Dougie’s Friday mailbag
HOW DAVID CAN BEAT GGGOLIATH
I want to thank you for including me in so many mailbags this year. I would read them whether I made it or not since I’m hooked. It seems you and I are in the minority concerning the upcoming middleweight championship bout between David Lemieux and Gennady Golovkin. The people writing in don’t seem to realize that this fight promises to not only be a possible fight of the year but the middleweight division has not had two power punching maniacs like this in twenty years.
I’ve read what others have written and all the fans do is seem to deride or demean the Canadian. Have they seen him fight? In my opinion he’s the second best middleweight out there. I’m a huge fan of Lemieux’s and I do have a question/observation hoping for your input. You’ve seen Lemieux up close and personal when you called the Hassan N’Dam fight. I’ve only seen Lemieux fight live, on television, about three times and had to you tube his past fights. Now here’s the question: Lemieux throws a picture perfect left hand as we all know, but in order to defeat and yes, knock GGG TFO I believe David needs to start throwing the overhand right. Like dip under and come over the top with his right hand or shoot the overhand right from a semi-crouch position over GGG’s left. The Canadian throws a mean right hand to the body but from my observations, he doesn’t use his right enough. And yes, I’m going to bring up “Big Bad Benn” again. Nigel Benn threw one of the best overhand rights I’ve ever seen. It seems to me Lemieux needs to throw a similar overhand right…In fact Lemieux would be well served to watch some of the “Dark Destroyer’s” fights.
I know I’m in the minority here but after watching both fighters I believe Lemieux can score the upset. I’ll definitely be rooting for him against GGG. Regards. – Erik
Win, lose or draw (and what are the odds on that happening, 10,000-1?), I think Lemieux will give you something to cheer about, Erik. I consider him a decided underdog in this fight but a “live dog” because of his punching power (obviously), come-forward style (which I think bothers GGG more than stick-and-movers), conditioning (which he certainly proved against N’Dam) and his steely resolve.
I did long, one-on-one sit-down interviews with both Golovkin and Lemieux before their Los Angeles press conference yesterday. Both men are excited about the Oct. 17 event and focused on the fight, but Lemieux’s got an intensity about him that I haven’t experienced since talking to a prime Shane Mosley. It’s like he goes into a hard trance when he’s talking about the fight. There’s an almost primal focus about Lemieux and it’s both fascinating and a bit scary because it kind of reminds me of the late Edwin Valero.
Anyway, I still favor GGG, but for whatever it’s worth, I’m giving Lemieux more of a shot than I did when the fight was first announced.
Don’t worry about Lemieux’s critics. They’ll be just as excited as you are about the matchup come fight week (no matter how hard they try to fake like they’re not interested). I agree that the middleweight division hasn’t hosted a showdown between bona-fide KO punchers like Golovkin and Lemieux in 20 years. In fact, I think Golovkin-Lemieux is the best middleweight puncher title bout since the first Julian Jackson-Gerald McClellan fight, which took place 22 years ago.
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Jackson carried a 46-1 record with 43 knockouts into that bout, along with WBC title. McClellan brought a 30-2 record with 26 KOs to the dance. But they didn’t do any dancing, as you know. They threw bombs and the Hawk was eventually bombed out in Round 5 – THE RING’s KO of the Year for 1993.
I expect similar shootout on Oct. 17. It might go more rounds, though, and both fighters will probably take more punishment than Jackson and McClellan did. One thing I’ve noticed being ringside for Lemieux’s last two fights is that the Montreal native retains his power in the middle and late rounds. He was “left-hook happy” against N’Dam. I agree that he will need to use his right hand more in order to inflict significant damage on GGG. A somewhat looping overhand right launched from a crouch (and timed to land over Golovkin’s jab) might be the ticket. And, hey, watching Benn’s old fights couldn’t hurt. Benn was every bit as intense as Lemieux (probably more so), and nobody committed to his right hand like the “Dark Destroyer.” Sometimes he launched it with wild abandon but it usually got results.
Speaking of Benn and middleweight puncher shootouts, I finally found a version of his one-round blasting of Iran Barkley on YouTube that includes his awesome post-fight interview with an upset Alex Wallau (who was rightfully incensed about Benn’s flagrant punches landed when “The Blade” was on the canvas). Enjoy!
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AS THE BOXING WORLD TURNS
A lot to talk about in the sport this week.
1) Mayorga-Mosley. If this one doesn’t get killed by Don King, how do you see it playing out? I think Mayorga is (surprisingly) fresher and with his awkward style will heavily trouble a broken down Mosley.
2) Will we be lucky enough to get Bradley-Brook this year? I also hear Provodnikov and Chaves are still in the mix for the IBF champion. How do you see this one playing out if it gets made? I actually think Brook could be the first to stop the “new” aggressive Bradley.
3) Thoughts on this week’s PBC news? Porter-Thurman? I lean “Showtime” in that match due to his work rate, combination punching, and in-your-chest strategy. Thurman struggled against a slow but persistent Collazo at times. He needs a Kell Brook jab to keep Porter off and he just doesn’t have that. Garcia-Guerrero? This one is just a shame if it happens. Garcia needs to step up. Peterson was a good challenge but Guerrero looked awful in his last fight and Malignaggi brought nothing to the table.
4) Amir Khan. Who will he possibly face next? I don’t know what the odds of he and Pacquiao tangling given the Top Rank-PBC conflict, but I will flip out if he takes another tune-up in hopes of landing Manny or Floyd in the spring. I’m not sure who is feasible given that Porter, Thurman, Garcia, Guerrero, and non-PBC guys are tied up. Seems like only Lamont Peterson and Marcos Maidana are fall options.
5) Juan Manuel Marquez is allegedly coming back but which candidates are on the table for him? He’s too old to be doing tune-ups and both Brook and Bradley seem like they will either fight each other or other guys. Do you think he can be competitive at his age with these injury layoffs? And can he find a meaningful fight?
6) Allegedly Ellerbe said that Mayweather-Berto would be finalizing one more undercard bout that would be very strong. I have not heard anything since. Have you? It seems to me that to sell that PPV they will need a strong fight with one of the young PBC stars.
7) What do you think the odds are that Floyd gets KTFO by Berto as karmic retribution for selecting such a theoretically soft touch for his “final” fight? Berto is very fast and very strong. He probably doesn’t have anything to lose by going for broke. He does not think like an elite fighter so he will probably behave somewhat unconventionally. Floyd may want to close on a knockout, leaving him more vulnerable than usual… man, one can hope.
Hope all is well, Doug. – Vincent, New York, NY
All is well, Vincent. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’ll respond to them in order:
1) I have no idea what to expect if the Mosley-Mayorga rematch takes place next Saturday because both vets are so far removed from their primes. I haven’t seen Mayorga fight live since his loss to Miguel Cotto in 2011. I haven’t seen Mosley live since his draw with Sergio Mora in 2010. I doubt either fighter has improved since those bouts. I thought Mayorga troubled Mosley in their first bout (2008, which I covered) and there’s no reason for me to think that the cagey Nicaraguan can’t do so again provided he taken his training seriously. But I’ll go with Mosley via late TKO or technical decision after Mayorga sustains some kind of weird injury (twisted ankle after being dropped, or thrown out shoulder after missing with a wild punch).
2) If Bradley-Brook is made this year, I won’t complain too much about 2015. I love that fight and I think it’s one of the best matchups that can be made in the 147-pound division. I like Brook in that one and I don’t think a late TKO victory is out of the question.
3) If Thurman-Porter is finalized (for Oct. 3 or another date this year) it will be the best matchup (on paper) between PBC fighters made in 2015 next to the Mares-Santa Cruz fight. Although I like Porter a lot and have the utmost respect for the Ohioan, I gotta ride with my long-haired Halfrican in this matchup. I like Thurman’s speed, accuracy, mobility and fluidity over Porter’s awkwardly effective aggression and brute strength. Porter’s got to get inside to do his damage and I don’t see Thurman allowing him to do that. Look for Thurman to continue his recent “drive-by shooter” style and power-potshot his way to a decision. My thoughts on Garcia-Guerrero? Pass.
4) The most feasible fight for Khan in the second half of 2015 is a rematch with Peterson, and it’s a bout that I would watch with interest.
5) I don’t think Marquez can find a meaningful fight. I’d love to see him face Brandon Rios (preferably at The Forum in Inglewood) but I don’t think that fight will happen. To be honest, I’m over JMM. I’d like to see him ride off into the sun set and take Mayweather and Pacquiao with him.
6) I guess Ellerbe considers Jhonny Gonzalez-Jonathan Oquendo to be a “strong” pay-per-view undercard bout. My thoughts? Pass.
7) Guys who lose to Jesus Soto Karass do not knockout elite boxers.
Let me start this mail with a big thumps up for you. I just love the way you fence off the bulls__t from the Floydians or whatever one should call these idiots! Maybe it’s a good idea to start doing the same thing with people who think Pacquiao should keep on boxing.
On top of that you nailed it when it came to the Huck-Glowacki fight. Good and exciting fight but not fight of the year, because there were not too many exchanges. I could see where that came from though. And it’s something that you missed, as did Michael Rosenthal in his Weekend Review. Huck was a different fighter now that there is no Ulli Wegner in his corner. He fights with his hands down more because there seems to be much emphasis on his power. His jab was never really good but it is completely gone now. And Marco seemed to be more alone in there than ever before. There seemed to be no real connection with his trainer. Something he tried to overcompensate for by fighting more reckless. I am not saying Don House screwed up but coming in on a champion as a new trainer must be awfully difficult. Having watched most of Huck’s fights on German TV which we got on cable in Holland I just know what a difference Ulli Wegner can make. The guy can be offensive, rude, nurturing and caring all during one fight. In this case he would have had to play down Marco’s ego after the knock down in Round 6 to get the win by concentrating on breaking his man down instead of just whacking him out. That is why he got caught in my opinion.
From Huck’s point it would had been better if he could have stuck with Wegner. From a fan’s point, it got us a hell of a fight. All in all, it is my opinion that Wegner is one the best trainers ever and House still has to prove if he can be more than a UFC-cutman and an average trainer.
One more thing. I am all for the challenge you got from Steve about the Mythical Matchups with fans’ responses. Best regards and go out and kick some Floydian Asses! – Bart Plaatje, Groningen, Holland
I’ll do my best, Bart, although I might be too focused on the build-ups to a number of good fights scheduled in October and November to even bother with Floydians, Floydiots and Money Team Morons.
I’ll start thinking about mythical matchups for fans to answer, and I’ll come up with some kind of reward or giveaway for the best ones (in my humble opinion).
I noticed that Huck lacked a jab but I viewed that tactical mistake more as the result of the defending WBO titleholder overlooking his challenger and Glowacki’s aggressive southpaw style than any shortcoming in House’s training.
I agree that Wegner is a top boxing coach – arguably one of the five best (and most accomplished) active trainers in the sport – but I disagree with your notion that House is just a “UFC cutman” and “average trainer.” House is a very good trainer. I’ve seen him train and enhance world-class talent – such as Joan Guzman – over the years and I think he did a tremendous job with Bermane Stiverne before the moody heavyweight standout imploded vs. Deontay Wilder in January.
I don’t blame Stiverne’s or Huck’s loss on House. The fighters are most responsible for what they do in the ring. Too often in professional boxing the trainers receive more credit for big wins than they deserve and take too much of the blame for high-profile losses.
It takes time for a fighter and trainer to gel, and it often takes three or four fights for the things they work on in the gym to be done right in the ring. Huck and House simply had the misfortune of having to deal with a card-carrying Polish badass on Aug. 14.
As impressed as I was with Deontay Wilder’s victory over Bermane Stiverne, after his recent choice of opponents, I am cooling down fast.
It makes me think back to when Riddick Bowe won the title from Holyfield. I remember watching that great fight with a buddy and telling him that Bowe was going to be champion for a long, long time. Then he ducked Lennox Lewis and made two consecutive gimme defences against an over the hill Micheal Dokes and gatekeeper Jesse Ferguson. The rest is history. Bowe, whom I thought had all the tools to be a great heavyweight champion, became perhaps one of the saddest wastes of potential in boxing.
Now I’m not saying that Wilder has the same potential that “Big Daddy” had, he doesn’t, but he still has a lot. Come to think of it, his last opponent and his next are worse than those two Bowe opponents. At least Michael Dokes was heavyweight champ once and Ferguson did in fact earn his shot with that upset of Ray Mercer.
Eric Molina has never beaten anyone of note, was knocked out in one by Chris Arreola and lasted nine rounds with Wilder. Credit to Molina, he did his best and hung tough, but it looked to me as if Wilder was having a try out sparring session and even got buzzed.
Ok, so I’ll grant him a home coming party.
Now we got Johann Duhaupas. I have never even heard of the guy. His biggest win is over Manuel Charr who is famous for getting knocked out by Povetkin and being Vitali Klitschko’s last opponent. He lost to Erkan Teper, which I am prepared to ignore, since the German may well turn out to be good, but then there is a loss to Francesco Pianeta? Come on. Wilder is fighting his version of Jean Pierre Coopman.
The trouble that I have with this pattern is that I think Wilder will regress and not progress by not challenging himself, don’t you think? Compared to how he looked against Stiverne, he looked mediocre in the Molina fight.
I also think there is a good chance that one of these unknowns may yet get lucky on a too relaxed Wilder and then all the big plans go up in smoke.
Please tell me I’m wrong, but I get the feeling that he is going to do a Bowe and dump that green belt in the trash rather than fight Povetkin and get a PBC belt from Al Haymon instead. That will usher in promoter controlled titles like in MMA and I can’t see any good coming from it.
Regards. – Droeks Malan, South Africa
If Wilder pulls a “Bowe” and drops his WBC title rather than defend it against mandatory challenger, Alexander Povetkin, I’m going to drop all interest in the American heavyweight and I don’t think I will be alone in doing so.
Unlike Bowe, Wilder doesn’t have an Evander Holyfield to engage in an all-time great trilogy with (and even if there was a Real Deal around, who knows if Wilder would face him?).
Having said that, I’m not convinced that Wilder will regress against Duhaupus. The Frenchman is a competent fighter, a solid step above Molina, and I know that’s not saying much but hear me out. It’s possible that Wilder’s impressive showing against Stiverne was a bit of a mirage. I’ve heard a lot of stories about Stiverne going on spending sprees, partying, putting on crazy weight, doing dumb things to shed off those “party pounds” and basically doing everything one can do in Sin City except for training his ass off for his first title defense.
So maybe – juuuuust maybe – Wilder got lucky against Stiverne and Wilder’s people know it. Maybe the Molina fight reminded them about how raw their guy is and they figured it was best to get the Alabama native more rounds before gambling with a legit top contender and certified hard ass like Povetkin.
Duhaupus should give Wilder some quality rounds. He’s got a decent jab, moves around the ring OK and is solid all around, but he’s a basic stand-up European boxer who lacks the speed, power and athleticism to really threaten Wilder.
Wilder should prevail in impressive fashion against Duhaupus, thrill his home state fans and build on his recognition thanks to the NBC platform. We’ll just have to wait and see where Team Wilder and Haymon go with the Great American Hope after Sept. 26.
What up Dougie.
So what’s up with all the media that keeps bringing up Rocky Marciano’s record of retiring 49-0? Floyd isn’t a Heavyweight and I know there have been other fighters that have reached 49-0 before.
There has to be someone who retired undefeated with more wins than 49. I know you got a boxing encyclopedia upstairs can you think of any? – Ryan, NY
Well, Ricardo Lopez retired with a 51-0-1 record, but maybe the Mexican hall of famer doesn’t count because of that one draw, or because he campaigned in the sport’s lightest divisions (strawweight and junior flyweight), or because he isn’t American. Who knows why his record isn’t celebrated as much as the “mystical” 49-0?
The U.S. (and sometimes UK) sports media obsession with Marciano’s record never made any sense to me. Don’t get me wrong, I think “The Rock” is one of the best heavyweight champs in history but I don’t believe that his resume stands up to Joe Louis’ or Muhammad Ali’s and most historians agree with me.
I think Mayweather has accomplished more than Marciano and I don’t think Floyd’s resume compare to most of the all-time greats. I honestly don’t understand why some fans and members of the media are so hung up on the “goose egg.”
Why should Marciano’s 49-0 or Mayweather’s 48-0 be held in a higher regard than Carlos Monzon’s 87-3-9? Do losses count THAT much against a fighter’s legacy? Not in my book. Monzon’s three losses don’t mean s__t to me.
The late, great middleweight champ, who is arguably the best 160 pounder in history, suffered all three of his losses in the first two years of his career. What he did after those losses is what counts. He went unbeaten in 80 bouts, defended the middleweight title a record 14 times, reigned for more than seven years, and beat fellow hall of famer like Jose Napoles, Emile Griffith and Nino Benvenuti. Monzon fought 100 times and was never knocked out.
How is 49-0 better than Louis’ 64-3? Two of those three losses occurred when the “Brown Bomber” was past his prime; the first loss occurred when he was still a bit green. All three losses were to hall of famers (Max Schmeling, Ezzard Charlez and Marciano). Between those setbacks, he set the title defense record (25) for heavyweight (and all divisions) and faced 10 fellow hall of famers.
How is 49-0 better than Ali’s 56-5 or Julio Cesar Chavez’s 107-6-2 or Eder Jofre’s 72-2-4 or George Foreman’s 76-5 or Barney Ross’ 72-4-3 or Benny Leonard’s 91-5-1 or Harry Greb’s 104-8-3 or Jimmy Wilde’s 134-4-2 or Freddie Welsh’s 74-4-7 or Gene Tunney’s 57-1 or Carlos Zarate’s 66-4?
I can go on and on and on. And I can EASILY argue that Marciano’s 49-0 and Mayweather’s 48-0 are not as impressive as the records/resumes of the hall of famers that I have mentioned (and I could mention a dozen more, including Willie Pep’s 229-11-1).
THE RIGO EFFECT
Hope you enjoyed your much overdue and well deserved time off. I was reading through this article about Guillermo Rigondeaux below and was curious to get your opinion on it:
I know you’ve stated on record how much you despise Rigo’s style but could it be more of an effect on matchmaking rather than his fighting style? Personally I’m down the middle in regards to the criticism vs praise with Rigo but what say you? – Eli, Austin, TX
I think “despise” is too strong a word for my opinion of Rigondeaux’s style. Like you said, matchmaking plays a big role in how much I want to see the Cuban master do his thing.
I would anticipate showdowns between Rigo and Vasyl Lomachenko, Carl Frampton, Scott Quigg and the winner of Abner Mares-Leo Santa Cruz.
I admit that I’m not into Rigo as some fans are. I’m definitely not as awed and fascinated by his boxing ability as the author of the deadspin article, Charles Farrell, who is obviously a good writer as well as a smart and cultured person.
I respect Farrell’s opinion but I disagree with his assertion that Rigo is “by far the greatest boxer today” or arguably the “greatest of the last 20 years.”
In fact, I think the southpaw is overrated. Rigondeaux, who is rated No. 5 or No. 6 in most pound-for-pound rankings, was dropped twice by an unrated fighter in his last fight. I don’t care to listen the excuses from the “Cult of Rigo.” Ya know why? Because there’s no way in hell any other so-called elite boxer currently that high in the pound for pound would retain their lofty ranking after such an indignity.
Had Wladimir Klitschko hit the deck twice en route to beating Bryant Jennings – who’s ranked, by the way – the heavyweight champ would drop a few spots in everybody’s pound-for-pound top 10.
If Golovkin gets dropped – or even momentarily wobbled – by Lemiuex (who is ranked), what do think his legion of haters are going to say? Do you think a lot of the same fans – the so-called “boxing purists” and Cubaphiles – who said Rigo was “unfocused” against Hisashi Amagasa will make the same excuse for GGG? I seriously doubt it. If he hits the deck against Lemieux, most will argue like hell that he doesn’t belong in the P4P top 10.
If Roman Gonzalez is floored just once by Brian Viloria, or if he even struggles with the veteran – a superbly talented four-time titleholder in two weight classes – there’s no doubt in my mind that “Chocolatito” will drop from the No. 2 spot he currently holds in most P4P rankings.
Even Numero Uno, P4P King Mayweather, would likely lose his hold on the top spot if Berto were to somehow manage to dump him on the canvas a couple times.