Monday, September 16, 2019  |

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Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Pacquiao-Thurman, Daniel Dubois, Shakur Stevenson)

(Harry How/Getty Images)
15
Jul

WHAT DOES A VICTORY MEAN FOR PACQUIAO?

Hello Doug,

Hope everything’s well with you and your family. I’ve been thinking about Manny’s legendary career and what a win over Thurman would mean. Yes, at his age it’s a huge accomplishment to beat a younger champion who’s supposed to be in his prime or at least near it, but let’s not kid ourselves, Keith Thurman is not “great”. He’s a good champ who’s managed to stay as a champ because he hasn’t faced the elite (Errol Spence and Terence Crawford) and has actually taken a lot of time off.

He’s been buzzed by two average fighters, Luis Collazo and Josesito Lopez, and his victories over Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter weren’t that impressive. Don’t get me wrong, this fight could catapult Keith into the next level, and if he beats Manny and then ends up fighting and beating Spence or Crawford then I’ll eat my words.

As of right now though, Thurman is just another alphabet champion who really hasn’t proven to be great.  So, I don’t know, do you think a victory vs Keith, specially coming off a shaky performance vs Lopez, puts Manny’s career at another level? Also, I wasn’t thrilled to hear that there was no VADA testing for this. Why?

Now the fact that I favor Manny to win this might be the same kind of thing that happens to a lot of us when we see a great older fighter matched with a younger one, we think of him as if he was still in his prime. Against Adrien Broner, Manny looked good, but he was nowhere near the fighter he was even when he fought Tim Bradley the third time; the Lucas Matthysse fight was also a mirage as Lucas was way past his prime.

I still do like the style matchup and I think Manny has enough speed to at least make Thurman uncomfortable (given that ever slower fighters have been able to touch him).   Coaching will also be a factor, I know Freddie sees something in Keith and that’s the reason they accepted this fight and would never ever even look at a guy like Crawford (even though they had everything perfectly set up for that). The counter to this argument is that Manny doesn’t throw as many punches than before and that his legs have seen better days, yet, even at this stage of his career his movement is difficult to emulate and most fighters keep having trouble with his natural strength and ability.

So what do you think? If he wins this fight, would this be considered one of his greatest achievements? I don’t think he’s the best fighter on his record, but even though a win against a young lion is still impressive, I don’t think it would be enough to catapult him to a top 10 all-time list.    Alright Doug, thanks again for reading my opinions and thoughts and hopefully we get a good fight Saturday. – Juan Valverde, SD/TJ/Chula Vista

It’s an interesting matchup on paper, Juan. Pacquiao is a first-ballot hall of famer, arguably an all-time great, but he’s eight-to-10 years past his prime. Thurman is an accomplished, unbeaten world titleholder who should be at or near his physical peak, but he’s only fought three times in the last three years. Both welterweights are known for their speed, power and mobility. I think their boxing styles and athletic abilities will mesh for a competitive, maybe dramatic crossroads match. I don’t think it will be an all-action bout because my hunch is that Thurman will box the same kind of power-punch-on-the-fly strategy he employed vs. Porter and Garcia. I also think that kind of fight is all wrong for Manny at this stage of his career.

But if Pacquiao defeats Thurman (as most fans and media believe he will), and he does so clearly or in dominance fashion, it would be a significant accomplishment. I don’t think it would rank as his best victory, but it would be notable due to his age and I think fans, media and historians will include it with his other elite-level “statement” performances (the stoppage of Marco Antonio Barrera, the draw and split-decision over Juan Manuel Marquez, the rematch stoppages of Erik Morales, the obliteration of Ricky Hatton, and the retiring of Oscar De La Hoya).

Yes, at his age it’s a huge accomplishment to beat a younger champion who’s supposed to be in his prime or at least near it, but let’s not kid ourselves, Keith Thurman is not “great”. Nobody thinks Thurman is great. Hardcore fans debate if he’s even “good.” (For the record, I think he’s pretty darn good.)

He’s a good champ who’s managed to stay as a champ because he hasn’t faced the elite (Errol Spence and Terence Crawford) and has actually taken a lot of time off. That perception and his inactivity is why Thurman is ranked behind Spence and Crawford by The Ring, ESPN.com and the Transnational Boxing Rankings (ESPN also rates Pacquiao ahead of him, and the TBR ranks Porter ahead of him). However, I think there’s some revisionist history going on with the claim that Thurman has been “ducking” Spence and Crawford. Thurman was recognized as the full WBA titleholder upon Floyd Mayweather’s “retirement” in late 2015. Spence was still a prospect/lower-top-10 contender at the time, climbing the ranks and establishing his name against the likes of Chris van Heerden and Alejandro Barrera, while Crawford was just two bouts into his junior welterweight run. Thurman established himself as a top welterweight with his close points nod over Shawn Porter in June 2016. Spence was facing Chris Algieri and Leo Bundu at this time, still 11 months away from his title challenge to Kell Brook. Bud was a month away from unifying WBO and WBC 140-pound belts (and earning the vacant Ring junior welterweight crown) with a UD over Viktor Postol. Thurman unified WBA and WBC welterweight belts by outpointing Danny Garcia in March 2017, two months before Spence beat Brook to earn the IBF title. Now, you can say Keith has been swerving Spence and Crawford ever since the Garcia fight, but he had the elbow injury/surgery and he got married during an inactive 2018 (which the year that Crawford made his welterweight debut). He just came back in January of this year. So, it’s hard for me to go along with the “Keith be duckin’” crowd. His haters can say he’s been MIA and that he doesn’t seem interested in those fights during interviews, but the truth is that Crawford wasn’t a welterweight when Keith was winning 147-pound titles, and Spence didn’t fight his first real contender (and win the IBF belt) until Thurman was MIA.

He’s been buzzed by two average fighters, Luis Collazo and Josesito Lopez, and his victories over Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter weren’t that impressive. Come on, Juan. Stop nitpicking and give “Keef” his due credit. Yeah, he got hurt by Collazo and Lopez. He was rocked in the first round by Jesus Soto Karass, too. Those guys are all hardnosed veterans. Those fights and the rough spots Thurman had to get through will help him deal with adversity during the Pacquiao showdown.

As of right now though, Thurman is just another alphabet champion who really hasn’t proven to be great. Yeah, same thing can be said about Spence, or Crawford at 147.

So, I don’t know, do you think a victory vs Keith, specially coming off a shaky performance vs Lopez, puts Manny’s career at another level? No, I don’t, but it extends it and gives it extra juice in terms of negotiating power for a potential showdown with Spence or coaxing Mayweather out of retirement.

Also, I wasn’t thrilled to hear that there was no VADA testing for this. Why? Good question. Pacquiao’s people say the Nevada commission will conduct VADA-level testing and point out that he’s in the WBC’s Clean Boxing Program (administered by VADA), but we haven’t heard a peep on this from Thurman’s side or the PBC.

Now the fact that I favor Manny to win this might be the same kind of thing that happens to a lot of us when we see a great older fighter matched with a younger one, we think of him as if he was still in his prime. Bro, Manny is FAR from his prime.

Against Adrien Broner, Manny looked good, but he was nowhere near the fighter he was even when he fought Tim Bradley the third time; the Lucas Matthysse fight was also a mirage as Lucas was way past his prime. I think both the Matthysse and Broner fights are a bit of a mirage.

I still do like the style matchup and I think Manny has enough speed to at least make Thurman uncomfortable (given that ever slower fighters have been able to touch him). True, but I think Thurman’s speed and mobility will trouble Pac in return, and when Keith nails him, it will be with considerably more power than Broner, the faded Matthysse, Jessie Vargas or Tim Bradley hit him with.

 

BIG BOXING SATURDAY

Man,

Daniel Dubois impressed me a great deal. I thought it was going to be a 50/50 fight, but his jab didn’t make it seem like an even match up after the first round. That jab would trouble any of the top HWs but let me not get carried away just yet. It looks like Joe Joyce might be next though and I feel he’s too slow and easy to hit for him to win a fight with Dubois. Side note I couldn’t stop thinking of his (Dubois) resemblance to Deebo from Friday.

Liam Williams looked good too and when DAZN mentioned Lemieux I started salivating! But David is struggling to make 160! If he could I would still favor his left hook to land on Williams! Man, the Golden Boy show in Carson, California produced some upsets! Rocky Hernandez got knocked out in the first round definitely didn’t see that coming. But they came out firing and he was outgunned. Gutierrez was quick to call out Cancio in an interview! How do you see it?

Rey Vargas did what he does best but El Mexicanito is so likable that he won me over and not going to lie, I was rooting for him! He found a home for the overhand right but I just feel Vargas is prone to get hit with it because of his stature. The crowd didn’t like the decision, but I thought it was right, but who doesn’t like a Spanish-speaking Japanese boxer nicknamed El Mexicanito!

And Diego de la Hoya said the infamous words, NO MAS! They went toe to toe and Ronny Rios left hooks found a home and finally that uppercut. I have always said DIEGO has a lot of talent but it just doesn’t seem like he’s 100% into boxing! Something is missing! Rios is talented and has a lot of heart and that version of Rios will definitely be a handful for anyone. I’m happy it was him who scored the upset.

Speaking of people not being 100% into boxing. I can’t wait for Omar Figueroa Jr to face Ugas! I’m rooting for him! He was once on top but after some injuries and recent out of the ring trouble, I just don’t think he’s 100% mentally there. He struggled and escaped with a ‘w’ against Molina and I think some years back he would’ve destroyed Molina Jr.! If he’s not all there, Ugas definitely takes him to school. His style might be all wrong for Panterita. If Panterita doesn’t get going right off the bat with his pressure it’s going to be a long night! Who do you think wins? Best Wishes to you and your family! – Carlos from L.A.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Carlos. I gotta go with the Cuban contender. He’s a real welterweight (and many thought he did enough to dethrone Porter of the WBC title earlier this year). Figueroa is not a natural welterweight. He’s at his best at 135 or 140 pounds in my opinion. (And, but the way, I don’t think he would’ve “destroyed” Molina had they fought at lightweight or junior welterweight – those are even matchups in my view.)

Daniel Dubois impressed me a great deal. He’s coming along very well, and at 21 he’s very young by heavyweight standards. I like that he was in shootouts with his last two bouts (Lartey and Gorman). He keeps his composure under fire but he still closes the show and entertains.

I thought it was going to be a 50/50 fight, but his jab didn’t make it seem like an even match up after the first round. Gorman was a threat on paper, no doubt about it, but Dubois proved to be a cut above the Ricky Hatton-trained prospect. At 23, he’s got plenty of time to learn from the experience and rebound.

That jab would trouble any of the top HWs but let me not get carried away just yet. Yeah, you’re getting caught up in the moment. Dubois is a hot prospect. Period. Let’s wait at least a year until we wonder how he’d do against the top heavyweights.

It looks like Joe Joyce might be next though and I feel he’s too slow and easy to hit for him to win a fight with Dubois. Daniel is definitely the more naturally talented and athletic of the two British up-and-comers, but despite Joyce’s ponderous ring presence, he’s got grit. I don’t think that’s an easy fight for Dubois if it happens next.

Side note I couldn’t stop thinking of his (Dubois) resemblance to Deebo from Friday. Hey, that will only help his marketability in the U.S.!

Liam Williams looked good too and when DAZN mentioned Lemieux I started salivating! But David is struggling to make 160! Lemmy’s done with middleweight. I thought Williams was a talented junior middleweight and he seems stronger/more explosive at middleweight. I think he can prove to be a legit 160-pound player with another few wins under his belt.

Man, the Golden Boy show in Carson, California produced some upsets! Bro, 2019 is the year of the upset.

Rocky Hernandez got knocked out in the first round definitely didn’t see that coming. I didn’t either. I was high on the young man and I thought he was getting could preparation at Legendz Gym in Southern California. But he’s 21 and he didn’t take a beating, he just got caught and tried to get up too quick. He can learn from this and come back an improved boxer.

But they came out firing and he was outgunned. Hernandez overcommitted to his offense in the opening round. He put some damage on Gutierrez and thought that he was overwhelming the Venezuelan when he got caught. I don’t think Hernandez was “outgunned,” per se, I just think he got clipped and hurt and made a rookie mistake by getting up before his legs were under him. 

Gutierrez was quick to call out Cancio in an interview! How do you see it? I don’t see it happening. Andrew has a tough mandatory (and rematch) with Rene Alvarado (the gatekeeper badass that popped Gutierrez’s cherry) and then he wants a unification bout or a rematch with Joseph Diaz Jr. But if Cancio did fight Gutierrez, I think he’d stop “the Kid” by the middle rounds.

Rey Vargas did what he does best but El Mexicanito is so likable that he won me over and not going to lie, I was rooting for him! So were the fans at StubHub, I mean Dignity Health Sports park.

He found a home for the overhand right but I just feel Vargas is prone to get hit with it because of his stature. Kameda wasn’t creative or busy enough with his offense to really threaten Vargas, but he gave an earnest effort and the crowd responded to that.

The crowd didn’t like the decision, but I thought it was right, but who doesn’t like a Spanish-speaking Japanese boxer nicknamed El Mexicanito! I think most of the crowd (those who weren’t drunk or stupid) knew that Vargas had outboxed and outclassed Kameda (who admitted as much during his gracious post-fight interview). They just didn’t appreciate his style or tactics (especially the holding). And yeah, I think Kameda won some fans on Saturday. I hope his handlers capitalize on the momentum he gained with his effort and showmanship and match him with other 122-pound players (such as WBO titleholder Emanuel Navarrete and former beltholder TJ Doheny).

And Diego de la Hoya said the infamous words, NO MAS! I’m OK with that. He fought his heart out before getting clipped. If he’d had enough, so be it.

They went toe to toe and Ronny Rios left hooks found a home and finally that uppercut. It was the wrong fight for De La Hoya, who has fast hands and nimble feet, but credit to Rios for setting a torrid pace and sucking the unbeaten boxer into a close quarters fire fight.

I have always said DIEGO has a lot of talent but it just doesn’t seem like he’s 100% into boxing! Something is missing! It wasn’t too long ago that everybody was saying that about Rios. I think De La Hoya has a lot of talent and potential.

Rios is talented and has a lot of heart and that version of Rios will definitely be a handful for anyone. Hopefully, we’ll find out. The 122-pound division is deep and competitive. Rios’ trainer Hector Lopez wants a shot at WBA/IBF titleholder Danny Roman. That’s a terrific Southern California showdown.

I’m happy it was him who scored the upset. Me too. Ronny’s a good guy and he’s paid his dues in this sport.

 

SHAKUR STEVENSON, SHADY BUSINESS

Hey Dougie,
Lotta action this weekend, did my best to bounce around & check out the meaningful fights. Entertaining stuff for the most part, but there was a buncha shady A-side business….

Franklin vs Forrest scorecards
Greer with a disputable MD
De La Hoya leading 50-46 on Alejandro Rochin’s card looks straight up corrupt
Joyce > Jennings to the tune of 118-109 + the quick point deduction from Jennings (and a clear refusal to dock Joyce after multiple warnings for using his shoulder)

Sucks that we’re conditioned to this stuff & it’s all too predictable.

Rios vs De La Hoya was the scrap of the weekend IMO. That was a wild shootout & I don’t think it should diminish De La Hoya’s stock whatsoever. Will gladly watch him throw down again in the future.

Vito Mielnicki–never heard of this guy, but he produced a pretty badass SportsCenter Top 10 highlight. Did you have the inside scoop on this kid?  Haven’t seen enough to offer up much of an opinion on him, but hope to watch more of him going forward.

Caleb Plant has a bit of a layup this weekend–assuming he gets through, do u think they position him against the Benavidez/Dirrell winner?

Shakur Stevenson–still some questions, but I’m thinking his overall speed, legs, youth/activity are gonna pose some major problems for the other fighters @ 126.  I wasn’t really sold on him til recently.  He looked really sharp vs Diaz and seems to be developing his man strength.  I’d put my $$ on him to beat Valdez if they fought next.  If it happens, I see most people vocally backing Valdez, but I doubt many people tabbing him to win would actually throw any money on it if push came to shove.  Josh Warrington giving the weak “go get a belt first” stance on Twitter, which I never like to see.

Understand he’s polarizing & looks like a scumbag with that security camera footage, but what’s your sober analysis on how he stacks up against the more realistic options in Valdez & Warrington? – DJ

I don’t think Stevenson is ready yet. I’m not saying he doesn’t have world-class form and talent. I think he’s shown that in his last three fights. However, we haven’t seen him in a fight against a battle-tested featherweight that can press him for three minutes of every round like Warrington or a boxer-puncher who can nail him with the kind of power he hasn’t tasted yet in his 12-bout pro career. I don’t think there needs to be a rush with the 22 year old, but given his amateur background and desire to challenge himself, I can understand all the talk of him targeting a beltholder sooner rather than later.

Anyway, if Shakur were to fight Warrington or Valdez this year, I’d favor the defending beltholders by decision.

Entertaining stuff for the most part, but there was a buncha shady A-side business….

Franklin vs Forrest scorecards – Haven’t seen it yet, but Jermaine Franklin didn’t deserve the nod according to the majority on my Twitter TL.

Greer with a disputable MD – I thought it was a legit close fight.

De La Hoya leading 50-46 on Alejandro Rochin’s card looks straight up corrupt – That’s a poor card. I had Rios up three rounds to two going into Round 6. I thought De La Hoya won Rounds 1 and 4 (and was winning Round 5 before Rios nailed him with a series of hooks in the final 20-30 seconds).

Joyce > Jennings to the tune of 118-109 + the quick point deduction from Jennings (and a clear refusal to dock Joyce after multiple warnings for using his shoulder) – I thought Joyce deserved the decision, but those scorecards were way too wide, and the point deduction was just whack.

Sucks that we’re conditioned to this stuff & it’s all too predictable. Yup.

Rios vs De La Hoya was the scrap of the weekend IMO. Agreed.

That was a wild shootout & I don’t think it should diminish De La Hoya’s stock whatsoever. Agreed.

Will gladly watch him throw down again in the future. Same here, but I think it’s time for him move to 126 pounds.

Vito Mielnicki–never heard of this guy, but he produced a pretty badass SportsCenter Top 10 highlight. Did you have the inside scoop on this kid? No, I hadn’t heard of the high school student prior the weekend.

Caleb Plant has a bit of a layup this weekend–assuming he gets through, do u think they position him against the Benavidez/Dirrell winner? Yes, I do. What else is Plant going to do? Taking on the Benavidez-Dirrell is an in-house (PBC) title unification bout. I don’t see him crossing the street to unify against Callum Smith or Billy Joe Saunders. Not that he isn’t willing, but… you know… the business.

Shakur Stevenson–still some questions, but I’m thinking his overall speed, legs, youth/activity are gonna pose some major problems for the other fighters @ 126. He’s got the amateur experience, style and athleticism to compete with the best, but we still don’t know how well he catches or what his stamina is like in a battle of attrition.

I wasn’t really sold on him til recently. He was still maturing a year-to-18 months ago. I think he’s still got some maturing to do, physically and mentally/emotionally.

He looked really sharp vs Diaz and seems to be developing his man strength. Agreed.

I’d put my $$ on him to beat Valdez if they fought next. I wouldn’t advise doing that, but I think Oscar is going up to 130 pounds before the end of the year, which would leave his vacant WBO title up for grabs for Stevenson and Joet Gonzalez, who looked very sharp in stopping Tino Avila on the Vargas-Kameda undercard.

Josh Warrington giving the weak “go get a belt first” stance on Twitter, which I never like to see. I can understand that stance. If he fights Stevenson immediately and wins, how many Armchair Eddie Futches out there in the Boxing Twitterverse are going to tell Warrington, “You beat a kid with 12 fights” or say “Top Rank rushed Stevenson”? A lot. If Stevenson wins a major world title and brings that to the table, it’s a unification bout and fewer Fanagers can say the young man wasn’t ready for world-class featherweights. It’s the same deal with Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez. I’m glad Lopez is taking the time to fight a title-elimination bout and then a world titleholder (Richard Commey) before he gets his shot at the real (Ring Magazine/WBA/WBO) champ, Loma.

 

 

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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