Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Acosta-Soto, retroactive Ring titles, podcasts)
THE LITTLE DUDES
I happened to watch most of the card on Friday but missed the main event as I had to go to Mexico to a party. I did see that Andrew Cancio pretty much repeated his upset with another body shot, which was what I expected.
I did manage to watch the co-main event between the guy from San Felipe, Elwin Soto and the champ (now former champ) from Puerto Rico, Angel Acosta. That was a nice little scrap. When I saw that there was a guy from San Felipe, Baja California fighting I had to stick a little bit more and watch the fight, because I don’t remember that little town ever producing a fighter (It’s a very small town south of Mexicali with nobody there, maybe 10 to 20,000 people). It kind of reminded me of the olden days. I felt I was watching Chiquita Gonzalez and Michael Carbajal with the kind of determination to focus on power. Those were some heavy shots they were throwing in the first few rounds. There were two things that surprised me, one was Soto’s ability to take so many hard punches. Acosta was throwing some big bombs in there! Those combinations were brutal! The second thing that surprised me was Acosta’s recovery from the first few rounds, where he seemed to be hurt with every big bomb Soto threw; he was throwing plenty of punches in the championship rounds, it really impressed me, that’s what a champion is all about I thought.
On the stoppage, well, you know, I’ve been thinking since the Ruiz-Joshua fight about how referees sometimes seem to stop fights a little too early. These guys get trained to see certain things we as the audience don’t see. He was really close and he saw something in Acosta’s eyes, much like Joshua, there’s a sudden disconnect where it becomes dangerous, no matter what round it is. Fact is, Acosta was probably winning the fight and he wasn’t smart with his defense, he put himself in harms way and got hurt with a big shot again, the referee saw this and I’m thinking he saw his eyes and body language and decided to step in. No need to criticize him for that, I’m no expert and I’m not in front of the fighter. He gets to fight another day, and guess what? He can probably win the title back! He’s really good. He just needs to focus on a little bit more defense and he can probably out box him and even catch him. The problem for him in this fight is that he didn’t feint enough and Soto could see everything. He needed to mask his punches and be a little more unpredictable, you could tell when a strong punch was coming all the way from my house.
Overall another night of good boxing. Thanks again Doug. – Juan Valverde, San Diego
The Golden Boy/DAZN show from Fantasy Springs Casino on Friday was indeed a quality offering from the promotional/platform partnership. I get a kick out of Blair “The Flair” Cobb (and would love to see the welterweight livewire with the Sideshow Bob Fro take on Conor Benn sometime in 2020), I think Aaron McKenna and Luis Feliciano are legit prospects, and despite the controversial nature of the 108-pound title bout, the co-featured bouts obviously delivered world-class action and drama.
I was beyond stoked for Cancio, gutted for Acosta, happy for Soto, and a little sad for Machado. Boxing is at its best when it takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride. I traumatized my visiting niece by jumping out of my chair and bellowing the moment Soto clipped Acosta with that left hook in Round 12. And, no, I did not apologize for my outburst even when I cooled off 5 or 10 minutes after the fight was stopped. It’s my house, and when I’m watching boxing people can either join me and enjoy the fights or they LEAVE the room!
It kind of reminded me of the olden days. Acosta-Soto delivered old-school action. Acosta is a punching machine and he wasn’t worried about pacing himself vs. Soto, nor did he seem all that concerned about what the inexperienced challenger was firing back at him, which was a mistake because the squat Mexican is durable enough to take his onslaught, plus deceptively quick and accurate with this power shots. Going into Round 12, I was sure that Acosta would win the fight and I was impressed with both junior flyweights.
I felt I was watching Chiquita Gonzalez and Michael Carbajal with the kind of determination to focus on power. I see what you’re saying given the intensity of the fight and that respective statures and styles of the junior flies (even though neither Soto nor Acosta can carry either hall of famer’s jockstrap).
There were two things that surprised me, one was Soto’s ability to take so many hard punches. Who knew the 22 year old was THAT tough? Like I Tweeted during the late rounds of the fight, you can only learn so much about an unheralded fighter by looking at his Boxrec page, sometimes we don’t find out what they’re made of until they’re tossed down a well. Soto proved to have the durability, guts and grit to climb all the way out.
Acosta was throwing some big bombs in there! Those combinations were brutal! They were also delivered with proper technique and maximum leverage. I can’t remember when I’ve seen good, technical fighter let his hands go (with as many hooks and uppercuts) as much as Acosta.
The second thing that surprised me was Acosta’s recovery from the first few rounds, where he seemed to be hurt with every big bomb Soto threw; he was throwing plenty of punches in the championship rounds, it really impressed me, that’s what a champion is all about I thought. Tito is a beast. That let’s us know how much of a badass Kosei Tanaka (the only other fighter to beat the Acosta) was at 108 pounds and how tough and determined Soto is.
On the stoppage, well, you know, I’ve been thinking since the Ruiz-Joshua fight about how referees sometimes seem to stop fights a little too early. You’re not suggesting that the ref should have allowed Joshua to continue, are you? What did you think of the stoppage in the Rigo-Ceja fight last night?
These guys get trained to see certain things we as the audience don’t see. True, and Tom Taylor is a very good ref. Still, I think he pulled the trigger a hair too soon in this particular fight.
He was really close and he saw something in Acosta’s eyes, much like Joshua, there’s a sudden disconnect where it becomes dangerous, no matter what round it is. I’m sure Taylor did see that Acosta’s eyes were glazed, along with the stiff legs and split-second loss of function, but unlike, Joshua, the Puerto Rican didn’t get a chance to fight back or answer questions from the ref before the fight was halted. I guess it would have been better for Acosta had he been dropped by that punch or had he taken a voluntary knee. That way he would have received a mandatory “eight count” and Taylor likely would have asked him if he could continue before allowing the fight to resume. Acosta could have used that extra time.
No need to criticize him for that, I’m no expert and I’m not in front of the fighter. I’m not gonna rip Taylor. I know how fast things happen in the ring during real time. The ref doesn’t have time to second guess himself or the benefit of hindsight and slo-mo instant replays. I still think it was an “iffy” call. It happens in boxing.
He gets to fight another day, and guess what? He can probably win the title back! He’s really good. He sure is. If he lobbies the WBO for an immediate rematch, he needs to forget about his KO record and focus more on boxing the shorter fighter from the outside.
RETROACTIVE RING TITLES & PODCASTS
Great read on Naz getting a retroactive Ring belt.
That was well deserved for him and got me thinking in that time frame, who are some other guys who might get a second look from the time frame of 1992-2002? Trinidad for Welterweight and Jr Middleweight? Would beating Vargas and Reid counted?
Did Roy Jones ever qualify for this? I am sure Bernard got one as he was still middle weight champ past ‘02. Tszyu as he beat Sharmba Mitchell and Zab Judah? Maybe Azmah Nelson with his run at Jr. Lightweight?
I don’t know if Sweet Pees wins at welterweight off the top of my head. I don’t think he ever fought a lot of the top rated guys, unless James McGirt was #1 when they fought?
As much as I love Chavez, he was not at his best at welterweight. Seemed until Oscar fought Pernell, he was either being avoided or his promoter didn’t make the fights happen.
Also heard you on the 3 Knockdown Rule with Steve Kim and Mario Lopez and it was probably one of my favorite episodes (aside from the episodes where Bob Arum tells all sorts of great stories). Steve and Mario provide for great knowledge and are very entertaining together. Great comedy. Are there any other Podcasts you would recommend for boxing fans?
(P.S. I am still waiting for my Maxboxing shirt…… JKJK. Hope you had a great weekend.) Thank you. – Josh Turner
Thanks for the kind words about my recent guest spot on the 3 Knockdown Rule, Josh. I’m glad you enjoyed it. There are WAY too many boxing podcasts out there for me to mention off the top of my head (and I’m not gonna do a Google search when you’re perfectly capable of doing that). I’ll tell you about the boxing podcasts that I’ve listened to over the past week. Give ‘em a listen if you’re interested, but keep in mind that there’s probably 20 other quality podcasts that cover our sport well. So, in the past seven or eight days I’ve listened to the 3KR (you obviously know about that one), Montero On Boxing (covering Fury-Schwarz, the WBSS cruiserweight semifinals, and previewing a bunch of fights), State of Combat (co-piloted by Brian Campbell and Rafe Bartholomew and coveing boxing, MMA and pro wrestling, but the June 17 show focused on Fury and the WBSS), Boxing with Chris Mannix (which featured Lou DiBella and Regis Prograis), Talk Box with Michael Woods (which featured Bob Arum and a lovely boxing oldhead aptly named Art Lovely), Fistianados with Evan Rutkowski (which reviewed the Showtime’s 2019 so far, GGG’s DAZN debut and Fury’s ESPN debut), and The Boxing Esq. Podcast with Kurt Emhoff (which featured an in-depth interview with Todd DuBoef).
I enjoy all the podcasts I’ve mentioned (plus several others I didn’t mention), and I usually learn something about the industry or the individuals that are guests on the shows.
Great read on Naz getting a retroactive Ring belt. You can thank Associate Editor Tom Gray for the idea, which we will continue with other deserving hall of famers from now until the 100th birthday of the publication (February 2022).
That was well deserved for him and got me thinking in that time frame, who are some other guys who might get a second look from the time frame of 1992-2002? Trinidad for Welterweight and Jr Middleweight? Would beating Vargas and Reid count? I think so. Oscar De La Hoya and Trinidad were the Nos. 1 and 2 welterweights, according to The Ring, throughout 1998 and ’99, right up until their September ’99 showdown that Tito won (albeit in controversial fashion). And Fernando Vargas and David Reid were the Nos. 1 and 2 junior middleweights, according to The Ring, by the end of ’99. We all know what Trinidad did to those two ’96 U.S. Olympians in 2000.
Did Roy Jones ever qualify for this? Yeah, Jones was an “undisputed” champ (which in the late ‘90s/early 2000s meant he held the WBA, WBC and IBF world titles; the WBO was still the stepchild of sanctioning organizations at this time) at light heavyweight at the time then-Ring editor Nigel Collins re-instated the magazine’s championships, so he received The Ring 175-pound title.
I am sure Bernard got one as he was still middle weight champ past ‘02. Yes, he did, because he was also considered the “undisputed” champ (even though he wouldn’t win the WBO belt until 2004).
Tszyu as he beat Sharmba Mitchell and Zab Judah? Yep, again, King Kostya was the “undisputed” champ at 140 pounds having unified the WBC, WBA and IBF belts (have I mentioned that The Ring did not recognize the WBO at all?).
Maybe Azumah Nelson with his run at Jr. Lightweight? Good question. The Professor had a hell of run at 130 pounds. I guess it depends on the criteria you use. If you go by the championship policy that Collins instated in 2002, which states the vacant belt is on the line when the mag’s Nos. 1 and 2 (and sometimes Nos. 1 and 3) contenders fight, he wouldn’t have won The Ring’s title when he earned the WBC’s vacant belt by narrowly outpointing Mario Martinez in February of 1988 (because he took on “Azabache” in his junior lightweight debut after moving up from featherweight). But if you consider The Ring’s No. 1-rated fighter in a particular division to be “the champ” during the period of time when the magazine was not awarding world titles, The Professor definitely qualifies. (Even if you go by the championship policy of the 2000s, Nelson probably qualifies because he beat Gabe Ruelas and Jesse James Leija in rematches after losing the WBC title to Jesse James in ’94, and I think those two were the top rated junior lightweights when the Ghanaian hero stopped them.)
I don’t know if Sweet Pea wins at welterweight off the top of my head. I don’t think he ever fought a lot of the top rated guys, unless James McGirt was #1 when they fought? McGirt was definitely The Ring’s No. 1-rated welterweight when they fought. In November 1991, McGirt beat Simon Brown, who was the magazine’s top-rated 147 pounder (and had unified WBC and IBF belts by stopping his good friend Maurice Blocker in March 1991). If you consider The Ring’s No. 1 rated fighter to be “the champ,” then Pea (who was the mag’s No. 2-rated junior welterweight behind Julio Cesar Chavez when he challenged Buddy) beat the man who beat the man.
As much as I love Chavez, he was not at his best at welterweight. No kidding?
Seemed until Oscar fought Pernell, he was either being avoided or his promoter didn’t make the fights happen. Oh, I don’t know about that, Josh. He beat McGirt twice and managed to outclass The Ring’s No. 1-rated junior middleweight (WBA titleholder Julio Cesar Vazques). NOT. TOO. SHABBY.