Saturday, October 01, 2022  |

News

Dougie’s Friday mailbag (Carl Thompson, Four Kings, Pacquiao-Garcia)

One of these icons was better, the other was greater.
10
Apr

BETTER VS. GREATER

Afternoon Dougie,

Glad to see that you are doing well and keeping up with the handwashing. Hope that things are going well for your family and the rest of the Ring staff.

Loved the response you gave in last Friday to the question comparing the skills of the Four Kings (although we will have to disagree about the scoring – 115-113 Hagler). At the end you said that Sugar Ray was the best of the four and it got me thinking about better vs greater.



I’m a big fan of Breadman Edwards mailbag alongside yours and he really subscribes to the idea that better and greater are not the same thing, in the sense that better is who wins head to head and greater is about achievement/legacy (Floyd beat Manny but Manny accomplished more against higher level of competition, Wlad accomplished more than Vitali but Vitali would liked have chinned him, etc.)

Do you agree with this line of thinking (I do) and if so, would you agree with me that out of the four kings, Leonard was the best but Duran was the Greatest?

MM
Josh Taylor vs Alexis Arguello @ 140

Joe Calzaghe vs Sergey Kovalev (2nd Ward fight)

Joe Frazier (2nd Ali fight) vs Holyfield who fought Foreman

Thanks again for the read, Stay healthy, safe and happy. – Euan, Dunfermline, Scotland

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Euan. My hands are still being washed (like 20 times a day) and the family is good.

Your Mythical Matchups:

Josh Taylor vs Alexis Arguello @ 140 – The Tartan Tornado by close decision. Your fellow Scotsman would have to box a disciplined fight and use his legs and lateral movement more than he’d probably like but my feeling is that as great as Arguello was, he hit his ceiling at 135 pounds (as far as being elite) and, regardless of weight, he had trouble with movers. I know Taylor can stick-and-move with the best of them, while being active and offensive minded.

Joe Calzaghe vs Sergey Kovalev (2nd Ward fight) – Calzaghe by close but unanimous decision. I just see the Welshman outmaneuvering, outworking and outpointing the heavy handed Russian, who was a tragically underrated boxer but also a bit plodding.

Joe Frazier (2nd Ali fight) vs Holyfield who fought Foreman – Jesus, what a fight. Smokin’ Joe was already starting to fade (the first Ali fight took a lot out of him), but The Real Deal would stoke the fires in his belly. It would be a sensational, brutal battle of attraction between two great ring warriors. I think the 1991 heavyweight version of Holyfield would have just a little bit more than Frazier and edge the Philly legend out via majority decision. I think Holyfield would outbox/outjab Frazier in the early rounds, but Joe would evade most of Commander Vander’s power shots with his upper-body movement, and would get smoking by Round 4 and hurt Holyfield in the middle part of the fight. Holyfield, being the surly badass he is, would have to answer back and the war would begin. Joe would have the edge in power punching, but Holyfield would surprise Frazier by having the will, durability and physical strength to push back against his hard pressure and even outland him during some inside exchanges.  

Regarding your question about “better” and “greater,” yes, I agree with Mr. Edward’s concept (and I seldom disagree with The Breadman, unless the subject is a Kostya Tszyu mythical matchup).

I also agree that Leonard is “better” than Duran, but Duran is the “greater” of the two ATGs (and the other two Kings of the 1980s who beat him).

Ali (right) at war with Ken Norton in their second fight. Photo by THE RING

There are several examples and variations of this throughout boxing history, especially when it comes to hall of famers and ATGs. Sandy Saddler was better than Willie Pep (who he stopped in three out of four bouts), but the “Will o’ the Wisp” goes down as the greater boxer. It can be argued that Ken Norton was better than the 1970s version of Muhammad Ali but Ali, of course, goes down as the greater heavyweight. (Note for those who are unfamiliar with their trilogy: Ali went 2-1 in the three-bout series, but after being outpointed – and getting his jaw broken – in their first match, he barely scraped by via split nod in their rematch and, in the opinion of many, was “gifted” a unanimous decision in their rubbermatch.)

Vernon Forrest was better than Shane Mosley but “Sugar Shane” will likely go down as the “greater” of the two. And so on…

 

CARL THOMPSON

Hi Dougie,

For those looking for a food fight check out any of Carl Thompson’s fights. A really nice person also. – Robert S.

He seems like a cool “cat.” (See what I did there?)

But seriously, Thompson, who won British, European, WBO and IBO cruiserweight titles, during the 1990s was must-see TV. I first heard about him back in 1998 when he defended the WBO title against Chris Eubank, a scintillating 12-rounder that served as the co-feature to the Naseem Hamed vs. Wilfred Vazquez in Manchester. HBO televised the Hamed-Vazquez featherweight title bout but not Thompson-Eubank. However, oddly enough, Larry Merchant was so moved by the fight, he felt the need to talk about it before (or maybe after the Prince’s main event). He basically said (as they showed awesome highlights of Thompson and Eubank going at it) that he never thought much of Eubank, and even believed the former 160- and 168-pound titleholder was “a fraud,” but after witnessing Eubank’s bold stand vs. Thompson he admitted that he “was wrong.” It was VERY rare for Merchant to do that. So, I had to see this fight and finally did so by purchasing one of those VHS tapes that sold in the back pages of boxing magazines back then. That’s how I saw my first Thompson fight.

