Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Friday mailbag

ROCK BOTTOM

Well it’s official. We’ve hit it. The egos of boxing have officially ruined the sport. It was getting bad, but it’s officially horrible at this point. What happened to the mending of fences? The coming together? I thought Bob and Oscar were going to get it together for the fans. Well they just proved us all wrong. They’ve shoved another crap match up in front of us. 20-0 with 8 KOs? This is a record that gets you a shot at the top? Who is this guy again? Oh right, he’s the guy that actually lost to the other guy’s sparring partner. Please…. What a time for boxing.

I’ve loved boxing since birth. Had the Ali action figure that you put the yellow plunger in his back and it made him throw punches. Paid for all the great fights of the 70s/80s/90s. Watched them. Learned from them. I remember when Duran came up to middleweight to fight Hagler. I remember thinking, he’s insane. Marvin is going to literally kill him. And my Uncle said, no. That’s what real fighters do. They challenge themselves. They push their limits and not worry what the outcome is. They don’t care about their record. They care about their legend. Duran did pretty good that night. He lost the fight, but he sure gave it a hell of a shot. Duran has his legend. He’s in everyone’s top 20.

No one. And I mean NO ONE from this era of boxing is or will ever be in anyone’s top 20 when it’s all said and done. Well anyone who actually knows the sport, follows it and knows it’s history.

No offense to Chris Algeiri. I’m sure he’s gonna prove us all wrong and become the next Thomas Hearns. I mean that’s obvious. I mean doesn’t he have a college degree? Cuz that’s important when you’re in the ring. Wow. I won’t list the insane number of contenders out there who not only would give Pac a good scrap, but actually have earned their salt and deserve a shot at the man. JMW, WW and JWW divisions are stacked. Plenty of practically unknown fighters to pick from. There’s even a few that people have heard of believe it or not.

It just makes me sad. They keep making these cards. I understand that everyone deserves a tune up or a gimme once in awhile, but not at this stage of their career. Finish strong and finish like a legend. Oh wait, that’s why none of these clowns will become one. Never ever ever.

If any of them had a half a ball, they’d be outraged by these match ups. Outraged like I am. Like my friends are.

I love boxing. Best sport by far and away. I miss having a legend to get behind.

I’d love to give you a list of mythical match ups to see your opinion, but I know the answers to all of them. Anyone from any other era, beats anyone from this era all day every day and twice on Sunday. Literally. Twice on Sunday.

Dougie. Help me. How do we fix this?? How do we get them to make the fights the public wants to see? When guys like Pac and Floyd refuse to fight each other, the sanctioning bodies should strip them of their titles, suspend them from boxing and suspend the promoters who can’t make the match ups. Literally run them out of boxing until they agree on a contract. It’d create media fervor. It’d create worldwide buzz and it’d show them that even though they don’t have any real power, they actually do. Show them that boxing is in fact a business and that they are in fact employees. They will all eventually make their money back, cause guess what…they’ll eventually agree to fight. Rich people have bills, too. And they need to be paid, too.

That’s my plan. Take it to the top for me. – Greg

You’re preaching to the choir, Greg. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I can’t consider Mayweather or Pacquiao to be all-time greats because of the gross lack of character they displayed by not agreeing to face each other (or in Pacquiao’s case, for not forcing Arum’s hand).

How do we fix it? For starters, fans can stop paying to watch fights they deem “mismatches” or matchups that they didn’t ask for.

One reason Mayweather and Pacquiao fought other fighters instead of each other in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 is because they – and their promoters, management and networks – made darn good money doing so. Fans are to blame for that. Fans are to blame for believing the hype and for buying every PPV show like a bunch desperate suckers.

However, the fighters (in this case Floyd and Manny) are ultimately at fault for not fighting each other, or at least challenging themselves in other ways (such as when Duran challenged Hagler for the undisputed middleweight title, or when he challenged Iran Barkley for the WBC 160-pound strap at age 37).

And these two elite pay-per-view franchises (and future hall of famers) have sent the wrong message to young fighters.

However, I think things will turn around soon. De La Hoya and Arum are at least talking about doing potential business with each other, and that’s a start. Now all we need if for the right fight to make it worth their while to deal with each other and all the touchy negotiations that will have to take place (such as sponsorship, the network to air it in the U.S., etc.). I think that fight is the Miguel Cotto-Canelo Alvarez showdown. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Beyond a big “ice-breaker” event to help thaw the Cold War, I think key players in the business, such as certain promoters, network executives, managers and respected trainers, are so sick of the B.S. that they will begin fighting the Powers-That-Be who prevent major matchups from happening.

Freddie Roach sounded like he was totally fed up after the Provodnikov-Algieri fight when someone asked him who Pacquiao would face next. He had to agree that Algieri was “player” in the Pac-sweepstakes because of boxing politics. Watch the first 35 seconds of the video on top of the page.

Roach says “the well is shallow” in terms of potential opponents for Pacquiao due to “Golden Boy and Top Rank not being able to get on the same team.

“If they keep doing it, they will ruin the sport – which they are, because the best is not fighting the best right now. It depends on who he’s signed with. So much bulls__t about you can’t fight someone unless they’re signed with the right guy. That’s bulls__t. That will f__k this sport up so bad. It’s such a shame that they’re doing this.”

Here’s my prediction, Greg. Things will continue to suck in a big way until Mayweather and Pacquiao retire, or fall far from where they are now. (Reasons to root for Marcos Maidana and Algieri.)

In 2007, when it looked like Mayweather was signing his Swan Song and before Pacquiao evolved to superstardom, and in 2008 and the first part of 2009 when Mayweather was on his hiatus from the sport, Golden Boy and Top Rank did business. They didn’t like each other at all, but they still made fights, such as Kelly Pavlik vs. Bernard Hopkins, Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez II (JMM was with GBP at the time), De La Hoya vs. Pacquiao, Pacquiao vs. Ricky Hatton, Antonio Margarito vs. Shane Mosley, and other major main events. Do you remember that run of fights?

Do you know when things took a turn for the worse? You guessed it, when Floyd came out of his fake retirement in late 2009. As soon as Mayweather was back in the game, the masses clamored for a showdown with Pacquiao. And all those millionaire egos – Floyd, Manny, Bob, Oscar, Richard Schaefer, Al Haymon, Ross Greenburg and other suits and lawyers you don’t know and don’t need to know – couldn’t get their s__t together enough to get it done. And their hate for each other only increased as time went on.

Just a hunch, but I think when Floyd and Manny are either gone or have been humbled enough, cooler heads will prevail, better fight will be made and the right message will be spread among the sport’s up-and-comers.

I think there’s a lot to be hopeful for because it looks like a lot of talented young guns and potential stars – including Canelo Alvarez, Terence Crawford, Shawn Porter, Vasyl Lomachenko and Keith Thurman – actually seem to want to behave like real fighters and challenge themselves.

 

THREE QUESTIONS

Hi Doug,

Long time reader of the mailbag, wrote in a couple of times but never made the cut! :( Even if I don’t this time, it’d be good to hear back from you…

Got a couple of things on my mind that I’d like to share:

1. I thought Canelo got a ‘lucky’ decision against Lara…I had it 116-112 to Lara although I understand it was a close fight so the 115-113 for Canelo sits fine with me, the 117-111 does not. It got me thinking though…Canelo got a draw on one judges’ scorecard against Floyd (ridiculous) and I also think the cards were very generous to him against Austin Trout when they fought. Do you think this will be a trend that continues and if so why is he being so heavily favoured?

2. I read that James Kirkland is being touted as the next possible opponent for Canelo in November – what a fight that would be! If it were to happen (in Texas) how do you see that fight panning out? I’ve got to admit, I don’t think Canelo is a superstar fighter, but he’s taken on a good string of opponents lately and that will continue if he fights Kirkland then Cotto in 2015.

3. What’s the deal with Pacquiao vs Algieri? I get that he beat The Siberian Rocky in his last fight but it was hardly convincing enough to land a shot at Pacman surely? Top Rank are seriously running out of opponents for Pacquiao if this is the best they can come up with! How do you see that fight going and do you think it’ll do well in PPV numbers?

Anyway that’s it from me Doug, love your work and it keeps me sane every Mon/Fri at work here in Scotland! Cheers. – David

Thanks for the very kind words, David. Congrats. You made the cut! I’ll answer your questions in order:

1. The trend of at least one official judge bending over backwards for Canelo will ABSOLUTELY continue. Why? You might as well ask why he’s so popular. I don’t know, it’s not like he’s that talented or exciting or personable or handsome, but he’s got “it (whatever “it” is) and a lot of people love him and are willing to pay money to see him fight live. That makes him a star. He’s gonna be the “A-side” in most of his fights. He’s got “shine.” And some judges can’t help but pay a little more attention to what he does in the ring than the other guy. Some judges can’t help getting a little adrenaline rush when the Canelo crowd goes ape s__t for an Alvarez punch that barely grazes – or even misses – his opponent. It’s a sucky fact of life, but judges are only human (and some of them are sketchy scumbags).

2. I can totally see Canelo fighting Kirkland in San Antonio at some point in the near future and drawing at least 30,000 fans to the Alamodome. I KNOW Alvarez will challenge Cotto for the middleweight title next year. If that fight doesn’t happen than nothing makes sense anymore. The universe is officially in a state of chaos. I favor Alvarez to beat both veteran badasses. I also predict that even if he knocks both Kirkland and Cotto the f__k out, he will still be considered a “protected” hype job by certain hardcore head members of Twitter Nation.

3. There’s no doubt about it, David. Top Rank has officially run out of marketable non-Golden Boy/Haymon opponents for Pacquiao. I think Algieri will give Pacquiao all kinds of fits and if the fight wasn’t in Macau I’d seriously consider predicting an “upset special,” as Steve Kim likes to say. I don’t think it will do solid PPV numbers.

 

KAMEDA, SANCHEZ, MYTHICAL MATCHUPS

Hello Doug,I always enjoy your mailbags that are very instructive to a relativelyyoung fan/novice like me. And now I’m writing for the first time.1) It was a bit surprising that Tomoki Kameda looked impressive lastweekend. The Kamedas are hated by some (or perhaps many) Japanese boxing fans, and to be honest, I also cannot say I’m a Kameda fan. However, that KO victory and his willingness to fight in the US really impressed me. While he fights in the US and Mexico partly because he practically cannot fight in Japan due to his conflicts with the Japanese Boxing Commission, Tomoki fought and won in the States unlike many Japanese fighters who say “I wanna fight in America!” without actually fighting there. Now I wish him luck.2) After watching notable fights of Salvador Sanchez, I became his fan. But what made him so special? He boxed very well but not so smoothly as the best version of Wilfredo Gomez (at least to my eyes). He had power but he wasn’t as destructive as Alexis Arguello. What was his best strength as a boxer?3) Mythical matchups. Junior Jones vs Jhonny Gonzalez (at 118, 122, 126) Toshiaki Nishioka vs Hozumi Hasegawa (at 118, 122) Joan Guzman vs Yuriorkis Gamboa (at 126, 130)Ernest Marcel vs Eusebio Pedroza (at 126)I just hope my English is fine! – Taku from Japan 

Thanks for finally writing me, Taku. Please write again soon. Your English is very good. I’ll respond to your comment, question and mythical mathcups in order:

1. I was impressed with Kameda in a number of ways this past week and weekend. I found him to be a thoughtful interview prior to his fight, I liked the way he handled adversity (keeping his cool after Sor Singyu rocked him), I loved the way he closed the show (with a single left hook to the liver, which totally paralyzed the tough Thai), and of course, I like that he’s willing to fight in North America (Mexico and the U.S.). He just signed with Al Haymon, so maybe we’ll see him on U.S. soil and on U.S. TV again soon. I’d love to see him defend his WBO belt against Randy Caballero sometime next year.

2. Sanchez’s biggest strength was his incredible poise, in my opinion. He was unflappable. Nothing fazed or intimidated him. He faced two of the most devastating punchers of his era (Gomez and “Little Red” Lopez) and never blinked an eye while outboxing and beating them down. Other strengths he had include: stamina (he was a true 15-round fighter), technique, rhythm, balance, mobility, combination punching and an awesome chin (he could take a flush shot from a one-hitter-quitter and not skip a beat).

3. Mythical matchups:

Junior Jones vs Jhonny Gonzalez (at 118, 122, 126) – Jones KOs Gonzalez in give-and-take scraps at 118 and 122, but Jhonny zaps “Poison” at 126 (in another barnburner)

Toshiaki Nishioka vs Hozumi Hasegawa (at 118, 122) – Hasegawa by MD or close UD at 118, Nishioka by late TKO at 122.

Joan Guzman vs Yuriorkis Gamboa (at 126, 130) – Guzman by close UD at 126 and by controversial SD at 130.

Ernest Marcel vs Eusebio Pedroza (at 126) – GREAT mythical matchup between two of the most underrated Latino featherweights of the last 45 years (good for you!). Marcel doesn’t get enough credit but I gotta go with Pedroza by very close (and probably very ugly if he gets his way) UD.  

 

LARA’S PAY-PER-POOP, MAYWEATHER’S B.S.

Hey Douglas,

Starting with Alvarez-Lara. Personally I had Canelo winning by at least 3 rounds. Sure, Canelo wasn’t exactly a raging ball of fire in that fight. But at least he tried to win it and certainly did more to assert himself than the overrated Cuban. For starters Alvarez certainly placed more power behind his shot as opposed to Lara who threw his potshots from the far backfield.

And on top of that I think that Lara has “fought” in his first and hopefully last PPV. Hey unless the guy has a face-first target in front of him like Alfredo Angulo then he stinks out the joint. He’s kind of like a poor-man’s version of Winky Wright. A lefty who’s hard to watch and look good against. Only nowhere near as good as Wright was.

As for Canelo I agree that he needs a break from fighting movers. While I certainly wouldn’t snub my nose at Alvarez vs Miguel Cotto, I still think that Alvarez-James Kirkland will be the most riveting fight to happen at 154. And by the way I think Kirkland incinerates Lara while Golovkin demolishes all three of these guys with ease (Kirkland, Canelo, and especially Lara). Come to think of it a prime Winky Wright probably would have outboxed any of today’s guys in the 154-160 pound divisions except maybe Golovkin but that’s a story for another day.

Moving onto to Mayweather-Maidana it seems that Mayweather’s really hell-bent on playing by his usual bulls__t candyass rules like usual. Not only is he insisting on Maidana wearing these pillow-mitts for the fight but now he seems that he’s choosing the ref himself. And now Mr. Money is also declaring that he’s going to knock out Maidana this time. Even if Maidana pulls a Victor Ortiz and turns his head I can’t picture Mayweather knocking out the rugged Argentine. Maybe if Maidana gets so bored with Floyd and his stupid antics to the point that he falls asleep in the ring and gets counted out but that’s about it. And have you noticed it seems to be guys like Lara and now Mayweather again who keep shooting their big-mouths about how they’re going smear their opponents all over the ring. I guess true destroyers like GGG and Matthysse don’t need to shoot their mouths off. They just simply let their fist do their talking once that bell rings. Your thoughts?

Later, guy. – Dave

I don’t understand the need for pure boxers to make silly proclamations about how they’re going to “destroy” their opponents when everyone knows they are defensive masters or stick-and-move specialists. Lara talked the talk with all those “Twitter taunts” and that “I’m gonna break his face” line he barked at Canelo during the weigh-in staredown, but he did not walk the walk in the ring (instead he ran the run).

I remember when Mayweather said he would “torture” Carlos Baldomir and then knock him out. Instead he tortured the fans with 12 rounds of monotony.

Oh well, what can we do but enjoy the silent-but-violent masters, such as Miguel Cotto, Krusher Kovalev, GGG, Matthysse, The Thurmanator, and my man Roman Gonzalez (a nicer, softer-spoken guy you won’t meet).

Regarding Maidana and the glove situation, I just view it as a Mayweather compliment to Chino. Floyd respects Maidana’s power and style. He didn’t make a stink about the Everlast MX gloves when Cotto wore them for their fight in 2012 (in fact, if memory serves me, it was Cotto’s people who had a problem with Mayweather’s gloves – or the thumbs of the gloves that Floyd wanted to wear).

As long as the type of gloves are decided and Maidana has time to get used to them during his camp, I think the Argentine slugger will be his usual heavy handed self on fight night.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Kirkland would make for the most entertaining fight against Canelo. I think the impetuous southpaw Texas Tornado is more dangerous than the often-methodical Puerto Rican star. Canelo-Kirkland is a hardcore fan’s wet dream that would definitely have more crossover appeal than Canelo-Lara did given “Mandingo’s” crazy style and past TV exposure, but Cotto-Canelo is a potential PPV bonanza. I wouldn’t be shocked if both Canelo and Cotto decided to skip their planned late-2014 bouts in order to go straight into their mega-showdown in May 2015.

I don’t know if I’d compare Lara to Wright. Winky wasn’t Mr. Excitement but he made for better fights on average than the Cuban. Yes, Wright was a crafty/cagey southpaw, but he usually stood his ground and sometimes walked his opponents down behind that piston jab.

But I’ll this for Lara, he’s tough like Winky was. The body attack Lara absorbed from Canelo would have done a lot of world-class junior middleweights in.

 

THE VERDICT ON VIRGIL HUNTER

Hey Doug,

How’s it going?  I want to comment a little bit on last Saturday’s main event.  I think both guys did enough to win the fight.  I thought Lara won but it was a very close fight so I can see how you, and many others, scored it 115-113 for Cinnamon.  However, I can also see the same score for Lara.  It wasn’t a robbery but both guys needed to do more to be more convincing of a win.  Canelo couldn’t cut off the ring and was falling over himself and Lara needed to engage a little more.  I think what really enraged the Lara support base was the 117-111 score.  That score was just ignorant.  But, moving on to my topic.

During the Abner Mares bout, my friend turned to me and said, “Mares is winning, but he doesn’t look good.”  I reminded him that Virgil Hunter was his new trainer.  A light immediately went off in his head and he said, “Oh, that explains it.”  Virgil has some talented guys in his gym but their careers either stall or regress under his tutelage and everyone uses the same two excuses to support Virgil.  (Fill in the blank) had ring rust and needs more time to acclimate to his new trainer.  That was excuse for Angulo’s sub-par performance after being released from jail.  The same excuse when Andre Berto got whooped by The Ghost.  The same excuse for Amir Khan when he got dropped by Julio Diaz and now that is same excuse being used to explain Abner’s poor showing last Saturday.  How much time does a trainer need with a boxer?  El Chino has been with Robert Garcia for just about as long as Khan has been with Virgil yet, Maidana has shown vast improvement while the jury is still is out on Khan.  Freddie Roach got tons of accolades after only two fights with Miguel Cotto, although Cotto beat up on a B-level opponent and a man with no legs, but still, Freddie got tons of credit.  How many passes is Virgil going to get?  I think the verdict is already in and he just isn’t a good trainer.  That sucks for Abner because he’s one of the good guys in the sport.

Thank you for everything Doug.  Keep up the good work. – Hugo

I disagree. I think Hunter is clearly a world-class trainer. Apart from developing Andre Ward from scratch, I thought he helped improve Brandon Gonzales, Karim Mayfield and Mike Dallas Jr. He doesn’t get any credit for his work with those guys because they aren’t anywhere near Ward’s class, but I thought he improved their technique and ring generalship, and advanced all three past the level I had once viewed them. Yeah, Mayfield – who fights tonight on ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights” – recently lost to Thomas Dulorme, Dallas was iced by Matthysse and Gonzales was just stopped by James DeGale, but Hunter got them to the HBO and Showtime level (DeGale-Gonzales wasn’t on HBO’s broadcast of the Froch-Groves rematch, but it was a major title elimination bout). I’d watched all three fight years before they were with Hunter and I considered Dallas to be a second-tier prospect, Gonzales to a third-tier prospect, and Mayfield to be a regional club fighter.

I know Angulo didn’t improve much with Hunter, but “Perro” is “Perro.” Eddie Futch wouldn’t have been able to do anything with the plodding pressure fighter. Angulo was also shopworn to a degree by the time he started working with Hunter.

Berto may be shopworn, too (and by the way, Hunter wasn’t in his corner for the Guerrero fight). We’ll see.

Khan and Mares are fine, physically speaking, but both guys are getting over mental issues after getting KTFO by huge underdogs. I think it’s taking time for Hunter to instill improvements because both Khan and Mares are used to fighting a very busy, aggressive boxing style, which doesn’t really fall in line with Hunter’s philosophy of thinking before you punch or act.

Conversely, Cotto immediately gelled with Roach and Maidana learned quickly with Garcia because those veteran fighters are aggressive by nature and those two multiple Trainer of the Year award winners are offensive coaches.

Khan looked vulnerable against Diaz but he was effective against Luis Collazo in May, so maybe Hunter’s beginning to rub off on the UK star.

Let’s see what happens with Mares. He got over one mental hurdle with Oquendo. We’ll find out what happens against a higher caliber opponent soon.

 

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

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