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Dougie’s Monday Mailbag (Ramirez-Postol, Josh Taylor, Elvis Rodriguez)

Viktor Postol and Jose Ramirez go at it in 2020. Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank
31
Aug

RAMIREZ VS. POSTOL, TAYLOR

Hey Doug,

Last night’s fight was one of those that I don’t know if I enjoyed or disliked. One thing’s for sure I watched every round closely and as they went on thought that they were getting closer and closer to a point that I found it difficult to score from my TV.

Andre Ward was very good in his commentary and he basically said what I was thinking when he summarized the fight in the 12th. Ramirez took the early rounds, the middle rounds were close, and Postol figured something out and took a lot of the late rounds. Postol is a difficult boxer for anybody out there. Once he has you at the end of his one two, he’s got you. Ramirez was overwhelming him and sometimes even hurting him in some rounds until he tired enough for Viktor to start using his weapons. In the end I thought the fight was close but for Ramirez 7-5. There were a couple of early rounds that could’ve been scored for Postol but I gave them to Ramirez so I can definitely see a draw or even a Postol win.



Now, I think Postol deserves a rematch but if I was Ramirez I would stay away from him and move directly to a Josh Taylor fight. Some people are saying that’s an easy pick, that Taylor is going to beat him handily. I don’t necessarily agree. I think Ramirez’ style might pose some problems for Taylor and might surprise some. His performance vs Postol is difficult to rate as Ramirez usually feeds off the crowd and also Postol’s size and style didn’t let him shine. Vs Taylor if circumstances are different I see him being more energetic and being able to match Josh’s aggressiveness and strengths, specially if the fight is held in Ramirez turf with a crowd (Fresno, Texas, LA). If it’s in any of those places I might pick him.

What do you think Doug? Is Ramirez overrated like some are saying, did we see his true colors? Were his weaknesses exposed? Or is this more of a styles make fights kinda thing?

Thanks! – Juan Valverde, Chula Vista

I think Ramirez’s performance vs. Postol had more to do with styles than it did with any shortcomings as boxer. Nobody is going to look good vs. the Ukrainian, who has a world-class jab, moves well and has expert timing. However, I thought Ramirez’s strengths – pressure, volume and punch selection – outdid Postol’s strengths in the majority of rounds. There were few rounds where I thought Postol clearly got the better of Ramirez.

Having said that, there’s one big difference between Ramirez’s performance vs. the stick-and-move specialist and the way Terence Crawford and Josh Taylor boxed Postol – they were much better at making adjustments (which help set up the knockdowns they scored in those bouts). Crawford, an elite fighter, figured Postol out after two difficult rounds. It took Taylor – who is not yet universally considered  a pound-for-pound level boxer, but I believe he should be rated above Ramirez at 140 – longer to figure out Postol than Crawford, but he did so by the late rounds.

Ramirez had a good start (in my opinion), struggled in Rounds 5 and 6, had a strong Round 7 and 8, but then faded down the stretch. I didn’t see many adjustments being made. Did you?

I think Postol deserves a rematch but if I was Ramirez I would stay away from him and move directly to a Josh Taylor fight. That’s clearly the plan. Ramirez, Taylor and Top Rank have made no secret of that. Tough break for Postol, but he might retain his high ranking in the WBC and, if he scores an interim win or two, could get back to his mandatory position and challenge the eventual winner of Taylor-Ramirez for all the marbles. No disrespect to Postol (or his new legion of Twitter admirers), but I’d rather see Regis Prograis get a crack at the undisputed champ first.

Some people are saying that’s an easy pick, that Taylor is going to beat him handily. There’s nothing “easy” about Ramirez. His style (constant pressure backed by combination punching a mean body attack) and strengths (rock-solid chin, good stamina) are just as difficult to overcome as Postol’s constant movement and pesky jab.

