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Dougie’s Monday mailbag

07
Sep
Photo by Lucas Noonan / Premier Boxing Champions

Photo by Lucas Noonan / Premier Boxing Champions

ANOTHER RAW DEAL

So I watched the Tomoki Kameda-Jamie McDonnell rematch on Sunday afternoon and couldn’t believe it when they read out the score cards unanimously for McDonnell yet again.

Their first fight was very close, though I thought Kameda won it, but this one I actually found fairly one sided. I saw Kameda landing the cleaner, sharper shots throughout the fight, turning his man, picking off a lot of punches with his gloves and consistently returning fire. He landed some great left hooks to the head as well as some hard low right hands to McDonnell’s body. McDonnell seemed very one dimensional, coming forward behind a constant jab that I thought got picked off a lot by Kameda’s gloves.

I was shocked when I went online this evening and found that most people thought McDonnell won the fight. The only round I thought he truly won was the last one because of the knockdown, a jab to the forehead followed by a cuffing right to the back of the head combined with a slip. I gave him two rounds that I thought were close before that but even those I saw as nearly even rounds…did I miss something Dougie?



Btw- I thought Canelo beat Lara 7-5. I don’t generally favour flashy movers. I also don’t score points for simply coming forward though, something Steve Weisfeld seems to do. I just didn’t think Mcdonnell was an effective aggressor. – Jack E.

McDonnell wasn’t an effective aggressor. Not for the entire fight, anyway. But Kameda wasn’t the effective boxer that Virgil Hunter was raving about on CBS for most of the fight. Neither bantamweight completely took control of the bout at any time in my opinion. Neither bantamweight was able to fully impose his will and style on the other.

McDonnell had trouble dealing with Kameda’s constant movement, speed and accurate pot shots. Kameda was unable to hurt, contain or even slow down McDonnell.

I thought there were many toss-up rounds and for me McDonnell’s activity was the difference in a slight majority of them. I had the 29-year-old Englishman winning seven rounds (so I agreed with the 115-112 scorecard).

I thought the 117-110 tally was way too wide in his favor. I guess those who thought McDonnell won by a landside – which I’m told includes the Sky Sports commentators – valued his activity and aggression.

Those who thought Kameda won easily valued his ring generalship, cleaner punching and athleticism.

I thought the 24-year-old Japanese talent punched effectively on the fly in the first two rounds but McDonnell began to find his groove by Round 3 and I scored that round for him. The CBS commentating crew didn’t say much about what McDonnell was doing in that particular round but I saw him increase his pressure and land solid crosses and body shots.

I thought Kameda took a competitive Round 4, but I also noted that he was missing with a lot of his punches (especially his jab, which consistently fell short throughout the fight). McDonnell didn’t look great doing it but I thought he outworked and outlanded Kameda during their occasional exchanges during the middle rounds and most of the late rounds.

I scored Round 10 and 11 for Kameda (as it looked like McDonnell tired out and got a bit frustrated with his inability to corner the challenger or force extended exchanges) but the defending “regular’ WBA beltholder definitely took Round 12 with the knockdown.

I fully expected Kameda to get the decision but I was pleasantly surprised when McDonnell was announced the winner (although I thought two of the scorecards were too wide in his favor).

You said: “McDonnell seemed very one dimensional, coming forward behind a constant jab that I thought got picked off a lot by Kameda’s gloves.”

I say: McDonnell was indeed one-dimensional but I think he got more done with that one dimension than Kameda did with his pot-shot-and-move tactics. Kameda picked some shots off, but McDonnell blocked a lot of Kameda’s punches (the ones that didn’t fall short).

MISMATCH OF THE CENTURY?

Hi Doug, What is your take on the Floyd Mayweather-Andre Berto fight? Has Money gone from Fight of the Century to Mismatch of the Century?

When was the last time a number-one Pound for Pound fighter fought such an underdog? Berto is not even a top-10 fighter at welter.

One thing that annoys me is The Ring’s ratings. Looking at them it seems to me, that you award staying clear of defeat way too much compared to fighting the best and winning some and losing some. A fighter like J├╝rgen Br├ñhmer only fought one opponent in The Ring’s top 10 in all his career and lost (against Hugo Garay). Not impressive in a 16-year career. He fights often, but against third-rate opposition and always at home. When he was supposed to fight Nathan Cleverly – a credible opponent – he conveniently got an injury. Still he is ranked in the top-5 at light heavy.

Anderzej Fonfara beat Julio Cesar Ch├ívez Jr. and Gabriel Campillo and gives Adonis Stevenson a tough fight. Two of the fights on the road. Isaac Chilemba fights always on the road and has draws against Thomas Oosthuizen and Tony Bellew. How can they be rated below the master of home cooking? – James

I’m guessing that’s your nickname for Braehmer, not his. (It’s catchy, though. LOL.)

I agree that THE RING’s ratings sometimes favors veteran fighters who merely steer clear of losing rather than challenge themselves. Most ratings systems do this, come to think of it, especially when other ranked fighters are facing each other and losing in a particular division. I think Braehmer has gradually crept up the rankings over the past two-to-three years as other (then-rated) light heavyweights, such as Chad Dawson, Tavoris Cloud, Cleverly, Campillo, Bellew, Chilemba, and Karo Murat faced each other as well as the current top three – Stevenson, Sergey Kovalev and Bernard Hopkins – and took repeated “L”s and eventually dropped in (and out of) the top 10.

Where Braehmer should rank really depends on how much one values wins vs. losses vs. quality of opposition. The German veteran hasn’t lost in seven years, not since dropping a majority decision to Garay in November 2008, and he’s strung together 16 consecutive victories. Not bad. But then, as you noted, his opposition during that streak is not good.

For the record, I agree that THE RING has Braehmer a little too high in the 175-pound rankings at No. 4 (ahead of Eleider Alvarez, Chilemba, Artur Beterbiev, Fonfara, Yunieski Gonzalez and Oosthuizen).

But I’ll also point out that ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael ranks the “Master of Home-Cooking” at No. 5 (ahead of Fonfara, Beterbiev, Gonzalez, Murat and Chilemba).

And the venerable TBRB also rates the 36-year-old southpaw at No. 5 (ahead of Beterbiev, Y-Gon, Alvarez, Chilemba and Tommy Karpency).

This doesn’t mean that THE RING’s Ratings Panel shouldn’t consider the quality of opposition more when assessing rankings placement. I think the Panel usually keeps this in mind, but like I said, some lucky ducks sometimes creep their way up via process of elimination and we should keep our eyes out for that. I copied this email and sent it out to the Panel yesterday as a reminder.

Anyway, you asked for my take on the Floyd Mayweather-Andre Berto fight. Well, here we are, it’s fight week and I still have no take on the fight. In fact, I don’t even like calling it a “fight.” I view it as an exhibition.

Has Mayweather gone from Fight of the Century to Mismatch of the Century?

There’s probably been a couple high-profile mismatches grosser than this one since 2010, but Mayweather-Berto has got to be the most expensive mismatch in boxing history. (Mike Tyson-Peter McNeeley comes close, although in Iron Mike’s defense, he was coming off a lengthy jail stint and more than four years of inactivity; while Mayweather is supposedly on top of his game and coming of the so-called Fight of the Century).

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When was the last time boxing’s pound-for-pound No. 1 fighter fought such an underdog? Probably when Tyson defended his heavyweight titles against James “Buster” Douglas back in 1990.

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So take heart Berto fans! Miracles do happen in boxing.

 

WHO’S THE MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMP?

Hi Doug,

I understand that The Ring Magazine and RingTV both recognize and regard Miguel Cotto as the “linear” world middleweight champion (or RING champion) but what I really don’t understand is how the same publication that bestows this status on Cotto can designate Gennady Golovkin as the “Old School 8” middleweight champion of the world according to yourself and Michael Rosenthal. Flipping through the latest issue, the ratings tells me Cotto is the real world middleweight champion and then the next page tells me it’s Golovkin.

Can you shed some light on this apparent contradiction and close the gap on this disconnect?

Thank you. Respectfully. – Jeffrey Freeman from KO Digest

It’s not really a contradiction, Jeffrey. Cotto is THE RING middleweight champ according to the magazine’s official rankings. The publication recognizes him as THE RING champ because he won our title (along with the WBC’s strap) by stopping Sergio Martinez last year. Cotto is also regarded as the lineal champ because he beat the man (Martinez) who beat the man (Kelly Pavlik) who beat the man (Jermain Taylor) who beat the man (Bernard Hopkins).

“The Old School 8” is just the opinions of THE RING’s editors. It’s a fun little feature where Rosenthal, associate editor Brian Harty and I share who we view as “the man” in the original eight weight classes. It’s obviously not official. The feature combines several divisions: Heavyweight includes cruiserweight, light heavyweight includes super middleweight, and all divisions middleweight through flyweight include the “junior” weight classes. Flyweight also includes strawweight.

We all think Golovkin is the best 160-pound fighter in boxing. We recognize Cotto as THE RING, lineal and WBC middleweight champ, but not as the top 160 pounder. (Maybe he’s the best junior middleweight who fights at middleweight. Then again, Canelo might claim that dubious distinction.)

Anyway, if Cotto can get past Canelo, perhaps he will fight GGG and attempt to prove us wrong.

And in case those of you who don’t peep the mag (shame on you!) are wondering who my other “Old-School 8 champs” are, I got Klitschko at heavyweight, Kovalev at light heavy, Mayweather at welter, Takashi Uchiyama at lightweight, Lomachenko at feather, Shinsuke Yamanaka at bantie, and Chocolatito at fly.

Rosenthal and Harty have Rigo at featherweight.

Like I said, it’s just an opinion and it’s all in good fun. Nobody should get upset about the Old School 8 until we start handing out title belts with “OS8” on them. LOL.

 

LET’S GO CHAMP!

Hey Doug,

After reading Michael Woods’ “Shannon Briggs: Pest knows best?” article, I looked at Youtube footage of Shannon Briggs trolling Wladimir Klitschko. I find it both hilarious or appalling, depending on which fighter’s point of view I take. I’ll never think of Amir Khan’s pursuit of a Mayweather bout as “desperate” again, bearing in mind Shannon’s 2 YEARS of stalking WK, and I can’t wait for / dread what would happen if Tyson Fury licks the Klit and then has to deal with Shannon’s antics. I can’t see the Brit being anywhere near as restrained as the Ukrainian. Have you been present at any of these Shannon / Wladimir confrontations, or seen anything similar that’s been going on for so long? Also, do you think we can use Shannon as a yardstick to measure how an in-shape Lennox Lewis vs an in-form Vitali would have played out? Shannon took Vitali’s best punches for all 12 rounds, but he couldn’t take Lennox’s. On the other hand, he couldn’t land anything on Vitali, yet he almost got Lennox out of there in one round.

Thanks for reading, and keep up the good work. – Richard from the UK

Briggs is a character but I’ll always have a soft spot for the crazy Brooklynite because he helped get the first boxing website venture that I was involved with (HouseOfBoxing.com) off the ground by suggesting that his manager at the time (Marc Roberts) come in as a financial backer. I met Briggs (along with HOB co-founder Gary Randall) when he was training (with the late, great Emanuel Steward) for Frans Botha in Big Bear, California, during the summer of 1999. We produced a video feature on the media-savvy and naturally theatrical New Yorker and Briggs loved it. The next thing we knew we were flying to Atlantic City to cover Briggs-Botha (a Shwotime PPV main event) and talk business with Roberts (who was every bit the character that Briggs remains). We had a blast. Gary hung out with Briggs’ huge entourage while picked the mind of one of my all-time favorite trainers (who loved talking boxing with silly ass nerds like myself).

The moment that Randall and I signed with Roberts (in NYC in early 2000) was the moment I became a fulltime boxing writer. (So if you think I suck, #BlameShannon.)

Anyway, like you and other boxing fans, I’ve been watching Briggs’ #LetsGoChamp campaign with a strange mix of amusement, admiration, embarrassment and disgust. I haven’t witnessed any of it live and in person. I don’t know how I would react to be quite honest. I think I’d worry about Briggs. He seems too worked up at times. I know he’s a big ham and that he’s acting and putting on a show but I wouldn’t be shocked if he suffered a terrible asthma attack, heart attack or stroke during one of his rants. (Shannon’s probably gonna slap me that next time he sees me for writing that.)

I don’t see how Briggs will ever get a shot at Klitschko when Mike Marrone, who he recently stopped, is considered a “step up” in his recent competition.

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I will say this, though. If Fury somehow upsets Klitschko and then becomes Briggs’ new target, I wouldn’t put it past the big nut cake to accept his fellow nut cake’s challenge. I wouldn’t pay that fight much attention but if the kick-off press conference was held on the moon I’d find a way to travel there to witness what would no doubt be over-the-top theater of the absurd.

You asked if I’d ever seen anything similar to Shannon’s #LetsGoChamp campaign. The answer is yes. One fighter publicly hounding another fighter (usually a champion and often more popular) for a big fight is nothing new. When Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, was a young up-and-comer he lobbied to fight Sonny Liston by following the heavyweight champ around Las Vegas with his entourage. Ali had his own tour bus full of camp members and fans that he once parked in front of Liston’s Las Vegas home. Ali “called out” Liston from a bullhorn until the feared champ stormed out of his house in a rage, chucking rocks at the bus until it drove off his property.

During my time as a boxing writer, I’ve witnessed Fernando Vargas stalk and taunt Oscar De La Hoya in much the same way. Long before they finally settled their beef in the ring in 2002, Vargas and his “Ferocious Squad” used to crash De La Hoya’s public appearances around Southern California (sometimes pelting the poor Golden Boy with eggs).

Before Antonio Tarver got his deserved shot at Roy Jones Jr., the Magic Man used to invade his fellow Floridian’s press conferences to repeatedly throw down the gauntlet. Tarver wasn’t as theatrical as Ali, Briggs or Vargas, but he was more articulate (and sometimes very funny) in the way he challenged his fellow Olympic medalist and he seemed to get under Jones’ skin (which sparked lively macho talk-back from RJJ).

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WORST REFEREEING PERFORMANCES

Hello Dougie,

First-time writer, long-time reader. Keep up the good work, it certainly makes a Monday and Friday lunch-time interesting here in rainy Wales!!

I’m currently sat watching a re-run of the Mayweather-Hatton fight being aired as part of a Boxing Gold series on Sky Sports in the UK. It got me thinking. Although there may have been a distinct difference in boxing ability and would perhaps have made little difference to the outcome, Hatton’s swarming style was clearly impacted by the influence and interference of referee Joe Cortez that night.

With that in mind – and apologies if you have been asked this before – but Taylor-Chavez aside what are the top five matches that have been impacted by the referee in your opinion?

Looking forward to an exciting autumn of fights… well after next Saturday that is! – Gavin, Rhondda valleys, Wales

Ha! No doubt about that, Gavin. Thanks for the kind words about the mailbag.

I didn’t view Hatton as being in Mayweather’s class going into their December 2007 showdown (especially at welterweight) but I totally agree that Cortez’s refereeing had an impact on the fight (and a negative impact on Hatton). I’m not saying Hatton would have beaten Mayweather with a different referee but I think it would have been a much better fight to watch.

Regarding your question about fights that have been impacted by the referee, I think I can best answer it by providing a link to a 2011 RingTV.com article that I penned on the 10 worst referee performances of the last 10 years. I compiled the list after referee Russell Mora badly botched the first Joseph Agbeko-Abner Mares IBF bantamweight title bout. And yes, Mora made the list! LOL.

Anyway, click here to read the 10 list and let me know if there have been other terrible refereeing jobs since 2011 that could be part of a new list.

 

YOU’RE AN AL HAYMON HATER

Hello Douglas,

It’s a shame how a your such a hater. The way you hate on Al Haymon and Mayweather is why they don’t make real men anymore. I read on how you was hating on the Mares vs Santa Cruz only cause it was a Al Haymon fight, I bet if it was a GoldenBoy fight you would’ve been like “oh it’s the fight of the year!!” But then I forgot who your boss is, six time loser Oscar De La Hoya, another Mayweather hater. Now I do understand that yes Mayweather is a boring fighter, and him saying he’s greater than Ali is blasphemy, but hey people are buying his fights just like Ali haters were paying to watch him lose, cause Ali too was screaming “I’m the King of World!!” back when America was a very dark place to live in.

I don’t know much about Haymon but here’s a man who wants to put back boxing on the map, on TV for the whole world to watch, not on PPV where WE the people have to take a chance on a garbage card. So I just don’t know why you don’t give the man credit, oh yeah forgot again who owns Ring Magazine, the same person who’s taking Haymon to court.

In a better world there would be no GoldenBoy, Top Rank, Main Events, PBC, HBO, Showtime war. UFC took the blueprint of old school boxing where the champ would fight his mandatory, having big fights around the world, and giving the people a great show like the undercard leading into the main event. But those days are gone thanks to men like Don King and Bob Arum.

In the end I’m boxing fan, and I do respect Oscar the fighter, not Oscar the promoter. But this is not about Oscar, this about you Douglas and the bashing you write on a man who stepped up and took a chance on fixing boxing. Will he succeed?? Only time will tell. – EddieAce81

Yeah, and time is running out. Sorry to be such a “hater.”

It’s funny how say you “respect Oscar the fighter” just two paragraphs removed from where you described him a “six-time loser.” You say you don’t respect Oscar the promoter, but why? Isn’t he helping to make fights that fans want to see? Are you really that mad that some of the bigger fights, like GGG-Lemieux and Cotto-Canelo, are on PPV?

If so, how come you’re not mad at Haymon for Mayweather-Berto being on PPV? Those are his fighters, right?

Maybe you’re a hater. Or maybe your mind is just really cloudy.

You say I was “hating on” the Santa Cruz-Mares fight. Really? How’s that? I didn’t rip the fight. I thought it was a good fight and I wrote so. I just said it wasn’t Fight of the Year (and gave specific reasoning for that opinion).

And how am I really hating on Haymon? Just because I’m critical of the way the PBC has played out thus far doesn’t mean I have anything personal against Haymon or his fighters. (I actually like many Haymon-advised fighters.)

I think the only thing you’re really clear on is the fact that you (in your own words) “don’t know much about Haymon.” Is he really trying to “fix” boxing, as you stated? I don’t know if a hostile takeover of a sport is necessarily the same thing as fixing its ills.

And while putting a lot of boxing on a number of networks (mostly basic cable) does potentially give PBC fighters greater exposure (to casual fans), it doesn’t necessarily promote the sport in a positive way if the most of matchups are random and don’t produce entertaining fights. In fact, oversaturation with a mediocre product can do more harm than good. The PBC can turn away potential new fans.

I’ve heard some Haymon boosters say the PBC saves fans money, but the hardcore heads that know who the PBC fighters are and make it a point to watch are not going to cancel HBO or stop ordering PPV shows as long as quality matchups are offered on those platforms. In some ways the PBC programming is making HBO’s programming look better than it actually is by comparison.

I’m not going to go on and on with any sort of PBC analysis because A) fans like you don’t know the difference between criticism and “hate,” and B) the PBC is what it is and it’s probably going to stay the way it is through 2016. So if you like it, that’s great. ENJOY IT! Don’t fret about us “haters.” (And folks who don’t like it don’t have to watch it – unlike us poor saps in the media. LOL.)

But before sign off, I have to disagree with your view that boxing would be better without promoters and premium cable networks. We don’t have a sport without promoters (Duh!). And while it’s true that Bob Arum and Don King often fought and burned bridges in the industry, it’s also a fact that the two shrewd hall of famers helped develop many of the greatest boxers and events of the modern era (along with the good folks at Main Events). Golden Boy Promotions has also contributed to the sport’s ills (with the recent Cold War) and triumphs (with the help of the old promotional guard, smaller promotional companies, managers, advisers – such as Haymon – basic cable network, HBO and Showtime).

I think GBP will continue to deliver, hopefully learning from past mistakes, going forward.

 

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

 

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