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Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Taylor-Postol, star prospects, Shields vs. Hammer)

Josh Taylor (right) lands a right hook against Viktor Postol during their hotly contested WBC title-elimination bout on June 23, 2018. Photo by Shabba Shafiq
25
Jun

JOSH TAYLOR

Hi Doug,

Thought it was a fantastic scrap between Viktor Postol and Josh Taylor in only the latter’s 13th fight! A great win. My thoughts:

  1. The scorecards were a joke and didn’t do Postol justice. When is this going to end? It seems pretty simple to sort out!
  2. I was ultimately very impressed with Postol and I overestimated (perhaps) where Taylor is/was. It’s a great win but at the end of the 7th I thought Postol might be about to stop him!
  3. Taylor survived his gut check and did say that he felt he could perform 30 percent better. Do you agree and I wonder if they underestimated Victor?
  4. Huge respect to Postol for going into the lion’s den just as Crawford did to take the title from Ricky Burns.
  5. I wonder how far can Taylor go? The kid can bang.

By the way, this is one of the reasons why I respect Crawford so much as a fighter. He fought away from home. I wonder how many other notable examples there are of US fighters going into the lion’s den and winning titles from home fighters?



Also have you checked out Bermondsey prospect Ted “the Big Cheese” Cheeseman? Really exciting young fighter! Respect. – Mark

I’m not very familiar with Cheeseman (but, damn, I love that nickname), but I did take notice when he outpointed veteran gatekeeper Carson Jones over 10 rounds in February, and I did watch a replay of his recent fourth-round stoppage of Paul Upton.

What’s not to like about The Big Cheese? He’s willing to take risky fights early in his pro career and he’s from the Antonio Margarito School of Boxing. In other words, he’s fearless and relentless. He’s all about pressure and not giving a f__k about what his opponent throws his way.

I want to see more of Cheeseman, but based on the little I’ve observed, I’ll go ahead and count him among the new crop of 154-pound young guns (under-25 up-and-comers) that includes newly crowned WBO titleholder Jaime Munguia, Canadian standout Steven Butler and Dominican badass Carlos Adames (who claims he can still make 147 pounds but will undoubtedly move up in weight sooner rather than later).

Photo by Shabba Shafiq

Regarding Taylor-Postol, I thought it was a hotly contested fight from start to finish – more tactical in the early rounds (which favored the Ukrainian technician) and more physical later (which favored the Scottish boxer-puncher). I was impressed with the performances and efforts from both junior welterweight contenders. The Iceman was his usual cool and calculating self, but there was an added confidence, intensity and aggression against JT that I hadn’t seen in previous bouts. Taylor struggled but he never gave up trying to adjust and find the right style and method of attack to break through and take over the fight.

The scorecards were a joke and didn’t do Postol justice. Those official cards were straight up dookie. The fight easily could have been a draw or seven-to-five in rounds for Postol. I scored seven rounds for Taylor (2, 6, 8-12), so I had it 115-112 for the hometown hero thanks to the knockdown he scored in Round 10. But he needed to win every round after the seventh to win it on my card.

When is this going to end? It seems pretty simple to sort out! Two things need to happen: 1. Only qualified, experienced judges should be allowed to officiate world title bouts (or world-title eliminators), and 2. Judges that turn in bulls__t scores like Eddie Pappe (119-108), Victor Loughlin (118-110) and Fernando Barbosa (117-110) need to be taken to task (i.e. penalized) by the presiding boxing commissions and sanctioning organizations.

I was ultimately very impressed with Postol and I overestimated (perhaps) where Taylor is/was. Nobody should have expected Taylor to simply steamroll a legit contender and former beltholder like Postol. He only had 12 pro bouts! And although he had a few impressive performances under his belt, sharing the ring with Ohara Davies and Miguel Vazquez wasn’t going to totally prepare him for what a motivated Postol would present.

It’s a great win but at the end of the 7th I thought Postol might be about to stop him! I didn’t think Taylor was in danger of being stopped, but I thought he was on his way to losing the fight. I had Postol up five rounds to two after the seventh, and the 34-year-old vet was looking very comfortable commanding the center of the ring behind his busy jab and accurate right hands to the head and body.

Taylor survived his gut check and did say that he felt he could perform 30 percent better. Do you agree and I wonder if they underestimated Victor? I don’t think Taylor or his team underestimated Postol. They didn’t hand pick The Iceman to make him look good. They took that fight because it was an elimination bout for the WBC title, which I’m sure they viewed as serious business. I agree that he could perform 30% better if he were to face Postol in a rematch, because now he knows what to expect and he’s finally fought the full 12-round distance. Remember, he’d never been past nine rounds prior to this past Saturday.

Huge respect to Postol for going into the lion’s den just as Crawford did to take the title from Ricky Burns. Postol is a Road Warrior. Apart from his native Ukraine, the dude has fought pro bouts in the U.S. (several times), Spain, Poland, Georgia and Bosnia/Herzegovina.

I wonder how far can Taylor go? The kid can bang. I think he can go all the way to at least one world title, but as his competition gets tougher, he’ll have to become more of a boxer than a banger. The Postol fight was extremely educational in that regard.

By the way, this is one of the reasons why I respect Crawford so much as a fighter. He fought away from home. Yep, and that’s one more overseas fight than fellow American standouts Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Andre Ward ever fought as professionals.

I wonder how many other notable examples there are of US fighters going into the lion’s den and winning titles from home fighters? There have been more than a few. Hall of famer Eddie Perkins won the junior welterweight championship from Duilio Loi in Milan, Italy (his second shot at the fellow HOFer) in 1962. Fast-forward one decade, Danny “Little Red” Lopez traveled all the way to Accra, Ghana to win the WBC featherweight title from David Kotey in 1976. Four years later, Marvelous Marvin Hagler traveled to Wembley, England to win the middleweight title from Alan Mintor. Eleven years after Hagler-Mintor, Genaro Hernandez won his first 130-pound title by beating Daniel Londas in Epernay, France. In 1996, William Joppy traveled to Yokohama, Japan, where he won the WBA middleweight strap from Shinji Takehara. In recent decades/years, Tim Bradley ventured to Nottingham, England to earn his first 140-pound belt against Junior Witter and Bernard Hopkins regained the light heavyweight championship from Jean Pascal in Montreal, Canada. 

 

MMs

With the month of July apparently reserved for showcase/stay-busy bouts (Ramirez-Angulo, Ramirez-Conner, Prograis-Veslasco), I thought it would be better if we were able to get those guys in with MM opponents:

Zurdo vs Frankie Liles

Jose Carlos Ramirez vs Juan Laporte

Prograis vs Zab Judah

Shout out to Josh Taylor for taking his first big step, even if the scorecards were filled out by Adelaide Byrd via Skype. Keep up the good work. – Donavan

Taylor was taken to school with his first real test as a pro, and though he passed his world-title entry exam, it’s obvious that he was the teachers’ pet.

I wouldn’t call Gassiev-Usyk, Garcia-Easter and Pacquiao-Matthysse – all of which are scheduled to take place in July (keeping my fingers crossed for Manny vs. The Machine) – “showcase” or “stay-busy” fights. But, yeah, the early part of the month is kind of light.

So, onto your Mythical Matchups (which, by the way, will be the main theme of the next issue of THE RING magainze):

Zurdo vs Frankie Liles – Fabulous Frankie by unanimous decision in a competitive fight

Jose Carlos Ramirez vs Juan LaPorte – The Puerto Rican tough guy is a far superior boxer who is vastly more experienced than the hard-working California technician, but his best weight classes were 126/130 pounds; I think the naturally bigger Ramirez would press and grind his way to a close decision.

Prograis vs Zab Judah – Super Judah at his best would outpoint or stop Prograis late, but the unfocused version, which occasionally showed up for important fights, would get beat.

 

STAR POTENTIAL AMONG PROSPECTS

What’s up Dougie,

As always hope all is well. I’ll start with my first one:

If you were a promoter or had to put your money on it, which prospect would you choose to be the next Superstar out of Devin Haney, Teofimo Lopez, Ryan Garcia, Vegril Ortiz, Shakur Stevenson, Michael Colan. My choice would be Devin Haney. He really impressed me in his last fight. But Dan Rafael was asked a similar question and he picked Teofimo. I was a little surprised by his answer and wanted your take on who you would pick and why and if there’s someone else I might not have mentioned.

On another note: Awesome women’s boxing on Friday. Good exciting fight that definitely got me excited for Shield vs Hammer. I saw your tweet and definitely think if Shields fights the same way she could be in trouble with Hammer. Who you got in that match?

Last question about another prospect: Carlos Adames. I am super excited to have a Dominican fighter I can root for. Yeah there a few but no one that makes me believe they can get far. But something about Carlos got me excited. The guy is huge for welterweight. Can he make an impact or is he just a guy getting built up to get destroyed by Crawford? – Omar, Paterson, NJ

Adames lands a big right against the durable and game Barrera. Photo / @TRboxing

I don’t think Top Rank is going to develop Adames just to feed him to Crawford, who is ready for the biggest fights the sport has to offer and would probably pooh-pooh fighting a New Face. Anyway, by the time Adames is ready to challenge for a world title, I believe he will have outgrown the 147-pound division and will be a legit junior middleweight contender. If Jaime Munguia hasn’t moved up to the 160-pound division by then, THAT’s a showdown I will want to see. Anyway, I think Adames had a lot of potential but is still very raw. He needs time to continue developing, at least another 18 months-to-two years.

If you were a promoter or had to put your money on it, which prospect would you choose to be the next Superstar out of Devin Haney, Teofimo Lopez, Ryan Garcia, Vegril Ortiz, Shakur Stevenson, Michael Colan. That’s a tough question, because aside from Conlan, we’re talking about guys who are 19 and 20 years old. Conlan, Lopez and Stevenson don’t even have 10 pro bouts under their belts. It’s too early to tell if they’re going to realize their considerable potential. But I will say this, all six of the up-and-comers you mentioned have star qualities. Conlan and Garcia are already attractions. Garcia’s mastered the social media side of the fame equation, which is good but also cause for some concern because it can be a distraction. Stevenson’s got beautiful skills and a million-dollar smile. Ortiz and Lopez can crack like grown-ass pro punchers. And Haney’s got a mix of all of these abilities and attributes.

My choice would be Devin Haney. He really impressed me in his last fight. Good choice. I think I also lean toward the Las Vegas-based Californian. He’s got the most fights (19) and he just outclassed a battle-tested veteran (Mason Menard) that was still in his prime. The kid’s precocious!

But Dan Rafael was asked a similar question and he picked Teofimo. I can see why. Lopez is just as

Teofimo Lopez does his “L” dance after scoring a first-round KO. Photo / Mikey williams-TOP RANK

precocious as Haney and Stevenson, but he’s got a more aggressive boxing style and a fiery personality (along with a polarizing trainer/father). That’s a combination that will garner attention. If Lopez looks really good against his next opponent (25-1 William Silva), I may change my pick Teofimo. Ortiz just scored an impressive body shot stoppage of a former world titleholder (Juan Carlos Salgado) in his 10th pro bout. If Golden Boy continues to move him at his current pace, he could easily earn that “future star” pick. That’s the way it goes with prospects. They’re all one fight away from being the next big thing or getting EXPOSED! LOL.

Awesome women’s boxing on Friday. Shields-Gabriels was a good scrap. My wife watched it with me, which is very rare these days. She hasn’t been interested in boxing since the years when Oscar De La Hoya, Ike Quartey and Fernando Vargas were fighting each other. But she walked into the living room during the first round, listened to me tell her how Shields was gonna crush Gabriels, then told me that the Costa Rican looked like a badass, and when odds favorite got dropped, she was hooked (in part because she got to tell me “I told you!”).

Good exciting fight that definitely got me excited for Shield vs Hammer. I’ll be watching that showdown with interest. I bet my wife will too.

I saw your tweet and definitely think if Shields fights the same way she could be in trouble with Hammer. Who you got in that match? I favor the younger, naturally bigger, physically stronger Shields by decision, but she’s going to have to box a more disciplined fight against the Hammer.

 

CLARESSA SHEILDS

Hi Doug,

I tuned in Friday night to watch Claressa Shields fight. Let me be honest, I am not a big fan of women’s boxing but you can’t help but admire the hard work Claressa has put in to win two Olympic gold medals, professional world titles and rise to the top of her sport. How can you not root for her?

Claressa’s opponent Hanna Gabriels looked to be a credible one (though I was not familiar with her) and the two came out for round one and went for it. Both looked intent on hurting the other throwing big shots and suddenly, Shields was down. My thoughts as I watched it was that Shields, after getting up, had the look of a person that wasn’t sure if they wanted anymore. That vanished just as quickly and Shields was back on the attack taking it right to Gabriels, who to me, was gassed around the fourth round. They battled to the end and both fighters faces showed the effects of the battle afterwards. Shields’ win was well deserved.

In the aftermath during the post-fight interview Shields’ projected next opponent Christina Hammer, entered the ring and a real ruckus ensued with Shields threatening to whup Hammer and one of her cornermen. I think the animosity was real. The way interviewer Steve Farhood got jostled around in the melee reminded me of the way Howard Cosell once got roughed up interviewing Larry Holmes after a fight when Jerry Cooney entered the ring.

The matchup of those two in the ring would make for a real action fight. Hammer with her height, reach and footwork vs Shields coming forward, boxing her way in and trying to do damage. Hammer admittedly does not like inside fighting preferring to box at a distance. How could that fight miss? Why would promoters not make this one soon? As Christina Hammer stated, it could be the biggest woman’s fight ever. I know I will be watching. How did you see it? – David, Nashville

I thought Shields-Gabriels was an entertaining fight and maybe a little closer than the official scorecards indicated. It was a good gut check for Shields and let us (and her) know that she’s still a work in progress despite having won four world titles in two weight classes in just six pro bouts.

I am not a big fan of women’s boxing but you can’t help but admire the hard work Claressa has put in to win two Olympic gold medals, professional world titles and rise to the top of her sport. How can you not root for her? I think most U.S. fans that bother to watch women’s boxing want to root for her, and do root for her, but some are turned off by her talk of being the “female G.O.A.T.” and the “Thug-Life” post-fight antics with Hammer. (Personally, I have no problem with her claim, even though I don’t agree, and the adrenaline-charged fight promotion doesn’t bother me, either.)

Claressa’s opponent Hanna Gabriels looked to be a credible one (though I was not familiar with her) and the two came out for round one and went for it. That opening round was very important for the fight and for Shields’ future. It encouraged casual observers to keep watching, and if they stuck around for the end of the fight and Shields’ post-fight threats to Hammer, the show likely piqued their interest for watching that future showdown.

Both looked intent on hurting the other throwing big shots and suddenly, Shields was down. My thoughts as I watched it was that Shields, after getting up, had the look of a person that wasn’t sure if they wanted anymore. She looked more surprised than hurt to me.

That vanished just as quickly and Shields was back on the attack taking it right to Gabriels, who to me, was gassed around the fourth round. Agreed, but the Costa Rican’s heart and experience kept her in the fight.

They battled to the end and both fighters faces showed the effects of the battle afterwards. Shields’ win was well deserved. And hard earned. I agree.

In the aftermath during the post-fight interview Shields’ projected next opponent Christina Hammer, entered the ring and a real ruckus ensued with Shields threatening to whup Hammer and one of her cornermen. I think the animosity was real. Well, it was for Shields. I can guarantee you that. T-Rex don’t play.

The way interviewer Steve Farhood got jostled around in the melee reminded me of the way Howard Cosell once got roughed up interviewing Larry Holmes after a fight when Gerry Cooney entered the ring. Thank you for bringing up this incident. Believe it or not, I’d never heard of it, so I really enjoyed finding a clip of the altercation (which took place during the post-fight interview after Holmes’ title defense against Leon Spinks) on YouTube and watching it.

The matchup of those two in the ring would make for a real action fight. I think it will be a competitive fight and an interesting style matchup, but I’m not convinced it will be a barn burner. It takes two to tango, and Hammer is a classic, stand-up one-two boxer, not a brawler or a puncher.

Hammer with her height, reach and footwork vs Shields coming forward, boxing her way in and trying to do damage. Correct. This style matchup makes for an interesting match, not an “action fight,” at least not right away.

Hammer admittedly does not like inside fighting, preferring to box at a distance. And she’s very good at it, but I wonder if she’s got the power and/or athleticism to either get Shields’ respect or keep away from her for 10 two-minute rounds.

How could that fight miss? I can think of a few ways, but I’ll keep those negative thoughts to myself.

Why would promoters not make this one soon? I don’t think they’re looking to marinate this one for very long, it might be next for both female standouts.

 

HALL OF FAME

Hey Doug, certain fighters in this era are sure fire HOFs. In my opinion with their current body of work GGG, Lomo, Chocolatito, Crawford, Nonito, Pac-Man to name a few are definitely in. With upcoming schedules do any of these guys get in with these scenarios.

Garcia with a win over Easter and beating Spence at 147.

Russell Jr with a win over Santa Cruz and defeating Lomo at lightweight.

Canelo with win over GGG and Billy Joe

Wilder and Joshua winner.

Kinonomics from NYC

Garcia with a win over Easter and beating Spence at 147Probably, but I don’t see him fighting Spence let along beating The Truth.

Russell Jr with a win over Santa Cruz and defeating Lomo at lightweight.Maybe, but I don’t see Russell fighting Lomachenko at lightweight let along beating the Ukrainian at 135 pounds.

Canelo with win over GGG and Billy Joe.Definitely, due in parts to Canelo’s popularity, the magnitude of the GGG rematch and Golovkin’s HOF-worthy body of work and the fact that the Mexican star has also faced three other future hall of famers (Mayweather, Moley and Cotto).

Wilder and Joshua winner.Nah. I don’t think so. The winner of Joshua-Wilder will need to put together a title reign that approaches that of Wladimir Klitschko’s and includes a victory over lineal champ Tyson Fury in order to get HOF consideration.

 

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

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