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Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Lomachenko-Rigondeaux, Salido-Roman feedback)

Photo / Mikey Williams-Top Rank
11
Dec

A SPECIAL PLACE IN VALHALLA FOR SIRI

Hey Dougie,

I’ll keep it short for a change. You were at the right event live Saturday night. Props to Mickey Roman for fighting the fight of his life, and props to Orlando Salido for showing Guillermo Rigondeaux the difference between quitting and going out like a real gangster.

I hope he’s not quite finished yet but if he is, it was a hell of a career. “Siri” is one of the true warriors of the sport and it was quite moving watching him rally back fiercely every time he was hurt. – Jack E.



Salido cracks Roman to the body during their slugfest. Photo / @HBOboxing

That fighting spirit that Salido showed against Roman – even when he knew he was finished – is what boxing is all about to me. Come to think about it, it’s what athletics – not just professional combat sports – is all about.

Actually, when you really get down to it, that spirit is what LIFE is about.

Salido is a marvel. He somehow lasted more than 20 years with a high-volume, pressure-fighting style. He avoided becoming a journeyman, despite seven early losses, earned title shots, won a few in two divisions, fought 12 men who held major belts (including first-ballot future hall of famer Juan Manuel Marquez), and amazingly engaged in SEVERAL Fights of the Year or Fight-of-the-Year candidates (Juan Manuel Lopez I and II, Vasyl Lomachenko, Terdsak Jandaeng, Roman Martinez I and II, Francisco Vargas and, finally, Miguel Roman) in the twilight (the final six years) of his career.

Photo / @HBOboxing

It was almost fitting that he went out on his shield vs. Roman on Saturday, and I had NO DOUBT (and no problem telling the boxing world) that Salido-Roman would deliver all the action and drama that Lomachenko-Guillermo would likely lack.

Siri has earned his many fans and the respect he now receives.

 

WHAT HAPPENED TO RIGO?

Hi, Doug!

Hats off to Lomachenko. But probably Rigondeaux just isn’t as unbeatable as some say.

I wish top 122-126-pound fighters like Leo Santa Cruz or Abner Mares would had been brave enough to fight him. I believe they had a good chance to win, or at least to make the fight very competitive.

And I have two questions about the weekend’s bouts?

1.What was wrong with Rigondeaux? Age? Weight? Or the Ukrainian is just at another level? He looked a bit slow, but possibly Loma just made him look mediocre.

To my eye, Lomachenko’s quickness and his mobile, active style posed lots of problems to Rigo. And perhaps due to lack of experience against elite opponents of different styles, the Cuban couldn’t find Plan B.

He’d been able to beat his opponents only with his economical, counter-punching style, so he didn’t know what to do when the strategy didn’t work…

2. Was the outcome of Kenichi Ogawa-Tevin Farmer a robbery? Though I also think Farmer did enough to win the fight, I can say it was competitive.

Considering that Farmer’s style is not liked by judges who love come-forward fighters, the decision was perhaps not very surprising.

Mythical matchups:

Julio Cesar Chavez vs Vasyl Lomachenko at 130/135.

Edwin Valero vs Lomachenko at 130/135 (I remember you picked El Inca before. Hasn’t your opinion changed?)

Cheers. – Taku from Japan

I’ll take Chavez by close, maybe majority or split decision at 130, and by late-rounds TKO at 135; and I’ll go with Loma over Valero on points at 130, but the V-nom over Loma on points at 135 pounds. Those are fun mythical matchups to fantasize about. I think those styles would mesh well for exciting and dramatic fights.

Mikey Williams/Top Rank

What was wrong with Rigondeaux? Lomachenko is what was wrong for Rigo. Loma’s style, athleticism and talent is all wrong for counter-punching southpaws, even one with Rigo’s high-boxing IQ.

Age? Age probably had an impact on Rigo’s performance, but I think his inactivity was more of a factor.

Weight? I don’t think so. Lomachenko was contractually obligated not to put on more than eight pounds after the weigh-in and he didn’t physically impose himself on Rigo (the way an over-weight Saldio swarmed him back in 2014). Lomachenko boxed the s__t out of Rigondeaux. That’s what happened at The Theater in MSG on Saturday. Loma out-jabbed and outmaneuvered the Cuban, while slipping and countering the master counterpuncher.

Or the Ukrainian is just at another level? Do you even have to ask? It should be obvious, Taku. Trust what your eyes are telling you about Loma.

He looked a bit slow, but possibly Loma just made him look mediocre. I don’t think Rigondeaux was slow at all. I think Loma has faster hands and reflexes.

To my eye, Lomachenko’s quickness and his mobile, active style posed lots of problems to Rigo. Yes. STYLE is the main reason, I favored Loma in this contest.

And perhaps due to lack of experience against elite opponents of different styles, the Cuban couldn’t find Plan B. Hey, activity and strength of schedule counts in boxing, and Rigo (or Rigo’s team) did himself no favors by fighting the level of opposition that he did following the Nonito Donaire victory in 2013, or by fighting as infrequently as he did.

He’d been able to beat his opponents only with his economical, counter-punching style, so he didn’t know what to do when the strategy didn’t work… Well, that style was never going to work against Lomachenko.

Was the outcome of Kenichi Ogawa-Tevin Farmer a robbery? Though I also think Farmer did enough to win the fight, I can say it was competitive. I agree with you. I thought Farmer had done enough to nick a competitive fight sitting ringside, but I have to note that I wasn’t scoring the bout round by round, nor was I paying close attention in the early part of the fight (because I was finishing up my deadline report on Vargas-Smith, which I also posted on

Kenichi Ogawa earned a split decision over Tevin Farmer for the IBF 130-pound title. Photo @HBOboxing

RingTV, and it didn’t help that Steve Kim was watching Loma-Rigo on his phone and making snarky comments throughout). Be that as it may (as my man Harold Lederman likes to say), I thought the two junior lightweights were tit-for-tat early in the bout, then Farmer took over the middle rounds by controlling distance and slipping/blocking and countering effectively (mostly with his left), but Ogawa came on very strong (mainly with accurate right hands) down the stretch of what turned out to be a compelling matchup of contrasting styles.

Considering that Farmer’s style is not liked by judges who love come-forward fighters, the decision was perhaps not very surprising. I was surprised. I’m used to seeing the stick-and-move style boxer get the benefit of the doubt in competitive, high-profile bouts (especially in Vegas).

 

WHERE TO SIRI AND RIGO GO FROM HERE?

Hi Dougie,

Long time reader since 2003, first time ever to write. This weekend was a blast for four 130 pounders (or three). Where do you think the winners (Loma and Roman) and losers (Rigo and Siri) go from here? And if you think these four will swap partners to fight in a night, who do you think will win?

Lastly, I’m not really sold with anyone on top as number 1 P4P. All of the three (GGG/T-Craw/Loma) could be 2a/2b/2c and they’ll only become number 1 if they fight another co pound for pounder (or some legit opponent that either of them is heavy favorite). Loma has certainly checked the box there. What do you think?

Thanks Doug. Keep the best mailbag comin’. – DjBianca Frost, MNL, Phils

Splash page for the cover story of the March 2018 edition of THE RING magazine.

As I wrote in the introduction to the cover story of the latest edition of THE RING, which is about the never-ending fascination and debate with the mythical rankings, when it comes to fighters as complete, accomplished and dominant as Golovkin, Crawford and Lomachenko, a legit argument can be made for either of them being No. 1 pound for pound. There are no wrong answers. And if you don’t want to recognize a P4P King at the moment, that’s OK, too. (By the way, you can read the digital edition of the March 2018 magazine – with GGG on the cover – right now on RingTV.com by subscribing here, and you’ll gain new insight on the mythical title from such luminaries as Larry Merchant, Bernard Hopkins, Ricky Hatton, Nigel Collins and Kathy Duva.)

Where do you think the winners (Loma and Roman) and losers (Rigo and Siri) go from here? Lomachenko’s promoter, Bob Arum, has talked about the Ukrainian moving to the 135-pound division (as has the fighter himself), but other Team Loma members say he might try to unify at least two 130-pound belts before jumping to lightweight. If Loma stays at 130 pounds, the only bout that makes sense to me is a unification with WBC beltholder Miguel Berchenlt. If he goes to 135, I know the boxing world will clamor for showdowns with Mikey Garcia or Jorge Linares, but I’m pretty sure Arum will have him fight Ray Beltran first (maybe for the vacant WBO title).

Roman wants a title shot and I’m sure Berchelt would be happy to give him crack at the WBC belt. Roman will make for fun fights against any of the titleholders (Albert Machado, Ogawa) or any top-10 contender, such as Gervonta Davis, Francisco Vargas, Farmer and fellow Mexican war horse Jhonny Gonzalez.

Rigondeaux will probably head back down to 122 pounds or 126, where he’ll still probably be avoided by the notable fighters in those divisions. I’ve said this many times and I’m going to keep saying it, sign me up for Rigo vs. bantamweight boss Zolani Tete at 122 pounds. If the Cuban lefty wants to toss his hat into the featherweight mix, my guess is that Leo Santa Cruz, Gary Russell Jr., Abner Mares and Carl Frampton will not be in any hurry to fight him, but maybe some of the lower top-10 guys, such as Scott Quigg or Jesus Rojas would be willing to roll the dice against him.  

Salido announced his retirement in the ring after being stopped by Roman and I hope he sticks with it.

And if you think these four will swap partners to fight in a night, who do you think will win? Loma beats any combination, and while Rigo is undersized against Roman or Siri, who have the right style to get to him, they’d also probably run into enough hard lefts for the Cuban to prevail.

 

LOMA HAD FUN BEATING DOWN RIGO

Hey Dougie,

Hope you enjoyed Saturday’s fight between these 2 former amateur greats. How did you see the fight? I thought Round 1 was a good feeling out round for both, and I am kind of rooting for Rigo. I have always been rooting for the underdog, and I was positive that Rigo might be able to pull it through.

I was dead wrong, after round 2, Loma, bit by bit has started to impose his will, breaking Rigo down to the point Rigo was looking to hold every time. For me Loma is just the fresher fighter between the 2 and he definitely learned from that Salido fight. Rigo just plainly quit in my eyes. He would’ve been stopped anyway so I think he was playing safe by quitting to save himself from further punishment and possibly going back down to his weight.

Did you think Rigo faked his hand injury to have an excuse in not continuing the fight? How do you see his future moving forward?

As for Loma, sky’s the limit, who do you want to see him fight next? He is super talented no doubt and he has a chance to be an all time great in my eyes.

Mythical Matchups:

Loma vs Pacman at 130

Loma vs JMM at 130

God bless you and looking forward to the mailbag. Cheers. – Ely

Thanks for the blessing and kind words, Ely.

I’d go with Loma over JMM and Pac by narrow decision at 130 pounds.

Hope you enjoyed Saturday’s fight between these 2 former amateur greats. I didn’t, but I was impressed with Lomachenko’s dominance.

How did you see the fight? I thought Loma hand-cuffed Rigo with basic boxing.

For me Loma is just the fresher fighter between the 2 and he definitely learned from that Salido fight. No doubt about it.

Rigo just plainly quit in my eyes. That surprised me, although I predicted that Rigo would be forced to go into “survival mode” by the middle rounds of the fight. However, I thought he was too proud to go out on his stool, but maybe he saw the writing on the wall and knew that with an injured hand he would not be able to go the full 12 with a fighter as talented as Loma. So, he chose to avoid going out on his shield.

Did you think Rigo faked his hand injury to have an excuse in not continuing the fight? No. In fact, I wouldn’t be shocked if he suffered the hand injury in training prior to the fight.

How do you see his future moving forward? His reputation has taken a considerable hit, but I think he can still be involved in significant fights at junior featherweight and featherweight.

As for Loma, sky’s the limit. Who do you want to see him fight next? I’d like to see him fight Miguel Berchelt and then either Jorge Linares or Mikey Garcia at lightweight.

He is super talented no doubt and he has a chance to be an all time great in my eyes. Time will tell, but he’s headed in the right direction after only 11 pro bouts.

 

LOMA-RIGO, DEGALE-TRUAX

Hey Doug, hope you enjoyed the past stacked weekend of boxing

Vasyl Lomachenko, just wow, I don’t know what can be said about him that hasn’t already been said, superlatives just aren’t enough anymore. Would you have him as your pound-for-pound number 1? I know a 37 year old moving up two weight classes probably isn’t the best yardstick for measuring that but that was as comprehensive a result as they come. Rigondeaux is getting a lot of hate for quitting but I really don’t blame him at all. Sure, the hurt hand excuse doesn’t show him in a good light, especially after Stephen Smith’s injuries but there’s no point taking the punishment if he really doesn’t think he can win the fight, and Loma really had just figured him out by that point. If anything, that’s testament to just how brilliant hi-tech really his, how many other fighters do you know who have been able to just sap the will of their opponents like the mercurial Ukrainian? Sort of reminds me of how a late 80s Tyson’s opponents went into their fights bricking it already. In an earlier mailbag letter, you tipped Mayweather to win a close, contentious decision. Does his past showing change that?

Secondly, the potential upset of the year in Truax’s win over DeGale. I personally scored the fight a draw and was sure hometown advantage would see DeGale through to a controversial decision but all credit to Truax. I don’t want to take anything away from his performance, he exceeded all expectations and really should enjoy being champion of the world as long as he can, but I just wonder where he goes from here. He is a fighter that has already been shown to not really cut it at the highest levels of the sport, a high-level club fighter and decent gatekeeper, and this fight was basically the perfect storm for him to win, a fighter coming off a long injury induced layoff who has a track record of going down to the level of his opponents. I can see a queue of fighters lining up for a potentially easy title shot or unification, almost like when Eddie Hearn swooped in to secure what he thought would be an easy unification for Burns against Indongo. I hope Truax turns out to be more like him.

Couple of mms before I sign off:

Lomachenko vs JM Marquez, Pacquiao and the monster version of Broner at 130

Loma vs Rigo at 126

And lastly, not really a mythical matchup but one that could very well happen; Bryant Jennings vs Joseph Parker and Povetkin – really happy to see Jennings back in the mix, he seems like a nice guy and is probably one of the best conditioned heavyweights around at the moment, and at hw, good conditioning sometimes seems to be an optional extra.

Sorry for being a bit long-winded, all the best to you and your family. – Hatau in Sheffield

I think Jennings is very live against Parker, where that fight lands could determine the outcome, but I’d favor the Russian veteran over the gutsy Philadelphian.

I’ll take Loma by decision (some closer than others, can you guess which?) in all of four of your mythical matchups.

Vasyl Lomachenko, just wow, I don’t know what can be said about him that hasn’t already been said, superlatives just aren’t enough anymore. He’s the best there is right now under welterweight.

Would you have him as your pound-for-pound number 1? I would be fine with Loma or Crawford as the P4P King, but I’m sticking with GGG at the present time.

Rigondeaux is getting a lot of hate for quitting but I really don’t blame him at all. I certainly wouldn’t want to deal with ring wizard like Loma with one hand.

Photo / Mikey Williams-Top Rank

Sure, the hurt hand excuse doesn’t show him in a good light, especially after Stephen Smith’s injuries but there’s no point taking the punishment if he really doesn’t think he can win the fight, and Loma really had just figured him out by that point. Good point. However, I have to wonder if Rigo ever truly thought he could beat Loma. Maybe this fight was mainly about the payday and exposure for Rigo, but the hand injury screwed up his plans for a “moral victory” by going the distance (and maybe winning a few rounds a long the way).

If anything, that’s testament to just how brilliant hi-tech really his, how many other fighters do you know who have been able to just sap the will of their opponents like the mercurial Ukrainian? Andre Ward was pretty good at doing that. So was Mayweather in his own way. I think GGG does it in a more physical manner.

Sort of reminds me of how a late 80s Tyson’s opponents went into their fights bricking it already. Loma does it to them during the fight, but it doesn’t take long for him to convince them that they’re powerless against him.

In an earlier mailbag letter, you tipped Mayweather to win a close, contentious decision. Does his past showing change that? No, not if you’re talking about a mythical matchup at junior lightweight. Mayweather was in his prime at 130 pounds, plus he was huge for the weight, and let his hands go WAY more than Rigo. 

The potential upset of the year in Truax’s win over DeGale. It is a strong candidate, isn’t it?

I personally scored the fight a draw and was sure hometown advantage would see DeGale through to a controversial decision but all credit to Truax. Yeah, the Minnesota native took full advantage of his opportunity and a rusty DeGale who was probably looking past his unheralded challenger (as most of the boxing world did).

Photo: BoxNation

I don’t want to take anything away from his performance, he exceeded all expectations and really should enjoy being champion of the world as long as he can, but I just wonder where he goes from here. Probably a rematch, back in the U.K., for good money. And guess what? I wouldn’t count him out. Even if he loses, he can still get a rubber match out of Chunky, as long as the rematch is competitive and entertaining (as the first bout was). Beyond DeGale, looking at the IBF’s top 10 super middleweight rankings, I see names like Jose Uzcategui, Caleb Plant and J’Leon Love, who would all make for good (winnable) fights with Truax.

 

WHAT WAS BROKEN?

Hey Dougie,

Broken hand or broken spirit? – Rodemeyer

First the hand, then the spirit. Full credit goes to Lomachenko.

 

HIS NAME SHOULD BE LOMENCHEN…

…Because you never see a KO with him.

Hey Dougie,

Hope all is well, and like always thanks for the bag, I don’t think I’ve read any other piece of sports writing as consistently as this bi-weekly thing you got going on here.

Anyway, I saw the fight as a German language bootleg on YouTube since I was working late and well… it was very boring and messy and Rigo was acting very, very strangely. Maybe it was him being outclassed but I CAN also see it being an injury that an undefeated fighter didn’t know how to deal with. I don’t think Rigo could’ve won last night, even if his potentially fictional but also possibly real injury hadn’t occurred, BUT I do think he could’ve made it a more competitive fight, at least for the first 4ish rounds. Do you buy the story Rigo is sticking to?

Also, how much will it affect Lomanchen to be so… oh boy, how do I say it without sparking mad outrage at me not really being entertained by VL? He’s kinda, Easy on the gloves?

He fought a pretty inactive guy that was two weight classes under him and he didn’t seem to hurt him at all, it was really just overwhelmingly speed. What kinds of changes can he make to make himself more engaging to the viewers? I like the guy, but his fights are just so so boring…

Sorry it’s so long so I’ll say “so long” – Miguel from Chicago

Thanks for the kind words about the mailbag column, Miguel.

I don’t think Lomachenko’s game plan involved hurting Rigo during the first part of the fight. I believe that he wanted to give himself time to figure out the Cuban’s style and gradually get his offense flowing. However, he found that he was able to land his jab well while slipping almost everything Rigo tried to fire back at him (which wasn’t much), so he was content to outbox his fellow two-time Olympic gold medalist, who was reduced to trying to grab and hold in a sad attempt to disrupt the Ukrainian’s rhythm. At least, I think Loma was content to box for the first half of the bout. Had Rigo stuck around past Round 6, I think we may have witnessed Loma go for the kill by the late rounds. 

I don’t think Loma’s fights are usually boring, so I don’t think he needs to change anything. I expected the Rigo showdown to be uneventful because of Rigo’s style and the way the two boxing styles would likely mesh, but Loma’s a very active boxer who can be extremely aggressive when he wants to be. I think he’s fun to watch against most styles.

Anyway, I saw the fight as a German language bootleg on YouTube since I was working late and well… I think I watched the same YouTube video at a lounge inside the Mandalay Bay after I finished updating RingTV with my post-fight story on Saldio-Roman.

it was very boring and messy and Rigo was acting very, very strangely. I thought that was what should have been expected going into this so-called “historical” matchup that some Twitter nutcakes actually referred to as “the Fight of the Decade.” Good grief, nerds. Can’t you wait until they actually fight before you christen it with all these accolades?

Maybe it was him being outclassed but I CAN also see it being an injury that an undefeated fighter didn’t know how to deal with. Given his vast amateur experience, I have to think that Rigo has competed while injured at least a few times before this past Saturday.

I don’t think Rigo could’ve won last night, even if his potentially fictional but also possibly real injury hadn’t occurred, BUT I do think he could’ve made it a more competitive fight, at least for the first 4ish rounds. I also thought that the first quarter of the bout was when Rigo had the best chance to legitimately win a few rounds.

Do you buy the story Rigo is sticking to? Yeah, why shouldn’t I?

Photo / Mikey Williams-Top Rank

Also, how much will it affect Lomanchen to be so… oh boy, how do I say it without sparking mad outrage at me not really being entertained by VL? He’s kinda, Easy on the gloves? He’s not a puncher and he never will be, especially if he continues to move up in weight. Boxing is his bread and butter. He’s got the attention and respect of most hardcore fans and the adulation of his countrymen. The challenge for Team Loma and Top Rank (and ESPN) is to make him a crossover success. I don’t know if they can successfully sell Loma to the general sports fan, but I know they’re going to give it the ole college try.

 

 

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

 

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