Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Friday mailbag

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PAC-MAN VS. B-HOP

What's up Douglas?

Good mailbag on Monday. Really enjoyed your follow-up comments to the Pacquiao-Bradley fight. The one thing that really caught my attention afterwards was your war of words against a few pissed-off Pactards and other Facebookers regarding this “Who's greater: Manny Pacquiao or Bernard Hopkins” thing.

And as crazy as this sounds I actually see where those 'Tards are coming from. But then I'm huge fan of Manny's myself or a Pactard if you prefer.

The way I see is this: Pacquiao hasn't matched Hopkins longevity (not yet) nor has he a long championship reign as Hopkins does. But what does it for me is not so much all those titles Pac-Man won but all those high-level guys he beat to win those titles. We all know who they are so I'm not going to indulge in some long-winded speech regarding Pac's resume.

But look at it this way, since the Pac-Machine rolled into the welterweight division in 2008 he's been taking on one top welter after another and kicking their asses. And still doing it. Everyone from De LaHoya to Cotto to Margarito to Bradley.

Sure he's missing Mayweather from that resume but that's about it. By contrast Mayweather has missed out on Kostya Tszyu, Margz, and Pac among others.

In my view, Hopkins accomplishments don't quite measure up. Don't get me wrong. B-Hop scored those big wins over Felix Trinidad, Antonio Tarver, Kelly Pavlik, and Jean Pascal. All his other fights have been downright tedious and forgettable. And that's a big tie-breaker in itself. Pac-Man might be more boxer than destroyer right now but he's still in it to win it. By contrast Hopkins is usually more concerned about not losing the fight as opposed to winning it. And against Joe Calzaghe and Chad Dawson, The "Immortal B-Hop" was pulling all the stops to bitch out.

So is Manny a great fighter? I say absolutely. Hopkins? Not so much. But again that's the way I see it. In all fairness I'm not going to accuse you of picking B-Hop simply because he's American. The fact your current fave GGG is not American kind of shoots that theory down in flames.  Though, I am curious in your reason in picking Hopkins as the only great currently active fighter.

On a related note you probably smacked the nail squarely when you mention that we'll probably be seeing Pac-JMM 5. I myself would rather see Pac move onto new opponents but if Brandon Rios and Tim Bradley were no match for him what chance would guys like Danny Garcia, Mike Alvarado, Adrien Broner, Amir Khan or Marcos Maidana have? The only guys in Pac's league are Mayweather and maybe Ruslan Provodnikov but neither fight will ever happen. Ironically, there's probably more options for Bradley. If he stays at HBO he can fight guys like Rios or Provo. Or if he jumps to Showtime there's guys like Maidana, Lucas Matthysse, and Keith Thurman.

Come to think of it, if Provo and Thurman themselves were to ever square off who do you pick? I regard Provo as the more damaging puncher but Thurman as the bigger stronger guy. I'm sure you noticed he's the one top-10 welter who really is a welter. The rest are actually junior-welters (Bradley, Provo.) bulked-up lightweights (Mayweather) or beefed up featherweights (Pacquiao, JMM, Guerrero.) Anyways Happy Easter! – Dave

Thanks Dave. I’d probably go with the Thurmanator over the Siberian Rocky, and that’s not because of my American bias, it’s because of my light-skinned-African-Americans-with-long-hair bias.

Bradley definitely has options, whether he stay at HBO (which he will) or goes to Showtime. Regardless of his network/promotional affiliation, I think it behooves the two-division titleholder to be as busy as possible going forward. I think Bradley should try to fight sometime this fall and then aim for three-to-four bouts in 2015. Rios, Jessie Vargas, Luis Carlos Abregu (rematch) and, of course, Provo, should all be in Desert Storm’s cross hairs.

Regarding Pacquiao’s next fight, we’re just going to have to accept that he’s fighting Marquez a fifth time as long as the ultra-veteran beats Alvarado next month (or even loses a competitive fight). Pacquiao needs to rekindle the magic at the box office/pay-per-view buys and Marquez brings the story lines of their rivalry, plus the Mexican fans to the table. ‘Nuff said.

You don’t think Hopkins is a great fighter? You must be new to boxing, because aside from the obvious historical benchmarks – being the oldest major titleholder EVER, notching the most middleweight title defenses EVER, unifying ALL of the major 160-pound world titles (IBF, WBC, WBA and WBO) and being the longest reigning middleweight champ EVER – you glossed over half of his ring accomplishments.

Hopkins made 20 title defenses and it should have been more. He should have won his first bout against Jermain Taylor (he arguably won both fights). Regardless, Taylor was no joke when they fought. Winky Wright was no joke, either. Glen Johnson, undefeated at the time they fought, was no joke. And speaking of unbeaten fighters – Hopkins has taken on 10 of them (and he’s popped a lot of cherries, homie). What other active fighters has faced that many unbeaten guys? Two of the undefeated opponents he faced – Trinidad and Calzaghe – were just inducted into the Hall of Fame. Another, Roy Jones Jr., will be as soon as he’s eligible. One, Pavlik, was the reigning middleweight champ. Another, Tavoris Cloud, was a major light heavyweight titleholder.

How many times has Hopkins been the underdog going into a major fight? Just off the top of my head, he’s been a 3-to-1 underdog four times (vs. Trinidad, Tarver, Pavlik and Pascal). What does that tell you? It tells me that Hopkins challenges himself. That speaks to his character, which is a big factor in determining who I consider an all-time great. Having the goal to be the one, undisputed champ at middleweight – and sticking it out all those years until he got it done – and now aiming to do the same at 175 pounds, despite pushing 50, sets Hopkins apart from EVERY other active so-called elite fighter out there (save for Wladimir Klitschko).

I know Pacquiao has also challenged himself. I made it a point to note his amazing featherweight/junior lightweight series vs. Barrera, Marquez and Morales, and the bold courage he exhibited by basically fighting these future hall of famers in back-to-back fights. When you add that feat to what he’s done at welterweight, one can surely make an argument that Pacquiao is one of the all-time greats. Maybe I’ll recognize him once he’s finally done and I can assess his entire career. But not yet. I think he caught De La Hoya, Hatton and even Cotto (though to a lesser extent) at the right time. Margarito was a big, badass mofo, but he was shot when Top Rank fed him to Manny.

I’m not trying to s__t on Pacquiao. I have mad respect for him. If he continues to defy Father Time, as Hopkins has done for the last 10 years, I’ll probably have to concede that he’s one of the best ever.

However, I want to leave you with one last nod to Nard. I don’t know how long you’ve been a hardcore fan, but if you followed boxing closely in the late 1990s through to mid-2001, you know about Trinidad’s stature in the sport at that time. Tito was like a god when Hopkins faced him. I was inundated with emails from Trinidad fans who wanted to compare him with Ray Robinson after the Puerto Rican idol smashed William Joppy. On the flip side, Hopkins, who many already considered to be old at age 35, was thought of as overrated or a just a plain piece of s__t. I’m not exaggerating, Dave. Most of the boxing media and experts thought B-Hop was going nowhere. You could count the number of Hopkins believers among the media on one hand. My old HousofBoxing.com/MaxBoxing.com cohort Steve Kim was very close to Hopkins at this time (and one of Bernard’s few supporters), so through K9, I was able to spend some behind-the-scenes time with the late, great Bouie Fisher and Hopkins in 2000 and 2001. Trust me, man, Hopkins was an afterthought in 2001; he was just some a__hole who was in the way of a potential Trinidad-Roy Jones mega-fight and everyone expected him to get decapitated by Tito. There are a lot of folks who say they predicted the total boxing clinic he put on Trinidad that special night at Madison Square Garden, just two weeks after America (and much of the world) was shaken to its core by the events of 9/11, but most of those fools are lying.

Hopkins slayed a dragon that night. Pacquiao has kicked a lot of elite ass. But has he ever faced that undefeated guy that the entire boxing world says is “unbeatable”? I don’t think he has. If the Mayweather fight was made, he’d be able to say that, but you know that story. Barrera, Marquez and Morales had all been beaten before Pacquiao put his fists of fury on them.

Anyway, that’s all I have to say on this subject. I’m going to sit back and let all the Pac-Fanatics attack me in the comments section below. And God forbid if B-Hop loses to Beibut Shumenov (remember him?) tomorrow night. Then I’ll get 50 emails from goobers asking me “Still think Hopkins is great?” Yes, my dear pinheads, I will. Hopkins secured his legacy years ago.

(By the way, Dave, I don’t consider you a pinhead or “Pactard.” Thanks for posing this question in a respectful manner.)

 

LEGACY

Hi Doug,

Been a few years since I wrote in. I felt the need to put my two cents in since I have never seen a fighter get such an overall ho-hum appraisal of his work in dominating an undefeated top 5 p4per (not from you especially but from the masses). I notice Mayweather wanted none of Bradley. Was facing an efficient volume puncher just too much like work for Pretty Boy? Guys with Bradley's style typically give pure technicians who like to pick their spots fits. The fact that Manny has to give a stunning performance every time out is just a testament to his past greatness. We got spoiled by what he did to Ledwaba, Barrera, Morales, De La Hoya, Hatton, and Cotto. I guess cleanly beating up a guy like Bradley is just a disappointment for all of us. With this win, I put Pacman at the point where future fights can’t really lower his all-time standing. What is your overall appraisal of his career seeing as his prime is past? Also, looking back, how does Erik Morales' clean victory in their first fight look? All the best. – Drew, Boston

Morales’ victory was clean but VERY close. It looks better every year, especially when Pacquiao shines the way he did last Saturday. You’re right, fans and some of the media seem underwhelmed by what he did against one of the best boxers in the sport right now, a guy who was rated behind only Mayweather and Andre Ward in everyone’s “all-important” pound-for-pound rankings.

I don’t think Pacquiao is a victim of his past accomplishments as he is his old style/athleticism. He was so freaking dynamic for so many years that merely being fast and nimble seems like he’s in slow motion, even though he’s doing it at the world-class level.

We’re all a bunch of spoiled bastards. So what else is new?

Regarding Pacquiao’s all-time standing, like I stated in the previous (extremely longwinded) response, he’s on the cusp with me in terms of all-time greatness, but he’s no doubt one of the best fighters of this era (past 20-25 years) and nothing that happens to him in the ring from this point on can change that.

Regarding a Mayweather-Bradley matchup, I agree with you 100 percent. Timmy’s style is poison for pure boxers/technicians. It’s funny, I got ripped by some nitwit in the comments section of the Monday mailbag for my opinion that Provodnikov can beat Pacquiao, but it is what it is – styles make fights. Provo’s precise power-punching pressure is dangerous for an aggressive in-and-out boxer like Manny, but Mayweather would probably handle the Russian badass. However, Pacquiao won 17 out of the 24 rounds he went with Bradley on my scorecard. I don’t know if Mayweather would be as effective vs. a fellow elite boxer as PacMan was. (And I’ll probably never find out.)

 

WHO’S NEXT?

Hey Doug,

First of all I could care less about watching another bout between Manny and Juan Manuel. All these promoters piss me off more than the sanctioning bodies do. They only hurt the sport by not working together and putting on the best match ups. Not to mention the networks that dictate who we watch. Manny and Floyd is still the fight everyone wants to see. 

I remember when De La Hoya started out as a promoter he was gonna make the best fights and have integrity and blah, blah, blah. We expect it from Bob Arum, the guy’s always been a snake, and let's not forget Don King still lurking in the shadows, along with the rest of users and abusers out there. For every shot fighter still fighting there's a greasy promoter out there putting the fight together.

Always enjoy your point of view and look can't wait for your mail bag after the big fights. Keep up the good work! (P.S. how did you score the Hagler-Leonard fight.) – Don McMillan

I only scored Hagler-Leonard once, while watching a VHS tape back in college (1990 or ’91), and I had 115-113 (or seven rounds to five) for my boy Sugar Ray. I recognized that I was diehard Leonard fan and tried to give Hagler, the defending undisputed middleweight champ, the benefit of the doubt in close rounds (I really did).

Regarding what’s next for Pacquiao and the promotional beefs that prevent fans from seeing the mega-ultra-super-fight that everyone wants to see I only have three things to say:

1) Arum’s a snake and King’s a con but when it came down to it, they were able to stifle their beef and do business in the name of the almighty dollar and give fans the big fights they craved (such as Leonard vs. Roberto Duran I and De La Hoya vs. Trinidad)

2) It’s not too late for De La Hoya to get it right

3) If what you say about “greasy” promoters is true, we’ll see Mayweather-Pacquiao – sometime after 2018…

Old-Manny-vs.-Floyd-poster

 

WAY TO STEP UP, CANELO

Hi Doug,

I pray you and your family are doing well. I don’t know what to make of Canelo Alvarez. Is he the next Tony Ayala, Fernando Vargas, or Oscar De La Hoya? I know he isn’t in the same stratosphere as Julio Cesar Chavez, Alexis Arguello, or Duran but he is heading in the right direction by fighting Erislandy Lara and should be commended for it. I really thought he would duck Lara for a while but by fighting Lara he is showing he wants to live up to the hype and earn his status unlike a certain pound-for-pound chump. I don’t understand the fight being non-title but as long as they get in the ring and fight who cares? Congratulations to Canelo for looking to prove he is the best 154 pounder out there.

March Madness ended recently and what makes that tournament so popular is the upsets that occur. That component has been taken out of boxing. We saw Bryan Vera beat Chavez Jr. the first time and Danny Garcia clearly lost his last title defense and yet was given a gift decision. An underdog shouldn’t have to kill a guy to get the decision over the favorite. If the underdog clearly beats the house fighter he should be given the decision. The powers that be can rematch if they want but they should give the victory to the person who earned it because he may never fight that well again and the fans love upsets. Carl “the Truth” Williams comes to mind with this and is a great example. He beat the crap out of Larry Holmes and was clearly robbed and never fought that well again and never won the heavyweight title. Maintaining the status quo has hurt boxing immensely and taken a lot of excitement out of the sport. Everybody loves a winner but they cheer for the underdog.

Remember when everyone thought Canelo was going to give Fraud a fight and everyone thought that Matthysse was going to give Garcia a tough fight. Well Garcia just got his ass kicked by this guy I never heard of and I love the way the boxing world is sleeping on Marcos Maidana. I remember when everyone dismissed Cotto and he got in Fraud’s ass. Maidana is going to tear Fraud’s ass up. Fraud is so overrated it is beyond ridiculous. He’s got the tiger by the tail this time and I can’t wait for this fight to come off because the boxing world is in for a shock. God bless and take care. – Blood and Guts from Philly

Thanks, B&G. We’ll see what happens on May 3. While I admire your willingness to back such a decided underdog, I just can’t envision Maidana getting to Mayweather on regular basis as he did against Adrien Broner.

Chino was sensational that night in San Antonio, but despite Broner’s lack of respect, terrible start and porous defense, the cocky Cincinnati native still had his moments in the fight. And on my very unofficial scorecard, it was a close fight in rounds.

Bottom line for me is that since Maidana was totally contained by a touchy-grabby Devon Alexander, he’s won four in a row, three against notable opponents, however, none of those guys are anywhere near Mayweather’s class. I know Maidana throws bricks in that ring but he’s not Tommy Hearns – he doesn’t have one-punch KO power. Everybody that Maidana hits, tags his ass right back. Even second-tier sluggers like Jesus Soto Karass and Josesito Lopez had their moments against Maidana. A picture is worth a 1,000 words, so I’ll shut up and let you study these two photos of Maidana’s shootouts with Soto Karass (by Nick Laham-Golden Boy Promotions) and Lopez (by Holly Stein-Getty Images).

Maidana-Lopez_HollyStein

Maidana-Soto-Karass_Laham

I agree with your thoughts on upsets in boxing. It seems like the powers that be try their best to prevent them from happening, which is a damn shame because it’s not sporting and as you stated, fans love upsets. Historically speaking, big upsets have introduced new players – and sometimes new stars – to the sport. And the upset seldom spells the end for the favorite who lost. Shane Mosley upset De La Hoya in 2000. All it did was launch a new TV favorite. The Golden Boy was still golden when it came to the box office. Underdogs Vernon Forrest and Winky Wright both beat Mosley in back-to-back fights. All those losses did was give boxing a new pound-for-pound player for a while. Sugar Shane bounced back. Barrera wasn’t done when Junior Jones or Pacquiao shocked him, but those upsets gave us new faces to follow on the world-class scene.

When a deserving underdog doesn’t get the decision, it turns off boxing fans as you noted, and it’s especially tragic when you know that fighter will probably never be that motivated or fight that well again, such as Jose Navarro after getting robbed against Katsushige Kawashima or Jose Armando Santa Cruz after getting absolutely pooped on against Joel Casamayor.  

Regarding Canelo’s choice to fight Erislandy Lara, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise. He was ready to step up his competition back in September of 2012. He was supposed to fight Paul Williams in what was to be his first pay-per-view headliner, as his d__head detractors know damn well. When Williams suffered a tragic motorcycle accident Canelo tried to make a fight with James Kirkland, who said he wasn’t ready and then outpriced himself. Then they targeted Victor Ortiz, who got knocked off by Lopez, who Canelo wound up fighting on Showtime. The Canelo Haters pretend that Lopez wasn’t the FOURTH substitute for that September date and act like that “the big mean redheaded bully” yanked some skinny kid out of the audience to show off against. Whatever. All I know is, in a 15-month span Canelo will have faced an undefeated Austin Trout, the so-called G.O.A.T., Alfredo Angulo and Lara. If certain hardcore heads can’t respect that they can kiss his freckled ass.

 

MASTER OF THE MAILBAG

Props to you on the Monday mailbag, that was some of your best work, and you know I've been following you for a long time.

You also had a really good bag a week or more ago where you efficiently explained a situation with such simplicity, yet accuracy, it was great. Almost like the Malignaggi of journalists. 

You must be in a good place right now. Congrats.

(And the fact that you gave mad props to my man BHOP never hurt!!!!!!! LOL) – JCB

Thank you for the kind words and the mailbag props, JCB.

Whether I’m on his s__t list or not, I’ll always give Hopkins his props because the man continues to challenge himself even at point when he doesn’t have to. At his age, he could fight anyone and still earn respect, make decent money, and turn the heads of the public. Even George Foreman, who most (including me) consider an all-time great heavyweight champ, stayed away from legit top-10 contenders after he regained the titles from Michael Moorer in 1994 to become boxing’s oldest champ ever. (Wow, was that really 20 years ago?) After upsetting Moorer, Foreman fought Axel Shultz, Crawford Grimsley, Lou Savarese and Shannon Briggs. Only Briggs was rated in THE RING’s top 10 and that ranking was debatable given the quality of the once-beaten New Yorker’s opposition up to that point.

Hopkins is fighting RING-rated guys and he’s looking to unify the division. I know Shumenov, the WBA beltholder, isn’t regarded as highly as RING/WBC champ Adonis Stevenson and WBO titleholder Sergey Kovalev, but he’s not a chump. The Kazakhstan native has improved since his gift decision over Gabriel Campillo in early 2010 and I think his strength, power and durability make him a dangerous opponent.

I’m a little worried about Hopkins in this fight, although I figure he’ll handle the adversity as he usually does tomorrow night. If he beats Shumenov, he won’t rest on his laurels – he’ll go for Stevenson, which is a fight that would really make me nervous about his health, but that’s why I respect him so much. He takes fights like that. He seeks out the kind of matchups that force odds makers to make him the underdog. I can’t say that about too many of the elite boxers of this era.

 

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

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