Dougie’s Monday mailbag (close fights/Porter-Ugas, Mo Hooker, sanctioning bodies)

DECISIONS, DECISIONS, DECISIONS

Full disclosure: My formative years as a fan were most fully shaped by being a Pernell Whitaker fan and as such, I was fully acquainted with the “robbery”. But I learned to mirror his response, which was always to shrug it off and rely on us, the fans, to decide who won. He didn’t storm off, didn’t campaign in the media, constantly harping on the injustice inflicted upon him. Pernell trusted us to decide, either way, and he moved forward.

I’ve found myself as an adult still mirroring that lesson, both in the face of real world injustice and the entertainment world of boxing. Life ain’t fair and you can cry about it, use it as an excuse, or it can make you tougher and more resilient.

I’ll admit I don’t understand the fans who get upset at judging they don’t agree with mostly because doing so grants too much power to somebody else (My fight watching resume is as extensive as any judge and I’ll be picking my own winners, thank you very much), but also because it reflects what I perceive as character flaws. Has somebody’s life been so easy, so free of hardship and adversity that seeing a bad decision is enough to induce a tantrum? Is somebody so desperate for everybody else to agree with them they will argue over what is so clearly a pure opinion?

I can go back over my 30-plus years and find TONS of fights whose decisions I disagree with, some are shared by others and just as many aren’t, and that’s boxing, so how can a close fight like Shawn Porter/Yordenis Ugas get me upset? Boxing is a flawed sport because our need to inject as much safety as possible means we’ve eliminated how historically any fight is decided: a fight to a finish. Judging will always be flawed, no matter what reform we introduce…so put on your Junior Teddy Atlas Dime Store Shrink hat and tell me why you think so many of your readers still get so upset over every decision they don’t like? – Mark

I think there’s four main factors that contribute to the overwhelmingly whiny nature of modern boxing fans, specifically their overreactions to the official decisions of both controversial and legitimately close fights: 1. ignorance (they don’t know what they’re looking at and they don’t how to score a fight), 2. social media (they feel the need to score fights so they can share their verdicts with complete strangers and fellow nitwits whose outcry against the official decisions encourages them join in on the bitch-and-moan fest), 3. super fandom (where they’re so emotionally invested and connected to a particular fighter that they refuse to acknowledge what the other fighter did in the ring and are incapable of “seeing” the fight from a neutral/unbiased perspective) and 4. our general culture of outrage (where everybody is looking for some kind of scandal or conspiracy to get up in arms about, be it “A-side” or “house fighter” favoritism or poor officiating or the bending of rules or whatever).

And as much as I respect the commentary of the aforementioned Atlas, and have enjoyed it over the decades, I’ll put some of the blame on him for losing his mind on camera and claiming “corruption” almost every time there was a decision that he didn’t agree with. Sometimes the decision (or one of the official scorecards) was very poor, but sometimes the fight was legitimately close. I’ll also lay a bit of blame on some of the high-profile boxing divas of recent decades (you know who they are), who weren’t as mature and classy as, say, George Foreman (after the late-40s folk hero got screwed in the Shannon Briggs fight). 

My formative years as a fan were most fully shaped by being a Pernell Whitaker fan and as such, I was fully acquainted with the “robbery”. But I learned to mirror his response, which was always to shrug it off and rely on us, the fans, to decide who won. He didn’t storm off, didn’t campaign in the media, constantly harping on the injustice inflicted upon him. Pernell trusted us to decide, either way, Pernell Whitaker Ring cover January 1994 223x300 - Dougie’s Monday mailbag (close fights/Porter-Ugas, Mo Hooker, sanctioning bodies)and he moved forward. Well stated, Mark. I liked Whitaker, more so at welterweight than I did during his lightweight days (although I respected that he unified the division before leaving), but I don’t think I really appreciated him until after the showdown with Julio Cesar Chavez. He entered that fight knowing he couldn’t knockout the Mexican superstar, and fully understanding there was a VERY good chance that he was gonna get f__ked on the official scorecards, but he insisted on entering the lion’s den (facing Chavez in Texas in front of 65,000 mostly Mexican fans, on a Don King card with WBC officials in charge). He jeopardized his HBO contract by crossing the street to fight on Showtime’s PPV arm (SET). He did that because he wanted to prove that he could outbox Chavez, regardless of what the official scorecards read after 12 rounds (and he did). There are very few active prize fighters with Sweet Pea’s balls, let alone his c’est-la-vie attitude after being on the s__t-end of controversial scorecards.

I’ll admit I don’t understand the fans who get upset at judging they don’t agree with mostly because doing so grants too much power to somebody else (My fight watching resume is as extensive as any judge and I’ll be picking my own winners, thank you very much), but also because it reflects what I perceive as character flaws. Hey, I understand getting pissed off and ranting and raving about a bad decision every once in a while. That’s just part of being a fan. We’re passionate about this sport and the fighters and we don’t like to see a guy (or gal) get treated unfairly. But agree that it seems like fans are bitching about at least one “controversial” decision, scorecard or referee call every weekend, and the constant complaining does become tiresome. But who knows? Maybe the majority of fans that go all Teddy Atlas on social media and in the comment sections under articles and videos are the types that never complain when they are away from boxing and the internet.

Has somebody’s life been so easy, so free of hardship and adversity that seeing a bad decision is enough to induce a tantrum? Some, yeah. Others are folks who have been repeatedly stepped on in life and they can’t stand to see it happen to others, especially athletes that they idolize.

Is somebody so desperate for everybody else to agree with them they will argue over what is so clearly a pure opinion? Bro, welcome to the social media age.

I can go back over my 30-plus years and find TONS of fights whose decisions I disagree with, some are shared by others and just as many aren’t, and that’s boxing, so how can a close fight like Shawn

porter ugas bygerman5 300x207 - Dougie’s Monday mailbag (close fights/Porter-Ugas, Mo Hooker, sanctioning bodies)

Porter vs. Ugas. Photo by German Villasenor

Porter/Yordenis Ugas get me upset? I was OK with Porter-Ugas decision, although I admit that I felt a little sorry for the Cuban underdog. But there was no point in crying about it. The fight was close. Porter landed more eye-catching punches during the first half of the bout, but Ugas returned fire every time and wisely attacked the defending beltholder’s body. Over the second half of the bout, I thought Porter was less accurate from the outside and needed to be more aggressive. Ugas appeared more dialed in to me. His punches down the stretch (especially his counter right) were more accurate in my view.

 

MIGHTY MO

Hey Doug, hope all is well.

How do you think Mo Hooker would fare against the welterweights? He appeared to have issues on the scale, and while he performed well in the ring I wonder if he can still comfortably make 140. He’s a very tall Jr Welterweight. I’m not sure if he has the punching power to keep someone like a Shawn Porter from mauling him.

Who’d you like to see him fight next at 140 that’s available? If or when he goes up to 147, who’d you like to see him fight first to test himself? Thanks for all you do and keep up the good work. – D.W. from Boston, Ma

Thanks for the kind words, D.W. The junior welterweight I’d like to see Hooker take on is Jose Ramirez. (And I’d love to see winner of that fight take on the winner of the WBSS 140-pound final.)

At welterweight, I’m not sure who I care to see him fight. I guess I’d have to see him get his feet wet at 147 pounds first. It would be interesting to see if he could handle one of these unbeaten but somewhat untested up-and-comers like Egidijus Kavaliauskas, Kudratillo Abdukakhorov or Thulani Mbenge. If he could beat a guy like that, then I’d want to see him in against a top contender or titleholder.

MauriceHookerWeighIn Hoganphotos 300x234 - Dougie’s Monday mailbag (close fights/Porter-Ugas, Mo Hooker, sanctioning bodies)

Maurice Hooker. Photo by Tom Hogan

You make a good point about Hooker being quite tall for a 140 pounder. He’s also got the reach to go with his height. His wingspan (80-inches) is downright freakish. So, he’s got the frame to carry the extra weight. We just don’t know if he can deal with the power and physical strength of strong world-class welterweights. However, he was known for his power in the amateurs, where he compiled an 85-7 record (or 97-7 depending on the source) that included 67 stoppages. He was probably fighting at more natural weights for his growing body during his amateur days (featherweight, lightweight) and it’s possible that at age 29 he’s outgrown the junior welterweight division. It’s also possible that a move up in weight could see him regain that power and assist his punch resistance and stamina, but that WBO belt he currently holds is too valuable to let go because of the potential high-profile junior welterweight matches it can land, so I think we can expect him to continue boiling that rangy frame down to 140 pounds.

 

THE SANCTIONING ORGANIZATIONS

Great to hear Dougie,

I am a longtime follower of the sport but need more understanding in order to attack this complex problem. I’m a big believer on finding solutions instead of complaining about the current state (most of the time).

The belt organizations must bring in a lot of money. With that in mind:

  1. Do boxers have to pay to enter rankings, submit applications or fees just to be considered?
  2. Of the percentages the organization makes for title fights, do they need to pay for anything besides the belt to be made?
  3. Do the Orgs employ many people?
  4. Do they have one ambassador for each region?
  5. Do all four major Orgs have drug testing?  Or is that up to each manager/promoter to negotiate for each fight?
  6. Do any Orgs ever pay any medical assistance?
  7. What do you think would help eliminate the multiple belts?
  8. How can the Ring become THE major belt again? I feel like this would be the best answer, maybe easiest fix to this mess. Not that it’s easy at all.
  9. Any way to have the networks and media only recognize the Ring belt and ignore others? Have “Max on Boxing” only recognize The Ring belt, etc. (being maybe the widest audience).
  10.  Wouldn’t a good measure be for one Org to recognize other Org to encourage unifications?  And in a sense make them the lessor belt, like a regional belt.

I have been trying to get in touch with the biggest headache in this mess – anyone on the WBA board of directors. They have to eliminate the secondary belt, it’s ridiculous. I did find that their president Gilberto Mendoza’s presidency term is up in 2019. He needs to be overthrown or voted out. I would love to know the date and how it’s voted.

Thank you for your time Doug. I really appreciate all you do for this crazy but enthralling sport. I feel the belt situation is the biggest problem to tackle first. With a national commission, judging, peds & fighters union for someone else to fix. Haha! But you do seem to be the most levelheaded guy in boxing, so you would be 1st pick for Commissioner. Cheers. – Marty D

Thank you for the kind words, but no thank you to the Boxing Commissioner nomination. I would lose the little bit of my mind that’s still intact within a few months of working that gig.

I hate to break it to you, but I think you’re better off trying to get a national boxing commission started or addressing serious issues such as encouraging proper education for official judges, enacting widespread PED testing, setting up a fighters’ union (and the most important thing of all, improving fighter safety and health) than trying to get rid of the sanctioning organizations. I think they’re here to stay.

Do boxers have to pay to enter rankings, submit applications or fees just to be considered? No, they don’t; ideally they enter and climb the sanctioning body rankings by winning and/or by taking on quality opposition and performing well in “step-up” bouts. However, you’d have to be blind not to notice that well-connected fighters move up the rankings faster than fighters who aren’t affiliated with influential managers/promoters/advisors/networks/platforms. So, you could say that the more money behind a fighter, the better chance he or she will have of being entered and pushed up the rankings. Think about it, the sanctioning organizations get a percentage of what the fighters who fight for their belts make, so they want to sanction bouts involving fighters who are on big, televised cards (or will one day be on the high-profile shows once they’re ready for eight- and 10-round bouts) because those fighters get paid more.

Of the percentages the organization makes for title fights, do they need to pay for anything besides the belt to be made? Of course! Think about all of the “title bouts” – not just “world” titles, but all the regional, youth, silver, gold, diamond, etc. belts that boxers vie for – that take place around the world every week. There has to be at least one sanctioning body representative present for all of those bouts, and those reps gotta be paid something for their time and service, right?

Do the Orgs employ many people? Yes. I’m not saying it’s a full-time job for every rep, but they do work for the sanctioning body and they are paid something for the time and service. That’s fair.

Do they have one ambassador for each region? Yes, in some regions of the world that are very busy with boxing, but they also have a lot of experienced reps that travel.

Do all four major Orgs have drug testing? Or is that up to each manager/promoter to negotiate for each fight? Drug testing is the responsibility of the governing boxing/athletic commission. WBC VADA Clean Boxing Program 300x173 - Dougie’s Monday mailbag (close fights/Porter-Ugas, Mo Hooker, sanctioning bodies)In recent years, there has been a call for more stringent testing by anti-doping organizations, such as VADA and USADA, which is contractually agreed upon by the fighters and their teams, and usually paid for by the manager or promoter, but sometimes the fighters foot the bill. All four major sanctioning organizations have drug policies in place for PED (and even recreational drugs) use, but the one sanctioning body that has partnered up with an anti-doping testing authority is the WBC with its VADA/Clean Boxing Program.

Do any Orgs ever pay any medical assistance? Yes, sometimes they do. The WBC is especially good about donating or raising money for fighters in need of medical assistance, and this includes retired fighters who needed medical assistance with non-boxing related injuries or illness. I recall they organized a big fund-raiser for Genaro Hernandez 10 years ago when the former two-time 130-pound champ was diagnosed with cancer. Here’s a story I penned on the event: https://www.ringtv.com/120283-hernandez-fights-his-toughest-battle-with-help-from-his-friends/

What do you think would help eliminate the multiple belts? Fighters and their handlers refusing to pay sanctioning fees. Don’t hold your breath on that happening. It’s usually worth it for them to fight for all the minor, regional belts that help push them up the rankings.

Lomachenko gets 2017 FOTY Ring title 300x182 - Dougie’s Monday mailbag (close fights/Porter-Ugas, Mo Hooker, sanctioning bodies)

Loma likes his Ring Magazine title belt. If he’s happy, we’re happy!

How can the Ring become THE major belt again? WHO SAYS IT ISN’T!?! Every fighter I’ve spoken to – active and retired – (and I’ve talked to A LOT) tells me that The Ring Magazine title is the belt of the true world champions.

I feel like this would be the best answer, maybe easiest fix to this mess. Listen, I’m not out here hating on the sanctioning organizations. I see first hand how much they mean to the fighters, along with The Ring title, and I’ve witnessed how these belts that so many fans and media say are “meaningless” change the lives of these hard-working fighters and their families (for the better). I have a lot of respect for the presidents of all four major sanctioning bodies. If The Ring title isn’t viewed as “THE major belt” as you put it, well, that’s on me and my publication. We’ve got to do something to change that. I know that former Editor-In-Chief Nigel Collins did a good job of promoting The Ring’s championship policy (which he brought back in 2002) to the media and networks, which often put Ring titles above the alphabet belts during their boxing broadcasts and studio segments. So, if that’s no longer the case, it’s up to me to bring that respect back and remind the public and the press of the history and significance of The Ring Magazine world titles.

Not that it’s easy at all. Nope, it won’t be easy at all, but nothing worth doing ever is.

Any way to have the networks and media only recognize the Ring belt and ignore others? I don’t have a problem with any network that recognizes the other belts. I do have a problem with those that ignore or marginalize The Ring title. But if The Ring title is important enough to the fighter and his or her team, the networks will take notice (and I think most are more than happy to acknowledge it).

Have “Max on Boxing” only recognize The Ring belt, etc (being maybe the widest audience). I can’t tell Kellerman what or who to recognize in boxing. That’s his call and I respect it. Again, if he’s not recognizing The Ring Magazine or our championships, it’s up to us to change his mind. And if we can’t do it, that’s OK. The most important people to us are the boxers and the fans. Without you, there is no sport for the media to cover or the networks to showcase. If passionate hardcore fans like you convince more casual fans of the significance of The Ring titles, I believe the networks will follow suit. So, get out there and spread the good word, my man!

Wouldn’t a good measure be for one Org to recognize other Org to encourage unifications? I seem to recall the WBC and WBA considering this a few years back (or maybe more than a few years ago). I guess they decided against it. At the end of the day, I think they make more money having their own “champs” than allowing one fighter to hold all the belts.

And in a sense make them the lessor belt, like a regional belt. I don’t think they need any help with that.

I have been trying to get in touch with the biggest headache in this mess – anyone on the WBA board of directors. Really? Did you try emailing them through the website or even penning a good ole fashioned letter?

They have to eliminate the secondary belt, it’s ridiculous. I’m sure they disagree with that notion and they may have the fighters on their side. And ask yourself this: When has any fighter ever refused to fight for the WBA’s “regular” title?

I did find that their president Gilberto Mendoza’s presidency term is up in 2019. He needs to be overthrown or voted out. I think the last time somebody tried to get that to happen to the WBA’s president (back when it was his father) the IBF was born.

I would love to know the date and how it’s voted. I’m pretty sure you have to be a member of the WBA to vote on what goes on in the organization. Hey, maybe that’s worth looking into.

 

 

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

 

The post Dougie’s Monday mailbag (close fights/Porter-Ugas, Mo Hooker, sanctioning bodies) appeared first on The Ring.

One thought on “Dougie’s Monday mailbag (close fights/Porter-Ugas, Mo Hooker, sanctioning bodies)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *