Dougie’s Friday mailbag
I just wanted your take on how you see Kell Brook Vs Errol Spence going down. I’m leaning towards Spence, mainly due to the combination of his vicious body attack along with Brook’s intense weight cut. I am surprised how many people are picking Spence to just blow him out, though. Brook proved himself to be very durable in the GGG fight and wasn’t simply running but was fighting back with some success. For this reason I think the fight will be competitive in the first half before Spence starts to wear him down for a late finish. But I doubt it’ll be a three-round beat down.
I also wanted to ask you about the potential Terence Crawford Vs Julius Indongo fight. Do you think this will be Crawford’s biggest test or will it be business as usual for Bud? Indongo has the length of Postol but he’s also got the power to keep people honest. I wonder if the fight would look similar to the Postal fight though, with the early rounds being a stale mate, before Crawford figures out how to bridge the gap and crack Indongo, then play keep away against an “out fighter” who doesn’t know how to pressure?
As a huge Manny Pacquiao fan I’m kind of hoping Indongo can derail Bud, lol. I may be a fanboy but I’m also a boxing fan and I know Pacquiao ain’t beating Bud at this stage of his career, and it could be ugly. Crawford is too dynamic and versatile, too fast and too mean. I think you felt this way about your boyhood hero Sugar Ray Leonard fighting Terrible Terry Norris? – Jack
Yep, I feel the same way about a potential Pacquiao-Crawford fight as I did the Leonard-Norris matchup back in the day: I didn’t want to see it happen but I understood that the up-and-coming badass needed the scalp of the legend in order to advance his stature within the sport and move to the next stage of his career.
I didn’t hold it against Norris for pounding the crap out of my boyhood idol for 12 rounds (but I refused to watch it and to this day I haven’t seen one minute of a single round of that fight), and I wouldn’t hold it against Crawford if he did the same (or worse) to Pacquiao. This is how new stars are born in boxing. Pacquiao needed Oscar De La Hoya, who needed Julio Cesar Chavez, and so on. I was already high on Norris but once he beat Leonard he became my favorite active fighter. I know Pac has got some diehard followers but if he gets “retired” by Bud, I hope some of them jump on the Crawford Bandwagon.
In the meantime, if a Crawford-Indongo showdown can be made for all the marbles at 140 pounds, I’d anticipate that fight with interest. I’d favor Crawford (as pretty much everyone would) but I think the Omaha native would receive a stern challenge from the rangy Namibian southpaw. I think Indongo’s ranginess, speed, power and activity (especially with his jab) will enable him to win some rounds in a distance fight.
I’m leaning towards Spence, mainly due to the combination of his vicious body attack along with Brook’s intense weight cut. You are in the VAST majority with this opinion, which is shared by some of the most astute matchmakers in boxing (Top Rank’s Brad Goodman, Golden Boy’s Robert Diaz and Main Events’ Jolene Mizzone). I’d say there might be a U.S. bias going on with the industry folks, but it seems like even 90% of the U.K. boxing insiders that have been polled for this fight are picking Spence. I guess I’m a moron. I can’t help but think the same shots Brook took against Golovkin put Spence on Queer Street (or out cold) and the same bombs that the Sheffield man landed on GGG would shake the Great American Welterweight Hope down to his boots.
I am surprised how many people are picking Spence to just blow him out, though. Me too. But to be honest, nothing would shock me in this matchup, including Brook winning by an early stoppage.
Brook proved himself to be very durable in the GGG fight and wasn’t simply running but was fighting back with some success. I couldn’t believe that he remained upright for four and half rounds. Brook’s a tough cookie with a warrior’s heart. Question is: Did Dominic Ingle throw in the towel in time to save Brook’s career? We’ll see.
For this reason I think the fight will be competitive in the first half before Spence starts to wear him down for a late finish. I’m thinking Brook’s lateral movement and footwork alone keeps him in the fight through the early rounds (but, obviously, with his educated jab, speed, power and reflexes, he can do a lot more than just “last”).
But I doubt it’ll be a three-round beat down. Again, we will see.
SPENCE VS. BROOK
Are you as excited as me about the Brook-Spence fight this weekend?
Everyone expected Kell Brook to settle in the super welterweight division but instead he chose to go back down to welterweight to face his dangerous mandatory challenger. Brook is old school in the sense that he is willing to risk his “0” by challenging himself. I like and respect that about him.
To me, Brook is by far the more known quantity of the two. Yes, aside from Golovkin and Porter, he doesn’t have much more on his resume in terms of A list opponents than Spence, but he has passed a gut check before against Carson Jones.
As for Errol Spence, his best wins are stoppages over Chris van Heerden, Chris Algieri and that scintillating knockout of Leonard Bundu. The last one was particularly impressive, since Bundu had never before been knocked out only losing Keith Thurman. If nothing else and there is lot “else,” “The Truth” can certainly punch.
Then it gets a bit more complicated. Can he take a punch? Neither Van Heerden, Algieri or Bundu are known for their power, so we simply don’t know. What do you think?
Physically, I don’t think the loss against GGG will affect Brook that much. His corner pulled him out when he was being hurt by Golovkin against the ropes but it wasn’t the kind of round after round sustained beating that makes you talk funny later in life. A knockout loss where you wake up on the canvass often hurts a fighter mentally, but once again, it wasn’t that kind of loss. Brook seems confident leading up to the fight, relishing being the underdog. He seems to me like a man who is out to prove something.
The much bigger question is how the move down in weight after blowing up to middleweight will affect him. To me, this is the big elephant in the room regarding Brook. Moving up in weight and then down again can often be disastrous. Just ask Roy Jones and Chris Byrd. If Brook is in any way weight drained it will affect his punch resistance and then he will be in big trouble against Spence. However, Brook has reportedly been near the welterweight limit in the days leading up to the fight, so it might not be the big issue that we make it out to be. Can you think of any instances when a move back down in weight hasn’t affected a fighter negatively?
What game plan would you have for each fighter?
Spence needs to gamble on the possibility that Brook has, in fact, battled with the weight and work the body. He needs to do that anyway to slow the faster Brook down. He has a reach advantage which he should use to get his jab going. Then he just has to open up with his combinations as he always does, taking care not to be counter punched. He is not a volume puncher, but I think it would be a good idea if he increased his work rate slightly. If he can do that effectively, he could wear Brook down to a late stoppage or a win on points.
Brook needs to fight his normal fight. He should stay on his toes, present Spence with different angles and counter him when he lets his hands go. He has beaten several southpaws, so style wise I don’t think that Spence should present a problem to him. It is the power that he must be wary of. However, I struggle to see Spence putting him down and out. If Golovkin couldn’t do it, how is Spence going to do it without first wearing him down?
I have been going back and forth on this fight and I don’t see Spence as the obvious favorite like most people. I think it is a very even fight. I can see Spence beating Brook down to a late stoppage but I can also just as easily see Brook outpointing him or clipping him with a counter punch and finding out that he doesn’t have an anvil for a chin.
If Brook has to make a second trip to the scales, I will change my prediction to a late stoppage win for Spence, but I don’t think he will. I am going against the grain here but I (and you) think that Kell Brook will show everyone that he is indeed “Special,” land the more eye catching shots and win a close decision in a fight worthy of a rematch.
Gerrie Coetzee vs Gerry Cooney
Regards. – Droeks Malan, South Africa
As solid as Coetzee’s chin was during his prime I think the peaking version of Cooney would blast him out three or four rounds into a very entertaining heavyweight shootout.
Regarding the Brook-Spence matchup, I think I’m just as excited as you and most hardcore fans around the globe are for tomorrow’s IBF welterweight showdown. We can analyze the fighters, their styles and the way we think it might go down once the bell rings, but “The Truth” is not Spence – not yet, anyway – the truth is that we have no idea what’s going to happen between those ropes. And that’s why most of us will have butterflies during their ring walk-ins and introductions and certainly during the first couple of rounds. Then, hopefully, fireworks will erupt in Sheffield, England.
You had a lot of questions interspersed with your own analysis of the fighters and the matchup (most of which I agree with, especially your admiration for Brook), so I’ll try to answer them.
Can (Spence) take a punch? I think he can take a punch from an average pro boxer with average power. If he had a weak chin, we would have seen it exploited by now. However, Brook is an elite talent (like Spence). He doesn’t hit as hard as Spence does, but he appears to have above-average power. So, we might find out if Spence has world-class whiskers.
The much bigger question is how the move down in weight after blowing up to middleweight will affect (Brook). Yes, the return to 147 pounds after looking rock-solid at 160 pounds for his last fight is one of the many X-factors attached to Brook’s potential performance tomorrow. My guess is that it won’t be as much of a factor as some believe it will be because I don’t think he “bulked up” to 160 for Golovkin, I think he just didn’t have to boil himself all the way down to the welterweight limit as he usually does. However, the 31-year-old veteran’s body may have enjoyed the break from the weigh-making grind and may not be as cooperative with this fight as it had in previous welterweight title bouts. Maybe we’ll find out with today’s weigh-in.
Moving up in weight and then down again can often be disastrous. Just ask Roy Jones and Chris Byrd. Yeah, but Jones and Byrd were a few years older than Brook when they dropped weight, and they were closer to the end of their careers than “The Special One” is. Also, keep in mind that Jones put on muscle when he challenged John Ruiz for the WBA heavyweight title. Then Jones took an extended victory lap (if you know what I mean) after he beat Ruiz. And then he had to lose all that muscle to get back down to 175 pounds for Antonio Tarver. And Byrd, who had been campaigning at heavyweight for 14 years, dropped down to a weight (174) that he hadn’t fought at since the first year of his pro career. I don’t see a lot of similarities with Brook’s situation.
If Brook is in any way weight drained it will affect his punch resistance and then he will be in big trouble against Spence. No argument there. He might be in trouble even if his punch resistance is at 100%.
However, Brook has reportedly been near the welterweight limit in the days leading up to the fight, so it might not be the big issue that we make it out to be. I don’t know why, but for some reason I don’t think it’s good for a fighter to be at or near fighting weight for several days before the weigh-in if he’s known to struggle with that weight. I guess it makes me wonder if he’s overtrained.
Can you think of any instances when a move back down in weight hasn’t affected a fighter negatively? Sugar Ray Leonard went up to junior middleweight (to win a world belt) and back down to 147 during his welterweight title reign and it didn’t bother him much. Same thing can be said about Floyd Mayweather Jr. Orlin Norris, whose first six pro bouts were between 195-199 pounds, developed into a solid heavyweight contender/fringe contender but then dropped down to cruiserweight (which was 190 pounds at the time, and did so five years into his pro career) where he was able to win a world title (and make four defenses). Norris fought at cruiser weight for four years before moving back up to heavyweight.
What game plan would you have for each fighter? Who do you think I am, Ray Arcel’s secret great grandchild? How the hell would I know!? LOL. I think Brook should do his damnedest to slip and counter Spence’s jab and power-punch on the fly. I think Spence should walk Brook down behind a hard, smart jab, do his best to get the Englishman against the ropes and try to break him down there (and I agree with you that he’s gotta do that with a mean body attack). I don’t think Spence should let his hands go with abandon because he could get clipped during an exchange.
THE REAL TRUTH
Long time reader of the mailbag. I must say it makes for good reading on a depressing Monday morning at work and rounds the week off nicely on a Friday. Keep up the good work!
I just felt compelled to write on the back of the build-up (particularly your side of the pond) to Saturday night. After seeing some of the Showtime build up and now reading your website’s fight picks, I just feel that Kell is not getting the respect he deserves, especially as the home fighter with 27,000 half cut Brits screaming him on. I believe his experience, underrated skill and power will be too much for Spence and will result in a late stoppage win for Brook.
I haven’t seen an amazing amount of Spence but I think he may prove a bit one dimensional relying on his power to carry him through, throwing too many single punches. Kell Brook is the real deal and this Saturday he finally gets the respect he deserves in America!
A final point I want to make is that here in Britain we have had on PPV: Haye-Bellew, Joshua-Klitschko and Brook-Spence together for the single price of Canelo-Chavez Jr. How do you guys cope with being ripped off so much?
Sweet Pea v Duran at lightweight
Nigel Benn v Roy Jones at middleweight
Hope I didn’t spout on too long. Much Love. – Craig, Barnsley, UK
Compared to our favorite South African fan, Droeks, you barely have anything to say, Craig. Thanks for the kind words about this column.
I agree with your take on the fight. I not only favor Brook, I think he gets the job done by knockout, which I guess is a bold statement given the “Spencemania” that’s currently in effect in the boxing world. And mind you, I have no problem with anyone who believes Spence is going to beat Brook (I favored the American myself earlier in the year). I don’t even have a problem with folks who think the southpaw is going to blast Brook. I think the Texan is a terrific talent, but I also believe we should save the Spencemania for after he wins a world title (and maybe defends it once or twice).
I haven’t seen an amazing amount of Spence but I think he may prove a bit one dimensional relying on his power to carry him through, throwing too many single punches. Sometimes Spence looks a bit stiff and upright as he walks his opponents down. Sometimes he appears to have that methodical “paint-by-numbers” approach to boxing as he breaks down his opposition. However, maybe that’s all he needs. Maybe he’s “one-dimensional” in the same way Felix Trinidad was at welterweight and junior middleweight, or the way some folks say GGG is at middleweight. Maybe he’s more versatile than he lets on because he doesn’t have to be versatile to dominate and KO most welterweights.
Kell Brook is the real deal and this Saturday he finally gets the respect he deserves in America! I’ll lose respect for any U.S. boxing fan, media member or insider that doesn’t give Brook his due props if the defending titleholder legitimately beats Spence. If he beats Spence with the help of home cooking, well, that’s a different story…
A final point I want to make is that here in Britain we have had on PPV: Haye-Bellew, Joshua-Klitschko and Brook-Spence together for the single price of Canelo-Chavez Jr. How do you guys cope with being ripped off so much? Damn dude! Why ya gotta rub it in!? Obviously, we’re not coping with it very well. Have you not noticed the high percentage of cynical mopes among U.S. fans? Hey, just keep in mind that we saw those three fights on regular or premium cable.
Your mythical matchups:
Sweet Pea v Duran at lightweight – Duran by close but unanimous decision
Nigel Benn v Roy Jones at middleweight – Jones by mid-rounds KO (but he’d have to be very careful in the opening rounds)
BROOK VS. SPENCE & CRAZY TRAINING METHODS
Hope all is well on your end. I’ll try and keep it brief.
As has been mentioned in recent mailbags jumping up and back down in weight (especially one you are self admittedly tight at and against an opponent with the attributes of Errol Spence) is a recipe for disaster. But assuming the pre-Golovkin version of Brook shows up on Saturday I think he should take care of business.
I see a cautious opening but ultimately Spence won’t be able to get to Brook the way he has his recent opponents (although my guess is Brook can eat a clean shot from Spence, granted that is not advisable) and will become frustrated and even hesitant by the later rounds as Brook’s power shots and physical strength take their toll. I’m going with a Kell UD a la 116-112. Although I think Kell would try and close the show in style if he feels he can get Spence out of there. That would really make a statement and there’s no doubt in my mind Brook has a champion’s mentality and wants to build a legacy and cement his name in boxing history.
Secondly, after James Toney was mentioned in last Friday’s bag (I believe brutal training methods/ tragic upbringings were also discussed) I ended up watching the classic Jirov fight. Jim Lampley claims in the commentary of Round 7 that Jirov’s head coach Alex Apenchinski used to take him out to frozen lakes in a boat and leave him there to swim back, as well as and I quote “putting him in enclosed hallways packed to the guilds with German Shepherds ” (I presume he didn’t have to actually defeat these dogs in battle, perhaps it’s just to acclimatise to intense / hostile environments.) What say you Doug? Is big Lamps at it here?! I’d give it about a 40% chance of being true. Those Kazakhs are hardcore mofos. You ever heard anything about that or any other wild training methods from other trainers or fighters?
James Toney / Vassily Jirov vs a hall packed to the guilds with German Shepherds.
As always take easy my man. – Jake, Scotland
The versions of Toney and Jirov that fought each other wouldn’t even have to lift a hand to those dogs, the hounds would instinctively bow down to the fighters’ combined Alpha-auras.
I’m sure Lampley was merely repeating what Jirov told him during HBO’s fighter meetings the day before that modern classic cruiserweight title bout. It’s possible that Jirov was exaggerating but if you’ve ever met the 1996 Olympic gold medalist (and Val Barker Award winner for most outstanding boxer of the tournament) you’d know that he’s not one to lie or bulls__t.
Those Kazakhs are hardcore mofos. If Jirov and Golovkin are any indication of the general populace then, yeah, I think so.
You ever heard anything about that or any other wild training methods from other trainers or fighters? Ann Wolfe’s ultra-rigorous/near abusive methods (especially James Kirkland’s training camps) have been fairly well documented. However, one trainer and fighter that came to mind is Malcolm Perkins and former junior lightweight/lightweight contender John “The Eastern Beast” Brown. If you’ve been following boxing for more than two decades you may recall Brown, a squat (5-foot-4) pressure fighter from Atlantic City who was relentless and tough as nails but also skillful. He challenged then-undefeated Shane Mosley and Diego Corrales for the IBF’s 135- and 130-pound titles in 1999, and was a handful for anyone. Perkins, who passed away in 2014, was not your typical boxing trainer. He was a law school grad and Vietnam veteran who ran martial arts dojos in Ventnor City and Atlantic City. The only time I ever saw Perkins, who had long hair and always wore a wool hat, was at the Mosley-Brown press conference and the fight, which took place in Indio, California. Anyway, I recall the karate master saying that Brown prepared for Mosley with quasi-military exercises, such as running through a forest while Perkins’ assistants tried to ambush the lightweight. I might be crazy but I seem to remember Perkins or Brown talking about guys in camouflage popping out from piles of leaves and jumping out of trees to grab and tackle him as he did his roadwork. Part of his training was to carry these guys around. I can’t make this s__t up. Perkins was a character and an intense dude at the podium during the press conference. He talked about all the survivalist stuff that Brown had gone through, proclaimed former foster child and homeless teen ready to win the world title, and said the only way Mosley could beat Brown was if he killed him. A few uncomfortable seconds later, Shane’s father/trainer Jack Mosley grabbed a mic from where he sat and said: “Um, just for the record, we don’t want to kill John Brown.”
I see a cautious opening but ultimately Spence won’t be able to get to Brook the way he has his recent opponents (although my guess is Brook can eat a clean shot from Spence, granted that is not advisable) and will become frustrated and even hesitant by the later rounds as Brook’s power shots and physical strength take their toll. I can see this happening, too. Of course, Brook needs to be fully recovered from or unaffected by the GGG beating to have his best chance at evading Spence while nailing the American, and that, my friend, is a big “if.”
I’m going with a Kell UD a la 116-112. That’s not a popular prediction but it’s a reasonable one in my view.
Although I think Kell would try and close the show in style if he feels he can get Spence out of there. So do I. Just as I expect Spence to go for the KO if he has Brook hurt. My only hope is that there’s no controversy or funky scoring/officiating. (I know, I’m asking a lot.)
That would really make a statement and there’s no doubt in my mind Brook has a champion’s mentality and wants to build a legacy and cement his name in boxing history. Well, beating Spence would be a nice feather in his cap, wouldn’t it?
SURPRISED TO SEE BROOK AS THE UNDERDOG
Long time reader, first time writer. HUGE fan of your work. Gotta say, having been a boxing fan for many years now, 2017 has been like no other in recent memory! And Saturday’s fight between Brook and Spence is just a dream; fantastic match up.
But (and I’m a Brit and may be biased) I am shocked to see Spence coming in as clear bookies favourite in this fight. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s going to be very close, but based on PROVEN ability, surely the smart money is on Brook?? I’m not even confident in saying that, but at the very least it’s 50-50. In fact, more than that, based on some shocking recent UK hometown decisions Brook should be the favourite.
Either way looking forward to a fantastic match-up, and loving the fact that here in the UK is where it’s all happening in the boxing world for now – may the best man win, with no home-cooking! Much love Dougie! – Aaron
Amen to that, Aaron. Thanks for the kind words and thank you for finally writing into the mailbag. I don’t have a column without you guys.
I’m not that surprised that Spence is such an overwhelming favorite. The 2012 Olympian passes what folks like to call the “eye test.” He just looks the part of an “Heir Apparent,” and it doesn’t matter to fans, media or boxing insiders that he was SUPPOSED to beat everyone that he’s faced thus far. It’s the WAY that he beat them that has everyone excited. Sometimes these unproven ultra-talents turn out to be the real deal, sometimes they don’t. But I’m not mad at anyone who’s hopeful for a new star in boxing.
I see a 50-50 fight. I’m going with Brook because I tend to lean toward the more battle-tested fighter in these types of matchups. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes I’m wrong.
I can’t wait to find out.
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer