Dougie’s Friday mailbag
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Hope all is well with you.
Firstly, I’m looking forward to seeing my man, Lucas Matthysse, in action this Saturday. He ducks no-one, is never in a dull fight and leaves everything in the ring. He got screwed by the judges against Zab Judah and Devon Alexander IMO. He deserves to finally have that World Championship belt around his waist. I have to admit though, I feel nervous for him against Viktor Postol. It’s a matchup which screams out ‘stylistic nightmare’. The guy’s an excellent boxer with length and reach and my inkling is that he’s a lot tougher than he looks. I’ve only watched him against Selcuk Aydin and saw him get wobbled at the beginning of their fight, but then he just took the Turk to school thereafter and that uppercut to finish him off was plain nasty. I would have given him an excellent chance of beating Danny Garcia if that matchup had taken place. What do you think?
I think we might have reached a new low in boxing when Adrien Broner faces Khabib Allakhverdiev for a vacant belt at 140 this weekend. I’m not sure there has ever been a world title fight between two fighters coming off losses? Oh, and Allakhverdiev hasn’t fought in almost a year and a half. Talk about having an opportunity handed to you on a golden platter. Broner sucks ass as a human being but he’s clearly a level above Allakhverdiev as a fighter. I like Broner by late rounds stoppage.
Finally, some MMUs involving some ATGs and two of my favourite current fighters for you:
Bob Foster-Sergey Kovalev @ LHW
Carlos Monzon-Gennady Golovkin @ MW
Henry Armstrong-Roberto Duran @ LW
All the best and keep the good work coming. – Paul L, Coventry, UK
I’ll try Paul. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on tomorrow night’s fights for vacant 140-pound titles.
I think it goes without saying that the Matthysse-Postol showdown for the WBC belt is a better and more-significant matchup. For starters it pits the WBC’s Nos. 1- (Postol) and 2-rated “super lightweights” against each other for the vacant green strap.
But beyond ratings, we’ve got an interesting clash of styles: an aggressive, busy boxer-puncher vs. a tall, rangy text-book technician.
The Broner-Allakhverdiev bout for the vacant WBA does not match up the sanctioning organization’s top two contenders, and to be honest, I have no idea how their styles will play out in the ring (but I’m not expecting Gatti-Ward). Broner is a talented, athletic boxer-puncher but he often puts his punches on layaway. Allakhverdiev is rough and awkward southpaw.
Nothing against Cincinnati but I’m glad I’ll be at StubHub Center in Carson, California on Saturday.
I would have given him an excellent chance of beating Danny Garcia if that matchup had taken place. What do you think?
I would have also given Postol a good shot at beating Garcia. The Ukrainian has an excellent jab and he’s a disciplined boxer (with underrated pop in his shots). Those same attributes will trouble Matthysse, but I think The Machine’s own jab and greater punch output will be the difference in a competitive and compelling distance fight. I favor Matthysse by close but unanimous decision.
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I’m not sure there has ever been a world title fight between two fighters coming off losses?
I can’t think of any off the top of my head but wouldn’t bet any money on that hunch. Trust me, there have been sorrier matchups for vacant belts in the past couple decades. And to be fair to Allakhverdiev, I thought he beat Jessie Vargas in his last bout.
I don’t think Khabib is going to be a walk in the park for Broner. He was a good amateur, he’s got a tricky style and he’s learned from some brilliant former champs (his current coach Roy Jones Jr., Kostya Tszyu and John David Jackson).
The only reason I (slightly) favor Broner is the Russian’s inactivity, lack of power and the American’s hometown advantage. I think Broner will win a close, maybe controversial, decision.
Your mythical matchups:
Bob Foster-Sergey Kovalev @ LHW – Foster by decision or late TKO (both badasses would hit the deck in this boxer’s shootout)
Carlos Monzon-Gennady Golovkin @ MW – Monzon by UD in a roughhouse affair
Henry Armstrong-Roberto Duran @ LW – Duran by close decision in a brutal fight
WILDER VS JOSHUA NOW
Who would you favour if Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder fought right now? I’m an AJ fan and although he’s unproven I’d back him to flatten Wilder now. I’ve seen AJ fight live twice and the thing that impressed me (other than his power) was his hand speed. Also, where do you think Joshua is relative to guys like Riddick Bowe and Lennox Lewis at the same stage of their careers?
Cheers. – Scott, Glasgow, Scotland
Joshua currently has 14 pro bouts (14-0, 14 KOs). I think the 2012 Olympic gold medalist’s progression is a little bit better than where Bowe’s was after 14 bouts, but definitely behind where Lewis was after 14 bouts.
Lewis won the European title in his 14th pro bout, and thanks to being matched up with savvy former cruiserweight titleholder Ossie Ocasio in his 12th fight, he had gone the eight-round distance. In his 15th pro bout, Lewis took on (and stopped) unbeaten (35-0) British champ Gary Mason. After Mason, three of his next six opponents were former titleholders (including Tyrell Biggs). After that run (which included a 10-round UD over tough and tricky spoiler Levi Billups) Lewis blasted Razor Rudduck in two rounds to establish himself as a true heavyweight player (as well as the WBC’s top contender).
Bowe, on the other hand, began his pro career against 14 consecutive journeymen. Joshua’s opponents are far more experienced than the fighter’s Bowe faced to this point in his career.
The 1988 Olympic silver medalist (he was stopped by Lewis in the finals of the Seoul Games) didn’t step up his competition until facing former titleholders Pinklon Thomas, Biggs and Tony Tubbs in his 19th, 22nd, and 23rd pro bouts. (Biggs gave him trouble; Tubbs arguably outpointed him over 10 rounds.)
However, the eight rounds Bowe went with Thomas and Biggs and the 10 he went with Tubbs served the Brooklyn native very well going forward.
The only reason I wouldn’t favor Joshua (THE RING’s Prospect of the Year for 2014) to beat Wilder is his lack of quality rounds. Joshua’s got all the talent, technique and tools, but until I see him fight past three rounds against a quality opponent, I have to (slightly) favor the rawer but more experienced American boxer-puncher.
THREE QUESTION RAMBLE
Hi dougie….don’t know if you will answer my email but here goes. Firstly I would like to say I always read your replies and listen when you do your take on future fights….sometimes you’re wrong just the same as me but you always give a good breakdown on both fighters.
A few questions and observations I would like to throw your way:
I’ve always considered myself a knowledgeable guy when it came to boxing and have followed and boxed since I was a 12-year-old boy… my idol is Sugar Ray Leonard and still remains that todayÔÇª he had a rare talent for sure… Leonard vs Hearns 1981 was when it all started for meÔÇª an all-time classic and probably my favourite fight in terms of sheer quality… it was ebb and flowÔÇª superb conditioning and edge of the seat drama… it was not a full-blown war like Hagler and Hearns but it was better for sheer skill shown… here’s my 3 questions to you:
What’s your all-time favourite fight and the reason why?
When people talk about Leonard beating Hagler… they say Leonard waited till Hagler was past his prime and slow… I don’t agree with it… I always thought Leonard had the superior brain and boxing skill to outbox Hagler no matter when they thought if it was in 1982 or when they finally faced off in 1987… again what’s your view with a prime Sugar Ray against a prime Marvelous Marvin?
And finally… not sure what’s your take on Anthony Joshua as a future world champion he is ranked WBC 2 behind Povetkin now and number 3 by the WBO as well… but he is not ranked by The Ring… I do think The Ring is seriously underestimating how good he is and I think in a year’s time no one will beat him and he will dominate the division and he’s still only 25…. Klitchko has already stated he will be the future of the divisionÔÇª Tyson Fury would not last 5 rounds with him… I know the American media don’t like to rate English heavyweights but I’m curious about your views on Joshua and can he become world champion?
(P.S. in a year’s time I’ll write back to you and say I told you about Mr. Joshua) LOL. Thanks Doug .. 🙂
Best wishes. – Steve from the UK
You are more than welcome to do so, Steve. Just know that I’m very high on Joshua (and have never made any secret about it in this mailbag column). Since 2012, THE RING’s prospect of the year has been my choice and I went with Joshua last year because I knew he’d be a contender by the end of 2015. He’s not there yet, in my opinion, but he’s getting close. A dominant performance against amateur nemesis Dillian Whyte for the British title might be enough to crack the mag’s top 10. We’ll see. But for now, I think the WBC and WBO are overrating his accomplishments, even though it’s obvious that he’s a special talent.
I don’t agree with fans who say Hagler was “old” and “slow” when Leonard fought him. Yes, Hagler had begun to slow down by 1987, but he was still the undisputed champ on top of his game, as his brutal stoppages of Hearns and John “The Beast” Mugabi proved. Hagler looked slow against Leonard because Sugar Ray was just that much faster than him. Hagler’s inactivity didn’t help. He only fought once in ’85 (Hearns) and once in ’86 (Mugabi). But that’s hardly an excuse given that Leonard had been away from the ring for more than three years prior to their showdown. I agree that Leonard’s talent, smarts and style would have troubled a younger version of Hagler, but I disagree that our childhood idol would have bested the 1982 version of the Marvelous One. Why? Three reasons: 1) Leonard was a welterweight in ’82. (He was 30 years old in ’87 and had grown into a solid 160 pounder, but I don’t think he would have carried that weight as well five years earlier.) 2) Leonard was more headstrong in ’82. (Sugar Ray was on top of the world after the Hearns victory. And there was always a fierce and fearless warrior underneath all that talent, skill and showmanship. I think he would have been overly aggressive in ’82 and Hagler would have made him pay for that.) 3) The ’82 version of Hagler was quicker, busier and maybe a bit hungrier than the ’87 version. I think the middleweight champ would have kept his crown by close decision in a classic fight.
I don’t have a favorite fight, but two bouts that I never get tired of watching is the first showdown between Michael Carbajal and Chiquita Gonzalez because of the action (the underrated precision power punching of both junior flys), drama and sheer emotion of Carbajal’s up-for-the-canvas stoppage of his fellow future hall of famer; and Roberto Duran’s upset of Iran Barkley because of the heart and skill that both warriors displayed over 12 hotly contested rounds, but also because of the amazing ring craft that the 37-year-old Hands of Stone exhibited in lifting the WBC middleweight title.
Thanks for the kind words and thanks for sharing your thoughts.
GGG VS SRL MYTHCIAL MATCHUP
Does your Golovkin/Leonard scenario change if the fight is 15 rounds as opposed to 12? – Mitch
No. Not at all. GGG has never fought the 12-round distance, so he’s a complete question mark over 15 rounds. Leonard was a 15-round fighter, as his welterweight showdowns with Wilfredo Benitez and Tommy Hearns proved.
BORING FIGHTERS & RACISM
King Dougie (of the mailbags),
It’s been a long time since I’ve emailed you with an inquiry but I still catch you every Monday and Friday. Props to your sustained successes. My inquiry is concerning racial prejudices concerning black fighters. When I look at the styles of Floyd Mayweather, Guillermo Rigondeaux, and Pernell Whitaker I see 3 who were very defense minded with God given reflexes who were able to confound and befuddle opponents. Now these guys were at some point or currently considered “boring.” Rigo humiliates Donaire and his career has been non-existent after that which to me is one of the greatest injustices I’ve ever seen. Whitaker had to fight a Chavez or ODLH (correct me if wrong) in order to get PPV money. “Money/Pretty Boy” couldn’t sell out an elementary school gym (oh how his fanboys seem to forget) until breaking from Arum and taking on this “coon” persona.
- Is this what it takes now for black fighters to make it to the big time, be a racial stereotype so that they’ll be hated in order to sell tickets & PPV’s? At least Haymon with his PBC gives some of these guys a platform.
- Compare the 3 aforementioned fighters to the style of a certain “Will O Wisp,” a top 10 ALL-TIME fighter PRAISED for his defense and style. Was there any differences between him and the 3 defensive specialists?
- And how is Paul Malignaggi, who can’t break an egg, able to consistently get fights on TV and lose, while Rigo is an after-thought? Are we the public saying the Paulie is exciting to watch? Hmmmm.
