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Dougie’s Monday mailbag

05
Jul

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LET’S STAY POSITITVE

Hey Doug,

I watched Ringside the British show where Paul Smith’s trainer was saying the weight problem was a miscalculation. F**k that! Accountability means s__t in this business and that goes for a lot of entities.



Anyway I like Diego De Le Hoya! More size and potential than Oscar Valdez IMO. Will be fun to see his journey to bigger fights. Valdez, Jo-Jo Diaz, and there must some other young guns I’m forgetting, are the future. He may not be the future but Gilberto Gonzalez put in a massive effort vs Hevinson Herrera. His legs didn’t look good from the start but it didn’t matter!

These days I’m less focused on the negative topics in this sport which are countless… just bring me the good fights!!! And a bit of competitive build-up helps too. At junior welterweight, Terence Crawford vs Ruslan Provodnikov could be fun. Oh, and I would also be up for Lee Selby vs Vasyl Lomachenko. Don’t see anyone beating him anytime soon but Carl Frampton, Scott Quigg or that Cuban guy might disagree. Have at it then!! Peace. – Vince

Damn Vince, you’re not going to endear yourself to the Cult of Rigo by referring “the great” Guillermo Rigondeaux as “that Cuban guy” or by listing him after Frampton and Quigg. But let’s stay positive!

You’re right. There are countless negative topics in boxing that can easily take over any forum on the sport, so why not focus on the good stuff as much as possible?

I’ll start with Joe Gallagher, Paul Smith’s trainer. I’ve met him a few times when he’s brought his UK stable of fighters to the Southern California area to spar with local badass kids and the world-class guys at the Wild Card Boxing Club. I like him a lot and I’m a big admirer of his work.

I was not impressed at all with Smith’s performance against Andre Ward but we all knew the former two-time title challenger was out of his league against the elite American. Smith pissed me off by coming in heavy, but I’m going to give Gallagher the benefit of the doubt on this one. Why? Well, as I said, I like the dude! LOL. And I’m not aware of any of his other fighters coming in overweight in recent years.

So, I’m gonna keep it positive! Gallagher did a fine job with Matthew Macklin and John Murray some years ago, and now he’s doing very well with Quigg, Anthony Crolla and Paul’s younger brother Callum Smith (a very talented super middleweight prospect that you should keep your eyes on).

Regarding De La Hoya, I wasn’t that into Oscar’s little cousin when he turned pro, but recent fights (this year) have changed my mind. Now I like the kid, too. For starters, he’s been facing solid opposition (for a 20-year-old boxer with less than 15 pro bouts), but I also like his versatility and constant progression. Against Manuel Roman (17-3-3) in February, De La Hoya showed his boxing and counterpunching ability in outpointing the former title challenger over eight rounds. Against Ramiro Robles (12-2-1) in May, he displayed his aggressive side and tried like hell to blitz his countryman with pressure and volume punching (but had to settle for an eight-round decision). Last Thursday, I thought De La Hoya put his boxing skills and aggression together perfectly en route to stopping Jose Estrella in four rounds.

De La Hoya’s jab was crisp with some pop on it, and he worked most of his accurate power shots off that basic punch. He also gave us some nice footwork, head movement, counterpunching and blocking ability. I don’t know if he will develop into a better fighter than Valdez, but he seems more well-rounded at this stage of their careers, and it looks like they’re headed toward a pro clash (which would be great because they were amateur rivals in Mexico).

I think we’ll all be treated to a nice little Mexican/Mexican-American round-robin in the 122-126-pound divisions in a year or two, featuring the likes of Diaz Jr., Valdez, De La Hoya, Jessie Magdaleno, Julian Ramirez and Tino Avila. (All we need is for Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions to work together, which I’m sure they will.)

Regarding “Flaco” Gonzalez, I agree that the gutsy slugger from Mexico City is no world-beater but sign me up for matchups against the Herrera-Lundy winner or rugged bastards like Denis Shafikov and Kevin Mitchell.

I’d love to see Crawford vs. Provo. The winner could face Tim Bradley.

I don’t think Selby is ready for Loma, but if the newly crowned IBF beltholder wants to prove me wrong, more power to him.

In a perfect world, Frampton would fight Quigg for UK supremacy at 122 pounds and the winner would take on the real champ of the division, Rigondeaux. And then the winner of that fight would step up to 126 pounds and challenge Loma. (Let’s pause a few seconds while certain fans complete their boxing-nerdgasm at the very thought.)

Instead, we’re getting Frampton vs. a 22-year-old prospect (Alejandro Gonzalez Jr.), Quigg vs. Kiko Martinez (which is a solid matchup that should produce action), “the Cuban guy” vs. Forgetful Fans, and Loma vs. TBA.

Oops, I think I just dipped into some negativity there. Sorry. (It ain’t easy to keep it positive.)

 

THE LAWSUIT

Is Bob Arum’s lawsuit against Al (the Godfather) Haymon worthwhile? Seems like Al is within his rights so Bob is just throwing away money. Thoughts?

Thanks. – Gerry, League City, Texas

I’m just a simple boxing writer, Gerry. I have a master’s degree from Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism but I did rather poorly in the Journalism & Law seminar (it was held on Sunday mornings and I often skipped it to go workout at Gleason’s Gym).

So I’m hardly qualified to tell you if Arum’s lawsuit against Haymon is “worthwhile.” I can only tell you two things I know about The Bobfather:

1) Having graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School and having worked for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, my guess is that he knows if a lawsuit has merit.

2) Arum does not throw away money.

MARCOS MAIDANA M.I.A

Hey Dougie,

I’m starting to get a little concerned for the Argentine bad ass. I’m thinking of filing a missing person’s report. All the talk of him fighting Keith Thurman quickly disappeared. What’s next for Maidana and when should we expect an announcement on who he’s fighting next? With some bad PBC cards so far this year, I’m hoping they can put something decent together on free TV at some point, and Maidana might be just what they need to get some excitement going. – Andreas, Montreal

No doubt about that. The PBC needs a strong injection of action and Chino is the perfect fighter to come to their rescue.

However, I have NO IDEA what’s up with the PBC in terms of upcoming fights. As I’ve stated in many previous mailbag columns, the PBC’s matchmaking seems totally random to me.

Fights that make sense – such as Thurman vs. Maidana or Daniel Jacobs vs. Peter Quillin or Danny Garcia vs. Maidana/Khan/Broner/Porter – ain’t happening. (Not yet, anyway.)

Instead we get Thurman vs. Luis Collazo, Jacobs vs. Sergio Mora and Garcia vs. Paulie Malignaggi. (Which is great for the aging “underdogs,” but not so good for the viewers or Haymon’s “A-sides.”)

I’m happy to admit that I don’t get it.

Anyway, I hope Maidana makes an appearance on Showtime or one of the PBC networks before the end of 2015. Maidana vs. Thurman, Porter, Garcia, Khan or Broner would be must-see TV.

Let’s see if we can get a #BringBackChino hashtag going to accompany #FreeBoxing4All

BOXING STYLES & LABELS

Dear Dougie,

Thanks for all your boxing insights over the years. Big fan of your writing.

Reading articles and listening to commentary you often hear fighters labelled as “pure boxers,” “boxer/punchers,” “brawlers,” etc. The list of nouns and adjectives is as big as the reading net an enthusiast chooses to throw.

Everyone is free to have their own personal labels and I realise it is just a rough labelling, as fighting styles are too unique and varied to fit perfectly into neat categories, but I would be interested to know after all the years you’ve been part of the sport any groupings you use with maybe an example or two.

Thanks in advance if you get time for this.

Ps. What’s your beer brand so I can send one over if I ever spot you in Jimmy’s. – Phil, Singapore

You can’t go wrong with Guinness, Phil. Thanks for the kind words and good intention (buying me a beer at Jimmy’s). I hope to meet you in NYC one day.

I’m not sure I completely understand your questions, though. I think you’re trying to ask me to list all the various boxing-style labels/categories that I know of. (If I misinterpreted your email let me know.)

So, off the top of my head, the main style distinctions are “boxer,” “puncher,” “pressure fighter” and “slugger/brawler.” And then there are the MANY variations of those four main categories, which are often explained with adjectives, such as “technical,” “slick,” “crafty,” “speedy,” “aggressive,” “athletic,” “swarming,” “defensive,” “counter-punching,” “volume-punching,” “stalking,” “awkward/unorthodox,” “mobile,” and, of course, “southpaw.”

And there are also combinations, such as “boxer-puncher,” “boxer-slugger,” or “pressure-puncher” (I may have just made that last one up).

Examples:

Bernard Hopkins and Andre Ward – boxer, technical boxer (or technician)

Gennady Golovkin and Sergey Kovalev – puncher, boxer-puncher, pressure-fighter, pressure-puncher

Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Guillermo Rigondeaux – boxer, defensive boxer, counter-punching boxer (or counter puncher)

Roman Gonzalez, Wladimir Klitschko and Miguel Cotto – boxer-puncher, technician

Tim Bradley and Amir Khan – boxer, aggressive boxer, volume puncher (or swarmer)

Kell Brook and Keith Thurman – boxer-puncher (Brook is more technical, Thurman is more aggressive/athletic)

If you look up the June 2013 issue of THE RING, there’s a story entitled “The Alchemy of Boxing” that was co-written by Brian Harty and Yours Truly (click here and scroll down the page to order it from Back Issues). We go over all the various boxing styles in that article and explain (or attempt to explain) how those styles usually play out in the ring. It should be a fun read. (Hopefully, it’s not already dated.)

PHONE-READING THE MAILBAG

Yo Doug,

Long time Reader here. I have a Windows Phone and can’t read the mailbag properly because when you put in photos the margins takes the width of the photo and I can’t read part of the text. I hope you can tell the tech guys about this bug. Respect Mr. Master Boxer Analyst. – El Pato, Monterrey, Mexico

Thank you for the new title. I will wield it with pride and power.

In all seriousness, thanks for passing along the tip on the Windows Phone glitch. I don’t like reading articles on my iPhone but I occasionally check out the mailbag on it just to see how it’s presented (and it usually looks just fine!)

I forget that there are other smart phone brands out there that fans use to access RingTV.com content, so thanks for the reminder. I will definitely pass this info on to our tech folks (and in the meantime I’ll leave photos out of the body of the text). I want fans to be able to read and watch RingTV from any brand of phone and from all mobile platforms.

In about a month or so, we’ll have big announcement that pertains to the expansion of the RingTV online experience. Stay tuned.

 

HAYMON AND UK FIGHTERS

Hi Dougie,

Been a longtime reader but this is my first attempt at making it into your mailbag.

I know Al Haymon’s ‘takeover’ of US boxing has been discussed at length by fans with many blaming him for stopping quality match ups being made. However an angle I’ve not heard much about is the effect him signing UK fighters could have on making the biggest fights on this side of the pond.

Two of the biggest domestic fights that could be made are Amir Khan vs Kell Brook and Carl Frampton vs Scott Quigg. Both fights would be huge events and would undoubtedly be PPV shows in the UK. However, both Khan and Frampton are now with Al Haymon and I wonder if this could play a part in these fights not getting made.

The way I see it, the PBC has so many US TV deals and dates to fill that it doesn’t make any sense to have their fighters on a non-PBC card. Could they do a PBC show from the UK? I’m not sure the lack of ring walks and announcers would work with a UK crowd in a football stadium.

Maybe I’m reading too much into it but I worry that Khan and Frampton are now part of what is effectively a boxing league and Brook and Quigg are outside that league. What are your thoughts and also who would you pick if these fights are made? – Russell, Scotland

I don’t see why Haymon couldn’t do a PBC show from the UK. Maybe that will happen in the near future now that he’s got Frampton in his stable/league. We’ll see.

I favor Brook over Khan, maybe by late stoppage, in a competitive fight. And I’m sticking with my UK upset special in the Frampton-Quigg matchup, I like Scotty by hard-fought decision in that one.

However, I don’t think we’ll see those matchups anytime soon. Those fights are too risky for Haymon to sign off on without having paper on Brook and Quigg.

 

 

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