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Dougie’s Monday mailbag

16
Feb
Photo by Abel Sanchez

Photo by Abel Sanchez

IN GGG WITHDRAWL

Hey Doug,

So things have been quiet in boxing lately and I was wondering what your thoughts are on Gennady Golovkin and his next fight? Like you, I’m a huge fan of the Kazakhstani destroyer. His frightening power and ring cutting ability juxtaposed with his jovial personality and goofy smile make him a lot of fun to watch.

My question is, what does Martin Murray have to offer in this matchup? He’s a good fighter, but he doesn’t seem to possess the power to get GGG’s respect, and due to Gennady’s style of counter punching off his opponents jab, I don’t see anyone stick-and-moving to out point him anytime soon, not even Andre Ward. I think the only way to beat GGG is to make it a shootout early and hope to get lucky. A granite chinned slugger like Carl Froch or Julio Cesar Chaves Jr. might have a chance, but I’d still heavily favor GGG.



And don’t get me wrong, I haven’t forgotten how good Ward is; he’s one of the most versatile guys in boxing with all the tools and veteran tactics of someone like Bernard Hopkins, plus he’s in his athletic prime. I think he’d probably give GGG the most trouble of any possible challenger right now by using his great jab and constantly tying him up in the clinch. I just think he would eventually fold under the leaden weight of GGG’s body shots. Oh, and if GGG lands a flush hook on his chin or temple, Andre is not getting back up. His defense is great but his chin sure isn’t. Kind of like your man Rigo!

Should GGG move up to super middleweight after giving Murray a beating? Do you think Canelo Alvarez will fight him if he beats James Kirkland? GGG vs Canelo would be a great fight albeit a short one! As always thanks for your work on the mailbag. – Jack

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jack.

I believe Canelo will eventually fight Golvokin but I don’t think he will this year. Should Golovkin go up in weight after the Murray fight? Only if there’s a significant and marketable fight readily available for him at 168 pounds. If Froch announced: “You know what? To hell with Chavez Jr. in Las Vegas, I want to fight GGG at the O2 Arena in London,” I think Golovkin’s team would go for that event. If Chavez Jr. announced that he wants GGG at 168 pounds after his fight with Andrzej Fonfara, I know that Team Golovkin would jump at that opportunity to make a huge fight in the U.S. (probably Los Angeles). However, if a name super middleweight isn’t ready to take the GGG Challenge by the spring or summer, I don’t see Golovkin stepping up to 168 pounds just for the hell of it.

Golovkin wants to collect all of the major straps at 160 pounds and I don’t blame him for wanting to be the undisputed champ in his division. I think that’s a worthwhile goal for 2015.

I agree with your matchup analysis on the potential Ward-Golovkin fight. It’s a showdown that I look forward to once Andre “gets his groove back.”

altWhat does Martin Murray have to offer in this matchup? Fair question even though U.S. fans got a look at the St. Helens, Merseyside native when he challenged then-linear champ Sergio Martinez in 2013. Murray (who is rated No. 4 by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, No. 6 by THE RING, and No. 7 by ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael) hasn’t changed since that close decision loss in Martinez’s native Argentina (which easily could have gone his way).

Murray is a big middleweight (I think he’s got the bone structure of a super middleweight) but he’s surprisingly light on his feet. The 32-year-old Brit has quick hands and solid boxing technique, which includes a tight defense and good lateral movement. His jab is stiff, he’s strong and athletic, and he appears to be durable. (My guess is that his chin is world class.)

The only drawback I see with Murray (29-1-1, 12 knockouts) is that he fights in spots. He doesn’t let his hands go enough to get the edge in close rounds, which is what cost him in his first title shot (a controversial draw against Felix Sturm in 2011) and against Martinez.

He also covers up a lot, which could help expose his lower rib cage and lats to Golovkin’s killer body attack.

I think Murray is a legit top-10 middleweight contender and a worthy challenger. He’ll take Golovkin out of the early rounds and have his moments but I see GGG gradually grinding him down to a late TKO.

 

UNDERESTIMATING MURRAY

Hi Doug,

In terms of the upcoming GGG-Murray fight I get the feeling that most boxing commentators and fans are underestimating Murray and basically see him as a stepping stone before ‘bigger’ fights for Golovkin. Would you agree?

I think Murray will be GGG’s sternest test to date and I wouldn’t be shocked if he takes him the distance in a very tough fight.

If Triple G takes him out early you can consider me a fully paid up member of the GGG fan club! – Cogs, Belfast

That’s an ever-growing club but there’s always room for another member, Cogs.

