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Dougie’s Friday mailbag

13
May
Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

CANELO-KHAN, CROLLA, BROOK-KHAN

Hi Dougie,

I caught up with the Canelo Alvarez v Amir Khan fight on Sunday morning. It probably went as expected, Khan “troubling” but not really hurting Canelo with his early speed and combinations. Canelo then worked Khan out and as soon as he got his timing right and closed the distance, that was all she wrote. I have massive respect for Khan for stepping in the ring with Alvarez but it was always a question of “when” not “if” he was getting caught.

What a night for Anthony Crolla. I wasn’t expecting him to win so emphatically but what a game plan he stuck to and executed. I hold my hands up in having underrated Crolla but he keeps getting better and better. Where do you rate him now amongst the other world rated lightweights? Crolla v Flanagan would be a massive fight for Manchester and UK but the likelihood of Eddie Hearn and Frank Warren working together is very slim. Sky tv who work exclusively with Hearn would never let the fight be shown on Warren’s Box Nation subscription channel. I thought that Warren wouldn’t let Flanagan fight on Sky and not his own channel, but it seems he is willing to do so now. I still think the promotor rivalry/egos makes this difficult to get through to being signed. Bloody politics, eh!



I hope Khan v Kell Brook happens still but interest will have lessened for that fight now. Brook will be huge favourite and Khan has lost a bit of his bargaining power. Khan has also gone on record to say he will never fight Brook which, as a fan, is disappointing. There is so much bad blood there it would really sell the fight in the build up. I see Khan getting knocked out mid rounds, what do you think? Hope you enjoyed Vegas and keep up the great work on the mailbags. – CJ, UK

My time in Vegas was like the pay-per-view numbers for Canelo-Khan – OK to “pretty Doug-and-Pernell-Whitakergood,” depending on whose figures you choose to believe (LOL). I had a nice time meeting fans and seeing boxing media colleagues from both sides of The Pond (as well as great former champs like Pernell Whitaker) but I was way too busy with the RingTV Live streams and my editorial duties to really cut loose and enjoy myself.

Regarding Brook-Khan, I’m sure it’s still a big event and huge draw in the UK, and I favor Brook (just as I did prior to Canelo-Khan). Brook probably stops Khan, but I think it goes into the late rounds. It might go something like the Terence Crawford-Yuriorkis Gamboa fight (with Brook playing the part of Bud and Khan as Gamby, of course).

I have massive respect for Khan for stepping in the ring with Alvarez but it was always a question of “when” not “if” he was getting caught. Those who said Khan’s speed, movement and style would trouble Canelo were correct. Those who said Khan would get KTFO were also correct.

I hold my hands up in having underrated Crolla but he keeps getting better and better. Agreed. Crolla’s aggressive-but-technical style reminds me of Jorge Linares’. He’s not as fast, athletic or nimble as the Venezuelan, but he’s more sound technically and probably more durable.

Where do you rate him now amongst the other world rated lightweights? I agree with THE RING’s Ratings Panel, which jumped him from No. 6 to No. 3 (behind only Jorge Linares and Dejan Zlaticanin). If Crolla is unable to unify belts vs. Flanagan (for the reasons you noted), I would love to see him challenge the winner of the Linares-Zlaticanin fight (which should happen in the Fall, and will also be for THE RING title).

Crolla v Flanagan would be a massive fight for Manchester and UK but the likelihood of Eddie Hearn and Frank Warren working together is very slim. Sky TV who work exclusively with Hearn would never let the fight be shown on Warren’s Box Nation subscription channel. Gee, it’s nice to know that the U.S. boxing scene isn’t the only one that’s marred by promotional cold wars and network exclusivity. Just kidding, it f__king sucks balls.

QUIGLEY, LEE & FURY

Greetings,

Love your mailbag column, it is a must-read every Monday.

Being Irish, I have a natural preference for Irish fighters and was wondering what your thoughts were on Jason Quigley, who made a big step up on the Canelo-Khan under card and scored a unanimous decision and winning all 10 rounds against James De La Rosa. I think while he is young and has a long way to go, he has a high potential.

As for the other Irish middleweight, Andy Lee, who is clearly a step below GGG and Canelo, but is at the same time a top contender. While Billy Joe Saunders is a good fighter, I think Lee would win 7/10 they fought and it just wasn’t his night rather than Saunders being clearly superior. If he beats Daniel Jacobs (which I think he will with his deadly left hand) if they fight, would he get the chance to be the first challenger to the winner of GGG-Canelo?

