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Dougie’s Monday mailbag

11
Jan

KUDOS

Doug,
Just wanted to give you props on your response to Andre Jefferson in this week’s Monday MB. You are one of the most level-headed, even-handed scribes in the biz. You call it like you see it; no more, no less. Don’t let the haters bring you down. The most compelling responses to guys like this come with unflappable rationality. And keep up the good work.

Happy New Year. – Paul

Thanks Paul. The “haters” can’t bring me down. When they try to defend an individual who can’t be defended in the form of an ugly tirade email submitted to this mailbag column, all they do is down themselves in a public forum. But hey, if that’s what they want to do in their spare timeÔǪ



I’m not going to let the misinformation and outright lies slide. I try to present “unflappable rationality” with my retorts, but I admit that I tend to overdo it with the vitriol.

I did call Mr. Jefferson a “piece of s__t” (a race-baiting P.O.S., to be exact). I’m not apologizing for calling him that because I really think he is one. I won’t think differently until he writes an email that addresses the subject of race and racism in boxing with sound arguments, more facts, less attitude and fewer insults.

He can insult me a little bit. I’m OK with that. I’ll just give it back. This column is part of the wayward boxing universe. Intentional fouls and dirty stuff have always been part of the sport’s allure.

I’ll try to be as level-headed and even-handed as you give me credit for, I really will, but it won’t be easy in the post-Mayweather era/social media age.

 

WHAT DID SCHAEFER DO?

Caught the mailbag: You and other boxing experts are fond of saying “Schaefer pulled some dirty s__t at GBP”. You never offer examples or specifics. More importantly, you never hint of financial performance metrics under Schaefer’s tenure at GBP, the true measure of any CEO, no? Were they regressing, failing financially?

We all know he worked closely with Haymon, GBP fighters signed with Haymon but GBP promoted Haymon fights. What was his long-term plan for the business? You just seem blinded by animosity.

Boxing has been positively stagnant for years. It barely registers as a third tier sport on a crowded US sports landscape. MMA/UFC have come on like gangbusters and you seem to advocate ‘let’s keep doing the same s__t’ with Arum, Oscar, et al, leading the way. Seems like Haymon/Schaefer were poised for a new tact to ‘try’ and expand boxing’s reach. Good thing Oscar woke up, pledged allegiance to Arum, dumped Schaefer and took control. The sport is taking off, right?

BTW, I haven’t seen a Ring Mag on a newsstand in the Chicago area in years but UFC, MMA mags are everywhere. You better wake and start advocating for boxing’s future. The sport needs to embrace change! – Tony

Hey, maybe we’ll put Conor McGregor on the cover. How’s that for change? (Can’t wait to hear Floyd’s opinion on that.)

I’m wide awake and I’m all about boxing’s future. That’s why I’m glad Golden Boy Promotions has gone back to their original mission in the wake of Schaefer’s departure, which is develop young local talent. Golden Boy has the largest group of under-25 boxing prospects in America (maybe the world). And they’ve done an excellent job developing them in late 2014 and all of 2015.

The matchmakers at GBP know how to grow future contenders and world titleholders. They developed almost all of Haymon’s top players in the PBC League.

I bring up Haymon’s “premier” players because they are a big part of what Schaefer “did wrong.” However, before you read any further do me a favor and Google the terms “fiduciary duty” or “fiduciary responsibility.” I’ll wait.

Did you do your research, Tony? If you didn’t bother, or it took you more than 15 minutes, I’m wasting my time with you. But in case others readers don’t know what caused the “Golden Divorce” I’ll spell it out:

Schaefer, the CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, wasn’t looking out for the company. He wasn’t being loyal to the company. He was looking out for Haymon. He was – and still is – loyal to Haymon.

Did Dick and Al make a successful team? Yes they did. Did the dynamic duo make money? Yes, of course. They are smart businessmen. They were very successful businessmen before they became involved in boxing.

But that doesn’t mean Schaefer didn’t do his company wrong. His fiduciary duty was to GBP, not to Haymon. A big part of his job was to build and keep a strong roster of fighters. He didn’t do that. He allowed Haymon clients who weren’t signed to Golden Boy Promotions – such as Gary Russell Jr. and Daniel Jacobs – to fight exclusively on GBP cards. Schaefer also allowed the Golden Boy promotional contracts with Haymon clients – such as Danny Garcia and Deontay Wilder – to expire, without even attempting to resign them. What was up with that?

These Haymon clients were developed from prospects to contenders (and in some cases to world titleholders) using GBP’s knowledge, resources and connections, and it was done so without making any long-term commitment to the company. Schaefer’s a former banker. I think he knows what the word “investment” means. Schaefer saw to it that GBP invested in these Haymon clients but made sure that GBP wouldn’t see a substantial return on that investment by not locking all of those “Haymon-advised” fighters down to promotional contracts. So, GBP develops Wilder from 0-0 to 32-0 and helps guide the affable American puncher to a shot at the WBC heavyweight title. Wilder wins, and says “bye-bye Golden Boy.”

How does that happen if the CEO is doing his job? You can say “It happened because Oscar De La Hoya was asleep at the wheel.” And you’d be correct that De La Hoya was often an absentee company president due to his battles with addiction and lengthy rehab stays. OK, but what’s Schaefer’s story? Was he doing drugs too? I don’t think so. Is he just f__king stupid? I don’t think so. He (and Haymon) knew exactly what was going on. They had plans. And that’s cool! But Schaefer shouldn’t have been making those plans while CEO of Golden Boy, because to do so while being paid a fat salary means he was “doin’ dirt.”

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, Tony. Schaefer did other dirty things (such as help maneuver certain fighters – like Abner Mares – from their managers to Haymon).

If you need me to be more specific or offer more examples, I’ll be happy to do so.

 

LINARES-ZLATICANIN

Hope all is well bro.

Thought to write to you about the fantastic matchup which got confirmed this week between Jorge Linares and Dejan Zlaticanin.

Not only is it a fantastic fight between two talented fighters and a fun style match-up, it would crown THE RING magazine lightweight champion.

How do you see the fight going?

I am backing Jorge Linares by UD, with him fighting the style he did against Nihito Arikawa. Sticking and moving from the outside and using that quick right hand against the tough southpaw.

It would be nice to see the winner unify the other alphabet belts (WBA-Crolla /WBO – Flanagan IBF – Barthelmy might be difficult as they both train with Cuban Ismail Salas).

Who do you think would prevail in those matches? I believe Linares.

Thanking you Dougie! Kind Regards. – Abdul-Qadir Ali, Dublin, Ireland

I don’t think Linares can afford to look past Zlaticanin, and neither can I, so I’ll hold off on guessing if I think the Venezuelan veteran can unify 135-pound belts.

I’ll hold off on a Linares-Zlaticanin pick as well because I view that as a 50-50 fight.

I know that Linares is way more experienced, as well as the boxer with the better technique, finesse and footwork, but the southpaw from Montenegro appears to be coming into his own and may have a very difficult style for “Ni├▒o de Oro.”

Zlaticanin, a short (5-foot-4) and aggressive fighter who reminds me of a left-handed Leo Dorin, applies smart pressure. I think he has a decided edge in physical strength, and though he’s not known for his power, he’s got good punch selection and probably hits hard enough to rock and mark up Linares, who’s got a questionable beard and is prone to cuts/swelling.

I agree that Linares needs to employ his stick-and-move game against Zlaticanin, but I wonder if he can get the squat fighter’s respect boxing like that. Anyway, I also expect a good fight. Both lightweights are active boxers with quick hands and very good body attacks.

Zlaticanin got great gym work at The Rock in Carson, California prior to his fourth-round stoppage of unbeaten Ivan Redkach. (He sparred with talented Brazilian Olympian Everton Lopes there, as well as other young up-and-comers.) If he trains at The Rock for this fight, I might pick him to upset Linares.

 

REMEMBERING HOWARD DAVIS JR.

Hi Doug,

My first letter of the new year and I wanted to touch upon the death of Howard Davis Jr. I have been a dedicated boxing fan for 45 years. I lived through one of the most exciting eras (when much of the action could be seen on network TV) and steeped myself in the history of what came before by lots of reading and collecting of films (there was a company called Ring Classics out of New York that sold old fight films on 8mm back in the 70s…. yeah 8mm… that’s how old I am), but let me tell you, there has never been an Olympics (1976) before or since that generated that much excitement around the boxing team. People who it would be generous to say were “casual” fans were tuning in every evening to see the American team compete…and we knew every team mates name too. Being from Nashville I was saddened when local favorite Clint Jackson was eliminated and Knoxville’s John Tate was KO’d by unstoppable force Teofilo Stevenson. Of course we had the Spinks brothers and Ray Leonard but Howard Davis was and is one of the finest pure boxers that I have ever seen, winning the Val Barker award for most outstanding boxer. His only drawback was a lack of punching power and it was a factor later in his inability to win a world title, in fact the only gold medal winning US fighter to not win a world title (he was close against Edwin Rosario but a knockdown late in a close fight ended in a split decision loss). Just the same, fans followed his career, much of which was on network TV and cheered him through wins and losses. Like many though, he stayed around too long suffering KO losses to Buddy McGirt and Dana Rosenblatt. All the same he is admired and respected by aficionados of the sport and its rich history. It is sad to hear of the loss of a good man at such a young age.

Speaking of staying around too long (and you can edit this section out if I have run too long) but WTF is up with Roy Jones? If Roy had retired right after winning a piece of the heavyweight title from John Ruiz he would be touted as one of the greatest fighters in history (and you and I could talk a long time about him cherry picking opponents) but instead he has hung around and been KTFO four times…FOUR TIMES! Three of those times falling like he had been shot. That is what people are going to remember, not his decade of dominance. Is he going to continue to live in denial and embarrass himself as well as risk his health? Who would sanction him to fight again? Thanks for the time Doug, wishing all the best for you and yours this new year and hoping for a big year in our favorite sport. – David, Nashville

Thanks for the well wishes, David. I think we will experience an eventful year in boxing.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Davis. I couldn’t put it better than you did. I’m too young to remember watching the 1976 U.S. Olympic squad in action, but those games spawned my boyhood boxing idol, Sugar Ray Leonard, whose star eclipsed the Davis’ career (from my limited perspective). However, I do recall watching Davis on TV in the mid-to-late 1980s when I was becoming a hardcore fan (his competitive fights with Meldrick Taylor and Hector Camacho in particular). Davis is one of the first pure boxers that I appreciated (I was not a fan of Larry Holmes or the 1980s lightweight version of Pernell Whitaker). I admired his footwork more than anything else.

Thomas Hauser, who was friends with Davis, put me in touch (via phone) with the Olympic gold medalist in 2000. Davis provided expert analysis for a couple articles on big Vegas fights that I wrote for the old HouseofBoxing.com. He was very sharp and wonderful to talk to. I don’t remember the fights (maybe Lewis-Tua, maybe Trinidad Vargas) we discussed, but I do recall meeting him almost five years ago (in early 2011) in Maywood, California, when his son, Dyah, fought Francisco Sierra on a Top Rank card at the town activity center. Davis was as friendly, pleasant and down-to-earth as a person can be. (By the way, Dyah, who had to settle with a majority draw, was totally robbed that night. Davis, of course, took the high road and didn’t make a stink.)

Regarding Jones, all we can do is pray that he doesn’t get seriously hurt and hope that he stops fighting in time to prevent serious pugilistic dementia. I agree that he would have been considered the GOAT by many had he walked away after the Ruiz fight (and I would have adamantly disagreed with that opinion). I also agree that the brutal knockouts losses are deeply disturbing.

That is what people are going to remember, not his decade of dominance. I’m not sure I agree with this. Fans are thinking about it now because it’s news. However, five-to-10 years from now, let’s say when he’s being inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, I think fans will remember him for the otherworldly talent, skill and athleticism he displayed during his prime years. He’s the best 168-pound fighter ever, in my opinion.

Is he going to continue to live in denial and embarrass himself as well as risk his health? I could be totally wrong but I think he might fight one more time, maybe somewhere near his hometown of Pensacola, Florida, this year and then hang up the gloves for good.

Who would sanction him to fight again? Sadly, there is no shortage of commissions (worldwide) that would welcome a famous future hall of famer like Jones. There are commissions that clear James Toney to fight and he can barely talk.

 

BIG THANKS

Hello Doug,

I’ve been a big fan of yours for some time now. This isn’t so much a question, but rather a big thank you! Thank you for making my day today after reading your response from Andre Jefferson (the race-baiting piece of s__t who has his head stuck up Floyd Mayweather’s a__hole).

Hope all is well and looking forward to the next Mailbag! – Owen

Thanks Owen. I was a little bit surprised at the reaction (mostly positive, but not all) – especially on Twitter – to my reply to Mr. Jefferson (AKA the race-baiting piece of s__t who has his head stuck up Floyd Mayweather’s a__hole). But I guess I shouldn’t be. Mayweather is a polarizing figure in boxing and race is and always will be a hot-button issue on the world stage.

Mix the two together and you get days, even weeks, of media coverage/analysis and social media debate/arguments, which is probably just what Mayweather wanted.

Anyway, if Andre emails me again should I title his follow-up diatribe as THE RETURN OF THE RACE-BAITING PIECE OF S__T WHO HAS HIS HEAD STUCK UP FLOYD MAYWEATHER’S A__HOLE?

 

GETTING EXCITED ABOUT 2016

Just wanted to say your response Andre Jefferson was fantastic. The clueless fool is an attention seeking f*** who has no sense or knowledge of sport let alone boxing. Floyd is a d*** and so is this guy. Well done for responding fantastically with dignity and displaying intelligence as opposed to this Muppet.

Getting really excited for 2016. Mainly because of the heavyweight division (feels good to say that). I know you believe Anthony Joshua isn’t ready for Tyson Fury but I believe despite his relative inexperience, AJ takes Fury in 2016. Fury boxed really well and used his physical advantages fantastically against Wlad Klitschko who is highly dependent on leading with the jab. But I get the feeling that Fury wouldn’t be able to keep AJ away for 12 rounds and once AJ lands, Tyson is gone. If a blown up, past his best cruiser can put Fury down, AJ would easily do the same and more.

The division is buzzing now with Deontay Wilder, Alexander Povetkin, Luis Ortiz and David Haye’s returnÔǪ looking forward to some fantastic matches ahead. I wouldn’t even dismiss Dillian Whyte entering this bracket.

What’s your thoughts on Amir Khan? So much talent, despite the weak chin, but feels he’s wasted two of his peak years chasing fairytale fights (fights he didn’t deserve I should say). Would love for him to take on Kell Brooks, Danny Garcia and/or Keith Thurman but get the feeling he’ll find someone who’s a softer touch again.

Finally, you’ve probably answered this before, but what’s your top 5 British boxers you’ve covered?

Thanks for your time and keep up the great work. – Rehan

Thanks for the kind words and kudos, Rehan.

If 2016 is going to deliver more entertainment than 2015 I think the heavyweight division will be play a big role. Fury is a major player in the division. Joshua is on his way. He’s a name in the UK, but still a bit under the radar in the US. I expect that to chance by the end of this year. Before he faces the likes of Fury or Povetkin, I’d like to see him continue to develop his craft against some tried-and-true gatekeepers, such as Tony Thompson, and lower top-15 contenders, such as Carlos Takam or the winner of the Ruslan Chagaev-Lucas Browne fight.

I think we will see AJ (I’m talking about Anthony Joshua, not Andre Jefferson “the race-baiting piece of s__t who has his head stuck up Floyd Mayweather’s a__hole”) face a couple well-known and respected veterans this year.

For now, I still envision Fury giving the 2012 Olympic gold medalist trouble with his experience, size, reach, movement and awkwardness.

The division is buzzing now with Deontay Wilder, Alexander Povetkin, Luis Ortiz and David Haye’s returnÔǪ looking forward to some fantastic matches ahead. I wouldn’t even dismiss Dillian Whyte entering this bracket. Wilder’s WBC title defense against Artur Szpilka on Saturday should be a lot of fun. If he wins the mandatory against Povetkin is up next. That fight will create a lot of excitement and let us know once and for all if Wilder has what it takes to “be the man” of the division. It would be awesome if a popular and talented former titleholder like Haye took on Ortiz but I’m not gonna hold my breath for anything like that to happen. (Maybe the WBA, with some prodding from GBP, will force the winner of Chagaev-Browne to defend their “regular” belt against Ortiz, holder of the interim title.)

What’s your thoughts on Amir Khan? I’ve shared my opinion on Khan many times in this forum. I like him a lot and I respect him but it’s hard to defend him when he only fights once a year and struggles with unrated welterweights. The bottom line on Khan is this: if he isn’t fighting respected contenders/beltholders and he isn’t staying active, he isn’t relevant.

Finally, you’ve probably answered this before, but what’s your top 5 British boxers you’ve covered? I don’t think anyone has asked me that yet, but it’s an easy question to answer: Lennox Lewis, Joe Calzaghe, Naseem Hamed, Carl Froch and Ricky Hatton.

 

ANDRE JEFFERSON

Afternoon Doug,
I have just finished reading your Friday Mail Bag (great read as always) and I felt compelled to respond to Andre Jefferson’s, and your, mail. I am a big boxing fan, I wouldn’t say hardcore because that would be an insult to someone like yourself.

Before I start, I will mention that I am mixed race. My father is from India and my mother is English, I was born in England and so were my siblings. I know you light heartedly refer to yourself as a ‘Halfrican’ but I’m not sure what I could refer to myself as? Haldian? Halglish? Doesn’t sound quite as snappy. I am 30 years old and have experienced some racism, not as much as you I’m sure, but some. Religious bigotry and terrorism haven’t helped progression for someone of my colour. My parents Christened me and I consider myself English. I can’t deny how I look (lightly tanned skin, black hair, brown eyes and a great jaw line! Basic Indian features!) but I have been told I look Spanish, Italian and even Turkish. I’m never offended.

I do find it odd that so many people, that are against racism, can’t be open minded. Reading articles (not just in your mailbag) it seems to me that people often think that racism is applicable to one minority – Black, White, Asian etc. ANYONE can experience racism and I honestly think (please correct me if I am wrong) that boxing if one of the most liberal and diverse sports on the planet! I mean, just think about the number of nationalities involved in boxing! Crazy. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that there is NO racism in boxing and I’m sure various people and politics do have certain agendas and (private) racial opinions – you know more than me.

Mr Jefferson certainly seemed to have an issue with your opinion of FMJ but he was unashamedly hating on ODLH and GBP. Mr Jefferson has a problem with GBP having so many Hispanic fighters – racism surely?? Needs must sometimes and boxing is a business. If what you said is true (not calling you a liar btw) about Haymon drafting in GBP fighters then you can’t blame GBP or Oscar. The fighters obviously weren’t contracted so it’s tough luck. Oscar had to dust himself off and get back to work so he has signed fighters that can generate current and future revenue. No problems there in my opinion.

Mr Jefferson should think about this – because of Mr Trump’s various “speeches” – I feel as though I could never visit the United States again (I have been on holiday several times). Which is a shame. The US government is so strict that they don’t even have to look at me, they would just look at my name and possibly put a flag against it. Unbelievable right? But very true. People can be racist and very presumptuous about a NAME! I was born, raised, educated and work in England. Yet, that would mean nothing.

I respect Mr Jefferson’s passion and obviously he feels the need to defend a black person but I do think he needs to look at a bigger picture and instead of launching into an attack on GBP, yourself and Ring; maybe opening up a discussion is more worthwhile instead of shouting and then putting your fingers in your ears when someone replies.

Even if I do not make the mailbag, I would like to hear your thoughts. Regards. – Jordan – Manchester, England

Thanks for sharing your perspectives and experiences, Jordan. I appreciate your candor.

Yes, racism does exist – not just in boxing – but in every society on the planet. And, as you know, it goes every which way.

Mayweather’s statement that racism is still around is true. He simply fell down by trying to support that observation with ridiculous opinions (his thoughts on Andre Ward’s pound-for-pound rating by THE RING and HBO’s supposed “pressure” to have Ward fight at light heavyweight) and asinine comparisons (Laila Ali and Ronda Rousey; McGregor’s “free pass” from the media/society).

I have two main problems with Mayweather’s recent statement on race/racism:

1. He doesn’t do any research and he has no clue as to how to present an argument. He spews lame opinions (some of which come off as racially biased, such as his beef with THE RING ranking a “Japanese guy” in the P4P Top 10) and he offers no background or perspective to support them. Mayweather admitted to knowing next to nothing about Shinsuke Yamanaka (the “Japanese guy”) and McGregor before he used them as examples of racism or racial bias. You’re not going to get my attention or respect with dumb s__t like that.

2. Mayweather is media savvy. He’s known how to use the media to state his case or push his agenda since before he turned pro. (I remember him sticking up for his then-imprisoned father during a post-fight interview at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.) However, despite being in boxing’s spotlight for the past 15 years and a bona-fide crossover star since 2007, Mayweather has seldom – if ever – given his support (time, money, endorsement) to organizations or movements dedicated to social justice and racial equality. Now that he’s retired, I’m supposed to believe that he’s suddenly become “Money X” or “Money Luther King”? Nah, I’m not buying it. He’s just after attention.

If guys like Jefferson weren’t such emotionally wounded fan boys they’d see through his bulls__t.

 

THE IBF TITLE

Dougie long time reader, first time writer. First off I’d like to give you props on the way you shot down that racist idiot in your last mailbag. I’ve got a question that’s been bugging the hell out of me and I may of missed something (probably have) but could you tell me why Tyson Fury was stripped of his newly won IBF Heavyweight title and GGG was not? As far as I’m aware GGG is not scheduled to face the IBF’s mandatory challenger either so how come he keeps his belt and Fury gets stripped? By the way I’m a massive GGG fan and not much of a Fury fan! Mythical Match Ups: Prime Cotto vs Prime Hatton I reckon Cotto takes out Hatton in or around the 8th in a brutal war. Keep up the good work Dougie. – Nikki, Darlington, England

Thanks for finally writing in, Nikki. Don’t be a stranger going forward.

Good question about the IBF mandatories of Fury and Golovkin. The simple answer is that Fury’s IBF mandatory challenger, Vyacheslav Glazkov, won his title-elimination bout last March (with a decision over Steve Cunningham). Fury had to deal with it as soon as he won the belt. He opted for a lucrative rematch with Klitschko and the IBF did what they did (Glazkov will fight Charles Martin for the vacant belt on Saturday). For more details on this mess read my mailbag response from the Dec. 11, 2015 edition of the column.

Golovkin’s IBF mandatory challenger, Tureano Johnson, won his title-elimination bout last October, so Johnson hasn’t been the mandatory very long. Also, Team GGG hasn’t ruled out a fight with Johnson. I think if a unification bout with Billy Joe Saunders can’t be worked out, the plan is to face Johnson on April 23 at MSG in NYC.

Your mythical matchup:

Prime Cotto vs Prime Hatton – I think it’s a very close (and very good) fight at 140 pounds. I think Hatton had a realistic shot at hurting Cotto early and taking him out by the middle rounds with a concentrated body attack, but my gut tells me the stoic Puerto Rican would have been able to weather an early storm and rage back with harder, more accurate punches (including paralyzing body shots) that wear down the Mad Hatter to late-rounds stoppage. At welterweight, I think Cotto takes command early and either uses his legs and underrated skills to out-box Hatton to a clear UD, or decides to take the fight to the Manchester hero and stops him with body shots by the middle rounds.

 

 

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

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