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Dougie’s Friday mailbag

30
Oct

POINTLESS REMATCH, BOGUS MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP

Hey Douglas. Some fight news I want to discuss here:

  1. Whatever happened to Brook-Chaves? I thought that fight was supposed to happen on Sat., Oct. 24th. Did I miss something here? If it got cancelled or did take place I heard nothing of it.
  2. Kovalev-Pascal 2. Meaningless mismatch. Okay the first fight was fiercely competitive for a few rounds. But it still ended with a totally spent Pascal being hammered to a standstill. And I still wonder what dire condition Pascal might have been in if it wasn’t for that concerned referee coming to his aid. A rematch is simply what Krusher needs to finish where he left off.

In a way though I can see why we’re getting this fight. Krusher’s running out of worthy foes. Andre Ward and Adonis Stevenson want no part of him. Fonfara would be a good solid choice but he’s stuck on Planet Haymon. And both Gonzalez and Beterbiev need two or more fights before those two are ready. Peter Quillin is actually bigger than most light-heavies but what are the chances of him wanting anything to do with Kovalev? Or any top guy near his size?

Another thing. When’s Krusher going to start fighting in New York or LA in order to bring himself a bigger fan-base? Maybe starring on the same card with GGG could boost his popularity.



  1. I hate to kill the buzz but I’m not overly excited about Cotto-Canelo. A world middleweight title match between a faded welterweight and a fat junior-middleweight. And they’re not even fighting at 160. A total mockery. And regardless who wins what are the chances of GGG getting that overdue shot at that linear title? And to be honest with you I think that hard-hitting Andy Lee will be a worthier foe than those two. He’s punches as hard as David Lemieux and has more savvy and experience than the French Canadian has right now. I’m not saying Andy will pull the monumental upset but I really think he’ll make things interesting for a few rounds.
  2. Bradley-Rios: I’m actually looking more forward to this fight as opposed to Cotto-Canelo. For a guy with no KO power Bradley has been in some really entertaining wars. And Rios often makes for must-see TV. In and out of the ring. By the way didn’t Rios fight that grueling 2nd fight against Alvarado the week right after Bradley warred it out with Provodnikov? I’m also curious to see how Timmy works under Teddy Atlas who was a nightmare for some of his previous fighters. Or so I understand. Actually considering what a hard-driving gym-rat Bradley is they might do just fine together.

Several Mythical matchups:

Shane Mosley vs Jose Luis Castillo at 135-140

Kovalev vs Glen Johnson

Kovalev vs a 30-40 year old Bernard Hopkins

Kovalev vs James Toney at 175

JL Castillo vs Tim Bradley at 140

Kovalev vs Daruisz Michealchewsky (Sorry but I can’t remember how to spell that name.)

Keep up the good work. – Dave

Thanks Dave, but please, try not to let boxing get you so down. I was worried about you suffering from serious depression until you got to your comments on the Tim Bradley-Brandon Rios fight. (I was picturing you walking into to see your shrink all slumped over, hair a mess, clothes wrinkled, face droopy; you plop down on the sofa and the psychologist asks you: “What’s wrong, Dave?” You take a deep breath, let out a big sigh, and simply reply: “Boxing.”) LOL.

I’ll answer your questions/comments in order:

1) Brook suffered an injured rib in a sparring session a couple weeks back, so his IBF welterweight title defense against Diego Chaves has been postponed until later this year. A new date has yet to be set. I think the injury was reported the week of the Golovkin-Lemieux fight, which was a very busy week for the sport, so perhaps the news was lost in the shuffle.

2) I thought Pascal put up a valiant fight against Kovalev in their first fight (which seems like it took place two years ago – this has been a crazy year) and I admire his willingness to get it on with Krusher again, but I also see no reason for the rematch. Kovalev is the better man. I don’t think anyone doubts that. He beat Pascal’s ass the first time, and he’ll put a meaner beating on the former champ in January. I’m also a bit worried about Pascal’s safety, especially given his uneven performance against Yuniesky Gonzalez in the summer. I’m not sure I agree that Ward and Stevenson want no part of “Krusher.” I don’t think either is in a hurry to face the Russian boxer-puncher, but I think we will see one of them get in the ring with Krusher by the end of 2016 (probably Ward; “Superman” is stuck on Planet Haymon, as you put it). In the meantime, it would be great if Kovalev kept busy in two of the biggest markets in the U.S. (L.A. and NYC). Fighting in Atlantic City, Vegas and Quebec is definitely not going to build him any fan base in the U.S. (Defending his belts against Sean Monaghan in NYC would pull in a strong crowd.) I like the idea of packaging Krusher with GGG, but I wouldn’t want the unified light heavyweight beltholder to push out THE RING/WBC flyweight champ Roman Gonzalez. My man “Chocolatito” finally got a small corner of boxing’s spotlight, and he deserves it!

3) Oh come on, man. Please go see your shrink! Yes, Cotto is faded, but he’s not shot. And he’s had a lot of time to recover, physically and mentally. With his form sharpened up and his confidence regained, I think he’s a very dangerous foe for Alvarez – who is NOT fat! The 25-year-old Mexican star is more stacked with muscle than I’ve ever seen him. So, please, please, please, don’t fret about what might or might not happen with GGG in the near future. Canelo will realize sooner or later (I think sooner) that he’s better suited fighting at 160 than 155. And after visiting Canelo’s camp this week, and talking to him a little bit about his sparring sessions with a then-unknown Golovkin four years ago, I’m convinced that the young man has no fear of the Kazakhstan native. (Side note: Jim Lampley interviewed Canelo before the RingTV Live crew set up to do the same on Tuesday. Before Lampley left we talked a little about Golovkin and that sparring session. Canelo overheard us and came over and started talking about it – in ENGLISH! I won’t go into too many details but he’s convinced that GGG started working on his “Mexican Style” after those sparring sessions, and I could tell that there is genuine enthusiasm for an eventual showdown with the Good Boy Killer.) I agree that Lee can give GGG a respectable challenge, but he’s gotta turn back the challenge of Billy Joe Saunders before we can really talk about that potential unification bout.

4) Bradley-Rios has kind of snuck up on us, hasn’t it? I didn’t give it much thought when it was first announced. I kind of viewed it as a Top Rank “desperation” matchups. The company needed a big fight near the end of the year, one that HBO would want, and one that could potentially provide a spring opponent for Pacquiao. Trying to make fights with Brook didn’t work out for Rios or Bradley, so why not have them face each other? So that’s what we’ve got and now that it’s a week away, I’m also getting excited about it. We’ve got Bradley’s quick athleticism and busy in-and-out style against Rios’ aggressive stalking style that is accompanied by a stiff jab and heavy handed inside technique. I like Bradley by decision but Rios sounds like he’s got his head screwed on right for this fight. A mild upset would not surprise me.

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Your mythical matchups:

Shane Mosley vs Jose Luis Castillo at 135-140 – Sugar Shane by late TKO in two great, brutal ring wars.

Kovalev vs Glen Johnson – Kovalev by close decision in a good fight

Kovalev vs a 30-40 year old Bernard Hopkins – Hopkins by close decision in a competitive fight

Kovalev vs James Toney at 175 – Kovalev by close but clear decision in an ugly fight (light heavyweight was a bad division/weight for Toney for some reason.)

JL Castillo vs Tim Bradley at 140 – Bradley by close decision in a very good fight

Kovalev vs Daruisz Michalczewski (I didn’t even have to go to BoxRec to spell it) – Kovalev by close decision in a good fight

 

 

RONDA ROUSEY

Can you tell me how in the world Rousey made the cover of the Ring mag? She is an MMA fighter, not a boxer! Period! Can you please explain? Thank you sir. – Michael

Well, it wasn’t exactly my decision to have her on there but I think I can figure it out. Rousey made the cover of THE RING for the same reason Robert De Niro (in the role of Jake LaMotta from the film Raging Bull) graced the cover way back in 1981: she’s a bona-fide celebrity and she’s got a connection to boxing. She’s not a boxer, but neither was/is De Niro. I don’t know if fans were in an uproar over Bobby being on the cover, but it’s conceivable that some were upset about it. (In fact, I recall reading a letter from a fan who was miffed about it in a later issue. Yes, I’ve been reading RING since 1980.) The issue that fDeNiro_RING-covereatured De Niro on the cover, the February 1981 edition, was the first RING mag to come out after the Roberto Duran-Sugar Ray Leonard rematch. So I’m sure that more than a few fans were expecting to see either Leonard or Duran (or both) on the cover with the words “No Mas!” printed across it.

But guess what? Raging Bull (which was released in December of 1980) was a critical success at this time, it won two Oscars including Best Actor. (I remember watching it with my dad in the theaters.) And it came out just when cable and various movie channels were gaining steam in the U.S., so folks watched it again and again on TV, which added to the film’s eventual popularity. So it’s not hard to figure out that THE RING’s publishers at the time wanted to catch some of the “Raging Bull wave” and also entice some of De Niro’s fans into picking up the mag.

Rousey’s no De Niro but she does have crossover fame and she’s arguably the best-known active prize fighter on the planet. Hardcore boxing fans (especially those who hate MMA) would argue that Mayweather or Pacquiao hold that distinction. But both boxers have been on too many RING covers to bother counting. A RING mag with Floyd or Manny on the cover these days might as well be invisible to “casual” fans. Even hardcore fans are sick of those two. Rousey, at the very least, piques our interest. Maybe it’s because you’re a fan of hers, or maybe due to outrage if you’re a diehard boxing fan (which I think is ridiculous – especially when half the fans currently complaining on social media have NEVER read the magazine and the other half wouldn’t give a rat’s ass if we put a female boxer on the cover), or maybe it’s due to general curiosity (what’s her connection to boxing?). Whatever the case may be, if that person stops and picks it up off the magazine rack at a bookstore or pharmacy or 7-11 (or wherever magazines are found these days – there aren’t a lot of newsstands left, folks), that’s a GOOD thing.

And for the record, I have no problem with Rousey being on the cover. If she had been on the cover in place of Cotto or Canelo, or in place of whoever winds up being The Fighter of the Year for 2015, yeah, then I’d have a problem with it. But that’s not the case.

 

 

THE BIG MEN ARE BACK!

Hey Dougie,

Love the mailbag. I have been following the Heavyweight division for a long time now and am very excited about some of the upcoming fights.

Ortiz vs. Jennings

Povetkin vs. Wach

Klitschko vs. Fury

Joshua vs. White

How do you see these fights playing out, and do you see any improvement in the quality of the Heavyweight division over the last few years? Also what are your thoughts on a possible Nietes vs. Gonzalez fight? Do you give Nietes a chance?

And lastly just a mythical matchup – Roy Jones Jr. vs. Floyd Patterson at light heavyweight.

Thanks a lot and have a good week. – Nick

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Nick. I’m not as high on the heavyweights as you are but I do see a lot of potential in the sport’s former “Glamour Division” now that Klitschko is getting long in the tooth and we’ve got some promising up-and-comers, such as Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker, almost ready to make some noise against true contenders.

I’m interested in all four of the heavyweight bouts you brought up, especially the Luis Ortiz-Bryant Jennings fight. I like this matchup because I have no idea what to expect. I can’t quite figure out in my head how their styles/strengths play out in the ring and I don’t have a favorite. Ortiz is untested but he’s got the better amateur background, the sharper technique/timing and he’s the bigger man (with probably the heavier hands). Jennings, on the other hand, is smart, tough (mentally and physically), strong and battle tested. If I have to make a pick, I’ll go with Ortiz on points in a closely contested bout.

I favor Povetkin over Wach on points. Wach could pose some problems with his size but the Russian contender is the better all-around boxer. He might put a beating on the big Pole in the later rounds.

I like Klitschko over Fury, probably by late TKO but I think the English upstart will have his moments in a fun fight between talented giants. I don’t think a loss will hurt Fury’s confidence or his future. I think it will make him a better fighter and a bigger name in the U.S.

I think Joshua will have some trouble with Whyte in the early rounds due to his amateur nemesis’ quick jab, size and confidence, but I think the 2012 Olympic gold medalist will gradually cut the ring off and break The Villain down along the ropes. I envision Joshua winning a mid-rounds TKO in an entertaining scrap.

How would Donnie do against Chocolatito? About as well as anyone else, which is to say that THE RING’s current 108-pound champ has no shot at beating Gonzalez but I believe that the accomplished Filipino veteran would give a good account of himself.

I have to go with Jones over Patterson by decision. Jones was a mature fighters at light heavyweight; Patterson was a still a prospect/lower top 10 contender at that weight. I think Jones would drop Patterson more than a few times but would be leery of trying to finish the New Yorker because the future heavyweight champ had KO power and could match his speed.

 

 

MANNY, PLEASE RETIRE

Doug,

I see than there might be a Crawford / Pacquiao fight. Honestly, who cares! To be serious I’ve been a long time Pacquiao fan, ever since Kostya Tszyu retired he’s been my favourite. But, seriously enough is enough. I know that he Uncle Bob’s favourite money maker, but he’s gone from a destroyer to a Malignaggi pillow fisted fighter. Yes, he has the tools, but doesn’t have the power and desire anymore except for the $$$$$. He’s got a good heart with what he does in his home country and is revered there immensely. I’ve been to the Philippines and have seen it with my own eyes, but I’m totally over him. His next fight should be to take the PBF loss, hang up the gloves and clean up the corrupt cesspool that is Philippine politics. Bring on the young guns. – Jeff, Australia

Indeed. I think it’s time for boxing and boxing fans to turn the page on the PacMan. I honestly believe that the last time his heart was 100 percent in boxing was when he faced Miguel Cotto in December 2009. He still trained and fought hard in 2010, but his mind was elsewhere. And from 2011 to the present, the congressman has been mailing it in. It’s amazing that he’s defeated the fighters he has while being a part-time fighter, but enough is enough. He’s been in the sport for 20 years. It’s time to go.

I don’t know if Pacquiao’s really going to face a young badass like Crawford in what is supposedly to be his final fight – and kudos to him if he really goes out against a challenging opponent – but I don’t plan to pay much attention to the April 9 date, regardless of who he fights.

 

 

NO PBC IN THE P4P

Sup Dougie,

I was just glancing at The Ring’s top ten rated pound for pound fighters and happened to notice that there are no Al Haymon or PBC fighters on that list. And I would favor any fighter on that list to beat all the PBC guys in his division. And I’ve also noticed that all the potential stars such as Lomachenko, Verdejo and Joshua aren’t with the PBC either. So my question is, who do you think is the potential superstar for Mr. Haymon?

Quick MM:

Nasem Hamed vs Edwin Valero at featherweight

Nassir – Washington, DC

What are you trying to say, Nassir? That there aren’t any “premier” boxers in the PBC League? Stop hating!

Seriously, I think there are more than a few potential stars currently fighting in the PBC. Keith Thurman and Deontay Wilder top my list because of their complimentary blend of talent and personality. Both need to work on their technique and both have dangerous future opponents (One Time has fellow PBCer Shawn Porter; The Bronze Bomber has WBC mandatory Alexander Povetkin – if the Russian beats Mariusz Wach), but if they can continue winning, and if Al can keep them busy, I think a lot of American sports fans will take a liking to them.

By the way, if Thurman can beat Porter and then partially unify welterweight titles against Brook, I’m sure he’ll earn his way into THE RING’s Pound-for-Pound Rankings.

Other PBC boxers who have star potential – if they are matched/developed right – include Danny Garcia, Errol Spence Jr., and the Charlo Twins. I think hardnosed boxers, such as Leo Santa Cruz, Andrzej Fonfara and Julian Williams, can be built local attractions (LSC in L.A., Fonfara in Chicago, J-Rock in Philly).

Hamed vs. Valero at 126 pounds? I have to go with The Prince. Valero was only able to get below 130 pounds for his first eight or nine bouts. He was a natural junior lightweight. Still, if he boiled down to 126 pounds, I think he would have given Naz a run for his money. Valero had technical/defensive flaws (as Hamed did) but he was an underrated boxer with an uncanny sense of distance and timing (not unlike The Prince). I think these two would have bounced each other off the canvas a few times during a crazy start to their fight but Hamed, the more mature/experienced of the two KO artists, would land the finishing shot, probably in Round 4 or 5.

 

BOOM BOOM

Dougie,

Hope you’re well and rested up because it’s going to be a dynamite few months to close the year!

Long time reader and haven’t felt the urge to holler until last night when I stumbled upon the Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini documentary on Netflix. I’ve heard of him only from your mailbag recently when talking about white American lightweight fighters – and marketable fighters. I thought it was very well done and captured a fighter who obviously had the inner drive of a “warrior” that all pundits seem to speak of. I would highly recommend it to any sports fan, but my question to you is even though he was on the scene before you widely covered boxing, is he among elite all-time lightweights? Do you think if that fatal fight did not happen he could have kept it together, improved and truly been in that category? Also, and cameras play tricks, but he seems very, very well for someone who has been through some battles in that era. That was great to see too.

Secondly, and have to admit this, I’m a Grand Rapids native so my respect for Floyd runs deep. I appreciate that you don’t appreciate his style, but really appreciate your respect of his skill. Yes, he may have ducked some and is (likely programmed genetically) to be an asshat, but do you think there will ever be a fighter with a style so stale he can STILL draw the hype, crowds and PPV numbers he’s been able to do? (Also – don’t forget about GR native Buster Mathis and Jr.)

Lastly, I’m almost in that hardcore boxing fan realm because of Floyd and following him since he fought at our hometown spots. If not for PPV $$$ – I may have an Audi instead of a Ford Escape. That said, I’m talking myself into Cotto-Alvarez for the entertainment value alone and an opportunity to show friends of mine what they’re missing. Thoughts? Card looks a little weaksauce.

Mythical match-ups:

Floyd vs. Boom Boom (lightweight)

Floyd vs. Kostya Tszyu (welter)

You vs. an old school typewriter with a half hour deadline post-fight

Keep the flow coming – appreciate your work. – Paul, Portland

Thanks for the kind words and for sharing your thoughts, Paul.

I’m glad you’ve discovered Mancini. I spent my childhood in Ohio (Columbus during the 1970s), so when Boom Boom emerged in the early ’80s, I took notice and rooted for him anytime I saw him on TV.

You should definitely checkout some of his fights. He had a bit of a reputation as a brawler but he was a solid boxer, in fact, I’d say he’s an underrated boxer. Is he an elite all-time lightweight? No. Not at all. One can argue that he doesn’t even belong in the International Boxing Hall of Fame (although I voted for him). Mancini admits that his induction is questionable on the grounds that he didn’t fight for very long. Most of his pro career was from late 1979 to early 1985 (not even six years!). Heck, he was only 23 years old when he lost his rematch to Livingstone Bramble in February ’85 and retired for the first time.

But he could fight, and he faced two fellow hall of famers – Alexis Arguello and a faded Bobby Chacon. I think Jose Luis Ramirez, who he widely outpointed in 1981, may make it into the IBHOF one day.

There’s no doubt the Deuk-Koo Kim tragedy took a lot out of Mancini. Had that fatality not taken place I think he would have lasted longer in the sport, accomplished more (perhaps he would have engaged in a title unification bout with fellow Youngstown native Harry Arroyo) and made more money with big fights against Hector Camacho (earlier in their careers), Edwin Rosario and perhaps even a rematch with Arguello or a showdown with Aaron Pryor at 140.

Check out Steve Kim’s recent two-part interview with Mancini on UCNLive.com shortly after Boom Boom’s hall of fame induction.

Regarding Mayweather, I don’t think we’ll ever see a boxer make as much money as he did with a style as stinky as his became (at welterweight), no matter how polarizing his personality (or persona is). I think Floyd came of age at the right time in boxing and to his credit he minimized the risks, maximized his payouts and seized the opportunities made available through premium cable and the sport’s pay-per-view structure.

I think Cotto-Canelo will deliver. I’d put money on that. I think the undercard is solid and may contain a gem or two (the Takashi Miura-Francisco Vargas fight should be pretty good).

Your mythical matchups:

Floyd vs. Boom Boom (lightweight) – I think Mayweather would take it on points but it would be a close fight. Mancini knew how to intelligently walk down fast and mobile opposition. He had head- and upper-body movement and made use of a good jab. Once in range he banged the body and head with combos. Mayweather would know he’d been in a scrap.

Floyd vs. Kostya Tszyu (welter) – Tszyu never fought at 147 pounds, but I think Mayweather’s style was tailor made for the Russian-Aussie. I think he’d have trouble early with Mayweather but stay in the fight with his hard jab and laser-accurate right. Once he rocked Floyd a few times, he’d start to get inside and breakdown the American. Tszyu by late TKO or close decision.

You vs. an old school typewriter with a half hour deadline post-fight – No contest. Old-School typewriter by first-round TKO (or DQ after I smash it on the press row floor and head off to the nearest bar).

 

 

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

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