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Dougie’s Friday mailbag (Canelo-GGG extravaganza)

Photo / Tom Hogan
15
Sep

BACK TO BOXING!

Hey Doug,

It’s been a long time, bro! Hope all is well. Back to Boxing:

Every time I see face to face photos of Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez I get the same feeling when Miguel Cotto fought Antonio Margarito in their first fight. An undersized (at the time) Cotto/Canelo fighting a strong minded established long-time Champ who’s been avoided and dodged by primetime fighters, GGG/Margarito. Even the stare downs have an eerie feeling to it, GGG looking down with the confidence of “I’ve been waiting for this moment” and Canelo with the courage of “I’m not afraid to reach greatness.”

Granted, I know Cotto probably has more boxing skills than Canelo and GGG is not a volume fighter like Margarito but some of the key motivators are the same. Cotto / Canelo looking to fulfill greatness and GGG/Margarito looking for mainstream respect.

I also see the fight playing out the same way as well. With Canelo using his speed to win and even dominate the first 4 rounds before rounds 5-7 evening up and 8-12 being dominated by GGG. The only difference is (minus hand wraps) Cotto was able to move (run) the final few rounds and Canelo does not have the legs for that type of fight. GGG will KO or TKO Canelo by the 10th-11th round.

Unfortunately, or fortunately for us, they will both leave something in that ring and will never be the same (Cotto/Margarito). – Frankie from the Bronx

That’s an interesting analogy to this fantastic middleweight championship, Frankie (and it’s good to hear from you, by the way). The atmosphere here in Las Vegas (at the MGM Grand) reminds me a lot of the fight-week for Cotto-Margarito I. Everywhere I look there are hyped-up boxing fans, busy but celebrating members of the media, and interested industry insiders. It’s like a convention for hardcore boxing sickos (and it’s awesome). I think there’s even more of a buzz for Saturday’s showdown than that excellent welterweight clash in 2008 (and there’s no doubt that it will do far bigger PPV and live gate business). 

I think the fight could ultimately end the way you (and many other longtime boxing observers) believe it will, with GGG scoring a stoppage between Rounds 9 and 11, but I’m not sure that the style matchup will play out the way Cotto-Margarito I did.  

Canelo doesn’t stick-and-move the way Cotto was able to back in 2008, and as relentless as Margarito’s pressure was, he wasn’t as skilled as Golovkin is at cutting off the ring. So I don’t think we’re going to get the cat-and-mouse game that played out in the first five rounds of Cotto-Margarito I.  

Photo by Tom Hogan/Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions

I could be wrong, but I think Canelo wants to stand his ground more in the early rounds. That’s why he’s so bulked up, in my opinion. He wants to earn respect early. And even if he does try to punch on the fly as Cotto did, GGG is going to close that ground a lot quicker than Margz did nine years ago. So, whether or not Canelo wants to engage early, I think that’s what fans are going to be treated to, and we’ll see how that plays out. I think Canelo can hold his own by standing his ground.

Every time I see face to face photos of Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez I get the same feeling when Miguel Cotto fought Antonio Margarito in their first fight. That was an entertaining, compelling and dramatic fight, so that’s good news for us if tomorrow night’s showdown turns out to be like it (maybe not so much for Canelo and GGG), but I think there are many key differences between the matchups.

An undersized (at the time) Cotto/Canelo fighting a strong minded established long-time Champ who’s been avoided and dodged by primetime fighters, GGG/Margarito. Margz wasn’t a long-time champ going into the Cotto fight. He had lost his WBO belt to Paul Williams in the summer of 2007. He rebounded from that setback with two victories (a blowout of former lightweight title challenger Golden Johnson and sixth-round KO of familiar foe Kermit Cintron to snag the IBF strap). Meanwhile, Canelo fought comfortably at 164.5 pounds prior to facing GGG, so it’s hard for me to view him as the “little guy” going into this fight. And Cotto was a proven welterweight champ going into the Margarito fight (after dominating performances against Carlos Quintana, Zab Judah and Shane Mosley). Canelo is not nearly as proven at middleweight as Cotto was at 147.

 

CANELO VS. GGG

Hey Dougie,

I’ve been a big fan of yours since way back when; back to the Maxboxing days. However, I’ve never written to the bag before so I’m checking in for the first time. Thanks for making Monday mornings more tolerable and Fridays more exciting. I’ve always respected your opinions, even though I’ve disagreed with you sometimes. Keep up the good work.

Anyway, I cannot wait for September 16, 2017. I cannot see this fight not living up to the hype. First of all, I have to say I respect Canelo for taking this fight instead of Mayweathering his career away. He could have fought safe (older, smaller, etc.) opponents and made millions anyway. However, in my opinion, he’s taken on the toughest fights available and he has not ducked anybody. When this fight was first discussed a couple of years ago, I have to admit that I thought GGG would win this fight relatively easily. However, at this point, I see a 50/50 fight. I think Canelo is still improving and shows different wrinkles to his game every time he fights. He’s improved at slipping punches, countering, and the last fight he threw a lot more combinations, granted it was against Julio Punchingbag Chavez.

As far as the Kazakh Killer, I have really not seen any improvement, if at all, since making his US debut. His last two fights, he’s looked more vulnerable because the last two fighters he fought were the two most talented fighter’s he’s fought in his career. I think Canelo will do better than Jacobs at earning GGG’s respect early by landing some solid blows early and start investing to the body. GGG is an intelligent fighter; he felt some of Jacobs power and that’s why he did not go for broke against him like he did with Special K; he also boxed Lemieux cautiously before taking him out. My point is, if he gets touched, he’s going to be more hesitant and/or more sporadic in letting his hands go, which can be a huge factor if it goes to the cards, as you predict it will.

Anyway, it’s a pick em fight and my mind says it’s a 50/50 fight and my heart says Canelo wins. One final point, I’m sure if Canelo does win, the haters will not give him enough credit and say that GGG was overrated all along. Regardless of outcome, I think boxing will win on September 16.

Sorry for the long-winded email, enjoy the fight, take care. – Jesus from Ruskin, FL

You don’t have to apologize for being long-winded, Jesus. I’m the most long-winded person I know. (I have no idea why anyone ever bothers to interview me on camera; I’m such a rambling nerd.) Anyway, thanks for the kind words about the mailbag and for finally writing in. Don’t be a stranger going forward.

You’re not alone in viewing Canelo-GGG as a 50-50 fight. I shouldn’t be surprised by the number of fans and media that are confidently picking the redheaded Mexican star to win here in Las Vegas, but I am. I guess that’s because I see it more as a 60-40 fight (in GGG’s favor). But, I’ll say this, I won’t be in terribly surprised if Canelo pulls it off. (Now, if he somehow knocks GGG out, I’ll be shocked s__tless as my mother used to say.)

Regarding the so-called fans who will still refuse to give Canelo credit and those haters that will claim GGG is overrated, please join me in telling them to shut the f__k up before muting and blocking them into oblivion on social media and comment sections.

I cannot wait for September 16, 2017. Well, it is upon us, brotha!

I cannot see this fight not living up to the hype. Me neither.

First of all, I have to say I respect Canelo for taking this fight instead of Mayweathering his career away. “Mayweathering”… I love how you turned his name into a verb that describes a fighter taking the safe route. I’m gonna use that term, if you don’t mind.

He could have fought safe (older, smaller, etc.) opponents and made millions anyway. However, in my opinion, he’s taken on the toughest fights available and he has not ducked anybody. He faced two No. 1-rated fighters (Trout and Lara) and one future first-ballot hall of famer (Mayweather) at junior middleweight; and now he’s facing the consensus No. 1-rated middleweight after outpointing the lineal/RING champ (Cotto, who is also a first-ballot future hall of famer). That’s not too shabby, in my opinion. Now, if some want to piss on him for taking a year and half to agree to face GGG (after beating Cotto), well, that’s their prerogative (but I think those fans are acting like insecure, whiney little b__ches).

When this fight was first discussed a couple of years ago, I have to admit that I thought GGG would win this fight relatively easily. You were not alone in that opinion.

However, at this point, I see a 50/50 fight. You’re not alone in THAT opinion.

I think Canelo is still improving and shows different wrinkles to his game every time he fights. I agree. I think he’s steadily improved since the Mayweather disappointment, and has markedly improved since the Cotto performance (which was also a little bit underwhelming).

He’s improved at slipping punches, countering, and the last fight he threw a lot more combinations, granted it was against Julio Punchingbag Chavez. Agreed. I think Canelo’s sharpness (speed, power and accuracy) helped put Chavez in a shell (along with the former middleweight titleholder’s struggle to make weight and general lack of pride and professionalism).

Golovkin displayed impeccable technique and form during his systematic breakdown of Lemiuex in October 2015.

As far as the Kazakh Killer, I have really not seen any improvement, if at all, since making his US debut. I’ve seen A LOT of improvement. I think GGG steadily progressed from his HBO debut five years ago through 2015. However, I think he plateaued physically in 2014 and technically in 2015. I don’t think he’s declined since 2015, but I don’t think he’s gotten any better. Still, where he’s at now is enough to be the king of the 160-pound division until someone can kick his ass.

His last two fights, he’s looked more vulnerable because the last two fighters he fought were the two most talented fighter’s he’s fought in his career. That’s true. I also believe that Golovkin was frustrated with the business side of the sport and not as mentally dialed in as he should have been for Brook and Jacobs.

I think Canelo will do better than Jacobs at earning GGG’s respect early by landing some solid blows early and start investing to the body. So do I.

GGG is an intelligent fighter; he felt some of Jacobs power and that’s why he did not go for broke against him like he did with Special K; he also boxed Lemieux cautiously before taking him out. True.

My point is, if he gets touched, he’s going to be more hesitant and/or more sporadic in letting his hands go, which can be a huge factor if it goes to the cards, as you predict it will. And when have I ever been wrong?

 

CHECKING IN AFTER THE STORM

Hi Dougie,

I am getting back to normal after the hurricane and just got power back. I missed Super Fly because of the storm but I have to say that although Chocolatito looked a little out of sorts, Rungivasi was much much stronger and I give him credit for the win. Chocalito was reaching in that weight class.

GGG-Canelo: I will keep it brief. This will follow the script of the Lemieux fight. GGG will use his jab and outbox Canelo for the first 6 rounds to set up the knock out in the last quarter of the fight. Canelo might be strong enough but he is not in GGG class. I have been reading a lot about Canelo having good defense; I don’t see it. He seems to have limited feet and little head movement, perhaps you could explain if I am wrong. All the best. – Aaron in Miami

You’re right about Canelo’s feet being heavy (which is one of the reasons tomorrow’s showdown is probably going to be an action fight), but you’re wrong about his head movement. He’s got a lot of head movement, not a little, and he’s excellent at it. He’s pretty good with his overall upper-body movement, too, plus his ability to block and counter.

I disagree with your claim that Canelo is not in Golovkin’s class. He may not have GGG’s decorated amateur background but he’s got 15 more pro bouts (and, more importantly, 181 more professional rounds) and he’s learned from that experience. It’s a mistake to compare Canelo with Lemieux. Canelo doesn’t rely on his power as much as the Montreal native. He’s got a much better jab, sharper punching technique and more accuracy. Canelo’s also a much better counter puncher. 

It’s going to be a lot harder for GGG to dominate Canelo with his jab than it was with Lemmy because of the lineal champ’s jab, head-movement and counter-punching prowess.

I am getting back to normal after the hurricane and just got power back. I’m glad to hear that you didn’t suffer any serious losses in the storm, Aaron.

I missed Super Fly because of the storm but I have to say that although Chocolatito looked a little out of sorts, Rungivasi was much much stronger and I give him credit for the win. That’s all anyone can – and should – do.

Chocolatito was reaching in that weight class. Yes, he was, God Bless him, and he finally hit the wall – a wall named Wisaksil Wangek.

 

NOT AS COMPETITIVE AS GBP SAYS IT WILL BE

Hi Doug,

Hope everything’s well, still in shock about Chocolatito’s KO loss. It’s always a sight when a legend is laying down on the ground with all his senses gone. Props to Sor Rungvisai for a great performance. Long live the new king.

On the GGG-Canelo fight; as you know I’m a big Golovkin fan. As you also know I’m also Mexican, so rooting for him isn’t easy as everybody around me is saying I’m a traitor. To me it doesn’t matter, I’ll root for who I want. I don’t hate Canelo, I think he’s a pretty good fighter and if he wins convincingly all respect to him. It’s good for the sport to have a legitimate superstar who can back it up with a good record.

To be honest I don’t see this fight being as close as people make it to be. I think Oscar, the press and all those shiny promos have made this fight look more competitive than it probably is. I just can’t see Canelo, a guy who couldn’t hurt Cotto, couldn’t find a way to KO a “costal” (punching bag) in Chavez Jr, and has pretty much fought smaller and older guys in the last three years being able to hurt a GGG, who got hit with some murderous shots by Jacobs, a natural puncher and big middleweight. If he can’t gain his respect he won’t be able to keep him away and that’s what’s going to make this fight a one sided brutal beating. The only guy who was his size and in his prime that he recently fought was Liam Smith. How does that prepare you for this? Sorry, can’t see it.

Now I could be wrong, and that’s why they fight the fights; who knows, maybe this is the fight Canelo shows us, the non-believers, that he truly is a legend. That would also be awesome. For now, I see this as a slow methodical beating by Gennady starting with the jab and slowly building up his attack until the corner says enough between the 9th and 11th rounds. Thanks Doug, enjoy the fights! – Juan Valverde

That seems to be the pick/prediction of most longtime boxing fans. The matchup does have the look of a grueling battle of attrition, and GGG seems to be the fighter with the physical tools and style to come out victorious in that kind of fight.

However, I don’t think you’re giving Canelo enough credit for his poise, experience, speed, power, durability and boxing ability. If Curtis Stevens and David Lemieux can earn Golovkin’s respect in the early rounds, Canelo certainly can. 

Can Canelo keep Golovkin careful and cautious for 12 rounds, as Daniel Jacobs did? That remains to be seen. However, I think the fact that Canelo isn’t as big, athletic and mobile as Jacobs kind of forces the Mexican star to stand his ground in an attempt to earn respect from the get-go. Part of the reason Jacobs wasn’t able to get the decision against Golovkin was because he didn’t start committing to his punches until after he survived the knockdown (and even then, it took him a few rounds to get into a groove). I could be wrong, but I think Canelo will enter the ring with more confidence than Jacobs had early on, and he’ll seek to land damaging blows from the onset of the contest.

Hope everything’s well, still in shock about Chocolatito’s KO loss. I’m over it. I don’t think he has any reason to be down or to feel ashamed because he’s put together a hall-of-fame career, so why should I be shocked or bummed out about his being knocked out? The only thing that’s pissed me off is the lack of respect Gonzalez has received from certain corners of the boxing world. I’d like to take this opportunity to continue to point out that those people are pure GARBAGE.

Props to Sor Rungvisai for a great performance. Long live the new king. Indeed, and he’s worthy of being lauded because he’s a Warrior King.

On the GGG-Canelo fight; as you know I’m a big Golovkin fan. Yes, I know. You’re part of a pretty big club.

As you also know I’m also Mexican, so rooting for him isn’t easy as everybody around me is saying I’m a traitor. Are they going to revoke your “Mexican card” if Canelo wins? Just kidding. Tell those people to f__k off. This is just a sporting event. It’s not that serious.

To me it doesn’t matter, I’ll root for who I want. Damn straight! What’s the point of being a fan if you can’t openly back the fighters that you enjoy watching/respect?

I don’t hate Canelo, I think he’s a pretty good fighter and if he wins convincingly all respect to him. You better give him his due credit if he wins, or I’LL be the one to yank that Mexican card. LOL.

It’s good for the sport to have a legitimate superstar who can back it up with a good record. I think it’s good for the sport that this fight is happening, it will be even better if the fight delivers, and it really doesn’t matter who wins. But that’s just my opinion.

To be honest I don’t see this fight being as close as people make it to be. That’s OK. You’re allowed to do that.

I think Oscar, the press and all those shiny promos have made this fight look more competitive than it probably is. Maybe. But maybe they’re right on and you’re just trying too hard to be cynical (as usual).

I just can’t see Canelo, a guy who couldn’t hurt Cotto, couldn’t find a way to KO a “costal” (punching bag) in Chavez Jr., and has pretty much fought smaller and older guys in the last three years being able to hurt a GGG, who got hit with some murderous shots by Jacobs, a natural puncher and big

middleweight. I don’t think Canelo really tried to put a hurt on Cotto (who he has a lot of respect for), who boxed in an evasive manner that GGG certainly will not, and I don’t think he minded going the full 12 against Chavez Jr. (who he didn’t respect, but was also using as a test subject for fighting above 155 pounds). I could be wrong, but it seemed to me that Canelo wanted to experience what it was like to go the distance after weighing in nine and half pounds heavier than he ever had before. And although Golovkin was able to take everything Jacobs dished out, keep in mind that the talented American was often punching on the fly and not planting his feet in the manner that Canelo will.

If he can’t gain his respect he won’t be able to keep him away and that’s what’s going to make this fight a one-sided brutal beating. I don’t think Canelo has to seriously hurt Golovkin to gain his respect. And though this fight could ultimately turnout to be a brutal beating for the younger man, I seriously doubt that it will be a one-sided contest.

The only guy who was his size and in his prime that he recently fought was Liam Smith. Are you telling me that Austin Trout and Erislandy Lara were smaller than Canelo? I disagree.

How does that prepare you for this? It doesn’t, but 52 professional fights and 353 rounds might.

 

BEATING GGG TO THE PUNCH

Hey Dougie, just wanted to toss my two cents in on the big fight this Saturday.

Conventional wisdom seems to be that if Canelo is going to win this fight, it will likely be via decision. In my opinion, this is unlikely given the discrepancy in punch output between the two fighters. Golovkin is too active and accurate (especially with his jab) to be outworked over the distance. I don’t buy that Canelo’s counterpunching will make GGG gun shy. GGG don’t operate that way.

For Canelo to win this fight (and he certainly can), I think he’s gotta go in there with a kill or be killed approach. That means standing toe to toe with GGG and looking to snipe him with sharp power shots between GGG’s sometimes looping hooks.

While it’s true GGG has a world class chin, anyone’s chin can get cracked if they get caught with a counter mid punch. (As we observed last week with Chocolatito getting caught while throwing his right.)

Anyways, I’m done writing Canelo off. I still favor GGG by decision or late tko but Canelo can definitely take him out.

I sure hope not though, having my two favorite active fighters KO’d in back to back weeks might cause me to go into boxing exile for a bit and work on school papers instead of mailbag submissions… – Jack E.

Don’t say that, Jack! I mean, I know education is important for our youth, and it’s your job to help enlighten their little minds, but boxing needs you too!

The “Big Drama Show” and “Little Drama Show” are my top two favorite active fighter, too, but if Golovkin suffers his first “L” one week after Gonzalez was chopped down, so be it. I can’t get too depressed or disappointed because they always gave their all and I know they weren’t facing slouches.

Conventional wisdom seems to be that if Canelo is going to win this fight, it will likely be via decision. Yup, especially after Adaliade Byrd, Don Trella and Dave Moretti were announced as the official judges, and Kenny Bayless got the referee job.

In my opinion, this is unlikely given the discrepancy in punch output between the two fighters. Golovkin is too active and accurate (especially with his jab) to be outworked over the distance. You make a very good point. Canelo has always let his hands go sporadically.

I don’t buy that Canelo’s counterpunching will make GGG gun shy. GGG don’t operate that way. Golovkin is a card-carrying badass with world-class whiskers and an iron will to prevail, but he’s not looking to get clocked by anyone who can do serious damage. He took backward steps when he needed to against Stevens, Lemieux and Jacobs, and he’ll likely do the same against Canelo. That won’t mean he’s “gun shy,” he’ll just be boxing smart as he seeks to break Canelo down.

For Canelo to win this fight (and he certainly can), I think he’s gotta go in there with a kill or be killed approach. He’s been saying that he’s going for the knockout all week, and he’s not one to bulls__t.

That means standing toe to toe with GGG and looking to snipe him with sharp power shots between GGG’s sometimes looping hooks. I think he’s going to attempt to do this – be on the lookout for Canelo’s uppercut when they’re in close – and we’re going to be treated to some high-quality prize fighting as a result.

While it’s true GGG has a world class chin, anyone’s chin can get cracked if they get caught with a counter mid punch. True.

Anyways, I’m done writing Canelo off. It’s about f__kin’ time, Jack!

I still favor GGG by decision or late tko but Canelo can definitely take him out. I have a hard time envisioning that, but evidently, Canelo doesn’t. We’ll find out if he can tomorrow night. (Isn’t this exciting!?!)

 

STUFF IN THE BASEMENT

Hi Dougie,

Long time no write but this (too rarely made) monumental match-up between two elite boxers in their primes got my itch to write going. In fact, it even got me to dust off the old Reyes gloves to go 10 rounds on the heavy bag in the garage. Maybe I still got some stuff in the basement…  Maybe at 40, I just haven’t peaked yet…

I’ll be heading to Vegas on Saturday so I did a little film study on Canelo and GGG in order to make an educated wager.  I think most people would agree that a year ago, GGG would have been a heavy favorite to stop Canelo.  Today, the fight is considered even due to Canelo’s progression shown in his wins over Khan, Liam Smith and Chavez Jr, as well as GGG’s apparent slippage against Wade, Brook and most significantly Jacobs.

I see from the RingTV fight page that you picked GGG by decision. I agree as well as I think GGG’s supposed slippage is overstated, even if Canelo’s improvement is legit. I think it will be a close entertaining fight with back and forth action that will be decided by slim margin.

  1. Do you agree that GGG’s showing against Jacobs isn’t really slippage and his struggle isn’t a factor in this fight since Canelo fights nothing like Jacobs?
  2. I don’t think the referee (Kenny Bayless) will be a factor as neither fighter fights dirty. What do you think of the judges (Byrd, Moretti, Trella) in terms of which fighter’s style they would favor, if any?
  3. Who you got in Rojo vs. Martin and Caballero vs. De La Hoya?

If you see a short, bald, 40-year-old Asian guy waving and smiling at you like a Justin Bieber fan in Vegas this weekend, don’t be afraid to wave back, it’s probably me.

Keeping doing the great work, I stopped writing in but I never stopped reading! – JL, San Diego

Thanks JL. Do not be a stranger. I’ll stop and chat as long as I’m not late for a production meeting or live stream.

I see from the RingTV fight page that you picked GGG by decision. Yes Sir, and I’m sticking with that pick (although the I am a little nervous about the officials).

I agree as well as I think GGG’s supposed slippage is overstated, even if Canelo’s improvement is legit. I think it will be a close entertaining fight with back and forth action that will be decided by slim margin. You and I view Golovkin, Canelo and this matchup the same way.

Do you agree that GGG’s showing against Jacobs isn’t really slippage and his struggle isn’t a factor in this fight since Canelo fights nothing like Jacobs? I agree 100%.

I don’t think the referee (Kenny Bayless) will be a factor as neither fighter fights dirty. What do you think of the judges (Byrd, Moretti, Trella) in terms of which fighter’s style they would favor, if any? I have no idea, JL. I wish I did, but I can’t predict how these veteran judges (and referees) are going to perceive things. But I’ve followed and covered boxing long enough to know there’s a good chance that at least one of the will bend over backwards for the star of the show (which is Canelo). But I’m keeping my fingers crossed that judges get it right and Bayless doesn’t favor either fighter during the fight.

Who you got in Rojo vs. Martin and Caballero vs. De La Hoya? I like Martin by decision, and I have no idea who wins Caballero-De La Hoya. Caballero is the stronger fighter and the more mature and battle-tested of the two junior featherweights. De La Hoya is faster, more mobile and he’s got the better momentum coming into the fight because of his activity (he’s fought 11 times since 2015, this is his third fight of 2017, while Caballero has only fought twice in that time). Caballero has big chip on his shoulder for this fight; I’ve never seen him so motivated, but De La Hoya is a fiercely proud competitor who’s used to having a target on his back. Flip a coin on this one.

 

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