Dougie’s Monday mailbag
IS CRAWFORD THE NEXT BIG THING?
Just finished watching Terence Crawford vs Dierry Jean. And man, that was a pretty good scrap. I give Jean a lot of credit, he came to fight but Crawford was just too much for him.
So if Crawford doesn’t cash in on the Pac-Man sweepstakes, what’s the next big fight out there for him? Do you think he and Postol can make an interesting fight? Does Top Rank agree to work with Golden Boy and he tangles with Adrien Broner? What type of fighter could give him the good entertaining scrap we saw on HBO?
Thanks. And Keep up the good work. Also you think Arizona covers the spread against Baltimore? Lol, I had to ask. – KJ
You gotta pass that question onto my partner in crime Steve Kim. I don’t do football.
I do boxing, though, and Dougie says Crawford does boxing right. The Nebraskan simultaneously works a busy but accurate offense with a tight defense while walking his down his opposition.
I did not think Crawford-Jean was a “pretty good scrap.” I thought it was one-sided, but I still enjoyed watching Crawford ply his craft (and I was even tickled by the venom he directed at Jean during his post-fight interview – I hope more opponents offend him during the build-up to future bouts).
If Crawford doesn’t get a shot at Pacquiao next year, which is likely, there’s a title unification bout with WBC beltholder Viktor Postol, the winner of the Tim Bradley-Brandon Rios showdown (unless that guy gets the Pac-Man fight), Ruslan Provodnikov, Jessie Vargas, Jose Benavidez, and whoever Golden Boy might be able to offer (which would not be Adrien Broner, who is with Al Haymon’s PBC League). GBP could offer Lucas Matthysse (at 140 or 147) and Mauricio Herrera (the Nos. 1 and 3 contenders for the WBO belt that Crawford holds).
The Postol-Crawford clash would be an interesting matchup of styles and ring IQ (and THE RING’s vacant 140-pound title would like be on the line) but I don’t think it would be an entertaining fight. (I slightly favor Crawford if that fight happens.)
Fighters who can give Crawford an entertaining scrap include Matthysse, Kell Brook, Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, Bradley, Provodnikov, and maybe Broner (although I think Bud beats The Problem quite handily). Political issues prevent Crawford from facing Thurman, Porter and Broner for the time being, but the other fights I mentioned can be made in 2016.
BUD BOXES BEAUTIFULLY/BRUTALLY
What’s up Dougie,
Hope you had a great weekend, I know I did watching Crawford do his thing in the ring, especially after watching one of my current favs, Lemieux, lose to GGG last weekend. By the way, my favorite fighters at the moment are Crawford, Lemieux (he’ll be back, part of the learning curve), James DeGale, Fonfara (made my list after the punch out thriller against Cleverly), and Deontay Wilder. Hope they all bring the thrills in the upcoming year.
Terence “Bud” Crawford boxed beautifully in his seamless stoppage win against a game Dierry Jean. “Bud” chose to fight southpaw nearly the entire time which surprised me but surprised his Haitian opponent Jean even more. I feel the Omaha native showed his complete game Saturday night, discipline, poise, offense and defense, and brought some excitement when he chose to exchange with Jean. I think fans not only can appreciate Crawford the boxer but Crawford the puncher. “Bud” can also take a shot as he showed when Jean landed some hard overhand rights.
Now Crawford, as I mentioned before, is one of my favorite fighters at the moment but is he ready to fight Pacquiao? I’d rather see him seek and destroy newly crowned WBC junior welterweight champ Postol first. How does a Crawford/Postol fight sound to you Dougie? I think Crawford can beat the Ukranian, do you? But if he does fight Pacquiao what do you think Crawford’s chances are? Is it too early for “Bud” to fight “Pacman”?
On another note, I watched Lemieux/GGG again and was surprised at how well Lemieux fought. I was rooting for Lemieux all the way but when I watched it live it seemed like GGG was much more dominant; but the second time around Lemieux seemed to improve as the rounds went on which brings me to that fifth round. Lemieux took a knee after a hard body shot and GGG followed up with a hard right hand while Lemieux was on the canvas. Watching it again that looked like a blatant foul to me. I thought a 2 point deduction against GGG and a 5 minute recovery period for Lemieux was called for if not an outright disqualification! What was even more stunning than the foul was the total disregard Lampley and Kellerman showed, making a joke out of the whole situation while only Roy Jones seemed to care bringing back memories of his own disqualification against Montel Griffin. I guess since GGG is a boxing star in waiting and has the whole boxing media behind him he can get away with anything! Why wasn’t any action taken against Golovkin, Dougie? That was a pretty bad foul GGG got away with and since he hits so hard we have no idea what effect that punch had on Lemieux!
Keep up the excellent work. Regards. – Erik
Thanks Erik. I’ll try my best.
I don’t agree that the right hand Golovkin landed to Lemieux while the Canadian was on one knee was a blatant foul, but I do agree that Lemieux deserved a five-minute recovery period (something I stated in last week’s Monday mailbag). The referee would have been within his rights to deduct a point from GGG, in my opinion. I think Steve Willis should have at least stopped the action to give Golovkin a stern warning (the dramatic kind that the commentators, media and audience takes notice of).
I don’t know how much that late hit took out of Lemieux, but I’m guessing not as much as that left to the body that made him take the knee. I’ll say this for Lemieux, he fought his ass off in Rounds 6 and 7, even though he continued to get beat down. He landed shots that would have turned the fight against most other top middleweights. Maybe if he would have gotten all dramatic and theatrical after the late hit, he could have forced Willis to give him extra time to recover and he would have had more energy for his offensive surge in Rounds 6 and 7.
All of this is part of the learning curve that you mentioned. Lemieux will know what to do the next time he’s dropped/fouled by a strong opponent. Your favorite middleweight is young and still hungry. I think he’ll grow from his experience with GGG and he’ll win at least one more world title (at 160 or 168).
Now Crawford, as I mentioned before, is one of my favorite fighters at the moment but is he ready to fight Pacquiao? I’d rather see him seek and destroy newly crowned WBC junior welterweight champ Postol first. How does a Crawford/Postol fight sound to you Dougie? I think Crawford can beat the Ukranian, do you? But if he does fight Pacquiao what do you think Crawford’s chances are? Crawford vs. Postol is not a matchup I anticipate. I respect both fighters and view them as the top two 140 pounders in the sport, but the Ukrainian’s technical/neutralizer style does not make for fun fights and it is not my cup of tea. I’m not saying that I don’t recognize Postol’s skills (or his ability to finish a foe once he’s totally frustrated and worn him out). I appreciate good boxing technique, but I like best when it’s applied by hunter-killers like Crawford, GGG and Roman Gonzalez.
I think Crawford can beat Postol but I wouldn’t bet the house on that opinion.
I think Crawford is ready for Pacquiao and I think he can beat the future first-ballot hall of famer.
I guess since GGG is a boxing star in waiting and has the whole boxing media behind him he can get away with anything! Why wasn’t any action taken against Golovkin, Dougie? You answered your question with your previous sentence.
GGG/SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT/WARD OBSESSION
Douglas, What’s the deal with the obsession in the comments section about getting GGG to move up to 168? I don’t get it. Are matchups with Abaraham, Jack, DeGale, and the Dirrells so much more compelling than a matchup with the Cotto/Alvarez winner, or Lee, or Quillin? Will any of those 168-lb matchups generate PPV buys? Is it because the haters want to see him get beat by Ward?
To me, a Ward fight isn’t even worth talking about until Ward proves he can make 168. Until he does, the fighter from Oakland is a Light Heavyweight.
In the 40 years I’ve watched the sport, I’ve seen fighters move up in weight for three reasons; they get beat and use the weight loss as an excuse to rebuild their confidence, they outgrow or age and can no longer make the weight, and lastly they seek to build their legacy with a career defining matchup. GGG hasn’t been beat. He’s 33 years old and makes 160 easily, indicating that it’s his proper weight class. There is currently no legacy building fight at 168. I just don’t get it. Mythical Matchups Max Baer – Floyd Patterson Harry Greb-Carlos Monzon Harry Greb-Marvin Hagler Thanks. – Brad Brundies, Godfrey, IL
Well said Brad.
The only reason for Golovkin to move up to super middleweight is if there is a legacy building fight waiting for him in the heavier weight class. Team GGG was willing to send him up for a potential PPV event against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (but that fight fell out on Junior’s end) and a potential UK blockbuster vs. Carl Froch (who decided to hang up his gloves). If GGG had any name at all in 2012 or 2013, a showdown with then-super middleweight champ Andre Ward would have made a lot of sense. But Golovkin was just beginning to make his name among U.S. hardcore fans at that time.
GGG has come a long way in just two years, but Ward has only fought once since 2013, his bludgeoning of bloated no-hoper Paul Smith in a light heavyweight bout this past June. So now GGG has a name, but Ward isn’t sure if he’s a super middleweight anymore.
If Ward were to fight a top-10 rated super middleweight in his next fight (let’s just say Dmitry Chudinov for argument’s sake) and either crush the Russian or totally take him school (which is possible), I think the boxing world would seriously focus on the potential for a Ward-GGG showdown at 168 pounds.
Imagine if Ward put the smashdown on Chudinov (who holds the “regular” version of Ward’s WBA 168-pound title, the last super middleweight belt the American holds) and then said something like this during his post-fight interview:
“That was easy work, just like ‘Little G’ will be easy work if he’s man enough to face me in the ring. I know how master those rugged styles from Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine or wherever, and I’m ready to prove it against Golovkin.”
There’s no way HBO wouldn’t do everything in its power to make Ward-Golovkin happen.
But for now, GGG/Ward is merely fodder for Twitter debate and spats.
Are matchups with Abaraham, Jack, DeGale, and the Dirrells so much more compelling than a matchup with the Cotto/Alvarez winner, or Lee, or Quillin? Nope.
Will any of those 168-lb matchups generate PPV buys? Nope.
Is it because the haters want to see him get beat by Ward? Yep. (And that’s wishful thinking on their part.)
Your Mythical Matchups: Max Baer-Floyd Patterson – Baer by mid-rounds TKO (fearless Floyd goes down at least seven times)
Harry Greb-Carlos Monzon – Monzon by close, perhaps disputed decision in a rough-and-tumble fight. Monzon had the height, reach and all-time great jab to keep Greb at bay for stretches, and the iron-chin, physical strength, dirty tactics and mean streak to get down and dirty with the Pittsburgh Windmill on the inside.
Harry Greb-Marvin Hagler – Greb by close decision in grueling battle of attrition. I think Greb comes on strong in the late rounds.
CAN’T FOOL CASUALS
At some point boxing has to be honest with itself. The 150k PPV buys for GGG/Lemieux should be a wake up call. Not as a statement on the quality of the event, but as a reflection on casual fans’ embrace of the sport.
This fight was sold, promoted widely by boxing media as a potential Hearns/Hagler explosion, truly one of the greatest boxing spectacles off all-time. I assume Lemieux was cast as HOFer ‘Hitman’ Hearns? What 150k PPV buys said was casuals didn’t believe the hype, didn’t by the fight and were correct in rejecting the competitive comparison. One of the few truths Bob Arum has ever stated is “if you want to know how competitive a fight will be, look at the sports book opening odds line”. GGG/Lem went off with Lem as a 16-1 underdog. For boxing media to promote the fight as potentially Hearns/Hagler was dishonest. And the one-sided beatdown proved that. Now, I know lightning can strike (Tyson/Buster), but it’s very rare. And in the end, being dishonest with fans will always catch up; boxing’s margin for error is too thin.
I hope this makes sense. GGG is a great fighter but he’s facing an uphill battle after the May 2 debacle. Those two guys, with the world watching, basically took ‘dumps’ in the ring after literally raping every potential revenue source and, therefore, paying customer. Then, one idiot brags about how much money he made, the other idiot claims he was injured going into the fight. A perfect storm of stupid. I believe boxing is going to have a hard time recovering from May2.
The media can help by being honest with fans is my point. Somehow the line between reporting and promoting is blurred. I urge you guys to get on one side or the other. I think you know boxing needs ‘casuals’ to thrive unless surviving on the sports fringe is ok. – Tony
I agree that casual fans were turned off from big boxing PPV events after being inundated with Mayweather-Pacquiao hype and then paying for and witnessing the “Mega-Dud.”
I agree that Golovkin-Lemieux fell short of its middleweight shootout expectations. (And I admit that I was part of the boxing media that got over-excited about the stylistic matchup – I honestly thought it would feature more two-way action.)
However, I disagree with this statement: What 150k PPV buys said was casuals didn’t believe the hype, didn’t (buy) the fight and were correct in rejecting the competitive comparison.
“Casuals” didn’t reject anything. They weren’t aware of the fighters or the fight (or the odds on the matchup). Golovkin is just beginning to crack the “crossover” barrier. He’s in range, but he’s yet to break into the consciousness of general sports fans. Lemieux had just reached a place of reasonable respect among hardcore heads with his decision victory over Hasson N’Dam. He’s a complete unknown to casual U.S. boxing fans.
When a pay-per-view show does less than 300,000 buys that means it didn’t even reach the casual fans. To get around 300,000-350,000 buys means an even basically grabbed all of the hardcore fans who aren’t broke and aren’t willing to watch an illegal live stream.
Getting 150,000 buys means the event was likely a big deal within the boxing world, but not the sports world. It means the event was probably a big deal in the area where it took place and a few select U.S. markets, but certainly not in the middle of the country (the “fly-over states” as my buddy Steve Kim calls my old stomping grounds). It means hardcore boxing fans in the U.S. and other parts of the world were talking about it for weeks, but casual fans were wondering who those weirdos were yammering about. That was Golovkin-Lemieux.
But you know what? It had to happen. If it didn’t happen. Golovkin wouldn’t have the IBF middleweight title to go with his other straps. He wouldn’t have the claim of selling out the Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden. He wouldn’t have had another huge press row section marveling at his ring prowess/presence and writing more sparkling articles (that some hardcore fans – probably you included – will view more as promotion than journalism). He probably wouldn’t have landed the Apple Watch sponsorship deal, and wouldn’t have Jordan brand sniffin’ around him.
All of the boons that came with the pay-per-view event that “only” drew 150,000 buys are things that will help advance Golovkin from hardcore hero to crossover star.
And keep in mind that GGG was a complete unknown in the U.S. prior to his U.S./HBO debut. (I know this because I was writing about him in 2011 and not even the hardest U.S. hardcore boxing knuckleheads had s__t to say about him or his potential.) Where Golovkin is today, is after just a little over three years of being on the radar of U.S. hardcore fans.
Take it from someone who covered most of the recent American PPV stars from the start of their pro careers, none of them would have sold any more than 150,000 buys if they were put into a PPV main event three years into their pro career. There’s nobody that Floyd Mayweather Jr. could have fought in 1999 or 2000 that would have promoted more than 150 K of even the sickest diehard fans to plunk down $50 to watch the fight live, not even a lightweight showdown with Shane Mosley.
As GGG said all along, the Lemieux PPV was a first step to bigger things. Step two comes in 2016. You’ll be watching, as will more than a few “casuals.”
CATCHWEIGHTS AND TITLE BELTS
Hi Mr Doug,
So everyone is taking Canelo’s comments out of proportion, he said he’ll fight Golovkin at 155 on an interview, they say Canelo is afraid, and that if Canelo defeats Cotto, which is not gonna be easy, he will have to fight GGG or he is a coward since 3G is the mandatory challenger, Canelo wants 155 but people say there should be no 155 CW for a Middleweight Belt and I agree with this, I really think belts should be won at the division limit, there are too many divisions anyway, especially at the lower weights, 105, 108, 112, 115, 118 122. a CW down there would be hilarious.
But how about a fight Canelo vs GG with no titles in the line, just for pride and glory and money? would a Catch Weight of 155 would be OK then? Would the fans accept that?
How much would it hurt Canelo if he just vacates the title and challenges some other worthy Middleweights and recent GGG oponnents like the great Willie Monroe JR or Mexican legend Marco Antonio Rubio or even David Lemieux?
Then after 2 or 3 fights at MW he can fight GGG for all the marbles. Once he finally grows.
Canelo does not need Golovkin, that is a fact, he can fight Andy Lee for the other MW belt or the other guys mentioned above. And lets not forget that this farce of the WBC Middleweight Catch-weight championship was all started when Sergio Martinez decided he needed a big retirement check, and that Cotto is using to get his own big check. – Gilberto, from Culiacan Sinaloa Mexico
It would be great if the sanctioning organizations prohibited catchweights in world title bouts, but that will never happen. The boxers who demand catchweights are usually the biggest stars of the sport who bring in the most money, and the sanctioning organizations (WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO) want their cut of that cash. (Come on, man, you know this.)
But how about a fight Canelo vs GG with no titles on the line, just for pride and glory and money? Would a Catch Weight of 155 would be OK then? Would the fans accept that? I think Canelo vs. GGG is a huge fight with a lot of fan interest with or without a belt. But if Canelo won the WBC/RING middleweight titles and then abdicated them just so he could fight GGG at 155 pounds, I think hardcore fans would give him a lot of s__t. Plus, GGG’s goal is to unify all the major titles. He may want to collect all the straps first, rather than go for a money grab vs. Canelo.
How much would it hurt Canelo if he just vacates the title and challenges some other worthy Middleweights and recent GGG opponents like the great Willie Monroe Jr or Mexican legend Marco Antonio Rubio or even David Lemieux? I think Canelo would get ripped by the media and by hardcore fans if he did that, although a Canelo-Lemiuex would be a lot of fun (with or without a belt on the line).
Then after 2 or 3 fights at MW he can fight GGG for all the marbles. Once he finally grows. Huh? What do you mean “once he finally grows”? He weighs more than GGG before and during most of his fights. He’s only able to make 155 pounds because he’s 25 years old, but those days are numbered.
GGG-CANELO SPARRING SESSION
I┬┤m a big boxing fan from Brazil and as you can imagine there is not much of a media around the sport of boxing here in our country.
I┬┤ve been a reader of your mail bag for more than a year now since I┬┤ve discovered it and a big Canelo Alvarez fan, if u don┬┤t mind have a few questions:
1) I┬┤ve hear you were the one invited to watch Canelo Alvarez and GGG when they sparred, there is a lot of talking about it in the internet and I thought you were the best to say what really happened since you were there. How was it? Who do you think has improved the most since that sparring session?
2) I would like to know a little more about the Brazilian boxers currently on the rise, such as Olympian brothers Yamaguchi and Esquiva Falcao, because we really didn’t have any Brazilian fighters in media here in Brazil since Acelino Freitas.
3) Do you think Chocolatito Gonzalez can be a PPV headliner in the future? Do you think there is an interest among the casual American boxing fans in the lower weight classes? It seems to me that 250 k is a low purse for the p4p king dont u think?
Sorry about my English. Big fan of your work (even more when you are beating down Money May fans). Thanks a lot. – Guilherme, Canoas, Brazil
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Guilherme. Your English was fine.
I’ll answer your questions in order:
1) Here’s a link to the Gym Notes article I wrote on the sparring session I witnessed in Big Bear, California in May 2011. Keep in mind that I only watched that one session. They sparred many times, many rounds during that camp without anyone taking notes. I give a fairly detailed account of what I saw (on May 25) in the article (click on the “2” at the bottom of the page to read about it). Golovkin and Canelo gave each other good work. They weren’t trying to kill each other. I would say Canelo, who was only 20 at the time, has improved the most. GGG was already a complete fighter, but he’s changed his style since then. He reminded me of Kostya Tszyu back then. Now he’s choppin’ foes down like Julio Cesar Chavez.
2) I think Yamaguchi and Esquiva are athletically gifted boxers with a lot of fighting spirit, but both seem to lack power and technique. I don’t know how far either can go. I think two-time Olympian Everton Lopes, a lightweight prospect, is more talented than the Falcao brothers. He’s a very good athlete with underrated power. He just needs to get his technique and combinations together. The best Brazilian boxer I’ve seen recently, however, is undefeated middleweight volume puncher Patrick Teixeira. He was touted as a puncher, but I was impressed with his technique, skill and poise (as well as his relentless pressure and high punch output). I think Pat is one to watch.
3) I think Chocolatito can become a decent draw in NYC, Miami and the greater L.A. area, but unfortunately, I don’t think he can become a major PPV headliner. He can definitely be in strong PPV co-features or undercard bouts in the U.S., but I don’t see any dance partner for him that would elevate their fight to PPV main event status (and that includes Juan Estrada). $250,000 isn’t a lot of dough by modern boxer standards, but it’s pretty good for sub-bantamweights, and it buys a lot of groceries in Managua. However, I think his pay scale will increase with more HBO/HBO PPV appearances (and more sensational performances, of course).
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer