Dougie’s Monday Mailbag (Davis-Santa Cruz, Inoue-Moloney, Usyk-Chisora)

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SUPER SATURDAY

Murat Gassiev is back and you know I’m excited! But honestly I can’t say much cause he just beat up a fat man, I’m just glad his arm didn’t fall off considering all the surgeries he’s had recently…

The fight of the week was Inoue vs Maloney. I can’t believe Moloney took all those body shots from the Monster, tough guy, must be scary to with that and Inoue lookin crazy with that eye of his lookin like Margarito post-Pacquiao…

Tank vs LSC went as expected and I couldn’t care less. I’m expecting Mayweather to try and keep Tank from danger which will be hard in the 130-135lb weight class. I think Tevin Farmer would box circles around Tank, so I expect his next opponent to be Jo Jo Diaz, which is sad but Mayweather believes fully in being unbeaten as a way of life…

As for Usyk he better cash out quick cause a beat down is coming…. Hope you and your family have a great holiday Doug! – Jeremy

Thanks Jeremy.

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Usyk vs. Chisora. Photo by Dave Thompson.

Don’t count Usyk out just because he had some rough moments with Derek Chisora. It’s clear that he’s not going to be a physical force at heavyweight, but his style and boxing IQ are still a handful for even the elite big men. But Chisora did his job as a gatekeeper, which is to let us know what we really had with Usyk. I had thought that the Ukrainian amateur star could possibly become a new iteration of Evander Holyfield, who was able to handle himself in the trenches with top heavyweights even when he weighed between 202-212 pounds in the two years following his cruiserweight reign. Holyfield had the durability to take hard shots without getting knocked around the ring and he had the physical strength to push his heavyweight opposition back on their heels when he needed to get rough. Usyk isn’t as rugged as Holyfield. Not a big deal. Very few cruiserweights or heavyweights in the sport’s history can match the Real Deal in this department. Going forward, I think Usyk will have to be even more nimble and elusive than he was at 200 pounds. I also think he’ll need to let his hands go a little bit more (like Chris Byrd) without committing too much to his power if he wants to wear these big dudes down.

Murat Gassiev is back and you know I’m excited! But honestly I can’t say much cause he just beat up a fat man, I’m just glad his arm didn’t fall off considering all the surgeries he’s had recently… Nuri Sefri didn’t even offer the resistance of an unpaid sparring partner but I think the victory for Gassiev was just getting through a training camp without any serious injuries. Hopefully, he’ll fight a live body in his next fight. He weighed 230 pounds for Sefri, and while I think he should come a bit lighter for his next fight, he looked solid at that weight. I’d love to see him share the ring with Michael Hunter (a fellow former cruiserweight who now fights between 213-226 pounds) or Oscar Rivas (who’s a couple inches shorter than Gassiev but fights between 235-240 pounds and is solid as a rock).

The fight of the week was Inoue vs Maloney. Monster looked sharp and confident but not invincible. His ESPN debut was a good showcase. Those weirdos who claim to be hardcore fans but act like they’ve never heard of Inoue can stop with that nonsense going forward.

I can’t believe Moloney took all those body shots from the Monster. Tough guy, must be scary to with that and Inoue lookin crazy with that eye of his lookin like Margarito post-Pacquiao… Moloney is as tough as they come from Australia, which is saying a lot. I did notice that one of Inoue’s eyes were smaller than the other. And despite his clearly winning every round, I thought he looked vulnerable in spots.

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Tank vs. LSC. Photo from Showtime Boxing/Twitter

Tank vs LSC went as expected and I couldn’t care less. Davis beating Santa Cruz was expected. I didn’t know of anybody picking the upset special for poor Leo. However, the manner in which he dispatched the veteran was impressive. Tank is an offensive force at 130 pounds, and it’s not just raw power. His timing, reflexes, speed and accuracy all combine to make him arguably the most dangerous junior lightweight (it’s either him or Miguel Berchelt). Having said that, LSC outworked him over the first three rounds and put hands on him, which makes me wonder what a big, rangy puncher like Berchelt would do with him.

I’m expecting Mayweather to try and keep Tank from danger which will be hard in the 130-135 lb weight class. I think Tevin Farmer would box circles around Tank, so I expect his next opponent to be Jo Jo Diaz, which is sad but Mayweather believes fully in being unbeaten as a way of life… That’s how Mayweather conducted his own career once he moved beyond the lightweight divisions. That’s not necessarily how he goes about the careers of the fighters he promotes. By the way, I think Diaz would do just as well as Farmer would vs. Davis. I’m not saying they “box circles around him,” as you suggested Famer would, but I think they present some stylistic problems, as would Jamel Herring.

 

THE MONSTER’S PERFORMANCE

Dougie,

Great weekend for boxing fans with a lot of talent on display. Although Gervonta Davis’ knockout is deservedly stealing the headlines, Inoue’s performance was the most impressive to me. I could see a shift in Maloney’s demeanor early on in the fight when he felt the Monster’s power. Credit to him though, a lesser man would’ve folded a lot sooner. The counter right landed in between that 1-2 was so perfectly timed and placed. Maybe this was me over analyzing but Inoue did seem a little uncomfortable at times taking shots where the effects of his orbital injury from Donaire likely still linger. I was wondering if you saw the same.

As crazy as it seems, it feels like Inoue is still being slept on. I’m really glad he’s on a bigger platform with Top Rank which will hopefully elevate his status over in the States. A unification with Casimero seems like the logical next fight. What do you see next for the Monster? All the best. – Evan

Inoue’s last five opponents have been Ring-rated bantamweights. During that run, he’s earned the Ring Magazine title, unified two major belts and won the World Boxing Super Series tournament. I don’t expect him to slow down now that he’s gaining major U.S. exposure. I think he’ll go for Casmiero and the WBO title next if that fight can be made in the next three to four months. If not, I think he’ll go straight for the winner of the December 12 Oubaali-Donaire fight and the WBC title next. I think Inoue’s goal is to be the undisputed champ at 118.

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Ring Magazine readers know that Naoyoa Inoue is the man, but he’s still flying under the radar of the American general sports fan public. Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Regarding Inoue being slept on, keep in mind that he’s a Japanese bantamweight. Even though he’s recently received a nice promotional push from Top Rank and ESPN, general sports fans aren’t aware of Japan’s rich boxing tradition and casual American boxing heads don’t really care that much about sub-lightweights. So, despite his many achievements, Inoue’s got a steep wall to scale in terms of earning the attention and respect of the U.S. public. Despite his many achievements, he’s almost like a promising but unproven prospect in the eyes of many Americans that follow boxing (those who aren’t true hardcore fans). It’s up to Top Rank to let the public know about his past accomplishments, and to keep the momentum going with the best opposition and by having the Monster invade major U.S. markets once the pandemic restrictions ease up.  

Although Gervonta Davis’ knockout is deservedly stealing the headlines, Inoue’s performance was the most impressive to me. I thought they were equally impressive, but Inoue had the more dominating performance.

I could see a shift in Maloney’s demeanor early on in the fight when he felt the Monster’s power. It was evident but I thought Moloney had more success in the early rounds than Timmy and Dre gave him credit for. And I’m not tossing shade at ESPN’s commentating. I get it. Inoue’s got an aura that’s hard for hardcore boxing folks to resist when they see him live. They were starstruck.

Credit to him though, a lesser man would’ve folded a lot sooner. I’ll never question Moloney’s heart and desire.

The counter right landed in between that 1-2 was so perfectly timed and placed. Inoue did what elite/P4P-level boxers to do to world-class boxers.  

Maybe this was me over analyzing but Inoue did seem a little uncomfortable at times taking shots where the effects of his orbital injury from Donaire likely still linger. I was wondering if you saw the same. I saw what you saw, but I can’t help but wonder if we’re projecting our own concerns onto Inoue.

 

SIZE MATTERS

Hey Dougie,

I just finished watching the Gervonta Davis-Leo Santa Cruz and came away with a very simple take: size matters.

Yes, obviously talent and other skills are important too but when two equally talented world champions face each other and they’re from different weight classes usually the bigger fighter will end up overwhelming the smaller one. This was the case this Saturday night.

Leo Santa Cruz had a pretty good idea on how to fight Tank and he was successful for two rounds but much like Amir Khan found out vs Canelo Alvarez, you can be successful or think you’re being successful for a few rounds only to find out later than you were really being setup.

After two rounds Davis realized he could take the smaller man’s punches and walk forward taking whatever came to him with the sole intent of landing that vicious uppercut that he kept throwing from the beginning and oh did he land it. This was as beautiful of a KO as any this year and should be a contender for knockout of the year.

Also, that 6th round was a pretty good one that should also be considered for round of the year. The fight was a good one, not the best of the year but one we will remember for the gallant effort by the Mexican and the overpowering performance that Gervonta put.

So, this obviously makes the 135 lbs division much more interesting if Davis decides to stay there (which I think he will). He’s up there with Teofimo and Vasily as one of the top dogs and should make a very interesting fight with any of these two or even Devon Haney in the future. I would love to see him vs Mikey Garcia but I doubt he’ll ever come back down to this weight class considering how chunky he looked last week in that interview with Mauricio Sulaiman (that was actually a very funny interview as Mauricio called him out with the carnitas reference).

So what do you think Gervonta is going to do next? Will he stay in 130 or go up to 135? Do you favor him against Lopez or Loma?

Thanks Doug. – Juan Valverde, Chula Vista

I would favor both Lopez and Lomachenko but I think those are fascinating matchups that would capture the public’s imagination. I’d rather see Davis-Lomachenko at 130 than 135, and I think Tank would have more of a shot at clipping Loma at junior lightweight, which is the best weight for the Ukrainian legend. I envision Loma outpointing David, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he clipped the amateur icon. My guess is that his footwork and lateral movement would be his saving grace and that he could get in and score more with Tank than he was able to vs. Lopez. Teofimo vs. Tank at 135 would be an explosive fight and event. I think Lopez has the ability to stop Davis, but I don’t think it would happen until the later rounds of a good fight.

(S)ize matters. Yes, obviously talent and other skills are important too but when two equally talented world champions face each other and they’re from different weight classes usually the bigger fighter will end up overwhelming the smaller one. Consider this: Davis and Santa Cruz made the junior lightweight limit on Friday. Before Davis left the 130-pound division to fight for the WBA’s “regular” lightweight belt vs. Yuriorkis Gamboa, he was The Ring’s No. 2-rated junior lightweight (just behind Miguel Berchelt). Santa Cruz was The Ring’s No. 1-rated featherweight at one time. He left the 126-pound division to fight for the WBA’s 130-pound belt vs. Miguel Flores last November. (I have no idea if it was the WBA’s regular or super belt.) Beating Flores did not get Santa Cruz ranked in The Ring’s 130-pound top 10. So, what we had on Saturday was a top junior lightweight vs. a top featherweight. And it was a fight for four or five rounds.  

Leo Santa Cruz had a pretty good idea on how to fight Tank and he was successful for two rounds but much like Amir Khan found out vs Canelo Alvarez, you can be successful or think you’re being successful for a few rounds only to find out later than you were really being setup. That’s a decent comparison. Canelo could make 155, but likely rehydrated to 168. Davis could make 130, but likely rehydrated to 140. Both fights ended in frightening KOs for the naturally smaller men.

After two rounds Davis realized he could take the smaller man’s punches and walk forward taking whatever came to him with the sole intent of landing that vicious uppercut that he kept throwing from the beginning and oh did he land it. Santa Cruz had no answer for Davis’ edge in speed and reflexes, and as good as his chin is, he couldn’t take being caught blind and flush by one of Tank’s bombs.

 

SIZE MATTERS II

Hey Dougie,

As his buddy Loma recently experienced, Usyk found out that size does matter. What do you Feel is his best path to the heavyweight title? – Rodemeyer

Honestly? I hate to write this, but Usyk’s best path to winning a heavyweight title is for the WBO to strip Anthony Joshua and have him fight the still-green Daniel Dubois (the WBO’s No. 2 contender) for the vacant belt (provided Dubois gets by Joe Joyce).

But I don’t think that’s what Usyk wants to do. He doesn’t want to be a beltholder. He wants to be the champ, which means he wants a shot at Tyson Fury or Joshua, or the winner of Fury-Joshua if that super bout can be made next year.

 

PACKED WEEKEND

Hi Dougie,

How you, the family and the team are safe and well.

Quite a packed weekend of action. Where to start???

Davis Vs Santa Cruz.

Good fight with a brutal finish. Was worried for a minute there for Leo. Thank God Leo got up and was able to walk out of the arena.

I thought both were having success. Santa Cruz doing well early on. Davis looked the stronger from the get go. He was man handling Leo in the clenches. I felt Tank was getting more and more confident with that left uppercut which ended the night. He mentioned in the post fight interview that he had Leo up against the ropes so he had nowhere to escape from it.

A brilliant performance.

So who’s next for him? He mentioned Teófimo López straight away. How do you see that going? Also with George Kambosos beating Lee Selby last night it puts him in a mandatory position for Davis’s 130lb belt.

Usyk Vs Chisora

Man, the Twitterverse is full of people writing Usyk off saying he doesn’t like taking punches from a “proper” heavyweight. Nobody does!! I think anyone would struggle to look good against Chisora. Del Boy isn’t a particularly slick fighter and would have anyone the same way.

The big question is how will Usyk do against AJ or Fury or Wilder for that matter. I don’t think any of them can match Usyk for speed, foot work and accuracy. There’s still a question about how well he’ll take a full-blooded heavyweight punch? But he’s so bloody hard to tag. I remember an interview with Johnny Nelson and David Haye, years ago, and they likened a cruiserweight fighting heavyweight as being like playing Fight Night on the PlayStation with the speed turn down i.e. you see everything coming, you just need to get out of the way.

I think Fury’s awkwardness and temperament may cause issues for Usyk. Someone like Dillian Whyte who also very physical could cause problems. AJ is a tricky one. Apart for power, I think Usyk trumps AJ in all departments. Are Usyk’s superior skills enough to negate the size and power difference?

The Monster Vs Moloney. The Monster does what the monster does!

I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves for how skilful he is. It takes a lot of talent to be able to position yourself to get your power shots off so effectively.

Who next? He wants to clear up at 118lb. I’d personally love to see the Donaire rematch. I can’t make an argument for Donaire winning but the first was such a treat. I’d love to see it again.

Marshall Vs Rankin.

Marshall, as expected, dominated. She seems to have developed a awkward style under the tutelage of Peter Fury.

The exchanges between her and Claressa Shields kicked off straight away.

Which weight, middleweight or super middleweight, would suit either for that fight?

Who wins? Marshall’s got that win over Shields in the amateur ranks. Psychological edge?

Finally it’s clear that Wilder is an avid reader of the mailbag. I asked where he was on Friday and we got a response. However I’m still not confident I can say I know where Wilder is? Has he lost the plot??

In all seriousness I think it’s a publicity stunt. He’s not the first boxer to say outrageous stuff to keep his name relevant. I don’t like the disloyal jab at his ex trainer, that was below the belt.

I can’t see this changing anything. Fury and AJ are set to clash for two contracted fights, they both generate more money than a Wilder fight. He needs to be booking fights against the like of Whyte/Povetkin winner, Usyk over the next year to stay relevant and active. What did you make of his rant?

MMs

Khan Vs Broner at 140 and 147

Ward Vs RJJ

Prime Forman Vs Prime Lewis

Hulk Vs Thing (fantastic 4)

Whole weekend taken up by boxing. Better check the Wife and kids are still there. Keep up the good work! – Tabraze, London UK

They had a nice Halloween day without me. I spent the entire day in a hotel room in Corona, California, inside the Thompson Boxing Bubble for the Sunday show I worked with Beto Duran and Jessica Rosales. All I did on Saturday was nap, watch boxing, and take in the Harry Potter marathon on the SyFy network. I had a great time with the Thompson Boxing crew and the trainers of the fighters on the 3.2.1 Boxing show, but I missed dressing up in a Halloween costume.

Your Mythical Matchups:

Khan Vs Broner at 140 and 147Khan by UD at 140, Broner by MD at 147.

Ward Vs RJJJones by mid-to-late stoppage

Prime Forman Vs Prime LewisForeman by mid-rounds TKO.

Hulk Vs Thing (fantastic 4)In a boxing match with 10-to-12 three-minute rounds? I’m going with Benjamin J. Grimm on points. It’s Clobberin’ Time!

Davis Vs Santa Cruz. Was worried for a minute there for Leo. Thank God Leo got up and was able to walk out of the arena. I was worried about Leo too. That knockout was unnerving. Definitely a strong KO of the Year candidate with Povetkin-Whyte and Zepeda-Baranchyk.

I thought both were having success. Santa Cruz doing well early on. I agree but Davis’ speed was a problem from the onset. Once Tank found his distance (by Round 3), it was a matter of time before a bomb was detonated upside poor Leo’s head.

Davis looked the stronger from the get go. He was man handling Leo in the clenches. I think Tank’s speed, reflexes and timing was more of problem for Santa Cruz than his physical strength.

So who’s next for him? He mentioned Teófimo López straight away. How do you see that going? I favor Lopez in an intense shootout, but there’s no way that fight happens next. I’d love to be wrong about this, but I don’t see Top Rank/ESPN and Mayweather/PBC/Showtime working out a co-promotional PPV deal that quick. I think we could see Davis kill time with mandatory defenses vs. Rolly Romero (at 135) or Chris Colbert (at 130, which I’d actually be into).

Also with George Kambosos beating Lee Selby last night it puts him in a mandatory position for Davis’s 130lb belt. Nah. That was a 135-pound elimination bout for the IBF belt held by unified Ring champ Teofimo Lopez.

Usyk Vs Chisora. Man, the Twitterverse is full of people writing Usyk off saying he doesn’t like taking punches from a “proper” heavyweight. Nobody does!! True. I think we learned that Usyk has to rely on his considerable skill and ring savvy against the top heavyweights. He’s not going to be able to duke it out with them – at least not during the first half of the bouts.

The big question is how will Usyk do against AJ or Fury or Wilder for that matter. They have to fight the fights. I think Usyk would be an underdog vs. Fury and Joshua, and maybe even-money vs. Wilder.

I don’t think any of them can match Usyk for speed, foot work and accuracy. I think Usyk’s hand speed is overrated vs. heavyweights. Fury, wilder and Joshua have quick enough hands to give Usyk problems in my opinion. However, his footwork and accuracy will give them fits.

There’s still a question about how well he’ll take a full-blooded heavyweight punch? But he’s so bloody hard to tag. Chisora nailed him enough over 12 rounds to win five of them on two of the official scorecards (and on the unofficial scorecards of countless Twitter #BoxingHeadz). Usyk is a savvy ring general but he ain’t a heavyweight Pernell Whitaker. He can be hit.

I think Fury’s awkwardness and temperament may cause issues for Usyk. Yeah, and being six inches taller, having seven inches in wingspan and being 50-60 pounds heavier won’t hurt, either.

Someone like Dillian Whyte who also very physical could cause problems. If Chisora was difficult, Whyte would definitely be a problem. However, I’d favor Usyk on points.

AJ is a tricky one. Apart for power, I think Usyk trumps AJ in all departments. I think Joshua’s quick hands, reach advantage and combination punching will give Usyk all kinds of problems.

The Monster Vs Moloney. The Monster does what the monster does! And he does it so well.

