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Dougie’s Friday Mailbag (Canelo, Miguel Berchelt, Jerry Quarry, Sugar Ray Robinson)

03
Jul

CANELO VS. ???

Hi Dougie,

Hope you, the family, and the team are keeping well.

So Billy Joe Saunders is out for September.



He’s been getting a lot of stick on the Twitterverse today.

It’s a tricky one. For a Canelo fight I don’t begrudge any fighter wanting a full camp. With COVID-19, BJS won’t be about to travel to the MTK gym in Spain and train optimally. So, I do think he has a point there given that September is around the corner.

Team Canelo tactic?

However, as Tony Bellew puts it, “the salt and pepper” is on Canelo’s side of the table and these opportunities are few and far between.

Canelo is a favourite in a fight with BJS however BJS is a tricky fight. Is it best avoided?

So, who should Canelo fight?

Callum Smith seems the logical choice. I like Smith but he’ll be in deep deep waters fast against Canelo I feel.

Who do you think his dance partner will be? Keep up the good work! – Tabraze, London, UK

I have no idea, Tabraze. The only sure prediction any of us can make where Canelo is concerned is that he will get absolutely ZERO credit from the #Salty Society regardless of who he faces or beats.

Callum Smith with his championship belts, including the coveted Ring Magazine title

I agree that Callum Smith is the logical choice. Smith says he wants that smoke, I like the style matchup and I appreciate the historical significance given that the unbeaten super middleweight is a Ring champ. If Canelo beats the Liverpudlian, he will become the first Mexican boxer to win a Ring Magazine super middleweight title. (There’s only been three Ring 168-pound champs: Joe Calzaghe, Andre Ward and Smith.) And he will join a very small and very elite group of boxers who have won Ring championships in three divisions. So far, only four have done so: Henry Armstrong (featherweight, lightweight, welterweight), Sugar Ray Leonard (welterweight, junior middleweight, middleweight), Manny Pacquiao (featherweight, junior lightweight, junior welterweight), and Floyd Mayweather Jr. (lightweight, welterweight, junior middleweight).

For a Canelo fight I don’t begrudge any fighter wanting a full camp. Sure, I get it. Canelo’s a badass. You gotta be at your absolute best to have any shot at beating him (or just to avoid getting a beating). But how long is a “full camp” these days? July just began. The Saturday of Mexican Independence weekend is September 19. That’s time enough for two full months of camp (this month and all of August), if not 10 weeks of camp. Is that not enough time to get sharp? And if not, why are these guys allowing themselves to get THAT heavy or THAT much out of condition when they – especially Saunders, who had a pre-pandemic date with the Mexican star – know they are in the Canelo Sweepstakes?

With COVID-19, BJS won’t be about to travel to the MTK gym in Spain and train optimally. Oh, boo-f__king-hoo. Poor baby. He can’t go to Spain for his camp. Good grief. Are you telling me there’s not a single boxing gym up to Sir Billy Joe’s standards in the general vicinity of England where he lives? And even if there isn’t, are you telling me that the payday and opportunity that Canelo represents isn’t worth it for him to seek out a good gym – be it in London, Sheffield, Manchester, or wherever – even if it’s hours away from his crib?

So, I do think he has a point there given that September is around the corner. Whatever. It’s his career. I don’t see any other fight on the horizon for him that comes close to the magnitude of a Canelo showdown, but it is what it is.

Team Canelo tactic? Huh? Yeah, Tabraze, Team Canelo planned this whole thing. They wanted the Cinco De Mayo date to fall through just so they could lull BJS into a false sense of security and sloth for several months and then spring the rescheduled fight date on him before he had a chance to get into good shape. Geez. Why don’t we just blame COVID-19 on Team Canelo while we’re at it?

However, as Tony Bellew puts it, “the salt and pepper” is on Canelo’s side of the table and these opportunities are few and far between. Bellew is old school and he tells it like it is. I always liked that about him.

Canelo is a favourite in a fight with BJS however BJS is a tricky fight. Is it best avoided? I think there are more entertaining matchups out there for Canelo, but I see the value in that matchup. It’s a stylistic test for Canelo (and there would be a legit 168-pound belt on the line) and it would be interesting to see if he’s gotten any better at dealing with southpaws since 2013 and 2014 (when he had difficult fights with Austin Trout and Erislandy Lara).

So, who should Canelo fight? After Smith, I’d go with Jean Pascal (at 175 pounds – no second day weigh-in so the #Salty Saps don’t get their panties in a bunch – and in Montreal) or Sergiy Derevyanchenko (at middleweight, because if it was at 168 pounds you know which very vocal group of online bitches will be swept up in moral outrage).

 

EL ALACRAN

Hey Doug,

My man Miguel Berchelt got no love or what?! He came back against a game opponent and did what he does best. I’d pick him against all the other 130 pounders at the moment, except Loma, but considering his awkwardness, underrated boxing abilities and heavy hands I’d say that Loma would go out of the fight with a close win and a busted face.

Btw I like the fact that both Berchelt and Navarette stay active in non-title fights. Old school mindset right there.

Oscar Valdez is too tough for his own good… he’ll get stopped before the 10th in another brutal fight. What’s your take in this one? And against the other 130 pounders. – Vince

El Alacran! Photo by Chris Farina – Top Rank

Hey, they gotta fight the fights, but I consider Berchelt to be the top man in the 130-pound division. Nobody’s got his blend of experience, athleticism, punching power and ring craft. At 28, he’s at his peak. As long as he can make junior lightweight without draining himself (and I have to figure he’s not long for the division because he’s freakin’ huge), I’ll favor him vs. his fellow beltholders and Valdez. But I don’t think those are easy fights for him. You can’t count a warrior like Valdez out. He stays in shape, he’s got a good team around him, and he never gives up. I can see that fight turning into a battle of attrition and going the distance. I hope it gets finalized this year.

WBO beltholder Jamel Herring, winner of The Ring’s 2019 Comeback of The Year award, has a difficult style for Berchelt, as does newly minted IBF titleholder Joseph Diaz Jr. They’re both fast and mobile southpaws with extensive amateur backgrounds. Alacran will have to be at 100% to unify major belts.

Berchelt did what he was supposed to do vs. Eleazar Valenzuela. Photo from Zanfer Promotions

My man Miguel Berchelt got no love or what?! He came back against a game opponent and did what he does best. Um, yeah, he issued a six-round beatdown to a journeyman with 13 losses (three of which were stoppages in the first or second round). How excited did you expect us to get?

I’d pick him against all the other 130 pounders at the moment, except Loma… Lomachenko is the lightweight champ, but you know what? I’d like to see that matchup. If Berchelt doesn’t engage in a title-unification bout after the proposed Valdez fight, I rather see him invade the lightweight division than hang around at 130 pounds.

… but considering his awkwardness, underrated boxing abilities and heavy hands I’d say that Loma would go out of the fight with a close win and a busted face. Maybe. But like Herring and JoJo Diaz, Loma’s nimble and creative southpaw style could trouble the Mexican boxer-banger. And Loma’s got more championship experience than anyone Berchelt has faced so far.

Btw I like the fact that both Berchelt and Navarette stay active in non-title fights. Old school mindset right there. I love it, but I’m getting the feeling that both Zanfer/Top Rank products are beginning to “die on the vine,” as the old times say. They need significant fights – now.

 

JERRY QUARRY MYTHICAL MATCHUPS

Hi Dougie,

I spent some of my weekend watching old Jerry Quarry fights on Youtube. That guy was really something, a skillful fighter with good punches, fast hands, disciplined, could compete in any era. One of the best who never won a world title. And besides, a very classy & talented guy (was very funny to watch his parody on Ali  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YSC6XLh7fo).

How do you think he would’ve done in MMs against:

Ray Mercer

Michael Spinks

Gerry Cooney

Tim Witherspoon

Tommy Morrison

Henry Cooper

Joe Bugner

David Tua

Chris Byrd

Cleveland Williams

Keep safe & and thanks for all you’re doing – Jose

Joe Frazier (left) at war with Quarry on June 23, 1969. Photo by Herb Scharfman/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)

Quarry is indeed one of the most talented boxers not to have won a major world title (that were actually granted title shots – he fought for the vacant WBA belt vs. Jimmy Ellis in 1968 and the New York State version vs. Joe Frazier in 1969). He fought in the ’60s and ’70s, so the competition was incredibly deep in the heavyweight division, as you know. Still, he competed with great fighters and was good enough to defeat a hall of famer in Floyd Patterson, as well as feared top-10 contenders Earnie Shavers, Ron Lyle and Mac Foster. He also beat fringe contenders Thad Spencer and Buster Mathis.

Your Quarry mythical matchups:

Ray Mercer – Quarry by close decision if his face holds up (and I think it would in a very good fight). Mercer was a rugged card carrying badass in the mold of Lyle, but not quite as talented and athletic as Ken Norton (who chopped Quarry up to a fifth-round stoppage).

Michael Spinks – Jinx by close, maybe controversial decision in a disappointing chess match.

Gerry Cooney – Gentleman Gerry by mid-to-late rounds TKO (due to cuts) in a very entertaining fight.

Tim Witherspoon – ‘Spoon by close but unanimous decision in a good scrap (featuring excellent inside craft and body work from both heavyweights). The Philadelphian is just too big and crafty, but Quarry has his moments.

Tommy Morrison – Quarry by early stoppage in a thrilling shootout. Jerry’s skin holds out longer than Tommy’s chin.

Henry Cooper – Depends on who gets cut first. I’m thinking Sir Henry springs a crimson leak first, so I’m going with Quarry by mid-rounds bloodletting.

Joe Bugner – Quarry by close decision.

David Tua – TuaMan by mid-to-late stoppage. The Samoan’s chin holds out better than Jerry’s skin (and chin).

Chris Byrd – Byrd by unanimous decision in a competitive fight. I don’t think Quarry’s ever experienced a style like the Michigan native’s, and Byrd was just as tough and brave.

Cleveland Williams – Quarry by unanimous decision. Big Cat was a formidable (and feared) physical specimen in his prime, but he was there to be outboxed by a talent like Jerry, who seemed to relish facing intimidating punchers.

 

POUND FOR POUND

Hi Dougie,

Per your invitation in last Friday’s Mailbag, here I am chiming in again.

This time offering my humble opinion on the mythical “Pound for Pound” title.

In the late 50s and early 60s I was lucky enough to be one of Sugar Ray Robinson’s training camp groupies (also known as Ray’s entourage).

The expression pound-for-pound was invented for Robinson who many thought (myself included) was the greatest of all time.

So, who deserves that distinction today?

Canelo?

Loma?

Crawford?

Etc., etc., etc.

It’s difficult to pick with the top fighters in action only once or twice a year. The great ones of the past might have fought six or seven times annually.

But here’s my opinion on the second best pound for pounder of all time. Sugar Ray Leonard.

Amazing. Two Sugar Rays.

But like baseball, boxing has changed.

So, I don’t think anyone deserves the mythical title in this climate.

Come on someone. Prove me wrong.

Stay safe and happy in your work, Dougie. – Bill Caplan

Will do, Bill.

I can’t argue with you, even though Canelo Alvarez is No. 1 in The Ring’s pound-for-pound rankings. A legit argument can be made for the other two standouts you mentioned – Vasiliy Lomachenko and Terence Crawford, who are Nos. 1 and 2 in ESPN.com’s mythical rankings – as well as Japanese phenom Naoya Inoue, who holds the No. 2 and No. 3 spots in the P4P ratings of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (TBRB) and The Ring, respectively. (Canelo is also No. 1 in the eyes of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the TBRB, but don’t relay that info. to any member of the #Salty Society.)

I agree with your choice of Robinson as the G.O.A.T. And while, I don’t personally have Leonard at No. 2 all-time, I won’t argue with you on that placement because he’s my boyhood idol along with Muhammad Ali, and in my mind he could have competed with the original Sugar Ray and great welterweights from Mickey Walker to Henry Armstrong to Kid Gavilan to Carmen Basilio to Emile Griffith and Jose Napoles.

In the late 50s and early 60s I was lucky enough to be one of Sugar Ray Robinson’s training camp groupies (also known as Ray’s entourage). Okay, you can’t drop a nugget like that and not have me ask you to elaborate on those experiences. I KNOW you’ve got stories, Bill, and I’m gonna get them from you. All of them. Next May will be Robinson’s 100th birthday, and we are planning to publish a special edition commemorating the glorious prime years of his amazing career that month. So, you better be ready to contribute to that publication and do a fair amount of on-camera interviews to coincide with the magazine. (Hey, we’ll pay you for it!)

So, who deserves that distinction today?

Canelo?

Loma?

Crawford?

Etc., etc., etc. They’re all three-division champs, including Inoue, but Canelo has faced the most Ring-rated contenders and future hall of famers.

Sugar Ray Robinson

It’s difficult to pick with the top fighters in action only once or twice a year. The great ones of the past might have fought six or seven times annually. Six or seven times? You must be talking about the modern standouts, the stars of the 1980s and ’90s like Mike Tyson, Julio Cesar Chavez and James Toney. The legends of the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s were more active than that. During his prime years – 1940 to 1950 – the G.O.A.T., Robinson, would fight anywhere from six to 20 times a year! He fought 13 times in 1949, 14 times in 1942, 16 times in 1946, 19 times in 1950, and 20 times in 1941 (his first full year in the pro ranks). And he took on several Ring-ranked fighters those years, some of whom would eventually join him in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

 

 

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and join him, Tom Loeffler, Coach Schwartz and friends via Instagram Live every Sunday from UCLA’s Drake Stadium track.

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