Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

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KRUSHER KOVALEV

Hi Dougie,
Many thanks for publishing the last e-mail.

Well boy was I wrong. Good old boyo Nathan Cleverly wasn’t really a clever boy and got totally exposed by the beast from the east! Jeez, calling Sergey Kovalev in when he had obviously hurt him was pure madness. And boy did Kovalev oblige by giving him one mighty royal ass kicking!

I was pretty skeptical about the quality of Kovalev both as a boxer and his punching power at world class but I am happy to admit that I was wrong on both counts and was impressed at not only Kovalev’s power but his boxing skills and the confidence he showed in the ring. I still believe Cleverly has a solid chin and I think that at 26 Nathan has time on his hands to regroup and learn from this setback.

So, what do you thinks next for Kovalev, Dougie? I’d love to see a Kovalev v Adonis Stevenson shootout!

On another note, all credit to Kiko Martinez for taking his chance and becoming world champ but why on earth are boxers earning world title chances by being knocked out by credible opponents? (Carl Frampton must be seething.)

It’s 5am in the morning now in the UK so quick footnote and holler out to Darren Barker. One world champ lost another gained for the UK tonight. Hopefully, a showdown with Martin Murray awaits (possibly the most deserving fighter out there to become world champion).

All the best Dougmeister. – Mark, UK

Thanks for sharing, Mark.

Barker was already respected in the UK, but I’m sure he won a lot of U.S. fans with his gutsy title-winning effort, his sincere post-fight sportsmanship toward Geale, and of course, the raw emotion he showed upon realizing his dream on Saturday.

Barker’s got many potentially lucrative options now that he’s got the IBF middleweight title, but first up – according to his promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing – is probably IBF mandatory challenger Felix Sturm in London in December. Hearn thinks the showdown with the veteran former titleholder from Germany can be a big fight in London, and he’s probably right, although I imagine Barker-Murray would be bigger.

I think we’ll see Barker-Sturm by the end of the year, or early in 2014, then maybe a rematch with Geale (if the Aussie is willing to travel to the UK, and I’m sure he is), before Hearn begins any serious negotiations with the representatives of Gennady Golovkin and Peter Quillin. If Barker’s people (they don’t call themselves “Team Dazzle,” do they?) aren’t satisfied with the money that’s offered to face his formidable fellow beltholders, there’s always the Murray fight.

Who knows? If Barker makes a few impressive defenses of his title and Sergio Martinez wins his comeback fight next year, maybe there will be talk of a rematch with THE RING champ.

I expected Kiko Martinez to bring the ruckus but I did not expect him to hurt Romero as early and as often as he did. That was a hell of win for the Spaniard, and like Barker, I’m sure he won a lot of American boxing fans with his relentless performance.

I didn’t have a problem with Romero choosing Martinez as his first title defense. It was a voluntary defense and Martinez had solid credentials even though he had suffered a knockout to Frampton earlier this year. Martinez was competitive before being stopped in the ninth round of that fight. Hey, Kiko’s a beast and so is Frampton, obviously. I don’t think the young Irish star is upset that Martinez got a title shot before he did. Frampton is only 26, with 16 pro bouts. His time will come and he knows it.

altRegarding Kovalev, he just might be the light heavyweight version of Gennady Golovkin. Like you, I had my doubts about him going into the Cleverly fight. I didn’t doubt his power or his skills, but I did question his stamina and I thought Cleverly – who can take a shot and has very good endurance – could possibly expose the Russian tank as a front runner. Well, that obviously didn’t happen. Kovalev set such a fast pace and threw so many hard punches to the body and head that the Welshman’s arms were beat up and his legs were weary by the third round.

I was far more impressed with Kovalev’s fourth-round stoppage of Cleverly than I was with his third-round KO of Gabriel Campillo, who is a slow starter and had come off a long layoff. I’m sold on the Krusher.

What’s next? I’m sure his promoter Kathy Duva will keep Kovalev busy and in the spotlight with NBC Sports Net shows if she can’t get him back on HBO in his next fight. I think Juergen Braehmer is his WBO mandatory. I don’t know if the German veteran wants get in there with Kovalev, but if he does I don’t see him handling the Russian’s pressure and power volume and combination punching any better than Cleverly did.

