Dougie’s Friday mailbag

By Doug Fischer

WHERE WILL THE FIREWORKS BE THIS WEEKEND?

Good work Doug.

I always enjoy reading your mailbag. I also appreciate that you do a great job of researching, rather than answering off the top of your head. I wanted to make sure you had real questions rather than anything related to the farce Saturday night. So…

Which fight do you think will bring the most fireworks this weekend? Sergiy Derevyanchenko vs Tureano Johnson, Nathan Cleverly vs Badou Jack or Miguel Cotto-Yoshihiro Kamagai?

Predictions on those?

Also, if Cotto retires this year, I’m not sure he gets in the HOF…. Mayweather, Klitschko, possibly Roy Jones Jr. and James Toney…with only 3 getting in he could face some long odds…

MM: Michael Katsidis vs Zack Padilla at 140 and what would the punch-count be? – Donavan

That junior welterweight scrap would wear the buttons out on the CompuBox touch pad. There’s no doubt in my mind that this mythical matchup would produce a bloody, dramatic Fight of the Year, but I think the “Zack Attack” would outwork/outpoint Katsidis (who is better suited at 135 pounds) over the distance (and the volume-punching pressure fighter from Azuza, California would probably have to get up from the canvas to do it).

I wouldn’t worry about Cotto getting into the International Boxing Hall of Fame on his first ballot, even though other worthy veterans have also called it quits in 2017, including Wladdy, Shane Mosley and Tim Bradley. My hunch is that Jones and Toney will continue fighting in 2018. (Who knows? Maybe they’ll fight a rematch in Dubai or on a giant cruise ship out somewhere in uncharted ocean.)

And as for Mayweather, something tells me if he makes “easy work” of Conor McGregor on Saturday, he’ll be very tempted to fight another popular MMA standout next year (and the NSAC will be equally tempted to sanction it as an official boxing match). (Maybe we’ll be treated to the long-awaited grudgematch between Floyd and Ronda Rousey, because, hey, the fans demanded it… and those are the kinds of moves an all-time great boxer makes, right?)

Anyway, if Mosley, Cotto, Klitschko and Bradley are all on the IBHOF ballot for the first time together, my guess is that Timmy would be fighter who has to wait until next year’s vote to get in.

I wanted to make sure you had real questions rather than anything related to the farce Saturday night. THANK YOU.

Which fight do you think will bring the most fireworks this weekend? Sergiy Derevyanchenko vs Tureano Johnson, Nathan Cleverly vs Badou Jack or Miguel Cotto-Yoshihiro Kamagai? All three bouts are the kind of style matchups that promise high-volume offense and lots of heavy handed exchanges in close, but I lean toward Derevyanchenko-Johnson (and a fight you didn’t mention – the WBC 122-pound title scrap between defending beltholder Rey Vargas and Ronny Rios, which happens to be the HBO-televised co-feature to the Cotto-Kamegai fight.)

Derevyanchenko and Johnson. Photo / Gary-Crow-PBC

Johnson is a hard-charging pressure fighter with an iron will, heavy hands and very reliable whiskers. Derevyanchenko is a powerful and aggressive technician with a strong amateur background (2008 Olympian/2007 World Amateur Championships bronze medalist). The Russian is an accurate puncher with a killer instinct. He knows how to stop a hurt opponent (as these YouTube highlights illustrate).

However, he’s never been in with a battle-tested veteran who was still in his athletic prime. If Derevyancheno (who only had 10 pro bouts and has never fought past eight rounds) can’t stop Johnson early, I can see the Bahamian (who also had an extensive amateur career) giving him a rough ride down the stretch of a 12-round bout (provided he doesn’t drain himself making weight, he’s got a history of struggling to make 160).

With a mandatory title shot on the line, I expect both middleweights to give their all tonight, and that means we’re in for a hard-fought battle of attrition.

The other two matchups you mentioned are good fights but while Cleverly brings the heart and volume-punching, he lacks power; and while Jack is an aggressive boxer-technician, he only lets his hands go in spots (and he’s not the biggest puncher). And though Cotto might be tempted to try and turn Kamegai’s lights out, I know the game plan is for him to box from a distance and to try to avoid unnecessary trading. It’s Kamegai’s job to pull him into a slugfest. I love Cotto, but the Blood Thirsty Ghoul in me is hoping the Japanese gatekeeper can achieve his goal.

Vargas and Rios. Photo / HoganPhotos

Predictions on those? Derevyanchenko by close (maybe split or controversial) decision. Jack by competitive but unanimous decision. Cotto by competitive but unanimous decision. (And though you didn’t ask about this fight, I’m still gonna give you my pick on Vargas-Rios, which is Rios by hard-fought decision.) Enjoy the fights!

TBE?

Come on Dougie, admit it, you’ll be holding back a smile if Conor clips TBE. – Rodemeyer

I won’t be holding nothin’ back, Roddy, I’ll be cheesin’ like a mother f__ker, and I’ll keep that s__t-eating grin on my mug until the week of Sept. 9 when I will promptly forget that Mayweather-McGregor was a ever a thing and focus on the “SuperFly” card and the first round of the cruiserweight World Boxing Super Series featuring Oleksandr Usyk vs. Marco Huck.

Speaking of which….

CRUISERWEIGHT WBSS

Hi Dougie,

Did you take me up on the recommendation of Hands of Stone? I was hoping you could provide us with a primer on the upcoming cruiser-weight tournament. Given the preponderance of Europeans I don’t have ton of familiarity with all of the participants. Your insights would be helpful.

All the best from your hardcore sometimes whiny boxing fan and friend in Miami – Aaron

I haven’t watched Hands of Stone yet, but it’s in queue along with The Fighter, the 2010 biopic about Micky Ward (not the 1952 film that was based on Jack London’s short story “The Mexican”), and the recently released Chuck, a drama inspired by the life of former heavyweight journeyman and title challenger Chuck Wepner (who was also, as you probably know, the inspiration for the first Rocky movie), starring Liev Schreiber (the narrator for HBO’s 24/7 series), Elisabeth Moss, Ron Perlman and Naomi Watts ( I recently got the DVD in the mail from Paramount Pictures, which thought I might be in the mood for an underdog story with Mayweather-McGregor on the horizon).

Regarding the cruiserweight World Boxing Super Series, first let me tell how awesome I think this tournament is. All of the participants are world-rated, experienced and generally make for good (if not thrilling) fights. There are three major world titleholders (plus one WBA “regular” beltholder) are involved and all four quarterfinal matchups are good. The semifinal matchups should be even better and the finals will deliver a RING/universally recognized world champion in the 200-pound division. There’s nothing NOT to like about it.

To learn more about each participant, I suggest you read this excellent blog about the field penned by Gleb Kuzin (before the quarterfinal brackets were announced) on Sundaypuncher.com.

But here’s how I see the tournament:

Oleksandr Usyk

The Favorites – Usyk, Murat Gassiev, Mairis Briedis and Yunier Dorticos (in that order). These four are the beltholders and they are all in their prime (except for maybe Gassiev, who is the baby of the tournament at age 23 – he may not hit his peak for another couple years). Usyk only had 12 pro bouts (12-0, 10 KOs) but he had the most accomplished amateur career and he showed real character by winning the WBO belt (in his 10th pro bout) by outpointing then-unbeaten Kryzysztof Glowacki on the rugged Pole’s home turf. The Ukrainian star also appears to be the best overall athlete. Gassiev (24-0, 17 KOs) probably has the heaviest hands of the group but he proved that he’s not a front-runner by outpointing super-tough Denis Lebedev for the IBF strap. Usyk and Gassiev also have very good trainers (Usyk’s got Anatoly Lomenchenko in his corner and Gassiev is coached by Abel Sanchez). Briedis is an unbeaten (22-0, 18 KOs), battle-tested beltholder (the WBC title, which he won by beating Marco Huck) from Latvia. He’s a solid boxer with good power. Dorticos (21-0, 20 KOs) is a talented boxer-puncher who brings the lauded Cuban amateur tradition to the big dance.

The Live Dog veterans – Huck and Krzysztof Wlodarczyk. At some point being battle-tested becomes being battle-worn, and I think Huck has reached that stage of his career. Still, the Germany based Serbian has faced more contenders/titleholders than anyone else in the tournament and he’s got big balls, so he shouldn’t be totally dismissed. Same can be said about Wloddy, the oldest participant at age 35. If they’re going down, they’re going down swinging.

The Longshot – Dmityry Kudryashov. The 31-year-old Russian slugger’s vaunted punching power could prove me wrong, but I view him as the rawest participant in terms of skill and technique (although, to his credit, he does try to learn as much as he can in the gym and he tries his best to box in the ring – but let’s face it, cracking craniums like a caveman is this dude’s bread and butter).

The Question Mark/potential Dark Horse – Mike Perez. Like Dorticos, the former heavyweight contender brings a strong Cuban amateur background to the tournament, as well as a tough-and-tricky counter-punching style, but he’s totally unproven at 200 pounds. We still don’t know if “light is right” for Perez, who used to fight between 230-240 pounds, but we’ll ding out during this tournament.

#MAYMAC

G’day Dougie,

I’m sure you’re getting dozens of similar emails about MayMac but thought I’d try my luck…

I’ve heard some pretty ridiculous analogies about the MayMac fight along the lines of it’s “tennis vs ping pong” etc. Cmon, GTFOH… To my mind it’s more like snooker vs pool (or I think you might call it eight ball?) the rules might be different but at the end of the day it’s about putting balls into holes. Isn’t it the same here? McGregor’s not just some bum they pulled off YouTube, he’s a fulltime pro who happens to be pretty elite at bashing people in the head while avoiding the same. We’re not talking completely different languages here. Sure, it’s a long shot, but to be honest I’m surprised how adamant those in the know are that McGregor has absolutely no chance at all (porous defence notwithstanding…)

Some further wishful thinking – does the fact that McGregor will outweigh Mayweather by 20 lbs on the night have any bearing on the fight? Also, while Mayweather may be the biggest name out there, I’d argue that he’s not the toughest fight to be had at 154lbs. Put McGregor in with the current top guys at 154 lbs or even 147 lbs and I reckon he’d get mauled, however I fancy his chances more in a one-off fight against a 41 year old past his prime who is really more of a 147 lb guy anyway. Your thoughts?

Finally, is there any chance of leveraging the GGG / Canelo fight off this event? Are the networks and promoters in the same tent, or will politics and get in the way? Who wins in a tag team match between MayMac and GGG/Canelo? Ha!!

Thanks as always for the mailbag, I appreciate the effort you go to and always enjoy the read. Cheers. – Luke

Thank you very much for those kind words, Luke.

The networks and promoters are definitely NOT in the same tent in regards to the Canelo-Golovkin fight getting leverage from the massive media/fan attention on Mayweather-McGregor this weekend. In other words, Golden Boy Promotions/K2 Promotions and HBO would not be welcome to hold a Canelo-GGG-related press event on the MGM Grand’s properties this weekend. This week and Saturday belongs to Mayweather Promotions, the UFC and Showtime in Las Vegas. And that’s OK. I think Canelo-GGG will get a boost from the MayMac event aftermath if the main event is as one-sided or boring as most of us believe it will be. If McGregor embarrasses himself and Mayweather toys with him to a lackluster decision (or even if the master boxer blasts the MMA champ), most of the mainstream sports media will reference Canelo-Golovkin as a “real boxing match/event” while they rip the #MayMac circus. The worst thing that could happen to the Canelo-GGG promotion would be if McGregor upsets the odds and KOs Mayweather because the whole world will be buzzing about it for weeks, which would distract the general public from the Sept. 16 middleweight championship.

Regardless of what happens in Vegas on Saturday night, the Canelo-GGG promotion will shift gears into its final kick this weekend, starting with the first installment of HBO’s 24/7 series (which follows Cotto-Kamegai) and the Los Angeles media workouts (which will be a big production and streamed live on numerous platforms). Soon after Labor Day weekend the Canelo-Golovkin “Mano A Mano” show will begin rotation on ESPN’s various platforms. I could be wrong but I think by the time the week of the “SuperFly” and Usyk-Huck fight comes around, I won’t be getting any Mayweather-McGregor-related emails for the mailbag.

Sure, it’s a long shot, but to be honest I’m surprised how adamant those in the know are that McGregor has absolutely no chance at all. I don’t know what to tell ya, Luke. Maybe if Pete Rademacher had knocked out Floyd Patterson for the heavyweight title back in 1957, or if Antonio Inoki had submitted Muhammad Ali in 1976, more boxing fans, sports media and pundits would be giving McGregor a shot to upset Mayweather this Saturday.

Some further wishful thinking – does the fact that McGregor will outweigh Mayweather by 20 lbs on the night have any bearing on the fight? It’s possible. But keep in mind that many of Mayweather’s foes have come in significantly heavier than he did on fight night – including Carlos Baldomir, Victor Ortiz, Canelo Alvarez and Ander Berto – and they weren’t able to use the advantage effectively. A fighter often loses some speed and some edge off his reflexes when he puts on too many pounds after the weight-in.

Also, while Mayweather may be the biggest name out there, I’d argue that he’s not the toughest fight to be had at 154lbs. Physically speaking, you are correct, but stylistically, he’s the most difficult (along with Erislandy Lara).

Put McGregor in with the current top guys at 154 lbs or even 147 lbs and I reckon he’d get mauled, however I fancy his chances more in a one-off fight against a 41 year old past his prime who is really more of a 147 lb guy anyway. Your thoughts? Look man, you’re obviously interested in this matchup. I’m not mad at you for that. Please enjoy debating the fight with your friends and have fun watching the bout. It’s only natural to try and conceive of ways the underdog might upset an overwhelming favorite going into a gross mismatch that you plan to watch. Doing so makes the matchup more interesting, but as you said yourself, all of this is just wishful thinking.

ALL ABOUT THE BELTS

Hey Doug, what’s up? It’s been a while since my last mail. I just want to know your thoughts on these topics.

  1. What do you think about the IBF’s move to abolish the second day weigh in for unification bouts?
  2. Where do you rank Terrence Crawford in your All-Time 140 lb ranking after becoming the undisputed champ and just the 3rd fighter to hold all 4 major belts?
  3. Was the IBO belt on the line in the Crawford-Indongo fight?
  4. Will GGG still be the WBC 160 lbs champ or will the belt be vacant if Canelo wins?

MMs:

Manny Pacquiao vs Terrence Crawford @ 135 & 140

Miguel Cotto vs Terrence Crawford @140

Kostya Tzyu vs Marcos Maidana @ 140

Vasyl Lomachenko vs Edwin Valero @ 130

As always, keep up the good work Doug. God bless you. – Yvess

Hey Yvess, good to hear from you. This is good fodder for discussion. I’ll start from the top.

What do you think about the IBF’s move to abolish the second day weigh in for unification bouts? I don’t like it. I think the IBF’s second day weigh-ins for their title bouts are one of the better sanctioning body rules because it pushes for a more even playing field on fight night. However, by waving the rule (which stipulates that a fighter cannot weigh more than 10 pounds over the division weight limit the morning of the fight) for unification bouts, they’re basically allowing certain high-profile fighters of the sport, such as Terence Crawford and Canelo Alvarez, to come in ridiculously heavier than their opponents. (But, of course, everybody will rip Alvarez for this and give Bud a pass.)

The late, great Aaron Pryor graces the cover of THE RING magazine during his glory days.

Where do you rank Terrence Crawford in your All-Time 140 lb ranking after becoming the undisputed champ and just the 3rd fighter to hold all 4 major belts? No disrespect to Crawford or his fans but I don’t think he’d make my top 10 (or even my top 15) if I were to compile a list of the best junior welterweight champs of all time. You gotta understand that the 140-pound division was home to some legit O.G. ATGs, such as Tony Canzoneri, Barney Ross and Jack “Kid” Berg, as well as the division were modern greats, such as Antonio Cermeno, Julio Cesar Chavez and Aaron Pryor, forged their legacies. And, as you know, “King” Kostya Tsyzu, one of my favorite hall of famers, fought his entire career (and much of his stellar amateur career) at junior welterweight. Beyond that “Sensational Seven,” Puerto Rican greats Carlos Ortiz (who was recognized as the 140-pound champ before winning the lightweight crown) and Wilfred Benitez (who won his first world title at 140 pounds) graced the junior welterweight division with their brilliance. (Speaking of Puerto Rican standouts, although he never won a 140-pound title, it should be noted that Esteban DeJesus’s victory over Roberto Duran was a “super lightweight” bout.) Little known hall of famers, such as Eddie Perkins, Duilio Loi and Nicolino Locche, fought (and beat) way more 140-pound standouts than Crawford has. Heck, Tim Bradley and Amir Khan arguably have better 140-pound resumes than Crawford.

Was the IBO belt on the line in the Crawford-Indongo fight? No, I don’t believe it was, even though Indongo held (and maybe still holds) the belt. I have no idea why it wasn’t. He won the belt when he iced Eduard Troyanovsky.

Will GGG still be the WBC 160 lbs belt be vacant if Canelo wins? My guess is that it would be vacant because Canelo, who hasn’t gotten along with the Mexico-based sanctioning organization in recent years, says he doesn’t want to hold the WBC title if he wins (and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t plan on paying the sanctioning fees for the green belt).

Your mythical matchups (which are darn good):

Manny Pacquiao vs Terrence Crawford @ 135 & 140 – I think the mid-2008-to-mid-2009 version of the PacMonster (the little dynamo that thrashed David Diaz, Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton in successive fights) would edge Bud out in a competitive exhibition of power-boxing. Pac by close but unanimous decision.

Miguel Cotto vs Terrence Crawford @140 – I’m gonna go with Crawford by competitive, close decision. Cotto often struggled like hell to make 140 pounds, which detracted from his punch resistance and stamina (leading to scares against the likes of DeMarcus Corely and Ricardo Torres, and a harder than expected distance bout against Lovemore Ndou), and that won’t do against a junior welterweight as complete, versatile and strong as Bud.

Kostya Tzyu vs Marcos Maidana @ 140 – Chino’s swarming, heavy handed volume-punching would trouble Tszyu, but I think the Argentine slugger had enough holes in his game for the Russian-Aussie to sharp shoot as he marched forward. I figure it this way: if a totally shopworn Erik Morales can give Maidana hell at 140 pounds (with a one good eye, mind you) and if Devon Alexander can shut him down with grappling tactics (which Kostya was an expert at employing, just ask poor Sharmba Mitchell), I think Tszyu would weather an early rounds storm and gradually pick Chino apart and break him down to a late stoppage.

Vasyl Lomachenko vs Edwin Valero @ 130 – I think Loma would outbox and outhustle El Inca in spots over the first third of the fight, but I think Valero would gradually acclimate to the Ukrainian’s superior speed and unique style, start landing heavy s__t by the middle rounds and viciously, ruthlessly grind the amateur legend down to a late stoppage.

MAYWEATHER’S WHISKERS

Hey Dougie,

So we’re coming up to the big day now and here in Ireland there is a huge amount of debate.

Patriotic pro McGregors vs Boxing Nerd pro Mayweather fans.

Personally I dislike both intensely, so I’m not quite sure who I’m waving my poms poms for this time around, one thing I find very interesting though is the “it only takes one punch” line everyone seems to be throwing out.

It seems to say to me: Yes, Mayweather has exceptional defence but if Conor catches him its lights out.

That is where I scratch my head a little. As much as I dislike the man Mayweather has at no stage of his career shown Amir Kahn like whiskers and in fact when we look at the fights he caught some glove in, how did he fair? He did quite well as well as far as chins go.

Oscar De La Hoya was a big puncher at light middle and Mayweather could take his best.

Saul Alvarez we have seen is a big punching light middle and Mayweather took his shots well.

Miguel Cotto managed to land some gloves and Mayweather took them okay

Marcos Maidana when fighting relied heavily on his strength and Mayweather took his shots too.

We also have of course the huge right that Shane Mosley landed on Mayweather which had him dip down but again he didn’t hit the floor and handled the situation with Wlad Klitschko style wrestling.

So I see no history for the theory of one big punch taking out Mayweather, do you?

Also watched a bit of McGregor sparing Paulie and his defence looked rather porous. Did you have a chance to look at it? Cheers. – Leo

I’ve had plenty of time to check out footage of the McGregor-Malignaggi sparring but I just haven’t given enough of a f__k to do so. Sorry. (Not sorry.)

Listen my Irish brotha, “Puncher’s chance” is just a nice way of saying the lesser talented/skilled guy has to get lucky.

That’s the case with McGregor. If Mayweather gets old overnight (which happens in boxing), and he does something stupid (which is unlikely, he’s a very careful and cautious guy in the ring), then Conor might get lucky.

But, as you note, it’s not like Mayweather has a weak chin. We’re not talking about Amir Khan here. Floyd can take a decent shot. Three of Mayweather’s attributes that are commonly overlooked (because of his defensive prowess and reluctance to go for the knockout) are his punching power, physical strength and durability. He can punch harder than most thing, he’s stronger than he looks and he’s tougher than most will give him credit for.

BOXING HALL OF FAME

Hey Doug,

Big fan of the segment and yourself. Apologies If this has been asked before but I wanted to get your opinion about the potential 2018 H.O.F class and which 3 of these 6 eligible boxers will be first ballot.

Vitali Klitschko
Winky Wright
Ivan Calderon
Rosendo Alvarez
Erik Morales
Ricky Hatton

Thank you and keep up the good work. – Zain

Man, that’s a quality group there, eh?

Morales, Klitschko and Hatton will get my vote, and I think those are the three who will get in. No disrespect to other three. I think Wright is as worthy as Vitali and Ricky, but Winky isn’t as popular as those two. Having said that, most of the people who are eligible to vote for the International Boxing Hall of Fame candidates are members of the U.S. boxing media, and Winky is the only American of the group. So who knows? Maybe the Florida native has a shot.

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

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