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Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Spence-Porter, FOX PPV undercard)

Photo by German Villasenor
Fighters Network
30
Sep

SPENCE-PORTER

Hey Doug,Spence-Porter. This is why I love boxing. Nothing more to be said.

Best to you and the family. – Graham, Bangkok

Nothing more really needs to be said, Graham. The welterweight title-unification bout was world-class boxing at its best. And now that we’ve established that, read on for 4,700 words on the Spence-Porter fight, the undercard bouts, and what’s next for both welterweights.  LOVE FOR THE LOSERS



Dougie, sir,

I’ve got a lot of respect for your work every week. Thank you for keeping it real and educating those of us who are eager to transition from casual to hardcore.

What a $75 card this weekend – I enjoyed each bout of the main card and was pleasantly surprised by the main event.

How is it that for all three cards it seems the narrative is being written for the B sides with the A side somewhat taken for granted? Do you notice that?

It’s definitely how I feel after those fights: Akhemdov won 7-8 rounds on my count, and while Barrios scored the knockdowns to keep it close and won a “controversial” UD (that left Lennox Lewis nearly speechless), I’m most impressed by Akhemdov’s conditioning and work rate. I wish Barrios luck, but I think Akhemdov was the better fighter tonight.

For Benavidez-Dirrell, Benavidez got the win and finished the show, but I’m most impressed by Dirrell’s class and consistent body work that could have turned into a W. The word on the street was youth over experience, but Dirrell showed no fear, boxed well and just needed more youthful connective tissue to get the job done.

Where do you think Benavidez is compared to Plant, Smith and Saunders after that performance? I have to place him 4th – he has fists that are equalizing but is susceptible to superior boxing and movement.

For Spence-Porter, I just have to point out how lucky Spence is that Porter sold the fight. I don’t know what the PPV numbers will be, but Porter’s determination and charisma got me to open my wallet and kept me engaged yelling at my laptop alone in the hotel. Spence deserves credit for unifying and getting the job done, but Porter’s performance, workrate and courage were the storyline I will remember.

How do you see it? Do you think Spence goes up or down in P4P after this? I have him lower top 10 and think he stays in the same place.

I hope you have a good weekend after that late night and I’m excited to hear your take on the fights.

Mythical Matchup:

Dougie v Breadman in a fight of humbling internet boxing trolls

Thanks. – Phil, DuPont, WA

Breadman, the talented odds/media favorite (who passes the “eye test”) beats the veteran scribe/editor whose style isn’t for everybody (but has a respectable “body of work”) via split decision. Basically, Bread is the sharp-shooting Spence and I’m Porter (because my arguments with Twitter heads and comment-section sickos can get “ugly”).

The weekend (and previous fight-week) was busy as hell because it’s “crunch time” with the latest magazine (printer deadline is Tuesday morning!), but I’m glad I got my butt to Staples Center on Saturday to watch the pay-per-view portion of the Spence-Porter card live. The crowd was into all of the action (although they booed the Barrios-Akhmedov decision) and they were whipped into a frenzy with the main event. It was a special night, one of the best of 2019.

What a $75 card this weekend – I enjoyed each bout of the main card and was pleasantly surprised by the main event. Credit is due where it is deserved, the PBC put on a show worth the pay-per-view price.

How is it that for all three cards it seems the narrative is being written for the B sides with the A side somewhat taken for granted? Because that’s exactly what’s happening.

Do you notice that? Yes, I started noticing the pattern about 30 years ago.

Mario Barrios and Batyr Akhmedov. Photo by Frank Micelotta/Fox Sports/PictureGroup

Akhemdov won 7-8 rounds on my count… I didn’t score the bout but the general consensus on press row agreed with your take on the fight and most either had the fight a draw or Batyr by 1-4 points. I thought Akhmedov clearly took over the second half of the fight.

… and while Barrios scored the knockdowns to keep it close and won a “controversial” UD (that left Lennox Lewis nearly speechless), I’m most impressed by Akhmedov’s conditioning and work rate. Me too. I want to see Akhmedov fight again more than Barrios. He’s one of those squat and compact Baby Jake Matlala/Avtandil Khurtsidze-type pressure fighter-technicians that are seemingly indefatigable.

For Benavidez-Dirrell, Benavidez got the win and finished the show, but I’m most impressed by Dirrell’s class and consistent body work that could have turned into a W. I was also impressed by Dirrell. I thought he boxed a very sound game plan (and I Tweeted this opinion during the fight) and was able to test Benavidez in ways that reminded us that the 22-year-old physical specimen is still a work-in-progress.

The word on the street was youth over experience, but Dirrell showed no fear, boxed well and just needed more youthful connective tissue to get the job doneEven a younger version of Dirrell would have had his hands full with Benavidez but he could have possibly outpointed the light-heavyweight-sized Arizonan if were able to keep to a disciplined stick-and-move game plan (Anthony wasn’t always able to do that during his prime).

Where do you think Benavidez is compared to Plant, Smith and Saunders after that performance? He’s currently No. 2 in The Ring’s super middleweight rankings, and last time I checked the Ratings Panel weekend feedback, the majority wanted him to advance to the No. 1 spot just behind champion Callum Smith. Personally, I think Smith, Plant (who is rated No. 3) and Saunders (who is No. 9) are more complete boxers, and also more experienced and mature than Benavidez. However, apart from Smith, Benavidez may have accomplished more at 168 pounds (mainly because he beat Dirrell, who was rated No. 4).

I have to place him 4th – he has fists that are equalizing but is susceptible to superior boxing and movement. I agree. He’s still learning and maturing, but he’s arguably the most dangerous super middleweight as is.

 

WELTERWEIGHT CLASSIC

Doug,

Spence v Porter is why I watch boxing. – Dan (Cleveland)

Me too, Dan. It’s also the reason I love to be ringside for certain fights. The atmosphere inside Staples Center was electric once the main event began to heat up. Porter did your home state proud, by the way.

 

SPENCE IS NOT P4P

Hi Doug,

I love how before the fight, everyone who wrote Porter off said he was getting stopped, he was tailor made for Spence, Spence was on another level, etc. Now it’s: “Porter’s a tough fight for anyone”

Spence didn’t show any separation last night. He didn’t beat or handle Porter any better than Keith or Kell did. The funny notion he was saying last time that he didn’t try to knock out Mikey was because he was trying to show he has boxing skills.

No he wasn’t. He just could knock the guy out. He doesn’t have that one punch KO that most people (writers, reporters, fans) are implying he has.

Last night showed me that Spence ISN’T on another level. Him, Thurman, Porter, Danny are all around the same level. He’s had the easiest path outta of them.

Finally he fought someone who wasn’t afraid of him and suddenly he no longer looks like the boogeyman.

PLEASE look at those Ring Ratings Spence was listed and re-evaluate. – DJ

Photo by German Villasenor

Ring Ratings Panelist Anson Wainwright broached the subject of dropping Spence (currently No. 6 in the pound-for-pound rankings) behind No. 7 Gennady Golovkin and No. 8 Juan Francisco Estrada, but the last time I checked the other Panelists firmly rejected that notion. Quoting Panelist Adam Abramowitz: “Spence won a unification fight and it was a legit victory. That’s not a reason to drop a fighter.”

For more details on this subject read this week’s Ring Ratings Update.

I love how before the fight, everyone who wrote Porter off said he was getting stopped, he was tailor made for Spence, Spence was on another level, etc. Now it’s: “Porter’s a tough fight for anyone” Welcome to boxing.

Spence didn’t show any separation last night. I agree, but even though I scored the bout for Porter (by one point), I have no problem with a Spence victory (maybe not by five points) and it’s a significant one.

He didn’t beat or handle Porter any better than Keith or Kell did. Again, I agree, but Spence engaged with Porter more and inflicted more damage on him. However, Spence received more damage in return from Porter than Thurman or Brook did.

He doesn’t have that one punch KO that most people (writers, reporters, fans) are implying he has. True, not against world-class boxers with world-class chins. However, he does possess world-class physical strength (as does Porter) and punching power (which Porter lacks), and he’s a relentless southpaw technician in the mold of a Marvin Hagler that can walk down and grind down most challengers.

Last night showed me that Spence ISN’T on another level. Aw, come on, man, why ya gotta be a buzzkill? We NEED him to be THAT GUY!

Him, Thurman, Porter, Danny are all around the same level. He’s had the easiest path outta of them. You might be right about this, but there’s no doubt in my mind that Spence was willing to fight all three PBC welterweight contemporaries even before he beat Brook for the IBF title. Nobody was ready or willing to oblige him until Porter went for it this year.

 

FIGHT OF THE YEAR

Hi Dougie,

All the best to you, the family and the team. Brilliant night put on by Showtime on Saturday night. Or shall I say Sunday morning on my side of the pond. Man, The Truth found out that Porter is no joke, and that’s the truth! Wicked, wicked fight. Definitely fight of the year in my book and credit to both for taking this fight and for leaving absolutely nothing in the ring.

It’s was a hell of a lot closer than many had predicted. Going into round 11 I thought it could have gone either way. The turning point was the knockdown, I felt. Maximum credit to Porter for taking that, he only touched a glove on the floor, then carried on. Porter showed not only a granite chin bit also solid mental strength. No complaints about the knockdown and straight back to business after the count. I agreed with your score card on the night. I felt the two judges who had it 116-111 had it a bit wide. But the split decision win for Spence was the right result. Full credit to Spence for the win. Porter asked a lot of question of him and bottom line they were answered I feel. It’s exactly what Spence needed and he’ll only improve from this. Lots of people saying Spence was exposed or showed deficiencies. I don’t see it that way. He showed, what we already know, he’s a very special talent who passed another guy-check.

There’s a lot of talk about Pacquiao not wanting the winner of this fight, or a Crawford being a while away. Have to admit Spence Vs Garcia is a decent fight. Wouldn’t mind that next at all. What’s next for Porter? If he was avoided before he’s gonna be out in the cold on his own now, because everyone will cross the street when they see him. For me he’s still a top 5 Welterweight. His stock went up over then weekend. He deserves another shot soon. Very strong undercard also:Really felt for Dirrell. It was a nasty cut and I felt he was doing really well against the naturally bigger and much younger Benavides. Benavides IMHO is still learning and I feel that currently Billy Joe Saunders and Callum Smith will look at him as beatable. What do you think?

Lopez was really good in what can only be described as a war against Molina. Molina should not have been sent out for 8th, I feel. He’d been down three times already and needs saving from himself. Glad he was ok after the fight. I’m going to catch up on some sleep. Enjoy the rest of the weekend. – Tabraze, London, U.K.

Sleep sounds good right about now. Unfortunately, I’m gonna have time for a quick nap after I post this mailbag and then I’ll have to get to the business of putting the latest magazine to bed (along with managing editor Brian Harty and creative director Lamar Clark).

Josesito Lopez and John Molina Jr. Photo by Frank Micelotta/Fox Sports/PictureGroup

John Molina is a warrior to the core. Unfortunately, after 13 years in pro boxing and several ring wars (including a punishing Fight of the Year vs. Lucas Matthysse), he’s hit the proverbial wall. And against Lopez, he was in with a fellow fringe contender/gatekeeper/spoiler who was just as gutsy but better preserved and more athletic. Amazingly, Lopez is still a serviceable gatekeeper at age 35 and after more than 16 years in the pros.

I agree that Dirrell was boxing well against Benavidez and that both Smith and Saunders will view the two-time WBC super middleweight titleholder as a beatable foe. Easier said than done.

Man, The Truth found out that Porter is no joke, and that’s the truth! I see what you did there.

Wicked, wicked fight. Wicked awesome (this is to be read in a South Boston accent).

Definitely fight of the year in my book and credit to both for taking this fight and for leaving absolutely nothing in the ring. They went soul searching (as Shane Mosley vowed to force Oscar De La Hoya to do prior to their welterweight showdown in 2000, also at Staples Center), and I think the result is a Fight-of-the-Year front-runner.

It’s was a hell of a lot closer than many had predicted. Of all the media, experts and insiders polled by RingTV’s Anson Wainwright, only former boxer “Ice” John Scully came close to getting it right by predicting Porter to win via split decision. He was he only one to pick Porter. Most everyone else picked Spence to win a clear decision.

Going into round 11 I thought it could have gone either way. I thought Spence needed to knockdown Porter a SECOND time before the final bell in order to secure a decision.

The turning point was the knockdown, I felt. Maximum credit to Porter for taking that, he only touched a glove on the floor, then carried on. Even with cobwebs in his head, Porter took the fight to Spence during the remainder of that round. His willpower is astonishing.

Porter showed not only a granite chin but also solid mental strength. No complaints about the knockdown and straight back to business after the count. I think Porter’s mental strength is beyond “solid.” I think it’s superior to most (if not all of) his peers. It’s the one edge he carries into all of his fights.

I agreed with your score card on the night. That’s because you KNOW boxing!

I felt the two judges who had it 116-111 had it a bit wide. Same here. No problem whatsoever with Spence winning the fight, but only by 1-3 points.

Full credit to Spence for the win. That goes without saying, but thanks for saying it.

Porter asked a lot of questions of him and bottom line they were answered I feel. I think Spence proved he could hang and rally in a grueling dog fight, so he answered that question if you thought he could be drowned in deep water, but he didn’t do a great job off making adjustments to Porter’s unorthodox style, so I’m not sure if that question was answered. Luckily for Spence (and the other welterweight standouts), there’s only Shawn Porter (apologies to Ricky Hatton).

It’s exactly what Spence needed and he’ll only improve from this. I hope so. The only welterweight I can imagine who would give him a tougher fight is Crawford. Thurman could present some stylistic difficulties.

Lots of people saying Spence was exposed or showed deficiencies. It’s almost like some boxing fans don’t enjoy competitive fights.

I don’t see it that way. He showed, what we already know, he’s a very special talent who passed another gut-check. I don’t think anyone can question his character, but I think Porter showed that he’s got some technical vulnerabilities. However, that doesn’t mean Spence is a “flawed” or “overrated” fighter.

There’s a lot of talk about Pacquiao not wanting the winner of this fight, or a Crawford being a while away. Have to admit Spence Vs Garcia is a decent fight. Wouldn’t mind that next at all. Well, you’re probably gonna get it in January. Be sure to thank Al Haymon when you shell out another $75 to watch Spence fight.

What’s next for Porter? If he was avoided before he’s gonna be out in the cold on his own now, because everyone will cross the street when they see him. Well, if that’s the case, maybe he should cross the street and challenge Terence Crawford. I think that’s a fight that Top Rank would welcome for their welterweight star, and one that Haymon might consider allowing since Porter isn’t considered one of his premiere attractions. Beyond that fascinating matchup, I think Porter’s best bet is to get to the top of the rankings of the IBF and WBC belts, so he can force a timely rematch with Spence. That’s means aiming for the Kudratillo Abduqaxorov-Luis Collazo winner (Oct. 18) or his old nemesis, Yordenis Ugas. Sergei Lipinets, who is No. 3 in the IBF, could also be on Porter’s hit list.

For me he’s still a top 5 Welterweight. Porter is currently No. 5 in The Ring rankings and I believe he’ll hold that spot after his bold performance on Saturday.

His stock went up over then weekend. He deserves another shot soon. I agree 100%!

 

THE OTHER REMATCH

Doug –

Who would win Porter vs Garcia II?

Thanks. – Kevin Key, DULUTH, MN

Porter.

SPENCE-PORTER & CROSS PROMOTION

What up Dougie.

Great fight Saturday night. Impressive performance and effort by Porter, great win by Spence. I had it even going into the 11th but like a true champ Spence found a way to win. Spence deserves to be ranked #1 at welterweight but he’s still not top 5 p4p yet. I remember hearing he’s #1 p4p during the broadcast. Needs more time and better wins. Loma, Crawford, Canelo, Inoue, Usyk and GGG are the only ones I would put ahead of him right now. Anyways…

I’m not and I’m sure most people are not interested in seeing Spence vs Danny Garcia. Crawford, Pacquiao, Porter II and any mandatory should be the only fights Spence pursues before moving up. Is Danny one of his mandatories?

As a fan I want Spence vs Crawford.  I can understand Spence wanting Pacquiao next from the business side along with the fame if he’s beats Pacquiao. If I was Spence, I would want that fight as well. However, he also needs to fight Crawford before he moves up in weight.  I don’t think Spence is ducking Bud or visa versa, but Haymon needs to cut the BS and make that fight in 2020 along with starting to match his other top fighters with fighters from Top Rank, Golden Boy and Matchroom.

I respect all fighters for what they put themselves through and their dedication. I understand them wanting along with the promoters etc too get paid well. Tomorrow is never promised. I played football and wrestled from 1st to 11th grade. My sports career ended going into my senior year cause of herniated disks.

However, much of the reason the fighters and everyone else is rich/well off is because of fans like us. I’m lower-middle class like many others. I hate sounding entitled but they owe us fans the fights we want such as Spence vs Crawford or Loma vs Tank next year.

Wilder vs Fury II hopefully happens and is the starting block for getting it going. Thanks. Keep up the good work. – Ryan, Shaolin, NY

Will do, Ryan.

In a perfect world, Spence-Crawford would be the co-feature to Wilder-Fury. The heavyweight rematch, which might need to be pushed back to allow Fury’s eye to heal completely, is already a collaboration between the PBC and Top Rank/ESPN. Why not add the PBC’s top welterweight vs. Top Rank/ESPN’s top 147 pounder? Can you imagine the hype a PPV card like that would create? You can? We’ll keep dreaming, ‘cause it ain’t happening. You hate to “sound entitled,” but they (the marquee fighters, their management, promoters and broadcast partners) ARE entitled. And apart from a select few, such as Porter, they just don’t have the same fire in their bellies as the standouts from previous decades. Business definitely comes before the sport (and fan demands/appeasement).

Impressive performance and effort by Porter, great win by Spence. I had it even going into the 11th but like a true champ Spence found a way to win. He showed a lot of character rallying the way he did in the championship rounds. Nobody can question the heart and resolve of either welterweight.

Spence deserves to be ranked #1 at welterweight but he’s still not top 5 p4p yet. He’s The Ring’s No. 1-rated welterweight, but just outside the magazine’s P4P top five (at No. 6). So, we’re right there with ya, Ryan.

I remember hearing he’s #1 p4p during the broadcast. Needs more time and better wins. Loma, Crawford, Canelo, Inoue, Usyk and GGG are the only ones I would put ahead of him right now. Well, correct me if I’m wrong, but PBC on FOX doesn’t even acknowledge the existence of Terence Crawford, so maybe they don’t recognize the other pound-for-pound rated boxers you mentioned (Lomachenko, Alvarez, Inoue, Usyk and Golovkin). If that’s the case, then Spence is indeed the Pound-for-Pound King – of the PBC. If ESPN can have their own heavyweight champion, I guess it’s OK for FOX to have it’s own man atop the mythical rankings.

I’m not and I’m sure most people are not interested in seeing Spence vs Danny Garcia. You’d be surprised what interests some boxing fans these days.

Crawford, Pacquiao, Porter II and any mandatory should be the only fights Spence pursues before moving up. Give me Spence-Crawford or Spence-Porter II, or Spence challenging dual-junior middleweight titleholder Julian Williams.

Is Danny one of his mandatories? Garcia is currently the WBC’s No. 1 contender, so if he isn’t Spence’s mandatory now, he will be.

As a fan I want Spence vs Crawford. It’s the best matchup that can be made at any weight.

I can understand Spence wanting Pacquiao next from the business side along with the fame if he’s beats Pacquiao. I only understand that matchup for further title-unification (adding Pac’s WBA belt to his IBF and WBC straps). Other than that, it’s a money grab and an opportunity to gain some crossover media exposure, but it’s also no-win situation for Spence.

If I was Spence, I would want that fight as well. It would pay quite well.

However, he also needs to fight Crawford before he moves up in weight. If he wants a shot at being this generation’s Sugar Ray Leonard, he’s gotta take on Bud. No doubt about it.

I don’t think Spence is ducking Bud or visa versa, but Haymon needs to cut the BS and make that fight in 2020 along with starting to match his other top fighters with fighters from Top Rank, Golden Boy and Matchroom. The sport has the potential to be as popular as it was 20-30 years ago if that were to happen, but broadcast partnerships of each promotional entity help to complicate matters along with all the egos and nasty attitudes.

 

SHAWN PORTER

Mr. Porter is a real man. He has consistently fought the best and has never been dominated – beaten, yes, but never dominated. You do not have to like his style to appreciate and respect this Spartan. – therationalmind

Porter’s a modern-day gladiator.

 

THE PBC’S WELTERWEIGHT 5 (POOR CRAWFORD)

Hey Doug,

It’s been a while since I last wrote. Hope you had a great weekend.

Am I wrong or are we looking at a golden age of welterweights right now? I sure think so and last night’s fight proves it for me. It was insane how close and competitive the fight was from start to end. I thought Porter proved without a shadow of doubt that he belongs in the elite group of welterweight kings. I actually thought if not for the knockdown it should have been a draw. Respect to both fighters who each proved something last night. (For Spence that he could handle adversity and for Porter that he belongs.)

We had the four horseman a while back with Leonard, Hearns, Duran and Hagler. Now we have the PBC Big 5 Welterweights with Spence, Porter, Thurman, Danny Garcia and Pacquiao. All 5 have fought at least one of the other 4 so far and all of their fights have produced smashing, highly competitive back and forth battles which are all super close and one can argue the results could have possibly went the other way. No one so far has been KO’d or in fact completely dominated. And the best part is, with the exception of Pacquiao, all are in their primes and near the same age so there is still time for more match ups. I think it also puts into perspective how great of a legend Pacquiao is that he could still at his age beat one of the other 4 which is Thurman who himself beat Porter and Danny Garcia and Porter himself just showed that he could hang with the supposedly top dog of the pack which is Spence.

And on a side note I feel really sad for Crawford because he could arguably beat all five but is stuck on the other side of the fence and wasting his prime fighting lower tier, no name opponents.

Hope to hear from you. Your avid reader. – Jayson

Top Rank is going to have to figure something out soon in regard to Crawford’s situation. They can’t allow a talent like Bud to die on the vine. A deal needs to be made with Haymon and Team Spence asap. If an agreement can’t be reached, then they are going to have to get creative and do business with others – mainly the team behind the winner of the October 26 WBSS 140-pound final between Regis Prograis and Josh Taylor. The winner of that fight (who will be a WBA/IBF unified and Ring champ) should be enticed to face their unified (WBC/WBO) 140-pound champ, Jose Ramirez, and the winner of that undisputed championship bout will make for a respectable and viable challenger to Mr. Crawford. But then what?

Am I wrong or are we looking at a golden age of welterweights right now? It doesn’t seem like it, but Porter has fought Thurman and Garcia, Thurmy took on Porter, Garcia and Pac, Porter just engaged Spence in an instant classic… I guess you’re right. I think we’d be more conscious of this if there was less time between their showdowns.

I sure think so and last night’s fight proves it for me. It was insane how close and competitive the fight was from start to end. That’s how I saw it.

I thought Porter proved without a shadow of doubt that he belongs in the elite group of welterweight kings. I actually thought if not for the knockdown it should have been a draw. That would have been a fair (but unsatisfactory) outcome.

 

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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