Tuesday, September 17, 2019  |

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Dougie’s Monday mailbag (the Canelo conundrum, Ramirez-Hooker, Yoka & Cissokho)

05
Aug

CANELO/DAZN/GGG DRAMA

Hi there Dougie –

Let me acknowledge that I am big GGG fan, although I do respect Canelo and I think he is a very good fighter (in my mind he has not proven he is better than GGG…yet).

Having said that, do you think the IBF and DAZN are all attempting to back Canelo into a corner where he has to fight GGG? For someone who said he wanted to fight only the best, his (and Golden Boy’s) actions seem more like Floyd Mayweather than Marvin Hagler. My understanding is that Canelo will only fight GGG in Las Vegas and I don’t blame GGG for pushing back on that. While the second fight was definitely closer, I can’t find seven rounds that Canelo won. Further, of the eighteen sports media organizations covering the fight, seventeen had either a GGG win or a draw. Even more frustrating as a GGG fan, I have yet to find anyone other than Dave Moretti, Steve Weisfeld and the Golden Boy team, who thought Canelo won the 12th round of their second fight that tipped the right in Canelo’s favor.

I do think Canelo is a terrific fighter and he is probably in the top 5 pound-for-pound, but in my mind, he has not proven he’s better than GGG, yet. Further, I get a little tired with the Golden Boy’s woofing as if someone who Canelo decisively beat GGG both times. Given GGG’s advanced aging, I think it is a matter of time before Canelo can legitimately beat GGG. Do you think that is ultimately what is going on here, they want GGG to older and slower? And do you think DAZN will allow Canelo and Golden Boy to get away with this? They didn’t sign him for all that money with the thought that he would avoid GGG.

Keep up the great work! Your column is the first news item I go to EVERY Monday and Friday morning 😊.

Wish you all the best. – David

Thanks for the kind words, David.

Obviously, Canelo-GGG 3 is a fight that DAZN wants. That’s why they outbid ESPN and the PBC for Gennady Golovkin’s exclusive services not long after signing Canelo to a record-breaking exclusive contract. Canelo and Golovkin are elite boxers, both with huge dedicated fan bases, and they mesh well in the ring. Their rematch was Ring Magazine’s 2018 Fight of the Year. Oh yeah, and they don’t like each other. It’s a legit rivalry with story lines, and you noted the main one: a legion of fans and media believe GGG has not truly lost to Canelo. So, it’s a no-brainer for DAZN to want that third fight and the streaming platform will continue to push for the showdown to take place because they know that event will garner 1 million-plus subscribers. I expect it to happen next May. And, in the meantime, boxing people will speculate, pontificate, take sides (of course), lay blame and shame (of course), and basically build up the inevitable showdown into a monster grudge event with their obsession for drama. Won’t that be fun!?

Having said that, do you think the IBF and DAZN are all attempting to back Canelo into a corner where he has to fight GGG? I have NO idea what’s up with the IBF other than they REALLY think highly of Sergiy Derevyanchenko. I don’t think DAZN is trying to back Canelo into a corner, but they obviously want the biggest fights/events possible involving Canelo, so they’re going to push hard for the third match with GGG or other matchups that will capture the public’s imagination (such as the Sergey Kovalev fight).

For someone who said he wanted to fight only the best, his (and Golden Boy’s) actions seem more like Floyd Mayweather than Marvin Hagler. Really? During a span of less than eight months and three bouts, he faced Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs. He wanted to fight Kovalev next. He might wind up facing Demetrius Andrade in October. That doesn’t sound like somebody who is avoiding challenges or risky fights.

My understanding is that Canelo will only fight GGG in Las Vegas and I don’t blame GGG for pushing back on that. I don’t think Canelo wants to f__k with Golovkin at all in 2019. And it’s not because he’s “scared” or anything like that. He’s reached diva status and he doesn’t want anyone or any entity to dictate to him who, when and where he fights.

While the second fight was definitely closer, I can’t find seven rounds that Canelo won. That’s fine, but if you found more than seven rounds for Golovkin you gave GGG the benefit of the doubt in the close rounds, and if you scored more than eight rounds for him you were bending over backwards the Kazakhstani superhero.  

I do think Canelo is a terrific fighter and he is probably in the top 5 pound-for-pound, but in my mind, he has not proven he’s better than GGG, yet. Yeah, you already said that. You’ve made that very clear.

Further, I get a little tired with the Golden Boy’s woofing as if someone who Canelo decisively beat GGG both times. They’re his promoter, David. That’s what promoters do; they “woof” loud and proud, especially with their star fighters.

Given GGG’s advanced aging, I think it is a matter of time before Canelo can legitimately beat GGG. Had they fought this year I think odds makers would have installed him as a slight favorite, but not so much because of Golovkin’s age, but rather due to how he performed in the rematch.

Do you think that is ultimately what is going on here, they want GGG to older and slower? I don’t think so. I just think Canelo is sick of Golovkin and didn’t want to fight him for the third consecutive September. The Big Drama Show was becoming Groundhog Day to him. To be honest, as much as I like the matchup, I wasn’t that into the third bout happening this year. I’d like to see how GGG looks after another camp with Jonathon Banks (a full one this time), against a world-class middleweight (like Derevyanchenko). If he’s really still got it, then hell yeah, bring on Canelo part III. But I’m OK with Canelo fighting others this year as long as those opponents are top-class.

 

RAMIREZ VS. HOOKER LIVED UP TO THE HYPE

Hi Doug,

I was missing some comments on the Jose Ramirez vs Mo Hooker Fight on Monday.

Last week you promised it was going to be a good one and it was. I didn`t really pay much attention on the Junior Welterweight class in the past because it was between the Lightweight Division (Loma) and the Welterweights (Spence). But that changed this year. First we had the Josh Taylor vs Ivan Baranchyk clash and now this helluva fight.

Ramirez-Hooker was fast paced with a lot of good punches thrown from both fighters. I think Hooker made the mistake to let Ramirez dictate the fight to much, also I thought sometimes he wanted to challenge Ramirez too much.

2 or 3 times he was waving at Ramirez to come at him and boy did Ramirez come at him.

That was one of the best finishes I watched in a fight for a long time. When Ramirez saw that Hooker was shaky on his legs he jumped at him like a Puma. What do you think will be the future for both?

I think Hooker is thinking about moving up and I wouldn’t mind to see Ramirez going at Prograis or even better Baranchyk. Ramirez vs Baranchyk would be action packed for sure.

Now I am looking forward to the WBSS final between Prograis and Taylor. It’s going to be a good one too.

I am sure going to pay more attention to the 140 pounders in the future. – Andy

It’s a talented division. The fact that it isn’t topped by elite/pound-for-pound level talent like lightweight and welterweight is part of what makes it interesting. It’s wide open and there are several world-class operators, each with his own set of strengths/styles, that can make for a fun round robin if they fight each other – and it looks like they’re willing to do that.

Ramirez-Hooker was fast paced with a lot of good punches thrown from both fighters. It didn’t take long for it to become a shootout. It’s always entertaining to watch world-class boxer/technicians trade quality punches at a fast tempo.

I think Hooker made the mistake to let Ramirez dictate the fight too much… Ramirez may not have given him much of a choice.

… also I thought sometimes he wanted to challenge Ramirez too much. Hooker is a confident fighter. I expected nothing less from an unbeaten world titleholder who traveled to England to win the WBO belt and made his first defense against Alex Saucedo in the brawler’s hometown.

2 or 3 times he was waving at Ramirez to come at him and boy did Ramirez come at him. That’s what Ramirez does and he’s very good at it.

That was one of the best finishes I watched in a fight for a long time. As sudden as it was brutal.

When Ramirez saw that Hooker was shaky on his legs he jumped at him like a Puma. He did exactly what he was supposed to do in that moment.

What do you think will be the future for both? I think Ramirez’s best move would be to challenge the Prograis-Taylor winner. That’s a showdown that every hardcore fan in the world would be into, and if he prevails he’ll not only be the undisputed 140-pound champ, he’ll make himself a prime candidate for a big-money PPV main event against WBO welterweight titleholder Terence Crawford. Hooker could remain a 140-pound player by taking on somebody like Chris Algieri, Pablo Cesar Cano or Yves Ulysee Jr. (all three matchups easily made for DAZN) – a victory against either will push him back up the WBC’s or WBO’s rankings and could lead to a mandatory rematch with Ramirez. Or he could toss his hat into the 147-pound division by taking on Victor Ortiz Jr. (provided the uber prospect defeats Antonio Orozco on Saturday), which would be big matchup for the Dallas area.

I think Hooker is thinking about moving up and I wouldn’t mind to see Ramirez going at Prograis or even better Baranchyk. Ramirez vs Baranchyk would be action packed for sure. Sign me up for either matchup, but don’t count Taylor out. He could wind up being the man that Ramirez aims for.

Now I am looking forward to the WBSS final between Prograis and Taylor. It’s going to be a good one too. Fingers crossed that it gets finalized. The vacant Ring Magazine junior welterweight title will be on the line.

 

WHO’S THE BIGGER PUTZ?

Hi Dougie,

A multiple-choice question for you. Who is the bigger putz?

1) Golden Boy for agreeing to a deal with the IBF and then Oscar crying once his company broke the deal and lost Canelo’s title.

2) The IBF because all boxing belt organizations are at best a pain in the ass or at worst corrupt boils on the ass of boxing

3) DiBella for turning down 5 big ones for his client Derevyanchenko

4) Canelo for seeming to be out of the loop on his own career (claimed he was not aware of the IBF deal) but at the same time turning down a third fight with GGG–which is worthy of trilogy and probably the best fight in boxing

and my vote goes to:

5) DAZN for being incompetent enough to give out 450 million to GGG and Canelo without having a contractual guarantee that they would fight at least once.

Have a great weekend. – Aaron in Miami

I think everyone involved in boxing has a little “putz” in them. This is a crazy business – money motivated but ego driven; and when spite is added to the equation you can toss logic right out of the front door.

Golden Boy is caught between a rock and a hard place (you decide for yourself who’s the “rock” and who’s the “hard place”); the IBF had no business stripping GGG of the IBF title last year, no good reason to make the winner of Derevanchenko-Jack Culcay their mandatory challenger, and even less of a reason to strip Canelo less than THREE months after he WON their damn strap; DiBella, like every other promoter, wants at least $10 million for his fighter to face Canelo (and he probably thinks Derev has a better shot at beating GGG); Canelo’s just sick of GGG and doesn’t want anyone telling him what to do; and DAZN will get the third fight they want so badly – they’re just going to have a wait a little bit.

 

FRENCH BOXING

Hey Doug,

After so many years abroad I’m back to France so my first live show here will be Tony Yoka late September as the main fight and Souleymane Cissokho on the undercard. Ringstar is doing a good job promoting Yoka even though the French always prefer low key/ blue collar fighters (Monshipour/ Mormeck must ring a bell) over more flashy type. They expect him to fight top-10 guys already.

I’m big on Cissokho: big enough at the weight, skilled and very hard working in the gym. With most of the 154 Champ eventually moving up he’s got a chance to win a world title. How do you see it?

Round 5 of Ramirez vs Hooker was pure adrenaline!! Prograis has a good defense but no way he beats Ramirez without being tagged and buzzed. And that’s only IF he can win his next fight.

Good for Curtis Stevens to make a last run! Not a fan of him going lighter though. Except for Donaire who was flabby at higher weights, it usually turns out bad.

Keep grinding Doug! I’ll keep reading. – Vince

Thanks for reading (and writing), Vince.

You called it regarding Stevens. Light was not right. I’m bummed for Curtis because I enjoy his fights for many years and I like his personality, but congrats to Wale Omotoso, who could be a future opponent for your man Cissokho (I just want to refer to him as “Cisco” for some reason).

I hope you enjoy your first live boxing card. I think France has two very promising former amateur stars in Yoka and Cissokho. I expect both to crack the sanctioning organization rankings by early 2020.

Ringstar is doing a good job promoting Yoka even though the French always prefer low key/ blue collar fighters (Monshipour/ Mormeck must ring a bell) over more flashy type. Mahyar Monshipour and Jean-Marc Mormeck were card-carrying badasses. They were in many barnburners (especially Monshipour). I think their most notable losses were their best fights – Somsak Sithchatchawal for Mahyar and O’Neil Bell for Mormeck, both by 10th-round KO – anyone reading this who hasn’t seen those fights, should stop right now and look them up on YouTube.

Tony Yoka

They expect him to fight top-10 guys already. The 2016 Olympic gold medalist has the amateur background, talent, athleticism, tools, skills, style and overall look of a future world-beater and star, but I think it’s a bit too soon to put him in with legit top-10 heavyweight contenders. He needs rounds! At 27, he’s not advanced in age for a heavyweight, they have some time (as much as two years if need be) to properly develop him. With Virgil Hunter in his corner, I think he can go far. I like his mobile boxing style. I think Ringstar should start planning to feature him on UK and U.S. cards.

I’m big on Cissokho: big enough at the weight, skilled and very hard working in the gym. I saw him fight on the Joshua-Ruiz undercard on June 1 at Madison Square Garden. I gotta be honest with you, I wasn’t blown away by his athleticism or talent, but I saw some tools/abilities that can be further developed and added to during his climb up the rankings. The 2016 Olympic bronze medalist had a good jab (although he paws with it too much at times), a sharp right hand, nice 1-2 combo and he’s good at controlling distance. I think he’s one of the better 154-pound prospects out there, along with Serhii Bohachuk. (Damn, that would be a good fight.)

With most of the 154 champs eventually moving up he’s got a chance to win a world title. How do you see it? I think Jaime Munguia and Jarrett Hurd might move up in weight soon (in that order), but I expect Julian Williams, Tony Harrison and Jermell Charlo to stick around, along with Erislandy Lara and Brian Castano, so there won’t be an easy path to a world title. If Cissokho wants a quick path to a mandatory shot, he might want to roll the dice against Carlos Adames, who is ranked in the top five of all four sanctioning bodies. That’s a dangerous fight for him. Adames is a beast. But there’s also old lion Kell Brook and Brazilian technician Pat Teixeira (Nos. 1 and 2 in the WBO), as well as Irish cutie Dennis Hogan and Japanese strongman Takeshi Inoue (Nos. 3 and 9 in the WBO). Oh, and countryman Michele Soro would make for a big showdown in France. Soro holds the WBA “gold” belt for whatever that’s worth. I don’t think he’s ready to fight these guys next, but maybe after two or three bouts.

Round 5 of Ramirez vs Hooker was pure adrenaline!! It’s a Round of the Year candidate for sure. I thought that round turned the fight in Ramirez’s favor.

Prograis has a good defense but no way he beats Ramirez without being tagged and buzzed. Yeah, that matchup has “Fight of the Year’ written on it.

And that’s only IF he can win his next fight. I view Prograis-Taylor as a 50-50 fight.

 

CHANGE IN BOXING

I have always heard that journalists should report the news, not become part of it, but in the case of this sport, do you feel yourself called to ask Marc Ratner, Greg Sirb, Mike Mazulli what they are doing to help this game? Doing nothing isn’t helping anything. Where are they since the loss of Dadashev and Santillan? What are they proposing to do to even discuss changes that may help? Or will they continue to sit on their hands and be dictated to by the sanctioning orgs?

The ABC could TELL them what to do if they wanted to operate in the US and Sulamain would kowtow quicker than cities under siege from Genghis Khan. (as opposed to Amir Khan…)

On lighter notes…. where were they when the bogus knockdown of Hooker was called? How would they like it if their title and pay was decreased next week because of a correctable error, yet had to wait a year to get back their standing?

Why do they sweep poor judging under the rug? Why don’t they make changes to what is scored to eliminate biases of the judges? Make the criteria easier for judges and fans?

In other words…they tick me off with their failures to act. The best thing that they can do is the right thing…the worst thing is nothing. Two guesses what they appear to be doing… and the first doesn’t count.

I have a great deal of respect for you in your role, but also as an impassioned fan. That bleeds through in the weekly mailbag as well as the work that you have put into Ring.  I sincerely wish that those men above, and other men and women in their positions in other commissions, had that same desire to make the sport better, safer, clearer, and more entertaining.

Keep up the good work. I hope to hear something in the news soon that restores some bit of trust in the apparent group of do-nothings. – Donovan

Thanks for the kind words (for me), Donovan, but while I appreciate your passion and concern for boxer safety and improvement of the sport, I can tell you that the three men you singled out in this email – Ratner, Sirb and Mazzulli – are the LAST folks you should accuse of apathy.

For starters, Ratner, the former executive director of the Nevada Athletic Commission, has been retired from that position since 2006. He works for the UFC. But during his 14-year tenure, he was instrumental in improving boxer-safety measures (working closely with Commission Drs. Flip Homansky, Donald Romero and Margaret Goodman), anti-doping testing and referee/judge training. His record with fighter safety was a big part of his being inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2016. And Ratner was extremely accessible. He listened to the concerns of boxers, fans and media (I tell you this from personal experience).

Sirb, the executive director of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission since 1990 and a former president of the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC), is one of the most outspoken advocates for fighter safety and boxing reform among state regulators. He just received the Boxing Writers Assoc. of America’s award for Honesty and Integrity (and I had the pleasure of sitting at his table, so I finally got to meet him). I’ve known about Sirb since my early days of covering the sport because he testified on behalf of the Muhammad Ali act back in 1999 and during 2003 congressional hearings to discuss the feasibility of the late John McCain’s bill that proposed the establishment of a U.S. Boxing Administration. I also agree with his stance on same-day weigh-ins being safer for fighters than previous-day weigh-ins, which, in my opinion, encourages drastic (unnatural) weight loss among many fighters and often leads to unfair weight advantages on fight night.

I’m not as familiar with Mazzulli, the head honcho for the Mohegan Tribal Athletic Commission and the current president of the ABC, but I’ve heard that he’s very much involved in the proper regulation of weigh-ins, drug testing and medical protocols. I know that, like Sirb and California commission executive director Andy Foster, Mazzulli is very outspoken about the dangers of weight-cutting.

Ratner did a lot to “help the game” and Sirb and Mazzulli are doing a lot to improve it. One thing you should understand about Sirb and Mazzulli is that they can only regulate their jurisdictions – Pennsylvania and the Mohegan Tribal land in Connecticut. They can’t tell the commissions in Maryland or in the Buenos Aires province of Argentina what to do.

The ABC could TELL them what to do if they wanted to operate in the US and Sulamain would kowtow quicker than cities under siege from Genghis Khan. (as opposed to Amir Khan…) The sanctioning bodies already operate under the Unified Rules of Boxing that the ABC came up with whenever they sanction a bout in the U.S. I don’t see how the ABC’s telling the WBC (or IBF, WBA or WBO) what to do would help fighter safety (unless they blocked a gross mismatch that was mandated by one of the organizations). I don’t think Dadashev’s or Santillan’s deaths had anything to do with sanctioning organizations. Safety protocol is the responsibility of the commission, not the promoter or the sanctioning bodies.

On lighter notes…. where were they when the bogus knockdown of Hooker was called? That was just a bad call by a very good referee (Mark Nelson). It happens. It would be great if instant replay (which does exist in some states, such as Nevada) was used nationwide. But to answer your question, they were in their home states. Hooker-Ramirez took place in Texas and thus under the auspices of that state’s department of licensing and regulation for combative sports.

Why do they sweep poor judging under the rug? They don’t, and Ratner didn’t. Ratner was very good about holding regular post-fight performance reviews for the referees and judges. They were educational and constructive reviews but if a judge or referee had a history of poor performances or several bad calls or cards in a row, that official would get benched for a period of time. This is something I’d like to see happen in every state. And for the record, Sirb was in favor of federal oversight in boxing for the sake of uniformity in rules and regulations.

 

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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