Wednesday, December 06, 2023  |



Dougie’s Friday mailbag

Fighters Network

IBF belt


Hi Doug,

I discovered your mailbag column a few months ago and it has been a godsend. It’s great that you engage with boxing fans in this way and I really look forward to your insights every Monday and Friday. Thanks for your great work!

My question is about the IBF stripping Tyson Fury of their belt. What’s your take on this? I’m no expert but it seems to me like there must be some agenda on the IBF side that I’m not aware of. It seems it is pretty standard for a new champion to be allowed at least one voluntary defense before he has to start taking mandatories (how many voluntaries has Deontay Wilder had? How many voluntaries did the IBF grant Wladimir Klitschko?). Giving Fury and his team less than two weeks to work out a deal with Glazkov seems completely unreasonable, given how long ANYTHING takes in boxing. The IBF may be applying the letter of the law, but in the real world of business we have to take a more realistic stance. Unless, of course, the IBF have another motive. Do they make more in sanctioning fees if their heavyweight championship is not tied up with the WBA and WBO versions? I would appreciate your thoughts.

P.S. Of last weekend’s fights, I only watched Jacobs vs Quillin, what was the best fight I missed (so I can look it up)?

P.P.S. Mythical matchups:

James Toney vs Froch / Calzaghe / Ward (separate fights, not all at once, I’m not insane!) all in their primes at super middleweight.

Ta! – Jon, London

Thanks for the kind words about me and the mailbag column, Jon.

Losing the IBF belt so soon after winning it (along with THE RING, WBA and WBO titles) from Klitschko has to be a bitter pill for Fury. It’s also a bitter pill for boxing purists who want a unified/undisputed heavyweight champion.

However, the reality of holding all four major belts (and the reason it’s so difficult to do so) is that the undisputed champ has to satisfy the mandatory challengers of each sanctioning organization. Only Bernard Hopkins (at middleweight) and Joe Calzaghe (at super middleweight) have collected all four titles in the last two decades.

Klitschko, who held all but the WBC belt that his big brother used to hold, was actually pretty good at taking care of the mandatory challenger obligations of the WBA, WBO and IBF titles. Fury, who was a WBO mandatory, probably won’t bother to hold ’em all after his experience with the IBF.

What’s your take on this? I’m no expert but it seems to me like there must be some agenda on the IBF side that I’m not aware of. There’s an agenda involved but it’s nothing sinister or underhanded. It’s merely a promotional company (Main Events) forcing a sanctioning body (the IBF) to follow its own rules. The promoter hopes that the hard stance will result in their fighter (Glazkov) winning the IBF title, which will increase the Ukrainian heavyweight’s stature and earning power in the sport.

It seems it is pretty standard for a new champion to be allowed at least one voluntary defense before he has to start taking mandatories. Yes, a newly crowned titleholder is usually allowed to make a voluntary first defense, unless he or she inherits a mandatory situation, which is common. It’s not fair to the mandatory challenger if the new titleholder always gets a voluntary first defense. What if that new titleholder keeps losing his voluntary first defense? Should the mandatory challenger just patiently stand on the sidelines for years?

How many voluntaries has Deontay Wilder had? Artur Szpilka will be his third in a row.

How many voluntaries did the IBF grant Wladimir Klitschko? Wladdy held three major belts and only fought twice a year, so he seldom had more than one voluntary title defense in a row. For example, of his last 10 fights (dating back to the David Haye bout in July 2011), five were against mandatory challengers (Haye, Tony Thompson, Alexander Povetkin, Kubrat Pulev and Fury). Thompson and Pulev were IBF mandatories. (Pulev was the No. 1 contender for all three belts Klitschko held but the Bulgarian only paid a sanctioning fee to the IBF.) Oddly enough, Bryant Jennings, who Klitschko outpointed in April, was the mandatory challenger for the one belt Wladdy didn’t hold, the WBC. I’m pretty sure Jennings was among the IBF’s top 3 or 4 contenders.

The IBF may be applying the letter of the law, but in the real world of business we have to take a more realistic stance. Yeah, but in the real world of business you try like hell not to get sued. Main Events CEO Kathy Duva, and the company’s attorney, Patrick English, are not to be f__ked with in the courtroom. And unlike the sanctioning organizations that aren’t based in the U.S., like the WBC and WBA, the IBF can’t hide from the Muhammad Ali Act or the FBI (which cracked down on the New Jersey-based organization 15 years ago). They can’t even hide from Main Event, which is also based in New Jersey. The poor babies!

Bottom line, Glazkov and Main Events have been angling for the IBF’s mandatory spot for a year and a half. Last March, “the Czar” won the IBF North American title by outpointing Tomasz Adamek (also a Main Events fighter) in an elimination bout for the IBF’s No. 2 ranking. In March of this year, he won the USBA belt (another regional title affiliated with the IBF) by outpointing Steve Cunningham (who was with Main Events at the time) in a final-elimination bout for the No. 1 spot. They had to wait when Klitschko chose to defend his belts against WBO mandatory Fury, and when Wladdy recovered from an injury that postponed the original Fury fight date. They didn’t want to wait anymore. It is what it is.

Unless, of course, the IBF have another motive. Do they make more in sanctioning fees if their heavyweight championship is not tied up with the WBA and WBO versions? I don’t think so. How much money do you think will be on the line when Glazkov fights “Prince” Charles Martin for the vacant IBF belt? I’m gonna go out on a limb and predict that there will be massive butt-load more money on the table for the Fury-Klitschko rematch.

P.S. Of last weekend’s fights, I only watched Jacobs vs Quillin, what was the best fight I missed (so I can look it up)? That would be Moises Fuentes vs. Francisco Rodriguez Jr.

P.P.S. Mythical matchups:

James Toney vs Froch / Calzaghe / Ward (separate fights, not all at once, I’m not insane!) all in their primes at super middleweight. Toney wins a close decision in a terrific scrap against Froch; gets outmaneuvered, outworked and outpointed in a competitive fight against Calzaghe; and rallies for a late TKO vs. Ward (in a dramatic come-from-behind fight that plays out like a 168-pound version of his middleweight title victory over Michael Nunn).



I met Daniel Jacobs in NYC at one of BHOP’s fights at the Barclays. Jacobs is the most humble fighter I have ever met in my life. He was almost too nice, and it was not an act. No one else was around him, or me, he did not know who I was, but he hung on my every word as if I was the most important promoter or manager controlling his career.

The win over Peter Quillin couldn’t have happened to a better guy. For this guy to overcome CANCER and bounce back as strong as he has AND better than ever is miraculous. If you look back on it, he HAS CANCER and didn’t even know it when he was KTFO by Dmitry Pirog. He literally almost died and was paralyzed after that fight.

I hope a good story gets posted. Thank you. – JCB

There’s no better story than the one you just told. Jacobs is indeed one of the genuinely nicest of boxing’s nice guys. His skills are nice, too. But he proved with the Quillin fight that can be a card-carrying badass when he needs to be. That speaks well of his fistic future. I know anyone who has ever had the pleasure of meeting him was cheering for him this past Saturday and will be rooting for him for the rest of his boxing career.



Hey Doug,

I’m not writing in to boast, telling you I was right about Jacobs, as I recall, by your lights, Jacobs was a live dog. It’s just when I see Jacobs highlights on YouTube, dude is always letting his hands go. I’d put him at 50/50 odds with prime Mosley.

Have you seen that nasty scar on his back, bro?

My Moms dealt with having brain tumors removed for over a decade, okay. I said something like this at her eulogy, just an excerpt, you understand…

“I like to think of my Mom’s battle with Cancer as a fifteen round, heavyweight bout, both contestants got knocked down and got back up from the canvas repeatedly but ultimately my Mom lost. But I like to think that if that Cancer and my Mom were to ever meet again that it would remember how she fought with bravery and dignity and that Cancer would think twice about stepping into the squared circle again with Susan Meryl Goodine.”

Point is, if you’ve had to face your family before going into the OR, and fought, let alone beat Cancer, well that is a tougher opponent than you will ever meet in any ring or walk of life. Even a naturally gifted beast like Peter Quillin.

Props to Quillan, a man who puts his life on the line, literally, every time he steps into that ring. And even bigger props to Danny Jacobs for living to see his six-year-old boy celebrate another birthday.

All I’m saying is, even if they matched Jacobs up with GloveKing for a unification bout, I would carefully take into account his previous personal battle before making my prediction.

Btw, was that fight stopped short a little or is it just me? Taking nothing away from either fighter here man, understand, respect due where respect is earned.

Never underlook a dude who has fought for his life. – Stevie, ON Canada

No doubt about it, Stevie. Thank you for sharing that deeply personal story with the mailbag readers.

You are absolutely right about Jacobs’ perspective and resolve post-cancer. Nothing in the prize ring is going to intimidate him. He’s never going to beat himself mentally before he steps into the ring. He knows exactly what he’s fighting for and, more importantly, he knows what a real fight is.

I would not pick Jacobs to beat Gennady Golovkin if they fought next year but I wouldn’t count him out. You can’t count him out.



Hey Dougie,

My second (or third time) writing in but before I get started, just wanted to give you some quick recognition and appreciation for you doing what you do. Thank you for supplementing my boxing knowledge and helping me learn something new about the sweet science every week. I always appreciate your insights into the fight game and reading about great fighters from the past. I have pretty sound knowledge on the fighters from the 00’s era to today, but I love upping my game and learning about past greats like when you gave the low down on Bob Foster the other week.

Anyways, down to business!

Massive PPV card in the UK this weekend with Anthony Joshua taking on Dillian Whyte as the headliner. Am I the only one that feels this fight has come too soon? It seems to have been somewhat rushed by Matchroom because AJ is struggling for viable opponents and live challengers. I think it’s got the vibe of James DeGale-George Groves in a way because, like that major grudge match between amateur rivals. I think this fight could have done with a little marinating first. I mean, not to disrespect the British title but imagine how good both fights would have been if the world title was on the line.

What’s your take on Whyte? Do you think he has the chance to cause an upset? Although I love his confidence, I think the gulf in ability and experience is a bit much and I can see AJ winning by comfortable TKO. I do believe that Whyte will take AJ past 5 rounds because of his awkwardness and an unusually long reach that can unsettle the Watford man…then again it’s probably more hope than expectation!

Also, what’s your take on Tony Bellew (who’s also on the card) at cruiser? Do you think he has the goods to win a world title?

Finally, as a guy of mixed heritage myself (White British & Afro-Caribbean), I absolutely lmao at this line in last Friday’s mailbag “ I’m all about Mulatto Pride these days. Keith Thurman is my favorite fighter, and I was rooting extra hard DeGale during the Bute fight knowing that he’s of mixed parentage. (I’m kidding. Sort of.)

So if you’re really about that mulatto pride you should take a page from my book and get this as your ringtone (As long as your cool with the weird looks people will give you when you receive a call)

Fantasy Match-Ups

Barry McGuigan vs Azumah Nelson

Darren Barker vs Matthew Macklin

Joe Calzaghe vs Sergey Kovalev/Adonis Stevenson

Cheers! – Brinsley (St Albans, UK)

Thanks for the very nice words, Brinsley. It warms my half-breed heart to know that younger boxing fans (of all colors and creeds!) are gaining an appreciation for great fighters of previous eras, such as Foster, by reading this column. And if you if feel you’re learning a thing or two about the sport/craft/industry of boxing by reading my words, that’s icing on the cake (because I realize that more than a few fans and insiders view such talk as the blind leading the blind – LOL).

Although I fully embrace all of the various cultures of my family heritage (it goes a lot deeper than “black and white” skin color), I was just joking around with the Mulatto Pride line in that previous mailbag. However, I’m glad I printed it because I know it got some laughs (and I’m all about that), and it also led to some interesting discussion in the “Twittersphere.”

That Mulatto Butts song is f__king great. There’s no way I’m gonna use it as a ring tone, though. But I will check out the show Archer out of curiosity.

Anyway, onto your top topic: Saturday’s heavyweight showdown between Joshua and Whyte.

Am I the only one that feels this fight has come too soon? You are not alone. I agree that it seems to be a bit premature as the Groves-DeGale fight was (although I think the heavyweights will put on a more exciting contest). I know a lot of boxing fans detest “marinating,” but this particular matchup could use another year of build-up in my opinion. They are both well spoken, comfortable with the media and have clashing personalities. The more fights they win, and the better each becomes, helps to promote their eventual fight. It says a lot about a matchup when the main selling point is an amateur bout that took place when both fighters were rather green. (I know other big main event bouts have taken place between amateur rivals, such as Oscar De La Hoya’s excellent showdown with Shane Mosley back in 2000, but both fighters had won world titles and dominated world-class opposition before squaring off.)

But beyond the business side of the sport, I would have liked to see Joshua and Whyte fight past eight rounds before they had at each other. (Hell, I’d have liked to see either man fight a tough six-round bout. Neither man has proven his professional stamina.)

What’s your take on Whyte? Do you think he has the chance to cause an upset? I think Whyte is a decent heavyweight prospect. Like Joshua, he’s a modern-sized big man (someone who can weigh 250 pounds and still be in top shape). He’s athletic. He’s quick, rangy, got a good jab and a nice one-two combo. He’s relaxed in the ring and moves around well. He even goes to the body pretty good. But I have hard time giving him a good shot against AJ. Joshua, the more polished of the two, has been in with better opposition. The Olympic champ puts punches together better, has better inside footwork and appears to be the physically stronger of the two. Having said that, I think Whyte gives Joshua a decent fight – at least for a few rounds.

Also, what’s your take on Tony Bellew (who’s also on the card) at cruiser? Do you think he has the goods to win a world title? I like Bellew. Like Whyte, he talks a good game. He’s got an attitude but he’s willing to back it up in the ring. I don’t know if he’s got what it takes to win a major world title at 200 pounds, though. If he dominates Mateusz Masternak, maybe he does.

Your mythical matchups:

Barry McGuigan vs Azumah Nelson – McGuigan on points in a hotly contested fight. I think the Irishman’s height, reach, sharp technique and stick-and-move game gets the job done against the Ghanaian great.

Darren Barker vs Matthew Macklin – If Barker is 100% healthy and properly motivated, I think he can outpoint Macklin but he’d probably have to survive some brutal rounds down the stretch.

Joe Calzaghe vs Sergey Kovalev/Adonis Stevenson – I’ll go with Joe via controversial decision over Krusher and up-from-the-canvas late stoppage against Superman.



Hello Dougie,

Great admirer of your work, keep fighting the good fight.

Just a quick note about the IBF deciding to strip Fury of that particular belt before he has had the chance to get used to being heavyweight champion of the world. Electing to honour his word and give Klitschko a rematch hardly amounts to ‘ducking’ a fight against The Ring magazines number 7 ranked heavyweight. Instead there will be a third heavyweight champion crowned, distilling further the title of ‘Heavyweight Champion of the World’ and degrading the sport in the eyes of the casual sports fan.

Without the oxygen of publicity these belts effectively don’t exist, so isn’t it time for the boxing media to take a concerted stand against such blatant manipulation and money-grabbing – (and let’s not even start with nonsense such as the WBC ‘Silver’ belt) – and downplay the validity of these titles?

Speaking of the heavyweight division: if there was a Mythical Tournament of some sort between the top 10 Ring-rated heavyweights (plus champ), would Tyson Fury still come out on top?

Cheers. – Ross

I don’t know if Fury would come out on top. He beat the long-reigning champ, but that could just be a matter of styles (and I’m not going to count Klitschko out in the rematch). Fury’s a formidable heavyweight, and though I’d favor him to beat top RING contenders Deontay Wilder and Alexander Povetkin, I can see scenarios where the American clips him cold and the Russian outworks him in a dogfight.

I’d definitely favor Fury to beat Glazkov, though. (I thought Czar lost to Malik Scott and Steve Cunningham.)

The IBF didn’t strip Fury for “ducking” Glazkov. I think they know Fury isn’t afraid of the mediocre Ukrainian (who is lucky to be unbeaten). They stripped him for agreeing to fight an immediate rematch with Klitschko rather than make his first defense against their mandatory challenger.

I know there was a rematch clause in the contract that Fury signed to face Klitschko, but that had nothing to do with the IBF. The sanctioning organizations can’t put immediate-rematch agreements in title bouts above their mandatory challenger obligations. If they do that, the mandatory challenger can potentially be locked out of his title shot for years, as Sonny Liston was when Floyd Patterson and Ingemar Johannson played hot potato with the world heavyweight title during their consecutive three-bout series from 1959-1961.

Having said that, I understand your frustration with the sanctioning bodies (undeserving mandatory challengers, interim/regular/silver belts, etc.). Just know that THE RING heavyweight title that Fury currently holds can only be lost in the ring, and we won’t strip him of the belt unless he fails to face a top-five contender in a two-year period.



Hey Dougie!

What’s your take on Keith Thurman right now? The Porters are clowning him pretty good in interviews. Keith used to always say, “I got an 0 and I’m not afraid to let it go”! Anyone can get it. I’m ducking no one. These statements are something of the past now. No fight appearances and no interviews since Thurman did the faceoff with Shawn Porter. It looks like a duck. I hope I’m wrong because this can be the biggest PBC fight up to date. If the fight happens, I’m taking Shawn Porter. The skillset was always there but the confidence level is all time high for him when it comes to Thurman so it will be really hard for Thurman to match that.

Thanks. – Michael from Texas

The Thurmanator is still my long-haired Mulatto brother from another mother but I must admit that his career is stagnating. It’s not as bad as fellow PBC Leaguer Danny Garcia (who’s actually regressed in terms of his stature within the sport since 2013) but it’s getting there.

Thurman is not going to advance his career fighting twice a year against fringe contenders (Julio Diaz and Leonard Bundu) and former beltholders (Robert Guerrero and Luis Collazo).

A showdown with Porter is what he needs. I view that as a 50-50 fight (and I agree that it would be one of the best matchups on paper that the PBC has put together so far). If Thurman isn’t going to target Porter, he needs to go after another titleholder, such as Kell Brook.

If Amir Khan and Danny Garcia fight for the vacant WBC title sometime next year, the winner of that rematch would be an attractive opponent for Thurman.

But it’s past time for One Time to make a significant move.



Hey Dougie,

I wanted to get your thoughts on the increasing attention that the heavier weight classes have been getting lately.

For better or for worse, Mayweather and Pacquiao dominated the Welterweight division and the lower weight classes as well as the whole frickin’ sport over the last decade. But with Money’s retirement and Manny’s impending swan song, it’s high time for some new kings, and the Middleweight to the Heavyweight divisions are showing a lot potential.

I’m not hating on the smaller weight classes (shout-out to Chocolatito!), and there’s still a lot of talent in the WW and Jr. WW divisions. But I mean, GGG, Canelo, Daniel Jacobs, Lemieux, Tureano Johnson, Kovalev, James DeGale, Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, etc.

Are they all elite fighters? No. Do they all have the potential to get there? Probably. Are they all entertaining fighters. HELL YEAH!

I mean, hell, I want to see a fight between Fury and Wilder just for the press conferences! Between Fury’s insanity and Wilder’s ego, the promo tour could be as fun as the actual fight

All kidding aside, what do you think? Could we be seeing a shift back to the heavier divisions over the coming years? Cheers! – Chris, Ottawa, Canada

I hope so, Chris. The sport is healthier when the original glamor divisions (heavyweight and middleweight) are active with top talent facing each other in competitive fights.

We had that kind of action in the welterweight and featherweight divisions in the late 1990s/early 2000s with De La Hoya, Felix Trinidad, Shane Mosley, Ike Quartey and Pernell Whitaker; and Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Junior Jones and Naseem Hamed. (Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez joined the fray in the mid-2000s and carried their rivalry right up to 147 pounds.) But it’s been awhile, maybe 25 years, since the heavyweight division was as much fun. The late 1980s-to-mid-1990s rocked with Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Riddick Bowe, Ray Mercer, Razor Rudduck, Tommy Morrison, Lennox Lewis, a crazy spoiler in Oliver McCall, and two very proud old men (George Foreman and Larry Holmes). The middleweight unification tournament that Bernard Hopkins won in 2001 injected some energy into the 160-pound division but it’s been a very long time (the 1980s) since the eyes of the general sports world paid close attention to it. (I should note that Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank brought a lot of excitement to the 160- and 168-pound divisions in the UK, as did Roy Jones Jr. and James Toney – briefly – in the U.S., during the early to mid ’90s.)

But GGG’s quest to unify the 160-pound division and his potential mega-showdown with Canelo could turn the world’s attention to the middleweight division. Jacobs, Lemieux, Johnson, the Lee-Saunders winner, Chris Eubank Jr., and a group of talented up-and-comers that includes Antoine Douglas and Sergiy Derevyanchenko will all play a part in rekindling the excitement at middleweight. (I’d mention Kid Chocolate but I think he comes back as a super middleweight, and speaking of the 168-pound division, I think DeGale vs. Badou Jack, Groves, Feder Chudinov, Gilberto Ramirez and Callum Smith would all be competitive and entertaining bouts.)

Light heavyweight will get some shine if Krusher Kovalev and Andre Ward get it on in 2016 (as their new HBO contracts stipulate).

And, of course, Fury leads the rush of much-needed new blood in the heavyweight division, along with Wilder, Joshua, Joseph Parker and the winner of Jennings-Luis Ortiz.

I think there’s much to look forward to in 2016.



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