Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

WHERE DO I BEGIN?

So much to say and so little page space! A lot has happened since I last wrote, and I’ll try and stick to the most recent boxing news.

1) James Kirkland is a monster. He gets tagged quite a bit but wow, when he’s focused the guy just simply refuses to lose. Good for him. I love seeing fights like Glen Tapia vs. Kirkland. Hope to see more of Kirkland in the near future. Do you think he makes more noise at 154 or even 160? How do you think he’d fair against the best of these two weight classes?

2) Adrien Broner vs. Marcos Maidana is coming up and I’m curious to see how Broner reacts to Maidana’s power. If I had to guess, I’d say he’s going to blow Maidana outta the ring on Saturday. But hey, that’s just my opinion. I think Broner eats up guys like him. Sure Broner’s a slow starter but once he gets your timing down, it turns into hook city. And if Broner is finally settled in at 147, then lookout welterweights, he could do some serious damage! My official pick is Broner by KO or 12-round beat down. I hope I’m wrong and we see a good scrap!! Thoughts?

3) This is probably the millionth time you’ve heard this but here it goes anyways. If Floyd Mayweather vs. Amir Khan happens I swear I will never buy another Mayweather PPV again until he fights a SERIOUS threat to his “0.” Mayweather claims to be the boss right? He claims to have no boss and that he calls all the shots. Well that couldn’t be more true now that he has that insane contract with Showtime. My question is, if he is indeed the boss, and he does indeed call the shots, why hasn’t he moved up in weight to seek true challenges? There is NOBODY between 140-154 lbs. that gives Mayweather a run for his money besides Manny Pacquiao. But that fight will NEVER be what it should have been.

We were robbed of one of the true SUPERFIGHTS of our generation and I will never forgive either fighter for not making it happen when it should have. (LOL, as if they care about my feelings)

If one wants to be considered great, you have to CHALLENGE yourself. Not play it safe and fight good but limited fighters while collecting paydays. I’m all for getting paid and I think every fighter who steps in the ring deserves to be compensated, but talent like his hardly ever comes around. And it’s a complete waste in my opinion.

I even wrote you that Canelo vs. Mayweather didn’t get me all that excited to begin with. I just didn’t see the big deal. It’s going to take someone with speed, some decent pop, and good boxing IQ to beat this guy. Canelo is a good fighter and I like watching him fight (not saying he’s garbage). I also think Money missed his window. He ducked Paul Williams, Margarito, Pacquiao, Martinez and even Mosley. He could’ve fought all of these fighters while they were in their primes or close enough to their primes and probably would’ve beat them all (with the exception of Pacquiao, I think Pac man would have eaten up Money in his prime)

Sorry for the rant but this madness has got to stop. Khan vs Mayweather would be a joke of a fight and the fans should be sick to their stomachs if it gets made. Peace. – PB, Houston, TX

Thanks for sharing your thoughts (and your Floyd rant). I’m not going to get into Mayweather-Khan because it hasn’t been made and there’s too much going on currently to discuss the merits of a fight that “might” happen 5½ months from now.

I’ll respond to your statements in order:

1) Kirkland is indeed a monster, and Ann Wolfe is his Dr. Frankenstein. I picked him to overwhelm Tapia solely on the news that he had reunited with Wolfe. The combination of those two badasses results in the best pressure-fighting volume puncher since the prime version of Antonio Margarito. However, Kirkland presses with more speed and intensity than the Tijuana Tornado, plus sharper form. If Kirkland had the prime Margarito’s chin, he’d be unstoppable – and I mean that, because his conditioning and warrior spirit are second to none. Despite his susceptibility to being hurt in the early rounds of his fights, his combination of relentless pressure, inhuman physical shape and evil intentions is enough to seriously threaten any of top 154 pounders (and, yes, that includes Floyd). He might not be big enough to seriously threaten the top middleweights, such as Maravilla, GGG, Kid Chocolate and Felix Sturm, but he’d still be a handful and I’d still love to see those fights.

2) I think The Porn Star has this fight in the bag. I don’t think it will be a walk in the park for Broner because Maidana is an experienced and determined slugger, but I believe the “Sin”-cinnati Kid’s speed, accuracy, power and footwork will be more than enough to keep Maidana off balance and unsure of himself. Lex Steele Jr. by unanimous decision.

3) Like I said earlier, I’ll cross the Mayweather-Khan bridge when that fight is officially announced. I agree 100 percent that fighters – especially those of the modern era – must challenge themselves if they wish to one day be considered great. Most of the fighters that I consider great fought between the 1930s-60s, and it’s hard for the top dogs of recent decades – even supremely talented ones – to equal the accomplishments of those old timers who fought when there was only one world championship, eight-to-10 weight classes, and the stars of the sport often fought more than 100 bouts before calling it a career. Still, even in the era of fractured world titles, 17 divisions, and careers that rarely exceed 50 bouts, greatness can be achieved if the most talented and decorated fighters face each other when they are in their primes (and both considered to be on top of the sport). This is what Joe Frazier (who only had 37 pro bouts) did when he faced Muhammad Ali. This is what Sugar Ray Leonard (who had a total of 40 pro fights) did when he faced Thomas Hearns (after facing Wilfredo Benitez and Roberto Duran). This is what Salvador Sanchez (who had 46 bouts) did when he faced Wilfredo Gomez (who fought 48 times). This is what Pernell Whitaker (who had 46 bouts) did when he faced Julio Cesar Chavez. Mayweather and Pacquiao had a two-year window (2010-2011) to get it done and they blew it.

 

QUICK JABS

1- Adonis Stevenson not being considered for the fighter of the year is complete nonsense. Not only did he beat better boxers than GGG and Sergey Kovalev, he did it after moving up in weight. Knocking out Chad Dawson the way he did… avenging his only loss… playing with Tavoris Cloud the way he did… Plus knocking out his mandatory challenger (Tony Bellew)… I mean, what else could he have done this year? Nonsense.

2- Sakio Bika should consider himself lucky to still be champion today. Anthony Dirrell won the fight IMO. He kept catching Bika coming in with clean shots… I get that Bika was more active but I thought Dirrell was way more effective and in complete control of the fight. Now add the knockdown and the point taken off… How the hell can you come up with 114-112 Bika? Dirrell won more rounds than that…

3- Apparently, Andre Dirrell isn’t dead.

Keep up the good work Doug. – Frank Boileau, Montreal

Thanks Frank. I’ll respond to your points in order:

1) I agree that it’s silly for the Boxing Writers Association of America not to have included Adonis Stevenson among its 2013 Fighter of the Year candidates. Most boxing media and fans – myself included – think Superman is the front-runner of a packed field this year. For what it’s worth, Stevenson is my choice for Fighter of the Year. We’ll see if THE RING’s editorial board and ratings panel agree with me.

2) First, allow me to state that I picked Dirrell to edge Bika in a close decision and I thought he won the fight by a point or two. However, it wasn’t “luck” that allowed Bika to hold onto his WBC strap, it was Dirrell, who took his foot off the gas pedal after he floored the rugged veteran. It wasn’t “luck” that allowed Bika to out-jab the younger, faster, rangier and more talented challenger. It was Dirrell, who failed to work his own jab over the second half of the fight. It was Dirrell who kept going to the ropes. It was Dirrell who got off in spots rather than work three minutes of every round. I didn’t have a problem with the draw verdict. I thought the first three rounds could have gone either way and Bika swept the late rounds. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not mad at Dirrell. I was impressed with his effort. He was in against a brute, one of the hardest, roughest 168-pound contenders of the last 20 years. He had never fought past eight rounds before last Saturday. The first time Dirrell fought eight rounds was just this past May when gatekeeper Don Mouton gave him hell in a close fight. I thought he made a quantum leap by going 12 with Bika and I think he’ll be a better boxer and fighter because of the experience. 

3) I’m glad Andre Dirrell is alive and well. I’m just wondering if he’ll ever get his promotional situation in order and fight more than once every other year.

 

THE FIGHT ZONE

Douglas:

Man, that was quite the fight-zone this past Saturday. It sure had a bit of everything. From one brutal beatdown (Kirkland-Tapia) to one unexpected, sudden knockout (Sturm-Barker) to the possible Upset Of the Year (Porter-Alexander), to uneventful stinkers (Maliginaggi-Judah, Rigondeaux-Apbeko).

I passed on the Showtime card and watched the HBO fights instead considering that HBO is part of my cable package while I would have had to pay extra for Maliginaggi-Judah. (No friggin’ way!)

Okay so the Rigo vs. King Kong “fight” was uneventful. As far as I’m concerned it’s time to gong the Kong. He’s seen better fighting days. As for Rigo it’s completely clear that HBO should have stuck to its decision to forget about putting this guy on the air. He just does enough to tip-toe his way to victory and that’s it.

On the other hand James Kirkland and Glen Tapia certainly saved the show. The way Kirkland withstood Tapia’s early-round onslaught prior to pounding him senseless was so similar to what he did to Angulo. Kind of scary in a way.

Speaking of which, now that James has the scariest manager back in his corner I think it’s relatively clear that he’s finally got his s__t together and I would sure like to see this raw powerful fighter in the ring a little more often. Wasn’t Kirkland going to challenge Saul Alvarez at one point? Any chance of that one ever happening even though Canelo is a Show-guy? And what about Eris Lara? I know the Cuban isn’t always all that thrilling to watch but if a burnt-out Angulo can give him some serious hell I’m sure Kirkland can do the same.

Moving onto next week’s fight-zone, I know that Maidana-Broner is the big one to watch. Broner looked like s__t against Paulie but while he’s a real jerk I doubt he’ll be stupid enough to go toe-to-toe with a monster like Maidana. With his speed and combos Broner certainly has the tools to out-box Maidana. But on the other hand, Maidana’s like Rocky Marciano in some ways. You can box his ears off for ten rounds and even bust him up and knock him down a few times and he’ll still keep coming after you. And if he brings his hammer-hard right-hand on you then you’re f___ed. Doesn’t get any more straight forward or more in your face then that!

As for Thurman-Soto Karass, I stated that Karass is more than some gate-keeper and you stated otherwise. Fair enough. Up until last year I never even watched the guy. But he did nearly beat Maidana and punched out Andre Berto in one of the year’s best brawls. He’s certainly come on really strong the past 15 months.

Thurmo already knocked off a couple gate-keepers himself but he certainly has his detractors who regard him as another hype-job. I myself think he’s the truth but this fight should show us where they both stand. See you soon! – Dave

I also think Thurman is for real. I favor him to beat Soto Karass but I’m expecting that fight to one of the best on Showtime’s quadrupleheader this Saturday and maybe even steal the show. I say this because I know that the Mexican slugger has had an excellent camp.

I maintain that Soto Karass is a gatekeeper, but I don’t consider the term “gatekeeper” to be a negative description of a fighter. It simply means that he’s an experienced veteran who falls just short of a top 10-15 ranking, but is the kind of tough S.O.B. that exposes overhyped prospects and overrated contenders. Yes, JSK has had a very good 2013, beating Selcuk Aydin and Berto, but nobody considers those two to be top-10 welterweights anymore. Maidana, who stopped Soto Karass in a terrific slugfest last September, is considered a contender (THE RING’s No. 10-rated welterweight). That’s why he’s challenging Broner for a major title in the main event on Saturday.

I don’t completely count Maidana out against Broner because his balance, technique and conditioning have definitely improved under Robert Garcia’s guidance. However, I can’t the image of “Chino” hitting the deck in fights against Victor Ortiz, Amir Khan and Josesito Lopez out of my mind, and I’ll never forget how a faded half-blind Erik Morales almost beat him.

I can see Young Mr. Marcus dropping a game-but-outclassed Maidana once or twice en route to a decision victory.

I’d love to see Lara vs. Kirkland. I agree that if Angulo took the Cuban to hell, Kirkland has the pressure, volume, power and maniacal pace to incinerate the Cuban lefty. However Kirkland’s shaky chin and reckless nature would give Lara opportunities to score his own KO, especially in the first two or three rounds. Sadly, I think the HBO/Showtime divide and Kirkland’s split with Golden Boy Promotions will prevent showdowns with Lara or Canelo. Yes, Kirkland was offered a shot at Alvarez, then the WBC titleholder, last September. Kirkland accepted and then backed out, balking at the money. He’s not the sharpest tool in the shed but he’ll take most junior middleweights to the woodshed (see what I did there?).

I’m sure HBO wants Kirkland back as soon as possible after putting on another savage thriller. That means we’ll probably see him take on one of the junior middleweight or middleweight standouts who also fight on the network (Golovkin, Andrade) in 2014.

Kirkland-Tapia was as good as a slugfest gets for three rounds, and then it turned into a horrendous beatdown. I thought – along with at least 100 other boxing fans who were Tweeting during the fight – Tapia was done after the fourth round. The fifth round was hard to watch. The 38 seconds of the sixth round was hard to stomach. Tapia’s corner, the ringside physician and referee Steve Smoger let the young man down. I just hope he’s able to bounce back – physically and psychologically – because he’s got talent, toughness and more heart than most.

I didn’t enjoy Rigo-Agbeko at all. Sorry, I’m not that kind of purist. I’m not against savvy boxers or defensively responsible technicians but they have to be matched with equal talent and they need to take some risks (see Marco Antonio Barrera vs. Juan Manuel Marquez for a perfect example of this) in order to be entertaining to me.

Having said that, I’ll be happy to watch Rigo or Agbeko fight again provided they’re matched right. I’d look forward to Agbeko challenging Leo Santa Cruz. I’d be hyped about Rigo defending his RING title against Carl Frampton.

Last weekend was indeed a busy. This weekend will be, too. The Fight Zone continues.

 

A MIXED BAG FOR THE MAILBAG

How’s it going Dougie, wanted to share my thoughts on some of the weekend fights.

- I don’t think you can’t hit Rigondeaux with confetti! Poor Joseph Agbeko couldn’t figure out a way anyway. The man’s an incredible defensive master. If he is to stop at Junior Featherweight, who do you want to see him in with next? The Lomachenko fight probably won’t happen for a while (and will probably need Rigo to move up), it might be fun to watch Leo Santa Cruz try and find a way but with him promoted by Golden Boy we can forget that. A guy I’d like to see is WBC Bantamweight Champion Shinsuke Yamanaka if Yamanaka is willing to travel (and hell if HBO don’t want to broadcast Rigo again after another drama free fight, Rigondeaux could even go to Japan). I wouldn’t pick Yamanaka to win but out of the talents at 122 and 118, but I give him the best chance of hitting a one hit quitter or have Rigo on Queer street.

- Erislandy Lara was impressive in his snooze fest win over Austin Trout, but the pattern of the fight was obvious from the 2nd round. Trout was trying to outbox someone who is a better boxer than him and doesn’t have much in the way of a Plan B when it comes to offense, so I’m not jumping on the bandwagon like he beat Mayweather, Alvarez, GGG with ease- not that casual fans will be wanting to watch Lara (or Trout) anytime soon either. Last week you had a Savage Super Six, how about a snooze fest Super Six at 154- Lara, Trout, Carlos Molina, Ishe Smith, Demetrius Andrade and Floyd Mayweather? Does that tickle your fancy? It makes me thankful Kirkland is back in the mix for sure!

- What a fool Anthony Dirrell proved to be. He had Bika on Queer Street and let him off the hook in the next round by staying against the ropes. His constant moaning to ref was doing my head. I really hope the judge who scored it a draw, was going to award Dirrell the 12th until his cowardly and cocksure victory lap in the last 15 seconds.

- Simpiwe Vetyka and Old Father Time teamed to take Chris John’s undefeated record after the dreaded 48th (hey, if Mayweather reaches 48, Mayweather Promotions can talk about the curse of it for his 49th fight against Gavin Rees to help build him as a ‘young hungry lion’). Shame for Chris John but he’s had a magnificent career which didn’t involve just ‘fighting bums’ in Asia as some say. Oh, and people who say he got a robbery over Marquez have either a) not watched the fight and jumped on the bandwagon, or b) the same people who say Bradley’s win over Marquez was a robbery. What do you think of his chances of being inducted into the Hall of Fame are?

- Flyweight Champ Akira Yaegashi’s win over Edgar Sosa lived up to the billing. So many potential good fights at Flyweight for him too- an Ioka rematch, Juan Francisco Estrada, Roman Gonzalez, Giovanni Segura, Brian Viloria, Morthui Mthlane, etc This is the division we need a tournament in. When I started writing this I was going to ask who you want to see the Champ in with next, but I’m sure the answer is any of them. Even WBC number 1 Luis Concepcion is a fun fight. – Sam, Lancashire.

I’ve said it before and I’m going to keep saying it: the 112-pound division is the deepest weight class in boxing. The top 10 flyweights are on average the most talented, complete and experienced boxers in the sport. I was thrilled to hear that Roman Gonzalez was officially campaigning as a flyweight this year. Once Kauto Ioka, who still fights at 108 pounds, joins him (hopefully sometime in 2014), flyweight will become my favorite division. What I love about the division now is that it’s so competitive. Any of the top dogs can lose to the other on a given night.

