Saturday, September 21, 2019  |

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Dougie’s Friday mailbag (Lomachenko-Campbell, Rigo’s rating, Canelo-Kovalev)

Will Luke Campbell be a tall order for Vasiliy Lomachenko? (See what I did there?) Photo by Mark Robinson
30
Aug

LOMACHENKO-CAMPBELL, RIOG’S RING RATING

Hi Dougie,

I hope all is well.

I expect Vasiliy Lomachenko to break down Luke Campbell and win by 10th round TKO. My analysis is based on three things: Lomo is other-worldly, Campbell lost to Jorge Linares and Campbell does not possess the defense to deal with Lomo. He is European and stands straight up with little head movement.

The only one who can remotely make a somewhat interesting fight for Lomo between 130 and 135 in my opinion is Richard Commey because he has decent power but I expect him to lose as well. I think Tank Davis and Teofimo Lopez get destroyed by Lomo, which would be pleasurable to watch. Teofimo used to train at the Davie Police Athletic Club in South Florida not far from where I live. He was a lot more gentlemanly then – not sure what happened since. Where does Lomo go to find a challenge? I think he does to Mike Garcia what Pac did to Cotto. I don’t see anyone below 147 who can beat him. I would love to see him fight Pac.

On another note, yes, I worship at the temple of Rigo but how in the world can he be ranked 4th by your publication? He has never lost at 122. Seriously Roman, Navarrete ahead of him? Let’s see one of those guys beat him first. Even Dan Rafael the ultimate Rigo hater has him ranked first at super feather. – All the best, Aaron in Miami

Photo by Sean Michael Ham-Mayweather Promotions

Rigondeaux kept landing the left on Ceja. Photo by Sean Michael Ham-Mayweather Promotions

Good for Dan and ESPN.com, but I agree with where the Ring Ratings Panel currently ranks Guillermo Rigondeaux among the top junior featherweights. Yeah, Rigo is unbeaten at 122 pounds, but the stoppage he earned in his life-and-death shootout with Julio Ceja was the first victory he’d had against notable junior featherweight since his title-unification decision over Nonito Donaire in 2013. Mind you, Ceja isn’t currently ranked by The Ring, ESPN.com or the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board at 122 pounds. When you factor that in with his inactivity (only one fight in 2015 and 2016, no fights in 2018), I think he’s lucky to still be in the top five. He certainly doesn’t belong in front of the young titleholders, who have been active and have scored significant victories in recent months (Daniel Roman unified belts vs. TJ Doheny, Rey Vargas outpointed Tomoki Kameda, and Emanuel Navarrete scored back-to-back wins against Isaac Dogboe).

I expect Vasiliy Lomachenko to break down Luke Campbell and win by 10th round TKO. I can see that happening, but I’d be surprised if it were a walk in the park for the Ukrainian ring wizard. I favor Lomachenko by unanimous decision in a competitive chess match.

My analysis is based on three things: Lomo is other-worldly, Campbell lost to Jorge Linares and Campbell does not possess the defense to deal with Lomo. Lomachenko is other-worldly, but Campbell’s loss to Linares shouldn’t count against him. He BARELY lost to Linares, who gave Lomachenko a tough fight. And while he’s nothing like the 135-pound versions of Pernell Whitaker or Floyd Mayweather Jr., the Englishman is not easy to hit.

He is European and stands straight up with little head movement. Um, last time I checked, Lomachenko is also European. And, yeah, Campbell’s a classic straight-up boxer, but that doesn’t mean he’s limited. Winky Wright and Vernon Forrest were classic stand-up boxers who mainly relied on jabs and one-two combos. It made sense for them to box that way given their height and ranginess. It makes sense for Campbell, who got other wrinkles to this game, to box in the same manner.

The only one who can remotely make a somewhat interesting fight for Lomo between 130 and 135 in my opinion is Richard Commey because he has decent power but I expect him to lose as well. That’s a fine opinion, but these guys gotta fight the fights first before we spend too much time pontificating on how their matchup would play out. Loma hasn’t beaten Campbell yet. Commey’s got to deal with Teofimo Lopez next.

I think Tank Davis and Teofimo Lopez get destroyed by Lomo, which would be pleasurable to watch. If they were to fight this year, I agree with you, but time is on their side. Their chances against Lomachenko increases with each fight and with every year that goes by.

Teofimo used to train at the Davie Police Athletic Club in South Florida not far from where I live. He was a lot more gentlemanly then – not sure what happened since. He’s probably still a gentleman, person to person (he seems that way to me). Don’t get a pro fighter’s ring or social media persona confused with the actual man.

Devin Haney, The Ring’s No. 4-rated lightweight, is waiting for his shot at Ring champ Lomachenko.

Where does Lomo go to find a challenge? Nowhere. He hasn’t cleaned out the 135-pound division yet. If he beats Campbell and the Commey-Lopez winner he’ll be the undisputed lightweight champ but there are still worthy challengers waiting in the wings, such as Devin Haney and the aforementioned Gervonta Davis. Other 130-pound titleholders like Tank, such as Miguel Berchelt, Tevin Farmer and Jamel Herring, could also make for interesting matchups.

I think he does to Mike Garcia what Pac did to Cotto. I would favor Loma to beat Mikey (on points), but I don’t think it would be anywhere near as dominant and punishing as Pacquiao was against Cotto.

I don’t see anyone below 147 who can beat him. Really? I wouldn’t bet he house on Loma if he fought Regis Prograis or Josh Taylor at 140 pounds. I think those are dangerous fights for him.

I would love to see him fight Pac. I think that would be a frustrating night for the senator.

 

KOVALEV/YARDE/CANELO ANALYSIS

Douglas,

1st time writing in, just wanted to agree with your analysis of Kovalev/Yarde and your breakdown of Canelo/Krusher.

So many people saw Kovalev a punch away from being KO’d on social media, which I read before I saw the fight. Then I watched and it really wasn’t that close, except for that rocky 8th round where at the end he looked more tired than hurt in my opinion. Yeah, McGirt threatened to stop it but considering the tragic death of Max Dadashev, it’s understandable.

As for Canelo/Krusher, yes, that jab and the fact that Kovalev is a top (if not THE top) lt heavyweight in the world with Buddy in his corner and the height and reach advantage, how in the heck does anyone think Canelo easily wins?

If the odds are heavy in Canelo’s favor I just might have to put some money on the Russian. I like Canelo but I’m a realist when it comes to boxing fandom. Duran was my all-time favorite and I learned the hard way, you just can’t idolize these guys. They’re all too human. If Canelo can pull this off he will deserve huge credit, but like you say the hate for him seems bottomless.

A side note, the fact you and Steve Kim actually took the time and effort to get in the ring gets my mad respect. I never fought pro but even just sparring gives you a whole new perspective and when you lose a sparring session that’s when you find out a lot about yourself. Thanks for reading this Doug. – TonyRespectful

Thank you for the kind words and for finally sharing your thoughts with the mailbag, Tony. Don’t be a stranger going forward.

I don’t think a journalist necessarily has to have participated in the sport he or she covers to be good at what they do, but it obviously helps. Kim and I never competed in boxing but I think it was good for us to spend as much time in the gym as we used (Kim still does). Beyond learning the basics of the craft and knowing what it feels like to get punched hard in the body and head, I think it was a good experience to be around amateur and pro boxers of various levels (as well as their trainers) and to talk to them and see how they prepare for tournaments and fights on a daily or weekly basis. Nothing beats going to the gym. As an editor, I don’t write as often as I used to, but when I do schedule an interview for a story (or if I’m doing research/scouting for a commentary gig) I prefer to do it at the gym. (By the way, I recently sat down with James Toney at Buddy McGirt’s gym for a Greatest Hits feature that will run in the next issue of The Ring and I had a blast. You’re going to enjoy reading it.)

So many people saw Kovalev a punch away from being KO’d on social media, which I read before I saw the fight. Then I watched and it really wasn’t that close, except for that rocky 8th round where at the end he looked more tired than hurt in my opinion. I think the “Kovalev-on-the-brink-brigade” were either caught up in the moment, had money riding on the fight, or were just hoping the Russian veteran would lose because he rubs them the wrong way. A fighter (especially a champ) can be in trouble for a portion of a round without being “a punch or two away” from getting knocked out.

Yeah, McGirt threatened to stop it but considering the tragic death of Max Dadashev, it’s understandable. Good point. We can’t blame him for saying what he said before Round 9, even though I still believe that part of that threat was designed to motivate Kovalev.

As for Canelo/Krusher, yes, with that jab and the fact that Kovalev is a top (if not THE top) light heavyweight in the world with Buddy in his corner and the height and reach advantage, how in the heck does anyone think Canelo easily wins? I’d say they either think really highly of Canelo or really low of Kovalev, but the truth with most hardcore fans is that they’ve got a double hard-on for this matchup because they don’t really like either guy. Both fighters make certain segments of boxing fandom crazy. Kovalev brings out the inner-Freud and hypercritical analysis in some fans (and all TV commentators, unfortunately). They fixate so hard on his technical shortcoming they can’t see his strengths. And they’re convinced that he’s a mentally fragile bully that will crap his trunks the moment he faces any adversity. Canelo, on the other hand, is just the rich diva everybody loves to hate. His detractors (and they are legion) cannot bring themselves to give him credit for anything. So, they have to pretend that Kovalev is “easy work” so they can continue to s__t on him and obsess over the GGG rivalry.

If the odds are heavy in Canelo’s favor I just might have to put some money on the Russian. That’s the spirit!

I like Canelo but I’m a realist when it comes to boxing fandom. Duran was my all-time favorite and I learned the hard way, you just can’t idolize these guys. They’re all too human. True. And I’ll repeat what I asked in Monday’s mailbag: Was Canelo able to shutdown Golovkin’s jab? Does he have one-punch KO power against world-class middleweights? If the answer to these questions is “no,” how’s he going to deal with Kovalev’s jab and how’s he gonna take out a world-class light heavyweight?

If Canelo can pull this off he will deserve huge credit, but like you say the hate for him seems bottomless. It’s an endless abyss, my friend.

 

FIGHT COMMENTATORS

In watching Kovalev vs. Yarde, had to kill the volume to avoid having to listen to Andre Ward stroke himself. Not to mention I tapped out of the preflight analysis for this same reason. I had enough when he continued to pile on that the secret to defeating Kovalev was in bodywork as Kovalev hates to get hit to the body like he said he learned from their second fight. First off, what fighter likes getting hit the body and second, if he was being honest, how many of those shots were legal? While Ward was competitive in the first fight with Kovalev, he did not win that fight and the second was a travesty in what the ref allowed.

Went through this with the old HBO commentating team of Kellerman and Lampley. I generally prefer the British broadcasting teams that call fights and not just the house fighter. Tim Bradley is generally fair in his analysis. ESPN would be better suited in bringing back Al Bernstein.

Wanted to gauge your thoughts. – Daniel

I’m sure Bernstein is very happy at Showtime (I just wish they’d keep him and the rest of their excellent broadcast booth busier this year). I agree that Bradley is generally fair, as well as a very astute analyst. We just need to get him to switch to decaf.

I haven’t heard the British call of a Kovalev fight yet, but if they’re able to refrain from questioning his heart, psyche, conditioning and punch resistance during every freakin’ round like the American HBO/ESPN broadcasters then my hat is off to UK commentators.

In watching Kovalev vs. Yarde, had to kill the volume to avoid having to listen to Andre Ward stroke himself. As strange as this sounds, when Ward wasn’t artfully detracting from Kovalev’s abilities or pretending to be his former rival’s shrink, I think his commentary was very good. In fact, I think he’s already one of the best boxing analysts in the game (and I’m not just talking about former fighters). However, I don’t enjoy his insights on Kovalev because it’s obvious that he’s still got an axe to grind, and I can tell there’s some subtle resentment when he calls a Teofimo Lopez fight (and I think it’s because he manages Shakur Stevenson, who’s got some kind of beef with Team Lopez, and he feels that ESPN and Top Rank are pushing the still-developing lightweight contender more than his fighter). But apart from Kovalev and Lopez, I generally appreciate what Ward brings to ESPN’s broadcasts.

Not to mention I tapped out of the preflight analysis for this same reason. I did too. It’s like a broken record with Kovalev pre-fight analysis.

I had enough when he continued to pile on that the secret to defeating Kovalev was in bodywork as Kovalev hates to get hit to the body like he said he learned from their second fight. I hear ya. Maybe he should have just said that the body attack was how HE scored a stoppage against Kovalev and left it at that. And that was the only time in 38 pro bouts that Kovalev succumbed to body shots.

First off, what fighter likes getting hit to the body and second, if he was being honest, how many of those shots were legal? While Ward was competitive in the first fight with Kovalev, he did not win that fight and the second was a travesty in what the ref allowed. Hey, what are you trying to insinuate!? Are you claiming that there was controversy in the Ward-Kovalev fights? How dare you! ANDRE WARD CAN DO NO WRONG!!! Just ask Tony Weeks, Burt Clements, John McKaie, Glenn Trowbridge, and, of course, Bob Bennett. They’ll set you straight.

 

FIGHTERS WHO DON’T GET ANY CREDIT

Hi Doug,
I know you’ll be inundated with emails about Kovalev-Yarde so wanted to shine a light on a few others who fought this past week.

Ilunga Makabu, the Russian slayer going back to Russia after KO’ing Kudryashov and dropping and beating Aleksei Papin, two great wins and he’s surely in line for a title shot. How do you like his chances against Breidis or Dorticos?

Kosei Tanaka, Tough out against Jonathan Gonzalez but another win for the three division champ. If he was American and a weltwerweight he’d be in the P4P top 10. What about an all Japanese monster fight vs Ioka?

Had a few Eastern Euro prospects in action as well with Giyasov and Ergashev. Who do you think are the best prospects out of the myriad of recently turned over pros from that side of the world?

MMs:

Prime GGG vs Prime Kovalev
Battling Levinsky vs Artur Beterbiev
Billy Conn vs Dmitry Bivol
James Toney vs Oleksandr Gvodzyk

Thanks. – Conrad

I’ll go with Prime GGG, Levinsky, Conn and Toney all by unanimous decision in competitive fights.

Ilunga Makabu, the Russian slayer going back to Russia after KO’ing Kudryashov and dropping and beating Aleksei Papin, two great wins and he’s surely in line for a title shot. How do you like his chances against Breidis or Dorticos? I’d favor the Latvian Cop and the KO Doctor to be the Congolese veteran, either by decision or late stoppage, but I think Makabu would hang tough with The Ring’s Nos. 1- and 3-rated cruiserweights. Kudos to Makabu for being a road warrior and willing to fight local heroes in their backyards.

Kosei Tanaka, tough out against Jonathan Gonzalez but another win for the three-division champ. Yeah, I was a bit disappointed in the ring IQ Tanaka displayed against the quick-and-mobile southpaw, but I was impressed with his tenacity and ring generalship (once he made up his mind on how to break the Puerto Rican down). Tanaka’s no “Monster” but he’s a beast when it comes to his body attack.

If he was American and a welterweight he’d be in the P4P top 10. No doubt about it. Size and nationality matter in boxing, especially in terms of crossover recognition and the mythical rankings.

What about an all Japanese monster fight vs Ioka? Sign me up! If and when Tanaka is ready to move up to 115 pounds, he’ll be a welcome addition to the very deep junior bantamweight division.

Had a few Eastern Euro prospects in action as well with Giyasov and Ergashev. Who do you think are the best prospects out of the myriad of recently turned over pros from that side of the world? There are so many of them from Russian and Ukraine and Kazakhstan and

Shohjahon Ergashev (left) vs. Abdiel Ramirez. Photo credit: Dave Mandel/SHOWTIME

Shohjahon Ergashev (left) vs. Abdiel Ramirez. Photo credit: Dave Mandel/SHOWTIME

Uzbekistan and other parts of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, I can barely keep up, but I like what I’ve seen from Ergashev, who appears to be the most advanced of the bunch. He’s already top-10 rated by two sanctioning organizations at 140 pounds (No. 4 in the WBA and No. 6 in the IBF). He’s a confident boxer-puncher with fast, fluid hands and nimble feet, but is he ready for those badasses that hold the WBA and IBF 140-pound titles, Regis Prograis and Josh Taylor? Hell-to-the-no. I think he’s at least nine months away from being ready for the likes of Yves Ulysse, Pablo Cesar Cano and the Pedraza-Zepeda winner; nevermind the titleholders. The others – which include 154-pounder Serhii Bohachuk, who I’m familiar with from the Hollywood Fight Night club series, and Bektemir Melikuziev, who fights in the opening TV bout of tonight’s Golden Boy card from Pasadena – are just really good prospects. They’ve got extensive amateur backgrounds, athletic talent and they work their asses off with top trainers (such as Abel Sanchez and Joel Diaz) in competitive gym environments, so I know they’re going to continue to improve. But we won’t know how good they really are until they face legit contenders. As formidable as Giyasov looked starching Darleys Perez in one round on Saturday, he appeared vulnerable and still wet behind the ears when struggling against Emanuel Taylor for 10 rounds in April. Bohachuk needs a 154-pound version of Emanuel Taylor. We’ll see if Melikuziev, who only has one pro bout, will get a test from Adrian Luna, an experienced Mexico City super middleweight who went the distance with Ryota Murata in 2014 and gave prospect D’Mitrius Ballard a tough fight over 10 rounds in 2017. If “Bek Bully” blasts Luna, he’s definitely one to keep an eye on.

 

GATTI AND THE IBHOF

Hi Dougie,

Is Yarde getting too much credit for his performance? He was well behind on points and got knocked out. It’s not like he was in with Ezzard Charles either. Kovalev is past his prime and was 3 and 3 in his 6 fights prior to Yarde.

You mentioned the bias some writer’s have towards American boxers, when voting for the hall of fame. I always wondered if you voted for Gatti? If so, why?

“Fan” Rafael voted for Gatti and even proudly said he “named his cat Thunder”. With people like that being allowed to vote, is there a chance Paulie Malignaggi gets in the HOF? Like Gatti he was a 2-weight world champion, Italian background and lost every time he stepped up to the elite level. Thanks mate. – Will

I wouldn’t be shocked if Malignaggi’s name eventually appears on the International Boxing Hall of Fame ballot (the bar has been gradually lowered over the past 10-15 years), but I doubt he’d be voted in as Gatti was. Thunder was wildly popular, especially on the East Coast/Tri-state area where the IBHOF and many of the voters are located.  

I did not vote for Gatti. I’ve got nothing against him, personally. I loved watching him fight, I met him once (before he faced Oscar De La Hoya) and he seemed like fun guy, and I think he was very good for the sport. However, I believe there are SEVERAL fighters that were more deserving of hall-of-fame induction than Gatti and I didn’t think it was fair to leapfrog him over them just because of his popularity or perhaps his untimely death.

 

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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