Saturday, January 29, 2011
I believe this is a bad move. He thinks it's a good one. He still feels he can compete at a championship level and eventually win another world title. Of course that remains to be seen. He'll be facing Henry Buchanan on April 16 in Las Vegas. I don't know much about Buchanan (20-2, 13 KO's), except that he went the distance with titlist Andre Ward. I don't think that's going to be much of a measuring stick if he expects to be in the title mix. The only thing that'll be able to tell is if he still has any skills left after three years. If he looks good and stops Buchanan or at least is dominant he might can get a fight against a name opponent that can boost him back into contention. If not, it'll be a long climb back and he'll be a name fighter that gets beat by up and comers.
Vargas has been training with Floyd Mayweather Sr. lately and is down to 187 pounds after hitting 270 on the scales. He fought mostly at 154 pounds and that seemed to be a problem since he always had trouble making weight. That was something he cited in losses to Shane Mosley and Oscar De La Hoya and was a reason he left the fight game.
"I was tired of these guys never fighting me unless it was at 154," Vargas said. "Oscar [De La Hoya], Shane [Mosley] -- none of them would fight me if it wasn't at 154. I was always crunching down my body and not eating."
Vargas (26-5, 22 KO's) will act as his own promoter and will only book fights and 168 pounds. Knowing about his weight problems, he'd be better off moving up to light heavyweight. Vargas was an entertaining fighter, but didn't know when to back away from a punch. I hope for the best for him but I think it's best he stayed in retirement. Vargas lost most of his fights in entertaining but brutal fashion. After a three year layoff he'll have to shake off a lot of rust and that could possibly lead to another bad loss for Vargas that could finish him for good.
In the past Verlander has struggled early. Not where he can't get the ball over the plate, but he ges knocked around a bit early in the season. I don't have the stats sitting here in front of me, but I'm pretty sure I'm right. He gets some early wins but not enough for others to doubt his status as the staff ace. His record usually hovers around .500 for his first six to eight starts before he hits a midseason run where he looks unbeatable before looking kinda ordinary toward the end of the year. He has Cy Young stuff and ability, he just needs more consistency from end to end.
Verlander is clearly the key to the rotation. If he can battle hard enough the offense will get him enough run support. I don't doubt his ability to be a top of the line starter, sometimes he makes me wonder though. I still feels like he has his moments where he wants to dial it up and try to blow everyone away. He's been around long enough to know that's not the way to pitch. If he wants to be in the Cy Young conversation, he has to get rid of that mentality. I'm not saying abandon the bread and butter fastball. Just don't rely on it to get you out of a jam. You gotta let the players behind you make plays sometimes. I know, for the Tigers that might be a stretch since some of the players in the field are better suited to a beer league. But you just can't keep pumping fastballs over the plate. Verlander is good. The rest of the staff is good. But they can be a whole lot better and having Verlander off to a quick start may be the key early on.