Dougie’s Friday mailbag (Roy Jones Jr.’s final fight and career highlights)
GOODBYE ROY JONES JR.
Heard you on a few podcasts recently, enjoyed ’em.
With Roy Jones retiring, what would you say was his career high, for you personally?
Where do you rank him amongst the best of the last 25 years? Does he make your top 3?
A lot of people feel sorry for Roy for some reason. But I just don’t get it. He is doing what he wants, fighting at a really low level and still gets paid for it. What a life. Yes, he has been putting himself at risk. But it’s his risk to take. The idea of telling another man not to follow his passion is bizarre and a lot of the fake pity you read for Roy online is phoney. Jones has had to reach this decision by himself. It must be like letting a loved one go. Boxing has defined his life for thirty years or more. A true great and finally he understands, it’s time.
His high for me was beating my man James Toney. JT has his excuses about that night but Roy whooped him. Simple. Would have loved to have seen them fight again at cruiser.
So, a Roy Jones special mythical match up.
Roy v Evander Holyfield at cruiserweight
Roy v David Haye at heavyweight
Roy v Thomas Hearns at middleweight
Take it easy Dougie. – Giuseppe
Oooh, these are darn good mythical machups, Giuseppe, and by that I mean they’re difficult!
I think Jones’s speed and unorthodox style would give Holyfield trouble, but the 190-pound version of The Real Deal was such a busy and underrated boxer I just can’t see RJ lasting the distance. Holyfield by late stoppage. He could take Jones’ best shots, outjab the speed demon, force him to the ropes and either wear him down with body head combos or catch him with one big shot.
It’s pretty much the same deal with Haye at heavyweight, although I think the British talent was better at cruiserweight. I think the Adam Booth-trained version of Haye that weighed between 210-215 pounds would be too much for Jones. It’s just the wrong style for Jones above 175 pounds. The athleticism, the speed, the quick jab to the body, the head- and upper-body movement, the lateral movement, the ability to feint and punch on the fly all adds up to the London man landing his vaunted “Hayemaker” and taking Jones out cold by the middle rounds.
The Hearns fight is the most difficult to envision. On one hand, The Hitman’s excellent technical foundation, speed and legit one-hitter-quitter power make him a huge threat to Jones, who likely would have been troubled by the Detroit native’s long reach, speed and accurate combinations. But I don’t think middleweight was Hearns’ best weight. Jones, on the other hand, was an absolute monster at 160 (and 168 pounds). I can’t imagine Jones getting upset by Iran Barkley or having as much trouble as Hearns had with Juan Roldan or James Kinchen (at super middleweight). But styles make fights. Those rough-and-tumble contenders like to apply pressure, which bothered Hearns, but come-forward aggression generally wasn’t Jones’ cup of tea. Jones was a boxer – he was an expert at commanding the distance and tempo of a fight – and Hearns was usually kryptonite for boxers (see the hard time he gave Sugar Ray Leonard and his decisions over Wilfred Benitez and Virgil Hill). However, Jones was not a textbook boxer. He developed his own unique style that suited his otherworldly athleticism, and his unorthodox method’s of reaching his opponents’ chins were hard to anticipate. Because of this X-factor, I’m going to go with Jones by mid-to-late rounds TKO in what would be an intense chess match up to that point.
With Roy Jones retiring, what would you say was his career high, for you personally? It’s gotta be the decision over Toney in 1994. I likened him to the Michael Jordan of boxing at the time. There’s no higher praise than that. The decision over Bernard Hopkins looks great in hindsight but it didn’t mean that much at the time. The one-hitter-quitter body shot to poor Virgil Hill’s ribcage was definitely a highlight. But, personally, I like Jones best when he was in his “RJ” persona and went out and blitzed his competition (see the Montell Griffin rematch, the first-round blasting of Antonie Bryd and early stoppages of Thomas Tate, Merqui Sosa, Tony Thorton and Bryant Bannon).
Where do you rank him amongst the best of the last 25 years? Does he make your top 3? Probably not, but he’s in my top 10. As far as best pure talent I’ve ever seen, he’s No. 1.
A lot of people feel sorry for Roy for some reason. But I just don’t get it. There’s not much to get. They’re just mopey f__kers. The world is full of depressed cats that can’t help but project their inner feelings onto others. They probably don’t get why Jones is so darn happy all the time.
He is doing what he wants, fighting at a really low level and still gets paid for it. What a life. He seems content whenever I see him. That’s all that really matters.
Yes, he has been putting himself at risk. But it’s his risk to take. I agree with you, but that doesn’t mean that athletic commissions should continue to license him to box. If Jones were to f__k around and suffer a severe brain injury or, God forbid, get himself killed as the result of punches he took during a professional boxing match, imagine the damage that would do to the sport worldwide. That would cripple boxing and steal away the passion that millions currently have for the sport. For the sake of Jones’ family and the integrity of the sport I think it’s past due for him to hang up the gloves.
The idea of telling another man not to follow his passion is bizarre and a lot of the fake pity you read for Roy online is phony. Almost EVERYTHING you read online is phony, Giuseppe, including the belief that last night’s unanimous decision over Scott Sigmon is really going to be Jones’ last fight. Come on, we don’t really believe that do we? The fight was streamed on UFC Fight Pass. UFC president Dana White says he’s getting into the boxing business. Following the Sigmon victory Jones says “Dana, I know you’re listening. I know Anderson Silva is suspended but that’s the only fight I’ll return for.” Jones-Silva is going to happen.
One of the recent rumors that has been circling the boxing world is that there is a possibility that Manny Pacquiao may be featured at MSG on the same card as Terence Crawford v Jeff Horn. When anyone first reads that we may be getting Pacquiao and Crawford on the same night, co-headlining the same Top Rank card, the initial thought is “what a great idea!” Then you continue to read the details of the rumor and you see that if this does come to fruition the card will not be on regular ESPN, where just anyone can turn on their cable boxes and tune in, but in fact you’d have to pay for it on PPV (buzzkill).
Wouldn’t this be counterintuitive to what we have been told the relationship of Top Rank with ESPN was going to represent in terms of the visibility of the sport? Is this not unfortunately something similar to the PBC being sold to the boxing world as a product that was going to be on “free TV”, but then having fights on Showtime/Showtime PPV? Would this not be a step sideways or even backwards for the trajectory of Crawford and his exposure to casual fans? Or does Manny’s fame and name combined with ESPNs’ capability to promote and advertise the hell out of this event make this a big positive move for all parties involved?
I know this all based on a rumor, but I had to take it upon myself to bring it up this week because this seemed to be the main topic of interest in a boxing centric group text I am in. I mean we also went back and forth about Mayweather seemingly trying to gain some relevance back with his MMA talk, but I can’t even entertain that nonsense. Thanks again! – Andrew, Chula Vista, CA
Well, there’s definitely more of a chance of a Crawford/Pacquiao doubleheader being an ESPN PPV show than Mayweather fighting in an MMA bout.
If Pacquiao is added to the show it will definitely be PPV, but it doesn’t bother me that much. I lost interest in Pacquiao’s career almost eight years ago and I view the Crawford-Horn fight as a formality – just a means of getting the American a major welterweight title. It’s not must-see TV. But if Top Rank and ESPN want to take the financial risk, more power to them. It’s not an easy sell – Pacquiao is a fading vet and nobody it excited about the prospect of him facing Mike Alvarado; while Crawford is only an attraction in his home region – but it will be interesting to see what the promotional company and the influential cable network do to create casual fan interest in the show.
Wouldn’t this be counterintuitive to what we have been told the relationship of Top Rank with ESPN was going to represent in terms of the visibility of the sport? A little bit, yes, but if they have enough non-PPV shows on ESPN that deliver quality action between world-class fighters, as the Valdez-Quigg and Ramirez-Imam cards likely will on March 10 and 17, most hardcore fans will be satisfied and new fans will probably be made.
