Sunday, October 21, 2018  |

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Dougie’s Friday mailbag (Billy Joe Saunders, Zolani Tete, Wilder-Fury)

Billy Joe Saunders boxed a perfect fight against David Lemieux. Photo / Hoganphotos
12
Oct

BILLY JOE SAUNDERS AND VADA

Hi Doug,

I find it hard to believe that Billy Joe Saunders has fans who defend him with the way he carries himself. I admit he looked great against David Lemieux, but I can’t stand the man personally.

Onto his cancelled fight, why do people seem to think what UKAD says matters? The fight was in the U.S., and it also doesn’t matter what WADA said when the guy signed up for VADA testing, as all credible fighters should. Fact is, he failed a test he signed up for. Everyone was in such a rush to condemn Canelo for (in my opinion) a more plausible excuse than Saunders and his nasal spray excuse. I have no sympathy for the guy, and not surprised the Massachusetts commission didn’t either, and probably wouldn’t in the future with what he said to them.

At least he isn’t holding the belt hostage anymore, and I seriously doubt he’ll win his lawsuit against the commission for lost wages. It’s his fault. Lastly, I find it ironic he was speaking so harshly against Canelo, now finds himself in this situation. What’s your take on all of this, Doug?

Thanks and have a great weekend. – Robert from Ashton, MD 

My take on Saunders’ situation is that I knew something like this would happen soon after Canelo’s clenbuterol scandal. I said so in a mailbag shortly after Canelo received his “temporary suspension” from the Nevada Athletic Commission and the Mexican star pulled out of the original May 5 rematch date with Gennady Golovkin.

Most of the boxing community realized that Canelo was going to receive a real suspension from the NAC by this point, and most thought it was a good thing that the commission had a “zero tolerance” policy even though they couldn’t prove that the two-division champ had cheated. My response was “that’s fine, but I hope you people – especially Canelo’s fellow prize fighters – realize and are OK with zero tolerance when it’s applied to others who test positive under unclear circumstances.”

From the April 6 Friday Mailbag:

Selfishly, I want to see the fight anyways but this helps set a precedent that there will be no tolerance for failing drug tests, even if you’re a super star who brings in the big money. I don’t think “zero tolerance” is ever a good precedent for any kind of regulating authority, tribunal or judicial system. I don’t want Canelo to be punished just because he’s famous and can help the NAC “send a message” to the world that they won’t be influenced by money and star power. I want Canelo to be punished if he’s guilty of cheating. And if he’s only guilty of screwing up, I think the punishment should fit his infraction. I don’t think it’s a good thing if he gets fined more money and gets a longer suspension than boxers that were clearly cheating or had WAY more potent PEDs in their system and had actually competed with these banned substances in their bodies.

But that’s just me. I realize that most of the boxing world wants Canelo’s head. That’s fine. They have a right to believe he’s “guilty AF,” as they would post on social media, but I hope those same fans and members of the media, as well as Canelo’s fellow boxers, understand that going forward, a positive drug test in boxing equals GUILTY in the court of public opinion – regardless of the type of banned substance(s) detected, the amount found, or any of the circumstances. Most hardcore heads are cool with this right now because a guy they hate (Canelo) is taking the brunt of this extremist mentality, but sooner or later (probably sooner), a boxer that they like, identify with and root for will fail a PED test and all the fans that hate their boy (or gal) will come out of the woodwork with the same lynch-mob mindset. Gee, won’t that be fun.

I’m going to be honest with you, even though I like BJS, I’ve enjoyed this current PED scandal because many of Saunders’ loud-and-proud fans were the same lynch-mob psychos that wanted Canelo strung up by the neck for his positive VADA test. I told them what would happen going forward and, sure enough, it happened sooner rather than later.

So, while I’m inclined to give Saunders the benefit of the doubt and I will assume that he’s innocent of purposely ingesting a banned stimulant, I’m not going to bother to defend him. After the s__t I took just for being rational and patient during the Canelo/clenbuterol saga, I’m never going to stick my neck out for a fighter who tests positive for ANYTHING. I’m just going to step back and let the fans attack each other. Most fans wanted it this way for Canelo, so they’re just going to have to accept it for everyone else. Those who condemned Canelo but try to stick up for other fighters that test positive for PEDs or banned substances are blatant hypocrites.

I find it hard to believe that Billy Joe Saunders has fans who defend him with the way he carries himself. God Bless the Brits, they put the “fanatic” in fan.

I admit he looked great against David Lemieux, but I can’t stand the man personally. He’s a total piece of s__t, but I recognize the man’s boxing talent and I don’t hate him.

Onto his cancelled fight, why do people seem to think what UKAD says matters? They’re delusional doofuses.

The fight was in the U.S., and it also doesn’t matter what WADA said when the guy signed up for VADA testing, as all credible fighters should. Exactly. WADA, UKAD and the BBBC had no jurisdiction over the Saunders-Andrade WBO middleweight title bout. The only testing agency that mattered was VADA. The only authorities that mattered were the Massachusetts athletic commission and the World Boxing Organization. I told the “Bill Joe Boneheads” this via Twitter when their boy first popped poz, but they wouldn’t listen.

Fact is, he failed a test he signed up for. That’s the bottom line. Right or wrong, that’s all that matters these days.

Everyone was in such a rush to condemn Canelo for (in my opinion) a more plausible excuse than Saunders and his nasal spray excuse. I don’t know if Canelo’s excuse was any more “plausible” than BJS’s, but you’re correct that the majority of the boxing community wanted him to hang for his “offense,” including many current and former pro boxers, most of whom have been very quiet in the wake of Saunders’ positive test. I wonder they that is?

I have no sympathy for the guy, and not surprised the Massachusetts commission didn’t either, and probably wouldn’t in the future with what he said to them. I can’t blame you or the Massachusetts commission.

At least he isn’t holding the belt hostage anymore, and I seriously doubt he’ll win his lawsuit against the commission for lost wages. It’s his fault. I agree 100%. May the best man – Demetrius Andrade or Walter Kautondokwa – win on Oct. 20.

 

WARREN’S WORLD

Hi Dougie,

How are you?

Just a quick question. Did you see the statement that Frank Warren put out regarding Billy Joe Saunders vacating his WBO title? I was wondering if The Ring was going to publish it, as was the case with Oscar De La Hoya’s letter to the media following Canelo vs GGG 2?

It certainly deserves to get as much ridicule, though whether anyone will read the whole piece is in doubt – it does drag on and on.

There are a couple of comical lines in it, however;

  1. BJS did not fail a drugs test at all!
  2. BJS gave up the title partly because of his respect for the WBO!

I think dear old Frank spent too much time with Don “Only in America” King in the 1990s… this can be titled, “Only in Warren’s World!”

Regards. – Jeremy, UK

Warren is just trying his best to put a positive spin on a f__ked-up situation, just like Golden Boy was with Canelo earlier this year. He’s trying to stick up for one of the stars of his stable. I’m not mad at him for that. I’d be saying the same s__t if I were in his position.  

(I feel for Frank. It can’t be easy being the promoter of Billy Joe Saunders. The WBO beltholder has all the talent, skill and ring smarts in the world. On a good night, I think he can beat elite middleweights, including Canelo, GGG and Daniel Jacobs. However, the guy’s an inconsistent, unreliable, unprofessional athlete and a complete bastard outside of the sport. Who can even keep count of the major fights he’s passed on or pulled out of or somehow cancelled? Most folks in Warren’s position would have abandoned the southpaw by now. Hell, some would have put a hit out on the bastard.)

 Anyway, no, I did not see Warren’s statement on BJS abdicating the WBO middleweight title. I have no problem posting it on RingTV.com, but what’s the point? The Andrade fight is off, the WBO 160-pound belt is out of the hands of Saunders and Warren, and both are going to miss out on A LOT of money. And there’s not a lot that either can do bout it.

 

BJS AND OXILOFRINE?

Hi Doug,

I emailed probably about 18 months ago or maybe more to say that I’d heard BJS had split from trainer Jimmy Tibbs as he wasn’t putting the work in and had started using PEDs to cut weight but I completely forgot about that while enjoying watching him dismantle Lemieux and thought nothing more of it until his latest antics. The interview on The Ring’s YouTube channel by Andrade’s manger was excellent and made a compelling argument about how he has managed to drop so much weight so quickly in the build up to his last two fights and backs up what I had heard. How accurate was that interview? Having no real knowledge of these drugs, various testing protocols, etc., I wasn’t sure how much of what he said was fact and how much was biased on behalf of his fighter.

If what he stated was fairly close to the truth (VADA ban all use of Oxilofrine where as in Britain it is only banned on fight night) it seems British fighters could be using this drug with no chance of being caught as long as they don’t use it on fight night. If true it casts a huge shadow on some superb British performances on foreign soil (and home) over the last few years. Also, if it is so powerful, how the hell can it not be banned during training.

Another if but surely BJS’s stablemate is using it in his prep for Wilder. Best regards. – Steffan, UK

Be careful with the assumptions and veiled accusations, Steffan. Tyson Fury is not training in the U.K., he’s training in Big Bear Lake, California, and it was confirmed on Wednesday that the lineal champ had enrolled in the WBC’s Clean Boxing Program, which subjects him to VADA testing.

The interview on The Ring’s YouTube channel by Andrade’s manger was excellent and made a compelling argument about how he has managed to drop so much weight so quickly in the build up to his last two fights and backs up what I had heard. How accurate was that interview? Victor Conte, who is not Andrade’s manager, but rather the owner of the American middleweight contender’s training facility (SNAC Gym), understands pretty much everything there is to know about performance-enhancing drugs, but his opinions on Saunders’ weigh-cutting methods is pure speculation (and not unbiased given that he’s connected to Team Andrade and a former opponent of BJS, Willie Monroe Jr.). Still, Cynthia Conte’s (no relation) interview with the fitness/nutrition guru is worth watching as Vic breaks down the situation and the drug that Saunders tested positive for in a comprehensive manner that no media member, boxer or fan could.

Having no real knowledge of these drugs, various testing protocols, etc., I wasn’t sure how much of what he said was fact and how much was biased on behalf of his fighter. Conte defined oxilofrine as a potent, “dream drug” for boxers, and from what I’ve read about the stimulant it does appear to have numerous benefits for combat athletes that have to make a certain weight. There’s no doubt that he’s advocating for Andrade in this particular situation but I’ve no reason to think that he’s exaggerating the benefits of oxilofrine – if he were, any drug or PED expert could go public and call bulls__t on him, but that hasn’t happened. What Conte said that can’t be disputed, however, is that BJS was guilty of violating the fight contract that he signed, because VADA testing was part of that contract and he didn’t follow VADA’s rules.

If what he stated was fairly close to the truth (VADA ban all use of Oxilofrine where as in Britain it is only banned on fight night) it seems British fighters could be using this drug with no chance of being caught as long as they don’t use it on fight night. This is true.

If true it casts a huge shadow on some superb British performances on foreign soil (and home) over the last few years. Yeah, I guess so, if you assume that they’ve all been using this particular drug.

Also, if it is so powerful, how the hell can it not be banned during training. That’s a good question. If it’s banned on fight night, why isn’t it banned during the fighter’s preparation for the bout? Obviously, it has performance-enhancing properties or it wouldn’t be banned at all. I think VADA’s got it right, and WADA and UKAD have got it wrong.

JOIN DAZN AND WATCH THE ANDRADE-KAUTONDOKWA MIDDLEWEIGHT TITLE FIGHT FOR FREE

ZOLANI TETE AND THE WBSS

Hi Doug,

I just love the WBSS! It is a better format than the Super Six was, the cruiserweights were thrilling to say the least and even with the glitches that the super middleweights had, it gave us at least two compelling, all-UK showdowns.

The bantamweight tournament that is currently kicking off can’t be any better.

What do you think of Zolani Tete’s opponent on Saturday, Mikhail Aloyan? As you can imagine there is a lot of buzz on this one in South Africa since everybody wants our man Tete in the final with Inoue who has made more than a few fans over here.

Aloyan is obviously there based on his amateur pedigree and he is trying to fast track his career like Inoue, Tanaka and Lomachenko but to me, he is not on their level of “special.” He is more in the Muhammad Waseem (whom I think is actually better) and Paddy Barnes mould.

He is awkward as hell though and has that same Omar Narvaez type in and out hit and run style over the first half of the fight and then he seems to change into a more aggressive mode once he feels confident that he can take his opponent’s power. I tell you what though, if he takes the uppercuts he took in his previous fights from Tete he is going home early.

The only way I think Aloyan stands a chance is if he makes it ugly and steals rounds while Tete waits for a knockout. Tete’s chin isn’t an anvil but Aloyan hasn’t got the power to concern him.

I do think that he represents a psychological banana peel for Tete though, as he has to guard against overlooking the Russian but I feel if he just boxes his normal style and look to time Aloyan on one of his rushes, he should either win a boring decision or knock Aloyan out if the Russian gets brave. I am hoping for the latter. How do you see it?

Would you agree that Tete has the better bracket to reach the finals? Asides from Inoue, I think Emmanuel Rodriguez is possibly his toughest opponent and he is in Inoue’s bracket. I have always favoured Tete over Ryan Burnett although it wouldn’t shock me if Donaire scores a come from behind KO. How do you have that one?

Naoya Inoue is rightfully the strong favourite to win the whole thing but he does have small chinks in his armour. Has he ever really been whacked by a puncher like Tete and what will he do when that happens? I guess we can leave that discussion for later since there is still a lot of water that need to flow under the bridge before we get there.

Mythical Matchup: David Tua vs Tony Galento

Keep up the good work, the mailbag remains a highly informative and entertaining forum. Regards. – Droeks Malan, South Africa

Thanks, Droeks.

I’ll go with Tua by late TKO in a good heavyweight scrap.

Zolani Tete

I like Tete over the Armenian-Russian amateur standout for the same reasons you favor your countryman. The defending WBO titleholder has the decided edge in pro experience, athleticism, height and reach. However, Aloyan, a two-time world amateur champ and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist, is awkward (as you mentioned). He’s also got good footwork and sense of distance, plus he appears to be rugged as a gunny sack of rusty nails. I won’t be shocked of he goes the distance with Tete.

If the fight is as dreadful (or even half as bad) as Tete-Narvaez, I won’t be a happy camper.

Would you agree that Tete has the better bracket to reach the finals? I think so. E-Rod is the dark horse of the tournament in my view, third behind The Monster

Tete and Emmanuel Rodriguez. Photo by World Boxing Super Series

and the Last Born. I’m looking forward to Inoue-Rodriguez as much as I am Inoue-Tete.

Asides from Inoue, I think Emmanuel Rodriguez is possibly his toughest opponent and he is in Inoue’s bracket. True. If Inoue makes it to the final, he will have earned it.

I have always favoured Tete over Ryan Burnett although it wouldn’t shock me if Donaire scores a come from behind KO. How do you have that one? I don’t count the veteran out, but he’s a question mark at this stage of his career and at this weight. I have to favor Burnett, even if it’s only slightly.

Naoya Inoue is rightfully the strong favourite to win the whole thing but he does have small chinks in his armour. Very small. I’m not sure any 118 pounder, even one as good at Tete, can exploit them, but time will tell.

Has he ever really been whacked by a puncher like Tete and what will he do when that happens? Good question. I don’t think he has, and I can’t wait to find out how he reacts when he is nailed by world-class hitter.

I guess we can leave that discussion for later since there is still a lot of water that need to flow under the bridge before we get there. Yep, and it’s all worth watching.

 

WILDER-FURY

Hi Dougie,

I am an ardent admirer of your column from across the pond in the UK. I have a question for you regarding Wilder/Fury, I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and he said all Fury has to do is move to his right and therefore Wilder’s left all night long thus avoiding Wilders right hand and if you negate Wilder’s honey punch he is extremely beatable. Now I am a Brit and therefore hope Fury wins but I do see some flaws with this argument. Wilder’s boxing acumen is often questioned but I looked at some stats from Compubox released before the Ortiz fight that compared Wilder and Ortiz’s previous 7 fights. Wilders stats stated that he landed with an average of 42% of his overall punches as opposed to a heavyweight average of 33% and Ortiz’s 27%, he connected with an average of 34% of jabs as compared to a heavyweight average of 25% and Ortiz’s 14% and connected with an average of 56% of power punches as opposed to a heavyweight average of 40% an Ortiz’s average of 43%. These stats surprised me somewhat and seem to suggest that Wilder is more than just a right-hand happy power puncher and also considering he is so accurate with his punches he must be moving his feet pretty well, cutting the ring off well and pressurizing well. Another thing about these stats that stood out was that Wilder was actually throwing less punches but still connecting more meaning that he is more efficient and therefore it seems logical that he will conserve more energy throughout the fight which could suggest that he will carry his power throughout the fight.

I can see the possibility of Fury moving predominantly to his right and moving away from Wilders right hand but I also prescribe to the old adage that at some point in the bout a fight will break out and both boxers will get hit and after looking at these stats I am even more convinced that Wilder has a better ring IQ and boxing smarts than I or others give him credit for. People point to the fact that Fury completely bamboozled Klitschko and can do that again but apart from the obvious argument that he has had so many out of the ring problems and has been inactive for a long period I see another flaw in this argument. Klitschko is a methodical fighter and strategist who thinks about his game plan in advance and also thinks a lot in the ring and I think Fury got Klitschko so baffled by his antics during the build up and in the ring that he suffered some sort of mental freeze and tried so hard to figure Fury out that he just couldn’t throw anything, but Wilder isn’t that kind of fighter he is a lot more spontaneous and more of a natural fighter as opposed to a thinking boxer so I just don’t think that Wilder will get psyched out by Fury like Klitshko did. Despite Fury being touted as a master boxer I think there are flaws granted he is a good mover for a big man but when he attacks I think he gets square on too much and leaves his chin exposed so my prediction for what it’s worth is Wilder to win by knockout around round 10, your thoughts please.

MM:

Presuming all historical fighters in their prime:

Tyson vs Wilder

Tyson vs Joshua

Lewis vs Joshua

Lewis vs Wilder

Lewis vs Frazier

Frazier vs Joshua

Regards. – Ian

I’ll go with Tyson by early-to-mid rounds TKO over Wilder or Joshua, Lewis by mid-rounds KO over Bronze Bomber and AJ, and Frazier by mid-to-late rounds TKO of Lewis and Joshua.

Regarding Wilder-Fury, I favor the American puncher who does indeed possess more ring generalship than many give him credit for – by mid-to-late TKO, but I won’t count out your countryman or be shocked if he frustrates the hell out of Wilder en route to a clear decision.

Yes, Wilder’s got impressive CompuBox stats, but those stats have not come against heavyweights that have anything in common with Fury in terms of style, talent or size. Wilder’s never had deal with an opponent as big, mobile, versatile, crafty and confident as Fury.

 

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