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Dougie’s mailbag (concern for Tevin Farmer, underdogs, PEDs)

Joseph Diaz Jr. (left) tags Tevin Farmer. Photo by Lester Silva/ Hoganphotos/ Golden Boy
31
Jan

TEVIN FARMER

Hey, it’s been a long time since I’ve written, hope all is well!

I must admit I haven’t watched Tevin Farmer fights in the past. Against Diaz, he exhibited many motor tics. Is this something observed in the past in his fights? It seemed like it impacted his performance.

My late brother had Tourette’s syndrome that caused similar motor tics… Hopefully Farmer’s condition is not something new but instead it’s something like Tourette’s because if it is new, it may be some sort of parkinsonism.



Do you think the motor tics impacted his performance? Best. – Mike from Ottawa

I think it’s possible that what you viewed as “motor tics” (I was thinking he may have pinched a nerve in his neck) effected Farmer, especially late in the fight which is when I began to notice him blinking and involuntarily nodding his head. But Farmer’s main problem was Diaz, who fought a terrific fight despite dealing with a gruesome gash over his left eye that BoxingScene scribe Cliff Rold accurately described as “pornographic” on Twitter.

I slightly favored Diaz to win this interesting southpaw style matchup, but I thought it would be a much closer fight due to Farmer’s lateral movement. However, from the get-go, Farmer stood his ground with Diaz, who was sharper and more elusive on the inside than the Philly fighter. I don’t know why Farmer’s trainer wanted so much aggression from him. Diaz has the quicker hands and he’s a very good counterpuncher and body-head combination puncher.

Not to detract from Diaz’s proudest moment as a pro but I wonder if Farmer, who appeared to fade down the stretch, struggled to make 130 pounds. In the days leading into last night’s fight, he was talking and Tweeting a lot about Diaz either being his last or second to last bout at junior lightweight.

Back to the motor tics, I noticed it the most after the final bell and during the announcement of the official verdict. When Farmer walked back to his corner his head snapped back two or three times (almost like he was catching an uppercut). I read on Twitter (courtesy of RingTV.com contributor Michael Woods) that Farmer’s co-promoter Lou DiBella accompanied him to the hospital immediately after the fight for precautionary tests. Thankfully, there were no signs of traumatic brain injury last night, but Farmer will need to get a series of tests to make sure he isn’t suffering from the neurological disorders/neurodegenerative brain disorders that you brought.

 

CANELO’S BEST VICTORY VS. TYSON’S

Hi Doug,

I trust you and yours are well and everything is A-OK?

Quick one (I’m sure this going to trigger a few people but who cares):

I would argue that Canelo’s win over Triple G is better than any win on Tyson’s resume, do you agree or disagree?

Been a while but keep on grinding, Buddeh. Yours. – Randall

Will do, Randall.

Are you talking about Mike Tyson or Tyson Fury?

Mike Tyson gained universal recognition as heavyweight champ by smashing Michael Spinks in one round on June 27, 1988. Photo / The Ring Magazine/Getty Images

If you judge Iron Mike the way the #Salty Society judges Canelo, the Brooklynite’s two best victories – KOs of hall of famers Larry Holmes and Michael Spinks – have to be dismissed. Holmes was “old” and Spinks was “small.”

Thus, Canelo’s win over GGG, a future hall of famer to be sure, is more significant – UNLESS you considered Golovkin to be “old” in 2018. If that’s the case, who knows!? All things being equal, maybe Tyson’s got the better victories because he crushed both all-time greats. Canelo barely edged Golovkin in the rematch.

If you’re talking about Tyson Fury, the Gypsy King might have a slight edge over the Ginger King with his upset UD over heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko. After all, Fury clearly outpointed The Ring/lineal/unified champ and future hall of famer. However, Klitschko-Fury was a HORRIBLE fight. Canelo-GGG2 was Ring’s 2018 Fight of the Year and I loved watching every minute of it. So, I’ll give the edge to Canelo, triggered #salty bastards be damned!

 

BEST UNDERDOGS OF 2019

Dougie,

We’ve got a big night of fights tonight, but I have to ask question about 2019 before 2020 gets moving too quickly.

Who is your favorite underdog of 2019 that you would like to see fight again in 2020? This is a little different than best upset – for which there were a lot of entrants last year – and more about which guy was brought in to be an opponent, made a good showing for himself and deserves another day in the sun.

Dennis Hogan – he got his 2nd title shot against 160 Charlo, though I’d like to see him against the winner of Teixiera-Castano.

Matt Korobov – what a horrible 12 months he has had, though I think he could be a contender against the top 10 160 pounders. I’m still a little salty about his decision loss to 160 Charlo and think he should be defending WBC champ at this point.

Lionell Thompson – dropping Uzcategui in the first round with a patient right hand was tremendous, hope to see him get a big fight.

John Ryder – I had his losing 7-5 with Smith based solely on effectiveness of punching, but he deserves another shot

There were some other Shobox-level prospects that could make the list as well. What other underdog/B-side do you hope to see again in 2020?

Thanks for your consistent great work. I wish you a weekend free of salty complaints. Also, let’s hope for a clear Daniel Roman victory that sets up another 122-pound unification tonight! – Phil, DuPont, WA

Murodjon Akhmadaliev celebrates winning two 122-pound world title belts. Photo by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing USA

It wasn’t Roman’s night, although I thought the fight could have gone either way by a point or two. Regardless, Murodjon Akhmadaliev is a worthy unified champ and the type of competitor who would love to collect the other two major 122-pound belts. I’m tellin’ ya right now, Akhmadaliev and all of those other members of the Uzbeki-Clan trained by Joel and Antonio Diaz out in the hot Indio, California desert are gonna be a problem for the elite fighters in several weight classes.

Anyway, the underdog of 2019 that immediately comes to my mind that I want to see get another shot at the bigtime is Colombian heavyweight Oscar Rivas. Last year he shocked streaking former title challenger Bryant Jennings and then gave top contender Dillian Whyte hell for 12 rounds. In 2020, I wanna see the Montreal-based banger test the heart and resolve of the come-backing Andy Ruiz, or battle Michael Hunter for a mandatory shot at one of the major belts, or face the winner of the proposed April Dubois-Joyce showdown.

I’d also like to see junior welterweights Ismael Barroso and Steve Claggett receive some well-deserved opportunities in 2020. Both fought fringe contender Yves Ulysse Jr. on Golden Boy’s Thursday Night Fight series. Claggett dropped a close UD in a good fight, Barroso outworked and outpointed the tricky southpaw. Both 140-pound veterans could serve as gatekeepers against legit fringe contenders (such as Amir Imam or Chris Algieri) or up-and-comers (such as Arnold Barboza Jr., Luis Feliciano or Batyrzhan Jukembayev).

Tureano Johnson (left) rakes Jason Quigley with a left hook during their "Thursday Night Fights" main event. Photo by Tom Hogan-HoganPhotos/Golden Boy Promotions

Tureano Johnson (left) rakes Jason Quigley with a left hook during their “Thursday Night Fights” main event. Photo by Tom Hogan-HoganPhotos/Golden Boy Promotions

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention middleweight veteran Tureano Johnson, who overcame inactivity (due to injuries and fights being pulled out last minute, like with David Lemieux) and a poor showing (a draw with journeyman Fernando Castaneda) last year to thrash unbeaten Irish standout Jason Quigley. I’d love to see TJ clash with your boy Korobov in a fun stylistic mesh-up (pressure fighter vs. boxer) of “old heads” (Tuerano is 35, Matt is 37).

 

PEDS

Afternoon Dougie,

Been reading over Thomas Hauser’s articles on The Ring website the last couple of days. For anyone who hasn’t read over them, they are well worth a read. However, they highlight some very obvious issues in combat sports as a whole, none more so than PEDS.

The fact that New York aren’t willing to exercise their right to suspend a fighter like Jarrell Miller, that another commission would grant Chavez Jnr a license after he refused a VADA test, that the world’s biggest kickboxing promotion Glory would cut ties with their drug testing agency after three of their biggest fighters tested positive and the inconsistency of drug testing programs such as the WBC’s clean boxing program or the USADA-run program utilised by the UFC shows a disgraceful lack of concern towards fighter safety and PEDS.

In 2020 this a f*ucking disgrace.

Given your knowledge and insight to the sport, I was looking for your opinion on the following points in regards to PEDS.

  1. Should all combat sports athletes be tested 365 days a year, randomly by VADA (this is what I believe).
  2. Who should educate fighters, commissions, promotions, managers and fans about PEDS so we can distinguish between fighters like Dillian Whyte (who I do believe regarding his recent positive test, even though not telling Oscar Rivas before the fight is messed up), Canelo/BJS (who we should be suspicious of given the timing of their positive tests but gave reasonable explanations) to guys like Jarrell Miller (who is clearly taking PEDS and should be banned from the sport).
  3. Who should review cases of positive tests and hand out suspensions that has the knowledge and expertise to hand out appropriate suspensions, as it seems to me that there is too much inconsistency between athletic commissions (see above regarding Chavez) and drug testing agencies (see how inconsistent USADA are with their suspensions and knowledge in regards to UFC fighter testing)?

As always, thanks for reading and responding to my questions. It’s much appreciated. – Euan, Dunfermline, Scotland

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and concerns, Euan. I’m glad you took the time to read Hauser’s three-part series on the New York State Athletic Commission. I know it’s an investment of one’s time (investigative features have to be thorough), but Hauser asks some important questions throughout the series, some of which of which have implications that go far beyond the jurisdiction of the NYSAC.

If you want to review the most important questions that Hauser asked, please read his follow-up article, Twenty Questions for the New York State Athletic Commission.

Should all combat sports athletes be tested 365 days a year, randomly by VADA (this is what I believe)? Yes, that’s the only way we’ll know what’s in their systems. But there’s no way it will ever happen without the full support of the athletes, trainers, managers, promoters, networks, commissions, and, most importantly, the fans, who should put their money where their mouths are and either donate a monthly dollar amount to VADA that’s equal to what they pay a month for ESPN+ or DAZN or one lump sum per year that’s equal to a major pay-per-view show. Please visit VADA’s official website and look into how you can contribute. 

Who should educate fighters, commissions, promotions, managers and fans about PEDS so we can distinguish between fighters like Dillian Whyte (who I do believe regarding his recent positive test, even though not telling Oscar Rivas before the fight is messed up), Canelo/BJS (who we should be suspicious of given the timing of their positive tests but gave reasonable explanations) to guys like Jarrell Miller (who is clearly taking PEDS and should be banned from the sport). I think it should be VADA. They’re experts on the drugs athletes use and how these banned substances constitute PEDs, plus they’re experienced and familiar with combat sports participants, promoters, commissions and all the craziness that comes with the business. Educating athletes is major part of VADA’s mission statement, which I’ll re-post here:

Perhaps VADA’s most significant role will be to educate both amateur and professional boxers and mixed martial artists, commissions, trainers and public on the hazards of PED use. We will advise athletes regarding safe and PED-free supplements that can be utilized during training through our web site educational materials, pod casts, YouTube videos and periodic chats with nutritional and conditioning experts. VADA will maintain a hotline for athletes to contact experts regarding legal and illegal substances and training regimens. Experts and athlete volunteers can participate in on-line forums and host educational seminars regarding safe training methods, weight loss and hydration. Our experts will also be available to speak at conferences, seminars and with the press regarding our anti-doping efforts and setting up anti-doping programs.

Lastly, VADA will have confidential, professional counseling and referral services available to athletes that are already at risk of PED use.

Boxing and mixed martial arts can be extremely dangerous sports. An athlete takes his/her life into their hands each time they enter the ring or spar. Besides contributing to an unfair advantage and misrepresentation to the public at large that admires and follows these athletes, the intrinsic dangers are astronomically higher to the opponent and the challenger when PED use is involved. VADA will be a way to make these sports safer when the athletes begin and retire from their career.

Who should review cases of positive tests and hand out suspensions that has the knowledge and expertise to hand out appropriate suspensions, as it seems to me that there is too much inconsistency between athletic commissions (see above regarding Chavez) and drug testing agencies (see how inconsistent USADA are with their suspensions and knowledge in regards to UFC fighter testing)? I believe it’s the responsibility of the commissions, which need to come up with uniform rules and guidelines for regulating drug testing and dealing with anti-doping violations. It starts with strong leadership, executive directors that aren’t afraid to stand up to powerful entities, but it won’t work without proper education.

 

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

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