Dougie’s Friday mailbag (Inoue-Donaire, Ortiz-Orozco, Chris Arreola, James Toney)
So I’ve always wanted to go to Japan and I’m thinking of making the trek this November. Are you gonna go? Any clue how to get tickets to Naoya Inoue vs Nonito Donaire? I don’t think Donaire will win but do you think he’ll go rounds? Tokyo has seen bigger upsets (well one that I know of). Best. – ws
Hey, Inoue lives up to his Monster moniker and he deserves to be a solid favorite in this showdown, but Donaire is a live dog with his blend of hall-of-fame-level experience, ring generalship and left-hook power. The Flash isn’t as fast as he used to be, but he can go rounds with Inoue, maybe even go the distance. Of course, I favor Inoue to win the World Boxing Super Series final, but not because of the Japanese star’s explosive speed and power, because The Ring champ is the more fundamentally sound of the two bantamweights.
I don’t think tickets are available yet, the fight was just announced. I’m sure the WBSS will send out a press release when tickets go on sale. (They do that, right?)
I’d love to go. The last time I was in Tokyo for a prize fight was in January 2007 (Edwin Valero was the headliner with the first defense of his WBA 130-pound title, and, in the co-feature of the Teiken/Ohashi co-promotion, Cristian Mijares looked sensational earning the WBC 115-pound belt stopping Katsushige Kawashima in 10 rounds). It remains one of the most special experiences of my career as a boxing journalist. However, I don’t think I’m gonna be able to make for this show. You should go if you have the chance, ws. You might meet Ring associate editor Tom Gray.
ORTIZ-OROZCO & A FUTURE MATCHUP
Found myself writing in more often. This is a quick one, I just want to get this one off my chest. I’m salivating at a possible (even if slightly) matchup between Teofimo Lopez and Vergil Ortiz Jr. down the line. Teo is going up in weight soon and right around the corner is Vergil. Man, this would be an amazing fight in my opinion. I feel Vergil is taking on better opponents having taken on El Maestro (even if faded) and knocking him out. Now he will be taking on Antonio Orozco this Saturday and I feel he can get the KO, which will be a statement if he does. Orozco gave Jose Ramirez a good fight and upset KeAndre Gibson (I think he was the underdog in that fight, not too sure) and a younger Humberto Soto. – Carlos
Orozco is not an easy mark, and the 11-year veteran might be stronger/sturdier fighting at welterweight than he was at (or near) junior welterweight, which he often struggled to make. But you gotta favor Ortiz, who is arguably America’s top prospect (along with Jaron Ennis). If Ortiz isn’t the first to stop Orozco, I think he’ll outpoint the San Diegan. Now, if the 21-year-old boxer-puncher shines in his homecoming headliner tomorrow night, does that mean your dream Ortiz-Lopez matchup is closer to reality? Probably not.
Apart from the fact that they fight for different promoters/platforms, there are currently two weight classes separating the standouts. Yeah, Lopez will likely move from lightweight to junior welterweight net year, but Ortiz is probably done with the 140-pound division. I can see Lopez eventually filling out to 147 pounds but that might not be until 2021, so, I think you’re gonna have to be patient. If and when Lopez-Ortiz happens it has the makings of an explosive fight, but you know what other matchup is potentially explosive? Ortiz vs. Ennis. That fight could happen a lot sooner. Ortiz vs. fellow Golden Boy Promotions fighters Rashidi Ellis and Eddie Gomez could also be shootouts. Ortiz vs. British prospects Josh Kelly and Conor Benn could also be interesting.
I hope all is well with you and yours. I love reading your column please keep it up! I watched the Arreola/Kownacki fight and was amazed at the fortitude displayed by both men. I am hoping Chris makes good on his promise to retire. He showed enormous heart in this fight. If he retires, he goes out on his shield like a champion. I think he would make an excellent commentator in retirement. He’s funny, quick witted, and charismatic. – P.
I agree 100%. Fox would do well to offer him a boxing analyst/color commentator gig. I think Arreola would mesh just as well
with Joe Goossen in broadcast booth as he does in the gym and the corner.
Arreola could stick around boxing as a reliable gatekeeper, and he’d probably make a few more solid paydays (he’d definitely make for a few more barnburners – he just can’t help himself), but there are a lot of miles on his fighter odometer. He’s 38 years old and he’s been in the hurt business for 16 years. He’s dolled out a lot of beatings in the 47 pro bouts he’s had, but he’s also absorbed a lot of punishment.
I think he knows it’s time to move on.
JAMES TONEY ATG?
I am interested in hearing your opinion on James Toney. To my mind, he is an under rated, under appreciated, boxing stylist. Twice named The Ring Fighter of the year in 1991 and 2003, he was (correct me if I’m wrong) at different times the best Middleweight, Super Middleweight and Cruiserweight in the world. I would like Toney to get more recognition from genuine boxing fans (which would rule out most of the sensationalist trolls on social media).
Referring back to your great article from 2014 ( https://www.ringtv.com/355849-commentary-floyd-mayweather-jr-s-place-among-the-modern-greats/ ) you have set out credible and rigorous criteria to determine who were the best fighters after 1943. James Toney did not even make it into your honorable mention section which listed 40 other fighters. Surely Dougie, this was a slight faux pas on your part? Toney’s resume is evidence he was a fearless warrior. The man went from Middleweight, all the way up to Heavyweight, where he scored a brilliant stoppage over a faded Evander Holyfield, employing his own style to bamboozle the veteran. He fought leading Heavyweight contenders when he wasnt a genuine bonafide Heavyweight and beat people like Holyfield with pure skill. He wasnt afraid to venture to places like Moscow, to fight local fighters which is in sharp contrast to a lot of so called prizefighters in this day and age, who hide behind spurious titles, promotional and network politics. He even ventured into UFC momentarily.
Going back to your rationale from 2014, Toney did not win 100 or 150 pro bouts. He has hopefully finished on 77-10, which again is impressive in this day and age. Im presuming Toney faced the elite fighters in his division when you consider he fought Michael Nunn, Mike McCallum, Roy Jones, Vasilly Jirov. He fought genuine Heavyweight contenders late in his career (Rahman, Peter, Ruiz). To my mind, moving up in weight and going from middle to heavyweight is more of an historical achievement then say Floyd Mayweather starting at Super Featherweight and going to Light-Middleweight (hence why Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record is so revered). This leads me to my key question – was James Toney a better fighter then Floyd Mayweather? Interested in hearing your thoughts and fond memories you have of Toney.
Many thanks. – Nav Sandhu, Leicester, UK
I consider Toney a more complete boxer than Mayweather. He could blend sublime defense with fierce and crafty offense, even at unnaturally heavy weights, which is something Floyd was unable to do above 130/135 pounds. And I also think Toney was willing to challenge himself more than his fellow Michigan native. He was also one of the toughest and most-skilled fighters I’ve ever covered, and I think he could have competed with the best fighters of any era. However, he lacked the discipline that Mayweather, who also had more natural talent, possessed.
Had Toney been as disciplined, focused and dedicated to the sport (in terms of his conditioning and keeping his weight down between bouts) as Mayweather or Bernard Hopkins or his rival Roy Jones Jr. were, he would have been an undeniable all-time great. But for all his talent, skill, guts and durability, he was often a fat slob. Maybe that’s why I left him out of the Honorable Mention of my 2014 commentary piece.
In retrospect, however, I think leaving him out was a mistake (which happens with those kinds of lists; I also left out Michael Spinks, which was another obvious oversight.)
Toney’s resume is evidence he was a fearless warrior. He wasn’t one to avoid a challenge – stylistic nightmare or physical threat. He had the mentality of a great fighter.
The man went from Middleweight, all the way up to Heavyweight, where he scored a brilliant stoppage over a faded Evander Holyfield, employing his own style to bamboozle the veteran. You don’t have to remind me of the Holyfield fight, I covered it and the build-up to the 2003 Showtime PPV main event and I was one of the few boxing writers to pick Toney to win it (yes, he was 3-to-1 underdog). His sparring form for that showdown was exceptional.
He fought leading Heavyweight contenders when he wasnt a genuine bonafide Heavyweight and beat people like Holyfield with pure skill. Yeah, I remember, and he took more punishment in those fights (especially the first bout with Rahman and the two bouts against Peter) than he should have during the twilight of his career (while in his mid-to-late 30s). Can you imagine what he could have done at 160, 168, 175 or even at cruiserweight if he had the will power to make a weight limit?
He wasnt afraid to venture to places like Moscow, to fight local fighters which is in sharp contrast to a lot of so called prizefighters in this day and age, who hide behind spurious titles, promotional and network politics. Nope, James wasn’t one to hide or play it safe – ever.
He even ventured into UFC momentarily. Yeah, I remember that, too, unfortunately. I really wish he hadn’t done that.
Just a quick thought on infractions such as doping and coming in overweight, which can potentially put an opponent’s health (or life) at risk. Do you think it would help if the penalty went beyond just suspensions and fines? What if the penalty for an infraction is an “L” (by default) in the violator’s record (and thus a “W” in the opponent’s)?
To put my point into clearer focus: Would PBF have dared to come in overweight against JMM a decade ago if there was a rule like this in place?
By the way, great work on the Mailbag. I always look forward to Monday and Friday evenings. – Ray
Thanks for the kind words, Ray.
Would Mayweather have dared to come in overweight against Marquez 10 years ago if he knew doing so would have resulted in an automatic loss on his record. Probably not. But he didn’t just show up to the weigh-in and miss the contracted 144 pounds weight limit. Two days before the weigh-in, Mayweather made a deal with Team Marquez (reportedly promised to pay Juan $300,000 for every pound he weighed over 144, and the reigning lightweight champ agreed to it – netting $600,000 because Floyd came in at 146). Let’s say there was a rule that said Mayweather would automatically lose the fight if he missed weight, and JMM refused to be paid off to allow it. He wouldn’t go through with the fight. You can’t threaten a fighter who cheats with a loss if he or she commits the infraction (or gets caught) before the fight and then doesn’t go through with the bout.
Mayweather would have worried about such a rule because he was obsessed with being undefeated and he made his legacy about it, but other prize fighters might not give a s__t about taking an “L” as long as they’re paid most of their purse.
I think the way to deter most cheaters is to fine them their entire purse and suspend them for at least one year. Upon a second infraction, they should be banned for life (like the Japanese Boxing Commission did with Luis Nery, who tested positive for a banned substance after he stopped Shinsuke Yamanaka and then came in overweight for his rematch with the former bantamweight champ, who was KO’d again).
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and watch him on Periscope every Sunday from SMC track.