Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

POPKINS THE ALIEN, WILDER THE TRUTH

Dougie,

I’ll come right out and say it: I’m starting to like Deontay Wilder’s chances at being the next American Heavyweight Champ. I know his chin hasn’t really been tested (during a televised fight at least), but this guy Nic Firtha was bringing it for awhile. I thought Wilder remained calm, even after eating a surprising jab to start the fight. Wilder also seemed to increase his offense, knowing that by jabbing Firtha safely from range would eventually aggravate the big guy into charging into something. When Firtha stopped trying to charge in and tried to come up with a plan “B,” Wilder sprang on him and lowered that awesome right hand. I think he can take Wlad out with a single shot, Dougie. Of course, a jab from Wlad could also disconnect Wilder from his senses as well.

Peter Quillin got lucky. Rosado was bringing the fight to him and looked to seriously have a mental edge after he wobbled “Kid Chocolate” earlier. I’m sorry, but GGG would wear Quillin down and finish him. Rosado is no joke, and aside from his scar tissue letting him down, he has no give whatsoever and shows true guts.

What needs to be said about B-hops at this point? Well, a few things to the casual observer or newly acquired Bernard Hopkins supporter. Hopkins is indeed a great fighter who is flirting with Archie Moore status as an all-time great at such an age. An array of boxing lessons were on display for any fighter of any caliber to learn from. Hopkins started out leaning and rolling away from shots, then countering Murat. Not grabbing or hugging. It was actually Murat who chose to get dirty and headlock or rabbit punch the “old man” while on the inside. Well, that’s right up old Popkins alley, isn’t it? If one is supposed to punch a boxer or box a puncher, surely the rule of thumb is never to engage Bernard Hopkins in a foul-fest while trying to make things look legal. Battering Murat’s left side repeatedly while in close minimized the headlock issue. Charging in with a classic one-two-three Hopkins combo (read: lead right, crown of the head and sweeping left to cap it off) was the answer for the rabbit punches. By mid rounds, Murat looked like he didn’t want to be there and wondered what the hell Hopkins was made of. Then he decided to foul his way to the finish to survive. Even more telling, Hopkins actually tried to close the show with a KO and legitimately took some bombs throughout the fight while being hardly buzzed!!! Amazing. Simply amazing. Sorry to ramble, but I think Hopkins deserves such attention. I won’t bet against him, ever. Even against the likes of Sergei Kovalev or Adonis Stevenson. I simply have too much respect for history in the making. – JB

Hopefully, Hopkins vs. Kovalev or Stevenson won’t happen (and the current Cold War kind of ensures that, doesn’t it?). You’re preaching to the choir about Hopkins’ greatness. You know that I don’t bestow that honor on just anyone, no matter how skilled or accomplished, but Hopkins has been has around for so long and has done so much, challenging himself (the system and common beliefs) every step of the way, that he’s earned that title. As I’m sure you are aware of, he’s the only active fighter that I currently consider to be an all-time great.

Still, Alien mask and all-time great character aside, the almost-49-year-old veteran is only human. I’m not saying that he wouldn’t give Stevenson or Kovalev a fight, but I am saying that he could get seriously hurt against either prime boxer-puncher and I don’t want to see that happen.

Hopkins mastered both Tavoris Cloud and Karo Murat in 2013 – and in my opinion deserves serious Fighter of the Year consideration – but he had to dig deep against both light heavyweights. And I thought both fights were closer and more competitive than the official scorecards indicated.

Look what Stevenson did to Cloud. He toyed with the former beltholder while beating him down, and he would probably have an easier time with Murat. There’s no doubt in my mind that Kovalev would dominate and stop both Cloud and Murat.

I still think Hopkins is one of the best 175 pounders in the game (he’s currently THE RING’s No. 1-rated light heavyweight and I have no problem with that ranking given his body of work at the weight), but I believe fighters who are clearly second-tier – such as WBA beltholder Beibut Shumenov and former WBO titleholder Nathan Cleverly – would give him a run for his money due to his advanced age.

Those would probably be entertaining fights, and I’d certainly watch with some interest, but I don’t think there’s any point to those bouts beyond Hopkins extending his own age record and make a couple more seven-figure pay days. A win, loss or draw against the Shumenovs of the world won’t affect his legacy one bit. His place in history is not just secure – it’s untouchable. So why take any more punches?

When is it enough?

I won’t say that Quillin got “lucky” because I figured Rosado would give him a stern challenge and the cut that ended the bout was caused by a legit punch, but I will say that Kid Chocolate caught a break.

A different referee may have ignored the doctor’s advice for a round or two – and who knows how much damage a desperately motivated Rosado could have inflicted on Quillin, who seemed a bit gassed and unsure of himself. Maybe Rosado could have staged a miraculous late stoppage. I doubt it but I’ve witnessed crazier things happen in a tight fight.

However, the tragedy of Quillin-Rosado isn’t that the fight was stopped on a cut it was that the underdog challenger’s only hope of winning that fight was to knock Quillin out. That should not have been so. The fight was close. Quillin deserved to be ahead on the scorecards with the help of his second-round knockdown, but not by much. I had Quillin up five rounds to four after the ninth round. I can see six rounds to three for “Choc,” maybe even seven rounds to two (if one wanted to give him the benefit of every doubt), but have it a shutout in his favor as judge Kason Cheeks had it just WRONG.

When are these damn state athletic commissions going to wake up and stop assigning weak judges like “Ass” Cheeks and Walesk Roldan to internationally televised world title bouts?

I’m glad to see your enthusiasm for Wilder. I wasn’t that impressed by his performance, but I love a pure puncher. And this southern brotha’s power is for REAL.

However, I’d like to see Wilder be a little more consistent with his jab and use it to set up combinations. He kept loading up with one power shot at a time after he repeatedly hurt Firtha. His lack of combos and body shots is the only reason the fight didn’t end in the first or second rounds. I’m sure Wilder will continue to improve, but I think the version I saw on Saturday would lose to both Chris Arreola and Bermane Stiverne – never mind Wladdy.

Having said that, I agree with you that Wilder has the power and athletic ability to land a bona-fide “one-hitter quitter” against any heavyweight on the planet. Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer told the media that Wilder, who is rated No. 3 in the WBC, is taking aim at the green belt, which he believes will be vacated by Vitali Klitschko (who recently announced that he’ll run for president in Ukraine). So, Schaefer would like to pit Wilder vs. Arreola (the WBC’s No. 2) or Stiverne (No. 1) or the winner of Stiverne-Arreola, which means it won’t be long until we see the “Bronze Bomber” in the ring with a real threat.

Regardless of the opponent, fans are going to tune in whenever Wilder fights.

 

HOPKINS-MURAT, QUILLIN-ROSADO

Dear Doug:

So what if Bernard Hopkins didn’t knock out Murat? I haven’t enjoyed a Hopkins fight that much since grade school. Actually, I’m the same age as he is and I cannot believe what he does. I get a bloody nose bending over to tie my shoes and this guy beats top professional fighters a generation younger? Unreal.

Steve Smoger is getting some crap for how he handled the fight. He is one of my favorite refs because he lets the fighters alone. I think he did a great job under the circumstances, having a Hopkins, who lives on the inside and will take any chance to pot-shot an opponent, and an opponent who was intent on making it a street fight. I didn’t notice him during most of the action, which is just how it should be. He seemed pretty disgusted with Murat by the end – his bitch-slapping Murat at the end of the 12th was one of the best punches of the night – but I don’t think that was bias on his part. I think his attitude towards Murat became proactive then disgusted after Murat threw Hopkins down and then punched him twice. As far as I am concerned, that is the cardinal sin, worse than low blows, rabbit punching, or anything else short of ear biting. Even so, Smoger still let Murat get away with multiple low blows and late hits. Sure, B-Hop is an opportunistically dirty infighter, no quarrel on that, but Murat was blatant. If B-Hop wasn’t a ring genius with enough presence of mind to cover up while down, it could have been a very ugly outcome. Put a ring dummy like Victor Ortiz in the same position and he’d probably get knocked out trying to hug Murat.

I had no quarrel with the stoppage in the Quillin-Rosado match. Rosado’s eye was Halloween gory. I am as ghoulish as any other fan but I don’t want a guy going out there to risk serious injury or a career, even in a championship fight. That’s why the docs are there. I was at the Klitschko-Lewis fight and felt the same way, and I didn’t think Rosado was winning this one. As for Quillin, seems like a good guy and he is a decent fighter, and I love his call-out to ring history with the nickname, but the second coming of Eligio Sardinas Montalvo he ain’t. If this Kid Chocolate goes into the ring with Golovkin, Hershey’s syrup dribbles back out. Sincerely. – Adam Warshaw, Burbank, CA

That seems to be the common prediction for a possible Golovkin-Quillin matchup following Kid Choc’s tougher-than-expected time with a guy that GGG dominated.

If Golovkin dominates Curtis Stevens this Saturday most fans will figure that the Kick-ass Kazakh will have to go to 168 pounds to find a competitive fight (and they might be right about that), but if “Showtime” is competitive – or if he manages to hurt GGG (which isn’t inconceivable) – suddenly that potential showdown with Quillin will seem competitive again. That’s boxing for ya.

I would have liked the ref to allow Rosado to try and make something happen in the 10th round before waving it off. He could have told Rosado that he and the doctor were looking closely at the cut and would stop the fight if it got any worse and then let the bout continue. If Quillin zeroed in on the cut and made it worse, he could have stepped in with more authority.

I hear what you’re saying about the risk of serious injury with such a deep cut but bad facial lacerations are part of boxing. That’s why we have cut men in the fighter’s corners. If refs are going to stop a fight as soon a guy gets cut we might as well do away with cut men.

Having said that, once I got a good look at the cut (which was pretty nasty) I wasn’t outraged by the stoppage. I was, however, disgusted with the official scorecards.

I thought Smoger officiated the Hopkins-Murat fight about as well as any referee could have without taking a record number of penalty points or DQing the German challenger.

But to be honest with you, I didn’t notice Murat’s flagrant fouling as much as others because I’ve come to expect a lot of roughhouse tactics whenever Hopkins steps into the ring. Maybe that’s why Smoger didn’t disqualify Murat. Perhaps he knew that B-Hop could handle himself in that kind of scrap (as well as dish out his share of dirty stuff under the radar). Perhaps Murat would have been DQ’d against a different fighter.

I wasn’t that interested in the fight until rounds eight, nine and 10 when both fighters stepped up their pace and aggression. I was impressed with Hopkins’ ability to consistently get the better of Murat in those heated exchanges.

 

THE GREAT BHOP

Dougie,

My grandpop BHOP looked great Saturday night. I get the fact that Murat was not the second coming of Ray Robinson, but Hopkins put on a show! Maybe I am his biggest fan. I read your brief post fight wrap, it didn’t appear that you were impressed. Others were more glowing in their praise of BHOP. This man is something special. We will not see anything like him for a long, long, long time.

Murat fought dirty, kept turning his back every time BHOP got on him, kept trying to CLINCHko him with headlocks all night long. This ain’t Germany where they can get away with that s__t. The ref almost kicked Murat’s ass for that s__t, he slapped him at the end of the fight and shoved him into his corner. The ref really could have taken more points away. Remember, RJJ got DQ’d for what Murat got away with last night. He was throwing elbows, headlocks, hitting while Hopkins was down. I was surprised BHOP didn’t get really rough in return, instead he got brutal with his punches and fought more than usual, so Murat got what he wanted, an ass kicking. When BHOP went into Murat’s corner and started talking to his corner while almost KTFO Murat that was unbelievable, at 50!!!!

Hopkins was fresh and did not back down from a firefight. This guy is something. At his age he is still on cruise control beating the young bucks, and if he was such a pushover, who can’t fight and can’t punch, how come nobody jumps on him and kicks his ass? From Trinidad, to Taylor, to Tarver, to Pascal, to Cloud, even Dawson who was KTFO in his very next two fights and his career is done, same thing happened to Taylor, Pavlik wasn’t KTFO but his career was surely over after Hopkins. It is the mental warfare he plays with these guys (Pascal included, Tarver) that they aren’t the same, does he put that much mental anguish on them that they doubt themselves and think they aren’t that good because they can’t do anything in the ring with him and it just haunts them? I know you think I am going overboard, but if you look at it, there is definitely a trend. Sure he has not physically beaten all of them to death in the ring, but the aftermath of their careers is definitely different. – JCB

I definitely believe that Hopkins exacts a significant mental toll on his opponents. Hell, just having dinner with the guy when he’s in a combative mood takes a mental toll (I’m serious).

Even though Jermain Taylor got the nod in both his fights with Hopkins he never again fought with the kind of confidence he had prior to winning the middleweight championship. Felix Trinidad seemed to lose his hunger after being debunked by what I consider to the best version of B-Hop. I think Tarver bounced back after being schooled by Hopkins but he was mentally down for awhile. Cloud’s and Pavlik’s mental weakness was basically exposed by Hopkins. However, Dawson’s decline was significantly helped by Andre Ward. Maybe B-Hop had an assist.

Regarding the Murat fight and my enthusiasm for Hopkins’ performance, you’re correct in that I wasn’t blown away by it. Part of the reason is that I did some research on Murat before the fight. I watched some of his fight videos in order to give an educated analysis for Lem Satterfield’s “Expert Picks” feature, and man, I was not at all impressed with anything I saw of this guy. Murat is the definition of average to me. Average speed, average power, average skills, basic style and ring IQ. So, in my mind, Hopkins did what he should have done on Saturday – outclass a lower-level light heavyweight.  

However, I must note that Murat is a tough S.O.B. with a pretty good chin. So maybe I should have been more impressed with Hopkins. Thing is, I was ringside for a lot of his fights when he was still in his prime (and just considered another beltholder in the game). I was front and center when he got body slammed by a prime (and completely crazy) Antwun Echols during their rematch and got up to outbox and beat down the wild puncher to a 10th-round TKO with ONE ARM. I was there for what I still consider the pinnacle of his all-time great career – the truly historic victory over Tito, which unified the middleweight belts (for the first time since Marvin Hagler’s reign) and tied Carlos Monzon’s division record for title defenses. So, I guess I’m spoiled. Maybe a bit jaded.

Although I’m amazed by the level at which he’s still able to fight, I do see a decline in his overall ability. And I’m just not all that entertained by pure technique and ring generalship (especially when things get as ugly and rough as they got on Saturday – though I know most of that was Murat’s fault).

Just being real with you, but I thought the first half of the Murat fight was forgettable. It heated up during the second half of the bout and I give both fighters credit for that. I give B-Hop more credit, of course, because he’s pushing 49 and he outworked and out-landed the 30-year-old challenger. And he did his best to make it entertaining, which I appreciate.  

There’s no doubt that Hopkins is a marvel. However, his fights aren’t all that marvelous to me. But that’s just me! I’ve been called a hater by more than a few fans and boxing insiders (including Hopkins). Don’t let me kill your buzz. LOL.

 

CONTROVERSIAL CUT

I have a problem when a doctor stops a fight because it’s too “dangerous” for a fighter to continue…… and then walks away and gets out of the ring…..

Really? It’s so dangerous to continue but “treatment” can wait ten to fifteen minutes?

See Quillin-Rosado for an example.

Obviously a cut isn’t life threatening, but it seems very weird to me that the doctor decides that the fight can’t continue, and then just leaves the ring. I’m not sure what the rules are, but it would seem that a doctor should start treatment ASAP, No?

The stoppage was controversial as it was, just seemed odd that the doctor stopped a fight and seemed uninterested or unconcerned about the cut right away. Just kind of weird. – AC

Not really. Ringside physicians aren’t there to treat the fighters. They are there to recognize when a fighter is in jeopardy of being seriously hurt and to alert the referee of their concerns before things turn tragic. They are present to give their professional OPINIONS and advice to the referee, who then makes the decision whether or not to let the fight continue (except for in California where the doctors have the authority to stop the fight on their own).

A cut like Rosado’s needs to be cleaned, treated and sutured/stiched by a specialist in a controlled environment, not while he’s still standing in the ring with his gloves on.

The doctor didn’t advise the referee to stop the bout because the cut was threatening his permanent eye sight and needed immediate medical attention. He gave that advice because he knew if the cut continued to get hit by Quillin it would become a serious injury.

 

PASS ON B-FLOP

Hey Dougie,

I passed on watching Hopkins-Murat. Usually when Hopkins vows to KO his opponent we get a John Ruiz-style f__k-a-thon that’s about as stimulating as watching two horny turtles hump each other in slow motion on the Discovery channel.

OK so it wasn’t that bad this time, even if it was more like pro-wrestling mixed with gay porn. What was with B-Hop kissing the guy like he was his friggin’ jail-bitch?

And it sounds like Murat should get a rule-book in German. Or should I say Psuedo-German. Whatever.

Nevertheless, B-Hop clearly outfought this guy despite being more than old enough to pass as his papa. Sure there were times when Murat was double-teamed by Hopkins and the ref though B-Hop clearly didn’t need a tag-team partner to beat a B-level guy like Murat.

Mind you, Hopkins will need all the extra help he can get if he were to take on either Krusher Kovalev or Adonis Stevenson.

Personally, I think that either Kovalev or Stevenson will leave B-Hop smeared on the mat and more flattened than one of those beer-logos.

Good thing for B-Hop that he escaped to Showtime while he could. Speaking of which, has anyone else noticed how HBO right now is blasting Showtime off the map in regards to quality fight-action and exciting new kickass fighter. You know the fights and the fighters I’m talking about.

Speaking of which, I’ll be back to you after Golovkin tears up his next victim. See ya then! – Triple T

HBO has featured some damn good scraps this year – Bradley-Provodnikov, Rios-Alvarado II, Alvarado-Provo – and I’m sure Pacquiao-Rios will deliver. HBO is also home to GGG, Stevenson, Kovalev and Provodnikov, which officially makes it the “KO network.”

But it’s not like Showtime has a ban on KO punchers and good scraps. Showtime’s got Wilder, Danny Garcia, Lucas Matthysse, Marcos Maidana and Keith Thurman. They’ve featured their share of shootouts and barnburners – Omar Figueroa-Nihito Arakawa, Maidana-Josesito Lopez, Erislandy Lara-Alfredo Angulo, Jesus Soto Karass-Andre Berto, Matthysse-Lamont Peterson, Garcia-Zab Judah, Garcia-Matthysse – in 2013, and my guess is that Adrien Broner-Maidana and Keith Thurman-Soto Karass are going to be entertaining fights.    

I’d rather think about Stevenson vs. Kovalev than Hopkins against either man.

You hit the nail on the head when you described Murat as a B-level fighter. That’s what he is. Hopkins will probably be able to check a dude like that when he’s 55.

And lastly, this line – “Usually when Hopkins vows to KO his opponent we get a John Ruiz-style f__k-a-thon that’s about as stimulating as watching two horny turtles hump each other in slow motion on the Discovery channel” – had me cracking up for a good 5 minutes. You win the Dougie Award of the week!

 

SPECIAL K

Hi Dougie,
A good nights boxing in the UK and very glad to see Kell Brook give an ass whooping to Vyacheslav Senchenko. I thought Senchenko came out and looked really sharp compared to his performance against Ricky Hatton but I guess that wasn’t of much use against “Special K.”

As Senchenko is a former world champion and this was his first real stoppage (being seriously concussed rather than picked apart a la Paulie Malignaggi), I thought this was a great statement of intent from Kell.

I think a world title beckons for Kell but I have to be honest I don’t really crave to see him in with Devon Alexander but then I don’t really crave to see Devon fight anybody! What do you think would be his next best move?

My main question is this Dougie: As talented as he is do you think that when he gets in the ring with an elite welterweight Kell will be able to handle himself?

Kell comes from the Wincobank gym in Sheffield, famous for Herol Graham, Prince Nassem Hamed and Johnny Nelson so although he has learned a similar type of skill set offensively he is very orthodox and straight up and lacks the body movement which they made famous. I think in with a top class welter he will be too susceptible to a straight overhand right and we’ve seen him caught before.

What’s your thoughts, Dougie?

(Ps Callum Smith who was given a mention on your last mailbag KO’d Ruben Acosta on the undercard in only his 9th pro fight – a future champion in the making I think.) Cheers Dougmeister. – Mark, UK

I’m watching Smith.

My thoughts on Brook haven’t changed since last week. I thought he was a top-five welterweight going into the Senchenko fight and I think his fourth-round TKO of the durable and competent Ukrainian confirmed that opinion.

However, he still has room for improvement, mostly on his defense (as you noted). He’s not hard to find, as we say in the States and that can cost him against quick and crafty boxers like Alexander.

Having said that, the 27-year-old Sheffield native is a natural competitor with world-class athleticism and considerable punching power; I think he’s a threat to any 147 pounder on the planet apart from Floyd Mayweather.  

I think he can “handle himself” with top-level boxers, such as Alexander and Tim Bradley, but I’m not confident that he would beat them (especially if he fought them in the U.S.) I think Brook would shine against world-class sluggers, like Maidana, and flawed boxer-punchers, such as Broner and Khan.

So when you ask me what his next move should be, I think a big UK showdown with Khan is a natural (provided the former 140-pound titleholder doesn’t land the Mayweather lottery shot in 2014). Naturally, it would be a huge fight in your neck of the woods and I think it’s very winnable for Brook, the naturally bigger man.

Actually, considering the fierce pride, athleticism, speed, power and defensive flaws of both British standouts, I think Brook-Khan is potentially one of the most exciting and dramatic matchups that can made in the 147-pound division.

 

 

Photos / Naoki Fukuda, Maddie Meyer-Getty Images, Timothy A.Clary-AFP, Chris Farina-TOP RANK, Scott Heavey-Getty Images

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

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