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Dougie’s Friday Mailbag (Nery-Figueroa, Anthony Joshua, Canelo Alvarez)

14
May

NERY VS. FIGUEROA

Hi Doug,

Should be a decent main event on Showtime on Saturday. Hoping for a shootout with multiple knockdowns and drama, with Figueroa as the victor. I don’t care much for Nery.

Who’ve you got in this one?



Btw check out Daniel Roman’s opponent Ricardo Espinoza’s nickname and picture on boxrec if you haven’t. Nice.

MM:

Tyson-Liston

Corrales-Gatti

Duran-Valero

Peace. – André T.

These are some savage Mythical Matchups, Dre. You must be Blood Thirsty Ghoul, which means you’re gonna appreciate the warrior spirit and brutal craft that will be on display at the War Grounds (AKA Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California) tomorrow night. Enjoy it!

Tyson-ListonI think the prime version of Liston (late-1958 through 1960 IMO), which was before he finally got a crack at the heavyweight title (vs. Floyd Patterson in September 1962), survives Iron Mike’s early rounds blitzkrieg, which produces a few wobbly moments, ties up and roughhouse/fights the Brooklynite off on the inside, pushes him off to establish his long-range ram-rod jab by the middle rounds, and gradually breaks down the fan and media favorite over the second half the bout. Liston by close UD or late stoppage. Then again, I found a video game simulation of the Tyson-Liston dream match on YouTube that featured the commentary of Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas. Tyson won this one via decision, so what do I know?

Corrales-GattiChico by late stoppage (probably due to facial laceration, but also because of a gross accumulation of punishment) in an all-time great battle of attrition. Corrales, who also absorb an inhumane amount of punishment, would have to get up from at least one hard knockdown to secure this bloody victory.

Duran-ValeroDuran by mid-to-late late stoppage in a vicious shootout that also features a lot of subtle technique and craft. This one would not be for the faint of heart.

Should be a decent main event on Showtime on Saturday. I think it’s going to be barnburner. I’m going to watch it with a few beers and not bother scoring it. This one’s for BTG Nation.

Hoping for a shootout with multiple knockdowns and drama, with Figueroa as the victor. You can pretty much count on the first part of your hope, the second part is up for grabs. These little brutes are evenly matched.

Luis Nery vs. Shinsuke Yamanaka I, Aug. 15. Photo / Naoki Fukuda

I don’t care much for Nery. Me neither. I’m not mad at the Japan Boxing Commission for banning his ass. He’s rubbed me the wrong way with missing weight. It makes me wonder if he was just a beast at bantamweight, or if not struggling to make 118 will make him stronger. He didn’t look all that formidable in his last bout (a UD over unheralded prospect Aaron Alameda). Maybe he overlooked the kid (he can’t do that with Brandon). Or maybe he just wasn’t a good fit with Eddy Reynoso (it took Oscar Valdez a couple fights to show results under the young master’s guidance). We’ll see if Pantera can return to his KO form with trainer Ismael Ramirez. Anyway, I’ll be rooting for the Heartbreaker with you.

Who’ve you got in this one? It’s a tough pick. Nery’s got more world-class experience, although those demolitions of Shinsuke Yamanka come with asterisks. Still, he looked good breaking down McJoe Arroyo, Juan Carlos Payano and Arthur Villanueva. Solid opposition. The Mexican national is a strong and confident southpaw stalker with good timing on his power shots, especially his big left. However, Figueroa is an awkwardly

Brandon Fiueroa (right)
was pushed hard by Julio Ceja in a draw. Photo by Stephanie Trapp)

aggressive volume-punching switch-hitter, who has height and reach on his side. Will he fight tall and from a distance when he needs to? I wish I knew. I’d pick him if he were more disciplined with long-range boxing, but he’s a lot like his brother Omar in that he likes to scrap. I don’t think it’s a good idea to be greedy and hang around on the inside vs. Nery, but it will make for a hell of a battle, so I won’t complain if he does it. I think Figueroa needs to soften up and frustrate Nery with a good jab and 1-2 combinations while on the move in the early rounds and then attack the body in spots by the middle rounds. If he can take some steam out of Nery’s sails, he should push the former bantamweight champ to the ropes and then go to town. But even if Nery’s seriously hurt, I expect him to battle back and do more damage with single power shots than Figgy does with combinations. I think Nery’s technique and athleticism is a little better than Brandon’s and that might be the difference in the fight. I favor Nery by decision, but like I said, I’ll be rooting for the kid.

Btw check out Daniel Roman’s opponent Ricardo Espinoza’s nickname and picture on boxrec if you haven’t. Nice. The Hindu!? Oh goodness. I get it. That is not very PC. Ricky’s gonna get himself cancelled, but you gotta love these cats from Tijuana. They give no f__ks. I gotta wish this kid luck now even though my heart’s with Danny, who is still a major player in this very deep 122-pound division. Kudos to Showtime and the PBC for arranging this informal junior featherweight tournament that play out this year and next.

 

JOSHUA’S “BUY BLACK” COMMENTS, HEARN & THE RING TITLE

Hi Doug,

Why do you think that Eddie Hearn, in most of his interviews, never mentions The Ring championship belt? Am I right, in your opinion, that it’s because his fighter, Joshua, doesn’t have it?

I grew up in the 80’s. Hagler, Leonard and Tyson were “my guys”! Favorites from my early fandom lifetime are: Tyson, Jones Jr., Hamed, Benn and Chavez.

I like all types of styles, appreciate exciting ghoul-worthy more, obviously.

My question, and I don’t believe it’s been brought up here before: Joshua made a speech about wanting black people to buy from “their own”. I was a huge Joshua fan. Cardboard cutout in my home gym and everything! I’m against racism, in any direction.

What are your thoughts on his past comments?

Please note that I’m not offended by everything and not a snowflake? Best regards. – Thomas

Good thing you’re not a snowflake, Thomas, I’d have to give you a virtual wedgie to snap you out of your case of “bitchitis,” as James Toney would say. Just kidding. If you want to be sensitive about certain issues, you’re welcome to express yourself here. I can’t guarantee that I won’t tease anybody, though.

Anyway, I haven’t heard or read about the comments that you mentioned, but I am aware that Joshua has been socially/politically active and took part in some anti-racism/anti-police brutality demonstrations in England last summer, which I’m all for.

Again, I haven’t read or heard the exact quote about “Black people buying from their own” that you’re referencing, so I don’t have the exact context, but when somebody says that in my town (Inglewood, California), which is ethnically mixed but mainly Latino and Black, they’re not advocating that people NOT be patrons of non-black businesses or services. They just want to Black people, particularly those who live in the poor and rundown neighborhoods, to invest in their own communities by supporting small black-owned businesses that can build up and serve those often-underserved areas. It’s tough to start up a small business anywhere, especially in poor communities, but when they are supported and allowed to prosper, they can create jobs and opportunities that combat delinquency, crime and other blights that plague areas with high unemployment.

Joshua’s done very well for himself. Part of his financial success is all the big-time sponsors he has, which includes companies like Under Armour, Jaguar Land Rover and Hugo Boss. Come on, man, you know Hugo Boss ain’t a black-owned company, so it’s not like Joshua is “anti-white” when it comes to money.

I’m sure he just wants to see people from his community prosper, especially low-income families, which he believes can climb into middle-class status by taking control of their economic decisions and opportunities. I don’t know about Black folks in Britain, but Black Americans are known to spend a lot of money on non-Black companies (usually the really big brand names). So, when activists say “Buy Black” it’s just a reminder to save some cash for themselves or their own communities, which often need it.

Why do you think that Eddie Hearn, in most of his interviews, never mentions The Ring championship belt? Am I right, in your opinion, that it’s because his fighter, Joshua, doesn’t have it? I haven’t noticed that. Hearn usually brings up The Ring championship more than any other promoter, even more so than Oscar De La Hoya, who owns the magazine. If Hearn is promoting a card involving a Ring champ, he makes sure The Ring title is visible on the fight poster and promotional graphics and mentioned in press releases and shoulder programming. He makes sure the ring announcer says it’s on the line during the fighter introductions. Late last year and early this year, Hearn even low-key threatened to advise Joshua to drop the sanctioning body belts if they got in the way of the Fury fight being made, and just recognize The Ring title. (Did you miss all that?)  

Anyway, maybe now that the big heavyweight showdown is close to being made/announced, he’s not bringing up The Ring title as much because it’s held by Fury and the Big Man doesn’t need any help in promoting the coveted championship with the 99-year heritage.

 

CANELO’S PATH TO GREATNESS

Hi Dougie –

Do you think Canelo wins any of these mythical matchups?

160: Jake LaMotta, Stanley Ketchel

168: Mikkel Kessler, Joe Calzaghe

175: Gene Tunney, Harold Johnson

I write as a Canelo fan who actually scored the first Golovkin fight a draw (even though I thought GGG would win) and the second a Canelo win. Do you think he’s on his way to being an ATG? What do you think he needs to do to get there?

While clearly P4P King, he’s not very close to ATG status in my estimation. He’s fought one ATG (Mayweather) and was outclassed and couldn’t do much even with a significant size advantage on fight night. This was excusable given his youth, relative inexperience, and fighting a couple pounds below his natural weight, but that fight didn’t help his case. The next best he fought was GGG and only in their first fight would I say GGG was still near his own prime (and that was a controversial draw). Canelo’s got a number of names on his resume but they were past their primes (Mosley, Cotto, Kovalev). Do you think he beats any of them in their primes? Canelo’s also got some hard fought wins against high quality opponents (Jacobs, Lara – although this could’ve been scored a draw or loss). And Canelo was outclassed by the much smaller Khan until he connected with his chin. Saunders and Smith were champions and respectable opponents but had not had any great victories themselves.

I think Canelo needs to go to 175 and beat Bivol and Beterbiev to have a shot at ATG status. I don’t know if he’s capable of pulling that off, but there’s nobody at 168 that can help him become an ATG. What do you think? Best. – Marc

I think unifying all four major sanctioning organization belts to become the undisputed super middleweight champ is an accomplishment (arguably historic) that will enhance his legacy, which could potentially be considered great in the future.

Do you think he’s on his way to being an ATG? He’s definitely headed in the right direction. He’s not there yet, or even close to it, but ask me this question again a 18-24 months from now.

What do you think he needs to do to get there? Keep learning. Keep improving. Keep active. Keep challenging himself. Keep winning. Keep proving his detractors wrong.

While clearly P4P King, he’s not very close to ATG status in my estimation. Well, that’s a fair opinion. Very few boxers, even those who go on to be enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame, achieve that status. Is anybody in the pound-for-pound top 10 close to ATG status?

Canelo was outpointed by Mayweather in a 2013 superfight aired on Showtime. Photo by Naoki Fukuda

He’s fought one ATG (Mayweather) and was outclassed and couldn’t do much even with a significant size advantage on fight night. Hey, he took the chance, the opportunity when it was there to be seized, when he had just turned 23 and while Mayweather was No. 1 in the pound-for-pound rankings and No. 1 at the box-office. He lost, but he learned from the experience. He kept learning with each fight. Now he’s No. 1 P4P and at the box office. I wish other young guns would gamble like that. They’d find out that the dreaded ‘L’ isn’t the end of the world or their careers.

This was excusable given his youth, relative inexperience, and fighting a couple pounds below his natural weight, but that fight didn’t help his case. Dude, it certainly doesn’t HURT his case! I mean, WTF? Are we gonna say that Azumah Nelson and Julio Cesar Chavez aren’t great fighters because Pernell Whitaker took them to school? Come on!

The next best he fought was GGG and only in their first fight would I say GGG was still near his own prime (and that was a controversial draw). So? If Golovkin had stopped Canelo in the late rounds like most predicted, I’d still give him credit and respect for sharing the ring with the undefeated unified middleweight champ. Golovkin was No. 1 in Ring Magazine’s P4P rankings at the time.

Canelo’s got a number of names on his resume but they were past their primes (Mosley, Cotto, Kovalev). Mosley, Cotto and Oscar De La Hoya were past their primes when Mayweather fought them, but you still consider him an ATG.

Do you think he beats any of them in their primes? Come on, dude, Mosley was a lightweight/welterweight in his prime. Cotto was a junior welterweight/welterweight in his prime. Kovalev probably outpoints him or stops him in his prime.

Canelo’s also got some hard fought wins against high quality opponents (Jacobs, Lara – although this could’ve been scored a draw or loss). Yeah, but you got #Salty MFs out here saying he avoids, ahem, melanin-rich opponents. LOL.

And Canelo was outclassed by the much smaller Khan until he connected with his chin. He wasn’t so much “outclassed” as he was outmaneuvered and outpointed in the early rounds. But he knew what he was doing. He bided his time because he knew the fight would end with the first clean shot he landed to the jaw, and he expertly set up that chilling one-hitter-quitter.

Saunders and Smith were champions and respectable opponents but had not had any great victories themselves. BJ had a good run at middleweight. Smith beat George Groves and won the WBSS. It doesn’t make them Roy Jones Jr. and Joe Calzaghe, but it’s something. The resumes of Jermall Charlo and Demetrius Andrade aren’t much better, but you still hear hardcore heads claim they’re being avoided by Canelo.

I think Canelo needs to go to 175 and beat Bivol and Beterbiev to have a shot at ATG status. Call me crazy, but I wouldn’t count Canelo out in either matchup, and I don’t think the two Russian light heavies have much better resumes than the 168-pound standouts. Beterbiev has Oleksandr Gvozdyk. That’s it. Bivol has Jean Pascal, Sulivan Barrera and Joe Smith Jr. on his resume. Solid, but let’s pretend these dues have been bangin’ with Dwight Muhammad Qawi and Matthew Saad Muhammad. And let’s not make them out to be Archie Moore and Billy Conn.

Your Mythical Matchups:

160: Jake LaMotta, Stanley KetchelThe Bronx Bull outpoints Canelo over 12, maybe wears him down to a stoppage in a 15 rounder; Canelo can outpoint Ketchel in a 12-round bout, beyond that, the Michigan Assassin, who was used to fighting 20-round bouts, might clip him.

168: Mikkel Kessler, Joe CalzagheKessler would give Canelo trouble with that piston-like jab of his, but I think the compact Mexican could get respect once he got inside (where the Dane’s game was a bit lacking) and maybe break him down with body shots, I’ll go with Canelo on points, though; I think Calzaghe is just too fast, too busy and too mobile for Canelo to intimidate or contain over 12 rounds, Joe on points.

175: Gene Tunney, Harold JohnsonThe Fighting Marine wins on points, maybe via late stoppage; Johnson outpoints Canelo over 12 or 15 (good fight).

 

CANELO’S PED VIOLATION

I have a question about Canelo’s doping violation. What is your take on that? Cause he wasn’t KOing guys in the Middleweight Division, like he is now. Do you think he is doping, or do you think it is the level of comp that allows him to KO people in the 168 division? Is the meat REALLY tainted in Mexico, or is that just an excuse to cover the person’s cheating? No different than when RJJ got caught cheating in NY, and Pretty Boy Floyd with his post Manny fight illegal drip. I love the fight game, but cheating is happening. I may sound sour, but I want these guys to be honorable in there profession! Is that to much to ask, or am I being too naive to believe that these guys will be legit????

As always Doug, you’re the best!

PS: Side question, why don’t more people fight the way Tyson fought? I know it has to do with skill level and body type. But he was so very interesting with his style! TY Doug! – Mike from Tampa

A young Mike Tyson and Cus D’Amato

Trying to fight like Tyson is as much a mistake for young boxers as it is trying to emulate the styles of Muhammad Ali, Roberto Duran, Pernell Whitaker, James Toney or Floyd Mayweather Jr. They are once-in-a-life-time talents who had the perfect trainers for their unique styles. Tyson possessed uncommon speed, power and reflexes. Plus he’s very smart. This gets underrated. He had a great teacher in Cus D’Amato, but he had the intellect to absorb the concepts. Most don’t have that level boxing IQ. And there aren’t many trainers with D’Amato’s boxing IQ. Only Teddy Atlas and Kevin Rooney, D’Amato understudies, could replicate his system.  

I have a question about Canelo’s doping violation. What is your take on that? He popped a VADA test for clenbuterol, said it was due to meat contamination, cooperated with VADA and the NSAC, but got suspended anyway, did his time, did extra testing, came back, kicked ass and now he’s the top fighter in the sport. I think he handled the situation well and I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. #Salty suckers be damned.

Cause he wasn’t KOing guys in the Middleweight Division, like he is now. Technically speaking, he only had eight middleweight fights – five were fought a half pound or one pound over the junior middleweight limit, of which he scored three stoppages (Angulo, Khan and Kirkland) – two were vs. GGG, who has one of the best chins of this era, one was vs. Erislandy Lara, who is as tough as he is elusive/mobile, one was vs. Miguel Cotto, who boxed a cautious fight, and one was vs. Daniel Jacobs, who also played it safe.

Do you think he is doping, or do you think it is the level of comp that allows him to KO people in the 168 division? I don’t think he’s doping, and I don’t think he’s mowing down the competition at super middleweight. He’s dominating them, but he’s only KO’d one of the four super middleweights he fought and that’s Rocky Fielding. He stopped Yildirim and Saunders, but those bouts were halted between rounds. He didn’t drop Chavez Jr., Smith or Saunders. He landed a damaging shot to BJ’s eye socket, but his best body shots and punches to the jaw didn’t put Saunders down. I wouldn’t compare Canelo’s 168-pound power to prime Roy Jones Jr. if you catch my drift.

Is the meat REALLY tainted in Mexico, or is that just an excuse to cover the person’s cheating? Well, both, probably, but meat contamination is a real thing in Mexico and some other countries, including China. That’s why the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recently (in 2019) amended their code to allow anti-doping agencies (such as VADA, USADA, UKAD) to investigate lower levels of clenbuterol and not report the athlete as having violated their rules if the sample is consistent with meat contamination. Basically, there’s a higher threshold allowed for clenbuterol now, in part because WADA admitted (back in 2018) that they don’t have any scientific means to distinguish whether failed drug tests for clenbuterol resulted from contaminated meat or genuine doping, and with the 2020 Olympics approaching (this was before the Summer Games were postponed by COVID-19), they probably didn’t want to deal with hundreds of contaminated meat claims from athletes that hail from countries were the drug is used in cattle farming.

No different than when RJJ got caught cheating in NY, and Pretty Boy Floyd with his post Manny fight illegal drip. I think all three cases are completely different, but whatever.

I love the fight game, but cheating is happening. No s__t.

I may sound sour, but I want these guys to be honorable in their profession! Is that too much to ask, or am I being too naive to believe that these guys will be legit???? Sadly, it’s too much to ask, because they (and their teams) believe they have too much to gain from using PEDs. But there are people who are fighting the good fight in terms of educating the boxing world on the ills of PED use and testing the fighters to make sure we have a clean sport, and you can learn more about them right here. Feel free to make a donation if you’re in a giving mood.

 

REVISITING FIGHTS

Hello Dougie,

I hope everything is going well during these tough times. I recently rewatched some fights that I disagreed with the original decision to see if I still feel the same or was just caught up in the moment. Castillo-Mayweather 1. I thought Castillo won and still feel that way, although a draw would have been justified. It was nice to see a humble Mayweather who was actually a good sport at the time. Watched De La Hoya / Mosley 2. I thought Oscar won (and so did the whole bar at the time). Are there any fights you rewatched and totally changed your mind on who won?

Have a good day and love the mailbag. – Bill from Canada

De La Hoya and Quartey put on a classic in 1999.

Off the top of my head, I’d say Mayorga-Forrest II, De La Hoya-Sturm and De La Hoya-Quartey. I had Mayorga winning 115-113 scoring from ringside, but scored it 116-112 from home when I watched the HBO replay. I thought De La Hoya deserved the 115-113 score the judges gave him vs. Sturm when I watched it with a big group (and a lot of beers), but when I scored it at home alone (and sober), I gave the Sturminator a 116-112 tally. And De La Hoya-Quartey is one of those close fights where I score it for Oscar by a few points on a Monday and then score it for Ike by a few points on a Tuesday. I flip-flop on that one all the time.

And for the record – this for all you proud Mayweather Nut Huggers out there, you sweet little bitches – I scored Castillo-Mayweather I for your patchy-hair king by one point on press row at MGM Grand back in 2002.

 

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 Doug’s IG Live every Sunday.

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