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Dougie’s Friday mailbag (rematches that never happened, Joshua-Povetkin)

A rematch between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali would have been one of the biggest return matches in boxing history but it never happened.
06
Jul

REMATCHES THAT NEVER HAPPENED

Hey Doug,

Hope you are keeping well. Might be too late to make mailbag but in this quiet week and with AJ-Wilder falling through there was a lot of talk about hyped fights that never happened for one reason or another (e.g. Lewis-Bowe).

It got me thinking, and with GGG-Canelo almost not being made – if you could call upon some rematches of great fights that never had a second outing, what would they have been?



For me, and certainly over the past two decades the one that stands out the most was Lewis-Klitschko. A fantastic and vicious fight with an unfortunate ending. One way or another I don’t think it would have lasted more than a couple of rounds without one of them being stopped. It was arguably Vitali’s moment to do what AJ did to his brother many years later. Ok, it was a disinterested version of Lewis, fighting against a very game change of opponent on short notice, but it was a classic.

How do you think that fight would have finished without the cuts and would you have seen a rematch go any differently?

Also, any other great rematches that never happened that you can think of would be great to hear. (Ali-Foreman 2, how would a second outing have gone there)? Take care. – JS

The result of an Ali-Foreman rematch depends on when it would have happened, in my opinion. If it were an immediate rematch, or if it took place at any point during 1975, I think Ali would have beat Foreman again, by decision or late stoppage. If it took place after ’75, or after mid-’76, I’d favor Foreman to win on points.

Other great rematches that never happened? How about Hagler-Hearns II? Or Leonard-Hagler II (which was recently examined in the Fights of Fantasy department of The Ring magazine, as was Ali-Foreman II)? Or Douglas-Tyson II? Or Jones-Toney II? Or Manfredy-Gatti II? Or Gatti-Ruelas II? Or Phillips-Tszyu II? Or De La Hoya-Whitaker II? Or De La Hoya-Quartey II? Or De La Hoya-Trinidad II? Or Hopkins-Trinidad II? Or Barrera-Hamed II? Or Ward-Burton II? Or Toney-Jirov II?

For me, and certainly over the past two decades the one that stands out the most was Lewis-Klitschko. Interesting thing about this match is that nobody (‘cept maybe Yours Truly) gave Vitali a chance going into this bout, which was arranged on two week’s notice when Lennox’s original opponent, Kirk Johnson, fell out), but everyone wanted to see the rematch that never happened (Lewis was smart and listened to his mother, who knew it was time for him to hang up the gloves).

A bloodied but unbowed Vitali Klitschko faces Lennox Lewis. (Photo: Laura Rauch – AP)

A fantastic and vicious fight with an unfortunate ending. I called it the “Clash of the Titans” in headline for my deadline report for MaxBoxing.com.

One way or another I don’t think it would have lasted more than a couple of rounds without one of them being stopped. I agree.

It was arguably Vitali’s moment to do what AJ did to his brother many years later. Maybe.

Ok, it was a disinterested version of Lewis, fighting against a very game change of opponent on short notice, but it was a classic. It was an honor to witness it live from press row.

How do you think that fight would have finished without the cuts and would you have seen a rematch go any differently? Without the cuts, I think Klitschko stops Lewis in Round 7 or 8, but we must credit Lennox for producing those cuts with his piledriver of a jab. I would have favored Klitschko in the rematch. I favored him in the first fight.

 

JOSHUA VS. POVETKIN IS A QUALITY MATCH

Hi Dougie!

Reading and admiring your mailbag already 3 years, venturing to write you for the first time.

English is not my native language, so forgive me if it at times is poor. I’m Mike & I’m from Armenia. Boxing is very popular and loved in this small country that many can get tough time even finding it on the map. But the passion for it indeed is very big. We love it and follow it very ardently and the country had produced also some good fighters of its own, like Vic Darchinyan, Arthur Abraham, to name a few.

So… now to business.

Like everyone else, I was badly aggrieved by Joshua-Wilder fallout, but as a big fan of Joshua I could never dreamed of a better substitute for him. Got really enthralled by this quality match-up and I wanna share my thoughts on that!

