Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

GIVE BRADLEY HIS DUE

Hey there Douglass,

Time to refer to Tim Bradley as the modern-day Emile Griffith.

I’m not saying Bradley’s the fighter Emile was but you can see the similarities.

Griffith was clearly before my time, but it was my understanding that this great welterweight was a really skilled boxer who was strong as an ox and had these arms and shoulders that were huge for a middleweight let alone a welter. But he wasn’t a big puncher. He relied completely on pure boxing as well as sometimes ramming his head and shoulders into the other guy’s face.

And like Griffith, Timmy’s built like a fortified brick s___-house and is one of the best pure boxers in the world. No puncher by any means but he’s certainly not afraid to brawl it out in the trenches as he showed us against Provodnikov.

Keep in mind I’m no Timmy fan. I was rooting for Juan Manuel Marquez to beat on his shiny dome like a drum. But Timmy won that fight fair and square. He boxed Marquez’s ears off and even nearly dropped him with that heavy-handed gut-shot in the 12th.

So altogether I have to give my props to Timmy. Forget the Manny Pacquiao fight. Even great fighters like Muhammad Ali and Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. got a gift decision or two throughout their careers.

And really, Timmy recently got pounded into a near stupor by Ruslan Provodnikov and still fought back hard right down to wire and won. And now he just clearly beat a definite hall of famer.

So love him or hate him it’s time to give the guy his due. Yeah, he doesn’t always excite but he’ll fight anybody and he gets the job done.

And to be honest with you I’ll pick his fights over Floyd Mayweather’s or Wladimir Klitschko’s any day.

The obvious big question is where Bradley goes from here. Bradley-Rios will be a riveting boxer-puncher match-up providing Rios can beat Pacquiao. But what if Pac wins? Just like what if Provo beats Alvarado? Will Timmy have rematches against any of his two old rivals? And let’s not forget Danny Garcia either. How you think Timmy will do against guys like Garcia, Rios, and in a possible Pac rematch. Anyhow I’ll leave it at that for now. Cheers! – Dave

Unless Pacquiao looks amazing against Rios, I would favor Bradley in a rematch with the Filipino superstar. I would also favor the version of Bradley who fought on Saturday to outpoint Garcia and Rios – it’s just a matter of styles and experience. The version that went life and death with Provodnikov would probably be stopped by Pacquiao, Garcia and Rios, but I don’t think we’re ever going to see that guy again.

I think Bradley is in a good place right now. He’s earned respect from most of the boxing public, even some grudging respect from Marquez fans (though not the fighter himself), and he has some attractive options for 2014. He was not in this kind of position in late 2012.

I think Team Bradley is hoping Pacquiao beats Rios because that rematch is the most lucrative option for him (assuming Manny wants a return bout). If Rios wins next month, I think Bradley-Rios would be a well-received matchup (as you noted), one that could be made into a big pay-per-view headliner.

Bradley vs. the Alvarado-Provodnikov winner would be must-see TV, but those matchups wouldn’t likely make for pay-per-view events or pay him as much as a Pacquiao rematch or Rios showdown. So I don’t expect Bradley or his manager, Cameron Dunkin, to push for a Provodnikov rematch or Alvarado fight. Garcia’s fighting in a different U.S. boxing league, so that’s not a matchup we need worry about for the time being.

I agree that Bradley has earned overdue props with his two fights in 2013 and I was happy to see Bradley perform as well as he did on Saturday. I hope he builds on the momentum he gained from the Provodnikov war and the Marquez victory next year and beyond. I know he’ll push for the biggest fights 2014. My only hope is that he fights more than twice.

I generally enjoy watching him fight (yes, definitely more so than Floyd and Wladdy) and I think he would perform better if he was more active.

I agree with all of your Griffith-Bradley comparisons. Imagine if Bradley were able to fight half as much as Griffith, who competed in 112 bouts from 1958 to ’77, did during his hall-of-fame career? Timmy would not only be sharper but I think might have more of a following now had he been averaging three or four fights a year since 2010 instead of fighting once or twice a year.  

 

WHINE MANUEL MARQUEZ

Dear Doug:

I was amazed to read Marquez say: “I’ve been robbed six times in my career.” Really, JMM, the judges ripped you off six times? Funny, I watched him lose to Chris John, and lose twice to Manny Pacquiao, closely but definitely, and get his ears boxed off by Floyd Mayweather [but I guess he admits to that one].

Now he’s lost to Bradley in a fight that no one except him is whining about. I understand a competitor’s need to feel he’s the best in the world, but there’s also a need to give due respect to your opponents when you lose and be an adult and not be a whiny child. A fighter with a few losses on a HOF record tells me that he was willing to take on anyone at any time, which is a mark of greatness, not a mark of something missing. JMM tarnishes his legacy by bitching about the judging every time he loses by anything less than a lopsided margin. – Adam Warshaw, Burbank, CA

I agree with you but I also expect sour grapes from most ultra-competitors like Marquez. The same fierce pride that pushes them to face all comers at every stage of their careers and to work just as hard as middle-aged millionaires as they did as a poverty stricken youths makes it extremely hard for them to accept any defeat unless it is definitive.

I don’t expect Bernard Hopkins to accept his losses to Jermain Taylor or Joe Calazghe. If he was the kind of humble competitor to shrug his shoulders and say things like “Oh well, I guess it wasn’t my night” or “I tried my best, but he was the better man tonight” I honestly think he would have retired after the first Taylor bout (which I thought he won). In fact, if Hopkins had anything less than a “win-or-die” mentality, he may have hung up his gloves in disgust with the business side of boxing long before getting a chance to unify the middleweight titles in 2001 and prove that he is a special fighter.

Same deal with Marquez. If he was one to accept losses, my guess is that he would have faded away from the fight game after losing to John and dealing with the politics that took him to Indonesia for that fight.

By the way, for the record, I thought Marquez edged Freddy Norwood and John in those fights, but I didn’t think they were bad decisions or robberies. I thought his first three bouts with Pacquiao were draws. I’m fine with anyone who thinks Marquez won all three – provided they don’t think he dominated. I’m also fine with Marquez being upset with the official verdicts because he was in there with the Pac-Monster taking all of those hard-ass punches.

I don’t like it when a fighter who lost leaves the ring and arena, and refuses to give interviews or take part in the post-fight presser as Miguel Cotto did after the Mayweather and Trout bouts; or when they fail to show respect for their opponents during post-fight interviews and post-fight pressers as Marquez did Saturday night. However, when they challenge themselves and spill as much blood as those two do, I’m willing to give ‘em a pass.

Don’t forget, most people thought Bradley lost to Pacquiao. He didn’t accept those opinions immediately after the fight. It probably would have helped his public image and popularity if he had said something like “Hey, I thought I won but it was a close fight, Manny fought well and I can understand if people thought he won,” but it’s hard to do that when you’re a proud fighter, a born winner and you just got done fighting a legend for 12 rounds with injured feet and ankles.

To Pacquiao’s credit, he didn’t pitch a bitch after the Bradley loss. Any fan who is turned off by sour losers, should be sure to give extra props to the fighters who lose with humility, dignity and class as Pacquiao did after the Bradley and Marquez losses and as Abner Mares did recently.

 

BRADLEY-MARQUEZ SCORING

Hi Doug, 

I watched Bradley-Marquez and scored it 116-113 for Bradley. However, I noticed a lot of disparity in how it was scored across the board. Obviously, one judge had a close Marquez win. How did you have the fight? Some of the press had a Bradley blow out.

Scoring is subjective. Volume is to one judge’s taste, whereas accuracy is to another’s. Speed over power. Aggression over defense. It’s all in the eye of the beholder. Ultimately, 3 judges is not enough – especially when they all have different viewing angles. While I think boxing would benefit greatly from revisions to scoring, I believe sample size is the real issue. You can’t trust a couple of people’s opinions.

We need at least 5 judges, viewing the same angle and scoring with explicit criteria. If we followed statistics and had a representative sample of judges, we would have upwards of 40 people scoring the fight. There is a lot of truth in consensus across the masses. 

But my real question here is when will a national commission be formed? After the Bradley-Pacquiao fight, Senators McCain and Reid were up in arms about introducing regulation for the sport. But nothing happened. I then looked into it and boxing commission legislation has been put forth many, many times and has not been passed. 

Why is this? Especially in regards to a dangerous sport where fighters could be better protected and not have to spend months enduring grueling training and sparring, only to be robbed of victory by corrupt judges. What will it take? A petition? Sign me up. This is something that makes no sense to me. Thoughts? – Vincent, New York, NY

I hate saying this, but I don’t think boxing is a big-enough sport in the U.S. for our congress to care enough to get involved. Besides, they have bigger issues to deal with than the questionable judging and officiating of a historically renegade blood sport/business.

Don’t tell Teddy Atlas that I said this, but I don’t think a national commission is the answer. I think we just need the state commissions to use common sense in the appointment of judges for big fights and high-profile events. The best officials should be appointed for the big fights. Nevada has a strong pool of referees to pull from (Kenny Bayless, Tony Weeks, Robert Byrd, even Jay Nady) but the state’s pool of judges isn’t as good, and part of the reason is that they are getting old. Glen Feldman, who scored the fight for Marquez, is a veteran Connecticut judge, but he’s had some questionable scores in recent high-profile bouts that the NSAC should have paid attention to. Feldman had Pablo Cano beating Paul Malignaggi by a ridiculously wide margin (118-109) in a fight that could have gone either way by a few points. He had Thomas Oosthuizen beating Brandon Gonzales (96-94) in a fight that most observers thought Gonzales deserved. He scored the Argenis Mendez-Arash Usmanee fight a draw. Most observers (especially our man Teddy) thought Mendez clearly won the fight.

The state commissions need to bring in some new blood in regard to the boxing judges. They need to pay attention to the young judges who have track records of GETTING IT RIGHT and they need to start appointing them. I hate being an “ageist” but it’s time for these judges in their 70s and 80s to move on. And judges in their 50s and 60s like Feldman should have to “sit out” a few choice assignments after they turn in poor scorecards.

I think three judges are enough to adequately score a fight as long as we have good judges in place. If proper judgment is used in selecting the judges I see no reason to complicate the system.

I scored the fight for Bradley, eight rounds to four or 116-112. I thought he out-jabbed, outmaneuvered and outhustled Marquez in spots while controlling the majority of the rounds. Marquez, being the bona-fide badass he is, had his moments. I scored rounds three, six, nine and 12 for Marquez. However, I thought the third was very close and the 12th could have gone to Bradley because he rocked JMM back on his heels in the final seconds of the round, so I can understand lopsided scorecards for Bradley. RingTV.com staff writer Lem Satterfield scored the bout 118-110 for Bradley.

 

LET’S NOT S___ OURSELVES

Howya Doug!? Greetings from the Irish contingent! 

Fair play to Timmy! Great display. I’ve been a fan for many a year now and find it odd (although I can “kind of” understand) that he still seems to fall beneath the criteria of being a fan favourite! He seems like an honest fella, has great skills, is improving with every fight and doesn’t duck anyone as far as I can see.  

Obviously a lot of fans were emotional about his controversial win over the Filipino icon and, although I had the punching politician winning the fight, I also thought it was a little closer than what people chose to remember. Of course we have had a few “questionable decisions” of late and I’m sure Miss Ross has had her mailbag full for the last few weeks but I think we also have to be honest about how subjective we are as viewers too.

I feel people scream ROBBERY a little too often these days also. I give Bradley major credit for the win Saturday night. Marquez did look a little slower than usual but I would say that this was more to do with Bradley forcing the fight to be at his tempo. My point is, I think Tim won the fight. I scored it 116-114 but scored the 1st and 6th round as draws. So I can’t say it’s inconceivable that the Mexican might have pinched it in someone else’s eyes.  

Let’s not scream peccant at every judge who doesn’t subscribe to our perception of events every week. A split decision was not a farce as some pundits (I watched it on SKY TV in Eire) have voiced. It was a close and hard fought bout and I think the right man got the nod. No shame in that.

And Vasyl Lomachenko? What speed! Good bouts for the future. Not only is boxing not dead; it’s rich, healthy and its bones are adamantium! All the best from the Emerald Isle. – Citizen Creane

You got that right, bub.

I’m looking forward to watching the rise of Lomachenko. The young man is a smooth operator in the ring. I don’t think he’s ready to take on Orlando Salido yet, but he will be in a few bouts, and that says a lot about his current ability and his vast potential.

An eventual showdown with fellow amateur legend Guillermo Rigondeaux will be a lot of fun – in part because of the cult-like followings among hardcore boxing nerds that both southpaws will have by the time the bout has “marinated” enough for the Big Bob Man to pull the trigger on the match.

I agree that fans and media (and some fighters) scream “robbery” too much. Sometimes close fights go to the other guy.

I thought Bradley clearly won on Saturday but I can understand Marquez’s inability to accept the official verdict and I can see how some fans might have seen the fight as a draw or as Feldman had it. Marquez was in pursuit of Bradley, particularly in the late rounds, and often fought like the younger man.

And, according to CompuBox, Marquez landed more power punches than Bardley (115 to 86).

 

BRADELY STILL SUSPECT

Hey Doug,
I expected Bradley to win, and to win easily. He better not get his hopes up, he still beat a blown up lightweight who’s only victory at the welterweight class was against another blown up lightweight. And he’s a 40-year-old lightweight! 

Bradley is still suspect in my book. This victory is what should be expected of him. He’s a young natural welterweight and he should be able to beat a 40-year-old lightweight even if he’s a future hall of famer, yet it was still close. These guys are a joke. 

Would you pick these “welters” against Ike Quartey or Felix Trinidad? How about Marlon Starling or Simon Brown? Should we talk about Tommy Hearns and Ray Leonard. Oh dear better stop…. – Juan Valverde, Tijuana

Bradley and Marquez would be annihilated by the Hitman, Leonard and Trinidad.  Quartey and Brown would have manhandled them en route to brutal late stoppages. Starling would have outpointed them.

Bradley and Marquez are not real welterweights. I don’t think that’s news to most boxing fans. Bradley, who barely stands 5-foot-6 (he says he’s 5-foot-5½), can still make 140 pounds. Marquez can still make 135 pounds, maybe even 130 if he eliminates the Angel Heredia conditioning routine.   

Never mind the Marquez fight, Bradley almost lost to Provodnikov and most feel that he got a gift decision against a seemingly uninterested Pacquiao. He obviously doesn’t have the welterweight resume to match the top 147-pound titleholders and champs of the past 30 years.

However, the only active welterweight who comes close to doing that is Mayweather, and he’s the only 147 pounder I’d pick to decisively beat Bradley right now. So I can’t blame “Desert Storm” for campaigning at the weight. He’s got a major 147-pound belt and there are still dance partners in the Top Rank stable who either fight at that weight or will be more than happy to step up in weight to challenge him (such as Rios or Alvarado).

 

PROPS TO CRUZ

Hey Doug, 

Long-time reader, first-time writer.

I watched two of last night’s fights between 4 warriors, each giving it their all to win the championships, glory (and yes, paydays) that they’ve dreamed about since they were just starting out. 

Bradley, Marquez, Cruz and Salido put on an entertaining display of boxing and while the fights were no Gatti-Ward, Corrales-Castillo kind of wars, While I watched Cruz slumped over in the 7th round against Salido, I was reminded last night that it takes a huge amount of courage to set foot in the ring and exchange leather at that kind of level. 

The reaction to last night’s fights (or fighters) are what spurred me to write in today to express my feelings – feelings of disgust and disappointment. I don’t usually let trolls get the better of me but the ignorance I’ve read these past couple of days have got my blood boiling. 

Not many are arguing with the decision in the main event. Bradley boxed a great fight and won a deserved decision. I scored the fight close, but the right man won. Marquez, the brave but stubborn warrior, again insisted he was robbed but this time around, he’s not receiving the sympathy he did for the first 3 Pacquiao fights.

The focus of this letter is on the Cruz/Salido fight and the hate that some boxing fans has been sending towards the openly homosexual Cruz, who is “rubbing it in everyone’s face” as one troll described it. Another troll said that Cruz wouldn’t have got this title shot except for the publicity that coming out of the closet earned him.  

The fact is that far less deserving fighters have received title shots and some have even won. 

Remember Michael Bennt?

Wearing the Gay Pride colours, Cruz was probably happy to receive the publicity for being open about his orientation in a sport that celebrates and upholds an old idea of ‘manliness’, but he’s also had to put up with some homophobic tirades and criticisms, belittling his credentials and ridiculing him as a fighter and as a person.

It’s true that, in the end, Cruz was a level below Salido, but he deserved his chance and he earned it. He was the #1 contender for the title as designated by the WBO – Salido was #3. Cruz worked his way into the position, not because of the publicity surrounding his openly gay status but because he won his last 4 fights in a row, winning and defending the WBO Latino title along the way.

I have to give props to Cruz. Believe it or not, there are some young men who would rather commit suicide then to admit to themselves or others who they really are. 

There are people out there who believe that being gay somehow makes you a lesser person. This is pure ignorance. Cruz went on to lose to Salido but showed huge courage both outside and inside the ring. It takes balls to set foot in the ring with a beast like Salido. It take guts to lace up the gloves at all, I’d like to see a lot of these pathetic online hate-mongers faced with the prospect of that. – Kev, Dublin

The great thing about social media is that we can all be connected on an international level for certain public events, but the downside to that mass instant communication is we all have to hear from the cretins of the world.

Still, from my perspective, Cruz has received just as much positive feedback for coming out as he has negative attacks, which was a pleasant surprise to me. I thought Cruz and his promoters, as well as most boxing publications, would be overwhelmed with hateful protest when he first publicly announced that he was gay. I was glad to be wrong.

I think most boxing fans – whether or not they accept or tolerate homosexuality – realize that what Cruz did took tremendous courage. It took more courage to do that than it does to step between those ropes and duke it out. And you’re absolutely right that many individuals would rather die than be true to themselves.  

I think Cruz’s decision to come out last year was on par with Cassius Clay legally changing his name to Muhammad Ali and publicly announcing that he was a follower of the National of Islam in mid-1960s.

As far as his ability as a fighter and worthiness to fight for the title, I consider him to be a solid fringe contender. Sure, there are plenty of featherweights who are more worthy to fight for a major belt than Cruz, but it’s not like he was undeserving. Cruz has faced good opposition since 2009. He stopped then-30-0 puncher Leonilo Miranda before suffering back-to-back TKO losses to Cornelius Lock and Daniel Ponce De Leon, but he bounced back with four consecutive wins (including KOs of prospects Aalan Martinez and Michael Franco).

So what if Salido was too much for him? Salido is too much for most featherweights. Cruz fought a good fight and a bold fight. He didn’t run or try to stink it out. He’s got my respect as a fighter and even more so as a man.

Given the fact that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are far more likely to fall victim to hate crimes (including an alarming number of anti-gay murders) than members of other protected groups in the United States, Cruz’s choice to fight as an openly gay man is almost like Jack Johnson fighting for and defending the heavyweight title as a fiercely proud black man in the early 1900s when lynching of African Americans was still prevalent in America.

Cruz isn’t a great boxer but he’s got great courage and he’s in great company.

 

 

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

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