Dougie’s Friday Mailbag (Crawford-Brook, Bridgerweight, Shiggy!)

crawford brook 3 150x150 - Dougie’s Friday Mailbag (Crawford-Brook, Bridgerweight, Shiggy!)

CRAWFORD-BROOK MATCHUP

Hey Doug,

Interested in your prediction for this weekend’s fight.

For me Kell Brook is somebody who underachieved for the great potential he had. Following the win over Shawn Porter in 2014 he was sitting among some of the best known names in the sport – ranked No. 2 by The Ring at Welter behind only Mayweather and Pacquiao, with others such as Khan, Bradley, Marquez, Thurman (and later Danny Garcia and Errol Spence) below him.

Brook spent the next two years fighting Jo Jo Dan, Frankie Gavin and Kevin Bizier, while trying to chase down Floyd, Pacquiao, and primarily Khan. Frustration then led him to taking the opportunity to fill a void in London for a fight with Golovkin two weights above – he acquitted himself admirably for the first few rounds before being saved by his corner and suffering a serious eye injury.

Eight months later and he’s back down at welter against Spence. That fight was really competitive until the later rounds, before he was toppled by a combination of, yes, his opponent, but also the toll of making weight (always an issue with Kell) and finally yet another eye injury on the opposite side of his face.

Here we are another three and a half years on, 34 years old, and he’s back down at welter (for the first time since the Spence fight) to fight arguably the best fighter in the division. New promoter, new trainer, but we’re being told his is the best he’s felt in years and that he has no distractions….

Sure Bud is just one year younger, but he’s the fresher man. I think it’s interesting that they’re both switch hitters – Brook was brought up fighting against that style in the Ingle gym, but this opportunity is coming far too late for him.

I expect a competitive start to the fight, but with Crawford firmly taking control from around rounds 4-5 and getting a stoppage somewhere around rounds 7-9 as Brook fades. Brook has been talking about how he doesn’t have to abide by the IBF weight rules this time but I don’t think that will make a difference.

Questions for you:

  1. Do you give Brook any chance?
  2. How do you think the 2014/15 version of Brook would have done against prime the Welter names above? I’d favour him in all of those bouts except Floyd and Manny (Spence may not have been ready for that version of Brook in 2015).
  3. Do you know of any fighters who have moved up two weight divisions to fight the champion, get stopped, and then come back down and have success against the best guys at the weight?
  4. Early prediction for Canelo-Smith if that fight happens next month? Smith seems to have had a career similar to Brook (and Saunders) where he lost momentum having never managed to kick on into the big fights after his biggest win (Groves).

Cheers. – JS

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and questions, JS.

I gotta be honest with you (and the readers of this fine column), I’m not terribly enthused about Crawford-Brook. No disrespect to either fighter. I enjoy watching Crawford fight and view him as the best welterweight in the game and one of the most complete and versatile fighters among the pound-for-pound elite. I think Book is a naturally talented marvel and a physical specimen, and I respect him as a battle-tested veteran. However, this matchup just doesn’t excite me. I’ve grown bored/tired of watching Crawford defend his WBO welterweight title against challengers who either unrated by The Ring or are lower top-10 contenders (like Mean Machine).

Having said that, I’m more than happy to chat-up and analyze the bout with you and my fellow boxing fanatics.

I view the fight going in much of the same manner in which you predict, although I think Brook can make it into the championship rounds.

Now, I’ll answer your numbered questions:

  1. Do you give Brook any chance? Slim and none, and Slim left town, as my man Don King used to say, JS.
  2. How do you think the 2014/15 version of Brook would have done against prime the Welter names above? I’d favour him in all of those bouts except Floyd and Manny (Spence may not have been ready for that version of Brook in 2015). I’d have favored Brook over all the top welters but the two future first-ballot hall of famers, but I wouldn’t have been shocked or surprised if Keith Thurman pot-shotted his way to a close decision while punching on the fly or if Tim Bradley outgutted and outhustled the Sheffield man over 12 heated rounds.
  3. Do you know of any fighters who have moved up two weight divisions to fight the champion, get stopped, and then come back down and have success against the best guys at the weight? It’s rare but we recently saw that scenario
    nonito donaire vs nicholas walters 11 photo by naoki fukuda - Dougie’s Friday Mailbag (Crawford-Brook, Bridgerweight, Shiggy!)

    Donaire eventually rebounded from his featherweight KO loss to Walters two weight divisions below at bantamweight. Photo by Naoki Fukuda.

    with future hall of famer Nonito Donaire, who was stopped at featherweight by Nichols Walters in 2014 (both held versions of the WBA title, don’t ask me who the “champ” was) and then returned to the bantamweight division in 2018 to compete in the World Boxing Super Series, where he made it to the finals and gave the tournament favorite (and pound for pound star) Naoya Inoue hell in the 2019 Fight of the Year. Guillermo Rigondeaux suffered a technical stoppage to then-WBO 130-pound titleholder Vasiliy Lomachenko in late 2017 and then dropped back down to 122 pounds, and later to 118 pounds, where he’s still considered a contender.

Back in the early-to-mid 1960s, reigning welterweight champ Emile Griffith was blown out in one round by hard-hitting middleweight contender Rubin Carter (I know “Hurricane” wasn’t “the champ” but I still wanted to include this example) and he continued his 147-pound reign over the next 14 bouts, defending the title four times (including vs. rival and fellow future HOFer Luis Rodriguez) during that span (mostly against Ring-rated opposition, even in the over-the-weight non-title bouts) until he dethroned middleweight champ Dick Tiger. The only time Sugar Ray Robinson was stopped in his 200-bout pro career was a late stoppage to reigning light heavyweight champ Joey Maxim in 1952 (due mostly to heat exhaustion). After a near three-year hiatus following that loss, Robinson returned to the middleweight division where he eventually regained the title.

  1. rsz smith canelo 300x186 - Dougie’s Friday Mailbag (Crawford-Brook, Bridgerweight, Shiggy!)

    Will Canelo face Ring 168-pound champ Callum Smith in December?

    Early prediction for Canelo-Smith if that fight happens next month? Smith seems to have had a career similar to Brook (and Saunders) where he lost momentum having never managed to kick on into the big fights after his biggest win (Groves). I gotta go with Canelo, probably by late stoppage, but I think it will be a darn good scrap if it happens.

For me Kell Brook is somebody who underachieved for the great potential he had. I thought he was an exceptional talent who had pound-for-pound potential following the Porter victory.

Following the win over Shawn Porter in 2014 he was sitting among some of the best known names in the sport – ranked No. 2 by The Ring at Welter behind only Mayweather and Pacquiao, with others such as Khan, Bradley, Marquez, Thurman (and later Danny Garcia and Errol Spence) below him. I would have loved to see him take on some of the top Americans or his domestic rival (Khan) at that time, but in fairness to Team Brook, I think there were promotional/political road blocks at the time (the PBC was just getting started up and the organization wanted to showcase its top 147-pound talent against beatable opposition on network time-buys), plus, aside from Porter, I’m not sure how eager they would have been to face Brook at this best.

Brook spent the next two years fighting Jo Jo Dan, Frankie Gavin and Kevin Bizier, while trying to chase down Floyd, Pacquiao, and primarily Khan. He and Khan should have got it on. Both were chasing Mayweather and Manny, which was a fool’s pursuit.

Sure Bud is just one year younger, but he’s the fresher man. I think it’s interesting that they’re both switch hitters – Brook was brought up fighting against that style in the Ingle gym, but this opportunity is coming far too late for him. And Bud is better at transitioning between southpaw and orthodox stances than Brook.

 

THE WBC’S NEW WEIGHT CLASS

Hi Dougie,

Hope all is well with you and yours.

Please don’t recognize any new WBC Bridgerweight weight class! Not only isn’t it necessary, it’s got to be one of the dumbest words invented. Who came up with bridgerweight? Will they put a picture of the Golden Gate on the belt?

I also don’t understand something regarding the Ring ratings, the Bible to me and a lot of boxing fans. At welterweight, you have Errol Spence, Jr. rated #1, and Terence Crawford #3. In the pound for pound list you have Crawford at #3, ahead of Spence at #5. If Spence is the better welterweight how can Crawford be the better general fighter? Please explain. Thanks for the mailbag, the website and the magazine. – Ken Kozberg, Oakham, MA

Thanks for the kind words, Ken, although as a longtime mailbagger I figured you would have read one of my previous dozen or so responses to this Crawford vs. Spence in the P4P ratings question. Oh well, here I go again…

terence crawford vs yuriorkis gamboa photo by naoki fukuda11 - Dougie’s Friday Mailbag (Crawford-Brook, Bridgerweight, Shiggy!)

Crawford’s ninth-round TKO of Gamboa at lightweight is still one of his best victories. Photo by Naoki fukuda

It’s very simple, the pound-for-pound rankings take Crawford’s accomplishments at lightweight (where he earned the Ring Magazine title and defeated an unbeaten and still-dangerous version of Yuriorkis Gamboa) and junior welterweight (where unified all four major belts plus The Ring title for undisputed champion status, outclassing Viktor Postol and blasting out Julius Indongo in the process) into consideration, as well as how he’s looked at welterweight (which is darn good). However, the Ring’s welterweight rankings only take into consideration what both men have accomplished at 147 pounds. And Spence’s victories over Shawn Porter (which unified the IBF and WBC titles), Kell Brook and Lamont Peterson are held in higher regard by the Ring Ratings Panel than Crawford’s victories over Jeff Horn, Amir Khan and Egidijus Kavaliauskas.

Please don’t recognize any new WBC Bridgerweight weight class! Calm down, there’s nothing to recognize at the present time. And even when the WBC compiles rankings for the new weight class and begins to sanction Bridgerweight title bouts, The Ring is still going to view any boxer who weighs over 200 pounds as a heavyweight.

Not only isn’t it necessary, it’s got to be one of the dumbest words invented. Who came up with bridgerweight? That would be Mauricio Sulaiman. Don’t hate.

Will they put a picture of the Golden Gate on the belt? No, but they might include a pic of the Australian boy who saved his 4-year-old sister from a vicious dog attack in June (sustaining horrible facial wounds in doing so). Sulaiman named the new division after him, Bridger Walker.

I thought the name came from the WBC’s attempt to build a “bridge” between the cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions.

 

WHAT IF BUD WERE FACING PRIME BROOK?

Hi Doug,

How do you see the fight going this weekend between Brook and Crawford? I felt optimistic for Brook when I heard him saying what a big welterweight he is and how hard he hits, etc., but then I quickly remembered how drained he looked 3-4 years ago making the weight. He apparently doesn’t live the life out of camp, so I can only guess the toll it will take on him now. I see a weight-drained Brook getting stopped late, which I guess is a fairly obvious scenario.

Can you envisage a way for him to win? I’d love to see it but really can’t. Would you have backed a peak Brook say from 2014/15 to beat the current Crawford?

Either way I’m looking forward to a good fight Saturday.

Crawford is always great to watch and it will be interesting to see how he fairs against a big welterweight with good timing and power. (Has he ever fought anyone as hard hitting as Brook?) Best regards. – Steffan, UK

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Egidijus Kavaliauskas (left) vs. Terence Crawford. Photo by Mikey Williams for Top Rank

That’s a good question. Brook might be the hardest hitter Crawford has faced. Egidijus Kavaliauskas has pop, he’s very strong, and he did manage to stun Bud a few times early on during their shootout. Jose Benavidez Jr. is very big for the weight, he had heavy hands. The 2014 version of Yuriorkis Gamboa that Bud faced might have had the most pop in his punches, although I think it was the Cuban’s speed that troubled Crawford the most. Crawford was rocked a few times during that scrap. So, I guess it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Crawford gets buzzed, or even dropped, vs. Brook, but on the flip side, how often do we see Brook stop world-class/elite-level fighters? Brook’s knockouts have been scored against domestic-level fighters and fringe contenders.  

Can you envisage a way for him to win? Not really.

Would you have backed a peak Brook say from 2014/15 to beat the current Crawford? Now that would have been a proper fight, but I sill favor the American by close decision.

Either way I’m looking forward to a good fight Saturday. Are you? Or did you mean to say that you’re HOPING to see a good fight.

 

KELL BROOK WON’T BE EASY

Hi Dougie,

The thick end of the boxing year is upon us and I’m really looking forward to the big one this weekend.

There’s a lot of talk that Crawford is going to win easily but I’m not so sure. Brook has been through a lot but the two losses on his record have in my opinion come as a result of mismanagement (up two to fight a P4P beast, back down two to fight a P4P beast 9 months later) and he put in praise worthy performances in both of those matches.

Now he seems to be hungry, saying all of the right things and looking ready at the weight.

Stylistically it’s interesting because both are slick switch hitters with one having the edge in speed and the other in power. Both are experienced and well schooled so I’m expecting a fast paced chess match with bursts of nastiness.

On a side note I’d like to big up SKY/Matchroom who will be airing the Women’s triple header (feat. Katie Taylor) for free on various platforms. We’ve been seeing more free shows in both the US & UK which I think is the way to bring in more casuals.

MM:

Yaqui López v Anthony Yarde

Thanks. – Chris R, UK

Lopez by brutal late-rounds stoppage. It would be a fun scrap, though, that’s the only way Yaqui fought.

I’m glad to hear that Sky and Matchroom are doing more free shows in the UK. Maybe British fans won’t boo Sir Eddie so much in public if he keeps this up. But seriously, here’s hoping that Taylor, Terri Harper and the other women on that tripleheader put forth their usual badass efforts in the ring and give the larger TV audience a good show.

The thick end of the boxing year is upon us and I’m really looking forward to the big one this weekend. You mean Taylor vs. Gutierrez? Yeah, you’re not alone. All the women’s lightweight world titles, including the Ring Magazine championship, are on the line for that one.

There’s a lot of talk that Crawford is going to win easily but I’m not so sure. Nobody’s expecting Crawford to have a walk in the park. We know Brook is as tough as he is experienced, and Bud is a slow starter. But once Crawford gets warmed up, which might not happen until mid-fight, you know Brook is going to be in a world of pain.

Brook has been through a lot but the two losses on his record have in my opinion come as a result of mismanagement (up two to fight a P4P beast, back down two to fight a P4P beast 9 months later) and he put in praise worthy performances in both of those matches. He did and I think Brook deserves a lot more credit for taking on those back-to-back challenges and giving both fights a tremendous effort.

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Few can flex like Kell Brook. Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Now he seems to be hungry, saying all of the right things and looking ready at the weight. I’ll give him that. He’s selling this fight better than anyone, and he appears to be in impeccable physical condition.

Stylistically it’s interesting because both are slick switch hitters with one having the edge in speed and the other in power. Both are experienced and well schooled so I’m expecting a fast paced chess match with bursts of nastiness. That sounds intriguing. You’re selling me on this matchup better than Brook! I’m gonna start calling you Bob Arum Jr.

 

POOR ATTITUDES AMONG THE 147-LB. ELITE

Good afternoon Dougie,

Hope things are well over in sunny Merica.

Two questions today if you please:

Hearing that Canelo vs Callum Smith is done for December. Prior to the Ryder fight, I’d have expected Canelo to have had real trouble with Smith but given how clearly Ryder beat Smith (despite the scorecards saying otherwise) with a plan that Canelo is more than capable of following, I’m not so sure. How do you see the fight going?

I was watching Top Rank’s video “Terence Crawford – Relentless” and I hear Crawford saying that his legacy is set and it doesn’t matter if he doesn’t fight any PBC welterweights (coming from an enormous fan of Crawford, it does). Also heard Spence saying he’d never fight your boy Thurman because he doesn’t like him. For guys who claim to be focused on their legacy and claim to be the top dogs of the supposed best division in boxing, they’re taking a bit of a defeatist attitude towards elite level fights, especially in comparison to guys that have recently fought the best (as we’ve seen at 135, 154 and 200) or are screaming for the best fights in their division to be made (115, 140 and heavyweight).

Why are they taking this (quite immature) position and what can we as fans do to change their minds? Kind regards. – Euan, Dunfermline, Scotland

Well, Euan, we can stop idolizing elite talents who either don’t want to challenge themselves or who refuse to push their promoters/networks to cooperate with rival promotional companies and broadcast/streaming platforms to make the fights that the public demands. Give these self-entitled bozos a couple of years to face the best fighters of their respective divisions and if they don’t – LOSE INTEREST IN THEM. I enjoy watching Crawford ply his brutal craft, but I’ve had it with the title defenses vs. no-hopers. I’m not excited about tomorrow night’s fight and I don’t mind telling anyone that if they ask me about the matchup (as podcast and radio hosts have this week). As much as I loved James Toney as a middleweight and super middleweight champ, I pretty much tuned him out during that stretch of wins vs. mid-level cruiserweights from 1999 to 2002. The one-hitter quitter vs. Jason Robinson got my attention, though, and the title shot against Vassiliy Jirov in 2003 brought me back (not only as a fan but as a member of the media interested in covering him again). I need to see compelling matchups. I don’t care if a fighter has elite-level skills and talent, or if he resides in one of the sports glamor divisions, if he’s not in compelling matchups, I’m not going to bother with him. I’m going to pay attention to the top-level fighters in the lighter-weight divisions who have the eye of the tiger like the KING, Chocolatito, Juan Francisco Estrada (those two 115-pound studs have had their Four Kings-style round robin vs. each other, Carlos Cuadras and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, and they’re not done); Naoya Inoue and Nonito Donaire at 118; Josh Taylor, Jose Ramirez, Regis Prograis, Jose Zepeda and Viktor Postol at 140 pounds, and the cruiserweights who took part in both WBSS tournaments, Ring champ Mairis Briedis and Yuniel Dorticos. Bless them and the other standouts of this era who have the fighting spirit of boxers from the 1990s and previous decades.

Hearing that Canelo vs Callum Smith is done for December. Bro, I ain’t buyin’ that until I see both men in the ring.

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Smith (left) and Ryder. Photo by Dave Thompson

Prior to the Ryder fight, I’d have expected Canelo to have had real trouble with Smith but given how clearly Ryder beat Smith (despite the scorecards saying otherwise) with a plan that Canelo is more than capable of following, I’m not so sure. No disrespect to John Ryder but I don’t think Smith was 100% mentally dialed into fighting him. Vs. Canelo, you better believe we’ll see a 100% focused and prepared version of Smith.

How do you see the fight going? I think it has the potential to be a 168-pound shootout because I don’t think Smith is going to try to use his size to play keep-away as Daniel Jacobs and Sergey Kovalev did last year. The 168-pound Ring champ will try to impose his size upon the naturally smaller man.

 

GINJIRO SHIGEOKA

Dear Dougie,

Real quick:

You mentioned Ginjiro Shigeoka, so I looked him up on Youtube and watched the fight with Rey Loreto. That was fun, so thank you! The kid looked spectacular! Really fast and heavy handed with very quick feet. Also he was able to already show some grit. Yet I couldn’t help but thinking that his arms seemed ridiculously short. Do you think this could be a serious disadvantage?

Anyway: I love those Japanese boxers!

Best wishes to the US, hope everything stays peaceful. – Hans from Berlin

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Ginjiro Shigeoka attacks the body of veteran Rey Loreto. Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Japanese boxers are the best and I’m really excited about this 21-year-old southpaw.

Is he short (even for a strawweight/105-pounder)? Yep. Does he have sawed off little T-Rex arms? Yep! Will it matter? I seriously doubt it. The kid can fight. His balance is good, his feet are nimble, and he knows how to control distance as well as he cuts the ring off. Plus, he’s got very fast hands and a real knack for body punches. Oh my God, this young man KILLS dudes with his body attack. I love it.

Keep in mind some of the greatest little men in the sport’s history stood 5-feet/5-foot-1, including hall of fame flyweight champs Pancho Villa, Pascual Perez (who was 5-feet tall like Shiggy and often weighed between 105-108 pounds for his flyweight title defenses and even non-title bouts) and Miguel Canto. One of my favorite little giants, three-time junior flyweight champ Humberto “Chiquita” Gonzalez, stood 5-foot-1 and had a plucky boxer-puncher style similar to Shigeoka’s smart-but-aggressive approach. Time will tell if Shiggy can emulate these greats.

 

 

Email Fischer at dougie@boxingmailbag.com. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and join him, Tom Loeffler, Coach Schwartz and friends via Tom’s Periscope or Dougie’s IG Live every Sunday.

The post Dougie’s Friday Mailbag (Crawford-Brook, Bridgerweight, Shiggy!) appeared first on The Ring.

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