It is the second best heavyweight fight that can be made for the time being, after only aforementioned Joshua vs. Wilder (considering Tyson Fury will not get in proper shape to fight any of them until the 2019 at least). Maybe in terms of publicity Povetkin is not such a big star as Joshua, Fury or Wilder. Maybe it is due to his quiet personality. Didn’t bring a lot of attention to himself, not inclined to trash talking or bad-mouthing someone, but doing his job well in the ring. And to be honest I don’t consider Povetkin fight any easier than Wilder fight. Many consider Klitschko being the best opponent Joshua faced, but lest we forget that AJ fought out of the prime version of Klitschko, 41 year old & coming of a year and a half of inactivity. Povetkin is more dangerous than the Klitschko he fought & I think will be the sternest test for Joshua, the toughest opponent he met so far.

And you may prove me wrong, but I’m deeply convinced that should they met with Klitschko in 2017 he would get the upper hand (as I’m deeply convinced the same will do with Wilder if they met in 2016). He’s changed a lot after the 2013 Klitschko defeat, never making the same mistakes again.

IMO Povetkin is the most accomplished, most experienced of today’s top heavies. Not the most powerful or something, but just accomplished. Having shared the ring with the truly big names – Klitschko, Chagaev, Rahman, Chris Byrd, Marco Huck – real champs, real tough fighters, in contrast to Wilder, whose only decent foe was Luis Ortiz and perhaps the 2015 version of Stiverne. He has more educated & disciplined style of boxing than Wilder, more accurate in his punches than Parker. And lest we forget than he REALLY knocked out tough Carlos Tacam in 10th, a thing Joshua did only with the help of ref (or ref KO Tacam for Josh, I don’t know how to put it correctly). He easily blasted out Johann Duhaupas in 6, with whom Wilder fought life & death fight until the 11th round stoppage. And his last chilling KO win of Price on Joshua–Parker undercard was to me far more exciting than the main event.

I will also put Povetkin on top of all-time best Russian heavies list, ahead of Valuev, Ibragimov, Maskaev.

P.S. Overall a fine year for heavyweight boxing. In fact, it’s gonna be the 3rd time when top 5 heavies collide, after Wilder-Ortiz & Joshua-Parker.

Hope to find my article in your next mail, Doug, for I badly wanna know your oppinion on that!

Thanks again a lot for the great job you’re doing. Best wishes for you you and your family. – Mike, Armenia

Thanks for sharing your opinions, Mike. Your English ain’t bad.

I agree that it’s been a good year for heavyweight boxing, even though the super showdown for the undisputed championship is off the menu. We’ve had Wilder-Ortiz, which was a dramatic FOTY candidate, a partial unification bout with Joshua-Parker, the return of Tyson Fury, a clash of top contenders with Parker-Whyte, and in September, Joshua-Povetkin. Not bad.

Like everyone else, I was badly aggrieved by Joshua-Wilder fallout, but as a big fan of Joshua I could never dreamed of a better substitute for him. I would have loved for Joshua-Wilder to happen this year, but I wasn’t gutted once it was clear that it wouldn’t go down in 2018. I always figured it would happen in 2019 if the beltholders could remain unbeaten. And I agree that Joshua-Povetkin is a quality fight.

It is the second best heavyweight fight that can be made for the time being, after only aforementioned Joshua vs. Wilder (considering Tyson Fury will not get in proper shape to fight any of them until the 2019 at least). I agree, although the winner of Parker-Whyte vs. Wilder would be pretty darn good, too.

Maybe in terms of publicity Povetkin is not such a big star as Joshua, Fury or Wilder. Well, not in the U.S. He’s never fought in America and only a few of his fights have been televised live here. But I’m sure he’s respected in Europe.

Maybe it is due to his quiet personality. Yeah, and the two PED positive tests don’t help, either.

Didn’t bring a lot of attention to himself, not inclined to trash talking or bad-mouthing someone, but doing his job well in the ring. Indeed. His only loss in 35 pro bouts is to a first-ballot hall of famer.

And to be honest I don’t consider Povetkin fight any easier than Wilder fight. The Russian was a better amateur than Wilder and he’s a more experienced pro than the American. He’s also got a better set of whiskers than The Bronze Bomber.

Many consider Klitschko being the best opponent Joshua faced, but lest we forget that AJ fought out of the prime version of Klitschko, 41 year old & coming of a year and a half of inactivity. True.

Alexander Povetkin. Photo courtesy of Sky Sports

Povetkin is more dangerous than the Klitschko he fought & I think will be the sternest test for Joshua, the toughest opponent he met so far. We won’t know if Povetkin is more dangerous than Klitschko until he steps into the ring with AJ, but I agree that he’s the most experienced heavyweight in the game now that Dr. Steel Hammer is retired.

(Povetkin) shared the ring with the truly big names – Klitschko, Chagaev, Rahman, Chris Byrd, Marco Huck – real champs, real tough fighters, in contrast to Wilder, whose only decent foe was Luis Ortiz and perhaps the 2015 version of Stiverne. Agreed, Povetkin is as battle tested a prize fighter can be, but he’s also 38 years old and there may be some wear and tear on his body.

He has more educated & disciplined style of boxing than Wilder, more accurate in his punches than Parker. Pretty much every heavyweight worth his salt has a more disciplined style than Wilder. That ship runs on power, not technique. And maybe Povetkin is more accurate than Parker, but he’s not as fresh and athletic as the New Zealander.

And lest we forget than he REALLY knocked out tough Carlos Takam in 10th, a thing Joshua did only with the help of ref (or ref KO Takam for Josh, I don’t know how to put it correctly). He easily blasted out Johann Duhaupas in 6, with whom Wilder fought life & death fight until the 11th round stoppage. True, but he might have had the benefit of PEDs in his system for those fights.

Povetkin takes out Price. Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

And his last chilling KO win of Price on Joshua–Parker undercard was to me far more exciting than the main event. No doubt about it, but don’t forget that Povetkin was rocked hard enough by the shopworn Price to reel into the ropes and cause the ref to count it as a technical knockdown.

I will also put Povetkin on top of all-time best Russian heavies list, ahead of Valuev, Ibragimov, Maskaev. I don’t disagree.

 

AJ AND WILDER’S RESUMES

Hi Doug,

I read “Surprised AJ Fan” Ells’ letter in the mail bag and wanted some clarification. I myself am an AJ and a Wilder fan, but the statement about AJ having the better resume seems to be a bit misleading. I mean, Joshua has Whyte, Breazeale, Parker, and a shopworn Klitschko as his biggest names, with Parker and Whyte being the only ones of real note in my opinion.

On the other end, Wilder has Stiverne (whom I remember being well respected before Wilder beat him) and Ortiz, who I would favor to beat everyone Joshua has faced. And let’s not forget that Wilder was slated to fight Povetkin first before Povetkin tested positive for PEDs. I just don’t understand why some hardcore heads diss on Wilder the way they do.

Sorry for the rant, and thank you for making Mondays and Fridays so much more enjoyable. – Jesse, UT

Thanks for the kind words and for sharing your thoughts, Jesse.

You make a point about AJ’s resume not being as stellar as Eddie Hearn or the 2016 Olympic gold medalist’s fans make it out to be, but it’s also a fact that he’s accomplished, with only 21 pro bouts, than Wilder has with 40. He’s won three major world titles faced more legit contenders than the Amerian.

I mean, Joshua has Whyte, Breazeale, Parker, and a shopworn Klitschko as his biggest names, with Parker and Whyte being the only ones of real note in my opinionI think the Whyte and Klitschko victories are meaningful, and also helped make AJ a better fighter.

On the other end, Wilder has Stiverne (whom I remember being well respected before Wilder beat him) and Ortiz, who I would favor to beat everyone Joshua has faced. I don’t think Ortiz would have defeated Klitschko, but the Cuban and Haitian were quality victories for Wilder. Stiverne forced Wilder to go the full 12 and made him a titleholder, and Ortiz pushed him to the edge and forced him to prove that he’s the most dangerous heavyweight in the game. 

And let’s not forget that Wilder was slated to fight Povetkin first before Povetkin tested positive for PEDs. I just don’t understand why some hardcore heads diss on Wilder the way they do. Hardcore boxing heads are like any other diehard sports fans, they need to choose a team or side and hate on the other team or side.

 

BOXING WORLD CUP QUARTERFINALS

Hi Doug,

Big fan of your page and been enjoying reading you over the years.

I’m not a big fan of GOAT-type discussions, but I do like watching the World Cup and seeing who’s made the Quarter Finals got me thinking about a connection with boxing.

For no good reason, I made a list of eight boxers who hail from the eight countries that have qualified, on the basis that I have some sort of knowledge of them or watched a fight of theirs. That means most on my list are recent/active.

Who would you choose as your eight national reps? I came up with:

Russia – so many to choose from, but I’ll take Krusher Kovalev. Been a big fan of his since he came to the UK and iced Nathan Cleverley.

Croatia – Mate Parlov. I’m unaware of any active champs/serious contenders from Croatia, so I’m dialling back to Croatia’s Mr Boxing. Anyone else I should know about?

Sweden – likewise, I’m out after Ingemar Johansson. (Maybe Dolph Lundgren could make the list in an honorary capacity?)

England – the recently retired David Haye, who I saw fight in the flesh.

Brazil – Arturo Gatti

Belgium – Stephane Jamoye. Needed a bit of Google help with this one – he makes the list because he’s fought (and lost to) some decent opponents from the UK (McDonnell, Haskins, Quigg).

France – Jean Marc Mormeck. I feel I should have more French boxers to pick. Any ideas?

Uruguay – Cecilia Comunales comes in as a reigning World Champ.

Again, the criteria for choosing is extremely loose. What do you think?

All the best. – Ross C, Falkirk, Scotland

Hey Ross. You should know that I don’t follow soccer (or any other professional team sport) at all, but I’ll gladly give my choice of boxer from each of these regions.

Russia – so many to choose from, but I’ll take Krusher Kovalev. I’ll go with my man, the KING, Kostya Tszyu.

Croatia – Mate Parlov. I’m unaware of any active champs/serious contenders from Croatia, so I’m dialling back to Croatia’s Mr Boxing. You can’t go wrong with Parlov. The former European light heavyweight champ beat John Conteh for the WBC title and fought hall of famer Matthew Saad Muhammad twice (a points loss and a draw).

Sweden – likewise, I’m out after Ingemar Johansson. I know Ingo is a hall of famer, but I’ll go with Badou Jack.

England – the recently retired David Haye, who I saw fight in the flesh. I’m gonna go with the best English boxer of all time, in my opinion, the great Jackie “Kid” Berg.

Two-division champion Eder Jofre and his father, Kid Jofre. Photo credit: Estadão

Brazil – Arturo Gatti. Is that a sick joke? Gatti died (or was killed) in Brazil. He was born in Italy, raised in Quebec, and forged his legend in Atlantic City. I’ll go with the great Eder Jofre.

Belgium – Stephane Jamoye. Needed a bit of Google help with this one – he makes the list because he’s fought (and lost to) some decent opponents from the UK (McDonnell, Haskins, Quigg). I’ll go with Jean-Pierre Coopman. “The Lion of Flanders” fought THE Greatest, Muhammad Ali.

France – Jean Marc Mormeck. I feel I should have more French boxers to pick. Any ideas? Hall of Famer Marcel Cerdan, one of the greatest middleweights of all time, was born in Africa (Algeria) but was billed and based out of Paris. You can’t go wrong with him. Dude had a 105-4 record.

Uruguay – Cecilia Comunales comes in as a reigning World Champ. Yes, she is. Comunales is the reigning WBA lightweight titleholder. But I’ll go with Alfredo Evangelista. “The Lynx of Montevideo” fought Ali and Larry Holmes.

 

 

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

 

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