Friday, December 09, 2022  |

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Dougie’s Friday Mailbag (Andrade-Williams, Jared Anderson, the welterweights)

Who wins Andrade-Williams?
16
Apr

ANDRADE VS. WILIAMS

Morning Dougie,

Hope things are going well over in the sunny States.

Gonna get the Paul/Askren point out of the way.



The fight is uninteresting as it’s between a YouTube Star with almost no experience fighting and an ex-MMA fighter (and as someone who follows the sport, IMO very overrated) but for anyone who thinks the sanctity of this sport – with its sanctioning body nonsense, “drug testing”, “world” titles being handed out like chewing gum, and supposedly elite fighters coasting their careers fighting mismatches – is being ruined by this fight, then I don’t know what to tell you.

I want to ask about the most interesting match of this weekend, which seems to be going a bit under the radar (for fairly obvious reasons).

I very much like Williams. He has fast, sharp hands, good natural power and has a great eye for the finish. Like most that come from the Ingle gym, he gets very underrated in regards to his boxing skills but we’ve seen him out jab longer fighters, out move slicker fighters and out hustle brawlers. I might be biased because I really enjoy the Ingle gym style but I think he’s got a real chance this weekend and would be happy to see him win.

On the flipside, Andrade is a fighter that I find incredibly frustrating. We all know about his level of competition but it’s his style that I take issue with. There is clear ability and skill but he seems far too eager to coast against fighters that have no business being in there with him. Coasting is never a good idea as every second a fighter is in the ring increases the chances of them losing (bad judging, random injury, lucky punch ect) and I’m concerned that if Andrade takes his usual attitude into this fight (or against an elite opposition he might fight) he’ll be in for a rude awakening.

Thoughts and predictions on the fight?

MM:

Salvador Sanchez vs Alexis Arguello @126

Arturo Gatti vs Marcos Maidana @147

Apologize for the length of this, thanks as always for reading and responding to all our questions. – Euan, Dunfermline, Scotland

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Euan.

I’ll go with Sanchez and Maidana by close UD (the featherweight matchup would obviously feature more skill and class; but that welterweight showdown would be a savage fight of the year).

My thoughts on Andrade-Williams are pretty simple: It’s a quality middleweight matchup that I’m looking forward to (which is something I rarely say about an Andrade fight, no offense to the affable New Englander, but his 160-pound title reign has been underwhelming) and I believe the defending beltholder will need to be at his best to retain the WBO strap.

Liam Williams. Photo from MTK Global

I also like Williams (The Ring’s No. 8-rated middleweight). I was high on the surly Welshman before his back-to-back losses to Liam Smith and I didn’t jump off his bandwagon. I’m glad I didn’t because he’s improved in recent bouts/years. I guess I need to give Dom Ingle and his gym some credit for that. Anyway, I like Williams’ rough-but-technical style and his “don’t’-give-a-f__k” attitude. I think he’ll bring the best out of Andrade, because if Boo Boo isn’t on point, I believe Williams can beat him (either grind him down to a late stoppage or outwork to a decision).

Andrade (The ring’s No. 3-rated middleweight) can’t afford to be as aggressive and wild as he was in his last fight (vs. Luke Keeler) against Williams, who wants to engage as much as possible, preferably from mid-range and on the inside. I think Andrade needs to get back to his elite-amateur stick-and-move style for this fight, he needs sharp technique and full extension on his straight punches (jab and left).

Williams, as you noted, is pretty good at jabbing with taller opponents. He did a good job of this vs. Alantez Fox. But I think Andrade will be a lot harder to jab and hunt down than Fox if he elects to get on his toes and really pop that southpaw jab. Andrade’s got head and upper-body movement that most of Williams’ previous foes lack, he makes use of feints, and he’s crafty and creative with his jab. I think it will be a frustrating night for Williams if he can’t cut the ring off on Andrade and get the American and stand and trade.

Things I’ll be looking for:

Andrade clocks Luke Keeler. Photo by Melina Pizano/Matchroom Boxing USA

–Ring rust (in Andrade, since he hasn’t fought since last January)

–Stamina (in Williams, since he hasn’t gone past five rounds in a few years)

–Timing (who’s quicker on the trigger with their money punch – straight right for —Williams; straight left for Andrade)

–Body shots (who can sneak ’em in)

Prediction: Andrade by close UD, and he may have to stink it out for stretches, but Williams will make it interesting in spots

The fight is uninteresting as it’s between a YouTube Star with almost no experience fighting and an ex-MMA fighter (and as someone who follows the sport, IMO very overrated) but for anyone who thinks the sanctity of this sport – with its sanctioning body nonsense, “drug testing”, “world” titles being handed out like chewing gum, and supposedly elite fighters coasting their careers fighting mismatches – is being ruined by this fight, then I don’t know what to tell you. I couldn’t have said better myself. I don’t have any interest in Paul-Askren, but I respect the YouTube star for taking boxing training/competition as seriously as he has, and I’ll be watching the Triller PPV to see Prograis vs. Redkach and to observe the overall production/presentation (although I probably won’t pay attention to the music acts). Bottom line: if big fights between elite boxers – such as Fury-Joshua, which should have been announced already, and Crawford-Spence – happened more often, the sport wouldn’t be so desperate for retired stars and celebrities to fill the void with general-entertainment style events.

 

JARED ANDERSON

I was wondering if you could share your thoughts about a Toledo, Ohio heavyweight named Jared Anderson. I’m a Toledoan and a total homer for our fighters (and we have turned over a few pretty decent ones recently). All I know for sure is he’s heavyweight, big, left handed, young and promoted by Bob Arum.  The Arum angle interests me because I assume he feels that he can make money with him. But that begs the question about growth and potential. Can you enlighten me. Thanks. – OldBib

Jared Anderson reppin’ Toledo, Ohio!

Anderson has a lot of potential. He’s a modern-sized heavyweight (6-foot-4 and he can carry 240-250 pounds and still be athletic/nimble). He had a quality amateur career, including two national titles (2017 and 2018) and international experience, and is currently 9-0 (with 9 KOs) as a pro. He hasn’t shared the ring with any threats, but he’s looked very sharp against serviceable opponents (mostly journeymen and club fighters to this point). Anderson’s got good eyes and reflexes, he controls the distance and pace of fights well, he’s an accurate and economical puncher, he can switch-hit, he’s patient and calm. So far, Anderson has shown everything promoters, networks, and, most importantly, fans want to see from a heavyweight prospect, and that includes a bright personality.

Top Rank was smart to sign him, and they know how to develop talented boxers into world-class pros. But keep in mind that Anderson is 21 (which is very young for a heavyweight) and he has not boxed past six rounds yet. I think he’s still a few bouts away from fighting a gatekeeper that can take him eight solid rounds, somebody like Jonathan Rice (who took Anderson’s Top Rank stablemate Efe Ajagba 10 rounds). If he can go a solid eight rounds a couple time, then he can move to scheduled 10-rounders against more seasoned gatekeepers, such as Joey Dawejko. If he dominates or stops a veteran like Dawjko, I think Top Rank will start to look for contenders for Anderson to test himself against. But I think Anderson needs to experience at least one hard 10-round fight under his belt before targeting world-ranked heavyweights. I think his future is bright, but ask me again when he’s 15-0 or 16-0.

 

THE FIFTH KING / NEW ENGLAND

Hi Dougie –

Always hoping all is well. I’ve been on a little road trip this week (northeast US) and as I write this I find myself in Foxwoods Casino. I can recall many fights taking place here (semi-recent fave Berto/Ortiz). The area is home to (to my knowledge): Willie Pep, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Rocky Marciano, Vinny Pazienza, Carmen Basilio, Sammy Saddler, John L. Sullivan, Mickey Ward, etc. Is this the greatest boxing hotbed?

Secondly, looking forward to the ‘Four Kings’ doc but I always wonder why Wilfred Benitez was excluded. Is it because he & Hagler never got together?

As always, I always look forward to my boxing fix on Monday & Friday. Thank you. – Jamaal, Louisiana

Thanks for reading and sharing, Jamaal. Safe travels.

Wilfredo Benitez on the April 1982 cover of The Ring Magazine. (Photo: Ring/Getty Images)

Had Benitez fought Hagler (which probably would have happened if he’d defeated Mustafa Hamsho in 1983 – the 12-round bout, which the Syrian Buzzsaw won by UD, was a WBC title-elimination bout), there’s no doubt in my mind that we’d be talking about the Five Kings, not the Four Kings, because he was competitive in his losses to Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns, and he clearly outpointed Roberto Duran over 15 rounds.

I’ve been on a little road trip this week (northeast US) and as I write this I find myself in Foxwoods Casino. I can recall many fights taking place here (semi-recent fave Berto/Ortiz). Fun fact: I’ve NEVER covered a fight at Foxwoods (or the other casino that hosts boxing in Connecticut, the Mohegan Sun). I’m going to add covering or doing commentary for a major card at one of the big two to my Boxing Bucket List.

The area is home to (to my knowledge): Willie Pep, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Rocky Marciano, Vinny Pazienza, Carmen Basilio, Sandy Saddler, John L. Sullivan, Mickey Ward, etc. Is this the greatest boxing hotbed? I assume that you mean the New England area, which includes Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, so I don’t think the region can claim an upstate New Yorker like Basilio, but you can replace the hall of famer with another former welterweight champ, Hartford-native Marlon Starling. The man Basilio beat for the welterweight title, Tony DeMarco (who’s still alive and was recently inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame), is from Boston. Chad Dawson is from New Haven. There are too many others to list out. But is New England “the greatest boxing hotbed”? No, I don’t think so. I think if you go back far enough every region in the U.S. – from the Bay Area to the Upper Midwest to the Gulf Coast to the Mid-Atlantic, etc. – was a boxing hotbed at one time or another.

 

EXCITING TIMES AT WELTERWEIGHT

Hi Doug – hope you are well.

Just as Lopez, Garcia and Haney have galvanized the lightweight division, it seems to me that Ennis, Ortiz and Benn are doing the same at welterweight. While the boring will they-won’t they Spence v Crawford saga rolls on, these lads are coming up on the inside fast. Looking forward to seeing them really progress fast now and get themselves into title contention.

How do you see things playing out in the division? And incidentally if I was Amir Khan, I’d steer well clear of Conor Benn, whatever the payday. I don’t see that ending well at all. All the best. – Dave, Ruthin, Wales

Khan isn’t afraid of getting KTFO, as I’m sure you know, but he’s used to being paid VERY well for sacrificing his head, and as hot as Conor is at the moment, we both know the young gun is not a major star in the league of a Canelo Alvarez or Terence Crawford and can’t hope to offer the veteran the kind of money those champs did.

Khan isn’t wrong for telling Benn to get a major belt first and then call him out. In the meantime, I think Benn, who is improving fight by fight, should stay active and get some quality rounds under his belt. Maybe he can take on some of the veterans that Khan has faced in the past, such as the still-serviceable Luis Collazo or Chris Algieri (if the Long Island native hasn’t hung up his gloves for the broadcast booth).

Just as Lopez, Garcia and Haney have galvanized the lightweight division, it seems to me that Ennis, Ortiz and Benn are doing the same at welterweightHave Teofimo, Ryan and Devin really “galvanized” lightweight? They certainly add to the division’s depth and potential, but they gotta fight each other to truly “galvanize” it. Lopez made a big move by beating Lomachenko. Now it’s time for Garcia and Haney to do the same. Let’s see if they can get by their next matchups (which are dangerous – Javier Fortuna for Ryan and Jorge Linares for Devin) and then let’s see if they face each other (or Lopez). Same deal with welterweight. It’s great that we’ve got these young guns climbing the ranks, but it really doesn’t mean much if they never share the ring.

While the boring will they-won’t they Spence v Crawford saga rolls on, these lads are coming up on the inside fast. Looking forward to seeing them really progress fast now and get themselves into title contention. Me too. I’m tired of the Spence-Crawford talk. If they fight this year, I’m all in. If not, I’m ready to move on by 2022 and see if the new generation of 147-pounders are hungry enough to face each other.

How do you see things playing out in the division? Well, gazing at my crystal ball, I’m seeing a unification showdown between WBC/IBF titleholder Spence and WBA beltholder Yordenis Ugas and the talented Texan earning a hard-fought close UD or MD, then vacating the 147-pound belts to campaign at junior middleweight. I envision Ennis and Ortiz aim for vacant titles, but not vs. each other, they’ll win belts and then unify. Benn will earn his spot as future title challenger, as will Kudratillo Abduqaxorov, Daniyar Yeleussinov and Eimantas Stanionis. Mixing with the new blood will be veterans like Shawn Porter, Ugas and Custio Clayton (I’m thinking Thurman moves to the broadcast booth), but the grand “old man” will be WBO champ Bud Crawford, who will become a Bernard Hopkins/Mike McCallum-style king of the mountain in his mid-30s that the NextGeners, like Ennis and Ortiz, will challenge for welter supremacy.

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