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Dougie’s Monday Mailbag (George Kambosos Jr., Lopez-Kambosos, Fulton-Figueroa)

Photo by Ed Mulholland/ Matchroom Boxing
29
Nov

A THRILLING SATURDAY NIGHT

Hi Dougie,

I admit initially the fights this weekend weren’t ones I was hugely looking forward to, but I’ll gladly admit I was entirely wrong. One thrilling upset, and one barnburner that was all action from round one to round twelve.

Both Fulton and Figueroa are heroes in my eyes, for twelve rounds they both gave it everything, ate some huge hits and dished out plenty too. The fight was very close to my eyes, so while I can understand why Figueroa is upset, it certainly wasn’t a robbery. Personally, I thought his effective aggression, and body attack were enough to see him win, but I could also see why judges liked Fulton’s clean and accurate punching. That’s why it was so good to watch!

Onto Lopez vs Kambosos. Teofimo is as deluded as Wilder was after the 2nd Fury fight if he thinks he won that, he was outboxed in at least 5 rounds. To me it looked like he had no gameplan, like he just thought that by throwing punches he would eventually ko Kambosos. Credit to Kambosos though, he boxed well and deserves plenty of credit. If I’m being really honest, Lopez was so poor I don’t think Kambosos actually had to be that good on Saturday night.

What were your thoughts? Does Lopez need a new trainer that’s not his dad, or is this simply a case of underestimating his opponent and having a bad night?

Thanks for all the fantastic content. – Tommy, London

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on a fantastic night of boxing in the U.S., Tommy. I think it’s too quick to write off Lopez Sr. as the head trainer for Teofimo Jr. They both had a poor night (by their standards) but the loss to Kambosos could serve as a major wake-up call. Let’s see how both men rebound from this before we demand that the son shop around for a new trainer.

Although I do think Team Lopez underestimated Kambosos (as most of us did, let’s not pretend that we knew George was on Teo’s level), I think there’s more to Lopez’s sub-par performance than just getting surprised by Kambosos’ skill and tenacity. While Kambosos kept his eyes on the prize (Lopez and the lightweight championship), Team Lopez got lost in the business/politics side of boxing (promotional squabbles, purse bids, pay days, A-side-B-side demands, new contracts, future fights, etc.) and making things worse for them was the on-going pandemic, the inexperience of the new promotional entity that overpaid to win the purse bid and put on the kind of fight that really didn’t fit their M.O., Lopez contracting COVID-19, Triller defaulting on the purse bid, the fight being pushed back several times as Teo’s body continued to grow out of the lightweight division. It was a perfect storm of s__t for Team Lopez (and no walk in the park for Team Kambosos, but the Aussie Crew had their heads screwed on right).

Figueroa was non-stop aggression and pressure but Fulton stood his ground. Photo by Esther Lin/SHOWTIME

Both Fulton and Figueroa are heroes in my eyes, for twelve rounds they both gave it everything, ate some huge hits and dished out plenty too. The bar is set VERY high for 122-pound championship fights and this unification bout shined in the long shadow of Fight-of-the-Year classics like Barrera-Morales I and Vazquez-Marquez III. There was non-stop action but also world-class craft and skill. I don’t think Figueroa got as much credit from the official judges (or much of the media and Boxing Twitter) as he deserved, but both junior featherweights did themselves and the division proud.

The fight was very close to my eyes, so while I can understand why Figueroa is upset, it certainly wasn’t a robbery. There was no robbery in Las Vegas. I scored it 7-4-1 in rounds for Figueroa, I thought his offense was equal to Fulton’s, but he was also an effective aggressor (as you noted) and the ring general. However, there were several swing rounds. I scored Round 8 for Figueroa on a late round rally, but it could easily have gone to Fulton. I scored Round 11 even, and it could have easily gone to Fulton. A draw is fair, as is 115-113 (or 7-5 in rounds) to Fulton. I do think 116-112 is giving Fulton a little extra credit.

Personally, I thought his effective aggression, and body attack were enough to see him win, but I could also see why judges liked Fulton’s clean and accurate punching. Again, no problem with Fulton winning the fight, but everyone points to his “clean and accurate” punching, which begs this question from Yours Truly: Were Figgy’s punches “dirty” and “inaccurate”?

That’s why it was so good to watch! It’s a Fight of the Year candidate for sure.

There’s delusional and then there’s “Wilder Delusional.” Photo by Mikey Williams for Top Rank

Teofimo is as deluded as Wilder was after the 2nd Fury fight if he thinks he won that, he was outboxed in at least 5 rounds. Hey now, Lopez is deluded but he’s not THAT deluded! There are levels to denial in boxing, Tommy. Right now, Teofimo is at the Adrien Broner-post-Pacquiao-fight level. If he starts blaming his loss on his walk-out attire, loaded gloves, poisoned water, shady officials and cornermen, OK, THEN we can say he’s at the Wilder-post-Fury-rematch level.

To me it looked like he had no gameplan, like he just thought that by throwing punches he would eventually ko Kambosos. Indeed. That was a combination of gross underestimation AND Kambosos getting under his skin (and his father’s skin).

Credit to Kambosos though, he boxed well and deserves plenty of credit. Yes, he does. He rose to the occasion and challenge. That was the best boxing performance I’ve ever seen from Kambosos. He exhibited great timing and distance control. He had the quicker hands and reflexes, and he couldn’t miss with his right hand. Also, his jab disrupted Lopez’s rhythm all night.

If I’m being really honest, Lopez was so poor I don’t think Kambosos actually had to be that good on Saturday night. Yes, he did. He had to be better than good, he had to fight the fight of his life to do what he did.

 

YEAR OF THE UPSET

Hi Doug,

Yesterday was another Great Night of Boxing, first we had another Upset of the Year Candidate when Kambosos pulls off the Shocker and Upsets Teofimo Lopez.

After that we had a great Toe to Toe War between 2 Undefeated Champions in Fulton vs Figueroa.

But first things first, Teofimo said this would be one of his more Personal Fights in his Career and he sure looked like he wanted to Knockout Kambosos in the first Minute of the Fight.

That didn`t help him because Kambosos was the one who actually had a Fight plan for the Fight, he knew Teo would rush out off the Corner like a Bull looking for the Big Swing and he used that to land his Jabs and his Left Hand constantly.

Teofimo relied on his Power to much, it sure didn`t help that his Father was telling him all the time to Knock Kambosos out and didn`t alert him that this Fight was closer than they thought.

But who is the one to tell him that his Father didn`t help him with his Coaching?

This Fight had shades of Tyson vs Buster Douglas as Kambosos was Fighting for his Grandfather who died 2 Month ago.

It was another Great Upset in the Year of the Upsets, i don`t envy you guys to vote on this one.

I can`t remember another year with so many big Upsets, we had Warrington vs Lara, Usyk vs Joshua, Kiko Martinez vs Galahad, Ugas over Pac-Man, Sandor Martin vs Garcia, Rosado knocking out Melikuziev and now this one.

For me it is a close call between this Fight and Warrington vs Lara but you can also can give a vote to Ugas.

In the other Main Event I had it a Draw between Fulton and Figueroa but you can`t argue with the score because Fulton was landing the clearer Shots.

Fulton had a good mid-range work and was using his Uppercut perfectly, you think we will see a rematch or is Figueroa moving up in weight?

After all this was a Great Year of Boxing and it will go out with a Bang as Ioka and Ancajas will duke it out on New Years Eve, what a Fight. I can`t wait for this one. Greetings. –  Andy

I’m inclined to say that Ioka should handily whup Ancajas’ ass, but given all of the upsets we’ve witnessed this year, I’ll hold off on that opinion and just enjoy the 115-pound title unification bout. And speaking of bigtime showdowns in Japan, I won’t count Ryota Murata out vs. Gennadiy Golovkin.

