Big fan of the mailbag and look forward to it every Monday and Friday. Just finished watching the Canelo Alvarez-Alfredo Angulo fight. First off what a great fight! I shared your opinion that Canelo would start slow and then bring it, but the fact that he just hammered him from the beginning and was backing Angulo for the whole fight was awesome to see. Canelo's punches were crisp, hard and accurate. Looks like he learned a bit from Floyd Mayweather Jr. on the defense tip. His head movement and shoulder roll was great. Canelo is becoming a more complete fighter.
The way the fight ended might of been disappointing but I think Tony Weeks made the right decision to stop it when he did. To take those power punches consistently throughout the whole fight is extremely dangerous and Angulo even though he was still alert and fighting back he was just getting rocked. In the light of the fighters that have died and been badly injured in the last year I commend Tony for that very unpopular decision. Was wondering your thoughts? Also some mythical match ups: a prime Sugar Shane Mosley vs. Floyd Mayweather, Sonny Liston vs. Rocky Marciano, Jake Lamotta vs. Marvin Hagler and Manny Pacquiao vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Sr.
Hope I make the bag, all the best! – Brandon
You made it, Brandon.
I agree that Weeks made the right call. Angulo was unable to connect on Alvarez on a consistent basis and when he did he wasn’t able to hurt the younger, fresher, sharper fighter. Alvarez, on the other hand, couldn’t miss. Angulo absorbed a ridiculous amount of punishment for nine rounds and couldn’t get to Alvarez. He had his chance to make something happen and couldn’t do it. There was no need for him to continue to get his cranium swiveled around like a bobble-head doll for three more rounds.
I also agree that Alvarez is becoming a more complete fighter. He has always been working on that in the gym and during developmental fights, such as his stoppages of Carlos Baldomir, Jose Cotto and Alfonzo Gomez, and his distance fights with Lovemore Ndou, Matthew Hatton and Shane Mosley. I think he displayed some of his defensive and counter-punching ability vs. Austin Trout. He tried to show too much of it vs. Mayweather (it’s never a good idea to be tactical vs. a master technician/tactician). But the same amount of technique and tactical boxing he showed last year was enough to make Angulo look hapless.
I think Alvarez fought a smarter fight against Angulo than Erislandy Lara, who many hardcore heads in the Twitterverse consider a master boxer, did last summer. Alvarez was smart to keep the fight in the center of the ring for as much as he could. Lara was content to back up to the ropes from the opening round because he could land hard shots and do damage to Angulo’s face, but El Perro was also able to inflict damage whenever the Cuban lefty’s back touched the ropes. Lara’s habit of just covering up when opponents crowd him didn’t help him in that fight.
I’ll go on record with this observation: Alvarez is a better infighter than Lara.
Onto your mythical matchups:
A prime Sugar Shane Mosley vs. Floyd Mayweather – when this fight was first talked about in the late 1990s (’98-99), back when Floyd had the WBC 30-pound belt and Shane held the IBF 135-pound strap, I favored Mayweather (believe it or not). I knew that Mosley had to seriously drain himself to make the lightweight limit and if he couldn’t whack Mayweather out early, I thought he’d fade over the second half of the fight. Also, Mayweather’s classic stand-up one-two combo boxing style always troubled Mosley. A stiff, educated jab disrupted Mosley’s rhythm. Still, it would have been a tough fight for Mayweather due to Shane’s speed, power, physical strength and activity. If they fought at lightweight, I like Mayweather by close decision. If they fought at welterweight, when Mosley first moved up to 147 (late 1999-through-2000, when he still had his lightweight speed and activity, plus the sharper technique he used to exhibit), I think Sugar Shane would have caught Mayweather and taken him out. But Mayweather would have always presented a tough style for Mosley and Floyd always knew it. I witnessed Mayweather aggressively call Shane out backstage at the old Joint (inside the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas) after Mosley knocked out Wily Wise on HBO.
Sonny Liston vs. Rocky Marciano – Liston was too big, too tough and well schooled for Rocky’s iron will and relentless attack to overcome. I think Liston would have chopped Marciano up to a late-rounds stoppage.
Jake LaMotta vs. Marvin Hagler – LaMotta is an underrated boxer. The movie Raging Bull portrayed him as an ultra-aggressive slugger but he was just as skilled and crafty as he was tough and ballsy. LaMotta also had the experience of better boxers than 90 percent of the boxers Hagler faced (such as the ATG Sugar Ray Robinson, hall of famers Marcel Cerdan, Holman Williams and Lloyd Marshall, and excellent contenders of the 1940s like Tommy Bell, Jose Basora, George Costner and Jackie Wilson). I think LaMotta would mix in the right about of boxing and brawling to win a close but unanimous decision.
Manny Pacquiao vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. – Pacquiao’s style would have been very difficult for JC Superstar but at 130-140 pounds I think the Mexican icon would have weathered the early storm and gradually cut the ring off on the Filipino hero until able to dish out some serious late rounds punishment (especially to the body) en route to a close decision or late stoppage. Above 140 pounds, I would go with Pacquiao by decision if we’re talking about the 2009-210 version of the PacMan.
NOT A QUICK STOPPAGE
Long time reader and current amateur fighter. Love your opinions and often look up to you – your mailbags and articles are well thought out and your conclusions are (mostly) objective.
That said, I know you're going to sift through letter after letter of the Alvarez-Angulo fight being a quick stoppage. Please, please, PLEASE find (and post) one of the letters that supports this stoppage. Angulo wasn't going to win – and damn, how long do you give a fighter before you just accept the inevitable? This wasn't Alvarado-Rios or Providnikov-Bradley.
Keep up the good work – love the mailbags! – Orion
Thanks Orion (you’ve got a great name for a boxer).
I haven’t checked all of my inboxes (I’ve got three of ‘em) but, so far, I haven’t received any emails from fans that were against the stoppage.
Maybe that’s because Angulo’s fans were too hung over to write anything up on Sunday (they were hitting the cervezas at the MGM Grand harder than Canelo was teeing off on their boy). But if they woke up with handover headaches, I guarantee you the pain they felt was nothing compared to what Angulo was feeling.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Weeks did the right thing by stopping it when he did.
I totally understand the frustration that Angulo’s fans felt at the moment of the stoppage. Their guy had gone through hell in order to catch Alvarez against the ropes when the redheaded star eventually got tired, which happened in rounds seven and eight. They saw a glimmer of hope when Alvarez elected to stand and trade during the final minute of the eighth. It only takes one good shot to turn a fight or knock a guy out cold. (But that same rule applies for their guy.)
I also understand trainer Virgil Hunter’s frustration with the stoppage. On the same card we all witnessed three fighters take an amount of punishment that was close to or equal to what Angulo absorbed and those fights were not stopped. Ricardo Alvarez, Nihito Arakawa and Cristian Mijares were all hopelessly outgunned by their opponents (Sergio Thompson, Jorge Linares and Leo Santa Cruz), and unlike Angulo, they didn’t have the punching power to turn the fight or stage a radical comeback.
But Weeks, who refereed one of the most brutal fights in history (Diego Corrales-Jose Luis Castillo I) and one fight that ended in a fatality (Leavander Johnson-Jesus Chavez), isn’t supposed to concern himself with what happened in other fights or with the possibility of an Angulo rally. His only concern is the fighter’s safety. Weeks took into consideration the accumulation of blows that Angulo took and the way the ninth round and first 40 seconds of the 10th went (target practice for Canelo) and he made a decision.
I can certainly live with it and more importantly Angulo is still with us – healthy and alert – to live with it.
HUNTER’S HYPOCRISY, MALIGNAGGI’S EXCELLENCE
I have to tell you, journalists get me sometimes. When a guy dies in the ring, they want to wonder why it wasn't stopped and if a man isn't killed in the ring, they want to lynch the referee. I thought Weeks did a great job as usual. Angulo was getting his ass handed to him from the first 10 seconds of the fight, his face was completely disfigured and while I respect Virgil Hunter, HE IS A F___ING LIAR. He was about to stop the fight his damn self. He just wants to protect his fighters earning power, reputation and confidence. But I started saying a round or so sooner that they need to stop this fight. Sure Angulo COULD have gotten LUCKY with a huge shot and stopped Canelo, but the chance of that happening was about 1%. What would have happened is Angulo would have gotten his brain battered for another 9 minutes. He is to tough for his own good. It wasn't just this fight, remember what Kirkland did to him? Lara, Canelo? Canelo was putting insane punishment on him, it was a good stoppage.
This performance by Canelo only makes Floyd look that much greater!
Paulie Malignaggi is my favorite broadcaster and he just proved it again Saturday night. He can so eloquently sum up things from all angles and he was dead on and the only voice of reason. Those commentators who never took a punch want to proclaim a travesty by Weeks. Yes, Angulo was not defenseless, but he will live to see another payday and extend his career. He could have had his career ended in 9 minutes.
Good job Weeks! – Jason C. Brown
I agree. Weeks did the right thing, and Malignaggi (who won the Boxing Writers Association of America’s award for broadcast excellence) is among the best boxing analysts/color commentators in recent years.
I haven’t watched the Showtime broadcast of the Alvarez-Angulo fight, so I don’t really have a proper perspective of your outrage in regard to the other commentators’ view (or criticism) of the stoppage.
I can tell you that along press row, nobody sitting anywhere near me (Row C, just behind the Japanese international broadcast crew and Dan Rafael) had a problem with Weeks’ stoppage. Veteran sports scribe (and frequent RING magazine contributor) Norm Frauenheim and my old MaxBoxing cohort Steve Kim both agreed with the stoppage and even felt that it could have come sooner.
I’m unaware of any prominent boxing writer who disagrees with Weeks’ stoppage.
Regarding Hunter, he admitted during his post-fight interview and reiterated during the post-fight press conference that he was close to stopping it himself between the ninth and 10th rounds. However, he didn’t want to throw in the towel until he saw Alvarez nail Angulo with multi-punch combinations. He was holding out for the hope of his fighter landing a Hail Mary punch. Trainers get so close to their fighters that it’s sometimes impossible for them to be realists during the heat of battle. They want to give their fighter every chance to win, every benefit of the doubt. They hold out for a miracle, which almost never happens.
That’s why we have referees and ringside physicians. The officials are not emotionally involved in the fight, which is supposed to make it easier for them to make the hard but necessary calls to ensure fighter safety. It doesn’t always happen but it’s supposed to.
A FEW THOUGHTS ON ALVAREZ-ANGULO
A few random thoughts on Canelo-Angulo:
(P.S. Have you ever thought of having your So. Cali Notebooks published in book form?) Keep up the brilliant work. Regards. – Dave
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Dave.
No, I haven’t seriously thought about collecting past Southern Cali. Notebooks or Gym Notes columns into a book. If I did, who the hell would buy it?
Anyway, thanks for the random Canelo-Angulo thoughts. I’ll respond to them in order:
1) True, but keep in mind that most of the boxers you see duking it out on TV have kids; all of them have families who love them.
3) To be fair to Hunter, I don’t think Khan or Angulo would experience drastic improvement in their weak areas with any world-class trainer. Both guys are Olympians who developed their respective styles during extensive amateur careers and both had become set in their ways as pros long before they hooked up with Hunter. I think Hunter has helped other fighters (not named Ward) improve, including Brandon Gonzales and Mike Dallas Jr.
4) Alvarez said he has no plans to move up in weight to the middleweight division at the Angulo post-fight press conference, despite coming in at 155 pounds for the fight. He said he didn’t see any reason to sweat out an extra pound since there was no world title on the line (and he could afford to give up $100,000). Personally, I think he should move to 160 before the end of the year. I think Angulo should have moved to 160 a year or two ago. He looked sick at Friday’s weigh-in (and I heard that he puked not long after weighing in at 154.5 pounds).
MORE YEYO! WHAT HAPPENDED TO MIJARES?
Couple of things I wanted to say. Sergio Thompson!?! I would like to see him some more. Very entertaining. Second, wasn't there a point a couple years ago when Christian Mijares was on some peoples P4P lists? Before he lost to Vic Darchiniyan? What happen to him? – Josh
Darchinyan happened to Mijares. He got KTFO by Darch Vader, who was a monster at 115 pounds, and then dropped two close decisions to tricky bantamweight Nehomar Cermeno in back to back to back fights in a one-year span (late 2008 to late ’09) and the talented southpaw never really got his groove back.
Mijares had his share of post-Darchinyan success, but his confidence was never as high as it was prior to that upset loss.
And for the record, I was one of those boxing writer know-it-alls who said the Durango, Mexico native was the truth. That’s what he looked like to me when I saw him stop rugged Japanese veteran Katsushige Kawashima from ringside in Tokyo back in January of 2007. He was such a fluid and intuitive boxer at the time, I compared him to Floyd Mayweather (I know, outright blasphemy to members of The Money Team Army). But he lived up to the hype for awhile by taking Jorge Arce to school and then unifying the WBC and WBA belts by outpointing a still-dangerous Alexander Munoz.
Thompson doesn’t have half of Mijares’ talent and skill but what he lacks in technique he makes up with raw power and the puncher’s confidence that comes with it. Oh, and he’s little a bit crazy.
If you think his fight with Ricardo Alvarez was entertaining, you should check out Yeyo’s WBC 130-pound title shot last year. He dropped a close decision to Takashi Miura in a brutal scrap that should have been a Fight of the Year candidate on everyone’s list (but wasn’t because it wasn’t televised on HBO or Showtime).
If you think Nihito Arakawa is the toughest S.O.B. out of Japan, guess again. Miura is a BEAST.
THOUGHTS ON CANELO’S PERFORMANCE, WEIGHT
Much like I said on my previous emails, Canelo won quite easily. It’s no surprise to me that Saul was able to dominate Angulo in such impressive fashion. Golden Boy was very smart to choose a boxer that was made to highlight Canelo's strengths, something that they very much needed in order to get the Canelo bandwagon back on track. With Angulo we had a durable punching bag that had proven throughout his career that he could lose competitively against the best of the division. Canelo looked great, he showed all of his tools: speed, accuracy, defense, ability to slip punches, feints and patience. It was after all, a success.
I want to talk about his power first. I think Canelo's punching power is slightly overrated. Angulo seemed to be welcoming all those punches and never stopped coming forward. With the amount of power punches that landed on Angulo's grill, I would've expected him to go down from the 4th to the 6th, yet he survived and would've probably made it to the 12th. The only reason referee Tony Weeks didn't let the massacre continue was because of El Perro's history of being on the receiving end of loads of punches against high quality opposition. There wasn't a point in letting him get beat up for 2 more rounds knowing that he wasn't going to get knocked out. Good decision by the referee. These are the kind of beatings that can cause brain damage or death. Canelo didn’t have the kind of power to knock him out, but just enough to make him this year's version of the Elephant Man.
I heard an interview where Canelo said that he never felt Angulo's power, that he thought it was greatly overrated. I'm thinking Canelo has a good chin after all. We can all forget the Jose Cotto dance in the first round finally.
His punches looked faster than ever. He was throwing beautiful combinations highlighted with that nice looking uppercut. He slipped punches, moved his head and feinted nicely. He was able to land at ease and use all of his tricks to show the public that he's back. Overall it was what I expected him to do, Angulo was chosen to make Canelo shine. Saul showed that he's better than the version of him that fought Floyd back in September and that he's probably at least second best at the jr middleweight division. I still think that Lara would beat him in a closer than expected fight (I don’t think Lara is in the same league as Mayweather as some want to believe), but wouldn't be surprised if the young Mexican would slow him down with those beautiful body shots and win some of the later rounds to pull out a close decision.
I'm not so happy that this fight was on pay per view. It was a mismatch from the beginning and many knew this. Many fans over in Mexico were turned off once the match started and saw the sloooowwwwwneeess in Angulo's punches. Many were screaming fix, something I don’t agree with. Still we need to put fights where they belong, not fighters. Canelo as a fighter only belongs on pay per view when he's going against a star boxer who demands a higher pay day. Say, someone like Cotto. Fights belong on pay per view, not fighters. That’s the problem with today's boxing business. A mismatch like Canelo-Angulo isn’t pay per view. I won’t pay it. (Thankfully Televisa put it on national TV in Mexico and I didn’t have to pay a dime).
Regarding the weight issue, man, I’m so pissed off at this. A friend of mine who happens to be an old school boxing fan said it best: "making weight used to be a requirement, it’s now become a suggestion". Yes, he did the right thing by coming out the last week letting Angulo's team that he wasn't going to make 154, but still it was weak to hear that such a young guy is already using the system to his advantage. Not making weight in boxing is unacceptable, everything said is an excuse, much more at this level when they're making millions.
Thanks all I have today Doug, it’s longer than usual but I had to shell out all my thoughts this time around. – Juan Valverde, Tijuana
I agree that Canelo-Angulo wasn’t a pay-per-view level matchup but that doesn’t mean it was a total mismatch going in. Yes, Alvarez was the favorite, but a lot o fans and some members of the media thought he picked the wrong guy to mess with after suffering his first loss.
I know I got a lot of emails predicting the redhead’s demise the week of the fight.
Anyway, you were right. Angulo didn’t have a chance, and Canelo looked sharper than ever. However, I don’t think we can really judge his speed, power or chin off of this fight.
Everybody looks like a speed demon next to Angulo, who is the slowest Mexican puncher since Yory Boy Campas.
It’s hard for me to say that Canelo’s power is overrated because Angulo is as tough as he is plodding. James Kirkland landed 1,000 power punches and only had him down once. Lara hit him with everything and the kitchen sink and couldn’t drop him. I think most 154 pounders would have wilted under Canelo’s head and body attack on Saturday.
