STIVERNE-ARREOLA, MARQUEZ-ALVARADO, ANDRE WARD
First of all, I enjoy reading your mailbag on Mondays and Fridays. You give your honest opinions based on facts and calculated thoughts, rather than just shooting off at the mouth. But I have a few questions for you:
1) Although Chris Arreola (pardon my misspelling) appeared to be in decent shape, he appeared to run out of gas by the middle of the third round. He was applying some good pressure, and then he would get hit once and stop? And 20 seconds would pass before he would reset his offense. Also, it seemed that around the 4th round his punches didn't have the mustard to hurt Bermane Stiverne.
2) Now that Stiverne is the new WBC champion, what would be the best move for him? I think he should take the Deontay Wilder fight rather than go immediately after Wladimir Klitschko. This would give him the opportunity to fight a similar bigger guy, with Wilder being the least battle tested.
3) What are your thoughts on Andre Ward's situation? Most common fans tend to think he is being greedy. But I understand his thought process; he should be building up his star and striking while the iron is hot. While he isn't a huge draw yet, I don't think he would have a problem being on an undercard to one of the major pay-per-view kings (i.e. Floyd Mayweather, Pac-man, or even Canelo Alvarez). I think his main gripe is that he wants exposure and the opportunity to shine.
4) Who do you think wins the Mike Alvarado vs Juan Manuel Marquez fight? I know Alvarado has overcome adversity when he beat Brandon Rios in their rematch. But after seeing him suffer at the hands of Ruslan Provodnikov, does he really have much left? Most guys don't recover from a fight like that (especially if the guy wasn't cheating like “Stone hand Margarita”). I know Miguel Cotto comes to mind, but he hasn't looked as good against the top boxers since his loss to Margarito. Although he has fought some of the best, I just think if he doesn't take the beating he took; he losses a close unanimous decision to Pac-man and Mayweather, beats Austin Trout by spilt decision, and he is one of the top dogs in the junior middleweight division.
Also, did Teddy Atlas seem a little too Pro-Arreola?
Hope I make the cut. My apologies for the longer email. Keep up the good work. – KJ
You made the cut, KJ. How could I ignore it after your kiss-ass intro.? LOL. No, seriously, thanks for the kind words and for thinking that I don’t “shoot off at the mouth.” There are more than a few nut cakes out there who disagree with you on that opinion, most of whom have actually threatened to shut my big mouth for me the next time they see me (at a – take your pick – Mike Tyson, Oscar De La Hoya, Roy Jones Jr., Mayweather fight), and none of whom have followed through on their bulls__t.
Did Atlas seem a little pro-Arreola? Yeah, he did, a bit. Chris has that affect on people.
Anyway, I’ll answer your questions and respond to your observations in order:
1) I don’t think Arreola (you spelled it right) ran out of gas at any point during his shootout with Stiverne. I think he repeatedly backed off from Stiverne because he was stung – physically and mentally – every time his nemesis connected to his head with blinding speed. And I think Stiverne repeatedly hurt Arreola to the body (by going to that ample belly with both hands) while his back was to the ropes.
2) I don’t know if Wilder is the best choice for Stiverne, but I think that a showdown between explosive power-punchers is the best choice for boxing fans. If Stiverne can make four or five times as much money going straight into a unification bout with Klitschko, I can understand if he and his team view that as his best option. Yes, Wilder is raw and untested, but he’s still dangerous – if they can put off that mandatory and go for bigger money or an easier title defense, they just might. However, I should note that Stiverne’s trainer (Don House) and manager don’t see Wilder as a huge threat. Both are also very confident that their man has the talent and style to take down Big K.
3) My thoughts on Ward’s situation is that it sucks – for him, for his fans, for Dan Goossen, for HBO, and for top super middleweights who want to challenge him for THE RING/WBA championship. I don’t think he’s being greedy, I just think he wants to be his own man, promotionally speaking, such as older and more-established stars of the sport like Klitschko, Mayweather and Miguel Cotto. However, the legal battle/standoff with Goossen is keeping him out of the ring, which is negatively affecting his income, his standing in the sport, and will ultimately affect his reflexes in a tough fight with a top-notch opponent.
