Saturday, March 23, 2019  |

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Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Crawford-Khan-Brook, Chris John, Naoya Inoue)

Photo art by 3KingsBoxing.com
07
Jan

CRAWFORD-KHAN-BROOK

Hi Doug,

Happy new year! Hope you had a nice break.

Well if the rumors are true Bud Crawford Vs Amir Khan is about to be announced.

Apologies in advance this mail is a bit of a rant.

Lot of people on social media s**ting on in it already proclaiming Khan has ducked Brook.

This was Andy Clarke’s (Sky Sports) take in it “My take on this is simple. Should Khan lose to Brook, and I’m not saying he would, but should he, then it would haunt him for the rest of his days. Whereas he’d be able to live with a defeat vs Crawford. That, in my opinion, is why he’d rather fight Crawford than Brook.”

I like Andy Clarke but this view, which is shared by a lot, is very cynical IMHO.

Khan was a champ 5 years before Brook, and a year younger then Brook. He fought Marcos Maidana in a Boxing Writers fight of the year in 2010 when no one else wanted anything to do with El Chino.

When you compare resumes with Brook there’s no doubt who fought at the higher level. The notion he’s ducking Brook just seems bonkers.

I saw this type of BS during Naz’s time and no other U.K. fighter would get that type of stick and now Khan is getting it.

An opportunity to fight a P4P great and Khan get called a duck? No other U.K. would get that stick. When Tony Bellew fought Usyk it was described as “stepping up”, but for Khan he’s labelled a duck?

When people complained about how Floyd fought Manny years after his prime, Marquez at a massive weight advantage, etc., why complain when fighters want to get it on in their primes? Bud is definitely in his prime.

Let’s take it a step further. Where does a win over Brook take Khan? Even a KO win? Of course, it is a big promotion and there’s a lot of history, but in boxing terms it’s pretty meaningless, apart from making Hearn a ton of money 😉

So, how would Bud Vs Khan go? Khan might be the naturally bigger fighter have fought at higher weights for longer than Bud, but I don’t think it will be a decider in the fight. Bud’s fast but hand speed and movement has to go to Khan.

I see Bud as a favourite, but Khan has all the attributes to give him a tough fight.

Bud is one of my favourite fighters and I personally can’t wait for this one. All the ingredients to be a boxing masterclass.

All the best for the new year and keep up the good work. – Tabraze, London, U.K.

Thanks for the kind words, Tabraze. And thanks for sharing your rant, although I have to wonder if American boxing fans feel as strongly about Khan choosing Crawford over Brook as British fans do.

I certainly don’t speak for all U.S. boxing fans, but I think most of us stopped caring about the potential Khan-vs.-Brook showdown a few years ago. Both veterans have been through the proverbial wringer and both are clearly past their primes. That doesn’t mean they won’t make for a good scrap – there’s probably more potential for it to be a shootout or slugfest now that their athleticism and reflexes have dulled a bit. However, as you noted it doesn’t hold much significance to the greater boxing world. In England, I guess there are bragging rights, and I’m sure both men have their dedicated fans. But over here Khan-Brook is just a fight.

This is not to say that U.S. fans were clamoring for Crawford-Khan. They weren’t. I think there is some interest in the matchup, but most hardcore heads view it as a mismatch (and more than a few are miffed that it will be offered via PPV if it happens).

Personally, I won’t hold it against Khan for choosing the Crawford fight if that’s what he does. Crawford is an undefeated three-division champ, a top-three pound-for-pound player, and the WBO welterweight title will be on the line. If he beats Bud, maybe he punches his ticket to the hall of fame. At the very least a ‘W’ over the formidable American will set him up for a monster payday against almost any welterweight he chooses. Even if Khan loses to Crawford, he can raise his stature within the sport just by being competitive, and I think that’s very possible. His speed, reach and lateral movement should enable him to “be in” the fight, at least over the first half while Bud acclimates to his style and rhythm.

Lot of people on social media s**ting on in it already proclaiming Khan has ducked Brook. Claiming that a fighter is ducking (or has ducked) another fighter seems to be all anyone does on Boxing Twitter. The MUTE button is your friend, Tabraze.

This was Andy Clarke’s (Sky Sports) take in itMy take on this is simple. Should Khan lose to Brook, and I’m not saying he would, but should he, then it would haunt him for the rest of his days. Whereas he’d be able to live with a defeat vs Crawford. That, in my opinion, is why he’d rather fight Crawford than Brook.”

I like Andy Clarke but this view, which is shared by a lot, is very cynical IMHO.

Clarke’s take on Khan may be cynical, and it may be shared by a lot of typically jaded diehard boxing fans/press, but I’ve seen and read opinions from some British media that either support Khan or offer a more balanced/reasonable view of the situation.  

Check out Adam Catterall’s Twitter account or read Tris Dixon’s column on BoxingScene for prime examples.

Khan was a champ 5 years before Brook, and a year younger then Brook. True.

He fought Marcos Maidana in a Boxing Writers fight of the year in 2010 when no one else wanted anything to do with El Chino. True. Khan’s got balls.

When you compare resumes with Brook there’s no doubt who fought at the higher level. Agreed.

The notion he’s ducking Brook just seems bonkers. Agreed (again). Khan isn’t the type of fighter to be afraid of challenges or of losing.

I saw this type of BS during Naz’s time and no other U.K. fighter would get that type of stick and now Khan is getting it. I seem to recall Joe Calzaghe getting some of that, but maybe it was just from the U.S. side.

An opportunity to fight a P4P great and Khan gets called a duck? That’s modern boxing fans for ya!

When Tony Bellew fought Usyk it was described as “stepping up”, but for Khan he’s labelled a duck? Good point. There does seem to be a double standard, but as I pointed out, it’s not a unanimous POV on your side of the pond.

 

RECENT RUMBLINGS, GRUMBLINGS

Happy new year, Doug,

I read somewhere Leo Santa Cruz name checked Gary Russell Jr., man, I would luv to see that. I’m convinced GRJ wins it and looks like a freakin ace. Timing may beat speed, but I don’t see that LSC’s timing is any better than GRJ. Is this matchup talk malarkey or more likely?

Have you revisited the Juan Manuel Marquez-Chris John fight? I’m damn curious about The Dragon and how good he really was. I can’t tell. I haven’t watched a lot of his fights, and I’m more curious in a professional opinion than mine. I would luv for you to revisit John’s career and legacy centered around that fight.

This has been talked about on the message boards some, but I’d like to expand. I’ve complained and critiqued The Ring plenty. I’ve also pointed out some areas where The Ring is far superior to the rest of boxing media, one being The Ring policy of not recognizing the “regular” beltholder as the world champion. This is one of those times where The Ring holds itself to a higher standard than much of the boxing business. In Francisco Salazar’s recent Alberto Machado article you guys recognize Tank Davis as the WBA champ, but this Davis/Machado case is different–this is a special case here where the legitimacy of these titles is reversed. If you guys have already covered it clearly, than nice job, but from how the Salazar piece begs some clarification and correction.

The WBA did some shell game s__t on WBA champ, Alberto Machado that Salazar failed to mention last time around. Of course, not every detail is worth the discussion, but this one’s a HUGE omission. Machado won the “super” title when he beat Jezreel Corrales, who lost it on the scales. Then WBA downgraded him to “regular” champion, declared the “super” title vacant, then had Davis fight for it.

You have a good rule with the WBA belts—don’t drop your standards when the circumstances with these belts are reversed. Give the champ—not the WBA—his due and proper. – ceylon

The article that Salazar penned was an announcement of the February 9 tripleheader. It just covered the basic fighter info for the three main bouts (Machado-Cancio, Vargas-Manzanilla and Diaz-Huerta). To go into all of the details of how the WBA basically demoted Machado would have doubled the length the of the article while taking it off topic.

The WBA’s decisions between the Corrales-Machado and Davis-Cuellar fights is the potential subject of a stand-alone feature as we get closer to the February 9 date. I’ll propose the potential advance to one of the RingTV.com contributors and we’ll see what he does with it.

I read somewhere Leo Santa Cruz name checked Gary Russell Jr., man, I would luv to see that. Me too, but I’m not holding my breath. This is a PBC in-house matchup that could have been made two years ago. I’m not saying the fighters don’t want to see who’s beat at 126 pounds, but Santa Cruz (no matter what he says in interviews) will only fight who Al Haymon tells him to fight, and Russell is content to fight once a year, which means he’s usually busy with WBC mandatories.

I’m convinced GRJ wins it and looks like a freakin ace. I favor Santa Cruz, but it’s a close fight.

Timing may beat speed, but I don’t see that LSC’s timing is any better than GRJ. I thought the still-learning Joseph Diaz Jr. gave Russell a tough fight last year. The young challenger just didn’t have the experience to adjust to Russell’s adjustments during the middle rounds, but he was able to get to GRJ’s body in the early rounds and he was able to close strongly, which makes me think LSC has a real shot.

Is this matchup talk malarkey or more likely? It shouldn’t be malarkey. Russell and Santa Cruz are now 30. If they really want to leave a worthy legacy, they gotta make real moves NOW.

Have you revisited the Juan Manuel Marquez-Chris John fight? LOL. No, why the f__k would do that? If memory serves me, that fight was kind of ass.

Chris John (right) vs. Rocky Juarez. Pphoto credit: Ethan Mille

Chris John (right) vs. Rocky Juarez. Photo credit: Ethan Miller

I’m damn curious about The Dragon and how good he really was. I can’t tell. He was good, very good, perhaps the best stick-and-move specialist since Sumbu Kalambay. However, I didn’t consider him to be an elite boxer during his reign, and I didn’t think of him as a future hall of famer (although he ultimately put up those kinds of stats).

I haven’t watched a lot of his fights, and I’m more curious in a professional opinion than mine. Ahhhh, your opinion is as good as mine or anyone else’s. (The only professionals in boxing are the folks who step into the ring, the folks who train them, and the folks who make the fights and put on the fight cards.) If you’re really as curious as you say you are about John, you’ll take the time out to watch his key fights (many of them are on YouTube, including the Marquez fight).

I would luv for you to revisit John’s career and legacy centered around that fight. The significance of the Marquez fight (which I thought John lost, although I admit it was close and I’ve only watched it once) is that it gave the Indonesian standout “the scalp” of a future first-ballot hall of famer. John already had HOF-level stats (making 17 defenses of the WBA featherweight title, being unbeaten for a 51-bout stretch, and winning 48 of 52 pro bouts), but beating Marquez gives him the big name on his resume that most boxers need to at least get their names on the International Boxing Hall of Fame ballot (and I think it might already be on there). Apart from Marquez, the best opponents John defeated were Derrick Gainer, Rocky Juarez and Ratanachai Sor Vorapin (before either won a world title). That’s not bad at all, but it’s far from great.

What I appreciate about John (apart from his humble and friendly personality) is that he was willing to defend his title on the road. He faced contenders in Japan (including Hiroyuki Enoki and Osamu Sato), Thailand, Australia and the U.S. (where he fought Olympic medalist Rocky Juarez twice – once in the Texan’s hometown where he had to settle for a draw). I was ringside for both Juarez bouts and was surprised when after interviewing John at the media center inside the MGM Grand in Las Vegas (the week of the rematch) he presented me with his team’s official track suit and heat (which he signed). It caught me off guard because I didn’t know him that well and I’d only written about him a few times. Asian fighters are different (in a good way).

 

WEIGHT CLASSES

Hi Dougie,

What do you think about the VAST number of weight classes in boxing? I think all the ‘Super’ and ‘Junior’ classes should be eliminated that are only a few pounds apart. They keep adding more classes – I guess so they can have more championship fights and so more money.

The only one I can see that might make sense would be ‘Super Heavyweight’. Most of the classes I’m thinking of that should be eliminated are only a few pounds different. In the case of Heavyweight, a 200 pounder 6′ tall fighting a 260 pounder, 6’7″ tall is really not a fair matchup. Just a thought. Example: Bryant Jennings fighting Tyson Fury.

Fights I would love to see in 2019:

Heavyweight:  Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury.

Cruiserweight:  Aleksanar Usyk vs Murat Gassiev.

Light Heavyweight:   Elder Alvarez vs Artur Beterbiev.

Middleweight:  Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin.

Welterweight:  Keith Thurman vs Terence Crawford.

Lightweight:  Vasiliy Lomonchenko vs Mikey Garcia.

Who wins those fights?

Would also love to see boxing go back to one Champion for each weight class like it used to be. Love your work. – Mike

Aleksandr Usyk and Callum Smith are two of six current Ring Magazine champions.

The Ring recognizes Hiroto Kyoguchi, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Vasiliy Lomachenko, Canelo Alvarez, Callum Smith and Aleksandr Usyk as world champions, and I don’t think you can go wrong with that Sensational Sextet. Four are in The Ring’s pound-for-pound rankings (Loma in the top spot), and the other two (Kyoguchi and Smith) are young, hungry studs who are willing to take the best of their divisions. Boxing is never going to be free of sanctioning organizations, but I think most fans view The Ring titleholders are the “real champs.”

There are more to come in 2019. I believe the finals of the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight and junior welterweight tournaments will crown two more Ring champs, and I don’t think anyone who really follows boxing will dispute that the WBSS winners are the real deal kings of their divisions.

And, hopefully, this year, we get closer to Ring championship bouts at heavyweight, light heavyweight, junior middleweight, welterweight and featherweight. I think we will.

Anthony Joshua vs Tyson FuryJoshua by close (maybe controversial) decision

Aleksandr Usyk vs Murat GassievDidn’t we already see this? I don’t think Gassiev’s 2018 performance against the champ merits a rematch in 2019

Eleider Alvarez vs Artur BeterbievAlvarez by competitive decision in a good fight

Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady GolovkinAlvarez by close, competitive but non-controversial decision in a torch-passing classic

Keith Thurman vs Terence CrawfordBud by close-but-unanimous decision in a bit of a stinker

Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Mikey GarciaLomachenko by close, maybe majority decision in a dramatic showdown (especially if the Ukrainian has to get up from a knockdown or survive some wobbly moments, which is possible)

What do you think about the VAST number of weight classes in boxing? There have been 15-17 divisions ever since I’ve followed the sport (two weight classes – super middleweight and cruiserweight – originated during the 1980s), so I’ve never really yearned for fewer.

I think all the ‘Super’ and ‘Junior’ classes should be eliminated that are only a few pounds apart. They keep adding more classes – I guess so they can have more championship fights and so more money. You’re not alone in this opinion. But I wouldn’t be in favor of eliminating junior welterweight, junior middleweight or super middleweight.

The only one I can see that might make sense would be ‘Super Heavyweight’. You’re not along in this opinion, but to make it happen wouldn’t that mean adding yet another weight class, or would you change cruiserweight to heavyweight and increase the weight limit to 215 or 220?

The only weight classes I’d be OK with eliminating would be a few of the light ones. I can see combining strawweight/minimumweight (105-pound limit) with junior/light flyweight (108) and junior bantamweight/super flyweight (115) with bantamweight (118), and maybe junior featherweight/super bantamweight (122) with featherweight (126), basically dropping the lighter weight classes, and making 108 the lightest division with 112, 118 and 126 as the next three weight classes.

 

NAOYA INOUE

Happy New Year, Mr. Fischer!
I am becoming a more devoted fan of Inoue’s boxing. As a “casual” boxing fan, I would like to ask your expert opinion. Could you please break down his style and explain what really makes him as unique as he is?

And also, his punching power seems freakish to me – almost every time he connects his one-two, his opponents just collapse mentally and physically. What on earth is that?

Wishing you a healthy and wealthy 2019 full of great boxing! – HB

Thanks for the well wishes, HB.

I don’t mean to be a shameless salesperson, but if you check out the February 2019 issue of The Ring, which is on bookstore and newsstand shelves right now, our cover story examines “the secret” to The Monster’s phenomenal punching prowess. Associate Editor Tom Gray did a great job on the article, which includes an exclusive interview with Inoue and comments and insider insight from several experts (much smarter boxing folks than me).

All I can say is that Inoue possess overall boxing/athletic talent that was cultivated (by his father) from a very young age. He was a standout amateur boxer before he turned pro and if you look up some of his amateur bouts on YouTube (mainly his close decision loss to Cuban standout Yosbani Veitia at the 2011 World Amateur Championship) you’ll see the foundation of what makes him special – and it’s not his power. Inoue’s balance, footwork, accuracy and control of distance is all evident even as an 18-year-old light flyweight. (Just one man’s opinion but if the amateur judges gave Inoue more credit for his body work in that close rematch with Veitia he may have advanced past Round 16 of the tournament.)

However, as good as he was in the amateur ranks, his style is obviously better suited for the pros, where body punches do count. Inoue has advanced in five areas since his amateur days: his timing (which he sees as most important), his jab, his body attack (which has become more precise), his experience and his physical maturity. Put it all together (along with total dedication to learning his craft and to his conditioning) and you get the pound-for-pound level boxer-puncher that has taken the boxing world by storm before his 20th pro fight.

 

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

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