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Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Joshua-Parker, Joshua vs. Wilder, Canelo’s ‘defense’)

Anthony Joshua jabs at a more slippery than usual Joseph Parker en route to a lopsided unanimous decision. Photo / @ShowtimeBoxing
02
Apr

SOCIAL MEDIA REACTIONS TO JOSHUA-PARKER

Hi Doug,

Hope you’ve been able to return to normality and get some rest in after the last-minute edits to the latest issue of The Ring. Some of the other monthly publications I read have just appeared with lead stories that are now out of date, so kudos for the efforts to keep things current. I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts on Joshua Vs Parker, because the reaction I saw on social media surprised me, with a lot of people seeing the match completely differently to how I did. I saw Parker unable to mount much offence throughout the fight, either keeping out of punching distance or stuck on the end of Joshua’s jab when the two entered the red zone.

I watched from Germany, and the German commentary team gave Parker 2-3 rounds (I think Lennox Lewis, scoring for the channel, only gave Parker the 5th and 6th). I could see scoring it 8-4 but thought it a clear, if not exactly devastating, win for Joshua. I also saw the ref call a lot of breaks. Some were unnecessary, but much of the time either Parker was leading with his head when charging in or he and AJ had fallen into a clinch.



Then I went online…  Everywhere I saw criticism, with a fair number of people saying it was close, in some cases even a ‘robbery’, even though Parker, most graciously it must be said, accepted that he was beaten by the better man on the night. And most thought the ref was protecting AJ with the breaks, though I saw just as many of those coming when Joshua was attempting to get his uppercuts off as when Parker was trying to work.

How did you see things? Am I just clueless or are the online reactions simply the inevitable result of the current social media, patience-lite age leading fans to view anything but a one-sided beat-down and devastating KO by a big-time fighter as said fighter being ‘exposed’ (God, I hate that word). Cheers. – Ross

I saw the fight and the referee’s incompetence exactly as you did, Ross, so you’re not alone. There’s no doubt in my mind that social media puts us all in touch with a legion of impulsive loud mouths with extreme views on everything, but that doesn’t mean the people that viewed Joshua-Parker as competitive or close don’t know what they are looking at. They just saw a different fight from the one that you and I perceived. Boxing is and always will be subjective. Having said that, anyone who claims that Parker was robbed is a mallet-head.

I saw Parker unable to mount much offence throughout the fight, either keeping out of punching distance or stuck on the end of Joshua’s jab when the two entered the red zone. That’s what I saw. I thought the strategy made sense in the early rounds. It’s sort of the same thing Takam did. He was hoping Joshua would get tired in the mid-to-late rounds, which the odds favorite did. However, Parker didn’t put enough heat on AJ over the first half of the fight to take the starch out of the Brit’s punches, or even chip away at the bigger man’s confidence, and he never mounted any sustained offense down the stretch. That’s not how one wins fights – especially when on the opponent’s home turf.

I watched from Germany, and the German commentary team gave Parker 2-3 rounds (I think Lennox Lewis, scoring for the channel, only gave Parker the 5th and 6th). The Germans got it right in my opinion. And Lewis is sharp as usual. I can see scoring Round 5 and 6 for Parker, which was his best round in my view. If anyone gave Parker another close round or two and scored it 117-111 or 116-112 for Joshua, I ain’t mad at them. But I’m not mad at the official judges, either.

I could see scoring it 8-4 but thought it a clear, if not exactly devastating, win for Joshua. That’s fair.

I also saw the ref call a lot of breaks. Some were unnecessary, but much of the time either Parker was leading with his head when charging in or he and AJ had fallen into a clinch. The ref sucked. He didn’t have the experience to handle Joshua and Parker. However, I think his over-officiating was just as detrimental to Joshua as it was to Parker. The dude got in the way of both fighters landing bombs or following up on good punches landed.

Hope you’ve been able to return to normality and get some rest in after the last-minute edits to the latest issue of The Ring. I wish. The grind continues. Our last minute, ahem changes, to the next magazine pushed back our printer deadline by one full week and has cut into the production time of the July 2018 edition (next month’s issue) of the mag. But that’s the way it goes in publishing when you’re on a 12-issue-a-year schedule.

Some of the other monthly publications I read have just appeared with lead stories that are now out of date, so kudos for the efforts to keep things current. Thank you! We work hard for our subscribers.

 

I HOPE WILDER KNOCKS JOSHUA TFO

Hey Doug,

Well, you called it. A distance fight between Joshua and Parker. It was dull as it could be too. I was really expecting more in a unification bout. I know styles make fights but I’m not sure if they each had a bad day in there or if their individual styles cancelled each other out. The ref didn’t help either. It seems that every time Parker got any kind of momentum going the ref jumped in. In fact, he slowed the “action” (as it was) more than once.

There was one other thing that bothered me. In the past I have enjoyed watching Joshua work but before the fight started his over long, bombastic ring entrance just pissed me off the way Nazeem Hamed used to. Seems he is buying into his own hype. He doesn’t need that crap.

He pissed me off even further after the fight. When he was interviewed he seemed to flinch when Wilder’s name was mentioned, wouldn’t hardly say it and then said in effect that he is going to pull a Mayweather and only fight in his home town where he has all the advantages. No one will ever win a decision over him at Wembley Stadium. He said he ain’t coming to the United States. A world champion (see Muhammad Ali) fights all over the WORLD. As long as I have been following Deontay Wilder he has been willing to go anywhere to fight anyone, even in their own backyard. Wilder is (to me) a much more exciting fighter (I know Joshua is the bigger draw) but it seems to me that Joshua doesn’t really want any part of Wilder because he is already trying to dictate the venue and who knows what else. (Sound like a guy named Floyd?) Would you agree that this fight would generate huge numbers in Las Vegas? …and what fighter doesn’t want to headline in Las Vegas? Joshua’s manager said that Wilder’s people had never called.  Sounds like BS to me. All I have ever heard is Wilder calling AJ out.

Forgive my rant, Doug but I am writing just after viewing the fight and these are my first impressions. Now I just want to see Wilder knock Joshua TFO. Thanks for letting me vent. I always enjoy your take. – David, Nashville

Nothing wrong with wanting to see Wilder KO Joshua. That’s a very possible outcome if and when they meet.

But I don’t understand your anger toward Joshua. He doesn’t appear to be avoiding any challenges – including Wilder. I thought he was fairly clear about his goal to unify all of

Photo by Lawrence Lustig

the major belts. He’s got three out of four. Why would he not want the WBC belt (as well as THE RING title that would come along with a victory over Wilder)? Just because Joshua wasn’t foaming at the mouth and bellowing Wilder’s name immediately after the fight doesn’t mean there’s no desire in him to make that fight happen. Joshua’s not the type to yell and scream about who he wants to fight next and what he’s going to do to his opposition once he gets them in the ring (the closest he could come to that WWE-style crap was to imitate Dillian Whyte). But let’s keep it real, AJ has never been that way. And he didn’t pooh-pooh a showdown with Wilder during his in-the-ring interview following the Parker fight. When asked who he wanted next he said Wilder or Fury (and, when pressed by the interviewer, he said he’d knock Wilder “spark out” when they meet in the ring). We all know Fury isn’t ready. Wilder says he’s ready, so now it’s up to their promoters/mangers/advisers to get a deal done in conjunction with their television partners in the U.K. and U.S. It’s not going to be a simple or quick negotiation process. And you shouldn’t get mad at Joshua for wanting the fight to be in the U.K., David. It’s a MUCH bigger event there than it is here in America. If you want the fight to take place in the U.S. you’re going to have to be patient while Joshua builds his name up here with a couple bouts.

Well, you called it. A distance fight between Joshua and Parker. It was dull as it could be too. Yeah, I figured Parker could take Joshua the distance. The dude is tough as nails, but I expected more push from him in that fight. He boxed well, but not well enough to win more than a few rounds. I think he needed to show Joshua how well he FIGHTS.

I was really expecting more in a unification bout. We all were, but heavyweight bouts can’t all be dramatic and thrilling like Joshua-Klitschko or Wilder-Ortiz. And if you look at the heavyweight unification bouts since the 1980s – from Mike Tyson vs. Bonecrusher Smith and Tony Tucker to Lennox Lewis vs. Evander Holyfield to Wladimir Klitschko vs. Sultan Ibragimov – they’ve mostly been duds. I think Joshua vs. Wilder will the exception to the rule of recent decades.

I know styles make fights but I’m not sure if they each had a bad day in there or if their individual styles cancelled each other out. The ref didn’t help either. It seems that every time Parker got any kind of momentum going the ref jumped in. In fact, he slowed the “action” (as it was) more than once. The ref sucked ass, but I’m not going to blame him for the uneventful nature of the fight. Their styles should have meshed well, but it takes two NOT to tango, and neither heavyweight was willing to commit fully to his offense. That’s the bottom line. Parker fought a nervous fight and Joshua seemed glad about that.

There was one other thing that bothered me. In the past I have enjoyed watching Joshua work but before the fight started his over long, bombastic ring entrance just pissed me off the way Nazeem Hamed used to. Seems he is buying into his own hype. He doesn’t need that crap. Oh, come on, David. That was a huge event in the U.K. They pride themselves on festive sporting atmospheres. We WISH we had bigtime boxing atmospheres like that in the U.S.! You’re really going to complain about Joshua making a grandiose ring entrance? That’s part of the entertainment package that nearly 80,000 fans PAID for. They didn’t seem bothered by it, and neither did anyone on my Twitter TL. That was fun (plus AJ gets extra props for walking out to “Paid In Full.”)

He pissed me off even further after the fight. When he was interviewed he seemed to flinch when Wilder’s name was mentioned, wouldn’t hardly say it and then said in effect that he is going to pull a Mayweather and only fight in his home town where he has all the advantages. You’re reading way too much into that post-fight interview and making way too many assumptions.

No one will ever win a decision over him at Wembley Stadium. If your name is Deontay Wilder, you’re not looking to score a decision against Joshua. You’re looking to decapitate him.

He said he ain’t coming to the United States. He did NOT say that. In fact, the plan is for his next fight to be in the New York City area sometime in late summer. He told the interviewer that he didn’t feel like he had to “conquer America,” because he believes the boxing scene in Britain is stronger than the scene in the U.S. – and he’s right!

A world champion (see Muhammad Ali) fights all over the WORLD. As long as I have been following Deontay Wilder he has been willing to go anywhere to fight anyone, even in their own backyard. Well, if that’s true, then he should have no problem dusting off his passport and traveling to the U.K. He will be well compensated for any inconvenience in doing so.

Wilder is (to me) a much more exciting fighter (I know Joshua is the bigger draw) but it seems to me that Joshua doesn’t really want any part of Wilder because he is already trying to dictate the venue and who knows what else. (Sound like a guy named Floyd?) Yeah, it sounds like Mayweather or Roy Jones Jr. or most American “A-sides.” And all those fans and members of the media that excused the U.S. standouts for staying at home and didn’t put pressure on them to travel abroad and face all-comers, well, they can’t complain when a British star plays the same game.

Would you agree that this fight would generate huge numbers in Las Vegas? Not right now. Don’t get me wrong, it would do well, certainly better than any previous Wilder bout, but it wouldn’t do a fraction of the business the unification championship would do in London or Wales. And I do not think a U.S. PPV would do very well (if the fight were to happen next or even at the end of 2018).

…and what fighter doesn’t want to headline in Las Vegas? Dude, this isn’t the 1980s. Vegas ain’t Vegas any more. Vegas is overrated.

Joshua’s manager said that Wilder’s people had never called. Sounds like BS to me. All I have ever heard is Wilder calling AJ out. Yes, and this game will continue to play out in 2018. Try not to get too worked up about it.

 

JOSHUA SUPREMELY FUNCTIONAL IN THIS ERA

Hey Dougie,

Here is my take on this … I love Lennox and Holmes so can get on board with AJ learning a more disciplined approach for this fight.

AJ proved he can box to a 12-round game plan which is good for longevity.

He’s still learning. He’s not as good as Tyson Fury at ‘Boxing’ and probably never will be able to ‘outbox’ him. But he could become a supremely functional boxer that has a world class jab and conditioning – to go with his super human genetics.

That could be enough over the years for him to go down as one of the greats if he does it for the next 10 years and takes on all comers.

People blitzed him because he didn’t go hell for leather and take Parker out, but I say the ref kinda stopped them from going at it on the inside and AJ took the opportunity to learn.

So, let’s see how he does over his next few fights now.

Shame the division is so weak generally. It’s not great.

Maybe we’ll never see an Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Shavers, Norton, Holmes era again though.

Tyson Fury – chatting absolute sh__t on YouTube saying it was boring. I like TF but he can’t criticise safety first boxing, that’s just hilarious

Deontay – he seems desperate to me. It’s the fight we all want but he’s on the weaker side of the negotiating table and Eddie Hearn seems genuinely ready to move on if he won’t play ball.

How far can AJ go, Dougie? Do you agree with my assessment? – Cheers, Ed

I agree with most of your assessment, Ed. I agree that it was good for Joshua to finally go the 12-round distance and I agree that he’s still learning. How far can Joshua go? I think he can be the undisputed heavyweight champ and the biggest star in the sport. That’s pretty far, right? And, yet, he’s not far at all from that place.

He’s not as good as Tyson Fury at ‘Boxing’ and probably never will be able to ‘outbox’ him. I think he’s a different kind of boxer than Fury.

But he could become a supremely functional boxer that has a world class jab and conditioning – to go with his super human genetics. If he can put it all together I think he can be George Foreman 2.0.

That could be enough over the years for him to go down as one of the greats if he does it for the next 10 years and takes on all comers. That’s a George Foreman-sized “IF.”

People blitzed him because he didn’t go hell for leather and take Parker out, but I say the ref kinda stopped them from going at it on the inside and AJ took the opportunity to learn. The ref got in the way, but let’s not blame him for a fight not breaking out. Joshua was comfortable carefully boxing while creeping forward and Parker was comfortable carefully boxing as he backed away.

So, let’s see how he does over his next few fights now. That’s all we can do. I think it will be very interesting.

Shame the division is so weak generally. It’s not great. It’s not total garbage, either. There’s potential for a quality round robin between Joshua, Wilder, Parker, Ortiz, Whyte, Miller and maybe (hopefully) Fury, if the lineal champ can continue to get it together.

Maybe we’ll never see an Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Shavers, Norton, Holmes era again though. I don’t think so.

Tyson Fury – chatting absolute sh__t on YouTube saying it was boring. I like TF but he can’t criticise safety first boxing, that’s just hilarious. Fury’s a nut, but it works for him.

Deontay – he seems desperate to me. Maybe he is. That’s OK. A desperate fighter can be a dangerous fighter.

It’s the fight we all want but he’s on the weaker side of the negotiating table and Eddie Hearn seems genuinely ready to move on if he won’t play ball. The two titans will likely circle each other a few times before they finally clash. It might not happen until 2019. Can Hearn “move on” without Wilder? Yes, for now, but not for long. Joshua can’t reach his potential without fighting Wilder.

 

AJ-WILDER, WHY DEFEND CANELO?

Hi Doug,

A few quick thoughts and questions on the fight last night.

AJ is unlike any boxer in the UK right now in that he attracts so many casual fans who are more into him than the sport. Many are now criticising him for his second ‘boring’ fight in a row. Did you enjoy the fight? What did you think of his tactics and do you think this will have hurt his brand either in the UK or USA?

All the talk now is of Wilder vs Joshua but I can’t see that happen unless The Bronze Bomber is a bit more realistic about their respective careers and current seat at the table:

Joshua has fought two unifications. Wilder has fought none.

Wilder fought for his first world title in his 33rd fight. Joshua in his 16th (in his 16th bout Wilder fought a guy who was 6-6).

Joshua sells 80-90,000 tickets Wilder does a tenth.

Joshua earns $20m a fight – Wilder earns no more than $3m.

I could go on and on, but it seems abundantly clear here who is the A side and who needs to be realistic. Do you see this being an impediment to the fight happening – there’s no ego quite like a Heavyweight ego? I won’t ask who you see winning – seems a bit pointless when the fight isn’t signed – but can I ask what AJ’s profile is like in America? Is Wilder really as unknown as Hearn would have us believe? And how big do you see that fight being in the USA if it happens next – is it at Holyfield vs Lewis level yet or am I being silly?

I have to make a few comments and questions on your least favourite topic – Canelo/Drug abuse. Why did you get so (seemingly) mad a few mailbags back – I haven’t seen you defend someone quite so aggressively before. It’s almost the exact opposite of your comments on Floyds drip isn’t it? And yes, I’m a longterm reader and fan of your writing and willingness to engage with fans.

Can you not see how people are equally angry about this situation? In many ways it’s just a reflection of peoples suspicions about top athletes, and the ‘excuses’ when they get caught. When I read ‘Canelo has passed X number of tests’ I can’t help but think of Lance Armstrongs’ ‘500 passed tests oft repeated claim before he got caught’. When I read both the WBA and WBC presidents half exonerating Canelo and repeated the tainted meat defence it makes me angry. I understand how grossly unfair it is to mention the two together but every Marion Jones, Barry Bond, Dwain Chambers, Jose Canseco, Tyson Gay, has eroded public faith in sports people.

Until now I was surprised what a comparatively free ride boxers got. Holyfield, Browne, Whyte, Mosley, Tarver, Toney, Jones Jnr never got the same vitriol directed at Canelo – but higher profile brings more than just higher rewards. Is Canelo paying for boxings failure to deal with PED’s?

Sorry this wasn’t quick at all! When are you next planning on attending a UK fight? It’s worth the trip! Thanks. – Jason, Nottingham

I’m sure I’ll be on your side of the pond soon enough.

Regarding Canelo, I’ve only gotten upset with fans who have been rude and/or disrespectful. If somebody wants to assume that Canelo is guilty, that’s fine. I really don’t have a problem with that. But, at the same time, I’m not going to take s__t from butt wipes that can’t accept that I don’t automatically assume that Canelo purposely took clenbuterol. I’m not saying he did. I’m not saying he didn’t. I really don’t know because I don’t know all the details of his case, same as the rest of you. All I know is that there were trace levels of the drug in his system, he claims it was from eating tainted meat, the NAC has been investigating his case, and it looks like they’re preparing to throw the book at him. But they haven’t done it yet. Like it or not, we’re just going to have to wait until April 18.

I know hardcore fans have zero patience (and when it comes to fighters they hate, they’ve got zero tolerance), but that doesn’t mean I have to agree with them while they make asinine assumptions about Canelo and his team.  

For the past month, I’ve read and heard the dumbest s__t from fans on social media, comment sections and pod casts.

They say: “He’s a millionaire, so he would never eat contaminated meat.” I think to myself “How would you know what Canelo would eat? How the f__k would you know what ANY wealthy Mexican would eat and why would it even matter if the Mexican is rich or poor? How do you know if the more expensive beef is free from contamination? What the hell do you know about the Mexican beef industry or Canelo Alvarez’s private life in Mexico!?”

They say: “The Reynosos are butchers! They should know which meat is tainted!” I think to myself “Unless they raised those cows themselves, how the hell would they know what they’ve been fed? And what the f__k do you know about butchers!?”

They say: “He was cycling off of the drug and got caught.” I say “Yeah, that’s possible. It’s also possible that he ate tainted meat.”

To which many reply: “Well, make him take the hair test! That will let us know the truth!” And I say “What the f__k do you know about hair testing? How much research have you done on ANY of this!?”

Then they say – as you did – that I’m “defending” Canelo. And all I can say is that not calling him a “cheater” until there’s solid evidence of it, and not falling into a lynch-mob mentality, is not the same thing as defending him. I was seriously starting to feel like I was surrounded by crazy people, but then the majority of The Ring Ratings Panel voted not to strip Canelo of the RING middleweight title or drop him from the rankings until his hearing took place (which, I admit, surprised me but pleasantly so) and, over the weekend, an MMA writer named Iain Kidd who’s done a lot of PED research and coverage over the years started challenging some of the misinformed s__t that fans have been tweeting. He was attacked for hours (which happens on Twitter) but the back-and-forth was enlightening and it prompted him to pen this article, which was posted on BloodyElbow.com.

I haven’t seen you defend someone quite so aggressively before. I haven’t seen someone so aggressively attacked like this before.

It’s almost the exact opposite of your comments on Floyds drip isn’t it? The situations have nothing in common other than the fame of the man in question. Mayweather’s IV scandal came to light months after the Pacquiao fight, and along with it, loads of information about that case (thanks to the meticulous investigative work of Thomas Hauser), as well as information about other red flags of potential PED use (such as Mayweather’s abnormally low testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratios from NAC tests taken prior to his fights with Victor Ortiz and Robert Guerrero). USADA mishandled Maywether’s WADA infraction and didn’t inform the NAC of it until 20 days after, and the NAC never saw fit to investigate Mayweather. Canelo’s tests were not mishandled by VADA and the NAC, perhaps wiser about handling such cases, has investigated the situation and is prepared to administer a ruling/punishment.

And yes, I’m a longterm reader and fan of your writing and willingness to engage with fans. Then you should know I’m not to be f__ked with.

Can you not see how people are equally angry about this situation? You’re getting ahead of yourselves with your outrage. Assuming Canelo did this or that. Assuming the NAC won’t do this or that. You don’t know! You’ll find out soon. THEN freak out if the situation merits it.

AJ is unlike any boxer in the UK right now in that he attracts so many casual fans who are more into him than the sport. Yes, I’ve noticed this.

Many are now criticising him for his second ‘boring’ fight in a row. They have a right to do that.

Did you enjoy the fight? I thought it was interesting through seven rounds. I didn’t expect Ali-Frazier from the opening bell, so I was content to let the big men feel their way through the early rounds and figure out their plans of attack. However, when neither capitalized on the action of Round 6, I quickly lost interest. Overall, I was disappointed by both heavyweights but I thought it was a solid, controlled performance from Joshua, decent ring savvy exhibited by Parker, and I thought both men conducted themselves with class after the bout.

What did you think of his tactics and do you think this will have hurt his brand either in the UK or USA? I think Joshua’s brand is as strong as ever in the U.K. It probably needs some work here in the U.S. He’ll need to eventually fight here to create a real buzz (as Naseem Hamed did 20 years ago).

All the talk now is of Wilder vs Joshua but I can’t see that happen unless The Bronze Bomber is a bit more realistic about their respective careers and current seat at the table. I don’t see that happening, but the threat of having to face Dillian Whyte (or risk losing the green belt) might force Team Wilder to seriously consider rolling the dice against AJ.

Joshua has fought two unifications. Wilder has fought none. True. Sort of. I know two belts were on the line when Joshua fought Klitschko, but I believe the WBA title was vacant at the time.

Wilder fought for his first world title in his 33rd fight. Joshua in his 16th (in his 16th bout Wilder fought a guy who was 6-6). True.

Joshua sells 80-90,000 tickets Wilder does a tenth. True.

Joshua earns $20m a fight – Wilder earns no more than $3m. I think this is correct, but I’m not 100% sure of what both men earn on average. (I know I could Google it, but I don’t feel like doing so – I’m fairly certain that AJ makes more money than Wilder.)

I could go on and on, but it seems abundantly clear here who is the A side and who needs to be realistic. Do you see this being an impediment to the fight happening – there’s no ego quite like a Heavyweight ego? Yes, I expect egos to clash (not just AJ and Wilder, but Hearn and Haymon/Finkel) all year and possibly into 2019.

I won’t ask who you see winning – seems a bit pointless when the fight isn’t signed – but can I ask what AJ’s profile is like in America? Hardcore fans know who he is. Casuals do not. Canelo and Golovkin are better known in the U.S.

Is Wilder really as unknown as Hearn would have us believe? Wilder is known by hardcore fans. But he’s not one-fourth of the crossover star that Joshua is in the U.S.

And how big do you see that fight being in the USA if it happens next – is it at Holyfield vs Lewis level yet or am I being silly? It wouldn’t be Holyfield-Lewis level. Holyfield had been in the public eye since the 1984 Olympics and Lewis had fought on HBO or TVKO (the network’s old PPV arm) several times over a seven-year span leading up to their 1999 showdown (which 1 million PPV buys). I don’t think Joshua-Wilder can do 1 million PPV buys in the U.S. if it happens next.

But hey, I could be wrong.

 

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

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