4) When Marquez-Alvarado was first announced, I liked Marquez by late TKO or decision. Like you, and the rest of us armchair Eddie Futches, I figured he was a spent bullet after five back-to-back grueling fights (vs. Breidis Prescott, Mauricio Herrera, Rios twice and Provo). After seeing and talking to him at the kick-off press conference, I was sure Marquez would win. Alvarez seemed tired and sluggish, the definition of “shopworn.” However, I’ve heard only good things about his training camp for this fight, and he sounded and appeared sharp and fit and extremely motivated at this week’s media events (Wednesday’s public workouts and yesterday’s final press conference). I think he’s got a good shot at upsetting the grand old warrior tomorrow night. My old MaxBoxing.com cohort Steve Kim has tabbed Mile High Mike for an “upset special,” so what the hell I’m gonna ride or die with the K-Hammer on this one. I like Mike – by hard-earned decision.
When I first heard Crawford was gonna take on Gamboa, I thought Crawford would get his ass handed to him. Don't get me wrong, I think he's good; I just think Gamboa is way better, despite his inactivity. Then I saw a picture of them standing together and WHOA! Gamboa looks like he's 12 years old standing next to Crawford, which is ironic considering their respective ages. Now I'm thinking the fight is a toss-up: Gamboa's experience and speed vs Crawford's youth and size. I'm still somewhat partial to Gamboa, though.
Lomachenko vs Russel is a very similar sort of situation: amateur superstar facing young American professional without much of a pro resume. I've got Lomachenko in this one. I just thought that he was not used to managing the pace of a 12-round fight and held himself back too much against Salido, who he did incredibly well against, considering how new he was to the pro ring. I think Lomachenko's finally ready for the pro world stage and I think he's gonna hand Russell his ass.
Alvarado is gonna surprise people Saturday, just like Marcos Maidana did a few weeks ago. He's significantly bigger, younger and stronger than Marquez and seems determined not get into another brawl, which may be a mistake. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think he's got a chance in hell trying to outbox Marquez. He should make it a brawl. Marquez may have iced Pac on one punch, but name one other guy he's done that to in the last five years. Marquez knows Pac inside and out and it took him 4 fights and a new hulk-like physique to crush the Pacman. Not to mention the fact that he was getting smacked about just before his awesome right landed. If Alvarado goes in and makes his size an issue in the bout, he's got a chance. We may even see a replay of the Michael Katsidis fight (hey, I can dream!). Otherwise, Marquez is just gonna box his ass off and win a comfortable UD.
Finally, Canelo or Lara? – En Kun
I like the Red Head by close but deserved decision.
You share Tim Bradley’s opinion on Alvarado’s potential to win tomorrow night’s showdown and his keys to victory. Bradley thinks Alvarado should apply “smart” pressure and make it a point to outwork his smaller, older foe. In other words: impose his size and strength on Marquez without being reckless.
If you recall the Katsidis fight or his Fight of the Year first match with Juan Diaz, Marquez has an uncanny ability to dish out punishment to opponents applying straight-forward pressure – even when he’s been hurt.
I don’t think Alvarado should try to outbox Marquez, but I do think he should attempt to outmaneuver the future hall of famer at different points during the fight. I think the same game plan he employed in the Rios rematch can serve him well vs. Marquez.
I’m glad you asked about Crawford-Gamboa and Russell-Lomachenko. I think both matches are toss up fights. I favor Crawford by knockout and Lomachenko by decision.
I wasn’t sold on Crawford until he dominated Ricky Burns in Scotland. That title-winning victory showed me that the Omaha native had more than talent and skill – he’s got character. Gamboa’s got all of that, too, but like you mentioned, he doesn’t appear to be a natural lightweight. I think his inactivity – and modest opposition in recent bouts – will bite him in his ass thanks to his in-and-out boxing style and habit of keeping his hands down. Gamby might sting Crawford here and there with his impetuous “super flea” attacks but sooner or later “Bud’s” gonna time him and clip him.
I viewed Lomachenko as the Prospect of the Year for 2013 but I wasn’t sold on him as world-title challenger so soon after turning pro. I was one of the members of the media who picked Orlando Salido to win their WBO title bout. However, like Crawford, the Ukrainian southpaw proved himself during those hard 12 rounds, even though he came up short. I thought Salido would be too much for him down the stretch (especially after coming in heavy), but I was wrong. Lomachneko was the fighter who finished strong.
To me, those final five or six rounds against Salido mean more than all 24 of Russell’s pro bouts. While Russell is the more experienced/developed professional, he’s never had his mettle tested in a pro fight. Everyone of is 24 opponents were supposed to lose. That wasn’t the case with Lomachenko’s first (non-World Series of Boxing) pro opponent (Jose Ramirez) and it certainly wasn’t the case with “Siri.” Salido was trying to seriously f__k Loma up. That rugged-and-relentless (and ring savvy) brute of a veteran wanted to take the Olympic golden boy into deep water and drown him. Salido wanted Loma pissing blood after their fight. But he was the one was running out of stream down the stretch, and he was the one who was hurt in the final round.
That fight showed us that Lomachenko has heart. We don’t know if Russell’s got heart – yet.
SOMETIMES THE BULL BEATS THE MATADOR
I pray you and your family are doing well. We’ve had two great fights this year. Lucas Matthyse-John Molina and the Haitian Kid vs. Arreola. I can’t believe that we had a great heavyweight fight. Arreola fights with a lot of heart and is a joy to watch and I love his candor but he needs to train with the same passion. He and his trainer look like they both have sucked on to too many burrito smoothies. His trainer gets fatter every time I see him. Do you really think that guy could inspire Arreola to train looking like that and he is a young kid himself? Arreoa, like James Toney and Tim Witherspoon, lacks the dedication to be the best and that is unfortunate because he is fun to watch.
Fraud is going to have to fight Maidana again or he will go down as an all-time coward. Maidana was all over him and out threw him by too many punches. Those punches were landing somewhere and they weren’t all missing. Fraud was in survival mode the first 6 rounds and lost them all to me. He looked like Maidana’s sparring partner. I had it 7 to 5 for Maidana. I watched the fight with a bunch of Fraud fans and it was so quiet I thought I was at church. You could hear crickets. Then his groupies tried to say it was a draw. The fact that they tried to say this let me know that Fraud lost because these are diehard fans of his and they wanted to convince me the fight was draw. When Fraud lost to Castillo the first time he turned the fight into a track meet the second time and stunk it out and won. He is not capable of doing that now at 37. Maidana can get in better condition and increase endurance so he can keep the pace up and throw his punches with a bit more precision and get Fraud out of there in a rematch. Maidana has a better chance of getting better than Fraud. Maidana has the punch, heart and toughness to win. The fight will sell big time now because of the controversial nature of the scoring of the first fight. If Fraud fights him I will have to stop calling him Fraud because he will have stepped up to the plate. I appreciate the fact that he fought Maidana and not Amir Khan because I knew Maidana would give him hell.
Just like Mayorga and Forrest, Barkley and Hearns, Hatton and Tszyu, Johnson and Dawson, Frazier and Ali, Duran and Leonard and LaMotta and Robinson. Sometimes the bull kicks the matador’s ass. God bless and take care. – Blood and Guts from Philly
Very true, B&G. Sometimes sluggers (like Mayorga and Barkley) are able to pull boxers with more talent and technique into a dog fight, giving them the opportunity to land a fight-altering bomb.
Sometimes pressure fighters (like Frazier and Johnson) or swarming grappler/fighters (like Hatton) smother and overwhelm superior boxers by denying them the room and time they need to operate at 100 percent.
And sometimes the “bull” has equal talent or comparable skill to the “matador” (as LaMotta and Duran did). Roberto Duran and Jake LaMotta weren’t the wild sluggers that they were often labeled. Both badasses had a lot of craft and defense to go with their aggression. LaMotta was helped by a considerable size advantage over Robinson.
Mayorga’s awkwardness and disdainful over-the-top attitude (which brought the thug out of the late Vernon Forrest) helped him take the Viper out of his usual calculating boxing game.
Hearn’s “puncher mentality” played into the heavy hands of the Blade. If the Hitman wasn’t so hell bent on knocking his man out he could have gradually chopped up Barkley to a late TKO without putting himself in the danger zone.
Anyway, kudos to you for believing in Maidana’s chances against Mayweather. After watching the Argentine strongman from ringside vs. Devon Alexander, Jesus Soto Karass, Josesito Lopez and Adrien Broner, I was convinced that he was not in Maywaether’s class (even though he won three out of those four and showed fight-by-fight improvement).
Watching Mayweather-Maidana live (on TV and without scoring the bout), I thought the 12-to-1 favorite clearly won a close fight. However, after carefully watching the replay (and scoring it round by round), I scored it a draw and thought it easily could have gone to Maidana by a 115-113 (7 rounds to 5) nod.
We’ll see what happens if the rematch is made. I still favor Floyd but I won’t count Maidana (or Robert Garcia and Alex Ariza) out again.
Arreola is what he is – a tough fringe contender/gatekeeper who is consistently ranked in the top 10 because the heavyweight division of this era is ridiculously shallow.
If he had been 100-percent dedicated to the sport from day one he may have beaten Tomasz Adamek and he’d definitely have a longer career, but he still probably would have lost to Vitali Klitschko and Stiverne. He just doesn’t have the God-given talent to overcome Klitschko’s size, technique and ring generalship or Stiverne’s superior athleticism (and skill).
If he had half of Toney’s or Witherspoon’s talent, he’d be able to party all he wants and still beat badasses like Stiverne.
But he doesn’t. He may never realize his dream of winning a world title but he’ll still compete with all but the best big men and he’ll make for good fights, which is good enough for me.
You’re “burrito smoothies” crack was mean but I’ll admit that it made me laugh (and I think Chris and Henry are great guys). But I don’t get how a trainer’s physical condition has anything to do with the fighter’s. Don’t blame Ramirez for Arreola’s sloth.
Do you think Larry Holmes ever looked at Richie Giachetti and thought to himself “Gee, my trainer’s a fat f__k; I guess I’ll stop doing my road work and load up on the pasta like he does”?
Of course not.
Successful fighters – just like successful people in any other profession – must be self-motivated.
STIVERNE-WILDER, MYTHCIAL MATCHUPS
Good Morning Doug!
While Stiverne never had much of a challenge until the two Arreola fights, he does have that experience, and has shown me that he can take a decent punch and come back. Wilder has never taken a shot from anyone who has world class power – and he may be in for a real surprise. I could be dead wrong, but I believe, if Stiverne stays off the ropes (he cannot have the same fight plan he used against Arreola or he will get his head knocked off!) and uses his superior hand speed, he can not only beat Wilder, but I think he can knock him out. On the other hand, if he goes to the ropes and lets Wilder tee off on him as he did Arreola – his chin stood up to an Arreola shot, but Wilder is a whole level higher in power…
Back to Arreola, I do believe years of partying, of being so overweight, not training, took a toll. Maybe Stiverne would have beaten him anyway, but I do wonder what an Arreola who had stayed in shape, stayed sober, might have accomplished…
Liston at his prime against Joe Fraser at his;
Roy Jones against Mike Spinks at light heavy;
Prime Fraser against prime Holyfield;
Prime Frazier against prime Marciano;
Robinson at middleweight against Monzon at their prime;
Alexis Arguello against Floyd Mayweather at 130, again in their primes; (I think Arguello was at his best at featherweight, but let us make the fight at 130 so we get prime Floyd)
Doug, thanks again for the mailbag! You are the best, and you make Mondays and Fridays! –John
Thanks for the nice words, John. My mulatto booty has already been kissed in this mailbag but I still appreciate it.
I have a hard time envisioning Wilder having an easy time with Stiverne but maybe the younger, taller, rangier man simply rolls the dice, goes kamikaze on the defending beltholder’s ass in the first round and blitzes him. It could happen, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
I don’t know if Stiverne is faster than Wilder or if Wilder hits harder than Stiverne, but I do know that “B-Ware” and his team are too smart to go to the ropes against the Bronze Bomber. Stiverne won’t fight Wilder the same way he fought Arreola.
You wonder what “an Arreola who had stayed in shape and stayed sober might have accomplished?” I have a feeling Arreola wonders, too. As it is, his 33 is much “older” than Stiverne’s 35 or Wlad Klitschko’s 38.
Liston at his prime against Joe Fraser at his – Liston by mid-rounds TKO
Roy Jones against Mike Spinks at light heavy – Spinks drops “the Jinx” on RJJ before Round 10
Prime Frazier against prime Holyfield – OMG, that’s a f___ing war! No idea, really, but I’m going to go with Frazier (the harder puncher with the higher punch output) via brutal, bloody decision (in part based on Real Deal’s first fight with Dwight Muhammad Qawi)
Prime Frazier against prime Marciano – I think Smokin’ Joe gets up off the canvas to chop up The Rock en route to a late TKO in a great fight
Robinson at middleweight against Monzon at their prime – Robinson by close decision
Alexis Arguello against Floyd Mayweather at 130, again in their primes – I think Arguello was at his best at junior lightweight, and believe he’s one of the most accomplished fighters ever at that weight, but styles make fights, and although the Explosive Thinman’s jab would have troubled Mayweather, I think prime PBF out-speeds and out-maneuvers the Nicaraguan legend to a close but unanimous decision.
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Email Fischer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer