Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

NOW THAT’S A HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE FIGHT!

Damnation! Now that's what a heavyweight title fight should look like! 

This is unusual for me to say, as I don't have much sympathy for guys with the kind of talent that I would give my left nut for squandering it by simply not putting in the work, but I really feel bad for Chris Arreola. He was in the best shape ever and for the first five rounds fought better than I have ever seen him fight and it still wasn't enough.

I had Bermane Stiverne in this one, but I didn't think that he would be able to do what no one else could and separate Arreola from his senses. The ref may as well have stopped it after the second knockdown “The Nightmare” was clearly in dreamland.

Now I – and I'm sure everybody else – can't wait to see him against Deontay Wilder. Stiverne certainly also has that “one hitter quitter” as you call it.

I think that, once again, Wilder won't have to go past four rounds, either with his hands raised or on his back. To me, it is a question of who gets to whom first. Stiverne will need to get out of the starting blocks much faster. If he hangs around on the ropes waiting for his spots like he did Saturday night, Wilder is going to slam him with long shots from the outside and I can only see it ending badly for him, possibly with the same left hook-right hand combination that Wilder laid out Malik Scott. 

But… if he comes out of his corner fast, gets right in between those wide, long shots and drills him down the middle with that right that started it all against Arreola, I suspect that Wilder will come crashing down and unlike Arreola, won't make it back to his feet.

How do you see that one going down?

Absolutely nothing against Stiverne, he is the kind of fighter one wants to see more of, but I'm rooting for Wilder, simply because he would stand a better change against Wladimir Klitschko. To beat him, you need to be the same size (unless you have the hand speed of Corrie Sanders, which no one in the division right now does) and, unlike Mariusz Wach and Tony Thompson, have more than just average or slightly above average power. Do you agree?

Where do you see Arreola going from here? Will he ever find the motivation to get in that kind of shape again? Am I correct in saying that he becomes some sort of gatekeeper? I can still see him making for some interesting fights against the likes of Steve Cunningham, Amir Mansour, Bryant Jennings or Tony Thompson.

Regards. – Droeks Malan, Stellenbosch, South Africa

I think you can make a good argument that Arreola has always been a gatekeeper.

Arreola’s best victories have come against prospects – Seth Michell, Chazz Witherspoon, Malcolm Tann, Eric Molina and Damian Wills. That’s what gatekeepers do, they keep so-so up-and-comers from becoming real contenders.

Arreola has never defeated a top-10 rated heavyweight contender. He’s been rated in the top 10 on and off for the past five or six years only because the heavyweight division has been extremely shallow in the past 10 years. Stiverne didn’t have any victories over any contenders, either – save for Arreola (if you considered him legit – some fans and media did; others didn’t). But that’s the state of the division right now. I consider Tony Thompson to be a gatekeeper, even though he’s cracked THE RING’s heavyweight rankings on and off during the past seven years.

The good news for Arreola is that a heavyweight gatekeeper can make a very comfortable living – especially if he’s willing to travel to Europe. Thompson is proof of this.

I’ve been accused of being an Arreola homer by some of my peers, so take my next statement with a grain of salt (hell, take ‘em all with a grain of salt), but I think this latest loss will add more fire to his ample belly. I think he’ll be back in the ring at least once before the end of the year and I believe he’ll be ready to roll the dice again against a top-rated heavyweight in 2015.

I would pick Arreola to beat Cunningham and Mansour. I think he’s even money vs. Jennings (who I was going to pick to beat Mike Perez before that fight fell through). Thompson, despite being 42 years old, is all wrong for Arreola in terms of style. I think the “old man” would outpoint Chris, but it won’t be easy. And I think most of these fights would be entertaining scraps, due mainly to Arreola’s style, mentality and limitations.

The fact that Arreola’s a TV-friendly action fighter will keep him a player in the division for as long as he wants to pursue his dream.

I disagree that Wilder has a better shot at beating Klitschko than Stiverne. For starters, “B-Ware” is the more battle-tested of the two. Stiverne is also the more complete fighter and more polished boxer in terms of technique. And unlike, Wilder, Stiverne has never sparred with Klitschko (that I’m aware of), so Wladdy hasn’t been working out a game plan in his mind as I’m sure he’s been doing with the Bronze Bomber since the Wach camp in 2012.

Yes, Wilder has a chance to beat Wladdy to the punch and ice him the way Sanders did, but I don’t have much confidence in the Alabama native if Klitschko gets off and lands first, or if the longtime champ is able to play keep away or tie the American up for four or five rounds.

On the other hand, I’ve seen Stiverne get cracked and hurt and come back swinging. I’ve seen him stick and move effectively. I’ve seen him set traps (against an admittedly lesser boxer/athlete). I’ve seen him strike with frightful speed and power. And most importantly – in my not-so humble opinion – I’ve seen him deliver a mean body attack. I believe one of the keys to beating Klitschko is to get to his body.

I agree 100 percent with your analysis of Stiverne-Wilder. (You know your boxing!) If Stiverne allows himself to be backed to the ropes, and he does so standing straight up with a high guard, Wilder will bomb him from long range with punches that land around his gloves and will likely scramble his senses beyond recovery.

But if Stiverne lands the same right-hand missile that took out Arreola on Saturday against Wilder – TIMBER!!!!!! Yeah, I’m looking forward to this fight.

And don’t feel sorry for Arreola. I felt bad for him immediately after the fight but by the press conference I accepted what I’m sure Chris did – that he was simply beaten by the better man. No shame in that because he prepared as well as he could and he tried his best.

Sure, there will be Twitter goobers that piss and poop all over him and his career, but the bottom line is that he’s lost to three fighters – Vitali Klitschko, Tomasz Adamek and Stiverne. Are those guys bums? No, they aren’t. Vitali is a future hall of famer. Fact is, they’re better than the three guys who knocked out Wladimir Klitschko.

 

TOUGH NIGHT FOR ARREOLA

Hi Doug,

I was looking forward to Saturday’s fight with great anticipation and as the commentators said, I wouldn’t have to pay $75 to see a quality boxing matchup. I had been telling friends who look to me to give them insight into upcoming fights that this would be a rumble, a fight, NOT a boxing match. It certainly was. Let’s be honest, I was pulling for Chris Arreola. I thought that if he took it to Stiverne and backed him up that he had a real chance. After a shaky first round Chris seemed to do just that. He was backing Stiverne up, punishing him along the ropes and appeared to be (from the look on his face) growing in confidence.

As a student of boxing history I could not figure out why Chris wasn’t firing the right over Stiverne’s low left ala Max Schmeling vs Joe Louis. Never-the-less, Arreola seemed to be having things his way. Stiverne (to me) looked a bit concerned with how it was going. 

To give props, Stiverne has got a good chin to be sure. He took plenty of hard shots along the ropes but his after fight comment that it was his plan to do that and draw Arreola in seemed like a lot of BS to me. I know that Stiverne is a talented fighter but the first sweeping right hand that dropped Arreola had a lot of luck behind it as well I thought (shades of Foreman vs Michael Moorer).

Anyway…. as to what is next, Stiverne vs Wilder will be most interesting.

I don’t have a strong feeling about the winner of that one. That fight will let us know a lot about both men, unless (as someone posted in the comments section) Don King screws it up. I want to see that fight first and then the winner get Vlad. You agree? – David, Nashville

Yeah, of course I want to see Stiverne-Wilder before I see Wladdy jab-mount-and-mug either man. I’m like most fans. I like action. I like drama. I like to tell my casual boxing fan neighbors and friends to watch a fight and be able to GUARANTEE them action, like you did with your friends prior to Stiverne-Arreola II.

Regarding Don King, I don’t care to sit through any more of his press conferences, but I don’t mind him “screwing things up” a bit in regard to the WBC mandatory challengers and an eventual unification bout with Wladdy. I’m fine with Stiverne facing a second-tier heavyweight in his first title defense as long as it’s on ESPN. Why? I think Stiverne deserves the proverbial “gimme” after back-to-back battles with Arreola’s rugged ass, and I think boxing fans deserve to see an entertaining heavyweight titleholder without having to pay extra for premium cable.

I think people – especially prize fighters – make their luck, and Stiverne did that by taking the punishment Arreola dished out in Rounds 2, 3 and 4, and making adjustments in Rounds 4 and 5 that set up the “lucky” right cross to the temple.

From Stiverne’s perspective, he set Arreola up with that shot that turned the fight because he was looking to counter off the ropes the entire bout, which was indeed competitive.

Arreola didn’t fire the right over Stiverne’s low left (or go to the body much when his opponent was against the ropes) because of Stiverne’s ridiculous hand speed. Arreola was leery of being countered by the much-quicker fighter.

Having said that, I think your observation that Stiverne was “concerned” in some of those rounds – primarily Round 3 when the Southern Californian looked very strong whenever he pounced on the Haitian – is correct. Arreola put a hurt on Stiverne in spots during the fight, but the new WBC titleholder never gave in, mentally, and I believe that he maintained a certain “psychological” control throughout the bout. Why do I think this? Because even after Arreola nailed Stiverne with a good shot or two, Stiverne was often able to halt Arreola in his tracks just by talking smack to him. Every time Stiverne started jawin’, Arreola would stop and take a few steps back. 

Stiverne has Arreola’s number. But don’t worry about Chris. You’ll be able to root for him again soon. I don’t think he’s done. And if you liked what you saw from Stiverne, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to cheer for him because I think he’s just getting started.

 

ESPN’S ARREOLA BIAS

Dougumms… (you know the “old-lady” has a name for you similar to that)…  I LOVE the fact that we got treated to the best heavyweight scrap since Tua-Ibeabuchi, but good grief did ESPN have a pro-Arreola slant on it. 
 
C'mon, the next time Teddy Atlas pretty much makes out with one of the main events contestants… you know something screwy will go on with the scorecards. 
 
Meh, onto the honor we were bestowed with from these two gentleman. My hat is off to both Chris and Bermane. Stiverne not only beat Arreola, he took a bit of his soul in there. Yes, it was a back-and-forth fight, but Stiverne seemed confident when he was stung, while Arreola seemed to realize that he was being out-fought on both the inside and out in space by a guy who can really put some wood on him. The up-jab Stiverne used was beautiful, almost reflexive. Won't work on Wilder or Wlad, tho. His 'Haitian Hatchet' of an overhand right will, however. If Stiverne can maneuver well enough to land that weapon, I think he can make life very uneasy for either Wlad or Wilder. Can't wait to find out.
 
What's next for both Chris and Bermane?
 
Mythical Matchup:
Prime Michael Jackson vs Prime James Brown (4 rounds, 8oz gloves) – Joseph B.

Come on, my brotha, even in his “Thriller” form, MJ couldn’t go more than two rounds with the old-but-bold late-‘80s version of JB, never mind the prime “Papa’s-Got-A-Brand-New-Bag” late-‘50s version of the “Sex Machine.” The man who gave the world “The Payback” and “Super Bad” didn’t know karate but he knew “ca-ra-zay.”

What’s next for Chris and Bermane?

Well, if the WBC follows its own mandate, Stiverne will have to face Deontay Wilder in a mandatory defense. I know Al Haymon and Golden Boy Promotions will push for that match, but Don King, a master manipulator, goes WAY back with the WBC and knows how this business works. I wouldn’t be surprised if Stiverne is able to make a voluntary defense against a lesser challenger before taking on the undefeated 2008 bronze medalist. (I should add that Stiverne’s trainer Don House does not view Wilder as a threat. He told RING editor Michael Rosenthal and I outside of the Galen Center on Saturday that Wilder needs another 31 fights to be ready for his fighter. House said one good shot will not only stop Wilder but end his career. We’ll see. Hopefully, soon.)

As for Arreola, I think Dan Goossen will set up a stay-busy comeback fight against a mid-level opponent for his star heavyweight before the end of September – and the fight will probably be televised on ESPN, which was obviously pulling for him on Saturday and had no problem given him more face time in the build-up to the entertaining showdown.

I can’t blame the network. Being Mexican American, Arreola taps into a much bigger fan base than a Caribbean brotha like Stiverne. I know it hasn’t escaped your attention that Friday Night Fights is sponsored by Corona. It ain’t sponsored by Red Stripe or Prestige (that’s a Haitian brew).

But beyond sponsors and fan bases, Arreola is the better known fighter in the U.S. – he’s been a regular on HBO, Showtime and ESPN since 2006 – and he’s the more attractive personality. Let’s be real, Chris is a much better interview than Stiverne, who apart from his emotional tirades in the final press conferences for both Arreola fights, has the personality of an egg plant.

I agree that Stiverne took a piece of Arreola’s soul. Chris was never comfortable in the rematch, even when he was putting it on Stiverne. And I also agree that his up-jab is a thing of beauty. And the speed he delivers it with is probably more intimidating to his opponents than his crunching punching power. Stiverne might have the quickest hands in the heavyweight division.

 

MAYWEATHER & RJJ

Not that the history or storylines match up exactly, but I remember Roy Jones Jr. struggling with Antonio Tarver to get a controversial decision. Everyone thought that in the rematch RJ would work over Tarver. Roy probably should of left that one alone. Makes me wonder if Floyd Mayweather should leave Marcos Maidana alone and move one. He got the ‘W.’  Shoot, Apollo Creed knew… he said there wasn't gonna be no rematch. Take that ‘W’ and run. – John in VA

Mayweather might do that. We’ll see. But if he does take the rematch we’ll find out if he just had an off night (because that was a close fight – Burt Clements and Dave Moretti can kiss my ass), if Maidana has his number, or if he’s getting old.

Mayweather is proud of his “46-0” and the 18-year stretch that unbeaten record spans but it’s nothing compared to Father Time’s stats.

 

NEXT FOR MONEY MAY?

Doug F.,

From excellent seats at the MGM, I could see that Mayweather won a clear but close fight. Maidana gave it his all but I could see crisp punches, snapping back Marcos's head many times. All credit to Maidana, but I'm not interested in a rematch at all especially given limited career appearances by the TBE (trolling you hard, haha). So what is the most realistic option – meaning within the Showtime/GBP league:

Khan – can't because of Ramadan timing

Cotto – not enough recovery time from June fight and he has to win (and I'm not interested)

Lara – not enough recovery time post Canelo (and may be difficult to market)

Thurman – would be intriguing but has he “earned it” yet?  Needs a signature win

Porter – mandatory vs Brook and if it happens not enough recovery time

Matthysse – hasn't fought @ 147 yet so would be an introductory fight

Garcia – makes sense but it doesn't look like his handlers are interested or would use it as his first 147 fight especially after Hererra pseudo-disaster.

Off that list, the 3 most likely to me are Thurman, Porter and Matthysse. I will scratch off Keith because his resume is too weak even though he may be the best challenge. So it's Porter or Matthysse? Porter has the IBF title which is appealing but I think the timing won't work unless Brook cancels or gets hurt again. So, to me, the most likely opponent is Lucas Matthysse? Does that make sense? Who would you pick as most likely from above group? I personally would like to see that fight. The only downside is that it may be “low reward” because people will say he got KD 2 times vs John Molina and it is his first fight at 147. – Omar

I think a Maidana rematch is the easiest fight to make, to promote and to sell at the present time. You saw a close but clear win for Mayweather, but a lot of other fans saw a fight that could have legitimately gone either way. And I’m one of ‘em.

Watching the fight live, I thought Mayweather won a competitive fight, taking seven or eight clear rounds. But after carefully watching Showtime’s replay on Saturday, I scored the fight a draw, and saw a slightly different bout than I witnessed on May 3.

I didn’t think the early rounds belonged entirely to Maidana – in fact, I scored Round 2 for Mayweather on the second viewing – and I didn’t see Mayweather completely dominate the second half of the bout; I scored Round 8 for the Argentine slugger and I thought Round 11 was very close. After the second viewing, I scored Rounds 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8 for Maidana.

I thought Mayweather was a bit frazzled between Round 4 and 5, after receiving the first cut of his career, and he appeared troubled by Maidana’s jab in the middle rounds – especially Round 5, which was highlighted by the underdog’s ability to compete with Mayweather in the center of the ring, from a distance. Maidana didn’t press Mayweather in that round but he landed his jab, faked the favorite and landed body-head combos with good timing.

I thought Maidana made Mayweather miss a lot of shots that the Showtime commentators gave Floyd credit for in the middle rounds. And I thought the late rounds were more competitive than the commentary reflected (although I must credit Al Bernstein, Paul Malignaggi and Steve Farhood for having a razor-thin fight on their unofficial scorecards).

Mayweather’s holding was excessive in the final three rounds. I thought he was trying to run out the clock against a tired foe that did not have a good track record in distance fights.    

Anyway, if Mayweather doesn’t fight Maidana in September, I think he should target Cotto if the Puerto Rican star beats Martinez next month. I think Mayweather should consider sitting out September and angling for a super-fight rematch next May, but that’s just me talking out of my mulatto ass.

You say Thurman doesn’t have a signature win and Matthysse is unproven at 147 pounds, but what if they fought each other? If The Thurmanator beats The Machine, he’s got his big win over an established name and if Matthysse topples the young gun, he’s got a victory over a legit top-10 contender.

So what do you think? Thurman vs. Matthysse on the Canelo-Lara PPV on July 12, the winner faces Mayweather in September? It's probably too quick of a turnaround but an easier sell to the general public than Lara if he wins on July 12 (unless he KOs Canelo in spectacular fashion).

 

HELLO FROM KHAN’S ARMY CHIEF GENERAL

Hey Doug, wassup?

I read all your mailbags and have written to you in the past with mixed fortunes. If you remember, I'm a huge Amir Khan fan and I don't need to say it but last week was an awesome one for me. You had said it was a 50-50 fight but you wanted Luis Collazo's hands to be raised at the end. Well my friend, that certainly wasn't gonna happen. Khan beat him all hands down! Ha ha. I did notice a few things though. Khan has become quite a dirty fighter (I like it somewhat but not much). Other than all the clinching and head pulling and pushing Khan did something which looked like a WWEsque move. If you see the 1st Rd10 knockdown; after Khan hurt Collazo he stuck with him in close range for a while with hands clinched which felt like a great opportunity going to waste until Khan blatantly wound up Collazo's right hand with his left and gave him a sucker punch straight to the ribs (don't know how he survived that). It was funny to watch but the ref didn't see it. I would have liked Khan to finish it right there and then but Collazo was one tough dude who just wouldn't quit. Great fight overall I would say. What was your assessment based on that fight considering you didn't pick him to win?

Also, Khan looked much more muscular at 147 if you noticed. He has bulked up quite well and didn’t seem to have lost his speed in the process. A few more fights at 147 and he'’l be stronger and faster than he was against Collazo. About his chin, I didn’t see Collazo hurt him in the fight at all although his defense has scope for improvement judging by his post-fight face. I read you don't give him much of a chance against Porter or Thurman. I think Thurman is a much bigger guy considering he has fought at 154 and since Khan has just made the move up I don't wanna see that fight this soon. As for Porter I would say Khan beats him with his height and reach advantage. Porter would give Khan a 4-inch height advantage which I don't think Khan will let go to waste. He showed us he can stick to a game plan and do what is needed. I won’t go in that Khan vs Money debate coz I don’t see it happening for a year at least. Till then I hope Khan avenges his loss to Danny Garcia (I know you don’t see Khan beating him) and beats another top 10 WW guy. A few questions before I sign out:

1.    Do you see anyone amongst the current crop becoming the lineal Welterweight Champion after Floyd retires?

2.    Why is Roman Gonzalez not on the RingTV’s list of P4P Top 10?

3.    A few matchups I’ve got for you –

Rigondeaux vs Lomachenko

Prime Ricky Hatton vs Danny Garcia

Prime Kostya Tzyu vs Mayweather at 140

Prime Roy Jones vs Prime Sergio Martinez

This one I don’t know if you’l be surprised by or not – undefeated Mike Tyson vs Prime Md. Ali

Keep the mailbag rolling. Cheers!!!! – Pranay G.

I’ll keep it rollin’ if you keep reading it, Mr. Chief General, Sir!

Hey, I thought Khan-Collazo was an even-money matchup going into the fight (honestly, I thought it was the only bout on “The Moment” PPV show that didn’t have a predetermined outcome). But I was wrong. Khan showed me that his confidence is back and that he can fight a disciplined bout (even when he’s bending the rules a bit and holding more than most fans would like to see).

Khan looks fast, strong and sturdy (by his standards) at 147 pounds. I would not count him out in a welterweight rematch against Garcia. In fact, I see that as a 50-50 fight (ha ha!).

If you think Thurman is too big for Khan right now, I can tell you right now that Porter is too big for him. Porter is the guy who fought at 165 pounds as an amateur and has gradually come down from middleweight to welterweight during his pro career. Don’t let the Ohioan’s height fool ya. Anyway, though I favor the Americans if they’re matched with Khan, I think your guy is live in both fights.

I’ll answer your questions in order:

1) I don’t have a clear favorite as to who becomes “the man” at 147 pounds once Mayweather retires or loses (yeah, I said it). The top contenders have to fight each other to determine who is ultimately recognized as the real champ of the welterweight division. If Mayweather (who is recognized by most, but not all, as the real champ) retires undefeated, there won’t be any “lineage” passed on. Somebody has to unify all (or most of the belts) to reestablish it.

2) I have no idea why Chocolatito is not included in THE RING’s pound for pound rankings or anyone else’s. I’ve pushed him hard to Ratings Chairperson Chuck Giampa to no avail. If Gonalez, who has accomplished more than any other active fighter his age (26), wins a flyweight title (especially THE RING belt) this year and is still not included in the mythical rankings, I’ll officially ignore the P4P bulls__t going forward.

3) Mythical matchups:

Rigondeaux vs Lomachenko – I’d favor Rigo by decision if they fought this year. If Loma beats Gary Russell Jr. and looks good doing so next month and gets a few more pro bouts under his belt, I might change my opinion because he’s the younger, naturally bigger and more complete boxer.

Prime Ricky Hatton vs Danny Garcia – Hatton by decision in a good scrap.

Prime Kostya Tzyu vs Mayweather at 140 – Tszyu by mid-to-late rounds KO.

Prime Roy Jones vs Prime Sergio Martinez – RJJ by mid-to-late rounds KO.

Undefeated Mike Tyson vs Prime Muhammad Ali – Ali kills Tyson psychologically before he dominates him in the ring. Ali by late TKO.

 

 

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

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