USYK AT HEAVYWEIGHT, WHYTE AND THE WBC, HATTON MYTH-MATCHUPS
First time writing in to the mailbag all the way from the UK! I’m a huge fan. I just wanted to get your opinion on a few topics.
Firstly, regarding the WBO’s decision to make Usyk mandatory for the winner of the AJ v Ruiz rematch. Do you think it’s wise for him to jump into this fight so early into his campaign at heavyweight? Or do you ease yourself into the division fighting 2 or 3 top 15 contenders first. Personally, I think it all comes down to how well he can take a punch from the big boys. If he has a good enough chin I would say he beats AJ and Ruiz. Who do you think wins this match up?
Also, I’m attending the Dillian Whyte v Oscar Rivas fight next month. What do you make of his situation with the WBC?
I personally think the way the WBC has handled this mandatory situation has been very unfair. He’s been number 1 for 600 days now and I think the resolution should be Wilder defending against Whyte after their next fights (if they both get past Rivas and Ortiz respectively). I seen your comments on last Fridays mailbag saying the best shows you’ve covered this year we’re Eddie Hearn’s shows in LA and NYC. Will you be crossing the pond to cover this fight? And who do you think wins?
One last thing, being from Manchester I wanted to get your opinion on a few mythical matchups with our very own Ricky Hatton.
Hatton v Whitaker at 140
Hatton v Gatti at 140
Hatton v Cotto at 147
Very eager to hear your thoughts on the above. – Jake from Manchester, UK
Thanks for finally sharing your thoughts with the mailbag, Jake.
I’ll go with Sweet Pea by close but clear UD, Hatton by MD or SD in a tremendous (and brutal) fight, and Cotto by late stoppage in a bloody battle of attrition.
Firstly, regarding the WBO’s decision to make Usyk mandatory for the winner of the AJ v Ruiz rematch. I know the WBO is within its rules to install one of their champions as the mandatory for the title of the heavier division above his or her weight class, but I don’t think it’s fair at all to their No. 1 heavyweight contender, Dillian Whyte, who has held their “international” title since he outpointed Joseph Parker last July.
Do you think it’s wise for him to jump into this fight so early into his campaign at heavyweight? It would have been interesting to see how Usyk faired against Carlos Takam before a biceps injury dashed his scheduled heavyweight debut last month, but I have to figure that Usyk (who boxed as a “super heavyweight,” over 200 pounds, as an amateur), his trainer Anatoly Lomachenko, and manager Egis Klimas know what they are doing. They ain’t new to this boxing biz. Usyk is one of the most athletic and agile 200 pounders I’ve ever witnessed, and he’s also among the most confident competitors I’ve ever interviewed, covered and observed in training. He knows what he can do against bigger opponents, and Papachenko and Klimas are well aware of his abilities. I don’t think they’d make this move if they didn’t believe Usyk could handle the competition.
Or do you ease yourself into the division fighting 2 or 3 top 15 contenders first. I would have liked to see that, in part because it would create more action in the heavyweight division and give some of its contenders opportunities to make names for themselves, but I understand why Team Usyk would want to take the fast track. He’s 32. His prime is now.
Personally, I think it all comes down to how well he can take a punch from the big boys. If he has a good enough chin I would say he beats AJ and Ruiz. I think his game plan will be geared towards taking as few flush punches as possible, and his style and skillset will likely see that strategy through. However, it only takes one shot from a big heavyweight with power to change a fight.
Who do you think wins this match up? I have no idea, really, but I think Usyk is live vs. both heavyweight standouts.
Also, I’m attending the Dillian Whyte v Oscar Rivas fight next month. What do you make of his situation with the WBC? I think he’s getting the ole runaround. He won their “silver” belt back in 2017 when he outpointed Robert Helenius. He’s defended that belt three times, which means he’s had to pay sanctioning fees four times. The WBC is getting paid. But when will there be a payoff of Whyte, who seems more willing to fight dangerous heavyweights than any other contender.
I personally think the way the WBC has handled this mandatory situation has been very unfair. There’s no other way to look at it, Jake. Whyte has won nine consecutive fights since being stopped by Anthony Joshua in December 2015, including two brawls with Dereck Chisora and a decision of Parker. Breazeale won three bouts after being stopped by AJ in June 2016. None of the opponents Dominic faced were close to being legit contenders, yet he got a shot at Wilder before Whyte.
He’s been number 1 for 600 days now and I think the resolution should be Wilder defending against Whyte after their next fights (if they both get past Rivas and Ortiz respectively). That would be the right thing to do, but you and I both know that Whyte does not figure into the business plans of Team Wilder or PBC bossman Al Haymon, and the WBC obviously doesn’t want to press the issue.
I seen your comments on last Fridays mailbag saying the best shows you’ve covered this year we’re Eddie Hearn’s shows in LA and NYC. Will you be crossing the pond to cover this fight? And who do you think wins? Are you talking about Wilder vs. Whyte? Yeah, I think that showdown would be worth a transatlantic trip (although what makes you think that the PBC wouldn’t outbid Hearn and bring the matchup to the U.S.?). It would be a hell of a heavyweight scrap. I favor Wilder, slightly.
FIGHTER OF THE DECADE
I was recently contemplating who the front runner for fight of the decade is likely to be. The short list, in my mind, seems to be:
I’m not sure there is anyone running away with it. Canelo may have the strongest resume of the list, however others on the list have built their records far more dominantly. Sadly (and wrongly) people will probably remember Gonzalez for his post prime HBO aired fights, Ward was inactive for much of the decade due to legal disputes and retired in 2017 and GGG and Bud’s records may suffer from lack of star names (although through no fault of their own). Loma is undoubtedly a special fighter but in my opinion probably hasn’t done enough to earn fighter of the decade and may fall in to a similar category as Bud and GGG in terms of competition.
I guess if Canelo were to earn a dominant victory over Golovkin this year he will probably be the front runner – and might well be the front runner regardless.
What’s your thoughts, who gets you’re vote? Are there any worthy candidates I’ve missed? Thanks. – Brendan UK
Yeah, you slept on the Japanese standouts, Brendan, mainly a little badass who goes by the fighting nickname of “Monster,” Naoya Inoue, who in 18 bouts has won major world titles in three weight classes (108, 115 and 118), including The Ring championship at bantamweight, and has defeated the likes of Ryoichi Taguchi, Omar Narvaez and Emmanuel Rodriguez. If he wins the World Boxing Super Series tournament (beating future hall of famer Nonito Donaire), you’ve GOT to make him a candidate.
I agree that Canelo can grab the “frontrunner” spot with a decisive victory over Golovkin, or a strong victory over Callum Smith at 168 or Sergey Kovalev at 175 pounds. Since 2010, the Mexican star (who I can’t believe is just 28!) has won Ring Magazine titles at 154 and 160 pounds and he’s shared the ring with four future hall of famers (Floyd Mayweather Jr., Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley and GGG).
But I lean toward Roman Gonzalez, who, in 20 consecutive victories between 2010 and his back-to-back losses to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, defended his strawweight (105 pounds) title and won world titles at 108, 112 and 115 pounds, defeating the likes of current pound-for-pound player Juan Francisco Estrada, future hall of famer Brian Viloria and then-unbeaten beltholder Carlos Cuadras along the way. And most observers (myself included) thought he deserved to win the first SSR bout.
If GGG can get a third bout with Canelo and win it (in the eyes of the official judges as well as the public), he might move into that frontrunner spot. In 2010, he began a near-eight-year middleweight title reign that included 18 consecutive KOs and victories over several Ring-rated contenders, including Daniel Jacobs, Daniel Geale, David Lemieux, Martin Murray and Matthew Macklin (and most observers believe he should have clearly won the first Canelo bout).
It’s all a matter of opinion, though. Everyone you listed has been absolutely brilliant over the last 10 years. In just 14 bouts, Loma’s won titles in three weight classes, including The Ring lightweight championship, and defeated the likes of Jorge Linares, Gary Russell Jr., Nicolas Walters and Guillermo Rigondeaux. Ward won the Super Six World Boxing Classic, defeating future hall of famer Carl Froch in the final and earning The Ring 168-pound title, stopped Chad Dawson (light heavyweight champ at the time), and beat Sergey Kovalev twice (with the Ring 175-pound title on the line in the rematch). Crawford’s won 25 consecutive fights, earning Ring titles at 135 and 140 (where he was undisputed champ) and defeated then-unbeaten Yuriorkis Gamboa and Viktor Postol.
Hope you and your family are doing well.
I just have one quick question for you.
How in tf are you going to defend Lomanchenko vs Campbell?
I can’t believe this guy is still fighting no-hopers. – Miguel from Naples
A tall, tricky southpaw Olympic gold medalist with Luke Campbell’s pro resume could only be considered a “no hoper” against a once-in-a-generation boxing talent, a certified badass and future hall of famer – and that’s exactly what Vasiliy Lomachenko is. Rather than piss on Campbell, just give the three-division titleholder his due, Miguel.
I wouldn’t even think of “defending” Lomachenko. He’s facing a legit lightweight contender (rated No. 2 by The Ring, No. 7 by ESPN.com and the Transnational Boxing Rankings) in a title unification bout. Loma, The Ring magazine champ who holds the WBA and WBO belts, wants to be the undisputed champion of his division. He has to fight Campbell to achieve that worthy goal – because the vacant WBC title will be on the line – and he’s willing to travel to the Englishman’s country to do it. Why would I (or any so-called fan in their right mind) have a problem with that?
I hope you don’t mind my asking you two serious questions:
1)What do you have against Lomachenko?
2)Have you ever watched a Luke Campbell fight? (Please be honest)
Campbell has only lost twice as a professional – split decisions against the very capable Yvan Mendy (who he faced sick the first time out and clearly defeated in their rematch) and an elite-level talent in Jorge Linares (the Ring and WBA champ at the time), who he gave FITS (and he faced the Venezuelan veteran just two weeks after his father passed away).
I’ve stated the following opinion several times in these mailbag columns and I will repeat for you: In terms of style, Campbell (a mobile, elusive, rangy lefthander adept at controlling the distance and pace of a fight) is the most difficult lightweight out there for Lomachenko.
Please watch his fight with Linares and his last two bouts (the rematch with Mendy – if you can find it – and fifth-round stoppage of Adrian Yung). Note the sneaky body punches and well-timed right hooks that softened up and damaged Yung, who had never been stopped as a pro (33 bouts).
Seriously, man. I witness hardcore fans ripping members of the media all the time for “being disrespectful” to the boxers, but from my vantage point (and I’ll admit that social media and comment sections are generally negative) it’s the fans that spew the most disrespect to the combatants.
If you’re doing it just to discredit Loma, you’re WRONG for that.
Email Fischer at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and watch him on Periscope every Sunday from SMC track.
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