Dougie’s Friday mailbag (Williams-Rosario, Boxer vs. MMA fighter hype, greatest records)
JULIAN WILLIAMS-JEISON ROSARIO
Hi Doug, hope you are doing well.
I was disappointed not to read any comments about the biggest fight last weekend in your Monday mailbag. Guess you can only answer the questions that were asked. So, I am trying to right the wrong – what did you think about the fight? Since this is the one fight Breadman will not comment on, it’s up to you to fill the void.
My take was that J-Rock got a bit cocky after beating Jarrett Hurd, and started getting into exchanges with Rosario, which he was losing as Rosario had the better chin/more power. Is there more to it? Thanks. – Tigran
I don’t think Williams was cocky before or during the fight. He and his trainer knew that Rosario was a quality fighter, and they knew the unheralded Dominican would be motivated and in the best condition of his career in his first title challenge. The bottom is line is that Rosario could take J-Rock’s best punch and Williams could not take his, but I think there were other factors.
One, I think inactivity was a factor. Williams upset Hurt last May. He should have defended his WBA and IBF titles by November 2019 at the latest.
Two, I think cut bothered him, and fair play to Rosario, he landed the shot that produced a cut near J-Rock’s eye (and impaired the defending champ’s vision).
Three, I could be wrong about this (I’m an editor/columnist, not a boxer or a trainer), but from the second round on, I thought Williams made a tactical error by not engaging more in close vs. Rosario. He proved that he’s got elite inside skill/technique vs. Hurd. I didn’t like that he boxed Rosario – who had longer reach, faster hands and more “pop” on his shots – from the outside for much of the fight (with a bad eye!).
Having said that, it’s an easy observation to make from where I was sitting (on a sofa with a bottle of Rolling Rock in my hand). And Rosario appeared just as dangerous in close as he was from a distance. So, maybe it wouldn’t have made a difference what range Williams box from.
We should just give Rosairo his due. “Banana” is a badass and a welcome addition to the 154-pound division. I was just as surprised as you were not to have received any emails on the first major upset of 2020. Maybe the usual hardcores that write in were just shocked or disappointed. (I admit that I was.) But Williams has the character to bounce back from this latest setback.
WHY DO PEOPLE WATCH BOXER-VS.-MMA FIGHTER BOUTS?
Couple of questions I wanted to ask:
First one is quite simple. Following last weekend’s results, how do you think Eleider Alvarez will do against Joe Smith Jnr (I like Alvarez for that) and J-Rock proposed rematch with Banana (this one is harder to call for me. I really rate J-Rock but can’t imagine he or his trainers would overlook anyone given how smart they are – is Banana better than we thought?)
I also want to ask about Boxing/ MMA crossover fights.
I’ve followed both sports closely for about ten years now, have done some boxing training, some BJJ and a fair bit of Muay Thai and found out quickly that the similarities in each sport are minimal, with the differences being enormous. This should be obvious for anyone who watches on a consistent basis and not something we see with other sports (no one asks Tom Brady to play blindside flanker for the All Blacks because the ball in Rugby and American football look similar).
The bouts are never competitive. Mayweather took McGregor to school and James Toney got mauled by Randy Couture 7 years past his best (proposed May/Mac rematch and Shields vs Nunes will be equally one sided, regardless of which sport they take place in).
Given all that I’ve said above (which should be obvious), why does anyone actually want to see these fights?
Thanks again for taking the time to read this, it’s always appreciated. – Euan, Dunfermline, Scotland
I’ve never been into the idea of boxer-vs.-MMA fighter bouts, but I always figured that it appealed to three main fan groups:
1)The hardcore boxing fan who hates MMA (and its fans) and wants to see a boxer school or ice an MMA fighter in a boxing match just to say that boxing is superior,
2)The hardcore MMA fan who hates boxing (and its fans) and wants to see an MMA fighter submit, choke out or (literally) kick the s__t out of a boxer in an MMA match just to say that MMA is superior, and
3)The casual combat sports or general sports fan that is turned on by the novelty and curiosity of seeing standouts from separate martial arts worlds share the ring or cage.
