Dougie’s Monday Mailbag (Jamel Herring, Floyd Patterson, Viktor Postol)
Thanks for your world class mailbag, Doug.
I am more of a casual fan since boxing is an escape from my housework chores and cooking as a single mom. I don’t think the criticism that Jamel Herring is getting after Jonathan Oquendo’s intentional headbutt is warranted just because it led to the DQ. Andre Ward and Timmy Bradley were both into headbutting during their boxing careers, so they have no room to talk.
I still regard Ward as one of the best inside fighters with a very precise, incisive game plan, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t headbutt fighters. Anyway, keep up the excellent work! I read your mailbag every week. – Myrna from Redondo Beach
Thank you for the very kind words, Myrna. Regarding Ward’s and Bradley’s history with headbutts, you said it, not me. LOL.
But seriously, I think both Ward and Bradley are top-notch boxing analysts/broadcasters, however, they can be heavy handed with their criticism at times. It’s a bit much when they over-analyze prelim fighters at the four- and six-round level, but I don’t think they can help it. They have to watch and commentate on all the fights that are shown on the ESPN/ESPN+ broadcast and they’re both perfectionists when it comes to the craft of boxing. They were hard on themselves as fighters, so we can’t expect them to take it easy on the boxers they analyze in the ring.
Herring was an elite amateur, a 2012 U.S. Olympian, now he holds a major world title and he’s The Ring’s No. 3-rated junior lightweight, so we can’t be too upset with Ward and Bradley when they critique his fight plan or technique. Herring is one of boxing’s big boys, and criticism comes with the WBO crown he wears.
Of course, evaluating ring tactics and fighting form is one thing, questioning a boxer’s character or mettle is something different. That’s where buttons can really be pushed. I felt bad for Herring when Bradley suggested that he took “the easy way out,” and I didn’t think it was necessary for Ward to co-sign on that opinion, but I wasn’t surprised by their point of view. Ward and Bradley were pound-for-pound rated boxers during their primes and I believe both will one day be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. So, given the level of excellence they put forth time and time again during their decorated careers, you’ve got to assume that they have VERY high expectations. As I’ve tweeted during the last two ESPN broadcasts, the Dynamic Duo are “hard to please,” they set the bar very high.
For the record, I don’t think Herring quit or wanted to take “the easy way” out. His vision was likely impaired when Oquendo first drew blood with his headbutt. He could have been honest and told the ring doctor that he couldn’t see then. The bout would have been stopped and Oquendo would have been DQ’d due to referee Tony Week’s call that it was an intentional butt. But Herring did not want to win like that, which is why he continued.
And, yeah, Oquendo made things rough and physical for him. That’s what Oquendo does. He’s known for roughhouse tactics and blatant fouls, including headbutts and low blows. He’s been disqualified before (low blows vs. Oscar Andrade in 2007, something that should have been brought up more during the fight) and he was penalized for headbutts during his fight with Lamont Roach Jr. last year. Beyond the fouls, Oquendo is just a really rugged, dangerous veteran. He’s got 38 pro bouts and he’s faced several world titleholders over a 16-year career, including Abner Mares and Jhonny Gonzalez, and he’s only been stopped by fellow Puerto Ricans JuanMa Lopez and Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. Oquendo’s a tough nut and he looked good in 2019. He lost to Roach but gave the young gun hell for 10 rounds (more than a few ringsiders thought it could have been a draw or even a close victory for Oquendo), and then he shutout fellow veteran Charles Huerta over 10. Anyone familiar with Oquendo expected Herring to have a tough night, and that’s exactly what happened. It shouldn’t be a surprise and it shouldn’t count against Herring, who, for the most part, outclassed the mauler.
PPV VS. FREE BOXING
Was just curious about boxing economics. Ali vs Spinks 2 was watched by half of American households. I don’t even think that any Super Bowl has ever done that. We all know and agree that PPV limits a sport’s audience and hence has a negative impact on its popularity. If a sport is truly popular, networks will pay the caretakers (promoters, league owners etc.) of a sport more than enough money and likewise the advertisers will pay the networks more than enough money for both to never need a PPV. PPV is a result of myopic vision. It might maximize the revenue of a particular event but in the long term reduces the sport’s popularity and needless to say also has negative financial impact in the long term.
