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Dougie’s Monday Mailbag (Come-backing hall of famers, 15 rounds, Jorge Castro)

06
Jul

STAY RETIRED!

Gday Dougie,

How are you and your family doing in this crazy 2020 we are having mate? All safe and happy, I hope.

Ok mate. There seems to be something going on with retired boxers at the moment. First it was Mike Tyson, now Sergio Martinez and even the Golden Boy himself Oscar De La Hoya, all telling us that “they are back, baby.”



I am gravely concerned for these former pugilists. Age is a cruel master and I’m worried that a member or two of this trio are headed for trouble at the hands of Age, and potentially a young lion who well, to put it bluntly… will gladly eat their lunch for them.

I know fighters are proud. I know they are warriors. But guys – come on! Stop believing your likes and followers on Instagram and STAY RETIRED! It’s just not worth it!!

Your thoughts Dougie?

Oh, a caveat on my opinion here. As far as “who am I to tell anyone how to live their life” goes, almost two years ago I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. I beat it hitting a 5-1 against shot and I’m alive. I’m trying to live my life like someone who has been given an amazing gift. Another shot at life. I would hate to see anyone voluntarily risk their life when they have absolutely nothing left to prove to anyone.

Peace mate. Stay safe and keep up the good work at the Ring. – Craig Brewer, Australia

Thanks for the kind words, the family inquiry (we’re doing well and enjoying our lockdown time together), and for sharing your thoughts, Craig. Way to go in kicking cancer’s ass. You had the right attitude and you’ve got the right mindset going forward. 

But keep in mind that most boxers have the same never-say-die mentality that you needed to get through your ordeal with cancer. In order for the boxers you mentioned to achieve what they did during their careers (and after) – rebounding from multiple losses, dealing with personal demons or debilitating injuries, etc. – they had to believe in themselves when nobody else did. Former fighters like that are always going to believe they have one more great fight in them once they have achieved a healthy body and mindset.

Having said that, there’s nothing more tragic than witnessing a hall-of-fame caliber former champion make a comeback and get absolutely trounced by younger, fresher opposition that couldn’t carry his darn jockstrap when he was in his prime.  

Bernard Hopkins’ career came to a dramatic end at the heavy hands of Smith.

Father Time eventually beats us all; great fighters are not exempt from this rule. I’d hate to see Tyson, Martinez or De La Hoya take 12 rounds of sustained punishment like Bernard Hopkins, who I like to call the Last of the Great Fighters, did vs. Sergey Kovalev, or KTFOTR (Knocked The F__k Out of The Ring) the way the old master was vs. Joe Smith Jr. I was really worried about Bernard’s life when his head hit the cold concrete outside of the ring at The Forum for the final bout of his hall-of-fame career. Despite freaks of nature like Hopkins, Archie Moore and George Foreman, boxing is not for men in their mid-40s and early 50s.   

So, I’m hoping that if Tyson, Martinez and De La Hoya do indeed return to the ring, they do so in the form of exhibitions vs. competition their own age (or close to it). I’ve heard through the grapevine that Tyson’s comeback opponent could be a fellow-retired great. We’ll see what’s eventually announced. But I don’t think Team Tyson is targeting active heavyweight contenders.  

If Martinez, who already has a comeback bout scheduled for August 21, and De La Hoya wanted to fight each other in an exhibition/charity event at 154 or 160 pounds, I’d be OK with that, provided the bout isn’t scheduled for more than six rounds.

If they were to climb into the ring vs. Gennadiy Golovkin or one of the Charlo twins, I would not be in support of that move.

 

POUND FOR POUND

Good evening Dougie (12am over here at time of writing),

Firstly, thank you for being honest with your readers about your opinion about Jarrell Miller. For anyone reading this, Dougie has encouraged me to donate to VADA following a past email where I suggested that Miller took drugs intentionally in the lead up to his fight with Anthony Joshua (hate to say I told you so)… Dougie, please can I suggest that all future mailbags include the link to VADA’s donation page so that we as fans can contribute to improving our beloved sport.

MM

The King vs Omar Navarez @ 115

Salvador Sanchez vs Floyd (if he could make 126, which i think he could)

Manny vs Shane Mosely @135

Out to the top ten P4P fighters in the world listed below, who would you like to see them face next and how do you think those fights would go (this is my P4P list and I have listed the fights I want to see the most/how I think those fights would go)

  1. Lomachenko (vs Teofimo Lopez – Loma by Close UD)
  2. Crawford (vs Spence – Crawford by 10th TKO)
  3. Inoue (vs Doniare 2 – Inoue by 7th TKO)
  4. Canelo (vs Benavidez – Canelo by MD)
  5. Usyk (vs Parker – Usyk by MD)
  6. Spence (vs Crawford – Crawford by 10th TKO)
  7. Estrada (vs The King – King by MD)
  8. Taylor (vs Ramirez – Taylor by 8th KTFO)
  9. Beterbiev (vs Bivol – Beterbiev by 11th TKO)
  10. Fury (vs Joshua – Fury by UD)

Finally, once Taylor destroys Ramirez, get him in the Ring’s P4P list or I will go get William Wallace’s Sword (Stirling Castle is not far from where I live), recruit Tom Gray and fly to The Ring office, covered in war paint to protest.

Finally, to you, and anyone reading this, stay happy, healthy and positive in the face of adversity. – Euan, Dunfermline, Scotland

Good advice, Euan.

Regarding your man Josh Taylor, I think he belongs in The Ring’s Pound-for-Pound top 10 and I can’t figure out why the majority of Ratings Panel believes Artur Beterbiev (No. 9) is more deserving than the Scotsman. No disrespect to Beterbiev, but I think The Ring’s junior welterweight champ is more accomplished than the unified 175-pound titleholder. But it is what it is.

Having said that, I don’t think Taylor will “destroy” Jose Ramirez if and when they meet in the ring. That’s an even matchup in my view. I can see him eking out a close decision over the gritty, technical pressure fighter in a hell of a fight, but I’d be shocked if he beat up or stopped the Californian. If Taylor does dominate Ramirez and the Ring Ratings Panel snubs him again, I’ll put on war paint (and a damn kilt) and join you and Gray in protest.

Your pound-for-pound wish list:

  1. Lomachenko (vs Teofimo Lopez – Loma by Close UD) – Same, and I agree with your prediction
  2. Crawford (vs Spence – Crawford by 10th TKO) – Same, and I agree with your prediction
  3. Inoue (vs Doniare 2 – Inoue by 7th TKO) – I want the Inoue-Casimero unification bout, and I favor Japanese star by mid-to-late stoppage
  4. Canelo (vs Benavidez – Canelo by MD) – I want to see Canelo challenge Callum Smith for The Ring super middleweight title, and I favor the Mexican star by late stoppage in a good scrap
  5. Usyk (vs Parker – Usyk by MD) – I know this matchup will never happen, but I’d love to see Usyk vs. Deontay Wilder just to see if it’s possible for a heavyweight to stick-and-move his way to legit points victory over the dangerous American puncher. I think Usyk can do it and favor him by close but unanimous decision.
  6. Spence (vs Crawford – Crawford by 10th TKO) – See No. 2
  7. Estrada (vs The King – King by MD) – Same, and I agree with your prediction (although I fully admit that’s a “heart-pick”)
  8. Taylor (vs Ramirez – Taylor by 8th KTFO) – Same, I favor Taylor by close, maybe majority or split decision
  9. Beterbiev (vs Bivol – Beterbiev by 11th TKO) – Same, and I’m gonna go with the slight upset and pick Bivol by close, maybe majority or split nod.
  10. Fury (vs Joshua – Fury by UD) – Same, and I think it’s a toss-up matchup, but I’ll with Gypsy King by close majority or split decision

thank you for being honest with your readers about your opinion about Jarrell Miller. For anyone reading this, Dougie has encouraged me to donate to VADA following a past email where I suggested that Miller took drugs intentionally in the lead up to his fight with Anthony Joshua (hate to say I told you so)… Dougie, please can I suggest that all future mailbags include the link to VADA’s donation page so that we as fans can contribute to improving our beloved sport. That’s a great suggestion. I’m embarrassed that I never thought of it, Euan. I’m going to see if VADA has a widget plug-in that I can embed into future Mailbag columns (and maybe the RingTV homepage). Until then, as always, I encourage fans to visit VADA’s official website to learn more about the non-profit organization that has served the boxing community so well for the past 10 years.

Once you’re on the homepage, please scroll down and look for the PayPal donation information on the left side (under the “Recent Posts” from notable boxers). You can click on the “PayPal, the safer easier way to pay online!” line and it will take you to a secured PayPal page.

Under it reads: “The Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. All donations are tax deductible under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.”

If you don’t have PayPal or you’d rather donate via credit card or other means, please email VADA at [email protected] to inquire how to set up monthly donations another way.

Your Mythical Matchups:

The King vs Omar Navarez @ 115 – Chocolatito by close but unanimous decision

Salvador Sanchez vs Floyd (if he could make 126, which I think he could) – Sanchez by close or split decision

Manny vs Shane Mosely @135 – Mosley by come-from-behind late stoppage

 

15-ROUND FIGHTERS

Dougie,

Why do I sometimes hear older fighters saying, essentially, that when they fought in 15 round fights they never gassed? And then they’ll often go on to mention that they see plenty of fighters nowadays gassing in 12 rounds. Do you think this perception is generally true, or is this just oldtimers shoddily remembering history?

Love the mailbag! Stay safe! – Brandon from ATL

Well, I wouldn’t believe every championship-caliber old-timer who claims that he (or his peers) “never gassed” while fighting the 15-round distance, but I agree that the champions of the 15-round title bout era were, in general, had better stamina than the world titleholders of the 12-round championship bout era. The 15-round era pro boxers fought more often, stayed in the gym more, and did more road work (running) and endurance training, knowing that their “championship rounds” were Rounds 13, 14 and 15. The top champions of that era knew how to pace themselves and they knew when to step on the gas.

Former WBC bantamweight champ Lupe Pintor was built to box and fight the 15-round distance.

Some of the best 15-round fighters in my opinion, include Carlos Ortiz, Emile Griffith, Nino Benvenuti, Carlos Monzon, Carlos Palomino, Wilfred Benitez, Sugar Ray Leonard, Miguel Canto (who fought the 15-round distance 17 times), Salvador Sanchez, Lupe Pintor, Alexis Arguello, Aaron Pryor, and, of course, some of the great heavyweights from that division’s Golden Age (1970s). Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier proved in their first and third bouts that they were built and prepared to fight a hard 15 rounds, as did Ken Norton in his rubber match with Ali (which he should have won) and his epic WBC title loss to Larry Holmes (which was razor thin and could have gone his way). (Frazier and Ali also went 15 rounds with Oscar Bonavena.) But don’t just focus on the big men, go to YouTube and check out some of the 15-round fights of the lighter-weight fighters I mentioned.

 

LOCOMOTORA

Dear Dougie,

Long time since I last wrote, but always a fan of The Ring and the mailbag.

After a reader asked about the best resumes, I wanted to ask you if Jorge Castro is at least on the ballot for the HOF. He finished with a 130-11-3 record, his 90 KOs are a record for a South American fighter. I wonder if any fighter, competing at high level, retired in the 2000s with more victories. He was WBA Middleweight champion and made 4 defenses. His come from behind KO of John David Jackson is probably the most memorable moment of Argentina’s boxing history. He beat Reggie Johnson twice, JD Jackson twice and split 2 bouts with Roberto Durán. In the first part of his career lost to Terry Norris and Roy Jones, no shame there. And then made an amazing jump to Cruiserweight, being 5’8″, where he lost in world title attempts to Juan Carlos Gómez and Vassily Jirov. Was only KOd twice in 144 fights, by a huge JC Gómez and in the fight previous to his last one.

To complete the character, in his first fights he used to announce the round and the corner where he would knock his opponent out, claims he never really trained for a fight, came back to fight after being in a coma after a car accident and has 15 kids!

What is your opinion on his merit and chances to enter the HOF? Thanks! – Nico from Argentina

I knew Castro was a character (even by boxing standards – Oscar Bonavena would’ve admired this crazy cat) and a card-carrying badass tough guy, but you bring up a valid question: Is he worthy of being on the International Boxing Hall of Fame ballot?

I don’t know if he’d ever be voted in, but I think his resume merits his name being on the ballot. Notching 130 victories (90 by stoppage) vs. just 11 losses and three draws is the kind of record that the best fighters of the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s. Castro fought 19 times in 1988. That’s approaching Henry Armstrong/Willie Pep/Sandy Saddler-level early career activity. It’s amazing that he fought that often during the 1980s, ’90s and 2000s.

Castro (right) and Jackson throw down in their unforgettable 1994 middleweight title clash.

But there’s substance to the numbers. He was a contender at junior middleweight, middleweight, light heavyweight and cruiserweight. He took both Norris and Jones the distance in 1991 and 1992, when those two elite boxer-punchers were in their athletic primes. (By the way, he fought 15 times in ’91; 10 times in ’92.) In 1994, he earned a split nod over Reggie Johnson and scored his epic come-from-behind stoppage of John David Jackson, which was The Ring’s Fight of the Year. He fought 11 times that year.

I’m not that impressed with the two bouts vs. Duran, who was beyond faded and fighting on muscle memory by then (1997), but challenging the two undefeated cruiserweight titleholders – Gomez and Jirov (who had a combined 61-0 record) – is amazing for a natural junior middleweight. He stopped former IBF cruiserweight titleholder Imamu Mayfield to earn his shot at Jirov and he had a few moments vs. the 1996 Olympic gold medalist from Kazakhstan. After his cruiserweight stint, he dropped down to light heavyweight and scored a seventh-round stoppage of former title challenger Derrick Harmon (in 2006).

I’d have no problem with Castro being on the IBHOF ballot. I don’t know if or when I’d vote for him, and I wouldn’t rate him with the best of the Golden Age, but I do believe he could’ve been a contender (and maybe even a popular fighter) during that bygone era.  

 

 

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

 

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