Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Friday mailbag

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MIDDLEWEIGHT/JUNIOR LIGHTWEIGHT

Hi Doug,

Andre Ward is making a good point when he compares his situation to Gennady Golovkin's when it comes to moving up. They should not move up right now since they both feel comfortable at their weight. But at the end of the day they should go for the biggest purses right?

If I were Golovkin’s manager I would wait until the last minute to put my fighter against Ward. There is cash in the MW division: Felix Sturm in Germany, Peter Quillin to a lesser extent (even though he needs to give Rosado a rematch) or keep fighting challengers for money in Monte Carlo or New York. Golovkin is a must-see fighter (according to the TV ratings) and the B-side seems less important in comparison to Ward. I would also push for a fight against Froch in the UK.

Ward should definitely fight Groves! He cleaned up the division and proved that he is the man at the weight. He seems that he is able to make good money against lesser opponents like Edwin Rodriguez. But he needs a good B-side to gain exposure in the ratings. And today it is very challenging. Of course he wants to fight fat face Julio Cesar Chavez but this won't happen anytime soon (what weight??).

On espn.com they put Mikey Garcia vs Nonito Donaire as one of their 2014 wishes… I would change it to Garcia vs Takashi Uchiyama. That would be a hell of a fight!! But we'll get Takashi Miura vs Uchiyama so I don't care about the Garcia fight. Not even sure who will win this one. Uchiyama got dropped hard in his last fight vs Kanedo. What the fight proved:

- Uchiyama can be dropped very hard by a single punch. He looked beatable.

- He is extremely poised (no panic in his corner before the 11th) and tough as nails

- He can come back from being dropped and dominate the last 2 rounds with aggression and activity (close to drop Kanedo in the end)

- Kanedo is a tough SOB

What's your prediction for the Miura vs Uchiyama fight? Potential FOTY right there in my opinion. How would Uchiyama handle Mikey if they were to fight in 2 months?

Last one: Roman Gonzalez vs Kazuto Ioka? – Vince

Gonzalez-Ioka is a dream fight for me. I would favor Chocolatito by late TKO. All I know is that if the fight ever happens the winner better be in every boxing publication’s and fight nerd’s pound-for-pound top 10.

I don’t think Uchiyama would “handle” Garcia at all. That’s a difficult fight for both junior lightweight beltholders (THE RING’s Nos. 1 and 2-rated 130 pounders). But I would slightly favor Uchiyama to win by decision if the fight were to take place in two months. He’s the more seasoned fighter and the more proven at 130 pounds. He won his WBA title from an unbeaten contender (Juan Carlos Salgado) and he has made eight title defenses against solid opposition (including current titleholder Miura, Jorge Solis and Bryan Vasquez, all of whom he stopped).

I think Uchiyama’s experience, talent and style would present problems for Mikey. The unbeaten Japanese vet wouldn’t play into Garcia’s heavy counter-punching hands because he prefers to operate from a distance, where he’s accurate with his powerful left hand. He doesn’t press his opponents. He’s got a sneaky aggression from arms’ length, but he’s a decent body puncher and counter puncher when in the pocket. The last time Garcia faced a southpaw as fast, athletic and hard punching as Uchiyama was when he fought Cornelius Lock as a prospect back in 2010. Although Mikey scored an 11th-round TKO, he did not have an easy time in that fight.

Uchiyama-Miura should be an excellent rematch and 130-pound title unification bout (WBA and WBC). Uchiyama had to get up from the canvas to score a hard-fought eighth-round TKO in their first bout and he’ll probably have to do so again in the rematch. Miura will give any 130- or 135-pound fighter hell. That guy’s got balls the size of Tokyo. His unanimous decision over Sergio Thompson was an overlooked Fight of the Year candidate. Check it out if you haven’t seen it.

Regarding Ward and Golovkin, I respectfully disagree that they have similar situations. You said yourself that Ward “cleaned up the division and proved that he is the man at the weight.” Well, that means he needs to either move up to light heavyweight or accept the challenge of any middleweight badasses who think they can hang with him at 168 pounds.

I agree that Golovkin has more than a few challenges at 160 pounds. The showdown with Sturm was not able to be made when both fighters had the same promoter in Germany, but now that “the Sturminator” is his own promoter and nearing the end of his career maybe he’ll be willing to face GGG. Golovkin vs. Quillin would be an anticipated 160-pound matchup. Hopefully, network politics can be worked out someday soon so we can see it.

But I’m still holding out for Sergio Martinez to defend his RING title against my favorite middleweight. I know that it looks like Maravilla could get a big money fight with Miguel Cotto this year, but beyond that bout – if he wins – the middleweight fight I want to see is Martinez-Golovkin.

Speaking of Martinez-Cotto…

 

COTTO VS. MARTINEZ

Hi Doug,

Miguel Cotto choosing to face Martinez for the Middleweight crown is great for various reasons, but don’t be blinded, this is for the money, not the glory. How can he choose to fight for less money against Sergio than the $10 million Canelo Alvarez offered him?

Well, because Cotto is not dumb. He knows that fighting Sergio is an easier matchup than the young Mexican even though Canelo seemed clueless against Floyd Mayweather (tou’re never as good as your best fight or as bad as your worst).   Cotto knows that Martinez is a 40-year-old fighter that will be out for 14 months once he faces him, coming out of a potential career ending injury and that he probably won’t be able to use his legs as he used to, his biggest weapon I might add. Fighting a static fighter like Martinez, a guy whose boxing fundamentals are nowhere near his will prove to be easier than fighting a young hungry, powerful boxer like Alvarez who wants to look good after such a humiliating loss.   

Fighting a static fighter that used his awkwardness and athletic ability over his lack of boxing fundamentals (much like Roy Jones did), will be an easier time for Cotto, who will use his high ring IQ and great technique to outbox his larger opponent.  Once he gets the Middleweight title, he’ll have the one piece of jewelry that Floyd Mayweather wants the most, the lineal middleweight championship.  

Cotto vs Mayweather rematch in September? Sounds like the logical choice to me.   Money Talks. These kind of superstars know how to do business, they wouldn’t risk something like that for a risky fight and a small 10 million dollar payment when you can make $25 million for the glory and a rematch against the reigning p4p champ. See you soon Doug. – Juan Valverde, Tijuana

I would be all for Mayweather-Cotto II, if Cotto were to win the lineal middleweight title, but I don’t see it happening.

If Martinez is just 75 percent of what he was two or three years ago, I think he’s got too much movement, speed, punch volume and power for Cotto to deal with for 12 rounds. I think he can stop the Puerto Rican star in the late rounds of what I hope would be a competitive fight. Even if Martinez is only 60 percent of what he was, I still favor him to beat Cotto.

I understand and agree with – to an extent – what you’re saying about Martinez relying more on his athleticism than his boxing fundamentals, but even though he lacks textbook technique, I think the Argentine veteran has ring savvy that’s on par with Cotto’s. Yes, Cotto has the more solid fundamentals and the better technique, but he’s also methodical and slower than Martinez. The awkward and naturally bigger southpaw can take advantage of Cotto’s somewhat predictable ring ways.

Bottom line, I don’t think Martinez is an easy fight for Cotto. And if Cotto winds up fighting Martinez I don’t think he did it just for the money or the promise of a Mayweather rematch. I believe he sincerely wants to be the first four-division champ from Puerto Rico. A victory over Martinez would put Cotto in the same group of Puerto Rican greats that includes Carlo Ortiz, Wilfredo Gomez, Wilfred Benitez and, of course, Felix Trinidad.

By the way, if you’re right about Martinez being a sitting duck for Cotto (and I should note that some very knowledgeable longtime boxing fans agree with your take on the fight) don’t be surprised if Cotto skips the Mayweather rematch and welcomes the challenge of young Canelo.

 

PROMOTERS

Doug,

I read that Thomas Oosthuizen was dropped from the HBO card on Jan 18th after being dropped by his promoter. I was just wondering since there is a signed contract, if he would be able to fight without a promoter or if by being dropped he no longer has to fulfill his contractual obligations.

Also, while I’m on the topic of promoters, can you please explain why fighters with notoriety and name recognition need to sign with a promoter? Couldn't fighters like a Pacquaio, Cotto or Broner, go directly to a network and cut out the middle man? I would assume if the network had the date already would pay for all the promotional costs. If this isn't possible, why don't fighters sign one fight contacts with promoters in order to have options for potentially bigger offers? Even if this doesn't make the mailbag, please enlighten me on the business aspect of the sport since promotional rivalries have deprived fans of a lot of great action. Thanks. – Frank Luback, Brooklyn

Cotto is reportedly a promotional free agent. A bona-fide attraction on the East Coast and a proven pay-per-view name, the Puerto Rican veteran basically allows the top promoters (Top Rank and Golden Boy here in the U.S.) to bid on his services. He takes the fights that make the most money and the most sense to him.

However, Cotto didn’t turn pro a star. He needed a promoter to develop him as a fighter and an attraction, and Top Rank did that, as they did with the two biggest boxing stars of the past 15-20 years – Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather. Instead of becoming a free agent like Cotto, De La Hoya decided to promote himself late in his career (although I should note that Cotto does have his own promotional company, but it’s not licensed in every major U.S. jurisdiction as GBP is). Mayweather also has his own promotional company and is his own “boss,” so to speak, but he has a close business relationship with GBP, which has co-promoted all of his fights since the De La Hoya event in 2007.

Mayweather, Cotto and the Klitschko brothers are big enough stars to be their own promoters or free agents, but almost every other boxer needs a promoter.

A network is not a promoter. They are an integral part of the modern boxing business structure, but what they do is provide money and exposure for the fighters/boxing shows (in exchange for what they hope is an exciting or compelling individual sport event). They don’t put on the actual fight cards. They don’t pay the fighters directly. They don’t deal with the fighters’ medical exams and insurance. They don’t reserve and rent out the venues. They don’t pay to have the ring and the arena set up for the boxing event. They don’t develop young unknown fighters into solid pros. I can go on and on.

Oosthuizen pulled out of his fight against Eleider Alvarez, claiming that he has suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident and THEN his promoter dropped him (because he didn’t believe the fighter’s story as there were rumors that the super middleweight contender was out of shape and overweight for his light heavyweight debut).

 

BROOKS’ BREAKOUT

Hey Dougie,

Last time I emailed I was living in Louisiana and contemplating a long journey north to watch my boy Kell Brook fight Devon Alexander. Well… that went wrong.

Since then, as you know, a lot has changed. Devon has lost his belt to Shawn Porter meaning Kell has someone else to chase (should he stay injury free). What do you think the outcome of this fight will be if it’s made, both on your side of the pond and mine?

If this fight isn't made what do you want to see from Brook in 2014? I read in the Monday mailbag you think he can have a breakout year. How do you envisage this happening?

Sorry this email is so Brook focused. But being from Sheffield and watching many of his fights, I am ready for his career to blow up. I believe he has the skills.

Cheers mate, love the mailbag. – Adam, Aberdeen, UK (Sheffield)

Thanks Adam. I also believe Brook has the skills (and the talent and athleticism) be something special (no pun intended).

The most direct way for Brook to “break out” in 2014 is to challenge Porter for the IBF welterweight title (for whom he’s the No. 1 contender) and beat the Ohioan. Easier said than done, of course. If you had asked me last year what I think of a Brook-Porter matchup, I would have told you that the American had little to no shot.

I no longer believe that. Porter showed me something in the victory over Alexander. He’s for real at 147 pounds and he happens to be a big, strong, awkwardly aggressive welterweight boxer-puncher. I can see him giving Brook the same kind of fits that Carson Jones gave the Sheffield native in their first fight. Brook has looked pretty sharp since that fight but I view the Porter matchup as an even-money fight, which means I’d favor Porter if took place in the U.S. and I’d favor your boy if it took place in the UK.

If Porter-Brook isn’t made in 2014, what I want to see from “Special K” this year is him facing at least two top-10 welterweight contenders and possibly make his U.S. debut.  

 

POUND FOR POUND

Mister Fisher,

I know you are not too much interested in p4p lists. But can you explain why Floyd Mayweather is rated over Andre Ward? Ward has beaten every fighter crossing his way, not ducking anybody or picking the perfect opponent at the perfect time. – Matthias from Germany

Ward’s the man at 168 pounds and he very well could be the Heir Apparent to Mayweather’s pound-for-pound throne. However, S.O.G. has only been fighting on the “elite” level for the last three years. Mayweather has been considered an “elite” boxer since the late 1990s.

So though he shares obvious elite-level skill, technique and talent with Ward – along with the general dominance against their opponents – Mayweather’s longevity (and his accomplishments over multiple weight classes) sets him apart from the super middleweight champ. 

By the way, my last name is spelled “Fischer” with a “c” thanks to my German heritage.

 

GGG & HOLYFIELD

Hey Dougie,
Though I’m a fan of his in the ring, how do you cope with all those numpties going off on you about their love god when your are remotely critical, and even slightly complimentary!? Even I’m fed up of hearing about him. I can’t even write his name with their constant illogical hating just because someone doesn't agree with them!

Anyways, in your Monday mailbag I was wondering about your reasoning for ranking Evander Holyfield over Lennox Lewis in your all-time great heavyweight top ten? Hey, everyone's entitled to their opinion, just curious why.
 
How do you see GGG’s year going? Adama should be routine, then what? As much as I am a fan, there needs to be a step up in competition (not necessarily his fault through ducking). Ideally, Martinez is the one, but I can’t see him ever stepping in the ring with GGG even if he beats Cotto convincingly at this stage of his career. I'd like Golovkin to stay at middleweight for a while as long as it’s the likes of Quillin, Martin Murray or Strum. If he's forced to step up, no Ward for a while. It’s too big a jump yet. There’s plenty there for him to still develop before taking on the king at super middleweight. Imagine the war GGG v Froch would be!   
 
Finally some mythical match ups:
 
Hamed-McGuigan (Feather)
Margarito-Duran (Welter – Don't think anyone would pick against Duran, but BRUTUAL while it lasted)
Calzaghe-Toney (Super Mid)
Mosley-Whitaker (Welter)
 
Keep up the top work Douglas, don't let the haters get to you. Besides what a boring place it would be if everybody was rational. – Mike, UK

Well, boxing must be one of the most exciting “places” on earth, because nobody is rational in this sport.

Nice mythical matchups:

A lot of younger boxing fans who missed the 1980s will probably disagree with me, but I favor McGuigan over Hamed. I think McGuigan, who had very good fundamentals and technique, would make the most of his height and reach advantages. The ultra-popular Irishman’s boxing discipline, long jab and upper-body movement would give Naz fits, in my opinion. McGuigan had solid whiskers, lots of heart and 15-round stamina. I think he’d survive any rocky moments or knockdowns to outbox and outhustle The Prince to a close UD, maybe an MD.

Duran would bust-up and beat down a game Margarito to a clear unanimous decision at welterweight.

I love “Lights Out” but I think Calzaghe’s speed, movement and high punch output would enable the Welsh wizard to outmaneuver and outhustle the counter-punching master to a close UD.

I think Whitaker would have thoroughly frustrated Mosley at welterweight. Sweet Pea by lopsided UD. I think Sugar Shane would have had a better shot at beating Whitaker at lightweight.

I hope I’m wrong but I think Golovkin will have a similar year as he did last year. He’ll fight four times, three times on HBO, he’ll knock everyone out and he’ll gain more fans and bigger ratings but he’ll face fringe contenders and lower top-10 middleweights – not the top five 160 pounds, such as Martinez, Sturm and Quillin.

I’d love to see Froch-Golovkin. And I don’t think Ward is too big of a step up for GGG.

I rate Holyfield over Lewis because I don’t think LL faced the prime version of the Real Deal when they fought in 1999, and while that “draw” in their first bout should have been a clear UD for Lewis the rematch could have been a legit draw. Their head-to-head matchup aside, I think Holyfield fought more top heavyweights than Lewis did in the ‘90s and early 2000s (including a closer-to-his prime Tyson than LL faced in 2002, Riddick Bowe and Michael Moorer). I also thought Commander ‘Vander did better against Ray Mercer than Lewis did, and I can’t envision him getting KTFO against the likes of Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman.

I respect your refusal use Mayweather’s name in a mailbag email. Maybe you can start calling him “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named” like Lord Voldemort since his fans are about as annoying as Harry Potterheads.

 

HAS KHAN RUINED HIS CAREER?

Hey Dougie,

I’m a big fan of all UK fighters, Amir Khan being one of my favourites. Now I am probably one of very few who thinks he does have a slight chance if he gets his fight with Mayweather. He has blistering hand speed and puts together combos with great fluidity (I’m aware this is also a major defensive weakness of his too). But I can’t help thinking a number of choices he has recently made in his career have put him many steps back to where he could and perhaps should be.

Firstly, he’s been inactive for far too long. Yes, he may well have been waiting for a fight with Mayweather, but surely he should have taken the Alexander fight which he had a great chance of winning. He would be less ring rusty going into the Mayweather fight and would have the added bonus of a belt, had he won. If not Alexander, he could have taken another fight to keep himself sharp.

Second, I think switching to Virgil Hunter was a bad call. Yes, Virgil is a good trainer, but given that Amir has shown to have a leaky defence whatever he has tried in the past surely he should have stuck to his strengths, which are his considerable offensive skills. Who better to cultivate those than Freddie Roach?

Also, do you think his chin really is as bad as it has been made out? Yes, he was badly knocked out by Prescott and Garcia but that was after taking huge, flush shots which I think would have wiped out 95% of top level fighters. In his last fight, he managed to stay upright against Julio Diaz after eating numerous clean shots in the championship rounds, then there was THAT punch he took from Maidana in the 10th of their fight.

If the Floyd fight doesn’t happen (and I have a suspicion it won’t), who would you like to see him fight next? The obvious one is Brook, but he doesn’t seem to want to give Kell the time of day, even though I think he wins that fight handily. Rematch with Garcia? Pacquiao? Bradley?

Keep up the great work Dougie!! – Jamie

Thanks Jamie.

If the Mayweather fight doesn’t happen for Khan I think he has plenty of marketable options within the Golden Boy Promotions stable of welterweights – mainly rematches with either Danny Garcia or Marcos Maidana. If Adrien Broner wins a rematch with Maidana, I think “The Problem” would make an excellent (maybe even PPV worthy) opponent for Khan.

There’s also Malignaggi (another rematch), Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter.

But I think the Mayweather fight is going to happen. And I think it was probably good for Khan to have the time off. The Diaz fight was a punishing 12-round bout. He needed a few months just to heal from that bout. And he needed the extra time with Virgil Hunter, who I think is a good trainer for him.

Khan didn’t look like a world-beater vs. Carlos Molina or Diaz but it takes time for a fighter and trainer to gel. I know that Hunter is an excellent trainer and teacher in the gym and I believe that Khan is as smart as he is talented, so there’s a lot that he can and will learn from his current coach.

I think Roach did a great job with Khan, whose name was mud on both sides of the Pond when he walked through the Wild Card doors. The proof is in their win streak together, two world title Khan won and the top-10 contenders he beat: Kotelnik, Malignaggi, Maidana, Judah, hell, I thought he beat Peterson, too.

However, I’m not sure that Roach is the right fighter to train Khan for Mayweather. He’s an offense-minded coach, as you noted. Focusing on speed, power, volume and pressure would probably play into Floyd’s sublime defensive and counter punching ability. Maybe boxing is the way to go. Boxers generally don’t like fighting other boxers, and Hunter is a boxing coach. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.

 

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

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