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Dougie’s Friday Mailbag (Sweet Pea, big Saturday, Sept. 14)

Photo from The Ring archive
19
Jul

R.I.P SWEET PEA, PACKED SATURDAY SCHEDULE

Hi Dougie,

Hope you, the family and the team are doing well.

Firstly, really saddened to hear the news about Sweet Pea’s passing. He had a Jedi like ability to avoid shots as was just an amazing amazing fighter. I always thought that along with his God given talent he had exceptional concentration in the ring along with a training, strength and conditioning regime which really honed his natural skills and made him better all round. A lot of fighters could learn from his example. Thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.

Pacquiao Vs Thurman:

I for one am really looking forward to this one. Their styles are very different but I think will gel. Leaning towards Pacquiao in this one. A few reasons. Don’t think Tharman has had much experience with the type of speed Pacquiao will brings. Yes, even a 40 year old, Manny still bedazzles IMHP. Also, the time Thurman has had out recovering from his injuries has cost him, I think. Clearly could not be helped, but if he’d remained active, I think he would have beaten Garcia much more convincingly and he’d be a much bigger threat to the top dogs, Spence and Crawford.

Win, lose or draw the after this fight were getting Pacquiao Vs Khan????  Apparently?

From Pacquiao’s point of view I can see why. He’s done it all already. There really is no need to end his carrier with a likely loss to Spence or Crawford. A fight against Khan generates bigger numbers in Saudi Arabia so why not if the interest is there.

As you know I’m a Khan fan, but after the last two outings it’s clear only the hand speed remains. His feet and body movement is a shadow of what it was before and a fight against Pacquiao may be a big event but not worth much in boxing terms. But Khan is gonna do what he always does, fight the biggest hardest fights out there. More should do the same.

Kovalev Vs Yarde:

Daaam!!! Is what I thought when this fight was announced. When I heard it was happening in Russia it more like DAAAAAM!!!!!

This is proper old school Rocky 4 for Yarde. I really thought GBP will make this fight for Canelo and I actually think it would have been a good fight. I know there has been a lot of criticism of Canelo claiming he’ll weight drain Kovalev to beat him, but Canelo is not that small. He hydrates up to weights which would cause any Light Heavy problems. He’d “only” be giving away height and reach if they fought at Light Heavy.

However it was not to be. Uncle Frank said it was because Yarde had been mandated, however according to Eddie Hearn both Canelo and Kovalev were keen on the fight. Therefore, has Kovalev “settled” for the Yarde fight? Is Canelo’s fight date postponement to accommodate a Kovalev fight?

I think this is a Siberian mountain for Yarde to climb. Kovalev is still a very very dangerous fighter with a wealth of experience.

Did Ward show the blueprint to beat him? Maybe. However as much as I like Ward it takes years of experience to learn how to spoil flight as he did (and also with Froch) and get away with all the illegal blows.  Yard hasn’t so far shown he can do any of that.

It’s a big ask for Yard. How you calling it?

Heavyweight action at the London O2 on Sat night:

Price Vs Allan:

Both goys have bags of personality and from a promotional point of view this is a great fight to make. Two fighters the British public care and like a lot. Price is heavy handed and could knock out any heavyweight if he landed. But he’s got big defensive flaws. He hasn’t been able to correct them so far so I worry he’ll have the same problem. Dave Allan is on a winning streak. A win over Price open’s up doors for him and why not. Let’s just enjoy the ride while it lasts.

Chisora Vs Szpilka:

Dereck didn’t really set the world alight with his last win over Gashi so if he want’s bigger fights he really needs to perform.

Szpilka’s got some decent level experience and can fight. I think this might be a candidate for fight of the night. How you calling it?

