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Dougie’s Friday mailbag

19
Jun
Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

GGG-TBE, WARD-SMITH, BRONER-PORTER

Hey Doug,

What do you think about Floyd Mayweather saying he’d beat GGG? Do you think he actually believes it? I don’t see his path to victory if that fight ever happened. Mayweather doesn’t have the power to dissuade GGG and if he hangs out on the ropes, he will end up like Daniel Geale once GGG lands a body shot. Mayweather isn’t one to take risks and this is one he will not take, I think he is just talking crap.

Andre Ward-Paul Smith, don’t have much to say about this fight. Ward wins easily. What is left for him at SMW? Do you think he moves up and fights Sergey Kovalev?



Lastly, what do you think about Adrien Broner-Shawn Porter? I feel like Porter should be able to steamroll Broner who doesn’t move his feet. The catchweight might affect Porter. Otherwise I think Porter is going to give Broner a beating. I could possibly be overrating Porter and underrating Broner but I don’t see this as an even matchup. Thanks. – Jake from Portland

I think it’s an even matchup without the catchweight. Porter is the more physical, stronger fighter, and his unorthodox style could trouble The Problem, but Broner is the quicker, shaper punching boxer. Broner has the speed and timing to clip Porter as the aggressive boxer-mauler lunges in. However, with the 144-pound catchweight, I can’t imagine Porter being at his best or having the same gas tank he normally brings into his fights.

I know a lot of fans who can’t stand Broner are predicting that Porter will score an early stoppage or give the Cincinnati smartmouth a sustained beating, but I think Broner’s got world-class whiskers and heart (he proved them in the Maidana fight). I don’t see anyone having an easy time with him, especially a natural junior middleweight who has to take off an extra three pounds beyond the welterweight limit.

Regarding Ward-Smith, I don’t have much to say about the fight either. Of course, Ward should win easily. It’s a rust-shaking exercise. Nothing more.

What is left for Ward at super middleweight? Well, once he gets his “groove” back (let’s hope he doesn’t go picking on Paul’s little bro, Callum, after Saturday’s bout) there’s newly crowned IBF beltholder James DeGale, there’s George Groves (if the talented two-time title challenger beats Badou Jack for the WBC strap, which I think he will), and there’s Andre Dirrell (if his 2004 U.S. Olympic teammate can rebound from the DeGale loss and perhaps win a title).

Do I think he moves up and fights Sergey Kovalev? Well, I hope that he does. Ward vs. Kovalev for three major light heavyweight titles sounds a hell of a lot better than Ward vs. DeGale, Groves or Dirrell, doesn’t it?

Regarding Mayweather’s GGG talk, do I think he actually believes his boasts? No. I don’t. And I don’t see him accepting Golovkin’s challenge unless the middleweight boss cuts part of his leg off to get down to 152 pounds. Ain’t gonna happen.

Do I think Mayweather was just talking crap? Well, yeah, his lips were moving weren’t they?

WARD ON BET

Hey Doug.

I’ve been reading you since 2002 and I’ve been a big fan for years. Thanks for all you do for the sport…

So I’m thinking BET is not such a good idea for Andre Ward. Look how they’re marketing the fight in the description in this picture attached.

Andre-Ward-on-BET

They say that Paul Smith is coming off of 2 losses, Ward hasn’t fought in 2 years because of promotional issues, and they’re saying it’s a catchweight fight.

If I was in charge of programming, I would say, “The Best fighter in the world, undefeated Andre Ward, gets set to face top contender, Paul Smith, in a much anticipated showdown.” Of course we know it’s not true that this is a much anticipated showdown, but the regular viewing non-boxing demographic that they’re trying to reach doesn’t know that. One of these companies need to hire me lol. If I was passing through channels and looked at the description in the box, while never hearing of either boxer previously (which I’m assuming some people that will be watching this on BET will be) I would pass on this fight.

This sounds like a club boxing event based on this description. I would market this as RocNation Sports, Jay-Z presents or something of that sort. Who the hell is their program director? I could hire a bum off of the street to market this fight better than whoever wrote that description of this fight. Well the description was honest, but you won’t hear McDonalds say, “eat our new juicy Big Mac burger that tastes great, but is made with grade-D meat and will give you high blood pressure.”

Mythical Matchups:

De La Hoya vs Jose Luis Lopez

Trinidad vs Quartey

Mayweather vs Arguello (130)

Salvador Sanchez vs Nicholas Walters

– A Kennon

Have you ever heard that old expression about putting lipstick on a pig? Yeah, that applies here. In other words, why bother dressing up a bout that looks like a mismatch on paper and will probably be a gross mismatch once the fighters step into the ring.

I gotta give BET props for keeping it real. Smith IS coming off back-to-back losses to Ward victim Arthur Abraham. Ward HAS been out of the ring for (almost) two years (19 months) and it was due to promotional issues. And, although Ward still holds the WBA super middleweight title, the bout IS set at a catchweight (172 pounds).

In a way, BET’s “tellin’-it-like-it-is” fight description explains why Ward is facing an unrated (by THE RING) super middleweight at 172 pounds. The Oakland native is coming off a long layoff. And you know what? Smith is not a poor opponent for a guy who’s been out of the ring since November 2013, even an elite boxer like Ward.

After Ward beats Smith and targets a fellow 168-pound titleholder or The Krusher, that’s when we can expect Roc Nation’s marketing machine to step their game up.

Your Mythical Matchups:

De La Hoya vs Jose Luis Lopez – The Golden Boy by close, perhaps controversial, decision

Trinidad vs Quartey – Tito by late stoppage

Mayweather vs Arguello (130) – Mayweather by close decision

Salvador Sanchez vs Nicholas Walters – Sanchez by late TKO

PBC: BOXING FOR GENERATION ‘Y’

Because I just never liked the term “Millennials.” Really, PBC just coddles their fighters or protects one over the other.

I just read on PBC’s website that Robert Garc├¡a is out of his fight with Errol Spence Jr. due to “personal reasons.” Rumor has it he is vastly overweight. So why can’t PBC report that? Such BS. But whatever, it’s still feeding session for Spence’s rise.

For protection, it’s the silly catch-weight fight between Broner and Porter. Clearly it is to benefit Broner. But why? Isn’t Daddy supposed to support their fighters equally? Sorry, Porter, Broner gets the new Sega Genesis, you’re stuck with a Neo Geo.

Are there any scheduled PBC fights you are actually looking forward to in the near future?

It sucks I won’t be able to watch you on the telecast of the Montreal fight. Hopefully, the winner faces GGG next for unification. I want to see GGG complete his unification goal sooner than later.

Mystical:

RocNation Showdown – 4-Way No-Holds Barred Match @ the old ECW Arena

Andre Ward vs. Dez Bryant vs. Kevin Durant vs. Robinson Cano

Peace. – Mike from Hudson Ct., NJ

No individual or group would beat Ward in a No-Holds Barred match. He’d headbutt those fools into submission after tying them up in knots. (And it’s “mythical” matchup, not “mystical” – unless you’re going comic-book geek on me and asking who wins a showdown between Dr. Strange and Dr. Fate.)

Sorry you won’t be able to catch the David Lemieux-Hassan N’Dam broadcast. You wouldn’t see me, but you’d hear me (and Beto Duran) if you watched it on Fox Sports 2. What you would see is an even matchup between middleweight contenders. And, as you noted, evenly matched bouts on TV are hard to come by.

It’s not just the PBC, which has clearly set up an “A-side” and “B-side” in every one of its televised matchups since debuting in March. It’s the boxing business. How many main events have been even matchups on any network this year? Off the top of my head, I can only think of three: Stiverne-Wilder, Salido-Martinez and Matthysse-Provodnikov. Maybe toss Dirrell-DeGale in there, too.

All the others had a clear favorite among fans, media and odds makers – Klitschko over Jennings, Canelo over Kirkland, Golovkin over Monroe, Cotto over Geale, these are recent HBO main events (which I should point out took place in front of significant fan turnouts in major markets).

Same deal over in the UK, where Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing just put on a very solid quadrupleheader – there were clear faves in each matchup (Brook over Gavin, Linares over Mitchell, Selby over Gradovich and Joshua over Johnson). So I can’t dump on the PBC too much for having obvious favorites in most of their matchups. The only difference between the PBC and Matchroom or the promoters that put on those recent HBO cards (K2, GBP, Roc Nation) is that their mismatches drew big crowds.

One reason for this is a lot of PBC matchups are taking place in the wrong states/cities/venues (like Broner-Porter). Maybe they’ll learn from the hot reception they got for Wilder-Molina in Alabama. If you put the right fight in the right place it will sell tickets, even if it’s a mismatch. The other reason a lot of fans are ignoring some of these PBC shows is that the matchmaking seems so damn random. We’re getting fights we didn’t ask for and those bouts don’t seem to be leading to any interesting matchups. Who the hell is going to get excited about Rances Barthelemy-Antonio DeMarco?

You asked if there are any scheduled PBC fights that I’m actually looking forward to in the near future. I honestly can’t think of any.

HASSAN N’DAM VS. DAVID LEMIUEX

Hi Dougie,

Busy boxing weekend with Adrien Broner and Shawn Porter, as well as the return of super middleweight king Andre Ward against Paul Smith. However, the fact that Porter, already a big welterweight, has to make a catchweight of 144 pounds, sours a fight that would otherwise be a pick ’em for me. And let’s be honest, Paul Smith is only there to give as an indication of what form Ward is in after his long spell of inactivity.

Therefore, the fight that I am really excited about is the Hassan N’Dam vs David Lemieux fight. This is an evenly matched fight, classic boxer vs puncher that should deliver. Would you agree that this is possibly going to be the highlight of the weekend?

On the one hand, you have the slightly more proven quantity in N’Dam. I thought he was very impressive in the Curtis Stevens fight. His jab and the way that he moved were vaguely reminiscent of a young Larry Holmes.

On the other hand, you have Lemieux, reminds me a bit of Mike Tyson. What do you think of his chin? He has been stopped before, but I think it was more a question of fatigue and over confidence. I think Lemieux is a better fighter for those losses and that he learned his lesson.

Lemieux will have something totally different in front of him on Saturday night. He has never met a boxer as skilled as Hassan N’Dam. He will need to keep the pressure on, but intelligently so. He needs to cut the ring off, move his head enough to avoid getting stuck at the end of the N’Dam jab and work the body to slow his opponent down. If he can get in with enough shots without getting winded, I am sure that N’Dam will hit the canvass and maybe not get up.

But N’Dam knows that. He is a cerebral kind of fighter. I am sure that he will stick and move like he did against Stevens. I do think that he is going to have a harder time, though. Stevens, although a big puncher, tends to look for that big knockout and only fight in spurts. He is also clearly not a master of cutting off the ring. I think that Lemieux has faster feet, moves his head a bit better and has a bit more in his offensive arsenal. Do you agree that Lemieux is better than Stevens?

N’Dam needs to counteract that by making him reach in, counter him, throw a body shot here and there and stay out of trouble until Lemieux tires.

N’Dam has fought well on the road, but the danger is that he may take one too many risks, knowing that he is in Lemieux’s backyard and that the judges are probably not going to do him any favors.

I can see N’Dam outpointing Lemieux, but if pressed, I have to go for the hometown boy. I expect each to have their moments, N’Dam will outbox him in some rounds and in other rounds Lemieux will catch him with something big that will bring the crowd to their feet. I think that both may well win an even amount of rounds, but Lemieux will score a couple of knockdowns that will put him ahead on the scorecards and see him crowned the new IBF champ after a hard fought fight, not unlike the Peter Quillin fight.

How do you see it?

Mythical matchups:

Brian Mitchell vs Azumah Nelson/Jeff Fenech/Jon Jon Molina

Regards. – Droeks Malan, South Africa

Hey Droeks. I’ll get to your mythical matchups first (I’m assuming these all take place at 130 pounds, where Mitchell was likely at his best):

Brian Mitchell vs Azumah Nelson/Jeff Fenech/Jon Jon Molina – Nelson by close decision, Mitchell by close decision, and Molina by close decision (nobody had an easy time with the underrated globe-trotting South African)

As for Lemieux-N’Dam, I see the fight much the way you do. I favor Lemieux on points in a hard-fought bout. N’Dam should trouble him with his jab and lateral movement and have his moments of offense, but I don’t like the way the Cameroonian holds his left hand down by his waist. He’s just asking Lemieux to nail him with a monster right.

Now I’ll comment on some of your questions and comments (presented in italics):

This is an evenly matched fight, classic boxer vs puncher that should deliver.

Agreed. Lemieux-N’Dam is the best matchup in terms of styles and significance that is taking place on June 20, and we’re not alone in that opinion. That seems to be the common thought among hardcore fans in the Twitterverse and among the various boxing media know-it-alls (like these dudes who like hanging out in Santa Monica cigar shops).

[springboard type=”video” id=”1535013″ player=”ring003″ width=”648″ height=”511″ ]

Would you agree that this is possibly going to be the highlight of the weekend?

Who knows if it will be the “highlight” of the weekend? My hunch is that it will outdo Broner-Porter and Ward-Smith in terms of compelling action, but ya never know. There’s a reason they fight the fights. We’ll know by the end of tomorrow night.

I thought (N’Dam) was very impressive in the Curtis Stevens fight. His jab and the way that he moved were vaguely reminiscent of a young Larry Holmes.

I was also impressed with N’Dam’s work in the Stevens fight, but not nearly as impressed as you were. He didn’t vaguely remind me of a young Holmes, or even a young Tony Tubbs. Heck, Bruce Seldon had a better jab and stick-and-move game than N’Dam had against Stevens. (I wonder how far “the Atlantic City Express” could have gone if could take a punch? But I digress.)

Lemieux reminds me a bit of Mike Tyson. What do you think of his chin?

OK, time to calm down Droekie my lad. Lemieux is a puncher. His power is real and he has it in both hands, but he’s no Mike Tyson. Seriously, he shouldn’t remind you even a little bit of the prime version of Iron Mike. He’s not quick enough, sharp enough technically and he doesn’t close ground and get the kill fast enough the way the Brooklyn legend did back in the ’80s. But make no mistake, Lemmy is a hunter and a punisher. Can he take as well as he gives? I don’t know. I don’t think he has a bad chin, but the jury is still out if it’s on par with his other abilities/attributes. My hunch is that his whiskers are solid enough to take N’Dam’s best shot.

Do you agree that Lemieux is better than Stevens?

No. I don’t agree, because I have no idea. Even if Lemieux ices N’Dam tomorrow night, it won’t necessarily mean he’s “better” than Stevens or that he would beat the veteran New Yorker. Styles make fights. I tell you what, though, if Lemmy wins the IBF belt and showdown with GGG can’t be made right away, I wouldn’t mind at all watching him make his first defense against Stevens. That would be fun.

 

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

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