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Dougie’s Friday Mailbag (Whyte-Povetkin, Taylor-Persoon II, Israil Madrimov)

Photo courtesy of Sky Sports
21
Aug

WHYTE VS. POVETKIN

Hello Dougie,

Hope you enjoyed your short vacation.

This weekend is treating us with the first big matchup since lockdown in Matchroom Fight Camp – Whyte vs. Povetkin.



A hard one for both, but I’m leaning to Dillian Whyte, ‘cause Whyte is still in his prime, Povetkin is not. But as we all know even now at 40 Povetkin is still dangerous for any top heavyweight. His punches are still very hard, he made Anthony Joshua look so poor for the first part of their match. And I think he’s more crafty and dangerous than Kubrat Pulev – Joshua’s next opponent, another seasoned vet. So Dillian has to fight an intelligent fight to overcome Povetkin (not the one he did with Mariusz Wach). How’d you see it going, and what the victory means for the winner.

Lovin’ the mailbag. – Jose

Alexander Povetkin v Michael Hunter.
Picture By Dave Thompson

I favor Whyte, probably by decision (Povetkin’s got a lot of heart and a hard head), for the reason that you pointed out. He’s still in his prime. However, as you also noted, the Russian is a dangerous 40 year old. There’s no quit in Povetkin, as he proved vs. Wladimir Klitschko, Anthony Joshua, and even his most recent bout, the draw with Michael Hunter.

However, Whyte has the faster hands, a slight reach advantage, a stiff jab, nimble feet (for a big man), and a killer left (to the body from mid-range and to the head when in close). I think his body attack will be essential in breaking down Povetkin. One other factor: Whyte’s going to have to be in tip-top shape. He can’t beat Povetkin if he’s not in championship condition. The flabby guy that showed up for Mariusz Wach will lose to Povetkin.

But I have to figure Whyte will be motivated for this fight. If he wins, his next bout could be against Tyson Fury if the Ring/WBC/lineal champ’s third bout with Deontay Wilder fails to materialize on Dec. 19 due to COVID-19 restrictions in the U.S. Fury would like to fight once more this year. If Wilder isn’t available (and if he can contractually swing it), I can see The Gypsy King taking on his WBC mandatory challenger in the U.K. (where the showdown would be a marketable pay-per-view event) in November or December.

If Povetkin wins on Saturday, he’ll have to wait longer for his shot at either Tyson, the Tyson-Wilder 3 winner, or a rematch with Joshua, maybe until 2022 (provided he can remain unbeaten), but he’ll be a major heavyweight player once again.

 

THE BATTLE TO BE THE GREEN BELT MANDATORY

Hi Dougie,

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

Man! All this talk about who’s got which belts and who’s gonna vacate or step aside to finally end up holding all the marbles. Not much discussion about the fight at hand tomorrow night?

IMHO it’s a brilliant match up and a dangerous fight for both. Both need a win. With Povetkin at 40 it’s arguably his last chance to get close to challenging the top dogs before he retires.

For Whyte, a slip up now would undo the years of frustration as WBC #1.

They are different but dangerous fighters. Either would give Fury, AJ or Wilder hard fights I feel. Povetkin’s got the experience and Olympic pedigree whereas Whyte is so physical and as hard as nails.

It’s really a hard one to call.

Recently Povetkin took a massive shot from David Price and finished the show in style. Whereas Whyte has battled though opposition also.

I lean towards to Whyte, just, but that might just the be the Brit in me.

Whoever wins would be a nightmare fight for any of the top three and becomes WBC mandatory.

How you calling it?

Right, regarding all this WBC mandatory stuff, my 2 cents is that Whyte deserves his shot. He’s beaten everyone put in his way and paid the sanctioning fees that go with it for years.

However clearly people want to see Fury/Wilder, Fury/AJ and dare I say it AJ/Wilder before Whyte gets a look in.

I mean if we step back for a second we are really spoilt to have three top heavyweights, in their prime all going at it. Then the likes of Whyte, Usyk, chomping at the bit. And we still fill the Twittervese with complaints….

I think Fury will vacate the WBC belt, assuming he beats Wilder and goes for an AJ fight. I can’t see AJ or shall I say Eddie Hearn, choosing to fight Whyte for the WBC over Fury. It’s just too big.

Whyte will fight for a vacant belt then lines up for the winner of Fury/AJ.

Then you throw Usyk in the mix as another mandatory for AJ and my crystal ball then goes out of the window!!

Either way looking forward to a good fight on Sat.

MM

Sergio Martinez vs RJJ at middleweight

Sergio Martinez vs Marvin Hagler

Hella vs Thanos

Keep up the good the work! – Tabraze, London, UK

Your mythical matchups:

Sergio Martinez vs RJJ at middleweight – Jones by mid-to-late stoppage

Sergio Martinez vs Marvin Hagler – Hagler by late stoppage or UD

Hella vs Thanos – Hmmmm…. If Thanos wields the Infinity Gauntlet, he wins. If not, I’ve gotta go with Hela. In the comic books, The Mad Titan did all of his universe-scale killing to impress the female embodiment of death. He was literally obsessed with death (in the guise of Lady Death). In fact, he was often easily manipulated by Lady Death. Hela is the Nordic goddess of death/the dead. I figure that gives her a strong edge vs. any version of Thanos without a fully loaded cosmic glove.

(Whyte-Povetkin is) a brilliant match up and a dangerous fight for both. Both need a win. With Povetkin at 40 it’s arguably his last chance to get close to challenging the top dogs before he retires. If the Russian veteran loses in decisive fashion I wouldn’t be shocked if he announced his retirement in the ring.

For Whyte, a slip up now would undo the years of frustration as WBC #1. Indeed, I think the titleholders have wanted anything to do with him for the past two and half years. If he loses to Povetkin, they’ll be excused (by most of the boxing world) for forgetting his name completely.

Dillian Whyte (left) trades with Joseph Parker. (Photo by Lawrence Lustig)

They are different but dangerous fighters. Either would give Fury, AJ or Wilder hard fights I feel. I think Whyte is much more of a problem for the stars of the division than Povetkin, but the Russian is no walk in the park (as Joshua knows).

Povetkin’s got the experience and Olympic pedigree whereas Whyte is so physical and as hard as nails. Whyte isn’t as experienced as Povetkin (no active heavyweight is), but he’s had his share of tests and gut checks with the dangerous likes of Joseph Parker and Dereck chisora (twice).

It’s really a hard one to call. That’s why I can’t wait to see it!

Whoever wins would be a nightmare fight for any of the top three and becomes WBC mandatory. Hey, according to The Ring’s heavyweight rankings Whyte is among the top three (behind only Ring/WBC champ Fury and unified beltholder Joshua). But, yeah, I think his blend of physical tools, athleticism and guts makes him a hellish advisory for the big names of the division.

How you calling it? Whyte by UD in a competitive fight.

Right, regarding all this WBC mandatory stuff, my 2 cents is that Whyte deserves his shot. He’s beaten everyone put in his way and paid the sanctioning fees that go with it for years. I agree. And Whyte earned his high ranking in both the WBC and The Ring by facing legit contenders.

However clearly people want to see Fury/Wilder, Fury/AJ and dare I say it AJ/Wilder before Whyte gets a look in. Yeah, and there’s a realistic chance that those fights happen before Whyte gets a crack at any of them. Boxing is more business than sport.

I mean if we step back for a second we are really spoilt to have three top heavyweights, in their prime all going at it. Then the likes of Whyte, Usyk, chomping at the bit. And we still fill the Twittervese with complaints…. Ya might as well call it the Twatterverse.

Tyson Fury puts on a green WBC tie as he leaves the ring after stopping Deontay Wilder in February. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

I think Fury will vacate the WBC belt, assuming he beats Wilder and goes for an AJ fight. Or the WBC makes him the Franchise champion and elevates Whyte (currently the organization interim beltholder) to full champion status.

I can’t see AJ or shall I say Eddie Hearn, choosing to fight Whyte for the WBC over Fury. It’s just too big. Hearns seems keen to make Fury-Whyte. If that fight were to happen and Whyte pulled the upset, a Joshua-Whyte rematch would be a huge event in the U.K. It wouldn’t be as big as Fury vs. Joshua, but it would be lucrative enough for Hearn to do the event.

Whyte will fight for a vacant belt then lines up for the winner of Fury/AJ. Hey, it doesn’t matter how he gets to the big dance, just as long as he makes it there.

Then you throw Usyk in the mix as another mandatory for AJ and my crystal ball then goes out of the window!! Usyk could be the dark horse of the division. Hopefully, we’ll get to see him in action vs. a legit heavyweight standout before the end of 2020.

 

HOW GOOD IS MADRIMOV?

Dougie,

I hope you and your family had a pleasant vacation last week. The other guy did fine – fortunately no one made him cry like young students do when they have a substitute teacher, so it seems your mailbag was in good hands.

  1. How good is Israil Madrimov? On Saturday night I suspect he had some ring rust to shake off (or perhaps an acute illness) as his performance was fairly unremarkable. His footwork was slow and he seemed to come inside with his hands down. Walker deserves credit, however, for the timing of his jab and right hook that demanded respect from Madrimov.
  2. After watching the 9th round “missed KO” and considering the context of the fight where Madrimov was tackling his opponent and using other “professional” techniques to get an edge, I actually think the ref made a fair call. Madrimov did not have to fall forward the way he did after his left haymaker – I think he was actually trying to push Walker over with his shoulder.

However, it was most concerning to me that they let Walker fight again after that concussion. I think they should have either sent it to the cards or the fight should have been waved after Madrimov landed the big right following the break. A blow to the head that produces such dizziness sounds like a severe concussion, and placing him back in harms way so quickly only increased his chance of injury.

What is your take? Do you think we will see Walker fight in another big match? Would you pick Madrimov over Charlo/Rosario?

Thanks, Dougie! – Phil

I definitely would not pick Madrimov over The Ring’s two top-rated junior middleweights, Jermell Charlo and Jeison Rosario. He’s only got six pro bouts under his belt and he clearly struggled the first time he was forced to go past six rounds.

Israil Madrimov fires a left at Eric Walker during their 12-round junior middleweight bout. Photo by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

I think Madrimov learned a lot by sharing the ring with a tough, solid, competent fringe contender like Eric Walker for 12 rounds, but he and his team should not rush to a world title shot. He’s still a work in progress. He’s gotta settle down, tighten up his technique, put his punches together better and not load up so much with single shots. He’s relying too much on sheer athleticism rather than his boxing foundation/technique. And he’s also got to get used to fighting 12 rounds. He was gassed in the middle rounds vs. Walker.

I think Charlo or Rosario would take him into deep waters and drown him as he is now.

Will we see Walker in another big match? Well, if you considered the Madrimov fight to be a “big match,” then yes, we’ll likely see him serve as a stern test for another junior middleweight up-and-comer, maybe it will be one of the other 25-to-27 year old prospects from Eastern Europe who seem ready to transition to legit contender status – Magomed Kurbanov (19-0 from Russia), Bakrham Murtazaliev (17-0 also from Russia), or my personal favorite Serhii Bohachuk (17-0 from Ukraine).

How good is Israil Madrimov? He’s very good. He’s got all the ingredients a fighter needs to succeed as a pro – natural talent/athleticism, an extensive amateur background, a world-class trainer and training environment (Joel Diaz/Indio) and a partnership with an influential promoter (Eddie Hearn). I consider him to be a blue-ship prospect, but I think he’s at least two or three fights away from developing into a real contender.

On Saturday night I suspect he had some ring rust to shake off (or perhaps an acute illness) as his performance was fairly unremarkable. I wasn’t blown away by his performance, but I haven’t been impressed with all of previous pro showings (like some fans and media).

Walker deserves credit, however, for the timing of his jab and right hook that demanded respect from Madrimov. I think Walker deserves all the credit for making Madrimov look ordinary and desperate.

After watching the 9th round “missed KO” and considering the context of the fight where Madrimov was tackling his opponent and using other “professional” techniques to get an edge, I actually think the ref made a fair call. I don’t. I think that call sucked. Madrimov clearly tripped forward (he was already bent over at the waist when the overhand left caught Walker) and bumped his head and shoulder into the scrambled opponent; he did not “tackle” Walker and I don’t think he intentionally tried to bump into the underdog.

Madrimov did not have to fall forward the way he did after his left haymaker – I think he was actually trying to push Walker over with his shoulder. I disagree. Madrimov loads up too much with single shots and he tries too hard to be “dynamic” in his delivery, so he often wildly throws himself off balance, which is what happened after he clipped Walker, but Walker was on his way down regardless. He was knocked senseless. I don’t think Madrimov was intentionally “ramming” Walker after he landed that shot. I think he lost his footing as he was punching.

However, it was most concerning to me that they let Walker fight again after that concussion. Gary Ritter and the ringside physician did not do Walker any favor by allowing him to “recover” for five minutes and then resume getting hit in the head for three more rounds. It was a bad call that could have had awful, tragic consequences.

I think they should have either sent it to the cards or the fight should have been waved after Madrimov landed the big right following the break. Um, no, Ritter should have started a 10-count as soon as Walker landed on his side from that lunging left, and he should have waved it off by the count of 6 or 7 as the American was sprawling around on the canvas, clearly in no condition to continue.

A blow to the head that produces such dizziness sounds like a severe concussion, and placing him back in harms way so quickly only increased his chance of injury. You don’t have to be Dr. Margaret Goodman to know that.

 

WHYTE-POVETKIN/TAYLOR-PERSOON 2

Hi Dougie,

Big thanks for keeping the mailbag going during the entire Covid crisis, it’s helped keep me sane!

How do you see this weekend’s fights playing out? Personally something’s telling me to order an upset special for Whyte/Povetkin . I’m not sure why but Whytes change of trainer and last 2 performances have me thinking that Povetkin will score a late stoppage on a tiring Whyte.

On the undercard I think Katie Taylor will box a smart fight and cruise to a decision over Persoon in a less feisty encounter than their epic last year.

I also like the look of Smith vs Alvarez although I won’t be staying up to the early hours to watch it! I can’t pick this fight at all, it’s too close in my mind but how do you see it going?

Keep it up. – Tommy (London originally but stuck in Spain due to covid)

Will do, Tommy.

I gotta go with The Storm in Saturday’s light heavyweight showdown. I know Joe Smith is big, strong, sturdy puncher, who remains dangerous until the final bell, but the Long Islander was outclassed by Sullivan Barrera (who I don’t view as talented as Alvarez) and Dmitry Bivol (who isn’t as experienced as the Colombian). Alvarez has been outclassed/outpointed only once – in his rematch with Sergey Kovalev and I don’t think Smith is as skilled or ring savvy as the Russian veteran.

Alvarez is battle tested, more athletic than Smith, and a pretty good puncher (as Kovalev and Michael Seals can attest). The only thing that worries me about Eleider is his age. At 36, who knows when he might start to slide. Smith, on the other hand, is 30.

Katie Taylor vs. Delfine Persoon (Photo by Nick Potts/Getty Images)

How do you see this weekend’s fights playing out? I’m going with Whyte (as I’ve explained in previous posts) and Taylor on points. I’m among the slight minority of observers who thought Taylor deserved the nod over Persoon last July, although I thought a draw or 6-4 in rounds to the Belgian veteran would have been fair. However, I thought Taylor fought the wrong fight. It didn’t have to be a war. I’m glad it was because it was among the best fights I witnessed live in 2019, but Taylor has the hand and foot speed to get off and get and out of harm’s way. She stayed in the pocked too much in bout No. 1, stubbornly trying to beat Persoon into submission (or at least earn respect) but Delfine is like Antonio Margarito – relentless with her pressure and impervious to pain. I think Taylor knows what to do this time around.

Personally something’s telling me to order an upset special for Whyte/Povetkin. Upsets make the boxing world turn, Tommy. Are you making any wagers?

I’m not sure why but Whyte’s change of trainer and last 2 performances have me thinking that Povetkin will score a late stoppage on a tiring Whyte. We’ll see if bringing David Coldwell into the corner helps Whyte. I agree that Dillian looked vulnerable vs. Oscar Rivas and sloppy vs. Wach, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility for Povetkin outwork, hurt or even stop Whyte in the late rounds. But I think Whyte knows he has to be at his best to be victorious tomorrow and I’m sure that’s why he brought in Coldwell.

On the undercard I think Katie Taylor will box a smart fight and cruise to a decision over Persoon in a less feisty encounter than their epic last year. I agree, but while it may not be a Fight of the Year candidate like their first bout, I still think it’s gonna be an entertaining scrap. Persoon’s style and Taylor’s mentality guarantee it.

 

 

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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