Dougie’s FAT Friday mailbag
JAMES TONEY & CALDERON-SEGURA
It kills me to see this fight with James Toney and Randy Couture. Fightnews posted some predictions from boxers and MMA fighters and clearly no one in their right mind is picking Toney to win. But what is bothering me the most is the lack of respect I see some MMA fighters showing James Toney. One MMA fighter (Scott Jorgensen) stated that “it’ll be Couture by first round ground and pound. I like to see Randy drag it out for three rounds but I don’t think Toney has the heart for that”. Are you serious with this statement??? At least Toney has the balls to fight in their sport versus arguably one of the best MMA fighters ever. If he knew anything about Lights Out, he’d know that Toney is no quitter and there is no b*tch in that man. In boxing you get vilified for quitting or deciding to pack it in for the dayÔÇª just ask Victor Ortiz. In MMA it is customary to do so. A born boxer like Toney has had the BALLS to fight guys 20-30 pounds heavier than him and stand in trade with them by rolling his shoulders and slipping punches giving away punching power during a time when he was slightly past his prime. What should happen is that Toney/Couture fight a “home and away” series with this weekend being the first match under MMA rules and next year have another fight under boxing rules. I’ll put my money on Toney fairing much better than Couture at the end of the day.
Now on to a boxing question. Do you think Ivan Calderon has slowed down enough for Giovanni Segura to catch him? Segura will chase Calderon for 12 full rounds but I’m not sure he’s a better banger or fighter than Hugo Cazares. Calderon easily outboxed Cazares however nearly got decapitated and barely survived the first fight. If anything Segura will not be discouraged in the early rounds and will continue to throw bombs until the final bellÔÇª should be interesting! My gut is we see a passing of the torch type fight much like Erik Morales win over Daniel Zaragoza. — Dion, San Jose, CA
We’ll see, Dion. I just want a good fight. Like you, I think Segura’s seek-and-destroy mentality will make for an intense bout even if he’s soundly outboxed and outmaneuvered for much of the fight. If this matchup took place three or four years ago I wouldn’t give Segura a chance of hitting Calderon in the ass with the proverbial handful of rice, but I think the Puerto Rican master boxer has slowed down.
Has Calderon slowed down enough for Segura to clip and stop him? I don’t know. I know he’s slowed down enough to lose rounds to Juan Esquer, Rodel Mayol and Jesus Iribe in recent years and bouts. And of course, Cazares gave Calderon a tough night on two occasions. Segura is not as fast and athletic as Cazares but he might hit harder and he may be able to keep his head better than Cazares did against Calderon.
Bottom line: I give Segura a very good shot at catching Calderon late in the fight.
Onto my man, Lights Out. As much as I like and respect Toney, I don’t share the angst you have over his current predicament. Toney squandered his talent by refusing to dedicate himself to his sport the way every professional athlete should and by insisting on fighting at unnaturally heavy weights. Toney burned his bridges in the boxing world with his prima-dona attitude and excessive spending and living. He could have been an all-time great middleweight. Heck, he could have been the best cruiserweight since the prime Evander Holyfield, but you know the choices he made.
So in short, Toney made his bed and now he has to sleep in it. And that bed is full of disrespectful MMA fighters and fans who know they are getting a novice with a name served up to one of their legends. I can’t expect them to be nice to Toney because Toney was not nice to them whenever he spoke about their sport. So of course, they’re all going to spit on him as he makes that long walk into the cage. If Toney wants respect, he’s going to have to earn it by backing up his big mouth. But I tell you what, he usually does back up his bark. If he gets beat by Couture every MMA fan and even a fair amount of boxing fans will take a nice, long greasy dump on his head. (I won’t be among them. Although I realize that he basically painted himself into this corner, I admire him for always seeking out the toughest challenges and for doing so even in his pro debut in a new sport.) However, if he pulls off the upset — and I don’t think that’s out of the question — that’s going to be one very sweet victory won’t it, Dion? I think you’ll be the first person to email me to tell me how much you love Lights Out.
