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Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Stevenson-Jack, Golden Boy’s tough time, the fighters we love)

Esther Lin/Showtime
21
May

STEVENSON-JACK

Hi Dougie,

May 19, 2018 was a historic day, a day when Adonis Stevenson defended his light heavyweight belt against a top fighter for the fist time since when? Four or five years? I personally considered Fonfara like a good contender in 2014 but the rematch came a little too late.

A guy becomes Fighter of the Year, he is exciting and very talented then he brutally evolves like one of the most disappointing wastes of talent. I’d have never picked him to beat Ward or Kovalev but he had the tools (terrific speed/power alliance) to upset them. Instead he chose to become a business man, good for his finances, bad for the sport and the fans.

Badou Jack is the total opposite. Not particularly “flashy”, no big punch, no super-sonic speed, just an overall very good fighter with above average body work, defense, footwork, intelligence… and will to fight the best.

I wanted Jack to win but I was not sure that he could make the full distance against Superman. However, Badou impressed me by his durability. Not only did he take monstrous punches, he returned the fire with tenacity! How can anyone dislike this guy? After a (maybe too much) cautious start, he gradually took over the fight with well-timed and accurate combinations and a tight defense. I had it 116/112 for the Swede but to be fair, many rounds were close and could be given to Stevenson who is still dangerous at 40, despite deficient stamina.

I wonder when “the Ripper” will have the benefit of the doubt in a close fight. In his four last fights, he has beat his rivals IMO. In three of four, the judges just choose to make him a loser. In his only victory, he was his own judge. It’s was a very good fight, the two guys showed tremendous heart, so I hope for a rematch. This time, I pick Jack to win and I hope he receives more considerations from the judges. – Antoine Aubin

I slightly favored Jack to beat Stevenson and I would favor him a little more in a rematch (if it happens) but just a little bit. Jack is always going to be in close fights against world-class opposition because he’s a methodical grinder who needs rounds to warm up and he’s pretty much stuck in one gear. For the record, I thought he clearly won his controversial draws against Lucian Bute (which was changed to a DQ victory after Bute was popped for a PED) and James DeGale. However, I don’t view the majority draw with Stevenson as a controversial decision. Stevenson’s speed and power made Jack overly tentative during the first half of the fight. I scored the first six rounds for the defending WBC beltholder. Credit to Jack for seizing control of the bout the moment he sensed that Stevenson was tiring in Round 7. I thought he clearly won Rounds 7-9, and he put a beating on Stevenson during these three rounds. It looked like he was going to stop the Haitian-Canadian in the championship rounds, but the powerful southpaw’s straight lefts to the body in Round 10 visibly hurt Jack and kept him in the fight. I scored Round 10 for

Esther Lin/Showtime

Stevenson because he hurt Jack more than Jack hurt him during that stanza, and I scored Round 11 even. Round 12 belonged to Jack but it wasn’t enough to overcome the hole he dug himself over the first half of the bout (in my opinion). Showtime’s Steve Farhood scored one of the first six rounds (Round 4, I think) for Jack. I can see one of those uneventful rounds going to Jack, and I’m OK with Round 11 going to the gritty challenger, so the draw didn’t bother me, but I have a hard time agreeing with the 115-113 score for Jack or with hardcore fans that are outraged by the stalemate.

I’d have never picked (Stevenson) to beat Ward or Kovalev but he had the tools (terrific speed/power alliance) to upset them. I agree. I wouldn’t have picked him against those two, but I would have considered him to be a very live and dangerous underdog. After seeing the guts he showed against Jack when he appeared to be out of gas and out on his feet, I know he would have been a handful for Ward and/or Kovalev.

Instead he chose to become a business man, good for his finances, bad for the sport and the fans. It’s his career and life. If he just wants to make a living doing this boxing thing, that’s his prerogative. I don’t have a big problem with world-class boxers who don’t care to be active or really don’t want to challenge themselves, I just don’t pay attention to them unless they’re facing a worthy foe.

Badou Jack is the total opposite. Bless him. He’s what boxing needs. How weird is it that he’s a Mayweather Promotions product?

Not particularly “flashy”, no big punch, no super-sonic speed, just an overall very good fighter with above average body work, defense, footwork, intelligence… and will to fight the best. I’ll take it. He’s not Mr. Personality, he’s not explosive like Stevenson or ultra-slick like his promoter, but he’s an aggressive technician and he generally makes for quality fights.

I wanted Jack to win but I was not sure that he could make the full distance against Superman. I think people made too much of Jack’s ability to take Stevenson’s power (probably based on his one loss, which was by first-round stoppage). They forgot that Stevenson suffered an early round KO loss, too. Both light heavyweights were vulnerable.

However, Badou impressed me by his durability. He’s physically and mentally strong and he’s learned to tuck and hide his chin well.

Not only did he take monstrous punches, he returned the fire with tenacity! Jack is a competitor, he just needed to start his press earlier against Stevenson.

How can anyone dislike this guy? He’s got his share of fans, according to my Twitter TL.

 

IS GOLDEN BOY ON THE ROPES?

Hello again Mr. Doug,

First and foremost, Happy Birthday Sir. I have looked forward to all your content and your commentary that you have provided over the years for boxing. So, for all the non-biased boxing fans, thank you. The last time that I emailed you it was when Luis Ortiz knocked out Bryant Jennings on HBO a few years back and I emailed you about how I thought Golden Boy Promotions was going to be good for the future and I was thinking at the time that guys like Frankie Gomez, Slava Shabranskyy, and others would have been champions by now and be the future of Golden Boy. Fast forward and my question for you sir is what is your assessment now of one of the elite power houses in the sport?

May was a rough month for them, not only did the Canelo not fight, but also 3 out of the 4 title matches that had Golden Boy fighters in them they lost. But still a credit to them because they are showing guts by working with all these different promoters and not doing in-house fights or rematches to keep the titles controlled on their side of the street.

The second half of the year should be very interesting for them. Canelo will eventually comeback. I love these recent cards that they are putting these young prospects vs. real competition (Duno, Garcia, Roach Jr.). I am hoping guys like Diego de la Hoya, Romero Duno, Rashidi Ellis, Joet Gonzalez, Jason Quigley, and Lamont Roach Jr., just to name a few, go from prospects to contenders by years end. Sorry for the long email sir, thanks for your time, and again thank you for all that you do for us boxing fans. – Mike

Thanks for the kind words and birthday wishes, Mike.

The second half of 2018 will be an interesting one for GBP. Alvarez is set to return in September and that PPV event, especially if it’s the Golovkin rematch, can be used to showcase the company’s more marketable prospects (such as Ryan Garcia and Quigley), young contenders (like DDLH and Diaz Jr.) and/or seasoned players (like Francisco Vargas and David Lemieux) in the kind of matchups that lead to bigger bouts on ESPN and HBO before the end of the year.

Golden Boy probably has more young prospects under contract than any other promoter, but as you know, there’s no telling if that green talent will develop into legit contenders. I think Joet, Duno, Ellis and Quigley all have that potential, but only time (and the right fights) will tell. Diego is already ranked at 122 pounds and my hunch is that he will eventually win a world title (but I don’t think it will happen this year). GBP’s investment in these young guns probably won’t produce dividends until the second half of 2019. It’s a long-term gamble. We’ll see in a few years if it pays off.

In the meantime, enjoy the in-house “box-offs” between the prospects that are ready to move to the next level, such as the ESPN-televised NABF featherweight title bout between Manny Robles III (15-0) and Edgar Valerio (13-0) that takes place on June 14.

The last time that I emailed you it was when Luis Ortiz knocked out Bryant Jennings on HBO a few years back and I emailed you about how I thought Golden Boy Promotions was going to be good for the future and I was thinking at the time that guys like Frankie Gomez, Slava Shabranskyy, and others would have been champions by now and be the future of Golden Boy. Boxing is a risky business. You never know what’s going to happen in a year or two. Ortiz wanted out of his promotional contract, Gomez decided that he really wasn’t into boxing and Shabranskyy hit his ceiling at the “fringe contender” level.

Fast forward and my question for you sir is what is your assessment now of one of the elite power houses in the sport? They’ve hit a rough patch in recent months but they’re still a major player in the worldwide boxing business. The only companies I’d put ahead of GBP would be Eddie Hearns’ Matchroom Boxing and maybe Top Rank.

May was a rough month for them, not only did the Canelo not fight, but also 3 out of the 4 title matches that had Golden Boy fighters in them they lost. Yep, Jorge Linares, Sadam Ali and Joseph Diaz

Linares nails Lomachenko with a right. Photo / Hoganphotos

Jr. all took “Ls.” However, Linares acquitted himself quite well against one of the best boxers on the planet in a fight that was widely viewed and well received by the public. There should be a demand for him to come back against a world-class opponent (rematches with Lomachenko or Luke Campbell are probably his most lucrative options). Diaz put up a respectable challenge to Gary Russell Jr. and at 25, time is on his side. I’m sure he learned from the experience and will improve going forward. GBP will keep him busy and get him another title shot (maybe against Oscar Valdez or Josh Warrington) by mid-next year. Ali got the worst of it. Jaime Munguia was the wrong man to accept on short notice (or at all), but I think the Brooklyn native is gutsy and talented enough to rebound from this latest setback provided he gets back down to 147 pounds.

But still a credit to them because they are showing guts by working with all these different promoters and not doing in-house fights or rematches to keep the titles controlled on their side of the street. Lucas Matthysse vs. the great Manny Pacquiao is the next big co-promotion on the world stage. Let’s see what happens. I think “The Machine” is live in that showdown.

 

LEWIS AND JACK

Hi Doug, hope all is good with you.
I was wondering if you’ve seen Ian John Lewis ref before and what your opinion was of him as a ref?
I think he’s one of the worst refs in the game. His opening line of “I am the referee” is pointless and he sounds like a supply teacher trying to get control of a classroom. Apart from that he broke the action up too much on Saturday night.

On to Jack, I feel for him because he could’ve legitimately got decisions over DeGale and Stevenson, but he steps on the gas too late. Must be so frustrating for him. How do you think he fares against the Russian/Ukrainian guys at the top of the division?

MM:

Froch vs. Jack
Froch vs. Stevenson

Calaghe vs. Stevenson
Eubank Sr vs. Jack

Cheers – CD

I’ll go with Froch over Jack by close decision in the UK (they’d battle to a draw in the U.S.), Froch by late TKO over Stevenson at 168 pounds (but Stevenson over Froch by decision at 175 pounds), Calzaghe over Stevenson by decision or late TKO at 168 or 175, and Eubank Sr. over Jack by controversial majority or split decision.

I was wondering if you’ve seen Ian John Lewis ref before and what your opinion was of him as a ref? I’ve never had a problem with him until the Stevenson-Jack fight.

I think he’s one of the worst refs in the game. His opening line of “I am the referee” is pointless and he sounds like a supply teacher trying to get control of a classroom. Those useless catch phrases (like Joe Cortez’s “I’m fair but firm”) are always red flags.

Apart from that he broke the action up too much on Saturday night. I agree, and he got into Jack’s head (as well as the head of Jack’s trainer, Lou Del Valle) over the borderline/low blows and had the challenger afraid to go to the body when he NEEDED to do just that.

On to Jack, I feel for him because he could’ve legitimately got decisions over DeGale and Stevenson, but he steps on the gas too late. I agree (although I still think he won eight rounds against DeGale).

Must be so frustrating for him. I can’t imagine. He gives so much of himself in these grueling 12-round battles.

How do you think he fares against the Russian/Ukrainian guys at the top of the division? I think Jack is live against any 175-pound fighter in the world, but I would favor Kovalev and Dmitry Bivol to beat him. I think he’s even money against Artur Beterbiev, but I would probably pick him to win that matchup (and the official judges would probably see another draw after 12 rounds with the Russian).

 

FIVE BOXERS YOU LOVED!

Hi Doug,

Thanks for the great job you are doing. I have been a boxing fan for the last 20 years, and I read your mailbags for last 10 years or so.

Here’s my question. Who were the top 5 fighters you really loved? Not the best ones, just the ones you were really rooting for?

Mine’s were Roy Jones, Pacman, Kostya Tszyu and now it’s GGG and Loma.

And Deontay Wilder is making his way on my list.

And related question. What was the loss of your favorite fighter that hurt you the most?

For me the most painful one was Kostya quitting on his stool in his fight with Hatton.

And every bloody KO Roy Jones suffered in last 10 years! Thanks God, I don’t have to witness it anymore! Cheers! – Dmitry

Never say never, Dmitry. Roy reserves the right to “unretire” anytime he wants.

Who were the top 5 fighters you really loved? Not the best ones, just the ones you were really rooting for?

Photo from THE RING archive

Since I’ve been alive: Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, old Roberto Duran (late ‘80s), Terry Norris and Nigel Benn.

Since on the boxing beat: Kostya Tszyu, Marco Antonio Barrera, old (and fat) James Toney, Chocolatito Gonzalez and GGG.

Honorable mention: pre-HBO Roy Jones Jr., Felix Trinidad, Diego Corrales, Edwin Valero and Micky Ward.

And related question. What was the loss of your favorite fighter that hurt you the most? Probably Holmes-Ali (which I’ve never seen, apart from a few highlights in docmentaries), followed by Leonard-Norris and Leonard-Camacho (neither of which I’ve ever seen), and Joppy-Duran (which I’ve never seen). It was very hard witnessing Roman Gonzalez get chopped down by Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in their rematch last September.

 

FOOTWORK

Hi Doug!

Hope you and your family are well. I was watching Leonard v Hearns the other day and was impressed by their footwork. Then I re-watched Thurman v Garcia and saw hardly any at all? Why is there no footwork in boxing anymore? I rarely see it? Is that strategy or something?

On a side note… I was watching some old fights of Jerry Quarry who was a real badass! How do you think he would stack up to today’s heavyweights?

Thanks! – Pastor Roger

Quarry was indeed a badass and I think he would compete with (and beat) most of today’s heavyweights that weigh under 225 pounds, but the talented giants would probably be too much for him. However, I believe he’d be a very popular cruiserweight champion in this era, maybe even undisputed champ.

I was watching Leonard v Hearns the other day and was impressed by their footwork. Those two were complete boxer-fighters by their early 20s.

Then I re-watched Thurman v Garcia and saw hardly any at all? Why is there no footwork in boxing anymore? It isn’t being taught in the gyms. Even when I was training (early to mid ‘90s) there were still old-head trainers that wouldn’t let you glove up until you learned the fundamentals of balance and footwork (I was told “There’s a proper foot placement for every punch”).

Most of the focus today is on the upper-body (through the use of mitts and “pool noodles”) as well as strength and conditioning. These guys are strong as little bulls, but their balance is so poor that they toss themselves around when they swing and miss. (I think Steve Kim calls it “athletic flailing,” and it passes for “skill” in some far corners of boxing fandom.)

I rarely see it? The only time you see excellent footwork/balance is with the pound-for-pound elite: Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Andre Ward, Roman Gonzalez, Gennady Golovkin, Vasiliy Lomachenko.

Is that strategy or something? Nope, it’s good ole fashioned ignorance.

 

THANKS

Keep up the good work Dougie….

Haven’t emailed you in years but continue following your work and enjoy your passion for the sport – best to you and your family.

Josh. – Long Beach

Thank you, Josh. I think I’ll end this mailbag on this positive note.

 

 

 

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