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Dougie’s late Thanksgiving edition mailbag

27
Nov
Tyson Fury (R) alongside Wladimir Klitschko during the press tour. Photo by Sascha Steinbach/Bongarts-Getty Images

Tyson Fury (R) alongside Wladimir Klitschko during the press tour. Photo by Sascha Steinbach/Bongarts-Getty Images

WEEKEND TITLE FIGHTS, UPCOMING SUPER BOUTS

Hey Dougie!

Writing in from the UK, long time reader and first time writer to the mailbag! Keep up the good work!

  1. How do you see the Klitschko v Fury fight going? I really do believe Fury will go all out for a KO and I think because of that Klitschko is going to KO fury in the mid rounds. I see this being the most exciting Klitschko fight in a very long time, do you agree? It will be interesting seeing him come up against someone who is of the same size!!! I am not a big fan of Fury but would like to see him win. Who will you be rooting for?
  2. Also how do you see the James Degale v Lucian Bute fight going? I think Degale will win on points with his superior boxing skills. I also think Degale would beat Arthur Abraham. What are your thoughts on that match up and how far do you think Degale can go in this division? I was gutted for martin Murray losing against Abraham. I really thought it was a fight he would win and hope he does not retire!
  3. How do you see Frampton v Quigg going? I like both fighters and cannot pick a winner, but at the moment I would just about go with Frampton!
  4. Do you think Canelo v GGG will happen? I know you’re a big fan of both fighters but would you lower your opinion of Canelo if he does duck GGG???

Cheers Dougie! Hopefully I make the cut!!! – Kyle, London, England



You made the cut, Kyle! Congrats and thanks for the kind words and for sharing your opinions and questions. I’ll respond to each in order:

1)I agree with your take on the fight. I think Fury is going to bring out the best in Klitschko and the best of Dr. Steel Hammer, even at 39, is enough to break down the brash Brit to an exciting stoppage. Fury will make the fight interesting with his mix of size, awkward offense, stance switching and movement, but I think cleaner, harder and more effective punching will come from the champ. I will be rooting for Fury. I’m all for new blood in boxing and I think the wayward Gypsy King will make for a popular/polarizing heavyweight champ.

2) I also believe DeGale will outpoint Bute on the Romanian vet’s adopted home turf. He’s the better, fresher athlete and he’s more versatile than Bute, who will be dangerous over the first half of the fight. I think DeGale will have an easier time with Abraham than he will with Bute. Chunky has the potential to take over the 168-pound division and eventually prove to be the real super middleweight champ, but he’s got to look good against Bute. Murray will be back. If he loses his next bout he’ll qualify as an Andre Ward opponent (at light heavyweight, of course).

3) I think Frampton-Quigg is going to be a hell of fight, very intense and competitive. I favor Quigg. I think Englishman will eventually break down the Irishman with his underrated body attack.

4) Of course, Canelo would fall down my list of favorite fighters if he ducked GGG. But I don’t think he’ll do that. He may not fight Golovkin in his very next bout but I’m confident the two will face each other within the next year.

KLITSCHKO-FURY

Hi Doug,

I am very intrigued by the Klitschko-Fury fight this weekend and will be getting together with a few friends to watch (decent hour this side, as opposed to US fights).

Is Fury a hype job, waiting to be knocked out? Brian Mitchell and Pierre Coetzer, commentating on TV over here, seem to think so. While you have to respect the opinions of a long reigning world champion and someone who hung tough with top heavyweights such as Bowe, Bruno and Foreman, I am not so sure.

There is the size issue for starters. Klitschko will not be able to just stick him at the end of his jab while waiting to deliver his right hand bomb and he won’t be able to toss him around the ring in the clinches like he did to Alexander Povetkin. Ok, so there was Mariusz Wach, but Tyson Fury isn’t Wach. The Pole isn’t much more than a big, tough guy with limited ability. Am I over rating the size issue?

I was never much of a Fury fan, but he started to win me over in his last couple of fights. He is surprisingly mobile, has solid skills and good ring generalship. I am not a fan of the switch hitting style, but Fury is one of the very few fighters (I can only recall Naseem Hamed off the top of my head) who can fight effectively switching from orthodox to southpaw stance and back again. He has the skills, size and awkwardness to present a stylistic puzzle for the champion.

He also has heart, getting off the canvass to win. On the other hand, if you get dropped by Steve Cunningham, your chin is not made of granite. Also, despite all of his big talk, I don’t think he is a knockout artist. It is more an accumulation of punches.

I am pretty sure that Klitschko can knock Fury out if he catches him flush, but I am not certain that Fury can knock him out. Fury doesn’t have the “where did that come from” explosive speed of a Corrie Sanders or the heavy hands of Lamon Brewster.

Where do you weigh in on the chin/power issue?

If there is an extra ray of hope for Fury, there is the age factor and Klitschko seems to be getting more injury prone. Could Fury be in the right place at the right time and cash in the ultimate lottery ticket?

Wladimir Klitschko has been winning for so long that he is a little like Floyd Mayweather. He will have to look really bad before one can pick against him and not being one to jump the Grand Canyon, gambling wise, I am no exception.

I think Klitschko will win, perhaps late TKO, but it will be tougher than expected. How do you see the fight playing out? Regards. – Droeks Malan, South Africa

I also see a late stoppage win for Klitschko, perhaps a dramatic KO victory because I think Fury will give the champ trouble (as you do).

Like you stated, Fury’s underrated ring generalship and mobility (for such a large man), as well as his height and long reach, will nullify some of the advantages Klitschko normally has over his challengers.

I think it will take some time for Klitschko to figure out Fury’s somewhat awkward style, but he’s an intelligent man and a smart boxer, so I think he’ll eventually find holes in the Englishman’s game and strike when the time is right.

Am I over rating the size issue? No, I don’t think so, because you are also giving Fury credit for his ability.

Where do you weigh in on the chin/power issue? I don’t think a heavyweight has to punch like Earnie Shavers to hurt Klitschko, but he does have to possess world-class power and, like you, I don’t view Fury as a one-and-done puncher. He swats a lot with his shots but is still able to wear guys down because of his enormous size. Well, it won’t be nearly as easy for Fiury to impose himself physically on Wladdy as it was Cunningham.

If there is an extra ray of hope for Fury, there is the age factor and Klitschko seems to be getting more injury prone. Could Fury be in the right place at the right time and cash in the ultimate lottery ticket? Could be. But I don’t think Wlad is quite ready to be toppled. We’ll see what happens.

 

LOVE FOR LARA, FURY GUT PICK

Hi Dougie,

Love to read your column and agree with you 90% of the time. I’ve been a fight fan since the ’50s. There have always been BS decisions in boxing but worse now than I have ever seen in my 71 years. I was thrilled to see Erislandy Lara get the right decision Wednesday night. He has been shafted twice against Alvarez and Paul Williams. The decision in the Paul Williams fight was a total disgrace. Against Alvarez it was close but I agree with the one judge who had it for Lara by 2 rounds.

In my humble opinion, Lara has never lost a fight – he certainly has never been ‘beaten’.

Now to the heavyweights. Can’t wait for the Fury/Klitschko fight. My gut tells me Fury will win by KO. What does your guy say? – Mike

My gut tells me Fury will make it a fight and then get KO’d, perhaps in spectacular fashion.

In my humble opinion, Lara – who did what he was supposed to do against Jan Zaveck on Wednesday – was “beaten” by both Carlos Molina and Alvarez. Not by much, mind you, but I thought he deserved to lose to both Mexicans by a couple points.

The majority decision loss to Williams was indeed a disgrace.

I’d love to see Lara match his skill and wits against fellow former world amateur champ Demetrius Andrade.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and please write to the mailbag again.

