Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Friday mailbag

THE PERFECT STIFF

Doug. E. Dude,

I must admit you clobbered it right on the nail when you told us that Tim Bradley was going to outscore Juan Manual Marquez.

I’m still wondering how Timmy does it. How does he keep winning? I just don’t get it.

Seriously dude! Look at Timmy. He’s not all that strong in close quarters. He’s a feeble puncher. He’s chinny. He’s not even all that fast or hard to hit. He’s almost the perfect stiff.

And yet he has a perfect record to match. He fights much superior fighters like Manny Pacquiao and JMM and wins. He goes toe-to-toe with much more powerful dudes like Ruslan Provodnikov and wins. WTF?

I’m really confused throughout the cosmos over this. Cripes, man; where’s Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns when you need them!?

I’m tempting to end this little sitcom by jumping in the ring and taking on Timmy myself. What’s he going to do anyways? Knock me out? I’ll kick his ass!

By the way dude, what’s your final take on Mike Alvarado-Provodnikov. If they were fighting at 147 Provo might have been too strong for Mikey. But the fight’s at 140 and I think that Provo’s going to screw himself when he squeezes himself down to 140 again and Mikey will be all over him.

Well I’m blasting off dude! May The Cosmos be with you! – Captain Ron

And with you, Cap.

I’m going with Alvarado tomorrow night. I agree that fighting at 140 pounds, where the taller and rangier Colorado native somehow manages to boil down to without losing strength and power, is going to be a factor. I’m also going on the hunch that Mile High Mike is going to do what Bradley did vs. Marquez, which is stick to a smart game plan, move when he needs to and limit his exchanges with the Siberian Rocky. I like Alvarado by hard-fought but deserved decision.

We’ll see if I can get it right two weeks in row (not that I’ll ever get any credit from the YouTube-comment cretins for a correct fight pick).

Bradley will never stack up to the 147-pound versions of Leonard and Hearns (who does?), but he’s better than people think. That’s why he continues to surprise fans and members of the media by remaining unbeaten.

The truth is: Bradley is quite strong in close quarters. If he had more of a brutish mentality or a pressure-fighting style, he’d prove it more often. However, he’s most effective when using stick-and-move tactics.

And while he’s not a puncher, there’s nothing feeble about the shots he lands on his opponents. Ask Provodnikov if you don’t believe me.

Or just take a look at this picture of Provo and his Wild Card Boxing Club stablemate Brian Viloria. See how lumped and bruised up his face is? This photo was taken the Monday after he went 12 rounds with Bradley.

And come on, Cap, don’t call Timmy “chinny.” He’s been rocked and dropped a few times but only to two guys who can whack – Kendall Holt and Provonikov. He’s not “chinny.” A chinny fighter is rocked by grazing punches. A chinny fighter goes down from one good punch and doesn’t recover; or doesn’t get up after being dropped. You can call Amir Khan “chinny,” but not Timmy. His chin isn’t impervious to impact but it’s above average. If it wasn’t, he wouldn’t have gone 12 rounds with Holt, Pacquiao and Provo.

Bradley will never drop lightning-fast Leonardesque combinations, but his hands are quick enough to off-set speed merchants such as Pacquiao and Devon Alexander.  

And while he’s not slick like a Floyd Mayweather or Pernell Whitaker, Bradley is hard to hit. His defense is more cagey – like that of Bernard Hopkins – than slick. Bradley does more blocking and rolling with punches, than slipping, ducking or leaning away from incoming shots, so he doesn’t always get credit for his defense (which might partially explain the controversial win against Pacquiao and the close victory over JMM).

Trust me, you don’t want to go any rounds with Bradley.

 

MID-WEEK MUSINGS

First, Bradley won. All of his wins at this level will be “close” because he doesn’t starch opponents in the 3rd round, and is small at his weight class. Everyone’s going to be bigger than him, and make more noise when they land. He outlanded, outworked, and outhustled Marquez.

Second, Orlando Cruz is a man. He got beaten by a better boxer. There is no shame in that, nor in being homosexual. Being tough isn’t always  enough, but it’s something remarkable when you see it. Either way. – MT

Amen to that, MT. Cruz forever gained my respect as a man by coming out and he earned my respect as a fighter by giving it all he had against Orlando Salido.

