Thursday, September 24, 2020  |

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Dougie’s Friday Mailbag (best fights on the fall schedule, Tim Tszyu, Tony Tucker)

07
Aug

BIG FIGHTS FOR THE SECOND HALF OF 2020

Hello Dougie,

Wanted to give out my two cents on certain potential and confirmed matches for the second half of this crazy year. Obviously, any fight that features Canelo is going to be important so I’m always looking forward to what the red head will be doing. I don’t hear anybody mentioned and I’m starting to think he will probably end up fighting in the last quarter of the year. I see he’s been training based on his social media posts, so I’m thinking they must know something. Who do you see him fighting this year?

Now, GGG, he’s another quiet one. I haven’t heard anything about a fight for him. I wouldn’t think a fight with Canelo is possible right now, especially with no audience involved. Are there any rumors of who he might face? Considering his recent track record, I suspect he’s going to take an easy fight.

Now, something I heard today that bummed me out was the potential fight with Lomachenko and Teofimo falling apart because Lopez doesn’t want to take the 1.25 million that they’re offering. Now, I don’t know about you but, not fighting the whole year and getting the opportunity of a lifetime to fight the best or one of the best in the business for more than a million bucks sounds like a good thing doesn’t it? I think these guys think they deserve more because they get paid more by fighting low level opposition, or at least they’re getting paid more than they should so they expect a huge payday.

To be honest, I don’t see how you can justify more than that with this fight. For as popular as Lomachenko is, he’s no Canelo, so opponents shouldn’t be demanding that kind of money. I hope this fight gets made. It’s a potential fight of the year in my eyes.

On to another fight I’m hearing a lot, Crawford-Pacquiao. Really? Is this really being negotiated? It’s funny because when both were with Top Rank, the fight couldn’t be made. What makes us think they’ll be able to do this? Is Pac Man that desperate? Is this the biggest money fight for him? I would love to see the fight don’t get me wrong.  I think both pose stylistic problems for each other. Yuri Gamboa, who’s fast and unpredictable gave Crawford hell, so I can visualize Pacquiao catching Crawford blind on more than one occasion, I can also see him dropping him like he does to all of his opponents.  Crawford can also be very defensive and make Pacman miss all night. In other words, this sounds like a very interesting chess match. Hopefully it does get done.

Spence-Garcia and Charlo-Derevyanchenko are my two most anticipated fights of this year. I actually favor the two underdogs in those fights. I like Garcia because I think Spence will not be the same after the accident. I just can’t see him get hit and not react in an adverse way after getting KO’d by concrete. In the end he was concussed and that’s like getting KO’d and you know what happens whenever someone suffers from that kind of experience, you’re never the same. Hopefully he is, but I don’t see it. I think Garcia will be throwing haymakers all night and eventually catch him.

As for Sergei and Charlo, I love this fight, I don’t know if Derevyanchenko will be the same after the GGG fight but that guy is a tough MF. He will test Charlo unlike anybody before him and he might end up beating him. If Charlo beats him, he’ll graduate as a legitimate contender in my eyes (I wasn’t impressed in his fight vs Korobov, I actually thought he lost).

So, we have some potential fights and some exciting ones that are already set. What other fights should we look forward for this year? Thanks! – Juan Valverde

Jermell Charlo vs. Jeison Rosario (154-pound title unification bout with the vacant Ring Magazine junior middleweight belt on the line), Dillian Whyte vs. Alexander Povetkin (crossroads showdown between heavyweight contenders), Nordine Oubaali vs. Nonito Donaire (solid bantamweight titleholder vs. future hall of famer), Katie Taylor vs. Delfine Persoon II (rematch of the 2019 women’s fight of the year), Eleider Alvarez vs. Joe Smith Jr. (fun scrap between light heavyweight veterans), Cecilia Brakhus vs. Jessica McCaskill (Ring P4P Queen vs. unified 140-pound titleholder for the undisputed welterweight crown), Jorge Linares vs. Javier Fortuna (top-10 rated lightweight veterans clash), Jose Ramirez vs. Viktor Postol (unified 140-pound titlist and best pressure fighter in the sport vs. battled-tested veteran and most difficult stylist of the junior welters), Emmanuel Navarrete vs. Jessie Magdaleno (interesting clash of styles for a vacant featherweight belt) and Sergey Lipinets vs. Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (solid welterweight dust up) would be my top 10 (in order of which bout I want to see the most) that you did not mention.

