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Dougie’s Monday mailbag

27
Oct

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WEEKEND REVIEW RAP

‘Sup Doug.

I’ll just summarize the weekend in a few rhymes:

Kastidis is shot, stiff like a robot, got caught with a great shot, fight on… he should not.

Luke Campbell is a star, he’ll go really far, p4p talent, was in control like a Tsar.

Unlucky Stuart Hall, he gave it his all, Caballero was lucky, it should have been a draw.

Martin Murray, GGG, what a fight that’ll be, toughest test on paper, but will it go past Round 3?

Will he tear him limb to limb? Is he the destined p4p king, he may hurt Andre Ward, but not as much as Steve Kim!!

Everyone loves Gennady, like everybody loves Raymon, how do I explain in laymen’s, if I make the mailbag, I’d like to thank Al Haymon.

Mythical matchups:

Calzaghe, Froch vs Hagler

Duran vs Armstrong

PS. I’m really bored, and I’m procrastinating from doing an assignment for college, don’t judge me. – Savage One, London

No judgment here, Savage, I’ve been there. I often turned to boxing mags when I wanted to put off college studies. If the internet existed back then and I was able to email my favorite fight scribes, I probably would have.

I don’t mean to get preachy, but I also used boxing to foster the necessary dedication to stick to my studies, especially in grad school when I actually began training (at Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn). I posted a photo of Carmen Basilio that I clipped from an issue of RING magazine to my dorm bedroom wall at Columbia. It was an upward shot of Basilio returning to his corning during (or maybe immediately after) his 1958 rematch with Sugar Ray Robinson. His right eye is completely closed and grotesquely bruised. He lost a 15-round split decision in THE RING’s Fight of the Year, but he fought with one eye from the fourth round on. The pic didn’t need a caption. Its meaning was direct as Basilio’s aggression: keep your nose to the grindstone.

Carmen-Basilio-one-eye

Anyway, excellent rhymes (well, the Stuey Hall one needs a little work). That’s a great way to recap the weekend. I’m going to suggest that RING editor Michael Rosenthal do a video version of his Weekend Review where he busts out the Biggest Winners and Losers in rhyming format. Ya never know, he might give my buddy R.A. The Rugged Man a run for his money.

It was very hard for me to watch Michael Katsidis get knocked out in the manner he did against Tommy Coyle. Like countless other hardcore fans, I enjoyed watching him go to war for many years, and thanks to my job and where I’m based, I got to know him a little bit and hang out with him away from the ring and arenas. He’s a total prince, if you didn’t already know. But his boxing career is done. It was painfully evident from the opening bell that his legs are gone. He can barely keep his balance as he marches forward, let alone take monster left hooks to his noggin. The only good thing about that fight was that the referee (Marcus McDonnell) did not allow him to continue once he got to his shaky feet.

Campbell is a sharp boxer. He uses his height and reach to box, defend and strike as well as anyone in the game. He’s a mature prospect with a stellar amateur background (Olympic champ and all), so we can expect him to be moved pretty fast. The proposed showdown with Coyle should be fun.

Stuart Hall was indeed unlucky. I thought he gave Randy Caballero all the young standout could handle during their hotly contested 12 rounder. And then the English judge (Steve Gray) gives him the big middle finger with that doo-doo scorecard of 118-110. I have no problem with Caballero getting the nod, but he shouldn’t have been more than two or three points ahead.

Let me put it this way, if you took the same fight – but made Hall a Latino and Caballero an Englishman – and put it at the L.A. Sports Arena or StubHub Center in Carson, California, there’s no doubt in my mind who the Latino fans would’ve thought won it, “El Stuey!”

GGGreat lyrics for your Golovkin rhyme. Thank Al Haymon indeed.

Your mythical matchups:

Calzaghe, Froch vs Hagler – this is gonna get me in trouble, but hey, styles make fights and size sometimes counts, even against great fighters; I like Calzaghe by close, maybe controversial decision. Hagler outguts Froch in an all-time distance battle classic.