I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves for how skilful he is. Sure he does (at least from knowledgeable observers). There’s a reason he’s No. 2 in the Pound-for-Pound ratings of The Ring and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and No. 3 on ESPN.com’s mythical rankings.

It takes a lot of talent to be able to position yourself to get your power shots off so effectively. True, and Inoue is one of the best at it.

Who’s next? He wants to clear up at 118lb. I’d personally love to see the Donaire rematch. I can’t make an argument for Donaire winning but the first was such a treat. I’d love to see it again. If Donaire can beat Nordine Oubaali (not an easy task), he’ll get that rematch.

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Marshall (right) outpunched Rankin
Picture By Dave Thompson

Marshall Vs Rankin. Marshall, as expected, dominated. She seems to have developed an awkward style under the tutelage of Peter Fury. Rankin was The Ring’s No. 4-rated middleweight in The Ring’s Women’s ratings prior to this fight. Marshall was The Ring’s No. 5-rated super middleweight. I’m curious to see where the Ring’s Women’s Ratings Panel rates Marshall off this victory.

The exchanges between her and Claressa Shields kicked off straight away. Their pro showdown is a natural and hopefully in the works.

Which weight, middleweight or super middleweight, would suit either for that fight? I think both are at their best at 160 pounds. If Marshall were to return to 168 pounds, I’d want to see her take on Franchon Crews-Dezurn (the WBC/WBO beltholder).

Who wins? Marshall’s got that win over Shields in the amateur ranks. Psychological edge? We won’t know until they get it on. I favor Shields by decision.

It’s clear that Wilder is an avid reader of the mailbag. I asked where he was on Friday and we got a response. We sure did. Good grief.

However, I’m still not confident I can say I know where Wilder is? Has he lost the plot?? From where I’m sitting, Wilder appears to be lost in the wilderness of his own mind at the present time.

In all seriousness I think it’s a publicity stunt. I hope you’re right, but I don’t think you are.

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Mark Breland

He’s not the first boxer to say outrageous stuff to keep his name relevant. I don’t like the disloyal jab at his ex trainer, that was below the belt. Mark Breland deserves better, but whatever. He was too good for Team Wilder, and it was obvious that Wilder was either unable to grasp Breland’s technique or just didn’t care to incorporate it into his style/arsenal. I hope to see Mark resurface as a trainer or assistant with other boxers.

I can’t see this changing anything. Fury and AJ are set to clash for two contracted fights, they both generate more money than a Wilder fight. True, but we don’t know if Fury is contractually clear to pursue the Joshua showdown next year, and AJ has TWO sanctioning body mandatories to take care of before that super fight can be made.

He needs to be booking fights against the like of Whyte/Povetkin winner, Usyk over the next year to stay relevant and active. That ain’t gonna happen. If he fights anyone other than Fury next, it will be somebody from the PBC stable, but not the Andy Ruiz-Chris Arreola winner.

What did you make of his rant? I thought it was pure bat s__t.

 

CONFUSING

As someone who is not an expert in the ins and outs of boxing can someone explain to me how 2 weight divisions can be decided in one fight? Seems illogical to me. Thanks. –  Neil, Wales, UK

It was a gimmick to garner some media attention (as well as a little extra sanctioning fee money for the WBA) and an insurance policy that the PBC and Showtime would still have a title fight in the event that Tank failed to make 130 pounds. Illogical? Yeah. But it’s just boxing business (and don’t pay any attention to what Davis’ promoter says about there being too many world titles in the sport because he plays the game as much as anyone).

 

POTENTIAL HEAVYWEIGHT SHOWDOWN

Doug –

Usyk (Saturday) vs Povetkin (White fight)? – Kevin Key, Duluth, MN

Usyk on points, close decision, maybe MD.

 

Email Fischer at dougie@boxingmailbag.com. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and join him, Tom Loeffler, Coach Schwartz and friends via Tom’s Periscope or Dougie’s IG Live every Sunday.

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