Whyte Vs Rivas:

You got to give it to Dillian for taking the hardest fights out there. He could have chilled out with his WBC No1 position with a much easier fight and known he’s done enough already, Parker, Chorisa, Browne, Helenius to earn his shot. Rivas is no joke and is definitely up for this. I favour Dillian in this fight as he has better professional experience than Rivas. However this was also the case for AJ going into the fight with Ruiz. Rivas, like Ruiz, has a long successful amateur record and a win over Ruiz. Both AJ and Dillian both came to boxing late.  On paper this could be a hard night for the man from South London. How you calling it?

No MM’s this week.

For me I don’t want to compare Sweet Pea to fighters from other eras, picking out flaws. Let’s remember the great nights he gave us to honour his memory. All the best. – Tabraze, London, U.K.

Amen to that, Tabraze. Whitaker will be missed and forever honored by knowledgeable fans and boxing publications like The Ring.

Whitaker will forever remain a Pound-for-Pound King in the eyes and hearts of boxing fans worldwide. Rest in Peace, Pea.

Firstly, really saddened to hear the news about Sweet Pea’s passing. I’ve been down all week since hearing the news of his death. I was still in bed, eyes closed, when my wife told me from the other room. When she said he’d been struck by a car all I could do was groan “Oh, no!” That’s all I could muster because my wits weren’t with me yet. I kept my eyes closed in hopes that I was having a weird dream. About 10 minutes later my wife said “Did you hear what I said? Pernell Whitaker died.” I rolled out of bed thinking reality sucks. I’ve been gloomy all week, which is a bit strange because I wasn’t Whitaker’s biggest fan. I didn’t like it when he was compared to Roberto Duran during his lightweight title run, but I did respect him for unifying all three major lightweight titles by the summer of 1990 (and I remember watching him surprisingly ice Juan Nazario in the first round on TV like it was yesterday). Once he moved up to welterweight after a pitstop at 140 pounds, I became a grudging fan. Going straight from Buddy McGirt to Julio Cesar Chavez in 1993 was a boss move. I wouldn’t have cared if he had lost one or both of those bouts (and from the small room inside MSG — I was there as a fan while attending grad school in NYC — I thought McGirt came close to beating him), he still would have had my respect. But the years of Sweet Pea’s prime – the late 1980s/early ’90 – was the period that I evolved from being a casual boxing fan to a hardcore nut. I watched him fight every chance I got during my college years. And now, with him gone, as Steve Kim said during this week’s 3 Knockdown Rule, it’s like a piece of my adolescence and young adulthood is lost.

He had a Jedi like ability to avoid shots as was just an amazing amazing fighter. He’s one of the few modern-era boxers that historians have no problem comparing to the legends of the 1920s, ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s, who fought more than 100/200 bouts.

I always thought that along with his God given talent he had exceptional concentration in the ring along with a training, strength and conditioning regime which really honed his natural skills and made he better all round. There’s no doubt about his natural ability or his focus in the ring or the fact that he constantly worked on his craft, but I don’t know strength and conditioning regimen. I know his stamina was tops, but he never appeared that strong/explosive or particularly athletic. And his dedication to the sport (not his craft) could be questioned as it’s well known that he occasionally burn the candle at both ends, but his skill, talent and ring IQ usually saw him through.

Pacquiao Vs Thurman:

I for one am really looking forward to this one. Their styles are very different but I think will gel. Agreed. I think it’s going to be an interesting, hopefully fun fight.

Leaning towards Pacquiao in this one. Most fans and media are.

My man Thurmy

A few reasons. Don’t think Thurman has had much experience with the type of speed Pacquiao will brings. Hmmm… It looks like Pac has slowed down considerably to my admittedly tired eyes. But maybe I’m comparing him to his prime form. Even an older, slower version of Manny could be too quick and nimble for most welterweights. But maybe Thurmy is better than most welterweights.

Also, the time Thurman has had out recovering from his injuries has cost him, I think. It cost him time and career momentum, but ultimately, it’s got to be a good thing for him to be 100% healthy.

Clearly could not be helped, but if he’d remained active, I think he would have beaten Garcia much more convincingly and he’d be a much bigger threat to the top dogs, Spence and Crawford. Danny Garcia’s not an easy man to beat. And who knows? If he gets past Pacquiao, maybe he can still be a threat to Spence and Crawford.

Win, lose or draw after this fight we’re getting Pacquiao Vs Khan???? Apparently? Please! Do you really believe that? I won’t believe it until I see both Amir and Manny in the ring and throwing punches.

From Pacquiao’s point of view I can see why. He’s done it all already. There really is no need to end his carrier with a likely loss to Spence or Crawford. I don’t think Pacquiao is hung up on losses and he obviously doesn’t obsess about getting hurt in the ring – otherwise he would have retired by now. I think if Uncle Al comes up with enough money for him, he’ll gladly take on the Spence-Porter winner. Manny is old school like that.

Kovalev Vs Yarde:

This is proper old school Rocky 4 for Yarde. The British challenger will definitely be in the lion’s den.

I really thought GBP will make this fight for Canelo and I actually think it would have been a good fight. It can still happen late this year if Kovalev defends his WBO title against Yarde (who is dangerous despite his lack of experience against quality opponents).

I know there has been a lot of criticism of Canelo claiming he’ll weight drain Kovalev to beat him, but Canelo is not that small. Criticism of Canelo? Nooooooooo… when and where does that happen?

He hydrates up to weights which would cause any Light Heavy problems. You’re speaking very highly of the middleweight champ. There are a lot of badasses at 175 pounds.

He’d “only” be giving away height and reach if they fought at Light Heavy. Um, yeah. And the top light heavyweight dogs are a hell of a lot better than Chavez Jr. and Rocky Fielding.

However it was not to be. Uncle Frank said it was because Yarde had been mandated, however according to Eddie Hearn both Canelo and Kovalev were keen on the fight. I think they’re both right. Canelo and Kovalev want the fight, but Sergey’s got a mandatory to take care of (and Canelo’s side isn’t “keen” on paying for Yarde, the WBO mandatory challenger, to step aside).

Therefore, has Kovalev “settled” for the Yarde fight? I think a part of Kovalev wanted to return home to defend his reacquired world title.

Is Canelo’s fight date postponement to accommodate a Kovalev fight? It seems so; that and not wanting to deal with GGG.

I think this is a Siberian mountain for Yarde to climb. Kovalev is still a very very dangerous fighter with a wealth of experience. No doubt about it, but Yarde is also a threat with his explosive speed and power.

Did Ward show the blueprint to beat him? Nah, only Ward could “beat” Kovalev in the manner that he did because those two bouts took place in Las Vegas where the ring officials know that ANDRE WARD CAN DO NO WRONG.

It’s a big ask for Yard. How you calling it? I favor Kovalev by decision if he boxes a disciplined fight, but I think Yarde is a live dog.

Price Vs Allan:

Should be a fun domestic-level heavyweight scrap. I can’t say that I’m THAT interested in the matchup but I’ll try watch it live.

Chisora Vs Szpilka:

Dereck didn’t really set the world alight with his last win over Gashi so if he want’s bigger fights he really needs to perform. I think he will be more focused for this one because Szpilka is a rough customer (like him) and he believes that a victory tomorrow night can land him a third fight with Tyson Fury.

Szpilka’s got some decent level experience and can fight. I think this might be a candidate for fight of the night. It should be a good one. Both heavyweight gatekeepers are aggressive by nature and can get wild, plus they never shy away from a shootout.

How you calling it? I’ll go with Chisora by late stoppage or decision.

DISSING PACQUIAO

Honestly Dougie,

You really sound like a Pacquiao hater these days. I wonder why you’re so bitter? Maybe because you are given marching orders by your Boss Oscar Dela Hoya who got massacred by Pacquiao. Oh wait you also predicted that Oscar would be too much for Pacquiao same thing with Margarito and Cotto and Hatton. Win or lose you continue to belittle Pacquiao. And dont give us that crap about VADA. Manny is enrolled with it and was tested as per Sean Gibbons so really you are just as sorry as editor in chief of as ring magazine outfit that has lost all it’s right to even rate fighters you racist son of a bitch. – Karlo

Whoa! WTF is wrong with you, son?

Rather than worship Pacquiao to the point that you have zero tolerance for anyone who doesn’t kiss his ass as hard as you do, why don’t you try emulating the class and respect he shows his opponents and most human beings?

My not being that excited about Pacquiao these days or picking him to lose a fight is not the same thing as being a “hater” or “belittling” your idol. I have tremendous respect for Pacquiao’s boxing career and for most (certainly not all) of what he stands for outside of the ring.

I haven’t given anyone crap about the lack of VADA testing for Saturday’s showdown. I know Pacquiao’s enrolled in the WBC’s Clean Boxing Program, and I mentioned that in a recent mailbag, but that’s the not the same thing as having VADA administer the testing for a particular fight. If I’ve questioned this situation, I’ve done so looking at both sides and their promoter(s).

You’re out of line for calling me racist, and for dissing The Ring, and for saying Oscar De La Hoya gave me (or anyone with the publication) “marching orders.” Oscar isn’t thinking about Manny, my dude.  

And for the record, while I did not predict Pacquiao to upset De La Hoya, I wasn’t against the fight (as many fans and scribes were) and I was one of the few boxing writers that gave him a shot. And I picked Pacquiao to defeat Margarito, Cotto and Hatton. So, after you find some class and manners, please try getting a clue.

 

STACKED UNDERCARDS ON SATURDAY

Man, this is one of the few times I am more excited for the undercards than the main events! I can’t wait to see the Chisora-Szpilka fight along with Molina-Lipinets fights. I am also taking both underdogs Molina and Szpilka to win! Risky choices but I think they can do it.

Even the Price/Allen fight looks to deliver some fireworks.

Don’t think any of those fighters have any chance of becoming champions in their divisions but they sure can make for some good fights.

Nery should KO Payano and maybe we get a unification with Inoue! Japan Vs Mexico sign me up! Inoue is just on another level! I personally believe he’s more deserving of a higher LB4LB RANKING than Crawford.

Hopefully Panterita (Omar not Nery) can get the W. I wouldn’t mind seeing him against Spence, even if it’s a long shot! – Carlos

Luis Nery

Spence vs. Figueroa would be a matchup the PBC could sell in Texas, but my hunch is that Ugas will get the decision tomorrow night. Regarding Nery, if he beats Payano he’ll be set up for a mandatory shot at WBC bantamweight beltholder Nordine Oubaali. If he can beat Oubaali (who is not an easy mark for any 118 pounder), he may have to face Inoue’s little brother, Takuma, who was the “interim” WBC beltholder last time I checked, but who knows? Maybe Nery can skip the WBC title and challenge The Ring Magazine champ if Nonito Donaire opts to skip out on the WBSS final. Inoue vs. Nery would excite hardcore heads around the world, but that showdown couldn’t take place in Japan because the Mexican fighters is banned from fighting there.

I can’t wait to see the Chisora-Szpilka fight along with Molina-Lipinets fights. Those are matchups that promise to deliver a lot of blood and guts. You, my friend, are a blood-thirsty ghoul. Welcome to the club.

I am also taking both underdogs Molina and Szpilka to win! Risky choices but I think they can do it. They’re both live, no doubt. I’ll be rooting for Molina although the career momentum appears to be with Lipinets.

Even the Price/Allen fight looks to deliver some fireworks. It should be a fun scrap.

Don’t think any of those fighters have any chance of becoming champions in their divisions but they sure can make for some good fights. There’s more than enough room in the sport for gatekeepers and fringe contenders.

 

PAY-PER-VIEW QUESTION

Hey, Doug:

Got a question for you, and if it’s mailbag-worthy, feel free to use it. HBO used to, and Showtime still does, rebroadcast pay-per-view bouts on their main channels a week after the original fights took place. Do you know if ESPN or whomever broadcasts the PBC plans to do the same? I’d like to see some of those fights, but to me, almost none are worth the price of a pay-per-view, and I’m already spending too much on TV. For example, Thurman/Pacquiao is interesting, but not interesting enough to pony up $50 or $80 or whatever on top of the rest of the cable/Netflix bill. I could always get a free illegal torrent or stream or whatever, but would prefer to support reasonably priced but legitimate sources. Please let me know! Thanks! – Chris

Well, first, the Pacquiao-Thurman card is a FOX Pay Per View. (Geez, Fox Sports has promoted the fight during the Women’s World Cup and MLB All-Star Game telecasts… they’d be disheartened to know that there are boxing fans out there who don’t know who’s hosting the PPV… or worse, think that it’s an ESPN production… LOL)

Second, the suggested price for cable systems is $75 ($74.99).

Third, there will likely be a replay of at least the main event at some point, but it won’t be next Saturday. Starting with Spence vs. Garcia, Fox keeps their PPV shows available On Demand (at full price) for 30 days. After that period the main event, and one or two of the undercard bouts, will eventually be replayed on Fox or FS1, while other parts of the undercard will replay on Fox Deportes and the network’s digital platforms.

 

WHO FIGHTS ON CANELO’S DATE?

Ok Doug,

I kinda saw this coming based on the news that was coming out in the last few days about Canelo’s unsuccessful negotiations with Kovalev.   So, who takes over that date? Golovkin doesn’t seem to want to fight anybody other than Canelo so that rules him out unless he’s fighting another tomato can (which from what I hear it might be Munguia). Do you see GGG fighting Murata in December in Japan? That would make a lot of financial sense if you ask me, but definitely don’t see it happening in a couple of months.

So what do you think? Is September 16 ruined this year or is GGG willing to step up and fight Andrade? I certainly hope so, he needs to take a real fight other than Canelo for him to gain his old reputation back. Thanks, Doug. – Juan Valverde

If Golovkin fights on Sept. 14, I doubt he’ll take on Andrade. Munguia makes more sense for that date. You need a Mexican involved in the main event of a major show on Mexican Independence Day weekend (Tecate, the biggest sponsor in boxing, and the big Mexican networks DEMAND it). If GGG returns in October, maybe Andrade is in the running.

I kinda saw this coming based on the news that was coming out in the last few days about Canelo’s unsuccessful negotiations with Kovalev. S__t, I wish I’d seen it. Now I’ve got to come up with a new cover and cover story for the next issue of The Ring!

So, who takes over that date? GGG seems to be the best choice… if only he had a potential opponent with star power. Can you imagine if Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. hadn’t mailed it in vs. Canelo in 2017 and had remained active in 2018? Beyond Golovkin, I can’t think of anyone save for Andy Ruiz, but he’s contractually obligated to face Anthony Joshua again later in the year.

Golovkin doesn’t seem to want to fight anybody other than Canelo so that rules him out unless he’s fighting another tomato can (which from what I hear it might be Munguia). I wouldn’t call Munguia a tomato can, but yeah, he’d be a major underdog vs. GGG. Still, I think he’d make for a fun (even competitive) fight for at least a few rounds.

Ryota Murata. Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Do you see GGG fighting Murata in December in Japan? It’s an option that’s certainly worth exploring (and I think both sides will at least have some correspondence about the possibility).

That would make a lot of financial sense if you ask me, but definitely don’t see it happening in a couple of months. If the money’s right anything can happen in boxing, but yeah, I don’t see that matchup going down on Sept. 14. That’s fine with me because it would probably wind up in Las Vegas (blah). If it were to land in late December, it would likely happen in Tokyo, which means your intrepid editor would finally have an excuse to return to the Land of the Rising Sun after 12 years.

 

 

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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