Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Canelo-Jacobs feedback)

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BACKING UP THE HYPE

Hey Doug,

Wanted to get your take on the Canelo-Jacobs fight and another corollary topic.

It was an okay fight. Interesting. A clear Canelo win, in my opinion. And it got closer than it should have when Canelo eased up after the 7th round. But certainly nothing special.

Given all the talk of an exciting fight by both men, it definitely fell short of expectation. I get the need to up sell a fight, but are you at all tired of how common it is for fighters to build buzz and then show up with a safety-first attitude?

I get it. I wouldn’t want to take any more brain damage than necessary if I were a professional fighter. But I think there’s a difference between being reckless and taking calculated risks.

Look at Spence-Garcia. Mikey talked up the weaknesses he saw in Spence and what kind of performance we would see from him and then literally played defense for 8 rounds. Amir Khan fought extremely tentatively from the outset against Crawford and then bailed at his first opportunity. Adrien Broner talked up a world of s__t to Pacquiao and barely threw a punch. Lastly, Canelo and Jacobs both exhibited pretty conservative strategies.

Boxing is finally going through a renaissance and getting good attention, and then fighters fight like they’re more concerned with their records and paydays than competition. I mean, Canelo was guaranteed $35 million. If he was making $100K I would understand why he would be so cautious.

Am I being overly critical? I still enjoy these fights, but I would like to see a little hunger in these guys. Jacobs said he wanted to “embarrass” Canelo in front of his fans, but then he sat back and poked jabs for twelve rounds, switched his stance a couple times and maybe threw a flurry at the end of 2 or 3 of the rounds. It’s like most of these guys are looking for openings and don’t see them so they don’t do much, rather than making the openings happen.

Are these fights hurting or helping boxing? They’re all great match ups on paper. But I can’t imagine casual fans are tuning in with the better marketing and visibility and thinking that boxing is a sport they’re getting more and more psyched to follow. Would love to hear your thoughts, and hope you’re well! – Vincent, South Orange, NJ

Thanks for sharing, Vincent. I’ve got my usual scratchy throat and “casino cough” from spending five days in Las Vegas during Cinco De Mayo week for Canelo-Jacobs, but I’m feeling and doing just fine. Thanks for asking.

Are uneventful or lackluster high-profile fights involving elite boxers and big names hurting the sport? They’re not helping it. Super-hyped main events that wind up being duds are not a good way to promote boxing to casual fans or a general sports audience. Boxing was healthier in previous decades for a number of reasons, but one of the key reasons is that the biggest events that involved the elite boxers and champions – from the Ali-Frazier-Norton-Foreman and Leonard-Duran-Hearns-Hagler round robins to the Holyfield-Bowe trilogy to De La Hoya vs. Mosley (I) and Vargas – usually delivered the most exciting and dramatic fights. When the biggest events in boxing don’t live up to the hype (and the very, very high standards of previous eras), casual fans will look elsewhere for their entertainment.

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Photo: Isaac Brekken

We’re just leaving the “Money” Mayweather era (2007-2015; 2017 if you count the McGregor “fight”), a period when the pound-for-pound king and top earner embraced a low-risk-high-reward philosophy and seemed to take pride in making uneventful fights, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise if some of today’s top dogs are unapologetic about taking part in high-profile duds.

However, that doesn’t mean that the biggest boxing events no longer deliver entertaining fights. The Canelo-Golovkin rematch was The Ring’s 2018 Fight of the Year. Wilder-Fury was as dramatic as boxing gets. The big events of 2019 have yet to produce a memorable showdown, but we’re only five months into the year.

It was an okay fight. Interesting. Yeah, it had my attention throughout and both middleweights did some impressive things (mostly with their defense and ring generalship) but, ultimately, I was underwhelmed because I wanted more offense and effort – from both.

A clear Canelo win, in my opinion. I agree. I didn’t see any controversy with the decision (in fact, I think two of the official judges gave Jacobs TOO much credit).

And it got closer than it should have when Canelo eased up after the 7th round. I don’ think he “eased up.” I think Jacobs stepped on the gas a little bit at the same time that Canelo began feeling fatigue.

Given all the talk of an exciting fight by both men, it definitely fell short of expectation. I agree, but anybody who expected a Hagler-Hearns or Taylor-Pavlik I type of middleweight championship shootout should have known better.

I get the need to up sell a fight, but are you at all tired of how common it is for fighters to build buzz and then show up with a safety-first attitude? YES! I’m sick of it. I’ve been sick of it. And I hate it when they mad-dog/headbutt/push-and-shove each other at the final press conference or weigh-in staredown and then play keep-away on fight night. From now on, I’m going to totally ignore that macho bulls__t unless it comes from Deontay Wilder (I know he really does have bad intentions).

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Toney and McCallum put on another joint master class in their 1992 rematch. Photo / THE RING archives

I get it. I wouldn’t want to take any more brain damage than necessary if I were a professional fighter. But I think there’s a difference between being reckless and taking calculated risks. Agreed. I don’t expect world-class or elite boxers to forgo their skill, technique or tactics just to appease the blood-thirsty ghouls, but when we see the best take on the best on the biggest stages of the sport, I do expect to see a lot of EFFORT and pride. A top-level prize fight between technicians and counterpunchers can be compelling and entertaining if they take risks and REALLY try to seize control (see Barrera-Marquez and Toney-McCallum I and II).

Look at Spence-Garcia. Mikey talked up the weaknesses he saw in Spence and what kind of performance we would see from him and then literally played defense for 8 rounds. Amir Khan fought extremely tentatively from the outset against Crawford and then bailed at his first opportunity. Adrien Broner talked up a world of s__t to Pacquiao and barely threw a punch. Lastly, Canelo and Jacobs both exhibited pretty conservative strategies. Didn’t Marvin Hagler once say that it was hard to get out of bed to do road work when you’re sleeping in silk sheets? Well, my guess is that the fighters you mentioned sometimes sleep in silk pajamas. Spence and Garcia were guaranteed $3 million each but reportedly made $8 million each. Crawford and Khan made a minimum of $5.5 million and $5 million respectively. Pacquaio made $10 million (according to the NSAC), but likely took in around $20 million (from various revenue sources) for his PPV match against Broner, who was guaranteed $2.5 million (plus a piece of the PPV upside). I’ll say this in defense of the fighters – Garcia was simply outsized and outclassed (plus, I’ve heard that he had some health issues going into that fight), Khan has reached a point in his career where he doesn’t want to go out on his shield, and Broner was in against a living legend who is still dangerous (and willing to go hard) at age 40.

Boxing is finally going through a renaissance and getting good attention, and then fighters fight like they’re more concerned with their records and paydays than competition. That’s the legacy of the “Money” Mayweather era. It worked for him. It won’t work for the sport.

I mean, Canelo was guaranteed $35 million. If he was making $100K I would understand why he would be so cautious. You would think that would be the case but from what I’ve seen over the years the boxers who give the most in the ring are the club fighters who aren’t making any money and the hungry up-and-coming contenders and world titleholders who aren’t yet making seven-figure paydays. TJ Doheny and Danny Roman made less than $500,000 combined for their thrilling 122-pound title unification bout (TJ made $230,000, Roman made $200,000).

 

CANELO AND JACOBS DESERVE CREDIT

Hey Dougie,

Hope you and the fam are doing well. Will try and keep it short and sweet, not sure why everyone was down on the Canelo-Jacobs fight. I thought it was highly entertaining. I can understand why people new to this sport would be disappointed, but this was never going to be a fire fight, it was, however, always going to be two high level technicians playing violent chess and the fans and pundits being disappointed was a bit silly to be honest.

Jacobs had success when he started applying pressure but he needed to be smart about it, and he needed to be sure he could apply pressure. People need to give Canelo credit for his jab, activity and head movement that kept Jacobs tentative in the beginning.  When Canelo gassed a bit, Jacobs took over, and then they both finished strong. It was a strong competitive showing by both men, and I had it 115-113 to Canelo. I think people agree that the right man won, so no controversy like Canelo’s last two fights at middleweight.

All in all, a good evening but you can’t please some people it seems. Boxing fans complaining is a major turn off for non-fans, not all press is great press and if we complain about everything people will stay away from our sport.

I think Jacobs should move up, he was much bigger in the ring, but he couldn’t impose his size on Canelo, which in my mind means he was drained. I think super middleweight has some interesting fights for him, who would you like to see him in against should he move up?

Canelo has gotten better every outing and I have to say he is definitely pound for pound. His upper body movement is elite and his jab is great. I think GGG next is the best possible fight, though I almost don’t want to see it now. I thought GGG won the first two, but Father Time and an elite Canelo won’t let him take this one. Cheers. – Abed

From your lips to God’s ears, Abed, but let’s see what Golvokin’s technical form looks like with Johnathon Banks in his corner on June 8 and let’s see if the new trainer can improve the former champ’s athleticism/conditioning. Perhaps a few adjustments and a fresh perspective in the corner is all Golovkin needs to gain revenge on his chief boxing rival. I don’t know if Canelo is pound-for-pound No. 1, but he should be in the top three of any respectable mythical rankings. He’s got the skills and the resume of an elite boxer and future hall of famer.

Will try and keep it short and sweet, not sure why everyone was down on the Canelo-Jacobs fight. I don’t think “everyone” was down on the fight, most observers (myself included) just wanted more. Hardcore boxing fans are greedy, and “longtimers” over 40 are spoiled for obvious reasons.

I thought it was highly entertaining. I found it interesting and I appreciated the skill and technique on display. “Highly entertaining”? That’s a stretch.

I can understand why people new to this sport would be disappointed, but this was never going to be a fire fight, it was, however, always going to be two high level technicians playing violent chess and the fans and pundits being disappointed was a bit silly to be honest. The fight was competitive, and it certainly wasn’t a dud, so agree that pundits and experienced fans should avoid bitching too much about it, but I also think it’s OK for us all to have high expectations for the biggest events.

daniel jacobs left and canelo alvarez 7pgvwxqi3swp1lu90slytd2yd 300x169 - Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Canelo-Jacobs feedback)It was a strong competitive showing by both men, and I had it 115-113 to Canelo. I think people agree that the right man won, so no controversy like Canelo’s last two fights at middleweight. I think the outrage over the scoring for the GGG rematch was overblown and I believe a 115-113 tally for Jacobs is giving the underdog too much credit. I scored it 117-111 for Canelo live inside T-Mobile Arena, and 116-112 for the Mexican star from the replay. I can’t find more than four legit rounds for Jacobs won unless I give him credit for missing punches and I’m not going to do that.

All in all, a good evening but you can’t please some people it seems. No, you can’t, especially fight fans. We’re a f__king mess.

Boxing fans complaining is a major turn off for non-fans, not all press is great press and if we complain about everything people will stay away from our sport. I think a lot of hardcore fans are OK with that. (And while I believe some boxing diehards are mentally ill, in their defense, I’ll ask you why you think they be concerned about turning off “non-fans”?)

I think Jacobs should move up, he was much bigger in the ring, but he couldn’t impose his size on Canelo, which in my mind means he was drained. Or it just means that Canelo outclassed him.

I think super middleweight has some interesting fights for him, who would you like to see him in against should he move up? Callum Smith would be interesting. Let’s see how Jacobs fares as the smaller man. I think Chris Eubank Jr. would make for a fun matchup because he would press Jacobs harder than Canelo did but with less defensive prowess, which would open up more offensive opportunities for the New Yorker.

 

CANELO-JACOBS, ORTIZ JR., ANCAJAS

Hi Doug,

Hope you and the family are doing well? This is my first time of writing in! DJ and Canelo as noted in your report played out like a chess match. DJ started too slow for my liking and that’s exactly was what cost him the fight to me. I scored it a draw but I have no complaints with the 115-113 to Canelo on two of the scorecard and others who scored it same. How did u score it (officially)?

And what and who do u think is next for DJ (stay at MW and fight who? Or move up)? As for Canelo I think it’s high time a lot of folks start putting more respect on the man with the red hair’s name. Alvarez fought expertly and I so enjoyed his slippery head movements and defense. It was a joy and at least for once a lot of people have agreed to the scores this time. Kudos to him. As for P4P ratings how do u guys place him now?

I like Vergil Ortiz Jr and that young man has got power even for fighting at 147 for the first time and against a tough but past his best opponent in Herrera. What would u think should be next for him? Sadam Ali should just retire please! Lamont Roach won but I felt the scores were a bit wild as the fight was close than the actual scorecard suggested. All these guys are good prospects but if you could match them for their next bout how would it look like?

On the other side of the spectrum, Ancajas look superb again even though Funai was obviously a very limited opponent. The Japanese kept working straight into punches, how he managed to stay on his feet continuously was beyond me. It’s high time he unifies, please! I don’t think nobody wants to see him with mandatories for now (7 defenses already, ah!). Only watched clips of Beterbiev’s fight but how long are we going to wait for Arum pitting the 175-pounders he’s got in his stable against each other instead of repeatedly dud fights we keep getting with this very good LHWs.

Lastly, I hope we get a world champion from my country very soon. Just hope Efe Ajagba brings that to us in not to distance future. Thanks Doug. – Mr. Keke from Nigeria

Ajagba’s got a lot of talent and physical tools, Mr. Keke, but if he’s rushed to a world title he may not bring it back home to Nigeria. He’s still in the learning stages of his pro career, only 25 years old (young for a heavyweight) and has just 10 bouts under his belt. There’s no need to rush him. By the way, thanks for finally writing into the mailbag! It’s great to hear from Nigeria. You’ll be happy to know that Ajagba is the subject of next month’s New Faces feature in Ring Magazine.

DJ and Canelo as noted in your report played out like a chess match. DJ started too slow for my liking and that’s exactly was what cost him the fight to me. I had it 5-to-1 in favor of Canelo after six rounds.

I scored it a draw but I have no complaints with the 115-113 to Canelo on two of the scorecard and others who scored it same. How did u score it? I had 117-111 for Canelo (only scoring Rounds 7, 8 and 10 for Jacobs) at the fight, and later scored it 116-112 for Canelo (scoring Rounds 1, 7, 8 and 10 for Jacobs). I thought Rounds 11 and 12 were close but I thought Canelo had the clear edge in connects.

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Will Jacobs have more power at 168 pounds? Photo by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing USA

And what and who do u think is next for DJ (stay at MW and fight who? Or move up)? He said he’s seriously considering a move up to 168 pounds and if he thinks he’ll feel stronger at super middleweight he should go for it. David Lemieux just made the same choice. Let’s see that fight.

As for Canelo I think it’s high time a lot of folks start putting more respect on the man with the red hair’s name. I think most fans and media recognize him as one of the best boxers in the world, and even he’s earned grudging respect from some his legion of haters, but he’ll never be universally embraced. He’s the new De La Hoya.

Alvarez fought expertly and I so enjoyed his slippery head movements and defense. Aha, so you’re one of those “purists” I brought up in the lead to my post-fight story. Glad you enjoyed it.

It was a joy and at least for once a lot of people have agreed to the scores this time. Kudos to him. As for P4P ratings how do u guys place him now? He remains at No. 3, behind Lomachenko and Crawford. Why, when he’s got a better resume than both? Well, your scorecard for the Jacobs fight is part of that reasoning. He was a 6-to-1 favorite to beat Jacobs but only managed to hold the underdog to a draw in your view; and too many observers thought he lost the first GGG fight.

I like Vergil Ortiz Jr and that young man has got power even for fighting at 147 for the first time and against a tough but past his best opponent in Herrera. Ortiz is the definition of a BEAST. That lead right hand of his is a thing of beauty (beautiful destruction, that is).

What would u think should be next for him? If he drops back down to 140 pounds (which I think is the plan), I’d push him up the rankings. He’s already at No. 9 in the WBO (the belt held by Mo Hooker), so I’d look for a higher-rated WBO contender for the power-hitter to take on, such as No. 3-rated Liam Paro from Australia. Paro is undefeated (16-0) but he’s only 23 and he just stepped up to 10-round bouts last year, so it doesn’t seem like he’d be over Ortiz’s head. But ya never know in boxing…

Sadam Ali should just retire please! Professional boxing is not the right place for Ali, who was such a talented and accomplished amateur.

Lamont Roach won but I felt the scores were a bit wild as the fight was close than the actual scorecard suggested. That was a gut check for Roach, and he was lucky to get that decision. Most of the ringside press scored the fight a draw or had Oquendo up by a couple of points.

All these guys are good prospects but if you could match them for their next bout how would it look like? Roach will likely become the WBO’s No. 1 junior lightweight contender for the belt currently held by Masayuki Ito, who is a relentless volume puncher. If Ito gets by Jamel Herring (no guarantee), I’d try to have him ready for that kind of busy style, so I’d match him with yet another Puerto Rican, this time former title challenger Jayson Velez, who’s won two in a row since dropping a 10-round decision to Ryan Garcia last May.

On the other side of the spectrum, Ancajas looked superb again even though Funai was obviously a very limited opponent. The Japanese kept working straight into punches, how he managed to stay on his feet continuously was beyond me. Funai, a limited latecomer to boxing, was the perfect opponent to make Ancajas look like a top 115 pounder and an offensive threat. I agree with Andre Ward’s opinion (at the start of the ESPN broadcast) that he could be the weak link of the junior bantamweight division. Hopefully, we’ll find out soon how he matches up with the other titleholders.

It’s high time he unifies, please! Agreed. And I don’t think Ring/WBC champ Juan Estrada is shaking in his boots about the prospect of facing the IBF beltholder from the Philippines. However, showdowns with Kal Yafai or the Ioka-Palicte winner could be competitive and fun.

Only watched clips of Beterbiev’s fight but how long are we going to wait for Arum pitting the 175-pounders he’s got in his stable against each other instead of repeatedly dud fights we keep getting with this very good LHWs. I think Beterbiev ranks behind fellow titleholders Gvozdyk, Kovalev and Bivol, but he makes for fun scraps. I’ll give him that. I think Top Rank is ready to put him in with any top light heavyweight willing the face the rugged Russian.

 

Email Fischer at dougie@boxingmailbag.com. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and watch him on Periscope every Sunday from SMC track.

 

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