 

FURY’S CHANCES, EVEN ROUNDS

Hi Dougie,

As much as Fury is talking a good game and I’m a sucker for getting caught up in the hype, this is how I see it going….

Fury will box cautiously (much to everyone’s surprise it would appear, he can box to a game plan you know) for the first few rounds. It will be scrappy, Fury will get some success and there might be a few wobbly moments for Klitschko but ultimately Wlad will use his superior athleticism and experience to lean on Fury, wear him down and frustrate him into making mistakes leading to a stoppage rounds 7-9 for the reigning heavyweight champ. It might be intense in the early rounds but I don’t think it will be the exciting fight we hope for. Thoughts?

Quickly re: Cotto V Alvarez. There’s no way Cotto won that fight so not sure what a lot of the fuss is about. I had Canelo up by 3 rounds (117-114) but I’m sometimes generous in scoring 10-10 rounds when I can’t pick a clear winner of a round, so it could have been wider. I thought the fight changed in round 8 when Cotto tried to be the aggressor and stand toe to toe, coming off far worse from the exchanges and then going back into his shell again.

On that, why don’t judges score 10-10 rounds more often rather than giving one fighter the benefit of the doubt when a round is too close to call and/or there isn’t enough action to separate them? Isn’t that why we end up with some many dog-sh_t scorecards with far wider point wins in close fights? One fighter MUST score 10, but why can’t both?

Also, if Alvarez can’t stop/knock down/wobble Cotto, he won’t hurt Golovkin. There’s no way Canelo wins that fight. Keep up the good work. – CJ, UK

I don’t envision GGG getting on his bicycle like Cotto did against Canelo, so it’s a totally different style matchup. Golovkin is a technical hunter and Canelo is not one to back up. The Mexican is certainly not one to move a lot around the ring, so I envision a lot of infighting and I think there will be a lot of heavy, two-way action during their exchanges. Canelo is a tremendous combination puncher when he’s got an aggressive dance partner and I’m curious to see how well GGG takes a body shot.

Regarding the uproar over the Cotto-Canelo scorecards, you are correct in that it wasn’t about the winner (I think most rational observers know the Puerto Rican didn’t win the fight), it was about the lopsided nature of the score cards. And I agree that allowing judges to score more even rounds could result in more close official tallies for fights that are legitimately competitive/close.

On that, why don’t judges score 10-10 rounds more often rather than giving one fighter the benefit of the doubt when a round is too close to call and/or there isn’t enough action to separate them? Even rounds are discouraged because it’s viewed as being “indecisive” (which kind of goes against the very nature of judging, right?) and because some judges in the past used even rounds in controversial scorecards that went against the rightful winner of the contest.

Regarding Klitschko-Fury, I see it much the way you do.

It might be intense in the early rounds but I don’t think it will be the exciting fight we hope for. Thoughts? I think it will be exciting. Fury brings a confidence and showmanship with him to the ring that can make generally uneventful rounds a lot of fun; plus the British fans he brings to the arena in Germany will add to the atmosphere.

DANNY WILLIAMS FEVER AGAIN?

Hello sir,

Been a while, but have been for a long time, and will always remain, fan of your opinions and writing.

Having said that, Saturday’s fight stirs vague memories of what might have been one of your worst ever predictions when “I think” you picked a big, brave, plucky but limited British underdog to beat Vitali Klitschko, saying “I got a bit of Danny Williams fever.”

Apologies if I have misquoted you or got the fight wrong but what, with hindsight, has been your worst ever prediction for a big fight?

Hopefully Wladimir Klitschko vs. Tyson Fury will not be such a brutal beatdown as Vitali v Danny but not sure the result will be different. I always had a suspicion that Fury’s carefully planned career was about getting him into one big fight where he would make a lot of money but then quickly become a gatekeeper. The postponed David Haye fights could have been the ones but instead he has ended up with Baby Bro in Germany <gulp>.

As we all know, the one thing you can’t teach is size, but based on what we have seen from Fury, I am not sure he can impose himself over 12 rounds of sledgehammer jabs and the odd booming right hand, and, despite all the chat beforehand, I don’t see Wladimir coming out like Hagler when Hearns was in the opposite corner.

Reckon it will be a return to domestic duties for the entertaining showman for some massive nights as him, AJ and The Hayemaker settle the best of British on stupid nights that us locals can’t help paying extra for while the rest of the world goes “Really? Sold out football stadium? PPV? Uhm. OK. Who’s got a stream?”

Who you got? – Russell (London via Glasgow)

Even if Fury is blown out by Klitschko on Saturday you can count me as one of the American fans/boxing media that would be totally into all-UK fights between the Gypsy King, Anthony Joshua and David Haye. I wouldn’t fault anyone for wanting to see those heavyweight fights.

Regarding Saturday’s heavyweight championship, I’m going with the chalk. Boring, I know, but can you blame us fight scribes for taking the safe pick when fans remember bad predictions from ELEVEN years ago and still rub our noses in it! LOL.

Dude, I can’t believe you recalled my “Danny Williams fever.” (I’m actually quite flattered.) I can’t believe that was 11 years ago. Where did all the time go? For the record. I did indeed pick Williams to upset then-WBC champ Vitali Klitschko, but I admitted beforehand that I had no real reason to do so other than having a fever for the perennial British heavyweight underdog.

However, allow me to give you some context to my “fever.” I picked Williams to upset Mike Tyson in July of that year. Nobody, not even the most patriotic British boxing writer, picked the Brixton Bomber to beat even the faded version of Iron Mike. I like the Brit’s size (of body and, more importantly, heart) and I went out on a limb and picked him. Williams won and I fell in love with him. But here’s some more context for the splendid year that was 2004, D-Will wasn’t the only huge heavyweight underdog that I picked to upset the odds and media favorite. In April of that year Lamon Brewster, like Williams did against Tyson, survived a vicious early rounds beating to rage back and stop his tormentor, Wladimir Klitschko. I picked Brewster to beat Baby Bro. If anyone – fan or media – tells you today that they picked Brewster or Williams they are either lying (or they didn’t have a significant platform to express their opinions to the boxing public at the time).

So, I was basically high on my own hubris for picking two major heavyweight upsets in one year, hence the “fever,” and I tried to go 3-0 in ’04. (In fact, now that I’m writing this, I remember chanting “I got Lamon Brewster fever” during the Tyson-Williams fight, which I saw in a closed circuit theater at the Mandalay Bay with MaxBoxing cohort Steve Kim the night before we covered the Erik Morales-Carlos Hernandez card at MGM Grand, and I even stood up and started yelling it when the British underdog battled the former heavyweight champ to the ropes in Round 4 (where the one-time Baddest Man on the Planet plopped down on his butt for the 10 Count).

But does anyone remember my picks of Williams over Tyson or Brewster over Klitschko? NOOOOOOOOOOO! Boxing fans gotta focus on the ones Dougie gets wrong. It’s all good, though. I don’t get paid to predict fights and I’d never bet on a bout that I’m actually covering.

Is Williams over Klitschko my worst ever prediction? Good question. I’m sure I’ve had worse, but I can’t think of any. Worshipers at the Money Team Church will tell you it was my blasphemous pick of Canelo Alvarez over their god in 2013, but the then-22 year old was a 3-to-1 underdog. I think Williams was more than a 10-to-1 dog vs. Big Bro.

Anyway, I’m not picking the underdog against Klitschko this time, but if we get a big upset in Germany, I’m still gonna have Tyson Fury Fever.

 

BOB FOSTER, R.I.P. (REST IN POWER)

Hi Dougie,

Hope you’re well. I enjoyed the Saturday fights, none more so than the absolute war that was Vargas-Miura! Both guys showed incredible heart to come back from being badly hurt and while I can understand the ref’s decision to save Miura from himself in the ninth round, I was still gutted for the Japanese warrior. Unless my memory is hazy, he was starting to throw punches back and immediately after the stoppage looked fairly aware of his surroundings. Maybe he would have recovered, maybe he would have been knocked out cold or worse, who knows? Anyway, kudos to Vargas who demonstrated he is a legitimate badass at 130 and hopefully we’ll see a rematch once both guys have recovered.

Talking of badasses, I was a little sad not to see the late, great Bob Foster get a mention from fellow fans in the Monday mailbag. Now he was a BAD man. I remember reading an interview with him some years ago and my jaw dropping at the stories he recounted in nonchalant fashion; fracturing his classmate’s skull in school, nearly killing Mike Quarry and years later nearly killing himself with laughter at Zab Judah’s chicken dance against Kostya Tszyu! Just puts a smile on my face thinking about it! He could box (really knew how to use his height, reach and jab to set up his power punches), he had heart (thinking of the war with the UK’s very own Chris Finnegan and getting off the canvas multiple times against Ali when outweighed by a stupid amount) and he might well be the greatest LHW puncher of all time. It’s just a shame his era came just before the ‘golden age’ of the LHW division, making his resume a little sparse when it comes to fellow HOFers. As far as I can see, his best win was probably against Dick Tiger and, in all fairness, Tiger was a natural middleweight who was short even for that weight division. How do you think he would fared against prime versions of the following LHW golden age stars? My own thoughts in brackets.

Matthew Saad Muhammad (Prime Saad Muhammad was one tough dude. I think he gets off the deck and survives numerous hairy moments to wear down and stop Foster in an absolute war)

Dwight Qawi (I see this one going the way of the Tiger fight. Qawi was durable at LHW but he never faced a bona fide puncher in the division like Foster. Add the serious height and reach deficit = Foster by brutal early to mid rounds KO)

Michael Spinks (Spinks had good power at LHW but I think he’d play it safe knowing he was in with a monster puncher like Foster. Spinks by UD, though one mistake and Foster would send him to Sleepsville)

Bob Foster, RIP (Rest In Power)

Thanks Dougie, take it easy and look forward to hearing from you. – Paul L, Coventry, UK

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for bringing up Foster, a true all-time great.

Regarding your mythical matchups I think Foster beats Saad Muhammad by brutal late-rounds KO (in a war, what else?), outpoints Qawi in a competitive and entertaining fight (almost like a 175-poudn version of Ali-Frazier) and loses a somewhat uneventful decision to the Jinx.

I agree with your analysis of Foster’s style, talent, light heavyweight title reign and boxing legacy, as well as his cold-and-grumpy-yet-somehow-endearing personality.

I don’t consider him to be the hardest 175-pouncher ever (I’ll give that distinction to Archie Moore), but he’s one of the hardest-hitting light heavyweights ever and also one of the best boxer-punchers ever, regardless of weight. He had great technique and knew how to use his height and reach very well, as you noted, but he could also cold cock an opponent with short punch on the inside. He had compact hooks and crosses, and beautiful uppercuts, which carried tremendous leverage.

[springboard type=”video” id=”1585049″ player=”ring003″ width=”648″ height=”511″ ]

What I respect about Foster is that he was never protected or babied in the way he was matched from Day One, and he didn’t want to be. He had an old-school mentality of wanting to challenge himself. Had he only fought light heavyweights and never ventured outside of the U.S., it’s very possible that he would have retired unbeaten – with one hell of a KO percentage.

Foster only lost eight fights and all but one of those losses came to top-10 rated heavyweights during the 1960s and ’70s, which was Golden Age for the sport’s glamour division. Two of those heavyweights who beat him – Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali – are ATGs and among the best big men ever. (The only non-heavyweight contender Foster lost to was Mauro Mina in the light heavyweight veteran’s native Peru. The 10-round decision loss was Foster’s 13th pro bout. It was 50th fight for Mina, who held a 45-2-2 record at the time.)

Vargas-Miura is my front-runner for Fight of the Year. I hope both junior lightweight badasses have recovered in time to fight a rematch in May, perhaps on Canelo’s next PPV undercard.

 

NEW ERA IN BOXING

What’s happening Doug?

First time writing, long time reader.

How’s the Mrs.? Hope all is well.

As the years go by, I’m seeing my era of fighters retiring or losing. From Lennox, Trinidad, to PBF, Cotto. How did you feel when your era of boxers retired or lost?
At least I have some left: GGG, Lucas, Ruslan, Lemiuex.

I have some questions for you if you don’t mind.

  1. I saw Cotto throwing more and being busier of the two. Moved well but didn’t look too fresh. Canelo just threw single sharp shots moved well copied Mayweather/Cotto a little. Style wise. Even the Mexican stations had Cotto winning or a draw. What did you think of the score cards and how did you see it? Please don’t tell me you had Cotto winning one round.
  2. How do you see GGG Vs Canelo going down? And what weight?
  3. Did you see Vargas vs Miura? Damn!

Mythical match ups:

Fernando Vargas vs Canelo

Trinidad vs de la Hoya (2000 rematch)

Larry Holmes vs Wilder

Thanks for your time. Take it easy, man. P.S., Are you really in your 40s? Dude, you look like you’re in your late 20s. LOL. Good genes. – Marxuach from Pasadena, CA

Thanks for the compliment and for finally writing into the mailbag column. I’m 45. I wish I could my baby face is the result of clean living but it’s definitely genes.

The only time I’ve been distressed by favorite boxers’ exit from the sport was during my early fan days following Ali’s retirement and Sugar Ray Leonard’s first hiatus from boxing. Those two were my boyhood heroes so when they left I instantly lost interest in boxing and pulled away from the sport from 1982 until ’85 when Hagler and Hearns went at it. The 8-minute war reminded me that boxing was still the king of all sports and the rumor and build-up to Leonard’s return against the undisputed middleweight champ in ’86 and ’87 brought me back. (Mike Tyson’s early heavyweight title reign helped ensure that I stick around and develop into a hardcore head.)

Ever since the start of the ’90s whenever a favorite fighter’s reign ended, a new favorite emerged. It happened in the ring when Terry Norris beat Leonard (a fight I refused to watch because I knew Sugar Ray would lose – and I still haven’t seen it). By the time Norris had faded out, Oscar De La Hoya was a bona-fide star, while Shane Mosley and Floyd Mayweather Jr. (yes, I was a fan of his when he campaigned at 130 and 135 pounds) were on the rise, along with some awesome featherweights (Naz, Barrera, El Terrible, JMM). And I can’t forget about the meteoric ascension of one Manny Pacquiao.

But I’m really excited about the post-Mayweather/Pacquiao era. Canelo’s victory over Cotto help set up of some really exciting super fights (against two of your faves, GGG and Lemieux) that will take place over the next three-to-four years.

I’ll answer your questions in order:

1) I scored three rounds for Cotto. I can see giving him four. Obviously, I was OK with the 117-111 scorecard. Not so much with the other two.

2) I think Canelo-GGG is going to be a fight and I think it takes place at the full middleweight limit.

3) I was there! It was awesome! Fifteen-to-20 years from now when people ask me about the Canelo-Cotto undercard, do you think I’ll talk about the boxing artistry of Guillermo Rigondeaux or the fighting badassery of Vargas-Miura?

Mythical match ups:

Fernando Vargas vs Canelo – El Feroz by close decision.

Trinidad vs De la Hoya (2000 rematch) – Tito by late TKO (especially if the fight takes place at 154 pounds).

Larry Holmes vs Wilder – Prime Holmes by first-round KO. The 40-something Holmes by mid-rounds stoppage. The 50-something Holmes by late TKO. The Holmes of right now by unanimous decision.

 

 

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

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