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Dougie’s Monday Mailbag (the return of Roman Gonzalez and Super Flyweight, Mikey Garcia)

Photo by Ed Mulholland/ Matchroom Boxing USA
02
Mar

RETURN OF THE KING

Dear Mr. Fischer,

The King is back!

Did we see the comeback of the year? Best regards. — Matthias



Comeback of the Decade! And I still say he’s Fighter of the Decade. And I will not accept any talk back from those blind fools that never heard of Gonzalez prior to his HBO appearances. Don’t @ me! It’s not up for debate or discussion.

 

GONZALEZ CHAMP AGAIN

Greetings Dougie –

Very excited for Chocolatito! He handled a bigger, younger undefeated champ and really put his punches together well.

In my opinion he (like Loma & Pacman) are operating one division above their prime weight class.

With that said I am not confident about his chances in rematches with Estrada or Srisaket though I would be pulling for him. In a dream world winning those rematches and retiring as FOTY would be a legendary final chapter.

Do you think he has enough left for them? How does he fare against Ioka or Ancajas? Well wishes. – Jamaal, New Orleans

I think Chocolatito can hang with both of his fellow beltholders. I’d favor him to beat Ancajas and probably view the Ioka showdown as a toss-up. Like you, I’d be rooting loud and hard for Gonzalez (unless I was on press row, then I’d just keep my fingers crossed for the little giant). And I like Ioka a lot.  

Gonzalez is the King in my eyes and always will be, but I’ve got favor both Ring champ Juan Francisco Estrada and his nemesis Sor Rungvisai in those return bouts. Of the two possible matchups, I’d prefer to see Estrada-Gonzalez II (in the greater Los Angeles area, of course).

Very excited for Chocolatito! I can’t even put into words how satisfying it was to see Roman fight his way into prime form (even though his body is clearly years past his peak) and wear down a bigger, fresher, unbeaten world titleholder to a dramatic stoppage. I was emotionally drained after the fight. If I didn’t have to update the website with late-coming videos and articles from Frisco, Texas, I probably would have turned it. Gonzalez regaining a portion of the 115-pound crown was the perfect ending to the evening. (No offense to Mikey and Jessie, who put forth tremendous efforts during their 12-round welterweight bout; but they just seemed a bit one-dimensional compared to Chocolatito.)

Chocolatito still has mad craft! Photo by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing USA

He handled a bigger, younger undefeated champ and really put his punches together well. That’s what Gonzalez does. He’s pressure-fighting volume puncher with brilliant technique and near-perfect inside craft. Yafai was bold and gutsy in trying to beat Gonzalez at his own game but wound up helping the future hall of famer get into his rhythm.

In my opinion he (like Loma & Pacman) are operating one division above their prime weight class. I agree 100%. Gonzalez’s prime was at 108 pounds and he peaked at flyweight.

 

 

CHOCOLATITO

Afternoon Dougie,

Hope things are going well.

MM – James Toney who fought RRJ vs Andre Ward who fought Carl Froch?

Put simply WAR CHOCOLATITO – THE KING IS BACK

All humour aside, the King looked great in his return last night against Kal Yafia. You said on Friday that he would be 50/50 against Ancajas and Ioka but you wouldn’t favour him against Estrada. Last nights result change your opinion? Also what do you think about a match up between him and Nietes?

Harsh result for Kal. First time he fights a top fighter are a forgettable title reign and he gets brutalised. Where does he go from here?

Want to finish with a wee quote “Josh Taylor would knock (Jose) Ramirez the fuck out!” – Regis Prograis – thoughts?

Thanks again for the read and response as always. You know we all appreciate it. – Euan, Dunfermline, Scotland

And I appreciate everyone who reads this column.

I also appreciate Mr. Prograis (probably my favorite interview among all active fighters), but with all due respect to the New Orleans native, as much of a Josh Taylor fan as I am, they gotta fight the fights. I would not count Ramirez out against anybody at 140 pounds, and that obviously includes Prograis and Taylor. We’ll see if Ramirez can handle Viktor Postol as well as Terence Crawford and Taylor did, and we’ll see if Prograis can handle Mo Hooker as well as Jose did.

Hope things are going well. Everything is lovely. Tyson Fury is once again The Ring Magazine heavyweight champion and Chocolatito is a world titleholder once again. All is right with the boxing world.

MM – James Toney who fought RRJ vs Andre Ward who fought Carl Froch? Dre by clear decision, of course. Toney was a weigh-drained zombie for the Jones fight.

Put simply WAR CHOCOLATITO – THE KING IS BACK. I’m LOVING that so many fans and media have adopted my “King” moniker for Gonzalez. It’s about time he was recognized for his greatness.

All humour aside, the King looked great in his return last night against Kal Yafia. I thought he looked a little shaky for most of the opening round, almost like he was just going through the motions on muscle memory, until he landed that sweet body shot just before the bell. But his technique remained textbook and he looked a little sharper in Round 2, and little sturdier in Round 3, punched with a little more leverage in Rounds 4 and 5, and after the halfway point, Yafai was looking worse for wear.

You said on Friday that he would be 50/50 against Ancajas and Ioka but you wouldn’t favour him against Estrada. Last night’s result change your

El Gallo, the Ring Magazine and WBC 115-pound champ.

opinion? No. I love Gonzalez, but I also have the utmost respect for Estrada, who is still in his prime and is deservedly rated in the top 10 of most credible pound-for-pound rankings. Juan Francisco is The Ring/WBC champ, he beat the man who ended Chocolatito’s amazing four-division title reign, and he deserves to be the favorite if that rematch can be made. I’m not always impressed with Ancajas (it was the same deal with Yafai going into Saturday’s fight), but I think Filipino standout has a difficult style for Gonzalez, and youth on his side. Versus Ioka, Gonzalez would share the ring with a veteran who is almost as experienced as he is, and the Japanese star has quicker hands and a penchant for body punching. That’s a tough matchup for Roman (though I think he would rise to the occasion).

Also what do you think about a match up between him and Nietes? I love it. Nietes is a four-division titleholder in the same weight classes as Gonzalez (and Ioka, who he outpointed). He’s old for a sub-bantamweight, but he’s got the craft and experience to go with his age and he seems more preserved than Chocolatito. That’s a good fight. There’s lots of good matchups to be made at 115 pounds.

Harsh result for Kal. He should have gone with his usual stick-and-move-stink-out-the-joint approach, but I glad he didn’t.

First time he fights a top fighter are a forgettable title reign and he gets brutalised. Hey, he tried to take it to a future first-ballot hall of famer and he fell short. There’s no shame in that. He can learn from this and bounce back.

Sir Eddie and Kal.

Where does he go from here? He simply gets back in line. There are three other 115-pound world titleholders that he can aim for, and his promoter (Eddie Hearn), happens to co-promote Ring/WBC champ Estrada and former champ Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (who is The Ring/WBC No. 1 contender). Yafai vs. Charlie Edwards, who recently moved from 112 to 115 pounds, would be an attractive UK matchup and a win would push Yafai up the WBC rankings (where Edwards is currently No. 2). Charlie is a free agent at the moment but most of his career was under the Matchroom banner and I think he still has a good working relationship with Hearn. There’s also former titleholder Carlos Cuadras, who is No. 3 in the WBC and WBO rankings. If Yafai can beat the Mexican vet he can position himself for eventual shots at Estrada or Ioka. And the good think about junior bantamweight/super flyweight is that nobody avoids anybody.

 

GONZALEZ, GARCIA AND MARTINEZ

Dougie,

Return of the King! What a feel-good moment it was to see Chocolatito become a champion again. While he’s past his prime, I thought he looked great keeping the pressure on and stringing together some really nice combinations. Obviously, there’s concern with his punch resistance at this point in his career and I noticed some moments where some shots from Yafai, who’s not known for his power, got his attention. Otherwise, great to see González pull it off.

Mikey looked sharp against a very game opponent. This was a great showing to gain some momentum and put the Errol Spence fight in the rear view. I think a fight between him and Pacquiao makes a lot more sense at this point than against Crawford but Mikey’s got our attention again.

Finally, sign me up for any Julio Cesar Martinez fight! Props to Jay Harris too who came to fight and showed a ton of heart. – Evan

I was already a Martinez booster, but sign me up for the Jay Harris Fan Club, the Welshman can box and fight his ass off. He’ll be back.

What a feel-good moment it was to see Chocolatito become a champion again. For me, it even surpassed Tyson Fury’s triumph the previous Saturday. I’m still on a high.

While he’s past his prime, I thought he looked great keeping the pressure on and stringing together some really nice combinations. He’s still got his style and his form, which is a pleasure to witness. He does so much in every round that even elite fighters like Mikey Garcia seem sluggish and hesitant by comparison.

Obviously, there’s concern with his punch resistance at this point in his career and I noticed some moments where some shots from Yafai, who’s not known for his power, got his attention. I saw that too. I thought the fight was competitive at least through five or six rounds. Gonzalez was outworking Yafai in close and landing the more accurate shots, but the harder, faster punches were landed by the naturally bigger man. I was worried about Chocolatito in the early rounds.

Otherwise, great to see González pull it off. I had faith in The King.

Mikey looked sharp against a very game opponent. He did, but at the same time, I can’t say that he looked like a formidable world-class welterweight.

This was a great showing to gain some momentum and put the Errol Spence fight in the rear view. I thought it was a GOOD showing. I was impressed, but it didn’t make me forget about his one-sided loss to Spence, who didn’t just “outsize” Mikey, he outclassed him. To put it in perspective, I wouldn’t favor Garcia over Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, or even Yordenis Ugas.

I think a fight between him and Pacquiao makes a lot more sense at this point than against Crawford but Mikey’s got our attention again. He’s got YOUR attention. LOL. Pacquiao is the fight he should lobby for. I don’t care how many times he mentions Crawford’s name, I don’t believe for one second that he has any desire to challenge the WBO titleholder.

 

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Hello, Dougie.
Roman Gonzalez once again showed why he’s a first ballot hall of fame boxer. As the only person in the history of the sport to win titles in the four lowest weight classes, he should have been given greater consideration for fighter of the decade – even with the two losses against Sor Rungvisai.

Terence Crawford is a special fighter. Is there any major title holder at 154 that you would favor him against, or at least have a real chance of winning of beating?

MMs
* Gary Russell vs prime Orlando Salido
* Garry Russell vs prime Ann Wolfe (setting gender differences aside)
* Crawford vs the Golden Boy

Cheers. – Dennis- El Centro, CA

Interesting mythical matchups. I’ll go with Siri by split decision, Russell by (safety first) decision, and De La Hoya by close and maybe controversial UD.

Roman Gonzalez once again showed why he’s a first ballot hall of fame boxer. No doubt about it. He was worthy, in my mind, before he even stepped up to junior bantamweight. He was a lock after the Carlos Cuadras fight. The Yafai victory is just a cherry on top of a legendary career.

As the only person in the history of the sport to win titles in the four lowest weight classes, he should have been given greater consideration for fighter of the decade – even with the two losses against Sor Rungvisai. No doubt about that. The BWAA should have had him on the FOTD ballot. However, he’s not the only boxer to win major world titles from strawweight to junior bantam. Donnie Nietes and Kazuto Ioka have also done it. And maybe if we’re lucky, we’ll see these special veterans lock horns before they retire.

Terence Crawford is a special fighter. That’s an understatement.

Is there any major titleholder at 154 that you would favor him against, or at least have a real chance of winning of beating? I can envision him getting the better of WBO beltholder Patrick Teixeira. And I think that’s a fight that can be made.

 

ROMAN GONZALEZ’S INDIAN SUMMER

Hey Dougie,

Having only become a big boxing fan in the last 4-5 years I sadly missed prime Chocolatito and so have had to live off YouTube videos of him in his glory days as the KING. However, it was well worth waking up in the early hours of the morning to watch him systematically break down and bludgeon a talented world champion in Kal Yafai. Watching him live was a real treat and that KO punch will be a KO of the Year candidate in my books. Let’s hope this is the beginning of a special 2nd reign for him.

Huge respect and thank you again for the mailbags! – Tommy, London

Gonzalez when he was Ring’s No. 1 pound for pound rated fighter, prior to his history making showdown with Carlos Cuadras. Photo by Chris Farina – K2 Promotions

Thank you, Tommy. I wish you could have seen Gonzalez live when he was at his absolute best at junior flyweight 8-to-9 years ago, but props to you for checking out the “glory years” of the Little Drama Show on major HBO/HBO PPV shows (often paired with Gennady Golovkin).

I had no idea what Gonzalez had left going into the Yafai fight and I have to be honest and admit that I have no idea what he’s got left after that tough camp and sensational effort/performance. I know he can beat a lot of really good flyweights and junior bantamweights, but I don’t know if he can take down the elite fighters of the 115-pound division. We’ll see later this year. I don’t care what happens next. I’m grateful for what happened this past Saturday and I’ll always view Gonzalez as the KING.

 

70% MICKEY

Doug,

Amazing Stuff! Thanks again for putting in the work on the Mailbag. Quick one today.

Much Respect to both Mickey and to Jessie Vargas for the great effort. I think the judges got it right and MG deserved the victory. It seems to me like Mickey lost something (besides his “O”) in the last year or maybe after the Spence fight… Something was off for Mickey last night. I think the Mickey of 3 or 4 years ago would have put away the buzzed Jesse Vargas of rounds 5 and 7. I also feel like he sees the openings but doesn’t pull the trigger.

Am I reading this right? Any thoughts? – EC

I read it as you did, EC, and I chalk it up to three things: 

1. Garcia fighting 10 pounds over his best weight.

2. Almost one year of inactivity.

3. The gigantic balls of Jessie Vargas.

 

DAZN FIGHT NIGHT WAS ‘SUPER FLY’!

Hi Doug,

Good Fight Night from DAZN yesterday. After a slow start with Joseph Parker who had to deal with an overmatched opponent, we had a barn burner in the flyweight division.

I watched the last 3 fights of El Rey Martinez and he’s become one of my favorites. He is such a powerful and fast boxer, it`s always a joy to watch. I tip my hat to Jay Harris who fought with a lot of heart and landed some good shots but El Rey was too much for him.

Now that Kosei Tanaka is moving up to 115, I guess you guys are putting Martinez up to Number 1 at Flyweight or do you have Mthalane still ahead? For me he is the favorite to unify the titles but a fight against Babyface Mthalane should be a good one.

After that we had the Feel-Good Story of the year. The King is Back!

I was so happy to see that Chocolatito still got it and it was touching to see how emotional Roman got after the fight.

Yafai looked like he was overmatched but I thought he also had a bad match plan. I think he thought Chocolatito was getting old and he thought he could get a knockout if he brought the fight to Gonzalez. That was a bad Decision because it worked in favor of the King.

Now with the King back and Kosei moving up we have one of the most exciting weight classes moving forward.

We have a possible rematch between Chocolatito and El Gallo, we have Tanaka moving up and we still have the Thai Tank and Donnie Nietes as Wild Cards. I can’t wait to see the next fights in this loaded division.

In the Main Event we had a good scrap with Mikey Garcia and Jessie Vargas who always puts up a good fight even when it looks like he has no chance. A good walk-off for a good Fight Night. Now I am looking forward to the WBSS Final in the cruiserweight division and hope we hear some news about the 3rd Season soon. Greetings. – Andy

I’m sure big news on the next season of the WBSS is just around the corner, Andy, probably after the Mairis Briedis-Yuniel Dorticos final on March 21. By the way, the vacant Ring Magazine cruiserweight title is on the line in that excellent matchup.

I’m happy for Garcia, who has earned at least one more monster pay day (he’s had two in a row now that he’s fighting at 147), and proud of Vargas, who always gives 100% and remains a respectable welterweight gatekeeper. He’s the perfect step-up opponent for both Boots Ennis and Vergil Ortiz Jr.

I watched the last 3 fights of El Rey Martinez and he’s become one of my favorites. Judging from Brian Kenny’s unabashed enthusiasm and my Twitter TL, you are part of a fast-growing club, and it’s great to see a non-English-speaking sub-bantamweight fighter get so much love.

Now that Kosei Tanaka is moving up to 115, I guess you guys are putting Martinez up to Number 1 at Flyweight or do you have Mthalane still ahead? As of right now, it appears that the South African veteran will remain in front of Martinez (and Tanaka will hold his No. 1 spot until he actually fights at 115 pounds; same deal for Charlie Edwards, currently at No. 5).

For me he is the favorite to unify the titles but a fight against Babyface Mthalane should be a good one. If that fight were to happen after Tanaka moves up to junior bantamweight, it could very well be for the vacant Ring Magazine flyweight title.

I was so happy to see that Chocolatito still got it and it was touching to see how emotional Roman got after the fight. The man is a saint and too good for the boxing world.

Yafai looked like he was overmatched but I thought he also had a bad match plan. Thank goodness!

I think he thought Chocolatito was getting old and he thought he could get a knockout if he brought the fight to Gonzalez. I agree and I can’t be mad at him for that. He gave it his all. We rip him when he wins in boring or ugly fashion. Why should we rip him for going out on his shield in an entertaining fight against a great veteran?

That was a bad Decision because it worked in favor of the King. I saw it a good decision, even though it made me nervous during the early rounds. LOL.

Now with the King back and Kosei moving up we have one of the most exciting weight classes moving forward. It’s arguably got the most experienced and accomplished top five of any weight class with Estrada, Sor Rungvisai, Gonzalez, Ioka and Nietes (the last three are four-division titleholders). Tanaka will be the young gun of division and he’s already a three-division beltholder. Add to that mix Ancajas, undefeated Andrew Moloney, once-beaten Jeyvier Cintron, Edwards and Yafai, and we’ve got one badass division.

We have a possible rematch between Chocolatito and El Gallo, we have Tanaka moving up and we still have the Thai Tank and Donnie Nietes as Wild Cards. I can’t wait to see the next fights in this loaded division. Looking into my crystal ball, I see Estrada-Gonzalez II (with the winner taking on Sor Rungvisai in a rubbermatch) and a Japanese SuperFight between Ioka and Tanaka (with the winner granting Cintron another shot at the WBO strap). Nietes and Edwards will fight a WBC eliminator to get a shot at whoever comes out on top of the Estrada-Gonzalez-Sor Rungvisai round robin; and Moloney will fight Yafai or Cuadras to guarantee a WBA-mandated shot at the Ring/unified champ. Ancajas will get in where he fits in.

 

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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