I agree that the sport will always have a place for “noble savages” — guys who go out of their way to be down-to-earth and humble outside of the ring, but try like hell to decapitate their opponents once it's fight time.
I wouldn’t compare Segura with Corrales, however, because he’s not "trying" to “come off” as a nice guy outside of the ropes, he really is a nice guy.
In fact, he’s nicer and more engaging than he appeared during the interview. Segura is still getting used to people giving a damn about him, so he gets a little camera shy during video interviews. But trust me, I’ve known Segura (and his manager Richard Mota) since around the time the southpaw puncher turned pro (2003), he’s as cool as fighters get. In fact, he’s just like you and I — he’s a hardcore fight fan. He loves to watch boxing, read about the sport and talk about great fighters and great matchups for hours.
During last week’s camp visit, Segura told me about a telephone interview he did with a British boxing writer, who asked him about his all-time “dream fights.” Segura’s answer was Rocky Marciano vs. Mike Tyson and Manny Pacquiao vs. Salvador Sanchez at featherweight. He went on and on about those mythical matchups for about 10-15 minutes the way any hardcore boxing nut would (he thinks Tyson prevails by mid-rounds stoppage and Sanchez wins a decision).
However, he’s still got the eye of the tiger as a fighter. While Segura was jumping rope I talked to his manager about fights I’d like to see him in this year. I brought up Hugo Cazares, an exciting former 108-pound champ who now holds a 115-pound title, and from the other side of the ring Segura, who must have damn good ears, yelled out “I’ll kill him!”
You gotta love a fighter like that.
WONJONGKAM VS. SEGURA
Giovanni Segura should definitely fight Pongsaklek Wonjongkam next. What are the chances that this fight can happen? — Javier
It’s possible because it’s a fight that Segura wants and one that his management is willing to travel to Wonjongkam’s home country to make, however, it’s not feasible because the time difference of a fight in Thailand would make it impossible for a live broadcast in Mexico and U.S.
In terms of fights that will boost Segura’s legacy and current pound-for-pound ranking (he’s No. 10 on THE RING’s list, but unranked everywhere else) a showdown with THE RING/WBC flyweight champ (who is No. 6 in the magazine’s pound-for-pound rankings) is the best matchup for him.
However, it’s far from the only significant fight that Segura could take part in at a variety of weights. If he can make 108 pounds one more time, a junior flyweight title defense against WBA beltholder Roman Gonzalez (28-0, 23 knockouts) would be a doozey.
A Mexican un-Civil war awaits him at flyweight against newly crowned WBA 112-pound titleholder Hernan “Tyson” Marquez, who won his belt in a fight of the year-candidate slugfest with Luis Concepcion on Saturday.
And the fight I spoke to Ricky Mota about, against THE RING’s No. 1-rated junior bantamweight Hugo Cazares, would be a battle royal.
THE NORDIC NIGHTMARE
I think Helenius is a bona fide heavyweight prospect who is worth keeping an eye on. In this era of big men, the quality of the Finnish giant’s opposition and his strong performances against them arguably make him a top-10 contender.
While I agree that Helenius fought experienced veterans such as Peter, Lamon Brewster, Taras Bydenko, and Attila Levin at the right point in their careers, the fact that he was willing to fight these guys — soe of whom can punch — with so little pro experience of his own and that he dominated them is worth noting.
Usually, when a fighter with so few fights beats former titleholders prior to his 15th pro bout, he’s an Olympic gold medalist or an amateur world champ, like Alexander Povetkin. Helenius was a very good amateur but he never won any of the big international tournaments.
I’m impressed with him. Helenius doesn’t have the natural ability of a big man like Tim Witherspoon, who gave the great Larry Holmes (42-0 at the time) hell in a world title fight in only his 16th pro fight, but he’s got good size and power, solid technique and a fighter’s mentality.
I think he’s more deserving of the No. 10 spot in THE RING’s heavyweight rankings than Kubrat Pulev, a more accomplished amateur from Bulgaria who has defeated former contenders Matt Skelton, Paolo Vidoz and Dominick Guinn in only 11 pro bouts.
I've got a few questions for you, Dougster:
1. You mentioned a while back that you thought Bernard Hopkins might get dropped by Jean Pascal again in the rematch. Why do you think that? B-HOP has/had an iron chin most of his career, he didn't appear to be hurt then went on to kick Pascal's a$$. Do you think his punch resistance is gone, he will just get hit and caught off guard again? What makes you think that? Personally, I see the same thing happening minus the knockdowns, which is B-HOP rolling to victory and putting a beating on Pascal. B-HOP knows what to expect this time and wont be caught off guard.
2. The presser melee. This maybe makes me think differently… B-HOP is definitely calculating in the ring and this stuff will not alter his gameplan, see Felix Trinidad build up and actual fight. But what is up with Pascal? Is he scared, trying to psyche himself up, we know he won't get in B-HOP's head. Is this good or bad for Pascal? If he comes to the ring mad and fights with fire that will be his undoing. Pascal is a dumb fighter and fighting mad will only make him more reckless and B-HOP can get him the f__k out of there if he is not careful. But, lets be honest, Pascal is never going to outbox or outfox B-HOP, all he can do is attempt to roll right over him. So maybe this is the best thing for him, but if he is all excited and tense, he will only tire early again.
Your thoughts? — JCB
I don’t think Hopkins has lost all of his punch resistance but I think something is going on neurologically that is effecting his equilibrium when he gets caught with certain shots — primarily punches to the temple, the back of the head and directly to the chin or maxilla (the area between the nose and top half of the mouth/jaw). Why do I think this? Just check the tape on his knockdowns against a shot Roy Jones and a seemingly nervous Pascal. Hopkins wasn’t hurt or unaware of where he was. He went down because he was immediately robbed of his legs or equilibrium. Why is this happening? I don’t know. I’m not a doctor or neurologist, but I think the common sense answer is 20-plus years of professional boxing and the wear and tear that comes with it.
I won’t be surprised if Hopkins rolls to a victory as you envision, but I also won’t be shocked if he gets dropped again.
Hopkins is a great fighter, but he’s also human.
Regarding the shoving match at the kick-off presser in Montreal, I don’t think Pascal is scared but I definitely believe the young champ is trying to psyche himself up. I think that’s a good thing for us fans because his round-about accusations will only motivate Hopkins to train harder and kick his ass more thoroughly, and hopefully the Haitian-Canadian will want to back up all his bluster and fight like the younger, faster, supposedly harder-punching man.
In the first fight, he either gave Hopkins too much respect, got intimidated when the old man got up, isn’t very bright, or a combination of all three scenarios.
If it’s true that his ring IQ is below 90, he hasn’t a prayer of outboxing Nard. There’s no shame in being intimated by Hopkins, who intimates EVERYONE he wants to intimidate in or out of the ring (with Joe Calzaghe being the possible exception). However, the one thing Pascal can change about the first fight is the amount of respect he gave the old man. I hope he does try to bum rush Nard, even if it results in his getting KTFO. At the very least it will make for an exciting fight and who knows? He might get lucky and KO a legend.
A lot of words have been said about boxing over the years, even as the sport fades in exposure and movies about it win Oscars. Like everything, sometimes the facade means as much as the reality. A huge part of what most of us take away from any bout comes from what the announcers say in reaction to the fight… it becomes the record. Nick Charles is the record for a lot of fights for me and for so many of us. I'm gutted that it won't be dozens more. As I type this I'm watching a forgettable fight between Mikey Garcia and Matt Remillard again because I want to hear that unforgettable voice just one more time. We love you, Nick. Boxing, boxing fans, and people that respect true professionals all do. — JRT
Well said, and very true.
Who do you think give's Donaire a better fight Mares or Agbeko?
Cheers. — Nicholas
Hey there, Nick. I’ll answer your random thoughts in order:
2. Absolutely, I see most doing that even if the talent isn’t on par with the current crop of Cubans.
3. Yes it will. This week, in fact, RingTV.com will rebroadcast four fights involving fighters on the Morales-Maidana PPV undercard: Robert Guerrero (vs. Vicente Escobedo), Paul Malignaggi (the rematch vs. Juan Diaz), Michael Katsidis (vs. Czar Amonsot) and James Kirkland (vs. Joel Julio). I’ll be sort of hosting the broadcasts with each fighter (Guerrero on Tuesday, Malignaggi on Wednesday and Katsidis and Kirkland on Thursday). It should be a lot of fun. I hope you'll be watching. If you catch the live broadcast you can send us an email and ask your own question of the fighter.
4. Yes and no. I think more hardcore American fans will give the sub-featherweight fighters the respect and attention they deserve, even though most are not from the U.S. and rarely fight in the States. However, I think most casual fans will continue to miss this boat. Showtime has done a lot to give the little guys equal treatment and exposure over the years (going back to Ricardo Lopez and Johnny Tapia right up to Vic Darchinyan and the bantamweight tournament). If HBO gets on board with Nonito Donaire maybe more fans will see the “light” (get it?).