Dougie’s Friday Mailbag (Super Saturday, Charlo picks, Sugar Ray Leonard)
BOXING IS BACK ON SATURDAY
I hope everything is going well. I also hope DAZN and Golden Boy hash everything out. I want to see his stable back! I might watch the Chavez Vs Arce fight if I have time. I don’t really get into gimmick fights.
I feel like boxing is back Saturday. It’s packed with fights on DAZN, ESPN, and PPV. I wish one of these cards was on Sunday so I can watch it during the hangover. I know Khongsong is unknown, but he made it to the mandatory so that’s something. But the real question is who are your picks?
I don’t want to ask for all the cards cause come on it’s a lot, so I’ll ask for the co-main events? I feel Sergiy Derevyanchenko and his team are tired of losing close fights and might go for the KO. I don’t think he’ll get it, but I think he’s going to be more dominant. My heart is going for Jeison Rosario but my money is on Jermell Charlo winning by TKO and I think they will run it again.
I also like the undercard. There’s a lot of exposure for smaller fighters. I know it might be because it’s cheaper but I think they can make entertaining fights to get more fans wanting to see them fight.
Also, how the hell does Chavez Jr. still get fights? He’s like Kenny from South Park he dies and people just forget. In Chavez Jr.’s case he messes up over and over again and bam he’s on my TV screen. I guess I’ll be watching the nine lives Juniorr on Friday but seriously hope you have a good time watching these fights take care. – Joey, Pomona
I’ll probably pass on the Chavez-Arce/Junior-Cazares card on Friday (the better show from Mexico to stream is the Serhii Bohachuk-Alejandro Davila fight), but I’m gonna have a great time on Saturday. We’ve got three Ring Magazine title bouts – the Yuniel Dorticos-Mairis Briedis WBSS cruiserweight final, the Charlo-Rosario junior middleweight unification, and Josh Taylor’s first defense against Apinum Khongsong – plus Jermall Charlo’s WBC middleweight title defense against Derevyanchenko. Those are the main courses. There are lots of quality appetizers on Saturday too.
I know Khongsong is unknown, but he made it to the mandatory so that’s something. I’m not that impressed with his style or technique, but I figure he’s going to be strong, durable and well-conditioned. We’ll see if Taylor, who hasn’t fought since last October, can turn it into a showcase.
But the real question is who are your picks? I’ll go with Briedis, Taylor and both Charlos – all by decision. I think the cruiserweights will go to war, Taylor will outclass the Thai challenger, and the Charlos will land the cleaner, harder punches against their game antagonists in competitive bouts.
I feel Sergiy Derevyanchenko and his team are tired of losing close fights and might go for the KO. I don’t think he’ll get it, but I think he’s going to be more dominant. So, are you picking the Ukrainian to pull what would be a slight ‘Upset Special’? I don’t blame you if you do. Derevyanchenko may be the challenger in this matchup of The Ring’s Nos. 3- (Charlo) and 4-rated middleweights, but he’s far more battle-tested at 160 pounds than the defending WBC beltholder. Derevyanchenko’s 36 rounds with Gennadiy Golovkin, Daniel Jacobs and Tureano Johnson, along with his extensive amateur career and long stint in the World Series of Boxing, have prepared him for every conceivable style and situation that one can encounter in a boxing ring. I expect him to sternly test Charlo tomorrow night, and by doing so, I think he’ll bring the best out of the 30-year-old Houston native. The best middleweight Charlo has faced so far is Matt Korobov (an amateur rival of Derevyanchenko’s), who gave him a very difficult fight December 2018. However, I think Korobov’s southpaw style is a little more tricky and elusive than Derev’s technical aggression. Also, the Russian was a late sub for Charlo, who has had a full camp for Derev and seems to be dialed in for this fight. Something else to consider is the cumulative wear and tear of Derevyanchenko’s amateur bouts (410; 390-20 record), WSB bouts (24; 23-1 record) and tough pro fights. I can envision Charlo’s sharp jabs and right hands busting up the Ukrainian’s face (which was in bad shape following the GGG fight last year).
My heart is going for Jeison Rosario but my money is on Jermell Charlo winning by TKO and I think they will run it again. If Saturday’s fight is a barnburner, I’ll be all for a rematch. I’m looking forward to seeing how Jermell (who I view as the more accomplished Charlo) deals with Banana’s lateral movement and fluid combination punching. Rosario’s size, upper-body strength and effortless power punching did a job on Julian Williams when they duked it out in close quarters. I was especially impressed with the Dominican’s relaxed demeanor. However, I don’t think what worked against J-Rock will be enough vs. Charlo, who has the size to match Rosario’s as well as better technique and a style that should keep the fight at long- and mid-range. I’ll say this about both Charlo fights: If there’s a moment when they stun, rock or drop their foes they will JUMP on him and gun for the stoppage. They’ve got that fiery Terry Norris mentality. (It must be a Texas thing.)
I also like the undercard. There’s a lot of exposure for smaller fighters. And they deserve it. The little guys usually deliver. I’m most looking forward to the Danny Roman-Juan Carlos Payano and Luis Nery-Aaron Alameda. And if Roman and Nery both win I’d love to see them go at it (even though I know Danny wants a rematch with Murodjon Akhmadaliev).
Also, how the hell does Chavez Jr. still get fights? His last name is Chavez.
WEIGHT CLASS BETWEEN LIGHT HEAVY AND CRUISERWEIGHT
Quick question, do you think an extra division in between 175 and 200 lbs. would be beneficial to boxing or to its detriment?
Also, what do you think of Tony Bellew’s proposal for a “Super Cruiserweight” division (I think it would be a 215lb limit). Thanks! – Joe, Birmingham, UK
I understand where Bellew is coming from and I’m sure he would have been a major player in such a division if it existed, but boxing’s already got 17 weight classes. When you add four major world titles in each division (and sanctioning bodies like the WBA that sometimes have as many as three “champions” per weight class), I don’t have to tell you that the sport is diluted.
Rather than create a new weight class for small heavyweights (or big cruiserweights), I’d rather see the weight limit for light heavyweight move from 175 to 180 or 185 and the limit for cruiserweight go from 200 to 210 or 215. That way we don’t add another division and to the confusion that plagues even longtime hardcore fans.
I can see big strong light heavyweights like Artur Beterbiev (who competed in the 201-pound amateur weight class in 2011 and 2012) and Joe Smith Jr. doing just fine fighting at 185. Likewise for badass cruiserweights like Mairis Briedis (who weighed 213¾ pounds when he knocked out 245-pound Manuel Charr in the fifth round of a 2015 heavyweight bout), Yuniel Dorticos (who stands 6-foot-3 with a rangy frame) or Murat Gassiev (if he ever fights again); I can see them all fighting well at 210-215 pounds.
It goes without saying that Usyk would be the king of a heavier cruiserweight division. However, the allure of the heavyweights would still be there for the standouts of a bigger cruiserweight division. Yeah, some small heavyweights would drop down to a 210-215-pound division, but you’d still see cruiserweights roll the dice with the big boys like Michael Hunter has since 2018 (and The Ring’s No. 8-rated heavyweight is doing just fine).
SUGAR RAY LEONARD
I have always viewed Sugar Ray Leonard as one of the best of all time. My question is, if he had been more active, could he have cemented his position as the GOAT? Who else would he have needed to fight and beat to achieve this?
I read that several fights with Aaron Pryor fell though (once the Hawk rejected it over money, then Leonard had a detached retina). How do you see this fight going?
I also read Pryor turned down a fight with Duran over money. Would he have been favored over Duran at that point?
Finally how would Teofilo Stevenson and Felix Savon have gone, had they turned professional? I have seen many proponents of the “Cuban boxing mystique” claim they would have been champions. But both the 70s and 90s, where they would have fought, were very strong era’s, so I’m skeptical.
Pryor vs Tszyu
Thanks mate. Regards – Will
I’ve answered this mythical matchup before, but it should be noted and repeated that one of the very few 140 pounders that I will favor over a peak King Kostya is Aaron Pryor. The Hawk by decision (in a 12-round bout with a previous day weigh-in) or late stoppage (in a 15-round bout with a same-day weigh-in). It would be a glorious fight.
I have always viewed Sugar Ray Leonard as one of the best of all time. I disagree but I’m not mad atcha.
My question is, if he had been more active, could he have cemented his position as the GOAT? As it is, with just 40 pro bouts, he’s arguably in the top 20 or 30 of all time. He’s gotta be top five of the last 50 years. He maximized his career like few others, fighting Wilfred Benitez, Roberto Duran (twice in back-to-back fights) and Thomas Hearns at the right time during a span of less than two years. Then you add an all-time great middleweight champ to his resume and you gotta wonder what else he could have done during his career.
Who else would he have needed to fight and beat to achieve this? Personally, I don’t think there’s anything he could do to unseat the boxing gods atop Mt. Olympus – the legendary likes of Henry Armstrong, Sugar Ray Robinson, Willie Pep, etc. – but I guess he could have fought Pipino Cuevas before the Mexican puncher was annihilated by Hearns, or got to Carlos Palomino before the Californian grinder was outpointed by Benitez. That would have added two more hall of famers to his ledger (provided he still fought Tommy and Wilfred).
If he hadn’t retired in 1982, perhaps he could have eventually faced Donald Curry, which could have been built into a superfight depending on when it took place (1985 was Curry’s peak). That would add another hall of famer to his record.
Then of course there are the middleweight standouts he could have taken after his successful comeback vs. Hagler in 1987. If Leonard had fought and defeated two of the following – budding star Michael Nunn, 1984 Olympic gold medalist Frank Tate, or his arch rivals, Hearns and Duran, at 160 pounds in 1988 (instead of at super middleweight in 1989) – maybe he’d move closer to the best of all-time status.
I read that several fights with Aaron Pryor fell though (once the Hawk rejected it over money, then Leonard had a detached retina). How do you see this fight going? I think Ray would beat the breaks off Pryor. I may be in the minority, but I’ve never viewed this matchup as one of the great “could-have-beens” of boxing. Pryor went life and death with a natural featherweight in Alexis Arguello, who was admittedly a great fighter, but El Flaco de Explosivo was snapping Pryor’s head back and taking him into the late rounds, I think Leonard, who was not only bigger than Arguello but busier, more athletic and powerful, would have battered and stopped Pryor late.
I also read Pryor turned down a fight with Duran over money. Would he have been favored over Duran at that point? I doubt it, and like Leonard, I think Duran would beat the hell out of Pryor at 135-147 pounds.
Finally how would Teofilo Stevenson and Felix Savon have gone, had they turned professional? It depends on how they would be developed in the pro ranks. Would they be allowed to acclimate to the professional style with 10-20 fights vs. solid journeymen/gatekeepers, or would they be thrown to the wolves? If they were allowed to develop, I think they could be contenders, but I don’t think either amateur champion could beat the pro world titleholders of the 1970s or ’90s, and even the perennial contenders of those deep decades, like Ron Lyle and Ray Mercer, would have given the Cubans hell.
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.