Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

COTTO’S EXIT STRATEGY

What’s good Doug,

I loosely watched the Wladimir Klitschko-Alexander Povetkin fight. Klitschko is so good at his craft and has such a physical advantage over most his opponents; if you’ve seen just one of his fights in the past couple years you’ve essentially seen them all. Kubrat Pulev is the only guy left that I have any remedial interest in seeing him fight. I don’t think Tyson Fury has the chin to get past David Haye and I have no interest in seeing Haye rematch Wlad should he beat Fury as I suspect he will.

Miguel Cotto looked great though. It was good to see him revert back to throwing at the body. I always thought he was his most effective when he was coming forward and digging those left hands into the midsection. Working the body really set up his left hook upstairs. I thought his movement was much improved from the Austin Trout fight, and I believe pairing up with Freddie Roach was a great move for him. Delvin Rodriguez wasn’t beat up too bad, but he had the look on his face of a man who knew he was in over his head and I think the referee was right to stop it when he did.

Cotto makes it sound as if he only plans on sticking around for two or three more fights and if that were the case I would like to see him take on Sergio Martinez. I always gave Sergio credit for fighting at middleweight and taking on guys much larger than himself, but I don’t think it would be a wise move on his part to step in the ring with guys like Peter Quillin and Gennady Golovkin. Sergio’s body has seemed to have let him down a little in his last couple fights and despite the fact that he is a superb athlete, I don’t know how much he will have left once he is all healed up from his surgery. I think a fight between Cotto and Martinez would be a real treat for fans as well as a nice way for those two to ensure themselves of at least one substantial payday.

You make your pick yet for Tim Bradley-Juan Manuel Marquez? I think I like Marquez in a competitive and entertaining fight. – Gino P.

I like Bradley by decision. I think the younger man will properly utilize his quickness and stick and move his way to a competitive decision victory. I think there will be some heated exchanges – and Marquez will land the harder shots when there is – but I expect Timmy to limit the macho stuff as much as he can. If Bradley gets greedy, Marquez will clip him. Bradley has to know that.

I agree that Martinez is the most fascinating available matchup for Cotto, especially if they fight a pound or two above the 154-pound limit and Maravilla’s middleweight championship is on the line. To my knowledge, there’s never been a four-division titleholder from Puerto Rico. If Cotto can become the first by beating Martinez it would be quite an accomplishment for him. I think it would firmly put him in the league of Puerto Rico’s boxing royalty that includes Carlos Ortiz, Hector Camacho, Wilfredo Gomez, Wilfred Benitez and Felix Trinidad.

There’s no reason for Martinez-Cotto not to happen. Martinez and his team have wanted a piece of Cotto for years. And Cotto’s new trainer, Freddie Roach, was on record before the Rodriguez fight that he wanted Martinez for his latest rehabilitation project.

I thought referee Frank Santore Jr.’s stoppage was as on the money as Cotto’s left hooks. Rodriguez was not just hurt, he was helpless and in against a superior fighter who was throwing some serious rocks.

Styles and strategies make fights. Cotto had Pedro Diaz – who is more of a boxing/finesse coach – in his corner for Trout. Diaz was great for Cotto when the Puerto Rican veteran took on Antonio Margarito the second time. Diaz made sure Cotto stayed on his toes and not engage too much with the Mexican mauler, which was the right thing to do. However, being on his toes and attacking in and out was not the right strategy or style against Trout, who is a taller, rangier boxer, who can also move about the ring well. I think Cotto would have had a much better shot at beating Trout if he had Roach – who is more of an offense-minded coach – in his corner.

This was a well-stated observation and opinion: “Klitschko is so good at his craft and has such a physical advantage over most his opponents; if you’ve seen just one of his fights in the past couple years you’ve essentially seen them all.”

I happen to agree with you, which is why I don’t care to watch Wladdy defend his titles against Pulev, Haye or Fury.

Pulev doesn’t have the punching power, activity or aggression to threaten Baby Bro. Haye only has a puncher’s chance but he doesn’t have the tough-guy or risk-taking mentality to cash in on that chance. And Fury… well, he’s Fury. Once upon a time, he punched himself in the face with his own uppercut. ‘Nuff said.

NO MORE KLITSCHKO!

Wladimir Klitschko is the WORST!!!! Just awful, a guy THAT big, THAT powerful, THAT athletic, THAT good, fight like THAT. He has EVERY advantage over EVERYONE he fights and he fights like THAT? Watching Klitschko fight is like watching a 12th grader fight a kid in elementary school, yet he still fights scared as hell! The ref should be killed to allow Klitschko to fight in the manner that he did, this was not boxing, this was more like gay porno. Klitschko kept mounting him literally every 10-15 seconds. Povetkin should have said f__k it and punched him in the nuts and get DQ’d. I would have, because that s__t was not fair. That or f___ing do the Victor Ortiz and launch a f___ing headbut into his f___ing mouth as he tried to drape himself over his back for the 487th time.

Seriously, I hope you post this and I hope one of your readers will take us up on this: HOW MANY TIMES DID KLITSCHKO MOUNT HIM? This fight was unwatchable. I see why HBO banished him from their airwaves. I beg of HBO NO MORE KLITSCHKO, please! Klitschko was throwing elbows, forearms, uppercuts on the hold, strangling him at least 15 times a round. Is he the f___ing southside strangler or the heavyweight champion? He did not fight like THE champion. I don’t think he could have beat Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, any of those dudes. I mean Klitschko had to pull out all of the dirty tricks to beat Alexander Povetkin? He wore him out with 482 chokeholds and bouncing up and down on his back like a f___ing divingboard.

F__k Klitschko. He is bad for the sport. I have always favored Vitali, that mutherf___er is mean, he wants to hurt you. Wladimir is good no doubt, but I don’t care to ever see him fight, he has every advantage and still fights like a p___y.

Thank you. – Jason C. Brown

You are welcome, Jason. I hope you feel better after venting that much with so many f-bombs. LOL. (I’d tell you to put a dollar in a Swear Jar for each bomb, but a jar isn’t big enough for this email rant – you need a F__k-it Bucket!)

Still, I can’t fault you for being disgusted. That fight (which I had hoped would live up to some of its hype) was straight-up garbage. What you said about Klitschko is true: “…he has every advantage and still fights like a p___y.”

I’ll tell you why (even though we all know the reason): he’s got to protect his chin and he’s got to preserve his stamina. If he doesn’t, he will lose – by knockout – to a fighter as solid but unspectacular as Povetkin.

Wladdy may be built like Thor, but he doesn’t have the mettle or mentality to drop the hammer with any kind of regularity.

He’s a terrific athlete for a man his size. He’s got speed, power, agility, good technique, and he’s smart. But he’s not the perfect heavyweight. His chin will never be world class and if he doesn’t pace himself, he’ll gas out.

The only way around those two flaws is to “fight” in a safe and calculated manner – doing the ole “jab-and-grab” and “push-and-punch.” It’s not scintillating stuff. And when you add constant “mounting,” as you put it, it becomes unwatchable.

(Seriously, gay porn might be a better alternative; it wouldn’t be as predictable and maybe we’d get a decent sound track and some witty dialogue to go with the all-nude “mounting.”)

I admired Povetkin’s sincere effort to tap Klitschko’s chin in almost every round. He made Wladdy uncomfortable in the early rounds but just didn’t have the athletic ability or punch arsenal to clip or break down the champ.

So Klitschko notched his 15th consecutive heavyweight title defense, which is the third most in history, behind only Larry Holmes (No. 2 with 19) and Joe Louis (No. 1 with 25). He’s now fought in 22 heavyweight title matches, which ties him second all-time with Ali (behind Louis, of course).

But just because one has great stats, doesn’t mean he’s “great.”

To me, this statement goes without saying: “I don’t think he could have beat Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, any of those dudes.”

Klitschko is damn lucky he’s not fighting in Ali and Foreman’s era.

Klitschko is fighting in an era when guys like Povetkin, Kubrat Pulev and Tomasz Adamek are in the top five of everyone’s heavyweight rankings (THE RING, ESPN.com, and the Transnational Boxing Rankings). THE RING also rates David Haye (No. 2) and Bermane Stiverne (No. 5) in its top five. ESPN.com also has Stiverne (No. 5) in its top five, along with Vitali (No. 2), even though Big Bro hasn’t fought in more than a year. The Transnational Boxing Rankings has Tyson Fury (No. 5) in its top five.

How many significant victories have these guys had COMBINED in the last two years? Can Stiverne’s decision over Chris Arreola even be considered “significant”? Has Arreola defeated a single top 10-rated heavyweight? No, he hasn’t. But he’s still considered top 10 by THE RING, ESPN.com and the Transnational Boxing Rankings. ‘Nuff said about depth of today’s heavyweight division. Today’s heavyweight division amounts to the Klitschko Brothers and the rest ‘o them dudes.

COTTO’S RETURN

What’s up Dougie,

I was happy to see Miguel Cotto in the ring being his old beastly self. He’s always been one of my favorites because he’ll fight anybody and his fights are almost always must-watch TV.

I think the only time I rooted against him was his first fight against Antonio Margarito back in 2008. (That was quite a memorable event for me. I got to meet you and Steve Kim at the Rouge in the MGM Grand the night before the fight, and the late great Bert Sugar at the same place the night after, my favorite boxing scribes past and present.) Anyway, I rooted for Miguel to beat him down in the rematch as I now believe Margarito cheated that night and changed the course of Miguel’s career. He was never the same since, but looked really good on Saturday.

