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Dougie’s Monday mailbag

09
Jan

TANK’S CHANCES, JACOBS’ CHIN

Hey Dougie,

I wanted to get your thoughts on the upcoming PBC/James DeGale-Badou Jack undercard.

Gervonta Davis has looked like a mini-beast in his rise up the ranks and possesses shocking RJJ like power for a little guy. However, Jose Pedraza is a giant leap up in competition and while Davis has a great jab, as Antonio Tarver kept pointing out in one of his fights, he doesn’t use it nearly enough. Is this too big of a step up for the Mayweather prodigy or does he have the raw talent to overcome and crack Pedraza whose high gaurd and tendency to in fight might play into Davis’ heavy hands?



Jumping ahead a bit, do you think Daniel Jacobs may be a tougher fight for Gennady Golovkin than Canelo Alvarez? Jacobs is a more proven middleweight puncher and looks a fair bit more mobile than Canelo, who’s love of countering off the ropes Ali-style may be his undoing against GGG. The biggest question I think is Jacobs durability. Is he chinny? The bomb he ate from Dmitry Pirog would’ve dropped anyone and came early in his career but getting dropped by Sergio Mora?

I hope he can build upon Kell Brook’s gameplan and at least give us a competitive fight. It seems that in order to beat GGG, the opponent needs to either tuck his chin and go to war hoping to land a kill shot in the chaos (not recommend for Jacobs) or power box him in the pocket giving him angles without running and driving in hard counters.

Everything but the durability seems to be there for Jacobs to make this fight really interesting. – Jack

Jacobs’ perceived lack of durability might be the only reason (in the minds of some observers) that the American middleweight is not favored to unseat the unified titleholder and consensus No. 1-rated 160 pounder. In other words, these fans and media members basically feel that the only reason Jacobs can (and in all likelihood will) lose to Golovkin is because at some point during the fight the Kazakhstan native will land a bomb that turns the Brooklynite’s lights out.

Now, other observers (myself included) acknowledge GGG’s elite amateur boxing background, give him credit for his excellent ring generalship, and realize that he’ll probably have to gradually/systematically break the talented New Yorker down by beating him to the jab, cutting the ring off, working the body and counter-punching at the right moments. In other words, skill will be displayed from both highly ranked middleweights on March 18, and GGG can’t rely on Jacobs’ supposedly shaky whiskers to win the fight.

Jumping ahead a bit, do you think Daniel Jacobs may be a tougher fight for Gennady Golovkin than Canelo Alvarez? Maybe. I think Jacobs will be more of a threat from a distance, where his height, reach and speed can work for him; while Canelo is likely do better in close, where his compact frame, physical strength and counter-punching ability should serve him well (at least in spots).

The biggest question I think is Jacobs durability. Is he chinny? I wouldn’t say that. Jacobs does not have a proven world-class chin like GGG, but if his mind is right and he’s in top condition I think he can go rounds with a legit power puncher.

The bomb he ate from Dmitry Pirog would’ve dropped anyone and came early in his career but getting dropped by Sergio Mora? It happens. Jacobs had dropped Mora and was going in for the kill when he got caught. Mora isn’t a puncher, but he’s an experienced, ring savvy veteran with good timing. The version of Jacobs that was iced by Pirog was immature and overconfident. He’s grown a lot since the lone loss of his pro career.

I hope he can build upon Kell Brook’s gameplan and at least give us a competitive fight. My guess is that Team Jacobs wants to be competitive in a manner that won’t result in a broken face.

It seems that in order to beat GGG, the opponent needs to either tuck his chin and go to war hoping to land a kill shot in the chaos (not recommend for Jacobs) or power box him in the pocket giving him angles without running and driving in hard counters. Easier written than done.

Regarding Pedraza-Davis, it’s an interesting matchup (one that many boxing writers deem a ‘pick-‘em fight).

The 22-year-old challenger brings raw talent to the match and obviously passes most fans’ “eye test” with his explosive switch-hitting boxing style. The defending titleholder is fundamentally sound and experienced against better opposition than Davis had faced. He doesn’t always impress but he is battle tested.

Pedraza’s never blown me away with his technique or athleticism but I respect him for being tenacious, well rounded, and for getting the most out of his ability. I slightly favor him to hold onto his IBF 130-pound belt via close decision. I think Davis’ best shot at lifting the title is to blast the Puerto Rican in the early rounds. He’s got the speed, power, timing and confidence to do it, but having only fought past six rounds twice (and never gone past nine), I have to wonder if he can pull it off if the bout goes into the later rounds.

Maybe Tank will surprise us and outbox/out-point Pedraza (who I thought was lucky to get the split nod against Edner Cherry last year).

 

ROC NATION’S INFLUENCE

Hey Doug,

Listen I don’t really want to get into the Kovalev/Ward scoring argument with you again but I just want to ask you one thing. In Friday’s bag, in response to a question about a rematch, you said this:

“How do I see a rematch playing out? I favour Kovalev by decision (more so now than I did before the first fight) but I don’t have much confidence in him getting the decision unless he drops Ward more than once and wobbles him repeatedly (thanks to Roc Nation’s influence and boxing’s shady nature.)”

Can you explain to me how a fledging promotional company based in New York with only a small roster of fighters and no history within the sport can hold more sway over three seasoned Las Vegas judges than an experienced promotional outfit that has been working the circuit there since the early nineties?

Ward had never fought in Vegas before and now he is the titleholder will likely not do so again. If the judges were thinking about their own self interests then surely a Kovalev win would have presented them with more opportunities for future work. And if you’re suggesting that they were paid off then why? Ward was a strong favourite going into the fight. Did his promoters have so little confidence in their man that they felt they had to bribe the judges pre-fight?

I’d just like you to explain this a little more if possible. For the record, and I know you disagree, I saw a close fight and could see 114-113 either way. Thanks Doug. – Mark Gilbert

You’re not alone in seeing a close, either-way fight, Mark, but you are in the minority with that opinion. The majority of observers (media and fans) thought Kovalev won clearly – by anywhere from three to six points – and Team Ward and their supporters should admit that. Ward got the benefit of every doubt from all three veteran Vegas judges from Rounds 7 through 12 in order to win the fight by one point.

Do I think they were bribed or paid off? HELL no, and I’ve never suggested that. Do I believe the judges bent over backwards for Ward? Yes, I do. I also believe that they were well aware of who promotes Ward.

It’s always been that way in boxing, especially in Vegas. If you need me to give you a list of stars or “A-Sides” or odds favorites or “house fighters” that were “gifted” controversial decisions or won by margins they did not deserve, I’ll be happy to do that. (I can probably ring off 20-30 examples – from Sugar Ray Leonard to Oscar De La Hoya to Floyd Mayweather Jr. to Canelo Alvarez – off the top of my head. Go ahead, call my bluff. Make my day.)

Can you explain to me how a fledging promotional company based in New York with only a small roster of fighters and no history within the sport can hold more sway over three seasoned Las Vegas judges than an experienced promotional outfit that has been working the circuit there since the early nineties? Yes, I can explain it with one word: Jay-Z.

He’s influential, and his influence goes way past boxing, Mark. (Honestly, bro, you should know this.) Roc Nation Boxing is a sub-division of Roc Nation Sports, which reps NBA, NFL and MLB standouts. RNS is a sub-division of Roc Nation, which is “a full-service entertainment company” (as described by its official website). Some of the biggest entertainment acts in the world are repped by Roc Nation. The T-Mobile Arena, MGM Grand and other arenas in Las Vegas, as well as major venues elsewhere (from Barclays Center in Brooklyn to AT&T Stadium in Texas to O2 Arena in London), aren’t just interested in boxing. (Again, my man, you should know this.) They host everything and they do better business with international pop stars like Rihanna and Shakira than with any boxing standout. (By the way, guess which entertainment company represents those two divas? Hint: the initials are R.N.) You don’t think the Power Brokers of Las Vegas – which bills itself as the Entertainment Capital of the World and relies on big show acts/attractions to drive its economy – want to stay in Jay-Z’s good graces?

They’re not thinking about boxing, Mark. They’re all thinking about money. Main Events and Kovalev don’t bring a fraction of the entertainment money that Jay-Z and his wife Beyonce – whose combined net worth is around a billion dollars – can command.

Even the big-money combo of Top Rank and Manny Pacquiao had to take a back seat to Roc Nation’s influence. Why do you think HBO said “no thank you” to distributing the Pacquiao-Vargas pay-per-view (which went down the same month as Roc Nation co-promotion Kovalev-Ward) but said “okay” to distributing RNS’s Cotto-Kirkland pay-per-view next month? You don’t have to be a genius to figure that the premium cable network wants to be in the Beyonce business and co-produce future live specials and documentaries on recording artists and pro athletes that are represented by Roc Nation.

It’s not personal, it’s just business and it’s always been this way. I understand it but I don’t have to like it.

SRISAKET SOR RUNGVISAI

Sup Doug?

Finally writing you for the first time after years of reading and being too lazy to write.

I’m attending Golovkin vs Jacobs (my third GGG fight in the Garden) and I’m reading Chocolatito may be fighting Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in the co-feature. So I searched for this dude on boxrec, and boxrec said to instead search for Wisaksil Wangek. So I searched Wisaksil Wangek, and his stats matched what everyone has him listed as. So looking at this guy’s resume, my question is how in the world does The Ring have this guy ranked #4, and the WBC #1 (although we both know that’s not surprising), and anyone have him ranked in the top ten at all? His only credible opponent is Cuadras whom he lost a technical decision to. Chocolatito is going to destroy this cat.

Are you going to the fight? Any good spots besides Jimmy’s Corner to get bent and talk boxing?

And while I’m talking Great little men, do you see Vic Darchinyan as a Hall of Famer? I don’t see how he isn’t. Aside from running in to Donaire, the dude was basically unbeatable between 112-115. The Z Gores draw was bulls__t, he unified three titles at 115, only one to do so to my knowledge, got robbed against Mares I believe at 118… With all that said he’s also my favorite fighter in my years of following the sport. So what do you think?

You’re the best writer in the game. Keep up the good work and keep the mailbag coming. – Justin Musgrove, Laurel, Maryland

Thanks for the kind words (and for finally getting off your lazy ass and writing me), Justin. I’ll do my best.

Good questions in regard to Rungvisai (or Wangek), who is better than you think. (You can’t always judge a fighter solely with boxrec.com, sometimes you have to watch some of that fighter’s fights). I’ll try my best to answer them.

How in the world does The Ring have this guy ranked #4, and the WBC #1 (although we both know that’s not surprising), and anyone have him ranked in the top ten at all? The WBC ranks Wangek No. 1 because he once held their 115-pound world title and because his fourth-round stoppage of former NABF beltholder Jose Salgado last May was sanctioned as a final title-elimination bout. Wangek’s No. 4 spot in THE RING’s junior bantamweight rankings is mostly due to his WBC title-winning victory over Yota Sato, who the magazine once ranked as high as No. 2, in May 2013.

Wangek was unrated by THE RING until his eighth-round stoppage of Sato on his home soil. He crashed THE RING’s rankings with that upset, entering at No. 5. Sato dropped to No. 6 (and retired not long after the loss to Wangek). Carlos Cuadras, who was THE RING’s No. 5-rated junior bantie prior to Wangek’s big win, was bumped to No. 4 (behind Omar Narvaez, Suriyan Sor Rungvisai and Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr.). About a month later, Sor Rungvisai (no relation to Wangek) moved up to bantamweight, so Cuadras and Wangek advanced to Nos. 3 and 4 (behind Narvaez and Sanchez). At the end of 2013, Zolani Tete stopped Sanchez in 10 rounds to enter the rankings at No. 5, while Sanchez dropped to No. 6, so Cuadras and Wangek moved to Nos. 2 and 3. In May 2014, Wangek traveled to Mexico City to defend his title against Cuadras and lost a eight-round technical decision (stopped due to a bad cut to the hometown fighter from an accidental headbutt). Cuadras won the title and kept his No. 2 spot (which he still holds). Wangek dropped to No. 4, where he is today. Why hasn’t he dropped? Well, there’s something to be said about staying active. Wangek has fought 14 times, including the Salgado KO, since the Cuadras loss.

His only credible opponent is Cuadras whom he lost a technical decision to. I don’t agree. I think Sato – a tall, rangy, flashy boxer who was popular on Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall circuit – was also credible. Prior to being stopped by Wangek, Sato entered and steadily climbed THE RING’s 115-pound rankings while compiling a 22-bout unbeaten streak that included a decision over veteran Kohei Kono in 2011, a TKO of then-unbeaten Kenji Oba (who stopped Wangek early in the Thai fighter’s career), his title-winning decision over Suriyan Sor Rungvisai (AKA Suriyan Kaikanha) and a title defense against then-unbeaten Ryo Akaho. Salgado, a young Mexican standout who entered their bout with a 34-2-2 record and nine-bout unbeaten streak, was also solid.

Chocolatito is going to destroy this cat. Probably, but it says here that Gonzalez will know that he’s been in a fight. Remember, Chocolatito has probably reached his physical/athletic ceiling at 115 pounds, plus he brings the wear and tear of 46 pro bouts and the heartache of losing his trainer into this fight. I don’t think it’s going to be an easy night for him. Wangek is not an elite boxer. There’s nothing savvy about the southpaw, but he’s a little badass who brings the hammer with his left cross. He reminds me of a 115-pound Takashi Miura. Click on the YouTube links that I put into this reply and watch this one of the title defense against Hirofumi Mukai. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Are you going to the fight? God willing, yes. I’ve already made my flight and hotel reservations (and this will also be my third “GGG at MSG” event).

Any good spots besides Jimmy’s Corner to get bent and talk boxing? Anywhere two or more boxing fans get together to talk about the sport the love is a good spot, Justin, be it Jimmy’s, a deli, a hotel lobby or a coffee shop.

And while I’m talking Great little men, do you see Vic Darchinyan as a Hall of Famer? He’ll get my vote. I love Vic and wish all fighters shared the fire he had in his guts for so long.

 

DIFFERENT STYLES

Hey Doug,

It’s cool when you list out and describe different types of fighters and styles. For the casual+ fans like myself it’s very helpful.

What (name) fighters would you say embody a number of these styles? Obvious example R. Gonzalez.

Just for the novices out there! – Ray K.

Thanks for the kind words, Ray. Styles make fights and the better we can recognize and understand boxing’s various styles the more we can anticipate and enjoy the fights. Just keep in mind that the way I define a certain fighter is merely one man’s opinion, take it with a grain of salt.

I would define Gonzalez as a volume-punching pressure fighter-technician (or does a technical pressure-fighting volume puncher sound better?). THE RING’s Pound-for-Pound King walks down his opponents behind a high-volume combination-punching attack includes a lot of technique (proper striking form), skill (punch slipping, blocking and counter-punching) and ring generalship (ring-cutting). Here’s how I view the other nine boxers in THE RING’s pound-for-pound top 10:

Andre Ward – Versatile boxer-neutralizer

Sergey Kovalev – Stalking boxer-puncher

Gennady Golovkin – Power boxer-pressure fighter

Terence Crawford – Versatile power technician

Vasyl Lomachenko – Versatile high-volume power boxer

Guillermo Rigondeux – Master boxer-counterpuncher

Canelo Alvarez – Crafty boxer-puncher

Shinsuke Yamanaka – Seasoned puncher-technician

Carl Frampton – Versatile boxer-puncher

 

MYTHS AND WISHES

G’day Dougie,

Hope you and the family are well.

I have two questions:

  1. Why did the mainstream boxing press avoid/ignore the Povetkin/Stiverne debacle? (As far as I can tell they did).

In addition to that, how can he still be installed as No. 1 by the WBC?

  1. If every fight fans wet dream came true, ALL the sanctioning bodies were united under one international body, and the old weight divisions re-installed, who would you install as champ at:

Flyweight, Bantam, Feather, Light, Welter, Middle, Light Heavy and Heavy?

Many thanks and a wishing you flourishing NY. – Ki, Sydney

Thanks Ki.

My choices for the champs of boxing’s original eight weight classes:

Flyweight – Chocolatito if he can still make 112 pounds (I think it’s where he’s probably at his best); if not, then Kazuto Ioka

Bantamweight – Naoya Inoue

Featherweight – Carl Frampton

Lightweight – Jorge Linares

Welterweight – Terence Crawford

Middleweight – Gennady Golovkin

Light heavyweight – Sergey Kovalev

Heavyweight – Tyson Fury (but if he doesn’t fight in 2017, his crown has to go to the Joshua-Klitschko winner)

Why did the mainstream boxing press avoid/ignore the Povetkin/Stiverne debacle? Because they don’t give a rat’s ass about either fighter or boxing. DUH!

 

CANELO, GGG & DIFFERENT KO ABILITY

Hey Doug,

Just wanted to bend your ear for a minute.

You are cited as saying that the majority of folks would pick Triple G over Canelo if/when the fight happens. I disagree. Although I can see the Vegas odds makers and the bulk of boxing pundits favoring Gennady in this scrap I gotta ask you, who has more supporters? How much of the boxing demographic is made up of Mexicans or Mexican Americans? How many of them will be pulling for Golovkin in that fight? My point exactly.

A side note. I am interested to get your thoughts on my theory of differentiating KO abilities. The way I see it? There are plenty of guys with knockout power out there similar to that of GGG. They systematically break their opponents down and put them in the position where they are forced to quit (like Walters against High Tech or Triple G vs. Brook, too much sustained damage). Whereas Canelo’s knockouts as of late have been one punch, goodnight, that’s all she wrote style knockouts.

Roman Gonzalez wears his opponents down but doesn’t possess that dynamic, dramatic intangible. Who else currently fighting has that “Canelo Ability”, to put a guy’s lights out, in your mind? Stretcher style.

This is what I think will make the difference in the fight. Not to say that Golovkin will eat dirt. I obviously am rooting for Cinnamon but I think a light’s out knockout is out of the question with the hard-hitting middle-eastern. He will be gradually exposed over the course of twelve. A possible TKO or a clear decision. – Stevie, Toronto, ON

Who will gradually be exposed over 12? Golovkin? I think you’re in the minority with that opinion, but OK.

And you view Canelo as boxing’s One Punch Man? OK. He probably has scored back-to-back KO of the Year awards, although it has to be mentioned that his “one-hitter-quitters” came against a chinny welterweight moving up to 155 pounds and a shopworn made-to-order pressure fighter, but OK.

OK, Stevie, regarding the respective punching ability of Golovkin and Canelo, I think both fighters are naturally heavy handed and both know how to deliver power punches with maximum leverage and excellent timing. I think Golovkin does more damage than Canelo for a couple reasons: he’s a pressure fighter who knows how to cut the ring off on a mover, and his jab is more consistent than Canelo’s.

Canelo can do a lot of damage when he’s faced with an opponent that will come right at him or stand in front of him, but he will not apply hard pressure or cut the ring off on a moving opponent. He was able to clip the stick-and-moving Amir Khan with one shot because the former 140-pound titleholder does not have a world-class chin and was fighting above his natural weight class. Against good sized junior middleweights, Canelo has proven to be a respectable but not devastating puncher. He couldn’t put Austin Trout away, he had his heavy hands full with Erislandy Lara, couldn’t knock the shopworn Alfredo Angulo off his feet and he wore down Liam Smith with a series of body shots. Even the past-prime 35-year-old version of Miguel Cotto took him the distance. The only big 154 pounder that Canelo iced was James Kirkland, who literally lunged into his power shots.

Just one man’s opinion but I think GGG would flatten all of the aforementioned junior middleweights.

However, just because Golovkin is the better puncher/hunter in my opinion doesn’t mean I think he’s going to waste Canelo. I think Canelo has improved since the Cotto fight and has the style and physical strength to engage on the inside with GGG for extended periods – and do his share of damage. I don’t think he can stop or seriously hurt Golovkin, but I think he can get respect and I think he can make for a competitive fight.

You are cited as saying that the majority of folks would pick Triple G over Canelo if/when the fight happens. I disagree. That’s OK.

Although I can see the Vegas odds makers and the bulk of boxing pundits favoring Gennady in this scrap I gotta ask you, who has more supporters? Canelo is very popular, more so than GGG in North America, maybe worldwide. His name is known to more boxing fans, but that doesn’t mean that everyone who knows him is a “supporter.”

How much of the boxing demographic is made up of Mexicans or Mexican Americans? Much of it, but again, don’t assume that fans that know of Canelo are automatically diehard supporters of his, and definitely do not assume that all Mexicans love him. A lot of hardcore Mexican fans hate him. I’m not saying he doesn’t have a legion of loyal supporters, because he does. I’ve seen them up close in Vegas, Southern California and especially in Texas, where he’s the damn king of boxing, but he has lost some of his loyal followers over the past 18 months, and GGG has gained a lot of Mexican/Mexican-American fans (especially in the greater L.A. area) over the past 2½ years.

How many of them will be pulling for Golovkin in that fight? My point exactly. If they fight in Texas, say at AT&T Stadium, I have no doubt that Canelo would have a clear majority of fans pulling for him (but the GGG contingent would be heard). If they fight in the NYC or L.A. area, I’m not so sure of he would. Canelo would probably have the slight majority in Vegas or Southern California, but GGG might edge him on the East Coast.

 

 

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow Dougie on Twitter, Instagram and Periscope, where you can witness live boxing banter between him and the world-famous Coach Schwartz every Sunday morning:

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