Dougie’s Monday mailbag (middleweights, WBSS bantamweights, P4P debate, female rankings)

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Rodriguez will face Naoya Inoue next. (Photo: Twitter @WBSuperSeries)

WEEKEND IN DAZN, JACOBS-DEREVYANCHENKO

Hey Dougie,

Hope all is well and I appreciate the consistent Sunday Q&As on the track. So many boxing streams going on this weekend I had to pick & choose what to watch. Ended up bouncing between the DAZN cards. Love the full coverage of the undercards–gave me the opportunity to check out Daniyar Yeleyssinov, who will be one to keep an eye on.

I enjoyed the action from the card in Orlando. I’ll continue to tune in, but I don’t see anyone at 118 operating at Naoya Inoue’s level right now. Who do you see posing the biggest threat in that WBSS division? I didn’t learn anything from the Demetrius Andrade fight unfortunately (really wish BJS would have laid off the “nasal spray”). I’ve been waiting on him to break through since his dominant HBO showing vs Brian Rose, but that was damn near 5 years ago. He’s gotta have the perfect style in front of him, otherwise I can’t bring myself to care much about him when he’s on TV. Do you think he did enough to put himself in the Canelo conversation, or do you see him maybe angling for BJS?

How do you see Daniel Jacobs vs Sergey Derevyanchenko unfolding this upcoming weekend? I think Jacobs should rightfully be favored, but a part of me can see Derevyancheko imposing his brute strength and maybe out-dogging Jacobs.

Mythical matchups:

Ibeabuchi vs Vitali Klitschko
GGG vs Kalambay

Crawford vs McGirt @140
Wilfredo Gomez vs Fenech @122

Thanks. – DJ

I’ll go with Klitschko, Golovkin and Bud by close decision in hard fights, and Bazooka by late stoppage in a great fight. Those were good MMs; I can easily envision scenarios where the guys that I picked lose.

I also favor Jacobs to beat Derevyanchenko, probably by outpointing the Ukrainian badass, but I think the Brooklyn native will need to box a near-perfect game plan to do so. Jacobs will need to have the kind of camp he had for Golovkin and bring the same level of competitive spirit, because the version we saw against Luis Arias and Maciej Sulecki will get beat up. Working in Jacobs’ favor is the fact that he and his trainer are very familiar with Derevyanchenko, so I don’t think there’s any chance that he’s underestimating or overlooking “The Technician.”

I appreciate the consistent Sunday Q&As on the track. Glad you enjoy the SMC track Periscopes, DJ. Sorry we skipped doing it yesterday, but it will be back this Sunday.

So many boxing streams going on this weekend I had to pick & choose what to watch. Yeah, that was kind of difficult. I settled on the Murata-Brant fight on ESPN, and I didn’t regret doing so because it was a good middleweight scrap and it delivered an inspirational upset, but I hated not being able to see the entire Rodriguez-Moloney fight live, or the first half of Adrande-Kautondokwa.

Ended up bouncing between the DAZN cards. Love the full coverage of the undercards–gave me the opportunity to check out Daniyar Yeleyssinov, who will be one to keep an eye on. The Olympic gold medalist from Kazakhstan is definitely worthy watching even though he’s just begun his pro journey. He’s the subject of the New Faces in the December 2018 issue of The Ring.

I enjoyed the action from the card in Orlando. I’ll continue to tune in, but I don’t see anyone at 118 operating at Naoya Inoue’s level right now. You’re probably right, but it will be interesting to see how Inoue fares when a world-class bantamweight in his prime takes The Monster out of the early rounds.

Who do you see posing the biggest threat in that WBSS division? The biggest threat to Inoue? Probably Zolani Tete because he’s a tall, rangy southpaw with a rapier-like jab that helps him box effectively from a distance, but maybe E-Rod can test Japan’s best fighter. The 26-year-old Puerto Rican isn’t explosive like Inoue, but he’s got ice water in his veins. He’s a complete fighter that stays cool and focused under fire.

I didn’t learn anything from the Demetrius Andrade fight unfortunately (really wish BJS would have laid off the “nasal spray”). Andrade has had two bouts at middleweight against unbeaten but unrated (and unheralded) opponents. Both Alantez Fox and Walter Kautondokwa were tough, tall and game, but also totally unproven, so I agree that it’s hard to rate Andrade at 160 pounds. But he dominated both and displayed the same level of ring savvy he had at 154 pounds (and maybe a little more physical strength, athleticism and pop in his shots). I think Boo Boo is a legit middleweight contender (but definitely outside of the top five). I’ll give him the same benefit of the doubt most boxing fans and media give Jermall Charlo, who’s also rated mainly for what he accomplished at junior middleweight.

I’ve been waiting on him to break through since his dominant HBO showing vs Brian Rose, but that was damn near 5 years ago. Time for Boo Boo to doo doo or get off the pot, eh? Well, he’s with Eddie Hearn, who needs to fill dates for his DAZN deal, so that should ensure that he stays active. And he’s got a major title now, so that should help him secure significant fights.

 

He’s gotta have the perfect style in front of him, otherwise I can’t bring myself to care much about him when he’s on TV. What do you think of Andrade vs. Canelo or David Lemieux?

Do you think he did enough to put himself in the Canelo conversation, or do you see him maybe angling for BJS? Saunders might be out of action for the foreseeable future, so I think Andrade will set his sights on Canelo like every other middleweight player. Unlike the other 160-pound standouts (with the exception of Jacobs if the Brooklynite wins on Saturday), he’s got the inside track to the Mexican star due his affiliation with DAZN and to possessing one of the major 160-pound titles.

 

CANELO’S POUND-FOR-POUND BELT

Hey Doug,

Could you clarify how Canelo qualifies for the Ring P4P belt while not being the Ring P4P champ? – Stephen M., Montreal

Sure, he beat the man who previously held it. And while The Ring Ratings Panel didn’t see fit to rank Canelo atop of the magazine’s Pound-for-Pound rankings following his Ring/WBC/WBA middleweight titles victory, being the first man to beat Gennady Golovkin in the pro ranks is a big deal. I reinstated The Ring Pound-for-Pound title as a ceremonial belt to acknowledge boxers who achieve significant accomplishments in the sport. Golovkin didn’t get

RING Editor Doug Fischer was on hand to present Gennady Golovkin with the magazine’s Pound-for-Pound champion belt.

the belt upon assuming the No. 1 spot on The Ring’s pound-for-pound list (after Andre Ward retired in September 2017). He was awarded the belt in June of this year, well after his first fight with Canelo (which most observers – myself included – thought he clearly won), after he’d made the 20th defense of his WBA middleweight belt, tying Bernard Hopkins’ division record (that is, if you count his defenses of the “regular” WBA strap), extending his title reign to seven and half years (the longest in boxing at the time).

However, it should be noted that more than a few fans and media members questioned Golovkin’s No. 1 spot in The Ring’s mythical ratings at the time that he received the P4P belt. ESPN.com had replaced Golovkin with Vasiliy Lomachenko as the No. 1 boxer in their P4P rankings following the Ukrainian’s victory over Guillermo Rigondeaux in December (and their panel pushed Terence Crawford to No. 2, ahead of Golovkin, just seven days before GGG received The Ring P4P belt). The Boxing Writers Association of America had Bud at No. 1 beginning with their inaugural P4P rankings that debuted in October 2017.

None of this mattered to me. Golovkin was worthy of The Ring’s Pound-for-Pound title, just as Canelo is. Just as Lomachenko and Crawford, The Ring’s (and ESPN.com’s) current P4P Nos. 1 and 2, will be if they continue their winning ways (and certainly if they face and defeat fellow P4P-rated rivals Mikey Garcia and Errol Spence).

 

FEMALE RATINGS

Hi Doug,

Hope you enjoyed the weekend. The 3 fights I wanted to see were Moloney v Rodriguez, Murata v Brant, and Taylor v Serrano. I managed to see 2 of them – didn’t manage to catch Moloney, though it was apparently the best fight of the weekend. Ah well.

Anyway, the reason I write is because I’d always heard about the Serrano sisters, but had never seen one of their fights. So I watched Katie Taylor shut out the elder sister. I was watching the British broadcast, with Paulie M., and he was dead-on – Serrano was playing the wily veteran role, just there to get paid and reach the end of the fight. A test, but not an even fight. But now, the younger, stronger sister (Amanda) wants to fight. Awesome, and I know I will watch it.

So then I went on the Ring website to check the female ratings, because I admit I’m not really sure of how they stack up, and who else is around in that division. But there’s no female ratings. Checked the magazine too (online version). Nothing either.

My question is: now that female boxing is starting to take off… will you guys start publishing rankings for women? I saw you gave Cecilia Brækhus a Ring belt. So surely there must be some sort of ratings, even if they’re not yet published?

And what divisions will you cover? And how will you collate the results, etc.? For example: there’s some great female fighters in Thailand (though they’re pretty light). But I doubt that you see them outside of this country, even the televised bouts…. unless you watch them fight in kickboxing, Thai boxing, MMA, and any other way they try to pay the bills…

Anyway, please keep up the good work. I personally am really enjoying the direction that Ring Magazine is going. – K

Thanks, K.

As of right now, The Ring does not have divisional women’s rankings (and to be Frank, I don’t think we have the room in the magazine to include all 17 weight classes even if we had a qualified ratings panel to compile those rankings on a weekly basis as we do with the men). However, one of my goals as Editor-In-Chief is to crown deserving female Ring champions, so we will have to eventually establish women’s rankings with the help of the top international journalists that cover women’s boxing. (Perhaps we can post the women’s rankings on the website and publish the top five in key weight classes in the magazine.)

But in the meantime, those who are undisputed champs are obviously the most deserving of The Ring title. Right now, Braekhus is the only one. She was awarded our Pound-for-Pound title last month in part because she unified all four major belts four years ago, but also because of her longevity and exemplary record. The magazine’s first female divisional champ will likely be the winner of the Claressa Shields-Christina Hammer middleweight showdown (whenever it’s postponed) because all four major belts (WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO).

Katie Taylor, clearly one of the best female boxers in the world, currently holds two major lightweight titles. I think she’s a fight or two away from earning a Ring title. It could happen with the proposed Amanda Serrano showdown. Amanda is a six-division titleholder with a sensational record (35-1-1, 26 KOs). If she’s considered one of the top two or three female lightweights when she chooses to fight at 135, maybe Taylor-Serrano is worthy of The Ring belt. Or maybe a unification bout against Belgium’s Delfine Person, the once-beaten (41-1) WBC beltholder, is the right matchup for the first Ring women’s lightweight championship.

 

RESPECT FOR PAULIE

HI Dougie,

Hope all is well with you and the family out on the coast. I’ve been thinking a lot about the HBO exit and the new boxing platforms, which I haven’t purchased yet. I got into boxing on the networks, Friday Night Fights and especially ABC Wide World of Sports and even radio broadcasts I could pick up at night. I missed the move to cable for a while, but when I got the Tuesday and Friday fights (Thursdays for a while?) on USA and ESPN, they were great, as were HBO and Showtime. So now more major changes. For me, I cancel HBO soon. I’m not sure how DAZN works, or how I’d how I’d watch it. I’m an older fan, not probably in the demographics the money people look at, but Canelo-Fielding doesn’t attract me. I know there are big-name bouts down the road, and I’ll probably buy in. I wonder how long the $10/month lasts.

My respect for Paulie Malignaggi continues to grow. He said some things in the Cynthia Conte interview that needs to be said about PEDs and the sport. Talking about the Billy Joe Saunders situation he said that promotors and the organizations do not want strong regulation, because juiced boxers create better fights, so punishment has been weak. Boxers take chances or are forced to juice to stay competitive. He said that VADA is a good outfit but is underfunded, and boxing has the money to expand testing but refuses to. Your thoughts? Cynthia Conte messed this one up big time. She does some great interview work, but laughing off and denigrating Paulie’s analysis as “conspiracy” and “illuminati of boxing” was terrible. Big joke, Cynthia. Thanks as always for your work and the mailbag. – Ken Kozberg, Oakham, MA

Take it easy on Cynthia, Ken. She did a great job with Paulie, who was insightful and opinioned as usual. The “illuminati of boxing” quip was probably just her way of changing an uncomfortable subject. It’s easy for fans to accuse boxing’s Powers That Be of corruption and unethical policies, but she works in this business and maybe worries about being held accountable for what is said during her interviews by commissions, fighters, managers, promoters and even VADA; or these entities complaining to The Ring about Malignaggi’s allegations/insinuations.

She need not worry, it was Malignaggi’s opinion/perception, one that’s obviously shared by others (like you), and I’d have her back if anybody’s feathers were ruffled by his comments.  

Anyway, I agreed with most of what Malignaggi had to say (on pretty much every subject he touched on), but I don’t think BJS got off “easy” for his positive test. He missed out of huge payday, was basically forced to give up his world title, and now his career is in limbo. We can’t expect commissions (on either side of the Pond) to ban him or any other first-time offender for life (or several years) because they’d get sued left and right. But I wholeheartedly agree that VADA does a great job with their testing and that it should be better funded. It would be awesome if every cynical fan and boxing insider who suspects all the top fighters of “juicing” (and believes that promotors/organizations fear strong anti-doping regulation) would help support VADA with monthly donations. (That’s what I do, and I’m not even that jaded.)

Regarding boxing’s new broadcast landscape, do yourself a favor cancel HBO at the end of the year, use that money to subscribe to DAZN and ESPN+, and invest in an Amazon Fire TV Stick. It’s cheap and you’ll learn how to use it easier than you operate your cable remote control in just a few weeks. Just do it, Ken. I made the streaming TV plunge a few months ago (for the Netflix experience, which helped me get comfortable with the boxing-related apps) and I don’t regret it. In fact, I barely watch cable TV anymore.  

 

 

CRAWFORD’S P4P RANKINGS, SIMS JR.

Hi Doug,

So I wanted to get your opinion on Anthony Sims Jr. I meant to write you about this back when he fought Mario Aguilar on the Vargas vs Dulorme undercard. This was actually my favorite fight on the card due to how much Sims’ style reminds me of the late great Ali. Do you think Sims will be a real contender in the future?

The second thing I wanted to get your opinion on is Crawford vs Loma on the Pound For Pound list. I will be the first to admit that Loma belongs on there. But the fact that Crawford is undefeated in 35 fights, a champion in three weight classes—two of which he cleaned out? I think he should be rated above Loma, who actually has lost a fight and won 11 compared to Crawford’s 35. And I know that I am in the minority, but I actually pick Mikey Garcia to beat Loma should they ever fight.

Anyway, thanks for listening to my rant Doug, and for continuing to be the voice of logic and reason in this crazy but awesome sport. – Jesse

The Dynamic Duo. Most of the Panelists view Crawford and Lomachenko as top two boxers, pound for pound.

I don’t think you can go wrong with either Lomachenko or Crawford as the No. 1 in the mythical rankings, so it’s not really worth arguing about or even debating. I think a slight majority of The Ring’s Ratings Panel went with Loma because he’s also a three-division titleholder and has accomplished that feat in just 11 bouts. True, Bud was a Ring champ at 135 and 140 pounds (and undisputed at junior welterweight), but Loma’s nearly beat an over-the-weight vastly more pro-seasoned Siri Salido in just his second pro bout, beat the excellent Gary Russell Jr. for his first world title in his third pro bout, outclassed a fellow amateur legend and P4P-rated boxer in Rigo, and he stopped an elite veteran in Jorge Linares for The Ring/WBA lightweight titles. That’s pretty darn impressive.

So I wanted to get your opinion on Anthony Sims Jr. I think he’s a legit prospect at 175 pounds and I look forward to watching him develop.

I meant to write you about this back when he fought Mario Aguilar on the Vargas vs Dulorme undercard. This was actually my favorite fight on the card due to how much Sims’ style reminds me of the late great Ali. Yeah, I can see Muhammad Ali in his form and movement. I was thinking Sumbu Kalambay, the underrated middleweight titleholder/contender from the ‘80s/early ‘90s who modeled his style after “The Greatest,” while watching Sims.

Do you think Sims will be a real contender in the future? It’s too early to tell. He’s at the eight-round level right now and we still don’t know if he can take a punch, but he’s got the ring smarts, athleticism, speed, balance and reflexes that would suggest world-class potential if he’s dedicated to his craft and moved right.

 

LOMACHENKO WORSHIP

Wow Dougie,

I was surprised to see you give your own vote to Loma as the #1 P4P fighter. The P4P arguments are always very speculative, but Crawford came from the same division that Loma is fighting in. Now, I’m a Loma fan too, but do you really think if Bud had dropped back down to 135 instead of going up to 147 that he would have lost to that guy? Really???

Man, there is no way Crawford would lose to Lomachenko. If they fought and Loma made the same mistake he made against Linares (getting caught squared up and flat footed) Crawford would have utterly smoked him. The only reason Linares didn’t knock him out was that he was so completely surprised to see Loma serve himself up on a platter like that. Bud wouldn’t have left that turkey unfinished.

I know that P4P ratings are just for fun, but Loma worship is becoming a tired joke. I was hoping to be rid of it along with Max. – Dave

I think Lomachenko has earned his hype and his current pound-for-pound status (No. 1 according to The Ring, ESPN.com and the Transnational Boxing Rankings). You might be correct with your opinion of how a mythical lightweight matchup between Bud and Loma would go, but that’s not how most of ratings panelists determine pound-for-pound rankings.

Anyway, there’s no reason to be upset. Crawford is a close No. 2. If Loma (who is coming off a serious shoulder injury and surgery) looks shaky at all in his next fight (a unification bout with Jose Pedraza on Dec. 8), Crawford will likely assume that top spot. But even if that happens, don’t assume that Bud will hold onto No. 1 without engaging in significant matchups at welterweight. Aleksandr Usyk and Naoya Inoue are also within striking distance. And Canelo and GGG could move up with the right fights at 160 or 168 pounds (Jacobs, Callum Smith, a third fight). 

It’s a good sign that boxing has this many P4P players. It reminds me of mid-to-late 1997 when the opinion on who was No. 1 was between Oscar De La Hoya, Roy Jones Jr. and Pernell Whitaker, and The Ring’s top 10 included future hall of famers such as Felix Trinidad, Ricardo Lopez, Kostya Tszyu, Terry Norris, Evander Holyfield and Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson.

 

JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY

Doug,

How dare you lack any and all journalistic integrity in your mailbags? The mere thought that you have an opinion of your own and dare to share it with your readers is, quite frankly, offensive on a level that cannot be described in words. I implore you to see reason and become as robotic as we all know you have the potential to become. Simply take a clean pair of pliers, apply them directly to your teeth, and yank with all of your might until nothing you say has even the slightest hint of bite. Be a journalist of integrity and leave your petty, biased opinion at the door. We don’t need it. We don’t want it. We have no time for it. Good day, sir!

Just kidding. The mailbag would suck if you didn’t say what was on your mind. Thanks for keeping us entertained. – Chris from the Ozarks (only closer to a better lake than the one on Netflix)

I love that show and miss the real Ozarks, Chris. Thanks for the pick-me-up.

 

 

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





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