Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Terence Crawford criticism, ‘overrated’ heavyweights)

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With fights against other welterweight titleholders not materializing, Terence Crawford might be stuck at No. 2 on the pound-for-pound list for now.

TERENCE CRAWFORD NEEDS TO PROVE HIMSELF

Dougie,

Big fan, thanks for all the insight and knowledge dropped every week.

What I’m about to say/ask is gonna rub a lot of people the wrong way, but so be it. I think Terrance Crawford is the Bosie State of boxing, meaning he outclasses far inferior opponents, then everyone thinks he’s great because of it. When I look at the top P4P, guys like Loma, GGG, Canelo, all have had fights where going into it, you weren’t sure they could / would win.

Every fight I’ve seen Crawford in, it always seems to be against sub-par guys. He doesn’t fight Garcia, 1x Keith or Spence, but instead hides at the bottom. Even in Jr. Welts when da Rougaroux comes creeping up, how convenient of a time for Crawford to jump to a higher weight class and start bottom feeding with Horn and not even ranked Benavidez. So, I guess my question is, is it fair to give the P4P #2 rank to a guy who hasn’t really fought anyone special?

If he beats Spence / Thurman, sure he’s proved himself then. But I have a strong feeling that Ol’ Bud will look very vulnerable to such high-end opponents.

Don’t get me wrong, Bud is a great boxer and has lots of skills but just seems unchallenged. You may say, nobody comes close because he’s so good. But he’s not fighting top-ranked people, so that argument doesn’t seem to hold water. So, what’s the deal, Dougie, am I just hating on a great fighter or are my concerns legit?

If my concerns aren’t legit, can you name someone Crawford has fought, that was a legit threat of beating him. It just aggravates me that he says he’s the best but doesn’t fight the best, in fact it seems like he runs from the best.

Second question, sometimes in the corner in between rounds, the trainer will squirt some water down the trunks of the fighter, what’s up with that? Does that thing get that hot it needs liquid coolant? Also, when they get up, there are no water marks, where did all of that water go, evaporate or steam off?

Where would you rank Prograis if he moved up a weight class? With Much Respect. – Cooper

I wouldn’t automatically rank Prograis if he jumped to welterweight. He’d have to beat a ranked 147 pounder (as Crawford did when he stopped Jeff Horn for the WBO belt in his welterweight debut).

Regarding the water squirts to boxers’ crotch area between rounds, you’re gonna have to ask some trainers about that. All I can tell you is that the water does not “evaporate or steam off.” It spills all over the damn canvas in the corners and then the boxers often slip in those areas during the fight.

Regarding Crawford’s elite status in the boxing world, I think he’s earned it by dominating his opposition over three weight classes en route to compiling a 34-0 record and winning Ring Magazine championships at lightweight and junior welterweight, where he unified all four major world titles.

You claim that he’s merely outclassed “far inferior opponents” but I think that’s revisionist history on your part. Crawford has defeated four fighters ranked in The Ring’s top three at the time of their fights: Ricky Burns (No. 3 at lightweight, March 2014), Ray Beltran (No. 2 at lightweight, November 2014), Viktor Postol (No. 1 at junior welterweight, July 2016) and Julius Indongo (No. 2 at junior welterweight, August 2017).

I think Terrance Crawford is the Bosie State of boxing, meaning he outclasses far inferior opponents, then everyone thinks he’s great because of it. OK, first, please don’t reference college team sports in the mailbag, you should know that the only sport I give a rat’s ass about is professional boxing. Second, if you’re gonna bring up a college team, spell the name of the university correctly – it’s BOISE. (And Crawford spells his first name “Terence”.)

When I look at the top P4P, guys like Loma, GGG, Canelo, all have had fights where going into it, you weren’t sure they could / would win. Really? What fights were Lomachenko and Golovkin supposed to lose? I don’t recall either being a decided underdog for any of their pro bouts. And the only time Canelo has been an underdog was against Mayweather (who beat him) and GGG (who many fans and media believe won both bouts). I can’t recall, maybe the odds were close for Canelo’s fights with Austin Trout and Erislandy Lara, but I’m pretty sure he was the at least a slight favorite.

Every fight I’ve seen Crawford in, it always seems to be against sub-par guys. He doesn’t fight Garcia, 1x Keith or Spence, but instead hides at the bottom. A) Crawford entered the welterweight division last June, and NONE of the elite welterweights fight more than twice a year; and B) you KNOW that the three fighters you mentioned are exclusive to the PBC and its network partners (Showtime and FOX). (Why is the onus solely on Crawford to cross the street to make these matchups happen? Shouldn’t some of the burden fall of the shoulders of the PBC players? I mean, if they’re all going to avoid Spence, then they or the Truth might as well consider making an offer to Bud/Top Rank/ESPN.)

Even in Jr. Welts when da Rougaroux comes creeping up, how convenient of a time for Crawford to jump to a higher weight class and start bottom feeding with Horn and not even ranked Benavidez. Stop it. Horn was the WBO titleholder and he was willing to fight Crawford. Benavidez was unrated but he’s a big, strong, talented welterweight who would give 147 pounder a tough night. And as much as I love Regis Prograis, the best name on his resume happens to be Crawford’s leftovers (Indongo), and when Crawford was the top dog at 140 pounds the New Orleans native was still fighting on the ShoBox level.

So, I guess my question is, is it fair to give the P4P #2 rank to a guy who hasn’t really fought anyone special? I guess so, at least according to the Ratings Panels of The Ring, ESPN.com and the Transnational Boxing Rankings.

If he beats Spence / Thurman, sure he’s proved himself then. OK, and you don’t think they don’t need to prove THEMSELVES on divisional and pound-for-pound level by facing Crawford?

But I have a strong feeling that Ol’ Bud will look very vulnerable to such high-end opponents. He may have more trouble with those two than he has with anybody else that he’s fought, but I also think that Spence and Thurman will be in the toughest fights of their careers vs. Crawford.

Don’t get me wrong, Bud is a great boxer and has lots of skills but just seems unchallenged. Bro, that’s true for SO many elite boxers of this era. Why single out Crawford?

You may say, nobody comes close because he’s so good. But he’s not fighting top-ranked people, so that argument doesn’t seem to hold water. I’ve already disproved that notion. You’re basically judging his entire career based on what he’s done at welterweight and he hasn’t even been in the division for one year.

So, what’s the deal, Dougie, am I just hating on a great fighter or are my concerns legit? I won’t call you a “hater,” (in part because that’s just lame) but I don’t think you’re being fair with Crawford.

If my concerns aren’t legit, can you name someone Crawford has fought, that was a legit threat of beating him. Viktor Postal was given a shot at beating Crawford, as was Yuriorkis Gamboa.

It just aggravates me that he says he’s the best but doesn’t fight the best, in fact it seems like he runs from the best. A lot of people – including many of Crawford’s elite boxer peers – say he’s the best. It’s not just him. And who’s running from who?

 

HEAVYWEIGHT KING AJ AND HIS OVERRATED RIVALS

Hi Doug,

I haven’t written for about a year now, but there’s a few things I just can’t get off my mind – and there’s only one man to answer them – I hope!

The Heavyweight scene is as exciting as it’s been in 20 years. Can I get your learned opinion on some of my thoughts and views on the big guns? I am fully aware that as a massive Anthony Joshua fan, I’m biased. But I’m just looking at the facts as I see them…..

Luis Ortiz is SURELY overrated. His best win is Bryant Jennings – tell me if i’m wrong? He plodded after Malik Scott and Christian Hammer for 12 rounds and Dave Allen took him into the 7th! Why is he so rated, and Deontay Wilder allowed to get away with calling this a signature win? It’s cheeky! He’s not beaten anyone, Doug! Surely?!

Tyson Fury is overrated and not undefeated. He lost CLEARLY to John McDermott in their first fight – I remember watching it. He is not the master boxer he pertains to be. He has been dropped by Pjakic and Cunningham and rocked by lesser fighters like Firtha. Do you think his skills are over estimated?

Fury did not dominate Klitschko or make him look silly as he has constantly claimed since the fight (and his fans believe). It was legitimately close (and a horrible spectacle) and even Sky Sports at the time reported it as a very close fight, that could go either way. What are your recollections of that fight and Fury’s retelling of it since?

Wilder is overrated. He’s been outboxed for periods by middle-level guys like Spilka, Molina, Washington, Duhaupas and Ortiz. His best win is Ortiz who has beaten nobody of note. Is Wilder just an American hype job with career making/saving power Doug?

The Lineal Champion is AJ. It reset with Lennox Lewis, so it’s basically the guy who beat Wladimir, not an unbroken line to Sullivan. Also I read that in the early 20th Century the etiquette if a champion retired (Jeffries) was to recognise the previous champ… Fitzsimmons. So Joshua became ‘Lineal’ when he beat Klitschko…..Is that true?

Joshua with four years less of a career, and far less fights has fought gold medallists (Povetkin), undefeated young champions (Parker), the previous HW King (Klitshcko), late replacements (Takam) and grudge bouts (Whyte). He has 3 belts. He has beaten 3 guys in your rankings (and boxrec’s) and is fighting a fourth. It would’ve been 5 if Kubrat Pulev hadn’t been injured. Wilder has beaten 1. Fury none.

Maybe the boxing madness has set in and I’ve lost the plot. Am I going crazy here, Doug, or is AJ so blatantly obviously the number 1 HW in the world?

And if he is, how are we in a situation where the number 2 or 3 guy turns down $100m to fight him twice! How many times can a boxer be told that they’re going to be the next Floyd Mayweather before they realise the truth (Davis, Spence Jnr, Charlos, Wilder are not all taking over from Floyd whatever Al has told them!)

Thanks. – Jason, Liverpool

Hey man, it’s their careers, so it’s their choice. My only takeaway from your heavyweight opinions is that it’s not the 1990s or the 1970s. Those were decades when the heavyweight division was deep, when pro fighters in all weight classes were more active and also more inclined to take risks. Things done changed, my man. Surely, you’re not just now noticing this?

You’re not going crazy. AJ is “blatantly obviously,” as you put it, the No. 1 heavyweight. The Ring Magazine, ESPN.com, the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board and Boxrec.com all rate the unified beltholder at the top spot. There’s really no reason for his fans to be insecure about anything.

Luis Ortiz

Luis Ortiz is SURELY overrated. A little bit, yeah. But he’s still dangerous outing for any big man ranked in the top 10, and that includes your boy AJ.

His best win is Bryant Jennings – tell me if I’m wrong? You’re not wrong, but Jennings was a top-10 contender who was coming off a respectable title challenge loss to Klitschko at the time.

He plodded after Malik Scott and Christian Hammer for 12 rounds and Dave Allen took him into the 7th! The Hammer fight was only 10 rounds (thank goodness – I wish it had been an eight rounder). So, he’s a plodder. There’s not much he can do about that.

Why is he so rated, and Deontay Wilder allowed to get away with calling this a signature win? Wilder had to overcome serious adversity against Ortiz. Why would it surprise or irk you that he rates that come-from-behind stoppage as his “signature win”? As for Ortiz’s rating, The Ring currently has him at No. 5, ahead of Povetkin, Parker, Kownacki, Miller and Pulev. If you don’t believe the Cuban is worthy of the No. 5 spot, who do you think deserves it – and why?

Photo / @ShowtimeBoxing

It’s cheeky! He’s not beaten anyone, Doug! Surely?! Don’t call me, Shirley, homeboy. And what exactly are you calling “cheeky”? I understand that Ortiz’s resume is rather thin, and that’s one way to view him, but another way to look at the 39-year-old contender is that he’s only been defeated once in 34 pro bouts and that one loss was a very competitive fight (I think he should have been ahead on the official scorecards at the time of the stoppage) to Wilder, who is a top-three heavyweight and reigning beltholder.

Tyson Fury is overrated and not undefeated. He lost CLEARLY to John McDermott in their first fight – I remember watching it. I don’t remember watching it. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen that bout. Should I watch it? Does it really matter? It was Fury’s eighth pro bout (and his first 10 rounder) and it 10 years ago! That was back when Fury had hair! That was back when the only thing Fury was known for was punching himself in the face with an uppercut during a fight. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8VlkRxcIYA&pbjreload=10

I’m gonna keep it real with you, Jason. I’m not going to bother watching that fight. All I can say to you is that referee Terry O’Connor disagreed with your scorecard.

He is not the master boxer he pertains to be. Maybe so, but he outpointed Klitschko and he held Wilder to a draw despite being dropped twice (and he did so in enemy territory with both title bouts), so we can’t deny that the big man’s got skills.

He has been dropped by Pjakic and Cunningham and rocked by lesser fighters like Firtha. So what? It happens in boxing, especially at heavyweight. The great Joe Louis was dropped eight times during his legendary title reign, including fights against challengers who weren’t deemed to be “in his class,” like Tony Galento and Buddy Baer. Young Muhammad Ali (then-Cassius Clay and ranked No. 9 by The Ring) was dropped by (unrated) Sonny Banks and Henry Cooper (who was a battle tested veteran but also a 4-to-1 underdog). Joe Frazier was rocked by Manuel Ramos (who must have been a huge underdog).

Do you think his skills are overestimated? Not really. He’s clearly the best ring general among the top heavyweights.

Tyson Fury (right) in action against Wladimir Klitschko. Photo credit: Sascha Steinbach/Bongarts

Tyson Fury (right) in action against Wladimir Klitschko. Photo credit: Sascha Steinbach/Bongarts

Fury did not dominate Klitschko or make him look silly as he has constantly claimed since the fight (and his fans believe). I agree that Fury did not dominate Klitschko, but he did make the defending champ look silly. (Of course, it should be noted that he made himself look even sillier.)

It was legitimately close (and a horrible spectacle) and even Sky Sports at the time reported it as a very close fight, that could go either way. I agreed with the official scorecards (115-112, 115-112 and 116-111).

What are your recollections of that fight and Fury’s retelling of it since? It was a dreadful fight, but Fury deserved the decision. I watched it once (live) and I have no intention of re-watching that s__t. Who cares how Fury retells it?

Wilder is overrated. Maybe as a boxer. Certainly not as a puncher.

He’s been outboxed for periods by middle-level guys like Spilka, Molina, Washington, Duhaupas and Ortiz. True, but he still beat them fair and square (OK, he received a little help from the officials with the Ortiz fight).

Deontay Wilder (right) drops a bomb on Luis Ortiz. Photo by Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

Deontay Wilder (right) drops a bomb on Luis Ortiz. Photo by Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

His best win is Ortiz who has beaten nobody of note. Is Wilder just an American hype job with career making/saving power, Doug? He might be hyped up by certain members of the U.S. media (and maybe a few British pundits), but it’s not like he’s celebrated by the American public. And there’s no hype to his “career-making/saving” power. That s__t is realer than Real Deal Holyfield. I agree with Wilder when he calls himself the most dangerous heavyweight in the game.

The Lineal Champion is AJ. No, he’s not.

It reset with Lennox Lewis, so it’s basically the guy who beat Wladimir, not an unbroken line to Sullivan. The guy who beat Klitschko was Fury. Joshua beat Klitschko after Fury, and after the FORMER champ had been inactive for nearly a year and half.

Also I read that in the early 20th Century the etiquette if a champion retired (Jeffries) was to recognise the previous champ… Fitzsimmons. So Joshua became ‘Lineal’ when he beat Klitschko…..Is that true? Dude, I don’t know what the f__k you’re talking about. Joshua added the vacant WBA title to his IBF belt, and more importantly, the scalp of a future hall of famer, with his thrilling stoppage of Klitschko. That’s it. The “lineal championship” was NOT on the line in that fight. How could it be when Klitschko was coming off a loss?

Joshua with four years less of a career, and far less fights has fought gold medallists (Povetkin), undefeated young champions (Parker), the previous HW King (Klitshcko), late replacements (Takam) and grudge bouts (Whyte). True.

He has 3 belts. True.

He has beaten 3 guys in your rankings (and boxrec’s) and is fighting a fourth. True.

It would’ve been 5 if Kubrat Pulev hadn’t been injured. Um, OK.

Wilder has beaten 1. If you’re talking about Ring-rated heavyweights, Wilder has defeated two: Bermane Stiverne (the first bout) and Ortiz. And he drew with a top-10 rated Fury.

Fury none. Not true. He beat the champ, and while he lost his belts (including the Ring Magazine title) outside of the ring, nobody can take that victory away from him.

 

LET’S PUT MIKEY’S LOSS INTO PERSPECTIVE

Hey Dougie,

Hope you’re great.

So disappointed you didn’t publish my last email. It was so on point and nobody mentioned it.

We’re just a week after a LW survives 12 rounds against the most destructive WW and most people trash Mikey because he only survived 12 rounds.

I put things in perspective with identical matchups, to actually make people think and show them that, although never a goal for a boxer, especially Mikey, not getting KOd is already crazy.

Of course, we have Roberto Duran, etc… But here, current boxers, what do you think?

A superb technician jumped up two weight classes against the top 1 and the most dominant and destructive guy and survived 12 rounds.

Now, out of these exactly similar matchups, who Mikey Garcias it? (Losing rounds but surviving, not crazy affected after the bell).

Prime Kovalev (pré-Ward) vs MW Canelo? 

Kov early rounds KO.

Gassiev vs Caleb Plant? 

Gassiev early rounds KO.

Or, closer in weight difference:

Gassiev/Usyk vs Bivol/Gvozdyk?

Stoppages in every case.

Prime GGG (2015) vs Crawford (2019)?

GGG mid round stoppage.

Prime GGG (2015) vs Spence (2019)?

GGG stoppage.

Jarett Hurd vs the 140 cream: Josh Taylor/Maurice Hooker/Regis Prograis/Ramirez 

I think none of them EVER fight again after that fight. No?

Erislandy Lara (prime) vs David Benavidez?

Does Lara even fight after that? Or walk?

I strongly feel that by reading that everybody would be like: “Nah man, that’s really crazy just to think about it, no way, Hurd vs Prograis? Lol.”

But it’s actually the exact same thing.

Who would do it and who would be more successful than Mikey? – Diego G

I don’t know, Diego; probably nobody. But here’s something that you’re not considering: Those fighters you brought up all have significant fights that they can make in their own divisions (some have already engaged in those matchups), and apart from Usyk, they don’t need to go looking for action in heavier weight classes. The same could be said about Garcia at 135 pounds.

Errol Spence and Mikey Garcia stare each other down at the final presser for their March 16 showdown. Photo by Jason Janik/FOX Sports

Nobody asked Garcia to jump to welterweight to fight Spence, and nobody forced him to do so. He made that decision. He took that risk, and there are consequences with those kinds of choices in boxing. Garcia wasn’t physically blown out by Spence. Had that happened, a lot of fans and media would have just said that he was too small. But he was outclassed by Spence. He was outboxed and he was unable to make any adjustments. When that happens, you lose stature in the sport, even when you’re the smaller fighter, and especially when you proclaim yourself to be the better/smarter boxer – just ask Guillermo Rigondeaux if you don’t believe me.

Garcia could have remained at lightweight, defended his IBF title against Richard Commey, and then attempted to unify all four major lightweight world titles against Vasiliy Lomachenko. THAT would have been a legacy fight, not the pipe dream/money grab vs. Spence. Against Loma, Garcia had the opportunity to become an UNDISPUTED champ AND pound-for-pound No. 1. But he doesn’t want to do business outside of the PBC, and that’s his prerogative. But he knew the risks going into the Spence fight – and those risks went beyond the possibility of getting seriously hurt. Those risks included damage to his reputation.

Same deal with Spence, because he was the decided odds favorite who had all of the physical advantages. Had Spence suffered one wobbly moment against Garcia, the boxing world would have questioned his chin and durability going into any matchup against a fellow top-class welterweight. Had Garcia legitimately won three rounds against Spence the IBF welterweight titleholder would have been considered overrated.  

It is what it is.

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