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Dougie’s Friday mailbag

03
Apr

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GARY RUSSELL JR.

Hi Dougie,

First time writing to the mailbag and just wanna say it’s been a pleasure reading your reviews and previous mailbags.



Couldn’t help but notice the fact that no one mentioned Gary Russell Jnr’s win on Saturday night against the always dangerous Jhonny Gonzalez. I thought he done very well and I thought as soon as he let his hands go Gonzalez’s gameplan just kinda went out the window. He just backed up and didn’t want to be hit, got taken off his rhythm. Everyone is saying Russell should rematch Vasyl Lomachenko but I think Loma would take him to school once again. That guy is just too good for any featherweight. Looking forward to watching him box may 2nd, more than Floyd and Manny. LOL. Maybe a defence against a legit contender like Jayson Velez would be a good match up for Russell Jnr.

Wasn’t impressed by Jermell Charlo. Was bit boring to watch, seemed Vanes wanted to make a bit of a scrap at it but Jermell played it safety first. The twins are a little overrated in my opinion but again it’s just an opinion (I can feel the hate coming at me).

I’m from Newcastle, England so I’m going to watch Anthony Joshua on Saturday do the business against Jason Gavern (crap opponent, I know) so that should be fun then off to the casino after to watch Aduckis Chickenson fight Sakio Bika. SMH in an uncompetitive match up. How do you think that will end?

Mythical match ups:

  1. Lomachenko vs Eric Morales @ featherweight
  2. Terence Crawford vs Roberto Duran @ light welter
  3. GGG vs Calzaghe @ super middle

Thanks Doug it’s been great to finally get something sent off to the mailbag. Take it easy. – Jamie, Newcastle, UK

I’ll try. Thanks for the kind words.

I’m glad you brought up Russell. Nobody did prior to the Monday mailbag and I got some hate from deranged fans in the Disqus comment section under the column. (So here it is, ya jerk-offs! You can stop calling me a “racist.” I led the Friday mailbag with a Gary Russell Jr. email. Sorry the email is from a dude – probably a white guy – from Newcastle, UK, and not from an African-American fan, or at least an American, but beggars can’t be choosey.)

In all seriousness, I thought Russell fought the best fight of his pro career against Gonzalez and finally lived up to his potential. Why? Because he knew when to step on the gas and close the show. He could have outpointed the painfully slow Gonzalez from a safe distance, but he saw the openings to land his power shots and he gambled a little bit. I like that.

At the same time, I’m not going to go crazy with performance. Russell was the odds favorite for a reason. Gonzalez is an “old” 33, and the well-traveled but plodding Mexican veteran has always had a little trouble with southpaws (left-handers who were much slower than Russell, such as Gerry Penalosa and Toshiaki Nishioka, have scored one-shot KOs against him).

Russell finally broke into THE RING’s rankings with the Gonzalez victory and the magazine rates him No. 3 among featherweights, behind fellow beltholders Nicholas Walters and Lomachenko. I think that’s right where Russell belongs. I wouldn’t favor Russell against those two badasses (Walters is too big, powerful and technically sound; and Loma isÔǪ well, he’s Loma), but I’d pick the Washington, D.C. speed demon to beat all the other top 126 pounders, including former champ Abner Mares, unbeaten IBF beltholder Evgeny Gradovich, and British standout Lee Selby.

I doubt we’re going to see any of those matchups anytime soon, though. But, like you, I’m just looking forward to seeing Russell defend against legit contenders. His WBC mandatory, Robinson Castellanos, is hardnosed S.O.B. Velez and Marvin Sonsona are also rated high in the WBC’s featherweight rankings and I think they could make for interesting fights. I would favor Russell to Velez and Sonsona, but I think they would be more competitive than Gonzalez was just by being younger and fresher (and lighter on their feet).

I didn’t expect World War III with Charlo-Martirosyan. Neither contender ever delivers action when matched against a fellow boxer. Charlo deserved the close nod in my opinion and I think he’s earned a title shot. I’d like to Jermall Charlo step up and fight top-10 contender as his brother did (but not against Vanes).

Have fun watching Joshua do his Black Colossus thing against poor Gavern. When the British Heavyweight Hope cracks top-10 rankings by the end of this year, just remember that your favorite boxing writer Dougie Fischer selected Joshua as THE RING’s Prospect of the Year for 2014.

Regarding Stevenson-Bika, there’s not much to say about this matchup. It should be a showcase fight for THE RING/WBC light heavyweight champ. I’m glad it’s on CBS and airing live in the afternoon (here in the States), so I can get the report out of the way and have the rest of the day and evening to spend with my family.

Your mythical match ups:

  1. Lomachenko vs Eric Morales @ featherweight – man, I’m gonna get a lot of South-of-the-Border Hate for this opinion, but 126 pounds was not the best weight for El Terrible and Lomachenko has a very difficult style for the Tijuana warlord to deal with. I’m going with Lomachenko by close decision.
  2. Terence Crawford vs Roberto Duran @ light welter – Duran by late TKO.
  3. GGG vs Calzaghe @ super middle – Calzaghe by close but unanimous decision.

EL CAMARON

Doug,

First time writer – saw you at the Belasco Theater in downtown LA tonight. I was too starstruck to say what’s up.

Anyhow, where’s “El Camaron’s” power? I’ve seen him hit opponents with bombs, but they don’t go down as often as you’d expect. At 126 Julian Ramirez is an awesome newcomer on the verge of stardom, but do you think he has the power to fight elite opponents at 126 or even 130 someday?

Your independence, integrity, critical analysis and refusal to let mainstream boxing fans dominate the discussion with Pacquiao v Mayweather talk is commendable. – Henry C.

Thanks for the kind words, Henry. And please don’t be a stranger the next time you see me at a boxing event. Like MC Shy D said way back in 1987 – “I’m not a star.”

I don’t know if Ramirez has the potential to be a star but I saw the potential to be a legit contender at 126 pounds during his 10-round shutout decision over Raul Hidalgo. I’ve always known about Ramirez’s ring generalship because I’ve seen it time and time again in sparring sessions, but last night’s “LA Fight Club” main event was the first time I really saw El Camaron box a disciplined fight from start to finish – and he did it against a capable young journeyman with solid boxing skills.

If Golden Boy Promotions keeps Ramirez as active as he wants to be (he’d like to fight every month, or at least every other month) and gradually steps up the competition with each fight, I think we could see the young man fighting for a regional title by the end of this year or by the start of 2016.

As for his power, I think it’s still there. Hidalgo had two months to prepare for last night’s fight and he went into survival mode early in the bout, so Ramirez wasn’t going to get the KO. (I think it was better for him to go 10 rounds, anyway.) Against more aggressive opponents, I think we’ll more power from Ramirez. However, at featherweight and 130 pounds, he’ll have to work hard to earn a stoppage (especially as his competition gets stiffer). I think he can still make 122 pounds, and at junior featherweight he carries a lot more power.

 

THE ZANY WORLD OF BOXING

what’s going on dougie? hope you and the fam are good…

khan~ ok, sooooooooo, amir is coming off as pretty batsh*t crazy these days, i mean i am going to need venom’s symbiotic alien suit if my jaw is going to keep continually dropping any lower with the rapidly escalating ‘kicked in the head’ stupid things this guy keeps saying. “algeri came up ‘just’ short against manny”?!?!? brook should fight the thurmans of the world while you fight the “caged tigers”??! “i dont want to move backwards in my career so damn all these undefeated fighters I want one-eye willie!!” aside from the fact alergi, since he has been on the major scene, has literally NEVER looked good, only won a questionable decision looking like Red after he asked Debo for his chain back in the process, then got IMMEDIATELY and absolutely obliterated by pac-man. algeri will go down in boxing history as having one of the most lopsided scorecards of modern times, if ever (do you have the facts on that? i really want to know) AND in ‘no mas’ fashion will be remembered hysterically as the guy who got blasted on cue in real life, not a movie. and khan fight’s him INSTEAD of brook his hometown rival, who has been stalking khan for YEARS now, brook is undefeated, brook is a DAMN WELTERWEIGHT, its a payday fight, its a HUGE fight back home and if he wins he will have, to my knowledge, the only relevant belt not owned by manny or floyd at welter????! my god man, whats this dudes issue??! he has had like a year or two year of being played by floyd to think about this! unless he has a peter quillian/al haymon master plan that we cant appreciate now in play this guy is batsh*t crazy…

cotto~ i saw somewhere that apparently cotto was shamed into a better opponent. how do you like him fighting geale?

mosley~ do you know anything of ‘the sugary one’ as a trainer? i see that he has curtis stevens in his charge now… (side note, i am a fan of shane, my cousin was of de la hoya and out of the fighters rivalry/fight my cousin started calling shane ‘the sugary one’ and it just stuck, so, now we all call him that at the home fort, all said to say, ‘no disrespect’ to the former chin checker)

melee~ do you know what happened at the stevens/rosado press conference? looked pretty wild (although stevens looked like he was at a family reunion where such sights were common and even boring)…

that’s that! thanks for the time. – bakari, the cleveland homie…

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Bakari. I had to include your email because you are the one American fan outraged by Khan’s antics. I got a bunch of irked emails from UK fans and fans from outside the US regarding Khan’s choice to go after Algieri, but yours was the funniest. So kudos for that.

As you probably know, I respect Khan. I believe he had a very good title run at 140 pounds (when he was with Freddie Raoch), I think he’s a gutsy competitor and when he’s focused and at his best (as he was for his last two bouts with Virgil Hunter) I think he’s a handful for any world-class fighter between 140-147 pounds. Having said that, I don’t care for the way he dismisses a showdown with Kell Brook (or the way he dismisses and downplays the undefeated IBF titleholder himself). I wouldn’t call him “bats__t crazy,” but I will say that he’s a bit delusional.

Still, his apparent choice of Chris Algieri as his next opponent doesn’t surprise me one bit. Like I said in Monday’s mailbag, Khan is at a stage in his career where if he’s going to take another loss it’s going to be to a bona-fide legend (in other words, Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Manny Pacquiao). He knows Brook has the size, skill and athletic ability to possibly get the better of him, and he’s not willing to lose again just for a big-ass payday and the chance to grab the IBF 147-pound title. He’d rather bide his time against guys that he knows he can beat, and Algieri is the type of fighter that Khan has always shined against (a pure boxer with little punching power).

In Khan’s mind, he’s still in the running to face Mayweather. That’s where his delusion comes in. But hey, the man’s gotta believe in himself and his ultimate dream fight (even if nobody else does).

As for Cotto targeting Daniel Geale for his early June ring return, I like this matchup a lot better than Cornelius Bundrage or Jorge Sebastian Heiland. The Australian veteran is a proven middleweight, unlike K9, and he’s far more accomplished than the unheralded Heiland. I actually think Cotto-Geale could be an interesting fight. Geale’s got the size advantage and may pose some stylistic problems with his awkwardness and lateral movement, but Cotto has the edge in experience, technique and punching power.

I don’t know how good Mosley is as a trainer. I know that he’s forgotten more about boxing than I’ll ever know but that doesn’t mean he will be able to convey/impart that experience/knowledge to other fighters. We’ll just have to see how Stevens does against Rosado and how Mosely’s other fighters (such as his son) fare in future fights.

I wouldn’t call that silly ranting and raving from one guy (the journeyman hanger-on in Rosado’s camp) during the BKB final press conference a “melee.” There’s actually some punches thrown, or at the very least some pushing and shoving in a real melee. That was just a lot of loudmouth bulls__t. It got “The Sugary One” going, but I don’t blame Stevens for looking like he was bored.

 

LESSER KNOWN IDOLS

Hello Mr. Fischer,

I love reading your mailbags and I agree with so many of your opinions that I think I must be your brother from an Irish mother! I was very happy for Mr. Russell at the weekend. He seems like a good guy.

The reason I’m (finally) writing in is I came across an old boxing match on the TV between my all-time boxing idol, Steve Collins versus Nigel Benn.

I know Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard were idols of yours, but I am curious, was there anyone that you idolized for some personal reason, even though they will probably not be on anyone’s “all-time greats” list?

The reason Steve Collins became my idol is because I was about 14 or 15 years old when he came back from America and started beating up all these British middleweight and super middleweight ‘world’ champions. And in the eyes of an impressionable young Irish kid, this made him a super hero!

At the time that he was trying to get a fight with Roy Jones Junior, I truly did believe that Collins could wear him down and grind out a victory. My friends really did take the piss out of me over this. They believed RJJ was the GOAT.

What do you think Doug? Did Collins have much of a chance against Jones back then? On mature reflection, I can see that my idol did have some limitations, lol.

I’ll finish with some mythical match ups, with all boxers in their prime;

Collins vs Michael Watson

Collins vs Rubin Carter

Your current favorite active fighter vs your all time favorite in the same weight class

Mickey Rourke vs Tony Danza

By the way, can you imagine how much fun a fight between Collins, at the end of his career, vs Carl Froch would be!?

Thanks for all the great work you do for us boxing fans. All the best for the future. – Paddy, Dublin, Ireland

Collins-Froch would have been a war for the ages. I think Froch could have narrowly outpointed the verision of the Celtic Warrior that was close to retirement.

Collins had a hell of run there – when he bested Chris Pyatt (remember him? I do!), Chris Eubank (twice) and Nigel Benn (twice) – in about a two-and-half year span, didn’t he? Could he have given Jones a good fight when he called out the self-proclaimed G.O.A.T? Yes, I think he could have. He was after Jones when the American was campaigning at light heavyweight and had slowed down a bit from the frightening form he exhibited at 168 pounds. However, Jones still had too much speed, strength, skill and talent for Collins to contain with his relentless pressure and underrated ring generalship. He could have lasted the distance, but he would have lost a clear decision to RJJ. That’s my humble opinion (and you know I’m not a Jones-hugger).

Do I have a sentimental boxing idol who won’t be considered an ATG? Yeah, I do (and I think I’ve answered this questions before, but I’m happy to do so again). Terry Norris. He was a first-ballot hall of famer but he won’t make any all-time p4p lists (although maybe he can make an all-time junior middleweight top-10 if anyone bothers to put one together).

Photo by Ken Levine / Getty Images

Photo by Ken Levine / Getty Images

Norris is special to me because he was the first “underground” boxing talent that I followed during that period in the late 1980s when I evolved from a casual fan to a hardcore nut. I knew who Norris was before his first title shot. I still believed in him after he was cold-cocked by Julian Jackson. I told all my friends who gave a damn about boxing to watch him anytime he was on TV because his hot-blooded assassin attitude meant somebody was gonna get knocked out (usually the other guy). I was overjoyed when he iced John “The Beast” Mugabi to win his first world title. And I predicted that he would beat up my childhood idol Ray Leonard (even though everyone told me that Leonard wouldn’t have taken on “Terrible Terry” if he didn’t KNOW that he could handle the young tiger). I loved Norris’ mix of technique, athleticism, shaky chin and raw emotion. The way he got after some of his opponents made the hairs on the back of my next stand up. Sometimes his impetuous nature got the better of him (as it did with his KO loss to Simon Brown and those DQ losses Luis Santana) but when he blitzed his opposition (as he did against Maurice Blocker and Joe Gatti) he looked like force of nature. I think following Norris before I started covering boxing helps put him in a special place in my mind and heart.

Your other mythical matchups:

Collins vs Rubin Carter – Collins by close decision

My current favorite active fighter vs my all-time favorite in the same weight class – that would be Gennady Golovkin vs. Ray Robinson, and I think Sugar Ray outpoints GGG (and maybe scores a stoppage if we’re talking about the 1949-1951 middleweight version of the G.O.A.T.)

Mickey Rourke vs Tony Danza – Danza shows Rourke “who’s the boss” (I couldn’t resist)

 

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

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