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Dougie’s Friday mailbag

Photo courtesy of Sky Sports.
16
Dec

THE END OF BOXING IS NIGH… BUT PROBABLY NOT

Hi Dougie,

One of the signs of the boxing apocalypse is set to appear in 2017.

Chris Eubank Jr. is headlining a PPV, against an unknown, for a reported £30, for a belt that’s only really recognised if you hold one of the major belts with it.

There are a lot of Eubank Jr. fan boys and if this does average to well in numbers, then PPV will become the norm for garbage headline fights.

In better news, I’m looking forward to Bernard Hopkins-Joe Smith Jr., it’ll be one of the few times I’d be happy to see someone “old man” their way to a win.

MM: Frank Bruno ’95 v Anthony Joshua. – Ste Rowen

I gotta go with Bruno by decision in your mythical matchup. He had more than 40 bouts by ’95, the year he beat the very best version of Oliver McCall (who arguably had the most reliable chin of any heavyweight, save for maybe Ray Mercer, in 1990s).

I’m not only looking forward to Hopkins-Smith, but the entire card, which is an excellent co-promotion from Golden Boy, Star Boxing, K2, Main Events and Canelo Promotions. If you’re watching it in the UK, chances are that you’ll hear the HBO International commentary of Beto Duran and Yours Truly.

I think “old man” will prevail but when a boxer – even an all-time great like B-Hop – gets into his 50s, all bets are off. I think Smith has a window of opportunity if he can connect early, and I’m talking about the first or second round. He can’t overthink this fight or give Hopkins too much respect. If he tries to play chess with the Grand Master, he’s going to get embarrassed. Smith’s gotta try to play bloody knuckles. If Hopkins is allowed to knock off ring rust, get into his rhythm and “fight himself into shape” as the old timers used to say, it’s going to be a long night for the Long Island “common man.” As Hopkins told Smith and the young contender’s promoter, Joe DeGuardia, during Wednesday’s final press conference, he’s anything but common. He’s “SPECIAL!”

The featherweight co-feature between Joseph Diaz Jr. and Horacio Garcia should be fun. Garcia is a huge 126 pounder and he’s all action. Jo Jo will have to be very sharp to break down the gutsy member of Team Canelo.

But the opening bout of the HBO broadcast, Oleksandr Usyk’s U.S. debut and first defense of his WBO cruiserweight title against Thabiso Mchunu holds, is probably the matchup I’m most intrigued with. The matchup may not produce fireworks (as Usyk is really a boxer despite his high KO ratio, and Thabiso is very crafty when he’s at his best), but I’m looking forward to seeing Usyk live and up close against a solid challenger.  

Programming note: You can watch the Jason Quigley-Jorge Melendez and Ryan Garcia-Jose Antonio Martinez undercard bouts on RingTV.com.

All I’ve got to say about Eubank vs. the 11-1 Renold Quinlan headlining a PPV show is God Bless British boxing. The sport must be strong in the UK for anyone to think that’s going to sell. (And who knows? It might do alright!) If Eubank wins the IBO 168-pound strap in impressive fashion maybe he’ll stick around at super middleweight and engage in interesting fights against the likes of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (the commentary of their fathers would be a big hook for this particular matchup), George Groves or maybe WBO beltholder Gilberto Ramirez.

I imagine those would be PPV headliners worth paying for in the UK.

 

POVETKIN VS STIVERNE

Hello Dougie,

Would like to know your thoughts on Alexander Povetkin vs. Bermane Stiverne.

Should be quite an interesting fight with both fighters highly motivated and in good shape. Stiverne has quick hands, size and obviously experience. Regarding Povetkin, one thing that impresses me is the fact he very rarely has an advantage in size, yet he still manages to knock people out; thus the man relies heavily on his sets of skills, which I deem to be of a higher caliber than Wilder’s, Joshua´s and Parker`s. Maybe the big question is not who wins, because the Russian is the clear favourite, but will there be a knock out? Has the Russian enough in his now cleaner tank to do it? What if he looks great dismantling the Haitian, would that further delay the Wilder fight?

I’ve watched all of the Russian’s televised fights, and strikes me as an incredibly clean fighter, he rarely fouls or resort to dirty tactics, so much that he even looks amateurish in some aspects of the game. He does not shy away from inside fighting; throws good combinations; can lead with the right; has a crisp jab and knows how to step in and out cutting the distance well, has a good left hook, a straight right and can mix his punches nicely; he can also counterpunch and has a decent chin. One flaw I’ve noticed is he doesn’t throw many punches to the body, especially given his height. Also his stamina is questionable, but all in all he`s quite the finished article talentwise.

Do you think he wasted a lot of precious time during his early pro career, facing maybe not the best competition available? Anyway, I actually believe he’s more deserving of a title than Martin, Parker or even Wilder and Joshua, as he’s faced much better opposition. What gameplan should Stiverne employ, wait and counterpunch the Russian? I strongly favor Povetkin to win, I’m not sure he can KO the Haitian though.

Thanks for the mailbag, and congrats for the improved Digital Edition of the mag which is great! Have a great Christmas and New Year’s Eve! – Sebastian Eyzaguirre, Paraguay

Thanks Sebastian. I’m glad you’re enjoying the new digital edition of THE RING. We’re proud of both the hardcopy and digital versions of the latest mag (March 2017) which features Hopkins on the front and back cover.

You’re clearly a big fan of Povetkin, who I view as one of the top three heavyweights in the world. I favor him to beat Stiverne on points but it will be interesting to see how well the Russian rebounds from the PED scandal and legal beefs with Team Wilder/the WBC, as well as one full year of inactivity.

Do you think (Povetkin) wasted a lot of precious time during his early pro career, facing maybe not the best competition available? Not at all. He faced well-schooled veterans, such as former two-time titleholder Chris Byrd and Larry Donald, and undefeated (30-0) up-and-comer Eddie Chambers during his first three years as a pro. He won the WBA’s regular title by outpointing Ruslan Chagaev five years ago.

Anyway, I actually believe he’s more deserving of a title than Martin, Parker or even Wilder and Joshua, as he’s faced much better opposition. Well, he’s certainly deserves to fight for a world title more than Joshua’s last two challengers.

What gameplan should Stiverne employ, wait and counterpunch the Russian? No, I don’t think that’s the way to go, even though that’s what Stiverne does best (especially against an opponent who will bring the fight to him). Povetkin has proven to have world-class whiskers, so I don’t think Stiverne can rely on one-shot counters to win this fight (especially in Russia). I think the Haitian-Canadian will need to fight more aggressively than usual, work a busy jab and combinations (to the body and head), in order to get the “W.”

Regarding Povetkin, one thing that impresses me is the fact he very rarely has an advantage in size, yet he still manages to knock people out; thus the man relies heavily on his sets of skills, which I deem to be of a higher caliber than Wilder’s, Joshua’s and Parker’s. Povetkin does have skills, but I’m not sure his technique is as tight as Joshua’s.

Maybe the big question is not who wins, because the Russian is the clear favourite, but will there be a knockout? I see this one going the distance.

Has the Russian enough in his now cleaner tank to do it? I don’t see why not. Povetkin has fought 10 rounds or more 10 times during his career, and he has to win this fight if he ever hopes to get Wilder in the ring (and the full WBC title), so he’s gotta be motivated.

What if he looks great dismantling the Haitian, would that further delay the Wilder fight? Probably. We’re in the age of delayed big fights.

 

YEAR-END AWARDS

Hey Doug,

I’ve sent you my yearly awards the last two years, so why stop now?

Fighter of the Year: Carl Frampton

Fight of the Year: Francisco Vargas vs. Orlando Salido

Knockout of the Year: Canelo Alvarez KO Amir Khan

Upset of the Year: Joe Smith vs. Andrzej Fonfara

Round of the Year: Keith Thurman vs. Shawn Porter Round 9

Promoter of the Year: Eddie Hearn

Event of the Year: Carl Frampton vs. Scott Quigg

Thanks man. – Robert from Ashton, MD

Thanks for sharing your opinions. You and I see eye to eye on most of these:

Fighter of the Year: Agreed (I think Chocolatito Gonzalez is also worthy)

Fight of the Year: Agreed (Whyte-Chisora was pretty damn good, too)

Knockout of the Year: Agreed (although the opening-round one-hitter-quitters that Murat Gassiev landed on Jordan Shimmell and Julius Indongo connected on Eduard Troyanovsky are also worthy)

Upset of the Year: Agreed (but Indongo-Troyanovsky and Jezreel Corrales’ second-round KO of Takashi Uchiyama can also be considered)

Round of the Year: I’m not sure about this category (I’m never really sure, to be honest). There are probably two or three worthy rounds in the Vargas-Salido fight. Just off memory, the 10th of Jesus Soto Karass-Yoshihiro Kamegai I was exhilarating because both vets had given so much during the fight and still let it all hang out in the final round.

Promoter of the Year: Agreed

Event of the Year: I don’t know if it counts as an “event” but the passing of Muhammad Ali stopped the world for days.

 

BOXING IN 2017

Dougie,

With the state of the heavyweight division not exactly catching the barn on fire the way we expected, who do you consider the potential king of the mound? With AJ fighting a soft chinned gladiator that has 40+ year reflexes, I’d be disappointed with anything less than a KO by Joshua. Also, what two or three categories do you give the edge to if Wilder and Joshua actually do get it on? Power, Defense, hand and foot Speed? Or is it a game of chins?

Going down to the hot divisions, middleweight, super welter and welter, I honestly can’t remember when there have been so may talented fighters within 12 pounds of each other. If Gennady Golovkin stays at middleweight it looks like he will have a line at his door to finagle deals for his crown. Wouldn’t you love the see the Charlo from the other night in that same mode against GGG? Or, who do see as the toughest potential opponent out of this group to have a shot beating GGG? – Jeff Bollinger, Redondo Beach, Ca

I think Golovkin’s sternest middleweight challengers will be Daniel Jacobs and Canelo Alvarez (if those fights can be made). I honestly don’t see any welterweights or full-time junior middleweights that can give him a run for his money, and that includes Jermall Charlo (at least for the time being). Maybe Demetrius Andrade can provide his fellow world amateur champ a worthy challenge after a tune-up or two at 160 pounds.

I’d like to see GGG challenge the winner of James DeGale-Badou Jack for THE RING super middleweight title.

(W)ho do you consider the potential king of the (heavyweight) mound? The winner of Joshua-Klitschko (at least until the Gypsy King makes his triumphant return).

With AJ fighting a soft chinned gladiator that has 40+ year reflexes, I’d be disappointed with anything less than a KO by Joshua. You have very high expectations, but stoppage victory for Joshua is certainly a possibility.

Also, what two or three categories do you give the edge to if Wilder and Joshua actually do get it on? Power, Defense, hand and foot Speed? Or is it a game of chins? Neither heavyweight is George Chuvalo when it comes to their beards, so I think it’s an even playing field in the chin category. Wilder has the edge in power and hand speed (though not a big one). Joshua has the tighter defense (and offensive technique). I think they’re equal in foot speed. It’s a good matchup if it ever happens!

 

NOT EXCITED ABOUT JOSHUA-KLITSCHKO

Hello Mister Fischer,

I can’t get myself excited about a showdown between Joshua and Klitschko.

I think Klitschko is unspectacular. Plus, he has been inactive since November 2015. If he does not fight at least once before the fight with Joshua (and he won’t), it will be like Lomachenko v. Walters. Walters is a good fighter, but when you stay too long out of the ring, you get rusty. Joshua has fought 4 times since Klitschko last fight.

And Klitschko is an inactive fighter who is old.

Moneywise, it may be a good fight for both fighter but I don’t want to see it. I can’t wait to see a Wilder v. Joshua. A fight between two athletic guys. Best wishes. – Sullivan

Wilder-Joshua will be a lot of fun if and when it happens, but until then Joshua-Klitschko is the most significant and high-profile fight that can be made in the heavyweight division (and one of the biggest boxing events of 2017). Will it be bigger in Europe than in the U.S.? Of course! But American boxing fans will take notice.

I think Klitschko is unspectacular. Really? I wish I could be that unspectacular.

Plus, he has been inactive since November 2015. True. Joshua’s activity, along with his youth and poise, is the biggest edge he brings to this contest. I suspect that Klitschko’s inactivity had a part in Eddie Hearn pulling the trigger on this fight.

If he does not fight at least once before the fight with Joshua (and he won’t), it will be like Lomachenko v. Walters. I doubt that. Joshua’s good but he ain’t Lomachenko, and Walters damn sure isn’t in Klitschko’s league. Come on, Sully, Klitschko is future first-ballot hall of famer. The 20-year veteran is an Olympic gold medalist, who made 18 consecutive title defenses during his 10-year second reign.

Wladdy may be getting a bit long in the tooth, and he’s probably not going to keep kicking ass deep into his 40s like the Immortal B-Hop, but the man knows how to win. If he’s still hungry and he feels he’s got something to prove (seems like he is and does), he’s going to present Joshua with the most difficult fight of the 27 year old’s pro career.

 

WHERE’S PORKY?

Hey Doug,

Whatever happened to Rogelio Medina? He did so well against James Degale that I was hoping for him to take on one of the Dirrell brothers or maybe even Smith. I scored the Medina/Degale fight 7-5 or 8-4 for Degale, but if Medina ever found a way to neutralize that uppercut he could pull it off. Thanks! – Brian

Good ole “Porky” can make for some fun fights at 168 pounds. I wouldn’t mind seeing a rematch with “Zurdo” Ramirez, who stopped him six years ago when both were unbeaten prospects in Mexico.

As to why Medina hasn’t fought since the DeGale fight, well, that’s a question for his promoter. Who is his promoter, by the way? If you check out his Twitter account, @PorkyMedina, you’ll see a fair amount of training photos and videos, so it looks like he’s staying ready for his next opportunity.

If you speak Spanish maybe you can reach out to him via social media and find out what’s going on.

 

THE AJ EXPRESS WON’T BE DERAILED BY KLITSCHKO

Yo bro,
You are the best non-subscription boxing writer on the Internet to my knowledge. This mailbag and Kugan’s interviews on IFL TV keep me going all week.

Now Joshua absolutely steamrolls a prime and especially current Wlad. He’s faster of hand and feet, stronger, taller, has more punch variety. I love what Fury did but let’s still not joke, Joshua is wrong for him too, faster stronger more punches in his locker. He stops Fury in 2. But as a caveat, Haye is a tough fight for AJ. Fury outpoints Haye. Styles make fights.

MM:
Eubank Jr vs BJS 2
Froch vs Kovalev 175
Aj vs Vitali
Hamed vs C-Fram

Thanks. – Thomas

Thank you for the kinds words (and for putting me in such good company – I wish I had fraction of Mr. Cassius’ energy and ambition).

I guess I’m in the minority with this opinion (at least where UK fans are concerned) but I think Joshua has his heavy hands full with the former champ.

He’s faster of hand and feet, stronger, taller, has more punch variety. OK. But is he the better boxer? Is he the superior ring general? Can he take a direct hit from Klitschko? Can he press the “old man” if the fight goes into the late rounds?

I love what Fury did but let’s still not joke, Joshua is wrong for him too, faster, stronger, more punches in his locker. He stops Fury in 2. I’ve been as high on AJ as anyone but unless he were to fight Fury in the first fight back for the “Champion In Recess,” I don’t see Joshua blitzing the giant.

But as a caveat, Haye is a tough fight for AJ. Agreed.

Fury outpoints Haye. Agreed.

Styles make fights. Agreed.

Your mythical matchups:
Eubank Jr vs BJS 2 – Euby by unanimous decision
Froch vs Kovalev 175 – Krusher by unanimous decision
AJ vs Vitali – Big Bro by late TKO
Hamed vs C-Fram – The Prince by come-from-behind late KO

 

CLASSIC LINE

Thanks for this one Doug – really made me chuckle :]

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. – Cogs

Glad you liked that line from the Monday mailbag, Cogs. That’s why I get paid the big bucks – to make folks chuckle with smart-ass, slightly vulgar quips.

 

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

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