Regarding Fulton-Figueroa, I won’t argue with the official verdict or even the two scorecards that Fulton up by 4 points, but when you say he landed the “clearer” shots, are you telling me you weren’t able to “clearly” see the punches that Figueroa was landing? Because I saw them clear as day. They snapped and swiveled Fulton’s head just as much as Fulton’s shots did Figgy’s noggin.  

I don’t think we’ll see an immediate rematch. Figgy says he needs to move up to featherweight and Fulton has a goal of being undisputed champ at 122 pounds.

Lightweight Teofimo Lopez (left) has been tagged as a potentially dangerous opponent for Vasiliy Lomachenko with wins like his fifth round knockout of Edis Tatli. Photo credit: Getty Images

Lopez counters Edis Tatli with a powerful hook. Photo credit: Getty Images

Teofimo said this would be one of his more Personal Fights in his Career and he sure looked like he wanted to Knockout Kambosos in the first Minute of the Fight. Not a smart move on his part. One of Lopez’s great talents is his counterpunching ability. He’s most dangerous when he allows his opponent to come to him. Some of his best knockdowns and KOs were the result of counterpunches he landed while laying back. (Lomachenko knew this/sensed this in the early rounds of their bout and made the safe call to stay out of range as much as possible.) Even the cold KOs he scored with lead punches were not done in a rush. He took his time. Being impetuous vs. Kambosos was not wise.

That didn`t help him because Kambosos was the one who actually had a Fight plan for the Fight, he knew Teo would rush out off the Corner like a Bull looking for the Big Swing and he used that to land his Jabs and his Left Hand constantly. Yeah, and more than a few right hands if memory serves me. Kambosos studied Lopez well. He had an answer for everything Lopez brought to the ring that night.

Teofimo relied on his Power to much, it sure didn`t help that his Father was telling him all the time to Knock Kambosos out and didn`t alert him that this Fight was closer than they thought. Pops was cheerleading. Lopez needed some hard Felix Trinidad Sr. slaps after the opening round and constant doses of reality between rounds.

But who is the one to tell him that his Father didn`t help him with his Coaching? Nobody. The son has to figure that out for himself.

Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Michael Katsidis

This Fight had shades of Tyson vs Buster Douglas as Kambosos was Fighting for his Grandfather who died 2 Month ago. It reminded me of Michael Katsidis’ bold stand about Juan Manuel Marquez (also for the Ring Magazine lightweight championship). Katsidis, a fellow Aussie of Greek descent, had lost his brother just weeks before the big title challenge and forged on, fought out of his skin, dropped JMM and gave the world a tremendous effort and fight, but was ultimately stopped by the future hall of famer. Kambosos took it to the next level and triumphed.

It was another Great Upset in the Year of the Upsets, i don`t envy you guys to vote on this one. Kambosos-Lopez my choice for Upset of the Year, but Lara over Warrington and Martinez over Galahad are both deserving of the award.

I can`t remember another year with so many big Upsets, we had Warrington vs Lara, Usyk vs Joshua, Kiko Martinez vs Galahad, Ugas over Pac-Man, Sandor Martin vs Garcia, Rosado knocking out Melikuziev and now this one. There’s a reason they fight the fights. Fans, media and odds makers don’t know everything. By the way, I don’t view Usyk over Joshua or Ugas over Pacquiao as big upsets. Upsets for sure, but not like the other examples you brought up.

 

KATSIDIS VIBES

Dougie Fresh,

Got some real Michael Katsidis vibes from Kambosos, and I mean that in the best way possible. He looked determined and ready for anything Teofimo threw at him. This fight was way better than expected. Good job by the judges for getting it right. I think Devin beats George, but I’d like to see it happen. I’m not counting out Kambosos in another fight ever again.

Also, can you believe Teo pulling a “Kanye” by interrupting Kambosos’s post-fight interview to declare himself the real winner? What a jackass. He lost the crowd with that one. Someone should’ve handed him a mirror. He didn’t just lose, he got beat up. His corner did him no favors by telling him he was winning most rounds.

He needs to pull an “AJ” and start shopping around for a better trainer, preferably one of the Angelo Dundee kind that’ll give it to him straight. Given what happened with Porter’s dad throwing in the towel recently (a bit too early in my opinion), I’m not so sure fathers should stay on as their sons’ head coaches in the long-term. I think it limits their long-term growth. What’s your take on the father-son/trainer-boxer dynamic? Just seems like a bad idea to me.

Keep up the good work, Dougie. You already know I grabbed my copy of the 100th anniversary edition of the magazine. Peace. – JC, Dallas, Texas

Thanks JC. Enjoy our special 112-page 100th Anniversary collector’s edition. We poured our souls into that one.

I think the father-son dynamic is part of the lifeblood of the sport. Most standout boxers – amateur or pro – either followed their fathers to the gym or were encouraged (or, sadly, forced) to start boxing by their dads. I think it works well at the amateur level and during the early stages of a pro career, but I generally don’t like how they play out over an entire career. I thought most of the fighters who remained with their father/trainers until late in their careers or until the end could have been better had they brought in more experienced or better suited head coaches earlier in their careers.

Having said that, I don’t think Lopez should fire his father after his first loss. This is a journey for both. They’re both learning. I’d like to see what kind of adjustments they can make going forward. If they can’t communicate or advance/evolve, then they need to split or bring in somebody who can take Lopez to the next level.

Got some real Michael Katsidis vibes from Kambosos, and I mean that in the best way possible. Same here. Kambosos had all of the durability, guts and determination that Katsidis (who I got to know a little bit while he was active and trained in the Southern California – wonderful man) possessed, but the new lightweight champ also exhibited a lot of ring smarts and savvy.

Good job by the judges for getting it right. Indeed, and shame on Don Trella.

I think Devin beats George, but I’d like to see it happen. Don’t count out Joseph Diaz Jr.!

I’m not counting out Kambosos in another fight ever again. Same here. Like he said, he’s the emperor now.

Also, can you believe Teo pulling a “Kanye” by interrupting Kambosos’s post-fight interview to declare himself the real winner? Yeah, that was disappointing. But it happens in boxing. These guys are so proud and stubborn they just can’t accept losing. Add concussions and all the adrenaline and endorphins racing through their bodies after going 12 hard rounds to their crazy pride, and yeah, they might say some stupid s__t immediately after a fight. It doesn’t mean they’re jerks at heart. Lomachenko’s a gentleman 99% of the time, but he couldn’t accept losing to Lopez and made some delusional post-fight comments. He seems to have accepted it now and is moving on with his career, and I think Lopez will do the same. He’s only 24. Time is on his side. He’s no longer the #Takeover, he’s the #Startover for the time being.

 

GOOD FIGHTS!

Hi Dougie –

Happy Holidays! Hoping all is well.

I’d just like to say that boxing is undisputed when the top guys link up. Crawford/Porter, Lopez/Kambosos & Fulton/Figueroa all produced great excitement.

As far as Lopez/Kambosos I felt shades of Tyson/Douglas in the sense of an unfocused & overconfident champ vs a talented, motivated challenger. Overall, the over aggressive first round (provoked by his dad) was his undoing IMO. It was something to behold the discipline against LOMA & the total lack of it against George. Great fight though for Kambosos. He was amazing. What should he do next?

What’s next for both?

Also, I don’t see Crawford getting Ugas or Spence. What’s the best option? Take care. – Jamaal, Louisiana

If Bud can’t get Ugas or Spence right away, I think undisputed junior welterweight champ Josh Taylor would make for an interesting and high-profile matchup. There’s also Regis Prograis, Jaron Ennis, and Vergil Ortiz Jr., all of whom would make for compelling matchups, but not as big an event as showdowns with Spence, Ugas or Taylor would create.

I’d just like to say that boxing is undisputed when the top guys link up. Fact! It’s the only professional sport I f__k with.

Crawford/Porter, Lopez/Kambosos & Fulton/Figueroa all produced great excitement. High-level prize fighting featured in back-to-back weeks. Let’s see if Devin Haney-JoJo Diaz Jr., Tank Davis-Isaac Cruz, Loma-Richard Commey, Nonito-Reymart Gaballo, Beterbiev-Browne, GGG-Ryota Murata and Ioka-Ancajas can keep the trend going to the end of the year.

As far as Lopez/Kambosos I felt shades of Tyson/Douglas in the sense of an unfocused & overconfident champ vs a talented, motivated challenger. I see it. And I agree with the unfocused/overconfident champ take. But while I knew Kambosos was motivated, I didn’t view him as “talented” in a boxing-skill sense. (I knew Buster could box going into his Mission Impossible.) Turns out, Kambosos is a talented boxer.

Overall, the over aggressive first round (provoked by his dad) was his undoing IMO. It was something to behold the discipline against LOMA & the total lack of it against George. The difference in his approach to those two (back-to-back) fights is amazing, isn’t it? They say it’s harder to keep the championship than it is to win it.

Great fight though for Kambosos. He was amazing. What should he do next? The plan, I hear, is for him to defend his many belts in a grand homecoming in Australia next Spring. Who he faces in his first defense depends on who’s willing to travel to Australia. I don’t see Tank, Ryan Garcia or Haney doing that. JoJo Diaz might if he beats Haney on Saturday. I think Loma would definitely travel for the opportunity to win his belts back. Fighting in opponents’ home territories is nothing new to him. But he’s got to beat Commey first.

What’s next for both? I think Lopez comes back as soon as his face and pride are healed up and he does so as a junior welterweight vs. a legit top-10 contender.

 

KING KAMBOSOS!

Hi Dougie,

The eastern part of Australia has suffered prolonged lockdowns this year. Seeing Kambosos today has finally given us something to be happy about.

Going in I thought he would give a good account of himself, but never thought he would win. I didn’t think he hit hard enough to earn Lopez’s respect. I was very happy to be proven wrong near the end of round 1.

After out boxing Lopez for much of the fight, I feared he was on his way out in the 10th round. It takes a special fighter to not only survive, but come back to win the next 2 rounds.

I grew up with Fenech and Tszyu and I am very happy Australia has a new star.

Lopez showed about as much class in defeat, as his father did in the build up to the fight. Despite his talent, it makes him easy to dislike.

Where does George go from here? I hope for a rematch down here in Australia. But if not how does he fare against:

Haney

Tank

Garcia

Loma

Finally, a quick MM that almost happened:

Norris VS De La Hoya at 154.

Thanks mate. Regards. – Will

If Norris fought De La Hoya when they had planned to in the late 1990s, The Golden Boy would have stopped him late in a compelling but one-sided fight. Norris was shopworn by the point (which is why underdog Keith Mullings beat Oscar to the punch in December ’97). However, if you’re talking about the prime version of Norris vs. De La Hoya at his best at 154 pounds, I’ve got to go with Terrible Terry by close but unanimous decision in an excellent high-speed chess match featuring bursts of pure violence.

I grew up with Fenech and Tszyu and I am very happy Australia has a new star. It might have TWO new stars if Tim Tszyu continues to develop.

Lopez showed about as much class in defeat, as his father did in the build up to the fight. Despite his talent, it makes him easy to dislike. They are polarizing, but they can make that work for them. I like them both.

Where does George go from here? I hope for a rematch down here in Australia. I doubt that happens. I think Loma’s got next, but we’ll see.

But if not, how does he fare against:

HaneyI think Devin can outpoint him, but it would be close.

TankI think Davis would score a come-from-behind late-rounds KO.

GarciaKambosos by late stoppage or close UD. Good fight!

LomaMatrix by competitive UD.

 

 

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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