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Dougie’s Friday Mailbag (first-time mailbaggers, Canelo, exploited fans)

Saul Canelo Alvarez - Photo by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom.
05
Mar

CANELO AND HIS WOULD-BE OPPOSITION

Hey Dougie,

First time writer here, so no big intro here just a huge fan of the sport who wants to see great fighters in great fights all year round.

Canelo opens another can of WhuppAss, regardless the level of competition (as poor as it was). He’s showing a skill level not many if any between 160-168 can contend with. However, with the easy wins come the doubters and haters who sound like they’d rather see him lose than see him in action handling mandatory business. But I just can’t understand some of the ignorance in the boxing “community” right now. It seems like “fans” want to see Canelo in with anyone who’s YouTube highlights excite them, guys who’ve never fought at 168 even. Charlo, Boo Boo Andrade, Benavidez (which is the only credible non-current champ mentioned), BERLANGA? I can go on… but it’s like it’s lost on everyone that there’s a hierarchy to this thing. It’s like they don’t realize there’s great fights to be had in their own division(s) that would put them in better position 1) to grow their own brand & make their own [email protected] money but 2) & more important to the fair weather – win a lottery ticket to the big dance with Canelo.



That being said which fights make the most sense/have the best viewing appeal at 160 & 168 in your opinion & shouldn’t we DEMAND those fights even more so than a fight with Canelo?

160 LBS:

GGG-Charlo

Charlo-Boo Boo

GGG-Boo Boo

168 LBS:

Plant-Benavidez (this one has to happen)

Berlanga-Charlo (for the fireworks)

Benavidez-Berlanga (for the same reason)

Boo Boo-Plant (I like this as a slick skillful fight for both if he wins @ Liam Smith)

Definitely have more thoughts but one day at a time. Thanks and God Bless. – Marcus

Thanks for finally sharing your thoughts with the Mailbag, Marcus. Please write-in again real soon.

Canelo is the biggest boxing attraction (and money-maker) in North America, he’s almost universally regarded as the pound-for-pound king, and (at age 30) he’s already compiled a hall-of-fame resume. So, he’s going to have haters (I call them the #SaltySociety). The status he’s got coupled with his considerable accomplishments (and various ambitions) places very large targets on his freckled back. The Mexican ginger is on top of the world, so some people naturally want to shoot him down (even though, for the most part, he’s not a d__k or disrespectful to fans or his opponents).

Some keep hard-ons for the clenbuterol positive, others stay mad about favorable/controversial scoring (particularly with the GGG fights), but currently the most popular dig a #salty fan can take at Canelo is to say he’s avoiding top opposition. Why? Because Canelo announced that he wants to unify the major belts at super middleweight this year. That opened the doors for cheeky fan boys to demand that he face anybody NOT holding a major 168-pound belt. They know where he’s aiming, so they’re going to say that the fighters he’s not targeting this year are the opponents he should be facing. They just want something to bitch about. But I don’t understand why they don’t channel some of that #salty energy into demanding that the top middleweights and super middleweights (that they think are so awesome) fight each other in order to create excitement that will build toward an eventual showdown between Canelo and whoever emerges victorious.

I thought Cliff Rold (@RoldBoxing) had the perfect response on Twitter when some #salty sap said Canelo was “ducking” recently… Rold says (I’m paraphrasing here): “If Canelo is ducking, what are all the other middleweights and super middleweights doing – waiting?”

That being said which fights make the most sense/have the best viewing appeal at 160 & 168 in your opinion & shouldn’t we DEMAND those fights even more so than a fight with Canelo? Of the matchups that you presented, I would go with Golovkin-Charlo at middleweight and Plant-Benavidez at super middleweight. Sorry, I like Andrade as a person, but I’m not interested in matchups involving Boo Boo; and Edgar Berlanga is still a baby. Ask me about world-class matchups involving Berlanga next year.

Golovkin-Charlo is the highest profile matchup not involving Canelo that can take place at 160 pounds. GGG’s got a dedicated fanbase, two 1 million-plus PPV events vs. Canelo under his belt, and a hall-of-fame worthy middleweight title run. Jermall’s got a growing fanbase, good career momentum thanks to his strong showing vs. Derevyanchenko last year and he’s at his physical peak (unlike Golovkin). I think their matchup would do very well as a PPV. That’s a fight that could be promoted into a big event. Plant-Benavidez wouldn’t be as big an event, but it matches up the two best super middleweights (both in their primes) under Canelo, and the winner would be viewed as the legit top challenger to the real champ.

 

WHY IS CANELO FIGHTING CHUMPS?

Hey Dougie,

1st & foremost I’m a 1st time writer, 2nd, I respect your opinions.

What I don’t understand is why Canelo is fighting chumps! I mean they are good fighters but not great, none are at Canelo’s level. I understand he wants the belts, however he stated he doesn’t want to fight a Mexican fighter, you think he’s afraid of getting beat or concerned he will be in a war he can’t survive in. Although both fights with GGG possibly took another out of hi. & he doesn’t want that to happen again.

Moving on, Loma & Lopez, I know there wasn’t a rematch clause but I really don’t think Lopez proved anything as far as the decision, but a rematch probably would, your thoughts.

I’ll keep this short being a 1st time writer. What yesteryear fighter do you think would beat Canelo, especially having to go 15 rounds, that’s when fighters were fighters & do you think GGG beat Canelo in their fights. I’d give GGG the 1st, but Canelo backed GGG up in the 2nd.

Thanks Dougie. Again, I enjoy your column & respect your opinion – Dash!!!

Thanks for finally writing in, Dash. Don’t be a stranger going forward.

I thought GGG outpointed Canelo (115-113 or 116-112) in their first fight and I scored their rematch, which I think is one of the best 12-round middleweight championship bouts in MANY years, a draw.

Canelo remains king. Photo by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom.

What I don’t understand is why Canelo is fighting chumps! Yildirim was not a legit top-10 contender (according to The Ring), but just because Canelo made him look like a chump doesn’t mean that’s what he is. The Turkish brawler gave world-rated Anthony Dirrell hell in his previous bout. Prior to Yildirim, Canelo faced Callum Smith, Sergey Kovalev and Daniel Jacobs in succession – those guys aren’t chumps. Those were legit top-five fighters at middleweight, light heavyweight and super middleweight (at the time he fought them). His next opponent, Billy Joe Saunders, is a top-five super middleweight.

I mean they are good fighters but not great, none are at Canelo’s level. Well, no s__t. If he ain’t No. 1 in the pound-for-pound rankings, he’s no worse than No. 3 or 4. There aren’t any other middleweights or super middleweights in the mythical rankings.

Benavidez smiles for the cameras after stopping Alexis Angulo (who!?!)

I understand he wants the belts, however he stated he doesn’t want to fight a Mexican fighter, you think he’s afraid of getting beat or concerned he will be in a war he can’t survive in. Hell no. Nothing about Canelo’s resume or fighting style tells me he’s afraid of getting beat or getting into a war. He’s walking down giants! And these big mofos are afraid to go toe-to-toe with him. Canelo wants the smoke, my dude. Even GGG said “no thank you” in their rematch. And so what if he said he doesn’t want to fight a Mexican fighter. He’s a super middleweight. There aren’t any world-class Mexicans at 168 pounds, unless you count Mexican-American David Benavidez. But the former WBC beltholder isn’t exactly proving to be a world-beater. You accused Canelo of fighting chumps. But bro, the best name on Benavidez’s resume (Anthony Dirrell) went life-and-death with Yildirim! Then Benavidez fought Alexis Angulo and didn’t make weight. Who’s Angulo? Next up for Benavidez is Ronald Ellis. ’Nuff said. Who are the other Mexicans in and around Canelo’s weight class? Jaime Munguia? That kid ain’t bad (Ring rates him No. 9 at middleweight), but he’s still raw; he’s clearly still learning. Canelo would beat his ass back to Tijuana. Who else is there? Gilberto Ramirez? The former 168-pound beltholder is fighting at light heavyweight now, but he’s got to get busy and get people talking about him again. He only fought once in 2019 and once in 2020 and he didn’t set the world on fire. I like “Zurdo” so I hope his new alliance with Golden Boy can get him back on track and in the public eye this year. Regardless, I don’t think he or Munguia can threaten Canelo.

Moving on, Loma & Lopez, I know there wasn’t a rematch clause but I really don’t think Lopez proved anything as far as the decision, but a rematch probably would, your thoughts. I don’t care to see a rematch. Lomachenko laid an egg over the first half of the fight (for fear of getting KTFO) and then spat out a bunch of sour grapes after the fight. Not a good look for the amateur legend. I think Lopez proved a lot. He proved he could outpoint an elite boxer.

I’ll keep this short being a 1st time writer. What yesteryear fighter do you think would beat Canelo, especially having to go 15 rounds, that’s when fighters were fighters. Yes Sir, that’s why they populate the International Boxing Hall of Fame. I think the current version of Canelo could compete with the best middleweights of any era, but I believe the best champions of the 15-round championship decades (1920s-1980s) – Harry Greb, Tiger Flowers, Mickey Walker, Marcel Cerdan, Jake LaMotta, Sugar Ray Robinson, Carlos Monzon and Marvin Hagler – would beat him. However, there are some hall of famers I think Canelo could beat, including Tony Zale, Rocky Graziano, Gene Fullmer and Carmen Basilio. I believe mythical matchups with the likes of Randy Turpin, Bobo Olson, Dick Tiger and Emile Griffith are toss-ups.

 

LOCCHE AND MYTHICAL MATCHUPS

Ever heard of Lee Wylie, Dougie?

I watch his content on YouTube and discovered a video he did on Nicolino Locche. Great stuff! What are your thoughts on Locche? Where do you rate him?

Some Mythical Matchups (a couple featuring El Intocable):

Nicolino Locche vs Aaron Pryor

Evander Holyfield vs Oleksandr Usyk

Nicolino Locche vs Henry Armstrong

Tyson Fury vs Riddick Bowe

Willie Pep vs Salvador Sanchez

Carlos Ortiz vs Kostya Tszyu

Vasyl Lomachenko vs Azumah Nelson

Gene Tunney vs Andre Ward

Gregory K.

Hey Greg. I’m aware of Wylie and I think he does a great job with his YouTube videos, especially the technical breakdowns.

Nicolino Locche

Regarding Locche, I think “El Intocable” is one of the best boxers from Argentina, which is saying a lot, and I think the former WBA 140-pound titleholder deserves his spot in the IBHOF. He’s got an impressive record (the kind we’ll never see again in boxing), 117-4-14, and he beat fellow hall of famers Joe Brown, Antonio Cervantes and Eddie Perkins.

However, I think Locche’s draws with Ismael Laguna and Carlos Ortiz would have been losses had they taken place outside of Argentina (where he fought the majority of his bouts), and I think his home country advantage helped him retain his junior welterweight title a few times (especially vs. Adolf Pruitt in May 1970).

I think he’s been overrated by “boxing hipsters” in recent years that fetishize defensive boxers, and I don’t believe that they’ve actually watched many Locche fights in their entirety. If they had, they’d know that he really wasn’t “untouchable” or a defensive wizard. He was definitely a crafty ring general who covered up well and could defend off the ropes, but he was mostly gutsy and durable. He was very hard to knockout and very hard to outpoint in Argentina.  

Your Mythical Matchups:

Nicolino Locche vs Aaron PryorPryor by unanimous decision (draw in Argentina)

Evander Holyfield vs Oleksandr UsykReal Deal by close UD at 190, 200 and heavyweight

Nicolino Locche vs Henry ArmstrongHammerin’ Hank by UD or late TKO

Tyson Fury vs Riddick BoweThe aggressive version of Fury that beat Deontay Wilder would get knocked out by prime Bowe IMO, but the stick-and-move version that befuddled Klitschko and held Wilder to a draw might outpoint the Big Daddy

Willie Pep vs Salvador SanchezSanchez by close UD or MD

Carlos Ortiz vs Kostya TszyuKing Carlos scores a come-from-behind stoppage against King Kostya in a technical war

Vasyl Lomachenko vs Azumah NelsonLoma by MD or SD (at 126 and 130)

Gene Tunney vs Andre WardTunney by UD

 

EXPLOITING LOYALTY

There are universalities in business. From my own experience, speaking to and observing colleagues, friends in different industries, one area of commonality is the loyalty of customer…and that it can (and often should) be taken for granted. I have clients who will never leave. They range from being very happy to content to relentless complainers. I do a good job for them, yet I don’t dote on or indulge them. But I know many others, the majority, who 100% don’t care and see customer loyalty as something to exploit. People I work with do not spend their days servicing clients or looking for new clients, rather it’s all about squeezing every last penny from existing customers that just won’t leave. They manipulate, deceive, give lip service about all the great things coming. I’ve watched their tactics for years, thinking “How are clients so dumb that they can’t see through it?”

But then the two big boxing stories of the last few days unfolded and I realized that those clients could ask me “How are you so dumb that you can’t see boxing is running the same game?”

First, we have Teo. The “pitch” is that Triller is the new player in the game with cash to spend (which we’ll be expected to replenish), looking for growth. But they bought a showcase fight, worse an alphabet mandatory. I couldn’t get my casual friends to watch this for free on ESPN, much less pay yet another premium. Triller isn’t chasing growth. They’ve seen boxing’s “loyal customer” base and their model is to blend that number with those devoted to “celebrities” and squeeze. Then we have last night’s Canelo fight. The “pitch” is Canelo had no choice(!?!) but to fight the alphabet mandatory and shouldn’t we all be happy that he’s active…now pay DAZN a premium for the privilege to watch. Neither of these “big stories” is about delivering to the existing customer or chasing new ones. It’s all a squeeze of the loyal customer, who happy, sad, indifferent will not leave.

We’re in a tough spot. We’re not just customers, we’re fans or more accurately supporters. We want fighters to be paid…but the catch is that the Arums, the DAZNs, the Haymons, the Trillers see marks. Just consider this: 20 years ago, with basic cable, HBO, Showtime, and the occasional PPV, I was the committed fan. Today I need basic cable, the premium sports tier, ESPN+, Showtime, DAZN, (apparently) Triller, and the occasional PPV/stream. Am I really getting more today? 2001 gave me Lewis/Rahman I and II, Barrera/Hamed, Hopkins/Tito, Tszyu/Judah, Mayweather/Corrales, Ward/Augustus, Oscar, Roy, Mosley, Morales, Manny, etc. Am I getting more quality with more options in 2021? Or am I actually getting conned by paying more for far less quality?

Am I wrong to think the time has long since passed for the boxing fan to become the savvy consumer, to be the driving force for change and growth? I’m not naive enough to think we can coalesce as consumers anymore than fighters could to form a union, but shouldn’t we still behave individually with the goal of receiving a better product, more value for our dollars, which would mean NOT buying/consuming everything and sending a message that we will buy quality, not quantity, that we’re no marks? – Mark

We shouldn’t be marks, Mark. Fans helped support the Cold War (between Top Rank and Golden Boy, and later HBO and Showtime), which allowed Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao to avoid each other for years, by repeatedly purchasing unworthy pay-per-views from 2010-2014. I’m not saying every Mayweather and Pacquiao PPV sucked during this period, but Mayweather vs. Victor Ortiz, Robert Guerrero and Marcos Maidana (twice) was not worth the asking price, and neither was Pacquiao vs. Josh Clottey, Antonio Margarito, Brandon Rios or Chris Algieri. Had hardcore fans boycotted the poorer PPV matchups it would have put more pressure on the fighters, promoters and networks to give us what we really wanted.

We’re in a tough spot. We’re not just customers, we’re fans or more accurately supporters. We want fighters to be paid…but the catch is that the Arums, the DAZNs, the Haymons, the Trillers see marks. I’ll be honest with you, Mark, I’ve never given a f__k about how much money any fighter made (going all the way back to my childhood heroes, Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard). I don’t count anybody’s money, pro athlete or otherwise.

Just consider this: 20 years ago, with basic cable, HBO, Showtime, and the occasional PPV, I was the committed fan. Today I need basic cable, the premium sports tier, ESPN+, Showtime, DAZN, (apparently) Triller, and the occasional PPV/stream. Am I really getting more today? Hell no!

2001 gave me Lewis/Rahman I and II, Barrera/Hamed, Hopkins/Tito, Tszyu/Judah, Mayweather/Corrales, Ward/Augustus, Oscar, Roy, Mosley, Morales, Manny, etc. I was there, brother. Me and my MaxBoxing cohort Steve Kim covered most of those from press row. We’re nowhere near as dialed into the sport now, and it’s not because we’re getting old and burnt out, it’s because we’re getting LESS quality boxing (which just makes us MORE jaded).

Am I getting more quality with more options in 2021? Hell no!

Or am I actually getting conned by paying more for far less quality? You’re getting raw-dog f__ked with ZERO lube, my friend.

Am I wrong to think the time has long since passed for the boxing fan to become the savvy consumer, to be the driving force for change and growth? You’re not wrong.

 

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 or Dougie’s Periscope (almost) every Sunday.

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