Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

CLEVERLY VS. KOVALEV

Hi Dougie,
After a quiet couple of weeks I wondered what your thoughts are on the above fight that we have got coming up this week.

Here in the UK the sounds coming from the US are that Sergei Kovalev is not only gonna win but win convincingly (I guess by KO), but Dougie I have got to profess there is just NO WAY Kovalev is EVER gonna beat good old boyo Nathan Cleverly.

The reasons:

1: Cleverly is just way, way too fast for this guy. There is no way he will ever catch Cleverly. His body and lateral movement will just confuse Kovalev and Cleverly will just pick him off.

2. And most importantly, not only has Cleverly got great skills and great speed for a LH he has got a chin every bit as good as Carl Froch (who everybody states is the hardest MoFo on the planet). I truly believe Cleverly’s chin is even better.

Trust me, when Kovalev lands a flush punch on Cleverly’s jaw (which will happen cos the guy WILL want to take his hardest punch) he will look him in the face shake his head to let him know he’s not hurt, laugh, and then bang him straight back in the face. Trust me Dougie, he is one hard MoFo who is vastly underrated .

Although Kovalev has been knocking everyone out left right and centre, I was very unimpressed with his performance and boxing skills in his last fight. Would you agree that although he scored a KO his boxing skills weren’t anything to write home about?

Also as a footnote, Triple GGG is being built up by HBO as the next great boxer and badass on the planet (which let’s face it as being spot on). Do you think that they truly believe they are gonna strike gold twice with Kovalev????????????)

I hear bells coming crashing down.

(Ps if u can’t publish this email I would appreciate if u could reference when Kovalev’s world comes crashing down!!!!) Cheers Dougmeister. – Mark, UK

I don’t know if Kovalev can be what Golovkin is to the middleweights at light heavyweight, but I think he has underrated technique (like many of the sport’s top punchers) and I also believe he’s smart about the way he gets his knockouts. He’s definitely not a caveman. Is he a world-beater? I don’t know. His proving ground is on Saturday. If he can knock out Cleverly, he’ll be one big step closer to earning that “boogeyman” status that GGG and Lucas Matthysse are currently enjoying.

However, I agree with your assumption that Cleverly will be too fast and too tough for the Russian banger. I also believe that Cleverly is too busy, fluid and mobile for Kovalev to crowd and overwhelm. I think Cleverly will weather an early storm, soften Kovalev up with body shots and combinations in the middle rounds and then pressure the Russian during a strong late-rounds rally to win by close, hard-earned decision.

Having said that, I wouldn’t put a lot of money on the Welshman if I were a betting man. So far, 2013 has been the Year of the Puncher. Golovkin, Matthysse, Adonis Stevens, Marcos Maidana and Deontay Wilder, among others, have rekindled the mystique of the KO Artist this year and I wouldn’t be shocked if Kovalev added his name to the New Power Generation on Saturday.

WILDER AND THE AMERICAN HEAVYWEIGHTS

Hi Doug,

Is Deontay Wilder the next American heavyweight champion?

According to one of the past RingTV.com polls, a lot of people seem to think so.

I told myself that a win over Siarhei Liakhovich wasn’t going to convince me since Liakhovich is at this stage of his career on journeyman level. I am still not convinced, but I have to admit that the way he got rid of him was impressive.

Up to this point the way in which Wilder’s career has been managed made me see him as the second coming of Alex Stewart. Remember how he ran up a record of 24 straight knockouts against absolute nobodies and was then tossed into the deep end of the pool against Evander Holyfield? That sort of matchmaking gave me the impression of a management team not really believing in their fighter, building him an artificial record and then throwing him to the lions by cashing in against the highest bidder.

Turned out that Stewart was, in fact, a pretty good heavyweight. He gave everyone except Tyson and especially Foreman a tough evening, just not good enough to beat the top guys. I always wondered if his career would have turned out differently if he was matched better against progressively tougher opponents.

Fast forward to Wilder, who, although some of his opponents were better than the guys Stewart thought pre-Holyfield, was until recently being brought along in a similiar way. A guy good enough to get a bronze at the Olympics obviously has a solid amateur foundation so why the extreme caution? Fights like Audley Harrison and Liakhovich should have happened between fights number 15 and 20. Does his handlers know something we don’t? Or are they doing their matchmaking job the right way by not making the mistake that the handlers of another bronze medallist, David Price, perhaps did in retrospect?

So let’s go by what I see right now. At 6’7 he has the size that a guy like Alex Stewart never really had. I don’t think he was ever more than 6’3 and carried most of his weight in his legs. So size wise at least he’s got the goods. The general athleticism also seems to be there and he can definitely crack. On the minus side, he tends to go wild and wing too many windmill punches when he hurts an opponent. He could come unstuck against a clever counter puncher like Tony Thompson. And you have to wonder what will happen to a guy who has never been beyond four rounds when he is dragged into deep water.

So what will convince me? A win against Thompson, fellow prospect Bryant Jennings or a slick boxer like Odlanier Solis. Or the winner of Seth Mitchell-Chris Arreola, which looks far more likely to happen.

By the way, how do you see that fight going? I think Arreola knocks him out with one of those trademark short power punches on the inside. Even when out of shape he is a better puncher than Jonathan Banks and he may not need more than four rounds to do it.

Seth Mitchell deserves credit for immediately taking the Banks rematch and making the adjustments to win, but to me it looked as if Banks suddenly thought “Damn, I better back off this guy or I might have to fight my boss next” after initially hurting him. I admit that I struggle to buy the football player to boxer conversion; it conjures up images of “Too Tall” Jones and Mark Gastineau and not Ken Norton in my mind. I do think Mitchell is better than the first two but he is no Ken Norton. I promise to stop bitching and get behind him if he proves me wrong and beats Arreola.

Are there any other American heavyweights that I’m missing? Like you, I liked Malik Scott, who I think has a very deep boxing skillset as heavyweights go, but he was very disappointing in the Chisora fight. He just didn’t seem to have the fire and I think Chisora would have won even without the referee’s help. Besides that, I just can’t see how Scott is ever going to get a close decision. People just don’t seem to want a heavyweight Pernell Whitaker.

Appreciate your thoughts as always. Regards. – Droeks Malan, Stellenbosch, South Africa

The top two American heavyweights, in my opinion, are Thompson and Scott. They are complete boxers, experienced and smart. On a good night, I believe that they can beat any top heavyweight not named Klitschko.

However, I’ll say this: on a good night, I think Wilder can knock any heavyweight out cold – including the K-Brothers. Right now, I doubt he has the ability and the craft to reach the Ukrainians’ chins with a clean shot, but given enough time, maybe he will.

Regarding Arreola-Mitchell, it’s real simple: If Arreola doesn’t train or take the fight seriously, Mitchell will beat him. If Arreola trains and focuses the way a professional should, he’ll beat Mitchell.

Mitchell doesn’t have Arreola’s talent and experience or the Southern Californian’s ability to relax in the ring and take a good shot, but he’s dedicated to the sport and he’s determined in the ring. With Mitchell’s size and athleticism, that’s enough to get the better of Arreola if Chris is ill prepared.

We’ll see what happens. If Mitchell wins, I can see Golden Boy/Al Haymon making the Wilder-Mitchell showdown. If Arreola wins, I think his promoter (Dan Goossen) will look into other options.

By the way, if Wilder-Mitchell does take place. I like Wilder by KO. I also think Wilder would KO Bryant. I’d favor Thompson to weather the storm and clip Wilder the way he did the other 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, David Price, but Tony the Tiger is scheduled to face Kubrat Pulev on the 24th. If he wins, he’ll be in line for a third shot at Wladimir Klitschko, so Wilder isn’t on his radar right now.

I understand your skepticism toward Wilder. All punchers who have never gone the distance and have only scored early-round KOs are suspect until they prove they can go into deep water during a tough fight and still prevail.

However, I think Wilder’s team is moving him forward at the right time. I know 29 bouts is a lot of fights to have before taking that big step, but Wilder started boxing as a young adult, not a child or teen, like most successful pros. His amateur career only lasted three years and he reportedly won the U.S. Olympic trials with only 21 bouts. So he was going to be a work-in-progress as a pro, just like another raw physical specimen who won an Olympic medal at heavyweight: George Foreman.

Big George reportedly only had 20 amateur bouts going into the 1968 Olympics, where he won a gold medal. Despite is obvious attributes (freakish physical strength and KO power in both hands), Foreman was matched carefully on his way up the heavyweight ladder. He only faced two solid fighters on his way to compiling a 37-0 record, which he took into his challenge to heavyweight champ Joe Frazier – the undersized Gregorio Peralta and a past-prime George Chuvalo.

However, when Dick Sadler was ready to turn his project loose, Foreman had the ability to crush bona-fide world-class badasses like Frazier and Norton.

I agree that Wilder needs to go rounds and he needs to be tested by a fighter who not only comes to win but as the ability to beat him, but if he can pass one or two such tests, who knows how good he can be by the time he has 37 bouts.

Quick note about “the Destroyer” Stewart, his first fight with Holyfield was one of the best heavyweight bouts I saw during the late 1980s (as well as the first fight I ever watched on Showtime); his rematch with “the Real Deal” was one of the worst heavyweight bouts I watched during the early 1990s. His shootout with Michael Moorer was fun, too. He made Double M look like a southpaw Sonny Liston.

UPCOMING BRITISH FIGHTS

Hey Doug

Big fan from the UK. There are a few career defining fights for British boxers coming up over the next few weeks/months just wondered what your thoughts on these fights are?

Firstly Darren Barker vs Daniel Geale I see this fight as almost too close to call although I do see from across the pond most bloggers give Barker little chance. However, I’m sure he must have learnt from the Sergio Martinez fight, and will take that experience into this fight. I think this one will go to the cards with Barker getting a split decision.

On the same night, we have Nathan Cleverly in a dangerous fight. I am a big fan of Cleverly. He’s got a good chin good technical ability and he’s always in top condition. However, I think Kovalev is his biggest test yet and I’m just a bit worried about his apparent lack of power at the elite level. He just doesn’t seem to hurt people enough at the top level. I think if he uses his boxing skills and keeps the fight at a distance he can win but he likes to get involved in a tear up and this could be his downfall in this fight.

Tyson Fury vs David Haye. As a Brit I can’t wait for this fight. No matter what the outcome this will be an entertaining fight, because although Haye is the obvious choice I think anything could happen in this fight. I’m not writing Fury off. He’s got 6 inches and probably 20 pounds over Haye; also 8 years younger. If Fury is disciplined on the night anything could happen.

Froch vs Groves . Again Groves is a massive underdog but Froch is getting old and he’s been in some serious wars. And he’s trying to bait Groves in the British press to stand and fight. Maybe he’s a bit worried Groves will be on his bike with much younger legs and try to win boring. I can remember a young Joe Calzaghe being given no chance against Chris Eubank (no I’m not comparing groves to Calzaghe) but look what happened there. Groves has got a serious punch, is much younger than Froch and his trainer Adam Booth is gaining respect as a great tactician. Also people are saying Groves has never fought anybody. I hate that analogy because at one time every world champ has “never fought anybody.”

Anyway, Doug what are your thoughts on these fights?

Mythical match up (just for fun):

Filo Bedo vs B.A. Baracus. – Kirk

“Right turn, Clyde.”

It’s spelled “Philo Beddoe,” and the fist-fightin’ trucker of Every Which Way But Loose and Any Which Way You Can fame would bare-knuckle jab B.A.’s Mohawk off en route to a TKO 15 minutes into their scrap, which I imagine would take place outside, in the back garage of a San Fernando Valley juke joint.

The real fights you mentioned are all very competitive bouts that happen to have solid favorites. Geale is expected to keep his IBF middleweight title against Barker, who most American fans have only seen lose (to Martinez), so he’s being counted out. Most hardcore heads are either sold on Kovalev, or they believe that Cleverly is another overrated Frank Warren creation, so they favor the Russian by knockout. Froch is the best super middleweight not named Andre Ward, while Groves is still developing, so the veteran is expected to keep his belts. And Fury is viewed as a vulgar British combination of Big Bird and the Cookie Monster over here – he’s tall, awkward and just plain silly, and that’s all he is as far as American fans are concerned. He’s not viewed as a real contender, whereas Haye is viewed as a threat to any big man outside of the K-bros.

However, I think Barker is a real contender and I can see him troubling Geale with his height, reach, defense, jab, and lateral movement. I like Geale by close decision, though, because of his aggression. I think the Aussie has a natural, athletic fighting style that mixes in rough stuff with ring generalship. I think Geale will get the benefit of the doubt on the official cards in a close distance fight.

I know that Kovalev is dangerous, but I think Cleverly is talented, tough, and he has been developed well by Warren, so he’s ready cut loose against a bona-fide threat. He can’t put his chin out there too much, but if he can get out of the early rounds, I think his high-punch output and body work can gradually weaken Kovalev as he out-works and outpoints the Russian over the distance.

Fury and Groves are the young blood of the sport that I believe (along with Canelo Alvarez and Brandon Rios) can score major upsets over their heavily favored veteran opponents in upcoming fights. The way they can beat their more experienced, better talented and better skilled foes is by exhibiting their own boxing ability and ring intelligence. I think Fury, Groves, Alvarez, and yes, even Bam Bam, are smarter than they are given credit for. If they have good gameplans and they stick to them, they can change the face of the sport by the end of 2013.

I favor both Haye and Froch, but I also believe that the veterans will have to be at the absolute best in order to turn back the challenge of their young adversaries.

ENOUGH W/ THE MYTHICAL MATCHUPS

What’s up Doug,

It’s Double H aka Harsh Hugo aka Happy Hugo. I’ll try to watch my word count since Captain Ron has already awarded me a Dougie for Longest Email. Although, it’s an honor just to be nominated in any category… but I digress, enough with the damn Mythical Match-ups.

Everyone with a mythical match-up list reminds of the old guys in the barbershop in Coming to America. You can argue all day, everyday, and get absolutely no where. Some of today’s match-ups don’t turn out the way one would predict based on resumes. On paper, Victor Ortiz was supposed to beat Josesito Lopez yet, it was Ortiz that needed to be fed Jell-O and other non-solids through a tube. On paper, Kirkland-Ishida looked like a mismatch… yet, it was Kirkland that was left wondering if he got crushed by Godzilla. On paper, Money should beat Canelo with his defense, but we won’t know until it happens! AND, your responses to mythical match-ups are longer than my emails.

Mythical match-ups are a waste of time because they will never happen so they cannot be proven… is Superman faster than the Flash? Who gives a sh*t? That race will never happen. If “ifs” and “buts” were candy and nuts… so enough of that nonsense.

Btw, the PED’s are only for the Rigo and Gamboa fights…cuz, damn are they boring. I can’t wait for the awards dinner. Thanks again Captain Ron for nomination. See ya in Hollywood!!! Thanks Doug – Double H

Hollywood Park, as in the run-down horse track and casino in a rather seedy area of Inglewood, Calif., not Hollywood. I ain’t Hollywood and the Dougie awards won’t be, either.

Anyway…. no mythical matchups!? Where’s the fun in that? So what if our opinions will never be proven? The arguments ARE the fun!

What’s the point in following a 100+ year-old sport if you can’t compare and debate about the fighters from different decades/eras?

I tell ya what, I’ll scale back on the mythical matchups, only because there are so many excellent upcoming matchups this month (Geale-Barker/Cleverly-Kovalev/Mares-Gonzalez/Terrazas-Santa Cruz), September (Mayweather-Canelo/Garcia-Matthysse), October (Bradley-Marquez/Alvarado-Provodnikov), and November (Pacquiao-Rios).

But once things slow down in December, HH, I’m gonna answer any and all MMs that come my way.

‘TONO’ WAS A BADASS

What’s up Doug?

Two things regarding your past Friday bag that caught my attention in particular.

The first was the Antonio Diaz-Arturo Gatti myth-match. I agree that Diaz would have left Gatti’s nose smeared on the canvas. Which means you can add Diaz to the sizable list of 140-145 pounders that would never get near the Hall but would kick Gatti’s ass anyways! Gatti never received my vote by the way.

As for Diaz, he was indeed a true friggin’ badass. I never did see his brawl with Ward but I did see him pound it out with Margarito. Best fight between two Antonios I’ve ever saw.

Diaz was already past his best but he did give Marg some serious fuckin’ hell before getting grinded down in the tenth. Kind of makes me wonder what would have happened if Diaz had that kind of extra fuel that Marg had.

Anyways I definately rate this as one of Marg’s toughest ever battles along with his wars with Josh Clottey, Paul Williams and Miguel Cotto.

How do you think Diaz would have done if he was in his prime right now? I think he’ll definitely take down Soto-Karass and batter Andre Berto to bits. But imagine these pulse-pounding wars he’ll have against the likes of Marcos Maidana, Brandon Rios and Robert Guerrero. How does he rack up in these myth-matches?

My other point’s regarding my apparently number one fan and your favourite cretin Captain Ron.

His butt-kissing flatters me and all but the fact that he’s quoting word for word mailbag comments from months ago is an obvious sign that this guy needs to try the real world sometime. Unless that ship has f___ed off long ago!

Still, I get a kick out of his eternal dorkiness and his mentioning that I should be a broadcaster. If I were one know who I would want to interview on live TV? Brandon “The Butcher” Rios.

For starters he’s clearly one of my favourite active fighters. I also would want to be the first to ask him why a badass mother___er like him would want to name himself after Barney’s brat. Or for that matter, some fat, tattoed turd who wrestled in the 90s (“Bam Bam” Bigalow). – Triple T

Hey, I’m not a pro wrestling connoisseur like some of my boxing writer peers, but I casually followed the WWF in the ‘80s and paid some attention in the early ‘90s, and if I recall correctly, Bigalow was pretty damn good for a big man.

If you ever interviewed Rios at least 30% of it would be the F-word (which is f___ing fine by me).

That ship has definitely sailed for the good Captain, bless his cretinous heart.

“Tono” Diaz in his prime was a beast with decent skills. Margarito was just too big for him, but I agree he would have defeated Soto Karass and Berto – in terrific fights. I think he would have got the better of Maidana, too, probably in a fight of the year-type war of attrition.

I think Rios would out-gut him in a great fight and Guerrero would probably outbox him over the distance in a rough encounter.

If you haven’t seen the Ward fight, do yourself a favor and check it out. It’s on YouTube in three parts.

I didn’t vote for Gatti, but he’s in the IBHOF now, so I’m not going to s__ on him. I’m happy for his legacy and those who were close to him.

WHO DOES BRONER BEAT AT 147?

Hi Dougie,
I’ve already emailed once this week! So sorry about this one!

But, I’d like to know which of the other Ring magazine ranked fighters at Welterweight you think Adrien Broner would beat right now at this stage of his career. Regards. – Callum

Good question. By defeating Paul Malignaggi (currently rated No. 9 by THE RING) in his welterweight debut, Broner (No. 7) proved that he’s a special talent and that he belongs among the top 147 pounders.

However, we know that he can be outworked (which Malignaggi did), outmaneuvered to a degree, and since Paulie isn’t a puncher, we don’t know if Broner can take a good shot from a world-class welterweight who has power.

I’d favor Broner to beat Marcos Maidana (No. 10). Even though the Argentine is a puncher, he’s still pretty raw in terms of technique and defense. I’d also slightly favor Broner over Robert Guerrero (No. 6), who’s rugged and experienced, but not a puncher and not one to make sound adjustments against a more talented boxer.

However, I’d favor all the other RING-rated welterweights – Juan Manuel Marquez (No. 1), Manny Pacquiao (No. 2), Kell Brook (No. 3), Tim Bradley (No. 4), Devon Alexander (No. 5) and Keith Thurman (No. 8) – to beat Broner at this stage of his career.

 

 

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

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