Beyond the mandatory, there’s an attractive defense against Andrzej Fonfara (who stopped Campillo on Friday), which would be big fight in Chicago, NYC or New Jersey. (Again, I don’t know if Fonfara’s people would be eager to make that match, but these young fighters like Nathan and Andrzej are a bit crazy – God Bless ‘em! – they want to prove themselves.) There’s also Montreal-based Eleider Alvarez, which would be a good set-up for the dream match with Adonis Stevenson (if the RING champ gets by Tavoris Cloud and Tony Bellew) or a showdown with the Jean Pascal-Lucian Bute winner.

Quick note: I favored Cleverly, Romero and Geale to win their tough fights this past Saturday. I was wrong about every bout and that fact did not dampen my viewing pleasure one bit. In fact, I enjoyed the fights more (especially the Martinez-Romero bout) because the element of surprise, action and drama was more than I had imagined.

GEALE-BARKER SCORING

First off, full disclosure, I’m a Geale fan. And full props to Barker for coming back from that brutal body shot and gutting out the win, but I have to question the 116-111 score which in a real tit-for-tat contest seemed a bit wide. It indicates (taking into account Barker losing a point in the 6th) that Barker won 9 of 12 rounds? Which gives Geale the 5th, 6th and 12th (the rounds you would have to think were clearly his)?

C’mon no way Geale didn’t win AT LEAST ONE of the other rounds.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying that Barker didn’t pull that fight out. While I had Geale up slightly, I don’t think anyone who watched that fight thought that it couldn’t go either way – but I just don’t see how you can’t give the champ the benefit of the doubt in some of the closer rounds.

Okay, rant over.

By way of critique of Geale though, he really did let Barker back in the fight in the 7th, he seemed to back off completely when he should have jumped on him. That said, Barker clearly had something to do with that, came back strong and really controlled the 7th showing his quality.

Where do you think both these guys go from here? Barker likely has a mandatory against Sturm, which I think he wins. Geale, I don’t think will need to ‘rebuild’, could he get a fight against one of the other division’s contenders like Matthew Macklin or Murray?

I would like to see Barker give Geale a rematch once he gets his mandatory fight done with. However there are a ton of other fights at middleweight which could also be fun to watch for either guy. Thoughts? Cheers. – Ryan

altI agree with you. I think Barker-Geale was close enough (and good enough) to merit a rematch. I saw it like Carlo Ortiz Jr., who had Barker up by one point (114-113). I thought he won the first three rounds with superior boxing. I thought Geale won the next three rounds (4-6) on aggression. Barker bounced back valiantly in rounds seven and eight, which I scored for him.I thought the ninth could go either way, but I gave it to Geale. I thought Barker won the 10th handily with his body attack. The 11th was another toss-up round IMO, but I scored it for Barker, who landed the cleaner shots. And I thought the 12th clearly belonged to Geale, who appeared to buzz the Londoner.

So I had it 7-5 in rounds for Barker, who lost a point for the knockdown, thus the 114-113 score. I could have easily scored the 11th for Geale, which would have given him the fight by a point.

I don’t get Barbara Perez’s 116-111 card. She was wearing her “Team Dazzle” T-shirt on Saturday.

Anyway, if they don’t have a rematch, I think Barker stays busy with Sturm and Murray. I think Geale has a good domestic fight with fellow Aussie Sam Soliman, that if he were to win it would probably make him the IBF mandatory. I’d also like to see Geale fight Hassan N’dam. If he were to win that matchup I think he’d make a very worthy challenger for WBO beltholder Peter Quillin.

THE RUSSIAN WAR MACHINE

Hey Dougie!

For once I’m gonna make this short!

Starting with Kovalev-Cleverly. Let’s just say that Cleverly found out the really f___in’ hard way that getting nailed by a powerhouse like Kovalev and then banging your mitts together and inviting him to whack you some more is like slicing your privates on your zipper and then shoving them straight into a canister of battery acid!

As for Kovalev this Russian War Machine is a f___in’ meatgrinder in trunks! Right now he’s just chopping down top ten guys the same way Jason Voorhees chops down all those teen-aged f__k machines in the Friday the 13th movies! I’m not sure how Adonis Stevenson will do against this guy but it’s going to be a f___in’ war with someone getting his nose mashed in to the point where he’s wearing it for a face-mask!

Barker-Geale: I don’t know what impressed me more. Geale’s underrated power, Barker’s nonstop stamina and his scorching body shots, or the grit showed by both of these guys.

Forget that one drunken, visually (and mentally) impaired judge who somehow scored it 116-111. This is the best middleweight fight I’ve seen in since Maravilla and P-Will beat the s__t out of each other!

Sure, they’re just a couple more guys who have no chance against Golovkin. But rest assured, neither one of them would crumple and groan like a constipated warthog after taking a poke to the gut. Yeah, I know a poke from GGG is harder than most other guys’ left hooks. But you get what I’m saying! Anyways, thanks guys! – Triple T

I hear ya. You’re saying Barker and Geale aren’t “world beaters” but they’re world class and definitely worthy of a shot at GGG. I’d certainly watch those fights.

And I’m definitely hooked on The Russian War Machine (good nickname, by the way). He’s the truth, F-bomb worthy (as you’ve showed us), and must-see TV.

I want to see Kovalev invade Canada and take out the likes of Stevenson and Pascal, while he waits for Andre Ward to step up to the 175-pound division.

160- & 122-POUND DIVISIONS RULE

I think the Barker vs Geale bout confirms 160 as boxing’s deepest division. All four beltholders are tremendous and then you’ve got the likes of Murray, Sturm, Macklin, N’Jikam and of course Geale himself without belts but who are all quality challengers, not to mention Chavez, Jr. – if he sticks about at middleweight.

I actually think that junior featherweight isn’t that far behind, either. Rigondeaux is exceptional, as is Donaire (I don’t know if he plans to stay 122?) and there’s also some wonderful Europeans about in the likes of Bakhtin, Martinez (congrats on the win!), Frampton and Quigg. Also, Santa Cruz is taking Terrazas’ WBC strap this Saturday I reckon, which will certainly add intrigue to the mix!

Hope that great fights keep getting made in these divisions.

Also wondered what you make of Tony Thompson’s quick turnaround from fighting Price very recently to fighting Pulev this Saturday?

I suppose he didn’t expend a great deal of energy in the Price fight, so presumably should be somewhat fresh? Has he got any chance?

I’d also like to know how you see Stevenson vs. Cloud going and how you see Kovalev fitting into 175 after blitzing Cleverly?

Regards as always. – Callum

Kovalev fits right at the top of the light heavyweight division along with RING champ Stevenson and Immortal B-Hop. I don’t think I’ll be picking against him any time soon.

I think Cloud had a very good shot at dethroning Stevenson. In fact, I might pick the former beltholder to win that showdown as we get closer to the fight.

I love the quick turn-around for Thompson (especially his willingness to face young unbeaten fighters in their home territories). It’s an old-school move from an old-school heavyweight. And I think the “old man” can upset Pulev.

I agree that the 160- and 122-pound divisions are among the deepest in boxing, and I also think we’ll continue to be treated to entertaining matchups.

The Terrazas-Santa Cruz fight will deliver action. Mark my words. I think Santa Cruz will take the Mexican’s WBC title but he won’t do so without a hard fight. Their fight might upstage the Abner Mares-Jhonny Gonzalez featherweight main event.

A few notes about the junior featherweights: I think Alex Bakhtin retired. I don’t think Donaire will return to 122. And unfortunately, the real champ of the division, Rigo, is a guy that few fighters want to face. Still Frampton, Martinez, Quigg and Santa Cruz (who might not stick around too long) guarantee excitement in the division.

The middleweight division has heated up considerably from just a few years ago. It’s not that the talent wasn’t there in 2010, it’s just that hardcore U.S. fans and the American boxing media are now aware of the top fighters from other countries.

It used to be Sergio Martinez and those other guys, but with the emergence of Golovkin, Quillin, Barker, Geale and Murray, it’s become a crowded top 10 – and one with international flavor. THE RING doesn’t rank U.S. veterans Sergio Mora or Curtis Stevens (not yet, anyway). By the way, I’d be shocked if we see Junior at 160 pounds again.

A division to keep an eye on (if you’re a real fan) is flyweight. RING champ Akira Yaegashi and the magazine’s top five-rated 112 pounds – WBA/WBO titleholder Juan Estrada, Brian Viloria, Hernan Marquez, IBF beltholder Moruti Mthalane and Edgar Sosa – are, pound-for-pound, the most skilled, complete and experienced group of fighters in any division. One of my favorite punchers, Giovani Segura, who got back to his KO ways on Saturday, adds some spice to the flys.

If Roman Gonzalez and Kazuto Ioka rise from the 108-pound division, forget about it, the flyweights will reign supreme in my view. The number of potential Fight of the Year candidate matchups that could be made at flyweight (most of them rematches) would be be sick!

 

 

Photos / Scott Heavey-Getty Images, Rich Schultz-Getty Images

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

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