Welcome to Ringside Report and my mailbag. This column is about giving fans of boxing and MMA a forum to express their views, voice their opinions, and to call me an idiot. This weekend, the fight that got the most press was the pathetic match up between Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones, two guys who should be long retired. Hopkins has made an effort to make his fights as boring as possible over the last five years or so. Based on that knowledge, and the fact that Jones is so shot I would hesitate to pick him to beat my grandmother, I did not watch the “anticipated” rematch between Hopkins and Jones. You could not have paid me to watch that fight.
After reading the reports I am glad I passed. From the reports I read, the only damage that either man imposed on the other was of the illegal variety. I am saddened that these kinds of irrelevant circus fights get much more media attention than quality championship boxing matches.
Although the media ignored it and instead paid attention to squabbling old men, the Heavyweight Championship fight between David Haye and John Ruiz was the best and more significant fight of the weekend. What’s that you say? John Ruiz in a good fight? Yeah, mostly it was entertaining because he was getting knocked around. In the first email this week, me and regular emailer Olafur, discuss David Haye and his performance.
Other topics in this week’s mailbag include the Super Six tournament, how the Mexican trio of Morales, Barrera, and Marquez would do against Julio Cesar Chavez, UFC heavyweights, and more. I hope you enjoy reading and get inspired enough to send me an email of your own to be featured in next week’s bag.
David Haye Excites, Kind Of and Super Six Talk
Thinking about David Haye’s win over John Ruiz, I found the fight interesting and there was more excitement than when the Klitschkos fights generally. But I feel like there’s something missing, an X factor if you will. I can’t put my finger on it, there were knockdowns there was a feel that John Ruiz could take the punishment and win, because he had Haye working the whole fight through. This is not a criticism on the performance. The thing I would like to see next is of course a fight with Wladimir. How do you see that fight panning out? I still see Haye as an underdog in that fight with a puncher’s chance. Also how do you rate his punching power? He has got a really good right hand.
Now the Arthur Abraham fight. I couldn’t see the fight live and I heard that Arthur was out-boxed and knocked down etc. So when I finally saw the fight it was like going in to a movie every body said sucked (regarding Abraham’s performance) so maybe that had an effect. Before the fight I thought Abraham would cruise through him and knock him out so I would have been shocked if I saw it live. Having said that, I don’t think Abraham’s performance was that bad. He had his same old Winky Wright defense going on and the fight reminded me of the one with Jermain Taylor. Dirrell was throwing a lot but very many punches landed on the guard (hands of Abraham). Abraham landed one one punch here and there in every round. He was clearly losing on points and Dirrell performed very well.
Dirrell is dangerous to any fighter especially because of his footwork and speed. The knockdown in the 4th round seemed to me like a balance shot. Arthur wasn´t hurt and Dirrell caught him coming in and off balance. I felt Arthur was coming on strong in the latter half and it would have been interesting to see if Dirrell would suffer the same fate as Jermain (although he technically did).
Arthur had a bad foul that stopped the fight, but I see a pattern in Dirrell that I don’t like, just like in the Froch fight he keeps on falling down and it’s strange how he always slips when heat is on him. I feel like sometimes he does this to escape punishment and knockdowns (failed terribly this time). So I wonder is
there any rules about that? Falling down and stealing time or busting an offense by doing so? Just so it’s clear I did agree with the stoppage and it was a very bad foul on Arthur’s part. Of course he should not hit an opponent when he’s down.
I think there were two knockdowns that were not awarded. One obviously when Arthur punched him down in the 9th or 10th round, I don’t remember. And one time Abraham took a very hard punch from Dirrell and fell really hard on the ropes and it seemed to me that if not for the ropes he would have fallen down.
Carl Froch’s performance doesn’t look as bad now, this tournament is brilliant it has brought very good, competitive fights.
Happy holiday and keep up the good work.
