Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Friday mailbag

GARCIA NEEDS TO FIGHT MORE OFTEN

Hi Doug,

Well, seeing that we’ll be watching a total mismatch on Saturday when Danny Garcia faces Rod Salka, I won’t waste my time talking about the fight and giving some sort of prediction.  

I would rather talk about what Al Haymon is doing to all these fighters that he “advises.” The fact that Garcia last fought in March and is now fighting again in August against a nobody is just wrong. A guy his age should be fighting more while in his prime. Yes, to me a fight against a guy like Salka should be a Non-Title fight and off TV, much like James Toney and Julio Cesar Chavez did back in the day. If they had to fight someone to stay active, they didn’t command heavy figures and TV dates, they just fought in their home town fighting heavy bags, staying active, and building up their name with the locals.  

This helped them develop a fan base, their boxing skills, record and stay in shape. For a guy like Garcia, who’s been rumored to have been struggling to make weight, he should be fighting these kind of fights more often. Instead, we are getting it on SHO and as a title shot…. boy, that Al Haymon does know how to make the most money for their guys with the lowest risk. I always think that if Chavez was fighting today, he would have finished his career with more than 55 title fights, considering all the non-title fights he took… It would’ve made for a nice record LOL.

Seriously though, something’s really wrong with the way boxing is being managed. I’m a boxing junkie and I’m going to watch the fight. I won’t go ahead and miss the fight because I’m a hardcore fan, but I do hope it doesn’t do good on TV so that Showtime executives can start giving a little more value to the consumers. I pay for that network and if they continue to give us crap and put anything remotely good on PPV, I’m going to stop paying.

I hope Al Haymon reads these columns, if he does, here’s some words for him: “Al, please give us good fights…”  

Thanks Doug. That’s all I got for today, happy weekend. – Juan Valverde, San Diego

I hear what you’re saying Juan, and I agree that today’s boxers – especially young and still-developing standouts like Garcia – need to fight more often. They would be more complete fighters, have more fans and their activity would help elevate boxing’s overall popularity. Chavez averaged five-to-six bouts a year in the ‘80s and early ‘90s. Toney fought six times in ’91 (the year he won the IBF middleweight title and earned THE RING’s Fighter of the Year honor), five times in ’92, seven times in ’93, five times in ’94, and so on. One of my favorites of the late ‘90s (when I began covering boxing), Shane Mosley, defended the IBF lightweight title he won in August 1997 eight times in less than two years (20 months).

That activity was good for the boxers and for the industry and it was fair to the fans, as you noted, because titleholders rarely, if ever, took on non-contenders in non-title bouts (which is what Garcia-Salka is, Garcia’s RING, WBC and WBA belts will NOT be on the line tomorrow night) on premium cable.

When Mosley fought well-known and respected vets like Jesse James Leija or John-John Molina during his 135-pound title reign, he fought on HBO. When he fought lesser ranked or lesser-known guys like Manuel Gomez, Eduardo Morales and Wilfredo Ruiz, he fought on basic cable (Gomez was on USA Network, Morales was on TNT and Ruiz was on FX). Toney’s first title reign took place in ’91 and ‘92, when boxing was still on network TV, and basic cable had bigger budgets for fights. It was also a time when off-TV boxing events took place throughout the U.S., including his native Michigan (where he often fought at The Palace in Auburn Hills). Toney didn’t become a regular on HBO until mid-to-late ’92. His upset IBF middleweight title victory over Michael Nunn was on TVKO (HBO’s old PPV arm), as was his break-out draw with Mike McCallum. However, both fights were shown on basic cable two weeks later. His title defenses against Reggie Johnson and Dave Tiberi were on ABC. Even when he became one of HBO’s darlings following his masterful TKO of Iran Barkley for the IBF super middleweight belt, he still fought off the subscription cable network whenever he fought average opponents. Toney fought five non-title bouts in a row after he beat Barkley, some were on ESPN, some were just on local cable in Michigan. Bottom line, fans weren’t watching him fight journeymen on premium cable.

Same deal with Chavez (whose first two title reigns took place in the 1980s, when boxing was still part of the sports programming of all three major networks). He fought highly ranked contenders/former beltholders like Rocky Lockridge and Roger Mayweather (first bout) on network TV (NBC and CBS). His title defenses against respected Puerto Rican rivals Edwin Rosario and Juan LaPorte were on HBO, as was his lightweight title unification bout with countryman Jose Luis Ramirez and his WBC 140-pound title win vs. Mayweather, but all those “Tijuana cab drivers” that Greg Haugen infamously spoke of that he fought in Mexico? Those bouts weren’t on U.S. TV.

However, I’m not naïve. I don’t expect today’s elite fighters to be as active as Mosley, Chavez, Toney (and other top dogs of previous decades) because: A) there are fewer networks televising boxing now, and B) if most of us are given the opportunity to work less and make more money, we will take it! (If Garcia fought Salka on ESPN or Fox Sports 1, he wouldn’t be making $700,000 – his purse the fight on Showtime – he’d be making $15,000-$20,000.)

I don’t blame Al Haymon for the way things are now. The fact of the matter is that by the mid-‘90s all of Chavez’s significant bouts (and even fights we didn’t care about – such as Terrence Alli, Giovani Parisi and David Kamau) were pay-per-view headliners. Total crap fights like Andy Holligan and Scott Walker were shown on Showtime or HBO and served as infomercials for his PPV events.

That wasn’t Haymon who set up that system. That was Don King, Bob Arum, Showtime and HBO. Oh, and it was the fighter himself (although I’ll happily give Chavez a break because he didn’t become a total money grubber until late in his career, literally after 80-to-90 bouts!)

All Haymon is doing is taking advantage of a greedy system (forged by the influential promoters, managers and fighters of previous decades) for his clients. I’m not saying that I like the way things are now (it was much better for fans back in the day), but I don’t blame Haymon for premium-cable mismatches or elite fighter inactivity.  

 

GARCIA-SALKA

Hi Dougie,

This is not the first time I’ve written in but I’m desperate to get your opinion on a few of my upcoming questions. If you don’t answer it still won’t deter me from following your flawless journalism of the sweet science.

I read the article claiming that Mickey Bey was looking to be set up as Miguel Vasquez’s next opponent. Seriously? I mean Bey is a talented boxer, with serious backing (maybe that’s what I’m missing) but Vasquez surely wants to make a statement in a voluntary defense? I think Bey, who got KTFO by John Molina, isn’t who he should be going for. What’s your take on that?

Also, f__k the B-Hop haters. The guy is a living legend. People said he’d lose to Antonio Tarver, Tavoris Cloud, RJJ and even Beibut Shumenov for crying out loud. I mean how many times has he got to prove that Father Time hasn’t caught up to him before people give him the true recognition he deserves. People counting him out of the Sergey KOvalev match-up (see what I did there) are naive and simply foolish. Do you see him as the favourite?

Double barreled paragraph here: with the upcoming Rod Salka-Danny Garcia showdown how do you see it going even though its a f____ng joke that it has been made and thank the lord it hasn’t been approved by the WBC/WBA. As a British guy and fight fan, I worship Kell Brook, who will face Shawn Porter next week. I’m predicting a sixth-round knockout as I see Porter coming out brashly and Kell being able to land at will given his size and reach advantage. I presume you favour Porter but whoever wins, what do you see their future heralding?

Furthermore, with the Golden Boy-Top Rank impasse seemingly coming to a thawing point, what match ups would you most like to see from their packed rosters? I’d like Provo vs Khan at 147.

All the best Mr Fischer and I hope I get in on this one as it’s my birthday on Friday! Anyway, keep up the great mailbag action (and possibly make it daily) – Stan, UK.

Happy Birthday, Stan. Thanks for the nice words about the mailbag column. I don’t currently have the time to do a daily mailbag but I won’t rule that out in the future (or some form of it, such as a video blog).

GBP-Top Rank matchups I’d like to see the most? I know both guys are probably past their peaks but I’d still like to see Abner Mares vs. Nonito Donaire (preferably at StubHub). Brandon Rios vs. Lucas Matthysse is a can’t-miss barnburner. That’s high on my list, too.

Provo vs. Khan would interesting (Amir has the ability to do what Chris Algieri did, and do so with power, but he probably doesn’t take as good of a shot at the American), however, I have to note that Ruslan is a Banner Promotions fighter, not Top Rank.

I slightly favor Porter in what I view as an even welterweight matchup next Saturday (I’ll be doing the international feed for that show with my buddy Beto Duran, by the way). I think his brute physical strength and home court advantage will be the difference in a hotly contested fight. I would not be surprised at all if Brook beat the Ohioan. I’ve been high on the Sheffield man for quite some time.

I think Salka will give Garcia a much tougher fight than most fans are expecting and I think Twitter Nation (spurred on by ESPN’s Teddy Atlas) is making too much about the Pittsburgh native not being rated. Yeah, Salka is what we call a “gimme” fight. I think Garcia, who has faced a string of tough veterans and solid contenders since winning his first title, has a right to take a bout that looks easy on paper. However, I don’t think it’s going to be an “easy” night for him tomorrow. Garcia thrives against aggressive opponents. Salka’s going to be crafty and pesky. If the Philly native can’t hurt the underdog early, he’s in for a long night.

I might be out of touch, but I haven’t seen or heard from a lot of Hopkins doubters since the Kovalev fight was announced. I think even folks how hate B-Hop’s guts are giving the 49-year-old vet grudging respect for facing arguably the most dangerous fighter in his division (and one of the best punchers in the sport). I view B-Hop as the slight favorite, by the way.

Vazquez has been the IBF lightweight titleholder for four years but he hasn’t had an easy time getting name fighters into the ring with him and he hasn’t exactly been welcome on HBO or Showtime thanks to his quirky, frustrating technical boxing style. He’s desperate for good money and exposure on U.S. TV. If signing with Haymon and fighting Bey will land him a decent payday and maybe a Showtime date, he’ll do what’s necessary to advance his career.

I wish him luck. He’s a good dude.

 

FOUR QUESTIONS

What’s up Dougie?
It’s been a while… A lot has happened since the last time I sent in to the mailbag. GGG and Kovalev both won by KO (surprise, surprise) and Floyd announced he’s gonna rematch Maidana. Oh, and my boy Kell Brook is finally getting that shot at a world title. It’s about time. There are a few things I would like to ask…
1. I recently moved from London to Tokyo and checked out a few boxing gyms (not the Teiken Gym though, I will visit them on Monday). I met a guy who spars with Takashi Uchiyama and he tells me Uchiyama would whoop Mikey Garcia. What do you think? Also, since I’m here, do you know of any fights happening in Tokyo in the upcoming months? I never got a chance to watch a live fight in London, so perhaps my first could be here…
2. Bernard Hopkins is fighting Kovalev on HBO. Regular HBO. His balls are simply enormous, especially when you factor in that Andre Ward said he’d only fight the Krusher from Russia (that has a nice ring to it) on PPV. I think Bernard Hopkins will win a UD, but may look his age when the final bell sounds. Credit to BHOP. A real legend in a sport full of wannabes. What do you think?
3. I know Jorge Linares trains here in Tokyo and I hope I get to see him soon. Is he the best 135lb fighter not named Terrence Crawford? I think he’d outclass Figueroa, who is overrated, and beat Gamboa assuming Gamby doesn’t catch him with a lunging hook. How would a fight between him and Crawford pan out? And how soon can we see Lomachenko mix it with these guys?
4. Who the f___ is Rod Salka?
 
Always respect Dougie. Peace. – Bilal, Tokyo

Thanks for email the Bilal. I’ll answer your questions in order:

1) I think Uchiyama is hands down the best 130-pound fighter in the world (and THE RING rates the Japanese veteran as the top junior lightweight), but Garcia would give him a run for his money. That’s an even matchup. If they were to fight in the next 12 months, I’d favor Uchiyama due to his speed, footwork and Garcia’s current inactivity. As far fights to attend in Tokyo, by far the most significant matchup in the month of September takes place on the 5th in your new hometown – THE RING/WBC flyweight championship between Akira Yaegashi and Roman Gonzalez. You should go if you can.

2) I think Hopkins is the man. There’s a reason he’s the only active fighter I consider an all-time great.

3) I also think Linares would outbox and outclass Figueroa. I’d favor him to beat Gamby, who shouldn’t be fighting at 135 pounds IMO. However, Crawford’s too big, too fundamentally sound, too tough and too strong (mentally) for Linares to overcome. I don’t see Lomachenko fighting above 130 pounds, but I could be wrong.

4) Salka is an unrated but also underrated boxer from Pittsburgh who has been disrespected a little too much going into his fight with Garcia and he just might be in the right place at the right time tomorrow night.

 

MISSING THE BITCH BAG

Hey Doug,Longtime reader here. I miss the bitch bags! Is there any chance of publishing one every once in a while? Thanks. – Mark 

I’d have to get a lot of hate from a lot of sorry ass cretins at the same time to compile a “bitch bag,” Mark. When I was doing those things on a semi-regular basis back in heyday of MaxBoxing.com, I was 10 years younger (without kids and with more of a chip on my shoulder) and boxing had more stars (who were aging and/or faltering, like Mike Tyson, Oscar De La Hoya and Roy Jones, making their fans extra sensitive and defensive). When I wrote anything critical of those guys, their legions of loyal fans lost their collective s__t and got rather rude with Yours Truly (and I, of course, was more than happy to rub their noses in their own s__t).

The only way I can get that kind of backlash now is if I pick Maidana to beat Mayweather and Algieri to beat Pacquiao. If those predictions are wrong, the silly boobs who worship those two might have enough righteous indignation to come after me with some serious venom. But to be honest, I don’t know if I really relish telling off nuthuggers the way I once did.

Anyway, thanks for remembering the good ole days.

 

THREE QUESTIONS

Yo Doug. Few quick questions.

1. What’s up with Mikey Garcia, when will his legal issue be sorted. Any news? Also what about Dimitry Pirog? His team said they were talking to HBO last year.

2. How come Mayweather rarely fights slick black fighters? Dude is like Jack Johnson. I guess slick fighters won’t help him show off his ring generalship, so he sticks to the flat footed types.

3. Also, what’s your top 10 p4p bad assess today. I’ve asked this question 2 times already without a concrete answer dude!

Mythical matchups:
Hagler vs LaMotta
Roberto Duran vs GGG
Tim Bradley vs Keith Thurman
Larry Holmes vs Ezzard Charles
Archie Moore vs Joe Walcott

Also, Luke Campbell is a massive UK prospect in the lightweight division as you know. And he is fighting Brizuala in October, who went life and death with Tommy Coil. There’s another huge lightweight prospect at 135, and that’s Felix Verdejo. Both were 2012 Olympians. If you had to pick who would win a world title first who would you pick? – The Savage One from London

I’d have to pick Campbell to win a world title before Verdejo. The UK prospect (who I will get to see up close next Saturday) won gold in 2012 and is 26 years old. Verdejo is only 21. He’ll be moved along slower than Campbell for the next year or so.

I’ll try to answer your questions in order:

1) I have no idea what’s up with Garcia or when his contractual issues with Top Rank will be resolved. Out of sight out of mind. I’ve been told that Pirog has recurring back injuries and was appearing in movies in Russia. Again, out of sign out of mind.

2) That’s a good question. One answer, in Floyd’s defense, is that there weren’t many slick, black boxers in the junior lightweight, lightweight, junior welter and welterweight divisions during his title reigns in those divisions. However, there was one notable slick black lightweight contender/titleholder (Stevie Johnston) and there was a notable crafty/cagey Cuban junior lightweight and lightweight titleholder (Joel Casamayor). Obviously, Mayweather never fought them. I think your question begs another question: Why don’t fans and boxing media demand that Mayweather (and other skilled African-American standouts) face boxers with similar styles? Twitter Nation has no problem demanding that the stars of other countries, such as Pacquiao, Donaire and Canelo Alvarez, face the most difficult stylists of their respective divisions.

3) In no particular order: Carl Froch, Giovani Segura, James Kirkland, GGG, Krusher, Maidana, Matthysse, Chocolatito, Marco Huck, Keith Thurman

Your mythical matchups:

Hagler vs LaMotta – Bronx Bull by close decision
Roberto Duran vs GGG – Golovkin by close decision
T
im Bradley vs Keith Thurman – Bradley by controversial decision
Larry Holmes vs Ezzard Charles – Holmes by decision
Archie Moore vs Joe Wal
cott – Jersey Joe by decision

 

 

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

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