Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE

Dougie,

Again, I appreciate your mailbags, even though we disagree half the time. I’m a big fan, and you happen to be my favorite sports writer, keep it up.

Simple question, could you elaborate on the current significance/historical significance of either Tim Bradley, Marcos Maidana, or Miguel Cotto winning by knockout in the first two rounds? How will we look back at Floyd Mayweather, Pacman, or Sergio Martinez if they are dropped and finished early? Vice Versa, how significant are any of these fights if the favorite wins by really early knockout.

Fantasy matchup:

Prime Paul Williams vs current Saul Alvarez at 154. – Jordan, North Carolina

Thanks for the kind words, Jordan.

I’ll take prime “P-Will” over Canelo via close decision. I think Williams would outwork the redhead, but despite his height and crazy reach, the southpaw volume puncher was probably at his best at 147 pounds. Canelo’s a natural junior middleweight who can probably carry 154 (or 160 pounds) a lot better than Williams did, and my guess is that he’d land the harder punches during the fight – maybe even rock or drop the American – but he wouldn’t land enough to win.

If Manny Pacquiao or Mayweather were knocked out early, it would probably hasten their exits from the sport but I don’t think the shocking losses would affect their legacies at all in terms of their imminent hall of fame inductions. I would still consider both men to be first-ballot hall of famers based on their worldwide popularity and very impressive bodies of work (PacMan was the Boxing Writers Association of America’s Fighter of the Decade for the 2000s, and Mayweather was a very close runner up for that honor).

However, suffering a quickie KO to Maidana will squash anyone’s argument that Mayweather is the G.O.A.T., just like getting iced in two rounds by Antonio Tarver squashed that nonsense from Roy Jones Jr.’s fanatics 10 years ago.

I think the world of Maravilla but I know that many of my peers view him as a borderline hall of famer, who was fortunate to survive the 12th round vs. an under-trained Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and lucky to get the nod against Martin Murray. If you’re an IBHOF voter who was on the fence about Martinez’s worthiness, an early rounds KO loss to Cotto – who many view as a past-his-prime blown-up welterweight – will probably keep you from putting a checkmark next to his name when you see it on the ballot.

I think a loss to Cotto is the difference between a lot of fans and media viewing Martinez as a hall of famer or a just a very good middleweight champ for a few years.

If Bradley gets KO’d early vs. Pacquiao, he’ll get dropped down (or maybe off of) most pound for pound lists, but he’ll probably get a shot at redemption with a rubbermatch against the Filipino icon (if he can win an interim fight or two).

If Maidana gets taken out early, he’ll stick around as a player in the packed 147-pound division (primarily as a B-side) but many hardcore heads will view him as a high-level gatekeeper. (Meanwhile, members of The Money Team Army will say that they predicted that Floyd would score an early KO and will view it as proof that Mayweather would have wiped his ass with a prime Roberto Duran.)

If Cotto gets sparked early, he’ll be forgiven by most fans and boxing pundits and still viewed as a future hall of famer because he’s popular, he’s not a natural middleweight and he pretty much faced every badass and elite fighter of his era.

 

A DAY IN DOUGIE’S LIFE

Hi Dougie,

How are you? I’m always asking myself how you know so many things about boxing history. I would like to know please what is a typical working day for you? How many fights you watch every day? How many books or articles you read each year? Do you have a boxing magazines or DVD collection? Do you take notes on all the fights you see, do you have a database maybe?

Take care and thanks for your mailbags, you're my favourite sports journalist. – El Pollito Diablo, from Paris

Thanks for the kind words, EPD. You guys are going to give me a big head (and my forehead is already too big, not to mention too shiny).

A typical working day for me is spent editing many stories, which requires me to do constant background and fact checking, which helps bolster my boxing knowledge. Editing historical features, such as our “Best I’ve Faced” series, and answering mailbag questions on contemporary fights forces me to watch and review a lot of fights – past and present – and I usually take notes on any significant bouts that I watch (whether it’s from ringside, from TV or my laptop). Even if I’m not writing a report particular fight, I’ll jot down some notes on it. It’s just a writer’s habit.

The bulk the of my boxing knowledge was accumulated during two periods in my life – my transition from casual fan to hardcore nut in the late 1980s and early ‘90s when I had to read every boxing book and magazine that I could get my hands on; and my gym days during the mid-‘90s to the early 2000s when I worked out at the now-defunct L.A. Boxing Club at least three days a week and co-founded HouseofBoxing.com and MaxBoxing.com.

The gym time gave me access to world-class fighters, such as the Shane Mosley and the late Genaro Hernandez, as well as many gone-but-not-forgotten “old timers” – trainers Amilcar Brusa, Bill Slayton and Don Familton, and former fighters such as Ray Barnes (who fought a prime Sugar Ray Robinson). HouseofBoxing gave me access to the “dean of boxing writers” at the time, Michael Katz, who imparted a lot of wisdom (even when he was cursing me out).

I don’t have the time to read many boxing books these days. I obviously read many boxing articles on a daily/weekly basis. I have no idea how many it adds up to a year (and I really don’t want to know).

I have a collection of RING magazines that date back to 1980. I also have THE RING’s old sister publications, such as KO Magazine, Boxing World and Boxing 1990-2004; Bert Sugar’s Boxing Illustrated and Fight Game, and Boxing Monthly, ranging from the early ‘90s to the early 2000s. My RING collection goes all the way to the present, of course. I also have old RING record books, THE RING’s almanacs, and numerous editions of IBHOF’s Boxing Register, which lists the records of all the fighters enshrined in Canastota, N.Y.  

The magazines and record books are helpful research tools.

I literally have thousands of fights on hundreds of DVDs and old VHS tapes. I’ve seen most of them, but not all of them. I have hundreds of boxing books stacked and scattered around my desk and work space. I’ve probably read a little under half of them.

If I ever get the time to read all of my books or watch the rest of my fights on DVD, I won’t do it. I’ll visit the local gyms instead. I think I’ve learned way more about the sport by conversing with fighters (active and retired; amateur and pro; male and female), trainers, managers and fellow boxing writers than I have from reading books and articles or watching old fights.

 

RETURN OF MICHAEL GRANT?

Yo Dougie!

When I look at Deontay Wilder I can’t help but think of Michael Grant. Grant was a big, strong, American heavyweight that looked like a serious challenger but when he stepped up to a real challenge, Lennox Lewis, he was demolished and never was the same. I wonder if Wilder steps up to fight Wlad at some point will it be the same result? The only difference might be that Lewis had better whiskers than Wlad and Wilder might land the hammer on Dr. Steelhammer…

When I look the pictures of Cotto and Martinez facing down at the last press conference I can’t help but notice how much bigger Martinez looks that Cotto. My guess is that the move up in weight plus fighting the naturally bigger man is going to be too much for Cotto. Plus, Cotto has a lot miles under those wheels and I predict it catches up to him in this fight…  This is assuming Martinez is truly 100%.

I read that Chavez Jr. and GGG could be on in July. You think it will really happen?  I think it’s lights out for Junior if so… Keep up the good work! – Jason

I hope Chavez-Golovkin happens (and it looks like it’s pretty close to getting done). For starters, it’s supposed to take place at The Forum, which is walking distance from my house in Inglewood, Calif. But it’s also going to be a hell of a fight. I agree that GGG will stop Junior but it’s going to take many rounds for him to chop down the Mexican giant, who won’t go quietly, so while they’re going at it the fans who pack The Forum will get what they paid for.

Cotto-Martinez might not come down to size, or even styles, but rather who’s got more mileage on his fighter’s odometer.

I get the comparison between Wilder and Grant. Wilder, like Grant was, is an imposing physical specimen/all-around athlete who started boxing late and has been carefully built up to contender status.

However, there are some differences. For starters, Grant was a little more battle tested than Wilder before he was embarrassed by Lewis. He had faced some sturdy fringe contenders – David Izon, Obed Sullivan and Lou Savarese – before he was basically exposed by Andrew Golota.

Also, while both had limited amateur careers, Wilder won two national tournaments (the Golden Gloves and U.S. Championships) before medaling at the 2008 Olympic Games. Grant never won or placed in any major tournaments (in fact, he didn’t participate in any apart from the ’94 Golden Gloves).

And finally, while Grant was strong and heavy handed, he did not possess the explosive speed and power that Wilder is gifted with. Wilder has the “one-hitter-quitter.” Grant did not. That could be what separates the two in terms of their potential.

 

FLOYD VS. AUGUSTUS… AGAIN

Doug,

Thank you for a response last week, the mailbag is always better when you take a point on an issue, and it's nice to be heard.

I think Emanuel Augustus might deserve a bit better then your characterization as an unorthodox journeyman. As far as I know, over nine rounds he took

Mayweather into the deepest water he's ever been. I had to re-watch Mayweather-Burton but I'm pretty sure that's a fair comparison. I agree his credentials and fighting style don't add up to Golovkin's but Augustus was in Floyd's chest all night, cutting the ring (agreed not as often a GGG would), and had him on the ropes plenty. Fighting Golovkin would be the biggest test of Floyd's career, since… Augustus. I don't remember any fighter including DLH bringing Mayweather into so many exchanges.

As far as a fighter's nationality; if Danny Garcia ever became a five time champion in five weight classes, would that supersede Cotto's accomplishments as a Puerto Rican boxer? Would you list him with the greats of Puerto Rican history? I'll grant you I was high as shit last time, good read. Take care. – WS

Thanks. I will. You’re obviously still high, by the way.

No, of course, I wouldn’t consider Danny Garcia one of the greats of Puerto Rico no matter what he accomplishes. He wasn’t born there. I wasn’t disputing the fact that he’s an American in the Friday mailbag. All I said is that if Garcia wants to “indentify” with being Puerto Rican that’s his prerogative and that’s fine with me.

Regarding Maywether vs. Augustus/Burton, take it from someone who was there – up close and ringside – Augustus did not trouble Mayweather by applying the kind of constant pressure Golovkin puts on his opponents. Augustus was able to put hands on Mayweather for one simple reason:

Floyd went in there with the goal of knocking him out (and to his credit, he forced Augustus’ corner to stop the fight).

Prior to the Augustus fight, Mayweather had just split from his dad and taken on his uncle Roger, a more offense-minded coach, as his head trainer. He tried to fight like Roger Mayweather during that “KO Nation” main event in Detroit, but guess what, WS? He ain’t “the Black Mamba” in the punching department.

And even if Floyd was a KO puncher, Augustus still would have given him trouble. Augustus had a solid chin and beyond that, he had savvy head- and upper-body movement, made use of feints and possessed good balance and footwork (attributes many of Floyd’s opponents lacked since he’s rarely faced fellow boxers).

All Augustus did that night was make Mayweather miss and occasionally hit him back. When Mayweather teed off on him, Augustus sucked it up and fired back. That’s it.

There was no need for Augustus to “cut off the ring.” Mayweather wasn’t constantly backpedaling away from him. Mayweather was in and out and often in Augustus’ grill, dropping the kind of combinations and body shots that we’ll probably never see from him again. Sometimes Augustus came forward, sometimes Mayweather charged forward. It wasn’t a game of cat and mouse.

Regarding my “characterization” of Augustus as an “unorthodox journeyman,” the dude had 16 losses when he faced Mayweather. He had lost three of his last four bouts coming into that fight. What the f__k would you have me call him? A “spoiler?” A “cutie?” Are those “nicer” terms?

Hey, don’t get me wrong. Augustus could fight. He wasn’t an “opponent.” He wasn’t a guy who came to lose. He usually gave a good effort and there’s no doubt that he was robbed more than a few times, but the truth is that 12 or 13 of those losses he had on his record before he fought Floyd were legit. He was outclassed and nearly shutout by John John Molina just five months before he fought Floyd. That wasn’t a gift decision to the Puerto Rican vet, who boxed Augustus more effectively than Floyd did IMO.

 

MYTHICAL MATCHUPS

Israel Vasquez vs. Johnny Tapia @ 122

Marquez vs. Arguelo @ 135

Camacho vs. Hatton @ 140

Donald Curry vs. de la Hoya @ 147

Iran Barkley vs. Kelly Pavlik @ 160

Riddick Bowe vs. either Klitschko

– Will B.

Israel Vasquez vs. Johnny Tapia @ 122 – Tapia via hard-fought split decision. Mi Vida Loca out-speeds, outmaneuvers and holds his own in the trenches in an excellent fight.

Marquez vs. Arguello @ 135 – JMM by close UD or SD. The Mexican master technician might have to get up from a knockdown but I think he would mix in just enough lateral movement and counterpunching (to the head and body) to outpoint the Nicaraguan legend.  

Camacho vs. Hatton @ 140 – Camacho wins a close UD in a decent fight that is marred by too many clinches and too much grappling whenever Hatton gets inside. Camacho would control most of the action from a distance with his jab and lateral movement.

Donald Curry vs. de la Hoya @ 147 – I think the prime Curry would catch and stop De La Hoya (probably with a hook just as the Golden Boy loaded up with one of his own) late in a competitive fight.

Iran Barkley vs. Kelly Pavlik @ 160 – The Blade would wear down The Ghost to the late stoppage. Barkley had trouble with slick or savvy boxers, not methodical stalking punchers.

Riddick Bowe vs. either Klitschko – Big Daddy wears down Wladdy to a late TKO, but gets outpointed by the awkward (and more durable) Big Bro who wouldn’t allow the Brooklyn native to get inside.

 

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

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