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Dougies’ Friday mailbag

05
Sep

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FLYWEIGHT RANT AND A QUESTION

Sup Dougie,

Can’t wait for this weekend. I truly believe the Fight of the Year will emerge from either Juan “El Gallito” Estrada vs. Giovani Segura or Roman “Chocolatito” vs. Akira Yagashi. And what gets me excited the most is that the winners will most likely face each other! But what kind of ticks me off is that these fights are getting little to no attention. Everyone is instead interested in the “glovegate” issue between Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana or Mayweather vs The Cat in the Hat. The “fans” of boxing are always talking about the best fighting the best, yet these little warriors have been doing it for years and have gone almost unnoticed! What gives!? It seems like just yesterday that Segura dismantled Ivan Calderon, and then was K.O’d by Brian Viloria, who was then whooped by El Gallito Estrada. Can you imagine this drama happening around welterweight? No, because the best are not fighting the best!



Enough with the rant. It’s their loss for whoever doesn’t watch these fights.

Now I have a bit of a ridiculous question but would like your opinion on it. I don’t know if you watched the World Cup but in one of the games, a player from Holland (Dirk Kuyt) busted his head open from a clash of heads with another player. This guy simply went to the sidelines, got his wound stapled and continued playing for the next hour or so. Do you think something like this could be applied to boxing in the event of an accidental headbutt? I’m not asking anyone to staple cuts on their face but rather on their head. Kinda like the gash Jermaine Taylor suffered against B-Hop from his “veteran tactics.”

That’s it for now Doug. Hope you enjoy these upcoming fights. – Peter, Houston, Texas

I’m going to savor Yaegashi-Gonzalez and Estrada-Segura like I do few other boxing matchups. I know that all four fighters are the real deal. They’re all battle-tested champions or former champs, who are either at their absolute peak (Gonzalez), just coming into their own (Estrada), or experienced veterans who are still in or near their athletic primes (Segura and Yaegashi). I know that they will give their all today and tomorrow night. I know that they will deliver action, drama, skill, ring generalship and heart. And I have no doubt that the winners and the losers of each bout will be willing to face each other.

How do I know this? It’s just what flyweights (and most of the top sub-featherweights of the world) do. No U.S. network is interested in showing them, let alone willing to throw a ton of money at them, and Al Haymon ain’t signing any of them, so if they want to make a living at this boxing thing, they gotta fight often and the best have to face the best. In other words, they’re Old School. God Bless every one of those little badasses.

I respect all of the top flyweights, but my two favorites (of the 112-pound weight class and any division) are Gonzalez and Segura. I love watching “Chocolatito” because he’s a complete fighter with excellent technique but also world-class power and the mentality to use it. I love watching Segura because he is – without any doubt in my mind – the purest warrior in the sport right now. He’s an unapologetic slugger. F__k boxing. His motto is not “Hit and not get hit,” it’s “Hit and get hit, hit back, and get hit some more, and keep dishin’ it out until that other mother f___er folds!”

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m rooting for Gonzalez and Segura.

I think Estrada-Segura has a better chance of delivering a Fight of the Year candidate. Gonzalez and Yaegashi don’t shy away from a fight (if you recall, Yaegashi’s 10-round war with Pornsawan Porpramook at strawweight was a Fight of the Year candidate in 2011), but both guys can also box and often opt to take their time in a fight.

Segura’s not like that. He just brings it. Sometimes his wild pressure fighting style works out for him, as it did when he beat Calderon (which was THE RING’s Fight of the Year for 2010) and Hernan “Tyson” Marquez (a 2013 Fight of the Year candidate, which was my personal choice for the scrap of the year), and sometimes it don’t, as his recent losses to Viloria and Edgar Sosa prove.

Estrada is the more complete and better-skilled boxer but let’s see if he can hold Segura off for 12 rounds.

I totally feel your rant about the flyweight kings not getting the attention they deserve. A lot of so-called “hardcore” boxing fans have missed out on many amazing fights between 112-pound standouts. In fact, if you toss in junior flyweight (the 108-pound division), I’d say that we have been experiencing a Golden Age of the Flys in recent years. Since 2008, there have been so many significant showdowns between 108- and 112-pound standouts, that I believe we can compare the flyweight wars of the late 2000s/early 2010s to the elite welterweight and light heavyweight round robins that boxing fans experienced in the late 1970s/early ’80s. The only difference is that those classic welterweight and light heavyweight bouts took place on U.S. network television.

Here’s just a snippet of the significant jr. fly/flyweight bouts that have taken place during the past six years:

Segura vs. Cesar Canchila I and II (2008 and 2009), Pongsaklek Wonjongkam vs. Julio Cesar Miranda (2009), Miranda vs. Moruti Mthalane (2009), Ulises Solis vs. Viloria (2009), Miranda vs. Viloria (2010), Wonjongkam vs. Koki Kameda (2010), Calderon vs. Segura (2010), Viloria vs. Carlos Tamara (2010), Viloria vs. Segura (2011), Wonjongkam vs. Edgar Sosa (2011), Segura vs. Calderon II (2011), Viloria vs. Omar Nino III (2012), Viloria vs. Marquez (2012), Gonzalez vs. Estrada (2012), Viloria vs. Estrada (2013), Sosa vs. Solis (2013), Sosa vs. Segura (2013), Segura vs. Marquez (2013), and Akira Yaegashi vs. Sosa (2013).

Most of those fights featured action and drama (at least five of ’em are Fight of the Year candidates – YouTube them if you don’t believe me).

Regarding your question, you can’t compare soccer with boxing. Soccer is a contact team sport. Boxing is a COMBAT dual sport. It’s OK to staple a gash on a soccer player’s head and send him back into the game because A) he’s just one player on a big-ass field and B) it’s unlikely that he’s going to suffer another head clash. In boxing the guy with the gash on his head is on his own in a ring against another guy who is throwing punches to his head. The likelihood of the boxer receiving more punishment to the wounded area is much greater than that of the soccer player.

 

MARTINEZ-FRAMPTON 2

Hola Dougie,

Hope all is well out there. I wanted to climb up from the comments section to ask what you think about the re-match between Kiko Martinez and Carl Frampton. I think Elmer Fudd has a new attitude this time around, and will make a much better go of it. 50-50 in my book.

Also like watching Lucas “The Machine” Matthysse fight, no matter who it is he’s up against. Looks like he’ll face a guy who’s going to bring it back to him as well, so we’ll get some action.

Return of Andre Berto? Count me in. He’s had more re-starts than a NASCAR race featuring Dania Patrick, but each time he tries something new. I know he’s in soft, but ‘m curious to see where he’s at physically and mentally.

Guess that about sums i- uh.. oh yeah, Doo Doo Broner. I guess he’s headlining the damn thing. I am NOT looking forward to that, and hope Broner get’s dropped. Yeah, call me a hater. I guess I am. Just can’t buy into his whole “more mature” PR stunt, when I know it’s false. He’s still stumbling around after Mayweather’s shadow.

Speaking of funny ‘Money’, I won’t dive into the inclusion of one Alex Ariza into the Mayweather training camp other than to say that the hypocrisy speaks for itself. I can’t see why Pretty Boys march around chanting “hard work, dedication” when they guy sneaks out of yoga class to munch on Big Macs. We’ll see how much dedication there is in the Funny Team when the well dries up.

Peace. – JB

Trust me, as soon as all those TMT cheerleaders stop getting a pay check or lavish gifts or free rides all over the place, they won’t have the time or the patience for Mayweather. But that’s true for any fighter who likes to keep an entourage.

I can’t say that I’m interested in the Adrien Broner-Emmanuel Taylor matchup. If we ranked all of the co-main events of the weekend, Broner-Taylor would be lucky to make the top 10. So would Matthysse-Roberto Ortiz but I’m looking forward to this one. Lucas has proven to be more of a cyborg (part human) than a machine with his last two bouts, but win, lose or struggle, the Argentine is always entertaining. I don’t know much about Ortiz other than he’s Mexican, unbeaten and appears to carry some power judging from his high KO ratio, but that’s enough to get me interested in him and this fight.

As for Berto, I think his management has to bring him back soft. He’s lost three of his last four bouts, took God-awful extended beatings in all three losses and he’s suffered serious biceps and shoulder injuries. He could be done. If he struggles with Steve Upsher (who only has six knockouts in 29 bouts) or even gets wobbled once or twice, we’ll know for sure.

No doubt about it, Martinez-Frampton is an even-money matchup. I’m going with Frampton because he’s the younger man on home turf, but if he wins, it won’t be easy. When Kiko is on, he’s one of the best pressure fighters in the game. I’m looking forward to this fight. Next to Estrada-Segura, I think it has the best shot at delivering a Fight of the Year candidate.

 

FLYWEIGHT WEEK

Hey Dougie,

I’m guessing you’re as excited as I am about the upcoming trio of flyweight championships. Kind of crazy how they are all happening within a few days of each other. Gonzalez-Yaegashi looks great on paper, but so does Estrada-Segura. Which one do you think will have more fireworks? I’m going with the latter.

I’ll wait to watch a download after the fact for the fight from Tokyo, but being able to watch Estrada-Segura nearly live on beIN network is just great news for all us fans of the lower weights. I watched their card this past weekend and they were aggressively promoting this fight and showed highlights of Segura and Estrada’s recent fights.

Amnat Ruenroeng-McWilliams Arroyo doesn’t look to match the others in terms of toe-to-toe action with Ruenroeng being such a slick boxer. I happened to be in Asia when Ruenroeng beat Kazuto Ioka a few months ago and watched the fight on TV. I was impressed by Ruenroeng who has a little Pernell Whitaker in him and I thought he made Ioka look very limited. I think Arroyo is in deep on the road here, but the kid’s got KO power, so who knows. It’ll be interesting.

So, here comes question number two for you. Do you think Zou Shiming beats any of these guys, or anyone in the top 10 for that matter? I don’t (unless he goes the distance against someone and gets gifted a decision).

I saw an interview a while back where Harold Lederman called Roman Gonzalez ‘the second coming of Michael Carbajal’ and wished he could get on HBO. Reminded me of the times when the lower weight divisions were not only on the bigger networks, but even PPV events. Carbajal-Gonzales I was so big that Jimmy Lennon Jr. and Michael Buffer shared the introductions. So my final question to you is, do you see the lower weight divisions ever getting anywhere close to being that popular again? The realist in me thinks not, but for now I’ve got my beIN TV.

On a quick side note. I was overseas during Canelo Alvarez-Erislandy Lara. Nice hearing you on the broadcast. Keep up the good work. – Carl, Orlando, FL

Thanks Carl. I enjoy doing those international broadcasts. I’m glad there are some boxing fans that enjoy listening to my commentary.

There’s a slight chance that if one of the major U.S. cable networks gets involved in the flyweight division right now they can catch the tail end of the 112-pound Golden Age that I briefly described in my response to the first email and get American boxing fans hooked on some really good s__t. But I can’t help but be cynical. It doesn’t matter how good Gonzalez is (and I think he’s better than Carbajal – but so what? So was Finito Lopez), he’s not American and he doesn’t tap into any of the big boxing fan bases within the U.S. being a Nicaraguan. If he were from Mexico or Puerto Rico, I’d say he has a fighting chance of crossing over a little bit.

Ya gotta remember that Carbajal was a very special case: he was a bilingual Mexican-American from Arizona, a 1988 Olympic silver medalist who was promoted by Top Rank, and he caught the tail end of the network age of boxing in the U.S. His Olympic bouts were on network TV (NBC), as was his first title bout in July 1990 (vs. Thai action hero Muanchai Kittikasem). Oh yeah, and Carbajal had a worthy rival, Humberto “Chiquita” Gonzalez (a worldly champ who was popular in his native Mexico and in Southern California), to help him crossover.

As strange as it sounds, Arroyo might be the key to unlocking door to the major U.S. cable networks for flyweights. If he can beat Ruenroeng in Thailand (which will be very hard to do), his entertaining style and Puerto Rican heritage could entice ESPN, Showtime or HBO to roll the dice on a showdown with a popular Mexican standout, such as the Estrada-Segura winner. The storied Mexico-Puerto Rico rivalry would definitely help the promoters of the flyweights lobby for their fighters.

Regarding Shiming’s chances of beating any of the six flyweights fighting in upcoming world title bouts, I’d have to say they’re slim and none (and slim left town, as Don King likes to say). The Chinese amateur star simply lacks the physical strength, power and pro experience to deal with the likes of Gonzalez, Yaegashi, Segura and Estrada. Ruenroeng is too slick, as you noted. Maybe Arroyo is green enough for Zou to take to school, but the Puerto Rican was an amateur standout himself and he can crack. Hey man, there are no soft spots in the 112-pound division.

CARL FRAMPTON

Hi Doug,

I hope all’s well with you Stateside.

I just wanted to share my thoughts and get yours on my favourite fighter from the UK, Carl Frampton ahead of his world title fight this weekend. I’ve been extremely high on him since I first watched him fight back in 2010. I really do believe he is the real deal. He can fight going forwards or backwards, he has a good engine, decent chin and great knock out power which seems to be improving fight by fight. He also has a good young trainer in Shane McGuigan and is promoted by an experienced top class former world champion Barry McGuigan. What I like about their set up is Frampton is their number one fighter and all their efforts go in to him and his career. They don’t have to split their time between fighters which means Frampton gets the very best attention to detail. I read as well that the diet Frampton has in fight camp Shane also has. The bond between them must help the trust and therefore can only benefit Frampton. They left Eddie Hearn because they wanted to be in control of their own destiny. When you have a fighter as good as Carl Frampton is I think that makes perfect sense.

What do you think will happen this weekend against Martinez? I fancy Frampton to stop him between the 6th – 8th round. Martinez is a good fighter but I wonder how he will approach this fight? He knows Frampton can hurt him and stop him. Will he endlessly march straight forward again knowing what happened last time? Don’t get me wrong Martinez was very much in the fight last time but he got hurt badly by one punch. It wasn’t until the 9th round that Frampton landed a clean shot. If he landed that shot in the early rounds the result would have been the same. Maybe I need to give credit to Martinez for not getting hit until the 9th round. But it must be in the back of his mind that he could get knocked out at any time.

Eddie Hearn, who now promotes Scott Quigg but used to promote Carl Frampton, said when he was still the latter’s promoter ‘Scott Quigg needs Carl Frampton, Carl Frampton doesn’t need Scott Quigg’. I think even Eddie Hearn knows that Frampton beats Quigg!! In my opinion he knocks him out within 6 rounds. I think Frampton is on another level to everyone bar Rigondeaux who is the number one in the division but I would give Frampton a shot at beating him after a couple more fights at world level.

What do you think of Carl Frampton? I’d like him to fight over the next couple of years Santa Cruz, Quigg and finally Rigo before stepping up to featherweight and trying his luck there.

Would love to get your thoughts Doug as your opinion is one I respect.

Hope to hear back from you in Friday’s mailbag. Enjoy the weekend’s fights. Cheers. – Dave, London

I will Dave, and Martinez-Frampton II will be one of them.

I’m very high on Frampton, THE RING’s No. 1-rated junior featherweight, but not as high as you are. I think he’ll beat Martinez again but this time he will have to settle for a decision in a competitive fight.

I know I’m in the minority with this opinion but I think Frampton-Quigg is an even-money fight. I know Frampton would be the odds favorite in the UK, but I would pick the underdog in that matchup. I think Quigg is every bit as versatile as Frampton and a little bit underrated (on both sides of the Pond).

I would favor Frampton over Santa Cruz, who might be burning out at a young age given his style and the struggle I’m sure he has with making 122 pounds, but I wouldn’t give “The Jackal” much of a shot to beat Rigo (unless the Cuban champ starts to feel his age, or is simply rusty from inactivity).

Hopefully, we’ll be treated to these fights in the next 18-24 months. The 122-pound division is a deep one, and Frampton with a world title will help stir up the junior featherweight mix.

 

WEEKEND BOUTS, FUTURE MATCHUPS

Hey Doug,

Hope all is well man. 2014 is turning out to be a disappointment. We have Haymon presumably screwing everyone over by matching his guys against garbage opposition until Schaefer finishes arbitration and settles into a new promotional outfit where he can share in all the big money fights. Tomorrow’s card is a joke – as was last month’s debacle with Danny Garcia-Rod Salka. Though I must admit that while lopsided, this card is exponentially better than last month’s.

Not that it matters, but I expect Broner, Matthysse, and Berto will tally easy KO wins just like Garcia, Peterson, and Jacobs did. However, I do suppose that if the B-sides and/or officials are not on Haymon’s payroll then maybe Taylor has a shot at making things uncomfortable for Broner and potentially Berto could implode, re-injure himself, or both. How do you see the bouts ending up?

All of this matchmaking nonsense is killing me – and it’s not just limited to Haymon. We mostly overlooked the Salka set up, thinking if this is what it takes to get to a Lamont Peterson fight then so be it. However, now it would appear Garcia must defend against Viktor Postol. Haymon will not allow Garcia to unify with Peterson now, right? Because that would mean fighting Postol who would probably beat Garcia. So then he’ll move up and take a transition fight at 147 – another dull outing.

And what of the other matching BS? Canelo versus Clottey? How is Joshua Clottey the front runner? What happened to Kirkland? I get that they don’t want to inundate fans with PPV, but how about Andrade? Clottey hasn’t been in his prime in seven years and he wasn’t that good back then. Cotto is going to sit out and Canelo will fight a bum so they can preserve a May date with Alvarez. Khan and Brook are working out a May deal as well which ruins a ton of matchmaking. Now both will take easy interim fights against easy opposition in December – or sit out. That also potentially ruins matches for Guerrero, Alexander, Porter, and Thurman via trickle down effect. Now they’ll all take lesser opposition because no one wants to see Guerrero-Alexander and none of them will fight Thurman.

Tim Bradley, Brandon Rios, and Ruslan Provodnikov are all in the same boat as well. Bradley and his wife I’m sure were pushing for Cotto and will now have to settle for Rios or Provodnikov, which means we won’t get that beautiful war between Bam Bam and the Siberian Rocky. The fight that does get set up with Bradley will be boring as hell and the odd man out will be facing whom?

Again, I know you don’t believe a commission is necessary for boxing but if we don’t force the fighters to fight the best by having a regulated sport, then we’ll spend all of our time watching bad matchups or fighters facing each other out of their primes. Imagine if there was a regulating body that enforced one title, with a fairly determined set of rankings, a minimum number of defenses against the best, and it wasn’t so easy to win a title. Then maybe we’d see some good fights on a consistent basis. I just don’t know if I can handle another year like this and two or three good fights is not enough. Bernard Hopkins can only fight so many times a year. – Vincent, New York, NY

Dude, I think you’re living too much in your head and trying too hard to figure out what the future may hold.

Yes, I agree that boxing on Showtime in 2014 pales in comparison to what Golden Boy Promotions and the network delivered in 2013. But it’s just one network, and there’s more to boxing than what takes place in the U.S. and on one or two subscription cable networks.

You ain’t like me. This isn’t your job. You don’t have to watch every fight that’s on TV. You have a choice (which is a beautiful thing), and if you really think that Showtime’s tripleheader tomorrow night is total dreck, you should seriously consider not watching it. (I think all the A-sides will win tomorrow night, but I think we’ll see some competition, too. If you think all the fights are blowouts, you should skip it. It’s not like you can’t find quality boxing elsewhere on Saturday – Martinez-Frampton II and Estrada-Segura will likely be 10 times better than the three bouts from Cincinnati).

The only way Showtime is going to start to demand better boxing matchups is if the mismatches that they broadcast result in dismal ratings. You have a role to play in this if you want change.

Regarding all the fights that you believe WON’T happen in the future due to Haymon and boxing politics, I think you’re just spinning your wheels. There’s no guarantee that Garcia will bother with his WBC mandatory against Postol. Peter Quillin’s recent move to dump his WBO title rather than face WBO mandatory Matt Korobov should make that perfectly clear. Garcia will probably dump his WBC belt and let Postol fight Matthysse or Broner for the vacant strap.

Garcia-Peterson can still take place at 140 pounds with THE RING, WBC and IBF titles on the line, or it could happen at welterweight. Either way, it’s still a good fight.

Alvarez-Clottey is also a decent scrap. What happened to Kirkland? What always happens to Kirkland when it looks like he’s got a big fight? He finds a way to screw himself out of it. I love the guy. I think he’s second only to my man Segura in terms of warrior heart, but he’s f___ing nuts!

Why do you want to see Canelo fight Demetrius Andrade? Why does every hardcore head want to see Alvarez fight a difficult boxing style? (You guys would never ask “The Best Ever” to fight someone like Andrade or Erislandy Lara, but you want the so-called “hype job” from Mexico to constantly prove his mettle against slick southpaw stick-and-movers. Gee, that makes a lot of sense.)

Canelo has already fought Austin Trout, Mayweather and Lara. Now you want to see him fight a rangy, 6-foot-2 “slap-n-move” specialist who was a U.S. Olympian and an amateur world champion? Really!?

If Canelo gets outpointed, as he did with Floyd, most of you guys are gonna scream about how overrated he’s always been. If he outpoints Andrade, as he did Trout and Lara, most of you guys are gonna scream about how he didn’t deserve the decision.

Let’s spare the rest of the boxing world the B.S. Twitter tirades, complaints and debates and let Canelo fight a stocky but sturdy veteran who’s not going to run around the ring. (And don’t call Clottey a “bum” – the man’s a former welterweight titleholder who fought the best from 2006 to 2010. If he was a chump or way past his prime, he wouldn’t have whupped Anthony Mundine’s ass in April.)

Like you said, Canelo’s peeps are angling for him to fight Cotto in 2015, and that’s a damn good matchup, Vincent. So is Bradley vs. Rios or Provodnikov. (Bradley has no business fighting above 147 pounds, and nobody wanted to see Cotto-Bradley.) Bradley-Rios or Bradley-Provo II will not prevent Rios-Provo from happening. Seriously, if you’re too jaded to look forward to fights like Cotto-Canelo and Bradley-Provodnikov II, I think you need to take a little break from boxing.

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer

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