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Dougie’s Friday mailbag

Lookin' pumped, Floyd. Lookin' pumped. Photo / Esther Lin-SHOWTIME
Fighters Network
01
Sep

FLOYD KEEPS FOOLING

Hi Doug hope all is well,
Have been a fan of yours since I accidentally bumped on the Mailbag some 7 years back and this is my first time writing.

From Monday’s mailbag a lot of people have been crying foul about how bad the “circus” was. They keep falling for Floyd Mayweather’s fights by focking up the $100 (which is exactly what he wants). Instead of them spewing bile they could have watched something else.

On to some BOXING now. I know you favour Gennady Golovkin in the upcoming fight vs. Canelo Alvarez but my question is… does he win by decision or inside the distance? Last but not least, who is the torch bearer of our sport at the current moment? There can only be one. Hope to make the cut. Take care. – Ash, East London, South Africa



Thanks for reading this column for the past seven years and for finally sharing your thoughts with me and your fellow readers.

I don’t think there is a “torch bearer” for the sport at the current moment. We’re between eras. The Mayweather/Pacquiao era has come to a close, and even though both have fought this year, both are clearly nearly finished with their hall-of-fame careers, and will likely wrap up this year (while their future HOF peers, such as Bernard Hopkins, Wladimir Klitschko, Juan Manuel Marquez and Shane Mosley have already announced their retirements during the past nine months).

Who will be the next torch bearer? We’ll find out by the start of 2018. Alvarez can beat Golovkin, it could be the Canelo era. If Golovkin beats Canelo (as most believe he will), it could be the GGG era (at least for a few years, provided the 35-year-old middleweight champ can get more big fights – or at least matchups that most hardcore heads want to see, such as a rematch with Daniel Jacobs, a total unification bout vs. the Saunders-Monroe winner, and showdowns with young guns Jermall Charlo and Sergiy Derevyanchenko). If the big Sept. 16 showdown is close and competitive enough to merit a rematch and that return bout leads to a rubber match, perhaps we’re looking at the Canelo-GGG era.

Anthony Joshua Promo shoot, Sheffield.
Picture By mark Robinson

We could be going into the Anthony Joshua era if the British superstar can continue to unify the heavyweight division (which is very possible). If Terence Crawford can a shot at welterweight titleholders Keith Thurman and Errol Spence Jr., we could be looking at the Bud Crawford era – or whoever would come out on top of an elite 147-pound round robin. Time will tell, my friend.

From Monday’s mailbag a lot of people have been crying foul about how bad the “circus” was. It’s silly to spend any amount of time analyzing what was probably a “work,” let alone complain about it.

They keep falling for Floyd Mayweather’s fights by focking up the $100 (which is exactly what he wants). Instead of them spewing bile they could have watched something else. Over the years I’ve learned that there’s a significant percentage of hardcore boxing fans that simply get-off on bitching and moaning about s__t.

 

WISHFUL THINKING & THE BENEFITS OF LYING

Hey Dougie,

The circus has finally left town, and we can now focus on the true mega-fight coming on September 16th.

But I thought I’d be a d___ and write about #MayMac one last time, because I think there might be a potential upside to last week’s “fight”. Do you think the attention it got might get the general public back into boxing? Let me explain.

When MayMac was first announced, I was none too pleased. I thought “Oh, great, here comes Uncle Floyd to derail what’s been an awesome year in boxing”. But then something strange happened. The fight was actually…entertaining. Yes, yes, I know. It was cash-grab and a gross mismatch between a future Hall-of-Famer and an MMA fighter with a boxing record of 0-0. And Floyd most likely stretched out the fight to give people a show.

But that’s not what the casual fans saw. The casuals were treated to an over-the-top and often entertaining press tour, which led to a fight that lived up to their expectations, held in a star-studded, electric arena.

It was all built on a lie, of course, but what’s wrong with that? I watched the fight live at a local bar (I’m sorry, Dougie, I couldn’t help it), and the place was bananas! We’re usually only a handful of guys watching a fight. But last Saturday, the place was packed to the rafters. Everyone was analyzing the fight, which made me want to roll my eyes. But it was kinda nice that for one night, the whole world stopped to watch the sport that we love so much. And unlike the fight with Pacquiao, they actually walked out of there happy.

So, do you think The Powers That Be can leverage this excitement and use it to promote, you know, actual fights? And maybe take some pointers from the UFC, like having only one belt instead of five, and do away with the HBO Vs Showtime, Uncle Al Vs Uncle Bob bull____? Or is it just wishful thinking? Because I feel like it’s a simple idea that would benefit both the fighters and the fight fans. Cheers! – Chris, Ottawa, Canada

I’m glad you enjoyed watching the “fight” in a public spot with all the casuals, who were also entertained.

Can the current power brokers of the sport leverage “MayMac” mania for their own promotions? I think they can to an extent. ESPN’s coverage of the Aug. 26 PPV event was comprehensive to say the least, and the Worldwide Leader in Sports appears to be more committed to boxing with the network’s recent multi-year/multi-platform deals with Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions. Top Rank is bringing Pacquiao’s Swan Song to a wide U.S. audience as well as two current elite-level boxers (and HBO staples) – Terence Crawford and Vasyl Lomachenko – and world titleholders (such as Oscar Valdez, Gilberto Ramirez and, soon, Jesse Magdaleno) to more casual fans (and in solid matchups). Meanwhile, GBP is looking to develop its advanced prospects into a legit contenders (and some, eventually, into HBO-worthy players) on their monthly (sometimes twice and three-times monthly) series. As long as the fights are good on this far-reaching basic cable platform, new fans will gradually be attracted to boxing.

Beyond ESPN, I think Showtime, which was key part of the MayMac event, has had an excellent 2017 and appears to be committed to quality world-class matchups (usually featuring PBC and Matchroom Boxing fighters); and beyond the U.S., I think the international market – led by the U.K. and Japanese scenes – has never been stronger. The World Boxing Super Series will likely help to fuel more worldwide interest in the sport. So, as long as good matchups are being made and are available for large audiences to watch, the MayMac circus will probably serve as nice halfway-point boost during what has been a banner year in boxing.

And maybe take some pointers from the UFC, like having only one belt instead of five, and do away with the HBO Vs Showtime, Uncle Al Vs Uncle Bob bull____? Or is it just wishful thinking? That’s just wishful thinking, Chris.

 

RESPECTFUL ANALYSIS

Hi Dougie, hope you’re doing well,

Just wanted to congratulate The Ring or Golden Boy or whoever was involved in making the “CANELO VS GGG – STARE DOWN – EDDY REYNOSO & ABEL SANCHEZ” video. I really enjoyed it, and hope there’ll be other features like it in the coming weeks. I felt that the 2 trainers struck the right balance between mutual respect, and actually having something to say that included insight.

I love prefight hype – but classic TV like the “Face Off” programme between Cotto and Margarito before their rematch can only happen when there’s legitimately two guys who don’t like each other – ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMV0vGFCFKQ ).

In cases like the Canelo vs GGG fight, you’re not going to get true enmity. So rather than confect it (as in Mayweather vs McGregor), I prefer to see the interested parties speak with depth, honesty, and conviction – such as the “Face Off between Alvarado and Provodnikov ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43N9uva98qg ), where the fighters talked about their fears, and the anxieties they face before a fight, and about how the upcoming fight would be a battle of wills.

And finally, I would very much like to see Golden Boy/The Ring releasing a video like the “Under The Lights – Pacquiao vs Algieri” video, where an expert trainer and an articulate fighter examine the technical keys to victory during the bout ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fD41AXUtVsg )

Anyway, I’d be interested in hearing what YOU feel the most effective pre-fight video/media segments are. And what have been your favourite videos for past fights, that maybe can be viewed online. Thanks as always. – Kim

Thanks for sharing, Kim. I like one-shot documentary style pre-fight shows that are on the short side (around 30 minutes), like HBO’s old “Countdown” shows. (I’m sure you can find some on YouTube – the show was a staple of network 10 years ago and programs were produced for high-profile fights that weren’t big enough to merit the extensive “24/7” treatment, such as Hopkins-Tarver I, Barrera-Marquez, Hopkins-Tarver, Hopkins-Wright, Cotto-Judah, Cotto-Mosley, Pacquiao-Barrera II and Hopkins-Pavlik.)

But that’s just my preference. Other fans are drawn to dramatic, high-production multi-show series like “24/7” and “All Access,” or shorter, more-intense, fighter focused segments, such as “Face Off and “2 Days” (which I usually enjoy).

I’m glad you enjoyed the inaugural episode of “Staredown.” The host, Beto Duran, did an excellent job interviewing both trainers, and the producers of the show did a great job of shooting it and editing it. I agree that it was refreshing to witness the respect that Sanchez and Reynoso have for each other, for the opposing fighters, for the fight itself, and for the sport of boxing. I’m pretty sure this will be a recurring show that can be watched on RingTV and its various platforms.

Thank you for the suggestion of a program that joins “an expert trainer and an articulate fighter (to) examine the technical keys to victory” of an upcoming fight. That’s a great idea and one I will help pursue. I’ve got some very insightful insiders in mind for such a series, including Stephen “Breadman” Edwards and “Ice” John Scully (two passionate and extremely knowledgeable trainers that have helped me with recent articles for THE RING magazine), as well as veteran coach Buddy McGirt, and retired champs, such as Chris Byrd, Shane Mosley and Kevin Kelley.   

 

DAMN IT, BUD!

damn man i just read that bud crawford vacated his IBF title. got damm i wanna see someone RULE a division—you know, just knock everyone down who dares climbs to make it to the peak. i want yo see a champ out TO CRUSH YOUR ENEMIES SEE THEM DRIVEN BEFORE YOU AND HEAR THE LAMENTATIONS OF THEIR WOMEN.

junior inoue is back and at bantamweight. PLEASE fight a serious contender/titlist asap. someone get into it with zolani tete ASAP. i can’t wait for superfly next weekend. – ceylon the barbarian

Takuma Inoue. Photo / Naoki Fukuda

Takuma Inoue, THE RING’s 2015 Prospect of the Year, was set to challenge then-WBO bantamweight titleholder Marlan Tapales last December but an injury derailed those plans (and Tapales lost the belt on the scales in April and now campaigns at 122 pounds), so his handlers obviously feel he’s ready to grab a major title. Tete holds the WBO’s “interim” 118-pound belt, so my guess is the South African is fair game. Mr. Ohashi, Inoue’s promoter, recently told RingTV’s Anson Wainwright that the unbeaten (9-0) 21-year-old contender will challenge for his first title in early 2018. This was before Inoue’s 10-round decision over Hiroyuki Kudaka on Wednesday.

I’ll see Mr. Ohashi at the media events for “SuperFly” (which, as you know, features Naoya Inoue, who he also promotes) next week and I plan to ask the former two-time strawweight titleholder if next year is still the plan for Takuma. I know you’re a barbarian and all, but I don’t think Team Inoue needs to be in any rush with the kid. Personally, I’d love to see the kid fight stateside against a fringe contender like Oscar Negrete or a young standout like Puerto Rican prospect Emmanuel Rodriguez before he goes for a belt.

Regarding Crawford vacating the IBF 140-pound strap, so what? We all know that Bud is the real junior welterweight champ and we all knew that it was unlikely that he’d defend ANY of the belts he held after blasting Julius Indongo. The moment he won all the titles, all anybody talked about was when he planned to step up to the 147-pound division.

Who would you rather see him go all Conan against, Rances Barthelemy at 140 pounds or one of the welterweight standouts? Besides, I think the fights for the vacant 140-pound belts will be pretty good: Sergey Lipinets vs Akihiro Kondo (IBF), Antonio Orozco vs. Maurice Hooker (WBO), Barthelemy-Relikh II (WBA) and Amir Imam vs Regis Prograis (WBC).

 

SERGIY D.

Hey Doug,

Wanted to get this in early before you get inundated with mails about the circus. I really enjoyed the Derevianchenko vs Johnson fight. Two guys, standing in the pocket, showing how tough they are. Obviously my boy Sergiy D showed he has more tools in the bag and I was impressed he managed to get the stoppage.

He’s now the IBF mandatory contender. Do you see the winner of GGG/Canelo taking that fight or push for BJS’s belt? Personally, it’s a fight I’d love to see. How do you think he’d do against the pair?

Also looks like we’ll be getting Loma vs Rigo and Wilder vs Ortiz before the year ends. I’m very much enjoying being a boxing fan at the moment. Hope you are too. Take care. – Joel (UK)

This year has been top-notch in terms of the top contenders/titleholders of almost every division facing each other, as well as fantasy fight matchups such as Broner-Garcia and now Lomachenko-Rigondeaux). This is one of the main reasons I didn’t care to spend too much time on Mayweather-McGregor going into that scripted B.S., and why I think it’s silly to bother analyzing it post-“fight.”

Regarding Derevyanchenko, I don’t think any of the top 160-pound fighters are going to voluntarily face him, and that including Golovkin and Canelo. If Saunders is able to hold onto the WBO (Willie Monroe Jr. should not be counted out), I think he would present a lot more money to the Canelo-GGG winner than Derevyanchenko (and if Golovkin wins on Sept. 16, the Englishman’s belt would complete his collection at 160 and make the Kazakhstan star an undisputed champ, so I would not fault K2 Promotions for trying to make that unification fight).

If the IBF forces the mandatory title defense after Sept. 16, I can see GGG honoring the sanctioning body before Canelo (who isn’t afraid to face anyone but obviously doesn’t like to be ordered around by the guys behind the belts). I think Derevyanchenko is a very live dog against Canelo and Golovkin, I can even see him beating them if they are not at their best. I really don’t care who the favorite would be in either matchup, I just know it would be a good fight. I don’t think it’s possible for The Technician to be in a bad fight.

 

THE MONEY FIGHT

Hey Doug,

I know you’ll probably be bombarded with emails regarding ‘The Money Fight’ but I just thought I’d drop you a message anyway. I don’t really feel the need to mention the fight itself as it went the way most expected it would.

Couple of things though;

Did you catch the Gervonta Davis fight? I think he’s extremely talented but something was definitely ‘off’ with him last night. Didn’t seem focused – he kept looking up to the large screens above, then his showboating was odd as well considering he was hardly dishing out a beating. Any idea what was up?

Badou Jack impressed me with a great all round performance although in saying that Cleverly didn’t offer much in return.

I was really impressed with some of Cotto’s work as well against a game fighter in Kamegai…seriously this guy just keeps charging forward! Who do you think Cotto should/will fight for his final farewell this year?

Lastly, I just wanted to ask you about your Twitter activity regarding Mayweather and PEDs. Now I don’t claim to have much knowledge of it all so perhaps I’ve missed some things. I read Thomas Hauser’s reports back in 2015 and questions were obviously raised then. But you seem absolutely convinced that Mayweather has been cheating? Can I ask whether you let your dislike of the man cloud your judgement? I ask because it seems that whenever it gets brought up about Pacquiao juicing (which is more suspicious IMO, given the weight classes he climbed whilst keeping his KO power) you almost seem to dismiss it as speculation/people being haters. If you do believe Mayweather has been juicing – when do you think it started and what would it do to his legacy overall?

Sorry for the long-winded post. Hopefully it makes the cut as I’d be really interested on your take.

I think we’re all glad we can move on from the ‘big event’ and focus on September which is shaping up to be a terrific month for boxing! Cheers. – David, Scotland

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and questions, David.

I’ll start with the big one, the one that really riled up Mayweather’s fans on Twitter just before the pay-per-view “work” (and I admit that I got a chuckle out of their collective “outrage” as they tried to defend a man who has no problems casting aspersions and unfounded allegations on others).

Am I “absolutely convinced” that Mayweather has been “cheating,” as you put it? No, I’m not absolutely convinced. Am I suspicious of possible performance-enhancing drug use? Hell yeah! Just like you and other fans (and media) are suspicious of Pacquiao because of his weight climbing. Just like a legion of fans are suspicious of Juan Manuel Marquez because of his association with Memo Heredia and subsequent bulking up (and back acne). Just like so many are convinced that Antonio Margarito’s hand wraps were loaded for the first fight with Miguel Cotto.

How can I not be suspicious of Mayweather after learning about the IV/USADA/NSAC scandal (after the Pacquiao fight) and, more importantly, the two abnormally low T/E (testosterone-to-epitestosterone) ratios revealed in lab tests prior to his fights with Victor Ortiz and Robert Guerrero. That’s a well-known red flag of an athlete trying to mask or hide that he’s been artificially boosting his testosterone (which is performance enhancing) by administering exogenous epitestosterone (through injection or by the application of epitestosterone as a cream) to drive their T/E ratio down.

However, that background wasn’t even on my mind and really had nothing to do with what I tweeted after the Mayweather-McGregor weigh-in. I was replying to somebody else’s observation of Mayweather’s physique: “I was thinking about how Floyd’s body looked as he weighed in for Judah, Baldomir & DLH 10-11 years ago vs now. It’s not natural at all. #PED”

Those were my thoughts at the time and I stand by them. Mayweather moved to the welterweight division in November of 2005 (vs. Sharmba Mitchell). Five months later he fought Zab Judah in Las Vegas. I covered that fight for MaxBoxing (and a Canadian fight network) along with Steve Kim. During the outdoor weigh-in by Caesars Palace, I remember pointing out to Kim and our producers that both boxers looked like junior welterweights. Had Mayweather been in his early 20 at the time, I wouldn’t be as suspicious about his body growth over the next 10-11 years, but he was 28 years old at the time. His body was done growing. And to my eyes, his body has grown noticeably bigger during his late 30s, which just doesn’t happen naturally.

Mind you, I’m not talking about muscle definition, or even muscle bulk. I’m talking about his bone structure. His body frame looks bigger. His bones seem thicker. I’m talking about the size of his head. Look at the photos from the Judah weigh-in that I’ve interspersed throughout my response to your question. And look at the photos from the McGregor weigh-in.

Can I ask whether you let your dislike of the man cloud your judgement? Sure, you can, but whether I like or dislike the man, facts are facts. There are known PED red flags attached to Mayweather and if you haven’t noticed the change in his body over the last five-10 years I have to wonder if you’re just giving him a pass.

I ask because it seems that whenever it gets brought up about Pacquiao juicing (which is more suspicious IMO, given the weight classes he climbed whilst keeping his KO power) you almost seem to dismiss it as speculation/people being haters. People have a right to suspect Pacquiao and any other boxer in this era of PED use. I’m less suspicious about Pacquaio because I know that he turned pro at a young age (16). I’m aware that he was likely prepubescent and malnourished while in his teens, and I know his flyweight title win was somewhat of a fluke. I know that he lost the WBC 112-pound title on the scales and that he still starved himself to make junior featherweight even when he moved up in weight (because I used to cover his training and his fights when he first moved to the U.S.). The night he and Mayweather shared a card in San Francisco in 2001, he could have easily fought at 126 pounds or even 130 (the same weight that Floyd fought at back then) had he allowed himself to eat more than one small bowl of soup per day. I’m also aware of other special fighters throughout boxing history that turned pro young and fought in several weight classes as they grew. (Pac’s growth occurred when it was natural for the male body to grow – the teens and early 20s.) These special men – hall of famers such as Ted “Kid” Lewis, Tony Canzoneri and Billy Conn – were world class in several divisions, spanning similar pound ranges as Pacquiao.

Photo / Esther Lin-SHOWTIME

If you do believe Mayweather has been juicing – when do you think it started and what would it do to his legacy overall? I have no idea if he’s really “juicing,” as you put it, or when he started if he is or if he had, but my guess is that it would have begun during his first retirement in 2008 or just before his comeback (against JMM) in 2009. Look at his body (and his head) during his welterweight bouts in 2006 and 2007 and compare it with his physique of recent years.

Did you catch the Gervonta Davis fight? No.

Didn’t seem focused – he kept looking up to the large screens above, then his showboating was odd as well considering he was hardly dishing out a beating. Any idea what was up? Just a guess, immaturity and unprofessionalism.

Badou Jack impressed me with a great all round performance although in saying that Cleverly didn’t offer much in return. Jack is the real deal and a welcome addition to the 175-pound division.

I was really impressed with some of Cotto’s work as well against a game fighter in Kamegai…seriously this guy just keeps charging forward! If Kamegai had his own clothing line, I’d proudly sport it.

Who do you think Cotto should/will fight for his final farewell this year? Honestly, although he looked good against Kamegai, I think he should retire now.

 

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

 

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