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Dougie’s Monday mailbag

08
Feb

Canelo-vs-Khan-art_mailbag

CANELO-KHAN

Dougie,

How you doing? Just wanted to write in about the Khan/Canelo fight. I’ve been away with work so missed it when it was announced. Wow, did not see this coming at all!!! First off Amir Khan, I can’t stand the guy but I have massive respect for him because he does want to fight the best out there and test himself and this proves it.



I read your mailbag and the general feeling is that Khan will get knocked out in this fight. And that is highly likely but I have to say that I believe that Khan has a decent chance at beating Canelo although it all depends on if Khan can protect his whiskers from Canelo’s assaults. If Khan sticks to the game plan and doesn’t try and prove himself I think he can out-box Alvarez to win a decision, but like I said it’s a massive task for Khan but he has earned my admiration for taking such a big fight. I think that Khan believes he has a better shot at beating Alvarez than he does Brook! What do you think?

I also agree with one of the comments a reader made ref Khan v GGG, in that he would probably fight GGG but that fight wouldn’t last 2 rounds!!! All the best. – Nikki, Darlington, UK

Hey, one monumental challenge at a time, Nikki.

I think as the May 7 event gets closer Khan will gain more believers – including fans (like you) who generally don’t care for him. Part of the belief in Khan’s chances will be the usual hate that Canelo attracts (the redhead rubs some folks the wrong way, including a rather large contingent of Mexican fans and industry insiders). Part of it will just be sympathy for a very gutsy – and some believe very delusional – underdog. But part of it will also come from close study of the natural ability, styles and resumes of both fighters.

Canelo has faced his share of name fighters, but he hasn’t faced many with Khan’s experience and talent level that are also still in their athletic prime. The only boxers Canelo has faced with Khan’s level of talent (I’m talking about athleticism and raw boxing ability, not technique) and elite amateur background are Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Erislandy Lara. Canelo was soundly outpointed by Mayweather and he was fortunate to get a split nod against Lara in a very close fight. Khan doesn’t have Mayweather’s technique or defensive prowess, he doesn’t have Lara’s size, and his chin isn’t as solid as either boxer, but he’s arguably faster and more mobile. He’s also busier (which could work against him).

Canelo has physically overwhelmed his share of undersized opponents, including Matthew Hatton, Josesito Lopez and Alfonso Gomez. However, those fighters lacked Khan’s talent, extensive amateur background and championship experience.

Anyway, we don’t need to channel the spirit of Eddie Futch to realize all of this. Virgil Hunter knows what he has in Khan, as well as a thing or two about boxing, and I’m sure he will devise a game plan that will maximize the considerable tools Khan brings to the matchup while minimizing his fighter’s glaring Achilles heel (those shaky whiskers).

I think that Khan believes he has a better shot at beating Alvarez than he does Brook! What do you think? Khan will never admit it but my hunch is that you’re right.

 

DISAPPOINTED WITH CANELO

Hi Dougie,

First, thank you for your column. I really look forward to Mondays and Fridays and find your insight and perspective spot on. You call it like you see it!

When Kahnelo was made public, like everyone else, I was surprised. Props to Amir Khan for taking on this challenge. I would have preferred to see him fight Danny Garcia or Kell Brook but we certainly have to give him credit, he’s expected to get KTFO, so if he shows us anything more than an early horizontal exit, his stock should rise.

My beef is with Canelo. I see this as a cowardly move. He will be 10-15 lbs heavier than Amir on fight night. Would he ever fight Andre Ward at 167 lbs, AND without a rehydration clause? This weight advantage is ridiculous. Oscar compared this fight to SRL vs Hagler, which is total nonsense! Amir Khan is a competitive welterweight, but SRL is arguably one of the greatest fighters ever and could take a punch.

Canelo could have pursued fights with either Charlo brother, Andrade, J-Rock, Billy Joe Sanders, etc. Instead he is fighting a 147-pound guy with a glass chin, who struggled to beat Chris Algieri. Then Canelo further tilts things in his favor with the absence of a rehydration clause. I understand this is a business and Amir is a big name, but come on! We know these guys have to maximize their earnings, however I am shocked that Canelo isn’t catching more crap for this fight and the details on the weight. I hope if Canelo has the balls the actually get in the ring with GGG, for the middleweight championship of the world, that they fight at 160 lbs. What are your thoughts?

Last comment, when I was a kid, ABC Wide World of Sports had Howard Cosell doing all their major fights. He added such excitement to the buildup and then such emotion to the call of the actual fight. I can’t think of any announcers who have had that kind of flair. Max Kellerman seems to me to be the closest in what he adds to the fight. Who are your all-time favorite announcers? Thanks for allowing me to vent and thank you again for your great work! Cheers! – Rahn

Thanks for your kind words about the mailbag and for sharing your thoughts (and venting).

My all-time favorite boxing commentators are the ones I watched during the first years of being a hardcore fan (late 1980s). I grew up with Cosell’s boxing calls in the ’70s but despite my youth (and the fact that he championed my heroes – Ali and Leonard) I always thought his ego got in the way of his commentary. Maybe I was influenced by the criticism he caught from some of the adults in the room, or by the way he was sometimes lampooned on the comedy/variety shows on TV at the time, but he rubbed me the wrong way.

My favorite boxing commentators were passionate but not very emotional or bombastic. Veteran sports broadcaster Tim Ryan, who called boxing for CBS along with trainer Gil Clancy, was my favorite. I didn’t care that he was a “vanilla” Canadian. He approached each broadcast with a kind of “newbie” enthusiasm that I found refreshing. He didn’t have to know everything about the fighters, the matchup or the sport. That’s what Clancy, the grizzled old dyed-in-the-wool “boxing guy,” was there for. I thought they were the perfect complementary mix.

The other commentator I really enjoyed was Alex Wallau. He was also kind of nerdy like Ryan, but in a different way. Wallau, who called boxing for ABC, was like a hardcore fan. He was meticulous in his research, detailed and informative in his analysis and very passionate about issues that plagued the sport – such as ratings corruption, poor officiating, and a subject that apparently has your goat, excessive rehydration after previous-day weigh-ins. Wallau was somewhat like Cosell in that he was a very good journalist who would sometimes get outraged by what he witnessed in the ring or in the sport but his ego never took over the broadcast (at least it didn’t seem that way to me at the time). I liked Wallau best when he was paired with Dan Dierdorf. The former NFL standout complimented Wallau’s geeky enthusiasm and muckracker tendencies with his laid-back former jock approach to the blow-by-blow role. Dierdorf didn’t take things as seriously as Wallau. He just wanted to see a good fight.

Regarding your thoughts on Canelo, you’re certainly entitled to your opinion (and I think it’s one that’s shared by more fans and media than you think), but I don’t consider the 25-year-old Mexican star to be a coward, so it’s hard for me to view his fighting Khan as a “cowardly move.” I realize that Canelo is a huge favorite but I don’t think he views Khan as some little chump who doesn’t pose a threat. I think he’s familiar with Khan and is excited about pitting his strengths against the Englishman’s style and talent.

If you’re not excited about the matchup due to the weight disparity that’s understandable. I’m not outraged by the fight or the fact that there’s no rehydration clause. Why? Well, I think there are too many damn legal clauses in modern boxing contracts as it is, and I believe that boiling down to 155 pounds is going to bite Canelo in his freckled ass sooner or later (and I’d put money on it happening sooner). Will it happen on May 6/7? We’ll see.

He will be 10-15 lbs heavier than Amir on fight night. Wasn’t he that much heavier than Mayweather and Lara? Did that extra weight make him faster or sharper? Did it add to his stamina? Does it really matter how much he weighs if he chooses to lay back rather than pressure his opponent?

Would he ever fight Andre Ward at 167 lbs, AND without a rehydration clause? I don’t know. If Canelo outgrows middleweight one day and Ward can still make super middleweight, and there’s enough money and demand for that fight to happen, I don’t put it past him to take that fight. He’s been willing to face difficult/elite boxers in the past. Why not Ward? I have no idea if Canelo would ask for a rehydration clause. He hasn’t done so yet.

This weight advantage is ridiculous. We’ll see.

Oscar compared this fight to SRL vs Hagler, which is total nonsense! Is it? If he was comparing Canelo to Hagler and Khan to Leonard, yes. But if he was pointing out the similarities in the style matchup, he’s OK. Canelo, like Hagler, is strong and technical but methodical. He’s a beast against aggressive fighters as Hagler was, but has trouble with movers and crafty boxers. Khan, like Leonard, is a fluid speed demon with better pop in his shots than most think. He doesn’t have Ray’s iron chin but he’s in possession of the same warrior’s heart.

Canelo could have pursued fights with either Charlo brother, Andrade, J-Rock, Billy Joe Sanders, etc. Instead he is fighting a 147-pound guy with a glass chin, who struggled to beat Chris Algieri. The Charlos, Andrade, Williams and Saunders would have all made for competitive matchups but none of them carry the name or respect to make for a pay-per-view event that headlines the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Khan’s not just a “147-pound guy,” he’s a top welterweight contender. Yes, he’s been knocked out – at 135 and 140 pounds – not at 147. Who knows? Maybe he’ll be sturdier with added weight. Algieri did indeed give him a fight. I have a hunch that he will be more focused and prepared for Canelo.

I hope if Canelo has the balls the actually get in the ring with GGG, for the middleweight championship of the world, that they fight at 160 lbs. What are your thoughts? My thoughts? I hope all the fans who are questioning Canelo’s courage and integrity give him his due respect if he does fight Golovkin in September. However, something tells me even if Canelo faces GGG at 160 pounds he will still get s__t on by some fans.

 

#KHANELO = LOUIS-CONN I?

So #khanelo is a joke on paper. I won’t go into that. I was re-watching Joe Louis vs Billy Conn I last night and I couldn’t help but think of how #khaneloisajoke might play out the same way. The young plucky kid outweighed by thirty pounds by one of the best punches in the game, out boxes the champ and on the verge of an historic upset gets his Irish up and gets KTFO’d. What are your thoughts and breakdown of #khaneloisproofcanelowillneverfightGGG

Mythical match up

Joe Gans vs Benny Leonard

Thanks for your time sir. – Sean from the great state of Washington

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Sean.

I’m not saying Canelo belongs in the same sentence as Louis or that Khan can carry Conn’s jockstrap, but I can envision a scenario similar to what happened in the world heavyweight championship that took place on June 18, 1941.

Khan’s not Irish but that Pakistani pride is no joke. If Khan could have kept it in check during the Danny Garcia fight I think he could have chopped the heavy handed Philadelphian down to a late stoppage.

Two things to keep in mind: Canelo’s trainers won’t offend Khan the way Angel Garcia did (and quite brilliantly so) during the build-up to the fight. And while Canelo’s flat-footed the way Louis was, he doesn’t have the one-hitter-quitter punching power the Brown Bomber possessed. (Of course, Khan doesn’t have Conn’s solid chin.)

Your mythical matchup:

Joe Gans vs Benny Leonard – Leonard by close decision in a hotly contested chess match between two ultimate masters of defensive (and technical offense).

 

#KHANELO = TAYLOR-SPINKS?

Hey Doug, just a sports junky from NY trying to make his hobby a gig. Anyway, this fight intrigues me, but the ceiling other than a Khan upset is the Taylor vs Spinks outcome. Cory Spinks gave a prime, but semi-limited Jermain Taylor hell & looked good doing so. The question is, is GGG ready to be Kelly Pavlik of the happy ending or should I say when will he be. Either way Khan doesn’t lose, unlike others he has no ‘0’ to protect. Speaking of undefeated fighters, where does this leave Danny Garcia? I wanted to see a Garcia vs Khan 2, only because both have improved & until Khan got greedy he was waxing Swift pretty bad. Thanks for the read. – Terry from NY

Thanks for reminding me about Taylor-Spinks. I scored eight rounds for the former welterweight champ (and then-IBF junior middleweight titleholder) when he challenged the middleweight king in May 2007. I thought he won easy, to be honest.

Man, it would suck if Khan put on a boxing clinic like that against Canelo and didn’t get the decision. Good Lord, I can’t imagine the degree of hate the redhead would incur from the boxing world if that happened. A lot of folks don’t care for him as it is.

The style matchup of Taylor-Spinks is somewhat like Canelo-Khan (on paper), but there are a few differences, mainly the mentalities of the smaller fighter. Spinks, a southpaw, knew exactly what he was: a pure boxer. He never tried to take his opponent’s head off. Khan’s an excellent boxer but he’s got enough power (and more than enough pride) to make him overcommit to his offense and try to close the show on occasion.

And while Taylor was an Olympic bronze medalist and an explosive athlete with a piston-like jab and powerful right hand, he was also rather stiff and somewhat clumsy at times. Canelo is more coordinated, has a smoother offense and better inside game/head- and upper-body movement than the Arkansas native.

(If Canelo had Taylor’s jab, he’d be a beast.)

The question is, is GGG ready to be Kelly Pavlik of the happy ending or should I say when will he be. Golovkin is ready, and he’s going to be around a lot longer than The Ghost was.

Speaking of undefeated fighters, where does this leave Danny Garcia? Hopefully, it leaves the new WBC beltholder the winner of the Keith Thurman-Shawn Porter fight. Maybe it leaves him with a different rematch: against Lamont Peterson. (Ah, who am I kidding? Garcia will probably be fighting Sammy Vasquez or Omar Figueroa on Spike this summer.)

 

NO TUNE-UPS!

Hi Doug!I totally enjoy your twice-a-week column. If an event or boxer is not mentioned here it never happened or he does not exist. Thank for your hard work. I personally don’t like the tune-up fights for GGG and Canelo. They are both experienced, professional fighters. The fans are more than ready to watch them fight now, so there’s no need to wait till the Fall when both will be physically and mentally ready to fight in May. The only reason is business; the promoters are hoping the GGG-Canelo will approach the numbers of the “TheBoringExboxer-PAC” fight did. Me?? I’m voting with my wallet. No PPV till the Fall. Both PPV events coming up are a joke!! – MARVIN from LA, CA

I don’t blame you if you sit out the Pacquiao-Bradley III and Canelo-Khan pay-per-view shows (as far as I know Golovkin’s April return is not a PPV). We’ve seen Manny and Timmy do their thing before, and if you think Khan has no shot of even being competitive due to the weight disparity, why bother watching (let alone paying to watch)?

I don’t view Canelo-Khan as a “tune-up” for THE RING/WBC middleweight champ. If Alvarez does, he’s setting himself up for a long, frustrating night and maybe even failure. And if Khan is a tune-up, who’s he a tune-up for? Golovkin? How is fighting Khan going to “tune” Canelo up for GGG?

Here’s what Canelo-Khan is, it’s an intriguing (and, admittedly, a bit bizarre) style matchup that Golden Boy Promotions and Khan Promotions believe they can sell to the public. Maybe they can’t sell it to you, but I think there are a lot of boxing fans in the U.S. and the UK that they can sell it to.

Regarding Golovkin’s next fight – presumably against Dominic Wade – yeah, it probably will look like a tune-up or stay busy fight. Wade is the IBF’s highest available contender but he’s really a prospect up against the No. 1 middleweight in the world. If you ask 100 boxing writers who’s going to win that fight, 100 will tell you Golovkin – by knockout.

But here’s something to keep in mind, if you ask the same 100 boxing writers who’s going to win Golovkin-Canelo, 90 will tell you GGG – by knockout. So why does that “mismatch” need to happen right away? And why is one supposed mismatch, Canelo-Khan, labeled a “joke,” while another supposed mismatch, Canelo-GGG, is so eagerly anticipated?

I don’t know, but the fact that hardcore fans and boxing media are obsessed with Canelo-Golovkin tells me that it has the potential to be a huge event. I seriously doubt it will come close to matching the pay-per-view buys of the “TheBoringExBoxer-PAC” bout – or as I like to call it, the Billion-Dollar Sparring Session – but I think Team Canelo, Team GGG, Golden Boy Promotions, K2 and HBO have the right to try to build it into the biggest event possible. And to do that they need some time. HBO and major sports media worldwide will pump up Canelo-Khan between now and May 7, and they’ll talk up GGG’s April return while doing so. Golovkin will be ringside for Canelo-Khan in Las Vegas and as soon as the fight is over the attention of the boxing world (and parts of the general sports world) will turn to Canelo vs. GGG provided the Mexican star takes care of business. And if Canelo looks spectacular a lot of momentum will be created and carried into their proposed September showdown. I think Canelo and GGG can garner more than a million pay-per-view buys in the U.S.

Of course, if Canelo doesn’t look good, that would hurt the potential PPV event. If he loses, forget about it. Canelo’s name will be mud, which is why he can’t look at Khan as a tune-up.

 

ROY JONES JR. – MIDDLEWEIGHT GREAT?

Hi Doug,

Thanks for your great work with the mailbag. Your historical perspective especially is not something which all of today’s boxing writers seem to have. Keep up the great work!

My question is about Roy Jones’s place in boxing history compared to middleweights throughout history. It seems like many people nowadays put him right at the top of the heap, or maybe second to Sugar Ray Robinson. Where would you rank him all-time among middleweights? Is he top 10? Would you rank Greb higher? Hagler and Monzon?

Thanks again for all your work! – Karl

Thanks for the kind words, Karl.

Jones is one of the best boxers, pound for pound, of the past 25-30 years. He’s the best pure talent I’ve ever witnessed fight live.

However, I probably would not rank him among the top 10 middleweights of all time. I would definitely rank Harry Greb, Carlos Monzon and Hagler ahead of Jones. (I have Greb, Monzon and Hagler in my Top Five, along with Ray Robinson and B-Hop).

Yeah, I know Jones beat Hopkins in 1993. But that wasn’t B-Hop at his best at a 160 pounds and that was pretty much RJ’s only accomplishment at middleweight. Jones had two title bouts at 160 pounds – the decision over Hopkins, which earned him the vacant IBF belt, and a two-round demolition over Thomas Tate in his only title defense. I think Jones only had three notable middleweight bouts (Hopkins, Tate and a 10-round decision over rugged future beltholder Jorge Castro in ’92).

In terms of his talent, boxing ability, speed and power, Jones was a handful for any middleweight in history – so I get it when fans pick RJ over middleweight ATGs in mythical matchups – but his overall body of work at 160 is pretty thin. That’s why Hopkins rates above him in my book.

I think Jones was more accomplished at 168 pounds. I’d rate him as the best super middleweight ever (although I think an argument can be made for Joe Calzaghe). Of course, the 168-pound division didn’t even exist until the 1980s.

The middleweight division goes all way back to 1884 and there have been a lot of standouts in those 130-plus years: Bob Fitzsimmons, Stanley Ketchel, Greb, Mickey Walker, Tiger Flowers, Gorilla Jones, Freddie Steele, Tony Zale, Marcel Cerdan, Jake LaMotta, Robinson, Bobo Olson, Gene Fullmer, Carmen Basilio, Dick Tiger, Emile Griffith, Nino Benvenuti, Carlos Monzon, Hagler and my man B-Hop.

There’s 20 former champs for ya. Does Jones crack the Top 20? Maybe. But the men in the top 10 will have much better resumes at 160 pounds. I think James Toney, who Jones beat at 168 pounds, arguably has a better resume at middleweight.

 

KNOCKOUT OF THE YEAR

Dear Doug,

Sorry to be bugging you again. I promise not to write for at least a month. I know you are not responsible for The Ring’s Annual Best awards, but this is the only place I can go to bitch about something. In general, while I may not agree with every award – for example, I don’t think Tyson Fury deserves Fighter of the Year for beating someone who didn’t fight back – I can accept the results as sensible. (I’m fine with that fight for Upset of the Year.) But it seems to me that the greatest knockouts have an element of surprise in them. Alvarez-Kirkland was certainly a significant fight, but most of us knew Kirkland didn’t have a chance when he decided not to train for it with Ann Wolfe. And from the first round on, anyone could tell Kirkland was going down, and soon.

The surprise quotient was far higher in Jacobs-Quillin. Before the fight commentators were blabbing about how Jacobs would have such a hard time handling Quillin’s power, and then Jacobs blasted out Quillin in under two minutes. Go, homeboy! (I’m from Brooklyn.)

Still, we did know Jacobs had plenty of power. How about a rematch in which a fighter who was 24-2 with only 5 knockouts starched his opponent in under a minute with one perfect punch! Bracero-O’Connor for Knockout of the Year in my book. I’d love to see your opinion.Your fan. – Leslie Gerber, Woodstock, NY

Thanks for sharing (and for bitching at me – LOL), Leslie. Don’t hesitate to bug me again (even if it is within the next month).

Bracero-O’Connor produced a shocking and chilling one-punch KO. It was definitely a candidate for Knockout of the Year. Daniel Jacobs’ first-round TKO of Peter Quillin was also a candidate, in part to the surprising nature of the stoppage.

The outcome of Canelo-Kirkland was not shocking or surprising, but it was thrilling and it was as dramatic as it was final. It was the kind of stoppage that caused a live crowd of more than 30,000 fans to explode and it kept them energized for at least half an hour after the fight was waved off (I was at Minute Maid Park in Houston; trust me, fans were hyped!).

The thrill factor added to the high-profile nature of Canelo-Kirkland is what tipped the scales in its favor when the Editorial Board debated what fight deserved KO of the Year. Canelo was a former champ, still ranked very high at 154 pounds; while Kirkland was an enigmatic but well-known once-beaten former contender who always made for wild fights.

Bracero-O’Connor featured the one-hitter-quitter but it wasn’t a world-class fight. Jacobs-Quillin was a world-class fight but the knockout wasn’t clean. Quillin never went down and there was some controversy to the TKO. (I thought it was fine but more than a few fans believed the stoppage was premature – read my Monday mailbag after the fight if you don’t believe me.)

So, that was our thinking in picking Canelo-Kirkland. It was high-profile and it delivered high drama (even though most of us knew Kirkland was gonna go out on his back).

 

 

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

 

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