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Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Wilder-Ortiz 2, come-from-behind KOs, Smith-Ryder)

Deontay Wilder measures Luis Ortiz for his vaunted right hand during their WBC heavyweight title bout in Las Vegas. Photo by Frank Micelotta/Fox Sports/PictureGroup
25
Nov

WILDER’S ORTIZ BOMBING REMISCENT OF ‘THE HAWK’

That was a hell of a knockout. The fight reminded me of Jackson v Graham where Bomber was cruising and comprehensively outboxing The Hawk, before a vicious punch ended the fight.

Any other good examples that ghouls like me should check out where someone is skillfully dominating the fight before it suddenly all goes wrong. Cheers. – Russell, Glasgow, UK

Mike Weaver’s 15th-round heavyweight title winning KO of “Big” John Tate in 1980 is probably the most famous come-from-behind stoppage of my generation. Tate, a 1976 Olympic bronze medalist and unbeaten in 20 pro bouts, was literally 45 seconds away from defending the WBA title he traveled all the way to South Africa to win (vs. undefeated local star Gerrie Coetzee) when “Black Hercules” landed a short left hook that dropped the strapping southerner flat on his face. It was a truly chilling “one-hitter-quitter.” Tate laid motionless, almost lifeless, on the canvas as though shot by a sniper from the audience.

In 1991, Tommy Morrison teed off on the anvil-like chin of fellow unbeaten heavyweight contender Ray Mercer with frighteningly fast and powerful combinations, winning at least three of the first four rounds (Round 4 was probably Mercer’s as “The Duke” was starting to fizzle out, as he often did). The 1988 Olympic gold medalist, who took flush hooks and uppercuts to the jaw and more than a few body shots that would have folded any other heavyweight, withstood the early storm and raged back to score one of the most (criminally) brutal finishes in the history of the sport in Round 5. (You HAVE to have seen these highlights before.)

Nine months earlier, Mercer won the WBO title from undefeated Italian boxer Francesco Damiani courtesy of a grazing beak-breaking left uppercut. Prior to the ninth-round KO, the 1984 Olympic silver medalist was giving “Merciless” Mercer a boxing lesson (from the outside and on the inside).

In 1999, faded former 108-pound champ Michael Carbajal, was being outboxed, outworked and outmaneuvered by a young Jorge Arce for 10 rounds. Apart from Round 6 when the veteran scored a flash knockdown, Carbajal lost every round and was taking a beating from the future standout. However, the bloodied but unbowed future hall of famer lived up to his nickname “Little Hands of Stone” in Round 11 after a big right hand and a series of clubbing follow-ups rocked “Travieso” badly enough to prompt the ref to wave the bout off without a knockdown. Carbajal retired on the title-winning TKO victory.

In 2005, Nate Campbell was outpointing game and gutsy Robbie Peden through four rounds and most of the fifth before he got cocky and dropped his hands to taunt the rugged Aussie (after hurting him badly to the body). Boom! Peden smacked him with a left uppercut/hook fired from his hip and laid The Galaxy Warrior out flat. The future unified lightweight champ somehow got to his feet but not before being counted out. (By the way, Peden, who was a solid contender for years, stopped Campbell in their rematch for the vacant IBF 130-pound title.)

In 2012, bona-fide KO artist Randall Bailey was being outclassed by then-unbeaten (26-0) Philly up-and-comer Mike Jones for nine rounds before his vaunted power finally surfaced in the form of a beautiful knockdown-producing right hand in Round 10. Jones showed Philly grit by getting up and making it into Round 11 boxing well until Bailey timed him with a BRUTAL fight-ending right uppercut that dispatched him on his back. The upset victory earned Bailey the vacant IBF welterweight title.

And finally, (I’m sure I could come up with 10-15 more if I put my mind to it, but we only have so much space in the mailbag), in 2013, we’ve got John Molina’s sweet 10th-round stoppage of future IBF lightweight titleholder Mickey Bey, the unbeaten former U.S. amateur star who was completely outclassing the California slugger until a left hook dramatically turned the tables midway through the final round. Molina’s follow attack forced the ref to step in and watching the stunned reactions to The Money Team (which backed Bey) at ringside was almost as entertaining as the come-from-behind stoppage.

That was a hell of a knockout. Indeed. We’ve got a new KO of the Year frontrunner.

The fight reminded me of Jackson v Graham where Bomber was cruising and comprehensively outboxing The Hawk, before a vicious punch ended the fight. That’s high praise for Wilder, but he’s earned it.

 

MYTHICAL MATCHUP

Doug –

Holyfield (2nd Bowe fight) against Saturday night Wilder? – Kevin Key, Duluth, MN

I gotta go with The Real Deal, the far more complete boxer with heart and spirit to match and surpass The Bronze Bomber, probably by late stoppage. I can also envision a KO victory for Wilder if he can land his right hand with full power on one of the sweet spots on Holyfield’s big noggin. That’s the kind of puncher Wilder is. He can take out a warrior who’s proved his chin and mettle vs. other KO punchers. But I think the more likely scenario is that Commander Vander beats up Wilder as he outclasses him. Holyfield’s boxing ability is underrated (or maybe just overshadowed by his fighting spirit).

 

DEONTAY WILDER

Hi Doug,

I am writing this the morning after the fight. I know how I felt just after and I have read some reader comments on the website this morning. I have mixed feelings at this point. I have always been a Wilder supporter (still am). His KOs are exciting and dramatic. For all of his natural tools, the only time I have seen him really demonstrate boxing craft was in the first Stiverne fight where he exhibited calm, a stiff punishing jab, economic movement and a straight, fight ending right hand bomb. Usually he is just looking for the big right and swinging like a major league pitcher with both hands when he goes for it. I watched some of the prefight buildup shows this week on the Fox network. One showed Wilder shadow boxing in the gym. It was a window into what he does in the ring, I mean…he can’t even shadow box smoothly. What irritated me was some of his bluster. He really likes to hear the sound of his own voice….and he is not a good talker (and a worse commentator). I know a fighter has to be confident and believe in himself but the way he sang the praises of his power and the way he says it feels when his hand makes contact with an opponent’s face just rubbed me the wrong way.

I grew up in the era of Foreman and Shavers and you never heard them talking that way about hitting people. (The worst I ever heard Shavers say was, “If he makes a mistake…he’s gone)….but then again I am reminded of an old Richard Pryor bit (he was talking about Leon Spinks at the time) when he said, “The heavyweight champ don’t need to be no rocket scientist!…..(asking him a question) “What do you do?”……”I knock Mother#@*s OUT!”…..ok…I get it.

As for the fight, I had Ortiz ahead right up to the end. He was out

boxing Wilder and landing some hard shots along the way. To me Wilder looked concerned a couple of times but that finishing shot was one for the books and the faraway look in Ortiz’ eyes said it all.

One thing that amazes me is that Wilder has NO jab. He just stood there pushing and pawing with the left. I think I have said it here before but with a guy like Mark Breland training him you would think that Wilder would have a stronger skill set but to this point his undeniable power, his conditioning and his championship heart have taken Wilder to the pinnacle of the sport. If Wilder would study the Tommy Hearns film library and put those skills to use he might be the champ until you are a grand dad. All that being said, Wilder’s power has gotten him farther than the legendary Earnie Shavers power ever did and he continues to pull it out each time (although I thought he lost the Tyson Fury fight, losing every round as I saw it except the last one).

Some fans posting on the site here have suggested that Fury is slowing down and the next Wilder/Fury fight will be different…maybe. We will see. I am more interested in Wilder with the winner of Joshua/Ruiz. I think AJs chin is questionable and the question is can Ruiz get inside and wreak havoc on Wilder like he did on AJ. We have a lot to look forward to.

One last thing Doug. The Fox commentating team were awful. Ray Mancini and Shawn Porter were the worst…just sayin….and lastly, the big Joshua/Ruiz fight coming up on December 7 from Saudi Arabia. Do we have a live broadcast time? I am in the central time zone and if the online timeline breakdown I looked up was right, if the fight stars at 8pm their time it will be 11am my time. Have you heard anything on this?

Thanks a lot. All the best to you and yours. – David, Nashville

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, David.

I haven’t given the live broadcast time for the Ruiz-Joshua rematch much thought. I did figure that it would start at a much earlier time in the U.S. than we are used to seeing a major boxing main event, but I haven’t bothered looking up exactly what time that would be in each time zone. But to be honest with you, I don’t mind early starts (like we get with major boxing events held in Europe). They enable us to enjoy boxing and still have our evening to do something else. Wilder-Ortiz 2 started after midnight on the East Coast. That’s just wrong.

Regarding the FOX PPV team, they didn’t say anything that really bugged me during the broadcast but I didn’t tune-in until the main event (there was NO WAY I was going to sit through another Leo Santa Cruz title bout sparring session when Xu Can was in action vs. a quality challenger on the DAZN broadcast at the same time), and to be honest, me and Managing Editor Brian Harty (who hosted the fights at his Hollywood pad) were too fascinated by Porter’s psychedelic fashion sense and the fluorescent green dress and nails of the hostess to really pay attention to anything anyone was saying.

I have always been a Wilder supporter (still am). That’s true. My past mailbags are proof of that.

His KOs are exciting and dramatic. And that’s all that really matters for me. That’s why he’s must-see TV.

Wilder jabs Stiverne during their first fight. Photo / Naoki Fukuda

For all of his natural tools, the only time I have seen him really demonstrate boxing craft was in the first Stiverne fight where he exhibited calm, a stiff punishing jab, economic movement and a straight, fight ending right hand bomb. That fight went the distance, but I agree that it was the most disciplined boxing performance of his career and many (myself included) were hopeful that it was a sign of more technical progress to come. It wasn’t. In fact, it’s kind of an aberration (Wilder admitted after the fight that he boxed that way because he has suffered a freak eye injury while working out a few days earlier). But that’s OK. Boxing needs pure punchers as much as it needs slick stylists, sluggers, technicians, pressure fighters and volume punchers. There’s room for everybody and the KO artists produce the most electric moments in the sport.  

Usually he is just looking for the big right and swinging like a major league pitcher with both hands when he goes for it. He’s fallen in love with his power. Can you blame him?

I watched some of the prefight buildup shows this week on the Fox network. One showed Wilder shadow boxing in the gym. It was a window into what he does in the ring, I mean…he can’t even shadow box smoothly. There’s nothing slick or fluid about Wilder’s movements, which leads some to believe that he’s got no skill, which isn’t true. He’s got technical flaws and he’s kind of stiff, but he’s also a decent ring general and he knows how to set up his power, which is his bread and butter.

What irritated me was some of his bluster. He really likes to hear the sound of his own voice….and he is not a good talker (and a worse commentator). I agree. And he’s getting more and more esoteric and “cosmic” with some of his on-camera ramblings, which can be interesting or amusing at times, but other times it just comes off as weird or spacey (like Victor Ortiz). Hey, whatever man, he’s a puncher not a talker.  

I know a fighter has to be confident and believe in himself but the way he sang the praises of his power and the way he says it feels when his han

Wilder has more become prone to bombastic rants and antics as his stature has grown.

d makes contact with an opponent’s face just rubbed me the wrong way. The more exposure Wilder gets, the more polarizing I suspect he will become, which will likely boost his popularity and pay-per-view buy potential (somebody’s got to be the “bad guy” in the really big boxing showdowns).

I grew up in the era of Foreman and Shavers and you never heard them talking that way about hitting people. Good point. Come to think of it, most prolific punchers – from Danny “Little Red” Lopez to Pipino Cuevas to Tommy Hearns to Julian Jackson to Felix Trinidad – were soft spoken or kind of modest. But that’s why monster punchers that talk s__t, like Prince Naseem Hamed and Wilder, stand out even more.

As for the fight, I had Ortiz ahead right up to the end. I thought the Cuban veteran won EVERY round until he was blasted in Round 7. Wilder just wasn’t landing enough to win any of the first six rounds (I don’t care what the CompuBox stats claimed, or what FOX PPV judge Larry Hazzard thought).

He was out boxing Wilder and landing some hard shots along the way. I thought he did a good job of keeping Wilder at the end of his jab and landing those straight lefts to the body. However, I did notice that his form dropped off a bit in Round 5 and he was already looking a bit tired by Round 6. Not good signs when you’re sharing the ring with Wilder.

To me Wilder looked concerned a couple of times but that finishing shot was one for the books and the faraway look in Ortiz’ eyes said it all. Yes Sir. All’s well that that ends well for Wilder. I noticed that he didn’t like Ortiz putting those ones and twos on him from the get-go, but Wilder is hard to nail clean (because he’s so tall and he’s got good reflexes enabling him to lean away from head shots) and most heavyweights (including Ortiz) are understandably hesitant to commit to their offense against him. We’re not going to see anyone really put it on Wilder and keep the heat on him. Well, maybe Andy Ruiz Jr. or Adam Kownacki are willing to go for it. We’ll see.

One thing that amazes me is that Wilder has NO jab. He just stood there pushing and pawing with the left. I think Ortiz’s southpaw stance and educated jab had a lot to do with that. Most orthodox boxers (even world-class ones) have trouble getting their jab off against a talented southpaw.

I think I have said it here before but with a guy like Mark Breland training him you would think that Wilder would have a stronger skill set but to this point his undeniable power, his conditioning and his championship heart have taken Wilder to the pinnacle of the sport. Not unlike Rocky Marciano, who was described as “crude” and “limited” by the sports press and boxing insiders while he was making his climb up the heavyweight ladder.

If Wilder would study the Tommy Hearns film library and put those skills to use he might be the champ until you are a grand dad. Not gonna happen. He is what he is, which is enough to be the most dangerous heavyweight in the sport.

All that being said, Wilder’s power has gotten him farther than the legendary Earnie Shavers power ever did and he continues to pull it out each time (although I thought he lost the Tyson Fury fight, losing every round as I saw it except the last one). True, but in Shaver’s defense, Wilder didn’t have to challenge Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes to win a heavyweight title.

Some fans posting on the site here have suggested that Fury is slowing down and the next Wilder/Fury fight will be different…maybe. We will see. Yeah, hopefully. I think Fury will be in better shape with much better timing second time around with Wilder, but that doesn’t mean he get clipped. It’s a fascinating matchup.

I am more interested in Wilder with the winner of Joshua/Ruiz. That’s ALSO a fascinating matchup!

I think AJs chin is questionable and the question is can Ruiz get inside and wreak havoc on Wilder like he did on AJ. I think everybody’s chin is questionable against Wilder. Andy was able to get up from a big shot from AJ, but I’m not convinced he could do that if Wilder caught him as clean as the British star did.

We have a lot to look forward to. Yes, we do. We might get an undisputed heavyweight champ in 2020. And if not, we’ll at least be treated to a series of quality heavyweight title bouts involving the Big Four and Aleksandr Usyk, Dillian Whyte and Joseph Parker.

 

WILDER RANKS UP THERE

Hey Doug,

Hope you are genki (元気) as we say in Japan. I also hope you didn’t get bored, get a snack and miss Wilder flattening Ortiz. Wilder is an interesting boxer. He doesn’t care about points or decisions. He patiently waits for the kill shot. Hell, trying to win on points might throw him off his game. I’ve never seen anyone so focused on a single outcome. It would be scary to face him because you know he is patiently waiting to decapitate you.

Is his right hand a special punch that deserves to enter the pantheon of great punches? Rocky’s Suzie Q, Sugar Ray’s left hook, Tyson’s uppercut, Micky Ward’s liver shot, McCoy’s cork-screw punch, Frazier’s left hook, Holmes’ jab, Fitzsimmons’ solar plexus punch among others?

I don’t know how long Wilder’s strategy is going to work for him. But it will be fun to find out! What are the most legendary punches in your book, and where does Wilder’s straight right rank?

Keep up the great work. Cheers! – Mike from Japan

The Hitman carried his right-hand power up in weight and into the late stages of his career.

Wilder’s shotgun-like right hand ranks up there with the best one-hitter-quitter or fight-turning bombs from KO artists I’ve followed over the past 30 years, including either hand from Julian Jackson, Tommy Hearns’ straight right, Naseem Hamed’s uppercut and Felix Trinidad’s left hook.

 

 

 

 

SMITH VS. CANELO

Hey Dougie,

What kind of a chance does the Callum Smith that was in the ring on Saturday have with Canelo? – Rodemeyer

Slim and none, and Slim left town, as our man Don King used to say.

 

JOHN RYDER

Hi Doug,
John Ryder won that fight on Saturday and was robbed on stupidly wide scorecards. This is a guy that never gets his due credit. Written off as cannon fodder by most people before the fight and came in, backed Smith up was relentless and smart and wasn’t affected at all by what Smith threw back.

It was a close, competitive fight however, but I just can’t see it for Smith.

If roles were reversed and Ryder was the champion and the name do you think there’s any conceivable way they would not give him that?

Judges can never get the simple recipe right and score it round by round objectively. Terry O’Connor needs to retire with that 117-111.

On a lighter note, some MMs:

James DeGale vs Mike McCallum
Carl Froch vs Steve Collins
George Groves vs Mikkel Kessler
Dick Tiger vs BJS

What do you think? – CD

I gotta go with The Body Snatcher by competitive but clear UD, Cobra by close, maybe split nod, Kessler by close decision and Tiger clear decision or late stoppage (depending on the version of Saunders that shows up).

I watched Smith-Ryder live but I didn’t score it. Regardless, I was disgusted by those wide scorecards. If Smith won that fight it was by one or two points (as commentator Glen McCrory and The Ring’s Tom Gray had it). If you scored it for Ryder by a few points, I’m certainly not mad at you.

Ryder (right) attacks Smith. Photo by Dave Thompson

Ryder can fight. I watched him live on the Canelo-Jacobs undercard in May and liked what a I saw. He’s a stocky grinder but there’s real craft to his game. He’s not easy to hit and he’s got the ability to jab with a much taller and rangier man. That’s impressive. He did good work on the outside and on the inside vs. Smith, who I figured may have hit the wall with boiling that giant frame down to 168 pounds, but at the same time, I don’t want to take anything away from Ryder’s performance.

Despite the loss, I think The Ring Ratings Panel will suggest that he enter the super middleweight rankings, which I’m all for. I think he can compete with the best of the division (although I’d pick Canelo, Plant and Benavidez to beat him – and I’d probably pick BJS to score another close one against him but only if Saunders was 100% dialed in… the version of BJS that fought in L.A. a few weeks ago would lose to Ryder).

I’d like to see Ryder test some of the young 168-pound up-and-comers that are trying to break into the legit top 10, such as Ali Akhmedov and Anthony Sims Jr. A crossroads match with Russian veteran (and former WBA titleholder) Fedor Chudinov would make for a fun scrap

 

 

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and watch him on Periscope every Sunday from SMC track.