Tuesday, April 23, 2019  |

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Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Vasiliy Lomachenko, Claressa Shields, the P4P debate, ATG questions)

Calm down, everyone. Most fans know that Lomachenko is special. We don't need to argue about his P4P ranking or worry about his potential to be an all-time great. He's on his way. Sit back and enjoy the ride.
15
Apr

LOMACHENKO & CRAWFORD

Hi Dougie,

After Friday night’s performance against Anthony Crolla I don’t understand how people can watch what Vasiliy Lomachenko does and say he isn’t the top lb-for-lb guy. Terence Crawford might have achieved more being undisputed at junior welterweight, but I don’t think he’s faced the same level of competition in his championship fights as Vasiliy.

He just fought David Benavidez, who is probably not as good as Crolla, and although he outboxed him for the majority of the rounds, did not completely dominate and then destroy the way Lomachenko did Crolla.  Crawford’s fight against Jeff Horn was not as hard of a test as Loma’s fight was against Jorge Linares and he’s never faced anyone like either Guillermo Rigondeaux or Nicholas Walters. His hardest opponent was probably Viktor Postol, who he completely disarmed, but didn’t dominate in the way Loma does against opponents. The eye test should also come into play when discussing P4P and when Loma has a functional right shoulder he does things we’ve never seen before. He does things that nobody else can do inside a boxing ring and makes it look easy.

I think it’s time that everyone realizes we’re watching the best fighter of the post-Pacquiao-Mayweather era and maybe one of the greatest of all time. He doesn’t even have to throw punches to apply unrelenting pressure and after 30 seconds of watching him you can just tell he’s different from other fighters. I just hope the hand injury doesn’t hamper his training for his September return and he can secure a legacy defining fight against Mikey Garcia in the future. – Cheers, Joe

Don’t hold your breath for Loma-Garcia but do continue to enjoy and celebrate the pound-for-pound king’s majestic ring wizardry. (And don’t worry about the folks who can’t or refuse to appreciate his brilliant skill and athleticism. If they want to miss out and be bitter for no good reason, let them!)

I’m looking forward to watching Loma go for his goal of becoming the first undisputed lightweight champ since the great Pernell Whitaker while making title defenses against the likes of Luke Campbell, Miguel Berchelt, and the young guns of the division: Teofimo Lopez and Devin Haney.

As special as Loma is, I don’t think he’ll have an easy time turning back the challenges of that bunch. Then again, I thought Crolla could hang with him into the late rounds. A healthy, two-armed Loma is a major f__king badass.

The Dynamic Duo. Most boxing pundits view Loma and Bud as the top two boxers, pound for pound.

After Friday night’s performance against Anthony Crolla I don’t understand how people can watch what Vasiliy Lomachenko does and say he isn’t the top lb-for-lb guy. Is it that big of a deal? I think Loma is No. 1, but I wouldn’t bother arguing with anyone who thinks Crawford, Canelo, Usyk, Inoue or GGG deserves the top spot in the mythical rankings. We’re lucky to have than many proven elite boxers active in the sport today. Let’s just enjoy watching these incredibly skilled, talented and accomplished fighters do their thing.

Terence Crawford might have achieved more being undisputed at junior welterweight, but I don’t think he’s faced the same level of competition in his championship fights as Vasiliy. I agree that Loma has the edge in overall quality of opposition, which saying something given he’s only got 14 pro bouts under his belt.

He just fought David Benavidez, who is probably not as good as Crolla, and although he outboxed him for the majority of the rounds, did not completely dominate and then destroy the way Lomachenko did Crolla. Yeah, Crolla was The Ring’s No. 4-rated lightweight going into Friday’s title challenge, and Benavidez wasn’t ranked by the magazine going into his fight with Crawford, but welterweight is a deeper division than lightweight right now and Benavidez had just moved to 147 after two years away from the sport (to heal from a shooting injury). Benavidez was also undefeated (27-0) when Bud faced him (although he was the beneficiary of a few controversial decisions).

Crawford’s fight against Jeff Horn was not as hard of a test as Loma’s fight was against Jorge Linares and he’s never faced anyone like either Guillermo Rigondeaux or Nicholas Walters. Horn wasn’t considered a test at all for Crawford. We knew that going in, so why bother comparing Horn to a talented and accomplished veteran like Linares? Bud did what an overwhelming favorite is supposed to do with an underdog – he dominated him. Loma struggled a bit with Linares before stopping the Venezuelan late, just like Crawford struggled a little with Yuriorkis Gamboa before stopping the undefeated Cuban talent late. Neither Loma nor Crawford are perfect when they share the ring with experienced fighters with comparable skill/athletic ability.

His hardest opponent was probably Viktor Postol, who he completely disarmed, but didn’t dominate in the way Loma does against opponents. Postol had a decent opening two rounds and then Bud dominated him for the rest of the fight.

The eye test should also come into play when discussing P4P and when Loma has a functional right shoulder he does things we’ve never seen before. He does things that nobody else can do inside a boxing ring and makes it look easy. OK, OK, calm down a bit. You’re preaching to the choir and most of us don’t need hear or read non-stop accolades for Loma. If you’re trying to convert the “non-believers,” please stop. That’s pointless. Anyone who can’t see Loma’s ability is just ignorant about boxing and anyone who chooses not to recognize what he can do in the ring is just a miserable-ass hater. Let them be.

 

ALL HAIL THE P4P KING AND QUEEN

Hi Dougie,

With the ongoing, recently intensified P4P discussions taking place, arguably the #1 men’s fighter and the woman arguing to be the #1 women’s fighter both turned in impressive wins this weekend.

Ukraine’s Vasyl Lomachenko looked to be back to his best with an awesome destruction of Anthony Crolla. All the usual slippery defensive skills, unparalleled footwork and punching from all angles were on display again, with the benefit of being able to operate with both arms. The result was explosive and breath taking. This is perhaps the first time that Loma has really seemed himself since moving up and capturing a World Title in his third weight class. Do you feel he now truly belongs at 135?

There will be many that will complain that Crolla had no business being in the ring with the Ukrainian master and that the fight was a horrible mismatch. This perhaps is partially true, but going in to the match both The Ring and ESPN rankings had the same top four ranked at Lightweight – 1. Lomachenko  2. Garcia  3. Commey  4. Crolla. With Garcia and Commey both out of action, Crolla (the WBA mandatory contender) was the best available challenger. It’s not Loma’s, Crolla’s or even the WBA’s fault that the double Olympic champion is so far ahead of the rest of the field. For me, this performance (on top of his already outstanding resume) proves beyond any doubt that Lomachenko is the finest man currently plying his trade in the boxing ring.

With Garcia and Gervonta Davis clearly wanting no part of Lomachenko right now, who would you like to see him in the ring with for an exciting, balanced contest?

Congratulations also to Clarissa Shields for overcoming her most distinguished competitor yet, whilst in doing so becoming the undisputed Middleweight champion and inaugural holder of the Ring’s 160lb belt. This was the best version of Shields that I have seen so far. She was far more patient and composed than in previous contests and countered Hammer well with fast combinations. I was a little disappointed with Lady Hammer’s lack of a plan B for such an experienced champion, but that should not take away from Clarissa’s achievement.

The post-fight interview was interesting. Man, there were some real kiss asses asking the questions! One guy said that he had just witnessed one of the best performances he had ever seen in boxing, not just for women’s fights but men’s too and another asked why journalists are not already ranking Shields as one of the top P4P fighters in the world – including men! The champion in return followed this up by claiming to be “The G.W.O.A.T” and stated that she definitely should be rated “somewhere between #1 and #10 in all of boxing currently.”

I have no problem with Shield’s outspoken confidence, although I disagree with her. Where would you place her in today’s P4P list amongst the top ladies like Braekhus, Taylor, Persoon, Serrano, etc.? I was pleased to hear Shields pleading for women’s boxing to have 12 x 3 minute rounds for title fights going forward. I agree with her that this would make the fights more exciting and that “then, the knockouts will come.”

Mythical Matchups:

Loma vs Hector Camacho (135)

Loma vs Salvador Sanchez (126)

Shields vs Laila Ali

Shields vs Lucia Rijker

Regards. – Jeremy, UK

Tough choices but I’ll go with Loma over Macho via decision in a very close fight, Sal over Loma in another very close decision, and Shields over Ali and Rijker on points.

Ukraine’s Vasyl Lomachenko looked to be back to his best with an awesome destruction of Anthony Crolla. This is perhaps the first time that Loma has really seemed himself since moving up and capturing a World Title in his third weight class. Agreed, but you gotta give Linares credit for being as competitive as he was before being stopped and Pedraza credit for being difficult through 12 rounds.

Do you feel he now truly belongs at 135? Absolutely! I view him as the real champ and the best fighter in the division. I also think he’ll stay at lightweight. No more weight climbing for Loma unless it’s for a very special (and lucrative) showdown.

There will be many that will complain that Crolla had no business being in the ring with the Ukrainian master and that the fight was a horrible mismatch. Well, they need to take that up with the WBA if they feel that way.

This perhaps is partially true, but going in to the match both The Ring and ESPN rankings had the same top four ranked at Lightweight – 1. Lomachenko  2. Garcia  3. Commey  4. Crolla. True. But Loma’s become one of those rare boxing talents that is so special that it’s not enough for them to merely defend their title(s) against average top-10 (or even top 5) contenders. If you think about it, it’s the highest praise that fans can give a dominant fighter, even though it comes out as criticism.

With Garcia and Gervonta Davis clearly wanting no part of Lomachenko right now, who would you like to see him in the ring with for an exciting, balanced contest? If Miguel Berchelt defends his WBC 130-pound title in dominant fashion against Francisco Vargas in their May 11 rematch, I’d like to see “El Alacran” move up to 135 pounds to challenge Loma. He’s young (27) but experienced (35-1), athletic and powerful (31 KOs!), rangy and bold, and I think he’s pretty good boxer. (Plus, Loma hasn’t fought a Mexican since Romulo Koasicha in 2015. He’s due!)

Claressa Shields holds the inagural Ring women’s middleweight title aloft after earning undisputed champion status by dominating Christina Hammer over 10 rounds. Photo by Stephanie Trapp-SHOWTIME

Congratulations also to Clarissa Shields for overcoming her most distinguished competitor yet, whilst in doing so becoming the undisputed Middleweight champion and inaugural holder of the Ring’s 160lb belt. It’s a big deal, my man. And Claressa (not Clarissa) boxed and fought better than I’ve ever seen her. She upped her game when it counted, which is was elite fighters do. I think she and John David Jackson make a very good student-coach team and I expect her to continue to improve with each fight over the next few years.

This was the best version of Shields that I have seen so far. Agreed.

The post-fight interview was interesting. Man, there were some real kiss asses asking the questions! One guy said that he had just witnessed one of the best performances he had ever seen in boxing, not just for women’s fights but men’s too and another asked why journalists are not already ranking Shields as one of the top P4P fighters in the world – including men! Well, the good folks at Showtime are very proud of Shields, as they should be, and of their accomplishment of helping to build a women’s boxing championship that garnered the attention of hardcore male fans that usually ignore female boxers. So, maybe they were a little overenthusiastic after the fight. I can see what they mean by posing the men’s boxing pound-for-pound question, because if you just consider how much Shields has accomplished in just nine pro bouts you gotta put her up there with the likes of Usyk. However, the level of her competition simply hasn’t been strong enough to do that. Still, there’s debating her merits or place in women’s boxing.

The champion in return followed this up by claiming to be “The G.W.O.A.T” and stated that she definitely should be rated “somewhere between #1 and #10 in all of boxing currently.” Bless her.

Ring Magazine considers Braekhus the P4P queen of boxing.

Where would you place her in today’s P4P list amongst the top ladies like Braekhus, Taylor, Persoon, Serrano, etc.? I don’t follow women’s boxing close enough to be able to provide you an informed opinion on this questions. I think Braekhus is still the most accomplished female pro boxer in the game. She’s been undefeated and undisputed for a lot longer than Shields, and just going by her record and accomplishments, probably still deserves to be No. 1, but my guess is that her grip on that coveted spot isn’t as tight as it used to be. Claressa, Taylor (who is on her way to undisputed status), Serrano (who is doing Manny Pacquiesque things in terms of winning titles in multiple divisions) and Persoon (43-1) all deserve to be in striking range.  

I was pleased to hear Shields pleading for women’s boxing to have 12 x 3 minute rounds for title fights going forward. I agree with her that this would make the fights more exciting and that “then, the knockouts will come.” I may be in the minority, but I like the 2-minute rounds. It moves the fight along. However, if she wants to fight 3-minutes rounds and go the 12-round championship distance, she should be allowed to.

 

MUNGUIA-HOGAN

I am more than disappointed with the decision, as any reasonable person would be. I have to say it was borderline highway robbery. Not the WORST decision I have ever seen, but a decision that keeps pushing fans away. When will this end? After this showcase of Munguia’s skills, I expect him to be knocked within 4 rounds by Canelo, or worse to a grueling “however” rounds by GGG (5, 6, 7??).  What do you think?

Thanks. – a big fan in Ottawa, Canada

Based on his four defenses of the WBO 154-pound title (especially his distance bouts with Liam Smith, Takeshi Inoue and Hogan), Munguia doesn’t belong in the ring Canelo or Golovkin, and we’d have to consider him to be a huge underdog against the likes of Demetrius Andrade, Jarrett Hurd and Erislandy Lara.

I like the Tijuana native a lot, but he needs a lot of work. As a prospect, folks were comparing him Antonio Margarito, but even the granite chinned TJ Tornado, who used to smile when his opponents cracked him with their best shots, had better technique and defense than the 22 year old.

I am more than disappointed with the decision, as any reasonable person would be. Sadly, it wasn’t a huge surprise that Munguia got the benefit of the doubt of every close round on two scorecards, was it?

I have to say it was borderline highway robbery. I consider it a “gift decision,” not a robbery. It was legitimately close, but shameful the way Hogan’s punch accuracy and ring generalship was ignored by the judges.

Not the WORST decision I have ever seen, but a decision that keeps pushing fans away. When will this end? When fans put enough pressure on the commissions that appoint these judges to hold them accountable for egregious and even questionable scoring.

 

HEAVYWEIGHT MYTHICAL MATCHUPS

Hi Dougie,

The Holmes who fought McCall vs Tua

Luis Angel Firpo vs Jorge Luis Gonzalez

Jim Flynn vs Golota

Corrie Sanders vs Jess Willard

Tommy Burns vs the Jones who fought Ruiz.

Thanks mate. Regards. – Will

Tua at his best struggles like hell with even the faded 40-something version of Holmes but stops the ATG late, Firpo punks JLG, “Fireman Jim” makes Golota quit early, Sanders blitzes Jess and Jones outpoints Burns.

 

LOMACHENKO’S PLACE IN BOXING HISTORY

Hey Dougie,

What’s up man! Been a long time since I’ve written here in your mail. I have been busy but I never failed to watch big time boxing matches and read my favorite mailbag 2x a week.

What can I say, it’s another clinical boxing lesson demonstrated by the pound 4 pound best in the world. Crolla never had a chance from the beginning. Such accuracy, speed, footwork and skill by the Ukranian sensation Lomachenko. He made an I think very game Englishman look like a D class fighter. Since the beginning of round 2 he showed all those naysayers and doubters (mostly tank d*ck riders) why he is considered the top fighter of this generation.

I’ve got several questions for you. First, if Lomachenko unified and cleaned up the entire lightweight division defeating the likes of Garcia, Commey, Teofimo and Tank Davis, where will you put him in the list of ATG? Also, in your Top 10 greatest technical boxers of all time, will you put Loma inside the top 10? How will you rank them as I’m interested in your opinion about that? Lastly, an interesting MM for Loma, how will you think he will fare to the lightweight versions of Crawford, Marquez, Pac and Duran?

Thanks a lot Doug my man! I hope you read this one and answer all of this in your next mailbag! Ill be surely looking forward to it. Take care my man and God bless to you and your fam!

P.S. I like the way how you burned Teddy Reynoso on the pound for pound criteria. You were right all along, Pac is no longer the fighter he once was and is not P4P worthy anymore. There are a lot of fighters who are more deserving than him now. Can’t understand these diehard Pac fans why they can’t move on. I’m a Filipino myself but I have moved on from him a long time ago. – Neil from Philippines

I don’t have a problem with anyone who is still a diehard Pac-Fan. The Filipino Legend earned his adulation (especially from his fellow Pinoys). And the P4P rankings shouldn’t be taken as seriously as we make it out to be.

If Lomachenko unified and cleaned up the entire lightweight division defeating the likes of Garcia, Commey, Teofimo and Tank Davis, where will you put him in the list of ATG? I wouldn’t. I’d consider him one of the best of this decade (2010s), one of the best of this era, and I’d probably consider him to be a first-ballot hall of famer (actually, I’d DEFINITELY consider him a first-ballot lock for Canastota). But all-time great? No, not of ALL TIME, going back to the damn late 1800s; and probably not among the all-timers going back to the Golden Age of the 1940s and ‘50s. Lomachenko has done a lot in under 15 pro bouts and he’ll probably do even more in under 20 bouts, but it won’t be enough to outrank the legends of the ‘30s, ‘40s, ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s and even the ‘90s. Boxing is a VERY OLD sport. If by ATG, you’re talking about the top 20-30 every to lace up a pair of boxing gloves, then no, Loma won’t make that cut by accomplishing what you proposed. If you’re talking about the top 100 of all time, sure, he’s already in there.

Also, in your Top 10 greatest technical boxers of all time, will you put Loma inside the top 10? He’s among the top 10 that I’ve ever seen live. That’s for sure, maybe top five. Top 10 all time? I don’t know, man, maybe, but I gotta think about that and really think about and review all of the great technicians that have graced this 140-year-old sport.

How will you rank them as I’m interested in your opinion about that? Compiling that list would take a lot of research (and a lot of time that I just don’t have right now).

Lastly, an interesting MM for Loma, how will you think he will fare to the lightweight versions of Crawford, Marquez, Pac and Duran? I think he’s competitive with them all. He might be able to beat Marquez, I envision he and Pac as a toss-up, but I slightly favor Bud by decision and strongly favor Duran to beat him in a good fight. Honestly, though, I need to see more of Loma at lightweight. He’s only fought three times at 135 with Linares being by far the best he’s faced at the weight.

I understand the excitement for Loma, but the extreme speculation and hypothetical questions about his potential “greatness” and his place in history is beginning to remind me of when I kept getting emails asking me how Felix Trinidad would fare vs. Ray Robinson after he knocked out Williams Joppy. Slow down, kids.

Let’s not worry so much about Loma’s P4P ranking, and let’s definitely hold off on his ATG status, and let’s just enjoy watching him.

 

 

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and watch him on Periscope every Sunday from SMC track.

 

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