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Dougie’s late-edition Friday mailbag

26
Feb

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FRAMPTON VS. QUIGG IS HERE!

Hey Dougie,

I am starting to get genuinely excited for the super fight between Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg now. I think this is a really close fight between two top fighters. I do think that, especially after their respective last fights, that Quigg will win however. I can see him catching Frampton at some point, while I also think it likely that Quigg will receive a better reception from the crowd than Frampton anticipates. This may unnerve him slightly, as he seems so confident that he will have the lion’s share of the support. Now that the fight is just around the corner, how do you see it going?

Also worth keeping an eye out for Charlie Edwards on the undercard, a highly rated young British flyweight. Best wishes. – Rob, Weymouth, England

Thanks Rob. I plan to be at Manchester Arena for Quigg-Frampton, so I’ll look for Edwards on the undercard.

As for Quigg-Frampton, I think it’s the best main event of very busy Saturday. Terence Crawford-Hank Lundy, Leo Santa Cruz-Kiko Martinez and Ola Afolabi-Marco Huck IV all promise to be entertaining fights, but Quigg-Frampton looks to be the most even matchup on paper and will no doubt have the most intense and electric atmosphere of any main event on Saturday.

I’ve favored Quigg (just slightly) in this anticipated matchup ever since the two UK junior featherweights started calling each other out, and I’m sticking to my guns. I think he’ll gut out a close but unanimous decision in an excellent fight. (I’m on record with this prediction in more than one place, so I’m not about to back off of it now.)

Obviously, with the fight being in Manchester, Quigg should have the majority of the crowd on his side, but I think Frampton has his share of fans in England and will have a significant contingent from the Belfast area to cheer him on. I’m pretty sure Frampton will be able to hear his fans.

I’m also fairly certain that both unbeaten beltholders will not become “unnerved” by the amped crowd or the magnitude and the high stakes of the event. Both men are experienced, in their athletic primes and near the peaks of their pro careers. I expect Quigg and Frampton to enter the ring with supreme confidence and determination. May the best man on the night win.

 

MANNY CLOWNIAO

Hey Doug,

I think if you have just called Manny a ‘clown’ or something along that line for what he said, it would have satisfied a lot of readers. That probably would have done it. Or maybe not… I don’t know. Peace. – Steve in NYC

Man, that Manny Pacquiao, he’s such a clown.

Too late? Oh well

RISE OF THE BRITISH TRAINERS

Hey Dougie,

Was reading an interview with Shane McGuigan recently where he said that British trainers are arguably the best in the world right now. As a Brit myself, I’m biased and inclined to agree with him, particularly based on the numerous current British World title holders (Fury, Quigg, Frampton, DeGale) and the amount of high profile fighters (Groves, Haye, Joshua). But would you say this was purely down to the talent of the fighters or have British coaches really stepped up their game and are moving ahead of everyone else right now?

I also find it strange that the top trainers stables from the States seem to be fading e.g. Robert Garcia and Freddie Roach to an extent. Do you envisage top American talent ever relocating to the UK to train with the likes of McGuigan, Joe Gallagher, Jimmy Tibbs et al? The only American that springs to mind recently is Eddie Chambers and the weird situation he has with the Furys!

Also, who do you think is the best trainer right now?

Fantasy Fights

Carl Frampton vs Wilfredo Gomez

James DeGale vs Carl Froch @ 168

Amir Khan vs Ricky Hatton @ 140

Loving the mailbag and looking forward to seeing your analysis of Frampton-Quigg. (I predict Frampton by clear but competitive Pts win with either/both getting dropped in a nervy first round.) – Brinsley (St Albans, UK)

Thanks for the kind words and for sharing your thoughts, Brinsley. I don’t see either fighter being nervy in the opening round – careful, maybe – but not tight or “nervy.” I’ll probably be nervy. I do tend to get butterflies just before high-profile anticipated showdowns.

