Dougie’s Friday mailbag (Taylor-Baranchyk, Inoue-Rodriguez, Deontay Wilder’s morbid comments)

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Rodriguez (right) and Naoya Inoue. Photo by Shabba Shafiq/ SW33TSCIENCE Photgraphy

FABULOUS WEEKEND OF BOXING

Hi Dougie,

Hope this message finds you in great form. Just a quick check in to say what a fabulous weekend of boxing lies ahead of us.

First up we have my man Josh Taylor in his WBSS semi-Final/IBF Light-Welter match-up. Man, I am too excited for this one. I will confess, I have rose-tinted vision when it comes to Taylor given that he is a lad who lives local to me but that said, I think (hope) he comes thru this fight v Ivan Baranchyk. Freddie Roach in is town telling us all that we’ll all go home Baranchyk fans after the fight, but I can safely say, that’s not going to happen.

However, I think it goes the distance this one and Taylor may have to pick himself up from the canvas in getting the win. How do you see this one?

The winner will match up Regis Prograis in the final which is just a fabulous contest whoever is awarded the decision. To have the chance to see Naoya Inoue in his match Vs. Emmanuel Rodriguez in the WBSS bantamweight Semi-Final is also such a bonus. What a great card.

Elsewhere in the UK we have Billy Joe Saunders take on Shefat Isufi  for the WBO Super MW belt. I’m intrigued to see this new version of Saunders post lay-off and think he comes thru’ this test although I know little to nothing of Isufi other than a few youtube clips. Again, how do you see that one going?

Now for the darker side of boxing: What punishment, if any, do you think Deontay Wilders comments this week will draw about looking to add what is basically a death onto his Boxing resume when discussing his upcoming match-up with Dominic Breazeale? I was absolutely sickened by what he said given the tragedies of recent times that have happened in the ring. For me he has acted like a complete imbecile and, really, I have lost respect for him both as a person or as a boxer. Boxing doesn’t need to hear such things and its totally unprofessional. And to think, it was a gift decision he was awarded with the draw V Tyson Fury in his last outing.

Anyway, I’m not going to allow him to spoil the excitement I have for a great weekend ahead and perhaps as a cherry on top of a Taylor win and seeing Inoue in action, we get to see Breazeale flatten Wilder, assuming he doesn’t let the comments in the build-up leave him too intimidated.

Before I go a MM for you with a Scottish flavour to it: Ken Buchanan V Floyd Mayweather Jnr at Lightweight. For me, Buchanan schools him, is too fleet of foot and jabs his head off to a points win over 12 rounds.

All the best to you and the family Doug. It’s a great thing that you do with the page. Please keep it up for the longest time. – Raymond, Tranent, Scotland

Hey, if they keep paying me, I’ll keep doing it! Thanks for the kind words, Raymond.

DECEMBER 1971: Ring Magazine Cover – Illustration of Ken Buchanan on the cover. (Photo by: The Ring Magazine/Getty Images)

Wow. Buchanan vs. Mayweather at lightweight. That’s a wonderful mythical matchup. It’s crazy that nobody’s every proposed this (that I can recall) before. That’s probably because most fans have no idea who Ken Buchanan is. Well, kids, he was a sensational lightweight champ. And as ultra-talented and gusty as Mayweather was during his sub-welterweight days, Kenny was all wrong the Michigan native stylistically. Plus, I don’t think Mayweather was at his best during his brief stay at 135 pounds, where he struggled vs Jose Luis Castillo, Emanuel Burton/Augustus, and even (to a lesser extent) against Victoriano Sosa (don’t let the lopsided scorecards fool you). Meanwhile, Buchanan outpointed the great Ismael Laguna – twice. And it took arguably the greatest lightweight ever to dethrone him – with a foul punch. I think they’d go tit for tat with their excellent jabs, Buchanan would trouble Mayweather with is lateral movement, Floyd would land cleaner with his right, Ken would work harder inside, and it’d probably be a toss-up in a 12-round bout; but I think the Scotsman wins a close one in a 15 rounder.

Regarding Wilder disturbing comments to various media about wanting “to catch a body” before he’s done with boxing, and having “no remorse” if he seriously or even mortally injures Breazeale, I don’t he will receive any punishment unless the WBC rules to fine him. I know his promotional backers (Showtime, Barclays Center and the PBC) won’t tell him anything (they’re probably grateful that he’s drawing attention to the fight with his controversial words and attitude), and I know the New York State Athletic Commission isn’t going to do anything. Going forward, Wilder is going to be a polarizing figure by talking that morbid s__t, and he will probably never attract the kind of big corporate sponsors that Anthony Joshua, Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin have, but he says he doesn’t care. And I can respect that stance.

And to be fair to Wilder, pro boxing is a combat sport. Emotions and adrenaline are going to run high when two combat competitors get close to their fight date, especially if they genuinely don’t like each other as is clearly the case with Wilder and Breazeale. Fighters can’t always be friendly rivals who give their all in the ring against each other like Arturo Gatti and Mickey Ward. Sometimes they really hate each other, like Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales. I’m cool with either scenario as long as the fight is good (and they keep the punches legal) once the bell rings.

Taylor (left) and Baranchyk. Photo by Shabba Shafiq/ SW33TSCIENCE Photography

First up we have my man Josh Taylor in his WBSS semi-Final/IBF Light-Welter match-up. Man, I am too excited for this one. You should be. Boxer-vs.-puncher matchups usually deliver when the boxer is as talented and gutsy as Taylor and the puncher is as aggressive and brute strong as Baranchyk.

I will confess, I have rose-tinted vision when it comes to Taylor given that he is a lad who lives local to me but that said, I think (hope) he comes thru this fight v Ivan Baranchyk. Your lad has his work cut out for him, but I think he’s the more versatile and technical boxer and he’s faced better opposition than the Russian.

Freddie Roach in is town telling us all that we’ll all go home Baranchyk fans after the fight, but I can safely say, that’s not going to happen. Really? You know for sure? How much money are you wagering on Taylor?

However, I think it goes the distance this one and Taylor may have to pick himself up from the canvas in getting the win. How do you see this one? I like Taylor by close unanimous decision in a tough (sometimes ugly) fight.

The winner will match up Regis Prograis in the final which is just a fabulous contest whoever is awarded the decision. And the winner of that final will likely earn The Ring Magazine’s vacant 140-pound title.

To have the chance to see Naoya Inoue in his match Vs. Emmanuel Rodriguez in the WBSS bantamweight Semi-Final is also such a bonus. What a great card. It’s the best double-header this year since the Sor Rungvisai-Estrada II/Roman-Doheny card in my hometown of Inglewood, California last month. I hope this one is every bit as entertaining as that one was (I think there’s a good chance it surpasses it). Props to DAZN streaming both shows in the U.S.

Elsewhere in the UK we have Billy Joe Saunders take on Shefat Isufi for the WBO Super MW belt. The vacant strap. How the WBO saw fit to rank Isufi as their No. 1 contender at 168 pounds is beyond me. Oh well, if BJS gets his hands on it, he will be a welcome addition to the super middleweight division.

I’m intrigued to see this new version of Saunders post lay-off and think he comes thru’ this test although I know little to nothing of Isufi other than a few youtube clips. You’re not missing much. If Saunders is dialed in, he should outclass the Serbian-German.

Again, how do you see that one going? Saunders by one-sided decision.

 

MONSTER FEVER

Hi Doug,

You got Monster Fever yet?

I have a friend who has it badly, I already started making fun of him and ask him when Inoue starts Knocking out the Middleweights lol. I still like him and see him winning against Rodriguez because I saw the last fight between Rodriguez and Moloney and wasn`t impressed.

How do you see this fight? I pick the Monster by late knockout.

The Final should be the real test because I think it`s going to be Donaire in the Final and I think the savvy Veteran will be a real challenge for the Monster.

What do you see for Inoue for the future? I think he will go up again and start in the featherweight division.

A battle between the two Monsters (Xu Can and Inoue) would be a real cracker.

Mythical Monster Matchups

Inoue vs Pac-Man (Flyweight) let`s go Big Time

Inoue vs Santa Cruz

Inoue vs Gallo (Estrada)

Inoue vs Rungvisai

Greetings from Germany. – Andy

I’ll go with Inoue by mid-rounds KO in a shootout (Pac was ridiculously raw at 112 pounds), Inoue by close decision over LSC (who was a workhorse at 118 but rather one-dimensional), Estrada by close decision and The Monster by decision in a brutal battle with the Thai Tank.

You got Monster Fever yet? I’m a fan, but I can’t say that I’ve got the fever – yet. Ask me after Saturday.

I have a friend who has it badly, I already started making fun of him and ask him when Inoue starts Knocking out the Middleweights lol. Hey, I bet he’d go after Canelo harder than Jacobs did.

I still like him and see him winning against Rodriguez because I saw the last fight between Rodriguez and Moloney and wasn`t impressed. Styles make fights, and maybe Jason Moloney is better than you think he is.

How do you see this fight? I pick the Monster by late knockout. That’s sounds about right, but I can see Rodriguez going the distance in a competitive loss.

The Final should be the real test because I think it`s going to be Donaire in the Final and I think the savvy Veteran will be a real challenge for the Monster. We’ll see. I gotta go with youth in that matchup. The prime 118-pound version of Nonito that starched poor Fernando Montiel in two rounds vs. The Monster would be the Asian version of the Zarate-Zamora Mexican un-civil war.

What do you see for Inoue for the future? I think he will go up again and start in the featherweight division. So do I. He might make a brief pit-stop at 122 pounds, but I think he’ll settle in at 126 and maybe finish his career at 130.

A battle between the two Monsters (Xu Can and Inoue) would be a real cracker. That matchup would definitely make the cover of The Ring. We’d have to do Japanese and Chinese versions of the magazine for that showdown.

 

DEONTAY WILDER’S CHOICE OF WORDS

Hi Dougie,
Been a reader since the Maxboxing days, really enjoy reading the mailbag. Keep up the great work.

As the Wilder-Breazeale fight is this weekend, I have a question about what boxers say when they’re talking about hurting an opponent.

The best and worst part of boxing is the “Wild West” nature of the sport. It’s the worst because medical requirements are inconsistent, drug testing is slipshod, licensing varies from commission to commission…all of which means fighter safety suffers in a business which is dangerous even under ideal circumstances.

It’s the best because fighters are generally pretty free to speak their minds, whereas athletes in other sports or leagues are heavily fined/censured for saying anything remotely honest, controversial or “offensive”. It makes boxing a lot of fun to follow, and the only sport worth watching, in my humble opinion.

Which brings me back to Deontay Wilder. His comments about “catching a body” are pretty tasteless. So…

-Have there been other fighters with a high profile who’ve spoken this way? (I remember Ricardo Mayorga saying some “colourful” things)

-Will networks overlook this kind of thing if it means knockouts and ratings on their platform, or is there a history of boxers losing out on TV opportunities after crossing a line? (I read M. Woods’ article on the final presser for Saturday’s fight).

I have all the respect in the world for anybody who “punches for pay” as the consequences can be pretty dire. I’ve told non-fans that boxing movie villains are generally mis-portrayed, as any boxer I’ve seen who has had an opponent die due to ring injuries are almost invariably devastated and never the same again. Rafael Ruelas comes to mind, and I think Max Baer had a difficult time as well.

If speaking like this is “the line”…. what are the consequences for crossing it? Kind regards. – Lucas Pettenuzzo, Blind River, ON, Canada

I agree that saying the morbid things Wilder has said during the build-up to the Breazeale fight (and even a year or two before tomorrow night’s WBC heavyweight title bout during a radio morning show interview) is crossing the line – even for boxing – and the main consequence is losing fans.

As you noted, boxing is not uniformly regulated by the various state commissions and it’s not run by a central organization/association (like the UFC or pro team sports), which leads to the inconsistent medical requirements and drug testing, but also the unpredictable free speech. So, we shouldn’t expect any consequences to come from the event organizers or the boxing commission.

Like you, the non-scripted/non-corporate/uncontrollable aspect of professional boxing, or “Theater of the Unexpected,” as Larry Merchant used to put it, is part of what attracts me to the sport. Whenever I’m flipping through general sports networks and come across interviews with team sports athletes (especially basketball and American football players) I can’t listen to more than a few seconds of them drone on with their usual mantras (and I can’t understand why anyone would want to listen to that boring s__t).

So, I like it when boxers keep it real, even when that “real” is ugly. Now, what Wilder is talking about is beyond ugly, it’s cringey, and it doesn’t make me feel good about the sport. And you know what? Wilder doesn’t give a rat’s ass what I – or you –think.

And I respect that.

-Have there been other fighters with a high profile who’ve spoken this way? (I remember Ricardo Mayorga saying some “colourful” things) Of course! Two of the most popular boxers of the modern era used to drop cold-ass lines like that: Roberto Duran and Mike Tyson. (They were more creative with their wording and they’re blessed with charisma that Wilder lacks, but they still talked – even boasted – about wanting to “off” their opponents.)

-Will networks overlook this kind of thing if it means knockouts and ratings on their platform, or is there a history of boxers losing out on TV opportunities after crossing a line? Not that I’m aware of, not in recent decades anyway. Back when boxing was on commercial TV, I can see comments like Wilder’s causing some sponsors to complain or pull out and that could result in the network telling that fighter to take a hike, but during the subscription cable era? Forget about it.

I’ve told non-fans that boxing movie villains are generally mis-portrayed, as any boxer I’ve seen who has had an opponent die due to ring injuries are almost invariably devastated and never the same again. Rafael Ruelas comes to mind, and I think Max Baer had a difficult time as well. You mean Gabriel Ruelas, but you’re absolutely correct, and I’m sure you and I could come up with 20 examples going back to Baer’s era. Ring fatalities and serious brain injuries are a tragic reality of professional boxing that impacts the surviving boxer for the rest of his life.

 

SHOOTOUT AT 140 POUNDS

Hey Doug,

Teofimo Lopez keeps saying he will move up to 140 next year. Do you think there’s a chance we see him against Vergil Ortiz Jr in 2020? Who would win that fight and whose career has the bigger upside? Best. – ws

I have no idea whose career has the bigger upside at this juncture of their budding careers. Both standouts are 21 years old with just 13 pro bouts. It’s too early to tell, but it’s clear that Ortiz and Lopez are immensely talented boxer-punchers who make for very entertaining fights. Obviously, if they were to fight next year the boxing world would take notice, but although I believe that Lopez will indeed step up to junior welterweight, I don’t think a showdown would be made at 140 unless a world title was involved. I don’t know who would win that clash, it’s an even-money matchup based on what I’ve seen from both, but I’d be willing to pay good money to watch it live. (By the way, don’t be surprised if Ortiz makes a permanent move to 147 in 2020.)

 

HURD IS THE NEW MEMBER OF A PRESTIGIOUS CLUB

Hi Doug,

I pray you and your family are doing well and I pray all the people who read your mailbag and their families are doing well.

Hurd shouldn’t feel so bad because he is a member of a large club. Guys who are really good or great fighters who got their butts kicked by a Philly fighter. They were riding high like Hurd at the time and were upset. Ali, Foreman, Hagler, Morales, Foster, Moore, Gatti, Trinidad, De La Hoya, Tarver, Winky, Pavlik, McGirt, Kinchen, Hilton, Blake, Bramble.

A strong case can be made for Tim Witherspoon beating larry Holmes and Tyrone Everett beating Alfredo Escalara. This fight reminded me of Bam Bam Hines beating Matthew Hilton. Better technique beat the supposedly stronger guy. I thought Hurd would win and am still a big fan of his, but I was cheering and hoping for Breadman and J-Rock. Great action fight and a conclusive winner, not like Harrison vs Charlo. J-Rock went out and won the fight and was not given the belt based on crappy judging.

Hurd and his family are the personification of class and that makes me ever a bigger fan of his and I can’t wait for the rematch. Unlike Charlo who I think will beat Harrison in a rematch. I feel Hurd is going to have a harder time winning because it looks like J-Rock has gotten physically stronger and he is going to be a lot more confident after being in there with Hurd already. It looked like he was the sharper puncher. It will be interesting to see how Hurd responds in a rematch. Hope it happens before the year is out.

(PS – For the younger fans who don’t know. Ali lost to Frazier, Foreman to Jimmy Young, Hagler to Boogaloo Watts and Willie The Worm Monroe, Morales to Zahir Raheem, Foster to Frazier, Moore to Harold Johnson, Gatti to Mighty Ivan Robinson; Trindad, De La Hoya, Tarver Winky and Pavlik to B-hop, McGirt to Meldrick Taylor, Kinchen to James Schuler, Hilton to Bam Bam, Robin Blake to Butterfly Crawley, Bramble to Two Guns Fletcher. There are plenty more but not enough room to mention all the times Philly fighters have played the spoiler.)

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

Wow. That’s a great list, B&G.

Both Hurd AND Williams are in damn good company. Here’s hoping that Hurd can bounce back the way many of the favorites that were upset by the Philly badasses did.

 

THE BROWN BOMBER

Doug, I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed and appreciated the nice articles you did on Joe Louis. He and Ali are 1 and 1A on my list of the greatest heavyweights of all time and it was nice to see someone give him the spotlight again.

Boxing has such a rich and deep history, I always enjoy any article in Ring, or online, that touches on those things. The old covers were wonderful to see too, all drawn by the nearly forgotten Stanley Weston. I’ve been a boxing fan for nearly 50 years and I sometimes worry the younger fans might not know about our sport’s wonderful history. Articles like this help to change that. Nice job! – Bill Pittman, Elkhart, Indiana

Thanks for the kind words and encouragement, Bill.

The “From The Archive: Born on this Day” feature is something I’d like to turn into a regular feature for the website. If time (and energy) permits today, I might honor my boyhood idol, Sugar Ray Leonard, who was born on this day (May 17) with a selection of vintage Ring covers, and I may do the same to his arch rival, Marvin Hagler (born on May 23), next week.

I’m also thinking of extending the series to great fights.

 

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and watch him on Periscope every Sunday from SMC track.

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