Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

Kell Brook (L) lands a jab on Shawn Porter en route to winning the IBF welterweight title in Carson, Calif. Photo by Stephen Dunn - Getty Images.

Kell Brook (L) lands a jab on Shawn Porter en route to winning the IBF welterweight title in Carson, Calif. Photo by Stephen Dunn – Getty Images.

NEW BLOOD

Well well well Dougie,

Looks like The Ring’s 20 boxing experts were very wrong about the Shawn Porter-Kell Brook fight. I wasn’t sure who’d win myself, to be honest, but I was genuinely excited about this fight. It isn’t that often that two equally matched + hungry guys fight each other for a world title. It may not have been Gatti-Ward – but it was an important win for Brook.

It appeared to me that Porters aggression worked against him and Brook was happy to pick him off. If one of those haymakers had of landed for Porter I think it could have changed things but Brook was extremely disciplined and physically strong enough to hold Porter off. He had a gameplan and stuck to it. I’m not too sure how I would have scored it, I’m not a professional judge, but I think Porter definitely deserves some credit. He was eating right hooks all night and kept coming forward. He’ll come back for sure. How did you score it?

I saw your buddy Khal Drogo (from Game of Thrones) aka “the Thurmanator” there. He didn’t look like he was too impressed with either of them. So how do you think Brook will fare against him if they fight?

I can see Brook easily beating Danny Swift, Amir Khan, Ruslan Provodnikov, and Marcos Maidana but I think Timmy Bradley or Thurman would have a good shot at beating him. Then of course there’s Manny Pacquiao and Money May. Not too sure how I’d predict either of those fights either, although Floyd would probably beat him. I can’t see Brook picking Floyd off as easily as he did Porter. Although if Maidana puts a few more miles on Money in September then who knows. 

There’s a new era coming in boxing and it will happen when Floyd and Pacquiao retire. I’m quite looking forward to it to be honest. They’ve both had a good run but it’s high time they stopped hogging the limelight. Some new blood will do us all the world of good.

Keep up the good work. – John.

I agree that new blood – especially in one of boxing’s glamor divisions (welterweight) – is what the sport needs, and I’ve stated this in previous mailbags.

I love the young 147-pound guns led by Brook, Thurman and Porter. They’re willing to test themselves against each other and against the more established welterweights who are still in their primes, such as Bradley, Khan, Alexander, Maidana and Guerrero. Part-time junior welterweights Garcia, Chris Algieri and Provodnikov are welcome additions to the 147-pound mix. I don’t even care to include Mayweather and Pacquiao. I’ve been tired of both superstars for at least the past three years. I want them fight their last hurrahs against whomever and then get the f__k out of dodge.

I would also pick Brook to beat Garcia, Khan, Provo and Maidana, but I don’t think any of those fights would be easy for the new IBF titleholder. I agree that Bradley and Thurman are pick-‘em fights against the talented Sheffield native.

Good alternative nickname for Thurman, by the way. He does kind of have the dude’s look (only Keith is a real warrior, he doesn’t play that role on TV). I noticed that he didn’t seem impressed by what he saw Saturday night. Although, I thought Brook executed a near-perfect game plan while Porter put forth the effort of a champion, I can understand why Thurman was less than awed. Brook probably didn’t commit to his offense enough for Thurman’s liking, while Porter was likely too sloppy and unfocused (down the stretch) for him to applaud. Thurman’s a true boxer-puncher. He’s a thinking man’s assassin, meaning he wants to adhere to a smart game plan but he also wants to close the show.

Hopefully, Thurman gets a shot at Brook late this year or sometime in 2015.

I scored the fight for Brook, seven rounds to five or 115-113. I had Porter up 4-2 after six rounds (based on his aggression, activity and body punching) but then had Brook taking over the fight with his cleaner punching and ring generalship after Round 6, winning five of the next six (sweeping the last four).

I knew it would be a close distance fight but I had anticipated a more entertaining scrap. Still, I thought it was a compelling matchup of contrasting talents and styles. And, of course, it was an important win for Brook, the most important of his pro career to date and arguably the most significant welterweight title win by a British boxer on American soil since Lloyd Honeyghan took Donald Curry’s undisputed crown in 1986. (Yes, I think it was a bigger win than Ricky Hatton’s WBA-winning decision over Luis Collazo).

 

WHAT A DAY FOR KELL BROOK

Hi Dougie!

What a result for Kell Brook and British boxing! Shawn came forward violently and aggressively for the first half of the fight, but I think Kell’s slick movement and stiff jab helped him really take control of the fight and earn what I felt was a well deserved decision over one of boxing’s hottest talents. When I heard “and the new!” I crumbled into a joyous mess. LOL. I saw on twitter that you felt the decision was deserved: how did you score it?

Regarding the rest of the card, I liked how Daniel Estrada boxed, and I feel he was in the fight until Omar Figueroa impressively closed the show with a powerful flurry. Props to Estrada for turning up and really trying, given his awfully tragic circumstances. The Anthony Dirrell-Sakio Bika fight was just how I expected, Dirrell outboxed him in most of the rounds, and Bika was unsurprisingly scrappy and awkward, not exactly a barnburner. What was your take on these fights, and a potential Dirrell-George Groves match up?

I hope to God that Amir Khan beats Guerrero or Alexander so that Kell can shut his mouth and KO that loud mouthed, overrated fool into next week. I truly don’t see Khan vs Brook going past 7 rounds. How would you see that one going?

Hopefully, I make the cut and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the exciting StubHub card which has just happened. – Stan, UK

My thoughts on the entire card is that it wasn’t that “exciting,” at least not by StubHub standards, but we got to witness an upset (that really wasn’t an upset) and what was very likely the emergence of a new British boxing star.

If Khan can get by Guerrero or Alexander (which I believe he can but it won’t be easy, especially not against Devon), the natural fight to make next year in England (during the spring or summer months, so it can be a stadium event) is a mega-showdown between the Bolton native and the Sheffield native. That fight would even draw significant attention here in the U.S.

I can see Brook-Khan going the distance, especially if the former 140-pound titleholder boxes the way Virgil Hunter had him box Collazo in May. Still, I’d favor Brook to win that one, maybe by late stoppage. He’s not as fast as Khan but he’s got a better foundation, superior concentration and more solid whiskers.

Bika-Dirrell II did not go the way I expected. I thought Dirrell would outpoint the grizzled veteran in an awkward and uneventful fight, but I didn’t expect it to totally suck ass. That WBC super middleweight title bout was as much of a Bizarro World “non-fight” as Bernard Hopkins-Roy Jones Jr. II. I’m happy for Dirrell, who overcame a lot to get to that point, but I think Saturday’s title bout lowered his stature a bit (or at least the expectations of fight fans).

I would favor Groves (soon to be the WBC’s No. 1 contender) to beat Dirrell. The Londoner has comparable talent, ring IQ, and physical tools but he’s a more complete boxer and a more consistent fighter.

Figueroa-Estrada was definitely the fight of the night. As Steve Kim once said, “Thank God for Mexican boxers.” Those two giant lightweights (Estarda weighed 154 pounds on fight night and Figueroa was one pound heavier) saved the show in my opinion. Tough break for Estrada but he lost to the better man. I was impressed with Figueroa’s desire and ability to close the show after sustaining that awful cut. He was well ahead on the scorecards but he wanted to earn a KO. Figueroa will be a welcome addition to the 140-pound division. I’d love to see him take on the John Molina-Humberto Soto winner.

I saw a closely contested contest in the main event. I thought Porter got a little more done during the first half of the bout while Brook was more in control over the second half. Brook’s jab, lateral movement and cleaner power punching was the difference. I had him winning by one round.

 

KELL BROOK GOT LUCKY

Hi Dougie,

I am a Kell Brook fan. I am from the UK, and it is great to see that he has won a world title. Only problem with this is that he did not win a world title. This decision proves that miracles happen, getting a gift decision in another man’s backyard. Brook threw very few punches and was holding a great deal during the fight. Porter was rough and ready and was chasing the fight the whole way and landing tons more than Brook. I can’t fathom the wide scoring in Brook’s favour and wonder if I was watching another fight. Brook looked surprised and Porter was understandably shocked at the verdict. Brook vs Khan should be a UK barnburner and should earn both good money. Brook should avoid Thurman at all costs.

Cheers. – Philip du Plessis

What I like about the new generation of welterweight standouts is that they genuinely seem to want to face each other. I would be very disappointed in Brook if he avoided Thurman. I’ve had it with boxing’s culture of avoidance, ushered in by Roy Jones Jr. (with HBO’s help) during the 1990s and upheld by Mayweather (aided by HBO and now Showtime) to the present day.

Anyway, I thought Brook did enough to earn the decision but didn’t do enough to ensure a points victory in the U.S. The only reason I picked Porter to win this fight was because it took place in America. I didn’t think Brook could win a close fight here. I was pleasantly surprised that he did. I think the right man won.

I also believe that Max DeLuca’s 117-111 score for Brook gave the Brit the benefit of the doubt in every close round. However, more than a few longtime boxing observers and insiders that I know and respect agreed with DeLuca’s and Adalaide Byrd’s scorecards.

Personally, I was OK with Dave Parris’ 114-114 verdict. And I can understand why Porter thought he won the fight immediately after the contest. But I think when he watches the fight on TV he’ll notice that he could have been a little more controlled (and more accurate with his punches) early on, and that his form fell off down the stretch of the bout.

I hope Brook also watches the fight with an analytical eye and realizes that while it was good to keep his composure throughout the fight, he could have offered a little more offense and maybe taken the fight to Porter more late in the bout when it was obvious that the defending titleholder was gassed and bothered by his cut eyelid.

I hope he also realizes that he got lucky with the selection of judges. Having said that, I think he deserves to be the IBF champ and I think he’s earned a lot of respect on this side of the Pond.

 

PICKING BROOK TO WIN

Morning Doug,

The fight went pretty close to how I thought it would. I knew Porter would rough things up and I knew that Brook would try to play the matador to his bull. I’m glad that the scorecards read the way they did and Brook didn’t get jobbed (although one was a little wide in his favor). I just can’t believe that Porter was such a massive media favorite. One thing that really stuck out to me was Brook’s ability to slide his feet when he was moving around the ring. Yes he was moving but he wasn’t running. By sliding his feet it seemed like he was that much quicker in his ability to stop and plant when he started firing punches. He boxed well.  

In regards to the Duran vs the ‘90s standouts mythical match ups that I asked about, I am not surprised you picked Duran in all of them. I pretty much feel the exact same. Given that he would beat those three, what about this:  

The mature Duran that fought D. Moore and Barkley vs an immature Bernard Hopkins (RJJ fight era). I actually really have no idea who would win this.

Future tip for you: next time you hit NYC, you need to take a field trip to Queens to a place called the Waterfront Crab House.  It’s old and the guy who owns it has a metric ton of memorabilia on the walls.  From original Sugar Ray signed gloves to Sonny Liston robes to whatever else.. it’s all up on the walls (covered in a decent patina of dust). The place is a gem.

Future tip for me: I have recently been turned on to the Sandman series by N. Gaiman and have really enjoyed the first books. I haven’t ever been in to graphic novels (I know you are) so do you have any suggestions?

Be well. – Alan

I haven’t read Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series but I’ve only heard very good things about it. I’ll get around to collecting those graphic novels soon. As for your next buy, you should know that whatever you read next probably won’t compare to your first graphic novel experience. Gaiman is an accomplished author/novelist. There aren’t many comic book writers who can match his ability, but two of his fellow UK scribes, Alan Moore and Grant Morrison are on par with him in my opinion.

I recommend anything written by Moore or Morrison. Moore’s Watchmen is must reading; and I recently enjoyed the trade paperbacks collecting his 1980s run on Swamp Thing (which I collected in comic book form as a teen). Morrison’s groundbreaking late ‘80s/1990s runs on Animal Man and Doom Patrol are collected into omnibuses and TPB volumes. Those stories can be abstract and absurdist but they are also engrossing and enjoyable reads.

If you’re interested in other Gaiman graphic novels, I enjoyed his take on Jack Kirby’s Eternals. Those two trade paperback collections shouldn’t be hard to find.

I’ll be sure to check out the Waterfront Crab House the next time I’m in NYC (which hopefully won’t be too long from now).

I think the mature middleweight version of Duran that defeated Barkley would narrowly outpoint the still-developing version of Hopkins that lost to Jones. Duran would be the much smaller man but also the more complete fighter, one with superb defensive and counter-punching ability. Hopkins was more of a straight-forward boxer-puncher during his early pro years. He relied a lot more on his power back then and could be picked apart. However, his size, solid technique, tenacity and work ethic would have made the bout close.

Good observation about Brook’s smooth lateral movement. He glides around the ring as well as Andre Ward does.

Porter was a huge media favorite here in the U.S. for two simple reasons: he’s an American (duh) and he’s fought on U.S. TV a lot (and looked damn good in his previous two bouts before facing Brook).

Brook should have been considered Porter’s first real test (that’s how I thought of the Brit) but Brook was considered untested by most of the U.S. boxing media, so how can an “untested” bloke “test” a badass brotha who had just beatdown two top-10 rated welterweights?

 

BROOK DOMINATED

Howdo Doug,

Who saw that coming? I don’t mean the Kell Brook win – a lot of pundits had it an even matchup – but the manner of it!

He just dominated Porter. Not once in the fight was Brook troubled. He was actually almost surreally Zen even when he was cut!

Sure the stats say Porter was much busier and threw all the power shots but 1) he was so ineffective, and almost everything he landed were squared-up arm punches and 2) Brook’s jab IS a power shot! He also throws his right as fast as his jab and Porter had no clue what to do with that.

Brook just did everything better. He tied Porter up because he was stronger (who expected that??) He judged the distance so well that Porter couldn’t close in on him, even feinting and weaving, without eating a hurtful jab or one-two. By the end, Brook wasn’t sticking and moving, he was occupying the centre and backing Porter up!

In its own way, this is remarkably similar in its one-sidedness and unknown underdog victor for most US fans as Honeyghan’s destruction of Curry. But unlike that fight, here Brook just systematically dismantled his opponent without blowing him or the audience away.

Where does he go from here? I can’t imagine the big networks will be too pleased at having their Mayweather/Porter plans sabotaged, and it would be a tough sell after the style in that win I think to swap Brook in there (even if he is actually far more exciting than this most of the time). Khan would be big for us UK fight fans, but he’s been changing his style to fight…well…like Brook just did! Which would be a good chess match but hardly sensational like Groves/Froch…

On a final note: Brendan Ingle and Sons. What a production line they’ve had! I’d like to think Brook’s win, and the manner of it, is kind of a correction for Herol Graham letting Julian Jackson spark him all those years ago.

Take it easy and keep up the cracking work. Cheers. – Alex, HK

Thanks Alex.

I’m glad you brought up the Ingles because Brendan’s son, Dominic, has done a sensational job training Brook and his performance in the corner on Saturday was just as composed and focused as his fighter’s was in the ring.

I don’t think Brook is as talented as Graham or Ingle’s most famous graduate, Naseem Hamed, but he did something “the Bomber” wasn’t able to do (win a major world title) and he’s got better fundamentals than “the Prince.” If Brook had Hamed’s punching power he’d be unstoppable. Thankfully, he’s got something else that Hamed had: dance partners.

I think Eddie Hearn – who’s got to be a frontrunner for Promoter of the Year – will let the potential Brook vs. Khan showdown marinate while he searches for the biggest name available to fight his newly crowned welterweight titleholder. I think that fighter is Juan Manuel Marquez, who was at StubHub (to support his fighter, Daniel Estrada) on Saturday, and is only behind Mayweather and Pacquiao in terms of worldwide name recognition and respect.

If Marquez is willing to travel to England, I think that fight could be huge. It’s also a good style matchup for Brook. The same abilities and attributes that you noted in his fight with Porter would give Marquez fits. Beyond Marquez (who I think Brook would outpoint in clear-cut fashion), there’s Bradley (who is also well known but more of a threat than JMM) and then there’s Khan (the UK mega-fight). And beyond that trio there’s Thurman (his most dangerous potential opponent) and a rematch with Porter (if “Showtime” can put together a few solid wins).

 

“EXPERTS”

Hi Dougie,

First time I’ve written to you so I’ll keep it short and sweet. This is what happens when “experts” call a fight on a boxer’s previous couple of opponents and not his or his current opponent’s credentials. That was a win not just for Brook, but for boxing. Can’t see Porter making much money from the game now that he has no title. Nobody will want to fight against a reckless slugger who just swings and clinches while throwing his head about. Caused two cuts with his head in that fight, just plain dangerous.

How did you score the fight? I had Brook one round up, but I honestly thought Porter would be given the nod as he was the champion and American judges tend to favour the aggressor, despite him landing nothing of note. Maybe if the fight was in Nevada?

Can you see a Brook v Khan fight next year or do you think Khan will duck him? And what’s next for Brook? I believe he can beat anyone who will box (and not wrestle) with him in the welterweight division.

Cheers, and keep up the good work. – Blair from Scotland

Thanks Blair.

Hey, this isn’t the first time all of the so-called experts got it wrong and it sure the hell won’t be the last.

Like I stated earlier, a lot of American scribes recognized Brook’s talent but given the lack of top-10 names on his resume, they just couldn’t favor him over a rugged and athletic boxer-mauler like Porter, who had the names of two top-10 contenders on his record.

That manner of thinking may not seem fair to Brook fans (or to Porter haters) but none us of really know how good a talented boxer is until he’s been tested. U.S. boxing media viewed Porter as Brooks’ big test (not the other way around).

I’m not saying that there isn’t an American bias when it comes to ranking and respect for European boxers. It does exist. U.S.-born talent, such as Adrien Broner, often get ballyhooed and highly ranked before they’ve really been in tough. We generally don’t give the benefit of the doubt to “untested” non-American talents (unless they’ve fought a lot on U.S. networks – TV makes everything “real”; Edwin Valero and Gennady Golovkin were figments of my imagination until they fought on Showtime and HBO respectively).

THE RING gave Brook the benefit of the doubt. We ranked him as high as No. 4 in our welterweight rankings (he was the No. 5-rated 147 pounder going into the bout with Porter, who was ranked No. 4). We also got a lot of s__t from fans and from fellow media for having him as high as we did. (I got more than a few emails from British fans telling me that the mag should drop Brook in the ratings.)

The Transnational Boxing Ranking Board rated Brook No. 9 going into Saturday’s fight. ESPN’s Dan Rafael didn’t rank him at all. I get why Brook was rated so low or not at all. The best guys he beat were fringe contenders. However, it should be noted that Keith Thurman (who the TBRB ranks at No. 7 and Rafael ranks at No. 8) has yet to beat a welterweight rated in the Top 10 of the TBRB, ESPN.com or THE RING.

I saw the fight the same way you did. I also thought Porter would get the nod. I’m glad I was wrong.

I can definitely see Brook-Khan happening sometime next year. I don’t think Khan would duck anyone. If Brook can’t hook in a big name like Marquez for his first title defense, I wouldn’t be surprised if he took on newly crowned European champ Leonard Bundu, who upset Frankie Gavin earlier this month.

 

REMOVE YOUR HEADS FROM YOUR ARSES!

Hi Dougie,

I have a quick question.

Why do boxing fans and to some extent boxing scribes in the USA (as the total whitewash of 21-0 in favour of Shawn Porter on this website) devalue the skills & records of any fighter outside of the USA?

Kell Brook was/is a highly skilled hard punching boxer yet hadn’t been given a chance of beating Shawn Porter.

We saw tonight how crude and one dimensional Porter is. All he did was rush forward like a deranged midget flailing wildly hoping he might catch Brook.

And this was the guy everyone was touting as the next big thing cos he blew out an over the hill Paulie M!!

As I know you are someone who has championed Brook, do you not think it’s time American fans & broadcasters pulled their heads outta their own a__holes & started to realise being American is not the sole prerequisite of being a talented boxer?

Regards – MK, UK

I think it’s way past time that we pulled our heads out of our bums, MK.

However, I think you’re devaluing Porter’s style and ability by calling him “crude” and “one-dimensional” and by describing him as a “deranged midget” and by doing so you’re devaluing Brook’s victory.

 

 

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

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