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Dougie’s Monday mailbag

19
Oct

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GGG & CHOCOLATITO

Hi Doug!

Don’t you still have a smile in your face after Saturday’s show? Good. Lord. What a magnificent display of skill. I’ll jump to my point: GGG and Chocolatito fought a hell of a fight AGAINST EACH OTHER. Oh yeah. They fought for the bragging rights of the pound for pound crown.



Before the fight, my choice of the P4P summit was GGG. Now, well, things got interesting.

Both guys delivered a shellacking to their rivals. Both their rivals were really good fighters. Both closed the show in devastating style.

GGG, on the one hand, dominated every second of the fight and was every bit as good as advertised. GGG is a charming antichrist. A smiling monster. The whole enchilada. El Chocolate, on the other hand, took a round to warm up and displayed a virtuoso performance. I thought he peaked in the Edgar Sosa fight. I was wrong. He looked better in this fight. To think we are yet to see his best version is truly scary.

I was hosting a family dinner. My guests were no boxing fans, so I had to carefully explain for a couple of hours the reason why they should voluntarily see the fights or I would force them to. ALL OF THEM were thrilled with both fights (and GGG and Chocolatito made me look extremely boxing savvy). This, ladies and gentlemen, is how crossover stars are born.

Lastly, I almost feel sorry for my men Canelo and Gallito. I don’t want their heads removed from their bodies :(. – Carlos, Hermosillo, M├®xico

LOL. If Canelo and Juan Estrada come up short against GGG and Chocolatito (again), there’s no shame in that as long as they give their all (and you know they will).

Golovkin and Gonzalez are elite boxing talents/craftsmen. It was extremely satisfying to see them co-headline a sold-out card at Madison Square Garden and dominate quality opposition in front of so many loud and proud fans.

Four years ago they were the best kept secrets in boxing. Not anymore. Now they’re bona-fide attractions and I can only hope that their management (in association with HBO) will continue to have them co-headline major cards in the U.S.

Yeah, I’m still smiling. I had a terrible headache for most of the day on Saturday (probably due to mild dehydration – I was at Jimmy’s Corner until the place closed the night before and didn’t think to drink any water all day until I was already at Madison Square Garden, which wasn’t very bright). However, the energy I took away from the arena on Saturday night powered me though my deadline undercard report and post-fight column on Golovkin-Lemieux. It kept me warm as I walked 12 blocks back to my hotel at 2:30 a.m. It kept me wide awake in my room even after I ate a pizza slice, drank a couple bottles of water and did some follow-up editing and posting on RingTV.com.

As I reply to this email (at my gate at LaGuardia Airport), I’ve only had a couple hours of sleep but I’m still buzzing from Saturday’s event. It was a special, truly international, hardcore boxing experience that I won’t soon forget.

Regarding the pound-for-pound debate, I don’t really care where fans and members of the media rank Golovkin and Gonzalez, as long they are in the top five or six. For me, Numero Uno is still Chocolatito. I prefer his body of work over three weight classes and his most recent victory (against the most motivated version of Brian Viloria I’ve ever seen) over GGG’s impressive consistency/dominance and amazing KO streak. And while I view David Lemieux as a very dangerous opponent for any top-10 middleweight, I don’t think the Montreal native is as skilled or talented as Viloria.

 

 

WHAT A NIGHT

Mr. Fischer,

It was good seeing you at Jimmy’s Friday night. Your observations and predictions were 100% right. Respect. With my wife I came over the Pond to see the Big Drama Show. What a fight-night. A theater director couldn’t have arranged it better. It started good and it ended terrific. Luis Ortiz – Gonzales – GGG. I guess we have seen the two best active boxers of this decade (where would you put them within this Millennium?). Kudos for Viloria and Lemieux – some real tough guys. We should keep in mind that there is no show without a good dance partner.

BTW, I still think the Ring Magazine has to reconsider its ranking policies: With all due respect to Miguel Cotto – the middleweight champ is GGG without a doubt. If Cotto wins vs. Canelo and is not fighting GGG at 160 than he should vacate the 160 belt or at least he should be stripped of The Ring belt. And Cotto’s advisers should do all of us one favor: Don’t let Cotto step into the ring with GGG. I can’t see anything but a frightful beating and the proud warrior would be in jeopardy of suffering severe damage.

Finally: Gonzales is the complete package. I hope we have the chance to see as many fights as possible of this boxing sensation.

Keep on Mr. Fischer. Monday and Friday would be less fun without your mailbag. – Matthias from Germany

Thank you for the kind words, Matthias. It was a blast (and an honor) to meet you and other contributors to the mailbag at Jimmy’s Corner. It was a wonderful reminder that boxing is an international sport and a means for people of diverse cultures and backgrounds to come together in celebration. In the 30-40 minutes it took for me to get past the narrow bar hall (Jimmy’s is a tiny place, folks, and it was packed this past weekend) to the small seating area in the back, I met boxing fans and mailbaggers from Canada (hello to Rob and Ashley), Vienna (sorry, can’t remember your names guys, but it was a pleasure to meet you), Germany (you), the UK and Mexico (as well as various parts of the U.S., California, Illinois, Texas, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, etc.).

We all had a good time at Jimmy’s and we were all treated to a fantastic show and atmosphere.

I know that Ortiz was just in with a fat, gutsy dude from Argentina but he looked very sharp – and mean. He’s got excellent form and world-class timing. I view the Cuban southpaw as the darkhorse of the heavyweight division. The top big men would do well not to sleep on King Kong.

Where do Golovkin and Gonzalez rank as top fighters of this decade? Interesting question. So far – we’re only half way through the decade – but I think both are in the running for Fighter of the 2010s, along with Floyd Mayweather Jr., Wladimir Klitschko, Sergey Kovalev and maybe Andre Ward (although S.O.G. needs to get busy – he can’t live off winning the Super Six and stopping a depleted Chad Dawson forever).

Regarding Cotto and his middleweight titles (RING and WBC), if he beats Canelo next month and does not agree to face GGG, the WBC will strip him of their title. At that point THE RING Editorial Board (with input from our Ratings Advisory Panel) will decide whether or not to vacate the publication’s middleweight championship. Circumstances will obviously come into play. If Cotto barely beats Canelo in a good fight or he wins in controversial fashion, an immediate rematch between the two is likely. I can’t speak for the Board or the Panel, but my guess is that they would be OK with continuing to recognize Cotto as THE RING champ until he settles matters with Canelo.

Everything I just said about Cotto also applies to Canelo if he wins on Nov. 21. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves (as boxing folks tend to do). We should allow Cotto-Canelo to take place before we jump to conclusions and assume that either man is going to avoid GGG.

I agree that Golovkin is “the man” of the 160-pound division, but the only way for him to prove that he’s the undisputed champ is to collect all of the major titles. If he can’t get his hands on the WBC and RING belts right away, he can go after the WBO strap that will be held by the winner of Andy Lee-Billy Joe Saunders.

Chocolatito is indeed the complete package. ‘Nuff said.

 

 

TWO FANTASTIC FIGHTERS

Hi Dougie.

Man, oh man, was GGG impressive on Saturday night. Great display of power jabbing and distance control. Poor David Lemieux simply couldn’t do anything with him and when he did land something on the very odd occasion that he did, he just had no effect on Golovkin.

Having said that, I do think that he was a tad lucky to only get a warning after that right that he gave Lemieux when he was down. Respect to Lemieux for sucking it up and getting on with the job. Lesser men would have made a big song and dance about it, trying to pick up a DQ win. How do you read that situation and do you think the ref was fair?

The only competitive opponent that remains is the Cotto-Canelo winner (since the interim belt gives GGG mandatory status with the WBC). If the redhead wins, I think it happens, not so sure about Cotto, I think he’ll rather just dump the belt. What do you think?

The Daniel Jacobs-Peter Quillin and Andy Lee-Billy Joe Saunders winners are mildly interesting, but they are not going to do any better than Lemieux.

I do, however, like the idea of Golovkin cleaning out his division Marvin Hagler style rather than moving up. He is too small for light heavyweight and with Ward moving up and Froch retired, who is there to fight at 168?

As impressive as he was, I do not think he should be number one pound for pound as some are saying. His body of work is not sufficient yet. If he beats up the Cotto-Canelo winner, then we can talk.

Which brings me to Chocolatito. He had a tougher opponent than GGG and dominated him in almost the same fashion. Beyond an Estrada rematch, do you think there is any chance of a move up and fights against the likes of Naoya Inoue and Zolani Tete (our man is looking very sharp these days)?

Mythical matchups:

Vuyani Bungu vs Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera at 122. I think he outpoints Morales on neutral ground, Barrera a bit too versatile for him.

Regards. – Droeks Malan, South Africa

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and questions, Droeks.

Regarding the way the referee handled GGG’s late hit (the short right that clipped Lemieux while he was down on one knee in Round 5), I think Steve Willis ascertained that it was unintentional on Golovkin’s part – which is fine. Gennady is such a nice and charming fellow outside of the ring, I guess it’s hard for some to believe that he’s a mean bastard inside of it (ha!). So Willis opted not to take a point. I agree that Golovkin was lucky not to be penalized. Maybe his star has risen high enough in the boxing world that he’ll the benefit of the doubt when he engages in roughhouse tactics, the way Mike Tyson was in his heyday. (Man, Iron Mike used to routinely crack dudes while they were down and he was never docked a point. Remember that right hand Tyson smashed poor Frank Bruno with while the Brit was down in the opening round of their first fight?)

However, regardless of whether the late hit was intentional or unintentional, it was a foul; and Lemieux deserved an opportunity to recover from that foul. Willis should have asked Lemieux if he was OK once the Montreal banger got up, and he should have informed him that he has five minutes to recover from the foul if he wishes to take that much time. Now who knows if Lemieux would have even taken 30 seconds to recover? He’s so darn macho I wouldn’t have been shocked if he said “No, I’m ready to fight now” but I still think he should have been given the option.

I don’t agree that the Cotto-Canelo winner is the only competitive option left for GGG at middleweight. I think that matchups the biggest event that can be made. But styles make fights and I’d like to see how GGG deals with the experience of Cotto, the careful aggression of Canelo, the rangy southpaw styles of Lee and Saunders, and the boxer-puncher styles of Jacobs and Quillin.

If Golovkin is able to collect all the major middleweight belts he’s going to be a big star, big enough to entice even a prima donna like Ward to step back down to 168 pounds for a super fight. Beyond Ward, I think James DeGale can develop into a worthy opponent (if he can beat Bute in impressive fashion and continue winning).

I agree with your pound-for-pound thoughts.

Regarding Chocolatito, there’s no shortage of worthy challenges for THE RING flyweight/P4P champ. At flyweight there’s Estrada (the WBA/WBO titleholder) as you noted, but there’s also unbeaten Amnat Ruenroeng (the IBF beltholder) and Kazuto Ioka (the WBA’s “regular” strapholder). The WBO/RING 108-pound champ Donnie Nietes says he wants a piece of Chocolate and is willing to go up in weight for the challenge.

Beyond those guys, there is of course, the ultra-talented Inoue (the WBO beltholder at 115 pounds) and Mexico’s undefeated Carlos Cuadras (the WBC 115-pound titleholder). If Tete can beat one of these guys or earn a belt, I’m sure he’ll be on the radar. And once Gonzalez is done with his business at flyweight, I have no doubt that he’ll go up to junior bantamweight. (I don’t think he has an easy time making flyweight.)

You mythical matchups:

Morales by close UD. Barrera by clearer UD, perhaps a late TKO. Bungu was a very cagey boxer (and one of the most underrated junior featherweight titleholders in recent decades) but Morales at his best at 122 could box and punch with frightening precision. We ain’t talking about a bloated Danny Romero. We’re talking about El Terrible. And as far as I’m concerned, unless your name is Junior Jones, you ain’t beating the prime junior featherweight version of Barrera (who boxed very well in his rematch with “Poison”).

 

 

CALMNESS AND TERROR

Hey Doug, good week of boxingÔǪ.it’s been a while since my last mailÔǪ.but reading your mailbags is a regular thing for meÔǪ.

GGG is a Cold Blooded Killer The calmness in his face before he unleashes terror to the man in front of him is beyond normal I mean you can put him in a suit and he can easily sell 1 set of encyclopedia to anyone inside the MSG .

Everybody knows about his power but his boxing skills is superb which makes the most dangerous man in the World of BoxingÔǪ No one in the Middleweight Division can match his Skills and Power, Insane Jab and Punching AccuracyÔǪ. The Lemieux fight will simply give Canelo and Cotto more reasons not to fight himÔǪ Lemieux fought scaredÔǪ yeah! With his record and reputation not all will agree but he fought scaredÔǪ. he was afraid to close the gap because he knows he’ll go to sleep earlyÔǪ he was beaten before the opening bellÔǪ benefit of the doubt though, the Jab has a lot do with thatÔǪ. David Lemieux, a feared puncher in boxing was beaten by a Golovkin Jab which I think will bring a lot of Fear to the rest of MDÔǪ GGG should go up to 168ÔǪ a fight with Andre Ward is mouthwatering but I don’t expect it to happen anytime soon… Or does it even have a chance of happening??ÔǪ

I just want to take your thought on Prime B-HOP and Roy Jones vs GGG of today at MD.

More power to you DougieÔǪthank you for continuously giving legit information about boxingÔǪ I learned a lot by just reading your bagsÔǪ.you’re the MaestroÔǪ – Anghel Sagrado, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.

Thanks for the kind words, Anghel.

Right now I’d have to take the prime middleweight versions of Hopkins (1999-2001) and Jones (1992-1994) to beat the current version of GGG by close decision. B-Hop had the complete game, inside and out, legal and roughhouse, to compete on even terms, plus the iron chin to last the distance. Jones had the power to match GGG’s (and earn early respect) plus phenomenal hand and foot speed that would enable him to strike first and then quickly get out of harm’s way. However, I should note that GGG is still in his middleweight reign. He could show me something in his next few fights – or over the next couple of years – that changes my opinion on these mythical matchups.

I agree that GGG’s boxing skill is just as impressive (and intimidating to his potential opposition) as his crunching power. I disagree that Lemieux was scared or that he fought scared.

Golovkin’s jab (as you noted), footwork and body angles had a lot to do with Lemieux inability to walk straight in and bang away as he usually does. I’m sure GGG’s counter power shots that caught him coming in also dissuaded him from bum-rushing the Kazakhstan native. But just because Lemieux was thinking twice about marching forward and unloading on GGG doesn’t mean that he was “scared” or even intimidated.

I saw an outclassed badass trying to figure out (futilely) a way inside where he could do damage. He couldn’t do it. But after he went down in Round 5 and Golovkin tried to press him (and perhaps take him out) in Round 6, the opportunity to strike back presented itself and I thought Lemieux took advantage of that situation as much as he could. A scared fighter won’t even try to take advantage of an opportunity to turn the tables on his tormentor. David tried and he had his moments in Rounds 6 and 7. I don’t think he has anything to be ashamed about.

I don’t think Golovkin should go up to super middleweight yet. For starters, he doesn’t struggle at all to make 160 pounds (he was 165 pounds more than 30 days ago). But I also think there are more names and marketable fights for him at 160.

I don’t expect a showdown between GGG and Ward to happen anytime soon, but I do think it will happen eventually.

 

 

THE KINGS ARE DEAD, LONG LIVE THE KINGS!

‘Sup Dougie Fresh,

7th, 8th, 9th, who’s counting?! Let it be said that it was in ‘dominating fashion.’ Let it be said that ‘true greatness is going through the motions of greatness!’ Doug, win or lose, Golovkin n Gonzalez are the two best fighters on the planet with those other guys MAYBE third n fourth DISrespectively! Lol

Ali? Robinson?? Mayweather???lol

Triple n single G just opened up a new debate. The Kings are dead, long live the Kings! – David Hayden, Nottingham

Settle down, David.

I’m glad you’re excited by boxing’s new dynamic duo but you’re not making a whole lot of sense, which is OK, I guess, as long you’re having fun. (Seems like you are.)

By the way, during Saturday’s post-fight press conference Tom Loeffler mentioned that Eddie Hearn was in the arena. He kind of called the British promoter out by saying “I know you’re going to talk Carl Froch out of retirement so we make that fight with Gennady” (or something like that).

If that fight ever does happen, and it takes place in England, you can expect to me there.

Now get some sleep, Homie.

 

 

WHAT A BOXING PPV CARD SHOULD LOOK LIKE

Dear Dougie,

Long time reader of yours and first time writer. Thank you for your consistently excellent insight and objective opinion on the sweet science. I look forward to your columns each week.

After watching GGG on pay per view, I had a few thoughts. First, this guy is totally unafraid to exchange and does so in such an intense, methodical manner. We have seen a lot of fighters aggressively pursue their opponent, but with a recklessness, whereas GGG is so focused and calculated. By GGG pursuing the KO, he shows with no doubt, who won. I’ve been watching boxing for 40 years and could not recall a fighter as fierce, since the Four Kings, who fought a dangerous opponent and still happily accepted the risk of engaging for the reward of the KO the way GGG did.

Which brings me to my main point, on which I invite you to comment. Until this card, can you remember feeling good about spending money on a PPV??!!? It has been years of watching Floyd Mayweather, fighting in a style that was totally unsatisfying. But because we became accustomed to the low entertainment value of what Floyd offered, along with weak undercards, we forgot what boxing is supposed to look like!! Throw in Gonzalez-Viloria and I think this was one of the most entertaining nights of boxing in a long time.

A fighter like GGG is going to quickly cure boxing of the PPV hangover we have from 10 years of Floyd. Let’s hope he has set the bar for other fighters by demonstrating what fans will pay to see and love to watch.

Final question on a MM and hopeful bout for 2016: Duran vs GGG at 160 and Ward vs GGG

Keep up the great work! Regards. – Ron from NYC

I’ll go with Golovkin by close decision over the best middleweight version of Duran (the 1983 version that was competitive with Marvin Hagler over 15 rounds).

If Ward-Golovkin happens next year, at 168 pounds, I favor GGG by late TKO. I would have gone with Ward by decision in 2012 or 2013, but I don’t think his inactivity has been good for him. (I don’t think the Paul Smith “fight” knocked off that much ring rust and I don’t think it proved that he’s still got his old form. Ward’s going to have to dominate a very good, legit 168-pound contender to make me think he can neutralize what GGG brings to the ring.)

Regarding Golovkin’s pay-per-view worthiness, I didn’t have to pay to watch the card but if I had plunked down $50 to see it live I think I would have viewed it as money well spent. (Keep in mind that you’re reading the words of a boxing junkie that used to buy PPV shows headlined by Vinny Pazienza in the mid-90s.) However, the Gonzalez-Viloria fight has a lot to do with that opinion. I viewed Viloria as a very live dog going into that fight and expected an elite-level battle. I didn’t get that, but the dominant performance that Chocolatito put on was really something special – and definitely worth paying to see live.

Golovkin vs. the Cotto-Canelo winner will be a huge pay-per-view event that could possibly make GGG a crossover star (if it happens and if he wins), but until that fight takes place I think the WBA/IBF middleweight titleholder needs help from the likes of Chocolatito or even Wladimir Klitschko in order to be PPV worthy.

We’ll get an idea how well Saturday’s HBO Pay Per View show did by the end of this week. If it did more than 200,000 buys, that’s a good sign, and a good starting point for GGG in terms of building him into a PPV player. If it did more than 300,000 buys, maybe you’re right. Maybe he’s a PPV player right now.

If Golovkin does become a PPV player by next year, I hope he borrows a page from the mid-to-late ’90s version of Oscar De La Hoya and remains busy – fighting three to five times a year – and makes it a point to fight once or twice on HBO between his PPV events.

I’ve been watching boxing for 40 years and could not recall a fighter as fierce, since the Four Kings, who fought a dangerous opponent and still happily accepted the risk of engaging for the reward of the KO the way GGG did. That’s high praise, Ron. Of the Four Kings, GGG reminds me of Hagler the most. But I think he more resembles the late ’80s version of Julio Cesar Chavez (when the Mexican icon was fighting at lightweight and had just moved to junior welter). Chavez’s opposition was better, but Golovkin is breaking them down in almost identical fashion.

 

 

NOT A “GGG HATER,” BUTÔǪ

Hey Doug, hope you enjoyed a good fight weekend. Not too many shots in Jimmy’s! Anyway, to business.

It seems that the moment anyone criticizes GGG they become a “hater.” Man, I hate that term. Just because you criticize someone it doesn’t mean you hate them.

I like GGG, I think he’s great for boxing. I get more excited for his fights then I do for most other fighters. He has good fundamental skills. Excellent footwork, excellent timing, wonderful jab, a solid chin and, of course, thunderous power.

That being said, I feel that everyone now jumping on his ass and calling him the p4p King are extremely naive and easily led. Sheep, you could say. David Lemieux is not a top, top fighter so how does beating him make GGG legit? When the fight was first made it baffled me how people even thought Lemieux had a slight chance. He has good power but technically he is lacking. To me, I always said the fight would be over within 4 rounds and I felt that Lemieux was completely out of his depth. Lemieux was being massively over hyped, his promoters doing what they do best, which is to hype up a fight and earn lots of cash.

Golden Boy did a fantastic job here but people are too erratic and, forgive me, too naive to understand the difference between genuine ability and great promotion.

Now, I was wrong. It lasted longer than the four rounds I predicted. Saying that, GGG could have ended this fight any time he wanted. Lemieux, as I’ve thought all along, was out of his league.

Yes, GGG was impressive but then you have to take into consideration his opposition. That’s not being a “hater” it’s being realistic. Remember, this was a dude that was knocked out by Marco Antonio Rubio. Yes, by Rubio, a guy that GGG dispatched in 2 rounds. So why the belief that this would be a barn burner and GGG’s hardest fight? Promotion.

I still feel that Martin Murray is the best name on GGG record. Martin Murray is a good fighter. He’s not quite world class, always on the cusp for me, but he’s a solid competitor and a good name to have on your record. However beating him does not mean you’re the best in the world.

As I said, I’m not a GGG “hater” and as I said, I admire a lot of his skills. I just reserve my judgement of calling him p4p number 1 until he beats a few top fighters. Not one top fighter, a few.

I think if he gets Canelo and beats him, that’s a huge win and I will give him justly deserved credit. If he then dispatches people like Peter Quillin and Andy Lee, I will be a huge believer. Three good names and good fighters which are beatable. As you see, I’m being realistic, I’m putting forward three fighters that he could legitimately fight. I’m not one of those fools that say he needs to beat Ward, Kovalev and Joe Fraizer before he can be called world class.

A small word on Gonzalez, beast.

Forgive me if I’ve made grammatical or spelling mistakes but dude, I live in the UK and the Gonzalez fight didn’t start until around 4am, never mind the GGG fight, so spare me. Anyway, keep up the good work. Reading the mailbag is genuinely my first port of call every Monday and Friday morning. – Jordan, Newcastle (UK)

Thanks for staying up to share your thoughts, Jordan.

Listen, don’t get all caught up in the pound-for-pound debate. There’s no set criteria to it. Fans and media often go by the “eye test” when considering who deserves to be in the “mythical ratings” (and there’s a reason it’s called that). Sometimes a boxer’s potential is factored in there.

It’s all just an opinion. Just like your opinion that Lemieux is not world class, or that Murray – who you believe is the best name on GGG’s resume – not quite world class. I disagree with you. I think Murray should have at least won the WBA middleweight title he contested Felix Sturm for. I thought his fight with Sergio Martinez could have gone either way. You can’t give those veterans all they can handle and not be world class. As for Lemieux, I think you’re too fixated on his loss to Rubio. That happened in 2011. Golovkin didn’t fight that undisciplined 21-year-old kid on Saturday. He fought the 26-year-old IBF middleweight titleholder who had earned his major belt by beating Hassan N’Dam, a former beltholer and legit top-10 contender.

In your opinion Canelo, Quillin and Lee are legitimate middleweights for GGG to face. But other fans, who are just as passionate and knowledgeable about the sport as you are, believe that GGG crushes that trio easier than he beatdown Murray and Lemieux. That’s their opinion. And they might be right!

I agree with your opinion that GGG isn’t No. 1, pound for pound, but I’m not going to waste time, energy and emotion arguing with anyone (especially the type of fan to drop the “H-bomb”) believes that he is.

I think a legit argument can be made for Gonzalez, Ward, Klitschko, and even Kovalev for being the top dog in the sport. It all depends on your own personal pound-for-pound criteria. I get where fans and sports media who think GGG is No. 1 are coming from. They appreciate his technique and his dominance. They don’t care if he hasn’t defeated any world-beaters yet. They look at his numbers – 31 KOs in 34 consecutive victories; 21 straight stoppages; 15 title defenses – and they’re confident that when he does, he’ll crush them like everyone else.

They might be right. They might be wrong. Only time will tell.

I intend to enjoy the ride for as long as it lasts. GGG is 33 years old, and he’s been on his grind since 2012. He may not have more than two or three years at this level. Hopefully, he makes the most of his time in the spotlight. (I think he will.)

 

FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE

Hi, Dougie,

I read your mailbag every Friday and Monday. It’s a real pleasure, but I write for a first time.

For me this really stylish victory of GGG over Lemieux was kind of an example of the strength of so-called “Soviet boxing school”. Many forget that USSR had a centralized and supported-by-state system of recruitment and training of athletes practically in every sport. So, even years after breakup of communist state, the community of professional coaches, kids, coaches, physicians, etc., is still there. And also a lot of manuals and research materials (because there was also some scientific institutions, and a nation-wide system for training a coaches).

And there is a boxing school for young boys literally in every town of Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine. That’s tradition that matters.

No, I am not too Soviet-patriotic at all – I am 40. I remember that system and the s__t it was. But there is some strong legacy in sports, definitely.

What surprised me is that Golovkin (ethnically – half-Russian, half-Korean from Kazakhstan) was considered by many just a slugger. Nope. Because in that unified Soviet system it was boxing that mattered. Those guys have strong boxing fundamentals – the same can be said for Kovalev, another Russian-speaking monster 🙂

Speaking of GGG, I really like this guy. He is a good hearted, cheerful guy outside the ring, and he is a real badass inside the ring. So good luck to him.

Thank you very much again for your writing! All the best for you and your family and please forgive my not-so-perfect in English. – Sergey, Moscow

Your English is better than Golovkin’s, Sergey, and GGG is doing just fine in this country. And he deserves every bit of attention and success that’s coming to him. He worked his ass off (in the gym and by fighting more than twice a year), made many sacrifices (such as training in the U.S. when his family was still in Germany), and he allowed his management/promotional team to make many concessions – in terms of the money he made and where he was placed on HBO-televised cards – when he was still building his name and respect in the U.S. (in 2012 and 2013). We’re seeing the results of his hard work, his commitment to Abel Sanchez and his team (and vice versa), and the bold-but-shrewd promotional moves of K2’s Tom Loeffler.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge about the old Soviet sports systems, which helped birth future hall of famers, such as the Klitschkos and Yuri Arbachakov (remember him? The Russian flyweight champ who fought out of Tokyo just after the fall of the U.S.S.R?)

I think you’re right about GGG’s amateur upbringing, which has its roots in the old Soviet system, being the foundation that Sanchez has built this middleweight megalith that we now see.

Thanks for finally writing in to the mailbag and please do so again.

 

 

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

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