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Dougie’s Friday mailbag

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Fighters Network
28
Jul

BRONER VS. GARCIA

Hey Doug,

I know I tend to give underdogs more of a shot at winning then they usually deserve in hindsight but how do you feel about Adrien Broner’s chances against Mikey Garcia?

I know not everybody shares this opinion but I find Broner fairly entertaining when he’s matched up well; his flat-footed-in-the-pocket pot-shotting style combined with his underrated toughness and durability can make for good action if he doesn’t clinch too much as he did in the Shawn Porter fight. I found his fights with Adrian Granados and Marcos Maidana really fun and competitive even though I thought he clearly lost to both.



What’s interesting about this match-up is that Garcia is a conservative boxer-puncher, while historically it’s been pressure and volume that have upset Broner. Garcia is definitely the more disciplined, complete fighter but considering his lowish punch output do you think he might give Broner the space to get comfortable and start letting his hands go?

I’d love a competitive tit-for-tat fight between these two and it seems plausible, although I suppose there’s also a chance Garcia dominates the fight with his jab and superior footwork, which would be a little anticlimactic. – Jack

It would be anticlimactic, but it would also solidify Garcia’s status as an elite boxer because Broner, who is arguably more accomplished than the Southern Californian, is still in his athletic prime and appears to be the most talented opponent that Garcia has faced thus far. Given Broner’s heart and durability, plus the fact that his back is to the wall in this fight (and given the style matchup), I would be a bit shocked if Garcia blew him out (as some fans expect) or dominated the four-division beltholder from Ohio over the distance. If Mikey totally “owns” Broner, I’ll be impressed and will have no problem recognizing the three-division titleholder as pound-for-pound level boxer.

However, I have a hard time envisioning this matchup as a walk in the park for Garcia. I expect him to shine against smaller/shorter opponents who either stand in front of him or take the attack to him (such as Zlaticanin, Salido, Martinez and JuanMa), but Broner is naturally bigger, seemingly quicker with his hands, and is also a fellow counterpuncher. Saturday’s junior welterweight showdown won’t be Pryor-Arguello in terms of action but it should be competitive and compelling.

I tend to give underdogs more of a shot at winning then they usually deserve in hindsight but how do you feel about Adrien Broner’s chances against Mikey Garcia? I give Broner a good shot at upsetting the betting odds, but, like you, I often give underdogs the benefit of every doubt. For instance, I’m assuming Broner is 100% focused, will make the contracted 140-pound weight limit without struggle and will be as strong as ever on fight night. (And, as you probably know, the jury is out on whether a bobble-head-looking Broner over-trained for this fight.) But if I were a betting man, I’d have no problem laying down a few C-notes on the Cincinnati native.

Having said that, my official pick is Garcia by close decision. I think he’s going to land the cleaner, heavier shots (and counterpunches) throughout a hotly contested chess match.

I know not everybody shares this opinion but I find Broner fairly entertaining when he’s matched up well… I agree. The only time I was totally bored watching a Broner fight was his whitewashing of John Molina. Apart from that dud, the Porter fight and maybe the Carlos Molina bout, Broner is usually a fun TV fighter.

I found his fights with Adrian Granados and Marcos Maidana really fun and competitive even though I thought he clearly lost to both. I thought Granados just barely edged Broner in a legitimately close fight, but I agree that both fights were entertaining, as were his scraps with Emmanuel Taylor, Paulie Malignaggi and Ashley Theophane.

What’s interesting about this match-up is that Garcia is a conservative boxer-puncher, while historically it’s been pressure and volume that have upset Broner. True.

Garcia is definitely the more disciplined, complete fighter but considering his lowish punch output do you think he might give Broner the space to get comfortable and start letting his hands go? I think Garcia may give Broner more time and space to think and operate than Maidana or Porter but that doesn’t mean Broner is going to let his hands go with total confidence or abandon because Mikey’s counterpunches will be accurate and deadly. Once Broner feels Garcia’s power, I think his punch output might dip to the “lowish” side as well. That’s why I’m not expecting a firefight or shootout between these two. I think we’re going to be treated to precise-but-sporadic “power boxing” or 12 rounds of “speed chess.”

 

GARCIA WILL HAVE HANDS FULL WITH BRONER

Doug E Fresh,
It’s been awhile since I’ve written, but I haven’t stopped reading. Good to be back.

When rumors of Broner-Garcia happening began to circulate I was a bit meh. It’s not that I don’t want to see it. It’s just that I’d rather see each in other matchups in their own respective divisions. I think I’d be more excited about seeing Garcia dance with Linares or Broner challenge Terrence Crawford for Super Lightweight supremacy. Or how about Broner against the other Garcia (Danny)? Or Mikey versus Lomachenko in a battle of exciting, angle creating technicians?

But now that fight week has arrived my intrigue has grown. This is a must win fight for Broner who never quite lived up to the lofty expectations set upon him early in his career. And although many have been singing Mikey’s praises for years, this is his chance to really capture the public’s imagination.

Like most, I immediately favored the Oxnard based lightweight to have his way with the rockstar living fighter from Cincinnati. But after further reflection, I don’t think this will be as easy a night for Team Garcia as most are predicting. One must remember, the only time “The Problem” has had the scorecards go against him was when he was in the ring with much bigger, stronger, bulldozers who threw punches in high volume. As gifted and impressive as Mikey has shown himself to be, he doesn’t fight like Shawn Porter or Marcos Maidana. More importantly, he isn’t built like them. His coming up in weight will give Broner a clear advantage in not only punching power, but physical strength. We’ve seen Mikey hurt against smaller fighters than Broner and prior to the cut occurring, I do recall Orlando Salido coming on strong after surviving the knockdowns. I could definitely envision Broner pushing Mikey around on the inside. It will be up to Garcia to make his brash opponent pay for attempting to invade his space. But as the final rounds of his two losses have showed us, the three-division titlist has an underestimated grit that should not be counted out.

There are many questions to be asked: Can Garcia carry his speed and power up a division north? Will he move around the ring and double up on the jab as well at 140 as he did the lower weights? Did Broner healthily shed weight? Can he work inside on Mikey and unleash? Who will establish the jab? Who will be more accurate? Could Mikey be coming up in weight too early and this turns out to be an ironic flashback of Broner’s foray into the welterweight division? Will Broner humble the smaller man as he was humbled against Mikey’s buddy, Maidana?

Ultimately, I think Broner’s lifestyle outside of the ring will be his undoing. All of the partying and NOT making weight, (which Team Garcia wisely made a much less dismissible and more expensive option this time around) will probably bite him in the ass. But I don’t think it will be easy. I expect it to go the full 12 and for both fighters to be marked up after being forced to dig down. But I expect the younger, fresher, and healthier man to have his hand raised then go back down to Lightweight where he belongs.

Safe to say, I am now pretty excited for this bout and am glad that its taking place. – Jason “Boogie” Nava

Me too, Jason. I’m looking forward to the entire Showtime broadcast, including Jermall Charlo’s foray into the middleweight division (vs. Sebastian Heiland) and the Jarrell Miller-Gerald Washington heavyweight bout (which will be streamed on ShoSports’ Facebook page and YouTube channel).

I understand what you were initially thinking about this matchup being unnecessary because both fighters had significant potential matchups in their own weight classes, but Jorge Linares and Vasyl Lomachenko (who would have to go up in weight to fight Mikey) had their own plans for the summer/fall schedule (the Venezuelan had a WBA mandatory to fulfill – against Luke Campbell, which will take place on Sept. 23 in my hometown; and Loma had a spot on Top Rank’s new ESPN platform, which was originally supposed to be the rematch with Orlando Salido), so neither titleholder was realistically available for Garcia to fight any time soon (especially when one factors in the boxing politics that would be involved in making those matches). As for Broner, can you honestly say that he deserved a shot at RING/WBO/WBC 140-pound champ Terence Crawford after failing to make the junior welterweight limit vs. Thephane and struggling against Adrian Grandos (in a fight that had a sliding weight-limit)? How could anyone call Crawford-Broner a fight for 140-pound “supremacy”? What has Broner really accomplished at junior welterweight? Outpointing Carlos Molina and Emmanuel Taylor, and stopping Khabib Allakhverdiev in the 12th round? That’s OK, but it doesn’t make him a world-beater at 140. Crawford-Indongo is the fight for 140-pound supremacy, and we’re getting that title-unification showdown on Aug. 19.

Broner is too small to be a real force at welterweight, and he hasn’t been disciplined or consistent enough to become a top junior welterweight contender/titleholder. So what’s he good for? Testing top-notch lightweight like Mikey Garcia, that’s what. We know that Garcia’s got the timing, technique and power to be a force at 135 pounds. We don’t know if he’s talented enough to be as special at 140 as he was at 126, 130 and lightweight.

If Garcia can outbox Broner, or kick the tough Ohioan’s ass, we’ll know he’s the real deal – at 140 or 135. Broner was supposed to be a pound-for-pound player, boxing’s next superstar, but due to the lifestyle choices that you noted, what he’s become is a high-profile gatekeeper.

His coming up in weight will give Broner a clear advantage in not only punching power, but physical strength. Physical strength, yes. Punching power? That remains to be seen. I think Garcia’s sharper punching technique might give him the edge in this department.

We’ve seen Mikey hurt against smaller fighters than Broner and prior to the cut occurring, I do recall Orlando Salido coming on strong after surviving the knockdowns. It wasn’t a cut that stopped that fight, it was a broken nose that occurred from an accidental headbutt (that may not have been accidental). But you’re right, Siri (who was hopelessly down on the scorecards) was coming on at the time of that stoppage.

I could definitely envision Broner pushing Mikey around on the inside. I can envision this too. I can also envision Broner getting the spit knocked out his head while staying in the pocket for too long.

It will be up to Garcia to make his brash opponent pay for attempting to invade his space. I’m pretty sure that he’s prepared to do this and looking forward to it.

But as the final rounds of his two losses have showed us, the three-division titlist has an underestimated grit that should not be counted out. Broner is indeed a tough and tenacious competitor. By the way, he’s technically a four-division titleholder (although the fans and members of the boxing media that often trumpet this face would be hard pressed to name the four fighters he beat to win those four belts).

Can Garcia carry his speed and power up a division north? I have a hunch that he can, but like you I hope that he drops back down to 135 pounds after this fight.

Will he move around the ring and double up on the jab as well at 140 as he did the lower weights? Garcia really isn’t one to stick-and-move. He likes to jab-and-stalk-and-counterpunch or stand his ground and whack the f__k out of ballsy pressure fighters.

Did Broner healthily shed weight? Probably not, but I still expect him to give his all and compete as best he can. If he pulls a Chavez Jr. I hope fans rip him as hard as they did the Mexican.

Can he work inside on Mikey and unleash? Yeah, I think so – in spots – but he can’t get greedy.

Who will establish the jab? I’m going with Mikey.

Who will be more accurate? I’m going with Mikey.

Could Mikey be coming up in weight too early and this turns out to be an ironic flashback of Broner’s foray into the welterweight division? No, because Broner isn’t a swarming monster like Chino Maidana or Showtime Porter – and even if he was, that’s style that Garcia seems to relish and excel against.

Will Broner humble the smaller man as he was humbled against Mikey’s buddy, Maidana? I don’t think so, but there’s a reason they fight the fights.
BRONER-GARCIA & THE WBSS

Hi Doug.

Interesting crossroads fight this weekend between Mikey Garcia and Adrien Broner (well, more so for Broner).

The Problem has to win this one if he is ever going to fulfil the promise he once showed. Speaking of which, where did things go wrong? He looked great at lightweight when he was beating up on DeMarco and Rees. On those performances I thought that he could be the next Mayweather or at least among the elite of the sport post MayPac. Then things went pear shaped. His win over Paulie Malignaggi was very close and then came the losses to Maidana and Porter (despite a catchweight).

Was it the rise up in weight, all the outside of the ring shenanigans or did he never really have elite talent to begin with?

I think he is in with a good shot in this one because a) I believe 140 is the best weight for him and b) Mikey doesn’t present the volume punching, brawling aggressive type of style that troubles him. Both prefer opponents to come to them. Let’s hope that it doesn’t become a “I’ll make my move when you make yours” type of snorefest.

I don’t think that Garcia can stop Broner. If Porter or Maidana couldn’t do it, neither can he. Can Broner hurt Garcia is more the question. What do you think?

If he wants to win, Broner would have to be more aggressive, up his work rate and step around Garcia, giving him lots of angles. Mikey just has to be Mikey.

All in all, I think Garcia is just better so I am going with him by hard fought, close decision.

Would a win over Broner put him among the small elite of American fighters comprised of Terence Crawford and Andre Ward (although he still has a way to go to match Ward’s body of work)?

Speaking of Ward, then there is the World Super Series of Boxing to get excited about. The Super Six was what made Ward and I think the knockout format of this tournament will be better than the round robin format of the Super Six where too many fighters had to be replaced. What do you think and who do you pick as the eventual winners?

I very slightly favour Usyk at cruiserweight but Gassiev and Breidis are very live dogs. Super middleweight is even more difficult to predict, but it looks like it will be between the British trio of Eubank jr, Groves and Callum Smith. My gut is split between Eubank jr and Smith, there has just always been something brittle about Groves to me.

How do you like our man (well Namibia is close enough) Julius Indongo’s chances against Terence Crawford?

Anyway, we are in for some good fights.

Mythical matchup:

Vuyani Bungu vs Jeff Fenech at 122

Regards. – Droeks Malan, South Africa

I’d have to go with Fenech by close decision based on Bungu’s shell-like defensive style and Fenech’s non-stop volume-punching attack.

We are indeed in for some good fights. In fact, we’re in for more than just “some” good fights. This is the busiest August that I can recall and we’ll have a September to remember with Canelo-GGG, “Superfly,” the opening bouts of the WBSS and Linares-Campbell.

The Problem has to win this one if he is ever going to fulfil the promise he once showed. Speaking of which, where did things go wrong? I don’t know. Maybe things didn’t go wrong. Maybe Broner is who/what he is and was overrated from the get-go. More than a few observers thought he was lucky to get the decision against faded and undersized Daniel Ponce-De Leon in his HBO debut more than six years ago. Just because a talented boxer has a vibrant/polarizing personality and athletic ability doesn’t mean he’s destined for stardom.

He looked great at lightweight when he was beating up on DeMarco and Rees. Well, yeah, I think he was supposed to look great against that level of opponent. Don’t get me wrong, DeMarco and Rees were two hardnosed veteran overachievers but given their level of talent/athletic ability any fighter with Broner’s amateur background and physical advantages would have dominated them.

On those performances I thought that he could be the next Mayweather or at least among the elite of the sport post MayPac. So did Richard Schaefer and the good folks at HBO and Showtime.

Then things went pear shaped. His win over Paulie Malignaggi was very close and then came the losses to Maidana and Porter (despite a catchweight). Does “things went pear shaped” mean reality set in?

Was it the rise up in weight, all the outside of the ring shenanigans or did he never really have elite talent to begin with? I think it’s the latter. Broner was a badass at 130 and 135 pounds but remember, he didn’t fight the class of those division before leapfrogging the 140-pound division to compete at welterweight. He didn’t fight a fellow big, rangy and athletic boxer-punchers like Argenis Mendez or Juan Carlos Salgado (who were available top-10 contenders at 130 when Broner held the WBO belt), or tall cagey boxer-technicians that are almost impossible to look good against like Miguel Vazquez and Richard Abril (who held 135-pound belts when AB had the WBC lightweight title). The boxers I mentioned had solid amateur backgrounds, plus the height, reach, footwork and overall boxing ability to provide problems for The Problem. Broner was billed as crafty/slick cat but he never had to prove it against real boxers his size when he campaigned at the lighter weights.

I don’t think that Garcia can stop Broner. I don’t either but I wouldn’t put a lot of money on that hunch.

If Porter or Maidana couldn’t do it, neither can he. Something to keep in mind is Garcia’s timing and punch ACCURACY. That can make all the difference. A clean punch can land with more authority than sloppy, clubbing blow.

Can Broner hurt Garcia is more the question. What do you think? I think he can, but I also think that Garcia can deal with adversity.

Would a win over Broner put him among the small elite of American fighters comprised of Terence Crawford and Andre Ward (although he still has a way to go to match Ward’s body of work)? I think Garcia would crack THE RING’s Pound-for-Pound top 10 with a victory over Broner. I don’t think he’d ranked in the top five with Ward and Crawford.

What do you think (of the WBSS) and who do you pick as the eventual winners? I’m more excited about the WBSS than I was for the Super Six World Boxing Classic. I’ve got Usyk and Smith as my favorites.

How do you like our man (well Namibia is close enough) Julius Indongo’s chances against Terence Crawford? I give him a slim shot. I know he’ll be competitive but I have a hard time envisioning him beating the versatile, battle-tested American boxer-puncher.

 

CANELO-GGG UNDERCARD

You can save this for some spot in the mailbag if you like or respond to me. Or ignore me!

Any idea on the undercard? Sadly, I expect total garbage, as it appears all of Golden Boy’s upper-tier fighters are being steered clear of that date. I don’t know why, as the exposure for them would be great. Lemiuex, Johnson, Linares, Matthysse…would have been great.

With less than 2 months to go, I expect we will get served Quigly, Orozco, and DDLH against no-hopers. If this is the case, that is truly sad.

For all of the bluster that DLH is talking, at least MayMac has 2 championship level fighters – Jack and Davis – being considered for the card.

It is rare that most people buy a PPV, at that price, for only one good fight. I hope DLH surprises me. Thanks and keep up the good work. – Donovan

Actually, Oscar is proof that the main event is the primary reason most casual fans order a pay-per-view boxing event. Bob Arum used to stick Mia St. John and Butterbean under PPV shows headlined by De La Hoya. Why? Because he could (and it was cheaper for him to do so)! Hardcore fans and media complained, but not the general sports fans that made those PPV events financial successes.

I remember going to pay-per-view house parties back when Don King was stacking his Mike Tyson- and Julio Cesar Chavez-headlined undercards with awesome world-class fights. There’d be a house full of people but only me and two or three other boxing nerds getting our rocks off in front of the TV while watching Azumah Nelson-Jeff Fenech I or Julian Jackson-Gerald McClellan I or Felix Trinidad-Yory Boy Campas. The living room didn’t fill up with cheering fans until Tyson or Chavez were walking into the ring. It is what it is.

Regarding the Canelo-GGG PPV undercard, it’s still not set. I sat down with De La Hoya in his office yesterday to interview him for the “Mano A Mano” show for the Sept. 16 showdown, but we chatted informally about upcoming bouts, including the Canelo-Golovkin undercard.

Diego De La Hoya, as you predicted, is close to landing a spot on the PPV portion but he won’t be in with a “no-hoper”. Unbeaten former bantamweight titleholder Randy Caballero is the very possible opponent for the young contender.

The other two slots are still open, according to De La Hoya. He says one slot goes to K2 Promotions, which might match young unbeaten lightweight fringe contender Ryan Martin with a credible opponent. Golden Boy is still trying to make the third PPV undercard fight. Whoever it is from the GBP stable of prospects, he’ll be in with a tough opponent. They’re not putting on Don King-of-the-early-to-mid-90s-level undercard bouts, but they’re not doing showcase fights either.

 

THE CHARLOS & ‘SUPERFLY’

Hey Doug,

Hope the week’s treating you well. Rather than ask about Garcia vs, Broner (I saw your pick and I agree), I’d like to first ask you about the Charlo brothers. Despite seeing serious KOs from both recently, with Jermall’s being against a very talented fighter in Julian Williams, and both having pristine records, there’s just something that seems off to me. I can’t put my finger on it but they just don’t seem to be as good as their records, and recent successes, might indicate. How do you see Jermall faring at 160? Think he’d have a shot against GGG? I’ve been watching Erikson Lubin’s fights recently and that kid has serious talent. I think he’s got a good shot at taking Jermell’s 0. What’s your take on that fight?

I’m very excited about the upcoming Superfly card, however I’m looking down the road a bit as well. If Inoue were to move up to bantam weight, how do you think he’d do against Shinsuke Yamanaka?

Lastly, I was curious about what you think the best division currently is in terms of the quality of their top 10 ranked fighters. Would you grade it on an average, or on a few standout stars?

As always, I’m a huge fan. Keep up the great work. Best. – Graham, San Francisco

Thanks for the kind words, Graham.

I think the best division in boxing based on its top-10 rated fighters is junior bantamweight because even outside of its excellent top five – all of whom will be in action on the Sept. 9 “Superfly” card – it’s home to talented and formidable world titleholders Khalid Yafai and Jerwin Ancajas, as well as a skilled once-beaten former beltholder in McJoe Arroyo (who fight Rau’shee Warren tomorrow night on the Broner-Garcia undercard) and a hardnosed and still dangerous veteran in Luis Concepcion.

I’d like to first ask you about the Charlo brothers. Despite seeing serious KOs from both recently, with Jermall’s being against a very talented fighter in Julian Williams, and both having pristine records, there’s just something that seems off to me. They look like two talented Texas badasses to me, but what do I know.

I can’t put my finger on it but they just don’t seem to be as good as their records, and recent successes, might indicate. Hmmmm… are you sure you’re just not creeped out a little bit by their twin thing? They are the most identical damn twins I’ve ever seen. They might be clones.

How do you see Jermall faring at 160? I have no idea. I have to see him in against a legitimate top-10 middleweight contender before I can make that determination (and no, I don’t consider Jorge Sebastian Heiland to be a legit contender).

Think he’d have a shot against GGG? Not at the present time, no.

I’ve been watching Erikson Lubin’s fights recently and that kid has serious talent. No doubt. The Hammer was THE RING’s Prospect of the Year for 2016.

I think he’s got a good shot at taking Jermell’s 0. What’s your take on that fight? I don’t think Lubin is quite ready for Charlo, but I won’t count him out. There’s reason they fight the fights.

I’m very excited about the upcoming Superfly card, however I’m looking down the road a bit as well. That means you’re definitely a hardcore fan.

If Inoue were to move up to bantam weight, how do you think he’d do against Shinsuke Yamanaka? I think he would be a legit threat, a live dog at the very least.

 

 

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

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