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Dougie’s Monday mailbag

Fighters Network
15
Feb
Frampton (l) and Quigg go head-to-head. Photo: Mark Robinson

Frampton (l) and Quigg go head-to-head. Photo: Mark Robinson

SUPER BANTIE SUPER FIGHT

Hey Dougie,
Love the mailbag, keep up the good work, respect to you for following boxing outside of USA. Scott Quigg v Carl Frampton is around the corner and I’m super excited to get down to Manchester Arena, always a great atmosphere on fight night, can grab a beer before.

Can see Quigg winning in 6 IF he doesn’t get too carried away by the occasion. Always had the technique but lacked the power which he seems to have found recently. Shame he’s not got a bigger following, trains hard and (usually) keeps busy. What’s your fight prediction?

Super excited for Amir Khan, can see him winning on points. Canelo will come in too big thinking size will win and Khan will dance around him and hopefully stay patient and composed like he has done in his last couple of fights. Regardless of what happens big respect (to Khan) for taking the fight.



My apologies for the long email, keep up the good work. PS would LOVE to see Joshua v Parker in 2017. – Chris, Manchester, UK

I think Joshua-Parker, the battle of boxing’s most explosive heavyweight up-and-comers, can happen next year but first thing’s first – AJ has to defeat Charles Martin for the IBF belt. If Joshua does that (and I expect him to) most of the talk will be about him facing the winner of the Fury-Klitschko rematch or David Haye, however, before those mega-matches could be worked out I imagine “Black Colossus” would have time for a high-profile voluntary title defense against Parker (currently the IBF’s No. 6 contender).

If Joshua-Parker I guarantee that it will deliver action and drama.

I can’t guarantee that Canelo-Khan will deliver (there are just too many variables in that matchup), but my hunch is that it will be entertaining. The stakes are too high for Canelo to half-ass it and Khan just can’t help himself; he’s going to go for it.

I don’t have to tell you that Quigg-Frampton will deliver. There’s a chance that I’ll get the opportunity to see the fight live if I wind up traveling with Golden Boy’s digital team on the Canelo-Khan press tour that might kick off in London the weekend of the big junior featherweight showdown. If I do find myself in your neck of the woods, I’ll announce it in the mailbag and on my Twitter account. If I can’t get inside the Manchester Arena you better believe that I’ll find a pub in the area to watch the fight (where I’ll be free to openly cheer for Quigg – can’t do that on press row).

I’m guessing you’re a Quigg fan too. While I wouldn’t be completely shocked if he got rid of Frampton by the middle rounds, I don’t see that happening. In fact, I think Frampton will be in command in the early rounds by utilizing a very sharp stick-and-move game. I believe Quigg (who may be a step behind Frampton in terms of reflexes and technique) will begin to time and catch the IBF titleholder in the middle rounds and from there apply gradual pressure (backed by a strong body attack) that helps him take over the fight by the late rounds. I think Quigg will win a close (perhaps controversial in the view of loyal Frampton supporters) decision.

 

KHANELO COMPARISONS

I’m so sick of the Khanelo comparisons to Pacquiao v De la Hoya. It’s totally false! ODLH had to come down to 147, a weight he hadn’t made in 7 yrs; he had campaigned as high middleweight, I’m sure you know. On top of that there was a hydration clause in the contract. He was a deadman walking in that fight and needed an IV before the contest. Roach said he could see the needle marks. Canelo on the other hand will pull a welterweight with absolutely NO accomplishments at 147 up to his personal 155 division to compete for the lineal and WBC middleweight/160 titles??

A more revealing comparison for me is boxing ‘media’ vs the Christine Brennans, Schefters, Mortensons, Kirkjians, Olneys, Leglers, journalists/reporters that hold their sports accountable. Boxing is completely devoid of credibility and ethics, and it starts with the bulls__t boxing media peddles/promotes to fans. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, in one form or another you all work for the perpetrators of these hoaxes. – Tony

Calm the f__k down, Tony.

I know all about the De La Hoya-Pacquiao fight. I covered it (and didn’t think it was an outrageous mismatch, which probably made me Golden Boy/Top Rank shill in your narrow view).

If you’re reacting to my bringing up the fight in my response to the “SAD MONEY GRAB” email in the Friday Mailbag (Feb. 12), please go back and read it again.

I didn’t bring up De La Hoya-Pacquiao to compare the style matchup or perceived size disparity with Canelo-Khan. My point was that De La Hoya-Pacquiao was ripped by much of the sports media, including many major boxing writers. That’s it. I didn’t say that Khan is like Pacquiao or that Canelo is like De La Hoya. I didn’t say that the media was wrong for calling De La Hoya-Pacquiao a farce. I only pointed out that most of the media was wrong about the outcome of the fight.

If you’re reacting – overreacting in my view – to what other boxing writers, members of the sports media, bloggers/vloggers, or even glorified nut-huggers on social media are saying about #Khanelo you need to let them have their opinion. If you disagree with it, fine. Feel free to say so, but don’t climb up on your high horse and accuse people of working for the promoters or lacking ethics/credibility.

If you do this, you deserve the backlash from folks like me who tell you shut the f__k up.

Boxing is completely devoid of credibility and ethics, and it starts with the bulls__t boxing media peddles/promotes to fans. This sport definitely has issues with its credibility and ethics – I said as much in my response “SAD MONEY GRAB” – but it does not start with the so-called “bulls__t” boxing media. Boxing has much bigger problems than members of the media that you deem shills.

Here’s the bottom line, Tony: You don’t have to read anything on this website (or any other boxing publication) and nobody is going to force you to pay for or to watch Canelo-Khan. Your opinion of the fight is no better or clearer to the “truth” than anyone else’s.

Canelo on the other hand will pull a welterweight with absolutely NO accomplishments at 147 up to his personal 155 division to compete for the lineal and WBC middleweight/160 titles? You’re exaggerating (some would say you’re straight-up lying) to make your point by claiming Khan has “absolutely no accomplishments” at welterweight. He blanked both Devon Alexander and Luis Collazo – two former welterweight titleholders who were world-ranked at the time – at the 147-pound limit. Khan is currently THE RING’s No. 3-rated welterweight. He’s the No. 4-rated welterweight in the Transnational Boxing Rankings and he’s No. 6 in ESPN.com’s 147-pound top 10. And Canelo’s “personal” division limit of 155 pounds may not serve him in this fight. As I’ve said repeatedly, sooner or later Canelo is going to hit the wall trying to boil his thick frame down close to the junior middleweight limit. Don’t act surprised if it happens on May 6.

 

COULDA-BEENS AND DISAPPOINTMENTS

Doug:

There was a letter in Monday’s mailbag that mentioned Jermain Taylor and Kelly Pavlik. It got me thinking about a number of recent fighters that either didn’t manage to fight long enough to get a real shot at being remembered as great (Valero, Ike Ibeabuchi), and guys like Taylor/Pavlik who seemed to be poised for longer careers, but burned out early. There were some (Mark Breland comes to mind) that didn’t match our expectations just because our measure of success was so high for them as prospects.

Just curious who your pick of the biggest “woulda/coulda/shouda” and-or “the career never got a chance to play out in the ring” fighters over the last 20 years. – MT from the OC

Valero is the guy who immediately comes to my mind. I had no doubt that he would develop into a super star and forge the kind of career that invokes the word “legend” from hardcore fans. He had the elite-level talent, the work ethic and the balls to be great, or at least close to it. However, the New York medical suspension and his own stubbornness (in terms of his managerial/training situation) hampered his early career development, and as you well know, mental illness/spiritual sickness eventually brought his career and his life (and his wife’s life) to a tragic, ugly end. (The fact that Valero won major belts in two weight classes says something about his drive and talent.)

Francisco Bojado is on my list. He wasn’t crazy dedicated the way Valero was but he had God-given gifts in the ring that couldn’t be taught. Something was missing, mentally speaking. Maybe it was discipline, maybe it was confidence, but there was a missing piece to Bojado. If he had it, he could have been at the very least been a major titleholder and made a lot of money (I’m talking millions).

Jorge Linares and Ismayl Sillakh were untouchable in the gym. They had breathtaking skill, technique and confidence with headgear and big gloves on. But take the headgear off and put the small gloves on under the bright lights of a real prize fight and they became all too human due to shaky whiskers (and very tender skin in the case of Linares). Linares, who was developed and managed very well, still won major belts in three weight classes, which is nothing to scoff at, but many boxing insiders (myself included) thought he would be a pound-for-pound level fighter. I thought Sillakh, who had an extensive amateur career and obvious physical tools, would win a world title at 175 pounds before his 20th pro bout. The tall, rangy boxer-puncher could have been managed and promoted better (Ivaylo Gotzev and Roy Jones Jr. was not the right choice for him), but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter who’s moving your career if you can’t catch a little bit.

I thought two 1996 Olympians that I covered early in my career would accomplish a lot more than they did: gold medalist David Reid and fan-favorite Fernando Vargas. Both amateur standouts won junior middleweights titles within two years of turning pro (Reid won the WBA belt in his 12th pro bout; Vargas won the IBF strap in his 15th pro bout – the youngest boxer to win a major 154-pound title until Canelo broke his record in 2011). They had mad talent but you know what happened. They were both moved too fast (especially Reid) and both got in the ring with Felix Trinidad before they were ready for the Puerto Rican icon. In short, they got “Tito’d,” and you didn’t recover from that brutal experience when you fought Trinidad in the year 2000. Reid, who probably remained an amateur too long, was washed up with only 19 pro bouts. His droopy eye-lid condition and the number of amateur bouts he had contributed to his quick pro burnout. Vargas, who was masterfully developed, managed and promoted by Main Events, Shelly Finkel and Rolando Arellano, was young enough to bounce back a little bit. He won another major title and made very good money in big fights against De La Hoya, Shane Mosley and Ricardo Mayorga – all of which he lost. I thought he was going to beat Trinidad and De La Hoya and go on to be the first Mexican-American middleweight champ.

You brought up Pavlik and Taylor. Pavlik, who took a long time to develop into a contender, had style limitations (i.e. trouble with boxers/movers) but his lifestyle and alcohol abuse is what shortened his prime. Taylor was held back by a number of factors, key among them is the fact that he never loved boxing. He did it because he was good at it and knew he could make a good living doing it. But he wasn’t going to train hard of he didn’t have a fight scheduled. The other key factor is that he wasn’t ready for Bernard Hopkins when they fought. He “won” those fights but they took a psychological toll that was evident in his struggles with Winky Wright and even Cory Spinks. He lost a degree of confidence after earning those two controversial nods over B-Hop. And finally, Taylor was “Haymonized.” Once he got the middleweight belts, he only fought twice a year, on HBO (for a lot of dough, of course), which ultimately stunted his progression. It wouldn’t have been so detrimental to his development if he had better matchmaking post-Hopkins and if he was the type of fighter to stay in the gym year-round, but he wasn’t, so he often blew up in weight and had to kill himself in camp to make 160 pounds (which hurt his chin and stamina during his fights). It’s too bad because Taylor was a terrific athlete with a very good amateur background and a lot of heart, just like Andre Berto (another “Haymonized” fighter). I can see the same thing happening to Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman right now.

 

ZAB JUDAH

First time writing in. I wanted to tell you I love your mailbags and have read them for a long while. I wanted to ask you why you think Zab Judah never lived up to his potential? I used to watch him and just be amazed (and sometimes very frustrated).

I also wanted to share my thoughts on poor old Roy Jones when will he quit already? That’s all I have for now, thank you for great articles and boxing insight. – Scotty

Thank you for the very kind words, Scotty.

Jones is too proud to quit when everyone is TELLING him to do so. I think we all just need to back up off him and allow him the dignity of closing out his hall-of-fame career on his terms.

I forgot to mention Judah in the previous email response. He had elite-level (perhaps even hall-of-fame-level) talent and ability, and the unyielding confidence to take on all comers. However, despite winning five major titles in two divisions (including recognition as the undisputed welterweight champ), he fell short of the boxing public’s expectations.

I think there are three reasons for this:

1.) He was overrated from the get-go. Judah turned pro with the kind of fanfare usually reserved for Olympic medalists despite the fact that he failed to make the 1996 U.S. Olympic team (he got punked by Chicago’s David Diaz in the U.S. Trials). Being from Brooklyn (with three New York City Golden Gloves titles to his credit), and possessing an explosive boxer-puncher style and cocky attitude, he had the New York media machine firmly behind him. Within two years of his pro career, Judah had loud and proud cheerleaders in the media who claimed he was pound-for-pound worthy and a future superstar (ESPN’s bombastic young boxing pundit Max Kellerman was driving the bandwagon, but even my good pal Steve Kim, who had his own boxing radio show in the late ’90s, was drinking the Judah Kool-Aid). Thing is, Zab didn’t face a real badass until he stepped into the ring with Kostya Tszyu (and I shouldn’t have to tell you who I thought would win that showdown for all the major 140-pound belts). Cue the chicken-dance, homie!

2.) Judah was developed well by Main Events during his prospect years, but when boxing guru Lou Duva left the company in an acrimonious split the young New Yorker’s corner and camps lost an invaluable source of experience and expertise. Judah’s father Yoel did the best he could, taking over reigns in 2000, but I think he lost a level of technique and focus during his fights. That’s just my humble opinion. I can’t imagine how good Judah could have been had he come around five-to-10 years earlier when Main Events still had George Benton as the house/head trainer for the company’s stable. He probably would have lived up to his early career hype.

3.) Judah (and his brothers) liked to party back in the day. I’ve leave it at that.

 

FOOTWORK

Hi Doug!

I have been an enthusiastic reader of the mailbag for a few years now and love your insights. I’m always happy to read your analyses and most of the time I’m left thinking… “Oh yeahÔǪ.I missed that…” It feeds my boxing education to no end! So thanks for that! I live out in the Middle East (Abu Dhabi) where the emphasis is mostly on Muay Thai, Kickboxing and BJJ, so finding a gym that caters exclusively to boxing is nigh on impossible and so I find myself studying video online rather than fully trusting the Boxing/Muay Thai/Kickboxing hybrid knowledge of the trainers out here.

Onto my Points and Questions… My two favorite fighters at the moment are Gennady Golovkin and Vasyl Lomachenko and both for the same reason with different resultsÔǪThe footwork! I find Golovkin’s distance control and ring cutting ability to be amazing, coupled with the pile driver jab, it makes me wonder can anyone will beat him? He moves his foes around with his feet and his jab better than anyone in the modern era (in my humble opinion). I think It would take a real Mover/Boxer/Puncher to pull it off and who is there right now with those three attributes in their arsenal? As we have seen, without all three nobody puts a dent in himÔǪMonroe Jr. (Mover/Boxer), Stevens (Boxer/Puncher), Lemieux (Puncher)

Lomachenko, because at some points he almost has his opponents doing a 360 degree turn before they have him back in sight! The angles he creates are something to behold!

So my question is thisCan you give me your top 5 fighters from the history books who did what Lomachenko and Golovkin do Footwork/Style wise so I can get on with my education!? Thanks Doug! РChris, A Scotsman in the Gulf!

Thanks for the kinds words and for sharing your thoughts, Chris.

Here’s fighters hall of famers with GGG’s ring-cutting/distance-closing ability that you should check out: Julio Cesar Chavez (Senior, of course), Roberto Duran (who doesn’t get enough credit for his brilliant footwork), Mike Tyson (the prime champion version of Iron Mike from 1987-1988), Rocky Marciano (although “The Rock” was flat-footed and plodding he always advanced in a manner that put him within punching distance of all of his opponents), and, of course, Joe Frazier (although volume punching and upper-body movement was as much a factor in his effectiveness as his pressure-footwork).

Here’s five hall of famers (or future HOFers) with Lomachenko’s deft, nimble and baffling footwork that you should examine: Manny Pacquiao (2008-2010 version), Salvador Sanchez, Nino Benvenuti (a very, very underrated former middleweight champ), the P4P G.O.A.T. Sugar Ray Robinson, and of course, “The Greatest” Muhammad Ali (1965-1967).

 

UNDISPUTED

Hi Doug

I don’t understand why the mailbaggers and you talk about an undisputed heavyweight champion potentially being crowned in 2017. No one disputed Wlad Klitschko being the heavyweight champion. No one disputed that TysonFury beat him. Why on earth isn’t Fury then recognised by you as the undisputed heavyweight champion? Seems quite simple to me.

Keep up the good work. Best. – Ulrik

Good question/point, Ulrik. There’s no debating that Fury is the real heavyweight champ. He’s the linear champ and he’s recognized by THE RING magazine as the champion of the heavyweight division. I consider his claim to the “biggest prize in sports” to be undisputed.

However, I also recognize that some fans won’t consider a fighter to be the “undisputed champion” in his weight class until he holds all of the major belts. Klitschko never held the WBC title, so Fury didn’t win that belt when he upset the long-reigning Ukrainian last November. And, as you know, he was stripped of the IBF title.

Nobody considers Deontay Wilder or Charles Martin to be the true heavyweight champs, so you can certainly refer to Fury’s championship status as “undisputed,” but some fans won’t be satisfied until one man holds all of the major titles (WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO). I guess the term that those (admittedly geeky hardcore) fans should use when expressing their wishes for one true heavyweight champ is “unified,” instead of “undisputed.”

 

MIKE TYSON’S SUPER BOWL COMMERCIAL

Hi Dougie,

Per usual I love the work you do with the mailbag. And sometimes you are a pure comedian/writer in your reply to the fanatics! I just wanted to forward you an aside to the “Mike Tyson’s Super Bowl Commercial” write-in from Joseph in Woodbridge, VA.

Joseph may have missed the next day local news story that the young boxer “actor” that took the “KO” in the commercial was Mike Tyson’s son. The news story stated that Mike’s ex-wife (who still lives in the DMV area) and their son were responsible for him appearing in the commercial. Thus, it may not have been such a sad situation after all.

Sincerely. – DC StretchOnyx

Thanks for the kind words and for adding some context to Joseph’s email about Tyson’s local Super Bowl commercial. I understand where he was coming from with his emotional response to seeing his former ring idol doing a corny commercial but I think his pity was misplaced. Tyson’s doing alright. Actually, he’s doing better than alright. A lot of fans and boxing pundits didn’t think he’d be live past 40.

Anyway, I was stoked to share a childhood story (and some Youtube clips) about my ring idol doing corny commercials in his retirement in a mailbag, so I’m glad Joseph submitted that particular email.

 

 

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

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