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Dougie’s Friday Mailbag (Happy New Year! Ryan Garcia, modern round robins)

Photo by Tom Hogan-HoganPhotos/ Golden Boy Promotions
01
Jan

RYAN GARCIA IS THE FUTURE

Hello Doug,

Obviously, this is a very intriguing fight because it’s the day Ryan Garcia shows us if he’s real or just an Instagram influencer. I like this matchup for lots of reasons, the main one is because I think Ryan is the future star of the sport and a win here will gain him respect with a lot of naysayers and this is truly a matchmaker’s dream fight as he can win this fight no doubt in my mind. And I do think he’s going to win big. I think he is a very talented kid that is so full of confidence that he’ll be able to take that self-belief and capitalize in the biggest moment of his career yet.

This fight kinda reminds me of Oscar vs. Rafael Ruelas, even though Campbell isn’t Rafa, he is a well-known respected fighter within the hardcores but he’s also a proven B-Side that is very beatable. The sport of boxing needs a star that understands how social media and being popular works in this day and age and a win by Ryan would be a huge win for the sport. If he can match those skills with results in the ring he will eventually become the face of boxing. My prediction is that his fast left hook and power will surprise Luke and probably get him knocked down early a couple of times. I think it won’t go past 6 rounds and Ryan will win emphatically.



Thanks, Dougie. Happy New Year! – Juan Valverde, Chula Vista

Happy New Year, Juan.

You’re not alone in your prediction that Garcia will win big tomorrow. He’s the odds favorite (around 3-to-1) and the choice of most of the media, boxing insiders and pundits. The RingTV Fight Picks favored Garcia by a 16-1 margin, and half the Garcia picks are via stoppage.

I’m picking Garcia to win on youth and talent, but my prediction is much like Tom Gray’s in that I wouldn’t be surprised if the veteran upset the upstart attraction. I know that’s wishy washy, but we’re just saying that it’s an even matchup in our heads. Campbell hasn’t fought since the loss to Vasiliy Lomachenko in August 2019. That’s a long time away from the ring. He’s going to have ring rust. And Garcia’s is a fast starter with blazing fast hands during the early rounds. So, Campbell will be susceptible early on. However, if the Englishman – who has good balance, lateral movement and control of distance – can take the fight past five or six rounds without taking too much of a beating, he can turn the tables on the young gun over the second half of the bout.

Oscar De La Hoya (left) vs. Jorge Paez. Photo credit: The Ring Magazine/Getty Images

Oscar De La Hoya had defeated a few former champs prior to his title-unification showdown with Rafael Ruelas. Here ‘The Golden Boy’ annihilates Jorge Paez. Photo credit: The Ring Magazine/Getty Images

I agree with you that Garcia has true star potential, and he can be a star and an attraction in ways that you and I don’t even realize. Let’s face it, we belong to a different generation. Having said that, emulating De La Hoya’s success won’t be easy. For starters, De La Hoya was like a combination of Garcia and Campbell – the natural talent, good looks and charisma of King Ry, with the amateur pedigree, skillset and technical foundation of Cool Hand Luke. And Oscar was WAY more battled tested than Garcia currently is when he and Rafael Rules had their lightweight title-unification showdown in 1995. De La Hoya, 17-0 at the time, had already faced three former world titleholders (Troy Dorsey, Jorge Paez and John John Molina) before the Ruelas fight. Like Garcia, the lightweight version of De La Hoya was murder on short dudes – he blasted Dorsey and Paez – but Molina was as hardnosed and ring savvy as veterans come. The Puerto Rican standout gave De La Hoya a hard 12-round education that would serve The Golden Boy well going forward.  

Garcia hasn’t been taken the championship distance by anyone, let alone a card carrying badass like Molina. But maybe Campbell will that veteran. We’ll see. We’ll also find out if Garcia can blast out a tall boxer the way he dispatches short guys. De La Hoya did that vs. Ruelas (and then scored stoppages against Genaro Hernandez and Jesse James Leija before the end of the year). He earned The Ring’s 1995 Fighter of the Year award by going 4-0 vs. Molina, Ruelas, Hernandez and Leija.

Here’s hoping Garcia aspires to emulate his promoter with his activity and follow-up caliber of opposition if he shines as bright as Oscar did vs. Ruelas tomorrow.

ROUND ROBIN LEGENDS

Hey Dougie,

I hope you had a good holidays and looking forward to 2021.

I’m a bit late to the party but I finally watched ‘I am Duran’ last week. Great watch and it got me thinking about the Four Kings. They’re not just legendary because they’re all ATGs, but because they all faced each other in mostly memorable fights of course – sometimes multiple times.

I was wondering what the other best ’round robin’ quartets or quintets there have been in your opinion? What other 4 or 5 high level guys all faced each other over a, say, 5-10 year period?

Immediately I thought of Marco Antonio Barrera, Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez…but is there a 4th guy to add to that group whom I’ve forgotten? I thought about Erik Morales but I wasn’t sure if he ever faced Marquez.

The other obvious one that sprang to mind were the heavyweights of the 60s/70s; maybe Ali, Foreman, Frazier and Norton?

I guess Riddick Bowe quitting the scene robbed us of something special in the 90s/00s.

Did Ward and Gatti have classic match ups with mutual opponents?

I’m struggling with examples in more recent times. Maybe your boy Chocolatito along with Rungvisai, Estrada and Cuadras is a current one?

What do you think Dougie? I must be missing a whole load of them.

Loving the mailbag – keep up the good work! Cheers buddy. – Rico, London

Thanks, Rico. This is an interesting and challenging question. Round robins between four or more top-level fighters were commonplace during the 1930s-1950s, and less so in during the modern era.

One such round robin from the Golden Age that I would be a dream to hop in a time machine and witness each showdown from ringside would be the four-way rivalry between lightweight champions Sammy
Angott, Bob Montgomery, Ike Williams and Beau Jack, which was waged between 1942 and 1955.

Having said that, the Four Kings round robin between Leonard, Duran, Hearns and Hagler is almost impossible to surpass in terms of elite-level competition and mainstream popularity.

Had Morales and Marquez fought each other, I think the cross-rivalries between the Three Mexican Masters (Barrera, El Terrible and JMM) and Manny Pacquiao would approach the Four King’s round robin that I was lucky to witness as a young fan during the 1980s. If Felix Trinidad and Ike Quartey fought, the three major welterweight titleholders of the mid-to-late 1990s – De La Hoya, Tito and Bazooka – could have at least attempted to emulate the Four Kings with their series of bouts that included perennial contender Oba Carr (although most of their bouts fell short of the drama that the ’80s showdowns produced).

Three members of the ‘Super Fly’ Fab Four: Juan Francisco Estrada, Roman Gonzalez, Carlos Cuadras. Photo by German Villasenor

Although the little guys lack the crossover appeal, I think the ‘Super Fly’ Foursome of Roman Gonzalez, Juan Francisco Estrada, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Carlos Cuadras is the closest thing we’ve got to the Four Kings’ round robin in terms of elite-level competition. From 2012-2020, these guys all fought each other in high-action, high drama bouts, most of which were title bouts. Only Estrada-Cuadras I was a non-title bout, and only Sor Rungvisai-Gonzalez II was non-competitive (although the brutal KO still made for a chilling spectacle). How lucky are we that their four-way rivalry is STILL in play? We get Estrada-Gonzalez II (finally) in March and Sor Rungvisai is supposed to get the winner (although I wouldn’t have a problem with Kazuto Ioka joining the round robin).

Here’s a couple hall-of-fame-worthy four-way round robins I came up with that you might want to seek out on YouTube when you have some time:

Ruben Olivares-Chucho Castillo-Bobby Chacon-Danny Lopez (who fought each other from 1970-1977 at bantamweight and featherweight); and Chacon-Alexis Arguello-Bazooka Limon-Cornelius Boza-Edwards (who fought each other from 1975-1983 at featherweight and junior lightweight).

There are some damn good scraps in those mixes.  

 

MAIRIS BRIEDIS

Hi Dougie,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I hope all the mailbag readers were able to have as nice a Christmas as possible in these weird times.

My question today is where is the love for Mairis Briedis? I completely agree with The Ring magazine’s decision to award Teofimo Lopez and Tyson Fury the joint fighter of the year award, but I was surprised Breidis was, as far as I’m aware, never mentioned in conversations for fighter of the year. He picked up The Ring belt and became a three-time cruiserweight world champion with his impressive win over Yunier Dorticos. I’ve always felt Briedis is a very underrated fighter, his only loss was a competitive decision to Usyk at his best, which there’s no shame in and he has now established himself as the best in a fairly competitive division.

Do you agree that Briedis deserves more credit? What can he do to garner more praise? Thanks! – Tommy, London

Mairis Briedis. Photo courtesy of the World Boxing Super Series.

In a year when the elite fighters in each division were lucky if they were able to fight once, I think Briedis was a Fight of the Year candidate, along with Lopez, Fury, Jermell Charlo, Canelo Alvarez, Errol Spence Jr., Gervonta Davis and Joe Smith Jr.

What can he do to garner more praise? Same as any champion these days, fight more often and try to unify the major world titles in his division. For Briedis that would mean a showdown with WBC titleholder Ilunga Makabu and maybe a rematch with Krzysztof Glowacki (perhaps for the vacant WBO belt, or he can face ‘Glowka’ if the Polish slugger regains the title vs. someone else).

 

ONE BELT, THE RING BELT

Hi Dougie,

I do not know when you will have time to read my take on next year, I hope you are well and have a lovely new year with your family.

Have politics stopped you from jumping on Eddie Hearns rant “if the World bodies don’t allow AJ v Fury to fight for all the marbles, they may throw the belts in the bin” he was on record saying to fight for The Ring belt only. With Eddie sidling up to Canelo is he positioning himself to take action?

How refreshing this would be when the so-called elite organisation has Franchise Champions, e-mail Champions and now a Bridgerweight division. Would the journalists not get on board and stop recognising these crazy belts? It seems a month cannot go by when another new belt appears from nowhere. – AndyT

Teofimo Lopez is the real lightweight champ. Accept no substitutes.

The sanctioning organizations deal in volume, that’s for sure. The Ring is different. You gotta beat the best and reign as the best to gain our championship recognition. If you look at the fighters in the Pound-for-Pound rankings (The Ring’s or anyone else’s), you’ll see that most of them currently hold Ring titles or they’re former Ring champions. Those are the few, the proud, the elite. However, ALL fighters, managers, promoters and networks want to be in the “championship” business. Everybody wants to be “special.” So, they’re going to embrace any title belt they can get their hands on. Ring titles are hard to come by. The WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO, IBO, etc. are more plentiful (and, as you know, there’s a wide variety of WBC and WBA trinkets).

I get it. I’m not mad at anybody who wants to be a “champion” or involved in the career of one. And I don’t have a problem with the sanctioning organizations. The only time I get miffed is when the network or promoter purposely omits any mention of The Ring title in press releases, promos, fight announcements or commentary when one of the participants is a Ring champ. That happens a lot. But it is what it is. We can’t tell anybody how feel about The Ring title. Some fighters embrace it, some don’t. Some promoters embrace it, others don’t. Some networks recognize it, others don’t. And the same goes for the fans. You recognize it and see its value, but you don’t have to look hard for detractors on Boxing Twitter or lurking around in comment sections.

Here’s my advice to you: If you’re pro-Ring Magazine championships and world titles, let the fighters, promoters, managers and networks know. When they recognize the Ring title in a Ring championship bout, give them props for doing that. When they overlook or snub the Ring title, call them on it. Politely REMIND them (via email and social media) of the status and value of the Ring championship. Let your opinion be heard.

 

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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