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Dougie’s Friday mailbag

02
Jun

ADRIEN BRONER VS. MIKEY GARCIA

Happy Friday Dougie Fresh, I hope this finds you well. Let’s get right to it – Broner/Garcia is a done deal. Some quick thoughts I would love your feedback on:

  1. Can Broner get down to 140 comfortably? He’s been doing quite a lot of partying lately (again) and we know of his weight issues in the past.
  2. Will weight be a problem for Mikey moving up? New weight and he’s facing a fast opponent. Is Broner a good first choice for MG’s first fight at 140?

Lastly, I think this will be more of a chess match come fight night. Broner has never been a volume puncher and Garcia is a very tactical fighter. Both are very good counter punchers who thrive off of their opponent’s mistakes. The Garcia camp has cracked the code once, albeit it with a smothering fighter in Marcos Maidana, but with that being said, I favor Garcia by a decision or late stoppage, thoughts??

All the best as always. – Maintain from Queens

Yeah, I think given Broner’s recent out-of-ring drama and in-the-ring form (I thought Adrian Granados edged him in Cincinnati earlier this year), it’s fair to make Garcia the favorite in this matchup. But I don’t think Broner will be an “easy” opponent for the undefeated Southern Californian and, despite Mikey’s scary punching prowess, I think the fight will go the full 12.

Broner’s chin and heart have been as underrated as his skill and technique have been overrated. However, there’s nothing underrated about the four-division beltholder’s hand speed and reflexes, and I think his quickness will give Garcia some trouble.

I also envision a chess match-type fight (but fast-paced, tit-for-tat and compelling). If Broner were more of mover I’d consider him more of a threat to Garcia. But who knows? Maybe it’s better for Broner to stand his ground and trade with the master counter-puncher. Maybe he can hurt Garcia, who is only two bouts removed from his junior lightweight days.

Can Broner get down to 140 comfortably? No, but I think he can make the weight for a fight of this magnitude and importance for his career.

He’s been doing quite a lot of partying lately (again) and we know of his weight issues in the past. Yeah well, he better get serious for Garcia because Mikey is the epitome of a serious pugilist. But it sounds to me like Broner realizes the stakes with Garcia and he’s going into the July 29 showdown with a chip on his shoulder.

Will weight be a problem for Mikey moving up? I don’t think so. There’s no doubt in my mind that Garcia is at peak efficiency at lightweight, but he has to make “135” pounds. It won’t hurt him much to weigh-in a few pounds over 135. I thought he carried 138 pounds fairly well against Elio Rojas last summer and that was after being out of the ring for two and half years.

New weight and he’s facing a fast opponent. True, and I’ll say it again, Mikey’s kind of like Juan Manuel Marquez in that world-class quickness can throw him off a bit.

Is Broner a good first choice for MG’s first fight at 140? I think so. Broner is the biggest name between 140 and 147 pounds who is also vulnerable.

 

JOHN DAVID JACKSON

Hey Doug,

I have some thoughts on the “scandal” of John David Jackson apparently considering jumping ship to the Ward and wanted to get yours. As you know it came to light that team Ward made an offer to switch camps. In several interviews he stated that if Ward’s team offered him more, or if they “met my offer” (implying a counter offer by JDJ) he would have jumped ship. Frankly the fact that this was even considered seems like a major betrayal of trust by the trainer to his fighter.

Your guy is coming off a high-profile fight (loss) against his biggest rival, and going into the most important fight of his career, and you admit that you are thinking about jumping ship to the other side for money??! The bond between trainer and fighter is supposed to be paramount …. how can Kovalev fully trust him now? I know there are plenty of rumblings about them not syncing well in general but this crosses a line of ethics and professionalism quite blatantly in my book. Honesty is not always the best policy either. Ward’s team is clearly trying to do a psych job on Kovalev’s team by “leaking” this information. All JDJ had to do was say something along the lines of “yeah the offered me big money to betray my camp and I threw it back in their face”. It would have made Ward’s team look weak and kept up at least the façade of loyalty and trust with his fighter before the biggest fight of his life.

I’ve had some discussion with other fans about this some of who seem to think money always trumps loyalty, though when I asked them to name a high profile camp switch they couldn’t name one (I can name 5 or 6 high profile boxer/trainer relationships that are beyond that … and I have seen the bond many times in the gym training). Can you think of any times a high-profile trainer switched to the “enemy” camp?

I’ll be at the Bell Center Saturday rooting for Fonfara to rid us of our resident fake champ Adonis Stevenson! “This is me! I’m the real champ!” (No, you’re not Adonis, we all know it haha)

Thanks Doug, keep up the great work as always! – Joel in MTL

Make some noise in Montreal, Joel. I have a feeling the Bell Centre will the only place on earth (except for maybe parts of Poland and Chicago) where boxing fans will have any interest in the Stevenson-Fonfara rematch. I’ve seen mostly apathy for Stevenson’s eighth defense of the WBC belt among the hardcore heads on social media.

Regarding some of Jackson’s comments about Team Ward’s offer to him to join the “Son Of God Squad,” from what I’ve seen (and, admittedly, I’ve only watched a couple video interviews from Kovalev’s recent media workout – including this one by Fight Hub TV’s Marcos Villegas) the veteran trainer doesn’t appear to have seriously considered switching sides.

I thought he was being somewhat tongue-in-cheek when he told Villegas that he’d have taken the offer had they given him “Fort Knox.” I think Jackson is admitting that professional boxing trainers are, for the most part, “hired guns.” The reality is that they have to go where the money is in order to make a living, and only a very small percentage get rich. The vast majority – even those who train world-class fighters – just get by. If somebody is willing to pay them seven figures to come train their fighter, they have to consider it – no matter what – because that gig could be their only shot at earning a nest egg for their retirement. Like the fighters, trainers do not have a pension (or medical insurance or anything like that) set up through the sport, so they have to take care of themselves or wind up broke and in bad shape when they are no longer able to train for a living.

Another thing to consider, Jackson mentioned during Villegas’ interview that he knew the offer from Ward’s camp was just “gamesmanship” on their end. Well, maybe Jackson saying on record that he’d split from a fighter that he’s loyal to for the right amount of money is some gamesmanship on his part and directed to Kovalev’s advisers and management. It’s his way of saying “Don’t take me for granted, and don’t get cheap on me.”

I know that’s kind of harsh, but boxing is a harsh business and the trainers need to be businessmen every bit as much as the fighters need to be. If they aren’t, trust me Joel, they will get F__KED. Everybody gets screwed over in boxing at some point, but nobody gets taken advantage of and jerked around as much as trainers do (because there aren’t mandatory contracts between them and fighters as the fighters have with managers and  promoters). I’ve known Jackson since the late 1990s (when he was still fighting), I’ve witnessed his entire training career, and I can tell you that he had been royally f__ked over by fighters and their managers more than once after giving his heart and soul during training camp. He’s in his 50s now and you better believe that the business of boxing has hardened him in ways the ring never did. These days, he’s up front about getting paid what he deserves and what he’s owed. The late, great Eddie Futch and Emanuel Steward were no different.

You tell me that “The bond between trainer and fighter is supposed to be paramount…” Well, if that’s true, why do so many fighters leave their long-time trainers? That happens all the time. When a fighter loses for the first time or has a poor night, who gets the blame nine out of 10 times? What do members of the fighter’s entourage start whispering in his ear? What do fans loudly demand on social media? I think you know. Don’t act naïve.  

Loyalty should be a two-way street shouldn’t it, Joel?

Your guy is coming off a high-profile fight (loss) against his biggest rival, and going into the most important fight of his career, and you admit that you are thinking about jumping ship to the other side for money??! It doesn’t sound like he was thinking about jumping ship at all (at least not before he got that call). He had a deal offered to him by Ward’s side (pretty much out of nowhere), and at that moment, he was honest with himself and his situation as a boxing trainer (as he has been with his interviewers) and he asked “how much?” – probably more out of curiosity than genuine interest – and he admits if the money had been off the charts he would have taken it. But it doesn’t sound like he did a bunch of soul searching over the offer, or that he’s absolutely miserable with Team Krusher. I could be wrong, but Jackson and Kovalev seem to have a good working relationship.

The bond between trainer and fighter is supposed to be paramount …. how can Kovalev fully trust him now? I don’t know. For all we know, Kovalev doesn’t “fully trust” anyone. He’s a hardnosed dude from a poor, working-class town in Russia. I don’t think he’s “Mr. Sensitive” when it comes to the boxing business and boxing relationships. Maybe some fighters would unravel – or maybe even fire Jackson for spending more than a few seconds on that call – but I don’t think Kovalev is that emotional or insecure.

I know there are plenty of rumblings about them not syncing well in general but this crosses a line of ethics and professionalism quite blatantly in my book. OK. That’s your book. It’s obviously not Jackson’s or Kovalev’s book. I think your understanding of the boxing world, particularly as it relates to trainers and fighters, is very idealistic, even romantic. That Mickey Goldmill-Rocky Balboa bond is not the real world. I’d be able to better understand your outrage toward JDJ if HE had called Team Ward, but that wasn’t the case.

Honesty is not always the best policy either. True, but maybe Jackson and Kovalev don’t have anything to hide from the public or from each other.

Ward’s team is clearly trying to do a psych job on Kovalev’s team by “leaking” this information. Yeah, that’s obvious (and kind of pathetic, too). Jackson, Kovalev, Egis Klimas and Kathy Duva of Main Events are aware of this.

All JDJ had to do was say something along the lines of “yeah they offered me big money to betray my camp and I threw it back in their face”. It would have made Ward’s team look weak and kept up at least the façade of loyalty and trust with his fighter before the biggest fight of his life. Sure, he COULD have done that, but maybe he doesn’t care to play mind games. Maybe he doesn’t feel like they need to get into Ward or Virgil Hunter’s heads in order to win on June 17.

Can you think of any times a high-profile trainer switched to the “enemy” camp? Emanuel Steward trained Oliver McCall to stop Lennox Lewis in two rounds (in 1994) and then joined Lewis’ team right after that fight. McCall and Lewis didn’t have an immediate return bout but the rematch eventually happened (in 1997) with Manny still in LL’s corner. But I don’t think Steward viewed them as “enemy camps” and I don’t think the fighters viewed each other’s camps as enemies. Steward was just a hired gun. Had McCall offered him more money than Lewis’ team to remain with them maybe the Kronk Wizard would have stayed with the Atomic Bull.

I also recall Joe Goossen, who had trained Joel Casamayor for most of the 1992 Olympic gold medalist’s pro career – including his dramatic stoppage of Diego Corrales – training Corrales to outpoint the Cuban lefty in their rematch, but this happened after Casamayor left Goossen for Buddy McGirt. Like I stated earlier in my response, loyalty is a two-way street.

 

LOMACHENKO’S REVENGE

G’Day Dougie,

I love ya work mate! I’ll keep it brief…

What’s Vasyl Lomacheko’s chance of doing an angry “RJ” and blasting out his Montell Griffin when he squares off against Orlando “Siri” Salido again later this year? Can he do a Brown Bomber and beat the living s__t out of his early career conquered in super short order? – Matty, Australia

As battle-worn as Salido is, and as improved as Lomachenko has become since their first meeting when he was 1-0, I would be SHOCKED if the Ukrainian southpaw blasted the Mexican grinder out in one round the way Joe Louis annihilated Max Schemling in their rematch, or the manner in which Roy Jones Jr. steamrolled Griffin in their return bout.

I can see a stoppage but I think Loma will have to work very hard for it, and it probably wouldn’t happen until the late or championship rounds. Salido’s got more mileage on his fighter’s odometer than any active veteran in the game but he knows how to really fight (including the down-and-dirty aspects of the savage science) and although he was held to a draw in his two most recent title bouts (vs. Rocky Martinez and Francisco Vargas), many observers thought he deserved the nod in those fights. So think of Siri as a two-belt titleholder, not a shopworn former champ.

 

BROOK’S ‘QUITTING’, DE LA HOYA’S ‘OPEN LETTER’

G’day Dougie,

I’m sure your mailbag’s full already but I felt compelled to write in about a couple of things.

Firstly, the accusations from the numerous oxygen thieves on comments pages and even some boxing journos and fellow fighters about Kell Brook not choosing to be ‘carried out on his shield’ make me sick. Despite the fact tragedies clearly still happen in one of the most brutal of sports, the sport’s come a long way in trying to address the safety of fighters. It still has a long way to go. For the boxing community to continue to hold up the ‘die before defeat’ mantra as some sort of unwritten law or boxer’s code is both insulting and unhealthy for the sport. Brook had fought his heart out. He had his face broken. He couldn’t see straight. He had a highly trained, skillful, powerful athlete trying to finish the job. Basically, he was in serious trouble, had buckleys chance of winning and every chance of receiving permanent damage. I see no shame in his actions at all. Anyone who does in my opinion has likely never stepped into the ring themselves or has had a few screws knocked loose. I do however question whether the referee or ringside doctor should have at least paused the fight to examine the injury, given that Brook was clearly in serious trouble and continually pawing at his face? The sport needs to do more to protect these brave warriors from themselves.

Secondly, dare I raise the subject of the Mayweather/McGregor fight… I’m not sure what Oscar De La Hoya was thinking by penning his ‘open letter’ about his thoughts on the fight. It’s not like it’ll make a lick of difference as to whether the fight goes ahead, its appeal to fans inside or outside the sport, or how profitable it will be (and how about pretending that he’s got an issue with it being “all about the money”? WTF is ‘prizefighting’ then??). All I see OLDH’s actions doing is showing insecurity, or worse painting a target on back of the Golovkin/Alvarez fight for the likes of Mayweather to say “alright, f#ck you, we’ll hold our fight on the same weekend”. How about instead of opposing the fight, or pretending it doesn’t exist, the boxing community tries to leverage off it to engage the casual sports fan back into the sport? Stack the undercard with good/real boxing contests, ambush the event with Golovkin/Alvarez promos etc. Myself – sitting somewhere on the boxing spectrum between casual & hardcore – I’ll happily watch both fights with interest for slightly different reasons, but above all to be entertained. I feel the sport could be missing a trick here.

Thanks Doug, I enjoy the weekly reads as they help to fill in my knowledge gaps and nudges me further along the spectrum to hardcore fan. Keep up the good work. Cheers. – Luke, Australia

Thanks for the kind words, Luke.

You know my take on all things related to Mayweather: the less said, the better. The McGregor fight, if it happens, will be a very high-profile exhibition in my view. I’m not saying that RingTV won’t have any news or notes on the promotion if it becomes a reality, but even if it were to land around Sept. 16 (which I doubt – the folks running the UFC aren’t that stupid and I’m not sure the cable companies would allow it) I don’t think it would detract from the coverage of the mega-middleweight-match.

Bottom line, it’s not really boxing and it should count at a pro boxing match (and on Mayweather’s record) about as much as Muhammad Ali’s “fight” with Japanese pro wrestler Antonio Inoki did. There’s no reason to connect it to any major boxing event, especially one as legit and anticipated as Canelo-Golovkin.

I think boxing is having such a good year there’s no need to feel threated by anything, including Mayweather-McGregor. All the sport has to do is keep it up, and it looks like it’s doing just that with some of the recent announcements.  

My guess is that De La Hoya shot that open letter out to get some added mainstream publicity for Canelo-GGG, which it did, but I don’t think the Sept. 16 boxing event needs much help in being a success. All that needs to happen is for Canelo and Golovkin to enter the ring healthy and motivated, and for them to give us a good fight. If that happens boxing will continue its upward climb, regardless of what Mayweather and McGregor do.

Firstly, the accusations from the numerous oxygen thieves on comments pages and even some boxing journos and fellow fighters about Kell Brook not choosing to be ‘carried out on his shield’ make me sick. The crazy thing about that silly accusation is that he clearly was willing to go out on his shield in Round 10. He emptied his tank in that round. The fight ended in Round 11 because it was supposed to.

Despite the fact tragedies clearly still happen in one of the most brutal of sports, the sport’s come a long way in trying to address the safety of fighters. It still has a long way to go. Yes it does.

For the boxing community to continue to hold up the ‘die before defeat’ mantra as some sort of unwritten law or boxer’s code is both insulting and unhealthy for the sport. I agree, but let’s not pretend that some social media cretins and biased pro boxers are the “boxing community.” They are part of the boxing community, and from where I was sitting, it seemed like the slight majority was OK with the way the fight ended and gave Brook his deserved respect.

Brook had fought his heart out. He had his face broken. He couldn’t see straight. He had a highly trained, skillful, powerful athlete trying to finish the job. Right! It’s not like he was in with a journeyman. He was trading punches with a beast. And he was in the 11th round of a hard fight! It’s not like he was trying to take any shortcut out of the punishment.

Basically, he was in serious trouble, had buckleys chance of winning and every chance of receiving permanent damage. I see no shame in his actions at all. Honestly, I think most boxing people – especially after learning of the broken eye socket – have nothing but respect and/or concern for Brook.

Anyone who does in my opinion has likely never stepped into the ring themselves or has had a few screws knocked loose. It seems to be a combination of the two groups. The fans ripping Brook are f__kwit keyboard warriors and the pro boxers pissing on him are either a bit unhinged or suffer from extremely narrow vision.

I do however question whether the referee or ringside doctor should have at least paused the fight to examine the injury, given that Brook was clearly in serious trouble and continually pawing at his face? I think the referee was looking very closely at Brook from the start of Round 10 to the end of the bout. I’d agree with your questioning of the ringside officials’ judgement had Brook’s eye been swollen from the early or middle rounds on, but it the eye damaged appeared late in the fight and he didn’t start pawing at it until the final two rounds.

The sport needs to do more to protect these brave warriors from themselves. Always.

 

HOW IMPORTANT IS THE HEAVYWEIGHT DIVISION?

Hey Dougie, hope you are well.

I’m going to keep this short and sweet!

Just how important is a thriving heavyweight scene to boxing?

There have been so many great fights this year already with plenty more in the pipeline, but then as a boxing fan I watched some great fights last year and the previous year, but I sense that people, shall we say the casuals, are coming back to my sport of choice and that excites me… how much is that down to the Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko fight?

Some mythical match ups:

So my favourite British fighter of a time Nigel Benn, but how would he fair against the four kings? All fights to take place at Middleweight:

Benn Vs Leonard

Benn Vs Hagler

Benn Vs Duran

Benn Vs Hearns

Thanks. – Chris

“The Dark Destroyer” is also one of my all-time faves, but at 160 pounds I think he was bit too raw (in terms of technique) and vulnerable (in terms of stamina and late-rounds punch resistance) for the middleweight versions (or in Hagler’s case, his prime years) of the experienced future hall of famers.

I think Leonard outmaneuvers him in the early rounds, picks him apart in the middle rounds and stops him late.

Hagler engages Benn in a wild shootout (not unlike the Hearns fight) and takes him out by the middle rounds.

Hearns would likely be the most susceptible to Benn’s freakish punching power, but I think he would use his height, reach and much-sharper technique to land his bombs first and blast the brash Brit in the early rounds.

I think Duran would take Benn to school with his slip-and-counter prowess and outpoint him in an entertaining distance fight.

Just how important is a thriving heavyweight scene to boxing? It’s always important to the sport but it’s not paramount as long as the best fighters and stars of the lighter glamor divisions (light heavyweight, middleweight and welterweight) are facing each other on a regular basis.

Boxing is at its best when the heavyweights and the lighter weight classes are hot, as they were in the 1970s, but as the Four Kings (and their many supporting players) proved during the ‘80s, welterweights, junior middleweights and middleweights can carry the sport while the heavyweight division is in a rebuilding phase (or between iconic champs – Ali and Mike Tyson). When Tyson was in the midst of his long downward spiral during the late ‘90s/early 2000s, boxing was kept afloat by De La Hoya, Trinidad, Quartey, Vargas, Mosley and their many supporting players.

There have been so many great fights this year already with plenty more in the pipeline, but then as a boxing fan I watched some great fights last year and the previous year, but I sense that people, shall we say the casuals, are coming back to my sport of choice and that excites me… how much is that down to the Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko fight? Joshua-Klitschko is a big part of boxing’s resurgence this year. It was a matchup of young and old Olympic gold medalists, both very well-spoken and popular in Europe. Joshua had the promise of being the next heavyweight star, but he was unproven and Klitschko, the former long-reigning champ and future hall of famer, was motivated as hell. It was an anticipated event in the U.K. (where it dominated headlines) and in the U.S. (where it was televised on both Showtime and HBO), and it didn’t just live up to the hype, it exceeded it!

When the world-class big boys throw down and gamble a bit in high-profile championship fights the entertainment value they create is hard to match (by any sport). And yeah, casual fans and general sports fans are drawn to the heavyweights.

 

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

 

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