THE FABULOUS FEATHERWEIGHTS
Good morning Doug,
First off I wanna tell ya, you really smashed on that dude Andy from last Friday’s mailbag. Hahahaha, I meant you took flight, that just made my day…..
So last night’s news about Nonito Donaire fighting Nicholas Walters really got me looking forward to Oct. 18, and I think that it also opens up the doors for other potential matchups, Donaire, Walters, Vasyl Lomachenko, Evgeny Gradovich, Gary Russell Jr., Abner Mares, Jhonny Gonzalez, Simpiwe Vetyeka, and Leo Santa Cruz and Guillermo Rigondeux (if they move up)… so many possibilities, so many match ups its crazy.
I take my hat off to Donaire for taking on this challenge, which will just put pressure on the other featherweights to step it up as well, and hopefully we can have some kind of unofficial tourney going on. Yeah, I like to dream, I’m sure Loma will take the challenge as well as well as Rigo. As a matter of fact I would pick them in to be in the final, so I think this will be a good fight with Donaire finally fighting someone bigger than him and I also think this is his toughest and most dangerous fight up to date. I dont count Rigo’s fight because I knew he was gonna out boxed as soon as he agreed to fight him.
So how would you match up all of the fighters I just mentioned (if you want to include more name them), and finally who do you see winning the lineal title? Keep up the good work!! – Agustin, Mexico City
I think Lomachenko is the most complete and the most versatile of all the top 126 pounders, so I would favor him to prevail in a round-robin or single-elimination featherweight tournament. However, I think best featherweights are closely matched in terms of their talent and experience (those who are more athletically gifted, closer to their physical primes and natural 126 pounders – such as Walters and Gradovich – are not as experienced as the veterans who came up from lighter weight classes, such as Donaire, Mares and Gonzalez. Styles make fights and I think a featherweight tournament would feature a lot of upsets.
Your email also made me realize that the 126-pound division is one of the deepest weight classes in the sport. I still think that flyweight is currently the deepest division, but featherweight isn’t far behind, and it may have more potential than the 112-pound weight class. I know it has a much better chance of being featured on premium American cable channels, HBO and Showtime, as Donaire and Mares were regulars on those two networks during their bantamweight and 122-pound runs. I have no doubt that Santa Cruz, who was featured on Showtime as a bantamweight beltholder and now as a junior featherweight, will eventually move up to featherweight. I’m not so sure if Rigondeaux is as willing to move up in weight, but if all the big money fights are at 126 pounds I think it will be hard for him to resist.
Here’s a few featherweight standouts that you left off your list: Argentine badass Jesus Cuellar (who I’ve been told has been roughing up Donaire in sparring sessions at trainer Robert Garcia’s Oxnard gym), Welsh wizard Lee Selby, Southern California grinder Ronny Rios, and Filipino boxer-puncher Marvin Sonsona. I also expect the European junior featherweight trio of Kiko Martinez (Spain), Carl Frampton (Ireland) and Scott Quigg (England) to move up to 126 pounds in the next two years. Now that I think about it, the division is so international that if promoters could somehow all work together to get the best to face the best in an organized tournament it would be like the World Cup of boxing.
Anyway, I also take my hat off to Donaire for facing a monster like Walters. Personally, I think the Jamaican puncher is going to ice him, but I’ve got nothing but respect to the Filipino star for taking such a risky fight.
PACMAN IS A TOP 20 ATG
I am writing because of the recent poll regarding the top 20 fighters of all time. The problem with The Ring is they ask some so-called experts who are not qualified at all! I mean how could Manny Pacquiao be left out in the cold? Is it because he was knocked out cold by the hulk? I mean, come on, eight weight division champion, almost 11 years on the pound for pound list and counting, has defeated 14 former, recent or future world titlists. Even though the titles nowadays are watered down versions you must be a very good fighter to win at least one! Just ask Rocky Juarez!
Sandy Saddler–He is a good fighter but I think the featherweight version of the Pacman would win by decision. Saddler lost to Flash Elorde in the first fight and was life and death during the rematch before it was stopped because of cuts in the 13th round. Pacman is Elorde with a punch and is way, way faster.
Real Reliable Boxing Experts who consider Manny Pacquiao a Top 20 Boxer of all time:
1. The late Kronk Gym guru Emanuel Steward
2. Former Ring Magazine Editor in Chief Bert Randolph Sugar
3. Former Ring Magazine Editor in Chief Nigel Collins
4. Former HBO Color Commentator Larry Merchant
5. Current HBO Color Commentator Max Kellerman
I am very sure these guys are more reliable than the 12 so-called boxing experts who don’t vote for the Pacman. I am not hating! I am just saying – Alvin Arceo, Melbourne, Victoria Australia
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, Alvin. I think you are referring to the “Best of Modern Times” pound-for-pound poll that is in the October 2014 edition of THE RING magazine (which is currently on sale). The special feature polled 20 boxing writers, authors, editors and historians (not just 12), and without giving away too many details, I can assure you that the “so-called experts” that contributed their top 20 lists are all reliable and quality. Of course, I admit that’s a biased opinion as I’m one of the 20 “experts” that were polled. LOL!
Again, I don’t want to give away too much from the article (RING editor Michael Rosenthal will have a fit if I do), but you’re wrong about Pacquiao being “left in the cold.” He made the lists of eight out of the 20 experts, same number of lists that Bernard Hopkins (the only active fighter that I rated) made. Floyd Mayweather Jr. made 13 of the 20. What do you expect? He’s undefeated, he’s American and he proclaims himself to be TBE. (It’s definitely helped Mayweather, and probably hindered the PacMan to a degree, that most of the “experts” polled were American and none were Asian or Filipino.)
Cliff Rold and Lee Groves, who rated both Pacquiao and Mayweather, ranked the Filipino icon head of the American superstar. That didn’t surprise me. Both are historians as well as writers, and every bit as knowledgeable as the five “Real Reliable Boxing Experts” you listed.
SALBS &THE COLD WAR
First time of writing but been meaning to write for a while now. Been a fan for a few years and have always wanted to chime in on the topics brought up in this mailbag column.
Firstly, I understand these Kell Brook lovers being happy about the win but where were they on the Friday mailbag before the fight? People always are full of it after the fact.
I’m from the UK and I’m high on Brook too but I’m not gonna stand here and say I told you so as soon as he wins a very tight victory. Personally, I predicted Shawn Porter to win by TKO or a controversial points win but after the fight I scored it for Brook no question.
Anyway I think enough has been said here but I’m of the SALBS school of thought in regards to your mailbag detractors – if you put it in writing then f@#k it you gunna get a piece of mind so don’t cry when you get told.
In regards to the so called ‘cold war’ thawing, well I don’t see it. All we have is the Krusher vs the Alien but beyond that we have some terrible cards in Mayweather vs Maidana II and PacMan vs Chris Algieri. I’m sorry, but if you’re buying that you’re a mug. And the last Danny Garcia fight was a disgrace, which the blame squarely lands on Al Haymon who is not letting GBP put together stacked cards due to the Richard Schaffer split while Bob Arun is as bad as he has always been.
Dougie, I want see an end to this. Is it too much to ask to simply put some damn fights together!?
As much as Eddie Hearn is a smug W@#ker he should be promoter of the year hands down. Carl Froch-George Groves II reminded me of why there is no other sport like boxing.
Mythical match up
Chris Eubank vs James Tony at 168
Best. – Seth
I like Toney by close decision in tactical bout that is outshined by the pre-fight press conferences.
Hearn is definitely my front-runner for Promoter of the Year. It isn’t even close, and the Cold War is the main reason America’s top promoters aren’t stacking up to Big Eddie.
Having said that, I think the Cold War has begun to thaw. It’s not going to end abruptly overnight. It’s going to take some time. The right fights have to be made and certain concessions and deals have to be made with the current network and sponsor partnerships of the top two U.S. promoters (Top Rank with HBO and Tecate beer, and Golden Boy with Showtime and Corona beer).
The good news is that there’s a fight to be made that’s big enough for Top Rank and GBP to do what needs to be done to make it happen – Miguel Cotto vs. Canelo Alvarez. I think that mega-PPV event will lead to a lot more business being done between the two promotional companies and will probably lead to more GBP shows being on HBO.
I agree with your disinterest in the upcoming Mayweather and Pacquiao PPV “events.” I’m even dreading the All Access/24-7 shows that will accompany the obligatory network hype for both fights.
I’m not saying that the fights won’t be competitive. It’s possible that Maidana and Algieri give the future hall of famers difficult fights. However, these aren’t the matchups that most casual boxing fans and general sports fans want to see Mayweather and Pacquiao engaged in. And a pay-per-view event will not succeed without casual boxing fan and general sports fans buys.
I’m happy for Brook, I’m happy for his fans and I’m even willing to give his whiney supporters who suffer from SALBS a pass, but I’m over the Brook-Porter fight. I’m ready to talk about other welterweights and other 147-pound matchups.
CARL FROCH’S NEXT FIGHT
I’ve just realised who I would most like to see Carl Froch fight next: the winner of Bernard Hopkins-Sergey Kovalev (hopefully Hopkins wins, because a Froch-Bhop fight would be truly momentous). Carl wants to go out with a bang; what better way than to become the major titleholder at Light Heavyweight, and a two-weight world champion to boot? I believe that would exceed Joe Calzaghe’s achievements (even though he was undisputed and the lineal titleholder in both weight classes) based on competition faced (even though Joe beat Hopkins, too). But I know the old man has other plans… Prediction if that fight were ever to come to fruition?
Wow. I never thought of Froch vs. Hopkins but that would be a tremendous event, here in the States or in the UK (and lucky for The Cobra and British fans, The Alien is willing to travel).
If Froch can’t get a deal made with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., I think facing Hopkins, should the living legend upset the odds for the umpteenth time in November, would be the perfect finale for the Nottingham man’s boxing career.
Call me crazy, but I think Froch has the right mix of awkwardness, ring savvy, durability and skill to narrowly outpoint the 50-year-old version of B-Hop.
FIGHTS THAT NEVER GOT MADE/50 CENT VS FLOYD
Oh man, I’ll tell you Doug, I was listening to Nes’ podcast yesterday about 50 Cent’s destruction of Floyd Mayweather, and honestly, laughed about as hard as I can remember. I wasn’t aware of all this “reading” thing, it’s just too good. I’m usually not interested in this sort of gossip, but Floyd, come on man, he usually makes fun of everybody who doesn’t have as much money as he has. He humiliates people every opportunity he has. So, the fact that 50 Cent came out and publicly humiliated Floyd in a way that he can’t defend himself was just pure gold.
Now, getting back to boxing, I’m a big fan of your “Best I’ve Faced” columns. Please keep them coming! I loved this edition featuring Herol Graham. Looking at the fighters he chose, it reminds me of some fights that could’ve happened at one point during that era that didn’t. What do you think of these fights, and who would’ve won? I’m talking about the versions that were fighting at the same time, not the prime or best versions of these fighters:
Roy Jones Jr vs Julian Jackosn
James Toney vs Bernard Hopkins
Michael Nunn vs Julian Jackson
Mike McCallum vs Bernard Hopkins Nigel Benn vs James Toney
Chris Eubank vs Roy Jones Jr.
Have a great weekend! – Juan Valverde, Tijuana
I will, Juan.
I don’t have much to say about 50 Cent’s most recent beef with Mayweather, or some of the mean-spirited ridicule that’s followed the rapper’s “Harry Potter reading” challenge to the self-proclaimed TBE (such as Power 105 playing Floyd’s difficulty in reading radio drops). If Mayweather really struggles to read, he’s far from the only high-profile boxer who is functionally illiterate. That’s not something I want to make fun of. However, I don’t feel much empathy for Mayweather because he’s a massive jerk.
I’m glad you enjoyed our most recent “Best I’ve Faced” on Graham, one of the best boxers not to have won a major title of the last 20 years. We’ll be doing one of those every other week from now on, so you can expect another one next week.
Graham’s BIF list also reminded me of how deep, talented and competitive the 160-pound division was in the late 1980s/early 1990s. Mike McCallum was a master technician, Sumbu Kalambay was a master stick-and-move boxer, and Julian Jackson, of course, was the ultimate puncher.
Here’s how I think your middleweight matchups that didn’t happen (when they could have or should have) would’ve gone if they did:
Roy Jones Jr vs Julian Jackson – Jones plays it very safe and sticks and moves his way to a generally uneventful unanimous decision. He hurts Jackson a few times but doesn’t risk going for the kill knowing that The Hawk could “kill” him with one shot.
James Toney vs Bernard Hopkins – I gotta go with Toney by close decision. B-Hop wasn’t close to being the complete boxer/technician he evolved to by the late ‘90s back when both he and Lights Out were middleweights. I think Toney counter-punches him the way he did McCallum and narrowly outpoints The Executioner.
Michael Nunn vs Julian Jackson – Nunn uses his height, reach, speed, and mobility to outpoint Jackson.Mike
McCallum vs Bernard Hopkins – McCallum, the far more experienced and complete fighter at the time they would have clashed at 160 pounds, would win a decision.
Nigel Benn vs James Toney – Toney’s solid chin, crazy toughness, superior stamina and counter punching ability sees him through some early rough spots and wears the Dark Destroyer down to a late TKO.
Chris Eubank vs Roy Jones Jr. – Jones wins stinker on points. The matchup involves two supremely confident and ultra-talented middleweight boxer-punchers who developed their own unorthodox styles but they wouldn’t mesh in a meaningful way once the bell rang. I think Jones would be a little spooked by Eubank’s supreme self-belief, showman antics and sneaky power and thus go into safety first mode. The bout would probably look more like interpretive dance than a boxing match.
BETERBIEV VS. CLOUD
Hey Doug,What do you think of Artur Beterbiev’s (5-0, 5 KOs) promoter rolling the dice on him by putting him in against Tavoris Cloud? Cloud was supposed to be Jean Pascal’s opponent but Pascal went all diva on the promoters and they said f*** it. I am hoping Beterbiev can live up to his promoter’s expectations. He has a pleasing style, a win in the amateurs over Kovalev and would be a nice addition to the light heavyweights. – Stephen, Montreal
Beterbiev’s handlers’ are taking a risk in facing Cloud at this stage of the Russian’s pro career, but I think it’s a calculated one. Why? Because A) they’re catching the former IBF titleholder at the right time (following two humiliating losses), and B) we shouldn’t view Beterbiev as a prospect with five pro bouts. He’s an amateur world champion, who a lot of amateur bouts and is 29 years old. He’s mature. Still, he has yet to fight a guy with a winning record or fight past four rounds. If Cloud can take him deep and put some pressure on him we’ll see what “the Biev” is all about.
Email Fischer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer