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Dougie’s Monday mailbag

Photo / @TRboxing
Fighters Network
10
Apr

THE LOMATADOR

Dougie,

Damn, I thought GGG was the one to make motherf***ers want to quit, but Vasyl Lomachenko’s got him beat. How frustrating must it be to try to fight him?

When he did his little matador impression against Jason Sosa it made me think about what an apt analogy it is; Loma the bull fighter, every opponent a bull. He makes it look easy and effortless.



It struck me, before the fight, how much Lomachenko and Sosa look alike; they could be brothers. By the end of the fight Sosa looked like the Quasimodo version of his Eastern brother.

Lomachenko is a boxing purist’s dream and I can’t wait for his next fight.

Who do you want to see him take on in the next year or so? – Hammer

I’m probably in the minority, because I’m know most hardcore heads are already mentally masturbating to Loma vs. Mikey Garcia or Terence Crawford, but I’d like to see the Ukrainian uber-talent attempt to at least partially unify major 130-pound titles before moving up in weight.

I know the fans that make up the majority of the Boxing Twitterverse strongly believe that no world-class junior lightweight can touch Lomachenko, and if the WBO beltholder were to move up to lightweight tomorrow most would say that he had “cleaned out” the 130-pound division, but this simply isn’t true.

These are the facts: Lomachenko has proven to be heads and shoulders above Rocky Martinez, Nicholas Walters and Jason Sosa. That’s a formidable trio but there are other top-class junior lightweights who bring different styles and attributes to the ring. Loma is rightfully viewed as the No. 1 junior lightweight, but he hasn’t proven to be the true champion of the division, and he hasn’t defeated all of the world beaters in his current weight class.

Again, I’m probably in a very small club with the desire to see Lomachenko fight fellow 130-pound beltholders, but I’d like to witness how he deals with the unorthodox left-handed stance/stylings of Jezreel Corrales (current WBA titleholder) and the winner of the Miguel Berchelt-Takashi Miura WBC title clash (especially if it’s “El Alacran”). Corrales and Berchelt are young, athletic, sharp, crafty and fearless. Call me crazy, but I think they could challenge Loma (at least a little bit) and make for good fights.

I thought GGG was the one to make motherf***ers want to quit, but Vasyl Lomachenko’s got him beat. OK. Calm down. I know everybody’s got “Loma Fever,” and it’s all good, but he made ONE fighter quit: Walters. He did not make Jason Sosa quit. Sosa’s corner kept him on his stool (a round too late in my opinion). It was the right thing to do but it wasn’t Sosa’s choice.

How frustrating must it be to try to fight him? Probably like fighting a swarm of killer bees – and you are allergic to bee stings.

Lomachenko is a boxing purist’s dream and I can’t wait for his next fight. Likewise. He’s the kind of boxer both purists and ghouls can appreciate.

 

UKRAINIAN SATURDAY

Dougie,

Hello from Canada. Watched Loma do what I expected him to do. He looked unbeatable. If he had a little more power do you think anyone can beat him?

Oleksandr Gvozdyk looked smooth, who should he fight next. Unlike the announcers, I figured he had Gonzalez’s number in the second round. He had him hurt bad. I don’t think it will be too many more fights before he gets a title shot, maybe 3 or 4.

As for the Hunter/Usyk fight, Hunter was lucky the ref let it go on, I think it should have been stopped earlier.

Overall a good night of fights.

Mythical match-up: Hagler (prime) vs Leonard (prime) at 157 lbs. Love the mailbag. – Bill

I think Hagler would have edged Leonard in a competitive 15 rounder had they fought when the Marvelous One was still in his athletic prime. Hagler’s hand speed would have been better, and more importantly, his reflexes would have been sharper – sharp enough to nail Leonard during exchanges once he got warmed up – and I think the prime SRL’s penchant for scrapping would have served Hagler as well as it served Roberto Duran in their first bout. However, Leonard would be able to compete with Hagler as well as Duran did in ’83 due to his skill, quickness and ring generalship.

(Loma) looked unbeatable. He was absolutely sensational but I never lost sight of the fact that he was facing THE RING’s No. 10-rated junior lightweight.

If he had a little more power do you think anyone can beat him? I don’t think Loma needs bone-crushing power to dominate opponents or entire divisions. If he had more power he might not bother to be as technically/defensively sharp as he is.

Photo / @HBOBoxing

Oleksandr Gvozdyk looked smooth, who should he fight next? Good question. The Nail looked like a potential world-beater at 175 pounds to me. He’s ranked pretty high in the WBC’s light heavyweight rankings (No. 4), so my guess is that he wants to get a shot at WBC strapholder (and linear champ for those who recognize that distinction) Adonis Stevenson, and the best way to do that would be to target the guys ranked ahead of him – No. 1-rated Eleider Alvarez and No. 3-rated Joe Smith Jr. (No. 2-rated Sergey Kovalev’s obviously got bigger fish to fry). But I wouldn’t mind seeing The Nail vs. Artur Beterbiev, Badou Jack or Sullivan Barrera (and it’s possible that those matchups could be WBC title-elimination bouts).

Unlike the announcers, I figured he had Gonzalez’s number in the second round. I don’t who was doing the commentating in Canada, but HBO’s announcers (starting with Max Kellerman) thought the fight should have been stopped in Round 2.

He had him hurt bad. Agreed.

I don’t think it will be too many more fights before he gets a title shot, maybe 3 or 4. Agreed.

As for the Hunter/Usyk fight, Hunter was lucky the ref let it go on, I think it should have been stopped earlier. I don’t think there was anything “lucky” about that beating Hunter absorbed in Round 12. I hope the punishment doesn’t take anything away from Hunter (physically or mentally) because he has a lot of talent, guts and potential.

Overall a good night of fights. I was entertained.

 

LOMACHENKO, WARD-KOVALEV 2, P4P

Hi Dougie,

1) Lomanchenko moves laterally as well as anyone I can remember. Those moves he made to position himself outside of Sosa’s left, where he could throw punches, but not be countered until Sosa moved, were masterful.

2) Jason Sosa has a lot of heart, hope he can come back from that beating, the last few rounds I was just rooting for the stoppage to protect him from more damage.

3) Who is next for Loma? I cannot see Gervonta Davis beating him but feel his style and compact size would be most competitive of anyone at 130. Any of the top 3 at lightweight would be incredible – Linares, Easter Jr. or Garcia. How do you think Loma matches up against those lightweights? He came into the ring this time at 139 pounds – will he have a huge size disadvantage against the lightweights?

4) Did the ref for the Sosa-Loma have a prosthetic leg? I have never seen that before.

5) Glad the rematch got done for Ward-Kovalev 2. Have always been a Ward fan but, between that bad decision and Ward’s diva behavior, can’t say I am rooting for him now. Just want to have impartial judges who produce a fair decision. Do you feel Kovalev could feel compelled to take Ward out because of the fear of another bad decision? This would be unfortunate since it may cause Kovalev to stray from his proper game plan.

6) As far as P4P, a lot of fans say Lomachenko has too small a body of work to be considered #1. Not me. The guy is artistic and I am excited to watch him every time he is in the ring and can’t think of any fighter with better craftsmanship than Loma.

7) It seems there are a lot more very competitive Eastern European fighters than ever, do you have a theory as to why? Thanks for your great work, I am also excited to watch your show now too! – Rahn

Thanks, Rahn. Episode 2 of Between The Ropes, co-hosted by Steve Kim, should go live on Wednesday on RingTV.com and other platforms. I’ll respond to your questions and comments in order:

1) Lomanchenko moves laterally as well as anyone I can remember. Yeah, he’s among the best (if not THE best, currently) and that deft ability is one of the reasons I think I’ll favor him to outpoint Mikey Garcia if that boxing-geek fantasy matchup is ever made. Garcia’s got heavy, accurate hands but his feet are rather heavy too (at least in comparison to Lomachenko’s).

2) Jason Sosa has a lot of heart, hope he can come back from that beating, the last few rounds I was just rooting for the stoppage to protect him from more damage. Same here. I want to see him back in the ring, versus quality opposition, as soon as possible. I think Sosa would be a solid test for IBF beltholder Gervonta Davis and would make for fan-friendly shootouts against Rocky Martinez, Mikey Roman and Francisco Vargas (whenever Bandito is ready to return to the ring).

3) Who is next for Loma? I’m hoping it’s Jezreel Corrales (but as I stated earlier, I know I’m in the minority with that wish).

I cannot see Gervonta Davis beating him but feel his style and compact size would be most competitive of anyone at 130. I think an unorthodox and athletic boxer like Corrales has the kind of style that typically off-sets technical perfectionists like Loma (although I should note that the Ukrainian southpaw brings a lot of improvisation to his game). Maybe you’re right about Davis, but I think it would be a huge mistake to put the 22 year old in with Lomachenko this year. Give the kid at least a year, and three or four more title defenses, and I might give him a realistic shot.

Any of the top 3 at lightweight would be incredible – Linares, Easter Jr. or Garcia. I agree, and I think Linares might have the right mix of speed, lateral movement and experience to give Loma a run for his money.

How do you think Loma matches up against those lightweights? I’d slightly favor Loma in all three matchups but I think they would be competitive and entertaining fights.

He came into the ring this time at 139 pounds – will he have a huge size disadvantage against the lightweights? I don’t think Loma would be at huge disadvantage but I do believe that he will hit his athletic limit at lightweight.

4) Did the ref for the Sosa-Loma have a prosthetic leg? I have never seen that before. I guess there’s a first time for everything in boxing, Rahn. Don’t expect me to do any research on Kenny Chevalier’s legs. Some of you hardcore heads have the random curiosity of a 5 year old.

5) Glad the rematch got done for Ward-Kovalev 2. Have always been a Ward fan but, between that bad decision and Ward’s diva behavior, can’t say I am rooting for him now. He doesn’t make it easy, does he?

Just want to have impartial judges who produce a fair decision. That might be asking too much.

Do you feel Kovalev could feel compelled to take Ward out because of the fear of another bad decision? Yes. And I think it’s a good idea for him to take that mentality into the ring. If he believes he got f__ked by the judges in the first fight, he needs to act like it in the rematch and not give Ward as much respect.

This would be unfortunate since it may cause Kovalev to stray from his proper game plan. Whatever. He knows there’s a realistic chance that the official judges won’t give him credit for his boxing ability, his jab or for landing more punches than Ward, so he’d got to do what he’s got to do, and fortunately for Kovalev he does have the ability to bring his “own judges” to the fight.

6) As far as P4P, a lot of fans say Lomachenko has too small a body of work to be considered #1. I agree with those fans.

Not me. The guy is artistic and I am excited to watch him every time he is in the ring and can’t think of any fighter with better craftsmanship than Loma. I don’t give as many “style points” as you do in my pound-for-pound criteria. I’m more of an accomplishment and quality of opposition man. In my mind, Roman Gonzalez is still numero uno.

7) It seems there are a lot more very competitive Eastern European fighters than ever, do you have a theory as to why? They’ve witnessed the recent success standouts like Ruslan Provodnikov, Gennady Golovkin (who is more Central Asian than Eastern European) and Kovalev have had in the U.S., so more of them are coming to American than to Germany (as they had in previous decades) or other countries. It also helps that there are established U.S.-based Eastern European managers, such as Egis Klimas and Vadim Kornilov, who have good contacts/talent scouts back home, as well as major promoters, such as Top Rank, Main Events and K2, that are willing to invest in and move fighters from Russia, Ukraine, etc.

 

DOES LOMACHENKO MOVE UP OR UNIFY?

Hey Doug, what’s good?

What do you think the chances that Lomachenko will unify against the other champions in the division? I would like to see Loma in there with the Davis/Walsh winner, the winner of the Berchelt/Miura or Corrales. However, I don’t think if Davis wins Mayweather lets him near Loma (unless Davis pushes hard), no one in the US I believe knows who Corrales is (despite the fact that he twice went to Japan and defeated a long reigning champion in Uchiyama) and I’m not sure how much of a buzz there would be for him to take on the Berchelt/Miura winner (I think it would be a good fight).

I can see the boxing public clamoring for Loma to take on the Linares/Garica/Flanagan/Easter fight more as it would be perceived as more challenging. Thoughts? – D. W. from Boston, Ma.

What do you mean you “can see the boxing public clamoring for Loma” to fight the top lightweights? They already are clamoring for that. In fact, they’re demanding it. I doubt most fans (even those that consider themselves knowledgeable diehards) will even tolerate Lomachenko fighting another junior lightweight (no matter how talented the 130 pounder is, which is too bad).

We’ll see if boxing politics and promotional/network allegiances will allow for Lomachenko to test his superlative skills against the best lightweights in the game.

In the meantime, I want to see Loma-Corrales at 130 pounds because I think it’s an interesting style matchup and it’s a title unification bout (which is something Lomachenko has said he wants to accomplish). I don’t care if Corrales is unknown to most American fans. HBO should educate its viewers on the talented Panamanian southpaw and the network’s commentators should pause their “Loma-worship” long enough to keep it real by admitting that Corrales’ back-to-back victories over Takashi Uchiyama is more significant than the Ukrainian’s wins against Martinez, Nicholas and Sosa.

Having said that, I admit that Lomachenko-Corrales would be a hard sell (for Top Rank and for HBO). However, I disagree that there wouldn’t be much “buzz” for Loma vs. the Berchelt-Miura winner. I think HBO would be interested in televising that potential unification bout. Both Berchelt and Miura made statements on HBO “Boxing After Dark” in January. HBO will likely televise their fight (which you know will be another barnburner). It makes sense that the network would try to build towards a showdown between the winner and its shinning 130-pound star. You know as well as I do that HBO does a good job of hyping fights, and this matchup would practically sell itself. It would also make for a very live and well-attended event if it landed in Southern California (where Loma trains and won his first pro title, and where Berchelt-Miura is set to take place). If Miura regains the WBC belt a showdown with Loma could fill The StubHub Center in Carson. If Berchelt defends the title, I think he and Loma could pack The Forum in Inglewood.

Regarding Davis, I don’t think he’s ready. Mayweather wouldn’t be a good promoter if he put the still-learning young lion of his stable in with a peaking Lomachenko this year.

 

CORNERS & REFEREES

Hey Doug,

Lomachenko continues to impress with his high level of boxing technique. He possesses enough power to keep fighters hurt but it’s not the kind of power that can drop you from the first moment he hits you.   That’s what makes him more dangerous. He’s so good and so accurate that he slowly takes total control of the fight to the point that it doesn’t make sense for the fight to continue.

Which brings me to the whole point of my email, why don’t corners and referees stop these kind of mismatches when it’s obvious that the fight isn’t competitive anymore? Both Usyk and Lomachenko were inflicting serious, potentially career-ending beatings, by the 6th round and yet they let them continue. There were also several moments in both fights in which they should’ve stopped it and they didn’t. Yes, both guys were throwing back but that doesn’t mean they were all there. The corner also didn’t help at all, there really was no point.

Hopefully they take a look at these fights and review referees as they’re there to not only officiate but to protect and know when to stop the fight. In the end this is a competition and a sport. Let them live to fight another day. Thanks Doug. – Juan Valverde

I agree 100% Juan. The eighth and ninth rounds of Lomachenko-Sosa and Round 12 of Usyk-Hunter were very hard to watch. Sosa was simply out of ideas after six rounds with Loma, and out of any realistic hope of winning after the seventh. The eighth round should have convinced all involved that the fight was over.

I thought Hunter was competitive through six rounds but he did take a beating down the stretch. By the final round it was clear that only pride was keeping him upright. It’s OK for a professional boxer to be willing to take that kind of ass kicking and to want to go the distance just for the sake of his pride (especially in a world title bout). That’s what makes him a fighter. But referees should not be concerned at all about a fighter’s pride; safety should be their No. 1 concern. And once a fighter is too tired or beat up to offer any effective offense or defend himself, his safety has been compromised and the fight should not continue. It’s no longer competition at that point.

Why corners and referees fail stop fights once they cease to be competitive and one of the boxer’s safety is in jeopardy is a good question. The only answer I can come up with is that boxing makes people a little a crazy, at least in the moment, especially those directly involved in the fight. A lot of emotions get whipped up during a prize fight and things probably appear a lot different (in real time) from the corner’s perspective and to the three human beings inside the ring than it comes across on TV or even ringside.

I think that’s why California has the rule that allows the ringside physician to stop a fight (and overrule the referee if he or she sees fit). I used to think that was a little strange but I get it now. The commission wants there to be an official who is not directly involved with the fight to have the power to stop it if he or she believes it has become dangerous to one of the combatants, and who better to bestow this authority to than a physician who has taken an ancient and sacred Hippocratic Oath to protect the health and safety of those in his or her care and to uphold the ethics of their profession (which is healing, not boxing)?

Perhaps other state athletic commissions should adopt this rule.

 

 

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer, on Instagram and Periscope, where on most Sundays you can join him and Coach Schwartz for some boxing talk, trivia and rope skipping:

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