Dougie’s Friday Mailbag (Tyson Fury, James Toney, cruiserweights, and favorite fights of the decade)
ALL HAIL THE GYPSY KING
I find Tyson Fury an inspiration. I hated on his trash-talk ass all through his rise. His fall and rebirth after dealing with his mental health is an inspiration. Much as I always wanted to have a great American champ again, I don’t, now. I want Fury. He’s on a journey in his own life and all props to him. I got hooked on boxing when Buster beat Tyson. Nothing you could take hasn’t been taken. I saw the same fire in Evander. This is a great time to be a boxing fan. – MT from the OC
Thanks for sharing, MT. I can assume that you’ll be watching Fury defend his lineal heavyweight championship status against the unbeaten but unproven (on the world level) German prospect Tom Schwarz tomorrow night on ESPN+.
There are still jaded hardcore fans and boxing insiders that wonder why ESPN signed Fury to a multi-fight/multimillion-dollar deal (bringing in Top Rank as a co-promoter). Your email is the clearest way to answer them. Fury (his personality and his story) resonates with people, and not just boxing or sports fans. If he can inspire you, he can inspire others who haven’t seen him yet. I’m curious as to what kind of turnout he’ll attract with this Las Vegas debut, but more importantly, I’m intrigued by how effective the ESPN platform will be in introducing him to an even wider U.S. audience.
The word is that Wilder-Fury II has been agreed upon for early 2020 (although Fury claims he hasn’t signed anything). How much bigger can ESPN (and Tyson’s continued presence in America) make that rematch? Hopefully, Fury’s resurgence continues past Saturday and we find out.
WBSS CRUISER SEMIFINALS, PERSONAL FAVES OF THE DECADE
Really looking forward to the WBSS cruiserweight fights this weekend. Tabiti has the style where he might stink it out a bit, but I think he can come away with a decision if he lets his hands go enough. Believe Tabiti opened at around +225 but it feels like it might play out more like 50/50 based on their styles. Glad to see the sanctioning bodies rightfully putting the belts on the line in the recent weeks. It’s a big step up for Tabiti, but do you think he hangs w/ a guy like Dorticos who’s been in there with the higher caliber competition? Sullivan Barrera vs Jesse Hart should also be a really fun fight.
Was nice catching you on the 3 Knockdown Rule this week, hope you make some more appearances going forward. I recently watched Too Sharp vs Alberto Jimenez last week after hearing the recommendation on their podcast. Damn that fight was a hidden gem! Too Sharp was dynamite @ his prime.
Along those lines of hidden gem fights—almost exactly 5 yrs ago I tuned into the Algieri/Provodnikov fight basically by accident & that was enough to get me hooked on the sport. That was a damn fun scrap & nonstop action! Was waiting for Algieri to get folded after that disastrous 1st rd & then he methodically boxed his way into that fight for the W with a shut eye. A week later I was nerding out on YouTube watching classic fights & the boxing bug has been in full effect since.
Which leads me to your list of favorite fights of the last decade—whats your totally arbitrary list of your 10 favorite fights of last decade & your brief reasoning? I’m talking in terms of fight significance + quality of action. Mine are:
Algieri/Provdnikov (initiation fight for me)
Bradley/Provdnikov (nonstop war)
Chocolatito/SSR I (high speed chess, very rewatchable fight—bad judging)
Pac/Marquez 4 (“he’s not gettin up Jim”)
Broner/Maidana (Maidana hip thrust on the tie up)
Hopkins/Pascal II (old vet making it happen)
Martinez/Williams 1&2 (both fights for obvious reasons, cheating here)
Manny vs Cotto (dynamite Manny)
Rigo/Donaire (Olympian picks apart P4P talent)
Would a few of these make your list? Which other ones would you throw in there? Appreciate the consistent content & balanced takes, all the best! – DJ
Thanks for sharing, DJ.
Gonzalez-Sor Rungvisai I and Bradley-Provodnikov could make my list. I was ringside for both fights and they were breathtaking examples of human beings surpassing their physical limits during 12 rounds (36 minutes) of professional boxing. I was ringside for Cotto-Pacquiao, too, and it was an impressive performance by the Filipino Icon, however, it was only a fight for four rounds… after the second knockdown, Cotto was looking to survive and go the distance (and he almost made it to the final bell). I don’t think it makes my list. The other fights you mentioned are special (for different reasons) but I don’t think they’d make my top 10, either, and to give you that definitive list, I’d really have to take some time and think about it, but these fights popped off the top of my head: Roman Gonzalez-Juan Estrada (2012 – Prime Chocolatito vs. a future champ and P4P talent – I was there),
Golovkin-Grzegorz Proksa (2012 – GGG’s U.S./HBO debut – I wasn’t there but I watched with interest because I knew who he was and I had an idea of his potential), Golovkin-Marco Antonio Rubio (2014 – GGG’s Californian debut & the beginning of “Mexican Style” and his eventual crossover appeal – I was ringside), Anthony Joshua-Andy Ruiz (biggest heavyweight championship upset that I’ve ever witnessed live – and it was at a packed Madison Square Garden), Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko (2017 – a dramatic passing of the ‘heavyweight star’ torch in front of 90,000 – I wish I had been there for that one), Gennady Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez II (2018 – modern middleweight classic – I was there and worked one of the broadcasts), Carlos Cuadras-Roman (2016 – Chocolatito’s first major headliner in the U.S. and his last significant victory, which made Nicaraguan history and – in my opinion – clinched his future hall-of-fame enshrinement) and Vasiliy Lomachenko-Gary Russell Jr. (2014 – the coronation of an amateur phenom, a 12-round masterclass executed by a 1-1 pro vs. a 24-0 top American talent who hasn’t lost since – lucky enough to do the international call with Alan Massengale on this one).
I know most consider this decade to be part of the “Mayweather/Pacquiao era,” and I don’t deny that designation, but for me it was it was more about the Big and Little Drama Shows (my two favorite fighters of the 2010s – it was a lot of fun watching GGG and Chocolatito climb out of obscurity to the top of the sport), the emergence of Canelo and AJ as the only stadium fighters of the 21st Century, and the very rare occurrence of an amateur legend (Loma) making an equal impact in the pro ranks.
Really looking forward to the WBSS cruiserweight fights this weekend. Me too. I think the Briedis-Glowacki semifinal will deliver a more entertaining fight than Dorticos-Tabiti, but both fights are quality cruiserweight bouts. The Briedis-Glowacki features The Ring’s No. 1-rated 200 pounder (Briedis) vs. No. 4 in the cruiserweight rankings. Dorticos-Tabiti fight matches up The Ring’s Nos. 3 (Dorticos) and 6 contenders. That’s boxing at its best, DJ. Props to DAZN for carrying the WBSS.
Tabiti has the style where he might stink it out a bit, but I think he can come away with a decision if he lets his hands go enough. I agree with you, but that’s a BIG “if.”
Believe Tabiti opened at around +225 but it feels like it might play out more like 50/50 based on their styles. I don’t bet on fights, but hey, go for it. If Drew doesn’t come through for you…. blame The Money Team (LOL!)
It’s a big step up for Tabiti, but do you think he hangs w/ a guy like Dorticos who’s been in there with the higher caliber competition? I have no idea. He’s a legit contender and he can box, but the Cuban is more battle tested and has a busier/more-aggressive style, which could sway the official judges.
Sullivan Barrera vs Jesse Hart should also be a really fun fight. Agreed. It’s a reason to tune in early to the ESPN+ show.
Was nice catching you on the 3 Knockdown Rule this week, hope you make some more appearances going forward. Me too. I have fun on Mario and Steve’s show. It’s my favorite boxing podcast.
I recently watched Too Sharp vs Alberto Jimenez last week after hearing the recommendation on their podcast. Damn that fight was a hidden gem! Too Sharp was dynamite @ his prime. Johnson is the most dynamic natural boxing talent that I’ve ever witnessed live (as a fan, not a member of the media). That fight proved that he was an elite boxer even before he won his first major world title because Jimenez could box and fight his ass off.
Along those lines of hidden gem fights—almost exactly 5 yrs ago I tuned into the Algieri/Provodnikov fight basically by accident & that was enough to get me hooked on the sport. Wow. Seems like it was yesterday. Did you watch Algieri’s entertaining stoppage of the gutsy Tommy Coyle on the Joshua-Ruiz undercard? Your boy is still scrapin’!
That was a damn fun scrap & nonstop action! It was dramatic and inspirational. I scored it even in rounds (six to each fighter), so I had Provodnikov up by two points (114-112) due to the two opening-round knockdowns he scored. But I was happy for Algieri and amazed at how well he boxed with one good eye (shades of Erik Morales’ bold stand against Marcos Maidana in 2011 – hey, this is a fight that could make my top-10 faves of the decade!)
A week later I was nerding out on YouTube watching classic fights & the boxing bug has been in full effect since. That’s how it works, DJ! Glad you still got the fever.
JAMES TONEY SPARRING
I remember watching this then…. it’s still good!
Thanks for your work bro. – Alan
Thanks for the blast from the past. This admittedly pixilated video feature (MaxBoxing didn’t do “hi-res” in the years before YouTube was a thing) was shot at Wild Card Boxing Club in 2003, during Toney’s camp for the Evander Holyfield showdown. The sparring session, which lasted 10 rounds, was more one-sided than the video highlights portray, but the editor of the feature, Brian Harty, felt sorry for Toney’s sparring partner (Terry Smith) and spliced together a somewhat competitive mashup. Still, Toney’s natural talent (even at age 35) and technical brilliance are obvious. That hook to the head and body combo was beautifully fluid (and damaging). The way he turned with Smith’s right crosses and naturally fired the counter right (always on balance and in position) was uncanny. And Harty’s music selection of Freddie FoxxX (AKA Bumpy Knuckles) was perfect!
Here’s a story that accompanied the original MaxBoxing video that also ran on ESPN.com (enjoy).
Toney was The Ring’s 2003 Fighter of the Year on the strength of his cruiserweight title victory over then-undefeated Vasiliy Jirov and his stoppage of Holyfield at heavyweight (he entered both bouts as a betting underdog). Can you image his cruiserweight title reign had he the desire and discipline to remain at 190 pounds (and later 200)?
RUSSIAN CRUISERWEIGHT CARDS
One of my favourite types of cards are Russian ones stacked with cruiserweight punchers, and that’s exactly what we’re getting on Sunday. The last really good one was with Afolabi/Chakhiev, Kudryashov/Durodola, Lebedev/Kayode and it sprung upsets and just was packed full of action.
This weekend we have Kudryashov vs Makabu (who you like in that?), then a couple more cruiserweight prospects, although I see Mike Perez was pulled from his bout against Aleksei Egorov last minute, but yeah I love watching those Russian cards, with their overly dramatic Russian music and their poundshop Michael Buffer, they can really put on a show.
What are some of your favouite shows from different countries or regions?
Yoan Pablo Hernandez vs Yuniel Dorticos
Grigory Drozd vs Denis Lebedev
Murat Gassiev vs James Toney
Thanks. – Conrad, Sheffield
I’ll go with Hernandez, Drozd and Toney – all by close decisions in entertaining fights. Toney-Gassiev has the ingredients to be an all-time classic.
My favorite boxing shows from different countries? I like the production value of some the higher-profile Japanese cards (especially the New Year’s Eve shows, which are usually topped by quality championship matchups and include a lot of pageantry) and I love the celebratory atmosphere of big British boxing events (and, I know I’m in the minority with this opinion, but I also enjoy most of the UK commentators).
One of my favourite types of cards are Russian ones stacked with cruiserweight punchers, and that’s exactly what we’re getting on Sunday. I forgot about this card. How are you watching it? If there’s a YouTube channel streaming it live, let me know, or send me a link to a stream if it’s not too risky.
The last really good one was with Afolabi/Chakhiev, Kudryashov/Durodola, Lebedev/Kayode and it sprung upsets and just was packed full of action. That was a memorable show. That’s the one where Afolabi scored a one-hitter-quitter KO and Kudryashov was upset by Durodola in a shootout, right?
This weekend we have Kudryashov vs Makabu (who you like in that?). Kudryashov’s got home country advantage, but he’s a limited banger (although he’s tried to improve his technique since getting smashed by Dorticos). I think I favor Makabu in this one.
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and watch him on Periscope every Sunday from SMC track.