Dougie’s Monday mailbag
BRADLEY WAS IMPRESSIVE
Well I’m impressed. What a display by Tim Bradley against overmatched and outgunned Brandon Rios. I did envision Bradley outboxing Rios in a one-sided fight but never thought he could KO him. I did pick Rios in a mild upset, thinking that Bradley was a little more over-the-hill than he actually is. It seems his pairing with Teddy Atlas is a match made in heaven. That speech in-between rounds around the 8th round pumped up Bradley and (much like Panama Lewis’ black bottle – the one HE mixed – that he gave Aaron Pryor vs Arguello) seemed to put some extra energy in Bradley and that was all he needed to KO Rios.
The future looks bright for Tim and I’m happy for him. I think he’s a difficult out for anybody out there between 140-147 pounds. I would favor him over Shawn Porter, Amir Khan and Adrien Broner; I make him even money with Terence Crawford, Keith Thruman and Kell Brook; and a slight underdog against Mayweather. I do think he’s the most difficult fighter Floyd can face (if he is indeed retired) and would probably make him dig deep to win. Hopefully we can see that fight in the future.
Vasyl Lomachenko, much like Guillermo Rigondeaux, is boring me more and more as he continues fighting. Without power I don’t see him beating the big boys (Nicholas Walters anybody?). Don’t be blinded by his wins against no-hopers like the one he KO’ed this Saturday, this isn’t the amateurs; if he fights a fighter like Orlando Salido in his prime, he won’t win without gaining his respect. Don’t get me wrong, he IS super talented, but talent alone isn’t enough to beat the top dogs at the pro level (no, Gary Russell still doesn’t count). Thanks Doug. – Juan Valverde
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Juan.
I was also bored while watching Lomachenko ply his craft against Romulo Koasicha. However, HBO’s over-the-top praise for the Ukrainian amateur legend’s reputation and ring prowess may have contributed to my disinterest. Next time Loma’s in with a no-hoper on HBO, I’m going to try watching the fight on mute and see if his athletic talent, skill and technique without the relentless ass-kissing commentary is enough to keep me captivated.
But hopefully we won’t see Loma in with a mid-level fighter then next time he’s on TV. He deserves to face the best in his division and Top Rank and HBO should do everything they can to make those fights.
I disagree with your assumption that Loma lacks power. I think he hits hard and often enough to get respect. He can’t crack like Walters, but I would give him a good shot of beating the Jamaican monster if they ever meet (probably at 130, since making 126 pounds would probably kill the Axe Man at this point in his career). Loma’s high punch volume, crafty combo selection, deft footwork and elite-level coordination makes him a threat to any top 126-to-130-pound fighter in the game in my humble opinion.
Regarding Bradley, I thought Saturday’s performance against Rios was his best since his split nod over Juan Manuel Marquez. I didn’t see any new wrinkles to his game or any added sharpness to his technique, but he was ready to fight a hard 12 rounds if need be and he remained focused – which was the most important thing. That’s where Atlas delivered during the fight. The veteran trainer’s job was to keep Bradley from being pulled into Rios’ fight and to keep the fighter’s head in the ring. And Atlas did that as only Atlas can – with the kind of loud, colorful and dramatic speeches between rounds that sets social media on fire and has longtime fans and casual observers chuckling on their sofas.
“We are firemen!”
With those three words, Atlas reminded hardcore fans that had become tired of his commentary schtick on ESPN why they used to love him two decades ago.
But the more important words to Bradley in the corner were his simple reminders to “keep concentration all night long.” Atlas knew when to say this to Bradley, who was beginning to coast a little bit after the middle rounds. He also knew when to raise the volume and bring in the fire-fighter analogy (even though he probably knew that Rios wasn’t able to bring any heat to the ring on this night). But that speech spurred Bradley on, which earned him a stoppage victory.
The future looks bright for Tim and I’m happy for him. I think he’s a difficult out for anybody out there between 140-147 pounds. I would favor him over Shawn Porter, Amir Khan and Adrien Broner; I make him even money with Terence Crawford, Keith Thruman and Kell Brook; and a slight underdog against Mayweather. I’m also happy for Bradley (and Atlas), and I agree that he’s a tough fight for any of the top welterweights (he ain’t making 140 pounds again, bro). However, I would not favor him over Porter or Khan. I view those as toss-up matchups, along with Thurman. I would favor Crawford, Brook and Mayweather to beat Bradley. (Broner, however, he beats soundly.)
HELL OF A WEEKEND OF BOXING
What a great weekend it was for boxing!
I always felt like Rios was someone that any legit top 10 fighter should be beating with relative comfort on points. Saying that, Bradley has been in a number of wars recently and I felt he could be on the decline. For me, the notoriously pillow fisted champ, has always had the skills but has lacked the power to be a true superstar of the sport.
Bradley dominated the fight and I was pleasantly surprised to see him score a KO victory. Now he’s being linked with the Manny Pacquiao fight. Does anyone really want to see that again?
Personally, I would like to see Manny retire but if he is to fight one more time, I’d like it to be Khan.
We’ve seen the Bradley fight twice and I’m not too fussed about seeing it again. Khan is a fresh fight and there’s always the chance that we get to see the famous Amir Chicken Dance. Then again, I think Khan out points this version of Manny, maybe even scores a KO.
Lomachenko’s boxing skills are a thing of beauty. How far can he go, how many weight divisions and have you ever seen a guy so good with so few pro fights?
Man oh man, Callum Smith! I was rooting for him against Fielding and I was expecting a relatively competitive fight with a clear point victory for Smith.
How wrong can a man be?! It was a joy to see two young and undefeated fighters say F**k the nonsense and get in the ring.
These two guys had no intentions of cautiously protecting their 0’s and decided to stand toe to toe from the first bell.
After the first knockdown, when Fielding was against the ropes, I was thinking the ref was about to step in but then from nowhere Fielding started swinging leather and was backing Smith up, the crowd were electric, then from the back foot Smith threw a beautiful left hook to drop Fielding again. What a shot! From there it was only a matter of time and Smith wasted none of it.
With Andre Ward moving up in weight, there is a vacancy for a Super Middleweight superstar. Could that be Smith?
There are a number of domestic fights to be made with Smith. George Groves, James DeGale, Martin Murray. Does Smith beat them all or is DeGale too good for him right now? I’m still not convinced by Badou Jack and I think Smith will take his belt.
What a start to November and we still have Canelo v Cotto and Fury v Klitschko to look forward to. A great month for boxing, and about freaking time.
Anyway, keep up the good work, hope all is well. – Jordan, Newcastle (UK)
Thanks Jordan. All is well and I’ll try to continue to do “good work.”
You pose a good question about the prospect of Bradley-Pacquiao III in 2016: Does anyone really want to see that again?
I think diehard Pacquiao fans would be into the matchup because they want to see their hero go out with a “W” and they believe the Filipino icon has Bradley’s number.
However, most boxing fans would be unenthused about this particular rubbermatch. The vast majority of fans who watched the first two bouts believe Pacquiao is 2-0 against Bradley, and while both bouts were brisk boxing matches, the two undersized welters did not combine to make for Fight-of-the-Year caliber drama.
We’ve seen the Bradley fight twice and I’m not too fussed about seeing it again. Khan is a fresh fight and there’s always the chance that we get to see the famous Amir Chicken Dance. Then again, I think Khan out points this version of Manny, maybe even scores a KO. I agree with you. I think Pacquiao-Khan represents a fresh matchup and a fascinating clash of fast-and-aggressive boxing styles. It also presents some interesting storylines if it can be made (Bob Arum doing business with an Al Haymon client, the Freddie Roach connection, etc.), but this one is a longshot in my opinion. Like you, I can envision PacMan catching and wobbling Khan more than once, but I favor the younger man due to his combination of speed, power, height and reach. (I know Chris Algieri, a tall-rangy boxer, was owned by Pacquiao but the New Yorker lacked Khan’s pop and experience.)
Lomachenko’s boxing skills are a thing of beauty. How far can he go, how many weight divisions and have you ever seen a guy so good with so few pro fights? I think Loma can establish himself as the best featherweight in the world, earn a spot in everyone’s pound-for-pound top 10, and perhaps win major titles at 130 and 135 pounds. Loma and Rigo are the most complete boxers with less than 10 pro bouts that I’ve ever seen live, but I wasn’t surprised by their advanced abilities because of their storied amateur careers.
With Andre Ward moving up in weight, there is a vacancy for a Super Middleweight superstar. Could that be Smith?
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There’s been a super middleweight star vacancy for at least the last two years. So far, the pinnacle of Ward’s 168-pound championship reign was a late-rounds TKO of a weight-drained Chad Dawson in September 2012 (he only had one other super middleweight bout after that, a decision over Edwin Rodriguez in November 2013). Could Smith fill the void? Possibly. He has the talent, tools and ability, but he’s not ready right now. Let’s begin the talk about Smith as a potential star after he wins his first major world title.
There are a number of domestic fights to be made with Smith. George Groves, James DeGale, Martin Murray. Does Smith beat them all or is DeGale too good for him right now? I’m still not convinced by Badou Jack and I think Smith will take his belt. I’m not going to co-sign on your call of a Jack-Smith showdown (which could happen soon as Smith is the No. 1 contender for the WBC title Jack holds). I’m not saying that I wouldn’t pick Smith to win if that fight were made next week, but I’m not going to completely dismiss Jack. The Las Vegas-based Swede has proven to be a solid super middleweight standout with his back-to-back decisions over Anthony Dirrell and Groves. I’ve seen a lot of improvement in Jack in his last two bouts and who’s to say that he won’t continue to improve?
I know that Smith will continue to improve but I’m not sure if he’s ready for British contenders you mentioned. I would take DeGale if they fought sometime during the next 12 months. Smith might be able to beat Groves at the present time because the London native might be struggling with doubts about his career and ability after the loss to Jack. However, I think Murray is too strong and experienced for Smith at the present time.
WHAT ABOUT BROOK?
Very quick question from me: Why is Kell Brook not being mentioned as being in the running to face Manny Pacquiao in his final fight?
Brook’s currently at the top of the welterweight division, a legit titleholder and if Manny beat him he could retire as The Ring champion. Makes perfect sense to me!
Also if that fight did get made (which I don’t think it will) who would you pick? I’d have to go with Brook by a late KO.
Cheers. – Andrew, York, UK
I would also go with Brook by late KO (technical stoppage) if the undefeated IBF titleholder from Sheffield got a shot at Pacquiao. (I didn’t realize that the winner of that fight would win the now-vacant RING welterweight title, but you are correct, the magazine currently rates Brook and Pacquiao as Nos. 1 and 2 at 147 pounds.)
Perhaps Pacquiao’s promoter and adviser share our prediction and that’s why Brook hasn’t been included in the pool of potential opponents for the Filipino legend’s swan song.
Maybe they figure if they match PacMan with a UK star it might as well be against one who is better-known in the U.S. and seemingly more vulnerable, and that would be Khan.
Maybe Arum doesn’t like Eddie Hearn. Who knows? But it sucks that Brook seems to be locked out of a meaningful fight at 147 pounds.
Perhaps if Bradley, Crawford or Khan (or whoever winds up fighting Manny next April) beats the future hall of famer, they’ll target Brook.
DESERT STORM & SIBERIAN ROCKY
Although I thought that Teddy Atlas would be able to keep Tim Bradley on his game just enough to squeeze past Brandon Rios, I also thought that we have seen the best of Bradley and that his days as an elite fighter were over. I mean the guy hasn’t looked good since the Marquez fight – until last night.
Seems I was wrong and I am very happy for Bradley who is one of those guys that could give the sport a good name, although no one should have to carry that burden. For a change, he zigged and zagged exactly when he should have.
Since the Golden Boy/Top Rank cold war has been replaced by the Al Haymon vs everybody else war, the question is what is next? Apparently he is on the short list to fight Pacquiao. What are the chances of that happening and do you think that they can sell that fight? I am probably one of the few people who would like to see what this version of Bradley can do against Pacman. I picked him to win the second fight but then he threw any chance he had by fighting like he was Mike Tyson. Do you think a third fight could be different?
Don’t know if you caught the Ruslan Provodnikov fight. Granted, he didn’t have in front of him what Bradley had, but Joel Diaz seemed to have made a few tweaks. His attack was more patient and varied and he even had some head movement! Should a Pacquiao fight not materialize, how about a rematch between the reloaded versions of the two? What are the chances and how do you see it playing out?
Mythical matchup: Mbulelo Botile vs Vic Toweel
Regards. – Droeks Malan, South Africa
I have no idea about the likelihood of a Bradley-Provodnikov rematch or a Bradley-Pacquiao rubbermatch, but I’d much rather watch Desert Strom go at it with the Siberian Rocky again. Bradley-Provodnikov is just a better style matchup in terms of sustained action, plus we have the added storyline of Bradley’s former trainer now working with his rival. (The last time we had this scenario on the world-class stage Joe Goossen guided the late Diego Corrales to a rematch victory over Joel Casamayor. Can Diaz do the same thing with Provo? I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure it would make for dramatic TV.) Just one man’s opinion but I think Provo gives Timmy fits every time they fight, regardless of who’s training either fighter.
I also picked Bradley to win the rematch with Pacquiao. He had all the tools to do so, as well as a part-time fighter in front of him, but his mind (and the mindset of Diaz) wasn’t right for that fight. I think Bradley’s mind will be right for a third shot at the PacMan, Atlas will make sure of that, and I would favor the American if that fight is made. Can they sell Pacquiao-Bradley III? Yeah, probably, with Atlas’ help on the 24/7s. They won’t do great numbers, probably under 600,000, but they might be able to bring in enough buys to cover everyone’s ass.
I saw the recent Provodnikov fight. I wasn’t blown away because he was in with a guy who really didn’t want to fight, but I was impressed with the Russian’s improved head-and-upper-body movement and blocking ability. I would have liked to see more combination punching and body shots from Provo. Maybe he’ll show more of that in his next fight. I have a hunch that Diaz will be a good fit for him.
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Your mythical matchup:
Mbulelo Botile vs Vic Toweel – I think South Africa’s first world champ (Toweel, at bantamweight) would outwork Botile to a competitive but clear-cut decision. Botile, who had a respectable IBF title reign at bantamweight in the late ’90s, was a very strong and heavy handed technician with good all-around skills. However, Toweel, a sensational amateur boxer who dethroned all-time great bantie champ Manuel Ortiz in only his 14th pro bout, was on another level. (Ortiz was a veteran of almost 120 pro bouts at the time.) Toweel was an aggressive volume puncher (often compared to Henry Armstrong) but he had underrated boxing ability. Unlike Botile, who was methodical and a bit plodding, Toweel could shift gears during a hard fight.
LOMACHENKO, BRADLEY & THE OTHERS
hi doug,this is chris from france – i have not written to you for quite some time but i have always been reading your mailbags with pleasure. let’s see if i can make your selection for a second time.
lomachenko – i love to see this guy fight – he is really an artist inside the ring and unlike mayweather he is an offensive boxer. this said, i think that his lack of power could prevent him from being a superstar.it seems to me that the only way he really manages to put people away is with perfectly timed body punches to the liver but he does not seem to have enough power to ko people when hitting them to the head. this saturday the gap between him and his opponent was huge but i never thought that lomachenko was really hurting the guy except when he went to the body.
what are your thoughts about this? is lomachenko lacking power? or if he needed to he could sit more on his punches?
bradley-rios – was it the best bradley we saw or the worst rios? or both at the same time? rios really seemed totally out of shape so i think that despite bradley looked great we would need to see him against a better trained opponent before we can make any conclusions. this said, bradley really looked good and was enjoyable to watch and who in the world would have said that the light hitting bradley would stop iron chin rios?- or like for lomachenko does it show that a perfect body shot does not require a lot of power?
about bums (a small criticism to you) – my last topic is me reacting (quite late but better late than never) to one of your mailbags after the fight wilder against duhaupas. in one of the mails you received one guy who wrote to you called duhaupas a bum and i think that it is quite too often that boxing fans show this kind of contempt towards boxers.
was duhaupas out of his league – yes
did he deserve to fight for a world title – no
but the guy was offered his chance and he took it like anybody would do – and then he really tried his best and he showed incredible bravery during 11 rounds when he took everything from one of the possible best heavyweight punchers.
it always makes me laugh when people comfortably writing mails behind their computers call those guys bums when they probably would s….t in their pants if they had to go inside the ring.
i am ok when boxers who quit or take a dive are heavily critisized for doing so but all others who try their best and have the guts to go inside a ring deserve a bit more respect. i also thought that as a respected boxing writer like you should never allow people to insult boxers who deserve respect without replying to that. duhaupas showed tremendous courage and courage should be respected. lets not allow those anonymous cowards who probably would never dare to go inside a ring to insult people who do so. i am seeing that in too many mails and i am always disappointed when well known boxing writers let that happen without reacting. would you not agree ? keep up the good work. – chris from france
Thanks for the kind words, Chris.
Sorry I didn’t stick up for Duhaupas when a mailbagger referred to him as a “bum.” (I don’t even recall the email you are referring to.)
To be honest, the term “no-hoper” came to my mind when he was first announced as Wilder’s opponent. I had no idea what to expect from Duhaupas prior to his unmerited WBC title shot at Wilder. He was the definition of “unheralded.” I didn’t know if he’d fold after absorbing the first hard punch landed by the American, or if he’d go the “survivalist” route and try to go rounds without actually trying to win.
But your countryman earned my respect with his effort against Wilder. As you noted, he probably exceeded his abilities in lasting as long as he did). He landed some decent shots, swelled up Wilder’s eye, and actually tried to win while making for an entertaining fight. I still refereed to Duhaupas as a “no-hoper” in my post-fight story, but you won’t hear me call him a “bum.”
However, I can’t stop others from having that opinion. I know the term “bum” is nasty and dismissive but they have a right to feel the way they do. You’re correct in assuming that most of the meaner comment-section fans “probably would s….t in their pants if they had to go inside the ring.” Hell, I honestly believe that a lot of them would s__t their pants if they had to leave the house and interact with other human beings. A segment of hardcore boxing fandom is comprised of d__kheads. It is what it is. Anyway, I’ll try to be more sensitive about boxing’s B-word in the future.
this saturday the gap between him and his opponent was huge but i never thought that lomachenko was really hurting the guy except when he went to the body.what are your thoughts about this? is lomachenko lacking power? or if he needed to he could sit more on his punches? I definitely think Lomachenko could get more power/leverage on his shots if he sat down on them. I’m in the minority with this opinion, but I don’t think he’s lacking punching power. He’s doesn’t have one-shot KO power, but I think he hits hard enough to keep even the toughest world-class featherweights honest. You’ll see this when he’s in with opponents who have the balls to stand and trade with him. Trust me, they won’t last very long.
Here’s another thing to consider: Maybe Koasicha is just a tough, durable son of a gun. He’d never been stopped before Saturday. Loma did it, despite the fact that he had to chase after the Mexican at times. Hey, Martin Murray lasted until the 11th round against Gennady Golovkin, but nobody’s doubting GGG’s power. That’s because Murray, who had never been stopped, did a lot of moving during the fight and he was willing to take an inhuman beating that night.
bradley-rios – was it the best bradley we saw or the worst rios? or both at the same time? I don’t think it was the best Bradley or the worst Rios. Bradley was on point on Saturday but I think he was sharper against JMM. Rios was motivated to win and I believe that he trained very hard for Bradley but making 147 pounds the final week of the fight drained him too much. It’s his fault for not keeping his weight down between fights, but in Bam Bam’s defense he was held in limbo for much of this year.
rios really seemed totally out of shape so i think that despite bradley looked great we would need to see him against a better trained opponent before we can make any conclusions. Again, I think there’s a difference between a fighter being weight drained and a being “totally out of shape.” I think Rios was weight drained and it detracted from his reflexes, stamina and punch resistance. Even if Rios had been 100%, I would hesitate to crown Bradley as the top 147 pounder in the game for the simple fact that Rios is not a world-rated welterweight.
this said, bradley really looked good and was enjoyable to watch and who in the world would have said that the light hitting bradley would stop iron chin rios?- or like for lomachenko does it show that a perfect body shot does not require a lot of power? If a punch lands to the correct part of a fighter’s body it doesn’t have to be a very hard shot to shut down that fighter’s nervous system.
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer