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Dougie’s Monday mailbag

28
Aug

THE SPARRING SESSION

Hi Dougie,

Just watched the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor sparring session. My only question is, did Floyd start carrying/waltzing Connor after 30 secs or one minute of round one? Floyd probably had a bet on a 10-round finish, hence the long dance. McGregor did not even bother to get into fight shape, he was blowing during round two. He trained to look in shape, but not to be in shape. No rough stuff (apart from Floyd’s usual elbows), nothing from Mac.

Sadly, I don’t think we have seen the last of these crossover fights. Floyd milked it, no doubt hoping to stage some more of the same garbage.

On a boxing note: Do different rules apply to house fighters? Tank Davies planted two low blows then a behind the head shot and no consequence? Andre Ward hit Sergey Kovalev low all night and no consequence.

Looking forward to 3G vs Canelo. Cheers. – Philip du Plessis, Gloucester, UK

You’re not alone, Philip. And I, being a hardcore boxing junkie, am looking forward to the Saturday before Canelo-Golovkin. The “SuperFly” tripleheader and Usyk-Huck can’t come soon enough.

Do different rules apply to house fighters? I must ask (in my best GGG impersonation) “Are you serious?” Is this a serious question? I thought you’ve followed boxing for a while, Philip. You should know that the answer is YES! Of course, house fighters are treated with more leniency from the referee (and given more than the benefit of the doubt by the official judges). That’s why they’re called the HOUSE fighter. I haven’t seen the Gervonta Davis-Francisco Fonseca fight, but I’ve heard that he behaved like a dirty d__k and I’m not surprised that referee Russell Mora let him get away with his antics. Mora is infamous for allowing Abner Mares (who was the house fighter against defending IBF bantamweight titleholder Joseph Agbeko) get away with COUNTLESS low and borderline blows during their first fight in August 2011.

Mora gave him some warnings but never docked a single point from Mares (he also blamed the fouls on Agbeko for pushing the challenger’s head down, and then, just to pour salt on the wound, he credited Mares with a knockdown in Round 11 after he blasted the poor Ghanaian to the cup).

Just watched the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor sparring session. You were not alone in doing so. I hope you got some form of entertainment out of the experience.

My only question is, did Floyd start carrying/waltzing Connor after 30 secs or one minute of round one? I haven’t seen much more than a few seconds of the first round and highlights of the finish (and, in all honestly, I really don’t have any plans to watch the bout in its entirety) so I can’t answer your question. However, my good pals JP and Coach Schwartz believe that Mayweather carrying McGregor from the get-go.

Floyd probably had a bet on a 10-round finish, hence the long dance. That wouldn’t surprise me.

McGregor did not even bother to get into fight shape, he was blowing during round two. I don’t believe that McGregor neglected to train, but I’m not shocked that he was gassed after a couple of rounds. Nobody should be.

He trained to look in shape, but not to be in shape. I doubt that. The man simply isn’t a boxer. He had no professional experience going into this fight, hence he could have been in shape to run a strong time in a marathon and still would have been exhausted after boxing a few rounds.

No rough stuff (apart from Floyd’s usual elbows), nothing from Mac. You’re not exactly selling me on watching a replay of this “fight,” not that more “rough stuff” would have made it more entertaining.

Sadly, I don’t think we have seen the last of these crossover fights. I don’t either. Yet another crappy

Floyd milked it, no doubt hoping to stage some more of the same garbage. Hey, he’s got every right in the world to participate in or promote more boxing-vs.-MMA events. And you and I have every right in the world to ignore these events.

 

THE BIG FIGHT

Dougie,

I hope all is well with you. Really enjoyed the big fight with a future HOF. My question, who does Miguel Cotto fight next? He looked good against Yoshihiro Kamegai but couldn’t put him away. He mentioned the GGG/Canelo winner. I can’t see him beating either one. David Lemieux would be a mistake. Cotto himself stated he’s not a middleweight.

As much as I love watching Cotto box, I just don’t see a big money fight that he wins.

Mythical match-up. Charles Bronson vs Robert DeNiro, bare knuckles and with boxing gloves. Take Care. – Bill from Canada

Bronson wins the bare-knuckle dust up, but Bobby takes the boxing match (if he has Jake LaMotta train him and working his corner).

My question, who does Miguel Cotto fight next? Good question. The high-profile money fights are at 160 pounds and come with a lot of risk. Cotto’s got a belt at 154 pounds and still has his form at that weight, but there aren’t many options for him. If politics could be worked out, a unification bout vs. Erislandy Lara could be interesting. It wouldn’t be a Fight of the Year candidate but it would appease boxing purists (and I don’t think Lara can lay on the physical damage that GGG, Lemieux and a 160-pound Canelo could). The Puerto Rico-vs.-Cuba could make for a fun story angle. That’s not a storied rivalry in professional boxing but both Caribbean islands obviously have rich histories in the sport. Personally, I think Liam Smith would make for the most appropriate “Swan Song” fight. He bring UK attention to the fight and he’s known a bit in the U.S. thanks to his fight with Canelo, and he’s got the right style to make for an entertaining contest. Cotto should outclass Smith, as Canelo did, but the Liverpudlian’s physical strength and tenacity would make it competitive. Having said that, if Cotto chooses the Canelo-GGG winner or Lemieux as his final fight more power to him.

Cotto landed his best shots – flush – against Kamegai but could not put the Japanese fighter down. Photo @HBOBoxing

He looked good against Yoshihiro Kamegai but couldn’t put him away. Kamegai did his job as a gatekeeper, which is to let us know what Cotto has left at this weight and stage of his career. Cotto’s legs, reflexes, timing and boxing form/technique are still there. He moved and punched very well. However, he’s not a big junior middleweight, and he’s not untouchable in terms of his defense. He can land with significant leverage (and I think he would have stopped a few contenders with the same shots he nailed Kamegai with), but he’s not an offensive force, and he would be even less so fighting above 154 pounds.

He mentioned the GGG/Canelo winner. I can’t see him beating either one. Me neither.

David Lemieux would be a mistake. I agree, but you would be surprised by the number of fans and members of the boxing media who think Lemmy would be outclassed by Cotto.

Cotto himself stated he’s not a middleweight. And Kamegai proved it.

As much as I love watching Cotto box, I just don’t see a big money fight that he wins. It’s not always about winning. Cotto is a proud fighter, but he’s not afraid to challenge himself or lose like that other future HOFer in that other big fight.

 

KAMEGAI SHOULD BE COTTO’S SWAN SONG

Hey Doug,

I tuned in to HBO Saturday because the Cotto/ Kamegai fight guaranteed action. It certainly did but it was mostly one sided. Kamegai continually walked straight into the mouth of the cannon. Ran was more like it. I was amazed at the punishment he took seemingly without blinking.

He did return fire but it looked like he smothered a lot of his own attack although Cotto did take some hard shots. I said (before the HBO team did), “shades of Larry Holmes/Tex Cobb” but at the same time I wondered if Kamegai could maintain the pace throughout, could the older more shopworn Cotto stand up to it. Luckily, he did and how Kamegai was standing at the end I will never know. I honestly fear for Kamagai’s well being if he continues (and you know he will) because the rewards will not justify the damage he will sustain. The same could be said for Cotto. I have long been a fan, not just of him as a fighter but as a person. He seems like a really good guy. One that is easy to root for. This win should have been a farewell for Cotto. He has taken a lot, and given so much to the sport and that is why I was kind of sad to hear him indicate he might want the winner of the Triple G/ Canelo fight.

If he could not stop Kamegai what does he think he is going to do against either one of those naturally bigger guys? He would probably take a beating versus Canelo and Triple G might really hurt him. Surely he doesn’t need the money. Hopefully cooler heads (Mrs. Cotto) will prevail.

Finally…I have to admit that I stayed up late to get the results of the Mayweather circus…I’ll bet you did too (and someone posted it on YouTube almost immediately). It didn’t play out quite like I thought. Floyd did come forward and walked the Irishman down but Conor’s awkward style made it ugly to watch. McGregor gassed out and Floyd got rid of him. Floyd has (to me) lost a step and it is probably good that he wasn’t in there with Errol Spence or Keith Thurman. It might have been a tougher night for him.

It does though chap me that many of the broadcasters keep saying that Floyd beat Marciano’s record. As you well know, the difference is that Rocky Marciano was a heavyweight and several lower weight fighters have broken the 49-0 mark. I researched some numbers…Julio Caesar Chavez was 86-0 before he had a draw and Flyweight Champion Ricardo Lopez was 51-0. Oh well…..

I can’t wait for September 16. I don’t see how Golovkin/Canelo Alvaraz can miss. You know those guys will give everything in the ring. We are going to have a party. Too bad you can’t be here….but you will probably be ringside (lucky you). – David, Nashville

I will be working the online pay-per-view broadcast (doing color commentary) alongside blow-by-blow announcer Beto Duran on Sept. 16 and I’m looking forward to experiencing the big-fight atmosphere in Las Vegas.

Regarding Marciano’s 49-0 record, it’s not any sort of mark outside of the heavyweight division. It had significance because:

A) Marciano, who was very popular, retired with that record as the undefeated heavyweight champion when that was still the biggest prize in sports; and

B) 31 years after Rocky’s retirement (and 31 years ago), then-IBF heavyweight titleholder Larry Holmes (who wasn’t that popular) came within one fight of equaling Marciano’s record, but fell short by losing a decision to Michael Spinks. Holmes, who was a salty bastard, had a bit of a meltdown during the post-fight press conference, said some nasty things about Rocky and referenced how the Marciano family was “lighting candles” and “praying” that he would lose. I think Marciano’s brother said (probably just to needle Holmes) that there was indeed a “curse” that prevented heavyweight champs from breaking 49-0.

So, the “Marciano curse” became a thing in the general sports media (back when newspapers and local broadcast news affiliates still bothered to regularly cover boxing), and whenever boxers in any weight class got close to 49-0 (or 49 bouts without a loss) – from hapless Danish heavyweight Brian Nielsen to the late Johnny Tapia to Indonesian featherweight beltholder Chris John – they would reference the former heavyweight champ.

But it’s just silly to look at it as some universal mark in boxing. As you noted, more than a few lighter-weight fighters have started their careers with more than 50 consecutive victories, including ATGs Willie Pep (62-0), Nino Benvenuti (65-0) and, of course, Chavez (who was 87-0, not 86-0, before suffering a blemish on his record – a controversial draw to fellow ATG Pernell Whitkaer – and he was 89-0-1 before he experienced his first official loss). Beyond the win streaks that some ATGs began their careers with, even more impressive to me are some of the win streaks they put together AFTER losing. For example, following his first loss (to fellow HOFer Sammy Angott), Pep was unbeaten in his next 73 bouts (including one draw) before suffering his second loss (to fellow HOFer/ATG Sandy Saddler). (So, if you’re math is decent, you’ll note that Pep brought a 134-1-1 record into his first bout with Saddler. Pep’s record was 152-2-1 going into his rubbermatch with Saddler, just 10 years into his pro career.) Carlos Monzon began his career with a modest 16-3 (1 NC) record and then went unbeaten over his next 80 bouts (which includes nine draws) during a span of 13 years. Sugar Ray Robinson was 40-0 before losing for the first time against fellow ATG Jake LaMotta (just a couple years into his pro career). He was unbeaten in his next 91 bouts (which included two draws and a No Contest) before being upset by fellow HOFer Randy Turpin in London. So, if you’re keeping count, Robinson carried a 128-1-2 record (which was compiled over a 10½-year span) into his rematch with Turpin.

Somebody tell me again why so many fans and members of the media get excited about a 49-0 or 50-0 record? I guess ignorance is bliss.  

Here’s another reason Marciano’s 49-0 mark was given significance, he not only retired undefeated but he died tragically and prematurely (in a plane crash in 1969) giving him and his record a James Dean-type of mystique with the public. But as beloved as “The Rock” was (and continues to be), it must be noted that he wasn’t regarded as a great boxer during in his career and his 49-0 record hasn’t put him above fellow former heavyweight champs Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali on any all-time heavyweight greats rankings compiled by respectable boxing historians. (In fact, more than a few rank that salty bastard Holmes over Marciano.)

I said (before the HBO team did), “shades of Larry Holmes/Tex Cobb” but at the same time I wondered if Kamegai could maintain the pace throughout, could the older more shopworn Cotto stand up to it. I was wondering the same thing. And the Holmes-Cobb analogy is an apt one.

Luckily, he did and how Kamegai was standing at the end I will never know. The boxers from Japan who are heavier than featherweight are seldom talented, but they’re usually sturdy S.O.Bs. 

I honestly fear for Kamagai’s well being if he continues (and you know he will) because the rewards will not justify the damage he will sustain. I think he’ll be alright. He’s 34 and I’d be surprised if he stuck around for much longer. Japanese boxers generally know when to walk away from the sport.

The same could be said for Cotto. True. And he’s acutely aware of this.

I have long been a fan, not just of him as a fighter but as a person. He seems like a really good guy. One that is easy to root for. He is indeed.

This win should have been a farewell for Cotto. I agree.

He has taken a lot, and given so much to the sport and that is why I was kind of sad to hear him indicate he might want the winner of the Triple G/ Canelo fight. That was Freddie Roach saying that immediately after the fight, not Cotto.

If he could not stop Kamegai what does he think he is going to do against either one of those naturally bigger guys? Just box. He won’t try to go for the knockout (unless the opportunity presents itself).

He would probably take a beating versus Canelo and Triple G might really hurt him. That is the likely scenario.

Surely he doesn’t need the money. He does not.

Hopefully cooler heads (Mrs. Cotto) will prevail. This is very possible.

Finally…I have to admit that I stayed up late to get the results of the Mayweather circus… I’ll bet you did too (and someone posted it on YouTube almost immediately). I didn’t have to go out of my way to learn the results of Mayweather-McGregor.

It didn’t play out quite like I thought. Floyd did come forward and walked the Irishman down but Conor’s awkward style made it ugly to watch. I’ve probably watched less than one minute of the fight and this description isn’t making me want to. But from what I saw McGregor was not “awkward” in the effective, unorthodox way; he was awkward in the way that a novice who has to think about his every move is.

McGregor gassed out and Floyd got rid of him. Floyd has (to me) lost a step and it is probably good that he wasn’t in there with Errol Spence or Keith Thurman. Mayweather is well aware of this fact.

It might have been a tougher night for him. That’s quite an understatement.

 

AVOIDING THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

Dear Mr. Fischer,

What did you think of Sergiy Deryevchenko’s performance against Tureano Johnson? I have long thought that Johnson represented an under-appreciated talent at middleweight. I can remember him giving Curtis Stevens a good fight some years back. I believe that Johnson dropped out of The Ring’s top ten after his shoulder injury prevented the showdown with Gennady Golovkin. He seemed out of his depth. Do you think he’ll keep fighting?

As for Deryevchenko, he did a very good job of putting his combinations together. He does well to anticipate where his punch will position his opponent’s head and directs his combinations to where his last punch will position his target.  For somewhat of a plodding, power-puncher, it seems like an impressive skill.  What did his performance tell you about his future chances in the division?

I would like to see the Technician back in action soon (I don’t know how likely that is, given his promoter/advisor).  I have a hard time seeing him in the ring against GGG, but he might have a better shot with Canelo Alvarez.  If he doesn’t fight for the title, or if it gets vacated, I could see him giving David Lemieux a good fight (although I think Lemmy brings too much power after he blows up post-weigh in).  How on earth is Jermall Charlo above Lemieux in the IBF rankings?

I’m also looking forward to what you have to say about Gervonta Davis missing weight and his performance in the ring. It seems like he’ll have to move up to 135 before makes any real noise at 130. How do you think he’d fare against Dejan Zlaticanin?

I thought Miguel Cotto looked something like his old self at 154. He deserves his ranking and reputation there and would be a great match for any of the top fighters. I would love to see him fight once or twice more before he calls it a career, but he’s more than earned the right to do whatever he damn well pleases. Any inside information on his intentions with Golden Boy?

Finally, how about that left hook (those left hooks) by Hugo Centeno?!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend, and that you enjoyed all the boxing on display. I’m very much looking forward to Monday’s mailbag, in spite (or perhaps because) of the questions I’m sure will dominate the discussion. Boxing is a great sport, and it’s in great shape. Thank you for your contribution to that. Very Respectfully. – John

Thanks for the kind words, John. I had a good time at StubHub Center on Saturday.

Yeah, how about that hook from Centeno. Hugo and Rey Vargas, who was impressive in retaining his WBC 122-pound belt against Ronny Rios, are a reminder of how unsuspectingly dangerous those skinny-arm stringbean fighters can be. Centeno looks like he would struggle bench pressing a 70-pound bar without any plates, but as the normally durable James De La Rosa and poor Immanuwel Aleem can attest, he can turn your lights out in an instant. Vargas looks too light in the ass to able to battle it out in the trenches, but he’s strong and durable enough to do that as well as he can stick-and-move from a distance.

I thought Miguel Cotto looked something like his old self at 154I agree. He played a masterful matador against the bull-like Kamegai.

He deserves his ranking and reputation there and would be a great match for any of the top fighters. Agreed. It’s too bad that promotional/network politics will likely prohibit us from seeing Cotto in with fellow 154-pound beltholders, such as Jermell Charlo or Jarrett Hurd. Those could be very good fights (and I wouldn’t count the veteran out against the young guns).

I would love to see him fight once or twice more before he calls it a career, but he’s more than earned the right to do whatever he damn well pleases. Any inside information on his intentions with Golden Boy? Nope. Cotto calls his own shots. Whatever he wants to do GBP will support him in any way they can.

I’m also looking forward to what you have to say about Gervonta Davis missing weight and his performance in the ring. What else can I say other than it was unprofessional, and that I hope he’s not on his way to emulating Adrian Broner.

It seems like he’ll have to move up to 135 (pounds) before (he) makes any real noise at 130. I think he should try harder to remain at junior lightweight. There aren’t many soft touches among the top lightweights.

How do you think he’d fare against Dejan Zlaticanin? I think that would be a tough fight, but I’d favor the younger, fresher fighter (especially if the match-up were to take place before the former 135-pound beltholder could get in a tune-up bout).

What did you think of Sergiy Deryevchenko’s performance against Tureano Johnson? I thought he was sensational. He was tested by a card-carrying badass and he passed with flying colors. Derevyanchenko proved he could take a good shot (to the head and body), that he could go deep in a hard fight, and that he has the poise to go with his power, which he expertly used to break down Johnson. I’m impressed with The Technician.

I have long thought that Johnson represented an under-appreciated talent at middleweight. It’s too bad he wasn’t more active and that he wasn’t showcased more against better opposition, because he’s a made-for-TV fighter.

I can remember him giving Curtis Stevens a good fight some years back. That was a hell of a fight. Johnson’s spirit was crushed after the controversial stoppage call in the final round.

He seemed out of his depth (vs Derevyanchenko). Do you think he’ll keep fighting? Yes, I do, but I have no idea what he will have left at this stage of his career following the beating he took against Derevyanchenko. I thought the fight should have been stopped in Round 10 to spar him unnecessary punishment.

As for Deryevchenko, he did a very good job of putting his combinations together. For somewhat of a plodding, power-puncher, it seems like an impressive skill. He’s not the most dynamic (fast or nimble) boxer-puncher out there but he’s a very strong and solid, all-around athlete; and he’s smart. Smart wins fights.

What did his performance tell you about his future chances in the division? I think he’s major player at 160 pounds and I believe that he’s a handful for anyone in the division.

I would like to see the Technician back in action soon (I don’t know how likely that is, given his promoter/advisor). No comment.

I have a hard time seeing him in the ring against GGG, but he might have a better shot with Canelo Alvarez. I think he would hold his own against Golovkin. I don’t know if he would beat GGG at this point, but I’m pretty sure Gennady would know he had been in a fight. Same with Canelo.

If he doesn’t fight for the title, or if it gets vacated, I could see him giving David Lemieux a good fight (although I think Lemmy brings too much power after he blows up post-weigh in). That would be a hell of fight. Lemmy’s the more seasoned fighter and the more explosive puncher, but Derevyanchenko’s technique is better and his chin looks very solid, which could be the difference in the fight.

How on earth is Jermall Charlo above Lemieux in the IBF rankings? I don’t know, but who cares? Lemieux is THE RING’s No. 3 rated middleweight; Charlo, who is 1-0 at 160 pounds (and he literally beat up on a cripple in his middleweight debut), is the magazine’s No. 10 contender.

 

EXCELLENT CIRCUS!

Hey Dougie,

After weeks of criticism, even by you, the so called “circus” turned out to be a very entertaining show. The three fights before the main attraction were respectable. Badou Jack performed masterfully! McGregor, although greatly inexperienced, performed admirably. Age and time has caught Floyd as it catches us all and yet he performed well against a much larger and stronger opponent! I think the production was worth the hundred bucks, boxing, MMA and the fans won. I greatly admire your knowledge and work however your views, in my opinion, were very narrow and slanted. Congratulations to Mayweather and McGregor as they make their way to the bank! Again, I enjoyed the circus! – Greg, Pittsburgh

You sound like a circus clown, but one of the happy ones (not the sad or creepy kind), so more power to ya!

 

WHAT A FARCE!

Dougie

Perhaps the kindest statement I could muster about MayMac is that it is at least better than being waylaid in a dark alley by a gun-totting mugger and made to hand over all valuables… but not by much.

Make no mistake, it was a farce. Mayweather carried him till the 10th round to make the “fight” seem competitive.

All those involved in this farce should be ashamed of themselves.

Thankfully the Canelo-Golovkin fight is around the corner… – Gbenga X-Adebija, Lagos, Nigeria

I couldn’t have said it better myself, Gbenga.

 

BADOU JACK AT 175 POUNDS

Hi Dougie –

First, I hope all is well… of all the fights this weekend I was most impressed with Jack. The way he mixed his attack and broke Cleverly down was like art (I’m glad many MMA & casual fans got to see how great boxing should look). He’s been on a nice run as of late and I wondered how you think he fairs against the top guys at 175?

Ward

Kovalev

Stevenson

As always keep up the good work. – Jamaal, Louisiana

Jack punishes Cleverly with a right uppercut. Photo / Esther Lin-SHOWTIME

Thanks Jamaal. I haven’t seen Jack-Cleverly but I think a fifth-round stoppage of the usually tough and game Welshman is quite a statement for the former 168-pound beltholder (who caught raw deals in his last two bouts at super middleweight in my humble opinion).

I would favor Andre Ward to beat him via competitive but clear decision, but I like his chances against Sergey Kovalev and Adonis Stevenson – although those two light heavyweights present threats because of their experience, underrated ring generalship and obvious power.

Kovalev has talked openly about hanging up the gloves, which makes me wonder if he’s still mentally in the game. If The Krusher isn’t 100% motivated, a strong, solid technical grinder like Jack can get the better of him.  

Stevenson has the speed, explosive power and overall athleticism that Jack lacks, but the Las Vegas-based Swede has a better foundation and fewer technical flaws, and he has the more consistent offense/workrate. The WBC champ is also getting a bit long in the tooth (he’s 39) and he hasn’t gone the distance in more than two years. I can see Jack outworking the Haitian-Canadian, taking him deep and drowning him.

 

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

 

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