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Dougie’s Friday mailbag

Photo / Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos-Golden Boy Promotions
Fighters Network
31
Mar

LUIS ORTIZ

So, Luis Ortiz signs with Al Haymon just in time to fight Derric Rossy?

Good grief.

I typed and retyped a list of smart ass comments to end this letter, like a mad lib really:



“I guess ________ wasn’t available.”

I started out with seth mitchell in the blank, but he at least beat the snot out of Timur Ibrahimov and beat Jonathan Banks once. Then I had Fred Kassi, but Fred got on the wrong end of a bad decision a while back and he’s not a tomato can, and then I thought about Chris Arreola, but I really, really like The Nightmare…I dunno…it’s a mad lib really.

You could also write an Al Haymon-Bob Arum choose-your-own-adventure series where every page you flip to has the fighter you’ve chosen fighting someone you DON’T care about seein’ them fight.

Then there’s the Hardy Boys mystery of the elusive appropriate opponent…

This isn’t the case for every weight class, but thank god for cruiserweight. Lastly, Ortiz is supposedly the mandatory for the Joshua-Klitschko winner. Be cool if that actually happens.  – Ceylon

I’ll tell ya what, Ceylon, if Ortiz doesn’t face the Joshua-Klitschko winner, or Deontay Wilder, or at the very least a legitimate top-10 rated contender, I won’t give a rat’s ass what he does. I won’t even bother trying to make jokes about the Cuban lefty.

I know Ortiz is talented and formidable but facts are facts, he’s only faced one contender, Bryant Jennings, who he stopped in December 2015 to earn his own contender status. But since then, he’s fought an aging gatekeeper in Tony Thompson, a former fringe contender in Malik Scott (who was 3-2-1 in his previous six bouts) and a 9-1-1 British prospect who was coming off a loss (David Allen).

Now Ortiz is fighting another gatekeeper in Rossy, who has 12 losses on his ledger. However, I’ll say this about the 36-year-old New Yorker, on average he faces better opposition than Ortiz. Most of his recent losses have been close and/or competitive decisions to better fighters than Ortiz faced last year (and I thought Rossy may have deserved the nod against then-unbeaten Czar Glazkov in 2014).

Bottom line for me: Ortiz needs to shine against Rossy and then fight a worthy opponent. For the time being, I’m more interested in the Porter-Berto and Charlo-Hatley fights on that April 22 Showtime tripleheader than I am in Ortiz’s return.

 

KOVALEV VS. WARD, GGG VS. JACOBS

Hi Doug,

Thanks for answering my mythical matchup a few months ago, Henry Armstrong v Roberto Duran.

Anyway, having watched Sergey Kovalev v Andre Ward and Gennady Golovkin v Daniel Jacobs, the biggest problem I have with these fights is that neither challenger seemed to “go for it.” By that I mean it seemed like they both wanted crawl over the finish line rather than sprint towards it and win clearly.

For years, I never agreed with the reasoning that the challenger had to go out and take the title from the champ. As long as the challenger won, no matter how close the decision was, it should be enough… I thought. But watching these two big fights, and seeing how the challengers didn’t really ‘put it on the line’ but yet feel they deserved the decision, I’m beginning to change my mind.

I think boxing would definitely be more entertaining if challengers went into title fights feeling that they really had to rip the title from the champ, rather than try to gentle take it. What do you think? – Paul Jordan

Leonard gets his revenge over Duran in New Orleans. Photo/ THE RING

Well, it was that mentality that attracted me to the sport and eventually made me a hardcore fan. I’m talking about Sugar Ray Leonard stopping Wilfred Benitez in the 15th round of his first world title challenge, Roberto Duran taking it to Leonard like a man possessed and my boyhood idol giving it right back to the feared “Hands of Stone” for 15 rounds in their classic first confrontation, Leonard rallying to stop Thomas Hearns in the 14th round of their welterweight unification battle, Hearns going for it and trying to do the impossible – knockout Marvin Hagler – in his first middleweight title challenge, and Duran mixing a boxing clinic with toe-to-toe tactics to dramatically unseat a younger, bigger, stronger (and just as tough) middleweight beltholder Iran Barkley at age 37.

However, as much as I miss that kind of warrior spirit among the sport’s elite fighters – which still exists among the little guys, by the way, we saw it when Roman Gonzalez challenged Carlos Cuadras last year, and though I don’t believe Srisaket Sor Rungvisai deserved to beat Chocolatito on March 18, the Thai veteran definitely brought a do-or-die attitude to the ring – I still won’t subscribe to the “challenger-must-TAKE-the-title-from-the-champion” line of thinking.

Once a champion steps into the ring to defend his or her world title I believe that their belt is, in essence, vacant. The champion must fight just as hard and just as smart as the challenger, and win the majority of rounds, if he or she wants to retain the title.

I don’t think Ward got a gift decision against Kovalev because he didn’t “rip the titles away from the champion,” I thought he was lucky to win his razor-thin decision because I didn’t think he won more than six rounds by any scoring criteria (pro or amateur). Same deal with Jacobs against GGG. If either boxer had legitimately won just seven rounds in my view – and no more than that – I would have believed that they deserved to win the three world title belts that were on the line.

 

CHOCOLATITO VS. SOR RUNGVISAI, GGG VS. CANELO

Wow, that 1st round knockdown from Sor Rungvisai was the truth; Chocolatito got straight ripped, like the way a heavy bag gets ripped off of a hook. Impressive. That fight was awesome. What other fights were better this year so far? Was the referee named SeeMore? LOL

GGG lost a step, small step but a critical one. I have a feeling that if GGG fights Cinnabon this year, it’s even money. Next year (I hope not), I’ll say that it’s 60/40 to Cinnabon. I wouldn’t put the intended delay past that diva; he’s been scorn and tainted by the Pretty Boy business-lesson. I hope that GGG doesn’t give up any weight in the negotiation!!!! – Alex, San Jose, CA

It’s going to be kinda hard for Canelo to ask Golovkin to weigh less than 160 pounds after he weighs in around 164 or 164.5 for Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in May. I don’t see that happening.

By the way, I think it’s a little premature to view Canelo-GGG as a 50-50 fight before you’ve seen how the red head performs against his fellow Mexican star. May 6 will be the first time Canelo has weighed in heavier than 155 pounds for a fight and the first time he’s faced a former middleweight titleholder. (Remember, he won THE RING/WBC/lineal titles from Miguel Cotto, who made it a point to weigh-in under 154 pounds after he took the championship from Sergio Martinez.)

And are you certain GGG has lost a “small-but-critical” step, or was he just sharing the ring with a big, talented, skilled and determined middleweight in the consensus No. 2-rated Daniel Jacobs? The Brooklyn native is naturally bigger, more athletic and more mobile than Canelo. Keep that in mind. I’m not saying Canelo won’t be competitive with Golovkin but don’t expect the same kind of fight we witnessed on March 18; it’s a different style matchup.

And although Golovkin is about to turn 35, don’t expect Father Time to be the deciding factor whenever he and Canelo share the ring. His 35 is not going to be like Cotto’s 35. GGG isn’t a natural welterweight who has been through the proverbial meat-grinder. Keep that in mind.

Having said that, the grind of all these training camps, title defenses and the rigmarole that comes with being an international boxing attraction and Kazakhstan hero has got to take some kind of toll on Golovkin. Canelo has more pro fights under his belt and just as much pressure (if not more) but maybe being in his mid-20s helps with coping.

Anyway, the fact that you (and other hardcore heads) believe that Golovkin can actually lose to Canelo will ultimately help hype the fight to the casual fans who don’t know what to think about the marquee middleweight matchup.

Photo by Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/K2 Promotions

Chocolatito and Sor Rungvisai did indeed put on an awesome fight, and the Thai veteran set the tone in the opening round with that surprising knockdown. I told you guys in this mailbag column (more than once) that the southpaw slugger was for real.

Has there been a better scrap than Gonzalez-SorRungvisai? I don’t think so, but the Takashi Miura-Mickey Roman slugfest comes close. Viva #TheSavageScience!

And, hey, don’t make fun of Steve Willis.

 

“SUPERSTARS”

Let me ask you a question, how big is Canelo in boxing? I mean the word superstar is used very easily today and I don’t think he is one. Am I wrong, could he be just … a star.

Hear me out, this problem is brought up when saying that GGG needs this fight to become a superstar. I say it’s bull. Here is why: in Europe (central, eastern, southern) and probably most of the world besides North America, the name Canelo means absolutely nothing. (I’m not being mean) the only names that people recognize are Pacquiao and Floyd, not even Cotto or De La Hoya. And I think no matter what Canelo or GGG true superstardom don’t hang on fighting each other (may help), cause it is said that when Manny and Floyd fought and beat DLH, they became something special. I don’t think it’s true. The fact that makes them superstars and recognized around the globe is the fact that they are special fighters that thru their impressive style in their peaks attracted attention, as did RJJ and Iron Mike.

So how big is big and besides a good fight, why are they (Golden Boy) acting like fighting Canelo is some jackpot… I just don’t see it, is North America that ignorant and self indulgent that the rest of the world’s opinion just doesn’t matter? I guess the answer is its all financial and the rest of the world doesn’t bring that much to the table. But then don’t call a regional-known boxer (all so-called superstars included, not only Canela) a WORLD superstar. That gives him way too much diva air and leverage in boxing and it does not help the sport, IT RUINS IT, nice and slow. Ignorance isn’t bliss for the rest, just for the one using it. – Ciobanu

I’m not sure how to respond to this email. I guess I’ll start with Canelo. He’s one of the best-known active boxers in the world. To some (certainly GBP), that makes him a “superstar.” Others (myself included) view him as “just” a star. Is Canelo a household name in every corner of the earth. No, of course not. But he sells more tickets in the U.S. (and North America) than any other active boxer. And until Mayweather un-retires to face a UFC star, Canelo sells more PPV buys than anyone else.

You may not like his comments about Golovkin needing him to become a “superstar” but he’s not wrong. GGG is a bona-fide attraction in the U.S. (and is well known internationally) but he’s not going to crossover to casual fans or become a PPV player without Canelo. (And by the way, it was no different for Mayweather and Pacquiao. Yeah, they were already “special” boxers, pound-for-pound rated and all that good s__t, before they beat De La Hoya, but they weren’t averaging 1 million PPV buys prior to facing the past-prime Golden Boy. Ricky Hatton gave them an assist, as well.)

In Europe (central, eastern, southern) and probably most of the world besides North America, the name Canelo means absolutely nothing. Really? So if Canelo fought in the UK it wouldn’t make a blip on the radar? You mean to tell me if Chris Eubank Jr. fought Canelo somewhere in England it wouldn’t be any bigger than his fights against Gary O’Sullivan or Tom Doran? Come on, man, don’t be dense. Britain would embrace Canelo the way they would any other bona-fide North American-based star – with open arms. Ya know why? Because there are A LOT of boxing fans there. I think Canelo would make an impact in any part of the world where professional boxing thrives.

(I’m not being mean) the only names that people recognize are Pacquiao and Floyd, not even Cotto or De La Hoya. I don’t think you’re being mean, I think you’re being dense. You must be talking about people who don’t follow boxing – at all.

So how big is big and besides a good fight, why are they (Golden Boy) acting like fighting Canelo is some jackpot… Because he is a jackpot. That’s why the company stayed afloat when Haymon and Schaefer made off with 85% of their top talent. That’s why Golovkin and his team want the fight. That’s why every notable fighter in the junior middleweight and middleweight divisions want to fight Canelo. “How big is big?” Oh I don’t know, how 90,000 fans inside AT&T Stadium sound to you? Because that’s what Canelo-GGG would do at that Texas arena.

I just don’t see it, is North America that ignorant and self indulgent that the rest of the world’s opinion just doesn’t matter? Dude, what the f__k does Golden Boy’s opinion of the star of their promotional stable have to do with the entire continent of North America? Don’t get f__kin’ weird and/or fanatical on me, man.

 

TOM LOEFFLER INTERVIEW, WARD IN LONDON

Hi Doug,

The mythical match up Kovalev v Smith, is that Callum Smith?

Really enjoyed the Coach Schwartz/Tom Loeffer interview on Periscope. As promoters go, he seems reasonably straight forward and seemingly genuine to deal with. I expect a lot of that has to also do with the attitude of his main fighter. What promoters have the best reputations in the industry currently, as people who want to get things done. For my two pence I like the way Kathy Duva comes across and, obviously, Eddie Hearn is on a roll.

In terms of Billy Joe Saunders fighting Golovkin next I can see it being little more than BJS cashing out. From what I have heard he most definitely does not live the life and is really struggling with weight now, which is apparently the reason he split with Jimmy Tibbs. Have you heard anything to that effect and how do you see the fight going? I can only see a one-sided beat down that may take a bit longer than expected due to BJS’s decent defensive abilities and ring IQ but at world level he can’t punch for toffee (Andy Lee knock down aside.)

Lastly just a side note. Andre Ward was in London recently and visited Fitzroy Lodge where a friend of mine coaches. He said he was an absolute gentleman and stayed over 3 hours chatting and signing things for the multitude of people who queued round the block. He didn’t leave until every last fan was happy. I thought that was nice to hear because he can come across in the media as bit aloof and arrogant. It is ironic really as my father met Carl Froch (a real favourite of mine) at the recent Bellew fight and was very disappointed with his arrogance and lack of time for the fans. Any fighters you have met in person who have surprised you good or bad.

No problems if I don’t make the mailbag, thanks for doing it. It’s part of my routine, would enjoy your thoughts on the above. Regards. – Steffan, London

Thanks for the kind words, Steffan.

Most fighters I’ve come across in the past 20 years (amateur, pro, male, female, young, old, boxing, MMA, kickboxing, etc.) have been friendly and down to earth. Seriously, I’m talking like 99.9% are really nice. Even the guys who have been surly bastards or jerks over the years – from Erik Morales to James Toney – were cool in their own badass way.

Sad to learn that The Cobra was jerky to your dad, but happy (and not surprised) to hear that Ward was fan-friendly and able to loosen up more on your side of the pond. The British boxing media and fans have given him a lot of respect since he bested Froch in 2011, plus you guys probably didn’t criticize him as much as the U.S. press/fandom did when he was on his “hiatus,” and I’m sure Sky Sports’ view (and commentator scorecards) of the Kovalev fight makes him happy.

In terms of Billy Joe Saunders fighting Golovkin next I can see it being little more than BJS cashing out. Obviously, he wants to get paid as much money as possible to face GGG (like everyone else), but I don’t think he’s just going to hand his WBO title over to the Kazakh hero. He’s dedicated most of his life to boxing and winning that 160-pound strap. He has his pride and won’t give it up without a fight.

From what I have heard he most definitely does not live the life and is really struggling with weight now, which is apparently the reason he split with Jimmy Tibbs. Have you heard anything to that effect and how do you see the fight going? Billy Joe’s conditioning and performance against Artur Akavov is all I need to know his dedication and focus between fights, but facing GGG is the ultimate motivation for one to get into the best shape (mentally and physically) of his career. I expect BJS to be at his pesky best against Golovkin and I think he’ll take the No. 1 middleweight into the late rounds of a semi-competitive fight.

Really enjoyed the Coach Schwartz/Tom Loeffer interview on Periscope. I’m glad you did. I didn’t expect him to talk to us for more than 40 minutes but he had just closed the book on the golovkin-Jacobs event and was obviously ready to talk about the future (GGG in Kazakhstan, Usyk fighting on the April 8 HBO tripleheader, and Joshua-Klitschko, among other subjects)

As promoters go, he seems reasonably straight forward and seemingly genuine to deal with. He is. I’ve known Tom since the late ’90s and he is EXACTLY the way he comes off in his interviews. It’s not a “nice-guy” act. He’s really that classy.

I expect a lot of that has to also do with the attitude of his main fighter. I’m sure it doesn’t hurt, but Tom was the same way when Kevin Kelley and Oba Carr were his main clients.

What promoters have the best reputations in the industry currently, as people who want to get things done. Right now I’d say Hearn, Loeffler, Duva and Eric Gomez lead the pack, but I think all of the major players (even Arum and Haymon) are willing to do business if the right fight and deal is on the menu.

The mythical match up Kovalev v Smith, is that Callum Smith? I assumed it was Joe Smith Jr.

 

 

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

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