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Dougie’s Friday mailbag

18
Dec

Jennings-Ortiz

THE HEAVYWEIGHT PICTURE

Hi Dougie,

What is your take on Bryant Jennings/Luis Ortiz? I think Ortiz will win by KO.



The rest of the heavyweight division:

Who would you like to see Deontay Wilder fight? I think he should be required to fight Alexander Povetkin next to establish that he is a genuine champion. Guess we will see. Do you think, as I do, that Tyson Fury will beat Wladimir Klitschko in the rematch even more impressively than he did in their first fight?

I would really love to see one heavyweight champ like it was years ago. With all the money involved with multiple titles I doubt that we will see that again. I get dizzy trying to keep up with all the Mickey Mouse titles they have come up with!

In conclusion, who do you think may be the best heavyweight out there right now and in the near future? Love your column. – Mike

Thanks for sharing, Mike.

I don’t think there is a top dog in the heavyweight division, not since Fury beat Klitschko. Fury is the champ, and I’d pick him to beat most world-class heavyweights, but I also think he’s beatable. On a good night, I can envision Wilder or Povetkin, maybe even a healthy version of David Haye (who isn’t currently rated), either clipping or outworking the giant.

The only way we’re going to find out who’s the best big man is if the top contenders and heavyweight hopefuls fight each other. We’re seeing a little bit of that at the end of this year with the Joshua-Whyte and Jennings-Ortiz fights. Hopefully, we see more of this in 2016.

What is your take on Bryant Jennings/Luis Ortiz? I think Ortiz will win by KO. I favor the Cuban by decision. Jennings is a tough nut, and he’s smart too. I’d be surprised if Ortiz got him out of there, but what a statement that would be.

Who would you like to see Deontay Wilder fight? I think he should be required to fight Alexander Povetkin next to establish that he is a genuine champion. Guess we will see. Hopefully in the first half of 2016. I want to see Wilder defend his WBC title against Povetkin, but I’d settle for any heavyweight ranked in THE RING’s top 10 (not named Bermane Stiverne). But I won’t consider Wilder to be a “genuine champion” until he beats Fury (or the winner of the Fury-Klitschko rematch).

Do you think, as I do, that Tyson Fury will beat Wladimir Klitschko in the rematch even more impressively than he did in their first fight? I slightly favor Fury in the rematch. If he does, it’s hard to say if he’ll be any more impressive than he was in the first bout. To be honest, I wasn’t impressed with either heavyweight in the first bout. I guess if Fury manages to throw more than 400 punches over the 12-round distance, and connect with more than 30 percent of ’em, that would be more “impressive” than his first effort vs. Wladdy. But if I’m to really be impressed, Fury’s gonna have to kick Klitschko’s ass or knock the former champ out. Does that sound a bit harsh? Good! I’ve got standards for my champions, especially “the man” at heavyweight. You miss the good ole days of when there was just one champ, as do I. But I miss the days of when the heavyweight champ KICKED ASS even more.

JENNINGS-ORTIZ, RETURN OF THE AXE-MAN

Hi Dougie,

Just a few questions about the match ups on both side of the Atlantic this weekend: In the US we have the HBO card, topped by Jennings vs Ortiz. How do you see it playing out and who wins? I have to admit I’ve not seen much of Ortiz, but I’ve heard good things.

What I do know, is that he was stripped of his titles and banned for testing positive for anabolic steroids. This was an 8-month ban, right? Is that pretty lenient or a standard length of ban? Once a boxer tests positive, are they forever under the microscope from the different commissions?

Axe Man is back in action. Love this guy, but he’s moving into a bit of a nothing division in my opinion. Will he move up to lightweight eventually? Also back, Yuriorkis Gamboa! Can he still be a contender or has become the guy to beat to get to the next level?

Across the Pond, here in the UK, we’ve got Billy Joe Saunders vs Andy Lee. I saw that the fight picks were very close (9-7 in favour of Lee). How do you have it? I’m sticking my neck out and predicting Saunders puts on a Tyson Fury type performance and shuts Lee’s attack down to get a comfortable, unanimous decision victory. Whatever the result, I’m sure the atmosphere will be fantastic, which has become a given with big card British boxing.

So who puts on the best shows, Eddie Hearn or Frank Warren? And who has the better stable of fighters?

Final quick question, how far can Mitchell Smith go? I have high hopes. Thanks for reading, keep up the great work and have a merry Christmas! – Josh, Manchester, UK.

You too, Josh. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and questions.

I think Smith can go far. I love the junior lightweight’s energy and enthusiasm when he fights. He and junior welterweight southpaw Jack Catterall are my favorite British prospects of 2015.

I’m a little more impressed with Catterall at this stage of their careers. Both young bucks are fast, fluid, confident boxers with decent footwork and an understanding of distance, but Catterall seems to be a little more composed in the ring than Smith, who may have fallen in love with his power. Smith scored some sweet KOs this year, and to my eyes, he seemed to be looking a little too hard for the stoppage in his last bout (a first-round KO of well-traveled Filipino gatekeeper Denis Tubieron). Smith loaded up with every shot and didn’t bother to jab. He didn’t need to vs. Tubieron, but he will against better opposition.

Regarding the big UK fight tomorrow, Lee-Saunders, I have no idea who wins the WBO middleweight title. Lee’s the more experienced fighter and the man with more pop in his shots, but Saunders has youth on his side and he’s a busy, sturdy boxer who can stick and move if he needs to. I guess if I have to make a pick, I’ll go with Lee. It’s mostly a heart pick because I like Andy a lot, but it’s also due to the veteran’s rapport with Adam Booth (and the young trainer’s confidence in Lee). I also like Saunders (who I picked to beat Chris Eubank Jr., another UK middleweight I like a lot). I’m just hoping for an entertaining fight (which will be televised here in the States on Showtime).

Regarding Jennings-Ortiz, I think we have another toss-up fight (which is great!). I view it as a matchup between a heavyweight with a lot of tangibles (Ortiz) and contender who has a lot of intangibles (Jennings). Ortiz has the edge in size, quickness, power and technique. But Jennings has been in with the quality opposition and he’s proved his mettle, chin and ring IQ in those fights. I’m going with Ortiz on points, but that pick is really just a hunch on my part.

What I do know, is that he was stripped of his titles and banned for testing positive for anabolic steroids. This was an 8-month ban, right? Is that pretty lenient or a standard length of ban? I believe the eight-month suspension is around the usual length of time for a first-time offender in the state of Nevada (where Ortiz was pinched for nandrolone after blasting Lateef Kayode in one round last September). I wouldn’t call it “lenient.” Lenient is the three-month suspension that the NSAC handed Mickey Bey (by a 3-2 vote) after the Money Team fighter iced poor Robert Rodriguez in February 2013 and then tested positive for elevated testosterone levels (a T/E ratio greater than 30-1, in fact, second highest in Nevada history). I guess Mickey had a note from his doctor. (Ya think that doctor was part of The Medical Team, along with the two commissioners that voted against suspending Bey?) Personally, I think boxing commissions in the U.S. should take a page from the British Boxing Board of Control and UKAD (UK Anti-Doping) and ban boxers who fail drug tests for two years as they did with heavyweight prospect Dillian Whyte in 2012. Whyte, who tested positive for a banned stimulant methylhexaneamine (MHA), claimed that he unknowingly ingested it with a legal sports/nutritional supplement (which had been pulled from shelves in the UK just a few weeks before his fight and subsequent failed drug test). He stated his case in an appeal to the BBBC, but a special tribunal rejected the appeal even though they believed him. They basically told Whyte: “Dude, you need to read the ingredients of anything you put into your body – especially sports drinks and nutritional supplements. A five-minute Google search could have spared you this two-year suspension.”

Once a boxer tests positive, are they forever under the microscope from the different commissions? They should be, but who knows? Ortiz, who was also fined 10% of his $80,000 purse and asked to do 15 hours of children-oriented community service, was told by the NSAC that he would have to clear a pre-fight drug test before fighting in Nevada again, and that the commission could randomly test him at his expense for the rest of the year. So I guess that’s one way of telling the fighter “Hey, we’ve got our eye on you.”

Axe Man is back in action. Love this guy, but he’s moving into a bit of a nothing division in my opinion. Will he move up to lightweight eventually? Probably. Walters is huge. He looked like a junior welterweight when he could still make 126 pounds. I’m curious to see how well he’ll do at 130. If he beats Sosa in impressive fashion, I’d love to see him step up his competition and eventually take on someone like WBC beltholder Francisco Vargas or one of the Takashis (Uchiyama or Miura).

Also back, Yuriorkis Gamboa! Can he still be a contender or has become the guy to beat to get to the next level? I wouldn’t classify Gamboa as gatekeeper or “stepping stone” yet. He only lost to Terence Crawford (in a competitive fight). There’s no shame in that. The 130- and 135-pound divisions aren’t very deep. With Gamby’s experience and talent, I think he can be a player at junior lightweight or lightweight. He just has to get busy. He needs to get back to fighting three times a year (something he hasn’t done since 2010). There are attractive fights waiting for him. WBC lightweight titleholder Jorge Linares has wanted to get it on with the Cuban for awhile. Walters is a potential opponent at 130 pounds (if both win on Saturday).

So who puts on the best shows, Eddie Hearn or Frank Warren? And who has the better stable of fighters? Having never attended a Hearn or Warren show live, I really can’t say. All I know is that they look like a lot of fun on TV.

THE WBC DID WHAT?

Hey Doug…….whats up?!

Long time reader and fan of the mailbag! What do you think of the move the WBC made regarding the Gennady Golovkin vs Canelo Alvarez situation? I think as fans we got shafted to an extent…. again! Lol. Hey, it’s obviously what makes sense businesswise first for them. I just don’t understand why the sanctioning bodies say one thing and do another! It’s my understanding GGG was the mandatory and if not Canelo would be stripped…. now what a surprise! Lol. It makes the WBC lack credibility as far as enforcing the rules of their respected division. The catchweight dilemma is another example with respect to defending the lineal championship or any other of the major belts! Too many belts now a days, I think!

What happened to the days when the belt meant something more than a bargaining chip as far as that A side B side bs goes!? That’s another aspect I wish would go away entirely or at least be limited to just determining the purse split! What is your take on the A side B side issue? Do you think the fight will be made before it turns into another Pac vs May drawn out drama?! Who you got winning that fight?! What happened to rematches or trilogies?! They seem to be a rarity these days! Hope to make the mailbag! Keep up the good work!!! Happy Holidays to you and your family!! Peace. – D

Happy Holidays, D.

My thoughts on the WBC’s announcement that Canelo and GGG will commence negotiations for a showdown by May of 2016 AFTER each fights an interim bout? Well, at least the involved parties (the WBC, Golden Boy Promotions and K2 Promotions) are talking. They seem to have an understanding with one another and a plan of action. They appear to be at any impasse – not yet, anyway. After the “Cold War” years, it’s good to see that competing promotional entities can work things out.

I’m optimistic about the situation. And perhaps I’m biased. THE RING is owned by Golden Boy Promotions, so obviously I have a close working relationship with the company (and I believe that they really do want to make the fights that fans demand). I also go way back (20 years) with Tom Loeffler of K2 and Abel Sanchez (GGG’s coach). I think they are among the best in the business and I know that both men are reasonable when it comes to making fights for their star fighter. And it’s no secret that I like GGG and Canelo. They are among my favorite fighters. Part of the reason I admire them is because they seem willing to challenge themselves, which is why I’m not really worried about this fight falling by the wayside.

Also, I never expected the winner of Cotto-Canelo to immediately face GGG. If Cotto won, I figured the veteran would vacate the WBC title (which he surprisingly wound up doing before the fight) and drop back down to junior middleweight. If Canelo won, I figured he’d agree to face GGG but not in his first title defense.

Regarding the WBC’s “mandate” for the Cotto-Canelo winner to face GGG, it was my understanding that the sanctioning organization’s actual ruling was that the winner of the Nov. 21 fight had 15 days (or a few weeks) to “begin negotiations” with Golovkin’s representatives. WBC would have taken action (such as stripping the holder of their belt) if negotiations did not take place. However, GBP and K2 did begin talking about a Canelo-GGG showdown after the Cotto fight, and what they came up with is what the WBC announced this week.

I’m OK with it for two reasons:

1) It gives GBP, K2 and HBO a little more time to build the match into a really big event, and

2) It gives Canelo more time to grow into the middleweight division (mentally more than physically, in my opinion), which lessens the chance of a catchweight.

What happened to the days when the belt meant something more than a bargaining chip as far as that A side B side bs goes!? Those days are pretty much gone. There are a few fighters (such as GGG) who want to unify the belts in order to become an undisputed champ, but most boxers view the titles as stepping stones to big money and as bargaining chips once the reach elite status.

What is your take on the A side B side issue? It gets annoying, but it’s something that has existed in boxing from the very beginning of the sport. I can give you examples of boxing super stars pulling prima-donna BS back in the 1920s and ’30s (even prior to those decades).

Do you think the fight will be made before it turns into another Pac vs May drawn out drama?! Of course! I think they’ll fight in September 2016.

Who you got winning that fight?! GGG, but I think it’ll be a fight.

What happened to rematches or trilogies?! They still exist, but we need more elite fighters to be willing to face each other again after tough, close fights.

 

YEAR-END AWARDS

Hey Doug,

Last year I wrote to you with my end of the year awards and here there are again and I would appreciate your thoughts.

Fighter of the Year: Canelo Alvarez

Fight of the Year: Provodnikov vs. Matthysse

KO of the Year: Canelo Alvarez

Upset of the Year: Tyson Fury UD Wladimir Klitschko

Promoter of the Year: Oscar De La Hoya

Event of the Year: Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao

I know you said Tyson Fury was your FOTY, but he didn’t look great in the Klitschko fight, but Wladimir looked worse than he had in years. I value Canelo’s devastating KO of Kirkland and very impressive showing against Cotto much better than a sloppy win over Klitschko.

Stay safe and happy holidays to you and your family Doug. – Robert from Ashton, MD

Thanks for the well wishes, Robert.

I think Canelo is a solid candidate for Fighter of the Year, along with Mayweather, GGG, and my little man “Chocolatito.” But Fury beat a champion who had reigned for more than nine years (was unbeaten in more than 12) and had posted title-defense numbers that approached the all-time great likes of Joe Louis and Larry Holmes. Yeah, the fight sucked ass. For the record, I didn’t nominate Klitschko-Fury for Fight of the Year.

Here are my choices for the best (or most significant) of 2015 (which are mine alone, and definitely not the official winners of THE RING’s year-end wards, which will be announced in the March 2016 edition of the magazine).

Fighter of the Year: Fury

Fight of the Year: Vargas-Miura

KO of the Year: Alvarez KO 3 Kirkland

Upset of the Year: Fury UD Klitschko

Promoter of the Year: K2 Promotions

Event of the Year: Launch of the PBC

 

IBHOF CLASS OF 2016

Hello, Doug!

The International Hall of Fame surprises me every year: this year by electing Hilario Zapata and Lupe Pintor.

To be honest I haven’t seen so many of their fights, but the fights which I watched (Gomez-Pintor, Zapada-Chang 1 and so on) impressed me a lot. No doubt Pintor and Zapata are great, so I’m glad to see the below-featherweight greats in the HOF.

Having said that, I feel Canastota receives a little too many fighters recently, which in fact is gradually reducing its worth.

Now take the (very prestigious) Baseball Hall of Fame for example: it’s really hard to be a baseball hall of famer. And I think this fact that lots of great players have failed to get in enhances the worth of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Should Castanota continue to receive many fighters and to make the Hall crowded? Can the Hall of Fame stay esteemed if the number of hall of famer keeps increasing?

Christmas is getting near. I hope you and your family will have the nice Christmas holidays! Regards. – Taku from Japan

Thanks for the nice holiday wishes, Taku. Same to you and your family.

I’m glad Pintor and Zapata were inducted into the IBHOF. I voted for both former champs, along with Hector Camacho (who also got in) and Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn (who did not – but I’m gonna keep voting for the UK rivals until they are inducted). I also voted for the non-participants – Harold Lederman, Col. Bob Sheridan and Marc Ratner – that were inducted. All three are among the nicest people I’ve met in boxing.

I’m OK with the number of fighters that the IBHOF inducts each year. There are a lot of great boxers that have come and gone over the decades (many of whom have been completely forgotten) and I want to see them all get their due.

If certain fighters have been inducted that you or other fans feel are unworthy of the hall of fame, I think that speaks more to the ballot selection process than the number of boxers that get in each year.

 

MYTHICAL MIDDLEWEIGHT MATCHUP: MMH VS GGG

Hi Doug,I don’t recall anyone asking you this one: Marvin Hagler vs. Gennady Golovkin at 160. I am a big GGG fan, but I’d go with Hagler on this one due to his hall of fame ability to take hard shots. It would be a heck of a fight though. Merry Christmas to you and yours. – Andy, Chula Vista, CA

Thanks Andy.

This particular middleweight mythical matchup has been proposed before (at least three times) but I have no problem answering it again.

Like you, I favor the Marvelous One. I envision Hagler winning a close (maybe majority or split) decision in a hell of a fight. I think Hagler (the prime early 1980s version) was much like Golovkin: a strong, methodical stalker with excellent technique and underrated ring generalship. Both middleweight standouts possessed world-class jabs, power and combination punching, and both gradually broke down most of their opposition. I give Hagler the edge in a head-to-head matchup because, as you noted, he had an all-time great chin and the overall physical durability to take GGG’s best punches, and I believe that he was busier and a little faster than the unbeaten marvel from Kazakhstan.

Golovkin would probably land the harder punches, and maybe even outjab Hagler from the outside, but when the two battled it out in close, I think the American badass would outhustle him.

 

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

 

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