Tuesday, December 06, 2022  |

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Dougie’s Friday mailbag

04
Sep

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MCDONNELL-KAMEDA II

Hey Doug.

Haven’t wrote in for a while so I hope this makes it in. First off, I agree with you, THE RING should start handing out a belt at the end of each year for the number 1 P4P again.



Second, I could care less about Anthony Dirrell vs. Marco Antonio Rubio. What I want to see is Tomoki Kameda and Jamie McDonnell again. I had the first one in favor of Tomoki and see him getting the win this time in another hard fought contest. How do you see this one playing out?

Hope to catch you at the Big Drama Show. Thanks. – Robert from Ashton, MD

You know I won’t miss a BDS in NYC. Don’t be a stranger if you see me.

I’m also intrigued by the McDonnell-Kameda rematch on Sunday. There’s no clear favorite in my mind as the bantamweights are evenly matched. Kameda is the more athletic and dynamic of the two, but the Japanese prodigy tends to fight in spots and thus can be outworked by a less flashy but more consistent fighter like McDonnell.

It’s tough to pick a winner but I slightly favor the Englishman. It took McDonnell a few rounds to get into his busy rhythm (and recover from the knockdown) in the first fight but once he did (around the fifth round, in my opinion) I thought he was the ring general.

I think he’ll be better prepared for Kameda’s quirky style this time and start faster and with more confidence. Of course, a faster/more aggressive start could play right into the faster and heavier hands of “Mexicanito.”

But I think Kameda is a little overrated. I wasn’t impressed with his WBO title defense against Alejandro Hernandez last November (even though I know the Mexican challenger is a lot better than his record indicates). I thought Kameda was lucky to come away with the split nod in that one. I was ringside for Tomoki’s title defense against Pungluang Sor Singyu in Las Vegas last July and I thought the rugged little Thai challenger was getting in his ass before getting caught with a perfect liver shot. In fact, if memory serves me, Sor Singyu rocked Kameda badly before being downed by that body shot.

I think Kameda needs to concentrate on McDonnell’s body if he wants to ensure victory in the rematch. However, I’m going with McDonnell by close UD or MD.

 

BROOK VS. CHAVES? YAWN

So let me get this straight! The Ring Rated No 1 is fighting The Ring rated No 8 after fighting two guys in a row who are not ranked in any top 10!!!

Come on man!!!

Brook Vs Maidana would be great

Brook Vs Thurman would be excellent

Brook Vs Bradley even better

Brook Vs Porter in a rematch would be massive

Brook Vs Khan would be brilliant!

I appreciate that Chaves is ranked No 4 by the IBF but he is also No 9 with the WBA and not ranked by WBA. Brook really needs to do better than this!

His last fight was against Franky Gavin. No disrespect to Gavin but come on! Brook is a beltholder in the hottest weight class of the sport right now. His mandatory against Jojo Dan wasn’t a classic either.

Even a fight against The Ring Rated No. 10 Danny Garcia would be better!

Don’t get me wrong I not a Brook hater, and I actually think he can do much better, but he needs to test his metal against much better opposition then this.

Is Eddie protecting him?

I give Brook a chance against all the fighters mentioned above accept Khan and Bradley who have both seen much, much better opposition then Brook and have far too much top quality experience then the man from Sheffield has seen.

What’s your take on this?

Never miss the mailbag. Keep up the great work! – Tabraze from London, UK

Thanks. I’ll try.

I don’t think Eddie Hearn is protecting Brook. I think he’s just keeping his fighter busy.

I would much rather see Brook take on the fighters you mentioned but I’m going to give him a pass on the Chaves fight. Why? Because Chaves is a tough S.O.B. Yeah, the Argentine is a lower top-10 contender (I really consider him a fringe contender) but nobody – including two top-five badasses, Keith Thurman and Tim Bradley – has an easy time with him.

Other factors that I consider:

Kell-Brook-leg-scar_mailbagIt was just last August when Brook outpointed then-unbeaten top-five-rated welterweight Shawn Porter for the IBF strap. And it was only in December when the Sheffield man suffered a horrific injury to his thigh in a bizarre machete attack in Spain. It’s a minor miracle that he’s returned to the ring to fight twice already this year – and look as sharp as he did vs. Jo Jo Dan and Frankie Gavin – before taking on the first RING-rated welterweight of his title reign.

I can’t give him too much guff for fighting Dan because the Canada-based Romanian was his IBF mandatory. And I know Gavin isn’t rated but he was a talented amateur and highly touted prospect at one time. Just because he wasn’t ready for Brook doesn’t mean he’s crap.

Anyway, Maidana would be a great fight for Brook (and fans) but Chino is currently a heavyweight.

A Brook-Thurman showdown might be the best matchup that can be made at 147 pounds (in my opinion) but One Time is part of the PBC League and unless Special K has signed with Uncle Al recently it’s almost pointless to clamor for this fight. Same deal with Porter and Khan.

Perhaps a Brook-Bradley unification bout is possible down the line, but the American veteran is likely headed toward a title defense against Top Rank stablemate Brandon Rios next (or perhaps a mandatory defense against WBO No. 1 contender Sadam Ali). (Timmy’s also got to settle in with a new trainer before he takes on a dangerous foe like Brook.)

I would favor Brook against all of the fighters you mentioned, but we won’t know until they get into the ring. Let’s hope it happens with at least two or three of those worthy challengers.

 

TIMOTHY BRADLEY

Hey Dougie!

I wanted to get your opinion on Timothy Bradley firing Joel Diaz. ESPN posted a pretty good story telling both sides and I have to say I think both made good points but I’m believing more of Bradley. Before I say anything else, I want to say Joel Diaz is a great trainer and he did a very good job with Tim. Timothy Bradley is my favorite fighter and has been for a long time. I think it was the right move. I do believe that his wife definitely had some input into the decision but I think it was more of opening Tim’s eyes more to what he already felt. Bradley hasn’t looked great since he fought Marquez.

There have been great coaches/trainers in other sports that get fired. It’s part of the business when the players/fighters aren’t improving. Tim Bradley really needed a new voice and new direction because he has regressed since Marquez. A lot of people see this as a negative but I see it as a big positive. He was never gonna get better and improve under Diaz at this stage of his career. Monica Bradley could be feeling like Billy Hope’s wife in the movie Southpaw lol. – M. Morgan from Texas

I haven’t seen that movie so I don’t get the reference, but thanks for sharing your thoughts on the Bradley-Diaz split, Double M.

I agree that trainer-athlete splits after longtime partnerships are part of sports (amateur and pro, at every level). It’s extremely rare for a professional fighter to be with the same trainer or co-trainers for his entire career these days. I hate to say it but diehard loyalty like Marvin Hagler’s connection to the Petronelli brothers is a thing of the past.

To be honest, I was surprised by the attention Bradley-Diaz split attracted on social media.

I don’t really have a strong opinion on it (and I certainly don’t feel the need to pick a side). I think they had an excellent run together. They both overachieved in many ways and beat the odds numerous times. They also made some very good paydays.

I wish Bradley luck in finding a new trainer, one who can take him to the next level if he hasn’t already plateaued. I wish Diaz luck with his young stable that includes Diego Magdaleno, who challenges for the WBO lightweight title next month, and unbeaten featherweight prospect Diego De La Hoya, who headlines tonight’s LA Fight Club show. I have no doubt that Joel will be working with three or four world titleholders within a couple years.

And I have no doubt that Bradley will be in a few more memorable high-profile fights/events before he hangs up his gloves, regardless of who is in his corner.

 

WHO COULD BEAT WHITAKER?

Hello, Doug!

I have one mythical matchup:

Kostya Tszyu vs Pernell Whitaker at 140 pounds.

Many fans have been wondering who can beat Floyd Mayweather. But for me Pernell Whitaker is harder to beat (without controversy, of course). We all know Tszyu was a nightmare for boxers who like to fight from a distance, but could he beat Sweat Pea? (I think he could…)

If not, what kind of fighter can beat the best version of Whitaker? Perhaps only Duran or Hearns? Regards. – Taku from Japan

I think Tszyu-Whitaker at 140 pounds is a toss-up. It could’ve come down to the judges, but I’m going to go with Tszyu because I think the sharp-shooting Russian would hurt and maybe drop Sweet Pea at some point. Plus, I think Tszyu would tie-up Whitaker when in close and use grappling/roughhouse tactics to throw the American master off rhythm and wear him down. Now, if the fight was officiated by a ref who didn’t tolerate that rough stuff that Kostya occasionally used, perhaps Whitaker could beat him to the punch from the outside, make him miss and outmaneuver him for 12 rounds. But I think it was very hard to do that with Tszyu, whose unique style and strengths always seemed to trouble stylists.

I always had a lot of respect for Whitaker, because the slickster was truly fearless and always sought to challenge himself, but I never viewed him as unbeatable.

I think Duran would have beat him at lightweight, junior welter and welterweight. And I would certainly favor dynamic (and naturally bigger) boxer-punchers like Leonard and Hearns to beat the natural lightweight. Those three ATGs had world-class power and physical strength to go with their elite-level skill, technique and ring generalship.

 

DUCK POND

What’s up Doug?

I’ll try and make this short n sweet, it seem as tho social media has taken fighters ducking other fighters n calling out other fighters into a whole new world, this is not something new to this sport even tho the old timers will tell you they never ducked anyone, which is bs of course. Most people think that’s all it takes to create a fight but it ain’t that easy, as you know.

If I start naming fights that never happened I could be here all night but I promised to make it short, first of all these are just my opinions, I’m not an expert and opinions are not facts.

I would like to know wtf happened in the 90’s in the middleweight division, on one side (usa) you had RJJ, B hop, n Toney, across the pond (uk) u had Watson, Benn, Micalzewski the gloriously pompous Eubank yet none of them ever met in the ring, wtf happened? were they afraid of flying? Jesus imagine what a round Robin of fights that would’ve been, I have a hard time believing that never went down.

Aaron Pryor vs Sugar, I know he’s ur all time guy but i really believe he wanted no part of that crazy mofo, you can’t hurt a crazy mofo, and if highly motivated forget it ur fu—d, I know about the eye and that wasn’t some made up bs story, but he fought Bruce finch n Roger stattford when he could’ve easily thrown down with the Hawk, rumor has it that he used to beat the crap out of Sugar in sparring n vice versa, Hawk definitely had no fear of SRL or Tommy, that fight was on my wish list.

ok, this is the creme de le creme, if u ever run into Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran, Sugarman, and Tommy the hit man, these are the guys widely considered the best of the best, never ducked anyone, yada yada, and two of them being my all time favorite (Duran n Marvin) please ask them to explain to me and the rest of the boxing world why the F none of them ever fought that badass Jamaican known as “the Body Snatcher,” he was definitely available and banging on all their doors. First off to qualify as ducking someone there has to be a threat of losing, and lose they would. Mike McCallum beats Duran, Sugar, and Tommy only Marvin survives, urban legend has it that he used Tommy as a punching bag back in the day, at 154 he was one of the best ever in that division, fought Toney 3 times, no one wanted any part of James once at that weight.

Like I said just my opinion, or just the facts nothing in between. – Anton De Mala

Thanks for sharing (even though you didn’t keep it short and it was a bit rambling — LOL). Anyway, I agree that the D-word is constantly tossed about in the Boxing Twitterverse. Everybody’s ducking everybody, according to the social media set.

Personally, I don’t think a fighter can just call out another fighter and then claim that guy is ducking him if a fight isn’t made by the end of the week. First of all, I think whoever calls out another has to be worthy of that fight (such as a legit contender who has paid some dues if he’s aiming for a title shot). Then I think there needs to be interest in that fight – from fans and networks. And finally, there needs to be some real discussion between the reps of the fighters (advisers, management, promoters, TV execs, etc.). If a fair deal is on the table and one guy repeatedly comes up with reasons not to go through with it, OK, then maybe we can all holler “DUCK!”

If a fighter legitimately earns No. 1-contender status and the champion refuses to fight him over a period of a 12-24 months (for example, when Juan Manuel Marquez was the mandatory challenger for the WBO featherweight belt held by Naseem Hamed at the time), then by all means, I think we owe it to the sport to call a duck a duck.

The middleweight/super middleweight situation in the 1990s was due to promotional politics and exclusive network contracts. Jones and Toney were HBO players. (Hopkins was the hated step child of promoters and networks at the time, so he really wasn’t a factor. It took him several years to get HBO interested in him after he lost to their favorite son, Jones.) Benn and Eubank were featured on Showtime at a time when Don King was the major boxing supplier to that network, so that dynamic duo along with King’s vast stable of middleweights and super middleweights (that included Gerald McClellan, Julian Jackson, Frankie Liles, Michael Nunn and John David Jackson) were generally ignored by HBO, which had a rather nasty split with King (when powerhouse promoter took Mike Tyson and Julio Cesar Chavez to Showtime).

(Michalczewski was a light heavyweight, so he really wasn’t a factor in this middleweight mess.)

Anyway, it sucked for hardcore fans that there was that kind of division in the sport back then, just like it sucks now.

I don’t agree with the theories about Leonard “ducking” Pryor. It’s funny you bring this situation up because I often get into debates with fellow hardcore heads and historians online and in social media about Leonard-Pryor and the allegation that Sugar Ray Robinson ducked Charley Burley (in fact, I had a rather long one on Twitter in regard to Robinson-Burley just yesterday).

I guess I must look like a Sugar Ray fanboy, but I don’t think Leonard avoided Pryor. For starters, he had worthy challenges against proven welterweight champs, Wilfred Benitez and Thomas Hearns. If Pryor really wanted a piece of Leonard, why didn’t he prove himself at 147 pounds the way Duran did? Duran was a bigger name than Pryor and more respected by insiders and historians, yet he still climbed the welterweight rankings by fighting several times between 142 and 149 pounds after vacating the lightweight championship and beating respected fighters such as Monroe Brooks and former welter champ Carlos Palomino.

Pryor thought it was enough to call Ray out at one of the press conferences for the Hearns showdown. He was wrong. Leonard fought one more time before a two-year retirement after the Hearns fight – his third round stoppage of Finch in February 1982. At this time, Pryor had only been junior welterweight champ for about a year and a half (with three title defenses under his belt). He wasn’t a bigtimer yet. Pryor gained worldwide recognition after his wars with Alexis Arguello in late ’82 and ’83. But Leonard was retired by the time these fights happened. And sadly, Pryor quickly burned out after ’83 thanks to his drug addiction.

I think a case can be made for McCallum being avoided by the Four Kings, but here’s the deal – they had each other! What did they need him for? Us hardcore nutcakes wonder what would have happened had they fought but trust me, nobody was thinking about McCallum in the early-to-mid ’80s. Leonard fought Duran and Hearns in ’80 and ’81. McCallum turned pro in January ’81 and didn’t fight his first contender (Leonard victim Ayub Kalule) until November ’82. So he wasn’t on the radar when Leonard was “the man” at welterweight (and potentially at 154 where McCallum fought). Hagler and Duran fought in ’83 when McCallum was a still-unknown contender for the WBA 154-pound belt that Hands of Stone won from Davey Moore. Duran was stripped of the WBA title before he faced Hearns, then the WBC 154-pound champ, in 1984. McCallum won the vacant WBA title with a 15-round decision over Sean Mannion in October of ’84. It wasn’t the kind of performance that made fans clamor to see McCallum take on Hearns or even Duran (who was thought to be finished after the Hitman crushed him).

When Hagler and Hearns fought their all-time classic in ’85, McCallum was gaining a little bit of respect by beating top-10 contender (and Kronk product) David Braxton in July of that year.

McCallum didn’t begin to make waves in the boxing world until he stopped the fearsome Julian Jackson in August 1986. But Leonard was retired at the time, Duran was still trying to rebuild himself (and struggling), and the boxing world was trying to set up a Hagler-Hearns rematch (which is why they shared a card in ’86).

McCallum gained more respect by stopping former welterweight champs Milton McCrory and Donald Curry in ’87, but by this time the sport’s spotlight was on Leonard coming back to fight Hagler. This was a showdown that the world wanted to see. I don’t think Hagler ever avoided McCallum, who didn’t step up to middleweight until after he retired (following his controversial loss to Leonard). I don’t think Leonard ever really noticed McCallum because he seldom fought at junior middleweight and he was retired for most of the mid-80s when the Jamaican was making his name.

Hearns and Duran fought at 154 and 160 and held titles at those weights when McCallum was around in those divisions, so maybe they steered clear of him, but they both had lucrative return matches with Leonard to focus on in ’89. By 1990, when McCallum really came into his own as a middleweight, Hagler had been retired for more than two years and Leonard, Hearns and Duran were all considered “past it” by most fans and boxing media.

 

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

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