Dougie’s Friday mailbag
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PSYCHED IN NYC
I know this is a week early but I’m pretty psyched about GGG-Lemieux. I was curious what your thoughts are on fight flow. How will this one play out? Having thought it through, my initial thought is that it will resemble the Curtis Stevens bout. Golovkin was perhaps overly respectful of Stevens’ power in that fight. He didn’t press as much and spent a good deal of the night fighting off of his back foot which led to a longer-than-usual GGG fight.
Now don’t get me wrong – Gennady dominated Curtis. But he did so in a cautious manner. I think Lemieux is going to press much harder than Stevens did. I think he will force Golovkin to work off his back foot even more. And I think Golovkin’s output will go down a little. So my expectation would be that this fight would last until somewhere in the seventh or eighth round. Golovkin will certainly exchange, but I think he will take his time to find the right openings.
I’ve always said I think this is a worse style match for GGG than Lemieux. And I say that because Golovkin gains so much of his effectiveness by using his momentum to catch fighters on their way out or backing up. He won’t be able to do that with Lemieux. The only question mark in my mind is when he does land a good punch in the first three rounds, will that be enough to end it? I felt like there were times in the Canadian’s last fight where Hassan N’Dam wobbled him. It seems very possible that in spite of Golovkin’s likely conservative approach, he may still end up with an early KO if Lemieux doesn’t have the chin.
We know from history that fighters who are effective moving forward do not do so well when moving backward. I think that applies here and I think it is Gennady who gives way because he is smarter and will try and box. But I think he will get hit and maybe even hurt if he doesn’t come out and win the battle of wills right away. I think Lemieux makes it uncomfortable for him until he finds his groove mid-to-late in the fight. But again, an early KO wouldn’t shock me.
How do you see this fight evolving? Anyway, curious to hear your analysis. Take care! – Vincent, New York, NY
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Vincent. You’re not the only one who’s excited about the Golovkin-Lemieux matchup and event. Being a New Yorker, I can understand your anticipation. You’re really going feel the electricity next week.
For the most part, I agree with your analysis of the fight. I expect Golovkin to be careful (but not reserved or intimidated) in the early rounds. I think he’ll look to establish his jab while looking for counter-punch opportunities (such as a compact hook while ducking or blocking one of Lemieux’s wider hooks with his right glove). If one of these punches lands between Lemieux’s power volleys and hurts the Montreal native in the first couple of rounds, I can see GGG going for the kill early. But if Lemmy’s chin holds out (and it might – I didn’t notice him wobbled at all against N’Dam), I don’t think Golovkin will have any problem at all with giving his fellow puncher what country folks from Southern Missouri call a “slow bleed.”
I’d love to see a shootout in the spirit of Hagler-Hearns, Hearns-Roldan or Jackson-McClellan I, and we might be treated to such, but I think a battle of attrition is a more likely scenario. I think both KO artists are going to be respectful early. I’d be surprised (and a little disappointed) if Lemieux stormed out of his corner in reckless fashion from the get-go. I think he’s going to be as cautious as he can without detracting from his style/effectiveness.
Three things I’m interested in seeing if Lemieux can pull off (which could be “keys to victory,” but what do I know?):
1) Can he get an effective jab going? (I know Lemmy’s got a decent left stick but it’s hard to jab an opponent who has a really good jab of his own.)
2) Can he outmuscle GGG on the inside? (The WBC’s 30-day weigh-in revealed that Lemmy was 10 pounds heavier than GGG, 175 to 165. Will he be the heavier man on fight night and can he use this added weight to his advantage?)
3) Can he get to GGG’s body? (I think Golovkin’s got solid whiskers. Perhaps the key to hurting him and getting respect is by banging his mid-section.)
Anyway, this event is going to be awesome (we haven’t even begun talking about Gonzalez-Viloria yet!). We’re just ONE week away.
MAN VS. MACHINE
Thanks for doing what you do the way you do it, and in the process, motivating me to turn in early on Thursday nights and get up early on Monday mornings….
With regards to Lucas Matthysse’s defeat by Victor Postol, some boxing pundits have made remarks about Matthysse being a “quitter”. I don’t agree with this, and I think that label is unfair. What’s your opinion? If a fighter hasn’t anything left that night, and is concerned about permanent things like his vision, is that quitting? If this were Mortal Combat, that’s a different set of stakes. This is supposed to be a sport. I won’t condemn a man or question his character when he was brave enough to get inside that ring in the first place. I personally see more courage and dignity in Mattysse’s loss than I do in Adrien Broner flopping around the ring against Marcos Maiden faking an injury after getting butted (which was a retaliation to Broner locking him at the elbows). I’m interested in your opinion on that, as well as what I, personally, view as an overemphasis on undefeated records at the expense of a fighter’s learning curve and growth.
Secondly, who do you like in the Thurman-Porter matchup? I really like both guys, and hate to see either of them lose…but, I hope that however it shakes out, the boxing and sports public realizes that a loss at this high level of competition is not a stain on anyone’s career if they bring their best.
Finally, I am very excited about the GGG-Lemieux matchup. As with Thurman vs. Porter, I hate to see either guy lose. Unless it’s a terrific fight that garners more widespread attention, I think the winner and loser are both in lose-lose situations…..If GGG wins, it’s because he was supposed to and Lemieux wasn’t that good….If Lemieux wins, pundits will say that GGG was all hype. And the best that the winner can hope for is a big-money showdown with a blown-up Super Welterweight….For my own selfish reasons, I hope we get a great fight that will cast great light on both the winner and the future of the 160-lb. division.
Sorry, this went longer than planned. Enjoy 10/17, Dougie!!! – Mikey in Santa Cruz
Hey Mikey. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for the kind words.
I’m not worried about the winner or loser of the GGG-Lemieux fight. Both middleweights have crowd-pleasing styles, seek-and-destroy mentalities, natural power/physical strength, and both have trained their asses off. There’s no way the fight will disappoint. If we get a fight of the year candidate, the stature of both 160-pound standouts will be elevated.
If Lemmy upsets GGG, yeah, a small legion of GGG haters will say he was always overhyped crap. But so what? Most of them are just sad that Floyd Mayweather retired (and that most fans are glad about it) and mad that Andre Ward seldom fights. The rest of us will witness the birth of a new star (a young and fearless one at that) and will enjoy watching middleweights that were previously leery of facing Golovkin suddenly grow the sacks to get in the ring with GGG. We’ll get more future action if there’s an upset on Oct. 17.
(Oh, and by the way, if “the best that the winner can hope for is a big-money showdown with a blown-up Super Welterweight,” that’s not a bad thing if that blown-up super welter is named Canelo or Cotto.)
I don’t have a favorite in the potential Thurman-Porter matchup. The talented young American welterweights are evenly matched in my opinion. Porter had the more extensive amateur background, is the physically stronger of the two and probably has the better chin. Thurman hits harder (punch for punch), is faster and more fluid; maybe a little more polished. They’re both smart and they’re both very good athletes. Their fight comes down to who is better at imposing his style on the other. I hope it happens.
I won’t call Matthysse a “quitter” after Saturday’s loss, even though I thought he had the will sapped out of him (and he admitted that he “lost his head” during the post-fight press conference). Matthysse went down from a well-timed punch and remained down. He says he stayed down because he temporarily lost sight in his left eye. I’m OK with that. Had he been dropped earlier in the bout and just said “f__k it, tonight’s not my night,” I would have accused him of pulling a “No Mas.” But he was simply worn down – mentally and physically – by the better boxer. He tried to give the best he could muster on this particular night for nine-plus rounds and he wound up marching into a good shot.
It happens in boxing. If Matthysse had a history of staying on his stool or waving fights off when they got too tough for him, I’d have no problem saying he quit against Postol or labeling him a quitter, but he’s always fought the best of the 140-pound division and he’s always fought his ass off so I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt.
I regularly read and enjoy your mailbag, but this is the first time that I have emailed you.
I was interested to get your thoughts on the big card in Manchester this Saturday. Terry Flanagan defends his WBO world lightweight title in a tough fight against his mandatory Diego Magdaleno, while Liam Smith faces John Thompson for the vacant WBO super welterweight world title. I think that Flanagan will box too cleverly for Magdaleno while Smith will be cheered on by the home crowd to a close points victory.
What is your opinion? Also, where do you think Flanagan rates among the other talented lightweights in Britain and what do you think of Jack Catterall? He is also fighting on the card and is highly regarded over here.
Keep up the great work. Thanks. – Rob, Weymouth, England
Thanks for finally writing to the mailbag, Rob. Don’t be a stranger from now on.
I think Catterall is a badass. He’s an aggressive but very sharp junior welterweight southpaw boxer-puncher. I consider him to be one of the better British prospects.
I think Flanagan is a pretty darn good fighter, too. I’d rate the Manchester man near the top of the British lightweight rankings, maybe only behind Anthony Crolla. (I’d rate Kevin Mitchell and Luke Campbell right behind Flanagan.) If “Turbo” can beat Magdaleno in impressive fashion tomorrow, he should be considered No. 1.
But beating Magdaleno won’t be an easy task. The Las Vegas native is the more battle-tested of the two southpaws. However, I see this as an even match. Flanagan is the taller, rangier and busier fighter. I like his versatility. He can box on his toes or trade in the trenches (or along the ropes). He seems to know when to turn it up a notch and let his hands go.
Magdaleno is the savvier of the two. He’s tough, smart and gutsy. However, sometimes he’s not busy enough, which could bite him in the ass against a fighter like Flanagan.
I’m go with Flanagan by close decision (in part because of his hometown advantage).
I think Smith is in tough with the underrated American, who is just as tall and rangy as he is, but I think he’ll rise to the occasion and score a late TKO. I just see the British prospect as the more polished and technically sound of the two junior middleweights and I think he’ll be able to land sharp punches in-between Thompson’s shots until he wears the American down.
CHEF GOT NOODLE FRIED
What’s up Dougie? Jose Uzcategui was a butcher. He looked much happier with his chef hat on, couldn’t help but feel bad for the pseudo American. Who was the favorite in that fight? Was it meant to be a Julius Jackson showcase, or did they know Uzcategui was a beast like that?
And it was tripping me out…Virgil Hunter looks like Gandolf next to Bilbo Malignaggi when they stand next to each other.
Prince Naseem vs today’s best.
The Prince had power, man. Do u think he could’ve avenged that loss to Barrera?
Later. – Adam in The Haystack (Hayward…as in, “it’s pretty cool in Hayward), CA
This is the best line of this mailbag: “Virgil Hunter looks like Gandolf next to Bilbo Malignaggi when they stand next to each other.”
Congrats. You get extra points for geekiness.
I definitely think the Jackson-Uzcatequi matchup was meant to be a showcase for the undefeated “Chef” (and son of legendary middleweight puncher Julian Jackson – one of the best people you’ll ever meet in boxing). I think the matchmakers expected Uzcategui to be able to standup to Jackson’s power and give him quality rounds en route to a late stoppage or a competitive but clear-cut decision loss. They were wrong. That’s boxing, and it’s what makes this sport so damn awesome. Nobody really knows what’s going to happen when two individuals step into that ring.
Your mythical matchups:
Nassem Hamed against the best of today’s featherweights (I’ll give you THE RING’s top 5):
1) Nicholas Walters – I think Naz would frustrate, and then bewilder the giant Jamaican (assuming he could make 126 pounds) before taking him out late.
2) Vasyl Lomachenko – After some awkward early rounds, I think Loma would outbox and outwork Hamed to a close but unanimous decision victory.
3) Gary Russell Jr. – I think Russell’s speed earns him a little respect from Hamed early in the bout but once he connected with one of his counter-bombs from an odd angle the fight would abruptly end. Naz by mid-rounds KO.
4) Leo Santa Cruz – Leo’s a tough cookie but I think Naz would toy with the forward-marching volume puncher. Santa Cruz would go rounds and try his best but I think he’d get worn down to a late TKO.
5) Lee Selby – See the Russell Jr. result. Naz by mid-rounds KO. The Welsh Mayweather is too reliant on his left hand and basic lateral movement. It might take Hamed a few rounds to close the distance but he’d end matters once he connects with the appropriate counter.
I do not think Hamed could have avenged his loss to Barrera. The Mexican legend took Naz’s fighting spirit with their first bout. The only way I see Naz winning a rematch is if Barrera promised his fans that he’d win by stoppage and actually went looking for the KO – then Naz would have the opportunity to clip him, but Marco was/is a smart guy. I don’t think he’d do that.
HALL OF FAME BALLOT
What’s up Dougie. Me nothing. Took 5 days off of work. Know what I’ve been doing? Nothing really…taking care of the lawn, re-watching Sopranos and that’s about it. Feels good. Anyways I saw the hall of fame ballots were sent out.
A few names before my time but I’m well aware of because of YouTube such as Donald Curry and Julian Jackson. How would Curry fare today in this era? Also are you a part of the ballot process and who would you vote for on the list?
Very impressed by Viktor Postol. Only a few weeks ’til the big GGG-LEMIEUX/ Chocolatito-Viloria PPV can’t wait. Anyways take care. – Ryan, NY
Sounds like you got the life, Ryan. I’d ask if you’re gonna be at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 17 but something tells me you’d rather chill at home and watch the HBO PPV broadcast. That’s all good.
I’m also impressed by Postol. I thought he was pretty darn good prior to the Matthysse fight (as did UCN “10 Count” partner Michael Montero).
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I am a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame’s Election Committee (as all full members of the Boxing Writers Assoc. of America are). I haven’t decided on all of the fighters, non-participants and observers that I will vote for this year (we are allowed to vote for up to five in each category.) But I do know that the following names on the ballots will receive a check mark from Yours Truly: Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank (modern fighter), Harold Lederman and Marc Ratner (non-participant) and Jerry Izenberg and Col. Bob Sheridan (observers). I’ll have to figure out the other three in each category before Oct. 31.
I think Curry would have his way with most of the top welterweights (and junior middleweights) of this era.
how would cesar cuenca fare against the top jr. welterweights? I’ve seen so little of him–certainly not enough to compare. I’m really curious about this guy and am about to watch his fight with ik yang. – ceylon mooney
Despite Cuenca’s eye-catching unblemished record, I don’t consider him to be a top-10 junior welterweight. Certainly, one can argue that he belongs among the lower top 10, but when I look at the 48 names on his ledger I don’t recognize any as being standouts outside of his native Argentina. (And Yang was the definition of “ordinary” or “plodding.”)
Having said that, I think he has a style that could at the very least trouble most of the 140 pounders rated in THE RING’s top 10. Cuenca is a quick, cagey, mobile southpaw with sound fundamentals. He’s sort of got a herky jerky kind of rhythm or energy.
However, I would strongly favor top dogs like Postol, Terence Crawford, Matthysse, and even the somewhat one-dimensional forward-marching Ruslan Provodnikov to beat Cuenca.
BOXING DRAMA SERIES
I love watching dramatized shows on Netflix and Sky Atlantic. There have been some great shows over the years which to some degree have been based on true stories such as Entourage, The Wire and most recently the Escobar.
Hollywood has struck gold with many films documenting the intriguing lives of boxers. I think it will be a matter of time before a major broadcaster commissions an exciting drama series based around the life of a boxer.
Which boxer’s life do you think would translate successfully into a dramatized TV series? Jonny Tapia, Sugar Ray Leonard, Jack Johnson and dare I say Floyd Mayweather all spring to mind for me.
Hope you are well. – Anish, Ashton under Lyne
I’m good, Anish. Thanks.
I’ve seen too much of Mayweather in HBO’s 24/7 and Showtime’s All Access. He’s been played out for at least four years, in my opinion. I’d watch a TV drama about Jeff Mayweather before I’d watch anything based on Floyd’s trite life.
Tapia – yes. Leonard – No (unless you’re talking about the cocaine years). Johnson – sign me up for at least three seasons.
Other fighters’ lives I think would make perfect subjects for TV dramas: James Toney (1994-2004), Fernando Vargas (1998-2003) and Edwin Valero (2003 until his apparent murder-suicide). As compelling as their fights were, the ring action paled in comparison to the entertainment they produced in the gym and the constant drama the plagued their personal lives.
Dougie I had to write you again lol. The first one was right after Postol knocked out Matthesse. Man, I just saw that Amir Imam is the mandatory now for that WBC belt. Don King has always had some stroke with the WBC so I don’t think he won’t let his guy get messed around and not get his fight. Young Master looks pretty good too and he is also like 5’10 or 5’11 so this would be a very intriguing matchup against Postol. Lucas didn’t have the boxing ability, height, and reach to get to Postol but Imam has the size and skills to do it. Who do you think takes this one because this could be the next one for Postol instead of an optional defense next? – Michael
I think it’s an intriguing matchup but I don’t think Imam is quite ready for Postol yet. I think it would be a mistake to rush him to the title (at least the one that the Ukrainian holds). Imam is also highly ranked in the WBA. I think Adrien Broner is a more winnable fight for the undefeated young contender than the Iceman. Broner is more experienced but he has flaws that the Young Master can exploit and he’s at a height and reach disadvantage.
Postol’s style would be difficult even for an opponent as tall, rangy and talented as Imam. Plus, I think Postol takes a better shot than Imam (who was dropped by the naturally smaller Fidel Maldonado last year).
I’m not saying Imam can’t beat Postol, but the odds are definitely against him if they do that fight right away. Imam has real championship potential, so why rush him? He’s only 24 (with 18 pro bouts during a four-year career). Why not allow him to develop a little more?
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @dougiefischer