Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Merry Monday mailbag

A DIFFERENT KIND OF MYTHICAL MATCHUP

Hey Doug,

I’ll keep it brief – mythical match up of a slightly different kind:

If you were to have a pro-fight, who would you want in your corner, past or present, living or dead, and why? 

Cheers. – Matt, London, UK

Awesome question, Matt; I’ll give it a try.

I’d want to be trained by two late, great trainers – one of them accomplished and known (particularly in Latin America), and the other not-so-accomplished and not-so well known, but both equally brilliant – Amilcar Brusa and Don Familton.

I had the honor of getting to know both men, who trained fighters in the Southern California area until they were well into their 70s and 80s. (For a brief period in the mid-2000s both were training at the now-defunct La Brea Boxing Academy in Los Angeles, where I know for a fact the Klitschko Brothers picked up some of the finer points of boxing just by observing the old masters teach the craft.)

Both old masters had a knack for getting the most out of their fighters. They didn’t have to have a blue chip amateur boxer or an elite athlete in order to develop a successful prize fighter. They could work with modest talents (which is a necessity for Yours Truly).

Brusa, who made Carlos Monzon and coached 15 other world titleholders, never over-trained his fighters. All of his fighters were hitting their absolute peaks the moment they stepped into the ring. Coach Familton was a master of technique and strategy. I’m not tough, strong or game enough to fight like a wild man. If I boxed, I’d need all of the classic fundamentals and finesse that I could possibly learn. Familton was a great teacher.

Once it was fight time, however, I’d want Joe Goossen as my main man in the corner. I think Goossen is an underrated trainer and definitely one of the best motivators of the past 30 years. He knows how to communicate with his fighters when the going gets tough and he’s often able to jockey them to push beyond their limits. I’ve always gotten along well with Joe and I think he would be able to keep me focused and upbeat but also make the mood light when need be (I don’t like things to get too serious).

 

MAD-CHESTER FIGHT FANS

Hey Dougie!

Big time fight fan from over here in Manchester. I’m a late entry but after not making the cut a few times hope I feature! I’ve just watched the Marcos Maidana vs. Adrien Broner fight online, and though it was a great win for Chino. Am I the only person to spot a few obvious points:

1) Yes Maidana cut of the ring better than he has before, but he was still crude running in. The reason he had success is because baby brother planted his feet and thought he could sway his head to avoid the shots…..he was wrong!

2) Maidana connected with some really clean shots, yet didn’t get The Problem out of there……either he has exceptional heart supported by a great chin, or Chino doesn’t bang like they say he does?!

3) I’m no Amir Khan nuthugger but it’s clear to me that he schooled Chino way more than Broner, yet people are still talking about The Problem as a potential P4P King. I’m not saying Khan is either, but it just shows the power of the promotional machine……a questionable loss to Peterson and a KO loss to Garcia from a shot that would have stopped the Hulk in his tracks doesn’t make him a bad fighter, yet people are hating him for the Mayweather fight?! (I know you see some value in that Dougie so no bad to you!)

4) Khan deserves a shot at Maidana at Welterweight?!

Hope my points make sense to you. They sure do when I’m writing them from here in fight city Mad-Chester……you need to take a vacation for the next big fight and see what it’s all about……if you thought Hatton in Vegas was good, this will blow your mind. Think Eubank vs. Benn, Calzage vs. Lacy, Froch vs. Groves. It’s the only city that can fill an 80,000 seat soccer stadium for any of our best fighters and still do great PPV numbers……come on Floyd, the UK is waiting! Peace out big man! – Paul, Manchester

Thanks for writing, Paul. One day I will make it to your city to cover, broadcast or just watch (as a fan) a megafight. That’s one of my ultimate goals in boxing.

I’ve said it before and I’m happy to repeat it – Mayweather vs. Khan would make sense (as a major boxing event) if it took place in Britain, and the sports-crazy city Manchester would be an excellent host.

I’ll respond to your obvious points in order:

1) Maidana’s technique (his footwork in particular) was crude as he waded in with his winging cluster bombs, but there was some craft to his forward march as he successfully utilized feints and jabs to help him close the distance. (I also think his awkwardness helped him land punches, especially his right hand, when he was in range. If he had an arrow-straight right hand, I think Broner would have been able to plant his feet and block or lean away from that shot.)

2) I think Broner has a very good – not great – chin. I think Maidana has very good – not great – power. Chino is heavy handed clubber. He’s not Tommy Hearns at 147.

3) Khan’s chin isn’t as good as Broner’s but his speed and power is equal to or better than The Problem’s and his overall style is better suited to beat Maidana because he’s more mobile. I don’t think he “schooled” Maidana, but he deserved the razor-thin victory that was awarded to him, and that win looks very good now.

4) I think there are welterweights who are more deserving of a shot at Maidana’s WBA belt than Khan, but I’d like to see those two rematch if Khan can get a significant victory under his belt (or if he can merely give Mayweather a good fight should he get that May assignment).

 

UNIFIED CHAMPS

Dougie Fresh!

What’s happening? Hope you take some time off to enjoy your family over the holidays. Just a little note. In Monday’s mailbag you were naming some undisputed champs and you forgot to mention one of my favorites, Donald The Lone Star Cobra Curry. Back in early 1983 he won the vacant WBA strap by beating the tough Jun Sok-Hwang. He then was awarded the new at the time IBF world championship and achieved the trifecta when he blitzed the Iceman from the Kronk, Milton McCrory in late 1985. If you’ve ever seen the clip on YouTube it is one of the coldest left hooks ever. McCrory hit the canvas like he had been hit with a bat. In today’s era, to be a world champion for close to four years is quite an accomplishment let alone unifying two or three world championships

Too bad for Curry. He was an amateur star with a record of about 400-4 I believe, made the Olympic team in 1980 but then we boycotted those games in Moscow.  He could have been an even bigger star but his career wasn’t what it could have been. He won another championship at 154 when he destroyed Gianfranco Rosi in 1988 but after that he was pretty much fizzled out but man, in the early to mid 80s he had all the tools. Speed, power, defense, ring generalship, great jab and combinations….. he was one of those poor saps that changed managers and things went downhill from there.

He beat some very good fighters. Marlon Starling (twice), Nino LaRocca, Colin Jones, McCrory, James Hard Rock Green, Roger Stafford, Rosi, Carlos Santos. 

With better management he could have had a longer and better career. Came along right after Sugar Ray Leonard “retired” the first time but didn’t do enough to become “great.” He will most likely never make the Hall of Fame which I think is a shame when you have guys like Barry McGuigan in there and Pipino Cuevas, Daniel Zaragoza? But anyways. Just thought I would mention that to you. Alright Dougie. Keep up the always honest and respectable work. You are an honor to your profession. – Pedro Rodriguez   

Thank you for the very, very kind words, Pedro (you probably earned yourself some “haters” in the Facebook comments area under this column – LOL).

For the record, I think McGuigan, Cuevas and Zaragoza are all worthy of their inclusion in the International Boxing Hall of Fame. And I’d argue that Cuevas, though not the amazing technician that Curry was, had a better welterweight title run than the Lone Star Cobra (even though the Mexican puncher never unified with the WBC beltholder).

Cuevas defended the WBA title he won from Puerto Rico’s underrated Angel Espada 11 times – 10 by knockout – and he did so against mostly good opposition, including Espada (twice), Harold Weston, Randy Sheilds, Pete Ranzany and Clyde Gray.

Curry was no slouch either, as you noted. And I think he will eventually be voted into the hall of fame. I wasn’t yet a hardcore boxing fan during Curry’s prime, but I remember some of his network-televised fights, including the two-round destruction of McCrory. Curry and Hector Camacho Sr. were the two boxers who were talented and enough to make take notice of boxing while my hero Sugar Ray Leonard was on three-year hiatus in the mid-1980s.

I always thought that Curry had better technique than Leonard, maybe even better accuracy and one-punch power. However, he lacked the fire of my boyhood idol. Curry also lacked Ray’s bright personality, which is probably why I never latched on to him as a fan.

I probably would have appreciated him more if he were able to hold onto his early-to-mid 1980s form, but he never seemed to put it all together again after being upset by Lloyd Honeyghan in ’86. (Running into the junior middleweight version of Mike McCallum less than a year later probably didn’t do much for his confidence, either.)

Anyway, thanks for reminding me about Curry and the fact that he held the three major welterweight titles between the McCrory and Honeyghan fights. The image of him with all three alphabet belts sparked another memory – that of Evander Holyfield, who had all three belts at cruiserweight AND at heavyweight! So that was the answer to Brad’s question in the Friday Mailbag. He wanted to know if anyone had unified all the major belts in two weight classes. It has happened before. I don’t know how I could have forgotten about The Real Deal.

 

BEST NINE DAYS OF BOXING EVER!

It’s only been a couple of years since I last wrote in, but I never miss reading your great mailbag.

Now that the boxing calendar for 2013 comes to a close, I just had to reflect on the matches that took place from December 6-14 and how I have never seen so many quality matches squeezed into so short a time. In that span, there were about 15-18 significant bouts, including about 7-8 title fights. During that period, we saw Chris John’s amazing streak broken, flyweight champ Akria Yaegashi coast to a UD against a game but overmatched Edgar Sosa, a good card in Chicago with 200-lb champ Wlodarczyk and fan favorite Fanfara winning by stoppage, J’Leon Love & Mickey Bey back on Showtime with wins, Julian Jackson’s sons fight (one on the way up, one on the way out), Felix Sturm recapture a strap against Darren Barker, Rigondeaux dominate Agbeko, Mandingo Warrior James Kirkland reunited with Anne Wolfe (again) for six rounds of devastation against Glen Tapia, the return of Matt Macklin, Paulie Malignaggi outbox Zab Judah, Shawn Porter snatch Devon Alexander’s title, awkward southpaw Erislandy Lara put awkward southpaw Austin Trout’s future in the 154-lb division in doubt, Sakio Bika get a boxing lesson but give Ant Dirrell a different type of lesson in toughness, borderline rule-breaking and workrate to hold his 168-lb belt in a draw, Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam back in the ring, Josesito Lopez knocking off some ring rust, along with Jermain Taylor and Beibut Shumenov after very long layoffs, ending this span with three increasingly entertaining fights featuring Leo Santa Cruz in a good/tough win, Keith Thurman brutalizing Jesus Soto Karass in the ninth round, and of course, the Maidana masterpiece against AB Broner.

Do you ever remember back-to-back weekends with so much important activity in our sweet science and more importantly, other than Maidana/Broner, which fighters from above do you think are best situated to capitalize for 2014 and which will have most work to climb back to relativity?

As always, keep up the fantastic job bridging the gap between us fans and the boxing community and a Happy Holidays to you and your family. – JitaHadi of Los Angeles, CA

Thanks JH. I do not recall back-to-back weekends with as much world-class international action as we witnessed from December 6-to-14. And I can’t recall a busier year than 2013 since I’ve been covering the sport (beginning in the late 1990s, fulltime since 2000).

The only year that comes close in my mind is 2001. Now, maybe that year stands out because it’s the year that I (along with Steve Kim, Thomas Gerbasi and webmaster Gary Randall) made the transition from the HouseofBoxing.com to MaxBoxing.com; however, I remember there being a lot of memorable and upsets action among stars of the sport (some of whom are still stars to this day).

Today’s biggest star, Floyd Mayweather Jr., fought three times in 2001 (arguably his best year) – defending his WBC 130-pound belt by dominating Diego Corrales in January, surviving bad hands and Famoso Hernandez in May and stopping a determined Jesus Chavez in November. Mayweather probably would have been THE RING’s Fighter of the Year if Bernard Hopkins hadn’t unified middleweight titles by beating Keith Holmes in April and dismantling Felix Trinidad in September. Kostya Tszyu unified the junior welterweight titles by wearing down Sharmba Mitchell in February and shocking Zab Judah in November (poor Zab was ripped by hardcore fans on the internet but can you imagine how humiliating his infamous “chicken dance” stoppage would have been had social media been around?)

Shane Mosley, THE RING’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter at the time, defended his WBC welterweight crown twice – outclassing Shannon Taylor in March and blasting Adrian Stone in July (and since he was an undefeated African-American boxer who fought on HBO, he HAD to be compared with Sugar Ray Robinson).

Oscar De La Hoya fought twice during his one-year hiatus from Bob Arum – dominating Arturo Gatti in March and outpointing Javier Castillejo. (Some hyper little guy from the Philippines won the IBF 122-pound title on the De La Hoya-Castillejo undercard.)

B-Hop’s schooling of Tito wasn’t the only boxing clinic of 2001, Marco Antonio Barrera undressed Naseem Hamed in April and Chris Byrd befuddled David Tua in August. If memory serves me, Trinidad, Hamed, Tua and Judah (against Tszyu) were 3-to-1 odds favorites. However, the biggest upset was Hasim Rahman’s one-punch KO of Lennox Lewis in November. Talk about the shot heard ‘round the world!

Kim and I were ringside for almost every one of those fights (except for Lewis-Rahman, which took place in South Africa, and Mayweather-Hernandez, which was in Grand Rapids, Mich.). Good times.

But I digress.

You asked which fighters from recent action are best situated to capitalize in 2014 and which will have the most work to climb back to relativity.

I think Thurman and Porter have come the farthest (both were considered prospects this time last year) and are in the best position to capitalize on their 2013 success (in part because they in one of boxing’s hottest divisions).

I think Trout has the most work to do in order to get back into a relevant position. He was winless in 2013, and the loss to Lara was one-sided and disappointing.

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

Hey Doug,

I will be short and sweet on this one. As I heard many boxing pundits say on the air this week, it has been a banner year for boxing. So many thrilling contests. I am looking forward to more of the same next year. Broner getting his ass whipped was MY early Christmas gift.

My thanks to you for printing several of my letters this year. I live in a football town and there aren’t many folks that I can share my love of boxing with. This is a great outlet for me to vent with like-minded people. You WILL hear from me again.

I hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New year. See you in 2014. – David, Nashville

See you next year, David. Thanks for the holiday well wishes. My wife and two girls are sound asleep in a hotel room in Blythe, California (our pit-stop on the way to Tucson, Arizona, where I spend Christmas with my extended family every year), where I’m finishing up this mailbag a little after 2:00 a.m. Pacific Time.

I’ve been sick as a dog all week, and packing for the road trip was stressful as usual, as was much of the drive to Blythe (thanks my being under the weather and the girls need to stop and pee every 40 miles), however, I didn’t give much thought to skipping the Monday mailbag.

You and the other “like-minded” boxing nuts that you enjoy venting with are the reason I’ll seldom skip a mailbag. It means a lot when I meet fans at fight cards and they tell me that they read this column every week. It means just as much when I get a nice email, like this one, from someone I haven’t met yet but that I hope to meet sometime in the near future.

Happy Holidays to everyone who reads the mailbags and a special thank you to those who take the time out to send me their emails (if I haven’t posted one of yours yet, please keep trying, I’m sure I’ll get one eventually).

 

 

Photo / THE RING

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

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