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Dougie’s Friday mailbag (Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder, Chocolatito’s return, Garcia-Vargas)

Down goes Wilder.
28
Feb

IMMEDIATE REMATCH A BAD IDEA

Hey Doug,

Like everyone else even a few days later the most compelling story in boxing is Fury/Wilder 2, but now it seems like for some pretty strange reasons. By now everyone knows that Wilder is saying several things: 1) He intends to exercise the rematch clause, 2) He’s upset the fight was stopped and 3) He’s blaming his performance on his costume, the ref, and about everything other than the fact he just got out-smarted, out punched, and out-boxed.

I’m curious if you see all these things mixing into a no-hope situation if they press for an immediate rematch. With no interim fights, there’s no realistic chance to work on any kind of effective strategy to change the result we saw Saturday. While at his age, I’m doubtful any meaningful technique changes are likely, it seems like a suicide mission to go into another fight thinking the exact same plan has any chance of success. Then, you’re either going to have one of two things in camp. Either Breland is gone and you have a shake-up or you have camp members with a tense relationship. Either one doesn’t bode well for a focused trainin camp. Add that to the “this seems like delusion” comments about the costume and ref having a decisive impact on the outcome, and this looks like there’s not much to make anyone optimistic about his chances in a rubber match.



On top of that, and I’ve been wrong about public interest before, how could a rematch come close to the interest Saturday’s fight financially? It’s my opinion, and only that, when it comes to rematches it makes way more sense for everyone involved that Fury fight Joshua next, Wilder gets a few interim fights to look impressive, then do the rematch, or if Joshua beats Fury…it’s a fresh fight that will have interest and momentum behind it with 2 fighters coming in with some wins in a row. Wilder blows some guys out and the public’s short memory will think “Bomb Squad” just had an off night.

My final thoughts are these: Of COURSE, Wilder wants the rematch. He’s a proud warrior. However, if the people around him care at all about his continued career and possibly his health, an immediate rematch doesn’t seem wise. If he loses twice consecutively his career is in a tailspin. If they do insist, I question if those around Wilder have his best interests in mind. – MT from OC

That’s a fair question, MT. I think the people around Wilder do have his best interests in mind, many care about him on a personal level, and some love him like family. However, Wilder is the boss and most of those around him have a “Yes-Man” mentality or are just happy to be part of Team Bomb Squad. They’ll keep their thoughts to themselves if they think he’s doing something wrong or making a mistake. Wilder is a strong-willed/stubborn individual who obviously does what he wants in terms of training, fight-week preparation, and, ahem, walk-in attire. There’s nobody around him willing to risk their positions by upsetting him in order to tell him what he needs to hear. So, if Wilder really wants to go directly into a third bout with Fury, my guess is that everybody around him is going to be along for the ride and hope for the best. It is what it is.

Regarding public interest in an immediate third match, I agree with you, I think it’s a hard sell. Wilder-Fury is doing fairly well, around 750,000 PPV buys (and it may end up around 800,000 when all the buys are counted from In Demand, DirecTV, Dish Network, ESPN+ and the FOX Sports app), but it fell short of the high expectations of the promoters involved who had hoped for at least 1 million buys (and needed around that number, maybe a little more, in order to break even). If the rematch did something like 1.5 to 2 million PPV buys and the fight was competitive and entertaining, I would totally understand an immediate return bout and would probably beat the drums for it, but we were all treated to the one-sided beating of Wilder.

Fury is a bigger star because of the outcome of the rematch, but Wilder comes out of that event looking physically and mentally fragile. Again, it’s gonna be a hard sell getting the public hyped up for bout No. 3 in the summer.

Eddie Hearn has proposed that Wilder take step-aside money to allow for Fury vs. Anthony Joshua in June or July, while the American recovers and takes a tune-up bout before challenging the winner in November. It sounds like a reasonable plan to me, but boxing is not a rational business or sport.

By now everyone knows that Wilder is saying several things: 1) He intends to exercise the rematch clause… That’s fair. It’s risky, but I can’t fault him for thinking that he just had an off-night and that he can catch an unprepared Fury off of a victory lap in the summer. His problem is that he doesn’t seem like one to make adjustments, and the danger of his vaunted power is good motivation for Fury to keep his focus and his nose clean.

2) He’s upset the fight was stopped… That’s normal. I would expect nothing less from a destroyer like Wilder, but it was absolutely the right call by Mark Breland and, truth be told, referee Kenny Bayless should have ended it before the white towel was tossed in the ring.  

3) He’s blaming his performance on his costume, the ref, and about everything other than the fact he just got out-smarted, out punched, and out-boxed. It’s not a good look, but it’s also normal. Some all-time great heavyweight champs have made ridiculous, paranoid excuses after their bubbles were burst. Excuses are part of boxing.

I’m curious if you see all these things mixing into a no-hope situation if they press for an immediate rematch. Listen, as dangerous as Wilder is, and as average as Fury looked in the Otto Wallin fight, I still had to go with The Gypsy King in the rematch (even with all the X-factors, such as the healed state of the cut eye, the reportedly damaged ankles, and the switch in trainers). At the end of the day, he’s the smarter, more versatile boxer, and he’s a little bit crazy, which is something that often throws off menacing, intimidating punchers. I won’t count Wilder out in the third bout, but I have a lot more confidence in Fury the third time around and Team Bomb Squad is not instilling a lot of confidence in me with the way they handled their man fight week and post-fight.

With no interim fights, there’s no realistic chance to work on any kind of effective strategy to change the result we saw Saturday. I agree. And I doubt that Wilder is willing or capable of changing up his game as much as Fury did for the rematch.

 

FURY-WILDER AFTERMATH

Like most I had Fury winning the first fight by 3 or 4 points. In the second fight I gave Wilder round 2 before the merciful stoppage. Fury was gracious after both fights. The same can’t be said for Wilder who is blaming his ridiculous costume, his co-trainer, and coming up with conspiracy theories to explain his beat down. He wanted to go out on his shield? He should be grateful he didn’t go out on a stretcher! How many times have we seen corners allow a beaten man to continue? Too damned many is the answer.

This is the same man who said, “I am your Mohammed Ali. I am your Joe Frazier.” And then, “I want a body.” What the hell? He’s no Ali or Frazier. And “wanting a body” is a thoughtless and stupid thing to say.

He wants a rematch? Fine. He’ll lose a third time. – Paul Panza, Portland Oregon

It’s very possible, Paul, perhaps via early rounds stoppage if he can’t figure out how to earn Fury’s respect.

No, Wilder is no Ali or Frazier. And Jay Deas is no Angelo Dundee or Eddie Futch. I’ll leave it at that.

 

RETURN OF THE KING, FURY IN THE P4P

Hi, Dougie. What a season for boxing fans! 2020 started very well!

So, González is gonna try a world title again. If we were talking about a prime González, I would not give Yafai a chance. But here we have a González who lost badly to Sor Rungvisai in 2017, and had two years of very little activity (facing poor competition). How do you see this fight? Are we about to see González reaching the top of the world one more time? And if he does that, how do you see him facing Ancajas, Estrada and Ioka?

I was very surprised when I saw Fury didn’t replace Manny Pacquiao in the P4P ranking. He completely outclassed and outboxed Wilder, in a quite impressive performance. Honestly, not only Fury, but other guys (like Josh Taylor, Berchelt, Tanaka) should be ahead of the Filipino legend in the mythical rankings. What are your thoughts about an eventual Fury’s inclusion in the top 10? – André S.

Team Tyson Fury. Photo by Ryan Hafey / Premier-Boxing-Champions

I think Fury is worthy of a top 10 pound-for-pound ranking right now, but I don’t know why he or anyone else would give a damn about the mythical rankings when he’s THE MAN in boxing. The pound-for-pound concept was devised to shine a light on talented lighter-weight fighters that were lost in the large shadow cast by the heavyweight champion of the world. Traditionally, the heavyweight champ is the “World’s Strongest Man” or the “Baddest Man on the Planet,” as Mike Tyson put it. The heavyweight champ holds the what used to be called “The Biggest Prize in Sports.” In other words, he’s on top of the world, and Tyson Fury certainly is. He is the tallest, heaviest elite boxer in the sport. He’s the biggest of all world-class boxers, so naturally, it’s assumed that he can beat everyone. Why would a guy like that need to be ranked in the pound-for-pound, conceivably between someone like Juan Francisco Estrada and oldman Pacquiao? That’s pointless. Fury is The Ring/lineal/WBC heavyweight champ. He’s bigger than “pound for pound.” You guys gotta stop geeking out so much.

Regarding Pacquiao, I agree with you, I’d have the 40-year-old future first-ballot hall of famer pushed out in favor of Josh Taylor, but enough members of The Ring Ratings Panel were awed by his victory over Keith Thurman to want to keep him at that No. 10 spot. Personally, as much as I love Keith, I think they’re forgetting that the Floridian was inactive for a long time and didn’t look like a world-beater struggling with Josesito Lopez prior to fighting the Senator. But I know how they think: They say Thurman is more accomplished that Regis Prograis (Taylor’s best win) and a better boxer, pound for pound, than Wilder. P4P logic is maddening, which is probably why so many of you nut cakes obsess over it.

So, González is gonna try a world title again. If we were talking about a prime González, I would not give Yafai a chance. I hear ya, but here’s the thing, Dre, Gonzalez’s prime was at 108 pounds. He was pushing it at flyweight (112 pounds). At 115 pounds, he was really overextending his body, and that’s especially true now.  

But here we have a González who lost badly to Sor Rungvisai in 2017, and had two years of very little activity (facing poor competition). How do you see this fight? I love me some Chocolatito. He is and always will be The King, but I have to consider him one big question mark going into this title challenge for the reasons you listed out. However, I’ve been told that he’s looked good in camp. Of course, it was his new coach (Marcos Caballero) who told me that a few weeks ago, and he knows how much I admire the future hall of famer from Nicaragua.

Are we about to see González reaching the top of the world one more time? I hope so. I’ll be rooting for him.

And if he does that, how do you see him facing Ancajas, Estrada and Ioka? If he can stay on top of a tall, rangy stick-and-mover like Yafai and outwork/outbox him to a decision, I’d say that he’s got too much for Ancajas. I’d favor him vs. the Filipino beltholder. However, I’d favor Estrada to beat my hero via decision, and I think it would be a toss-up with the Japanese four-division titleholder.

 

WILDER AIN’T NO BUM

Word up Doug. As a Brit Tyson Fury fan I felt compelled to write in for the strangest of reasons, in defence of Deontay Wilder.

All I’ve heard this week is “Wilder was exposed, he’s a fraud, he’s a bum!”. Wow, the speed at which the American boxing press and fight fans have jumped ship on the guy is really sad to see. Come on guys, Wilder’s limitations have been on display since day one of his career, but you know who couldn’t expose them? The 42 opponents he dusted on route to facing Fury. And let’s be honest, Fury didn’t expose Wilder in their first fight either, that’s what made last weekend’s result so surprising.

Despite all his flaws Wilder is an explosive athlete with a good engine, he’s tough, he’s got a chin, mad heart, and that planet destroying right hand. Say what you want about his weaknesses, the strengths he does have still add up to a special fighter, one who reigned undefeated as WBC champion for 5 years, and he deserves respect. Wilder ain’t no bum. If that were true, then it wouldn’t have taken such a special fighter to undress him.

Anyway Doug, what do you think the future holds for Wilder? I would really love to see him come back from this because I still think he knocks out every heavyweight not named Tyson Fury. – Martin, Nottingham, UK

You’re absolutely right about the 180-degree turn so many boxing fans have made on Wilder, many of whom lauded him as the greatest puncher ever going into the Fury rematch. But that’s sports for ya, and that’s also how the “puncher’s mystique” works. The unbeaten KO artist is invincible until undressed or somebody beats them to the KO punch. Fury did both to Wilder on Feb. 22. Had Wilder taken the high road and just congratulated Fury and said it wasn’t his night, I think he’d have more supporters like you in defeat. But the excuses he’s made and the things he and Deas have said about Breland leave a bad taste in the mouths of most fans.

Anyway, I don’t know if he can beat Fury, but I hope Wilder can get it together and make a successful comeback. I’d love to see him tangle with Joshua, Joseph Parker, Andy Ruiz, Dillian Whyte, Adam Kownacki, and the winner of Dubois-Joyce (eventually). He makes for good fights.

All I’ve heard this week is “Wilder was exposed, he’s a fraud, he’s a bum!”. I honestly think a lot of hardcore fans are saying that to torture Wilder’s hardcore fans, many of whom were already celebrating his “victory” before the rematch and were talking mad s__t on their YouTube channels, social media and in comment sections everywhere. I don’t think they all truly believe that.

Wow, the speed at which the American boxing press and fight fans have jumped ship on the guy is really sad to see. Yeah, well, let this be a lesson to any current up-and-coming fighter who is getting smoke blown up his ass constantly by cheerleaders and sycophant types. As soon as you lose, they will piss on you.

Come on guys, Wilder’s limitations have been on display since day one of his career, but you know who couldn’t expose them? The 42 opponents he dusted on route to facing Fury. Good point. He might be one-dimensional but that one-dimension is a mother f__ker!

And let’s be honest, Fury didn’t expose Wilder in their first fight either, that’s what made last weekend’s result so surprising. I thought Fury did expose Wilder’s boxing limitations and lack of creativity in the first bout. He just added more offense to the equation in the rematch, which was a risky but brilliant move.

RETURN OF THE KING, GARCIA-VARGAS

Hey Doug, it’s been a while since I’ve written but I’m looking forward to seeing Chocolatito fight for a belt again, and I’m sure you are too.

In his return fight against Fuentes I was very nervous as we didn’t know if he was totally shot or not. Physically he looked slower and a bit soft, but he came through with a devastating KO and had me and my roommate doing a little dance in our dank basement suite lol

In his last fight, his opponent was not even on the level of Fuentes but I thought Chocolatito looked a lot trimmer and we started to see flashes of those torrential combinations from his prime. That was encouraging.

I expect Yafai will use the whole ring, and so we’ll see less combinations as Choco pursues his prey. I’m not too familiar with Yafai but from what I’ve seen, I think Chocolatito still has a good chance of beating him if he comes in as trim as he was last fight.  Do you think this is a coin flip fight or do you favor one of them? I’m leaning towards Choco pulling it off.

As for the main event, it seems it should be Garcia’s to lose. Vargas is a respectable fighter but he doesn’t have the big power to trouble Garcia and his rather orthodox, stationary approach seems the perfect style for Mikey to measure, counter, and pivot around.

A couple of questions though are: how much will the clinical bludgeoning he took at the hands of Spence effect his mojo? Also, from the training footage I’ve seen he’s looked a little lethargic. Training footage is always selective and often misleading, but might he lack motivation for this fight? Vargas is probably hard to get really amped for if you’re an elite fighter, but you also underestimate him at your peril. Sadam Ali and Bradley know that well. – Jack E.

Unless he struggles to make 147 pounds (which is possible, we’ll know for sure with today’s weigh-in), I think Vargas can and will give Garcia a difficult fight. He’s not an elite boxer, but the Las Vegas resident has got a world-class and jab and chin. If he can keep up a good pace and outwork Garcia, he’s got a shot at the upset. However, I expect Garcia, who really is one hell of a fighter, to get the benefit on the official scorecards.

I don’t think the punishing Spence loss will take a toll on Garcia’s body or mind. I think he’s had plenty of time to recover and I believe that he chalks the loss up to just having a bad night (and I’ve heard rumors that he got sick a few days before the fight).

And I can’t see how he wouldn’t be extremely motivated for this fight. He’s getting paid VERY well and a victory sets him up for a possible mega-fight with Manny Pacquiao. At the end of the day, he’s a very proud man. He doesn’t want to lose to anybody.

I’m looking forward to seeing Chocolatito fight for a belt again, and I’m sure you are too. You better believe it! I’ll be praying all day, clutching my rosary beads and lighting candles in church prior to the DAZN broadcast. I’m just kidding. I’ll be eating popcorn and cheering my ass off for the Little King.

In his return fight against Fuentes I was very nervous as we didn’t know if he was totally shot or not. Same here. I didn’t think it was a good idea. I wanted him to ride off into the sunset after the Sor Rungvisai rematch.

The Saintlike Roman Gonzalez attends to Moises Fuentes after reducing the fringe contender to a bloody mess.

Physically he looked slower and a bit soft, but he came through with a devastating KO and had me and my roommate doing a little dance in our dank basement suite lol. And how about how he rushed to his fallen foe’s side to comfort him and rub the blood off his face? That was saintlike. The man is too good for us.

In his last fight, his opponent was not even on the level of Fuentes but I thought Chocolatito looked a lot trimmer and we started to see flashes of those torrential combinations from his prime. That was encouraging. Yes, the year-long rest he was forced to take to heal up from his injuries may have recharged his batteries a little bit. Also encouraging are the positive reports I’ve heard from his camp. I’ve been told by more than one source that Gonzalez has regained that Chocolatitio magic. We’ll see.

 

I expect Yafai will use the whole ring, and so we’ll see less combinations as Choco pursues his prey. The British titleholder has a difficult style for Gonzalez, but the four-division titleholder does know how to cut the ring off and take away a mobile fighter’s wheels (body attack).

I’m not too familiar with Yafai but from what I’ve seen, I think Chocolatito still has a good chance of beating him if he comes in as trim as he was last fight. He’ll be in much better shape and form for this one.

Do you think this is a coin flip fight or do you favor one of them? I’m leaning towards Choco pulling it off. I think it’s 50-50 given the wear and tear on Gonzalez (and the fight being at 115 pounds), but I gotta go with Chocolatito. He’s STILL the KING!

 

RANDOM THOUGHTS

What’s up Dougie?

Can’t wait for Saturday’s card. Really like Julio Cesar Martinez, fun fighter to watch. The return of Chocolatito is what really has me excited. At his best, his technique and combination punching is a thing a beauty. I started watching his fights around 2009/2010 after hearing about how good he was and was linked to Alexis Arguello. I would watch his fights on streaming services that prob gave my computer viruses. They were never in English and sometimes the quality of the stream wasn’t good but I didn’t care… he was that good. I’m glad I got to witness many of his fights before he came to HBO. How you got him and Yafai playing out?

Dunno what to say about Deontay Wilder that hasn’t already been said. The dude has heart, that’s for sure, but someone should of told him (maybe people did) too not talk about the whole costume thing. Bomb Squad? More like Excuse Squad. Sorry couldn’t help it. Kinda reminded me of Klitschko after he lost to either Sanders or Brewster. I believe Klitschko said he thought he was drugged before the fight and that’s why he didn’t perform right. Correct me if my memory is off. I always thought it was because the pressure was unexpected and it made him uncomfortable which is why he tired so quick, along with the punches he took. Nervous energy, being uncomfortable and taking punches is not a good mix.

Wanted your thoughts on so many people in the boxing world getting caught up in Wilder’s power and saying he’s the hardest puncher ever. Many former fighters and journalists said this. It’s obvious the man can punch but imo the best of us can get carried away and caught up in the moment, and I believe that is what happened. Things are easier to see in hindsight but I remember around 2000 and 2001 when I was around 14 years of age getting caught up in the whole Tito Trinidad power thing. Maybe not the best comparison since Tito is a 3 division HOF and was less one dimensional compared to Wilder. Live by the sword, die by the sword… eventually a good boxer will dismantle a power puncher. Hopefully Wilder can bounce back. I heard Big George Foreman is offering Wilder to come stay with him for a bit. Might be a good idea. Thanks, take care. – Ryan, Shaolin, NY

I think the people around Wilder are way too insecure to allow him to live Foreman for any amount of time.

I said it before the rematch (in the mailbag), an unbeaten KO artist is going to have a powerful mystique until somebody outclasses him to the final bell without getting clipped, or somebody zaps him first. And it’s not always the boxer that bursts the bubble. Sometimes it’s a fellow puncher or even an iron-chinned slugger.  

I remember the Trinidad worship very well. The influx of emails I got on him inspired me to start the mailbag column in 2001. He was being compared to Sugar Ray Robinson. I didn’t agree, obviously, but I understood the frenzy. Tito didn’t ice guys with one punch, but he brutalized world-class operators and ruined careers if they could last until the final bell (with the exception of Oscar De La Hoya).

I wasn’t surprised at all that Wilder took on a world-beater mystique by most of the boxing world after back-to-back KO of the Year candidates in 2019, and I didn’t have much of a problem with folks going overboard with the hyperbole, but I kept in mind that Dominic Breazeale was a fringe contender at best (and AJ had already stopped him) and that Luis Ortiz was a plodding technician that was right there for Wilder’s right hand.

Can’t wait for Saturday’s card. It’s a good one from Sir Eddie.

Really like Julio Cesar Martinez, fun fighter to watch. I’m expecting Eddy Reynoso to develop him into something special.

The return of Chocolatito is what really has me excited. At his best, his technique and combination punching is a thing a beauty. He’s the best volume-punching pressure fighter that I’ve ever seen live.

I started watching his fights around 2009/2010 after hearing about how good he was and was linked to Alexis Arguello. If that’s the case then you KNOW that he’s the REAL Fighter of the Decade.

I would watch his fights on streaming services that prob gave my computer viruses. It was worth the risk.

I’m glad I got to witness many of his fights before he came to HBO. Pity the poor saps who missed his pre-HBO prime and pray for the poor deluded fools who deny his greatness.

How you got him and Yafai playing out? Gonzalez winning a close but unanimous (and legit) decision in a competitive boxing match where Chocolatito is on the hunt and Yafai is looking to punch on the fly.

Dunno what to say about Deontay Wilder that hasn’t already been said. Hey, no pressure, dude. You don’t HAVE to say anything about it other than “DAMN, he got his ass kicked,” or “That’s a lame excuse and it’s a bad look to diss Mark Breland.” That’s all that really needs to be said in the aftermath of Feb. 22.

The dude has heart, that’s for sure, but someone should of told him (maybe people did) too not talk about the whole costume thing. Or at least embellish on how much the ridiculous cosplay armor weighs. I woulda said it weighed at least 100 pounds!

Kinda reminded me of Klitschko after he lost to either Sanders or Brewster. I believe Klitschko said he thought he was drugged before the fight and that’s why he didn’t perform right. There were all kinds of goofy rumors, conspiracy theories and excuses coming from Team Klitschko in the aftermath of those unforeseen KO losses (well, I called the Brewster upset, so almost unforeseen). The best/worst was that Wladdy’s cutman rubbed too much Vaseline on his legs, clogging his pores and thus causing his body to overheat, which is why he fell apart vs. Brewster. We can’t make this s__t up!

I always thought it was because the pressure was unexpected and it made him uncomfortable which is why he tired so quick, along with the punches he took. Nervous energy, being uncomfortable and taking punches is not a good mix. Just ask Deontay Wilder.

 

 

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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