Montero’s Friday Mailbag (Joshua-Parker, Ryan Garcia, British prospects)
While the undisputed world champion of mailbag columnists, THE RING magazine editor Doug Fischer, is busy with some umm, “last minute changes” to the latest issue (gee, I wonder what story that could be related to?), Yours Truly has offered to step in and handle the mailbag this Friday. Just call me emeritus silver interim champion in recess. Here we go.
JOSHUA-PARKER, HOLLYWOOD FIGHT NIGHTS, CANELO-GGG2 FRUSTRATION
I cannot wait to watch yet another battle in the newly rejuvenated heavyweight division that will unify titles and give an even clearer picture to who is possibly the top dog in the division. Anthony Joshua vs Joseph Parker is an intriguing fight with two young undefeated fighters who still have much to prove in their still developing careers, but it seems like we know Joshua is more ready for this moment in comparison to Parker. Anthony Joshua gave us answers to most doubts we might have had about his chin and will to win/grit with his dramatic performance against Klitschko and I think without going too deep, that almost alone has to give him the edge over Parker in most people’s eyes. Parker’s lacked to impress in his biggest fights, but I hope the elbow surgeries and the plan to come in lighter will give him an improved chance to push Joshua and give us yet another very good heavyweight fight that just builds upon the excitement that Joshua-Klitschko and more recently, Wilder-Ortiz, have given the heavyweight division. I think Joshua wins via KO in the mid-to-late rounds.
Major props to 360 Promotions and Ring Magazine for the stream on Tuesday night. Always love hearing you (Doug) and Steve Kim on the call and I will always love more boxing to watch through the week. I definitely have to make it up to one of those shows this year. Ryan Martin looked better @140 and I’m excited to see where Brian Ceballo ends up as a professional – he definitely looked the part of a guy with a high ceiling.
I just have to say as someone who purchased tickets (which cost an arm and a leg), booked my flight and booked my hotel for Canelo-GGG 2, this whole situation is so frustrating. When I state the obvious, I mean more so in the manner of how it’s being dragged out. Everyday there’s speculation as to what the decision is going to be from the NAC and I just think the fact that we won’t have any answers until April 10th, which is less than a month away from the supposed fight day, is a huge disservice to people who have paid to attend this event. I understand that there’s a lot that the commission has to look at, but do you honestly think they don’t already probably know what their decision is going to be? They’re pulling the band-aid off slowly and I just want them to rip the damn thing off and give us an answer. What a disappointment this all might turn out to be. Thanks again. – Andrew, Chula Vista, CA
Thank you for writing Andrew, great stuff.
I’m excited for Joshua-Parker, and unlike many fans and media, I actually believe we are going to be treated to a competitive affair that goes the distance. It wasn’t that long ago that many folks in the industry viewed AJ and Joseph on the same level. In 2016, Parker went 4-0, including wins over serviceable guys like Carlos Takam and Alexander Dimitrenko. Joshua went 3-0 against Charles Martin (quite possibly the worst heavyweight world titlist ever), Dominic Breazeale and Eric Molina – not exactly a murderer’s row. However as you alluded to, Parker has looked lackluster ever since and Joshua proved he’s the real deal with his come from behind win over Klitschko last year. Just remember that styles make fights, and I believe a healthy, in shape Joseph Parker at/under 240 lbs. has the right mix of movement, body work and durability to take Anthony Joshua the distance for the first time in his career.
We all had a great time at the first “Hollywood Fight Nights” card Tuesday in Hollywood. The great action in the ring and the boxing royalty in attendance made for an entertaining night. The unlimited supply of Chivas tequila and Tecate didn’t hurt either. I actually spoke with Abel Sanchez about Ryan “Blue Chip” Martin’s performance later that night. I noticed that Martin stayed mostly at close range throughout the fight. Abel told me that is something they were working on for the time being, to get Ryan used to being in close and learning how to roll with punches on the inside, and to force his will on opponents. Working up in Big Bear with one of the strongest teams in boxing is definitely making Martin better; you could see it in his performance Tuesday night.
I’m sure you already saw the news that NAC director Bob Bennett called off a scheduled commission hearing regarding the Canelo clenbuterol situation and filed an official complaint against the boxer. Bennett released a statement Thursday that he had completed his investigation and will have a disciplinary hearing for the Mexican superstar on April 18th. So yeah, I hope those airline tickets and hotel reservations were refundable as Canelo-GGG2 on May 5th is essentially a no go.
I think the best remedy for this situation is to suspend Canelo for six months, fine him, put him on a one-year probation where he is subject to full year-round VADA testing at his expense, the very same testing both he and Golovkin are doing right now, and push the rematch with GGG to September 16th. That would help NAC save face, as they have been accused of showing favoritism to superstars in the past, appease Team Golovkin and fans that believe Canelo is dirty, and give Alvarez a chance to redeem himself later this year. Best of all, it ensures we have two clean fighters come September who will have undergone seven straight months of testing by then.
BIG WEEKEND FOR BOXING
The AJ v Parker fight is generating a lot of hype on this side of the world, with most predicting a late round stoppage for Joshua. From what I’ve seen of Parker he looks like a durable guy with a big punch, but not sure that he’s got enough about him to beat Joshua. Meanwhile it seems that Eddie Hearn is trying to orchestrate a situation where Deontay Wilder will end up fighting Dillian Whyte next.
Do you reckon it’s worth AJ going over to the States for an interim fight before meeting Wilder, so as to build up some interest on your side of the pond? Is Joshua in any way famous over there at the moment – for example would he be in the top 5 most famous boxers, or the top 100 most famous sports-people in general in the U.S.?
Or do you think that the UK is now the centre of power when it comes to stadium mega-fights and that it will make more sense for Wilder to come to Britain to fight Joshua (assuming he wins, of course). I’m also looking forward to a tasty undercard featuring (arguably) Ireland’s best boxer at the moment in Ryan Burnett, the much-hyped Josh Kelly and a last (slim) chance at glory for the once-promising David Price.
Hope you enjoy the weekend, and keep fighting the good fight via your most excellent columns. Cheers. – Ross, Spain (via Ireland)
In boxing, it always comes down to the money. I know it sounds crazy, but a Joshua-Wilder fight in front of 20,000 fans at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas would generate more money than it would in front of 90,000 fans at O2 Arena in London. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see AJ come to the states and face Jerrell “Big Baby” Miller (should he be successful in his bout against Johann Duhaupas next month) in the New Yorker’s backyard to build up his profile here. Meanwhile, Dillian Whyte is currently rated #1 by the WBC and holds their “silver” heavyweight title, so a fight between him and Wilder is inevitable. If I’m Team Wilder, I’m travelling to London for that fight to not only build up my profile with the boxing-crazed UK fans, but to also collect a career high payday. In the end, don’t be surprised if we see Joshua and Wilder fight two or three times on both sides of the pond. A series between the two could be huge.
I’m excited for Saturday’s Matchroom card, it’s stacked. I like Burnett a lot; he seems to be improving with every fight. Kelly is making a leap in opposition against experienced Mexican veteran Carlos Molina, and Cordina is fighting in his first ten-rounder. Povetkin is a massive favorite against Price and I expect him to win emphatically, but with the big boys one punch can change everything. The Russian won a WBA-title eliminator in his last bout so should he take care of business against Price; he should eventually get a crack at the Joshua-Parker winner. Fan favorite Anthony “Million Dollar” Crolla is on the card as well. It’s going to be fun.
COMPARING PROSPECTS: RYAN GARCIA & JOSH KELLY
How’s the week treating you?
Lately Ryan Garcia has been getting a lot of heat. With this attention comes fans, and of course, detractors. Watching him, it’s very easy to see why he has both. On the one hand, the kid (at least at this level) can box. His speed is fantastic, and if you base it off his last fight, his skill and power are very good as well. On the other hand, his confident (let’s be real, cocky) attitude can be a bit off putting. That being said, I’m willing to forgive this, taking into account that he’s only 18. You can’t really expect maturity from a teenager, and if I’m being honest, a cocky attitude has often been known to build a boxer’s profile.
Now let’s look at someone who’s at a similar stage in their career: Josh Kelly. He too is very skilled, he’s got killer reflexes/athleticism, and while his power might not be A level, it certainly seems to be at least a B/B+. Despite having all this, and like Ryan objective good looks, he manages to be humble, self-deprecating, and very easy to like. Granted, he’s a bit older, but still, their personalities are pretty different.
On to my questions: Who do you think is the better prospect in terms of power, speed, and athleticism, who do you think has the better chance of becoming a world champion, and what is your method for determining a prospect’s potential in how far they will go in their career?
As always best to you and the family. – Graham, Bangkok
I can’t speak for Doug, but if he were responding to your first question I’m sure he’d write “it’s been a hell of a week Graham!” With the latest news about the Canelo-Golovkin rematch, Mr. Fischer has been running around like a chicken with his head cut off to replace some articles on the bout for the new issue of RING. On top of that, he called the fights Tuesday for the inaugural Hollywood Fight Nights card from 360 Promotions. I’m sure Doug could use a cold one – or three – right now.
Ryan Garcia is building up a reputation in some of the local gyms here in Los Angeles, and it’s not necessarily a good one. The cocky attitude you mentioned sure doesn’t help, nor do some of his social media posts about sparring sessions. I know there are several trainers and fighters around town who say they won’t work with the kid. But the teeny bopper girls seem to adore him, as does his promoter Oscar De La Hoya.
Personally I think the comparisons to a young Golden Boy are very premature. For starters, I don’t see enough head movement from Garcia. Secondly, he moves in straight lines too much, should learn to create and use angles more. Third, he leaves his chin up in the air a lot. At some point he’s going to face an opponent with the size, skills and experience to exploit those fundamental flaws and then we’re going to find out what he’s truly made of. But hey, the kid is only 19, so let’s see if he can work on those things.
Regarding Josh Kelly, he’s much further along than Garcia in my opinion, but as you mentioned he’s several years older. Kelly’s opponent Saturday, Carlos Molina, has been in the ring with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Mike Alvarado, Erislandy Lara, Kermit Cintron, James Kirkland, Cory Spinks, Ishe Smith – I could keep going. If Kelly looks good against the very experienced Molina, he will have done more in this sixth pro bout than Garcia has done in all fourteen of his. On top of that, Kelly had more international/global experience in the amateurs than Garcia. It is impossible to predict the future when it comes to prospects (just look at how that whole Felix Verdejo thing turned out), but my hunch is that Josh Kelly accomplishes more overall in his career, while Ryan Garcia makes more money.
THE PERFECT SUBSTITUTE!
How is this for a novel idea, Floyd can take Canelo’s place. After all he is always making claims that he is in shape and his training for MMA.
Now you talk about mega fight! This would be bigger that GGG-Alvarez.
Yes I know but we could always dream. – JJH
Hahaha good one JJH. Before he was “Money”, a young “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather actually took on all comers. But after his narrow, controversial win over Jose Luis Castillo in their first bout in 2002, Floyd spent the next fifteen years of his career avoiding the type of massive challenges that a fighter like Gennady Golovkin would represent. There is no way in hell Mayweather would go near GGG, let alone guys like the Charlo brothers, at this stage. As far as his MMA career goes, I would rather have a root canal than watch any of that circus sh*t. But I know millions of people will tune in.
THE HEAVYWEIGHTS & A BOLD “KINGRY” COMPARISON
I’m looking forward to seeing a real heavyweight clash in London Saturday after that sorry showdown last weekend. Dillian Whyte did what he had to do against a fighter so slow and weary looking he should’ve been called Big Grand Daddy. Thankfully the Body Snatcher decided enough was enough by round 6 and crunched him with a left hook from hell. He’s got some good matchups on the horizon: Breazeale, Big Baby, Kownacki, and Povetkin would all be quite fun I think.
As for Joshua Parker, I obviously favor Joshua, but I think Parker’s speed and durability combined with the self-belief that comes with being young, undefeated, and knowing this is his shot at greatness will mean we get an interesting fight, not the steam rolling some are predicting. In the end though, I can’t picture Parker winning. Joshua’s hands are just as fast, his punching form is much better, his defense is better, and going 11 rounds with Wlad alone is more experience then Parker’s had in his whole career thus far. Plus going to London to fight Joshua in the dragon’s den has got to be kind of terrifying.
Lastly, Ryan Garcia has been on my radar for about a year, but I was very impressed with his ethering of Vargas, who I thought would have the experience to at least take Garcia the 8 round distance. Obviously Ryan’s most eye catching quality is his blistering hand speed, but I was impressed with his subtle feints and punch selection in the near 3min fight. Personally, I find him a bit obnoxious in person, but he does seem to have a thoughtful mind for the sport and I expect we’ll continue to see him improve and add wrinkles to his boxing, eventually leading to world titles. (The only obstacle might be turning 21, partying/girls, etc.) I want to give him a compliment though; his classical upright power boxing style reminds me a bit of a legendary fighter from Nicaragua–I doubt he’ll ever come close to matching Arguello’s career but his form is quite reminiscent of Chocolatito’s Obi-Wan Kenobi. – Jack
Boy that Whyte-Browne fight was ugly – what a letdown! I was honestly expecting more from the Aussie as he surely had to know that was his last shot at doing anything significant in the heavyweight division. It’s definitely time for “Big Daddy” to hang em up. Like you, I’m excited to see what Whyte does next. I expect he will face Wilder by the end of the year and whether it’s in the USA or the UK, it’s going to be entertaining as hell.
I completely agree with you regarding Joshua-Parker. I do believe it will be a more competitive fight than many are predicting, but AJ is simply too big and too skilled. And he will take that experience from the Klitschko bout with him for the rest of his career. Any time things get tough and he’s forced to dig deep, he’ll remember getting off the canvas after eating a flush right hand to beat one of the best to ever do it. Not many of the Ukrainian’s opponents were able to do that.
I too felt Fernando Vargas would take Ryan Garcia rounds, and that straight right – left hook combo that ended his night early was beautiful. And hey, I get the Alexis Arguello comparison, at least from a physical standpoint. Like Garcia, “El Flaco Explosivo” was a tall and lanky 5’10”, started his career as a young man and carried dynamite in his right hand. Arguello actually lost his first attempt at a world title in 1974 (it was his fourth pro loss) but went on to carve out a legendary career. Can “Kingry” accomplish even half of what he did? Only time will tell.
Hi Dougie – Greetings from the UK!
Big fan of the mailbag, as a new-ish to boxing fan seeking some good quality boxing views.
Obviously it’s a huge week for boxing here in the UK, it should be a great showcase for the sport and I’m excited about being there in Cardiff. Should be great fight and I predict the ref steps in and waves off a protesting Parker in the championship rounds.
Two things… Firstly, in terms of British Boxing, I’d love to hear your views on some of the genuine prospects this side of the pond. Have we ever had a better pipeline of talent?
There’s obviously a lot of noise about Josh Kelly and Michael Conlan, but I’m also excited by Lewis Ritson who has literally walked through the domestic lightweight scene in the last 6 months. I’m also keen to see how Anthony Yarde steps up a level as he seems to have bypassed some tough British fighters with his WBO ranking. What are your thoughts on these guys abilities and futures, and are any other prospects from this side that you really like the look of?
Secondly… with lots of Heavyweight action in the first part of the year, how good is Tyson Fury? Over here, Fury fans claim that their man could play with all three Champions on the same night, suggesting he is several levels above. The same fans deride AJ, Wilder, Parker etc. for having poor names on their records, fighting too many binmen and Journeymen, but aside from Klitschko, Fury’s best names are Chisora and Hammer – I’d say his record is no better than that of the current active top heavyweights. I like Fury in the ring, awkwardly quick, great movement and ring generalship, but aside from Klitschko, he has fought a lot of limited smaller guys. I’d argue that if he doesn’t come back as the best version of Tyson Fury, he’d be truly tested by the top current heavyweights. Your thoughts?
Emilie Griffith v Tommy Hearns
Ricky Hatton v Charley Burley
Anthony Joshua v Frank Bruno
Keep up the good work! – Rob, UK
I am a regular contributor to UK fight mag ‘Boxing Monthly’ so trust me; I know firsthand just how much boxing is exploding over there. The wealth of talent coming up right now is truly first class – featherweight Michael Conlan, heavyweight Daniel Dubois (my personal favorite), super lightweight Josh Taylor, the before mentioned welterweight Josh Kelly, lightweight Lewis Ritson, light heavyweight Anthony Yarde – just to name a few.
Ritson had a fantastic performance last Saturday against Scott Cardle, who had never previously been stopped, before scoring a 2nd round TKO win. In that fight he showed he could take some heat, which is a good thing, but he also showed that he can be hit, which is a bad thing. I like his scrappy style, but I want to see him clean up some things on defense. Regarding Yarde, he looks the part, but needs to fight somebody with a pulse before we can know what he has inside of him. Yarde had a very limited amateur career so it makes sense for promoter Frank Warren to build him slowly, but he hasn’t faced anyone who could punch back fifteen fights into his pro career. It’s time to step him up a notch in opposition.
Hearns UD Griffith – I believe Hearns’ height, reach and power advantage would be too much for Griffith to overcome. The fighters who stopped Hearns (Leonard, Hagler, Barkley) were all bigger than the Virgin Islands native, who was never known as a power puncher. Griffith was durable however, and I think he could go the distance with the Motor City Cobra.
Burley RTD6 Hatton – Burley simply too big, too skilled, too elusive and durable for Hatton. I think he’d chop him up from the outside; score a corner mercy stoppage or possible doctor stoppage on cuts.
Joshua TKO8 Bruno – I think AJ would respect Bruno’s power and take his time, but ultimately get him out of there with an uppercut – right hand combo. There would be tense moments early on and Bruno may even be able to stun AJ in the first couple rounds, but eventually Joshua stops him.
Michael Montero can be found on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram via @MonteroOnBoxing. Check out his weekly podcast “The Neutral Corner” on iTunes, Stitcher and SoundCloud.