haven’t written in for a while but worry not – my every monday and friday starts off with your mailbag. if you must know, i’m usually on the toilet at that time – yeah its gross but i bet at least half of your readers do the same, and providing mandatory reading material at such an intimate location for your audience is really the pinnacle any writer can hope to achieve.
on a serious note, wanted to thank you for all of your hard work in 2013 – i love boxing, and having you affiliated with the sport makes it that much more enjoyable. happy holidays to you and your family, and looking forward to more dougie in 2014! best. – boris
Thanks for the very kind words, Boris. And thanks to everyone who has sent me and my family Happy Holiday wishes in recent days. (It’s a heck of a lot nicer than being called a “house n___er” and a “tranny” by the same mutant cretin freaks in the comments area under Elie Seckbach’s YouTube videos.)
Seriously, like I wrote in Monday’s Merry mailbag, fans like you are the reason I continue to do the mailbag – twice a week as often as possible. And you better believe that I consider reading my material while on the toilet to be the ultimate compliment.
I do my best reading and thinking while on the John. (Hmmmm…. Dare I try to do some writing in the bathroom? Nah, I’d never leave the joint.)
NEW YEAR’S WISH LIST
It’s that time once again for our annual New Year’s wish list. Last year we didn’t do too bad. We got 3 out of the 10: Carl Froch v Mikkel Kessler, which you got spot on, Floyd Mayweather v Canelo Alvarez, which you got right but it wasn’t as close as you predicted, and Danny Garcia v Lucas Matthysse, which you got wrong but most of us got that one wrong. This year I will try and keep it more realistic by having no cross promotional match ups because unfortunately Golden Boy and Top Rank have never been further apart from working together, so here again I will give you the 10 matches I most want to see this year and you can hopefully give me the chances of each fight happening on a scale of 1-10 and your prediction for each fight.
Sergey Kovalev vs Adonis Stevenson @ 175 pds
Carl Froch vs George Groves 2 @ 168 pds
Sergio Martinez vs Gennedy Golovkin @ 160 pds
Miguel Cotto vs Saul Alvarez @154 pds
Marcos Maidana vs Lucas Mattysse @147 pds
Brandon Rios vs Ruslan Provodnikov @ 147 pds
Danny Garcia vs Victor Ortiz @147 pds
Manny Pacquiao vs Tim Bradley @ 147 pds
Amir Khan vs Kell Brook @ 147 pds
Ricky Burns vs Mikey Garcia @ 135 pds
Scott Quigg vs Carl Frampton @122 pds
I know there’s 1 extra in there but I’m really excited about 2014. You MAY notice one name missing but I don’t have much interest in seeing him fight anyone not named Manny Pacquiao at this stage unless he fights at 160, which I don’t expect. Hope to hear your expert opinion again. Have a good Christmas and a Happy New Year. – Ronan Knox, Waterford, Ireland
Thanks Ronan. I’ll give it a shot. Hopefully, we get have of these fights delivered next year.
Sergey Kovalev vs Adonis Stevenson @ 175 pds – chance of happening in 2014 on a scale of 1-10: 6.5; prediction: Kovalev by eighth-round KO
Carl Froch vs George Groves 2 @ 168 pds – 5; Froch by hard-fought 10th-round TKO
Sergio Martinez vs Gennedy Golovkin @ 160 pds – 4; Golovkin by 11th-round TKO
Miguel Cotto vs Saul Alvarez @154 pds – 4.5; Alvarez by MD
Marcos Maidana vs Lucas Matthysse @147 pds – 6.5; Maidana by SD
Brandon Rios vs Ruslan Provodnikov @ 147 pds – 7; Provodnikov by 10th-round TKO
Danny Garcia vs Victor Ortiz @147 pds – 5.5; Garcia by close UD
Manny Pacquiao vs Tim Bradley @ 147 pds – 8.5; Pacquiao by controversial SD
Amir Khan vs Kell Brook @ 147 pds – 5; Brook by come-from-behind late TKO
Ricky Burns vs Mikey Garcia @ 135 pds – 5; Burns by MD
Scott Quigg vs Carl Frampton @122 pds – 6; Quigg by SD
Although I am an avid reader of your mailbag, this is my first time writing to you. This morning I saw Mayweather’s Xmas internet meme and I find it so ridiculous. Well, it’s no wonder his copycat Adrien Broner is following his non-classy act and I do hope that one day Mayweateher finds his match and experiences the same fate as Broner.
Mayweather keeps his annoying excuses not to fight Manny. One of those he recently mentioned is the pay per view numbers. Just wondering if both of them fight on May 3 at a separate venue, say Mayweather vs. Khan at MGM and Manny vs. Bradley at Madison Square Garden, what do you think would be the outcome of PPV numbers? I know it is non-economically advisable for both promoters, Golden Boy and Top Rank, and for the fans as well but just for a thought and to keep Mayweather’s big mouth shut, don’t you think it’s the ultimate test for Mayweather’s PPV power? I wish it could happen and I am pretty sure that the viewers will be divided. Those who want a boring fight, of course, they will choose Mayweather. But my guess is there are more people who are much more interested in the all-action fight that Manny always brings.
If I am Manny, TR & HBO, I will declare a fight on same date, May 3. Let’s see what would be the reaction of Mayweather’s camp and GB. My guess, they will cry out loud and eventually change the date of Mayweather’s fight.
Your thoughts Doug. – Noel
I don’t think for one second that Mayweather, Golden Boy or Showtime would back down from that kind of challenge. So I hope that Pacquiao, Top Rank and HBO hold on to Manny’s April 12 return date because hardcore boxing fans are forced to deal with simultaneous fight broadcasts enough as it is. However, if Pacquiao wants to push the date back to accommodate his wife Jinkee’s baby delivery, it wouldn’t completely shock me if he and Bob Arum decided to target May 3.
If a Mayweather vs. Khan Showtime PPV went head-to-head with a Pacquiao-Bradley HBO PPV on May 3, I think showdown would produce a stalemate. I’m guessing that between 1.2 million-1.4 million buys would be split between the two promotions.
Mayweather-Khan is the harder sell because it’s viewed as a mismatch, but Mayweather and GBP are good sales people (especially Floyd, who manages to keep the boxing world buzzing about him, his May 3 date and the prospect of a Pacquiao fight just with a few silly Tweets) and Showtime does a good job of supporting their promotions.
Pacquiao-Bradley II is an easier sell to the public because it’s viewed as a more competitive fight and there’s history between the combatants (the revenge story for Pac). However, despite a successful 2013, Bradley doesn’t bring a huge fanbase with him, so HBO, which is in more homes than Showtime, would really need to push this promotion. If both networks pull out all the stops and the fighters and promoters do their parts to hype up the events, I think each pay-per-view show would do roughly 650,000-700,000 buys.
Those aren’t bad numbers, especially given that the total audience is split, but obviously not as well as either would do if it had the May 3 date all to itself (and certainly not as well as Manny or Floyd would do if they were facing a popular Mexican fighter on Cinco De Mayo weekend).
Regarding the allure of each fighter’s style, Mayweather knows that his manner of boxing is a tough sell, so he sells his personality along with the notion that he’s a once-in-a-lifetime super talent that can’t be missed. That combo works well with most of the boxing media and at least half of the folks to who pay to see him fight. The other half pay to see him lose. (Some boxing pundits compare Mayweather to Pernell Whitaker because of his defensive brilliance. But I think Mayweather is more like Hector Camacho Sr. because of the undeniable talent that was a joy to watch at 130 p.ounds, the polarizing personality, the careful self-matching at the heavier weights, as well as the showmanship and ability to sell fights without delivering action in the ring late in their careers.)
Pacquiao is definitely a more entertaining fighter than Mayweather, but I don’t think his style is what sells his fights at this stage of his career. Apart from the fourth bout with Juan Manuel Marquez, I think Pacquiao’s fights have only been mildly entertaining in recent years. I think his ethnicity/nationality and the fierce loyalty of Filipino fans is what makes him a bona-fide attraction these days.
Regarding Mayweather’s “annoying excuses” not to fight Pacquiao, it’s just his way of pushing the buttons of the Filipino icon’s fans and keeping his name on the boxing websites during a slow period. (Hey, it worked with RingTV.com, where Lem Satterfield penned an item on Mayweather’s mocking memes and one on Freddie Roach’s retort shot at Floyd Sr., and Ryan Songalia was inspired to write an article commentary article on the “genius” of Floyd Jr. – can you tell that I’m rolling my eyes?).
Honestly, it’s not worth getting bothered about. However, I hope Mayweather knows that his constant ribbing of Pacquiao – who has never returned the ridicule or name calling – while coming up with reasons NOT to fight the guy he’s seemingly obsessed about has begun to turn off some of his own fans.
IT’S OFFICIAL, MAYWEATHER IS DUCKING PACQUIAO
Well Doug, allow me to get straight to the point. I’ve been an unapologetic Mayweather fan for years now. But as of late, I’m coming to the realization that Money May is weaving his way through the boxing game more safely than a student driver navigating through caution cones. I truly believed Floyd had a valid point when he accused Pac-Man of using banned substances, seein’ how Pacquiao was knocking everyone flat once upon a time to suddenly just out pointing guy’s. Despite the fact he was moving up in weight classes. Then the argument went from drug testing to percentages of the purse. To finally citing past issues with Bob Arum & eventually to no mega fight.
Fast forward to the present. Mayweather comes off a masterful performance schoolin’ the young Alvarez. Whereas Manny is coming off a loss in the form of an instant classic knockout from the hands of his arch nemesis Marquez. But rebounds after a year’s layoff to beat Rios like Ricky Ricardo beat his congos while singing “Ba ba-lu”. Which I personally perceived as a boxing clinic put on by Manny. And yes, I know it was a tune-up for Pac-Man, & Rios has about as much movement as Christopher Reeve’s. But I still found the amount of combinations Manny threw & the angles at which he threw them from to be impressive.
Finally to my point. Mayweather now say’s the fight between him & Pacquiao will never happen due to the inability to business with Bob Arum. Yet he sends out a Twitter Christmas card poking fun at the knockout Manny suffered. Now in my opinion, Floyd is doing one of two things. He’s either building up hype as a ploy to an eventual bout between the two? Or he’s going on a campaign to prove why Manny isn’t a suitable opponent? I’m choosing the latter. To this point, all Mayweather’s “issues” with Pacquiao’s camp are beginning to seem a lot like excuses disguised as false concerns why the fight cannot happen. I see absolutely no reason why this fight shouldn’t happen? Especially if Manny gets another win under his belt. Plus, it would undoubtedly be more money than Floyd has ever earned based on PPV buys & purse. Which is exactly my logic to why I believe Floyd is ducking Pacquiao. Why turn down such a handsome payday while further solidifying your career? If it’s truly about percentages? Are you really going to turn down a huge fight because you’re earning 10-15 million less? At the end of the day, I’m sure the payout will be near or equal to that of his earnings in the Alvarez bout not including PPV buys. Lastly, Bob Arum certainly has nothing to lose? Seein’ how Pacquiao has lost a bit of his shine. Which can only lead to more leverage on Mayweather’s part. So what’s the major malfunction at this point? Other than ducking?
So I ask, if this fight never transpires? Where does Floyd land amongst the All-time greats? Cause in my opinion, Floyd’s biggest accomplishment “$$$” may in fact be his greatest downfall. I see Mayweather as the greatest “Prize” fighter who ever lived. But as far as “Pride” fighter. I believe he leaves a lot to be desired. His unwillingness to throw combinations as to remain safe, & his methodical navigation through boxing’s rankings, only fighting fighter’s at particular times, doesn’t hold true to what the sport of boxing represents at heart. Mind you, I’m by no means knocking Floyd. He’s no doubt the best boxer of this current generation & he has made a lot of green while doing so. But if there’s anything I’ve learned, you can’t have your cake & eat it too. You’re either willing to fight the best at their best. Or you can take the safe bet & go down as a uber wealthy twice polarizing Pernell Whitaker. – Michael, Palm Springs, California
Mayweather’s going down as an uber wealthy twice polarizing Hector Camacho in my book. That’s not a 100% diss toward Mayweather. I thought Camacho was the truth – a natural talent with world-class athleticism and elite skill and ring generalship – for a brief period (1983-’85). I even liked him when he moved up from 135 pounds, became more showman than prize fighter, and cherry picked his fights while trumping up his undefeated record (37-0 and 38-0 by 1990). Sound familiar?
