Dougie’s Monday mailbag
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2015 GETS OFF WITH A BANG
First things first, Happy New Years to you and your family! So the beginning of this year has had more exciting news than all of 2014 put together. I would love to hear your thoughts on the subjects:
1.What do you make of Andre Ward signing with Jay Z, and who would you like to see him against for his comeback fight? I would like 2 see him vs either George Groves or James DeGale or the winner of that fight.
2.Now that the Richard Schaefer/Al Haymon/Oscar De La Hoya legal dispute is over, do you see the Cold War being over or do you see it getting colder? I mean, how is ODLH gonna match up the fighters he kept against the best when they are still being advised by Al? I have a feeling that the fighters Oscar kept will run their contracts out fighting tune ups, ala Leo Santa Cruz. So the only benefit I see out of the settlement is if there was money involved, GBP could’ve gotten to start up fresh.
3. I know you refuse to talk about the subject but this past Friday was really exciting for us that have hope for the super ultra mega fight to happen and even if it happens or not I’m sure that Cotto/Canelo is not being finalized until Pacquiao and Mayweather make a decision.
If Oscar could make these fights happen with the fighters he kept, who do you see winning?
Amir Khan vs Tim Bradley Jr.
Leo Santa Cruz vs Nonito Donaire
Lucas Mathyssee vs Ruslan Provodnikov
I hope Oscar can make some of these fights happen, I know he would like to. Keep up the good work! – Agustin, Mexico
It goes without saying that De La Hoya will try to match the Haymon talent that he currently promotes with fighters that will make for the biggest bouts. That’s the promoter’s job. Ultimately, it’s up to the Haymon-advised fighters to decide if they want to accept the challenges presented to them. I think Khan, Santa Cruz and Matthysse are all proud fighters, so I don’t expect them to turn down the matchups that fans demand. Onto your Golden Boy Promotions/Haymon vs. Top Rank matchups:
Amir Khan vs Tim Bradley Jr. – Khan by close decision
Leo Santa Cruz vs Nonito Donaire – Donaire by close, maybe controversial decision
Lucas Matthysse vs Ruslan Provodnikov – Matthysse by decision or late stoppage in a brutal, bloody Fight-of-the-Year candidate
Onto your three questions/thoughts:
1) I’m happy that Ward signed with Roc Nation and put his Goossen Promotions lawsuit behind him, but I don’t have any strong feeling about the development and I probably won’t until the super middleweight champ has been matched with his first comeback opponent. I’d LOVE to see Ward face someone like Groves or DeGale in his first fight back, but there’s no way he will take on a legit top-10 contender right away. Ward has ring rust to knock off, so we can expect a lower-level fighter for the first fight back.
2) I think one Cold War (the one between GBP and Top Rank) is nearing its end, while another one (the one between GBP and the Haymon/Schaefer/Mayweather alliance) may be in its developmental stage. Only time will tell. In the meantime, I think it was probably for the best that GBP part ways with most of the Haymon talent that it has been carrying for the last five or six years. There’s no point in “promoting” fighters that the company has no say-so with in terms of who they fight, when they fight, how often they fight and how they are developed. A good example is Gary Russell Jr. He fought on around 15-20 GBP cards but he was never signed to the company, and GBP’s matchmakers were never allowed to move and develop him the way they would have if he actually was promoted by the company. So Russell, a proud Haymon client, pretty much fought the same level of competition for three or four years and never developed beyond the talented prospect that he was. And as a result, he wasn’t ready for his first shot at a world title (despite the fact that he fought a guy – Vasyl Lomachenko – who only had two pro bouts). I think the Haymon talent that remained with GBP (Khan, Santa Cruz, Matthysse) are the guys who are going to be willing to challenge themselves when the opportunity is presented to them. At least I hope so, because there are some fun matchups that can take place if that trio is willing to fight the top dogs of other promotional companies: such as Khan vs. Kell Brook, Santa Cruz vs. Rigo or Frampton or Quigg, Matthysse vs. Provo or Terence Crawford.
ROC NATION’S POTENTIAL, HAYMON’S NBC DEAL
How you doing? It’s been a very good start to the year even though no big cards have actually happened yet. I must admit I was skeptical of what Jay Z’s incursion to the sport meant. I’ve seen many rappers and celebrities try to “save” boxing before and nothing really does happen. With the signing of Steve Kim’s personal favorite, Andre Ward, and the way they handled their first card last Friday, I must say I’m impressed. Results are what count and what Jay Z is actually doing is try to promote a card. Bringing in a talented boxer (even if he’s as boring as he is) like Ward in to his stable is a good sign. Also absorbing Gary Shaw Promotions with his employees tells you how serious and smart this man actually is.
Jay Z has always been linked to success, and I hope he can actually bring this to the sport. I loved the telecast presentation and everything was showed. It felt fresh and big time, even if it didn’t feature any bigtime fighters.
As for the rest of the things I’m hearing, I have decided to be a little more positive with the Al Haymon-NBC deal because I know that if that goes right it may actually bring the sport back to the mainstream audience which I do think is very good for boxing. I hope he does want to mix his fighters with other promoters and not begin what I would call the World War II of boxing: Roc Nation/Top Rank/GBP vs Haymon Boxing.
I’m really excited by this weekend’s heavyweight fight. I do really hope Deontay Wilder wins and brings the much-needed attention the heavyweight division needs from the casual fans. I think his personality, plus his size and looks can appeal to fans that left the sport when the heavyweight division failed to produce an American champion.
Pacquiao-Mayweather negotiations sound as advanced as ever. Even though many have been negative about this, I do think that the fight needs to happen for the sake of the sport. I don’t remember the last time a so-called pound for pound #1 fighter had the opportunity to face the #2 and didn’t do so. Tell me if I’m wrong but these are the last times I remember 1 and 2 fighting:
De La Hoya-Trinidad
De La Hoya-Mosley
Do you remember a couple that didn’t fight at the time that they were #1 and #2 and had the opportunity to do so? Hope this weekend provides the explosive punches only a heavyweight fight can produce! – Juan Valverde, Tijuana
I don’t see how Stiverne-Wilder won’t be explosive given the style, mentality and talent of the two heavyweights.
I can’t think of any instance when the Nos. 1 and 2 P4P-rated fighters didn’t get it on, but then again it’s not a situation that has happened often given that pound-for-pound lists didn’t come into vogue until the mid-1990s. Prior to the ’90s, the best fought the best. It was a given. The sport of boxing was just as strong as the business of boxing, and what was good for the sport was good for the business. The only time the best failed to get it on in the ring was when racism reared its ugly head. However, from the 1960s through the 1980s, the best fighters on the planet fought each other regardless of their race, nationality or promotional/managerial backing.
I’m glad to see that you’re taking a hopeful attitude into the New Year. Maybe we’re witnessing the beginning of a new Golden Age in the sport. It all depends upon the willingness of the fighters to challenge themselves and the willingness of the sport’s power brokers to work together.
Regarding the debut of Roc Nation’s “Throne Boxing” show on Fox Sports 1, I wasn’t nearly as impressed or entertained as you were, but I have to admit that I was channel flipping to ESPN2 and Showtime during the broadcast. I’ll watch an uninterrupted DVR of the show when I have some time tomorrow and see if I’m more into it. “Throne Boxing” aside, it definitely looks like Roc Nation is serious about their boxing venture. The first indication for me was the hiring of former Golden Boy Promotions COO David Itskowitch (who had worked with DiBella Entertainment for years before coming out west). Then absorbing Gary Shaw Productions (stable and staff) was another step in the right direction. It’s not enough to sign boxing talent. A real promoter needs an experienced boxing operations director, matchmakers, and people to handle the grass roots/nuts-and-bolts aspects of putting on a live show. Shaw and his people can help Roc Nation do this. Of course, signing an elite talent doesn’t hurt. LOL. And Ward certainly qualifies as an “elite talent.” Dre is a real champ who is still in his athletic prime. Can he be a star? I don’t know. That’s up to him and Roc Nation. It depends on how often and who he fights this year and next. I wish them (Ward and RN) nothing but luck.
Regarding Haymon’s NBC deal, there’s supposed to be a press conference at the NBC Studios building in NYC for the official announcement. So hopefully, Haymon and NBC’s reps are able to shed more light on the new boxing series. If Haymon brings some of his top talent to NBC Sports Net and NBC – and matches them in good fights – the series can be very successful and it could be good for the sport. If it’s just the Haymon “B-team” fighting journeymen every other week, well, then who really gives a s__t?
There’s no doubt that Wilder has the fighting style and personality to be the first heavyweight American sports fans pay attention to in a long time, but he’s got to beat Stiverne to prove he’s legit, and let’s face it: Haymon’s great at getting top U.S. talent to sign the dotted line, he’s not so good at developing that talent. Stiverne is going to be the first opponent Wilder ISN’T expected to walk through. That’s saying something. And that’s a tall order for the 6-foot-7 Alabama native (who happens to have chop sticks for legs). I have a feeling all the Haymon haters and Wilder doubters are going to be yelling “TIMBER!” on Saturday, but I’ll be happy for The Bronze Bomber if he scores once again and gets his hands on the green belt.
FROCH AND WARD
Froch vs Chavez
Froch vs Ward rematch
Which fight is better, more interesting and deserved?
Froch vs Chavez in Vegas with Groves and Degale fighting the 2 Dirells on the undercard would definitely be ppv worthy. – Pete Sussex, UK
That would indeed be a badass pay-per-view event.
Froch-Chavez Jr. is the better, more interesting fight in my opinion. Their styles/mentalities should mesh to make for a competitive and entertaining scrap. Does Junior deserver a shot at Froch’s IBF title? Hell no, but The Cobra wants to fight the Mexican star (like every other standout from 160-175 pounds) and who’s to say that he doesn’t deserve a big fight in the U.S.? Not me.
Does Froch deserve another shot at Ward, the real super middleweight champ? Yes he does, given his impressive run since their first bout. But there are so many questions involved with that potential return bout: Given his recent inactivity, when will Ward be ready to face somebody of Froch’s level? Where would the fight take place – the U.S. or the UK? Does anybody really want to see the damn rematch?
S.O.G. AND A.B.
What’s up Dougie?
Great to see Andre Ward sign with Jigga and the Roc Nation. Hopefully he shows the same acumen in the cutthroat world of boxing promotion as he has in the music business. I think Adrian Broner is seriously in need of d__khead rehab because he’s getting way too high off sucking his own c__k. To reject 40 million, if that’s even true, when you’re struggling against Emmanuel Taylor, Paulie Malignaggi, and getting pummeled by Chino. He’s gonna need to show some drastic improvements against some better opposition before thinking about Pac-May money. But I’m inclined to think he’s probably full of s__t and Roc Nation is better off without the low-class antics of The Problem.
But as far as Andre Ward is concerned, does signing with RocNation mean his current litigation battles with the Goossens over, and he can finally fight? Does it also mean HBO and RocNation might also have something in the works. It would be nice to have some of the other promotional companies (Al Haymon, Top Rank, Golden Boy, who seems to have humbled himself and seems far more agreeable to working with other promotional companies post-Schaefer) relinquish some of the grip they have on the fight game to allow for a more competitive structure in the future. It seems like Democrats and Republicans trying to get HBO and Showtime/Arum and Haymon to work together. What advice would you give Jay Z? Do you think Andre Ward made a good decision? Love to hear your thoughts. – Adam, Hayward, CA
I know Ward’s signing with Roc Nation was a good decision for the short term because it squashed his legal beef with Goossen Promotions, put money in his pocket and cleared the way for him to fight again, but only time will tell if it was a good decision in terms of the rest of his career.
Me give Jay-Z advice? LOL. Yeah, I’m sure he’d be all ears. Anyway, I’d make it short and sweet: Don’t fall in love with your fighters, and be willing to work with as many people and companies in the industry as possible.
Does Roc Nation and HBO have something in the works? I would imagine they will as soon as Ward has a fight date set.
Regarding Broner snubbing Roc Nation’s reported $40-million/five-year-deal offer, I gotta agree with you – Jay-Z probably dodged a bullet. For starters, who the hell can Broner fight that will make for events big enough to justify getting paid that much? He’s not on Mayweather’s radar and his adviser is not exactly on good terms with Pacquiao’s bossman, Bob Arum. The only “big-name” fighters in the Haymon stable that Broner can fight are Danny Garcia and Marcos Maidana, and I think both guys would pound the s__t out of him. Like you noted, he’s just good enough to beat a fringe contender like Emmanuel Taylor. I would pick Khan, Matthysse, Crawford, Provodnikov and Chris Algieri to beat Broner.
DOUGIE’S 2014 MAILBAG GEMS
Happy New Year D!
I am looking forward to another year of the mailbag, but I think you have your work cut out for you in 2015 to come up with comments that will best some of your 2014 gems. I’ve included just a few of them below:
May 16, 2014:
Do you think Larry Holmes ever looked at Richie Giachetti and thought to himself “Gee, my trainer’s a fat f__k; I guess I’ll stop doing my road work and load up on the pasta like he does”?
July 11, 2014:
Thomas Hearns vs Mayweather Jr – Oh come on, man, do you even have to ask?
Aug. 22, 2014:
Oh get a grip and stop acting like a little bitch, Andy.
So yeah, Brook-Thurman is a toss-up in my mind. That’s my opinion and you can kiss my Mulatto ass if you don’t like it. (While you’re at it you can kiss Thurman’s half-breed ass too, punk!)
Aug. 25, 2014:
Maybe HUFFS (“Hurry Up and F_cking Fight Syndrome”) is to blame for Andy’s overreaction to a simple and respectful fight opinion, or maybe it was just due to SALBS (Sorry Ass Little Bitch Syndrome, an affliction I’d only seen among Floyd Mayweather fans until Andy’s email for Friday’s mailbag).
All the best to you and yours. – Andy, Chula Vista, CA
Thanks Chula Vista Andy (I’ll call you that so as not to get you mixed up with Bitch-Ass Andy). I’d forgotten about that hyper-sensitive little bitch. If I ever do a regular podcast, I’d want nutcakes like him to call in from time to time, just to spice s__t up.
Don’t count out the mailbag in 2015. The rise of Roc Nation, the moves of Haymon, the various industry beefs, and the potential for #TheNeverendingStory to finally come to an end will no doubt bring the boxing knuckleheads out in force. And that will hopefully lead to a few mailbag gems.
Hi Dougie,I know you said you’re not much for boxing biopics, but I just wanted to let Ryan from Ipswich know that a big f__koff shiny $20 mil charade called “Hands of Stone” is all wrapped up for Christmas this year. It’s got more star power than a Cinco de Mayo fight card (Usher plays Leonard, even). I’m going to sit there and take it for $12 no matter how silly the fight scenes are (you’d think they would base them on the actual, video-documented scraps once in a while). So Dougie, do you have any favorite non-bio flicks featuring some boxing? I sure like On The Waterfront. Keep up the excellent writing. – BK from Seattle
Thanks BK. I’m not expecting great stuff from the Duran movie either, but if it puts some money in the Panamanian legend’s pocket I’ll be more than happy to support it.
By the way, I’m not totally against all boxing biopics. Raging Bull and The Hurricane are two of my favorite boxing films. My favorite non-bio boxing flicks include Rocky, The Champ, The Boxer, The Harder They Fall, and Requiem for a Heavyweight.
Nailed it Dougie!!Enough of this nonsense. Don’t understand why fans would rather debate on forums about pay packets than pressuring promoters to do their bloody jobs right!! Answer every post about this with that from now on and they will get it, eventually. 4 years too late. End off. – Kev, Edinburgh
#TheNeverendingStory (thank you for not mentioning the names of the two spoiled superstars who should have got it on in 2010).
TOP FIVE DREAM FIGHTS OF 2015
What would your top 5 dream fights for this year be and how would you see them going?
Mine would be:
Kovalev vs Stevenson – I’d have to go Kovalev by KO
Klitschko vs Fury – I think Klitschko would win by KO but the build-up alone would be entertaining
Quigg vs Frampton – I think Frampton would get a mid round KO
Khan vs Brook – I don’t know how big it would be for the US but in the UK it would be a huge 50-50 grudge match
GGG vs Mayweather – I know there’s no chance but it would silence a lot of people, Mayweather included
Take it easy Doug. – Aaron, UK
My top five dream fights for 2015 are:
1) Roman Gonzalez-Juan Estrada II
2) Miguel Cotto-Canelo Alvarez
3) Andre Ward-Gennady Golovkin
4) Adonis Stevenson-Sergey Kovalev
5) Wladimir Kltischko vs. the Stiverne-Wilder winner
[Note that three out of five of my matchups are for all the marbles in those original boxing divisions – flyweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight – and THE RING championship is on the line in all five.]
My thoughts on your top five:
Kovalev vs Stevenson – I’d have to go Kovalev by KO (I have to agree with your; Krusher will probably get a tougher challenger from Jean Pascal)
Klitschko vs Fury – I think Klitschko would win by KO but the build-up alone would be entertaining (I’d would travel to Europe for this one)
Quigg vs Frampton – I think Frampton would get a mid-round KO (I disagree. The Quiggster will shock the European boxing world – I’d say the entire “boxing world” but nobody in the U.S. really cares)
Khan vs Brook – I don’t know how big it would be for the US but in the UK it would be a huge 50-50 grudge match (I agree it’s an even matchup given Khan’s recent form and the X-factor of Brook’s recent leg injury, but I favor “Special K” by decision)
GGG vs Mayweather – I know there’s no chance but it would silence a lot of people, Mayweather included (Dude, Floyd would be silenced permanently. You don’t wanna see that.)
Video by Bill Emes
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer