Dougie’s Monday mailbag

By Doug Fischer

RICO AND BOXERS

What’s good Doug,

I hope everything is well for you and your family. After a hectic week of moving and settling in to a new place, I finally had some free time to check up on events, where lo and behold “the Anvil” is being bought up on RICO charges. This has me wondering if any other fighters have been bought up on (drug) charges as serious? The only person I can vaguely recall is Michael Nunn, and I believe he got 15-20 plus years for drug charges.

Looking forward to Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev 2 where I believe Sergey will regain his belts. (I’m a fan of Ward, but he lost that first fight comfortably despite his second half effort). – D.W. from Boston, Ma

I agree with your take on this Saturday’s big rematch 100%, D.W. Kovalev clearly won their first match in my opinion. That fight was last November. Neither light heavyweight is going to change that much in seven months. Ward might be a little more ready for what Krusher brings, and Kovalev might come in with a little more gas in his tank than he did for the first fight, and both guys might try to tap the body a little more, but this is essentially the same damn matchup.

And I don’t believe that Ward has “figured” Kovalev out or that Team Krusher has been rattled at all by Team Ward’s incessant “mind games.” I favor Kovalev by decision. Let’s hope the judges don’t f__k it up again.

I finally had some free time to check up on events, where lo and behold “the Anvil” is being bought up on RICO charges. I must admit, I did not see that coming. I don’t know the man from Adam, but I hope Avtandil Khurtsidze is innocent (admittedly for selfish fan purposes – I wanted to see him duke it out with Billy Joe Saunders and other top middleweights). Hey, this is boxing. It attracts people from every corner of society – including some very dark nook and crannies. I’ve rubbed elbows with more than a few “gang-types” at local club shows in the past. Maybe the Anvil just happens to know some of the wrong people.

This has me wondering if any other fighters have been bought up on (drug) charges as serious? The only person I can vaguely recall is Michael Nunn, and I believe he got 15-20 plus years for drug charges. Jeez, there have literally been dozens over the past two or three decades (just Google any combination of “drug trafficking,” “drug arrest,” “boxer,” and “boxing” and you’ll get recent stories on former two-division beltholder Celestino Caballero, former two-time junior lightweight beltholder Malcolm Klassen, former middleweight title challenger Edison Miranda, and former junior featherweight prospect Jose Aguiniga being arrested for various drug-related charges).

When I first began covering boxing in the mid-‘90s, Floyd Mayweather Sr. was still in jail on drug trafficking charges, and the big story at the time was about former undisputed welterweight champ Donald Curry getting pinched by the DEA, along with former Kronk Gym-spawned prospects Darrell Chambers and Stanley Longstreet, for drug trafficking. Curry was acquitted of the charges (although I heard he used up much of his ring earnings on his court defense), Longstreet did three years in a federal pen, and Chambers got nailed the hardest – a life sentence. (And many, including the late, great Emanuel Steward – who had been eyed in previous years, along with Thomas Hearns, by the FBI due to their alleged associations with Michigan-area underworld figures – believe that Chambers was set-up as a “fall guy” or scapegoat.)

All I know is that somebody wasn’t happy about Longstreet, who pleaded guilty and also against Curry and Chambers, getting off “easy,” because he was assaulted – and almost killed – by an unknown assailant who literally planted a pipe in his head. Longstreet recovered, though, and I got to know him a little bit in the late ‘90s when HouseofBoxing.com/MaxBoxing.com co-founder Gary Randall briefly managed him.

TRAINER INJURIES

Hi Dougie,

Thanks for the twice-weekly mailbag and putting up with all the stupid questions and comments.

My stupid question is, have you ever heard of a boxing trainer being seriously hurt or KO’d while holding the mitts or otherwise training their fighter?

I was watching a video of John David Jackson working with Kovalev, and it looks like he takes quite a beating while holding mitts and other pads. And since many trainers are former fighters they probably already have aches, pains, and old injuries, so they gotta be sore at the end of the day too.

Thanks again for your great work! – Karl

Thanks for the kind words about the mailbag and for the “stupid question” (which isn’t stupid at all), Karl.

I’ve never seen or heard of a boxing trainer getting knocked out while working out with one of his fighters, but I’ve seen trainers get accidentally clipped while working mitts with their pupils many times.

I’ve seen Freddie Roach catch numerous grazing shots (and even a few solid ones) from James Toney, Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan and others over the years. Roach has a solid chin.

I’ll never forget watching former WBA heavyweight titleholder John Ruiz work the mitts with his trainer Gabe LaMarca (probably before the rematch with recent Hall-of-Fame inductee Evander Holyfield in 2001), and witnessing the older man eat at least two or three flush shots from much bigger man. Like Roach, LaMarca could take a shot.

I never saw Roach rocked or seriously hurt from taking a punch, but I know that he’s suffered from various hand, wrist, shoulder and elbow injuries and pains from working the mitts over the years, as most longtime trainers do. That’s why some trainers opt to work more with the fat, padded circular “pillow” or the dreaded “pool noodles”. That punch-practice equipment saves the hands and joints better than the focus mitts.

Roach’s bother Pepper has suffered some serious ailments – including seizures and strokes – due to the long-term effects of working mitts in a very physical way with much bigger clients and occasionally sparring with them.

I remember a local boxing character, former journeyman/cornerman Jerry Rosenberg (AKA “Jewish Bomber” and “White Boy Jerry”), telling me how his entire body was a wreck for a week after working mitts with former WBO heavyweight beltholder Lamon Brewster for 12 rounds. As strong and well conditioned as Jackson is, there’s no doubt that he feels it after working mitts (and perhaps even the pillow) with The Krusher.

Training is no joke. It takes a physical toll over the years.

HALL OF FAME SNUBS…

Hey Doug,

It’s finally good to see Jimmy Lennon Sr. Inducted in IBHOF this weekend. What are some hall of fame snubs? Thanks. – Robbie

I don’t want to say that Lennon Sr. was “snubbed” by the International Boxing Hall of Fame, but he should have been inducted before his son was (and I’m sure the very worthy Lennon Jr. would agree with that).

I think the late Lorraine Chargin – wife and business partner of hall-of-fame enshrined Don Chargin – should be inducted. She was right there, helping and supporting the legendary matchmaker/promoter every step of the way. One of the fighters the Chargins helped develop (under the promotion of hall-of-famer Aileen Eaton at L.A.’s famous Olympic Auditorium), Mando Ramos, deserves to be in the IBHOF in my humble opinion. Ramos, a wildly popular Southern California fighter during the mid-late 1960s/early ‘70s, was the youngest man to win the lightweight title and fought hall of famers Ismael Laguna and Sugar Ramos, along with numerous contenders.

But there are so many deserving fighters who were top contenders (but not necessarily champions) during the 1940s (the most competitive decade of boxing’s Golden Age in my opinion) that deserve HOF enshrinement before any of the standouts of the 1950s, ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. Two that come to mind are former middleweight contenders Jose Basora and Bert Lytell.

Basora, a world-ranked NYC-based Puerto Rican pressure fighter, fought all-time greats Ezzard Charles, Sugar Ray Robinson (who he held to a draw) and Jake LaMotta (who he outpointed and held to a draw). He also fought hall of famers Holman Williams seven times (including a fourth-round TKO win and two decision victories) and Fritzie Zivic (who he soundly outpointed).

Lytell, a member of “Murderer’s Row” (a group of African-American contenders shamelessly avoided by the world champs of the ‘40s), has an equally impressive resume, having defeated, among others, hall of famers (and fellow Murderer’s Row members) Charley Burley and Holman Williams (who he, of course, fought several times). He also outpointed Basora in Puerto Rico. Lytell held LaMotta and hall of famer Harold Johnson to 10-round split-decision losses. He lost two sound decisions to the great Archie Moore but was significantly outweighed by the Old Mongoose.

AWESOME DOUBLEHEADER

Hi Doug. A short one, for a change.

We boxing nuts are going to end 2017 really spoiled. What a year this has been. And the madness still goes on :).

A local newspaper reported Chocolatito-Sor Rungvisai, Gallito-Cuadras for September 9 at the Forum. Read that again. Is this a hell of a doubleheader or what? I hope this is true. Or I will be as disappointed as I was when I did not develop super-strength eating spinach as a kid.

This might be the best bang-for-your-buck doubleheader to attend to of the year. Can you think of a better one, in terms of quality and dollar value from a fan perspective?

Oh, and for you newcomers to the mailbag and the sport: You can safely tell your friends, come September 9, to watch the show. You will look like a genius ’cause this is gonna be a freakin’ entertaining event. – Carlos, from Hermosillo, Mexico

No doubt about that, Carlos. You should make the trip across the border and attend this show live. There’s no way the Sor Rungvisai-Gonzalez rematch won’t be an awesome barnburner as their first bout (perhaps a front-runner for Fight of the Year) was, and the Juan Estrada-Carlos Cuadras matchup (if it’s made) pits two of Mexico’s most talented, accomplished and battle-tested little men against each other.

This might be the best bang-for-your-buck doubleheader to attend to of the year. Can you think of a better one, in terms of quality and dollar value from a fan perspective? Well, it might turn out to be a tripleheader, Carlos. K2 Promotions and HBO are trying to add Japanese phenom Naoya Inoue to this Sept. 9 show (possibly against McWilliams Arroyo). If that happens, this becomes one badass showcase for the loaded 115-pound division (and hopefully sparks a junior bantamweight round robin for the next couple years). But no, I can’t think of a better doubleheader or tripleheader, although HBO’s July 15 offering at The Forum in my hometown – which is headlined by Miguel Berchelt-Takashi Miura and features Joe Smith Jr.-Sullivan Barrera and Jezreel Corrales-Robinson Castellanos – comes pretty darn close.

You know what? I like being spoiled.

WARD IS WHAT’S WRONG WITH BOXING

Hello to all,

I pray all is well with you and your families. Andre Ward is symbolic of the mindset of a lot of fighters of today and why boxing is no longer held in the high regard it use to be. The fighters of the past like Tommy Hearns, Mike McCallum and James Toney had superior skills than a guy like Ward but they had a fighter’s mentality. They came to knock your butt out and not outbox you. These guys today like Keith Thurman and Ward think when they stink it out and try to out-box people we should be praising them for going the distance and throwing a minimum amount of punches and doing more clinching then punching. Vladdy, Fraud, Hopkins and others made boxing a lot less exciting because of these defensive exhibitions. James Toney, Julio Chavez Sr., and Dwight Qawi had great defense but were still predators out to get you and were very entertaining to watch.

Current fighters like Chocolatito, Gary Russell Jr., Mikey Garcia and Lomachenko have great skills but still put on great fights. I’ve never heard a fan say they come out to see a great boxing match. Most people I know want to see a fight. Errol Spence and Kell Brook just showed you that you can have great boxing skills and still put on an entertaining fight. Ward and his self-preservation style just isn’t cutting it and it will be great when Kovalev knocks his butt out. Ward is delusional and did not win the first fight with Kovalev and like a lot of people in this age of arrogance thinks we ought to accept his mediocre performances like they are works of art. Tyson Fury is another guy who isn’t anywhere near as good as he thinks he is.

Fights like Joshua vs Vladdy had the world standing up and applauding. Fights like Fury and Vladdy had the world not caring about the sport. I hope him and that plug Tyson Fury retire very soon.

God bless and take care. – Blood and Guts from Philly

Jeez, tell me how you REALLY feel, B&G.

While Ward is not really my cup of tea, in terms of style and personality, it’s hard to argue with his results. He’s an undefeated two-division unified champ, who is currently tops THE RING pound-for-pound rankings, and will have likely earned around $15 million for this two bouts against Kovalev.

And more than a few fans and members of the boxing media were absolutely thrilled by his effort against Kovalev. The good folks at HBO consider bout No. 1 to be a “great” fight (and bellowed that word with the same enthusiasm as Tony the Tiger touts his frosted cornflakes during Ward’s “awe-inspiring” late rounds rally).

You can probably tell from my sarcasm that I don’t agree with that opinion. (It was a good, competitive light heavyweight fight that ended with a controversial decision. Nothing more, nothing less.) But just because I’m not waving Ward pom-poms doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the Sweet Science. I thought Kovalev beat Ward with SKILL, not power.

Although I loved Hearns for this frightening power and puncher’s mentality, I appreciated Toney and McCallum for their boxing ability. Toney-McCallum I is one of my all-time favorite fights and it’s because of the skill and strategy they exhibited for 12 rounds, along with their aggression and activity. It’s possible to be a defensively competent boxer-technician and still be aggressive. Another good example of this is recent hall-of-fame inductee Marco Antonio Barrera’s 130-pound showdown against future first-ballot hall of famer Juan Manuel Marquez. It was fast-paced chess, with power and a little risk taking, for 12 rounds. Now, THAT’S boxing.

Hopefully, the “adjustments” that Ward and Kovalev have both been talking about to the media include a higher punch output and a little more aggression than they put forth in their first bout. If they do this than perhaps we really will be treated to a “great” fight.

MORENO’S RETIREMENT

Hello, Doug!

  1. I’m a bit surprised that nobody talked about the loss and retirement of Anselmo Moreno. He wasn’t a superstar, but at least he deserves some mentions here… Looking back at his career, I wonder where he is ranked among Panamanian greats. If we compile a list like “the 10 greatest Panamanian boxers”, can Chemito make the list?
  2. Some say that Salvador Sanchez would have gone on to be the greatest 126 pounder of all time if he hadn’t been killed. As a big Sanchez admirer, I really want to agree with them. But could his legacy have been much greater? He was only 23 when he died, but he had gone through more than 40 fights. And his wars with Gomez or Nelson should have taken a toll on him, and these factors might have led to a sudden downfall.

Or was there room for improvement in Sanchez, who seemed to be a complete fighter already at 23? What do you think of this big “what-if”?

Mythical matchups:

Jose Napoles vs Kid Gavilan at 147

Vasyl Lomachenko vs Julio Cesar Chavez at 130

Cheers. – Taku from Japan

I’ll go with Gavilan and Chavez by close decision in excellent fights.

Was there room for improvement with Sanchez? And could his legacy have been greater had he not died at age 23? I think so. Yeah, he had 46 pro bouts under his belt at the time of his tragic death in 1982, but I think there was more the young Mexico City master could have shown us when paired up with formidable challenges – and different styles than he’d experienced – at 130 and 135 pounds, such as Roger Mayweather, Hector Chamacho, Rocky Lockridge, Julio Cesar Chavez, Edwin Rosario and Jose Luis Ramirez, during the years of 1983 and ‘84. I don’t know if Sanchez would have beat all of those amazing fighters, but I know that they would have brought out the best in him.

I’m a bit surprised that nobody talked about the loss and retirement of Anselmo Moreno. Really? I’m not surprised at all.

He wasn’t a superstar, but at least he deserves some mentions here… Hey, the mailbag brings a lot of hardcore boxing fans from around the world together, but we’re not the absolute geekiest…

Looking back at his career, I wonder where he is ranked among Panamanian greats. I think the southpaw finesse fighter is up there, Taku. I’ve got a lot of respect for Moreno because he was Road Warrior. He left Panama to fight in the U.S., Japan, France, Germany and Venezuela – and he was usually facing a home-country favorite when he traveled. He also had an excellent WBA bantamweight title reign, defending the belt 12 times, including still-dangerous versions of Vic Darchinyan and Mahyar Monshipour and a prime Nehomar Cermeno. But, alas, those distance bouts and tough battles with the elite likes of Abner Mares and Shinsuke Yamanaka eventually took their toll.

If we compile a list like “the 10 greatest Panamanian boxers”, can Chemito make the list? Yeah, I think so. The only Panama natives I’d firmly rank ahead of him are Roberto Duran, Ismael Laguna, Panama Al Brown, Eusebio Pedroza and Hilario Zapata (all of whom are hall of famers).

SURVIVING GREAT PUNCHES

Hey Dougie,

I promise I’m not stalking you (following my email earlier in the week) BUT…and I’m sorry to go back a little while in time…BUT… I watched the AJ/Klitchko fight again last night.

Now even though I’m a blood lust ghoul like your good self I actually flinched when AJ landed that upper cut in the 11th.

In slow motion it was truly unbelievable that Mr. K didn’t end up with a broken neck… the back of his head looked like it smacked him between the shoulder blades…

To my point… how on earth did Vlad get up from that???? It brought to mind Muhammad Ali getting left hooked by Our ‘Enry (Cooper back in the old black and white days) and also of Ali getting up after Smoking Joe left hooked him in the 15th of the Fight of The Century breaking his jaw.

So my question to you is – What fights can you pin point where a massive punch landed but the guy who took it actually got up to fight on. Thanks, from sunny South Wales. – Mike (M BASS)

Well the following two heavyweights didn’t hit the deck when nailed with monster uppercuts, but they probably should have – Vitali Klitschko in Round 6 vs. Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield in Round 10 vs. Riddick Bowe (fight I). I couldn’t believe that either continued fighting after absorbing those right uppercuts, let alone rallying a bit at then of those rounds.

I’ll never know how Razor Rudduck got up from that left hook that Tommy Morrison dropped him with in Round 6 of their 1995 shootout. Rudduck was halted later in the round, but the fight ended with him on his feet (and complaining about the stoppage).

I remember thinking Jorge Paez was out when he was dropped by a right hook from unbeaten lightweight puncher Tracy Spann in Round 3 of their 10 rounder in 1991, but the “Clown Prince” got up and fought his crazy ass off for the rest of the round and fight and won a majority decision (earning the former featherweight titleholder a top-10 ranking at 135 pounds).

I also recall thinking that Prince Charles Williams was on his way out when Bobby Czyz badly buckled his knees and decked him with two right hands at the end of Round 2 of their 1987 light heavyweight title bout, and then dropped the Ohioan into the ropes early in Round 3. But Williams got up both times (saved by the bell in Round 2 and was somehow fresher and more determined than ever after the knockdown in Round 3) and went on to win the fight by stoppage after nine rounds.

But the fight I thought BOTH combatants were out at least three times each during the span of five wild rounds was the 1992 heavyweight crossroads match between Michael Moorer and Bert Copper. Both punchers went down in Round 1 and looked like they were out of it, but both got up and continued to punish each other with evil head and body shots for the rest of the opening stanza and during phonebooth warfare in Round 2. Moorer was down again at the start of Round 3, and dazed as he battled off the ropes for the duration of Round 4, but somehow found the reserve to blast Cooper’s relentless ass to the canvas in Round 5. I have no idea how Cooper survived the explosive body shots Moorer nailed him with during the fight or how “Double M” recuperated so quickly after looking like he was asleep on his way down from temple shots in Rounds 1 and 3.

If you haven’t seen Moorer-Cooper, Czyz-Williams I or Paez-Spann, do yourself a favor and YouTube these bouts.

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

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