If I’m Canelo Alvarez and his team I would think twice about a fight with Cotto, but as a fan I’m licking my chops and saying ‘get it done!’ What do you think, Dougie? – Miguel, LBC

I think the Roach-trained version of Cotto is a threat to any of the top 154 pounders, including Alvarez (who is coming off a confidence-killing loss), Erislandy Lara (who proved to be susceptible to pressure, body punching and left hooks vs. a shopworn “Perro” Angulo) and even Trout (who is coming off a disappointing loss and inactivity).

Having said that, Alvarez is a stronger and more versatile fighter than Rodriguez, so we can’t expect Cotto to muscle him to the ropes and hurt him as easily has he did the Dominican fringe contender. Canelo is a natural junior middleweight who can punch. The 23-year-old former champ is as much of a threat to Cotto as Cotto is to him. I don’t think Team Cotto should look at the ginger Mexican as an easy mark. However, Alvarez can make for a huge event and payday for the Puerto Rican star, so they have to consider the fight. Cotto vs. Canelo would do huge PPV numbers and could sell out any major arena in the United States.

I hope we get to see it one day – soon.

I remember the weekend of the first Cotto-Margarito fight. The MGM Grand and the Hard Rock Hotel (which hosted a Friday Solo Boxeo show) became two big convention halls for thousands of truly hardcore boxing fans who assembled from around the world and were all in a festive mood. The main event matchup pitted two of my favorite fighters against each other, and although Margz was a Southern California guy I’d covered extensively, I picked Cotto to win a close a decision. I was so sure he’d take an early lead, battle on even terms in the middle rounds, and survive Margz’s late-rounds press that I bet a fighter (Akinyemi “A.K.” Laleye from season four of The Contender) I’d buy him dinner if the Tijuana Tornado won.

I never got around to treating the chatty cruiserweight, but since everyone believes that Margarito cheated, do I have to?

KLITSCHKO KILLS EXCITEMENT

Hey Doug,
Baby Bro has turned himself into John Ruiz minus the excitement. What a pathetic fight! I am really anxious for the K brothers to retire. They have sucked all the life out of the heavyweight division. I have been a fan of the idea of a super heavy weight division but barring that maybe getting rid of the Klitschkos will be enough to bring the division back. – Stephen, Montreal

I hate to hate on the Klitschkos because I think they are very good for the sport (in Europe) and they represent boxing better than any other active fighters, but I agree that their absence would rekindle some (if not a lot) of the excitement in the heavyweight division.

The top heavyweight contenders are not world beaters (as the K-bros. obviously are), but they’re all at mostly the same level and they represent a variety of styles that would likely mesh well in the ring.

I think Povetkin, Pulev, Haye and Stiverne could make for a competitive and entertaining round robin. Toss Fury, Arreola, Deontay Wilder and Bryant Jennings into that mix and I think we’ve got a division that’s exciting and compelling to fans in Europe, the U.S. and the rest of the world.

SHOULD COTTO LEAVE ON THIS HIGH NOTE?

Doug,

Miguel Cotto has been my favorite boxer of the past decade. Watching his fights has probably taken a few years off my life. I remember shouting at him when he was thrown down (not knocked down) by Ricardo Torres, feeling like I had just seen my favorite super hero slaughtered during the first Margarito fight, and experiencing my heart race in my chest cavity like Usain Bolt on Ben Johnson Juice during the Pacquiao fight.  

I wanted the man to retire after fighting Mayweather. I felt concerned for his health when he fought Trout. I almost didn’t watch the Rodriguez fight out of fear that it would end like Gatti vs. Gomez. So you can understand my amazement when Junito came out stalking like the Cotto of old. Coach Roach wants to keep this show on the road. However, I feel like Cotto needs to sail off into the sunset on a high note.

What do you think? Do you want to see him fight Mayweather (again) or Canelo? I don’t. People have intimated that he has invested his money wisely. Why not follow in the footsteps of Lennox Lewis and get out with faculties intact? – BK in High Point, NC

Because Cotto is a very proud man with the heart of a champion. Very few fighters are able to walk away from boxing while still on top. Gene Tunney did it. Rocky Marciano did it. Lewis did it, as you noted. Marvin Hagler did it (even though his last bout was a controversial loss). We’ll see if Floyd Mayweather can do it.

Most fighters can’t do it because the pride, ego and drive that made them champions also keeps them in the sport. It’s got nothing to do with money. How much money did Oscar De La Hoya have in the bank after he stopped Fernando Vargas in 2002 or Ricardo Mayorga in 2006? He had (and still has) a monster s__tload of dough, and those were perfect fights to retire on, but Goldie was a fighter long before he got rich. Same deal with Cotto.

He’s going to fight on whether we like it or not. At least he’s got the right trainer working with him for this late-career endeavor. Roach’s specialty is developing raw talents (like Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.) or rebuilding veteran fighters who are struggling (like James Toney). Cotto is a veteran with a solid foundation, like Toney, but he’s also very talented. I think they’re a good match. I shared your concern about Cotto getting beat on when the fight with Rodriguez was first made but it was obvious that he and Roach were a good match from the media workout that was held two weeks before Saturday’s fight. I felt that Cotto would win the fight from that point on, but he still exceeded my expectations by scoring an early TKO.

So I feel like he’s going to be alright in his next couple of fights – even if he loses. He’s regained his form and his power, and most importantly, he’s got his confidence back, which is going to earn instant respect from whoever he steps into the ring with next. He’s also going to make A LOT of money with his next fight or two.

If he fights Canelo or Martinez he’ll get seriously paid. If he wins either fight, he’ll get paid again – this time in the eight-figures range – because he’ll have earned a second shot at Mayweather.

And yes, I’d like to see all three of those fights.

War Cotto! Viva Puerto Rico!

GRABAMIR FIZZLES, COTTO SIZZLES

Ah, the hey days of boxing, Dougie. I love ‘em!  
 
Captain Obvious speaking here… but Wladimir Klitschko soiled the heavyweight crown more than he polished it with his performance. For all the praise of being the best big man of his era, the guy just never looks comfortable in the ring. I’m not sure what is more disappointing: the fact that he can be woefully inaccurate with his lead hand ENABLING the possibility of bodies to become close enough to clench or the fact that he lacks the stamina and coordination to bounce around the perimeter and stay in a comfort zone with which to fire his weapons. I’ve seen walruses fighting for beachfront mating rights on the Discovery Channel put up more artistry than that…  shame. Povetkin (whom I called Prov-yet-can) is tough as hell and gained every ounce of my respect, even if he never heard of a left hook to the body while on the inside.
 
Cotto got his ‘groove’ back! I didn’t expect this much of a change out of him, especially when going from such a highly regarded trainer as Pedro Diaz to Roach. I’ll take it though! Cotto is even money with Canelo and that fight should be made next in my opinion.

Terrence Crawford is the goods. Very smooth from either stance, great reflexes and boxing temperament, defensive standout as well. Who would you pick to beat him at 135? – JB

I’d only pick Miguel Vazquez and Richard Abril to beat Crawford, but I gotta state for the record that I DO NOT want to see those fights.

I think Crawford vs. Ricky Burns or Ray Beltran are even-money fights. I’d pick Crawford to beat Burns if the fight took place in the U.S., but I’d have to go with “The Rickster” if it was staged in Scotland. Beltran would need the right judges to get a decision over Crawford; most would go with the younger, faster, more hyped youth – even if the Los Mochis, Mexico native clearly outworked him.

Pedro Diaz is a hell of a trainer, an amateur specialist who is still learning the pro game but has a bright future. His current style of training wasn’t one that maximized Cotto’s offensive prowess. Roach’s style of training brings out the snap and power on all of Cotto’s punches. Roach and Cotto were a perfect team against a second-tier fighter who tends to give up his height and reach and likes to engage on the inside. It remains to be seen if their union will prove successful against a top-tier boxer who will not willingly allow Cotto to invade their personal space.

I don’t think Klitschko “soiled” the heavyweight title. He’s a true champion, a coldly effective competitor and a future hall of famer. However, he doesn’t do anything for U.S. boxing fans or hardcore heads anywhere. Only the purest of boxing purists can appreciate what he does (and I should note that those people really do exist.)

And I agree that, despite his vast experience and considerable athleticism and intelligence, he doesn’t have the jab, the power-hand accuracy or the proper lateral movement to keep his better opponents at bay. So, he’s forced to clinch and lean on them when they get close because he doesn’t have much of an inside game.

Over the years, I’ve pissed off Klitschko fans and supporters of “Modern Boxing,” stubborn young fans who believe that today’s best are superior to the Golden Age greats, by suggesting that smaller heavyweight champs, such as Joe Louis and Joe Frazier, would have beat the K-Bros.

But the fact that Klitschko has to resort to wrestling and roughhouse tactics to beat a guy like Povetkin is the reason I believe what I believe.

By the way, I love this line: “I’ve seen walruses fighting for beachfront mating rights on the Discovery Channel put up more artistry than that.”

LOL! Wladdy may not have made for compelling TV but he’s brought out the creative best in mailbag readers.

 

 

Photos / Epsilon-Getty Images, Alexander Nemenov-AFP

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

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