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Dougie’s Friday mailbag (more Canelo-GGG2 fallout, Joshua-Povetkin, #MayPac2)

Photo by Tom Hogan
21
Sep

POVETKIN’S MERIT

Yo Dougie, Hope all is good brother and you’re suitably rested after last weekend.  Just a quick email regarding Alexander Povetkin and how he is being perceived as an opponent for Anthony Joshua.

It’s not surprising to see casual sports fans dismissing Povetkin’s chances as they don’t really know him so think it’ll be a walkover, however it’s surprising to hear and read so many comments from hardcore fans both here and in the US saying it’s a poor opponent for AJ.

When Deontay Wilder was scheduled to fight Povetkin a year or two ago he was viewed as a real live dog and maybe even favourite for the fight (seem to remember you even picking the Russian?!). Granted he’s a couple of years older now but it seems to be he is being overlooked as the fans want Wilder or Fury and nothing else will do. What do you make of his legitimacy as a challenger?



For what’s it worth I think AJ is going to put on a show and stop the game Russian inside 9. You?

No MM this time but instead a sick question for the blood thirsty ghoul in you… prime GGG (2013-2015), how far up in weight would he have to have gone and against whom before his beard got truly tested and he got knocked down? Peace, brother. – Mike

Probably light heavyweight vs. Adonis Stevenson. 

I can envision Joshua getting a late stoppage against the Russian veteran, but I think he’ll play it safe and box a disciplined fight all the way to the final bell and a unanimous decision in a competitive fight.

Heavyweight contender Alexander Povetkin (standing) vs. David Price. Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Heavyweight contender Alexander Povetkin (standing) vs. David Price. Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

It’s not surprising to see casual sports fans dismissing Povetkin’s chances as they don’t really know him so think it’ll be a walkover, however it’s surprising to hear and read so many comments from hardcore fans both here and in the US saying it’s a poor opponent for AJ. Really? I’m not aware of that criticism. I’ve heard the disappointment from both hardcore and casuals in regard to Povetkin being a mandatory challenger after so much had been written and said about a potential Joshua vs. Wilder showdown earlier in the year, but those who are familiar with the 2004 Olympic gold medalist view him as a live dog.

When Deontay Wilder was scheduled to fight Povetkin a year or two ago he was viewed as a real live dog and maybe even favourite for the fight (seem to remember you even picking the Russian?!). I think you’re right. I thought Povetkin had too much for Wilder, who was still largely untested at the time, and I didn’t think the American would get a fair shake from officials in Moscow. I would probably favor Wilder if they were to fight now.

Granted he’s a couple of years older now but it seems to be he is being overlooked as the fans want Wilder or Fury and nothing else will do. The casual fans want to see the big names and the champions clash. I don’t fault them for saying “f__k sanctioning body mandatories” no matter how solid the challenger is. Hardcore heads have probably cooled on Povetkin following his two positive PED tests and the career interruptions and fight cancellations those setbacks caused. They look at his win streak since his lone loss to Wladimir Klitschko and they don’t see any world-beaters, and thanks to the PED scandals, even the impressive KOs of Carlos Takam and Mike Perez are viewed with suspicion. It is what it is.

What do you make of his legitimacy as a challenger? I think Povetkin is legit. I view him as the biggest threat Joshua has faced as a pro, next to Klitschko. However, I think the Russian is slightly past his prime and should be considered an underdog.

JOIN DAZN AND WATCH JOSHUA-POVETKIN FOR FREE

GGG-CANELO, RAMIREZ-OROZCO, JOSHUA-POVETKIN

With all the talk about GGG-Canelo this past weekend, the best fight of the weekend got overlooked. Jose Ramirez-Antonio Orozco was an absolute barnburner.

How do you think Ramirez stacks up compared to the other top dogs at 140 (Regis Prograis, Josh Taylor)? I was pleased to see the heart that Orozco displayed and hope he can move forward with his career.

As for GGG-Canelo… it was a good fight. I think what we all suspect is that if you replace “GGG” with “TMT” or “Ward” on the trunks, the man wearing white gets the benefit of the doubt in every close round and wins 8-4 or 9-3. That is a shame, because Canelo deserves props by putting up a great fight, win or lose, against the MW juggernaut.

Povetkin-Joshua. Not a lot of hype in the States, but I am sure 90K fans will enjoy it.  What is your pick?

MM–Michael Nunn-Canelo

Keep up the great work. – Donavan

I gotta go with Nunn by comfortable decision. If Canelo thought Austin Trout and Erislandy Lara were difficult southpaws, he would have been taken to hell by the lightning-fast 6-foot-2 lefty at his peak (1988-’89). Nunn was a slippery stick-and-mover who could switch gears and go into attack mode (head and body) at the drop of a dime.

I like AJ by UD. (And yeah, I’ve downloaded the DAZN app on my iPhone and Amazon Fire TV Stick, so I’m ready to watch it.)

Jose Ramirez-Antonio Orozco was an absolute barnburner. That heated 12-rounder was as good as a one-sided fight can be. Kudos to both Ramirez and Orozco for their tremendous efforts.

Ramirez (right) cracks Orozco. Photo by Mikey Williams/ Top Rank

How do you think Ramirez stacks up compared to the other top dogs at 140 (Regis Prograis, Josh Taylor)? I think the WBC beltholder is right there with the top dogs of the junior welterweight division. With his smart pressure, volume punching, sharp technique, body attack, solid chin and iron will, Ramirez is going to be a very hard man to outpoint – especially in the Fresno area (where he fights even harder). I hope we eventually get to see the winner of the World Boxing Super Series 140-pound tournament face Ramirez. If Jorge Linares looks sharp in his junior welter debut on Sept. 29, I think Ramirez-Linares is an interesting 140-pound style clash.

I was pleased to see the heart that Orozco displayed and hope he can move forward with his career. I think Orozco remains a player in the 140-pound division. I’d love to see him pit his heart and grit against the winner of the Hooker-Saucedo WBO title tilt or Sergey Lipinets (if the former beltholder is still able to make 140).

As for GGG-Canelo… it was a good fight. I think it was better than good.

I think what we all suspect is that if you replace “GGG” with “TMT” or “Ward” on the trunks, the man wearing white gets the benefit of the doubt in every close round and wins 8-4 or 9-3. You’re not wrong, but that wouldn’t mean those are the “right” scores for the fight. I think it was legitimately close if you gave both fighters credit for the fine work they put in for 12 rounds.

That is a shame, because Canelo deserves props by putting up a great fight, win or lose, against the MW juggernaut. I agree 100%.

 

SCORING OUTRAGE

Heya Doug!

In the aftermath of the Canelo/GGG fight and apparent outrage of fans I wanted to get your thoughts on boxings scoring system. I got in several debates about the categories of scoring (clean punching, effective aggression, defense, ring generalship). Many people argue that clean punching is the only criteria that counts. And while I agree it’s the most important, given that judging is done without the benefit of punch stats, or 360 angle of the fight, the other categories play a vital role in scoring close rounds, which is particularly important in a fight like this where virtually every round was close. Judges can’t always tell who is clearly more effective in the heat of a battle, and fans shouldn’t pretend like clean punching is somehow less subjective than the other categories (punch stats too for that matter). Not to mention if we were just counting who punched the other guy more exclusively, we essentially are using the old style of amateur scoring, which I am definitely against in a pro fight.

What’s your take on this debate?

In any case I am surprised (though I shouldn’t be) at the amount of outage from fans about this fight. It was as close as they come, I think I counted one clinch the entire fight, and it was high skilled bombs away all night. A score of 7-5 to either guy or a draw is completely reasonable, both guys are elevated to me. Haven’t seen two elite fighters this evenly matched since Pac/Marquez. Boxing fans never seem to know when they have it good!

PS: I ordered the PPV from RingTV, great job on the excellent commentary! – Joel in Montreal

Thank you, Joel. I was in very good company with Beto Duran and “The Flushing Flash” Kevin Kelley.

You’re absolutely right about diehard boxing fans not knowing when they’ve got it good. I came to this realization back in the mid-2000s when hardcore heads did more complaining about the various controversies of Pacquiao vs. Marquez I, Pacquiao vs. Morales I and Corrales-Castillo I (from the scoring of a three-knockdown round to the choice of gloves to mouthpiece spitting) than they appreciated the modern classics that they witnessed. It’s really sad that “their guy winning” and “lording it over the fans of the ‘loser’” is more important to them than seeing a great prize fight.

My problem with the outrage on the scores is that it’s gotten worse in the day following the decision after fans (many of whom agreed that the fight could have gone either way on Saturday) re-watched the bout two and three times, sometimes slowing down certain rounds to count punches landed. There’s nothing wrong with fans reexamining a fight, or changing their opinions on who they thought won, but they need to realize that’s not how real boxing judges score a fight. They see everything up close, in real time, from one perspective on the ring apron, and they don’t get to take their time with the scoring or view replays.

Everyone’s making a big deal about Round 12 now. Well, I’m gonna keep it real. I scored it for Golovkin, but I also jotted down in my notes “very close,” because that’s what it seemed like in real time.

My honest opinion on the “outrage” and “controversy” of Canelo-Golovkin II is that it’s a consequence of the middleweights’ popularity and the polarizing year-long feud between their camps/promoters. Canelo and GGG each has a legion of loyal fans, and both have dedicated contingents of haters/detractors; plus both have associates that get under the skins of hardcore heads with statements that are obviously meant to stir s__t up (Oscar De La Hoya and Abel Sanchez).

If Canelo and Golovkin were just your average middleweights, and not international stars, their rematch would have probably been received much like the Shawn Porter-Danny Garcia fight from the previous Saturday – as a good, evenly matched contest that could have been a draw or a 115-113 decision for either fighter.

But when the stakes are high and the bad blood has boiled for as long as it did between combatants and their teams as was the case for Canelo and GGG, the emotions of the fans can get out of control. That’s just the way it is.

 

R.I.P ENZO CALZAGHE

Hey Dougie,

RIP Enzo Calzaghe

He helped turn Joe into a modern day legend.

Barring the Jeff Lacey fight what’s your favourite Joe Calzaghe performance and why? Take care. – Pete, Sussex, UK

Enzo Calzaghe (right) with son Joe. Photo courtesy of AFP.

Enzo did a masterful job in cultivating Joe Calzaghe’s unique fast-pace-high-volume-but-creative southpaw style of boxing. Even more so than Kostya Tszyu, I will often pick Calzaghe to prevail in the endless mythical matchups that fans come up with for this column. That’s how good a job the father did in developing his obviously gifted son. But Enzo also proved that he could train and improve lesser talented boxers. I know he will be missed dearly by all of the fighters he trained and the UK boxing community.

My favorite Calzaghe performance? Well, as much as I appreciate Calzaghe’s boxing acumen and ability to adapt to any style, I enjoyed him the most when he was on the attack (see his blowouts of Mario Veit and aggressively pursued stoppage of Omar Sheika). My pick is Joe’s two-round shootout with former two-time WBA beltholder Byron Mitchell. He threw caution to the wind from the opening bell and paid for it by hitting the deck in Round 2, but he scored his own knockdown shortly after and forced an admittedly questionable stoppage but it was still a thriller.

 

MORE THOUGHTS ON #CANELOGGG2

HI Dougie,

Hope this finds you and the family well. To answer your question from Monday’s mailbag – Max Kellerman referred to Ward-Kovalev twice, between the third and fourth rounds, and during the 10th. He was so restrained! I re-watched the fight and made note of it for you. Max to me is a major disappointment. I was such a fan of his in his ESPN fights period. Now it’s as much about himself as the fight game. Too bad, as his knowledge of the history of the sport is impressive. I don’t care what his politics are, or if he’s one of the cool guys in his media world.

Not a hard fight to re-watch! I was impressed as to how little the referee had to do, a credit to both fighters and their camps. Truly professional. I’ve been pretty critical of Canelo since his drug tests, but he made me a fan again. I was impressed with his game plan and his adjustments after the first fight, and his conditioning. I had GGG up 7 rounds to 5, but there were so many close rounds it is hard to argue the decision. What I don’t understand is Tom Loeffler having the fight in Las Vegas.  He had to know any close decision would go against his fighter. New York, or Atlantic City or Brooklyn or a host of other venues. Was it purely money? Is he cold enough to say let his man lose and have a third fight? GGG could easily be 2-0 if the fights were held somewhere else.

A couple of more things – is this the last time I see Michael Buffer on TV? And there is no way in God’s creation that May-Pac II separates me from my shekels. I was conned once. As always, the mailbag is the best. – Ken Kozberg, Oakham, MA.

Thanks for the kind words, Ken.

I’m not kidding when I say this about #MayPac2, I really hope they fight again and charge their dopey fans out the ass for the most clearly orchestrated fake fight since #MayMac. I’ll have fun ignoring the hype, skipping the fight, and ridiculing the Mayweather and Pacquiao faithful.

Buffer is now exclusive to DAZN, so you can still see him on TV if you subscribe to the OTT service and beam it to your set via Fire Stick, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast or other streaming device. “Let’s get ready to STREAM BOXING!!!!!!”

Not a hard fight to re-watch! Not at all. It was a damn good middleweight championship. It reminded me of the first James Toney-Mike McCallum fight, which is saying something.

I was impressed as to how little the referee had to do, a credit to both fighters and their camps. Truly professional. I agree. We weren’t trying to ignore Benjy Esteves during the online PPV broadcast but we didn’t mention his name once after the opening bell.

I’ve been pretty critical of Canelo since his drug tests, but he made me a fan again. That’s the magic of overcoming the odds with a hard-fought victory in a classic 12-rounder.

I was impressed with his game plan and his adjustments after the first fight, and his conditioning. I expected much of what we saw. They only two things that really surprised me (which I think caught most of us off guard) was his refusal to go to the ropes and the quality of his chin even late in the fight.

I had GGG up 7 rounds to 5, but there were so many close rounds it is hard to argue the decision. That’s how I see it (and for the record after re-watching it I also scored it for Golovkin by a 115-113 or 116-112 margin, but I’m still fine with my live score of 114-114 or anyone’s score of 115-113 for Canelo).

Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin. Art courtesy of Rob Ayala

Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin. Art courtesy of Rob Ayala

What I don’t understand is Tom Loeffler having the fight in Las Vegas. What’s to understand? Golden Boy wanted the fight in Las Vegas. They have a close relationship with MGM Grand properties and the new T-Mobile Arena. Had Team GGG put their foot down about not returning to Vegas, we may not have gotten the rematch. Also, Vegas was the only jurisdiction that could pay both middleweight stars what they demanded from the return bout. This is PRIZE fighting, Double K., money matters.

He had to know any close decision would go against his fighter. Maybe. Maybe not. I’m as jaded as the next guy, but I thought we’d get an even closer fight the second time around and I still picked GGG by majority decision. (I was almost right.)

New York, or Atlantic City or Brooklyn or a host of other venues. I think NYC is realistically in the running for a third bout, if it happens, along with the Dallas/Ft. Worth area of Texas (AT&T Stadium). However, if Las Vegas really wants to host a fight, it’s almost impossible for any other city to outbid it.

Was it purely money? Come on, man. Of course, it was, for BOTH fighters and both sides of the promotion!

Is he cold enough to say let his man lose and have a third fight? No, Tom had full confidence in his fighter’s ability. I think Team GGG really thought they had gotten into Canelo’s head and that by getting the Mexican star to stand his ground and commit more to offense, the Kazakh hero could either clip him or wear him down. They assumed wrong. It happens in boxing. Hey, we still got a tremendous fight.

GGG could easily be 2-0 if the fights were held somewhere else. Maybe, but New York, California and Texas also have their share of poor and controversial scorecards every year.

 

GOLOVKIN DID NOT DOMINATE

Anyone who says GGG dominated by controlling the ring might be biased. Canelo pushed the action connected well with power and controlled the middle. I saw GGG get old on Saturday. Canelo landed some devastating body shots that literally lowered GGG’s arms they hurt so much. And I saw GGG muster Samson’s strength to give it a go for a win and he almost did. I think the best of GGG was left in the ring that night. Great fight and the judges got it right. For the record, I was of the opinion Canelo was gonna get KO’d before the fight started. – Danny, Los Angeles  You weren’t alone in that opinion, Danny. I always envisioned a distance fight. These two excellent middleweights are just too tough, too defensively competent and too evenly matched to get the knockout.

Anyone who says GGG dominated by controlling the ring might be biased. I don’t think either fighter took complete control of any round. However, I understand the frustration from Golovkin fans. It’s true that he doesn’t get credit for his boxing acumen.

Canelo pushed the action connected well with power and controlled the middle. He was indeed the aggressor, but his aggression never allowed him to overtake Golovkin, who outworked him.

I saw GGG get old on Saturday. I wouldn’t call him “old.” He’s no longer in his prime, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t remain an elite boxer/world-class

Toney and McCallum put on another joint master class in their 1992 rematch. Photo / THE RING archives

middleweight. He changed his style for the more aggressive version of Canelo, which is something that special veterans do as they age. Bernard Hopkins was no longer the “Executioner” when he got into his mid-to-late 30s. He became more of a complete boxer/ring general. Mike McCallum was no longer “The Bodysnatcher” when he was duking it out with Toney at age 35. He became more of a jab-master/technician. Golovkin can make similar adjustments and still give the best of the 160-pound division a run for their money.

Canelo landed some devastating body shots that literally lowered GGG’s arms they hurt so much. He did well to the body. If they fight a third time, he should invest even more to the body.

And I saw GGG muster Samson’s strength to give it a go for a win and he almost did. So, if he’s an old man, he’s one bad-ass codger.

I think the best of GGG was left in the ring that night. Time will tell.

 

UNBEARABLE FANS

Hi Doug!

A small and funny question, for a change.

Who’s the most insufferable boxing legion you have ever endured? Better yet, give me your top 3.

I can think of the Mayweather Fans, the Canelo Haters, and maybe the RJJ fans. – Carlos, from Hermosillo, México

I butted heads with Jones Jr.’s fans. They were indeed a hot mess. As were Tyson fans, who sometimes issued death threats when I (or other HouseOfBoxing or MaxBoxing contributors) wrote unflattering things about their messiah. As are Mayweather and Pacquiao fans, who I still have to occasionally deal with. (God, they are such simpletons. I really think they deserve each other.)

But all boxing fans that outright worship a dude to the point that they cannot tolerate any criticism toward their demigod are pathetic and insufferable.

Floyd-huggers are by far the dumbest of this breed. Chavez Nation were the poorest losers. Trinidiots were the most delusional. Golden Girls were the bitchiest. Roy Boys were the most insecure. Iron Mike’s Army were the most unhinged. GGGoons are the most antagonistic. 

They all suck, but my top three would be the The Moron Team, Jones Town and the Tyson Terrorists – in that order. (I outlasted the deranged disciples of Mike and Roy, and I’m gonna outlast Floyd’s followers, too!)

 

MAYPAC2 QUIP FROM MONDAY MAILBAG

You gave me a hearty laugh once again with this Dougie…comedy and truth in the same paragraph:

Anyone who would pay to see that silliness deserves to be outright conned. Seriously, they should shuck and jive for 12 rounds (literally turn it into a dance-off) and after the final bell rings, they should laugh directly into the TV cameras. Manny can let Floyd do all the talking: “You stupid mother f__ckers! We got you again, bitches!” All Pac has to do is giggle his ass off.

Thank you! – Cogs

You’re most welcome.

I really am rooting for Floyd and Manny to make one more massive score before finally hanging up their gloves, and I hope that they can do so without scrambling each other’s already traumatized grey matter.

Watch your backs, homies! #MayPac2 might be creepin’ up on ya!

I wouldn’t pay for that nonsense, nor would I bother to cover it, but I know each has a legion nut cakes dedicated to promoting and protecting their legacies that would gladly plunk down $100 for the “honor” of cheering on the aging hero who has given them so much pride over the years. I also know that casual fans have short memories and are easily swayed by loudmouth general sports talking heads who debate and discuss this rematch around the clock for weeks. There’s probably a million of these dopes in the U.S. alone.

Would the rematch approach the numbers of the first fight? Hell no. But if it does just half, which is possible, the event will still be a success, and the future hall of famers will each make a fat grip. (And I really hope they gloat about it after bulls__ting in the ring for 12 pointless rounds. That would serve everyone who bought the PPV and everyone involved in the promotion right.)

 

 

Email Fischer at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @dougiefischer