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Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Jose Ramirez, Regis Prograis, UK’s best, Canelo and jerk fans)

Ramirez (left) and Amir Imam trade jabs. Photo courtesy of @TRboxing
19
Mar

RAMIREZ VS. IMAM

Hello Doug,

That Amir Imam vs. Jose Ramirez fight was a good scrap that was entertaining for all 12 rounds and was fitting for a vacant title at 140 pounds. I think Imam was the more skilled fighter, especially defensively. Imam also seemed to have the edge in power, however he seemed to be the inferior fighter when it came to punch resistance and a sustained work rate. Ramirez’s durability was impressive and he more than earned that world title.

My questions for you Doug would be – how likely is it that we get Regis Prograis vs. Ramirez next? Also, would you favor Ramirez or Prograis? I like both guys, but I think I would favor Prograis because I believe he’s the more polished between the two, but that has to be essentially a 50/50 fight. Thanks Doug! – Andrew, Chula Vista, CA



I view Ramirez-Prograis as an even fight. I’ve been higher on Progais than Ramirez in recent years, but the Central Californian showed me something on Saturday. Against Imam, he proved that he can take a good shot and that he has world-class stamina to go with his grit and determination. However, as I noted on my Twitter account during the entertaining fight, Ramirez is more than a gritty grinder. He’s smart in that ring. I think he’s got a lot of craft to go with his stamina, pressure and volume punching.

I love watching Prograis fight. He’s a throwback boxer to my eyes. And his versatility reminds me of the recently departed king of the 140-pound division, Terence Crawford. I think his punch power and accuracy are better than Ramirez’s but if he can’t hurt the 2012 U.S. Olympian it’s going to be very difficult to outbox and outpoint a hungry young titleholder with that relentless style.

I would be surprised if Ramirez-Prograis happened before both fighters engaged in interim fights. Ramiez is a huge draw in his home region, so I’m sure Bob Arum wants to give his budding star soft voluntary defense before a dangerous mandatory with Prograis (who he says he’d welcome in the co-feature to help build-up the eventual showdown). But I think the fight will happen before the end of the year.

I think Imam was the more skilled fighter, especially defensively. I think this was true for about four or five rounds, and then Ramirez took over the bout and nailed Imam more than Imam hit him return.

Imam also seemed to have the edge in power, however he seemed to be the inferior fighter when it came to punch resistance and a sustained work rate. Imam may have had the harder single punch (probably his straight right), but on average Ramirez had the heavier hands. All of Ramirez’s punches had sting on them. I thought Imam showed a solid set of whiskers (even though he was buzzed a few times) and a lot of heart.

Ramirez’s durability was impressive and he more than earned that world title. Agreed, but once more I want to point out that he won with guts AND brains. Go back and look at his punch selection. He saw openings all night and threw the right punches at the right times. He not only set the pace, he figured out a difficult style and gradually dominated a very talented boxer.

 

UPCOMING FIGHTS, CANELO DISAPPOINTMENT

Hi Dougie,

Hope all is well with you and the family. There is so much going on in the boxing world. What fight was Max DeLuca watching, scoring Jose Ramirez-Amir Imam 115-113?

Really looking forward to the up-coming fights between Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker and Vasyl Lomachenko and Jorge Linares. The experts say Joshua and Loma win, but I don’t know. Maybe you can say Parker has a puncher’s chance, but I think the Venezuelan fighter really might surprise the world and hand Loma a loss, either by decision or a late round TKO.

The main reason for writing is my total disappointment with Canelo Alvarez. I was a big fan, giving me the dilemma of who to support when he faced another of my favorite boxers, Gennady Golovkin. I have all the respect in the world for you; I’m no troll and would still buy you lunch if you ever wandered through our cow fields, but eating tainted meat? Please. Canelo is a professional athlete, part of a professional team who regularly monitors his weight and his nutrition. Could they all be stupid enough to make the mistake he claims caused his positive test? I suppose it’s possible, but it’s like the drunk driver who goes off the road claiming he swerved to avoid a squirrel. How many times do the police hear that one?

When Erik Morales pulled the tainted beef story before Danny Garcia demolished him, he took the post-fight ban and retired. The GGG fight will also proceed and I can only hope that Gennady puts Canelo into another time zone. It probably won’t happen, but I’m not sure I lay down my pay-per-view $$ to watch the fight this time. Again, all respect for your work and the mailbag. – Ken Kozberg, Oakham, MA

Hey Ken, if you want to hate Canelo for testing positive for a banned substance (and by your intuition, lying about how it got into his system) by all means, knock yourself out. I have no problem with anyone who wants to hate on Canelo and root like hell for Gennady Golovkin. (In case you have been paying attention for the last five or six years, I’m a pretty big GGG fan myself, and I go way back with Tom Loeffler, who I consider a friend.) I’m not going to shed any tears for Canelo if 90% of the fans inside T-Mobile Arena boos him when he walks to the ring, or if he gets KTFO.

Having said that, I won’t be shocked s__tless if Canelo’s the one who scores the knockout. Thanks to the clenbuterol scandal, he won’t get credit for such a feat (or any sort of victory vs. GGG or anyone going forward), but I have to wonder if that’s the real reason some fans say they might skip the May 5 PPV rematch.

Canelo is a professional athlete, part of a professional team who regularly monitors his weight and his nutrition. Could they all be stupid enough to make the mistake he claims caused his positive test? I really don’t want to get into an endless debate with fans who are convinced that Canelo is juicing, because there’s so much more to boxing than him, but allow me to pose this question to you since you asked me if Team Canelo is stupid enough to allow him to accidentally ingest tainted meat:

If they are the consummate, savvy professionals that you say they are and they REALLY WANTED to utilize Canelo’s considerable wealth and influence to use performance-enhancing drugs to gain an edge against GGG, as you and others believe, why would they bother f__king with some cheap-ass s__t like clenbuterol? They’re world-class professionals, right? So why would they have Canelo take the same s__t that housewives, struggling actors and amateur bodybuilders take to burn fat? If Canelo really wanted to cheat, if he REALLY wanted to gain a performance edge without the risk of getting caught, wouldn’t he go to some expensive underground lab and get his body tested by sports science experts so they could create the best designer PEDs for him that money can buy – the type of s__t that DOESN’T come up on VADA tests like cheap-ass clenbuterol, which can be bought without a prescription in Mexico? If Canelo wanted to cheat by using drugs, wouldn’t he want the BEST PEDs, something that would do more than just help him burn fat and keep lean muscle? Wouldn’t he want something that would significantly increase his stamina and strength while helping him cut weight? And wouldn’t he want something without all of the health risks (especially to the heart) and awful side effects (headaches, muscle cramps, vomiting, chest pain, dizziness, etc.) associated with clen?

What fight was Max DeLuca watching, scoring Jose Ramirez-Amir Imam 115-113? I have no idea. He was watching that fight with Don King Goggles on. Personally, I don’t see how one could score more than three rounds for Imam, who fought a hell of fight but just couldn’t get enough done against the intelligent aggression that Ramirez imposed on him.

Really looking forward to the up-coming fights between Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker and Vasyl Lomachenko and Jorge Linares. Who isn’t?

The experts say Joshua and Loma win, but I don’t know. Maybe you can say Parker has a puncher’s chance, but I think the Venezuelan fighter really might surprise the world and hand Loma a loss, either by decision or a late round TKO. I think Parker has more than a puncher’s chance against Joshua, who has better punch resistance than he’s given credit for. I think a 100% focused and motivated Parker can outwork Joshua over the distance. Of course, he’ll have to be able to take AJ’s power to do that. I’d be shocked if Linares were able to stop Lomachenko, but I can envision the experienced Venezuelan troubling the Ukrainian marvel with his long-range jab and lateral movement. The version of Linares that showed up for Luke Campbell and Mercito Gesta won’t get it done, though. Linares is going to have to turn the clock back a few years.

 

WOULD AJ’S ROAD TO UNDISPUTED BE SHORTEST EVER?

Hi Doug,

I’ll keep it brief, just one topic I’ve been thinking on recently. If Anthony Joshua is successful against Parker next month, and then fought and beat Wilder in his next fight or even the one after that, would he be the fastest achieving four-belt undisputed champion? That is collecting all four in separate bouts not taking them all outright. As far as I’m aware I can’t think of any fighters in history to win four belts in 23 fights. If not then that would be a massive feat on AJ’s part, but I think also a little to Eddie Hearn’s credit. the guy has had incredible success with accelerating AJ’s career to this level in so few fight in my opinion.

Mythical Matchups:

Wladimir Klitchko vs Holmes

Hagler vs Robinson @ 160 (Robinson is the only middleweight I consider better than Hagler)

Frazier vs Holyfield

All the Best. –  Will, Peterborough, UK

I’ll go with Holmes, Robinson and Frazier by close UD (Smokin’ Joe and Holyfield would combine for a great battle).

Regarding Joshua, if he beats Parker on March 31 and then takes on Deontay Wilder in his next two or three bouts – and wins – (a lot of “IFs” here, fella) then, yeah, he will have unified all four major sanctioning organization titles quicker than anyone.

Braekhus displays her many world titles. Photo / Braekhus Promotions

The current undisputed female welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus unified all four major title belts in her 26th pro bout (with a unanimous decision over Ivana Habazin, about six and half years after her pro debut). So, if Joshua and Hearn want that record that you brought up, they can’t d__k around with Wilder negotiations for too long assuming AJ delivers on March 31.

However, I would like to point out that prior to 1988, there were “only” three major world titles and Evander Holyfield managed to unify the cruiserweight belts in his 18th pro bout (with an eighth-round stoppage of Carlos De Leon in April 1988, a little under three and half years removed from his pro debut).

I’d also like to point out that the number of bouts a fighter has at the time of his or her title-unification bouts isn’t the only way to measure how “fast” they achieved their undisputed status. You can also look at the number of years it took for them to get to that apex, and in that regard, Mike Tyson is the man. Although Tyson’s heavyweight unification showdown with fellow unbeaten titleholder Tony Tucker in August 1987 was his 31st pro bout, he earned undisputed status (by holding the WBC, WBA and IBF belts) in just under two and half years.

 

TOP U.K. BOXERS

Hi Doug,

Hope all is well and thanks for the mailbag, never miss them! Interested to get your view on a few things if possible:

Regardless of weight class, who would you rate as the top 3 UK boxers right now? Lee Selby’s been a world champion for a while, I guess he’d be in the running?

What do you make of Kell Brook’s chances against the various title holders at light-middleweight? Seems to be a little rivalry brewing with Mr. Charlo.

Finally, who do you see as the No1 at Featherweight – would you go with Leo Santa Cruz as per The Ring ratings? I guess it’s a little tricky with Gary Russell Jr fighting so rarely! All the best. – Damian, Hertford, UK

I don’t always agree with The Ring’s rankings (divisional or pound for pound) but I’ve gotta go with Leo over Gary at 126 pounds right now, even though I view Russell as the more talented boxer. Santa Cruz has featherweight wins over Carl Frampton and Abner Mares in his last five bouts (and his loss to Frampton in their first bout was competitive). Russell’s blend of speed, power and technique on display during his WBC title win over faded-but-still dangerous veteran Jhonny Gonzalez was impressive, however he’s been a once-a-year boxer since 2015. Santa Cruz hasn’t been much busier than Russell but the boxing exhibition he put on against a prime Frampton in their rematch proved that he’s more than just pressure and volume punching. I don’t know who would prove to be the better featherweight in a head-to-head matchup, but I hope we eventually find out.

Regardless of weight class, who would you rate as the top 3 UK boxers right now? Lee Selby’s been a world champion for a while, I guess he’d be in the running? Yeah, I reckon Selby’s in the mix, probably top five, but he doesn’t make my top three. I think I’ll go with Anthony Joshua, George Groves and Billy Joe Saunders. Frampton, Selby, Ryan Burnett, Khalid Yafai, Kell Brook, Callum Smith, and Josh Taylor round out my top 10 (which is saying something about the 27-year-old Scotsman, who is only 12-0 and has yet to fight for a world title).

What do you make of Kell Brook’s chances against the various titleholders at light-middleweight? I think Brook is a tremendous athlete/competitor with a lot of experience and a very solid boxing foundation. He’ll be a handful any top 154 pounder. Do I think it’s possible for him to win a major junior middleweight title? Yes. Will it be easy? Hell no.

Seems to be a little rivalry brewing with Mr. Charlo. I think Brook would be biting off a little more than he can chew against Jermell, but I would be into that matchup.

 

TROLLS

Hi Doug,

I’ve never written to you, but I’m sorry for the heat you’re taking from some douchebags. I think I’m a little more skeptical of Canelo at this point than you are, but I’d be lying if I said your take is anything but measured & well-informed. I look forward to these mailbags twice a week, you answer the questions in such a dignified, gracious and thorough way, so you definitely don’t deserve that s__t. For every one of those people, there’s a lot more of us readers who really appreciate you, I’m quite sure. (I was going to post this as a comment, but my Disqus account was acting up, so I’m sorry for making you read another of what I’m sure are hundreds of emails). Best. – Jon

Thanks for the kind words, Jon, and for finally writing in.

I know that the d-bags are in the minority. And I don’t mind their ill-mannered and extremist bulls__t from time to time because it spices the column up. But I know that fans and readers like you are the majority, and you passionate-but-kind folks are the reason I’ve stayed up late almost every Sunday and Thursday for well over a decade and will continue to do for the foreseeable future.

 

AARON AND JOSEPH

Nice job putting those two d-bags in their rightful place. I give you lots of credit for dealing with dudes like them as your every day job.

I am a diehard GGG fan and have been since 2012. That said, Canelo is innocent until proven guilty. Unfortunately, social media has helped exacerbate this environment of proven guilty without allowing time for due process. That’s why I have never and will never have a FB, Twitter or Instagram (or whatever else is out there) profile. Civil discourse hardly exists any longer.

Keep doing what you’re doing, Dougie. – Dan Grabowski (Maxboxing Member 2003)

Props to you, Dan, for being a MaxBoxing long-timer, an early Golovkin bandwagoner, and for realizing that social media… well, ain’t very social (or civil).

I need to have some social media arms for this job (and I admit that I do enjoy many aspects of it, such as keeping up with family, friends and colleagues, and I also recognize that it can be a powerful marketing tool, which is something THE RING needs right now), but it can be downer with all the impulsive ignorance and aggressive negativity. It’s good to know that there are people that are above it.  

 

SO FAR, SO GREAT

Hey Dougie! How’s life treating you lately! Hope all is well with you and the family.

So this year has been a great to me so far in regards to boxing (who doesn’t love watching quality fights!) which fight so far has been your favorite? We still have Broner vs Vargas which I’m picking Vargas to win by decision. Then the holy grail of GGG vs Canelo rematch which to me will out do the first one.

Esther Lin/SHOWTIME

Mikey Garcia-

Man this guy is just too good to be true. Can’t really see anyone 140 or below having a legit chance to beat him besides manny (dreaming) or loma(just pure skill) . He’s poise and just great fundamentals just remind me so much why I love the sport.  What did you think of lipinets? That guy is a real fighter with heart who I believe can keep up with the other guys in this division that is turning out to be another exciting flock of fighters really going for the gold. Prograis is exciting and I like his boxing personal. I feel like every division needs someone like him.

Mythical matchups-

Mikey Garcia vs Amir Khan 140

Mikey Garcia vs Ricky Hatton 140

Lipinets vs Prograis

De La Hoya vs Lara 154

Hope you enjoy your day and I look forward to reading your mailbag as always! Have a great week. – Juan M (shoutout to Wilmington, DE)

Thanks, Juan. I will.

I’ll go with Garcia by late stoppage (and he may be down on points at the time of it), Hatton by close decision or body shot stoppage, Prograis by hard-fought decision and Lara by unpopular split or majority decision.

So this year has been a great to me so far in regards to boxing (who doesn’t love watching quality fights!) which fight so far has been your favorite? It’s between Gassiev-Dorticos and Sor Rungvisai-Estrada. Both had me shaking during the 12th round.

We still have Broner vs Vargas which I’m picking Vargas to win by decision. I can see Vargas beating Broner. I think his jab will be the key.

Then the holy grail of GGG vs Canelo rematch which to me will out do the first one. I would be a little surprised (and very disappointed) if it didn’t.

Mikey Garcia, man this guy is just too good to be true. Oh, but he’s real. He’s realer than Real Deal Holyfield! (Yes, I’m being a little sarcastic, but just a bit…)

Can’t really see anyone 140 or below having a legit chance to beat him besides Manny (dreaming) or Loma (just pure skill). I can see him losing at 140 pounds. I thought he had a very hard time with Lipinets, who on paper at least, appeared to be the weak link among major junior welterweight beltholders. I would probably pick Mikey to beat Jose Ramirez and Regis Prograis, but it wouldn’t shock me at all if either young gun handed the Southern Californian his first pro loss.

His poise and just great fundamentals just remind me so much why I love the sport. Technically and mentally speaking, Mikey is as good as it gets in boxing. And he’s got a lot of heart.

What did you think of Lipinets? I thought he fought like a man that was worthy of holding a major world title. He boxed and fought to win against an elite fighter. Anyone who can’t respect that doesn’t need to be watching boxing. I was very much impressed by Lipinets, who I underestimated going into that matchup. He’s badass, especially for a guy who only had 13 pro bouts (and around 40 amateur boxing matches) under his belt.

Prograis is exciting and I like his boxing personality. I feel like every division needs someone like him. Agreed.

 

 

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

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