I can’t go for the Mayweather-Whitaker comparisons because Sweet Pea fought Julio Cesar Chavez when El Gran Campeon Mexicano was 87-0. Whitaker didn’t wait for somebody else to beat Chavez first. He didn’t wait for the three-division terror to slow down. Most importantly, he didn’t allow business and boxing politics – Chavez being affiliated with Don King and Showtime, while he had a deal with HBO – to get in the way of his legacy. ‘Nuff said.
If Mayweather doesn’t fight Pacquiao he can’t be an all-time great in my book. I’m not picking on Floyd. I feel the same way about Pacquiao (although I’m willing to give him a little more credit for facing Marquez and Marco Antonio Barrera at their prime weights when they were still on top of their game; and for facing Erik Morales when he was still near his prime years).
Mayweather has faced a lot of excellent fighters, some of whom are already in the hall of fame. But how many of his notable opponents were at the pinnacle of their careers and in their athletic primes when he faced them? Oscar De La Hoya? No. Shane Mosley? Nope. Marquez? I can’t say so. Genaro Hernandez? I don’t think so. Diego Corrales? Yes. Jose Luis Castillo? Si. Zab Judah? Yep. Ricky Hatton? Sure. Who else? Maybe Alvarez, but I don’t think Canelo will enter his prime for another year or two. We’ll see. Mayweather had a two-year opportunity (2010-2011) to really prove something against Pacquiao and he didn’t make it happen. I put just as much blame on Pacquiao, who won’t force the issue with Arum. The end result for me is the belief that both current superstars lack all-time great character.
I’ve said this before but I love repeating it: for modern fighters to earn all-time great consideration they have to equal or surpass what the ATGs did in the ring. It’s not about money or pay-per-view buys with me. It’s about their accomplishments. And if the modern stars don’t completely unify all the major titles in a division and break all-time records the way Bernard Hopkins did at middleweight and continues to do with the oldest champion mark, then the only way they can prove their greatness is to take on their fellow elite rivals in and around their divisions. I’m talking about the best facing the best when they are at their absolute best. Examples: Salvador Sanchez vs. Wilfredo Gomez, Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Thomas Hearns, and Whitaker vs. Chavez.
FLOYD’S NOT A SUPERSTAR
I am amazed at how Floyd and lots of people see him as a genuine, authentic, iconic, superstar. I believe he is a boxing star but not a superstar. I know that people will disagree with me. One has to ask if he really is at the level of a Sugar Ray Leonard or Oscar De La Hoya. I believe the answer is a resounding NO! I believe that Manny is actually a bigger star than Floyd. Floyd needs to thank Oscar De La Hoya for the rest of his life because he got big because of the Golden Boy and because of 24/7. Let me put it this way, Oscar never needed Floyd but Floyd always needed Oscar. Now, it’s quite ironic that I am saying that Oscar is a superstar while Floyd was never one, yet if you just concentrate on skills, Floyd to me is an all time great and Oscar is not because Oscar never won the big one. I give Floyd Mayweather credit for taking his craft seriously but Floyd is no Oscar De La Hoya or Sugar Ray Leonard. And of course, Oscar De La Hoya is no Sugar Ray Leonard in terms of stardom and skills. There is only one Sugar Ray Leonard. (Sorry, I am a Sugar Ray fan!) – Edwardo
No need to apologize. I’m a Sugar Ray fan, too. De La Hoya was special but you’re absolutely right that he was not on Leonard’s level in terms of stardom or skills. Leonard was a household name before he turned pro thanks to the 1976 Olympics.
The only boxer to be a household name in the U.S. since Leonard is Mike Tyson, maybe Evander Holyfield. De La Hoya came close, a lot closer than Mayweather, who is the most popular active boxer in the U.S. and one of the most popular worldwide.
It’s true that Mayweather’s fight with De La Hoya launched him into the mainstream sports fans’ awareness, but Floyd must get at least some of the credit for making that 2007 pay-per-view blockbuster the record-breaking success that it was. And Mayweather deserves credit for keeping the momentum he gained with the De La Hoya fight and later building on his own fame when he made his comeback in 2009.
