I wrote to you just after Carl Froch v George Groves I was announced and said a one-sided beatdown was going to be dished out by Froch. You said you didn't think that was going to be the case so good call on that fight.
I'm as sure as anyone can be that Froch was on his way to actually administering that beatdown before the ref stopped the fight but obviously we'll never know. It certainly didn't look that way for most of the fight as he seemed to be completely caught off guard by Grove's speed and power but going by several of his previous fights when he catches up with you in the later rounds Froch will finish you unless you have a top-class chin. I don't think Groves has a top-class chin.
Anyway even though Froch has had a tougher run of fights than almost anyone I can think of I still think he has enough left to KO Groves and leave no doubt in anyone's mind about who is the best fighter. What way do you see the rematch panning out?
After all Groves’ complaining about the early stoppage I can't help thinking of that old saying: “Be careful what you wish for…..”
Cheers. – Cogs, Belfast
I’m thinking the same thing, Cogs.
There’s no denying that Groves had badly hurt Froch at the end of the first round and was in firm command of the fight through at least six or seven rounds, but “Saint George” has been talking like he wasn’t hurt at all in the ninth or in the least bit of trouble before that spaz of a referee botched matters, and that simply isn’t true. Froch started working his way back into the fight in the fifth round, and though I might be mistaken, I thought Groves was beginning to wear down after the seventh round. The eighth round looked like it could have been a turning point for Froch. Like you said, we’ll never know for sure because the ref robbed both fighters of earning a clear-cut victory with his premature stoppage, by my hunch is that Froch was going to drown the young upstart in the championship rounds.
And my hunch is that he’ll get it done – legitimately – in the rematch.
Groves will still be extremely hard for Froch to draw a bead on but I think the veteran knows what to expect from the 25-year-old Londoner this time and I believe that he will be prepared for that difficult style.
I don’t think Froch respected Groves going into their first bout and I don’t think he was motivated for it. Now he’s got a reason to be motivated and that could make all the difference.
FROCH-GROVES 2 & THE G-MAN
Great to see Froch-Groves 2 announced and I really hope this gets picked up to be shown on U.S. TV. I'm not a fan of attending stadium fights but the publicity of big attendances are surely good for the sport.
Froch is older and took more sustained damage in the first fight, whereas Groves should improve from having the experience of his first title fight behind him.
Groves also knows he can hurt Carl, but I don't think he doubted himself going into the first fight anyway. Something tells me Groves best chance to beat Froch may have come and gone. He hit the jackpot in round one and then beat up on a shaken Froch for almost six rounds but still couldn't put him away.
Froch has never been hard to find so it's hard to see him turn into an elusive counter puncher overnight, but maybe he will still be the one who comes better prepared tactically. I think he thought he could walk through and destroy Groves just as he did with Yusaf Mack and Lucian Bute.
Groves had a lot going on outside of the ring last time including the split from Adam Booth and subsequent court case which went against him, so this time he should have a more settled camp and much greater public support given the good/bad guy roles have reversed.
What will GG do tactically? I think his chin and stamina are both questionable and I'm not convinced he would be able to stick to a boxing gameplan for twelve rounds. Froch will always have a chance once GG slows down. My initial prediction is a stoppage win for Froch but it's a real pick em.
On the subject of domestic showdowns at Super Middle: If Gerald McClellan had stopped Nigel Benn in the first round of their ill fated slugfest (many at the time criticised the referee’s long count as Benn was helped back through the ropes), how do you think the touted Roy Jones Jr-McClellan bout would have gone in mid to late 1995?
Other mythical matchups:
Jones Jr v Ward at SMW.
1994 Hopkins v 1994 McClellan at Middleweight.
Prime Hopkins v Prime healthy Toney at SMW.
1994/95 McClelllan v 1993/94 Toney at SMW.
Cheers. – JS
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Froch-Groves II and “The G-Man,” JS.
Regarding the anticipated May 31 rematch, I think it’s another toss-up fight but my gut says Froch will prevail and my gut is usually right when it comes to The Cobra. You make good points that Froch may have overestimated his punching power due to his one-sided stoppages of Bute and Mack while underestimating Groves, who might be sharper for the rematch thanks to a controversy-free camp.
