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Dougie’s Monday mailbag

12
Oct

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El CHOCOLATITO VS. HAWAIIAN PUNCH

Hi Dougie,

Hope all is well bro.



Super-hyped to see Roman Gonzalez on HBO again and for him to be fighting a terrific opponent in Brian Viloria.

Will keep it short, I see Gonzalez stopping Viloria around 8th/9th round, with Viloria unable to take the combinations and technical proficient of the pound-for-pound champ.

How do you see the fight Doug?

Mythical Matchups:

Shane Mosley v Floyd Mayweather (at 135) – I back Sugar

Kostya Tszyu v Alexis Arguello (at 140) – 50/50 for me 🙂

Thanks Doug, keep up the good work and looking forward to the packed winter schedule 🙂 – Qadeer Ali, Dublin Ireland

Me too. We have some good matchups to look forward to this month, November and in December, obviously starting with this Saturday’s excellent double-header: Golovkin-Lemieux and Gonzalez-Viloria. After this weekend, Brook-Chaves, Bradley Rios, Canelo-Cotto, Klitschko-Fury, Jacobs-Quillin, Joshua-Whyte and Lee-Saunders will give us plenty to anticipate and talk about until the start of 2016.

I think I agree with your prediction on the Gonzalez-Viloria fight but I view the Hawaiian Punch as a very “live dog,” and I believe the 2000 U.S. Olympian is the most talented and experienced foe of Chocolatito’s so-far stellar pro career.

Gonzalez has stomped most of his competition but one of the few challengers to give him a real fight was Juan Estrada, who used lateral movement effectively enough to allow him to get off with his jab (which he doubled and tripled) and body-head combos. I know that Estrada lost to Gonzalez and beat Viloria in his very next fight but styles make fights in boxing and I think the Filipino-American can borrow from the young Mexican standout’s blueprint and land with more speed and power.

One thing that might hold Viloria back, however, is his lack of reach. He’s not as rangy as Estrada. Another thing that might play into Chocolatito’s heavy hands is the fact that Viloria is in superb physical condition. He’s had a great camp and he’s feeling very confident, which means the veteran just might decide to take it right to THE RING’s flyweight champ. I have no doubt that Viloria can hurt Gonzalez but I think the Nicaraguan will be able to survive knockdowns or wobbly moments and rage right back on the two-division titleholder (whose face tends to swell up).

Going toe-to-toe will definitely favor Gonzalez (and it will also delight the hardcore crowd that will be packed inside Madison Square Garden). But whether Viloria boxes or brawls or mixes the two approaches, I have no doubt that the flyweight title fight will deliver compelling competition.

Your mythical matchups:

Shane Mosley vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. (at 135) – I go back and forth on this one. I think Mayweather’s style would have always troubled Mosley, but I’m also pretty sure that the size, speed, power and high work rate of the lightweight version of Sugar Shane would have presented the Pretty Boy with challenges none of his previous foes at 130 and 135 showed him. I’m gonna go with Mosley by a come-from-behind TKO. Mayweather’s jab would give him fits, but Mosley’s body attack would wound and eventually kill the superior boxer/technician.

Kostya Tszyu v Alexis Arguello (at 140) – No disrespect to the late, great Arguello but I think Tszyu savages him to a late TKO or one-sided decision. The Nicaraguan legend simply could not carry 140 pounds the way he did 126, 130 and 135; and King Kostya had a knack for dissecting boxers with the classic stand-up style.

 

TURBO-CHARGED BOXING

Hi Doug, I have just enjoyed watching a good night of UK boxing culminating in Liam Smith being the first of the Smith family to get their hands on a world title and, of course, Terry Flanagan’s two-round destruction of Diego Magdaleno to retain his world title.

Reflecting on this (because I was a bit too hyper to get to sleep) a few points/questions came to me that I would appreciate your thoughts on (fair warning they are a bit random):

Having seen ‘Beefy’ before I haven’t been that keen on him because I considered him to be too basic. Watching him last night he seemed almost to be laughing at Thompson because he knew that despite probably losing the first 5 rounds, once he felt Thompson’s feeble punches and saw how open he was, the win was inevitable.

Smith was arguably lucky to get the title shot, as was Thompson, but do you see him with any chance of keeping it long term if he has to go up against an Andrade/Charlo/Lara?

Flanagan has gone under the radar in the UK and I was guilty of thinking he was probably a protected fighter on a good run (talk about cynical) but the way he destroyed Magdaleno was thrilling.

– was Magdaleno overrated by WBO/pundits in the run up to the fight? – he seems to have good natural advantages as he seems big at the weight and skillfull with it. Can Flanagan take over at 135 and possibly have a run at 140?

– is there a well-known reason why certain countries like Japan, UK & Puerto Rico pump out more than their fair share of quality boxers? – there are well known examples of home town decisions all too often, but I am sure I’ve seen the reverse in UK where the sole UK judge has (in my opinion) been overly harsh to the UK fighter in their scoring. Other than say expanding the number of judges, are there any obvious methods that could be used to ‘improve’ scoring? – can you recommend some good books about boxing/boxing history, perhaps that are not among the standards/too well known?

Thanks for taking the time to read this, keep up the good work. Regards. – Tim, London

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and (random) questions, Tim.

I was impressed with Smith (who I expected to win by stoppage) and Flanagan (who I expected to have a much tougher fight).

Smith wasn’t quite laughing at Thompson’s punches, but he sure was smiling a lot, wasn’t he? I like his confidence and the subtle but steady pressure he put on Thompson. He was being outworked by the American but not completely outmaneuvered and he certainly wasn’t taking any sort of punishment. Smith almost nonchalantly walked Thompson down, blocking most of his shots and stressing the rangy boxer out in the process.

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Thompson was a spent bullet by Round 6, and Smith had barely put hands on him, but “Beefy” knew when to shift gears and close the show.

Against Demetrius Andrade, Jermall Charlo and Erislandy Lara, he will need to start in a higher gear to have any hope of beating them (and I’m not sure he’ll be smiling when he gets tagged cleanly by any of that trio). I think the three more-established junior middleweights would be (and should be) favored over Smith but I would consider the British fighter to be a live underdog.

Flanagan obviously exceeded expectations. He’s got wonderful offensive craft (although that highlight-reel left uppercut the rangy southpaw landed was launched a little recklessly). I liked the short counter right hooks he tagging the constantly slipping and sliding Magdaleno with in the opening round. Like Smith, Flanagan knows when to pounce on wounded prey.

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I felt bad for Magdaleno, who never seemed to get into his groove. With the gross size disparity favoring the blonde-haired Flanagan and the way the Las Vegan’s hair was mussed on both sides, Maggy looked like Wolverine catching a beatdown from Sabertooth without the benefit of his healing factor. (Sorry for the comic book reference.)

I’ll answer your questions in order:

– was Magdaleno overrated by WBO/pundits in the run up to the fight? I don’t think so. Maggy has his limitations (lack of power, defensive lapses, sporadic offense) but he’s got a solid boxing foundation and he almost won the WBO’s 130-pound title on the road (Macau) a couple years ago. Flanagan simply rose to the occasion. Give him his deserved props.

– he seems to have good natural advantages as he seems big at the weight and skillfull with it. Can Flanagan take over at 135 and possibly have a run at 140? Too early to tell but Flanagan is definitely a player at lightweight and I think he can give the likes of Jorge Linares, Mickey Bey and Dejan Zlaticanin hell.

– is there a well-known reason why certain countries like Japan, UK & Puerto Rico pump out more than their fair share of quality boxers? There’s no “well-known reason” but I know the secret and I happy to share it. The secret is love! Love for the craft, love for the athletes, and love for sport. Oh, and having community and school programs as well as an amateur infrastructure which introduces youth to the sport and encourages their participation also helps.

– there are well known examples of home town decisions all too often, but I am sure I’ve seen the reverse in UK where the sole UK judge has (in my opinion) been overly harsh to the UK fighter in their scoring. Other than say expanding the number of judges, are there any obvious methods that could be used to ‘improve’ scoring? Nope. Boxing commissions worldwide just need to promote talented refs and judges, put the best officials on the most important/high-profile jobs, and have the most competent and experienced ones help mentor and teach the newbies.

– can you recommend some good books about boxing/boxing history, perhaps that are not among the standards/too well known? Try Mike Silver’s “The Arc of Boxing” and tell me what you think. You might also try searching for Bert Sugar’s books on Amazon. The late editor/publisher/author/historian probably penned a dozen books on various aspects of the sport’s long and storied history. Also, be sure to add the latest edition of The Boxing Register (the International Boxing Hall of Fame’s official record book) to your collection.

 

BROOK-CHAVES OVERLOOKED?

Hey Dougie, So with all the rabid fight fans gearing up for GGG vs. Lemieux it’s not too hard to imagine a potentially great fight is being overlooked. This fight being the Kell Brook vs Diego Chaves matchup. Chaves is a very solid fighter with skills and power. He is underrated even with a draw to Timothy Bradley, which I scored in favor of Bradley but he was competitive nonetheless in a matchup I thought he would get clearly out boxed in.

Who do you think wins this scrap and could you see Chaves upsetting one of the top fighters in the 147-lb. division? I think it will be a very even fight and I really think Brook is one of the p4p best. If I were managing a fighter of his caliber and resume for that matter, I would never dream of putting my best fighter in with a guy like that. Too little to gain and too much to lose, much like Lucas Matthysse fighting Viktor Postol. I just have to add that I was not happy with the match up from the beginning as I love The Machine as a fighter.

If Brook wins who’s next in your opinion? Who would you like to see him fight? If Chaves wins do you think he catapults to stardom? If so who would be next for Chaves if he did win this fight, which he is capable of doing? – Matt

I think Chaves is a rugged S.O.B. and a handful for any 147 pounder, but I honestly don’t believe he has what it takes to upset Brook. However, if Chaves were to pull off the upset I think the natural next move for him would be a slugger’s showdown with fellow Argentine badass Matthysse (or Marcos Maidana).

If Brook wins, and I expect him to do so handily (he’s just too big, skilled and athletic for Chaves), his next move isn’t so clear. The natural matchup would be with fellow British star Amir Khan but the former 14-pound titleholder has been mentioned as a possible opponent for Manny Pacquiao and we both know that he’ll hold off fighting Brook in hopes of that dream fight coming to fruition. Even if Khan doesn’t win the Pacquiao lottery, he’s got other options. He’s currently the No. 1 contender for the WBC welterweight title. The WBC’s No. 2 contender is his former nemesis Danny Garcia. A rematch for the vacant green belt makes a lot of sense, given that both are part of Al Haymon’s PBC league, right?

I figure Brook’s best bet is to target the winner of the Nov. 7 Bradley-Brandon Rios showdown. Either American would be the biggest name the undefeated IBF titleholder has faced so far. If he can’t land that fight, perhaps taking on a respected young (but still green) gun like Sadam Ali (the IBF’s No. 3 contender) makes sense.

As for Brook-Chaves being overlooked, I think we can only expect it to be overshadowed by an anticipated event like the Golovkin-Lemieux/Gonzalez-Viloria doubleheader. But cheer up. After this weekend, Sky and Showtime (the American subscription cable network that will air Brook-Chaves in the U.S.) will have an entire week to hype up the welterweight boxer-slugger matchup on both sides of the Pond.

 

BOXING IN MILITARY SERVICE ACADEMIES

Hey Doug. Hope all is well.
I wanted to hear what you had to say about the recent New York Times article calling for an end to boxing as mandatory training at our service academies. I served ten years in the army infantry and my old squad leader had boxing for PT on Fridays and I loved it. It taught me a lot of confidence and was great exercise. I still make my soldiers box and we have a great time doing it. It’s a real pride building exercise in my opinion, both for the winner and the loser. I’m very against this modern attempt to feminize my beloved army but this is the last straw. What are your thoughts on the concussion argument? No one is calling for an end of football at the academies, and football causes more concussions than boxing. Oh ya, and that whole fighting wars thing… that’s kinda dangerous too I guess.

Anyway, hope to hear back from you. You usually respond to my questions. Also a huge fan of your work with Steve Kim on UCN.

Mythical match ups:
Ezzard Charles vs Jack Dempsey
Sandy Saddler vs Marco Antonio Barrera
The Martian Manhunter vs The Mighty Thor

Thanks for listening. – Sean from Seattle

Thanks for the kind words, Sean, and thanks for your service to our country.

I’m not a boxer or a military man, so I’ll defer to you on this one.

You and West Point grad, veteran and current pro boxer Boyd Melson, who spoke to Thomas Hauser about the issue in Hauser’s recent article “The case to keep boxing in service academies,” talk of the mental fortitude and discipline the service academies boxing classes help forge in cadets. Who am I disagree?

The only thing I would suggest is that maybe the academies could allow for certain male cadets to skip the boxing class if they have previously suffered concussions (such as in a car accident or high school football game/practice) and are concerned about their neurological health. (And for all I know such a provision may already exist.)

Your mythical match ups:
Ezzard Charles vs Jack Dempsey – Charles by decision

Sandy Saddler vs Marco Antonio Barrera – Saddler by mid-to-late TKO

The Martian Manhunter vs The Mighty Thor – Goldilocks is my man, but I gotta go with J’onn J’onzz, who could slam a Martian mind-f__k on the Asgardian.

 

AMATEUR CREDENTIALS IN HOF SELECTION

Hi Dougie,

Hope all is well on your side of the pond.

I’ve got a quick question: Given that there’s a new HOF ballot coming up I was wondering how much weight a fighter’s amateur career carries in the process? Particularly if that career was a stellar one such Vasyl Lomachenko’s (396-1) or Golovkin’s (345-5).

One more: How do you think Andy Ruiz would fare against Deontay Wilder? I think it would be a decent fight. Ruiz has good skills, quick hands and is looking a lot better having shed some of that excess weight.

Love the mailbags! Cheers. – Stephen, Cape Town

Thanks Stephen.

I would favor Wilder to beat Fat Andy, but I wouldn’t count the giant Mexican baby man out against the spindly legged American beltholder.

Regarding the amount of weight a fighter’s amateur career has in his hall of fame selection, yes, it is considered but only if the standout amateur boxer is able to establish himself as a professional.

Lazlo Papp, a Hungarian middleweight contender in the early 1960s, never fought for a world title but he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2001 due mainly to his amateur accomplishments. Papp was the first boxer to win three Olympic gold medals (at the 1948, 1952 and 1956 Games). (He won 50 consecutive bouts, 47 by stoppage, before representing Hungary at the ’48 London Games.) Part of the reason he remained an amateur for so long was that Hungary was part of the Soviet Union at the time, thus he wasn’t allowed to compete professionally, but he eventually convinced his nation to allow him to turn pro in 1957. He compiled a 27-0-2 record, with 15 KOs, from ’57 to ’64, beating Ralph “Tiger” Jones in ’62, a few months before winning the European title, which he held until his retirement. He also beat top-10 contenders Luis Folledo and Mick Leahy. He never fought outside of Europe as a pro.

 

ABRAHAM-MURRAY

Hi Dougie,

Quick and to the point:

  1. Does Martin Murray, to you, look comfortable at 168 (regardless of the competition at the weight. More so his movement, hand speed etc.)?
  2. Is Murray Abraham’s biggest challenge of his last 6/7 fights (since the TKO to Stieglitz)?
  3. Can he beat Abraham (possibly even stop him)? Or is it too soon to be in at this level?

To me, he dug in quite well in his biggest fights (Sturm, Martinez and managing to go 11 with GGG is an achievement itself alone).

Thanks Dougie. – Malcolm, Dublin, Ireland

Thanks for sharing these questions, Malcom. I’ll answer them in order:

1) Murray looks good to me at 168 pounds. He always had a super middleweight frame, and he appears to start a little faster and let his hands go a bit more than he did at middleweight.

2) Absolutely.

3) Yes, I think Murray has the ability to beat Abraham. (I don’t think this title opportunity is happening “too soon,” the Englishman has been a top contender for almost five years.) However, I’m not sure he can stop the Armenian veteran or get the nod on the official scorecards if the bout is competitive. Hopefully, he doesn’t get jobbed in Germany again. I thought he beat Sturm in 2011.

 

GROVES & JOSHUA

Hi Dougie,

Hope you’re good, it’s been a while since I last wrote in. Just a couple of thoughts I’d be keen to get your opinion on….

I’ve been reading a few articles in the last few days about George Groves and that he is looking for a new trainer. It sounds like he is blaming his 3 world title fight losses on his previous trainer, but I would suggest that Groves has limitations and is being found out at world level. I don’t think he is world class and maybe falling short of the ability needed to win a world title. My reasoning for this?

– He fought Carl Froch and gave him hell in their 1st fight (and a lot of difficulty in their 2nd) – Froch had issues with fighters who moved a lot and was limited himself (although a good, exciting fighter)

– Froch wasn’t up for the 1st fight and not at his best. He made Groves look good (although that sweet right hand from Groves in round 1 is still more memorable/shocking for me than Froch’s in the 2nd fight!)

– He fell short against Badou Jack who is a good fighter but not great. I’m not sure Groves beats any of the current super-middleweight champs (if Murray beats Abraham, I think Groves beats Murray). I don’t think he beats Degale now, he certainly doesn’t beat Ward, he lost to Jack.

– His stamina and chin are very questionable

I’m trying my best to keep my excitement surrounding Anthony Joshua to a sensible level, but it’s nice to see the heavyweight division simmering away nicely and a local fighter for me rising to the top. The main question is, how quickly to progress AJ? There are still some unknowns with him i.e. his chin/stamina, which are important for us to find out, but I really want to see him step up his competition next year. Assuming he overcomes Dillian Whyte who, as always, does have a puncher’s chance, who would you see him take on in his next few fights if you were his manager? When is he ready for Wilder? I honestly think he beats Wilder now, despite the unknowns! In fact, I think he blows him away as soon as he gets inside and nullifies his jab. Wilder is limited – skinny legs, over-rated power (or he would have blown his last 2 x opponents away early rather than wearing them down), shaky chin, average boxing ability.

By the way, what time do you start/finish writing your responses for the Mailbag? Do you do it all in one sitting or review emails during the week?

Thanks as always for your dedication to your avid readers. – CJ, UK

Thanks for the kind words (and motivation), CJ.

I usually compile emails for the mailbag column during the day before they are posted (Thursday for the Friday mailbag and Sunday for the Monday edition). I write my responses in one sitting during the evenings of those days (although I often finish them in the early morning of the next day, around 1 a.m. or 2 a.m.).

I disagree that Groves is not world class but I agree that he’s got limitations. Although I thought he was better when trained by Adam Booth, I don’t think his current trainer is to blame for his shortcomings. I think Groves has got some mental blocks that hold him back.

I agree that he was lucky to catch Carl Froch mentally napping in the opening round of their first bout. And I’ve always maintained that the referee’s premature stoppage in that fight not only saved Groves from being worn down to a brutal championship rounds stoppage but also helped to set up their lucrative rematch. However, Groves was not ready to face The Cobra in an immediate rematch and that one-hitter quitter punch that Froch landed in front of his supporters in London did a number on his psyche.

But Groves is a smart cat with a lot of talent. If he can find the right trainer (one that is as much psychologist as teacher – perhaps Virgil Hunter?) and rebuild himself with a couple victories over mid-level opposition, I think he can still be a major player at 168 pounds. I would not count him out in a rematch with Jack or DeGale (though I’d favor “Chunky”), and I might give him the edge in showdowns with either Dirrell brother.

Regarding Joshua, if I was his manager, and I wanted to have him ready to challenge for a world title by the end of 2016, I’d put him in with Carlos Takam, Tony Thompson and Kubrat Pulev – in that order.

 

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

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