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Dougie’s Friday mailbag (the Charlos, U.K. PPVs, VADA vs. USADA, DAZN)

Photo by Stephanie Trapp-TBG Promotions
21
Dec

SATURDAY NIGHT’S FIGHTS

Dougie,

First of all, I just want to say thank you for all the great work you and the rest of The Ring have been doing recently.

This weekend we have three very interesting cards, the most publicized being the first PBC on Fox card with the Charlos. Will either Jermall or Jermell be tested on Saturday night? Also, when are we going to get Charlo-Hurd, do you think it will happen this year? I think both of the Charlos are very dangerous, but the best win either of them has is probably over Austin Trout, although Jermall’s KO over J-Rock was nasty. Those are good tests for elite boxers, but they haven’t beat – in my opinion – a true champion yet.

Jermall is incredibly hyped in my opinion because of how dangerous he was at 154 but he hasn’t fought anyone of substance at middleweight yet. He probably will jump with ease, but I’m wondering how he gets a strap at 160. Canelo, Jacobs and Andrade all are on DAZN and GGG, the other great fighter, could sign with them too. Charlo is isolated right now on Fox and unless a deal gets made, he will probably be left out of the chase for a belt.

Speaking of Canelo, you think he fights Danny Jacobs on May 4. That’s probably the most lucrative and best fight possible, unless he fights GGG again. I’ve heard buzz of Callum Smith but I think Eddie Hearn is really gunning for the Canelo-Jacobs super fight on DAZN.

We have other good fights this weekend from across the pond, the heavyweight fight between Whyte and Chisora and the featherweight fight between Warrington and Frampton. Whyte should take care of Chisora, I just think Chisora is aging the wrong way and Whyte is way too powerful for him. I would argue the Warrington-Frampton fight is the best one we have all weekend. I don’t know much about Warrington other than some Brits love him and he appears to be one tough mofo. Frampton is top class as proven through his battles with Santa Cruz, and I have him as the favorite, but Warrington has the strap and looks like he possesses real power. How do you see this fight going?

Final question for you, my hometown of San Diego is finally getting a fight with Davis-Mares in February. Is it worth my money? I love Mares and all his grit, but Davis at 130 could just be way too much size for this fight.

Mythical Matchups:

Julio Cesar Chavez vs. Loma

Sweet Pea vs. Terrence Crawford

Lennox vs. Joshua

 

Current Matchups:

Spence vs. One Time

Zurdo vs. Callum Smith

Loma vs. Mikey

 

Happy holidays to you and your family. – Nick, San Diego

Thanks for the holiday wishes for me, my family and the entire RingTV/Ring Magazine crew, Nick. This is probably my last mailbag column until the Monday after next (Dec. 31) or the first Friday of 2019 (Jan. 4), so to all the readers who celebrate Christmas, have a merry and safe one, and Happy New Year to the boxing world.

Your mythical matchups:

Julio Cesar Chavez vs. Loma – Chavez by close decision in a hotly contested fight at 130, and Chavez by close-but-unanimous decision at 135 pounds.

Sweet Pea vs. Terrence Crawford – Whitaker by close decision at 134, split nod at 140 and competitive but comfortable decision at 147.

Lennox vs. Joshua – Lewis by mid-to-late rounds stoppage in a technical shootout

Your current matchups:

Spence vs. One Time – Spence by close decision

Zurdo vs. Callum Smith – Smith by late stoppage

Loma vs. Mikey – Lomachenko by close (maybe controversial) decision in a brilliant clash of styles.

This weekend we have three very interesting cards, the most publicized being the first PBC on Fox card with the Charlos. I’m going to be traveling on Saturday, but thanks to streaming and network apps, I’ll still be watching (or trying to) those fights live. Let’s hear it for technology!

Will either Jermall or Jermell be tested on Saturday night? A little bit, I think. Neither Charlo

Matt Korobov

meshes well with boxers and both Korobov and Harrison are solid boxers. Korobov was an amateur star and remains a solid technician, and Harrison can be an athletic stick-and-move specialist when he’s focused. However, the Russian (who truly was a beast 11-13 years ago in the amateur ranks) has been inactive (one fight in the last two years) and he’s getting a bit long in the tooth (35). Still, Korobov’s got good, footwork, combinations and head movement – and I don’t think he’s going to be intimidated by Charlo. But that southpaw stance and methodical approach might put him in line for one of Jermall’s right-hand bombs. Harrison can give Jermell fits if he boxes safety first, but the former title challenger might have too much Detroit in him and try to hurt the Houstonian. If and when he does that, it’s over. Melly Mell will ice him. But I can’t help but root for Harrison. I’m drawn to his life story and he seems so likable. (Plus, he’s from the Midwest, and I’ve always got a soft spot for boxers from that region of the U.S.) But you gotta favor the Charlos tomorrow night. Let’s be real: These are showcase fights for them.

Also, when are we going to get Charlo-Hurd, do you think it will happen this year? I think there’s a good chance it happens sometime during the second half of 2019. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. That is one of the best matchups that can be made in boxing.

I think both of the Charlos are very dangerous, but the best win either of them has is probably over

Jermell lands a huge right to the jaw of Martirosyan in their very close 10 rounder. Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Austin Trout, although Jermall’s KO over J-Rock was nasty. You’re right about Jermall. I think

Jermell has better credentials than his twin having faced (and defeated) a number of solid prospects (Erickson Lubin, Denis Douglin, Chris Chatman, Chia Santana) over the years, as well as a bunch of fringe contenders and even a few top-10 contenders (Vanes Martirosyan, John Jackson, Demetrius Hopkins, Gabe Rosado, Trout) – although it should be noted that his fights with Martirosyan and Hopkins were close and could have gone the other way.

Those are good tests for elite boxers, but they haven’t beat – in my opinion – a true champion yet. That’s a fair assessment.

Jermall is incredibly hyped in my opinion because of how dangerous he was at 154 but he hasn’t fought anyone of substance at middleweight yet. True. And yet he cracks the pound-for-pound top-10 of some media and fans. Go figure.

He probably will jump with ease, but I’m wondering how he gets a strap at 160. He’s gonna have to make A LOT of noise in 2019. Hopefully, he does so in the ring.

Canelo, Jacobs and Andrade all are on DAZN, and GGG, the other great fighter, could sign with them too. Charlo is isolated right now on Fox and unless a deal gets made, he will probably be left out of the chase for a belt. Maybe the WBC will try to force a mandatory challenge on their champion (Canelo) – instead of a guy who doesn’t hold any of their belts (GGG) – and if GBP and DAZN win the purse bid, the fight will get made. But we’ve seen how Canelo responds to sanctioning organization pressure (even the Mexico-based green belt), so who knows?

Speaking of Canelo, you think he fights Danny Jacobs on May 4. I hope so. That’s an intriguing matchup, no?

That’s probably the most lucrative and best fight possible, unless he fights GGG again. I agree.

I’ve heard buzz of Callum Smith but I think Eddie Hearn is really gunning for the Canelo-Jacobs super fight on DAZN. I think so, too. But I’d love to see Canelo or Golovkin challenge The Ring/WBA super middleweight champ in the near future.

We have other good fights this weekend from across the pond, the heavyweight fight between Whyte and Chisora and the featherweight fight between Warrington and Frampton. Those are two can’t-miss scraps. Both are fun main events.

Whyte should take care of Chisora, I just think Chisora is aging the wrong way and Whyte is way too powerful for him. I think Whyte is too fresh and quick for Chisora, but the pressure-fighting veteran will still give him hell for 12 rounds.

I would argue the Warrington-Frampton fight is the best one we have all weekend. I wouldn’t argue with that opinion.

I don’t know much about Warrington other than some Brits love him and he appears to be one tough mofo. Dude, what more do you need to know!?

Frampton is top class as proven through his battles with Santa Cruz, and I have him as the favorite, but Warrington has the strap and looks like he possesses real power. How do you see this fight going? I think that old saying about holding a world title making a fighter 10% better will apply to Warrington and he will give Frampy a run for his money, but I think the Belfast star will mix just enough boxing in with his slugging to take a close but unanimous decision.

Final question for you, my hometown of San Diego is finally getting a fight with Davis-Mares in February. Actually, this crossroads 130-pound matchup will take place at StubHub Center in Carson, California, according to our own Mike Coppinger. 

Is it worth my money? I think it’s worth the drive and your money. Enjoy it, and if you see me there, don’t be a stranger.

 

USADA, VADA, THE CHARLOS AND ERROL SPENCE

Dear Mr. Fischer,

I wonder if you’ve seen Thomas Hauser’s most recent article (http://tss.ib.tv/boxing/featured-articles/54479-the-hauser-report-usada-vada-and-the-state-athletic-commissions)?  The long and the short of it is another round of remarkably suspicious behavior by some of the biggest (and in this case the same) names in the sport.

I believe that Ring (or at least your colleague Mr. Woods) made mention of the missed tests by both Charlo brothers in early November, and I wanted to call your readers’ attention to the subsequent (lack of) action by the WBC. I agree with Mr. Hauser that a missed test is considerably more suspicious than warranting only a light fine.

I also believe it’s worth mentioning in this space and others that Errol Spence has come under scrutiny by Victor Conte (who, it must be said is working with Mikey Garcia prior to the March match but who also was dead-on right about Billy Joe Saunders). I love the Truth, who’s one of my favorite active fighters, but I can’t imagine he and Al Haymon have a legitimate excuse for delaying drug testing. What gives?

I believe more should be said on this issue. I think it’s particularly important for Spence to be clean when he steps in the ring against someone over whom he already has ridiculous physical advantages without using PEDs.

I would love to have your thoughts on the article and the state of our sport. I would sum my own up with: NEVER TRUST USADA. I hope you have an excellent holiday season and that all is well with you and yours. I send the best,

P.S. Further props to Canelo for his clean fight against Golovkin. Whether or not I agree with the cards, he fought a considerably better fight under strict testing and deserves all the accolades he receives.

Very respectfully. – John

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, John.

A lot of fans and boxing insiders – including trainers and active fighters – will forever brand Canelo a “cheater” because of his two positive VADA tests earlier this year. That’s their right, but fans should also recognize that the biggest star in the sport, a dude who definitely has considerable influence, did the right thing and underwent expanded testing from the time of the positives through the delayed rematch with Golovkin AND he continues to be tested by VADA. Active boxers (and their trainers) should not throw shade Canelo’s way if they aren’t enrolled in year-round VADA testing program (and they should certainly keep their mouths closed if they’ve never been tested by VADA).

The bottom line in Hauser’s recent article is that VADA handles positive tests the right way. (Hauser’s hypothetical scenario of how the Canelo clenbuteral case would have been handled by USADA makes this abundantly clear, and that was brilliant on his part.)

With VADA, there’s transparency, which leads to action – from sanctions to education (of both the fighters and the public) to increased testing. USADA does not handle positive tests the right way. There’s too much secrecy and back-room deals that are done (and their “internal ajudications” almost always favor the boxer in question or his promoter). VADA is not as expensive as USADA and they actually find out what’s in the boxers’ systems. Anytime we hear about a boxer testing positive – Willie Monroe Jr. and Ryan Martin most recently – it’s from a VADA test. Not a state commission test, and certainly not a USADA test. So, if an organization (such as the UFC or the PBC) is just using USADA, it’s rather obvious what’s going on. They’re paying extra NOT to get their fighters busted.

I believe that Ring (or at least your colleague Mr. Woods) made mention of the missed tests by both Charlo brothers in early November, and I wanted to call your readers’ attention to the subsequent (lack of) action by the WBC. I agree with Mr. Hauser that a missed test is considerably more suspicious than warranting only a light fine. I also agree. I think if it happens more than once without a

Tony Yoka

legit explanation there needs to be a suspension. That’s what happens in other sports and in other countries. Promising heavyweight prospect Tony Yoka, the 2016 Olympic gold medalist who is 5-0 as a pro, was suspended for one year for missing multiple tests in his native France (by the French anti-doping agency AFLD). Despite Yoka’s marketability, million-dollar contract with French network Canal+, promotional deal with Richard Schaefer’s Ringstar, and the fact that he hasn’t failed a drug test, he’s being taken to task by the AFLD for missing three scheduled out-of-competition tests between July 2016 and July 2017. It may sound harsh to some, but it’s the way it should be – for all fighters, including the Charlos.

I also believe it’s worth mentioning in this space and others that Errol Spence has come under scrutiny

You ever get the strange feeling that people are suddenly staring at your nipples? Photo by Amanda Westcott/Showtime

by Victor Conte (who, it must be said is working with Mikey Garcia prior to the March match but who also was dead-on right about Billy Joe Saunders). I love the Truth, who’s one of my favorite active fighters, but I can’t imagine he and Al Haymon have a legitimate excuse for delaying drug testing. What gives? Good question. And I’m glad Conte (despite his history and conflict of interest) and Hauser are asking that question. Why is Team Spence only open to a 10-week period of testing, starting January 5? (And will the same folks that cast aspersions upon Many Pacquiao during his drug-testing standoff with Floyd Mayweather Jr. back in 2010 and 2011 do the same with Spence or the Charlos?)

 

PPV WAR

Hi Dougie,

I hope you are well and looking forward to Christmas.

It’s been a great year for boxing and the developments in the UK have shown how much the sport has grown here.

This weekend is a sign of the potential over-saturation of the PPV model. BT Sport PPV are showing Frampton vs Warrington and Sky Box Office airing Whyte vs Chisora 2.

Social media will be in uproar on Saturday as fans are forced to choose between the two events.

Do you think the promoters will listen? I’m a little envious of the DAZN format and think it would work well in the UK considering the popularity of boxing at the moment. What do you think?

Which event do you think will be more successful? Which would you choose to watch? Kind regards. – Anish Parekh

Photo courtesy of frankwarren.com

I have no idea which UK PPV event will be more successful (both have good main events with solid undercards that include attractions), but I’m leaning toward the featherweight matchup because it’s fresh and should be fierce.

In the past, UK fans got the better deal with pay-per-view events that took place in the U.S. You either saw it on network TV or a subscription service like BoxNation or via cheaper PPV than in America. But now with streaming services coming of age, the U.S. boxing fan might get better served. That’s certainly the case tomorrow night. Warrington-Frampton will be carried on ESPN+, and Whyte-Chisora II was picked up by Showtime.

I hope British promoters (and networks) do listen to the fans (and the best in the world reside in the UK). It’s better for everyone involved if they don’t overlap their programming, especially PPV shows. They’re just cutting into their potential earnings as is.

And, yes, I think a streaming subscription service would do very well in the UK market. But the sport is so strong in your neck of the woods that major networks will air even second- and third-tier talents/matchups (and promoters can’t help but put as many shows behind the PPV wall as they can for extra earnings).

 

DAZN

Hi Dougie!

Happy Holidays to you, your family, and The Ring family.

I was never going to subscribe-to-steam onto a phone, but I finally got a streambox connected to my big screen last weekend and fired up subscriptions to both ESPN+ and DAZN to watch the fights.

I was relatively impressed by DAZN’s production quality and technology level, and am now curious about your thoughts on it and its “space”.

Some Questions, skip whichever you like:

If you were part of the DAZN team, where would you go hunting for more boxing content? Is there an unaligned or lesser-aligned promoter out there you’d try to immediately tie up into a contract?

Did Main Events Boxing ever finalize that rumored deal with NBC? Is their stable of fighters big enough and good enough to tie up “on the whole”? What about Lou DiBella?

Is there a single promotion out of Japan worth chasing the international rights on?

Do you expect Golden Boy to “play the field” and hold out going all-in to one outlet for the foreseeable future?

Do you think smaller regional promotions could work on DAZN on mid-week evenings – porting upwards from the hotel/casino ballrooms, state fairgrounds, Philly’s 2300 Arena, etc. without the full production levels of a Canelo fight?

To survive, does DAZN have to “flood the zone” with combat sports content (Netflix-style) to achieve a critical mass?

Finally, what’s up with The Rings merchandise store? Those old Ring Magazine cover t-shirts of Henry Armstrong and Joe Louis would make great gifts, but the size selection is defeating. Thanks! – Brock, San Diego, Ca.

Yeah, I saw that the Louis shirts only come in small, and the Armstrong shirts are only in large and extra-large, so I can only assume the other sizes have been sold out. I’ll inquire about new vintage Ring cover shirts being made.

A couple things to look for at The Ring Shop in 2019 are new posters (of original fight paintings and of popular covers) and Fight Programs.

I was relatively impressed by DAZN’s production quality and technology level, and am now curious about your thoughts on it and its “space”. I’m lovin’ DAZN and ESPN+. I like being able to watch live boxing even when I’m traveling or at a family function (if I can sneak away somewhere private), and I’m enjoying being able to watch the fights I miss on demand. DAZN is very good about archiving its fights in an easily accessible manner.  

If you were part of the DAZN team, where would you go hunting for more boxing content? Being a certified boxing geek, and someone who appreciates the lighter weight classes, I’d see what I could get done in Japan. I’m such a nut, I’d try to televise every fight – boxing (high school, amateur and pro), kickboxing, MMA and pro wrestling – that takes place at the famed Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. That venue hosts combat sports seven days a week, morning, afternoon and evening.  

Is there an unaligned or lesser-aligned promoter out there you’d try to immediately tie up into a contract? Of course! There are several that I know of locally (including Thompson Boxing and Tom Loeffler’s 360 Promotions), as well as proven veterans on the East Coast (Kathy Duva, Artie Pellulo, who sometimes works with Thompson Boxing, Joe DeGuardia and even young upstart – and former boxer – Dmitry Salita). There are also managers, such as Egis Klimas, Frank Espinoza and Vadim Kornilov, that I’d talk to about their deep stables of as-yet unsigned talent.

Did Main Events Boxing ever finalize that rumored deal with NBC? Not yet. Coppinger reports that lack of funding from an Atlantic City venue has “scuttled” that deal but Duva is resourceful, she may yet salvage the partnership.  

Is their stable of fighters big enough and good enough to tie up “on the whole”? Maybe. It depends on what DAZN is looking for. If they want to invest in up-and-comers, then yes, but if they’re only interested in big names, maybe not. If Kovalev is able to win his rematch with Eleider Alvarez, the Russian veteran could certainly make for interesting showdowns on DAZN (namely against countryman Artur Beterbiev).

What about Lou DiBella? DiBella has a working relationship with Al Haymon and the PBC, but I don’t think he’s exclusive to that organization. He runs his own club show and has talent that isn’t signed with Haymon, so, yeah, I’d definitely talk to Lou about his available talent and maybe even about airing his Broadway Boxing program.

Is there a single promotion out of Japan worth chasing the international rights on? Definitely. There are three – Teiken, Ohashi and Watanabe. Teiken has some fighters with co-promotional deals that align them with certain U.S. networks (such as Ryota Murata with Top Rank, which places the middleweight on ESPN or ESPN+) but Jorge Linares, who is co-promoted by GBP, will likely next fight on DAZN in the U.S. (In Japan, Murata fights on DAZN.) Teiken has other fighters (including Chocolatito Gonzalez and Carlos Cuadras, who are co-promoted by 360 Promotions), and like the veteran U.S. promoters I mentioned, the company’s boss Mr. Honda knows how to spot and cultivate boxing talent. Ohashi has The Monster. Nuff said. Naoya Inoue is currently fighting on DAZN due to his involvement with the WBSS, but it might be smart to get him signed to an exclusive deal. He’s a star in the making, and he’s on most (non-biased) pound-for-pound lists. Inoue’s little brother Takuma (and bantie contender) and excellent WBC 108-pound titleholder Ken Shiro also fight under the Ohashi banner. Wanatabe promotes former Ring 108-pound champ Ryoichi Taguchi and one of my favorites, former IBF strawweight champ Hiroto Kyoguchi, who challenges Hekkie Budler on Dec. 30 for The Ring junior flyweight title. The Big 3 have TV deals in Japan but maybe DAZN can secure rights in the U.S.

Do you expect Golden Boy to “play the field” and hold out going all-in to one outlet for the foreseeable future? Golden Boy is aligned primarily with DAZN. Their star, Canelo, fights exclusively on the platform (in every market) and they will provide 10 shows a year for the streaming service, which means most of the L.A. companies top talent will fight on DAZN.

Do you think smaller regional promotions could work on DAZN on mid-week evenings – porting upwards from the hotel/casino ballrooms, state fairgrounds, Philly’s 2300 Arena, etc. without the full production levels of a Canelo fight? I think so, but that’s just me. I like club shows. I understand their place in the sport and can appreciate a good scrap regardless of the level of the boxers. Other fans might get pissed off seeing ballroom fights between four-round level prospects and “no-hopers” under poor lighting and exclaim “Why are we paying $10 a month for this s__t!?”

To survive, does DAZN have to “flood the zone” with combat sports content (Netflix-style) to achieve a critical mass? It seems like they’re doing that right now, or they’re at least on their way.

 

 

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

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