David Haye performed better than I expected against Ruiz. In the Team RSR fight picks I said that Haye would struggle with Ruiz like most do. Since the fight played out differently than I expected I am struggling to explain why.
It looked as if Ruiz finally decided to abandon his jab and clinch strategy in favor of an aggressive Mike Tyson-esque approach, which is strange. Why in the world would he all of a sudden abandon his battle tested approach when going against one of the most dangerous punchers in the division? Perhaps he was fed up with the criticisms about his boring fighting style, or perhaps he realized that he was not going to win by fighting his standard fight so he went all out in desperation, ala Erik Morales in his third fight with Manny Pacquiao.
Age probably played a role as well since John Ruiz is getting old and has not looked very good lately. And of course, the other explanation is that Haye is better than I thought he was; good enough to beat down John Ruiz where others have failed. There is no denying that David Haye has a terrific knockout punch. He is also fast and athletic. But like you said, you get the feeling that he is hiding some vulnerabilities, such as a weak chin, poor stamina, or mental lapses. We’ll see in the future if those shortcomings reveal themselves.
I would make either Klitschko a very large favorite over Haye. Against Wladimir, Haye would have a slight puncher’s chance because of his power and speed, but not much. Against Vitali Haye would not even have that. He would have to hope that Vitali’s body betrayed him with a freak injury.
I am surprised that Wladimir’s name has surfaced as the next Haye opponent. That surprises me because I thought that Vitali Klitschko would be the one to fight Haye. For one, because Vitali matches up better stylistically against Haye, but more importantly because Haye holds the WBA belt and I know the brothers want two belts a piece. Wladimir holding three belts to Vitali’s one belt would put a kink in their goal.
You are right that Arthur Abraham was still alive at the time of the foul that disqualified him against Andre Dirrell. He was losing badly on points, but was coming on very strong and is typically a late round fighter. I don’t think there was a person watching the fight who thought that Abraham didn’t have a chance to score a dramatic win in the final two rounds. Had the foul not happened, who knows what would have happened. Most likely Dirrell would have fought defensively to protect his lead and secure a points victory. But I see your point that the fight played out similarly to Abraham vs. Jermain Taylor. But disregarding the “what if?” scenarios, Dirrell won almost every round so you have to commend him on a stellar performance against someone who was supposed to beat him. I wouldn’t argue if one would say that Andre dominated Abraham.
Abraham is still almost a lock to make the final four of the Super Six tournament because he scored a 3 points knockout already. Dirrell and Abraham could very well meet again in this tournament. I would be curious to see how Arthur would fight Dirrell in a rematch seeing as how his original strategy left in him a hole that was nearly impossible to climb out of.
And to address your question as to whether slipping on purpose to get a rest is illegal. Yes, although this is clearly a judgment call by the referee. If the ref thinks that you are slipping on purpose to avoid heat he will rule it as taking a knee, and it is officially scored a knockdown.
I like that you mentioned Carl Froch after discussing Andre Dirrell’s rise in stock. Froch’s stock should rise as well for doing better against Dirrell than Arthur Abraham did. I am actually surprised that the line for Carl Froch vs. Mikkel Kessler did not change at all after Dirrell won his fight. Froch remains a +140 underdog. Perhaps the thinking is that Dirrell was too scared and inexperienced fighting on the big stage against Froch to utilize all of his talents against Froch the way he did against Abraham.
Looking forward to the next set of Super Six fights! This has been a wonderful tournament so far.
Mexico’s Great Rivalries
I have been a fan of a lot of the great Mexican fighters and my favorite has always been Julio Cesar Chavez. Knowing that after his absence there were 3 candidates as the next great Mexican star I’d like to know your opinion on the fights below. I’d like to pit them with each other since Mexicans do fight their own and form great rivalries within the same country.
In their primes who do you think will win:
Chavez vs. Erik Morales – I think this one is a toss up. This will be a great see-saw battle which will leave our mouths open. I’d probably give it to Chavez due to better punch output en route to a split or unanimous decision.
