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Dougie’s Monday mailbag

01
Jun
Photo courtesy of @SkySportsBoxing

Photo courtesy of @SkySportsBoxing

WHAT A CARD!

Dougie my man, we Brits just experienced a wonderful night of boxing, there is simply no other way to put this; that was incredible. HBO/Showtime/Fox/PBC missed a trick by not televising it.

I mean, the three domestic scraps at the foot of the bill (Cardle-Evans, Ryan-Hibbert and Blackwell-Ryder) were absolute crackers in their own rights and simply could have topped a bill here in the UK.

But I have a few questions for you regarding the four major fights on the bill:

1) Lee Selby was utterly magnificent in dismantling Evgeny Gradovich over seven, what seemed like easy, rounds for him. His lateral movement and ability to weave shots was breathtaking. I thought he had him when Gradovich’s legs wobbled but it wasn’t to be. I flatly believe he beats Gary Russell Jr. This fight now sets up massive, tantalising fights with Nicholas Walters and your man Vasyl Lomachenko. How do you see him going against the three other champs? I’ve got my boy Selby against Walters, but Loma cruises against both, unless we are yet to see the ‘Welsh Mayweather’s’ full ability…

2) What impressed you most about Anthony Joshua’s demolition job of ‘King Pin’ Kevin Johnson, who has now retired, and who do you want to see him fight next?

3) I was stunned by Jorge Linares’ powers of recovery, he showed classic Mexican grit. His combination punching and brilliant use of rapid foot movement and body punches were too much for an unbelievably brave Kevin Mitchell. After three vain attempts, is this the end for the British Lion that is Mitchell? (That cut was reminiscent of Lebedev’s, horrendous stuff)

4) Lastly, my hero Kell Brook blew Frankie Gavin away, as was expected. I saw your praises for him on Twitter; his balance, power, accuracy and exquisite timing truly are a joy to behold. I genuinely view him as the number 1 welterweight on the planet (bar Floyd) but he gives Floyd hell in my eyes. It’d be great to see that fight but unfortunately he hasn’t the name in the USA… Do you think Brook beats any welterweight not named ‘Money’? And who do you wish to see him fight next? I think he beats them all.

Peace out man, would love to make the bag after what was an exhilarating night of boxing. – Stan, UK

Your wish is my command, Stan. That was indeed an excellent quadruple header put on by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing. I wish I could have watched the entire show live, but it was still entertaining even though I had to catch two of the co-featured bouts a day later on YouTube (Selby-Gradovich and Linares-Mitchell).

I’ll answer your questions on the co-mains in order:

1) I figured Selby would outclass Gradovich, the weak link among 126-pound beltholders, but I thought the Russian pressure fighter would have more moments. Grado didn’t, and I’m not sure he would have had the bout gone the full 12-round route. There’s a lot to like about Selby: he’s relaxed, moves well laterally (as you noted) and he’s got an educated left (snappy jab, sneaky hook/uppercuts).

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I’d love to see him commit more to the body, but I’m sure we haven’t seen the best of the Welshman. I would slightly favor him to beat Russell in what would be a high-speed chess match. Right now, however, I think Walters and Lomachenko are a class above him. I’d favor Walters by late TKO and Loma by decision.

2) What impressed me the most about Joshua’s TKO of Johnson (apart from the fact that he was the first to stop the American veteran) is what always impresses me about THE RING’s Prospect of the Year: his patience/poise. “Black Colossus” is never in a rush. I’d like to see Joshua in with Tony Thompson next. Like KJ, Thompson is a gatekeeper, but “Tony the Tiger” is a higher level gatekeeper – one who often cracks THE RING’s lower top 10 rankings – and unlike Johnson, the experienced 6-foot-5 southpaw has enough punching power to test Joshua’s chin.

3) Linares did indeed show “classic Mexican grit.” Not bad for a Japanese-speaking Venezuelan. Your man Mitchell showed some classic grit, too. That was a damn good fight. It reminded me of how amazing Linares is when he lets his hands go in combination, and how awesome a British crowd is when cheering on one of their own who’s putting it all on the line.

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Is this the end for Mitchell? I don’t think so. He’s only 30, and there happen to be four major world titles out there (along with THE RING championship). I wouldn’t count Mitchell out against the Mickey Bey-Denis Shafikov winner (IBF) or whoever winds up nabbing the vacant WBO strap (I don’t see any world-beaters in that sanctioning organization’s top 10).

4) Do I “think Brook beats any welterweight not named ‘Money’?” Dude, I think Brook beats EVERY welterweight not named ‘Money,’ and I wouldn’t count him out against Mayweather. A dream welterweight fight, in my opinion, would be Brook vs. Keith Thurman.

KHAN EXPOSED AGAISNT ALGIERI

Hi Doug,

Amir Khan once again proved why he’s one of the most overrated boxers in the game today. How many guys with two knockouts against them get as many shots as him? For some reason his fans think that this guy is some sort of virtuoso that can do anything in the ring and that his two KO loses (and multiple visits to the canvas against other fighters) were all just an exception to his great talent. I was reading and listening on several shows how Amir was going to KO Algieri inside of 10 rounds. How delusional is that? Are we talking about the same Algieri that beat Ruslan Provodnikov, one of the toughest punchers in the sport? The same Algieri that survived 6 knockdowns against one of the two best fighters of this era? As far as I know, Khan hasn’t KO’ed anybody at 147 and has even struggled with mediocre guys in this so called unbelievable campaign in the welterweight ranks. I even heard that he can beat Mayweather and is the number 2 welter in the world.

I hope Friday night’s fight can lay all of that to rest, since he barely beat the pillow-fisted Algieri, never getting close in hurting him, let alone knocking him out. As a matter of fact, the only person I saw hurt during the fight was the monkey (King Khan) himself. I scored the fight 6-6, favoring the guy who lands the heavier punches (I’m not big in giving rounds to fighters who land a flurry and that’s it or try to outbox their opponents without actually hurting them) over the guy that did the most activity in certain rounds. I can surely understand a 7-5 win for Khan, since he did seem to be better over the course of the fight. Now, all this crap that Khan has improved under Virgil Hunter’s watch is bull to me. If Algieri had a little more pop in his hands, Khan wouldn’t have survived 5 rounds. There’s a reason we haven’t seen him against Porter, Bradley, Thurman, Garcia II, Maidana II or Matthysse: those guys would murder him.

I can’t see him as more than a lower top 10 welter and can’t see him beating anybody with some pop. I know he will continue to harass the fans and Floyd Mayweather with a fight that he doesn’t deserve. I think he’s a cherry picker (doesn’t fight punchers) that is sounding more and more as the welterweight version of Shannon Briggs. Thanks Doug. – Juan Valverde

So let me make sure I get the point of this email, you’re not a fan of Amir Khan and you think he’s vastly overrated. I just want to be clear on that. You weren’t straight-forward enough in your criticism, Juan. (LOL.)

I agree that his brain trust have kept him away from punchers since he stepped up from the 140-pound division. Can you blame them? He went life and death with Julio Diaz (a faded former lightweight titleholder, for those who are new to boxing).

I agree that Khan’s fight with Algieri was competitive. I scored it 116-112 (giving rounds 1, 4, 7, and 8 to Algieri). Could I have found two other rounds to score for the New Yorker? Absolutely. But I think Khan did enough to earn the decision.

And I don’t think it’s fair to label him a “cherry picker.” The dude was household name in Britain coming out of the 2004 Olympic Games and he could have made a nice living only fighting in the UK. But he came to the U.S. and fought top-10 American contenders in their home towns and home states (Malignaggi, Peterson, Algieri), and he’s faced his share of guys who can crack (Maidana, Garcia, Judah – all of whom either held, would hold or had held major titles).

Was it delusional to think Khan would stop Algieri? Yeah, it was. But my guess is that the folks who predicted that were members of “Khan’s Army.” They’re his fans. They’re supposed to go overboard for their guy.

Was Khan “exposed” against Algieri? I don’t think so. I think Algieri was exposed (in a good way) against Khan.

 

THOUGHTS ON ALGIERI

Hey Dougie,

I was not impressed with Amir Khan’s UD over Chris Algieri. I saw the fight a lot closer than what the judges had 117-111(for the record, I thought 115-113 was a fair card). It seemed that Khan was hurt more than Algieri. Khan is a sucker for the straight right.

Algieri is honestly a really fun fighter to watch. His training with John David Jackson shows hope that he can fight. He really was not in the right hands with Tim “in the cage” Lane. I would like to see maybe Algieri vs Victor Ortiz. That would really be a fight that will decide boxing futures.

If Khan really thinks his showing with Algieri will give us any belief that he can beat Mayweather, well, he is going to be very disappointed just like us Pacquiao fans. – Tim B., Carson, CA

I don’t know why folks are so down on Khan calling out Mayweather. He’s 28 years old (still in his athletic prime) and he’s already done everything else there is to accomplish in boxing (won an Olympic medal, won major world titles as a pro, made good money, fought in front of thousands in sold-out arenas). He wants to challenge “the man” before “the man” retires. What’s wrong with that? So what if he has no chance? He shouldn’t be in boxing if he doesn’t believe in himself.