After feeling the heat of the Mexican’s rough pressure and those brutal body shots in the third and fourth rounds, he could have got on his bicycle and attempted to stink out the joint for as long as he could, but he didn’t do that. He stood his ground and let his hands go in the fifth round (which I scored for him). I had the fight even after six rounds, but there’s no shame in losing to a hardnosed vet like Salido. With Mikey Garcia moving to junior lightweight, the only 126 pounders I’d strongly favor to beat Salido are Chris John and maybe Jhonny Gonzalez and Abner Mares.

Regarding your comments on Bradley, I wholeheartedly agree with each observation and opinion.   

 

IS PROVODNIKOV THE NEW MATTHYSSE?

Hey Doug,

I don’t know if you’re gonna have a Friday mailbag but anyways I’ll give it a go.

I see a lot of fans and a lot of experts giving Ruslan Provodnikov a good chance at beating Alvarado and a lot of top guys in the division after his performance against Bradley.

I bought in a lot to the hype of Provodnikov and I saw him blasting through a lot of the top guys, but on second thought I think it’s just like the Lucas Matthysse case.

Just like Matthysse, Provodnikov hits hella hard. I’d say he gets off a lot better than the Argentine and varies his combinations a bit more, he’s also got some head movement (even though he gets hit way to much). But I think that Provodnikov is gonna lose pretty big against a good boxer or counter puncher like we saw in the Danny Garcia-Matthysse fight. I thought the Bradley fight was a really close one and I thought Provodnikov was the real deal, but I think now that Bradley could’ve beaten him very easily if he we would’ve stuck with his gameplan and not get drawn in to a dog fight. If there would be a rematch, after what I saw versus Marquez, I’d say Bradley would win a lot easier than the first fight.

I’m not saying Alvarado is in the same class as Garcia and is gonna make Provodnikov look stupid on Saturday, but I think if he just sticks to his boxing and keeps his head, I believe he can beat him with a pretty wide margin on the scorecards. But hopefully that is not gonna happen.

But to round of the Matthysse-Provodnikov comparisons, what do you say about Matthysse and Provodnikov squaring off in the ring? I’d have my money on Provodnikov, and hopefully we’ll see it after the must Rios-Provodnikov showdown.

I also heard a lot of talk that Khan was next in line for Mayweather now, and even though Mayweather would have his way easily with everyone under 154, I’ve always thought that Khan-Mayweather was one of the more interesting matchups and I’d like to see that happen if Mayweather doesn’t wanna fight any middleweights in his next scrap.

The only punch I’ve seen Mayweather really have some problems with is a straight jab, basically everyone has had some success with it: Cotto bloodied his nose with it, and I’m surprised nobody has used it more in the past against him. Khan likes to triple that thang up, so let’s not hope Mayweather takes his time to learn to dodge the jab as good as every other punch there is. – W. Lande, Sweden

Khan’s problem is that he likes to triple up his jab and every other punch in the book. He’s the anti-Mayweather. While Floyd seldom gives us more than two punches at a time, Khan gets off on dropping eight-punch combos.

He’s impetuous by nature, which makes him a formidable dude in the ring because of his athletic gifts but it also leaves him open for return fire, which would be his downfall against an elite counter puncher like Mayweather.

But hey, the fight might be a lot of fun while it lasts. I’m not that into the matchup but I’m certainly not against it.

Provodnikov vs. Matthysse? Dude, there aren’t many matchups that I’m willing to pay for, but that is one of them. Ruslan’s promoter Artie Pelullo seems to have a pretty tight relationship with Top Rank and HBO at the present time but being the business man he is I’m sure he’s open to other deals in the future. Maybe one day we’ll see this showdown at 140 or 147 pounds.

Given their present form, I’d also slightly favor Provo to prevail in that shootout, mainly because the Russian has proven himself at the heavier weight against an elite opponent (Bradley) and he’s got the much better trainer in his corner (Freddie Roach). However, if Matthysse returns to trainer Pablo Sarmiento and Sergio Martinez’s gym in Oxnard, Calif., and gets a few significant wins under his belt, I might change my mind and favor him.

