Dougie’s Friday mailbag

By Doug Fischer

EARLY PREDICTION FOR BROOK-SPENCE

Happy Friday Doug,

Moving up in weight and then moving back down to fight a young speedster like Errol Spence Jr. seems like a recipe for disaster. It does not help matters that Kell Brook moved up and got his face broken by GGG. I hope I am wrong but I see Brook getting outquicked all night in a fairly one-sided fight.

Hope I am wrong! – Dylan

We’ll find out next Saturday, Dylan. All I know is that this IBF welterweight title bout in Sheffield, England is a big deal within the boxing world. Fans were buzzing about it before and after the Joshua-Klitschko and Canelo-Chavez Jr. mega-events and it continues to occupy their minds one week away even though there’s no shortage of interesting matchups – Crawford-Diaz, Davis-Walsh, Russell-Escandon, Dirrell-Uzcategui, Hernandez-Higa, Lopez-Shiro, Murata-Ndam, Tanaka-Acosta, Inoue-Rodriguez, Yaegashi-Melindo and Benavidez-Medina – happening this weekend.

Oh well, I get it. Spence is viewed as the Heir Apparent – not just of the welterweight division, but in terms of the mythical pound-for-pound rankings – by fans on both sides of the pond, and Brook (who is unbeaten at 147 pounds) is an experienced, formidable talent who has some questions marks hovering around him going into the May 27 showdown. Has he fully recovered from the severe facial injuries he suffered against Gennady Golovkin? How will rising to 160 pounds and then dropping back down to 147 (where he admits he’s struggled to make weight) affect him?

Fair questions for the defending beltholder. However, I think Spence has a few questions floating around his head, primarily:

What’s going to happen when he gets hit by somebody who can punch?

The best boxers on Spence’s pro resume – Chris Algieri, Leonard Bundu and Chris Van Heerden – aren’t known for their punching power. Brook isn’t Thomas Hearns but he can crack. And as technically sound as Spence is, he’s not Pernell Whitaker in terms of slickness and defense.

Anyway, I think we’re in for a treat with Brook-Spence.

FANBOY-UERISM

Hi Dougie,

In a moment of weakness I joined a boxing page on Facebook. Within minutes, it was obvious it was rampant with newbies. Within hours, I was frustrated by the sheer fanboyeurism of it all. Within a week, I left the group.

Some of the boulders that crushed the camel’s back …

“What would have happened if Mayweather v Ortiz wasn’t stopped?”

“Chavez Sr. was protected at 87-0 … Mayweather would KTFO Chavez at 130 and 135.”

“Canelo is in Top Three Latino Fighters Ever”

Where do you find the strength to deal with the delusional? I imagine I experience a sliver of what you see hourly. I’ve respected your work since HOB days, but now I’m willing to canonize you for your saintly patience with the ignorant.

Also, do you have any recommendations on any boxing fan site that has minimal stupidity? I know it’s impossible to eliminate fully. Despite some of the dumbest comments that nearly made my eyes bleed, I did enjoy being part of a boxing community online.

As always, thank you for the great work. Cheers – Dennis L.

Thanks for the kind words, Dennis.

I’m the wrong person to ask about online boxing communities. I get more than enough discourse and feedback from fellow fans with my mailbag column (which is 16 years old, by the way), and these days with social media (mainly Twitter) it’s almost too much, so I haven’t had a reason or real need seek out and join a message board/forum-type community.

If you don’t have a Twitter account, you might want to give it try. It doesn’t take long to turn your timeline into a 24-hour boxing community/news wire. All you have to do follow all of your favorite boxers, trainers, and media members, plus the major promoters, and, of course, your fellow boxing fans. I enjoy being on my Twitter TL when watching a really good or dramatic scrap (such as the Joshua-Klitschko fight) on TV.

But if you’re a bit “old fashioned” and you want something more like the Facebook experience (but without all the dips__ts) maybe you should check out Reddit.com’s boxing forum, or the forums connected to BoxingScene.com and East Side Boxing/Boxing247.com. I’m pretty sure those forums are home to many longtime hardcore fans with a lot of love and knowledge for the sport. I can also guarantee those sites will harbor their share of insufferable cretins, thugs, racists, misogynists, xenophobes and mopes.

Where do you find the strength to deal with the delusional? I try to be patient with new or young fans that speak or post without much thought, perspective or insight (and I try to be as educational as I can to those newbies that really want to learn), but I don’t have much “strength” in resisting the call to battle with belligerent a__holes that should know better. I still get into it with them from time to time on Twitter and in the Disqus comment section (that’s another forum you might try joining) below this column, and it can get mean and nasty. I’m not as bad as I used to be (I turn 47 on Saturday, so I guess age – and perhaps fatherhood – has mellowed me out a bit). My mailbag “beefs” with rude fans from 10-12 years ago used to rage on for weeks (mostly off-column and in private where macho threats of violence was batted back and forth). I’m not proud of those days or that kind of prolonged juvenile reaction, and even back then I was a little embarrassed by it after the adrenaline rush from my raging wore off, which is why I generally stayed off of MaxBoxing’s message boards and other popular forums of that time.

Anyway, I know I’m not the Yoda-like boxing Jedi you make me out to be, but I’m trying to be better about how I interact with other fans in forums and social media. I think that’s all any of us can do.

IT’S COMING!

Hey Dougie!!!!!!!

I’m like a couple weeks late to the party but it’s ON!!!! I’ve been salivating for this fight man, GGG-Canelo’s gonna blow the roof off everything else this year! Even if the fight doesn’t, the damn parties are gonna be epic!

And what’s with these whiners on social media calling that announcement they did after the Chavez fight cheesy? Come on man, that s__t gave me goosebumps, I loved it! That’s what we’re missing right now, some showmanship. Do it with style, I say. Remember Naz? That dude knew how to make an entrance, none of these tired old press conferences and bouncing in with a robe. Gimme a flying carpet any day! Canelo totally schooled GGG with that trash talk though. “Luck is for the mediocre, my friend” Ooooh what a quote! That said I think GGG is gonna decapitate him.

Dougie, how do you see Spence-Brooke? I can’t for the life of me see the winner in that fight, for some reason.

And when is Terrence Crawford gonna get his breakthrough fight? I think he’s probably already the best boxer in the world, but his opponents are getting kinda meh…

Anyway, thanks for all your hard work Dougie. It’s great to be a boxing fan again, isn’t it? Peace. – Abs

It is indeed, Abs. The schedule, so far, for 2017 has been exceptional and the summer and fall line-up continues to get better and better. We’ve had a few duds here and there (Thurman-Garcia, Canelo-Chavez) but most of the high-profile matchups have delivered compelling action/performances.

It says a lot about Crawford’s ability and potential that most fans completely pooh-pooh tomorrow’s fight against Felix Diaz – an awkwardly athletic southpaw and 2008 Olympic gold medalist whose only loss is a disputed majority decision against Lamont Peterson. I think it will be interesting to see how Bud figures out the Dominican’s unorthodox style, but I agree that there are bigger fights out there for THE RING/WBC/WBO junior welterweight champ.

I know most fans want to see Crawford step up in weight and challenge the best welterweights in the game, and I want to see this too, but I think IBF-WBA junior welterweight titleholder Julius Indongo is a worthy challenger at 140 pounds (and I think winning all of the major belts to become the undisputed champ is a worthy goal for the Nebraskan).

Sadly, at 147 pounds there’s a political divide between Crawford’s promotional company (Top Rank) and the PBC, which is home to most of the top welterweight talent, including Thurman, Spence, Porter, Garcia, Khan, Broner and Peterson. However, Top Rank is home to future hall of famer Manny Pacquiao, Tim Bradley and Jessie Vargas; and if Brook beats Spence on May 27 the Englishman would make for a fascinating target for Crawford.

Speaking of Brook-Spence, I see an even matchup and, like you, have a hard time picking a clear favorite.

I’ve been salivating for this fight man, GGG-Canelo’s gonna blow the roof off everything else this year! As I stated in a previous mailbag, the only matchup that could come close to equaling the worldwide anticipation of Canelo-Golovkin is Anthony Joshua-Deontay Wilder.

Even if the fight doesn’t, the damn parties are gonna be epic! No doubt about it, but there’s no f__king way the fight won’t deliver.

And what’s with these whiners on social media calling that announcement they did after the Chavez fight cheesy? Mopers are gonna mope. Let’s just continue to give them s__t for their habitually cloudy disposition.

Come on man, that s__t gave me goosebumps, I loved it! I was more excited by the actual announcement of the fight than the WWE-style of it all immediately following Canelo-Chavez Jr. (in fact, I felt kind of sorry for Golovkin because he didn’t seem that into the theatrics), but I had no problem with it. Canelo-GGG is a big deal. The promoters should give it the lavish launch pad and attention it deserves.

That’s what we’re missing right now, some showmanship. Do it with style, I say. Nothing wrong with some showmanship and style, it certainly didn’t hurt the careers of Sugar Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Hector Camacho Sr., Chris Eubank Sr., or Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Remember Naz? Oh hell yeah, he belongs in that “showmanship and style” group I just mentioned. The Prince was a lot of fun, and definitely good for the sport (in the U.K. and the U.S.) from 1995 to 2001.

That dude knew how to make an entrance, none of these tired old press conferences and bouncing in with a robe. Gimme a flying carpet any day! His ring entrances were fun when they didn’t last too long, but what really made Hamed special and must-see TV was his bizarre-but-effective boxer-puncher style, which usually resulted in a chilling KO, and the fact that he was often in with top featherweight opposition. His victories against the likes of Kevin Kelley, Wilfred Vazquez, Wayne McCullough, Manuel Medina, Vuyani Bungu, Cesar Soto, Tom Johnson and Steve Robinson – all current or former world titleholders – is nothing to scoff at.

Canelo totally schooled GGG with that trash talk though. “Luck is for the mediocre, my friend” Ooooh what a quote! OK, calm down, it wasn’t all that. It was just a clever comeback. We’ll see if he can counter GGG as well on fight night.

That said I think GGG is gonna decapitate him. I think the fight goes the distance.

BOOK RECOMMENDATION

Hello. I am hoping you could point me in the right direction. Boxing is far and away my favorite sport. The backstory of each fighter is often as intriguing as the action within the ring.

The vignettes that HBO used to do (in years prior to the docu-series 24/7) before the fights were captivating. For instance – the Colombian born fighter Edison Miranda had a backstory that he was abandoned at age 3 on the streets of his village and learned to find food, including roadkill.

These stories – the hardships, the unorthodox training techniques, the extreme characters – draw me in closer. I am wondering if you know of any book that captures these stories and tells this type of background information on the fights and fighters. – Lou Rizzo

Most (but not all) professional boxers – especially those from poor or developing parts of the world – had very hard upbringings. Pick any autobiography or authorized biography – from Jack Johnson to Jack Dempsey to Joe Louis to Archie Moore to Ray Robinson to Joe Frazier to Aaron Pryor to Mike Tyson – and you’re going to learn about the poverty and hardships of their youth.

TOUGH UPBRINGINGS

Hi Doug,

First let me say that I was upset about having to subscribe to the Ring online. I probably wouldn’t have but my Mondays and Fridays would have sucked because I wouldn’t be able to read your mailbag! You should be getting a percentage of all those subscriptions, Dougie!

Anyway, in a recent mailbag you were asked about fighters who grew up with money. I know far more fighters have come from poor backgrounds. One story that always seems crazy to me is the story about Matthew Saad Muhammad being abandoned in a city park as a 5-year old by his brother because his Aunt could no longer afford to take care of both boys. Then he was raised in an orphanage or something like that.

What other crazy stories have you heard about fighters’ upbringings? Any that stick out in your mind?

Thanks, and keep up the great work. – Karl

Man, you guys are really into heart-breaking hardship, huh? How about former lightweight title challenger Fernando Angulo (he dropped a decision to then-WBA beltholder Juan Diaz in 2006). The tough-as-nails Ecuadorian ran away from an abusive home at age 7 and survived in the streets of his poor town, which bordered the rainforest, by begging for food and clothing or depending on the kindness of others to take him in for periods of time. When he was 11 he ventured into the rainforest and lived there for two years completely on his own, subsisting on plants, bugs, worms and snakes (he said he stayed away from the frogs, though – maybe he had a bad trip after eating one). Thankfully, he found boxing at age 16.

Angulo fought the 12-round distance against a prospect in his seventh pro bout and faced top lightweight and junior welterweights around the world from 2002 until he was stopped by Amir Imam in 2015. Apart from the Imam fight, he gave everyone he fought a hellish time. Like Saad Muhammad, who was inhumanly tough and is rightfully enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame, I have no doubt that Angulo’s incredibly hard childhood helped to forge the resilient and fearless prize fighter he became.

First let me say that I was upset about having to subscribe to the Ring online. Really? It’s just $2 a month for unlimited access to our fine articles and original features that include “New Faces,” “Best I Faced,” and, of course, the column you’re reading now. You do realize that we pay our writers, right? That money’s gotta come from somewhere… and, just so you know, there will be new ongoing original features (video, audio and print) that come with the other subscription packages.

I probably wouldn’t have but my Mondays and Fridays would have sucked because I wouldn’t be able to read your mailbag! True. Who’s always there for ya? THIS GUY!

You should be getting a percentage of all those subscriptions, Dougie! If you say so, but I’m good with continuing to get paid to cover the sport I love and to provide this column with fans who are just as passionate about boxing as I am.

2017

2017 is already the year we wanted for 2015 & 2016. It’s about damn time. – Ceylon Enjoy it in the moment, Ceylon. My hunch is that the good times will last through 2018, but ya never know with boxing.

FALLEN WARRIORS

Thanks for printing my letter the other day – hope the negativity of ‘mopey’ fans like myself doesn’t get you down too much. Sometimes it’s just fun to bitch and moan after a crappy fight, but really, there have been so many good ones already this year that I personally don’t mind a clunker here and there. Hell, I’m still stoked on Joshua-Klitschko.

On another note, any chance The Ring might cover some of the fallen warriors of the sport? It would be interesting to read about guys like Emanuel Augustus, Mago, the Punisher, etc. I hate to think that these guys might have been forgotten by fans, when they once gave everything they had. I’m also surprised that guys like Gatti or Corrales haven’t had movies made about them; their lives seem almost stranger than fiction. Thanks. – Jay Vanian

I think it’s only a matter of time before we see major motion pictures based on the lives and careers of Arturo Gatti and Diego Corrales.

Regarding the “Fallen Warriors,” such as Paul Williams, I think it’s a grand idea for an ongoing feature (both print and video) and it’s the kind of original programming we’re currently planning to produce for RingTV readers/viewers/subscribers, so thanks for the inspiration.

I don’t think fan favorites like Williams or Augustus have been forgotten but, who knows? Maybe the fighters think they’ve been forgotten and we can’t have that. It would be great if some of the features could help to raise money for the fighters that are in need.

Hope the negativity of ‘mopey’ fans like myself doesn’t get you down too much. Nah, mopes don’t really get me down. They piss me off from time to time but I mostly feel sorry for them.

Sometimes it’s just fun to bitch and moan after a crappy fight, but really, there have been so many good ones already this year that I personally don’t mind a clunker here and there. They can’t all be Fight of the Year candidates. All we can ask for is the top talent and big names to roll the dice by facing each other – if the majority of their fights are entertaining, we’ve got it good. I think the majority of marquee matchups have been good this year. Anyone who doesn’t acknowledge this is probably clinically depressed and I hope they get the psychiatric help they need.

U.K. HEAVYWEIGHT SCENE

Hey Dougie,

Some thoughts and queries re heavyweight scene – apologies for the length – please feel free to shorten to make the cut if required!

I have just listened to Tyson Fury’s interview with Steve Bunce this week – I am not sure whether you know Steve but by far my 2 preferred regular doses of boxing journalism are (1) what you write and (2) what Steve says. Basically, Fury sees himself v AJ as “the Boxer v the Bodybuilder” and he would “play with Joshua” – he says he would be “very disappointed if AJ laid a glove on him”, never mind knock him out.

I am a Fury fan and really hope he gets back to 18 stone as he says. Following the AJ / Wlad fight I looked again at the Fury /Wlad fight. I think the Fury performance v Wlad was much more impressive than AJ’s – and Fury was actually younger at the time than AJ is now. I also think the home fighter basis on the judges’ scorecards was prevalent in both fights – Fury actually dominated Wlad far more than the judges scores it, and Wlad should have been well ahead on points v AJ before the 11th.

Whatever Fury says I firmly believe in one thing – I cannot see AJ ever beating Fury on points. AJ will have to knock Fury out to win. I would favour an 18 stone Fury in the fight currently. Although not at the same level, I think it could resemble Foreman v Ali in both the shape and outcome – Fury making AJ punch himself out. What do you think?

I note that Fury is still The Ring champ, and of course he is the Lineal champ. If a bloated Fury gets beat in a warm-up fight does his victor automatically become The Ring and Lineal champ? Being heavyweight, Fury can’t exactly put some weights in his pocket to make it a “non-title” fight – I seemed to remember reading in the excellent George Kimball book “Four Kings” that a principle of boxing was that if a champion goes into the ring with anyone, and both at the correct weight, that all titles are automatically at risk.

Finally, Tony Bellew. I like him and he is intelligent for a boxer which is why he will never get in to a ring with AJ or The Gypsy King, as he will be the 1st to tell you!

What do you think of this scenario? I actually see Bellew possibly getting 2 more big pay days in heavyweight contests at Goodison Park. He could beat Parker late 2017 with an industrious stoppage in 2nd half of the fight, before getting knocked into a rich retirement in heroic defeat by Wilder in early 2018. That would allow Wilder to bring 2 bets to a unification fight with AJ or Tyson Fury in late 2018 at another Wembley sell-out.

All the best from the UK!! Kind regards. – Darren Naylor

I’m a Bellew fan as well. I think he’s got at least one more big payday ahead of him before he hangs up the gloves. It could be against WBO heavyweight beltholder Joseph Parker but I think the New Zealand star would be a tougher fight for The Bomber than the semi-retired David Haye and I don’t see Bellew beating Parker by stoppage.

Honestly, as formidable a puncher Deontay Wilder is, I think he’s more vulnerable to Bellew’s craftiness than Parker is.

I have just listened to Tyson Fury’s interview with Steve Bunce this week – I am not sure whether you know Steve but by far my 2 preferred regular doses of boxing journalism are (1) what you write and (2) what Steve says. Thanks for the kind words. I know who Bunce is. I also know that he can’t stand me. It’s all good, though…

Basically, Fury sees himself v AJ as “the Boxer v the Bodybuilder” and he would “play with Joshua” – he says he would be “very disappointed if AJ laid a glove on him”, never mind knock him out. I don’t doubt Fury at all. At his best (mentally and physically), I think he gives any heavyweight on the planet fits, including Joshua.

Following the AJ / Wlad fight I looked again at the Fury /Wlad fight. I think the Fury performance v Wlad was much more impressive than AJ’s – and Fury was actually younger at the time than AJ is now. I was more impressed with Joshua’s performance. Yeah, Fury took less punishment, but he also took less chances. Fury fought a neutralizing boxing match, AJ fought a seek-and-destroy fight. I prefer the latter.

I also think the home fighter basis on the judges’ scorecards was prevalent in both fights – Fury actually dominated Wlad far more than the judges scores it, and Wlad should have been well ahead on points v AJ before the 11th. I was OK with the official scoring at the time of the Joshua-Klitschko stoppage.

Whatever Fury says I firmly believe in one thing – I cannot see AJ ever beating Fury on points. I can, but it would be a year or two down the line.

AJ will have to knock Fury out to win. I would favour an 18 stone Fury in the fight currently. Me too, but that’s a big fat “if” (excuse the pun) for the time being.

Although not at the same level, I think it could resemble Foreman v Ali in both the shape and outcome – Fury making AJ punch himself out. What do you think? I can see that happening, but I think a distance fight is a more likely scenario.

I note that Fury is still The Ring champ, and of course he is the Lineal champ. Yes, at least until the end of this month, in which time Fury might be stripped of THE RING title. He’ll still be lineal champ, though, at least until Joshua or someone else can collect all the sanctioning organization belts.

If a bloated Fury gets beat in a warm-up fight does his victor automatically become The Ring and Lineal champ? Yes.

PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS

Hola Doug –

First time writer to the hallowed mailbag but been reading for too long.

Will keep it relatively short-ish and sweet re Saul-Gol September but very happy.

  1. Both guys will give each other more than enough to handle. Whether or not Canelo’s improving fight on fight he looks plenty comfortable at the weight and if GGG is allegedly on the slide, which I don’t buy into, timing by GBP has to be recognised I think. (Though I’ve been waiting on this since the photo way back when of them in training at Big Bear – I think.)
  2. GGG will get the kind of stage and payday his talent deserves. (No disrespect to Jacobs and no tomato cans or welterweight here.)
  3. Canelo gets a chance to really prove his worth against a bona fide skilled beast. (Froyd Paybetter don’t count.)
  4. Hope it gets the venue and undercard it deserves. (Will we get a Chocolatito rematch to continue his parallel venture with his Kazakh friend?)

Digressing slightly, is this what you thought of last Saturday’s human piñata show?

(Just winding you up bud. The clips with Steve Kim are really good.)

Keep writing the good fight. – Nathan in Dundee, Scotland

Will do, Nathan.

Now be honest with me, those middle fingers are a Photoshop job, right? I’d hate to think that I inadvertently flip the birdies while I’m analyzing a fight on camera.

Both guys will give each other more than enough to handle. That’s what I think. I think Canelo has the jab, physical strength and inside game to halt GGG’s forward march and do some damage during exchanges. However, I think Golovkin has the technique to get through Canelo’s defense and the power to test the younger man’s chin.

Whether or not Canelo’s improving fight on fight he looks plenty comfortable at the weight and if GGG is allegedly on the slide, which I don’t buy into, timing by GBP has to be recognised I think. I think Canelo is improving, and I’m positive that it’s better for him to fighting at full middleweight than at 154-155. I don’t think Golovkin is sliding at all. He may have hit his peak, but he’s not “sliding.”

(Though I’ve been waiting on this since the photo way back when of them in training at Big Bear – I think.) You, Sir, are a real hardcore fan.

GGG will get the kind of stage and payday his talent deserves. Amen to that. It will be very satisfying to witness and cover a mega-event involving my favorite fighter.

Canelo gets a chance to really prove his worth against a bona fide skilled beast. (Froyd Paybetter don’t count.) That’s what boxing is all about.

Hope it gets the venue and undercard it deserves. (Will we get a Chocolatito rematch to continue his parallel venture with his Kazakh friend?) No, Tom Loeffler says Sor Rungvisai-Gonzalez II will get it’s own date and card to headline. I’d love for Canelo-GGG to land in Texas at AT&T Stadium but I won’t be heartbroken if it winds up in Vegas. Sin City was made to host such events, and, as Loeffler pointed out to me during last week’s Periscope, GGG has never fought in Las Vegas and that’s a goal of every champion.

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

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