Dougie’s Monday Mailbag (best potential matchups, ‘disciplined’ Duran and Toney, Valero vs. Floyd)
When I first began to follow boxing in the fall of 1995, I bought an issue of KO magazine that featured an article listing the ten best potential fights that could be made at that point.
I’ve forgotten some of the matchups KO staff selected for that article, but I believe it included Bowe-Lewis, Jones-Benn, and Tapia-Romero.
As a newcomer to the sport drawn to boxing fandom by the return of Mike Tyson, that article helped expand my interest to other fighters.
I began following the careers of the fighters named in that article, and I spent a lot of time daydreaming about how they might fare against one another.
Now here I am in a similar situation 25 years later. A lack of time and finances took me away from boxing for the past decade, but now I’m ready to get back in the loop.
I subscribed to The Ring. I’ve been streaming fights of Loma, Alvarez, Inoue, and other p4p-level fighters. And I’ve watched Top Rank’s Tuesday and Thursday night cards on ESPN.
Other than Loma vs Lopez, however, I’m not really sure what the most daydream-worthy potential matchups are that can be made currently in boxing.
I’m hoping you can help me out with this. If you were to write an article today like the one from that old issue of KO, what fights would you include on the list? Thanks. – Dakota Bell, Maryville, TN
Firstly, welcome back to boxing (you picked a strange time to return, but hey, the sport needs all the diehards it can get). Second, thanks for subscribing to The Ring. I hope you’re enjoying it.
The Pandemic severely restricts the really high-profile events that often rely on pay-per-view revenue and usually take place in packed major arenas or stadiums, so super fights such as Tyson Fury vs. Anthony Joshua or Errol Spence vs. Terence Crawford aren’t realistic (and let’s be honest, even in the best of times boxing politics get in the way of those rare matchups that crossover into the casual fan consciousness).
So, my top 10 would include solid but makeable showdowns: Lomachenko-Lopez, Canelo vs. Callum Smith (or Dmitry Bivol at 168 pounds), Josh Taylor-Jose Ramirez, Ramirez-Regis Prograis, Naoya Inoue-John Riel Casimero, Mairis Briedis-Yuniel Dorticos, Jermell Charlo-Jeison Rosario, David Benavidez-Caleb Plant, Fury-Deontay Wilder 3 and Josh Warrington-Xu Can.
The Ring Magazine championship would be on the line in seven of those matchups (including two battles for vacant titles: Briedis-Dorticos at cruiserweight and Charlo-Rosario at junior middleweight). The other three bouts (Ramirez-Prograis, Benavidez-Plant and Warrington-Can) involve either the Nos. 1 and 2 or Nos. 1 and 3 contenders in their respective weight classes.
What’s your favourite punch… I’m watching the Pac/Morales series. I’ve always found that weird right half uppercut of Pac’s eye catching. – Ray K.
I don’t think I have one favorite, Ray. If I have to narrow them down to just three, I’d probably go with Alexis Argulleo’s straight right, quickly followed by Felix Trinidad’s left hook and Mike Tyson’s right uppercut.
I love the way two of my all-time favorites (who I’ve dubbed the “KINGS”), Roman Gonzalez and Kostya Tszyu, throw/threw ALL of their punches (especially to the body) – with on-point balance, technique, leverage, timing and accuracy. Arguello, Trinidad, Tyson, Mike McCallum, Julio Cesar Chavez, Ricardo Lopez, Juan Manuel Marquez, and so many other hall of famers were the same way.
Hey Doug, how do you see the García/Golden Boy drama playing out? I wonder if maybe he’s more trouble for Oscar than he’s worth at this point unfortunately. What do you think? Thanks, Doug. Peace and love. – flatfish
Ryan Garcia has tremendous potential as a boxer and a crossover star, that’s why Golden Boy Promotions was willing to restructure his contract last September, reportedly making him the highest paid non-champion/prospect in the sport. I assumed Garcia was satisfied with the new deal because he signed a multi-year contract extension with GBP.
Afterwards, he said that he considered GBP his “family” and that they were firmly on the same page. Well, I guess they’re no longer reading from the same script and if they’re still “family” they’re rife with disfunction. But you know what? A lot of fighter-promoter relationships in boxing are disfunctional. This is one is just more public than others because of Garcia’s social media followings and Oscar De La Hoya’s fame and influence.
It’s no different from the beef that Gervonta Davis was having with Floyd Mayweather Jr. a couple years ago. It caused a lot of chatter in the boxing world but they eventually came to terms. Garcia and De La Hoya will likely come to terms (again). And the cycle will likely repeat itself. The new generation of popular boxers, Garcia and Davis, have a sense of agency and entitlement that even Olympic medalists like Oscar and Floyd lacked at a similar age (even though De La Hoya and Mayweather were fare more accomplished with the same number of fights as the young guns of their promotional companies). De La Hoya and Mayweather are always going to butt heads with young upstarts because they had to earn their respect and fame. And, as former fighters (and hall of famers), they still have fierce pride and massive egos. They’re not going to acquiesce to the impetuous youths or cut them loose.
FIGHTERS IN NEED OF DISCIPLINE
- Who are some fighters that would’ve benefited the most from having more discipline in their lives–for example, more discipline regarding food intake, drinking alcohol, etc.
- Two that spring to mind for me are James Toney and Roberto Duran. How do you think their respective careers would’ve played out if they were more regimented, i.e., more focused on training and less focused on vices (drugs, food, sex, etc.)?
Thanks! Love the mailbag! – Brandon from ATL
Thanks for the love and for sharing your thoughts, Brandon.
Who are some fighters that would’ve benefited the most from having more discipline in their lives? Francisco Bojado and Frankie Gomez immediately come to my mind. I think both Angelinos could have been world champions, maybe even major attractions (especially Bojado). They had world-class amateur backgrounds, natural talent, rock-solid chins and fighting spirit once in the ring. But they couldn’t remain focused and disciplined between fights.
Two that spring to mind for me are James Toney and Roberto Duran. Interesting choice given that both men (definitely Duran) are considered all-time greats by most fans and pundits.
How do you think their respective careers would’ve played out if they were more regimented, i.e., more focused on training and less focused on vices (drugs, food, sex, etc.)? I think Duran could have acquitted himself better in the rematch with Sugar Ray Leonard and his 1984 junior middleweight showdown with Thomas Hearns (had he not blown up in weight as much as he did following his previous fights – vs. Leonard and Marvin Hagler), but I still think Leonard and Hearns would have beat him on those nights. I think a better conditioned Duran could have avoided being outpointed by Kirkland Laing and Robbie Sims (for whatever that’s worth).
I think a more-dedicated Toney could have remained at middleweight and super middleweight longer, and he could have avoided the controversial struggle with Dave Tiberi and his 1997 upset loss to Drake Thazdi. I also believe he could have been more competitive vs. Roy Jones Jr. and maybe had the energy to avoid being outhustled by Montell Griffin twice (although I think RJJ still would have outpointed him that night, and the close losses to Griffin could just be a bad style clash for Toney).
However, Toney’s sloth and lack of impulse/weight control is what led him to campaigning at cruiserweight and heavyweight, which is a big part of his legacy and miraculous comeback during the early-to-mid 2000s. And Duran’s ability to bounce back and reinvent himself after suffering devastating/humiliating setbacks is major part of his appeal and legend.
LOOKING THROUGH A FATHER’S EYES
It is very understandable for a father to be proud of his son, but do you really believe Valero would have stopped Mayweather at 135 & 140?
Many fighters gain alot of hype, looking great beating limited opposition (Tyson, Judah, Wilder, Eddie Hopson to name a few). Before getting exposed when they fight someone good.
We never saw it happen to Edwin as his career was cut short.
I’ve been reading your mail bags for about 15 years mate, but can you please tone down the Valero bias?
P.S Have you forgotten the backlash you got when u said he would beat Morales? I haven’t. Thanks mate. Regards. – Will
Thanks for the loyal readership all these years, Will, but my opinion is my opinion and I stand by it.
I didn’t care if I pissed off ‘El Terrible’ fans by stating that Valero would stop him late if they ever tangled at 130 pounds, and I’d state that same opinion to Morales’ face (respectfully, of course). I’m sure he would disagree with me being the proud warrior he is, but having sparred with Valero in preparation for his first go at Manny Pacquiao, I think he’d know where I’m coming from and respect my opinion.
Do I really believe Valero would have stopped Mayweather at 135 & 140? YES! I do. Why? Because I covered Mayweather from his days as a 130-pound prospect through his glory years as welterweight champ. He’s an amazing talent and technician, a future hall of famer, but his path to glory did not come without some bumps in the road. He wasn’t perfect. On some nights, he didn’t look like a world beater. I was there to witness those fights when he looked merely “good.” He’s human to me. So is Valero, but the Venezuelan was also a f__king animal in that ring.
Floyd was formidable in his own right, especially when he reached world-title status at 130 pounds, where he was at his peak physically and technically. However, with bigger opponents at 135 and 140 pounds and the switch from his father as head trainer to his uncle Roger, he was not as dominant as he was at junior lightweight.
I was ringside for Mayweather’s first legit lightweight bout vs. Emanuel Burton/Augustus in Detroit in October 2000, and for his first 135-pound title challenger vs. Jose Luis Castillo in Las Vegas in April 2002. At the heavier weight and with the more-offense-minded Roger in his corner, Mayweather was far from untouchable.
And I’ve got eyes. I saw how Mayweather fared vs. fast southpaws – DeMarcus Corley (at 140 pounds in 2004) and Zab Judah (at welterweight in 2006, which I was ringside for) – and I believe that Valero was every bit as dynamic and crafty as those two American lefties. If Chop Chop can put hands on the junior welterweight version of Mayweather during the early rounds, so could Valero. Again, we’re talking about the 140-pound, Roger-trained Floyd, who let his hands go a lot more and did a lot less shoulder rolling. Watch the first four rounds of Mayweather-Corley and then tell me that Valero couldn’t clip Floyd. Corley caught him with lefts and rights, stunning him in Round 3 (left) and Round 4 (rights and lefts). Valero would land with A LOT more power and authority and he would have done exactly what Corley’s corner wanted him to do (be aggressive). I know Valero wouldn’t have let the stunned Mayweather off the hook in Round 4.
I also just know more about Valero’s style and methods than most because I saw him fight live four times and I watched him train and spar. There are certain things that he’d do against Mayweather, such as targeting his arms and shoulders, that the defensive technician wouldn’t be expecting.
Bottom line, I obviously think Valero is a much better boxer than you do, because I don’t believe he would have been “exposed” vs. the elite opposition of his era (even in a loss).
With full respect due to those who take the risks and get in the ring, who have been the biggest wasted careers, sporting-wise?
Who is currently at greatest risk from that? Mikey Garcia jumps to mind for me. Regards. – Steven
Garcia is a strange choice given than he holds a 40-1 record, he’s won world titles at 126 pounds (including The Ring belt), 130, 135 (two belts) and 140 pounds, and he’s currently campaigning at welterweight. But I can sort of get where you’re coming from. He sat out two and half years of his prime beefing with Top Rank, a period of time we could have seen him clash with Yuriorkis Gamboa at 130 or 135 pounds (and maybe even earn a shot at Manny Pacquiao), and once he was back he teased the boxing public with fights against Miguel Cotto, Jorge Linares and Vasiliy Lomachenko. Didn’t happen. But we got a one-sided decision loss to Errol Spence.
The biggest wasted career in my opinion is Frankie Gomez. He was painfully shy in interviews and not the sharpest tool in the shed, but the kid could fight. Golden Boy put him in tough while he was still a teenager. Frankie faced a tough gatekeeper in Ramon Montano and a fellow prospect/future fringe contender Adrian Granados in his seventh and 11th pro bouts.
He had enough raw talent that Freddie Roach, who had no problem putting Pitbull in the ring to spar with Pacquiao, was convinced he’d be a champion. Abel Sanchez saw the talent, too, but he also saw the lack of dedication. But even though Gomez went AWOL with countless camps, failed to make weight for pivotal fights, and often ballooned to 180-190 pounds between fights, he was unbeaten (21-0) when he disappeared from the fight game. His last bout was a 10-round shutout over Mauricio Herrera on the May 2016 Canelo-Ameri Khan undercard.
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.
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