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Dougie’s Friday mailbag

06
Feb

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LIMAHL, CANELO-KIRKLAND, DONAIRE

Hello Mr. Dougie,

If a Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight gets made in your opinion whose name should headline the marquee, who should be introduced first and who deserves to walk in second to the ring??? The only reason I ask you these questions is because I need an excuse for you to play Limahl’s wonderful hit “The Neverending Story.” That song is the s__t!!! It brings back nostalgia to the first grade, Nintendo and being a pro wrestling fiend when I was a kid.



In all seriousness I prefer to focus my attention to a fight that is actually going to happen in Canelo Alvarez-James Kirkland. I know it’s a big “if” but if Ann Wolfe is in Kirkland’s corner I like him big time versus the redhead from Guadalajara. I actually like Canelo’s moxie and think the kid is a talented puncher but he has one glaring weakness and that is his stamina. If James can get through the first two rounds I expect him to be a nightmare in the Margarito mold and walk Canelo down to a late stoppage victory and/or Canelo’s corner throwing the towel. Of course, Ann Wolfe is the X Factor and if she is in James corner I think a volume punching pressure fighter is all wrong for a talented puncher with a suspect gas tank.

One more thing… I am surprised at how so many people who I regard as true fight fans disregard Nonito Donaire’s accomplishments. The last two years of his career have not been pretty but am I wrong for thinking Nonito is probably one of the 50 greatest punchers in the history of the sport, one of the elite if not THE ELITE little (under 126) men of the Mayweather-Pacquiao era and a first ballot hall of famer? The dude was “sick wit’ it” from 112-122 before he ran into one of the premier pure boxers of the past 25 years in Rigondeaux. I know Nonito lacked an offensive imagination and he had his technical flaws but for a half decade stretch he was a dominant fighter.

Here’s an interesting little mythical match up I’d like for you to pick… Gene Tunney vs Bernard Hopkins at 175… As always keep up the marvelous work. Take care!!! – Albert from NYC

That is an interesting mythical matchup. I like Tunney on points. The only man to beat The Fighting Marine was the great Harry Greb, who was the ultimate volume puncher and mauler. Tunney’s face was broken and battered during the 15-round light heavyweight match thanks to the many illegal tactics employed by the Pittsburgh Windmill, but he learned from the only setback of his legendary career and utilized a savage body attack to keep Greb in check in their rematch. Tunney outpointed Greb over 15 rounds in their rematch and their rubber match. He also held Greb to a 10-round draw and was declared the winner (by newspaper sports writers) of their fifth bout, also a 10 rounder, in “no-decision” bouts.

Hopkins is one of the toughest and cagiest boxers of the modern era, and I’m sure he could match a lot the roughhouse tactics that Greb used to throw Tunney off his game in their first bout, but I don’t think B-Hop would be aggressive or active enough to shut Tunney down. I think Tunney’s sharp-shooting, lateral movement, control of distance, punching power and underrated toughness would enable him to earn a close decision.

I don’t know if Donaire is a future hall of famer, and I don’t consider him to be among the sport’s top 50 punchers of all time, but I agree that he’s one of the elite lighter-weight boxers of the past 20 years. Winning six major world titles (plus one RING championship) at flyweight, bantamweight, junior featherweight and featherweight, and knocking out the likes of Vic Darchinyan, Fernando Montiel and Toshiaki Nishioka when those fighters were considered “elite” is nothing to scoff at. Don’t worry about so-called fans who s__t on Donaire and the Filipino Flash’s legacy because he got schooled by Rigo and stopped by The Axe Man; those same schmucks will trash Rigondeaux and Walters as soon as they lose their first bouts.

With or without Wolfe, I think Kirkland will test Canelo’s chin. With Wolfe, Canelo’s chin, stamina and heart will be tested. I’d like to think Canelo will earn some respect among the many critics and doubters of the Twitterverse if he passes “the Kirkland Test,” but I know better. If Wolfe doesn’t train Kirkland for this fight, Canelo will receive ZERO credit for beating the Texas badass. And even if Wolfe does train Kirkland, most so-called fans will still say Mandingo was hampered by inactivity and his pre-camp weight. Whatever. I’m just looking forward to an entertaining fight.

Neverending-Story-DudeRegarding Limahl, I thought he was a ridiculous European-style fruitcake when that song came out. I was 14 and I loved making fun of his group Kajagoogoo and their signature song, “Too Shy.” But since digging up “The Neverending Story” to express my frustration with the never-ending “news” cycle on the super fight that continues to drag out and hold the sport hostage, I’ve come to appreciate that song, the movie (which I liked as a pre-teen), and the wonderfully peculiar 1980s English pop singer whose elfish face now serves as my Twitter avatar.

I literally start singing “The Neverending Story” out loud whenever I have to edit a Mayweather-Pacquiao-related item for RingTV.com or whenever my Twitter timeline becomes dominated with the tiresome and pointless chatter of fans and media members who are obsessed with the Non-Fight of the Century.

UK RIVALS VS. DIRRELL BROTHERS

Hey Dougie,

Hope you are well, just a quick question from me.

DeGale vs Dirrell is being talked about, as too, is Groves vs Dirrell (‘brother from the same mother’). How do you see these potential match up’s going?

If both UK guys did win, how do you see that fight finishing (if it’s made)? Thanks. – Adam, Converted DeGale fan, Leeds UK

These are fascinating super middleweight matchups if they happen. All four 168-pound contenders had strong-to-elite amateur backgrounds, all four are skilled, athletically gifted, and in their prime.

I think both bouts – DeGale vs. Andre (a 2008 Olympic gold medalist vs. a 2004 Olympic bronze medalist) and Groves vs. Anthony – are even matchups. The Dirrell brothers have a slight edge in overall talent (speed, reflexes, coordination) but the British standouts have slightly better technique and appear physically stronger to me.

I favor DeGale and Groves by decision in competitive fights. One reason I favor the Brits is because I think they’ve had more consistent activity. DeGale seems to have come into his own last year, while Groves proves his class against Froch. Andre Dirrell proved his class against Froch, too, but that was in 2009. He hasn’t fought at the world-class level in almost six years (and I thought he was fortunate that Derek Edwards rocked him in the last round and not earlier in his last bout). Anthony Dirrell’s only world-class experience is the 24 rounds he went with the shopworn Sakio Bika last year.

If DeGale and Groves fight again, I favor “Chunky” by close decision.

 

GOLOVKIN VS. HOPKINS AT 168 POUNDS

Would that sell as a ppv fight and would the fans give GGG credit if he were to knock Hopkins out? Would you want to see that fight? Thanks. – Tyler

No, I wouldn’t want to see that fight, but I do think it would sell as a pay-per-view event. GGG is red hot right now and Hopkins is a bona-fide legend. Would Golovkin get any credit if he KO’d the Immortal B-Hop? Hell no! Hopkins is 50!

 

MYTHICAL DREAM FIGHTS

Greetings Dougie!

Among these fights dream who you think will win:

Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Sugar Ray Leonard

Edwin ‘El Indio’ Valero vs. Manny Pacquiao

Tommy Hearns vs. Felix Tito Trinidad

Wilfredo Gomez vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux

Thanks. – Israel Cruz, Puerto Rico

Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Sugar Ray Leonard – Leonard by late KO

Edwin ‘El Indio’ Valero vs. Manny Pacquiao – Valero by mid-rounds KO

Tommy Hearns vs. Felix Tito Trinidad – Hearns by mid-to-late KO

Wilfredo Gomez vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux – Gomez by mid-to-late TKO

 

IF ‘IT’ HAPPENS, WHAT HAPPENS TO THE OTHERSÔǪ?

Hi Doug,

Assuming no news breaks by Friday and you decide to include this in the mailbag, I’d love your opinion on a few match-ups. Let’s pretend that Floyd-Manny gets done. Where will that leave Miguel Cotto, Amir Khan, Gennady Golovkin, and Tim Bradley? All would be potentially impacted by such an occurrence.

I could see Bradley getting lined up with Brandon Rios, taking a crack at Miguel Cotto, or potentially a rematch with Diego Chaves. I don’t see a fight with Khan getting done. My gut says Bradley ends up with Rios.

Cotto, under a megafight scenario, probably gets Andy Lee, though Golovkin would be his mandatory. I could also see David Lemieux being thrown in as an option, but would be surprised if Cotto took a dangerous fight like that against a smaller name. I don’t think Quillin would be on the table for Cotto, though that would be a great option for him to have an easy fight with a fairly well known opponent.

Golovkin probably ends up with Lemieux next. Quillin will not face him under any circumstance. I think there is an off chance that Hopkins could get in the ring with GGG (which would be a slaughter). I could see a remote chance of Cotto taking him in June because he could control the negotiations and may want a crack at the most dangerous puncher in the sport BEFORE he gets in with quality opposition.

But where does all of this leave Amir Khan? I can’t for the life of me think of a name that he will get in with if the #NeverEndingStory actually happens. The only remote option that pops to mind is a rematch with Marcos Maidana in late May.

If Floyd-Manny doesn’t happen, I would expect Cotto-Mayweather II and Khan-Pacquiao to materialize.

What are your thoughts on where the dice will land if the big fight happens? Any surprises? Take care and great job as usual on the mail bag. – Vincent, New York, NY

If #TheNeverendingStory ends in time for the superfight to take place on May 2, I think Cotto will simply sit out the first half of 2015 rather than fight non-star. He’s definitely not going to fight Lee, who is headed for an April 11 WBO title defense against former beltholder Peter Quillin. It would be awesome if Cotto fought GGG, but that bold move would surprise me. Sadly, I wouldn’t be shocked if we got Cotto-Bradley. I’d prefer to see Bradley fight Rios, but I understand that Desert Storm is itching for another pay-per-view level event.

I don’t think GGG is going to get Lemieux this year. The Montreal star still needs to develop a little bit while he builds his brand in the U.S. My guess is that Team Golovkin will target the Lee-Quillin winner (and might actually get that fight if the Irishman wins) and then look to collect the vacant IBF strap and the WBC belt once it’s stripped from Cotto. Will Khan be left in the cold if Mayweather-Pacquiao happens? Probably. But I agree that Khan-Maidana II would be an interesting match and I think it would be well received. And there’s always Kell Brook. So it’s not like Khan is without notable dance partners in 2015.

If #TNS continues, I think we will probably see Mayweather-Cotto II (what other matchup can be sold to the U.S. public?). I doubt that Pacquiao-Khan can be made. Are we ready for Pacquiao-Jessie Vargas?

 

THE GRANITE CHINNED WARRIOR

Hi Dougie,
So with Carl Froch vacating his title I’d be surprised if we saw him again. I know like me you’ll be sad to see him go, he is such a credit to the sport, a crowd pleasing style, constantly fought the best available without a second thought and an absolute warrior inside the ring. I really hope he’s done enough to be inducted into the hall of fame. Best regards. -Pete Sussex UK

I think Froch is a borderline Hall of Famer if he retires now, but I don’t think he’s done yet. He’s just giving up the IBF title, so he can continue to pursue his Las Vegas dream fight against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. later this year. Whenever Froch does finally hang up his battle-worn gloves I will indeed be sad to see him go. He’s been one of the most reliable entertainers in the sport during the past seven years.

 

EXCITED FOR 2015

Hey Dougie,

This is my first time writing to the mailbag so I hope it makes the cut. First I would like to say I have been reading the mailbag for awhile now and have to say it is one of the best things I read on a weekly basis.

I am an optimist for 2015 and hope it is better than 2014, which was full of bad fights along with controversies (still shaking my head on the Bradley-Chaves decision). It seems the AHBL (Al Haymon Boxing League) is producing some really good match ups out the gate. I am scared like everyone else, though, if this does not lead up to the top boxers at 140 and 147 lbs. fighting it out to be the best in the division. We have already had too many opportunities lost because of business decisions. Do you feel that Haymon is capable of brining great matchups for the fans? Or is Haymon just another wolf in sheep’s clothing looking to cash in on network money and screw the fans of boxing out of great fights. What fight intrigues you the most of what the AHBL is bringing us this spring?

Lastly, is GGG going to be avoided like Ebola over the next couple of years or is he going to get his big time matchup? I think him and Cotto is intriguing but I have too much love for Cotto to see him get beat up again. I think Canelo or Kid Chocolate would make an interesting fight against GGG. Peace. – Dave from the SGV

I won’t be surprised if Triple-Gbola is avoided by the bigger names this year, but I’m guessing that someone – Cotto, Canelo, Ward, Chavez Jr. – will get into the ring with him in 2016. Why? Because I think GGG’s name and rep will continue to grow this year and the public demand and money will be there to make the pay-per-view level events that Team Golovkin wants. I’m glad you’re optimistic about this year and looking forward to what Mr. Haymon delivers with this new Premier Boxing Champions series on NBC and SpikeTV.

Do I feel that Haymon is capable of making great matchups? Yes, I think that’s obvious when you look at the welterweight and junior welterweight matchups he’s scheduled in March and April. I think as long as a quality match can be made within the AHBL, we’ll get to see it. So we’ll see a lot of good 147-pound matchups. But in divisions where he only has one or two standouts under contract, I don’t think we’ll see the best vs. the best. Leo Santa Cruz is an example of this. He’s a junior featherweight beltholder, but the other 122-pound titleholders – RING champ Guillermo Rigondeaux, IBF boss Carl Frampton, and “regular” WBA strapholder Scott Quigg – are not Haymon fighters, so there’s no use in anyone holding their breath for Santa Cruz vs. Rigo or the UK badasses.

Do I think Haymon just another wolf in sheep’s clothing looking to cash in on network money and screw the fans of boxing out of great fights? No. He’s definitely not looking to “cash in on network money.” He’s paying the networks to put his fights on, not the other way around. He’s got a bigger goal than mere money in mind. Al wants to take over. Period. If he can make some great fights (within his league) along the way, he will do that.

What scheduled AHBL fight intrigues me the most? Keith Thurman-Robert Guerrero. The Ghost is the first top-10 contender Thurman’s faced and I know he’s gonna bring it.

 

COLLEGE BOXING

Hey Doug,

Big fan of the mailbags. Wanted to know your thoughts on College Boxing: Why don’t more schools have it, do u think that could help the sport’s popularity & would the best young fighters even care about going to college or wanna just start getting paid $.

I think it would be fun to root for my college in a Boxing tournament… Anyways, keep up the good work. (P.S. Why r there Never any BIG Fights in FL? We have Latinos, too.)

Thanks. – Adam from FL

I think you’re going to have to wait for Top Rank to develop budding Puerto Rican star Felix Verdejo for another year or so, but once he’s got a world title around his waist my guess is that Florida (Miami and Orlando) will be among his East Coast “hot spots.”

I think college boxing could help the sport’s popularity – at least a little bit. Organized amateur boxing tournaments in U.S. colleges date back to the 1920s, and it was probably part of sport’s popularity during its Golden Age. Boxing was an NCAA sport from 1932 to 1960. But serious head injuries and a ring death in 1960 led the NCAA to drop it. A few years ago, a non-profit organization started the United States Intercollegiate Boxing Association (USIBA) and as far as I know it’s still around and available to all U.S. colleges, universities and junior/community colleges who wish to include it as an intramural recreation.

I’m all for club boxing on college campuses but also serious amateur competition, especially if it allows underprivileged youth an opportunity for higher education through scholarships. Is it dangerous? Yep. But so is football.

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

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