Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Erislandy Lara, Spence-Garcia, heavyweight prospects)

Share the joy


Erislandy Lara – 153 ½ pounds, Brian Castaño – 154 pounds. Photo by Stephanie Trapp/SHOWTIME

FINE MARGINS

Hi Doug,
Erislandy Lara in another close fight that didn’t go his way this weekend. When you think how little there was in those fights he lost, he could easily be considered a P4P level guy with just a bit more luck. SD losses to Canelo, Jarret Hurd, robbed against Paul Williams, he’s been very unlucky.

Along with Badou Jack he has perhaps the finest margins between being considered a good fighter and a standout of the last decade. What other boxers would you fit into this category based on close decisions lost/robberies.
MM:
All 154 –
Erislandy Lara vs Wilfred Benitez
John Mugabi vs. Jarret Hurd
Jaime Munguia vs. Floyd Mayweather

Conrad, Sheffield

I’ll go with Benitez by decision, Mugabi by late stoppage and Mayweather on points.

Alejandro Santiago Barrios (left) poses with Jerwin Ancajas after they fought to a draw last September.

Another boxer who has repeatedly come up short by the finest margins, apart from Lara and Jack, is hard-luck junior bantamweight Alejandro Santiago Barrios. If a round or two had gone his way in a split-decision loss early in his career and with his five draws (four of which were vs. quality opposition) – most recently against IBF beltholder Jerwin Ancajas – the 23-year-old Tijuana native would be a top-rated 115-pound world titleholder with a 23-1 record instead of a fringe contender with a 17-2-5 record. His career and livelihood would be completely different (for the better)!

Current IBF lightweight titleholder Richard Commey would have held that belt 2½ years earlier had one round on Craig Smith’s 114-113 scorecard for Robert Easter Jr. gone his way in that hotly contested fight. And the Ghanaian standout would be unbeaten had Steve Weisfeld scored one or two rounds his way in his hard stand against Denis Shafikov.

Erislandy Lara in another close fight that didn’t go his way this weekend. Yes, but it was legitimately close. I picked him to win a close one, but I was OK with the split draw against Brian Castano. Neither junior middleweight was able to take control of the fight and neither deserved to win the bout by more than a round, their styles basically meshed in a way that they cancelled each other’s strengths.

When you think how little there was in those fights he lost, he could easily be considered a P4P level guy with just a bit more luck. SD losses to Canelo, Jarret Hurd, robbed against Paul Williams, he’s been very unlucky. He was lucky against Carlos Molina. But yeah, he was definitely unlucky vs. Canelo (mostly due to Levi Martinez being one of the judges). The Hurd fight was just a nip and tuck battle that was decided by a final-round knockdown. He was on the s__t-end of that stick, but I see that as Hurd making his own luck rather than Lara being “unlucky.”

Had he won those fights, I think his stature in boxing would be higher, he would have made more money, had a few more big fights, and he’d be a unified 154-pound beltholder right now, but I’m not sure he’d be considered pound-for-pound. I picked him to beat Williams because P-Will was coming off a devastating KO loss to Sergio Martinez. He didn’t beat Williams when the towering volume-puncher was considered a top talent or the “Boogeyman’ of three divisions. And Canelo was just one bout removed from being

Lara eventually stopped Angulo but he had his hands full with the pressure fighter.

undressed by Floyd Mayweather. Canelo wasn’t on any pound-for-pound lists in 2014. I’m not trying to dismiss Lara. He’s very good, and I think his valor is underrated, but he’s not the elite boxer that he’s often hyped up to be. He’s tough and crafty southpaw who brought the Cuban amateur style directly to the pro ranks, and he’s done well with it, but he never developed into a complete professional. He’s beatable, and one doesn’t have to be a “world-beater” to compete with him. Cagey Carlos Molina gave him fits, a faded Alfredo Angulo gave him hell, and he struggled in two fight against Vanes Martirosyan. There’s no shame in those struggles, the fights with Angulo and Hurd were sensational. Lara remains a top-five junior middleweight at age 35 and he should be commended for that.

 

SPENCE VS. GARCIA

Hey Doug!

Hope you’re well. Just wanted to reach out a few weeks early and get your take on the Mikey Garcia-Errol Spence fight. It intrigues me in the same way that Kell Brook-Gennady Golovkin and Amir Khan-Canelo Alvarez did.

However, for me the difference in the lead up is that Garcia doesn’t talk about Spence in the same way Brook and Khan spoke about Golovkin and Alvarez, respectively. They really seemed to feel like the David to their Goliath, realizing it was going to take a flawless performance or a miracle to win. Both appeared to feign confidence, in my opinion. Garcia seems to truly believe he belongs in there.

