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Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Jacobs-Sulecki, Big Baby, Magdaleno-Dogboe, Edwin Valero)

Photo / Tom Hogan-K2 Promotions
30
Apr

THIS WEEKEND AND A MYTHICAL MATCHUP

Dear Dougie,

A few thoughts:

1) Big Baby Miller is a likable guy but a very ordinary fighter. He has no real power and ate a lot of shots, which from a puncher, puts him to sleep. He is the perfect opponent for Anthony Joshua – he has a name, he’s a NY guy who will help put people in the seats at Barclays, poses zero threat and will get KTFO by Joshua. Whatever they spend on his purse, they will get back many times in the additional revenue they generate when Joshua fights Wilder.



2) Danny Jacobs had a much harder night with Sulecki than anyone expected, expect maybe Sulecki’s team. Before the knockdown, I thought Danny maybe had a 1 round advantage. I believe it was the style that confounded Danny and wonder how another guy who moves really well, like BJ Saunders, would fare against Danny. Also, Danny better up his performance if we when he’s in with Charlo.

3) Good for Dogboe! He’s one tough dude and clearly showed he was a man on a mission against Magdaleno. How’s a Rey Vargas-Dogboe fight end? I know Magdaleno hadn’t fought in a year, but don’t you think if a fighter trains hard, with lots of great sparring, he can offset a lack of activity?

4) I believe Roberto Duran is P4P top 5 fighter. How do you see him a 130lbs against Aaron Pryor?

Thanks, as always, for making Monday and a Friday a better day! All the best. – Rahn

Thanks for reading this column twice a week and for sharing your thoughts with us, Rahn.

Duran was among the sport’s top five elite boxers regardless of weight from the mid-1970s (during the peak of his lightweight championship run) through his amazing welterweight title-winning victory over Sugar Ray Leonard in June of 1980. No doubt about it. Is he among history’s top five all-time greats? Arguably. When I was asked to rank the 20 greatest boxers of the modern era (post-World War II) for THE RING magazine in 2014, I had Duran in my top 10 (No. 8). If someone wants to debate that Hands of Stone deserves to be rated higher than that, I won’t put up much of a fight.

How do I view a Duran-vs.-Pryor mythical matchup at 130 pounds? I see Duran winning a decision in a great fight, but why did you want this dream fight at junior lightweight? Duran’s best weight was lightweight. Pryor’s was also arguably lightweight (where he wasn’t able to secure a title shot) but he made his name at 140 pounds (junior welterweight/super lightweight).

Big Baby Miller is a likable guy but a very ordinary fighter. You might be right about that, but in this era of heavyweights that’s enough for him to be rated in the top four of three sanctioning organizations (WBA, IBF and WBO – he’s somehow become the WBA’s mandatory over their No. 1 contender Alexander Povetkin). Miller is THE RING’s No. 9-rated heavyweight. (Heck, even Johann Duhaupus is ranked in the top 10 of the WBC and WBA.)

He has no real power and ate a lot of shots, which from a puncher, puts him to sleep. That might be true… IF he doesn’t have a world-class chin, and he just might. He seems to be able to take a good punch.

He is the perfect opponent for Anthony Joshua – he has a name, he’s a NY guy who will help put people in the seats at Barclays, poses zero threat and will get KTFO by Joshua. That sounds about right (although I think Miller can take AJ the distance). Can you blame Eddie Hearn for wanting to set up Joshua with Big Baby for the U.K. superstar’s U.S. debut?

Whatever they spend on his purse, they will get back many times in the additional revenue they generate when Joshua fights Wilder. No doubt about it.

Danny Jacobs had a much harder night with Sulecki than anyone expected, expect maybe Sulecki’s team. That’s for sure. Sulecki was at least a 6-1 underdog. But the Polish junior middleweight contender proved he could hang with a world-class middleweight. He’s a damn good boxer and athlete. I thought Jacobs’ form was pretty good on Saturday, but he still had his hands full with Sulecki.

Sulucki had his moments against Jacobs. Photo / @HBOBoxing

Before the knockdown, I thought Danny maybe had a 1 round advantage. I didn’t bother scoring the fight, but going by my Twitter timeline, you weren’t the only observer who that the fight was very close (or tied up) going into the final round.

I believe it was the style that confounded Danny and wonder how another guy who moves really well, like BJ Saunders, would fare against Danny. If Saunders is at his best, I think he could give Jacobs fits; the English southpaw can be a major pain in the ass for any 160 pounder.

Also, Danny better up his performance if and when he’s in with Charlo. I imagine Jacobs would be waaaaaaay more motivated for Jermall Charlo than he was for Maciej Sulecki. Also, keep in mind that Charlo might be a little more aggressive and straight forward than Sulecki was, which could play into the counter-punching prowess of the Brooklyn native.  

Isaac Dogboe scores one of three knockdowns en route to taking the WBO 122-pound title from Jesse Magdaleno. @TRboxing

Good for Dogboe! He’s one tough dude and clearly showed he was a man on a mission against Magdaleno. Isaac Dogboe would not be denied on Saturday. Jesse Magdaleno has a better boxing foundation, tighter technique, and a more versatile boxing style, but his skill was eventually overwhelmed by Dogboe’s will (and the Ghanaian’s relentless pressure and volume power punching). I don’t think Maggy’s inactivity (or the heavy weight he carries around between fights) helped against the determined mandatory challenger. But none of that was Dogboe’s problem. I’m glad the new WBO titleholder is a player in the 122-pound division. I love his commitment to the body.

How’s a Rey Vargas-Dogboe fight end? Hard to say. Vargas has a decided height and reach advantage and he’s got a good jab/stick-and-move game. The Mexican beanstalk is also a gritty fighter. However, Dogboe’s got the kind of balls-to-the-wall style that chops down tall, rangy dudes like Vargas. I lean toward Vargas on points (he’s got the great Nacho Berstain in his corner, plus the edge in experience, but let’s see how he does against “Crazy A” Azat Hovhannisyan on May 12).

I know Magdaleno hadn’t fought in a year, but don’t you think if a fighter trains hard, with lots of great sparring, he can offset a lack of activity? It depends on his style. If he’s a boxer that relies on timing and reflexes, ring rust is going to mess his game up more than it would a pure puncher or a pressure fighter. The bigger problem for Maggy, in my opinion, is his conditioning between fights. He tends to let himself go and put on a lot of weight.

 

ARE JACOBS and RJ SLIPPING?

Dougie!

Hey how’s life. Hope you enjoyed all the fights on this weekend. Another great lineup.

Danny Jacobs this weekend looked really good but not great in my eyes. I totally understand he was in there with a quality guy but doesn’t beating down someone like Sulecki or stopping him convincingly show that he is in the top of the division? The Jacobs I saw would not beat a Canelo, GGG, or even a Charlo right now. What do you think?

Also, doesn’t the commentating of Roy Jones sound less and less knowledgeable? In the 9th round he stated Sulecki was slowing down and Danny was breaking him down but it was Sulecki’s best round. What is Roy taking about? Love his commentating most of the time but he seems like he always has a favorite in the fight and roots for his guy. Opinion?

Mythical matchups:

Jacobs vs Jermall Charlo

Maidana vs Spence

Khan vs Broner

Thanks a lot, and I look forward to continue reading this every Monday and Friday! You’re the best in the business, no doubt! – Juan from Wilmington, DE

Thanks for the very kind words, Juan.

Apart from Maidana-Spence, those really aren’t mythical matchups; those are fights that could happen in the near future. Anyway, I’ll go with Jacobs, Spence and Khan on points.

Danny Jacobs this weekend looked really good but not great in my eyes. Well, that shouldn’t be a surprise to you, Juan. Jacobs is a really good boxer, not a great one.

Jacobs (right) lost a decision to Gennady Golovkin (left) in March 2017. Photo by Tom Hogan

I totally understand he was in there with a quality guy but doesn’t beating down someone like Sulecki or stopping him convincingly show that he is in the top of the division? Jacobs is already considered a top middleweight based on his first-round blowout of Peter Quillin, a close decision loss to Gennady Golovkin, and a few other quality wins (Truax, Mora). He’s merely holding his rank with the decisions over Luis Arias and Sulecki.

The Jacobs I saw would not beat a Canelo, GGG, or even a Charlo right now. What do you think? You’re probably right about that, but the version of Jacobs that fought Sulecki is not the version that I would expect to show up for Canelo, Golovkin and Charlo. I think the veteran would be at his best for those challenges and, on a good day, I think he can beat them.

Also, doesn’t the commentating of Roy Jones sound less and less knowledgeable? No, not to me. I thought RJ’s observations during the Miller-Duhaupus fight were the most insightful of HBO’s broadcast trio.

In the 9th round he stated Sulecki was slowing down and Danny was breaking him down but it was Sulecki’s best round. What is Roy talking about? He was wrong. He thought he was seeing something that didn’t play out in the ring. That’s something that happens during a boxing match and during the commentary of a fight. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t know what he’s looking at. Jones has forgotten more about boxing than you or I will ever know.

Love his commentating most of the time but he seems like he always has a favorite in the fight and roots for his guy. Opinion? Everyone has their favorites in this sport, including TV commentators, be they professional broadcasters, boxing analysts, veteran journalists or former boxers.   

 

GRATEFUL CANELO TOOK THE HAIR TEST

My Man Doug,

I have always loved Canelo. I have some Hispanic descent, but that had nothing to do with it really. I have always loved his boxing style and ambition. I have always loved how so many people get behind him, and he wins. I love his aggression, and punching power, and body movement. To me, he has always seemed humble in a way, and very hard working. I have genuinely considered him amongst my favorite boxers since the Josesito Lopez fight.

When he popped, I had to reluctantly count myself amongst the detractors though. I guess that so much having happened with sports over the last twenty years in the area of artificial enhancement left me jaded. Two major factors also influencing my position with respect to Canelo specifically:

  1. A caller on LIITRR (a regular, but I don’t recall his name) pointed out that Mexico City has had a strong culture of wholesome eating emerge in recent years amongst the elite. The caller pointed out that many people outside of Mexico perceive their food supply differently, and that therefore those outside of Mexico may give more credence to the tainted beef alibi than it really deserves, and that the elite in Mexico realize that this misperception occurs and could exploit it.
  2. It made no sense to me that Canelo wouldn’t submit to a hair follicle test. Despite its potential failings in reliability, and other considerations weighing against taking the test, it just seemed like an avenue for Canelo to achieve some level of exoneration, which I figured an innocent man would certainly avail himself to.

Well, now, I gladly eat some crow. I guess people really do eat tainted beef at taco stands in Mexico. Thank goodness. For what it’s worth, Canelo, I apologize for doubting you! Lol.

Though, I think it bears mentioning that GGG has slowed from a 3-4 times a year fighter to a once a year fighter in the process of chasing these Canelo dollars. We also know that GGG resides in a rare echelon of boxing prowess and now has aged into his upper 30s. As a boxing fan, even though I now again believe that Canelo has always fought clean, I can’t help but feel slightly bitter that we have very likely missed a few precious fights from a modern great in the last two years.

God bless them both though. I love their work and have enormous gratitude that they do what they do for our enjoyment. I eagerly look forward to the rematch.

As always, thank you so, so much for the mailbag, Doug. Like so many other readers, I never miss one, and look forward to it every Monday and Friday. You’re awesome, Bro! – Kelly from L.A.

Thank you for the kind words, Kelly.

It’s nice to hear from a Canelo fan for a change. I’m generally in contact with hardcore fans that absolutely detest Alvarez (via social media and the comment section below this column).

I was starting to think that Canelo fans no longer existed and that he was going to be become a polarizing Mayweatheresque “heel” – “the Mexican they love to hate” – for the remainder of his career (and that could still happen). But the much-ballyhooed hair test (by Canelo’s detractors, ironically) has cleared his name among the fans that were on the fence. (The folks that already hated him, even prior to the positive clenbuterol tests, still think he’s guilty as sin.)

When he popped, I had to reluctantly count myself amongst the detractors though. I didn’t like how quickly the majority of fans assumed that Canelo was guilty of cheating before the details of his situation had been flushed out, but, as you noted, we are in an extremely jaded era of sports fanaticism due to the many decades of stars (mainly from other sports) being busted for PEDs. It wasn’t just fans, either. Much of the boxing industry – including boxers that had never been VADA tested (and some of whom have tested positive for banned substances) – were eager to join the dogpile of condemnation.

It will be interesting, going forward, to see if other boxers that test positive receive the same harsh treatment that Canelo did this year.

A caller on LIITRR (a regular, but I don’t recall his name) pointed out that Mexico City has had a strong culture of wholesome eating emerge in recent years amongst the elite. I think the guy’s name is Amilcar, a regular caller to The Next Round podcast cohosted by Steve Kim and Gabriel Montoya and a very smart and thoughtful individual. However, he had no business speaking for the “elite of Mexico” or assuming that Canelo is among them. Bottom line is that he (like most of us) had very little information to base our opinions on.

The caller pointed out that many people outside of Mexico perceive their food supply differently, and that therefore those outside of Mexico may give more credence to the tainted beef alibi than it really deserves, and that the elite in Mexico realize that this misperception occurs and could exploit it. It’s a mistake to assume and generalize what people (“elite” or otherwise) perceive on either side of the U.S./Mexico border.

It made no sense to me that Canelo wouldn’t submit to a hair follicle test. That particular test had never been administered to a boxer by a U.S. commission prior to Canelo doing it for the NAC. (I think Luis Ortiz might have done it between his cancelled and rescheduled title challenge to Deontay Wilder.)

Despite its potential failings in reliability, and other considerations weighing against taking the test, it just seemed like an avenue for Canelo to achieve some level of exoneration, which I figured an innocent man would certainly avail himself to. Personally, I think the way Canelo’s case was handled by the NAC, Golden Boy and his own team could have been done in a more transparent and media/fan-friendly manner, but what do I know? I’m a member of the media (and a diehard fan).

Well, now, I gladly eat some crow. I guess people really do eat tainted beef at taco stands in Mexico. What makes you think the tainted beef was from a taco stand? It could have been from beef he ate at home, or at a relative’s house or at some fancy schmancy restaurant.

Thank goodness. For what it’s worth, Canelo, I apologize for doubting you! Lol. I’m sure he forgives you. Just buy his next pay-per-view fight and everything will be good.

Though, I think it bears mentioning that GGG has slowed from a 3-4 times a year fighter to a once a year fighter in the process of chasing these Canelo dollars. True, but that was his choice.

We also know that GGG resides in a rare echelon of boxing prowess and now has aged into his upper 30s. As a boxing fan, even though I now again believe that Canelo has always fought clean, I can’t help but feel slightly bitter that we have very likely missed a few precious fights from a modern great in the last two years. If you want to be bitter that’s your prerogative, but again, Golovkin needed to fight a star like Canelo to take his name and career to the next level. It was his choice to pursue and wait out for the redheaded Mexican. GGG’s brand and popularity is stronger than ever because of the first Canelo fight last September. Yeah, he could have been more active if he gave up on fighting Canelo two years ago, but he wouldn’t have made anywhere near as much money as he did and he wouldn’t have crossed over the way he has.

God bless them both though. You’re so sweet.

I love their work and have enormous gratitude that they do what they do for our enjoyment. You’ve got a really good attitude. You sure you’re a boxing fan?

I eagerly look forward to the rematch. Me too, but I’m no longer convinced that it will happen this year.

 

EDWIN VALERO

Hi Doug

I am still reading with pleasure your Mondays and Fridays mailbags but it has been a long time that I did not write to you as I had some issue from my previous email to send mails to you and now trying from another mail address so hope it gets through.

I am just curious to know why every time you are requested to give your idea about Edwin Valero against a top guy for mythical fights you almost always give Valero victorious?

You did it again on Friday against Morales.

Considering that the best name on Valero’s resume is DeMarco, who is not really elite stuff, why do you consider Valero so high while he has never been really tested at top level?

We all know that until a fighter gets in the ring with top level guys we cannot be sure of how good he is and how he reacts under adversity. So it really amazes me each time to see you almost always make Valero your favourite against top fighters who proved their value during a long time at top level unlike Valero.

His resume is so thin in terms of names that without looking I cannot remember another guy that he has beaten except DeMarco.

So I would really be curious if you could explain why you consider him so high when he has never proven himself at top level.

Maybe he would have been great but this we will never know so I find it a bit strange that he always gets your vote against guys who on the contrary have proven themselves at the highest level. Keep up the good work. – Chris from France

Good to hear from you after your long absence, Chris. Don’t be a stranger going forward.

Before I get into Valero, I just want to remind you that mythical matchups are not to be taken seriously. It’s fantasy. There is no right or wrong answer to an MM. It’s opinion. It’s supposed to be fun.

Back to Valero. Since moving to the L.A. area in 1993, I’ve had the opportunity to watch some amazing fighters – from James Toney to Shane Mosley to Manny Pacquiao to Sergio Martinez to Vasyl Lomachenko – train, spar and fight; but I’ve never witnessed anything as fierce and focused in the gym or in the ring as Edwin Valero. Card carrying tough guys, such as Urbano Antillon, that gave prime Pacquiao quality rounds in sparring got knocked out by Valero wearing 18-ounce gloves. As a featherweight/junior lightweight prospect with less than 10 pro bouts (none of which lasted more than a round) under his belt, he dominated world-class lightweights and welterweights in sparring, and he didn’t just do it with punching power. He did it with skill, ring generalship and indefatigable conditioning.  

I know sparring isn’t like a real pro bout, but DeMarco was not the only notable opponent that Valero faced in the prize ring. He blasted a dangerous lightweight veteran named

Valero proved to be more than a power-punching front-runner with his savage battle against Mosquera.

Antonio Pitalua (47-3, riding a 15-bout KO streak going into their 2009 WBC title bout) and he won his first world title against a major badass named Vicente Mosquera (24-1-1) on the Panamanian’s home turf. Valero, who had never fought past two rounds as a pro, showed me everything I needed to know about him in that WBA 130-pound title clash. He got up from a knockdown in Round 3, fought through a bad cut and got better with each passing round, despite being in uncharted territory and on very hostile grounds. Valero stopped Mosquera in the 10th round.

But to really appreciate Valero, I think you had to see him train and fight live. He was a much better boxer than most give him credit for, and he exhibited more technique in the gym than he often did in his fights. However, I don’t want you or anyone else to take my word for anything. If you’re ever able to talk to one of his former trainers (Joe Hernandez, Clemente Medina, Ken Adams or Roberto Alcazar), you should bring up Valero. There are some nice Southern Californians on Twitter that used to watch Valero train that you could also hit up with your questions (or skepticism), including veteran boxing scribe David Avila (@AvilaBoxing), videographer Radio Rahim (@RadioRahimTV), and “resident boxing guru” Hector Duarte (an unabashed gym rat – @HDuarteJr). Oh, and I’m sure WBA president Gilberto Mendoza Jr. (@GilberticoWBA) can share some insight on “the V-nom” (that’s a nickname Duarte came up with).

And that’s about enough on Valero for one mailbag. The man is dead.

 

 

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

 

 

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