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Dougie’s Friday mailbag

17
Oct
Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

 

GGG IS IN FOR A FIGHT

Hello Dougie,



I must say I have not been this excited about a fight for a while, perhaps it has to do with the fact that though Gennady Golovkin is the man and everyone is picking him to beat Marco Antonio Rubio I still think he is in for a fight. I watched earlier this week Rubio’s fight with some hard punchers such as David Lemieux (though in no way I am suggesting Lemieux is on GGG’s level) but I don’t see Rubio getting himself intimidated or rushed and Rubio can take a punch and dish it out. I suspect that Abel Sanchez has worked on correcting some of those openings in GGG’s shield; at least they better had because Rubio can crack and if he can take advantage of those openings there could be an upset.

I am still picking GGG to win but it will be a good fight and would not be surprise if Rubio pulls the upset. I have to give you all the kudos for calling GGG the real thing way back before most people got on that bandwagon. You are usually on the money when it comes to prospects. It is just such a shame we never got to see “your son” Edwin Valero fulfill that bold prediction from you. Geeeez time just goes by, it seems like decades ago that whole Valero thing.

Cheers and Greetings from Montreal. – Carlos

It wasn’t that long ago. Despite his medical suspension in the U.S, the constant changing of trainers, drug abuse, and his family drama when he was back in Venezuela, I thought Valero was on his way to fulfilling his awesome promise when won the WBC lightweight title (blasting Antonio Pitalua in two rounds) in the spring of 2009 and after his defense against Antonio DeMarco in early 2010.

I still believe he would have defeated all of the top lightweights and junior welterweights at the time (including Manny Pacquiao had they squared off at 140 pounds, as Bob Arum proposed a few times).

I think you’re right about Rubio having the ability to give Golovkin a good fight. Odds makers are being ridiculous by installing the Mexican veteran as a 70-1 underdog. I’m not saying that Rubio is not a decided underdog; I’m just saying he brings some things to the ring that could trouble GGG. He’s got more pro experience, he’s going to re-hydrate more than Golovkin (probably weigh 174 or 175 to GG’s 165 or 166), he’s got an awkward style, underrated lateral movement, the ability to switch hit, and of course he can punch with both hands.

I think Rubio is going to try to get some respect early, try to stick and move, and pick his spots when he exchanges with GGG. He should make for an interesting fight, but I don’t see him doing well enough to pull the upset. Golovkin is the more accurate puncher and the harder puncher, and the undefeated WBA titleholder is harder cleanly than many fans realize. To land a clean shot on GGG is to put oneself in serious harm’s way. I think Golovkin wears Rubio down to an eighth or ninth-round stoppage, but I believe he will have to work hard for the KO.

DONAIRE-WALTERS

Hi Doug,

I am looking forward to watching Saturday’s card and although Gennady Golovkin’s fight will be high on entertainment value because a knockout is all but guaranteed, to me, it is becoming like Mike Tyson’s reign before he ran into Buster Douglas. Must watch TV, but utterly predictable. Unless he is fighting Andre Ward (not gonna happen until he gets back in the ring and out of the courtroom), Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr. (also not happening since Junior lost interest in his own career) or Carl Froch (may yet happen because of the balls on that guy) I am not intrigued.

I know that Rubio is a legit contender and one tough hombre, but I can’t see him doing much more than going out on his shield or am I wrong?

What intrigues me is the Nonito Donaire-Nicholas Walters fight because unlike the main event, I am not at all too sure who is going to win.

I was kind of taken aback by so many people writing Donaire off and expecting him to get knocked out on Saturday night, given his pedigree, so I watched Walters’ last 2 fights on Youtube and here is my synopsis:

He is a knockout artist with power in either hand who patiently stalks his opponents and then lets fly with the big guns once he finds an opening, not too dissimilar from Donaire in that respect. He has a hard jab, great straight right, uppercut and left hook, good hand speed and is well balanced on his feet. Offensively he ticks all the boxes.

Defensively he is also pretty solid, fighting from behind a high guard, blocking and parrying punches well. His wide stance, in addition to his height and reach, also makes it awkward for his opponent’s to get to him.

To me, there are, however, two questions hanging over the head of Walters.

How will he react when Donaire cracks him one on the chin? Walters has that elongated Tommy Hearns/Roger Mayweather facial structure with the narrow jaw that tends not to take punishment too well.

Is Walters suffering from Shawn Porter syndrome and did he perhaps catch his last opponent at exactly the right time in his career? Is he perhaps not quite as devastating as he looked in the Vic Darchinyan fight? Darchinyan has been through wars and had many miles on the clock, so it is definitely possible.

How would you answer those two questions?

I think that people are judging the Filipino champion a little bit too harshly on his last three performances.

