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Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Byrd vs. Young, Bud’s rivals, Benny Lynch, Boxing Monthly)

Will this dream welterweight showdown ever happen? Who wins if it does?
06
Apr

OPEN SCORING, CHRIS BYRD VS. JIMMY YOUNG

Hi Doug,

Thanks for keeping the mailbag going in these trying times.

One of the conversations on this forum moved me to watch the Trinidad-Vargas fight again.



Besides it being a great fight there was one more thing: They had open, round by round scoring on the broadcast on your screen after each round, where you could follow exactly how each judge scored. I must say I found that very interesting in a fight with so many knockdowns and points deductions. The judges did a good job on that particular fight even though it wasn’t needed in the end. Great way for new fans to gain some understanding of how fights are scored, watching that broadcast again.

Two questions: 1. How did they pull it off, showing the scores like that, seeing that I have not seen it again? 2. Would you like to see open, round by round scoring? I am not much of a fan of the every four rounds WBC open scoring but for some reason this works better for me.

Watched Chris Byrd’s master class on David Tua as well? How would you compare Byrd to another clever heavyweight, Jimmy Young? Who would have won between them and would it have been a stinker?

If Lennox Lewis fought on after the Vitali Klitschko fight, how would he have done in a rematch and against Wladimir, Corrie Sanders, John Ruiz and Chris Byrd?

I think the version of Lewis who knocked out Rahman in the rematch would beat them all, but then again, would he have been able to reach that form again, nevermind maintain it? The Lewis who showed up in South Africa for the first Rahman fight gets clipped by Vitali in the rematch and Sanders in my opinion.

Stay safe and all the best to you and the family. Regards. – Droeks Malan, South Africa

I think prime Byrd and prime Young were very much alike. They had the same height (6-foot-2) and roughly the same reach, both were at their best weighing between 210-215 pounds, and they had similar styles and boxer mentalities: they were stick-and-move specialists who were not intimidated by the best (and most feared) big men of their eras (nor were they afraid to trade with them on the inside). They had quick hands, excellent reflexes and coordination, fast and sharp jabs, very good counterpunching skills, savvy head- and upper-body movement, and they also fought well off the ropes. They were cagey cuties and they beat some legends of the sport.

Young has the edge in resume because he was at his peak in the mid-‘70s, which happens to be the Golden Age of the heavyweight division. He beat George Foreman and Ron Lyle (twice), almost outpointed Ken Norton over 15 rounds, and dropped a controversial decision to Ali in his lone title shot. Toss in a draw with Earnie Shavers (who had stopped him early in his career) and a decision over Venezuelan fringe contender Jose Luis Garcia and you can see how strong his resume is.

Chris Byrd. Photo from The Ring archive

However, Byrd, a 1992 Olympic silver medalist (at middleweight) who held the WBO and IBF versions of the title, also put together an impressive pro career ledger, by beating Evander Holyfield, Vitali Klitschko and David Tua, taking on Wlad Klitschko (twice), daring to share the ring with the rampaging Ike Ibeabuchi, and holding Andrew Golota to a draw. Not too shabby!

I can envision Young giving Byrd fits in the same manner that Fres Oquendo bothered the Michigan native, but the Philly craftsman was not as awkward as the Puerto Rican contender.

 I’m going to give Byrd the edge in a mythical matchup and pick him by close (maybe majority) decision. I think his southpaw stance and slightly quicker feet would enable him to land his faster, straighter punches from the outside, and I believe that Byrd would be smart enough to aim his left at Young’s stomach. Young was good at avoiding head shots (just like Byrd), but Byrd’s straight left to the body (one of his favorite punches) would have scored and kept Young at range for other punches. Also, I think Byrd was the more active boxer. I don’t have CompuBox stats to back this “eye test” up, but to me it seems that Byrd had the higher punch output per round.  

(Trinidad-Vargas) had open, round by round scoring on the broadcast on your screen after each round, where you could follow exactly how each judge scored. I didn’t watch the live TVKO (HBO’s old PPV arm) broadcast (I was the fight covering it for the House of Boxing website), but I’m pretty sure that the live fight did not feature open scoring after each round. That was only presented on the HBO re-broadcast, which the subscription cable network generally aired one week later. If you found the fight on YouTube, or watched the old international broadcast on South African TV, the re-broadcast production is likely what you watched.

I must say I found that very interesting in a fight with so many knockdowns and points deductions. Yes, in an epic fight like Trinidad-Vargas, where one boxer had to claw his way out of a points-deficit hole (El Feroz), I can see how displaying the official judges’ score tallies after each round could add to the intensity and understanding of the bout.

The judges did a good job on that particular fight even though it wasn’t needed in the end. Agreed. I thought the refereeing was OK, too, until the final round. There was no need for Vargas to get decked like that THREE times. It should have been stopped after the first knockdown in Round 12.

Great way for new fans to gain some understanding of how fights are scored, watching that broadcast again. Yeah, I guess they could learn a thing or two about scoring, if that’s what they’re into… or they could just ENJOY A GREAT F__KING FIGHT and not worry about all that s__t. LOL.  

Two questions: 1. How did they pull it off, showing the scores like that, seeing that I have not seen it again? I don’t think they did that live.

  1. Would you like to see open, round by round scoring? No, I’m not into open scoring with live fights at all. It doesn’t improve the quality of the scoring (which is the most important thing), it detracts from the intrigue, and it has too much of an impact on the fight.

I am not much of a fan of the every four rounds WBC open scoring but for some reason this works better for me. I think it’s OK on replays.

 

CRAWFORD’S NEXT OPPONENT

G’day Doug,

I hope you and your family are doing well through this rotten coronavirus. We’ve all battened the hatches over here on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.

I just read an article on Crawford’s preferred opponents other than Brook.

He listed Pacquiao, Spence, Garcia and Thurman as preferred opponents. This is how I see the results.

Pacquiao – The old lion will be tamed. Crawford is top tier with a younger, less battle-weary body.

Garcia – Crawford is just too polished a fighter for the slower, wide swinging Garcia.

Thurman – One time has the goods, but Crawford has the package and has all round better skills. Thurman is still a live underdog in this one, although he needs a tune up fight first.

Spence – I still give the edge to Crawford in this one, although Spence will give him a very hard fight. I consider Spence to be the greatest challenge in this list.

Take care and until next time take it easy. – Jeff, Australia

Terence Crawford

If only Bud could land one or two of these potential matchups, which sadly remain “dream fights” for him and hardcore fans.  

Like you, I’d favor Crawford, a legit top-five pound-for-pound player, to beat every member of that welterweight Fab Four.  

I think he stops Pacquaio late or outpoints the living legend in a competitive fight, outclasses the rugged Garcia (and I’m assuming it’s Danny we’re talking about) over 12 entertaining rounds, breaks down a game Thurman late in a hotly contested game of cat and mouse, and blasts Spence out in the middle rounds of a wild shootout.  

 

BETTER DAYS AHEAD

Hey Dougie.

Hope you and your family are doing well. Just a few observations and then some mms of course to pass the time. Seems as if we’ve seen pretty much the last of Don King and Bob Arum’s glory days as the top promoters in the sport. Even Main Events is not what they once were. Technology and streaming has changed the way fights are viewed and long gone are the days of closed circuit tv and even Pay Per Views aren’t what they once were. With services like DAZN and ESPN+ do you see them as a good or bad thing for boxing fans? I remember the 80s and 90s cards with 3-4 championship fights, if not, very competitive matchups. Maybe I’m wrong but it seems like we just don’t see that anymore.

MMS:

Salvador Sánchez vs. Marco Antonio Barrera at 126

Naoya Inoue vs. Wilfredo Gomez at 122

Roman Gonzalez vs. Manny Pacquiao at 108

Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Eusebio Pedroza at 126

Alexis Argüello vs. Julio Cesar Chavez at 130

Terry Norris vs. Canelo Alvarez at 154

Marvelous Marvin Hagler vs. James Toney at 160

Be well Dougie. Keep up the great work as always. – Pedro Rodriguez, Pewaukee, WI

Your mythical matchups:

Salvador Sánchez vs. Marco Antonio Barrera at 126 – Sanchez by split (maybe controversial) decision

Naoya Inoue vs. Wilfredo Gomez at 122 – Bazooka shoots down The Monster in the championship rounds of a GREAT fight (especially if the bout is scheduled for 15 rounds).

Roman Gonzalez vs. Manny Pacquiao at 108 – Chocolatito punishes the Filipino Icon to late-rounds TKO victory.

Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Eusebio Pedroza at 126 – I think the Panamanian is a “near-great” but my hunch is that Loma would pull a “B.T. Express” job on his ass and get credit from the official judges in a close but clear UD. The Ukrainian’s deft footwork and movement would trouble ‘El Alacran.’

Alexis Argüello vs. Julio Cesar Chavez at 130 – Chavez by close maybe majority decision in a great fight (12 or 15 rounds). JC Superstar’s underrated head-and-upper-body movement (while pressing) and his incredible chin allows him to get inside and wear down the Nicaraguan great over the second half of the fight.

Terry Norris vs. Canelo Alvarez at 154 – Terrible Terry was my favorite fighter of the early ’90s (I even forgave him for punishing Sugar Ray Leonard, even though I refused to watch that fight), but my hunch is that Canelo would eventually clip him. I’m going with Alvarez by come-from-behind stoppage. Norris’ shaky whiskers and aggressive nature bite him in the ass.

Marvelous Marvin Hagler vs. James Toney at 160 – The Marvelous One by close decision (especially in a 15 rounder) in a brilliant fight. Hagler’s jab, stamina and more consistent punch output allows him to outwork and outpoint the game and crafty upstart, who welcomes the ATG’s smart pressure and aggression.

Regarding DAZN and ESPN+, I think the streaming platforms have generally been good for boxing, especially for the boxers and the fans. If you look at the best fights of 2019, especially the title unification bouts (Hooker-Ramirez, Beterbiev-Gvozdyk, Taylor-Prograis, Inoue-Donaire), most of those bouts were streamed by either DAZN or ESPN+. The PBC gave us an excellent title-unification bout with Spence-Porter, as well an excellent welterweight showdown between Pacquiao and Thurman, but those bouts came at an extra $80 pay-per-view cost.

Still, there are drawbacks. Sometimes the streaming technology is glitchy and that’s the worst thing a hardcore fan can experience, especially during a good fight. Also, more of the general public has access to networks, like FOX and ESPN, and more boxing fans are accustomed to the way Showtime schedules and presents fights. DAZN is still forging its name and reputation in the U.S., so several lower-profile gems that they streamed were overlooked, and sometimes boxing that is streamed on ESPN+ gets lost in their general sports programming shuffle.  

In regard to the lower quality bouts, yes, it’s true that the streaming networks show the entire cards which often means several non-competitive developmental fights, however, I don’t blame the mediocrity of the main bouts on the platforms or the technology. When the best fighters and biggest stars don’t fight each other, I blame the structure of the boxing business (exclusive contracts with the networks or platforms and rival promotional companies not wanting to risk their top fighters or just not wanting to work with each other out of spite). And, sometimes, the blame must fall on the fighters themselves.

 

BENNY LYNCH

How’s it going Dougie? Benny Lynch is a bit of a local legend where I’m from but peopleactually know very little about him. I know he died way too young dueto the booze. 119 fights in a 7 year career – mind-blowing by today’sstandards. Just wondering if you could shed a bit of light on him?What were his best fights? How good was he? Cheers. – Tam

Lynch is one of the greatest flyweights of all time, one of the best British boxers of all time, and definitely one of the greatest Scottish fighters ever. I’d also count him as one of the best boxers of the 1930s. I don’t think he gets as much credit as other British standouts or champs from his era because he didn’t have any all-time great rivals (although beating flyweight standouts Small Montana, Peter Kane and Jackie Brown, among other top contenders of the era is nothing to scoff at) and because he never left the British Isles.

Fellow Scotsman (and hall of famer) Ken Buchanan gets more recognition than Lynch in part because he shared the ring with the ATG likes of Roberto Duran, Carlos Ortiz and Ismael Laguna, and he traveled the world (including New York City, where he developed a following in the early 1970s).

 

BOXING MONTHLY

Hi Dougie,

Hope all is well. Been a challenging few weeks due to COVID-19 (I work for the NHS, so been somewhat fraught at work) and then I find out Boxing Monthly is ceasing to be published; absolutely devastated. Love The Ring, and your mailbag especially, but Boxing Monthly was special to me because it was British orientated (though fully aware and appreciative of the International scene) and because it got me back into boxing (was mega into the Benn/Eubank era but then boxing was swallowed up by Sky – our cable equivalent – and we didn’t have it at our house at the time – as a teenager as I was at that time I had no clout). Love sport as a whole but, having got sick of the oversaturation of football (soccer) articles in the press I bought Boxing Monthly as a remedy, they had an article in that issue (circa 2001) on Roberto Duran and I was back hooked.

Out of curiosity, are you also gutted, despite them technically being a rival? Did you ever read it and are you familiar with their contributors? (Can’t imagine you wouldn’t know or at least have heard of Steve Bunce, as he is a boxing stalwart over here). Anyhow, we are but a small nation but we are boxing mad (as you will know from Ricky Hatton fights in America alone) and you have some fine British writers working for you already but if you could keep any of the Boxing Monthly themes going in your own magazine you would please a lot of people.

Keep up the great work and stay safe. Cheers. – Thommo, UK

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Thommo.

Some of my Boxing Monthly mags. Good times.

I was also sad to hear bout Boxing Monthly being put to pasture. I’m familiar with the magazine and much of its former and current staff, some of whom have contributed to and currently contribute to The Ring.

I never viewed Boxing Monthly as a competitor. I don’t view any boxing magazine or online publication as a competitor. We all have our own niches and markets, as well as our particular methods of covering the sport. Boxing Monthly did a great job. I used to buy it off the newsstands starting with the year I moved to Los Angeles (1993) up until the mid-2000s when most of the magazine shops and street newsstands disappeared.  

I’ve still got a Boxing Monthly collection that ranges from 1993 to 2005, with most of the magazines being from late ‘90s (’97-’99). I bought every boxing magazine that the newsstands carried, which included Ring, KO, Boxing Illustrated and World Boxing among many others, but Boxing Monthly was always special because it was a little bigger, generally more photographic, and it covered the UK scene which (obviously) was largely ignored by the boxing beat writers of the major U.S. daily newspapers.

So, through Boxing Monthly, I learned about Naseem Hamed when he was still a domestic level bantamweight and junior featherweight with a James Toney-level gym reputation, and I kept up with the careers of all the standout British super middleweights of ‘90s, most notably Benn and Eubank, who I was absolutely fascinated with.

I hadn’t really looked through my old Boxing Monthly collection until the sad news about the magazine being discontinued (and then getting this email). But I’ll be going through them this week and I’ll be sure to share any feature or formatting ideas I get from them with my colleagues. I also hope to work with more former Boxing Monthly contributors in the near future.

 

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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