Dougie’s Friday mailbag (changing trainers, Crawford and Spence, tattoos)
Hope you’re well. Thanks for posting my rather long email last time. I’ll try to keep this shorter. Recently there have been a spout of boxers leaving their trainers, all of whom are on the wrong side of 30. GGG reportedly left Abel Sanchez, as did Joe Joyce (who is old despite being a relative newbie to the pro ranks), and Derek Chisora moving to train under Dave Coldwell, turning in a very uninspiring performance versus Gashi. Whilst I remember Scott Quigg moved out to fight under Freddie Roach when I think he was 28. Does anyone believe Kell Brook is going to find success post-Ingle?
I know boxers leave their trainers and change camp pretty frequently and some obviously have a lot of success with new coaches. But it seems like there is a balance between freshening it up/pushing yourself and blaming your coach. Was it ever likely that Virgil Hunter, getting Amir Khan who had had several fights and been competing with the same style for a while, going to be able to turn him into a welterweight Andre Ward?
Tyson Fury’s move to Ben Davison seems more about him needing to change it up after quite significant troubles in his personal life. George Groves’ cites his move to Shane McGuigan as being responsible for him turning his career around and winning a world title. But how often does it work? It seems to me that it would always be unlikely for a fighter, particularly an older one, to actually change up their game that much towards the latter phase of their career. Are there any examples of this at a relatively high-profile that you can think of? Maybe I’ve missed some glaring examples, so eager to hear your thoughts. – Amit from London
Freddie Roach proved to be very good at getting the most out of veteran fighter that were at the tail-end of their careers. He hooked up with James Toney and guided the former middleweight/super middleweight champ to a cruiserweight world title (seized from then-unbeaten Vassiliy Jirov in one of the best 190-pound fights ever) and a solid run as a heavyweight contender, and he coached Cotto to the lineal/Ring/WBC middleweight title and respectable stand against Canelo. At the time Roach teamed up with Toney, the Michigan native was a boxing pariah, viewed as a fat lazy slob who had no business fighting above 168 or 175 pounds. Roach allowed Toney to weigh what he wanted and was able to get the well-school boxing genius to put in honest days at the gym (most of the time). With Cotto, Roach taught the Puerto Rican star how to prepare for a fight like an older boxer and basically prevented the veteran from over-training. He also got Cotto to go back to sitting down on his punches. Cotto was viewed as “spent bullet” by most when he called on Roach’s services.
The late, great Emanuel Steward was also a master at bringing back fighters who were forsaken by the public and boxing world. The Kronk Wizard was especially successful with heavyweights. Steward worked wonders with Evander Holyfield (training the Real Deal for the rematch with Riddick Bowe), Lennox Lewis (bringing the Englishman back after the loss to Oliver McCall, who he prepared for the upset), and Wladimir Klitschko (rebuilding the Ukrainian talent after TKO losses to Cory Sanders and Lamon Brewster). With Holyfield, Manny had the Georgia native bulk up a little bit and sit down more on his punches to counter the natural size advantage Bowe had. He also had Lewis fill out more and improved boxer-puncher’s inside game. Steward slowed down Wladdy’s pace, got him to rely more on his jab and added the unpopular holding-and-leaning on the inside tactics that drove a lot of hardcore heads crazy in some of Klitschko’s title defenses.
So, these are examples of a new trainer changing a fighter’s style and/or training methodology for the better. Sometimes change is good in boxing. (However, I should mention that all of the individuals I mentioned – boxer and trainer – are hall of famers. They’re special people. And I think many hall-of-fame/ATG-level fighters get to a point in their careers where it doesn’t matter who trains them. I think legends like Sugar Ray Robinson, Archie Moore, George Foreman, Johnny Tapia, Marco Antonio Barrera, and Bernard Hopkins basically trained themselves late in their careers.)
Recently there have been a spout of boxers leaving their trainers, all of whom are on the wrong side of 30. GGG reportedly left Abel Sanchez, as did Joe Joyce (who is old despite being a relative newbie to the pro ranks), and Derek Chisora moving to train under Dave Coldwell, turning in a very uninspiring performance versus Gashi. There’s nothing “reportedly” about the Gennady Golovkin-Sanchez split. It’s a done deal, and it’s too bad because they were such a good team (and in the eyes of many fans, GGG was “unbeaten” with Sanchez in his corner). But hey, they had a hell of a run together and all good things must come to an end. I’m curious to see how Joyce gets on with Adam Booth. I can understand the British heavyweight wanting to train in England. Give the Chisora-Coldwell union some time to gel before you declare it a lost cause. Some boxer-trainer matchups take a few camps to develop a successful chemistry and system.
Whilst I remember Scott Quigg moved out to fight under Freddie Roach when I think he was 28. I haven’t seen enough of Quigg with Roach to know if their union works (although I thought Scotty looked formidable vs. Oscar Valdez last year).
Does anyone believe Kell Brook is going to find success post-Ingle? I don’t know. Time will tell with Brook.
I know boxers leave their trainers and change camp pretty frequently and some obviously have a lot of success with new coaches. But it seems like there is a balance between freshening it up/pushing yourself and blaming your coach. True, and I generally don’t like it when a trainer gets kicked to the curb after a fighter suffers one loss. That happens way too much, especially in recent decades.
Was it ever likely that Virgil Hunter, getting Amir Khan who had had several fights and been competing with the same style for a while, going to be able to turn him into a welterweight Andre Ward? No, but I think they had a good run together. Khan went on a five-bout win streak with Hunter in his corner, including lopsided decisions over skilled former welterweight titleholders Devon Alexander and Luis Collazo.
LOW BLOWS AND HIGH DAYS
Lotta good fights coming up… I enjoyed the DAZN card this weekend in a middling kinda way and followed the other boxing action second hand.
A couple observations: First, that low blow by Terence Crawford (I only watched the highlights on YouTube) was definitely low but, it was on the thigh not the cup, there’s close up pictures of the connect itself all over the web. In other words, however much it might have hurt it didn’t get up into Khan’s business, and that makes the stoppage a little funny.
Plenty’s been said, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this.
Other things that stood out, in particular, Danny Garcia looking motivated, dynamic, and ready to kick some ass. I’d like to see that version of him challenge Errol Spence. Who do you think/hope he fights next?
Also, the Welsh lightweight prospect Joe Cordina on the DAZN card, a new face (for me) looked quite sharp and like someone to watch for in the next couple years.
And I gotta say, Crawford is one of my favorite active guys fighting, he doesn’t say much, just goes about what he does with intellect, spite, and nearly perfect focus. I think he can take Spence and (needless to say) damn I hope we get to see that. Hope your weekend was good. Thanks as always! – Alec
Last weekend was good. This weekend will be great! It started on Thursday, for me, because I did the color commentary for the first episode of Golden Boy’s new Thursday Night Fights series, which featured an excellent (and very close in my view) rematch between 140-pound fringe contenders Yves Ulysse and Steve Claggett (won by Ulysse) in the main event, and tonight I’ll cover a rematch between elite-level fighters – Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Juan Francisco Estrada – in the main event of a Matchroom USA/DAZN show from The Forum in my hometown on Inglewood, CA. And on Saturday, most of us diehard fans will be watching Regis Prograis, The Ring’s No. 1-rated junior welterweight, go for his first major world title against rugged WBA beltholder Kiryl Relikh (No. 4 in our rankings).
“Intellect, spite and nearly perfect focus” appears to be the perfect formula for a potential world-beater. By the way, Cordina, who is definitely one to keep an eye on, is the New Faces subject in the June 2019 issue of The Ring.
that low blow by Terence Crawford (I only watched the highlights on YouTube) was definitely low but, it was on the thigh not the cup, there’s close up pictures of the connect itself all over the web. It was still a foul punch, and who’s to say that a punch that lands to the thigh or pelvis area of a protective cup won lift it in a way that smushes the nuggets of the unfortunate recipient?
In other words however much it might have hurt it didn’t get up into Khan’s business, and that makes the stoppage a little funny. Good grief, so what?
Plenty’s been said, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this. I’m over it, bro.
Other things that stood out, in particular, Danny Garcia looking motivated, dynamic, and ready to kick some ass. I agree that “Swift” was sharp, but my buddy Steve Kim brought up a good point on his Twitter account and 3 Knockdown Rule podcast that Garcia’s performance could be a bit of a mirage given the wear and tear on Adrian Granados’ body. The Chicagoan has been in a lot of tough fights over the years.
I’d like to see that version of him challenge Errol Spence. That would be an interesting matchup, but it’s going to have to wait. It looks like Spence will face Shawn Porter in a unification bout (according to the WBC).
Who do you think/hope he fights next? Well, Spence and Porter are busy, and Manny Pacquiao-Keith Thurman is reportedly getting close to being made, so the beltholders are out of his reach at the present time. So, I’d like to see Garcia take on Sergey Lipinets. Garcia is the WBC’s No. 1 contender, Lipinets is No. 3 in the sanctioning body’s 147-pound rankings, so maybe that fight could be a title-elimination bout.
THE WELTERWEIGHT LANDSCAPE AND ESPN PPV
I had a chance to catch the ESPN PPV this weekend. A few thoughts:
1) Considering this was their first time out, ESPN did a quality job with their production. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. Bob Arum is an old pro at PPV, and Andre Ward and Max Kellerman added some credibility due to their previous HBO experience. Having heard him a few times now, Timothy Bradley also strikes me as a worthwhile addition. They may not be at the same level as Showtime just yet (or HBO, back when they were still in the game), but they are miles ahead of FOX PPV.
2) Having gotten my first real look at Stevenson and Lopez, I look forward to seeing both of them in future bouts. They both look like future stars. Felix Verdejo though? Not so much.
3) This wasn’t Riddick Bowe writhing around in pain on the canvas after Golata punched him repeatedly in the testicles. That was an obvious immediate stoppage. In this case Khan got hit in the thigh. That was clear to see. I am not debating that it hurt, or that it even hurt tremendously. But he was still on his feet and entitled to take five full minutes to recover. But he told his trainer he couldn’t continue before five minutes were up. As far as I’m concerned, Khan quit. If he took the five minutes and said he couldn’t go on, at least you could make the argument that he gave it his best shot. But he didn’t even TRY. I never liked him much, but now I don’t respect him much either.
4) On Khan’s future: His career needs a lot of rehabilitation at this point. It’s hard to see him landing another big fight other than a domestic scrap with Kell Brook. If he comes through that as the winner, perhaps he could use that as a springboard to future paydays. But if he’s not willing to fight Brook next, he might want to consider retiring. Financially he’s set, and all we’ve been hearing about from him is legacy. Right now the only path remaining to enhancing his legacy (and scoring another big payday) is Kell Brook. I don’t think he’s viable for PPV anymore after he quit the Crawford fight. He needs another big win first.
5) Crawford’s next fight and the future of welterweight: Like everyone else, I would love to see him tangle with Errol Spence. And while that may happen, I don’t see it happening next. For the moment, I think Haymon is content to keep things in-house while Crawford/Spence marinates. With that in mind, I think those rumors about a Spence/Porter unification will come true. I think Manny will opt to fight Thurman over Danny Garcia given that Thurman looked far more vulnerable in their last fights. Not sure about where Danny Garcia goes …Adrien Broner perhaps?
As to Crawford, part of me wonders if Bob Arum reaches out to Kell Brook next. If the money is right, Brook will probably boil down to welterweight, and I could see him wanting to stick it to Khan by accepting a big opportunity and leaving Khan on the outside.
I was also thinking Yordenis Ugas might be a good opponent for Crawford. Haymon has shown a willingness to toss some of his non-premium fighters over to Arum, such as Molina and Collazo (before the fight with Crawford got scuttled), and Ugas is surely looking for another title shot after his controversial loss to Porter. It’s hard to see any of Arum’s premium welterweights being interested in fighting Ugas if he isn’t a mandatory–high risk, low reward. But in Crawford’s case, there is a dearth of credible opponents, and Ugas at least is a known quantity after his fight with Porter on FOX.
Otherwise I would be curious what other opponent there is for Crawford that will capture the public’s attention. I don’t think Arum is ready to feed him Jose Ramirez just yet and I’m not sure who else is left out there. Thanks as always for reading. – Doug
Doug, you are almost as long-winded as Dougie. Keep this up and you’ll have to start your own darn mailbag column.
Ugas is an interesting choice of potential opponents for Crawford. I think I like it because I agree that the PBC Players with 147-pound titles are not going to want to be bothered with Ugas. And with Spence reportedly set to face Porter; hardcore fans might get a better idea of how far ahead of the welterweight pack Errol and Bud are if the WBO beltholder takes on the tough and tricky Cuban. Ugas is viewed as equal to Porter (or even a little better) in the eyes of a lot of diehards. Bottom line: Ugas is considered a legit welterweight contender with skills. If the Crawford-Spence showdown is going to “marinate” for the next year or two, these are the type of challengers Bud needs to face.
Considering this was their first time out, ESPN did a quality job with their production. That didn’t surprise me at all. They’ve got top-notch producers that are used to presenting huge sporting events, and Joe Tessitore is the cream of the crop among host/blow-by-blow commentators; he helps steer and direct a very deep and talented broadcast booth.
They may not be at the same level as Showtime just yet (or HBO, back when they were still in the game), but they are miles ahead of FOX PPV. FOX’s inaugural PPV broadcast was a bit of a cluster f__k, but I’m sure they’ll get better at it the more they do it.
Having gotten my first real look at Stevenson and Lopez, I look forward to seeing both of them in future bouts. They both look like future stars. Felix Verdejo though? Not so much. Top Rank should just toss Verdejo to Teofimo Lopez and get it over with. Stevenson is almost as precocious as Lopez, but I don’t think he’s ready for the 126-pound titleholders. I’d like to see him take on a still-dangerous badass like Miguel Marriaga or Jesus Rojas, dudes that will put real pressure and heavy hands on him for 12 rounds, before he challenges the elite of the division.
As far as I’m concerned, Khan quit. So?
If he took the five minutes and said he couldn’t go on, at least you could make the argument that he gave it his best shot. Nah, I’m pretty sure a legion of fans would still s__t on him.
But he didn’t even TRY. Damn, no Participation Award for Khan! Didn’t anybody every teach him that quitters never prosper?
I never liked him much, but now I don’t respect him much either. Oh well. I still like him and I still respect him, so he’s still got at least one Dougie on his side.
On Khan’s future: His career needs a lot of rehabilitation at this point. Nah, he just needs one more payday, one more chance to earn a respectable victory, and then he needs to call it a career.
It’s hard to see him landing another big fight other than a domestic scrap with Kell Brook. Agreed, and I’m no longer interested in that fight.
If he comes through that as the winner, perhaps he could use that as a springboard to future paydays. No, I think the Brook fight, if it happens, will be it for Khan, unless he wants to become a stepping stone veteran from British welterweight up-and-comers.
I don’t think he’s viable for PPV anymore after he quit the Crawford fight. He’s done as a marketable PPV B-side in America.
Not sure about where Danny Garcia goes … Adrien Broner perhaps? Ugh! Does Broner really deserve another high-profile fight?
As to Crawford, part of me wonders if Bob Arum reaches out to Kell Brook next. Who else is he going to reach out to? He may as well have Bud knock off another U.K. standout and bill him as the “British Assassin.”
COMIC BOOK MYTHICAL MATCHUPS
I follow your mailbag for several years now and until recently I thought you did a very good job. But a week or two ago you gave Namor the edge in a MM vs Aquaman? I mean c’mon! Did you really not know that they actually fought and Aquaman soundly defeated Namor? I’m really disappointed! You can look it up in the classic ‘DC vs Marvel’ series from 1996 or so.
Aside from that (although it’s barely forgivable), keep up the good work, your mailbag always makes my Mondays less desperate and my Fridays even better! Cheers. – Mark (from Mannheim/Germany)
I know these aren’t valid excuses, but here I go anyway: 1. I pretty much skipped the 1990s in terms of my comic book collection, so I missed the DC vs. Marvel series (but I Googled it after reading your email and now I’ll probably order it from Midtown or Mile High Comics); and 2. I saw that they had Aquaman and Namor going at it under water, HOWEVER my mythical matchups only pertain to BOXING MATCHES on land! So there! Take that, my fellow nerd.
Seriously, I am going to look up that series (maybe it’s available via the DC Universe app). I used to think everything that came out in the ‘90s sucked, but there were more than a few comic book/graphic novel gems that came out while during that decade when I was completely obsessed with boxing.
TATTOOS AND HAIR
Greetings from Woodstock and my best to you and yours.
I was watching the DAZN broadcast from the U.K. this Saturday afternoon. It occurred to me while watching Conor Benn that when I was a kid (I’m 75!) someone that heavily tattooed would have been working in a circus sideshow. Ditto Lucas Browne, who also had his head shaved.
Maybe I’m naive, but it seems to me that shaving a boxer’s head is a really dumb move. If a head butt results in a scalp cut on a bald head, it’s going to bleed profusely and the bleeding will be really hard to stop. If the blood soaks into a good head of hair, though, it will clot up on its own.
And as for all those tattoos, I know that there are various kinds of medication that are applied through skin patches. Our skins are absorbent. I guess tattoos use ink that’s as non-toxic as possible but I still wouldn’t want that stuff in my system. Doesn’t that worry fighters and their trainers? Best. – Leslie Gerber, Woodstock, NY
No, not at all. They’re in a business where the participants literally get their brains and internal organs bashed about, their jaws and rib cages broken, their facial features mutilated. They’re not worried about ink poisoning from tattoos.
I’m not as old as you, but I’m not a fan of excessive body art, and I think pro athletes often overdo it. But the younger generations see it differently. Tats are either viewed as something very special and almost sacred to them, or it’s just fashion and no big deal. Either way, they’re gonna keep getting inked up, so get used to it my man!
Regarding bald heads, what you say is true about hair helping blood clot, but how often do we see deep cuts above the hairline? It happens, but not often. Besides, being bald worked out well for Marvin Hagler, didn’t it?
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and watch him on Periscope every Sunday from SMC track.