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Dougie’s Friday mailbag

Former two-division champion Bernard Hopkins. Photo by Rich Kane/Hoganphotos-Golden Boy Promotions
21
Oct

HAS B-HOP OVEREXTENDED HIMSELF?

Doug:

Bernard Hopkins-Joe Smith for December? I have mixed feelings on that one. But I always had mixed feelings about Hopkins. His punch-and-clutch style was indeed frustrating to watch. But the old man did and still does have balls of steel and in his biggest wins over world champions like Felix Trinidad, Antonio Tarver, Kelly Pavlik and Jen Pascal, Nard showed that he can fight hard for 12 full rounds and was indeed tremendous to watch.

And it was really hard watching him get hammered so easily by Sergei Kovalev, a fighter Hopkins would handily schooled in his prime.

And Smith? Ten years ago Smith would have been another heavy-handed white guy to get schooled by B-Hop but right now he’s probably the most dangerous guy Hopkins should try his luck against. Hopkins took a lot of heavy hits from Kovalev and is not talking James Toney language. Well not as bad as Toney but he’s already starting to slur his words. And now he’s poised to take on the hardest hitter in the 175 division. I don’t know if even Kovalev would have taken Fonfara out so quickly as Smith did. Not even Stevenson could do it. So once again I applaud Hopkins’ courage. But at over 50 and inactive for two years the old warhorse might be overextending himself this time. One more challenge too many. Your view? Thank you. – Dave Wares

It’s a dangerous fight for the reasons you pointed out, Dave. Hopkins has been out of the prize ring for two years (he’s never “inactive”), he’s almost 52, and he took a lot of punishment in his last bout (to say nothing of the wear and tear from fighting more than a quarter century in the pro ranks).

There are no easy fights when a professional boxer fights past 40, let alone 50, even if that prize fighter is a first-ballot future hall of famer (and an all-time great in my humble opinion).

Is the “old warhorse overextending himself”? Yes and no. He’s facing a guy who can really punch, a confident up-and-comer almost 25 years younger than he is who was known for his power even back in the amateurs. Hopkins’ chin has held up against some prolific punchers, such as Antwun Echols and Trinidad, over the years, but the warranty on that beard may have expired during the Kovalev fight.

Having said that, Hopkins is one of the smartest boxers I’ve ever seen fight. He’s literally forgotten more about boxing than Smith (or any other current contender, in any weight class) will ever know. He can outclass Smith utilizing only a fraction of his ring generalship.

If Smith is smart, he won’t try to be too smart once the bell rings on Dec. 17. He won’t try to play checkers with a master chess player. He’ll forget that B-Hop is old enough to be his dad, he’ll check his respect and admiration in the dressing room and come out guns blazing (not unlike Taylor did in the early rounds of their first bout). I think Smith should go for an early stoppage.

And nothing would surprise me in this fight. Still, Hopkins deserves to be the favorite (at least slightly) and he’s my admittedly sentimental pick.

I always had mixed feelings about Hopkins. He’s that type of boxer and person. He’s not one of these boxers who either love or hate. He’s one of these old rascals that you love AND hate.

His punch-and-clutch style was indeed frustrating to watch. I agree. As much as I admire Hopkins, I’ve only watched his fights with Tarver, Wright, Calzaghe, Dawson (II) and Jones (II) ONCE.

But the old man did and still does have balls of steel and in his biggest wins over world champions like Felix Trinidad, Antonio Tarver, Kelly Pavlik and Jean Pascal, Nard showed that he can fight hard for 12 full rounds and was indeed tremendous to watch. Yes indeed, and I have to point out that Hopkins was a 3-1 betting underdog in all four of those fights (the first bout vs. Pascal, not the rematch). The first fight with Pascal was right out of a Rocky movie. The old man gets dropped twice (hard the second time) but gets up, toughs it out, and gradually imposes his will and style on the young defending champ over the 12-round distance. And he doesn’t do it solely with guile and skill, he does it by putting his nose to the grindstone and outworking Pascal. His advanced age fights with Tavoris Cloud and Karo Murat were also entertaining (and competitive) in my opinion.

And it was really hard watching him get hammered so easily by Sergei Kovalev, a fighter Hopkins would handily schooled in his prime. I’m not sure I agree that Hopkins – whose prime years were spent fighting at 160 pounds – would have “schooled” Kovalev, but I agree that it was hard to watch a near-50-year-old Hopkins go 12 rounds with The Krusher. I literally had to turn away during the final round.

And Smith? Ten years ago Smith would have been another heavy-handed white guy to get schooled by B-Hop but right now he’s probably the most dangerous guy Hopkins should try his luck against. Fifteen or more years ago, Smith would be one of those big, strong, tough cats that Hopkins knocked out in sparring if they got too brave. I witnessed a few such sessions when Hopkins used to train in Las Vegas during the late ‘90s/early 2000s.

Hopkins took a lot of heavy hits from Kovalev and is not talking James Toney language. Man, that’s cold, but I hear you.

Well not as bad as Toney but he’s already starting to slur his words. Hey, show me a prize fighter with more than 25 years in the game and I’ll you a guy who slurs his words (at least a little bit).

And now he’s poised to take on the hardest hitter in the 175 division. Hmmm… I’m not sure about that. I know Smith can punch but maybe he just caught Fonfara in the right spot at the right time. Of course, he might be catching B-Hop at the right time…

So once again I applaud Hopkins’ courage. Me too. #FinalOne

MYTHICAL MATCHUP CLIFFSNOTES

Hi Doug-

I’m sure you get a lot of emails that are not meant to be posted. If you had a moment, I’d love your cliff note explanation of your Aaron Pryor v Oscar De La Hoya opinion in your Monday mailbag. You have Pryor beating some great boxers, including your boy Kostya Tszyu. Why does the Golden Boy standout from the rest? What about DLH makes him Pryor’s kryptonite? Thank you. – Curtis N

Good question, Curtis. Styles make fights. If you’re familiar with my mythical matchup picks you know that I seldom pick against Tszyu at 140 pounds (obviously, you know because you called Kostya “my boy”). However, Pryor’s frenetic, smothering style (and never-say-die mentality) was kryptonite for Tszyu. If you could stay in the Russian’s grill and keep hammering him, round after round, as Vince Phillips and Ricky Hatton, he could be wore down.

Conversely, a tall, rangy, MOBILE boxer-puncher like De La Hoya would have given Pryor fits in my opinion, especially the 140-pound version of The Golden Boy that was trained by Mexico’s old boxing genius Jesus Rivero. De La Hoya only made a three-bout, 11-month pit stop at junior welterweight but I think he was faster and technically sharper during this time (from February 1996 to January ’97) than at any other part of his career. Go to YouTube and check out his fights against Darryl Tyson, Julio Cesar Chavez (for the WBC 140-pound belt) and his 12-round first-defense against former lightweight titleholder Miguel Angel Gonzalez (40-0 and trained by Abel Sanchez and Emanuel Steward at the time). He was very light (almost bouncy) on his toes but he could plant his feet at any given moment and unload very quick, very hard and accurate power shots. His jab was like a power punch and he worked it expertly with feints and counter shots. His blocking ability and head and upper-body movement were also at their peak during this period.

Alexis Arguello was a great stand-up boxer-puncher with a near flawless one-two combination, and he gave (a possibly juiced) Pryor a great fight in their classic first encounter. However, The Explosive Thin Man was rather flat footed, decidedly slower than De La Hoya and naturally smaller than the East L.A. native. I think De La Hoya, who had underrated whiskers, could stick-and-move effectively enough against Pryor to earn a close decision (at least over the 12-round limit; not so sure about the 15-round distance).

So that was my reasoning for that particular pick. (A little longer than CliffsNotes, eh?)

RANDOM RANTS

Dear Dougie,

I just want to speak on random thoughts in boxing, as of today, October 18, 2016.

1) Danny Garcia: Danny Garcia is a disgrace to boxing and the Welterweight Division. For a fan of his after the Matthysse fight, I never seen a boxer fall so far from grace. How do you, in recent memory, be known for a fight against Rod Salka and have your head so far up your ass to tell Spence, Jr to get his resume up and you fighting a guy he KO’d in 4 rounds? You also need a tune up fight to get Thurman in the ring, after passing up your biggest payday and world wide exposure to fight Pacquiao on paid TV to fight an unknown on Bounce TV? I don’t think Haymon could have messed this deal up that badly.

2) Danny Jacobs: I get it. He beat cancer. Love how he fought and beat cancer. I just wish he would take that into the ring. When you feel you’re entitled to 40% of a purse split with Golovkin, you’re really OVERESTIMATING your worth. Sometimes, you have to look in the mirror and be honest with yourself. He doesn’t deserve 40%. Getting 25%, which is what the guidelines are in a purse bid from a governing body, is too much for him to get. His most notable fight is a KO lost to Pirog, IMO. He never headlined a PPV and sure as hell can’t sell out in his home town, but you want 40% and want to pick the place to fight in New York. He can’t draw flies to s__t, but want 40% with a tune-up fight? That’s laughable. I also never heard of a boxer needing 12 weeks to train for a fight? Fans, other than PBC die hard fan, knew when you asked for 40% and petitioned the WBA for that amount, you didn’t want the fight. That was your way of saying “I don’t want to fight” while saving face for the 3 or 4 fans you have. Maybe Fight Hype or The Boxing Voice will spread that around, since they don’t know that a 75/25 purse bid is between the boxing organizations and has nothing to do with promoters.

3) Fluid Mayweather/Andre Ward: Just stop talking about Golovkin. First, Mayweather, Golovkin doesn’t live by your standards of boxing guidelines to be great. As “great” as you were as “Pretty Boy”, the real reason you moved up in weight was to A) safely avoid tough fighters and/or B) you couldn’t make the weight to stay in a division for too long. If you really looked at boxers other than yourself, especially in the middleweight division, you would know that all the best middleweight either never left the division (Hagler) or stayed in the division for a long time (Hopkins). And Hopkins, you didn’t dare to be great until you were in your 40’s after Taylor got gifts. Back to Fluid. After Mayweather became “Money” he avoided bouts with the Thurman’s, Brook’s, and Khan’s to fight Guerrero’s, Berto’s, and Maidana’s. But, hey, at least you gave us a bout with Lightweight champ, JMM, where you gave in disrespectfully over the weight limit and gave us the Pacquiao fight 5 years after the fact after JMM took most of the wind out of that fights sails. Golovkin is trying to do something #TBE never accomplished and that’s unify a division.

As for Andre Ward, let’s keep it simple… First, worry about Kovalev. I heard he’s kinda a big deal at Light Heavyweight. Second, nobody cares about the emails. Stop talking about it. Get it out your head that Golovkin ducked you. A boxer from a lower weight division could never duck a boxer from a heavier weight division. And stop comparing Ginger and Golovkin to Golovkin and yourself. Golovkin never went up to Super Middleweight and won the lineal title and paraded around like a Super Middleweight. He never called you in The Ring after a bout and told he “we don’t f**k around”. Worry about Kovalev in November.

End of Rant. Thanks. – Jeremy, Lafayette, LA

Thanks for the many rants, Jeremy. You can break these up into separate emails going forward. LOL.

I agree 100% that Ward should forget about Golovkin and focus solely on his showdown with Kovalev, but if the man wants to keep his hard-on for GGG during this training camp that’s his prerogative. Maybe it’s motivating him somehow. Maybe he hates GGG so much that talking about the unified middleweight beltholder keeps him fired up during a tough camp. Maybe he’s going to pretend that Kovalev is Golovkin on Nov. 19 and tear into Krusher like the Russian stole something from him. Who knows?

Nobody cares about the emails. Stop talking about it. Get it out your head that Golovkin ducked you. A boxer from a lower weight division could never duck a boxer from a heavier weight division. Good point.

And stop comparing Ginger and Golovkin to Golovkin and yourself. Golovkin never went up to Super Middleweight and won the lineal title and paraded around like a Super Middleweight. He never called you in The Ring after a bout and told he “we don’t f**k around”. LOL. No, that wouldn’t be GGG’s style.

Danny Garcia is a disgrace to boxing and the Welterweight Division. I think Garcia has been a disappointment in recent years. I think calling him a “disgrace” to the entire sport is going a bit overboard, but I guess that’s what diehard fans do.

For a fan of his after the Matthysse fight, I never seen a boxer fall so far from grace. He’s not alone. A lot of young guns that everybody was high on a few years ago have recently fallen off in terms of fan support/respect, and it’s not just the PBC players.

How do you, in recent memory, be known for a fight against Rod Salka and have your head so far up your ass to tell Spence, Jr to get his resume up and you fighting a guy he KO’d in 4 rounds? Garcia’s just speaking from his own experience. Before he fought Erik Morales for the first time for his first world title, he fought well-known/respected former titleholders Nate Campbell and Kendall Holt in tough, back-to-back distance fights. Garcia had fought Morales (twice), Amir Khan and Zab Judah before his showdown with Lucas Matthysse. I guess he thinks Spence should have more than Chris Algieri and Leonard Bundu on his resume before calling him out.

You also need a tune up fight to get Thurman in the ring, after passing up your biggest payday and world wide exposure to fight Pacquiao on paid TV to fight an unknown on Bounce TV? To be fair to Garcia, he’ll be fighting on Spike, not Bounce, and Bob Arum says that he never made an offer to Garcia to fight Pacquiao. As for the “tune-up,” as Gabriel Montoya has pointed out on social media and The Next Round podcast he does with Steve Kim, it was Garcia’s choice to sit out for nine months after beating Robert Guerrero in January. And if it wasn’t his choice, he needs to address this issue with You Know Who.

I don’t think Haymon could have messed this deal up that badly. At the end of the day these young fighters should be responsible for their careers and legacies. If they aren’t interested in leaving their mark on the sport we can’t blame their manager/promoter/adviser.

Danny Jacobs: I get it. He beat cancer. Love how he fought and beat cancer. I just wish he would take that into the ring. He does take that fight into the ring, and he won the WBA’s “regular” title, which was a big part of his feel-good story. He beat cancer and won a “world title” against all odds. But now his management don’t want to follow that sanctioning organization’s rules. Hey, if you wanna hold their belt you gotta either play by their rules or drop the trinket like Canelo (or Peter Quillin).

When you feel you’re entitled to 40% of a purse split with Golovkin, you’re really OVERESTIMATING your worth. I agree, but I’m not mad at his people for asking for that much or trying to negotiate that percentage. That’s the name of the game in prize fighting. Get as much as you can. However, when unable to get that much, they should be willing to negotiate for less. Perhaps there is a middle ground between 75-25 and 60-40 that can be reached (especially now that they’ve pushed past the Dec. 10 fight date, which is another story/rant).

Sometimes, you have to look in the mirror and be honest with yourself. He doesn’t deserve 40%. Getting 25%, which is what the guidelines are in a purse bid from a governing body, is too much for him to get. I don’t agree that 25% is “too much” for Jacobs. He brings a name and marketability, especially in the New York City area, to the promotion and telecast. But 40% is seriously pushing it. He’s not the real champ or the bigger attraction.

His most notable fight is a KO lost to Pirog, IMO. I think his showdown with Quillin was his most notable fight. He was practically a prospect when he faced Pirog.

He never headlined a PPV and sure as hell can’t sell out in his home town, but you want 40% and want to pick the place to fight in New York. Kind of ridiculous, right? And yet, Jacob’s team is almost rational in comparison to Billy Joe Saunders and Chris Eubank Sr.

I also never heard of a boxer needing 12 weeks to train for a fight? It’s rare but not unheard of, however, it wouldn’t be necessary if these guys fought more often and it shouldn’t be necessary if Jacobs started training a couple weeks after his rematch victory over Sergio Mora in mid-September. The WBA had announced prior to the Mora fight that it would mandate the Golovkin showdown, and he called out GGG during his post-fight interview on Spike. You’d think he would have started training with Golovkin in mind asap.

Fans, other than PBC die hard fan, knew when you asked for 40% and petitioned the WBA for that amount, you didn’t want the fight. Well, we’ll see. The fight is not dead yet. They’re still negotiating for an early 2017 date. Let’s see what happens before we totally lose our minds.

Fluid Mayweather/Andre Ward: Just stop talking about Golovkin. Not gonna happen. Could it be jealousy? Hmmmmm….

First, Mayweather, Golovkin doesn’t live by your standards of boxing guidelines to be great. As “great” as you were as “Pretty Boy”, the real reason you moved up in weight was to A) safely avoid tough fighters and/or B) you couldn’t make the weight to stay in a division for too long. I don’t know if that’s true. While I think Mayweather could have/should have fought Acelino Freitas or Joel Casamayor at 130 pounds, he did fight the No. 1-rated lightweight (Jose Luis Castillo) when he first officially moved up in weight. He may have avoided Tszyu at 140. He definitely avoided a number of badasses at welterweight. But I don’t think he ever left a division because he could no longer make the weight, except for maybe junior lightweight where he remained for many years.

If you really looked at boxers other than yourself, especially in the middleweight division, you would know that all the best middleweight either never left the division (Hagler) or stayed in the division for a long time (Hopkins). Some did, some didn’t. Hagler and Carlos Monzon never stepped up in weight and nobody disputes their greatness (except for TBE-hat wearing dips__ts and Twitter knob jobs). Nino Benvenuti never tried to fight at light heavyweight. Gene Fullmer never fought heavier than 160 pounds. However, Bob Fitzsimmons, Harry Greb (who fought at light heavyweight before winning the middleweight title), Mickey Walker (who won the welterweight title first), Tiger Flowers and Dick Tiger either won the light heavyweight title or fought top light heavyweights (and some heavyweights) of their eras. Stanley Ketchel and Ray Robinson also rolled the dice against the champs in higher weight classes (and fell short).

And Hopkins, you didn’t dare to be great until you were in your 40’s after Taylor got gifts. I disagree. Hopkins was going for greatness by unifying all four major titles (IBF, WBC, WBA and WBO) at middleweight (which had never been done), breaking Monzon’s title-defense record and by reigning longer than any middleweight champ in history.

Golovkin is trying to do something #TBE never accomplished and that’s unify a division. And it’s a worthy goal for any fighter that wants to be the only champion in his weight class.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

What’s up Dougie. On my lunch break at work typing on my cell so there will probably be some errors and rambling.

I read Andreas Hale’s article yesterday about us fans getting the raw deal. I do agree. Glad you guys published that.

The whole GGG thing…man I kinda feel bad for the guy. I would be so frustrated and would just want to fight. I’m sure it will work out for him tho. I remember Winky, Hopkins, Margarito going thru something similar…but the whole GGG thing seems worse.  Maybe it’s the Money May effect.

Wanted to add something about Daniel Jacobs. How could someone not like him…power, great story and generally good guy. However I do think he overvalues himself. About a month ago he said in an article he doesn’t understand why he doesn’t have more followers. More followers usually equals more money. Take the fight with GGG, beat him and hopefully reap the rewards of a bigger fan base and purse in the future. Sometimes in life you gotta take a risk and a smaller piece of the pie to get the bigger slice down the road.

Good news hearing about Luis Ortiz signing with Eddie Hearn. Hopefully he will get matched with Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder and the rest next year.

Have not wrote since April and I’m proud to say I did what I said I would do and you suggested…instead of complaining on social media just don’t order the PPV. Didn’t order Canelo’s last two. What do you think of both undercards for next month’s two PPVs? I wish Pacquiao stayed retired but it seems like a good card. Ward-Kovalev seems lacking. Later. – Ryan, NY Wu-Tang

Yeah, I think the Isaac Chilemba-Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Maurice Hooker-Darleys Perez fights are interesting on paper (especially the light heavyweight bout) but they aren’t the kind of matchups that add a lot of excitement to a pay-per-view event.

Meanwhile, I am looking forward to watching the Pacquiao-Vargas PPV because I know the Oscar Valdez fight is going to be a lot of fun and the Nonito Donaire-Jesse Magdaleno crossroads title bout should be intense, maybe even explosive.

However, I should point out that most hardcore fans are ambivalent about Pacquiao-Vargas, so maybe the Nov. 5 undercard bouts standout more than the Nov. 19 undercard. Most boxing folks are genuinely excited about Kovalev-Ward, so maybe they’re paying less attention to the fight’s undercard.

I read Andreas Hale’s article yesterday about us fans getting the raw deal. I do agree. Glad you guys published that. Glad you liked it. We were lucky to get a column from Mr. Hale as he’s a new daddy and is still getting used to his infant daughter’s sleep schedule.

The whole GGG thing…man I kinda feel bad for the guy. It’s been a frustrating year for Golovkin. He’s been put off by Saunders, Canelo, Eubank Jr. and now Jacobs. But let’s all blame Tom Loeffler. (Just kidding.)

I’m sure it will work out for him tho. I remember Winky, Hopkins, Margarito going thru something similar…but the whole GGG thing seems worse. I think it’s definitely worse for Golovkin because Wright, B-Hop and Margz were avoided when they were still overlooked by most fans and underrated by most media. Golovkin is a bona-fide attraction, a media darling, and a consensus top-five pound-for-pound rated player who holds three major world titles (four if you count the IBO).

Maybe it’s the Money May effect. #BlameFloyd

Wanted to add something about Daniel Jacobs. How could someone not like him…power, great story and generally good guy. He is likable.

However, I do think he overvalues himself. Just a tad.

About a month ago he said in an article he doesn’t understand why he doesn’t have more followers. It’s real simple Danny, you’ve only had one significant bout (vs. Quillin) during your nine-year pro career.

More followers usually equals more money. That’s how it’s supposed to work.

Take the fight with GGG, beat him and hopefully reap the rewards of a bigger fan base and purse in the future. In other words, act like you believe that you are the best middleweight in the world and like you want to prove it.

Sometimes in life you gotta take a risk and a smaller piece of the pie to get the bigger slice down the road. Word.

Good news hearing about Luis Ortiz signing with Eddie Hearn. I think the young British promoter is among the best in the world. Hearn should be able to keep Ortiz busy, on TV (on both sides of the Pond) and in front of enthusiastic crowds, while working the Cuban southpaw toward his goal of becoming heavyweight champ.

Hopefully he will get matched with Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder and the rest next year. OK, calm down. Let’s take this one step at a time. First up is Malik Scott on Nov. 12 in Monte Carlo (on HBO).

 

 

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

 

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