Dougie’s Monday mailbag
BIG FIGHT WEEKEND
It’s been a while since I wrote to you. Here are some of my thoughts from this weekend’s fights. (Man, there were a lot of them!) I’ll keep it short.
Anthony Joshua-Eric Molina: I can’t still say much about AJ because once again, he has not been tested at all. Molina didn’t show up and it didn’t do anything to gauge how AJ is as a fighter.
Wlad is far more experienced fighter obviously but he has not fought for more than a year now and now he’s 40, the timing might be right for AJ. I still think he’s a kinda fighter who could get clipped and goes down hard by a guy like Shannon Briggs circa 97~98.
Jermall Charlo-Julian Williams: Am I the only one who was not surprised the outcome? I never understood why J-Rock was so highly regarded. I know he’s a good sound fighter but he has not fought anyone (Joachim Alcine doesn’t count, Please.). Charlo has not fought anyone much either but at least he beat Austin Trout. Besides, he looked a lot bigger. You could tell there was not much effects on Charlo when J-Rock landed some shots. He didn’t look like a fighter who could take punches after the knock down from a jab and the end came a bit sooner than I expected.
Ray Beltran-Mason Menard: This was my fav fight of the night. I like Beltran. He’s like a 135LBs Salido. He’s from a school of Emanuel Augustus. An underdog with hugely underrated skills and underappreciated experience. It really showed in this fight. Is it just me that this fight really reminded me of Lemieux vs Rubio? Up-coming young kid with huge punch got schooled and pounded by a solid skilled and experienced veteran. Hope he’ll get one more title shot after this. He deserves it.
Terence Crawford-John Molina: Well, it was typical Crawford and typical Molina. It’s kinda depressing to see how crude of a fighter Molina still is even though he’s been in the business for a decade. I still like the way Crawford finishes the opponents, though. He doesn’t rush himself, just waits until the other guys softened up and take them out when it’s time. I know there will be network issue and political issues involved but I wanna see him shutting up and slap around the loud and rude guy from Cincinnati at 140.
Keep up the good work! – Naoki, Las Vegas, NV
Adrien Broner might be gutsy enough to take that challenge but my guess is that his handlers would prefer easier paydays for “The Problem,” such as Scottish veteran Ricky Burns. (By the way, Broner’s February date with Adrian Granados won’t be a walk in the park.)
If Crawford can’t get Pacquiao in the ring next year, I’d like to see him take on another fellow Top Ranker, Tim Bradley, at 147 pounds.
Anyway, I’ll comment on your comments in the order you presented them:
Anthony Joshua-Eric Molina: I can’t still say much about AJ because once again, he has not been tested at all. While Molina’s performance was indeed piss poor, and we still don’t know well Joshua can catch against world-class hitters or how well he’ll fair in the late stages of an extended battle, I think we can say a few things about the British heavyweight sensation’s poise and technique. I think Joshua has EXCELLENT form and timing. He knows when to let those heavy but quick punches and the accuracy and economy of those jolting shots is almost uncanny.
Jermall Charlo-Julian Williams: Am I the only one who was not surprised the outcome? I don’t think so. Although I picked Williams to win I wasn’t surprised that Charlo prevailed (and I think most fans that favored J Rock also believed that the defending titleholder was the more athletically talented of the two junior middleweights, and thus dangerous). However, I was surprised (though not shocked) by the brutal and relatively quick manner in which Charlo dispatched Williams. That was an impressive power play from the IBF beltholder.
I never understood why J-Rock was so highly regarded. He’s a solid-all-around boxer-technician with a no-nonsense approach to his craft and to the sport. What was not to like about Williams? I don’t recall anyone comparing him to Mike McCallum.
I know he’s a good sound fighter but he has not fought anyone. Charlo has not fought anyone much either but at least he beat Austin Trout. True, but Charlo fought Trout after he had won his world title.
Besides, he looked a lot bigger. Charlo is a giant at junior middleweight. I first noticed this in the Trout fight. Trout’s no pipsqueak but Charlo dwarfed him, just as he did the 5-foot-11 Williams.
You could tell there was not much effects on Charlo when J-Rock landed some shots. This was obvious from the onset of the bout. I only scored Round 4 for Williams (and only because he made Charlo miss so much) because of this. Charlo practically walked through Williams’ best right crosses, some of which landed flush. In a way, the matchup boiled down to that old boxing adage: A good big man beats a good little man (which I admit is a bit odd given that both weighed in at 154 and J Rock is by no means a small junior middleweight).
Ray Beltran-Mason Menard: I like Beltran. You should. On top of being a grizzled and skilled veteran, he’s a really nice guy.
He’s like a 135LBs Salido. He’s from a school of Emanuel Augustus. An underdog with hugely underrated skills and underappreciated experience. I agree, although Ray is not as relentless (or dirty) as “Siri” and he’s not the improvisational genius that Augustus was, and his status in the sport is somewhere between those two (as Salido has won titles in two divisions and Augustus was mainly a gatekeeper). Bottom line, though, Beltran is a legit lightweight contender with craft and tenacity (and that awful draw he was stuck with after beating the snot out of then WBO 135-pound beltholder Ricky Burns still pisses me off).
It really showed in this fight. Is it just me that this fight really reminded me of Lemieux vs Rubio? That’s a good analogy (although Lemmy was a lot younger and greener than Menard). Hopefully, the 28-year-old Louisiana native can learn from the experience and bounce back the way the Montreal standout it did.
Terence Crawford-John Molina: Well, it was typical Crawford and typical Molina. That’s probably the best way to put what turned out to be an exhibition homecoming event for the defending 140-pound champ.
It’s kinda depressing to see how crude of a fighter Molina still is even though he’s been in the business for a decade. Don’t be depressed. Molina’s a good-natured dude who has made a good living in a very tough business. You can’t expect everyone who puts on a pair of gloves to box like Vasyl Lomachenko.
I still like the way Crawford finishes the opponents, though. He’s one of the best finishers in the business.
THE RAGING JERK
How about that Charlo fight? He looked like a beast. Unfortunately he also looked like a raging jerk. But I’ll go easy on him. I would like to see him in with GGG. How do you feel about that matchup? I might see that as a fairly even fight, but still giving the edge to GGG.
I had a thought on judging after seeing that joke of a card in favor of Cuellar. I think at one’s most generous, you could give Cuellar 5 rounds maximum, but probably more like 4. Rather than changing the scoring system, etc. maybe we should require the judges to read their own scorecards at the end of a fight and participate in post-fight interviews. That could solve a lot of the BS. Thoughts? Haha. Hope you’re well. – Vincent, Winston-Salem, NC
I like that idea, along with annual performance reviews and mandatory refresher seminars.
I scored four rounds for Cuellar – Round 2, 3, 8 and 9. He applied good pressure early on and he was busier than Mares in the later part of the fight, but he was outmaneuvered and repeatedly jarred by the more experienced fighter’s counter punches and body shots in the majority of rounds. I ain’t mad at anyone who had the fight closer than I did, but there’s no way Cuellar won.
How about that Charlo fight? He looked like a beast. Charlo was badass. I want to see this version of the Houston native fight again, and again, and again, provided he continues to take on legit top-10 contenders.
Unfortunately he also looked like a raging jerk. But I’ll go easy on him. Oh come on, it wasn’t that bad. Charlo was raging immediately after the fight but rightfully so. He had just blasted an unbeaten fighter who questioned his mettle coming into the fight and whom most fans and media members (myself included) had picked to beat him. As he explained, his emotions were running high and it momentarily got the better of him during his post-KO adrenaline rush. I apologized and acted in a more sportsman-like manner after his post-fight interview. I don’t see why any red-blooded boxing fan would hold Charlo’s initial refusal to accept Williams’ congratulations against him. To be perfectly honest, I appreciated Charlo’s genuine emotions. I prefer that kind of raw display to boxers that act all hardcore before the fight and then wuss out and play grab-ass for 30-36 minutes during the actual bout (and then get all lovey dovey with their supposed rival when it’s over).
Hey, I like badasses as long as they deliver come fight time. I didn’t hold it against James Toney or Marco Antonio Barrera or Erik Morales or Fernando Vargas when they raged out on their opponents before or after their fights because that’s how they truly felt and that’s what they brought DURING the fight. So I’m not going hold anything against Charlo.
I would like to see him in with GGG. How do you feel about that matchup? Bro, slow down. He beat J Rock. It was a sensational performance against a lower top-10 junior middleweight contender (THE RING ranked Williams at No. 8, Charlo at No. 3 going into Saturday’s fight) but it doesn’t mean he’s ready for the best middleweight in the world or that he’s even worthy of challenging the undefeated unified 160-pound titleholder. There are still a few legit potential opponents at 154 pounds, including Demetrius Andrade (who called him out at Saturday’s post-fight presser) and fellow PBC Players Erislandy Lara (which would be a unification bout) and Jarret Hurd (who has comparable size and explosiveness).
I might see that as a fairly even fight, but still giving the edge to GGG. “Fairly even?” Good grief. Did you notice all those right hands Williams landed over the first four rounds? Charlo won’t walk through those shots (or even the jabs) from Golovkin (or even from Canelo Alvarez, who could make him miss as much as J Rock did but also make him pay). I’m not saying that Charlo couldn’t be competitive with GGG, but I don’t think he’s ready yet. I’d like to see him beat at least one legit middleweight contender, such as Chris Eubank Jr., before we start beating the drums for Golovkin-Charlo.
JOSHUA VS. KLITSCHKO
So it’s Anthony Joshua Vs Vlad Klitschko then. Very intriguing. I think this fight will answer a lot of question marks about both fighters. Just one thing I’d like your opinion on – do you think this fight too early for Joshua or perfect timing? Cheers! – Mark from England
It could very well turn out to be perfect timing (obviously Team AJ and Eddie Hearn believe so, otherwise they wouldn’t have agreed to the fight), but my hunch (which I hope is wrong) is that it’s too soon.
I like to see an up-and-comer (even a potential world-beater like Joshua) go through a hard-fought 10- or 12-round bout before being turned loose on “The Man” (or even “the former Man,” in this case) of the division. Joshua’s never been past seven rounds, and that was against fringe contenders (Whyte and Breazeale).
Having said that, I have no problem with Joshua and Hearn rolling the dice against Klitschko. Joshua has youth and activity on his side. And if he wins in impressive fashion he could become the biggest attraction in the sport.
WHYTE-CHISORA STEALS THE SHOW
The main event last night turned out to be a farce, Molina was not even sparring partner material. He looked pretty similar in his effort against Wilder, backing off and doing virtually zero. In both efforts he seemed to be looking for a spot to lay down. Chisora and Whyte on the other hand was a real fight with both guys coming to win. Dereck has lost a few gears, and was totally gassed by round 5, I thought he was unlucky not to get the nod. Neither fighter is going to scare any of the belt holders though. Wilder will stop Whyte early.
Still not learnt whether Joshua can: overcome adversity, do 12 rounds or fight going backwards. Wlad looked very old when he fought Fury and I am not sure how he will cope with Joshua. The fact that Wlad won’t have to look for Joshua will make this a 50-50 fight even for an ancient Wlad. Cheers. – Philip du Plessis, Gloucester, UK
I agree. Klitschko looked like dried up dog s__t vs. Fury, however, we should keep in mind that the Gypsy King utilized a neutralizing/keep-away type of game plan (and had the height and reach to do so), and also remember that the former champ has gone the 12-round distance eight times. Joshua has yet to fight 10 rounds. Although Klitschko has been a pro for more than 20 years and has a lot of wear and tear on his big body, AJ may have more question marks going into their April showdown. But that’s part of the matchup’s intrigue.
The main event last night turned out to be a farce, Molina was not even sparring partner material. Sad but true.
He looked pretty similar in his effort against Wilder, backing off and doing virtually zero. In both efforts he seemed to be looking for a spot to lay down. I seem to recall Molina giving more of an effort against Wilder and having some moments in the fight.
Chisora and Whyte on the other hand was a real fight with both guys coming to win. Yes it was. Though it was sloppy at times, I was impressed with the effort the big men put forth. They fought at an old-school heavyweight pace and absorbed some hellacious punches along the way. I thought the grudge match could have gone either way and I would have been cool with a draw.
Dereck has lost a few gears, and was totally gassed by round 5, I thought he was unlucky not to get the nod. I agree, although I think both men were gassed over the second half of the bout (which only added to the action) and I believe that Chisora has enough left to still be one of the more reliable gatekeepers of the division.
Neither fighter is going to scare any of the beltholders though. Good! I hope they both get a shot at one of them soon, especially if it’s newly crowned WBO beltholder Joseph Parker.
Wilder will stop Whyte early. I’m not so sure about that. I think Whyte has certain attributes that can trouble the talented and charismatic American.
