Wednesday, October 24, 2018  |

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Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Joshua-Povetkin, Wilder-Fury, Canelo-GGG2)





24
Sep

HEAVYWEIGHT THOUGHTS

Hi Doug,

What did you make of Anthony Joshua’s performance this weekend? Apart from a slow start I think he showed good adjustments and I liked his poise and patience going for the finish. Alexander Povetkin came in light and in shape and showed he’s still a top-five heavyweight. Do you think Joshua has the best resume amongst active heavyweights today?

Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury will be interesting but Fury hasn’t looked the same since his return and I think Wilder’s unorthodoxy might be kryptonite for him. What’s your prediction for the December 1 bout? How do you currently see Wilder and Fury against Joshua and against Povetkin, I think he could give both of them trouble.

I will avoid watching Okolie fight in future, his fight with Chamberlain was terrible but I gave him the benefit of the doubt. This one was worse, he’s completely unwatchable.  Hope the family is well and look forward to hearing your thoughts as always. Kind regards. – Phil, Liverpool

The family is good, Phil. Thanks for asking. I missed the Okolie-Askin fight, but was rather entertained by all of the comedic Tweets the snoozer sparked from bored and frustrated boxing fans. I’m not a fans of jab-and-grab safety first boxers but I’m not going to write off Okolie after a year and a half and just 10 bouts into the pro ranks. The tall-and-gangly cruiserweight prospect could still develop a more entertaining style against better opposition. Time will tell.

What did you make of Anthony Joshua’s performance this weekend? He looked vulnerable against the veteran, but that wasn’t totally unexpected. Despite his age and a wobbly moment against David Price in his previous bout, Povetkin was undoubtedly the most dangerous opponent Joshua had faced next to Wladimir Klitschko.

Apart from a slow start I think he showed good adjustments and I liked his poise and patience going for the finish. So did I. Joshua’s composure under fire might be his best attribute. It’s promising when a physical specimen like AJ also has some proven “intangibles” to with all his obvious “tangibles.”

Povetkin came in light and in shape and showed he’s still a top-five heavyweight. I agree. If the Russian isn’t top five, he’s at least top six or seven, even at 39.

Matchroom Boxing

Do you think Joshua has the best resume amongst active heavyweights today? Arguably, yes. He’s definitely got the best resume of any heavyweight under the age of 30 (with less than 25 pro bouts). But I think his ledger has more “scalps” than Wilder’s. AJ’s got a future hall of famer (Klitschko) and four current Ring-rated contenders (Povetkin, Parker, Whyte and Breazeale) on his record. Wilder has two (Luis Ortiz and Bermane Stiverne). However, if the Bronze Bomber beats Fury, his record will get a mighty big boost. By the way, Povetkin’s resume is quality (even if you don’t give him any credit for his losses to Wladdy and AJ).

Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury will be interesting but Fury hasn’t looked the same since his return and I think Wilder’s unorthodoxy might be kryptonite for him. You’re probably right about Wilder’s edge in the matchup. His explosive speed and power are dangerous enough, but the x-factor of his awkwardness probably makes him even more of a threat to a boxer/ring general like Fury. Having said that, it should be noted that Fury is also unorthodox and awkward. I can’t say that Wilder has ever fought a heavyweight with the Gypsy King’s style and versatility.

What’s your prediction for the December 1 bout? I gotta favor Wilder. It seems too soon in Fury’s comeback to favor the brash Brit. However, that might be wishful thinking on my part. I’d much rather see Joshua-Wilder clash for the undisputed heavyweight championship than Fury-Joshua because I think the UK-vs.-U.S. matchup is more explosive/entertaining and has more worldwide appeal.

How do you currently see Wilder and Fury against Joshua and against Povetkin? I think he could give both of them trouble. I think the three claimants to the heavyweight championship (Joshua, Wilder and Fury) could beat each other on a good night. I can envision AJ wearing down Wilder and Fury to late stoppages. I can see Wilder bombing out both Brits in the early rounds. And, if he had enough time to get his mojo back, I can definitely see Fury frustrating the s__t out of both beltholders en route to a decision victory.

 

LONDON CALLING

Happy Sunday Doug!

I thought the DAZN debut was great. I’m not a media guy but for me, the production and commentary was very good. Decent insight from the analysts and I was particularly impressed with Sergio Mora who I had never heard on the air before. He was a bit repetitive, but I thought he brought some good insight to the card. Did you catch the DAZN programming? What are your thoughts on how it went? I know I got my monthly subscription’s worth and more!

Super impressed with Luke Campbell who I had never heard of before (I guess I gotta focus some more on non-U.S. based fighters). His fight with Yvan Mendy was excellent, reminding me a little of the Sergio Martinez/JC Chavez Jr. fight. Mendy was no joke and I kept waiting for him to catch Campbell (á la Chavez Jr.), but Campbell’s motor never stopped. Great footwork by the Brit!

No hating on AJ, but I gotta say hats off to Sasha Povetkin!! He came to fight and hung in there until the end. It’s been a long time since I saw someone show those kind of cojones to get off the canvas after a brutal knockdown like that first one. I could have sworn I saw one of his cornermen on the slo-mo instant replay, like Micky on Rocky I, urging Povetkin to stay down but he got up. That’s what I love so much about boxing. Guys who work so hard, put it all on the line and treat us fans to great entertainment and showing us how they handle adversity with class and emotional and mental fortitude.

Whew. Had to get that out of my system. Take care Doug! – Andy, Chula Vista, CA

Povetkin knew that Saturday’s challenge to Joshua was likely his final shot at the heavyweight titles, and the 39-year-old Russian also probably knew that he couldn’t win a decision in London, so he made the most of his opportunity. He f__kin’ went for it, which (for a couple rounds) gave us the impression that we could be witnessing a monumental upset and even when AJ seemed to assume control, still made for a compelling match. I was impressed with Povetkin’s willingness to load up and lunge in with lead left hooks (and a bit disappointed in AJ for not countering that s__t). He definitely found a home of his overhand right in the early rounds. But kudos to Joshua for weathering the storm, sticking with his jab and pouncing on the older man the moment he clipped him with a good shot. AJ’s a pretty good finisher.

I thought the DAZN debut was great. I didn’t watch the entire card, but I liked what I saw of the main event and look forward to the two U.S.-based shows next month.

I’m not a media guy but for me, the production and commentary was very good. Your opinion on the production and commentary is just as valid as any “media guy.” And I agree with your opinion.

Decent insight from the analysts and I was particularly impressed with Sergio Mora who I had never heard on the air before. I told the DAZN guys that they couldn’t go wrong with Snake. I’ve always been a big fan of his commentary (and have had the pleasure of working a few shows with him eight or nine years ago – man, time flies).

Did you catch the DAZN programming? What are your thoughts on how it went? I thought it went fine.

I know I got my monthly subscription’s worth and more! Well, I got my weekend worth. We’ll see how next month goes (although, just for the hell of it, I might check out Bellator 206 on Saturday).

JOIN DAZN AND WATCH SAUNDERS-ANDRADE FOR FREE

Super impressed with Luke Campbell who I had never heard of before (I guess I gotta focus some more on non-U.S. based fighters). I guess you missed his challenge to then-Ring champ Jorge Linares last September. He showed his skills in that HBO-televised bout from The Forum in my hometown of Inglewood, California.

His fight with Yvan Mendy was excellent, reminding me a little of the Sergio Martinez/JC Chavez Jr. fight. Mendy was no joke and I kept waiting for him to catch Campbell (á la Chavez Jr.), but Campbell’s motor never stopped. Great footwork by the Brit! Hey, “Cool Hand Luke” is an Olympic gold medalist (2012 London Games). The Yorkshire southpaw has skills. I thought hardcore fans and boxing industry types were too hard on Linares for struggling with Campbell last year. The Brit is a handful for any 135 pounder.

 

WHEN CAN AJ GET HIS HANDS ON THAT RING TITLE?

hey man second AJ fight in a row where #1 fights #3. that made this fight eligible for the ring belt. cmon cmon thats twice inna row. why haven’t you guys put it up?

spike o’sullivan, my girlfriends favorite MW, nearly soured last weekend for me. you see, MY favorite MW wasted HER favorite MW in the first round, and she was pretty pissed off about it. the mungia fight was good but the 100 min wait after that didnt help anyone cool off neither. dam you, spike–shouldn’t he know to keep his right hand up against a dude with THAT kind of a left hook? alvarez woulda caught him exactly the same.

i had povetkin up 4-2. joshua found his place the 6th round i thought. im still picking wilder. dont care if im wrong. cant wait to see deontay start slow then WASTE fury. – ceylon 

We’ll see. I hope the Gypsy King makes it to his Dec. 1 date with Wilder and doesn’t pull any funny stuff. If Wilder takes care of biz against Fury in a brutal fashion, I’m sure you won’t be alone in picking him to beat Joshua. And that’s a fair pick. If and when that showdown happens, I think Wilder will be very dangerous in the early rounds. If the fight goes past six or seven rounds, I think the advantage swings heavily towards AJ.

I also had Povetkin up 4-2 after six rounds. I only scored Rounds 4 and 6 for Joshua before zeroed in on the Russian’s chin in Round 7.

second AJ fight in a row where #1 fights #3. that made this fight eligible for the ring belt. cmon cmon thats twice inna row. why haven’t you guys put it up? It’s not my call. It’s up to the Ratings Panel, and in both cases (Joshua vs. Parker and vs. Povetkin) the panelists viewed the No. 3 contender as rather weak in comparison to the man in the No. 2 spot – your boy, Deontay. Negotiations between AJ and Wilder’s people stalled in 2018, but the I think the panelists believe that the two sides can come to an agreement next year, so they weren’t ready to settle for lesser matchups for the vacant Ring heavyweight title.

spike o’sullivan, my girlfriends favorite MW, nearly soured last weekend for me. you see, MY favorite MW wasted HER favorite MW in the first round, and she was pretty pissed off about it. You both have rather poor taste in middleweights. Just sayin’.

the mungia fight was good but the 100 min wait after that didnt help anyone cool off neither. Come on, man, that shoulda been Netflix-n-Chill time for you and the missus. In fact, you coulda kept chillin’ during the Munguia fight. It’s not like you didn’t know what was gonna happen in that matchup.

dam you, spike–shouldn’t he know to keep his right hand up against a dude with THAT kind of a left hook? I expected more from a dude who looked and sounded so much like Bill “The Butcher” from Gangs of New York.

alvarez woulda caught him exactly the same. Gee, ya think?

 

DAZN, JOSHUA VS. POVETKIN

Doug,

That was a reasonably entertaining card Saturday (75,000 fans cheerfully singing in the rain!), and DAZN worked just fine on my laptop, so good.

I had Povetkin up four rounds to two before the stoppage, but it was reminding me of Khan/Canelo even before Joshua clipped him, and in hindsight I think that’s a pretty good analogy. Povetkin was actually hurting Joshua (more than Khan was Canelo), but still not enough. Povetkin was also straight up out-boxing Joshua (as was Khan with Canelo), just not in a way that could be meaningfully sustained.

Joshua was plainly bothered, went on to figure out what he needed to do, proceeded to do it. Credit to him for opening up, he had to — which Parker did not force him to — and: Boom.

As far as Joshua v Wilder, it seems plain that Joshua possesses everything he needs, and has every reason, to win that fight. But I still give Wilder a solid at-least 40+% chance of clipping him, and getting clipped by Wilder is a whole ‘nuther something. What do yo think of that fight now; likelihood of happening next spring, and probable outcome?

I’m straight up fascinated, looking forward to it, and hope the waiting is minimal from here.

Also, good to see Luke Campbell fighting well. His future is looking up. Thanks as always. – Alec

Campbell is 30. I’d say his future is NOW. He and his team have no time to waste. The revenge victory over Mendy should advance him into the mandatory position to challenge for Mikey Garcia’s WBC title. They need to push for that shot sooner rather than later.

That was a reasonably entertaining card Saturday (75,000 fans cheerfully singing in the rain!), and DAZN worked just fine on my laptop, so good. I watched it with good friends on a wide screen TV via Amazon Fire Stick.

I had Povetkin up four rounds to two before the stoppage, but it was reminding me of Khan/Canelo even before Joshua clipped him, and in hindsight I think that’s a pretty good analogy. Hmmmm, I guess it’s a decent analogy in terms of the size difference between the underdog and the odds favorite, but not so much when you consider that Povetkin is known to have solid whiskers (unlike Khan) and the Russian’s boxing style was far more aggressive than the former 140-pound beltholder was against the middleweight champ.

Povetkin was actually hurting Joshua (more than Khan was Canelo), but still not enough. Povetkin was also straight up out-boxing Joshua (as was Khan with Canelo), just not in a way that could be meaningfully sustained. I thought Povetkin was doing more than outboxing Joshua. I thought he was outworking AJ, taking more chances.

Joshua was plainly bothered, went on to figure out what he needed to do, proceeded to do it. He behaved like pro; executed like a champ.

Credit to him for opening up, he had to — which Parker did not force him to — and: Boom. The first knockdown was rather sudden. I like the way AJ finished Povetkin off, no wasted punches, all powerfully, all on the mark.

As far as Joshua v Wilder, it seems plain that Joshua possesses everything he needs, and has every reason, to win that fight. I agree.

But I still give Wilder a solid at-least 40+% chance of clipping him, and getting clipped by Wilder is a whole ‘nuther something. I also agree with this notion.

What do you think of that fight now; likelihood of happening next spring, and probable outcome? I doubt it happens next spring, but I still favor Joshua, although I give Wilder more of a shot after seeing the results of Povetkin’s early rounds aggression on Saturday.

 

WATCHED THE HBO REPLAY OF CANELO-GGG2…

Hi there Dougie –

I re-watched the fight again last night. I had originally scored it 8-4 GGG, but came away with 7-5 GGG. If I give Canelo the first round (which I though was the closest round) a draw was very reasonable.

My biggest frustration is that after watching the 12th round (and re-winding it and watching it again), I don’t see a way to give Canelo that round. GGG threw more, his punches appeared to do more damage and to me, it was a continuation of GGG taking over the last 3 rounds of the fight.

I read where you have said, you also gave the 12th to GGG…and you also wrote “close” next to that round. Having seen it again, have you changed your mind?

Frankly, the 12th round reminds me a bit of the first Bernard Hopkins/Jermaine Taylor fight where boxing desperately wanted Jermaine to become the new face of boxing as he was younger than Hopkins. Similarly, Taylor controlled the second half of the fight, but then Hopkins took over. And I recall Hopkins having a fairly decisive 12th round and the difference in the fight was that one of the judges gave Taylor the 12th round (which I don’t believe he deserved…Hopkins won it far more decisively than GGG did vs. Canelo) and thus took the belt away.

In addition, I am curious if you saw Jim Lampley’s final segment on GGG on The Fight Game. In it, Jim talked about the politics of boxing and because of the use of judges, the sport justifiably gets a black eye (referring to the “A” side getting the benefit of the doubt). Best I can tell, the only two boxers who have come out and said they felt Canelo won was Sugar Ray Leonard and Andre Ward. And both of them, got controversial decisions, being the A side (I did think Sugar Ray won a close fight, I thought Andre clearly lost).

Do you think in the back of their mind, the judges recognize it is better for the popularity of the sport if they “lean” to A side?

Keep up the GREAT work, wish you all the best. – David

Thanks for the kind words, David.

Do judges lean toward the “A-side,” “house fighter,” or the boxer with more upside/marketable future? It sure seems that way, doesn’t it? But I don’t think that was the case with the Canelo-GGG rematch. I think Alvarez got the slight benefit of the doubt in some of the close rounds, but I think that had more to do with the way the Mexican star fought and the reaction he garnered from the pro-Canelo/pro-Mexico crowd inside the T-Mobile Arena. The judges are human. They can be swept up in the energy or moment of a dramatic fight and they can definitely be influenced by the crowd. (That’s one of the reasons the WBC was experimenting with having official judges wear sound reducing headphones in recent years.)

I re-watched the fight again last night. I had originally scored it 8-4 GGG, but came away with 7-5 GGG. It’s that kind of fight. Watch it again and you might score it a draw or you might score it 115-113 for Canelo or you might see it 116-112 for GGG again.

If I give Canelo the first round (which I though was the closest round) a draw was very reasonable. I scored Round 1 for Canelo and I had the fight even (114-114) calling the action live. I’m a very reasonable person.

My biggest frustration is that after watching the 12th round (and re-winding it and watching it again), I don’t see a way to give Canelo that round. Perhaps if Dave Moretti and Steve Weisfeld watched Round 12 again and again and one more time in slow motion, sitting really close to the TV screen and counting the punches landed out loud, just for good measure, they too would score it for GGG.

GGG threw more, his punches appeared to do more damage and to me, it was a continuation of GGG taking over the last 3 rounds of the fight. That’s how I saw it live, but I didn’t think Golovkin dominated the round. I recall Alvarez digging deep and firing back.

I read where you have said, you also gave the 12th to GGG…and you also wrote “close” next to that round. Having seen it again, have you changed your mind? I still think the final round was competitive, and I still think Golovkin won it.

Frankly, the 12th round reminds me a bit of the first Bernard Hopkins/Jermaine Taylor fight where boxing desperately wanted Jermaine to become the new face of boxing as he was younger than Hopkins. Similarly, Taylor controlled the second half of the fight, but then Hopkins took over. And I recall Hopkins having a fairly decisive 12th round and the difference in the fight was that one of the judges gave Taylor the 12th round (which I don’t believe he deserved…Hopkins won it far more decisively than GGG did vs. Canelo) and thus took the belt away. I forgot that Hopkins’ historic middleweight title run came to an unsatisfying end via controversial split decision in Las Vegas (and I covered that fight, scored the bout 116-112 for B-Hop). GGG is in great company. Vegas judges were the bane of two other dominant middleweight champs, Hopkins and Marvin Hagler.

In addition, I am curious if you saw Jim Lampley’s final segment on GGG on The Fight Game. I haven’t seen it yet.

 

LINEAL HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP

Hi Doug,

Mike Coppinger wrote an article recently stating: “Lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury is the most notable fighter to test positive for cocaine in recent years.

Once a champion retires or, in Fury’s case, fails a drug test and inactivity, then surely they lose their right to the lineal title.

If not, if Lennox does comeback and fights Vitali Klitschko does the winner claim the title of Lineal Heavyweight Champ.

Does the Ring recognize Tyson as the Lineal Heavyweight Champ? – Andy

I can’t speak for The Ring or the Ring Ratings Panel, but I do consider Fury to be the lineal heavyweight champ. A lineal championship can only be lost in the ring, or if the lineal champ retires for a long enough period for another fighter in his division to emerge and earn universal/undisputed champion status.

Lineal champ or not, like it or not, this big goofy handful is back. Deal with it – at least until December 1.

Fury was out of the ring for more than two years, but he wasn’t “retired” for all that time (and nobody believed him when he said he was). He was in training (for the rematch with Klitschko) and then injured, and then he had his mental health issues, along with the lawsuit against UKAD and all that other drama, but for most of that time, he and the people who represented him hinted that the big lug would be back.

Now, if a heavyweight, say Joshua or Wilder, had unified all four major sanctioning organization belts while Fury was getting his s__t together, I think that unified champ could challenge the Gypsy King’s lineal status, but most fans and media would still want to see the undisputed champ fight the man who never lost his titles in the ring for universal recognition. That’s sort of how it was with Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali. Frazier had kicked so much ass while Ali was battling for his freedom in exile that even The Ring recognized him as the heavyweight champ. But as soon as Ali was able to return to the sport, the drums beat for the two undefeated heavyweights to settle matters in the ring. Despite all the time out of the ring, many still recognized Ali as the lineal champ. Maybe Joe even recognized him as the “real champ.” That’s why he fought so hard to beat him.

 

 

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