Taylor tees off on Baranchyk. Photo by Naoki Fukuda

I don’t necessarily agree. I think Ramirez’ style might pose some problems for Taylor and might surprise some. Ramirez’s style poses problems for anyone in the 140-pound top 10, not just Taylor. But I think the Scotsman has more than proved that he can deal with pressure, volume punching, willfulness and physical strength during the 24 rounds he went with Ivan Baranchyk and Prograis in back-to-back fights last year. And his blend of boxing and fighting, plus his southpaw stance, will pose problems for Ramirez in kind.

His performance vs Postol is difficult to rate as Ramirez usually feeds off the crowd and also Postol’s size and style didn’t let him shine. I get all of that, and I also understand that having training camp starts and stops for three different fight dates will make a boxer stale, but you know what? Postol had to deal with the exact same adversity. Let’s not make too many excuses for Jose.

Vs Taylor if circumstances are different I see him being more energetic and being able to match Josh’s aggressiveness and strengths, specially if the fight is held in Ramirez turf with a crowd (Fresno, Texas, LA). There’s no guarantee that large fights crowds will be permitted whenever this showdown can be made, and there’s no guarantee that the bout won’t take place across The Pond. But yeah, I agree that Ramirez will be more motivated and dialed in for Taylor than he was for Postol. He damn well better be.

If it’s in any of those places I might pick him. I think it’s a terrific matchup, one of the best that can be made in any division, and I’m still favor The Ring champ regardless of where the bout might wind up.

 

ELVIS IS IN THE BUILDING

Elvis Rodriguez really intrigues me. I happened to catch his fight against Murray by random an only paid attention because I was astounded that Freddie Roach was in his corner. I couldn’t remember him recently training a fighter so early in their career. These last 3 fights have shown Elvis’s talent is blue chip, if his character is as well, he’s gonna be a handful for anyone at 140-147…

Ramirez vs Postol was a good fight and went as I expected it, can’t wait to see him vs Taylor. I favor Ramirez by decision….

One question Dougie, can you compare Roy Jones Jr.’s relative hand speed to Shane Mosley’s and Amir Khan’s. – Jeremy

Yes, I think you can if you’re talking about the prime middleweight/super middleweight version of Jones. And that’s saying something considering he weighed 20-30 pounds more than those two speed demons.

I see we have another vote for Ramirez over Taylor, which begs the question: How many Josh Taylor fights have you and Juan seen? LOL. Just kidding. I have a lot of respect for Ramirez but I’m rollin’ with the Scotsman, lads.  

Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Elvis Rodriguez really intrigues me. As well he should. He’s got a lot of potential: natural talent, athleticism, physical tools, an extensive amateur background, lefty stance, good footwork and head- and upper-body movement, as well as punching power; plus he’s staying busy even during the pandemic thanks to Top Rank (four fights so far in 2020), and, of course, it doesn’t hurt that he’s being trained by a hall of famer.

I happened to catch his fight against Murray by random an only paid attention because I was astounded that Freddie Roach was in his corner. Freddie knows world-class potential when he sees it.

I couldn’t remember him recently training a fighter so early in their career. It’s been awhile.

These last 3 fights have shown Elvis’s talent is blue chip, if his character is as well, he’s gonna be a handful for anyone at 140-147… I agree, but as good as he’s looked lately, we have to keep in mind the quality of his opposition, which isn’t terrible, but not good enough to let us know if his “blue-chip” talent is enough to make him a blue-chip prospect. He’s got 10 pro fights, and looked darn good halting Cody Wilson on Saturday, but Wilson (like Danny Murray) was limited with a tailor-made style for the Dominican sharp-shooter. Consider this: Vergil Ortiz Jr.’s 10th pro bout came against a former two-time titleholder (Juan Carlos Salgado). Granted, Salgado was a beltholder at 130 pounds and five years removed from his world-class days, but the Mexican veteran brought that experience to the ring vs. Ortiz. Up-and-comers need to take on well-traveled battle-tested vets to let us know where they really are in their development. After Ortiz blasted Salgado, the level of his opposition took a big step forward, which helped establish him as 2019 Prospect of the Year. That’s what I’m hoping to see with “E-Rod” at least by next year. If he’s going to do that whole air guitar routine after he scores a knockout, I want to see him in with a live body.

