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Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Neeco Macias, Ryan Garcia, Canelo-GGG2)

Ryan Garcia showed "flashes" (see what I did there?) of promise during the first half of his 10-round tussle with Carlos Morales, but the just-turned 20 year old also looked raw and vulnerable down the stretch. Photo by Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos / Golden Boy Promotions
03
Sep

MACIAS AND GARCIA

Doug hey,

Hope you’re well. I never heard of Neeco Macias before. The kid’s impressive!  Good in the ring, volume like Shawn Porter on steroids (& that’s something right there), but his style is cleaner, more engaging. Plus, he’s sporting, humble and articulate out of the ring. I’ll definitely be looking out for him from now on. What do you know about him, and how far do you think he can go?

And, on the other hand, there’s Ryan Garcia. I’m starting to think he might be a tad hyped. The best speed merchants can also take a punch, and Garcia seems a little vulnerable. How do you rate him? – Alec

I rate Garcia as another young prospect for us to keep an eye on. Nothing more, nothing less. He just turned 20 last month. It’s far too early for us to crown him the Heir Apparent (and let’s be honest, ESPN should not have named him the 2017 Prospect of the Year), but it’s also way too soon for anyone to completely dismiss him as pure “hype.”

Photo by Tom Hogan

The hype is there – and he created much of it, to his credit – but so is real boxing talent and athletic gifts. He just needs the right ring experience and training situation to cultivate better technique and further develop his burgeoning skillset. 

Right now, Garcia is Golden Boy’s most popular prospect, but he’s not the company’s most complete/well-rounded up-and-comer. I think junior lightweight Lamont Roach Jr. and featherweight Manny Robles III are better technical boxers (with a similar number of pro fights). However, it should be noted that Roach is 23, and Robles is 24. Let’s allow Team Garcia and Golden Boy to do their jobs in developing Garcia and see how far “The Flash” progresses between now and his 23rd or 24th birthday.

I’m not saying Golden Boy should spoon feed him for his next 10-12 bouts, I’m just saying we (hyper-critical hardcore fans and judgemental boxing media) should reserve writing the kid off until we see more of him.

Anyone who thought Garcia was going to wipe out or shine bright against Morales obviously was not familiar with the 28-year-old technician. Morales is a former NABA titleholder who has been fighting at the 10-round level since 2016, and he’s got a style that’s almost impossible to look good against.

Alberto Machado takes the fight to Carlos Morales. Photo / Golden Boy Promotions

Morales is battle tested against a variety of styles and quality opposition that includes current WBA regular beltholder Alberto Machado, veteran Charles Huerta and former Cuban amateur standout Luis Franco. He was not supposed to be an easy mark for Garcia. He was selected to give Garcia a tough fight, quality rounds, and possibly another distance fight. Garcia only recently advanced to the 10-round level (at the start of this year); it’s a good thing for him to have gone that distance in back-to-back fights against more mature boxers. And if struggling against Morales has a humbling effect on Garcia, well, that’s not a bad thing either.

I never heard of Neeco Macias before. The kid’s impressive! He is, and the high-volume balls-to-the-wall attack you witnessed on Saturday is what he’s always delivered. I think I first saw him in late 2014 or early 2015 on one of Golden Boy’s undercards at Fantasy Springs Casino. He had the same pressure-fighting style, the same double rat tail in his hair, the same neon

Photo by Tom Hogan

green robe and trunks, the same rooster call (and Alice In Chains walk-in song), and the same goofy grin maintained throughout his fights. He was a local favorite. It’s satisfying to see him embraced by a national (maybe international) audience after Saturday’s Facebook Watch performance.

Good in the ring, volume like Shawn Porter on steroids (& that’s something right there), but his style is cleaner, more engaging. I think his punch output far exceeds Porter’s or any other high-volume pressure fighter in recent years. Macias’ punch volume is on par with (perhaps higher than) Antonio Margarito’s work rate, and his pressure is even harder/faster. As I Tweeted during the Marvin Cabrera fight, he puts forth what is known as “suffocating” pressure.

Plus, he’s sporting, humble and articulate out of the ring. I’ll definitely be looking out for him from now on. Neeco won’t disappoint. And that affable and exuberant personality of his, by the way, is 100% genuine.

What do you know about him, and how far do you think he can go? I know about as much as you know about Macias, only I’ve met him a few times and interviewed him for two stories that ran on RingTV.com before his step-up fights against Rolando Garza and Cabrera. (If you want to know a little more about his background click on those hyperlinks on his opponents’ names.)

I also did the call for a few of his fights that were streamed on RingTV.com in 2015 and 2016, so I know how far he’s come in the past three years. Watch this YouTube vid of Macias (against 41-year-old journeyman Paul Mpendo) from February 2016.

That’s Beto Duran, Steve Kim and I on commentating duty. In the third round, Kim wonders how Macias’ style would work against better opposition. I opined that I considered Macias to be a club fighter at the present time, but if groomed right he could be developed into a prospect. Well, Macias was signed by Sheer Sports Management a month later, and he fought two CBS Sports Net-televised bouts on Roy Jones Jr.-promoted cards in Downtown Las Vegas that year (including the showdown with Garza, a Mexican amateur standout with a 9-0 record).

I think 2016 was a turning point in Macias’ career, and from then until Saturday night, I think he received the “grooming” necessary to advance from entertaining club fighter to unbeaten prospect (although, at age 27, he might be too mature to be considered a “prospect” – perhaps he’s on his way to being a fringe contender/gatekeeper type, but a popular one).

 

CANELO-GGG2 PREDICTION

Hey Doug,

I went back and watched Canelo-GGG 1 the other day. For the rematch, the punch I’d worry about if I’m GGG’s team is the right uppercut counterpunching GGG’s right cross fade. A similar fade which Manny Pacquiao made a career out of, by the way (with his left). They also had excellent body language in the ring, each very confident.

The other two things I look forward to seeing are GGG counterpunching Canelo’s jab, as he did in fight #1, and the PED issue. I think the evidence will be there if Canelo has less stamina later in the fight.

My prediction is they’ll go to the cards again, with GGG winning it. I’ll be very surprised if there are no knockdowns. With that said, considering GGG’s amateur background, and Canelo’s craftiness, I expect them both to survive and play defense when they get in trouble.

Have you been in contact with their camps lately? How would you describe the difference in their camps from the first fight compared to the rematch? Even with GGG and Canelo angry at each other, I expect them both to stay disciplined, and not take chances a la Pacquiao vs Marquez in their 4th fight, for example.

Thanks for the awesome column. I’ve enjoyed it for several years, first time writing in! – Carlos, Marlboro, NJ

Thanks for the kind words, Carlos, and thanks for finally sharing your thoughts with the mailbag.

I have not been in contact with Canelo’s or Golovkin’s camps lately. To be honest, the rematch has kind of snuck up on me. But I can only assume that both middleweight stars are more motivated and focused for the rematch than they were for their first bout. Having gone 12 rounds with each other one year ago, they have a better idea of what to prepare for. And the animosity they now share has probably added fuel to their workouts. Both men were within eight pounds of the middleweight limit 30 days out from their fight date, and both appeared fit at last Sunday’s public workouts in Los Angeles, so that’s a good indication of how well their camps went.   

Anyway, despite the mutual loathing they’ve displayed since the start of this year, I agree that Canelo and GGG will keep their emotions in check once the opening bell rings for their rematch-turned-grudge match.

Painting by Richard Slone

I went back and watched Canelo-GGG 1 the other day. For the rematch, the punch I’d worry about if I’m GGG’s team is the right uppercut counterpunching GGG’s right cross fade. Canelo did find a home for it a few times, especially when countering off the ropes, during the first fight. However, Golovkin absorbed it without any noticeable ill effect (other than being more cautious than usual when closing in). I think GGG has always been open for this particular punch, and will remain so in the rematch, but to try to land it with regularity invites a left-hook return from Golovkin.  

The other two things I look forward to seeing are GGG counterpunching Canelo’s jab, as he did in fight #1… I don’t think Canelo worked his jab enough in the first fight for GGG to counterpunch with regularity. We’ll see if Canelo works his left stick more on Sept. 15.

… and the PED issue. I think the evidence will be there if Canelo has less stamina later in the fight. So, are you saying that if Canelo finishes strong again, that will be proof that he isn’t juicing (or hasn’t been juicing)? What if Golovkin beats Canelo up to the body in the early and middle rounds? Should he get credit for taking Canelo’s legs/stamina? And shouldn’t the “evidence” of what’s in Canelo’s system be the results of his VADA testing?

My prediction is they’ll go to the cards again, with GGG winning it. That’s my prediction too, but I won’t be surprised at all of it’s very close fight (legitimately so).

I’ll be very surprised if there are no knockdowns. I’ll be surprised if there are knockdowns. Both middleweights have excellent balance, good defense and solid chins.

With that said, considering GGG’s amateur background, and Canelo’s craftiness, I expect them both to survive and play defense when they get in troubleI agree 100%.

 

IT’S RIGHT IN GOLOVKIN’S FACE

Ok Dougie, how are you?

Hope you take my little attempts to coax you onto the boards as nothing more than friendly ribbing.

I’ll get straight to the point. A lot of the debate around GGG v Canelo II is within the context of who is going to make the most effective – and hence fight winning adjustments from the first encounter.

And that’s essentially I believe, what will go a long way to who holds their hand up at the end.

What frustrates me to no end is so many fans are frustrated with GGG’s seemingly lack of willingness to admit that he needs to do so. I blame Abel Sanchez for this.

Now let’s see if we can agree on what those adjustments need to be. In the first fight, Golovkin did almost everything right – he pressed, he attempted to trap and cut off the ring, but just like a fisherman who has the big fish on the hook – he lets him go.

Another analogy would be it’s boxing’s version of Dunkirk.

What was missing was Gennady’s familiar viciousness and disregard for his own safety (to an extent, I think he is an underrated boxer). Instead it was as though once he has Canelo lined up on the ropes he tapped on the door politely, asking to be let him, rather than unloading with malice, and of course, there was hardly a body shot thrown.

I blame Sanchez for this, not because he is a bad trainer, but because he is not the right fit for fighters who really don’t need to make radical adjustments, they just need to trade on what they do best. If Golovkin treated Canelo like some of the so-called ‘nobodies he’s fought in the past, I can foresee Canelo taking a knee at least once from a well placed, well-timed body attack.

On the other side, despite the obvious disruptions to Canelo’s preparation, I think most fans would agree that out of the two, we will see a Canelo make the fight winning adjustments he needs to make to win a decision or even a KO. He gave GGG a lot of respect because of his much-vaunted power and didn’t get buzzed, so now the initiative has passed to him.

What are your thoughts/insights opinion on why it appears Golovkin doesn’t or won’t alter his game plan, and Canelo will?

Caveat: Cotto trained with Sanchez, and was a different, less effective fighter under his tutelage. IMO.

Hope to make the bag Dougie. (You’re the best mail bagger out there)

P.S Can you send me an autographed copy of yourself to my email address? I will cherish it always.? Long time fan. – Sydney, Ki

You can’t be serious about that, Ki. (But thanks for the kind words about the mailbag.)

I’m not aware of Cotto ever training with Abel Sanchez, who I believe has done a hall-of-fame worthy job in cultivating/developing Golovkin’s pro style over the past seven-to-eight years. I thought Abel did a fine job in the corner during the first fight with Canelo, as did Eddy Reynoso.

A lot of the debate around GGG v Canelo II is within the context of who is going to make the most effective – and hence fight winning adjustments from the first encounter. That question is a big part of what makes the rematch intriguing.

What frustrates me to no end is so many fans are frustrated with GGG’s seemingly lack of willingness to admit that he needs to do so. Golovkin believes he did enough to clearly win the first fight – and the majority of observers agree with him – so why do so many fans expect him to want to make radical adjustments to his game plan for the rematch?

Veteran trainer Abel Sanchez ties the gloves of his prize pupil Gennady Golovkin. Photo / @GGGBoxing

I blame Abel Sanchez for this. Well, if you really feel the need to blame somebody, I guess ya might as well blame the trainer. I think this era’s boxing fans give trainers too much credit for a fighter’s success and too much blame for a fighter’s shortcomings.

Now let’s see if we can agree on what those adjustments need to be. In the first fight, Golovkin did almost everything right – he pressed, he attempted to trap and cut off the ring, but just like a fisherman who has the big fish on the hook – he lets him go. Don’t you think Canelo deserves some credit for “escaping the hook”?

What was missing was Gennady’s familiar viciousness and disregard for his own safety (to an extent, I think he is an underrated boxer). I don’t know why any longtime GGG observer would have expected him to walk through fire against Canelo the way he did against Willie Monroe Jr. or Kell Brook. Golovkin had already showed that when facing world-class punchers – Curtis Stevens and David Lemieux – he takes a more cautious approach to his pressure and relies more on his jab. Canelo doesn’t punch as hard as Stevens or Lemieux but he’s deceptively quick, very strong and accurate with his punches, which can do a lot of damage. GGG didn’t want to invite a direct hit to the chin or invite the perfect body shot from the peaking Mexican star.

Instead it was as though once he has Canelo lined up on the ropes he tapped on the door politely, asking to be let him, rather than unloading with malice, and of course, there was hardly a body shot thrown. It’s not easy attacking the body of a fighter as adept at block-and-countering as Canelo is. Golovkin is no fool. He may not like Canelo, but he respects the red-head’s boxing ability, and punching prowess.

I blame Sanchez for this, not because he is a bad trainer, but because he is not the right fit for fighters who really don’t need to make radical adjustments, they just need to trade on what they do best. I think Golovkin did this in the first fight, he just didn’t go all out. I think he’ll press a little harder, risk a little more in the rematch, but don’t expect him to crazy and throw caution to the wind.

If Golovkin treated Canelo like some of the so-called ‘nobodies’ he’s fought in the past, I can foresee Canelo taking a knee at least once from a well placed, well-timed body attack. Maybe, but I can see GGG getting rocked by a well-placed counter shot if he commits too much to Canelo’s body.

On the other side, despite the obvious disruptions to Canelo’s preparation, I think most fans would agree that out of the two, we will see a Canelo make the fight winning adjustments he needs to make to win a decision or even a KO. We will see. I think Canelo is as stuck in his style of boxing as Golovkin is. He’s

He gave GGG a lot of respect because of his much-vaunted power and didn’t get buzzed, so now the initiative has passed to him. Again, we will see. Canelo got off well in the early rounds, especially when he stood his ground, but as soon as GGG got his forward-march going, Canelo wanted out of the kitchen. He didn’t get buzzed because he didn’t stay where it’s hot. If he wants to avoid getting buzzed (or worse) in the rematch, he’s got to limit his time in close with Golovkin. I think Canelo realizes this.

What are your thoughts/insights opinion on why it appears Golovkin doesn’t or won’t alter his game plan, and Canelo will? We won’t know if Golovkin or Canelo intend to alter their game plans from the first fight until the rematch is well under way. (My thoughts/insights on this is that neither man will change much. They will just make little adjustments here and there and fight a little harder.)

 

 

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

 

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