And as for his chin, I’m still not 100 percent sold. Yes, Angulo can punch, but he’s so slow and predictable that Canelo could see and anticipate every shot. It was impossible for Angulo to land a flush power punch.
I think Canelo-Lara is a toss-up fight. I think the Cuban lefty is a hell of a boxer but I also think he’s a bit overrated by purist-nerds.
The weight thing pisses me off, too. I think we’re going to continue to see high-profile fighters miss their contracted weights until a commission steps up to the issue by penalizing at least half of a boxer’s purse for failing to make weight.
At least Canelo didn’t totally abuse his position of power by coming in way over the way Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. did last year against Bryan Vera. And I know this is a separate issue, but I think it was good for Angulo not to come in at 154 or lighter. He looked awful to me weighing in at 154.5.
CANELO AND THE HUMAN HEAVYBAG
Doug. E. (aka Hater)
I can't believe you man. In the last bag you agreed that Thomas Hearns would have beaten Floyd Mayweather? What next? You're going to say that Betty White would kick Floyd's ass as well.
Just kidding! Of course Hearns would have wiped out Mayweather. But then if Hearns was around today Floyd wouldn't even go near him.
As for Canelo-Angulo, well this may have been billed as Toe To Toe but Fist to Face was more like it. Angulo fought like he always does: Straight forward while blocking incoming flak with his kisser. Canelo couldn't have missed him if he was blindfolded. Altogether Canelo looked pretty sharp with his combos. Even if you're willing to overlook the fact that he was punching the most defensively-challenged guy in the game. A punching bag without the chain links.
And the stoppage? Well Angulo was taking a lot of punishment. But not the overly brutal shots he took from Kirkland and Lara. And Canelo is not exactly the Stamina King. But he was still in control. I guess the big question is whether Angulo could have fought to the last bell. He might have. But it was so obvious that Canelo had this one. He was just worlds better than Angulo. Like I needed to state the obvious here.
But since this was the first time Canelo beat up a bigger guy I'll give him credit nevertheless. Especially since some experts was expecting this one to be tougher on the fire-headed Mexican. Of course, even if Canelo wiped out Angulo in 11 seconds all those Canelo-haters would still be unloading their monkey-s__t on the guy. By the way, you cracked me up two bags ago when you compared the haters to a bunch of pissed-off chimps who swallowed too many laxative pills. (Maybe not in those exact words but close enough).
On a side note you once mentioned that Angulo's old nemesis James Kirkland will be fighting in April. Any idea who he'll be fighting. Must be tough for Captain Kirkland landing a fight when you consider that he's an HBO guy and most top 154-pounders are SHO-dudes. Though I still think Kirkland and Canelo should get it on soon. Okay dude, I'm blasting off. May the Power Cosmic be with you as always. – Captain Ron
Thanks for sharing Cap. I’m glad you liked the monkey poo comment. It cracked me up, too. (Oh my poor daughters, they’re already more mature than their Daddy!)
Anywho, Kirkland’s April fight was scrapped along with that entire Golovkin-Lee show in New York. I haven’t heard about a different date for the Mandingo Warrior. It’s true that his 50 Cent/HBO affiliation will make it difficult to do business with the Shwotime/Golden Boy/Haymon boxing league, but there are a couple 154-pound titleholders who are basically free agents: unbeaten WBO titleholder Demetrius Andrade and soon-to-be deported IBF beltholder Carlos Molina.
Kirkland and Molina have some unfinished business, don’t they?
Canelo’s never going to get any credit from Twitter Nation, but who cares? He doesn’t need their support. He’s got real fans who actually buy tickets to see him fight.
THE PLACE TO GO IN NYC
Long time. Just wanted to mention the place to go after a fight at the Garden is the Affinia Hotel bar right across the street from MSG on 7th Avenue. See, even Buddy wanted to be there. LOL. Be cool, bro. – Bakari Lee, Jersey City, NJ
Hey Bakari! Great to hear from after all these years.
I can see that Buddy is a little more comfortable than he was with Juan Valverde’s crew in Vegas, but why is he palming Junior Jones’ head? (That is the former bantamweight and junior featherweight champ from Brooklyn isn’t it?)
Anyway, you are absolutely right about the Affinia Hotel bar being the new hot spot for boxing after a big show at Madison Square Garden. It will be packed after June 7 (unless Cotto gets his ass kicked by Maravilla).
I remember when the Tick Tock Diner on 8th Avenue (and 34th Street) was the place where all the boxing insiders and fans gathered after a New York City fight card. I guess I’m getting old.
Photo Gallery / Naoki Fukuda
Email Fischer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer