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Dougie’s Monday mailbag (the Canelo saga continues, Joshua-Parker, Whyte-Browne)

26
Mar

CANELO’S SITUATION & JOSHUA-PARKER

Hey Dougie,

Would never disrespect your opinion on a subject you clearly know more about than I do, but I am looking for education. Why is the Canelo Alvarez situation different to other positive tests that have come back in recent history – Alexander Povetkin, Luis Nery, Guillermo Jones for example?

Does boxing, unlike other sports, take more of a case-by-case view (in my opinion so it should) rather than having a hard and fast rule for positive samples? Does the fact that there are so many sanctioning bodies with titles on the line in this one complicate matters or is it all in the hands of the Nevada commission?



Who is your money on for Anthony Joshua-Joseph Parker on Saturday? As a fellow Englishman I am a big fan of AJ but it worries me that he is so keen to talk about Deontay Wilder in the build up. I can’t help up but think he is underestimating Parker. Keep up the good work. – Isaac Bennett

If Joshua is underestimating Parker, he’s not as smart as he seems to be. I know Parker looked rather sloppy against Hughie Fury in his last bout, but that was a bad style matchup and I expect the New Zealander be more motivated for “AJ” and at least 10 pounds lighter.

I favor Joshua (via decision or late TKO), but I view Parker as a legit threat. The WBO titleholder has solid whiskers, fluid punches (when he’s dialed in) and he can be mobile if need be. He doesn’t always turn his hook over, but he times it well, and his jab and straight right are crisp and heavy. Parker also goes to the body well.

Joshua’s in for a long, hard night if he’s overlooked Parker.

Why is the Canelo Alvarez situation different to other positive tests that have come back in recent history – Alexander Povetkin, Luis Nery, Guillermo Jones for example? I think the main difference between Canelo’s situation and the cases of the three boxers that you mentioned is the timing of their positive results for banned substances. The positive results of Nery and Jones came AFTER they fought opponents who had tested negative for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). Once a fighter COMPETES with a PED in his or her system, it really doesn’t matter HOW it got there, by that point it’s too late to investigate the circumstances. The fighter who tested positive had an unfair advantage. (The only time THE RING goes against the rulings of a commission or sanctioning body is when they fail to strip or suspend a fighter following a positive PED test result after a fight – as was the case with Nery and Kenichi Ogawa.) In Jones’ case – and the case of Lucas Browne’s stoppage victory over Ruslan Chagaev – the WBA stripped, fined and suspended them following investigations. THE RING followed suit.

Generally speaking (but not always), if a fighter comes up positive for a PED right before his fight (as Povetkin did) or immediately after (as Nery and Jones did) it means he or she was using during their training camp. It should be noted that though Povetikin admitted to taking meldonium prior to WADA adding the drug to their list of banned substances at the start of 2016, he maintained that he did not use it during the training camp for his mandatory shot at WBC titleholder Deontay Wilder in May 2016. His legal team said traces of the drug tends to remain in one’s system for a long time. But, after passing a bunch of tests, he came up positive for it one week before his shot at Wilder and the fight was cancelled. I want to point out that THE RING did not immediately drop Povetkin from its heavyweight rankings after his first positive test (same deal with Browne). The magazine waited until after his “B” sample tested positive.

Canelo’s saving grace, thus far, is that he tested positive for a substance that has been connected to meat contamination more than two months out from his fight with Gennady Golovkin, and that Team GGG seems to want the fight to go on. Even so, the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) could still postpone or cancel the fight following the April 10 hearing they’ve scheduled to hear the Mexican star’s side of the story.

Does boxing, unlike other sports, take more of a case-by-case view (in my opinion so it should) rather than having a hard and fast rule for positive samples? Usually yes, but sometimes no. I think the powers-that-be are quicker to judge when a fighter has a history of failed drug tests. Povetkin and Jones tested positive for banned substances for their very next fights following their first failed tests (a December 2016 bout against Bermane Stiverne for Povtkin and an April 2014 rematch with Denis Lebedev for Jones) and both were dealt harshly by the WBC and WBA (respectively). The boxing world was also quick to judge Luis Ortiz when he tested positive for a banned substance before his first scheduled bout against Wilder, in part due to a prior failed test (after his first-round stoppage of Lateef Kayode in 2014).

Does the fact that there are so many sanctioning bodies with titles on the line in this one complicate matters or is it all in the hands of the Nevada commission? It’s all in the hands of the NAC. If Canelo held any of those sanctioning organization belts (the WBA, IBF and WBC) perhaps that would be a different story.

 

WHYTE-BROWNE WAS A DISGRACE

Hi Doug,

l watched the Lucas Browne/Dillian Whyte match yesterday. All in all, a terribly one-sided and sad event. Lucas was way out of shape and looked beaten before the bell rang. The final KO was scary.

Why his corner kept sending him out when it was clear he didn’t stand a chance is beyond me. The seconds and trainer have a responsibility to protect their man. They failed as did the ref. Thoughts? – Joseph

Yeah, you didn’t have to be Eddie Futch to see the writing on the wall by the end of Round 4. Browne was half blind and sleep walking through those crisp jabs, hard right hands and debilitating body shots.

Browne absorbed a lot punishment against Whyte. Was it all necessary?

The left hook that dropped poor Big Daddy flat on his face was chilling… and unnecessary. I’m not surprised that the corner allowed the fight to continue, though. Browne’s a tough S.O.B. His willingness to take punishment and ability to do so is the reason he was briefly rated among the top-10 heavyweights in the world. He had no business beating Ruslan Chagaev on the former world amateur champion’s home turf in 2016, but the unbeaten Aussie is one of those thick skulled MoFo’s that don’t know when they’re beaten.

Despite being outboxed for most of the bout and dropped in Round 6, Browne stayed on Chagaev until he caught up to the “regular” WBA titleholder and stopped him in Round 10. I’m sure his corner believed with all their hearts that lightning could strike again on March 24. They were totally deluded if that was the case, but boxing wouldn’t exist without rampant denial. And a big part of boxing folklore are crazy, rugged badasses like

Basilio is the epitome of the blood-and-guts warrior.

Carmen Basilio – the hall-of-fame enshrined former welterweight and middleweight champ who was part of FIVE consecutive RING Fights of the Year (1955-’59) – who fought 11 rounds of his epic rematch with Sugar Ray Robinson with one eye.

The blood-and-guts mythos of the sport drives a lot of fighters and their teams, and I’m not mad at them for that. But I do expect referees to be above all that and to act as the responsible officials that they are supposed to be.

All in all, a terribly one-sided and sad event. It was indeed one-sided but while I expected Whyte to win, I didn’t think he’d batter Browne as badly as he did. I think more than a few fans and media expected a more competitive fight.

Lucas was way out of shape and looked beaten before the bell rang. He looked (and boxed) like a bouncer, not a world-class heavyweight.

The final KO was scary. It truly was. I’m glad he’s OK.

 

THE SAD CANELO CONUNDRUM

Hi Doug. It’s me again.

I have been paying attention to the Canelo soap opera. Things really got interesting and this is why I’m writing.

First of all, I admit I’m one the Founding Fathers of the Canelo Nut Hugger Society. Therefore, I absolutely have a crush on exposing our arch-enemies’ hate every time I see it. My favorite kind of hate is the one who points out the nobodies whom Álvarez has faced to have such a fat record. But that’s a different story.

Poor Canelo was a villain before the clembuterol issue. This problem added fuel to the fire. To make things worse for him, there is no way in hell you cannot like GGG. As a result, the public wants the Mexican impaled and his head thrown to the wolves.

I have sided with you, Doug (and I’ve had a good time doing it), exposing the hate of those who don’t give Canelo a chance to defend himself. I, in all honesty, vigorously believe in everyone’s right to a fair trial. I served as the Attorney General of my State for almost four years, and understood that people absolutely love to crucify their favorite villains. Authorities must be able to withstand that pressure. However, they usually aren’t.

I really don’t know whether Canelo blew it or not. However, the Nevada State Athletic Commission ruling concerns me a bit. By suspending Álvarez, I think they might’ve put themselves in a self-made hole.

I can smell that the NSAC is just trying to silence the critics but has no intentions to suspend the mega fight. I like boxing better than I like Canelo, and a measure like this would be a flat-out travesty. If the Commission finds Canelo guilty and that means he won’t fight come May 5, trust me, no one will EVER eat tainted meat again by accident. On the other hand, if the Commission finds Canelo guilty and suspends him from boxing from March 23 to May 4, then such entity is a waste of time and resources for the Great State of Nevada. And even worse, if they (God Forbid) find Canelo innocent, then the s__t will hit the fan for the Commission members and everyone will be disappointed.

We’ll see what happens next. Whatever the outcome is, I don’t see how Canelo can emerge a winner in the arena of public opinion. – Carlos, from Hermosillo, México

He can’t. Canelo’s legacy will forever be tainted (no pun intended) and he will be Public Enemy No. 1 to hardcore boxing fans until the day he retires. Even before the clenbuterol scandal, they viewed him as the poster boy for everything that is wrong with boxing. Now, he’s a despicable cheater in their eyes. A true boxing pariah (as THE RING Assoc. Editor Tom Gray described him in a cover story to the June 2018 issue that may not ever see print). He may even be derided more than Antonio Margarito by the time all of this madness sorts itself out.

From freckled-faced superstar to boxing’s red-headed stepchild to The Mexican They Love to Hate. That’s the Canelo Alvarez story. 

Poor Canelo was a villain before the clembuterol issue. This problem added fuel to the fire. This problem has added nitro-f__king-glycerin to the fire.

To make things worse for him, there is no way in hell you cannot like GGG. Gotta love GoLOVEkin.

As a result, the public wants the Mexican impaled and his head thrown to the wolves. Well, yes and no. The HARDCORE BOXING public wants him dead. The d-bags that give me s__t via email, social media and the comment section below this column want Canelo out of boxing. But I don’t think that’s the case with the general public that also watches boxing. Regardless of what happens on April 10 and May 5, I think Canelo could schedule a fight against Steve Kim in Texas and still fill an arena.

I have sided with you, Doug (and I’ve had a good time doing it), exposing the hate of those who don’t give Canelo a chance to defend himself. I, in all honesty, vigorously believe in everyone’s right to a fair trial. Unfortunately, you’re in the minority.

I really don’t know whether Canelo blew it or not. However, the Nevada State Athletic Commission ruling concerns me a bit. It should concern you if you wanted to see the rematch on May 5.

By suspending Álvarez, I think they might’ve put themselves in a self-made hole. I don’t know about that, but I think it’s weird that they would issue a “temporary suspension” prior to a hearing set for two and half weeks from now. Why not just hold the hearing and issue whatever ruling is necessary on that date? It’s like they’re making a judgement without really doing do before they officially do so.

I can smell that the NSAC is just trying to silence the critics but has no intentions to suspend the mega fight. I’m not sure I agree. As Dandy Dan Rafael recently pointed out on Twitter, HBO and Fathom Events (which handles the closed circuit and theater broadcasts of the PPV event) have removed Canelo-GGG 2 from their schedules and are not actively promoting the fight. I know the NAC generally leans in favor of wherever the money is, but this isn’t Mayweather-McGregor or  a Roc Nation event that most of the public will pass on; this is an event that the public and the mainstream media is paying close attention to. And there’s the issue of liability, too. If the NAC green lights May 5 and, God forbid, Golovkin were to be seriously injured during the fight they could be sued by GGG Promotions and his family.

 

JOSHUA-PARKER

Hi Dougie,

The hype-train for Joshua-Parker is really gaining momentum here in the U.K.

Most fans here are unfamiliar with Parker and expecting Joshua to easily collect another belt en-route to achieving undisputed heavyweight status.

How do American observers and fans view this fight? Is much hope being given to the WBO titleholder? Do you know of any respectable boxing insiders that are predicting an upset?

Hope you are well. Kind regards. – Anish Parekh

I don’t know anyone who is outright picking Parker. I know of some insiders and hardcore fan/gamblers who suggest that it might worth ones while to bet on Parker given the lopsided odds, but even those wise guys believe that AJ will take care of business on Saturday.

I think Parker can give Joshua a good fight, but I favor the U.K. star. I think most American fans view this fight as a tune-up to an eventual showdown with Deontay Wilder. They don’t know (or care) much about Parker. Those who do know about Parker have not been impressed with the New Zealand native’s WBO title run so far, and thus, even AJ critics are predicting another win for the 2012 Olympic champ.

Having said that, I think some of this Joshua confidence and optimism is wishful thinking. A lot of fans are starved for a mega-fight. They’ve been soured on Canelo-GGG (regardless of whether the rematch happens), so they’re looking to Joshua-Wilder.

 

LINARES AND BOXING FINANCIALS

Dougie,

Is it true, that the team that train a boxer during fight camp, are usually paid from the purse the boxer earns from the fight itself? It makes sense, as therefore everyone in camp has the same goal – to help their man win. I’d also imagine the bigger the fight earnings are the more that all parties would expect/want to make from it, as opposed to be on fixed earnings or fees for those that contributed in camp. When fights are made, purses are split anything from 90/10 to 50/50, depending on the situation.

With Linares vs Lomachenko in mind, how fair do you think the following assumptions are:

A) To make the fight surely a pretty even purse must have been agreed?

B) This fight is most probably Linares most profitable fight to date – win or lose

Therefore, looking at the split from his trainer, it seems either:

1. It’s a genuine breakdown – due to where each other want to be based and maybe the relationship has gone a bit stale

2. Linares thinks he’s experienced enough to train and corner himself and with cheaper team around him and WHEN he wins, he’ll maximise his earnings and be in great shape to make big money from his next few fights

3. Or Linares doesn’t actually fancy himself to win this one BUT with a big purse going to the loser, it makes sense to reduce his expenses going into the fight, so whatever happens he takes the maximum payday possible I might be way off the mark here but interested to hear your thoughts on this one. Thanks. – Al, London

You have a lot of questions (and assumptions), Al, so I’ll start from the top of your email:

Is it true, that the team that train a boxer during fight camp, are usually paid from the purse the boxer earns from the fight itself? Yes Sir.

It makes sense, as therefore everyone in camp has the same goal – to help their man win. I’d also imagine the bigger the fight earnings are the more that all parties would expect/want to make from it, as opposed to be on fixed earnings or fees for those that contributed in camp. That’s a fair assumption.

With Linares vs Lomachenko in mind, how fair do you think the following assumptions are: A) To make the fight surely a pretty even purse must have been agreed? I think so.

B) This fight is most probably Linares most profitable fight to date – win or lose. I think so.

Therefore, looking at the split from his trainer, it seems either: 1. It’s a genuine breakdown – due to where each other want to be based and maybe the relationship has gone a bit stale. As far as I know, it hasn’t gone “stale” but given the stakes of his May 12 showdown, Linares does not want to share his training time with David Haye in England. He wants Ismael Salas’ undivided attention. He couldn’t get that guarantee from Salas so now he’s looking elsewhere.

2. Linares thinks he’s experienced enough to train and corner himself and with cheaper team around him and WHEN he wins, he’ll maximise his earnings and be in great shape to make big money from his next few fights. This is true for some fighters. I recall Marco Antonio Barrera doing this before his rematch with Manny Pacquiao. James Toney did it late in his career. But I don’t believe this is the case with Linares. Barrera and Toney knew that they were near the end of their hall-of-fame careers. Linares is still a world-class boxer and he views himself that way. He doesn’t think Lomachenko will be his last significant opponent in a major fight.

3. Or Linares doesn’t actually fancy himself to win this one BUT with a big purse going to the loser, it makes sense to reduce his expenses going into the fight, so whatever happens he takes the maximum payday possible. As far as I know, Linares hasn’t announced that he’s training himself, or that he’s hired an unknown young coach who is willing to be paid a small flat fee (rather than a large one or the customary 10% of the fighter’s purse). Whoever he chooses to be his trainer – as long as that coach is world-class with experience – is going to expect to be paid well for his time and expertise. As for the fight with Lomachenko, if you think Linares doesn’t “fancy himself” to win it, you don’t know Jorge very well.

 

QUESTIONS FROM OZ

G’Day Dougie,

Mate, you are a dead-set legend. I have been reading your mailbags for a while now and I sure do love your work. I think it’s helped me become a more knowledgeable fan…but I still have bloody heaps to learn.

I have three quick ones for ya…and all of them have Jack Squat to do with the current scene (which I’m really loving!).

  1. What sort of shape was Holmes in when he fought Tyson? I just watched that fight again today and holy sh*t, it was a demo job! Although younger and closer to his prime, was Holmes in the same kind of fighting condition as the old fella that rumbled with Mercer and Holyfield?
  2. Do you miss hearing Manny Stewart call fights as much as me? I thought he was terrific. I miss his wisdom and insight. Do you have a personal interaction with him that’ll allow me to live vicariously?
  3. Being a relatively recent “crackhead” convert to the sport, I am learning my boxing history daily. I can’t get enough! Help educate this thick Aussie! In your opinion, who were there the best 5 Australian fighters ever?

Have a great week, Dougie. – Regards, Matt

I will, Matt. Thank you for the very kind words and thanks for reading the mailbag column. 

Your questions, in order:

1.What sort of shape was Holmes in when he fought Tyson? He was in good physical condition for a former long-reigning champ in his late 30s, but he wasn’t in tip-top fighting shape because of the inactivity (he had been out of the ring for a little more than a year and half and didn’t have any tune-up bouts prior to challenging Tyson). Holmes was the type of boxer who relied on his reflexes and he definitely had some ring rust that night in Atlantic City.

I just watched that fight again today and holy sh*t, it was a demo job! Although younger and closer to his prime, was Holmes in the same kind of fighting condition as the old fella that rumbled with Mercer and Holyfield? No, I think Holmes was in much better shape for Mercer and Holyfield because he had five tune-up bouts (all in 1991) leading into those back-to-back high-profile fights. 

  1. Do you miss hearing Manny Stewart call fights as much as me? I thought he was terrific. I miss his wisdom and insight. Do you have a personal interaction with him that’ll allow me to live vicariously?I miss Steward very much, not just his call on HBO but his presence at big fights. He had a wonderful, positive energy about him, and he was the first famous boxing trainer I ever interviewed and shot the s__t with (I met him in 1999, prior to Shannon Brigg’s draw with Frans Botha – who was being trained by another favorite coach of mine, Abel Sanchez, at the time). Steward LOVED to talk boxing with young people, especially if they were into the history of the sport (as I was). And he was very encouraging to aspiring young members of the media. I don’t know if you follow Steve Kim on Twitter, or if you listen to any of his podcasts, but you should, and you if you’re curious about vintage Steward ask him about dinners we had with him and Larry Merchant. And if you REALLY want a laugh, call into this podcast with Gabriel Montoya and ask him to do his impression of Manny after a few glasses of wine.
  2. Being a relatively recent “crackhead” convert to the sport, I am learning my boxing history daily. I can’t get enough! Help educate this thick Aussie! In your opinion, who were there the best 5 Australian fighters ever?I’ll go with Young Griffo, Jeff Fenech, Lionel rose, Johnny Famechon (even though he was born in Paris – his family moved to Australia when he was 5) and Les Darcy. (If you accept “adopted sons,” then you could switch out three for Bob Fitzsimmons, my man KING Kostya Tszyu and Vic Darchinyan; but that’s a quality five.)

 

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

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