Is this not unfortunately something similar to the PBC being sold to the boxing world as a product that was going to be on “free TV”, but then having fights on Showtime/Showtime PPV? I guess, but Top Rank doesn’t have a near-billion-war chest to buy time on several networks.
Would this not be a step sideways or even backwards for the trajectory of Crawford and his exposure to casual fans? Yes and no. Being on PPV will limit the number of fans that will watch him fight live (which is what happened with his dismal HBO PPV main event against Viktor Postol), but it still advances his career because he can grab the WBO 147-pound title and the co-featured bout will provide him with his first defense opponent (which should be Pacquiao). If he fights Pacquiao late this year, he’ll likely dominate the legend and the torch will be officially passed (as is the brutal tradition in boxing).
Or does Manny’s fame and name combined with ESPN’s capability to promote and advertise the hell out of this event make this a big positive move for all parties involved? Time will tell. I definitely think they can do better numbers than the Crawford-Postol PPV did in 2016.
TRAINERS AND THEIR PRIZE PUPILS
Congrats on gettin’ all the way to literally the top of your profession chum. I always had an inclining that you’d make your way to the top from the days of watching you and Steve Kim on TNR waaaaay back. Those Maxboxing days solidified my love of the sport when you guys put the insta-classic Corrales-Castillo 1 on my radar as a potential must-watch back in 2005.
Enough reminiscing! Watching Murat Gassiev and Oleksandr Usyk go face to face got me thinking. Vasyl Lomanchenko Sr. and Abel Sanchez are two of my favourite trainers these days, both for how they physically prepare their guys and for the incredible fundamentals they’ve instilled in them. Now, I’ll never get to see both of their prized pupils (Vasyl and GGG) square off against each other but I’m more than satisfied with the super-sized version of that contest.
My question is – What other trainer/prized pupil vs. trainer prized pupil match ups stand out for you? I’m thinking Freddie Roach/Manny Pac vs. Nacho Beristain/JM Marquez or Felix Trinidad Sr./Tito vs Bouie Fischer/B-Hop.
Also, what would you say are some prized pupils and trainers mythical matchups you can think of? Honestly one that springs to mind right now is lightweight JMM/Nacho vs Loma Jr./Sr. I always thought the version of JMM that went to war with the baby bull would make for the same no-nonsense brawl with Loma, especially with the game planning and specific instructions that Nacho was so good at giving between rounds. Cheers. – LR
Wow. That’s some meaty hypothetical s__t for ole Dougie to chew on, LR.
I think some of the best trainer/prized pupil team-ups have occurred in the 160-pound division, so my No. 1 trainer/prized pupil mythical matchups would involve two of my all-time favorite trainers (two men I had the honor of meeting and talking to) – Amilcar Brusa and Bouie Fisher – and their middleweight masterpieces, Carlos Monzon and Bernard Hopkins. It would have to be old school – same day weigh-in and the 15-round distance. My friend, it gets no better than that.
Some others that would be awesome are: Angelo Dundee/Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Gil Clancy/Emile Griffith (at welterweight, junior middleweight and middleweight), the Petronelli Bros. (Pat and Goody)/Marvin Hagler vs. Bill Miller/James Toney (middleweight), George Gainford/Sugar Ray Robinson vs. Emanuel Steward/Thomas Hearns (welterweight, jr. middle, middle) and Enzo Calzaghe/Joe Calzaghe vs. Virgil Hunter-Andre Ward (super middleweight and lt. heavyweight).
What other trainer/prized pupil vs. trainer/prized pupil match ups stand out for you? I’m thinking Freddie Roach/Manny Pac vs. Nacho Beristain/JM Marquez or Felix Trinidad Sr./Tito vs Bouie Fischer/B-Hop. Those are some good ones. How about Charley Goldman/Rocky Marciano vs. Jack Blackburn/Joe Louis, Dundee/Muhammad Ali vs. Eddie Futch/Joe Frazier/Ken Norton (for I and II), Dundee/Leonard vs. Ray Arcel/Roberto Duran, Futch/Riddick Bowe vs. George Benton/Evander Holyfield, Richie Giachetti/Larry Holmes vs. Bill Slayton/Norton or Trinidad Sr./Trinidad vs. Eduardo Garcia/Fernando Vargas.
LAST WEEKEND’S FIGHTS
Quite a fun weekend for boxing. ShoBox: The Next Generation continues to be my favorite boxing show. What do you make of Ronald Ellis and Junior Younan? Do you think they are going anywhere? It was a good fight, certainly close, maybe Ellis squeaked out the win. I also enjoy watching a fighter like Rolando Chinea, not ranked, but puts out great effort and a good show. I was rooting for him against Thomas Mattice.
Top Rank on ESPN also had entertaining matches, even with their screwy split-station coverage and basketball interlude. What is your take on Teofimo Lopez, Jr.? He looked pretty good, but it was against an opponent that couldn’t take advantage of his defensive lapses. Does he learn, improving to become a player in the lightweight division? Jerwin Ancajas looked great against Israel Gonzalez, but is he ready for Srisaket Sor Rungvisai? Would the politics of boxing ever make that fight? Finally, Gilberto Ramirez looked amazing, granted against a fighter I hadn’t heard of, but he took Habib’s will away with his foot-work and body attack. What’s next for him? Does he chase the Brits that Ring Magazine has ranked right below him, of the better known (at least to me) fighters like James DeGale or Andre Dirrell. I’d like to see him against any of them.
Finally, what has happened to Teddy Atlas? No problems at all with the ESPN announcing crew, but where’s Teddy? Has ESPN severed their ties with him? Is it Top Rank? As always, thanks for the Mailbag. – Ken Kozberg, Oakham, MA
Thanks for reading it, Ken. As far as I know Atlas is still under contract with ESPN and will be utilized for certain boxing-related features, but for the time being he’s not providing color or expert commentary for the network’s live boxing broadcasts.
Read this story by the L.A. Times’ Lance Pugmire for Teddy’s comments on the situation (or as much as he’s legally allowed to say about it).
ShoBox: The Next Generation continues to be my favorite boxing show. It’s one of my favorite shows and it definitely has my favorite broadcast team.
What do you make of Ronald Ellis and Junior Younan? Well, I wouldn’t consider either to be a super middleweight contender or prospect.
Do you think they are going anywhere? I don’t think either will go very far, but it’s a bit too early to tell with Younan (who can learn from this fight). I think Ellis, who’s got to get moving with his career at age 28, might want to try making 160 pounds and seeing if that doesn’t give him a sorely needed edge in his fights.
It was a good fight, certainly close, maybe Ellis squeaked out the win. I thought he did.
I also enjoy watching a fighter like Rolando Chinea, not ranked, but puts out great effort and a good show. I was rooting for him against Thomas Mattice. It’s hard not to root for Chinea because he’s so darned determined but I could also tell that he was going to eventually take too many shots and either wear down or get stopped. I give Mattice credit for stepping on the gas when he needed to. I think the Ohioan is worth keeping an eye on.
What is your take on Teofimo Lopez, Jr.? He’s got an extensive amateur background, natural talent, skill, dedication and a good team behind him. I think it’s safe to say that he’s a future major player in the 135- and 140-pound divisions, but the truth is that he’s just a really good prospect. At age 20 with eight pro bouts under his belt, still fighting in six-rounders, it’s too early to tell.
He looked pretty good, but it was against an opponent that couldn’t take advantage of his defensive lapses. Does he learn, improving to become a player in the lightweight division? He’s in a competitive training environment (Las Vegas) and he’s promoted by Top Rank, which has hall-of-fame-level matchmakers that are dedicated to developing its young talent, so my guess is YES.
Jerwin Ancajas looked great against Israel Gonzalez, but is he ready for Srisaket Sor Rungvisai? No.
Would the politics of boxing ever make that fight? It won’t happen this year, but it could conceivably take place in 2019.
Gilberto Ramirez looked amazing, granted against a fighter I hadn’t heard of, but he took Habib’s will away with his foot-work and body attack. Zurdo can box and he can fight. I’m glad he’s finally starting to entertain.
What’s next for him? Probably a rematch with Jesse Hart.
Does he chase the Brits that Ring Magazine has ranked right below him, or the better known (at least to me) fighters like James DeGale or Andre Dirrell. I’d like to see him against any of them. Me too. I think the winner of the WBSS tournament would be best goal for the Mexican southpaw. DeGale wouldn’t be a bad opponent, but the British contender has to get back in the win column first (and he also needs to sharpen up his game). Beyond the U.K. standouts currently in the WBSS (Groves, Eubank Jr., Smith), I think it would be smart for Team Ramirez and Bob Arum to pursue a showdown with Canelo-Golovkin rematch winner (especially if it’s GGG).
TIM BRADLEY, JO JO DIAZ
I am impressed with Tim Bradley’s commentating and analysis. He has a style that makes you feel like he’s sitting on your living room couch explaining all the things that somebody who doesn’t necessarily have his experience may not see. I haven’t enjoyed hearing this level of commentary since Emanuel Steward. What are your thoughts?
I understand you’ll be at Fantasy Springs on February 22. I’ll be there too, with my son! How approachable are you when you’re at these events? What are your thoughts on the headliner, Joseph “JoJo” Diaz, and his career trajectory?
Thank you for your mailbag. Cheers! – Dennis Price, El Centro, CA
Thanks for sharing, Dennis.
Diaz is a complete boxer who is smart and gutsy. The 2012 U.S. Olympian had been in with quality opposition on the way to building his 25-0 record and he’s passed every test Golden Boy matchmakers have put before him so far. I think Diaz is almost ready for a world title shot. In fact, if he beats former 122-pound beltholder Victor Terrazas on Feb. 22, that’s the plan. His management and GBP will push the WBC to make him the mandatory challenger for Gary Russell Jr. However, the 25-year-old southpaw will have his hands full with Russell, despite the Washington D.C. native’s one-fight-a-year schedule. Russell had an even more extensive amateur career than Diaz and he’s been in with better pro fighters (mainly Vasyl Lomachneko), and his hand speed is off the charts. But I give Daiz and GBP credit. They don’t want to wait around for Russell to vacant the WBC title (in a move to 130) or for an easier titleholder to come around. They want Russell and that green belt NEXT.
I’m going to try to be ringside for the Diaz-Terrazas show, but some recent schedule conflicts have popped up that have put me on the fence about making that 130-mile drive east. Regardless of where you might see me, feel free to say hello and talk some boxing as long as I’m not on deadline after a fight or actively doing commentary. I like to think that I’m approachable.
Regarding Bradley’s impressive commentary and analysis, that shouldn’t come as any surprise. He’s smart, humble, personable and he arguably had a hall-of-fame worthy career. He learned a lot about the sport, himself and other boxers during those 35 pro bouts, which includes 12 world titleholders. I enjoyed covering Bradley’s career and I enjoy listening to his fight commentary.
MOVE THOSE STREAMS TO TV!
Just read about your laptop on the kitchen table viewing (for Gassiev-Dorticos). Hook that s__t up to the TV!! That’s what the HD cable is for! Or even the VGA cable!
C’mon Dougie! Ha! – Dan Grabowski (fan of Dougie and the mailbag since Maxboxing)
I don’t know why that never occurs to me when I’m watching a
boxing stream on a laptop or computer.
Maybe it’s because I don’t watch a lot of streams, or maybe I’m just getting so used to watching video and TV on my iPhone that my laptop screen seems pretty big by comparison.
Or maybe it’s because the TV in my kitchen is older than half the people reading this mailbag column and the TV in the back room of my house where I have my desk set up probably belongs in a museum somewhere.
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer