Friday, September 21, 2018  |

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Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Garcia-Porter, Porter vs. Spence, Kazuto Ioka, Mythical Matchups)

Photo by Amanda Westcott - Showtime




10
Sep

SALUTE TO SUPERFLY

Hi Doug!

I am amazed and proud of the superfly division because they really want to fight each other unlike the other talented division which is welterweight. Superfly 3 was really good, it gets me excited for the Superfly 4. Juan Estrada wants Srisaket Sor Rungvisai but SSR has a fight this October. What do you think? Why did SSR not fight in U.S. after Superfly 2? I think he’s just wasting time, being in his prime fighting unknown fighters. What do you think?

And, also, yeah, the Donnie Nietes-Aston Palicte fight. I don’t know what fight judges saw, Nietes was very effective most of the rounds. Palicte for me didn’t win more than 4 rounds. Kazuto Ioka-McWilliams Arroyo was also a very good fight. I hope Ioka and SSR fight one day. Who ya got?

I think boxing really needs a superstar right now. For me, the closest one to becoming a superstar now is Canelo. Loma, GGG, Crawford, Spence, are all excellent but they don’t do PPV like Canelo. That may change if GGG wins this weekend.

Mythical Matchups:

Canelo vs Pacquaio @150

Martinez vs Canelo @154, 160

Floyd vs Loma @130, 135

Floyd vs Crawford @140, 147

Thanks Doug! Have a great day! – Ray

I’ll go with Canelo by a come-from-behind, mid-to-late rounds one-hitter-quitter; Martinez by close decision (but not in Texas or Las Vegas), Mayweather by close decision (knockdowns scored probably being the difference), Bud by close decision at 140 and Floyd by competitive decision at 147 (especially if the bout is in Vegas and VADA isn’t testing – yeah, I f__king went there).

I am amazed and proud of the Superfly division because they really want to fight each other unlike the other talented division which is welterweight. On average, I’d say the top 115 pounders are definitely hungrier and more willing to mix it up with the best than the cream of the 147-pound crop, but the junior banties have the same divisive politics/allegiances that prevent some of the top dogs from fighting in the heavier glamor divisions. WBA beltholder Kal Yafai is hooked up with Matchroom/Sky/DAZN and IBF titleholder Jerwin Ancajas is aligned with Top Rank/ESPN, which will likely prevent those two junior bantamweight standouts (rated Nos. 2 and 3 by The Ring) from battling the studs of the SuperFly series (Sor Rungvisai, Estrada, Nietes, Ioka and Arroyo). 

Ioka clocks Arroyo. Photo by German Villasenor

Superfly3 was really good, it gets me excited for the Superfly4. SuperFly3 was definitely a step down from the first two installments of the 115-pound round robin series, but it delivered Ioka-Arroyo, which was a high-quality scrap that gave U.S. fans a good look at a Japanese star that instantly became a major player in the junior bantamweight division, so the show certainly wasn’t a disappointment. But SuperFly4 should be much better, especially if we can get the Sor Rungvisai-Estrada rematch in the main event (as well as Ioka to return).

Why did SSR not fight in U.S. after Superfly2? I think he’s just wasting time, being in his prime fighting unknown fighters. What do you think? SSR became a bona-fide national hero with his back-to-back victories over Roman Gonzalez, he’s earned the right to defend his Ring and WBC world titles in Thailand front of his people. (And by fighting Chocolatito and Estrada in consecutive fights, he’s also earned the right to take a little breather with the non-title blowout in July and the relatively “easy” title defense against Iran Diaz next month).

And, also, yeah, the Donnie Nietes-Aston Palicte fight. That draw was a raw deal for Donnie, in my opinion.

I don’t know what fight judges saw, Nietes was very effective most of the rounds. I agree.

Palicte for me didn’t win more than 4 rounds. I agree.

Hawton nails Flores. Photo by German Villasenor

Kazuto Ioka-McWilliams Arroyo was also a very good fight. Best male bout of the night. (Best fight on the card was the undercard interim title bout between Louisa Hawton and Brenda Flores. Unfortunately, that quality scrap was marred by AWFUL scoring from the official judges, who handed an undeserving split decision victory to Flores.)

I hope Ioka and SSR fight one day. Who ya got? If they fought this year or the by early next year, I’d give the edge to Sor Rungvisai. Any time beyond early 2019, I’d have to go with the fresher Japanese star.

 

EFFORT VS. EFFECTIVENESS

What’s up Dougie?

I was one of many at the Barclay’s Center with a look of surprise on their face last night when Jimmy shared the judges’ scores.

Whilst there was no doubt that Shawn Porter had put in a serious shift and outworked the sometimes tentative Garcia, I thought Danny landed the cleaner, more hurtful punches when he did let his hands go.

My gut feel was that the judges would struggle to spot the moments when Shawn was getting through, because his swarming, smothering style means he rarely landed a crisp, clean shot – whereas Danny’s left hook and cross stood out a number of times when he found a home for them. But I was wrong!

How did you see it? And can you think of other notable fights where one man’s determination and work rate won it, over lower volume, higher accuracy power punching? Keep up the good work! – Dan, an Englishman in New York

I scored it for Porter, seven rounds to five (or 115-113). I could see a draw or 115-113 win for Garcia, but I thought the right man won the fight. Porter may not have landed the cleaner punches to the head, but his body shots (some of which were borderline) landed with noticeable frequency. Garcia was strong and accurate but he needed to throw more than one punch at a time, in my opinion.

Other notable fights where one fighter’s determination and work rate won it over lower volume, higher accuracy power punching? Go check out the December 2004 light heavyweight championship between Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson, which the relentless Road Warrior won by split decision.

Whilst there was no doubt that Shawn Porter had put in a serious shift and outworked the sometimes tentative Garcia, I thought Danny landed the cleaner, more hurtful punches when he did let his hands go. Yeah, I agree, but those cleaner, harder punches were too few and far between for “Swift” to win the majority of rounds. Maybe if some of those power shots wobbled or dropped Porter, Garcia would have ended the fight ahead on the official scorecards, but, alas, “Showtime” Shawn’s chin is just as sturdy as his own.

My gut feel was that the judges would struggle to spot the moments when Shawn was getting through, because his swarming, smothering style means he rarely landed a crisp, clean shot – whereas Danny’s left hook and cross stood out a number of times when he found a home for them. But I was wrong! Hey, that happens in boxing. I thought for sure that Donnie Nietes and Louisa Hawton won their title fights on the SuperFly3 card, but two of the three official judges in both bouts had other ideas.

 

PORTER’S UGLY WIN

Hey Dougie,

Been awhile and after watching Garcia and Porter I am truly in awe of a judge that awards wild and awkward holding and hitting ahead of crisp clean boxing. I get Garcia held too but he had to because Porter smothers his own work and then flails around and makes it look like he’s winning a round to judges that obviously aren’t seeing the craft.

A sloppy win and I’m truly disappointed in what I saw. I had Garcia winning 115-113 giving away middle rounds where he shouldn’t have. Porter isn’t an elite fighter and will be served up in my opinion to whatever titlist he fights next.

My big question is what does this do to Garcia’s legacy? Where does Garcia go from here? Is he done as an elite fighter after losing a decision like this one?

Steve Farhood’s card was the worst Danny could have done in my opinion. I don’t like the way Porter fights. It works for him but it’s not aesthetically pleasing to a boxing enthusiast like myself. I may be the only Garcia supporter who writes in so I would appreciate your wisdom!

On a side note, what’s the latest with Terrance Crawford? It’s been awfully quiet for a fighter of his caliber and prestige to not have any fish on the line! Thanks, Dougie. – Kristoff from Sactown

Crawford just resigned with Top Rank, it’s a multi-year deal that will keep “Bud” on the ESPN platforms for the foreseeable future and compensate him very well as it’s rumored that he’ll be paid $3 million minimum, regardless of the opponent. Crawford’s next fight is against Jose Benavidez Jr. (remember him?) on Oct. 13 in his hometown of Omaha.

Photo by Amanda Westcott-SHOWTIME

I don’t have any words of wisdom regarding Garcia’s setback other than there’s no shame in losing to a legit fellow contender. Danny should hold his head up, knowing that he held his own against a very difficult opponent and that many fans and media believe he deserved to win the bout. I think he remains a top-10 welterweight contender and is still a player in the division. He should stay focused, hungry and in the gym. He could get a rematch with Keith Thurman or the winner of Spence-Porter by the end of 2019.

I am truly in awe of a judge that awards wild and awkward holding and hitting ahead of crisp clean boxing. Garcia was “cleaner” than Porter, but not all of his punches were textbook. He got a wild, too, at times (only he missed most of his haymakers). And not all of Porter’s punches were wild and awkward (although it seemed like most of his right hands were aimed at the top of Garcia’s head). Porter worked an arrow-straight jab and most of his body punches were legal.

I get Garcia held too but he had to because Porter smothers his own work and then flails around and makes it look like he’s winning a round to judges that obviously aren’t seeing the craft. Both welterweights have craft. Garcia needed to do more, especially when they were in a clinch. One power punch at a time was not enough to dissuade Porter or win the majority of the close rounds.

A sloppy win and I’m truly disappointed in what I saw. By Porter’s standards it was a controlled and disciplined effort, but the fight still featured too much holding, wide swinging and missing for my taste. I was only mildly entertained by this welterweight title bout (over the second half of the fight). I thought the Ioka-Arroyo fight on HBO/SuperFly3 undercard featured much “cleaner” action and far superior boxing fundamentals by both junior bantamweights.

Porter isn’t an elite fighter and will be served up in my opinion to whatever titlist he fights next. Maybe. Time will tell. I know that he’ll be a decided underdog against Spence.

My big question is what does this do to Garcia’s legacy? I don’t think it hurts it much. It was a close fight to a still-prime former titleholder/top-10 contender.

Where does Garcia go from here? Probably a tune-up against the winner of the Victor Ortiz-John Molina Jr. fight, and then right back in a high-profile high-stakes showdown vs. Thurman or Porter or Spence.

Is he done as an elite fighter after losing a decision like this one? Was he ever elite? Maybe at 140 pounds. Definitely not at 147.

Steve Farhood’s card was the worst Danny could have done in my opinion. I don’t like the way Porter fights. It works for him but it’s not aesthetically pleasing to a boxing enthusiast like myself. I’m more Blood Thirsty Ghoul than Boxing Purist but Porter’s style is not my cup of tea, either.

 

GARCIA’S STYLE NO LONGER PLAYS AT ELITE LEVEL

Good fight this weekend. You can see both guys wanted it and genuinely came to win. Made for a good fight when the style matchup could have been a stinker. Still, not surprised.

After the Thurman and Porter fights, and even Lamont almost pulled it out, the game plan is out. If you’re elite, and you’re committed to being active, you can beat Danny Garcia. The boy just won’t punch enough unless he’s forced to, and it costs him these close fights at 147. I think he’s got to go back to the drawing board.

Porter, meanwhile, I hope can get some big fights. I wish Al would let him outside the sandbox to match up with Pacquiao or Crawford, but I’m not optimistic. At the very least, give Porter to Mikey Garcia or Errol Spence. I think Porter could bully Garcia, but Spence would eventually break him down. Still, he’d make for a very good test for either man.

In closing- mythical matchup for you. How does 2018 Floyd pair against Porter or Garcia? I know that the skill gap is in Floyd’s favor, but are the reflexes and the conditioning still good enough? Best. – Sean McDonough

I think Mayweather is far past his athletic prime – and he should probably stay out of the ring for the sake of his future mental/neurological health – but at the end of the day, he’s got a superb boxing foundation (balance, foot and hand placement, technique, etc.) that both Garcia and Porter lack. I’d favor Mayweather to outpoint both contenders – Garcia by clear, comfortable decision; Porter by a closer, more competitive nod because of Shawn’s awkwardness, aggression and activity. He’d jab Garcia silly and counter Porter all night.

Photo by Chet Susslin – Showtime

After the Thurman and Porter fights, and even Lamont almost pulled it out, the game plan is out. If you’re elite, and you’re committed to being active, you can beat Danny Garcia. Yeah, I agree. Garcia is what he is – a squat, barrel-chested counterpuncher with short arms. He’s got a rock-solid chin, good power and expert timing – so he’s dangerous – but he lacks a consistent jab (and range whenever uses it), consistent combination punching, ring-cutting ability and mobility.

The boy just won’t punch enough unless he’s forced to, and it costs him these close fights at 147. I agree 100%.

I think he’s got to go back to the drawing board. He’s 30, he’s been a pro for 10 years, and I doubt he’s going to get rid of his dad. There is no drawing board for Garcia.

Porter, meanwhile, I hope can get some big fights. I wish Al would let him outside the sandbox to match up with Pacquiao or Crawford, but I’m not optimistic. You have good reason not to be.

At the very least, give Porter to Mikey Garcia or Errol Spence. It looks like the Showtime network is already beating the drums for a Spence-Porter unification fight. I’m OK with that. I’m not into Mikey fighting at 147 pounds.

I think Porter could bully Garcia, but Spence would eventually break him down. Still, he’d make for a very good test for either man. Agreed.

 

SPENCE VS. PORTER

Hi Dougie.

What a good weekend of fights!

I picked Garcia to sneak it but the fight played out the way I thought it would (if that makes sense). Garcia was the same, although in top form. He needed to up his work rate or perhaps Porter, who showed a slightly more nuanced approach to his offence, didn’t allow him to.

I think Porter and Spence will make for a really good fight. Spence is flat footed and can’t match him for work rate. It is a big if, but if Porter can take his power, Spence is in for a long, hard night.

They are both big welterweights. You have seen them in person, how do they compare physically? How do you see Spence-Porter playing out when it happens?

Nice heavyweight scrap between Adam Kownacki and Charles Martin. Martin redeemed himself at least partly for the Joshua blow out by showing some heart hanging in there. Kownacki showed that he belongs where he is (bottom rung top ten, on a level with the Breazeale’s and Jennings’ of the world) but also that he has probably hit his level. I would like to see him against Bryant Jennings, Dominic Breazeale and Dillian Whyte but I can’t see him giving Joshua, Wilder, Povetkin or Ortiz sleepless nights. He is just too much of an arm puncher and easy to hit. Will make for great fights and bring in some people though. How do you see him against the aforementioned trio?

Did you manage to catch Filip Hrgovic against Amir Mansour? I know Mansour is a dinosaur but he is a tough one that can bite and I think Hrgovic got rid of him in impressive fashion for a guy with only five fights.

What is your take on him?

Keep up the good work. Regards. – Droeks Malan, South Africa

Thanks, Droeks. I have not seen the Hrgovic-Mansour fight yet, but I still consider Amir to be a serviceable heavyweight gatekeeper, so for Filip to stop the “old man” in three rounds tells me that the 26-year-old Croatian is a real prospect. Looking at his record on BoxRec I see that he hasn’t faced any soft touches, so his management knows he’s got talent.

Regarding Kownacki, The Ring ranks him No. 10 (just behind Jarrell Miller and Breazeale) and I think that’s where he belongs. I agree with you, the unbeaten Pole would make for very good fights against fellow lower-top-15 scrapper like Jennings and Breazeale, but would likely be outclassed Tyson Fury or KTFO by the likes of Joshua, Wilder, Ortiz and Povetkin. I’d favor Whyte and Miller to outpoint him but I think those would be competitive fights.  

I think Porter and Spence will make for a really good fight. I agree. It will be good to see Porter in with a forward-marching destroyer who is just as fearless as he is.

Spence is flat footed and can’t match him for work rate. Spence is indeed flat-footed but I’m not sure that he can’t match Porter’s punch output. Spence is a very active welterweight.

It is a big if, but if Porter can take his power, Spence is in for a long, hard night. IF he can take those punches, I agree. But keep in mind that Spence’s is not just powerful, he’s accurate (more so than Garcia, and his punches are technically crisper) and he also goes hard to the body. He knows how to break down tough nuts.

They are both big welterweights. You have seen them in person, how do they compare physically? Spence looks bigger.

How do you see Spence-Porter playing out when it happens? Spence either stopping Porter in the championship rounds or winning a decision.

 

IOKA AND INOUE COMPARISON

Hi Doug,
Kazuto Ioka returned from a brief retirement this weekend to beat a top contender in a deep division, but with no fanfare or praise.When he was active Ioka quietly assumed titles in 3 weight classes, beating top opposition along the way.

Likewise, Inoue collected titles in 2 weight divisions very quickly (not counting the WBA reg belt) but in a more eye-catching fashion.

Why do you think Inoue is a hardcore fan’s favourite and revered so much and Ioka is not? Despite them having comparable achievements. Is it purely the KOs?

Mythical Matchups:

Srisaket Sor Rungvisai vs. Jimmy Wilde
Inoue vs Yamanaka
Roman Gonzalez vs Ricardo Lopez at 105

Thanks. – Conrad, Sheffield

I’ll go with SSR by hard-fought decision (especially if we’re going with previous-day weigh-ins and a championship limit of 12 rounds). (The “Mighty Atom” was reportedly an incredible puncher and talent, but keep in mind that he was likely at his best fighting at 100 pounds.)

Inoue and Chocolatito by decision.

Kazuto Ioka returned from a brief retirement this weekend to beat a top contender in a deep division, but with no fanfare or praise. Any so-called boxing fan or media member that ignored or dismissed Ioka’s comeback is a total fake.

When he was active Ioka quietly assumed titles in 3 weight classes, beating top opposition along the way. True, but it wasn’t “quiet” in Japan. It was a big deal and most of his title bouts were televised on network TV.

Likewise, Inoue collected titles in 2 weight divisions very quickly (not counting the WBA reg belt) but in a more eye-catching fashion. True. There’s something to be said for explosive power.

Why do you think Inoue is a hardcore fan’s favourite and revered so much and Ioka is not? Maybe some of these hardcore heads ain’t as hardcore as they think.

“The Monster” flexes. Photo / Naoki Fukuda

Despite them having comparable achievements. Is it purely the KOs? I think Inoue’s KOs is part of it, but it’s also his attitude or “aura” for lack of a better word. The Monster carries himself like a Rockstar and fans and media act accordingly. When he made an appearance to one of Roman Gonzalez’s fights at The Forum a couple years ago, members of the promotion and press row were practically giddy. They didn’t just want to interview him, they wanted to take selfies with him. Ioka, on the other hand, was at SuperFly2 (also at The Forum) but nobody knew he was there. He traveled quietly and bought a ticket to the show. The fact that Inoue is undefeated and has recently come into his own also accounts for his crossover among non-Japanese fans. Ioka won his first world title and unified 105-pound belts six and seven years ago when much of what happened in Japan stayed in Japan. In recent years, more international attention has (rightfully) been given to the Japanese boxing scene (for a variety of reasons that I’d be happy to go into detail about another time) and Inoue has benefitted from this.

 

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