Monday, March 20, 2023  |

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Dougie’s Friday mailbag

Photo by Tom Hogan / Hoganphotos-Golden Boy Promotions
21
Jul

VIVA EL ALACRAN!

Hello Doug!

OK, El Alacrán is here. To stay.

This was my first Alacrán experience. Now I understand what the buzz about him is all about.



The kid looked awesome against a really good rival. Takashi Miura is no walk in the park. Actually, Miguel Berchelt paid dearly for the aggressive moments he did have in the fight. A lot of times he punished the Japanese veteran, but he had to pay a healthy dose of leather as a fee.

We all have to bear in mind that Alacrán seemed to cruise against a beast. For that is exactly what Miura is. I gave the Mexican an A-. He could have made for better body work, but instead, he tried a little too hard to hit the head. His foot work, patience and accuracy were second to none. I want to see him again.

I could not help but to salivate thinking about a potential clash with the Loma Wizard. I wouldn’t mind to marinate that fight just a little bit. – Carlos, from Hermosillo, México

I don’t mind there being a build-up to an eventual showdown between Vasyl Lomachenko and Berchelt, especially if the 25-year-old Mexican boxer-puncher collects another 130-pound belt (I’m thinking a WBC-WBA unification with Jezreel Corrales is possible) in the meantime. However, I don’t think there’s any reason for the top two junior lightweights to avoid each other for an inordinate amount of time.

Photo by Tom Hogan / Hoganphotos-Golden Boy Promotions

Berchelt is in his athletic prime, and he’s proven his skill, technique, power, durability, heart and versatility in his last two bouts (hardcore quality 23 rounds vs. Francisco Vargas and Miura). He’s got 33 pro bouts under his belt and a significant reach advantage against Loma, so I don’t think he needs much more seasoning before rolling the dice against the ultra-talented Ukrainian southpaw.

I know 99% of the boxing world will heavily favor Lomachenko to not only beat Berchelt but outclass the Mexican beltholder, but I think Alacran can pose some problems to the amateur boxing legend, and I don’t just want to assume that the pound-for-pound player is superior to all the other junior lightweights in the game – I want to see him PROVE it.

The kid looked awesome against a really good rival. I don’t know if “awesome” is the word that comes to my mind concerning Berchelt’s performance against Miura; I was thinking “effective,” “disciplined,” “mature” and “professional” while watching the HBO-televised bout live this past Saturday. I don’t mean to demean what Berchelt did; he outclassed a badass and deserves credit for that, plus I think he tried to break the Japanese veteran down in the middle rounds, but he just wasn’t able to break down Mirua’s body or spirit.

Takashi Miura is no walk in the park. Oh hell no. He’s that masked mugger who attacks you with a machete when you walk in the park late at night.

Actually, Berchelt paid dearly for the aggressive moments he did have in the fight. Miura let Berchelt know that there would be a heavy cost if he committed to going for the knockout.

A lot of times he punished the Japanese veteran, but he had to pay a healthy dose of leather as a fee. If Miura could throw more than one bomb at a time, he would have had a shot late in the bout, when it appeared to me that Berchelt was feeling the burn of fatigue.

We all have to bear in mind that Alacrán seemed to cruise against a beast. I thought he cruised until about the 10th round. The last nine minutes of the bout were not easy for Berchelt.

I gave the Mexican an A-. He could have made for better body work, but instead, he tried a little too hard to hit the head. I think if he had planted his feet and committed more to the body, Mirua might have clipped him or seriously hurt him with one of those left-hand sledgehammers.

His foot work, patience and accuracy were second to none. I want to see him again. You’re not alone.

 

MAYMAC TOUR, HBO’S BIASED ANNOUNCING

Dear Dougie,

I hope you are enjoying your summer. A couple of quick observations:

We all know Mayweather and McGregor is a total circus. However, the press conference was ridiculous and vile with its racist, homophobic and misogynist rants. We can lay most of the blame at the feet of the protagonists but what about the UFC and Showtime? Are they not complicit in this disgusting crap? Boxing has been using racism to sell fights for a long time so I guess I should not be surprised—or should I? How do you feel about these issues?

I watched the Sullivan Barrera-Joe Smith Jr. fight and I found the commentary ridiculous and biased. Roy Jones Jr. and Jim Lampley were non-stop openly hoping for Smith to win. It was so biased that if you were to turn on the fight in the middle you would have thought Smith was winning based on their words. I think by round 9 they finally acknowledged, “Maybe Smith is getting his ass kicked by Barrera”. HBO has gone way downhill. The programming is weak and Lampley should be put out to pasture. He no longer does play-by-play. It is more like commentary and god help you if he does not like you (i.e. Rigondeaux)

All the best. – Aaron (the whiny Miami boxing fan trying to patiently wait for GGG to KO Canelo)

I know I’ve said this before, and I may be in the minority, but I enjoy Jones Jr.’s commentary. I usually enjoy Lampley’s considerable broadcast talents and I think he deserves his boxing hall of fame enshrinement. He’s one of the best ever to do what he does for HBO.

The pom-pom waving of HBO’s boxing commentators used to drive me insane, but they (which includes Max Kellerman and some of the calls of the long-gone Larry Merchant and George Foreman, all of whom I respect, especially Larry) have been so darn consistent with their cheerleading that I almost view it as a network TRADITION.

It’s doesn’t bother me that much anymore. Jones and Kellerman irked me with their call of the Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev rematch because they played up every damn thing the American favorite did during the match, but I could still appreciate their insight throughout the fight (and, hey, ultimately, they were right). There are a lot of longtime boxing observers that I know and respect who were way more upset – even outraged – with Harold Lederman’s scoring (and reasoning for his scorecard) for Ward-Kovalev II than I was about the pro-Ward/pro-U.S. commentary. Some of those fans have called for Lederman to be “put out to pasture.” I totally disagree with that opinion. Lederman’s genuine enthusiasm for the sport and longtime judge perspective is a big part of the HBO boxing experience and an integral ingredient in making those broadcasts unique.

In a nutshell, boxing is ridiculously subjective and I don’t think viewers have to necessarily agree with the commentators to enjoy a broadcast.

Were Jones and Lampley giving Smith too much credit during the Barrera fight? Maybe. I don’t think they were trying to discredit the efforts of Barrera, who they gave a lot of respect to during the lead-in to the fight. I think they just like Smith and his underdog story. HBO (and I’m talking about the producers, directors and commentators) has always been big into the narratives of the fights they showcase.

Hey, Smith is likable. So is Barrera. Now they know him and HIS story a little better, and with last Saturday’s victory the Cuban has also become a major player in the 175-pound division and I’m sure we’ll see him back on HBO before the end of the year. When we do – maybe against Kovalev – I’m sure Lampley and Jones will have a lot of positive things to say about him before and during the fight.

Regarding your “HBO has gone way downhill” comment, read this interview with Peter Nelson, the executive VP of HBO Sports, that my buddy Steve Kim did for UCNlive.com. It doesn’t sound like the network is ready to toss in the towel on their boxing programming just yet.

We all know Mayweather and McGregor is a total circus. True, but kids love the circus. And in the case of this event, young adults with child-like minds are attracted to it like moths to bright flame.

However, the press conference was ridiculous and vile with its racist, homophobic and misogynist rants. Did you expect Floyd and Conor to behave like anything other than two self-centered cretins?

We can lay most of the blame at the feet of the protagonists but what about the UFC and Showtime? Are they not complicit in this disgusting crap? I guess they are somewhat involved. I don’t think they sat Mayweather and McGregor down before the start of the tour and told them “Hey guys, don’t forget to go out there and act like racist, sexist, homophobic schmucks. We’re really counting on you both to appeal to the lowest rungs of society, so please, make us proud by making decent human beings sick to their stomachs.” However, I don’t think the execs with UFC or Showtime were displeased with the way the tour went down, despite the overwhelming negative press that it spawned. My guess is that they are happy and encouraged by the fan turnouts on each stop of the tour, the massive live stream traffic it generated and the overall sports/entertainment media coverage it got. All of that suggests that the Aug. 26 event will sell very well. Having said that, there’s no doubt in my mind that if the same type of rhetoric that was spewed during the “MayMac” tour was spoken at a Golden Boy or Top Rank-promoted press conference or event tour, there would be an uproar from a certain fan/media demographic, which would demand that Oscar De La Hoya and Bob Arum publicly address and/or apologize for the hurtful words uttered by the main event combatants. It is what it is.

Boxing has been using racism to sell fights for a long time so I guess I should not be surprised—or should I? You should not be.

