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Dougie’s Monday mailbag

23
May
Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

SUPER WELTERWEIGHT CONFUSION

Doug!

Never written in before, but after seeing some boxing on Showtime this weekend, I had a couple of thoughts.

One, that was a hell of a punch by Jermell (or was it Jermall?) on John Jackson. He was being pretty comprehensively out-boxed but found the range on that right before finishing with that ridiculously clean follow up. I was surprised at his inability to cut off the ring on a mobile target and that made me wonder about his boxing ability as he continues to step up his competition. I thought though, that John Jackson gave a great post-fight interview and I had a lot of respect for him as he was gracious and forthcoming about what transpired in the ring. Big ups to him and I look forward to seeing him in the ring in the future.



I didn’t really have too many thoughts on the Jermall (which one is it again?) – Austin Trout fight. I think Charlo edged it despite a good close by Trout. Since his loss to Canelo he seems to have regressed a bit and seemed in this fight to be missing something overall.

Moving on to the Erislandy Lara-Vanes Martirosyan fight, I was thoroughly bored (as I am whenever he fights), but I am impressed at his overall ability. He is a really good fighter, but I just wish he had a more offensive mindset. He would be a serious player, but his lack of offense and insistence on a defensive style will be a hindrance as he tries to chase big name fighters. He has been calling out GGG but I see that going not so well for him.

With such good fighters on last night and others waiting in the wings, such has Julian Jackson, Demetrius Andrade, and some of the other fringe contenders, how do you see this shaking out with Canelo? I would favor him over any of the fighters from last night with the exception of maybe Andrade, but if he really is having such trouble making 154 – which I suspect – where is he to go? He will have no shortage of fighters willing to face him at Caneloweight from 154, but he will not be able to win any titles and none of the 154 fighters command a huge following, which limits his moneymaking potential. The dollars and the lights are at Middleweight, and I think he would definitely be competitive with most of the Top Ten if not even money. I would peg Danny Jacobs, GGG, and BJS to win, but I think he would give good account of himself, particularly against Jacobs and Saunders. GGG I think just bruises him in a good fight.

I don’t want to question his fighting heart, but dumping the WBC belt seems like a duck. There is no money and no glory to be had at 154 and in my opinion Canelo needs to stop trying to be the king of the Super Weltermiddleweights and just fight. He has the ability and while I don’t think he would win every fight he would win most.

I didn’t think I would be this longwinded, but if you had to choose the best fight to be made in boxing, what would it be and what are the chances of it happening? Be easy! – Rob from GA

The best matchup to be made in my opinion is a flyweight title unification bout, the rematch between RING/WBC champ Roman Gonzalez and WBO/WBA titleholder Juan Estrada. I think chances are good (75% range) that it happens later this year (hopefully in Southern California). There are bigger matches to be made – Canelo-GGG, Kovalev-Ward, Fury-Klitschko winner vs. Wilder or Joshua – but I don’t think those bouts would produce the sustained action (on an elite boxing level) for 12 rounds that Chocolatito and El Gallo will deliver.

That was a hell of a punch by Jermell (or was it Jermall?) on John Jackson. It was Jermell (LOL – I’m not mad atcha, tho, they are the most identical looking identical twins I’ve ever seen – maybe they’re clones). And, yeah, that was a brutal overhand right (and vicious short hook follow-up) he landed on poor Jackson. Add another candidate for knockout of the year.

He was being pretty comprehensively out-boxed but found the range on that right before finishing with that ridiculously clean follow up. Agreed. However, I give Jermell credit for stepping up his pressure, aggression and activity when his trainer cracked the whip between rounds. As soon as he did that, he got to Jackson in a very bad way.

I was surprised at his inability to cut off the ring on a mobile target and that made me wonder about his boxing ability as he continues to step up his competition. I wasn’t that surprised. For starters, boxers are usually troubled by other boxers (particularly those with quick hands that employ a lot of movement). And we’ve seen Charlo struggle with other boxers. I thought Demetrius Hopkins out-boxed him over 12 rounds in 2013 (Hopkins just didn’t get credit for it). He struggled with spoiler Dashon Johnson in 2012 and with Martirosyan last year.

I didn’t really have too many thoughts on the Jermall (which one is it again?) – Austin Trout fight. I think Charlo edged it despite a good close by Trout. Since his loss to Canelo he seems to have regressed a bit and seemed in this fight to be missing something overall. I agree, but I think both boxers were missing something during that fight – follow-up punches and combinations. They seemed content to go tit for tat with single shots for 12 rounds. Charlo would land a big right hand and take a step back. Trout would land a big left hand and take a step back. Rinse and repeat. Neither fighter was able (or willing) to seize control of the fight. Charlo had the edge because of his greater size/power and because he was a little more aggressive.

Moving on to the Erislandy Lara-Vanes Martirosyan fight, I was thoroughly bored (as I am whenever he fights), but I am impressed at his overall ability. I’m equally impressed and unimpressed when I watch Lara fight. I’m impressed by his commitment to his very basic (but very effective) style, by his accuracy and his ability to set traps. However, I am not impressed with his brand of defense. It’s not professional in my opinion. He relies too much on lateral movement and yet opponents who aren’t really adept at cutting the ring off (Angulo, Canelo, Martirosyan) are able to close space and get to his body. And part of the reason they get to his body is the amateurish way he covers up whenever an opponent is in close.

With such good fighters on last night and others waiting in the wings, such has Julian Jackson, Demetrius Andrade, and some of the other fringe contenders, how do you see this shaking out with Canelo? I don’t think we’ll see any of the 154 pounders that were showcased on Showtime Saturday in with Canelo anytime soon. They’re Haymon/Showtime fighters. Canelo is GBP/HBO. Maybe Andrade will be available after his SHO date (vs. Willie Nelson) on June 11.

I would favor him over any of the fighters from last night with the exception of maybe Andrade, but if he really is having such trouble making 154 – which I suspect – where is he to go? I also think Andrade would be live vs. Canelo. I have no idea what Canelo will do if a fight with GGG isn’t made this year. There are rumors that he’s looking at WBO 154-pound titleholder Liam Smith (who fights on June 4) but I don’t see the point in that fight unless he wants to go back down to junior middleweight for the foreseeable future.

He will have no shortage of fighters willing to face him at Caneloweight from 154, but he will not be able to win any titles and none of the 154 fighters command a huge following, which limits his moneymaking potential. Agreed.

The dollars and the lights are at Middleweight, and I think he would definitely be competitive with most of the Top Ten if not even money. Agreed.

I don’t want to question his fighting heart, but dumping the WBC belt seems like a duck. More like a delay and a power move in negotiations, but we’ll see. Hey, thanks for finally writing in to the mailbag Rob. Looking forward to hearing from you again (even if you’re long-winded).

 

HAYE IS EMBARRASSING HIMSELF

Hi Doogie,

First time writer. Thank you for giving me something good to read twice a week.

I once had lots of respect for Mr. David Haye, now not so much. Fighting people who are punch bags at best to set up a fight with someone who peaked 20 years ago is baffling when the Deontay Wilder fight is on a plate for him there now. You can’t call these warm up fights because they are a joke. What’s your thoughts on him at this stage?

Mythical Matchup:
Henry Cooper v Frank Bruno. Two lovable yet limited heavyweights.

Much love. – Hammi, Dunfermline, Scotland

Thanks for the love, Hammi.

No, we can’t really call the cannon fodder Haye has run through in his last two comeback bouts “tune-ups” for any legit heavyweight standout, but I have to figure the 35-year-old former two-division champ knows what he’s doing. Haye has always been business savvy and he’s always had a good grip on his limitations.

If he wants to take his sweet time with getting back into his “groove” (as Dre Ward would say) and if he wants one of his comeback bouts to be what will amount to an exhibition/media circus against Shannon Briggs – and he’s paid well to do so – that’s his prerogative. We don’t have to watch (although the truth is that most of us will pay attention if he fights Briggs, who will actually try to bring the ruckus for a full 30 seconds before suffering a convenient asthma attack).

I think Wilder’s height, reach, power and (most importantly) speed is a very dangerous combination for Haye. If the money is right I can see him roll the dice against the American but he may want to bide his time and see what unfolds with the Fury-Klitschko rematch while watching how Anthony Joshua continues to develop. Like it or not, whether Haye actually proves that he’s still a legit contender, the talented veteran has a name, and thus he has options.

Your Mythical Matchup:

Henry Cooper v Frank Bruno – Cooper was fundamentally sound with a good left hook, one hard enough to hurt Bruno if landed flush, plus the late ’50s/’60s-era contender faced the better overall competition, but I think he would have too much trouble getting in range against the much bigger and rangier 1980s/early ’90s-era contender/beltholder. Cooper would hang tough, spill a lot of blood, but I think Bruno (mainly on the strength of his solid jab) would eventually cut up the much smaller man to a mid-to-late rounds TKO.

ANTI-BOXING BY ERISLANDY LARA

Hey Dougie,

Oh my god, talk about an anti-fan fight. Whoever thinks Lara can beat GGG has to be on drugs.

Because of this, Paulie and mostly terrible boxing in the last year, I just canceled my Showtime subscription.

If Showtime, Lara, Rigo and all the running defensive boxers think that fans are going to continue giving them their money, they are wrong.

We as fans expect a fight, and yes, I understand that there are styles, but come on, running all the time isn’t worth anybody’s money.

Lara: Please don’t cry that they don’t give you credit when you never pay back to the fans. It’s us that pay your salary and for every dollar I spend on you, you are supposed to give something back. There’s a reason Guillermo Rigondeaux hasn’t been featured on HBO anymore, and hopefully Showtime realizes why they are losing subscribers like me.

Thanks Dougie. – Juan Valverde

Damn Juan, that’s harsh and a bit extreme. You’ve really cancelled your Showtime subscription and Lara was the final straw?

I agree that Lara-Martirosyan sucked, but it seems like Showtime finally turned the corner in terms of their programming this year, getting some of the PBC’s top dogs (like Santa Cruz-Frampton) to fight and signing deals with non-PBCers like Ruslan Provodnikov and Anthony Joshua.

What if the network makes the Badou Jack-James DeGale super middleweight title unification bout this fall (which they say is in the works)?

What if the Thurman-Porter winner fights Errol Spence Jr. or Kell Brook on Showtime before the end of the year?

What if Richard Schaefer takes over Mayweather Promotions and assembles the best PBC talent on Showtime (I know these are a lot of “ifs”)? What if Wilder and Joshua fight on Showtime sometime in 2017? Would you re-subscribe?

I’m actually interested in your answers to these hypothetical questions.

I’m a fan of Maliganggi’s commentary and I think he fits perfectly within Showtime’s broadcast crew (which is just as good as HBO’s – and better in some areas – in my opinion), but I wholeheartedly agree with your take on Lara and your message to the Cuban boxer. I’ll add another message:

Please stop using Golovkin’s name to drum up attention. If Martirosyan is walking up on you and banging your hip with left hooks, GGG will cut you in half. ‘Nuff said.

 

HOW DO YOU RATE PARKER?

Hey Dougie,

It was a busy weekend and I’m sure loads of people want your take on things so I’ll stay brief.

How did you rate Joseph Parker? I saw lots of negativity on Twitter (obviously) but before this fight he was criticised for not fighting anyone decent. Well Carlos Takam was a top 10 heavyweight who had fought at the top level, despite the flaws in his performance Parker got the win so fair play to him. Kevin Barry seemed to recognise where the work needed to be done so I expect that Parker will have come out of this bout a better fighter.

The Mandatory vs AJ would probably be early next year, how do you see that going? If Barry feels that it has come to soon would you recommend that he takes it anyway? He’ll certainly get paid well and if he does lose he has time on his side to come again.

Keep up the good work with the Bag. – Joel, UK

Thanks Joel. I think Parker solidified his No. 9 ranking by THE RING with his close/competitive UD over Takam. I view Takam as a gatekeeper (probably the most reliable GK of the heavyweight division at the present time), so Parker is a legit contender in my opinion, albeit barely top 10 and definitely still a work in progress.

I think Parker will grow from this experience. He went the 12-round distance and had to deal with “professional resistance” (as Steve Kim would say) for the first time. The Kiwi needs more quality rounds in order to continue to improve. We know he can punch, we know he’s athletic, and now we know he’s got heart. But he’s going to need rounds against solid opposition to work on the finer points of boxing.

Joshua is still a work in progress too, but the British star is more polished than Parker. If they fought early next year, I’d favor AJ. I don’t think Barry should push for a shot at Joshua (or any other beltholder) for at least another year. Parker is just 24. I see no reason to rush him (regardless of how much money is on the table now – there will be more in the near future).

 

WHY IS IT OK TO DROP WBC TITLE?

Dougie,

I’m a long time fan of the mailbag. Been a reader for years and it seems to me fans usually aren’t wrong to defer to your expertise. In fact, I think you’re as knowledgeable of the game as you are articulate, and that’s obviously saying something.

Now, I don’t mean to question your objectivity, but I fail to understand why you find Canelo’s abdication of the WBC belt acceptable. To Golovkin fans, I believe the intrigue of the Kazakhstan native’s prospective super-fight against the Mexican superstar was largely contingent on the opportunity for their boy to become one step closer to his goal of unifying the division by clinching the WBC championship. I know we can agree that there are tougher matchups at middleweight for ‘GGG’ than Canelo, so what does that really make the one against Alvarez? Casual fans too closely associate stardom and skill, but the hardcore heads know how to distinguish between the two. Anyhow, Golovkin would be a strong B-side against Canelo, and the 25 year old isn’t doing his bank account any favors by not appealing to Golovkin’s fan-base.

Keep up the good work and take care. – Dan, New York

Thanks for the kind words, Dan.

Golden Boy Promotions and K2 Promotions are still talking about a potential Canelo-Golovkin showdown. If (or when) they strike a deal, the WBC title will still be on the line; only Golovkin will be the defending WBC (WBA and IBF) titleholder. Canelo will bring recognition as the “lineal” and RING magazine champion to the big dance.

Feel free to question my objectivity all you want, Dan, I just don’t care that much about who holds the WBC middleweight title. I understand why Canelo vacated it and I’m happy that Golovkin got it. I figured hardcore heads would be happy that Canelo is no longer “holding the belt hostage,” but there’s still a torch-and-pitchfork crowd out there in the Twitterverse looking to lynch the poor ginger for his dastardly transgressions.

I know we can agree that there are tougher matchups at middleweight for ‘GGG’ than Canelo, so what does that really make the one against Alvarez? I don’t know, “the Mismatch that Boxing Demanded”? Pain-Per-View? Beatdown of the Century? Curse of the Redhead? You tell me.

Casual fans too closely associate stardom and skill, but the hardcore heads know how to distinguish between the two. Do they? You sure about that?

Anyhow, Golovkin would be a strong B-side against Canelo, and the 25 year old isn’t doing his bank account any favors by not appealing to Golovkin’s fan-base. I think Canelo needs to be more concerned about his own fan base. If they (the ones who know who Golovkin is) think he’s trying to avoid GGG, some of them will definitely jump ship.

 

DON’T GET IT

Long time reader first time writer so I want you to know that I am officially turning off to your mailbag after 10 years of being a loyal reader.

A columnist is supposed to be a very knowledgeable superfan. By advocating for a catch weight and a delay in the canelo-GGg fight, you are taking a dying sport and further pushing for its demise. Big fights need to happen in boxing sooner than later. Marination was a good idea when the sport was more popular, now then sport needs to prove to the fans that the best are back to fighting the best. This fight needs to happen to bring fans back and help save the sport, further delay just repulses fans even more.

Honestly, these attitudes are not in the best interest of boxing or the fans. Maybe in the best interest of getting the right interviews and sources for stories??? This is definitely to big a change from your days of maxboxing and house of boxing for me.

Sorry Doug

Do the right thing for the sport, use your voice to benefit the fans and the sport. Former fan. – Mike from philly

Mike, I just call things the way I see them. I’m sorry my opinions on the Canelo-GGG fight disturb you so much that you can no longer read this column. I’ll miss your presence (even though you never wrote to me in all those years, I appreciate that you were a regular reader).

Don’t take this the wrong way, but how do you know what’s right for the sport? Just because you’re a passionate fan doesn’t mean you know what’s good for the boxers, their promoters or the overall health of the sport. Canelo-Golovkin happening in September of this year is not going to save boxing. It will be a big deal to mostly hardcore fans and to the casual fans that Canelo brings in. It will do very good business, but it’s not going to make the sport more popular in the U.S. It can be a much bigger fight in 2017. It can attract more mainstream attention in a year or so. It can do record business, however, even if it’s a great fight it won’t improve the overall popularity of boxing in the U.S. And if the fight doesn’t happen, boxing will not die. I promise.

You’re putting too much importance on Canelo’s actions (and in doing so, you’re putting too much importance on my opinions of his actions – and I think you’re overacting to both).

A columnist is supposed to be a very knowledgeable superfan. Nope. A columnist is a professional writer who has knowledge of the subject that he/she writes about and he/she gives an informed and honest opinion of that subject in an entertaining manner. Columnists are not superfans. Superfans are not columnists. Superfans are often out of their minds. They scream and cry for something to happen and when it does they bitch and moan if it doesn’t transpire the way they wanted it to, or they just move on to the next fix like ungrateful children. Sometimes they want to see a matchup between the killer of a particular division and an up-and-coming star – like Felix Trinidad vs. Fernando Vargas – and when the young gun gets the career beat out of him, they point the finger at the promotional company and accuse them of “ruining” the poor kid. (Yeah, I’ve been covering boxing for a long time and I know you f__kers.)

By advocating for a catch weight and a delay in the canelo-GGg fight, you are taking a dying sport and further pushing for its demise. First of all, I’m not advocating for catchweights or delays. I don’t want to see Canelo-Golovkin at a catchweight. But I realize that Canelo’s going to have to outgrow the ability to make 155 before he stops using it as a bargaining chip in this particular negotiation. And I’m OK with this fight being put off until 2017. It doesn’t ruin my day at all. If it ruins yours, that’s too bad. It’s not my problem. I think GGG has other significant fights at 160 that he can make this year, I know that he will gain more crossover popularity with each fight, and I believe that Canelo-GGG will be a much bigger event in May 2017. Those opinions are not pushing for the demise of the sport. You can’t see past your manic hardcore fan passion for the sport or your need for instant gratification (and, again, this is not my problem).

Big fights need to happen in boxing sooner than later. Says who? You? You were probably one of those fans clamoring for Vargas-Trinidad and then cursing Main Events for putting El Feroz in harms way “too soon.”

Marination was a good idea when the sport was more popular, now then sport needs to prove to the fans that the best are back to fighting the best. I hear what you are saying but shouldn’t Canelo prove that he’s the second (or at least the third or fourth) best middleweight in the world before taking on the consensus No. 1? Or does holding the WBC belt and RING title automatically make him the best in your “superfan” mind? The truth is that Canelo has held recognition as the lineal champ for six months. He’s made one defense against a welterweight contender, and guess what? Had he fought a top-10 middleweight instead of Amir Khan on May 7 he still wouldn’t have proven that he’s “the best” and therefor ready for “the other best” of the 160-pound division (GGG), unless he fought and beat Daniel Jacobs or Billy Joe Saunders on that night. I agree the best should fight the best, but they should do so when they are ready and when the fight makes the most sense for both.

This fight needs to happen to bring fans back and help save the sport, further delay just repulses fans even more. No, what it does right now is frustrate “superfans” that can’t help but obsess over the s__t (God Bless ’em). There is still a legion of casual fans that don’t know who GGG is. If you’re a former hardcore fan who left the sport in recent years, this fight probably won’t bring you back. If you’re a general sports fan, Canelo-GGG won’t bring over to the “dark side” – not yet, anyway.

 

NEW TO THE MAILBAG

Hi Dougie,

I found your mailbag about 6 months ago when I was searching for information before a fight. I liked your open honesty and then went on that evening before the fight to read every mailbag back over at least two years, and now it’s one of the first things I look to when I turn on my computer. It’s nice to hear a professional opinion that isn’t like a robot, and too scared to upset somebody.

In two years time who do you see being Heavyweight Champions? And do you think Luke Campbell can win a world title one day?

Thank you and keep up the good work. Martin. – Hull, England

Thanks for the kind words, Martin. I’m glad you found the mailbag column. I just lost a self-described “loyal reader,” according to the last email, so I was in need of some new blood.

In two years time who do you see being Heavyweight Champions? Joshua and Luis Ortiz.

And do you think Luke Campbell can win a world title one day? Yes, if he’s moved right. He doesn’t have too much time to develop because he’s already 28, but with his amateur credentials and natural ability I don’t think it will take more than 12-18 months if he’s put in with the right opponents. Campbell is a rangy southpaw who knows how to use his height and reach. He’s got a crafty and dangerous left hand and I think the loss to Yvan Mendy lit a fire under his ass to where he wants to knock dudes out whenever he can. However, I’d like to see him develop his jab more. It seemed like just a range finder against Gary Sykes. It needs to become a weapon, a tool that will not only help him control distance (which he does well) and find range for his big left, but also wear down opponents.

 

WHEN LOVE AND HATE COLLIDE

Hey Dougie, hope you are well, I was thinking that the mood needed to be lightened so I came up with the following. I thought what do most people hate in boxing? And I came up with Catchweights.

Then I thought what do people love in boxing? And I came up with Dougie Fisher answering Mythical Matchups.

So here goes and let’s have some fun:

Carlos Zarate vs Marco Antonio Barrera @ 120.

Erik Morales vs Salvador Sanchez @ 124.

Sandy Saddler vs Alexis Arguello @ 128.

Azumah Nelson vs Jose Luis Castillo @ 132.5.

Roberto Duran vs Julio Cesar Chavez @ 137.5.

Antonio Cervantes vs Oscar De La Hoya @ 143.5.

Felix Trinidad vs Wilfredo Benitez @ 151.

Tommy Hearns vs Sergio Martinez @ 157.

Mike McCallum vs Joe Calzaghe @ 167.

Andre Ward vs Matthew Saad Muhammad @ 174.

Bob Foster & Michael Spinks vs Roy Jones Jnr @ 187.5.

Hope you have fun with this should you choose to print it. Take care, peace out and much love from the UK. – Mary

Wow, thanks Mary. Great idea. (Just what the doctor ordered after Mike from Philly’s bummer email.)

I did have fun with this list of mythical catchweight matchups (and for the record I tried to answer them as fast as possible – feel free to disagree with all of them!). Here goes:

Carlos Zarate vs Marco Antonio Barrera @ 120 – Zarate by late TKO

Erik Morales vs Salvador Sanchez @ 124 – Sanchez by close but unanimous decision

Sandy Saddler vs Alexis Arguello @ 128 – Saddler by close, maybe split decision (bloody brutal fight)

Azumah Nelson vs Jose Luis Castillo @ 132.5 – Nelson by close, majority decision (bloody brutal fight)

Roberto Duran vs Julio Cesar Chavez @ 137.5 – Duran by late TKO in a great ring war

Antonio Cervantes vs Oscar De La Hoya @ 143.5 – De La Hoya by close, maybe controversial decision (if it’s the Jesus Rivero-trained version of The Golden Boy)

Felix Trinidad vs Wilfredo Benitez @ 151 – Benitez by close but unanimous decision

Tommy Hearns vs Sergio Martinez @ 157 – Hearns mid-rounds TKO in a shootout

Mike McCallum vs Joe Calzaghe @ 167 – Calzaghe by close, majority decision

Andre Ward vs Matthew Saad Muhammad @ 174 – Saad Muhammad by late, come-from-behind TKO

Bob Foster & Michael Spinks vs Roy Jones Jnr @ 187.5 – Foster by mid-round KO in a shootout; Spinks by late-rounds “Jinx” in a tactical boxing match.

 

 

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and Instangram.

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