All in all, I think it’s a pretty solid fall/winter schedule and I’m sure a few more major bouts will be added over the next few weeks.

Who do you see (Canelo) fighting this year? I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Callum Smith, but the longer we go without an announcement, the more I wonder if we see the Mexican star at all in 2020.

Are there any rumors of who (Golovkin) might face? Kamil Szeremeta, his IBF mandatory challenger and The Ring’s No. 6-rated contender; and it’s not a rumor, that’s who he’s fighting, probably in late September.

Considering his recent track record, I suspect he’s going to take an easy fight. We’ll see how “easy” Szeremeta is when he’s in the ring with GGG. However, I’d like to point out that Golovkin has faced Canelo Alvarez (twice), Daniel Jacobs and Sergiy Derevyanchnko in his last six bouts.

Now, something I heard today that bummed me out was the potential fight with Lomachenko and Teofimo falling apart because Lopez doesn’t want to take the 1.25 million that they’re offering. I think Lopez is just holding out for more money (or less of a pay cut if you want to look at it from that perspective). He understands the significance of this showdown, it’s something he and his father have chased for more than a year, and they also know that if it doesn’t happen this year it may not happen at all because the young man is rapidly growing into the 140-pound division. I think Team Lopez and his management will get the extra money they believe they deserve, and the showdown will happen, maybe not on October 3, but at some point before the end of the year.

On to another fight I’m hearing a lot, Crawford-Pacquiao. Really? Why not?

Is this really being negotiated? Well, the offer’s been made to Pac’s people, according to Steve Kim, who spoke with Bob Arum in mid-June about Crawford’s late-September or October return.

It’s funny because when both were with Top Rank, the fight couldn’t be made. What makes us think they’ll be able to do this? Arum believes the members of Manny’s management that were against him fighting Crawford are either no longer with him (Mike Koncz) or have been “muted.”

Is Pac Man that desperate? He’s not desperate at all, he’s just a real fighter. He’s never shied away from a challenge.

Is this the biggest money fight for him? Good question. It’s either Crawford (and I’m sure ESPN would financially support Top Rank in making this PPV showdown for their network) or the winner of Spence-Garcia (which would receive the support of FOX and maybe Jerry Jones if the mega-fight were to land AT&T Stadium in Texas should Spence prevail in November).

Spence-Garcia and Charlo-Derevyanchenko are my two most anticipated fights of this year. I actually favor the two underdogs in those fights. They are live dogs, but I’m thinking Spence can outwork and outpoint Garcia without making the fight to physical should he choose to box from a distance; and my hunch is that Jermall will catch Derev with something nasty by the late rounds and score an impressive stoppage.

I like Garcia because I think Spence will not be the same after the accident. You might be right. We won’t know until he gets in that ring and gets hit by Danny.

I just can’t see him get hit and not react in an adverse way after getting KO’d by concrete. In the end he was concussed and that’s like getting KO’d and you know what happens whenever someone suffers from that kind of experience, you’re never the same. Yeah, that’s what everyone says these days, and I’m sure there’s medical research to support that belief, but plenty of elite boxers have bounced back from devastating knockouts in past decades with significantly less time off than Spence has had. Emile Griffith was brutally blasted in one round by Rubin “Hurricane” Carter in December 1963. Griffith dusted himself off and came right back vs. another tough top-10 contender, Ralph DuPas, in February 1964 and the former welterweight champ/future middleweight champ scored a third-round KO. Griffith took on all comers for his next 39 bouts, mostly Ring-rated opposition, without suffering another stoppage before the great Carlos Monzon halted him in the 14th round of a middleweight title challenge. And Griffith faced his share of punchers between Carter and Monzon. Joe Louis took a beating at the crafty hands of Max Schmeling en route to a humiliating 12th-round stoppage in June 1936. He came back two months later and KO’d former champ Jack Sharkey in three rounds. He wouldn’t suffer another stoppage until his final bout vs. Rocky Marciano in October 1951. Also, several other notable fighters have comeback from traumatic injuries that were the result of out-of-the-ring accidents – from Willie Pep (who survived a plane crash) to Hasim Rahman (who’s entire face was ripped off in a car crash) – and had success. Maybe one’s mindset is a factor in the recovery, and maybe Spence can do the same.

Hopefully he is, but I don’t see it. I’m not surprised. You tend to lean toward the negative, Juan.

I think Garcia will be throwing haymakers all night and eventually catch him. More power to him if he does.

As for Sergei and Charlo, I love this fight, I don’t know if Derevyanchenko will be the same after the GGG fight but that guy is a tough MF. And a very good boxer. I was impressed with his footwork during the GGG fight.

He will test Charlo unlike anybody before him and he might end up beating him. If Charlo beats him, he’ll graduate as a legitimate contender in my eyes (I wasn’t impressed in his fight vs Korobov, I actually thought he lost). Whoever emerges victorious in the WBC title bout, I’m hoping he gets a shot at The Ring champ. Canelo-Charlo is a major event in Texas and Canelo-Derveyanchenko could do well in NYC. And even the pandemic forces those bouts to be in a Las Vegas “bubble,” the style clashes make for must-see TV.

 

MATCHROOM’S COMEBACK

Hi Doug,

Normally when a Promoter says he has a Fight Card full of close Matchups I think this is just Marketing Talk.

But Eddie Hearn was right, the Eggington vs Cheeseman Fight Night was full of good Fights and close Matchups.

Matchroom is back baby, I can`t wait for the other Fight Camp Nights.

Sure, some Fights more than others but all Fights have been good, and Eggington vs Cheeseman was the best Fight since the Covid-19 Break.

What a Battle between these two Warriors and the 12th Round was a fitting End to this Fight, both standing Toe to Toe and let the Fists fly.

I would nominate this Round for Round of the year so far, wouldn`t mind to see another Fight between them.

I also liked the Tennyson vs Gwynne Matchup, Gwynne tried to use his Reach Advantage but Tennyson brought the Heat to him and overpowered him in the End.

Dalton Smith looks very promising and had a nasty Knockout against Bennett.

I thought this could be also a Nominate for Knockout of the year until I saw the brutal Uppercut Knockout from Joe George vs Escudero.

Man, that was vicious, this was also a good Card but overall just a notch behind the Matchroom card.

The Main Event wasn`t as good and the scoring was questionable. 118-110? No way I had it 116-112 for Leo.

But both Fight Nights showed better Boxing then all the Top Rank Events together from the last few Weeks. I hope Arum has a better Lineup for his Next Events. – Andy

It looks like Top Rank is delivering a solid August and September schedule while they figure out how to finalize Lomachenko-Lopez and what to do with Bud Crawford. Jamel Herring-Jonathan Oquendo, Ramirez-Postol and Navarrete-Magdaleno are all solid world title bouts. Alvarez-Smith, Kavaliauskas-Zewski, Gonzalez-Marriaga and Cancio-Rodriguez are all competitive matchups that should produce a lot of action. Cheesman-Eggington-level action? Yeah, I think so. We’ll see.

Regarding Matchroom’s Fight Camp debut, I think it was a rousing success. It delivered back-to-back entertaining bouts and presented it in a lively environment. I like the energy of the outdoor setup better than the studio-looking “casino bubbles” that American promoters have created, so far. I’m glad Sir Eddie is going with the outdoor ring when he brings his show back to the U.S. on August 15 (with Braekhus-McCaskill in Tulsa, Oklahoma).

I’ll be watching tonight’s show. I think Harper-Jonas will be a quality title bout.

 

TIM TSZYU

Doug,

Really looking forward to the Tim Tszyu-Jeff Horn fight coming up. Quite impressed by the younger Tszyu in the clips and past fights I’ve seen. I mean, can a son of a legend look like and fight like their pops more than Tim and Kostya? To be fair, though, I also remember the Vince Phillips fight and how Kostya was clipped a lot in that stand-up style and I feel like I’ve noticed a little of the same thing in Tim. That said, what do you think of the young Tszyu and who do you favor in the Tszyu-Horn matchup? – Gordon

I gotta go with Timmy. I know Horn is the far more experienced pro and The Hornet has a swarming physical style that could emulate what my man Cool Vince did to King Kostya back in 1997. We’ll see what happens later this month, but since I’m not covering this fight I’m gonna root for Tszyu 2.0.

Anyone who reads the mailbag or follows me on Twitter knows how much I admire Kostya Tszyu. I followed the pro career of the Russian-Aussie even before his U.S. debut, and quickly became a fan as soon as I witnessed his talent on TV. It was a thrill to eventually be able to cover his title fights from press row, and now it’s fun watching his son develop into a world-class fighter. He’s not there yet, but if he can beat a battle-tested badass like Horn, he’ll be well on his way.

Tim Tszyu

Like you, I see a lot of his father’s form in Tim’s technique. I like how poised he remains during his fights, and the timing on his right hand gives me flashbacks to his old man’s glory years. However, he doesn’t seem to be the natural his pops was, nor does he appear to possess the bone-crunching power Kostya wielded, and he certainly did not have the extensive and decorated amateur career that served as his dad’s formidable pro foundation.

But I know Tim was raised with a lot of discipline and hard work, which has likely forged the kind of character that takes a prize fighter far, and I don’t think his team/family would have made this fight if they didn’t think he was ready for the challenge.

 

CANCELING SHOWTIME

I am so sick of cancel culture.

You can’t open your mouth without offending someone. And when it costs one their job… whatever happened to freedom to speak?

I guess you have to be a Howard Stern who offends for a living to get away with it. Paulie did not offend. He made a valid point.

And he always did a good job from ringside, making the fans a little smarter about the nuances of boxing.

I’m so offended that I’m canceling Showtime. How do you like it Viacom? – Bill Caplan

I wonder if others have done or will do the same. I know Malignaggi has his supporters, but he’s also rubbed a lot of people the wrong way over the years. We’ll see if he can bounce back from this. I’m curious to see who in the boxing industry will be rooting for him or against him.

Look for a comprehensive long-form article on Malignaggi’s situation by award-winning author and investigative journalist Thomas Hauser late next week on RingTV.com.

 

SPINKS-TUCKER, BOXING JOURNALISTS

Hi Dougie,

Who do you think would have won if Spinks defended his IBF title against #1 contender Tony Tucker? Did Butch Lewis perhaps suspect Tucker would win, so they choose Cooney instead?

Also I watched the entire build up to Tyson-Spinks. No “expert” gave Spinks any sort of chance (Holmes, Merchant, Gil Clancy and even your pal Michael Katz). Why is it viewed as Tyson’s best win by so many?

Who do you consider among the best boxing journalists of say the past 30 years? (Other than yourself ofcourse) I use to enjoy reading Gregory Juckett and Budd Schulberg in the 90s, then later on Steve Kim.

I’m not a huge fan of Dan Rafael (glad he wasn’t around when they had newspaper decisions, imagine that) but happy you threw him a bone. Not sure he would manage too well covering seal fights in Alaska.

Thanks mate. Regards. – Will

I’m happy to have Dan as a regular contributor to the website and the magazine, Will. His features in the Gatti-Ward and Mike Tyson special issues were top notch, as is his cover story in the current edition of The Ring (October 2020), and he’s provided us with quality articles for RingTV (which includes the Oscar De La Hoya-Shane Mosley 20-year anniversary piece and the recent Top Rank fight schedule update).

I’m very pleased with Dan’s work, and I consider him (along with Steve Kim) to be among the best boxing reporters/news hounds of the last 20 years. Who are the best of the last 30 years? Michael Katz was probably the best columnist (although he probably had more haters than poor Rafael does now). His column for the New York Daily News was must-read for any hardcore boxing fan, even if you disagreed with most of his opinions (as I often did). You got all of the industry gossip, the insider’s perspectives as well as interesting personal/background information on all of the fighters he came into contact with Katz. Wally Matthews, who used to be the boxing beat writer for Newsday, was also a personal favorite. Wally’s an engaging writer with journalistic integrity who also had a great insight on the sport (the craft and the business). (By the way, Matthews penned a terrific article on Tyson’s early years for the special edition.)

I also enjoyed Greg Juckett’s reports and columns in Boxing Digest (before he became Cedric Kushner’s PR ace). I eagerly read all of the regular contributors and columnists who wrote for The Ring, KO, Boxing Illustrated/Digest, Boxing Scene, Boxing Monthly, you name the publication, I used to buy it and read it from cover to cover. Back in the 1980s, when I lived in Missouri and attended college in Ohio, I also used to read all of the out-of-state newspapers that had sports sections which covered boxing whenever I visited a public library.

I didn’t discriminate when it came to boxing coverage during the ’80s and ’90s, so maybe I’m not the right person to ask who were the best fight scribes. I enjoyed reading ANYTHING about boxing and I didn’t have to agree with the writers’ perspectives/opinions in order to appreciate their coverage.

Who do you think would have won if Spinks defended his IBF title against #1 contender Tony Tucker? If you asked me who would win in 1987, I would have gone with The Jinx because he was a Missouri native and he dethroned Larry Holmes (who I was still sore at for beating up Muhammad Ali). But now, looking back at how darn talented Tucker was, I’m thinking the natural heavyweight would have either outpointing the light heavyweight great or stopped him late.

Mike Tyson and Tony Tucker trade punches during the early rounds of their title-unification fight. Photo / Getty Images

Did Butch Lewis perhaps suspect Tucker would win, so they choose Cooney instead? Lewis was a shrewd and savvy businessman (not unlike Don King in that he brought his game from the streets to the boardrooms). I think the choice to fight Cooney was a combination of going for the bigger name who would bring in more money and choosing the “safer” opponent in hopes of keeping a massive-money matchup with Mike Tyson alive (even if the IBF stripped his man of the belt). Cooney brought the threat of his lethal left hook and debilitating body attack, but the former title challenger had also been grossly inactive. Tucker, on the other hand, wasn’t as experienced or battle-tested (despite a glossy 34-0 record) as Cooney but he had been very active and had obvious natural/athletic talent as well as physical attributes. He stood 6-foot-5, had an 82-inch wingspan, fast hands which he could deliver in combination, a crisp jab, nimble feet, good feints and upper-body movement. Stylistically, he was a nightmare for Spinks. I think Lewis made the right call going for Cooney. Even though the IBF stripped Spinks (and had Tucker fight buster Douglas for the vacant belt), The Ring still recognized Spinks as the champ (and the St. Louis man also held the lineal status). That was enough to make Tyson-Spinks a mega-event.

Also I watched the entire build up to Tyson-Spinks. No “expert” gave Spinks any sort of chance (Holmes, Merchant, Gil Clancy and even your pal Michael Katz). Why is it viewed as Tyson’s best win by so many? I think most recognize that point in 1988 as the peak of Tyson’s career (it was his last bout with Kevin Rooney in his corner), so it’s special in that regard, but there’s the added significance of Iron Mike gaining universal recognition as the heavyweight champ by claiming lineal status and The Ring’s coveted belt to go along with the three major sanctioning organization titles. Personally, I think his stoppages of Pinklon Thomas and Tyrell Biggs in 1987 were more impressive than the Spinks blowout.

 

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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