Dougie’s Friday mailbag

By Doug Fischer

WHY BUMP CHOCOLATITO FROM HIS THRONE?

How are you doing Dougie,

Holy S**t, I can’t believe you guys just dropped Chocolatito from the top of your pound-for-pound list to No. 4. I mean the guy lost a controversial decision, a fight he should have won and Ring Magazine rubs salt to the injury. What ever happened to his previous “body-of-work?” That is not fair enough, but then life is not always fair.

Looking at your new P4P list, I can’t help but wonder what Guillermo Rigoudeux is still doing on that list having fought semi-bums in his last four fights. Naoya Inuoe has just 12 fights and he is on the list… SMH. No disrespect to the experts on the panel, but I honestly think they should re-evaluate the criteria for the P4P list. Then again, it is The Ring’s list and not mine, everybody is entitled to their list or opinion.

For the record, can I see your personal “updated” P4P list. Surely it can’t be exactly the same as your employers, can it?

Am also curious as to how the big heavyweight showdown between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko will play out in April. Will experience triumph over youth and hunger? What are your thoughts?

Keep up the wonderful work bro and warm regards to the family. – Lanre from Lagos, Nigeria

I know I tend to give underdogs the benefit of the doubt but I really view Joshua-Klitschko as a toss-up fight. I know AJ is a big favorite with fans and media but Wladdy wouldn’t have taken the fight if – in the immortal words of he and his brother’s mentor, the late, great Max Schmeling – didn’t “zee zomething.” Klitschko has sparred with Joshua before and knowing him, he took meticulous mental notes during every minute he shared the ring with the young British star (and while watching AJ spar with other heavyweights in his camp). So, while a lot of fans and boxing people are expecting Joshua to walk right through the inactive 40-year-old former champ, I’m thinking if it goes past five or six rounds, we could see the old lion take the young lion into deep water and drown him.

I’m looking forward to this challenge. I have my goal – to become three-time world champion. My motivation is high as the sky. #obsessed pic.twitter.com/OH7b9fhWxk

— Klitschko (@Klitschko) March 23, 2017

Holy S**t, I can’t believe you guys just dropped Chocolatito from the top of your pound-for-pound list to No. 4. I know. It sucks. It’s been a depressing week for “Chocoholics,” hasn’t it?

I mean the guy lost a controversial decision, a fight he should have won and Ring Magazine rubs salt to the injury. I agree that Gonzalez’s loss to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai was controversial, as do most – but not all – of the members of THE RING’s Ratings Panel, but there was nothing malicious in the decision to drop Chocolatito three spots in the pound-for-pound rankings. Gonzalez has not truly dominated his opposition or exhibited “elite form” since his flyweight title defense against Brian Viloria in October 2015. He struggled more than expected against 16-2 McWilliams Arroyo last April, and against Carlos Cuadras (although nobody in his right mind should have expected him to dominate the 35-0-1 defending 115-pound titleholder in his FIRST fight at junior bantamweight). The common thought is that he isn’t what he was at junior flyweight or flyweight, and if he can’t totally dominate his opposition he doesn’t deserve to be on top of the “mythical rankings.”

Photo by Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/K2 Promotions

And as sad as it is to report this, much of the U.S. boxing media and most of the fans that I had contact with through social media and the mailbag viewed Sor Rungvisai as an undeserving challenger and/or “tune-up” fight for Chocolatito. (I tried to tell faithful mailbag readers and Twitter “experts” that the Thai veteran was a legit contender and a total f__king badass, but nobody listens anymore.) So, I think Sor Rungvisai’s lack of reputation (in the U.S.) also hurt Gonzalez’s pound-for-pound standing. People think Chocolatito shouldn’t have been dropped or struggle at all against the Thai challenger, and you and I can’t tell those folks anything. It is what it is.

What ever happened to his previous “body-of-work?” Good question. Gonzalez’s past accomplishments kept him from dropping into the lower pound-for-pound top 10 (or even off of the list), but “body of work” isn’t a primary criteria for every member of the Ratings Panel and Editorial Board. Some members view current form and domination (the proverbial “eye test”) as more important than past victories. But quality of opposition and body of work obviously count, otherwise Vasyl Lomachenko or Terence Crawford would have ascended to the top of the rankings.

That is not fair enough, but then life is not always fair. Yep, and guess what? Sometimes there is no clear or correct answer or favorite, especially given a subjective ranking list that doesn’t have a set criteria.

Looking at your new P4P list, I can’t help but wonder what Guillermo Rigoudeux is still doing on that list having fought semi-bums in his last four fights. I wonder the same thing, but then I’ve been accused of being a big, fat “hater” by the Cubanophiles and Stinker Worshipers out there in the Boxing Twitterverse and comment section under this column. Ha! So be it!

Naoya Inuoe has just 12 fights and he is on the list… SMH. I’m all good with The Monster being in the last slot of THE RING’s mythical rankings. He’s a two-division titleholder in just 12 bouts, and the cats that he dethroned were no joke. He’s also dominated most of his opposition. If that’s not pound-for-pound-level stuff, we might as well do away with these silly excuses for excessive boxing geekdom and mental masturbation.

No disrespect to the experts on the panel, but I honestly think they should re-evaluate the criteria for the P4P list. Don’t worry, they will. They can obsess over this stuff as much as the hardest core diehard boxing nerd. These rankings will be reviewed and revised ad nauseam every time somebody in the top five fights.

Then again, it is The Ring’s list and not mine, everybody is entitled to their list or opinion. Yup, and everyone has their own Pound-for-Pound King. ESPN.com just agreed upon elevating Gennady Golovkin to their top spot. HBO’s “Fight Game” anointed Lomacheno to No. 1 late last year. BoxRec.com has Canelo Alvarez at numero uno (for some reason… I guess they’re just a bunch of Golden Boy shills, right?). Transnational Boxing Rankings agrees with RING and has the 30-0 unified light heavyweight titleholder at No. 1.

For the record, can I see your personal “updated” P4P list. Surely it can’t be exactly the same as your employers, can it? It probably ain’t like anybody’s list. LOL. And if it were THE RING’s official top 10, we’d be getting just as much disagreement from fans as we are now. That’s just the nature of the beast.

1. Gonzalez (as far as I’m concerned the only four-division titleholder on this list should be 47-0 and still hold a 115-pound belt)

2. Kovalev (I thought he clearly outpointed Andre Ward last November)

3. Golovkin (outboxing the consensus No. 2-rated middleweight doesn’t diminish the 160-pound king’s divisional dominance or his skills/ring generalship in my view)

4. Lomachenko (the two-division titleholder appears to be at or near his physical prime and a near perfect mix of skill, technique and athleticism)

5. Crawford (ditto)

6. Ward (I don’t think he should be a two-division titleholder but he was a dominant super middleweight champ and he was competitive with Kovalev, so not too shabby)

7. Inoue (Japanese wunderkind won two titles in two weight classes – leapfrogging a division – in just two years and eight bouts; and he’s at the top of the competitive 115-pound division)

8. Yamanaka (long-reigning bantamweight champ remains unbeaten after 12 title defenses, including two stern challenges from the marvelously skilled and battle-tested Anselmo Moreno)

9. Pacquiao (the faded future hall of famer ain’t what he used to be but remains a top welterweight contender)

10. Alvarez (the star two-division champ isn’t the most naturally gifted or dominant fighter but his 50-bout resume includes three future hall of famers among 11 – soon to be 12 – titleholders)

CONLAN COMETH

Dia Duit, Dougie! (That’s hello in Irish)!

Recently started reading your mailbag a few months ago (I live for it on Monday and Friday in work now) and decided I’d give it a crack with a couple of questions in the hope this e-mail goes directly from the fighting Irish city of Belfast to your mailbag!

I’m sure you can guess it’s pretty good being a fight fan from Ireland with the array of talent we’ve had through the years, not to mention how good Carl Frampton has been for a community that has been somewhat divided in the past. The man oozes class!! Quick question on him, have you heard any rumblings from your side of the pond of possible LSC part 3? It doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen from what we are hearing here. Lee Selby seems likely next? Your thoughts?

I was absolutely buzzing for the Michael Conlan debut and just wanted to know if you caught it while you were in NYC that weekend? If so, what did you think of our highly successful amateurs 1st bout and how good to you think Michael can be?

Also, headlining MSG for your 1st fight is HUGE in my eyes for a kid from Belfast! Can you think of anyone previously who has had so much hype in their debut and fought in such a prestigious place as top dog on the card?

Finally, just a quick one, who would be your 3 favourite/best Irish fighters of all time? Mine would have to be Carl Frampton (because the man is a hero!), Bernard Dunne (loved to watch the guy fight) and finally, Katie Taylor (followed her through her amateur career and it’s great to see her represent this country at any level).

I hope this reaches you and the family in good health, Doug!

Go raibh mile maith agat (That’s Irish for thanks a million) for reading! – Christopher

Thanks Chris. My three favorite Irish fighters are former bantamweight titleholder Wayne McCullough, former featherweight champ and hall of famer Barry McGuigan and former middleweight and super middleweight beltholder Steve Collins. Everybody’s crapping on Jason Quigley for going 10 rounds with Glen Tapia last night, but I won’t be surprised if “El Animal” eventually works his way into my top three. The top three Irish boxers of all time (in my opinion) are 1930s welterweight champ Jimmy McLarnin, Jack Dempsey (the middleweight standout of the late 1800s, not the heavyweight champ of the 1920s), and late 1800s heavyweight contender “Sailor” Tom Sharkey.

I’m sure you can guess it’s pretty good being a fight fan from Ireland with the array of talent we’ve had through the years, not to mention how good Carl Frampton has been for a community that has been somewhat divided in the past. Irish boxing is doing well and looks to have a strong future with Frampton (who is indeed a classy badass) and Conlan commanding headlines on both sides of the pond, and Taylor with the potential to do so. (And this is BEFORE Conor McGregor takes over boxing! Wow!)

Quick question on him, have you heard any rumblings from your side of the pond of possible LSC part 3? Nope, and Frampy might as well look into other options if it isn’t going to take place in Belfast. That would be total garbage if all three fights with Santa Cruz took place in the U.S.

It doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen from what we are hearing here. Lee Selby seems likely next? Your thoughts? I’m good with that Wales-vs.-Ireland matchup. It’s an opportunity for Frampy to win a major featherweight belt and it would likely be a competitive and entertaining fight. I favor The Jackal by decision.

I was absolutely buzzing for the Michael Conlan debut and just wanted to know if you caught it while you were in NYC that weekend? No, I had to sit that one out even though I was in town. The combination of Jimmy’s Corner and grinding out last week’s Friday mailbag was a little too much for me, so I took it easy on the eve of the Big (and Little) Drama Show. But it

Photo / Mikey Williams-Top Rank

looked like an extremely live environment and a tremendous start for a potential star (or, at the very least, a bona-fide attraction). I’m going to make sure to be ringside for his second pro bout (penciled in for the April 22 show headlined by his stablemate Oscar Valdez at StubHub Center in Carson, California), and I hope to check him out at The Rock Gym prior to that Top Rank PPV card.

If so, what did you think of our highly successful amateurs 1st bout and how good to you think Michael can be? I thought he looked a little tight to be honest, but that’s to be expected given the stage and magnitude of his pro debut. I expect him to be more relaxed and fluid in subsequent fights. I know Top Rank intends to keep him busy and move him fast (they kind of have to, Michael is already 25). We’ll see where he’s at in about year. I don’t know if he’s going to be a world titleholder one day (he’s in a deep and competitive division) but I know he’s going to sell tickets in Belfast and NYC (and Bob Arum is going to be sure to put him on big cards in Las Vegas and in the L.A. area).

Also, headlining MSG for your 1st fight is HUGE in my eyes for a kid from Belfast! Can you think of anyone previously who has had so much hype in their debut and fought in such a prestigious place as top dog on the card? No, not really. That was the kind of debut usually reserved for an Olympic gold medalist, but it involved the right boxer with the right promoter in the right place at the right time.

POUND-FOR-POUND THEFT

Mr. Fischer,

I know you are not too much into the p4p lists. Still how can the top spot be based on two robberies? Ward’s win and Gonzalez’s loss both seemed to be robberies. On the other hand, GGG didn’t knock Jacobs out but here the number one beat the number two square and fare. Doesn’t that count? What is your list? – Matthias

I gave my top 10 list in the first email of his mailbag column and it holds as much weight as the pound-for-pound rankings of any other publication or boxing writer or boxing fan, which is ZILCH.

To me (and to you, obviously) it sucks that Ward assumed THE RING’s No. 1 pound-for-pound spot with a combination of winning in controversial fashion and the previous top dog losing in controversial fashion, but those who believe that he legitimately beat Kovalev and that Sor Rungvisai deserved to outpoint Gonzalez (or were never convinced that Chocolatito was the best boxer on the planet) are very satisfied that the undefeated American is now recognized as the pound-for-pound king by the Bible of Boxing.

