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Dougie’s Friday Mailbag (YouTube recommendations, Duran, Toney, De La Hoya)

Roberto Druan was not a natural middleweight, nor was he in his prime by the mid-80s but his ring savvy (on display vs. Marvin Hagler) enabled him to compete. Photo / The Ring Magazine/Getty Images
20
Mar

I ALREADY NEED A FIX

Dougie,

I hope this email finds you and your family well.

These are unprecedented times and yet all I can think about are all the great fights we’re going to miss. There’s little more to say, I’m a junkie and need a fix. I’ve been watching Boxing for 40 plus years now and have been fortunate to see some incredible fights. I’m hoping you might be able to recommend a couple (that might not be as mainstream) available on youtube to help me and others like me fill the void.



I especially want to wish everybody well and to anybody stuck at home because of this, I’m sure Dougie will deliver. Be well. – Scott

I’ll try my best to keep the mailbag going twice a week as always, Scott.

You’ve been following boxing about as long as I have, Scott, and you probably know that I really didn’t become a hardcore fan until the late 1980s, so you probably watched a lot of mid-‘80s fights live that I missed and didn’t see until several years later.

I’m gonna mention two bouts you probably saw, but they’re probably worth another look – Roberto Duran vs. Robbie Sims, a 10-round middleweight bout the Panamanian great lost by split nod in 1986; and James Toney vs. Tim Littles, a 1994 IBF super middleweight title defense that Lights Out won by fourth-round TKO.

I mention these bouts because they’ve been on my mind. Boxing Twitter has been debating who would win a mythical matchup between Duran and Floyd Mayweather Jr. (and you don’t have to ask who I think would win), which strangely enough didn’t make me think of his absolute athletic prime years at lightweight, or even his remarkable 1978-1980 run at welterweight, but rather his paunchy past-prime years as a middleweight from 1983-1989.

And thanks to Associate Editor Tom Gray posting a magazine article that I penned on James Toney’s “Greatest Hits,” I’ve received a lot of feedback on ole Lights Out’s amazing career, including some hardcore heads lamenting that I left out Toney’s desperation (due to a nasty cut he suffered above his left eye) stoppage of then-undefeated Littles. I get it. That was a special showing. Littles was well-schooled (trained by George Benton and Lou Duva) and the better athlete. And he had earned his No. 1 IBF ranking with decisions over amateur rival and future titleholder Frankie Liles, “Ice” John Scully and Antoine Byrd.

I love the Duran-Sims bout because I remember watching it as a teenager (who had hated Duran as a kid) and for the first time really noticing the three-division champ’s ring generalship (his ability to relax under fire, control of distance and tempo, timing, feints, reflexes, etc.), head movement, counterpunching and body punching (notice the number of accurate body punches he landed in the opening round alone).

I couldn’t appreciate all the finer points of boxing that Duran displayed as a welterweight and junior middleweight, or even when he challenged Hagler, because I was a Sugar Ray Leonard fanboy and I could help but view him as “the enemy” whenever he was fighting an American boxer. All my untrained eyes saw was the ferocity and athleticism. But I had to acknowledge that he could box following his respectable showing against Hagler, the feared middleweight champ. And I finally began to see it and accept it with the fight against Sims, who the half-brother of Hagler and a legit 160-pound contender. Sims was the aggressor and more offensively consistent of the two over the 10-round distance. Duran was NOT in top shape. He appeared gassed by Round 4 but continued to display the savviest of defensive moves and economical offense. There’s something special about aging ring generals like Duran and Toney, who were able to compete with and often defeat younger, bigger, stronger world-class fighters with their intelligence, experience and GUTS.

Anyone who hasn’t watched Duran’s late career (‘80s/’90s) bouts against Davey Moore, Hagler, Sims, Vinny Pazienza, and heck, even Sean Fitzgerald (shout out to USA Network’s Tuesday Night Fights), should do so… NOW!

Same deal with Toney’s cruiserweight/heavyweight years in the 2000s – Jason Robinson, Vasiliy Jirov, Evander Holyfield, Sam Peter (first bout) and even an in-shape (Joe Goossen-trained) Dominic Guinn.

While you’re at it, check out another macho, un-PC, ring savvy warrior, who – like Duran and Toney – somehow managed to kick ass WAY past his prime at unnatural weights despite burning the candle on both ends – Erik “El Terrible” Morales. Watch his first fight with Manny Pacquiao (which hit it’s 15-year anniversary yesterday), his majority loss to Marcos Maidana, and the final victory of his hall-of-fame career, his late stoppage of Pablo Cesar Cano.

OK, I think this is enough suggestions until Monday.

 

FOUR KINGS: BEST I FACED

Hey Dougie, hope you are safe and well.

I’ll keep it short and sweet.

Would be great to hear from Hagler, Hearns, Leonard and Duran. – John R.

I think we’ve got BIFs on those kings of the ring and I’m sure we’ll re-post them during this pandemic-forced isolation. And I’ll just put this little teaser out there – we’re currently finishing up a Special Edition magazine focusing on four legendary boxers who engaged in nine iconic fights during the 1980s. It will be available soon.

 

1990S VS 2020 MYTHICAL HEAVYWEIGHT TOURNAMENT

Hi Doug,
The Covid-19 outbreak has given me, like most people, the chance to catch up on classic fights from the past.

I’ve been watching the heavyweights from the 90s, having been properly inducted as a hardcore around 2013 and therefore not seeing quite a number of fights.

My question is if you dropped AJ, Fury, Wilder and Whyte in that mix of great 90s heavyweights who’s coming out on top? Assuming everyone is at their absolute peak after their best win:

1.AJ vs Bowe
2.Fury vs Lewis
3. Holyfield vs Wilder
4. Whyte vs Tyson

1 vs 2
3 vs 4

Also who do you think will go furthest out of the slew of prospects/Olympians we currently have: Dychko, Jalolov, Joyce, Dubois, Yoka, Hrgovic, Ajagba?

Thanks and stay safe. – Conrad, Sheffield

Will do, Conrad.

I gotta go with Dubois, even though Joyce could turn me into an idiot whenever their showdown is rescheduled. But I believe in DDD.

Regarding the mythical heavyweight tournament, I hate to sound like an “old-fogey” but I’m mostly leaning toward the 1990s.

1.AJ vs Bowe – Big Daddy by late stoppage in a sensational fight (I think his jab, fluidity, inside game and having “Poppa Smurf,” the great Eddie Futch, in his corner is the difference.
2.Fury vs Lewis – Gypsy King by close decision in a competitive and dramatic bout that is also dull and ugly in spots.
3. Holyfield vs Wilder – Real Deal by mid-round stoppage in a wild shootout.
4. Whyte vs Tyson – I think Dillian would be a tough out for the post-prison ’90s version of Tyson but the pre-prison’90s version that beat Razor Rudduck twice would have stopped the Body Snatcher late in a very good scrap.

Evander Holyfield (left) vs. Riddick Bowe

1 vs 2 – Bowe by split decision
3 vs 4 We’ve seen this matchup, Commander Vander by late stoppage.

Finals – We’ve also seen this matchup and Bowe at his very best defeats Holyfield in an epic fight. “The winner, from Brooklyn, New York, Riddick “BIG DADDY” BOWE!!!!!”

 

JAMES TONEY

Alright Dougie,

First off, hope you, your family, friends and colleagues are healthy and safe during a troubling time.

Second, thank you to everyone at The Ring staff who are working to provide us with online content during our sport’s quiet schedule right now. We all appreciate it.

Was reading the article posted on the RingTV website today about James Toney’s 5 best moments. First off, how can you not love Toney? Fantastically talented and well-rounded fighter who always challenged himself and fought as often as possible. If he’d been as physically dedicated to the sport as he should have been, he could have been even more special than he already was.

I wanted to ask about how often we see fighters in the ring against how active they were in previous decades. I know I’ve written in and bitched about how little fighters actually fight these days before but it goes without saying, fighting regularly against quality competition (like Toney did in his prime) has far more benefits than this safety first, low risk bullshit that we say these days.

What can be done to get fighters in the ring more often these days? (I’m not naïve enough to think we’ll see anyone fight 6+ times a year but is 3 or 4 times a year really too much to ask?)

MM:

Alexis Arguello vs Ken Buchanan @ 135

Sergey Kovalev (who fought Cleverly) Vs Antonio Tarver

Thanks again, stay safe and healthy. – Euan, Dunfermline, Scotland

Will do, Euan. I gotta go with Buchanan (not a popular pick, I know, but I feel that Arguello was at his best at 126-130 pounds, and Kenny is tragically underrated at 135; plus he had a stick-and-move style that would have troubled the Nicaraguan great) and Tarver by close UD or MD.

First off, hope you, your family, friends and colleagues are healthy and safe during a troubling time. As of now, as far as I know, we’re all good. So far, so good.

Second, thank you to everyone at The Ring staff who are working to provide us with online content during our sport’s quiet schedule right now. We all appreciate it. It’s our pleasure and our duty, Euan. We’ll keep it up until the live fights are back on.

Was reading the article posted on the RingTV website today about James Toney’s 5 best moments. First off, how can you not love Toney? If you followed his career at all in the 1990s and 2000s, you HAVE to love the overweight rascal.

Fantastically talented and well-rounded fighter who always challenged himself and fought as often as possible. Toney could have fought in any era. He would have had Harry Greb’s respect.

If he’d been as physically dedicated to the sport as he should have been, he could have been even more special than he already was. With proper dedication and a Spartan lifestyle, he could have been an all-time great. But the complete boxer-fighter that he developed into and what he accomplished even while burning the candle at both ends is STILL awe-inspiring. He’s sure-fire hall of famer and borderline ATG as is.

I know I’ve written in and bitched about how little fighters actually fight these days before but it goes without saying, fighting regularly against quality competition (like Toney did in his prime) has far more benefits than this safety first, low risk bullshit that we say these days. Well, yeah, activity helps to develop/evolve the fighter and it definitely benefits the business and general health of the sport when high-profile champs (like Toney, Julio Cesar Chavez, Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley and others were in the ’90s), but too many fights aren’t healthy for the boxer. And Toney, who fought 92 pro bouts, definitely fought on too long. I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing him for the magazine article I wrote, but I did not have an easy time understanding him.

What can be done to get fighters in the ring more often these days? (I’m not naïve enough to think we’ll see anyone fight 6+ times a year but is 3 or 4 times a year really too much to ask?) For many world-class boxers, yes, that is asking too much. That’s just the way it is now. Most standouts are going to make very good money once they are aligned with a bigtime promoter/platform, so there’s no financial pressure on them to fight more than twice a year, and many are leery of being seriously hurt or of brain damage, so they want to limit the number of fights they have during their careers.

 

OSCAR DE LA HOYA – WHAT IF?

Hey Dougie,

I hope everything is well with you and you haven’t succumbed to cabin fever just yet.

I was re-watching DLH vs Mayweather and I still think DLH edged it. When they originally fought, I was going for Mayweather since I grew up in a Pro JC Chavez household. When I started to warm up to DLH he fought Sugar Shane Mosley, so I went back to hating Oscar again.

I was watching some of Oscar’s fights which had me wondering how much further do you think he could have gone if he didn’t get stuck on his vices? Do you think he could’ve been more competitive in his fights against Hopkins, Mosley and Mayweather?

Second question who do you think got jobbed more against Mayweather, Jose Luis Castillo or Maidana? (You don’t have to answer that one)

One big question I had was is DAZN going to do any of those closed set matches I’ve been hearing about? They can really make stars and get subscriptions right now that all sports are postponed. Maybe they can broadcast some of those fights from Mexico or other countries that still have cards. I’m kind of desperate for any boxing right now give it one more week and I might want to watch a MMA card.

Well, take care of yourself Dougie and hopefully this whole thing blows over soon. – Joey, Pomona

Something tells me you’re gonna be watching UFC 249 (Khabib vs. Ferguson, wherever it lands) next month before you see any live boxing on TV.  

My guess is that we won’t see any major boxing cards staged in a closed environment/TV studio, as some promoters thought (or hoped) would be possible earlier in the month. The governmental mandates limiting group gatherings that have been recently issued to help control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic just won’t allow it.

I’m sorry to say it, but I think major boxing is on hold AT LEAST through April and it’s very likely to last through May. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for its triumphant return in June.

I was watching some of Oscar’s fights which had me wondering how much further do you think he could have gone if he didn’t get stuck on his vices? I don’t think De La Hoya’s partying really got in the way of his training/ring performances until he was already past his prime (post-2001). I think what really would have helped pushed him from being a hall of famer/borderline great to a legit ATG would have been a partnership with a legendary trainer from the start of his pro career through his prime years.

Do you think he could’ve been more competitive in his fights against Hopkins, Mosley and Mayweather? Yeah, living a cleaner life, mayb have given him enough edge to get the nod many thought he deserved vs. Mosley (in the rematch) and maybe a close nod over Floyd in 2007. However, he was never going to beat Hopkins. He’s not a middleweight. But who cares!? De La Hoya’s career was so accomplished he doesn’t even get credit for what he did at lightweight and junior welterweight. And too many so-called fans forget that he took on the best during his prime years. He faced all-time greats, future hall of famers, former and reigning titleholders and Ring-rated contenders (and beat most of them). Look who he fought from 1995 through 2000 (and this isn’t everybody he faced during that five-year period, just the major standouts): John-John Molina, Rafael Ruelas, Genaro Hernandez, Jesse James Leija, Julio Cesar Chavez, Miguel Angel Gonzalez, Pernell Whitaker, Hector Camacho, Wilfredo Rivera, Ike Quartey, Oba Carr, Felix Trinidad and Shane Mosley. The combined records of these 13 fighters when De La Hoya fought them: 559-16-9. Trinidad, Quartey, Mosley, Hernandez and Gonzalez were all unbeaten and in their primes. Chavez, Camacho and Whitaker were past their primes, but still top fighters (Camacho was ranked at 147, JCC was the reining WBC 140-pound titleholder, and Whitaker was the welterweight and pound-for-pound champ).

Second question who do you think got jobbed more against Mayweather Jose Luis Castillo or Maidana? Castillo, but I always have to note that I scored both fights (narrowly) for Mayweather. Chino came pretty close in his first bout with Floyd; that fight could have legitimately been called a draw. Here’s what Mayweather nuthuggers will never understand about me – if Floyd lost close decisions to Castillo and De La Hoya, and was held to a draw vs. Maidana (all of which is plausible), and his record was 47-2-1 instead of 50-0, I wouldn’t think any different of him. The performances against those three remain the same. Three close fights that didn’t go his way wouldn’t diminish him at all in my eyes.

 

 

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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