Duran vs Armstrong – Again, styles make fights. Hammerin’ Hank was a human windmill but that relentless, stay-in-the-pocket style would have played to Duran’s many strengths and vastly underrated ring generalship. Duran by decision – in great fights – at lightweight, welterweight and any other weight they wanted to contest it at.

LUKE CAMPBELL, GGG

What’s up dougie,
Just watched Luke Campbell’s stoppage of Daniel Brizuela this past Saturday and have to say I was impressed Campbell, who showed everything – good poise, excellent concentration, counter punching skills and impressive defensive responsibilities. My only criticism is that he should stick his jab more especially for such a big lightweight. Still, it was a step up in class and good victory against a decent opponent, which he needed.

Tommy Coyle stopped the remains of “The Great” Michael katsidis which I could not watch because 1) Katsidis should not be anywhere near a boxing ring for his own safety, and 2) he is one of my favourite fighters and I couldn’t watch him get beat by somebody I don’t even rate. I think Campbell will handily beat Coyle who simply hasn’t the skills or power to trouble him. After the Coyle fight where do you see Campbell going and how far in your opinion can he go? – David

I think Campbell can go all the way to a major world title, provided he can take a decent punch and he’s matched right over the next 18-to-24 months. If he can’t take a good shot or if he’s rushed into dangerous fights before he’s ready, he could go the way of David Price.

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However, Campbell seems to have a level of poise and pacing that the 2008 Olympic bronze medalists and British heavyweight hopeful sadly lacked. I like the 27-year-old southpaw’s timing, technique and punch selection, and I think he’s about as complete as a prospect with less than 10 pro bouts can be.

We still don’t know about his intangibles at the pro level, though. I don’t know if Coyle is the man to let us know what’s ticking Campbell’s chest but I wouldn’t completely dismiss him as it seems most British fans are doing. Yeah, I know Coyle’s KO if Katsidis is meaningless, and I know he went life and death with Brizuela earlier this year. But, it should be noted that unlike Campbell, he’s fought past eight rounds. In fact, Coyle knows that he can get up from multiple knockdowns and fight hard into the 12th round thanks to his slugfest with Brizuela (which probably softened the Argentine up for Campbell). Coyle’s stoppage of Katsidis was hard for us fans of the Aussie-Greek warrior to watch, but it a huge boost to his confidence; confidence he’ll carry into his showdown with Campbell.

I CAN’T WATCH!

Hey Dougie,

Lemme ask you a question that has been bothering me since Hasim Rahman knocked out Lennox Lewis in 2001 and traumatized me so much that I stopped watching live telecasts of my favourite boxers such as Oscar, RJJ and now The Alien. Do you ever get nervous before and during fights involving your fave boxers? – Gbenga X-adebija, Lagos, Nigeria

Absolutely. It’s been that way my entire life. My first boxing idol was Muhammad Ali, who was still heavyweight champ during my childhood in the 1970s. I can vividly recall the buzz around Ali’s 1977 title defense against hard-punching Earnie Shavers (an Ohio native who had some support in his home state, including folks at Ohio State University where my parents were grad students). My father’s and his friends’ talk of Shaver’s punching prowess and Ali’s advancing age, made me believe I could witness my hero get knocked out. I watched the first part of the fight with my dad (it was televised live on NBC) but after Ali appeared to get rocked a few times by big right hands from Shavers, I got up and left the room. I think I went to bed not knowing the outcome of the fight and may have said a few prayers for Ali before I got to sleep. When Dad told me Ali won a decision in the morning I was very relieved (although I acted like I knew Ali would win – and it felt good to hear him say “You were right” – LOL).

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Anyway, when Sugar Ray Leonard became my main man, I was happy to miss the closed circuit broadcast of his 1981 showdown with Thomas Hearns (another monstrous puncher I was familiar with thanks to his popularity in the Michigan/Ohio region of the Midwest). I was terrified for Ray going into that fight. I was so unsettled by that matchup I didn’t even want to talk about it with friends of mine who followed boxing (and there weren’t many in my hometown of Springfield, Missouri, at that time).

Of course, I watched the fight as soon as could once I learned my guy won, but if Leonard hadn’t somehow pulled off that epic 14th-round stoppage, if he had been KTFO by “the Hitman,” I probably never would have watched a replay or recording of the fight.

I’ve never seen Ali’s losses to Leon Spinks and Larry Holmes. I’ve never seen Leonard’s losses to Terry Norris and Hector Camacho, or Roberto Duran’s losses to Pat Lawlor and William Joppy, either.

I am definitely nervous about Bernard Hopkins’ showdown with Sergey Kovalev, even though he’s the hardest 49 year old in the world and an all-time great in my opinion. But I’ll definitely be watching on Nov. 8. Covering boxing is my job these days. I ain’t a kid anymore and my boxing heroes are long gone.

FOUR QUESTIONS

Hey Doug,

Hope you’re doing well and looking forward to some of the interesting upcoming fights. Anyway, I’d like to get your thoughts on a few things:

1) What do you think about the 2015 unified champions tournament that the WBC, WBA, and IBF are planning on executing? Do you think most of the current champs and contenders will play nice and participate? It’s hard for me to imagine Floyd Mayweather participating, but at the same time will he really be okay retiring without a title? I can see the big names not wanting to be forced into fights, but in the past there was always some world belt to hold.

2) What are your thoughts on Kovalev’s street fight strategy – or “no” strategy approach to Hopkins? In some ways it makes sense to me, because the rigidity of a game plan against a strategic mastermind is a recipe for disaster. My only concern is that Kovalev burns too much time trying to figure out what to do and falls into Bernard’s traps going into deep water. If it were me, I’d probably focus him on a volume jab and heavy body work early, looking for an opening up top.

3) Mayweather has implied fighting on CBS. Do you think this is his strategy for selecting another weak opponent for May, while still being able to compete with Alvarez-Cotto on that date? I have a tough time believing Amir Khan will take the bout for a third of what he’d make versus Kell Brook. But maybe I’m wrong. That leaves Floyd with Danny Garcia or Keith Thurman (unless Devon Alexander beats Khan).

4) Will Keith Thurman actually fight Leonard Bundu in December? I just can’t see this being a smart move for Thurman. He still has two levels to jump up. Bundu is more on par with his last opponent than a step up. He needs a Guerrero, Berto, Judah, or Porter-level opponent. Then he can move up to a Maidana, Matthysse, or Garcia-level guy. Do you think this rumored fight will really happen?

Anyway, great job on the mailbag and looking forward to your thoughts. – Vincent, New York

Thanks Vincent. I’ll respond to your questions in order:

1) I think unified champions are good for the sport, so I support the WBC, WBA and IBF in coming together. However, like you stated, most of the big names of the sport who hold major titles are not going to want to be forced to face fellow beltholders if they don’t want to or if they don’t believe such unification bouts are worth the risk in terms of compensation/fame. The one major star who I think is probably all for the unifications is heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko, who already holds every major belt except for the WBC title. Wladdy’s gone on record stating that he’d like to hold all of the belts now that his Big Bro has retired. The other stars of the sport who are around Klitschko’s age – Mayweather, Cotto, Pacquiao and Froch – are going to want to end their hall-of-fame careers on their terms, and I doubt they think that unifying titles will enhance their legacies. Hey, there’s a reason Hopkins is considered “Old School.” He wants to be recognized as the one and ONLY champion in the divisions he campaigns in. Beyond the Immortal B-Hop, the titleholders who are going to WANT to unify belts are the dangerous/avoided dudes who are currently in their primes – such as Roman Gonzalez, Guillermo Rigondeaux and Golovkin. The only member of that terrific trio that I believe will actually unify all of the titles in his division is “Chocolatito,” and that’s because he’s a flyweight and his fellow beltholders are just as eager as he is to make some good money and establish a lasting legacy. Also, I doubt any of the Haymon-managed champs and beltholders – Adonis Stevenson, Danny Garcia, Lamont Peterson, Leo Santa Cruz – attempt to add any more titles to the ones they already hold unless the boss man says it’s OK.

2) I don’t believe for a second that Kovalev isn’t carrying any boxing strategy into his 175-pound unification showdown with Hopkins. He doesn’t want to give anything away or over-think things to the media, but I know that his trainer John David Jackson – who knows Hopkins better than any other living training not named Naazim Richardson – has given the Russian puncher a Plan A, B, C and D for Nov. 8. I agree that a “street-fight” mentality is better than trying to play chess with a grandmaster but I think Kovalev will also bring some technique and tactics to the fight.

3) I’m not going to believe or concern myself with anything related to Mayweather and his May date until an opponent is formally announced. And I’m not going to get all worked up about who it might be until it is evident. That little jerk-off has hijacked the sport long enough. I’m absolutely fed up with his bulls__t and I can’t believe fans still give a rat’s ass about a Pacquiao showdown or any other matchup for that matter. Having said that (sorry for the mini-rant), if Mayweather fought on CBS I think it would be a bold move and potentially good for the sport. I say “potentially” because if he delivers some bargain-basement WWF-style dookie like the Victor Ortiz DQ or the Maidana rematch, I don’t think he’s going to do much for the sport’s image or make any new fans. As for Khan, let’s talk about him after his fight with Alexander.

4) I think we will definitely see Thurman face Bundu, who is 39 years old and a complete unknown in the U.S. but is a solid opponent, and way more serviceable than Judah or Berto in my opinion. Bundu is unbeaten in 33 bout and has defeated some decent opposition during his nearly three-year reign as European champ, including a split nod over previously undefeated British standout Frankie Gavin (in the Englishman’s home region) in his last bout. Bottom line for Thurman is that he needs to fight. Injuries (and probably some politics) have kept him out of the ring since his third-round stoppage of Julio Diaz in April. He needs to get busy and Bundu should give him some quality rounds and allow him to hold onto that WBA interim title (if he wins, which he should).

HOPKINS-KOVALEV

Hello Doug,

I’m a huge fan of your work, particularly the mailbags. Thank you for helping keep the great sport of boxing alive and exciting.

I’m writing about the upcoming Hopkins-Kovalev fight, because truth be told I’m mystified by people’s reactions to this bout (including the reactions of media members). I see an exciting, technically sound true light heavyweight in his prime – one who packs one-hitter-quitter power in both hands – matched against a 50-year-old blown-up middleweight (albeit one of the greatest MWs of all time). Hence, I see Hopkins getting KO’d brutally within six rounds.

What am I missing? And no, I don’t think the Trinidad or Pavlik fights mean anything here – one is a welterweight, and the other is a middleweight, and both have technical flaws worse than those of Kovalev. A better analogy than Hopkins-Trinidad for this fight would be Marciano-Moore, to my mind.

I’m excited about this fight, in a sense, but in all honesty I’m seriously concerned about Hopkins’ health (and seriously wondering whether other folks are watching the same sport I am). Keep up the great work!!! – Ty from Ohio

I’m nervous for B-Hop as well, but I’m comforted by his uncanny ability to neutralize his opponents’ strengths while seizing control of the fight tempo, as well as his track record against aggressive punchers.

There’s also the fact that Hopkins is a great fighter. Not just a great middleweight, but an all-time great – period. The fact that a slight majority of the media is picking Hopkins to beat Kovalev speaks to the respect that he’s earned among boxing writers, some of whom thought he was just an above-average beltholder going nowhere 15 years ago.

That’s insane. The man is almost 50, but 12 out of 22 writers think he’ll find a way to defuse the bombs in Kovalev’s hands. Hopkins has proved us media folks wrong so many times in the past that many are afraid to pick against him.

I thought Hopkins was an elite boxer back when he was fighting the likes of Antwun Echols, but I agree with you in that he’s not facing a wild slugger like “Kid Dynamite” or a one-dimensional puncher like Trinidad or Pavlik. I’m not predicting a knockout loss but I think Kovalev, who has shown that he knows how to break down mobile boxers, will win the fight. I think Krusher will put Nard into survival mode by the late rounds of the fight and earn a competitive decision, however a late stoppage would not shock me (though it would sadden me).

You might be right. The fight could look like Marciano-Moore. However, even if Hopkins shocks the world and pulls off a thrilling Moore-Durelle style KO victory, I just hope he doesn’t take too much punishment in doing so.

THE DEMOLISHER’S MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN

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What’s going on Dougie?

Halloween is just about upon us but you want to know something? Who needs to watch scary movies when you can just tune in to HBO Boxing and watch Triple G brutalize everyone of his victims and leave each one of those poor bastards looking like he just got repeatedly bashed in by a big f___in’ meat-tenderizer.

Marco Antonio Rubio was just the latest overmatched f___er to step up into Golovkin’s Midnight Meat Train only to get swiftly executed. Like we didn’t see that one coming. Neither did Rubio it seemed. Once he got nailed he had all the confidence of some poor f___er getting led to the guillotine. But hey, it doesn’t matter if it’s gatekeepers like Rubio or top-notch guys like Danny Geale. Just more food for The Demolisher.

So who’s next? Simple. Whoever has the guts to step aboard The Train. That’s all there is to it.

The real question is when The Demolisher takes his Meat Train north to 168/175. He’s obviously worlds above the entire middleweight division. And I don’t know if Canelo will want to go near him. It’s one thing to fight fancy-asses like Floyd Mayweather and Eris Lara. But The Demolisher is pure brute-force personified. And maybe I’m wrong here but I can’t picture HBO wanting to feed their new-found golden goose to The G-Man. And not even the sickest bastard wants to see worn-out, undersized Miguel Cotto get thrown into the meat-wagon.

So that means the only direction for the train is north. Not that you’ll catch me pounding the war-drums for Golovkin vs Andre Ward. Andre may be the “Son of God” but he can’t even keep his bones together. Any drum beating for GGG-Adonis Stevenson will probably be a waste of energy as well. As much as I’ll love to see that one I get the impression that “Superman’ will just f__k around for a year or so prior to weaseling his way out the fight and making punk faces behind Al Haymon.

But that’s OK. There’s still Bone-Krusher Kovalev and Carl Froch. I can’t picture any of those two hard-asses wimping out no matter who or what you throw them against. Providing, in Froch’s case, that he actually sticks around for a few more fights. Of course there’s always less-than-elite guys like Bryan Vera, Edwin Rodriguez and George Groves. Hey, it’s often the dudes with the less to lose that often will step up right?

I guess the other question is if there’s any possibility that Triple G will squeeze one more fight in before the year is up? Probably too late for that I guess. That leaves us with that other meat-grinding machine from the east, mainly Kovalev and his upcoming fight with Bernard Hopkins. Trust me when I say this. It all ends for B-Hop right there. Know why? Because unlike B-Hop’s last few opponents, Kovalev won’t hesitate to punch that old p___k right in the face and all over the body. And besides, B-Hop’s entire charade has to end now anyways. He’s already near that age where his sagging crotch will be dragging across the canvas and does he really think that fans want to see that!? His fights are unwatchable enough as it is.

Going back to horror-flicks, there actually is a Clive Barker gore-flick from 2008 called “The Midnight Meat Train”.

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It’s about some thrill-seeking camera-guy who finds himself tracking down and butting heads with this big, f___in’, hammer-wielding serial-butcher who strongly resembled Vitali Klitchko. Apparently, this Klitchko lookalike was sending trainloads of his mangled victims to these flesh-eating vampire-freaks. More gore than all the Friday The 13th movies all clumped together yet more original. And come to think of it Vitali kind of looks like a roided-up Forrest Gump as well. Wlad’s kind of Gumpy-looking too, don’t you think? Anyhow, I got a train to catch. Just kidding! Later guy! – Triple T

That line about Hopkins’ sagging baggage dragging across the canvas creates a mental image far more disturbing than the gore on display in The Midnight Meat Train or any splatter flick.

You’re a sick puppy Triple T, but I’ll give you credit for one thing: You’ve been on the GGG bandwagon before most folks.

After he “demolished” Rubio last Saturday a lot of us sitting ringside wondered out loud if HBO and K2 Promotions would consider giving Golovkin the December date that Canelo pulled out of – such a move would be quite a story – but it was announced that night that GGG would return in February in Monte Carlo and Martin Murray was confirmed as his opponent just this past weekend.

Some whiny ass fans have complained about Golovkin facing Murray, but I think the British contender is solid and I’m fine with that fight considering that it will only be the first of four planned GGG appearances in 2015. As long as the opponents get better/bigger as the year moves on, I’m gonna stay on the GGG Bandwagon (or should I call it the Golovkin Meat Train, as gay as that sounds?).

You know what’s awesome and hilarious about this year? It seems like most of the boxing industry has joined us on this Golovkin Meat Train. In fact, more than a few sports writers from major publications and boss boxing scribes are touting Golovkin as the “next big thing,” a pound-for-pound elite boxer and even a future great.

Now you know I love me some GGG. I love him so much I don’t care how gay that sounds. I might have a full-on man crush on the grinning Kazakh KO machine. I think he’s entertaining and very good for the sport. However, I’m not ready to go crazy and rate him among the pound-for-pound elite before he’s actually cleaned out one division, and I’m certainly not ready to compare him with the all-time middleweight greats like Carlos Monzon or Marvelous Marvin Hagler. I agree that his profile is rapidly rising in the U.S., but he ain’t there yet. He’s not yet a star. He’s not yet known to all casual fans.

Still, I’m loving all of the GGG hype, mostly because I know that it pisses off fans of boxers that I think are over-hyped to various degrees, such as Mayweather, Ward and Rigondeaux. It bugs the s__t out of me when people go on about Ward’s and Rigo’s pound-for-pound status, or compare Mayweather with the all-time greats. So I’m glad that the same lame-ass criteria folks use to prop up some boxers is now being applied to Golovkin, who by the way, is the runaway winner so far in the current RingTV.com Poll asking fans “Who is the best fighter in the world pound for pound?”

GGG is killin’ it with 43.4% of almost 10,000 votes (compared to 26.5% for Pacquiao, 16% for Mayweather, 3.5% for Rigo and 2.5 % for Ward).

And it ain’t just fans. Like I said, the “boss scribes” are on the Meat Train, too. ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael and Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports! may have developed bigger man crushes on GGG than Yours Truly.

Rafael, who already has Golovkin in his pound-for-pound top 10 (at No. 7), described him as “boxing’s most devastating knockout artist and biggest rising star” in his post-fight article on the Rubio bout. He also made it a point to mention that Golovkin’s 12 WBA title defenses ties the number of title defenses former undisputed champ Hagler made and puts him two defenses away from tying the late, great Monzon.

Iole took the GGG adulation a step further in a column he posted last Monday entitled “Gennady Golovkin is making a bid for recognition as boxing’s all-around best.”

In it, Iole stated that “Golovkin is not only good, but great. I think he deserves to be talked about as one of the best middleweights of his era. I think he should be considered in the pound-for-pound standings.

“I’d put Golovkin third on my pound-for-pound list, behind Mayweather and Ward, but I couldn’t argue with those who would put him higher or those who feel he hasn’t proven enough to earn such lofty status. Pound-for-pound lists are mythical and mean nothing, just one person’s opinion, and are just for conversation more than anything else.

“But if you’re among those who think it’s outrageous to put Golovkin high up on this list, imagine the trouble his pressure would give Mayweather. Marcos Maidana gave Mayweather a lot of problems with his pressure, which is nothing like the kind of pressure that Golovkin brings.

“I’m not suggesting that Mayweather should fight Golovkin or should be ridiculed if he declines to do so if such a bout is offered, because he is a welterweight and Golovkin is a middleweight. That said, it’s not outrageous to suggest that they fight, because Mayweather does hold a 154-pound belt and Golovkin has repeatedly said he could make 154 pounds easily. If you’re a 154-pound champion, then you should be ready, willing and able to fight anyone who can make the 154-pound limit.”

LOL. I f___in’ love it. Mayweather’s biggest supporter in the media is basically saying that Golovkin is not only on Money’s level in terms of elite boxing ability but that he would get in that ass if they ever fought.

Can you imagine what boxing writers are going to be writing about Golovkin by the end of 2015? If Golvokin vs. Ward, Froch or the Hopkins-Kovalev winner is made next year, I might have to get you a media credential and bring you on staff as a special contributor.

 

 

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

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