Tuesday, April 23, 2019  |

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Dougie’s Monday mailbag (fight night on DAZN, Machado-Cancio, ESPN+)

Cancio puts it on Machado. Photo by Lina Baker / @SeeYouRingside
11
Feb

DAZN DELIVERS WITH MACHADO-CANCIO/VARGAS-MANZANILLA

Hi Doug,

I just zapped through the Tank Davis-Hugo Ruiz fight night and was disappointed, not a fight that will stay long in my memory.

It’s truly not Gervonta Davis’ fault because he had to fight the late replacement and he did his Job. But I watched the DAZN fight night at the same time and it was much more enjoyable.

First, we had a cracker with Rey Vargas holding off an inspired but wild and unclean boxing Franklin Manzanilla.

Good job as always from Raul Caiz Sr. as he several times warned Manzanilla about throwing punches after the break signal.

For the Main Event we had a real Feel Good Story with the upset from Andrew Cancio. I wonder if he has to give Machado a rematch.

DAZN has done a nice job so far this year with their fight night schedules – first the Fight of the Year candidate between Can Xu and Jesus Rojas, and the Jaime Munguia-Takeshi Inoue brawl, and now the Machado-Cancio card. I hope they keep it up.

Greetings from Germany. – Andy

Thanks for sharing, Andy. Did you watch Christina Hammer knock off some ring rust on Saturday?

Regarding DAZN’s entertaining programming so far in 2019, you gotta give a nod to Golden Boy Promotions matchmaker Robert Diaz. The Munguia-Inoue and Machado-Cancio cards were the first two (non-Canelo) Golden Boy shows of the L.A.-based promotional company’s partnership with DAZN. They’ve got eight more shows scheduled for 2019 (not including Canelo’s May 4 showdown with Daniel Jacobs and his September date) and I’m sure they’ll do their best to stack ‘em with good scraps.

And I’m certain the other promoters currently working with the new streaming subscription sports platform will also do their darnedest put on entertaining cards. There’s an upcoming DAZN main event matchup that’s definitely past its “due-date” – the Brandon Rios vs. Humberto Soto showdown on Feb. 23 in Tijuana – but it will still appease the blood-thirsty ghouls out there, and the March 9 show from Verona, N.Y. headlined by the Dmitry Bivol-Joe Smith Jr. WBA light heavyweight title bout followed by the March 15 card in Philadelphia topped by Tevin Farmer vs. Jono Carroll look VERY good. The undercards to those two Matchroom USA shows feature Callum Johnson vs. Seanie Monaghan and Gabe Rosado vs. Maciej Sulecki, which are can’t-miss scraps, so Eddie Hearn is doing his thing on DAZN.

It’s good boxing content. I’m glad you’re able to watch these shows in Germany.

(W)e had a cracker with Rey Vargas holding off an inspired but wild and unclean boxing Franklin Manzanilla. That Venezuelan was as tough and dangerous as he was dirty, but Vargas is stronger and sturdier than his string-bean frame would suggest. Bottom line, the Nacho Beristain-trained boxer has heart. I like the way he got up and kept his composure after that second-round knockdown. The 28-year-old Mexico City native has made four defenses of the WBC 122-pound title he won by outpointing Gavin McDonnell 12 months ago. I think it’s high time we saw him in a unification fight.

Alex Camponovo, the general manager/matchmaker for Thompson Boxing, which co-promotes WBA 122-pound beltholder Danny Roman along with Matchroom USA, announced via Twitter on Feb. 5 that the WBA “granted permission” for Roman to fight IBF titleholder TJ Doheny in a unification bout.

Roman, who was interviewed by Beto Duran and I during Thompson Boxing’s first show of 2019 on Friday, said they’re looking for an April or May date in the L.A. area for that intriguing fight.

I think Vargas, who co-promoted by Golden Boy, should target the winner of Roman-Doheny. That’s title unification showdown DAZN should get behind.

Good job as always from Raul Caiz Sr. as he several times warned Manzanilla about throwing punches after the break signal. Caiz Jr. and Ray Corona are not only two of the best young referees in California, they’re among the best in the country. The two of them worked every fight on Friday’s Thompson Boxing show and expertly officiated with each bout.

For the Main Event we had a real Feel Good Story with the upset from Andrew Cancio. No bulls__t, Andy, I had a “Jim Lampley Moment” witnessing that upset. I seriously got weepy. Cancio is an underrated veteran who can really fight, and he’s persevered through several ups and downs, so it was so damn sweet to watch him finally get his hands on a world title in front of his family and supporters.

I wonder if he has to give Machado a rematch. No, I think he’s gotta give another fighter a rematch – fellow gatekeeper-turned-legit contender Rene Alvarado, who is on a nice six-bout win streak. Cancio stopped Alvarado in eight rounds in December 2015 (I think I may have done the English-language stream of that fight alongside Beto Duran and Steve Kim). Alvarado won a “final elimination bout” for the WBA when he outpointed Carlos Morales over 12 rounds in December. It would be nice if the WBA could mandate that the winner of Cancio-Alvarado II face Davis, so we can get one WBA 130-pound “world champ.” (It would also be nice to see Tank in a tough fight and I think either vet, but especially Cancio, could deliver.)

 

DISAPPOINTED WITH MACHADO (AND ROACH)

Hi Dougie – it’s been a while.

Following Machado’s disappointing performance, wanted to ask about Freddie Roach. Seems like Machado blamed the loss on weight drain (he did look huge for 130 in there), and obviously he (and not Freddy) deserves the bulk of the blame for the loss. Nevertheless, it was shocking to see Machado, who was a bit of a rising star in my eyes, so amateurish in there. He seemed to have no clue on how to set distance; had no jab; could not move side to side; totally failed to tie up when he was hurt; kept loading up on big shots; etc. Roach has to take some blame for that, and the few clips they showed of Roach in the corner really puzzled me.

I loved listening to a recent interview with Kerry Kayes, a British cutman who emphasized how vital every second is between rounds. Now, he was talking about cuts, but a hurt fighter losing a fight is even more of an urgent situation. You know if Teddy Atlas were in there, Twitter (and our collective heads) would be blowing up from another the over the top ridiculous performance in the corner. I am not saying that would a good thing – and the fight would probably end up with the same result. But I just don’t understand why Roach was sitting there stone-faced in between rounds, looking like he was leading a silent meditation clinic, when his fighter was getting lit up and knocked around the ring like a hapless doll.

And speaking of Roach, what are your thoughts on Buboy Fernandez as a trainer? We all know Manny is loyal and generous to a fault, and he has publicly stated he promoted Buboy to head coach because he wants him to have a training career long after the Pacman exits the scene. From what you have seen, is the Filipino Michelin Man a total waste of (ever-expanding) space as a boxing coach, or does he actually have something to offer to other fighters out there? – B (NYC)

I have no idea about how capable Fernandez could be or will be with any boxer not named Manny Pacquiao. Trainers have to prove themselves with results just like the fighters. He’s just fine as Pacquiao’s head trainer because Manny’s forgotten more about boxing and fighting than most of this era’s boxers will ever learn. At this stage of his career, YOU could be Pacquiao’s trainer and he’d be OK come fight night.

Regarding Machado’s “shocking” loss to Cancio, don’t be too hard on the promising Puerto Rican southpaw or Roach. Cancio is a lot better than most fans, media and boxing insiders realize. I’m not claiming that I called the upset but there was no doubt in my mind that Machado would have his hands full with the hard-nosed vet from Blythe, California.

It’s been a long and rough journey, but “Chango” is finally champ.

I think Machado’s lack of a jab and boxing basics during the four-round shootout  probably boils down to the undefeated fighter falling in love with his power and Roach overlooking or underestimating Cancio. I don’t think we need to point the finger at anybody. We should just give Cancio his due props. The dude got up from a first-round knockdown (produced by a wicked right hook-left uppercut combo) and clawed his way back into the fight. Machado, who had scored a first-round stoppage in his last bout was pulled into a shootout and I’m sure he was confident that he’d eventually overpower the much smaller “battle-worn” fringe contender who had been stopped by Jo Jo Diaz in 2016. But Cancio’s got ring smarts to go with his guts. He found a home for his left hook (over Machado’s low-held right hand) and attacked the body of the bigger, fresher fighter. Machado didn’t hold or attempt any survival tactics in Round 4 because he’d never experienced that level of adversity before. Machado was overwhelmed too quickly to be able to figure out how to stop it from happening, and Roach was likely bewildered by what he witnessed in Rounds 3 and 4. It really went downhill too rapidly for Team Machado to do anything about it. They just have to take this “L,” learn from it and come back. It’s not as big of a deal as fans make it out to be. Nobody needs to be blamed or shamed, and nobody needs to quit. Our main takeaway from Cinderella Man stories like Cancio’s should be that fighters can bounce back from losses and come back stronger.

Machado still has a future, and Roach is still a world-class trainer. The day after his heavily favored fighter lost, Roach worked the corner of heavy underdog Jose Zepeda, who nearly dethroned WBC 140-pound titleholder Jose Ramirez in the U.S. Olympian’s home region. Zepeda, who trained with Roach and listened to the hall of famer’s instructions between rounds, boxed his ass off against the relentless (but smart) pressure from Ramirez, and had he won one more round, he would have earned a split draw against the Central California attraction.

 

BOXING AIN’T EASY ON EAST COAST FANS

Dear Doug,

I’m another one of those East Coast cats who stayed up until 2 a.m. (NOT my usual bedtime!) to see the ending of Kovalev-Alvarez 2. In December, ESPN+ had me up at 5 a.m. to see fights from Japan.

I don’t see a “Contact Us” option anywhere on the ESPN website, so I can’t complain directly to them. Maybe you know somebody at ESPN to let them know some of us are really pissed off at this situation. I admit the $4.99 a month isn’t much, but those hours can be killers.

DAZN has on demand options if I miss its broadcasts. With ESPN+, it’s be there live or miss out. I’ve seen some good fights on that service but I’m still thinking seriously about canceling unless they come up with an on demand option for at least a few days. The rest of my life still counts for something. Best. – Leslie Gerber, Woodstock, NY

DAZN does a good job of displaying recent fights and fight cards, but ESPN+ also archives its recently aired boxing programming, it’s just not as easy to find (which is to be expected of a streaming platform that features every sport under the sun as well as a lot of original programming).

Here’s how I access the recently run ESPN+ fight cards “On-Demand” (via the App on Fire TV):

I go to the top menu (with FEATURED, ESPN+, ORIGINALS, and BROWSE) and I select ESPN+. From there I scroll down – way down – past POPULAR ON ESPN+ (general sports stuff I don’t care about), RECOMMENDED FOR YOU (which for some reason includes a lot of UFC programming), UFC 234 REPLAYS (no thanks), MISSING SUNDAY FOOTBALL? (not at all), UPCOMING EVENTS (nothing that interests me), BINGE BETWEEN FIGHTS (which is all UFC stuff, so I skip it) all the way to where it displays all the different sports by name and icon.

Select BOXING (which has the boxing glove icon) and then scroll down below LIVE & UPCOMING, LEAGUES (which is just Top Rank) and LATEST BOXING to PAST EVENTS. Select PAST EVENTS and there you will find recent shows, such as Jose Ramirez vs. Jose Zepeda and Eleider Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev 2.

The On-Demand boxing is not easy to find on ESPN+, but it does exist. Happy hunting.

I’m another one of those East Coast cats who stayed up until 2 a.m. (NOT my usual bedtime!) to see the ending of Kovalev-Alvarez 2. I hear ya, the older I get the more sleep I need in order to function during the day. I stay up to 2 a.m. (and beyond) to put out the mailbags twice a week and that’s about all I can stomach any more. If I wasn’t West Coast based, I may not have bothered with watching Alvarez-Kovalev 2 live. It’s ridiculous for a main event to begin at 1 a.m. Heck, it’s crazy for a boxing headliner to start at 11:30 p.m. or midnight, which happens often with big main events that take place in the NYC area.  

In December, ESPN+ had me up at 5 a.m. to see fights from Japan. To be fair to ESPN, there’s nothing they can do about the start times of those foreign fights. Those shows are beholden to domestic TV time slots. The promoters there aren’t going to stage their main events at odd hours just to appease a few hardcore fans in the U.S. Let’s just be happy that we’re getting to see some of those excellent boxers and fights from Japan.

I don’t see a “Contact Us” option anywhere on the ESPN website, so I can’t complain directly to them. I bet that REALLY pisses you off. Who do those elitist bastards think they are!?

Maybe you know somebody at ESPN to let them know some of us are really pissed off at this situation. The only person I know at ESPN is Steve Kim and he’s still new. I could pass your message on to him, but he’ll probably tell me to tell you to suck it up (ole K9’s cold as ice).

I admit the $4.99 a month isn’t much, but those hours can be killers. Hey, nobody said being a boxing fan would be easy.

 

ROCKY LOCKRIDGE

Hi Dougie,

I just learned that Rocky Lockridge passed away this morning. Only 60 years old, damn. Good chin, good power, good stamina… a real badass. If I were a manager back then, he would have been one of those fighters I would have steered my guys away from. His first fight with Tony Lopez is a personal favorite of mine.  RIP champ. Stay well. – Scott, Orlando, FL

Thanks for sharing, Scott. You’re absolutely right about Lockridge. He didn’t have any glaring weaknesses and was definitely the type of hardnosed fighter that cautious managers and boxers would avoid. Lucky for us, and for Rocky, his prime was during the 1980s when top boxers and managers were a lot bolder than they are now.

And since you brought up his first fight with Tony The Tiger, which was The Ring’s 1988 Fight of the Year, I’m gonna end this mailbag with a YouTube vid of that 12-round battle for Lockridge’s IBF 130-pound title, which was co-promoted in Sacramento by the recently (and dearly) departed Don Chargin and the late master of Main Events, Dan Duva (both hall of fame promoters). (It was broadcast on CBS, so for me, there’s the added pleasure of listening to my all-time favorite commentating duo – Tim Ryan and the late, great Gil Clancy.) Enjoy the beautifully brutal boxing craft and inspirational warrior heart both junior lightweights displayed!

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