Dougie’s Friday mailbag (Joshua vs. Wilder, potential tournaments, Demetirus Andrade, Josh Kelly)
JOSHUA VS. WILDER DEBATE
Hope all is well with you and yours.
I’ll try(!) and keep this brief. With Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder back in action over the next couple of weeks the talk of them meeting in the ring in 2018 has built steadily on social media, driven in no small part by the Bronze Bomber.
Being a proud Brit I’m behind AJ all day and I think he smokes Wilder within 6 rounds, but I’m not writing to you to debate the winner of this future heavyweight showdown.
Rather I am keen on your opinion on Deontay’s mindset and that of the American fans in general when it comes to making the fight. I like Wilder, he seems like a good dude and fair play to him he has tried to step up and fight some top-level opposition in Povetkin and Ortiz but it hasn’t happened for him. But he seems to be missing the point completely when it comes to his value in a potential AJ fight.
We all know AJ is the cash cow. He brings the dollar, with tens of millions guaranteed in a UK fight through Matchroom and Sky. Right now I can tell you that this side of the pond a fight with Wilder would be less attractive to the general public than a fight with Whyte, Bellew, Haye, Parker (who’s had UK exposure) and certainly Fury.
Wilder and the US fans on podcasts and online seem to have the opinion that he is worth either a big guarantee or a decent split but he is bringing no money to the table in either the UK or the US. What I don’t understand is if he is so adamant that he deserves $10m+ or 50/50 then why not have Uncle Al stage the fight in the US and pay AJ the money he gets over here? The reason? Deontay isn’t a draw over there either!!
I just wish someone would have a word in his ear and let him know that if he takes the Whyte fight in the UK in Feb and batters him then it makes him a draw in the AJ fight.
What is your take Dougie? Is he right with his clamouring for the fight on equal (or near equal) footing at present or should he fight Dillian and build the match up?
No worries if this is too long for the bag, would love a response either way if you have time as the online chats on the subject kill me! Keep up the great work, you and Kimster offer so much more than any of the pundits over this side. One love. – Mike, England
Thanks for the kind words, Mike (although I have to note that I think there are many excellent “boxing pundits” on your side of the pond – including the ones that despise me).
I think Wilder has every right to clamor for the Joshua fight and to demand as much money as he can get, and obviously his intense pride is going to cause him to spout some silly s__t on social media and in interviews, but in his heart of hearts he knows that Joshua is the much bigger star. He knows that Joshua is a PPV-level attraction in the U.K. He knows that Joshua fought in front of 90,000 in his last fight and will fight in front of close to 80,000 with this Saturday’s fight in Wales. He knows Joshua sells out the 20,000-seat O2 Arena in London in minutes regardless of who the opponent is. He knows that Showtime and HBO are in a bidding war to televise Joshua’s fights in the U.S. Meanwhile, Wilder is fighting on time-buy broadcasts in the U.S. in front of good crowds (but not sellouts) in Alabama.
If you’re listening to U.S. boxing podcasts that claim Wilder deserves an even split or a big chunk of the total purse against Joshua, then you’re listening to shameless Wilder fans (or PBC cheerleaders, or just good ole fashioned dips__ts).
Bottom line: If Wilder prices himself out of showdown with Joshua next year, he’s an idiot. That fight will be such a big worldwide event that even if he gets 25-30% of the total pot, he’ll still make a career-high payday (and, more importantly, get the opportunity to beat AJ and launch himself into stardom).
If Wilder doesn’t fight Joshua, what else is out there for him? Tyson Fury is still M.I.A. and it will likely take him a year’s worth of tune-ups to get back into fighting shape if and when he does return. Jarrell Miller, who recently switched allegiances from Showtime (the premium cable network that showcases Wilder) to HBO, is dangerous and still low profile despite his bombastic personality. Joseph Parker is co-promoted by Top Rank and will likely be busy with Bob Arum-approved opponents (such as Bryant Jennings) when televised in the U.S. (on ESPN) for the foreseeable future.
Meanwhile, Eddie Hearn is steady creeping up on that WBC title Wilder holds. Hearn’s fighter Dillian Whyte is fighting Robert Helenius in a WBC title-elimination bout on the undercard of Joshua-Takam. I think Whyte will win tomorrow, so, sooner or later, Wilder is going to have to fight the Brixton man if he wants to keep the green strap. I would favor Wilder in that showdown, but guess what? The American could lose that fight, a fight that he wouldn’t make a fraction of what he could make against Joshua.
Wilder’s blessed with the kind of power that makes him live against any heavyweight, so he should look at the big picture and roll the dice against Joshua. If he strikes out, he’ll still make a grip, if he clips AJ he’ll hit the lottery and be able to command an even split or the lion’s share of the purse in the rematch.
QUICK MYTHICAL MATCHUP
Sam Langford vs James Toney 160?
Also if Langford was around today, how successful would he be?
Thanks mate. – Will R.
Toney is one of the very few modern boxers that could have competed in Langford’s era (when pro pugilists fought in 20-round bouts and often complied between 100-200 fights during their careers – “The Boston Tar Baby” fought 314 times during his 24-year career), however I gotta go with Langford by decision in a very good fight. Langford fought at welterweight and middleweight, but like Toney, he was so skilled he could hang with the best heavyweights of his era. However, he fought more often at heavyweight (all of the avoided black contenders of his day – several times each; 18 times against Harry Wills) and, unlike “Lights Out,” the punching power of Langford (who scored 127 KOs in 181 wins) carried up in weight.
Although Langford’s most notable fights were against heavyweights (including Jack Johnson, Joe Jeannette, Sam McVey, Wills and George Godfrey – who he knocked out in two rounds), my guess is that middleweight was probably his most natural division given his body dimensions (a very thick 5-foot-8). He notched victories against middleweight great Stanley Ketchel (a close six-round newspaper decision) and the equally great Tiger Flowers (who he stopped in two); and he also knocked out skilled fellow hall of famer Philadelphia Jack O’Brien, a former light heavyweight champ (who was really more of a middleweight/super middleweight by modern standards).
IS DEMTRIUS ANDRADE REALLY “BACK”?
I hope all is well with you and the family. I just watched the Andrade – Fox fight. Demetrius is a talented boxer for sure, but nothing he did in the ring screamed “I’m back!”. He didn’t look any different to me than he did in his previous bouts on ESPN.
I fast-forwarded a few rounds and then decided to pull the plug it. Smart move, since it gave me time to revisit Haugen-Pazienza I and Brown-Trice I.
Take care. – Scott, Orlando, FL
You can’t go wrong with late ‘80s TV fights. Ever. Those guys made 15 rounders zip by like eight rounders. Andrade and Fox made a 12-round bout feel like a 20 rounder.
I don’t blame you at all for hitting the fast-forward button and then abandoning the showcase bout for a couple oldie-but-goodies.
Having said that, I’m not ready to give up on Andrade. I agree that he didn’t make the statement he needed to make against Fox and I agree that he didn’t look any better than he did during his prospect days on ESPN. However, I’d like to see how he performs against a legitimate middleweight contender. Fox is not a contender, he’s a prospect, and despite his uncommon height, his best weight is probably at 154 pounds, not 160.
I’d like to see what Andrade does with a true 160-pound badass, somebody like Sergey Derevyanchenko or Jermall Charlo or, or even seasoned fringe contender such as Matt Korobov. I think a boxer-puncher of their skillset and physical/athletic prowess will force Andrade to rise to his potential and put forth a crowd-pleasing fight.
And if Andrade can beat one of those three (or a real middleweight who is equally formidable), I think he deserves a shot at Canelo, Golovkin, Jacobs or the Saunders-Lemieux.
WBSS CRUISERWEIGHT SEMIS, FUTURE TOURNEYS
Short and to the point. I love the cruiserweight tournament going on and I am looking forward to the two semifinal matches between four undefeated fighters. I see Usyk taking it all due to his ability to move, high work rate, ring generalship and vast experience going back to the amateurs, but honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if Gassiev, Dorticos or Breidis won it all. I am definitely relishing the Gassier/Dorticos matchup; those are two hard-hitting fellas with bad intentions.
How do you see the rest of the tournament playing out and do you think we can expect more of these in other weight classes in the future? Thanks. – Hammer
I think Usyk will outwork Breidis in a mildly entertaining distance bout, and I see Gassiev wearing down Dorticos in the late rounds of a rousing come-from-behind battle of attrition.
Can we expect more WBSS-style tournaments in other weight classes in the future? I certainly hope so, but I don’t see it happening any time soon in any of boxing’s “glamor divisions.” The heavyweight beltholders command way too much money to be enticed by a tournament and it appears that HBO is signing up the stars of the middleweight division, while Showtime is clearly making a similar commitment to title unifications in the welterweight and junior middleweight divisions. HBO also clearly has interest in all the top dogs of the deep junior bantamweight division, and maybe at light heavyweight too.
The divisions that are open to a WBSS-style tournament have to be reasonably deep with quality fighters who can make for competitive matchups but are also free from exclusive network contracts or obligations (and are aligned with promoters/management that are willing to work with others). I’d love to see eight-man single elimination tournaments with the top dogs of the featherweight and lightweight divisions, but Al Haymon’s got Leo Santa Cruz, Abner Mares, Gary Russell Jr. and Jesus Cuellar at 126, and Mikey Garcia and Robert Easter Jr. at 135; while Top Rank’s got Oscar Valdez (with the possibility of matching him with Carl Frampton) at 126 and Golden Boy has Jorge Linares at 135 and Joseph Diaz Jr. (Russell’s WBC mandatory) at 126, and I just don’t see those power brokers getting together for any multi-fight tournaments.
I think it might be possible for a WBSS-style tournament to take place in the junior welterweight division now that Terence Crawford is on his way up to welterweight. Bud’s absence leaves four major belts vacant and many under-the-radar 140-pound contenders who are pretty much at the same level and desperate for exposure and the opportunity to face other top fighters in their weight class. Sergei Lipinets is already scheduled to face Akihiro Kondo for the vacant IBF title on Nov. 4. The winner of that fight could be joined by Regis Prograis and Amir Imam (who could be in line to fight for the vacant WBC title), Terry Flanagan (if he’s serious about moving up to fight Mo Hooker for the vacant WBO belt), Antonio Orozco (if he can still make the weight), U.K. standouts Jack Catterall and Josh Taylor, and one of Crawford’s former victims – Victor Postol or Julius Indongo. There are some decent matchup in that bunch, and the winner would likely give us another undisputed champ.
Just watched Josh Kelly.
I cannot wait to see how far this kid can go. He looked sensational. I can’t remember the last time I saw a fighter so palpably better than his opponents. Naz perhaps? I guess Dubois is also doing similar things, but there is something about his manner that makes me feel certain he is going places.
I have no idea how good Zuniga is but WOW.
Keep up the good work and, in reference to my letter re: the Charlos, I didn’t mean he was a “bad guy” exactly, I just meant boxing has always been full of tough men from tough places and I suppose my reaction is a part of the sport. There are people we love, and people we love to hate. That’s what makes the sport so compelling. I just didn’t like how he was ‘going on’, as we say here. Where I come from, that shows weakness! Cheers and big respect. – Mark
Thanks Mark. If there’s any weakness in either Charlo brother, I’ve yet to see it in the ring. It’s up to their opponents to bring that out if it exists, but I think it’s going to take an elite-level boxer to beat either. Lucky for you and all of the fans who have decided that they love to hate them, it seems like Jermell and Jermall only want to fight the best fighters in their divisions, so maybe you’ll witness their comeuppances soon – or maybe you won’t, maybe they will evolve into elite “bad guys.
I’ve seen all of Kelly’s fights and I enjoy watching him do his version of the “Naz.” He doesn’t have Naseem Hamed’s one-hitter-quitter power nor does he possess the former featherweight champ’s freakish range of upper-body motion, overall athleticism and agility (or the lefty stance, obviously), but the 23-year-old junior middleweight is clearly an tremendous boxing talent. He’s got excellent speed, reflexes, footwork, balance, hand-eye coordination and more than enough pop on the end of his accurate punches to earn respect in the ring. Due to his cat-like in-and-out movement and constant angles, his ring identity reminds me a little more of an orthodox poor-man’s Lomachenko style than Naz’s very unorthodox search-and-destroy routine. I mean that as a compliment to Kelly, who’s only 4-0 right now, but I feel certain that he’ll develop into world-rated fighter by the end of 2018.
REMEMBER WHEN… ?
Happy 20th to you and the Mrs., brother! I was wondering when we would have some of the great cruiserweight clashes that we did a few years ago. Remember Mormeck v Bell? Holyfield v Anybody (Qawi, specifically)? Toney v Jirov?
I know we’ve had some great scraps at the lower weight classes. SRL is tied with “The Greatest” as my favorites, but it seems the upper weight classes have lost their luster and the public seems to have no interest in them. To what do you attribute this? There doesn’t seem to be any buzz about the current tournament in Europe. – Joseph
Well, we’ve only witnessed the quarterfinals of the WBSS cruiser tourney so far. Now it’s on to the semis, and I think Gassiev-Dorticos has a decent shot of producing the kind of action some of those cruiserweight classics you mentioned delivered.
I think we still get good scraps at the heavier divisions. Wasn’t Joshua-Klitschko fun? Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora went at it for 12 rounds last year, didn’t they? There’ve been too many solid curiser scrap in recent years to mention. Most of them are good fights IMO. I think Carlos Takam might make for a fun fight with AJ tomorrow for however long it lasts. The Sergey Kovalev-Slava Shabranskyy light heavyweight crossroads bout coming up next month should be a heated shootout.
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer