Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Friday mailbag

STEVENSON-CLOUD

Doug E. Fresh.
Quiet boxing weekend last week but this weekend should be alright. I’m Canadian and I do like Adonis Stevenson, but I’m honestly not impressed with anything but his power. That never seems to be enough against the best of the best in any weight class. Now I’m not sure Tavoris Cloud is in the “best of the best” in LHW, but he seems to have a good set of whiskers on him. I honestly think that and a bit of boxing is all it’s going to take to end the Stevenson title reign. Who you got? And yeah, I don’t give a crap about Julio Cesar Chavez Jr vs Bryan Vera. Should be good action but I just don’t really care. Cheers bud! – Chris “Good Boy”

I thought Chavez-Vera could be an entertaining scrap when it was first set at 163-pound catchweight but now that the weight limit is possibly 10 pounds north of that weight the fight has definitely lost some luster. Still, heavier doesn’t necessarily mean better. If Chavez hasn’t trained for a hard fight, and that extra weight only serves to make him slower, the privileged son of the Mexican legend could find himself in a world of s__t against the motivated Texas veteran.

I certainly hope that turns out to be the case tomorrow night (even though I’ve always liked Junior – it’s just a matter of principle).

Stevenson-Cloud is the real fight of HBO’s dual-site broadcast and I consider it to be a toss-up matchup. Stevenson – the taller, rangier, faster and most explosive puncher of the two – has the career momentum and home-turf advantage. But Cloud is a more battle-tested and complete fighter, physically stronger with a more reliable chin, and hungrier having come off his first pro loss. I also think being reunited with his original trainer Al Bonani is a plus for the Florida native.

The two light heavyweights are very motivated and confident, which will likely produce an exciting fight given their styles and mentalities.

If Cloud allows himself to be “touched up” as much as he did when he fought Gabriel Campillo (despite dropping the Spanish southpaw twice in the opening round) tomorrow night, I think Stevenson will get the knockout he’s promised his fans (even though Cloud’s always shown a good chin). Having said that, it should be noted that Stevenson is not as active or as fluid a combination puncher as Campillo. He seems to let his powerful hands go in spots. And “Superman” appears vulnerable when he punches because he keeps his right hand so low. He’s there to be hit by right hands and hooks (over his jab).

Rugged journeyman Darnell Boone (the only man to defeat Stevenson in the pros – by KO!) survived the first three rounds and had his moments in the fourth and fifth rounds of their rematch before Adonis’ brutal body attack finally broke him down.

Cloud isn’t as mobile or crafty as Boone but he’s got better punching technique and power. I’m going to say that if Stevenson doesn’t take Cloud out or at least seriously hurt the tenacious southerner during the first three rounds of action he’s going to get wore down over the second half of the fight and stopped late.

However, if I gotta make a pick I’ll go with Stevenson. He’s a bona-fide KO puncher and he’s got better skills than some folks realize (not to mention a smart corner with Javon “Sugar” Hill, who constantly reminds Superman to mix up and to properly set up his power punches). I think he will catch Cloud early. I don’t know if he’ll score an early KO or TKO but I think he’ll hurt the challenger enough to take firm control of the fight.

DISGUSTED WITH CHAVEZ

Doug,

I wrote you a couple days ago with my thoughts on the Bryan Vera-Julio Cesar Chavez fight but now I have totally changed my thought process. The commission should not allow this fight to happen. I understand why Vera’s camp will go through with it, I understand why Arum’s going to go through with it and I even understand why Chavez is making all this happen. Because he can and he’ll get away with it. The commission needs to step in and use common sense.

Back when Arturo Gatti blew out Joey Gamache the world condemned the state commission for letting the fight take place and Gamache was awarded a split verdict in his lawsuit against the commission in 2010.

From the New York Daily News:

Joey Gamache, the former lightweight champion who was brutally knocked out by Arturo Gatti in New York and sued the state commission for negligence, received a split verdict in the case this week, settling a controversy that has festered for a decade.”

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/more-sports/ex-champ-joey-gamache-split-decision-years-settle-decade-long-controversy-article-1.163117#ixzz2g0WdDrqb

Now Vera’s camp will agree to whatever is offered by Arum because he wants the money and that is why the commission should not let this take place. No one is thinking about the B-side fighter. They are only thinking about the A-side and the money. A 2-3 weight class advantage is not fair and can be potentially dangerous especially with a puncher like Chavez and a guy who will take a shot to give one like Vera.Someone needs to use common sense here. – J in FLA

Common sense says that fighters should fight at their natural weight classes. Common sense also says that if a fighter can’t make his contracted weight the fight should not happen and that fighter should be penalized with fines and suspensions if he doesn’t have a good excuse for not meeting his contractual obligations.

However, the business and political sides of boxing have always superseded the sport, so we don’t get a lot of common sense.

I think Vera’s camp is concerned about their fighter’s safety. If Chavez comes in ridiculously heavy (such as over 173 pounds) at today’s weigh-in, I believe they’ll pull Bryan out of the fight as difficult a decision as that would be (not so much because of the money but because of all the hard work the veteran put into the camp for this match).

If Chavez comes in at 173, or a pound or two lighter, and then rehydrates up to 185-190 pounds by fight time, I think Team Vera will be very careful about allowing their fighter to take too much punishment during the fight.

I don’t think we’re going to get a situation like Gatti-Gamache, which I covered back when the old HouseofBoxing.com was in its prime (the fight was the HBO-televised co-feature to the Oscar De La Hoya-Derrell Coley fight at Madison Square Garden).

The controversy with Gatti’s weigh-in was that he stepped on and off of the scale before the New York commissioners could accurately gauge his exact weight. Gamache’s team protested (as Coley’s team did after De La Hoya appeared to weigh in a pound over the welterweight limit), and they were ignored by the NYSAC.

Gatti may or may not have made the contracted 141 pounds on the dot, but he was in the ballpark. That’s not the case with Chavez.

However, like Chavez does now, Gatti used to put on a lot of weight between the weigh-ins and his fights, usually creating an unfair advantage – which was definitely the case when he fought Gamache, who was riding a nice 10-bout win streak against average fighters but was considered faded following his eighth-round TKO loss to an aging Julio Cesar Chavez.

All three of Gamache’s losses going into the Gatti fight were by stoppage and each fight was a step-up in competition for him (Tony Lopez, Orzubek Nazarov and Chavez). The TKO to Lopez was a brutal late stoppage. The TKO to Nazarov was a brutal early stoppage. To be honest, J., most of the media thought Gamache was gonna lose to Gatti in brutal fashion. It just happened to be more one-sided and brutal than anyone expected.

Vera is no world beater (or a two-division beltholder as Gamache was), but he’s more durable than Gamache and he’s more battle tested against quality fighters. Gamache had real talent but he was a somewhat protected local attraction (in his native Maine) and his chin was never world class. Vera’s only stoppages are to Jaidon Codrington and James Kirkland, both of whom were more explosive punchers than Chavez at the time the tough Texan fought them.

I don’t think Chavez is going to brutally wipe Vera out the way Gatti blasted poor Joey.

(I want to note that the “grainy” video of the Gatti-Gamache weigh-in that HBO used when highlighting the controversy was shot by HouseofBoxing.com’s Gary Randall; it might be the same video that was used in Gamache’s court case. Where does the time go?)

MAYWEATHER MISGIVINGS

Sorry for the lateness of this email in relation to the fight, but there are few things I’d like to get off my chest.

1) I finally watched the Mayweather-Canelo fight this weekend. After reading all of the reviews I thought I was going to witness the second coming of Barrera-Hamed or Calzaghe-Lacy. Far from it. Although I thought Mayweather was the winner, I thought almost all of the rounds were actually very competitive, except for maybe the 7th. And I have no problem giving Canelo rounds 8, 9, 10 and 12. I don’t think Mayweather gave him a “beatdown” or “schooled him” or even put on a “master class.”

2) I watched the fight online with some English guys doing the play-by-play. Listening to those guys I could’ve thought you were listening to a British parody of Leonard Ellerbe. They were so busy expressing their admiration for Mayweather that they were missing some of the good work that Canelo was doing. I decided to go back and watch a couple of other Mayweather fights and it was the exact same thing. There were times during Mayweather-Marquez that Marquez was landing some nice punches, but the announcers were too busy singing the praises of Floyd to even notice. Same with Mayweather-Cotto. Honestly, I had a very hard time watching the fights with the volume on.

3) I recognize that Mayweather is the best fighter out there right now, and I do respect his work ethic, quickness, defensive ability, intelligence and coolness in the ring. That being said, how can we rate him as all-time top whatever when he hasn’t really proven it? I mean, I think the best fighter he’s ever fought was a De La Hoya that was a bit past his best. Sure he looks unbeatable against Gatti, Guerrero, and Zab Judah, etc., but are any of these guys all-time greats? Am I wrong here?

This leads me to a few mythical matchups (sorry if you’ve already commented on these):

Mayweather-prime De La Hoya at 147

Mayweather-Hearns

Mayweather-prime Margarito at 147

Mayweather-Tszyu at 140

Mayweather-Vernon Forrest

Thanks. – John in K-Town

Thanks for writing John. I’ll respond to your statement in order:

1) I thought the fight was more competitive than most observers did (and probably 99.9% of the boxing media). I don’t think Canelo was as successful in the late rounds as you (and judge C.J. Ross) did. I scored rounds eight and 12 for Alvarez, and did so again when I re-watched the fight. I scored rounds two and three for Alvarez, and had the fourth even, when watching the fight live. Watching those rounds again, I wouldn’t have scored them for Alvarez. The young man did OK in there but he didn’t do enough to win those rounds. Mayweather didn’t do that much in those early rounds, either. But he was the guy in control, much like Alvarez was against Austin Trout in April. I didn’t see the total shutout or all-time great boxing clinic that my boxing writer peers saw, but that’s OK. People see different things with ring generals like Mayweather. Some of the same writers who thought Mayweather shutout Alvarez thought Guillermo Rigondeaux lost five rounds to Nonito Doanire and believed that Bernard Hopkins legitimately lost to Jermain Taylor.

2) I agree that the commentary for Mayweather fights often turns into blatant cheerleading (as it did for Manny Pacquiao, Roy Jones Jr. and numerous other boxing stars of recent years). I think the world of Col . Bob Sheridan and Dave Bontempo, but their call of Mayweather-Cotto got on my nerves. If you were just listening to their broadcast and not watching the actual fight, you’d have thought Cotto landed a grand total of four punches during a one-sided 12-round boxing clinic put on by “the greatest boxer who ever did anything” Floyd Mayweather. It’s frustrating when the solid work done by the B-side in any fight is all but ignored.

3) You’re not wrong, but you’re officially a Mayweather hater in the eyes of his fans. The less said about this subject the better. (I’ve started work on my column that will address this ever-hot topic.)

Your mythical Mayweather matchups:

Mayweather-prime De La Hoya at 147 – De La Hoya by controversial decision (it would be kind of like the Whitaker fight)

Mayweather-Hearns – Hearns by mid-rounds KO

Mayweather-prime Margarito at 147 – Margarito by late TKO or decision  

Mayweather-Tszyu at 140 – Tszyu by mid-to-late rounds KO

Mayweather-Vernon Forrest – Draw

JAWBREAKER KENNY

Hey Dougie,

So the David Haye-Tyson Fury match got postponed did it? That’s OK. I’m in no hurry to watch it. Look at it this way. Fight fans this weekend don’t have to worry about passing out from the toxic fumes coming from that sweaty sasquatch Fury when he lumbered his way to the ring. And Haye doesn’t have to worry about busting his toe on the way to the ring and being forced to run like a little b___h.

Can that guy even so much as make a sandwich without rupturing himself?

Two big conclusions to all of this. For starters the heavyweight division as a whole still stinks worse than a putrid slaughterhouse in the middle of a scorching hot day in July.

Second. If everyone’s favorite jaw-breaker Ken Norton was around in his prime today he would be busting himself some more jaws. And really, getting their jaws busted would be the only way some of today’s eternally gluttonous bastards would actually lose any of that excess blubber.

Here’s a piece of trivia. When was the last time a heavyweight fight was named Fight of the Year? It was 17 years ago when Evander Holyfield flattened Mike Tyson. Even then Marco Antonio Barrera’s war with Kennedy McKinney was a better fight. Never mind the fact that they were between guys who each weighed less than one of Fury’s nipples.

If THE RING had it right, the last heavyweight Fight of the Year would have traced back to 1978 when Kenny pounded it out with Larry Holmes for 15 rounds. As you pointed out, those two hammered each other like they were on speed pills. It was a little before my time but I sure enjoyed watching that classic on Youtube.

So back to the ol’ Jawbreaker vs today’s lazy ass b____es. Again we’re talking about a guy who had no trouble unloading punches for the whole 15 rounds.

He would have pounded the s__t out of pretty much each one of today’s so-called contenders, whether it was David Haye, Chris Arreola or Alexander Povetkin.

And as for Kenny vs The Klitchkos? Glad you asked. It’s hard to say but I think Kenny may well have chopped them down as well. Yeah I know that Kenny crumbled against brutal power-punchers like George Foreman, Earnie Shavers and Gerry Cooney. But I doubt that even the K-Bros had that kind of crunch-power. Nor were they the in-your-face destroyers that those badasses were.

And while on this topic I agree with the notion that some of today’s fans are easily-entertained as all this hugging of Floyd’s nuts clearly shows. Sure we always had stylists from Gene Tunney and Billy Conn all the way up to John Conteh and Larry Holmes. But even those guys weren’t afraid to fight nor did they punk out from anybody. Right after Holmes’ war with Norton was when John Conteh clashed with Matthew Saad Muhammad in another torrid 15-round battle. Bottom line. Even the stylists weren’t afraid to take risks back then. Something to think about guys.

One final note: R.I.P. Kenny. – Triple T

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, as well as some very disturbing imagery (Tyson Fury’s nipples – gross!).

I’m glad you brought up John Conteh. He’s a former champ from Britain who doesn’t get enough props. I’ve got a “Best I’ve Faced” on Conteh on deck that I’ll run next week. I hope I can find a lot of good photos and videos of his fights to go with the feature.

Regardless of their styles – Holmes was a classic boxer, Norton was an aggressive and unorthodox boxer-puncher – they just don’t make heavyweights like those two anymore.

I agree that Norton would have whupped the s__t out of most of today’s heavyweight top 10 (especially the those without significant punching power), but he would have had trouble with some of the standouts. I think Haye and Arreola would have had a punchers chance with Kenny. However, if Haye was leery (as he sometimes is with bigger fighters) and if Arreola was anything less than 100%, Norton would have likely put them through the proverbial meat grinder.

I think Vitali’s size, iron chin, punching power and awkward style would have been too much for Kenny, but I can see Norton overwhelming Baby Bro. The cautious version of Wladdy that cringed whenever Samuel Peter threw a punch and allowed Haye to go 12 rounds (and Eddie Chambers to almost go the distance) would have been worked over by Norton. The version of Norton put it on Muhammad Ali for 15 rounds in their rubber match (and should have won) and who took Holmes to hell and back was trained by the late, great Bill Slayton, who developed Lamon Brewster. If Slayton could make Brewster into a Klitschko conqueror, he certainly could have guided a beast like Norton to victory.

Good trivia about the last heavyweight bout to earn Fight of the Year honors. Holyfield, who helped earn the 1992 Fight of the Year award against Riddick Bowe, was indeed a throwback fighter.

I didn’t realize it until you brought it up, but THE RING got the 1978 Fight of the Year award wrong. You’re right that it should have been Norton-Holmes. Instead, it was Ali-Leon Spinks II.

I wanted to see Haye-Fury, but I’m not “gutted” (as the Brits would say) about the postponement. We’ve still got a top-flight light heavyweight championship matchup to watch, as well as what could be a good scrap between Chavez and Vera. The heavyweight postponement gives us something to look forward to in the usually bleak boxing period of January and early February.

YOUR MAYWEATHER-ALVAREZ SCORE

Hey Doug,

I don’t expect this to make the mailbag as it comes two weeks after Mayweather-Alvarez but thought I would write anyway. I thought you should get some credit for your scorecard. It was in fact the only score card publicized by any member of the professional print media that was close to being in line with the judges (let’s forget about C.J. Ross’ score shall we). Everyone loves to criticize the judges in boxing because it is easy to do but most fans are doing it with hindsight and glasses tinted in the shade of their favourite fighter. Your score of 116-113 was fairly close to how I saw the fight.

When he was asked before the fight why he thought he would win, Canelo stated that he did the same things as Mayweather did well, only he was younger and stronger. What he learned was that being younger and stronger wasn’t enough to overcome being slower and less experienced. Mayweather won clearly but it was in no way a one-sided blowout. Canelo fought well enough to win 3 rounds on my card. I can easily see how you had him winning four rounds. He punched well in combination, landed many clean shots, worked an effective jab and defensively negated a lot of Mayweather’s work. He deserves a lot of credit for his performance.

But getting back to the score cards, you’ve said you felt your score card wasn’t your best. Well, I doubt it was your worst. It was certainly better than the 119-109 and 120-108 cards turned in by most of the media. And in my opinion when you turn in a better card then 90% of the boxing journalists covering the fight, I don’t call that a bad score card, I call that a good one. Keep up the good work. – Owen

Thanks for the pick-me-up Owen. (You had to know I was gonna print this email – LOL.)

I still think my score was too close. One of the two early rounds I gave to Canelo and the round I scored even should have gone to Mayweather. However, I agree that Alvarez did some solid work in almost every round and I agree that he deserves at least some credit for his performance. But I know that he won’t get that credit, which is OK. As I’ve stated before, Alvarez has a dedicated following of real, ticket-buying fans. He doesn’t need cheerleaders in the media.

I think Alvarez has learned a lot in the 24 rounds he went with Trout and Mayweather this year and I believe that we’ll see an even more mature – and hopefully, a little more aggressive – version of Canelo in 2014.

DID I MISS A PACMAN FIGHT?

Dougie,

Hope all’s well muchacho.

Hidden amongst all of the superfight hype was the lack of Manny’s name. Now, let me start by saying: I don’t think Manny could get to Floyd now for a few reasons which I won’t bore you with here.

All I heard was about how Manny has totally lost it and couldn’t even compete with Floyd anymore from casuals and writers. Did I miss a fight somewhere? Last two times I saw Manny he embarrassed a class fighter in Tim Bradley and was beating up JMM before getting caught by the future HOF’er who may or may not have been juiced. (Look, I LOVE JMM, as proven by previous mailbag entries, but that was a pretty fishy physique my man was sporting).

Yes, fighters have been “ruined” by a big KO – Jermain Taylor, RJJ, etc. But others have not been – Lennox, Duran, etc. How do we know it wasn’t just a precise punch? How do we know what Manny has “left in the tank” until we see him in with Bam Bam? What if he mops the floor with Brandon? Can I ask to see him fight Floyd even though I know it’ll never happen without being insulted by know-it-alls claiming it’s common knowledge Manny is done?

What am I missing here? Are you hearing things from insiders that have seen him spar that he’s losing it?

Mad props to Danny Garcia. I’ve been a “hater” for awhile and boy was I wrong. Good for him. Looking forward to seeing him with TBJ, JMM, etc.

Good time ahead for boxing. You going to any of these upcoming fights? If so, Guinness on me. – Tony, LA

I’ll be at the Chavez-Vera card in Carson, Calif., tomorrow night, and I’ll be covering the upcoming Bradley-Marquez and Golovkin-Stevens cards in Las Vegas and New York City. If you attend any of those cards and you spot me, don’t be a stranger.

Indeed, good for Garcia, a real fighter who earned his champion status. He’ll be getting his overdue “mad props” from THE RING with the December issue of the magazine.

You’re not missing anything in regards to Pacquiao. He got caught with a perfect shot that was delivered from future first-ballot hall of famer who knows him better than any other fighter. Prior to that knockout he took on an undefeated, young champ who was on everybody’s all-important pound-for-pound list and most folks thought he beat Bradley.

Pacquiao is not what he was in 2008 and 2009, but he’s not shot, either. What he’s got left – in terms of physical durability, reflexes and desire – will be tested by Rios. If Manny’s seriously faded, Bam Bam will retire him. If he’s unmotivated or distracted, Rios will take him to hell – win, lose or draw. But if Pacquiao outclassed Rios, he’s still the “PacMan” as far as I’m concerned.

Pacquiao’s not training hard, as evidenced by the videos that RingTV.com contributor Ryan Songalia has provided us, but that will change as soon as Freddie Roach arrives to his camp after Oct. 6. That’s when the sparring and the intensity will begin.

If anything out of the ordinary – pro or con – happens once the hard portion of Pacquiao’s camp begins I’m sure we’ll hear about it.

 

 

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

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