Was just curious, how many live viewers does a bout need to generate same type of revenue as a bout that does a million PPVs? Super Bowl generates 400 million in ad revenue for the networks with roughly 100 million viewers.
Regards. – Saurabh
I gotta be real with you, Saurabh, I don’t think there’s a fight that can be made right now that could command a fraction of what the Super Bowl garners. Maybe Mayweather-Pacquiao could have come close to that kind of viewership had it been on ABC, NBC or CBS with the network’s full cooperation in promoting the event, but here’s the rub: Even if one of the original three networks wanted to broadcast a mega-event like #MayPac, would the superstar fighters who have the potential to bring in monster ratings be willing to take the pay cut?
By #MayPac being a joint Showtime/HBO PPV, the event (which garnered between 4.4-4.6 million buys) brought in Super Bowl-level revenue ($400 million-plus), and the fighters got a big chunk of it. Mayweather reportedly made $180 million, Pacquiao is rumored to have made off with between $120-160 million. There’s no way any network could guarantee any fighter that much money. It would never happen. There’s just too much risk involved. A network can charge $5 million for a 30-second ad to run during the Super Bowl because it’s an annual sporting event with a long history of captivating the American public. Networks couldn’t do that with any active fighter or any potential matchup among active boxers in my opinion. Canelo can garner 20-25 million viewers in Mexico, but I don’t think he could do those numbers in the U.S., even if he was facing arch-rival Gennadiy Golovkin. Maybe they could do 30-35 million (which would be incredible), but could a network match the purse guarantees of DAZN or what the fighters walked away with following their two HBO PPV events? I’m sorry, Saurabh. I just don’t see it.
Ali is arguably the most popular heavyweight champion ever, and in the late 1970s he was one America’s biggest and most beloved celebrities (trust me, I idolized him as a kid at this time), so yeah, his rematch with Leon Spinks, an exuberant ghetto-fabulous gold medalist from the celebrated 1976 U.S. Olympic team, was going to do record TV ratings. Both men were household names and the world wanted to see if Ali, a living legend at this point, could regain his crown for a record third time. However, fighter purses weren’t totally out of control back then. ABC paid $5.3 million for the rights to broadcast the fight in the U.S. Spinks made $3.75 million, Ali made $3.25 million.
The household names of this generation (Mayweather, Pacquiao) demand a lot more than that to face each other.
I agree that the PPV model further marginalizes the sport, but it’s often the only way the networks and promoters can make a profit. However, there’s always hope with streaming services (like DAZN and ESPN+) and with elite boxers that are willing to take a pay cut to engage in legacy-building fights, such as Vasiliy Lomachenko, who will defend his Ring Magazine/WBA/WBO lightweight titles against IBF beltholder Teofimo Lopez on ESPN on October 17, and it’s not a PPV. It’s a quality matchup, one that should deliver action and drama, so let’s keep our fingers crossed that it does good ratings, enough to encourage ESPN and maybe other networks to take a risk on other significant showdowns.
By the way, Lomachenko is being paid the same amount that Ali made for the rematch vs. Spinks.
I recently re-watched the 2nd Ali-Patterson fight and was amazed at the amount of clean punches Patterson landed.
Despite being 37, undersized and against the greatest heavyweight ever, Patterson gave a good account of himself.
Patterson seems to be remembered mostly for his two 1st-round losses to Liston, but do you think he is a top 20 heavyweight?
He beat an older but still good Moore, Cooper, Machen, avenged his loss to Johansson twice by knockout, Chuvalo and Bonavena.
I read he was very unlucky to not get the decision in his 2 fights with Quarry and his fight Ellis.
He also gave Liston a shot at the title when he didn’t have to, he was willing to fight anyone (unlike a certain namesake of his).
If the cruiserweight division had been around then, would he have been considered one of the best ever at 190? – MM
Probably, but I imagine that cruiserweight standouts, such as Evander Holyfield, Aleksandr Usyk, Carlos De Leon, Dwight Muhammad Qawi, Juan Carlos Gomez and Vassiliy Jirov could give Patterson a run for his money, if not beat him. Holyfield would be too strong and busy. Usyk and Gomez would be too mobile, rangy and busy (like a southpaw Ali). Qawi’s pressure and volume punching would likely get to him down the stretch of a good scrap.
Patterson vs. Toney at 190 or 200 pounds is a fascinating mythical matchup.
I recently re-watched the 2nd Ali-Patterson fight and was amazed at the amount of clean punches Patterson landed. Well consider this,
Patterson had been a pro for 20 years when that rematch took place. He was a veteran of 63 bouts and that fight would be his last, so he put his experience to good use (at least early in the bout before Ali hammered left eye shut).
Despite being 37, undersized and against the greatest heavyweight ever, Patterson gave a good account of himself. Of course, he did. He was a former two-time heavyweight champ and he was one of the few men who match Ali’s speed. Patterson, who won a gold medal at the 1952 Olympic Games in the 165-pound division, was as quick as middleweight in his prime (and it should be noted that he turned pro at 163 pounds). Plus, he had that unique peek-a-boo style fostered by the great Cus D’Amato. He could get off single power shots at odd, unpredictable angles. However, by this time, age had dulled his reflexes and punch output. He wasn’t dropping dynamite combinations as he did in the 1950s. Ali was still able to put two, three and four shots together, fast and fluid, and it proved (once again) to be too much for Patterson.
Patterson seems to be remembered mostly for his two 1st-round losses to Liston, but do you think he is a top 20 heavyweight? You can make an argument for him getting a spot somewhere between 18-20, but you could also argue that those spots deserve to go other heavyweight standouts.
He beat an older but still good Moore, Cooper, Machen, avenged his loss to Johansson twice by knockout, Chuvalo and Bonavena. True.
I read he was very unlucky to not get the decision in his 2 fights with Quarry and his fight Ellis. Those fights were close and could have gone his way.
He also gave Liston a shot at the title when he didn’t have to, he was willing to fight anyone (unlike a certain namesake of his). That, to me, is what makes him special and a true champion for all time.
Good day, Doug.
I was, perhaps, late to submit my letter to last week’s mailbag. Hoping to send this one in time.
Since it’s kind of a slow weekend, in terms of notable fights, I wanted to get back to last week’s Ramirez-Postol fight. First off, I thought the judge’s decision was totally fine. I scored it 115:113 for Ramirez, as I thought activity and cleaner, harder shots sealed the deal for the native of Avenal. Interestingly, there was no real outrage about the decision over here in Ukraine. It seems, that opinions were far more divided in U.S.
How do you see Ramirez-Taylor fight playing out now? Do you agree with many, that Ramirez wasn’t at his best last week or was it the case of “No one’s going to look good against Postol?”
What are your thoughts regarding Postol’s future now, after he took that MD loss? Given his affiliation with PBC, I assume “Iceman” may get a fight with Prograis or Mario Barrios down the road. How would you rate Ukrainian’s chances against both?
Keep up the good work. – Eduard Khabrov, Ukraine
I would favor Prograis over Postol in a competitive fight, but I think the Ukrainian veteran may have enough experience and savvy to outpoint young Barrios, who was fortunate to get the nod against Batyr Akhmedov (7-0 at the time) in his last fight. It all depends on how Postol ages. He’s getting long in the tooth (36). But my guess is he’ll remain a handful for any 140 pounder through 2021. He performed well enough against Ramirez that the Ring Ratings Panel voted to keep him at the No. 4 spot in the junior welterweight rankings and not drop him following the loss. Maybe the WBC will do the same, which would put him in position to challenge the winner of Taylor-Ramirez (whenever that showdown happens).
I thought the judge’s decision was totally fine. I scored it 115:113 for Ramirez, as I thought activity and cleaner, harder shots sealed the deal for the native of Avenal. You’re a rational fan.
Interestingly, there was no real outrage about the decision over here in Ukraine. It seems, that opinions were far more divided in U.S. And on Boxing Twitter, which is home to a legion of U.S. and UK hardcore fans who relish being argumentative contrarians.
How do you see Ramirez-Taylor fight playing out now? I favored Taylor before Ramirez fought Postol, and I still do, which doesn’t mean I think the Scotsman will have an easy time with the Californian. It’s a good, even matchup, one of the best that can be made in boxing.
Do you agree with many, that Ramirez wasn’t at his best last week or was it the case of “No one’s going to look good against Postol?” It was a combination of both.
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 Periscope every Sunday.