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Dougie’s Friday mailbag

Photo by Esther Lin / Showtime
Fighters Network
03
Feb

LAST WEEKEND

Hi Dougie,

Not too much to add to Monday’s mailbag about a great weekend; glad that HBO and Showtime both replay on Sunday. Taking all four matches as a “card” it was better than any pay-per-view I can remember in recent history. Maybe the boxing promoters should take notice; I for one am pretty stingy with my pay-per-view dollars these days.

How is Dejan Zlaticanin? What a knockout! Always been a fan of Mikey Garcia. I like everybody held my breath until Zlaticanin got up, but he still could be hurt. Do you have any word on his condition?



I skipped over to HBO when during the Floyd Mayweather Jr. interview, but did watch it on the replay Sunday. Is he serious? Who are the boxing fans clamoring for his so-called match with McGregor? His accountants? If not a fan, I’ve always been respectful of Floyd’s talents, even if he didn’t make the fights I wanted to see over the last number of years, but he’s a businessman, and I don’t begrudge him his money, but this is too much. There are a lot of great fights to be made at 147 -154 if he wants to get back in the game and chase #50.

I also have to echo Salomon’s comments (from the Monday mailbag) on Oscar De La Hoya. I hope the Golden Boy reads the Forum. I have to admit, I didn’t know who that kid was before the 1992 Olympics, but what a fighter. He made me a big fan after the Games, and I hope he knows how many of us were in his corner all those years and battles, how much he meant to us and still means to us and the sport. I pray he conquers his demons and finds his peace. Sorry to be rambling today; as always thanks for your work. – Ken Kozberg, Oakham, MA

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and questions with us, Ken. I was at the Golden Boy offices yesterday for meeting and saw De La Hoya (briefly). He seemed to be in good spirits and was talking about a lot of business ideas and opportunities. I think the more involved he is with his company, the healthier he will be. There are a lot of positive things for him to focus on if he wishes to do so. However, knowing something about addiction, I don’t expect smooth sailing for Oscar no matter how well things appear to be going in his personal, public or business lives. The road to recovery is a rocky one, rife with pitfalls and sharp turns, and it never ends.

Anyway, I think De La Hoya knows that there are a lot of fans pulling for him and I’m sure it motivates him (just as it did during his fighting days).

Taking all four matches as a “card” it was better than any pay-per-view I can remember in recent history. That’s a good point. Had all four fights been on one PPV show it would have been like one of those badass Don King cards headlined by Julio  Cesar Chavez during the 1990s (while Mike Tyson was in prison). There was more star power on the DK PPVs, thanks to the Mexican icon, but the action and competition from this past Saturday was comparable to some of the undercard bouts on classic shows like “Revenge: The Rematches,” “Grand Slam of Boxing,” and “Star Spangled Glory.”

How is Dejan Zlaticanin? At this point, only his pride is bruised (well, that and a portion of brain), but I’m sure he’ll be back in the gym as soon as he’s allowed to and he’ll be back in the ring by the spring or summer months. He got KTFO. It happens in boxing. Life goes on.

What a knockout! An early candidate for KO of the Year, and one nobody will forget about as 2017 progresses.

I like everybody held my breath until Zlaticanin got up, but he still could be hurt. Do you have any word on his condition? I haven’t heard anything, but I think he’s OK.

I skipped over to HBO when during the Floyd Mayweather Jr. interview, but did watch it on the replay Sunday. Is he serious? As cancer, unfortunately.

Who are the boxing fans clamoring for his so-called match with McGregor? His accountants? Well, yes, but also his diehard supporters, McGregor’s fanatical followers, and casual combat sport observers that get into the spectacle of mega-events.

If not a fan, I’ve always been respectful of Floyd’s talents, even if he didn’t make the fights I wanted to see over the last number of years, but he’s a businessman, and I don’t begrudge him his money, but this is too much. Dude, it’s about f__king time you got fed up with that little s__t.

There are a lot of great fights to be made at 147-154 if he wants to get back in the game and chase #50. Mayweather has NEVER been about making great fights, it’s always been about getting the ‘W’ and the money. He has no interest in fighting somebody like the Thurman-Garcia winner even though that’s a potentially competitive bout that could easily be made and would do very good business. More money can be made with McGregor and the MMA champion brings almost no risk to the big dance, so it’s a no-brainer for Floyd.

 

GREAT WEEKEND OF BOXING

Hi Doug,

Well, it turns out that by the time I was going to finally buy tickets for the Francisco Vargas-Miguel Berchlet card, there were no more tickets. Bummer. Anyways I did have a good time watching both cards at the same time, one on my TV and the other on my phone.

First the Showtime card:  Mikey Garcia, man, that guy is the real deal. He fought a very good fight. He definitely looks like a young Marquez but with less mistakes.  The way he outsmarted his opponent’s onslaught was pure boxing mastery, it kept me on the edge of my seat because I didn’t know what to expect from Zlaticanin. In the end, Mikey showed his class and accentuated his dominance with a picture-perfect KO. I like him against any 135 pounder and think that he’ll make easy work of Jorge Linares if they ever fight.

Leo Santa Cruz also impressed me a lot with his improved boxing and control of distance. He pretty much dominated the fight for me. I don’t know how the judges got it so close. To me it was 8-4 at the most, and thought it was fairly easy to score. Frampton missed a lot of punches and got countered beautifully. I was happy to see Leo get his hand raised. He’s a good kid and deserved the win with his hard work. It definitely looked as though he did his homework.

Also, Frampton, what a class act, I wish more fighters would be like him, just accept you lost and ask for the rematch. No excuses.   So how was the atmosphere in the Fantasy Springs Casino Events Center? I wish I would’ve been there. Had a lot of work and wasn’t sure I could make it until the last minute.

Finally, The Haymon-Golden Boy lawsuit finally comes to an end with the judge saying that there’s not enough evidence to say that the PBC was doing any monopolistic practices, that on the contrary, their entrance to the boxing business made the other promoters start competing and upping their game.

I kind of agree with that even though throughout the case I was pulling for Golden Boy. What’s the word out there on this? Thanks and have a great week! – Juan Valverde, San Diego

You too, Juan.

Regarding Golden Boy’s antitrust lawsuit that was tossed out of federal court, I think GBP were correct in accusing the PBC of certain monopolistic practices, such as venue squatting and pushing other promoters off of networks with their time buys, when the lawsuit began but once Haymon was called on the squatting he ceased that practice (and did so fairly early in the PBC’s run) and once his hedge fund war chest money began to burn out the PBC was no longer able to keep exclusivity on certain networks (most notably ESPN, which just did a big deal with Golden Boy). Add to that Golden Boy working with Al on major PPV shows involving the star of their stable, Canelo (vs. Amir Khan and the up-coming Chavez Jr. showdown), and the fact that nobody in boxing would really come out and rip Haymon, and you can see where a federal judge (probably somebody not very familiar with the boxing industry) would dismiss the suit.

Anyway, none of that crap is my business. I’ve been burned in the business world before, but never even considered suing anybody, because in my opinion the only folks that truly win out in a court case are the lawyers.

But the case is over now, and according to this excellent article (“It is the best of times; it is the worst of times”) penned by my good buddy Steve Kim for UCNLive.com, Golden Boy President Eric Gomez is eager to get back to the business of boxing – which for “El Presidente” means putting on entertaining fights while developing the company’s next generation of standouts. They’ve got 18 ESPN dates and 12 EstrellaTV/RingTV cards to go along with their HBO-televised (and HBO Latino-televised) shows this year, so there are plenty of platforms to put on good fights and to showcase their talent. It’s time for GBP to get to work.

Mikey Garcia, man, that guy is the real deal. Realer than Real Deal Holyfield.He fought a very good fight. Mikey was flawless last Saturday, but he was in against Dejan Zlaticanin, not the prime lightweight versions of Shane Mosley or Pernell Whitaker if you know what I’m saying. I’m not trying to piss on Garcia’s parade, because DZ was major titleholder, a highly rated 135 pounder and one tough cookie, but just keep in mind that the Georgia native had a style and talent level that played into the Southern Californian’s heavy accurate hands.

He definitely looks like a young Marquez but with less mistakes. I don’t recall the young Juan Manuel Marquez making any mistakes.

The way he outsmarted his opponent’s onslaught was pure boxing mastery, it kept me on the edge of my seat because I didn’t know what to expect from Zlaticanin. I wouldn’t call Zlaticanin’s plodding pressure an “onslaught,” but Garcia exhibited near-perfect technique and ring generalship, and his poise was beyond reproach.

I like (Garcia) against any 135 pounder and think that he’ll make easy work of Jorge Linares if they ever fight. You’re overrating Garcia and you’re underestimating Linares.

Leo Santa Cruz also impressed me a lot with his improved boxing and control of distance. Likewise. I was impressed and surprised.

He pretty much dominated the fight for me. “Dominated” is a little too strong of a description but I thought that Santa Cruz was in firm command for the majority of the fight.

I don’t know how the judges got it so close. F__kin’ Vegas.

To me it was 8-4 at the most, and thought it was fairly easy to score. I scored it exactly like Hall of Famer Steve Farhood, 116-112 for Leo.

Frampton missed a lot of punches and got countered beautifully. He should not have gone into this fight thinking about scoring a knockout, let alone actually trying to load up on single punches throughout the bout.

I was happy to see Leo get his hand raised. Likewise.

He’s a good kid and deserved the win with his hard work. Fact.

It definitely looked as though he did his homework. He’s not as goofy as he looks and not as simple-minded as he sometimes sounds.

Also, Frampton, what a class act, I wish more fighters would be like him, just accept you lost and ask for the rematch. No excuses. Indeed. Frampton should be viewed as a role model.

So how was the atmosphere in the Fantasy Springs Casino Events Center? It was a like a huge Mexican boxing event crammed inside of a venue that seats around 3,700. It was intimate and it was intense. And it was sheer bliss for hardcore fans that aren’t put off by a little (or in this case, a lot of) bloodshed. It was also a good opportunity for the diehards in attendance to get pics and/or autographs of some of their boxing heroes, such as Julio Cesar Chavez and Marco Antonio Barrera (who were there for Azteca TV), Roy Jones Jr. (there as an HBO commentator), Bernard Hopkins and De La Hoya (there to help rep GBP). Orlando Salido and Carlos Cuadras were also there to take in the carnage.  I wish I would’ve been there. You would have had a blast.

 

THIS ‘N THAT

Douglass:

  1. Did Andre Ward and Sergei Kovalev scare the fight out of each other? Ever since their fight I haven’t heard a thing from either of them.
  1. Now that Francisco Vargas is taking another well earned rest to put his face back together that will leave his rivals Takashi Muira and Orlando Salido free to fight each other instead. If they fight this year who wins?
  1. Once GGG is done with the reasonably talented but weak-chinned Danny Jacobs I guess the plan is to fight Canelo, unify the title and break Bernard Hopkins’ record. Alright then. And once he does that how will he rank among the division’s ATGs. I myself wouldn’t even put him near Monzon, Hagler or Robinson. Maybe in the bottom top 20 but that’s about it. Sorry but his legacy takes a hit due to weak opposition. Just like Hopkins and Holmes’ did. And before anyone thinks I’m downplaying GGG by ripping his opponents keep in mind that no one rips GGGs rivals more than his diehards. Even after opponents like DJ sign the dotted line they are still shredded for being gutless punks. So be it then. So does beating up those guys make GGG a great fighter as opposed to a real good one?
  1. Who wins in a myth match between Bobby Chacon and Vasyl Lomachenko?

Thanks. – Dave W.

Man, that’s a tough mythical matchup for me to work out in my head for some reason. Lomachenko has the talent, technique and style to outpoint the “Schoolboy” but his body of work and featherweight and junior lightweight basically consist of four fights: the close loss to Salido, the schooling of Gary Russell Jr., the KO of Rocky Martinez and the bewildering of Nicholas Walters. In those same two weight classes, Chacon took on the ATG likes of Ruben Olivares and Alexis Arguello, as well as fellow hall of famer Little Red Lopez, and card-carrying badasses Chucho Castillo, Alfredo Marcano, Bazooka Limon and Cornelius Boza-Edwards (all of whom held world titles).

It goes without saying that Chacon would push Loma to his limit. He would bring more craft than Salido, more guts than Russell, more durability than Martinez and if you know ANYTHING about Sylmar, California native, you he would never quit the way Walters did. Having said all that, I think Loma would narrowly outpoint Chacon in a very good fight.

Did Andre Ward and Sergei Kovalev scare the fight out of each other? Team Kovalev/Main Events certainly don’t sound scared to me. Didn’t they announce they wanted the rematch at the post-fight press conference and force the rematch clause in the contract? Word on the street is that the hold up has more to do with Ward’s deal with RNS than his desire to face the Krusher again.

Ever since their fight I haven’t heard a thing from either of them. Both guys chirped a bit at each other late last year, but maybe the silence is a good thing. Maybe that means real negotiations are taking place. Real fights aren’t made in the media.

Now that Francisco Vargas is taking another well earned rest to put his face back together that will leave his rivals Takashi Miura and Orlando Salido free to fight each other instead. Not right away. Miura earned a shot at new WBC 130-pound beltholder Miguel Berchelt with his battle of attrition victory over Mickey Roman. That’s the fight he and his team want first.

If they fight this year who wins? I would slightly favor Salido on points or via late stoppage, but I wouldn’t be shocked at all if Miura scored an upset KO. Both warriors are battle worn but Siri has more mileage than on his odometer than any active world-class fighter. Any fight could be his last.

Once GGG is done with the reasonably talented but weak-chinned Danny Jacobs I guess the plan is to fight Canelo, unify the title and break Bernard Hopkins’ record. That’s the plan of Team GGG, keepin’ their fingers crossed.

And once he does that how will he rank among the division’s ATGs. I myself wouldn’t even put him near Monzon, Hagler or Robinson. Neither would I. I doubt any boxing historian would.

Maybe in the bottom top 20 but that’s about it. Really? If he legitimately breaks B-Hop’s title-defense record, impressively beats Jacob and Canelo, and maybe adds that elusive WBO belt to his collection – that’s admittedly a lot of “ifs” – I can see ranking GGG in the lower part of the top 10.

Sorry but his legacy takes a hit due to weak opposition. Just like Hopkins and Holmes’ did. OK, fair enough, but both Hopkins and Holmes are usually rated in the top 5 of most all-time middleweight and heavyweight rankings, respectively. I tell you what, I’m going to give you a little homework assignment, Dave. You say that MAYBE GGG would rank in the BOTTOM top 20, so you’re talking about No. 18, 19 or 20, right? OK. So here’s what I want you to do. I want you to give me your all-time middleweight top 20 list, and I want you to give me your reasoning for ranking them where you rank them.

If that sounds like too much work, then just tell me why the top 15-17 deserve to be rated ahead of Golovkin (and keep in mind that this is under the scenario – that you proposed – where GGG beats Jacobs, Canelo, unifies all the major titles and break’s B-Hop’s record).

And before anyone thinks I’m downplaying GGG by ripping his opponents keep in mind that no one rips GGGs rivals more than his diehards. Didn’t you just describe Jacobs as “reasonably talented but weak-chinned”? Bro, that doesn’t even qualify as a backhanded compliment.

Even after opponents like DJ sign the dotted line they are still shredded for being gutless punks. I’ve only seen positive things said and written about Jacobs since the fight was made. The only folks I’ve seen dissing him are GGG detractors in social media and comment sections.

So does beating up those guys make GGG a great fighter as opposed to a real good one? Only time will tell, Dave. But who’s to say for sure if Golovkin will leave the middleweight division if and when he achieves the accomplishments you brought up?

 

JUNIOR LIGHTWEIGHT TOURNAMENT

Hey Doug:

Longtime fight fan (a little older than you) and a longtime reader. Your comments on the two HBO 130-pound fights this weekend were right on. I was humbled watching those four warriors go at it like that. That was boxing at its best. What a great start to the year. Vargas-Berchelt was too one-sided to make it a FOTY though. Miura-Roman was more competitive. Your thoughts on that?

Also, I was looking at the Jr.  Lightweight rankings. MAN! I did not realize how loaded this division was. It’s probably the best in boxing right now. Any mix and match from the top 10 will produce fireworks.

My last question is, what are the next fights we should see in this division, and what are the competing promotional interests that might prevent a round-robin from happening? Finally, could you play matchmaker and go through the top 10 and tell us what you would advise each fighter to do next? Thanks! – Mark in LA (formerly from SF)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for being a longtime reader, Mark.

My matchmaker advice for the top 10 junior lightweights (and I’ll use THE RING rankings for this exercise), starting from the top:

Vasyl Lomachenko (WBO titleholder) – Stay active, try to fight at least three times this year. After Jason Sosa, go back to targeting Jezreel Corrales. Try to at least partially unify major titles before venturing into the 135-pound division. Berchelt should be on your radar if he wins his next fight or two.

Orlando Salido – Forget about Loma, unless Top Rank and HBO really open up the checkbook. You caught the Ukrainian southpaw when he was still green as a pro, and you pulled some old pro s__t to help you get over on him, but it would be different story second time around. You don’t need that in your life. Wait for the Berchelt-Miura winner or for Bandito’s face to heal up and go for that HBO payday. Those are winnable fights.

Corrales (WBA titleholder) – Don’t be afraid to challenge Lomachenko. Your awkward athleticism could give the amateur legend trouble. You proved yourself against a tremendous fighter in Takashi Uchiyama, so no need to be intimidated by anyone.

Berchelt (WBC titleholder) – Just do your thing. You proved all the naysayers wrong and proved to yourself that you can box as well as you can punch and that you’re not a frontrunner. You can go the distance. You’ll need all the confidence, skill and stamina you can muster to beat back the challenge of Miura, but you can do it and bigger fights await you. Loma and Salido should be on your radar.

Miura – Your entire world should be geared toward recuperating from your war with Roman and then your preparation for Berchelt. Don’t bother looking past the young gun. If you beat him, you’ll be a legend in Japan.

Gervonta Davis (IBF titleholder) – Don’t be in a rush to take on the top fighters of this division, but don’t feel like you can’t hang if you are given the opportunity to do so. Your next fight should be against a former titleholder, such as Rocky Martinez or Malcolm Klassen. Rocky’s a bit shopworn and both are getting old, but they’re experienced, fearless and will exhibit smarter craft than Jose Pedraza did. They’ll test you and give you the rounds you need to move to the next level.

Uchiyama – Don’t retire yet! Maybe Corrales just has your number. Roll the dice against one of the available beltholders, including Lomachenko. You’ve got the experience, talent and power to threaten anyone’s reign, especially young guns like Davis and Berchelt. If Miura upsets Berchelt, go for the WBC belt in what would be a highly anticipated rematch in Japan.

Vargas – Take a long break. I don’t think you need to retire yet, but I think you deserve a soft opponent in your comeback bout (a real “gimme,” not just somebody that hardcore nuts dismiss as many did Salido and Berchelt). If you feel like you still have it (and your face holds up), go for one of those rematches that are on the menu (Saldio, Miura, Berchelt) and give it your best shot.

Martinez – You’re nearing the end of a very respectable career, and you got the most out of your abilities. No sense in rebuilding with tune-up and comeback bouts. Make yourself available to one of the newly crowned beltholders, Corrales or Davis. You might be able to pull either into the kind of high-volume scrap that you used to excel at and you might have one more supreme effort in you.

Sosa – Three words in regard to your shot at Loma: Go for it! If you fall short, nobody with a soul will fault you as long as you give your best effort. Target the battle-worn blood brothers – Vargas, Saldio, Miura – later in the year. They’re all ready to go. Push ‘em over the edge if you get the opportunity to do so. I also think you have the strength, style and experience to give Davis a run for his money.

Your comments on the two HBO 130-pound fights this weekend were right on. Thank you.

I was humbled watching those four warriors go at it like that. Me too.

That was boxing at its best. I agree.

Vargas-Berchelt was too one-sided to make it a FOTY though. I agree, but I thought it was competitive through six rounds. Berchelt deserved to be ahead on the scorecards because he was landing the harder, head-snapping, face-busting, momentum-halting punches, but Bandito was getting busy in close, going to the body and putting some nice combos together. I thought he have taken the young boxer-puncher into deep water to be drowned after the sixth or seventh round, but Berchelt showed that he could swim, stepped up the pressure and administered a nasty beating down the stretch. I agree with most observers that the fight could have been stopped after the ninth, but I understand where his corner was coming from. Had they brought a safety first mentality into Vargas’ title shot against Miura in 2015 they probably would have stopped the fight before he pulled off that near-miraculous rally in Round 9 and he never would have won the WBC belt.

Miura-Roman was more competitive. I had a lot of fun calling the action to this one for the international broadcast (along with Beto Duran). I think it’s an early Fight of the Year candidate. Both veterans were dog tired by the sixth or seventh round but Miura continued to swing for the fences, even as his technique fell off due to fatigue.

Also, I was looking at the Jr.  Lightweight rankings. MAN! I did not realize how loaded this division was. It’s jam packed with talent and potential competitive matchup, and there are dangerous fringe contenders (like Tevin Farmer, Liam Walsh and Eden Sonsona) and tough up-and-comers (such as Andy Vences, Christopher Diaz, Carlos Morales and Miguel Flores) that are just outside of the top 10.

It’s probably the best in boxing right now. Any mix and match from the top 10 will produce fireworks. Agreed. I’d love to see Loma vs. Corrales, Berchelt (if he beats Miura) and Uchiyama; Davis vs. Sosa, Berchelt vs. Corrales, and Saldio vs. Miura (even if the Japanese veteran loses to Berchelt).

 

 

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

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