Monday, September 16, 2019  |

News

Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Canelo-Rocky, DAZN, multi-division champ legitimacy)

Alvarez connects with one of his many lefts to the body against Fielding. Photo by Tom Hogan
17
Dec

BOXING IS IN GOOD HANDS WITH DAZN AND CANELO

Hello Doug,

Hope everything’s well with you and your family. I watched the Canelo Alvarez-Rocky Fielding telecast on DAZN and was very satisfied with the production quality and overall feel of the platform. It made me feel good about the future of the sport if they’re the ones that are filling HBO’s empty shoes. Minus a couple of sound hiccups during some of the interviews, I found that these guys seem to know what they’re doing. I loved that every interview with Canelo and Anthony Joshua didn’t stray away from uncomfortable topics like Wilder and GGG. They pressed them for an answer, especially Joshua, who seemed to be as evasive as ever.

Canelo was predictably explosive and strong. We’ve already seen him in this weight class vs Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (at least technically speaking), so we kinda knew he feels better here. He’s a big dude for 5-foot-9, so I’m guessing he’s probably going to stay in this weight class and make everybody go after him eventually.

His opponent was who we expected, a picked softy to showcase him to a new audience (Madison Square Garden) and a new platform. He did need a breather after two tough fights against GGG.

Speaking of Joshua, after hearing him speak I kinda feel that Wilder might be the one telling the truth. Joshua seemed evasive and arrogant with his position in the negotiations. He defended it by talking about dumb details as what the cost of a commentator and the lighting system in the arena are and how they take away from the overall amount of money Wilder and Fury got in their pockets. I think Joshua wants to let this marinate more. I look for him to fight a nobody in MSG before fighting Fury or Wilder.

My gut feel is that Canelo won’t fight GGG next. I think they’ll go for Danny Jacobs. Hope that fight gets made as I rather see some different matchups. With GGG and Canelo we pretty much already know the result, a Canelo win. If GGG didn’t get the nod in these two close fights he seemed to win, he will never get a win against this guy no matter what.   He’s getting older and Canelo is in his prime, don’t see it going any different.

For the record I thought Usyk was the fighter of the year and my favorite fight was Fury-Wilder. Thanks, and happy holidays! – Juan Valverde

Happy Holidays to you, Juan, and to everyone who reads and submits emails to the mailbag (even to the crackpots that constantly rip on me and The Ring in the comment section below). This column wouldn’t exist without you fine folks.

My favorite fight live was Sor Rungvisai-Estrada. My favorite fight from TV was Hurd-Lara. I thought Canelo-GGG2 was the most significant and evenly matched fight between elite boxers in 2018.

Is there anyone who DOESN’T think Aleksandr Usyk is 2018 Fighter of the Year? If there is, they better remain quiet.

I watched the Canelo Alvarez-Rocky Fielding telecast on DAZN and was very satisfied with the production quality and overall feel of the platform. I covered the fight from inside MSG and I haven’t had time to watch a replay on my DAZN app, but I’m glad to hear you approve of stream and overall production. I know that you’re not always easy to please.

It made me feel good about the future of the sport if they’re the ones that are filling HBO’s empty shoes. That’s high praise.

Minus a couple of sound hiccups during some of the interviews, I found that these guys seem to know what they’re doing. I loved that every interview with Canelo and Anthony Joshua didn’t stray away from uncomfortable topics like Wilder and GGG. I think Chris Mannix did most of the interviews, no? Mannix is a real sports writer/reporter/journalist. He doesn’t screw around.

Canelo was predictably explosive and strong. He’s not as athletically gifted as prime Shane Mosley, but the Mexican star is the definition of a “Power Boxer.” I think even Jack Mosley would agree. He’s not just fast and powerful, he’s got masterful timing, technique and accuracy.

We’ve already seen him in this weight class vs Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (at least technically speaking), so we kinda knew he feels better here. He might feel better fighting above the middleweight limit, but I think he’s at his best weighing in at 159 or 160.

He’s a big dude for 5-foot-9, so I’m guessing he’s probably going to stay in this weight class and make everybody go after him eventually. Top middleweights would gladly go up in weight to get a crack at Canelo – and guys like Daniel Jacobs could probably carry the extra weight better than him – but I don’t think he wants to abdicate his 160-pound titles, so I expect him to drop back down unless there’s a really good super middleweight bout to be made (such as a showdown with Callum Smith).

His opponent was who we expected, a picked softy to showcase him to a new audience (Madison Square Garden) and a new platform. I admit I was surprised by the NYC turnout for Canelo. If you’d asked me last week how many butts he’d put in the seat at MSG, I’d have told you 10,000 tops. To attract 20,000 for his first appearance there is impressive. Even Felix Trinidad and Miguel Cotto had to work their way up to sellout numbers in The Garden.

He did need a breather after two tough fights against GGG. He can’t catch a break with Boxing Twitter, but I agree with you, three months was too soon to face a killer after going 12 hard rounds with Golovkin in September. Now, if his next opponent is a huge underdog, I’ll be just fine with all the social media criticism.

I think Joshua wants to let (a Wilder fight) marinate more. Time is on his side.

I look for him to fight a nobody in MSG before fighting Fury or Wilder. I would probably cover that fight with interest.

My gut feel is that Canelo won’t fight GGG next. I think most hardcore fans are OK with that. As excellent as their matchup is, I think there’s a lot of Canelo-Golovkin burnout from all the controversy, drama and hate that occurred between bouts Nos. 1 and 2.

I think they’ll go for Danny Jacobs. Hope that fight gets made as I rather see some different matchups. Same here, and I think most fans (the diehards, anyway) agree with us. Canelo-Jacobs is a tough matchup to call.

With GGG and Canelo we pretty much already know the result, a Canelo win. He’d probably be a slight odds favorite in a third match and a lot of fans and media would pick him. But many fans and media would pick against him – even if it’s out of spite. There would still be a lot of interest in a third bout and I don’t think people would count GGG out.

If GGG didn’t get the nod in these two close fights he seemed to win, he will never get a win against this guy no matter what. He’s getting older and Canelo is in his prime, don’t see it going any different. It’s not just that Golovkin is getting older (and, mind you, I view him like a Mike McCallum or Bernard Hopkins – still a badass in his mid-30s and capable of beating most world-class middleweights), it’s that Canelo is getting better. Canelo seems to improve and show us more wrinkles to his craft on a fight-by-fight basis.

 

DREADFUL DAZN BROADCAST

Dear Dougie:

I emailed a few months ago about how I only tune in to the megafights and how disappointed I was in the Fury match vs. that Swiss tomato can and you said to watch a broader range of matches as there are some great fights out there that aren’t just the mega-fights.

So I tuned into the DAZN show on Saturday night where everyone knew Canelo would curbstomp Rocky.

But I wanted to watch the undercard as I felt that a new network would want to show quality fights up-and-down the card to prove the value of the subscription.

I have to admit the fights and broadcasters outside of Brian Kenny were nearly awful. I’d rate it as a D-minus night. Sugar Ray was beyond horrific – Brian would set up him to offer expertise and time after time Leonard was unable to spit anything out AT ALL, and when he could he’d just repeat a word that Brian said (“Yeah, he is good”) or contradict himself (“Yes, I agree wholeheartedly with you” and then offer analysis that contradicts Brian). Brian’s knowledge was impeccable – how does he know what month and date such and such happened 20 years ago? Then as a professional he throws it over to the color guy who offered less than nothing.

And that woman in the striped pants was putrid. And the two jokers who did that clothes buying segment were stupid and unnecessary in a BOXING broadcast.

Announcing grade: F

Brian Kenny grade: A

Honestly, I fell asleep during the undercard until the Forest match. The gooning clown fighting Ryan Garcia shouldn’t have been within 50 miles of MSG.

If fighters make fights, Herrera never should have been allowed on TV. BOOOOOOOORRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING. Of course this fight went the distance – and pushed the real action until way too late in the night. Ali as a hometown boy is a nice story – but the announcers spitting out their 2-3 talking points over an hour with nothing else to add in a fight that shouldn’t have been made anyway (doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t know already about either fighter) made it a snooze fest.

The Farmer fight was good as I hadn’t seen him before. But already 2 hours in and waking up from a slumber it was hard to get excited again. Then Canelo started so late … the hype and excitement were lost on me.

Undercard: D-minus

Forest match: A

Main event (don’t give me that crap about co-main event, everyone was there for Canelo): A. We knew what was going to happen – at least we got more than 1 round and gained information on Canelo (e.g. he can handle the extra weight).

All-in-all, though, it was a waste of a Saturday night. DAZN needs to offer MUCH better undercard matches – especially when the main event outcome is pre-determined – and announcing talent (save Kenny). – Ben

Tell us how you REALLY feel, Ben.

Seriously, I’m sorry you had such a miserable experience, so allow me to give you a little advice and a couple suggestions for going forward.

First, a reminder: You don’t HAVE to watch every fight on a boxing broadcast or stream. Just because a promoter or network chooses to televise or stream an entire card doesn’t mean each bout is going to be an even contest or an entertaining scrap. (If they don’t offer up the entire card, hardcore fans complain.)

Had you asked me what to look for on the Canelo-Rocky undercard last week, I would have told you to check out Vergil Ortiz because I think he’s going to make a lot of noise at 140 pounds next year and 2020, and I would have told you that the Lemieux-Johnson crossroads middleweight clash would steal the show in terms of back-and-forth action. (Unfortunately, the NYSAC put the kibosh on Ortiz’s bout because he’d undergone an eye procedure in October, and Lemieux’s battle with the scale finally overwhelmed him.) I would not have talked up Ali-Herrera as much as I like both boxers. That just wasn’t a good style matchup.

Anyway, if you’re not a boxing writer and you don’t have to pen a deadline piece on what you’re watching, why do so if the fights are putting you to sleep? There’s gotta be something else on TV that you can watch for 20-30 minutes before checking back with the boxing show. I occasionally go to boxing telecast get-togethers with friends and this is what we do when a boring fight is on or the broadcast is just stalling between bouts.  

Second, you could have tried the Spanish broadcast if the English speakers were bugging you so much.

Having said that, I think you make a good point that the fight card dragged on (can you imagine how long it would have been if the Ortiz and Lemmy vs. Tureano bouts had remained?) and I think DAZN and it’s boxing partners (in this case GBP and Matchroom) should do two things going forward:

One, make sure to include shorter fights or matchups that will result in KOs if they insist on doing shows with eight-to-10 bouts on them.

Two, get the fighters into the ring quicker. When one bout ends, bring the next bout IMMEDIATELY. They don’t have to interview everybody. Some boxers that just fought can be brought into the broadcast booth shortly after the next bout begins if it’s really important to have them interviewed. But long cards need to move quickly.

I wanted to watch the undercard as I felt that a new network would want to show quality fights up-and-down the card to prove the value of the subscription. Keep your eye out for Ortiz in 2019. He’s the real deal. But I thought Ryan Garcia and Lamont Roach Jr. took steps in the right direction with their bouts on the undercard. All three will be on future DAZN shows in 2019, and their opposition will only get tougher as they progress.

I have to admit the fights and broadcasters outside of Brian Kenny were nearly awful. Really!? THAT BAD? I have no doubt that Kenny was excellent. He always is. But you’re telling me that EVERY other broadcaster on the show absolutely sucked for the duration of the multi-hour program?

Brian’s knowledge was impeccable – how does he know what month and date such and such happened 20 years ago? He’s a talented professional. He does research, his mind is sharp, and he’s a natural behind a mic and in front of a camera.

And that woman in the striped pants was putrid. And the two jokers who did that clothes buying segment were stupid and unnecessary in a BOXING broadcast. Oh, come on, man! You just sound like a miserable f__k, now. At least say something nice about Sergio Mora. At least give some love to the Latin Snake, you angry bastard!

The Flash and B-Rod get into it at the weight-in. Photo by Tom Hogan

Honestly, I fell asleep during the undercard until the Forest match. The gooning clown fighting Ryan Garcia shouldn’t have been within 50 miles of MSG. Garcia moved the crowd. He and Braulio Rodriguez (who was a weird – but very tough and game – cat) entertained. Can’t get mad at that. But maybe you needed more sleep. I have no idea who or what you’re talking about when you bring up this “Forest match.”

 

CANELO’S SOFT TOUCH AND BOGUS CLAIM

Dougie,

The fight was a joke, for a secondary title, against an opponent with no resume and zero chance! Anyone saying Canelo is a “three division champ” in Jr Middleweight, Middleweight and Super Middleweight, alongside Tommy Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard, may want to do some research. Those guys won true world championships and did so by fighting beasts!

What name doesn’t belong: Ayub Kalule, Roberto Duran, Marvin Hagler, Davey Boy Green, Wilfred Benitez, Murray Sutherland, Pipino Cueves and Rocky Fielding. 

Canelo is entitled to a soft touch, but then he needs to stop saying he wants to “fight the best”, that comment is a joke. He gets credit for the two bouts vs GGG, despite the controversial decisions. However, he is going to lose more fans if his May fight isn’t against a worthy opponent. If he is being honest and truly wants the best, then fight Charlo, Jacobs or GGG – so he can begin to lay claim to belonging in the conversation with those two ATGs.

Yes, boxing is a business, but Canelo should figure out when to be a fighter. Somewhere Tommy and Sugar Ray are probably rolling their eyes about this travesty. Have a great week! – Rahn

I doubt it, Rahn. They know what it’s like to be ripped by the public and the media. You might be too young to remember, or you may not have paid attention to what every boxing columnist and publication was writing about some of their world title victories during the 1980s, but both Hearns and Leonard were criticized after winning some of their major belts.

Hearns’ accomplishment of being a “four-division champ” got some stick from purists that pointed out that his fourth divisional title was a vacant belt – the WBC’s middleweight strap, which he earned by stopping Juan Roldan in 1987.

The Hitman’s “five-division champ” claim was crapped on by more than a few sports columnists and boxing magazines because the super middleweight title he won by narrowly outpointing James Kinchen in 1988 belonged to the WBO, which had just been formed and was not recognized by most of the U.S. media (including The Ring).

Lalonde and Leonard. Photo / Ring Archives-Getty Images

Leonard, as much of a media darling as he was, took a beating from sports writers for somehow earning two world titles – the WBC’s vacant (and inaugural) 168-pound belt and the WBC’s light heavyweight title – by stopping defending 175-pound beltholder Donny Lalonde, who had to weigh in at the super middleweight limit.

Believe it or not, some journalists and boxing purists refused to even recognize the super middleweight division back in the eighties. So, just as you and many others are telling Canelo and his cheerleaders that he’s not a three-division champ, there were plenty of pundits and hardcore heads that told Hearns and Leonard that they weren’t really five-division champs.

Anyone saying Canelo is a “three division champ” in Jr Middleweight, Middleweight and Super Middleweight, alongside Tommy Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard, may want to do some research. If it makes you feel any better, The Ring does not recognize the WBA’s secondary (or “regular”) world title.

Those guys won true world championships and did so by fighting beasts! I hate to burst your bubble, but as brave and tough-as-freakin’-nails as Juan Roldan, James Kinchen, Denis Andries (who Hearns stopped to win his first 175-pound title) and Lalonde were, they were considered second-tier fighters by many boxing columnists that I used to read in The Ring, KO, Boxing Illustrated, Boxing Scene and other publications (I bought and collected them ‘em all, Rahn!). I didn’t agree with those opinions, but they were out there.

What name doesn’t belong: Ayub Kalule, Roberto Duran, Marvin Hagler, Davey Boy Green, Wilfred Benitez, Murray Sutherland, Pipino Cueves and Rocky Fielding. OK, but Fielding is no worse than Marcos Geraldo (Mexican middleweight that Leonard, Hearns and Marvin Hagler fought) or Ernie Singletary – tough gatekeepers that the prime Hitman fought between Leonard and Benitez fights – or Larry Bonds, Bruce Finch or Kevin Howard (fringe contenders that Sugar Ray faced between his legendary victories over Duran, Hearns and Hagler). As long as Canelo faces real threats before and after “soft touches,” why should it bother us if he stays busy?

Canelo is entitled to a soft touch, but then he needs to stop saying he wants to “fight the best”, that comment is a joke. No, it’s not. He’s fought Floyd Mayweather Jr, Golovkin, Miguel Cotto, Erislandy Lara and a then-undefeated Austin Trout. He does want to face the best. He just doesn’t do it in back-to-back fights.

He gets credit for the two bouts vs GGG, despite the controversial decisions. Does he?

However, he is going to lose more fans if his May fight isn’t against a worthy opponent. Well, that’s fair, I guess. But, for the time being, I don’t think he’s lost any fans. MSG was lit for Canelo.

If he is being honest and truly wants the best, then fight Charlo, Jacobs or GGG – so he can begin to lay claim to belonging in the conversation with those two ATGs. Charlo, who is just now headlining his first major card (unless Willie Monroe Jr.’s withdraw due to a positive drug test demotes his bout to “co-feature” on Saturday at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center), has yet to face a legit middleweight contender. Why is he in the “must-face” club? Jacobs, who is worthy and recognizes that he’s the B-side, in the running. Golovkin, who is still fielding network contract offers from everybody, may not want to do bout No. 3 in May. He’s got other options.

 

SHOULDN’T THE U.K. BOXING SCENE RULE THE SPORT?

Hi Dougie,
As always I wish you well and am grateful for the mailbag.

Something of late has been bothering me in a way either because I don’t fully understand the world of boxing economics, politics, etc., or something is amiss.

It’s hard to deny that the U.K. is experiencing quite the resurgence in fan involvement, as well as a whole lot of exciting talent both current and on the way.

I’ve begun to notice that many more U.K. fighters are occupying title slots, are well known, marketable and so on.

A title fight in the U.K. involving any number of world renown U.K. champions or contenders can draw up to 90,000 fans at stadiums like Wembley at the high end with great atmosphere and usually decent numbers. (That just sounds like incredible financial incentive, if not success).

What I don’t understand is some of the more recent title fights involving marquee fighters in the States have drawn a measly 5,000 fans to a conference hall in a Las Vegas Casino/Hotel. This seems to be the more consistent situation.

Of course, some will argue Canelo v Fielding did 20,000 in NY recently. Fair enough. But Canelo is considered the U.S.’s and Mexico’s if not one of the world’s accomplished and marketable fighters. He was fighting a Brit. The gentleman who owns the ‘real belt’ at 168 is Callum Smith, also from the U.K.

Let’s juxtapose that with one of the world’s most recognisable heavyweights, Anthony Joshua. If he was fighting the same calibre of fighter I’m sure the numbers would have been vastly bigger.

Here’s my question: if the U.K. has a full stable of current champions, contenders, prospects that the boxing world already knows about, why keep staging fights in a back room in Vegas?

I don’t understand with social media, boxing news sites everywhere, forums, the idea that a British based boxing media company needs to take time to introduce their fighters to U.S. audiences. We know who the fighters are now more than we ever did! We know about a young prospect doing eye-catching things before the local media does and before the boy’s got whiskers on his chin.

Can you see the market shifting, or rather fights shifting to the U.K. more into the future, or has North America got a stranglehold on most of the media infrastructure, host most of the sanctioning bodies, and retain most of the power and capital?

Maybe you can explain this confusing situation to me. Cheers. – K.C.

The U.S. doesn’t have a stranglehold on media or sanctioning bodies (in fact, only one major organization – the IBF – is based in the continental states), but it does offer a lot of money to pro boxers thanks to its economy, TV networks, deep markets (such as Texas, California and New York) and gambling cities (Las Vegas, Nevada and Atlantic City, New Jersey). Professional boxing is prize fighting and fighters are going to travel to wherever the biggest prize is up for grabs.

Can I see the “market shifting” and more major fight taking place in the U.K.? Yes, I can. Especially now that Eddie Hearn is also working in the U.S. and has signed American talent to Matchroom Boxing. However, the bottom line is that top U.K. boxers seem a little more willing to travel to American than top U.S. boxers seem willing to travel to the U.K.  

A title fight in the U.K. involving any number of world renown U.K. champions or contenders can draw up to 90,000 fans at stadiums like Wembley at the high end with great atmosphere and usually decent numbers. (That just sounds like incredible financial incentive, if not success). Anthony Joshua does 90,000 at Wembley. The Froch-Groves rematch did 80,000 there. Nobody else and no other all-British matchup does those numbers. There are lots of regional British attractions who can pack arenas in their necks of the woods, but Joshua is Britain’s only arena fighter, just as Canelo is North America’s only arena fighter.

What I don’t understand is some of the more recent title fights involving marquee fighters in the States have drawn a measly 5,000 fans to a conference hall in a Las Vegas Casino/Hotel. This seems to be the more consistent situation. If a Las Vegas casino wants a fight, they can put up money that no arena or stadium outside of Nevada can match. Does it hurt the sport’s growth in the U.S. when fights that could 80,000-90,000 if put in the stadium (such as A&T Stadium in the Dallas, Texas area), like Canelo-GGG2, wind up in Vegas, where the tickets often get overpriced and high-rollers and celebrities take up seats? You bet. But the money and amenities of Vegas are hard to pass up by the promoters that put on the fight cards (and the fighters get paid better there, so there’s that).

Of course, some will argue Canelo v Fielding did 20,000 in NY recently. Fair enough. But Canelo is considered the U.S.’s and Mexico’s if not one of the world’s accomplished and marketable fighters. He’s arguably Numero Uno.

He was fighting a Brit. The gentleman who owns the ‘real belt’ at 168 is Callum Smith, also from the U.K. Let’s juxtapose that with one of the world’s most recognisable heavyweights, Anthony Joshua. If he was fighting the same calibre of fighter I’m sure the numbers would have been vastly bigger. True, but only in the U.K.

If the U.K. has a full stable of current champions, contenders, prospects that the boxing world already knows about, why keep staging fights in a back room in Vegas? Two words: Casino money.

 

No posts found.