I can see Frampton outpointing Quigg. He’s the one with the extensive amateur background. He seems to be gifted with faster hands and feet, and he has a more fluid boxing style. I expect Frampton to take the early rounds. He’ll be sharp, elusive and accurate. However, Quigg has underrated versatility and ring generalship. He may not be as polished as Frampton but he’s smart. He can adapt and he knows how to set traps. I think it will take some rounds for him to figure out Frampton but he’ll start putting hands on the IBF titleholder in the middle rounds and a “proper fight” (as they say on this side of the Pond) will break out once that happens. My gut tells me that Quigg, the guy with the better body attack in my opinion, is the more rugged/durable of the two and that he will be stronger down the stretch, but I could be wrong. Frampton, who also knows how to go to the body, could prove to be the gutsier of the two. We’ll see.

Regarding British trainers, I definitely think there are many world-class coaches guiding a lot of world-class or near-world/European-class talent in the UK right now. I don’t think they’ve surpassed any one country but I believe the likes of Gallagher (THE RING’s Trainer of the Year for 2015), McGuigan (who at 26 or 27 probably has several such awards in his future), Adam Booth, Tibbs, Fury and the other standout British coaches are on par with the best and most notable trainers of the other regions of the world that are rich with pro-boxing tradition (the U.S., Mexico, Puerto Rico, Japan, Germany, Canada, South Africa, various parts of Central and South America, etc.)

Regarding Roach and Garcia, both former multiple Trainer of the Year winners are just going through a lean period in their respective careers. Roach, given his age and condition, is probably winding down toward retirement (or semi-retirement). But he’s not finished yet. Yeah, his two star fighters (Pacquiao and Cotto) lost last year, but don’t forget that he helped rebuild the the aging veterans to the point that they could take part in the two biggest boxing events of 2015. Freddie also trained Viktor Postol for the Ukrainian technician’s WBC 140-pound title winning TKO of Lucas Matthysse. And Roach is guiding young 140/47-pound prospect Frankie Gomez. Garcia lost Bam Bam Rios but he picked up another high-profile client (and possibly another headache) in Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. I believe Abner Mares has also joined Garcia’s team. However, the former 130-pound titleholder is mostly in a rebuilding phase of his career. Garcia is coaching a number of young former amateur standouts, including Hector Tanajara Jr., Jonathan Navarro and Joshua Franco (young men you may be aware of if you watch the LA Fight Club series that is streamed live on RingTVLive.com and other online platforms). It won’t be long before you start hearing Garcia mentioned as a Trainer of the Year candidate again.

By the way, keep your eye out for Manny Robles, a young Southern California-based coach who trains fighters out of The Rock gym in Carson, Calif. He’s got a talented young stable of fighters, some of whom (like RING-rated light heavyweight Vyacheslav Shabranskyy) are ready to make moves this year, and others (such as Irish middleweight prospect Jason Quigley) who will be ready to step up in 2017.

Regarding my pick as the best trainer right now, the truth is that I don’t believe there ever is one top trainer in the sport. You always have a group of elite-level trainers who specialize in certain aspects of training/strategy/boxing philosophy.

Your mythical matchups:

Carl Frampton vs Wilfredo Gomez – Gomez by mid-round TKO

James DeGale vs Carl Froch @ 168 – Froch by close, perhaps majority, perhaps controversial, decision

Amir Khan vs Ricky Hatton @ 140 – Hatton by come-from-behind late stoppage

QUIGG AND CRAWFORD-LUNDY

Hey Dougie,

Like most hardcore fans, I’m stoked for the Quigg vs Frampton match. I agree with your analysis of the fight favoring Scott Quigg; his commitment to brutalizing the body is really impressive and I think it’s the key to defeating a guy like Frampton. In his last fight against Gonzalez, Frampton got off to a late start and if as Teddy Atlas says Quigg can “put some water in the basement” early, I don’t think Frampton will have the legs to employ his effective stick-and-move style. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Quigg wears him down to a late stoppage. Should be a great fight regardless of the outcome!

By the way, do you think Terence Crawford will stop Hank Lundy? The little Lund is one tough durable SOB but I think he might be digging his own grave with all his trash talking. Crawford’s got that look in his eye…he may be a technician but he’s also got a mean streak. Is this wise of Hank Lundy to poke the bear? – Jack

I don’t know how wise it is to talk s__t to Crawford, but I know it’s just Lundy being Lundy. He’d talk s__t to the Grim Reaper. It’s what he does. It’s who he is. But he’s also a natural-born fighter. The Philly native has faced every style imaginable, and though he doesn’t always win, nobody can say they had an easy time with him.

I don’t think Crawford will have an easy time with him, either (especially if he didn’t have an easy time making weight), but I do favor the Omaha native to remain unbeaten. However, I think they will go tit for tat in the first half of the fight and fans will be entertained by the contest of smart and athletically gifted switch-hitters.

Lundy is used to being the underdog, so I don’t think he’ll be intimidated at all and I expect him to start fast. I think he’ll trouble Crawford with his hand speed and lateral movement. It will take some rounds for Crawford to time him and walk him down. Once Crawford hurts Lundy, he’ll step up his pressure and aggression, and he just might decide to punish the mouthy challenger for the pre-fight disrespect. I’m thinking Crawford, who sometimes rehydrates as heavy as 157 pounds, will overwhelm Lundy along the ropes in the late rounds.

Regarding Quigg-Frampton, I wouldn’t be surprised if Quigg stopped his rival in the late rounds. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Frampton stopped Quigg late. It that’s kind of fight.

 

HIS QUIGGNESS

Hey Dougie,

How’re we all feeling the big fight? I tried being all logical and s__t, but I couldn’t decide on a pick. So I put on Van Halen’s Mean Street and just happened upon an article on the Quiggster’s past – and now I’m a fan, man! I just loved his story and people’s takes on how intense he is about winning. And it was meshing with the song. So now I know, Dougie. This not gonna be a “toss-up fight”! His Quiggness will end this in 4.

And here’s my biased rationalization: Frampton’s got sweet skills, but so does Quigg and I don’t see the significant gap that people bring up technique-wise. Quigg’s bigger, has a better punch and most importantly, didn’t fall over twice when Cobrita Jr coughed in his direction (OK, maybe that’s a slight hyperbole). I just can’t unsee the bell about to go to end Round 2 and Quigg’s fist crashing into Frampton’s chin a la Hearns-Cuevas! Yeah, I know it’s a ridiculous comparison; I came up with this pick based off a song and a warm feeling for Christ’s sake! Anyway…am I nuts?

Do you think the matchmakers are scratching their heads trying to push Bud Crawford to the next level? No disrespect intended, but Bud’s a beast and he’s gonna toy with Hank Lundy. I’ll definitely watch the fight because I’m bored with being cynical and I wanna see Crawford’s mad skills. But Mauricio Herrera, Viktor Postol, Adrien Broner, Ruslan Provodnikov, hell, even the Machine would’ve been a better step up in skill and fame. Is he being dodged or what?

Finally, am I crazy for thinking that someone should have noticed what Alejandro Gonzalez Jr. did months ago against Frampton and scooped him up as a project? Or is that not how boxing works? Or am I just living with my head up my ass because someone’s already taking him seriously? And no, Uncle Al don’t count. S__t, he’s having enough trouble watching his biggest fight go all humpty dumpty on him because of “whiplash”.

All the best to you and yours. And I hope you know you’ve got the best boxing column/mailbag out there, man. Just suggesting that people read it has already made like six people I know hardcore fans. Major props. Oh and keep slapping down those haters – your one-liners are f__king hilarious. Peace. – Abs, Cape Town

Thank you for the very kind words about the mailbag column, for referring it to your friends, and for sharing your thoughts, Abs. Fans like you are the reason I put the mailbag out twice a week (sorry for being late with today’s column – I wasn’t able to complete it on my overnight plane ride over to London and was too jet lagged to knock it out once I was settled in my hotel).

Are you nuts for predicting Quigg to stop Frampton in four rounds “based off a song and a warm feeling”? Not in my world, brotha!

That’s the way it should be if you’re a real fan (of boxing and music that rocks). I think hardcore fans tend to over-analyze these days. They’re too being too cerebral and worrying about being wrong. Good Lord! Where’s the fun in that?

Relax, folks! This ain’t your job. You don’t have a record or rep to protect. Enjoy the fights and ride or die with your fighter. Pick with your hearts!

You know what, Abs? I kind of hope Quigg walks out Mean Streets tomorrow night.

But Mauricio Herrera, Viktor Postol, Adrien Broner, Ruslan Provodnikov, hell, even the Machine would’ve been a better step up in skill and fame. Is he being dodged or what? Crawford’s being dodged to an extent, but I also think timing was an issue with Saturday’s date at Madison Square Garden’s Theater. From what I’ve been told Herrera and Postol weren’t ready to go by late February. Broner belongs to boxing league that may or may not be ready to do business with Bob Arum and HBO. Matthysse is coming off a stoppage loss (to Postol) and Provodnikov is just one bout removed from a grueling 12-round battle with the Machine (and he’s getting used to a new trainer, Joel Diaz). Dealing with the ring generalship and switch-hitting precision power that “Bud” brings to the ring takes serious preparation. Lundy is the only guy crazy enough to take on Crawford on short notice and for short money. Bless him. If Crawford beats Lundy, I think Top Rank will push to make a major “break-out” type fight for Bud – either the Bradley-Pacquiao winner or perhaps Juan Manuel Marquez (if Arum is to be believed).

Finally, am I crazy for thinking that someone should have noticed what Alejandro Gonzalez Jr. did months ago against Frampton and scooped him up as a project? Or is that not how boxing works? That’s how boxing should work, but Gonzalez gave up the management team that guided him as a prospect when he signed with Haymon. His father, former WBC featherweight champ Alejandro Gonzalez Sr., guides him now but as you know father-son duos rarely work out in boxing – especially when the old man was a standout fighter himself. (Think Joe and Marvis Frazier – Senior is often going to match Junior up as boldly as he would have had it during his fighting days.)

BOXING BURNOUT

Easy Doug,

I’ve recently decided to cut down on the hours and hours of boxing podcasts I listen to every week as generally I’m a boxing optimist but the negativity is starting to get to me man….

Social media has a massive impact on most of our lives and because of this a fighter can’t pass wind without the passing of gas having its own Twitter account with numerous so called experts analysing it in detail!

Granted 2014 and 2015 were absolute stinkers but were they 2 of the worst years you can remember?

We all used to watch a lot less boxing at one time especially in the UK where we rarely had the opportunity to see the majority of the fights happening stateside. There’s definitely some boxing fatigue going on but there seems to be a culture of actually wanting to hate….

I’m starting to think that freedom of speech isn’t a good idea where boxing is concerned…

I’m super hyped for the Quigg v Frampton fight! Can’t wait to see the action unfold live! Big up to my boy Ben.

Keep the faith, man, one day we will get another Barrera-Morrales! Who knows it might even be Saturday night!

Mythical matchups:

Gerald McClellan v GGG

Larry Holmes v Lennox Lewis

Barrera v Quigg v Frampton winner

James Bond v Batman

Peace. – The Boxing optimist (Ryan UK)

Thanks for being an optimist, Ryan. There’s definitely a lot of boxing fatigue going on among hardcore fans worldwide. I’ve been feeling it myself (2015 was ridiculous with the formation of the PBC, the MayPac mega-dud, and GBP/Top Rank/Main Events/HBO redoubling their efforts in order to survive the “Haymonopoly”). It’s only natural for diehards to become jaded when there is an over-saturation of boxing on TV and other platforms but not the fight that they want to see.

But there comes a point when there’s an oversaturation of cynicism and hyper-criticism. Thanks to social media we’re beyond that point. And, to be quite Frank, I’m through trying to talk Negative Nellies off the ledge.

Folks, if you’re burnt out on boxing or just tired of the endless politicking and bulls__t TAKE A BREAK. There are other forms of entertainment out there. Pay attention to boxing when it delivers what you want to see. Just don’t piss on the parades of fans who are excited about watching what is currently on the menu – such as Saturday night’s Quigg-Frampton showdown.

I’m not saying fans don’t have the right or reason to be jaded. They do. The boxing business is f__ked up, and it continually gets in the way of the sport operating in any sort of organized or rational fashion. There’s no debating that. However, if a fan is so jaded that he literally hates everything he sees or reads about boxing, maybe he or she isn’t a fan anymore.

I don’t think I’m that jaded. You know how I know? I’m giddy as a school girl about being able to witness Quigg-Frampton live and I actually there’s a good chance it could be another “Barrera-Morales.”

Your mythical matchups:

Gerald McClellan v GGG – Golovkin by late TKO

Larry Holmes v Lennox Lewis – Holmes by decision or late TKO

Barrera v Quigg v Frampton winner – Barrera by late TKO

James Bond v Batman – Draw (normally, I’d pick Bats but since I’m on this side of the Pond I’ve got to be a little biased for the Englishman)

 

IS PAUL WILLIAMS HALL OF FAME WORTHY?

Hi Doug,

I am hoping you could settle a bet for us. My buddy and I have a wager on whether Paul Williams will eventually make the hall of fame. After we realized that this process could take a decade, we figured we would settle the bet based on whatever answer you gave.

What are your thoughts? I thought his body of work at welterweight –

being a two time champion – and his long reign in the p4p list puts him in the HOF eventually (definitely not first ballot). I think wins over Sergio Martinez (the long reigning middle weight champion – and a likely hall of famer himself) will get him in eventually.

My buddy claims that his accomplishments mainly stem from freakish size and that he stayed on the p4p list for so long only because no one was willing to fight him. He makes the argument that once he left welterweight he was relatively easily outboxed by guys who came close to his size (Martinez/ Lara).

What are your thoughts on this? Even if this mail doesn’t get into the mailbag we would love to hear from you with your thoughts on this. Even if it’s just a yes or no response. Regards. – KZ from Alaska

I know what I am about to state doesn’t really answer your question directly but I think it’s very possible that Williams will eventually get into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, however, I don’t consider him to be hall of fame worthy (although he was very good and a joy to watch and cover/interview).

Fighters who have arguably accomplished just as much as (or less than) Williams have been inducted, such as Artuo Gatti, so there’s hope if you’re a loyal P-Will fans. But I didn’t vote for Gatti.

Williams was like Gatti in that he was an action hero, a real crowd pleaser. This is a plus. His willingness to face anybody in three weight classes (welterweight, junior middleweight and middleweight) and his ability to campaign in all three at the world-class level are check marks in his favor.

But when you look at who he fought and who he beat, his resume is a little bit thin (by hall of famer standards). Martinez, who arguably beat him the first time they clashed and put him to sleep in their rematch, is a border-line hall of famer in my opinion. (I viewed his fight with Cotto as the decider on whether or not either man should be considered a future HOFer.) After Martinez, who do we have? Winky Wright, another HOF border-liner who was getting long in the tooth by then; Antonio Margarito, who isn’t considered HOF material; and Erislandy Lara, who should have earned a clear decision against Williams. There are other solid names on his resume, such as Carlos Quintana and Verno Philips, but these guys weren’t considered world beaters, and he had problems with both (Quintana outboxed him to an upset decision in their first fight and Philips gave him a tough fight in a bloody scrap).

Another factor that hurts Williams is his division hopping (which was done mostly because top 147 pounders avoided him) prevented him from being dominant in any one weight class.

 

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