For the record, I didn’t fight against Ward being elevated to the top spot. I made it clear that I didn’t like it but I could understand the reasoning behind it. I understand that Gonzalez is not an unstoppable force at 115 pounds (and that his body of work and performance against Sor Rungvisai is not enough to keep him in the top spot in the opinions in the view of others). And I wasn’t comfortable with leapfrogging Lomachenko to the top spot. The Ukrainian uber-talent is an athletic/technical marvel but, in my opinion, he hasn’t faced and beaten enough badasses to be considered the absolute best in the sport. However, if your main pound-for-pound criteria is how awesome a boxer looks in the moment (like HBO’s “Fight Game” show), then I can’t be mad atcha for making Loma the king.

And I’m not mad at anyone who has GGG in the top spot, either. He hasn’t won any super fights or beaten any fellow pound-for-pounders but he’s arguably the most dominant champion in boxing right now.

THOUGHTS ON GGG VS JACOBS

Hey Doug!

I’ve been a longtime reader, and have decided to write in for my first time here on my take from the Gennady Golovkin vs Daniel Jacobs fight.

First off; with Gennady Golovkin being the super champion with three belts, a brand name fighter, with huge future plans, I think it was an insane mistake by team GGG to allow Jacobs that much time to re-hydrate (possibly because they weren’t prepared for Team Jacobs’ move). It created a huge advantage for Jacobs as we witnessed a large super middleweight fighting a regular sized middleweight. Team Jacobs definitely won the negotiations overall and found that loop hole by skipping the IBF weigh in. What would be more remembered? He had three belts instead of two, or dethroning one of the baddest middleweights of all time in a huge upset? Winning the fight was 1 million percent more important than having one extra belt. They played that perfect and team Triple G put his record at huge risk by allowing that to happen. If his goal is get all the MW belts and being MW champion, then all the fights should be fought at MW until he moves up. Those extra hours of re-hydration that Jacobs got made a huge difference in the play out of the overall fight. What are your thoughts on the weight situation here?

As for the fight, I think Gennady fought his C-level fight overall, a flat performance. Once again, I think the weight factored into that and overall PRESSURE. Having this knockout streak active brings way more pressure to get the best result possible in this fight, a knockout. With the size advantage and a great performance Daniel Jacobs brought, a knockout wasn’t in the cards. At a lot of points GGG just wasn’t executing the best strategy possible. Particularly in the rounds after he hurt Jacobs he was looking for one big shot, and getting out boxed those rounds. Now that the knockout streak is gone, Golovkin becomes a better fighter. In a similar situation where a knockout isn’t there, he could be looking to dominate more of the rounds by boxing more instead of looking for a KO.

As for Jacobs, I thought him and his team had a beautiful plan. It’s clearly extremely difficult to hurt Gennady Golovkin and if you try to do so, you’re most likely going to get KTFO while opening up. To try to outbox him and keep moving 12 rounds was a great plan. The fact that GGG wants a knockout made this strategy even more effective. Outbox GGG and when he does hurt you in the fight you can take the punishment because of the 15 pound weight advantage. A great plan. I think Jacobs deserves tremendous praise for his performance tonight. He came close. I look forward to seeing him fight again.

And as for anyone who’s take from tonight was Golovkin is a “hype job”, was “exposed”, is “overrated”, they’re what we like to call morons. Bottom line is we saw not GGG’s great performance against another world class boxer and #2 in the division; who was larger, extremely prepared, and put up a great performance. AND GGG STILL WON. I do worry that Gennady might be passed his absolute top prime physically, but that’s yet to be seen. Without getting into GGG’s future, I will say I am expecting Gennady’s next few performances to be much better than tonight’s against whoever his opponent might be. I think Canelo vs GGG, and Kovalev vs Ward 2 are the best two fights to be made in boxing right now. With there clearly being some bad blood in the Triple G vs superstar Canelo fight, that fight gets me how they say in Kazakhstan, VERY EXCITE!

Overall, it’s a great night of boxing. Both main events were simply great fights. Exactly what boxing fans dream of. Chocolatito vs. Sor Rungvisai was fight of the year, followed by a nail biting, down to the final minute middleweight title fight where we could have gotten any decision and not be SHOCKED. I love BOXEO. Love the mail column. Keep up the great work. I’m out! – Jay

Thanks for sharing your many thoughts, Jay.

My thoughts on the weight situation are that it wasn’t that big of a deal. For starters, it should be noted that MOST of Golovkin’s opponents outweigh him on fight night. Regarding the early weigh-in time, that had nothing to do with Team Jacobs. K2 Promotions and the New York commission didn’t want the GGG-Jacobs weigh-in to conflict with the set-up for the Michael Conlan-headlined card that was to take place in The Theater of Madison Square Garden (site of the weigh-in) that night. Team Golovkin had no control over Team Jacobs’ decision not to take part in the IBF’s second/same-day weigh-in. If Jacobs didn’t want to fight for the IBF title, that’s his prerogative. What’s Golovkin going to do about it, refuse to fight him the day of the event? Come on! Yeah, it’s a loophole for large middleweight to exploit when fighting GGG because they know he wants to hold onto the IBF belt (along with all his other titles), and if Tom Loeffler and Golovkin’s managers feel it puts their client at an extreme disadvantage going forward they may add some contractual stipulations that limit how much weight future opponents can put on. However, they won’t be able to do that with a bigger star, such as Canelo, and may not even be able to do that with Billy Joe Saunders because the WBO beltholder knows that Golovkin desperately wants that fourth and final major 160-pound belt.

It’s just a hunch, but I don’t think Golovkin gives a rat’s ass how much weight his opponents put on after the weigh-in. He knows that he can more than hold his own with heavier opponents.

The bottom line is that Jacobs weighed in under 160 pounds at the official weigh-in. He made the middleweight limit when he was supposed to. Did the extra weight help him during the fight? Probably, but not as much as his excellent preparation and game plan.

The only problem I have with his putting on a lot of weight is the double standard I see with some fans and media that loudly cry foul with certain fighters who put on a lot of weight after weigh-ins (such as Canelo, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., David Lemieux, etc.) but are strangely silent when other fighters do the same thing (Jacobs, Tim Bradley, Terence Crawford, Yuriorkis Gamboa, etc.). What’s up with that?

I think Gennady fought his C-level fight overall, a flat performance. I disagree. GGG gets tagged with a lot of punches when puts forth is C-level fight (or in his words “street fight”). His defense and his jab were on point vs. Jacobs. It wasn’t his best offensive effort but he had to respect the skill, speed, power and size of Jacobs.

I think the weight factored into that and overall PRESSURE. Having this knockout streak active brings way more pressure to get the best result possible in this fight, a knockout. Well, if that’s true, GGG can rest easy. The streak has ended at 23 victims.

At a lot of points GGG just wasn’t executing the best strategy possible. I thought he boxed well, he just didn’t fight with a sense of urgency. Maybe Golovkin knew he was in control of the fight or perhaps Jacobs wouldn’t allow him to shift gears and overwhelm him.

Particularly in the rounds after he hurt Jacobs he was looking for one big shot, and getting out boxed those rounds. I agree that he was looking to land single power shots, but I disagree that he was getting out-boxed by Jacobs.

Now that the knockout streak is gone, Golovkin becomes a better fighter. We will see. I don’t think it hurts him to have finally gone 12 rounds.

As for Jacobs, I thought him and his team had a beautiful plan. Indeed. It was almost enough to outpoint Golovkin.

It’s clearly extremely difficult to hurt Gennady Golovkin and if you try to do so, you’re most likely going to get KTFO while opening up. You don’t have to be Ray Arcel or Eddie Futch to know that.

To try to outbox him and keep moving 12 rounds was a great plan. Well, it kept him upright and in the fight for 12 rounds. That’s nothing to scoff at.

I think Jacobs deserves tremendous praise for his performance tonight. He came close. I look forward to seeing him fight again. Me too, hopefully this year.

And as for anyone who’s take from tonight was Golovkin is a “hype job”, was “exposed”, is “overrated”, they’re what we like to call morons. That’s being nice.

I do worry that Gennady might be passed his absolute top prime physically, but that’s yet to be seen. I don’t know if he’s totally past his prime, but he’s probably no longer at his physical peak. He’ll continue to kick ass this year and next but his age and experience will eventually catch up with him.

Without getting into GGG’s future, I will say I am expecting Gennady’s next few performances to be much better than tonight’s against whoever his opponent might be. Time will tell. It’s hard to imagine Saunders and Canelo presenting the kind of problems Jacobs did on March 18, but maybe they’ll find other ways to challenge him.

Email Fischer at dougie@boxingmailbag.com. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer

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