Dougie’s Monday mailbag
FIGHT OF THE YEAR SO FAR
What a hell of a fight! Ruslan Provodnikov didn’t do enough in the last round to get the draw but I can see a draw. After taking 300-something head shots I’m amazed Provo was still standing. Where does Provo go after this fight? Could he be shopworn after a war like this? I’d love to see a rematch but it’s best in both fighters interests they don’t do a rematch.
Lucas Matthysee v Tim Bradley at 140
Provodnikov v JM Marquez at 140
Gene Fullmer v Gennday Golovkin at 160
Although Matthysse-Provodnikov wasn’t quite as savage as I thought it would be, it was the most enjoyable fight I’ve seen this year. I consider it a Fight of the Year candidate. I would have been OK with an official draw, but I think the right man won. Provodnikov won five rounds on my scorecard, but he barely won three of those rounds. Matthysse pretty much dominated the seven rounds that he won.
Could Provodnikov be shopworn after the punishment he absorbed from Lucas Matthysse? Yeah, it’s possible. But I think this guy is cut from a bygone era in terms of his durability. Provo would have been right at home fighting 15- and 20-round title bouts. I think the concern he and his camp should have going forward is his facial tissue, which seems to bruise and cut easily. He needs to work on blocking more shots with his gloves and he should study footage of the prime Joe Frazier to get an idea of how a pressure fighter should move his head and upper body as he charges forward. Oh, and the next time he faces a top-notch fighter, I think it would be a good idea to have Freddie Roach in his corner. Marvin Somodio goes a very good job in the gym and in the corner, but I think Provo holds his form better when Roach is in his corner.
What will he do next? I think his team will push for a rematch with Matthysse (which I agree is a bad idea – at least an immediate return bout is). If they can’t get it they might try to go for the soon-to-be vacant WBC 140-pound belt (which Provo’s managerial stablemate Vitkor Postol is in line for) or try their luck against the newly crowned WBO titleholder, Terence Crawford. (Can you think of any other junior welterweight who would be crazy enough to take on “Bud”?) And, of course, there are the “other” rematches – vs. Chris Algieri, Mauricio Herrera and Tim Bradley – that Provo’s people can pursue.
Your mythical matchups:
Lucas Matthysee v Tim Bradley at 140 – Matthysse (the current version) by close maybe controversial decision (I think Bradley would be the superior ring general with his speed and movement but Matty would get all the close rounds due to his heavy shots and high punch volume)
Provodnikov v JM Marquez at 140 – the version of Marquez that fought at junior welterweight once in 2011 and once in 2012 would have gutted out a close decision in a tremendous fight. I think JMM would have to get up off the canvas and the fight would go very much like his first bout against Juan Diaz and his battle with Michael Katsidis, only Provo would last the distance.
Gene Fullmer v Gennady Golovkin at 160 – GGG by close decision in a bout that starts off with fireworks (as Fullmer is able to take the Good Boy Killah’s best shots and score with heavy blows of his own thanks to his awkward style) but gradually becomes an ugly bout when the Utah Cyclone becomes frustrated by Golovkin’s constant pressure, equal physical strength and more consistent/accurate offense and resorts to roughhouse tactics. I think GGG would rock the granite-chinned (but not indestructible) Fullmer a few times during the fight.
THREE LETTERS: J-A-B
Yo what’s up Doug?
What a night!!! Three great main events in one night.
Terrence Crawford, Lucas Matthysse, and Andrzej Fonfara all displayed an amazing JAB tonight and I think that’s one of the main reasons they all won.
Do you think Crawford and Matthysse will face off next and what do you think of their performances tonight?
Also, we already knew Chavez Jr. has no defense so it’s no surprise Fonfara was able to exploit that being he was the naturally bigger guy. You think we’re gonna get a Stevenson-Fonfara rematch and where do you see Chavez Jr. going from here? Peace. – Wesam, H-Town
Chavez Jr. has got a deep hole to climb out of. He lost to a guy he was supposed to beat, he lost what was left of his fan base (or his father’s fan base, if we’re being totally honest) and he’s lost what little credibility he had going into the Fonfara bout. But he’s still young (only 29) and relatively fresh (he’s taken a lot of punches in recent years but Fonfara delivered his only real beating). If he’s able get down to 168 pounds and bone up on his craft he may be able to salvage his career.
Will we see a Stevenson-Fonfara rematch? I think so. The Stevenson-Kovalev fight doesn’t look any closer to happening this year than it was last year, so who else is out there for THE RING/WBC champ to fight? Fonfara is coming off the biggest win of his career, plus he had his moments in the first fight with Stevenson, so the rematch is a bout that Al Haymon/PBC and whichever network gets it (Showtime/CBS/NBC) can sell to fans.
I sincerely doubt that Crawford and Matthysse will fight in their very next bout. Matthysse’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya tossed out Manny Pacquiao’s name prior to the Provodnikov clash and The Machine now craves a big-money showdown after going through 12 tough rounds with the hardest-nosed pressure fighter in the game.
RingTV’s Bill Emes brought up Crawford to De La Hoya immediately after the fight on Saturday, and the Golden Boy Promotions Prez made it clear that “Bud” is not the first choice of Matthysse.
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Anyway, I thought Crawford, Matty and Fonfara fought the best fights of their careers on Saturday. Bud showed once again that he can be outhustled in the early rounds by a faster opponent, but he also exhibited his uncanny patience and ability to dissect an opponent’s weak spots before striking with authority. He appears to have better power at 140 pounds than he did at 135.
Matthysse, like Crawford, exhibited his usual steely cool, but his jab, footwork/pivots and angles were better than usual. Provodnikov is the only junior welterweight on earth who could have taken that many flush shots from The Machine without crashing to the canvas. Matty’s combinations during the first half of the fight were a thing of brutal beauty.
Fonfara’s combos were also very crisp. His speed, tight technique and the fluidity with which he delivered his punches surprised me (and Chavez Jr.!). The Polish Prince also looked to be in even better shape than he was for Stevenson.
MATTHYSSE WINS, PROVO LOSES FACE
OK, so Matthysee-Provodnikov didn’t quite live up to its massive “All Out War!” hype which was a near impossible task to perform. But it still was far superior to anything we’ve been getting from Al Haymon and that was good enough for me.
And call me visually impaired but there’s no way that fight ended in a 114-114 draw. Not after the way Lucas pounded Provo into a pulp. Was Provo scoring points for getting repeatedly getting punched in the face? I mean sure the Russian displayed a set of balls ten times the size of that ass-shaped sinkhole that James Toney leaves wherever he sits. Provo also connected with several huge shots and his chin never gave out. But his face sure did. I mean seriously, the Russian looked like his face was repeatedly worked over with a f__kin’ lawnmower!
Matthysse was the far superior fighter and by far the more precise puncher (as Provo’s mangled-up kisser showed) and I had him winning by at least 5-6 rounds. I also wonder how the hell did Danny Garcia beat Lucas in the first place.
I’m not expecting Provo in the ring too soon. He needs time to get his face back together. And as for Lucas calling out Mayweather or Pacquiao? Oh why not. Inferior fighters like Robert Guerrero and Chris Algieri were considered worthy opponents at the time. But Lucas vs guys like Tim Bradley and Diego Chaves would be probably be more realistic.
On an unrelated note, what’s your view on Chavez Jr. getting his over-rated ass kicked by Stevenson-retread Mr. Fonfara? Good thing that wasn’t GGG or Kovalev in there instead, eh? Chavez would have been completely chopped and chewed up like taco beef. Does Carl Froch still want to fight Chavez for his last fight? OK Doug I’m off! Gotta fly. Cheers – Triple T
You are indeed “off,” TTT. Your line about Provo’s stones being “the size of that ass-shaped sinkhole that James Toney leaves wherever he sits” made me chuckle. Keep ’em comin’!
My view on Junior getting upset by a harder-working, lesser-appreciated and comparatively under-paid fighter like Fonfara is that it’s boxing’s version of justice and universal balance. Chavez has clearly regressed to the awful form he used to have prior to working with Freddie Roach. I’m glad he got embarrassed after all of his recent Twitter-tough-talk and Showtime’s hype going into the Fonfara fight. Now elite fighters like Froch, Ward and GGG can stop talking about his sorry ass and fight each other.