Sure, Rigondeaux boxed his ears off, but let’s face it, the Cuban slickster would have done that to most anyone in the junior featherweight or featherweight divisions and Walters’ style is not that of Rigondeaux. He did make hard work of Darchinyan, but sometimes it is hard to get mentally up for a rematch with an opponent you beat easily the first time around. And although the victory over Vetyeka was tainted, it was impressive how he knuckled down once the fight seemed to hang in the balance (by the way, I thought that Vetyeka would pull off the upset, do you think he could have turned it around if it wasn’t for the stoppage?).

He doesn’t have the fight dominating power he had in the lower weight divisions, but the way he put Vetyeka down tells me that he can definitely hurt most featherweights out there. I’m not saying that Vetyeka is the featherweight version of Ray Mercer in the chin department, but he has never been stopped, so it is not as if he has a glass jaw.

If his motivation was gone, then why is he taking on the most dangerous challenge currently out there for him? He could have made nice paydays against easier opponents, riding on his name.

I think he wants to prove a point and that we will see a motivated, focused Donaire on Saturday night.

The Jamaican doesn’t seem to have obvious flaws, but I did notice that he sometimes throws his right hand in a looping or hooking fashion, which leaves a small gap for Donaire to use his speed and jump in with the left hook. Easier said than done, I know, however, if anyone can do it, it should be Donaire

If Donaire can wobble him, he needs to keep sustained pressure on him, getting in and out quickly and hope that the less experienced guy starts to unravel over the distance.

Walters, on the other hand, just needs to do what he does, patiently stalking his opponent and waiting for the openings, just do it a little better and use the jab more often to stabilize his opponent.

Would you agree with those assessments?

The big danger for Donaire is if Walters lands something really big early and takes him out of the fight before he can get started, something like Hearns against Cuevas. He will have to step on the gas from round one, but I think that he knows that.

I have been going this way and that way on the fight, but if pushed, I am going with the more proven quantity. I think Donaire will be on point for this one. I expect a terrific fight with the champion climbing off the deck early and then hurt Walters as he moves in for the kill. After that the Jamaican is going to start to think twice before letting fly and Donaire is going to do just enough down the stretch to win a hard fought decision.

I know you have Walters on this one, but it would be nice to hear your breakdown. Regards. – Droeks Malan, South Africa

You want my Donaire-Walters breakdown (and why I’m going with the Jamaican)? Here’s what I wrote for Lem Satterfield’s “Who Wins?” media poll on the fight:

“This fight is a fascinating test for both featherweights. It will let us know how good Nicholas Walters’ chin is and if the Jamaican puncher can deal with a seasoned veteran who employs a stick-and-move strategy. It will let us know if Nonito Donaire is a real featherweight and if he still has the heart for a tough battle. The jury is still out on Donaire’s mental state after being humbled by Guillermo Rigondeaux in his last bout at 122 pounds.

Donaire’s won his last two bouts at featherweight but those fights came against a old and shopworn Vic Darchinyan – who, like Donaire, is a natural 112/115-pounder – and Simpiwe Vetyeka, who is a natural bantamweight who wasn’t a powerhouse at 118 and certainly isn’t very strong at 126. I like Walters in this fight, not because I think he’s all that proven at featherweight but because he’s a natural 126-pounder. I like his height, his reach, his speed and his vaunted power, of course, but I also like his patience and poise.

Walters’ technique and footwork is solid although he could use improvement in both areas. I expect Donaire to take advantage of Walter’s defensive holes, wide flat-footed stance and inexperience and outmaneuver and outpoint the rangy puncher in the early rounds. However, I think Walters will catch Donaire with hard shots by the middle rounds and gradually take the fight out of the veteran by stalking him behind steady pressure and combination punching. Donaire will get rocked, maybe dropped, but his solid chin and pride will see him through to the final bell.”

Is that comprehensive enough for ya? Oh, I also think Donaire will suffer a cut at some point during the fight and lose some steam as a result. It doesn’t matter if the cut is the result of a punch or accidental headbutt.

You asked if Walters caught Darchinyan at the right time and if he might not be as devastating as he looks. I think he definitely caught Darchinyan – an old, battle-worn, natural flyweight – at the right time. Darchinyan also had the perfect attitude (being fearless) and style (aggressive) for the younger, bigger and stronger Walters to shine against, so it’s possible that the 28-year-old boxer-puncher is not as devastating as he looked this past May in Macau.

However, having seen him live and up close at the media workouts on Wednesday I can tell you with no exaggeration that Walters is the biggest featherweight I’ve ever seen. I he looks like a full-bodied lightweight. I don’t know for sure because Darchinyan is the only name on his resume but I think Walters has the size and athleticism to hurt any 126 pounder he nails flush.

I agree with most of your assessments on the fight, but I still question Donaire’s desire to fight (which is not the same thing as his motivation). He deserves a lot of props for fighting an undefeated puncher like Walters but just because he took the fight doesn’t mean he’s training hard and focused the way he used to train at the lighter weights.

Donaire admitted to my old MaxBoxing cohort Steve Kim on Wednesday that he doesn’t have the same passion for boxing that he did a few years ago.

We’ll find out if there’s a fire still burning in Nonito’s belly on Saturday night.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR CARL FROCH?

Hi Dougie,
I hope you’re well and up for Saturday at the StubHub. Obviously, it’s always fun to see GGG doing his thing, but the Donaire-Walters fight is probably the main reason I’ll be dragging myself out of bed in the middle of the night. I’m not going to ask for your take on the fight, as you’ve already expressed it very eloquently this week, so instead I’d like to pick your brains on something else: Carl Froch.

Is there any word stateside on “the Cobra” getting his much-sought after night in Vegas? On this side of the Pond, James DeGale’s name keeps cropping up, but I’m not sure that makes much sense. Froch admitted he struggled to get up for the first Groves fight and I don’t think DeGale will get his juices flowing. Also, DeGale has the style to make life difficult. It could end up like the Andre Dirrell fight, which Froch was lucky to win.

Froch’s been a great servant to British boxing; he’s got a healthy bank balance and his faculties intact. If Eddie Hearn can’t sort out a dream Vegas date, I’d like to see him ride off into the sunset on the back of the Groves knockout! He certainly has nothing left to prove. What do you think his next move will be and, for arguments sake, what happens if him and DeGale get it on?

(P.s. Keep up the great work with the site – I have no idea how you and the team publish so much every week!) All the best. – Chris, London

How do we publish so much every week? Two words: Lem Satterfield. Two more words: Anson Wainwright.

Part of me would like to see Froch retire on a high note, either the Groves rematch victory or a final mega-bout in Las Vegas, but another part of me – the part that is a big fan of The Cobra – wants to see him stick around until he’s 40 or 41 and fight a mix of established names and up-and-comers. Yeah, I know Froch will probably lose one or two out of five or six fights, but I also have no doubt that the Nottingham badass will make for entertaining and dramatic events every time he steps into the ring.

I agree that DeGale has the style to trouble and potentially beat Froch. It probably would play out like a more entertaining version of the Dirrell fight (and for the record I thought the American won that bout by a couple points). However, Froch, the aggressor and hometown fighter, got the benefit of the doubt on two of the official scorecards. I could see that happening against DeGale.

I think if Froch decides to continue fighting, he’ll drop his IBF belt and face Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in Las Vegas or take on Mikkel Kessler in a big rubbermatch somewhere in Europe. A recent article published in The Daily Mail claims that talks for Froch-Chavez are back on and things are looking up for the intriguing match to be made. I certainly hope so. I want to see that fight.

Promoter Eddie Hearn says if it happens he would look to match DeGale against the next highest contender for the vacant IBF strap and then match Froch and DeGale if both win their fights. I’m fine with Froch-DeGale, but I’d rather see Froch take on GGG if he beats Junior.

 

SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER
Hello Mr. Fischer,

How are you? Hope all’s been well for you this week so far and you are as excited for this Saturday’s Main Event and undercard as most others are.

As this article has stated already (https://www.ringtv.com/news/360087-gennady-golovkin-the-making-of-a-los-angeles-boxing-attraction), this fight was as hot as it could get when it was announced and that it would taking place here in California (my home state, awesome). I bought 2 tickets for this fight to see it live on the 2nd day they were available and they were almost sold out by the time I got my hands on them. Not many people necessarily know Rubio (aside from when he fought and lost to Chavez, Jr.) but that hasn’t stopped it from being promoted or spread like most others, especially when Golovkin’s still looking for that name opponent like Cotto or Canelo.

I’m looking forward to this (the undercard, in my opinion, also helps to build and keep the event strong, with seeing the return of Edwin Rodriguez and Donaire – Walters) and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if this fight goes the distance. If it took Golovkin 8 Rounds to stop Curtis Stevens, who knows? If Jhonny Gonzalez taught us anything when he knocked out Abner Mares in 1 is that you can’t count out a Mexican veteran with a big punch. Here’s to a great and possibly memorable Saturday Night. How do you think the fight will possibly play out in the end?

Here’s a mythical match up before I go: Meldrick Taylor (Pre – Chavez) vs. Pernell Whitaker (140). Good Chance it may have been asked before, but that could’ve been before I started reading your weekly mailbags.

It was awesome to have actually made it into your Mailbag last week and I thank you for the consideration and honor. I almost fell outta my chair when I read it and thought, “wait… why does this sound familiar?” Truly awesome stuff, thank you again. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make it into your mailbag again in the future. For now, please take care, be well, and here’s to Saturday. – ÒéÁÒâ│´¢ö, Los Angeles, California

I’m glad you got a thrill from reading your mailbag entry. You’ll probably get more of a thrill from being at the “Mexican Style” card tomorrow evening. I think the co-featured bouts ensure that the 9,000-plus fans in attendance will be treated to a special night.

I think the Whitaker-Taylor mythical matchup has been proposed before, but it’s probably been awhile. I think Whitaker win a close unanimous decision. It wouldn’t be a walk in the park for Whitaker because Taylor is one of the few fighters who had quicker hands than the slick southpaw, plus the Philly warrior had the ability to put together five- and six-punch combinations. Taylor’s speed, aggression and greater activity would have enabled him to compete and win rounds, but I think Whitaker would’ve taken control over the second half of the fight with his superior jab, punch accuracy, lateral movement and angles.

I wouldn’t be shocked if tomorrow’s main event went the distance, either. Rubio’s a big middleweight who can jab and move well, plus he’s got the power to earn GGG’s respect. Stevens earned a little bit of respect with his blend of speed and power. Golovkin didn’t go for the kill after the second-round knockdown and he backed off a couple times when Stevens flared up off the ropes in the middle rounds.

However, GGG’s intelligent pressure, body punching prowess and ring-cutting ability has a way of sapping the power, stamina, and eventually the will from everyone he fights. I think he’ll get the knockout against Rubio.

WHY DO FIGHTERS RISE IN WEIGHT?

Hey Dougie!
Just two quick questions:
Why is it normal for fighters to rise in weight as they get older, or to gradually have a harder time making a certain weight class? I mean, the human body pretty much stops growing in the early 20’s. And it’s not like they stop training hard. They just start eating more hamburgers or what? 🙂

Mikkel Kessler has stated that he wants at least one more fight before retiring (and the largest Danish telecommunications company entered a sponsorship agreement with him to film a documentary on him leading up to this fight). He has said he is only interested in championship fights. Who do you think he will end up fighting, and how do you think it will pan out? Peace! – Kasper from Denmark

If Froch can’t work things out with Chavez, I think a third fight with Kessler is possible. I can’t think of a better way for The Viking Warrior to exit boxing than a rubbermatch victory over the UK star.

Other fighters I’d like to see Kessler take on include, Groves, DeGale, Golovkin, and Lucian Bute (if Freddie Roach can get the Romanian a few victories).

Fighters rise in weight as they get older for the same reason everybody puts on more pounds in their 30s and 40s, their metabolism slows down with age. The metabolisms of dedicated boxers don’t slow down nearly as much as your average office worker (or boxing writer) because of their greater athletic activity, but fighters still often have the need to put on weight later in their careers because so many strain their bodies to make unnaturally light weights during their amateur years and during the early part of their pro careers.

EMANUEL AUGUSTUS

Hi Doug,
I just read about Emanuel Augustus getting shot. I am a longtime boxing fan, and Emanuel Augusts/Burton was always one of my favorites when he was active. I live in Canada, so it was hard to see many of his fights other than on US cable shows that were re-broadcast after the fact up here. He was way, way better than his record, and I think he lost a number of close fights simply because he was always cast as the B-side. His fight against Mickey Ward in the early 2000s was just awesome. I don’t know if he’s going to make it, but hearing the news of the shooting gave me pause for reflection. It would be great if you had any colorful stories or anecdotes about him (in or out of the ring) that you could pass along in the mailbag. – Vinny, Edmonton, Canada

I don’t have any colorful anecdotes about Augustus but I did see him fight live a few times, including his bout against Mayweather in Detroit in 2000. He was definitely better than his record indicated. He fought a lot of titleholders, contenders and prospects, as well as 24 unbeaten fighters (and was robbed against more than a few).

His fight with Ward was THE RING’s Fight of The Year for 2001. His split decision loss to Courtney Burton in their first fight should be considered the Robbery of the 2000s.

August could fight, whether he was boxing a straight-forward orthodox style or doing his “Drunken Master” routine.

[springboard type=”video” id=”1061145″ player=”ring003″ width=”648″ height=”511″ ]

He advanced from journeyman to gatekeeper to fringe contender by the mid-2000s, and the only thing that prevented him from ascending to contender status was his lack of punching power.

I tell you what – that young and aggressive version of Mayweather that fought Augustus was lucky that the wily journeyman couldn’t punch harder because the Chicago native gave him problems with his head movement, activity and body work – especially in the middle rounds of their entertaining scrap.

It would have been interesting to see how Augustus, who was represented by Lou DiBella late in his career, would have fared if he had a good manager and promoter moving his career from day one. He probably wouldn’t have fought 78 times, but he definitely would have retired with a winning record and likely would have received at least one title shot.

All we can do now is pray for him.

 

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

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