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Dougie’s Monday mailbag

05
Sep

Fans from the UK weigh-in on Kell Brook’s chances against Gennady Golovkin, and fans from Colombia and the Philippines inquire about the hall of fame merits of Rodrigo Valdez and Ceferino Garcia in this week’s Monday mailbag.

 

WHERE’S THE FRIDAY MAILBAG?

Mr. Fischer,

Vacation – sleep – illness?

Best wishes. – Matthias

None of the above. There was a Friday mailbag. It was on the new RingTV website. (Unfortunately there’s no redirection from the old site – yet.)

 

ARE YOU GOING TO BE IN THE UK?

Hey Dougie.

Love the new look to the site but one observation, I find it harder to speed read the mailbag with the lack of bold text on your answers which broke up the text.

Anyway, are you coming to the UK for the GGG fight? Due to children commitments and my own competing in natural bodybuilding and the tough diet restricting me, I have not been to a bout since Kessler v Calzaghe but am going to this one!!! I live in the middle of nowhere in the UK, place called Helston, Cornwall (Bob Fitzsimmons was born right in this little ole town!) so am isolated. I just so happen to be in London on the weekend with my daughter so we are going even though GGG will destroy Brook. Even if the same in weight classes he would win but the natural size will do it plus the power and his underrated stalking skills and how he cuts off the ring and forces opponents to work constantly.

I am thinking of a big bet, a ten grander as it is a rare time when I think there is only a one per cent chance of the upset. Last time I went big was Floyd (who I am not a fan of) versus Hatton as that was easy to predict with odds stupidly close.

If you are coming, I hope I get to say hello but I am in a cheap damn seat as all I could find on short notice with two seats together. Oh and is Buffer doing the intros? Never heard him live before.

Cheers and out! – Toby, Helston

Despite what GGG detractors want to believe, Golovkin-Brook is THE major boxing event of this weekend, and Michael Buffer always does the announcing on big international shows (especially if they are to be broadcast on HBO in the U.S.), so my guess is that you’ll finally get to witness Mr. Let’s Get Ready to Rumble live.

However, you will not get the opportunity to meet Mr. Mailbag on Saturday. I’ll be in my hometown of Inglewood, California, covering the Little Drama Show – Pound-for-Pound King Roman Gonzalez’s quest to be Nicaragua’s first four-division titleholder against Mexico’s unbeaten Carlos Cuadras, the defending WBC 115-pound beltholder. All of the emails I received last week and during the weekend that focus on this Saturday’s fights have been about Golovkin-Brook (mostly from UK fans commenting on Brook’s chances), so hardcore heads are sleeping on Cuadras-Gonzalez. That should not be. There’s a good chance the junior bantamweight showdown will be the fight of the night.

I just so happen to be in London on the weekend with my daughter so we are going even though GGG will destroy Brook. Even if Golovkin blows Brook out (which I don’t see happening) you’ll get your money’s worth with the Big Drama Show. The energy and anticipation from the moment Golovkin enters the arena to the instant when the referee stops the fight is off the charts. It’s the closest thing to the Mike Tyson experience a current boxing fan can get. Also, I think some of the undercard bouts will be entertaining, especially the Lee Haskins-Stuart hall IBF bantamweight title bout.

Even if the same in weight classes he would win but the natural size will do it plus the power and his underrated stalking skills and how he cuts off the ring and forces opponents to work constantly. Golovkin may not have to stalk or cut the ring off on Brook. The welterweight standout might try to take the fight to GGG.  

I am thinking of a big bet, a ten grander as it is a rare time when I think there is only a one per cent chance of the upset. If you bet that much money on Golovkin and Brook somehow wins would it even be possible for you to celebrate British fighter’s monumental upset?

Love the new look to the site but one observation, I find it harder to speed read the mailbag with the lack of bold text on your answers which broke up the text. I’m glad you like the new look of the site. I’ll see what I can do about making the bold text bolder (I feel like there’s an opportunity for a Tecate plug here) in the articles.

 

RIDING WITH KELL BROOK

Dougie,

I haven’t written for a year because I told myself after Mayweather-Pacquiao, I needed a break from wasting your time with issues that you knew were real but the horrendous politics of boxing didn’t facilitate you to answer or save my love for the sport with.

However, as a longtime reader and massive admirer, the time has come for me to write again.

Dougie, Golovkin-Brook. My two favourite fighters. However, and here is where the importance lies, two fighters you have rated for a long time while others were too narrow-minded to acknowledge. I once heard a friend fancy Adrien Broner over Brook and Daniel Geale over GGG. Pfft.

It sickens me to see people write off Special K quickly, I mean, the guy is a beast. Strong, quick and balanced, and overall probably beats any 147 pounder on his day. However, going by his weigh-ins, and social media photos, he looks a different animal at 160. Yet, how can we write off GGG: the greatest middleweight in the world, a once in a generation talent, and a fighter so technically beautiful, he makes good fighters look like amateurs.

I may not make it on but I would be so keen to hear your thoughts on this: tell me, how does the fight go? Who wins? And is Brook live?

My prediction: a Brook knockout. Yes, I am biased and yes I may be narrow-minded, but you don’t survive death and let a chance like this go.

Peace out and my eternal respect. – Stan, UK

Eternal respect? Holy s__t. I’m not worthy, Stan, not by a long shot, but thank you.

I would be so keen to hear your thoughts on this: tell me, how does the fight go? Who wins? And is Brook live? I think Brook is live on paper but it’s hard to say how live he’ll be in the ring. As you noted, I’ve been high on Kell for a long time. I really thought he was the class of the welterweight division. I know he can box and fight at the world-class level at 147 but his chin, physical strength, punch resistance and power are all question marks at the world-class middleweight level. My hunch is that he will at the very least be durable enough to make it out of the early rounds. How well he does against Golovkin depends on how well he works his jab – his best punch in my opinion – and his ability to stay off the ropes. I think he can score and maybe do damage if he can get that fast, fluid educated jab off while moving around Golovkin. He can’t stand and trade for very long and he can’t move straight back. If he gets forced to the ropes for any period of time, the fight’s essentially over. But if he has the courage to meet Golovkin in the center of the ring, uses upper-body movement to slip the middleweight’s jab while working uppercuts, hooks and crosses off his own jab, I think we will be treated to a competitive fight until GGG’s natural size, strength and power advantages begin to wear the Sheffield man out. I think Golovkin will stop Brook in the late rounds.

My prediction: a Brook knockout. Yes, I am biased and yes I may be narrow-minded, but you don’t survive death and let a chance like this go. Hey, if you’re right you’re a genius. 

I haven’t written for a year because I told myself after Mayweather-Pacquiao, I needed a break from wasting your time with issues that you knew were real but the horrendous politics of boxing didn’t facilitate you to answer or save my love for the sport with. I’m not sure what you mean by this, but while I welcome anyone to waste my time with any boxing-related issue (regardless of “horrendous politics”) you and everyone else should understand that it’s not my job to save your love for the sport. If you don’t love boxing anymore, that’s on you. And maybe it’s on the sport, but it’s definitely not on me and it’s not my job to talk you off the proverbial ledge.

 

IS WINKY WRIGHT A HALL OF FAMER?

Hey Dougie,

Quick question about one of my favourite fighters:

Is Winky Wright a 1st ballot HOFer? (Why/Why not?)

Thanks, Doug. All the best. – Riley, Australia

Thanks for sharing this question, Riley. And shout out to Brian Butler, head trainer at the East End Boxing club in Victoria, Australia, who I met at last Friday’s “LA Fight Club” show, and to the undefeated Moloney twins (Andrew and Jason), who I promised to keep an eye on. 

Regarding Wright’s hall of fame worthiness, I think the former undisputed junior middleweight champ and middleweight contender deserves to be on the ballot (and I don’t think I’m alone in that opinion).

I’m not sure if Wright is a first-ballot hall of famer, but I know he faced three first-ballot hall of famers – Felix Trinidad (who is already in), Bernard Hopkins and Shane Mosley (who will be as soon as they are eligible) – and went 2-1 against that trio. Those were high-profile fights, which helps in being noticed by the IBHOF’s selection committee once a fighter is eligible to be on the ballot.

Would I vote for him the first time I saw his name on the ballot? It depends on who else is on it (we only get to vote for five candidates), but I think Wright’s name would eventually get a check mark from Yours Truly. I take into consideration that his six losses were against top opposition, two (against Paul Williams and Peter Quillin) took place when he was far past his prime, semi-retired and very inactive, and the losses to Fernando Vargas and Harry Simon were very close decisions (many thought the loss to El Veroz was controversial). And I thought he clearly won his split-draw to then-middleweight champ Jermain Taylor.  

 

RODRIGO VALDEZ’S LEGACY

Hi Doug,

My name is Kevin Cordoba, I am a huge boxing fan and love your work. I just wanted to ask you something that has been bothering my all these years as a boxing fan.

Why hasn’t Rodrigo Valdez been inducted to the International boxing hall of fame?

He gave Carlos Monzon his toughest fights (knocked him down) and beat Bennie Briscoe three times, Valdez STOPPED him which was unheard of at that time.

Yes, he won a paper title when he beat Briscoe (Monzon did not want to fight him), but defended the WBC version four times and also won the Undisputed Middleweight title against Briscoe.

No disrespect to Arturo Gatti (R.I.P), but Valdez has accomplished more that Gatti ever has (in my opinion Gatti does not deserve to be in the hall of fame). Valdez fought in a tougher era, won the middleweight title twice and was Monzon’s greatest rival.

Valdez is one of the most underrated middleweights, so why have has the boxing world forgotten about him? Please let me know and thanks. – Kevin

Why has the boxing world forgotten about Valdez? He fought in the 1960s and ’70s (decades that produced the most accomplished and iconic boxers the sport’s glamor divisions ever hosted), so he was bound to be overshadowed by his peers. But beyond that, you should know that this is a “what’s next?” sport. Most fans and media are looking forward, not back in time. There are terrific fighters that fought in the 1980s and ‘90s who are IN the IBHOF that have already been completely forgotten. I don’t like it but that’s just the way it is, Kevin.

I hear what you’re saying about Gatti and I agree with you to an extent. I didn’t vote for

Rodrigo Valdez

Rodrigo Valdez

Gatti when he was on the IBHOF ballot and I thought there were several old timers that deserved to get in before he did (still do). However, as much as I respect Valdez (and I think he’s one of the best boxers ever to come out of Colombia), I’m not sure if he’s all that much more worthy of being in the IBHOF than Gatti. Neither slugger defeated the elite talents of their era. Valdez couldn’t get past the near-retirement version of Monzon and Gatti was completely outclassed when he stepped in the ring with Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr. Valdez’s three victories over Briscoe go a long way with me. I’ll rate those wins over Gatti’s 130- and 140-pound title victories (or Thunder’s high-profile wins against Gabe Ruelas, Micky Ward and Leo Dorin0. However, Gatti’s numerous Fight-of-the-Year bouts and overall impact on his era count for something.

I asked for Lee Groves, a boxing historian and fight collector who contributes to RingTV.com (as well as CompuBox and the IBHOF), to give his opinion on Valdez, but I’ll include his thoughts in my reply to the next email.

 

CEFERINO GARCIA IN THE IBHOF

Is there still chance for the late great Filipino middleweight fighter Ceferino Garcia to be considered in the International Boxing Hall of Fame?

Garcia was the first and still the only Filipino, and Asian for that matter, to win and reign in the middleweights, traditionally one of boxing’s premier and strongest divisions, in the late 1930s. He was the originator of the bolo punch which was later adopted and popularized by Kid Gavilan, and one of the very few fighters to have stopped the incredible winning run of American boxing great Henry Armstrong, holding him to draw in Garcia’s defense of his world middleweight title. Garcia won the middleweight crown by KO over Fred Apostoli who ironically had already been inducted into the IBHOF.

As war clouds gathered in the Pacific, Garcia gave his countrymen something to cheer about when he defended his crown in Manila beating bitter rival Glen Lee via 13th-round TKO a few days before Christmas in 1940. He lost his title by decision to Ken Overlin who I know for a fact is seriously being considered for enshrinement in the IBHOF.

Born in Naval, Leyte on August 26, 1906, Garcia was forced by the war to stay in the USA which became his permanent home after his boxing career and minor acting stints in the Hollywood where he also served as driver/bodyguard of actress Mae West, until his death on New Year’s Day of 1981.

Garcia was already inducted to the World Boxing Hall of Fame and the Ring Magazine Hall of Fame but has yet to be nominated for induction in the more prestigious IBHOF based in Canastota.

Greetings from the Philippines! – Teo Medina Reynoso

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and passion for Garcia, who I consider one of the best Filipino fighters of all time (probably top four or five, but definitely behind Manny Pacquiao, Pancho Villa and Flash Elorde) but not an all-time great.

Ceferino Garcia on the cover THE RING

Ceferino Garcia on the cover THE RING

Does he deserve to be in the IBHOF? Because of his longevity (nearly 22 years), tough as hell competition (including six current hall of famers) and more than 100 victories (118, 74 by KO), I give him consideration. However, I’ve yet to put a check mark by his name on the IBHOF ballot. He fought two all-time greats, Armstrong and Barney Ross, but could not beat them (and by most accounts, he was lucky to get the draw against Armstrong in their “middleweight title bout.”). He lost to HOFers Freddie Steele and Young Corbett III. His stoppage of Apostoli or back-to-back wins over a young Lloyd Marshall are probably his best victories. They are in the IBHOF and he is not. Why is that? Well, Apostoli, who owns KO victories over Corbett and Steele, was a top middleweight for at least five years. He had consistency that Garcia lacked. And Marshall went on to score victories over all-time greats, such as Jake LaMotta, Ezzard Charles and Charley Burley.

Here’s what Lee Groves had to say about both Garcia and Valdez:

Because of the new ballot procedures instituted a couple of years ago, Garcia and Valdez were on the “modern” ballot until the IBHOF reforms adopted a couple of years ago. Garcia and Valdes now are on the “Late Era” Old-Timers ballot, which consists of fighters who retired between 1942 to 1988. That portion of the old-timers’ ballot will be considered this year while the “Early Era” fighters between 1893-1942 will be revisited next year. Voters are allowed to choose up to five names, but only the top vote-getter will earn enshrinement (barring ties, of course). That’s a pretty tight window to squeeze through.

For me, it depends on which new names will be on this ballot that will determine the fates of Garcia and Valdes. I do think the new procedure will enhance their chances of being elected, especially since I’ve heard some sentiment in their favor. To this point I’ve refrained from voting for them because I don’t think either showed Hall-of-Fame level dominance over their era. Garcia has some big numbers but to me his record is too spotty and his reign as NYSAC world middleweight titlist far too brief, especially when compared to his divisional peers. As for Valdes, he’ll be heavily defined by his competitive but losing fights with Carlos Monzon. I think he has a better shot of getting in than Garcia does because he won his version of the title by scoring the only KO defeat of Bennie Briscoe (a one-punch KO), one of three wins he scored against “Bad Bennie.” He also has some good wins against Gratien Tonna, Bobby Cassidy and Vinnie Curto, plus he was a strong enough hitter to put Monzon on the deck in their rematch. But again, his time at the top was brief and was overshadowed by the great Monzon, who I felt defeated him fairly decisively both times. Finally, middleweight is a very deep division historically and thus the bar is set very high, at least for me.

 

BROOK THE MATADOR

Afternoon Dougmeister General!!

Still an avid reader of the all-conquering mailbag, still enjoy every Monday/Friday edition, and the “banter” (English term, google it) between yourself and the good peeps writing in.

Just a quick word on the Brook/GGG fight this upcoming weekend (I’m sure you won’t get many of these haha!). It’s been bugging me how many people have dismissed Brook as a lightweight opponent to Golovkin, I just don’t get it from what I’ve seen at welterweight from “The Special One”. He was a skeletal welterweight and started to look unhealthy on the scales. He looks incredible a week before the fight and from looking at sparring sessions, looks sharp, quick, and most importantly focused.

Granted his opponents haven’t been world class, but he has dismissed them brutally and I genuinely think if he can pop GGG, let him feel his power in the early rounds, with Brook’s elite boxing skills, it will present Golovkin with problems he hasn’t had to deal with. I believe Brook is at his best being the matador in a boxing ring.

I watched a short piece on Martin Murray describing what it was like facing Golovkin and he commented mainly on how GGG is an absolute expert on pressuring the opponent by cutting the ring off successively and the angles he creates while on the inside. I think Brook has enough skill about him to nullify this. Whether Brook can face up to Triple G’s strength and stamina at middleweight is as much the test as being able to stay upright against the almighty power of the Kazakh.

I’m not giving him an even shout as the odds/stats are obviously against him but I really can see him winning more rounds than GGG and if he can take him the distance I think he will take it. That’s of course a huge “IF”.

I love watching GGG, I’m a huge fan of both fighters, but I really hope Brook produces the goods to dismiss the haters of this bout. He took it with both hands, straight away, when no one wanted a piece of GGG. It frustrates me the negativity some fight fans display towards the fight and I think with two world champion, world class fighters, PPV, sold out arena, and an unbelievable atmosphere surely we should just embrace it and support the event!! I don’t have to get hit by GGG haha!!

If he can win or at least make it a real fight it would be another step towards reigniting the sport we love back on the platform it belongs on. Come on El Brooko!! Thanks for taking time to read as always Doug. Keep up the good work Sir. – Dan, UK

Thanks for the kind words and thanks for sharing your thoughts on the Golovkin-Brook matchup.

You nailed it with this line: “I believe Brook is at his best being the matador in a boxing ring.” I agree 100%. The matador is the perfect analogy for what I think Brook needs to do against Golovkin. He needs to stay in close but be elusive. I think he can do this with the right combination of upper-body movement and footwork while in close. He’s just got to get that beautiful jab of his off and make sure mix up his offense. You can’t fire the same punch sequence against GGG without the power-boxer figuring you out and making you pay. I think Brook is talented and creative enough to vary his offense while working his defense. But I don’t know if he can hurt or even earn GGG’s respect with his offense and I’m not sure if he can avoid the middleweight star’s pressure attack for 12 rounds.

It’s been bugging me how many people have dismissed Brook as a lightweight opponent to Golovkin… Don’t sweat it. For a lot fans there are only two boxers they care to see GGG fight: Canelo and Andre Ward. They’ll find some reason to diss everyone else he fights. He was a skeletal welterweight and started to look unhealthy on the scales. I agree. Good observation. He looks incredible a week before the fight and from looking at sparring sessions, looks sharp, quick, and most importantly focused. It’s more important that he feels good than looks good. Remember, boxing is not a body building contest.  

I’m not giving him an even shout as the odds/stats are obviously against him but I really can see him winning more rounds than GGG and if he can take him the distance I think he will take it. That’s of course a huge “IF”. Yeah, it is. Even if Brook is able to avoid getting repeatedly wobbled or whacked out, I don’t think it’s going to be easy for him to outpoint Golovkin, who’s got a jab that is every bit as educated as Brook’s but is more of a weapon. And Golovkin’s footwork and ability to block, parry and counter punches is very underrated. Brook should not be casually dismissed but make no mistake, the English challenger has his work cut out for him.

 

BOXING IN COMIC BOOKS

Hey Dougy,

I’ve been reading the bag for over 10 years but only the last year have I started reading comics on the regular. Seems like boxing and comic characters / storylines have a rich history together. I’ve started collecting covers and issues that are boxing related. One of my favourites is Superman Vs Ali (I have the awesome deluxe trade paperback). Daredevil, Wildcat, Spidey, Punisher… The list goes on.

I was wondering if any stick out for you over the years?

On a pure boxing note, do you recall another instance like Liam Smith and Kell Brook using each other for sparring in the lead up to such big fights? Thanks. – Adam

Yeah, all the time. I recall Lucian Bute and Glen Johnson exclusively sparring with each other when Bute was getting ready for one of his fights with Librado Andrade and Johnson was preparing for his rematch with Chad Dawson.  I also remember when Joel Casamayor and Juan Lazcano sparred in order for the Cuban to prepare for Diego Corrales, while Lazcano was gearing up for his WBC lightweight title-eliminator against Stevie Johnston.

Regarding boxing-related comic book covers, have you ever seen Marvel Two-In-One annual No. 7, or Marvel Graphic Novel No. 8: Super Boxers? Both books were drawn by Ron Wilson, who obviously was a boxing fan.

Marvel-Two-In-One_Annual-7_mailbagMarvel Two-In-One was a team-up book that always featured The Thing. In this 1983 annual, the planet is threatened by one of the elders of the universe (nearly immortal and omnipotent cosmic beings) who has dedicated himself to physical perfection and hand-to-hand combat. The being, known only as the Champion, wants to box earth’s physically strongest heroes, which includes Thing, Hulk, Thor, Colossus, Namor, Wonder Man and a few other heavy hitters. If they can’t hang with him, he says he’ll destroy the planet, so the competition is high stakes.

I won’t give away any more of the story, but it’s a fun read by veteran writer Tom DeFalco and it was well received by comic fans at the time.

Super-Boxers_mailbagSuper Boxers, which was written by Wilson and published a year after Marvel Two-In-One annual No. 7, was not well received by fans or critics but I bought it as soon as it came out and still enjoyed it’s take on my favorite sport in a far-flung dystopian future.

Boxing in this particular future sort of combines traditional boxing with MMA and NASCAR, because the participants suit up in robotic armor the combat is not limited to punches.

I don’t know if you’ll enjoy the stories but I’m sure you’ll admire the cover art (especially on Super Boxers, which was done by Bill Sienkiewicz).

 

 

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

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