 

FORCING MANDATORIES

Dear Dougie,

I hope this email finds you well. I’m a longtime reader and first-time writer. On Friday’s mailbag you wrote about Eleider Alvarez and his decision not to force his long-term WBC mandatory status by accepting step aside money to avoid suing and land a fight against Adonis Stevenson. Although this has always been somewhat common in boxing it is something that has puzzled me, and I was wondering if you could elaborate more about the subject:

– Besides financial gain, what other reasons could a fighter have to consistently accept step aside money to avoid forcing a mandatory, and what does this tell us about the fighter?

– What is the purpose of having mandatory status when you can’t force the title fight?

– Do you know examples where a fighter successfully forced his mandatory position, and the champion was forced to fight without relinquishing his belt?

Here’s to wishful thinking that the powers that be make this a rule: No step aside fees, the champion fights his mandatory or relinquishes the belt! Thank you for your work! Best wishes. – Andres, L.A., California 

Thanks for the kind words and for finally sharing your thoughts and questions with the mailbag, Andres. I would agree with your “wishful thinking” IF the sanctioning organizations had better rankings/mandatories. Far too often the WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO have unworthy mandatory challengers. On Saturday, we saw a worthy mandatory challenger – Postol (No. 1 in the WBC’s junior welterweight rankings) – get his shot. That’s good. However, there are so many No. 1 contenders among the 17 weight classes and four major belts who have NO business being in that position, there’s no room to mention them all.

To put it short, I do not think Anthony Joshua should relinquish his WBA heavyweight title to fight the “mandatory” likes of Manuel Charr, Robert Helenius or Trevor Bryant. Those guys can take as many “step-aside” payouts as AJ and his backers can afford. I don’t want to see those fights. I want to see Joshua vs. Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder.

Besides financial gain, what other reasons could a fighter have to consistently accept step aside money to avoid forcing a mandatory, and what does this tell us about the fighter? The fighter or his management may not feel ready to challenge the titleholder, in which case, accepting money to receive more time to prepare (or more time to gain experience) probably seems like a darn good deal. What does that tell us about the fighter (or his or her management/promoter)? It says they’re not that confident about their ability/chances. But sometimes it also says something about the sanctioning bodies’ habit of overrating a still-developing up-and-

Jermell Charlo sends Erickson Lubin to the canvas after landed a well-timed right hand. Photo / @ShowtimeBoxing

comers. I’ll give you an example. Erickson Lubin was a stellar amateur talent who had shined bright enough as a young pro to be considered Prospect of the Year by the end of 2016. His first bout of 2017 was a WBC title-elimination bout vs. Jorge Cota, which he won by fourth-round stoppage to improve to 18-0. But did that mean the 21-year-old Floridian was ready for battle-tested WBC titleholder Jermell Charlo, who was 29-0 at the time? No. Lubin was starched in one round. Just because a sanctioning organization says a fighter is “No. 1” doesn’t mean it’s true, or that the fighter has truly earned that position. Lubin needed more fights and at least another year or so of maturity before taking on beltholder as seasoned and talented as Charlo.

What is the purpose of having mandatory status when you can’t force the title fight? Good question. And given boxing’s fractured nature and exclusive promoter-broadcast platform partnerships, which prevents way more quality matchups than it produces, is it any wonder that the IBF is constantly stripping elite champions, or that the WBC has come up with a “Franchise Champion,” or that the WBA has three-to-four versions of its “world” title?

Do you know examples where a fighter successfully forced his mandatory position, and the champion was forced to fight without relinquishing his belt? That happens all the time. Most world titleholders want to keep their belt(s). That’s why they’ll fight complete unknowns (such as Thailand’s Apinun Khongsong – the mandatory challenger to Josh Taylor’s IBF junior welterweight strap), who may or may not be worthy of a title shot, and for less money than they would make if they were defending against better-known opponents. Most boxers do not want to be stripped.

 

TIMMY’S WORTH STAYING UP (OR GETTING UP EARLY) FOR

Dear Douglas,

I’m writing at 5:30am. In California watching Tim Tszyu beat some boxing sense into Jeff Horn.

Horn has such an awful boxing style. It’s hard to hard to watch. Rabbit punches, wrestling with illegal punches, as the fight finally gets stopped.

I’m glad to see the new reign of Tim Tszyu begin. Solid technique and solid chin. I hope he could lose a few pounds so he could compete with the 147 division. That’s where the big names are.

I hope Jeff Horn is okay. But his style is detrimental to boxing. I don’t like his rumble, wrestling type style. So hopefully he decides to retire.

Can’t wait for TIM Tszyu looking forward. He is a super talent. And that last question I have is, why wasn’t his father there with him? I’d be pissed if my dad wasn’t there. Love you Douglas, but there are differences in hall of famer’s kids.

Tim may have that burning fire ? ?.   And way worth staying up still 5:45 am in California to watch this fight. I loved it man. I hope you stayed up too.

Loving the boxing game in time of covid. – Alex Mancinas, Ontario, California

Tszyu made quite a statement last week. The Ring Ratings Panel has their collective eye on the junior middleweight up-and-comer and most view him in the 11-15 range right now. I think one more significant victory will get him in The Ring’s top-10, which is saying something because the 154-pound division is deep.

Horn has such an awful boxing style. Stop hating on the Hornet!

Rabbit punches, wrestling with illegal punches, as the fight finally gets stopped. That’s just good, physical boxing, you wuss-ass snowflake!

I’m glad to see the new reign of Tim Tszyu begin. As a diehard Kostya Tszyu fan, I’m as stoked as anyone about Timmy’s prospects, but can we please allow the young man win a more-respected title than the IBF’s “Australasian” or the WBO’s “Global” belt before we say he’s begun his “reign”?

Solid technique and solid chin. He’s a chip off the old block.

I hope he could lose a few pounds so he could compete with the 147 division. That ain’t happenin’. Dude began his pro career at middleweight and it doesn’t look like he’s carrying excess weight to me.

That’s where the big names are. Yeah, but the 154-pound division is home to Jermell Charlo, Jeison Rosario, Julian Williams, Jarrett Hurd, Erislandy Lara, Tony Harrison, Patrick Teixeira, Brian Castano, and Erickson Lubin. That ain’t too shabby.

I hope Jeff Horn is okay. But his style is detrimental to boxing. I don’t like his rumble, wrestling type style. So hopefully he decides to retire.  There you go again, crappin’ on the style of the man who outpointed the great Manny Pacquiao, annihilated former 168-pound titleholder Anthony Mundine, stopped the KO King, Randall Bailey, and hung in there with Terence Crawford. Dammit, Alex! He’s also a former school teacher! Show him some respect!

Can’t wait for TIM Tszyu looking forward. He is a super talent. And that last question I have is, why wasn’t his father there with him? I’d be pissed if my dad wasn’t there. Hey, show King Kostya some damn respect, too! Maybe he wasn’t there because he didn’t want to steal the spotlight from his son. Anyway, I spotted Timmy’s grandfather among his team.

 

STAMINA

Hi Doug,

Hope you are keeping well. I wanted to get your view on the best ways to improve stamina inside boxing ring. Modern S&C training does not necessarily translate into better in-ring stamina. For example, if a boxer does more and more chin-ups, he just improves his stamina in terms of doing more chin-ups. It does not necessarily mean that he will be able to run marathons. Going by conventional wisdom, the best way to improve stamina for a particular activity is to do that particular activity more and more. Which leads me to believe that sparring is the best way to improve in-ring stamina followed by roadwork.

2 questions – 1. What according to you are the best physical activities to improve in-ring stamina the most? 2. If old timers did not spar much, how the hell did they have otherworldly stamina?

Regards. – Saurabh

Before I attempt to answer your two questions, you are aware that I’m a boxing writer-turned-editor, right? I’m not a former boxer or trainer, so please take my conditioning advice with a grain of salt. (And for those you reading this who don’t like what I have to say, please refrain from asking me the type of questions that trigger you – if you think old-time fighters and trainers, as well as their training techniques, are overrated, so be it. I don’t care what you think.)

The great Henry Armstrong used to work way more rounds on the heavy bag than he did rounds of sparring, and he was celebrated for being indefatigable in a prize fight.

What according to you are the best physical activities to improve in-ring stamina the most? The combination of road work, several rounds on the heavy bag and shadow boxing, and sparring (which does not have to be life-and-death gym wars or go past five or six rounds per workout). All-time great trainers who developed all-time great fighters (including Amilcar Brusa) have told me that the heavy bag is the most underrated floor exercise in terms of building both stamina and physical strength in fighters. So, take that for what it’s worth. (And those of you reading this who happen to be strength & conditioning coaches trying to or hoping to make a living in boxing, feel free to ignore/dismiss it.)

If old timers did not spar much, how the hell did they have otherworldly stamina? By fighting every f__king week!

 

SMALLER HEAVYWEIGHTS

Hi Dougie,

huge fan of the mailbag,

I was reading a previous submission about smaller heavyweights that would have troubled today’s much larger crop, and I was wondering, given that past greats such as Ali, Louis and Marciano were as big or smaller than our current cruiserweight champs, how many of them do you think would have competed as a cruiserweight or even as a light heavyweight instead of, had the opportunity been presented to them, and how many of them do you think would have stayed at those weight classes and not moved up to heavyweight?

Some Mythical Matchups between some “smaller” heavyweights vs the super heavies of today!

Muhammad Ali vs Lennox Lewis

Mike Tyson vs Wladimir Klitschko

Joe Frazier vs Deontay Wilder

Sonny Liston vs Anthony Joshua

Joe Louis vs Tyson Fury

Thanks! – Joe, Birmingham UK

I think the “smaller heavies” of yesteryear all score mid-rounds stoppages, and to paraphrase Michelle “Raging Babe” Rosado, I SAID WHAT I SAID!!!!!!!!

Given that past greats such as Ali, Louis and Marciano were as big or smaller than our current cruiserweight champs, how many of them do you think would have competed as a cruiserweight or even as a light heavyweight instead of, had the opportunity been presented to them, and how many of them do you think would have stayed at those weight classes and not moved up to heavyweight? I don’t think any of them would compete as light heavyweights, and that includes the “smallest” – such as Floyd Patterson, who fought as light as 162 pounds and never weighed above 200 pounds for a fight, and Rocky Marciano, who fought as light as 178 pounds and never weighed above 192 – and I don’t think any of them would be content to remain at cruiserweight if they chose to fight there. Marciano was too thick to boil down to 175. I think he’d weaken himself at light heavyweight. And Patterson, who won his Olympic gold medal at middleweight, realized that his speed gave him the edge vs. bigger fighters, plus he had more punching power at heavyweight than he did at light heavyweight. All of the “smaller” great heavyweights of yesteryear would be dominant cruiserweight champs if they chose to fight in that division, but given their competitive nature, I can’t imagine they’d be content to remain at 190 or 200 pounds when the “glamor division” would be calling to them. Like Evander Holyfield, I think they’d all look at the bigger men and believe that they could either chop them down or outclass them. It’s that attitude which made them great.

 

 

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and join him, Tom Loeffler, Coach Schwartz and friends via Periscope every Sunday.

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