Tuesday, August 21, 2018  |

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Dougie’s Friday mailbag (Kovalev’s fall, Alvarez’s rise, Tyson Fury’s gambit, Big Baby’s bluff)

Kovalev-Alvarez Announcement Press Conference Hard Rock Cafe 1501 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
10
Aug

ALVAREZ VS. KOVAELV 2?

Doug, it sounds like you had a great vacation with your family. That’s what a man works for, the family. Enjoy your children while you can, time does fly.

Ah, poor Sergey. I was surprised when this fight was first announced. I have to give Kov props for agreeing to it, as Eleider is as good as anyone of the top guys in the division. Good enough to make a living for 3 years taking step aside money from Superman.

Personally, I think Kovalev got complacent after round four. He was walking Alvarez to the ropes with both hands low as if he didn’t have a care in the world. If I’m right that he became complacent, and if he recognizes his mistake, then I think he can make the adjustment and fight on. Anyone down for a rematch? – Joseph

I’m down for any combination of The Ring’s top seven or eight light heavyweight contenders.

The 175-pound weight class is DEEP. And if Kovalev still wants to fight, he right there in the mix with Alvarez, Bivol, Stevenson, Jack, Gvozdyk, Beterbiev and Barrera. So give me Alvarez-Kovalev II or Alvarez-Bivol or Bivol-Jack or Stevenson-Gvozdyk (which is supposed to happen later this year) or Beterbiev-Barrera or any other combo of the top light heavies. I think most of them have aggressive boxing styles that should mesh well against each other.

Ah, poor Sergey. Don’t cry too much for The Krusher. He’s a grown-ass prize fighter who has dished out his share of punishment over the years. Last Saturday was one of those rare occasions when he was on the s__t end of the punishment stick. He knows what he signed up for and he can take the bad times with the good times (which he’s had plenty of – don’t forget this surly Russian was The Ring’s Fighter of the Year in 2014).

I was surprised when this fight was first announced. I was too. Not many world-rated light heavyweights would accept a voluntary bout against Alvarez.

I have to give Kov props for agreeing to it, as Eleider is as good as anyone of the top guys in the division. Agreed, and I think he saved his best performance for Aug. 4.

Good enough to make a living for 3 years taking step aside money from Superman. Damn, was he the WBC’s No. 1 contender for THAT long? That can’t be right, but it’s clear that Stevenson wasn’t into that matchup (which is a natural for the Montreal area). In fact, while I’ll admit that the Haitian-Canadian has some formidable super abilities in the ring, let’s stop calling him “Superman.” Supes always does the right thing. Stevenson is more like Venom, a creepy but powerful former villain who is now one of the “good guys” yet remains flawed in many ways.

Personally, I think Kovalev got complacent after round four. I thought he took his foot off the gas pedal in Round 5, but Alvarez had a lot to do with that by stepping in with quick combinations. However, I still viewed Kovalev as the ring general in that round, and I thought he resumed firm control of the bout in Round 6. I hate to disagree with all the social-media Sigmund Freuds and Carl Jungs out there in the Boxing Twitterverse, but I think the Russian veteran was dialed in for this fight. He just got clipped by a great shot from Alvarez that he couldn’t recover from (because the Colombian badass wouldn’t allow it).

Hey, thanks for the kind words about my family, Joseph, much appreciated.

 

IS FURY MAKING A MISTAKE?

Hello Doug,

I know you’re probably tired of talking about the Krusher but I thought the main problem with Kovalev was his stamina. I don’t buy in all that psychological nonsense and talking about Ward kind of steals away from what Alvarez did. All props to Alvarez he deserves the credit! I look forward to seeing him in the future.

Is Tyson Fury making a mistake in wanting to fight Wilder so soon? He didn’t look all that spectacular last time. I know he has just come from a long layoff and with all of his problems. I think he should get 2 or 3 more fights under his belt before he fights Wilder. It feels like he is overlooking Pianeta. There is definitely a lot of question marks surrounding Tyson Fury but I am rooting for him. It’s hard for me to root for Wilder with him stating he wants a body on his resume and his recent comments on Breaseale. I think it is very plausible for him to recapture the heavyweight weight crown if he can look like the Tyson Fury that challenged Klitschko.

Who are some prospects that we should be keeping an eye on? Thanks Doug. Keep up the great work. – Robbie Marquez

There are way too many promising, young up-and-comers our there for me to single just a few out. I’ll give you Teofimo Lopez (10-0 lightweight prospect promoted by Top Rank) just because I’ve been listening to him and his bombastic father/trainer on recent

Ali Akhmedov (right) nails Jorge Escalante with a right hand. Photo by Tom Hogan-HoganPhotos / 360 Promotions

podcasts. And I’ll bring up Ali Akhmedov (a 12-0 light heavyweight from Kazakhstan) and Brian Ceballo (a 4-0 welterweight from Brooklyn) because both Tom Loeffler-guided standouts (Ali is with GGG Promotions, Brian is with 360 Promotions) fought on Wednesday’s “Hollywood Fight Nights” show. I’ll also mention the winner of the interesting style clash between slick lightweight boxer Damon Allen (a 15-0-1 Philly product) and junior welterweight banger Jonathan Navarro (a 14-0 East L.A. native) on the inaugural Golden Boy Fight Night on Facebook Watch show, which streams live at 6 p.m. PT tomorrow night. Both GBP prospects had a solid amateur careers and come from boxing families. It should be a good fight and the winner is definitely one to keep an eye on.

Is Tyson Fury making a mistake in wanting to fight Wilder so soon? If he faces Wilder late this year after the Pianeta fight (assuming he takes care of business next Saturday), yes, I think he is rushing himself back to the world-class level and that’s not good. Fury is back, but he isn’t BACK in terms of his boxing fitness and form. Going four rounds with Sefer Seferi and however many rounds Pianeta lasts (and I can see the Germany based Italian lasting the full 10) isn’t going to erase two and a half years of inactivity (and much of that time spent abusing his big body).

He didn’t look all that spectacular last time. The Seferi fight was just about getting him through a complete training camp without injury or a meltdown and getting him to step through those ropes on fight night. That was the victory. I don’t think his team cared if he looked good or not. I imagine the goal of the Pianeta fight is to get him some quality rounds and test his stamina and focus a bit. Maybe Team Fury will want their man to look a little more impressive this time out.

I know he has just come from a long layoff and with all of his problems. I think he should get 2 or 3 more fights under his belt before he fights Wilder. I agree with you. I don’t like it when fights get talked about and then get put off, but if we’re going to see both troubled-but-charismatic heavyweights at their best against each other, Fury is going to need more time, more bouts and more rounds; in other words the fight shouldn’t happen until next spring.

It feels like he is overlooking Pianeta. I think the German veteran has begun to slide, but he’s big and experienced enough to make Fury struggle if the lineal champ is unfocused or ill-prepared. However, I don’t think Fury is overlooking Pianeta.

There is definitely a lot of question marks surrounding Tyson Fury but I am rooting for him. Me too.

It’s hard for me to root for Wilder with him stating he wants a body on his resume and his recent comments on Breazeale. Yeah, that s__t makes me cringe.

I think it is very plausible for him to recapture the heavyweight weight crown if he can look like the Tyson Fury that challenged Klitschko. I agree, but that version of Fury does not currently exist. We’ll see if he’s gotten any closer to recapturing that form on August 18.

I know you’re probably tired of talking about the Krusher but I thought the main problem with Kovalev was his stamina. I am a little tired of talking about Kovalev, but only because he’s a polarizing figure among hardcore fans, which means I get to deal with argumentative boobs on social media. And I don’t think his stamina had much to do with his getting clocked.

I don’t buy in all that psychological nonsense and talking about Ward kind of steals away from what Alvarez did. I agree.

 

BIG BUMMER

jerrell “big bummer” miller refuses to fight whyte, then he punks out on pulled to fight adamek. then he yaps about whyte not earning a joshua rematch. whyte beat a top UK fighter and a top 10 heavyweight. how’d he do exactly what one does to earn a title fight and somehow not earn it?

seems whyte’s done what miller has refused to do for a coupla years now.

please refer to him from now on as big bummer.

i so wish for the frequency of top domestic matchups in the US like they do in the UK. if thurman, spence or garcia were in the UK they’d had rematches already. we need more US fighters to take overseas challenges, too–more spences and fewer millers.

What’s holding everyone back over here? – Ceylon

Good question. I don’t think it’s “everyone” – Spence, as you know, would probably fight anyone anywhere if he had willing dance partners – but for the other American welterweights you mentioned and certain heavyweights, I believe a combination of domestic boxing politics (i.e., exclusive/adversarial promotional/network affiliations), a ridiculous desire (by either the fighters or their management) to follow the “Mayweather blueprint” to prominence, or good ole fashioned complacency (see Gary Russell Jr. and Keith Thurman) is what’s holding back many world-class U.S. boxers from reaching their full potential.

jerrell “big bummer” miller refuses to fight whyte, then he punks out on pulled to fight adamek. Hey, Adamek will sell tickets in Chicago. What made you think Miller would even entertain the thought of fighting a legit contender after his name had been floated as a potential Joshua

Jarrell Miller. Photo by Rosie Cohe / Showtime

challenger (by Eddie Hearn)? Miller is the No. 3 contender in the heavyweight rankings of the WBA, IBF and WBO – the three major world titles that AJ holds. I think it’s fairly obvious that his management plans to sit on those rankings until he gets a multi-million-dollar shot at the UK star. He’s already in position for an eventual mandatory challenge, so I don’t see his brain trust pushing him toward risky fight against any of the dangerous fighters rated ahead of him (such as Whyte, who’s rated No. 2 by the WBO, or even Kubrat Pulev, who’s rated No. 2 by the IBF). If Miller faces anyone rated above him by the sanctioning bodies, it would probably be Fres Oquendo (No. 2 by the WBA) or the WBA “regular champ” Manuel Charr, or – God help us – the winner of the just-announced BJ Flores-Trevor Bryan fight for the WBA’s interim belt.

then he yaps about whyte not earning a joshua rematch. Come on, man, you have to know that he just doesn’t like the idea of Whyte getting a shot at AJ before he does.

whyte beat a top UK fighter and a top 10 heavyweight. I have a lot of respect for Dillian.

how’d he do exactly what one does to earn a title fight and somehow not earn it? Why are you taking Miller seriously?

seems whyte’s done what miller has refused to do for a coupla years now. Yup. So cheer for Whyte and boo (or better yet, ignore) Miller.

please refer to him from now on as big bummer. I would do that if I actually gave a s__t.

 

BOXING HISTORY 101

Mr. Fischer,

I am a big fan of your work for many reasons. The most important is that you seem like a very fair judge of talent. By this I mean, it seems like you don’t play to what’s popular, but instead to your judgment of a boxer’s performance at a given time.

I am new to boxing. I took it up about two years ago to take control of my health. After being in the gym (Randy Palmer’s South Austin Gym) for a bit I first discovered the pure joy of watching GGG. Of course. He says his favorite boxer is Sugar Ray Robinson. That statement combined with your work makes me want to be a better student of the game.

If I could ask: suppose you were going to teach a college-level Boxing History 101, what sort of approach, methods, and resources would you recommend to your students? I just had an idea typing this – you should get one of those MOOCs like on Coursera. But short of that, if you have any advice (and the time to type it) I would be most appreciative.

On the off chance that you can make a response, please let me know where to look for it. (You’re into all types of media!)

And on the more probable chance that you are absolutely swamped and get back on this, I congratulate you on your work and wish you the best. I really admire people that are living their dream, and it is apparent that you are.

Best regards. – Gregory

Thanks for those very kind words, Gregory.

If I taught a college-level an intro-level Boxing History course, I’d just make it simple and fun by providing a basic overview of the origins of the craft, sport and, eventually, the business. I’d include a lot of visual aides (physical ephemera, memorabilia and collectibles; film and video of notable fighters and fights) in class and do as many field trips to museums (and maybe live club shows) as possible. I’d probably have a lot of guest speakers, too, from retired fighters to industry veterans to historians and archivists.

After a brief look at ancient fighting forms and traditions/competitions from around the world, the course would likely begin in earnest with the roots of modern boxing in 18th Century England – from organized bare-knuckle competitions to settle grudges in working-class communities to the interest of the upper-class and royalty resulting in the sponsorship of standout fighters and the establishment of arenas and schools to the first recognized “champion,” James Figg, who claimed the title in 1719 and held it until his death in 1740 and did a lot to help popularize boxing in England. Other notable pioneers I’d focus on would include Jack Broughton, who claimed champion status shortly after Figg’s death and wrote the first set of basic rules to help govern ring behavior; Daniel Mendoza, a Jewish boxer of Spanish or Portuguese descent on the small side who introduced more skill and strategy to the sport; Tom Cribb, a popular long-reigning (1809-1822) champ who brought in training-camp methods to the sport; Bill Richmond and Tom Molineaux, formerly enslaved African Americans who were among the first U.S. prize fighters to travel to England and make their names (both fought Cribb); and John Graham Chambers, who devised new regulations under the sponsorship of the Marquess of Queensberry (which included the use of protective gloves, 3-minute rounds and 1-minute rest between rounds), effectively replacing “Broughton’s Rules,” in 1867.

After going over the establishment of Lord Lonsdale’s National Sporting Club (which defined eight weight classes and presented the Lonsdale belts to British champions) in 1891, I’d segue to the U.S. and the English and Irish immigrants that made names for themselves around the turn of the century before focusing on each decade, from the 1900/1910s to the 1940s.

Future course could include Modern Boxing History (from the 1950s to the present, which would explore the TV age and international spread of the sport) and advanced classes that examined the social/political/economical impact of boxing. (An interesting way to examine the social/political/economical perspective would be through iconic heavyweight champs – Jeffries to Johnson to Dempsey to Louis to Marciano to the Patterson/Liston/Ali/Frazier rivalries to Tyson).

Anyone who bothered to read this long-winded reply will be happy to know that they have earned a full semester’s worth of college credit if and when my boxing history class is ever established.

 

WHO’S THE REAL HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMP?

Hi Doug, this is my first attempt at the mail bag but here goes…

Do you really think in Wilder beating Fury it would make Wilder the real champion? How does you arrive at this when between the pair of them (Wilder and Fury) they cannot make a case of fighting the same level of fighters and both won the title in only one fight whereas AJ has taken 3 fights?

AJ beats Charles Martin in his 16th fight. I never rated Martin but he was undefeated and deemed a threat. The fight before Martin, AJ faced Whyte who was also deemed a threat and was undefeated but since the AJ loss he has built a great reputation and is definitely a live challenger to the top heavyweights.

Whyte, along with Breazeale, and Parker lost their 0 to AJ and are now rated in the top ten Heavyweight Ring ratings and this is without mentioning AJ beating Klitschko in a fight named Fight of the Year by The Ring.

Fury never gave Klitschko a rematch and has not fought (with the exception of Klitschko) a real fighter you would claim was a contender for the title and has been AWOL for over 2 years. Wilder in 40 fights has Stiverne and Ortiz on his CV.

Looking at the evidence in my mind AJ has bigger challenges on his 21-fight roster than the combined 66 fights of Wilder and Tyson Fury and is clearly the No 1. in the division but has another really tough test in his next fight in Povetkin. All The Best. – Andy T

Thanks for finally writing in to the mailbag column, Andy.

I would not consider Wilder to be “the real champion” if he were to fight Fury and beat the Englishman. I would consider Wilder to be the lineal champ along with his status as WBC beltholder. Depending on how Wilder beats Fury, he could make a case for moving from the No. 2 to the No. 1 spot, displacing Joshua, in The Ring’s heavyweight rankings – that would be up to the Ratings Panel to discuss and decide – but the only way Joshua or Wilder can be considered “the real champion” in the view of The Ring is for the two unbeaten heavies to share the ring and duke it out.

I agree that Joshua has a better resume than Fury or Wilder, but not by much.

 

VIVA ALVAREZ

Eleider Álvarez great win have some interest implications that I would like to mention: Álvarez was born and grew in one of Colombia’s most affected zone concerning violence. The Port of Turbo, Golfo de Urabá, the village of Alvarez birth is the settlement of many afro-descendent, ex slaves, where people have not much options to take care of their families with the proper dignity. Even that the Port of Urabá is one the principal points of Colombian bananas, coffee and other exportations products, the local people never have access to the richness that their homeland produce. So, Eleider Álvarez win is a big victory for his people, it come with a lot of hope for his country and we just wish he continues the wining track to bring the necessary resources to his family and allow them to access to what he never had in his childhood days. This is not any movie broadcast about the tragedy of the people of Colombia, many good humans like Álvarez spend their entire lives in Urabá. The village has also produced other good fighters in the past. Long Life and long reign to the champ Eleider Álvarez! – Jairo Archbold

Thank you for sharing that information about Alvarez’s background, Jairo. It’s just another reason to root for him. I know he had to wait a long time to get his title shot, so I also hope he’s able to hang on to the WBO as he faces the best of the 175-pound division. And should he lose it to a fellow top-five light heavyweight, no shame in that as long as he gives it his all. Regardless if he hangs on to a major title, the hope is that we now see him compete with worthy opposition. Colombia produces it’s share of badasses on a regular bases but I can’t think of a male Colombian boxer that has been at or near the top of his weight class for more than one or two years since bantamweight beltholders Jorge Eliecer Julio (1992-2002, a respectable time span that included two title reigns) and Jonnhy Perez (2009-2011).

 

 

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