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Dougie’s Friday mailbag

12
Feb

Heavyweights_mailbag

HEAVYWEIGHT LOG JAM

Dear Dougie,

There seems to be a log jam of undefeated heavyweights coming out of the woodwork now to claim pieces of the alphabet organization’s belts. There are 7 big fights pending as of now and a numba of young vipers sporting an 0 standing in the wings ready to swoop in at the first opportunity that comes their way. Just cutting to the chase, can you give me your opinion on a couple of ways that the current scenario on these fights might work itself out? Your opinion counts.

Tyson Fury 25-0 vs Wladimir Klitschko 64-4 ?

Deontay Wilder 36-0 vs Alexander Povetkin 30-1 ?

Luis Ortiz 24-0 vs Tony Thompson 46-6 03/05/16

Charles Martin 24-0 vs Anthony Joshua 15-0 04/09/16

Lucas Brown 23-0 vs Ruslan Chagaev 34-2 03/05/16

Joseph Parker 18-0 vs ? 04/07/16

David Haye 27-2 vs ? 05/21/16

I don’t want to overload you with all of the other young guns out there right now but I think you know who they are.

I’m getting a brain freeze just thinking about this. Any thoughts? – Jeff Bollinger, Redondo Beach, CA

I’m not getting a brain freeze thinking about the upcoming heavyweight fights for two reasons: I’m looking forward to some of the matchups (Wilder-Povetkin and Martin-Joshua, if the fight is finalized, in particular) and I’m getting more patient in my old age.

I don’t need an undisputed heavyweight champion right away. I’m content to let the top dogs of the “glamour division” work things out this year and I’m confident that the sport will gain a heavyweight super-fight and an undisputed champ sometime in 2017.

Fury-calls-out-Wilder_FukudaWho will be fighting for that undisputed championship? I don’t know. My hope is that it will be Fury and Wilder because those are the biggest personalities in the division at the moment. They would whip UK and U.S. boxing fans into a frenzy. I imagine that the build-up to that promotion would be the liveliest and most entertaining for a heavyweight championship since Muhammad Ali’s heyday.

However, I have no idea if Fury will beat Klitschko again or if Wilder will get past Povetkin. It’s possible, and I’m pulling for the brash duo (they’re the closest thing boxing has to WWE personalities and that’s a good thing), but I wouldn’t put my money on either guy.

I can see Klitschko and Povetkin winning and then doing a rematch, which could be more competitive than their first bout given Wladdy’s age and the momentum of the Russian’s recent run (but that ain’t sayin’ much). What could be interesting in this scenario is if Joshua wins the IBF strap and then faces the winner in the undisputed unification match. Klitschko vs. Joshua for all the marbles would be a pretty big event in Europe.

Ortiz could be the dark horse in all of this. The challenge facing the Cuban southpaw – and his promotional company, Golden Boy Promotions – is earning mandatory challenger status and getting the beltholders to face him.

In the meantime, I hope GBP keeps Ortiz as busy as possible and I hope Haye or the winner of Chagaev-Browne fights him by the end of 2016. I expect Parker to be a major player in the division by the start of 2017 – a year when many of the biggest and best matchups in boxing will be heavyweight fights.

SAD MONEY GRAB

Hi Dougie,

Like everyone, I was surprised & excited to hear of the news Canelo Alvarez & Amir Khan will match up on 7th May. Then reality kicked in. This match up will generate serious money. But then so would Floyd Mayweather V Sergey Kovalev. This is a money making exercise pure and simple, which made me wonder is that what Boxing has become?

Didn’t it use to be that great fights make money not great money makes fights? I think it’s a sad time in Boxing that we’ve reached a stage where a fight is graded purely on what kind of pay per view numbers it makes.

This fight, though it may capture the imagination, it’s going to damage the sport, when 1,000,000 plus ‘buys’ tune in to see a 2-minute massacre. Did the money grabbers think about the future of the sport and it’s reputation once this farce has concluded? – Mark

Oscar De La Hoya vs. Manny Pacquiao was called a farce by most of the sports media – some high-profile boxing writers even called it a tragedy waiting to happen, stating on record that the Filipino lightweight could die in the ring – but it turned out that the little guy deserved to share the ring the biggest draw in the sport. In fact, the bigger man was the fighter everyone should have been worried about.

We all have our opinion on what’s going to happen in that ring but we really don’t until they fight the fight. Is there considerable risk involved in this matchup and venture? You better f___ing believe it! Risk is the nature of boxing AND business. Khan could get blown out early, which would look bad on Golden Boy Promotions, HBO, the Nevada State Athletic Commission, the host venue and the entire sport. Or maybe Khan doesn’t get knocked out but doesn’t try to engage much, figuring that discretion – on in this case, a lot of lateral movement – is the better part of valor. Then he’d get ripped for punking out, Canelo would get crapped on for not being able to catch Khan, while GBP and HBO would get dissed for putting them in the ring and charging fans to watch an inept game of tag. There are all kinds of scenarios between these two extremes that could play out once the fighters step into the ring – and many of them could be detrimental to sport (such as Canelo not making the 155-pound catch weight or winning a controversial decision). There are only two scenarios that would satisfy everyone: Canelo winning a competitive and entertaining fight by KO or TKO (even if he wins a deserved decision, he’ll get pissed on for not stopping a welterweight) or Khan pulling the upset in entertaining fashion. There’s a lot of risk for everyone involved, but THAT’S PROFESSIONAL BOXING, especially at the highest level.

This is a money making exercise pure and simple, which made me wonder is that what Boxing has become? Is that what boxing has become? That’s what boxing has ALWAYS BEEN. This has never been a professional sport that rigidly adheres to a set of fair and reasonable rules. It’s called ‘prize fighting’ because it’s mostly about the money, safety is secondary. There’s a reason it was outlawed in many jurisdictions of the U.S at the turn of the last Century (up until the passage of New York’s Walker Law in 1920 – and even now it’s loosely regulated). But even before the 1900s, you had lighter-weight standouts looking at the heavier champs as their ticket to money, fame and glory; and promoters often correctly viewing these matchups as events that would attract mass interest from the sporting

Photo from THE RING archives

Photo from THE RING archives

public. Bob Fitzsimmons, who won the middleweight title in 1891, probably could have been the dominant champ at his weight during that decade, but it was better BUSINESS for him (his management and the promoters involved) to challenge popular heavyweight champ James J. Corbett. Fitzsimmons got his ass kicked while being outclassed by the bigger, younger, more skillful Corbett but he started going to the heavyweight champ’s body and landed the ultimate “money shot” in Round 14, paralyzing “Gentleman Jim” with a blow to the solar plexus.

The big gamble paid off for Fitzsimmons, but it often doesn’t for the little guy, no matter how talented. However, many have been immortalized for trying. Stanley Ketchell was a monster at middleweight but the Michigan Assassin didn’t belong in the ring with heavyweight champ Jack Johnson (and Johnson, who outweighed the middleweight champ by 35 pounds, let him know in brutal fashion when he tried to get fresh in Round 12). However, their heavyweight match was probably boxing’s biggest event in 1909. It’s STILL talked about to this day.

Kid Chocolate was THE RING’s top-rated featherweight in 1929. In 1930, the transplanted Cuban took on Jackie “Kid” Berg, a fellow future hall of famer who was recognized as the junior welterweight champ at the time. Was Kid Chocolate ranked above featherweight? No. Had he accomplished anything in the established divisions around Berg’s weight class – lightweight and welterweight? No. Kid Chocolate was just a badass featherweight, and more importantly he was very popular in his adopted hometown of New York City. Berg, a London native, was also popular in NYC. More than 40,000 watched Berg, 10 pounds heavier, hand Kid Choc his first pro loss at the Polo Grounds.

I can go on and on – former welterweight and middleweight champ Mickey Walker taking on former heavyweight champ Max Schmeling, Billy Conn challenging Joe Louis (weighing at least 25 pounds less than the Brown Bomber), Tony Zale stepping up to light heavyweight to face Conn (but weighing 10 pounds less), and so on. These men had names, they had fans, they had balls and either needed or wanted the money or were simply daring to be great. These matches made sense because they made dollars. It’s as simple as that.

This fight, though it may capture the imagination, it’s going to damage the sport, when 1,000,000 plus ‘buys’ tune in to see a 2-minute massacre. A two-minute massacre? Really? I think you’re seriously underestimating Khan and overestimating Canelo. The men I mentioned in the previous paragraph all lost to the bigger man, but each fighter is a legend in his own right and enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame. If Khan is merely competitive with Canelo, his stature in the sport will rise.

RIGHT CALL ON STRIPPING RIGO

Hi Dougie,

I believe The Ring made the right decision to strip Guillermo Rigondeaux of the magazine’s super bantamweight champion status.

I’ve always been down the middle with him but I’m starting to slide more towards the dislike (more like disappointed) in regards to the Cult of Rigo group.

I know he’s complained about the top guys in the division ducking him but I find it hard to believe that the fighters rated in the lower tier of your rankings of the division would avoid him also? I believe he’s outlived the accomplishment of beating Nonito Donaire and really has nothing to show for it in regards to quality wins since (except Joseph Agbeko).

With all that said, I’m still an admirer of his overall boxing talent and expertise but the talent and expertise don’t mean much if you’re not willing to challenge yourself against the best opposition. Sorry for the rant and thanks for what you contribute to us boxing fans with the mailbags. – Eli

Thanks for the kind words about the mailbag column and for sharing your thoughts on Rigondeaux. I don’t really consider what you had to say a “rant.”

You’re just keeping real. You admire the talented Cuban’s boxing skill and ring generalship but you’re not going to make excuses for him forever and you’re going to hold him accountable for his part in stalling his own career. There’s no doubt that the top dogs of the 122-pound division (we call it “junior featherweight,” by the way) were playing a game of keep away with Rigondeaux since he outclassed Donaire, however the two-time Olympic gold medalist could have done more to stay busy and could have tried harder to fight a higher caliber of opponent.

We’re not buying that Sod Kokietgym, Hisashi Amagasa and Drian Francisco were the best available competition (and the only times he could get in the ring) during a two-year span (2014 and 2015). I know Carl Frampton, Leo Santa Cruz and even my boy Scott Quigg were just paying lip service about wanting to fight Rigo during that span, but what about former titleholders Fernando Montiel, Cristian Mijares and Jhonatan Romero? What about a Vic Darchinyan’s crazy old ass? You can’t tell me Darch Vader was scared of Rigo in early 2014 (when the former flyweight and 115-pound boss was THE RING’s No. 4-rated junior featherweight contender). (Vic will step in there with Erislandy Lara right now!)

I don’t believe that James Dickens is the best available 122 pounder right now, but I’m rooting for Rigo to take care of business on March 12 because I want him to get a shot at the winner of Frampton-Quigg (if the UK lads are truly finally serious about facing the master southpaw). There’s a reason we made Rigo the No. 1 contender and didn’t put THE RING belt up for grabs on Feb. 27. We want to encourage the best to fight the best in every division.

Hopefully, somebody of note is willing to take on Rigo at 122 pounds this year (my personal dream opponent for the Cuban is current WBC bantamweight titleholder Shinsuke Yamanaka).

Rigos-Twitter-counter-punchIn the meantime, I gotta admit that I was tickled by Rigo’s social media counter-punch to the Editorial Board’s decision to strip him of THE RING belt:

They are taking my belts away behind close door deals since their fake champs are afraid to fight me for them.”

We’ll see, Rigo, we’ll see.

KHANELO WEIGHT PREDICTION

Love the Mailbag. Look forward every Friday and Monday. You have your finger on the pulse of boxing each week.

Canelo seems to be getting like sort of a “Diva” what with making up his own weight class rules, “my way or the highway” type of deal like Mayweather. I predict that Canelo, after making all the weight class rules, will not make weight for the Khan fight. Canelo (or DLH) will pay Khan some cash and Khan will be pressured into taking a fight he doesn’t want. Canelo will outweigh Khan by at least 30 lb. on fight night. Khan will do his best impression of Josesito Lopez and be KO’d by Round 5. Just too small to do any damage to the hulking redhead. DLH and just about everybody else will praise Canelo as just too good for Khan when, in reality, he was just too big. Canelo will be the over-whelming favorite but will insure the win by coming in overweight, ala Adrien Broner.

While I am making predictions, I will guarantee you that Canelo will never fight GGG as long as GGG remains undefeated. I know this sounds like I don’t like Canelo but I enjoy his fights when he fights someone his own size and in their prime. You can’t call yourself a Middleweight Champ and demand that all your fights are at a catch-weight below the MW limit. That’s insane, Diva-like stuff.

I remember listening to the Clay-Liston fight on the radio when I was a kid. Been a fight fan ever since. Thanks for all you do. – Joco from Texas

If Canelo faces Golovkin in Texas this year (or even next) I expect to read a heartfelt apology email from you to the Mexican redhead (that you insist I post in the mailbag) and I will demand that you buy a ticket to the event.

Is Canelo becoming a “diva”? Yeah, a little bit. It’s bound to happen when you’re a famous multi-millionaire by the age of 25 and everyone around you is constantly kissing the freckles on your pale ass. However, I don’t think he’s reached Mayweather or Cotto levels of diva just yet.

Don’t worry, if Canelo is really getting too big for his britches, Khan will give him a scare on May 7. I’m telling you now, Canelo cannot afford to overlook Khan or think that he’s going to win just because he’ll be heavier on fight night.

I predict that Canelo, after making all the weight class rules, will not make weight for the Khan fight. If the sports books in Las Vegas had a line on this happening, I’d bet a decent amount of cash on it happening. I’m not saying it will happen, but I am saying that sooner or later Canelo is going to hit wall while trying to make 155 pounds. In my humble opinion, he’s more middleweight than junior middleweight at this point in his career. I don’t think he had an easy time making 155 for Cotto. My hunch is that he’s gonna struggle to make it on May 6, so much so that if and when he faces GGG, he’ll think twice about demanding that showdown take place at “Caneloweight.”

Canelo will outweigh Khan by at least 30 lb. on fight night. Really? You think Canelo will weight THAT MUCH more than Khan? Really?!?! So if Khan weighs in at something like 152 and only rehydrates to 155 (which is possible), you think Canelo is going to blow up to 185 pounds!? If he actually does that do you think that will be a good thing? I don’t. I don’t think that much weight is going to help Canelo. I think anything over 170 pounds is just going to slow him down and make him less mobile. That’s not what he wants against a super-fast and very mobile opponent.

Khan will do his best impression of Josesito Lopez and be KO’d by Round 5. Just too small to do any damage to the hulking redhead. Dude, I like Josesito a lot. I go way back with him and was one of the few members of the media who gave him a shot at beating Victor Ortiz. Lopez has mad heart like Khan but he’s not in Khan’s league in terms of amateur class, natural talent, technique and professional accomplishments. Having said that, Khan is not as durable as Lopez, which is why he’d be a fool to even try to do damage to the “hulking redhead.” I think he learned his lesson in the Danny Garica, but if I’m wrong, I’m pretty sure his trainer Virgil Hunter will help him keep his pride and emotions in check.

MIKE TYSON’S SUPER BOWL COMMERCIAL

Doug,

I live in Northern Va. and Mike Tyson just appeared on a 10 second commercial for the Michael and Son a plumbing company. He was dressed in the Michael and Son outfit with his gloves on and reading his ten second script. While it was hilarious I did feel bad for the once baddest man on the planet. – Joseph, Woodbridge, Va.

Yo man, don’t feel bad for Tyson. At least you still see him on TV. At least there are still people out there who want to pay him (probably very good money) just to read a 10-second commercial spot during the most watched TV event of the year. At least you care enough to send me an email about Tyson after seeing him in a local commercial that ran during the Super Bowl.

Think about all of the former boxers – including hall of famers and world champions – that everyone has forgotten about. Think about all the former fighters who would give their right arm to be paid a fraction of what Tyson was paid for that spot, who would give their left arm just to be recognized, just to be remembered.

Hey, Muhammad Ali was my ultimate childhood hero. He was larger than life in the 1970s and the sole reason that I was attracted to boxing. Not long after his first retirement (following the Leon Spinks rematch), I remember seeing him in commercials (a little overweight, and slurring his words a bit), hawking roach spray/traps and hash browns.

Maybe it was because I was still a kid (10 or 11 years old), but I was just happy to see him on TV again and hear his voice. My brothers and I had fun imitating some of his lines from the commercials, “I told you, I don’t want you livin’ with roaches,” and “Hash browns! I NEED hash browns!”

(We used to recite these commercial lines during little audio tape skits where we would pit Ali against other stars of the ’70s, such as John Belushi in his SNL samurai character or Redd Foxx in his Fred Sanford character, in ridiculous fantasy matchups. Good times, man. Good times. It’s been more than 10 years since I’ve been back to the old house in Springfield, Missouri, but if I ever make the trip I’m gonna look for some of those old tapes. If I find them, I promise to make a digital file for mailbag readers to listen to. It might be a little embarrassing, but I think it will be good to let younger readers see the kind of impact Ali had on kids.)

 

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

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