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Dougie’s Friday mailbag (Joshua-Wilder posturing, next for GGG, Hurd and Marciano)

Could one of the biggest fights and events that can be made in boxing be getting closer to becoming a reality?




13
Apr

UPCMOING FIGHTS AND MYTHICAL MATCHUPS

Hey Doug, another great matchup just got booked between Joseph Diaz and Gary Russell, supporting the great light heavyweight fight between Badou Jack and Adonis Stevenson. I’m really excited for this card and am personally feeling Jo Jo and Adonis, providing age hasn’t caught up with the latter. I think that powerful left cross is going to peirce Jack’s gaurd and hurt him real bad. Jack’s turned into a very good fighter though so he shouldn’t be counted out. Who are you picking?

Also, do you think GGG is still going to end up fighting in May? If you could make sure he got to fight two of these 5 opponents, who would you choose: Saunders, Derevianchenko, Charlo, Ramirez, or Jacobs 2?

Lastly, the republished Best I’ve Faced article got me to go back and watch Hagler vs Duran again, a pretty underrated fight in my opinion. It was amazing how just as Marvin said in the article, Duran was able to time his jab and beat him to the punch with the straight right. Marvin made adjustments though and he clearly won the fight. However, the fact Duran fought so competitively with the middleweight legend over 15 rounds I think makes the fight one of his greatest performances, despite losing. I think Marvin really respects Duran for stepping up to face him before other stars of the era, and doing so at quite a size disadvantage, which was pretty stark in the ring.

Mythical Matchups:

Kid Chocolate vs Hands of Stone

De La Hoya vs Palomino

Tommy Hearns vs Roy Jones

Sweet Pea vs Homicide Hank

The Mighty Atom vs Chocolatito

Thanks. – Jack

I’ll go with Duran by close decision in a sensational contest, De La Hoya via close, maybe majority decision (if the fight is scheduled for 12 rounds; I favor Palomino by close decision if it’s a 15 rounder), Jones by mid-rounds stoppage (at 160, by late-rounds TKO at 168 pounds; Hearns by decision at 175 pounds), Armstrong by competitive-but-clear decision, and Wilde by late stoppage (especially if the fight is scheduled for more than 12 rounds).

Duran (left) challenged Hagler (right) for the middleweight championship in1983. Photo / THE RING

Duran was masterful against The Marvelous One. He was so great that he could put on master classes (that were also entertaining) during the 1980s when he was far past his prime, and some of his losses (to Hagler and Hagler’s half-brother Robbie Sims) during this overweight and inconsistent period of his career were just as compelling as his victories (vs. Pipino Cuevas, Davey Moore and Iran Barkley). I never tire of watching the middleweight title challenges to Hagler and Barkley. There’s so much craft on display in every round. It still amazes me that Duran faced a more-prime version of Hagler than his nemesis Sugar Ray Leonard and conqueror Tommy Hearns, and went 15 rounds with one of the greatest middleweights of all time.

Another great matchup just got booked between Joseph Diaz and Gary Russell, supporting the great light heavyweight fight between Badou Jack and Adonis Stevenson. That’s a terrific doubleheader. The great fans of Montreal deserve it. Showtime and all the promoters involved in bringing it together should take a bow. The wonderful thing about both matchups is that I really don’t have a strong favorite in either.

I’m really excited for this card and am personally feeling Jo Jo and Adonis, providing age hasn’t caught up with the latter. Stevenson looks well preserved to me, and it’s not like he’s been in any grueling fights in recent years, but perhaps his ridiculously light schedule will bite him in the ass against the hardnosed Jack, who’s never shied away from a stern challenge. Diaz’s main edge in his first title challenge is his activity. Had Russell fought more over the past three years I’d firmly favor him in this matchup, but he seems just fine with making once-a-year appearances, which makes me question his desire. I know Diaz is hungry. And he’s a battle-tested young gun, having been in with card-carrying tough guys like Rene Alvarado, Andrew Cancio and Horacio Garcia, as well as difficult styles (from Jayson Velez and Manuel Avila). However, he’s never faced a technical speed demon with Russell’s level of natural talent. The Californian has his work cut out for him.

I think that powerful left cross is going to pierce Jack’s guard and hurt him real bad. I can see that happening. Jack’s a badass but he’s not the defensive genius that his promoter is. And though technically sound, he’s very methodical, and those guys often have trouble with superior athletes who box and punch off the cuff like Stevenson.

Jack’s turned into a very good fighter though so he shouldn’t be counted out. Who are you picking? If I have to make a pick, I’m going to go with Jack. He’s not as talented as Stevenson, but he’s solid all around and he’s been operating at a world-class level in recent years, while “Superman” has just been milking his WBC title and Al Haymon affiliation.

Also, do you think GGG is still going to end up fighting in May? That’s the plan of Team GGG and Tom Loeffler, at least as of yesterday afternoon when they held a press luncheon in Los Angeles to announce that they had no announcement to make – yet. They made it clear that they want to bring the Big Drama Show to Cinco De Mayo. But they have to find the right dance partner (Vanes Martirosyan appears to be the latest “front-runner” but that could change) and try to make a deal with the IBF, which is pushing for the Sergiy Derevyanchenko mandatory. (Loeffler acknowledged that Dervyanchenko is a worthy challenger, but would he prefers that excellent matchup to be built up a little more and for both middleweights have full camps to prepare for what would in all likelihood be a brutal war of attrition.)

If you could make sure he got to fight two of these 5 opponents, who would you choose: Saunders, Derevianchenko, Charlo, Ramirez, or Jacobs 2? I would choose Saunders (because the English southpaw stylist could enable GGG to realize his dream of becoming the undisputed middleweight champ) and Derevyanchenko (because I think the Ukrainian presents the toughest physical matchup for Golovkin). I’d love to see the other fights, too. Charlo and Ramirez could make for big shows in Texas and I’m pretty sure they’d be competitive with GGG. And a Jacobs rematch is a natural for Madison Square Garden or Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

 

JOSHUA-WILDER NEGOTIATIONS

Hi Doug,

I just wanted to pass my thoughts on the Joshua/Wilder negotiations. It seems there is a lot of posturing from both sides, each claiming not to have heard from the other and so on and so forth. Both questioning how much the other really wants the fight. Is it just me or should this be one of the easiest fights to make in boxing? Both fighters say they want the fight. Both are available for now or should get an exemption for a unification bout. And both promotional teams work with each other, even if relations have frosted somewhat over the last 6 months.

As I understand it, Matchroom and Joshua offered Wilder a £15 million flat fee to fight. Now lets look at the facts. One fighter (Wilder) reported highest purse is around £3mil tops…. The other (Joshua) operates around £20 mil. Wilder has no unifications, Joshua has one and a half (I’m not sure the Klitsckho fight counts as a full unification). Wilder fights in front of 10,000 people if I’m being generous and Joshua fights in front of 80,000. Also Wilder has one belt, Joshua has 3.

So forgive me but I don’t see what the big fuss is about. If I was Wilder id say thank you for the additional £12 million that I’m getting in addition to my usual £3mill and when I knock your boy Joshua out, ill become one of the best known stars in boxing, with huge PPV potential and crossover appeal and the lions share of the rematch should there be a clause and/or appetite for that fight.

Personally I think Wilder has the power to knock anyone out including Joshua, but I think its Joshua’s fight to lose. I think he has more overall tools and has more than one way of winning the fight….. I’m not sure Wilder does.

Then waiting in the wings you have a certain Dillian Whyte. WBC number 1 but not yet mandatory. I’m not sure Wilder pricing himself out of the fight with Joshua just to have to fight Whyte is the smartest move. Again I’m not saying Wilder wont beat Whyte, but I view the fight as 50/50 with Whyte having every chance of ripping the title from Wilder. Then Eddie Hearn simply makes Joshua v Whyte for all of the belts.

Maybe I’m over simplifying things, but then boxing often over complicates them.

On another note, have you ever considered doing a “from the vault” edition of the mailbag? I know as a boxing fan I love the nostalgic feeling of reading about boxing from times gone by. I don’t know if you keep old editions of the mailbag or if it would be too much hassle but it would be good to read back over readers thoughts and your replies on old boxing topics such as the fallout from epic fights, the lead up to big events and controversial moments like Margarito’s loaded gloves etc. Just a thought.

Anyway, stay well Doug. All the best. – Callum from Kent, UK

That’s not a bad idea, Callum. I’ve thought about doing that for some of my old Gym Notes columns (and even some of my old Southern Cali. Notebooks from the HouseofBoxing and MaxBoxing years), as I did with the Golovkin-Canelo sparring session last year, but I don’t know how popular such a “flashback feature” would be with the mailbag.