Good point about Matthysse being just as worthy of getting a crack at The Pay-Per-View Pair – probably more so – than the Guerreros and Algieris (or Victor Ortizes) of the world. But I agree that Matthysee vs. Bradley or countryman Chaves is more realistic and would probably make for more competitive and entertaining fights.
I agree that Matthysse was the superior fighter and by far the more precise puncher against Provodnikov, but I thought the judges got the scores right. Matthysse won his rounds more decisively, but when Provo stepped up his game and landed his big left hooks, his shots moved Matty more than the Argentine’s punches moved the Russian. The rounds that Provodnikov won were competitive and close, but he still deserved to win them based his ability to back off and rock Matthysse.
I scored Round 4 and Rounds nine through 12 for Provodnikov. I thought Round 8 was very close and could have gone to him, so I had no problem with the 114-114 tally. But I’m glad Matthysse got the victory because Round 4 could have gone his way, and he really showed sensational form for the first seven rounds. I stated this earlier but I’m gonna keep repeating it, nobody but Provo could have withstood that onslaught.
I think this version of Matty beats Garcia, but it would still be a close fight because Swift wouldn’t offer his face up nearly as much as Provo and he would attempt to hold The Machine whenever they got too close. However, the version of Matthysse we are seeing now is – in part – a product of his working with former 140-pound champ Juan Coggi, who has helped the boxer-puncher rediscover his jab and the finer points of the sport.
DONE WITH JUNIOR
I don’t want to hear from JCC Jr. anymore. It’s over. He has a nice run ahead of him being the Francisco Bojado Memorial Award Winner for the biggest waste of talent in boxing.
A few mythical matchups:
Gerald McClellan vs GGG at 160
Chavez vs Duran at 135
Junior Jones vs Vasyl Lomachenko at 126.
Thank you for your time, and have a great week. – Okori W.
You’re not alone in turning your back on Chavez. A lot of fans had already given up on him after the Sergio Martinez bout, which is why he couldn’t sell out StubHub Center (vs. Bryan Vera or Fonfara). Now most fans realize that the delusional son of a legend will likely never equal or surpass the form he had in late 2011 and 2012.
Your mythical matchups:
Gerald McClellan vs GGG at 160 – Golovkin by late TKO in a brutal extended shootout
Chavez vs Duran at 135 – Hands of Stone by decision in an all-time classic (I’ve answered this particular MM numerous times, I’m never going to change it)
Junior Jones vs Vasyl Lomachenko at 126 – Loma via decision (Poison was at his best at 118 and 122)
TERENCE CRAWFORD HAS IT ALL
I’ll try to be brief. Terence Crawford once again showed what an outstanding fighter he is after his jaw dropping performance against Gamboa. He was patient, poised, and slowly and methodically dismantled Dulorme, stopping him in the 6th. I think Crawford destroys Danny Garcia and is set to rule the division. I’d love to see Crawford fight Adrien Broner! Now that would be a fascinating match up even though I think Terence drops, and possibly stops him in a thrilling fight.
Mattysse and Provodnikov proved to be everything it was promoted to be, just falling short of being fight of the year in my opinion. But man, both fighters threw heavy shots and Provodnikov looked at one point like he might close the show with a knockout or at least a knockdown. All credit to the Argentine. Not only did he land hard-thudding blows throughout the fight but showed his chin was every bit as good as Provodnikov’s. I felt the fight was close, maybe a draw… But in the end I thought Matthysse just pulled out the victory.
