Dougie’s Friday mailbag
BATTLING THROUGH ADVERSITY
Happy New Year Dougie!!
Let’s hope for a great year of boxing in 2015.
1) I’ve just been watching BoxNation and up popped Danny “the guy who beat Tyson” Williams vs Mark Potter when he beat him with a dislocated shoulder. Got me thinking. What is the best comeback you’ve seen from a boxer with a severe injury like a dislocated shoulder, broken hand, etc.?
2) I’m loving how the WBC have mandated that Adonis Stevenson vs (whoever he’s fighting next) has to fight the Kovalev-Pascal winner. Could we see a “undisputed champion” for the first time in a long while. Just hope the other sanctioning bodies play along too.
3) I recon with Andre Ward’s inactivity (which doesn’t look like it’s going to end soon) we’re looking at another “What could’ve been?” for the history books, which is a shame. The guy’s a great boxer and could be making $$$ vs the likes of Hopkins, Stevenson, Chavez Jr., and a Froch rematch.
Take care, looking forward to Bermane Stiverne-Deontay Wilder! – Greg, Nottingham
Me too. Next Saturday’s heavyweight showdown will be fun while it lasts (which shouldn’t be too long).
I’ll respond to your questions in order:
1) Three fights immediately popped into my head when I read this question, and two were entertaining heavyweight scraps. (By the way, I was the one boxing writer on either side of The Pond who picked Williams to beat Tyson, and I did so based on the mettle he exhibited in that gutsy victory over Potter.)
The first bout took place almost 30 years ago, when 1984 Olympic gold medalist Tyrell Biggs (remember him?) outboxed the late Jeff Sims, an athletic and scrappy badass from Florida, over 10 rounds with a broken collar bone. The injury, which was to the right collar bone, took place in Round 2, which meant Biggs had to box most of the next eight rounds using only his left (while in a lot of pain – I suffered a broken collar bone as a kid and I can only imagine how awful it felt every time Sims nailed him to the head or body). Check out these highlights:
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The second heavyweight bout is late former WBO heavyweight titleholder Tommy Morrison’s ninth-round stoppage of Joe Hipp in 1992. “The Duke,” one of my favorite players in the deep heavyweight mix of the ’90s, fought with a broken jaw and broken hand. Both heavyweights dished out and swallowed a lot of punishment. I remember watching this fight live and being on my feet from the time Morrison scored a fifth-round knockdown until the dramatic end of the fight. Check out these highlights (and keep in mind that this slugfest, like the Biggs-Sims fight, was on network television – more exposure + gutsy efforts in thrilling/dramatic fights = the reason boxing was more popular in the ’80s and early ’90s than it is now):
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The third fight is a 2006 middleweight title bout between Arthur Abraham, the IBF beltholder at the time, and then-undefeated puncher Edison Miranda. King Arthur’s jaw got seriously jacked in Round 4. It was nasty. Somehow he fought through the pain (even took a few flush bombs to the broken jaw) and won a close decision. The fight took place in Germany, so Abraham got his share of assistance from the referee, ringside docs, timekeepers and judges, but even so, I still can’t believe he went the distance with his jaw in that condition. Check out these highlights:
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2) Don’t hold your breath on the WBC “forcing” a unification of all of the 175-pound titles. Stevenson is an Al Haymon client, and after striking out in two mandatory title bouts (Vasyl Lomachenko-Gary Russell and Kell Brook-Shawn Porter) it seems like Honest Al made it a point not to allow his top fighters to take on mandatory challengers unless he controlled both sides (hence Peter Quillin dumping the WBO middleweight title and the step-aside fees paid to keep the WBC’s No. 1 junior welterweight Viktor Postol away from 140-pound champ Danny Garcia). Don’t expect the WBC to ever force Garcia to fight Postal. They know who the money fighter is. (What do you expect from the “green belt” organization? When’s the last time Floyd Mayweather Jr. made a mandatory title defense?)
3) Stop trying to get Steve Kim’s hopes up, Ward’s not done yet. Sheesh. The super middleweight champ is 30, and he only missed one year. Dude, he’s not Fernando Vargas. It’s not like he’s been in several grueling ring wars and he’s eating, drinking and partying like there’s no tomorrow. As far as I know, Ward’s only bad habit is suing Goossen Promotions. The man still trains every day and he lives a clean life. He could probably fight on the world-class level into his 40s if he wanted to. But I don’t think he’ll need to do that. My guess is that we’ll see Ward back in the ring before the end of 2015.
DANNY GARCIA & SHORT MEMORIES
I agree that Garcia took last year off. You talk about people with short memories. He went through Kendall Holt when he was viewed as a baby, Erik Morales gave him some trouble, the same Morales who almost KO’d Marcos Maidana, Garcia nearly decapitated Morales in the rematch, he DEMANDED Lucas Matthyse when Matthyse was the next coming of a young Mike Tyson after Matthyse’ biggest win. Not after Matthyse looked bad, after Matthyse literally looked like a machine. Matthyse almost killed Lamont Petterson and Garcia stood up in the crowd and immediately demanded that dude. Now he is a b__ch???????????? Get the f__k out of here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! – JCB
This is definitely a “What-have-You-Done-For-Me-Lately” sport. A fighter can be the toast of the boxing world one year, and then the butt of everyone’s joke or the focus of everyone’s scorn in the very next year. (Just ask Andre Ward, Adonis Stevenson and Mikey Garcia.)
A lot of fighters who were hot in 2013 cooled off in 2014 for various reasons, including two of my favorites, Keith Thurman and Leo Santa Cruz. But hardcore heads seem to have more hate for Garcia for having an underwhelming year than they have for the other fighters who sort of went through the motions in 2014. I thought about it and I think it boils down to five factors:
1) He’s managed by Al Haymon.
2) His dad is a loudmouth.
3) He got what many viewed as a gift decision against Mauricio Herrera (and has repeatedly dismissed the notion of a rematch).
4) He fought an undersized, overmatched opponent (Salka) above 147 pounds, annihilated the poor bastard AND got paid very well for the gross mismatch.
5) More than a few female fans think the young man is sexy.
THE REMATCHES THAT NEVER WERE
Long term reader, first time writer. First of all thanks for making my working life bearable! And second here’s a few questions which are hopefully a bit different for you!
1. I was wondering what your thoughts would be on the rematches that never were: Who you would tip to win? How this would change history and the impact on the sport? How it would change the fighters’ impact on the sport?
Ali vs Frazier 4
Duran vs Hearns 2
Hagler vs Leonard 2
Julio Cesar Chavez vs Meldrick Taylor 2
Tyson vs Douglas 2
Tyson vs Holyfield 3
2. Your pick of a past fighters life who would make a great film? Personally I would love to see Ray Robinson’s or Roberto Duran’s life turned into a Hollywood blockbuster.
3. Last but not least, as a recent convert to graphic novels, I was wondering your picks for the top 5 to read?
Cheers Doug, keep up the good work and keep shutting down the Mayweather myth! Greatest ever!?! Pffftttt Two Words “Ray” “Robinson!”
P.S. If you ever need a correspondent/tea boy/Skivvy – I’m willing to jump the pond and come work for The Ring 😉 Minimum wage and a green card would be more than enough! You have my email address! All the best. – Ryan, Ipswich, UK
We’re in good hands with our current UK correspondents, Gareth A Davies, Tom Gray, Elliot Worsell and Harry Pratt. I’ll let you know if we’re ever in need of a tea boy or “Skivvy.” (On second thought, maybe I’ll keep that on the low-low.)
Thanks for the kind words about the mailbag and for finally writing in. You posed some interesting questions, which I will respond to in order:
1) OK, in the parenthesis that follows each match I’ll tell you who I think would’ve won, how it would have changed history/impact the sport and how it would’ve impacted the fighters’ careers/legacies:
Ali vs Frazier 4 (Ali by late stoppage; he had a little more left following their epic rubber match, Smokin’ Joe was a shell after the “Thrilla In Manila.” A fourth fight would have wasted both fighters and hastened their exit from boxing. Neither heavyweight would post a win after No. 4; however, it wouldn’t impact their legacies, which were secure prior to bout No. 3.)
Duran vs Hearns 2 (The Hitman by late TKO or UD; I think Duran would have been more motivated and better prepared for a rematch, but Hearns has his number stylistically speaking. Duran would last longer, maybe have some moments, but I don’t see him finding an answer for Hearns’ reach, speed, technique and power. Both fighters would still enjoy late career success, both would still stick around too long, and both would still be first-ballot hall of famers.)
Hagler vs Leonard 2 (Leonard by an even-more controversial decision. Sugar Ray was the fresher fighter in the late 1980s. After knocking off 3¾ years of rust with the first bout – and any fight he took prior to the rematch – I think Leonard would enter the rematch even more sure of his ability, but that extra confidence would probably bite him in the ass against a warrior as proud as Hagler. I think Leonard would plant his feet more against a faster-starting ex-champ and he’d get hurt in the early or middle rounds. But Leonard is a great fighter and great fighters battle through adversity. It would probably be a better fight, but Leonard would still be the faster, busier and flashier of the two middleweights and would edge out his rival on the scorecards.
Chavez vs Meldrick Taylor 2 (these guys did fight a rematch. Chavez stopped Taylor in eight.)
Tyson vs Douglas 2 (Tyson stops Douglas in the middle rounds, in part because he trains with more focus and fire, and in part because Douglas slobs out between matches. It would have been a brief vindication for Tyson and his legion of fans because I think his mandatory challenger, Evander Holyfield would have taken his heart in a brutal, grueling battle of attrition had they fought in the early ’90s. Training for a Douglas rematch and then training for another huge event may have kept Tyson in camp and away from the kind of trouble that eventually landed him in jail for rape. The impact would have been good for boxing in the early to mid-90s, because it would have likely given the sport three or four mega-fights in a short period of time – Douglas-Tyson II, Tyson-Holyfield I, Holyfield-Tyson II and maybe a rubber match with the Real Deal or Douglas – but I think it would have burned Iron Mike out by ’96 or ’97. Tyson’s career wouldn’t have dragged on for as long as it did, but I think his legacy would’ve been stronger.
Tyson vs Holyfield 3 (Holyfield would have pummeled a total shell of the fighter that was once the Baddest Man on the Planet by the time a rubber match was arranged. Tyson was essentially done after their first fight.)
2) Believe it or not, I’m not really into boxing biopics, but if I had to guess which fighters lives would make for compelling movie viewing I’d go with all the wild ones who lived fast and died before their time (sometimes tragically, sometimes shamefully and mysteriously) – Stanly Ketchel, Sonny Liston, Oscar Bonavena, Salvador Sanchez, Arturo Gatti and Edwin Valero come to mind.
3) I’ll give you the titles of the four graphic novels that I have currently stashed in the nightstand next to my bed:
“Get Jiro” – co-written by renowned chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain and Joel Rose, and beautifully illustrated by Langdon Foss. Published by DC/Vertigo.
“Marvel Masterworks: The Silver Surfer” – a collection of The Silver Surfer Nos. 1-6, originally published in 1967-69, written by Stan Lee and masterfully illustrated by John Buscema. Published by Marvel.
“Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery – The Deluxe Edition” – collecting the solo mini-series of the obscure character from Grant Morrison’s wonderfully absurd late ’80s/early ’90s run on the Doom Patrol. Written by Morrison, drawn by Morrison’s best frequent collaborator, Frank Quitely. Published by DC/Vertigo.
“The New American Splendor Anthology” – collecting American Splendor stories and cartoons written by Harvey Pekar from the 1970s, ’80s and early ’90s. Written by Pekar and drawn by several noted artists and cartoonists, including R. Crumb, Drew Friedman and Frank Stack.
Check ’em out if you have the time and enjoy!
THE IMPORTANCE OF CINCO DE MAYO
Do you feel that this whole “who gets to fight on Cinco de Mayo” thing is becoming too big of a deal?
I just saw Brandon Rios say he thinks anyone should be allowed to fight that weekend. I agree and feel that the date doesn’t determine how many buys the fight gets. If it is a fight between two elite guys I could care less if it was a Wednesday night in the middle of February.
Pacquiao-Mayweather would be perfectly successful if it happens regardless of when it takes place. Stay well and keep up the great work. Thanks. – Robert from Ashton, MD
WHAT MAKES A FIGHTER A HARDCORE FAVORITE?
I know you’ve spent some rounds in the ring (more than can be said for most fans) so I’m always surprised that you don’t enjoy Rigondeaux’s style of fighting (which I think is phenomenal when his opponents have the balls to actually try). But we all have our preferences, so it made me think about my own reasons for liking or disliking a fighter, and Rigondeaux fits my preferences pretty well. Just wondering if you’ve ever analyzed your favorite/least favorite fighters and determined what it is that makes you really want to see a fighter vs. really want to see a fighter get knocked out cold. I listed some of my examples, but feel free to cut my list if this makes a mailbag–I’m more interested in your criteria.
1. Fight near their natural weight: Rigondeaux, Froch, Mayweather, Pacquiao
2. Seek out unnecessary challenges: Inoue, Lomachenko, Rigondeaux, Hopkins
3. Display an unnecessary amount of courage in the ring: Segura, Amagasa, Algieri, Bradley, Rosado, Sergio, Lebedev, Cunningham, Mansour
4. Display ability that is clearly on another level: Rigondeaux, Lomachenko, Mikey Garcia, Crawford, Pacquiao, Mayweather, GGG, Ward.
5. Actively try to hurt their opponents badly: Inoue, Chocolatito, Segura, Rigondeaux (he breaks faces and damages livers), Walters, Provodnikov, Matthysse, Rios, Maidana, Thurman, Alvarez, Kirkland, GGG, Lemiuex, Froch, Kovalev, Stevenson, Beterbiev, Lebedev, Mansour, Povetkin, Wlad
1. Ducking/Cherrypicking: LSC, Broner, Danny Garcia, Mayweather, Khan, Cotto, Quillin, Stevenson
2. Quitting: Alvarado, Cotto, Ortiz, Alexander, Andre Dirrell, Dawson, Malik Scott
3. Fighting with zero gameplan or ring intelligence/going through the motions: Alexander, Dawson, Donaire, Agbeko, Scott, Jonathan Banks (As an amateur fighter, it pisses me off to see fighters getting paid to go into sparring partner mode, especially when that’s how they start the fight.)
Rigondeaux vs. Chocolatito at 118
Rigondeaux vs Inoue at 122 (they pretty much weigh the same…)
Rigondeaux vs. LSC at 122
Rigondeax vs. Frampton at 122
Rigondeaux vs. Walters at 126
Rigondeaux vs. Mares at 126
Rigondeaux vs. Lomachenko at 126
Mike Alvarado vs Jermain Taylor at High Noon (10 Paces)
Here’s to an exciting 2015! – Nate, PA
I don’t hate watching Guillermo Rigondeaux fight, he’s just not among my favorite boxers. His style is not my cup of tea. I don’t know what else to say about the Cuban and I don’t understand why his fans have a hard time accepting that other boxing fans aren’t enamored with his talent, technique, skill or personality.
But hey, just because I’m not celebrating his every move like members of the “Cult of Rigo,” doesn’t mean I wouldn’t watch him fight the likes of Carl Frampton, Scott Quigg or any of the featherweight standouts. Rigo just has to be matched with an aggressive, world-class opponent for me to give a damn.
Some of his fans got bent out of shape because I wasn’t that excited or impressed with his supposedly thrilling victory over Hisashi Amagasa when I responded to a reader’s query about the fight in a recent mailbag. They missed the point of my response. I was basically saying that Rigo did what he should have done with an unrated fighter. In fact, he shouldn’t have been dropped by a fighter of Amagasa’s limited ability.
My reasons for liking or disliking a fighter are pretty simple. I like fighters who give 100 percent in the ring (take a look at the YouTube highlights of Biggs-Sims, Morrison-Hipp and Abraham-Miranda at the top of this mailbag column if you need an example). I don’t like fighters who coast or try to run out the clock when they have a lead.
I like fighters who challenge themselves. I don’t like fighters who avoid challenges by hiding behind business/politics/managers/promoters/advisers/networks/belts.
I like fighters who are honest and earnest. It doesn’t matter to me if they are polite gentlemen or if they are crass s__t talkers as long as they back their words up in the ring. I don’t like fighters who talk s__t (especially on social media) but don’t back it up with action.
I like fighters who give a damn about the fans and want to appease the people who pay money to see them live or to watch them fight live on TV. I don’t like fighters who totally ignore the fans.
I like fighters who fight. I’m not against fighters who box, but there has to be aggression involved in their craft. I’m not into a purely defensive boxer or a technical “neutralizer.” Give me Mike McCallum vs. James Toney I or Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Marco Antonio Barrera. I’m not interested in Andre Ward vs. Allan Green or Wladimir Klitschko vs. David Haye or Erislandy Lara vs. Ishe Smith and Austin Trout.
My favorite active fighters ply their trade with a sense of purpose: Carl Froch, Gennady Golovkin, Roman Gonzalez, Juan Manuel Marquez, Miguel Cotto, Canelo Alvarez, Sergey Kovalev, Nicholas Walters, Lucas Matthysse, Takashi Uchiyama, Naoya Inoue, and Keith Thurman.
Your Rigo matchups:
Rigondeaux vs. Chocolatito at 118 – I don’t know if Gonzalez, who’s never fought above flyweight, can fight effectively at bantamweight, let alone against the junior featherweight champ. I think Chocolatito is a more complete fighter but I gotta go with Rigo unless he’s unable to get down to 118 pounds without draining himself.
Rigondeaux vs Inoue at 122 (they pretty much weigh the same…) – Oh come on, man, the kid just debuted at 115 pounds. Really? Inoue by knockout. What do you think about that? LOL.
Rigondeaux vs. LSC at 122 – Rigo by wide UD. Santa Cruz is tailor made for the Cuban counterpuncher.
Rigondeax vs. Frampton at 122 – Rigo by competitive UD.
Rigondeaux vs. Walters at 126 – The Axe Man by KO. And I’m not joking around with this one.
Rigondeaux vs. Mares at 126 – Rigo by close UD, maybe by MD (if the fight takes place in L.A. or Vegas).
Rigondeaux vs. Lomachenko at 126 – Loma by close but fair UD.
Mike Alvarado vs Jermain Taylor at High Noon (10 Paces) – gotta go with the Arkansas Hillbilly over the Colorado Thug. Country folk have better aim.
Lets have your opinion on the A side B side matter. When I’m thinking back to all the legendary mega fights, there was no B.S. about A and B – that’s why it was mega fight!!
When you have an A / B situation – that’s more like Floyd fighting some upcoming type like Maidana – and that’s certainly not a mega fight.
Let me say to the Floyds out there – 60/40 is acceptable, cause he does make more money. But anything more than that, no f# way. I’m a PAC fan and am not gonna contribute if it’s something like 70/30 – ill just watch for free the next morning. So will ALOT of other PAC fans, and that’s a shame isn’t it?
I’m not a boxing historian, so maybe you can give us the list of previous mega fights the last 50 years or so, and something about the deals they fought on. – Jonas
PACQUIAO: THE INSPIRATION
Hey Doug, I’ve been reading your mailbags for a couple of years now and the most memorable of it was your thoughts on the opinion of Paulie Malignaggi on Pacman using PEDs. That was the first time I knew of the struggle made by Pacquaio having lack of resources due to poverty. There’s no wonder why the Pacman is so blessed of being successful as a boxer and a hero in our country. He’s an inspiration to most Filipinos, especially with the aspiring boxers here in our country.
Regarding the Mayweather ducking Pacman issue, that is already five years now. Is it possible that the reason why Floyd won’t fight the Pacman is because of the style of fighting the 2 guys have? My opinion for this one is that maybe Floyd still hasn’t figured out how to handle the athleticism the Pacman had and is just waiting for the time that Manny will lose speed to a point that he can gain advantage on it. And when will it happen? Last year Pacman proved to the boxing world that he still has his exceptional talent.
Asian professional boxing is getting interesting nowadays especially with the great talents making a statement to the world boxing community. Thanks to boxers in the lower divisions, they gave hope to the declining popularity of the boxing world. The one who beat Narvaez was just too powerful for the Argentine to handle.
Hope you read this. God bless you! – King from the Philippines
Thanks for the blessing, King.
Regarding my thoughts on Malignaggi’s opinions on Pacquiao, I’m glad I could shed some insight on your country’s hero.
Regarding Asian boxing and the little badasses it’s been producing in recent years, I’m glad they’re getting more attention from fans in other parts of the world these days. Inoue will have a lot of eyes on him this year.
Regarding Mayweather-Pacman, I can only give you this beautiful song:
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Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer