Dougie’s Friday mailbag (Canelo’s options, Boots Ennis, Legacy Fights, Mythical Matchups)
NO SUPERFIGHTS FOR CANELO
Doug, keep the mailbag ticking, it’s great stuff!
On to the golden boy… Canelo seems to be lining up Callum Smith or Billy Joe Saunders. While BJS is an intriguing fight (assuming he trains properly) it highlights a glaring reality – there are no superfights for Canelo. Aside from GGG, I can’t see any fight he can make that could threaten to draw a big audience. DAZN have made that less of a necessity I suppose, by paying him so much for his contract. But I assume they will demand some big match-ups. Do these ‘big matchups’ really exist though?
So, what’s the biggest three fights he can make today? I think probably 1. GGG (he does not want to go through the Kazakh grinder again, that is clear!) 2. Charlo? 3. Benavidez / Murata (in Japan). Who else might draw interest outside of paying Pacquaio $100m to retire on?
Am I missing anyone – Andre Ward? We know he is not a draw but there is real intrigue.
Duran v Toney at MW
Estrada v Inoue TODAY
Canelo v Andre Ward at 175, giving Ward a decent tune up bout to get back in the groove, first
All the best mate. – Giuseppe
Happy New Year, Giuseppe. Thanks for the kind words about the mailbag, for sharing your thoughts on The Mexican They Love to Hate, and for the interesting Mythical Matchups.
I’ll go with Toney by majority or split decision (and what a master class on both sides that would be), Inoue by close UD or late stoppage, and Ward by close UD (even if the bout takes place in Las Vegas because you know my fellow Halfrican CAN DO NO WRONG).
Canelo seems to be lining up Callum Smith or Billy Joe Saunders. I’m into both of those 168-pound matchups, especially if Canelo traveled to Merry Ole England (although I don’t see that happening). Smith would make for more action and probably a dramatic late-rounds finish, while BJS would provide stylistic difficulties for the 2019 Fighter of the Year.
While BJS is an intriguing fight (assuming he trains properly) it highlights a glaring reality – there are no superfights for Canelo. You make a good point (and, by the way, if Saunders won’t train properly for Canelo, he should either retire or fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. – and THEN retire).
Aside from GGG, I can’t see any fight he can make that could threaten to draw a big audience. Not worldwide, no. Golovkin is the only other international-level star from 160-175 pounds. However, Canelo vs. Charlo would be a huge event in Texas (and would likely move the needle throughout the U.S., or at least in major urban markets). Canelo vs. Murata would be huge event in Japan (and would move the needle a little bit in various parts of the U.S.). Canelo vs. David Benavidez would be big on the West Coast, Arizona and Texas.
So, what’s the biggest three fights he can make today? I think probably 1. GGG (he does not want to go through the Kazakh grinder again, that is clear!) 2. Charlo? 3. Benavidez / Murata (in Japan). I agree with your top three (and would place Benavidez above Murata if the fight took place in Vegas, California, Arizona or Texas; and I’d place Murata over Benavidez if the fight took place in Japan, obviously, but also if it went down in NYC).
Who else might draw interest outside of paying Pacquaio $100m to retire on? I heard Canelo’s and Pac’s nemesis, Floyd “Joy” Mayweather, would be interested in a return match with either for a guaranteed $1.5 billion. Just kidding. Outside of GGG, and maybe Charlo, Canelo might just have to wait for certain 168- and 175-pound fighters to develop into attractions that would make for marketable megafight “B-sides.” That good news is that he’s 29 years old. He’s got some time. And there are a few current super middleweight and light heavyweight beltholders – including Benavidez, Artur Beterbiev and Caleb Plant – that could kick enough ass in 2020 and 2021 to created interest in a showdown with Canelo.
Recently I have been enjoying watching Jaron Ennis getting more attention and higher profile fights. For too long he’s been toiling in obscurity, and it seems like he’s soon to be moving to the next level. Boots seems like a real talent with world championship potential, and he’s in a weight class to show that talent off. As he’s coming back Friday, how do you see his fight, and how do you think he’d fare versus Vergil Ortiz and the current top welterweights? Do you think he can win a belt?
Best to you and the family. – Graham, Bangkok
Yes, I absolutely believe (along with most of the boxing industry and hardcore fandom) that Ennis is a future world titleholder (probably multiple major belts).
The 22-year-old Philly welterweight has the skills, physical tools and mentality to be something very special. And he’s fun to watch because he’s a fast and fluid combination puncher with a busy, aggressive style. But he’s also smart and technically sound. Ennis (24-0, 22 KOs) knows when to move and when to pour it on, and when he gets in close, he usually overwhelms his opposition with his angles, body attack and accurate punch selection.
His opponent tonight, Bakhtiyar Eubov, is a rough, tough customer, but I don’t expect the squat Kazakhstan native to get much done. Eubov (14-1-1, 12 KOs) is a straight-forward pressure fighter who tries to crowd his opponents behind a high guard and then swarm them with winging haymakers once he’s in their chest. I don’t see him getting close to Boots without getting punished. Ennis should outmaneuver, outwork, outbox and ultimately outclass Eubov, who hasn’t fought since Brian Ceballo (8-0 at the time) neatly outpotined him over eight rounds last June.
How would he fare vs. 2019 Prospect of the Year Vergil Ortiz? That’s an awesome matchup, one I’m sure we’ll get in a year or two, but for now it’s a toss-up. I think Boots has the edge in speed, combo punching and mobility. I think Ortiz has the edge in power, technique and experience (despite only having half as many pro bours, none of which have gone past six rounds).
I don’t think either Young Gun is quite ready for the “current top welterweights” but they will be by end of this year.
I’ve been reading your mailbags for a couple of years and love them but this is the first time I’m writing in.
I’ve noticed that the eras that seem to be remembered most fondly are where all the top contenders in a division fought each other. For example, Ali, Frazier and Foreman or Leonard, Hagler, Hearns and Duran. This isn’t so surprising as I think most people want to see boxers who really live the mantra “to be the best you gotta beat the best”, and some people get very frustrated very quickly when potentially great matchups don’t happen. So, what I want to ask is for your opinion on the best matchups we could hope for from boxing’s biggest and best stars this year.
If you could pick 1 fight to see this year from a from a fighter from a pure legacy viewpoint, which would it be and why?
Anthony Joshua: The big man has had a rapid rise to the top, and has fought more heavyweight contenders than any of his rivals. Would you pick
Tyson Fury – Undefeated and “lineal champ”
Deontay Wilder – Undefeated (technically) and biggest puncher in the game
Oleksandr Usyk – Undefeated, Undisputed Cruiserweight champ, unproven at heavyweight
Canelo: Everyone’s favourite ginger Mexican is semi-active in 3 divisions and so has a wealth of options.
Light heavy – Bivol and Beterbiev
Super middle – Callum Smith, David Benavidez, Gilberto Ramirez, Caleb Plant and Billy Joe Saunders are all undefeated
Middleweight – Charlo, Andrade and of course a GGG trilogy fight
Would Canelo even consider a shot at a Cruiserweight champ? There’s a big difference between light heavyweight and cruiserweights…
Manny Pacquiao: Pacman has pretty much seen and done it all, but he proved he still has plenty to offer against Keith Thurman. If there is to be one last great fight for the Filipino senator, who would you pick?
Errol Spence? Crawford? Porter? Mikey Garcia? The winner of a potential undisputed matchup at 140 between Taylor and Ramirez? Someone else?
Lomachenko: The Ukrainian master has dominated almost everyone he has faced since he first became a world champ. Who would you most like him to face for his legacy?
Taylor/Ramirez/Prograis at 140lbs?
Berchelt at 130lbs?
Warrington or Gary Russel Jr rematch at 126lbs? (Loma is a small lightweight, so I’m assuming he could still make featherweight if he really wanted to)
And finally, The Monster,
Naoya Inoue: Another man I see as having plenty of options.
He looked small against Donaire, so perhaps Junior Featherweight is the highest we could reasonably expect to see him. If you have to pick 1, who and why?
Roman/Vargas/Navarette/Rigo/Doheny at 122lbs
Oubaali/Casimero/Tete at 118lbs
Estrada/ Sor Rungvisai/Nietes/Gonzalez/Ioka at 115lbs
Tanaka/Mthalane/Dalakian/Martinez at 112lbs (if you think he could still make 112lbs!)
Keep up the great work on the mailbags and The Ring in general! Boxing desperately needs unbiased reporting and ratings and The Ring belt means much more to me than any of the thousands of other belts that are floating around out there…
Apologies for the length of this, got a little carried away with ideas of potential fights… Many thanks. – Graham in Trondheim, Norway
Hey Graham (you have a popular name), thanks for finally writing in to the mailbag and for all of your kind words about The Ring.
Interesting question you bring up, because the best fight for a fighter’s legacy isn’t always the biggest event than can be made (although it often is, as was the case with Ali vs. Frazier and Foreman, and with Leonard vs. Duran, Hearns and Hagler).
That’s the certainly the case with Anthony Joshua. I think his “legacy” fight is vs. Deontay Wilder (IF the American can beat Fury next month). It would be for the undisputed championship, it’s a monster fight in the US and the UK, and it’s a fight that many believe he will lose by brutal KO. If he wins, he’s the MAN.
With Canelo, his legacy fight would not be the biggest event because my pick is a light heavyweight showdown with Beterbiev, who is only known to hardcore fans. However, Canelo has more critics and detractors among diehards than any other active fighter and one of the mantras of the #Salty Society is that he “cherry picked” and old, faded Sergey Kovalev for his historic 175-pound title victory last November. Well, that same group of fans have jumped on the Beterbiev Bandwagon since the Russian’s late stoppage of Oleksandr Gvozdyk. They say he’s the BEAST of the division, a modern day Rocky Marciano. So, if Canelo beats the ’Biev he’ll earn their respect, right? LOL. WRONG! They’ll never give him credit, but a legit victory over the IBF/WBC champ will shut them up and definitely add to Canelo’s legacy.
With Pacquiao it’s simple: a fight with either Spence (if the Texan proves to be fully recovered from his car accident injuries) or Crawford. A victory over either American could legit make the idol of the Philippines one of the top 10 greatest boxers ever.
For Lomachenko it would be a showdown with one of the 140-pound kings, either Taylor or Ramirez. Winning unified titles in a fourth weight class (when we know he’s already hit his physical ceiling at 135 pounds) would instantly boost him from being a future first-ballot hall of famer to an ATG.
Same deal with Inoue. I think his legacy defining fights are at heavier weight classes (even though I believe he’s got plenty of worthy challenges at 118 pounds, which includes 115-pound standouts, although the ship has sailed on showdowns with Chocolatito and SSR). If he can win a major title (or two) vs. the one of the 122-pound beltholders – I think Emanuel Navarrate is the most logical choice now that both are with Top Rank (and also because the busy Mexican titleholder is well regarded) – he’ll become Japan’s second four-division beltholder (behind Kazuto Ioka) and possibly the nation’s first Pound-for-Pound King.
Happy New Year, I hope 2020 is treating you well so far.
Long time reader, second time writer.
I wanted to ask about Chocolatito. You gave an excellent breakdown as to why you think he is fighter of the decade and it got me thinking:
How will he do against the rest of 115, especially given that a match up with Kal Yafia is being discussed? I don’t rate Kal that highly but one of my best friends who I chat boxing with thinks Kal would nick it.
I disagree but don’t know enough about the rest of the super fly field (apart from SSR and Estrada, both of who I would favour over Choc at this point) to say where Choc stands in the division.
Thanks for taking the time to read and also for your detailed response to my questions about Julian Williams and Josh Taylor. – Euan, Dunfermline, Scotland
You are most welcome, Euan.
I thought Gonzalez was the best boxer on the planet years before he climbed his way to the No. 1 spot in The Ring’s Pound-for-Pound rankings. I consider the four-division champ to be the Fighter of the Decade (2010-2019) and a future first-ballot hall of famer. When I call him THE KING, I really mean it. However, I don’t know how much his tough schedule as flyweight champ and 115-pound beltholder (2014-2016), and ultimate thrashing at the heavy hands of Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in 2017, took out of him.
I know he’s still got the desire to fight and to become a champion once again. I know he’s still got his brilliant combination-punching pressure-fighting form. But I don’t know if he impose his style and will on the current crop of top junior bantamweights. A KO of Moises Fuentes one year after SRR crushed him and then a stoppage of Diomel Diocos more than a year after that didn’t let us know if he’s still got the power and physical strength to overwhelm one of the titleholders.
In a nutshell, I’m telling you that really have no idea if Chocolatito is truly still world class. The proposed challenge to Yafai will let us know.
WHO WINS IN 2020?
I been a longtime reader from LAFAYETTE, LA and I’ll try to be short and sweet with this.
I just want to start by saying I really don’t understand why the PBC crowd runs with the story of “blame Bob” for Crawford and Spence, when Top Rank is working with PBC for Fury/Wilder 2. Can you make any sense of it?
Fights for 2020 (if it happens), who wins?
1) Joshua vs Fury/Wilder 2
2) Charlo vs Golovkin
3) Canelo vs BJS
4) Beterbiev vs Bivol
5) Williams vs Hurd
6) Farmer vs Santa Cruz
Thank you. – Jeremy (Louisiana)
Happy New year, Jeremy. I love Louisiana, the home state of my mother’s side of the family (the black folks! LOL)
Fights for 2020 (if it happens), who wins?1) Joshua vs Fury/Wilder 2 – I’m going to continue to ride with AJ, close decision over Fury, mid-round TKO of Wilder
2) Charlo vs Golovkin – GGG isn’t a young man anymore, but he’s still got the best jab in the division and he’s as battle-tested as an elite fighter can be, I’ll go with the Old Lion over the Prime Lion on points in a hotly contested, high intensity chess match
3) Canelo vs BJS – We might see this super middleweight showdown this year, Saunders can box his ass off when he’s focused but I gotta go with Canelo, there’s nothing he hasn’t seen in the ring before and almost nothing that he can’t adjust to, the 2019 FOTY on points
4) Beterbiev vs Bivol – You’re only as good as your last fight in boxing, so Beterbiev would be a massive favorite over Bivol but it says here that the younger man’s lateral movement and hard left stick will give the Montreal Mauler trouble, enough to last the distance, but I’ll go with Beterbiev on points
5) Williams vs Hurd – We already saw this last year and it produced a darn good fight and, in my opinion, the best boxing performance of 2019. I slept on J-Rock going into the first bout. I won’t do so again. Williams by decision.
6) Farmer vs Santa Cruz – LSC has more world-class experience than Farmer, and the Californian has been a borderline elite boxer for several years, but he’s unproven at 130 pounds where Tevin has been active and growing in confidence. I like the slick and mobile Philly fighter by split decision (if the official judges are honest).
I just want to start by saying I really don’t understand why the PBC crowd runs with the story of “blame Bob” for Crawford and Spence, when Top Rank is working with PBC for Fury/Wilder 2. Can you make any sense of it? None whatsoever. But I also think all this Spence-Crawford talk is pointless in 2019 until we see what Errol looks like in the ring. That interview with Brian Kenny only confirmed that the man can still talk. I don’t doubt him when he says he’s been able to shake out a bit in the gym, but that doesn’t mean he can still fight at 100%. We won’t know that until we see him fight.
Happy New year!
Since its a slow week I thought some MM’s might be fun:
Myung Woo Yuh vs Humberto Gonzalez
Saman Sorjaturong vs Michael Carbajal
Jorge Arce vs Yuri Arbachakov
Orzubek Nazarov vs Jose Luis Castillo
Vuyani Bungu vs Erik Morales
Salvador Sanchez vs Junior Jones
Kostya Tszyu vs Terrance Crawford
Gennady Golovkin vs John Mugabi
See you at the fights! – Juan Valverde
Myung Woo Yuh vs Humberto Gonzalez – Yuh by split decision
Saman Sorjaturong vs Michael Carbajal – Little Hands of Steel by late (maybe come-from-behind) stoppage
Jorge Arce vs Yuri Arbachakov – The Japan-based Russian by close decision (at 112 pounds)
Orzubek Nazarov vs Jose Luis Castillo – JLC by close decision (in a very good lightweight fight)
Vuyani Bungu vs Erik Morales – El Terrible by close but unanimous decision (at 122 or 126)
Salvador Sanchez vs Junior Jones – Sal by unanimous decision, maybe late stoppage in a competitive fight over the first half of the bout
Kostya Tszyu vs Terrance Crawford – Close call but I gotta go with King Tszyu by close, maybe split nod in a classic 140-pound encounter
Gennady Golovkin vs John Mugabi – GGG by late stoppage in a brutal battle of attrition (not unlike Hagler’s final title defense against The Beast)
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and watch him on Periscope every Sunday from SMC track.