Monday, October 14, 2019  |

News

Dougie’s Friday mailbag (Wilder-Ortiz, Bivol-Barrera, Nery-Yamanaka)

Photo by Amanda Westcott/Showtime
02
Mar

HEAVYWEIGHT WEEKEND

Hi Doug,

What a great boxing weekend ahead of us! The Krusher is in action again, we got a big card here in South Africa and Dmitry Bivol-Sullivan Barrera is a very interesting matchup. (I got Bivol by hard fought decision, who do you have?)

However, my main focus is on Deontay Wilder-Luis Ortiz. Two supremely confident, undefeated, hard hitting heavyweights, both with some question marks, squaring off. If you are negative about this one you need to seriously change your meds.

I suppose we know slightly more about Wilder. Though not entirely his fault he has already had a six defence title reign without having fought a consensus top ten heavyweight with the exception of Bermane Stiverne in their first fight. We know he can hit. Then again and I know this might seem like a stupid question given his KO ratio, but does he really hit that hard at the top level? I mean he grinded down Johann Duhaupas when Alexander Povetkin starched him and he made rather hard work against Eric Molina compared to what Joshua did to him. What do you think?

We know he is a little bit chinny and we know that he has decent speed and athleticism and can use his skills when he needs to.

As for Ortiz, his resume is also a bit thin. Except for Bryant Jennings and Tony Thompson there isn’t much else. You have to like his patient, fundamentally sound technical style. He doesn’t waste punches, does everything textbook and generally looks a lot more together than Wilder.

The question is can he take it? I am judging purely from his appearance, but the square jaw, thick neck and shoulders gives me the feeling that he probably can. Do you have any idea whether he has ever been stopped or knocked down as an amateur?

Still, this is a 50/50 fight and one man steamrolling the other won’t shock me. I can see Ortiz getting on the inside and breaking Wilder apart. He reminds me a lot of Riddick Bowe. One thing that has gone unnoticed is the fact that, although he is the shorter man, he has a one-inch reach advantage over Wilder. That means that, like Mayweather, he has long arms for his body, which means that when Wilder fights tall behind the jab, Ortiz can clip him. Those kinds of fighters can make you think that you are out of the pocket and then bam! If I was a betting man, I would roll the dice on Ortiz.

If Wilder goes wild in his windmill impersonation, then he will get knocked out. Ortiz knows how to pick his spots. But here’s the thing: I think that Wilder fights up and down to the level of his opposition. In the first Stiverne fight his technique was tight, there was nothing sloppy, he had a plan and stuck to it. I think we will see that version of Wilder on Saturday night.

I do think that Ortiz is significantly better than Stiverne and that Wilder will get hurt and hit the canvass at some point. However, I have a hunch that his experience early in his career against Harold Sconiers will enable him to survive, use his speed and feet to get back into the fight and stop a fading Ortiz late.

Or perhaps I am basing this on Ortiz’s age, inactivity and the hangovers I have from the disappointing careers of Jorge Luis Gonzalez and Odlanier Solis?

How do you see it?

Mythical Matchups:

Humberto Gonzalez vs Baby Jake Matlala

Deontay Wilder vs Corrie Sanders

Regards. – Droeks Malan, South Africa

Going with Chiquita by hard-fought, bloody decision against Baby Jake, and Sanders (the deceased South African southpaw, not “T-Rex”) by early-rounds blitz. So, there ya go, Droeks, your country goes 1-1 in this pair of mythical matchups.

How do I see Wilder-Ortiz? As you stated, Wilder fights up or down to the level of his opposition, which means he might look raw and sloppy vs. Molina, Duhaupus or Gerald Washington, but he’ll tighten up his technique for a legit threat like Stiverne and look like a 220-pound Mark Breland.

Wilder jabs Stiverne during their first fight. Photo / Naoki Fukuda

He’s got more experience under his belt since Stiverne I, so if he boxes another disciplined fight against King Kong the way he did in his title win I think he’ll win an intense but uneventful decision. If he gets greedy… well, we’ll be treated to some drama, and I’m OK with that. 

I suppose we know slightly more about Wilder. We know he can hit. Then again and I know this might seem like a stupid question given his KO ratio, but does he really hit that hard at the top level? I’ve said this before and I have no problem repeating it: Wilder’s power is real. I’ve been ringside for some of his knockouts (for the Kelvin Price stoppage I was doing the international broadcast and could have reached out and touched the fallen prospect) and I can tell you that it’s frightening. He hits guys so damn hard you really worry about their health.

I mean he grinded down Johann Duhaupas when Alexander Povetkin starched him and he made rather hard work against Eric Molina compared to what Joshua did to him. What do you think? The fact that he struggled with them proves that he was still raw after 30 pro bouts, but he showed that he isn’t a front runner by stopping them late. As for Povetkin and AJ’s quicker stoppages of those two common opponents, maybe Wilder softened JD and Molina up for them. That happens in boxing.

As for Ortiz, his resume is also a bit thin. Except for Bryant Jennings and Tony Thompson there isn’t much else. Hey! What about Malik Scott!?!?

You have to like his patient, fundamentally sound technical style. No, I don’t. And I thought he looked plodding and rather ordinary vs. Thompson and Scott.

He doesn’t waste punches, does everything textbook and generally looks a lot more together than Wilder. He does look like a tank, especially compared to Wilder, but that doesn’t mean he can take a direct hit from the American bomber.

The question is can he take it? I can’t really say. He’s never been in with a world-class puncher, and I believe Wilder possesses ELITE-level power.

Still, this is a 50/50 fight and one man steamrolling the other won’t shock me. I’ll be a little surprised, but pleasantly so.

I can see Ortiz getting on the inside and breaking Wilder apart. He reminds me a lot of Riddick Bowe. The Cuban is good on the inside for a big man (Big Daddy was great at it), but he doesn’t have Bowe’s jab and outside game.

One thing that has gone unnoticed is the fact that, although he is the shorter man, he has a one-inch reach advantage over Wilder. Are you sure about that? Just because his wingspan is 84 inches and Wilder’s is 83, it doesn’t mean that he’s got longer arms. The “reach” measurement is taken from fingertip to fingertip with the fighter standing with his arms extended in a “T” formation. So, it could mean that Ortiz merely has broader shoulders.

That means that, like Mayweather, he has long arms for his body, which means that when Wilder fights tall behind the jab, Ortiz can clip him. Those kinds of fighters can make you think that you are out of the pocket and then bam! If I was a betting man, I would roll the dice on Ortiz. You’re gonna kick yourself for not putting some money down on Ortiz if the Cuban sparks him.

Dmitry Bivol-Sullivan Barrera is a very interesting matchup. (I got Bivol by hard fought decision, who do you have?) I favor Bivol by late stoppage in a competitive fight.

 

COMPETING SHOWS

Hello Doug,

Just like I assume most people are, I am looking forward to two fights in particular this weekend; the co-main event on HBO, Bivol-Barrera, and the main event on Showtime, Wilder-Ortiz. Both fights have heavy hitters facing their toughest tests to date in Cuban boxers whose pose real threats. Bivol-Barrera I think has to be quite possibly a 50-50 fight considering how little we know about Bivol with only 12 professional fights and also taking into consideration that Barrera has only one loss and that is to none other than Andre S.O.G Ward, while beating the likes of Joe Smith Jr, Vyacheslav Shabransky and Karo Murat (not too shabby).

Then there’s the heavyweight showdown between Deontay Wilder and Luis Ortiz finally giving us a Wilder fight that is his biggest step-up in competition since his first fight with Bermane Stiverne. Now that isn’t for a lack of trying considering he was en route to fighting Alexander Povetkin in Russia and Luis Ortiz late last year until they both tested positive for some sort of illegal substances (allegedly), which resulted in Wilder having to face, in comparison, lackluster last-minute opponents. I think Wilder seizes the moment and delivers and beats Ortiz. However just knowing that these two guys could end the others night with one hard/clean punch gets me super pumped for Saturday. Do we see Wilder outbox Ortiz similar to Wilder-Stiverne 1? Or is this fight ending by knockout? Thanks again. – Andrew Chula Vista, CA

For some reason I feel like it will go the distance with Wilder sticking-and-moving the s__t out of a frustrated Ortiz, but I hope I’m wrong and we get fireworks. There’s nothing like a heavyweight shootout. My two favorite big man shootouts of the past 30 years are Moorer-Cooper and Jefferson-Harris. I never get tired of watching those scraps. I agree that the potential is there for some back-and-forth offense that could end with a one-hitter-quitter with Wilder-Ortiz.

Barrera nails Shabranskyy with a right cross. Photo by Tom Hogan-HoganPhotos / GBP

Bivol-Barrera I think has to be quite possibly a 50-50 fight considering how little we know about Bivol with only 12 professional fights and also taking into consideration that Barrera has only one loss and that is to none other than Andre S.O.G Ward, while beating the likes of Joe Smith Jr, Vyacheslav Shabransky and Karo Murat (not too shabby). Yeah, not too shabby, but not exactly murderers row at 175 pounds, either. Sully is a solid all-around contender but let’s not make him out to be Matthew Saad Muhammad going to war with the likes of Marvin Johnson, Yaqui Lopez Dwight Muhammad Qawi.

I agree Bivol-Barrera is pretty much a toss-up on paper. Bivol passes the eye test but he’s largely untested. However, the 27-year-old beltholder’s talent is undeniable and the last time Barrera shared the ring with a boxer as naturally gifted as Bivol the Cuban was outclassed (by Ward). Then again, Ward had experience on his side against Barrera, and now Barrera has the decided edge in experience against Bivol. I think if Bivol doesn’t blitz Barrera (who seems susceptible to right hands), the Cuban can test the young Russian/Kyrgyzstani’s durability in the middle rounds and we can get a compelling fight. But I think Bivol’s athleticism will trouble Barrera.

 

GOING WITH ORTIZ OVER WILDER

Hi Dougie,

A good start to the year with lots of action. I am looking forward to what I hope will be a real big man heavyweight throw-down. How do you see the fight playing out not only in terms of who wins but what type of action we will see? I am going with Ortiz in this one and say it’s 50/50 he KOs Wilder vs a points win.

Though both men have not exactly faced a murders row of competition, I take Bryant Jennings over anyone Wilder has fought. Stiverne was a shell of himself both times he fought Wilder compared to the determined boxer he was when he beat Arreola.

Why do I favor Ortiz?

One, as someone who lives in Miami I have seen numerous local videos of him training at Tropical Park, and he looks to be in tremendous shape. Two, Ortiz’s boxing skills. Though Deontay has legitimate right hand power he is nowhere near Ortiz’s level as a technician. Ortiz uses a measuring right jab to set up left hand power to the body and upper cuts. His repertoire of skills and footwork is classic Cuban southpaw school. Therefore, I say to myself if Gerald Washington could thoroughly outbox Wilder for 5 or so rounds what will Ortiz do? Finally in the chin department they seem about even, though Wilder tends to leave his unguarded and be off balance at times. What are your thoughts on Wilder’s lack of defense and balance when throwing his right?

You have written in the past that Tyson Fury might be the best HW of all based on skills, can I assume that you are going with the better boxer in this one? All the best. – Aaron in Miami

I don’t say that Fury is the best heavyweight based on skills. I believe that he has the ability to beat the other top heavyweights based on STYLE. And, yes, the Gypsy King is an excellent boxer, despite looking raw and awkward at times, but he makes that awkwardness work for him.

And Wilder does the same thing but with more speed and power. Rather than frustrate his opposition, Wilder seeks to blast them, which can leave him vulnerable. But just because Wilder lacks Ortiz’s technique and sound fundamentals it doesn’t mean the American can’t box. A big part of the art of boxing is controlling the pace and distance of the fight, and Wilder does that well. He can do it to Ortiz if he uses lateral movement and a hard jab.  

How do you see the fight playing out not only in terms of who wins but what type of action we will see? I think Wilder will control his aggression and box and bomb on Ortiz while on the move. I think it goes 12. Hopefully, we get some action and drama along the way.

I am going with Ortiz in this one and say it’s 50/50 he KOs Wilder vs a points win. It’s certainly within Ortiz ability (especially after a good camp at the SNAC Gym in the Bay Area) to win this fight.

Though both men have not exactly faced a murders row of competition, I take Bryant Jennings over anyone Wilder has fought. You have a point, but I think Jennings was tailor-made for Ortiz in terms of style.

Stiverne was a shell of himself both times he fought Wilder compared to the determined boxer he was when he beat Arreola. How was Stiverne a “shell of himself” in the first Wilder fight? That was his first title defense, and while the Arreola fights weren’t easy it wasn’t like they were the kind of grueling battles that physically waste a fighter. If Stiverne wasn’t determined to defend his title, or win it back, that’s on him.

One, as someone who lives in Miami I have seen numerous local videos of him training at Tropical Park, and he looks to be in tremendous shape. Let’s hope so. But if he pulls a “Stiverne” that’s on him, not Wilder.

Two, Ortiz’s boxing skills. Though Deontay has legitimate right hand power he is nowhere near Ortiz’s level as a technician. I agree, but technique does not equal boxing skill. A boxer can have technical flaws or unorthodox technique and still be a skilled ring general if he or she has the smarts and the athleticism to control the pace and distance of a fight.

Ortiz uses a measuring right jab to set up left hand power to the body and upper cuts. He does indeed, but how well does he do it against a moving opponent?

His repertoire of skills and footwork is classic Cuban southpaw school. OK, but can he cut the ring off?

Therefore, I say to myself if Gerald Washington could thoroughly outbox Wilder for 5 or so rounds what will Ortiz do? We’ll find out tomorrow night.

Finally in the chin department they seem about even, though Wilder tends to leave his unguarded and be off balance at times. What are your thoughts on Wilder’s lack of defense and balance when throwing his right? So far, nobody’s been able to take advantage of these flaws. We’ll see if Ortiz can.

 

SHAME ON LUIS NERY

Hey Doug,

Just wanted to give my two cents on what just happened in Japan between Panterita Nery and Shinsuke Yamanaka. I don’t know how they let that fight continue with Luis Nery coming so overweight. How did they let this happen? It was a brutal stoppage, thank god it only lasted 2 rounds.

What struck me the most was Nery’s attitude after the fight, saying that everybody wanted to taint this win with the clembuterol scandal, which was a total lie. Then how come he wasn’t even close to making weight on this fight? He even had the nerve to say that it was divine justice that his camp was great and everything went well. Really? Didn’t he come 5 full pounds overweight? Isn’t clembuterol a diuretic and helps lose weight?

I’ll be honest Doug, I hear a lot of things in the gyms in Tijuana and one of the things I hear the most is that certain fighters are using the Mexican meat thing as a good excuse to do certain things and get away with it. Shame on Luis Nery, Zanfer and all involved in this debacle. – Juan Valverde, San Diego

The WBC and the Japan Boxing Commission deserve a little bit of shame, too, Juan. And Yamanaka’s team deserves some blame for allowing their aging bantamweight fighter to face young tiger who weighed in as a junior featherweight and likely fought as a junior lightweight.

I don’t know how they let that fight continue with Luis Nery coming so overweight. How did they let this happen? The simple answer is because Yamanaka agreed to go through with the fight. He could have said “F__k this piece of s__t,” or “F__k this corrupt-ass sport,” and called the fight off. That’s what you or I would have done, but we’re not fighters. We don’t know what it’s like to be a long-reigning world champion or to lose for the first time and then train our asses off in camp for a rematch and a shot at regaining our world title and some revenge. Yamanaka believed in himself but got crushed once again on an uneven playing field. Boxing, like life, is not always fair.

It was a brutal stoppage, thank god it only lasted 2 rounds. Sucks that Yamanaka, who was such a gutsy and dignified champion, will retire after back-to-back KO losses in unfair fights. That would leave most of us very bitter, but hopefully he’s got a better outlook on life than the average boxing fan.

What struck me the most was Nery’s attitude after the fight, saying that everybody wanted to taint this win with the clembuterol scandal, which was a total lie. Then how come he wasn’t even close to making weight on this fight? Either he naturally outgrew the division or he can’t make 118 without help from a banned substance.

He even had the nerve to say that it was divine justice that his camp was great and everything went well. Really? Didn’t he come 5 full pounds overweight? Three pounds. Read this story.

Isn’t clembuterol a diuretic and helps lose weight? It wasn’t clembuterol, it was zilpaterol, but it’s a similar drug. It’s used in beefing up cattle, but also abused by body builders and other athletes looking to cut weight, build muscle mass and get an adrenaline boost in their sports training and competition.

Regarding Mexican fighters using the “tainted beef excuse” to get away with using banned PEDs, it’s up to the commissions and the sanctioning organizations to properly punish these guys. It’s 2018. Athletes can’t play dumb any more. It’s part of their responsibility to

Nery clocks Yamanaka during their first fight. Photo / Naoki Fukuda

monitor what they put into their bodies and to avoid ingesting anything that will introduce a banned substance into their systems. In my opinion, the WBC should have stripped Nery after the first fight and the JBC should have suspended him from fighting in Japan for a period of time. And the same deal goes for Kenichi Ogawa, who failed a pre-fight drug test in his IBF 130-pound title win over Tevin Farmer. The IBF should have stripped him. THE RING dropped both Nery and Ogawa from its rankings.

 

NERY VS. INOUE

Hi Doug,

I’ll keep this one short and sweet; I’d love Inoue to move up to 118 and challenge Nery. If Nery can actually make the effort to make weight and not use PE… sorry, not come into contact with tainted beef, then I think Inoue beating him would make me feel better about poor Yamanaka (I understand Nery isn’t a gimme for Naoya btw, I’m just pissed about both the Yamanaka fights).

Should my wish come true, who’ve you got? Hope you and the family are well! Best. – Phil, Liverpool

We’re good, Phil, thanks for asking.

I would go with Inoue by decision in that matchup, but I don’t see it happening. Nery no longer holds a world title and Inoue is not messing around at 118. He wants to win a major world title or two and then jump to 122 or 126.

Maybe we’ll see Inoue vs. Nery at featherweight one day.

 

UNDISPUTED, UNIFIED CHAMPIONS

Hey Doug,

Hope all is well in your world.

I’d like to get your thoughts on the direction, or future you see for boxing in the context of ‘undisputed status’.

It seems that every fighter who picks up a belt or is highlighted as a potential future star declares that they will ‘clean out’ or unify their respective division.

Most of us know this is just obligatory rhetoric, sports journalism cliches and a way to announce oneself.

Now where I need your insider knowledge of this path to undisputed status is:

  1. Does it cost more in sanctioning fees the more belts you acquire and hold against the revenue coming in?
  2. In your opinion, are we seeing the end of ‘undisputed’ champions due to the number of belts required and other hurdles (promotional conflicts etc)?

I realise there is a lot of relativity built into these questions, but would still appreciate your opinion. Hope I make the cut! Cheers. – Ki, Sydney

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Ki. It’s been awhile so it’s good to hear from you.

  1. Does it cost more in sanctioning fees the more belts you acquire and hold against the revenue coming in? Generally speaking, the more world title belts a fighter has, the greater his or her status/stature is within the sport, and this often translates to bigger purses. So, the belts definitely matter in terms of increasing a fighter’s earning potential. However, the fighter has to pay a small percentage of his purse (traditionally 3%) to each sanctioning body, so that adds up. Fighters with three or four belts wind up forking over a significant chunk of their pay to the world title organizations.
  2. In your opinion, are we seeing the end of ‘undisputed’ champions due to the number of belts required and other hurdles (promotional conflicts etc)? With four major belts (five if you count the IBO) floating around out there, it’s going to be very difficult to get totally unified titleholders (especially when you factor in promotional rivalries and exclusive network contracts), but I wouldn’t say that we’re looking at the end of undisputed champions. The top female boxer, Cecilia Braekhus, currently holds all four major belts (WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO). Terence Crawford was recently able to do it at 140 pounds. The winner of the Oleksandr Usyk-Murat Gassiev fight on May 11 will be the undisputed cruiserweight champ (all four major belts, plus THE RING title). The winner of Anthony Joshua-Joseph Parker on March 31 will hold three belts (WBA, IBF and WBO). If he faces the winner of Wilder-Ortiz at some point, we’ll have an undisputed heavyweight champ.

 

 

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

No posts found.