Finally, Chavez Jr. Wow… It was fascinating to watch Chavez Jr. get beaten down by the much stronger and bigger Fonfara. Chavez lost nearly every round and the knockdown and subsequent corner stoppage proves you can’t really lead with your head like Chavez did, completely disregarding defense. I wonder why he even took this fight? Fonfara is a top-ten light heavyweight who can take punishment and dish it out as we saw against Adonis Stevenson. Chavez should have fought a top ten super middleweight, then set up a main event against Carl Froch. Instead, he fought one of the best light heavies in the world. I guess Chavez assumes his jaw is unbreakable. He must believe his chin would hold up even after being smashed with a tire iron the way he fought. And boy, Chavez did get smashed repeatedly and paid the price. What now for Chavez Jr.? I hope to see Fonfara fight Kovalev at some point in the not so distant future. Regards. – Erik
I wouldn’t mind Kovalev-Fonfara. I think The Krusher would be willing to take that fight to Fonfara’s adopted hometown of Chicago where the two could probably draw around 15,000 (maybe more).
Chavez took the Fonfara fight because he didn’t view the light heavyweight as a threat. I think he saw Fonfara as a slightly bigger/rangier version of Vera. He was wrong. And so was I, because I thought Chavez could outbox Fonfara if he wanted to. But man, Chavez has lost a lot of the technique and craft – mainly his jab, blocking ability and combinations – that he used to have a few years ago. I think he believed he could bully Fonfara if he couldn’t outbox him, but the size advantage he had over natural middleweights wasn’t s__t to the Polish Prince.
What now for Junior? We’ll see. I don’t think he’s going to retire.
All credit to the Argentine and the Russian. It takes two well-conditioned and determined world-class boxers to produce the kind of dramatic distance fight we witnessed on Saturday.
All credit to Crawford for being a consummate professional. He does everything right. He’s never in a rush and he doesn’t overdo anything or try to be flashy. He fights likes the top guys of the 1980s. It’s no surprise to me that he’s a favorite of Buddy McGirt and Bernard Hopkins.
I don’t think Crawford would “destroy” Garcia, but I would favor him to win that fight. I think he would beat Broner, too. I doubt we’ll see those fights anytime soon, though.
CHAVEZ COMEBACK CRUSHED BY FEROCIOUS FONFARA
First-time mailer, long-time reader and boxing fan. First off before I rename him S___ty Chavez for his performance, I commend Chavez for his bravery in taking on someone as tough as Fonfara, but he needed an easier and less confident opponent. What do you think of this Al Haymon crossroads matchup? Chavez Jr. vs. Lucian Bute?
I think if Freddie Roach can muster up even a little confidence in him, Bute could look like the fighter everybody fell in love with before he got slapped to sleep by Froch. And if Chavez Jr. can bully and intimidate Bute into shrinking into himself again, it’s lights out for the Romanian.
After Fonfara’s fabulous destruction of Chavez and Stevenson’s uninspiring performance against Bika, I suddenly find myself excited for their inevitable rematch. The idea was nauseating a year ago, now it doesn’t sound half bad. Don’t think I’ve seen a potential fight’s anticipation change this dramatically before. What are a few rematches that suddenly regained their buzz in such a short time?
Finally, mythical matchups:
Earnie Shavers vs. George Foreman (post-Ali one that got dropped a bunch vs. Ron Lyle)
Kostya Tszyu vs. Lucas Mattysse (@ 140)
Floyd Mayweather: I notice in nearly every mythical matchup presented, you say he’ll lose (i.e. Leonard, Hearns, Williams, etc) but what modern legend (past 30 years) do you think Mayweather has a chance of beating? – Justin D. Tate
The only “modern legend” that comes to mind that I think Mayweather would beat in a mythical matchup is Alexis Arguello (at 130 and 135 pounds). It’s just a matter of styles. Arguello had a lot of trouble with pure boxers who moved on him. Still, it wouldn’t be an easy match for Mayweather as Arguello had a good jab, textbook technique, great stamina and (of course) a fight-ending power.
Maybe Mayweather could have outboxed welterweight hall of famer Pipino Cuevas over 12 or 15 rounds. He would have had to box a perfect fight, though. One slip up and Cuevas could have crushed his skull. I guess I can toss Floyd a bone and give him that one. (I’m not even sure if Arguello and Cuevas count given they were both pretty much done as world-class fighters more than 30 years ago.)
You fancy a Chavez Jr.-Lucian Bute machup, eh? What do you name that fight, “Damaged Goods”?
Stevenson-Fonfara II makes more sense now than it did last year or early this year. Does this sort of thing happen in boxing? Yeah, I guess anytime an unheralded contender that loses to a champ (or star) goes on to prove himself (or accomplish unexpected things) it creates public demand for a rematch. It wasn’t that big of a deal when the great Henry Armstrong defended his welterweight title for the first time against rugged contender Ceferino Garcia in 1938, but when the Filipino slugger won the middleweight title one year later it made their 140 rematch a historic occasion because Hammerin’ Hank was going for a then-unprecedented fourth title in a fourth division.
Nobody really thought much of Bernard Hopkins after the Executioner lost a clear decision to rising middleweight star Roy Jones Jr. in 1993, but the boxing world clamored for their rematch after B-Hop unified the major 160-pound belts in 2001, when RJJ was considered the P4P King of the sport. The rematch could have been huge had it happened (perhaps at a catchweight of 168 pounds) in 2002 or ’03, but sadly we didn’t get it until 2010.
Your mythical matchups:
Earnie Shavers vs. George Foreman (post-Ali one that got dropped a bunch vs. Ron Lyle) – I’ll go with Foreman in another multiple knockdown shootout.
Kostya Tszyu vs. Lucas Mattysse (@ 140) – Tszyu by decision or late stoppage in a good fight (Kostya is the king of the modern 140 pounders)
WHY YOU ARE SO HATEDÔÇª BLAME THE BLOGGERS
Hey Doug, What’s up, my man? I’ve been reading your articles (along with Steve Kim’s) since about 2000 in the early days of Maxboxing. I can’t believe it’s been 15 years and you guys have kept on keepin’ on.
Anyway, I’ve noticed a trend in your mailbags. You’ll answer some questions and then give YOUR opinion on an upcoming fight, or a fantasy matchup of some sort. In the comments section one would expect people to agree or disagree with YOUR opinion. Those that agree will state their reason(s) why. The others that disagree will:
1. Call you a racist.
2. Challenge your sexuality.
3. Claim ‘you don’t s__t about boxing’.
4. Claim to kick your ass when they ‘meet you face-to-face’.
5. Call you a p__sy.
I was going to blame Disqus for not having enough quality control to make sure posters were over the age of 18. But then I realized that some of these idiots were well into the 20s, 30s and beyond. And then it finally hit me.
I know why they hate you (and other boxing scribes). It’s because THEY ARE JEALOUS. You get to do what they wish they could do. And that is write about boxing for a living. I don’t mean blogging…hell, any dips__t (myself included) can log on to an account (or several bogus accounts) and render an opinion. I mean actually getting a paycheck to write about boxing.
So don’t take it personally. They just wish they were you! (PS. I’d also like to give a shout out to Carlos Acevedo. That guy really tears it up!) – Scott, Orlando, FL
Thanks Scott. I try not to take it personally (and usually I don’t – sometimes I even have fun with the more vulgar types), but I’d be lying if I told you that I didn’t get pissed off at some of those jerks.
Sometimes I engage a little too much in the back-and-forth posting of insults (whether I’m outraged or amused), and I’m not proud of it because it’s something that happens too much with online boxing forums and it cheapens RingTV’s comments sections.
Thanks for your kind words and for reading my stuff for all these years. It’s a reminder that I’m lucky to be doing what I’ve been doing for 15 years. I should (and I usually do) appreciate this career I’ve carved out for myself.
I’m going to sincerely try not to get into with the comment posters who can’t disagree with me or others without hurling insults and racial/sexual slurs or unfounded accusations of racism because I’m finally starting to realize that some of these guys aren’t just jealous – they are mentally ill. And I’m not trying to insult them when I say that. They are seriously sick and need help. They don’t need me or anyone else going at it with them over a subject as trivial as boxing.
Discus does not have site moderators to weed out out-of-control comment posters. Each website is supposed to set up their own site moderators and I don’t believe RingTV (or Craveonline, which hosts this website) has ever done that. So I’m going to look into it and start enforcing a more civil (but not sterile) comments community.
Email Fischer at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @dougiefischer