How do you feel about these issues? I have extremely low behavioral expectations for Mayweather and McGregor, and even lower interest in their fake fight/event, so their press tour bulls__t barely registered with me.

 

TYSON FURY AND THE HEAVYWEIGHTS

Hi Dougie,

Missed your column Monday. Hope you are well. What do you think will happen with Tyson Fury????? The latest rumor is that he is not coming back. I sure hope he does make a comeback. He puts excitement in the division and I don’t see anyone out there now who can beat him!

Wilder doesn’t seem to want to fight anyone.

I think Joshua is probably highly overrated, he beat a second-tier guy (Whyte) and a 40-year-old man (barely). I believe a ‘Rust Free’ Klitschko would win a rematch.

Parker is doing OK – just needs more fights with top rated guys.

I think Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller should be in the top five rated heavyweights.

Nobody wants to fight Ortiz – waiting until he is too old to defend himself!

Let’s see some good heavyweight fights! Also, get rid of the alphabet soup of fake titles and have one heavyweight champ like it used (ought) to be!!!! Keep up the good work. – Mike

Thanks Mike. I’d say ignore the sanctioning organization heavyweight title belts and just recognize THE RING champ as “the man” of boxing’s glamor division, but that man is Tyson Fury. And Fury hasn’t fought since beating Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015. 

So, yeah, let’s not get rid of the alphabet soup belts just yet.  

Regarding Fury (and the ambivalent feelings on his comeback that he exhibited during a recent interview with BoxNation), I don’t think he’s given up on returning to the sport. I just think he’s frustrated with the postponement of his anti-doping hearing with UKAD being delayed – perhaps until the end of this year. The British Boxing Board of Control isn’t likely to give him a license to fight until this issue is resolved, and Fury – who vacated his remaining sanctioning organization belts to deal with severe depression and had hoped to return to the ring in July – feels like he’s being jerked around by UKAD (UK Anti-Doping).  

So maybe he’s just saying he may or may not fight again to show the UKAD folks that they can’t bother him, or maybe he’s accepted the remote reality that the “powers that be” won’t let him back into the sport. You never know with Fury. But my hunch is that he still wants to fight. I’m sure he believes that he has what it takes to beat back the challenges of Joshua and Wilder (or Wladdy in a rematch), and he wants to prove it to the world.  

Wilder doesn’t seem to want to fight anyone. I hear ya, but he’s gotta fight SOMEBODY real very soon – Luis Ortiz or even Dillian Whyte – or the WBC is going to force him to take on his mandatory challenger, Bermane Stiverne (and nobody wants to see that again).

I think Joshua is probably highly overrated, he beat a second-tier guy (Whyte) and a 40-year-old man (barely). I disagree with you. That second-tier guy is a badass, and that 41-year-old man is future first-ballot hall of famer. AJ’s for real, and he’s only gonna get better with time.

I believe a ‘Rust Free’ Klitschko would win a rematch. We might find out in November (maybe in Las Vegas).

Parker is doing OK – just needs more fights with top rated guys. I agree. (I’m actually looking forward to his showdown with Hughie Fury in September.)

I think Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller should be in the top five rated heavyweights. So does Miller, but he needs to take care of biz against Gerald Washington next Saturday and then beat a legit top-10 consider in order to even make the argument.

Nobody wants to fight Ortiz – waiting until he is too old to defend himself! True, and Ortiz changing promoters as often as he changes his underwear hasn’t helped that situation.

 

MAILBAG SUB
hey doug next time ur on holiday can i answer your mailbag? i’m ready. i got this. – ceylon

No, I’m pretty sure you don’t, but I’m glad you brought up the subject of filling in for me when I’m on vacation. I used to find a substitute to answer my mailbag emails on the rare occasions when I couldn’t compile them back in the early MaxBoxing days (in fact, I seem to recall a really astute boxing scribe with attitude – Johnny Whitehead – doing a fine job of it).

That’s probably something I should bring back. Apart from yourself, who do you think could do the job? I think “The Breadman” Stephen Edwards would be the best choice, but I don’t know if Rick Reeno (BoxingScene’s publisher) would be cool with that. What about Steve Kim? Or one of my favorite ex-fighter/trainer pundits, “Ice” John Scully? Or maybe I should offer the gig to a RingTV contributor. I think Tom Gray, Michael Woods or Andreas Hale would provide readers with very interesting commentary and opinions. Senior writer Mike Coppinger would probably be the most controversial sub – but that can be a good thing!

 

PAINFUL ENDING TO GUERRERO’S CAREER

Hi Doug,

I saw the knockdowns that Robert Guerrero suffered and they looked punishing and painful. At his best he was a skilled boxer who put boxed the likes of Michael Katsidis without taking much punishment, now he is a phone booth warrior used as a stepping stone for others.

He’s been through some serious wars, achieved a lot and always given his all. Now however, is the time for him to retire and enjoy the fortune he built for himself and his family.

On the other hand, what kind of future do you see for Figueroa? How far can he go if he fully applies himself? Kind regards. – Anish Parekh

I don’t think Omar will go very far in the 147-pound division (I imagine if he remains at welterweight, Haymon will serve him up to formidable IBF beltholder Errol Spence Jr. in a voluntary home-state – Texas – first title defense for the rising star; and that won’t end well for Figgy). However, if Figueroa can get down to 140 pounds I think he can be a player in the junior welterweight division. He should stay far away from the likes of Terence Crawford and Julius Indongo, but I believe he would make for fan-friendly TV-worthy fights against Antonio Orozco, Regis Prograis, Adrian Granados and Sergey Lipinets.

Regarding Guerrero, I was glad to hear that he announced his retirement earlier this week. He’s given a lot to the sport and he accomplished far more – winning major titles at featherweight (twice), junior lightweight, lightweight (interim) and welterweight – and made way more money than anyone ever thought he would. The fact that everybody in boxing wishes him well says a lot about him.

I saw the knockdowns that Robert Guerrero suffered and they looked punishing and painful. He seemed more bewildered than physically hurt to me. His punch resistance is gone and that must of have been very frustrating for ring warrior like Robert.

At his best he was a skilled boxer who put boxed the likes of Michael Katsidis without taking much punishment, now he is a phone booth warrior used as a stepping stone for others. I’m glad you brought up the Katsidis bout. I think Guerrero was at his best at 135 pounds. I know there were bigger fights and way bigger paydays at 147, but had he remained at lightweight (or settled in at 140 pounds, as he had planned to do – staring with a fight with Marcos Maidana that was scrapped when he suffered a training injury), I think he could have dominated a division. And, yes, I believe he had the size and style to give even the great Juan Manuel Marquez fits at lightweight.

 

JUST FOR LAUGHS

Hey Doug,
A huge fan. Literally wake up every Monday and Friday looking for you work. Not going to spend to much time elaborating on this nonsense. Saw this on Instagram and thought that you and all the real fans would enjoy this, since it captures how ridiculous this fight is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8iZW_TO7nk&feature=share

Also Marvelous is my favorite fighter of all time. Where do you think he lands, if at all, in the top 50 fighters of all time? Had he come back what do you think his career would look like? Also, although it pains me to ask … is his career diminished at all because his high profile fights (Duran, Hearns, and one of your favorites Sugar) were guys moving up?

Thanks for expanding my knowledge of the greatest sport, week to week. – Steve from upstate NY

Thanks for the kind words, Steve, and for that ridiculous, random voice-over vid of Mayweather. Watching him mouth that weird-ass song “Watch Out Renaldo” is more entertaining than his fake fight will be on Aug. 26.

You can’t go wrong with Marvin Hagler as your all-time fave. I think the former undisputed middleweight champ belong in the top 50 boxers of all time. He definitely belongs near the top of the greatest middleweights of all time. (By the way, the next issue of THE RING will rank all of the past holders of THE RING middleweight title – so look out for that and see where your guy lands.)

Had Hagler come back after the Leonard fight, I think he would have made a fortune with rematches (vs. SRL, Hearns and Duran), but I don’t think he would have fared well against the top prime middleweight contenders of the late ‘80s, such as Sumbu Kalambay, Michael Nunn, Mike McCallum and Frank Tate. His body was well worn out after a long, hard career and title reign. Although, a showdown with Iran Barkley sure would have been a lot of fun, wouldn’t it?

Also, although it pains me to ask … is his career diminished at all because his high profile fights (Duran, Hearns, and one of your favorites Sugar) were guys moving up? No, not at all. Those three are all-time greats, and they won major titles at middleweight (Duran won the WBC belt at age 37 in THE RING’s Fight of the Year with Barkley) and heavier weight classes (Ray and Tommy won belts at 168 and 175 pounds) after they faced Hagler.

 

 

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

 

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