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Dougie’s Friday mailbag

16
Jan

Stiverne-King-Wilder_Fukuda

STIVERNE VS. WILDER

Hey Dougie!

I’m actually getting excited about the heavyweight fight tomorrow night. I haven’t cared about that division in many, many years. I’d love to see an American finally win back a piece of the title, but I don’t believe Deontay Wilder has the experience to get it done. Bermane Stiverne definitely has the edge when it comes to ring wars… especially against better opposition. But this is boxing. And anything can happen. Wilder does possess the “one hitter quitter,” and the athleticism to pull out a victory. Either way, I don’t think the judges are going to be a factor in the outcome. I know you’ve given your opinion on the subject already, but do you have any last words or predictions?



BTW, what is the latest on Lucas Matthysse? He going to fight anyone decent this year? Also, what about the possible Danny Garcia-Lamont Peterson fight? Do you think it will happen in 2015? Take it easy. – Andy, Virginia Beach

Um, yeah, I do think Garcia-Peterson will happen this year. It was officially announced on Wednesday during the press conference for Al Haymon’s NBC boxing series (Premier Boxing Champions). It takes place on April 11, maybe at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

Matthysse is rumored to be looking at a showdown with fellow puncher/action fighter Ruslan Provodnikov. Matthysse’s promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, says he wants to make that fight. We’ll see if The Golden Promoter can get it done.

My last words on the Stiverne-Wilder matchup: Don’t blink. My last prediction: Stiverne by early or mid-rounds KO. How’s that?

I know that Wilder possesses the “one hitter quitter,” but so does Stiverne (at least as far as the Alabama native is concerned). Former heavyweight champ George Foreman says it’s Wilder’s fight to win as long as the American Hope “fights downhill” and “stays aggressive.” I’d agree with the hall of famer if Wilder’s legs were as thick as his and if Wilder could take a shot like Big George.

Anyway, it’s great to hear all the enthusiasm fans have for this heavyweight matchup. You’re not alone in wanting to see an American win a piece of the heavyweight title. I think it’s that patriotism that influenced most of the U.S. writers who took part in Lem Satterfield’s predictions poll to pick Wilder to win. It was evenly split between the 36 folks who were polled, but the way.

 

BOMBS AWAY!

Hi Doug,

There is a saying in boxing that there is nothing better than the rarest of them all: a good heavyweight fight.

Both guys can punch down walls. Both guys can hurt the other and both have the mentality to go for the knockout. Exciting stuff.

Who will win?

Like you, I think Stiverne is just the more seasoned fighter of the two and for that reason I am going with him in this fight. I think that Wilder will hurt Stiverne early and probably put him down, but in the follow up barrage, I see Stiverne putting Wilder down with one of those rights that ended Chris Arreola. From then on it will go downhill for the “Bronze Bomber” and I see him getting stopped in four rounds or less in a wild shootout that will bring the crowd to its feet.

Do you see the fight going down that way?

Here is why I think so

If you look at Wilder’s glossy record, it has been built mostly on opponent and journeyman types. The most recognizable name is probably Siarhei Liakhovich, whom he knocked out in impressive fashion in one round, but Liakhovich was coming off back-to-back stoppage defeats to Robert Helenius and Bryant Jennings and was decidedly shopworn by the time he fought Wilder. Then there was his equally impressive one round blowout of 36-1-1 Malik Scott last year which “earned” him the title shot. Scott had proven ability, but was coming off a loss (albeit via controversial stoppage) against Dereck Chisora and didn’t have wins over any contenders.

I know you’ve made the comparison between the way Wilder was build up and the young George Foreman, but, call me old fashioned, I still think George Chuvalo was better than Liakhovich or Scott.

So far, it has worked every time but I don’t like those wild, wide shots which sometimes leaves him off balance. I see plenty of counter punching opportunities for someone who can weather the storm and counter with short, compact punches down the middle. It is just that, so far, nobody has been able to do it.

Then there is the question mark hanging over his chin. He was hurt and knocked down, heavily, by journeyman Harold Sconiers back in 2010, before recovering to stop Sconiers in four rounds (Stiverne knocked same Sconiers out in one round). I guess the good news is that he showed some heart and the ability to overcome adversity. The bad news is that he is definitely not the owner of an iron jaw.

“So what, neither is Klitschko and he became one of the most dominant champions in heavyweight history,” some may say. However, Klitschko’s technique is much tighter and I don’t believe that Wilder has the same ring generalship to control the flow of the fight like Klitschko can. How can he? He has never been beyond four rounds.

Two things cannot be denied, though. He has got the size and reach and he can punch with either hand. Someone like that is always in the fight for as long as he remains on his feet.

Stiverne can punch too and I thought his stoppage of Arreola was very impressive. He also has good hand speed and surprising mobility for someone of his squat build. He has solid all round boxing skills and is more battle tested than Wilder.

After Arreola, I must admit, Stiverne’s record becomes a bit like Wilder’s. Still, Wilder hasn’t fought anyone as good as Arreola and Ray Austin was probably as good or close to as good as a faded Liakhovich or Malik Scott.

Stiverne’s only loss has come via fourth round stoppage to journeyman Demetrice King in 2007 so there has to be a slight question mark over his chin too, but he was on his feet and the stoppage was premature to me. Would you agree?

Stiverne is one of those fighters who sometimes starts slow and hangs around on the ropes with gloves held high, while feeling his opponent out and that could be a big danger for him Saturday night. If he does that, there is a good chance that Wilder will detonate one of his bombs and that he could, like Malik Scott, be knocked out before he can even get into the fight.

Stiverne will have to change it up and start faster than usual. The last thing he needs to do is let Wilder get comfortable, pot shotting him from the outside. He is at a substantial height and reach disadvantage at only 6’2″ with an 80″ reach, but he is a strong guy and legit heavyweight. He must force his way inside with his jab and punch in between the long arms of Wilder when he opens up.

Wilder just needs to what he always does and try to get Stiverne out of there before he becomes a factor. He just needs to use his jab a bit more, keep his punches tighter and open up in a more controlled fashion when he hurts his opponent to avoid getting countered.

What would your advice be to the two? Regards. – Droeks Malan, South Africa

Not that either heavyweight would want to hear anything from me, let alone boxing advice, but I’d advise Wilder to get off first and try to put Stiverne in his cover-up shell from the get-go. I’d instruct the taller, rangier man to loop shots around the Haitian’s peek-a-boo/ear-muff defense and try to land a bomb to his temple or high on the side of his head. If Wilder can disrupt Stiverne’s equilibrium he can go for the kill. He’s gotta get it done early.

I’d tell Stiverne to check Wilder’s body before checking the lanky puncher’s suspect chin in the first round. Kill the body and the head will follow – probably pretty quickly. I’d also advise Stiverne to stay off the ropes, punch in combination and to counterpunch in the center of the ring (don’t back up too much). All of which, I’m sure both guys already know.

Anyway, I agree 100 percent with your very detailed breakdown of this matchup. Damn, man, you really take this stuff seriously. LOL. I’m going to have to give your email addy to Satterfield so he can invite you to be a guest analyst in his next “Experts’ Picks” poll.

To answer one of your questions, I don’t factor in Stiverne’s KO loss to Demetrice King at all. For starters, it happened in 2007, when he was a prospect and Wilder was still an amateur. And as far as I’m concerned Stiverne proved he could take some bombs and come back with his own during the heated rounds of his rematch with Arreola.

 

COTTO, UPCOMING FIGHTS, HAYMON/NBC

Hey Dougie, long time. Hope you and your family are doing well.

I get the feeling that Miguel Cotto is going to fight the boxer formerly known as $ on May 2nd. But who knows and who cares?

I’m excited about the heavyweight scrap this weekend. Also the Gennady Golovkin-Martin Murray fight in March. Do you have any idea what caliber of fights or fighters Haymon will be putting on NBC? If you had to guess, that is.

Mythical matchups:

Henry Armstrong vs. Pernell Whitaker @135

Carlos Monzon vs. James Toney @ 160

Tony Canzoneri vs. Manny Pacquiao @135

Chavez Sr. vs. Sammy Mandell @ 135

Thanks. – Adam, California

I guess Cotto is the X-Factor in #TheNeverendingStory. Although we’ve been told Pacquiao has agreed to all terms, and that Mayweather “wants it real bad,” and we keep getting reports that the big cheeses from Showtime and HBO are meeting and trying to work things out, we still haven’t heard from Cotto in regard to the negotiations for the Canelo Alvarez showdown, which makes me think that the Boxer Formerly Known as $ might be looking at the Puerto Rican star as a consolation prize. But like you said, who cares? If boxing’s two superstars can’t work things out to face each other we owe it to ourselves and to the rest of the sport to focus on other fights and fighters – like Stiverne-Wilder and Golovkin-Murray (which takes place on Feb. 21, by the way). I’m excited about both of those matchups.

I’m also excited about the first two cards of the Haymon/NBC boxing series – the March 7 doubleheader topped by Keith Thurman vs. Robert Guerrero and Adrien Broner vs. John Molina, and the April 11 show headlined by Danny Garcia vs. Lamont Peterson. So that should answer your question about the caliber of fights and fighters Haymon will be putting on NBC – at least at the start of the series. We’ll see if The Master of Puppets maintains this level of matchup throughout the 20 shows slated for this year.

Onto your mythical matchups (which are pretty good):

Henry Armstrong vs. Pernell Whitaker @135 – Armstrong by close but unanimous decision

Carlos Monzon vs. James Toney @ 160 – Monzon by competitive but clear decision

Tony Canzoneri vs. Manny Pacquiao @135 – Canzoneri by close, perhaps majority or split decision

Chavez Sr. vs. Sammy Mandell @ 135 – Chavez by competitive decision or late TKO

TYSON, WILDER, MYTHICAL MATCHUPS

Dougie,
Funny how Iron Mike Tyson’s first title was the WBC belt, and Deontay Wilder is fighting for his first title (WBC belt).

Now, what are your thoughts on Mike Tyson (the one that won the WBC title from Trevor Berbick in 1986) vs Deontay Wilder?

Julio Cesar Chavez vs Manny Pacquiao at Super Featherweight.

Hector Camacho vs Floyd Mayweather Jr. at Super Featherweight.

And Julio Cesar Chavez vs Roberto Duran at Lightweight.

Thanks. – Yazzie

Kid Dynamite would have iced The Bronze Bomber in one round. Come on, man. Wilder was knocked back on his heels by career journeyman Nicolai Firtha, a tough dude but a guy who literally looks like he never trained a day in his life. All he was was game and aggressive. Tyson, including the young 1986 version, knew how to slip the jabs of taller, rangier fighters and close distance with shocking speed and efficiency. Once in close, he ruthlessly attacked their bodies before jacking their jaws (often with his right-to-the-body-right-uppercut pet combination). The tall, rangy dudes who gave Tyson trouble were the ones who knew how to tie him up inside. Wilder doesn’t do that.

Your other mythical matchups:

Julio Cesar Chavez vs Manny Pacquiao at Super Featherweight – Chavez by late TKO

Hector Camacho vs Floyd Mayweather Jr. at Super Featherweight – Camacho by close but unanimous decision

Chavez vs Roberto Duran at Lightweight – Duran by decision or late TKO

 

PROMOTERS, MANAGERS, HAYMON & THE ALI ACT

Dougie!

I’m confused. From what I read, “The Ghost” versus Thurman is going to be Haymon’s first show. If it’s true, that is very encouraging news from a fan’s perspective. But, it’s hard for me to know if this will be good for boxing ultimately. My first question is, do you think HBO and Showtime are worried about the potential for quality boxing events being hosted on NBC/NBC Sports?

Secondly, what does the Muhammad Ali Act really declare as far as the role of promoters and managers? It seems like both Arum and Haymon choose the opponents and control virtually every aspect of their fighters’ careers. Where does the separation of roles begin legally?

Thanks and keep up the great work! – Jalaal, Minneapolis

In America, promoters are separate from managers. Promoters arrange the matchups and put on the shows that their boxers fight on. The managers “take care” of the fighters by guiding their careers and often by paying for the boxer’s living and training expenses. The standard promotional contract for an American professional boxer is for a three-year period (barring extensions for injuries and such). The standard managerial contract is for a five-year period.

Ideally, promoters and managers work together (along with a network partner if their talent merits it) to continually advance the fighter in a manner that is mutually beneficial in terms of money, exposure and respect all parties involved. But it’s often more complicated than that. If you really want to learn essence of the boxing business and the promoter’s role with regard to the role of the manager (and TV), with then-prospect Peter Quillin used as an example, then please watch this excellent video on Cedric Kushner (produced in part by Lamar Clark, THE RING’s marvelously talented art director). Nobody can break it down for you as clearly as the eloquent veteran promoter.

[springboard type=”video” id=”1363091″ player=”ring003″ width=”648″ height=”511″ ]

Arum is a promoter, one of the best of all time. So obviously he has a lot of influence with everyone he’s involved with in terms of business but he doesn’t play the role of manager with his fighters, he doesn’t “control virtually every aspect” of his fighters’ careers (as you put it). If he did, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. would have fought Golovkin at the Inglewood Forum on HBO PPV last summer, and Mikey Garcia would have fought three times in 2014 (and probably would have headlined at least one really big show). But these guys have managers or advisers who didn’t see eye to eye with Arum (or they didn’t see eye to eye with the hall of famer).

Haymon isn’t a promoter or a manager. He’s an adviser, but he’s one who has his clients sign contracts that give him the last say in who the fighters face in the ring. So, in his own way, he circumvents the Ali Act, which was created in part to prevent promoters from also acting as the managers of their fighters (as Don King did with his son, Carl, acting as manager for a lot of his top talent).

Here’s a video I did with my good friends Steve Kim and Ken Miller on the subject of Haymon (last month) for the UCN Live network. It might give you a little more perspective on this subject.

[springboard type=”video” id=”1363133″ player=”ring003″ width=”648″ height=”511″ ]

I agree that the first two shows of Haymon’s NBC boxing series are encouraging from a fan’s perspective. Do I think HBO and Showtime are worried about the potential for quality boxing events being hosted on NBC/NBC Sports? No, I don’t. I think the executives of both subscription cable channels are grateful that some of the sport’s top talent, some of whom will fight on their networks in the future, will be getting valuable basic cable and free-TV exposure. Part of the reason Golovkin’s title defense against Curtis Stevens did strong ratings on HBO is because Stevens had fought on NBC Sports Net and NBC in 2013.

Yes, Haymon moving most of his top talent to NBC will create some holes in Showtime’s 2015 boxing schedule, but A) I think Haymon will continue to work with both networks, primarily Showtime, and B) I think featuring some major fighters/matchups that could go on Showtime on NBC will open the door for Showtime to work with other promoters and their talent this year (and the foreseeable future). It would be great if some of the Showtime dates that would have gone to Haymon fighters had this NBC deal never happened could now go to the elite little guys (such as Chocolatito Gonzalez) and other overseas talent (such as James DeGale, George Groves, Carl Frampton, Scott Quigg, etc.).

 

BREAKOUT PROSPECTS IN 2015

Doug how you doing pal?

I’m a newbie to your weekly mailbag and am kicking myself for not getting on board sooner.

What prospects do you predict will have “break-out fights” in 2015?

I really like the look of Errol Spence Jr., Felix Verdejo and being from the UK, Anthony Joshua – the guy is a mutant.

On the subject of Joshua, I was disappointed to hear he had suffered an injury and pulled out of the Kevin Johnson fight.

There is a rivalry brewing already for AJ in the shape of fellow Brit heavyweight Dillian Whyte (Whyte beat Joshua in 2009 as an amateur and dropped him – video on YouTube).

[springboard type=”video” id=”1363067″ player=”ring003″ width=”648″ height=”511″ ]

Whyte has just comeback from a 2-year ban for consuming a pre-workout drink that contained an illegal substance.

Joshua has developed physically and technically since the Whyte loss as a kid but he could still be his bogeyman. Interestingly both men were out in camp with Klitschko as sparring partners – watch this space on that.

Verdejo is an absolute beast and his KO of Villaneuva was one of the stand-outs for me in 2014.

Thanks for reading and here’s to a great 2015.

(P.S. I’ve just finished ODLH’s American Son book, any other boxing books you can recommend reading?) Cheers. – Paul, London

In honor of Don King’s possible return as a major player in the sport (provided his fighter, Stiverne, keeps his WBC heavyweight title tomorrow night) I’ll recommend reading “Only In America: The Life and Crimes of Don King” by the late, great Jack Newfield.

All the three of the prospects you mentioned are exceptionally talented boxer-punchers who had extensive and accomplished amateur backgrounds, and all three have the look of future champions/stars. However, the only one I see having a true “breakout” fight in 2015 is Joshua because the 2012 Olympic heavyweight champ appears to be the most mature of the trio and he was moved more aggressively in 2014 than Spence and Verdejo. The fact that Joshua was scheduled to face a solid former title challenger (Johnson) in January tells us that his promoter (Eddie Hearn) thinks his heavyweight is ready to step it up this year.

I could be wrong but don’t think we’ll see Verdejo in with a former lightweight title challenger until 2016. He’s only 21 and Top Rank likes to take their time and develop their top talent properly (especially when that talent is a potential Puerto Rican star).

Spence is 25 and appears to have all the tools to take on former champ right now – forget about a former title challenger – but the 2012 U.S. Olympic squad standout is part of the Haymon Army, and the Master of Puppets appears to be extra careful with his Olympic talent. Gary Russell Jr. and Wilder, two standouts from the 2008 U.S. Olympic team, were matched very carefully (some would say too carefully) going into their first title shots. We’ll see if Haymon moves Spence more aggressively than those two.

 

 

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

 

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