Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

AMERICAN ACTION

Zup Doug,
Interesting HW fight between Tony Thompson and David Price.

Looks like Tony was right on with his prediction.

From what I saw, Price was almost out of gas at the end of round 2, the round in which he put Thompson down. In round 3 Price got in some good shots, but Tony started to work him over good downstairs and up top. Price was in serious decline from that point onward, as rounds 4 and 5 were all Thompson.

Tony had some vet moves in there. I saw this one smother move that I saw Rigo do in the Donaire fight, where Thompson moved into Price’s body just as David was starting to throw a punch, thereby ‘muting’ the punch before it’s ever completely thrown. I thought that Tony’s commitment to the body made the difference in this fight. Price was used to running through cats, not going rounds. He shot his wad in round two, and that combined with the body shots took its toll on Price’s big frame (it can’t be easy lugging around that much weight, and Price appears to be a bit top-heavy).

It also doesn’t help that David does not appear to be very strong mentally, maybe a bit too emotional, as Price looked spent and worried as he was waiting in the neutral corner when the ref was giving Tony the count in round 2. (Unfortunately, the same can be said for his promoter Frank Maloney, who looked like he was going to pass out again in his post-fight interview.)

Anyway, good HW scrap, and it will probably earn Thompson and his large family a few more big paydays before he hangs them up. Actually, Tony has had a pretty good career, really only losing to Wladimir Klitschko twice, and he may have given Wlad his tougher fights in the last 5 years.

Do you think any of the other American HW prospects, i.e., Bryant Jennings, Deontay Wilder, or Tyson Fury (after he loses to David Haye, lol) will risk looking bad by possibly losing to a soon-to-be 42-year old Thompson?

There were some, including Maloney, who were questioning the wisdom of taking this immediate rematch with Thompson. Looks like they were right. Where do you think Price goes from here?

By the way, the Felix Sturm fight was the mismatch that I thought it would be, absolutely no drama in that tune-up. Peace. – Steve

The fight with Radosevic served its purpose – getting Sturm back in the win column and pushing him up the IBF’s middleweight rankings. Nice body shots from the former WBA beltholder. Maybe this performance, along with his close loss to Sam Soliman being changed to a No Contest (as well as being his own promoter these days), will give “Sturmy” the confidence to finally take on Gennady Golovkin.

My guess is that we’ll see a rematch with Daniel Geale (if the Aussie beats Darren Barker next month) or Matthew Macklin before we see The Sturminator get it on with GGG. That’s OK with me. Sturm makes for very good fights with Geale and Macklin. The way he covers up in the middle of the ring and along ropes makes me think that he wouldn’t last very long with Golovkin.

I didn’t know what to expect going into the Thompson-Price rematch because I honestly had no idea how the British prospect would handle his first bout after his first loss or how he would elect to box once the bell rang. I viewed it as a “toss up” bout but felt that Thompson deserved to be the favorite given the results of their first bout and his vast experience.

I was pleasantly surprised by the lively pace and intensity of the opening round, and I was entertained by the action and drama of the second and third rounds. A big part of that drama – as you noted – was Price’s rapidly fading stamina. He was noticeably breathing heavy in the second rounds and, as you stated, he had a concerned look on his face – even when Thompson was down.

It’s clear to me that Price needed to have at least one distance bout (10-12 rounds) against a quality journeyman or fringe contender under his belt before his management had him step up his competition to Thompson’s level. And Thompson was clearly the wrong veteran to pick on. It’s not just the fact that the 41-year-oldAmerican southpaw has good skills and size, a solid chin and better-than-advertised power; it’s the fact that he’s got a good head on his shoulders.

Thompson is a composed dude by nature. He doesn’t panic in the ring. Can’t say the same for poor “Pricey,” who will be dismissed by most of the boxing world.

I’m not sure where he goes from here. There’s a fast track and a slow track that he can take. If he’s still got “the dream” and the people to support him, I think he needs a long-term development plan. He should get one or two few soft “confidence builders,” and then gradually take on the kind of opposition that will enable him to go rounds while working on various facets of his game.

Even if everything is done correctly and carefully in terms of Price’s “rebuilding,” he might hit his ceiling before even facing another legit top-10 contender because of his chin and stamina issues.

Despite being an “old man” (I chuckle as a write that because I’m older than he is), Thompson’s future is much brighter.

I could be totally wrong, but I think all of the U.S. prospects you mentioned (by the way, despite his big mouth and attitude, Fury is NOT American) are willing to roll the dice against Tony the Tiger.

Right or wrong, I don’t think they thought much of Price (even before the losses to Thompson). My guess is that they think they can do a lot better against Thompson than Price did. They’ll focus on the fact that a guy they believe they would have smashed had Thompson down and buzzed a few times.

A tall-and-rangy athlete as quick, powerful and impetuous as Wilder is going believe that he can finish Thompson shortly after hurting the veteran (and Wilder believes he can and will hurt everyone he fights). Jennings, a mature prospect who has been developed well, has that hardnosed Philly mentality of not being intimidated by anyone and not avoiding tough fights.

And Fury, a Brit of fightin’ Irish descent, is… well, Fury. He’s beyond confident. The big man is a little crazy. And crazy guys don’t play it safe.  

IS PRICE THE NEW FRAUDLEY?

Hey Dougie,
Myself and my bro flew over to Liverpool yesterday to watch the Tiger take out Price. The fight itself was good, but I must say the undercard was possibly one of the worst I have ever witnessed. If I’m paying 100 gbp per ticket (about 150 USD) I expect to get a decent undercard. What I got was trash! Not one fighter on the undercard had a knockout rate above 37%…. And I don’t even know how they got them… The bunch of lads that Maloney had on the undercard couldn’t hit snow off a rope.

For the main event I thought Price looked a bit jaded very early in the first round and it made me wonder if he is another “Audrey” Harrison. Nervous energy can be a terrible zapper of stamina and combined to this Price has a very thin neck for a man of his size. It makes me think whenever he gets caught flush in his career he will be in trouble. It’s one of the things I think is essential for a successful heavyweight to have is a neck that can take a full shot (James Toney, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield… All these guys had huge necks and could take a punch).

What are your thoughts? Cheers. – Leo

I don’t know if it’s because of his “pencil neck” but I do know that Price’s shaky chin (a question mark before he turned pro due to stoppage losses to Roberto Cammarelle and Bermane Stiverne in international amateur competition) will hamper his ability to transition from prospect to contender.

Still, it’s a little early to compare Price to Harrison, who did manage to have a couple semi-decent comebacks (and even avenged his first two losses) before he was completely written off as a bust.

I don’t blame anyone for giving up on Price. Right now his flaws seem much bigger than his attributes, but we shouldn’t completely forget about the Liverpudlian’s strong points (excellent power, good speed and accuracy, decent reflexes, and lots of passion).

Long before Harrison’s chin gave out on him, he seemed to show a lack of fire in decision losses to Danny Williams and Dominick Quinn. I don’t think Price lacks heart or desire, so that’s something that can be built upon. However, the abrupt manner in which he petered out against Thompson makes me wonder if he’ll be able to even accomplish as much as Harrison did.

But it should be noted that the current heavyweight champion of the world – who many boxing scribes believe is a first-ballot hall of famer with ATG stats – suffered from the exact shame flaws that Price does.

Wladimir Klitschko ran out of gas in his first loss (to journeyman Ross Puritty), got his chin checked by the late Corrie Sanders and then his stamina AND his whiskers let him down vs. my man Lamon Brewster.

He was able to turn his career around with the help of the late, great Emanuel Steward, who also picked up the pieces of Lennox Lewis after the Englishman was stopped in just two rounds by unheralded Oliver McCall in 1994 and successfully reassembled the the ’88 Olympic champ into a hall of famer.

Too bad Steward left us all too soon. I bet you the Kronk Wizard would have welcomed the challenge of getting the most out of Price’s height, reach, punching power and heart.

Lewis worked with Price before the Thompson rematch. I know most boxing fans will say that pairing didn’t work out because Price lost again, but had he managed to stop Thompson in the second round everyone would be celebrating the union. I think Price should continue working with Lewis. (Don’t forget, Klitschko lost his first bout with Steward – the lost to Brewster – but stuck it out with the hall of fame coach to his betterment.)

There’s also Johnathon Banks, who might be considering a move to full-time training. Having worked so much with Wladdy and being a Steward understudy, I bet the Detroit native could help come up with boxing strategies that protect Price’s chin and improve his stamina during fights.

PROPS & THOUGHTS

So in the past I’ve been one to criticize you for certain things; only because you’re my favorite boxing writer of all time and I believe in giving you my honest opinions to bring out the best in your work. That being said I have to give you kudos on a few things that stood out to me in recent mailbags.

In recent years I’ve written off your opinions on Floyd Mayweather because I’ve thought your disdain for him has compromised your ability to give impartial thoughts on his work. Now before you jump down my throat, remember I’m emailing to give you props. Mayweather’s decision to have the fight against Saul Alvarez at 152 has conjured up some negative feedback. I however don’t think it’s warranted because I think it’s a fair compromise considering the enormous size discrepancy, but one thing you said stood out to me. “Mayweather has to realize it’s not his decision that makes us upset, but it’s the hypocrisy that does.” Now I may not have recaptured that verbatim but it was something along those lines, with you referring to the remarks he made about Manny Pacquiao fighting Miguel Cotto at a catch weight. Albeit Mayweather made those remarks during the PROMOTION of a fight where it’s his job to downplay his opponent’s blunders and hype up their achievements, I get it. I completely do. It’s a valid point of view, and it’s your first on Mayweather that I’ve accepted in a while.

Moving on, I’ve never really understood your reasons for hating pound for pound lists and the debates that come with it. I think the interest they generate, exposure they get, and conversations they spark are great for the sport. No matter what sport is being discussed, the debate about who’s the “best” is always a fun one and gets people involved. For years the Mayweather or Pacquiao debate was the LeBron or Kobe debate of boxing, and I loved the attention it was getting. In a recent mailbag you made another statement that really stood out to me and that was “I don’t want to talk about rankings, I want to talk about fights.” Salute. With that said let’s talk fights:

I like GGG. Not as much as most of the people who write into the mailbag, but he is one talented S.O.B. Coming from the amateur boxing system, I love that he’s got a great amateur background, which is visible in his technique, footwork, and ring I.Q. However, I don’t think he’s really been tested. Yeah, yeah, I know, Macklin and Proksa. I never really thought too highly of either of them, so it’s not enough. Hey that’s just what I think. That’s not say if he is tested I don’t think he’ll rise to the occasion; not at all the case. I love Maravilla, but I think if he steps in with GGG, it will be the end of his reign. I’ll tell you the fight I really want to see and that’s him vs. JCC Jr. I think the kid’s size alone will be enough to give GGG a tough outing. Combine that with his solid chin, good body work, and overall willingness to slug it out and I think I could be convinced to pick the kid over GGG. Now I’m not talking about, the “I’ll shadow box in my living room to avoid going to the gym and getting in some real work” JCC. He’d definitely have to be motivated and be on a harsh training regimen; GGG warrants that kind of respect.

Last time we spoke, you told me my boy Guillermo Rigondeaux would get “knocked out retardedly” now I’m not one for “I told you so’s” so I just want to get your thoughts on what he should do next? Fights you want to see him in? At a world amateur boxing tourney years ago, although I didn’t get to see it, many people told me that Abner Mares put up a valiant effort vs. Rigondeaux. I think that one could be interesting….

I really hope Bernard Hopkins is careful with his selection of opponents. I’m going to say this right now; Hopkins will not beat anymore ELITE fighters for the duration of his career. I mean it. People thinking he’s got a shot against Froch, Ward, GGG, even newly crowned champ Adonis Stevenson is psychobabble. He has to be weary of wrong stylistic match ups and most of all strong punchers, because if he keeps trying to push the envelope with father time, I don’t see it ending well for him.

Oh yeah, btw I think you’ve been handling the comments about the conflict of interest THE RING has with rating GBP fighters quite well too. – Canadian Slickster

Thanks Slick, just don’t ask me to defend the magazine’s pound-for-pound rankings (which sucks just a little bit worse than everyone else’s list).

I agree with your call on B-Hop, but it’s hard to count the old man out against anybody. I thought Tavoris Cloud would just be “too young” for him and win a decision but he proved me wrong (again). Every boxer eventually loses to Father Time but Hopkins has given him the best fight since Archie Moore.

Few matchups involving Rigondeaux excite me, but Rigo vs. Mares at 126 pounds would definitely have my attention. I know I was dead wrong about Donaire decapitating the Cuban master, but I would probably go against Rigo again if that fight was made. Mares usually finds a way to impose his will and sometimes rough-and-tumble tactics on any style. My gut tells me he could get it done against Rigondeaux.

I don’t think Golovkin would have as much trouble with Chavez Jr.’s size and strength as you think. I think Junior’s giant frame and straight-forward attack just presents more body for GGG to bang on and eventually break down. I’m sure the Mexican star wouldn’t go out without a fight but I don’t think we’re ever going to see him at his best. If Chavez couldn’t take Sergio Martinez seriously enough to train properly what makes you think he’ll work hard to prepare for Golovkin?

Regarding my low opinion of pound-for-pound rankings, I thought the 2½-year debate about who is No. 1 (Mayweather or Pacquiao) did more to hurt boxing than help it. For starters, it got way too nasty between idiot fans of both fighters on message boards and social media. You and I can debate the merits of Mayweather and Pacquiao like civilized human beings, but unfortunately, there are thousands of cretins out there who can’t do so without dropping racial slurs, homophobic rhetoric, profanity and violent threats.

The fact that the fighters and their representatives were unable to make the damn fight also made the sport look bad. Boxing fanatics and general sports pundits in the mainstream media both discussed the fight ad nauseum and they didn’t settle it in the ring.

Beyond the Mayweather-Pacquiao debate, I’ve found most pound-for-pound rankings to be ridiculously biased in favor boxers who fight on U.S. television and lacking in any sort of concrete criteria.

Thanks again for your props on my thoughts on recent subjects, including Mayweather’s choice to fight Canelo at a catchweight.

For the record, I don’t think fighting at 152 pounds will hinder Alvarez and I think Mayweather should be applauded for fighting the young lion.

I also want to repeat that I don’t “hate” Mayweather or have “disdain” for him. I don’t particularly like the man and he’s not one of my favorite boxers, but that’s not the same thing as “disdain,” which is to have contempt for someone or feel that he is unworthy of respect.

I respect Mayweather. I respect his accomplishments and his skill. I think he’s the best boxers on the planet and one of the best of this era. Obviously, he’s one of the most popular and influential boxers of this era. I know this because for his fans it’s unacceptable for anyone to criticize him in any way and that only happens with the “superstars” of the sport.

It’s OK. Seriously, it is. I’m used to it. At certain points in the careers of Mike Tyson, Roy Jones Jr., Oscar De La Hoya and even Felix Trinidad, to state that they were not all-time greats was like spitting loogies into the faces of their fans. It just drove them bonkers. Same deal now with Mayweather.

If I don’t pick him to win every fight by shutout or knockout, I must hate him. If I don’t believe he’s the best boxer of all time, I must have an irrational disdain for him that compromises my ability to rationally and fairly ascertain his ability and legacy.

So be it. Here’s another statement for the record: I don’t particularly like the one active fighter that I do consider an all-time great (Hopkins) and he’s not one of my favorite boxers. Food for thought.

ALFRED E. NEUMAN LOOKALIKES

First Valero and now Golovkin.

Was Alfred E Neuman secretly one of the baddest comic book characters out there? – Daniel, Chicago

I guess so. Batman and Wolverine got nothin’ on Neuman.

Just to be safe I don’t pick fights with dudes who have goofy grins and big ears. I assume that they can punch holes through walls and there’s 50 percent chance that they’re physchopaths.

 

 

Photos / Scott Heavey-Getty Images

Email Dougie at dfischer@ringtv.com. Follow him on Twitter @dougiefischer

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