Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Joshua-Takam feedback, Joshua-Wilder anticipation)
JOSHUA FORTUNATE TAKAM AIN’T TYSON
Last night’s bout in Cardiff turned out to be a lot tougher and more revealing than expected. Carlos Takam was the best opponent Anthony Joshua had faced who was closet to his peak. Wladimir Klitschko, at 41 when they fought, was a good 7-8 years past his peak. Takam’s head movement & upper body roll made it possible for him to stand in the pocket and avoid most of what was coming his way.
After last night’s fight there must be a few of the big guys who are licking their lips. Deontay Wilder for one will have renewed confidence after seeing how clumsy the Brit looked offensively and how the very short Takam was able to reach Joshua and make him hold. A fit and motivated Tyson Fury would give last night’s version of Joshua a boxing lesson. However, I don’t think we will ever again see the version of Fury who faced Klitschko.
Apart from Wilder & a fit Fury, the HW landscape is pretty thin in talent and there is very little real threat to Joshua. As for Larry Holmes telling Joshua he would have KO’d a prime Mike Tyson….Can you imagine the carnage if the guy ducking and weaving in front of Joshua last night was a prime Tyson? Cheers. – Philip du Plessis, Gloucester, UK
Maybe what Holmes means is that Joshua has the physical and mental potential to develop into the kind of heavyweight juggernaut that could have stopped a prime Tyson. AJ’s not there yet – not even close – but we must keep in mind that the 28-year-old IBF/WBA titleholder only has 20 bouts under his belt and has still yet to go the 12-round distance. He’s got a lot to learn, and most of his education will take place during tough fights like the one he had against Takam.
Prime Iron Mike would have quickly turned the version of Joshua we saw on Saturday into Frank Bruno. But if AJ learns to mix a little bit of Larry’s game into his George Foreman 2.0 style, he’ll be able to deal with technically sound pit bulls like Tyson. But to do that, he’s gotta lose some of that bulk to increase his stamina and punch output (primarily his jab).
Carlos Takam was the best opponent Anthony Joshua had faced who was closet to his peak. Arguably. Takam is a tough assignment for any heavyweight, including Wilder. Joseph Parker already knew that. I wasn’t among the Armchair Eddie Futches that thought AJ would whack the Cameroonian out early. I thought the fight would AT LEAST go eight rounds. (I was hoping it would go 12, but referee Phil Edwards wasn’t gonna let that happen.)
Wladimir Klitschko, at 41 when they fought, was a good 7-8 years past his peak. More like 3-4 years past his ATHLETIC peak. He didn’t begin to really show his age until the Bryan Jennings and Fury fights. Regardless, Dr. Steel Hammer knew how to box and fight and came to win the night he faced Joshua.
Takam’s head movement & upper body roll made it possible for him to stand in the pocket and avoid most of what was coming his way. You think Takam avoided “most of what was coming his way”? Really? I think the reality is that the challenger dodged SOME of AJ’s punches, but he was not able to slip enough to avoid getting dropped in Round 4 and repeatedly wobbled throughout the fight, nor was he slick enough to spare his face some serious damage above
his eyes. And Takam didn’t land enough quality punches to win more than two rounds (if that). But he was tough (as expected) and crafty/cagey (not as expected). I thought he had made a mistake circling away from Joshua in the early rounds, but his moderate success in some of the mid-to-late rounds (Round 7, in particular) made me realize that his strategy was the to take “green” giant into the late rounds and try to seize his heart in uncharted waters. Had he made it through Round 10 with serious harm, I thought Joshua might be sternly tested in the championship rounds.
After last night’s fight there must be a few of the big guys who are licking their lips. Yeah, probably, and most of them would probably get their asses kicked by Takam.
Deontay Wilder for one will have renewed confidence after seeing how clumsy the Brit looked offensively and how the very short Takam was able to reach Joshua and make him hold. Good! Hopefully he takes that confidence into his rematch with Bermane Stiverne this Saturday, makes a statement while taking care of that mandatory business, and then does the right thing and makes the fight with Joshua.
A fit and motivated Tyson Fury would give last night’s version of Joshua a boxing lesson. You’re probably right about this.
However, I don’t think we will ever again see the version of Fury who faced Klitschko. By the time Fury finally gets his s__t together Joshua may very well have developed into the juggernaut that Larry Holmes believes he can be.
CARLOS TAKAM IS THE REAL DEAL
Hope you’re well.
Who is Carlos Takam? One hard as they come MF!!!
With blood pouring into both eyes, he took everything AJ dishes out. This is AJ who was bigger than ever, and with the experience of that mega fight with Wlad.
Takam didn’t really get wobbled and kept coming back! Engine was solid too! This guy is the real deal!
Suspect use of the head? Or is this what you get when you bob and weave up close?
AJ was always gonna win, however he had a guy in front of him who he couldn’t just blast out of here, was hard to hit, and was clever enough to fire back. AJ kept his cool and finished the job like the champion he is.
Do you think he ticked some more boxes or showed chinks in the armour?
In my humble opinion I think a bit of both. Would Kubrat Pulev really have been a harder night’s work? Maybe I think. Pulev has certainly mixed with higher caliber fighters than Takam.
Takam also showed a lot of class in the build-up and after the fight. The British fans rightly showed their appreciation after the fight. Really hope to see this guy in big fights again soon. I think he is a nightmare for any of the top guys.
What do you think of the following matchups?
Takam Vs Whyte?
Takam Vs Parker?
Takam Vs Miller?
As of April 2017.
Wilder Vs Wlad? (Wilder injury’s aside)
Speaking of Wilder, how do you think he viewed AJ and Whyte’s performances this weekend?
Dillian struggled with a tall rangy Helenius’s negative fighting style. Wilder’s got the perfect opportunity to make the statement they did not next weekend. Do you think he will?
Love the mail bag! Keep up the good work! – Tabraze, London
Thanks, Tabraze. I’ll try.
I think it’s very possible that Wilder will make a statement against Stiverne in their undesirable rematch this Saturday in Brooklyn. Stiverne has fought once since his lackluster performance against Wilder in January 2015, a close 10-round decision against gatekeeper Derric Rossy – and the former WBC beltholder was dropped in the first round. Stiverne is inactive and pushing 40. Wilder is 32 and in his prime. He should take care of biz in decisive fashion on Saturday. If he can’t, well, then he should bother talking any s__t about Joshua.
Takam didn’t really get wobbled and kept coming back! Engine was solid too! This guy is the real deal! Um, well, he’s the “Real Deal” of heavyweight gatekeepers. There’s no doubt about that. On a good night, he can give anyone in the top 10 hell, and he can beat most of the lower 10. I thought he was wobbled a few times, but there’s no questioning Takam’s chin or resolve.
Suspect use of the head? Or is this what you get when you bob and weave up close? I thought it was suspect. He just came straight in with it. He wasn’t bobbing and weaving his way in during those early rounds.
AJ was always gonna win, however he had a guy in front of him who he couldn’t just blast out of here, was hard to hit, and was clever enough to fire back. Takam gave Joshua what my colleague Steve Kim likes to call “professional resistance.” All developing combat sports athletes need this in order to take the next step in their careers.
AJ kept his cool and finished job like the champion he is. Yes, he did, with an unnecessary assist from the referee.
Do you think he ticked some more boxes or showed chinks in the armour? In my humble opinion I think a bit of both. I humbly agree with your humble opinion. He dealt well with the head butts and the busted nose, paced himself well and figured out how to land power shots on short cagey veteran. But his lack of a consistent jab and overall punch output are areas that need work.
Would Kubrat Pulev really have been a harder night’s work? I don’t think so.
Pulev has certainly mixed with higher caliber fighters than Takam. True, but can he take a shot like Takam?
Takam also showed a lot of class in the build-up and after the fight. He’s classy, just like AJ.
The British fans rightly showed their appreciation after the fight. You blokes are alright in my book.
What do you think of the following matchups? I think they’re good fights. Where can I buy tickets?
Takam Vs Whyte? I slightly favor Whyte by close decision. I think his jab is the difference.
Takam Vs Parker? I liked the first fight – the first real gut check for Joseph – I think Takam can beat him in a rematch.
Takam Vs Miller? I like Takam by close decision if the judges are honest.
As of April 2017.
Wilder Vs Wlad? Klitschko by late TKO.
Speaking of Wilder, how do you think he viewed AJ and Whyte’s performances this weekend? I don’t think he was impressed. Just like I’m sure they weren’t impressed with his performances against Eric Molina, Johann Duhaupus and Gerald Washington.
JOSHUA-TAKAM AND 2018
Hey Dougmeister G!
Hope you and yours are well, still loving my routine Monday/Friday lunchtime reads on the mailbag, keep up the good work my friend!
Love to hear your views on AJ and his title defence that, as I write, I’ve just finished watching, which turned out to be a trickier affair than most of us thought it would be.
Another learning fight for the Champ I feel, and it felt like he never really got out of 1st gear tonight which was a shame. That may well be down to the late change of opponent and slight complacency, but it kind of felt like a bit of a sparring session at times. Joshua really failed to cut the ring off at times which was slightly alarming, and his ring generalship was poor for prolonged periods. Having said that he got the job done, and as he said it’s on to 2018 and hopefully big fights featuring Wilder/Parker and who knows late 2018 Fury?! (I live a very short distance from Fury and was behind him in the local store the other day, believe me when I say he does NOT look in any decent shape).
Don’t understand Fury. He would surely demand £10 million plus for the AJ fight, it would be possibly the biggest British fight of all time, and he has the chance to go down as a heavyweight great if he beats AJ, and yet the guy just doesn’t seem to want any of it at all. The division is poorer without him, so here’s hoping he gets his s*** together soon!
As for Takam, he was immense in his professionalism and heart, coming in on 12 days notice against arguably the most fearsome puncher in world boxing. The referee was a little premature on jumping in taking into account it’s a world title fight and didn’t look in real trouble, however there was only one winner in this fight and it felt like an inevitability that AJ was going to end it sooner rather than later. Nevertheless I think he can hold his head high, and I’d like to see him and perhaps Dillian Whyte share a ring in the near future, it seems like a good matchup. What did you make of his performance?
Did you watch/enjoy the AJ fight Doug? How do you assess the health of heavyweight boxing at the moment? I kind of feel it’s still 2 or 3 bonafide hard hitting contenders away from being the traditional blue ribbon division of boxing, and it hasn’t really grown as much as I’d wanted this year even with the AJ/Vlad matchup, given the Ortiz/Povetkin/Pulev issues.
Love to hear your thoughts! – Dan, UK
How do I assess the health of the heavyweight division? I think the future is bright because Joshua, who is obviously still a work in progress, just turned 28 (and heavyweights typically don’t peak until their early 30s). And AJ just happens to be one of the biggest attractions in the sport (if not THE biggest attraction). Wilder, for all of his flaws and lack of top-contender opposition, adds a lot of pizazz to the division.
However, I don’t view it as particularly deep division. After AJ and Wilder, who else is in the top five? Parker doesn’t appear to have evolved much since his prospect days. I don’t know what to think of Povetkin given the controversy of his drug tests and his age (38). He still looks like a top heavyweight, but is he ever going to fight outside of Russia and will his promoter be able to entice another top contender to face him there if he’s unwilling to travel? And Pulev is a bit of a retread in my view. If you take a gander at the lower half of THE RING’s top 10, you’ll find Andy Ruiz Jr. (who hasn’t fought since dropping a close decision to Parker last December), Whyte, Dominic Breazeale, Jarrell Miller and Tony Bellew. No disrespect to those men, but who have they defeated to be considered top contenders? However, it’s hard to come up with worthy replacements for any of them. (Go ahead, give it a try.)
Another learning fight for the Champ I feel, and it felt like he never really got out of 1st gear tonight which was a shame. AJ is methodical, no doubt about it, but remember that Takam was in retreat for the first three rounds and didn’t start to stand his ground until Round 6. Most fighters aren’t going to shift gears unless they’re in with someone who forces them to. Takam wasn’t that guy.
Having said that he got the job done, and as he said it’s on to 2018 and hopefully big fights featuring Wilder/Parker and who knows late 2018 Fury?! I think Wilder fight will happen by late 2018, if not by next summer (fingers crossed). Maybe we’ll get Joshua-Parker (or Wilder-Parker) but I don’t feel there’s any great demand for that matchup (I’ll gladly take it, though). Fury-Joshua is a fantasy matchup at the moment.
Don’t understand Fury. He would surely demand £10 million plus for the AJ fight, it would be possibly the biggest British fight of all time, and he has the chance to go down as a heavyweight great if he beats AJ, and yet the guy just doesn’t seem to want any of it at all. I think he does but he’s got his licensing issues with the BBBofC and UKAD and he’s not the kind of boxer who’s going to train unless he’s got a fight scheduled. It’s not a very professional attitude but a lot of pro athletes are like that and it doesn’t mean they aren’t proud (or successful) competitors.
The division is poorer without him, so here’s hoping he gets his s*** together soon! I agree, and I’m rooting for him, but I also know that dealing with mental illness is not that easy (who knows how long this mess with the BBBofC/UKAD is going to stretch out).
As for Takam, he was immense in his professionalism and heart, coming in on 12 days notice against arguably the most fearsome puncher in world boxing. I think Wilder is a more fearsome puncher than Joshua, but major props to Takam for not just showing up and saving the show, but actually trying to get something done in there with Heir Apparent.
The referee was a little premature on jumping in taking into account it’s a world title fight and didn’t look in real trouble, however there was only one winner in this fight and it felt like an inevitability that AJ was going to end it sooner rather than later. The biggest problem I have with the timing of the referee’s stoppage is that we’ll never know what would have happened after that moment.
What did you make of his performance? Takam’s? Overall, I was impressed. I wasn’t surprised at all that he was able to take Joshua rounds, but I wasn’t expecting his evasive tactics in early rounds or his effective lateral movement and defensive ability in the mid-to-late rounds. He wasn’t effective enough to win any rounds on my scorecard, but he was gradually making the fight interesting as the big men worked toward the championship rounds. I will not just view him as a “tough nut” going forward. I look at him as a cagey veteran gatekeeper or fringe contender and I consider him to be a player in the division.
BOMBING THE COLOSSUS
Joshua needs to stop “growing.”
I say Wilder’s jab and cardio will beat Joshua’s “form” and muscles. I think Wilder might hit harder too but I say it goes 12 rounds and pray that the judges get it right. I see a Wilder SD win.
Emanuel Augustus versus Tevin Farmer
Randall Cobb Versus Chris Arreola
Bernie Briscoe versus Gabriel Rosado
Nice theme huh? – Matt on Merritt Island
Briscoe, Cobb and Augustus all by decision in very good fights.
I agree that Black Colossus (that’s MY geeky un-PC nickname and I’m proud of it) should not put on any more muscle, and I agree that Wilder has the edge in punching power, but I disagree that the American’s “jab and cardio” will allow him to outpoint the British superstar.
AJ is a lot more than “form and muscles.” He’s smart and he’s very quick and agile for such massive frame. I think he can check Wilder’s chin before the WBC titleholder can check his. Regardless of lands first, I don’t see this matchup going the distance.
TAKAM STOPPAGE, BRAEHMER VS. SMITH
Hey Dougie, hope all is well with you
So the Joshua-Takam fight panned out pretty much as I expected it to, a late stoppage for AJ against one tough S.O.B. What do you think about the stoppage call though? I have fairly mixed feelings, on the one hand, Takam was losing the fight, was probably not going to win it and was cut badly; the referee didn’t really have a great impact on the outcome of the fight. On the other hand, he wasn’t out on his feet, was dodging punches, the ref didn’t even intervene in the middle of a strong Joshua flurry. Takam wasn’t taking loads of punishment and deserved to hear the final bell. But anyway, Takam proved himself a very capable contender and he should definitely stick around the heavyweight scene, he would give anyone a fight. As for Joshua, he is definitely the biggest star in boxing right now, more so in my opinion than Canelo. How many boxers in history do you think could have sold 80,000 tickets for a mandatory fight against someone a lot of casual fans wouldn’t have heard of?
I also tuned in to the WBSS fight Friday night, more out of boredom I guess than anything else. Braehmer-Brant wasn’t a particularly compelling match up and easily the worst fight on paper out of the whole tournament but I guess any chance to watch some boxing is worth taking. All in all, the fight capped a really good tournament so far with no hitches, no delays unlike the Super Six a few years back. As for the fight itself, I was surprised by how the German did; a 39 year old moving down to a weight he hasn’t fought in for 10 years, yet he proved a slick and slippery customer, though I suppose Brant didn’t do a great deal to challenge him and looked very undersized in the ring. Callum Smith is a on a completely different level but the awkward southpaw that Braehmer can be at his best will pose him problems, this semi-final just got a lot more competitive especially in light of how Smith did against Skoglund; how do you see this semi-final playing out?
Thanks for taking the time to read this, your mailbag continues to educate and entertain me and sorry if this is a bit long winded, I only wish history essays were as easy to write as mailbag letters. – Hatau in Sheffield
Thanks for the kind words about the mailbag column (which sometimes features boxing history essays from Yours Truly, and they can be challenging).
I favor Smith via decision in his semifinal matchup against Braehmer, mostly due to his size and youth, but I think the German veteran will make it competitive and close. The former 175-pound titleholder exhibited a sharp, educated jab against Brant, as well as good reflexes and spring in his legs. Braehmer controls tempo and distance very well but he can scrap and defend on the inside (by using good upper-body movement and blocking). I don’t view him as “old” because he took Brant to school. But I think Smith’s height, reach and punch output will enable him to land on Braehmer a lot more than the American was able to. Smith likes to operate primarily from a distance, which will suit the more experienced southpaw but the butter speed and power of the Brit should enable him to land the harder punches throughout.
What do you think about the stoppage call though? I thought it was premature. I know Joshua had an insurmountable lead on the scorecards and Takam had taken his share of punishment, but the challenger was also landed clean, hard shots, and was coming off a strong Round 9. The bottom line for me is that Takam, though hurt, still appeared to have his wits about him and seemed able to defend himself. His eyes weren’t glazed over, his legs weren’t rubbery, his arms weren’t listless and down by his sides. If a fighter can defend himself and compete, I think he should be allowed to at least attempt to survive a wobbly spot. I’m sure Joshua would like the same consideration the next time he gets rocked.
As for Joshua, he is definitely the biggest star in boxing right now, more so in my opinion than Canelo. In terms of recent ticket sales I believe you are correct. In terms of money generated and the magnitude of fights, I think the Mexican superstar might edge the UK superstar thanks to the GGG PPV showdown. Regardless, boxing is in a good place when it’s two biggest attractions aren’t even 30 years old yet.
How many boxers in history do you think could have sold 80,000 tickets for a mandatory fight against someone a lot of casual fans wouldn’t have heard of? Nobody in recent decades, that’s for sure.
AJ VS. TONEY
Food for thought: Joshua vs Toney After Saturday fight I can envision lights out for AJ (who by the way I rate very high but… ) wouldn’t bet on it however.
(PS I doubt we have seen enough of Langford to say he would beat James.) – Regards, Luke
I’ve seen enough of Toney at middleweight to say that Langford would have beat him.
The heavyweight version of Lights Out (AKA “Fat Toney”) probably would have given this current version of Joshua fits for 12 rounds. The sublimely skilled but often woefully out of shape heavyweight version of Toney that stopped Evander Holyfield, took Dominic Guinn to school and should have earned wins against John Ruiz, Hasim Rahman and Sam Peter (first bout) between October 2003 and September 2006 had between 72 and 76 professional bouts. And much of that experience was against top opposition.
If that version of Toney wasn’t abusing his body with compulsive overeating, obsessive cigar smoking and punishing sparring sessions (without the benefit of proper road work and conditioning), I’d agree with your opinion about how he may have fared against AJ. But knowing what I know about Toney during that time, I have to give the edge to the inexperienced but more athletic and way more PROFESSIONAL natural (modern-sized) heavyweight.
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer