Dougie’s Friday mailbag

By Doug Fischer

THE BIG SWINDLE ON AUG. 26

Ugh…

Who signs off on s__t like this? Is Vince McMahon running the Nevada State Athletic Commission these days? Are we to expect Hulk Hogan to storm the ring mid fight and wallop referee Kenny Bayless with a chair before putting a sleeper on the ‘combatants’ using what’s left of his aging 24 inch pythons?

The only hope is that the collision of grossly self-inflated egos leads to a cataclysmic release of energy similar to a nuclear warhead, obliterating all in attendance (so stay away from ringside Doug because not even the Hulkster will be able to save you) and sending a surge through the TV of everyone who paid money towards Floyd’s new Bugatti.

Rant over, enjoy Kovalev v Ward 2! – Mitch Menendez

I will (especially if what I think will happen comes to fruition).

Not to worry if the clash of mega-egos on Aug. 26 and all the d-bags it attracts to Las Vegas creates too much fool energy for this reality to handle the entire arena goes StuporNova – I will be safe and sound at StubHub Center in Carson, California for the Miguel Cotto-Yoshihiro Kamegai card. I will not order and DVR Mayweather-McGregor.

I’ve never seen a Conor McGregor fight and I’m not going to make this Bizarro World exhibition my first. It’s been at least 15 years since I’ve been a Floyd Mayweather Jr. When he supposedly retired after the Andre Berto fight, I washed my hands of that dude (and his goofball diehard supporters).

Who signs off on s__t like this? People who work for a city/state that is desperate for money, and are loyal to Mayweather and the UFC because of the past business those entities brought to The Strip.

Is Vince McMahon running the Nevada State Athletic Commission these days? I think Mr. McMahon would do a better job.

Are we to expect Hulk Hogan to storm the ring mid fight and wallop referee Kenny Bayliss with a chair before putting a sleeper on the ‘combatants’ using what’s left of his aging 24 inch pythons? I wouldn’t mind seeing that.

WARD VS. KOVALEV

Dear Dougie,

I hope this email finds you well. I am super excited for Saturday night, not just the main event but also Guillermo Rigondeaux (you playfully jabbed me about this) and Dmitry Bivol. Three questions:

  1. I too thought Sergey Kovalev narrowly won the first fight but I am picking Andre Ward this time around. What is your prediction?
  2. It seems Ward has won the mental war prior to the fight which I think is important when two fighters are so evenly matched. Do you agree?
  3. Given Ward’s best strategy is probably in-fighting and tie-up Kovalev I am not expecting a barn burner, in fact I think it could be less action than the first fight. What are your thoughts on the pace of the fight?

I could care less about Floyd-McGregor. It is a joke. That being said I really think they are sticking it to Canelo-GGG. Hardcore fans will for sure pay for Canelo-GGG but the casual fan may go with Floyd especially given it is the first fight on the calendar between the two and 175 plus for two fights is a lot to shell out within three weeks. I think GGG-Canelo numbers suffer because of this.

Thanks for the mailbag.

All the best. – Aaron (Your friendly and now slightly satisfied not whining that much boxing fan in Miami)

You might be right about Mayweather-McGregor “stealing” casual fans from the Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin pay-per-view event, but my hunch is that the main folks who buy the Aug. 26 PPV are diehard McGregor fans who want to see their hero smash Mayweather and hard-up Floyd-huggers, who haven’t had anyone to jock-ride since September 2015 and are desperate to gloat at obnoxious MMA heads. Beyond those two extreme (but populous and dedicated groups), there will be a “casual” contingent that buys into the mainstream hype created by the sideshow nature of this matchup. However, these folks may not even be general sports fans; they might just be millennial TMZ junkies in search of a freak-show fix – and these folks are not the types who would have even considered purchasing the Canelo-GGG fight.

Also, keep this in mind. The mainstream sports media is going to cover Mayweather-McGregor ad nauseum, but they’re also going to rip it every step of the way and warn folks that the actual “fight” will most likely be a boring flop that makes Mayweather-Pacquiao look like Hagler-Hearns. The general sports fans and casual boxing observers that ignore this warning and buy the PPV will feel like absolute morons for not knowing better. And significant portion of these suckers are going to pay attention when the same mainstream sports media opinion leaders, such as ESPN/HBO’s Max Kellerman, tell them (repeatedly during the three weeks that follow #MayMac) that Canelo-GGG is a REAL fight and a LEGIT mega-event that’s worth getting excited about. Some of these “casual” folks might buy the Sept. 16 PPV just to set things right with themselves (and make amends, so to speak, with the spirit of honest sports competition).

I too thought Sergey Kovalev narrowly won the first fight but I am picking Andre Ward this time around. I thought Kovalev won wide decision on first view, and a very clear and comfortable decision on second viewing.

What is your prediction? Kovalev by close but clear decision.

It seems Ward has won the mental war prior to the fight which I think is important when two fighters are so evenly matched. Do you agree? No, I don’t, because I don’t think Ward has gotten into Kovalev’s head as much as he’s gotten into his own head and into the heads of some media members and most of his wishful-thinking fans.

Given Ward’s best strategy is probably in-fighting and tie-up Kovalev I am not expecting a barn burner, in fact I think it could be less action than the first fight. Man, that sucks if that’s the case.

What are your thoughts on the pace of the fight? I think it will start out about the same as the first fight – as both light heavyweights are experienced, mature, world-class boxers that aren’t going to do anything crazy in the early rounds – but I expect both fighters to pick up the pace more over the second half of the bout than they did back in November. Ward thinks Kovalev has stamina problems, so he’s going to try and take advantage of that perceived weakness, and Krusher believes that he’s better-trained for this fight and will look to prove it by upping his punch output down the stretch.

If this happens I think we will get a slightly better – hopefully more dramatic – fight than we got the first time.

A CHALLENGE

Dear Mr. Fischer,

This will be my briefest mailbag submission yet. I would like to challenge you to write exclusively about legitimate boxing matches over the next 72 days (71 at publication).

To that end, I’ll ask you about the most credible match taking place 72 days from now: What do you think of Miguel Cotto’s chances against Yoshihiro Kamegai on August 26?

I hope this finds you and your family well, and I send the very best. Thank you again for what you do for the sport and for the edification of your readers. Very Respectfully. – John

Thanks for the kind words and the sincere request, John. I don’t know if it’s possible for me not to discuss Mayweather-McGregor at all with mailbag readers who have questions, comments or rants about the mega-money-grab, but I can assure you that I won’t allow it to dominate this column/forum. There’s only so much that can be said or written about it if you see it for what it really is (and it’s pretty much already been uttered by most hardcore boxing fans on social media and more than a few members of the media). I don’t have any special insight on the fight or enough passion for the event to piggyback much on what’s already out there.

Photo by Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions

Regarding Cotto-Kamegai, I think the future hall of famer should be a very strong favorite against the Japanese gatekeeper if he elects to box a disciplined fight. Kamegai’s never been stopped but I think Cotto has the power and punch-accuracy to be first to score a KO against the hardnosed scrapper. However, if Cotto tries to take Kamegai out, he could be sucked into the kind of fight that would favor the fresher, naturally bigger and more active fighter. And given the wear and tear on Cotto’s body, plus his inactivity (he hasn’t fought since the Canelo fight), I don’t think it will take a great fighter or a herculean effort to push the veteran over the proverbial ledge.

By the way, although I have the utmost respect for Cotto and look forward to the day when I can put a checkmark by his name on an International Boxing Hall of Fame ballot, I’ll pulling for Kamegai on Aug. 26. He’s a genuine sweetheart who always gives 100%, I’m a sucker for gatekeepers, and the only way he can win is if we’re treated to a typical StubHub Center slugfest. So, you know… #WarKamegai!

WILL THE REMATCH BE ANY DIFFERENT?

Well the year has started very strong and with plenty of promise and then this s__tshow gets signed. Can’t help but feel the announcement of GGG-Canelo made them move quickly and do it before that fight. I’m a cynic but You Know Who can’t take anybody or anything taking attention away from him. All I hope is that the hangover isn’t as bad as a certain event from 5/2/2015 and that it isn’t a precedent for other ridiculous events.

