Dougie’s Monday Mailbag (Spence-Ugas, Spence vs. Crawford, Canelo vs. Bivol, GGG-Murata, Canelo vs. GGG 3)
WHAT A FIGHT!
Waking up at 3 in the morning is not the nicest thing but this fight was great. Errol Spence chose the phonebooth vs. Yordenis Ugas and he got tagged and staggered for it. Terence Crawford can hit much harder than Ugas, so let’s get it on. Can someone please tell me how much Ugas weighed. I desperately need to know. He looked like a middleweight, for Christ Sake. The ref was very poor. There were clear answers I needed from Spence when hurt; those are still up in the air from me.
If Crawford can’t hurt Spence he will be KO’ed and I mean that. Spence reminds me of the G-Man, Gerald McClellan, with less power but with the same intentions. His work rate is immeasurable. RELENTLESS. Doug, I played 4 different national sports and that’s no small feat but his work rate is epic and shocking. TC better be prepared and I mean pre-pared, this guy will do a number on him if he is not fit. The other issue is the 4 rounds that he takes to warm-up; he won’t have that privilege against Spence as he ups his tempo as the fight goes on.
Spence is a rare breed of a black boxer, not too slick but uses his brute force and skillset to beat an opponent into submission. I love it, black boxers tend to get into chess matches a lot instead of just getting into a fight for affliction as I like to call it.
Crawford is no slouch and a switch-hitter with power in both hands. But he can never out jab Spence and I am telling you now, he won’t. Spence’s sparring with Floyd made all the difference as he was out jabbing a much slicker fighter with better reach in Ugas.
Ugas will be pissing blood as he took lots of punishment from the kidneys as well. Crawford can learn from this fight Spence doesn’t like being tagged in the mid-section, he showed it every time he was punched there.
Happy Easter Monday Dougie. – Mbuyi from Cape Town
Thank you for the holiday wishes, Mbuyi. What a treat it is to get an email from a South African brotha. I visited your country in 2000 (most of my time there was spent in the KwaZulu-Natal region) and I’ve wanted to return for years. One of these days.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Ugas is still pissing blood from that punishing fight on Saturday. He’s going to have blurry vision and sore arms and ribs for at least a few weeks. Spence administered an old-school beatdown. I agree that “relentless” is the best way to describe Spence’s mindset and attack against Ugas, but he was also technically sound and precise with his volume punching. He didn’t waste many shots; it seemed as though every punch had a target and purpose (which was DAMAGE). That’s impressive. He had the engine and workrate of celebrated volume punchers like Henry Armstrong, Aaron Pryor and Antonio Margarito, but he kept his form and technique razor sharp. That’s some prime Julio Cesar Chavez s__t right there, my friend, and high praise indeed.
I’m glad he called out Terence Crawford during his post-fight interview, because that’s THE fight that needs to be made at 147 pounds and Bud is the only welterweight that I can envision competing with Spence. If Spence-Crawford can’t be made, Errol may as well abdicate his welterweight belts and go to junior middleweight or middleweight.
If Crawford can’t hurt Spence he will be KO’ed and I mean that. Well, I think Crawford CAN hurt Spence, but if it turns out that he can’t I respectfully disagree with your opinion. I believe he can outbox Spence.
Spence reminds me of the G-Man, Gerald McClellan, with less power but with the same intentions. Same intentions, less one-punch power, but more poise and better skills.
His work rate is immeasurable. RELENTLESS. Doug, I played 4 different national sports and that’s no small feat but his work rate is epic and shocking. I was in awe. I Tweeted that he was doing it like the great Hammerin’ Hank Armstrong and I meant it!
TC better be prepared and I mean pre-pared, this guy will do a number on him if he is not fit. There’s no way that Crawford will be anything but 100% dialed-in in and ready for the fight of his career when these two meet for the undisputed welterweight crown.
The other issue is the 4 rounds that he takes to warm-up; he won’t have that privilege against Spence as he ups his tempo as the fight goes on. That is a concern for Crawford fans and believers; he is a slow starter, but he’s also one of the best at adapting to any style and situation. So far, he’s found an answer for every opponent he’s faced and he’s done nothing but dominate. However, the slow start is one of the reasons everyone should view this as an even-money showdown. It’s conceivable that Spence will take the early lead with his aggression and workrate. However, I think Crawford will be a lot harder to hit than Ugas was, and my guess is that the Omaha native will be more willing and able to counterpunch and return fire than the Cuban was.
Spence is a rare breed of a black boxer, not too slick but uses his brute force and skillset to beat an opponent into submission. I love it, black boxers tend to get into chess matches a lot instead of just getting into a fight for affliction as I like to call it. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with defense and ring savvy, but I’m like you, I’d rather watch a blend of skill, aggression and activity; that’s more like the African-American boxers that I grew up with in the 1980s and ’90s.
Crawford is no slouch and a switch-hitter with power in both hands. He’s also a card-carrying badass who can be slick and elusive when he wants to be. You liken Spence to the G-Man. Well, I think his switch-hitting prowess and mean streak is akin to Marvin Hagler’s, and sometimes he reminds me of a Pernell Whitaker with more size and punching power.
But he can never out jab Spence and I am telling you now, he won’t. Spence’s sparring with Floyd made all the difference as he was out jabbing a much slicker fighter with better reach in Ugas. That remains to be seen. Just because Spence will pump his jab more than Crawford doesn’t mean Bud will be out-jabbed. Let’s see how Crawford’s timing and angles mesh with Spence’s volume.
GOLOVKIN AT 40
Miss the mailbag. Hopefully you bring it back with full force. Wanted to dig deeper into what we saw (April 9) morning from Japan. Most of my hardcore boxing fans were awake and we were enjoying a good coffee with a very good scrap featuring one of the top performers of the last decade and it didn’t disappoint. Yes, we all knew Murata was probably overmatched but we also knew that the ring rust and age of Gennady would make it way more interesting that it should have.
The first few rounds saw Golovkin try to measure his opponent with the use of his stiff jab. It took some time for him to find his footing as Murata stalked him and pressured him. Ryota Murata is a big strong middleweight and you have to be careful which I think G knew. As the fight went on, you could almost see the game plan unfold in front of you: let Murata throw everything at you, hold your ground, counter and slowly he will crumble. And he did. As you said in your tweet, quoting Algieri, you could see Banks influence by the fifth round. Gennady created more distance and slowly chopped down the tree in front of him with hard punches in a very measured way.
He looked like an older version of himself. Measuring his output, choosing his spots and using his craft to overtake the inferior younger opponent. One of the things I love about Golovkin is his subtle moves. A lot of people don’t realize this, but there’s way more to his craft than just being a big puncher. He measures his distance with his jab and knows exactly how many inches there are between him and the edge of his opponent’s punch. He steps forward with a slight movement of his head to avoid counters and that helps him set up his short damaging hooks and uppercuts in ways a lot of people don’t see. It’s truly a wonder to see if you really pay attention.
I think a third matchup with Canelo is compelling and would love to see it even though I can’t favor my guy. He’s lost enough for me to think that this bigger version of Canelo can actually stop him. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the fight turned out to be a replay of the first two. Rivalries bring out the best of fighters, and rubber matches often are the best fights of the trilogy (Ali-Frazier, Vazquez-Marquez come to mind).
Anyways, GGG at this age is vulnerable but he’s still tough to beat. I think he still beats Charlo, Munguia and Andrade but I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them upsets him. I just hope to see him in the ring a little more often, he’s my favorite fighter of this generation and he always delivers.
Thanks Doug and #bringbackthebag. – Juan Valverde
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Juan. I’m more than happy to bring the mailbag back following awesome performances like Chocolatito, GGG and Errol Spence delivered.
I agree that the 40-year-old version of GGG is more vulnerable than he’s ever been, but he’s still the best and most punishing middleweight in the sport. I’d also favor him to beat Jermall Charlo, Demetrius Andrade and Jaime Munguia, but like you, I wouldn’t be shocked if he lost to any of those younger, fresher 160-pound standouts. If the third bout with Canelo can’t be made for whatever reason, I’d love to see what kind of crowd in Texas or L.A. that GGG vs. Charlo or Munguia could attract. But if Canelo beats Bivol, the rubbermatch is what DAZN and the promoters will work very hard to deliver. And hey, I’m into that matchup. Will Canelo be the strong odds/media/fans favorite to prevail? Of course! And the Mexican star will likely be my pick. But I also know that GGG knows how to fight Canelo SO MUCH better than these young beltholders. There’s no doubt in my mind that it will be another classic confrontation.
Most of my hardcore boxing fans were awake and we were enjoying a good coffee with a very good scrap featuring one of the top performers of the last decade and it didn’t disappoint. The fact that so many hardcore fans from around the globe tuned into Golvokin-Murata live, no matter what time it was in their part of the world, let’s you know that GGG was and still is a bona-fide STAR in boxing. The main reason he has a dedicated fan base is that every time he steps into the ring, he gives 100% and delivers action and drama. His haters (who also tuned in) are totally pathetic for trying to detract from his legacy, but I must admit that I enjoyed trolling those sorry suckers via Twitter during the early hours of April 9.
Yes, we all knew Murata was probably overmatched but we also knew that the ring rust and age of Gennady would make it way more interesting that it should have. I favored GGG to win but I also realized that all bets are off when a fighter with his extensive amateur background and professional experience reaches 40. Getting “old overnight” is a real thing in boxing. Golovkin was a feared champion even when he was 35 years old. And it’s not unheard of for some fighters to remain world class, or even elite, when they are in their mid-30 – Ray Robinson, Jersey Joe Walcott, Mike McCallum, James Toney, and Floyd Mayweather Jr. come to mind – but it’s very rare for boxers to still be kicking quality ass by the time they reach their 40s. With his title unifying victory over Murata, GGG is joining a small group of ATGs that includes Bob Fitzsimmons, Archie Moore, Bernard Hopkins and Manny Pacuqiao.
CANELO VS. BIVOL
None of those guys Canelo has fought lately will be anything like Dmitry Bivol. Canelo has an edge in experience and has a great chin (which he proved in the first GGG fight), but I think there’s a geometry to Bivol that Canelo isn’t going to like… now it’s just a question of if Bivol can take a good shot from Canelo. I think so. Joe Smith Jr hits like a truck, and he did get Bivol’s attention, but Bivol likes it and he took it to Smith Jr in the 12thrd… I said this months ago—-A 50/50 fight I’m picking Bivol to win if the cards aren’t already in… if it’s close, it’s going to Canelo… he’s “the face of boxing”, so let’s see what happens—-great fight, props to Canelo for taking it, he’s reaching for greatness, from a country where as sublime a phenom as Salvador Sanchez was (what a fighter), he’s not even no 1, Julio Cesar Chavez is something of a God to the Mexican people–and he should be, he was that damn good. – Daniel
Canelo ain’t half bad, either. He’ll probably never be as beloved as Chavez, but I think he’ll get close because of what he’s already accomplished and what he will achieve before he hangs up his gloves. He may never reach consensus recognition as the greatest Mexican boxer ever, but he’ll be in the argument, he’ll likely be in the top five, which is saying a lot.
The fact that most fans and media are overlooking a talented boxer like Bivol – who is no worse than the No. 2 light heavyweight in the world – tells you how formidable Canelo is and how much they respect him (even though some of the #salty saps among them can’t admit that he’s the pound-for-pound king right now and a future hall of famer).
None of those guys Canelo has fought lately will be anything like Dmitry Bivol. True, but nobody Bivol has faced will prepare him for what Canelo brings to the ring, and that’s saying something because the Korean-Russian has faced and defeated quality opposition, including Jean Pascal, Joe Smith, Sullivan Barrera and Isaac Chilemba.
Canelo has an edge in experience and has a great chin (which he proved in the first GGG fight), but I think there’s a geometry to Bivol that Canelo isn’t going to like… I think you’re right, but I believe that Canelo can deal with it. His “edge” in experience is considerable. I know styles make fights, but at the end of the day we’re talking about a guy with 19 pro bouts vs. a man with 60 pro bouts. Bivol is big, athletic and nimble. He’s got a sensational jab and mean one-two combination, and his hook is pretty good when he lets it go, but he’s got an amateur style and an amateur trainer. Canelo brings dimensions that I don’t see from Bivol, such as smart pressure, counterpunching, and body-head combinations.
… now it’s just a question of if Bivol can take a good shot from Canelo. I think so. Joe Smith Jr hits like a truck, and he did get Bivol’s attention, but Bivol likes it and he took it to Smith Jr in the 12thrd… Yeah, Smith probably hits harder than Canelo but he doesn’t deliver his punches with the Mexican star’s timing and accuracy (and Canelo is going to tap that body).
I said this months ago—-A 50/50 fight I’m picking Bivol to win if the cards aren’t already in… if it’s close, it’s going to Canelo… he’s “the face of boxing”, so let’s see what happens. I think Canelo will win a legit decision, but I know if Bivol wins three or four rounds, there will be a legion of #salty Twitter heads claiming that the Russian was robbed.
Hope you come out of your Mailbag retirement again (as you did after The King did it again).
GGG looked much bigger (muscle wise) as I have seen him before. Is he already bulking up muscle for Canelo 3?
Never seen him in retreat like in rounds 1-4. Ring rust, tactics, the new body?
Same for looking a little flat footed in the beginning.
But after he got rolling it was all the good old GGG. Seemed to be completely revitalized.
People have already started to talk about No. 3. But there is a big roadblock called Bivol. That fight Canelo has to win first. I guess he will pass that block because Bivol does not have the punch to knock him out and Canelo will never lose on points. At least not in Vegas.
Your take? – Matthias, Germany
Anyone who fights Canelo in Vegas needs to bring an Errol Spence mentality into the ring and has to at least try to let his hands go like the Texas Truth, and that ain’t easy when you’re up against a legit badass like Canelo (just ask GGG).
GGG looked much bigger (muscle wise) as I have seen him before. Is he already bulking up muscle for Canelo 3? Yes he is, and I’ve been told by some of those who are close to Golovkin that he’ll welcome fighting at or near the 168-pound limit. They think he’ll be stronger, faster and more resilient (which is saying something) at super middleweight.
Never seen him in retreat like in rounds 1-4. Ring rust, tactics, the new body?
Same for looking a little flat footed in the beginning. I attribute Golovkin’s retreat and uncomfortable/shaky moments in the early rounds to his age, but mostly to Murata’s attack. The Japanese star had a solid opening stanza and he legitimately won Rounds 2 and 3. He’s a big, strong middleweight who had the best training camp of his life for the future hall of famer. GGG knew Murata was going to bring the heat – it was the only chance the 2012 Olympic champ had of winning. So, I think Golovkin wanted to weather the early storm before really letting loose, but it must be noted that he was doing significant damage to Murata even in the rounds he lost.
But after he got rolling it was all the good old GGG. Seemed to be completely revitalized. I thought he “fought himself into shape,” as the old timers used to say, and that he looked good for a 40-year-old veteran. He didn’t remind me of the peak GGG we all witnessed from 2012-2015, but he’s still a consummate professional with an elite jab and the boxing IQ to know when to let his hands go and which punch to get off at the right time and aimed at the right place on his poor opponent’s body. As I Tweeted during and after the fight, GGG reminded me of the mid-1990s version of Julio Cesar Chavez: He’s no longer an unstoppable freight train, but he’s still a punishing handful for any contender or titleholder in his division.
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