Friday, September 30, 2022  |

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Dougie’s Monday Mailbag (Artur Beterbiev, Vergil Ortiz Jr., Mo Hooker, Okolie-Glowacki)

Vergil Ortiz Jr.
22
Mar

BETERBIEV AND ORTIZ

What’s up Doug,

Good to see Artur Beterbiev back after a huge layoff. I think he looked good and going rounds was probably better for him than blowing out Adam Deines in one. I think Beterbiev is the type of fighter who fights to the level of his opponent. Against Deines he got the job done and looked good but against Oleksandr Gvozdyk he looked like the terminator, walking through bombs like they’re nothing and breaking down the Ukrainian.

I still think him or Dmitry Bivol are the only ones who can beat Canelo Alvarez. I read an interesting comment after re-watching his fight with Johnson about his physical strength and how he bullies people in the clinch as well. That’s just another energy sapping tool in the arsenal. Have you noticed this before?



Vergil Ortiz looked sharp and composed in his step up and Jesus the leverage he gets on them body shots. What’s next for him? All the best. – David, Dublin

Ortiz is definitely a home-run hitter. He’s aiming for the fences with every swing. I don’t know if that’s the best way to go about all of his fights, especially as the level of his opposition increases from fringe contender to the world-class level, but it’s worked out for him thus far.

What’s next for Ortiz? Hopefully more step-up fights that can help him develop into a true contender and future title challenger. Golden Boy can do this by getting him quality rounds vs. a variety of experienced fighters and fellow up-and-coming talents. They can go with extra-rugged scrappers tough enough to take him into deep waters (and perhaps strong enough to test his chin) – Egidiijus Kavaliauskas (former Ring-rated title challenger), Marcelino Lopez (who looked like a beast on the Ortiz-Hooker undercard), and David Avanesyan (WBA’s No. 7-rated welterweight fresh off the Josh Kelly stoppage) – or speedy, slick/savvy ring generals like Golden Boy stablemate Rashidi Ellis (No. 5 in the WBA) and Custio Clayton (unbeaten NABA titleholder who boxed very well vs. Sergey Lipinets last October).

Good to see Artur Beterbiev back after a huge layoff. Most fighters are coming off long layoffs thanks to the pandemic. Deines had been just as inactive as Beterbiev. But, yeah, it was good to see him fight. I love his fighting style.

I think he looked good and going rounds was probably better for him than blowing out Adam Deines in one. There’s no doubt about it. He had a lot of ring rust to shake off.

I think Beterbiev is the type of fighter who fights to the level of his opponent. Maybe. But we have to give Deines credit for being a game, tough-as-nails challenger whose lateral movement made things difficult for the two-belt champ.

Against Deines he got the job done and looked good but against Oleksandr Gvozdyk he looked like the terminator, walking through bombs like they’re nothing and breaking down the Ukrainian. He had less rust to shake off and he was facing a fellow titleholder, so my guess is that he was sharper for that showdown. But it’s possible that The Nail was not quite at his best, mentally speaking, due to the circumstances of his tragic title-winning victory over Adonis Stevenson. I could be wrong, but I don’t think Beterbiev faced the same version of Gvozdyk that Stevenson faced.

I still think him or Dmitry Bivol are the only ones who can beat Canelo Alvarez. I agree. And I think Bivol and Canelo are the only ones who can beat Beterbiev.

Beterbiev vs. Deines

I read an interesting comment after re-watching his fight with Johnson about his physical strength and how he bullies people in the clinch as well. That’s just another energy sapping tool in the arsenal. Have you noticed this before? Of course! That’s what makes Beterbiev special. He’s a bit stiff/straight-up in his upper body and limited in terms of his foot speed and reflexes. He’s there to be tagged and beat to the punch by boxers with quick mitts, and outmaneuvered by cats with fleet feet. However, Beterbiev can take a shot, knows how to gradually cut the ring off, and he has excellent punching technique that’s backed by exceptional strength and power. He’s also a good combination puncher and very accurate.

 

OKOLIE, ORTIZ, WELTERWEIGHT AVOIDANCE

Hi Dougie,

I hope you enjoyed a decent weekend’s boxing.

I was impressed with both Lawrence Okolie and Vergil Ortiz, both proved themselves as world-level operators in big step-up fights against more experienced former world champions. I thought Okolie’s jab and ability to keep things at a distance was impressive. I also liked how Ortiz attacked the body. How did you rate their performances?

Despite the positivity of the young guns getting wins, I was left frustrated by Terence Crawford’s attitude on Saturday night. When asked about facing fellow elite opponents that would help secure his legacy, Crawford was dismissive and non-committal. Why don’t these top welterweights want to fight each other? They seem happy to get decent money to fight opponents that they are favoured to beat rather than step up and provide the best fights for the fans. I’m bored now of Crawford and Spence and I’ve resolved to not watch any of their fights until they step up and take a genuine risk, most likely by fighting each other. Sorry for the rant. – Tommy, Leeds

No apologies needed, Tommy. I feel the same way. I don’t care to talk about the prospect of Spence-Crawford or debate who’s the better welterweight until they decide to fight each other, and if that happens two or three years from now, I’m not going care because the showdown is taking place too late. For now, Spence-Crawford is the new #NeverendingStory. And I’m not giving it any energy.

However, if Spence fights Yordenis Ugas, I’d tune in because the Cuban is a legit contender (with some version of the WBA belt, don’t ask for specifics, I can’t keep with the silliness). If Crawford were to fight Shawn Porter, I’d tune in because we all know that Showtime is a battled-tested former titleholder who will bring the ruckus. But there aren’t many matchups those two can engage in that I give a damn about. I’m way more interested in watching the rise of Ortiz and Jaron Ennis. Hopefully, those two young guns get it on when the time is right.

I was impressed with both Lawrence Okolie and Vergil Ortiz, both proved themselves as world-level operators in big step-up fights against more experienced former world champions. Both were in with legitimate step-up fights, battle-tested former titleholders. I think Hooker was more of a threat because he’s closer to his prime than Glowacki, who I suspected was a bit shopworn, but both Okolie and Ortiz won in impressive style. Okolie boxed a more disciplined bout before lowering the boom; Ortiz was on a seek-and-destroy mission vs. a game veteran.

I thought Okolie’s jab and ability to keep things at a distance was impressive. I also liked how Ortiz attacked the body. How did you rate their performances? They both did what I expected them to do vs. solid opposition. It was all about controlling the distance and setting up the right hand for Okolie; while Ortiz needed to close the distance and get to Hooker’s midsection. If I were to give them a letter grade, I’ve give ‘em both a B+.

 

IS VERGIL ORTIZ THE NEXT GGG?

Dear Mr. Fischer,

I just enjoyed Ortiz vs. Hooker and I am impressed:

  1. Ortiz stayed focused all the time.
  2. He was able to change the game plan from head to body shots after recognizing Hooker could take a shot.
  3. His offense reminds me of GGG in his prime.
  4. His defense is much better than he had to show before.
  5. What an exceptional personality. That interview on DAZN in the ring after the fight was just amazing.
  6. “It doesn’t matter if I am ready. I want to fight the best”. Listen Terence!

What is your take on Lopez vs. Lopez? Are we spoiled with excellent fights?

Have a nice weekend. – Matthias

Lopez-Lopez was a fun shootout that was marred by shaky refereeing. There were too many shots to the back of the head for my liking, and I got the feeling that if Jairo had been able to get up from 10 knockdowns that blood-thirsty ref would have let him! But congrats to Marcelino. He looks stronger and sturdier at welterweight than he did at 140 and he can make for some very good fights against the fellow bulls of the division.

Are we spoiled with excellent fights? Well, we were this past week and weekend, starting with Ring City USA’s excellent main event between Alberto Machado and Angel Fierro. By the way, props to Chicago spoiler Alex Martin, who outpointed Fierro in Texas last January, and returned to the Lone Star State to upset another unbeaten Mexican standout on the Ortiz-Hooker undercard, Luis Hernandez (21-0, 19 KOs), in a rousing 10 rounder (that I thought was much closer than the official scorecards).

  1. Ortiz stayed focused all the time. Vergil is the definition of steely.
  2. He was able to change the game plan from head to body shots after recognizing Hooker could take a shot. That was a good move, but I’ll be honest with you, I thought he could’ve figured that out a few rounds earlier than he did. I thought he fell into a head-hunting pattern in Rounds 3 and 4.
  3. His offense reminds me of GGG in his prime. I think the young man has the same hunter’s mentality that prime Golovkin had, but GGG was far more polished and mature when he made his splash on the American scene between 2012-2014. No disrespect to Ortiz, he’s mature beyond his years (22) and he’s got good technique. He’s just not yet the ring general that Golovkin, who had an elite-level amateur career and was in his late 20s/early 30s, was during his prime.
  4. His defense is much better than he had to show before. He was in with an experienced veteran who came to win. Hooker wasn’t messing around in there. I think Ortiz is going to need to continue to improve his defense as he climbs the 147-pound ladder because there are elite welters that hit a lot harder than Mighty Mo.
  5. What an exceptional personality. That interview on DAZN in the ring after the fight was just amazing. Like I said, Ortiz is mature beyond his years, but he’s also a very cool, laid-back guy. He’s fun to talk to because he’s so genuine. I think he’ll gradually grow a dedicated fan base with more exposure (not unlike the prime version of GGG). Activity will help this process.
  6. “It doesn’t matter if I am ready. I want to fight the best”. Listen Terence! This is the kind of talk that fans want to hear, and I think Ortiz is willing to walk the walk.

 

GREAT FIGHTS

Dougie,

I watched all of this weekend’s activities and talk about saving the best (TWO) for last. I thought Vergil Ortiz Jr. vs Maurice Hooker was a can’t miss, but the fight prior to it, M. Lopez vs J. Lopez, was why we watch the whole card.

First, how tough is Jairo Lopez? Marcelino Lopez looked inhuman. It was rock ’em, sock ’em the whole way. I’ve never seen either of these guys before but hope to see them again. Where do you think Marcelino Lopez goes next? Is he the type of boogey man you steer your fighter away from?

2nd, I would like to echo Maurice Hooker’s sentiment to the “fans” that booed him.  He is as tough as they come and is always entertaining! There is no shame losing to a monster like Ortiz and even less shame when an injury occurs.  Truthfully, I’d like to see a rematch (eventually). Obviously, Ortiz has bigger fish in line now, so where does Hooker go from here? Danny Garcia? Shawn Porter?  Jose Ramirez if he moves up after unifying?

3rd, Vergil Ortiz Jr. seems ready to be called a true contender now! Hooker tested him and he clearly was passing even before the injury to the hand. I know TC was in the crowd along with Spence, but I wonder if they should take one of the names I mentioned above first. As good and tough as I think Hooker is, he’s just now moving up to welterweight, whereas, Porter is basically a half step off the title and is as physically strong as any welterweight out there. How would you manage this? Is it time to cash the golden ticket or is Ortiz young enough to marinate another year?

Lastly, it sure is good to hear the crowd again, even if they are sometimes disrespectful. Were you able to get out to any live fights yet? No matter what, I hope all is well for you and thanks for the great work! I’ve been anxiously awaiting my next Ring Magazine. Kudos on the cover art! I’m not sure if I should frame or read it. – Scott

Do like I used to do in college, Scott, buy two copies: one to read and save and one to cut up and post on the wall.

I thought Vergil Ortiz Jr. vs Maurice Hooker was a can’t miss, but the fight prior to it, M. Lopez vs J. Lopez, was why we watch the whole card. Props to Golden Boy matchmaker Robert Diaz for putting together a quality card. GBP gets a lot stick from hardcore heads, but the L.A.-based company always seems to include a couple of undercard gems on their shows, which shouldn’t really be a surprise given the CEO is a former fighter and the president (Eric Gomez) was a matchmaker for many years and he learned from one of the best of all time (Don Chargin).

First, how tough is Jairo Lopez? He lived up to his nickname.

Marcelino Lopez looked inhuman. The Argentine pressure fighter was very strong at 140 pounds, he seems even sturdier and harder hitting at 147.

It was rock ’em, sock ’em the whole way. Neither fighter reminded anyone of Pernell Whitaker or Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Where do you think Marcelino Lopez goes next? Who knows? Maybe he’ll take on Ortiz next.

Is he the type of boogey man you steer your fighter away from? It depends on your fighter. If you’ve got a young gun like Vergil Ortiz, you figure Lopez’s squared up/face-first style is tailor made for your fighter’s vaunted power punching. Or, if you’ve got a fast stick-and-mover like Custio Clayton or Rashidi Ellis, maybe you figure your guy can play matador to Lopez’s bull.

2nd, I would like to echo Maurice Hooker’s sentiment to the “fans” that booed him. Me too. F__k ’em. Hooker, who was respectful during his post-fight interview, and Ortiz put on a hell of a show. They both deserved respect and cheers from the live audience.

He is as tough as they come and is always entertaining! Yeah, I’ve become a fan of Hooker’s since his brief WBO title run. He’s a real fighter.

There is no shame losing to a monster like Ortiz and even less shame when an injury occurs. Agreed.

Obviously, Ortiz has bigger fish in line now, so where does Hooker go from here? Danny Garcia? Shawn Porter? Jose Ramirez if he moves up after unifying? You mean IF he unifies; you can’t count Josh Taylor out in that showdown for the undisputed 140-pound championship. Yeah, I can see Hooker play gatekeeper to any former junior welterweight star that is stepping up to welterweight, and that includes Regis Prograis who’s got an axe to grind with his fellow former 140-pound titleholder. Porter’s aiming for Crawford or a rematch with Spence, and he deserves those title bouts. Word is Garcia is headed to 154 pounds.

3rd, Vergil Ortiz Jr. seems ready to be called a true contender now! Hooker tested him and he clearly was passing even before the injury to the hand. I think the Ring Ratings Panel will want to see him finally crack the welterweight rankings off of this victory.

As good and tough as I think Hooker is, he’s just now moving up to welterweight, whereas, Porter is basically a half step off the title and is as physically strong as any welterweight out there. How would you manage this? Is it time to cash the golden ticket or is Ortiz young enough to marinate another year? Ortiz is 22, he’s yet to fight past seven rounds and he doesn’t even have 20 pro bouts yet. I think GBP knows he’s still got some growing to do.  

Lastly, it sure is good to hear the crowd again, even if they are sometimes disrespectful. Were you able to get out to any live fights yet? I was in Texas two weeks ago for the incredible Estrada-Gonzalez rematch. Texas boxing fans are going to get spoiled this year.

No matter what, I hope all is well for you and thanks for the great work! It’s all good, Scott. Thanks for the kind words.

 

DAZN COMMENTARY

Hey Dougie,

What’s with the occasional tit-for-tat between Sergio Mora and Chris Mannix on the DAZN commentary team? Is there some history there that I don’t know of? Seems like they’re always taking subliminal jabs at each other. I think it was last week that Mannix slighted Mora by saying he had a big nose (which he does – but that’s still rude), and it doesn’t always seem friendly. Kinda wish Sergio would just jab Mannix really hard to remind him who the real fighter is. – JC, Dallas, TX

I think they like and respect each other, the on-air teasing is just an ongoing shtick that Todd Grisham

Photo from Mora’s Twitter

occasionally takes part in. It doesn’t bother me that much, but at times it gets in the way of their commentary and make for some uncomfortable moments.

Personally, I wouldn’t give him that much s__t (on or off air), even if he was cool with it. I know there are fans and media who view Mora as arrogant or lesser accomplished than some of the other active boxer-commentators, but I’ve got a different perspective having been aware of the East L.A. native from his first or second year as a pro and having covered much of his journey to a world title (which includes a lot of gym time). I view Mora as a knowledgeable veteran worthy of respect. He didn’t have it easy coming up, he wasn’t even one of the favorites in first season of The Contender reality series. He was constantly counted out but he overachieved and beat the odds many times.

 

 

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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