Of the three groups, the casual fight fans and general sports enthusiasts are the ones I can tolerate. They’re either tuning into the boxer-vs.-MMA event because they really don’t follow or know much about either sport and genuinely have no idea who will prevail, or they figure the boxer has the edge in a boxing match and the MMA fighter has the edge in an MMA bout and they’re just watching the match the way most enjoy pro wrestling. I’m OK with either perspective.
The hardcore fans of boxing and MMA that get worked up over these crossover events and go at each other on social media and in comment sections before and after the bouts, and then have the audacity to act like the result of the fights have any meaning, are insufferable. I wish they’d all shut the f__k up.
Following last weekend’s results, how do you think Eleider Alvarez will do against Joe Smith Jnr (I like Alvarez for that). The hard-pressuring version of JSJ that put Jesse Hart on the back foot for 10 rounds would give Alvarez a difficult and physical fight. However, the Crazy-Eyed Colombian vet has got one of the more reliable chins of the 175-pound division. He’s also a big, strong athlete like Smith, with perhaps a little more speed and sharpness to his punches (especially his jab). I’ll give Alvarez the slight edge in a good scrap, maybe he wins a close decision in a battle of big right hands.
J-Rock’s proposed rematch with Banana (this one is harder to call for me. I really rate J-Rock but can’t imagine he or his trainers would overlook anyone given how smart they are – is Banana better than we thought?) Rosario is definitely better than we thought (or ever knew about) and he’s got the skills and physical tools to hang with – or possibly overwhelm – the other elite 154 pounders (Jermell Charlo, Hurd, Lara, Castano). Having said that, he’s obviously not unbeatable and he may have simply caught J-Rock on a bad night (it happens). So, I won’t count Williams out in a rematch. In fact, I’ll go on record and say that the rematch will go the distance. Can J-Rock get enough done over those 12 rounds to win a decision. Yeah, I think so, but so can Rosario.
THE 154-POUND DIVISION
So why did no one comment on last weekend’s fights in the Monday mailbag?
We had an early candidate for upset of the year with Rosario’s destruction of Williams, and Eleider icing Seals was a chilling early entry for KO of the year.
How do you see the super welter division going this year? I for one am excited for any of the top guys to mix it up but I would really like to see Hurd get in with Rosario.
Thanks again for being the Ring’s prophet and for making both Mondays and Fridays days to look forward to. – Jesse
Thanks for the kind words, Jesse.
I think there’s potential for a competitive and exciting round robin with the 154-pound division. I don’t see a dominant champion and that’s a good thing. Jermell Charlo lost to Tony Harrison (and then gained revenge). Erislandy Lara lost to Hurd, who lost to Williams, who lost to Rosario, who lost to a guy (Nathaniel Gallimore) that J-Rock (and newly crowned WBO beltholder Patrick Teixeira) beat. Brian Castano outpointed Michel Soro and held Lara to a draw. Everybody I mentioned, even Gallimore, who was recently outboxed by Erickson Lubin, has a shot at winning at least one of the major 154-pound belts. In many cases it might just come down to styles (and there are many to choose from among the top 10).
Rosario-Hurd would be a fun fight, but I think Charlo-Rosario would be an even better shootout.
So why did no one comment on last weekend’s fights in the Monday mailbag? We had an early candidate for upset of the year with Rosario’s destruction of Williams, and Eleider icing Seals was a chilling early entry for KO of the year. Maybe it was just too early in 2020 to talk about Year-End Award candidates.
Written a few times, always love reading the column. What are your thoughts on how the records of “greats” stack up? I started thinking of this when considering the arguments for and against Mayweather’s fighter of the decade award, of which both are valid as the award is so subjective and two other nominees were beaten by him, but arguably had better decades overall.
I always consider the true greats (Ali, Robinson, et-al) to not only have beaten fellow greats but also have an added, undefinable bit extra (Ali’s stance on ‘Nam, Louis beating Nazi Germany, Leonard’s numerous comebacks, etc.), length of reign, multiple weights and how their styles would have matched up potentially against those in other eras.
So, if you consider purely just who a fighter beat and at what stage in the defeated fighter’s career they beat them, who’s record stacks up the best?
Obviously, this is just for fun, but would be interested in who you think beat the best fighters. I’d go with:
Pacquiao – I’ll justify what may be seen as controversial with Barrera, Morales, JMM, Cotto, Thurman and Bradley, plus many more.
Also, I’d love your opinion on LaMotta, outside of a win over an injured Cerdan and Robinson (no small achievement), should he really be as revered as he is? Hall of Famer, just about, all time great? Maybe if the question was all time greatest boxing film…
Thanks for reading. – James
Jake LaMotta is an all-time great in my view, which is probably not shared my many younger fans who have grown up in an era that has zero tolerance for losses and mainly recognizes/celebrates a fighter’s victories rather than his or her performances. A loss doesn’t hurt a fighter’s legacy in my opinion if that loss was a competitive fight vs. a tremendous fighter in his prime. For example, Robert Duran’s loss to Marvin Hagler doesn’t detract from his legacy in my view, it adds to it. Same deal with Wladimir Klitschko’s loss to Anthony Joshua and Nonito Donaire’s loss to Naoya Inoue.
Anyway, Marcel Cerdan and Ray Robinson are the most famous and revered names on LaMotta’s record, but “The Bronx Bull” took on several top fighters of the 1940s, including some African-American contenders (such as hall-of-famers Homan Williams and Lloyd Marshall) that were avoided by the champions and popular fighters (including black standouts) of the time.
Regarding the holders of the greatest records containing victories against the best of the best (at their best), I think the names you mentioned are legends for that reason (although I’d argue that some of the losses defined their greatness as much as their victories – such as Ali’s loss to Frazier, Holyfield’s loss to Riddick Bowe, Leonard’s loss to Duran, etc. – but in my mind The Greatest’s record vs. fellow greats can’t be topped. He was the holder of the biggest prize in sports in two of the deepest decades for the heavyweight division and he’s got victories over fellow hall-of-famers Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Ken Norton, Sonny Liston and Floyd Patterson.
My other boyhood idol, Sugar Ray Leonard, put together an amazing pro ledger with victories over ATGs Duran, Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns and Wilfred Benitez. And, like Ali, his era (‘70s/’80s) was incredibly competitive in the welterweight division, so the contenders he beat on his way to world titles were formidable.
Ezzard Charles fought the best middleweights and light heavyweights long before he won the heavyweight title, and his victims during his 160-175 pound run include prime Archie Moore (three times), Charley Burley (twice), Joey Maxim (twice – at light heavy, they also fought at heavyweight), Jimmy Bivins (three out of four), Teddy Yarosz and Lloyd Marshall (two out of three) – all hall of famers (and a couple ATGs). Toss in Joe Louis and Jersey Joe Walcott at heavyweight and you’ve got a hell of a resume (even if you’re not counting all the terrific fights vs. ATGs and top contenders that he lost, such as his late-career wars with Marciano).
The great Tony Canzoneri bested eight hall of famers during his days as three-division threat (featherweight, lightweight and junior welter) in the late ‘20s and ‘30s: Jackie “Kid” Berg (two out of three), Kid Chocolate (twice), Lou Ambers (one out of three), Jimmy McLarnin (split), Billy Petrolle (split), Johnny Dundee, Charles “Bud” Taylor (one out of three) and Benny Bass.
Underrated lightweight standout of the 1940s, Sammy Angott, notched victories over six HOFers: the great Willie Pep, Ike Williams, Freddie Miller, Bob Montgomery, Baby Arizmendi and Lew Jenkins. I mentioned “The Clutch” because he’s a forgotten hall of famer, but also because he was the first to beat Pep in the pro ranks, after the featherweight champ racked up 62 consecutive victories. Pep wouldn’t lose again until his first bout with Sandy Saddler, after an unbeaten stretch of 73 bouts (72-0-1). I figure that ‘W’ has gotta hold a lot of weight!
Robinson beat Angott three times (once at lightweight and twice at welterweight), along with Fritzie Zivic, (twice), LaMotta (four out of five), an aging Henry Armstrong – all future hall of famers – all before he won the welterweight title December 1946. Robinson then beat Kid Gavilan (twice, once with the title on the line), Carl “Bobo” Olson (four times), LaMotta a fifth time (for the middleweight title), Randy Turpin (split), Rocky Graziano, Gene Fullmer (one out of four) and Carmen Basilio (split – in Ring Magazine’s 1957 and 1958 Fight of the Year). He beat ten hall of famers. Not too shabby.
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