I think there’s literally hundreds of mailbags, dating back to 2009, in the publishing tool for the current RingTV.com site that I could repost without too much trouble. Questions I have for you is how far back should I go? Should I choose mailbags that have subject matter similar to what’s currently happening in boxing (such as big fights falling out and negotiations for dream heavyweight matchups)? Should I try to repost mailbags on the five-, 10- or 15-year anniversaries of the fighters and fights that are covered in those particular columns? Any feedback you (or others) can give me would be greatly appreciated.

I’m also thinking about doing this for certain features that appeared in the pages of THE RING and KO Magazine.

My thoughts on the Joshua/Wilder negotiations. It seems there is a lot of posturing from both sides, each claiming not to have heard from the other and so on and so forth. Yes indeed, which is to be expected. In fact, the prospect of a Joshua vs. Wilder showdown and the heated – and very public – negotiations that have only just begun is the cover story for the next issue of THE RING. With Canelo-Golovkin currently on the shelf for who knows how long, there was no doubt in our minds that the attention – and obsession – of the boxing world would turn to what should be an inevitable clash for the undisputed heavyweight championship.

Both questioning how much the other really wants the fight. That’s so damn silly. I think both heavyweights want the fight. This is just the business of boxing holding up the sport side of it.

Is it just me or should this be one of the easiest fights to make in boxing? If boxing was purely sport, it would happen this year without too much posturing, but boxing is more business than sport and when the undisputed championship is on the line in the Glamor Division it’s NEVER EASY. It wasn’t easy to get Michael Spinks (the lineal and RING champ) to face Mike Tyson (holder of the WBC/WBA/IBF titles) 30 years ago, and it wasn’t easy to get Evander Holyfield (WBA/IBF champ) to step in with Lennox Lewis (WBC beltholder) 19 years ago. There’s too much money on the line, too many big egos representing the fighters, as well as battling network interests, for it to be “easy.”  

As I understand it, Matchroom and Joshua offered Wilder a £15 million flat fee to fight. Now lets look at the facts. One fighter (Wilder) reported highest purse is around £3mil tops…. The other (Joshua) operates around £20 mil. That may be true, but there’s more potential money to be made with Joshua-Wilder than Joshua’s previous bouts (including the Klitschko showdown), and Team Wilder wants a piece of that action, not a flat fee.

Wilder has no unifications, Joshua has one and a half (I’m not sure the Klitsckho fight counts as a full unification). Wilder fights in front of 10,000 people if I’m being generous and Joshua fights in front of 80,000. Also Wilder has one belt, Joshua has 3. All of this is true, and given these facts, Team Wilder should recognize that Joshua is the “star” or “A-side” (God, how I hate that term) of this matchup and negotiate accordingly, but they’ve got their pride and their going to hold off for the best possible deal for their fighter (because, as you know, it’s just as dangerous for Wilder as it is for Joshua).

If I was Wilder I’d say thank you for the additional £12 million that I’m getting in addition to my usual £3mill and when I knock your boy Joshua out, I’ll become one of the best known stars in boxing, with huge PPV potential and crossover appeal and the lion’s share of the rematch should there be a clause and/or appetite for that fight. That’s what I would say, too. But guess what? You and I aren’t professional fighters. We don’t climb inside that ring. We don’t give and take punches for a living.

Then waiting in the wings you have a certain Dillian Whyte. And The Body Snatcher ain’t no joke.

WBC number 1 but not yet mandatory. I’m not sure Wilder pricing himself out of the fight with Joshua just to have to fight Whyte is the smartest move. I agree, but again, you and I are not fighters. You and I probably think more like a typical manager. The risk-versus-reward equation does not work out with Whyte. It does with Wilder. So, we’d gladly swerve Dillian to get a shot at A.J. and ultimate glory (and a s__tload of money). But we ain’t fighters. We certainly ain’t a bona-fide puncher like Wilder. Maybe to Deontay all these potential heavyweight rivals look the same – like dudes that he’s about to knock the f__k out.

 

LOVE ME SOME HURD

Hi Doug,

I pray you and your families are doing well. After the predictable glorified sparring sessions recently Joshua vs Parker, Spence vs Peterson, and Garcia vs Rios, it was nice to finally get a great fight where you didn’t know who was going to win. I love me some Hurd. I love seek and destroy fighters and he destroyed two of them that I hate and usually don’t watch, Trout and Lara. It was great to watch him kick their butts and do it in a much more impressive fashion then Canelo did.

I can’t wait for him and the Charlo twin. That is going to be World War 3. I’d much rather see that fight then Canelo vs GGG which I’m glad is not happening. The rematch that should be taking place is Jacobs’s vs GGG which was a much better fight.

