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Dougie’s Friday mailbag (Bellew-Haye 2, GGG, team stream, Taylor-Postol)

Tony Bellew (left) and David Haye. Photo by Lawrence Lustig
04
May

DOES GGG NEED CANELO?

Hi Doug,

One of Golovkin’s ideologies is to fight the best. I really enjoyed his first fight with Canelo but like many others, I felt he won comfortably and because of that I’m less intrigued by the rematch.

Do you think unifying the division by fighting Billy Joe Saunders and then defeating young and ambitious fighters such as Jermall Charlo and Sergiy Derevyanchenko would do more to enhance his legacy rather going after Canelo again?



I know that there is a chance he could fight those guys even after a Canelo rematch but at the age of 36 and his reduced activity, I don’t think we would see the best of GGG by the time he tries to go through that gauntlet of fearsome fighters. Kind regards. – Anish

Does Golovkin need Canelo? No. He looked human going the distance with Daniel Jacobs and Alvarez last year and he just turned 36, as you noted, so the top fighters in the 160-pound division are finally eager to face him. This was not the case during his peak championship years from 2013 to 2015, or in 2016 when Saunders, Canelo, Chris Eubank Jr., and Jacobs all passed on fighting him.

These days, GGG has options.

Art by Richard Slone

Having said that, the money from fights with Saunders, Charlo and Derevyanchenko combined won’t match what he would make with a Canelo rematch. Hardcore heads can talk all the s__t they want about not being interested in it, we all know they’re going to tune in along with a significant chunk of general sports fans due to the well-documented drama (in mainstream sports media) of the May 5 cancellation and Canelo’s clenbuterol controversy. Bottom line: Canelo-GGG 2 has become a grudge match for the casual fan. It’s clear that GGG despises Canelo (along with most diehard fans), and those hard feelings are mutual. Animosity sells like nothing else in combat sports. I would not be surprised if Canelo-GGG 2 did 2 million pay-per-view buys in the U.S. It’s not easy for anyone (fighter, promoter or network) to walk away from that kind of financial windfall.

Beyond the money, I’m sure Golovkin would like an official victory over Canelo on his record. And there’s no doubt in my mind that he’d be extremely satisfied if he could batter the Mexican star to a brutal stoppage.

Do you think unifying the division by fighting Billy Joe Saunders and then defeating young and ambitious fighters such as Jermall Charlo and Sergiy Derevyanchenko would do more to enhance his legacy rather going after Canelo again? I think a decisive victory over Canelo would mean more to the general public than beating BJS, Charlo and Derevyanchenko. Hardcore fans would be more into the Saunders showdown because it would crown GGG as the undisputed champ (provided the IBF doesn’t strip him before that fight happens). However, Golovkin is already viewed as THE middleweight champ by most boxing observers. A showdown with Charlo would be well received by the hardcore fans and the by the media, and I’m convinced that it could be promoted into a fairly big event in Texas, but a victory over the talented former junior middleweight beltholder would not have much meaning beyond the boxing world. GGG’s fans would dismiss him as hype coming into the fight and Charlo’s fans would make excuses for him after the bout (if he lost); both groups would point to the Houston native’s relative inexperience at middleweight. I think Derevyanchenko presents the hardest physical challenge to GGG in my opinion, but he’s completely unknown outside of diehard boxing circles. I’d be impressed by a victory over the Ukrainian, you’d be impressed by it, but the average fan would say “big deal, GGG beat a guy with 12 or 13 fights.”

 

BELLEW-HAYE 2

Hi Dougie,

Hope you and the family are well. Well here we are again, Bellew-Haye 2. Nobody predicted the last fight, apart from Tony, but even then, it still turned out to be roller-coaster of a fight.

It’s interesting. Did the injury play a part? Yes, of course it did.

However, to fight Haye’s corner, Tony couldn’t get him out of there while Haye was effectively on one leg for 5 rounds. Also, Haye, while injured, took Tony’s best.

To fight Tony’s corner, Haye struggled to catch him in the first 5 rounds, and when he did, Tony also took it.

I think David massively underestimated Tony before the fight. Lots of rumours about a lazy training camp. David has spent the last 9 years fighting much bigger and slower men. He got used to it and expected Toby would be the same at Heavyweight.

You have to give Tony the credit also, as I can’t remember anyone making David miss like that. Credit for the ring craft and for the physiological job he did on David in the build-up also.

I expect a totally different fight this time. I think David is in a much better place, mentally, and has not bitten when Tony has tried to get to him again and again. Physically, I like the fact David’s moved back to the UK and changed his training team. He looks lighter and very sharp. I think having Salas in the camp and corner will be a massive advantage.

I hope Haye has learned to adjust the way he fights. At 37 you can’t train and fight like a spring chicken.

Tony has always impressed me in the way he, and Dave Coldwell, can read and adjust to fights. He is a thinking fighter and knows what to do. He’s got decent power and knows how to finish when he smells blood. However, I still think a fully fit Haye is faster, stronger, more durable and better boxer on the night. If Haye  stays calm and fights clever, he can out muscle and out hustle Tony all night.

I think Tony will be back improved from last time also, and he will have his success in the fight also. However, by his own admission, is relying on Haye getting injured to win.

MM (Well sort of)

Assuming Haye wins in style, i.e. Haye of old, how does he stack up against:

AJ

Wilder

Povetkin

Whyte

If, and yet to be proved, he is the Haye of old I reckon he beats them all.

If today’s focused and improved Bellew moved back to Cruiserweight how does he stack up again the top guys there?

Usyk

Gassiev

Briedis

Would have been a massive addition to the WBSS.

Keep up the good work. – Tabraze, London, U.K.

Bellew would have indeed made a great addition to the WBSS, but no complaints about the cruiserweight tournament as it was. It’s giving us an undisputed 200-pound champ this year. The WBSS cruiserweight winner might target the winner of the Bellew-Haye rematch if he wants to test the waters at heavyweight (and get paid handsomely for the experiment).

I would give Bellew a shot to outpoint Briedis in a tough fight, but I would heavily favor Usyk and Gassiev to beat the popular scouser.

And I would favor both Joshua and Wilder to beat Haye by knockout. I’d give him a shot against Povetkin and consider the Whyte fight even money (but only if he shines against Bellew on Saturday and escapes injury free).

Haye (left) under fire from rival Tony Bellew. Photo / @MatchroomBoxing

To fight Haye’s corner, Tony couldn’t get him out of there while Haye was effectively on one leg for 5 rounds. Also, Haye, while injured, took Tony’s best. Haye’s a lot tougher and has a much bigger heart than some fans (and media) are willing to recognize. He’s also a ring-savvy dude when he needs to be. He’s never been easy to nail cleanly.

To fight Tony’s corner, Haye struggled to catch him in the first 5 rounds, and when he did, Tony also took it. Bellew is just as tough, courageous and ring savvy as Haye is; and though he doesn’t match the Londoner’s athleticism, he’s got superior craft (in my opinion).

I think David massively underestimated Tony before the fight. Just about everyone in boxing did. To my credit, I did not view Bellew is a walk in the park (although I’m pretty sure I picked Haye to win).

Lots of rumours about a lazy training camp. I seem to remember Haye’s social media postings of his camp looking like a Club Med or Carnival Cruise vacation.

David has spent the last 9 years fighting much bigger and slower men. He got used to it and expected Toby would be the same at Heavyweight. Big mistake to assume that. It was also a big mistake to be as inactive as he was during those nine years (especially since the 2011 loss to Wladimir Klitschko).

You have to give Tony the credit also, as I can’t remember anyone making David miss like that. Bellew is a complete fighter, who’s got good defense and inside game. I think he’s a better overall boxer/technician than Haye is because Haye has often relied on his athleticism (speed, power and reflexes). Bellew relies on his “boxing brain,” as he likes to say.

I expect a totally different fight this time. I think David is in a much better place, mentally, and has not bitten when Tony has tried to get to him again and again. I agree. But that doesn’t mean he won’t suffer an injury at some point during the fight (I’m guessing he will if he tries to take Tony’s head off in the early rounds).

Physically, I like the fact David’s moved back to the UK and changed his training team. He looks lighter and very sharp. I think having Salas in the camp and corner will be a massive advantage. We’ll find out for sure tomorrow, but I think Salas is an excellent trainer/coach.

I hope Haye has learned to adjust the way he fights. At 37 you can’t train and fight like a spring chicken. That’s true but old habits die hard.

Bellew with Dave Coldwell.

Tony has always impressed me in the way he, and Dave Coldwell, can read and adjust to fights. Agreed. They are a good team.

He is a thinking fighter and knows what to do. More than anything else, that’s what makes him dangerous.

However, I still think a fully fit Haye is faster, stronger, more durable and better boxer on the night. I don’t agree. I think a fully fit Haye is BIGGER (duh), faster and stronger. I think it’s debatable if he’s more durable or a better boxer than Bellew.

If Haye stays calm and fights clever, he can out muscle and out hustle Tony all night. We will see. Easier said than done.

 

STREAMING DILEMMA

What’s up Doug!

I’m stilling rocking my Maxboxing Everlast shirt from 2003-4? that I got for becoming a member. That’s my go to shirt when I’m hitting up the local water hole to catch a fight. But it is getting harder to find places around here that show fights. I cut the cable cord a couple years ago and thankfully Showtime is doing live streams. The Ring is doing live streams. What infuriates me is I don’t have a way to watch GGG this Saturday because HBO hasn’t caught up with the times. No live stream for boxing? I also wanted to catch Bellew v Haye. I’m not trying to find some garbage site that will blow up my screen with pop ups.

What’s a fan to do?

Thanks for keeping it real. Going on 15 years, I’m not sure there is anything that I’ve more consistently read online than your mailbag. – John in VA

Thanks for the very kind words about this column, John, and thanks for being a MaxBoxing member back in the day. I wouldn’t be doing this without fans like you.

It was recently announced that GGG-Martirosyan will be televised on BoxNation in the UK. I believe the British subscription boxing network offers a streaming service. If you subscribe to BN, you can watch it in the U.S. provided you have a VPN (Virtual Private Network), which is a legal service used that people and businesses use to protect online data and privacy, but it can also be used to get around geo-restricted content. Just Google “VPN” for more info. You can pay for one (I’m told it costs anything from $5.95/month up to around $12.95 for quality companies like Expresss VPN). And, as I noted, you can also use it to change your IP address to another countries (totally legal and fine to do, I’m told).

Anyway, BoxNation often airs boxing events that are broadcast live on HBO in the U.S.

Regarding Bellew-Haye 2, I believe that the AWE (“A Wealth of Entertainment”) network is airing the rematch live in the U.S. If I’m not mistaken, you can stream AWE on Roku or Klowd TV. A few years ago, I recall that boxing fans could pay a little money online access to the fights that AWE aired via their official website, but I don’t think the network is doing this anymore. I would check out the AWE website for more info. about how you can stream their content.

 

ESPN PLUS

Dear Doug,Did I understand right that I have to subscribe to a new ESPN service at five bucks a month in order to be able to watch Terence Crawford’s next fight on my damn cell phone? And that I won’t be able to see it on my 54″ TV? Best. – Leslie Gerber, Woodstock, NY

You are correct that ESPN’s new service (ESPN+, which will be delivered through an updated version of the network’s mobile app) will cost you $4.99/month, and that it’s the only way you can watch the June 9 Crawford-Horn fight live (along with other upcoming boxing shows, such as the Jerwin Ancajas/Kal Yafai doubleheader on May 26).

You are not correct in assuming that you can only watch ESPN+ content on your “damn cell phone.” You can watch ESPN+ on your 54-inch flat screen TV via Apple TV, Andorid TV, Fire TV/Stick, Roku player and Chromecast.

 

BAD BLOOD

Hi Dougie,

A happy weekend to you. I’m actually quite looking forward to the Haye vs Bellew fight on Saturday. I wasn’t really into the first fight much as I figured it would be a mismatch – but what transpired was unexpected drama and unbelievable bravery from the Hayemaker. I’m kind of annoyed by Bellew not acknowledging how the fight was completely turned on its head by Haye’s freak injury.

I expect that in the US you are wondering what the big deal is with a non-title match between two heavyweights who would struggle to make the top 30. However, in many ways, this is true prize fighting at its best. Two contrasting, well-spoken fighters who have won world titles, both very charismatic, charming and likeable – yet both equally dislikeable at the same time.

They both have perhaps one last chance to prove something to everyone. Revenge is a huge incentive for both – not to mention an Olympic sized swimming pool of real BAD BLOOD! A big drama show is sure to unfold again. Who is your pick?

Of course, the most important fight at heavyweight is still to be made. I, like everyone else, really want to see what will happen when Joshua and Wilder finally square off. But if it doesn’t happen next, I’m quite cool with watching AJ take on his mandatory, Povetkin and I’ll even be quite interested by Wilder vs Breazeale. More bad blood, always the spiciest ingredient, and although Wilder should beat “Trouble” 9 times out of 10, there is always the possibility that Breazeale with his size and power could take out the Bronze Bomber. This is the heavyweight division after all!

Speaking of Breazeale, have you ever known the number 2 rated fighter become the mandatory above the number 1? Not sure how this works as Breazeale’s last fight vs Molina wasn’t enough to lift him above Whyte in the rankings four months ago, so what’s changed? If it looks like bullsh*t and smells like bullsh*t then the WBC seem to be involved.

Best regards. – Jeremy, UK

Yeah, maybe, juuuuuust maybe, the WBC wants to see Joshua-Wilder as much as you and millions of other fans want to see it, and they view Whyte as a bigger spoiler than Breazeale. (And the WBC isn’t the only sanctioning organization looking out for their heavyweight titleholder – the WBA sanctioned the recent Miller-Duhaupas fight as a title eliminator, effectively moving Big Baby ahead of No. 1-rated Povetkin as AJ’s WBA mandatory.) 

However, as you stated, anything can happen at heavyweight. Breazeale is as tough and gutsy as they come, and he’s got an axe to grind with the WBC titleholder as Wilder and his brother accosted his family in a hotel lobby following the Wilder-Gerald Washington fight last February, but the Bronze Bomber will be heavily favored to win that grudge match if and when it happens. However, I think that fight (Wilder-Breazeale) will be fun while it lasts.

I also think Miller can compete with Joshua, at last for five or six rounds, and make for a decent U.S. debut if that promotional plan plays out this year.  

I expect Joshua and Wilder to circle each other a few times and allow the event to build up in the U.S. before their teams pull the trigger and make the fight. Realistically, I don’t see it happening until spring of 2019, and I don’t blame fans for obsessing about it in the meantime. (That’s why we put the two on the cover of the next issue of THE RING.)

I expect that in the US you are wondering what the big deal is with a non-title match between two heavyweights who would struggle to make the top 30. We’re not as exited about Bellewe-Haye 2 as you are, but hardcore American boxing fans know who these guys are, so they at least acknowledge the rematch. Haye’s been on the scene for a long a time. His cruiserweight unification blowout of Enzo Maccarinelli was aired on Showtime TEN years ago! Bellew’s won nine in a row since being dismantled by Adonis Stevenson in late 2013 (a fight that was shown on HBO), and his stoppages of Ilunga Makabu and Haye earned him respect on this side of the pond. It didn’t hurt that he had a major role in the Creed movie. Personally, I think Bellew-Haye 2 is the most interesting televised matchup of the weekend. I’m not sure what to expect once that bell rings.

However, in many ways, this is true prize fighting at its best. Two contrasting, well-spoken fighters who have won world titles, both very charismatic, charming and likeable – yet both equally dislikeable at the same time. They are indeed polarizing characters, both are natural showmen. Bellew puts butts in the seats and Haye brings in the ratings. Together they make for a big event in the UK. And they also make for an intriguing matchup (as you noted).

They both have perhaps one last chance to prove something to everyone. Call me cynical, but I think they’re both comfortable with what they’ve achieved in boxing. They’re not trying to prove anything to anyone. This fight, like the first one, is just about making money, and the incentive is to win it in order to earn another big payday.

Revenge is a huge incentive for both – not to mention an Olympic sized swimming pool of real BAD BLOOD! A big drama show is sure to unfold again. They have roped you in, I see. Good for them and for you. I don’t think the bad blood is as real as you perceive it, but if their showmanship gets you and others excited about the matchup, I’m all for it.

Who is your pick? I have NO idea. I’ve got no favorite or horse in this race. I like both boxers, so I’m just going to enjoy the fight.

 

RING ISSUES

Hi Doug,

I was wondering if you was able to answer me a question? Do you know why the Ring Magazines have all of a sudden shrunk down to around two thirds the number of pages, and also a lower price that reflects that change?

Is it anything to do with the change of publisher and is it going to be permanent, going forward? Thank you and regards. – Ben W.

Hi Ben. There hasn’t been any change of publisher, but the page reduction in the magazine (which began with the May 2018 issue) is permanent and was done to lower the cover price from $8.95 to $6.95, which has boosted our off-the-rack sales.

It should be noted that we haven’t cut down the number of features that we normally run, but merely trimmed some of the fat (such as the magazine version of my Mailbag column) from the publication. Also, we have increased the number of issues we publish a year from nine to 12 (and we’ll likely have at least one special issue this year). So, if you subscribe to the magazine you’ll get at least as much boxing content this year as you would have with nine issues at the former page count, but this way you’re paying LESS!

 

TAYLOR VS. POSTOL

Hi Doug,

Josh Taylor vs Viktor Postol has just been announced for June 23rd in Glasgow. I think Taylor is probably the best prospect the UK has at the moment and he’s fighting an eliminator in his 13th pro bout, so maybe he’s not a prospect anymore come to think of it.

Anyway, what’re your thoughts on the match up? I imagine it will be a hard, competitive distance fight for whoever wins. Crawford didn’t stop Postol so I’d be pleasantly surprised if Taylor manages it. Crawford fought Postol as a southpaw and Postol really struggled to build momentum, though that might say more about just how good Crawford is than anything about Postol’s vulnerabilities.

Looking past the eliminator how do you see Taylor and Postol matching up to WBC champion Jose Ramirez? I have to admit I’ve not seen much of him but in the clips I have watched he looks busy and solid. I’ve just looked up his Olympic background and was surprised to see him and Taylor actually could’ve met in London 2012 in the semi finals had they not both dropped out in the last 16. I think that year’s gold medal was always heading towards Lomachenko anyway.

Anyway, best wishes to you and the family as always Doug and keep up the good work! Best. – Phil, Liverpool

Thanks for the nice words, Phil.

I think both Taylor and Postol can compete with Ramirez, but the Californian will be very difficult for any 140 pounder to beat because he’s got solid whiskers, good technique, great conditioning and coaching (from Freddie Roach) to back up an aggressive, volume-punching, pressure-fighting style. I would give Taylor more of a shot at beating Ramirez than Postol because he’s a better combination puncher and he gets more leverage on his shots (especially to the body).

Photo by Shabba Shafiq

I think Taylor is probably the best prospect the UK has at the moment and he’s fighting an eliminator in his 13th pro bout, so maybe he’s not a prospect anymore come to think of it. Taylor is, in my opinion, the most talented British boxer with fewer than 20 fights. He is definitely a contender. THE RING currently ranks him No. 7 among junior welterweights.

Anyway, what’re your thoughts on the match up? It’s a bold move, but one that will give Taylor a significant push up the rankings if he’s victorious. Postol is currently ranked No. 3 by THE RING and No. 1 by the WBC. If Taylor beats Postol decisively, he will likely leapfrog Ramirez (No. 5) and WBA beltholder Kiryl Relikh (No. 4) in THE RING rankings, and he’ll be the mandatory challenger for the Ramirez-Prograis winner. And the vacant RING 140-pound title could likely be on the line for Taylor vs. the Ramirez-Prograis winner (Prograis is currently No. 2 and No. 1-rated Mikey Garcia will probably drop from the junior welterweight rankings now that he’s decided to defend his WBC lightweight title).

I imagine it will be a hard, competitive distance fight for whoever wins. I think it goes the full 12, but Taylor is such a good judge of distance and so adept at slipping punches as he gets in close that I envision him giving Postol a beating as he walks the veteran down.

Crawford didn’t stop Postol so I’d be pleasantly surprised if Taylor manages it. Crawford fought Postol as a southpaw and Postol really struggled to build momentum, though that might say more about just how good Crawford is than anything about Postol’s vulnerabilities. Crawford’s arguably the best boxer on the planet, but Taylor’s no slouch. I’m sure he’s learned a few things about fighting Postol if he’s studied the Crawford fight and I’m sure that he will bring some things to the matchup that the more experienced American did not. I think Taylor will start a bit faster than Crawford did against Postol and I think he’ll make for a more entertaining fight due to his brand of technical pressure.

 

 

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

 

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