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Dougie’s Monday Mailbag (Chocolatito celebration, Taylor-Catterall outrage)

Roman Gonzalez gave a lot better than he got from the game Julio Cesar Martinez. Photo by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom
Fighters Network
07
Mar

VIVA CHOCOLATITO!

Assalaam alaykum Mr. Fischer,

War Chocolatito!

I’m asking that you convene a Ring Pound for Pound Ratings Panel as soon as possible to restore Chocolatito to his rightful spot in the rankings. I’ll admit some partial bias that Fury has no business there, but Roman Gonzales’ absence is a much more egregious oversight at this stage.



I loved your article following the fight. I want to ask you how much you appreciate being able to cover Chocolatito throughout your career.  Do you feel like you appreciated him early enough? I started watching and loving the Little King before his HBO contract and I feel like I was still late to the party.

I also want to reassert that Chocolatito is, was, and will always be the best fighter of the years of his career.  He clearly deserved Fighter of the Decade from 2010 to 2019. Mayweather and Pacquiao had their best fights before that time, no one has been better than Roman over the past 13 years.

I also agree with Chocolatito that he’s only lost one fight in his entire career. I recall a discussion with Mr. Gray after the first Sor Rungvisai fight because he scored it for the Thai Tank. I didn’t have the advantage of watching that fight in person, but I did not see it the same as Mr. Gray.

Frankly, I think that Chocolatito consistently has rounds scored against him because he does not seem to enjoy fighting. When Gonzales is in the ring, he seems to be there to do a job. His face lights up after the fight, when he talks about God. He does not ever appear to enjoy punching or hurting people. I think the judges, after many close rounds in many of his fights, see his body language and score for the other fighter. I believe this happened in the first Sor Rungvisai fight as well as in the Estrada rematch. I think it happened last night too, as 116-112 is far too close a score for the fight I watched (117-111 is also poor). What do you think? Are the judges scoring against the gentleman fighter? If you score any of Chocolatito’s fights on the actual scoring criteria (especially effective aggression and defense) it’s a lot harder to find any rounds for Martinez.

Thank you, as always, for your work in boxing. I hope you and yours are well and that everything is wonderful at The Ring. I send the best.

Salaam. – John

Thanks for kind and caring words, John, and thank you for sharing your thoughts on Chocolatito. It’s a real pleasure to witness the celebration and outpouring of respect that Gonzalez is currently receiving from the boxing world. Chocolate is the flavor of the month, and I’m all good with that. After years of being overlooked, underrated and attacked, it finally feels like everyone is a believer. Hey, better late than never.

It wasn’t that long ago when he was practically unknown in the U.S., when he was derided (by absolute cretins) as being unworthy of HBO during his first appearances on the subscription cable giant, when he was dismissed as a “hype job” following back-to-back losses to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. 

Chronicling his two-year rebuilding period (with underrated head coach Marcos Caballero), watching him returning to world-class form with the brilliant stoppage of Kal Yafai in February 2020, having him grace the cover of Ring Magazine following that WBA-title winning performance (which earned him the Comeback of the Year award), being ringside for his epic rematch with Juan Francisco Estrada last March and covering his recent masterclass vs. Julio Cesar Martinez has been one of the more satisfying on-going stories I’ve ever experienced in boxing. 

Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez is pound-for-pound worthy. Photo by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

I’m asking that you convene a Ring Pound for Pound Ratings Panel as soon as possible to restore Chocolatito to his rightful spot in the rankings. I’ll admit some partial bias that Fury has no business there, but Roman Gonzales’ absence is a much more egregious oversight at this stage. The Ring Ratings Panel is currently debating Gonzalez’s re-entry into the pound-for-pound rankings. Some want him back in, others don’t want him to displace Tyson Fury or Kazuto Ioka, and others believe he’s worthy of the P4P top 10 but can’t wrap their heads around Chocolatito being in the mythical ratings but rated behind Sor Rungvisai (who is not in the P4P) in the junior bantamweight rankings. I don’t think it’s that hard to figure out. Chocolatito should move ahead of his nemesis (from No. 2 to No. 1) in the 115-pound top 10, and he should re-enter the pound-for-pound rankings at No. 8 or No. 9. (I don’t care if Fury gets bumped out. He’s the heavyweight champ and The Gypsy King. That’s enough. Plus, he’s really only got Wladimir Klitschko and Deontay Wilder on his record. That’s impressive but it pales in comparison to Chocolatito’s resume.) But, hey, that’s just my opinion. 

I loved your article following the fight. Thank you. I penned it while a frantic (and s__t-talking but jovial) crew hastily took apart Press Row. My table was the last one standing when I finally posted the post-fight article on RingTV.com

I want to ask you how much you appreciate being able to cover Chocolatito throughout your career. It’s an honor. And it’s been very special because Roman and his team have always acknowledged and appreciated my past coverage and support. They don’t suffer from amnesia like most boxing folks do. They don’t get all “Divalicious” when they’re winning and getting attention and props like most boxing folks do. They remain hard-working, humble and down to earth. They are the kind of human beings I want to interact with. At this stage of my life and career, I don’t care to waste my time with any other types. 

Do you feel like you appreciated him early enough? I started watching and loving the Little King before his HBO contract and I feel like I was still late to the party. I have known about Gonzalez since early 2007. I visited Tokyo in January 2007 to cover Edwin Valero’s first defense of his WBA 130-pound belt. I joined Valero’s advisor Joe Hernandez and Mr. Honda (president of Teiken Promotions) for lunch after the final presser/weigh-in (they combined the two events). Mr. Honda, who had already signed Jorge Linares (out of the amateurs) and Valero, said he was looking into more South American and Central American talent but wanted only the best of the best. He said he passed on Marcos Maidana but was excited about this young Nicaraguan strawweight who had been mentored by the great Alexis Arguello. He was talking about Chocolatito. His logic made sense, strawweights are a lot cheaper to sign than junior welterweights, and the 105-pound division is a major weight class in Japan. I didn’t think about Chocolatito again until I got a VHS tape from Las Vegas-based Teiken rep Nobu Ikushima. It was in November 2007 and it was Gonzalez’s first-round (body shot) KO of Eriberto Gejon, a tough Filipino contender who had taken WBA titleholder Yutaka Niida the 12-round distance just two months earlier. It was just a little over one minute of one-sided action, but I was dazzled by his ring-cutting pressure and his surgical left uppercut. 

(Watch this YouTube clip of the fight and check out how similar his form and technique is to what we witnessed vs. Martinez on Saturday. It’s incredible! The only difference is that he was faster as a young strawweight and he wielded more one-punch power.)

Anyway, I declared Gonzalez MaxBoxing’s Prospect of the Year for 2007 and began keeping track of his career. When he fought in Pomona, California in April 2012, I was there (as a fan, not media). When he took on the tough challenge of Juan Francisco Estrada at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles in November of that year, I was there as media (and treated to an instant classic between two future hall of farmers along with a small but super hardcore group of fans and boxing insiders, including Larry Holmes, who was part of the Wealth network commentary team!)

Let it be known that I believed Gonzalez was worthy of pound-for-pound top 10 BEFORE his first fight with Estrada. Here’s an Ellie Seckbach YouTube interview during Chocolatito’s media workout at Azteca Boxing Club prior to the fight (notice how empty the gym is). I told Gonzlaez that he was already a pound-for-pound elite that day. He was so gracious and humble. He said: “No, I can’t say that yet. I can’t consider myself in the top 10; maybe the top 25. I have to earn my way into the top 10.” Dude was old-school when he was young. 

I also want to reassert that Chocolatito is, was, and will always be the best fighter of the years of his career. No argument here. 

He clearly deserved Fighter of the Decade from 2010 to 2019. That’s what I said!

Mayweather and Pacquiao had their best fights before that time, no one has been better than Roman over the past 13 years. Bro! You’re preaching to the choir!

I also agree with Chocolatito that he’s only lost one fight in his entire career. I recall a discussion with Mr. Gray after the first Sor Rungvisai fight because he scored it for the Thai Tank. I didn’t have the advantage of watching that fight in person, but I did not see it the same as Mr. Gray. I thought Gonzalez won that first fight with Sor Rungvisai, as did the majority of press row that night, but more than a few boxing scribes and insiders that respect (including our venerable managing editor) thought the Thai southpaw deserved the upset. You can’t deny that it was a hotly contested barnburner. Win or lose, Chocolatito makes for entertaining, compelling fights. To me, the performances and the caliber of opponents are more important than the official results. 

Frankly, I think that Chocolatito consistently has rounds scored against him because he does not seem to enjoy fighting. When Gonzales is in the ring, he seems to be there to do a job. His face lights up after the fight, when he talks about God. He does not ever appear to enjoy punching or hurting people. I think the judges, after many close rounds in many of his fights, see his body language and score for the other fighter. That’s an interesting theory. But I think it’s EASY to score rounds for Gonzalez because he generally outworks his opponent, and he does so with heavy hands and expert technique. The only reason he’s lost two close decisions is because he shared the ring with two major badasses who proved to be elite-level performers just like him. 

I believe this happened in the first Sor Rungvisai fight as well as in the Estrada rematch. I think it happened last night too, as 116-112 is far too close a score for the fight I watched (117-111 is also poor). What do you think? I thought the official scorecards were fine. I admit that 116-112 is giving Martinez the benefit of every doubt, but 117-111 is fine. You can make a solid case for the Mexican winning Rounds 1, 5 and 9. The 118-110 tally is probably the best scorecard, but if you had Chocolatito by shutout, I certainly won’t argue with you. 

 

TAYLOR-CATTERALL CONTROVERSY

Hey Dougie,

Hope you and your family are good.

I can’t remember being as demoralized about boxing after the scoring in the Taylor V Catterall fight. I consider myself a hardcore boxing fan, it’s my favorite sport and I’ve written to you a few times in the past but even I almost feel like giving up on the sport. It feels almost like the decision is decided before the fight so what’s the point? I’m not going to go into a deep analysis of the fight because I don’t need to; it was that one sided that I thought at the time “there’s no way even boxing judges can rob Catterall”.

If it makes me feel like this, what does it do to casual fans or new fans to the sport?

Anyway as much as this sucks – there’s a lot more important things happening in the world right now so I’m not letting it get to me too much. Cheers. – Mark from the UK

The situation in Ukraine puts a lot of things in perspective, Mark. Thank you for sharing your feelings about the Taylor-Catterall decision, which has outraged UK boxing fans more than any fight I can recall since Lennox Lewis had to settle for a draw against Evander Holyfield after their first bout in 1999. 

I can’t remember being as demoralized about boxing after the scoring in the Taylor V Catterall fight. If you were around for Lewis-Holyfield I, you’d likely remember it. It was bad. In my opinion, it was a lot worse than Taylor getting the split-nod over Catterall, but I’m obviously in the minority with my opinion that the Scotsman did enough to keep his undisputed 140-pound championship. 

I consider myself a hardcore boxing fan, it’s my favorite sport and I’ve written to you a few times in the past but even I almost feel like giving up on the sport. Take a break if you need to. But if you really want things to change, put pressure on the British Boxing Board of Control to hold officials (referees as well as judges, because Marcus McDonnell was pure ass) accountable for their actions. Officials need to be able to explain their decisions and scorecards to the commissions AND the media (and the public via the media). Push for this. Complaining on social media or sending emails to Dougie’s Mailbag isn’t going to get the BBBofC’s attention. 

It feels almost like the decision is decided before the fight so what’s the point? I’m not going to go into a deep analysis of the fight because I don’t need to; it was that one sided that I thought at the time “there’s no way even boxing judges can rob Catterall”. Never say never in boxing, and never assume that what you see is what everybody else sees, especially the judges, who have a different view of the ring as you do. 

If it makes me feel like this, what does it do to casual fans or new fans to the sport? It pushes them away. It’s been doing that for several decades. The sport doesn’t have casual fans anymore. 

 

ASHAMED BY U.K. JUDGES

Hi Dougie,

I’ve just watched the Taylor-Catterall fight and I am ashamed by the quality of judging in this country.

I love Josh Taylor and think he is a fantastic fighter but he didn’t win tonight. Jack was clearly the superior boxer across the contest and scored a knockdown too, the fact he didn’t win was a disgrace. I used to think Britain was a fair place to box and the quality of officiating was high but the scoring for this fight is the final nail in the coffin for this country’s credibility. Barret v Martinez was dreadful, Ritson v Vazquez was awful, Taylor-Catterall was rank bad scoring.

It makes me sad that we can’t have good scoring and the right winners in fights. – Tommy, London

I agree there was awful scoring for those other UK-based bouts you mentioned – and I’ll add a doozy from 2013, the split-draw verdict for Ricky Burns-Ray Beltran – but I didn’t think Taylor-Catterall was egregious.

Close fight or another robbery on UK soil? Photo by Lawrence Lustig

Maybe watching the ESPN feed of the fight, which featured the commentary and scorecard of He Who Can Do No Wrong, had an impact on my very unofficial scorecard. I thought Catterall was up by 3 potins (77-74) and in control after eight rounds, but he seemed to do less down the stretch and Taylor appeared to come on strong from Rounds 8-12. Was Taylor’s aggression effective? Not very. But Catterall was giving up ground and doing a lot of holding, almost like he was trying to run out the clock after building a legit lead in the first half of the fight. There were rounds I scored for Taylor that could have gone Catterall’s way (Round 4 and 12) and had I scored those rounds for the Englishman he would have taken the bout by the same score I tallied for Taylor, but I still would have seen a close contest. 

 

STRIP JOSH TAYLOR

To whom it may concern,

Further to last night’s horrendous decision in awarding Josh Taylor victory over Jack Catterall.

This is an appeal for Ring Magazine to take a stand as the most independent ranking organisation in world boxing.

Strip Josh Taylor of the Ring Magazine belt, install Jack Catterall as your Champion, and help restore the faith of aspiring boxers worldwide, that their dreams cannot be shattered without any accountability being administered.

Regards. – Phil Jones, Manchester, UK, Fan of Boxing, Fan of Justice

That’s not going to happen, Phil.

I know you’re upset and outraged, as most fans are, especially those from the UK. The British members of the Ring Ratings Panel – Tom Gray, Tris Dixon and Anson Wainwright – are right there with you. But I’m not, and I’m not alone. I’m not the only panel member who scored the bout for Taylor, and other panelists who scored the bout for Catterall believed it was a close contest and not a robbery. You’ll learn who they are and what they had to say about the fight and Taylor’s pound-for-pound ranking in this week’s Ring Ratings Update article. 

 

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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A post shared by Douglass Fischer (@dougiefischer)

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