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Dougie’s Friday mailbag

08
Jul
Photo by Herby Whyne

Isaac Chilemba lands right hand en route to outpointing Vasily Lepikhin in March, 2015. Photo by Herby Whyne

KOVALEV-CHILEMBA, FURY-KLITSCHKO II

Whats up Bro?

Ready for Walking Whale-Turd vs Human Slab of Concrete Part 2 aka Fury-Klitchko 2? Oh wait a minute. The “fight” has been postponed for now. Oh never mind. Didn’t give a s__t about it in the first place. Got a question though. Why not just cancel the whole damn thing in the first place? With boxing still possibly reeling from the Mayweather-Pacquiao farce what’s with the demand for this useless rematch from the Alphabet Boys and even from some fans? Especially when you consider how putrid the first “fight” was. And is Fury roiding up? WTF. Like his fat man-boobs aren’t big and hairy enough already.

Regarding Sergey Kovalev-Isaac Chilemba. Funny how we are getting this on a Monday. But then you recently mentioned that these big fights once often occurred on weekdays. Anyhow while I’m not expecting Salido-Vargas type action I’m sure it will be much better that what Fury-Klitchko 2 would have been if it were happening this weekend. Yeah like someone needs to be a f***ing visionary to figure that one out. I just don’t know a great deal about Chilemba. From what I understand this African dude is rugged guy who’s hard to look good against but he’s not much of a big puncher. I still figure Kov will methodically hammer him into submission.

One thing I’ll like to see from Kov come Monday. Since he’s got a possible date with Andre Ward late this year or sometime next year I like to see him fight more on the inside. He’s always been a Vitali Klitchko kind of guy. In another words a heavy-handed guy who grinds you down with these mid-to-long range heavy-shots. But given Kov’s strength and punching power he should be bringing an inside game to the ring. OK Bro. Catch ya later. – Captain Ron

Good to hear from ya, Cap.

Astute observation of Kovalev’s seeming lack of an inside game. I don’t know if it’s a common opinion but I think one of Ward’s keys to victory might be to get inside and crowd the Russian the way he worked over Mikkel Kessler and Allan Green in the Super Six tournament.

I think Kovalev can fight at least a little bit on the inside (we’ve seen him finish some opponents while in close) but he does most of his “softening up” from a distance. Should the WBO/WBA/IBF 175-pound beltholder be bringing more of an inside game to Monday’s titles defense and to his November showdown with Ward? I don’t know. Maybe that’s just his style – to jab and throw straight power punches from the outside and combos from mid-range – in the ring. I don’t agree with fans and fellow media that classify the Kovalev-Ward style matchup as “puncher-vs.-boxer.” I think it’s a boxer-vs.-boxer matchup.

Regarding Sergey Kovalev-Isaac Chilemba. Funny how we are getting this on a Monday. I’m good with it. I wish more major bouts took place on weekdays, it would give me some of my weekends back!

Anyhow while I’m not expecting Salido-Vargas type action I’m sure it will be much better that what Fury-Klitchko 2 would have been if it were happening this weekend. There’s no way it could be worse than Klitschko-Fury I.

I just don’t know a great deal about Chilemba. From what I understand this African dude is rugged guy who’s hard to look good against but he’s not much of a big puncher. Chilemba is a lot more than “rugged” or “hard to look good against,” he’s a legit top-10 light heavyweight contender. The 29-year-old Malawi-born boxer is crafty and skilled with an awkwardness that throws a lot of opponents off. What I like about him is that he’s never been babied. He’s been in with several unbeaten and once-beaten prospects, fringe contenders and fellow contenders going back to 2009. Chilemba is also well-traveled. He’s used to being in the lion’s den (his opponents’ home territory) and he keeps his head in hostile situations and during rocky moments in the ring. Chilemba got up from two knockdowns in Round 8 against then-unbeaten Maxim Vlasov and he not only knew how to survive (by holding and moving) but he also had the guts/confidence to fire back. He didn’t let Tony Bellew bug him at all during the heated build up to their first fight in The Bomber’s native Liverpool and he gave the current WBC cruiserweight titleholder fits en route to a split-draw verdict.

Chilemba’s also got a decent tool box, including a good jab, solid footwork/lateral movement, and a well-timed right hand. He makes use of feints and counters well while sticking and moving. Chilemba is far superior to the usual “tune-up” opponent.

I still figure Kov will methodically hammer him into submission. I will be impressed if Krusher does so in one-sided fashion.

Ready for Walking Whale-Turd vs Human Slab of Concrete Part 2 aka Fury-Klitchko 2? That’s a creative title. I won’t ask who’s who. (But I think I know.)

Why not just cancel the whole damn thing in the first place? Because there are a lot of fans who want to watch in Manchester (maybe on Oct. 29) and many more who will watch on TV worldwide (especially the German network RTL).

With boxing still possibly reeling from the Mayweather-Pacquiao farce what’s with the demand for this useless rematch from the Alphabet Boys and even from some fans? Especially when you consider how putrid the first “fight” was. Because the right guy in terms of the future, popularity and “liveliness” of the heavyweight division won.

And is Fury roiding up? I don’t think so.

Like his fat man-boobs aren’t big and hairy enough already. Gross.

FUTURE OF BOXING

Hi Dougie,

Hope this email finds you well.

Although there are some things to be excited about in boxing of late, such as the long overdue new richness of the heavyweight division again, a new generation of exciting fighter’s coming through, and a couple attempts to unify divisions, and a resurgence in the UK….but…

It remains that the political/business/administrative structure of the sport is as rotten as ever, and continues to be so.

Seeing as you are an ‘insider’, and assuming you come into close contact with all sections of the boxing world, where do you see boxing heading outside of the actual sport itself? Do we as fans, have reason to be hopeful that there might be a tipping point and boxing might reform itself (within reason)?

Or, are you of the opinion that we just need to accept that the world of boxing will probably continue as is, promotional in fighting, numerous almost meaningless titles, corruption within the administration and so on.

Would love it if you could give a summary of what might be the future. Regards. – Ki, Sydney, Australia

I don’t know what the future holds, Ki, but I am hopeful for many of the reasons you listed in the first graph of your email (especially the emergence of a new generation of exciting fighters).

I’ll give you the good, the bad and the ugly of the present and near futureÔǪ

The good: Top fighters facing each other and promoters working with each other more often (including PBC players). I know that a lot of fans prefer to focus on what’s not happening (such as Canelo-Golovkin) and what’s wrong with the sport (such as the PBC/Showtime-Golden Boy/HBO “cold war”) but the fact is that good matchups are being made and some of them have produced the kind of memorable nights that bring new dedicated followers to the sport.

Just last month the Francisco Vargas-Orlando Salido and Keith Thurman-Shawn Porter fights – matchups that involved fighters ranked in the top five of their respective divisions – delivered in a big way. There are other bouts that involve respected RING-top-five-rated fighters scheduled in the next two-to-three months: Terence Crawford-Viktor Postol, Leo Santa Cruz-Carl Frampton and Jorge Linares-Anthony Crolla. We might still get Wilder vs. Povetkin later this year. We might get Chocolatito vs. Cuadras. And Kovalev vs. Ward is on tap for November.

Vargas-Salido, Linares-Crolla, Kovalev-Ward and Gonzalez-Cuadras and Wilder-Povetkin (if they happen) are co-promotions. That’s a good sign. Even Bob Arum and Al Haymon are beginning to discuss doing business (with the Pacquiao vs. Broner rumor). That’s a good sign. Tecate and Corona are committed to sponsoring/underwriting mid-level and major televised boxing. That’s a good sign. Fighters with banned substances in their systems are getting caught. It’s bad they’re possibly using PEDs but it’s a good sign that they aren’t getting away with it. There are too many promising young fighters about to transition from prospect to legit contender to mention. That’s a VERY good thing.

The bad: Golden Boy is still suing Haymon, the boxing execs of HBO and Showtime are still hating on each other, the PBC is struggling but still trying to operate primarily within its own universe, the cold war between Haymon and the promoters that are independent of his influence (GBP, Main Events, Top Rank) continue to deny fans significant matchups (Kovalev-Stevenson; Bradley or Crawford vs. Thurman, Porter, Garcia or Spence; Canelo vs. The Charlos or J-Rock; Lemieux or Stevens vs. Jacobs or Quillin), and fights that fans didn’t ask for (Canelo vs. Khan and Smith) and matchups that aren’t pay-per-view ready/worthy (Crawford-Postol) are winding up on HBO PPV.

The ugly: Schaefer’s back! (Cue diabolical laughter with a Swiss accent.)

Seeing as you are an ‘insider’, and assuming you come into close contact with all sections of the boxing world, where do you see boxing heading outside of the actual sport itself? It’s in a transitional period but I think it’s heading in the ring direction. I think the next two years will deliver more entertainment and more of the fights that fans want to see than the sport produced from 2010-2015.

Do we as fans, have reason to be hopeful that there might be a tipping point and boxing might reform itself (within reason)? I think the tipping point happened last May but I believe it will get better (just don’t expect too much reform).

Or, are you of the opinion that we just need to accept that the world of boxing will probably continue as is, promotional in fighting, numerous almost meaningless titles, corruption within the administration and so on. Yeah, a little acceptance here and there helps.

 

G-MAN FOR THE IBHOF, MIDDLEWEIGHT MESS

This one ain’t going away Doug. I’m not sure if you read my last [email protected] or just didn’t like the subject [the one about Boxing maybe not wanting a blind cripple lining up at Canastota] I was trying to be a little controversial, I thought you liked that? I once sent a well crafted [email protected] to you on the whole G-Man for the Hall trip that I’m on but don’t think that it got through [wrong device I guess]. I think I mentioned that you might be one of the guys who decide who gets put in the Hall but I’m not sure. If you are you could simply comment weather or not you would have him? And if not why not? And how often his name pops up?

It’s ok if this doesn’t make the mailbag, I’ll still check in but please no more on the GGG-Canelo saga. I’m more pissed off at no Golovkin vs Jacobs, no Canelo vs Lemieux and no Lee vs Quillin II in the fall. Where the hell is Quillin anyway? Is he finished? I would be made up if you could simply return a couple of lines on the subject. I’m not sure if you do that sort of thing? Can’t run the risk of becoming embroiled with a member of the crazy folks tribe eh? Just kidding. Pardon me if you don’t like my manner.

(P.s I also think Hopkins should drop plans to fight Abraham. The fight would stink out the joint in the first half with Abraham hiding behind his shell like guard and B-Hop barely throwing. Then in the second half Abraham leaving it too late and Hopkins spoiling. A STINKER! A real methane cloud. It would be far more Hopkinsesque to fight and ruin a talented but limited, fresh faced, young warrior, with his whole future ahead of him. Hopkins vs Gilberto Ramirez Sanchez anyone? I fear anything less would be a disappointment.)

Yours faithfully. – Marcus, Wiltshire, England

Ramirez was just pulled from the July 23 Crawford-Postol undercard due to a sparring injury (right hand), so maybe the WBO super middleweight titleholder is available for B-Hop’s swan song. Or – since he told Golden Boy critic Kevin Iole that “what Canelo is doing is very disappointing for us boxing fans” – maybe he can back up his bold words (and those of Sean Gibbons) and take on GGG as soon as his right mitt is healthy.

Come on, Zurdo! Show Canelo how a “real Mexican” gets down. LOL.

I think I mentioned that you might be one of the guys who decide who gets put in the Hall but I’m not sure. I do vote on potential inductees to the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

If you are you could simply comment weather or not you would have him? Would I vote for Gerald McClellan for hall of fame induction? No. I would not.

And if not why not? He was a very entertaining fighter and a compelling personality, but he’s only got two elite names on his record – Julian Jackson and Nigel Benn – and both of those fellow punchers are borderline hall of famers.

And how often his name pops up? It pops up all the time, just not for hall of fame induction.

It’s ok if this doesn’t make the mailbag, I’ll still check in but please no more on the GGG-Canelo saga. You got it. No more in the mailbag, anyway.

I’m more pissed off at no Golovkin vs Jacobs, no Canelo vs Lemieux and no Lee vs Quillin II in the fall. Jacobs is pulling a “Zurdo” (which is to scold Canelo for “sucka moves” and then admit that he will put off fighting GGG for “the next year or year and a half”). Maybe Canelo-Lemieux can be made for December if the redhead takes care of biz against Liam Smith. Was Lee-Quillin I really good enough to merit a sequel? I’d rather see Quillin-N’Dam II.

Where the hell is Quillin anyway? Steady sendin’ good vibes out to the world via Twitter. As for when we’ll see him in the ring again, #AskAl.

Is he finished? I don’t think so. I hope not.

 

ALL SMOKE AND MIRRORS?

Hi Doug,

Hope you and family are well.

Love reading the mailbag every Monday and Friday, so I thought I would write to discuss a few topics.

Firstly, I am a huge fan of Kell Brook, and have been looking forward to seeing him in the ring with a meaningful opponent, for some time now. I know he had the unfortunate injury whilst on holiday, and the rib injury that forced him out of the Chaves fight, but to me (and I hope I’m wrong) it seems like there is some doubt/reluctancy to get Brook matched with any of the players at 147. It is worrying that Jessie Vargas has signed and has taken to Twitter to request that Brook signs. This has been dragging on a while now, then there was talk from Eddie Hearn saying Brook will soon be moving to 154. (Conveniently around the time Errol Spence crushed Chris Algieri and people were talking about Brook/Spence!) Kell is a couple of fights away from unification of the division and has been for some time.

Am I being too harsh on Brook. What are your thoughts??

Next – I am pleased that the whole Canelo-GGG thing is over with for now and the MW division can return to some kind of normality. Who do you see currently making a run at the MW king? Can you see Eubank Jr beating him, if not now maybe 12-18 months time? I don’t think Saunders will fight him unless he gets a king’s ransom for doing so. I see a lot of this with BJS as well, he could earn big money from a Eubank rematch or the GGG unification, but he does not seem to be interested. (I recently read he is after a 2 million payday to fight on the Canelo-Smith undercard, no mention of an opponent just he is looking to earn 2 million)

As a longtime fan and follower of the sport, how do you feel we can improve the match making?

Mythical match ups (Apologies if you have had these before)

@FW – Prince Naseem vs Vasyl Lomachenko

@MW – Roy Jones Jnr vs Marvelous Marvin Hagler

@SMW- Tommy Hitman Hearns vs Nigel Benn

Many thanks and keep up the good work. – Paul, Newcastle, England

Thanks for the kind words and for sharing your thoughts and questions, Paul.

How do we improve the matchmaking in boxing? I think there’s a lot of good matchmaking going on in the sport right now, it’s just not always happening at the elite level.

If you want to put more pressure on promoters/networks to make significant fights (especially the “glamor” divisions, such as welterweight, middleweight and heavyweight) don’t buy pay-per-view shows that involve mismatches or matchups that you didn’t ask for and don’t watch fights (even on free TV) that you deem meaningless.

At the same time, I think fans could be a little more patient in regard to some matchups. You’re getting antsy about Brook-Vargas based on some Tweets. It hasn’t been announced that the fight is off, so why fret about it now? I get that Vargas is eager to take on one of the top welterweights, and I commend him for being willing to travel and to put his belt on the line in a title-unification bout, but sometimes it takes longer than a couple months to make a significant matchup and he only became a major 147-pound player in March. There’s also no reason to fret about what Brook might do in the near future. Just because Spence has a lot of hype right now and fans think he’s ready for Brook (he’s not) doesn’t mean the Sheffield native is looking to avoid the American up-and-comer. I think Brook and Hearn realize that the potential big-money bouts are in the welterweight division, but if Special K does move up to the 154-pound division it’s not like there aren’t interesting fights for him there (namely the Canelo-Smith winner, but also two of my favorite junior middleweights, Demetrius Andrade and Julian Williams).

It is worrying that Jessie Vargas has signed and has taken to Twitter to request that Brook signs. Not really. This is what pro fighters do these days.

This has been dragging on a while now the fight was first rumored to be considered about two months ago (around the time of Canelo-Khan), I doubt serious talk/negotiations have been going for more than six weeks.

Am I being too harsh on Brook. What are your thoughts? I think you’re being a little harsh but it’s almost been two years since Brook defeated Porter. After smashing three consecutive mid-level opponents, the undefeated IBF titleholder is overdue for a significant matchup.

Next – I am pleased that the whole Canelo-GGG thing is over with for now and the MW division can return to some kind of normality. If by “normality” you mean that every major 160-pound player is hesitant to get in the ring Golvokin unless they are promised Ft. Knox, yeah I agreeÔǪ

Who do you see currently making a run at the MW king? I think the Eubank fight is still in play, but who knows?

Can you see Eubank Jr beating him, if not now maybe 12-18 months time? No, but I think he would put forth a sterner challenge a year from now.

Your mythical matchups (which I have had before but it’s OK because sometimes I change my mind on the outcomes):

@FW – Prince Naseem vs Vasyl Lomachenko – Naz by come-from-behind stoppage in the late rounds

@MW – Roy Jones Jnr vs Marvelous Marvin Hagler – The Marvelous One by close, maybe a tad controversial decision in a stirring fight

@SMW- Tommy Hitman Hearns vs Nigel Benn – Hearns lands his right-hand finisher on Benn before the Dark Destroyer can land his, scores an early rounds KO in a wild shootout

 

DEAR DOUGIE

I’m depressed mate. I’m hurting and ITS ALL YOUR FAULT!!!

Boxing is just so not fair right now and it’s making me so unhappy. I want Canelo to fight GGG and he just WONT!! Oh and wait, most importantly it’s your fault. Yes, it’s all YOUR fault!!!

If only you would agree with me help me make this pain stop. Why can’t we have this fight right now!!! Right now!! I CAN’T WAIT ANOTHER YEAR!!! Help me!!! (By the way … I’m yelling this and crying like a 3 year old losing their s__t in a supermarket.)

Come on Dougie. You work for Golden Boy right?? You and Oscar write all your blogs together… Your opinions are Golden Boy’s not your own… They tell you what to write!!

My mum said that you and ONLY YOU can make this fight happen!!! My mum’s always right too… (She was going to write this letter for me but she’s preparing my dinner)

Please help me …. Please Dougie (now I’m weeping…)

Regards – Spoilt Brat Boxing Fan, Singapore

Well done, SBBF. You have captured the damaged spirit of the Canelo-GGG obsessed fans and boxing’s gloom-and-doomsayers in general.

(How did you know that I imagine the “voice” of all those depressed and outraged emails to be that of a toddler losing his s__t in a supermarket?)

 

DON’T RESPOND TO PERSONAL ATTACKS

Hope you’re having a good July 4ÔǪ. Thanks for posting a mailbag on what should be a day off for you.

I do, however, wish you’d stop responding to personal attacks like “CHANGED OPINION, LOST RESPECT” and similar accusations like: You’re a Golden Boy shill, You’re unreasonably personal in your Mayweather hate, You kiss Canelo’s assÔǪ.

Just because a challenge is delivered doesn’t mean it merits your acceptance. You need to defend yourself against such allegations as much as Tyson Fury needs to defend his title against Shannon Briggs. Maybe less.

It’s a waste of your time, and ultimately your readers’ as well. Real boxing fans know integrity when they see it, because it’s so damned rare in this sport that it’s impossible to miss.

Thanks! – Chris Wissmann, Carbondale, IL

Thank you for your kind (and uplifting) words, Chris.

I agree that it’s a waste of time (for the most part) to argue with fans that stoop to personal attacks, but I don’t want to ignore criticism (of me or of Golden Boy or of Canelo or any promotional company/fighter that somebody thinks I’m biased/shilling for). Plus, sometimes it’s fun and entertaining to rip into some rude a__hole that makes baseless accusations.

But it’s also easy to go overboard with defending myself and with the endless arguments. I don’t want the Canelo-GGG/Golden Boy bias debates to take over the mailbag column, especially when I’ve repeatedly stated my opinions and there are other fights and subjects to discuss.

Just because a challenge is delivered doesn’t mean it merits your acceptance. True, but I must admit there’s a part of me that relishes the “fight” and the rare occasion that I earn the adversarial fan’s respect. (It does happen.)

You need to defend yourself against such allegations as much as Tyson Fury needs to defend his title against Shannon Briggs. Maybe less. Definitely less.

 

HANG IN THERE, DOUG

Hey Doug,

I’m tired of people talking about how they have lost respect for you over your comments on Canelo. You like anyone has the right to state his own opinion and should be respected. Let’s look at the bright side to all of this. Many people expect Canelo to take a beating from GGG. Maybe with a few more fights under his belt he can improve. He’s only 25 for crying out loud. There are more competitive fights that have happened already like Thurman-Porter. There is also Kovalev-Ward and Gonzalez-Cuadras this fall hopefully.

So all you belly aching fans, quit b__ching, you’re not the one in the ring taking punishment.

Cotto-Marquez who wins? Hang in there Doug. – Robbie.

I’m hanging in there, Robbie. Thanks for the support. I like Cotto over JMM via decision if that fight ever happens.

And I look forward to analyzing and debating Kovelev-Ward and Gonzalez-Cuadras if those fights are finalized later this year.

I’m pretty much done talking about Canelo-Golovkin in the mailbag. I will, as I’ve stated in previous mailbags, pen a commentary piece with my final thoughts on Canelo-GGG/Canelo-Smith/GBP/fan-impatience very soon just so I can direct the “obsessed and outraged” to it.

 

 

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

 

 

 

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