I’ve been hearing people saying they weren’t impressed with Joshua. I don’t get why he should take the blame for Parker stinking it out. It takes two to tangle and Parker wanted no part of Joshua. I don’t care to watch Lara but I knew he had heart from watching the fight with Angulo. Thank god Fraud, Vladdy, Ward, Hopkins and Fury are gone and I pray they never return.

Guys like Hurd, Wilder, Joshua, Spence, Lomanchenko, Garcia and the Charlos are bringing some excitement back to the sport by boxing with a fighter’s mentality.

God bless and take care. – Blood and Guts from Phlly

The great thing about all of the fan-friendly boxers you listed is that their ages range from 27 to 32 (with Wilder being the oldest, but 32 is still prime years for a heavyweight), so we will likely enjoy watching them ply their brutal craft in their primes for the next three-to-four years. It’s a good time to be fan of fearless action fighters.

There was a lot of give and take in the Hurd-Lara fight. Photo by Stephanie Trapp-SHOWTIME

I love seek and destroy fighters and he destroyed two of them that I hate and usually don’t watch, Trout and Lara. I wouldn’t use the word “destroyed” to describe what he did to Lara. That was a hotly contested fight, and Lara held up physically until the final rounds, and despite suffering a busted eye and getting dropped in Round 12, the Cuban master finished on his feet. I’m not sure “destroyed” is the right word for the Trout fight either. Trout was eventually overwhelmed by Hurd, but the veteran put hands on the younger, fresher, stronger fighter over the first half of the fight.

It was great to watch him kick their butts and do it in a much more impressive fashion then Canelo did. I enjoyed both fights very much, more than I did with Canelo’s showdowns with both men. But keep in mind that Canelo faced the undefeated version of Trout, who was coming off the biggest win of his career (the decision over Miguel Cotto), and he took on a closer-to-his-prime version of Lara.  

I can’t wait for him and the Charlo twin. That is going to be World War 3. We’ll see. Hopefully we find out this year.

I’d much rather see that fight then Canelo vs GGG which I’m glad is not happening. Spoken like a true whacked-out hardcore head. I love it.

The rematch that should be taking place is Jacobs’s vs GGG which was a much better fight. I disagree. I thought Canelo-GGG was more entertaining.

I’ve been hearing people saying they weren’t impressed with Joshua. I don’t get why he should take the blame for Parker stinking it out. It takes two to tangle and Parker wanted no part of Joshua. It takes two NOT to tango. Parker was leery of Joshua and Joshua was glad about that.

I don’t care to watch Lara but I knew he had heart from watching the fight with Angulo. Thank god Fraud, Vladdy, Ward, Hopkins and Fury are gone and I pray they never return. Fury is set to return on June 9. Don’t be surprised if Mayweather and Ward come back this year.

 

FUN, BUT HURDLY GOOD

Hi!

So, Lara-Hurd puts on a fight with a bit more intensity and drama than average, and everyone goes off as if we’ve seen the second coming of some legendary mauler grinding down an exceptional boxer per se? Sure, Lara is a good boxer, and sure, Hurd gave all he had of what he has – aggression, strength, relentlessness and, yeah, an ability to make the fight his kind of fight.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, is to be taken away from him – nor from virtually any man with the balls to step into the ring and risk his teeth, nose, health or life. Boxing hurts, really hurts, and even at a low-grade amateur level, not to mention with elite bangers handing it out. So, this is not a knock at Hurd, but at the reaction to his fight with Lara.

Maybe I’m just a grumpy guy at 50 who’s been living, following and watching this sport for too long – since I first read about Ali-Foreman in ‘75 and started out myself – but, really, is this anything to get excited about? Is this what and where we have come to? In that case, the sport really is in a sorry state.

Here’s the substance. I saw a clumsy, strong guy with bad balance (I’m being nice here), punching with all arms and zero body and/or leg behind. Punching, by the way…he slaps, whips, hammers them in, and manages to every second or third punch get his feet in his own way and thus end up at the wrong distance and the wrong angle. He met a far better boxer, who would’ve won had he only had the punching power to earn him the respect of Hurd. Well, he didn’t, and Hurd essentially ate him up. As I said, all the respect to Hurd for that – the man did what he could, and did it good – but let’s not act as if this in any way was…uh, good. It wasn’t. Fun, perhaps.

It’s obvious Hurd lacks proper fundamentals, as well as Lara’s fundamentals as an amateur sometimes works against him. His reaction to Hurd slapping him with the inside of the gloves was a typical reaction from a guy who’s been trained in an excellent amateur program since childhood.

Anyways, Hurd is fun, and I’ll sure as hell keep watching. That being said, questions how he would fare against men like GGG is insane. For the sake of his brain, keep him as far away as possible. It would be like serving a dog to a tiger. That cheek-in-the-air-and-easy-to-hit style would make Golovkin salivate to the brink of drowning before punching his foe to pieces.

Sorry for the rant, just wanted to get it out of my system. On another note, I’ve been into Rocky Marciano of late, and thinking how he would fare against some late and more modern names, he came out as follows.

Marciano – Louis: Louis by clear UD, but not without getting badly bruised by the Blockbusters haymakers.

Marciano – Liston: Marciano by KO. Marciano wouldn’t be intimidated by Liston, and Liston – as Tyson – never responded well to fighters who not only didn’t freeze out of fear, but also stood their ground, spit as much as they ate, and just kept coming.

Marciano – Foreman: Foreman feasted on aggressive little guys, and Marciano would have been hammered in ways he never had been before.

Marciano – Tyson: Marciano by KO. After 3 rounds, the blitz of Tyson usually eased, he got less creative and technically sharp, and more sluggish and, eventually, outright tired. Marciano would have been around for more than 3 rounds, and hence a late and nasty KO.

Yeah, I know – Marciano “too small”, Marciano “too short”, Marciano met oldtimers over the hill, and so on. Nah. Both Layne and LaStarza where younger than him, and the difference between him and Charles were just 2 years, I think. Sure, Moore was older, but some seem to think Moore was always way over 40. Well, he wasn’t. He was a tremendous gift from the gods of boxing, and he was totally confident he would school the powerhouse – and, like everyone else, found out what it means trying to withstand an onslaught for 15 rounds (in the few cases they made it the distance) by one of the hardest punchers in history. Marciano could seem rude and crude, but most of all his boxing (technique, footwork, tactics) was all about functionality and pragmatism.

Your thoughts? And while thinking, I send my regards and wishes to you and all the readers all the best. Just gotta love this brutal, beautiful sport of ours, don’t we? – Johnny, Sweden

Yes indeed, Johnny. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

I must point out to you, however, that almost everything you said about Hurd was written about Marciano (by overly critical sports scribes of his era) during the early stages of his career.

And you know what? They were RIGHT! Marciano was a clumsy clubber out of the amateur ranks, and thus was a long-term project for trainer Charley Goldman. The Rock didn’t fight a legit top-10 contender until he met Roland LaStarza in his 26th pro bout (and many observers thought he lost that 10 rounder). Before and after the first LaStarza fight, Marciano was taken the 10-round distance by gatekeeper Ted Lowry, who troubled the stalking puncher.

Marciano didn’t face his second ranked fighter (Rex Layne) until his 36th pro bout. He didn’t face the faded Joe Louis until his 38th fight.

Keep in mind that Hurd, who had a limited amateur career, has only fought 22 professional bouts. He’s got a right to develop and learn his craft at his own pace just like Marciano. (Had you been around to see Marciano’s 21st pro bout against Lowry, you might have merely considered him to be a “fun fighter” instead of the all-time great that he was destined to become. Food for thought, eh?)

By the way, I think prime Liston would have stopped prime Marciano on cuts.

Maybe I’m just a grumpy guy at 50 who’s been living, following and watching this sport for too long – Maybe? How about definitely! LOL.

But, really, is this anything to get excited about? Um, yeah, it is.

Is this what and where we have come to? Yes, obviously.

In that case, the sport really is in a sorry state. No, it isn’t. It’s just not as good as it was in previous eras/decades, but that doesn’t mean it totally sucks.

As I said, all the respect to Hurd for that – the man did what he could, and did it good – but let’s not act as if this in any way was…uh, good. It wasn’t. Fun, perhaps. Fun is good enough for me. I don’t think everybody that puts on a pair of gloves as a professional has to have elite-level boxing talent/skill or aspire to be in the pound-for-pound rankings of a bunch of nerd-fans.

Anyways, Hurd is fun, and I’ll sure as hell keep watching. You won’t be the only one, brotha!

That being said, questions how he would fare against men like GGG is insane. Who’s the goofball that’s suggesting that? Hurd’s got his work cut out for him with Jermell Charlo. That’s the only future matchup for him that anyone should be thinking bout.

For the sake of his brain, keep him as far away as possible. It would be like serving a dog to a tiger. I agree, at least for now, but a few more years and a dozen or so more fights under Hurd’s belt could change my opinion.

 

 

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