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Dougie’s Monday mailbag

Fighters Network
30
May

BELLEW-MAKUBU

Damn, I’m hurting right now! Going to drink and smoke too much now. Respect to Tony Bellew, he did what I thought he couldn’t do.

The way he was fighting I thought he was setting himself up for the usual Iluinga Makabu Dougie Fischer “One Hitter Quitter”, but he gambled and it paid off.



How do you see these two matchups if it happens?

Bellew vs Lebedev
Makabu vs Mchunu II

Regards. – Droeks Malan, South Africa

I would favor Denis Lebedev (THE RING’s No. 2-rated cruiserweight and the WBA and IBF titleholder) to beat Bellew in a very good scrap that probably goes the distance. (I hope that particular title unification bout happens before the end of 2017. If it does, THE RING’s vacant cruiserweight title could be on the line.) The Russian veteran is a powerful southpaw who is built a lot like Makabu (and his style isn’t unlike the Congo-born South African’s) but he’s got way more experience/ring savvy, better whiskers, and I think he’s fighting at his best form under the guidance of Freddie Roach. Still, The Bomber would make it a fight.

I’d favor Thabiso Mchunu to even the score against Makabu if they fought a rematch. He’ll be better prepared for Makabu’s style and probably a healthy amount of respect for the Jo-Berg resident’s power (enough to perhaps stick it out a bit en route to a close decision).

Respect to Tony Bellew, he did what I thought he couldn’t do. Indeed. I didn’t count him out of that fight (especially in Bellew’s hometown of Liverpool) but I didn’t think he’d get Makabu out of there in that fashion that early in the fight. That was a statement fight if I’ve ever seen one, and the unbridled emotion Bellew exhibited the moment the fight was stopped, in the respect and empathy for Makabu, and during his post-fight interview was priceless. The UK boxing scene is as strong as I’ve ever seen it right now and I think it’s good for the cruiserweight division (and the rest of the sport) to have a major titleholder with Bellew’s bombastic personality and fighting heart.

THE DIVISIVE SPORT OF BOXING

Hi, Doug,

Your mailbags remain the best bi-weekly source of boxing info on the web.

Let me get right to it: even if every boxer had the same skin tone, there’d still be controversies and tribalism. I watched the BoxNation feed (of the David Avanesyan-Shane Mosley fight), and what was interesting wasn’t how the studio guys in the UK pulled for one guy while the American broadcast team pulled for another, it was that the Americans were also pulling for Mosley’s son who was in there with another African American. Then the scores – the UK guys thought it was wider, Steve Kim had it very close. Ask 10 different doctors, get 10 different diagnoses.

Money Mayweather is a god to some part of the “demographic” (great abstract way of avoiding naming names). He’s a black man’s Oprah. Went to jail and got to keep his bling. He made the big time. Tremendous business acumen or marketing on Money’s part. Pious people don’t like to disparage or hear someone bismirch their god(s). Doesn’t make it right, just the way it is.

Boxing is naturally divisive. Even Canelo Alvarez dared to defy the weight classes, which have changed before (expansion), and can change again. But the major problem with the sport is with all these boxing weight divisions, the best it can do is offer up a past-his-prime 44-year-old and a fringe contender. That’s the highlight of the weekend? GTFO.

Boxing becomes the #1 sport again when we start to see meaningful fights every single weekend. Screw politics. There’s enough talent to make it happen. As the economies around the world continue to worsen I expect we’ll see this vision become a reality.

And if you know anyone at ESPN.com, ask them why they continue to show Adonis Stevenson’s shameless Twitter plugs. I’ll pay attention when he earns it. In the meantime, $%#* him. – BPSK

LOL. Thank you for the very kind words about this column and for sharing your thoughts and opinions.

I know why Stevenson’s Tweets appear on ESPN.com’s boxing page (and in the website’s defense they also show the Tweets of boxers, networks and promoters not affiliated with the organization the WBC light heavyweight titleholder belongs to – including Golden Boy), I don’t need to ask anyone.

Even if every boxer had the same skin tone, there’d still be controversies and tribalism. You ain’t lyin’.

I watched the BoxNation feed (of the David Avanesyan-Shane Mosley fight), and what was interesting wasn’t how the studio guys in the UK pulled for one guy while the American broadcast team pulled for another, it was that the Americans were also pulling for Mosley’s son who was in there with another African American. In defense of the American commentators, they were under the impression that Mosley Jr. was “blacker” than Yong (who had darker skin but was part Chinese). (By the way, my wife, who may have a slight crush on ‘Lil Shane,’ thinks Mosley looks part Asian.) None of this response was intended to be taken seriously. (Like my man Canelo dares to defy the weight classes, I dare to defy racial barriers through sarcasm!)

Money Mayweather is a god to some part of the “demographic” (great abstract way of avoiding naming names). True. Again, for the record, “the demographic” is not a term that I came up with. I don’t have a problem with it but I’m not using it to avoiding “naming names” (and, as I’ve stated before – in Friday’s mailbag and repeatedly on my Twitter account – I’m more than willing to discuss and debate it’s meaning and use with anyone who is offended or perplexed by it. I have done so, to an extent, on social media.)

He’s a black man’s Oprah. I’m not gonna touch this if that’s OK with you.

Pious people don’t like to disparage or hear someone bismirch their god(s). Doesn’t make it right, just the way it is. I can’t really disagree with you.

Boxing is naturally divisive. Very true, but it also brings people together (including those of different backgrounds) at the same time. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

But the major problem with the sport is with all these boxing weight divisions, the best it can do is offer up a past-his-prime 44-year-old and a fringe contender. I don’t think the pairing of Avanesyan and Mosley had as much to do with the plethora of weight classes as it did the WBA’s liberal title policy (which saw fit to recognize Avanesyan as the “interim champ”) and 147-pound rankings (where Mosley was rated No. 3).

That’s the highlight of the weekend? Depends on who you ask, BPSK. Depending on what part of the world you reside in it might have been Bellew’s KO of Makabu, or Donnie Nietes’ stoppage of Raul Garcia, or Ricky Burn’s TKO of Michele DiRocco, or Krzysztof Wlodarczyk’s drubbing of Kai Kurzawa, or Kosei Tanaka’s knockout of Rene Patilano, or maybe even Miguel Vazquez’s decision over Erick Bone (OK, that one’s a stretch but you get my point).

Boxing becomes the #1 sport again when we start to see meaningful fights every single weekend. Agreed.

Screw politics. Screw ’em!

There’s enough talent to make it happen. Agreed. As the economies around the world continue to worsen I expect we’ll see this vision become a reality. Agreed.

 

MYTHICAL MOSLEY MATCHUP

Doug –

Could Mosley have handled Canelo Alvarez ten years ago? – Kevin Key, Duluth, MN

On a good night in 2006, I think Mosley could have outpointed Canelo, or at the very least given the current version of the Mexican star a very hard distance fight.

 

ABOUT “DEOMGRAPHICS” AND RANDOM STUFF

I’ll TRY to keep this short.

Your comments about Demographics are spot on. I’m an African American male that follows boxing and I get called an “Uncle Tom” for my views about Fluid, since he turned into “Money” Mayweather.

I called him a great boxer, not the best ever, and boring. I felt the wrath of Mayweather fans. I complained about his endless excuses for the 5 years he avoided (talked around PED’s, Arum, retirement) the Pacquiao fight. You bring up the fact that Mayweather settled Pacquiao’s case and they suddenly have selective memory, followed by venom spitting from their mouths.

But, I’m a Mayweather hater for pointing that out. Fast forward to the hate Gennady Golovkin gets from these Mayweather Nut Huggers, who are now Andre Ward fans. They argue that he wants Ward to come down to 164, but won’t fight Canelo at 155. I figured Golovkin must have won The Ring’s Super Middleweight Title while I fell asleep during the 3rd round of the Mayweather/Maidana fight and woke up sometime after Triple G gave up the title and moved back down to Middleweight.

But, I’m a Sambo for wanting to see an email that Ward agreed to Golovkin’s demands to a 50/50 split at 164. Lastly, I read them say Golovkin would drop weight to fight Fluid at 154, but won’t fight Canelo at 155. I guess they forget Fluid is a Welterweight and Golovkin is a Middleweight and I could be wrong, but weren’t catchweight designed in boxing for the purpose of boxers in different weight classes meeting in the middle?

But, I’m an Uncle Tom for… You get the point. Correct me if I’m wrong and thanks for reading. – Jeremy, Louisiana

Damn, leave it to a Louisiana brotha to tell it like it is. Thanks for doing just that, Jeremy (no, you’re not wrong, and, yes, I know that sort of real talk is not going to go over well with “the demographic”).

Did you come up with that “Fluid” nickname for Mayweather? How the f__k did I miss that one? That’s brilliant. That beats “Fraud.” I’m going to continue to try to avoid communicating with The Money Tweeters as much as possible but the next time one of them bugs me a little too much with his twerp worship I’m gonna spit some “Fluid” at him.

Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts and opinions (and for letting everyone know that it’s okay for African-American fans to have GGG’s back – LOL).

 

RICKY BURNS NOT SURE WHAT TO THINK

Hi Doug,

Hope you are well,

Just watched Ricky Burns outclass a limited DiRocco. In the current state of boxing how do you rate Ricky’s achievements?

He has won world titles and you can’t hold that against anyone, it’s to be commended. He trains and fights with great heart too, which the fans love. But is him becoming a 3-weight world champion a sign of his performances or with boxing today? DiRocco was ranked 33 on boxrec…

Just interested in your thoughts. Thanks. – Adam, Sheffield

Against DiRocco, I thought Burns recaptured much of the form he had when he was on top of his game at 130 and 135 pounds (four-to-five years ago). His technique was tight, his reflexes/timing was there, his legs were fresh, the coordination was there, etc., but, I keep in mind that his opponent was – as you put it – “limited.” The fact that the WBA’s vacant 140-pound belt was on the line added some significance to this fight (mostly for Burns and his fans), but we can’t go crazy with the results because Burns did what he was supposed to do with a foe who had never faced world-class opposition (he “outclassed” him as you noted).

Having said that, if Burns is healthy and has truly regained his form/confidence, I wouldn’t count him out against lower five or six of THE RING’s junior welterweight rankings.

But is him becoming a 3-weight world champion a sign of his performances or with boxing today? Nothing against Burns, he’s a favorite of mine, but it’s a sign of this era of boxing – 17 weight classes and four major sanctioning organizations (one of which, the WBA, often crowns three beltholders in each division).

DiRocco was ranked 33 on boxrec… He was ranked No. 1 by the WBA.

RANDOMNESS

Hey Dougie,

I’ve written in on a couple of occasions, hopefully I make the cut this time around. Your mailbag has been giving off a foul smell as of late, which definitely isn’t coming from your end, it’s all the GGG/Canelo questions everyone keeps sending your way. Thought I should change it up a bit, so yeah here we go.

February 2014 was a key period in my life as a general sports fan, I had instantly quit watching MMA and Soccer the moment I started watching boxing. Reason being, boxing was just on another level in terms of excitement. Maidana/Broner and Bradley/Provodnikov were what was recommended to me by a close friend, after that there was no looking back. Watching classic fights on Youtube was what I was doing on a regular basis. With the likes of Gatti/Ward, Vasquez/R.Marquez, Barrera/Morales/Pacquaio/J.M.Marquez, I had fallen in love with the sport.

However since, both 2014 and 2015 have been poor in terms of action within the ring, why do you think that is? I actually think there are two main culprits, Floyd Mayweather and Bob Arum. Mayweather because of his boring style and Bob Arum because of his constant unnecessary need of recycling fights along with him having feuds with big promoters (Oscar & Big Al) during those years. If Bob wasn’t around, no one would accept the trash Al is giving us, it’s only because Bob Arum has lowered the standards significantly of what is acceptable today that makes him look good in hindsight compared to Al.

I found this mailbag around the summer of 2014, along the way I had taken note that you are a huge comic book fan, which is another thing we have in common. I wanted to get your thoughts on DC Rebirth. I’m actually excited, DC just needs a new wave a fresh air, just like boxing does. Also having it at $2.99 doesn’t hurt, Oscar and Bob should take note and lower PPV prices, it will only benefit them in the longer run.

I wanted to shoot you some quick fire questions at you.

Which boxer do you think can break out in similar fashion to Steph Curry?

How can DC retake the lead over Marvel? There’s a huge gap between the two right now. I like to compare DC to Al Haymon/Bob Arum and Oscar to Marvel.

I heard some rumours Bob Arum is interested in putting the Trump/Sanders debate on PPV. 80% goes to charity and the remaining 20% I assume goes in Bob’s back pocket. I’ve NEVER witnessed greed like that of Bob Arum’s. Don’t get me wrong I love the interviews he gives and respect him immensely for his views on the mismatch of Canelo/Khan and his blunt opinions on Floyd’s fighting style etc. but he’s cancer and boxing deserves better. Thoughts?

What athlete outside of combat sports do you think has the best physical tools to succeed in boxing?

Who’s better at developing their guy, Bob Arum or Professor X?

Finally, I’ll leave you with some MMs.

Darkseid vs Apocalypse

Wolverine vs Thor

Thanos vs Doomsday

Daredevil vs Deadpool

Breadman vs Max Kellerman – Boxing Knowledge

Manny Pacquaio vs Shane Mosley (135)

Paul WIlliams vs Errol Spence (147)

Marcos Maidana vs Ruslan Provodnikov (140)

Keep up the great work. – Parzival, N.Y.

Well, this email was certainly change of pace. Thanks for sharing your many thoughts and opinions – some of which your fellow boxing fans will agree or disagree with (like your Arum rants) and much of which they won’t give a damn about (all the comic book s__t) – I’ll try to answer and respond to as much as I can.

Your mailbag has been giving off a foul smell as of late, which definitely isn’t coming from your end, it’s all the GGG/Canelo questions everyone keeps sending your way. Sorry about that, Parzy. The Canelo-GGG Saga has definitely gotten out of hand. Maybe the fans who are obsessed with what both fighters might do next should try reading comic books to get their minds off it.

However since, both 2014 and 2015 have been poor in terms of action within the ring, why do you think that is? I think the sport is in a transition phase (in the U.S. mainly). There’s an old guard that’s on its way out – and until they decide to retire and stay retired they’re going to approach boxing as more of a business than a sport – and there a lot of talented titleholders/contenders and promising up-and-comers who either haven’t crossed over yet or are not yet ready to face each other. I think we’ll be out of this phase by next year.

I actually think there are two main culprits, Floyd Mayweather and Bob Arum. Mayweather because of his boring style and Bob Arum because of his constant unnecessary need of recycling fights along with him having feuds with big promoters (Oscar & Big Al) during those years. I don’t think it’s fair or rational to blame the current state of the U.S. boxing scene all on Mayweather and Arum. The power brokers in boxing have been feuding and “recycling” fights since 1910s, and boxers with styles deemed “boring” or “too technical” by fans and media have been at the top of the sport for decades (from Harold Johnson to Larry Holmes to Pernell Whitaker to Bernard Hopkins and the late Vernon Forrest).

I wanted to get your thoughts on DC Rebirth. I’ve followed the story arcs of “Justice League: Darkseid War” and “The Final Days of Superman,” which have set the stage in many ways for DC’s latest reboot and it looks interesting (which is to say I like what I read in “DC Universe: Rebirth” #1, which I bought last Wednesday). I wasn’t a big fan of The New 52 (DC’s last revamp, enacted five years ago). I’ve been reading comic books since the 1970s, so I don’t like it when DC or Marvel wipes out entire decades of continuity (but I also realize they need to keep up with the times and draw in new readers with fresh takes of their iconic characters). I haven’t read anything about “Rebirth” (because I like to be surprised) but it looks like DC is bringing back some characters and continuity that was left out of The New 52, revamping the origins of some of its major characters and somehow bringing in the characters from Alan Moore’s Watchmen universe. I admit I’m intrigued and a little excited by this. I have no idea if it will work but I’m content to let it play out.

Which boxer do you think can break out in similar fashion to Steph Curry? I don’t want to jinx the Brit, but if he proves to be able to take a good punch and he keeps developing over the next year or so, I think Anthony Joshua has a shot.

How can DC retake the lead over Marvel? This DC Rebirth thing looks like a step in the right direction, but what do I know? I just read comic books, I don’t worry about the business models of the major publishing companies or the overall industry. (I’m not that level of fan.)

There’s a huge gap between the two right now. I like to compare DC to Al Haymon/Bob Arum and Oscar to Marvel. You think DC’s struggling that bad, eh? I know the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice movie sucked, but jeezÔǪ.

I heard some rumours Bob Arum is interested in putting the Trump/Sanders debate on PPV. So?

80% goes to charity and the remaining 20% I assume goes in Bob’s back pocket. Yeah, I guess. So what? Why would that piss you off? Why do boxing fans believe it’s wrong for promoters to make any money?

I’ve NEVER witnessed greed like that of Bob Arum’s. I don’t know, I think Don King, Richard Schaefer and Haymon can give him a run for his money.

Don’t get me wrong I love the interviews he gives and respect him immensely for his views on the mismatch of Canelo/Khan and his blunt opinions on Floyd’s fighting style etc. but he’s cancer and boxing deserves better. Thoughts? I don’t think Arum’s character defect is greed. I think it’s ego/hubris/pride, whatever you want to call it. He gets crazy with it. He’s a living example of that old idiom “cutting your nose off to spite your face.” Arum has done things that have hurt boxing (and his own company) but he has also done many things that have fed

alt

Photo by Chris Farina

and enhanced the sport over several decades. Arum promoted or co-promoted many of the fights that made me a hardcore boxing fan, including Leonard-Duran I, Hagler-Hearns and Hagler-Leonard. He helped develop Hagler from a champ noticed only by hardcore heads and New England-area fans to a star fighter respected by the general public. He helped Roberto Duran rebound from his “No Mas” humiliation and win titles at junior middleweight and middleweight in the 1980s. He helped George Foreman regain the heavyweight title and succeed with his historic middle-age comeback. He helped develop and extend the Hispanic boxing market in the U.S. He developed two of the biggest crossover stars/money makers of the past 20 years: Oscar De La Hoya and Mayweather, and he had a major hand in evolving Manny Pacquiao into the global icon that he is. Even some of those fights you mentioned that helped make YOU a diehard fan were promoted or co-promoted by Arum (Barrera-Morales I, II and II, Pacquiao-Marquez/Morales/Barrera, Bradley-Provodnikov). Arum has contributed too much to the sport to be viewed as a “cancer.”

What athlete outside of combat sports do you think has the best physical tools to succeed in boxing? I have no idea. I don’t pay attention to other sports. I’m too busy collecting comic books.

Who’s better at developing their guy, Bob Arum or Professor X? Xavier (and the bald omega-level telepath’s prot├®g├®s are generally more loyal than the fighters Arum has developed).

Your (very) mythical matchups:

Darkseid-v-Apocalypse_mailbagDarkseid vs Apocalypse – Darkseid absolutely destroys Apocalypse and all of his other knockoffs (yes, that includes Thanos, and maybe even Darth Vader) that have popped up since the late, great Jack Kirby brought him to life (or is that “anti-life”?) in 1970. (In case you’re wondering how the Ruler of Apokolips would fare in a in WWE-style three-man “anything goes” pro wrestling match against Thanos and Apocalypse, watch this silly YouTube vid. And that’s EXACTLY how it would go down!)

Wolverine vs Thor – The son of Odin brings the thunder (literally) and knocks Wolvie the f__k out.

Thanos vs Doomsday – Thanos (he’d probably find a way to make Doomsy his slave)

Daredevil vs Deadpool – In a boxing match, I’d go with Daredevil on points (it’s probably impossible to KO Wade with his healing factor), but street rules (including the use of weapons), I’d have to go with the Merc with the Mouth.

Breadman vs Max Kellerman – Boxing Knowledge – I gotta give Bread the edge in this one because he’s got a sharp mind and knows the sport’s history (as does Max) but he also has insight as a top up-and-coming trainer.

Manny Pacquaio vs Shane Mosley (135) – Mosley by late stoppage in a classic.

Paul Williams vs Errol Spence (147) – Williams by late stoppage or close decision.

Marcos Maidana vs Ruslan Provodnikov (140) – Maidana by split decision in a brutal, bloody slugfest (it would probably be right at home in a Wolverine, Deadpool or Punisher comic).

THE MAILBAG

Hello Doug,

I’m writing from France to tell you that I’m a big fan of your mailbag even if I disagree with you about GGG & Mayweather.

Keep the good work. – Ibrahim

Thanks Ibrahim. You’re the man and you’re probably right about GGG and Mayweather (unless, of course, you think Floyd can beat him).

 

 

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Periscope.

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