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Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Tyson Fury, Ring titles, Lomachenko, Crawford)

THE RING heavyweight championship belt, which was first awarded to Jack Dempsey in 1922 and was most recently held by Tyson Fury, is now vacant.
08
Jan

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Hi Doug,

Great to have the mailbag back. I hope you had a great Christmas and New Year and enjoyed your time away – even though your job is not “labor intensive” (not a dig at you, a reference to a juvenile post from the comments section on your last mailbag!)

Can you explain to me why the result of a contest where a fighter is busted for PEDs is generally changed to a “No Contest”? Why not just disqualify the offender, therefore sticking a loss on his (or her) record forever? Also, I believe at least 50% of the disqualified fighter’s purse should be transferred to the non-offending boxer for the additional danger they put their opponent in – this isn’t golf they’re playing after all!



Do you feel that is time that The Ring Magazine changed its policy on how it decides who has the right to wear the Ring title belt at each weight? The current formula still lists Tyson Fury as your heavyweight champ – despite the fact that hasn’t been capable of defending the title since he won it over two years ago. There is not much likelihood of him facing a top contender in the near future either. Canelo Alvarez is your middleweight champion despite the fact that he hasn’t recorded a single win yet at 160lbs, while GGG is ranked as a contender despite picking up the 3 oldest established World Championship belts (and defeating the WBA “Regular” titlist) and actually defending these titles against worthy challenges year after year. The Cruiserweight, Welterweight and Junior Welterweight titles remain vacant despite having standout fighters such as Usyk, Thurman and Crawford headlining the talent. It doesn’t make much sense to me!

I’m really looking forward to the two upcoming heavyweight title fights in 2018. Deontay Wilder faces his sternest test in the hard hitting and well educated Luis Ortiz, and Anthony Joshua is putting it all on the line against the undefeated WBO champion Joseph Parker. These are competitive and meaningful fights where the winner is not guaranteed. How to you see them panning out?

Appreciate your thoughts! – Jeremy, UK

Thanks for the kind words about this column and my holiday time (which was busier than I would have liked it to be because of the Year-End Awards edition of THE RING magazine we’re working on).

I consider Wilder and Joshua to be clear favorites in their upcoming title bouts in March, but I view Ortiz and Parker as live underdogs. I think Wilder can trouble Ortiz with his speed and lateral movement and gradually wear down the dangerous Cuban southpaw to a late stoppage, and I believe that Joshua can do the same to Parker with smart pressure. The key to victory for both odds favorites, in my opinion, is their jabs. The sooner they establish their left stick, the sooner they will assume control of the fight.

Now, will I be shocked if Wilder or Joshua have to survive a wobbly moment or two after getting clocked with a clean shot? Not at all. I won’t be that surprised if either gets dropped. A KO upset in either fight is not out of the realm of possibility. That’s why we’re into these matchups. The heavyweight division is heating up, which is a subject that the next issue of THE RING will explore in detail.

Can you explain to me why the result of a contest where a fighter is busted for PEDs is generally changed to a “No contest”? If the fighter that fails a drug test wins the fight, the official result is usually (but not always) changed to a No Contest in order to erase the blemish from the loser’s record.

Why not just disqualify the offender, therefore sticking a loss on his (or her) record forever? That’s a good question, and decent idea. I think it would be difficult to institute a rule like this because the fighters that test positive for banned substances often have excuses – some are valid, some are bulls__t – and their representatives often contest the failed PED result, and time-consuming litigation sometimes ensues.

Also, I believe at least 50% of the disqualified fighter’s purse should be transferred to the non-offending boxer for the additional danger they put their opponent in – this isn’t golf they’re playing after all! Agreed. I think that’s a good idea when it can be proven that the fighter who fails a PED test willfully took banned substances.

Do you feel that is time that The Ring Magazine changed its policy on how it decides who has the right to wear The Ring title belt at each weight? The only rule I’d change in the championship policy is No. 5, which states that if “the champion does not schedule a fight with top-5 contender from any weight class for two years” he gets stripped. I’d change top-5 to top-10 contender, because it’s difficult to matchup top five fighters in this era of fighting twice a year (if that), exclusive network contracts and promotional allegiances that make contenders or beltholders in the top five unavailable. I’d also change the wording in No. 2, which states that “the champion” (loses his title when he) “moves to another weight class” to “moves to another weight class PERMANENTLY.” RING champions are allowed to move up or down in weight for “one-offs” without losing their titles.

The current formula still lists Tyson Fury as your heavyweight champ – despite the fact that hasn’t been capable of defending the title since he won it over two years ago. Yeah, the Fury situation is a big, fat, loud, bald-headed mess that I inherited when I became Editor-In-Chief at the end of October. As a member of THE RING Editorial Board and its Ratings Panel, I weighed-in on his situation throughout 2017. Sometimes I thought it best that we stripped him, other times I wanted to give him time for things (mainly his legal situation with UKAD and his mental health) to work themselves out. Complicating Fury’s situation is that he had rematches scheduled with Wladimir Klitschko – for July 9, 2016 and Oct. 29, 2016 – that were postponed (due to an injured ankle in late June) and then cancelled (due to mental health issues). I don’t recall how popular a decision it was with the Ratings Panel in late 2016, but at the time we (former editor Michael Rosenthal and I) decided to treat Fury’s bipolar disorder the same way we would a physical ailment or illness, which is to allow for a grace period while they heal, recover/rehab and get back into fighting shape once healthy again. Rule No. 3 of the championship policy states that “the champion” will be stripped “if he does not schedule a fight in any weight class for 18, although injuries and certain other unforeseen circumstances could be taken into consideration.” (It should be noted that both Andre Ward and Guillermo Rigondeaux were given extra months before being stripped of their RING titles for not defending against a top-5 contender within an 18-month period – Ward got the grace period because of shoulder surgery he underwent in January 2013, and Rigo got extra time because we knew that the top-5 fighters in his weight class were blatantly avoiding him). Tyson appeared to be gradually recovering from his depression and other issues in the early months of 2017 and, by April, he had started working out and talking about return dates. However, due to a failed (and disputed) PED test (taken in February 2015), Fury’s license was suspended by the BBBC pending further investigation of his case. The problem Fury had was that UKAD – the UK’s anti-doping agency – would not schedule his hearing, or they kept putting it off (reportedly because a member of the panel had a “conflict of interest”). So, he was in legal limbo for the second half of 2017. The former RING editor believed that Fury was being treated unfairly, and he was probably right about that. However, Fury was also holding up THE RING heavyweight title. I leaned toward stripping him in September and October, but Rosenthal held off and maybe he was right in doing so. Fury signed with a management company (MTK Global) in November, and in December, UKAD finally held its hearing and all but exonerated Fury (as well as his cousin Hughie), paving the way for his long-put-off comeback sometime in the first half of 2018. Still, Fury needs to get a fight on the schedule asap. We can’t go into February still not knowing when or who the lineal champ will fight.

There is not much likelihood of him facing a top contender in the near future either. You’re probably right, but hopefully we find out for sure before the end of this month.

Canelo Alvarez is your middleweight champion despite the fact that he hasn’t recorded a single win yet at 160lbs… True, but he did technically defend THE RING and lineal middleweight championship against the magazine’s No. 1-rated middleweight (and unified beltholder) and the fight wasn’t at a catchweight.

… while GGG is ranked as a contender despite picking up the 3 oldest established World Championship belts (and defeating the WBA “Regular” titlist) and actually defending these titles against worthy challenges year after year. Golovkin also wonders why he doesn’t have THE RING title after all these years. I feel for him. Sergio Martinez’s handlers were not going to let him face GGG, Miguel Cotto had no plans of fighting him, and Canelo (or his promoter) was not ready to get it on in 2016. I think GGG wanted THE RING to strip one of those guys and award him the belt, but that’s not how it works. (Although, the Golovkin-Jacobs fight could have arguably been for THE RING title had it been vacant at the time – but by March of 2017, it was understood that Canelo would face GGG after the Chavez Jr. fight.) Personally, I’ve viewed Golovkin as “the real” champ going back to the final years of Martinez’s WBC/RING reign.

The Cruiserweight, Welterweight and Junior Welterweight titles remain vacant despite having standout fighters such as Usyk, Thurman and Crawford headlining the talent. It doesn’t make much sense to me!

Aw come on, Jeremy, Crawford’s been the junior welterweight champ since he beat Viktor Postol in July 2016! It’s going to be vacated soon because he’s made very clear his intentions of invading the welterweight division, but, damn, give us SOME credit. The vacant titles are being filled and will continue to be filled in 2018. The junior flyweight title was just won by Ryoichi Taguchi on Dec. 31. It looks like the junior bantamweight title will be up for grabs for the Srisaket Sor Rungvisai-Juan Estrada winner on Feb. 24. And in all likelihood the finals of the World Boxing Super Series super middleweight and cruiserweight tournaments will crown RING champs in those weight classes.

Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza told THE RING (see the March 2018 issue, currently on sale) that he intends to stage a 154-pound round robin between Erislandy Lara, Jarrett Hurd and Jermell Charlo this year, which, would likely result in the coronation of a RING junior middleweight champ. Espinoza also says it’s possible that Keith Thurman and Errol Spence Jr. (THE RING’s Nos. 1- and 2-rated welterweights) fight by the end of the year.

And who knows? Maybe Fury comes back against a credible opponent and then faces the winner of Joshua-Parker or Wilder-Ortiz. Or maybe he doesn’t, gets stripped and then Joshua and Wilder (THE RING’s Nos. 1 and 2 contenders) fight each other for the vacant title. It could happen! Think positive!

 

LOMACHENKO IN 2018

Hi Doug,

Happy new year. Looking forward to another year of great mail bags.

I have 2 quick questions for you.

  1. In an ideal world, which 3 fights would you want Lomachenko to have in 2018 and why?
  2. Who do you think he will actually fight?

All the best. – Kiran, Amsterdam

Thanks for the kind words, Kiran.

In an ideal world, I’d want Lomachanko to unify 130-pound belts against Miguel Berchelt, and then either further unify titles against Gervonta Davis (if the Mayweather protégé can regain the IBF strap) or move up to 135 pounds to fight Jorge Linares, and then end the year by challenging Mikey Garcia.

Who do I think he’ll actually fight? I have no idea. Maybe Jhonny Gonzalez, Yuriorkis Gamboa, and if he’s lucky, Linares at lightweight.

 

NO COMMENTARY NEEDED

How great is this video? Wish all fights (HBO, SHO, and ESPN) all had a feed shot in this manner available to the fans. With no commentating and the sound on to capture the intensity or lack of it in an Arena. Ghana was rocking here! – Jesse in Fort Worth, TX

It certainly was, and Isaac Dogboe delivered (although I thought referee Tony Week’s stoppage was a bit premature). The arena sound without commentators sort of gives the view the live fight experience, which is great when the venue hosts a crowd as amped and passionate as Dogboe’s supporters were in Accra. The drums reminded me of some of Ike Quartey’s I covered (namely the Oscar De La Hoya and Fernando Vargas bouts in Vegas), as well as Joshua Clottey’s title challenge to Antonio Margarito in Atlantic City. (The added brass band tunes reminded me a little of Tito Trinidad’s fights in NYC, which were the equivalent of an entire Puerto Rican parade crammed inside of MSG. Good times!)

It’s good to have another Ghanaian standout on the scene. That nation has a great boxing tradition and Dogboe has an entertaining style.

Anyway, I think the no-comment option for live boxing (or other sports) is something you’re going to see with live streams very soon, and maybe the idea will eventually work its way to the networks.

 

TERENCE CRAWFORD

Hey Dougie, Happy New Year to you.

Quick question, Bud Crawford at 147. Who is his first fight against??? Cause as it appears Horn vs Crawford might not happen. I think Bud has excellent skills set. His pedigree is visible inside the ring, his distance, he is sharp on the counter, his catch and shoot along with his footwork will be a huge hurdle for anyone at w.w. Now let’s talk power, Bud doesn’t have 1 punch k.o. power but neither does any of the other top welterweights, but Bud has great hand speed and timing. I would like to see Bud fight a top ten w.w. then go in on a Championship run or step in with Horn right away…. that would be good starter but Horn is tricky simply cause he got a decent chin. I seen him eat Manny’s left hand on the button and although Manny ain’t what he used to be I assume his left is no slouch…lol….enjoy….2018 fights. – Eric

Manny had Horn going in the ninth round, even in his current faded form he could have stopped the Aussie had he really gone for it, but Pac’s been a part-time fighter (at least mentally) for many years now. He doesn’t have that kind of passion for the ring anymore.

Crawford does, and I think he’ll put a serious beating on Horn when they fight.

I’m not sure I believe Team Horn’s statements about fighting Anthony Mundine for $2 million instead for Crawford. My hunch is that it’s just gamesmanship and they’re trying to squeeze more money out of Top Rank and ESPN. But if Horn does meet Mundine at some 154-pound catchweight for his first bout of 2018 (which probably would sell well at home), it doesn’t mean that Bud has to sit on his hands and wait for him.

Top Rank can keep him busy at 147 pounds with solid welters from its stable, such as Egidijus Kavaliauskas (18-0 NABF titleholder ranked No. 4 by the WBO) and Konstantin Ponomarev (32-0, rated No. 4 by the IBF, No. 5 by the WBO and No. 10 by the WBC). Or they can do business with Golden Boy and have Crawford take on the winner of the Matthysse-Kiram winner. And then Bud can face Horn later in the year.

 

WINNING GLOVES & RING CARD GIRLS

Hey DF the man,

Great column. Anyway, quick fast points:

Wonder why Canelo wore Winning brand gloves against GGG. I have a few sparring partners that wear winning gloves and they feel like wonderful awesomeness to be punched by compared to Cletos or the like. They are great for protecting hands. I wonder…what do you think.

Also, one thing I noticed about Lemmy vs BJS is the quality of the ring girls in Canada was on another level. They need to raise that bar in the US. Very well done. – G in AK

Everything in Canada was on another level, ring card girls, the food, the COLD… only thing that wasn’t on another level was Lemieux… but he can come back.

Regarding Canelo wearing the Winning brand of gloves against Golovkin, he was trying to protect sore hands or he wanted to take it easy on GGG. Hmmmm….

 

FATHERLY ADVICE

Hi Dougie,

What if your son told you he wanted to become a pro boxer and there was nothing you could do to change his mind? Knowing what you know, what three pieces of advice would you give him? I hope you and the family had a merry Christmas. Take care. – Scott

My advice to my son would be to:

No. 1 – find a trainer he respects

No. 2 – find a manager/promoter he trusts

No. 3 – know when to walk away

 

CONVERTED RIGHT-HANDERS

Dear Dougie,

I´m injured again for some time and won´t be able to speak to my trainer soon so I really need your boxing knowledge!

  1. As far as I know, Lomachenko is naturally right handed although he fights as a southpaw. I once heard that it was his father’s idea to “get his strong hand closer to his opponent”. But that doesn´t make any sense or other right handed fighters would not fight orthodox, would they?

Do you know other right handed fighters that fight from the southpaw stance? I would really like to know as I just decided to switch southpaw myself because of my injury (it would take long to explain why turning southpaw is a solution but trust me, it is) and need some footage to learn from.

  1. I heard sentences like “He looked like a welterweight” – “He is too small for that weight class” – “He doesn´t have the bone frame of a middleweight” etc. How can you tell? Is that just experience or is there a way to determine who should be in what weight class?

I for example are about 5 feet 9 inches (175cm) and walk around at roughly 150 pound (68,5 kilo), I´m not very long, but quite thin. I always imagined that I would put on muscles and thus gain weight were I to really train. That would make me a super welterweight but guys like Jermell Charlo or Jarrett Hurd look tall and massive compared to me. Do they all just cut so much weight before their fights or is it really just heavy bones? Did Paul Williams just have very light bones?

I will never be a boxer because I started too late and was never able to train for more than some month straight because I was always either injured or really had no time (two jobs, studies and a girlfriend), but two different trainers told me I was gifted, so I like to daydream and hear Michael Buffer say “ . . . and …weight champion of the wooooorld” about me.

I would be glad to get a short answer, doesn´t have to be via the published mailbag.

Many thanks for the mailbag! Lightens up every Friday and Monday. Special thanks for being impartial on Rigondeaux after his loss. I never thought he could win, but I just like that guy and I think he is getting too much spite.

Hope you and everybody you care about is fine!

P.S.: MMs

Roberto Duran vs Terence Crawford at 140

Oralndo Canizales vs Guillermo Rigondeaux at 118 and at 122

Peace. – Hans from Hamburg

I’ll go with Canizales by close, maybe majority decision, at 118 (and I think he scores at least one knockdown); and Rigo by close decision at 122 pounds.

And, of course, I’ve got Duran by unanimous decision in a competitive (and very entertaining) high-intensity boxing match.

Thanks for the kind words about this column. Regarding Rigo after the Loma fight, I’m not the kind of person to kick a man when he’s down.

I heard sentences like “He looked like a welterweight” – “He is too small for that weight class” – “He doesn´t have the bone frame of a middleweight” etc. How can you tell? Is that just experience or is there a way to determine who should be in what weight class? When people say things like that it’s either from the experience of watching boxers of every conceivable body type train and compete over several years (or decades), or they’re just guessing/eye-balling it. The difference between a 5-foot-9 middleweight and a 5-foot-9 welterweight or lightweight is usually in the fighters’ lower bodies. Even if they have the same shoulder width or wingspan, the middleweight will usually have thicker legs (butt and thighs) and mid-section.

I for example are about 5 feet 9 inches (175cm) and walk around at roughly 150 pounds (68,5 kilo), I´m not very long, but quite thin. If you were to have trained with the coaches that I knew and worked with in the ‘90s, they’d have tried to boil you down to 140 pounds (at least), depending on your age, and if you were good enough to compete.

I always imagined that I would put on muscles and thus gain weight were I to really train. That would make me a super welterweight but guys like Jermell Charlo or Jarrett Hurd look tall and massive compared to me. Don’t let that bother you. Had Jermell and Jarrett fought in an era of same-day weigh-ins, they’d be fighting at middleweight or super middleweight.

Do they all just cut so much weight before their fights or is it really just heavy bones? They all cut weight like maniacs.

Did Paul Williams just have very light bones? No, Williams walked around (and even trained and sparred) as heavy as 175-180. He just worked his ass off to get down to 147 and 154.

Hagler tags John Mugabi with a southpaw jab during their 1986 battle of attrition. Photo: THE RING

Do you know other right-handed fighters that fight from the southpaw stance? I’d always heard that Marvin Hagler was a natural righty who chose to fight from a left-handed stance because he was more effective that way. I can’t verify that, but I’ve heard and read it many times. I’ve heard the same thing about recent hall-of-fame inductee Winky Wright, Michael Moorer, Sergio Martinez, Chad Dawson and JuanMa Lopez. I’m sure there are several other examples of converted southpaws.

 

 

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

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