KHAN’S FANTASY FINISH
Hope all is well with you and your loved ones. Thanks for putting in all of the work to churn out this wonderful mailbag week in and week out.
So, Crawford vs Khandle. (I say Khandle because, well, a strong gust of wind could take the guy out). When Crawford can’t take Khan out as spectacularly as Canelo did, and if he doesn’t get a KO, can he look good boxing against Khan?
Anyway, if Khan pulls one like he did on Marcos Maidana, not to compare, but let’s say he gets enough rounds and survives for the close split decision win. Who do you think Khan would choose to defend against (if he was given a choice)? And, of course, you’re not Khan and can’t read his mind, I am asking for the fictional next chapter as written by Douglass Fischer? – Miguel from Naples
If Amir Khan is able to pull off what would be considered the year’s biggest upset (in a year of upsets) so far, and I’m penning the next chapter to this fantasy scenario (although I should note that him outpointing Crawford is not as inconceivable as many think), I would have him call out Floyd Mayweather Jr. and settle for Manny Pacquiao. Khan has had a very successful boxing career (in terms of money and fame). If he were to beat Crawford, he’d instantly receive all of the respect he’s ever wished for. The only thing missing at that point would be the scalp of an iconic future hall of famer on his resume. There’s no reason for him to risk a rematch with Bud, or a dangerous unification bout with the likes of Spence, Thurman or Porter. And forget about Kell Brook. That ship has sailed. If Khan can somehow beat Crawford, his next move might as well be to go for one of the two faded legends in what would be by far the biggest fight he could take part in at 147 pounds. Floyd would flirt with the notion and ultimately snub Khan just for kicks, but Pac is crazy enough to go for it. If he can beat the Filipino Hero (which is possible), he would punch his ticket to Canastota, and wouldn’t that be a sweet story book ending?
However, I gotta go with the chalk in the April 20 showdown at Madison Square Garden.
When Crawford can’t take Khan out as spectacularly as Canelo did, and if he doesn’t get a KO, can he look good boxing against Khan? Well, I think Crawford can take out Khan. It might take him more rounds than it did for Canelo, and he might not ice Khan with a “one-hitter-quitter,” but I think he can force a dramatic stoppage by the late rounds of an entertaining, high-speed chess match. Can he look good boxing against Khan? It won’t be easy. Khan’s got a difficult style and athleticism for most boxers. But Crawford ain’t “most boxers.” He’s better and more versatile than most, and he’s proven the ability to break down athletic boxers (Yuriorkis Gamboa, Felix Diaz, Dierry Jean) and neutralize difficult stylists (Viktor Postol). I think the Khan matchup will play out better (more entertaining) than the Postol fight did.
MYTHICAL MATCHUPS AND STUFF
Hey Doug, hope all is well. It’s a bit of a slow boxing weekend so I thought I’d wander a bit.
–Is the Ryan Garcia fight worth tuning in for? I’m not familiar with the opponent but he looks to have a respectable record. What potential do you see in Garcia? Do you think he’s future champion material or just short of that? He’s had some exciting performances as well as some duds from what I’ve caught, which is of course going to happen for any rising contender learning the craft and taking steps up. Was wondering if you have some more insight on him though.
–While it’s hard to get super pumped for Crawford-Khan due to the perceived inevitable outcome, I find myself wondering: one of Crawford’s toughest fights was against Gamboa, who shares with Khan those blistering paws and a somewhat similar style. We know how that fight ended, but it was also a damn fun scrap, one of the best of that year. Do you think we could get a fun kind of back and forth shootout in this fight before Khan’s seemingly inevitable melting?
–Do you think Haymon will make Pac vs Spence next? If so, I agree with you that this will be curtains on Pacquiao. I could see Pac finding a bit more success than Garcia early, but I also don’t see him making it to the final bell. I’d rather see Pac take on Lipinets or Porter. If Crawford beats Khan, I don’t want to see him and Spence facing anyone but each other. To me, that will be the welterweight equivalent of Canelo vs Golovkin, with Crawford like Canelo and Spence like GGG.
–At the top of light heavyweight, we have Gvozdyk, Kovalev, Bivol, Browne, and Beterbiev. Assuming these guys all fight, who do you expect would come out on top? I lean towards Bivol based mostly on his beautiful footwork, but Gvozdyk is a special talent too. All 5 of those guys are damn scary.
–Some Mythical matchups:
Tommy Hearns vs Roy Jones at super middleweight.
Archie Moore vs Carlos Monzon
Barney Ross vs Roger Mayweather
James Kirkland vs Amir Khan
David Tua vs James Toney
Mark Breland vs Mickey Ward
Carlos Palomino vs Antonio Margarito
Thanks. – Jack E.
Interesting mythical matchups, Jack. I’ll go with Jones by mid-rounds KO (RJ was at his absolute peak at 168 pounds, Hitman was not), Ross by decision, Kirkland by mid-rounds TKO, Toney by decision, Breland on cuts (all he’d need is his jab), and Palomino on points if it’s a 15 rounder, but it’s draw (in a great fight) if it’s a 12 rounder (Carlos, who was perfect for the 15-round championship era, didn’t get warmed up until Round 7).
Is the Ryan Garcia fight worth tuning in for? I’m not familiar with the opponent but he looks to have a respectable record. I think the DAZN main event is worth watching. This is Garcia’s first fight of 2019, only his second with Eddy Reynoso, and Jose Lopez is a battle-tested former prospect with a good skillset.
What potential do you see in Garcia? Do you think he’s future champion material or just short of that? It’s too early to tell. He’s not even 21. The young man’s got a lot of natural talent (and obvious charisma), and he’s aligned with Golden Boy and Team Reynoso, so expectations are high. However, Garcia wasn’t an elite open-class amateur, so he’s going to need time to develop as a pro. I think we’ll have a better idea of his potential (or his ceiling) at the end of this year.
While it’s hard to get super pumped for Crawford-Khan due to the perceived inevitable outcome, I find myself wondering: one of Crawford’s toughest fights was against Gamboa, who shares with Khan those blistering paws and a somewhat similar style. True. And unlike the pint-sized Cuban Olympic gold medalist, the British Olympic silver medalist has the height, reach and lateral movement to hit and stay out of range for longer periods of time.
We know how that fight ended, but it was also a damn fun scrap, one of the best of that year. It certainly was. Ultimately, Gamboa lacked the size, reach and technical foundation to compete with Crawford but the Cuban was very game and proud, so the American standout had to “teach” him how to lose.
Do you think we could get a fun kind of back and forth shootout in this fight before Khan’s seemingly inevitable melting? Yes, we might get some of that, but my hunch is that game plan for Khan is to “punch on the fly” and avoid heated, prolonged exchanges as much as possible. If Khan gets too “greedy,” offensively speaking, the fight will likely end.
Do you think Haymon will make Pac vs Spence next? No.
If so, I agree with you that this will be curtains on Pacquiao. Aw, come on, why you hatin’ on Pac? Don’t be like Dougie.
I’d rather see Pac take on Lipinets or Porter. I think Thurman is the perfect opponent for the Filipino Icon and that’s the PPV showdown I see happening in the summer.
If Crawford beats Khan, I don’t want to see him and Spence facing anyone but each other. Bob Arum and Al Haymon know exactly what you, me, and all the other hardcore fans and media want to see, and for once they’re in total agreement: they both think we can all go f__k ourselves. IF this welterweight showdown ever happens, it won’t be until it’s been built up into the kind of PPV event that will garner at least 750,000 buys. It’s not there yet. Maybe in 2020. Maybe.
To me, that will be the welterweight equivalent of Canelo vs Golovkin, with Crawford like Canelo and Spence like GGG. That’s an interesting analogy, at least in terms of the style matchup. We’ll see if there can be a promotional comparison one day. It took Canelo-GGG about a year and a half to be made. How long will it take Spence-Crawford?
At the top of light heavyweight, we have Gvozdyk, Kovalev, Bivol, Browne, and Beterbiev. Assuming these guys all fight, who do you expect would come out on top? I honestly have no idea, which tells you how evenly matched the top 175 pounders are. Kovalev has the most experience, Bivol has the most talent and upside, Gvozdyk is the most complete fighter/technician, Browne has the best blend of athleticism and technique, and Beterbiev is the hardest mother f__ker of the group. They’ve all got skill and they can all crack. That’s the Furious Five, right there.
IRON MIKE THE CRUISERWEIGHT
Hope all is well brother and you’re gearing up for a couple of busy months.
Whilst we’re waiting for the next round of big matchups, I hoped to get your thoughts on something my mates and I had been debating for some time, that being how dangerous/successful would Mike Tyson have been had he fought at the 200-lb cruiser limit?
Appreciate that in his prime the cruiser limit was 190, but he fought as low as 212lb and his average was around the 220lb mark when in his prime.
His speed, power and head movement would surely make him a huge threat to any cruiser, but how much do you think he would have lost from his arsenal by taking off those last 10-20lbs?
Also, what do you make of Gassiev going up to heavyweight? The guy is a puncher but not sure he has the mobility or boxing acumen to compete with the big boys, that’s assuming his power carries up with him which isn’t a given.
Love to get your thoughts mate. Iron Mike got me into boxing as a young lad in the late 80’s and his return mid-90’s alongside the up and coming Prince Naseem got me hooked for life on the sweet science.
Iron Mike cruiser MM’s for you (all at 200lbs):
Tyson v Holyfield
Tyson v Haye
Tyson v Usyk
Tyson v DMQ
Tyson v Gassiev
Keep it real as always brother. – Mike, England
Thanks for the hypothetical questions, Mike. My opinion is that Tyson would have struggled to make the old cruiserweight limit of 190 pounds even when he was a 15- and 16-year-old amateur boxer. He probably could have done it (he was a standout at the 201-pound “small heavyweight” amateur weight class), though. As a young adult pro, he’d have killed himself making that weight. Could he have done it with a 200-pound cruiserweight limit? Yeah, maybe, when he was 18 and 19, but I think weighing under 210 would have drained some of his speed, strength and stamina. Getting under 205 could have made him vulnerable, especially against the caliber of opponent that you pair him up with in your mythical machups.
But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that he could get down to 200 without draining himself. That being the case:
Tyson v Holyfield – Real Deal by close but unanimous decision in hard and dramatic fight
Tyson v Haye – Iron Mike by mid-rounds KO after getting wobbled and struggling early
Tyson v Usyk – Aleksandr The Great by clear unanimous decision
Tyson v DMQ – Qawi by close or split nod in a great fight (I think the shorter two-division champ would survive near disastrous early rounds, get into his elusive pressure-fighting/volume-punching rhythm and take over the second half of the fight)
Tyson v Gassiev – Tyson by mid-round TKO in a wild shootout.
Also, what do you make of Gassiev going up to heavyweight? I expect it to happen, eventually, with any cruiserweight worth his salt, especially a strong, young former unified titleholder. I think Gassiev still has a very bright future at 200 pounds, but when he does go up to the “Glamor Division” I think he’ll make a little a noise; not as much as his conqueror (Usyk) will, but I think he can beat the gatekeepers, fringe contenders and lower top-10 heavyweights.
The guy is a puncher but not sure he has the mobility or boxing acumen to compete with the big boys, that’s assuming his power carries up with him which isn’t a given. Usyk made Gassiev look immobile and one-dimensional, but he’s more versatile and ring savvy than some realize. He can do more than punch and he’ll prove that at heavyweight.
You know what would be helpful in this day and age? Just one brief column a week telling me what to look out for over the weekend. Boxing has so many platforms now and it’s great, but man it’s hard to get in front of all the match ups. A heads up for the weekend would be perfect! Who’s a prospect to look out for? Which fight/card will deliver the most action? Which one’s a sleeper? I know most of the people who read the mailbag already know what to look out for, but some of us would benefit a lot from something like that. It could be a perfect article for the younger writers under your wing. Anyways hope you’re doing well, all the best. – ws
I’m doing well, thank you.
We used to run a weekly Weekend Preview column on RingTV.com a few years ago. I agree that the current crowded schedule begs for a comeback of that feature. I’ll ask some of the young guns, like Ryan Songalia or Anson Wainwright, if they’re interested in taking on the task; or maybe I’ll share the duty with one of my fellow “old war horses” (LOL) like Tom Gray or Michael Woods.
NEW YORK STATE ATHLETIC COMMISSION SERIES
Hope all is well with your families, at home and your Ring Mag family as well. Thomas Hauser’s series on the New York State Athletic Commission was such an informative piece on the behind the scenes of the boxing world, a look at part of the boxing world most of us have limited, if any knowledge. We all bitch, me as much as anybody, about mistakes in judging and refereeing, and the politics and associated incompetence Hauser exposes really explain a lot. Like so much in life, follow the money. Please convey my thanks to him.
What we can do about it is another question. For years, Teddy Atlas raved on the ESPN fights about the need for a national commission. Do you think that’s part of the answer? Would there then be 50 branches? I worry that you’d be trading one set of political hacks for another, but how do you clean this up? Hauser wrote a lot about the Magomed Abdusalamov situation. At least the NYSAC settled financially with his family. We can only hope he continues to improve. So often these sort of cases fade from our minds with time. How is Mike Perez? It’s hard to imagine how he feels and how he deals with this.
Just to add my 2 cents: Errol Spence,Jr. erased any doubts I had about him in a really masterful fight with one of my favorites, Mikey Garcia. Spence had a masterful game-plan, and hardly made a mistake carrying it out. It was nice to see two classy sportsmen in the pre- and post-fight coverage. These are the kind of fighters I can watch with my grandchildren, as opposed to the Adrian Broners of our sport, with their four-letter vocabulary and immaturity. I’d never invite the kids over to watch one of his fights. I certainly don’t see him as helping to grow the sport. I’m at a loss as to how you regulate that sort of behavior. You probably can’t. I’m no prude, and I can cuss with the best of them, but if you’re reading this Adrian, time and place matter, and it seems such a waste to watch a fighter with a high skill set negate so much of the boxing world with your mouth and hand gestures. Thanks again, Dougie, for the website, all that Ring does for boxing, and especially the Mailbag. – Ken Kozberg, Oakham, MA
Thanks for the kind words, Ken. I passed your praise for the NYSAC series on to Mr. Hauser. I’m certain that he will appreciate it. He worked very hard on that excellent four-part investigative feature.
What we can do about it is another question. For starters, the media can pen and publish more investigative news and critical analysis features on the regulators and power brokers of the sport, such as Hauser’s multi-part stories on HBO, USADA and the NYSAC. Articles like that make a difference because they educate the public and also hold the individuals, companies and agencies that run the sport accountable for their incompetence and transgressions. Hauser’s NYSAC series immediately brought about positive changes within the government agency. I’ll let Mr. Hauser announce what those changes are when he’s ready to do so, but suffice to say, it’s an important reminder of the positive power of journalism.
For years, Teddy Atlas raved on the ESPN fights about the need for a national commission. Do you think that’s part of the answer? I’m not sure. Among the main problems with many of the state commissions is that they are often controlled by government agencies that know nothing about boxing and are steeped in bureaucracy. How’s that going to be different with a national commission?
Would there then be 50 branches? I worry that you’d be trading one set of political hacks for another, but how do you clean this up? I think the public (fans like you) need to speak up and be more involved with holding the power brokers accountable for inexcusable actions. This fight can’t just be left to a few pesky muckrakers like Mr. Hauser or loud-and-passionate broadcast personalities like Mr. Atlas. The fighters need to get involved, too. They, along with the fans, are the life blood of the sport.
Hauser wrote a lot about the Magomed Abdusalamov situation. At least the NYSAC settled financially with his family. We can only hope he continues to improve. We will run a photo-feature update on how Abdusalamov and his family are doing in an upcoming issue of The Ring Magazine. It’s brought to you by Mr. Hauser and ace photographer Wojtek Urbanek.
So often these sort of cases fade from our minds with time. How is Mike Perez? It’s hard to imagine how he feels and how he deals with this. This sensitive subject will be explored in the next issue (July 2019) by veteran writer Ron Borges, who spoke with Oleksandr Gvozdyk and the finance of Adonis Stevenson.
Email Fischer at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and watch him on Periscope every Sunday from SMC track.
The post Dougie’s Friday mailbag (Crawford-Khan, Ryan Garcia, Mythical Matchups, Iron Mike at 200 pounds) appeared first on The Ring.