Wednesday, August 10, 2022  |

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Dougie’s Monday Mailbag (Jaron Ennis, Alen Babic, Shakur Stevenson, Tim Tszyu)

Jaron Ennis. Photo / SHOWTIME
01
Nov

NEXT FIGHTS FOR ENNIS AND BABIC

Hey Doug,

Tell me if I’m jumping the gun here, but the next fights I’d like to see after this weekend are Jaron Ennis vs Danny Garcia and Alan Babic vs Derek Chisora. Think either of these are makeable? Is Ennis ready to step up to that level?  Best to you and the family. – Graham, Sonoma

Thanks Graham. I think Babic vs. Chisora is makeable – eventually. Ennis vs. Garcia is, sadly, probably not makable, even though it would be a big event in Philadelphia where both welterweight contenders are from.  I believe (like most fans and media) that Ennis is ready for a step-up to the world-level that Garcia represents. The Ring Ratings Panel has suggested that the Editorial Board advance Ennis from No. 7 to No. 5 in the welterweight rankings, which is an indication of the high regard the boxing media and industry have of The Ring’s 2020 Prospect of the Year. He’s 24 years old with a 28-0 (24) record. There’s no need for him to face gatekeepers anymore.  

I like Garcia as his next foe because “Swift” is a battle-tested former champ who isn’t old (he’s only 33) and has never been stopped. Danny’s a good counterpuncher who can also crack, and while Boots is a well-rounded boxer-puncher, he’s offense-minded and can be hit while he’s on the attack. So, I’m guessing that Garcia could potentially test Boot’s “whiskers” and provide what boxing writers like to call “professional resistance.” But I doubt that Garcia, who’s teased a move to 154 pounds in recent months, wants to be viewed as or set up as a “Stepping-Stone” opponent for a boxing phenom.  

Alen Babic. Photo by Mark Robinson/ Matchroom Boxing

As for Babic, I don’t think he’s ready to step-up to the level of competition that Chisora would bring to the ring. The 30-year-old Croatian may be “Savage” but he’s raw and inexperienced, not to mention undersized by modern heavyweight standards. Chisora was able to impose his size (as well as his pressure to an extent) on an elite-level total package like Oleksandr Usyk last year, and he’s still strong and sturdy enough to give Joseph Parker a hard time. Del Boy wouldn’t have to look for Babic, who is impetuous and a little wild in his attack and often squares up (the totally shot Eric Molina was able to land a few straight rights on him). Just my opinion, but Babic isn’t ready for Chisora. He’s only got nine fights and he’s yet to fight past five rounds. Oh, and Chisora will have 40-50 pounds on Babic. 

If The Savage can consistently make 200 pounds without trouble, I think he should aim to climb the cruiserweight rankings. But if he wants to be a heavyweight hopeful, he will need to get quality ROUNDS. Right now, he’s at the eight-round level. Before he can advance to the 10- and 12-round level he needs to go a quality eight rounds at least a couple of times. I think 40-year-old Rydell Booker can take him eight, but the Detroit native might box a little too well for the current version of Babic. It could be a risky matchup. Joe Cusumano, who was just blasted in one round by Daniel Dubois, is a safer opponent to give Babic rounds. I like that Cusumano is 6-foot-4 and around 230 pounds, the average size of a modern heavy. But Joe is an aggressive dude, so that would play into Babic’s heavy hands. Cussy would give him resistance but probably not too many rounds. Joey Abell is another 40-year-old journeyman, but the Minnesota native has size (he’s been weighing between 255-260 in recent years) and some craft to his game, plus he’s a southpaw, so he might be able to go quality rounds with Babic. I’d aim for somebody like Abell next. 

Jonathan Rice, a 34-year-old journeyman who went 10 rounds with Efe Ajagba and is coming off a nice upset stoppage of prospect Michael Coffie, is a solid choice for Babic’s next opponent.  

Babic says he wants David Allen next, and Allen is very much into that fight, so maybe that’s the matchup we’ll get next. I like it if it happens. Allen, who would have a big weight and experience advantage, might be a bit much for Babic at this stage but it would be a damn good fight.   

 

BIGGER BOOTS

Doug –

Jaron Ennis. One of the “Honor Roll” up-and-comers featured on the April 2020 cover of The Ring. Art by KronkAArt

Is there anyone in The Ring top 10 154 you’d pick Ennis to beat at the moment? – Kevin Key, Duluth, MN

I’d strongly favor Ring champ Jermell Charlo, No. 1 contender (and WBO beltholder) Brian Castano, and No. 3 contender Erislandy Lara to beat Ennis (“at the moment”). Boots is live against the rest of Ring’s junior middleweight top 10. I’d love to see Ennis take on Tim Tszyu (No. 6). That would be very, very interesting. That’s an even fight in my view, and so are matchups with No. 4 Erickson Lubin (due to The Hammer’s speed, power, and technique) and No. 7 Sebastian Fundora (because of The Towering Inferno’s freakish height and reach). But I’d favor Ennis to beat No. 5 Tony Harrison, and Nos. 8-10 (Magomed Korbanov, Carlos Adames, and Sergio Garcia).

 

SHAKUR STEVENSON, TIM TSZYU, MYTHICAL MATCHUPS

Hey Dougie,

Congrats on the west coast boxing hall of fame induction. That was great to see and hear.

Last couple weeks we got to see what I consider two opposite sides of the boxing spectrum. The beginning of Mikey’s farewell party and the beginning of Shakur’s coming out party. I’m just happy that boxing is back to partying.

Mikey, keep the IG videos coming.

As for Shakur, how do you think he fares (after this performance obviously), vs each of the 4 princes at 135 (Lopez, Haney, Garcia, Tank)? This might feel like a mythical matchup(s) question, but it’s not supposed to be. I saved that, the best, for last.

What is your current optimism level that Crawford bolts to Premiere Boxers Chillin’ (PBC) after this Porter fight? I believe it’s a 8 of 10. I can see PBC setting up Crawford and Spence facing Thurman and Ugas (mix and match except Bud and Errol) in separate fights to regain some momentum for that fight, then getting them to fight at the end of 2022. That’s if Spences eye is ok and if Crawford beats Porter. Yes, a dollar and a dream.

Our guy Kostya Tszyu’s son Tim, what do you see in his future. Pretend you were managing him, script his next 4-5 fights after Inoue. Include location.

I try my best to remain an optimistic fan (I bend but don’t break) BUT, Dillian Whyte’s injury…. I’ll leave that there Dougie.

MMs:

@30 – Chris Colbert vs Angel Manfredy

@35 – Bam Bam Rios vs Adrien Broner

@40 – Gatti v Prograis

@47 – Tim Bradley vs Bud Crawford / Judah vs Thurman

@54 – Terry Norris vs Paul Williams

@60 – Pavlik v Triple G / Winky Wright vs Canelo

@Not Bridgerweight – David Tua vs. Andy Ruiz Jr. / Michael Moorer vs Anthony Joshua

Keep up the outstanding work. Have a great weekend. – RR7 (Twitter – @RollsRod7)

Thanks for the kind words, RR7. The WCBHOF induction was very special, in part because my parents flew in (along with my sister, her son, and one of my younger brothers) for the honor.

Your mythical matchups:

@30 – Chris Colbert vs Angel Manfredy – Colbert by close decision (really good fight)

@35 – Bam Bam Rios vs Adrien BronerRios by close, maybe majority decision (I’m talking about the version of Brandon who could safely make 135, the brute that outjabbed Anthony Peterson, walked down Miguel Acosta, and blasted Urbano Antillon in three rounds)

@40 – Gatti v PrograisPrograis by close UD (in a GREAT fight)

@47 – Tim Bradley vs Bud Crawford / Judah vs ThurmanCrawford by close UD or MD (excellent fight that begins as a chess match and ends up a battle) / Judah by competitive but clear UD in a high-speed power boxing exhibition

@54 – Terry Norris vs Paul WilliamsNorris by competitive but clear UD (good boxing match that gets bloody down the stretch)

@60 – Pavlik v Triple G / Winky Wright vs CaneloGolovkin by close UD or late TKO (in a brutal battle of attrition) / Canelo by close maybe controversial UD or MD (elite-level power chess match; Winky outjabs and outworks Canelo, who attacks the arms and body of the southpaw, plus lands the eye-catching head shots)

@Not Bridgerweight – David Tua vs. Andy Ruiz Jr. / Michael Moorer vs Anthony JoshuaTua by competitive but clear UD (in a barnburner) / Joshua by come-from-behind late stoppage (Double M outboxes AJ but makes the same mistake he made vs. Big George and stands around/squares up too much and gets caught)

Last couple weeks we got to see what I consider two opposite sides of the boxing spectrum. The beginning of Mikey’s farewell party and the beginning of Shakur’s coming out party. As far as I’m concerned Garcia’s farewell party began three years ago when he left the lightweight division without fighting Jorge Linares (who REALLY wanted that showdown) or Vasiliy Lomachenko. Stevenson’s coming out party really began with his domination of Joet Gonzalez, who will give any world-class 126- or 130-pounder a hard night.

Stevenson was too fast, too sharp and too strong for Herring to handle, but can he hang with the lightweight Young Guns? Photo by Mikey Williams / Top Rank

As for Shakur, how do you think he fares (after this performance obviously), vs each of the 4 princes at 135 (Lopez, Haney, Garcia, Tank)? This might feel like a mythical matchup(s) question, but it’s not supposed to be. I know. We’ve got all these talented, undefeated young guns in basically the same weight class, but we have no idea if they’ll ever face each other. How sad is that? And some goof balls wonder why The Ring is focusing on Special Issues. Anyway, I think Stevenson is all wrong for Garcia (who is better with short, aggressive types and was dropped hard by a tall, rangy southpaw in Luke Campbell) and for Haney (who is a top-level boxer but lacks an inside game and world-class power). I’d favor Stevenson to outpoint both (maybe stop Garcia late). I believe Stevenson could outbox Davis for at least the first half of the fight, but Tank sets such a fast pace and throws such fast combinations that I envision him eventually getting in close and bombing Shakur out (unless Stevenson has the power to hurt Davis or at least enough to earn respect). And I think Lopez is all wrong for Stevenson because the Ring champ is a smart, quick-twitch counterpuncher with world-class power. If Lopez can still healthily make 135 when they share the ring, he’s a threat to Stevenson.

What is your current optimism level that Crawford bolts to Premiere Boxers Chillin’ (PBC) after this Porter fight? I believe it’s a 8 of 10. I have no idea to be honest. I know there was talk of Crawford leaving Top Rank last year, but I really don’t follow that kind of news. I’ll pay attention once a fighter has changed promoters. But in Crawford’s case I don’t know if there’s any guarantee that he’ll get the other PBC welterweight players in the ring should he beat Porter and then jump ship. Spence couldn’t get Thurman to fight him. It didn’t matter that they were on the same side of the street. We never saw Gary Russell Jr. vs. Leo Santa Cruz when both were at featherweight. But who knows? Maybe Spence is at the stage of his career where he’d force the issue if Crawford were a PBC Player (provided he’s medically cleared to return to the ring). I know Ugas would welcome a showdown with Crawford. So who knows? Maybe if Al Haymon presents the right package of fights and guarantees, he can acquire the services of the Nebraska native. Then again, Top Rank has all of those world-class 140 pounders, including Ring champ and pound-for-pound player Josh Taylor, to entice Crawford, who may want to take a page from Marvin Hagler’s playbook and be the king of the mountain that lighter-weight standouts try to climb.

I can see PBC setting up Crawford and Spence facing Thurman and Ugas (mix and match except Bud and Errol) in separate fights to regain some momentum for that fight, then getting them to fight at the end of 2022. Hey, from your lips to God’s ears (and hopefully Al’s too).

That’s if Spences eye is ok and if Crawford beats Porter. Neither is a given.

Tim Tszyu is almost ready to challenge for a world title (maybe all of the belts). Photo by Darren Burns

Our guy Kostya Tszyu’s son Tim, what do you see in his future. Pretend you were managing him, script his next 4-5 fights after Inoue. Include location. What do I see in Tszyu’s future? A world title shot. Is he ready? Almost. I don’t think it will take 4-5 bouts to get there. Timmy is already the WBO’s No. 1 contender, so it’s only a matter of time until he’s the mandatory for badass beltholder Brian Castano. That’s a tough customer right there. I wouldn’t go straight to that bull. There’s a good chance Castano will get a rematch with Ring champ Jermell Charlo. I’d wait for that showdown to happen and then take on the undisputed champion winner.

In the meantime, I’d want to get Tszyu as much experience and exposure as possible. He’ll get quality rounds from his next opponent, tough-as-nails Takeshi Inoue. That will be good work for him and help get him ready for the big dance, but he’ll need to face some ring savvy too. Inoue doesn’t have that, but veteran Liam Smith does and Beefy showed he’s still a threat with his recent KO of Anthony Fowler. I’d put Tszyu in with Smith after Inoue and I’d do that fight in the UK where Timmy will be exposed to a different media and reaches another audience. If he passes that test (which I would expect him to), I’d have him bide his time until there’s an undisputed champ to aim for. Maybe he could take on a rugged fringe contender like Brandon Adams in the U.S. while he waits. Adams will take him rounds and give him quality resistance. If Charlo wins the rematch, I’d have Tim challenge him in the U.S. (even in Texas). If Castano wins it, I’d do everything in my power to bring that title bout to Australia (my guy might need the home country advantage).  

 

BIG VEGAS FIGHT UNDERCARDS

I went to Vegas with my son to see Fury/Wilder (it was a bucket list item for us) and it was pretty expensive. But in my opinion the card was really stacked. Now I’m looking at Canelo/Plant and without the main event I don’t see it as much better than a ShoBox card. Am I demonstrating ignorance or bias or are the other fights basically filler? – John E.

When Anthony Dirrell vs. Marcos Hernandez is the chief support, you know you’re not dealing with a quality undercard. If you travel to Vegas, do so because you believe Canelo-Plant is going to be something really special. If you don’t think the main event will live up to the hype, I suggest staying home and ordering the Showtime PPV.

 

 

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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