I also believe that Murray is an underrated challenger who is being overlooked by most fans despite the fact that he brings formidable physical tools and experience to Saturday’s fight. Part of the reason is Golovkin’s hype (which he earned by being active and by working with HBO, a cable network with a strong marketing arm) but the other part is that Murray has only fought on HBO once and is still relatively unknown to U.S. boxing fans. Also, apart from Murray’s two title bouts, he hasn’t faced any top 10-rated opposition.

Still, Murray is bigger and more technically sound than Daniel Geale, and I think he’s tougher and fresher than Marco Antonio Rubio. I’d say I wouldn’t be shocked if the Englishman took Golovkin the distance, but I said that about Geale (and I also believed that Rubio could GGG deep) and to be honest I don’t want to jinx what could be a decent fight.

I want to see it go some quality rounds for Golovkin’s sake. If GGG scores an early-round KO against Murray, knowledgeable fans (like you) will give the defending WBA titleholder his deserved props for being the first to blast out the former two-time title challenger, but the goofballs out there in the Twitterverse will say that Golovkin is feasting on pugilistic cannon fodder.

And if Golovkin struggles at all with Murray those same twits will go on and on (and on and on and onÔǪ) about how GGG is overrated, overhyped and terrified of Andre Ward, the Dirrell brothers, and hell, they’ll probably say he’s ducking Jermain Taylor. However, I’d prefer that silliness to the myth that Golovkin’s fighting bums. (And who knows? If GGG looks a little more human during his fights maybe it will make it easier for Tom Loeffler and his management to make higher-profile fights in the U.S.)

 

FIRST TIME WRITER, LONGTIME WIFE

Dear Dougie,

Remember Valentine’s Day, that day for lovers to celebrate the very essence of love? That day that couples set aside for gazing in each other’s eyes over overpriced plates of food, escaping to romantic destinations, or just shutting out the rest of the world and firing up the Jacuzzi or fireplace to revel in each other’s arms?

Yea, I know you do. V-Day is one of those days you always get right and always leave me feeling special, well-loved. So, I wasn’t stressed or mad when I suggested we cancel our plans so that you could wait for the Big Announcement of what would be (finally) be the end to the Mayweather-Pacquiao negotiation saga. I didn’t want you feeling torn all night between us and Twitter and we could plan another romantic evening the next fight-free weekend.

Ah yeah. . . fight-free weekends. Those are far and few between, making our date nights all the more special. Probably explains why now, about 24 hours since what would have been the start of our date, I am feeling less-than-pleased about the little announcement from Mr. Moneymaker.

Damn, couldn’t he have done the decent thing and just announced that he and Pacquiao were NEVER going to fight? That would have made it all worth it. Love. – Your Wifey

Nina-'n-Doug-for-mailbagBefore I respond to this email I want to let everyone know that this is really from my wife of 18 years. She’s put up with my crazy boxing schedule (which usually has me working on weekends and holidays) for 15 of those 18 years and she hasn’t told me f__k off (yet), which is just one of the many reasons I love her.

Indeed, my dear Nina, had “Mr. Moneymaker” told TNT’s David Aldridge he the showdown with Manny Pacquiao is never going to happen, THAT’S announcement that would have made my year. But alas #TheNeverendingStory continues. Maybe it will end this week. (For the sake of THE RING editor Michael Rosenthal’s sanity, I certainly hope it does.) Regardless, I’m sorry this nonsense and the media frenzy that follows (and feeds) it persisted through Valentine’s Day and the day after.

It sucks when boxing gets in the way of quality family time (which is often, as you know). I generally enjoy my job as a member of the boxing media and the editor of the official website for RING magazine, but the typically drawn-out negotiations to Mayweather’s fights and the weeks before his pay-per-view events are not periods that I care for.

This past weekend was a reminder of how much I hate being a slave to what passes for boxing news, how much Mayweather gets on my nerves and how much the NBA All-Star Game telecast sucks. (OK, that last part has nothing to do with anything.)

I could say #BlameFloyd, but that would be too easy (plus it would just feed into his ego and the false pride of his sycophant-wannabe fans). As much as I hate to say this, I’m not gonna hate the player, I’m gonna hate the game. #BlameBoxing. Why? Because the dysfunctional industry of this sport is what created a monster mental case like Floyd. The promoters, networks and media have allowed the stars to become insufferable prima donnas; so much so that the negotiations to mega-fights that absolutely must happen are made so complicated that nothing gets done.

There are too many corporate executives, attorneys and business school grads pushing their own agendas and kissing ass to deliver the fights fans want to see (and not enough real boxing people telling the stars to “fight or f__k off! The sport will move on without you”). I know there’s a lot of complicated legal s__t involved in the Mayweather-Pacquiao negotiations but I can’t imagine super fights of the past dragging on as long as this bulls__t has. It is the key reason boxing isn’t as popular as it used to be.

I remember when YOU used to be a boxing fan. You were never hardcore, but when Oscar De La Hoya, Fernando Vargas, Felix Trinidad and Ike Quartey fought, you watched (in fact, I recall buying you a ticket for Vargas-Quartey, and I remember how excited you were before and after the “Bad Blood” pay-per-view showdown between De La Hoya and El Feroz). Yeah, things done changed. You can’t stand boxing these days and I can’t blame you.

Anyway, I’m sorry your first email to the mailbag was about #TheNeverendingStory, but more importantly I’m sorry I allowed the kooky business side of boxing to infringe on a holiday and what should’ve been our special time. I’m not going to let it happen again.

 

MAYWEATHER’S ATG RANKING

Last year you ranked Mayweather in the top 60 (excluding “old-timers”). Assume Mayweather fights and defeats Pacquiao (at welterweight) and either Cotto or Canelo (at middleweight and at a catch-weight of 155) in competitive but clear unanimous decisions. Assume he then retires undefeated. Where would Mayweather rank in your opinion? Top 50? Top 40? Top 30? Top 20? Top 10? – Marc

That MIGHT move him into my Top 30. The Top 20? I don’t think so. He’d have to displace Bernard Hopkins and Evander Holyfield (my Nos. 20 and 19) just to crack that list (which didn’t include any boxer whose career ended before 1943; if it had, B-Hop and The Real Deal wouldn’t have made the cut).

As it stands now there are a lot of fighters who were in that group of 40 (that I listed alphabetically in my commentary piece) along with Mayweather that I’d rank ahead of him, including (once again in alphabetic order): Carmen Basilio, Charley Burley, Oscar De La Hoya (who fought three guys in my top 20 – Nos. 11 and 12, Pernell Whitaker and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., and No. 20), Kid Gavilan, Jake LaMotta, Lloyd Marshall, Carlo Ortiz, Manuel Ortiz, Pacquiao and Holman Williams.

 

TYSON BEATS FRAZIER

The mythical matchups you answered in Friday’s mailbag:

Tyson v Ali – Ali by late TKO

Lewis v Foreman – Foreman by mid-round KO

Tyson v Wlad – Tyson KOs the version of Wladdy before 2007; Klitschko from mid-2007 to the present wears Tyson down to a late TKO

Tyson v Frazier – Frazier (who wasn’t a front runner like Tyson) would get up from an early round knockdown to beat Iron Mike into mid-rounds submission in a very exciting heavyweight shootout.

I think you’re absolutely spot on with the first three picks & their outcomes Dougie, but Frazier over Tyson?

No way. I can’t see it. Sorry. IMHO Tyson would dribble poor Joe around the ring in a round or two just like Foreman did. Except that Foreman did so with raw power & XXL cudgels for hands.

With Tyson it would be his mix of power & hand speed plus his punch placement.

No disrespect meant toward Frazier, but styles make fights & Tyson at his best was a manner of beast that Frazier would NOT have survived. Frazier had mad courage, but could be hurt, rocked, dropped & stopped early on. I just don’t see him surviving the Tyson early onslaught.

Peace bro. – Jim Allcorn

I think the best version of Tyson would have had a small window to put away the best version of Frazier in the first three or four rounds of their mythical matchup, but if he couldn’t ice Smokin’ Joe cold or keep him down, my hunch is that the quintessential Philly warrior would have put a beating on Tyson that would have either overwhelmed the Brooklyn bully or made him quit.

file_170165_1_8-resized-Fleischer-says-Frazier-next-champ_Page_1There were some major badasses who hurt Frazier in the early rounds of their fights, including Oscar Bonavena (who dropped him in Round 2 of both of their fights), Jerry Quarry (in their Fight of the Year first bout), Ali (in their rematch), and, of course, Foreman (in both fights). But only Foreman was able to get those early rounds TKOs. And it says here that all four fighters (Bonavena, Quarry, Ali and Foreman) possessed more fortitude than Tyson. They weren’t just tough; they were willing to take inhuman beatings and would still try like hell to win, just like Frazier. Tyson wasn’t like that. He lost his will to win when his opponents put a beating on him.

Another reason I don’t agree that Tyson would have put the smash down on Frazier is his height. I file_180697_12_Foreman-rocks-Frazierthink part of the reason Foreman was kryptonite for Frazier was his stature (along with his bone-crushing power, of course).

Foreman was almost 6-foot-4, with a long reach and a telephone pole for a jab. He was able to keep Frazier at bay and set him up with monster uppercuts without getting caught with the shorter puncher’s killer left hooks.

The prime Tyson had a terrific jab and massive uppercuts but I don’t think he would’ve been able to avoid Frazier’s return fire the way the taller, rangier (and perhaps physically stronger) Foreman was.

In fact, I don’t think Tyson would’ve been able to hold off Frazier’s hard pressure. Like Tyson, Frazier worked a bob-and-weave into his forward-marching attack. I think the two 5-foot-11 punchers would have met in the center of the ring and let their bombs go, but I think Frazier would be the one to get the other to back off first. And much like Frazier, Iron Mike wasn’t affective at all if he was backed up.

Think about what a supposedly shot Evander Holyfield did to Tyson just by not being intimidated, not backing up and not hesitating to fire back. Now imagine if Holyfield had KO power and a volume-punching style like Frazier. Tyson’s only defense would be to bite Joe’s ears off, but I don’t think that would have slowed Frazier down at all.

 

GARCIA-PETERSON, BJ SAUNDERS

Dougie,

I waited and waited until you released your Friday mailbag and boom! Here I am. Bright and early ready to make that Monday mailbag! It could well be counter productive and get lost in the pending lexical masterpieces you may encounter, but what the hell, here goes.

Rant 1: Garcia Peterson. I almost choked on my own vomit when they announced this would be a non title fight at a catchweight. Fuck me. Not only does Garcia pull Herrera’s pants down last year but then he goes and pulls our pants down fighting Roy Salsa (or whatever the hell he was called). Isn’t it about time Team Garcia started growing a pair of nuts again and stop dining off victories of years gone by and actually have a fight worth seeing. I’d just about let the catchweight thing go but then the 10 rounds announcement came. F___ me. They can spin it any way they want, but Garcia and Peterson are world class fighters and should be fighting the 12. Asides that Garcia got Herrera problems and should give that poor f___er a rematch. Disgusting.

Rant 2: Billy Joe Saunders. I mean fuck me to god damn tears. The guy gets offered a shot at Korobov. Declines. Fair enough. Has a rightful shot at Andy Lee, whines about purse bids when the Quillin rumours surfaced only to announce he stepped aside to much bragging about his ‘6 figures’ step aside. Big man. Then it surfaces he could get a shot at the IBF title and it’s looking like we’ve all been a little hasty with Billy Joe and he’s done some smart business. Low and behold he declines that much too. Am I missing something? He says he gets the winner of Lee-Quillin but there ain’t a hope in hell he is fighting anyone other than Quillin and he won’t fight him. I’ve got a sneaking suspicion he’ll fight Eubank Jr again for that interim piece of plastic he’s winning shortly. Which begs the question? Where’s his ambition? When he first laced on the gloves did he dream of stepping aside?! I call p__sy.

Mythical Match ups…

Hamed v Azumah Nelson

Froch v Calzaghe

Ali v Tyson

Dougie – you da man! – Mark

Man, and I thought my wife was frustrated about staying home on Valentine’s Day. You are one disgruntled boxing fan, Mark. My guess is that you don’t follow Garcia or Saunders on Twitter (and if you did, they’ve blocked you). LOL.

Rant 1: What can say, other than #BlameHaymon? Nah, don’t do that. Let’s see what Garcia does against Peterson. Maybe he stops the veteran by the middle rounds of a shootout. If that’s the case, who cares if the bout was scheduled for 10 or 12 rounds. Maybe he jumps to welterweight in his very next bout and takes on the winner of Keith Thurman-Robert Guerrero. If he does that, I’m OK with the Peterson bout not being for the junior welterweight titles. However, if Garcia wins a close or controversial 10-round decision over Peterson and then doesn’t a formidable top contender at 140 or 147, I’m totally fine with hardcore fans turning their backs on him. I’m just not ready to do so prior to the Peterson fight.

Rant 2: Same deal with Saunders. The guy is 25 years old and he only recently cracked THE RING’s middleweight rankings (where he’s currently rated No. 9). He did so by beating a PROSPECT (Eubank Jr.), and he barely outpointed the talented by inexperienced boxer-puncher. I don’t blame Saunders’ handlers for not rushing into a title bout. He may not be ready for it. Maybe Saunders realizes this. Maybe it’s a good idea for him to be a bit choosey about whom he fights for a major title and maybe getting an extra fight or two under his belt (along with making some extra change) could be beneficial. With the deal he cut with DiBela/Haymon, he’s supposed to fight on the undercard of the Lee-Quillin fight in Brooklyn, so he has the opportunity to get some attention from the U.S. media, which could help build up a future showdown with Kid Chocolate. If Lee manages to hold onto the WBO belt my guess is that he’ll have overcome some punishment from Quillin that might make the respected Irish veteran less of a threat to Saunders. I can see why BJ’s promoter, Frank Warren, signed off on the step-aside deal. Now, if Saunders doesn’t wind up fighting either Quillin or Lee after April 11, feel free to hate on the young southpaw. Oh yeah, and #BlameWarren.

Your mythical matchups:

Hamed v Azumah Nelson – Nelson by decision or late TKO

Froch v Calzaghe – Calzaghe by decision

Ali v Tyson – Ali by late TKO

 

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

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