Monday, September 16, 2019  |

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Dougie’s Friday mailbag (Crawford-Horn, Whyte-Parker, Garcia-Porter, Teo Stevenson)

Photo by Mikey Williams-TOP RANK
08
Jun

BUD OUT FOR BLOOD

Hey Doug,

I’m looking forward to Terence Crawford vs Jeff Horn this weekend. I know pretty much no one is predicting a win for Horn but I just really enjoy watching Bud do his thing, and Horn is a big, durable fighter with heart as well as an offbeat rhythm that can throw guys off a little.

I still bare a bit of resentment towards Horn for getting the nod against my boyhood hero, even though obviously he had nothing to do with the judges scores. I find him to be a bit of a dirty fighter so that might be part of it. The head butts and grappling combined with his boy scout persona kind of rub me the wrong way.

Anyways, I’m predicting Bud breaks him down somewhere in the last four rounds. Crawford isn’t the biggest power puncher (unless it’s an accurate shot to the opponent’s liver) but he’s got a sadistic side to him, and I think once he feels he’s figured out Horn’s awkward rhythm he’s going to look to finish the fight. If an old, burnt out, undersized Filipino senator can put Horn on queer street, you best believe Bud will take out the Aussie and look damn good doing it. – Jack

I’m pretty sure Crawford will figure out Horn’s fighting style and will look good doing so, but I won’t be shocked if the defending beltholder manages to make it an ugly fight. And I agree that Bud should take the awkward and rugged Aussie out in the late rounds (I’m thinking around Rounds 9, 10 or 11), but I won’t be surprised if Horn makes it to the final bell. I can see the bout proceeding like a 147-pound version of Crawford’s lightweight title bouts against Ricky Burns and Raymundo Beltran. (But please take my opinion with a grain of salt. I thought Vanes Martirosyan and Jaime McDonnell would take GGG and The Monster into the late rounds.)

I’m looking forward to Terence Crawford vs Jeff Horn this weekend. I am too, more so than the Leo Santa Cruz-Abner Mares rematch, even though the featherweight matchup is more competitive (and likely more entertaining) on paper. I’m even kind of interested in how I’ll view Horn-Crawford via ESPN+ (and whether or not I’ll figure out how to put the stream on my TV screen – the odds of me doing that are probably about the same as Horn winning a decision).

Bud quickly dismantles Julius Indongo. Photo / Mikey Williams-TOP RANK

I know pretty much no one is predicting a win for Horn but I just really enjoy watching Bud do his thing, and Horn is a big, durable fighter with heart as well as an offbeat rhythm that can throw guys off a little. True. The way Bud figures out styles and breaks down his opposition is beautiful brutality. And as tough, awkward and spirited as Horn is, Crawford’s ability and skillset should be on full display.

I still bare a bit of resentment towards Horn for getting the nod against my boyhood hero, even though obviously he had nothing to do with the judges scores. I thought Pacquiao won the fight, but I wasn’t outraged by the decision or mad at all at Horn. I think Manny’s been mailing it in since 2011, so it’s kind of amazing that he’s still fighting on the world-class level in 2018 (especially with amount of wear of tear on his body from his three-decade pro career). The fact that Pac almost had Horn out in Round 9 speaks to what an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime talent he is. The fact that he couldn’t pull the trigger and take Horn out in that round speaks to the fact that he shouldn’t be fighting anymore.

I find him to be a bit of a dirty fighter so that might be part of it. The head butts and grappling combined with his boy scout persona kind of rub me the wrong way. I’m ambivalent. There are things I like about Horn and things I don’t care for. It all kind of evens out. I just want him to put up a good fight, and I think he’ll try his best to do so (which is one of the things I like about him).

 

WHYTE-PARKER, CANELO-GGG

Doug howdy,

I was already feeling good about Dillian Whyte vs Luis Ortiz, and mildly interested in Joseph Parker facing Bryant Jennings. But Whyte vs Parker is a great fight (tough timing on Jennings and Ortiz but so it goes), I hope they get it signed. I think it’s a 50-50 fight with the winner probably at or one fight away from a title shot (right?), and Ortiz vs the loser still a good fight. And I gotta say: I like Eddie Hearn (don’t mean personally, never met him) — whatever people say, it just seems like good fights crop up around him often and he’s not stuck in his own stable as much as some promoters. Bring more of that on over stateside now, please!

On which note — I’m a bit over everything about Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez, except Golovkin and Alvarez. I feel Golovkin is already an all-time great, glad to watch him fight whoever knowing he always has tried to fight the best, and I’m ready to get back to liking Canelo just fine too —  if he fights Danny Jacobs and/or any of the other top five-ish rated middleweights in his next two bouts (and doesn’t do a GBP special and fight Spike O’Sullivan; he hasn’t earned a “breather” yet at middleweight). By the way, I appreciate how you, and The Ring staff have made the best of that entire situation (hats off to Mr. Hauser’s recent piece on “And The best Middleweight In The World Is…”). It just feels like high time to move on.

And, Jacobs/Canelo would be a good fight. Think I’d actually rather see this than a Golovkin rematch. Do you still slightly favor Jacobs in this matchup?

Last question, when do Murat Gassiev and Oleksandr Usyk face off? Seems like it’s dropped off the radar…

Thanks for always doing the Mailbag! – Alec

Thanks for reading it, Alex, and thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with me and your fellow mailbaggers.

Gassiev and Usyk are in training, and I’ve heard the WBSS organizers are looking to reschedule the cruiserweight final in late July or August, but they haven’t settled on a new location for the title unification showdown.

I was already feeling good about Dillian Whyte vs Luis Ortiz, and mildly interested in Joseph Parker facing Bryant Jennings. But Whyte vs Parker is a great fight (tough timing on Jennings and Ortiz but so it goes), I hope they get it signed. Me too. I like it when a mandatory challenger like Whyte decides to take on a fellow top-10 contender rather than wait for his title shot.

I think it’s a 50-50 fight with the winner probably at or one fight away from a title shot (right?), and Ortiz vs the loser still a good fight. I agree that Whyte-Parker is a toss-up. I don’t see a clear favorite. They match up well, physically speaking. Neither man has much of an advantage in terms of size, speed, power and strength. I think Whyte’s got a slight reach advantage, a snappier jab, and he might have the more explosive offense, but I view Parker as the craftier and more battle-tested of the two big men. I also think the former WBO titleholder has the better chin. I know they both have heart, so I’m expecting a very good fight.

And I gotta say: I like Eddie Hearn (don’t mean personally, never met him) — whatever people say, it just seems like good fights crop up around him often and he’s not stuck in his own stable as much as some promoters. Bring more of that on over stateside now, please! That’s the plan Hearn has (with the help of his new deal with DAZN).

Painting by Richard Slone

On which note — I’m a bit over everything about Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez, except Golovkin and Alvarez. I understand. I still want to see the rematch, but I’m tired of the Never-Ending Story. I’m definitely into other middleweight matchups involving the division’s two biggest stars, but I also know that the boxing media (and many fans, despite what they say on social media) will continue to obsess about the Canelo-GGG rematch until it happens, so I prefer the two big shots to get it done sooner rather than later.

I feel Golovkin is already an all-time great, glad to watch him fight whoever knowing he always has tried to fight the best, and I’m ready to get back to liking Canelo just fine too —  if he fights Danny Jacobs and/or any of the other top five-ish rated middleweights in his next two bouts (and doesn’t do a GBP special and fight Spike O’Sullivan; he hasn’t earned a “breather” yet at middleweight). I still think the rematch is possible for September 15, it just makes the most sense in terms of business and legacy (for both fighters and their promoters). But I’m also good with Canelo vs. Jacobs and Golovkin vs. any of his mandatories (GGG vs. Charlo in Houston would be a most enjoyable event to cover). Canelo vs. Spike? Two words: Hard sell.

By the way, I appreciate how you, and The Ring staff have made the best of that entire situation (hats off to Mr. Hauser’s recent piece on “And The best Middleweight In The World Is…”). It just feels like high time to move on. Agreed, and thank you.

And, Jacobs/Canelo would be a good fight. Damn good fight. We’re talking about experienced boxer-punchers, two top-five middleweights who are still in their athletic primes.

Think I’d actually rather see this than a Golovkin rematch. I’d rather see the rematch. I think it will deliver more action than Canelo-Jacobs or the first fight because of the very real animosity between the fighters and their camps.  

Do you still slightly favor Jacobs in this matchup? Yes, but I’m not sure he can win a decision in Las Vegas.

 

FIGHTING FREQUENCY

Hey Doug,

Do you think the dynamic of top (and even mid-tier) fighters fighting twice a year will ever improve to 3-4 times? I understand it’s a business and different than basketball or baseball but 1-2 times a year is really unfortunate and frustrating as a fan. So many fighters are wasting their primes away waiting on big fights that ultimately don’t happen.

I think part of some big fights not happening, besides money, has to do with boxing fan’s obsession with records. A loss in boxing today can be a death sentence. For example, look at all the top welterweights; how many of them have fought each other? Some, but not many. Thurman has fought Porter and Garcia. Garcia fought Matthysse and Khan. Spence fought Brook. Brook fought Porter. Some of these fights are dated now. There are so many fights to be made – these guys should all be fighting each other instead of posting on Instagram and Twitter.

Really hoping this changes with more fighters in the future but it’s really doubtful.

Mythical Matchups:

Hagler vs McClellan

Toney vs McClellan

Holmes vs Frazier

Lewis vs Holmes

Leonard vs Pryor (147)

My picks: Hagler UD or late tko, McClellan SD, Holmes UD, Not sure but leaning towards Lewis, Leonard close decision.

Thanks, Doug! – Tyler

I’ll go with Hagler by late stoppage, Toney by close but clear UD, Holmes by close maybe majority or split decision over Frazier, Holmes by close decision or late KO against Lewis, and Leonard by competitive but clear UD.

Do you think the dynamic of top (and even mid-tier) fighters fighting twice a year will ever improve to 3-4 times? Yes, with the help of emerging streaming platforms, such as ESPN+ and DAZN, I think it will, but only if the top/mid-tier boxers WANT to fight more often.

I understand it’s a business and different than basketball or baseball but 1-2 times a year is really unfortunate and frustrating as a fan. Tell me about it. It’s no wonder the sport isn’t attracting

CIRCA 1990: Julio Cesar Chavez poses with the RING belt. (Photo by THE RING)

as many new hardcore fans as it did in the 1980s and 1990s. When I was making my transition from fan to diehard boxing nut in the early-to-mid ‘90s, my favorite prime fighters fought at least three times a year – even when they held world titles and were

fighting in big-money high-profile bouts – if not four, five or six times a year. Terry Norris fought four times a year in 1991 (the year after he won his first world title) and 1993. James Toney fought six times in 1991 (the year he won his first world title), five times in 1992, seven times in 1993 and five times in 1994. Felix Trinidad fought six times in 1993 (the year he won his first world title). Julio Cesar Chavez fought five or six times a year from 1988 to 1993. Oscar De La Hoya fought five times in 1994 (the year he won his first world title), four times in 1995 (when he earned THE RING’s Fighter of the Year award).

So many fighters are wasting their primes away waiting on big fights that ultimately don’t happen. Some don’t even seem to care about landing that big fight.

I think part of some big fights not happening, besides money, has to do with boxing fan’s obsession with records. A loss in boxing today can be a death sentence. That’s an absurd mentality for any fan or boxer or promoter or network to have. At some point, the sport’s gotta get over Mayweather Era.

For example, look at all the top welterweights; how many of them have fought each other? Some, but not many. Which is ridiculous given that most have the same advisor.

Thurman has fought Porter and Garcia. Which is admirable. Too bad he’s been injured or in semi-retirement since the Garcia fight.

Garcia fought Matthysse and Khan. Yes, at junior welterweight.

Spence fought Brook. His only fight of 2017.

Brook fought Porter. His last (only?) significant welterweight victory.

Some of these fights are dated now. Yes, and facing one or two legit top-10 contenders is not enough. At least Spence and Porter seem to want to fight the other 147-pound standouts.   

There are so many fights to be made – these guys should all be fighting each other instead of posting on Instagram and Twitter. That goes with saying (or Tweeting).

Really hoping this changes with more fighters in the future but it’s really doubtful. I don’t know about that. While the welterweight division is in a sad state, the best are fighting the best in other divisions thanks to the World Boxing Super Series and SuperFly series.

 

MIDDLEWEIGHT RANKING POLL

Your middleweight ranking article is hilarious.

Were all your judges American? I like Andrade as a fighter but are you seriously saying that Billy Joe Saunders, after outboxing Eubank Jnr and embarrassing Lemieux has now dropped below both him and Charlo?

A bit of balance please. – Mark

Hey, don’t shoot the messenger. I wasn’t on the panel that ranked the top middleweights, and while I personally wouldn’t rank Demetrius Andrade ahead of Saunders, I can’t fault the group of experts that Hauser put together. They’re among the most knowledgeable, experienced and passionate former fighters and boxing observers/insiders that one can find.

Are they all Americans? Yes. Could they have a U.S. bias? Yes. But that doesn’t mean they are wrong. They only way we’ll find out how good these middleweights really are and where they truly should be ranked is if they fight each other.

 

YOU’RE THAT HIGH ON DANNY GARCIA?

Garcia is from Philly, so you know I respect him, but I was a little, shocked isn’t the word, but it caught my attention.

I don’t see Garcia legitimately beating Porter. He might get a “decision” but no way he beats that bull.

I do NOT like Porter’s style, it is UGLY and mauling, I do not see Garcia legitimately beating that bull.

Porter will strangle him, body slam him, hit him low, head butt him 9 times a round, etc.

Garcia won’t be able to do his thing with him.

Thank you. – Jason C. Brown

Shawn Porter (left) and Danny Garcia. Photo credit: Stephanie Trapp/Trapp Photos/Showtime

We will see. For the record, I’m not picking Garcia to beat Porter (not yet, anyway). I just don’t believe that Porter will steamroll the former 140-pound champ and welterweight beltholder. Danny is very strong and a lot smarter than he’s given credit for.

I know that Porter is a handful with that bull-in-a-china-shop style, but Garcia tends to have trouble with stick-and-move boxers with good jabs, not come-forward aggressors. And Garcia knows how to tie guys up on the inside. Remember the trouble Brook gave Porter by holding? If the referee allows all the rough stuff that you envision Porter employing on Garcia, he’ll probably be OK with lots of holding.

 

TEOFILO STEVENSON

HI Dougie,

Hope all is well with you and yours out on the coast. Last week I saw part of the NBC show on Cuban boxers, reviewing the career of Teofilo Stevenson. While I’d like to see the rest of the program some day, it brought me back to those times, really a golden age of heavyweights, when a lot of us were hoping to see a Stevenson-Ali fight.

I was wondering what you thought the results would be if Stevenson had fought Muhammad Ali, or Joe Frazier, or George Foreman, or Ken Norton, Larry Holmes, Chuck Wepner, Jimmy Young, Ron Lyle, Ernie Shavers, I could go on!

What an impressive list of fighters in the 1970s. How would Stevenson fair against the heavyweights of that time period? I suppose you have to consider three rounders, which was all Stevenson fought, or whether he could make the jump to longer fights. As always, thanks for all you do for us fans. – Ken Kozberg, Oakham, MA

Thanks for the kind words, Ken.

Stevenson was a great amateur boxer. We have no idea if he could have been a great pro.

In a three-round bout (especially with amateur rules), he probably would have outpointed all the heavyweights you mentioned (although I think Ali, Frazier, Foreman and Holmes would have competed well with the Cuban legend).

In a 10- or 12-round bout with professional rules, I can only see Stevenson outboxing Wepner (who was more of fringe contender) and the slow, plodding Shavers. I think the other ‘70s heavyweight standouts you mentioned would have defeated him.

 

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

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