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Dougie’s Monday mailbag

Photo by: Tom Hogan/Golden Boy Promotions
19
Sep

CANELO’S NIGHT

Hi Doug,

Styles make fights. And Canelo was really challenged. By Max Kellerman, of course. The interviewer’s style was too much for the Mexican, who was no match for the HBO’s smart ass after the fight. Kudos for making Canelo dodge the questions as Neo dodged bullets, Max.

However, I do not agree with putting the blame solely on Óscar for not making the mega fight we all want. Canelo is a grown man. He can twist his boss’s arm to force him :). No, seriously, at least this time Canelo made a MUCH better selection of words when it came to answer the GGG topic. But I do think Canelo can force De La Hoya’s hand to fight Golovkin once and for all. Let’s hope it does happen.

I do agree with the fact that Canelo is no ducker. Most casual fans ignore the almost stupid risks he took fighting Lara and Trout. And I think that’s the reason why so many Mexicans still don’t embrace Álvarez as a true warrior. Even I, who don’t hide the CNHL (Canelo Nut Hugger Label) on my clothing, am really expecting the fight to be made pronto or at the very least for Golden Boy to stop pretending it will get made.

On to the actual fight.

We should all be thankful to Liam Smith. He went to Dallas to win the damn thing and he tried is best. He might have shown GGG a thing or two on how to put some leather on freckles, specially against the ropes.

Canelo put on a show again. His combinations were spectacular. And I think he even innovated a bit whit many of them. He was patient enough not to over indulge on body punches and wait for the perfect moment to unleash hell.

One can say anything about Saúl Álvarez. But he now sports a very nice streak of really entertaining knockouts. And his drawing power is undeniable. Speaking of which, before the fight I had started doubting who the “A” side might be against GGG, all things considered. Should GBP take more time to make it, better get ready to see GGG-Canelo. Speaking of which, do you think Álvarez is in risk to stop being the “A” side anytime soon? – Carlos, from Hermosillo, México

No time soon, Carlos. This past Saturday was a reminder (to me, at least) that while “the Twitterverse” is a solid gauge of what’s on the minds of hardcore fans, it’s not necessarily reality. According to social media the boxing world (including a significant portion of Canelo’s faithful) is totally fed up with the redhead, but the fan turnout and enthusiasm at AT&T Stadium tells me that the Mexican is still a star.

Gennady Golovkin’s popularity and reputation grows with each fight, but for the time being, he still takes a back seat to Canelo. GGG might close some distance between their statures within the sport by the time they’re supposed to fight next September, and if that happens, it will only make that proposed event “mega-event” bigger.

We should all be thankful to Liam Smith. He went to Dallas to win the damn thing and he tried is best. Yes, much respect to Smith and his team. He fell short against Canelo but I think he will grow from this experience and remain on the world-class level for a few years. My guess is that Canelo will vacate the WBO belt before the end of the year, so I can see “Beefy” facing someone for his old title in the first part of 2017. Who? If they can swing it, Kell Brook would be an excellent choice because that would be a big fight back home. There’s also a tough domestic scrap waiting with Liam Williams. I would try to lure talented but vulnerable American up-and-comer Tony Harrison into the ring if I was advising Smith. That could be a fun fight and promotion given the Detroit native’s personality.

He might have shown GGG a thing or two on how to put some leather on freckles, specially against the ropes. Nah. Golovkin already knows how to do that and would’ve done a lot more damage in that position than Smith did.

Canelo put on a show again. His combinations were spectacular. And I think he even innovated a bit whit many of them. I agree. He looked fast and fluid athletically speaking, but also sharp and versatile from a technical/tactical standpoint. Canelo’s footwork looked better than I’ve seen in recent years.  

He was patient enough not to over indulge on body punches and wait for the perfect moment to unleash hell. I think “ring command” or “ring generalship” is good way to describe what Canelo brought to the fight on Saturday. He didn’t just overpower Smith, I think he outclassed the game Englishman.

I do not agree with putting the blame solely on Óscar for not making the mega fight we all want. Canelo is a grown man. He can twist his boss’s arm to force him :). Absolutely. If Canelo really wanted to fight Golovkin this year, it would have happened. Nobody can tell this young man what to do. He knows the power and influence he has not only with his promotional company but in the sport.

I do think Canelo can force De La Hoya’s hand to fight Golovkin once and for all. Let’s hope it does happen. Hey, if Canelo did not want to face Golovkin at all, nobody from Golden Boy would even be talking about GGG let alone making offers to Tom Loeffler.

I do agree with the fact that Canelo is no ducker. He’s not a ducker, but he’s obviously not in a hurry to get into the ring with GGG. Who is? I’m OK with that for now because the Canelo-Golovkin match up has only been on the menu since last November. A full year hasn’t even gone by. But, as my buddy Steve Kim is fond of saying, Canelo and GBP are “on the clock.”

Even I, who don’t hide the CNHL (Canelo Nut Hugger Label) on my clothing, am really expecting the fight to be made pronto or at the very least for Golden Boy to stop pretending it will get made. They’re not pretending anything. They know it’s a potential super fight that could bring in obscene amounts of money for their company.

 

YAMANAKA AND HASEGAWA

Hi Doug,

Just watched the card from Osaka. Oh my goodness, two absolutely epic fights!

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Hasegawa-Ruiz. Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Hozumi Hasegawa getting his third world title. The heart of the man fighting back so valiantly off the ropes in the 9th round was jaw dropping and getting a TKO victory due to Ruiz’s broken chin, so happy for him!

Shinsuke Yamanaka and Anselmo Moreno delivered too. Kudos to both for making this a shootout and such an absorbing fight. Five knockdowns and some really beautiful clean blows too throughout. Yamanaka is such a lethal finisher. Yamanaka’s straight left has to be considered one of the most potent weapons in the sport. He is also The Ring 118-lb champ now too :).

I’m still hyped from the card. I really hope boxing fans check these two fights out. I think you might concur, Dougie, but let us all as boxing fans forget about politics in the sport and “marinating,” etc., which we hear too often, let us focus and give appreciation to these great fighters and fights we see such as in Osaka, Japan on Friday 🙂

Final question Doug, I think these two are on the path to the Hall of Fame currently and solid locks if they rack a few more notable victories. Is that fair to say bro?

Thanks again Doug for all your work, it is much appreciated! Yours. – Abdul-Qadir, Dublin, Ireland

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and enthusiasm, A.Q.

It’s too bad the little guys and the Japanese boxing scene are often overlooked by even self-described “diehard fans.” Maybe if they paid as much attention to sub-featherweight divisions and the championship cards held in Japan as they did to the Canelo-GGG-Golden Boy-Loeffler-Ward-Roc Nation-Kovalev-Main Events war-of-words sagas, they wouldn’t be so down on boxing.

Whatever. I’ve never cared about what other people are into. If I like something that’s all that matters to me. And I love Japanese fighters and the Japanese boxing scene, especially when top fighters from Mexico, Central and South America are tossed into the mix.

If anyone out there missed Hasegawa’s hard-fought upset stoppage for the WBC 122-pound belt, here it is:

And if you missed Yamanaka-Moreno II (shame on you), here it is:

I think these two are on the path to the Hall of Fame currently and solid locks if they rack a few more notable victories. Is that fair to say bro? I think that’s fair to say. I don’t think Yamanaka or Hasegawa are quite ballot worthy yet, but they are on their way. Both vets need one or two more high-profile victories on their ledgers. (There are lesser accomplished fighters enshrined in Canastota, as I’m sure you know.)

 

CANELO LOOKS GOOD VS. GAME SMITH

Hi Doug,

I liked the fight, Canelo looked good and had a game opponent in front of him that was made to order. This was good matchmaking. I gave Smith two rounds and had him competing in several other rounds, he just didn’t have enough skill and power to handle the vastly superior Alvarez. I think Canelo knew Smith couldn’t hurt him and took his time to dismantle him giving the crowd a fight and getting some good rounds of work. I still don’t think he has the tools to beat a GGG but he would be competitive.

Regarding his words after the fight, it’s obvious to me that HBO wants to build this rivalry every chance they have. Canelo seems very irritated with any mention of Golovkin’s name and that will only work for the promotion to heat up. It’s obvious this fight won’t happen next considering the real dates that make sense are May or September. Look for both fighters to fight some mandatories before they settle for a date.

I don’t think the offer made by Golden Boy is fake, the thing is, what kind of offer is it? Is it fair for GGG and K2? I’ll wait and see. As for now, I still favor GGG. He fought the better opponent and even though he had some rough moments, he finished the job inside 5. Smith is a good fighter but nowhere near as good as Brook (even with the obvious disadvantages Kell had with the weight, he was still a better opponent in my eyes). I see GGG using the jab and slowly dismantling Canelo.

If Canelo’s offer includes GGG coming down to Caneloweight, then we have a fight. I don’t think GGG looked as he looked last week because of traffic. He’s getting older and it gets tougher to make weight. I think he had a rough time this time around and if he’s forced to cut down it might affect his overall performance. Oscar and BHop know this and they’ll try to exploit their A Side advantages.

That’s all I have, hope you guys had a great weekend in Dallas. Looked like a great crowd. – Juan Valverde, San Diego

We were working hard all week and all day and night on Saturday but it was a good time and that atmosphere inside AT&T Stadium was unforgettable thanks to Smith’s guts, Canelo’s talent and the 51,240 fans in attendance.  

De La Hoya and Hopkins wouldn’t be worth their salt as promoters if they didn’t try to make the most of Canelo’s A-side leverage in negotiations but I haven’t heard a word about catchweight stipulations in regard to the potential GGG showdown next September.  

Is Golovkin slowing down with age? Is he beginning to struggle to make the middleweight limit? I don’t know. But I do know that these very same questions were asked about Hopkins going into his unification bout with De La Hoya in 2004. We all know what happened in that fight. Do you think Oscar and Bernard have forgotten?

Canelo looked good and had a game opponent in front of him that was made to order. This was good matchmaking. I agree. 

I gave Smith two rounds and had him competing in several other rounds, he just didn’t have enough skill and power to handle the vastly superior Alvarez. I agree. As I said going into this fight, experience/ring savvy would be the difference, but I only scored one round (the sixth) for Smith. I think you could argue that the gutsy Liverpool lad won Round 5, too. 

I think Canelo knew Smith couldn’t hurt him and took his time to dismantle him giving the crowd a fight and getting some good rounds of work. I agree. And there’s nothing wrong with that. 

I still don’t think he has the tools to beat a GGG but he would be competitive. I agree.

Regarding his words after the fight, it’s obvious to me that HBO wants to build this rivalry every chance they have. It’s obvious to everyone, Juan. If HBO isn’t interested in building up the Canelo-GGG rivalry every chance they get they shouldn’t be in the boxing business. 

Canelo seems very irritated with any mention of Golovkin’s name and that will only work for the promotion to heat up. I agree. 

It’s obvious this fight won’t happen next considering the real dates that make sense are May or September. Nobody thinks the fight will happen next or in May. September 2017, Mexican Independence weekend. That’s the target date. 

I don’t think the offer made by Golden Boy is fake, the thing is, what kind of offer is it? Eight figures, according to De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez. 

Is it fair for GGG and K2? That’s up for Team Golovkin to decide, but it seems like they want more than a flat fee or guaranteed purse. 

I’ll wait and see. As for now, I still favor GGG. Yeah, you and 99% of the boxing world. But this fight needs to happen NOW! LOL. 

Smith is a good fighter but nowhere near as good as Brook (even with the obvious disadvantages Kell had with the weight, he was still a better opponent in my eyes). I don’t disagree, but I’d be interested in seeing the fighters settle this in the ring.  

I see GGG using the jab and slowly dismantling Canelo. Hater.

 

GGG’S POPULARITY

When did Golovkin surpass Cotto in name recognition and fan base? Not long ago the Canelo/Cotto quasi-MW matchup was supposed to be THE mega-fight fans wanted. Two of the biggest names in boxing; Mexico vs PR; two supposed “proven” PPV attractions. The fight sold a respectable 900k buys.

Fast forward, Canelo/GGG is the “biggest MW fight in 30 yrs”, it’ll do 1.5-2m buys.

Boxing deludes itself better than any sport. 1.5-2m requires a lot of casual fan interest. When has either of these fighters shown that drawing appeal, especially GGG? And don’t use Canelo/Floyd as a Canelo example; GGG ain’t Floyd as a casual fan attraction partner. – Tony

This is true, but the “event potential” of the Canelo-GGG matchup is about more than the individual fighters meeting in the ring. It’s a combination of their considerable fan bases/drawing power as well as their upward trajectories within boxing and the general sports world. Neither is as well-known as Mayweather, Pacquiao or maybe even Cotto; and that should come as no surprise. Canelo wasn’t a factor in the U.S. until 2011. Golovkin didn’t make his U.S./HBO debut until September 2012 (that’s just four years ago, bro). And as I keep reminding neurotic boxing fans, this matchup has not been on the menu a full year. However, it’s a HOT topic. Hot enough for casual fans and “regular-Joe” sports fans to take notice. Hot enough for the boxing and sports media to be obsessed with it. And it’s only going to get hotter going into 2017.

When did Golovkin surpass Cotto in name recognition and fan base? It hasn’t happened – yet, but GGG is on a comparable track as Cotto, who didn’t sell out Madison Square Garden until he fought Zab Judah in 2007, four years after his HBO debut.

Not long ago the Canelo/Cotto quasi-MW matchup was supposed to be THE mega-fight fans wanted. Two of the biggest names in boxing; Mexico vs PR; two supposed “proven” PPV attractions. The fight sold a respectable 900k buys. Yeah, and I think Canelo-Golovkin can do a little bit more than 900,000 buys. I think it can do 1 million, maybe a little more.

Fast forward, Canelo/GGG is the “biggest MW fight in 30 yrs”, it’ll do 1.5-2m buys. That’s probably wishful thinking, but I agree that it will be the most anticipated middleweight championship since Hagler-Leonard (which will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year). I think it surpasses Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-Sergio Martinez, Bernard Hopkins-Felix Trinidad, Hopkins-Jermain Taylor, and I believe that it is at least on par with De La Hoya-Hopkins (which did 1 million PPV buys). I think Canelo-GGG makes more money worldwide than all those other PPV middleweight title bouts I mentioned because I believe that it has more global appeal (and, of course, the promoters and cable systems will charge more to watch it).  

Both fighters appeal to Mexican fans. Canelo brings in Mexico’s media as well as the American-Latino press. Golovkin attracts German, Russian and Eastern European TV. Both are known, respected and followed in the UK (thanks in part to their recent opposition). Both have proven to put butts in the seats. Golovkin has sold-out his last three arenas (MSG, The Forum and O2 Arena in London), selling roughly 55,000 tickets. Canelo surpasses that total with just his last two bouts at T-Mobile and AT&T, selling roughly 68,000 tickets.

This means something, Tony. It means Canelo vs. GGG can be a huge f__king fight.

 

CANELO AND USYK

Hi Doug,

Well, Canelo did what I expected him to do, which is to show that whatever his detractors say, he is still a whole level above what constitutes an average world champion in today’s world. Liam Smith tried all he could, but Canelo was just better in every department. Do you see anyone at 154 except Erislandy Lara (like that rematch will ever happen again) that has a chance to beat him?

One more thing: I don’t believe that GGG-Canelo is the mismatch that some people think. I am of course still going with GGG in this one, but I always thought that it would be a terrific, competitive fight. GGG isn’t a Lara or Trout, so Canelo won’t have to look for him. If it wasn’t for those very heavy hands, one could even say that his style suits Canelo. But think about this: what if (I know it is a big “if”) Canelo takes whatever GGG throws at him and keeps throwing back, especially with those shots to the body? Maybe he could just wear him down late, Chavez style? What do you think?

Oleksandr Usyk looked good to me outboxing Glowacki. He is very fast and nimble for a big man. Would have liked to see more fireworks though. The cruiserweight division looks good, just no US fighters in it. How do you see Usyk doing against Lebedev, Bellew and Huck? I think he beats them all. Huck and Lebedev have a lot of wear and tear on them and he is just too talented for Bellew.

Mythical matchup:

Wladimir Klitschko vs Primo Carnera

Regards. – Droeks Malan, South Africa

Usyk is as talented as advertised. I gotta give him major props for taking on Glowacki in the gutsy, undefeated defending titleholder’s home country (Poland) and winning the WBO belt in just his 10th pro fight. I expect THE RING’s Ratings Panel to advance the Ukrainian southpaw into the top 5 (probably to No. 3) in the magazine’s cruiserweight rankings, and I think most agree that he belongs there.

I would favor Usyk to beat all of THE RING’s cruiserweight contenders except for Lebedev and I view that as an even fight. However, I think Bellew and Huck would be dangerous opponents due to their experience, heart and heavy hands. I think the 2012 Olympic gold medalist would have to be at his very best to beat his fellow top cruisers.  

Canelo did what I expected him to do, which is to show that whatever his detractors say, he is still a whole level above what constitutes an average world champion in today’s world. Canelo handles himself in the ring as well as you would expect a champion in his physical prime with the experience of 50 pro bouts to acquit himself. He can box and he can fight. He did a little of both against Smith, who said Canelo was able to “rest along the ropes while he was setting traps” and deliver “the good shots at the right time.” That’s experience and ring generalship.

Do you see anyone at 154 except Erislandy Lara (like that rematch will ever happen again) that has a chance to beat him? Yeah, of course. Junior middleweight is a fairly deep division. I think Demetrius Andrade has the talent and tools to beat Canelo. I’d also give Julian Williams and the Charlo Twins a good shot to upset the Mexican star at 154 pounds.

I don’t believe that GGG-Canelo is the mismatch that some people think. I don’t either.

I am of course still going with GGG in this one… you freakin’ better, otherwise I’m gonna call you a Golden Boy shill (or worse, I’ll claim you’re a K2 hater!)

GGG isn’t a Lara or Trout, so Canelo won’t have to look for him. Yo, that’s cuz Golovkin is so BASIC! No skillz! That’s why he got exposed by Brook!

If it wasn’t for those very heavy hands, one could even say that his style suits Canelo. Um, yeah, I guess you can say that. You could also say if it wasn’t for Lara’s fast feet, his style suits Canelo. But what’s the point?

But think about this: what if (I know it is a big “if”) Canelo takes whatever GGG throws at him and keeps throwing back, especially with those shots to the body? Then we got a fight! YEE-HAW!

Maybe he could just wear him down late, Chavez style? What do you think? I dunno, Droeks. “Chavez style” implies technical but relentless pressure to accompany the body attack and that’s not really what Canelo does against opponents that can match or exceed his physical strength. Canelo stands his ground at center ring in spots and he goes to the ropes in spots. That’s not how prime JCC got it done.

Your mythical matchup:

Wladimir Klitschko vs Primo Carnera – Wladdy at his best surgically carves up the giant contender/titleholder of the early-to-mid 1930s to late-rounds TKO. I don’t think Carnera would be able to win a single round.

 

 

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

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