Dougie’s Friday mailbag
RESPECT FOR BILLY JOE SAUNDERS
Whether or not the Gennady Golovkin-Billy Joe Saunders fight gets made, I’ve come away with mad respect for Saunders.
Saunders has been upfront and honest that he feels Golovkin is a wrecking machine and that he would only face him for big money or in 18 months’ time when he is more developed. Now that he may be thrown big money, he is reportedly considering the fight. Whether it gets made or not, I respect Saunders because he is being true to his values and self-appraisal. What bothers the hell out of me are fighters that talk a big game but don’t back it up and make up phony excuses: they are the true ducks.
Keep up the good work! – Mark Abramovich
There’s a lot to like about Saunders. He’s a smart man inside and, clearly, outside of the ring. He’s not ruling out a middleweight title unification bout against GGG, or evading the subject (his promoter Frank Warren is supposed to get on the phone with Golovkin’s people next week), but he realizes that the showdown would be the biggest and toughest fight of his life. He wants a little more money than has reportedly been offered (┬ú2.2million), or he wants GGG to meet him on his turf (the UK).
I think that’s fair, and honestly, although I fully support GGG’s mission of unifying all four major 160-pound titles, I think it would be better for both sides if Saunders waits. Why?
Because the newly crowned WBO beltholder is only 26 and he just won his title. If he fights Golovkin in April and gets beat, fans on both sides of the Pond will say that Saunders “cashed out” and that GGG has a “habit” of fighting wet-behind-the-ears middleweights (Lemieux was also 26 years old and had just won his first world title, the IBF belt, when he faced the undefeated Kazakh in October). Some of that criticism will just be the usual tired-old GGG hate, but I don’t want to hear it. I know the same party poopers will piss on Golovkin vs. Tureano Johnson, but I’ll happily ignore them knowing that I’ll cover what should be a fun scrap.
Plus, I think Saunders will improve dramatically if he can get a couple solid title defenses under his belt. If GGG winds up sticking around the 160-pound division beyond 2016, I truly believe that BJS and Chris Eubank Jr. will give him his most difficult middleweight bouts.
MAYWEATHER’S MCGREGOR COMMENTS
Big fan of the mailbag, I learn something new each week.
I was talking to a friend about Floyd Mayweather’s recent rant about Conor McGregor’s popularity because he is white. Most of the comments on this issue say Mayweather is disliked because of his history outside the ring. He purposely says he never watches MMA but had one of his runners tell him about Conor. I think Mayweather is just trying to keep himself in the spotlight, possibly setting up a rematch with Pacman or someone else.
Did you notice Pac’s upcoming fight with Bradley is now not being billed as his last. If Money does fight again, who do who think he will fight? If it’s Pacman, it would only have to do 1/4 the money of the first fight to be lucrative to both parties.
Also will Kovalev finally fight Superman?
I don’t think the Ward fight will be made, Ward got injured in Creed and I suspect he will take even more time off between fights (yes I know it’s a movie).
Keep up the great work. – Bill
Thanks Bill. I agree with your take on Mayweather’s most recent comments on racism. He hasn’t examined McGregor or the MMA fighter’s career closely at all, he just knows that the UFC featherweight champ has worldwide popularity and, thus, can help get his name back into the headlines. Forget about Ronda Rousey, McGregor or GGG, Mayweather’s probably jealous as hell at all the media attention Donald Trump is getting. He’s probably thinking “that guy is just being an insufferable jerk – I practically invented that! I gotta get my crown back.” So, as usual, he takes the easy road to achieve his goals, he plays the race card.
I don’t care for his methods but I can’t knock his results. His name has been everywhere in recent days. He probably will gradually begin to mention Pacquiao. Whatever. I can’t stop these tired old acts from attempting to make another epic money grab. There’s a sucker born (and reborn) every minute, so I can’t say that a rematch isn’t worth their while. But I won’t complain too much about Mayweather-Pacquiao II. Whenever it happens, I plan to be on vacation with my family.
Also will Kovalev finally fight Superman? I wish I knew. I think it’s possible this year, but it’s a long shot in my opinion.
I don’t think the Ward fight will be made. Ward got injured in Creed and I suspect he will take even more time off between fights (yes I know it’s a movie). It’s a movie I haven’t seen yet, believe it or not. I haven’t seen Star Wars TFA yet, either. If I can’t get the wife to see one of them with me by Sunday, I’m just going to have to bite the bullet and go (Han) solo. Anyway, I’m going to keep hope alive for Kovalev-Ward. Both fighters’ recent HBO contract renewals were contingent upon an agreement to meet in 2016, both are on the record saying they want to get it on, and Ward is scheduled for his next “tune-up” March 26. If Ward pulls out of that fight (for any reason), or struggles with an unrated opponent, I’ll get skeptical very quickly. But for now I believe that Ward is serious about wanting to challenge the IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight titleholder. I’m leaning toward Krusher if it happens but I think it’s a winnable fight for the Oakland resident.
UPCOMING FIGHTS, MYTHICAL MATCHUPS
Hey Doug, things are a little slow in the boxing world right now so I wanted to look ahead and get your thoughts on some upcoming fights.
Kovalev vs Pascal 2: I’ve noticed the betting odds on this bout have Kovalev about a twelve to one favorite – that just seems wrong to me. The first fight was a hell of a battle and though Kovalev inflicted a lot of damage (and I didn’t have a big problem with the stoppage), Pascal was able to hurt the Krusher a few times with those recoil right hand counters. Of course, I think Kovalev should be the strong favorite going into the rematch but this was no GGG vs Lemieux type drubbing. Kovalev can be caught and wobbled with counters and though his offensive arsenal is amongst the best in the sport his defense and chin seem fairly standard. Pascal’s got the herky-jerky movement, iron chin and Montreal’s historically questionable judging on his side – anything could happen, especially if Pascal comes in with a better game plan and Kovalev is looking ahead of him.
Pacquaio vs Bradley 3: Would I (and the rest of the world) have preferred Khan or Crawford (for Pacquaio)? Of course, but you know this could end up being a pretty good fight. The first two fights weren’t so much scorchers as they were speed chess, (and a bit of a dissection in the second half of their second fight on Pacquiao’s part.) I have a feeling this one plays out different. Bradley will come in extra motivated and with a game plan every bit as good as his second one was bad. Pacquiao’s going to want to deliver something special for his last outing. If the Pacman can muster some Sarangani fire for his farewell fight and Teddy can convince Bradley it’s time to play firefighters again, who knows, we could get a classic. Both these fighters have given us a lot of exciting fights over the years and they’ve both got a ton of heart. Maybe third time’s the charm.
Motor City Cobra vs Nottingham Cobra at super middleweight
Leon Spinks vs James Toney
Ron Lyle vs Max Baer
Takashi “Mike Tyson” Miura vs Nicholas “Axeman” Walters
Thanks. – Jack
I think Kovalev has Pascal’s number but I also believe that if the unbeaten Russian boxer-puncher overlooks the former champ he can be in for a long (and potentially punishing) night.
Krusher has lofty goals for 2016, as you know. Pascal is step one, Stevenson is step two, and Ward is step three to what he hopes is Fighter of the Year accolades if he does what he usually does – kick ass. However, if he’s focused too much on steps two and three, Pascal is tough, experienced and athletically awkward enough to play the role of spoiler. And you can add the Freddie Roach factor to his home-town advantage.
However, my guess is that Kovalev’s big 2016 plans will make him train harder than usual. Also, Pascal’s legs and general reflexes seemed a bit flat to me in the Yunieski Gonzalez this past summer. I’m not saying he’s shopworn or anything like that. The Haitian-Canadian could have under- or over-trained for that fight, but his usual spring and snap were missing to my eyes.
I hope you’re right about Bradley-Pacquiao III. I’m OK with this fight even if it isn’t Pacquiao’s final bout, but I’m not excited about it. A good fight would be a pleasant surprise, and I agree that it’s possible. As you said, Pac’s got something to prove after his non-effort on May 2, and Timmy’s mental and emotional focus should be razor sharp with Fire Marshal Atlas in his corner. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that this combination brings out the best in the two veterans when it counts – in the ring.
Your Mythical Matchups:
Motor City Cobra vs Nottingham Cobra at super middleweight – I was never impressed with Tommy Hearns at 168 pounds (even though he should have won his rematch with Ray Leonard at that weight). I’m going to go with Carl Froch by a close, up-from-the-canvas decision victory in a 12-round barnburner.
Leon Spinks vs James Toney – I think Neon Leon’s aggressive volume-punching style would have played right into Lights Out’s heavy, educated counters and combinations. Toney by competitive but clear UD in a good fight.
Ron Lyle vs Max Baer – The Livermore Larruper’s vaunted right hand would enable him to narrowly outpoint Lyle by dropping the 1970s perennial contender a couple times en route to a hard-fought (sometimes dirty and wild) heavyweight scrap.
Takashi “Mike Tyson” Miura vs Nicholas “Axeman” Walters – the Jamaican Hitman gets up from a knockdown to earn a late-rounds TKO in a grueling slugfest.
Man, I wish I could actually see these fights! Good mythical matchups, Jack.
Seasonal Greetings Dougie,
I hope you and your family are well and looking forward to a great year for our beautiful sport.
This being the usual time for reflection, I thought I’d do the same for boxing. There are two ways that I could have approached this. My idea first was to write a heartfelt, warm poem about my deep love of boxing. Long verses about it’s passion, drama, humanity, blood and tears, even if I had to constantly fight the 10 year old in me who just wanted an excuse to write ‘Carl Froch punched him in the crotch’. My second idea was to list my favorite fighters and call it my Boxerline. I went for the second idea, and here it is:
My Boxerline is:
Mike Tyson, Chris Eubank, Prince Naseem Hamed, GAP, Joe Calzaghe, Carl Froch, James DeGale.
Honorable mention: Nigel Benn, Sergio Martinez.
Your list must be of the fighters you wanted to win the most at any particular point in time. The one that made you try and dodge his opponent’s punches in your living room, shout advice at him through the TV, and occasionally celebrate like you were in the ring with him. Skill and fame are not factors, only who your heart followed. A good indication is how upsetting it was for you when they retired/faded away. If you had a constant quivering bottom lip for three days following their retirement or bad loss, they should be on your Boxerline. Try not to overlap fighters. The GAP indicates where I stopped watching boxing regularly for a few years. Most fans have a gap, usually when we first discovered girls (or boys) weren’t disgusting anymore.
I would love to know your Boxerline and the reason for your choices.
All the best to you and my fellow boxing fans! Happy New Year! – Rafiq Haq, Wembley, UK
Thanks for the well wishes Rafig. Interesting question. I’ll try to accommodate your question to the best of my memory:
Muhammad Ali (first boxer to captivate my imagination as a boy, this was in the late 1970s during his popular second reign as heavyweight champ), Sugar Ray Leonard (boyhood idol), GAP (1982-after Ali and Leonard’s retirements-to-1987), Mike Tyson (yes, I was a big Iron Mike fan, like so many others; I prayed that Larry Holmes would not beat him when they met in ’88), Terry Norris (first fave as a hardcore fan in the early ’90s; Terrible Terry had the perfect mix of talent, technique, skill, athleticism, fearlessness, rage and vulnerability), Marco Antonio Barrera (mi Numero Uno boxeador once I settled in Southern California after college and began attending regular shows at The Forum in my current hometown, first as a fan in the mid-90s, then as “new media” in the late-90s), Sugar Shane Mosley (first boxer I got to know in and out of the gym, first under-the-radar fighter I got behind and followed closely as media, first for me to witness “blow-up” once he proved his talent/mettle), Fernando Vargas (first boxer to understand the importance and potential of the internet; talented and fierce like Mosley but also a smart showman and businessman; pure drama in and out of the ring), Kostya Tszyu (the only amateur star I ever really admired as pro; I was honored to get the chance to cover some of his major U.S. bouts in the late 90s/early 2000s), James Toney (first boxer I followed as a fan that I got to know as media; witnessed/chronicled his late ’90s/early 2000s comeback as a cruiserweight/2003 Fighter of the Year and slow deterioration as a slothful heavyweight hopeful), Edwin Valero (a super-talent/sure-fire superstar in my opinion and biggest waste of potential I ever covered in boxing), GAP (2010-2012 – I admit that Valero’s death, and the way he went out, plus the Cold War/Never-ending Story, sapped some of my passion for the sport for a few years), Gennady Golovkin (a brute strong Central Asian amateur legend with cold technical precision like Tszyu; a gym legend like Mosley, Toney and Valero; seems on his way to exceeding King Kostya’s accomplishments), Roman Gonzalez (the best boxer, pound for pound, in the sport for the past few years in my opinion; thrilled that he’s getting some mainstream U.S. boxing attention while still in his prime).
I read your response to the Mayweather racism claim, as well as your avid followers. I am not a Mayweather apologist at all but respect all fighters who get in the ring and maximize their earning power in a sport that really doesn’t care after your finished. Roy Jones made a YouTube video stating the same things that Floyd said, just in a different manner, so what is the difference? The fact that he compared Ronda Rousey to Laila Ali was proof of racism in the market place, there is nothing that Rousey has that Laila doesn’t have except she isn’t white. Now I know you sugar coat, bow down, and suck up to Massa Oscar because he is your boss. I also notice you agree with most of your racist followers who mostly criticize, demean, and never give credit to any black fighters (i.e., Crawford, Ward, Charlo brothers, Wilder, etc.). I am not sure what your ethnicity you are, but from the pictures I see of you, you seem to have a little African American in you, therefore I would expect you to be better aware of the injustices, bigotry, and hatred toward black men in certain arenas. If you are unaware of that you must have blinders on or have been totally white washed. Boxing has always been a racially divided sport and always will be, which you are aware. Look at Oscars stable of fighters, I don’t see but a few black or white fighters, mostly Hispanics; on the other hand, PBC has diversity which totally shows where the mind is of the Head of that organization.
Since you and most of your avid readers tend to exude a moral high grown and criticize black fighters and Al Haymon, let’s look at Some of the Lazy, Dirty Tactics by other fighters from different cultures and Oscar’s sterling reputation out of the ring. Oh I’m sorry, You won’t do that because that’s how you eat and you don’t want to leave the big house with Massa. When the truth is told about racism you don’t face the facts, instead you resort to your hatred of Floyd to sweep it under the rug. It’s obvious that when it comes to issues that affect the masses, you don’t look at it from a true perspective because your too much of a weak ass corporate nutt huggers to stand up and use your platform to right a century’s worth of wrong.
I suggest you YouTube men like Jesse Lee Peterson, Larry Elder, Herman Cain, Ben Carson, and Clarence Thomas because you fall in line with these subservient pawns that openly show hatred, criticism, and downright ignorance toward blacks, not knowing that they are doing a true disservice to blacks. That’s if you have some black in you BROTHAAAAAA. – Andre Jefferson
Don’t worry about how much black I have in me, just know that I have a lot more sense in me than you do.
Hurl all the insults you want at me, Oscar De La Hoya, boxing fans who comment under this mailbag column, the African-American conservatives you suggested I check out on Youtube, and anyone else that you don’t like or don’t agree with (or are threatened by). Floyd Mayweather Jr. is still a racist attention whore. And I’m still going to point that out anytime anyone brings up his silly diatribes on racism.
If you were a real boxing fan instead of a race-baiting piece of s__t, you’d know that most of the standouts in Haymon’s “diverse” PBC stable – Deontay Wilder, Adrien Broner, Danny Garcia, Abner Mares, Keith Thurman, Gary Russell Jr., Errol Spence Jr., among others – were developed as Golden Boy Promotions fighters or on GBP cards. Golden Boy Promotions had a lot of African-American talent on its roster, but former CEO Richard Schaefer pulled some dirty s__t with “Massa Haymon” while De La Hoya was asleep at the wheel. (You would know about this if you actually followed the sport, but instead you probably spend most of your spare time leaving ridiculous comments under YouTube videos highlighting black conservatives.)
It is what it is. Boxing is a business and if you snooze, you lose. Haymon took his fighters – most of whom are black (and most of which were not contractually tied to GBP thanks to Massa Schaefer’s shenanigans) – from De La Hoya’s company and formed the PBC.
No big deal. Oscar just has to start over, a process which began early last year with the signing of many young (18-21) boxers, locally and from other states and countries, and with the restart of GBP’s local monthly club show series (LA Fight Club). Yes, much of GBP’s new blood is Hispanic. Los Angeles is heavily Hispanic, and much of that Hispanic population is of Mexican descent. Deal with it. But along with young Hispanic locals and Mexican nationals, GBP has recently signed boxers from Argentina (Marcelino Lopez), Bahamas (Tureano Johnson), Brazil (Patrick Teixeirea, Everton Lopez), Canada (David Lemieux), China (Taishan), Colombia (Oscar Negrete), Cuba (Luis Ortiz), Ghana (Bastie Samir), Ireland (Jason Quigley), Japan (Yoshihiro Kamegai), Philippines (Mercito Gesta), Puerto Rico (Jorge Melendez), Ukraine (Vyacheslav Shabranskyy), oh yeah, and also the good ole US of A. Among the American boxers GBP is a group of talented AFRICAN-AMERICAN prospects, all of whom had solid amateur careers, including KeAndre Gibson, Travell Mazion, Lamont Roach Jr., Damon Allen and Kevin Rivers. Golden Boy just signed Rashidi Ellis, an unbeaten (14-0), 22-year-old welterweight who sure looks black to me.
But you wouldn’t know anything about all that because your entire head is stuffed up Mayweather’s ass. You talk about me being De La Hoya’s subservient corporate slave, but you’re so enamored with Mayweather that you’ll attack anyone who calls him on his bulls__t, and you’ll go along with his totally unsubstantiated claims of racism.
I know racism exists, A.J.; I’ve experienced it from black and white Americans. I came of age in southern Missouri (during the ’80s) for Christ’s sake. I’m an expert in racism. I know it when I see it. And right now, you and Massa Mayweather are the ones who are spewing it. Sad thing is, Mayweather is purposely ruffling feathers to get media attention, but you’re so blind you actually think he’s trying to make a real statement. He doesn’t give a f__k, you moron. He never has.
I also notice you agree with most of your racist followers who mostly criticize, demean, and never give credit to any black fighters (i.e., Crawford, Ward, Charlo brothers, Wilder, etc.). You’re not only a race-baiting piece of s__t, you’re sniveling liar (a common trait among Mayweather defenders). I give lots of credit to those fighters (especially Crawford). I have criticism for Wilder’s obvious flaws in the ring and Ward’s poor decisions outside of the ring, but I also give them credit when and where it’s due. Just because I’m not kissing their asses 24/7 doesn’t mean I side with their detractors (racist or not, and most of them are NOT racist – well, not as racist as you are, anyway).
The fact that he compared Ronda Rousey to Laila Ali was proof of racism in the market place, there is nothing that Rousey has that Laila doesn’t have except she isn’t white. There was no proof of anything in Mayweather’s silly comparison. There was no information or analysis at all. Ali and Rousey competed in different sports in separate eras. Ali boxed as a professional from 1999 to 2007, during the internet’s boom and development. Rousey made her MMA debut in 2011, during the social media age. Unlike Ali, Rousey was a WORLD-CLASS amateur standout (in judo). She participated in the Pan-Am Games, World Amateur Championships and Olympic Games. She had a strong run in minor MMA leagues/companies and Strikeforce before signing with UFC. She didn’t come out of nowhere. She wasn’t plucked out of obscurity because she was white. There are a lot of white male and female MMA fighters that you and Mayweather have never heard of. Rousey earned her fame, same way Floyd did. Ali was a good boxer and athlete, but much of her fame came from her last name (shocker) and good looks. She trained for a year, turned pro fighting mostly awful competition, and eventually fought some solid pros, though she never faced the best female fighters in and around her division (middleweight/super middleweight) when she was at her peak (unless you include an overweight, undersized Christy Martin in 2003). She didn’t make great money fighting, but she had well-paying endorsements that other pro boxers, male and female, would never get (regardless of their accomplishments), including Addias, Avon, Dove, even major car companies. Ali is not in the news as much as Rousey, but she’s not an active pro athlete anymore. She still does a lot of TV and public appearances, and she’s got her own line of health and beauty products that are sold in major store chains.
Roy Jones made a YouTube video stating the same things that Floyd said, just in a different manner, so what is the difference? Probably class, a human quality that you and Floyd should really look into.
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer