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Dougie’s Monday mailbag

17
Apr

ERROL SPENCE JR.

Hey Doug,

Hope all is well with you and the family. I hate to be slightly bearish on Errol Spence Jr. – he is a great personality and prospect who is a refreshing spirit for the sport. BUT, did he throw a single feint? Did he even try to find an angle? Is he a bit squared up?



You can argue none of that has mattered. I know the omission of these reveals an aggressive fighter, and I AM GRATEFUL FOR HIS AGGRESSION – it will make for wonderful contests against Kell Brook, Keith Thurman, eventually Canelo Alvarez (Errol seems destined for 154) – but, I would like to see him preserve himself a bit, take fewer punches while standing in the pocket, circle, and throw a feint here and there. These will help him set up shots and come in handy against any heavy-handed guys who may not be so easily overpowered; imho.

Excited about adding Spence, Prograis, S. Vazquez to the mix. Thanks for reading. – AWS

Hey, the more, the merrier in the 147-pound division, which one of the sport’s traditional glamour weight classes and usually one of its deepest. Even without Mayweather and Pacquiao, I think the future of the welterweight division is bright, and right now, no up-and-comer is shining as bright as Spence.

A lot of hardcore heads on Twitter had knee-shaking nerdgasms when Spence bulldozed Chris Algieri in five rounds on Saturday. The euphoria was so strong some suggested that the hard-punching southpaw can steamroll every top-five rated welterweight, including Kell Brook and Tim Bradley, RIGHT NOW. I’m very high on the soft-spoken Texan but I’m not so sure about that. A few Twitter boxing aficionados took exception to my describing Spence as “methodical.” I didn’t mean it as a slight. Joe Louis was methodical. Marvin Hagler was methodical. Felix Trinidad was methodical. It’s not necessarily a bad thing in boxing, especially when you can crack like those hall of famers and young Mr. Spence. But one thing I’ve noticed, especially on Saturday, is that his punching technique isn’t as sharp as it’s often touted. He doesn’t have what I’d call elite-level speed or fluidity. And I’m not seeing the finer points of boxing that you brought up (head- and upper-body movement, angling his body, punching at angles, making use of feints, etc.). However, it should be noted that he knew that he was in with an opponent who could not hurt him, so maybe he decided (correctly so) to set aside the finesse and go all-in with a search-and-destroy approach. It worked. The Brown Bomber, Marvelous Marv and Tito would all approve of his stalking “badassness.” So do most fans, and you can count me as one of them.

Having said that, I think Spence is going to need more than what he exhibited against Algieri in order to lift the IBF belt from Brook, should the Englishman be his first title shot.

 

MACHISMO AND BUSHIDO

What do you get when you pit Machismo against Bushido? Apparently pure magic. What a gift Jesus Soto Karass and Yoshihiro Kamegai delivered to fight fans on Friday night. Incredible atmosphere, infectious energy, true blue-collar ring craft and a couple of iron wills.

Tell Oscar we want more, Dougie!

Great matchmaking makes for great nights, and the big names just don’t scrap like that! – Jack

Indeed, Jack. Golden Boy’s matchmaker Robert Diaz should be proud of the fight he put together (it’s a scrap he’s wanted to make since 2013).

Jesus Soto Karass vs Yoshihiro Kamegai Highlights from Golden Boy Digital on Vimeo.

JSK-uppercut-to-Kamegai_Fukuda

Photo: Naoki Fukuda

Soto Karass and Kamegai should take a bow. Nobody would have faulted them if they’d eased their way into the anticipated slugfest. Veterans usually need a round or two to warm up, but these guys got right to the hurt business from the opening bell and they didn’t let up until the final bell. No coasting, no holding, no bulls__ting in that small ring. That was a real 10-round fight. I was proud to be ringside for it and to do the RingTVLive call with Beto Duran and Steve Kim. And I was proud to present it as it was: just two badass gatekeepers going at it. We didn’t need to call them “contenders,” or compare them to hall-of-fame sluggers of the past, or lie and say that the winner is going to get a title shot or any of that usual broadcast bulls__t. We had the wonderful freedom to simply say, “You folks who follow and love boxing know what you’re gonna get with these guys, let’s just enjoy it.” And, man, the fans in that intimate theater loved all 30 minutes of the raw passion JSK and Kamegai displayed. I’m glad the atmosphere translated to the stream and broadcast because it was special. Everyone who was crammed in that historic theater was buzzing off the adrenaline JSK and Kamegai produced for the rest of the evening.

Kamegai-JSK-face-smash_Fukuda

Photo: Naoki Fukuda

You summed the experience up perfectly with this line: “Incredible atmosphere, infectious energy, true blue-collar ring craft and a couple of iron wills.” Thank you for pointing out the ring craft both fighters exhibited (especially Kamegai).

Anyway, De La Hoya knows you “blood-thirsty ghouls” out there want more and a rematch is in the works for later this year along with other fan-friendly matchups.

 

FIGHTS THEY CALLED FOR

Hey Doug,

Spence called out Brook.

Russell called for a rematch with Loma.

If these are their next fights how do you see them going?

Thanks. – Rodemeyer

I don’t think Spence is quiet ready for Brook. I would favor the Sheffield man to retain his IBF title by competitive decision or late TKO if they faced each other in their next fight.

I believe that Russell is more mentally prepared for Lomachenko than he was when he faced the Ukrainian in 2014, but I don’t think he’s physically prepared to impose his will or style on the ultra-talented amateur legend due to inactivity and a lack of skilled opposition. I would favor Loma by (legitimately) close decision.

 

BROOK MAY NOT WANT SPENCE

Very impressive from Errol Spence – maybe too good from a fan’s perspective. Makes me think they’ll keep him and Kell apart now. I hope not – that would be a sensational fight!

Love your world. – Alex, UK via NY

Me too!

Why do you think Eddie Hearn and Team Brook would steer clear of Spence? They are in desperate need of a viable/marketable/respectable dance partner at welterweight. Spence, who says he’s willing to travel to the UK to make the fight, seems to fit that bill.

Is the young man dangerous? Of course! But so is Brook, who is very strong, technically sharp, fundamentally sound, in his athletic prime (29 years old) and unbeaten in 36 pro bouts.

Brook is never going to get Mayweather or Pacquiao (or even Amir Khan into the ring any time soon). Bradley just lost, and Jessie Vargas doesn’t carry the same hype that Spence does. Who’s out there for Brook that fans will recognize as a legit challenge? It’s gotta be Spence!

 

PBC ON NBC

Hi Doug,

I will be brief but I did want to get in a few words about Saturday’s card.

Cruiserweight champ Krzysztof Glowacki is one of those guys (in boxing terms) who comes to fight. I saw him last year when he KO’d Huck. Lots of heart and the will to win. He brought the same fight Saturday. Throws with bad intentions and is a guy I would like to see again. Who could be next for him?

The Marcus Browne / Radivoje Kalajdzic bout made me angry. Lousy scoring and an even lousier referee robbed Kalajdzic of a deserved victory. I read on the site that Lou DiBella plans to file a protest but those things are rarely overturned…..sad.

Finally, Errol Spence vs Chris Algieri….Damn! I had read lots about Spence but this was my first chance to see him in action. One couldn’t help but be impressed. He just took Algieri apart…and looked great doing it. I mean the kid was sharp. Saw every opening and never seemed to miss….and he’s got some pop in his punches too.

It was really beautiful to watch. Boxing at a very high level. I don’t mean to go overboard on him but the mind boggles at the big fights that are out there to be made in the welter division right now. I could list dream fights for him but I will ask, how do you see this playing out as to what’s next for him this point?

Old fashion scraps I am looking forward to (action wise) Thurman/Porter and Ortiz/Berto. – David, Nashville

Me too. I might take in Ortiz-Berto live at StubHub Center in Carson, California. That’s gonna be a fun scrap.

What’s next for Spence? Brook, if he wants it, and he says he does. I don’t he’s ready yet, but he could be in a couple more bouts. (I’d like to see Spence get a little more seasoning by facing a hardnosed veteran who can box him and fight him for 10-12 rounds like Lamont Peterson before he takes on a beast like Brook.) If Al Haymon can arrange an immediate title shot against WBC beltholder Danny Garcia, I’d say Team Spence should go for it. But I would hold off on challenging even the winner of Thurman-Porter until next year. That’s just my opinion, the 26-year-old may be more than ready. I’d favor him over Garcia, make him even money vs. the Thurman-Porter winner and favor Brook if these bouts were made this year.

I had read lots about Spence but this was my first chance to see him in action. One couldn’t help but be impressed. He just took Algieri apart…and looked great doing it. I mean the kid was sharp. Saw every opening and never seemed to miss….and he’s got some pop in his punches too. Yeah, just a little. LOL. Spence gets crazy leverage on his punches, especially his body shots. And he’s economical with his offense, as you noted.

Cruiserweight champ Krzysztof Glowacki is one of those guys (in boxing terms) who comes to fight. I saw him last year when he KO’d Huck. Lots of heart and the will to win. He brought the same fight Saturday. I agree that Glowacki comes to fight but I thought he let Cunningham back into the fight after dropping the veteran twice in Round 2. He wasn’t pressing the fight (or jabbing enough) in the middle rounds, in my opinion. But he responded to the Philly fighter’s late-round push in kind, and the two cruiserweights were entertaining down the stretch of the title bout.

Who could be next for him? I think a rematch with Huck is on deck. If he beats the German standout again, I’ve been told that WBA beltholder Denis Lebedev (who faces IBF titleholder Victor Ramirez next month) is interested in a unification bout with Glowacki. If Lebedev-Glowacki were to happen THE RING’s cruiserweight title would be up for grabs.

The Marcus Browne / Radivoje Kalajdzic bout made me angry. Lousy scoring and an even lousier referee robbed Kalajdzic of a deserved victory. I read on the site that Lou DiBella plans to file a protest but those things are rarely overturned…..sad. Sad and pathetic. Browne lost that fight. He should just admit it and fight Kalajdzic in an immediate rematch – that’s the only way to erase the controversy of the official verdict and the stench of the judges’ and referee’s bungling.

 

BEST FIGHT OF THE WEEKEND

Soto Karass-Kamegai is why we love fights. This is why we miss major network weekend coverage (absolutely the kind of fight ABC would have had on in 1983) and this is what boxing needs to return to the mainstream.

One can dream, but in the meantime enjoy what these two warriors did to entertain us. – MT from the OC

Absolutely. It’s a sin to not enjoy the tremendous effort they put forth on Friday. For anyone who missed it, you can watch it On Demand at RingTVLive.com (or on the embedded player below:)

Soto Karass-Kamegai is why we love fights. I can’t speak for the “purists” out there, but it’s why I love fights, and we’re not alone if my Twitter timeline is any indication of what boxing fans crave and appreciate. Boxing social media seemed to be on fire during this 10-round donnybrook and for hours afterward.

This is why we miss major network weekend coverage (absolutely the kind of fight ABC would have had on in 1983) and this is what boxing needs to return to the mainstream. It would have been great if Soto Karass-Kamegai had been on network TV or English-language basic cable (according to Steve Kim, there was TV interest for the fight, and there’s a good chance the rematch could be on HBO or the HBO PPV undercard of a big Golden Boy Promotions show later this year), but it says here that in 10 years (maybe less) most sports and entertainment will be watched via live streams (as Friday’s LA Fight Club main event was by English-speaking boxing fans and those who either don’t have Estrella TV or weren’t at home). My good friend Dave “Coach” Schwartz, who’s been following the Sweet Science on radio and TV since he was 10 years old (70 years and counting), said the RingTVLive stream was “the single best boxing broadcast” he’s ever watched. (He really said that! That’s the highest of praise. It was during our Periscope at Santa Monica College track during yesterday’s morning workout and rope-skipping boxing trivia. We do the Periscope thing every Sunday at 9:00 a.m. PT. Tune-in if you have mailbag-type questions for me or you think you can answer the boxing history trivia questions before I do. And maybe you can, but can you do it while skipping rope?)

 

BUSY WEEKEND OF BOXING

Hello Doug,

What a weekend of boxing it was. Welterweight division just got more interesting with Spence’s victory. It is good to see a prospect turn out to be just as good as his hype suggests (not a very frequent occurrence). I know most people would like to see an Errol Spence Jr.-Kell Brook fight, but I’d rather watch him against Shawn Porter. Brook would most likely fight off the back foot, moving and jabbing to avoid Spence’s onslaught. Porter-Spence, however, might just become an “educated slugfest”, since both are offensive-minded. Do you agree? What do you think the outcome of these fights would be?

Speaking of slugfests, Soto Karass-Kamegai wasn’t half bad, was it? The participants were evenly matched physically and in terms of skill, both came to win, their styles just clicked, and judges did an excellent job (for a change) – this is how boxing is supposed to be. A rematch is in order, I guess. Who do you think will win? I have a feeling that Kamegai will approach the second fight with more caution, and since he appears to be a slightly sharper boxer. I believe he may win in Rios-Alvarado 2 fashion.

And finally – Steve Cunningham just cannot catch a break, can he? It was really upsetting to see him go all-in in the final round, having some success and then getting knocked down yet again. What is next for him? As for Glowacki, I think he will remain a titleholder – until he meets Lebedev.

Kind regards. – Andrey.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Andrey.

I would also pick Lebedev to beat Glowacki, but with several ring wars under the Russian veteran’s belt, we never know when the wear and tear will catch up with him. He could burn out before or during a battle with the younger, fresher Polish southpaw.

I think Cunningham has reached (or is really close to) the “burn-out” stage of his career. He’s got all the heart a boxer/fighter can ask for but his legs, reflexes and chin have seen better days. I think he’ll continue to fight, at least for another year or so, but after going winless in his last three bouts he’s going to do so as a gatekeeper for up-and-coming cruiserweights and heavyweights. (Not that there’s anything wrong with being a gatekeeper. Two gatekeepers put on the fight of the weekend in my opinion.)

I know most people would like to see an Errol Spence Jr.-Kell Brook fight, but I’d rather watch him against Shawn Porter. I wouldn’t complain about that fight, especially if Showtime Shawn beats my man The Thurmanator in June.

Brook would most likely fight off the back foot, moving and jabbing to avoid Spence’s onslaught. I agree that Brook would box and move a lot more against Spence than Porter, whose bread and butter is a mugging, forward-charging offense.

Porter-Spence, however, might just become an “educated slugfest”, since both are offensive-minded. Do you agree? Yes, I do.

What do you think the outcome of these fights would be? Brook by decision or late TKO. Spence by decision or late TKO. Both fights would be hotly contested.

A rematch is in order (for Soto Karass-Kamegai), I guess. You guess!? Man, you better believe it!

Kamegai-tags-JSK_FukudaWho do you think will win? I gotta go with Kamegai. I thought he edged JSK by one point after calling the action live. I’ve watched the replay a few times since, and I’m convinced that the Japanese fighter was the sharper (and craftier) of the two. I can see him winning by a couple points (although I was perfectly fine with the split-draw verdict). Anyway, I favored Soto Karass coming into Friday’s firefight, but I’ll probably slightly favor Kamegai in the rematch.

I have a feeling that Kamegai will approach the second fight with more caution, and since he appears to be a slightly sharper boxer. I believe he may win in Rios-Alvarado 2 fashion. I can definitely see that happening.

 

SPENCE IS THE REAL DEAL

Hey Dougie,

I liked what I saw from Erol Spence. I really hadn’t seen a lot from him but was interested in this test vs Algieri. This is exactly what I want to see in a prospect, power, speed, and most of all: Hunger. I was really impressed in what I saw and finally I can say that there’s a future star in the division. Forget about Thurman, Brook or Porter, this is the guy that will carry the division in the future, Spence looked like a million bucks against a tough difficult fighter that everybody else had trouble with. True stars deal with these kind of fighters the way Spence did; De La Hoya did it against guys like Leija and Paez. Guys that were previously durable and against new stars they were blown away.

That’s what I want to see. Hopefully we get to see him at the elite level NOW. How do you see him against the top Welters? Thanks. – Juan Valverde

I think Spence is live against all of the welterweights currently ranked in THE RING’s Top 10. The only welterweight I’d firmly favor to beat him is Brook. I would consider matchups with Bradley, Thurman, Porter and Khan (if he drops back down to 147 pounds after the Canelo fight) to be “pick-’em” fights. And thought I would favor Spence to beat Jessie Vargas (on points), I would not count the newly crowned WBO titleholder out in that fight.

Hopefully, we get to see three or four of these potential showdowns in the next two years. If Spence goes 3-0 or 4-0 against any combination of that group, he will indeed ascend to stardom.

Forget about Thurman, Brook or Porter, this is the guy that will carry the division in the future, Spence looked like a million bucks against a tough difficult fighter that everybody else had trouble with. I don’t recall Pacquiao having much trouble with Algieri (not even when Tim Lane let him “out of the cage”).

BROOK VS. THE TOP WELTERS

Mr. Doug,
Right to it. Kell Brook as the best welterweight in the world? And now #10 on P4P?! What in the world is The Ring basing this on? I know I’m not the only one that’s been scratching my head on the first one, but now P4P #10?! Porter is the only name on his record, and I believe Shawn would win the rematch (I thought he won the first fight) if the ref does something about Kell’s excessive holding that was allowed the first go round.

The Brook-love that The Ring has is very similar to the love it had for Bute. I never understood that one, and we see how that turned out.

And now, I see Errol Spence is his mandatory. I love it. Spence will clear this nonsense right up. I have zero doubt about it…IF he gets the chance.

Ring welters 2 through 7 all beat Brook. I would like to get your opinion/analysis on what would happen with him against each guy, 2-7. Come on, Doug. Commit. Would be a fun read. No sarcasm intended.

To close, seriously. The dude has had ONE legit challenger on his resume (and I think he lost that one to Porter), and The Ring bestows upon him the lofty titles of #1 welterweight in the world, AND #10 POUND FOR POUND fighter in the world. Hmmmm. Thanks. – Behr Becker

I agree that Brook’s pound-for-pound placement is debatable and that there are arguably more worthy fighters that could take that spot in THE RING’s mythical rankings, but I stand by the undefeated IBF titleholder’s No. 1 spot in the magazine’s welterweight ratings.

Keep in mind that Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Pacquaio are “retired” for the time being, and thus, the two future hall of famers are currently unranked. So, I ask YOU, if Brook isn’t worthy of THE RING’s No. 1 welterweight ranking, who is? Khan? Thurman? Porter? Bradley? WHO!?

Khan looked sharp vs. Luis Collazo, untouchable against Devon Alexander, but ordinary versus Algieri. Keep in mind that Collazo’s no spring chicken and Alexander was one fight removed from losing to Porter and fight away from being upset by Aaron Martinez.

I love Thurman but what’s my fellow ponytailed Halfrican’s most significant victory? The decision over Robert Guerrero (the same guy who went life and death with my favorite Japanese gatekeeper, Mr. Kamegai)? The stoppage of my favorite Mexican gatekeeper Soto Karass? You tell me.

What’s Porter’s best win? Alexander? Paulie Malignaggi? Adrien Broner? Do those wins add up to a No. 1-ranking? And you think he beat Brook? I was ringside for that fight (did the international call) and I think totally contained the American mauler. You didn’t like all the holding? Ya think he should have been DQ’d? LOL. If that’s true than Mayweather’s record should at least be 47-2, and my man B-Hop should have a few more losses on his record.

Bradley is a veteran badass but he just lost to 37-year-old Pacquiao (arguably for the third time) and he didn’t have an easy time with Jessie Vargas or Diego Chaves. (Hey, maybe Chaves is Thurmy’s best win!)

There is no CLEAR top dog at 147 pounds, but I think Brook’s 36-0 against a lot of solid (though admittedly not spectacular) opposition and his title victory over Porter make him as worthy as anyone to hold that spot until he proves it without a doubt or gets knocked off his perch by a hungry young contender like Spence.

Spence will clear this nonsense right up. I have zero doubt about it…IF he gets the chance. We’ll see. I favor Brook and I don’t think he’ll be hiding from the American.

Ring welters 2 through 7 all beat Brook. You need get off them drugs, son.

I would like to get your opinion/analysis on what would happen with him against each guy, 2-7. Come on, Doug. Commit. Would be a fun read. No sarcasm intended. Without going into too much detail, I favor (slightly) Brook against Khan (his combo of athleticism and power are too much for his British rival), Thurman (his tighter technique and sounder fundamentals trumps the Floridian’s freewheeling power-pot-shot style), Porter (been there, done that), Bradley (his size, power, freshness triumphs over Timmy’s experience), Danny Garcia (hard, consistent jabs and accurate power-right hands from the outside and mid-range punishes the Philly Kid), and Spence (who probably gives him the toughest fight but is outmaneuvered at a distance and outmuscled on the inside).

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

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