Dougie’s mailbag (Salvador Sanchez What If?, JoJo Diaz, RV4 and Shakur)
CHAMPIONS FOREVER: LATIN LEGENDS
hope you and the family are well.
Just watched Champions Forever the Latin Legends and wow! It was amazing and I feel embarrassed I’ve never even heard of it before let alone seen it. If fans haven’t seen it like me check it out as it’s on youtube.
I watched the part on Salvador Sanchez and was amazed at all his subtle skills and how great of a boxer he truly was.
My question is do you think had he lived he’d of gone on to become the greatest featherweight of all time like even the great Willie Pep said? Cheers. – Clint
Had Sanchez not died in that tragic car crash AND had he remained at 126 pounds for the duration of his career, or at least for several years, then yes, I think he could have established himself as THE greatest featherweight of all time. The Mexico City master had it all: supreme conditioning (he was the definition of “indefatigable”), sublime skill that blended offense (with top-class power and accuracy) with a very underrated defense, perfect balance, deft footwork, a herky jerkey boxing rhythm and sly craftiness.
However, had he not died at age 23, I think he would have gone up in weight to test his mettle and attempt to win world titles at 130 pounds and lightweight (especially the WBC belt at those weight classes). He had the size and certainly possessed the skills to do so. Had he immediately jumped to junior lightweight after his tougher-than-expected battle with Azumah Nelson (July 1982), I think he could have dethroned then-WBC 130-pound beltholders Bazooka Limon and Bobby Chacon (both battle-worn by then); however, the top contenders (and future champs) of 1983-84, Hector Camacho and Julio Cesar Chavez, are a different story. Those would have been glorious battles and I’m not certain Sanchez, as great as he was at 126 pounds, would have prevailed.
Thanks for bringing up Champions Forever: The Latin Legends. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen it (probably since it was released on VHS more than 20 years ago). I recall not enjoying it as much as the first Champions Forever, which focused on the stars of the modern heavyweight golden age (Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Norton and Holmes) – in part because the format seemed more standard and the host (actor Edward James Olmos) was too somber and serious for my liking (in the original, baseball Reggie Jackson interviewed the legends in a laidback but inquisitive roundtable style) – but I was pleased that it shined some light on a few underappreciated/forgotten Latino boxing greats, such as Carlos Ortiz and Kid Gavilan. I’m gonna watch it again when I get a minute.
JO JO IN MEXICALI
What’s good Doug?
Were you able to head out to Mexicali for the Jo Jo fight? If so, how is the arena? It looked really nice from the Facebook stream. I hope to head over sometime to watch a fight or at least to Tijuana.
What did you think of Diaz’ performance? It looked like he was gonna be able to stop him in the first few rounds, then he let his foot off the gas in the second half of the fight. Cuadro even outworked him at times.
You think the Tevin Farmer fight happens in December? How do you see going? If not, what are the chances of him fighting the other beltholders at 130.
There’s quite a fight to look forward to in the next three months. What fight are you most looking forward to? If I had to guess, it involves a certain monster. I think Gvozdyk vs Beterbiev is gonna be fight of the year.
What are your predictions for Saturday? I think Benavidez rids of the Dirrell brothers and Spence wins a hard fought decision. Why aren’t people giving Porter much of a chance? It seems to me like people gave Garcia more of a chance than they’re giving Porter. No one who’s faced Porter has had an easy time and even his losses are debatable.
Usyk vs James Toney
Marquez vs Hamed
Morales vs Hamed (I remember there was talk of this fight happening after the first Barrera fight. Why did Hamed go off and fight Barrera instead?)
Fernando Vargas vs Vernon Forrest
Thanks Doug, enjoy the fights at the Staples Center. – Bobby from Escondido, CA
Will do, Bobby. I’m looking forward to Spence-Porter and Dirrell-Benavidez.
Your mythical matchups:
Usyk vs James Toney – Usyk by close decision in a very good fight.
Marquez vs Hamed – Naz by close, maybe controversial decision (I think he’d score at least one knockdown and repeatedly rock the master counterpuncher and superior technician to gain a slight edge on the official scorecards even though he’d likely be outboxed for the majority of rounds)
Morales vs Hamed (I remember there was talk of this fight happening after the first Barrera fight. Why did Hamed go off and fight Barrera instead?) – Barrera wanted the fight more and was more willing to do business than El Terrible and the TJ warlord’s promoter (Bob Arum). Still, Morales would have given Hamed just as much trouble as Barrera, and likely would have inflicted more damage, but that take-no-prisoners attitude would have ultimately cost him in my opinion. Naz by late stoppage in a classic.
Fernando Vargas vs Vernon Forrest – I’ll go with Viper via controversial decision. Forrest had the better jab and chin, but Vargas was the natural junior middleweight (and a big one), the aggressor, the busier of the two and an underrated technician. It would be very close, but I think a well-timed right hand would either score a knockdown or badly rock Vargas at a pivotal point during the chess match and give Forrest a slight edge on the official scorecards.
Were you able to head out to Mexicali for the Jo Jo fight? No, I stayed home for this one, but I watched it on Facebook on my laptop (while I had the PBC FS1 show on the TV at the same time – boxing fans gotta be able to multitask these days).
What did you think of Diaz’ performance? It was a typical JDJ performance but not as dominant as I’m used to seeing from him. I didn’t expect him knockout the TJ-based Venezuelan, but I thought he’d be sharper than he was. I don’t think he was mentally up for this fight given that his sights are firmly set on another title shot.
It looked like he was gonna be able to stop him in the first few rounds, then he let his foot off the gas in the second half of the fight. Diaz said he hurt his left hand in the opening round, so that probably explains why he was less active as the bout wore on. Also, Cuadro is a solid, competent boxer with a somewhat awkward southpaw style.
Cuadro even outworked him at times. I knew Cuadro was going to be tough. He’s never been stopped and he was competitive in decision losses to former title challenger Diego Magdaleno and unbeaten Russian lightweight fringe contender Roman Andreev (who fought Cuadro at junior welterweight).
You think the Tevin Farmer fight happens in December? I think it depends on how Diaz’s hand heals and the options that Farmer has (as well as the kind of money that’s available to get it done, of course). But both junior lightweights apparently want it and there are no promotional/network/platform barriers to prevent it, so it will likely happen eventually if not in December.
How do you see going? Like Gary Russell Jr., Farmer is a fast, slick southpaw who is mature and experienced. It’s a tough style for Diaz to deal with. However, Diaz has grown from the Russell experience, and Farmer isn’t as quick and explosive as Russell (although the Philly fighter is more mobile and slippery). I envision a high-speed chess match with Diaz pulling out a close (probably disputed) decision.
If not, what are the chances of him fighting the other beltholders at 130. His chances are good but he’ll have to wait his turn. Golden Boy stablemate Lamont Roach Jr. beat him to WBO titleholder Jamel Herring, and Oscar Valdez is rated ahead of him to receive first crack at the winner. Valdez is also rated ahead of him to face WBC titleholder Miguel Berchelt, who defends the green belt against Jason Sosa on Nov. 2. Andrew Cancio should be elevated to “full-champ” status by the WBA now that Gervonta Davis is moving to the 135-pound division, but while Diaz holds the WBA’s “gold” belt, which should put him in line to face his former victim at featherweight, Chango has a mandatory defense scheduled against common foe Rene Alvarado coming up.
What fight are you most looking forward to? If I had to guess, it involves a certain monster. I think Gvozdyk vs Beterbiev is gonna be fight of the year. No. 1 is Regis Prograis-Josh Taylor (anyone overlooking or underrating this 140-pound matchup is a Dereck Chisora-sized POS), No. 2 Gvozdyk-Beterbiev, No. 3 is Ruiz-Joshua II, No. 4 is Canelo-Kovalev (all the Twittter/comment section d-bags hating on this fight can daisy chain f__k themselves into the ocean), and No. 5 is Stevenson-Gonzalez (don’t sleep on his featherweight grudgematch). I’m into Inoue vs. Donaire but I’m little worried about the Filipino Flash (even though I’m not counting him out of the WBSS bantie final).
What are your predictions for Saturday? I think Benavidez rids of the Dirrell brothers and Spence wins a hard fought decision. I favor Spence and Benavidez by late TKO or decision, but I’m expecting competitive fights.
Why aren’t people giving Porter much of a chance? I’m guessing most of them think the world of Spence and probably thought Yordenis Ugas deserved the decision over Porter in March.
It seems to me like people gave Garcia more of a chance than they’re giving Porter. I think you’re right. Mikey had more juice as a pound-for-pound player, while Porter is viewed a rugged but somewhat crude fighter who sometimes struggles against lower-rated fighters and loses to elite-level boxers. Also, I think those who picked Garcia to upset Spence were a bit embarrassed by their bold predictions and are either less willing to roll the dice with their prognostications this time around OR they simply became believers in “The Truth” following his performance against the naturally smaller Californian.
No one who’s faced Porter has had an easy time and even his losses are debatable. That’s a good point. I think Porter can make it interesting, and maybe even push Spence to the limit, especially if he reverts to his hard-pressure mauling form. The boxing version of Porter that narrowly outpointed Danny Garcia and Ugas will get outclassed in my opinion. But hey, we’ll see. It’s not like Spence has cleaned out the division or proven to be the master of all styles. They gotta fight the fight and I’m looking forward to it.
THE DYNAMIC THREE, MEETING CANELO, RUBEN VILLA 4
Hi Dougie, long time reader, first time writer:
I just wanted to share my thoughts on a few boxers of this current generation, a certain three, that have fought and won world titles among various weight classes, and have had similar careers, despite being much different people. I think their styles can be classified as similar: faster than you are! The three I speak of are Roy Jones Jr, Manny Pacquiao, and Canelo Alvarez. Can you help me think of others in recent history that have had a style so fast that they can out speed and punch guys that are bigger? These guys have fought anyone in their path. I suppose Mayweather cannot be excluded from this list…
I am a golf caddie at Pebble Beach in California and had the fortune of working in Canelo’s group a couple weeks ago. While he is a beginning golfer, and that aspect of his athleticism is still being explored, I must say, he is in top shape. He was so respectful to me and I am a bigger fan of his after that day. I will still root for GGG against him in a rematch, haha!
As a resident of the Salinas, California area, I have to address Ruben Villa. A nice and convincing win on Friday. A showdown between Shakur Stevenson and Ruben Villa will hopefully happen down the road. Villa was 2-1 vs Stevenson in the amateurs, with the loss coming in the 2016 Olympic trial finals. The 126 division is loaded like many others, many big fights for both Ruben and Shakur in the near future… Cheers Dougie. – Brett
No doubt about it, Brett (thanks for finally penning an email to the mailbag and sharing your thoughts, by the way). And thanks for brining up Villa. I’m a fan of the featherweight technician and close to his various teams (trainer/manager/promotional), so it’s a thrill to see him continue his development from prospect to contender.
Stevenson – the more gifted athlete and the more decorated amateur (I believe they split four bouts, 2-2, as Shakur had to beat Ruben twice in the Olympic Trials to make the 2016 squad) – is farther along in his pro development and fights for the vacant WBO title (vs. Joet Gonzalez) on Oct. 26. If Stevenson beats Gonzalez, will Villa get a shot? I’m not so sure. RV4 is ranked by the WBO, but Stevenson’s Top Rank stablemates – Carl Frampton, Jessie Magdaleno and Michael Conlan – are all rated ahead of Villa, and will likely get their shots first. I think Villa will need to climb to a mandatory position to challenge his amateur rival, but by the time he does that, Stevenson may already make the move to the 130-pound division. So, I doubt we see them share the ring anytime soon. If it happens it will probably be when both are in their mid-20s.
Nice to know that Canelo is a cool cat on the golf course (and that he’s staying in shape between fights). I’m guessing you weren’t wearing your GGG hat that day on the Pebble Beach Links.
I just wanted to share my thoughts on a few boxers of this current generation, a certain three, that have fought and won world titles among various weight classes, and have had similar careers, despite being much different people. I think their styles can be classified as similar: faster than you are! The three I speak of are Roy Jones Jr, Manny Pacquiao, and Canelo Alvarez. Jones and Pacquiao were clearly on another level when it came to hand speed, and they also possessed explosive power at their prime weights. Jones had his own style, which helped befuddle his foes; and Pac was as unpredictable as he was impetuous during the peak of his career. These traits enhanced their natural athletic gifts. Alvarez has very good hand speed but nothing on RJJ or MP’s level. What enables him to trouble world-class foes or dominate bigger fighters is the quickness of his mind; he’s very good at anticipating and countering his opponents’ moves.
Can you help me think of others in recent history that have had a style so fast that they can out speed and punch guys that are bigger? Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley come to mind. Both were as fast as they were powerful and aggressive at lightweight, and both fared well when they made the move to 147 and 154 pounds. (Zab Judah was a phenomenal speed demon at 140 pounds, and he kicked ass at welterweight, but not above 147 pounds.)
I suppose Mayweather cannot be excluded from this list… Floyd is definitely on the list – he was fast and formidable at 130 pounds and that speed obviously aided him as he moved up in weight (all the way to 154 pounds), but like Canelo (who learned a lot going 12 rounds with Mayweather), he craft and IQ accounts more for his success at the heavier weights than his athleticism. (And it should be noted that Jones and Pacquiao are tremendous boxers. Jones always had a high ring IQ and Manny matured into a thinking fighter.)
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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