I don’t think Froch will overlook “Double G” this time. Hopefully, HBO, which broadcasted Froch-Kessler II last year, picks up this rematch. The U.S. cable network should do it just because Froch is the most entertaining super middleweight in the world. All of his fights deliver excitement and drama. I think Froch-Groves I was arguably the most compelling fight of 2013, which was packed with dramatic bouts. But it also makes sense to show Froch-Groves II in order to build future fights for Andre Ward and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Regarding McClellan, had he won the Benn fight by first-round KO, I don’t think Jones would have fought him. Jones was always leery of facing his amateur rivals, such as Frankie Liles, and I’m sure The G-Man would have spooked him a bit having scored first-round KOs of two of boxing’s hardest hitters (Benn and Julian Jackson, who McClellan starched in the opening round of their rematch at middleweight). I think Jones would have simply told the boxing world: “Gerald McClellan is a hell of a fighter, I know so from the amateurs, and I’m proud of what he’s done as a pro, but I’m an HBO fighter and he’s a Showtime fighter who is promoted by Don King, so unfortunately, unless he leaves King, we can’t fight each other.” (If you think Mayweather is the first U.S. network darling to refuse to face his rivals because of who promoted them, think again. There’s a reason I used to refer to Floyd as “Roy Jones III.”)
However, let’s say McClellan somehow broke away from King and signed a deal with HBO (and even with Jones’ Square Ring, Inc.), paving a way for the anticipated WBC-IBF super middleweight unification bout to happen – I would heavily favor RJ to prevail in that showdown. Jones was at his absolute peak in 1995-’96. He could punch almost as hard as McClellan but with better timing, technique and accuracy. Plus, he was a more versatile boxer with faster feet and much quicker hands and reflexes. I think he would have won a comfortable UD had that fight taken place.
Onto your other 160-168-pound mythical matchups:
Jones Jr v Ward at SMW – Jones by close but unanimous decision in an generally uneventful chess match
1994 Hopkins v 1994 McClellan at Middleweight – Hopkins by close majority or split decision in a grueling fight. B-Hop get hurt and dropped early but gets up and does the same to G-Man late in the fight.
Prime Hopkins v Prime healthy Toney at SMW – Toney by split decision in a classic that plays out somewhat like Toney-McCallum I but with more movement from B-Hop than the Body Snatcher exhibited.
1994/95 McClelllan v 1993/94 Toney at SMW – Toney by late TKO in a classic battle of card-carrying Michigan badasses.
Hey Mr. Fisch,
Thank you so much for the twice a week mailbag. As a boxing fan I enjoy it tremendously and as an IT professional I respect the great work and time needed to develop and maintain such a great and beautiful web site.
I would love to see on one of the premium channels Ramon “Chocolatito” Gonzalez. He might be as much fun to watch as any of the big punchers. Why is it that we don't see him? Contract barriers? Networks have not discovered him? Does not weigh enough?
I'd like to read your opinion as I know you also like him. Thanks and keep up the great work. – Marv, Los Angeles
I don’t just “like” Gonzalez, I’ve got a healthy man crush on the undefeated former strawweight and junior flyweight beltholder from Nicaragua, and I’ve considered him to be a Pound-for-Pound Top-10 worthy boxer for a few years now.
If you need proof that Pound-for-Pound rankings are pure doo doo, look no further than the fact that Gonzalez – an elite boxer-puncher who has defeated some of the best 105-, 108- and 112-pound fighters on his way to compiling 38 consecutive victories, 32 by knockout – isn’t in the top 10 of the “mythical” ratings of THE RING, ESPN.com, SI.com, BleacherReport.com, and BoxRec.com (I’d mention the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, but it looks like they’ve wisely done away with their P4P).
The 26-year-old Nicaraguan, who doesn’t just win but entertains, as he did with his sixth-round stoppage of Juan Kantun this past Saturday, is scheduled to appear on the undercard of RING/WBC flyweight champ Akira Yaegashi’s title defense against Odilon Zaleta on April 6 – presumably to build interest towards an eventual showdown. If Gonzalez gets a shot at Yaegashi and wins the 112-pound crown he better get some Pound-for-Pound love – from everybody who bothers to compile such lists. If he doesn’t, I swear on the Boxing Register that I’ll completely ignore Pound-for-Pound rankings for the rest of my life.
As to the reason we don’t see Gonzalez on the major U.S. cable networks that showcase boxing – HBO and Showtime – I'm pretty sure it’s because he’s a sub-bantamweight.
Some of the best boxer-technicians of the past 20 years were overlooked by HBO and Showtime because they were little guys. Ricardo Lopez, a near-perfect technician who made a record 22 defenses of his WBC 105-pound belt, most by knockout, was seldom seen on HBO or Showtime. The Mexico City resident, who also won (and defended) the IBF 108-pound title and retired with a stellar unbeaten mark of 51-0-1, with 38 KOs, was only seen by U.S. fans when he made it onto Showtime and HBO pay-per-view undercards near the end of his hall-of-fame career. I fmemory serves me right, he only fought once on a regular U.S. cable broadcast (his rematch with Rosendo Alvarez, which was on Showtime in November of 1998).
Ivan Calderon, one of the best pure boxers of the 2000s, never fought on a regular Showtime or HBO broadcast. Top Rank and PR Best Promotions were only able to get the Puerto Rican southpaw, who was unbeaten in his first 35 bouts, into U.S. homes on Telefutura shows (early in his career) and via HBO and independent (“Latin Fury”) pay-per-view once he was an established 105-pound and 108-pound titleholder.
Even Michael Carbajal, a 1988 Olympic silver medalist who won his first junior flyweight title on network television, had a tough time getting on the subscription cable networks. The live broadcasts of his trilogy with fellow hall of famer Humberto Gonzalez were on pay per view.
There are some exceptions. Showtime featured Vic Darchinyan when he was the undefeated IBF flyweight titleholder in 2000s, and HBO2 has showcased Brian Viloria and Gonzalez victim Juan Estrada in recent broadcasts from Macau, so there is some hope for little masters like “Chocolatito.”
THE POLARIZING MIDDLEWEIGHT
Judging from your recent mailbags it seems that Mr. Golovkin could challenge Mayweather for the title of the world’s most divisive boxer! Some people are convinced GGG is the next PFP king and an all time great in waiting while others see him as the most overrated boxer on the planet (the guy who got into a rage because he didn't like Golovkin’s grin made me laugh).
My view is that he's going to need to move up in weight to really prove himself. The other top guy at middleweight is Sergio Martinez and although this fight would be a massive event the fact is the Argentine legend is 39 and is showing obvious signs of decline. The guy has been down and hurt more than once in recent fights against solid but hardly great opponents and was hardly convincing against Martin Murray. Although beating this version of Martinez would be a nice name to have on his record it wouldn't conclusively shut the doubters up. The guys who could potentially take GGG out of his comfort zone and force him to prove that he isn't the one dimensional fighter his critics say he is are at SMW. In Froch he would face a guy with the iron chin to take his best shots AND hit him back just as hard and in Ward a supreme technician with the ability to outbox him. Even Groves or Kessler would be bigger challenges than any of the guys at middleweight in my opinion. Cheers. – Mark.
I agree 100 percent, Mark. I’m no odds maker but I would install GGG as a decided favorite over any 160 pounder on the planet. However, that doesn’t mean I want to see him jump immediately to super middleweight.
If it’s at all possible for him to unify or partially unify the middleweight titles before challenging the top 168 pounders, I want to see him do that. I think Golovkin’s the best 160-pound fighter out there but that doesn’t mean he’s the real champ and that doesn’t mean that he can’t be upset if he has a bad night against the right guy.
I know WBO beltholder Peter Quillin is currently out of the question as an opponent thanks to boxing business/politics but if Martinez looks like a boss against Miguel Cotto in June – and I’m not counting “Maravilla” out like too many other hardcore heads – that’s a fight I want to see.
Just because Martinez no longer has the physical tools to impose himself on Golovkin doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the experience, ring smarts and unorthodox boxing style to compete with the undefeated WBA beltholder.
And if recent reports are accurate, Martinez – THE RING and WBC champ – wants a piece of GGG, sooner rather than later. I read these statements attributed to Martinez on FightSaga.com yesterday:
“When I beat Cotto by knockout, I can just concentrate on what might be a possible fight with Golovkin.
“He [Golovkin] is the most difficult opponent. He's not the most difficult because of his technique, but for his physical strength. Golovkin is strong, physically fit and he can take a punch.
“This is the time to fight him, because in a few years he will have more experience and he will be more dangerous.”
Before I demand that GGG jump to 168 pounds, I’m going to hold out for the Martinez showdown. If Martinez fails against Cotto, I’d still like to see Golovkin take on Felix Sturm, Daniel Geale and a tough, gutsy top-10 contender like Martin Murray or Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam. If he can’t get any of these fights by early-to-mid 2015, I’ll fully support his super middleweight invasion.
THE GREAT ONES
First, I have followed you for some years, and believe you are one of the fairest, and most knowledgeable boxing scribes around. While I don't agree with all your opinions, I have never found one to be without firm foundation in history and fact. (Of course, both history and fact can sometimes be interpreted different ways, lol!)
I have been a boxing fan since the late 50's (yes, I am old!). My most poignant memory as a young man was listening to Sonny Liston knock out Floyd Patterson in their first fight, with my father saying it would take "someone better than Joe Louis" to deal with Liston. Then along came Ali! Through the years, I have watched and followed fighters who are now considered "all time greats." (The only ones in my lifetime I give that honor to, in no particular order except for Robinson, who is first):
1. Sugar Ray Robinson
2. Jake LaMotta
3. Emile Griffith
4. Muhammad Ali
5. Joe Frazier
6. Bob Foster
7. Ray Leonard (I only acknowledge one Sugar Ray!)
8. Tommy Hearns
9. Salvador Sanchez
10. Alexis Arguello
11. Aaron Pryor
12. Roberto Duran
13. Vitali Klitschko
14. Lennox Lewis
And probably one or two more, but not many… Lewis to me is a borderline all time great, but I include him, erring on the side of “what the hell…”
I don't want to enrage the Money May lovers, but he is not in the class of a Duran or a Sanchez, in my poor opinion…
Just a few quick what if fights:
Liston at his prime against Louis at his, over 15;
Lewis against prime Liston;
Robinson against Leonard at welterweight;
Pryor against Duran at lightweight or even at 140;
Tommy Hearns at middleweight against GGG
Doug, thanks for all the years of great writing! You make my Mondays and Fridays! – John
Thanks for the kind words, John.
That’s a nice group of ATGs you got there but I’d make room for Henry Armstrong, Willie Pep and Sam Langford (all of whom can challenge Robinson for the G.O.A.T. title, in my opinion).
And while I was in full support of Lewis’ first-ballot hall of fame induction, and I believe that Vitali Klitschko is worthy of the IBHOF, I can easily come up with 40-50 former boxers who are “greater” than those two former heavyweight champs.
Joe Louis is definitely one of them. Liston wasn’t as accomplished as Lewis and Klitschko but he was arguably a better boxer and fighter. The late boxing historian Hank Kaplan once told me that Liston was the best heavyweight he ever saw. He rated the prime version of Liston who fought from late 1958 through 1962 over Louis and Ali.
With his words in mind, I’ll attempt to answer your mythical matchups.
Liston at his prime against Louis at his – This is a fascinating matchup. Liston idolized Louis and tried to emulate much of the Brown Bomber’s vaunted technique. However, Liston was naturally bigger, arguably stronger, and definitely rangier than Louis. Liston was also a more fluid boxer than his idol.
Many boxing fans think of Liston as the flat-footed stalker that Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali made him look like in ’64 and ’65, but the Arkansas native was a versatile boxer who made use of feints and a world-class jab, had excellent head and upper-body movement, underrated footwork and mobility, and counterpunching ability.
However, Louis had impeccable fundamentals and near-perfect punching technique to go with his awesome power and accuracy. I think Louis is the best combination puncher ever to grace the heavyweight division. Plus, his jab was just as good as Liston’s. However, Liston’s greater reach and crafty timing would have given Louis a hard time. I can see Liston troubling Louis the way Jersey Joe Walcott did with footwork and potshots. But Liston couldn’t move as well as Walcott and he wasn’t as sneaky and unorthodox as Jersey Joe was. Plus, he didn’t have a busy counter right like Walcott and Max Schmeling. If he did, I’d say Liston beats Louis (even the prime version). But though Liston had a very good right cross, it wasn’t his primary weapon, and in fact, he used it sparingly.
I think Louis and Liston would rock and drop each other early in a great fight, but Louis’ accurate combinations, greater activity and superior stamina would allow him to win a very close decision.
Lewis against prime Liston – Liston by mid-rounds KO
Robinson against Leonard at welterweight – Robinson by unanimous decision in a great fight
Pryor against Duran at lightweight or even at 140 – Duran by late TKO in a great fight
Tommy Hearns at middleweight against GGG – Hearns by close perhaps controversial decision in a great fight
NO MORE GGG BASHING, PROPS TO A HUMONGOUS BASTARD
When we last spoke I brutally insulted your guy GGG. And my follow-up comments on Facebook weren't all that flattering either. Sorry dude. Being the dumbass Canuck I am I guess I had too much booze mixed in with my maple syrup prior to writing that email. And I guess I just get irked when proven fighters like Andre Ward and Danny Garcia still get s___ted on by all these blowhards and yet many of these guys have their heads so far up Golovkin's arse to the point where they're stating that GGG can beat the crap out of legends like Jake LaMotta, Carlos Monzon, and Marvin Hagler. But yeah, I know, that's not Golovkin's fault. And you were actually still respectful to me in return and besides, you know GGG personally. I don't. So for you and whoever else that personally knows GGG and read my piece I'll admit I went overboard and apologize. I’m obviously not about to magically transform into a fan overnight but if he does clean up the middleweight division and successfully take on the bigger boys I'll give him his props. Regardless, there will be no more G-bashing from me.
Okay now we can move on and bash the biggest boys. Let's start with Tyson Fury. Got to hand it to that humongous bastard, He still has yet to beat a top ten guy and yet here he is already ranked in the top 5. Just goes to show that looking like some 280 pound sweaty Wookie gets you far in today's crappy heavyweight division. Not that it's all that easy to tell the contenders from the pretenders. Alexander Povetkin is still in the top 3 despite looking like donkey-doo in his last few fights. That pretty much says it all.
And to be honest with ya dude, I'm sure The Furious One can kick Povetkin's ass. Despite my jokes I really get a kick out of Fury. The dude even acts like he's raised by drunken Wookies. And he nails you like a pissed off drunken Wookie as well.
And know who he really should fight. D. Wilder. These humongous bruisers can really hit but they both need to prove that they're the dudes to take over once the Klitchkos get too old. And of course the Klitchkos are pretty much there.
And while the Furious One delivered some fireworks by stomping over Joey Abell you can't say the same for the Dereck Chisora-Kevin Johnson bout. A dude would have to pump himself with caffeine just sit through that crap. And Chisora is usually fun to watch. Was he on sleeping pills?
Anyhow dude, I'm blasting off. May The Cosmos be with you as always! – Captain Ron
And with you, Cap.
Chisora wasn’t on sleeping pills. He was fighting Johnson. Nobody is entertaining against the American jab-master of non-confrontation. It takes two to tango.
We’ll get a proper heavyweight fight with the Fury-Chisora rematch (if it happens). Their first fight wasn’t bad but the second one will be much better because both heavyweights have improved in the last two to three years. Chisora’s got more career momentum at the moment because of the way David Haye jerked Fury around, but I think I’ll go with the “Humongous Bastard” via close decision if they fight again.
I don’t know if Fury can beat Povetkin but I’d like to see that fight. However, the heavyweight matchup that I believe will capture the attention of hardcore fan and even some casual sports fans in the U.S. and the UK is a showdown between Fury and Deontay Wilder. If they can remain unbeaten and look sharp in 2014, I believe their fight – if it were to take place in 2015 – would be a bigger event than if either crazy giant got a title shot against Wladdy.
Thanks for reining in the GGG spite a little, Cap. There’s nothing wrong with criticizing his ability/accomplishments or that of any fighter – regardless of their popularity or whether you think I know them personally or not – but there’s no need to take shots at their appearance or perceived intelligence if they aren’t a__holes.
Trust me, Golovkin might look a little like a ‘roided up Alfred E. Neuman, but he’s a bright guy and decent human being. I think you’d like him if you met him.
Photos / Scott Heavey-Getty Images, Yoshikazu Tsuno-AFP
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer