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Dougie’s Friday mailbag

09
Sep

BIG DRAMA SHOW ON THE ROAD

Yo Dougie,

Been awhile since I’ve written to the mailbag. I’m excited for Saturday night though I will miss it due to a wedding. But I’ll find a way!

Anyway, I’m wondering what your thoughts on the middleweight and super flyweight match-ups are. What strategy should Kell Brook follow in order to score a tall-ordered upset? Obviously, GGG will just need to continue his usual gameplan of aggressively pressuring and counter-punching. It seems like Kell is relying on his new bulk, which seems to tell us he wants to stand toe-to-toe and try to impose his strength. Therefore, is fighting fire with fire a smart gameplan for him? If so how can he possibly survive? What would you have considered as an effective gameplan?

The Little Drama Show is just going to be a fun fight to watch. Chocolatito is the favorite here with his high-volume pressure fighting. So what do you think Cuadras would need to do to defeat the pound-for-pound king?

On a side bar, I’ve been reading a bit on Paul Williams lately and he seems to be doing well. My understanding was he was scheduled to fight Canelo Alvarez before his accident. I’m sure you’ve been asked this, but how would you have seen this fight turnout? Where would Paul Williams career turnout?

Would a GGG-Williams match-up been possible? Who would win that fight? Thanks, Dougie! Enjoy your weekend! – Mike, Hudson Ct., NJ

I think Williams’ best fighting days were behind him before his tragic motorcycle accident, so I doubt he would have still been a middleweight player by the time GGG began to emerge as a force in the division. Had they fought in 2013 or 2014 I think Golovkin would have knocked Williams out as cold as Sergio Martinez did in his late-2010 rematch with the gangly southpaw volume puncher.

I also think Canelo would have defeated Williams had they fought in September 2012 as was planned. I think P-Will would have given Canelo, only 21 at the time, a tough fight but I believe the young Mexican star would have landed the harder, cleaner punches en route to a close but legit UD or a late TKO.

Williams was a dangerous foe on paper but by 2012 his grueling 12-round war with Martinez (in their first bout in December 2009), second-round KO rematch loss to “Maravilla,” and the punishment he absorbed during his gift decision over Erislandy Lara had taken its toll on his 6-foot-3 body. I think Team Canelo was well aware of this. In February 2012, Williams was taken 12 rounds by Nobuhiro Ishida, a tough Japanese journeyman that Canelo had promoted in Mexico. Canelo had also sparred with Ishida and had knocked the 6-foot-2 junior middleweight/middleweight out cold in one of those sparring sessions. So there’s no doubt in my mind that Canelo would have entered a fight with Williams with a lot of confidence.

What strategy should Kell Brook follow in order to score a tall-ordered upset? Hit and not get hit. Duh!

It seems like Kell is relying on his new bulk, which seems to tell us he wants to stand toe-to-toe and try to impose his strength. Just because Brook trained for this bout a lot heavier (and more muscled) than usual doesn’t mean that he’s going to RELY on his “new bulk” come fight time. Brook obviously wants as much physical strength and punch resistance as he can possibly have on his side as he goes about the business of outboxing a master pressure fighter.

Therefore, is fighting fire with fire a smart gameplan for him? If so how can he possibly survive? He can’t survive – not for long, anyway – if he fights fire with fire, but I don’t expect him to do that.

What would you have considered as an effective gameplan? I consider working a jab from mid-range and moving around GGG (but not backing up or running) while countering and dropping combos at the right time to be Brook’s best bet. He will need all the physical strength he can muster to block shots while in close. That’s why he’s made the choice to bulk up IMO.

So what do you think Cuadras would need to do to defeat the pound-for-pound king? I think the defending WBC 115-pound titleholder needs to take a page from Juan Estrada’s fight with Gonzalez and stick-and-move with a stiff jab and hard combinations. He’s got more experience, size, speed and power than the version of “El Gallo” that Chocolatito faced in late 2012, so I consider him to be a very “live dog” in tomorrow’s showdown.

 

REMEMBERING BOBBY CHACON

Hi Doug,

While I am excited about Triple G’s big fight this weekend I wanted to reflect today on the death of Bobby Chacon. I was lucky to see him fight several times. I grew up in a time when there was quality boxing on network TV on the weekends and even in prime time. Win or lose you knew you were going to get your money’s worth when Chacon was on the tube (they were tubes back then) and I never missed watching when he was on TV. Bobby Chacon was a blood and guts warrior in the truest sense of that terminology. He was such a likeable guy with a winning smile and easy going manner. He was a great TV interview. It was easy to root for him. One could not help but become a fan.

For younger boxing fans it is hard to imagine that there could have been a fighter even more exciting than Arturo Gatti was in his prime. One needs to only go to YouTube and watch the tapes. Bobby Chacon’s resume’ reads like a who’s who of the top fighters of the day in his division. He beat most of them and fought some of them multiple times. The fights with Cornelius Boza Edwards and Bazooka Limon were particularly memorable. His come from behind victories are the stuff of which legends are made. His life inside and outside the ring read like a Hollywood movie…. but he paid a terrible price, physically and personally. I saw a latter day interview on HBO and you could tell by his speech that boxing had done him terrible damage.

Along with the personal tragedies of his wife and son, one’s heart breaks at what he experienced. It has been said of other boxers before that they gave all. They left it all in the ring. Bobby Chacon exemplifies those traits. To paraphrase Lee Groves (whose article on Chacon was excellent) those fans who were lucky enough to see Bobby Chacon fight will never forget him. – David, Nashville

Indeed, David. The Southern California fight scene will not be the same without Chacon. He was a fixture at club shows, big fights and boxing events for many decades, and he remained a fan favorite despite his neurological/physical limitations. He had an infectious blend of manic energy, warmth and silliness that even boxing fans that weren’t familiar with his fighting days were drawn to.

But the long-time boxing fans who followed his hall-of-fame career and witnessed his many epic ring wars absolutely LOVED seeing Bobby at the fights. And he gave them nothing but love in return.

I consider myself blessed to have started covering the sport when Chacon was still able-bodied enough to train fighters, 16 or 17 years ago. Matt Foster, the chief photographer for the old HouseOfBoxing website, and I worked out with him in 1999 and 2000 when he was “the name” trainer for a little storefront gym near the skid-row section of downtown L.A. that went by “Mainstream III” because it was supposedly the third incarnation of that legendary boxing club. I tell you what – and I ain’t bulls__tin’ just because he’s passed on – once Chacon warmed up and his muscle memory was activated he a f__kin’ beast. He pushed us ‘till we were ready to puke.

But you didn’t have to meet or train with Chacon for him to touch you. Lee Groves, who absolutely did a great job on the Chacon tribute feature currently on the site, is a diehard “Schoolboy” fan. He penned the 3,000-word feature in a couple of hours after learning of Chacon’s death. He told me that “the words were flowing like few stories of this length that I’ve ever written.

“I just tapped into the admiration I had for Chacon, who gave me the greatest single fight I’ve ever seen in the fourth Limon fight. I hope that everyone who reads it will feel as if Chacon got his just tribute because he deserves it.

Thank you, David, for sharing your thoughts on Chacon and for your kind words for Groves’ article.

 

THE REMATCH

Hey Dougie,

Like all the other hardcore fans I’m really looking forward to Saturday’s fights. I have a feeling that the best fight will turn out to be the rematch between Jesus Soto Karas and Yoshihiro Kamegai, mainly due to the fact that they are so evenly matched and they only really know how to fight one way. I thought Kamegai looked a little sharper in the first fight but I’m wondering if Soto Karas will be in better condition for the rematch as he sometimes is a little lackadaisical in his training but has had plenty of time to prep for the rematch. I wouldn’t be surprised if he uses his jab more as well in this fight.

As for the two major matchups, I love to watch Chocolatito and Golovkin in action but I’m just not sure their respective opponents will have a lot to offer them. And that says a lot more about their skill level and dominance than it does about Cuadras and Brook, who are both quality fighters. I just think that Gonzalez will get his volume punching buzz saw game going and Cuadros will struggle to stand his ground. He moves pretty well and has good hand speed but from what I’ve seen of him he tends to throw wide punches and sometimes seems to punch more with his arms than his legs.

As for Kell Brook, he’s a terrific fighter with textbook technique and solid punching power but he’s never felt body punches like he’s about to receive from GGG. That, more than anything else, should be the difference in this fight. This is one of the secrets to GGG’s seemingly uncrackable chin; his body shots weaken his opponent’s legs so much that they can’t properly sit down on their punches to hurt him. I think this is part of the reason guys like Stevenson and Lemieux couldn’t hurt GGG when they occasionally landed flush on him–their legs were just too weak to channel their full power.

Anyways, looking forward to another Big Drama Show and Nicaraguan Annihilation! (Hoping that one catches on). – Jack E.

“Nicaraguan Annihilation.” I like it so much I might steal it for my deadline story headline on Saturday IF Gonzalez is able to blast out Cuadras or beat the talented Mexican titleholder down in one-sided fashion (which is a big “if”).

You make a very good point about the combination of Golovkin’s solid whiskers and devastating body attack preventing opponents from nailing him in return with any kind of leverage. (The same combo worked so well for the prime Julio Cesar Chavez.) Brook definitely has his work cut out for him tomorrow. It will be interesting to see what the talented welterweight can do on the inside, if he’s strong and skilled enough to defend when in close and nail Golovkin’s body in return. I’ve been wanting to see if a world-class fighter could pull that off ever since GGG’s tough outing against Kassim Ouma five years ago. If Brook can do it – even for a limited amount of time – and hurt Golovkin or get the middleweight’s respect I think it might convince a lot of fans that Canelo may stand a chance against GGG. (But that’s another big “if,” my friend.)

As for the two major matchups, I love to watch Chocolatito and Golovkin in action but I’m just not sure their respective opponents will have a lot to offer them. And that says a lot more about their skill level and dominance than it does about Cuadras and Brook, who are both quality fighters. THANK YOU for giving the betting underdogs their deserved respect. Way too many so-called fans are dismissing their talent and accomplishments just because they are expected to lose.

I just think that Gonzalez will get his volume punching buzz saw game going and Cuadros will struggle to stand his ground. I don’t think Cuadras is going to try to stand his ground too often, so Chocolatito is going to need his ring-cutting game to be on point in order to win this fight, in my opinion. That’s what it comes down to in my view. If Gonzalez can’t cut the ring off on Cuadras, he won’t make Nicaraguan history.

He moves pretty well and has good hand speed but from what I’ve seen of him he tends to throw wide punches and sometimes seems to punch more with his arms than his legs. Good observation, one I’m sure Team Chocolatito have made.

I have a feeling that the best fight will turn out to be the rematch between Jesus Soto Karass and Yoshihiro Kamegai, mainly due to the fact that they are so evenly matched and they only really know how to fight one way. You might be right, so allow me to state for the record, right now, that I love these two gatekeepers.

I thought Kamegai looked a little sharper in the first fight but I’m wondering if Soto Karass will be in better condition for the rematch as he sometimes is a little lackadaisical in his training but has had plenty of time to prep for the rematch. I agree that Kamegai was sharper in their first bout, and I thought he won it by a point or two. Soto Karass has indeed had a better training camp for the rematch than he did for the first fight. He was near fighting weight two weeks ago (or more), which is rare for the Mexican veteran. And he’s stated on record numerous times that he plans to use his jab more on Saturday than he did on April 15. We’ll see if that’s enough to get by Kamegai.

 

KELL BROOK’S DEFICIENCIES

Hi Mr. Doug,
I have been a bit puzzled for a while that for the most part, Brook’s deficiencies aren’t mentioned. I would be interested to hear your opinion on what his deficiencies are.

How they figure into Saturday:
– Brook was significantly wobbled by Jones and Senchenko. Both instances took place within the space of one year.
– GGG never been wobbled. Iron jaw.

– Brook noticeably affected by body shots.
– GGG can knock you out with a body shot.

– Brook, when pressured or is getting hit, has a tendency to move backwards in a straight line. That’s a     boxing 101 no-no. And with GGG, that’s a SUPER-SIZE no-no!
– GGG. Pressure fighter personified.

– Brook’s weight overshot quite high, then has had a short amount of time to shed, especially last week of the fight. Then day of the fight, will shoot back up 10 lbs (or more). That’s a lot of weight shift in a short amount of time.
– GGG always in the zone with his weight.

Thanks. – Behr Becker

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Behr, but bro, it’s not like anyone needed to be convinced that Brook is the underdog in this fight. LOL.

– Brook was significantly wobbled by Jones and Senchenko. Both instances took place within the space of one year. That’s a bit of an exaggeration IMO. I think “momentarily buzzed” is more accurate. Who knows? Perhaps making 147 weakened him to the extent that getting cracked just right by the two fringe contenders resulted in a brief loss of his legs. That’s quite common in boxing.
– GGG never been wobbled. Iron jaw.
True.

– Brook noticeably affected by body shots. I haven’t seen this on consistent basis. Give me some examples. The first Jones fight? OK, I’ll give you that one but maybe he took the American lightly.
– GGG can knock you out with a body shot.
True.

– Brook, when pressured or is getting hit, has a tendency to move backwards in a straight line. That’s a boxing 101 no-no. And with GGG, that’s a SUPER-SIZE no-no! Yeah, you don’t need to be Ray ARcel or Eddie Futch to realize that.
– GGG. Pressure fighter personified. He’s a ring-cutting ring general.

– Brook’s weight overshot quite high, then has had a short amount of time to shed, especially last week of the fight. Then day of the fight, will shoot back up 10 lbs (or more). That’s a lot of weight shift in a short amount of time. It’s actually typical in this era of day-before weigh-ins.
– GGG always in the zone with his weight.
And yet, he’s looked pale and dawn enough in the face for Boxing Twitter to worry about his health.

 

BOXING ‘WHAT IFS?’

Hi Dougie,

Was having a discussion with friends about a few Boxing what-ifs doing a bit of a counterfactual Boxing history exercise and had some fun doing it and wanted to get your take on some of them. (None are particularly unique but I would to hear your opinion nonetheless!)

  1. What if Ali was not drafted/not put in prison for refusing to serve? What would his career likely have looked like instead?
  2. What if Sugar Ray Leonard had not been so worked up by Duran’s insults and had just tried to outbox Duran in Montreal?
  3. What if Cus D’Amato had lived a few years longer and Tyson subsequently kept more focus and stayed relatively on the rails?
  4. The one we were most interested in and thought and went crazy with: What if Castillo was not robbed against Floyd in their first fight and Floyd took an ‘0’ at that stage in his career? We really went crazy in fleshing out the radically different ways we reckon the dominoes would have fallen if the judges weren’t so incompetent.

Lastly, I am so torn over who I want to win on Saturday night at the O2. I am a huge Kell Brook fan and want him to prove the haters wrong so badly, I am so sick of hearing the crap so many ignorant fans keep spouting about Kell because he has had some lame mandatories and can’t get decent welterweights in the ring. But on the flip side I am huge GGG fan and am sick of the crap I have to hear from his haters and a loss to Kell will mean having to listen to their crap. It’s almost a lose-lose situation!

Enjoy the epic card at The Forum! – Ibrahim, London

I will, Ibrahim. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and historical hypotheticals.

I think Golovkin-Brook will be a win-win situation as long as Brook is able to compete with GGG and the two unbeaten standouts give the fans a good fight. (And I believe there’s a very good chance of that happening, especially if the rumors of Golovkin being a bit under the weather are true.) Don’t worry about the haters of either fighter. They’re going to talk s__t no matter what happens.

Your “What Ifs?”:

  1. What if Ali was not drafted/not put in prison for refusing to serve? What would his career likely have looked like instead? I think Ali would have been untouchable from mid-1967 through ’69, so he would have had more victories and title defenses on his ledger, but I still think Joe Frazier and Ken Norton would have given him hard fights in the early ‘70s – maybe they wouldn’t have beat him but they would have made him look human. I also think Ali wouldn’t have been as beloved or transcendent an icon as he was had he not overcome the adversity of his political exile.
  2. What if Sugar Ray Leonard had not been so worked up by Duran’s insults and had just tried to outbox Duran in Montreal? I think Leonard would have been soundly outworked and outpointed had he tried to outbox Duran in their first bout. The version of Duran that Leonard faced the first time around was 100% prepared for the boxing version of the American Olympic star. I think Leonard’s decision to battle it out in the trenches is why the first bout was as close and competitive as it was.
  3. What if Cus D’Amato had lived a few years longer and Tyson subsequently kept more focus and stayed relatively on the rails? I think he would have had stronger performances against Boncrusher Smith and Tony Tucker, and maybe would have scored stoppages against his fellow beltholders, and I think he would have looked sharper against Frank Bruno, but I believe he still would have had a difficult time with Buster Douglas. And Evander Holyfield likely had his number, so I think he would have suffered a loss sometime in the early ‘90s. Hopefully, more D’Amato in his life would have prevented the Desiree Washington/rape conviction/jail time situation but who knows? Tyson was being pulled in a lot of directions and who’s to say that D’Amato would have been able to do anything about it?
  4. The one we were most interested in and thought and went crazy with: What if Castillo was not robbed against Floyd in their first fight and Floyd took an ‘0’ at that stage in his career? We really went crazy in fleshing out the radically different ways we reckon the dominoes would have fallen if the judges weren’t so incompetent. I don’t think that was such a terrible decision. I scored it for Mayweather by a point from ringside. But I digress… I think if Mayweather lost to Castillo, he would have had a slightly better career, because I think he would have taken more chances at the lighter weights (135 and 140 pounds – perhaps he would have tried to unify lightweight titles against Leo Dorin and Paul Spadafora) and he wouldn’t have used his record so much as a selling point. However, I still think he would have stunk out the rematch with Castillo, and played it relatively cautious once he moved to welterweight, and he still would have created the “Money” persona at some point. I still think he would have avoided showdowns with Joel Casamayor, Kostya Tszyu and Antonio Margarito; but maybe he would have fought Vivian Harris and Zab Judah at 140 pounds, and perhaps Cory Spinks at 147.

 

MYTHICAL MATCHUP MANIA

Hi Doug,

I hope you’re well & are looking forward to the fights over the forthcoming weeks.

If you get the chance, please could you have a look at some of these mythical matchups & let me know how you think they’d pan out:

  • Ali (from the Williams fight) vs Louis (from the Schmeling rematch)
  • Foreman (from the first Frazier fight) vs Lewis (from the Rahman rematch)
  • Calzaghe (from the Lacy fight) vs Ward (from the Dawson fight)
  • Golovkin (from the Lemieux fight) vs Hagler (from the Hearns fight)
  • Hearns (from the Duran fight) vs Trinidad (from the Vargas fight)
  • Alvarez (from the Kirkland fight) vs De La Hoya (from the Vargas fight)
  • Mosley (from the first De La Hoya fight) vs Duran (from the first Leonard fight)
  • Khan (from the Alexander fight) vs Thurman (from the Porter fight)
  • Cotto (from the Mosley fight) vs Maidana (from the Broner fight)
  • Matthysse (from the Soto fight) vs Rios (from the first Alvarado fight)
  • Arguello (from the Rooney fight) vs Duran (from the second De Jesus fight)
  • Chavez (from the Rosario fight) vs Pacquiao (from the Diaz fight)

Thanks very much. – Chris, Manchester, UK

I’ll give it the ole college try, Chris. Here ya go:

  • Ali (from the Williams fight) vs Louis (from the Schmeling rematch) – Ali by up-from-the canvas unanimous decision
  • Foreman (from the first Frazier fight) vs Lewis (from the Rahman rematch) – Foreman by up-from-the-canvas mid-to-late TKO
  • Calzaghe (from the Lacy fight) vs Ward (from the Dawson fight – Calzaghe by close, maybe controversial majority decision
  • Golovkin (from the Lemieux fight) vs Hagler (from the Hearns fight) – Hagler by close, maybe split decision
  • Hearns (from the Duran fight) vs Trinidad (from the Vargas fight) – Hearns by unanimous decision (unless he went for an early KO; then he’d get clipped after dropping Tito)
  • Alvarez (from the Kirkland fight) vs De La Hoya (from the Vargas fight) – De La Hoya by close but unanimous decision
  • Mosley (from the first De La Hoya fight) vs Duran (from the first Leonard fight) – Duran by competitive but clear unanimous decision
  • Khan (from the Alexander fight) vs Thurman (from the Porter fight) – Thurman by come-from-behind late TKO
  • Cotto (from the Mosley fight) vs Maidana (from the Broner fight) – Cotto by competitive but unanimous decision
  • Matthysse (from the Soto fight) vs Rios (from the first Alvarado fight) – Rios by come-from-behind late TKO
  • Arguello (from the Rooney fight) vs Duran (from the second De Jesus fight) – Duran by mid-to-late TKO
  • Chavez (from the Rosario fight) vs Pacquiao (from the Diaz fight) – Chavez by late TKO

All of these fights would have been entertaining.

 

RELIEF

Mr. Fischer,

Finally, I found the new website and took a deep breath of relief. Keep on the excellent work. – Matthias

Glad you found it, Matthias. Keep in mind that it’s still a work in progress.

 

 

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

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