Tuesday, September 17, 2019  |

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Dougie’s Friday mailbag (Maxim Dadashev, Manny Pacquiao, Keith Thurman)

Maxim Dadashev
26
Jul

SAD NEWS AND PACQUIAO’S ATG RANKING

Dougie,

First, Maxim Dadashev, may he RIP and all the best to his wife and son. There have been a number of traumatic brain injuries in boxing during the past three years. It makes me sad, obviously, and makes one feel a little guilty for supporting a sport where men can die from one single fight or end up mentally and physical destroyed as they age similar to the NFL. Not sure what can be done short of banning the sport but perhaps some standardized health testing for brain injuries and then a certain protocol of not being allowed to fight within certain periods of time when showing post-concussion syndromes. A good example would be Adonis Stevenson. No way he should have been back in the ring so soon after the war with Badou Jack. Not sure what else to suggest? Perhaps 10 round fights only? What are your ideas if any?

On to Manny Pacquaio. I have read your detailed article on how and who you rank as the best 20 fighters, great analysis. I notice you have a ton maybe 8 guys who fought pre-war. Hey, I like a grainy film of Benny Leonard too but I was born in 1968 so what the hell do I know about those kinda guys. I do know they fought a ton but also fought a lot of bums?

Maybe there have been more than 10 boxers, post-war years, who are better skilled (a Sweet Pee, RJJ for example) than Pac, but few who have had a better CAREER (multiple weight classes, longevity, competition and exciting memorable fights).

Going all the way back to the ‘50s the names I could come up with that had better careers are: Willie Pep, Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson, Duran, Leonard, Chavez Sr., Mayweather based on the fact the majority of his fights were shutouts and he made Canelo look foolish. Anyway, I am running out names.

Starting 16 years ago when he fought and beat Barrera, the Pac Man has beat every great name from feather to welter—Cotto, De La Hoya, Mosley, Morales, JMM, Hatton, Thurman, Bradley and Margarito and did it in exciting and often very convincing to dominant fashion.

I give his career higher marks than Bernard Hopkins, Joe Calzaghe, and easily the top guys still going today such as GGG and Canelo. To beat someone of Thruman’s quality at 40 is stunning and I believe ranks up there with old-guy-beats-young-studs in terms of George Foreman beating Michael Moorer and Bernard Hopkins beating Kelly Pavlik. In fact, I think Thurman, pound for pound, is better than Moorer or Pavlik.

I am happy to have witnessed Manny’s greatness. – Aaron in Miami

Me too, but as much as I like Thurman, I disagree with your opinion that he’s “pound-for-pound better” than Moorer and Pavlik. But Pacquiao’s skill and heart against Thurman reminded me of Roberto Duran’s bold stand against Iran Barkley. It was the best performance by a 40-year-old veteran since B-Hop took Antonio Tarver to school.  

Does Pacquiao’s career rate higher than Hopkins and Calzaghe? Prior to the Thurman victory, I rated him higher than Joe but under B-Hop. Now, I’m not so sure. I looked at Hopkins as the last great boxer, but maybe I was wrong. I penned a column on this thought in the next issue of Ring Magazine (October 2019 issue – shameless plug, I admit, but I hope you read it).

Regarding Golovkin and Canelo, yeah, Pac’s definitely ahead of them but the two middleweight stars likely have a longer shelf life than the Filipino icon (especially Canelo, who just turned 29). My guess is that they will still be fighting once Pacquiao finally retires, although it will be very hard for any prize fighter to come close to accomplishing as much as Manny did in the ring (or out of it).

There have been a number of traumatic brain injuries in boxing during the past three years. There have been four that I’m aware of in just the last month and a half: Zab Judah and Felipe Orucuta on June 7, and Dadashev and Hugo Santillan on July 20. Judah and Orucuta pulled through (although the junior bantamweight from Mexico has a long road to recovery ahead of him). Dadashev and Santillan did not survive. The circumstances surrounding all four fights need to be closely examined and improvements to the pre-fight screening process, fight-in-progress officiating, between-rounds observations and post-fight medical assessments and protocols have to be made. This is not about casting blame (although there’s enough to go around), it’s about improving as much as possible the safety precautions of a combat sport that, even under the best of circumstances, will occasionally result in serious brain injuries and fatalities.

Not sure what can be done short of banning the sport but perhaps some standardized health testing for brain injuries and then a certain protocol of not being allowed to fight within certain periods of time when showing post-concussion syndromes. Santillan, the 23-year-old junior lightweight who died five days after a 10-round draw with Eduardo Abreu in his native Argentina, absorbed a terribly one-sided beating during a 10-round loss to 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Artem Harutyunyan in Germany on June 15. Santillan, who was dropped in Round 2, lost every round (and two judges scored an additional 10-8 round), was repeatedly staggered and offered no resistance to the much-stronger-and-sharper junior welterweight prospect. All he could do was survive. The referee paused the bout in Round 7 and 9 to allow Santillan’s corner to wipe blood from his nose and mouth, but he should have waved the bout off prior to Round 9, or at least have a ringside physician examine the smaller man.

According to Michael Montero, the German Boxing Commission suspended Santillan from fighting again until July 31. However, his father/manager brought him back to Argentina and into a tough fight on July 20. Firstly, Santillan needed several months out of the ring and the gym. Second, boxing authorities need to be informed about and honor the medical suspensions of out-of-jurisdiction commissions.

By the way, the footage of Santillan literally being held up during the announcement of his draw with Abreu is absolutely nauseating. Fighters losing consciousness during or after a bout need immediate emergency medical attention. That young man was let down by his father and the sport.

A good example would be Adonis Stevenson. No way he should have been back in the ring so soon after the war with Badou Jack. Agreed, although hindsight is always 20-20, isn’t it?

Not sure what else to suggest? Perhaps 10 round fights only? What are your ideas if any? Mine are very simple. Fights need to be stopped once they aren’t competitive. I’m all for a blood-and-guts battle but once it become brutally one-sided, there’s no need for it to continue. I called the action to the Jason Quigley-Tureano Johnson fight last Thursday. The fight was competitive for four, maybe five rounds. Quigley won the first two, Johnson came on like gangbusters in Rounds 3 and 4, making for a good scrap. But Quigley was spent after Round 5. He could offer no resistance in Rounds 6, 7, 8 and 9. I’m glad his trainer Dominic Ingle kept him on the stool prior to the 10th and final round (and also glad the California commission had a ringside doctor check him out between Rounds 9 and 10), but from where I was sitting the fight was really over after Round 6. I’m glad Quigley seems fine but there’s no entertainment value in a guy getting beat up round after round.

If a fighter can’t defend himself with his skills/athleticism or he can’t gain his opponent’s respect with power/speed/volume/durability, it’s no longer a boxing match, it’s assault. Did Judah’s one-sided beating at the heavy hands of Cletus Seldin need to go into the 11th round? Did Orucuta’s fight with Jonathan Rodriguez need to go into the 10th? Merely going the distance should not be the “moral victory” many (usually the fighter and corner) make it out to be. Just being tough or stubborn in the face of a brutal beating should not be a badge of honor. And a fighter deciding to remain on his or her stool should not be shamed by anyone. Referees and corners that put safety first should be applauded, and even if they aren’t, they shouldn’t give a rat’s ass what the public thinks or says.

Beyond stopping fights sooner, I think trainers and conditioning coaches need to prevent their fighters from going through with a fight if that fighter has been hurt in sparring or if that fighters has struggled to make weight.

On to Manny Pacquaio. I have read your detailed article on how and who you rank as the best 20 fighters, great analysis. Thank you.

I notice you have a ton maybe 8 guys who fought pre-war. I assume you’re referencing World War II, which was waged from 1939-1945. The only fighters on my list who had pro careers in progress prior to 1939 are Henry Armstrong (No. 2), Archie Moore (No. 6), Joe Louis (No. 7), Billy Conn (No. 9) and Sammy Angott (No. 18). I will not apologize for their selection or placement. I will, however, suggest that you closely examine their records and research their careers.

Hey, I like a grainy film of Benny Leonard too but I was born in 1968 so what the hell do I know about those kinda guys. You don’t have to be ignorant of the fighters of this era. If you don’t like “grainy film” there are these things called books. If paper bugs you, there’s always Google.

I do know they fought a ton but also fought a lot of bums? What makes you say that they fought a lot of bums? I think you’re wrong.

Maybe there have been more than 10 boxers post war years who are better skilled (a Sweet Pee, RJJ for example) than Pac but few who have had a better CAREER (multiple weight classes, longevity, competition and exciting memorable fights). Agreed, but there are other standout fighters who have had long careers, stiff competitive and memorable fights, and there are other ways to be accomplished in boxing beyond division hopping (which gets overblown in my opinion), such as unifying world titles, becoming undisputed champ, and long title reigns with several title defenses. So, badasses like Carlos Monzon, Marvin Hagler, B-hop, Calzaghe, Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko can’t be overlooked. And there were a few other “division hoppers,” aside from Whitaker and Jones, such as Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns and James Toney, that you forgot about who were arguably “better skilled” than Pacquiao.

Going all the way back to the 50s the names I could come up with that had better careers are: Willie Pep. Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson, Duran, Leonard, Chavez Sr, Mayweather based on the fact the majority of his fights were shutouts and he made Canelo look foolish. Anyway, I am running out namesWell, if that’s the case, Aaron, I think you need to do a lot more research.

Starting 16 years ago when he fought and beat Barrera, the Pac Man has beat every great name from feather to welter—Cotto, De La Hoya, Mosley, Morales, JMM, Hatton, Thurman, Bradley and Margarito and did it in exciting and often very convincing to dominant fashion. He’s had a great run and he’s a great fighter.

 

R.I.P. MAD MAX

Hello Dougie,

Sad night for boxing, even sadder day for boxing. Mad Max’s gate was way off at the end of the 10th round, the fight could have been stopped at that point or sooner. If the fight was stopped earlier no one knows if Max would still be alive today but it would have at the very least upped his chances. As a fan I found it very difficult to watch and could understand how the ref, Buddy or Matias could be haunted by this tragedy for the rest of their lives. As much as I love watching boxing and somehow manage to watch 95% of all the fights aired on any network, I thought hard about continuing to watch a sport that can have such a devastating outcome on any night.

Something about watching two fighters for my entertainment who really have nothing against each other (other than fight hype), who are risking their lives for a better livelihood for themselves doesn’t always feel quite right. I’ve seen fighters get beat bad before and then seen them taken out on a stretcher, only to hear later on that they ended up in a coma or ended up dying, but the visuals of the cameras following Max all the way into the ambulance were emotionally draining.

In the end the fighters are the ones who decide to take the road that leads them to climb into the ring, hopefully knowing full well the risk they are taking. It’s not like these are the days of the Roman gladiators where they are forced into these situations, but most boxers do not have a lot of options where they are coming from and are forced into being a fighter as the only way to escape the bad situation they are in. If everyone stopped watching boxing because of its brutal nature that would only take away the one viable option most of these fighters have. Max wouldn’t want people to stop watching boxing because of his death, it would only rob the boxers coming up behind him of the opportunity he had, just as the fighters who died before him wouldn’t have wanted their death to rob Max of his opportunity either.

As the fighters fight on, the watchers will watch. Here’s to the fallen warrior MAD MAX DADASHEV. Thank you. – Boxing Nerd

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, BN. The past weekend was one of lows (Dadshev, Santillan and Dillian Whyte’s UKAD scandal) and highs (Pacquiao-Thurman), and the lows understandably resonated more with the boxing public and left us all with sad and uneasy feelings.

Beyond the professional (and even amateur) sport, I believe the community of the boxing gyms, the learning of the craft/technique, and the discipline of boxing’s exercises and training can produce very positive results in individuals and society. Yes, boxing can be a way out of poverty for the very small percent of humanity that has the talent to advance beyond the club-show level, but I think boxing is much more than just the sport and the business.

Mad Max’s gate was way off at the end of the 10th round, the fight could have been stopped at that point or sooner. I wouldn’t have complained.

If the fight was stopped earlier no one knows if Max would still be alive today but it would have at the very least upped his chances. Maybe.

As a fan I found it very difficult to watch and could understand how the ref, Buddy or Matias could be haunted by this tragedy for the rest of their lives. They will be. There’s no doubt about that.

As much as I love watching boxing and somehow manage to watch 95% of all the fights aired on any network, I thought hard about continuing to watch a sport that can have such a devastating outcome on any night. I wouldn’t blame you if you left it.

If everyone stopped watching boxing because of its brutal nature that would only take away the one viable option most of these fighters have. I have a hard time believing that boxing is the ONY “viable option” that “most of the fighters” have. Most of these guys are intelligent people. All of them are hard-working. They can make livings doing other things, but they love boxing, just like you, but even more.

 

PACQUIAO’S FIGHTING SPIRIT

Hey Doug,

I know you’re probably getting flooded with emails after this weekend, but I had to write you being one happy Pacquiao fan after Saturday night’s fight.

What a fight it was. Such a great mix of technical skills and savvy combined with guts and power displayed by both fighters. This was a see-saw battle between two great boxer punchers and in my opinion one of the best fights of the year.

Keith showed a lot of class in defeat; and not the kind of phony graciousness you sometimes see from defeated fighters. He gave thoughtful answers to all the questions and didn’t make any excuses; he showed himself to be a great overall sportsman.

He also showed a lot of character in the ring. I think the knockdown in the first round didn’t really hurt him, but it definitely flustered him and maybe threw a bit of a wrench in his gameplan. That being said he clawed his way back into the fight and seemed on his way to taking over down the stretch before Pacquiao hurt him again.

Even though I think Pacquiao was rightly the winner this was a very competitive fight and Keith landed better punches on Pacquiao than anyone has since maybe Marquez. He had a few rounds where he really made Pacquiao feel him. I think Keith was a little taken aback by Manny’s hand speed, punch accuracy and overall aggression once he experienced it first-hand – there’s no real way to prepare for it, even at 40 – but he settled into the fight and gave almost as much as he got. I came away from this fight with a new level of respect for Thurman.

As for Manny, what can you really say? I will just say this. I remember a fight awhile back, I think it was Clottey vs Pacquiao; Emanuel Stewart was calling the fight with Jim Lampley and he remarked to Jim about how for all of Pacquiao’s physical gifts and talent, what made him so special was his fighting spirit. That is the quality in him that made him my favorite fighter growing up and made me fall in love with the sport; those moments where fighters dig down deep when under fire and come blazing right back, not to be denied.

We got to see that special fighting spirit in Pacquiao rekindled for maybe the first time since his fourth fight with Marquez this Saturday night. It was something special seeing a 40 year old absorb those powerful shots from a guy he really should have no business even competing with at this stage of his career, and not only taking them but jumping back into the pocket to rip punches right back. These moments feel like they’re on borrowed time, but the old warrior gave us another magical one. Another signature win to add to an iconic career. – Jack E.

An all-time great career, Jack. It’s amazing that Manny still has that kind of fight in him, but I give Thurman credit for bringing out the Eye of the Tiger. We haven’t seen that kind of fire from Pacquiao since the fourth Marquez fight because December 2012 was the last time one of his opponents hit him hard enough to piss him off.

What a fight it was. Such a great mix of technical skills and savvy combined with guts and power displayed by both fighters. This was a see-saw battle between two great boxer punchers and in my opinion one of the best fights of the year. I think it will be a Fight-of-the-Year candidate. It won’t win but it deserves mention. I appreciated the skill and effort from both fighters and everyone I watched it with was entertained.

Keith showed a lot of class in defeat; and not the kind of phony graciousness you sometimes see from defeated fighters. Thurman’s got character – in and out of the ring.

He gave thoughtful answers to all the questions and didn’t make any excuses; he showed himself to be a great overall sportsman. I hope he earned more fans. I think the boxing community has been unfairly hard on him just because they want him to fight Errol Spence this year or take on Terence Crawford (even though no other PBC welterweight is crossing the street to challenge Bud).

He also showed a lot of character in the ring. Yes, he did! Following the knockdown, Pacquiao befuddled him and smacked him around pretty good for the next four or five rounds, but he didn’t give up and he gradually figured out the punishing puzzle in front him. A lot welterweights would have been dropped for the count off of that nasty 10th-round body shot, or they would have at least gone down, but Thurman remained upright and survived. I thought he won Rounds 11 and 12, too.

Even though I think Pacquiao was rightly the winner this was a very competitive fight and Keith landed better punches on Pacquiao than anyone has since maybe Marquez. I agree. I know Manny’s not long for the sport, but given his track record with return bouts, I wouldn’t be surprised if he granted Thurman a rematch next year.

 

 

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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