I think John’s name will eventually make it onto the International Boxing Hall of Fame ballot but I doubt he’ll ever get enough votes to make it in. Too many American boxing writers hate on him. They say he was protected, the beneficiary of bogus decisions and that he never wanted to leave his home country – all of which is bulls__t, but it’s what they want to believe. I don’t think John handled Marquez as well as Bradley just did, but I don’t think the 2006 decision in the Indonesian’s favor was a robbery (and even though he had home-turf advantage, we gotta give him props for troubling the prime featherweight version of JMM). I didn’t think his draw with Rocky Juarez in the U.S. Olympian’s hometown of Houston was a robbery (in favor of the American), either. John never “wowed” me with his talent and skill but I was impressed with how effective he was employing classic stand-up stick-and-move boxing against a wide variety of styles. And, of course, I was impressed with his longevity and willingness to travel out of his home country (unlike most American stars). I enjoyed covering his two fights in America – the back to back defenses against Juarez in 2009 – and interviewing him before their rematch in Las Vegas. You won’t meet a more honest and humble human being.

I wouldn’t call Dirrell a fool (especially to his face, “the Dog” looks a little bit crazy and mite bite). I would just call him inexperienced. That was his first big dance. He didn’t box the perfect fight, but I’m sure he’ll learn from the experience. I agree that his complaining to the ref got a little annoying but I also understand that he was in the ring with one of the most physically demanding fighters in the sport. Bika’s so rough, rugged and raw that he was able to stress out super-elite boxers like Joe Calzaghe and Andre Ward at times.

Your 154-pound Snoozer Super Six does not tickle my fancy. (Nothing “tickles my fancy,” come to think of it. I don’t even like writing that phrase.) But I’m sure there are more than a few members of the Cult of Rigo who started salivating at your mention of all those junior middleweight boxer-technicians.

Speaking of Rigondeaux, the fighter I want to see challenge him is Carl Frampton once the Belfast star gets to about 21-0 or 22-0. He’s not quite ready for someone as mature and talented as Rigo but I think he’s got the style and the mentality to make for an interesting fight. Frampton is quick on his feet as he applies smart pressure with some in-and-out movement mixed in, and when he’s in range he lets go with fast combos to the head and body. I’m not saying “The Jackal” would beat “El Chacal,” I’m just saying Frampton would make it a fight worth watching however long it lasted. I’m a fan of Yamanaka and his sharp-shooting but I doubt he’ll be stepping up to 122 pounds any time soon and if he did, I don’t see him challenging Rigo.

 

FELIX STURM

Hello Doug,
Second time writing you. Maybe this one gets me in. Anyway, last Saturday night I flipped on the Felix Sturm night. It had me thinking: okay, Sturm can’t punch. Box like hell if inspired but against Darren Barker? Gonna be a long night. See what happens, if it’s boring I will sleep soon enough. But then it happened. Sturm went on the attack en started throwing bombs! Barker was there fighting back. All over in the second! It had me wondering Doug. Could Sturm be the upset-man to Golovkin? Can he be Simon Brown against Terry Norris? Is Felix’s Esteban DeJesus for Gennady’s Roberto Duran? What you think?

Along with that I wanted to update you on my favorite fighters through the years who will never make the hall of fame but should be conserved in history: Harold Brazier, the working man who could fight! Doug de Witt, what guts! Vinny Pazienza, completely nuts with such courage! Axel Schulz, most likeable but unlikely athlete!

Keep up your great work and keep on pissing people off every now and then. – Bart Plaatje from Holland

I will, Bart. That’s a promise.

Everyone you mentioned is also among my favorite 1980s/90s fighters… well, except for Schulz.

I was also surprised by Sturm’s aggression and quick stoppage victory. I favored him to win the bout but I figured it would be another close distance fight for the Germany based veteran. I’m happy for The Sturminator, who always seems to rebound from his setbacks.

I watched the fight live and I thought Sturm looked better than ever for two rounds, but do I think he can be a spoiler for GGG? Hell no. I think Sturm can beat many top middleweight contenders and I’d favor him over former titleholder and nemesis Daniel Geale and WBO beltholder Peter Quillin. I’d even give him a good shot at upsetting RING/WBC champ Sergio Martinez, but I give him no chance of taking Golovkin’s WBA title. Why?

It’s Sturm’s style and habits. Although he has a good jab and he can employ decent lateral movement when he has to, he’s far more comfortable standing in front of his opponents. That’s not what you want to do against GGG. Also, Sturm’s primary defense is to cover up. That’s a bad thing to do against GGG. And the four-time beltholder goes to the ropes a lot. That’s just asking to be cut in half when you’re in the ring with GGG. I think Golovkin would look sensational against Sturm, who was smart enough to avoid him like the plague during his third title reign.

 

 

Email Fischer at dougie@boxingmailbag.com. Follow him on Twitter @dougiefischer.

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