Carl Frampton clearly struggled to make the weight for the Quigg fight, but do you think that part of his reasoning for moving up to fight Leo Santa Cruz was to avoid Guillermo Rigondeaux? Rigondeaux is better and a loss on his record would severely decrease his value.

Finally, do you think there is any chance a Tyson Fury title defence could happen in Ireland? He has already said Croke Park in Dublin is one of the only places he would like to fight in before he retires. Yours Sincerely. – John

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and kind words, John. For the record, I think the more Irish boxers are part of the world-class scene, the better off the sport is.

I don’t know if Fury will ever defend THE world heavyweight title in Ireland, but I believe he will eventually fight there. I’m not sure he will beat Wladimir Klitschko in their rematch (but I’m pullin’ for the big goofy lug). If he loses, he might retire for a year or so (and get really fat). I can envision his eventual comeback fight taking place in Ireland (call it “a sort of homecoming,” to borrow a song title from my all-time favorite band, U2). If Fury defends THE RING title (and the other alphabet belts) against Klitschko, I think there will be too much money offered for major fights in the UK (Joshua and Haye), the U.S. (Wilder) and Russia (Povetkin) for his team to even consider Ireland. Then again, one of the things I like about Fury is that he marches to the beat of his own drum. With or without the heavyweight titles, I can see him putting the business of the sport aside in order to fulfill one of his own goals.

Wondering what your thoughts were on Jason Quigley, who made a big step up on the Canelo-Khan under card and scored a unanimous decision and winning all 10 rounds against James De La Rosa. I think while he is young and has a long way to go, he has a high potential. I agree. In fact, I think Quigley has true “star power” for a variety of reasons. However, as you noted, he has a long way to go. His 10-round shutout decision over De La Rosa was a step forward, but it also let us know that he’s not ready to face legit middleweight standouts (not even fringe contenders) for at least another year.

I thought Quigley beat De La Rosa clearly, but I don’t believe he won every round. De La Rosa was competitive in Rounds 2, 3, and 4, and I think the Texas veteran won Round 7 and 8 when it was clear (to me, anyway) that Quigley was battling fatigue. Quigley caught his second wind and resumed control of the fight in the final two rounds, but in my opinion, he’s not yet comfortable fighting the 10-round distance and he’s still transitioning from his amateur style to a professional boxing style. It will happen in time, but he’s not there yet. If I was managing Quigley (who’s a great guy, by the way) I would have him face competent young gatekeepers, like Chris Chatman, until the end of the year, and then – depending on how he performs – maybe step up to fringe contenders (a Paul Mendez or Alantez Fox) by early 2017.

While Billy Joe Saunders is a good fighter, I think Lee would win 7/10 they fought and it just wasn’t his night rather than Saunders being clearly superior. Although their fight was very close on the scorecards, I’m not sure I agree with this theory.

If he beats Daniel Jacobs (which I think he will with his deadly left hand) if they fight, would he get the chance to be the first challenger to the winner of GGG-Canelo? First of all, Jacobs has a date (July 30 at Barclays Center in his native Brooklyn on the Santa Cruz-Frampton undercard) but his dance partner is not yet set. Lee, being Irish like Frampy and having fought at Barclays before, makes a lot of sense as an opponent for Jacobs, but that fight is not a done deal yet. Second, although Lee is a worthy challenger, I’m not sure he poses as much danger to Jacobs as you believe. He looked like he had trouble pulling the trigger against BJS. Third, although I’m sure Canelo-Golvokin will eventually happen, there’s no guarantee that it will take place this year. For all we know, Lee could wind up fighting Canelo or GGG next instead of Jacobs.

Carl Frampton clearly struggled to make the weight for the Quigg fight, but do you think that part of his reasoning for moving up to fight Leo Santa Cruz was to avoid Guillermo Rigondeaux? I don’t think Frampton has any fear whatsoever of facing Rigondeaux. I think his choice to step up to face Santa Cruz has more to do with his desire to be involved in a major fight in the U.S. and to see how well he performs at 126 pounds (against a formidable opponent).

Rigondeaux is better and a loss on his record would severely decrease his value. If Frampton was truly bothered with the thought of losing, he wouldn’t be facing Santa Cruz, who many believe will not only beat him but also physically punish him. I think Frampton’s manager, hall of famer Barry McGuigan, thinks more about market value and the risk-versus-reward stuff than the fighter does (and that’s not a slight to The Clones Cyclone, that’s his job).

I HOPE KHAN RETIRES

What up Doug,

Missed out on the last few occasions so I hope I make the cut this week. So I’m a huge Amir Khan fan. I have alongside my family watched all of his fights since the 2004 Olympic Games. Watching his fights in recent years have become pretty nerve wracking as we worry that he could be hurt at any time.

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

The same happened at 4 am on Sunday morning and as soon as Khan was knocked out cold I turned to my family and said that I really hope Amir retires – they were all in agreement. He has achieved a lot in his career, Olympic silver medal, a two-time world champion and made a lot of money. I am not your typical fan boy that believes Amir has got a great chin (he hasn’t) or he won’t be knocked out again (he will). Unless he fights feather-fisted fighters for the rest of his career, which he won’t, he will get seriously hurt again. I know his mum is trying talk him in to retirement – I just hope his other family members join in too.

But we know he won’t retire and is now calling out Danny Garcia, Miguel Cotto and the PacMan. All of whom could end his career. Yes, he could outbox them and win a decision but after the Canelo fight I just don’t think Khan has that left in him. I will always support him and watch his fights and he may surprise us all and come back stronger and beat some good names out there.

If he is going to fight again maybe he should fight Liam Smith for the 154-pound world title? Smith doesn’t punch that hard does he? But is fighting on worth the risk? I’m not so sure it is for Amir Khan. Mythical matchups: Kovalev vs. Beterbiev (after he has had a few more fights) Kovalev vs. GGG at 168 Ward vs. GGG at 168 (I think GGG destroys all at 160 hence the 168 questions) Peace out. – Hassan Ali, Leicester, England

Thanks for sharing your thoughts (and concerns for Khan), Hassan. You are not alone in being concerned about the health and well-being of Amir Khan. RingTV.com’s chief scribe Mitch Abramson usually sticks to reporting and deadline writing but he felt strongly enough immediately following the abrupt ending to Canelo-Khan to pen a commentary feature on why he thinks Khan should hang up the gloves.

I understand the concern but I think Khan has earned the right to one more run with his career and passion, and one more major event should one present itself.

Unless he fights feather-fisted fighters for the rest of his career, which he won’t, he will get seriously hurt again. True, and with his fierce pride and ultra-competitive nature, he won’t stick to light-hitting foes for very long (if at all).

I know his mum is trying talk him in to retirement – I just hope his other family members join in too. I believe his father has always been his rock. If his dad suggests that he call it a career, I think Khan will retire. However, I also think his father will allow his son the dignity of making that decision for himself.

But we know he won’t retire and is now calling out Danny Garcia, Miguel Cotto and the PacMan. All of whom could end his career. True. However, I think he can outpoint Garcia. The Cotto fight would almost be as dangerous as the Canelo matchup. A fight with Senator Pacquiao is intriguing. It would be a huge event and I really like Khan’s chances. Pacquiao is still difficult, but I don’t think he hits hard enough to turn Khan’s lights out as Canelo did, and I don’t think the future hall of famer is active enough to do to Khan what he did to Bradley last month.

If he is going to fight again maybe he should fight Liam Smith for the 154-pound world title? That would be an interesting matchup and a sellable fight if it took place in the UK. You know they sparred during Khan’s camp for Canelo, right? (And “word on the street” is that “Beefy” was a bit too strong for Khan.)

Smith doesn’t punch that hard does he? I don’t know, but I think his last seven opponents would tell you that he punches hard enough.

But is fighting on worth the risk? Only Khan can answer that question.

Your mythical matchups:

Kovalev vs. Beterbiev (after he has had a few more fights) – Kovalev by mid-to-late TKO. Beterbiev is at least seven or eight fights from being ready for any elite-level 175 pounder, in my opinion.

Kovalev vs. GGG at 168 – Golovkin by mid-to-late round stoppage (probably via body shot). Kovalev would be totally drained at 168.

Ward vs. GGG at 168 – Golovkin by late KO. It’s just a matter of cutting the ring off and getting inside (plus, I think Ward, at this point, would struggle to make 168).

 

CANELO & THE RING BELT

Sup doug; 2 things…

1) If Canelo doesn’t agree to fight GGG & is stripped of the WBC trinket will he also lose The Ring championship belt?

2) I know Jerry Jones wants that fight in Cowboys stadium but keep Houston in mind. You saw how we packed minute maid park with Canelo vs Kirkland!

All the best Doug. – Gerry, League City

Thanks for sharing, Gerry (and for keeping it brief – a lost art among most Mailbaggers).

1) If Canelo doesn’t agree to fight GGG & is stripped of the WBC trinket will he also lose The Ring championship belt? No. Why would THE RING strip Canelo for not defending against the WBC’s mandatory challenger? Apart from retiring or losing the title in the ring, the only situations a fighter loses RING champion status is when he permanently moves to a new weight class (as Danny Garcia and Terence Crawford did recently), he doesn’t schedule a fight in any weight class for 18 months (although injuries and other unforeseen circumstances are taken into a consideration), or he doesn’t schedule a fight with Top-5 contender from any weight class for two years (as was the case with Adonis Stevenson, Andre Ward and Guillermo Rigondeaux).

2) I know Jerry Jones wants that fight in Cowboys stadium but keep Houston in mind. You saw how we packed minute maid park with Canelo vs Kirkland! Houston fans are awesome and that was a truly electric atmosphere, but where Canelo-GGG lands ain’t my choice, Gerry. LOL. The only problem Minute Maid Park is that the baseball field configuration stadium puts a lot of space between the ring and the fans who aren’t seated in the field. Also, I might be wrong about this, but I think because of the retractable roof a jumbotron can’t be put in. (I could be wrong, but I don’t recall giant monitor screens over the ring during the Canelo-Kirkland card. There were giant monitors but they were place at different parts of the field, if my memory serves me. Anyway, nothing I saw at Minute Maid Park could compare with the jumbotron and amenities that I witnessed at “Jerry’s World” during the Pacquiao-Clottey card, the only time I’ve been to a fight in Arlington.)

 

KHAN’S COMEBACK

Hey Dougie – how are tricks mate?

I enjoyed your call of Canelo/Khan on the weekend mate. I think you should trademark your “One Hitter Quitter” line. That was quality!

I’ll try and keep this quick. Amir Khan is being very vocal, post his vicious knockout on the weekend, about his next fight being against some pretty high-class opponents.

He’s called out Tim Bradley, Danny Garcia and even Pacquiao. My question: Is he ready for these kinds of big hitters straight away? I wouldn’t think so myself but hey … What would I know!

I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on how and who Khan should mount a (successful) comeback against mate. Cheers. – Craig B, Singapore

Thanks for the kind words, Craig. I think the best move for Khan would be to call it a career but I know that won’t happen. He’s too young, too talented and he thinks too positively (some call it delusion) to quit.

If I were managing his career, I’d try to lure an old-timer out of retirement (or semi-retirement), Pacquiao or Juan Manuel Marquez, for Khan. I think his speed, activity and mobility would be too much for those faded future first-ballot hall of famers. But win, lose or draw, I know Khan would be paid well for his services because their name-recognition and fans bases (combined with his) would make for big events.

If Pacquiao and JMM aren’t game, I’d go for Bradley (who doesn’t have a huge fan base, but is known and respected among hardcore fans on both sides of The Pond). Bradley is a handful for any 147 pounder but I don’t think he has the power to seriously hurt or knock Khan out. (I’ll be the first admit that I could be totally wrong about this hunch, especially after the way Khan was iced by Canelo.) Bradley’s modest height (barely 5-foot-6) and relative short reach can also be exploited by Khan.

If Khan beats Bradley, he would regain a somewhat lofty status in the welterweight division, and at that point I would consider rolling the dice against Brook. I wouldn’t bother with Garcia. There’s not enough money in that rematch. Same deal with the Thurman-Porter winner. Thurman hits too hard (and he’s fast and smart). Porter is way too rough, tough and awkward. There’s not enough money to go along with those risks. But against Brook, in the UK (following a good showing against Timmy), maybe there would be enough money to justify the risk. Maybe.

I enjoyed your call of Canelo/Khan on the weekend mate. Thanks. I apologize if my voice was a Doug-and-Lennox-Lewislittle raspy or my energy was a bit low (it’s always low in comparison to my broadcast compa├▒ero Beto Duran). As well as doing live commentary for the weigh-in and then a full outdoor fight card on Friday (which completed eight hours outside, three in cold night air) with Beto and Steve Kim, Beto and I did commentary for the entire Canelo-Khan card (which began at 2:00 p.m.). But it’s all good. We witnessed the KO of the Year so far and got to work with “El Rey,” former undisputed heavyweight champ and hall of famer Lennox Lewis, who happens to be one of the friendliest and laid back dignitaries of the sport.

I think you should trademark your “One Hitter Quitter” line. That was quality! Thank you, I’ll give my man Bruce Buffer a call about that TM first thing in the morning.

 

CROLLA IS A MILLION DOLLARS

Hi Doug,

Huge fan of the mailbag, second time writing in hope this one gets in!

Obviously everyone wanted to talk about Khan-Canelo but I wanted a quick word on Anthony “Million Dollar” Crolla who grit and battled through 4 rounds against arguably the biggest hitter in the division, to retain his WBA Lightweight title last Saturday night. Massive props for taking on the heavy handed South American mandatory first time out when everyone thought it such a dangerous fight (including the bookies who thought Barroso the favourite).

Great tactics from Joe Gallagher taking the risk Barroso would blow out after 5/6 rounds and he got it spot on.

I really only see Linares possibly beating Crolla in the division, but the fight everyone wants to see is against Flanagan, although politics will make that one hard to make. I see Linares out pointing Crolla if they were to fight right now but would favour the WBA champ against Flanagan again on points perhaps late KO. How do you see it?

Also appreciate you allowing space in the mailbag week in week out for UK fight fans, I’m not sure boxing has ever been as exciting over here as it is now.

Keep up the good work. Many thanks. – Dan, UK

Hey, I gotta make space for the UK fans, Dan. Modern boxing was born in eighteenth century England, and it’s probably no coincidence that UK fans have a strong respect for the history of the sport. RING magazine is the oldest boxing publication in the U.S., so we gotta respect the fans who are among the most passionate on the planet (it’s a toss-up between UK fans and Mexican fan├íticos – Puerto Rican fans, God Bless ’em, are up there too, but there ain’t as many of them!) and (arguably) the most knowledgeable. As Fernando Vargas used to love saying (in regard to his friendship with Mike Tyson) “real recognizes real.”

Regarding Crolla, I thought he looked sensational against Barroso. I’ve never seen him as confident and in control as he looked when he was applying Smart/subtle pressure (behind a stiff jab and high guard) to the Venezuelan southpaw in spots during in the early rounds. He was comfortably exchanging with Barroso by Round 4, and walking the puncher down by Round 5. I thought Crolla’s punch selection and placement (especially his body shots) was near perfect from Round 4 on. (And he handled the cut suffered at the end of Round 4 very well.)

Great tactics from Joe Gallagher taking the risk Barroso would blow out after 5/6 rounds and he got it spot on. Agreed.

I really only see Linares possibly beating Crolla in the division, but the fight everyone wants to see is against Flanagan, although politics will make that one hard to make. I see Linares out pointing Crolla if they were to fight right now but would favour the WBA champ against Flanagan again on points perhaps late KO. How do you see it? I see both of those fights as even-money matchups. Linares has the edge in experience, athleticism, footwork and hand speed, but I think Crolla’s sharp technique and sound fundamentals would trouble the talented Venezuelan veteran over the second half a 12-round fight. (Actually, I think they have similar boxing styles.) Linares’ combos and pivot-ability are beautiful to behold but his shaky whiskers and cut-prone face could let him down in a tough fight that goes into the late rounds. Against “Turbo” Crolla would have to deal with size, physical strength, youthful exuberance and a somewhat awkward southpaw style. I view Crolla as the more mature and technically sound of the Manchester natives but I don’t think Flanagan would be a walk in the park.

MYTHICAL MATCHUP

A quick question for you Doug,

Who wins a mythical fight between Henry Armstrong v Roberto Duran at 135lbs?

Henry Armstrong, possibly the greatest fighter ever to hold the lightweight championship and Robert Duran, possibly the greatest lightweight champion ever. – Paul

It would have been a hell of a fight, 15 rounds of non-stop punching perfectly blended with world-class professional ring generalship, but I gotta go with Duran via close decision. Of the two aggressive ring assassins, I think he was the savvier and more cerebral of the two. Armstrong was more than just a high-volume punching slugger but his bread and butter was his incredible conditioning and durability. Duran’s bread and butter was his sublime ability to mix offense with subtle (but effective) defensive (especially in close quarters where Armstrong wanted to be).

Also, I think Duran may have been the harder puncher at lightweight, punch for punch. I definitely think he was the more accurate puncher of the two ATG badasses. Both lightweights were freakishly strong, but Duran was able to compete with an ATG middleweight (Marvin Hagler) and eventually win a major 160-pound title (vs. big and dangerous Iran Barkley). (Of course, Duran’s underrated skill and ring generalship is a major reason he was able to last as long as he did and compete at those weights above 147 pounds.)

And here’s another factor in this excellent mythical matchup, the lightweight version of Duran would have had Ray Arcel in his corner, a master trainer who was very familiar with Armstrong because he began his hall-of-fame career in the 1920s (actually worked Homicide Hank’s corner for a few fights and was in the opposite corner for a few of Armstrong’s classics, such as his welterweight title victory over Barney Ross).

 

 

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

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