Wednesday, October 24, 2018  |

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Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Naoya Inoue fever, WBSS, Beterbiev-Johnson, WBC)

Monster Mania is here. Naoya Inoue has the attention of hardcore boxing fans around the world - and for good reason! Photo / Naoki Fuuda
08
Oct

WORLD BOXING SUPER SERIES, BETERBIEV-JOHNSON

What a terrific weekend in the sweet science:

The WBSS is the absolute best. Instead of purse bids and whining over A-side crap, they just get in the ring and take on the best fighters at their weight. We know who they fight next. And the fights keep coming. Kudos to Eddie Hearn/DAZN/Perform for bringing it to the masses as it deserves. We don’t get to take a breath from the opening salvo as Zolani Tete and Andrew Tabiti take the stage this weekend.

The Monster Naoya Inoue–Damn. What can be said? Reminiscent of Jermell Charlo-Erickson Lubin. What a shot. Knockout power is so rare for little guys that he looks like a very special fighter.

Daniel Roman–looked very impressive. I think he continues to get stronger and improves his game.

Relikh vs Troyanovsky–Relikh looked terrible. I thought he was a live dog at 140 after beating Barthelemy officially, but that moment has passed. Maybe there was more to Troyo than being caught cold vs Indongo.

Johnson-Beterbiev–I know you loved this with your passion for the brutal side of the sweet science. Brought the myth of Beterbiev better in line with reality, and I see Bivol handling him. It also makes me want to see Johnson in the ring again. That left hook makes him live vs anyone at that weight.

On a weekend like this… (Nery, Big Baby, etc. fighting this weekend), are you able to watch all the fights?

MM:

Mickey Ward vs Relikh, Baranchyk, Taylor, Prograis?

Keep up the excellent work. – Donavan

I gotta go with Irish Micky over Relikh and Baranchyk via hard-fought late-rounds KOs (probably from lefts to the livers of the Belarusian bangers), Taylor over Ward by narrow points verdict (especially if the fight is in Scotland), and Ward by come-from-behind stoppage against Prograis (probably in a Fight of the Year candidate).

I agree with everything you said about the World Boxing Super Series. The tournaments have put the “sport” back into professional boxing (at least in a few weight classes), which far too often puts the business side first.

The Monster Naoya Inoue–Damn. What can be said? I think “Damn!” sums up his opening-round-one-two-combo quitter of Juan Carlos Payano pretty well. That was some pound-for-pound player s__t.

Bam! Payano is instantly paralyzed after tasting Inoue’s laser-like right hand. Photo / Naoki Fukuda

Reminiscent of Jermell Charlo-Erickson Lubin. My brotha, what Inoue did was soooooooooo much more impressive. Not to take anything away from Charlo’s 2017 KO-of-the-year candidate, but Payano is a battle-tested former world titleholder known for his solid chin. Lubin was an unproven prospect who already had questions about his whiskers going into his first title bout. Inoue’s first-round blasting of Payano should be a front-runner for 2018 KO of the Year.

What a shot. Near perfection. That jab was surgical, the right hand was lethal.

Knockout power is so rare for little guys that he looks like a very special fighter. Inoue is definitely very special, but KO power among little guys isn’t that rare. Former pound-for-pound players lighter than Inoue is now – from Finito Lopez and Too Sharp Johnson to Chocolatito Gonzalez – were known for their punching prowess, especially during their primes. Two of the greatest bantamweights ever – Mexico icons Ruben Olivares and Carlos Zarate – were all about them KOs.

Daniel Roman–looked very impressive. I think he continues to get stronger and improves his game. He’s currently The Ring’s No. 4-rated junior featherweight, only behind Isaac Dogboe, Guillermo Rigondeaux and Rey Vargas, and I think he could give any of the top three a tough fight (especially the Mexican string bean as it seems as though Roman does well with taller opponents). I’d love it if he were able to secure a title-unification bout with any of the other beltholders but would also enjoy watching him take on top contenders like Diego De La Hoya and Jesse Magdaleno.

Relikh vs Troyanovsky–Relikh looked terrible. I thought he was a live dog at 140 after beating Barthelemy officially, but that moment has passed. Maybe there was more to Troyo than being caught cold vs Indongo. Troyanovsky is a very solid boxer-technician best described as “pesky.” I do not enjoy watching the Russian fight. Relikh is nothing too special but he can make for entertaining junior welterweight fights if matched right.

Beterbiev-Johnson. Photo / @DAZN_US

Johnson-Beterbiev–I know you loved this with your passion for the brutal side of the sweet science. Who doesn’t love a good shootout in boxing? I think if Johnson entered the IBF title shot with more a gunslinger’s mentality he may have been able to pull off a HUGE upset. As it is, I still want to see him fight again. I think the British bomber matches well with fringe bangers like Vyacheslav Shabranskyy and Umar Salamov.

Brought the myth of Beterbiev better in line with reality, and I see Bivol handling him. I’ve never been that high on Beterbiev but I was impressed with how well he kept his composure when he got cracked and dropped. I liked his easy going nature during the post-fight interview as well. I would also favor Bivol to beat him (felt that way before the Johnson fight), but I think it would be a good scrap. Beterbiev vs. any of the 175-poud beltholders makes for an excellent, entertaining fight.

It also makes me want to see Johnson in the ring again. That left hook makes him live vs anyone at that weight. I don’t agree with that, but I think Johnson is made for TV.

On a weekend like this… (Nery, Big Baby, etc. fighting this weekend), are you able to watch all the fights? No, that’s impossible with the different time zones, my access to the cards, and family schedule, but I usually get around to watching replays of all the major fights I missed live by Sunday night. I still haven’t seen the Nery fight.

 

THE MONSTER AND THE BEAST

Hi Dougie, hope all is well!

One man’s sense of invincibility has been broken, the other’s enhanced. Callum Johnson was a gold medal winner at the Commonwealth level so no chopped liver and he exposed what was an opening that he could not fully capitalise on? I would love to see a WBSS 175-pound tourney?

Beterbiev v Bivol was talked about by Hearn afterwards! Who do you think takes that one?

Inoue, I mean…his power hasn’t just carried up it seems to have enhanced? Does this happen often? I know its early doors but who do you see giving him problems. Burnet can’t crack an egg and I think you need some pop with guys like that. Donaire is a quantity unknown at this weight at this time? I don’t know much about the other dude, so I suppose Tete has the best chance? It’s going to be interesting to say the least. The WBSS is turning into something special. Kind regards. – Rob

The WBSS is boxing done right. It was one of the bright spots of 2018 and the season two finals of the 140- and 118-pound tournaments are something to look forward to in 2019. The winners will not only be legit unified/Ring champs but also fighters with real star potential.

One man’s sense of invincibility has been broken, the other’s enhanced. Was Beterbiev really viewed by fans and media as “invincible”? I certainly didn’t think so. And I don’t know if Johnson’s rep was or status was “enhanced,” but he at least got some quality exposure to U.S. fans.

Callum Johnson was a gold medal winner at the Commonwealth level so no chopped liver and he exposed what was an opening that he could not fully capitalise on? Johnson made Beterbiev look vulnerable (to a degree), that’s for sure, but yeah, he didn’t have the mindset or the ability to finish the job after he dropped the rugged Russian.

I would love to see a WBSS 175-pound tourney. Who wouldn’t? Alvarez, Stevenson, Bivol, Beterbiev, Jack, Kovalev, Gvozdyk and Barrera (or Browne) would make a pretty awesome tournament. Even one made up of fringe contenders and prospects, such as Joe Smith Jr., Seanie Monaghan, Mike Lee, Anthony Yarde, Ali Akhmedov, Eric Bazinyan, Umar Salamov and Adam Deines would be a lot of fun.

Beterbiev v Bivol was talked about by Hearn afterwards! Who do you think takes that one? Bivol.

Monster mashed. Inoue literally flattened Payano. Photo / Naoki Fukuda

Inoue, I mean…his power hasn’t just carried up it seems to have enhanced? I think it has.

Does this happen often? Sure, it does, especially when a young fighter moves up to a more natural weight just as his body is maturing and he’s entering his athletic prime.

I know its early doors but who do you see giving him problems. Inoue’s promoter, Hideyuki Ohashi (a former 105-pound titleholder) described IBF beltholder Emmanuel Rodriguez as Inoue’s “strongest rival in the tournament” during an exclusive interview with The Ring.

I agree that former youth amateur standout from Puerto Rico is the “spoiler” or “dark horse” of the tournament, but I view WBO king Zolani Tete as Inoue’s most formidable potential opponent.

Burnet can’t crack an egg and I think you need some pop with guys like that. Donaire is a quantity unknown at this weight at this time? True. We’ll find out what the 35-year-old Filipino Flash has at 118 pounds when he challenges Burnett, and we’ll find out more about the young Belfast beltholder, too.

I don’t know much about the other dude, so I suppose Tete has the best chance? We’ll see. There’s a reason they fight the fights.

It’s going to be interesting to say the least. Very interesting.

 

MONSTER MANIA

Hey Dougie,

Hope you had a good weekend. The Monster was spectacular today! I was trying to rack my brain to think of another boxer within the last 50 years who had 1 hitter quitter power at such a light weight class. I’m sure you’ll probably come up with one, but it is an extremely rare thing to witness. I still don’t think we’ve seen enough of him to know just how good of a boxer he is. But his power is extraordinary, and it seems like he’s beginning to intimidate fighters even before they touch gloves. Who would have thought that was even possible at 118 Lbs??

My question is how high do you think he can go? At 5’5″, I don’t really see him going beyond junior featherweight. What do you think?

And fair warning for everyone who regularly comments in the Disqus section down below. I am officially fanboying about the Monster the same way that a certain Monsieur from our friendly neighbor to the north was with GGG. So, if I read anything critical about Inoue, you can fully expect me to post my address and challenge you to settle our dispute mano a mano…just like our Canadian friend. Kidding, of course. But not really. Hahaha.

Thanks Doug. – Charlie U. – Long Island, New York

With Inoue’s current accomplishments, ever-building momentum and vast potential, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be a senior member of The Monster Cult. That’s just the way boxing fandom goes these days. No judgement, though. I’m definitely on the Inoue bandwagon

The Monster was spectacular today! Inoue is living up to (perhaps even exceeding) his very high expectations, which is a good thing for his career and for boxing. The sport needs all the bona-fide phenoms it can get.

Ricardo Lopez lands a left to Zolani Petelo in the final bout of his career on Sept. 29, 2001, in New York City.

I was trying to rack my brain to think of another boxer within the last 50 years who had 1 hitter quitter power at such a light weight class. Ricardo Lopez, Michael Carbajal and Humberto “Chiquita” Gonzalez were all known for their formidable offense at 105 pounds (Finito’s prime weight) and 108 (where Carbajal and Gonzalez ruled). Mark Johnson and Danny Romero were known for their punching prowess at 112 pounds. Nonito Donaire “flashed” scary power from 112-118. You don’t have to go back half a century, but you’re correct in assuming that Inoue’s brand of knockout power is rare, especially for a sub-featherweight.  

I still don’t think we’ve seen enough of him to know just how good of a boxer he is. He was a good amateur and he’s not a reckless puncher. He sets up his KOs with expert timing and calculating precision. I think he’s an excellent technician and probably a good boxer, but we’ll find out how good once he’s forced to go the distance with fellow elite fighter. It might happen during the WBSS tournament.  

But his power is extraordinary, and it seems like he’s beginning to intimidate fighters even before they touch gloves. Who would have thought that was even possible at 118 Lbs? It’s not unheard of at bantamweight. Mexico has a proud tradition of banite badasses going back to the glory years of Ruben Olivares, Carlos Zarate and Lupe Pintor, and in more recent decades, Rafael Marquez and Jhonny Gonzalez.

Will Inoue become a force above bantamweight? Photo / Naoki Fukuda

My question is how high do you think he can go? At 5’5″, I don’t really see him going beyond junior featherweight. What do you think? Just before he left the 115-pound division, I was told by Japanese insiders that have known Inoue since his amateur days that he would only make pit-stops bantamweight and junior featherweight before settling in at featherweight. They tell me we won’t see Inoue at his best until he fights at 122 and 126 pounds. I don’t know if those predictions will come true, but I do believe that Inoue is just now entering his prime.

 

 

 

THE WBC PRESIDENT

Hi Dougie,

I’m an avid reader of your column; first time writer though!

My question is regarding the people in charge of the different boxing organizations. I only seem to hear about WBC prez Mauricio Sulaimán and that is because he seems to give his opinions on various topics and they make headlines. I have to say from the articles I have read he seems very bias towards Canelo. For something that couldn’t be definitively proven either way (but was highly suspicious), he seemed to defend Canelo to the hilt regarding the tainted meat scandal. I find this very odd, as I would have thought a head of an organization like that should remain as impartial as possible, especially for something which is so serious and detrimental to our sport.

Let’s just say when Canelo got his wish for a voluntary defense and GGG/Charlo got blocked for the trilogy re-match/mandatory respectively and they got asked to fight one another for a WBC final eliminator instead of having a direct crack, I wasn’t in the least bit surprised! That is a match I’d love to see btw but that’s beside the point. Now that I’ve mentioned it though, I still think there’s enough fight in the old dog to outpoint a very dangerous, prime Charlo. Absolutely fascinating match up and you could actually argue for any combination of outcomes, much like the Canelo fight.

So back on topic; could you tell me who the heads of the other boxing organizations and why don’t I hear much about them in the news? How did Mr Sulaiman end up getting this gig and what are his boxing credentials? I’ve got nothing against the man and he could have done an incredible job in boxing, which is a shame, as I just haven’t heard about it. And I’ve now formed an opinion solely based on the articles that I read, so maybe you can set me straight and give me a more balanced view!

I have a lot more to ask you on various topics but I don’t want to waffle on for too long. So much to look forward to from now until year end; this is a hell of a time to be a boxing fan. Thanks very much for your mailbag; that’s my hallowed quiet time with feet up & coffee every Friday & Monday lunch times! Bliss.

  1. Wilder v Fury is not one of those I’m looking forward to; mark my words it will be an absolute stinker… It sure won’t stop me watching it though! 🙂 – Rob from Chester, England

Spoken like a true boxing fan. Thanks for the kind words, Chester, and for finally writing into the mailbag column.

Could you tell me who the heads of the other boxing organizations and why don’t I hear much about them in the news? Sure, it’s no secret who they are (a simple Google search would reveal the heads of the other three organizations), and while they aren’t as prominent as Mauricio, they don’t hide from boxing fans or the media.

Left to right: Darryl Peoples (IBF), Gilberto Mendoza Jr. (WBA), and Paco Valcarcel (WBO).

Gilberto J. Mendoza Jr. is the president of the oldest sanctioning body, the WBA. His father, Gilberto Mendoza, was president of the Panama-based organization from 1982-2015. He’s very passionate about boxing and the fighters and somebody I’ve always liked and admired. You can follow him on Twitter @GilbertoWBA and the WBA @WBABoxing.

Daryl Peoples is the president of the IBF, the only U.S.-based sanctioning organization (New Jersey). He’s an excellent administrator who started out with the organization in 2005 and worked his way through its ranks (which includes the USBA) until elected president in 2010. You can follow Daryl on Twitter @DPBOXING; you can follow the IBF @IBFUSBoxing.

Paco Valcarcel is the president of the WBO, which is based in Puerto Rico and the youngest of the four major sanctioning bodies (established in 1988). He’s well liked and respected throughout the boxing world. (And I believe that he’s been the president of the organization since its inception.) You can follow him on Twitter @PacoValcarcel; you can follow the WBO @WorldBoxingOrg.

How did Mr Sulaiman end up getting this gig and what are his boxing credentials? You could say he “inherited” the WBC mantle from his father, but he was elected (as was Mendoza). Mauricio’s father, Jose Sulaiman, was a boxing commissioner in Mexico who joined the WBC during it’s first decade of operation (the 1960s) and was elected president in 1975, an office he held until his death in 2014. During Don Jose’s reign he placed an importance on fighter safety and enacted several initiatives to address the issue, including the reduction of championship rounds from 15 to 12, moving weigh-ins to the previous day, forming a world medical congress and funding brain injury research programs. However, Don Jose did not have a good relationship with the media, especially the American press, which viewed him as a pawn of powerful promoter Don King during the 1980 and ‘90s and often ripped the WBC in articles, columns and books. I think Mauricio, who practically grew up in boxing, wants to forge a better relationship between the WBC and the media, which is why he does so many interviews and holds so many press functions. Personally, I think he’s doing a good job, and I commend his Clean Boxing Program partnership with VADA. It’s not a perfect effort but it’s an important step in the right direction.

I only seem to hear about WBC prez Mauricio Sulaimán and that is because he seems to give his opinions on various topics and they make headlines. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing. Do you?

I have to say from the articles I have read he seems very bias towards Canelo. Well, they’ve had their spats in the past, but it shouldn’t come as any surprise that a sanctioning organization based in Mexico City would be close and supportive of Mexico’s biggest star.

For something that couldn’t be definitively proven either way (but was highly suspicious), he seemed to defend Canelo to the hilt regarding the tainted meat scandal. Sulaiman lives in Mexico and believes the tainted meat problem there is real and prevalent. Did you think he was going to condemn Canelo without irrefutable proof?

I find this very odd, as I would have thought a head of an organization like that should remain as impartial as possible, especially for something which is so serious and detrimental to our sport. OK, first of all why would you expect the president of the WBC to be impartial? It’s a SANCTIONING ORGANIZATION, not a news agency or judicial institution. Their BUSINESS is sanctioning title bouts. They don’t make any money without prominent fighters holding their belts. Second, please don’t be one of these sanctimonious boxing fans that are only concerned about PED use in boxing when it comes to Canelo Alvarez (or boxers they don’t like). To date, I have not received a SINGLE email about the positive VADA test of Billy Joe Saunders, nor have I heard a single fan or pundit ask why Tyson Fury is not enrolled in the WBC’s CBP/VADA program. It’s extremely frustrating and disappointing when boxing fans (and media and insiders) only think about a clean sport when it’s convenient or when it pushes their agendas and biases. So, nothing personal, Rob, but you can miss me with your concern about the WBC’s “blind spot” for Canelo’s positive clenbuterol test.

Let’s just say when Canelo got his wish for a voluntary defense and GGG/Charlo got blocked for the trilogy re-match/mandatory respectively and they got asked to fight one another for a WBC final eliminator instead of having a direct crack, I wasn’t in the least bit surprised! Neither was I, nor was I/am I bothered by the WBC’s rulings. The fighters don’t have to follow these mandates if they don’t want to. GGG could have f__ked off the Canelo rematch (and he nearly did) and fought Charlo instead, and he doesn’t have to fight Charlo next if he doesn’t want to. What’s the WBC going to do about it? Strip him? Oh right…

 

THE MAYWEATHERS AS TRAINERS

Hi Doug,

Short and sweet: Have either senior Mayweather, Floyd or Roger, ever brought a fighter up from scratch besides PBF Jr? I think they’re overrated as trainers… Be good. – Alan

I watched both Roger and Floyd Sr. train fighters in the gym back in the day (late ‘90s/early 2000s). Roger is a good trainer (especially with fundamentals and offense). Floyd Sr. is excellent (especially with conditioning and defense, although he’s not for everybody).

Roger trained the late Vernon Forrest and Jessie Vargas in amateurs, and he started Vargas out in the professional ranks (maybe his first 14 or 15 pro bouts). I’m sure there are other solid pros that Roger has trained, but this is just off the top of my head.

Mayweather Sr. did very well with Oscar De La Hoya, Chad Dawson and Stevie Forbes. He did OK during his stint with Francisco Bojado, too. I believe he started Mickey Bey out and was the former amateur standout/IBF lightweight titleholder’s primary trainer.

I think Jeff is a decent trainer.

Schmucks want to believe that I hate the Mayweathers just because I think Floyd Jr. is a douche bag, but I give credit where it is due. The Mayweathers know boxing. If one of my daughters wanted to learn how to box, I would have no problem with Senior, Roger (if he were healthy enough) or Jazzy Jeff teaching them the basics (just as long as the lessons don’t take place at the Mayweather Boxing Club in Vegas).

 

 

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