I don’t know for sure if Alvarado is Garcia’s class, but I suspect that he’s close if not on par with the champion from Philly. He’s not as quick or agile or explosive as Garcia but he’s got slightly better technique, just as much heart (if not more) and he’s bigger.

I think Alvarado will handle his biz against Provo tomorrow. The book is out on Provonikov – he has trouble with a stiff jab and lateral movement. Mauricio Herrera beat him (narrowly) with this basic combination. Even Ivan Popoca had his moments stick and moving vs. Provo. You can’t square up with Ruslan too much. He’s not just strong and powerful. He’s deceptively quick and he’s a good counter puncher. Movement and striking from a distance is what beats him. I think Alvarado and his team knows this.

Still, it ain’t gonna be easy. We can all play armchair Eddie Futches after the fact and go on about how Matthysse was overrated and was just waiting to be outpointed by a superior boxer, but the truth is that his loss to Garcia was a close and competitive one. Garcia had to take some heat from The Machine. I think Alvarado’s fight with Provodnikov will be just as close on the scorecards, but with more sustained action and drama.

It’s easy for us to dismiss guys like Provo and Matty as “one-dimensional” punchers. The men who have to get in the ring with them know that they can do a lot more than punch.

 

BRADLEY’S THE MAN NOW?

Hej Doug, 

Thanks man for keeping in good shape this forum for all of us, true boxing fans!

On Sunday after giving second thoughts to Bradley-Marquez’s fight, I came with the conclusion that for a fighting style like Bradley’s, Guillermo Rigondeaux was crucified by a big chunk of the media and boxing fans after his UD over Nonito Donaire. It was also a hit-not-get-hit school but if I remember clearly, Rigo did stun Donaire, lot more than what Bradley could stun Marquez. Also, within the same style, Floyd Mayweather did the hit-not-get-hit versus Canelo Alvarez and Oscar Ortiz (to mention some). But his shots were surgical and he did shock those guys unlike Bradley who missed most of his “power” shots vs Marquez. My point is, is Bradley now to be considered one of the best boxers of the globe as some ppl wants to sell him to us? I don’t think so, but of course he is a good boxer. I´d like to see him vs Floyd Mayweather. 

Last thing Doug, do you think that the following fights can really happen?

GGG vs Carl Froch

GGG vs Manny Pacquiao

Bernard Hopkins vs Maravilla Martinez

All the best from the Vikings’ homeland. – Hugo Gonzalez, Copenhagen 

And all the best to you from me, a graduate of Parkview High School in Springfield, Mo., the, um, other home of the Vikings.

Hopkins-Martinez ain’t happenin’.

Golovkin-Pacquiao ain’t happenin’.

Froch-Golovkin is a possibility. And it’s also a damn good super middleweight matchup. In the November 2013 issue of THE RING magazine, I rank Froch at No. 2 in my article: “The five biggest threats to the middleweight slugger” (GGG).

Of course, every fight is a threat, and neither titleholder is facing a patsy in his next bout. Let’s see how Golovkin does against Curtis Stevens and how Froch fares vs. George Groves. If they prevail (as they should), let’s start to beat the drums for Froch-Golovkin. GGG is willing to travel to the UK, and so would I if that fight is made and winds up on that side of the Pond.  

Regarding Bradley and his style, anytime you’re talking about a boxer who wins fights using defense and ring generalship more than offense and sheer aggression the fans and the media are going to be split on their appreciation of those methods.

Rigondeaux and Mayweather fall into this category along with Bradley. The two Olympians have more polish and power than Bradley, which makes them a favorite of purists, but Desert Storm shows more tenacity in his fights and seems more willing to face the best fighters in and around his weight class, which earns him a degree of respect from the media and casual fans.

Bottom line is that Bradley has defeated enough elite fighters to earn pound-for-pounds status along with Mayweather and Rigo. Mayweather is obviously ahead of Bradley (and everyone else) because of his dominance, accomplishements and longevity. Rigo is behind Timmy, but still in the top 10 with less than half the fights Bradley has because he’s a better talent than the Palm Springs, Calif., native.  

 

MARQUEZ DRINKING GATORADE?

Towards the end of the Marquez Bradley fight, Marquez was drinking something orange (Gatorade?) in his corner. Is that allowed? To my knowledge only water is allowable in the ring, unless I’m wrong on that? – Matt

You’re wrong about that, Matt, at least you are when it comes to prize fights that take place in Nevada, where so-called “sports drinks” – such as Gatorade that combine water, carbohydrates and electrolytes to help athletes rehydrate – have been allowed since 2006.

The orange-colored drink you saw Marquez drink between rounds was a combination of water and Pedialyte (an electrolyte solution that was originally developed to help babies replenish minerals and fluids when suffering from diarrhea but is often used by athletes). Marquez had to have the solution cleared by the NSAC prior to the bout and commissioners observed the mixing of the drink before it was put into a squeeze bottle for the fight. He also drank it during his third and fourth bouts with Pacquiao.

 

THANK YOU

Doug,
Thanks so much for your thoughts on Orlando Cruz in your mailbag this week.  I always have enjoyed your commentary on all things boxing and whether you meant to or not,  this week you took it a step farther than simply writing about sport (not that what you do is simple but you know what I’m saying’ right?).

So thanks man! – JC

Thanks for the thanks and for reminding me that a lot of boxing fans just happen to be decent human beings.

 

MYTHCIAL SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT TOURNEY

Hey Doug,

Greetings from the cold, wet and windy (but boxing mad) United Kingdom.

I’ve got a mythical tournament that I wanted your opinion on.

The best of the current Super Middleweight division vs. The Generation before them. Straight Knockout competition …… Excuse the pun.

Steve Collins vs Mikkel Kessler-

Chris Eubank vs Andre Ward-

Mike McCallum vs Joe Calzaghe-

Carl Froch vs Nigel Benn-

Who do you think ends up the Champ after this gruelling tourney?

I hope you’re well and keep up the good work…..

(P.S After watching Bradley beat Marquez last Saturday I though he looked back to his best…… however his claim that “this victory is his way into the hall of fame” I thought was ridiculous!! Bradley has a handful of credible wins on his resume but has never been a dominant champion in my eyes. Maybe he still can, but he’s got a little way to go yet before he is considered Future hall of famer surely?)

Cheers. – Callum from UK

I agree that Bradley has a long way to go before securing eventual induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, but he is pointed in the right direction. Having the names of two first-ballot HOFers certainly helps his cause (even if one victory was controversial and the other came against a 40-year-old legend).

He can take shortcut if he can get Mayweather in the ring and somehow beat the reigning P4P king, but if he can’t do that, he’s going to have to continue to face and beat the best available opposition for the next three-to-four years.

Wow, the first thing I thought when looking at the participants of your mythical super middleweight tourney is that it’s awesome competition but not of the “straight knockout” variety. The eight fighters you pulled together are too tough, too proud, too skilled and savvy to get knocked out. I honestly believe that each fight would go the distance and that all four first-round bouts would have ended in razor-thin “either-way” type decision where the public and media are split on who really won.

Anyway, here’s my opinions for what they’re worth:

Steve Collins vs Mikkel Kessler – Kessler jabs and moves his way to a close UD.

Chris Eubank vs Andre Ward – Ward wins awkward, ugly, sometimes bizarre MD.

Mike McCallum vs Joe Calzaghe – Calzaghe gets up from an early knockdown to outwork and outpoint the Body Snatcher via split nod in a classic fast-paced chess match.

Carl Froch vs Nigel Benn – Froch survives multiple wobbly moments during the first half a rousing fight before outboxing Benn in the late rounds and then taking the fight to the Dark Destroyer in the thrilling championship rounds to eke out a very close MD.

Calzaghe uses his footwork and faster hands to narrowly outpoint Froch in an intense high-volume boxing match. Ward has a tougher time outpointing Kessler in their rematch but still proves too tough and strong for the Dane on the inside and wins a decision.

Calzaghe overcomes a rocky start and rough-and-tumble middle rounds to outwork Ward down the stretch of a heated boxing match where both fighters constantly make adjustments. Calzaghe, whose style allows for slightly quicker evolution, wins a controversial split-decision and the tournament trophy.

The fans call for a rematch of not only the finals but almost every other bout of the tournament.

 

 

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

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