And now a point of contention: You say Mayweather is an all-time great based on his skills and De La Hoya isn’t because he never won “the big one” but I don’t think you’re examining who Oscar fought closely enough. As a welterweight, De La Hoya faced Whitaker when Sweet Pea was still WBC champ and still THE RING’s pound-for-pound king (and he won the fight – at least on the official scorecards). He faced Ike Quartey, Felix Trinidad and Shane Mosley at 147 when those three were unbeaten and in their athletic primes. De La Hoya also fought Hopkins when B-Hop was the undisputed middleweight champ.
Do you think Mayweather would ever fight a middleweight champ? I don’t.
Do you think the prime welterweight version of Mayweather would go unbeaten if he fought the versions of that formidable foursome – Whitaker, Trinidad, Quartey and Mosley – that De La Hoya faced? I don’t.
And do you think the 135-pound version of De La Hoya would have had as much trouble with Castillo as Mayweather did in that first fight? I don’t. Do you think Emanuel Augustus would have put hands on the lightweight version of De La Hoya? I don’t. Do you think the 140-pound version of De La Hoya would have struggled at all with DeMarcus Corley? I don’t.
Check out some of De La Hoya’s lightweight title bouts and his pit stop at junior welterweight. The man was a hell of a boxer. Just because he was no Ray Leonard doesn’t mean that he didn’t have skills or that he wasn’t a badass. He definitely was.
MYTHICAL MIDDLEWEIGHT MATCHUP
This is one of your UK fans – I’m situated in a town just outside Manchester.
We always here talk of dream fights between the all time great heavyweights, Ali v Tyson, Ali v Marciano etc, and why not – but I’ve always fantasised about the same scenario with the all time great middleweights.
My dream fight, while probably not an obvious choice, would be Hagler vs Monzon. Both were unbelievable fighters and the very thought of them meeting at their peaks makes the hairs on my neck stand up. I have thought about the outcome time and time again and thought about where the bout would be either won or lost. if pushed however, I would go with Hagler via a split decision.
My first question is who would you choose out of Hagler v Monzon?
And if you had one choice of a middleweight match up, who would you choose and why? All the best. – Mike, Warrington, UK
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Mike. I’ve been asked about his mythical matchup before, but I’m happy to give my opinion again.
I favor Monzon by close UD or maybe MD in a hard-fought 15-round contest. I favor the late great Argentine because of his height, reach, jab, footwork, infighting ability, upper body strength and his iron chin (which was just as reliable as the Marvelous One’s jaw).
My middleweight mythical matchup is Sugar Ray Robinson vs. Marcel Cerdan. It’s an ultimate dream match that could have happened if Cerdan hadn’t died tragically in a plane crash in October of 1949 prior to his middleweight title rematch with Jake LaMotta. At the time of his death, Cerdan, who outboxed American standouts (and fellow hall of famers) Georgie Abrams and Holman Williams, had a record of 111-4 (65 knockouts). The French idol was only stopped once in 115 bouts – the corner retirement against LaMotta, who injured Cerdan’s shoulder by tossing him to the canvas in the first round. Members of the ringside press wrote that Cerdan held his own with one arm for the first half of the fight, but the pain became too much and LaMotta was coming on strong in the late rounds, so his corner kept him on the stool after the ninth.
Robinson still had the welterweight title in 1949, but he would moonlight as a middleweight. I think he was at his best at 160 pounds from 1950 through 1952. By the end of 1950, Robinson’s record was 120-1-2 (78 KOs). He won the middleweight title from LaMotta in February of 1951 (the infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre). What if Cerdan hadn’t died in that plane crash and was able to regain the title from LaMotta in their rematch? What if Cerdan defended the middleweight crown against Robinson in early ’51? Can you imagine the skill, athleticism and heart that would have been on display? Cerdan was every bit the ring general that Robinson was, but naturally bigger, stronger and perhaps with as much pop in his punches.
However, Robinson – my choice for the greatest middleweight ever – was faster, more agile and arguably more versatile. I think Robinson would have had to dig deeper than he did when he stopped LaMotta, but I believe he would have narrowly outpointed Cerdan in an all-time great boxing match.
Photos / Timothy A. Clary-AFP, Al Bello-Getty Images, THE RING