Monday, October 02, 2023  |


Dougie’s Friday Mailbag (GGG-Plant, Felix Savon, strange matchups)

Fighters Network


Hey Dougie!

Hope all is well.

Quick question: Would it be a good idea for GGG to actively pursue a match with Caleb Plant now that the unification match has failed? If he were to win that belt he could in effect force Cinabun’s hand for a 3rd fight?

How do you think GGG would fair against Plant?

Cheers! – Stephen

Caleb Plant’s speed and agility could trouble GGG, who appears to be slowing down with age, but also remains dangerous due to his power and experience.

I think Plant’s youth, lateral movement and hand speed would give this 39-year-old version of Golovkin a lot of problems. I think the unbeaten super middleweight has the size, athleticism, and style to box GGG in much the same way Daniel Jacobs did in 2017. However, the American’s lack of world-class power and experience, along with GGG’s still-elite-level jab and heavy hands, makes me view this crossroads match as an even fight. If the bout took place in Los Angeles or New York City (especially at Madison Square Garden), I’d slightly favor GGG. If it took place in Las Vegas, I’d give Plant the edge in what I see as a distance fight.

By the way, the chances of Plant-Golovkin happening are slim and none, and Slim left town. And contrary to what some have reported/speculated, I don’t see Canelo-GGG 3 happening this year unless Team Canelo moves their target fight date from September 18 to October or early November and opens up Ft. Knox for their archrival.

But, yeah, hypothetically speaking, if GGG were to annex the IBF 168-pound title, he’d have more leverage in making the third bout with Canelo, who really does want to become the undisputed super middleweight champion.



Greetings Dougie –

I saw that Shawn Porter was recently installed as the #1 contender for Terence Crawford’s WBO welterweight title, which is a good matchup that I’d enjoy watching. However, I noticed the top 2 welterweights are not ranked in the organizations of the belts that the other guy has. I guess I’m inquiring about how the rankings are decided.

I recently read about a Cuban boxer, Felix Savon. As a heavyweight with 3 Olympic gold medals I was surprised to find out he never turned pro. As a heavyweight I just find that very strange. Was there no buzz about him? I can’t imagine why he would not pursue a pro career.

A few MMs:

Mike McCallum v Bernard Hopkins (160)

Joe Louis v Sonny Liston

Wilfred Benitez v Sweet Pea (147)

Amanda Serrano v Katie Taylor (135)

Trying to think of a fun fight that would generate 100 punches a round per opponent over 12.  Kassim Ouma v Paul Williams is my best guess. Any candidates? As always take care. – Jamaal, Louisiana

Hey Jamaal, good to hear from you. I was in your state last week. I don’t know how Louisiana residents deal with that humidity. I love New Orleans and Baton Rouge with all my heart, but damn, I was MELTING. LOL.

The first bout between gatekeepers Jesus Soto-Karass and Yoshihiro Kamegai featured non-stop punching for 10 rounds.

Ouma-Williams could have been an interesting junior middleweight bout in the mid-2000s with “VOLUME” written all over it (even though Tall Paul was a welterweight at this time). Antonio Margarito vs. his friend and frequent sparring partner Jesus Soto-Karass would have likely set some CompuBox records had they fought in a real bout sometime between 2006-2008.

Here’s a good one: Vince Phillips vs. Zack Padilla at 140 pounds (or a few pounds over) sometime between 1992-1994 would have been non-stop punching and action for 12 rounds.  

If you’re talking about mythical matchups between prolific volume punchers, you gotta go with the great Henry Armstrong vs. “The Hawk,” Aaron Pryor. Those two could average 100 punches-per-round for 20 rounds – power punches.

Speaking of Mythical Matchups, here’s my picks on your selection:

Mike McCallum v Bernard Hopkins (160)Hopkins by close, maybe controversial decision.

Joe Louis v Sonny ListonLouis by close, maybe controversial decision

Wilfred Benitez v Sweet Pea (147)Benitez by majority decision.

Amanda Serrano v Katie Taylor (135)Taylor by close, DEFINITELY controversial decision.

I saw that Shawn Porter was recently installed as the #1 contender for Terence Crawford’s WBO welterweight title, which is a good matchup that I’d enjoy watching. Who wouldn’t want to see that 147-pound showdown? Porter would be (by far) Crawford’s toughest challenge at welterweight, and arguably the best opponent the three-division champ has faced in his pro career. However, I’m not going to start anticipating the matchup until I hear about serious negotiations taking place between Top Rank and the PBC or the announcement of a purse bid. And even then, I won’t hold my breath.

However, I noticed the top 2 welterweights are not ranked in the organizations of the belts that the other guy has. Huh? Are you talking about Errol Spence? He’s got the IBF and WBC titles. Porter and Manny Pacquiao are the top two contenders in the WBC’s 147-pound rankings, while Kudratillo Abduqaxorov and Porter are the top two in the IBF ratings. Sometimes the IBF leaves the top spot or the top two spots in the rankings of certain divisions vacant (which is the case at super middleweight and middleweight right now), but that’s not currently the case at welterweight.

I guess I’m inquiring about how the rankings are decided. Your guess is as good as mine if you’re talking about the big four alphabet bodies (WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO). I understand that the WBC has a ratings committee because I know some of the people who are part of it. I assume the other three sanctioning bodies also have ratings panels, but my guess is that the top executives can place whoever they want wherever they want, and often it comes down to the influence and money wielded by the management and/or promotional muscle behind the fighters, as well as their network/platform connections.

I recently read about a Cuban boxer, Felix Savon. That dude was a major f__king badass. Imagine a technically sound Deontay Wilder and you’ll get a decent mental image of Savon. Or you can watch this 2½-minute YouTube compilation of some of his big punches in major amateur bouts.

As a heavyweight with 3 Olympic gold medals I was surprised to find out he never turned pro. As a heavyweight I just find that very strange. Why? As a decorated heavyweight he was practically worshiped on that island. He was a hero. Only fellow amateur heavyweight great Teofilo Stevenson was more celebrated and adored by the Cuban public. Bro, heavyweight is THE glamor division worldwide, be it the amateur or pro ranks. Savon was treated A LOT better by the government and the boxing association than awesomely talented bantamweight Olympic gold medalists like Joel Casamayor and Guillermo Rigondeaux, who eventually defected.

Was there no buzz about him? Oh my God, there was crazy buzz about Savon, who had a stellar 20-year amateur career (just like Stevenson). I first heard about him when he won the 1986 World Amateur Championships at heavyweight (201 pounds), which was also Stevenson’s last major international tournament gold medal win (at super heavyweight). They passed the proverbial torch that year, and Savon whupped ass for the next 10+ years. David Tua, Shannon Briggs, Lamon Brewster, Andrew Golota, Kirk Johnson and Luan Krasniqi are among the notable future pro heavyweight players he stopped. He also KO’d U.S. amateur standouts John Bray, Michael Bentt, Michael Bennett and DaVarryl Williamson (who was also a big amateur puncher).

I can’t imagine why he would not pursue a pro career. It’s real simple, he was satisfied with his amazing amateur success, as well as being a role model, and he didn’t want to leave Cuba.



Hi Doug,

I had a question that hopefully you haven’t covered before, what are some of the strangest matchups in boxing history, where it doesn’t make any sense for one or both sides to take the fight?

The first that came to my mind were GGG-Brook and Canelo-Khan, two welterweights going up to middleweight to fight the best, and coming up short, and taking a face injury and scary knockout respectively. Both sold well, but neither middleweight gained a ton of credit for winning with such a size advantage, and the welterweights could have made good money fighting other welterweights, even each other ironically. Cheers. – Cameron

Golovkin vs. Canelo and Khan vs. Brook in 2016 made too much sense for this screwy era of boxing to get right.

For me, one of the strangest matchups, was Bernard Hopkins vs. Winky Wright, which took place in 2007. Hopkins had won The Ring light heavyweight crown by upsetting Antonio Tarver the previous year. You’d think rematches with Roy Jones Jr. or Glen Johnson would be on deck, or maybe even a defense against one of the rugged-but-limited foreign contenders that were willing to travel to the U.S. at the time, like Clinton Woods or Paul Briggs. Instead, we got a matchup nobody saw coming (and nobody asked for), a 170-pound catchweight showdown with Wright, who was coming off a disputed draw with then-middleweight champ Jermain Taylor, which was followed by ho-hum decision over Ike Quartey (who met the Winkster at middleweight). I know Wright, who had outclassed Shane Mosley (twice) and Felix Trinidad in 2004 and 2005, was never going to get a shot at Oscar De La Hoya (or even Ricardo Mayorga or Vernon Forrest), but young middleweight contenders like Kelly Pavlik and Edison Miranda probably would have jumped at the opportunity to challenge a P4P player.

As good as Wright was (and I rated him above Hopkins, Marquez, Pacquiao and Mayweather in my personal P4P rankings by the end of 2005), he was unproven above 160 pounds, and beyond the weight disadvantage, the bout with Hopkins had the makings of stylistic nightmare. Me and Steve Kim (back when we were both with used to travel to all the big Las Vegas fights but we sat this one out. Why spend all that time and money on travel for an ugly, foul-filled stinker? And the fight stunk as bad as we expected. I’m glad we watched it on PPV (at our pal “Coach” Dave Schwartz’s Rent-A-Wreck office in Santa Monica – we weren’t even willing to plunk down $50).

Other strange matchups (pitting a naturally lighter fighter vs. a bigger man) that come to mind include Michael Nunn vs. Marlon Starling, Roy Jones vs. Vinny Pazienza, and Floyd Mayweather vs. Juan Manuel Marquez. I also remember scratching my head over some really bad stylistic matchups for certain future hall of famers, such as when Marquez fought Freddy Norwood and Chris John (in Indonesia!), or when an faded Evander Holyfield faced (in succession) Chris Byrd, James Toney and Larry Donald. As bad as the three consecutive bouts with the awkward John Ruiz were, those three crafty boxers that Commander Vander fought from 2002-2004 were even more troubling for aging great. They had the WORST styles for him. Or how about when a guy with a shaky chin gets matched with a monster puncher, like when Jeremy Williams fought Samuel Peter or when Michael Moorer was matched with David Tua. I recall Prentiss Byrd, who was working with Moorer at the time, excitedly approached Steve Kim after a big fight in Vegas and told him that Double M would be facing the TuaMan on HBO in the coming weeks. Byrd got up on his toes and started shadow boxing when he told Kim: “I can’t wait! We’re gonna box him all night long!” As soon as he was out of earshot, Kim and I said: “That’s a one-round fight.” And so it was. Strange matchups indeed.


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.