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Dougie’s Friday mailbag

17
Jun

Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank

HI-TECH & WAVERING PROVO

Doug,

Another terrific performance from Vasyl Lomachenko on Saturday. As you know he’s been a favorite of mine for awhile. It’s fun to watch a fighter with that much talent use it with bad intentions. He may have the ultra-skill set that draws comparisons with Rigondeaux and Floyd Mayweather, but I feel like he has a whole different attitude towards his job as an entertainer. I think that uppercut-right hook combo leads the KO of the Year discussion.

How do you think he does once he faces a fighter with faster hands? Do you see that or any other trait bothering him in future opponents?

On another note I was sad to hear of Ruslan Provodnikov’s comments after his loss to John Molina, (did the a__holes at Bell Canada cut Showtime boxing from their programming? I heard about this online).

I hope he retires or rededicates himself because he’s in no man’s land if he doesn’t, given his style. Either way I wish that crazy bastard nothing but the best.

MMUs:

Loma vs Morales at 126

Loma vs Pacquiao at 130

Peace. – WS

As a Lomachenko fan you’re going to have to get used to riding in a full bandwagon if the Ukrainian southpaw continues to put on performances like he did against Rocky Martinez. Those rare boxers that can combine elite-level talent, athleticism, skill and technique into a versatile-but-aggressive style AND close the show with a cold-ass KO are the kinds that appeal to both hardcore heads and casual fans. That’s what made Roy Jones Jr. so special at middleweight and super middleweight.

I agree that his attitude separates him from fellow elite amateur-turned-elite-pro boxers, such as Rigo and Floyd.

I think that uppercut-right hook combo leads the KO of the Year discussion. I agree, but there have been more than a few chilling one-hitter-quitters so far this year (including Canelo-Khan, Gassiev-Shimmell, and Ochoa-Gonzalez).

How do you think he does once he faces a fighter with faster hands? Based on the Gary Russell Jr. fight, I think Loma will do just fine. It’s going to take a lot more than speed to trouble him.

Do you see that or any other trait bothering him in future opponents? I think the best way to get to a boxer is to crowd him with smart pressure. Boxers – even uber-talents like Loma – need space to operate and ample time to think. A volume-punching pressure fighter who is crafty enough to get inside and smother Loma for three minutes of each round can throw him off his game. Orlando Salido was able to do it with a weight advantage when Loma was still green in the pro ranks. I don’t think the Mexican veteran can do it again, but a fresher and slightly more technical version of “Siri” could do it (think of a 130-pound version of Abner Mares circa 2011-2012).

On another note I was sad to hear of Ruslan Provodnikov’s comments after his loss to John Molina. Hey man, don’t cry for Provo. You live by the sword, you die by it. Generally speaking, ultra-aggressive pressure fighters don’t have long boxing careers. The great Joe Frazier was pretty much done after the “Thrilla in Manila,” and that was his 35th pro fight. He finished his hall-of-fame career with only 37 pro bouts. That’s why a fighter like Salido, a 20-year veteran of the game with 61 bouts under his belt, is so special.

I hope he retires or rededicates himself because he’s in no man’s land if he doesn’t, given his style. Either way I wish that crazy bastard nothing but the best. Likewise. I think he takes a break and comes back for one more run, giving us at least two more memorable fights.

Your mythical matchups:

Loma vs Morales at 126 – I’ve had this one before, and although I know it draws the wrath of Morales fans, I gotta go with Loma via close decision. Erik is super bad, but he wasn’t a world-beater at featherweight.

Loma vs Pacquiao at 130 – I think the version of Loma we saw in his junior lightweight debut would be able to outbox the Pac-Monster, survive a few wobbly moments, and earn a controversial split decision.

LOMA AND THE POUND FOR POUND

Dougie,

Following on from my last letter to you: https://www.ringtv.com/news/414771-dougies-monday-mailbag-270

I’m happy that Vasyl Lomachenko has finally made the Ring p4p list.

Still only a novice in the pro game, but I think that based on ability – there can be an argument for Loma being p4p #1. Would you agree?

Do you think Chocolatito/GGG/Kovalev/Ward have more skills, better footwork and movement than Loma? I have not seen better movement, footwork, combination punches, accuracy and power in a fighter as long as I can remember.

How would you see a Lomachenko vs Rigondeaux if it ever happened?

Mythical matchups:

Prince Naseem Hamed vs Erik Morales

Erik Morales vs Floyd Mayweather (lightweight)

Chris Eubank Snr vs Chris Eubank Jr

Regards. – Pete Nightingale, Northampton, England

I’m glad Lomachenko’s inclusion in THE RING’s pound-for-pound top 10 (at No. 7) has made your day. I know how important mythical rankings are to fans these days.

Still only a novice in the pro game, but I think that based on ability – there can be an argument for Loma being p4p #1. Would you agree? Yeah, based on pure ability, Loma’s as elite as anyone ranked in the top five.

Do you think Chocolatito/GGG/Kovalev/Ward have more skills, better footwork and movement than Loma? I don’t think their footwork or movement is superior to Loma’s but in terms of skill and effectiveness I think they are on par with the amateur legend. Let me put it to you this way: if those four pound-for-pound players fought the equivalent of Rocky Martinez at their weight class they would have dominated him just as handily as Loma did. Would Roman Gonzalez maneuver around a 112-pound Martinez the way Loma did? No, of course not. That’s not Chocolatito’s style. He would walk down and beat down “flyweight Rocky” to a mid-to-late stoppage with relentless body-head combos. Would Golovkin or Kovalev befuddle a middleweight/175-pound Martinez en route to a cold stoppage as Loma scored with his right hook? Probably not, but they’d beat that ass and get the KO nonetheless. Ward probably would not stop a 168-to-175-pound Martinez but he would shut him down and control every round of the fight to a lopsided unanimous decision. Loma has an extremely eye-catching boxing style but the bottom line in winning or losing or where we ultimate rank a boxer is in how effective he is.

How would you see a Lomachenko vs Rigondeaux if it ever happened? I favor Loma by UD or late stopapge

Your mythical matchups:

Prince Naseem Hamed vs Erik Morales – Morales by competitive and wildly entertaining UD or MD.

Erik Morales vs Floyd Mayweather (lightweight) – Mayweather by competitive UD.

Chris Eubank Snr vs Chris Eubank Jr – Senior by decision in a one-sided, tactical fight.

 

COACH SCHWARTZ AND DOUGIE

Dougie –

I’m in awe. Just read the Monday Mailbag and watched the video with Dave Schwartz. Good Lord, you’re more than just a world-class writer. You can talk and jump rope, even with that touch of grey. (I had grey hair when I had hair.) But remembering all the WBC welterweight champions . . . totally amazing. We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!

Thanks for making Mondays and Fridays special. – Ken Kozberg, Oakham, MA

Thanks for the props (and for noticing my silver fox ‘do – that’s real gray, homie, I didn’t spray that on!).

Coach Schwartz and I do those videos live on Periscope every Sunday morning (usually at 9 a.m. PT). I enjoy doing them. They keep the boxing part of my brain (which accounts for about 90% of the of the gray matter in my skull) as sharp as it can be and it enhances my workout. (Talking and skipping rope ain’t easy, and the rope skipping helps keep my heart rate up and legs loose for the longer sprints – 300s and 400s – that we do after the Periscope.) It’s also fun to answer questions from fans (when the sunlight – or lack thereof – permits Coach to read ’em). Best of all, you guys get to hear from Dave, a true boxing aficionado with the perspective of following the sport for seven decades.

We won’t be able to do it this Sunday because I will be out of town for my grandmother’s funeral, but we’ll resume it the following Sunday and maybe expand it to twice a week during July and August.

 

LIVE FROM UCLA’S DRAKE STADIUM

Dougie,

Watched your Live with Coach Schwartz Periscope – very well done on the WBC 147-pound history!

Track and boxing are really the only sports I follow hardcore, and my knowledge of track & field history is stronger than in boxing, even though I like boxing better. So I totally know who Rafer Johnson is, and I can’t believe he’s still hitting the track every day after all these years. He was one of my dad’s favourites when my dad was a teenager.

UCLA track is legendary itself. To be able to pick the brain of a guy who possibly coached Willie Banks, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and Evelyn Ashford, is something else. Evelyn Ashford is my favourite female track star ever. Just watch that seemingly-effortless, smooth stride of hers on youtube videos. Cheers. – Bill

Wow. I thought I was the only combination boxing/track-and-field fan.

Ashford is my all-time favorite sprinter (male or female). Mary (Decker) Slaney was my favorite female distance runner to watch. I thought her form was perfect (especially for middle-distance, 800 and 1500 meters). And I followed all of the middle-distance aces/star milers of the 1980s (the British standouts like Sebastian Coe, Steve Ovett and Steve Cram; Moroccan master Said Aouita; and the American standouts Steve Scott and Jim Spivey) closer than I did the boxing standouts of the same period, such as Marvin Hagler, Hector Camacho, Donald Curry, even Mike Tyson (until Sugar Ray Leonard came back to challenge Hagler in ’87 and dragged me over to the dark side forever).

Track and boxing are really the only sports I follow hardcore, and my knowledge of track & field history is stronger than in boxing, even though I like boxing better. I used to be able to give the history of the mile world record from Sir Roger Banister’s first sub-4-minute mile up to the present until about 1988 or ’89. By the summer of ’90 boxing overtook my passion for following world-class track and field closely, but I still have love for both sports.

I did alright with the WBC welterweight title lineage (almost got all the way back to Leonard. Couldn’t recall who Milton McCrory fought for the vacant belt in 1983 – it was Colin Jones. If I could have gotten to Leonard, I could have gone back Jose Napoles’ reign, which actually predates the WBC.)

Coach has quizzed me on the WBC middleweight title lineage, the top-10 live boxing gates in Nevada, and “The Greatest” Muhammad Ali in previous Periscopes, check ’em out on YouTube.

 

THE SANCTIONING ORGANIZATIONS

Hello,

Let’s say there are 15 agreed upon best fighters in each weight class. We’ll use the media for now. How come a small percentage (let’s say 5 of the 15 in each weight class) never appear in all of the ratings?

Let’s say for example everyone agrees that the following fighters are Top 15 non-champion junior middleweights (or super welterweights or light middle weights). Let’s also say everyone agrees they are top 5 in their division. Everyone meaning media, fans, analysts.

Julian Williams

Jermell Charlo (before he won his belt)

Erislandy Lara

Demetrius Andrade

Miguel Cotto

How come ALL of them don’t appear in EVERY sanctioning body’s Top 15?

IBF, WBC, WBA, WBO never seem to have a non-champion in their top 15 that’s in all the other rankings.

Why does that never occur? http://www.fightnews.com/rankings-2— Mitch

Lara is a major titleholder (he’s got the WBA belt), so that’s why he’s not ranked by the other three prominent sanctioning organizations (WBC, IBF and WBO). As for the other top contenders you mention – and this holds true for any division – there are two main reasons why they usually won’t appear in the rankings of all four organizations at the same time:

1.) The management/promoter/adviser of a given world-class boxer often has to lobby the ratings committee of the sanctioning organizations to move their man up the top 10 or top 15 rankings, and most don’t have the time, energy or money (for travel to annual conventions, etc.) to lobby all four. They prefer to focus on one or two (and if the other two rank their fighter without the lobbying that’s just gravy). (Sometimes they avoid lobbying the ratings committee of a certain sanctioning organization because they don’t want their fighter to face the titleholder of that group.)

2.) The sanctioning organizations will often avoid ranking a legit contender in their top 10 if that fighter is the No. 1 contender/mandatory challenger (or near the top) of a rival organization. If a fighter is the No. 1 contender in the WBA, and he’s close to getting a title shot that most think he will win, the WBO might figure “What’s the point in ranking that guy? We’ll have to drop him once he wins that other belt anyway, so his potential spot might as well go to another fighter (preferably one who is well connected).”

VASYL LOMACHENKO

Sup’ Doug!

Nice fights last weekend and once again Vasyl “The Ukranian Sniper” Lomachenko (for me “Hi-Tech” is an understatement to his ability, Sniper is more appropriate) proved why he is one of the best fighters today. He made a gutsy and dangerous Martinez look like an amateur with his accurate punching, footwork and speed. He picks his punches and releases them with such precision, the Puerto Rican Rocky didn’t know what hit him. That KO delivered by a left uppercut and a right hook combination can rival Canelo’s beautiful KO against Khan and surely a Knockout of the Year candidate.

Now that he won his 2nd world title…I really want to see him fight Mikey Garcia (though many want the Salido rematch). Do you think it has a chance of happening? Who do you favor? How about Walters? What do you think on having him in top 10 pound for pound? Can he finally make it?

I really think he can be a crossover superstar contrary to what Arum said…

Lastly how do you compare the skills, ability and talent of Loma to fighters like Rigo, Yuriokis Gamboa and Mayweather?

Some MMUs:

Loma vs. Mayweather @ 130

Ali vs. RJJ/Vitali Klitchko

Loma/Walters vs. Marquez @ 126/130

Well, that’s all Doug. I hope I can make the cut for the second time. I really look forward to your comments on my email. More power and keep up the good work! – Lien

Thanks Lien. You’ve got Loma-fever, baby!

Now that he won his 2nd world title…I really want to see him fight Mikey Garcia (though many want the Salido rematch). I’d rather see Lomachenko-Garcia than the rematch with Salido.

Do you think it has a chance of happening? No, I don’t. For starters whenever Garcia comes back, he’ll be in the 140-to-147-pound range. And then there’s his promotional situation. There’s a slight chance that Bob Arum would work with Garcia if his former client signed a deal with Al Haymon and Showtime (as his older brother told RingTV he’s mulling over), but even if that happened it might make more sense for Arum to pit Mikey against bigger fighters in his stable, such as Terence Crawford. And Garcia could have his hands full with Haymon’s 140-pound PBCrew (Adrien Broner, Omar Figueroa Jr., John Molina and Rances Barthelemy).

Who do you favor? If the fight were somehow able to happen at 130-135 pounds, I would favor Lomachenko because I think his lateral movement, footwork and angles would trouble the somewhat flat-footed Garcia.

How about Walters? I think Loma handles Walters.

What do you think on having him in top 10 pound for pound? Can he finally make it? He’s in like Flynn, my man.

I really think he can be a crossover superstar contrary to what Arum said… What do you mean “contrary” to what Arum said? Isn’t that exactly what Bob said?

Lastly how do you compare the skills, ability and talent of Loma to fighters like Rigo, Yuriokis Gamboa and Mayweather? He’s on par with all three ultra-talents, but he’s technically and fundamentally WAY superior to Gamby, and he’s more aggressive/active than Rigo or Floyd, thus more fun to watch.

Your mythical matchups:

Loma vs. Mayweather @ 130 – Mayweather by close decision in a tactical but entertaining match

Ali vs. RJJ/Vitali Klitchko – Ali by mid-rounds TKO of Jones, and by late TKO (on cuts) or UD against Vitali

Loma/Walters vs. Marquez @ 126/130 – Loma by close (maybe controversial) decision over JMM at 126; Marquez by close decision (in a terrific fight) at 130; Marquez by decision (in a war) against Walters at 126 and by late TKO at 130

 

TRAVELING CHAMPS

What’s up Doug?

Great fights in the past used to happen all over the globe, ‘Ali bomaye’ would not have happened at the MGM Grand. Is money the only reason fights either happen at Casinos or hometowns? Even Mike Tyson fought in Tokyo and Lennox Lewis in South Africa. May we ever see a day where ‘world champions’ fight any and everywhere? – Charles, Tallahassee

Some major world titleholders are still willing to travel, Charles.

Sergey Kovalev won his first world title, the WBO 175-pound belt (by stopping Nathan Cleverly), in Cleverly’s native Wales in 2013. Since then, he’s fought four times in the US, three times in Canada, and next month he’ll be back in his native Russia. THE RING’s pound-for-pound king, Roman Gonzalez, fights in Japan, the US, Mexico and his native Nicaragua. GGG has fought in Panama, his native Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Germany, the US and Monaco since winning the WBA middleweight title in 2010.

Jorge Linares, the former WBC lightweight titleholder who will challenge WBA beltholder Anthony Crolla for THE RING belt in Crolla’s native Manchester, England on Sept. 24, fights in Japan (where he was developed as a pro), Venezuela (where he’s from), Mexico and the U.S. (He’s also fought in Panama, Argentina, South Korea and London.)

The little guys (particularly Mexican standouts) go wherever the money is, which often brings them to the U.S. and Japan.

The American standouts seem less likely to dust off their passports. Mayweather not only fought his entire career in the U.S., his last 14 bouts were in his hometown of Las Vegas (his last 12 were at the MGM Grand). Twenty-two of Andre Ward’s 29 bouts have been in California (although he did fight in St. Lucia and the Cayman Islands as a prospect).

I think the U.S. stars stay at home for the same reason most Japanese titleholders/standouts remain on the island (and why Canelo, Mexico’s biggest star, hasn’t fought in his home country since 2011) – money and comfort.

Will we ever see the biggest star/money maker in boxing emulate some of Ali’s globe-trotting ways? I don’t see anyone doing it as much as “The Greatest,” but I think we may see the top dogs of the heavyweight division (Klitschko, Fury, Wilder, Ortiz, Parker and Haye) bounce back-and-forth between the UK and the US in a year or so.

 

ALI AND THE DRAFT

Just a quick suggestion for anyone who questioned why Ali refused induction. Read “A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn. He begins with Columbus and touches on every major era but through the eyes of the “loser”. So, we hear from women, African-Americans, Irish, Native Americans, Jews, working class, anyone that wasn’t part of the ruling elite.

Very interesting section on Vietnam and how they ended the draft once whites, even middle class, began to join the call for ending the war. I’m a white male, nearly 40, and this book was eye-opening. – Joe A.

Duly noted, Joe. Thanks for the tip.

 

R.I.P. HENRY HALL

A word or two of remembrance, Doug, for Henry Hall? The tough light heavy of yesteryear once outpointed the legendary Archie Moore. Yes, you read that correctly – the Old Mongoose himself. He died May 25 at 91. A nice age, especially as that’s exactly the number of fights he had. I don’t like it when these guys die forgotten. I know you don’t either. Thanks. – Clarence in NYC

Thanks for notifying us of Hall’s passing, Clarence.

Hall, one of the best fighters ever to come out of New Orleans, was a RING-rated light heavyweight in the late 1940s. As you noted, he fought Moore and split two 10-round bouts with the all-time great in 1948.

Henry-Hall_mailbagHall, who was known for his skill and poise, won a decision against Moore on Oct. 15 in New Orleans, and lost a decision to the “Old Mongoose” on Nov. 15 in Baltimore. He also faced hall of famer Harold Johnson and fellow “Murderer’s Row” members (black contenders avoided by champions and most white contenders), Holman Williams and Bert Lytell, several times each. He many other notable pros of his era (including Bob Satterfield, Jimmy Slade, Rex Lane and Charley “Doc” Williams).

MYTHICAL MATCHUPS

Hey Dougie,

I haven’t written in a few years but I’m visiting Cali from St Louis and I figured I would bring up some mythical match ups:

Gabriel Ruelas vs Francisco Vargas

Librado Andrade vs JCC Jr.

Bobby Chacon vs Orlando Salido

Vassiliy Jirov vs Denis Lebedev

Chocolatito vs Pongsaklek Wonjongkam

Naoya Inoue vs Johnny Tapia

And for the championship for most skilled effective dirty fighter between Bernard Hopkins, Joel Casamayor and Orlando Salido.

Take care Dougie and good work on the La Fight Club series. – Efrain Aguilar

Thanks Efrain. Beto Duran, Steve Kim and I have a blast with that series. I’m glad you’re enjoying it.

Your mythical matchups:

Gabriel Ruelas vs Francisco Vargas – Ruelas by unanimous decision in a fun fight

Librado Andrade vs JCC Jr. – Chavez Jr. by controversial decision in a slugfest

Bobby Chacon vs Orlando Salido – Chacon by close but unanimous decision in a brutal war

Vassiliy Jirov vs Denis Lebedev – Jirov by bloody decision in a good fight

Chocolatito vs Pongsaklek Wonjongkam – Gonzalez by late TKO or competitive decision

Naoya Inoue vs Johnny Tapia – Tapia by competitive but clear decision

And for the championship for most skilled effective dirty fighter between Bernard Hopkins, Joel Casamayor and Orlando Salido – Gotta go with the Immortal B-Hop. How often have you seen him docked a point for a foul or rough stuff? Exactly.

 

BEST BOXER NICKNAMES

Dougie:

Don’t know if you’ve received this one before, but just for fun, what are your Top 5 Boxer nicknames of all time?

My all-time favorite is Bazooka, as in Bazooka Gomez. – Christian, San Juan, PR

Hmmmm good question (frivolous, but fun):

Yoko-Gushiken_mailbag1.) Fierce Eagle (the nickname of the Japanese hall of famer and former WBA 108-pound champ Yoko Gushiken, who once possessed the best Afro of any Asian man on the planet)

2.) Hawk (the moniker held by hall of famers Kid Gavilan and Aaron Pryor, as well as great puncher and all-around good guy Julian Jackson)

3.) Terrible/El Terrible (the nickname of hall of famers Terry McGovern and Terry Norris, future HOFer Erik Morales and one of my favorite heavyweight titleholders Tim Witherspoon)

4.) The Easton Assassin (I was never a big Larry Holmes fan, but man, I loved his nickname… even though I had no idea where Easton was)

5.) Hands of Stone (this nickname actually scared the s__t out of me before I knew anything about Roberto Duran just hearing the way adult sport fans spoke it let me know that my man Sugar Ray was in for a hell of a fight)

 

 

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

 

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