Chavez vs. Marco Antonio Barrera – I think this might be a tough match-up for Barrera, Barrera has the tendency to back down when he is attacked by a stronger and busier opponent (ex. Pacquiao). I have a hunch that Chavez might stop him late.
Chavez vs. Juan Manuel Marquez – This is gonna be a tough fight for Chavez, Marquez is a different kind of boxer-puncher and he is very tough. I think Marquez might get a decision in this one due to the better percentage of landed punches in a unanimous decision win.
I’d like to read about your opinion man. I’m a frustrated analyst and I want someone to talk to regarding the sport that I love.
Maginoo “Pero” Bastos
As great at this era’s Mexican trio of Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Marco Antonio Barrera are, Julio Cesar Chavez was a step above those three guys. Chavez could equal them in skill but one-upped them in his physical attributes. JC Superstar was amazingly strong, tough, and had one of the best chins of all time. Also, I consider the fact that Chavez was naturally one or two weight classes bigger than Morales, Barrera, and Marquez. This is how I see those three matchups:
Chavez vs. Morales – “El Terrible” would have a moderate chance of winning this one by boxing and using his length. However, Chavez was the ultimate pressure fighter and Morales never backs down from a fight. Morales’s bravery and guts would get him in trouble. After Chavez trapped him against the ropes and landed his power shots to the ribs and head a few times, Morales would get pissed off and trade punches. That would lead to his demise and a 9th round TKO victory for Julio Cesar Chavez.
Chavez vs. Barrera – This is a bad styles match up for Barrera. The young version of Barrera is essentially the same fighter as Chavez only not as big or strong. Chavez would absorb any offense that Marco Antonio would have to offer and then retaliate with crushing counter punches with devastating effect, stopping Barrera in the middle rounds.
Chavez vs. Marquez – Marquez is a unique fighter with his precision counter punching style. Despite Chavez being a master inside fighter/brawler, I don’t think that he could match Marquez in skill in the center of the ring. Chavez would have to use his size and strength to overpower Marquez. I could see a fight where Chavez stalked Marquez, eating two punches for every one he got in, but eventually trapping Marquez against the ropes and mauling him. This could be a match up similar to Juan Manuel’s brother’s rivalry, Rafael Marquez vs. Israel Vazquez. Marquez is more skilled and technical, but the power, strength, chin and determination is enough to overcome in the case of Vazquez, and in this mythical match up Julio Cesar Chavez. I’ll take Chavez to win by unanimous decision.
I have Chavez winning a clean sweep over all three modern Mexican greats, but mostly because Julio Cesar is bigger. None of those guys have proved that they can perform at an all time great level at lightweight or junior welterweight like Chavez has. Perhaps in a pound for pound mythical match up would have a different opinion.
To Become a True Hall of Famer
Mr. Brian Wilbur,
Good day to you, I’m just one of so many avid boxing fans that truly knows and understands very well of the exact meaning of boxing hall of fame. I am a Filipino and from time to time I watch boxing worldwide on You Tube, DVD, and PPV and reading the Ring Magazine, KO magazine etc.
As you know more and more Filipino fighters are fighting in different parts of the world and gallantly fought no matter what. Win or loss it doesn’t matter nor affect us simply because fighting outside of your own backyard is so great to appreciate, learn and follow steps forward with bravery!
We Filipinos hold the very first Asian Boxing World Championship with the immortal Pancho Villa way back in 1923 when he brutally KO’d the great Jimmy Wilde. After Villa’s success in your country it was followed by middleweight Ceferino Garcia, whom invented the bolo punch, followed by Flash Elorde, who still holds the longest world junior lightweight championship reign ever 1960-1967, it was followed by the Penalosa brothers, who are both two division champs, Gerry and Dodie Boy Penalosa. More and more Filipino fighters fought outside of Asia and became successful, until the newest hottest boxing sensation the current P4P king and boxing’s lone 7 division World Champion: Manny Pacman Pacquiao!
My bottom line is this: how could a boxer able to win a world title belt asking for more than his true will? 99% of Thai fighters inviting foreign world champs to fight in Thailand win hometown decisions? These cheater Thai promoters and managers always hold their fighters to defend the title they won in very low class title defenses inside their own backyard in Thailand. Is anybody here seeing a Thai fighter who is so successful fighting in America? In Europe? In Africa? The exact answer is no.
And in the case of this new WBC flyweight title holder Thai Pongsaklek Wongjongkam who defended his title inside of his own backyard for a long time is asking for a shot in the Hall of Fame? I’m calling out the attention of all American boxing writers, because I would like to challenge you all guys about the true meaning of Hall of Fame. How could a fighter become such a great if he wasn’t able to challenge and fought thousand miles away? Oh, c’mon guys? Is the Hall of Fame only based in the way a fighter defended his title many times? That’s all? If that is the case, every Filipino fighter must decide also to defend our world titles inside of our own backyard right? Just to be able to hold a world title, even in span of straight ten years without a single defeat right?
For a huge fan and a true believer of boxing just like me, the true essence of the word GREATNESS lies within the heart of a fighter, no matter who he fought, no matter when, no matter where took the fight, the true great fighter and a true hall of famer has no cares about this matter but only the words he knows: fight like a devil in the ring with no mercy…just like Manny Pacquiao, who fought outside of his country and outside of his continent of Asia. Are there any
Thai, Japanese, or Koreans who gallantly fought and became a giant success in America?
I just hope the BWAA, Ring Magazine, the IBHOF, and the WBHOF carefully study every fighter before including them in their most prestigious boxing Hall of Fame.
When I consider a fighter’s greatness I look primarily at one factor: wins over quality opponents. Fighting outside one’s country is honorable and great experience for a boxer, but not absolutely necessary to make the Hall of Fame. However the champions who hold their belt hostage at home are usually the kind who are not willing to take on all comers.
Like you, I don’t agree with the thinking that Pongsaklek Wongjongkam should be inducted into the Hall of Fame. I feel that way because he did not defeat enough A level opponents. The fact that he only fought in Thailand meant that he would only fight certain fighters, and only on his own terms.
The boxers who travel anywhere, like Manny Pacquiao, tend to be the kind of boxers who will fight anyone, anywhere, anytime, and therefore will fight a higher level of opposition overall. But the fact that Pacquiao is willing to travel does not make him great. His brilliant record and his numerous wins over stellar opposition is why he is going into the Hall of Fame some day.
In a hypothetical world, if a guy is able to convince the best available competition to travel to fight him, I would not hold it against him. So bottom line, wins while factoring in strength of opposition are what really matter when judging a hall of famer. I am not really concerned with where the fights took place. It just so happens that historically, the ones who are not willing to travel are also not willing to fight the best.
Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin
Yeah Carwin looked pretty good in his last fight but Frank Mir is done. The guy has good skills but he doesn’t have anything left. Carwin is going to get a shot at Brock Lesnar now but I think that Lesnar is going to kill him. Brock is bigger, stronger, and just better. What do you think about that fight?
I don’t see Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin as one-sided as you do. They are basically the same fighter. Carwin is actually the same size as Lesnar. Lesnar is 6’3”, 265 pounds. Carwin is 6’4”, 265 pounds. They are very similar is stature. Lesnar will not enjoy the hefty size advantage that he has in his highest profile UFC bouts.
I give Lesnar a very slight edge because he is faster (freakishly fast for his size), a better wrestler, and seems sturdier. Carwin though, appears to have an edge in striking ability and punching power. This will the Lesnar’s toughest test to date and the widespread notion that Brock is going to have an easy time is misguided in my opinion. One punch could end the night on either side.
Thanks for reading all. Come back next week for more!