Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday Mailbag

MAN-NY! MAN-NY!

Hey Dougie,

Hope all is well with you. I was delighted to see Manny Pacquiao win last night. In my humble opinion the man represents the sport well. I cannot understand the “Hate Manny” brigade. If you have an informed opinion on his fighting style, informed being the key word, then you are most certainly entitled to it. Otherwise…

I have to give Timmy Bradley a lot of credit for having the balls to get in the ring with Pac twice. He did what top fighters are supposed to do – challenge themselves. He came up short. So what? I'm a young guy but I don't subscribe to the theory that an undefeated record automatically equals greatness. To paraphrase Mark Kram, who you beat and how you win is of greater importance when trying to rate a fighter's career accomplishments. To wit, surely this win over the legit welterweight champ (I had it 8-4), in his prime after two excellent victories, adds to the Pacman's legacy?

On an unrelated note, I managed to get tickets for the Carl Froch-George Groves rematch. Can't wait! I'll be going with a hardcore head like myself and two casual fans that I plan to convert. Wish me luck!

Before I go, Andre Ward vs Billy Conn? – Ken, Cork, Ireland

Conn outpoints Ward in a spirited boxing match.

I don’t need to wish you luck in converting those two casual fans, Froch, Groves and the incredible atmosphere that you will be a part of will take care of that.

I don’t agree that Bradley was “the legit welterweight champ” but there’s no denying that “Desert Storm” entered Saturday’s rematch as one of the top two or three welterweights in the world, as well as a top three-to-five pound-for-pound rated fighter. Bradley was also coming off of a Fighter of the Year-worthy 2013, so career momentum, along with youth, was in his favor.

However, despite the fact that Pacquiao was 1-2 (including a devastating KO loss) in his last three bouts and entering his mid-30s, he soundly beat Timmy.

I also scored it 116-112 (8-to-4 in rounds) for Pacquiao. I only scored Rounds 1, 4, 5 and 11 for Bradley.

Of course this latest victory further enhances PacMan’s legacy. Revenge/redemption victories against quality opposition always do. Despite his considerable accomplishments, most fans would not consider Lennox Lewis to be one of the top 10-15 heavyweight champs in history if he hadn’t avenged his losses to Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman and his controversial draw with Evander Holyfield.

And you’re absolutely right that we should give Bradley his props for the effort he gave during 24 rounds with one of the best fighters of the past 20 years. I don’t think this loss hurts his budding legacy. His record still has the names of two first-ballot hall of famers (Pac and Juan Manuel Marquez) on it along with his considerable accomplishments at 140 pounds.

Bradley will be back and I look forward to watching him grow from his latest experience.

I’ll even give Bradley props for trying to take out Pacquiao although it was absolutely the wrong thing to do.

 

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

Doug. E,

It's like this, dude: Despite what those doped up judges said after the first fight, the rest of us knew that Manny is a clear level above Timmy. And this time Manny really drove that point home. Sure Mr. PacMan's not that dancing destroyer he was a few years but he obviously didn't need to be to beat the likes of Bradley. Especially with that laser-guided left of his. Hey guy, he couldn't miss Timmy's big bald head if he was blindfolded. Justice was served. That's all I got to say.

And Timmy? Well he fought his heart out like he always does but it just wasn't good enough this time. But that's OK man. Once again Timmy did enough not to get knocked out. I'll give him that.

So what next for PacMan? Another fight with Bradley or JMM. Nah. He's been there and done that over and over again. He must be getting sick of constantly seeing those guys. Maybe a young gun like Ruslan Provodnikov or Keith Thurman? What you say?

See you Dude! – Captain Ron

I’d rather see Provodnikov vs. Thurman than PacMan face either young gun.

Unfortunately, Provo and the Thurmanator are playing for rival boxing leagues at the moment, which also prevents our man Pac from fighting Thurman.

I don’t think we’ll ever see Pac vs. Provo. For starters, they are friends and share the same trainer, but beyond that the Russian’s just too damn dangerous. And until Provodnikov’s stature in the sport grows enough to earn some crossover fan appeal, I think he represents too much risk the 35-year-old veteran.

I think Pacquiao will fight the Marquez-Mike Alvarado winner next. If Marquez wins on May 17, Pacquiao will have a ready-made pay-per-view event set up for him with their fifth showdown. Top Rank and HBO have the history of their four-fight series, plus the revenge angle, to work with as story lines. If Alvarado wins, Pacquiao will have young but battle-worn challenger, one who can help attract Mexican-American fans, to fight (and most likely beat). Alvarado is no joke but he’s not as dangerous as Provo.  

You’re correct that Pacquiao is a level above Bradley. He proved that on Saturday. I wasn’t sure if Pacquiao could surpass the effort he gave in their first bout but he was clearly more focused and better conditioned for the rematch. Kudos to the 19-year veteran.

I thought Bradley had improved enough from their first encounter to win the rematch legitimately. Obviously, I was wrong. Despite the experiences of his war with Provodnikov and superb performance against Marquez, Bradley still had a chip on his shoulder from the public backlash of the first Pacquiao fight.

Pacquiao entered the rematch with a clear head and a clear plan. Bradley went into the rematch with something to prove. And although it’s true that he needed to do more than he did in their first bout in order to score a legit win, coming into the rematch with the goal of giving Manny a beat down was all wrong for him.

It’s seems like Bradley and his trainer Joel Diaz let the hype of the rematch get to them with all the talk of scoring a knockout. That mentality played right into the still fast and accurate hands of Pacquiao.

The good news for Bradley’s fans is that it seems like he’s finally over the Pacquiao mind f__k. At least it seems that way from all the things he said at the post-fight press conference.

PACQUIAO-BRADLEY

Hi Doug,

Bradley's decision to test the chin of a fighter who had been brutally KO'd in recent past was a sound one. Still, being a notorious light hitter, Bradley's strategy seemed unnatural. I think he would have been better served trying to counter-punch at distance.  In a sense for the first five or six rounds, it was a mirror of his strategy against Marquez. In that fight, he forced the consummate counter-puncher to fight as a stalking puncher. In this fight, Bradley tried to fight as a stalking puncher. I thought Bradley was throwing bombs in the first five rounds, but clearly missing with many. He looked tired as early as Round 6.

Manny looked pretty good. It's clear he's no longer in his prime, but he still out-boxed and out-fought a capable, motivated, and in his prime, fighter. Bradley has never been easy to hit, and while Manny missed a lot, he seemed to control the distance and positioning, keeping Bradley off balance between his aggressive attacks. The fight was another testament to his greatness and only burnishes his HOF credentials. He may no longer have the skills to defeat Floyd, if he ever did, but there is no other fighter I'd like to see try more than Manny.

I think the fight that really started Manny's decline was his war with Margarito. Cheater or not, Antonio was bigger, stronger, and a harder puncher. While Manny dominated him with his footwork and speed, Margarito landed some big shots to Manny's head and torso. I never see this brought up when people discuss Manny's decline. Do you think, because his scandal, that boxing writers and announcers, are loathe to credit Margarito for anything?  – Brad

I do think boxing writers and broadcasters loathe giving Margarito – the sport’s No. 1 villain for the 2000s – credit for anything, let alone any damage done to Pacquiao. And I agree Pacquiao’s one-sided unanimous decision over Margz in 2010 was a physically grueling affair. Pac heaped a sick amount of punishment to the Mexican pariah but he had to have a tough camp to get ready for the bigger man and Margarito managed to land damaging body shots every time he got the Filipino hero against the ropes.

Pacquiao didn’t have the same dynamic spark in 2011 that he had in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

I agree that Pacquiao looked “pretty good” vs. Bradley. I liked his focus, discipline, ring generalship and conditioning but his reflexes were noticeably slower than they were two or three years ago and he still isn’t able to work three minutes of every round.

Regarding the “hypothetical” matchup with Mayweather, I don’t think it’s about whether Pacquiao still has the skills to compete with the pound-for-pound king, I think the question is does he still have the frenetic activity and athletic prowess to overwhelm or catch-and-clip Mayweather. I thought the 2009-2010 version of Pacquiao did. I don’t think the version that we saw outpoint Bradley on Saturday does.  

Would I like to see Pacquiao try to upset Mayweather? I suppose but I see no reason to even talk about this fight at the present time given that Mayweather’s got a fight scheduled on May 3 and Pacquiao will likely face the Marquez-Alvarado winner later this year. Maybe we can resume talking about this matchup in 2015, but even if the super-duper-ultra-mega fight of the century does happen next year, it’s WAY past its expiration date.

Regarding Bradley’s strategy, I don’t think Timmy was wrong for wanting to stop Pacquiao but I think he went about it the wrong way. I think it was foolish to try and start hard and fast and to try to land power shots in the early rounds. I think Bradley should have simply set a tempo where he made Pacquiao work harder than the older man wanted to. His hands and his feet should have been moving at all times during the first half of the bout. He should have saved his attack for the later rounds after making Pacquiao tire and cramp up.

 

IMPRESSED WITH MANNY

Dougie,

I’m really impressed with Pacman. Whenever I think of how he beat Morales, Barrera, Marquez and the rest of the lower weight class elite, and see him beat an elite fighter like Bradley in his prime, I can’t help myself in thinking that we're watching one of the greatest of all time. In my 27 years watching the sport, only few dare to fight the best and succeed. Manny is one of them.

His run at welter is a historic feat that will hardly be replicated. – Juan, Tijuana

I don’t think his welterweight run is all that spectacular. It’s been good but it doesn’t stand out among the all-time great 147-pound title runs.

I think what’s notable about his welterweight run is that he isn’t a natural 147 pounder at all. The fact that he won his first title at flyweight is what makes his welterweight run special. The fact that he’s a former featherweight champ is what makes his accomplishments at 147 impressive.

But keep in mind, all-time welterweight champs such as Henry Armstrong, Kid Gavilan and Jose Napoles began their pro careers at featherweight and lighter.

Is Pacquiao one of the greatest of all time? I guess it can be argued that he is given the history he’s made, such as winning titles in eight weight classes or being the first flyweight champ to win a featherweight title (and major belts at heavier weights). Personally, I don’t think he is. Not yet, anyway. I think he had a part in the Mayweather fight not happening when it should have, and that counts against him in my mind, just as it counts against Floyd.

But there’s no doubt that he’s one of the best fighters of the past 20 years. He won three RING Fighter of the Year awards during the 2000s, plus he was the BWAA’s Fighter of the Decade (2000-2010).

What makes Manny special to me is the way he’s rebounded from losses. After losing the WBC flyweight title to Medgoen Singsurat (on the scales before getting stopped in the ring), Pacquiao went unbeaten in his next 15 bouts, winning a 122-pound title from the formidable Lehlo Ledwaba, defending that IBF strap against tough veterans Agapito Sanchez and Jorge Julio, and beating Marco Antonio Barrera for THE RING (and lineal) featherweight championship.

Pacquiao took on Marquez immediately after beating Barrera, who was rated in everyone’s pound-for-pound top 3 when they fought. I’ll always respect him for having the balls to do this. Marquez was at his best at featherweight and he had been avoided by all the stars of the division (Naseem Hamed, Barrera and Erik Morales). Whether you think he won the fight, or should have lost to Marquez, or if you think the draw was fair (as I do), you have to give Pacquiao props for taking on Barrera (57-3 at the time) and Marquez in back-to-back bouts if you have any respect or understanding of the sport.

One fight after the Marquez draw, Pacquiao took on Morales at 130 pounds and lost a close decision in a classic fight. What does Pac do after that setback? He runs off 15 consecutive wins that include two stoppages of Morales, rematch decisions over Barrera and Marquez, titles at 130, 135, 140 (if you count THE RING title that Ricky Hatton held – and you should) and 147, plus knockouts of Oscar De La Hoya, Hatton and Miguel Cotto. That’s a badass streak. I don’t even have to mention the decisions over top-five contender Joshua Clottey, future hall of famer Shane Mosley, and Margarito (who probably had 20 pounds on Pac on fight night).

Pacquiao is definitely one of the most impressive competitors that I’ve had the privilege to cover.

 

THE OLD PAC IS BACK (WELL, HE IS 35)

1.) To those people who think Pacman lost a step or two because he didn't KO or at least KD Bradley… Pacquiao convincingly beat a Top 3 P4P undefeated fighter, in his "absolute" prime who WASN'T weight-drained (in most eyes, twice). And the way he did it, was through a smart, sustained game plan; ironically, it was Bradley who appeared gassed and worn down in the 2nd half (overtrain much? I suspect his calf injury was caused by that). Maybe Pac lost a step (which still puts him in boxing's elite), but considering every factor, he was really damn good tonight… why isn't this just as good a win as any in his 2007-2010 years (especially since Bradley might be the highest-current ranking P4P boxer he's beaten)? I'm sure if Bradley was weight drained and slightly past his prime, Manny would've KO'd him. The way he was throwing multiple combinations and not tiring in the later rounds showed a lot about what he has left. And he's much more tactical (smarter) now. Although… Pacman may have won because…

2.) Mommy D might be a Jedi (was gonna say Sith, but her son is definitely trying to bring balance to the force). Right after HBO showed her doing what appeared to be casting Jedi mind tricks (some with her middle finger nonetheless) wearing Criss Angel's jewelry, Bradley's strategy and overall action changed for the worse… he became a headhunter…  coincidence? At the very least, she needs to be cast for the next season of True Blood, and boost its ever declining ratings. Sooooookie…

3.) Speaking of headhunters… if Maidana lands a lucky bomb that changes the landscape of boxing… I wouldn't be surprised if Mommy D had something to do with it. It almost seems like that's the only way Floyd and her son will ever get into the ring (after he wins his rematch).

4.) Speaking of long shots, are the odds really 15-1? If so, I would drive to Vegas this week just to put $100 on a Maidana lucky punch. I mean we're talking Maidana here – if he lands a lucky punch, he has enough power to do some serious damage (to the Vegas bookmakers). If that happened, cha-ching (Que DJ Khalid). I would have enough money to buy a Burberry scarf and be Always Ballin', Always Burberry (for like 3 minutes, in the middle of May when it's hot). Then my gf would slap me upside my head for being an idiot.

Question: Can you use your connects and hookups to find out CJ Ross' unofficial scorecard for the fight? Seriously. 

Question 2: Curious if there were any other major writers/bloggers that had Bradley winning? I know Fighthype had it a draw. I'm not surprised.

Question 3 (whose point is to get this into the mailbag): So why are you doing those early morning track workouts anyway? I'm assuming to stay in shape, but usually most people jog, go the gym, mountain bike… And do you pay the coach?

Finally: Tim Bradley was classy in his loss, despite his in-game clowning. I respect him much more and am actually glad he set an example on how to act (cough cough Broner). I also respect the fact that his trainer apologized to Pacquiao before the fight for his 24/7 antics (cough, cough Alex Ariza).    

Finally 2:  Manny should ALWAYS come out to "You're the Best" as he did against Margarito, screw this Katy Perry crap, although that remix was sorta dope. – Marc D

I also prefer Pacquiao to walk out to “You’re the Best.” “Eye of the Tiger” (his other ‘80s pop-song walk-in tune) is kind of like his theme song but it’s too cliché for me. Corny beats cliché in my book.

Bradley and Diaz are good people and I’m glad they displayed that before and after the fight, not just for the sake of sportsmanship but for their own peace of mind. I think the sooner they dump the whole “Pacquiao rivalry” thing the sooner they can get on with their careers and their continuing development.

I’ll answer your Pacquiao-Bradley points and your questions in order:

1) I’m one of those people who think Pacquiao has lost a step but I don’t think that makes him less of a fighter. I think he’s got enough left to beat most world-class fighters from 140-147 pounds (Mayweather and Provodnikov are among the few I’d pick to beat Pac following his impressive performance on Saturday). I think Pacquiao is a smarter boxer these days, which is good, because his reflexes have slowed down a bit, he’s unable to move his hands for 3 minutes of every round, and he seems a little gun shy to me. Bradley swung and missed with some wild shots over and over again and Pacquiao seldom made him pay with counter shots.

2) I’ll say this about Pacquiao’s mom, if he had just a fraction of her frantic energy he would have scored a knockout on Saturday.

3) Maidana’s got Ariza in his camp, he might as well hire “the Pac-Mammy.” Let’s be real, the Argentine slugger will need all the Jedi Voo-Doo help he can get if he hopes to land a lucky shot that takes Mayweather out.

4) Floyd opened as high as 14-to-1 favorite on some books but I think a 12-to-1 or 11-to-1 is more common; while Chino was as much as a 10-to-1 underdog on some books when the fight was first announced in February, but not I think he’s more of a 7-to-1 dog. If you have the spare cash I think he’s worth dropping a C-note or two. Just be sure to grab hold of your Rosary beads and wear your Criss Angel jewelry during the fight while you do your best impression of the Pac-Mammy.

Questions, questions, questions….

I only have contacts with California judges. I don’t even know what CJ Ross looks like. Sorry.

The only boxing writer I know of who scored Bradley-Pacquiao II a draw was our own Lem Satterfield (in the live round-by-round updates blog item), but good ole Lembo Slice told me that he re-scored the bout from TV and had it 116-112 for Pacquiao, so don’t give him a hard time.

The early morning track workouts began as a challenge and have now become a part of my weekly routine. I was already in a decent shape but I knew that my friend Dave Schwartz did this crazy four-hour workout on Sundays and I was curious if I could hang. Nobody else that Dave knew accepted his invitations to join him, so I said “Why not?” I ran track in high school, so I figured I’d do alright. However, the Sunday workout, which consists of stairs, pull-ups, trail sprints and 200- and 300-meter runs on UCLA’s Drake Stadium track, totally kicked my ass. So then my challenge was to do it enough that I wasn’t totally wrecked with muscle soreness for an entire week after one of the workouts. Dave suggested joining him and his friend Larry for their Thursday morning SMC track workouts to help build strength and stamina for the Sunday workout. I tried it and it helped – a lot. After almost a year of doing the workouts, I can honestly say that I’m in much better shape than I was (stronger, faster, with more stamina and mental fortitude). Plus I have greater confidence and discipline from making the time to get up early and meet the challenge on a weekly basis. I don’t pay Coach Schwartz. We’re friends and lifelong boxing fanatics, so the workouts are also an opportunity for us to talk about the sport we love and its history (which most fans aren’t into). Plus, I think my participation has helped him step up his game, so we both benefit from it.

 

 

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

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