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Dougie’s Monday Mailbag (Wilder-Fury2, Canelo Alvarez, Caleb Plant)

Photo by Mikey Williams / TOP RANK
17
Feb

WILDER-FURY2, WHO’S NEXT FOR CANELO?

Hi Dougie,

I am long time reader but 1st time writer! Your mailbags are the highlight of my Monday and Friday lunchtimes, and have really helped educate me with your clued up and unbiased opinions.

I am writing with two questions in mind, the first being on the mega showdown coming up this weekend in Las Vegas! How do you see the Wilder-Fury rematch going? I am slightly favouring my fellow Brit to use his considerable ring craft, defensive skills and counter punching to score a decision win and potentially have Wilder on the canvas with the help of those newly acquired Kronk-gym skills. However, I make that prediction with little confidence, as I don’t think you can predict anyone to beat the Bronze Bomber with confidence due to his sledge-hammer right hand.

My second question is who would you most like to see Canelo face next? Personally, I would love to see him face off with Callum Smith (can you tell I’m British yet?). I think the talented and massive super middleweight would have a good chance of beating the Mexican superstar if he were fully motivated, plus it would be great to see Canelo try and win The Ring title in a third weight class. (I really cannot understand the hate Canelo gets, he’s not perfect, as no boxer is, but he’s super talented but seems to attract the ire of some boxing fans)

Sorry for the long letter! Thank you and keep it up! – Tommy, London

Tommy, sometimes ya gotta let the #salty be #salty. There’s gonna be a crusty contingent of bitchy boxing fans that hold that “Canelo Contempt” deep inside their sour souls until he retires from boxing or until they drop dead from high blood pressure-related illness due to sodium overdose. You just gotta be like The King, Chocolatito, and pray for the cry baby bastards.

Anyway, thank you for finally sharing your questions and thoughts with the mailbag and thank you for the kind words about this long-running column. I couldn’t do it without fans like you!

Photo by Esther Lin / Showtime

How do you see the Wilder-Fury rematch going? I see it going the way you do, Tommy, with Fury sticking, moving, feinting, slipping, shucking, jiving and clowning his way to a close unanimous decision (that will probably be booed in certain corners of the boxing universe); but, like you, I can’t count out Wilder due to warrior’s heart and will, and, of course, his atomic-powered fists. Every time his hands come close to grazing Fury, the entire arena (and everyone watching at home) will expect to see the 6-foot-9 Englishman to melt to the canvas like flour being poured out of a giant sack. That’s what makes the matchup intriguing and it’s what will hold our interest even when and if it becomes uneventful for prolonged stretches.

I am slightly favouring my fellow Brit to use his considerable ring craft, defensive skills and counter punching to score a decision win and potentially have Wilder on the canvas with the help of those newly acquired Kronk-gym skills. I’m not going to be a believer of those “Kronk-skills” until I see it in the ring vs. Wilder. Even if the late, great Emanuel Steward was still alive and training Fury for this fight, I wouldn’t expect much change. There wouldn’t have been enough time for him to work the same magic he did with Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko.

My second question is who would you most like to see Canelo face next? If I could have my wish, boxing politics and bulls__t be damned, it would be Jermall Charlo at 160 pounds in Texas (preferably Houston).

Personally, I would love to see him face off with Callum Smith (can you tell I’m British yet?). That’s a good fight because I know Smith is a big man who won’t pull the stick-and-move routine as Jacobs and Kovalev did last year.

I think the talented and massive super middleweight would have a good chance of beating the Mexican superstar if he were fully motivated, plus it would be great to see Canelo try and win The Ring title in a third weight class. Yes, and if he were to do that, he and his team could truly consider the Mexican star a four-division champ.

 

MUSIC CITY STAND UP!

Hi Doug,

Music City turned out Saturday night in a sold-out Bridgestone Arena for hometown guy Caleb Plant’s second defense of his IBF super middleweight title and his first ever fight in Nashville. You never know what Nashville will buy entertainment and sports wise (this is a football and hockey town) so it was good to see the city embracing boxer Caleb Plant as a hometown hero.

We don’t get many boxing events here, in fact the only high-profile boxing program we have ever had was when the arena first opened in January 1997 with a Don King promoted event that featured (in separate bouts) Frankie Randall, Felix Trinidad, Henry Akinwande, and Terry Norris, (that’s quite a card) so for Plant to sell out the 17,000 seat venue was an unexpected plus for fight fans.

As for the bouts themselves, for me the best undercard fight was local guy Austin Dulay vs Diego Magdaleno. Dulay had lots of support in the arena and around me as well as several of his friends were sitting ringside in my section telling me what a great fighter he was and that he liked to end his fights by knockout. He swaggered into the ring, pumping up the crowd but once the fight started proceeded to do not much more than pose for the entire bout while throwing the occasional counter shot while Magdaleno viciously pounded his body. There were two body shot knockdowns and one low blow knockdown of Dulay for which Magdaleno lost a point. That didn’t matter because in the end it seemed clear cut to me who had won but I was afraid the judges would rob Magdaleno in favor of the local hero. In this case they got it right and Magdaleno was awarded the victory. Dulay had a WTF look on his face at the announcement and there was a lot of cursing by his cornermen. Oh well….

For the main event, I have to admit I had not seen or heard of Vincent Feigenbutz. He was being promoted as a power puncher with a record to match and to give credit he did not fight like he came there to lose. He kept coming forward throwing shots but this was Caleb Plant’s night. He boxed a disciplined fight while throwing punches with snap and bad intentions causing the ref to stop it in round 10. Nashville’s newest sports star dedicated the fight to his family and the city of Nashville and the place went nuts. I only hope the big turnout will be the beginning of more such events in Music City.

The much-anticipated unification between Plant and Benavidez would be a natural for here but the powers that be will probably opt for a bigger venue and I understand that. All in all, though, a good night for fight fans here. – David, Nashville

If the Powers That Be are smart, they will have Plant return to Nashville as often as possible. He put butts in the seats, and it looked like the fans had a blast cheering on the homecoming hero. That’s what it’s all about it.

Well, that’s what it’s mostly about. It’s also about challenges, and Plant hasn’t faced one since winning the IBF title last January, so bring on David Benavidez as soon as possible. That’s a terrific style clash and an even matchup in my view (although I lean toward Plant).

For the main event, I have to admit I had not seen or heard of Vincent Feigenbutz. Don’t feel bad, David. There wasn’t much to see or hear about.

Plant takes it to Feigenbutz. Photo by Stephanie Trapp/TGB Promotions

He was being promoted as a power puncher with a record to match and to give credit he did not fight like he came there to lose. The unrated (by The Ring) German was willing to take punishment. I’ll give him that. But he simply was out of his league with Plant, The Ring’s No. 2-rated super middleweight. (Seriously, though, how does the IBF justify ranking Feigenbutz No. 3 among super middleweights?)

We don’t get many boxing events here, in fact the only high-profile boxing program we have ever had was when the arena first opened in January 1997 with a Don King promoted event that featured (in separate bouts) Frankie Randall, Felix Trinidad, Henry Akinwande, and Terry Norris, (that’s quite a card) so for Plant to sell out the 17,000 seat venue was an unexpected plus for fight fans. I remember that show (wasn’t it on regular Showtime?). I tuned in for Trinidad and Norris, but I was kind of bummed to see Frankie Randall lose his WBA 140-pound belt to Khalid Rahilou. That was the beginning of a long and depressing stint as a gatekeeper/journeyman for “The Surgeon,” who was such a marvelous and entertaining technician when he was at his best.

As for the bouts themselves, for me the best undercard fight was local guy Austin Dulay vs Diego Magdaleno. Tough break for Dulay, but I’m happy for Magdaleno, a hard-working veteran who may have earned a few pay decent days as a 135-pound gatekeeper. Dulay can bounce back. He’s only 24 and that was his 16th pro bout (and he’s only lost to Maggy and the precocious Chris Cobert). He can learn from the experience he gleaned from going 10 rounds with a seasoned former title challenger.

 

PROUD CANELO HATER CHECKING IN

Dougie,

I’m way behind on my reading! I just finished your article from the February issue of The Ring, “How to properly hate on Canelo.”

I’m almost ashamed to say, “Hi my name is Scott and I’m a Canelo hater.”

It’s almost, but not completely ashamed…while I can’t help giving him credit for his victory over Kovalev, it’s hard to consider him a Champion of that or really any Division (except possibly Middleweight). Here’s the questions that all of us haters must wrestle: has Canelo ever clearly beaten a top guy in his prime? In other words, had he ever truly been THE MAN at any weight class? If you answered no to either one, then it’s hard not saying yes to this question: is Oscar cherry picking his opponents?

For the record, I do give credit where it’s due: fighting GGG twice gets credit, but I scored the first fight for GGG and the second a Draw. If they fight a 3rd time, then I have no doubt Canelo would win, but I have to wonder if my hate is too deep now.

I want nothing more than a clearly unified champion. I just want Canelo to pick a Division and clean it out! Who do you want next for Canelo?  He looked good taking out Kovalev, but I think he’s too small for the other Champions (Beterbiev and Bivol), so Callum Smith at Super Middleweight is who I want to see. I think 168 has enough fights for him and GGG at Middleweight is past it’s shelf life for me. It could be entertaining for a bit, but I think the outcome is clear. You?

Thanks for your time! I love The Ring Magazine and sometimes buy old issues for vacation just to revisit the past. Please keep it alive! – Thanks, Scott

Thanks for the kind words, Scott, keeping the magazine alive is half of my job. But don’t fret. I’ve got lots of plans and brand-building business ventures in the works that should see The Bible of Boxing through to it’s 100th birthday (in just two years).

Thanks for taking the time out to read my Ringside column from the February issue, and thank you for not taking it too seriously or personally as a few #salty nuts have.

I’m almost ashamed to say, “Hi my name is Scott and I’m a Canelo hater.” Admitting that you have a problem is the first step to recovery, Scott, but if you’re comfortable hating Canelo and you’re willing to “own it,” then by all means… get your HATE ON whenever the Ginger King makes his twice-a-year appearance. As long as you make it about your dislike for the Mexican star and you don’t try to pretend that you’re defending the sanctity of boxing with your opposition to anything and everything he does, I’m cool with it.

It’s almost, but not completely ashamed…while I can’t help giving him credit for his victory over Kovalev, it’s hard to consider him a Champion of that or really any Division (except possibly Middleweight). Why wouldn’t you give him credit for winning a major 175-pound title? He knocked Kovalev, the WBO beltholder, out in 11 rounds.  

Here’s the questions that all of us haters must wrestle: has Canelo ever clearly beaten a top guy in his prime? Why is that such an issue with Canelo? Some guys have styles that lend themselves to close fights when they’re in with world-class or elite talents. See Badou Jack for a recent example. But we don’t give Jack s__t for being held to a draw all the time or for dropping a razor-thin split decision. We feel bad for him. We root for him. But most importantly, we recognize the quality of his opposition. Let’s take a look

Toney had to settle for a majority decision victory over McCallum in their ’92 rematch. Photo / THE RING archives

at a future hall of famer/arguably all-time great: James “Lights Out” Toney. Did the boxing world give him a hard time for struggling to split-decision nods against Merqui Sosa and Reggie Johnson (who dropped him) in 1991? Did fans spit on him because he was trailing on points before he clipped Michael Nunn to win the IBF middleweight title? Did the media doubt him because Mike McCallum held him to a draw in the same year? NO! HE WAS THE RING’S 1991 FIGHTER OF THE YEAR!!!!! The boxing world wasn’t so damn #SALTY back then! Fans AND media were smarter! They could put things into perspective. Less than two months after the brilliant performance against McCallum, Toney was lucky to win a split decision against Dave Tiberi. Some called it a robbery and were mad as hell at the judges. You know what they didn’t do? They didn’t blame Toney! They didn’t hold a damn grudge for YEARS! (Sure, some gave him s__t for gaining too much weight between fights and then draining himself to make 160, but they didn’t accuse him or his promoter or management of influencing the judges.)

In other words, had he ever truly been THE MAN at any weight class? I think he’s the man at middleweight right now. As much as I love Golovkin, and even though I don’t think he lost to Canelo, I wouldn’t pick GGG to beat the Guadalajara native in a third bout. And I wouldn’t favor anybody in the 160-pound division to beat Canelo. I think he has the potential to be THE MAN at 168 pounds, but he’s got to prove himself against the titleholders and top contenders.

If you answered no to either one, then it’s hard not saying yes to this question: is Oscar cherry picking his opponents? You guys should know by now that Canelo is his own boss. Good grief. You can’t gossip about him being on the outs with GBP and still claim that they call the shots.

For the record, I do give credit where it’s due: fighting GGG twice gets credit, but I scored the first fight for GGG and the second a Draw. Same here, but I’m not #salty about Canelo getting a majority decision. Some of you members of GGG Nation need to let it go. Seriously.

If they fight a 3rd time, then I have no doubt Canelo would win, but I have to wonder if my hate is too deep now. If you’re that caught up in your emotions about the Canelo-GGG rivalry, you probably shouldn’t beat the drums for a third match.

I want nothing more than a clearly unified champion. I just want Canelo to pick a Division and clean it out! Ugh. You guys go ga-ga for everybody else that division hops, you make them pound-for-pound players even when they haven’t faced opposition HALF as good as Canelo’s, but you want the Mexican to stay put in one weight class.

Who do you want next for Canelo? Charlo or Smith. I would be OK with Murata. He faced a top-rated middleweight and light heavyweight last year. He can take a “breather” with a lower-top-10 contender in his first bout of 2020.

I think 168 has enough fights for him and GGG at Middleweight is past it’s shelf life for me. It could be entertaining for a bit, but I think the outcome is clear. You? I’d favor him against anyone from 160-168, but I still want to see those fights against some of the top-five, especially the matchups that lend themselves to action.

 

CALEB PLANT AND THE WAITING GAME

Evening Dougie,

Thanks for your response to my last question regarding PEDS and giving me the opportunity to put my money where my mouth is. Have followed your advice and will now be donating to VADA as you suggested.

Wanted to ask you about two things, the first being Caleb Plant.

Great performance as expected on Saturday. How do you think he does against Benavidez and why do sanctioning bodies put such pointless contenders in their rankings (for the most part)? For what it’s worth I think Plant takes a split decision in a match up with Benavidez, with the fight looking like a more competitive version of Plant’s fight against Jose Uzcategui.

Second, wanted to ask about wait times between fights. This is coming from frustration at Anthony Joshua’s fight with Pulev being targeted for June, despite Josh fighting in December and taking no damage. Same goes for the fight between Jose Ramirez and Victor Postol. Cancelled due to the unfortunate circumstances in China but is there any need to reschedule a fight due in January for May, especially since both guys were in camp and ready to go? Seems like an unnecessary amount of time to wait in my opinion.

Thank you again for taking the time to read and respond to my questions and everyone else who writes in. Gonna speak for everyone who reads the mailbag and tell you that we appreciate it a great deal. – Euan, Dunfermline, Scotland

Thanks for the very kind words, Euan.

Regarding the waiting game, I think the main problem is that world-class boxers of this era seldom fight more than twice a year. But the competing platforms (DAZN, ESPN and the PBC with both FOX and Showtime) and the crazy amount of guaranteed money they’re willing to shell out to keep fighters on “their side of the street” is also a big factor. Back in the day, if a quality boxer wanted to make a lot of money (or if they made good money per bout but also spent it fast) they had to fight often. I just mentioned James Toney in my response to a previous email. He fought six times in 1991, the year he emerged as a world-class talent, and he didn’t slow down once he became a champ or even when he started cracking pound-for-pound lists. He fought five times in ’92, SEVEN times in ’93, five times in ’94 and six times in ‘95. Lights Out was a busy champ, but his activity wasn’t out of the ordinary. It’s inconceivable in this era. Caleb Plant said he wouldn’t entertain a shot at Canelo in May because he needs more than two months to rest up and then prepare. Fair enough. It’s his body and his career, but I can’t imagine Toney turning down Canelo for that reason.

On to Anthony Joshua. He fights twice a year, and correct me if I’m wrong, he made between $60-$80 million from his last bout.

Another factor for AJ is the DAZN platform. They need to retain their monthly subscribers, so they don’t want to have too many stars bunched up together in the same month (followed by a month or two of just hardcore-fan fights). DAZN wants to spread out it’s “name-brand” fighters. So, with Canelo likely returning in May (and GGG’s return being pushed back to April or May), AJ has to go either March or June. And with his money and awesome lifestyle, why is he gonna be in a hurry to jump back in the ring?

Now, with Ramirez-Postol, I think the hold-up was mainly about getting reset after the China debacle and finding the right venue, but I think the fact that Top Rank has both Shakur Stevenson and Michael Conlan fighting on separate dates in March, they needed to push Ramirez’s return back to a later month. And don’t forget, these promoters sometimes have to consider the crowded schedules of their rival companies… it’s not a good practice to constantly counter-program the competition.

How do you think (Plant) does against Benavidez and why do sanctioning bodies put such pointless contenders in their rankings (for the most part)? I think Plant will more than hold his own against Benavidez, who I admit looks very formidable, and the reason the sanctioning bodies place fake contenders like Feigenbutz in their rankings is their promoters/managers are willing to pay the sanctioning fees.

For what it’s worth I think Plant takes a split decision in a match up with Benavidez, with the fight looking like a more competitive version of Plant’s fight against Jose Uzcategui. I can see that outcome. I can even envision a clear-cut decision won by Plant.

 

 

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.