I don’t know if that’s a good thing or bad thing for him. If he executes like he’s fighting any other fighter, I think he could compete late into the fight, maybe even last all twelve. He has a way of committing to his punches that mutes his opponent’s offense and pivots out of range effectively on defense.

That attitude could also spell his doom. Given that Lipinets was able to touch him decently, I have trouble seeing him hanging in much past 7 rounds. I also think that against most guys his fundamental style is very effective. But I think he’s not versatile enough to compete with Spence. The jab and 1-2 combo accounts for the 90% of his work. I think Spence will get wise quickly.

I would imagine he’ll either need great footwork and a steady dose of hooks, uppercuts, and body work on the counter, or he’ll need to be able to push Spence backward to minimize his leverage. Don’t really see either happening.

Wondering if we could get your analysis on the match – and what you think Garcia will have success with and what he’ll struggle with. – Vincent, South Orange, NJ

Brook lands a right against Spence. Photo / @ShowtimeBoxing

I think Garcia is going to struggle with Spence’s hard southpaw jab, physical strength and pressure. I think he’ll have success with his counter punching, provided he can get off on the fly as Kell Brook was able to do in the early rounds against Spence. Brook had his moments during the first half of Spence’s first title bout. The English veteran fired his jab over Spence’s, landed lead rights, select body shots and even some uppercuts before the Texan’s consistent jab, gradual pressure and body work wore him down to a late stoppage.

I’m thinking Garcia, who isn’t as big or athletic as Brook, might suffer the same fate, but maybe before Round 11. However, it should be noted that Garcia won’t be entering this fight as weight-drained or “damaged goods” as Brook did. His whiskers are more solid than Khan’s, and he’s a more complete fighter than both Brits.

So, maybe he can last the distance. If he can go 12 and win a few rounds, that would be a moral victory, no? It’s just hard to envision. Yeah, he dealt with Robert Easter’s height and reach like a boss, but “Bunny” doesn’t have Spence’s power, mass or technique. And it seems to me that Garcia does his best offensive work when he can get his opponent against the ropes – that’s when he see his body attack – but that’s gonna be hard to do against a welterweight as big and strong (and strong willed) as Spence.

(F)or me the difference in the lead up is that Garcia doesn’t talk about Spence in the same way Brook and Khan spoke about Golovkin and Alvarez, respectively. They really seemed to feel like the David to their Goliath, realizing it was going to take a flawless performance or a miracle to win. Both appeared to feign confidence, in my opinion. Garcia seems to truly believe he belongs in there. Mikey’s undefeated. He’s won world titles in four weight classes. He’s in everybody’s pound-for-pound rankings. He’s gonna have more confidence than Brook and Khan did when they went up against juggernauts.

I don’t know if that’s a good thing or bad thing for him. Me neither.

If he executes like he’s fighting any other fighter, I think he could compete late into the fight, maybe even last all twelve. He has a way of committing to his punches that mutes his opponent’s offense and pivots out of range effectively on defense. True, but that’s going to be difficult with the way that Spence works his jab. It’s an educated right stick, and the southpaw’s got better footwork than he’s given credit for. The IBF titleholder was a U.S. Olympian. He can get on his toes and box. He may not simply trudge forward on Garcia like a basic pressure fighter.

That attitude could also spell his doom. Given that Lipinets was able to touch him decently, I have trouble seeing him hanging in much past 7 rounds. So do I, although I know he’s got the kind of heart and determination that can push beyond his physical limits.

I also think that against most guys his fundamental style is very effective. But I think he’s not versatile enough to compete with Spence. Agreed.

The jab and 1-2 combo accounts for the 90% of his work. I think Spence will get wise quickly. Agreed.

I would imagine he’ll either need great footwork and a steady dose of hooks, uppercuts, and body work on the counter, or he’ll need to be able to push Spence backward to minimize his leverage. Don’t really see either happening. I don’t either.

 

DIFFERENT ANGLE ON THE UK HEAVYWEIGHT SCENE

Hi Dougie,

Love the mailbag. I was at the Matchroom NextGen event on Saturday and enjoyed seeing a showcase of these prospects. On that topic:

The Heavyweight Division is going to tease us for a while, so I’m just going let it happen and not waste any energy getting excited for the Top 3 to agree to terms. Part of the problem is that the lower end of the Top Ten (arguably any contender bar Dillian Whyte) just don’t seem likely to be good enough to have a genuine seat at the top table? I suspect Usyk could change this shortly though.

So, surely, we look at the prospects on the rise? The UK are blessed to have long-time Amateur Joe Joyce, the untested Nathan Gorman and youngster Daniel Dubois. And there’s a couple of other Europeans such as Filip Hrgovic on the move too. I’m not too knowledgeable, so are we missing something from Stateside? I had scroll a fair way down on Boxrec to find an unbeaten American outside the Top 10. Jermaine Franklin.

In your view, fast forward a couple of years, our current Top 3 are older, more battle worn. Who do you think will be joining them in the mix for the belts?

Whilst I’m here… a couple of mythical match-ups:

GGG v B-Hop (160lbs)

Holyfield v Usyk (200lbs)

Mikey Garcia v Prince Naseem (126lbs)

Keep up the good work. – Rob, UK

I’ll go with Hopkins, Holyfield and Naz by close decision.

In your view, fast forward a couple of years, our current Top 3 are older, more battle worn. Who do you think will be joining them in the mix for the belts?

I think Andy Ruiz still has title-challenger potential. He was world-ranked at one point and he’s only 29. He’s just got to be more dedicated and fight at least three times this year. I also think European champ Agit Kabayel, only 26, could be ready to challenge one of the Big Three in another 12-18 months.

Of the prospects you mentioned, I think Hrgovic, the 26-year-old Olympic bronze medalist from Croatia, is the frontrunner. He seems to have the best blend of amateur pedigree, natural talent and pro seasoning so far (even though he only has seven bouts in

Daniel Dubois

the paid ranks). Dubois, at 21, has the most upside. He’s still raw, still tight in the ring, but he’s got the size, athleticism and physical tools of a modern heavyweight force. Joyce and Gorman are tied for third. I like the Juggernaut’s personality and his willingness to challenge himself, but the 33-year-old Olympic silver medalist is the definition of ponderous. I don’t think his pro ceiling is very high. I don’t know enough about Gorman to really rate him, but he doesn’t seem to be the most athletically gifted big man out there. However, I don’t want to judge him on his physique (he could be another Ruiz, Chris Arreola or Adam Kownacki-type). He’s got the most fluid offense of the British heavyweight prospects. I like that about the dude, he lets his hands go naturally, and doesn’t have to think about every shot he throws like Joyce (and Dubois to a lesser extent). If nothing else, Gorman should make for some fun scraps once he tries to go beyond the domestic level. It’s that he went 12 rounds in his last fight. It’s good that Dubois went 10 rounds in his last fight and will take on Razvan Cojanu (the guy that took Gorman 12) on Friday. I’m keeping an eye these guys.

 

ANDREW GOLOTA

Tell you what Dougie.  Golota, apart from being an uncontrollable nutjob; was a seriously good boxer for a big fella, to my eyes anyway. Incredibly fast hands and decent pop.

I have absolutely no doubt in my mind Douglas; that with a cup of chamomile tea and a soothing voice in his ear, he could have been a bit special.

However: he went for the meat and two veg and the rest is history.  If he had kept his senses (twice!)…. Could he have done anything? Shoot me down, but let’s take off the rose-tinted glasses. The 90’s was a golden era for heavyweight boxing and every bit as good as the 70’s. I may be biased, but I grew up with these guys!!

Keep up the good work champ! Always nice when the fans are running things 👊

(P.s it’s been a while since I got excited about a prospect or someone without much coverage in the UK, but Teofimo Lopez is sensational. I look forward to watching his development.) Peace – Kev, Edinburgh

Top Rank, with the assistance and exposure of ESPN, is moving Lopez fast, so you’ll be seeing a lot of him this year and probably in position for a world title bout by the end of 2019. 

You won’t get an argument from me about how deep and competitive the heavyweights were during the 90s. It was still the Glamor Division then.  

Golota had world-class boxing talent, technique and physical tools, but he lacked the confidence and mental fortitude to see himself through adversity, so he was never going to be a world titleholder. Golota was wrapped so tight, he wasn’t even comfortable being interviewed. I remember talking to Michael Grant on the phone before the former junior college basketball player fought Golota, and getting nothing but confidence from the raw (but very hyped American). But I couldn’t get Golota to talk to me even though I set up the interview ahead of time, working with his promoter (Main Events) and trainers; he was uncomfortable discussing the fight even thought his co-trainer Roger Bloodworth told me he had an excellent camp. I’ll never forget hearing Bloodworth yell at him to “Man up and get on the damn phone!” while Golota literally groaned and whines “Noooooooo… noooooo, I don’t wanna….” Sure enough, he caved in against Grant, who he dropped twice in the opening round and beat to the punch for most of the fight. But despite being outclassed and busted up, Grant refused to quit and that was enough to overwhelm Golota late in the fight.  He almost got it done against Chris Byrd and John Ruiz but he always seemed to hold something back against world-class opposition, even when they weren’t able to physically hurt him.

 

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer.

 

No posts found.

No posts found.





Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *