Friday, March 24, 2023  |


Dougie’s Monday mailbag

Photo / @SkySportsBoxing


Wow what a great fight! I had Kell Brook up after Round 6 and then Errol Spence took it up a notch once that eye went and he smelt blood there was only one winner. Kell did well to stay in the fight as long as he did, still landing good shots of his own albeit less often. Kell is a special fighter, and the way Spence dealt with him away from home in an atmosphere like that I see him as the future P4P No. 1, no doubt. Watch out Keith Thurman (who, by the way, is one of my favourite active fighters).

The Sky team, mainly Tony Bellew (he’s a d__k since he beat a one-legged David Haye, I used to find him strangely endearing) slated Kell saying he’s got no heart, should of carried on, etc. I find this disgusting. That was a war and at the time he was done, no way of winning the fight. He was getting beat up at that point and, mentally, you could see the eye damage just zapping him of all his confidence and energy.

I’m gutted for Brook. He should have better names on his record and I can’t help but feel he could of been promoted better and had a better career. He’s been so unlucky with the stabbing, injuries, having to fight GGG because nobody wanted to take the test. After the Shawn Porter win I thought he would have one more significant fight at welter and then gone up much sooner. People are so pessimistic and he will be wrote off and his reputation is tarnished now, which is a shame because he always brings it and has given us exciting fights against two of the hardest hitting P4P monsters of today.

Do you think Brook’s career is now over? I fear the worst!

Do you think the constantly boiling yourself down to an unnatural weight and stupid % body fat can make your bones weaker and more susceptible to injuries like the one Brook sustained in his last two fights?

How far do you see George Groves going now he got his mojo back and looked so impressive dismantling Fedor Chudinov?

Do you think Spence vs Terence Crawford will ever happen? And if so when? And how does it play out?

Can’t wait to hear your take of the weekend’s action in the Monday mailbag, keep up the good work. – Andrew, U.K.

I was thoroughly entertained by Brook-Spence (at least through the first eight rounds, it got harder to watch as the American challenger beat the fight out of the gallant titleholder after Round 8, although Brook’s brief rally at the end of Round 10 is what makes boxing the greatest of all sports). We had an experienced, athletic boxer who could punch (with Brook) asking the hard questions of an unbeaten technical puncher who can box, and Spence answered the questions in emphatic fashion.  

In many ways, Spence’s performance reminded me of Anthony Joshua’s coming out party against Wladimir Klitschko. Spence and AJ both passed the “eye test” be neither had really been pushed in an extended fight against a world class fighter. However, both came through against decorated veterans, scoring stoppages in the championship rounds. (Joshua’s victory was more dramatic, but Spence’s was more dominant.) I don’t see how anyone (especially fellow prize fighters) can detract from Brook’s performance. It’s not like he refused to come out for Round 6 or 7 against his corner’s wishes. He took a knee in Round 11 after absorbing BRUTAL head and body shots for 10 rounds. He was finished in Round 10! How he mustered the will to take it to Spence in the final seconds of that round is beyond me. Brook gave all he had in Round 10. What happened in Round 11 should have been expected, not ridiculed.

Do you think Brook’s career is now over? I fear the worst! I don’t think it’s over (although it really depends on how severe the broken left eye socket is, what kind of surgery is needed, if any, and how it heals). Brook looked like a top-five welterweight for seven or eight rounds. He was just overwhelmed down the stretch by the younger, fresher, busier, stronger, harder-hitting boxer on May 27. The sooner-than-expected manner that he bounced back from that gruesome machete attack in 2014 and the beating from Gennady Golovkin last September tells me that the Sheffield man has a healing factor that puts Wolverine to shame. I predict that Brook will be back before the end of the year and I believe that he’s got at least one more elite-level performance in him.

Do you think the constantly boiling yourself down to an unnatural weight and stupid % body fat can make your bones weaker and more susceptible to injuries like the one Brook sustained in his last two fights? I don’t think it’s healthy at all for any athlete to perform at an unnaturally light weight, and eventually I do believe that weight-drain detracts from a fighter’s punch resistance, but I don’t think it makes one’s bones weaker. I think Brook suffered eye-bone injuries against GGG and Spence because he was in with well-schooled boxers that happen to have bone-crunching power.

Photo / @SkySportsBoxing

How far do you see George Groves going now he got his mojo back and looked so impressive dismantling Fedor Chudinov? I think Groves is firmly among the top five or six super middleweights in the world (along with domestic rivals James DeGale and Callum Smith, Zurdo Ramirez, and the Dirrell brothers). THE RING currently has Groves at No. 3 and I think he’s live against any of his peers in the top half of the 168-pound rankings. To be honest, though, I wasn’t that impressed with his form or strategy against Chudinov, who I figured he could outmaneuver and outbox from a distance. I was surprised at how quickly Chudinov was able to press Groves to the ropes and I didn’t like how hard the Londoner was forced to work in the early rounds. However, Groves bit down, let his hands go, and he go the stoppage against the very tough and battle-tested Russian. I think he’s a classier boxer than he showed against Chuddy, but I enjoyed watching him go all blood-and-guts and have to grit out the victory.

Do you think Spence vs Terence Crawford will ever happen? Sure. Eventually. Why not? There’s interested in that matchup, don’t you thing? I’m not going to be one of those ultra-cynical boxing folks and say “never.”

And if so when? Not this year, and maybe not in 2018. Crawford has to move up and establish himself at 147 pounds. And the fighters either have to change their current promotional situation OR Bob Arum and Al Haymon are going to have to stop being control freaks and start doing business in earnest.

And how does it play out? Well, prior to Spence’s performance against Brook, I favored Crawford by late TKO. Obviously, that opinion has changed. I see a toss-up distance fight now, maybe a slight edge to Spence (especially if he continues to improve).



Do you think Kell going back down to welter had any effect on the fight and are you getting a lot of mail from armchair Arcels saying that it did? – Rodemeyer

I think Spence’s body work over the first six rounds had more of an adverse effect on Brook’s stamina, punch resistance and physical strength/power than the extreme weight-loss program the defending beltholder had to undergo to make the welterweight limit. Of course, I’m getting emails from Armchair Eddie Futches and Ray Arcels saying Brook was weight-drained (along with ‘I told you sos’ from goof-balls that don’t know you’re not supposed to crow when you go with the chalk, and other assorted know-it-all chatter). That s__t is just part of boxing.


Hi Doug!

Two thoughts on last Saturday’s main event:

1) Brook slowed down noticeably after the sixth and I’ve seen a lot of people attributing that to his weight cut, but I think it had more to do with that viscous left hook/uppercut hybrid punch that Spence throws to the body, that thing just flies in at a weird angle and he puts a lot on it. Even in the rounds Kell was winning he was being caught with that shot often.

2) I think people complaining that Brook quit are being really harsh. He’s fought two undefeated big punchers back to back with no hesitation  at all and took serious damage to his eyes in both fights. If you can’t see you can’t fight, that seems a fair enough reason to stop to me. I don’t think any less of him. What did you make of the fight? Hope you and the family are well! Kind regards. – Phil

Thanks Phil. The fam is good. The fight was better than I expected. My colleague Steve Kim has used the term “athletic flailing” to describe some recent high-profile welterweight title contests that did not live up to their lofty hype and expectations (mainly Thurman-Porter and Thurman-Garcia). This was not the case with Brook-Spence. There was nothing wild or sloppy about the way the administered their craft on Saturday. They were athletic and skillful. They were technical, tactical and tenacious. They maintained poise, balance and accuracy, even during their most heated exchanges. I was entertained and impressed as most observers were.

Photo by Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

Brook slowed down noticeably after the sixth and I’ve seen a lot of people attributing that to his weight cut, but I think it had more to do with that viscous left hook/uppercut hybrid punch that Spence throws to the body, that thing just flies in at a weird angle and he puts a lot on it. I agree 100%.

Even in the rounds Kell was winning he was being caught with that shot often. I thought Spence landed the harder, more damaging punches from the get-go.

I think people complaining that Brook quit are being really harsh. I think they’re being unfair, but boxing (like life) isn’t fair. Saying Brook quit is like saying Ricky Hatton could have gotten up after absorbing that left hook to the liver from Vyacheslav Senchneko. Hatton, who had boiled his body back down to fighting weight for that ill-fated 2012 comeback bout after 3½ years of retirement (and extreme partying), had given all he had in training camp and for eight rounds against Senchenko. He was done. And nobody was going to say that he should have tried harder to get up or that he could have continued because he’s a beloved figure in England. Brook isn’t beloved, and he probably never will be, but he should be respected.

He’s fought two undefeated big punchers back to back with no hesitation  at all and took serious damage to his eyes in both fights. That’s a fact, and I think as time goes on, and GGG and Spence secure their legacies, those two losses will look better and better.

If you can’t see you can’t fight, that seems a fair enough reason to stop to me. I don’t think any less of him. Nobody should. I hope Brook takes the necessary time off to heal and makes a successful comeback as Lucas Matthysse did.


Hi Doug,

A good scrap this weekend between Errol Spence and Kell Brook. It is always exciting when two world class guys in their prime lock horns. It was, I thought, a tactical battle to begin. Both men were rattled and fought with poise and battled to the end. Some will probably try and throw some shade on Spence’s win saying that Brook was drained by dropping back to 147. Maybe, but he looked strong to me and he made no excuses afterward that I heard.

Also, I don’t think Brook quit as some thought and as one interviewer asked Spence. I think he made a wise decision that saved him serious injury. No shame in that.

I have been on the Errol Spence bandwagon for awhile, thinking that ultimately he was going to emerge as the man to beat in the welter division (still do). I will grant you that he is still learning and progressing but at the same time I felt some of the questions fans and pundits rightly asked were answered. Can he take a good shot on the chin? How will he perform under pressure on the world stage? I think he showed he’s got the right stuff.

The fights that loom in the distance for Spence are fascinating: Thurman, Garcia, Pacquiao (won’t happen), Porter and most interesting (to me) Terence Crawford when he inevitably moves up. What an incredible matchup of skilled hard-hitting southpaws THAT will be.

I am interested in what you think of Spence after this weekend…and will politics allow some of those dream fights to happen. All the best to you and yours from Music City. – David, Nashville

I think Spence erased all of the question marks I had attached to him going into his first world title bout, and I believe he is no lower than the third best welterweight in the world (behind only Thurman and Manny Pacquiao) and that one can argue that he’s the top 147 pounder in the game.

I viewed the fight the same way you did. It was quality stuff from quality fighters and I don’t believe that Brook was weakened from his weight loss or that he quit in the 11th round.  

I think the biggest name Spence can get into the ring the quickest is probably Porter. He’s dying to get another title shot and he deserves one. Plus, he’s part of the PBC family. I don’t know if he’ll be next but he’s there if Team Spence and Haymon want him. My guess is that a faded name fighter (who is also in the PBC) that is ranked by the IBF will be next for Spence – probably Luis Collazo. After Collazo (or whoever, maybe it’s unheralded Mexican prospect Carlos Ocampo, who is rated No. 3 by the IBF for some reason) I think Showtime and the PBC will begin to beat the drums for a Spence-Thurman unification bout. Spence will probably be an official 2-1 favorite in that matchup, but it will still be anticipated by most of the boxing world (I certainly want to see it). I can see Danny Garcia going for the winner of that one.  

But, as you noted, the showdown most hardcore boxing junkies want to see is Spence-Crawford. It may come to pass but fans are going to have to be patient as Bud makes his way to 147 and promotional/network issues are worked out. 

As for Pacquiao, it’s not so much that politics would prevent it as it’s common sense.



Hey Dougie,

Hope everything is good man.

Another great weekend of boxing. If it carries on like this it will be the best year of boxing since I became a hardcore fan, 04/05. Big fights getting made and they’re all delivering and we’ve still got GGG/Canelo, Ward/Kovalev 2, AJ/Wlad 2 (maybe), Spence/Thurm (maybe), Broner/Garcia plus Chocalito, Crawford, Loma, etc. for more fights.

Only year that competes is 2008 when we had:

Cotto vs Margz (my favourite fight)

Pacquaio vs Marquez, Diaz and Oscar

Marquez vs Casamayor

Rafa Marquez vs Vasquez III

B Hop vs Pavlik

Dawson vs Johnson

Diaz vs Campbell

Holt vs Torres 2

Froch vs Pascal

Katsidis vs Casamayor

Cunningham vs Adamek

Jeez! And funnily enough you know who was inactive 2008 and this year (so far), coincidence in the years being great?  ?

What’s your favourite year of boxing from recent years and overall In your lifetime as a fan? Thanks. – CW, UK

As a fan, I think 1990 was my favorite. My hardcore fandom was really solidified that year just because I watched so much live boxing on network TV and cable. The late 1980s brought me back to the sport (thanks Sugar Ray Leonard’s return and the emergence of Mike Tyson) but the early ‘90s pulled me in forever. The year of 1990 began with the most monumental upset in boxing history – Buster Douglas’ 10th-round KO of the supposedly invincible Tyson (and I was rooting for the 42-1 underdog from my old hometown of Columbus, Ohio) – and one of the most dramatic and controversial title-bout finishes of all time, Julio Cesar Chavez’s final-second 12th-round stoppage of Meldrick Taylor I. I was in college at the time and watched both fights at my best friend Frank Eason’s place (he had HBO) while doing an internship at the Boston Globe. By the end of both fights (especially Chavez-Taylor since we were rooting for opposite fighters) we had yelled ourselves hoarse.

Later, that summer, while on another internship (this time at a startup public television station outside of Philadelphia) I watched all of the boxing that I could handle (with the help of multiple TVs at my place of work), including Jorge Paez-Troy Dorsey II, Nigel Benn-Iran Barkley, Denis Andries-Jeff Harding II, Ray Mercer-Bert Cooper, Aaron Davis-Mark Breland, Buddy McGirt-Jose Bermudes and Roger Mayweather-Terrence Alli. This is off the top of my head. I know there were more fights. But know this: all of these fights were on network TV (not cable), most of them were thrillers in some way, and most of them took place in the span of one month (July – the others happened in August, I think). Anyway, I returned to college that fall more into boxing than I’d ever been.

I think the most meaningful and eventful year for me as a member of the boxing media was 2001. I was still cutting my teeth as a boxing writer and everything about the sport was still new and fun. We had the junior lightweight/pre-PPV version of Floyd Mayweather Jr., who was not only at his athletic peak but still more fighter than businessman. He fought three times that year, including impressive late stoppages of Diego Corrales and Jesus Chavez. Shane Mosley was still undefeated and living up to the “Sugar” moniker with breathtaking stoppages of Shannon Taylor and Adrian Stone. My man Kostya Tszyu silenced his critics and unified the WBC/WBA/IBF 140-pound titles with stoppages of Sharmba Mitchell and then-undefeated U.S. media darling Zab Judah. We had Hasim Rahman’s shocking one-hitter-quitter of Lennox Lewis in South Africa and Lewis cold-ass comeback KO of the Rock, which injected some energy and mainstream interest into the heavyweight division (with the help of their ESPN studio brawl and Rahman’s decision to sign with Don King before the rematch). And we had some wonderful, unforgettable upsets/boxing clinics (Chris Byrd over David Tua, Marco Antonio Barrera over Naseem Hamed and, of course, Bernard Hopkins over Felix Trinidad). Toss in the crazy Micky Ward-Emanuel Burton Fight of the Year on ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights” and you got a boxing year to remember.

Your pick of 2008 was also an excellent year. I had a lot of fun covering some of the fights you mentioned (especially Cotto-Margarito I), and there’s no doubt in my mind that the absence of a certain someone helped make that year (and this year, so far) special to real boxing fans.



Hope all is as good with you and yours my friend.

At least as good as the upswing the boxing world has received since the New Year. We have a new global superstar as predicted by most in Anthony Joshua, we have Golovkin V Canelo and America has a home-grown bona-fide superstar in waiting.

All the props go to Spence Jr. and his team for a superb career-defining assault on an elite welterweight world champion in Kell Brook. He took shots and perhaps wasn’t the flashy uber-confident slickster most US analysts expected him to be but he showed true skill, grit and determination, all the qualities of a true champ.

I am a huge Brook fan and was gutted to see him out in the 11th, as much as I appreciated to see him soldier through a debilitating eye injury that eventually saw him counted out. How does he come back from this Doug? He is a class fighter in a class division but I cannot help but think taking the GGG fight took a huge effect on him, however brave he was, and had a massive detrimental effect on him during the Spence fight.

Where does he go from here? Does he carry that baggage with him to a heavier weight division where getting hit in the eye socket becomes ….oh so more serious, he won’t face Thurman or Garcia soon after this and the Khan fight doesn’t seem to drive any excitement in me at all. I hate to say it, but seeing an elite fighter take risks may have ruined his potential career as a future pound for pound contender. I hope this doesn’t stop others from doing so! Much love. – Dan, UK

How does Brook come back from his second eye-socket injury in back-to-back bruising stoppage losses? Very carefully, I would hope.

Promoter Eddie Hearn and Team Brook rolled the dice twice by allowing him to take on dangerous elite-level foes in back to back bouts, and though Kell made some damn good money, they crapped out twice and the fighter sustained significant facial damage for his gallant efforts. No more gambling for the time being.

Brook needs time to heal (just as Lucas Matthysse did after suffering his eye injury against Viktor Postol). The Machine took off more than a year before returning to training. Brook should probably do the same, but I’m almost certain that he won’t (mutant healing factor and all…).

Whenever he comes back, I think Hearn should do what Golden Boy did with Matthysse and bring their newly healed veteran back against a solid-but-unrated opponent and put the bout on a high-profile undercard. GBP put Matthysse-Emanuel Taylor on the Canelo-Chavez PPV undercard. Perhaps Hearn can put Brook in with a second-or-third-tier junior middleweight, such as Roberto “Not The Trainer” Garcia or “Silky” Wilky Campfort, and place that bout on an Anthony Joshua undercard.

If Brook is able to come back strong as Matthysse did, I think Hearn should push to make the Khan fight (even if Amir wants to do it at a 150-pound catchweight). I know you aren’t into this fight, but it’s a domestic rivalry that’s brewed for years and once Khan starts talking his talk to the press and on social media I think fans (at least UK diehards) will get into the matchup. And I’m certain it will do strong business.

If Brook can beat Khan (and I don’t think that’s a given – not anymore), then – if he feels strong and healthy fighting above 147 – he might as well go for a 154-pound title. I’d have him target IBF junior middleweight beltholder Jarrett Hurd, a formidable but still-learning young gun. Brook being a former IBF welterweight titleholder will likely enable him to climb into the IBF’s junior middle rankings after one or two comeback victories. I don’t know if a 32-year-old/2018 version of Brook can beat even a still-green Hurd, but I think it would be a competitive fight (especially if the “Special One” boxes a disciplined stick-and-move game). There’s also a domestic option at junior middleweight with the winner of the Liam Smith-Liam Williams rematch (for the WBO belt). Or maybe Brook would target one of the Liams if he’s able to win one of the other 154-pound belts. [Editor’s update: I’ve been reminded – by someone in the comment section – that the vacant WBO title is up for grabs in the Cotto-Kamegai matchup. The winner of that one, presumably Cotto, would be a prime target for a rejuvenated Brook at 154 pounds.]

If Brook were able to pull it off it would be quiet a story, no? Maybe he could win the Comeback of the Year award if he can beat Khan and win a 154-pound belt in the same year.

Whatever Brook decides to do next with his boxing career and however he decides to do it, I’ll be rooting for him.



Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer and on Periscope where you can watch him talk and debate boxing with his track buddies Coach Schwartz and JP while skipping rope and answering your questions (and Coach’s trivia questions):