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Dougie’s Monday mailbag

22
Dec

NEW YEAR’S WISH LIST

Hello Dougie,

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas! Here is my “Dear Santa Wish List” for this upcoming year of Boxing.
1. Someone get rid of Al Haymon
2. Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao
3. Adonis Stevenson vs a top name!
4. Danny Garcia vs a top name!
5. Carl Froch vs Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
6. Cotto vs Canelo
7. GGG vs winner of Cotto vs Canelo
8. Deontay Wilder becoming an American Heavyweight Champ!
9. Andre Ward to stop wasting his Prime!
10. Amir Khan to stop begging for a Mayweather fight! He’s worst than a guy on the corner asking for change.

What do you think Dougie? I hope this makes the blog! Happy Holidays again! – Phillip



Happy Holidays to you too, Phillip. I’ll go through your wish list in order:

1. LOL. I guess Al Haymon is the most hated man in boxing going into 2015. We’ll see if he can do right by his huge roster of fighters and appease the networks and fans. If he can’t do that, you’ll get your wish (though it won’t happen in 2015). Ya see, people can’t push others out of boxing, the sport has to do that. The one law in boxing is survival of the fittest. Either one has what it takes or he doesn’t. I’ve only covered the sport for 15 years but so many entrepreneurs claiming that they would “change the game” have come and gone I can’t even remember them all. But here’s a few off the top of my head: Mike Tinley and America Presents, Tony Brown (AKA “The Tycoon,” or as Don King called him “the black Bill Gates”) and his CMX Sports & Entertainment, TV producers Mark Burnett and Jeff Wald with The Contenders series and promotional company, Hip-Hop producers Damon Dash and Chris Gotti with their brief association with Lou DiBella, and even my boyhood idol Ray Leonard with SRL Boxing. These folks entered the sport with millions to spend, sometimes with the backing of billionaires and exclusive network deals or guaranteed TV dates, but boxing chewed ’em up and spat ’em out. I gotta feeling 50 Cent’s SMS Promotions and Mike Tyson’s Iron Mike Productions will go the way of the aforementioned upstarts, though I wish both companies nothing but success. And we’ll see what happens with Roc Nation’s boxing aspirations. I hope all the promoters, managers and agents in boxing have a good 2015 because that would mean a healthier sport (provided they can work together when need be).
2. I’m totally burned out on Mayweather-Pacquiao talk, but I hope the superfight is made because it would command the attention of the world’s media and finally put an end to the ridiculous debate and speculation from the buttwipe fans of both future hall of famers.
3. If Stevenson wants to salvage any respect from hardcore fans, he needs to instruct Haymon to get a deal done with the Kovalev-Pascal winner.
4. If Garcia wants to salvage any respect from hardcore fans, he needs to instruct Haymon to get a deal done with either Pacquiao, Lamont Peterson,
5. I want to see Froch-Chavez Jr., too, but I got a feeling Bernard Hopkins is going to get the Mexican star first. Maybe Froch can fight the winner.
6. Cotto-Canelo has GOT to happen. Cotto or Canelo vs. anyone else would be such a letdown.
7. Keep dreaming. If Cotto and Canelo get it on in May, they’re gonna fight a rematch in September and call it a year. If they don’t fight until September, they’re not gonna risk their noggins fighting GGG in the first half of the year.
8. Wilder’s got a puncher’s chance against Bermane Stiverne, which is another way of saying he’s got to get LUCKY!
9. I predict Ward will return to the ring by the end of 2015 – with the help of Roc Nation or your favorite boxing personality Mr. Haymon.
10. LOL. I’m envisioning Khan as a panhandler wearing those $50,000 24-carat gold trimmed boxing shorts. Hey, the squeaky door gets the oil.

GIANTWEIGHTS, MYTHICAL MATCHUPS

Merry Christmas to you and your family Doug,

I’ve written you several times and you always take the time to respond. I really appreciate your opinions and the time you take to answer our questions.

What is your opinion of the size of heavyweights these days? I feel as if they’re too big. The 250+ pound heavies are slow and only throw one punch at a time; they have no endurance and are shot after six rounds. People criticized Steve Cunningham for fighting Tyson Fury at only 205 but he moved well and knocked Mr. Fury to the canvas until he was manhandled out of the ring by Fury hitting him while turning his head around. Aside from Dr. Klitchko in his recent outing, there are no heavies that can move and throw in combination (I would say yes Deontay Wilder can but I’ve never seen him past the 4th so I can’t be certain). I feel as if a Holyfield or a Tyson or a Smokin’ Joe Frazier all fighting below 215 would clean this place out. Are we going to see a resurgence of the Joe Louis 205-pound fighter or are we stuck with these slow lazy leviathans?

Also what are your thoughts on the necessity of the cruiserweight division?

Fantasy fights:

Willie Pep vs Vasyl Lomenchenko at featherweight

GGG vs Carmen Basilio at middleweight

Roman Gonzalez vs Ricardo Lopez at a catchweight of 110

DC’s Ted Grant “Wildcat” vs Marvels T’chala “Black Panther”

Thanks again, I love reading your work. God bless you and your family during this holiday season. – Sean P. Gill, Seattle

Happy Holidays, Sean. Thanks for all the kind words.

I agree that the prime versions of Frazier, Tyson and Holyfield would have tore ass through the current heavyweight division, regardless of the height and weight advantages today’s top big men would have over the former champs.

However, I’d like to point out that apart from the champ Klitschko, Fury and Wilder (who fights around 225 pounds), there aren’t than many heavyweights who are taller than 6-foot-4 or heavier than 230. There are a lot of average sized heavyweight contenders, such as Bryant Jennings, Vyacheslav Glazkov and Mike Perez. WBC titleholder Bermane Stiverne, who stands a little over 6-foot-2, fights kind of heavy (around 240-245), but he’s very fast and mobile at that weight.

I think we may eventually see more heavyweights who weigh more than 235 pounds with a lot of speed, agility and athleticism. British prospect Anthony Joshua is 6-foot-6 and a rock solid 240 pounds, but he moves around the ring very well for such a massive frame and his hands and reflexes seem very quick.

I believe there’s a need for a cruiserweight division (which has a limit of 200 pounds), and I think there are some very good matchups that can be made there involving the titleholders (Marco Huck, Yoan Hearnandez, Grigory Drozd and Denis Lebedev) and the top contenders (Ola Afolabi, Ilunga Makabu and Thabiso Mchunu).

Your fantasy fights:

Willie Pep vs Vasyl Lomenchenko at featherweight – Wow, what a mythical matchup: one of the best pro boxers of all time vs. one of the best amateur boxers ever. I gotta go with Pep via decision in a very active and competitive boxing match.

GGG vs Carmen Basilio at middleweight – I love Basilio but he’s one of the smallest middleweight champs ever, standing only 5-foot-6 and weighing only 153 pounds for his best two middleweight performances (his title bouts vs. Sugar Ray Robinson). I know Basilio would likely go the distance because he was one of the toughest fighters ever, but I don’t see doing enough damage to Golovkin to overwhelm or outpoint the bigger, stronger, technically sounder man. GGG on points in a rough, bloody battle.

Roman Gonzalez vs Ricardo Lopez at a catchweight of 110 – This would be a brilliant match between super-talented boxer-punchers. Lopez would have the edge in the boxing department because of his superior jab and sharper technique, but Chocolatito would land the harder punches and be able the manhandle the Mexican master when in close. I think Lopez, who was at his very best at 105 pounds, would lose a close, maybe split decision, probably due to being dropped or from suffering acute lacerations around his eyes.

Wildcat-vs.-Black-Panther-2DC’s Ted Grant “Wildcat” vs Marvels T’chala “Black Panther” – this is the best comic book matchup that’s ever been proposed. I like it because these guys don’t have super powers (at least their original characters didn’t; I think both taken on mystical qualities in recent decades). What makes them special is their fighting skill, combat intelligence and warrior’s heart. Wildcat, a character from the early 1940s, if I’m not mistaken was the heavyweight champ of the world (maybe undefeated in the prize ring) before he became a member of the old Justice Society of America. The Black Panther, a StanLee/Jack Kirby creation from the mid-1960s, is an African nobleman who is a master of many martial arts, including his own unique form of fighting (probably something from the fictional nation of Wakanda). Panther is the smarter, quicker, more versatile fighter of the two, but Wildcat is stronger and hit harder with his fists. If they fought a boxing match, I’d have to go with Wildcat. Panther would likely win an MMA bout. (My nerdness knows no bounds!)

TAPIA

Just watched the Johnny Tapia documentary. It got me thinking. Do you believe that in some ways real fighters are in fact born and not made? With that in mind, who in the sport today do you think is an example of the passion, the heart and the [email protected] that a fighter like Tapia showed in the ring? I have been a diehard fan of the sport for almost 30 years and I am not sure which active fighters show these traits. That passion in the ring and passion for the sport are what I believe fans like myself love. It seems lacking in the sport today. – BIGGIE, Pelham, NH

I do believe that real fighters are born, not made. And I also believe that the “passion, the heart and the balls that a fighter like Tapia showed in the ring” (as you put it) is lacking in most of today’s elite boxers and stars. Manny Pacquiao had that Tapia-like passion when he first came to the U.S. in 2001 and he carried it through his runs through the 122-, 126-, 130-pound divisions, but I believe the Filipino fury became “civilized” by the time he finally developed into a complete fighter and made his names among casual fans at junior welterweight and welterweight. He still had the talent and enough fire to nearly kill poor Ricky Hatton and beat the crap out of a faded Oscar De La Hoya and overmatched Miguel Cotto, but wasn’t the same little monster that seemed like he was willing to die in the ring.

I’ve had the honor of covering quite a few boxers that I believe are “born fighters” during my tenure on press row. Here are some of them:

Evander Holyfield (who had the most heart of any fighter I’ve ever seen live), James Toney (who was fond of bellowing “I’m a born fighter! Fighters are born not made!” during his days as the king of the Wild Card Boxing Club), Oscar De La Hoya (who was willing to fight the best despite being the cash cow of the sport), Bernard Hopkins (who was willing to challenge himself until his late 40s), Shane Mosley (who probably loves boxing more than anyone I’ve ever met), Erik Morales (still the purest warrior I’ve ever seen live), Marco Antonio Barrera (one of the proudest men to ever lace on a pair of gloves), Diego Corrales (who said he was willing to die in the ring and meant it), Floyd Mayweather Jr. (who was literally born into the sport and dedicated himself to it from day one), Fernando Vargas (who combined the best parts of Mexican fighting style and spirit with American technique and bravado), and Edwin Valero (the fiercest, most self-possessed fighter I ever witnessed in the gym or the ring, and the biggest “could have been” I ever covered).

SEASON’S BEATINGS

Hi Doug,

I wanted to put a few thoughts out there on some recent action.

I saw a fat Antonio Tarver (surprisingly) beat Johnathan Banks. After seeing banks demolish Seth Mitchell I expected more from him. I guess Mitchell was as bad as some said. The Tarver victory meant nothing as did the trash talk Antonio did after. His name may get him a higher profile fight but I see him having no chance against any of the top heavies right now (few as they are). I guess a heavyweight payday is worth the ass whuppin’ he would get in return.

I felt very bad for Mauricio Herrera who I thought beat Jose Benavides as surely as he beat Danny Garcia before that. Both decisions were robberies of the worst kind.

As for the Bradley / Chaves draw… well, Bradley (in my opinion) got gift decisions against Provodikov and Pacquiao so turnabout is fair play. Tim is taking a lot of punishment too. Clearly he is not a puncher and should stop trying to fight like one.

Can’t wait for the Deontay Wilder/Bermaine Stiverne fight next month. Should be fun while it lasts. We will learn a lot about both men in that fight. I’m not sure who wins. What do you think? I saw Wilder’s pro debut in Nashville. He’s come a long way since then but we still don’t know if he has a chin or not. I think we will find out.

Sergey Kovalev and Adonis Stevens will be one not to be missed. Stevens says he wants it (then why does he seem to be ducking?)

So many good possibilities for the coming year. Manny and Floyd? I will believe it when I see it. They should sign or stfu. I still think Floyd has some fear over losing his 0. The PPV will surely cost $100 if it happens.

It’s been a good year for our sport and it looks like next year will be more of the same. I go back with you to the old MaxBoxing days where I enjoyed the mailbags and the weekly video wrapups (we need some of that here). I am glad to have made a few mailbags this year and do hope to run into you at the fights sometime (maybe in Vegas after I retire next year).

All good Christmas wishes to you and your family and have a safe and Happy New Year. Music fan that you are please enjoy my too-cool-for-the-room ’60s Flashback Christmas card. (It doesn’t get cooler than Jimi.) Take care. – David, Nashville

Jimi-Hendrix-X-mas-cardThat is awesome. It doesn’t get any cooler than Jimi (as my fellow longhaired Halfrican brotha from anotha motha, Keith Thurman, will gladly tell you). Thanks for sharing the Hendrix Experience holiday card and the kind words, David. Definitely seek me out at any big fight in Las Vegas once you’re retired (who knows? I might be retired by then, too. LOL!). I recognize your name and appreciate all the years you’ve followed and contributed to this mailbag column.

I’m glad you think we’ve had a good year. Most fans think 2014 sucked. I thought it was OK. It ended with the right moves being made by the power brokers of the sport and I think 2015 will be on par with 2013, perhaps better.

Obviously if Mayweather-Pacquiao is made next year, 2015 will go down in boxing history. But I’m not gonna obsess on that fight, unless it’s formally announced.

Kovalev-Stevenson was the fight I was looking forward to the most going into 2014. THE RING champ let me down with his posturing this year. It seems like he’s ducking because he is. I question the man’s character and I would favor Kovalev, Hopkins and Pascal to beat him. Honestly, I wouldn’t count out Isaac Chilemba against the one-armed bandit.

I’m also looking forward to the Stiverne-Wilder fight, although I’m pretty sure the defending WBC titleholder will win by KO (“The Bronze Bomber” does not have a good chin). Still, the fight is coup for Showtime and it’s a significant matchup for obvious reasons. If Wilder wins (which is possible given his explosive speed and power), a charismatic American with an exciting style will finally hold a portion of the title. If Stiverne wins, 83-year-old hall of fame promoter Don King will be back in business (to an extent). IT will be interesting to see how either side progresses after Jan. 17.

I thought Bradley won eight rounds against Chaves. I thought Herrera won seven rounds against Benavides, but it easily could have been 8-4 for the Southern California veteran. I agree that Bradley is better served stick-and-moving and brawling in spots than loading up and going for it all the time. However, if turnabout is fair play for Bradley, the same can be said for Herrera, who I thought got a gift against Mike Dallas Jr. in 2011 (and others thought got the benefit of the doubt in his fight with Provo the same year).

Call me crazy (I’ve been called much worse) but I think Antonio “Fat Tony” Tarver could serve as a decent heavyweight gatekeeper who could probably school the likes of “Fat Andy” Ruiz; and I wouldn’t count him out against RING-rated contenders, such as Glazkov, Adamek and even Jennings.

 

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

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