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Dougie’s Friday mailbag

05
Feb

Canelo Khan Promo Tecate from Golden Boy Digital on Vimeo.

NO SURPRISE WITH CANLEO-KHAN, GGG MUSINGS

Doug,

I’m a bit surprised by all the surprise about “Khanelo” because the Golden Boy already unabashedly told the world that he wanted to make the fight post-Cotto-Canelo. Example from December 14, 2015, Boxingnews24:

Oscar De la Hoya said, “You know one fight I wouldn’t mind putting together down the road or whenever is Amir Khan vs. Canelo,” De La Hoya said to KO Artist. “I wouldn’t mind seeing that. I think Amir Khan is a fighter who can move up to 154 and fighter who can fight at 147. Amir Khan is a fighter who is very versatile, and he’s a fan favorite fighter. Think about his fights; he’s always in an exciting fight. He goes down; he gets back up. He’s exciting. So I think Amir Khan vs. Canelo would be very interesting.”

So this doesn’t come entirely as a surprise to me. The fight also reinvigorates my interest in Khan. Even Freddie Roach thinks Khan has a lot of guts taking this fight. Canelo, though, is the real question mark to me. Is he going to step up to the plate and fight GGG at 160?

There is a lot going around the web, maybe even at The Ring mentioning that GGG is the “big loser” in all of this but I disagree. Beyond the possibility of a big money fight with Alvarez, GGG’s financial upside comes when he has all the belts and starts fighting bigger fighters at 168 or catch-weights around 175 or the actual light heavyweight limit. Canelo really has the downside. He may be a money maker but it will really hurt his legacy if he doesn’t defend against GGG at 160. For GGG, Canelo at 160 is a great opportunity but it’s more like a “gateway” big money fight and many more big money fights will come whether he beats Canelo or Canelo vacates. At that point GGG vs. Billy Joe Saunders is big, followed by Andre Ward, Sergey Kovalev, etc., etc. The only downside for GGG in Khanelo is if Khan wins at the catchweight and the WBC allows him voluntaries at 155 and GGG loses another whole year.

In any event, I think that Khanelo is good for boxing as long as GGG gets a shot at unifying next or the title is vacated so he can take his place. What I think is terrible for boxing is that GGG has had so much trouble unifying and is held back by the 155 catchweight situation that goes back to Maravilla and possibly now extends to a Khan era. With any luck, GGG gets a chance for the belt at 160 and the balance of the universe is restored.

Thanks writing such a compelling column (twice) each week! – Mark Abramovich

Thanks for the props, Mark, and for sharing your thoughts on Canelo-Khan and Gennady Golovkin’s situation.

Regarding GGG’s trouble in unifying the middleweight belts, you should know that it’s never been easy becoming the undisputed champion in any division, even when there were only two major world titles (the WBA and WBC). Business and politics have always gotten in the way of unifications, and now that there are four major belts and everyone in boxing seems to be more business minded collecting all the titles is even more difficult.

However, it’s a worthwhile mission for the fighter who truly believes that he is the best in his chosen weight class. It sets him apart from his peers and rivals, adds his name to boxing’s history books and it can help him gain crossover appeal. That’s what happened with Marvin Hagler and Bernard Hopkins – two hardnosed technicians who didn’t have the kind of personalities and boxing talent/styles that immediately resonated with the general public – however, both badasses needed that “gateway” opponent/fight that you spoke of. For Hagler it was Roberto Duran. For Hopkins it was Felix Trinidad. Those bouts earned them some crossover press and good money, but they also helped set up bigger-money mega-events against Sugar Ray Leonard and Oscar De La Hoya. I’m not sure Hagler would have eventually landed SRL without Duran (and perhaps Tommy Hearns), and I’m not sure Hopkins would’ve got to DLH without the Trinidad fight. So, what I’m saying is that Canelo IS important to GGG’s legacy. Golovkin’s goal is to hold all the major belts, and he can do that without fighting Canelo (provided the WBC strips the redhead if their showdown doesn’t happen), but I think he needs to get the Mexican star into the ring in order to launch himself into the general public’s consciousness.

Now, onto the very hot subject of #Khanelo:

So this doesn’t come entirely as a surprise to me. It shocked me s__tless, as my mother used to say. I guess I need to pay more attention to Boxingnews24.com and to what my Golden Boss says on record.

The fight also reinvigorates my interest in Khan. Even Freddie Roach thinks Khan has a lot of guts taking this fight. This fight also renews my interest in Khan, a much-maligned fighter I’ve always respected (and defended to an extent in the mailbag column). He needed to land a major fight, and he’s done so, even though it appears that he’s bitten off more than he can chew.

Canelo, though, is the real question mark to me. Is he going to step up to the plate and fight GGG at 160? Why is everyone freaking out about whether Canelo will fight Golovkin? We knew that the representatives of both fight camps (Eric Gomez and Tom Loeffler) came to an agreement with the WBC to allow Canelo and Golovkin to fight an interim bout before they had to negotiate the mandatory title showdown. Khan is Canelo’s interim bout. I understand that Khan is not a middleweight (or even a junior middleweight) and, thus, won’t help prepare Canelo for facing the juggernaut of the 160-pound division, but that doesn’t mean the proud young Mexican is looking to avoid his mandatory challenger.

I think Canelo’s track record in recent shows that he’s not into avoiding difficult fights. He’s earned a measure of faith from me.

 

FASTEST BOXER VS. BIGGEST PUNCHER

Hi Doug,

Big fan of your mailbag.

Did not see this one coming. Did you hear any rumors about Canelo Vs Khan?

If, and a BIG IF, Khan can pull this off. Do you think he will defend against GGG?

Because I have a feeling he would go for that. If, and again a BIG Gigantic IF, he can prove he is still just as fast and skillful at the higher weight then the same logic applies to GGG. Aim to out box him.

Fastest Boxer Vs Biggest Puncher. Would be massive I think.

But first we need to get over the very big IF?????

I think Khan does have the speed, skill, engine, etc., to out hustle Canelo. But Miguel Cotto was landing and didn’t make a dent. If Khan has the same problem it’s gonna be a long night from the man from Bolton.

Maybe stick and move all night? Again this may work also. But Canelo is a good boxer also and is much better than the version that lost to Mawerather IMO.

Bottom line I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion that Khan will lose as many in the press have suggested. I think Khan has a very good chance of winning. But if Canelo lands it might an early night.

Can’t wait for this one! Keep up the good work. – Tabraze, London

Thanks, and thanks for sharing your thoughts and “What If?” scenarios.

I think Khan is a big underdog in this matchup. I favor Canelo to win, probably by mid-to-late stoppage, however I do think Khan has a shot at the upset.

You brought up Cotto in your brief analysis of Canelo-Khan. Most fans and media thought Canelo would overwhelm the Puerto Rican veteran at some point during their fight. However, by utilizing a stick-and-move strategy Cotto was able to go the distance, limit the punishment he took, and do well enough to earn a draw in the minds of some observers. I think Khan, who is taller, rangier and faster than Cotto can employ the punch-on-the-fly game a lot more effectively against Canelo, who has trouble with lateral movement.

You mentioned that Cotto was unable to hurt Canelo. That’s true but keep in mind two things: A) Cotto never really tried to sit down on his punches and check Canelo’s chin, and B) if Khan is smart, he won’t try to either.

Did not see this one coming. Did you hear any rumors about Canelo Vs Khan? I did not, but full disclosure, I generally walk around with my head up my ass. So if there were any hints – and I was at the Golden Boy Promotions offices last week and the week before – I was bound to miss them. Sorry folks, nobody’s ever called me “Scoop Fischer.”

Because I have a feeling he would go for that. If, and again a BIG Gigantic IF, (Khan) can prove he is still just as fast and skillful at the higher weight then the same logic applies to GGG. Aim to out box him. Khan already has insane levels of pride and self-confidence. If he upsets Canelo I would not put it past him to defend THE RING/WBC middleweight titles against Golovkin, but my guess is that his family and confidants would not allow him to do that. If he did get in the ring with GGG, I think he’d be in big trouble. It’s a different style matchup than the Canelo fight. Golovkin, unlike Canelo, is VERY GOOD at cutting the ring off. ‘Nuff said.

 

IS RIGONDEAUX STILL THE BEST AT 122?

Hello, Doug!

Guillermo Rigondeaux is going to fight a British boxer, who doesn’t seem to be world-class. I’m a little surprised to find that Rigondeaux hasn’t faced a legitimate contender since he beat Joseph Agbeko (or perhaps Hisashi Amagasa).

At the age of 35 and without fighting at top level for a year (or more), can he still be what he was, the wizard that outboxed Nonito Donaire? Or will we never see that version of Rigo again?

In short, I wonder if he’s still good enough to beat the winner of Frampton-Quigg…

Mythical matchups:

Alexis Arguello vs Flash Elorde at 130

Salvador Sanchez vs Ernesto Marcel at 126 (I’m sure the underrated Panaman is difficult for anyone)

Cheers. – Taku from Japan

For the record, Rigondeaux hasn’t faced a RING-rated contender since Agbeko in December 2013. I don’t know if Sod Kokietgym, Hisashi Amagasa and Drian Francisco were rated in the top 10 of any of the sanctioning organizations (and I really don’t care if they were). Agbeko was in the lower top 10 of THE RING’s bantamweight ratings when he was shutout by the 122-pound champ.

I have no idea if Rigo’s advancing age, relative inactivity and lack of suitable competition will hurt him once he steps into the ring against a real junior featherweight contender. All I know is James “Cute as the” Dickens, who is definitely not a 122-pound contender, had the balls to step into the ring with the Cuban lefty. Ever since Rigo beat Donaire, none of the legit junior featherweight contenders and beltholders have been willing to do that.

In short, I wonder if he’s still good enough to beat the winner of Frampton-Quigg… Probably, but I’d like to see the winner of that showdown challenge him. I wouldn’t count either man out.

Your mythical matchups:

Alexis Arguello vs Flash Elorde at 130 – I think Arguello is one of the best junior lightweights of all time, but I think Elorde is one of the few 130 pounders that could have outmaneuvered AND outfought him over the distance. Elorde by very close, maybe split decision.

Salvador Sanchez vs Ernesto Marcel at 126 – The underrated Panamanian would be difficult even for Sanchez but I think Mexico City phenom would have earned a decision in a competitive fight.

 

RIGONDEAUX AND THE RING BELT

Hi Dougie,

With the news that Rigondeaux is fighting Jazza Dickens will he be stripped of The Ring Belt and if so will it be on the line for the Quigg v Frampton fight? Regards. – Sam, Blackburn, Lancashire

Good question, Sam, one that will have to be posed to THE RING’s Ratings Advisory Panel and Editorial Board this week.

I can tell you that some members of the panel wanted to strip Rigo of THE RING title at the same time the light heavyweight title was vacated. However, I think there are more members of the Panel that feel that Rigo, unlike Adonis Stevenson, has been avoided by the best fighters of his division.

The Cuban master was given a grace period because it seems that none of the top-10 rated junior featherweights really wanted to fight him, and due to his lack of a major promoter (until he signed with Roc Nation in November). However, I can’t tell you what the Panel will advise now that Rigo is facing Dickens. I guess we’ll find out soon.

MIXED FEELINGS ABOUT CANELO-KHAN

What’s Up Dougie!

Long time reader, first time writing. Hope all is well. Believe me or not but while Canelo vs Khan may have been a surprise to the world, it wasn’t for me. When I found out Canelo was fighting on PPV back in December me and a couple of buddies were playing match makers. I said it could possibly be Khan because I wouldn’t be surprised if he went up to 154 pounds for a big pay day. I didn’t see anyone else being able to sell on a PPV beside a rematch with Cotto. All the names they threw out made no sense for a PPV match up. Now that it’s actually happening I have mixed emotions about the fight. Business-wise for GBP I get it and styles of the fighters makes it an interesting fight but I just can’t get over the fact that the only result I see is Khan being KTFO. Any other results will look bad on Canelo part. What’s your take on this matchup?

The only thing I got from this matchup is that Khan has some big cojones & if he keeps his mouth shut during negotiations then he might get the fights he wants after all! What also worries me is how is this a tune up for GGG. It makes me believe GBP is not interested in making this fight after all but let’s see.

I also wanted to get your take on Julian Ramirez’s performance last week. I was surprised no one mentioned the fight in the last mailbag. I watched him in his last few fights. I am impressed by the way he goes after opponents, he kind of reminds me of GGG. He comes in with a straight jab then goes chopping to the body. He hunts his opponents down but in a smart and composed way. Am I right with the comparison? Only thing missing is the power. I felt he should have been able to get his opponent out of there. What do you see from him going forward? Without the power will he be able to still to hang in there with top level opponents?

Just like you I am very excited for the upcoming fights of Crawford vs Lundy & Verdejo vs Silva. I don’t see Lundy winning but I can see his heart taking it to Crawford and making it a good fight. I am a big fan of Verdejo. I have high hopes for him. I believe he has the tools and speed to be a champion at multiple weight classes but don’t know anything about his opponents. What your take on both match ups and Verdejo’s future? I will be going to this fight. Will you be going too? Hope I can catch you at Jimmy’s. I didn’t get to last time at GGG vs Lemieux.

Last question who are your top 5 prospects to keep an eye out for? Keep up the great work, I am always looking forward to reading your mailbags. Without it I am lost. – Omar, Paterson, NJ

Thanks for the kind words about the mailbag column. I’ll try like hell to keep ’em coming. I don’t want you to be lost. That’s no fun.

I will not be in New York for the Crawford-Lundy card, but I’m looking forward to watching it on TV. I appreciate Crawford’s craft and I love Lundy’s passion in the ring. They should mesh to make for an entertaining fight. I view Verdejo-Silva as a showcase fight for the Puerto Rican prospect. Silva’s height (he’s listed at 6-foot-1) could pose some problems but I think his 23-0 record is built-up to an extent. The only Brazilian prospect I’m high on is Everton Lopes.

Speaking of prospects, the most advanced up-and-comers I can think of include THE RING’s 2015 prospect of the year, junior bantie Takuma Inoue, heavyweight Joseph Parker, middleweight Antoine Douglas, featherweight Joseph Diaz Jr., and Verdejo. I think all five prospects will be RING rated by mid-2016.

I think there’s a good chance that Ramirez will earn contender status by the end of 2016, provided he fights enough. I liked what I saw against an in-shape and motivated Chris Martin. He dominated an experienced fighter but he fell short of making a statement (getting sick during his camp and failing to make 126 pounds may have been a factor). Ramirez is not as advanced as his old amateur rival Diaz Jr., or Oscar Valdez, but he wasn’t an Olympian like those two. His amateur background wasn’t as extensive and he hasn’t been as busy as they have been recently, but as you noted, the hardnosed southpaw knows how to fight. I agree that he’s good at closing the distance and going to the body but I wouldn’t compare his style to that of GGG’s. I think Julian has his own style. It’s not flashy or explosive so some fans and media members fail to see his ability and ring smarts, but there’s a solid foundation to build on. If he stays motivated and fights four times this year, I’m confident that he’ll start turning heads. I don’t know if he’ll be able to hang with elite featherweights but I believe he will be able to compete with lower top 10-15 contenders by mid-2017. (He’s young, turns 23 next month, so time is on his side.)

Business-wise for GBP I get it and styles of the fighters makes it an interesting fight but I just can’t get over the fact that the only result I see is Khan being KTFO. Any other results will look bad on Canelo part. What’s your take on this matchup? Same as you. I can see why Golden Boy went with Khan rather than an available middleweight, such as Gabriel Rosado and Willie Monroe Jr. (two guys who were rumored to be in the running for the May 7 slot). Khan brings name recognition and UK fans/business to the table. I think his style and athleticism can make it interesting but I gotta figure Canelo clips him at some point. And if he doesn’t? You’re absolutely right that it will look bad. In that way, the fight is risky for Canelo. He’s the overwhelming favorite so he has to dominate.

What also worries me is how is this a tune up for GGG. It makes me believe GBP is not interested in making this fight after all but let’s see. It’s obviously not a tune-up for GGG. It’s a pay-per-view event that GBP can sell in the U.S. and the UK. GBP could have gone with Canelo-Rosado or Canelo vs. a tough solid middleweight like Hassan N’Dam – matchups that would have given us a better idea of how well the former junior middleweight can hang in the 160-pound division – but those aren’t high-profile fights (and certainly aren’t PPV events). But just because Canelo and GBP want to stage a PPV event in May doesn’t mean they “aren’t interested” in doing business with GGG.

 

#KHANELO

What’s up Dougie,

Hope all is well with you and the family mate, massive fan always reading the mailbag!

Quick one on the announcement this week that Khan is moving up to take on Canelo. First of all, the absolute balls on Khan, I don’t care how much he is getting paid, I don’t think there is a harder fight out there for a man with apparently a suspect chin and who has been knocked the f**k out before. I read on your Twitter that you actually think he has a chance of pulling of the upset. To me it reminds me a little of Hagler/Leonard as I can see Canelo trying to cut off the ring, push Khan against the ropes, go for the inside to slow him down, etc., whereas I can see Khan using his footwork, his jab, obviously his hand speed, keeping on the outside and seriously going for a flurry of punches in the last minute of each round to try and impress the judges, just like back with the two greats.

Interesting matchup, anyway, and I think Khan has shown Kell Brook and Eddie Hearn up. Hearn especially with his “who else can you fight for this kind of money.” Well Eddie, he has blown you out of the water, superfight in Vegas with a top 5 P4P prime fighter, while Brook will no doubt fight this Canadian and then surely he has to fight the winner of Thurman/Porter or Bradley (assuming Pacman does retireÔǪ zzzzzÔǪ here’s hoping).

Lastly, I am going to the Quigg/Frampton fight in a few weeks, one of my mates is best friends with Quigg so rooting for him. Just wondering who you think will come out on top and what kind of fight you think it will be. Also, Quigg v Rigo who wins and can you see Quigg being recognized in the States if he beats Frampton and takes on Rigo next? I believe the fight is live on Showtime.

You need to get yourself to the UK for one of these fights, you would love it; 10,000 Irish against 10,000 of us English is going to be ruthless. Be sure to check it out, it’s gonna be electric!

Hope I make the mailbag, take care chief! – Michael, Isle of Man

I might be tagging along for the Canelo-Khan press tour, which ends up in London in late February, just before Frampton-Quigg. Who knows? Maybe we’ll stick around for the big 122-pound showdown in Manchester. I’ll let mailbag readers know if that’s the case. Regardless, I’ll be watching with interest.

I still favor Quigg by decision in a very good fight. If he can beat Frampton and has the stones to take on Rigo I think he will make a name for himself among American hardcore fans. I would not favor Quigg to beat the Cuban counter-punching specialist, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he pulled off the upset.

Khan wanted a megafight with Mayweather or Pacquiao and couldn’t land either future hall of famer. Canelo is the next best thing in terms of a high-profile high-paying opponent. The Mexican star isn’t a future hall of famer (yet) but he might be the biggest draw in boxing while Mayweather is pretending to be retired. Khan is going to go for the money and for history vs. Canelo. If he fails, I think he believes that he can still do the Brook fight (and it probably would be a big event in the UK provided Brook remains IBF welterweight titleholder and Khan doesn’t get blown out by Canelo).

I hadn’t thought of the Hagler-Leonard comparison to Canelo-Khan. I think Khan would do well to take a page from Leonard’s playbook, and lucky for him, Canelo doesn’t press as much as Hagler did. However, even though Canelo is more stationary than the Marvelous One, he might have more head and upper-body movement than the 1987 version of the middleweight king. It will be interesting to see if Canelo is a sharp-enough shooter to counter punch a stick-and-moving Khan.

 

 

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

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