Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

ARE WE LOOKING PAST DANIEL GEALE?

Hi Doug,

This is my first time writing to you since I started reading your stuff when I was a teenager back in your MaxBoxing days. I’m 28 now so I feel like we go way back – fist bump (just had to Google if it was fist “bump” or “pump,” glad I did now ‘cause I didn’t want you to mistake my feeling of calling you a mate with some dance from Jersey Shore).

To my questions. I know Gennady Golovkin is very talented and hits damn hard but I think everyone is overlooking Daniel Geale completely for this fight even more so now that Canelo Alvarez won and there was some brief flutters of articles about them fighting. Geale gives any top middleweight a serious run for their money and always turns up to fight, plus GGG hasn’t fought anyone with Geale’s skill yet as a pro.

Do you think people have taken Geale too lightly in this fight? What chance do you give him? (I’m Australian by the way and I am picking Jarrod Fletcher over Daniel Jacobs by points.)

Second question, did you read the article titled “The Trouble With Mayweather” published on deadspin.com? If so I would like to know your thoughts (if not please read it, quite interesting). My question relating to this is also around yourself and how you feel and go about covering fighters like Mayweather. Do these past indiscretions and still existing character flaws play on your mind when writing an article about him, his boxing ability and the magnitude of his wealth we are all constantly reminded of?

Thanks for all the Mondays and Fridays of mailbags and everything in between. Looking forward to plenty more. Cheers. – Mitchell Sneddon

Thanks for the kind words, Mitchell, and thanks for reading the mailbag all these years. I’ll answer the Golovkin-Geale questions first.

I definitely believe that American fans and boxing media are overlooking Geale. At a media workout in Santa Monica, Calif., last week, Golovkin was barely asked any questions about Geale. Most of the writers, bloggers and vloggers that surrounded GGG wanted to talk about fights beyond the Geale match and get his thoughts on potential bouts with two of the bigger names at 168 pounds – Andre Ward and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

Golovkin, to his credit, kept the focus on Geale and the middleweight division. His trainer, Abel Sanchez, has also given a lot of respect to Geale.

So why is your Australian homie not receiving his due respect here in the States? I think the reason is simple: a lot of American boxing fans only follow the sport through three U.S. networks (HBO, Showtime and ESPN). Geale’s fought on one of those networks once (HBO) and he lost that fight (as well as his IBF belt via split nod to Darren Barker). The last time American fans watched Barker on U.S. TV, the Brit was broken down and stopped by Sergio Martinez, who was just dismantled by Miguel Cotto. The few U.S. fans who pay attention to title fights that happen off HBO and Showtime know that Barker was demolished by Felix Sturm after he beat Geale. So my guess is that most U.S. fans and media respect Geale as a former two-belt titleholder, but don’t view him as a formidable opponent for GGG.

I disagree with that notion. I’ve been aware of Geale since his controversial split-decision loss to Anthony Mundine in 2009; and I’ve seen his fights with Roman Karmazin (TKO 12), Sebastian Sylvester (SD 12) and Felix Sturm (SD 12). I think Geale can fight his ass off. And I agree with Sanchez, the 33-year-old veteran’s athleticism, high-punch output and stamina can give Golovkin a real test.

I’m picking GGG to win, of course, but I think we’ll be treated to a competitive fight – as well as a charged atmosphere inside Madison Square Garden (which I can’t wait to witness live) – and I wouldn’t be shocked if it went the distance.

Now for your second question (which is freakin’ loaded – gee thanks):

Yes, I did read the deadspin.com article on Mayweather’s misogyny and documented record of serial battery written by Daniel Robert (AKA IronMikeGallego, who I follow on Twitter). It wasn’t an easy read, and not because of Robert’s writing, which was good, but due to the details of Mayweather’s many acts of violence against women. It was both disturbing and disgusting.

At any rate, I think Robert asked a very pertinent question. Why do so many people – in and outside of boxing – look the other way? I think the answer is simple: We live in a misogynist society. That’s my only explanation. If women (particularly the African-American females from working-class backgrounds that Mayweather is often involved with) meant anything in this country, “Money” would have served a lot more than just a total of two months in jail for his various assaults.

You know when it really hit me that turning a blind eye to Mayweather’s misogyny was more than boxing’s shortcoming? When HBO did that awful “Speaking Out” special with academic muckety muck Michael Eric Dyson interviewing Mayweather prior to his fight with Cotto in May 2012. When Dyson, a professor of sociology at Georgetown who has authored several books on race and class, including “Why I Love Black Women” (which won an NAACP Image Award for non-fiction literature in 2004), fails to grill Mayweather on his treatment of women it becomes painfully clear that such behavior is acceptable in our society – at least it is if the male abuser is a celebrated/accomplished public figure.

Here’s what I wrote about “Speaking Out” (named that because it supposedly gave Mayweather his “due” time to speak on his own behalf) when asked about it for the April 23, 2012 edition of the mailbag:

I thought most of it was crap. What Mayweather had to say about his father and family background was somewhat compelling but I’m not buying his “persecuted antihero” act.

Michael Eric Dyson is a respected sociologist, academic and author but he can’t carry Bryant Gumbel’s jockstrap when it comes to interviewing skills and journalistic integrity. Dyson came off as straight-up nut-hugger.

I don’t blame Dyson for Mayweather’s typical delusional drivel, but I expected him to at least ask the egomaniac follow-up questions after he put himself in the same sentence as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Muhammad Ali during some of his answers.

I don’t understand why Dyson – who has written more than one book on Dr. King, as well as a book entitled “Why I Love Black Women” – couldn’t have just said, “Hang on, Floyd. Why did you bring up Martin Luther King Jr.’s name when I asked you about your pending jail sentence?

“You are aware that King did time for his involvement in non-violent protests during the civil rights movement, while you are going to jail for violence toward the mother of your children, aren’t you? And this most recent case isn’t the first time you’ve been charged with domestic violence, is it? What do you have in common with King apart from being a black man?”

Mayweather’s responses to one or two follow up questions of that nature would’ve made for more interesting TV than anything we heard on Speaking Out or have currently seen on 24/7.

 

Mayweather’s “character flaws,” as you put it, do play in my mind when I have to cover him at a press conference and talk to him for an article or interview him during a broadcast. It’s uncomfortable and I don’t like doing it.

I also can’t stand the gross amount of Mayweather ass kissing that goes on in the boxing media. It’s just too much. And I’ll be the first to admit that THE RING goes overboard with it as do many of the so-called “boss scribes” of boxing.

What he does out of the ring, however, does not influence how I view him in the ring. I think he’s the sport’s best boxer, pound for pound, and a future first-ballot hall of famer. I don’t consider him an all-time great, but that only has to do with what he’s done (or hasn’t done) in the ring, not his deplorable behavior with women.

 

HBO’S MACAU OFFERING, CANELO-KIRKLAND

Hello, Dougie.  

Not only were the fights presented on HBO this past Saturday complete mismatches and completely lacking in entertainment, but in not broadcasting the Guillermo Rigondeux fight, HBO also failed to televise one of the very best boxers on the planet. It was shameful to say the least. Although I was able to catch the fight later that evening on one of the Mexican channels, I suppose we’re fortunate that other hard core fans (who don’t happen to speak Spanish) now live in a day and age where Youtube exists.  

Having said that, what are your thoughts regarding Gilberto Ramirez and his potential in the super middleweight division? I’ve been following his career, but this was the first time (to the best of my knowledge) that his skills were displayed before a world-wide audience.  

Also, in your estimation, what are the chances of James Kirkland being Canelo Alvarez’s next opponent? From what I’ve observed Mr. Cinnamon repeatedly say when responding to criticism regarding his poor performances against Mayweather and Lara, Kirkland has a fighting style he supposedly prefers and wants to face.  I feel if Kirkland could survive the first few rounds, he could seriously hurt Canelo as the fight wears on. It’s too bad that Kirkland’s personal issues have hampered and impeded his career; however, the man still has the ability to bring some serious skills into the ring. And when he’s listening to and following the instructions of his trainer, Ann Wolfe, he seems to be at his very best. By the way, anytime I hear Ann Wolfe speak, I stop and listen. I always love what she has to say – and the fact she’s a woman only makes her comments that much more intriguing. What are your thoughts regarding Wolfe? Do you know if she has any other serious contenders in her stable?  

Lastly, a couple of mythical match-ups if I may:

Prime Ann Wolfe vs. Louis De La Rosa (Zou Shiming’s opponent this past Saturday)

The following actors (who have all had roles as boxers/fighters) in a championship round-robin tournament while in their primes: Sylvester Stallone; Arnold Schwarzenegger; Carl Weathers; Russell Crowe; Mark Whalberg; and Mr. T.?

Thanks for what you do and I hope I make the cut. Cheers! – Dennis, El Centro, CA

You made the cut, Dennis. Congrats. I’ll start from the top and work my way in responding to your comments and questions.

Regarding the HBO2 show from Macau, I agree that the fights weren’t entertaining, but I’m not sure I’d call them mismatches given who the co-main event fighters are (Zou Shiming and Gilberto Ramirez).

I think Luis De La Rosa was a solid opponent for Zou, who only had four pro bouts going into the scheduled 10-round fight and had never been past eight rounds. If Zou had any punching power to speak of, or at least some brute strength, I’d probably agree that the Colombian, a natural strawweight who was stopped in one round by former beltholder Moises Fuentes last year, had no chance, but the Chinese Olympic hero isn’t very special athletically speaking. De La Rosa entered the bout with a respectable 23-3-1 record and he’d been in interim title bouts, including a competitive 12-round decision loss to two-time 105-pound beltholder Raul Garcia.

Ramirez’s opponent, Junior Talipeau, isn’t as experienced as De La Rosa but I also thought the 30-year-old Australian was an OK opponent given the Mexican favorite is just 23 years old and still considered a prospect. Talipeau, who entered the bout with a decent 20-2-1 record, had faced solid opposition, had never been stopped, and had fought the 10- and 12-round distance.

Zou outboxed De La Rosa because he’s progressed considerably under the guidance of Freddie Roach. Ramirez sparked Talipeau in one round because he’s the truth. I consider Ramirez a lower top 10 or 15 super middleweight contender and I think he’ll be a threat to any 168 pounder in the world by the end of next year (unless he outgrows the division, which is possible given his height and frame).

Honestly, Dennis, I think Rigondeaux was in the biggest mismatch of that card. Sod Kokietgym (AKA Looknongyangtoy) had NO BUSINESS fighting for THE RING/WBA/WBO 122-pounds titles (and shame on the sanctioning organizations for rating the unworthy and shopworn 37 year old in their top 10). The Thai veteran had fought NOBODY since getting iced in 52 seconds by Daniel Ponce de Leon in 2006. From that time, he went unbeaten against 37 straight-up stiffs. Headbutt controversy or not, there was no way that he wasn’t going to get KTFO in one or two rounds by Rigo.

As for the decision not to have the pound-for-pound-rated Cuban on the HBO broadcast, I could understand the hardcore fan outrage if he was fighting a real contender, such as Scott Quigg or Chris Avalos, but since he was fighting Sod “Look Out!” (Steve Kim’s great nickname for the accident-prone veteran) I really didn’t care.

Sorry bro, I’m just not a Rigo sympathizer. I wish him luck, post-Top Rank, though. I think his best bet is to do what African-American jazz musicians did in the 1960s and ‘70s and take his act to Europe where there’s more appreciation for his brand of the Sweet Science. There’s also more competition for him there. Quigg and the winner of the Kiko Martinrez-Carl Frampton rematch would make for high-profile events in the UK and would even command the attention of U.S. fans (me included).

Regarding Canelo vs. Kirkland, I think the chances are good that Alvarez faces “Mandingo” next. He wants to fight in November and he needs a solid pay-per-view B-side, which Kirkland certainly is. Plus, I think Canelo has proven that he’s not afraid to face difficult styles or dangerous foes. And there’s no doubt that Kirkland presents a threat for the just-turned 24-year-old Mexican star. Canelo is a somewhat flat-footed boxer-puncher who gets off in spots, where as Kirkland is a hyper pressure-fighter/volume puncher who works crazy hard for three minutes of every round.

The two should make for a very entertaining fight. I favor Canelo by a mid-rounds TKO that hardcore heads refuse to accept (they’ll say it was a quick stoppage and that Kirkland was just starting to “come on” when he got buzzed or rocked – there’s always got to be some controversy with a Canelo fight).

My thoughts on Ann Wolfe are that she was a bad-ass fighter and even more bad-ass as a trainer. She’s a character with a sweet side, who could probably make a living as a motivational speaker, but she’s also a little “cray.” I think she works very well with Kirkland but I wouldn’t recommend her to many young prospects because she would over-train and burn a lot of them out before they reached their potential. She doesn’t have any other notable fighters that I am aware of.

Onto your very strange mythical match-ups:

Prime Ann Wolfe vs. Louis De La Rosa (Zou Shiming’s opponent this past Saturday) – Wolfe would kill that guy and eat his heart. She’s a built super middleweight with an abusive past and a giant chip on her broad shoulders; De La Rosa is a strawweight.

And Mr. T wins your round-robin tournament of actors who have all had roles as boxers/fighters. Weathers gives T the most technical problems; Crowe puts up the best fight and helps make for the most entertaining bout of the tournament. (Leon Spinks and Michael Nunn, if he’s out of prison, would work T’s corner.)

 

PACQUIAO-ALGIERI

Hi Doug,Just learned that Pacman is fighting Chris Algieri. I understand why they’re doing this fight, but I hate it that it’ll be on Pay Per View. Yes, Algieri is a marketable opponent that is coming off a win against the tough but overrated Ruslan Provodnikov, and sure, Pacman doesn’t seem to have good opponents waiting in the Top Rank stable to face him.   Yet, I would like them to be real with their fans and take a HBO fight. This is in no way a PPV matchup, I just feel cheated. Floyd fighting Maidana again also makes some sense since they need to pay him a hefty amount of money for his fight and there are virtually no well known fighters today to justify that. Maidana has his last match to make him more interesting so it sort of makes sense. The first fight was exciting so I’m not complaining about that one. I haven’t cared for a Floyd fight in years, so everything stays the same. – Juan Valverde, San Diego 

I hear ya, Juan. It would be great if the top draws of boxing – Mayweather, Pacquiao and Canelo – would mix in some regular Showtime or HBO appearances into their pay-per-view schedules. Canelo-Lara wasn’t a PPV event, in my opinion. And neither is Pacquiao-Algieri. The problem is that Mayweather wants at least $30 million to fight. Pac wants at least $20 million per fight. Canelo is still making his name, so he isn’t asking for that much, but he still requires a hefty payday and he also wants to make whatever he can from the PPV upside. God bless these guys for being able to call the shots as they do, but all these damn pay-per-view shows aren’t good for the growth of the sport.

Boxing was healthier in the 1990s when the pay-per-view stars would fight on HBO or Showtime when they weren’t facing a well-known opponent or a real killer. Of course, the top dogs in the sport fought more than twice a year back then, so it made sense to mix it up.

After blowing up to full super stardom after beating Julio Cesar Chavez in 1996, De La Hoya fought Miguel Angel Gonzalez and Pernell Whitaker on PPV and then David Kamau on HBO. Then he fought Hector Camacho and Wilfredo Rivera on PPV to close out ’97. He followed the Rivera fight by fighitng Patrick Charpentier on HBO, followed by the Chavez rematch and Ike Quartey showdown on PPV, which was followed by Oba Carr on HBO, the Felix Trinidad unification mega-fight on PPV, then Derrell Coley on HBO and Shane Mosley on PPV. So for a number of years (the late 1990s through 2000), De La Hoya had a basic pattern of two pay-per-view shows that sandwiched an HBO showcase (usually against a lesser opponent).

From 1999 to 2002, Trinidad fought Whitaker and Hugo Pineda on HBO, De La Hoya and David Reid on PPV, Mamadou Thiam on HBO, and then Fernando Vargas, William Joppy and Bernard Hopkins all on PPV before facing Hacine Cerifi on HBO.

From ’99 to ’03, Lennox Lewis fought Evander Holyfield and Michael Grant in back-to-back-to-back PPV bouts, and then faced Frans Botha on HBO (on tape delay). Then he fought David Tua on PPV and Hasim Raham (who won by shocking KO) on HBO. Lewis’ rematch with Rahman was on PPV, as was his showdown with Tyson, of course, and his final match with Vitali Klitschko was on HBO. Holyfield was also on and off PPV throughout the ‘90s and early 2000s. I’m sure you remember this.

Like I stated earlier, it would be great if we could get our current star trio to work in some non-PPV dates but the only one I can envision giving it a try is Canelo because he’s still young and still establishing his fan base (and hoping to crossover more). Both Mayweather and Pacquiao are admittedly near the end of their hall-of-fame careers and they obviously want to make as much money as they can with each fight. They can’t maximize their paydays fighting on regular Showtime and HBO. I hate to say this again – because I led last week’s Friday mailbag with the same statement – but I think the sport will be in better shape once Mayweather and Pacquiao retire. 

 

 YOU “MAY” HAVE TO RECONSIDER

See what I did there! If you’re a faithful reader as I am, then we know your stance on all-time greatness and how Floyd Mayweather doesn’t make the cut. However, after watching Canelo Alvarez and with ease he beat Angulo, whom knocked down Lara twice. Then go on to beat Lara who defensives skills are in my opinion elite. We would have to go back and look at the near dominance that Floyd performed last Sept 13. Especially if Canelo go on and beat Migel Cotto, which I think he will.

Does that not make Mayweather all time great material if he beats an all time great?

Not saying beating Cotto does, but think if Canelo beats Petter Quillin which is possible and maybe get a home town decision against GGG next Dec then what?

Speaking of All time greats where; would Bernard Hopkins land if he go on to beat Adonis Stevenson and Sergey Kovalev before he turns 50. Does he slide down that great list of yours, because he does on mine. I hate mythical match ups and this whole Cold War thing has made certain easily made fights turn out mythical, but now with this new Golden Boy at the head,those fights that used to be mythical match ups are very likely and fun to think about now. De la Hoya has great plans for Canelo. Mending a relationship with Bob Arum is maybe not such a bad move after all. What are your thoughts? – Dread Draper!

Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank doing business can only be good for the sport. Let’s hope De La Hoya and Arum can get it done and that HBO and Showtime will let them.

If Hopkins can become the undisputed light heavyweight champ at age 50, he would definitely move a few notches up my all-time great list (perhaps he would leapfrog Evander Holyfield). Hopkins just barely makes my top 20, but that’s among the greatest “modern era” or post-World War II boxers. (If we count fighters whose primes occurred prior to the early 1940s, B-Hop doesn’t make my 20).

I recently compiled an all-time pound-for-pound top 20 list (not including boxers whose last bouts took place prior to 1943) for a feature in an upcoming issue of THE RING magazine, which polled a bunch of journalists and historians to see if Mayweather made their cut.

He didn’t make mine.

As soon as the mag is published (I think it’s the issue that comes out before Mayweather-Maidana II), I’ll post my list along with my criteria. One of the main points of my criteria is the number of hall of famers one has faced. Mayweather has faced two current hall of famers: De La Hoya and Arturo Gatti. Three others he’s fought will definitely get in as soon as they are eligible: Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez. Three others are borderline: Genaro Hernandez, Ricky Hatton and Diego Corrales.

Most of the boxers ranked in my top 10 faced more than seven fighters enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame. The only boxers on my list who didn’t fight more than seven HOFers are Sugar Ray Leonard, Pernell Whitaker, Julio Cesar Chavez and B-Hop, but those guys met other points of my criteria (such as being the undisputed champion in a given weight class, breaking a note-worthy boxing record, fighting over 100 bouts, and facing a fighter recognized as the pound-for-pound No. 1 or 2 in the sport).

As of now, it’s very hard to say if Canelo will accomplish enough to one day be considered hall-of-fame worthy. He just turned 24, but he’s been a pro since age 15 and he’s already got 46 pro bouts under his belt. It’s difficult to assertain if he’s reached his ceiling yet.

It certainly would help his case if he beat Cotto for the middleweight championship and then added the scalps of Quillin (which he might be able to pull off) and GGG (which I don’t see happening). The problem for Canelo (and for Mayweather, if you’re hoping he can add another future hall of famer to his resume) is that the Mexican star can’t seem to get any damn credit for his significant victories so far. Hardcore fans and media don’t give him credit (and rightfully so) for wins over the likes of Shane Mosley, Carlos Baldomir and Kermit Cintron since those veterans were way past their primes. They don’t give him any credit for his wins over the two legit top-five contenders he beat – Trout and Lara – either. Angulo is sort of a fringe or lower top-10 contender, but even that stoppage was deemed “controversial” by Showtime and Canelo’s dedicated legion of detractors.

Anyway, time will tell if Canelo proves to be special beyond his fan appeal, and time will tell if Mayweather does enough to displace modern greats, such as Leonard, Chavez, Whitaker, Hopkins and Holyfield, on the all-time top 20 list of Yours Truly. 

 

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

Around the web