Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

AMAZING CARD

Gotta finally give Bob Arum credit! The Demetrius Andrade vs Vanes Martiorysan fight was so-so for a championship fight. But for a fight against two flawed but unbeaten fighters I was definitely entertained.

Nonito Donaire shocked me. He looked finished, dropping by 3 points on my card and looked to be on his way to back-to-back losses, but he gutted it out and let his hands go and reestablished himself among the top feather weights; but his days on P4P elite appear to be over!

Mikey Garcia is the real deal! I’d love to see Garcia vs Yuriorkis Gamboa soon. That would be a great match up. I think Garcia would be the fighter that can KO Gamboa. 2013 is definitely the year of BOXING! – DJ

Agreed. I can’t recall a busier year in the sport, and we still have four or five major fight cards ahead of us before 2013 comes to a close for boxing.

Sign me up for Garcia-Gamboa. I think there are better 130-pound standouts to challenge and test Garcia – including WBA titleholder and THE RING’s No. 1-rated junior lightweight Takashi Uchiyama and IBF beltholder Argenis Mendez (No. 3) – but I doubt those fights will ever happen. So Gamboa is the most talented junior lightweight in the HBO/Top Rank boxing league available to fight Mikey. (And yes, I’m aware that Gamby is promoted by Curtis Jackson, but 50 works well with Arum, and HBO is still high on the Cuban for some reason.)

It’s an interesting matchup. In terms of style it is counter-punching technician vs. dynamic boxer-puncher. Garcia has better technique and fundamentals. Gamboa is the better athlete and he has the experience of his extensive amateur career. I think the Cuban’s hand speed and lateral movement will trouble Garcia. However, Mikey’s timing and power make him a real threat to Gamboa. I favor Garcia, due in part to his greater activity, if the fight is made for the first part of next year.

Donaire did not look “finished” to me. He looked unfocused and, at times, unsure of himself. His hand/foot speed and reflexes seemed a bit slower, too. I don’t think any of that should be a huge surprise given that he was fighting in a new (heavier) weight class, he’s coming off a humbling loss, as well as a new training situation.

Also, Darchinyan isn’t the “shot” has-been too many fans and boxing people considered him coming into Saturday’s fight. Yes, Armenian badass had his share of setbacks following his upset KO loss to Donaire in 2007, but he only took on the best fighters at junior bantamweight and bantamweight (and it was only the absolute cream of the 118-pound division – Joseph Agbeko, Abner Mares, Anselmo Moreno and Shinsuke Yamanaka – who beat him).

All those losses were by decision (and the Mares fight could have easily been a draw or gone his way). Meanwhile, Darch Vader also had his share of notable victories post-Donaire – Dmitry Kirillov and Cristian Mijares (which unified IBF and WBC 115-pound titles), Jorge Arce, Tomas Rojas (who won the WBC 115-pound title and defended it twice after Vic iced him in two rounds), Rodrigo Guerrero (who went on to win the IBF junior bantamweight belt after Darch dominated him over 12 rounds), Yonnhy Perez (at bantamweight) and Luis Del Valle (at junior featherweight). He also held then-top 10 junior bantie contender Z Gorres to a draw (on the Filipino southpaw’s home turf).

Darchinyan is a real fighter, a pro’s pro and a veteran’s veteran. He’s experienced, powerful, fearless, cagey, awkward, and he’s a little bit crazy. Even at 37 years old (which is ancient for natural flyweight), Darchinyan is formidable. I think we were all asking a little too much of Donaire to simply walk in there and wipe his ass with “The Raging Bull.”

I know everyone is closing the book on Donaire because he struggled Saturday night, but I’m not ready to do that. If he had been knocked out or had he lost a decision without showing any sense of urgency during the fight maybe I would go along with Twitter Nation, but Donaire was able to shift gears and make something happen when he needed to late in the fight (which I had even after eight rounds).

I’m willing to give him another camp in Oxnard with both Robert Garcia and his father and another fight before I declare his career to be over.

Going into the HBO Boxing After Dark tripleheader, the fight I was looking forward to the most was the Andrade-Martirosyan bout because it looked like the most even matchup on paper. I favored Andrade via decision but I thought Martirosyan could make it interesting, which he did to an extent but not enough to make the fight entertaining (in my opinion).

Andrade impressed me in that he was confident and effective against a talented and experienced young pro (easily the best fighter he’s faced as a pro). I liked how relaxed he was and I liked the fluid manner in which he let his hands go. However, I thought he could have been a little sharper and focused at times. I thought he slapped and looped his punches a bit too much and I was surprised by how many times he either lost his footing or was knocked off balance.

But apart from the opening round knockdown, I thought he was in command throughout the bout and he clearly outworked Martirosyan. I don’t see how one judge scored it for Martirosyan or how another had it a one point fight. Vanes just didn’t let his hands go enough; nor did he fight like he wanted to beat Andrade beyond a shadow of a doubt.

I don’t want to disrespect Mr. Arum, HBO or any of the fighters on the card, but I didn’t think it was “amazing.” I thought was got a good night of boxing; Garcia was the performer of the night and Donaire-Darchinyan stole the show.

 

B.A.D. THOUGHTS

Mikey Garcia is about a gear and a half from being unstoppable. He took the knockdown from Martinez like a champ (he was obviously surprised) and got up to handle his business. As a genuine fan I can’t say enough about a guy that makes the best of his given abilities and is humble. If only all boxers were that way.

Donaire did exactly as I thought he would do – 2nd to last round stoppage. But damn did he look vulnerable. I’ve been watching telecasts on BoxNation and they were quite adamant that he has been exposed as a one handed fighter. Now I’m not sure that I agree with that 100% but one thing is for sure – he’s gonna have to show more in the future. Nonito has the P4P ability to make it happen and I’m excited to see if he will evolve as time goes on. Losing the way he did against Rigondeaux could have been the end and his post-fight commentary further defined the currently broken Donaire. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a guy take one decent punch and wonder not only if his face is broken but if his career is over. The pirouette followed by being tackled was pretty indicative of this fight and he’s gotta change, fast.

Andrade looked terrible. I’m gonna give him the ‘first real fight jitters’ excuse and let it be. But in the end he looked absolutely terrible in almost all facets for a guy that has Jones Jr. capability.

Living in south Florida I know quite well just how devastating a typhoon/hurricane can be and hope the small island nation can not only deal with the disaster but also rebuild for the future in a way that any further storms can’t affect. 

http://www.redcross.org.ph/ donate a couple bucks, if you’re reading this you can afford it. – Neal, from the only space in the US not forecast to have a terrible winter

I will do that. I will also donate money to the Magomed Abdusalamov and his family and I hope others do as well:

PayPal: 100bbb@mail.ru Or via check, mailed to: Bakanay Abdusalamova, PO BOX 90174, Brooklyn, NY 11209

You really think Andrade looked “terrible”? I thought he looked alright considering it was his first bout under the bright lights of HBO (as you noted) and also by far the most competent pro opponent he’s ever faced. I mean, prior to fighting Martirosyan, who was the best fighters Andrade has been in with? Freddy Hernandez? Grady Brewer?

Did the 2008 U.S. Olympian set the world on fire in those two bouts? No, I don’t believe he did. If my memory serves me right he outpointed them over 10 tedious rounds.

Andrade’s never been “Mr. Excitement” and while he’s clearly gifted, he’s nowhere near the level of raw talent and athleticism that the prime Roy Jones Jr. exhibited.

Having said that, I think he’ll only get better from here on out. He’s got an extensive amateur experience to back up his talent, he’s only 25 and he doesn’t lack confidence. Hopefully, his handlers will seek out quality opponents. That won’t be easy since Andrade’s co-promoters Joe DeGuardia and Artie Pelullo want him to be an HBO fighter while most of the 154-pound division is part of the Showtime/Golden Boy alliance.

Still, there are worthy challengers for the Providence, R.I. native. Former WBO beltholder Zaurbek Baysangurov, who was stripped of the title when he failed to defend it against Andrade in July due to a back injury (or a death in the family depending on who you believe), is one of them. Like Andrade, Baysangurov had an extensive amateur background but the Russian has more pro experience.

There’s also the winner of the Dec. 7 James Kirkland-Glen Tapia fight.

Clearly Donaire’s heart is not 100 percent in boxing, but that’s the case for a lot of fighters – even some of the sport’s so-called “elite.” However, I think people are reading too much into the Darchinyan fight.

Even coming off a loss, Donaire deserved to be a big favorite to repeat his victory over the Armenian-Aussie but I don’t see why everyone expected Nonito to ice him with one punch again. Darchinyan is not the same guy Donaire faced six years ago. Darch fought 16 bouts since the most humiliating loss of his career. He evolved as a boxer. He wasn’t going to fight Donaire like an undefeated flyweight champ that had overwhelmed most of his opposition. He was gonna fight his nemesis like the ultra-experienced veteran that he is.

Darchinyan is headstrong and doesn’t have a polished style but he isn’t dumb. He fought smart against Donaire on Saturday and if Rigondeaux “exposed” anything earlier this year it’s that the Filipino Flash isn’t the fastest draw in the West when it comes to thinking on his feet.

Still, he found a way to win. So he’s still in the game as far as I’m concerned. Can he beat Rigondeaux? Probably not. Is he still a pound-for-pound level boxer? I don’t care. Can he be a player at 126 pounds? I think so. I’m not saying he’ll be a “world beater” at featherweight (he won’t) but I think he can make for interesting fights against WBA “regular” beltholder Nicholas Walters, who improved to 23-0 with 19 KOs on the undercard of Saturday’s show in Texas (and Arum told Lem Satterfield on Sunday that he’d like to make that fight), and seasoned veterans like Hozumi Hasegawa and Orlando Salido.

Garcia’s going to dominate everyone he fights until he’s matched with a quick and mobile boxer with equal intelligence that can either match his power or box a disciplined stick-and-move strategy. There aren’t many junior lightweights out there who match that description. Uchiyama, Mendez and Gamboa are the only three that come close.

 

FROCH VS. GROVES

Hi Doug,

One of your (many) readers from the UK here!

The closer we get to Carl Froch-Geroge Groves the more I’m starting to believe young George can pull off the upset. Groves has made some valid points about how Froch has always struggled with slick, fast boxers such as Jermain Taylor, Andre Dirrell and, of course, Andre Ward. Now, Groves isn’t in the Ward class but I believe he’s a got the style, technique and the tactical boxing brain to cause Froch the same problems as Dirrell and Taylor did.

Plus did you see the recent Ringside TV interviews with the pair on British TV? Many fight fans over here have turned against Groves due to his childish, provocative attitude BUT for the first time in his career the usually cock sure Froch looks genuinely rattled! Groves was like an annoying little weasel nipping and aggravating Froch at every opportunity. Towards the end of the show Froch looked dazed, exhausted and could barely string a sentence together. At one point he even turned to his promoter and asked “What’s going on?” It certainly made for intriguing TV and I hope the actual fight is as entertaining! – Mark

One must admire Groves’ pesky attitude and adamant confidence going into the biggest fight of his life. He makes a good point about having earned his shot at Froch (by being the Nottingham Sheriff’s sanctioning body mandatory). You make a good point about the 25-year-old boxer’s personality being one that gets under Froch’s skin and about Groves’ style being a difficult one for “The Cobra.”

I think Groves, who has a lot of pro experience for someone with only 19 fights, is “live dog” (as we like to say here in the States). I don’t think Groves is totally inFroch’s head in a way that will affect the veteran’s performance on Nov. 23 but I do think the young challenger’s steadfast self-belief  has earned a degree of respect from the older titleholder.

Groves will probably earn more respect on fight night. He’s almost as tall and rangy as Froch and he’s got quicker hands and reflexes. The London native also possesses an educated jab, good footwork, decent head and upper-body movement and he mixes his punches up well.

Froch is in for a fight, but I think he knows that and he’s prepared for it – mentally and physically. You’re correct that Froch was troubled by the speed and movement of Taylor, Dirrell and Ward but he also learned and evolved as a fighter by going 36 rounds with those American standouts. I think he’ll use that experience to figure out a way to get to Groves and test the young man’s mettle in ways that the faded Glen Johnson and 10-0 James DeGale weren’t able to.

Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this matchup. I’m looking forward to it as much (perhaps more so than) that “other” Nov. 23 showdown.

And for those who haven’t seen the Froch-Groves interview on Ringside, check it out. It’s less produced (in a good way) and way more comprehensive than HBO’s Face Off series.

 

BOXING PURISTS VS. BLOOD THIRSTY GHOULS

Hey Dougie,

I’m a first time writer so I hope I can make it in the bag but I’d simply be happy if you just gave me a simple response. I don’t think it should be this much bickering over boxing vs slugging.

I consider myself a boxing purist but I think the best matches are the bull vs. matador type of fights Ali-Frazier, Mayweather-Castillo, Leonard-Duran, etc. It has to be room in the sport for both because while I love a KO, I hate sloppy boxing and guys that aren’t tactical.

S__t some of my favorite fights have seen the puncher box and the boxer stalk think Leonard-Hearns or Mosley-Cotto. Really, Pernell Whitaker was a monster if he was behind on the cards he was going for a KO! I love Floyd but I understand why some other fans may not. But watch tapes of him in his days fighting at 130, 135 or even when he destroyed Arturo Gatti, he’s a small guy that’s NEVER behind in scores so why do the John David Jackson and get KTFO (your words) unnecessarily? We shouldn’t have to have these debates weekly because no one has to watch a fighter they consider boring or unskilled. 

In closing I just want to say that if a fighter manages to be the best in their own era I think they have to be mentioned among All Time Greats because they stood the test of time. Bernard Hopkins, Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez will all eventually be mentioned the way we talk about the heavies of the 70′s and the big 4 of the 80′s.

That doesn’t mean that one set is better than the others but for some people who weren’t old enough to see what you have, this will be a golden age of boxing.  Sorry for rambling but 2 mythical matches because they are fun. Marvin Hagler-Emile Griffith and Joe Louis-Evander Holyfield who wins and why? Thanks. – The Almighty Kell

Those are good mythical matchups. Louis-Holyfield is a hell of a fight on paper. Even though Holyfield took on giants who would have dwarfed Louis during his heavyweight title reigns, I think the cruiserweight version of The Real Deal would have had the best chance of beating The Brown Bomber. That’s because Holyfield was a more disciplined and mobile boxer at 190 pounds than he was at heavyweight, where he had a tendency to stay in the pocket and exchanges punches. Both Holyfield and Louis were superb combination punchers and underrated counter punchers. Louis, however, had the sharper technique, better accuracy and much harder punches. Sooner or later the heavyweight version of Holyfield would get into an exchange that enables Louis to land the perfect hook, cross or uppercut that separates him from his senses. Holyfield wouldn’t go down easy but Louis is arguably the greatest finisher in heavyweight history.

The funny thing about the Griffith-Hagler fight is that it could have happened in 1976 or ’77, just before Emile retired and just when a young Marvin was beginning to crack the middleweight rankings. I think Hagler would have won handily had that happened. The prime middleweight version of Griffith who won the world title from Dick Tiger and lost and regained it from Nino Benvenuti in ’66 and ’67 is different story.

Hagler was the natural middleweight (Griffith fought at welterweight during the first eight years of his career) and the harder puncher but the two were equal in physical strength and both were gifted with all-time great chins. This would be a distance fight and I think Griffith would outpoint Hagler in a 15-round bout (the proper championship distance for two great fighters). Hagler had tighter technique but he was also methodical and a bit of a plodder. Griffith had more dimension and ring savvy to his game. He had excellent speed, reflexes, timing, footwork, head movement, feints, all the finer points of boxing – everything but a KO punch. He would beat Hagler to the punch from the outside but also trade on even terms with him in close en route to a close but deserved UD.

