By Doug Fischer
BOXING’S BIGGEST FIGHT SHOULD BE NEXT
I hope all is well. I wanted to keep it brief in anticipation of the expected ‘Wilder beats bums’, ‘let the fight build’ comments. They’re both undefeated, charismatic heavyweight champs and Wilder is calling Joshua out after an exciting KO. Why not next??? Thanks. – Jamaal, Louisiana
No need to “marinate” a showdown between athletic heavyweights in their prime with a combined record of 59-0 (58 knockouts) and three major world titles on the line, eh?
If the managers/promoters of Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder can make a deal for the first quarter of 2018, I don’t think a single boxing fan on the planet will complain.
However, boxing is as much a business as it is a sport (and when hundreds of millions of dollars are potentially on the line, it becomes more of a business), so we can expect an extended negotiation process with lots of gamesmanship between the teams of the heavyweight titans (as the purse split, location, venue, networks, sponsors, etc., are worked out and agreed upon) that will likely push their seemingly inevitable meeting toward the summer or fall of 2018.
I don’t know whether it’s because Deontay Wilder was more frustrated and fired up than usual, but Bermane Stiverne just looked utterly disinterested on Saturday night. I used to rate him as a decent heavyweight, but it is just embarrassing that he pocketed half a million dollars for that showing. Props to Wilder for getting him out there quickly but Stiverne was just pathetic. I suppose the first sign of this was at the weigh-in when he showed up looking badly out of shape for what was supposed to be one of the biggest opportunities of his career – and an entirely undeserved one as well. You would not think looking at him, that he was a professional athlete which leads me onto something I need some educating in. How much responsibility does a fighter’s trainer have for his conditioning, particularly at heavyweight where fighters don’t have to make weight? Because surely it’s part of his job to ensure he goes into the ring, especially for a world title fight, suitably prepared and in the best possible condition to succeed.
MM: James Toney vs Carlos Monzon and Marvin Hagle
Thanks. – Hatau
I once discussed these mythical matchups with actor Mickey Rourke at a club show at Hollywood Park Casino in Inglewood, California (I think Nonito Donaire made his pro debut on that show in early 2001). Rourke, who you probably know dabbles in boxing, idolized Monzon and was a big Hagler fan in ‘80s, but he sparred with Toney at his old Hollywood gym (which Freddie Roach used to run) and viewed the style and talent of “Lights Out” as “an evolutionary step ahead” of the all-time great middleweight champs. He was probably high as f__k at the time but he was very sober in his analysis and belief that Toney, at his best at 160 pounds, would have beat them both.
I respectfully disagree with Mr. Rourke. I think both Monzon and Hagler would have outworked the best middleweight version of Toney (which can be seen in the brilliant rematch against Mike McCallum) over 12 or 15 rounds. But the fights would have been competitive, entertaining and close on points.
Regarding Stiverne’s conditioning, yes, a major part of the trainer’s job is getting his boxer into fighting shape. That duty is just as paramount as coming up with a winning game plan. However, it is the primary responsibility of the fighter to stay in shape between fights and to work hard enough during camp to be able to go the distance and effectively employ the game plan.
Stiverne’s trainer, Don House, is one of the classiest, professional and honorable men I’ve met in boxing. I have no doubt that he did his best to get Stiverne into fighting shape, mentally and physically. But the trainer can’t give his fighter DESIRE. He can’t instill fire into his fighter’s belly if it isn’t already there.
All a trainer can do is work with what his fighter gives him in the gym. What the fighter does when he’s away from the gym – and more importantly to the sad case of Stiverne, what goes on in the fighter’s mind – is not the trainer’s responsibility.
There’s something missing with Stiverne. It’s psychological. I’ve always noticed it, even when he was at his best going up against Chris Arreola. I never believed that Stiverne believed in himself. He always seemed to be surrounded by a palpable cloud of insecurity.
Going into the Wilder rematch, Stiverne seemed far beyond insecure. He appeared to be mentally “checked out” to me. And that’s a very dangerous mindset to be in with professional boxing – especially against a puncher of Wilder’s caliber. For his own safety, I don’t think Stiverne should box again until he gets some professional help.
JOSHUA-WILDER NEXT, NO EXCUSES
Memo to Eddie Hearn: no one gives a damn about Dillian Whyte. There are no feasible matchups for Wilder or Joshua to take beforehand that will make their eventual meeting more exciting. No ducking. This is the time. Two undefeated heavyweight champions, in their prime, with nearly perfect knockout percentages between them. It’s not going to be bigger in 6 months or a year or two years than it is right now. For once, just ONCE, make it happen when it should. Like Mills Lane used to say LET’S GET IT ON! – Tim in St. Pete
In a perfect world Joshua and Wilder would face each other in their next fight, but with the business of the sport being what it is and the egos that are involved, I seriously doubt that will happen. However, I believe that the heavyweight super fight will happen in 2018. There’s too much money on the line for it not to happen, and both sides know that they will lose all that dough if one of the heavyweight titans are upset before the unification bout can take place. So, I think they’ll eventually get it done, but I’d be surprised if Joshua-Wilder happened in early 2018.
Memo to Eddie Hearn: no one gives a damn about Dillian Whyte. He knows that, Tim. Maneuvering Whyte into the WBC’s mandatory title-shot position is merely gamesmanship. It puts more pressure on Al Haymon and Team Wilder to make the fight with Joshua. It’s basically Hearn telling Wilder: “You got three choices: You can fight Joshua for by far the biggest payday of your career, or you can make a risky title defense against Whyte (for a career-high purse if you come to the U.K.), or you can get stripped of your WBC title. What’ll it be, mate?”
There are no feasible matchups for Wilder or Joshua to take beforehand that will make their eventual meeting more exciting. I’m not sure that statement applies for Joshua. If AJ comes to America for a voluntary defense, let’s say in NYC against Brooklynite Jarrell Miller (should “Big Baby” take care of biz against Mariusz Wach this Saturday, which is an Eddie Hearn-promoted card, by the way) in early 2018, I think that showcase would help establish the British star’s name in the U.S., which would help promote the showdown with Wilder (especially if the fight takes place in the States). Regarding the feasibility of other matchups, Joshua just did close to 80,000 butts in the seats against Carlos Takam in the U.K. I think any bout he’s involved in is “feasible” across the pond.
No ducking. I don’t think either fighter wants to duck the other. And I’m fairly certain that their advisors/promoters want to make the fight.
It’s not going to be bigger in 6 months or a year or two years than it is right now. I think it will be bigger in six months, and if it happens a year from now it will take place at the peak of public fascination; however, if it doesn’t happen in 2018, hardcore fans will lose interest.
BIG BOXING WEEKEND
My TV is still buzzing from the action I have just witnessed on Showtime’s boxing card Saturday night. There were also some other interesting bouts on HBO and ESPN this past weekend that bode well for future bouts.
On Friday on ESPN, I saw 19-year-old junior lightweight Ryan Garcia. I had not seen him before and I was impressed. The kid was poised, his punches flowed so smoothly and he could crack with both hands. His timing was unbelievable. He flashed the left hook with a level of skill that belied his age. That kid is a competitor and is going to be a force in the division.
On HBO Saturday afternoon, I saw light heavyweight Dimitry Bivol. This is another guy I had not seen. A smooth boxer who can hit. A pleasure to watch. He is busy in there as well and seems to be on a mission to get his man out of there. Maybe a future opponent for Kovalev. Looking forward to seeing him again.
Finally, the Showtime card on Saturday. What can I say about Shawn Porter? A tough guy, but his fights are ugly to watch. If you fight him you better be in shape and you better be ready to rumble but his mauling brawling style just makes it difficult to look good against. I thought Adrian Granados gave a good account of himself but the decision went the right way. I would still rather see ANYONE else vs Thurman than Porter.
In the heavyweight division Deontay Wilder is a force to be reckoned with. He looked to be in great condition (he always enters the ring in good shape). Bermane Stiverne looked soft and flabby. Totally unprepared. Wilder oozed confidence from the look in his eyes to the way he snapped the jab. As you have written, Wilder’s power is real and when he landed that first straight right it was pretty much over. The follow up shots and knock downs were brutal. It concerned me though in the slow-mo the way Wilder winged in those last right hands like a kid throwing a rock or a baseball. Looked like a good way to break your hand. The bottom line is…as a fan I think they should make Wilder/Joshua NOW…while the prospect of this fight is hot. Sometimes promoters wait too long. Wilder says he will travel anywhere… that he is a WORLD champion. They could easily sell out Wembley Stadium in London and Las Vegas would go crazy for this contest. I would lay down some PPV dollars for that one. I am not even picking a winner…I just think it will be a hell of a shootout while it lasts.
What do you think, Doug? Do the fans have any hope of seeing that one in 2018? – David / Nashville
I don’t want to jinx it but, yes, I think there’s a very good chance that we will witness Joshua-Wilder – which I agree has the making for a grand heavyweight shootout – next year.
I was thinking the same thing you were when watching the slo-mo replay of Wilder’s follow-up attack against “Stiff”-verne: “Damn, I’m surprised he didn’t break his hand or tear his biceps, swinging all crazy like that!”
However, it must be said that those wild-style punches are part of what makes the American beltholder so dangerous (along with his speed, power and reach). Wilder’s lack of form when he’s going in for the kill is also what makes him vulnerable.
I should also note (as I did on Twitter shortly after the fight) that the one-two combination that split Stiverne’s guard and produced the first knockdown was arrow-straight and deadly accurate – textbook technique.
On Friday on ESPN, I saw 19-year-old junior lightweight Ryan Garcia. I had not seen him before and I was impressed. He’s gifted with speed, pop, timing, and charisma. That’s a winning/marketable combination.
The kid was poised, his punches flowed so smoothly and he could crack with both hands. Garcia does have fast-but-fluid punches. However, sometimes it seems as though he’s loading up too much, and almost launching his shots like fast balls. Hopefully, as he matures, he’ll realize that he doesn’t have to try to KO his opponent with every punch.
His timing was unbelievable. He flashed the left hook with a level of skill that belied his age. It was like he produced that first knockdown by accident, which is crazy. It reminded me of Manny Pacquiao’s knockdown of Juan Manuel Marquez in their rematch (at junior lightweight).
That kid is a competitor and is going to be a force in the division. I agree. All he has to do is keep learning and improve his defensive technique.
On HBO Saturday afternoon, I saw light heavyweight Dimitry Bivol. This is another guy I had not seen. He won’t be under the radar for much longer.
A smooth boxer who can hit. He is busy in there as well and seems to be on a mission to get his man out of there. In other words, he’s must-see TV.
Maybe a future opponent for Kovalev. Looking forward to seeing him again. You will. And we’ll likely see him in against top opposition. Bivol is the WBA titleholder. The WBA’s top three contenders are Sullivan Barrera, Badou Jack and Oleksandr Gvozdyk. (Kovalev is rated No. 6, Joe Smith Jr. is No. 8 and Marcus Browne is No. 9.) Bring ‘em all on!
What can I say about Shawn Porter? A tough guy, but his fights are ugly to watch. Yeah, I think the world of Porter as a person and a fighter but sometimes it’s difficult to witness him ply his brutal, ultra-physical ring craft. His style is pure athleticism but without precision and grace.
If you fight him you better be in shape and you better be ready to rumble but his mauling brawling style just makes it difficult to look good against. I think Porter can give any welterweight in the world – including Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford – a hard night.
I thought Adrian Granados gave a good account of himself but the decision went the right way. Agreed.
I would still rather see ANYONE else vs Thurman than Porter. Agreed. Welterweights I’d like to see Porter in with include the Spence-Peterson winner, Danny Garcia and Lucas Matthysee.
WILDER SHOULD BE A BIGGER STAR
Hey Doug, how are you?
Look, Wilder fought a guy who had one fight in the last two years, but he did what he had to do, destroy him impressively. That’s what you do with a guy like that. I liked his interview too, unlike Joshua who said his promoter does the fights and he does the fighting, Wilder called him out and said he’s willing to go to England. If that fight happens over there, I’m willing to go! That’s an event I would love to witness live! Finally, we have a heavyweight title fight that’s intriguing and genuinely exciting! I think this fight is the biggest (literally) the sport can offer and should happen as soon as possible. I favor Joshua based on quality of opposition but wouldn’t be surprised if Wilder’s power leads him to a KO victory.
It’s sad to see an American charismatic undefeated heavyweight titlist with power in both hands not being promoted properly. If this guy was with Bob Arum, Golden Boy or Don King, he would be selling out arenas. The fact that he has an advisor as a promoter shows you what we already know. I just hope that his inept advisor doesn’t prevent this superfight from happening. This is the fight that can capture the imagination of a lot of people worldwide. And yes, I’m aware of his deficiencies, he has poor balance, a shaky chin and somewhat below average boxing ability but with that size and power there’s always a possibility of a KO.
Have a good one Doug. – Juan Valverde
Will do, Juan.
I agree that Wilder is live against any heavyweight, including AJ, thanks that special blend of speed, power, reach and sometimes unorthodox delivery. And, of course, his puncher’s mentality. He’s going to live or die by the sword.
I also agree that Joshua-Wilder is the biggest fight that can be made in boxing, even bigger than the Canelo-Golovkin rematch (although that fight could match AJ ticket sales numbers if it were to land in a major U.S. Stadium).
I also agree, in part, that Wilder could have been a much bigger name and attraction in the U.S. by this stage of his career had he been with a major promoter (not including King, it ain’t the ‘90s, bro) for the past two-to-three years. However, his advisor has kept him busy and safe, allowing him to get much needed rounds under his belt while he’s earned a very nice living (which only means that Al Haymon was meant to be a manager, not a promoter or the overseer of subordinate promoters).
Regarding Wilder-Stiverne, yeah, the WBC beltholder did what he should have done against a sleep-walking heavybag with dreadlocks.
Regarding Joshua-Wilder, it’s definitely a fight/event that I want to witness live, and I’ll definitely travel to the U.K. to cover it if it lands there. (It will probably be for the vacant RING heavyweight title.)
THE 220-LB. AMERICAN BEATS THE 255-LB. BRIT
Kondo got no respect from the judges. I had him up by one but it was very close. Granados didn’t get any respect from them judges either but it was a much clearer win. Porter is the sloppiest and most erratic boxer I have ever seen. Plus, his whole “dance with my father again” thing is just a little weird too. I would like to see him against Omar Figureoa. Call me crazy but I think Omar’s sick infighting and upper cuts might be just the right thing to win the most insane battle of attrition ever. BTW Errol is going to murder Peterson. Now on to the main event.
Well first off, Deontay clearly had the better rap support. I don’t know what Bermane’s dude was rapping about but 50 did pretty good. Oh cool, Collin Quin is reffing the fight! He is my favorite.
Round 1: BOOOOOOMBSQUAAAAAAAADDDD.
I am telling you man, Deontay is gonna beat AJ.
GGG vs the Sugar that “beat” Hagler @160
(That was not the best Ray)
GGG vs the Martinez that killed Williams @160
(That might of been the best Sergio)
GGG vs the Manny that mangled Margarito @155
(Manny’s feet were superb that night)
Thanks brother. – Matt on Merritt Island
GGG vs the Sugar that “beat” Hagler @ 160 – Leonard by somewhat controversial UD.
GGG vs the Martinez that killed Williams @ 160 – Golovkin by late TKO in a very good fight.
GGG vs the Manny that mangled Margarito @ 155 – Golovkin knocks Pacquiao out cold by the middle rounds (as soon as he’s able to acclimate to the Filipino dynamo’s speed and time a cross or hook upside his head). By the way, Pac-Margz was at a 150-pound catchweight and Manny weighed in UNDER 145 pounds. He’s WAY too small for GGG.
Kondo got no respect from the judges. I agree. At least Showtime’s Steve Farhood, who scored it 114-114, saw what was really happening in the ring. I’d like to see Kondo return to the States. He’s a warrior.
Granados didn’t get any respect from them judges either but it was a much clearer win. I agree. I hope Granados moves back down to 140 pounds. Hey, how about Granados-Kondo?
Porter is the sloppiest and most erratic boxer I have ever seen. I’ve seen worse, but yeah, homie is hard to watch at times. I always feel sorry for his opponents.
Plus, his whole “dance with my father again” thing is just a little weird too. All father-son boxing relationships are weird. But Shawn and Kenny are beautiful people. For real.
I would like to see him against Omar Figureoa. I like that matchup!
Call me crazy but I think Omar’s sick infighting and uppercuts might be just the right thing to win the most insane battle of attrition ever. To be honest, I do think you are little crazy, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t right.
BTW Errol is going to murder Peterson. We’ll see. Peterson is ready to be pushed off that cliff, and Spence is the type of young gun to do that, but I think he’ll have to work for it.
Deontay clearly had the better rap support. Well, duh. Better to have 50 rap during your walk-in than have him promote you, right?
I don’t know what Bermane’s dude was rapping about but 50 did pretty good. Bermane’s dude rapped like he shared some of that Haitian ganja Stiverne smoked up in the dressing room.
Oh cool, Collin Quin is reffing the fight! He is my favorite. Mine too!
Round 1: BOOOOOOMBSQUAAAAAAAADDDD. Calm down. Stiverne was barely breathing before he took a punch.
I am telling you man, Deontay is gonna beat AJ. Don’t talk about it, BE about it and put your money on it, homeboy.
Email Fischer at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer
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