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Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Fury-Wallin, ESPN, Devin Haney, Loma’s plan)

A cut over his right eye caused some trouble for Tyson Fury vs. Otto Wallin (Photo by Mikey WIlliams-Top Rank)
15
Sep

WHO’S THE NO. 1 HEAVYWEIGHT NOW?

Hi Doug,

All the best to you the family and the team.

So as of today, how do you rank the top 5 Heavyweights?

Is there an argument for Deontay Wilder and/or Andy Ruiz to overtake Tyson Fury? Who’s number 1?

Did Fury have a bad day at the office? Or is Otto Wallin that good?

Or does Fury rise or drop his game to the level of his opponent as many have suggest in the Twitterverse?

Short and sweet this week, for once. Keep up the good work. – Tabraze, London, U.K.

Thanks, Tabraze. Me, the family, the team, we’re all splendid. I can’t believe you kept it this short after such a packed weekend of boxing – Devin Haney headlining in NYC, the crazy cancellation of the Ryan Garcia-Avery Sparrow match (and subsequent Twitter drama), Munguia-Allotey, the Fury-Wallin undercard, etc. – but, hey, I’ll take it!

Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Does Fury’s tougher-than-expected fight with huge underdog Wallin change my opinion on how I rank the top five heavyweights? No, and to be honest, the thought never crossed my mind while watching Fury-Wallin (on Andreas Hale’s laptop outside on press row after the Munguia-Allotey card in Carson, California). Despite all the blood and gruesome nature of that huge gash above Fury’s right eye, I didn’t think the referee or corner would stop the fight and I thought the unbeaten “Gypsy King” took firm command of the fight by the middleweight rounds. It was an ugly win, but still a win for Fury, so I still see him as the top big man, but his struggle was a reminder that these top heavyweights could lose to anyone at any time given the right circumstances.

Is there an argument for Deontay Wilder and/or Andy Ruiz to overtake Tyson Fury? Sure, there is. There was an argument for Wilder or Ruiz being Nos. 1 and 2 even before Fury-Wallin. There’s not much separating these guys.

Who’s number 1? According to The Ring Magazine, it’s still Fury. And it looks like (as of 7 p.m. PT on Sunday) that the Ring Ratings Panel is in favor of keeping him at the top spot.

Did Fury have a bad day at the office? Or is Otto Wallin that good? I think Wallin is a lot better than most of us recognized and the Swede’s underrated talent and toughness led to a bad night at the office for Fury, but I thought Fury won a clear decision. You don’t score the blood in boxing.

Or does Fury rise or drop his game to the level of his opponent as many have suggest in the Twitterverse? I thought he gave a typical effort vs. Wallin. He doesn’t drop to the level of his opposition from what I’ve seen, but he definitely raises his game for elite heavyweights.

 

FURY-WALLIN, DEVIN HANEY

Hey Dougie,

Damn, I was prepared to ignore the Fury/Wallin card, but I’m glad I ended up tuning in. That was a pleasant surprise & a hell of a lot more entertaining than I was expecting. Kudos to Wallin who didn’t show up to be a sacrificial lamb & was in it to win it. Not to mention he kinda staggered Fury in the 12th. Gutsy effort on his part.

Fury responded well and dialed up the urgency after that nasty cut. Wasn’t an A+ showing on his part, but he sure knows how to deal with adversity.

Something did leave a sour taste in my mouth though… what was up with the ESPN crew interjecting themselves in the Fury corner around rd 4 or 5? Listening to the chatter in Fury’s corner in between rds, they were clearly under the impression that an accidental butt caused the gash. After the next round they basically clued in Ben Davidson & the corner that the cut was caused by a punch. Have you seen that before & do you think they were overstepping their boundaries?

My MVP of the weekend was Devin Haney. Damn he’s exciting to watch. That jab is lightening quick and he seems to possess an uncanny ring IQ & maturity for his age. He looks like a future P4P mainstay. That being said, it’d be a quantum leap to go from the Abdullaev/Moran caliber opponents and then step up to a Lomachenko…  I’d still love to see it, and I think Haney is the only person around 135 with a comparable level of athleticism that’d allow him to hang w/ Loma in a respectable fashion. I think he’d acquit himself well enough to where a likely ‘L’ wouldn’t diminish his stock at all. He seems to have genuine self-belief & doesn’t strike me as a guy who’s blowing smoke, so why not push for that fight?

I’m not holding my breath that it gets made, but that’d be a sick fight in 2020 if Loma feels he has unsettled business @135 after facing the Commey/Teo winner.

Who do you see as some realistic opponents for Haney in the next 6-9 months? How much longer do you think Haney can stick around 135? – DJ

Devin Haney dominated Zaur Abdullaev.

Like Teofimo Lopez, I think Haney will mature into a full-blown junior welterweight by this time next year, if not a few months sooner. They know it and so do their respective teams and promoters, which is why they’ve been maneuvered into 135-pound title bouts (Teo’s shot at IBF beltholder Richard Commey) and mandatory title challenger positions (Devin fighting for the WBC’s interim lightweight strap) this year by Bob Arum and Eddie Hearn.

Who should Haney fight while he awaits a mandatory shot at Lomachenko? Whoever’s available that is world-ranked and is competent enough to make for a competitive fight that the 20-year-old phenom can learn and develop from. That’s a short list, unless he goes for Loma’s recent opponents – Luke Campbell and Anthony Crolla. I wouldn’t mind seeing Haney vs. unbeaten Argentine Gustavo Daniel Lemos or once-beaten Ghanaian contender Emmanuel Tagoe.

Damn, I was prepared to ignore the Fury/Wallin card, but I’m glad I ended up tuning in. That was a pleasant surprise & a hell of a lot more entertaining than I was expecting. Wallin came to fight (and win) and the cut created an added degree of drama and intensity to the bout.

Wallin can hold his head (and hands) up high after his game performance vs. Fury. Photo by Mikey Williams

Kudos to Wallin who didn’t show up to be a sacrificial lamb & was in it to win it. He made the most of his opportunity and he will benefit from his game effort. We’ll see him again on a major platform against a high-profile opponent. I’m happy for his coach, former two-division beltholder Joey Gamache, whose stature as a trainer was elevated by Wallin’s performance.

Not to mention he kinda staggered Fury in the 12th. I thought Fury (half blind and fatigued in his defense) was clearly stunned by that punch.

Gutsy effort on his part. Yes, it was important that Wallin tried to close the show despite being hopelessly behind on the scorecards.

Fury responded well and dialed up the urgency after that nasty cut. He made the necessary mental switch from boxer to fighter, but he remained the ring general. That’s one of the things that makes him a special competitor.

Wasn’t an A+ showing on his part, but he sure knows how to deal with adversity. It was barely a B- showing but he got the job done. Despite the cut, which may jeopardize his proposed February rematch with Wilder, I think it was good for him to go 12 hard rounds.

Something did leave a sour taste in my mouth though… what was up with the ESPN crew interjecting themselves in the Fury corner around rd 4 or 5? Joe Tessitore, one of the best sports broadcasters in the biz (but also one who tends to get REALLY hyped for Tyson Fury), asked Bernardo Osuna (another top sportscasting talent) if Fury’s corner knew that the cut was caused by a punch. Osuna’s commentary roll for this particular show was that of the “corner correspondent,” so I didn’t consider Tessitore’s question to be out of line at the start of Round 5.

Listening to the chatter in Fury’s corner in between rds, they were clearly under the impression that an accidental butt caused the gash. It didn’t seem that clear to me. I know that Osuna assumed that was the case because Davison was yelling at Fury to be careful of Wallin’s head whenever they fell into a clinch, but he could’ve been warning his fighter (who was also coming in with his head) to be wary of making the cut worse, or he could have been reacting to Wallin’s early attempts to lace the cut with his gloves (which the underdog did as soon as he noticed the cut, a few rounds before the ref caught the repeated infraction).

Ben Davison and Fury. Photo by Mikey Williams

After the next round they basically clued in Ben Davidson & the corner that the cut was caused by a punch. Maybe, but Fury’s corner was going to eventually be informed by somebody that the cut was caused by a legal punch. ESPN and the Nevada Athletic Commission both learned (via replay) between Rounds 3 and 4. The commission typically informs the media if a cut was caused by an accidental butt/elbow/foul or a legal punch and several members of press row usually report this on their social media accounts. Somebody in Team Fury was going to see this and let Davison know. This happens all the time. Nobody stays in the dark about these things for very long during a fight (and this was the case even prior to social media).

Have you seen that before & do you think they were overstepping their boundaries? I’ve seen referees overstep their boundaries before in these situations, such as when Laurence Cole told Juan Manuel Marquez that he could stop fighting and let his 2006 bout vs. Jimrex Jaca go to the scorecards after a headbutt caused a nasty cut (the Mexican master opted to keep fighting and scored a ninth-round KO), but I can’t think of an instance when commentators tried to help out a fighter or corner during a fight. However, I don’t think Tessitore and Osuna did that on Saturday. Both are consummate professionals and I think they were just trying to get information to the viewer. Tessitore didn’t tell Osuna to alert or warn Davison of the situation. Here’s what he said: “I want you to get with Ben Davison, you find out what that corner knows or doesn’t know and you let us know.” To me, that sounds like Joe wanted Bernardo to find out for sure what Fury’s corner knew so that they could report it to the viewer.

 

LOMA’S WINDOW

Hi Dougie –

I like most others who follow boxing hold Lomachenko in high regard. I think he’s still well within his prime. However, he’s 31 & I feel 130 is his prime weight. The sharks are circling & although he already takes all comers, I think he should try to become undisputed vs the Commey/Lopez winner & immediately push hard for Gervonta Davis & Devin Haney to fight him in 2020 (using his undisputed leverage in Davis’ case, Haney seems willing). How do you see it?

Tried to think of a few MM that I haven’t heard before.

Loma vs. Salvador Sanchez (@ 126)

Roy Jones vs. Holyfield (@ 190)

Julian Jackson vs. Tommy Hearns/Tito Trinidad (@ 154)

Victor Drago vs. Clubber Lang

Thanks and take care. – Jamaal, Louisiana

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Jamaal. (What part of Louisiana are you from, by the way?) 

Your mythical matchups: I’ll go with Sanchez by close maybe majority decision, Holyfield by late stoppage (in a fight that begins competitive, perhaps with RJJ having the edge due to speed and reflexes, but gradually becomes a grueling fight that ends with a BRUTAL KO), Hearns and Tito shoot down the super-punching Hawk in the early rounds, and Drago keeps Lang at the end of his jab until he wears the frontrunner down to a late stoppage Vitali Klitschko style (UNLESS there’s VADA testing, in which case Mr. T stomps a mudhole in Dolph’s fake-Rusky ass).

I like most others who follow boxing hold Lomachenko in high regard. You’d be a sorry excuse for a boxing fan if you didn’t.

I think he’s still well within his prime. However, he’s 31 & I feel 130 is his prime weight. Good point. He’s likely reached his peak as an athlete and fighting at an unnaturally heavy weight could hasten the inevitable decline (however, we should note that Loma’s got the kind of skill, technique and IQ to prolong his boxing career long after his physical prowess wanes).

The sharks are circling & although he already takes all comers, I think he should try to become undisputed vs the Commey/Lopez winner & immediately push hard for Gervonta Davis & Devin Haney to fight him in 2020 (using his undisputed leverage in Davis’ case, Haney seems willing). I think that’s the plan, at least up to the becoming the undisputed lightweight champ part. After he adds the IBF belt to his collection (if he’s able to do it), he might consider dropping back down to junior lightweight (or even featherweight if there’s an interesting-enough matchup for him there, such as the proposed Dream Fight with Naoya Inoue).

Will Loma stay at 135 pounds through 2020?

How do you see it? I think he’ll stick around at 135 pounds, at least through 2020, because there’s probably more interest in him fighting Devin Haney or Tank (as the undisputed lightweight champ) than there is for him take on Miguel Berchelt or Jamel Herring at 130 pounds. The Dream Fight vs. The Monster at featherweight would definitely move the needle, but Inoue has to get by Nonito Donaire first, and then establish himself at 122 pounds (at the very least) before that matchup could be taken seriously, and that will take some time, likely through 2020. And ya know what? I’m good with that! I think Loma vs. the Commey-Lopez winner and Haney (I won’t hold my breath for Davis) are excellent 135-pound championship matchups.

 

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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