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Dougie’s MASSIVE Monday mailbag

05
Oct

THE SUPER SIX

Hey there Doug. I just wanted to say great article on the Super Six. I agree totally that the excitement it’s creating is astounding. I am usually the lone gunman at work when it comes to boxing but for the last few weeks I’ve been bowled over by the amount of interest it has created for the sport we both love so much.

I'm going to see the Carl Froch-Andre Dirrell fight on the 17th. Although I agree he is an outsider he thrives when the chips are down. He just refuses to lose, a real old fashioned boxer with the heart of a lion. He is no Nigel Benn but a warrior nonetheless. I only wish they had had tournaments like this in the early nineties. Just imagine the tourney we would have had… that brings me to my question who would be in your dream super six tourney? At what weight and era would it be in? — Craig

Thanks for kind words, Craig. Enjoy the Froch-Dirrell fight. I know I’ll enjoy covering it from TV.



Good question about my dream super six. When I first thought about it, the deepest, most talented divisions in the decades I’ve been a fight fan popped up — and they happened to be the weight classes and era that made me the boxing nutcake I remain today — the heavyweights of the mid-to-late 1970s (Ali, Foreman, Holmes, Norton, Quarry, Shavers, Lyles, Young, et al.) and the welterweights of the late 1970s-to-early 1980s (Leonard, Hearns, Duran, Benitez, Cuevas, Palomino, et al.). However, the more I thought about I realized they didn’t need a tournament because they all fought each other anyway.

So my thoughts turned to the last 10-12 years, my years as a fight scribe. The welterweights of the late 1990s certainly appeared formidable — the major titleholders (Oscar De La Hoya, Felix Trinidad and Ike Quartey) were undefeated, talented and powerful. Add the late 1999/2000 welterweight version of Shane Mosley to the mix, and we have a hell of a four-man tournament. We saw what happened when De La Hoya took on Ike, Tito, and Sugar Shane, but Trinidad never fought Quartey in what would have been a hell of a fight, and I can’t imagine Mosley vs. Bazooka or the Puerto Rican icon not being a war. If you want a six-man tournament we could add James Page and Jose Luis Lopez (remember those two?).

The junior lightweight division was also packed with skill and talent in the late 1990s and early part of this decade. By mid-2000 fans had four undefeated beltholders with styles and strengths as diverse as their personalities: Floyd Mayweather Jr. (WBC), Joel Casamayor (WBA), Diego Corrales (IBF), and Acelino Freitas (WBO). Mayweather fought a weight-drained Corrales in early 2001; Freaits and Casamayor clashed in early 2002, but there was never a round-robin like fans were treated to with welterweights of the early 1980s. This four-man field could easily be expanded to six by adding Steve Forbes and Jesus Chavez.

Man, what a tournament! It would have had everything: A cocky omega-level boxer, a nasty crafty Cuban southpaw, a Blaxican assassin with a split personality, an unorthodox Brazilian bomber, an intelligent African-American cutie with underrated guts, and a humble-but-relentless Mexican pressure fighter.

Mayweather, who I greatly admired as a junior lightweight, would be my favorite to win Super Six-style tournament, but his matchups with Casamayor and Freitas would have been very interesting. Both dark horses had styles and strengths that not only would have troubled Mayweatehr, but threatened him.

Fast forward 1¾ years to early 2002 and jump to the lightweight division and fans could have had a fascinating lightweight super six with Mayweather (130-pound standout stepping up five pounds), Jose Luis Castillo (underrated WBC titleholder and JC Chavez clone), Paul Spadafora (undefeated IBF belt holder and crafty left-handed technician), Leo Dorin (unbeaten WBA king and pressure fighting specialist), Steve Johnston (savvy southpaw and dangerous former titlist) and Julio Diaz (talented young vet).

Again, Mayweather would be the favorite, I would have probably backed him, but it would have been fascinating to see how he dealt with certain styles, particularly the lefties, Johnston and Spaddy. I thought Johnston just edged Castillo in both of their encounters (and fought him on more even terms than Mayweather did). Spadafora is a lot smarter in the ring than he looks outside of it. There's a reason he's still undefeated and I thought he won his entertaining draw with Dorin. There are some fun matchups in this tourney. Most eventually happened like Johnston-Castillo, Mayweather-Castillo, Spaddy-Dorin, and Castillo-Diaz, but the ones that didn't like Johnston-Diaz, Dorin-Castillo, Castillo-Spadafora, and Diaz-Spadafora intrigue me.

THE HEAVYWEIGHT NOT-SO SUPER SIX

Dear Doug,
With the re-appearance of David Tua — from whatever the Samoan version of Hibernation is — over the weekend, and apparently still in top punching form, how about this heavyweight round robin:

David Tua
Chris Arreola
Alexander Povetkin
Ruslan Chagaev
Eddie Chambers
David Haye

I'll grant you that none of then beyond Chambers is really up and coming and arguably some of them have seen better days at this point, but with the snoozefests that the Klitschkos put on draining the life out of boxing in a division that needs a little sizzle, this sounds like a tournament that would be a lot of fun, and put the winner in the cat bird's seat to face Wladimir Klitschko with better preparation than they could get elsewhere.

When you further consider that a format like this is probably the only way Tua gets fights with a lot of these guys — I mean if you're Dan Goossen, you're not gonna put Arreola in against Tua as a comeback fight, right? — it might just be a good time.

Sure, it lacks the absolute star to sell tickets that you used in a lot of your brackets, but if the only thing this tournament did was force Arreola to stay in shape for 18 months, then it couldn't be a bad thing. Yours. — JP Swain

It’s an interesting six-man field, JP. You have punchers (Tua and Haye), high-volume pressure fighters (Povetkin and Arreola), and boxers (Chagaev and Chambers). I think it would be a fun tournament that would garner high TV ratings.

I don’t know if Goossen would put Arreola in with Tua in his first comeback fight, but I don’t think Dan or Team Arreola would shy away from Tua for his second or third fight back. Arreola-Tua was a fight that Goossen wanted to make a year ago and Arreola’s trainer and management were confident of their fighter’s chances. Offers were made and Tua turned it down because he wanted seven figures. Maybe if Chris wins a few bouts and Tua decapitates a couple other dudes there will be seven-figure purses for both of them and they’ll get it on.

TUA & THE HEAVYWEIGHTS

Hi Dougie,
Just curious to hear your thoughts on David Tua. I think his fight against Shane Cameron showed he can still bring tremendous excitement when matched against the correct opponent. He may not be the man to clear up the heavyweight division but I'd be interested to see him in the ring with any of the top 10. We all know he can be outboxed on any given night, that's always been the case, though in my opinion it adds to the drama. No opponent can afford a lapse in concentration against this guy. It was good to see him come in at 237 lbs, using decent foot work and with a willingness to throw combinations. At 36 years old we can't ask for much more. I'd like to see him fight frequently against a solid level of opposition, build up some name recognition and then aim for an explosive fight with someone like Chris Arreola or David Haye. While I'm at it, how do you see a fight going between the most recent version of Tua versus the most recent version of James Toney? Thanks for reading. — Chris, Ireland

I think Toney would make Tua miss and counter-punch the s___ out of the Samoan slugger in the early rounds but sooner or later the natural heavyweight would connect and I don’t want to see that happen. Toney’s not a real heavyweight but he’s too tough for his own good. He would take too many hard shots to the dome, rolling with most punches but fully absorbing some, and that’s no good with a power-hitter like Tua. I’m not saying that Toney can’t win the fight. I can envision a scenario where Tua gasses out by the mid rounds from throwing so much and Toney takes advantage like a great fighter would, but win, lose or draw, I think the 41-year-old vet would suffer too much punishment from a world-class banger.

I’d rather see Tua in with a fellow banger like Arreola, Haye or Sam Peter, or a pure boxer like Eddie Chambers or Kevin Johnson. If Tua were to beat any of those contenders (and he has the experience and ability to do so) he would earn a shot at either Klitschko brother but I give him little chance of unseating Wlad and zero shot at beating Vitali.

TUAMAN’S TITLE SHOT

Hi Doug,
Cameron is no world beater but knocking him out after being out of boxing for two years is a credit to Tua and may be a boost to his goal for another shot at the title. I guess he might suffer the same fate as Vitali's other victims but maybe he has a puncher's chance to beat li'l bro Wlad. I'm looking forward for a Tua fight against either Areola or Sam Peter.

Nice article on the super six tournament. A heavyweight tournament? I propose a Burger King sponsored heavyweight round robin tournament featuring Tua, Peter, Arreola and James Toney and the winner gets a lifetime endorsement from BK. Undercard should include “El Feroz” Vargas, JC Castillo, and Hitman Hatton. LOL. Whatcha think? More power. God Bless. — Adrian the Ace, the Philippines

BK is always welcome as a sponsor in our wayward sport — I know of a few underground trainers who practically live on Whoppers with cheese — but I can’t sign off on the fattyweight tournament or the undercard because I don’t want to see Toney-Peter III or Hatton-Castillo II.

I forgot how popular Tua is. His comeback fight vs. a no-hoper has generated almost as much fan feedback this weekend as the Super Six Boxing Classic, and certainly more than the Allan Green-headlined ShoBox on Friday. Hey, I’m not complaining. I love KO artists and it’s always good for the sport when fans are excited about a heavyweight and his promise in the division. TuaMan’s comeback is definitely more welcome than Shannon Brigg’s recently announced return.

DON'T SLEEP ON TAYLOR

Hey Dougie,
Thanks for the enlightening column on Jermain Taylor. Even though most odds makers have him at 4th longest out of the 6, it seems like he’s being given the least chance to make waves in the tourney.

I’m with you in taking Art Abraham to win it all but the determined and confident (in his conditioning) Taylor you described has me very much looking forward to this first round match-up (could be another fight-of-the-year candidate for Taylor).

I emailed you about last week about Cotto/Pacman and said I couldn’t get it out of my head. I’ve obviously known about the upcoming start of the tourney but it hasn't made its way to forefront of my thoughts until nowÔǪ. thanks for that.

(P.S. Streeter’s rendering of the sweet science is right up there with Richard Slone, who’s current cover of THE RING looks awesome) Peace. — Ad Rock, Whitby, Ontario, Canada

I love that painting Tyler Streeter did of Taylor. He and Slone are the two best young boxing artists on the scene.

Abraham’s got his work cut out for him against Taylor, who I think is more talented and better experienced than anyone the Berlin-based Armenian has ever faced. Likewise, Abraham is going to show Taylor some things he hasn’t seen before despite having fought the likes of Bernard Hopkins and Winky Wright. Abraham has footwork on par with Hopkins and an upper-body defense much like Wright’s high guard (only he has more of an offense). Both former middleweights can explode at any time during a round. That’s what will make the bout so intense. I can’t wait.

If Taylor beats Abraham you can expect everyone who wrote him off to immediately make him the favorite to win it all.

POUND-FOR-POUND CONFUSION

Greetings Dougie,
I'm a regular reader of THE RING website so firstly I must commend you on some great articles. Coming from the land where we invented every sport, with the exception of baseball, basket ball and American football, which I believe are poor relatives of games we invented anyway, we seem to be hopeless at all of them. It would be nice to have a website in the UK as dedicated and up-to-date as yours. Sadly there is none, which is a shame as I believe this is a sport that is clearly on the up in England and we have produced some fine champions of late and definitely have some great potential in the ranks, Tyson Fury being one.

Anyway my point is this, I was unable to watch Mayweather Jr.’s recent return to the ring but did catch some of it on YouTube. The performance shows he seems to have no ring rust. He still remains fast and elusive. I take my hat of to JMM for taking on the challenge and he has lost none of my respect. I would just recommend in the future he writes into the contract for more money if his opponent weighs above the catchweight (I heard Mayweather had to pay $600,000 to JMM, correct me if I'm wrong) or better still stick to the weight he excels in.

As I expected, Floyd jumped into both the P-4-P ratings and the welterweight ratings but how can Floyd be ranked above Sugar Shane in the P-4-P but below him in the welterweight division?

If Cotto beats the Pac-man I would imagine he would jump to being P-4-P king and top the welterweight division as he's beaten Sugar. Also, Pac-man beat JMM and knocked him down more than Floyd did. Or, as Sugar Shane stopped Margarito and Cotto was stopped by Margarito (although it’s questionable due to Margarito’s naughty hand wrapping behaviour), and Floyd has ducked both, could Cotto be P-4-P king but second in the welterweight division?

Please accept my apologies for the structure of this email and grammar, although I come from the land that probably invented writing I can't write for s___. Cheers. — A confused Brit

I wasn’t confused before I read your email, but now I am. Thanks!

To answer your first question, I think THE RING editorial board placed Mayweather ahead of Mosley in the pound-for-pound rankings because he was rated No. 1 in those highly subjective mythical ratings before he “retired” for a year and because, as you noted, it looked like he hadn’t lost a step shutting out Marquez. I suppose his body of work didn’t quite merit his unseating Pacquiao, but was enough to bypass Mosley.

They didn’t rank him over Mosley in the 147-pound rankings, however, because they must not have believed that a unanimous decision over the lightweight champ in a welterweight bout was as impressive as knocking out a formidable 147-pound titleholder and THE RING’s No. 1 welterweight contender for many years (Margarito).

As for your pound-for-pound question, man, who freakin’ knows? The pound-for-pound thing ain’t real. It’s not a weight class. That’s the bottom line. There’s too much personal preference that gets factored in those rankings for anyone to take them too seriously.

If Cotto beats Pacquiao can he be considered for the No. 1 spot. If he knocks the PacMan out, I think so. I’ll certainly give it some thought. I know that one my favorite boxing scribes Cliff Rold will rank Cotto No. 1. I’m sure there will be a few other fight scribes who do the same. I have no idea what THE RING editorial board will rule, and I can’t speak for them.

However, I don’t think Cotto would be ranked NO. 1 P4P but No. 2 at welterweight if he beats the Filipino icon. Pacquaio has fought at welterweight before — and he earned a brief No. 5 welterweight ranking after trouncing De La Hoya — so a win over him (and the 2007 decision over Mosley) should be enough to shoot back to No. 1 at 147 pounds.

BOXING'S STRUGGLING STATE

Hello,
I like purt' near all your work, but a recent observation struck me as unrealistic. You wrote, “The struggling state boxing is in now (in America) is due to actions that took place by the power brokers of the sport in the 1980s and 1990s… That old guard… made the choice to pull their fighters off network TV in exchange for the higher license fees that HBO (and to a lesser extent Showtime) offered. They created the monster that they all complain about now.”

What were promoters supposed to have done, told fighters, “I'm not going to pursue “x” amount of money with HBO; I'm going to pursue 60 percent of “x” with ABC or CBS because I think it will be better for boxing 25 years from now?”

Any fighter who heard that would think his promoter had the IQ of a grapefruit.

That aside, what's done is done. How does it get fixed? All best. — Rob Hough

I didn’t write that those managers and promoters shouldn’t have done what they did. I never said they were WRONG. I simply stated the truth, which is that most of the old guard that complains of the “Evil Empire” (HBO) did business with the growing network in the 1980s and 1990s that helped make it the boxing juggernaut that it is in the U.S.

I ain’t mad at them for what they did. Their job was to get the best deal for their fighters (and themselves). However, sometimes the power brokers of a sport need to make business decisions that benefit the greater good of the entire industry rather than their own interests. We see this every now and then with the popular league sports and even with boxing in other countries (like Japan, Germany and Mexico).

The way to fix the current problem (which is the marginalization of the sport) is to put more fights on basic cable and even on network TV, even if it means making less money in the short run (which it will). And if network TV refuses to take boxing back I think more major promoters need to utilize the internet the way Golden Boy Promotions has with their Fight Night Club series.

If the industry gives boxing back to the people, the fans will remember how good the sport is and they will support it.

STILL NO. 1

Hey Doug,
I just read that article about imitating the tournament format. It was great and I agree 100%. I just wanted to give you major props! You are still my favorite boxing scribe! Your insight is great and you're hilarious! That Nando eating pie crack was awesome! I was laughing hard! You and your boy Stevie Kim are the best. At least I think y'all are probably still boys? I'll keep reading y'all just like when I got my 1st membership to “the Max” back in 2003! Later bro! — Gil Castro, San Antonio, Texas

Ahhhh 2003… that was a good year. I’m glad you’re still down and don’t believe I’ve been corrupted by the “dark side”, Darth De La Hoya and Richard Sith Lord by working for The Ring’s official website. Kim and I are still “boys.” Almost literally. We’re both pushing 40 but thanks to the Bizarro world that is the boxing industry I think we suffer from arrested development of at least 20 years. Outside of boxing all Kim does is workout to Debbie Deb, Stevie B., Expose and whoever else he has on his “Aqua-Net mix tape” that he listens to on his Sony Walkman. When I’m not taking care of my kids or writing about boxing I’m at the local comic shops buying my favorite super hero titles from the 1980s (mainly Uncanny X-Men trade paperbacks).

Dougie can be reached at [email protected]

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