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Dougie’s Friday mailbag (Rosales vs. Barnes, Frampton and Fury, Lomachenko)

Will the Rosales-Barnes WBC flyweight title bout be the fight of the night on Saturday?
17
Aug

BOXING IN BELFAST

Hey Dougie,

Hope you are keeping well.

Just a quick email about this Saturday’s outdoor stadium show in Belfast, Ireland.

I expect Carl Frampton will win via a wide points decision and I hope Tyson Fury will be given a hard test over 8 or 9 rounds before getting the stoppage win.

The big fight on the bill for me is the Cristofer Rosales vs Paddy Barnes world title fight.

As you are a big fan of the little men in boxing, I would like to get your opinion on the Rosales vs Barnes title fight. Also, who do you see the winner of this fight facing next?

I’ll finish with 2 mythical match ups for you:

Eamonn Magee vs Micky Ward

Barry McGuigan vs Carl Frampton (in the ring!)

Thanks, Dougie, and I hope you enjoy this week’s boxing. – Paddy, Dublin, Ireland

I think Magee at his absolute best outboxes and outpoints the prime Ward in a good fight with a few spots of high drama. “The Terminator” had such a nasty attitude at times that I think the southpaw’s ring savvy was often overlooked. And I like McGuigan on points, as well, in a hotly contested featherweight bout.

Frampton (right) and Paddy Barnes (left) dwarfed by Tyson Fury at Windsor Park. (Photo by Niall Carson/Getty Images)

I expect Carl Frampton will win via a wide points decision and I hope Tyson Fury will be given a hard test over 8 or 9 rounds before getting the stoppage win. That sounds about right, though I wouldn’t be shocked if Frampy scored a late stoppage and Fury was taken the full distance. The big man needs the rounds, which is basically what these two bouts are about – giving the star fighters solid work to help get them ready for much bigger fights. Luke Jackson is strong and hungry but inexperienced on the world-class level, so The Jackal should outclass him. Francesco Pianeta was a real prospect at one time, but that was 10 years ago. He’s seen better days and appears to be on a rapid downslide (getting stopped by Kevin Johnson is not a good sign). As rusty as Fury still is, the Gypsy King should give Germany based Italian vet the business.

The big fight on the bill for me is the Cristofer Rosales vs Paddy Barnes world title fight. Me too, I think it’s the most evenly matched bout on the card.

As you are a big fan of the little men in boxing, I would like to get your opinion on the Rosales vs Barnes title fight. On neutral ground, I would slightly favor Rosales. He’s a young (23) veteran of 30 pro bouts and I assume that the victory over Daigo Higa (for the WBC flyweight title) has boosted his confidence considerably. However, the fight is in Belfast, where I image Barnes is something of a hometown hero, so I view it as a toss-up matchup. “The Leprechaun” only has five pro bouts under his belt, but he’s mature (31) and his extensive and decorated amateur background (which includes tho Olympic bronze medals, as well as six World Series of Boxing bouts) should give him the experience to deal with the tough 12 rounds Rosales is sure to give him. I like the way both flyweights fight. Paddy is busy, applies smart pressure, moves in and out well, and bangs well to the body. Rosales knows how to use his height and reach with a good jab and sneaky right hand. He’s also a decent body puncher.

Also, who do you see the winner of this fight facing next? I think whoever wins will face the WBC’s No. 1 contender/mandatory challenger, Andrew Selby. For Rosales, this would be a rematch. Selby outpointed him in Wales last May. For Barnes, I think it would be an attractive all-U.K. showdown (Ireland vs. Wales) that would draw very well in Belfast or Cardiff (or somewhere neutral in England, such as Manchester).

 

ROSALES VS. BARNES

Hi Doug,

Would have loved to have a seat at the big card in Belfast. That place will no doubt be rocking! I am by far most interested in the Cristofer Rosales-Paddy Barnes fight as Tyson Fury and Carl Frampton victories seem all but assured or am I sleeping on the Aussie? I haven’t seen any of his fights but there is nothing on his record that could have prepared him for Frampton.

Am I right in saying that should Barnes be successful on Saturday night, he will join Paul Weir, in third place in the rankings of those who won pro titles the quick way? Weir won the WBO strawweight title with a seventh round TKO over Fernando Martinez in 1993 in his sixth professional bout.

What I like about Barnes is that he is quite a versatile fighter who likes being a high volume pressure fighter but he can also change it up and box in and out if need be. He likes coming forward but he can also fight going backwards. You don’t always see come forward types who can fight on the back foot. I also like the fast hands and rapid combinations on the inside. He also shows good head movement and slips the jab well, something which he will need against his taller, rangier opponent.

If I have to look for a weakness it would be that he doesn’t possess great one punch knockout power, although he can dig to the body. What is your assessment of Barnes?

The intangible is of course whether he will be able to take the big step up in class that Rosales represents, being the younger man and vastly more experienced pro.

His victory over Daigo Higa impressed me. He has pretty decent power and can take a punch well. Higa cracked him hard a couple of times in their fight and he never budged. Will Barnes be able to stand up to Rosales’ power? Did I read too much in the Higa fight and was the Japanese champion a dead man walking because of the weight issues?

On the downside, Rosales seems rather flat footed and I think that speed, coupled with clever boxing and movement gives him trouble.

I think the winner will be the man who can control the distance. Right up close, I think it is Barnes’ fight. His rapid-fire combinations of short punches to the head and body should do the trick there. The middle distance, where Rosales can create room for the type of sweeping hooks and uppercuts he likes to throw, is the danger zone for Barnes. Basically, if Barnes can apply an in and out boxing strategy, the fight should be his.

If Rosales can hurt Barnes, which is possible, it could make the Irishman tentative and turn it into Rosales’ fight.

This fight is one of those where anything can happen. I have a hunch, however, that Barnes is special enough to pull it off. I am going with Paddy “Leprechaun” Barnes to find his pot of gold and win a hotly contested decision but he will have to dig deeper than he has ever dug before.

Who do you have?

Anyhow, a Barnes victory should make for a big UK showdown against Andrew Selby and there is also talk of a unification fight with Moruti Mthalane. How do you see those going? Regards. – Droeks Malan, South Africa

I would view Barnes vs. Selby and Mthalane as even-money bouts. I don’t have a favorite in those matchups, just as I don’t have a favorite in the intriguing Rosales challenge on Saturday. I’m just looking forward to enjoying a competitive, high-level flyweight title bout.

Lomachenko won his first world title with a majority decision over Gary Russell Jr. Photo / Naoki Fukuda

Am I right in saying that should Barnes be successful on Saturday night, he will join Paul Weir, in third place in the rankings of those who won pro titles the quick way? Weir won the WBO strawweight title with a seventh round TKO over Fernando Martinez in 1993 in his sixth professional bout. Without doing a lot of research, I believe you are correct, Droeks. Tied for No. 1 are Saensak Muangsurin and Vasiliy Lomacheko, who won major world titles in their third pro bouts (the former Thai kickboxer won the WBC 140-pound belt and the amateur legend won the WBO 126-pound strap), and at No. 2 is Veeraphol Sahaprom, who a major bantamweight belt in his fourth pro bout. I think Weir is in that third spot.

What is your assessment of Barnes? The exact same as yours.

The intangible is of course whether he will be able to take the big step up in class that Rosales represents, being the younger man and vastly more experienced pro. Agreed, but I have to think that competing in three Olympic Games, and winning gold at the Commonwealth and European championships, plus his WBS experience, has to have Barnes prepared for anything that Rosales will toss his way.

His victory over Daigo Higa impressed me. He has pretty decent power and can take a punch well. Higa cracked him hard a couple of times in their fight and he never budged. Rosales showed a lot of heart in that fight. The Nicaraguan finally won a fight on the road and he did so against the most formidable opponent (on paper) of his career.

Will Barnes be able to stand up to Rosales’ power? I think so, but we’ll find out for sure tomorrow. As aggressive as Barnes can be, I think he covers up and moves well, which makes him hard to hit clean.

Did I read too much in the Higa fight and was the Japanese champion a dead man walking because of the weight issues? I don’t think Higa was totally wasted in that fight, but he clearly wasn’t as confident, strong or aggressive as he usually is.

On the downside, Rosales seems rather flat footed and I think that speed, coupled with clever boxing and movement gives him trouble. I don’t disagree.

 

BETERBIEV VS. JOHNSON

Hi Doug,

Does Callum Johnson have more than a puncher’s chance against Beterbiev? I’d love it if he pulled off the upset, it would be a great underdog story! – Jon L., London

I’m rooting for him, but yeah, his best chance to beat the rugged former Russian amateur standout is to clip him – early, which basically means he’s got to get lucky. Still, fighters can create their own luck by believing in themselves and by executing the perfect gameplan or by throwing caution to the wind and going for it. I think Johnson needs to go for it and hurt Beterbiev as soon as he can – like the first freakin’ round. It’s a longshot, but I don’t completely count Johnson out like most of the people I’ve talked to about this matchup.

 

IS LOMA ALREADY AN ATG?

Hi Mr. Fischer!

I am a huge Loma fan and I feel he is that rare star which is here in boxing to shine and we all should appreciate the chance to witness him at work. I just have one question. Do you think Lomachenko is already one off the all-time greats? And if yes, where exactly would you place him? Thanks. – Hrant

Where would I place Lomachenko among ATGs? Nowhere. He’s kicking ass right now – enough to be the 2017 Fighter of the Year and to be considered No. 1 pound for pound in some circles – but greatness is about competing at the highest level for YEARS. Loma’s got the talent, skill, work ethic and mentality to be great – and he’s well on his way to the International Boxing Hall of Fame – but he’s got to put in his time and fight more fellow elite boxers like Jorge Linares to get into that all-time great conversation. It won’t be easy. He had his hands full with Linares (who some considered a bit faded or even overrated) and he didn’t come out of the excellent contest unscathed. I think he’s hit his physical limit at lightweight, so more challenges await him at this weight class and certainly if he tries to compete at 140 pounds.

 

GIVE US A WARNING NEXT TIME!

Hello, Dougie,
I caught your broadcast on ESPN a couple of Fridays ago from Cancun, Mexico, shortly after reading your mailbag. It was a pleasant surprise. Would you be willing to please mention (in passing) during your Friday mailbag that you will be broadcasting that weekend to better ensure we’ll catch your broadcast, if such is the case?

MMS:
Roy Jones vs Rocky Marciano
Andre Ward vs Rocky Marciano
Julio César Chávez Sr. Vs Terrance Crawford

Cheers. – Dennis, El Centro, CA

I’ll go with Marciano, who brutally stops Jones and Ward by the middle-to-late rounds, and Chavez over Crawford by close-but-clear decision in competitive fights at 135 and 140 pounds. (I’m not sure about Chavez-Crawford at welterweight, but Bud probably wins on points at 147 pounds.)

The opportunity to work color commentary for an ESPN boxing broadcast kind of fell into my lap unexpectedly and on short notice. (I literally got the call to work the show while shopping for new dressy duds in NYC during a short weekend visit to give a talk at a boxing ephemera exhibit at The MET – I was so focused on the museum discussion, and later on putting the latest issue of The Ring to bed once I got back to L.A., that I forgot about Cancun until the Thursday morning I had to catch a plane there. I wore the new jacket and shirt that I bought in NYC on the ESPN show, by the way. Shout out to blow-by-blow commentator Bernardo Osuna for noticing that I hadn’t cut the darn tags off the jacket prior to getting on a shuttle to the club arena where the fights took place.)

Anyways, it was an awesome opportunity and I had a great time working with Osuna for the first time, being around Jessica Rosales again (who I worked with briefly on GBP’s FS1 shows a few years back) and meeting ring announcer Mark Fratto. If I get another opportunity to work an ESPN show (or any other major network or streaming platform), I’ll be loud and proud about it in this forum and on my social media accounts. I promise.  

 

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

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