I know this is long and even if this doesn’t make it to the mailbag please respond in some way. Thank you for your time and keep being the King of the mailbags. – Greg-Baltimore
Thanks for the kind words and for sharing your thoughts and opinions, Greg. I’ll answer your questions in order:
1) I don’t think black fighters – including those with defensive/technical styles – need to create embarrassing or polarizing personas in order to be respected, sell tickets or to get TV dates. From Whitaker to Cory Spinks to Devon Alexander, we’ve seen slick/savvy African-American boxers who weren’t exactly Mr. Personality or Mr. Excitement showcased on premium cable and make many very good paydays. (And all three packed arenas when they fought in their hometowns.) Were the southpaws I noted as popular or in-demand as the blood-and-guts fighters of their respective eras? No. Did they sell as many tickets away from home? Often not. But Whitaker was on HBO a heck of a lot more than Vinny Pazienza (and he made much bigger pay days). Spinks was on HBO and Showtime more often than Ricardo Mayorga. Alexander has been on Showtime and HBO more often than Matthysse. (And Alexander was often invited back on premium cable after losses and questionable decisions.) Mayweather always made more money than Erik Morales (who was never given an exclusive contract with HBO, as Floyd and Vernon Forrest were offered once they won their first world titles). I think there are plenty of black fighters who have their own unique personalities that are embraced by most fans (Wilder, Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter among them). This is just a theory on my part, but I believe if Andre Ward (not Mr. Personality or Mr. Excitement) was as active as Golovkin, he would garner the same TV ratings as the action hero and would pull in the same amount of fans in Oakland that GGG draws in NYC and the greater L.A. area.
2) I think main difference between Pep and Whitaker/Mayweather/Rigo is that that the Italian-American boxer emerged before the TV age of boxing. Pep was in his prime during the 1940s when talented fighters made their money from live gates, not TV money or closed circuit revenue. In Pep’s day, a promising fighter fought as often as possible to make his name in his hometown or state and then he took his show on the road against the best fighters in and around his weight class in other states. After less than two and half years in the pros, Pep won the featherweight title in his 54th bout (yes, you read that correctly, he fought 54 times – going 54-0 – from when he turned pro in July ’40 to when he outpointed Chalky Wright in November ’42). Most of those bouts were in his home state of Connecticut. Despite his defensive/technical style, he built up a fan base by fighting all the time and WINNING. Once he won the title, he took on top-10 contenders and hometown heroes in other major cities across the U.S. He would defend the title once a year and then engage in 10-15 non-title/over-the-weight bouts. By the end of the decade, the legend of “Will o’ the Wisp” had been forced (and only fellow future hall of famers Sammy Angott and Sandy Saddler beat him in 146 bouts). So Pep had the busy structure of the 1940s boxing industry (major fight cards being held every week) supporting him, but he also had a strong personality, a dramatic story line (coming back from a near-fatal plane crash in ’47) and a multi-bout rivalry with a fellow all-time great (Saddler) contributing to his popularity. (By the way, Pep’s rematch decision over Saddler was THE RING’s Fight of the Year for 1949, so he wasn’t always “boring.”) Had Pep come around during the cable age of boxing and could get paid well without fighting all the time, perhaps he wouldn’t have been as popular. However, I should point out that despite his ring brilliance and unsurpassed number of victories, Pep wasn’t as popular as entertaining (hard-punching) African Americans that were around during his era, such as Joe Louis, Henry Armstrong and Ray Robinson. (Beau Jack, an African-American lightweight slugger that most of today’s fans have never heard of, was probably more popular than Pep.)
3) Malignaggi may not be a puncher but he’s got personality. He’s got the gift of gab. He’s always been able to lobby for himself after a loss (especially if it was a close/controversial loss). Long before he became one of the top boxing commentators, Malignaggi always had a way with the media and made for many must-see post-fight interviews. Watch this post-fight rant with Max Kellerman after his 2009 loss to Juan Diaz in Houston:
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Malignaggi was both emotional and articulate while making valid points that polarized most of the audience that watched the bout on HBO (those who thought he won and sympathized with his place/plight in boxing at the time, and those who thought he lost a close fight and were irked because he was whining like a child). (And there were also neutral fans who were merely amused by his energy and mannerisms). Rigo doesn’t elicit as much reaction from fans as Malignaggi does. Fans either appreciate Rigo’s talent and skill or they don’t. Unlike Malignaggi, Rigo can actually crack quite hard but the Cuban lefty has the personality of an eggplant. The junior featherweight champ doesn’t have much to say – in English or Spanish.
While I wish the other top 122-pound fighters would force the hands of their promoter/management and challenge the real champ, I have a hard time viewing Rigo’s plight as “great injustice” because he’s not willing to fight outside of his weight class (above at 126 or below at 118) in order to make significant fights and he doesn’t seem to want to stay busy at all. One thing about Malignaggi is that he has always been willing to stay busy when he needed to (even if that meant fighting for smaller purses off-TV).
BEST DEFESNE EVER? WORST LIAR EVER?
I’m not a “lover” (as opposed to “hater”). I am aware that he has ducked many fighters in their prime (Pacquiao, Cotto), he’s been dirty (Victor Ortiz), he may have deserved some draws (Maidana I), at least a loss (of course, Castillo I), and so on. But anyway, I can’t help thinking that he has developed and used the best defense technique ever. Don’t you think so? One more thing, just like you, I had my doubts about whether Margarito cheated on Cotto in their first bout. I saw the HBO face-off of their second fight where Cotto shows pictures of Margarito’s weird bandage after the fight and Margarito turns a blind eye and laughs: you can tell he’s a terrible liar. Greetings from Spain. – Leo
LOL. Margarito detractors are funny. The only thing that picture of “weird bandage” following the first Cotto bout was good for was selling the pay-per-view rematch. It obviously didn’t mean much to the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Regarding Mayweather’s defense style/technique, I’m way more impressed with what Whitaker (the welterweight version) and James Toney were able to do with their defense skills because they could stand their ground, make badasses miss, but also fire back with multi-punch combos (including body attacks) while in the pocket. But Mayweather’s defense is among the best I’ve ever seen live.
Long term reader and second time writer (hoping to make it this time), loving your work. You and Steve Kim are by far the best sources of inside knowledge and opinions on boxing right now, two of the few to tell it like it is (props to Gabe Montoya too)!
I just wanted to get your opinion on the Estrada vs Tyson Marquez fight at the weekend, which I thought was excellent and another contender (probably behind Martinez v Salido) for fight of the year.
I can’t believe nobody brought it up in the Monday bag! Instead it was full of people, who I assume don’t watch much boxing, talking up Deontay Wilder for struggling to put away another bum (Povetkin would make short work of Wilder on current form and really don’t know what people were watching).
Still I’m willing to give them a pass because it seems to have only been in Spanish on BeIn. Which is itself confusing as I would have thought HBO would jump at the chance to fill out its sparse schedule with a guaranteed barn burner, as well as setting up the eventual rematch with Chocolatito later down the road. Not sure what they were thinking there as I assume the Estrada fight is what they will build Chocolatito towards?
How do you see the rematch going if it gets made next year at some point? – James (London, UK)
If Gonzalez beats Viloria (not a given), I think there’s a good chance we can see the rematch in 2016 (perhaps even at my hometown arena, The Forum!)
I think it would be better than the first bout, which was an excellent, all-action 12 rounder. Estrada is bigger, stronger, more experienced and more confident than he was in November of 2012. But I still see Chocolatito prevailing by close decision.
As for why HBO didn’t televise Estrada-Marquez, 1) most boxing folks – myself included – viewed “Tyson” as a spent bullet (he’s only 27 but he’s been in too many slugfests – the 12-round battle with Giovani Segura may have burned out both warriors); 2) the bout took place in Mexico. If Estrada fought a worthy challenger and was willing to share a bill with Gonzalez in the States, my guess is that HBO would be happy to showcase the two flyweight bosses on a “Boxing After Dark” broadcast.
Regarding the attention Wilder-Duhaupas got in the last bag, well, that’s just the power of the heavyweight division, an exciting American heavyweight titleholder with a bright personality, and network U.S. TV.
Thanks for the kind words.
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @dougiefischer