Dougie’s Friday mailbag
LOTS TO TALK ABOUT
Second time writing in! Hopefully able to stay connected to these more since I’m on break from the grind of college, and it’s definitely the perfect time to focus on boxing with so many great match ups coming up!
Something caught my attention while watching broadcasts recently. It’s the use of the word “heart.” Obviously the word is meant to describe someone with tremendous amounts of courage and determination in spite of whatever obstacles he might face in the ring. I have no problem with an announcer saying that a fighter has heart; my thing is that I feel that the term has been diluted to an extent. It’s almost guaranteed nowadays that if a fighter is down big on the scorecards but is still fighting, he automatically is turned by announcers into the next Arturo Gatti. More importantly, I believe this does a disservice to the people who actually do have legitimate heart in fights, guys like Gatti, Denis Lebedev recently, Andre Berto in his last fight, Tim Bradley, etc. I understand that anyone who walks into a ring has to have some level of courage, but this is fighting. If a guy is down on the cards, he is expected not to cave in and to fight it out. It’s his job.
Was wondering, did this ever come across to you? I don’t know maybe I’m being picky, and maybe I just want the truest of warriors who are really pushing themselves, the Gattis of this generation, not to get overshadowed by guys who aren’t going through the same but for some reason are made by announcers to appear that way.
On to this weekend, love Gennady Golovkin by mid-to-late knockout. Matthew Macklin is trying to revitalize his career and is a tough out but I think GGG is a superstar in the making. One thing I love about him is his smart pressure; he has a very measured approach to cutting off the ring and getting a guy to play his game. How high do you think his ceiling is? Could we be talking about him as a pound for pound top 5er in the next couple years? (BTW, I have him as fighter of the year right now, that is if he fights and wins 5 times this year.)
Finally, I wanted to get your take on another one of my favorite fighters, Vanes Martirosyan. I think Vanes is one of the best at 154, but just hasn’t been tested yet. I know he might fight Demetrius Andrade for the WBO belt. Andrade is very tough in his own right, but how do you see that fight going? And if he wins, where does he go besides the obvious defense against Baysangurov? Being with Top Rank when Golden Boy has most of the 154 lbers is tough, and I don’t know if he’s quite ready to move to middleweight yet. There was talk he might get Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., but the weight disparity seems a little too much.
Thanks Doug, will catch you later!- Brandon, Los Angeles
Thanks for writing again Brandon. Although Martirosyan is only 27, I think time is running out on his career. It’s not enough to remain unbeaten. He needs an impressive high-profile victory over a world-class opponent or most fans and members of the boxing media are going consider him to be a bust.
That might not be fair, but the fact of the matter is that despite his obvious talent the Armenian-American boxer has laid eggs in two HBO-televised bouts against “step-up” opposition (his boring 10-round decision over then-unbeaten Joe Greene that opened the Yuri Foreman-Miguel Cotto broadcast in 2010, and his recent uneventful technical draw with Erislandy Lara).
Most hardcore fans thought Martirosyan would have had his “breakthrough” performance by now. I’m one of them.
I honestly believed he was ready for a world title in 2009. I thought he had sufficient development along with the physical tools and skills to be a threat to any of the major beltholders at the time. However, he was still fighting mid-level guys in ’09 and after he had a tougher-than-expected tussle with Kassim Ouma in January of 2010 it seemed like his career stalled.
He can instantly regain his career momentum with a title-winning victory over Andrade, but beyond the undefeated 2008 Olympian you’re absolutely right about there being slim pickings outside of Golden Boy’s monster 154-pound stable.
There’s Willie Nelson, who makes his HBO debut tomorrow night, and there’s good ole Delvin Rodriguez, but there aren’t many junior middleweight names who aren’t working with GBP or Al Haymon. However, maybe Martirosyan will be ready to move to 160 pounds in a year or two from now. The question is, will he do so as a reigning 154-pound beltholder who made an impressive title defense or two on HBO? We’ll see.
I agree with your prediction on tomorrow night’s middleweight title bout. Like pretty much everyone else I think Golovkin breaks Macklin down by the late rounds and might get the proud contender out of there by the middle rounds. However, I do think GGG will have to fight through some adversity before his vaunted power ends matters.
I’m curious as to how well the WBA beltholder’s face holds up. Golovkin is not as easy to hit as he appears but he does seem to bruise and bust up around his eyes rather quickly. (He sported a visible shiner under his left eye from his final sparring sessions just last week.) I’ll also be watching to see if Macklin, who is a pretty decent puncher, can hurt Golovkin, who seems to have solid whiskers, but we won’t know for sure until we see him take a flush power shot during a real fight.
As for the frequency that commentators use word “heart” during boxing broadcasts, yeah, I think it’s overused (and I’m probably guilty of that myself). I think a lot of terms are overused in boxing, including “great,” “legend,” “legendary,” “star,” “superstar” (which you dropped when you wrote that GGG is a “superstar in the making”),“champion,” “dominate,” “dominant,” “boxing lesson,” “boxing clinic,” “slugfest,” “fight of the year,” and “pound-for-pound” (which you also dropped when talking about our man GGG).
Regarding Golovkin and his potential to make the mythical P4P list, I have two things to say: I don’t know and I don’t care. Time will tell. Here’s what I know now: Golovkin’s undefeated, he’s got a major belt (or two if you count the IBO), he’s a top five middleweight, he can punch like a mother f___er and he’s fun to watch. That’s good enough for me.
I just hope this dude (Ricky Burns) doesn’t think he is gonna run over Raymundo Beltran. I actually think Raymundo is gonna hand Ricky’s ass to him bro!!! SMDH, this will be the karma for name dropping and not stepping his game up. – Deric
Being a Los Angeles-based boxing writer, I’m quite familiar with Beltran. I respect him and I consider him to be a bona-fide lightweight contender, but I think Burns will successfully defend his WBO title when they fight on Sept. 7.
When Burns is at his best I think he’s arguably the top 135-pound boxer in the world (with or without Adrien Broner in the division).
I know a lot folks (even UK fans) are down on Burns right now because of his less-than-stellar performance against unheralded Jose Gonzalez last month, but at the end of the day the two-division beltholder took the heart of the undefeated young Puerto Rican talent.
Beltran has skill, experience and heart – and I’m sure he’ll put forth a credible challenge – but I don’t a guy who went life-and-death with Luis Ramos Jr. and Henry Lundy beating Burns in Scotland.
BRONER, GGG, U.S. OLYMPIC SQUAD
Long time reader, hey even if you don’t hit me back I like getting this stuff off my chest!
In the UK we’d call Adrian Broner a “D__khead” – look it up. Yeah maybe most of the s__t he speaks is just hyping his fights but that stripper he ‘mouthed off’ with wasn’t an opponent and the only cameras were on cell phones not Showtime. I just rewatched the Paul Malignaggi, Antonio De Marco and Gavin Rees fights, and it’s pretty clear how much bigger Broner was in the last two. The guy is freakin huge. No wonder Rees looked like he could fit on his dinner plate! That KO power didn’t look so devastating against a guy close to his size though, did it?! Do you think that Broner’s power will grow into welterweight or was a lot of it based on how much he physically overmatched guys at 130 and 135? Also, he loves cheering his own punches! In most of the Malignaggi stills he’s got his mouth gaping wide open when he connects. Sorry, if this is a dumb question but isn’t his “Woohoo I landed a punch” going to backfire one day when he gets countered with that jaw flapping open?!
Gennady Golovkin on the other hand is the real deal. I’ve watched and supported Macklin since his light middleweight domestic war with Jamie Moore, but he’s hittable, and if the smaller Martinez can stop him then GG will finish the Irish scrapper by the middle rounds. Macklin’s never done well late in fights (as well as the aforementioned Moore and Martinez bouts, he faded in the stretch against Felix Sturm after dominating the opening six) and once he’s tasted GG’s power any thoughts of going for broke early will disappear along with his third title shot.
Also, I Just read THE RING article on Olympic boxing and hey guys I’m sorry to be a Team USA hater but a lot of nations will laugh there asses off if you flunk in 2016 as badly as you did in London 2012. Hey the scoring system changed in 1992 guys! – stop blaming it! It’s the same for everyone (bad as it was). Twenty years is long enough to perhaps train your Olympic boxers a little differently rather than just wait for five different weight incarnations of Sugar Ray Leonard to walk through the gym doors. Cuba managed to keep picking up medals!
Thanks. – Jason, Nottingham
Good point about recent U.S. Olympic squads and much-maligned computer scoring system. Obviously, there was more to blame for the U.S.’s poor performances than a crappy scoring system or supposed American bias in international competition (mainly general disorganization, poor coaching and lack of talent).
It’s obvious that the U.S. amateur boxing system that once fed strong Olympic squads and ultimately helped create future professional standouts is no longer working. We’ll see what happens with the 2016 team. I’m more curious about how far along the members of 2012 squad will be in their pro careers.
The 2008 team hasn’t done much in four years. Even the top talent (Andrade, Gary Russell Jr. and Deontay Wilder) are basically still prospects.
Anyway, I’ll stop hating on the American amateur system so I can give some love to the Kazakhstan amateur machine, which spawned Golovkin. There’s no denying that GGG was “the real deal” in the amateurs. I think he’s a force to be reckoned with at the professional level, too, but other physical powerhouses who were amateur world beaters have stumbled on their way to professional success.
Golovkin reminds me a little of Kostya Tszyu, who I was a huge fan of in the early-to-mid-’90s before I started covering boxing professionally. I didn’t think anyone was going to beat the world amateur champ who had become a power-punching sharpshooter in the pros, but Vince Phillips proved me and a lot of folks wrong.
I knew Phillips and was around him before the Tszyu fight. The guy who trained me at the L.A. Boxing Club (Kevin Morgan) worked with Phillips, but I still couldn’t see the veteran outbox or overpower the Australia-based Russian. But I underestimated Phillips’ toughness and will power. He sucked Tszyu into a grueling fight and wore the odds favorite down.
My point is, we won’t know how good Golovkin is until we see what he does in a dog fight. Everyone looks spectacular in fights that they are supposed to win, which brings me to Broner.
I think the kid is an ultra-talent but he has his share of limitations and now that he’s fighting above 135 pounds he won’t be able to fall back on his size and power. In other words, his “gimme” fights are over.
Malignaggi was supposed to be “easy work” (as the morons like to say) because of his “soft hands.” Well, that wasn’t the case, and unfortunately for Mr. Broner, most of the top 140- and 147-pound fighters have decent pop if not outright KO power.
So we should find out sooner rather than later if Broner can keep his head in a fight with an opponent he can’t blow out and has to respect. He said he’d let the fans choose his next opponent. Well, those who voted in RingTV.com’s recent poll chose Lucas Matthysse. The runner up was Marcos Maidana.
I won’t say that Broner can’t beat those two Argentine badasses, but I will say that he better keep his mouth shut when he punches with them.
I expect Matthew Macklin to outbox and outwork Gennady Golovkin before getting caught and knocked out somewhere around round eight. Do you think he will ever get Sergio Martinez in the ring? Probably not, with all Martinez’s injuries. Who else is there? I have only seen him against Anthony Mundine, but Daniel Geale, although a solid workhorse with sound fundamentals, doesn’t really strike me as anything really special. Peter Quillin might make for a short, entertaining slugfest.
GGG is seemingly being groomed for a fight with Andre Ward. Will a move up to super middleweight not make him less effective? He doesn’t strike me as a very big middleweight or am I mistaken? Your thoughts on the matter?
Also, what do you think of our guy Tommy Oosthuizen who is on the undercard? Very tall super middleweight, high in your rankings with a Tommy Hearns like frame, very good all round boxing skills, surprisingly good on the inside, not a big puncher, but unlike Malignaggi, enough to keep the other guy off him. Does have a somewhat irritating tendency to take unnecessary shots by throwing away his height and reach advantage and slugging it out on the inside when he would be better served fighting tall. How much further do you think he can go?
Unless he is diminished by his shoulder injury, Andre Ward is just too good. I can see him beating a Sakio Bika or perhaps even a Lucian Bute or Mikkel Kessler, but a fight against Carl Froch intrigues me. How do you think he will fare against the Sheriff of Nottingham?
Lastly, one fantasy matchup. Mike Tyson, out of jail version against fourtysomething George Foreman who was then the linear champion. I always thought that Tyson’s style was perfect for George and gave him a good chance of springing the upset (the prime Foreman would have bounced Tyson around the ring like a basketball IMO). Your thoughts?
Keep up the good work! – Droeks Malan, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Big George would have shocked the world (again) had the fresh-out-the-pen version of Tyson that fought Peter McNeely and Buster Mathis Jr. faced the 45-year-old marvel. I like Foreman’s chances to best Tyson before Brooklyn’s Baddest went to jail (an opinion that drove Iron Mike’s fans crazy).
I didn’t give a s__t. Foreman had the telephone pole jab, the massive uppercuts and the steely mentality to break Tyson down mentally and physically. Guess who else thought so – Don King, which is why that fight never happened.
I think Oosthuizen is a talented and exciting young contender, who should take care of business tomorrow night and look impressive doing so. I don’t think he’s ready for Froch (or Kessler for that matter), but he might be in another year or two depending on who he fights and how often he fights (he should try to avoid eight-month stretches of inactivity as he’s coming off now).
He may never be ready for Ward but the American champ might be campaigning at 175 pounds in another year or two, so who cares? Bottom line is that Tommy Gun is fun to watch and I like his chances against Bika, Bute and the young British guns – Groves and DeGale.
If Golovkin beats Macklin I think HBO, which is already very supportive of the undefeated puncher, will get 100 percent behind him with the goal of developing him into a pay-per-view “B-side” who could eventually become the “A-side.” The network will put forth the money that should help make eventual showdowns with Chavez Jr. and Martinez. However, GGG will have to stay busy and beat credible middleweights such as the Geale-Darren Barker winner before earning shots at the top two names of the 160-pound division.
Golovkin probably will eventually move to the 168-pound division. You are correct in that he will be a small super middleweight but he’s used to competing against bigger opponents (from the amateurs and his training) and I think he’ll carry his strength and power. Of course a showdown with Ward is possible. HBO clearly views Ward as their new Roy Jones Jr. or Floyd Mayweather (AKA pound-for-pound king). That’s why they have been and will continue to showcase middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight fights. They are looking for future marketable opponents for Ward.
GGG is in the running along with Froch and Adonis Stevenson. And Oosthezuin looks good tomorrow and continues to kick ass, he’ll be in the running, too.
DA PROBLEM WITH BRONER
Hey Mr. Fisher!
I was late writing this and missed out on your Monday Mailbag, hope you’re doing well. Just a have few points I wanted to make.
Watching the Malignaggi vs. Broner fight genuinely sickened me as a boxing fan for a number of reasons. I thought that Paulie won the fight 115-113. A lot of people are saying that Broner scored the more telling shots but he landed 3-4 a round!! I don’t buy into the CompuBox numbers, every fan knows to take them with a grain of salt.
I’m not saying this is one of the biggest gifts I’ve seen, I could maybe see it being scored as a draw. But I didn’t like how commentators lauded every little thing Broner did. That being said they did acknowledge Broner should also have been deducted multiple points for a blatant KICK, and numerous elbows! I think that his PF interview really has masked his blatant fouls!
Speaking of that interview, the lack of respect was my main problem with the event. I know the Pre-Fight were unnecessary and in bad taste, I’ve boxed as an amateur and there’s been times that I’ve had bad blood with a guy but you leave it in the ring, that’s one of my favorite things about the sport. Broner really showed his immaturity in the interview. I see people saying that he’s just a kid, but I resent that notion as I’m 22, my friends in the sport and I wouldn’t do that! That’s what boxing teaches you, discipline!
I acknowledge Broner is talented, but I don’t see any great defense, ring IQ, or power though (at 147 at least). But I don’t think he’s the fighter everyone makes him out to be. I see a lot of guys from 140-147 beating him. And I think Broner gets “Errol Spence’d” by Keith Thurman!
Also in an interview last week Paulie said he walks into the ring at 155, but Broner looked even bigger, something that I didn’t expect on his WW debut. Do you know what the weights were on the night? (On a side note, it was interesting to hear Mayweather being constructively critical of Broner, I don’t think he’ll take that too well!)
It pains me to say this as an Irishman but I don’t see any way Macklin beats Golovkin! Don’t get me wrong he’s a step up in class for GGG and will put up a valiant charge. But GGG hits like a truck, has an adamantium chin and is too skilled to be outboxed by Matt, people forget he had over 300 amateur fights! I expect a late stoppage in a close but clear fight. I can see Macklin approaching this like the early rounds of the Sergio fight but slowly being dragged into a dog fight!
Nathan Cleverly has shown real balls taking this fight with Sergei Kovalev, how do you see that turning out? I’m 50/50 at the moment! The LHW division is really heating up, and with Froch and Ward potentially joining them soon it’s primed to be one of the deepest in the sport.
Well anyway, I’m done with my rant! It’s always great to hear back from you. When are you next doing commentary? You and Paulie are my two favorite commentators out there!- Tosh, Ireland
Thanks for the kind words, Tosh.
As a diehard comic book geek during the 1980s who became a hardcore boxing fan by the ’90s, I never thought I’d see the day when boxing guys would use the word “adamantium” (the fictitious unbreakable metal that lines the Wolverine character’s bones and claws) when describing a fighter or fight.
Anyway, Cleverly’s jaw better be lined with adamantium because Kovalev is one of the sport’s five best punchers along with Matthysse, Golovkin, Stevenson and Maidana. If he can’t take a good shot, he’s not going to defend his WBO title against the Russian contender. However, I think Cleverly is durable and he can box smart when he needs to. I can see him outwork and outmaneuver Kovalev over 12 rounds, but he’ll have to work very hard to do it. Like you, I see this as a toss-up fight.
Good going giving Golovkin his due respect for his amateur background. Too many American fans (most of whom have only seen his HBO-televised bouts against Proksa and Rosado) view him as a one-dimensional stalker or a pure puncher. They don’t give him enough credit for his jab, his timing, his balance, his accuracy, or his ability to pick off his opponent’s punches.
I keep hearing how he’s going to be lost once he faces a boxer with a good chin. I think that’s BS. He faced at least 100 top-level boxers on the amateur level and his trainer Abel Sanchez doesn’t spoon-feed him chumps to spar with in camp. I think GGG knows how to make adjustments against versatile boxers.
He might have to prove that ability against Macklin, who is an underrated boxer.
I don’t recall what Malignaggi and Broner weighed when they stepped into the ring last Saturday but 155 pounds sounds about right. Broner – like Shane Mosley did 15 years ago – dwarfed junior lightweights and lightweights on fight night. He seemed as big as Paulie to me, not that much bigger. Against guys like Thurman or Kell Brook, he’ll probably seem a little smaller.
I thought Malignaggi was competitive but despite outlanding Broner, he never hurt the young challenger or backed him up. If Malignaggi’s punches took more effect on Broner, I probably would have had him winning a close nod, too. But I had to give the edge to the more effective puncher, which was Broner even though he was too economical with his shots.
I agree that Broner missed with more of those big shots than the commentators noticed, and it’s funny to hear you doubt the CompuBox totals for Broner because my Dad – who watched the fight with me and some friends – yelled out “Bulls__t!” when Showtime displayed the power-punch connect percentage for the newly crowned welterweight titleholder.
I also agree that Broner should have been more respectful during the post-fight interview, but whattaya gonna do? Broner’s gonna be Broner. He’ll turn off a lot of people over the next few years but those folks will likely watch him every time he fights in hopes of seeing him lose, so I don’t think the young man’s ratings will suffer due to his poor attitude.