I disagree that fighters recognized as the best of their respective eras should automatically be mentioned among the all-time greats of the sport. There are no more than 20, maybe 30, ATGs as far as I’m concerned. But that’s my opinion. I’m sure you’re correct that most boxing fans will recognize the fighters you mentioned as the best of the best 20-30 years from now.

I don’t understand the current divide among hardcore fans, but it seems like people have more of a desire to take hard-line stances or sides with any issue these days. Maybe social media has something to do with that. Everybody has a platform to spout their opinions so many do so and a good number of those who enjoy “spouting” also enjoy “spitting” on other people’s opinions (if those opinions differ from theirs). The divide could also be a reflection of an increasingly divided sport/industry.

And some fans could be taking cues from their favorite fighters. Bernard Hopkins and Andre Ward have been quite vocal about what they perceive to be a lack of respect for technical boxers and a lack of appreciation for the Sweet Science from the media, networks and from fans. (Part of me understands their frustration, because sluggers and slugfests are indeed celebrated, but the other part wonders why guys who make way more money than any “slugger” and who are usually the in the main event of HBO- or Showtime-televised shows have such big chips on their shoulders, but that’s probably a discussion for another time.)

I consider myself a purist and a ghoul. I love a good scrap but I don’t like pure carnage. I appreciate a pure boxer like Ivan Calderon or Hopkins but I generally don’t enjoy watching them work their craft for 12 rounds unless they are in with a competent but aggressive opponent. Two counter punchers or defensive wizards or pure technicians matched together is not my cup of tea.

Like you, I enjoy a good mix of styles in the ring (and I also like it when fighters changes their spots as Tim Bradley did vs. Ruslan Provodnikov or as Mike Alravrdo did for his rematch with Brandon Rios). I like to see boxers vs. pressure fighters (as we got with Erislandy Lara and Alfredo Angulo) or boxers vs. punchers (as we had with Mikey Bey and John Molina). I generally have more anticipation for a presser fighter-puncher matchup (like GGG vs. Curtis Stevens), or showdowns involving two punchers or pressure fighters because those fights usually have more action/drama, but I’m not totally against boxer-boxer matchups. If Anselmo Moreno was matched with Shinsuke Yamanaka for 118-pound supremacy I’d be extremely excited about that fight. Both boxers are smart and savvy with excellent footwork but they also take risks. Moreno is busy and he’ll attack the body, while Yamanaka is a sharp shooter with power. On the flipside, if a Rigondeaux-Chris John fight was made, I wouldn’t be that interested in the matchup even though it involves the best 122 pounder and arguably best 126 pounder. That’s because Rigo is a counter puncher and John is a stick and move specialist. The fight might look like Rigo’s 12-round snoozer with Ricardo Cordoba.

Now, some folks would say that I’m “hating” on Rigo, or that I just can’t appreciate his style or craft, but if he was matched with Leo Santa Cruz or Carl Frampton, I’d buy a ticket to watch him defend his RING title against those pressure fighters.

Two of my favorite fighters, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez and Gennady Golovkin, are punchers who have solid fundamentals, good technique and pressure-fighting styles. They aren’t “sluggers,” they’re aggressive and they can punch, but they can also think.

Having said that, I’m always going to have love for unapologetic sluggers like Giovani Segura, who doesn’t do a lot of thinking in the ring. Yet I’m still awed by his fighting spirit.

I think there are enough styles and potential good matchups between various schools of boxing to keep everyone interested and happy without taking sides.

Anyway, thanks for finally writing me and setting me off on this long-winded ramble. Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts again.

 

 

Photos / Chris Farina-Top Rank, Alex Livesey-Getty Images, THE RING

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

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