Anyway, onto real competition, I’m not a huge fan of re-matches unless A – first fight was a thriller or B – It was controversial and the wrong guy won. This is B. Ward didn’t come close to winning in my not-so-humble opinion. The minority that felt Ward did enough surely confused competitive with winning. He got dominated early, rallied somewhat and almost got back in the fight and then Kovalev outfight him in 2 of the last 3.

My questions are 1) How likely that we see a different type of fight? I really don’t know what Ward can do differently but getting that close to Krusher early usually means you’ve got to go through a few of those jabs and right hands. I see the fight starting in a similar fashion.

My second question is 2) Do you think it’s likely that Ward kind of does what Tim Bradley did in the Pacquaio rematch where he was clearly stung from the criticism of the scoring in fight I and fought uncharacteristically aggressively (vs. what he’d have typically fought Pacquaio) in that one or is he a little too smart for that?

Last question: Is it too much to ask for the ref to be fair and consistent and same for the judges?

Are you going to be in Vegas? Not excited about the 110-degree weather and the beer prices but had to be at this one. Cheers. – Chris Smith, Norwalk, CA

I will not be there, Chris, but if you see my partner in crime, Steve Kim, before or after the fight, grab a drink with him on my behalf (you’ll probably have to pay for it but I promise to get the next round at a future show).

It shouldn’t be too much to ask the officials of a major boxing championship bout to be fair and consistent, but you and I both know that we are doing just that. There’s been at least 30 high-profile controversial decisions in Las Vegas since I’ve covered the sport (and probably 50 or 60 since I’ve been following boxing). It is what it is, but I’ve got high hopes for Tony Weeks (who I respect) and the veteran judges (Glenn Feldman, Dave Moretti and Steve Weisfeld) assigned to this rematch.

How likely that we see a different type of fight? Not very likely.

I really don’t know what Ward can do differently but getting that close to Krusher early usually means you’ve got to go through a few of those jabs and right hands. Yep, and he doesn’t want to get caught early again, so I expect him to be even more cautious than he was last November in the opening rounds.

I see the fight starting in a similar fashion. Same here (but without the knockdown), and maybe Ward tries to beat Kovalev to the jab from the outside.

Do you think it’s likely that Ward kind of does what Tim Bradley did in the Pacquaio rematch where he was clearly stung from the criticism of the scoring in fight I and fought uncharacteristically aggressively (vs. what he’d have typically fought Pacquaio) in that one or is he a little too smart for that? I don’t think Ward is as passionate a fighter as Bradley and he seems almost obsessed with controlling his emotions (and as much of the outside world as he can), so no, I don’t see him trying to overcompensate for anything on Saturday. If anything, I think Ward will be even more careful, but he’ll also be extra focused on making Kovalev pay for any mistakes. That’s why he and his team have tried to hard to piss off the Russian. They’re hoping that an angry Kovalev will make more mistakes than usual.

I’m not a huge fan of re-matches unless A – first fight was a thriller or B – It was controversial and the wrong guy won. This is B. Ward didn’t come close to winning in my not-so-humble opinion. I agree.

The minority that felt Ward did enough surely confused competitive with winning. Agreed.

He got dominated early, rallied somewhat and almost got back in the fight and then Kovalev outfight him in 2 of the last 3. Agreed.

Can’t help but feel the announcement of GGG-Canelo made (Mayweather/UFC/Showtime) move quickly and do it before that fight. You’re probably right (and shame on them for announcing it the week of Ward-Kovalev II, effectively killing an already struggling promotion, instead of waiting until June 19), but I’m kind of glad Mayweather-McGregor is happening before Canelo-GGG. That way, we get it over with and then have three weeks to focus on a real boxing matchup and a legit mega-event.

I’m a cynic but You Know Who can’t take anybody or anything taking attention away from him. No s__t.

All I hope is that the hangover isn’t as bad as a certain event from 5/2/2015 and that it isn’t a precedent for other ridiculous events. No matter how awful Mayweather-McGregor turns out to be, the foul taste will be washed out of most hardcore boxing fans’ mouths with what HBO and Showtime are planning showcase on Sept. 9 (the 115-pound triple-header topped by the Sor Rungvisai-Gonzalez rematch and the Santa Cruz-Mares rematch or shared card). After Sept. 9, all the boxing talk in the world will center on Canelo-Golovkin, not Mayweather-McGregor.

CONOR MC-CHENKO WON’T BE BOXING

Dear Dougie,

I like watching the videos of McGregor’s movement training. It kind of reminds me of some Vasyl Lomachenko’s training videos for some reason. Other boxers have fought Mayweather using traditional (albeit very good) boxing skills. But McGregor will have other ideas. McGregor will not win a boxing match with Mayweather. But just because they are in a boxing ring, with boxing gloves on and abiding (maybe) to the Queensberry rules, does not necessarily mean that McGregor will be boxing. He’ll be fighting. Cheers. – Rich

Well, good luck to him. I have no doubt that McGregor is an exceptional combat athlete and competitor with his own unique fighting style (one that is very different from anything Mayweather has experienced), but there’s going to be a boxing referee – probably honorary TMT member Kenny Bayless – in that ring making sure McGregor doesn’t freestyle too much and veer from the script, so to speak.

IS RIGO IN TROUBLE?

Hey Doug,

I wanted to ask you if you think Moises Flores has a chance against Rigondeaux this Saturday. Rigo has not looked good lately against opponents like Amagasa and Francisco (though I guess he broke his last opponent’s jaw with one of the only punches he threw.)

I recall Rigo struggling with another pressure fighter like Flores on the undercard of Pacquaio-Margarito several years ago. Typically, the way you beat a pure, defensive counterpuncher is with relentless pressure and volume punching, so I think Flores has a decent shot at beating the ageing Cuban maestro.

Also, what are your favorite fights where the “less skilled” fighter overwhelmed the technician for the win? Mayorga-Forest and Tszyu-Phillips come to mind, (as well as Marciano vs Charles and Moore actually) but I was hoping for some sleepers from you.

Thanks as always for the hard work man. Try to keep your head above water through the McGregor-Mayweather s__t storm. – Jack

I don’t think “MayGregor” is going to be that bad, at least from where I’m sitting. I’m actually looking forward to largely ignoring it.

Mayorga-Forrest I and Phillips-Tszyu are great examples of the supposedly lesser-skilled/lesser-talented underdogs getting the better of the huge favorites (although I must point out that Cool Vince had very good technique and Ricardo, though wild and unorthodox, possessed decent ring generalship).

I think my all-time favorite “will-beats-skill” or rugged brawler-bests-supreme boxer matchup – which occurred WAY before my time – is Carmen Basilio’s split decision upset over Sugar Ray Robinson for the middleweight title in 1957. It was THE RING magazine’s Fight of the Year. (I also must point out that Basilio was a good boxer, just nowhere near the level of the prime Robinson, and he was a prohibitive underdog against even the aging version that he faced.)

Iran Barkley’s two victories over Thomas Hearns also come to mind. Check out the recently posted Best I Faced with The Blade if you haven’t already done so. The Bronx slugger was out-pointed by some excellent boxers in his day – including Michael Nunn and the obscenely underrated Sumbu Kalambay – but he had The Hitman’s number.

I recall Rigo struggling with another pressure fighter like Flores on the undercard of Pacquaio-Margarito several years ago. You’re thinking of Ricardo Cordoba, and though the Panamanian southpaw could be in barnburners (as he was with Bernard Dunne), I seem to remember him giving Rigo fits with his lateral movement in a rather stinky fight that the Cuban won by split decision.

Typically, the way you beat a pure, defensive counterpuncher is with relentless pressure and volume punching, so I think Flores has a decent shot at beating the ageing Cuban maestro. Rigo is getting long in the tooth and he’s been inactive (only fighting once in 2015 and last year), so he could get caught by a tall, rangy, heavy handed slugger like Flores (who is also well traveled), but I don’t think the Mexican will pull off the upset. Flores’ technique is a little sloppy. He lets his hands go, but he lops and wings a lot of his shots and he tends to square up in front of his opponent when he tries to tee off, so I think his brand of aggression will play right into Rigo’s fast, accurate (and deceptively powerful) counter punches. If Flores’ technique was sharper and he were a little bit faster, I’d give him more of a shot, but I expect Rigo to be ready for him.

RETURN OF THE FLOYD-HUGGERS

Doug,

Long time reader, love the mailbag….

I have just seen that the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs Connor McGregor fight has just been confirmed and am not really looking forward to the bout personally, but am really looking forward to you going toe to toe with all the Floyd nut huggers out there that will be writing in professing that this will cement his legacy as TBE (hasn’t McGregor also lost a few?)!

I can’t foresee anything but a Floyd domination personally, as I tend to think it’s like putting Andy Murray up against the no. 1 squash champion. From the bits and pieces I’ve checked out of McGregor on YouTube he also seems to have this crouch-like stance which I think will be easy for Floyd to work out. Do you think McGregor could, or would try to adopt a more upright boxing stance in his camp to correct this in order to give him more of a chance, or is it far too late for this?

Anyway, I’ll keep an eye out for the result but won’t be doling out £30 to watch this exhibition fight.

One last thing, how do you rate Jack Caterall? I’ve been singing his praises for a long time now and think he’ll be a major player in the world scene before long (although he needs to be more active) and would like to hear your thoughts. All the best. – Matt, Woking, England

I like Catterall. I’ve been high on him for the past couple years, and I agree with his No. 6 rating in THE RING’s junior welterweight rankings. I think he’s a versatile southpaw boxer who can make for good fights when he decides to scrap. And I think he’ll be ready for a shot by the end of next year.

…am really looking forward to you going toe to toe with all the Floyd nut huggers out there that will be writing in professing that this will cement his legacy as TBE! Do you think even the most deranged “Leonard Wanna-be” out there will try to make McGregor out to be a legit threat to Mayweather? I know there’s a legion of TMT wingnuts who will defend the Aug. 26 PPV, buy it to support their demigod, and declare the event as a “mighty blow” to the “evil Axis powers” of Golden Boy/De La Hoya, HBO and GGG/K2 Promotions, but even those loony toon mush heads can’t beat their chest if Mayweather – the guy who made one’s record the first measuring stick for “greatness” – beats a fighter with an 0-0 ledger. Right?

RIGHT!? They can’t be THAT crazy, can they?!? Somebody tell me that they aren’t THAT f__king ridiculous. PLEASE!

I can’t foresee anything but a Floyd domination personally, as I tend to think it’s like putting Andy Murray up against the no. 1 squash champion. Of course! And we’re going to be inundated with talking heads and columnists using these types of sport analogies until Floyd and Conor get that silly mess over with.

From the bits and pieces I’ve checked out of McGregor on YouTube he also seems to have this crouch-like stance which I think will be easy for Floyd to work out. You don’t have to be Ray Arcel to figure that out.

Do you think McGregor could, or would try to adopt a more upright boxing stance in his camp to correct this in order to give him more of a chance, or is it far too late for this? It’s too late, and why bother? He’s fighting Mayweather because he’s going to make more money than all of his MMA earnings combined. He’s not doing it because he thinks he can win.

Anyway, I’ll keep an eye out for the result but won’t be doling out £30 to watch this exhibition fight. That’s all it is, an exhibition. If folks want to pay to see it that’s their prerogative.

ALTERNATIVE UNIVERSE

Hey Dougie,

Everybody, well most people, are saying the Mayweather-McGregor fight is going to be a mismatch – this and that… you’re a self-professed comic book fanatic… Have you considered: we ARE living in an alternative universe – one that has Donald Trump as our president and McGregor actually lands his vaunted left on an old, inactive Mayweather… – Starmarc

Whatever drugs you’re taking, Starmarc, keep takin’ ‘em. You seem happy.

And you know what? If this is an alternative universe where an MMA fighter can take out a future first-ballot hall of fame boxer in a boxing match, I won’t consider it a Crisis on Infinite Earths. That’s Bizarro World that I can live on.

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

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