward the eight-division titleholder had they fought in 2011, but I wouldn’t have done so if they fought in 2012, this year, and certainly not if they were to finally meet in 2014. Mayweather is a well preserved and sharp as ever, whereas Pacquiao has progressively slowed down since 2011, in my opinion. I also question his desire to be in the fight game at this point in his career.

Having said that, I agree with you that he looked good (though not 100-percent motivated and focused) against Bradley and I thought he looked sharp for the first two rounds against Marquez last December. He wasn’t as quick and active as he was in his prime, but he was fast and fluid. His footwork and one-two combinations were on point and he got back to the constant feinting and head movement that helped make him a dangerous force for much of the 2000s.

Manny lost his focus in the third round and paid for it by eating that big overhand right from JMM, but I liked the fire he showed when he got up. I thought it he got in Marquez’s ass for the rest of the round and for much of the following three rounds until he jumped into the one-hitter-quitter.

It says here that if Pacquiao brings the same enthusiasm he brought to the ring for Marquez against Rios, he’ll outclass the younger man. But that’s a big “if.”

BOREDOM SELLS

Douglass:

Is it me or have many of today’s boxing fans become an easily-entertained bunch. Floyd Mayweather keeps doing huge numbers on PPV despite his rather tedious bouts. And his fans keep sucking it up and wanting more.

And it’s not just Mayweather. Vlad Klitchko with his overly cautious grab and jab style is always huge hit with his overly excited fans in Germany. Go figure.

And what’s the one upcoming fight that fans keep raving about in your mailbag? Not so much Manny Pacquiao-Brandon Rios or Mike Alvarado-Ruslan Provodnikov. Nah, we’ll pass on those! Give us Devon Alexander vs Amir Khan. Now we’re talking!

Sarcasm aside, I myself noticed how some fans just can’t shut up about that one. And it hasn’t been signed yet!

To each their own. But I wonder how far Floyd’s peck and dance style would have gotten him in previous generations. Like the 1980s for instance when we had true warriors like Roberto Duran, Ray Leonard and Marvin Hagler. And not just against those guys either!

I’m just wondering how much Mayweather would have won out the fans back then. Would they have been passionately hugging his nuts or would they have jeered him right out of the ring?

To be honest with you unless Floyd had Duran or Leonard in the opposite corner I don’t think he would put all those asses in the seats like he does now. If anything he probably would have no choice but go for broke in order to keep any sort of fan-base going. Boredom probably didn’t sell too well in those days like it does now.

That aside I got a kick out of your little exchange with Mr. A. Hole in your Friday Bag. Guess I’m somewhat easily entertained myself. Though in all fairness I do think some of your Mailbags are actually more entertaining that most of Floyd’s fights. Cheers! – Dave

You won’t get much of an argument from me there, Dave.

Seriously, if Mayweather fought in the ‘80s I think he would have had no choice but to box in a more entertaining manner because the top boxers – from junior lightweight to junior middleweight – of that era would have FORCED him to.

The welterweights of the ‘80s were scary. In the early part of the decade, you have truly great fighters: SRL, Hands of Stone and the Hitman. Honestly, I don’t see Mayweather stepping in with that trio. But even the 147-pound titleholder that followed in the mid-to-late part of the decade – Donald Curry, Milton McCrory, Mark Breland, Marlon Starling and Simon Brown – were monsters (especially by today’s standards).

My guess is that Mayweather would have stayed at the lower weights, which still would have produced some fan friendly matchups, in my opinion. At 130 and 135 pounds the ultimate slugger, Bobby Chacon, and the ultimate pressure fighter, Julio Cesar Chavez, would have made Mayweather dig deep and fight back hard just to keep from being overwhelmed. The top boxers at those weights, Hector Camacho and Rocky Lockridge (who KO’d Floyd’s uncle Roger in one round), were talented, skilled and ring savvy enough to make for high-speed chess matches or dramatic surprises.

Even the second-tier lightweights, such as Ray Mancini, Edwin Rosario and Jose Luis Ramirez would have threatened or at least extended Mayweather (though I think Floyd would have found a way to beat that trio).

At 140 pounds we have the great Aaron Pryor – whose blend of pressure, volume, power, unorthodox boxing moves and outright craziness, would have taken Mayweather to hell – as well as Buddy McGirt and Meldrick Taylor. McGirt had the smarts to make for an interesting boxing match and Taylor had the speed and balls to make for an entertaining fight. Even the crude Bruce Curry could have made for a fun scrap with Floyd.

So I don’t think 1980s fans would have booed Mayweather out of the ring. I think Floyd would have been a lot like his uncle Roger (who was one of the more entertaining TV fighters of the decade), but more dedicated to his craft and a little smarter in the ring (which would have kept him from being knocked out like the Black Mamba).

I do agree today’s boxing fans are more easily entertained than fans of past decades because I think the entertainment-value bar has been lowered – particularly for major fights and the so-called “elite” boxers.

When I was young fan, boxers who were recognized as the most popular and “the pound-for-pound best” – such as Duran, Leonard, Hearns, Marvin Hagler and Mike Tyson – made for the most entertaining fights. I don’t have to list out those particular fights. You know the matchups, some of which won THE RING’s Fight of the Year.

Even in the early ‘90s when I had become a hardcore boxing nutcake, many of the elite boxers – such as Chavez, Evander Holyfield, Riddick Bowe, young Roy Jones, Terry Norris and James Toney – were also among the sport’s most entertaining fighters.

However, in recent years – with the exception of Pacquiao – the word “elite” has almost become synonymous with “safety first.” The top boxers stopped taking chances in big fights and though some hardcore fans complained about this, most folks accepted it (along with the networks and the media).

I don’t blame Mayweather for this shift. Pernell Whitaker, the over-168-pound version of Jones Jr., Lennox Lewis and even Oscar De La Hoya (with the exception of his grudge match with Fernando Vargas in 2002) helped lower fan expectations in big fights by consistently playing it safe or just plain laying eggs in the main events of major pay-per-view shows during the second half of the 1990s and the last decade.

WHERE’S ANDRE DIRRELL?

Hey Doug. I’ll get straight to the point. What happened to “the Matrix?” I was a huge fan and it seemed like he had all the tools to be an entertaining and captivating champion. Speed, decent power, switch hitting, etc. Where is he? Is he fighting soon? And if so is it a top ten 160-168 guy?
 

Also a couple of mythical matchups I’m intrigued by:

Bob Foster vs Michael Spinks 175
Alexis Arguello vs Manny Pacquiao 130
Terry Norris vs Sergio Martinez 154
David Haye vs Evander Holyfield 200.
 

Keep up the good work. – DeMarkus from Houston

I don’t know what’s up with Dirrell. Last time I saw him he was cheering on his brother Anthony at a Fox Sports-televised ballroom show in Las Veags (a good eight-round scrap with Don Mouton at the Cosmopolitan), a few days before the Mayweather-Guerrero fight. Dirrell, who fought in February (a 10-round decision over Michael Gbenga), has been training all year. The ultra-talented 2004 Olympic bronze medalist, who signed with 50 Cent last July, just can’t seem to get a significant fight.

I know he still wants to be a player at super middleweight, and I know (like you know) that he has the skill, style and sublime athleticism to make some serious noise at 168 pounds, so I hope he can land another fight before the end of the year.

I doubt his next fight will be against a top-10 contender but I know that’s his goal. Hopefully, we’ll see him on TV in a significant fight sometime in early 2014.

Great mythical matchups, dude:

Bob Foster vs Michael Spinks (175) – I think Spinks would have troubled Foster with his awkward style and landed at least one “Jinx” that drops his fellow boxer-puncher, enabling him to outpoint the rangy KO artist in this dream light heavyweight matchup. Foster was a monster, but I think Spinks’ footwork and the odd angles that the Missouri native blasted his power shots from would have got the better of the more orthodox fighter.

Alexis Arguello vs Manny Pacquiao (130) – I think “El Flaco de Explosivo” was at his best at junior lightweight, while the PacMan was still a work-in-progress during his stay at 130 pounds. If Erik Morales could catch the Filipino badass with jabs and straight rights en route to decision victory, I think Arguello would have taken him out sometime before the 10th round. 

Terry Norris vs Sergio Martinez (154) – I know “Terrible Terry” had a questionable chin but, man, my favorite fighter of the 1990s was like a f___ing force of nature when he was at this best (1990 through mid-’93). Norris would have had some trouble with Martinez’s awkward southpaw style and athleticism but “Maravilla” would’ve been bothered by Terry’s sharp technique, hand speed and power. I think Norris wins a close but deserved decision. 

David Haye vs Evander Holyfield (200) – No disrespect to “the Hayemaker,” who is a talented boxer-puncher (especially at 200 pounds) but they didn’t call Holyfield “The Real Deal” for nothing. In my opinion, Holyfield was at his boxing best between 190-208 pounds. Fighting at the new cruiserweight limit of 200 pounds would have suited him very well. He would have had all of the mobility and hand speed that he exhibited at 190 pounds, plus some of the physical strength and power he possessed as a small heavyweight. Bottom line: I think Holyfield could take Haye’s power; I don’t think Haye could take Holyfield’s best shots. And if Haye could, Holyfield would still outwork and outbox him.

QUICK NOTE

Hey Doug,
I just wanted to send a quick note to tell you I enjoy your writing and often share your perspective (although it wouldn’t matter if we disagreed). I appreciate that you don’t gloat when you’re right and will admit when you’re wrong – traits I encourage in my two children. Best wishes to you and your family. – David Quinn

Thank you David.

FOUR THINGS

Hey Dougie, been lovin the mailbag. Like a lot of other folks it’s the first thing l look for on Monday and Friday mornings. I haven’t wrote in since earlier this year. Btw, I wasn’t completely right about Robert Guerrero. He performed even worse than I anticipated!

I have some things on my mind that I’m gonna list.

1- I like watching Floyd Mayweather fight but I don’t care for “The Best Ever” and “All Time Great” talk. Unless two elite boxers in their primes face off, (more than once, if possible) how can you really know who’s better? What does it do for people to make them go out and proclaim somebody is the greatest? They make these statements like, ‘Floyd is the best boxer ever!!’. I don’t understand it because they’re not on his payroll so they should let it go. ‘It’ meaning his nutsack. The Ring magazine has been ranking boxers, hardest punchers, etc., for years. We should leave it to the pros to handle.

2- I don’t always agree with you but I keep reading your work. And I like when you tear into a writer/reader! It’s fun to read but I like it even more when you apologize the following week. (Which you’ve done before, not only to poor Steve.) That’s classy, Doug.

3- Another thing. I wish ‘fans’ would quit it with Jose Luis Castillo. In almost every conversation or internet thread about Floyd Mayweather Jr., some smart ass brings up Castillo. These people know who they are and I hope they can get over it. I scored the first bout between the two for Castillo but it’s in the past and they can’t bring Castillo back no matter how many times they say his name. It’s almost like they think bringing up the topic makes them seem more knowledgeable about boxing history. Just go and get his full name and likeness tattooed on your chest, right over your heart if it will make you happier.

4- R.I.P. Ken Norton. Not my era but two weeks ago I watched his two fights with Larry Holmes on YouTube. Good stuff.

Steve, Bay Area (soon to be back home in NYC)

Thanks for writing in again, Steve, and thanks for the kind words. I’ll respond to your points in order:

1) I don’t care for Floyd’s TBE and ATG talk, either, but I have no problem with his fans believing it. I DO, however, have a problem with them when they can’t accept that I don’t agree with Mayweather’s claims as they do.

2 )Thanks. I try my best not to be a total cretin every day of the week.

3) Two things we all need to keep in mind about the Castillo fight – regardless of who we think deserved the decision – is that it took place more than 10 years ago and even if Mayweather had officially lost to the Mexican badass, it wouldn’t diminish his overall accomplishments (at least in my opinion). I thought Floyd won by 1 point, but I still consider that first fight to be among his best performances. I’ll take the first fight over the rematch, which Mayweather won clearly (in the eyes of most observers) but where both lightweights stunk out the joint.

4) Yes indeed. Much respect to one of the key players of the modern Golden Age of heavyweight boxing, Ken Norton (whose rubber match with Muhammad Ali was the first “mega fight” that I was aware of as a kid). He only fought Holmes once, but that was more than enough and that 15-round fight encompassed more action and drama than the entire careers of some other former heavyweight titleholders. When fans try to tell me that today’s fighters are in better condition than boxers of past decades all I can think about is how Norton and Holmes were able to go at it like two coked-up lightweights in the 15th round of a war! Rest in peace, Jaw Breaker.

 

 

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