Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Friday mailbag

Photo by Chris Farina-Top Rank

Photo by Chris Farina-Top Rank

RUSSELL VS LOMACHENKO

Sup Doug,
Terrific article on the Gary Russell-Vasyl Lomachenko matchup. It's really main event worthy, but whatever, it’s just a fantastic matchup from every angle. I slightly favor Russell in this one. The hand speed and ability to fire off quick combos at close range should give him a nice cushion going into the latter stages of the fight. I see Vasyl making a serious charge but I don't think it'll be enough to affect the outcome.

Terrific card overall. My picks:

Robert Guerrero and Bad Chad both get back in the win column.
Devon Alexander outboxes an increasingly worn out Jesus Soto Karass
I like Sharif Bogere in a nice scrap.
Dominic Breazeale just isn't compelling yet and maybe never will be.

Be well brutha. – Regi from CT

Thanks Regi. Tomorrow night’s card at StubHub Center is pretty solid. I’m looking forward to it (and I’ll be doing the international broadcast so I’m hoping for at least one shootout or battle of attrition, like we got last time at the outdoor venue with Matthysse-Molina).

I don’t think Russell-Lomachenko will deliver that kind of scrap – both Olympians are too smart and technical for that – but I believe the featherweights will make for a compelling boxing match that might feature its share of drama.

When the fight was first announced I favored Lomachenko, simply because he’s the more battle tested of the two talents (even though he has far less pro experience than Russell). Lomachenko showed some real character going the 12-round distance with Orlando Salido and closing hard against the rugged vet in March.

In what appears to be an even matchup, I generally go with the boxer who has proven his mettle over one who has yet to do so – even if the unproven fighter has more talent or athletic gifts. Sometimes I’m right (as when Carl Froch steamrolled Lucian Bute and stopped George Groves), sometimes I’m wrong (as when Adrien Broner smoked Eloy Perez).

Like Broner at 130-135 pounds, Russell has the kind of talent (speed, power and timing) that can trump everything. Russell seems very confident going into the Lomachenko fight, and watching video of their fights, I can understand why. Lomachenko has quick fluid hands but he’s not as fast as Russell, who is very good at catching his opponents during exchanges.

Lomachenko is a busy fighter who likes to go to the body a lot. That style could make him vulnerable to Russell’s explosive but economical and accurate offense.   

Having said that, I’m gonna stick with my pick of Lomachenko. I think he’ll do just enough to earn a close decision in a high-intensity speed chess match. There’s a reason he beat everybody he ever fought during his storied amateur career (which included almost 400 bouts). The Ukrainian southpaw finds a way to win and he steps up his game for the big fights. Against Russell, his footwork and lateral movement will be just as important as his offense.

I agree with your other picks for the Showtime/Golden Boy Promotions card. Guerrero, Alexander and Dawson should have too much class and experience for their opponents (Yoshihiro Kamegai, Soto Karass and George Blades). Bogere should have no trouble with Miguel Zamudio, who has been KO’d in the early rounds of all four of his losses (and every time he’s stepped up in competition).

I was impressed with Breazeale’s last bout, an eight-round decision over Nagy Aguilera. He finally looked like a real prospect in that fight. The 2012 U.S. Olympian sounded like a real prospect at yesterday’s final presser. He promised to knockout his opponent tomorrow night, 2004 U.S. Olympian Devin Vargas.

 

SHOWTIME TRIPLEHEADER

Hey Dougie,

I got a couple questions for you regarding this Saturday’s Showtime card.

1.What took Guerrero so long to fight again? Did he have issue with Golden Boy, or did Money give him that bad of a beating? I would think somebody who just had the highest profile fight he has ever had would want to capitalize on it.

2. Why is Lomachenko fighting in another title fight so quickly? Who the hell are his manager/promoters and why are they not building this cat up? He has some talent, but to keep thrusting himself in high profile fights so early seems like career suicide to me.

3. Yoshihiro Kamegai seems to have a great KO ratio. Is he the real deal or is he built up on Tijuana taxi cab drivers (Good Ol’ Greg Haugen, HA!)

4. I am real excited to see the Crawford Vs. Gamboa fight. How do you see that one playing out?

I know this email is late and might not make the Friday mailbag (crossing fingers). If not, keep up the good work. – Josh T.

Thanks Josh, and thanks for sharing your questions. I’ll answer them in order:

1) Guerrero had some issues with his contract with Golden Boy, which he tried to legally invalidate in January, but that dispute was resolved. Obviously, Guerrero’s desire to bolt GBP contributed to his inactivity but I also think that he wanted to take a break from the sport to spend time with his family. He had three tough training camps for his welterweight bouts with Selcuk Aydin, Andre Berto and Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a one-year span. The Aydin and Berto fights were physically grueling and the promotion to the Mayweather was mentally exhausting for him. I think he needed the break. And now he seems refreshed and genuinely happy to be back in action.

2) Lomachenko is fighting in another world title bout immediately after losing his first shot at a major belt because that’s what he wants. Vasyl’s goal out of the amateurs was to win a world title as soon as possible. His manager is Egis Klimas. He’s promoted by Top Rank. Lomachenko would not have signed with them had they not agreed to support his professional goal/dream. His back is really against the wall. If he doesn’t beat Russell it will be very hard for him to rebound from back-to-back losses and his marketability will take a hit. And if he wins, Top Rank might want to match him against badasses like Guillermo Rigondeaux, Nicholas Walters and Evgeny Gradovich. But hey, that’s the way the amateur superstar wanted it.

3) Kamegai is an entertaining welterweight. He’s a game slugger with a little bit of technique and a lot of heart. That’s all. He’s not a puncher. That high KO percentage was indeed built up on taxi drivers (but most of ‘em were from Tokyo, not Tijuana).

4) I like Crawford over Gamby. He’s got better fundamentals and unlike the Cuban Olympian, he’s a natural lightweight.

 

PROVO BREAKS BONES, LOSES FIGHTS

Hey Dougie,

What's to say about our good friend Ruslan Provodnikov? For starters, he's probably the strongest mother__ker in whole jr. welter-welterweight mix. Once that bell rings, he comes at you like a f__kin' freight-train and cracks like one as well. And ever since he bashed Tim Bradley's brain cells all over the ring he's become one of my favourite fighters to watch. The guy is born to break bones. Just one problem: He just can't win decisions. Even when he comes out unscathed but leaves his opponent looking like a mangled heap of roadkill.

Look at his so-called losses:

Provo-Mauricio Herrera. Provo does more damage but Herrera scores more points.

Provo-Bradley. Provo gets banged up but beats up Timmy twice as badly and still loses the fight.

Provo-Chris Algieri. A total robbery. Provo pounds Algieri so severely that the homeboy's looking like he lunged face-first into a wood chipper. By contrast, homeboy Chrissy tap-dances in retaliation and throws these ‘lil pudding-pop punches that wouldn't have even dented a grape.

And yet Provo is once again declared the “loser.”

Doesn't damage count when scoring? This is professional fighting we're talking about. The idea is to knock your guy out or do more damage to him than he does to you. It's not quantum f__kin' physics! I guess it is to these stupid-ass judges.

When it comes to scoring, a powder-puff “punch” shouldn't carry the same kind of impact on the scorecards as a punch that practically drives a guy's brain into his head. I just don't get it. Or should I say, those visually-impaired judges just don't get it.

Then there's this crap about Provo being overrated and further bulls__t about how he can't handle movers. OK maybe he's a little overrated. But who gives a s__t? The dude comes to fight! And he sure makes his mark. As in literally, when you look at the faces of his opponents after each fight. Hey, Tim Bradley hasn't been pushing for a rematch with this guy and I get the impression that Herrera would sooner fight Danny Garcia twenty more times as opposed to stepping into the ring with Provo once again.

As for the Russian having problems with movers? Once again he gives them some real f__kin' hell in return. And besides there were a lot of great punchers in the past ranging from Joe Louis to Tony Zale to Felix Trinidad that had issues with movers as well. So there you go. Takes two, right?

Altogether, aside from Manny Pacquiao, I still think Provo will be a real handful for every other top guy there is in the 140-147 pound ranks. And while I'll sooner pass on Provo-Algieri for now, you can certainly sign me up for Provo vs. Rios in what should be a real kickass example of the irresistible force (Provo) pounding against the immovable object (Rios). What's up with Rios these days anyways and any idea when he's coming back? I miss the crazy bastard.

OK now onto the big fight this weekend. Devon Alexander vs Soto Karass. Oh boy, talk about storming the box-office! You'll need to call in the National Guard just to keep all those rampant fired-up fans in line. Sarcasm aside, it'll probably be Alexander once again groping, humping and yelping his way to victory. You'll have to bribe Devon's own folks with big bucks and free cars just to get them to watch any of his so-called fights. Me? I'll just click onto that YouTube link you provided me and watch Herrera-Provo instead. Thanks for that by the way! Cheers! – Triple T

You’re welcome, 3T.

Nobody on tomorrow night’s tripleheader is a big ticket seller in Southern Calif., but the venue – StubHub Center – has hosted so many good fights and solid cards over the years that it has become an attraction unto itself. I don’t think the place will be packed on Saturday but I expect a decent turnout of hardcore boxing nuts like yourself.

I agree that Provodnikov is a handful for any top junior welterweight or welterweight that’s willing to step into the ring with him. I’m sure Rios is willing. “Bam Bam” faces Diego Chaves on Aug. 2, by the way. If he beats the tough once-beaten Argentine, I think there’s a good chance we’ll eventually be treated to Rios-Provo and that’s one matchup where you won’t have to bother with “pudding-pop” punches. LOL. I doubt that scrap goes the distance so you probably won’t have to worry about the judges messing it up, either.  

Having said that, I don’t consider Algieri’s split nod over Provodnikov to be a “robbery.” I don’t think his punches were equal to the big hooks and hard body shots that Provo landed, but he connected with more of his punches (and he put them together better) than the defending titleholder did. He was also able to neutralize (or at the very least frustrate) Provo to an extent with his constant lateral movement. I thought the two judges who scored the fight for Algieri gave him the benefit of the doubt in a couple of close rounds, but I also think Max DeLuca – who I consider to be one of the best judges in boxing – overrated Provo’s aggression with his 117-109 card.

It’s true that movers (who jab) give Provo fits, but he gives them hell in return. I had no problem with the scorecards of all three of his losses, but I also think he could have easily won each bout (although the Algieri fight is the only one I actually scored for him).

 

COTTO & THE P4P

Hi Doug!

Can u tell me why Miguel Cotto with his assault performance over Sergio Martinez is not listed in the pound for pound list? He should be there! That’s bulls__t! The Cuban that murdered Nonito Donaire is in that list ‘cause he beat a pound for pound fighter! Keep the good work!!! – Rocco from Puerto Rico

Thanks Rocco. I’ll try. It’s true that Guillermo Rigondeuax made THE RING’s Pound-for-Pound rankings after beating Donaire (although not right away – blame Chuck Giampa for that; or maybe the Ratings Panel – I can’t remember who didn’t want Rigo immediately in the top 10 and, honestly, I don’t care).

However, Donaire was in No. 5 at the time Rigo beat him, and he had just come off a 2012 that was so strong he was voted Fighter of the Year by the Boxing Writers Assoc. of America. (Oh, and unlike Cotto, Rigo hadn’t lost back-to-back fights prior to beating a fringe contender going into his elite victory.)

Martinez was No. 7 in THE RING’s P4P rankings but he was coming off a weak performance – against Martin Murray – more than a year of inactivity and numerous surgeries for various injuries. THE RING middleweight champ is also 39 (contrast with Donaire, who was 30 when he faced Rigo). All of these factors were considered by the Ratings Panel, some of whom nominated Cotto to take Martinez’s place in the P4P rankings.

I thought Roman Gonzalez, former strawweight and junior flyweight titleholder who is unbeaten in 39 bouts and THE RING’s top contender in three weight classes (108 to 112 pounds), was more deserving of a spot in the mag’s mythical top 10 than Cotto, so I brought up “Chocolatitio” to the Panel. (How was I supposed to know that Chuck would finally listen to me?)

Although I stand by Gonzalez being in the P4P top 10, I think Cotto is definitely worthy and should be in the rankings. The problem is that we still have Canelo in our top 10. He shouldn’t be in there (just like Abner Mares, Broner and Guerrero didn’t belong). If the redhead loses to Erislandy Lara, I’ll push for Cotto to replace him. However, my hunch is that Canelo is going to beat Lara, so start beating the drums for Cotto vs. Canelo. If your man beats the Mexican star there’s no keeping him out.

  

S__TERATURE

Hey Doug,
I can't see this ever making it to the mailbag… BUT! I'm a man who enjoys my quiet time will sitting on my throne throwing down a number 2. Whilst on said throne I usually get my fix of daily boxing reading in. Typically this is reading through an article on Ringtv, Maxboxing or laughing at your hilarious mailbags. That being said, it seems like there aren't enough good reads for me out there. Not to say that I'm on the crapper for that long, but I sometimes find myself re-reading articles just because there's nothing new on that day.

This brings me to my question for you: What other sites would you recommend I take a gander at for some good “s__terature” (TM)? Thanks dude. Look forward to having a frosty one with you at Jimmy's some day. Cheers. – The Northern Ransom

I’ll be in NYC for GGG’s title defense against Daniel Geale. Look for me at Jimmy the Friday night before the big show.

Regarding your quiet time on your throne, I know what you’re talking about. That’s where I read a lot of my comics and graphic novels. I haven’t really thought about reading boxing articles while on the can (although I do occasionally go through record books like the IBHOF’s Boxing Register).

Off the top of my head, my old MaxBoxing cohort Thomas Gerbasi is definitely “dump worthy.” He’s mostly a UFC writer these days but he still does an excellent column for BoxingScene.

Bart Barry and BWAA Nat Fleischer Award winner Norm Frauenheim are two underrated boxing scribes worth checking out (while on your throne or elsewhere). Their work can be found at 15rounds.com.

 

RING GENERALSHIP

I agree with the Algieri-Provodnikov decision. I didn't see the first 2 rounds but it's pretty clear to me that Algeri won the fight. He out boxed Provo soundly. To me, Algeri moved beautifully in the ring. I didn't see a guy run, but rather put himself in a position to be able to throw, land and avoid the punches of the obviously heavier handed fighter. He did what he had to do win. There's no way he can stand there and trade blindly (well, maybe blindly on the account of how bad his eye was) and expect not to get knocked out. That's boxing. It's not like for example when Donaire fought Omar Narvaez and you had Narvaez move around with the intention of just making it to the final bell for some sort of moral victory. Algeri moved to win.

I’m not100 percent on how to score ring generalship, bur from how I see it Algeri owned ring generalship, and the activity was in his favor. If you are going to be a slugger, then you have to win by KO, outland, or get the guy in the corners and punish them to where you can say you broke the other guy's will. Can't say that Provo did that. Though he applied pressure, I felt it wasn't effective. I felt he failed to trap Algeri. Though I can see how you would rather be Provo after the fight, I felt Algeri won the boxing match. I think the fact that Algeri had such a messed up eye swayed how some people saw the fight. How do you score for ring generalship Doug? Is it based on pressure? Movement?

Both guys are exciting to watch in their own way, I hope we see both in the ring again soon. – Mainor

Me too. Both men are good for boxing. Provo is the quintessential made-for-TV action fighter and Algieri is a great story and personality, who can be built into a considerable regional draw. Oh, and he’s also a tremendous boxer with a ton of heart.

I think the fight was very close – so close that one needs to watch the first two rounds to accurately score it (especially since Provo earned a 10-7 round in the opening frame and that Round 2 could go either way).

I agree that Algieri wasn’t “running,” but I don’t think he avoided enough big punches with his movement to clearly win the majority of rounds with his greater activity and ring generalship.

If you want to know what ring generalship is watch a bunch of Bernard Hopkins fights. It’s pretty much everything a boxer does to control the fight (the distance, activity, tempo, etc.). Algieri definitely was the ring general because when he wasn’t punching, he was moving and/or feinting, or holding and/or pushing Provo off. He was always doing something that slowed down or frustrated Provo and made the pressure fighter think twice about doing what he usually does in the ring.

So ring generalship can be based on pressure or movement, or defense, or a combination of the “finer points” of boxing that don’t necessarily include hitting the other guy in the face.

 

 

Email Fischer at dougie@boxingmailbag.com. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer

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