Dougie’s Friday mailbag
CAN GGG LOSE TO STEVENS?
Hope you are well, really enjoy your impeccable boxing journalism and often read Friday/Monday mailbags to get the tone of the boxing public. Here’s my mixed bag of comments and a hypothetical formula for a major upset this weekend at MSG in NYC:
“The Gatti-Ward Tale” – Impressed with the HBO documentary. As so much has been said and written about their classic, historic trilogy, attempting the definitive film and account of those events took guts. An excellent ensemble of experts whose observations, memories, and angles on the fights were interesting. The story of the Gatti-Ward momentum created by their phenomenal commitment to boxing was well captured. I love the fact that Gatti and Ward not only really understood what the “fans” want to see at a prize fight, they both had the guts, ability and willingness to lay it on the line, giving us all boxing high drama and an epic triad of bouts.
New talent radar – Thabisco Mchunu (14-1, 10 KOs). Congratulations to Kathy Duva on signing this South African cruiserweight prospect. He impressed with his speed, footwork, and disciplined southpaw tactics in his win against Eddie Chambers. He has great boxing gifts and wonderful potential with Main Events.
Last but not least, can’t wait for this weekend’s card at the MSG in my hometown NYC. Wish I could be there. I do believe Curtis Stevens could win this fight, but only if he fights very smart and completely adjusts his style. If he tries to trade with Gennady Golovkin, and to implement his looping bomber style, “GGG” will pick him apart, wear him down and KO him. But, IF Curtis paces himself, establishes the jab and stays with it, uses head/torso movement, combinations and angles, circles right to turn GGG, and does not allow him to get into his own rhythm. Who knows? Maybe he can use his speed to pepper GGG and puff up his face, possibly even cut him. Once GGG is compromised, he can lay into him and try to end it.
I doubt this outcome and predict: GGG via KO Rd 7. Peace. – Joe
I agree with your prediction for tomorrow’s middleweight title bout. I don’t agree with your theory on how Stevens can spring the upset. I don’t think finesse is the Brooklynite’s ticket to victory. I think he needs to go out and hurt GGG as soon as he can – in the first or second round. If he tries to work everything off his jab I think he’s going get countered and hurt. If he tries to stick and mover, I think Golovkin will walk him down and systematically break him down. Stevens needs to establish his power before GGG establishes his, IMO. I think he needs to make the undefeated titleholder uncomfortable by making him back up and putting him on the defensive.
Mchunu is a very good boxer – more than just a prospect in the eyes of THE RING (which ranks him No. 10 at 200 pounds). I look forward to seeing him pit his talent against high-ranked cruiserweights, such as Ilunga Makuba, Ola Afolabi, Denis Lebedev and my favorite 200-pound fighter Grigory Drozd.
I enjoyed Legendary Nights: The Tale of Gatti-Ward. I especially enjoyed the early footage of Gatti and the commentary during the first bout, which you know is special because every fans who was following the sport in 2002 remembers where they were and how they reacted to it when they first saw it.
I was at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, where Steve Kim and I had just covered Kostya Tszyu’s junior welterweight title defense against Ben Tackie. We missed the live HBO broadcast while witnessing Tszyu’s boring 12-round outclassing of Tackie but before the fight was over our cell phones began blowing up with calls from the East Coast. We ignored the calls because we didn’t want to know the result (something that’s all but impossible these days). Kim took one call, from somebody he trusted not to spoil the surprise – HBO’s Larry Merchant, who simply told him that Gatti-Ward “was better than we possible could have imagined it would be.”
Kim and I high tailed it over to the sports book with fellow fight scribe Johnnie Whitehead where we talked the bar tender to turn one of the small TVs to HBO so we could catch the west coast broadcast. As he did that some of the giant screens in the sports book tuned into ESPN showed Sports Center’s recap of the fight. We all put our fingers in our ears and turned out backs to the screens. When the west coast broadcast began we still had no idea who would win. There weren’t a lot of folks around the bar area of the sports book when we arrived (so few that we were able to grab bar stool next to each other). However, by the fifth round of the fight when Gatti and Ward exchanged blow we heard a loud roar of cheers. When we turned around there was a crowd that was bigger than the hardcore fans who had bought tickets to see the Tszyu-Tackie fight (and that is not an exaggeration). These folks were clearly casual fans, the kind of folks who had no idea who Tszyu was (and probably weren’t that familiar with Gatti and Ward), but by the end of the ninth round I bet at least half were bitten by the boxing bug.
Thanks for jarring that memory. And thanks for the kind words about the mailbags and my “impeccable journalism” (you had to know I’d lead with this email – LOL).
KEEP IT REAL…
Keep it real Fisch. On the night before Mayweather/Guerrero, you were at the Cosmopolitan and you saw Anthony Dirrell get outworked by a journeyman.
Keep it real. You know Dirrell lost. – Mitch
I don’t know that. I agree that Dirrell was outworked, and Don Mouton was clearly the aggressor in the fight, but Anthony got off with the harder, cleaner punches throughout. Here’s what I wrote about the fight.
I thought the two official scores of 77-75 were fair, although I thought those scores could have gone to Mouton or the fight could have been a draw. But I was fine with Dirrell winning.
(I apologize if this diplomatic – but completely honest – response was not real enough for you.)
Hello Mr. Fischer;
I haven’t written in since your Maxboxing days, but I still follow your writings faithfully.
I have some random thoughts in boxing, so please forgive the whiplash I’m about to give you.
It seems like GGG is starting to believe his own press clippings. Usually when a fighter does that, he loses. For that reason I’m picking Stevens to win this weekend, possibly by TKO.
Who’s the bigger waste of talent, Francisco Bojado or Ricardo Williams?
When people do mythical matchups, why don’t they ever have Jake LaMotta in the mix? This is a guy that beat Sugar Ray Robinson TWICE!!! Having said that, how does he stack up against the likes of (at welter) Floyd Mayweather Jr., Oscar De La Hoya, Sugar Ray Leonard, (at middle) Bernard Hopkins, Marvelous, Thomas Hearns, Marvin Hagler, and Carlos Monzon?
Can you imagine a conversation between Randall “Tex” Cobb and Chris Arreola?
Finally, who would come out on top of a round robin between the 3 Sugars at welterweight; Robinson, Leonard and the Mosley that fought De la Hoya in the first fight?
Keep up the great work; I look forward to your mailbags every Monday and Friday. God bless. Sincerely. – Will Martin, Olympia, WA
Thanks Will. Good to hear from you again.
The welterweight version of Robinson would definitely come out on top of the “Sugar” round robin. I think he would edge Leonard in a great boxing match and would outclass the 2000 version of Mosley over the distance in an entertaining fight.
I would PAY to eavesdrop on a convo between Cobb and Arreola.
LaMotta only beat Robinson once (their second bout), but at least three of their six bouts were very close. I have no idea why I never get mythical matchup emails that include “The Bronx Bull.” Maybe today’s fans just don’t know much about the former middleweight champ. Maybe they think his fights with Robinson are his only career highlights. They’re wrong if that’s what they believe. LaMotta was 3-1 in a four-bout series with Fritzie Zivic; 1-1-1 with Jose Basora (a top contender who held Robinson to a draw). I’ve got added respect for LaMotta because he fought the best African-American fighters of the 1940s (most of whom were denied deserved shots at the title), including Bert Lytell (W 10) and fellow hall of famers Holman Williams (W 10) and Lloyd Marshall (L 10). I dunno, man, maybe young fans think he’s a fictional character thanks to Raging Bull. LOL.
LaMotta never fought below middleweight. However, aside from Robinson, he usually beat the best welterweights of his era, including Zivic, Tommy Bell, George Costner and “California” Jackie Wilson. In my humble opinion, LaMotta’s relentless, mauling boxing style would have been too much for Mayweather, De La Hoya and even Leonard. I think the taller, rangier (but just as tough) Monzon and Hopkins could have outpointed him at middleweight. LaMotta outworks Hagler to close decision in a great fight. His all-time great chin holds beats out Hearns’ 160-pound power and he wears the Hitman down to a late TKO.
Who’s the bigger waste of talent, Bojado or Williams? Hard to say. Both were immensely talented boxers. They were naturals. I’m tempted to say Bojado, but then I remember that Williams is a 2000 Olympic silver medalist. Still, Williams’ may not be done yet. He looked pretty good the last time I saw him (earning a somewhat controversial fifth-round technical decision over previously unbeaten prospect Luis Ramos last December).
Golovkin is one of the most grounded fighters I’ve ever met. Just because his trainer Abel Sanchez is comparing him to Robinson and HBO is hyping him up (along with a growing number of hardcore “GGG” fans) doesn’t mean the fighter is getting a big head.
I think Golovkin stops Stevens by the fifth or sixth round.
This is Jason from CT, I don’t expect you to remember me but I write in to the mailbag every now and then for the past year or so. Anyways, when the Stevens fight got announced I got psyched, took the day of the weigh in off from work and bought a train ticket to NYC to meet Golovkin!!!
When I saw GGG was on the cover of The Ring mag, I got so psyched to get his autograph. Well, I just found out via Curtis Stevens promoter the weigh in’s private?!?!?! Talk about a bummer for fans. Anyways I figured I’d give you a shout to see if you could sneak me in LOL? Hey if I didn’t at least ask, I’d feel like I didn’t exhaust all my options. I was thinking of just taking the train in anyway and see if I can somehow manage to get in, I mean I’ve already spend the money on the ticket. Do you really think they won’t let fans in?
Anyways, I’m sure you’re super busy but if you have a minute to read/respond I’d appreciate it. I’d love to buy you a drink if I see ya, for all the awesome work you do for fans. – Jason
Thanks Jason. I’ll take you up on the drink offer but I’m afraid I won’t be able to sneak you into today’s weigh-in. Normally when I cover a major fight I’m in town by Thursday, but since Halloween took place yesterday, I didn’t leave for New York City until today. (I’ll probably be en route as you read this.) So, I’m going to miss the weigh-in.
My guess about the reason the promoters decided to go with a private/media-only weigh-in was their concerns about fans getting out of hand due to Curtis being local and the intense nature of the matchup.
Anyway, you might want to hang around outside the Affinia hotel in the afternoon. Maybe you can catch some of the fighters after the weigh-in.
B-HOP, NET WARS & FIGHTER OF THE YEAR
Several things I’ll like to point out:
1. I agree that “Popkins The Alien” (good one!) is still going strong for a guy pushing 50 though the fact that he was up against the very ordinary Karo Murat probably made him look better than he really was.
Despite his claim of “being the best light-heavyweight in the world” there’s no way he can stand up to Adonis Stevenson or Krusher Kovalev. But that’s OK. Hopkins against either guy is never going to happen. Just as well.
2. Triple T’s comment comparing Hopkins’ fights to “John Ruiz fuck-a-thons that are as stimulating as watching two horny turtles humping each other in slow motion” was indeed hilarious. I know the guy and his folks quite well. Trust me. He says that kind of stuff in person as well! Nor is his better half much for political correctness either. (Yeah he’s actually married and with kids!)
The main thing I want to get to on this one is TTT’s other comment on “HBO blowing Showtime off the map.” Not completely true but I do see where he’s coming from. For much of the previous ten years HBO provided the biggest events in boxing such as all those mega-bouts involving Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather. Showtime on the other hand gave us the superior fight action such as the excellent Rafael Marquez-Israel Vasquez series and the Super-Middleweight Super Six Tourney.
Now it’s HBO bringing in the best quality action such as Pacquiao-Marquez 4, Bradley-Provodnikov, the Rios vs Alvarado wars and any fights involving war-machines like Adonis Stevenson, Krusher Kovalev and Gennady Golovkin.
Not that I’m s____ing on Showtime. Especially with fights like Danny Garcia-Lucas Matthysse and the Maidana-Lopez/Lara-Angulo card. But the network’s biggest mega-bouts like Canelo-Trout, Mayweather vs Guerrero and Mayweather vs Canelo were either just OK or just plain forgettable. The competition’s really tight but at this point I give the narrow edge to HBO.
3. You mentioned Hopkins as a possible Fighter of The Year candidate. I disagree. But that’s just me I suppose. Personally, I think you can make a much stronger choice with guys like Tim Bradley and Danny Garcia. Same with Adonis Stevenson if he wins his next fight and which I’m sure he will.
4. I once thought that Peter Quillin might make a tough opponent for Golovkin but after his struggle with Gabriel Rosado I’m not so sure. Especially when you consider how badly Triple G had Rosado all beaten up. Is it me or is Quillin the next Andre Berto? A big, strong athletic guy but lacking in technique, ring-smarts and stamina.
Anyhow sorry to drag this on. Keep the faith as always. – Dave
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Dave. I’ll respond to your questions/opinions in order:
1) I don’t think Murat made Hopkins look better than he is. Even at his advanced age, Hopkins is a legitimate top five light heavyweight. Murat is not. I think most of the top 175-pound fighters would beat Murat as handily as he did on Saturday, if not stop the German contender as Nathan Cleverly did a few years ago.
2) You and TTT have a point. HBO has featured more Fight of the Year candidates than Showtime this year. However, Mayweather’s two fights aside, I’ve enjoyed most of Showtime’s 2013 boxing programming. It’s been a very good year for both networks. Showtime has gained more viewers by showcasing bigger names, while HBO has regained some of the hardcore fan respect/support they used to have in the late 1990s/early 2000s but had lost in recent years.
3) If Stevenson smashes Tony Bellew, I think he’ll be my front runner for Fighter of the Year because he will have fought four times, stopping the one man to beat him as a pro (Darnell Boone), winning THE RING title with a first-round one-punch KO, dominating Tavoris Cloud and beating a top British contender. After Stevenson, the order of my Fighter of the Year candidates go as follows: Bradley, Mayweather, Garcia and Carl Froch (if he beats George Groves.)
4) Quillin and Berto is not a bad comparison. Berto had way more amateur experience than Quillin but he basically got over with his athleticism and power (along with some careful matchmaking). Quillin might be more raw (technically speaking) than Berto but he’s arguably more poised under fire than the former welterweight beltholder. Berto was always drawn into a dog fight whenever he was nailed hard or rocked. However, Quillin seems to keep his head and box when he’s pressed or hit. Quillin might also have more reliable whiskers than Berto. I’m not going to close the book on Quillin just because he had a tough fight with Rosado. He still might be able to give Golovkin a tough fight. And if not, so what? There are other 160-pound matchups I’d love to see Kid Chocolate involved in, including the Darren Barker-Felix Strum winner, Daniel Geale, Martin Murray, Daniel Jacobs, Stevens and, of course, a rematch with Rosado.
Photo / Will Hart-K2 Promotions, THE RING
Dougie can be emailed at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @dougiefischer