I agree that Algieri is a lot of fun to watch, and I also agree that JDJ is a good fit for him. He should improve even more than we saw vs. Khan given a couple of full training camps with the former junior middleweight/middleweight titleholder. Hey Dougie,

No offense to Victor Ortiz, but I don’t think that matchup does anything for Algieri. Ortiz still has to prove that he can keep his head against a world-class fighter. We know Algieri can do that. I’d rather see Algieri face ranked welterweights, such as the winners of the upcoming Porter-Broner, Bradley-Vargas, and Thurman-Collazo bouts, or against fellow New Yorker Sadam Ali (after the young man wins a few more significant fights).

MAYWEATHER-KHAN?

Hey Douglas:

Khan may be constantly calling out Mayweather. But is May listening? And is Khan really ready for him?

Sure Khan beat Chris Algieri like he was expected to do. But he had to really fight hard to get the win. Contrast that to Manny Pacquiao racket-balling Algieri around the ring without really trying all that hard. And shoulder injury or no, we saw how easily Pac was out-boxed by Mayweather.

I also wonder if Khan would still have had his hand raised in victory if Algieri had any real power. Your thoughts. – Dave

If Algieri had world-class power he probably would have knocked Khan out. But if we’re playing the make-believe game we might as well pretend how the fight would have gone if Khan had an iron chin and no worries about it being dented.

I know we’re all sick of Khan calling out Mayweather, but what else would he do? Call out a bunch of badasses who might put him to sleep?

What do we expect him to say after struggling with Algieri, something like this?

“Wow, that was a tough fight. I’m sooooooo lucky Chris isn’t a puncher. Tell you what, I thought I was ready for Mayweather, but brotha, I’m not at all worthy to face Mr. TBE. So here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna challenge Kell Brook for the IBF title. If I win – which is doubtful – my first defense is gonna be against Keith Thurman. If by the grace of Allah I manage to retain my title, I’m gonna go up in weight and fight Canelo Alvarez, and if I win that fight – Inshah’Allah – THEN and only then will I believe I’m worthy to challenge Mayweather. Are you guys cool with that plan?”

Yeah, that ain’t happening. Khan’s going to call out Mayweather until Floyd fights him or retires, and he probably try to taunt Mayweather out of retirement for a few years.

Is Mayweather listening to Khan’s call-outs? Doubtful. And if he is, he’s probably giggling his shiny black ass off.

And is Khan really ready for him? Ready as he’ll ever be.

ALGIERI VS. GARCIA

Doug –

Who wins between Algieri and Garcia at 140? – Kevin Key, Duluth, MN

I favor Algieri by competitive but clear decision (assuming either fighter can still safely make 140 pounds).

BRITISH REVOLUTION

I’ll avoid the hype about Khan and Brook facing each other. One side clearly wants it, other doesn’t.

British boxing is on the rise my friend! DeGale, Brook, Selby, Frampton and McDonnell all legit world champs. How do you rate them at their respective divisions?

I think Frampton and Brook can go on to establish themselves at the very top. Especially with Floyd and Rigo not getting any younger. The timing may be right for both of them.

While I think Selby looked spectacular on Saturday I can’t see him getting anywhere near Loma or Walters. Potential to move up as he looks big at featherweight.

Providing GG beats Badou Jack, Groves-DeGale II surely has to be made!

That doesn’t even include the seemingly endless list of UK lightweights who could be in the mix very soon. And just how much can we read into AJ demolishing Johnson? Durable yes, but older than the version that took Klitschko 12 rounds 6 years ago and had lost 5 of his last 6. Cheers. – Andrew, Gateshead, UK

It’s still too early to call Joshua the savior of the heavyweight division or even a legit contender, but he did what an uber-prospect is supposed to do against a shopworn veteran – he demolished the older fighter. So far, so good for the Great British Hope.

I’d be surprised if Groves couldn’t beat Jack. I think we’ll see DeGale-Groves II before the end of 2016.

I also think Selby looks big for featherweight, but not as big as Walters. If the Welshman moved up to 130, I think he’d fare well against all but the two Takashis (who are getting long in the tooth but still appear at the top of their game).

How do I rate Britain’s Formidable Five in their respective divisions? Well, I’m in line with THE RING’s official rankings by considering Brook and Frampton to be the legit No. 1 contenders to the real champs of the welterweight and junior featherweight divisions (Mayweather and Rigondeaux).

I think McDonnell, Selby and DeGale are all in the top five of their divisions. McDonnell is clearly behind WBC titleholder Shinsuke Yamanaka, but I wouldn’t count him out against young beltholders Randy Caballero and Juan Carlos Payano, fading veteran Anselmo Moreno or Tomoki’s older brother Koki.

I’d rate Selby behind only Walters and Lomachenko, and I’d like his chances against anyone else, including Russell and Abner Mares.

I only rate Ward (whenever the former champ returns to 168 pounds) and Froch above DeGale, though I still consider a matchup with Groves to be even money.

BROOK VS. KHAN/HEARN VS. HAYMON

Hey Dougie,

As everyone has been saying in the mailbag, keep doing your thing. Mondays and Fridays the mailbag is the first thing to scratch off the to-do list!

Anyway, before Saturday’s fights here in the UK, I favoured Brook if him and Khan have a showdown. I haven’t seen the Khan-Algieri fight yet (and I am a big fan of his) but the way Brook handled Gavin, I have to say that I think there is little chance that Khan beats him. But, I don’t think he is a more gifted fighter, he is just too big and too strong for 99% of the welterweights out there. They say he is after Mayweather, no chance of that happening, and for the record I say Mayweather neutralises Brook and wins another boring UD.

The match-up I really wanna see now is Thurman vs. Brook, but annoyingly I don’t think we are gonna see this or Brook vs. Khan. I saw that you talked about how Hearns fighters are becoming kryptonite for Haymon’s stable, and I think Brook is gonna be the ultimate kryptonite for anyone not named Mayweather in the WW division. What do you think are the chances that we see Brook vs Khan? I have a feeling you reckon it will happen, but I have a suspicion that Haymon will block this fight, not gonna happen.

I think Hearn has had a solid couple of years in terms of matchups. The guy came outta nowhere and I thought he was even cheesier than his dad when he started out, but he has slowly won me round. However, I think he needs to prove that he can mould his UK stars into world stars, which means getting Brook some big fights in the US. At this moment, Brook needs to step up (Porter is the best name on his record?) but I think Haymon makes this all but impossible. Where does Hearn go from here if Khan and Thurman aren’t an option?

On a side note, what did you think of ‘Black Colossus’? I am very excited by him because he displays a real vicious streak in the ring. I think he has a real dark side underneath the professional exterior, which I don’t think I see in Deontay Wilder. I think he whacks out everyone in the HW division except for Wlad. Your thoughts?

Thanks for reading, once again keep up the good work. Regards. – Riz, London

Thanks for the kind words, Riz.

I think enough of Joshua to have made him THE RING’s Prospect of the Year for 2014 and to give him a nickname (one that some might find offensive). I’m not so high on him that I’ll assume he can wreck the entire division apart from the champ.

Let’s see how AJ does against lower top-10 contenders, such as Tony Thompson (THE RING’s No. 9) Carlos Takam (No. 10), before we match him with Wilder or declare him to be the Heir Apparent.

Regarding Hearn and his formidable stable, I think his plan is to make as many of his fighters UK stars before attempting to make them into world stars. He’s obviously not shy about taking his fighters across the Pond to win world titles. He’s done so with Brook, McDonnell and DeGale. And he’s obviously able to work with Haymon because all three of those fighters won their major belts against Haymon-advised/PBC fighters. (I realize some of those were mandatory title challenges, but if Haymon didn’t want to work with Hearn he simply would have had his fighter dump the belt.) I think we will see future matchups between Hearn and Haymon fighters.

Will we see Brook-Khan? Eventually, but only after Khan either secures or gives up on his dream bout with Mayweather. Brook just has to continue to winning and Khan has to keep from getting beat too badly. It won’t happen this year, but maybe next year.

I also want to see Brook-Thurman. Those two are my favorite welterweights. I think it can happen, especially if Mayweather snubs my fellow long-haired Halfrican. Thurman wants to challenge himself. If he can’t get Mayweather soon, he’ll turn his sights to the only other unbeaten “elite” 147 pounder, and that’s Brook.

CANELO OR MAYWEATHER ON SEPT. 12

Greetings Doug,

Awhile back Canelo said he wouldn’t move his next fight from 9/12. If the fight with Cotto gets made, do you think he keeps his word? I would buy that PPV just to spite that sissy “Money” and I don’t think I’m alone. I don’t really see Mayweather moving for anyone either though. What do you think? Thanks. – Nick, San Diego

To be honest my man, I have no idea what the f__k is up when it comes to Mayweather/Canelo/bigtime PPV showdowns. When this crazy year began, I thought for sure Canelo-Cotto would go down in May and that we’d never see Mayweather-Pacquiao.

If Cotto defeats Daniel Geale and decides to make the fight with Canelo there’s no doubt that the Mexican star-vs.-Puerto Rican star middleweight championship clash would be a big PPV seller, especially on Mexican Independence weekend. However, Cotto, and the good folks at HBO, Golden Boy Promotions and Roc Nation, may not want to detract from the success of the event by going head-to-head with what will be billed as Mayweather’s farewell fight.

The cable system operators (Time Warner, Cablevision, Comcast Cox, etc.) may also be against competing pay-per-view events (especially events as massive as Cotto vs. Canelo and Mayweather vs. whoever).

But again, I’ll be the first to admit that I have no f___ing idea what’s going to happen when it comes to these boxing big shots.

 

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

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