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Dougie’s Monday Mailbag (Frankie Randall, Gennadiy Golovkin, Kovalev-Melikuziev)

28
Dec

R.I.P. FRANKIE RANDALL

Hello Dougie,

I just heard that Frankie Randall passed away. I wanted to talk a little about my experience with this really nice boxer who gave me one of the saddest moments as a fan ever. As I’ve mentioned in the past, my first live boxing event was Chavez-Randall I at the MGM Grand Garden in 1994. I was a young teenager that had started following boxing in 1987 thanks to Mike Tyson’s Punch Out on the Nintendo system and finding out that the video game character was a real person that actually boxed (I was 10 years old at the time but became obsessed with the sport). Chavez was my first real idol, though, as you know, being from Mexico, he was the biggest name in our country. When he became #1 pound for pound, every fight, the country stopped, businesses closed, everybody saw the fight, very similar to what we saw with Manny Pacquiao and the Philippines. No single athlete has ever done that again in Mexico so you can imagine how everybody felt when this unknown guy, who came in dressed as a surgeon, not only outboxed and outmaneuvered the immovable object but actually dropped him for the first time in 90 fights. The fight was a helluva fight and when that 11th round came, it was still kind of close, but seeing him dropped was surreal. So, when they announced that Frankie was the winner, I felt a hole in my stomach. It was sad. After the rematch (which we also attended), we were super happy that Chavez won, we didn’t know that it was controversial until a little bit later. We were in the upper seats and every round felt close, so we obviously were biased and thought Chavez did win. There was no YouTube or any way to watch the fight again, so it took me several years to rewatch and see that Frankie should’ve won that fight.

Frankie was a victim of the situation and time. He was definitely deserving of an immediate third fight but instead got a fight against strong and underrated Argentinian Juan Coggi, which he won in a much tougher than expected fight (his rematch was also unfortunate). He was a very exciting fighter to watch and also very underrated skill wise. There’s a reason he gave these guys hell.



Some years later at the Michael Moorer-Vaugh Bean fight, I met him in person. He was standing there in one of the aisles of the Hilton, and me and my brother (who was 10 years old) approached him. He asked my brother if he wanted an autograph, he said yes, then he asked him if he had a pen and paper, he said no, so he proceeded to tell him: “Well, it looks like we need to find you one!” So he took us and walked all over the arena to find one. He was a class act, and hearing that the man was in such bad condition with pugilista dementia was sad to hear. Guys like this won’t ever get the credit they deserved. He probably had a better career than some boxers that are enshrined in the HOF, a 3-time Junior Welterweight champion against two of the most established champs in the history of the division has to count for something, and, this might sound controversial but I do think there should be a spot in the HOF for guys that did something exceptional, something that changed the history of the sport. That’s why I’ve always thought Arturo Gatti’s inclusion was well deserved.

So, I just wanted to share this with you. Hopefully you had a very nice Christmas and also have a great new year. Stay safe. – Juan Valverde, Chula Vista

I had a nice Christmas day with the family, and I plan to bring my best into the New Year, Juan. Happy Holidays to you and all the mailbag readers that make this soon-to-be 20-year-old column what it is. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on a very underrated and overlooked former champion.

Photo from The Ring archive

Randall meets my criteria to at least be on the International Boxing Hall of Fame ballot. If a fighter didn’t have a long and distinguished title reign, I will look at the quality of his opposition and if he shared the ring with at least two current (or surefire future) hall of famers and was competitive in those fights, I believe he deserves consideration. Randall fought two hall of famers – Chavez and Edwin Rosario – twice each and he officially beat them twice. He arguably beat those two HOFers in all four bouts. Then you throw in the victories vs. Coggi, who was 67-2-2 (42 KOs) going into their first bout, Freddie Pendleton and Sammy Fuentes, and you got a career any fighter would be proud of.

At his peak, 1993-1995, Randall had it all: speed, power, balance, technique, reflexes, durability, mobility, and stamina. Randall was skillfully aggressive. I admired his block-and-counter ability and the way he could always sneak body shots in with his fast and furious multi-punch salvos.

The high-volume, combination-punching technician that handed Chavez his first loss would have held his own with ANY great 140-pound champion from ANY era – and that includes Aaron Pryor and Kostya Tszyu. Granted, that wasn’t the peak version of Chavez that he defeated. The Mexican superstar’s body had a battle-worn look the night Randall outboxed and outfought him, but Chavez still bought the pride of an entire nation/culture and the experience of 90 pro bouts to their fierce dance and made a fight of it. Randall had to deal with a master pressure fighter who knew how to pick-off shots and kill the body like a Golden Age great, and, well, as you witnessed live, he rose to the occasion.

Tragically, Randall fought on long beyond his prime. He was clearly faded the last time I saw him fight live – which was a 10-round decision loss to Oba Carr on the De La Hoya-Quartey undercard in early 1999 – and by the time Antonio Margarito smashed him (20 years ago this month) he was totally shot. He would fight 13 more times over a 15-year span, all of which, along with his well-document struggles with drug addiction, no doubt contributed to his brain damage.

With James Kirkland’s first-round stoppage loss from this past Saturday fresh in my mind, I have to wonder when these state commissions are going to begin to stand up to an industry that doesn’t know when to say “no more.”

 

GGG IN 2021

Hi Dougie,

I know there’ll be no Mailbag this Friday (although Christmas Day or not I’ll check just in case) but I wanted to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and also to thank you for the entertainment provided by your Mailbag throughout 2020. Hopefully we have more to celebrate in 2021, both in boxing and in general than we have had this year.

However there have been some highlights in 2020 and one of them was the return of a personal favourite, GGG. Like you I don’t really want to see a third fight with Canelo, especially at 168 lbs. and with the latter chasing unification I don’t think it’s likely anyway. So, what do you think the year holds for Golvokin? I’d love to see him take on Murata in Japan for the WBA if Canelo vacates at 160 lbs. (seems likely) or pick up the only belt he’s yet to hold against Andrade. But if rumours were true that DAZN wanted marquee fights rather than competitive ones for Canelo could they push for the same for Golvokin? The recent expansion into Europe of DAZN and the returns of Sturm and Martinez makes me wonder if they’d be bigger events than Murata or Andrade especially if marketed as GGG chasing revenge against fighters who delayed his rise to stardom by dodging him. And speaking of manufactured grudges the recent smack talk between Golvokin and De La Hoya makes it possibly the ultimate low risk high reward fight ever for the Big Drama Show. I’m sure any network would love to screen the Golden Boy however disastrous his comeback is likely to be. Instead of viewing Tyson-Jones I think Oscar should YouTube Camacho v Leonard. Fingers crossed he at least takes a tuneup or two first.

Enough rambling from me. One mythical matchup before I sign off:

Julian Letterlough v Bobby Gunn (battle of the Christmas birthday boys)

Best wishes. – Steve Done, Wales

I’ll go with the late Mr. KO by late stoppage in a rock-n-rollin’ slugfest between former cruiserweight title challengers (I’d give The Celtic Warrior the edge in a bareknuckle showdown).

Thank you for the kind words about the mailbag column and the holiday/New Year wishes, Steve.

Gennadiy Golovkin celebrates his seventh-round TKO over Kamil Szeremeta on the December 18, 2020 Matchroom fight card in Hollywood, Florida (Photo by Melina Pizano/Matchroom).

There have been some highlights in 2020 and one of them was the return of a personal favourite, GGG. I’m glad the O.G. of middleweight veterans (nine years and counting in The Ring’s rankings and still No. 1) was able to fight before the end of the year. He looked good physically and seemed well mentally, knocking off rust and working on different techniques while knocking down poor overmatched Kamil Szeremeta multiple times.

Like you, I don’t really want to see a third fight with Canelo, especially at 168 lbs. and with the latter chasing unification I don’t think it’s likely anyway. For the record, I’m not against Canelo-GGG 3 as long as it happens next year. I think it would be a huge event and despite Golovkin’s age and obvious slippage, I still believe it would be a competitive fight. However, I’ve seen these two future hall of famers share the ring, and I’d like to see some other elite 160-168-pound matchups take place before our man Gennadiy really gets “old.”

So, what do you think the year holds for Golvokin? I think DAZN, Sir Eddie and the good folks at Golden Boy do their best to make a Spring showdown with Jaime Munguia and if the O.G. turns back the young gun’s challenge Hearn and the streaming platform make Canelo an offer to face his arch rival that he can’t refuse.

I’d love to see him take on Murata in Japan for the WBA if Canelo vacates at 160 lbs. (seems likely) or pick up the only belt he’s yet to hold against Andrade. I’d be WAY more into GGG vs. Murata, but I think Andrade is more realistic given the fighters’ promotional ties.

But if rumours were true that DAZN wanted marquee fights rather than competitive ones for Canelo could they push for the same for Golvokin? Sure, if Oscar De La Hoya told them he’d be willing to fight Golovkin do you think they’d say no?

 

CAN BEK BULLY KOVELEV?

Hey Dougie,

Really enjoy the mailbag every week and hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas. I’ll get right to it with a couple questions and some MMs.

I was really surprised to see Bek the Bully open as a solid favorite against Kovalev. Bek has looked really good but in only 6 outings against limited competition. I know he also has a good amateur pedigree but this is a big step up in competition while also having to move up in weight. Meanwhile while Kovalev is past his prime and most recently struggled with Yarde before getting KOed by Canelo, he still was able to stop Yarde and trouble Canelo at times. Kovalev has been in with the best of the best and will be able to draw on that experience. I find this to be a great crossroads fight and a 50/50 matchup but when I saw the odds it was Kovalev +230 and Bek -300. I could definitely see Bek winning this fight but could also see this being too much too soon. What am I missing?

I keep seeing Spence and Crawford going back and forth on who is the A side and who should get the bigger percentage of the purse. This is a novel thought and may not even be allowed for all I know but how about they just agree the winner gets 60/40 or even 70/30 and decide it in the ring?

A few MMs:

Crawford vs Diego Corrales at 135

Vergil Ortiz Jr vs Arturo Gatti at 140

Teofimo Lopez vs Arturo Gatti at 140

Pernell Whitaker vs Mayweather at 135

Thanks. – Ryan, Cincinnati, OH

Your Mythical Matchups:

Crawford vs Diego Corrales at 135Bud via hard-fought majority decision (where the more versatile switch-hitter has to get up from an early rounds knockdown and survive some wobbly moments late in the entertaining bout)

Vergil Ortiz Jr vs Arturo Gatti at 140Thunder rallies late to secure a close UD in a Fight-of-the-Year slugfest.

Teofimo Lopez vs Arturo Gatti at 140Lopez by close UD.

Pernell Whitaker vs Mayweather at 135Pea by close UD.

Bek the Bully

I was really surprised to see Bek the Bully open as a solid favorite against Kovalev. I’m not shocked that Bektemir Melikuziev is the odds favorite. He’s 24 years old and Kovalev is viewed as damaged goods. However, I am surprised that the Uzbekistan prospect is a SOLID favorite given that his best weight is at 168 pounds and this bout will be at a 178-pound catchweight AND take place in Moscow.

Bek has looked really good but in only 6 outings against limited competition. True, and the only time he’s gone the distance (10 rounds vs. reliable gatekeeper Vaughn Alexander) he looked like a fighter in need of more experience despite pitching a shutout.

I know he also has a good amateur pedigree but this is a big step up in competition while also having to move up in weight. Bek is showing major balls in taking on the three-time champ in his home country. Despite all the “he’s shot” talk from fans and media, there isn’t a single super middleweight contender or titleholder (outside of Canelo) that would take on Kovalev over the light heavyweight limit (anywhere, let alone Russia).

Meanwhile, while Kovalev is past his prime and most recently struggled with Yarde before getting KOed by Canelo, he still was able to stop Yarde and trouble Canelo at times. His legs aren’t gone and he still had some punch resistance going into the Canelo bout. What’s he got left after getting KTFO by the Ginger King is anybody’s guess but it’s a dangerous game to assume that he’s got nothing.

Kovalev vs. Eleider Alvarez II (Photo by Mikey Williams/ Top Rank)

Kovalev has been in with the best of the best and will be able to draw on that experience. His only losses are to Andre Ward, who was just inducted into the IBHOF, then-unbeaten Eleider Alvarez (a top five 175 pounder) and Canelo. He arguably beat Ward in their first bout, he outclassed Alvarez in their early 2019 rematch, and he won rounds against Canelo (it was even on one of the official scorecards after 10 rounds).

I find this to be a great crossroads fight and a 50/50 matchup but when I saw the odds it was Kovalev +230 and Bek -300. You know what? People hate Kovalev, and odds makers are people too. But hey, maybe you can take advantage of it by putting some money down on the underdog.

I could definitely see Bek winning this fight but could also see this being too much too soon. What am I missing? Nothing. It’s a competitive matchup on paper and I think it’s a huge step up in competition for Bek (who I’m familiar with and very high on).

I keep seeing Spence and Crawford going back and forth on who is the A side and who should get the bigger percentage of the purse. Yeah, it’s f__king lame. Seriously, if they don’t fight next year, this matchup becomes the new “NeverEnding Story” and I’m getting too old to pay attention to that type of bulls__t.

This is a novel thought and may not even be allowed for all I know but how about they just agree the winner gets 60/40 or even 70/30 and decide it in the ring? Makes sense to me, but it doesn’t make “business sense” to the fighters and the people involved in making the fight happen.

 

THE MONSTER

Hi Dougie,

Hope you and yours have a nice time of holidays.

As we have no interesting match-ups at this weekend, I decided to share some random thoughts that attended me during the weekend:

What’s the deepest divisions in boxing right now? Welterweight, light heavyweight, lightweight, junior middleweight comes to mind first of all.

A few words on Naoya Inoue, who I think is the most underestimated of the P4P tops, ‘cause everyone is talking about Canelo, Bud, Lopez, Loma, Usyk or Spence but just missing out on a little Japanese monster (maybe this is due to his Oriental origin?). Whereas no one of P4P fighters, save only maybe Canelo and Usyk, had fought top 10 opponents one after another with such a consistency in the last few years. But to say the truth not Canelo nor Usyk were able to dismantle their division’s tops in such an impressive way as Inoue does. To boost his legacy he needs to fight Oubaali-Donaire winner or Cezar Martinez to collect all belts or step down a weight to face the likes of Chocolatito or Estrada.

I think Povetkin should be rated higher than Wilder for now, because of the chilling KO win against highly ranked Whyte, and Wilder’s devastating loss to Fury in their last outing. Definitely he’s the author of the KO of the year! Still remains a badass for any heavyweight. Fury and Joshua have to respect Povetkin’s punching power & skills or might end the same way as Dillian did (ask Joshua, he was very close to experiencing it).

Some thoughts on Tony Yoka – a talented new star of French boxing (to me the most accomplished of heavyweight prospects right now). I call him the wunderkind of boxing. What he achieved at only 9 bouts…! Stopping Dave Allen at only his 5th pro bout, blowing tough Johann Duhaupas in 1 at his 8th, and soundly outdoing seasoned vet Christian Hammer at 9th bout. How far do you see him go?

P.S. I know that there were not much talented heavyweights in the history of French boxing, but can we call Tony Yoka the best French big guy ever?

Cheers Dougie. – Roberto, Mexico

Tony Yoka

Yoka is a tremendous talent. I ranked him among my top 10 prospects in a recent mailbag and I think he at least has the potential to become a legit contender within the next 18-24 months and one day challenge for a major world title. The 2016 Olympic champ has the best amateur background, natural/athletic talent, and physical tools of any heavyweight in the history of French boxing. Can we call him the best now? No, I’d still say that’s the legendary Orchid Man, Georges Carpentier, the celebrated light heavyweight champ who challenged Jack Dempsey for the heavyweight crown in 1921. Carpentier won the European heavyweight title with a first-round KO of popular Englishman Bombardier Billy Wells (and fought heavyweight hall of famers Joe Jeannette, losing a close 15 rounder, and Tommy Gibbons, dropping a one-sided 10-round newspaper decision). But my guess is that Yoka will eventually surpass the World War I hero (who campaigned from flyweight to heavyweight but would have fought at 160-168 pounds as a mature adult if he were fighting in this era).

What’s the deepest divisions in boxing right now? Welterweight, light heavyweight, lightweight, junior middleweight comes to mind first of all. My top five would be: junior bantamweight (115), junior lightweight (130), welterweight (147), lightweight (135), and junior flyweight (108).

A few words on Naoya Inoue, who I think is the most underestimated of the P4P tops, ‘cause everyone is talking about Canelo, Bud, Lopez, Loma, Usyk or Spence but just missing out on a little Japanese monster (maybe this is due to his Oriental origin?). He’s rated No. 2 (behind Canelo Alvarez) in the pound-for-pound rankings of The Ring and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. ESPN.com ranks Inoue No. 3 (behind Terence Crawford and Canelo). So, I don’t know if it’s fair to say that the Japanese star is “underestimated.” Knowledgeable boxing people know who he is and they consider him to be an elite fighter.

Where is Inoue on your pound for pound list?

Whereas no one of P4P fighters, save only maybe Canelo and Usyk, had fought top 10 opponents one after another with such a consistency in the last few years. Canelo and Inoue lead the sport in facing back-to-back legit top-10-rated opponents, but, again, they are also ranked at the top of the P4P lists, so they’re getting credit for their tough schedules.

But to say the truth not Canelo nor Usyk were able to dismantle their division’s tops in such an impressive way as Inoue does. He didn’t dismantle Nonito Donaire.

To boost his legacy he needs to fight Oubaali-Donaire winner or Cezar Martinez to collect all belts or step down a weight to face the likes of Chocolatito or Estrada. If the Oubaali-Donaire fight is rescheduled, I’m sure the winner will be on Inoue’s hit list. Julio Cesar Martinez is a flyweight titleholder. He’s a little badass but he’ll need to prove himself at 118 in order to get on Inoue’s radar. And Estrada and Gonzalez have their own plans 2021; they’re not thinking about The Monster. If Chocolatito upsets the Ring/WBC champ, his goal is to further unify the major belts of the stacked 115-pound division. Inoue would have to cut his arm off to make 115 pounds. If he leaves bantamweight, he’ll be going north, not south.

I think Povetkin should be rated higher than Wilder for now, because of the chilling KO win against highly ranked Whyte, and Wilder’s devastating loss to Fury in their last outing. I don’t know about that, Roberto. Wilder lost to Fury, but Fury was No. 1 and that’s Wilder’s only loss. Povetkin was held to a draw by No. 8-rated Michael Hunter prior to upsetting Dillian Whyte, who scored two knockdowns before getting cold cocked.

Definitely he’s the author of the KO of the year! There’s a popular American junior lightweight/lightweight boxer-puncher who begs to differ.

Still remains a badass for any heavyweight. True. The Russian veteran is still a threat at 41.

Fury and Joshua have to respect Povetkin’s punching power & skills or might end the same way as Dillian did (ask Joshua, he was very close to experiencing it). I’m sure they do.

 

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 or Dougie’s IG Live every Sunday.

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