Dougie’s post-Fourth of July weekend mixed Mailbag

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MAILBAG FODDER

What an absolute gem listening to your conversation with Kurt Emhoff on the Boxing Esquire Podcast.

The stroll through memory lane – House of Boxing, Maxboxing, the dream team of Thomas Gerbasi, Michael Katz, Steve Kim, Thomas Hauser, etc., as well as the journey for both you and boxing through the birth of the internet was a wonderful piece that I sincerely hope the readers/posters below the mailbag will take their time to partake.

Whether they are old codgers or new converts to the sport, I believe they will get something out of the listen, and hopefully gain a little bond with you as they gain a closer connection to you and your love of the sport. It can be too easy to forget that you are more than “just” the editor of Ring Magazine and keeper of the most important part of Mondays and Fridays… the mailbag. Great, great listen…

Just a suggestion… remove the mention of belts (except The Ring belt) and replace it with a ranking. No more IBO/IBF/WBC/WTH etc. … just the rankings of each division. This goes for the articles as well. Devalue the titles and the fighters’ worth is based on their accomplishments vs the level of their competition, not based on a belt won vs the 82nd best fighter in their division who happened to have paid sanctioning fees to an organization to get ranked in the top 10.

Who ya got:

Hooker-Ramirez

Pac-Thurman

Winky Wright vs Andrade at 154? (and how many fans would be in attendance at the end of those 12 rounds?)

Keep up the great work. – D in Bama

Thanks, D., and thanks for the kind words about my interview on The Boxing Esq. Podcast with Kurt. Also, thanks for being patient and listening through a 2-hour-plus podcast! It was fun to take that trip down memory lane with Mr. Emhoff, who was around and in the business during that era (almost 20 years ago). Looking back, the balance we had with that particular group of writers at HOB and MaxBoxing (early 2000s) really was special.

Anyway, I think Hooker-Ramirez is too close to call. It’s a fascinating matchup. I’d pick Ramirez by close decision if the fight took place in California, but it’s in Hooker’s home region of Texas and his promoter (Eddie Hearn) is the lead. Oh, and Hooker’s a damn good boxer-puncher. But Ramirez is a hardnosed pressure-fighting technician and one of the most tenacious boxers at the world level. Unless Hooker can hurt him, Ramirez is going to be hard to beat with his punch output. I’ll go with Ramirez by split nod.

And I’m riding with Keith on July 20. PacFanatics can feel free to bitch at me now and after the fight if the 40-year-old legend gets the job done. I don’t care. I think Thurman will either earn a mid-rounds body shot stoppage or he’ll earn a close (and probably controversial) decision.

As for your mythical matchup, as good as Winky was (and I considered the recent hall-of-fame inductee to be No. 1 pound-for-pound for a brief period in the mid-2000s) I think Andrade’s rangy, mobile boxing style is all wrong for the tough-as-nails technician from Florida. I’ll go with Andrade by split or majority decision.

Regarding not mentioning the sanctioning organizations in RingTV/Ring Magazine articles (and instead noting the Ring-ranking of the fighters if they’re rated), I understand where you’re coming from, but part of what makes The Ring’s divisional ratings a truer gauge of where boxers rank than the ratings of the WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO is that we rank all four major beltholders. Often, the fighters that earn a vacant Ring Magazine championship title have unified at least two of the alphabet belts. So, it would be kind of strange to ignore the sanctioning organizations in our articles when their title often help us crown real world champs. Also, we wouldn’t really be reporting on what goes on in the sport if we don’t mention them by name when they do something stupid or something noble (yes, that happens from time to time) or something that helps to make a significant matchup (such as mandatory challenger or purse bid situations).

I think part of our job as journalists is to cut through the bulls__t of the sanctioning organizations, which means calling them out when they do ridiculous things, and the flipside to that is giving them credit when credit is due. We can’t do any of that if we pretend they don’t exist.   

 

JACK DEMPSEY

Hi Doug,

I trust you and yours are well?

I really enjoyed the Lee Groves piece on the Jack Dempsey/Jess Willard fight but the reason I’m emailing in is because of the comments section below the article.

One erudite poster…😏 (no need to name names) argued about Dempsey’s greatness, and would he of been all that great if he faced fighters of different colour in his era.

So, I did a quick google search and came up with some MM’s for you to preside over – obviously it’s Jack Dempsey vs….

  1. Bill Tate (they sparred but never fought)
  2. Sam Langford
  3. Joe Jeanette
  4. George Godfrey
  5. Obie Walker
  6. Larry Gains
  7. Harry Wills

Now I can’t possibly give you my take on who’d win as I know nothing about the guys I’ve just mentioned (apart from Sam Langford) but I thought it’d be fun for you and the more knowledgeable amongst us.

Hope to make the bag but if not, I’ll keep on reading anyway…..Like the fanboy I am. Regards. – Randall (RB to his mates…HAHAHA)

I’m glad you enjoyed the Dempsey-Willard article, Randall.

For the record, I don’t consider Dempsey to be among the 10 best heavyweight champs of all time, but there’s no denying his impact on the sport and even American culture. He was one of the boxing greats of his era and he epitomized the Roaring Twenties more than any other sportsman (save for maybe Babe Ruth).

I think I know who the Dempsey detractor is. He Who Shall Not Be Named has a big ole hard-on for all American boxing icons up

Dempsey never fought Wills, who was a top contender and worthy of a shot at his heavyweight crown from 1920-’26.

through the 1950s. He’s not wrong when he says that racism was rampant and separated a lot of great white and black fighters from meeting in the ring, but he makes blanket assumptions and accusations a little too much for my liking.

I’m not saying he’s accused Dempsey of ducking the seven fighters you mentioned but it should be noted that of the seven you listed only Wills and Tate were at their best around the same time that Dempsey was at his best (and the Manassa Mauler did avoid Wills). Walker, Gains and Godfrey emerged as legit contenders either after Dempsey’s prime and title reign or (in the case of Walker) after he’d retired from the sport. Langford and Jeannette were past their primes by the time Dempsey came into his own.

Anyway, onto your mythical matchups (and I assume that you want my pick of a winner if everyone is at their peak, not a what-if scenario if Dempsey had defended his title vs. Wills when he was the No. 1 contender but past his prime in the late ’20s):

  1. Bill Tate (they sparred but never fought) – Dempsey by decision
  2. Sam Langford – Langford by decision
  3. Joe Jeanette – Jeanette by late TKO
  4. George Godfrey – Dempsey by decision
  5. Obie Walker – Dempsey by mid-to-late rounds KO
  6. Larry Gains – Dempsey by late stoppage (in a hard fight for Jack)
  7. Harry Wills – Wills by close decision

 

EMANUEL AUGUSTUS

Hi Dougie –

A few quick questions….. Ones based off of the Emanuel Augustus ‘Best I Faced’ which was a great read.

Who are a few talented guys who could have possibly had better careers if they were guided differently or more disciplined in their approach?

As far as Augustus I still consider his fight with Mickey Ward as one of the best 2-way action fights I’ve ever seen live. I believe Ward threw 175 punches in the final round alone and still loss the round due to all of the shots he ate.

How do you see the Robert Brant vs. Ryota Murata rematch playing out?

As always keep up the great work & thanks for these much-needed mailbags.

(P.S. – I forgot to add this link, just in case I make the cut with Floyd Jr. saying Augustus was his toughest foe.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fynh0fEnOXQ&feature=youtu.be) – Jamaal, Louisiana

I was ringside for the Mayweather-Burton fight (Floyd’s first foray into the lightweight division), which was shortly after Mayweather separated from his dad and took on his uncle Roger as his head coach, which meant more offense during his fights. He tried like hell to get the KO and he succeeded in stopping the journeyman in entertaining fashion but Burton (later Augustus) was game throughout and landed his share of punches. If Augustus had world-class power, he would have been very dangerous.

I favor Brant in the Murata rematch, but I expect the Japanese middleweight star to be more competitive this time around. It should be a good fight.

Who are a few talented guys who could have possibly had better careers if they were guided differently or more disciplined in their approach? Show me a reliable gatekeeper, like Augustus, who was one of the best GKs of the 2000s, and I’ll show you a prize fighter that could have had a winning record, made more money, received more accolades, and maybe even won a world title or two had his career been guided by top managers/promoters the way most prospects are developed.

Augustus, Darnell Boone, Jesus Soto-Karass, Derrick Findley, Cristian Favela, Fernando Trejo and Don Mouton are a few of the toughest nuts that a matchmaker could test a hot prospect or contender with and they were a hell of a lot better than their records indicated. Had they been matched as carefully as most of the guys they fought, they could have had very different careers.  

 

RING RUST

Hey Dougie,

A few random things on my mind since I have not written in for some time.

Although I have followed boxing for over 4 decades I still struggle to understand the idea of ring rust. How could it be so when the boxers are in the gym all the time?

A driver who does not sit behind the wheels of a car for months? Yes.

A pilot who has not flown in years? Yes.

But a boxer who is in the gym every day? Whence does the rust cometh?

By the way, all of us in Nigeria are still in a state of shock over the AJ loss. … last time I personally felt so bad was when Tarver knocked out RJJ. By some strange coincidence, both times I was on transatlantic flights and had a sense of foreboding that there would be bad news when I landed. I remember getting to Heathrow airport and seeing the newspapers screaming headlines about RJJ’s defeat and in Richardson, Texas was when with a thumping heart I checked online for the result of the AJ fight.

Guess I won’t be flying anywhere during the rematch… – Gbenga X-Adebija, Lagos, Nigeria

Damn straight you won’t get on plane while the anticipated rematch is happening, Gbenga. You’ll be watching live and rooting for the former champ of Nigerian descent. Don’t jinx your boy! AJ needs all the support he can get (moral AND superstitious).

Although I have followed boxing for over 4 decades I still struggle to understand the idea of ring rust. How could it be so when the boxers are in the gym all the time? Well, that’s the thing, Gbenga, my man, boxers who suffer from ring rust haven’t been in the gym. They’ve been inactive and away from training for an extended period (six months to a year) and the eight-week training camp they had before their comeback fight is not enough to get their timing and rhythm back. Disciplined professionals, such as Floyd Mayweather and Bernard Hopkins, could fight once a year and not suffer ring rust because they remained in the gym on a daily basis even when they did not have a fight scheduled. Fighters that take extended vacations from the ring AND from training, or those who have to stay away from the gym due to injuries, are the ones who have to deal with ring rust once they return to the squared circle (or the octagon).

 

ANDRE WARD COMMENT

I have a quick question for you. In your talk about Canelo and Kovalev in last Monday’s mailbag, you said Dre never does anything wrong.

May you tell more about that please? I always thought that he was a dirty fighter with the low blows and head buts. I def thought he totally lost the 1st fight with Kov, but he got away with murder in the 2nd fight with the low blows. I just find it interesting that you think of him that way. Also, Max rides his jock way too much! I don’t care for Max anymore at all, since he is on the show with SAS. As always I really appreciate the Boxing knowledge you drop in your mailbags!!

Long time reader, who hasn’t written you in a very long time! Best regards for you and your family. – Mike from Tampa, FL.

Andre Ward can do no wrong.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and questions after the long absence, Mike. For the record, I was being sarcastic with that “Dre can do no wrong” quip. I was just being a typical boxing-writer a__hole and making fun of the way Ward’s broadcast partners (first on HBO and now on ESPN) constantly kiss his ass and pretend that there was no controversy attached to those two bouts with Kovalev.

And I’m not necessarily tossing shade at ESPN’s excellent commentators with that sarcasm. I realize that Ward has that effect on a lot of folks, including my mentor, Coach Schwartz, who for all I know has a Dre’s handsome mug tattooed somewhere on his body. People like Ward – a lot – and I get it. Ward is bright, polite, articulate and extremely accomplished in boxing. He’s also got a lot of poise and class. I have a lot of respect for the way he’s answered some rather pointed questions about race relations when interviewed on camera, and how he’s handled certain race baiters among the wild, wild west of YouTube “media” that gets credentialed to some fight cards for whatever reason.

 

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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