Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

FIRST TIMER

Hey Dougie,

I’m probably what you would consider a new boxing fan (just started taking an interest about 5 years ago). I look forward to reading your insightful mailbags, especially the jokes you’ll sometimes crack on certain fans of boxers. This is my 1st time writing in so I hope I make it.

Even though the first half of the fight between Juan Manuel Marquez and Mike Alvarado was a little under whelming they definitely made up for it during the 2nd half. Going in I thought Mike would be too big and young for JMM. Damn, was I wrong on that one. LOL. JMM looked pretty good with those sharp combinations that he couldn’t seem to miss with. I honestly think when Alvarado watches the tape, he’s going to be pretty mad at himself for giving up so many early rounds without a real struggle and for not selling out sooner. What’s your take on why he didn’t try to set a faster pace earlier? He was even allowing Marquez to lead.  

That Viktor Postol KO of Selcuk Aydin should be up there as a contender for KOTY. That guy looks like he’ll be a difficult night out for anybody at Jr. Welter.  I think he could easily enhance a PPV undercard if he’s matched up with another slugger.  

I’m looking forward to this weekend’s bout between Adonis Stevenson and Andrzej Fonfara. Both of those guys are always in entertaining scraps. How do you think that fight plays out? Sometimes I check out Youtube for highlights/fights of the boxer’s leading up to the bout. I recently came across this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-d1xgTfL-iA I’m not the biggest fan of rap, but this was pretty cool. Some guy took the Superman theme and made a song praising Adonis Stevenson.  

Well, that’s all for now. I’m sorry if this was a little long. Keep up the good work. Thanks – Carla

Thank you for the kind words and for finally writing in to the mailbag. I used to be a huge fan of rap, but that was 25 years ago – LOL! However, I really like that Superman Stevenson song by Swag Science. It’s catchy and it’s fun.

I hope we get a fun fight out of this Saturday’s light heavyweight championship. Although I believe odds makers view it as a huge mismatch, I think there is some potential for some drama and fireworks, however brief they made be. Fonfara isn’t the most naturally talented or athletically gifted 175 pounder out there but the Polish Prince is technically sound, he’s got heart, and he’s been developed well. His 10-round fight with Glen Johnson and ninth-round stoppage of Gabriel Campillo forced him to grow up to full (or near) contender status and the experienced of those bouts should serve him well when steps into the lion’s den in Montreal.

Stevenson is one of the most – if not THE most – naturally talented/athletically gifted light heavyweights in the game, and his confidence is at an all time high. He’s going to be very dangerous and hard to beat. I think Fonfara’s only shot is to nail him first and put him on the defensive as soon as possible. Fonfara has a solid jab, a sneaky hook and solid right hand. If he can time one of his power punches over Stevenson’s southpaw jab (or perhaps under it – as in a solar plexus shot), maybe he can give fans a real fight. But I gotta favor Superman in this match – he’s not just faster, stronger and harder-punching, he’s got better skill, experience and ring generalship.

Postol is definitely a pain in the ass for any top-rated 140 pounder thanks to his height, reach, technique, high punch volume and deceptive power. He’ll also be a pain in the ass to watch unless he’s in with an aggressive fighter that is more complete than Aydin.

I don’t think Alvarado will be too mad at himself when he watches the Marquez fight. He feels that he did well enough – despite the lopsided official scorecards – to hold his head up, and I think a lot fans agree with him. However, Alvarado and his trainer Shann Vilhauer probably agree with you that a fast start would have given the younger underdog more of a shot at victory. Hindsight is always 20-20, though.

Alvarado didn’t start fast because he thought that he might be able to counter the great counter-puncher by waiting and forcing the older man to lead. In the past, boxers who made Marquez lead gave him fits – Freddy Norwood and Floyd Mayweather Jr. outpointed him doing so. Problem with this strategy is that Alvarado isn’t a boxer and he isn’t anywhere near the talent level of Norwood (since you’re a new fan you’ll have Google “Lil Hagler” to get an idea of how good he was in the late 1990s), let alone Mayweather.

As Tim Bradley suggested a few days before the fight, Alvarado would have been better served fighting in his usual aggressive manner from the opening bell. Live and learn. Alvarado fought well enough over the second half of the bout to make for a hell of a fight to witness live or on TV (live was much better, though, take my word for it).

By the way, I also thought Alvarado would put it all together and upset the future hall of famer. Although I feel a little bit sorry for Alvarado, I couldn’t be happier being wrong about Marquez. That was a beautiful homecoming.

 

MARQUEZ-ALVARADO

Good Morning Doug!
Yow, what a fight!  I thought Alvarado put up a good fight against Marquez, but he just wasn't in the Old Master's class. I saw the fight as basically two separate acts: the early rounds, where Alvarado tried to outbox Juan, and the later rounds, where he gave up trying to outbox the boxing master, and simply went after him. Neither strategy was successful, but I thought the later rounds were a lot closer than the cards indicated – you were there, what did you think?

So it looks like Marquez-Pacquiao V? I actually thought the Pac-Man would have been better served by fate if Alvarado had won. He still has enough speed and power to handle a decent power-boxer like Alvarado, but truly great counter-punchers like Juan Marquez or Floyd will always give him fits. His style is all wrong to handle a great counter-puncher – he walks right in to their shots…

I liked your analysis of the what-ifs of last time, especially Frazier-Marciano. I too believe that one would have been a war, with Frazier having to get up off the deck to finish the real Italian Stallion…

I have to give you some "what if's:

Floyd at his prime against Whitaker at his;

Floyd at his prime against prime Aaron Pryor;

Prime Frazier against prime Dempsey;

Hopkins at middleweight against Monzon at their prime;

Ezzard Charles against Ali at their primes – but assume Charles never killed Bourodi in the ring, because after that, he was never quite the same…I don't think Ali would have had as easy a time as most folks assume…

Charles against Mike Spinks at their primes;

Doug, thanks again for the mailbag! You are the best, and you make Mondays and Fridays! –John

Thanks for the kind words, John.

I agree that many of the rounds during the second half of Marquez-Alvarado were competitive; some were close and could have been scored for the underdog. Round 9 was obviously Alvarado’s (but I scored it 10-9 despite the knockdown because Marquez wasn’t too hurt and he closed that round very strong). Round 7 was close enough for HBO’s Harold Lederman to score it for Alvarado (I didn’t). Rounds 11 and 12 also could have gone to Mile High Mike (I gave him the 11th).

You’re absolutely correct that Pacquiao has trouble with counter-punchers, especially one as tough and experienced as Marquez, who still has his timing (plus good punching power). That’s why that matchup will always be interesting to fans, and since Mayweather’s and Pacquiao’s fans will never see their heroes face each other in the ring they’ll have to settle for PacMan vs. JMM (Floyd fans will be honorary Mexicans on fight night).

Your “What If?” matchups:

Floyd at his prime against Whitaker at his – Sweet Pea by close but clear unanimous decision in a surprisingly entertaining bout as Whitaker takes the offensive initiative in most of the rounds (see Pea vs. Roger for an example)

Floyd at his prime against prime Aaron Pryor – The Hawk by unanimous decision. Pryor simply roughs up, outhustles and works Mayweather over in every round.

Prime Frazier against prime Dempsey – Smokin’ Joe has to get up off the canvas (again – probably in Round 1 or 2) to score a hard-fought late TKO or close decision victory.

Hopkins at middleweight against Monzon at their prime – Monzon by very close, maybe split decision in a tactical but often rough and dirty fight.

Ezzard Charles against Ali at their primes – but assume Charles never killed Bourodi in the ring, because after that, he was never quite the same… – Ez would have given “The Greatest” a very tough and physical fight but prime Ali was too quick, mobile and accurate for the Cincinnati Cobra to overwhelm. Ali by decision.

Charles against Mike Spinks at their primes – Charles by late TKO or decision. Ez was the greatest 175 pounder ever.

 

MARQUEZ IS THE MAN

Marquez looked great tonight! Even though he went down I don't think he was hurt bad at all, plus what else is new? I've seen Marquez get knocked down in plenty of fights – Katsidis, Diaz, I think Barrera, and Pac, but he's never been out and that's why he's my favorite boxer. He may go down but he's never out. Tonight, I especially liked the fact that he closed out the fight. Despite being up significantly in points, he stayed aggressive and traded shots even though he didn't have to, but that's vintage “Dinamita.”

I hate that we will probably see another Pac vs Marquez. Even though every fight between them has been great, and if they do I will pay for it of course, but there's so many other guys they can fight. I wish Marquez would fight someone like Khan for example. I think Khan just picked up a token strap, and that would give Marquez the belt he wants plus that’s a high profile PPV. I remember that fight being brought up years ago when they were at lighter weight. Think that would be a great style matchup. Who would you take in that fight?

By the way, I can't remember who the fighter was but it was before Pac vs Marquez 4 I believe and the fight was in Mexico, Marquez knocked a guy out with one punch in the first round. The other fighter went down and had his eyes closed like he got put to sleep. I remember people saying that the guy took a fall. What do you make of that? Have you ever seen someone knocked out with their eyes closed like that? I hate to think that my favorite fighter could be involved in something like that but I have always had my doubt. 

Cotto vs Martinez (notice I have the “A side” in his proper position) will be great! I got Martinez in this one by 9th or 10th round tko. Then I’d like to see Maravilla fight Canelo or Mayweather. Martinez should really have to fight Triple G but I'm not sure he would make the type of money he wants and deserves to make at this point in his career. His legacy is cemented and I don't think it improves any further by taking on Triple G instead of the previously mentioned fighters.

Hopefully, I'll see you at the StubHub center for the upcoming tripleheader. I almost bought tickets to The Forum tonight but I figured that the GBP card was better overall, plus there is not a single bad seat at StubHub. Hopefully, I won't regret it! – Mainor A.

I don’t think you will regret it. That looks like a fun card on June 21. I’m especially looking forward to the Vasyl Lomachenko-Gary Russell Jr. fight. And yeah, I plan to be there. I haven’t missed many StubHub fight cards since the venue began hosting boxing (when it was called Home Depot Center).

We’ll see what happens on June 7. I think it’s a terrific matchup and the atmosphere Cotto and Martinez create inside MSG should trump even the electricity that Marquez and Alvarado produced at The Forum on Saturday.

I’m gonna ride with Martinez but I’m nervous about that pick as so many of my insider friends love Cotto in the matchup because they are convinced that middleweight champ ain’t so “Maravilla” anymore. One boxing wise guy told me that Martinez hasn’t even sparred during this camp for fear of aggravating his various injuries.

Anyway, let’s see what happens with the Cotto fight before we get caught up in what Martinez does next. If he wins, you can sign me up for any of the potential opponents you brought up – Canelo, Mayweather or GGG. Those are fascinating matchups.

Yeah, I remember the dude Marquez iced in one round in Mexico – Likar Ramos. That fight wasn’t fixed. It didn’t have to be. Ramos didn’t belong in the same ring as Marquez. He had been dropped twice by soft-punching Jorge Solis before being put away by a body shot in Round 7. He simply wasn’t in JMM’s class (like most fighters) and he got caught with a nice clean shot.

If Marquez wants to keep fighting, I also prefer to see him in with other standouts apart from the Filipino Icon. I’ve seen that matchup four times. I’m ready for something different. And since I like action Bam Bam Rios is the guy I want to see JMM take on (preferably at The Forum).

Marquez vs. Khan is also a very good matchup. It won’t feature sustained action but Khan’s fast, busy and mobile boxing style will definitely challenge the shorter, older counter-puncher. The British star has the ability to box the same kind of fight Bradley did against JMM but more from a distance because of his height and reach. However, Khan’s chin is an X-factor in that matchup and all you have to do is look at Alvarado’s face to know that Marquez is still throwing rocks at age 40. Marquez would have a good shot at catching and clipping the younger man.

I feel what you’re saying about the many knockdowns Marquez has suffered but always risen from during his soon-to-be hall-of-fame career (and yes, he was dropped by Barrera, and Mayweather floored him, too). Joe Louis hit the deck a bunch of times in his all-timer great career. Recent hall-of-fame inductee Felix Trinidad also used to taste canvas before he got up and did some serious damage to his opponents. It’s all good. Knockdowns = drama.

 

VERY SUSPICIOUS

Hi Dougie,

I just finished watching the Marquez-Alvarado fight. Did anyone notice all that acne Marquez had on his chest? That along with how broad his shoulders are and how he has morphed into such a power puncher at this age when normal people are actually getting smaller and weaker is just too suspicious. I know we have no evidence, but lets not kid ourselves. We know what’s happening here. – Karl, Brunswick, Georgia

No, we really don’t, Karl, not without stronger evidence than chest acne, broad shoulders and punching power (that’s he’s always had). I’ve got acne on my chest and my shoulders are broader at age 43 than they were at 23. It doesn't mean I'm doping.

We can suspect PEDs all we want to ourselves but without concrete proof, anything said is possibly slanderous and anything written is potentially libelous.

That’s the bottom line for me. And here’s another bottom line: EVERY single professional fighter – regardless of age, gender, style, physical attributes and performance – is suspect in this day and age. The fighters who are “clean” are those who submit to year-round random Olympic-style drug testing with an independent anti-doping agency with a proven track record, such as VADA (no, I don’t trust USADA), and then make their results public.

Nonito Donaire was doing this. He was the only notable pro boxer that I know of who did, and I’m not even sure if he continues to do so.  

 

JMM & MONDAY MYTHICAL MATCHUPS

Doug-E.

Well dude it looks like that old goat JMM still has fuel left in the tank to kick some serious ass. Just keep him away from other counterpunchers and he does fine. Especially against a dude who already been having his brain cells pounded back 'n forth in one war after another. S__t, man! Alvarado fought like he always does. Face-first and with all his heart which seems to have more square miles than Rhode Island. But how much more can the dude take. Once again the guy looked deformed after the fight. The buzzards were getting squeamish after looking at his kisser. Or should I say, what's left of it.

As for JMM, well he may not be thinking of Pacquiao for the moment (so he says), and really, let him enjoy the moment, but everyone else is sure thinking Pac-Man. As much as I'd like to see JMM and Pac-Man move on already, who else is out there for Marquez? Or Pac for that matter? Unless they jump to Showtime and I don't see that happening. It seems that JMM, Pac-Man, Timmy and Provo are stuck in their own private little pocket universe. And besides, no one wants to see Bradley-JMM 2 and I'll advise JMM to stay away from Provodnikov, which is what he's pretty much doing anyways. Anyhow, Homie get back to me on this one.

And now for some Monday Myth-Matches. Got a few doozies for you there, Homie. So stay put.

1. Prime Thomas Hearns vs Prime Antonio Margarito. We're talking Irresistible Force vs Immovable Object. Massive time!

2. The same Tommy Hearns vs Felix Trinidad in all bomber warfare.

3. Ruslan Provodnikov vs Kosta Tszyu in an all-out Russian Civil War. Not that this war (or any war, really!) will be all that "civil".

4. Godzilla vs Fin Fang Foom. Remember the Jack Kirby dragon that wore those lil’ speedos? Can't believe I'm admitting to remembering that. My dad actually had the original book. Until I swiped it from him and claimed it for my own. (No I still don't live in his den.) Do you have that old book as well by the way?

5. Angel Garcia vs Norman Stone. Loudmouth vs Loudmouth. Personally I would be rooting for Garcia since he's kind of comical while Brain of Stone was just a butt-hole.

6. James Brown vs Elvis Presley. Hey, The Soul King already took out The King of Pop. How does the original JB measure up against The King of Rock?

OK dude. I'm done! This is Half-Brother From Another World Blasting off. May The Cosmos still be with ya! – Captain Ron

You know it, Cap. I’m riding that cosmic wave like the Silver Surfer, better yet, like Orion with his Astro Harness (I was always attracted to Jack Kirby’s artwork as a kid in the 1970s and I appreciate it even more now as an adult, and even collect it, so yeah, I know about the Fin Fang Foom character The King co-created with Stan “The Man” Lee.).

Alvarado’s face was definitely a mess after going 12 rounds with Marquez in the 40-year-old badass’ old house. I hope the Denver native’s brain is OK because he really seems to be a swell (no pun intended) dude. I think he’s earned a break and then a “gimme” matchup in the fall or winter. In 2015, I wouldn’t say no to a rubbermatch between Alvarado and Brandon Rios.

Speaking of “Bam Bam,” I think he’s a player in that Top Rank-HBO-welterweight pocket universe. Yeah, Pacquiao outclassed him in an uneventful bout, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t make for excellent matchups with Marquez and Provodnikov. And just because Alvarado has lost to Provo and JMM, doesn’t mean he couldn’t give Bradley a good fight. (I would also advise Marquez to stay clear of the Siberian Rocky – as he’s been doing – and I also have no interest in seeing a Bradley-Marquez rematch).

OK, onto your mythical matchups. Some of these are good, and some of these are really f__kin’ weird (but I like 'em):

1. Prime Thomas Hearns vs Prime Antonio Margarito – I’m an unabashed fan of the Tijuana Tornado, but prime Hitman would blast his horse-face head right off his lanky body. Hearns by early-to-mid-rounds KO.

2. The same Tommy Hearns vs Felix Trinidad in all bomber warfare – Tito would have a chance to catch Hearns with a hook after being dropped early himself, provided Tommy got a little bit sloppy in trying to finish the Puerto Rican star off (which is possible), but I think the Motor City Cobra would strike first and often from a distance (mostly with his jab) until Trinidad was nice and drunk and ready to be taken out late (the way B-Hop beat him at middleweight). By the way, I think both Hearns and Trinidad were at their best at junior middleweight (154 pounds).

3. Ruslan Provodnikov vs Kostya Tszyu in an all-out Russian Civil War – I’m a crazy King Kostya fan but the current version of Provo would have been very hard on the pig-tailed boxing czar. Tszyu was murder on boxers who liked to peck and poke from a distance, but hard-driving badasses like Vince Philips and Ricky Hatton (at his peak) were able to smother him and eventually break him down. However, Provodnikov has never faced a fighter as skillful, strong and accurate as Tszyu was at his best (1999-2001). I’m going to go with Tszyu by close decision in a brutal, bloody 12-round battle. It’s possible that Tsyzu could stop Provo on cuts and swelling late in the fight.

4. Godzilla vs Fin Fang Foom – I’m going with FFF over Gojira. I figure a flying mythical/magical creature with human intellect plus telepathy would find away to beat a nuclear/atomic mutation of some kind of sea lizard. Foom wins via unanimous incineration (via acid mist breath).

FinFangFoom-vs-Godzilla

5. Angel Garcia vs Norman Stone – Yikes! Hey, I would pay to listen to these two debate each other on any subject. Stoney could be a B-hole but he was more than that. He was a real boxing guy with a lot of knowledge and perseverance (‘cause nobody believed in John Ruiz as much as he did), and he was probably the best phone interview I ever conducted (for a Don King fight program in the late 1990s). That old man made Garcia seem meek with the venom he spat at HBO, Jim Lampley, Larry Merchant, Lennox Lewis, Michael Grant, the boxing industry,  most boxing writers, Los Angeles (which he had to lay into as soon as he found out that's where I was calling him from) and a bunch of amateur rivals of Ruiz’s. I maybe got in four questions in about an hour’s time and I was laughing out loud and so hard the entire time I was on the phone with the nut cake that I had stomach cramps and was sweating like a pig by the time I got off. Hey man, trust me, Stone would be a YouTube/Twitter gold mine if he was around today (much like Angel is). Anyway, yeah, if they boxed in a pro bout, I’d have to go with the younger firebrand, Garcia. (I’m not sure if Norman has recovered from getting jacked by Alton “Coach Merk” Merkerson at the Roy Jones Jr.-Ruiz weigh-in 11 years ago.) 

Stone-vs-Merkerson

6. James Brown vs Elvis Presley. The King of Rock puts up a better fight than the King of Pop. Hey, unlike Brown, who admitted to not knowing karate (but knowing “crazy”) Presley did have some martial arts skills, plus it looked like he knew his way around the ring in Kid Galahad.

Elvis-Kid-Galahad

But I still gotta go with the Godfather of Soul, who I think was a better all-around athlete (not that Elvis was a slouch) and probably the better fighter given that he tried his hand at boxing as a teen, was convicted of armed robbery at age 16, and his lifelong association with the Sweet Science (traveling to the Congo to perform at the Foreman-Ali fight in 1974; his scene in Rocky IV, etc.)

James-Brown-standing-bag

Brown by hard-fought decision (but he’d have enough energy left to go through his cape routine before the official announcement).

 

YOU LUCKY BASTARD

Short n sweet Douglas, 

I could tell from the way Michael Buffer rolled his Rrrrrs on the "Let's Get Ready To Rumble" that Marquez-Alvarado was going to be special. Wish I were there.  Soon enough tho. Tell Gabe I'm heading out west next month and get that notebook ready. – JB

Will do, JB. Are you going to be in the Bay Area or Southern Cali.? Either way, let me know when you’re here. If you’re in the L.A. area, let’s meet up at one of the gyms. I’m definitely driving up to the San Francisco area at least once in June or July, so maybe we’ll cross paths. It’s been awhile.

I was thinking the same thing Saturday night during Buffer’s intro. Actually, I literally felt it when Marquez entered the arena. Every fan in The Forum was proud to have his back in that fight and were loud and proud with their support. It sounds cliché, but the atmosphere was electric.

And you better believe I consider myself to be a lucky bastard to have been able to witness Marquez do his thing throughout his career from ringside (I was there during The Great Western Forum days in the ‘90s, when he won his first major title in a ballroom at the Mandalay Bay, and his many battles as an champ and an elite “B-side”). I felt it was an honor to write up the deadline stories to his fights with Terdsak Jandaeng, Marco Antonio Barrera, Pacquiao (the rematch in 2008), Joel Casamayor, Juan Diaz (first fight), Michael Katsidis and Alvarado.

 

 

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

Around the web