He kind of reminded me of a more polished (or less awkward) Dennis Andries, game to the core, tough as nails, but also vulnerable to better boxers and bigger punchers. Thompson wasn’t special in terms of technique but he was a very good inside fighter. He had a big right hand, a solid hook and uppercut, good stamina, but what made him dangerous was his spirit. He never gave up or stopped fighting back when dropped or hurt, so he was made for shootouts.

I saw the Eubank rematch, the WBO title loss to Johnny Nelson, the wild KO loss to Ezra Sellers, and the late career upset stoppages of Sebastian Rothmann (for the IBO belt) and David Haye. I enjoyed all of those fights (although the loss to Nelson was tough to watch because of how upset Thompson was when it was stopped).

I’m sure our British readers can suggest several other Thompson fights to check out. Here’s YouTube vid of some of his knockouts:  

FOUR KINGS SPECIAL EDITION

Dougie,

If you are a subscriber to The Ring Magazine, does that include the 4 Kings edition?

Note:  HAGLER DEFINITELY BEAT LEONARD!!!!

Stay healthy. – Scott

You too, Scott. But I’m always gonna believe that Leonard legit won that fight, even if by the skin of his teeth.

Yes, if you’re a Ring Magazine subscriber, you will get our Special Edition on that incredible nine-bout round robing between my man Sugar Ray Leonard, your guy Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran that defined boxing in the 1980s. If you’re not already a subscriber DO IT NOW, so you get it!

(By the way, veteran boxing scribe and former Boston Globe sports columnist Ron Borges penned the article looking back on Hagler-Leonard, and I think you’re going to agree with his take on the “SuperFight.”)

 

PACQUIAO-GARCIA, WINNING VACANT TITLES, DAZN

Hey Dougie,

I hope you and your family are doing good during these times.

I’m hearing on podcasts that we should dump DAZN since they aren’t doing anything for a while, and I agree with them saying they need more shoulder programming but, I think I’m going to stick with them. I know I’m not going to get a gold sticker from them, but they have been good to me. I watched all the undercards and the fights from Europe, so I hope they bounce back. I know you’re part of their commentating team, so you should tell them to get you on there on the mic and talk boxing. You can probably answer some of these mailbag questions and bring in Michael Montero with you. Don’t get me wrong I like the JABS show but they need more material than that. I also think Chris Mannix and Sergio Mora get too much hate.

Another question is what’s wrong with winning a vacant title? If you fight someone good for it shouldn’t that matter more?

Since we haven’t had any fights, I’m kind of looking forward to Mikey Garcia vs Manny Pacquiao. Do you give Mikey any shot? If Mikey does win convincingly, does he have a chance against any of the top Welterweights? If Floyd comes back and loses to a top welter do we treat it as a good win or do we hate cause he fought an old fighter? I’m counting it as a solid win since nobody is really asking him to come back it’s his choice.

Alright Dougie, I hope you guys stay safe see you at the fights. – Joey, Pomona

You got it, Joey. Hopefully, we’ll see each other at the fights before the end of summer.

Pacquiao proved he’s a top welterweight with his performance vs. Thurman. Mikey Garcia has yet to do that.

Do I give Mikey Garcia any shot at beating Manny Pacquiao? Sure. Garcia doesn’t belong at 147 pounds, but he’s still an excellent counterpuncher with very good timing. He could clip Pacquiao. However, I have to favor The Senator via decision despite his advanced age and the wear and tear of three decades in the hurt business. Even at 41 with 71 pro bouts under his belt, he’s STILL got the faster hands and quicker/more nimble feet. And he proved vs. Keith Thurman that he’s still game to go a tough 12 rounds (as Mikey is). It’s a good matchup. It makes sense for both multi-division titleholders.  

If Mikey does win convincingly, does he have a chance against any of the top Welterweights? I don’t think so. I’d strongly favor Terence Crawford, Shawn Porter, Yordenis Ugas, and even my semi-retired ponytailed Halfrican brotha Chief Keef over Mikey. I think he’s got a shot against Danny Garcia, but I’d favor the Philadelphian that so many hardcore heads love to hate.

If Floyd comes back and loses to a top welter do we treat it as a good win or do we hate cause he fought an old fighter? Come on, Joey, are you THAT bored at home? You know damn well Mayweather is not going to return to boxing to face a top welterweight, and that includes Errol Spence, even if the current IBF/WBC titleholder looks shaky and vulnerable upon his comeback from his car accident.

I’m counting it as a solid win since nobody is really asking him to come back it’s his choice. Of course, it would count. Handing Mayweather his first loss would be huge deal for the winner. His age and inactivity wouldn’t matter to most observers. Floyd’s a legend, a first-ballot hall of famer that many consider an all-time great (as in one of the top 10 ever to lace up a pair of boxing gloves).

I’m hearing on podcasts that we should dump DAZN since they aren’t doing anything for a while, and I agree with them saying they need more shoulder programming but, I think I’m going to stick with them. Same. I did the $100 for a year of programming and I’m fairly certain that boxing will return in a big way by September, and they will stream their share of quality cards and big events. Plus, the DAZN helped make the Roman Gonzalez-Kal Yafai fight happen on February 29, and for that glorious comeback/victory, I’ve gotta be grateful to them.

I know I’m not going to get a gold sticker from them, but they have been good to me. They’ve good to all boxing fans.

I watched all the undercards and the fights from Europe, so I hope they bounce back. You really a hardcore fan. Bless you.

I know you’re part of their commentating team, so you should tell them to get you on there on the mic and talk boxing. LOL. I’m not telling anybody anything.

You can probably answer some of these mailbag questions and bring in Michael Montero with you. I think the mailbag belongs on RingTV (and its platforms), and I’d love to get Montero more involved with this site, but I agree that he’s be a good acquisition as a commentator or on-camera talent for DAZN.

Don’t get me wrong I like the JABS show but they need more material than that. I also think Chris Mannix and Sergio Mora get too much hate. I agree. They’re both very talented and sharp. I’ve been a Latin Snake fan since his pre-title fighting days, and I always knew he’d make a good commentator. I subscribe to Mannix’s boxing podcast (and especially enjoy it when he brings on veteran boxing scribe Keith Idec as a guest – now there’s a dude I’d push to DAZN).

Another question is what’s wrong with winning a vacant title? Nothing. Who said there was something wrong with it? (I know, I know,

Cover illustration of Ray Robinson from 1947, shortly after he won his first world title, the vacant 147-pound championship. (Photo by: The Ring Magazine/Getty Images)

anonymous dips__ts on Twitter.)

If you fight someone good for it shouldn’t that matter more? Yes. That’s the bottom line in any title bout. And a fighter’s legacy has to do with what he or she does before AND after winning a world title (vacant or not). The greatest of them all, Sugar Ray Robinson, won the vacant welterweight title vs. the excellent and underrated Tommy Bell in 1946. Ezzard Charles won the vacant NBA heavyweight title vs. Jersey Joe Walcott in 1949, and then earned the vacant world championship vs. the faded, come-backing Joe Louis in 1950. Going way back, 90 years, Max Schmeling won the vacant heavyweight title (on a foul!) vs. Jack Sharkey. In more recent times, Julio Cesar Chavez won the vacant WBC 130-pound title vs. Mario Martinez in 1984. Kostya Tszyu proved that he was still the King when he regained a version of the 140-pound title (the WBC belt) vs. Miguel Angel Gonzalez in 1999.

 

BOXING BOREDOM

Hi Doug,

Just going through my recorded boxing fights in these uncertain times.

Currently watching the 2019 Fight of the Year.

Inoue is obviously an elite fighter, Donaire should be a first ballot hall of famer. But I still think the Taylor v Prograis was a better fight.

Both great fights, though. Talk to me about boxing please, I’m bored!

Hope you and your family are well and coping and staying indoors. Thanks. – Brendan, Scotland

We’re hanging in there, Brendon. I’ve been working from home since the late ‘90s, so I miss having the house to myself during the day (and believe it or not, I’m probably more busy – in a good way – with the print publication now than I would be if we had a live boxing schedule), but it’s also nice to take breaks and eat with them or watch shows or do some arts and crafts and stuff like that. I’m also doing more garage workouts and yoga than usual, so I’m probably in better shape than I was at the start of the year.

I watched both Taylor-Prograis and Inoue-Donaire bouts live on DAZN (those amazing WBSS finals are another reason to be grateful to the streaming service), and I thought both fights represented all that’s awesome about boxing. Taylor-Prograis was non-stop, evenly contested boxing and fighting from start to finish. Every round was close and heated. It was a worthy Fight of the Year candidate, in my opinion, but I thought Inoue-Donaire topped it and every other fight of 2019 due to its sheer drama.

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

There were several points when I thought one of the bantamweights was on his way to being knocked out during 12 back-and-forth rounds of dynamic boxing and power punching. There was the surprise (not to me, but many others) that Donaire could take The Monster’s early attack and put pressure on him (the early aggression from the veteran did surprise me), then the drama of Inoue’s face getting busted up (his eye and nose). Then he came back and seemed to seriously rock Donaire, but the proud Pinoy battled through the middle rounds and had Inoue hurt, reeling to the ropes and seemingly out on his feet in Round 9 (I honestly thought the fight was over). But Inoue raged his way back in with expert boxing and accurate power shots in Round 10, although Donaire nailed him back enough to stay in the fight. And then Round 11. What can I say? Again, I thought it was over when Donaire took a knee (and it easily could have been over with a different referee). Who, but the late Arturo Gatti, could have gotten up from that paralyzing, delayed-effect body shot? Inoue-Donaire was an emotional roller coaster ride. It went beyond skills, technique and sheer action. That was some Dragon Ball Z-style, Super Saiyan-level warrior spirit on display.  

 

 

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.

 

close

SIGN UP TO GET RING NEWS ALERTS