Salvador Sanchez (right) clocks former featherweight champ Danny Lopez with a right cross during their rematch on June 21, 1980, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nev. Sanchez retained the WBC featherweight title via TKO 14.
THE MAYWEATHER LOTTERY, SAL SANCHEZ
What's up D,
Let me start with the front runners in the Floyd Mayweather Lottery. Both Marcos Maidana and Amir Khan have attributes that can give Money May fits. I see Khan’s speed being more of a factor than Maidan’s power. Just look at the 1st half of Zab Judah vs. Mayweather.
With that said, I'd like to bring up this point. Both these guys beat on two of of my favorite boxers, Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales, when they were past their primes. Had Maidana and Khan fought them at the Mexican Legends’ peaks, both Chino and Khan would have been taken to school and Khan probably stopped.
As you can tell, I'm a young (24) Mexican-American fan and will be biased for my Hispanic and Mexican boxers. I've been hooked on boxing since Bernard Hopkins body shot himself into stardom against De La Hoya (btw my neighbor owns and operates a boxing gym here in south Texas and he swears DLH threw that fight. He also said DLH and him almost got into a fight over a girl, LOL, his name is Rubaldino.)
One last thing D, what are your thoughts on Salvador Sanchez? I've been youtubing his fights and I can't stop watching his destruction of Wilfredo Gomez. That's what an ATG does when someone tries to jump to his division and take over. I read that he was supposed to fight Alexis Arguello, but it didn't happen because of Sanchez’s untimely death.
Thanks for the mailbags D. – Santiago 956.
Thanks for writing, Sanitago. Tell your boy Rubaldino to stay away from them drugs.
It’s great to hear about young fans taking an interest in the modern greats, which Sanchez is considered by many (myself included), an amazing feat given that he died at age 23.
You should watch Sanchez’s TKOs of fellow hall of famers Danny “Little Red” Lopez (bouts I and II) and Azumah Nelson in the championship rounds of 15-round title bouts. His technical prowess was exceeded only by his uncanny poise and inhuman conditioning. But you can’t go wrong with the Gomez bout. Gomez had earned the mythical “pound-for-pound king” status among many hardcore fans and boxing insiders during his record-setting 122-pound title reign.
Gomez, who beat skilled future bantamweight beltholder Alberto Davila before winning the WBC’s super bantie belt (from Dong-Kyun Yum – one of the most talented and underrated Asian boxers ever), scored 32 consecutive knockouts (including 13 title bouts) going into the Sanchez fight. Among his title defense victims was Mexican bantamweight legend Carlos Zarate, who entered their fight with 52 consecutive victories (51 by KO!).
Even diehard Mexican fans were putting their money on the elite Puerto Rican boxer-puncher (and that doesn’t happen often, as I’m sure you know). Sanchez faced Gomez without a hint of fear or anxiety as you can see during their pre-fight staredown in the ring.
Anyway, you know what happened once the bell rang. Sanchez was chosen as THE RING co-Fighter of the Year for 1981, the year he beat Gomez (one of only four times the magazine has allowed two boxers to share the honor). Sanchez’s co-award winner was Sugar Ray Leonard, who beat undefeated welterweight monster Thomas Hearns to unify WBC and WBA titles in ’81. That lets know how big of a deal the Sanchez-Gomez fight was within the boxing world. It’s a damn shame that 1982 was Sanchez’s last year among the living.
Had Sanchez fought Arguello, I think the Mexican master would have outpointed the Nicaraguan world-beater thanks to his footwork, conditioning, punch output, composure and iron chin.
Barrera and Morales are two of my all-time favorite fighters, both of whom I had the honor of covering. I agree that they would have defeated Khan and Maidana had they faced those two closer to their primes (heck, El Terrible almost beat Chino as an old, one-eyed man). I was a fan of Barrera’s before I came around on Morales, so I always rooted for the Baby-Faced Assassin when they fought each other, but Terrible earned my never-ending respect during the course of their classic trilogy (and I gotta state once more that I was honored to be ringside for all three 12-round thrillers).
I’m not going to go into Mayweather’s potential matchups against Khan or Maidana for two reasons: 1. Floyd has yet to sign to fight either, and 2. Unless I write that Mayweather will score a one-punch first-round KO of Khan and score a shutout or late TKO vs. Maidana, I’ll be inundated with outraged whiney ass emails from his hyper-sensitive fans. And I gotta be honest with ya, kid, I’m BORED with that s___. I’m more bored with Mayweather’s ardent supporters than I was while watching him outclass Robert Guerrero from press row last May. (Just that little swipe at their hero will earn me seven-10 angry comments below this mailbag column.)
So after committing boxing blasphemy and riling up The Money Team Army (TMTA) by picking Canelo to beat Mayweather last year, I’m going keep the peace in 2014 and play it safe (like their idol does in the ring) by not suggesting that Khan or Maidana have a chance in hell to even connect with one solid punch. Won’t that be fun!
My brother said recently if you were a semi decent boxer you could make quite a living and earn a great reputation just fighting guys directly after Bernard Hopkins did. At first I laughed my ass off but then when I thought about it. .. Oscar De La Hoya, Felix Trinidad, Jermain Taylor, Kelly Pavlik, Winky Wright, Chad Dawson, Tavoris Cloud and Antonio Tarver… all faded rapidly after Bhop.
A mythical match up while we're at it. If you had to fight a current world champion at lets say 10 lbs less than your current weight (cause you would train like hell for your match) who would you go for and how do you see it ending? Don’t be afraid to ridiculous with that answer, Dougie! Cheers. – Leo
There’s a fairly large contingent of boxing fans who believe everything that comes out of my mouth is ridiculous, Leo, so no worries there.
I’m currently 168 pounds. If I dropped 10 pounds and got into the best shape of my life I still wouldn’t dare step into the ring against any of the middleweight titleholders. RING champ Sergio Martinez, WBA king Gennady Golovkin and WBO beltholder Peter Quillin could seriously injure me without even trying.
Even the guy who is perceived to be the lightest hitting and most defensive minded of the major titleholders – four-time beltholder Felix Sturm – would take me out in brutal fashion in less than a round (less than a minute, probably). Any world titleholder above featherweight can put me into the hospital if they decided they want to punish me in the ring.
I’m a boxing writer, Leo. I’m not a boxer. I haven’t trained at a boxing gym on daily basis since the 1990s. And I was never dedicated to the sport or to competition. I don’t belong in the ring with any serious prize fighter or competitive boxer (and that includes teenage amateurs and females).
However, if I had to pick one of the current middleweight champs to fight, it would be Martinez. I’m pretty friendly with Maravilla, GGG and Kid Chocolate but I think Golovkin and Quillin can’t help but hit extremely hard. GGG would playfully tap me to the body and still decimate my rib cage. Quillin would try to “soft touch” me upstairs and still turn my lights out. Martinez is a nice-enough guy and mature and secure in himself enough to carry me without physically punishing me (too much). I’ve watched him spar with smaller or lesser experienced guys in the gym and just have fun with them. I would hope to get some of that same treatment for two or three rounds with the champ, and then I’d proudly quit on my stool.
Your brother makes a valid point about B-hop. The former Executioner has ruined or shortened many once promising careers. However, I wouldn’t want to be the next guy to face the fighters you mentioned, because most of those world-class boxers did OK in their next fight or two after facing Hopkins. It would be much better to be third or fourth guy to fight one of Hopkins’ “leftovers.”
Trinidad stopped Hacine Cherifi and brutally KO’d Ricardo Mayorga after getting schooled by B-Hop.
De La Hoya sat a year out (2005) and then decapitated poor post-Tito version of Mayorga.
Taylor received another controversial decision over Hopkins after their first bout and then made three more title defenses (although two of them – the draw with Wright and split decision with Cory Spinks – were disputed).
Wright retired for two years after losing to Hopkins (at a 170-pound catchweight) and was then outpointed by Paul Williams. Then he retired for another three years was outpointed by Quillin.
After beating humbled by the Old Master, Pavlik stopped Marco Antonio Rubio and Miguel Espino and then lost his middleweight title to Martinez via decision (no shame in that).
Tarver won three in a row (including an IBF title victory) after his embarrassing loss to Hopkins, before dropping back-to-back decision to Dawson, who beat B-Hop in the rematch to their No Contest. Dawson made back-to-back bad moves dropping weight to fight Andre Ward and facing a bona-fide puncher in Adonis Stevenson. Even if Chad had never faced B-Hop, Ward would have worn him down and set up Stevenson for that quickie KO.
Cloud…? well, he’s the new poster child for Hopkins’ "damaged goods."
Happy New Year, hope all is well with you. – Juan Valverde, Tijuana
Marciano’s mark has become a marketing tool for any modern fighter who gets close winning 49 bouts without a loss. Fans had to hear about it when good fighters, such as the late Johnny Tapia, got close to the mark and when forgettable fighters, like Danish heavyweight Brian Nielsen, were one bout away from beating the mark.
Recently Marciano’s 49-0 was brought up prior to upset losses suffered by long-reigning featherweight titleholder Chris John and former lightweight beltholder Paul Spadafora.
The only time Marciano’s record needed to be brought up by fans or the media was when Larry Holmes was one victory away from equaling it (prior to losing a controversial decision to Michael Spinks in 1985). That’s because Holmes was the reigning heavyweight champ at the time, and Marciano’s 49-0 mark is a HEAVYWEIGHT record. The reason boxing historians make a big deal about it is because Marciano retired as the reigning heavyweight champ with that mark. It wasn’t the unbeaten streak alone that garnered attention.
Many standouts of the lighter-weight classes surpassed the 49-0 and 50-0 marks, as you mentioned.
Former bantamweight and featherweight champ Eder Jofre was unbeaten in his first 50 pro bouts (47-0-3). The masterful Brazilian finished his career with an excellent 72-2-4 (50) record.
I mentioned earlier in this mailbag that former bantamweight champ Carlos Zarate won his first 52 pro bouts, all but one by knockout.
Fellow Mexican legend Ruben Olivares was unbeaten in his first 61 bouts (60-0-1, with 55 KOs). He won the bantamweight championship in his 53rd consecutive victory.
Willie Pep won his first 62 bouts, picking up the featherweight championship along the way (in his 54th bout at age 20).
Former middleweight champ Nino Benvenuti won his first 65 pro bouts (and reportedly compiled a 120-0 amateur record on his way to an Olympic gold medal in Rome in 1960).
Due to the quality of his opposition and his longevity, Chavez’s marks of 87-0 and 89-0-1 are more impressive than Marciano’s 49-0, in my opinion.
THE BEST OPPONENTS FOR MAYWEATHER
Crazy to think that this is actually my first time writing you if you keep in mind that I rarely miss your mailbags, which I thoroughly enjoy. I would really like to hear your opinion on the following topic, which, I know, is rather cliche, but it's a start.
I'm neither a Mayweather hater nor a fan. He's a great fighter, no doubt, but some of his critics do a have point when they mention how there are many top fighters he could have fought and never did. He openly stated he had no plans for taking on S. Martinez when the guy was way on top and even said in a video that he would rather see Martinez against some of the "bigger" guys (even though both fighters are able to fight at 154), and we all know how he's felt about fighting Pacman in the past.
But, at the same time, I think he deserves a lot of credit for taking on Miguel Cotto, who, though many feel he was shopworn after taking a beating from Margarito, was (and still is) a legitimate threat and made Mayweather fight like hell for 12 rounds.
I also give him credit for taking on (and easily defeating) Canelo, who, even though he was not at his peak, was a big, strong young undefeated fighter with lots of power. Floyd took him apart easily.
Now, I would really like to see Floyd take on some more TOP quality opposition. I'm talking guys who may pose a legit threat to Floyd's standing.
I would like to know how you feel about these guys chances against Mayweather and (I know you do not possess any psychic abilities, but your opinion is ALWAYS worth considering) what might be the outcome.
Here they are (or might be depending on how they look in their next fights).
1. Pacquiao (ONLY if Pacquiao fights and defeats Bradley in scintillating fashion in an April rematch).
2. Erislandy Lara (Unlikely to happen, too much risk for too little reward).
3. Gennady Golovkin
4. Sergio Martinez (only if Martinez looks fresh after the layoff and defeats Cotto in scintillating fashion if they fight in June).
5. James Kirkland.
Happy New Year, Dougie!– Rob from Longwood, Florida, USA
Thanks for the kind words and the New Year wishes, Rob, but I’m not going to be pulled into “What If?” scenarios that involve Mayweather. For starters, the debates they spark never end and sometimes get ugly. (I got nasty emails and Facebook comments from TMTA after merely stating that I’d “love to see” a Mayweather-Kirkland fight in Monday’s mailbag.)
But the bottom line is that none of the fighters you listed are likely to get a crack at Mayweather — ever. If Martinez goes life and death against Miguel Cotto but holds on to win a decision he MIGHT become a realistic candidate.
If Mayweather himself ever mentions that he wants to challenge Martinez or have the middleweight champ come down to 154 pounds to fight for his junior middleweight title, then we can analyze and debate that matchup.
MAYWEATHER VS. DE LA HOYA
Thanks, Toby. I’ll try.
Do I have a “blind spot” when it comes to Mayweather? Good question. Maybe I do. But it seems to me that some fans and members of the media have a “soft spot” for Mayweather. They overrate everything he does and simply cannot tolerate any criticism of the undefeated boxer.
The way you talk about Mayweather’s age and weight, it’s like no other fighter has ever taken on world-class opposition in his mid-30s or gave up a weight advantage. Come on, dude. Do you think De La Hoya had the weight advantage on fight night when he faced Hopkins, Trinidad or Fernando Vargas? Guess what? When a fighter goes up in weight as Mayweather, De La Hoya and about hundred other world-class fighters have since the demise of same-day weigh-ins, sooner or later they are at a weight disadvantage. Don’t make Mayweather out to be superman because he’s an undersized junior middleweight and welterweight. As you noted, Pacquiao (who weighed in at 144.5 pounds when he fought Antonio Margarito at junior middleweight) always faces heavier opponents. Hey, both guys are welcome to drop down to junior welterweight.
But since Mayweather has fought at welterweight since late 2005 and he’s had three championship bouts at junior middleweight and happens to be the reigning 154-pound champ, I don’t think it’s odd or unfair to wonder how he would do against one of the middleweight titleholders.
I’ve never demanded that Mayweather fight a middleweight. I’ve simply stated that if he wishes to be considered an all-time great by people who have an appreciation and understanding of boxing history, then he needs to do what other ultra-talented welterweight champs have done in the past – challenge the man at 160 pounds. Fighters that I consider great (who turned pro at much lighter weights than Mayweather did) – such as Henry Armstrong, Kid Gavalin, Jose Napoles and Roberto Duran – all tried to win the middleweight title. They all came up short, except for Duran (who won a portion of the title in his second attempt – at age 37!) but the fact that they dared to challenge the reigning middleweight champs of their day only adds to their legacies (at least in my eyes).
Do you have a soft spot for Mayweather? It seems like you’re trying very hard to make his victory over De La Hoya more impressive than it was. Nobody has said that De La Hoya was “old” (as in shot) when he fought Mayweather, but you can’t ignore that he was past his prime. Yeah, he was 34 and now Floyd is 36. So what? Mayweather aged better than Oscar. Chalk it up to genetics, life style and ring activity, buddy. You didn’t want to mention the name of the guy that De La Hoya beat prior to Mayweather. You know it was Mayorga, the man Steve Kim rightfully nicknamed the “Stuntman” (because he’s brought in to make faded boxing stars look good). And you should know that Mayorga was beaten half blind by Felix Trinidad prior to facing De La Hoya. And you should know that prior to fighting Mayorga, De La Hoya sat out all of 2005. And you should know that prior to his year off, he was stopped by Hopkins and looked like crap against Felix Sturm, against whom he received a gift decision. Prior to the Sturm fight, he lost the rematch to Shane Mosley. Don’t tell me that De La Hoya was on top of his game when he faced Mayweather. De La Hoya may have held the WBC 154-pound belt when he fought Floyd but he was THE RING’s No. 5-rated junior middleweight at the time, which is where he deserved to be. Mayweather deserves credit for beating the fifth best junior middleweight in 2007. Nothing more.
Do you have a blind spot for De La Hoya?
You say I “made a case” for De La Hoya being better than or comparable to Mayweather (as if that were some kind of boxing blasphemy) and you obviously disagree with that, but I don’t see you making a case for Mayweather being clearly superior to De La Hoya.
Here’s an exercise – a little homework – for you and other fans that are supporters and detractors of both Mayweather and De La Hoya. I would like for you to examine their opposition in each weight class that they campaigned in: junior lightweight, lightweight, junior welterweight, welterweight, and junior middleweight (Oscar fought two bouts at middleweight, but Floyd has yet to fight in the 160-pound weight class, so there can be no comparison in that division).
Look at the all of the fighters they faced in each weight class. Note the records of each opponent and where the opponents were in their respective careers at the time of their fights with Mayweather and De La Hoya (ascertain if they were journeymen, prospects, fringe contenders, contenders, titleholders, former beltholders, etc.; try to figure out who was in their primes or at least near their athletic peaks; delve into the momentum – recent fights – they carried into their bouts with The Pretty Boy and The Golden Boy).
Who has the overall better resume? Mayweather was clearly more accomplished at 130 pounds, but I’m not sure he was at 135, 140, 147 or 154 pounds. Go and check it out for yourselves.
Regarding my picking Mosley and Canelo to beat Mayweather, you guys have seriously got to get the f___ over it. I went with two 3-to-1 underdogs and I was wrong. I didn’t pick either fighter to smash or dominate Mayweather. I thought they would prevail in competitive distance fights. Oops. Didn’t happen. You can’t sue me for that, folks.
Mosley and Canelo are the only two fighters I’ve ever picked to beat Mayweather, who has fought 45 times. I’ve covered Mayweather since 1997. Most boxing writers who have covered a particular fighter for more than 10-15 years – even one as talented as Mayweather – will have picked against him a few times during that span. Some of the best boxing writers in the business picked against Mayweather before he fought Genaro Hernandez, Corrales, Jose Luis Castillo (in the rematch) and De La Hoya. Some even picked against him when he fought Phillip Ndou! (Oh my God! Who were they, Dougie! Give us names! TMTA must seek out justice!)
We are journalists, Toby. We are paid to write; not pick right. No member of the media gets a bonus for correctly predicting a boxing match (unless he bet on the fight – and that’s an ethical no-no if he’s actually covering the event).
Which brings me to my Mayweather-Canelo scorecard, which I’m happy to admit was really bad, once again. It’s not my first or my last poor tally. I wasn’t ringside for the fight. I was at home and I found myself abruptly saddled with the live Round by Round responsibility (Lem Satterfield, who was on press row and normally does the Round by Round, had technical difficulties and couldn’t access the pub tool just as the fight started). I jumped in mid-first round and did the best I could at watching the fight while jotting down a live recap of each round and then pushing it live to the site. (You try it sometime. It’s not easy.)
I’m not telling you this to blame Satterfield or live media responsibilities for my bad scorecard because I may have had the same tally if I was paying full attention to every second of every minute of every round. Sometimes you just see a different fight from others. What fans really need to understand is that it doesn’t mean you have bias for or against one of the fighters. The Los Angeles Times’ Lance Pugmire scored the Mayweather-Cotto fight 115-113 for COTTO. Pugmire isn’t a Cotto fan or a Mayweather hater. He’s an exemplary sports writer who had a bad night in terms of scoring. But again, Lance gets paid to cover the sport and write on deadline – and he kicks ass at his job. He doesn’t get paid to judge fights and neither do I.
If folks think I’m a bad judge of fights, I’m more than happy to keep my scores to myself. And anyone who thinks I have a blind spot for Mayweather’s talent, skill, accomplishments, etc., is certainly welcome to avoid asking me to share my opinions about the man.
I’m tellin’ you, my fellow boxing people, I’m not going to give you anything worth talking about going into Mayweather’s next fight. I tried to have some fun with “Canelo Fever” before Mayweather-Alvarez but it’s just not worth it. I know I gave Toby a long-winded response (it’s kind of hard not to when you get a long-winded email) but going forward in 2014, I plan to keep all Mayweather-related subjects brief and boring.
Photos / THE RING