Dougie’s Friday mailbag (Spence-Garcia, Kosei Tanaka, PPV criticism)

SPENCE REALLY IS THE TRUTH

Hi Doug,

I pray you and your family are doing well and all the readers of the mailbag and their families are doing well. You called it on the Errol Spence-Mikey Garcia fight. You were right when you said I underestimated Spence’s boxing ability. He threw a great jab and was able to keep Garcia off of him. He fought masterfully and gave some nice angles. His boxing acumen was much better then I realized. I had only seen Spence fight twice (Kell Brook and Chris Algieri). I’ve seen a lot of Mikey’s fights and that may have led to my bias. A lot of people keep harping on the size difference but Robert Easter is taller and longer then Spence and Mikey was able to get to him.

The other factor about the fight that shocked me was Spence’s conditioning. I thought Mikey was going to come on strong at the end, but Spence was in extraordinary shape. Spence was impressive. I would have to make him the favorite against Pac-Man, Thurman or Porter. I used to think Terence Crawford would beat him but now I see that as an even fight. This fight reminded me of Fraud vs Marquez a little bit, but this fight was more entertaining because Spence, unlike Fraud, throws a lot more punches and goes for the kill and is a better offensive fighter then Fraud. I still hope Mikey fights Lomanchanko or Gervonta Davis at 135. I admire Mikey for trying. What he did was old school jumping up in weight like that. It took courage to take on Spence.

I was disappointed in the post-fight-press conference when Spence called out Ray Leonard and Tyson for pickin Garcia. Basically, implying they should have picked him because he is black. I’m a fan of both guys and I’m black but I picked Mikey based on who I thought would win, not race. This country is becoming so tribal, hateful and ridiculous that it is scary. We are all members of the human race. God bless and take care. – Blood and Guts from Philly

Amen to that, B&G.

Spence Gracia weigh in staredown Stacey Verbeek 300x200 - Dougie’s Friday mailbag (Spence-Garcia, Kosei Tanaka, PPV criticism)

Photo by Stacey Verbeek.

I don’t understand why anyone – Spence or his fans – would be upset that anyone (but especially high-profile boxers like Leonard and Tyson) were picking Garcia to pull the upset during the build-up to the fight. If everybody picked Spence to win, he wouldn’t have received any credit for his victory, and the matchup would have had considerably less “juice” going into the FOX PPV (which likely would have pulled in less casual fan buys if boxing insiders were unanimous in viewing the fight as a gross mismatch). Seriously, Spence should thank Leonard, Tyson and every member of the media that picked Garcia to win. Those opinions added value to his victory and have helped raise his stature within the sport.

You were right when you said I underestimated Spence’s boxing ability. You certainly weren’t alone in doing that. However, although I didn’t forget about Spence’s amateur pedigree, technique and skillset, I must admit that he boxed a better (and more disciplined) fight than I had anticipated. That tells me that he had a lot of respect for Mikey.

He threw a great jab and was able to keep Garcia off of him. That southpaw jab was the key to his victory, even more so than his advantages in size, physical strength and punch resistance.

Shawn Porter and Errol Spence Jr. Photo credit Amanda Westcott Showtime 300x200 - Dougie’s Friday mailbag (Spence-Garcia, Kosei Tanaka, PPV criticism)

Photo credit: Amanda Westcott/Showtime

He fought masterfully and gave some nice angles. His boxing acumen was much better then I realized. Now you and every other hardcore fan knows for sure that Spence can box as well as he can bang. It’s time to see him pit that skill and ring generalship against an accomplished welterweight who is still in his athletic prime: Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter or Danny Garcia. (I’d mention Crawford, but we both know that won’t happen any time soon.)

I had only seen Spence fight twice (Kell Brook and Chris Algieri). I’ve seen a lot of Mikey’s fights and that may have led to my bias. Spence proved himself to me with the Brook fight. But it makes sense that Garcia’s deeper pro resume would command your attention and give you hope of an upset.

A lot of people keep harping on the size difference but Robert Easter is taller and longer then Spence and Mikey was able to get to him. Yeah, but Easter is “light in the ass” compared to Spence and not in the 2012 U.S. Olympian’s class as a boxer.

The other factor about the fight that shocked me was Spence’s conditioning. I thought Mikey was going to come on strong at the end, but Spence was in extraordinary shape. Spence was impressive. He was. I thought he would wear Garcia down to a late stoppage (as he did Brook) but it was good to see him press hard in the 12th round.  

I would have to make him the favorite against Pac-Man, Thurman or Porter. I can’t disagree, although I think Thurman poses some stylistic difficulty.

I used to think Terence Crawford would beat him but now I see that as an even fight. That’s fair, and probably true.

This fight reminded me of Fraud vs Marquez a little bit, but this fight was more entertaining because Spence, unlike Fraud, throws a lot more punches and goes for the kill and is a better offensive fighter then Fraud. You like that “Fraud” nickname for Floyd Mayweather Jr., don’t you? You’re welcome.

I still hope Mikey fights Lomanchanko or Gervonta Davis at 135. Those are highest-profile matchups that can be made at lightweight.

I admire Mikey for trying. What he did was old school jumping up in weight like that. It took courage to take on Spence. Indeed. However, taking on Lomachenko in a unification bout at 135 pounds – as well as pound-for-pound supremacy would have also been “old school.”

 

KOSEI TANAKA

Hi Dougie,

Long time reader, first time writer.

Kosei Tanaka put in another outstanding performance last weekend and has me dreaming for a clash with Srisaket Rungvisai around this time next year. I believe other than maybe Inoue-Rungvisai, this is the best fight that can be made under 122 lbs. Kosei doesn’t have near the power of those two but his subtle movement, punch selection, and ring IQ is incredible.

Taguchi put up a fight over the first 6 rounds but Tanaka’s volume and conditioning wore him down over the second half. I think a fall unification with Moruti Mthalane could put him into the lb-for-lb rankings and at his size, he could move up to 115 and contend for a fourth belt in as many weight classes. He’s never defended one of his belts more than twice and isn’t too small to beat top guys at super fly.

Other than Mthalane, do you see anyone at 112 or below that could really make a difficult fight for Tanaka? Could we see a mega-fight between him and Inoue down the line and would he be able to hang in there with the Monster? Also, who would you pick to win in a Ken Shiro vs Kyoguchi tilt?

MM:

Tanaka vs prime Viloria at 112

Spence vs Sweet Pea at 147

Pacquiao vs Rigo at 122

Keep doing what you do for boxing. – Cheers, Joe

Thanks for finally writing into the mailbag (and for reading the column for as long as you have), Joe. I’ll go with Viloria via close but unanimous decision (in a great scrap), Whitaker by competitive unanimous decision and Rigondeaux by close decision in a fight that features more than two knockdowns on both sides.

Kosei Tanaka put in another outstanding performance last weekend and has me dreaming for a clash with Srisaket Rungvisai around this time next year. It could happen. The plan is for Tanaka to continue defending his WBO flyweight belt through 2019, but then look for a fourth world title in a fourth weight class (junior bantamweight/super flyweight) in 2020.

I believe other than maybe Inoue-Rungvisai, this is the best fight that can be made under 122 lbs. Inoue vs. the Rungvisai-Estrada rematch at 118 pounds (provided The Monster wins the WBSS tournament) would be something special, wouldn’t it? But yeah, so would Rungvisai-Tanaka at 115 pounds.

Kosei doesn’t have near the power of those two but his subtle movement, punch selection, and ring IQ is incredible. Agreed, and at 23, his got youth in his favor.

Taguchi put up a fight over the first 6 rounds but Tanaka’s volume and conditioning wore him down over the second half. Taguchi was going to be a tough cookie but Tanaka’s body-head combinations can wear down anybody.

Kosei Tanaka vs Ransgsan Chayanram photo Naoki Fukuda02 204x300 - Dougie’s Friday mailbag (Spence-Garcia, Kosei Tanaka, PPV criticism)

Tanaka. Photo by Naoki Fukuda

I think a fall unification with Moruti Mthalane could put him into the lb-for-lb rankings and at his size, he could move up to 115 and contend for a fourth belt in as many weight classes. I think Tanaka is pound-for-pound worthy right now. He’s defeated five former/current/future world titleholders (Vic Saludar, Moises Fuentes, Angel Acosta, Sho Kimura and Ryoichi Taguchi) over three weight classes in just 13 pro bouts. If he were campaigning in heavier weight classes and fighting on U.S. TV, there’s no doubt in my mind that American boxing fans and media would be going bonkers over him.

He’s never defended one of his belts more than twice and isn’t too small to beat top guys at super fly. Time will tell. The 115-pound division is deeper than flyweight. 

Other than Mthalane, do you see anyone at 112 or below that could really make a difficult fight for Tanaka? I think Ken Shiro and Hiroto Kyoguchi could give Tanaka a run for his money, as would Mthalane, but I’d favor the three-division titleholder to outwork all three over the distance.

Could we see a mega-fight between him and Inoue down the line and would he be able to hang in there with the Monster? I don’t think Tanaka could last the distance with Inoue, but I doubt they ever fight. By the time Tanaka moves up to 115 pounds, Inoue will likely be at 122.

Also, who would you pick to win in a Ken Shiro vs Kyoguchi tilt? The newly crowned Ring junior flyweight champ and the WBC 108-pound titleholder are two of my favorite active boxers and I think they’re matchup would produce a classic. I’m gonna go with the physical strength and body punching of Kyoguchi to see him through to a hard-fought decision.

 

FOX PPV

Dear Dougie,

Love and best wishes to you and yours, and thanks for enlivening two mornings of my every week.

I have to take issue with descriptions of Saturday night’s PPV. I thought it was a poor debut for Fox doing PPV. I didn’t even think the main event was a $75 PPV but my friends wanted to see it, so I went along. The undercard was a travesty, one mismatch after another.

Benavides impressed but I thought the remainder of the undercard fights were jokes. The endless features and interviews gave me 2½ hours of mostly snooze. By contrast, I was at MSG on Sunday where Top Rank’s undercard went bang bang bang, each fight barely over when the next one was being announced.

I will think twice or more before buying into another Fox PPV broadcast. Best. – Leslie Gerber, Woodstock, NY

There will definitely be others if it’s true that Spence-Garcia garnered between 350,000-400,000 PPV buys. (I think Spence-Pacquiao would bring in considerably more buys.) Perhaps FOX will learn from the shortcomings of their maiden voyage in the boxing pay-per-view biz.

I thought it was a poor debut for Fox doing PPV. I guess it’s not as easy as Showtime and HBO made it look during the past three decades.

I didn’t even think the main event was a $75 PPV but my friends wanted to see it, so I went along. Would you have willingly ponied up half of that amount? I really wish the networks still involved in the pay-per-view model would consider offering PPV shows in the $35-$45 range.

The undercard was a travesty, one mismatch after another. Yeah, those undercard matchups could have been a lot better. And if they’re all gonna be blowouts, the promoter needs to make sure not to have so much time between bouts.  

 

CROTCHETY CRITICISM

Wow. More chalk on that Spence-Garcia card than at a gymnastics meet. The less said about that drivel (on PPV nonetheless), the better. I will not kick Mikey while he is down, but I doubt SNAC would have put him on a poster advertising their services.

Now maybe he can fight who he should and who we want… Loma or 140 titlists. He is a great fighter with a hard cap. I however will not be surprised when he pursues greatness in the next year or so, fighting a nobody for the vacant interim regular WBA welterweight title. No worse than Broner or Cotto I suppose.

At what point do we refer to Deontay as Sven Ottke?

The first real bouts of the year begin April 26th (SSR vs Estrada) and 27th (WBSS 2nd round, Prograis vs Relikh, Donaire vs Tete). Counting the days.

I read that Golden Boy will be doing Thursday night fights. That is great to hear, as promoters seemed to have forgotten there are 6 other days they can have bouts. That way they can have all boxing fans watching the bouts, rather than splintering viewership. Perhaps Evan Rutkowski can enlighten us on a podcast.

MM:

JM Marquez vs Mikey at WW

Spence vs Breland WW

I appreciate your work and interaction with us crotchety fans. – Donavan in Bama

Hey, somebody’s gotta do it.

Were you able to watch Golden Boy’s first Thursday Night Fights show? No chalk there. Unbeaten heavyweight hopeful James Wilson and former featherweight contender Tino Avila were held to draw verdicts, and the two favorites in the co-featured bouts – Ferdinand Kerobyan and Mercito Gesta – suffered upset losses. According to our man JP, AKA the @Fight_Ghost, the winners – Blair Cobbs and Juan Rodriguez were HUGE underdogs.

Now maybe (Mikey) can fight who he should and who we want… Loma or 140 titlists. Don’t hold your breath for that Loma-Garcia showdown. The boxing politics and Mikey’s bad blood with Top Rank run too deep. (Plus, I suspect that Team Garcia knows that Lomachenko is all wrong, stylewise, for Mikey.) A junior welterweight beltholder is a possibility, but a dangerous option for Garcia, who would make better money remaining at welterweight.

He is a great fighter with a hard cap. I however will not be surprised when he pursues greatness in the next year or so, fighting a nobody for the vacant interim regular WBA welterweight title. You like being a sarcastic butt, don’t you?

No worse than Broner or Cotto I suppose. A little better than Broner, a lot worse than Cotto.

At what point do we refer to Deontay as Sven Ottke? Hmmm, not until Wilder makes at least six more title defenses and is the beneficiary of at least three more gift decisions.

The first real bouts of the year begin April 26th (SSR vs Estrada) and 27th (WBSS 2nd round, Prograis vs Relikh, Donaire vs Tete). I’m also looking forward to Peterson-Lipinets, Shields-Hammer and Loma-Crolla, but the Sor Rungvisai-Estrada shared bill with Roman-Doheny and the WBSS semifinals are even world-class matchups that should deliver a lot of drama and entertainment. (And if you live in the U.S., you can watch both cards as part of your DAZN subscription.)

Counting the days. Those fight nights will be here before you know it, 2019 is rolling out fast.

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