GREAT NIGHT FOR BOXING
Dear Mr Fischer,
It’s easy to over-exaggerate with all the superlatives in the thesaurus after a showing like Bud Crawford’s tonight. We (well, many of us) did it last year when GGG beat David Lemieux with nothing but a jab and his feet, we did it in July when Bud thoroughly outclassed Viktor Postol, and we’ve done it after every Lomachenko fight since he won his first strap.
That being said, it seemed that John Molina’s game plan for this fight was to take a page out of Siri Salido’s book and ignore all the rules outside the ring to try to take every advantage into the ring with him that he could. Unfortunately for Molina, he didn’t have the full blueprint and wasn’t trying to crack Crawford’s nuts the whole bout. Even had he spent the entire night going after Bud’s balls, Crawford might still have knocked him TFO. That was a show (not a good match, not a great fight, but a fantastic show of boxing skill).
I hope this finds you well, and that you and those dear to you are primed for a fantastic holiday season. It’s certainly merrier for the mailbag.
(PS: It says here that Lomachenko already is an all time great in the amateur ranks. I know that’s not your wheelhouse, but if Hi-Tech can accomplish the professional equivalent of a third of what he did as an amateur, he’ll be considered the best fighter of the past twenty years, at least.) Peace. – John
I’m not an expert on the amateur ranks or its history, as you know, but I won’t argue with anyone that consider Loma to be an AATG (amateur all-time great). Only time will tell if he can accomplish even a third as much in the professional game. He seems on his way, but keep in mind that he’s 28 years old and that, unlike the amateurs, it can be difficult to arrange for the best to face the best in the pros. But the little phenom only has eight pro bouts under his belt. Let’s see where he is and what he’s done after 15 or 20 pro bouts.
That being said, it seemed that John Molina’s game plan for this fight was to take a page out of Siri Salido’s book and ignore all the rules outside the ring to try to take every advantage into the ring with him that he could. Wow, this is the second Salido reference in this mailbag. Let me just say this: There’s only one “Siri” and he’s better than both Ray Beltran and John Molina. Thank you.
Unfortunately for Molina, he didn’t have the full blueprint and wasn’t trying to crack Crawford’s nuts the whole bout. Unfortunately for Molina, he’s not the complete fighter that Salido is and he’s not a relentless, volume-punching pressure fighter with the ability to cut the ring off. Molina is a tough, game, stalking puncher. He’s stubborn enough and a good-enough puncher to shock better talents like Hank Lundy and Mickey Bey with come-from-behind stoppages, and he was smart enough to outbox Ruslan Provodnikov but Crawford’s on another level.
Even had he spent the entire night going after Bud’s balls, Crawford might still have knocked him TFO. He could have been in there with a Louisville Slugger, swinging at Bud’s nuts like a juiced-up Mark McGwire, and he still would’ve had his ass handed to him.
That was a show (not a good match, not a great fight, but a fantastic show of boxing skill). Agreed.
J ROCK WON’T BE THE SAME
First off, I am from PA, so I am not just trying to put J Rock down, I rooted for him going in because he is from Philly and his backstory.
But I don’t think he will be the same after that. I am not saying he was not ready or any of that. I am just saying the crushing way he was KO’d, but that was only the tip of the iceburg (though that was bad enough), then the way he was completely dismissed and disrespected on national TV. He got KO’d, was obviously deflated from that, then after he was okay enough to get off of his stool he went over and it was like a gang scene on the other side of the ring, like 15 dudes basically wanting to get in his a$$ again, too. Coming from the inner city, that is like the king of the block destroys you in front of everyone and then everyone turns on you and you are afraid to ever go back.
I think that feeling after the fight, will destroy his confidence going forward. They ended up leaving the ring after that, and it wasn’t really because he was that hurt (not saying that he was not hurt). We have seen other fighters get KO’d and stick around for the interview. I remember Morales threw water into Barrera’s face I believe, but that just made them hate each other more, this was more deflating/psychological.
I’ve never really been a Charlo fan, but the way he KO’d Williams and then was still wound up like a lion for 20 minutes afterwards shows his heart does not pump Kool-Aid. I think this victory and the aftermath will make him a different fighter going forward. That feeling will make him want to fight more like this.
If he is fighting with those kinds of skills and bad intentions, sign me up for his next fight. Thank you. – Jason C. Brown
Yeah, sign me up too. Charlo has always had a nice blend of skill and athleticism (like his twin Jermell), but when you add the bad intentions (and tremendous size) to the combination he becomes must-see TV.
I’m already on record with my appreciation for Charlo’s post-KO “rage-n-rant” (thanks to Twitter), but I agree with you that the Williams victory and the fierce emotions that fueled it will make him a more formidable (and marketable) fighter going forward.
I’m not sure that I agree with you on how the loss will affect Williams. I’m not saying that I know for sure that you are wrong, because we have seen devastating losses psychologically ruin fighters before, but we’ve also witnessed a lot of fighters overcome these types of setbacks (sometimes more than once as Barrera, Wladimir Klitschko and Amir Khan, to name a few, have).
The International Boxing Hall of Fame is packed with fighters that suffered humiliating KO losses early in their careers or in their first step-up fight or just before their first title shot or in their first title challenge. Obviously, they bounced back and had stellar careers. I don’t know if Williams is made of the same stuff as those men, but we’ll find out.
(I should point out that there have been many fighters, who are not in the hall of fame – such as Khan, David Haye, Jorge Linares, Sergio Martinez, Zab Judah – and some who had decidedly less talent/tools than Williams – such as Yory Boy Campas and Oleg Maskaev – that have come back from brutally devastating stoppages and won world titles.)
I’m not going to write Williams off now. It’s just too soon to do that for my discernment.
I hear what you’re saying with the “inner-city”/“king-of-the-block” beatdown analogies, but I don’t think J Rock is one to fall into that mentality.
There’s a recent interview with Williams’ trainer, Stephen “Breadman” Edwards, where he talks about J Rock’s tough Philly upbringing and he describes his fighter’s mindset and lifestyle as being “FROM the street but not IN the street.”
Williams appears to be a mature, strong-willed individual. My hunch is that he’s the type of fighter that learns from setbacks and uses negative experiences to better himself. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt. I think he’ll come back better than before.
2017: RETURN OF THE HEAVYWEIGHTS
Hey Dougmeister General!
Hope you and yours are doing well, still read the bag as often as I get chance. Don’t change a thing, it’s a credit to yourself, and The Ring Magazine.
Just a quick one, are we finally seeing the return of a heavyweight scene boxing can be proud of? Unlike the current top divisions (welter & middle) I don’t see politics stopping the big fights from taking place, and the top guys all seem willing to face each other. Klitschko v AJ to start things off April 29th in front of 80,000, after his latest mismatch v Molina, should give us a real gauge on just how could he could potentially be. I favour AJ by late-round KO after having to work hard against an awkward Klitschko.
Yet to be convinced by Parker but he has durability, pop in his shots, and a decent chin, having viewed his previous two fights. Along with Wilder, and depending on Wilder’s choice of opponents, I see these as the top 3 by the end of 2017 maybe building to a Wilder v Joshua unification late in the year. With Haye, Fury (TBC), Ortiz, Pulev, Stiverene, Whyte there seems to be a real depth to the division for the first time in over a decade. Or am I getting over excited?! It’s okay tell me if I am (I know you will haha!). Keep doing your thing Doug. – Dan, UK
You’re getting a little over-excited but that’s OK, Dan. I’ll take that over the mopey ass gloom-and-doom fans that bitch and moan about everything.
I think the entertaining Whyte-Chisora and Parker-Ruiz fights, coupled with the anticipation for Joshua-Klitschko, has given the heavyweight division a lot of momentum going into 2017. There’s a lot of good potential matchups, including a few bona-fide SuperFights, but we can’t geek out too much at this juncture.
If you recall, there was equal promise going into 2016 following the Fury-Klitschko upset and the Joshua-Whyte and Ortiz-Jennings shootouts in late 2015. Things didn’t heat up the way he had hoped. Maybe boxing’s glamor division is finally set to explode next year. I certainly hope so. There’s an old adage in the sport that says “So goes the heavyweight division, so goes boxing.” In other words, if the big men are doing well and capturing the public’s imagination the entire sport does well.
The good thing about this past Saturday’s heavyweight bouts that went the 12-round distance is that the losers – Chisora and Ruiz – did so well that they are still players in the division. Chisora remains the top gatekeeper and Ruiz can still be considered a lower top-10 contender. I’d love to see those two duke it out, or rematches with Whyte and Parker, or Ruiz vs. Whyte and Chisora vs. Parker.
Those are all good fights, and any combination with Wilder, Ortiz, and Povetkin (who I think will defeat Stiverne) is welcome in 2017.
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer