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Dougie’s Friday mailbag (potential fights, mythical matchups, judging the judges)

Fighters Network
29
Sep

BOXING WISH LIST

Hi Doug,

Around this time last year, I shared a list of 5 fights I wanted to see most in the coming year, which were:

  1. Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin @ 160 lbs
  2. Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward @ 175 lbs
  3. Vasyl Lomachenko vs Guillermo Rigondeax @ 126 lbs
  4. Manny Pacquiao vs Terence Crawford @ 147 lbs
  5. Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez vs Naoya Inoue @ 115 lbs

In previous years as a fan (17), I would be lucky if I got to see one of these types of fan-favorite fights. But in 2017 we got 3 out of 5! What a great year of boxing it’s been. In fact, if it wasn’t for Chocolatito getting old overnight and bad judging in Australia, we might have gotten all 5 this year.



Looks like the trend of the best fighting the best will continue into 2018. Here is my wish list for 2018:

  1. Anthony Joshua vs the winner of Wilder vs Ortiz
  2. Errol Spence vs Keith Thurman @ 147 lbs
  3. Canelo Alvarez-GGG rematch @ 160 lbs
  4. Micky Garcia vs Jorge Linares @ 135 lbs
  5. Sirsaket Sor Rungvisai vs Nagoya Inoue @ 115 lbs

What is your wish list for the end of the year/2018? – Mike from NJ

That’s a good question. Joshua vs. Wilder is definitely one of them (who knows if Wilder-Ortiz happens now that the Cuban southpaw has failed a drug test for the second time in his career), as is the Golovkin-Alvarez rematch, and I think there’s a very good chance that those fights can be made in 2018. I also believe the Thurman-Spence title unification bout has a good shot of getting done. There’s also a solid chance that we see Sor Rungvisai-Inoue (or perhaps an Inoue-Juan Estrada showdown if the young Mexican vet wins his mandatory shot at Sor Rungvisai) and Linares-Garcia (as the reps of both lightweight standouts have had some preliminary talks).

Who knows, Mike? 2018 could turn out to be more eventful for boxing than 2017 has been so far.

Anyway, back to your original question, the other three fights I’d like to see next year are Thurman-Spence (it will be fun to back One Time while 90% of the boxing world picks The Truth), Linares-Lomachenko (at 135 pounds – especially if Linares-Garcia doesn’t get made), and James DeGale-Gilberto Ramirez (at 168 pounds, ideally with THE RING super middleweight title on the line).

 

DANIEL JACOBS & THE PBC

Hi Doug,

Hope you had a great week with your family. Just saw that Danny Jacobs signed a promotional agreement with Eddie Hearn, I also saw that he will continue to be advised by Al Haymon. Given that Carl Frampton also signed a new promotional contract with somebody else can we safely assume that the PBC is finally going away?

Thanks, have an awesome week! – Juan Valverde

No, I don’t think we should assume anything other than Haymon is doing what he needs to do in order to keep his PBC organization afloat and make his clients happy, and since doing so will likely result in quality matchups for the boxing world to enjoy, I wish him nothing but success in 2018. 

Boxing is at its best when the various power brokers of the sport work together. If doing business with Hearn and HBO results in Jacobs fighting the likes of David Lemieux and the winner of the Golovkin-Alvarez rematch (yeah, I’m gonna assume it happens) next year, everybody – the fighters, the promoters, the management, the networks and especially the fans – wins. If Frampton’s reuniting with promoter Frank Warren and bringing on Mathew Macklin as an advisor results in a showdown with Oscar Valdez next year, I don’t think anyone will bother to wonder about the PBC’s future. They’ll be too busy enjoying the fights.

 

BADOU JACK

Hey Dougie,

Word on the street is that Badou Jack has given up his brand new WBA 175-lb title just days before the purse bid with Dmitry Bivol. What’s up with that? Reminds me of when Peter Quillin gave up his title so he didn’t have to face Matt Korobov. I like Jack, but this just makes him look like he’s running scared. Or is there more to the story? Best. – Brad

From what I’ve been told Jack was “contractually” obligated to drop the WBA “regular” title if he won it from Nathan Cleverly on the Mayweather-McGregor undercard. I guess that was part of the deal Mayweather Promotions made with Eddie Hearn (Cleverly’s promoter). I don’t think Jack is trying to avoid Bivol. He doesn’t strike me as that kind of

Photo by Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

fighter. I just think he’s got his sights on lineal/WBC champ Adonis Stevenson and isn’t really thinking about up-and-comers like the 26-year-old Russian (by way of Kyrgyzstan), who will now face Australia’s Trent Broadhurst for the vacant WBA strap on Nov. 4 in Monte Carlo.

If Bivol (11-0, 9 knockouts) takes care of biz vs. Broadhurst and defends his title against a more notable contender, such as Sullivan Barrera, Marcus Browne or Joe Smith Jr., he will raise his profile enough to merit a showdown with Jack (or one of the other standouts of the 175-pound division, such as former champ Sergey Kovalev)

 

MAILBAG MANIA…

…Or maybe not…

Love the great work you do and passion you have for the sport.  A couple of random items:

  1. Badou Jack vacates?? Why?
  2. Daniel Jacobs to HBO? Why for HBO? Planning next Canelo/GGG opponent?
  3. GGG-if you were him, would you fight in December/January to get the record, knowing there is a good chance you get screwed fighting the entire GBP team–because you KNOW Hopkins says a little prayer every day that GGG loses.
  4. You are king for a day….what one or 2 changes would you make to enhance the sport of boxing?

Thanks. – Donavan

Thanks for the nice words, Donavan. I’ll respond to your questions in order:

Badou Jack vacates?? Why? Like I stated in my previous response, I think that was just the deal he struck when the fight with the now-retired Cleverly was made.

Daniel Jacobs to HBO? Why for HBO? Why not HBO? That’s where familiar foe Golovkin, superstar Canelo, popular slugger David Lemieux, and now former U.S. amateur standout and 154-pound titleholder Demetrius Andrade call home. There’s a lot of high-profile middleweight action that can take place on that network; and Showtime’s calendar is pretty full for the rest of this year and likely for the first quarter of 2018.

Planning next Canelo/GGG opponent? Hopefully that’s the plan.

GGG-if you were him, would you fight in December/January to get the record, knowing there is a good chance you get screwed fighting the entire GBP team–because you KNOW Hopkins says a little prayer every day that GGG loses. LOL. You’re probably right about B-Hop, but, no, if I were Golovkin I’d give my body (and brain) a much-deserved rest for the remainder of 2017. He’s 35 and he went 24 tough rounds with the Nos. 2 and 3 middleweights this year. A third fight in 2017 could cause enough physical erosion to give 27-year-old Canelo the physical edge he needs to do more than merely compete over 12 rounds.

You are king for a day….what one or 2 changes would you make to enhance the sport of boxing? I’d force any referee or judge who’s had more than five awful calls or scorecards to retire, and I’d bring back 15-round championship bouts for all title unifications. By enacting these two measures I believe I would eradicate 75% of the sport’s controversy.

 

LINARES VS. GARCIA

Dougie!

How was the weekend? Hope you enjoyed the action this Saturday.

Jorge Linares vs Mikey Garcia: Dougie, I am one of the few guys in my boxing circle of friends who actually have been arguing that Linares vs Garcia isn’t as easy to call as some would say but it’s hard to argue after Saturday. Now I know Linares showed true grit and has skills in his arsenal but I now really believe in a fight vs Garcia he would be stopped and maybe badly hurt in the process. Not to take away from the fight which I was entertained 100%, Linares is a warrior. What do you think?

Mythical matchups:

Lomenchenko vs Floyd Mayweather Jr at 130

Miguel Cotto vs Felix Trinidad at 154

Fernando Vargas vs Canelo

James Toney vs GGG

Thanks Dougie! Keep up the great writing your one of few left with the gift of boxing knowledge. – Juan Munoz

Thank you for those very kind words, Juan.

Your mythical matchups: I’ll go with Mayweather by close decision, Trinidad by mid-to-late rounds KO, Vargas by close but unanimous decision (or via split decision if it’s in Las Vegas) and Toney by close, perhaps majority decision.

Now I know Linares showed true grit and has skills in his arsenal but I now really believe in a fight vs Garcia he would be stopped and maybe badly hurt in the process. Probably. I favor Garcia in that matchup (and I did so prior to the Luke Campbell fight), but I’d still like to see it.

Not to take away from the fight which I was entertained 100%, Linares is a warrior. What do you think? I think styles make fights, so just because Linares struggled with a rangy, 5-foot-10 southpaw who boxed a controlled, tactical fight, doesn’t mean that he wouldn’t be able to get a lot more done with a shorter, more aggressive orthodox technician like Garcia. However, 12 rounds is a long time not to get caught with at least one flush power shot, and as we all know, Mikey’s a homerun hitter at 135 pounds. Having said that, don’t expect Garcia to be as dominant against Linares as he was against Adrien Broner.

 

SCORING CRITERIA

Yo Dougie,

After the Canelo/GGG draw, and many other puzzling recent decisions, can you shine some light on the scoring criteria? I had a short amateur career (10 fights) back in the day when the scoring was simply punches landed. Of course, there was still a lot of questionable decisions, but at least we knew what they were scoring. The pro Judges are supposed to consider ring generalship, or quality of punches v number of punches, etc., and it seems so subjective.

GGG landed more punches in nearly every round, was the aggressor, and dictated the fight. Canelo landed flashy power punches, looked faster and made GGG miss, but was never able to stop GGG’s attack. Canelo on the other spent parts of every round circling with his back to the ropes.

I’d be better able to complain about a decision if I knew what the Judges were actually considering when they scored then round.

Mythical matchup:

160 lb James Toney v GGG and v Canelo

Thanks! – Tyler

I think Toney beats both middleweights via competitive decision. The Golovkin fight would be very close, though, because of GGG’s jab and workrate. However, in his prime and at his best at 160, Toney was too tough, defensively savvy and sharp with his counter-punching to be overwhelmed by GGG. Canelo could give Toney some trouble with his quickness and lateral movement but I think an in-shape and motivated Lights Out would outwork the Mexican star.  

Regarding the criteria for scoring a professional boxing match, there are four points that judges look for: clean punching, effective aggression, ring generalship and defense.  

It should be simple, as former pro judge and longtime HBO commentator Harold Lederman points out. Clean punching should be paramount. As Lederman put it in this “Hey Harold!” YouTube segment: “Ask yourself who did more damage in that round and give him 10 points.”

That’s how I score professional boxing. If the boxers appear to land an equal amount of clean punches then I move on to the other criteria and I ask myself “Who’s the aggressor?” If there isn’t effective aggression from either side, I ask myself “Who’s the ring general?” If that’s not clear I ask myself “Who’s done a better job of defending themselves?” And if neither have done well in that category (or if both boxers’ defense was equally adequate) then I might have to consider scoring an even (10-10) round. But that’s rare. Usually it’s not that difficult to figure out who had the edge in a given round.  

However, it’s painfully obvious that more than a few professional boxing judges get it twisted. Some, such as Adalaide Byrd, appear to penalize the aggressor, even if he’s landing clean punches and commanding the ring. That’s why we get controversial decision such as Kovalev-Ward I, Murata-Ndam I and the DeGale-Jack draw. Others, such as the two judges that put up 118-110 scores for Joseph Parker in the Hughie Fury fight, over value forward-marching aggression even when the boxer coming forward isn’t landing clean punches or controlling the action.

GGG landed more punches in nearly every round, was the aggressor, and dictated the fight. Agreed. And that was obviously the wrong thing to do in Byrd’s eyes.

Canelo landed flashy power punches, looked faster and made GGG miss, but was never able to stop GGG’s attack. True, but if Golovkin’s attack didn’t seem to hurt, drain or visibly discourage Canelo in a given round, the judges could ascertain that the “flashier” boxer’s punches did more damage.

Canelo on the other (hand) spent parts of every round circling with his back to the ropes. More than a few judges, fans and members of the media believe this what boxing is.

 

MYTHICAL MATCHUP: HOMICIDE HANK VS. THE TOY BULLDOG

henry armstrong-micky walker 147. – Ceylon

Walker by UD. He’s more natural at welterweight, and was tough and strong enough to be world class at middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight, so I know he’d be able to take Armstrong’s power. Plus, he was aggressive and busy enough to match Armstrong’s relentless pressure and volume punching, and also savvy enough to side step Homicide Hank’s attack when he wanted or needed to.

 

ANOTHER MYTHICAL MATCHUP: B-HOP VS. GGG

I know you like it short! Could you please answer me. This don’t have to be in the mailbag… prime Hopkins v ggg.

Thanks! – Pastor Roger

I think the 35-year-old version of Hopkins (the man who put on one of the sweetest boxing clinics of the 2000s against Felix Trinidad) would have clearly outpointed the 35-year-old version of Golovkin that we saw against Canelo on Sept. 16. Hopkins was at his peak at 35. I’m not sure that GGG is.

I don’t know if the mid-to-late 20s version of The Executioner would have defeated the mid-to-late 20s or early 30s version of GGG, but I know it would have been a hell of a fight. Hopkins never shied away from punchers and he was more aggressive in his 20s than he was in his 30s (and certainly his 40s, although he sometimes got down and dirty in his “old age” at light heavy), which could have played into the heavy but technical hands of Golovkin but I think B-Hop’s chin and heart would see him through to the final bell.

 

BAD DECISIONS

Hi Doug,

Love your column. Really looking forward to Wilder/Ortiz – should be a good one while it lasts!

I would love to hear your opinion about the following issue. When judges obviously pick the wrong winner in a fight, why can’t the boxing commission reverse their bad decision? Some good examples recently are GGG/Alvarez and Ward/Kovalev #1 (in Ward/Kovalev #2 ‘The Nutcracker’ should have been disqualified and Tony Weeks should have lost his referee license for ignoring all the low blows).

The worst decision I’ve EVER seen was Holmes/Witherspoon back in the early 80s. There have been many more, especially in the last few years.

Secondly, why aren’t judges who regularly make bad decisions fired?  This is hurting boxing in a big way. Fans are dropping like flies due to bad decisions. I don’t bet on fights but people who do are very upset by this as well! What can be done to fix this????? – Mike

Thanks for the kind words, Mike. Let’s hope Wilder-Ortiz is still on the menu after the Cuban’s failed VADA pre-fight test.

You never see professional boxing judges “fired” after poor scorecards because it’s very hard to prove total incompetence and even harder to prove bias or corruption.  

The best thing that fans and media can do is make a big stink about really bad scorecard(s). If there’s enough sustained public heat on a particular boxing official the overseeing athletic commission will usually bench them or “demote” them to preliminary bouts for a period of time. That happened with veteran Vegas judge Dalby Shirley after the first Barrera-Morales fight (when then-Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Marc Ratner was presented with evidence that Shirley had a string of poor scorecards in high-profile championship bouts) and with referee Russell Mora have his mishandling of Abner Mares’ egregious low blows in the first bout with Joseph Agbeko (during Keith Kizer’s tenure as NSAC executive director).

There was such an uproar after Paul Williams won an undeserved majority decision over Erislandy Lara in 2011 that the New Jersey Athletic Control Board suspended all three judges (indefinitely pending further training). And you may recall the public and media outrage over C.J. Ross’s 114-114 scorecard for Canelo in the Mayweather fight was so intense that she retired.

When judges obviously pick the wrong winner in a fight, why can’t the boxing commission reverse their bad decision? Some good examples recently are GGG/Alvarez and Ward/Kovalev #1 (in Ward/Kovalev #2 ‘The Nutcracker’ should have been disqualified and Tony Weeks should have lost his referee license for ignoring all the low blows). Here’s the thing, Mike, although a slight majority of the public and media thought Golovkin and Kovalev clearly won those fights, a significant number of observers believed that the draw was fair with Canelo-GGG and that Ward legitimately edged out Kovalev. (There are even plenty of folks who think Ward didn’t come close to fouling Kovalev in the rematch.) Members of THE RING editorial board, whose opinions I respect, scored Canelo-Golovkin for Alvarez and Kovalev-Ward I for the unbeaten American. This is a very subjective sport, which makes it difficult to say for sure that an official judge’s scorecard is “wrong,” which makes it all but impossible to overturn what most observers may consider a bad decision.  

One way poor decisions can be avoided is if promoters and managers thoroughly research the officials that are assigned to a bout they are involved with and protest any referee or judge who has a history that might put their fighter at a clearly unfair advantage. For example, Adalaide Byrd had a history of turning in scorecards that seemed to penalize forward-marching aggressors regardless of how effective their pressure was.  

She somehow had Paulie Malignaggi ahead on points after four brutally one-sided rounds against Shawn Porter. Byrd scored the split draw between Gerald Washington and Amir Mansour (that most observers thought Mansour deserved to win based on his effective pressure over the second half of the bout) for the former college football player by a 97-93 margin. She had Jose Benavidez pitching a 10-round shutout against hard-charging Francisco Santana in a bout where “Chia” deserved at least three rounds (if not four for a 96-94 loss or even a draw). She had Austin Trout winning 11 rounds against Miguel Cotto. Not that Trout, who did a lot of sticking-and-moving, didn’t deserve to win that fight, most agree that he clearly outpointed Cotto, but not by that wide of a margin. 

So, this history suggested that there was a realistic chance that Byrd would not view Golovkin’s style of boxing as effective (or even as “boxing”). Thus, Team GGG would have been within their rights to try to have her removed from the bout (or at least voice their concerns to the commission). They generally don’t have to worry about scorecards, so I can understand why they may have overlooked Byrd’s past scorecards, but my guess is that they’ll scrutinize the judges’ track records for future fights (especially the rematch with Canelo).

 

 

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

 

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