Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Post-quarantine heavyweight bouts, Mythical Matchups, Popo Freitas)
I hope this email finds you well and maybe brings back found memories.
My wife had me go through some of my old things today. Without any viable excuses available it was a trip down a dusty memory lane where I found an old letter or essay I must have submitted (or considered submitting) to The Ring Magazine. Like most of my stuff, it was long winded, but I couldn’t help laughing when I started reading the second page (enclosed)…notice the “ear” reference in the first sentence. This was written before Tyson sat down at the Holyfield buffet in the rematch. You can’t write this…apparently you can…LOL!
The rest of the page I started listing potential matches and thought how exciting it is when the Division is in transition. As we are still transitioning, list your top 5 Heavyweight fights you hope to see in the next few months (years… let’s say soon).
Be healthy and thanks for your time and effort. – Scott
Thanks for sharing your story and question with the mailbag community, Scott. I remember how stoked I was when I got my first letter printed in a boxing magazine (Boxing Illustrated a month or two after Buster Douglas upset Mike Tyson 30 years ago). I typed out my letter, as you did, and I’m sure it was two or three pages. I was so long-winded and sports geeky, I tried to compare Douglas beating Tyson to Roger Banister breaking the 4-minute barrier in the mile. Running 1600 meters in less than 4 minutes was viewed as impossible before Sir Roger did it, but soon after his feat other top milers were doing it all over the world. So, I figured the top heavyweights would now target Tyson, who was viewed as invincible prior to losing to Douglas, with a new zeal. I predicted harder fights and some losses for Iron Mike as the new decade unfolded. I wasn’t wrong.
Anyway, I tell that story because, in a way, it led to the online mailbag column. Bert Sugar, or whoever was in charge of editing letters to the editor (probably not Bert), cut my 2-3 page letter down to about 3-4 paragraphs. I was thrilled to see my name in the letters page of Boxing Illustrated, but I was bummed that my letter was basic and bland (all the Banister stuff was cut). I wasn’t mad at anybody, mind you, I was interning at the Boston Globe at the time, so I well aware of word and space limits in print media. So, 11 years later when this “new media” called the internet was in full swing and I started my own “Letters to the Editor” column a couple months after launching MaxBoxing.com, I decided that I would seldom – if ever – cut readers emails to Dougie’s Mailbag. Ya’ll are welcome!
Anyway, here are the top five heavyweight bouts I want to see as soon as boxing is allowed to resume and major arena events can be put on:
Daniel Dubois-Joe Joyce – this one was scheduled before COVID-19 cleared the boxing schedule. It’s proving ground for both hopefuls, and the winner will graduate to legit contender status. I love the style matchup, the stakes and the payoff (a new player in the glamor division).
Dillian Whyte-Alexander Povetkin – this one was also on the schedule before the pandemic. It’s the Russian vet’s last stand, and an opportunity for Whyte to recapture the career momentum he lost with the UKAD testing debacle in the aftermath of the Oscar Rivas fight.
Fury-Wilder 3 – This contracted return bout is tentatively scheduled for October 3. I’m more intrigued by the event promotion and the story of how Deontay attempts to rebound from his first loss (in terms of his mental outlook and his team) than the actual style matchup (because I now view Tyson as a strong favorite).
Aleksandr Usyk-Dereck Chisora – Yet another UK-based heavyweight showdown that was scheduled but indefinitely postponed by the coronavirus, this matchup is the true litmus test for the former undisputed cruiserweight champ. If he can decisively beat the best gatekeeper among the big boys, he’ll earn true contender status and make a lot of believers of those that were skeptical if he could challenge the likes of Fury, Anthony Joshua and Wilder.
As for my fifth choice, I know that Joshua has to settle his IBF mandatory vs. Kubrat Pulev, and there’s talk of Andy Ruiz taking on Luis Ortiz, but I’m not feeling either matchup. So, a fight that I’d like to see is former WBO beltholder Joseph Parker vs. American hope Michael Hunter. Both Ring-rated heavies (Nos. 7 and 8) are with Eddie Hearn, right? So, there’s no political divide. Both guys seem fearless, so I don’t see why this fight can’t be made in the next 12 months.
I recall years ago Floyd asked his fans (nut huggers) to vote for who he should fight next. Amir Khan won the vote, but the fight never happened. I thought that despite Khan’s well documented weaknesses, his style would have troubled Mayweather. What do you think?
Leon Spinks vs Roy Jones H/W
Al Cole vs Henry Cooper H/W
Michael Spinks vs Marciano
Prince Charles Williams vs Tommy Burns
Ratliff vs Moorer at cruiserweight (when it was 190)
Thanks mate. – Will
Spinks (and we’re talking about Neon Leon at his best, the motivated, in-shape version that beat Ali and stopped Alfredo Evangelista and Bernardo Mercado in 1978 and 1980) by close-but-unanimous decision or late stoppage (I think his relentless, awkward aggression, swarming volume-punching, herky-jerky rhythm and crazy stamina would be too much for the 200+ pound version of Jones), Cooper by decision in a good scrap, Marciano by close nod in a stinker (because of Spinks’ survival tactics), Burns by late stoppage in a proper barnburner, and Moorer by mid-rounds KO in a shootout.
I recall years ago Floyd asked his fans (nut huggers) to vote for who he should fight next. I remember that corny s__t, too. It was between Khan and Marcos Maidana, who had just defeated Adrian Broner. I knew Floyd wouldn’t honor the poll, but Karma bit him in the ass because Chino gave him hell in that first bout.
Amir Khan won the vote, but the fight never happened. I thought that despite Khan’s well documented weaknesses, his style would have troubled Mayweather. What do you think? I agree. Mayweather put that poll out in early 2014, the year he fought Maidana in grueling back-to-back fights. That year, Khan absolutely dominated two very crafty boxers – Luis Collazo and Devon Alexander – over the 12-
round distance. His elite-level hand speed, volume/combo punching, long reach and lateral movement creates difficulties for technical fighters. However, as bright as Khan shined vs. Collazo and Alexander in 2014, he struggled with former beltholders Julio Diaz and Chris Algieri in 2013 and 2015. Diaz had Khan down and in a trouble a few times in a fight that could have been a draw or a points win for the California veteran had it been held outside of England. If Diaz and Algieri could nail Khan and win rounds, there’s no doubt in my mind that Mayweather, who might struggle in the early rounds, would eventually time him with a counter right hand that would change the complexion of the fight. I don’t know if Floyd would’ve gotten Khan out of there in 2014, but I think he definitely would have won that fight.
Now, if Mayweather were a southpaw, maybe that’s a different story… LOL
Hope all is well with you and your family. Keep your hands washed.
Well, I’m a teacher, so I’ve been spending a lot of time at home during these pandemic times. So I decided to take a look at some fights of one of our national heroes (my childhood hero), Acelino Freitas, which includes his controversial W against Casamayor, who was a hell of a fighter. What do you think about that fight (and its result)? Plus, here in Brazil there have always been talk about how Popó lost interest in dedicating himself to boxing after his win against Grigorian. How do you rate Popó amongst the other great names of his generation in the junior lightweight division, and more: do you think he retired too soon (at age 32)? Did he still have anything left in the tank?
After this chaos, we will probably see a fight between our champion, Patrick Teixeira, and Brian Castano. How do you see that one? (I know Teixeira will enter the fight as a BIG underdog)
Some MMs just to pass the time:
Arguello vs Casamayor @130
Chocolatito vs Finito López @108
Valero vs Loma @135
Congrats for the good job! – André Schimidt
Thank you, Dre.
Your Mythical Matchups:
Arguello vs Casamayor @130 – Arguello by close but unanimous decision (see the rematch the crafty Cuban lost to a disciplined-boxing Diego Corrales, who was given the perfect game plan by Casamayor’s former coach Joe Goossen. Arguello could execute those long-range jab tactics so much better than Chico.
Chocolatito vs Finito López @108 – Gonzalez by close but unanimous decision in an epic encounter.
Valero vs Loma @135 – V-nom by late stoppage or close decision.
I decided to take a look at some fights of one of our national heroes (my childhood hero), Acelino Freitas, which includes his controversial W against Casamayor, who was a hell of a fighter. What do you think about that fight (and its result)? I haven’t watched it since witnessing it live from press row in January 2002, but I recall scoring it for Casamayor by a narrow margin along with the other MaxBoxing.com reps (the great Michael Katz and my traveling cohort Steve Kim). Freitas started the fight fast and furious, but if memory serves, Casamayor worked his way into the fight during the middle rounds and came on strong down the stretch. The thing I remember most about that fight was that Floyd Mayweather Jr. crashed the post-fight presser and told both guys that he’d fight and beat them. Both told him to bring it. Floyd instead went to 135 to challenge Jose Luis Castillo. Man, I really wanted to see those matchups at 130.
Plus, here in Brazil there have always been talk about how Popó lost interest in dedicating himself to boxing after his win against Grigorian. I’ve heard that too. He was famous in his home country, making a lot of money, and he had the attention of a lot of beautiful Brazilian women. And he liked to have a good time. Still, it was bad timing on his part to lose interest in the sport after beating Grigorian because he faced Diego Corrales in his first defense of the WBO 135-pound belt and was stopped late in a fight he was winning on the cards.
How do you rate Popó amongst the other great names of his generation in the junior lightweight division, and more: do you think he retired too soon (at age 32)? Did he still have anything left in the tank? I figured he was done after remaining on his stool vs. The Baby Bull, Juan Diaz, and I didn’t think he had anything to prove. He won major titles in two weight classes, beat Casamayor, gave Corrales and Diaz competitive fights, created memorable drama vs. Jorge Barrios and JC Ramirez, and scored A LOT of impressive knockouts. I know he came back at 154 pounds for a few fights in recent years, and I hope he scratched his itch with those outings and is now back in retirement.
How do I rate him? No. 3 at junior lightweight, behind Mayweather and Casamayor, during the late 1990s/early 2000s. I viewed Floyd as the best boxer, Joel as the best ring general, and Popo as the best puncher. I first saw Freitas fight in Anaheim, California in 1998. And I met him when he trained at the L.A. Boxing club for that fight (he’s a great guy, by the way, very warm and friendly). He was with the Ricardo Maldonado clan back then and displayed killer form as an aggressive technician. His first round KOs of Anatoly Alexandrov (for the WBO 130-pound title), Barry Jones [Editor’s Note: As I was reminded by a reader in the comment section, Jones hung tough with Popo for eight rounds; grizzled Mexican veteran Javier Jauregui is an opening-round victim] and Daniel Alicea suggested that he had elite-fighter potential. However, Freitas changed his style from a search-and-destroy killer to an awkwardly mobile boxer-puncher when he parted from the Maldonados and hired Oscar Suarez as his head trainer. He was still dangerous, but he was no longer hellbent on scoring the KO. He was good enough to narrowly outpoint Casamayor, which is a big deal, but I’m not sure that style would have got the job done vs. Mayweather at 130 (or 135 where Floyd was less dominant).
After this chaos, we will probably see a fight between our champion, Patrick Teixeira and Brian Castano. How do you see that one? (I know Teixeira will enter the fight as a BIG underdog). I favor the unbeaten Castano, who’s been in with better opposition, but I’ve learned not to count out Teixeira. I knew he’d get blasted by Curtis Stevens and, to be honest, I didn’t think he’d bounce back (shame on me for being Negative Nelly like your average social-media age boxing fan), but he boxed well vs. Nathaniel Gallimore and fought courageously vs. Carlos Adames (for the WBO 154-pound title). It’s a competitive matchup!
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and join him, Coach Schwartz, Tom Loeffler and friends on Periscope every Sunday from SMC track (or Kevin Costner’s private outdoor Palm Tree Studio).
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