FUTURE OF KESSLER AND THE SUPER SIX
News just ticked in that Mikkel Kessler has been forced to pull out of the Super Six with an eye injury. Being Danish I’m naturally a fan (who else do we have?) and I’m unsure how his future looks now. On one hand, I think he has been very unsharp the last three fights agains Perdomo, Ward and Froch. He has not looked like the old Kessler with sharp left jab and crispy one-two combinations. He narrowly beat Froch, but he did that with heart and determination, not skills and technique. The eye injury could be a reason for this, so if that got cured, we might see the Kessler of old again. But, but, but. Kessler is not young anymore and will be out for a year. I can’t help thinking about Izzy Vazquez and his eye injury and how much he had lost during those 19 month off. What do you think? Will we ever see Kessler back at the top of the super middle division?
What about the Super Six tournament? How is the point system going to work now? Will the third round essentially be irrelevant in terms of points? And what about Allan Green? I hope this wont affect Froch-Abraham, it has FOTY written all over it. Kind regards. — Maxim, Denmark
The eye injury is a tough break for Kessler and definitely bad news for all of his fans, but I wouldn’t compare your Viking Warrior with Mexico’s most recent Aztec Warrior. Israel Vazquez had been in MANY ring wars before his classic trilogy with Rafael Marquez. Izzy had the kind of style that intived punishment. Kessler doesn’t, and he generally avoided grueling fights until his most recent fight with Froch (which I thought he won handily, by the way.) If his eye heals up and he still has the desire to be the best I think he can make a successful comeback provided he isn’t brought back too soon and too hard.
Regarding the Super Six tournament, I think Kessler’s pullout might be a blessing in disguise. I think it was dragging out too long for the liking of most fans, even the hardcore heads who loved the concept. There were issues with getting the Ward-Dirrell fight finalized, which rumor has it has/had to do with the amount of money both fighters were to be paid. And nobody was particularly excited about Green’s involvement in the tourney, especially after he laid an egg against Ward. So, if Showtime is able to work out a deal with Green (perhaps they offer him a later date on the network — maybe a significant light heavyweight bout) and get him to step out, the network can skip Group Stage 3 and proceed to the semifinals, which would feature the fights we all want to see, anyway, Ward-Dirrell (which hopefully can be made since the network will be able to offer more money in this stage of the tourney) and Abraham-Froch (which promises to be a rough-and-wild scrap). The winners face each other in what hopefully is a good and decisive bout, bada-bing-bada-bam, end of tournament, and now fans can start thinking about the Super Six winner vs. Lucian Bute, Jean Pascal, Chad Dawson, Tavoris Cloud, and your local hero, Kessler.
CALDERON-SEGURA OR JAMES TONEY
I hope things are well. I have been a James Toney fan since he first fought Mike McCallum. Those first 2 fights of theirs told me that McCallum would be a great challenge for Jeff Harding, and he was just a tad too much for the Hitman. Toney is fun to watch and has great skills. A true warrior inside the ring.
On Sunday I could walk across the road and watch his UFC fight at the local pub. I have never watched a UFC fight in full. But if I go there I can enjoy a few brewskies. Alternatively I can drive 30 minutes across town and watch Calderon V Segura at the nearest venue showing this fight. This will be minus the beers as I'll be driving. I think Calderon v Segura is a great match so I will probably watch that. What would you do?
Also I'm devastated for the sport that Kessler had to withdraw from the Super 6. Withdrawals were always a risk that could cruel this tournament. I wanted this to be a resounding success so that we would see more of these type of tournaments. 2010 is proving to be a tough year for us. — Thanks Dougie! Choppa B, Sydney Australia
It’s a tough year, but we’ll get through it. The Super Six will continue and I believe it will deliver with its final bouts. There are no high-profile mega-fights on the horizon, but there are some very good style matchups coming up in the final four months of the year, including Gamboa-Salido and Peterson-Rios (Sept. 11), Ortiz-Harris and DeLeon-Escalante (Sept. 18), and Froch-Abraham (Oct. 2, provided the reshuffling of the Super Six doesn’t cause this bout to be rescheduled). The Lopez-Marquez bout will probably be rescheduled for Nov. 6, which will push back the start of Showtime’s proposed four-man bantamweight tournament to later in the year. And those fights — Mares-Darchinyan and Perez-Agbeko II — are can’t-miss Fight of the Year candidates. Who knows? Maybe Klitschko-Peter II will be a wild heavyweight shootout. Maybe Pacquiao-Margarito will deliver more than 800 scathing soapbox columns from American boxing writers and a giant crowd at Cowboys Stadium. Maybe boxing’s latest pariah will find a way to be competitive with its latest international super star. We’ll see. I’m looking forward to watching and covering all of these fights.
Oh yeah, I forgot to include Calderon-Segura with that bunch. That should be very, very interesting. Now onto your dilemma. It sounds to me that you are a boxing fan, not an MMA fan. If you liked both sports equally, I would tell you to stay close to home, have a few brews and enjoy UFC 118. The UFC’s PPV events are typically stacked with strong undercard bouts, so you’d be guaranteed a good show with the main event and the Toney-Couture curiosity. The Calderon-Segura PPV show doesn’t have an undercard to speak of, just a bunch of four- and six-rounders featuring Puerto Rican locals. However, you are obviously hyped about the main event, which is a fascinating style clash, so I think you should follow your heart and make the drive to watch Calderon-Segura.
TONEY'S MMA DEBUT
There's a bit of a buzz about this weekend's MMA fight between James Toney and Randy Couture. Even though I am a life long Karate man I have never embraced the MMA stuff as a spectator sport. I have always loved Boxing and it's rich history. I also much preferred the PKA full Contact Karate that ESPN broadcast back in the 80s to what the MMA guys are doing. It was much more stylish and was pretty exciting at its best. MMA is pretty ugly when two big bruisers hit the floor and start choking each other (just not good television). I recognize those guys are tough and a little crazy but it just ain't for me. I am a Boxing purist.
That being said, I fear the Toney/Couture fight will get ugly fast. You've got to hand it to James for wanting one of the baddest asses in MMA right off the bat because that takes a lot of balls. It's like some MMA middleweight trying Boxing and saying, “Get me Marvin Hagler.” If they stood and fought it could be interesting but Randy is wisely not going to fight James’ fight. He is going to tackle Toney, take him to the floor and elbow him upside his head or try and break his arm. Haven't you seen Toney in training for this fight? How does he look? Do insiders give him ANY kind of chance? If he does win they will just say Couture got old. How do you see it? I am interested in your thoughts. Rock ON. — David, Nashville
I will indeed continue to rock, David. Insiders in both MMA and boxing give Toney only a puncher’s chance. Which means if Toney knocks Couture out, most folks will say he got lucky. (It goes without saying that they’ll claim Couture was old; hell, they said the same thing when Lights Out trounced Holyfield, forgetting that Toney was a 3-to-1 underdog in that fight. He’s a 5-to-1 dog vs. Couture.) I say that’s all bulls__t. Toney should not have to choke out Couture or get the MMA legend to tap out in order to receive his due props.
Anyway, despite his gut, I think Toney is in shape and motivated for this fight. I think Couture is just as motivated and fans will be treated to a better-than-expected fight. Perhaps Toney is just a sentimental favorite of mine but I think the first-ballot boxing hall of famer has a great shot at beating Couture.
LATE TO THE DANCE
Calderon vs. Segura is definitely an intriguing matchup because of their polar opposite styles, national pride and also with the RING title being on the line but there's also the experience angle.
Segura started boxing at the age of 20 and now after only 8 years in the sport has a chance to be a World Champion on Saturday. That's Marciano-esque!
In honour of Segura's late start to the sport and in reference to Monday's bag request, who are your top 5 late-starters who willed themselves into boxing? Enjoy the week. Peace. — Adam, Whitby, Canada
That’s a good question, Adam. I’m sure with enough research I could give you a decent top 5, but this being a Fight Night Club night, I started answering these questions when I returned home from downtown L.A.’s Club Nokia (around 11:30 p.m. PT), so I really don’t have time to look anything up.
But off the top of my head, I’d say Bernard Hopkins has to be on the list. He had a very limited amateur background and didn’t turn pro until he was 23 (in 1988), but his career didn’t begin in earnest until he was 25. Ray Mercer, who didn’t turn pro until he was 28, definitely makes my list. (Although he was an accomplished amateur who took gold in the 201-pound division at the 1988 Olympics.) James “Bonecrusher” Smith (remember him?) didn’t turn pro until he was almost 29. Ron Lyle was 30 when he turned pro (following a prison bid like Nard, I believe). The former heavyweight contender never won a world title but he probably would have if he had come around in the 1980s or 1990s instead of the 1970s when the heavyweight division was incredibly deep.
It seems as though heavyweights, who generally mature slower than professional boxers in the lighter-weight classes, are able to have a late start and still be relatively successful. I’m not sure, but I think former heavyweight title challengers Jameel McCline and Tony Thompson started boxing in their 20s. All-time heavyweight great Larry Holmes was 23 when he turned pro in 1973.
If Segura beats Calderon — who is a sub-flyweight marvel to be on top of his game (or near it) at age 35 — maybe he deserves to be on this list.
You said you were going to do a feature on James Toney before the fight after going back out to watch him, etc… I'm not going to be watching the fight, but what do you think will happen? I saw some pics or footage of the same fat bastard I always see… I predict he will get f___ed up! Give me some inside info that you have from being in his camp and being in the know. — JB
I wasn’t able to make a second visit to Toney’s training camp in the Valley (Chatsworth, Calif.). It was just bad timing this month (my wife’s birthday, our 13th wedding anniversary, and RingTV.com co-editor Michael Rosenthal being on vacation made it hard to make the time and get out and visit the Fatman once more).
Don’t let those pictures of Toney’s ample midsection cause you to write him off completely. He’s got a lot of excess skin on his belly and hips from the days when he would allow himself to balloon up to around 300 pounds. What’s always been important for Toney is that he’s put in the cardio work to have the necessary endurance and the right sparring to have his timing down. I think he’s done that with this camp, which doesn’t mean that he’s got the know-how or the experience to counter Couture’s ground-and-pound game. But I know that he’s been working on a ground game and specific moves to catch Couture before the 47-year-old badass can grab him by his legs or waist.
His reflexes seemed sharp and his hands looked quick to me when I visited a month ago, so I have to assume that they are even faster now.
More importantly, I believe Toney is motivated to “shock the world.” This is a new challenge for him and I think he’s enjoyed learning the basics of a new combat sport. If he wasn’t hyped for tomorrow’s match or if he didn’t respect his opponent I don’t think he would have bothered going through all of the work he has since the start of the year. I think his gamble and his hard work is going to pay off. I can’t predict exactly how he’ll do it but I think he’s going to catch Couture and take the “old man” out.
My wife and I had the opportunity to meet Aaron Pryor at a gathering honoring the former champ here in Dayton. He was awesome and spent time talking, posing for pics, and answering questions. I asked him how he thought he would do against Pacquiao or Mayweather. He told me he was disappointed they weren't fighting and stated that he would fight any three opponents in the same night for 40 million. He then told me it was a shame the Mayweathers made up drug allegations based on no evidence. He said he would have loved a fight with Pac as he is humble man who gives his all and it would be a great fight but he (Pryor) would win by decision or late KO.
He then said, “Mayweather wouldn't want no part of me and want I bring.” He said he would knock out Mayweather in “5 or 6”. I happen to agree with the champ but admit I'm biased, especially now having met the man, what do you think of the mythical matchups mentioned above. Thanks for the great articles. — Brock, Dayton, OH
Thanks for the tidbit on one of my all-time favorite fighters, Brock. It’s always good to hear from Ohio fans (especially those who hail from my wife’s hometown). I agree with The Hawk. He would have out-hustled Pacquiao to win a decision in an all-time great fight. And there’s no way in hell Mayweather would have got into the ring with that crazy ghetto badass. Pryor wouldn’t have received the opportunity to prove his prediction of a mid-rounds stoppage victory.
1. I am enjoying the A-Z list currently going on the site. Not only have I learned a few things about some Hall of Famers but I am trying to guess who is coming next. Who is going to be the letter X?!?
2. Haye vs Harrison, Wlad vs Peter, Vitali vs Sosnowski and now Briggs – Dreadful. At least the brothers have the excuse that they seem to be willing to fight anyone. Haye is really starting to annoy the hard core boxing fans over here in the UK. He needs to get his backside to NYC and face Adamek.
3. What are your thoughts on women’s boxing being in the Olympics in 2012? I have been surprised by how split the boxing writing community seem to be about the issue of allowing women to fight. Surely if men are allowed to do it then women should be too.
4. What did you make of George Groves the Super Middleweight prospect from the UK? I think he was on the Marquez-Diaz under card last month. I think he looks pretty useful, but, the really exciting prospect about to make an impact on the worldwide scene is Kell Brook. Have you had a chance to see him on screen?
5. You asked for a to 5 request. What are your all time Top 5 match ups? Here is mine (who do you think wins?):
Sugar Ray Leonard Vs Sugar Ray Robinson
Henry Armstrong Vs Roberto Duran
Marvelous Marvin Hagler Vs Roy Jones Jnr
Ali Vs Tyson
Thomas Hearns Vs Manny Pacquio
Keep up the good work, love the site. — Toby, London UK
Thanks for writing, Toby. I’ll respond to your questions/observations in order:
1) I’m also enjoying “The best of all time A to Z” series. It was a great idea by the site’s co-editor Michael Rosenthal, who is going to have to do some serious research to find a decent choice for the letter “X.” Stay tuned!
2) The sad thing about the heavyweight division is that there are excellent matchups to be made if these guys just sign the dotted line. Haye-Adamek, Peter-Arreola, and Povetkin vs. Haye, Adamek or Arreola are all can’t-miss fights. I wouldn’t mind seeing Povetkin-Chambers II or Povetkin or Chambers vs. Boystov. I hate to leave the Klitschko brothers out but the division leaders might be too good for their own good.
3) I think it’s great that women’s boxing will be included in the 2012 Olympic Games and it will only increase the popularity that professional women’s boxing has in Germany, Mexico, parts of Asia and throughout South America. Who knows? It could re-spark women’s boxing in the U.S. if an American woman medals. Personally, I think the right group of female pro fighters gathered together in a well-produced reality show like “the Contender” is all it would take to rekindle interest in America.
4) I didn’t see enough of Groves to have an opinion on him but I’m looking forward to watching him fight in the near future. I’ve seen a lot of Brook and I think he is a real prospect with world-title and even star potential. I hope he continues to develop and one day makes the trek to the States.
5) Sugar Ray Leonard Vs Sugar Ray Robinson — Robinson by very close decision at welterweight; by late stoppage at middleweight.
Henry Armstrong Vs Roberto Duran — Duran by close decision at lightweight and welterweight.
Marvelous Marvin Hagler Vs Roy Jones Jnr — Hagler by close, perhaps split-decision at middleweight (especially if the bout is scheduled for 15 rounds); Jones by decision at super middleweight.
Ali Vs Tyson — Ali by late stoppage in an uneventful bout aside from constant taunting from “The Greatest.”
Thomas Hearns Vs Manny Pacquio — Hearns by first-round KO. That’s a horrible mismatch for the Pacman.
It’s really late (or early — around 2:00 a.m. PT), so this list is really off the top of my head but my all-time dream matches at the present time are:
Ezzard Charles vs. Evander Hopfield (at 190 pounds)
Henry Armstrong vs. Aaron Pryor (at 140 pounds)
Joe Frazier vs. Mike Tyson
Tommy Hearns vs. Roy Jones Jr. (at 160 or 168 pounds)
Ike Williams vs. Roberto Duran (at 135 pounds)
Doug Fischer can be contacted at [email protected]