Dougie’s Monday Mailbag (Devin Haney, Canelo’s split from GBP/DAZN, Fury in the P4P, Franco-Moloney II)

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DEVIN HANEY

Salaam Alaykum Mr. Fischer,

I wanted to write in and give my two cents on the Haney / Gamboa fight on Saturday night. I was very impressed with a whole lot of what Haney was able to do and show. I think he has a very high boxing IQ and his ability to hit and not get hit is perhaps the most impressive amongst the young standout fighters.

That said, I don’t think Haney realized that he could have had a much more impressive performance (and accomplished his pre-fight goal of a knockout). The Dream didn’t seem to have a solution for Gamboa tying him up every time he was hurt by a punch or tired. If there’s room to grow for Haney (and at only 21, there better be), it’s his inside game and response to grappling from a hurt or shaken fighter.

Overall, I think it was a very good learning experience for the young man and I hope his father/trainer is working on taking the next step. I wouldn’t want to see Haney in against a fighter in the mold of Siri Salido, Andre Ward, or Hands of Stone (at least not until he gets used to that type of inside game at a much lower level). But I hope that he gets a shot against a savvy veteran with a bit more strength than Gamboa who can give him a better test and more reason to learn.

I don’t think it’s quite reasonable to ask that Haney’s performance compare favorably to Bud Crawford’s (who took on Gamboa when no one wanted that smoke and Gamboa was still likely using performance enhancing drugs) or even Tank Davis’s. But I do think that the Dream looked better than Tank for most of their respective outings, it’s just obvious that he (Haney) doesn’t have Davis’ power (but that’s true of probably every single other fighter below ten stone, with the exception of Monster Inoue).

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Haney might not be quite ready for Teofimo Lopez, but it’s still a fight I’d pay to watch. Any matchups you favor? Any good inside fighters at lightweight could help him raise his game?

Thanks for all you do. I hope you and yours are healthy and well. Peace. – John

Thanks for the kind words and for sharing your thoughts and opinions on Devin Haney with us, John.

I agree with your analysis on Haney’s performance against Yuriorkis Gamboa. He exhibits boxing technique, ring generalship and defense far beyond his age and pro experience range. But you’re right in that he was rather ineffective on the inside and could have pressed the fight harder in order to make more of a statement. Having said that, I think Haney won every round vs. Gamboa, and justified his No. 2 spot in The Ring’s lightweight ranking.

Right after the fight I noticed a lot of #Boxing Twitter Headz were grumbling about Haney being “overrated,” so I posted this question to my TL (along with a screen grab of The Ring’s lightweight top 10): If you don’t think Haney’s worthy of being No. 2 (behind Ring Champ Teofimo Lopez and No. 1 contender Vasiliy Lomachenko), tell me who is and who you do you think beats him?

About half of the 60+ fans who replied agreed that Haney’s a prodigy and would be handful for any lightweight (and would likely be the odds favorite to beat all but Lopez and Loma) but the other half said said he should be rated No. 4 or 5. Haney’s critics said he should be near the bottom of the top 10. Some even said he “needs to avoid” Richard Commey, Luke Campbell and Ryan Garcia. Kind of harsh, in my opinion, but that’s hardcore boxing fans for ya.  

Regarding the lightweight matchups I favor for The Dream, please give me Haney vs. the Garcia-Campbell winner and Jorge Linares. If he’s victorious in one or both of those matchups, let’s see him challenge Lopez for all the marbles at lightweight before “The Takeover” moves up to the 140-pound division.

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Petr Petrov

Regarding a “good inside fighter” who could help him raise his game, may I propose Petr Petrov, a 37-year-old veteran from Russia (and Spain, now based in Southern California) who is as rough and rugged as pressure fighters come. Petrov (41-6-2) has only been stopped twice in 49 pro bouts – and those KO losses came to power-hitters Marcos Maidana (in 2011) and Ivan Baranchyk (2018) at junior welterweight – so he should be able to take Haney the distance while providing quality resistance. And Petrov has a lot of experience and craft to go with his pressure and aggression. Also, Petrov was willing to fight Haney on short notice last November when Haney was on the undercard of that YouTubers showdown at Staples Center in L.A., however, Petrov was rejected by the WBC (which had recently bestowed the young American with their belt after elevating Loma to “Franchise champ”) because the veteran was not in their rankings. Haney wound up facing unbeaten but unheralded Dominican prospect Alfredo Santiago (12-0). At the time, Petrov (who briefly believed he had the fight) was salivating at the thought of testing Haney. I’m sure he still feels that way.

I was very impressed with a whole lot of what Haney was able to do and show. Me too, I just wasn’t entertained after the early rounds, and wasn’t interested in the fight by the late rounds.

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Haney’s past Gatekeeper Gamboa. Bring on the legit lightweight contenders. Photo by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

I think he has a very high boxing IQ and his ability to hit and not get hit is perhaps the most impressive amongst the young standout fighters. I agree with you and I disagree with Haney’s harsher critics who say he should avoid the likes of Commey, Campbell and Garcia. I think he’s ready for them.

That said, I don’t think Haney realized that he could have had a much more impressive performance (and accomplish his pre-fight goal of a knockout). That was my one problem with his performance. I don’t care that he didn’t beat up or stop Gamboa. I just wanted him to do more than control the fight. I wanted more effort, a faster pace, a higher punch output, at least down the stretch of the fight.

The Dream didn’t seem to have a solution for Gamboa tying him up every time he was hurt by a punch or tired. He’s not alone among young boxers, even those who are world-ranked, in that deficiency; infighting is becoming a lost art.

If there’s room to grow for Haney (and at only 21, there better be), it’s his inside game and response to grappling from a hurt or shaken fighter. I have no doubt that Haney will improve in this area. He’s a precocious student of the game. He’s smart, he’s got natural talent, an extensive amateur background, many years of training with and among world-class boxers (even before he turned pro), and I know he wants to become a complete fighter.

Overall, I think it was a very good learning experience for the young man and I hope his father/trainer is working on taking the next step. His father instilled a solid boxing foundation. Now Mickey Bey, a former amateur star and seasoned professional (who learned pro craft AND how to teach it from Floyd Mayweather Sr.), will add layers of technique to the young man’s game.

I wouldn’t want to see Haney in against a fighter in the mold of Siri Salido, Andre Ward, or Hands of Stone (at least not until he gets used to that type of inside game at a much lower level). No need to worry. What active lightweights fight like Salido, Ward or Duran?

 

CANELO’S SPLIT WITH GBP AND DAZN

Hi Dougie,

I dreaded this day but it has finally arrived. Canelo has left GBP and DAZN. I always felt that comparing DAZN to Netflix or Hulu is wrong. Netflix and Hulu got big when they started creating original content. It is just not possible with sports streaming. What are they going to do, create a new league for a particular sport or create a new sport altogether? They can’t chip players from NFL, NBA, MLB or NFL and when was the last time a whole new sport became mainstream? I can only think of MMA. It was doomed for failure. Till now all three camps in boxing were on equal footing, at least in terms of titleholders but that has changed with Canelo. While he won’t sign with PBC, PBC will still benefit from the simple fact that Canelo will sign with Showtime. PBC/Fox/Showtime is now the undisputed number one camp followed by Top Rank/ESPN and DAZN/GBP/Matchroom at last position. Jojo is gonna leave GBP for sure, though he might go to Top Rank/ESPN. Crawford looks like he will go to PBC next year. Reynosos certainly have a hard on for GBP. How long before Ryan Garcia also leaves GBP?

Regards. – Saurabh

I don’t know, dude, I’m sitting in front of a laptop not a crystal ball, but I think you need to calm down with all the Boxing Doomerism babble.

You don’t work for DAZN or for Golden Boy, so I don’t understand why you’ve been “dreading” the day that Canelo Alvarez split from those two companies.

Canelo isn’t retiring. He’s a free agent and he’s going to seek out the best fights (and biggest paydays) that are now available to him. Who cares if he signs with Showtime? The only thing that should matter to fans is that the best-possible fights are made (matchups worthy of being on PPV). (And this goes for Garcia and JoJo, too.)

Golden Boy has been in the boxing business since the early 2000s, they know how to survive lean times. DAZN is an international company that is still in business in the U.S. They no longer have boxing’s biggest star under contract, but they’ve got the sport’s No. 2 attraction, Anthony Joshua, along with the Matchroom stable (that includes veterans Gennadiy Golovkin, Daniel Jacobs, Callum Smith, Billy Joe Saunders, Luke Campbell, etc.) and Golden Boy’s young talent pool that includes JoJo Diaz Jr., Ryan Garcia, Vergil Ortiz Jr. and Jaime Munguia.

I’m not going tell you that Canelo cutting out on his own doesn’t hurt DAZN and GBP. It’s a major setback, but I’m curious to see how both companies deal with the adversity (and how they attempt to fill the Canelo void). Representing the biggest star in the sport brings the promoter (and network) money, prestige and influence. However, it also commands a lot of attention and energy year-round (especially around the two fight-events), which causes a lot of stress.

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Will we see more GBP/Top Rank colabs like Joshua Franco (left) vs. Andrew Moloney? Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank

With Canelo out of the picture, I want to see how well Golden Boy focuses the energy and resources that used to go to Canelo on its young stable and the creation of the most fan-friendly fights possible. I want to see if GBP reaches out to and cooperates with other promoters to make the right fights for their boxers and for them fans. We’ve seen a little bit of this during the pandemic with Joshua Franco upsetting Andrew Moloney on a Top Rank/ESPN card in June (and the two junior bantamweights will return to The Bubble for their rematch on Saturday) and with Joet Gonzalez beating Miguel Marriaga in September. Wouldn’t it be good for fans if the trend continues and we were served more 50-50 GBP/Top Rank matchups, such as Jerwin Ancajas vs. Franco (for Ancahas’ IBF 115-pound belt), Bektemir “Bully” Melikuziev vs. Edgar Berlanga (at 168), Julian Rodriguez or Josue Vargas vs. Luis Feliciano or Luis Hernandez (at 140), or Joseph Adorno vs. Hector Tanajara Jr. (at 135)?

I also hope to see Golden Boy do some business with local (Southern California-based) promoters, such as Thompson Boxing Promotions and Tom Loeffler’s 360 Promotions (see Serhii Bohachuk).

Without the financial burden of the Canelo contract one would assume that DAZN can ensure that some of the better in-house/Matchroom showdowns are made in 2021 and 2022, such as Chocolatito-Estrada II (my personal favorite), Golovkin-Andrade (at 160), Golovkin-Smith or Saunders (at 168), and Jacobs vs. Smith or Saunders (at 168), as well as GBP-Matchroom co-promotional matchups, such as Golovkin vs. Munguia (I’m talking about soon, like the next Cinco De Mayo weekend), Josh Warrington vs. Xu Can (for unified IBF/WBA 126-pound belts, and maybe the vacant Ring featherweight title), and Murodjon Akmadaliev vs. Ronny Rios or Azat Hovhannisyan (for MJ’s WBA/IBF 122-pound titles).

The GBP-Matchroom collaborations have already begun with Garcia-Campbell on December 5. If Garcia passes this test with flying colors (a big “if”), DAZN and GBP will have a 135-pound player who can be one half of major future fights beginning with an “in-house” showdown with Haney, which can lead to mega-events vs. Teofimo and Tank Davis.

Will Garcia (win, lose or draw on Dec. 5) continue to be Total Drama Island for GBP going forward? Of course! Will he threaten to bolt and join Team Canelo? Will Diaz seek to jump ship? Who knows? That’s in the future. All we have is today and you don’t need to dread it.

 

FRANCO-MOLONEY II

Hey Dougie,

Two-part question: What does Andrew Moloney need to change to get the win over Joshua Franco in their rematch and do you think his twin brother Jason’s recent loss to Naoya Inoue will affect his performance? Cheers. – Tony

I think Andrew is 100% focused on his rematch. His loss to Franco and Jason’s loss to Inoue is in the past. The twins aren’t the types to dwell on setbacks (and neither has anything to be ashamed about). If anything, Jason’s loss motivates Andrew to be at his best (and he’ll need to be to beat Franco).

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Moloney-Franco was a grueling contest, but the battle-tested Texan rallied during the final three rounds.

I thought their first bout was hotly contested and view it as one of the better scraps of 2020. World-class skill, technique and heart were on display from both junior bantamweights. Moloney started fast and was right there with Franco through eight rounds and then the Texan kicked it up a notch and began to take over the fight. Moloney looked fatigued by Round 9, he was cut in Round 10, dropped in Round 11, but dug deep and emptied his tank in Round 12.

I think to avoid damage and a late-rounds fade, Moloney should be a little more relaxed and settled during the early rounds. In June, he was all keyed up for his U.S. debut. He started the fight with the kind of nervous energy that first-time title challenger normally displays on the big stage. Franco, on the other hand, was cool and collected, content to pace himself, block punches, take Moloney’s measure and conserve his energy for the second half of the fight.

That’s what Moloney needs to do. He needs to be relaxed and economical with his punch output. He should keep the fight at a distance and midrange, at least during the first half, and he needs to move a little more than he did in the first bout. His key punches should be the jab from the outside, the hook and body shots from midrange. I thought Moloney was susceptible to Franco’s uppercuts and body attack whenever they exchanged in close, so he should try to avoid the infighting early in the fight. (Later in the fight, when he steps up his output and aggression, he needs to be ready to neutralize/block/counter Franco’s uppercuts and body shots.)

Moloney should also be prepared to close the fight strong. (Franco will be.)

In a nutshell, Moloney should be prepared for another hard 12-round fight but box smarter (by beating Franco to the punch and not making it too physical) in the early going so he can press harder down the stretch.

It’s still an even matchup, which means he can win it with the right game plan.

 

ESTRADA-SOR RUNGVISAI III?

Hey Dougie,

First time writing in. Love the mailbag.

I saw the WBC ordered SSR-Estrada III. Is this going to derail the Estrada-Choc rematch we’ve all been wanting? Why the WBC gotta get in the way of what boxing fans deserve? What are your thoughts on Jerwin Ancajas. He’s been IBF champ for the last 4 years and has made 8 title defenses, according to Boxrec, and has yet to mix it up with any of the four horseman. What gives? A few months ago, he said he wants to unify but, since he’s under Top Rank, how feasible is that?

Lastly, is there a real chance we’ll never see Canelo at middleweight again? I can’t see why he’d kill himself to make that weight to fight GGG or Charlo knowing they’d move up to fight him. – Jonathan

I don’t think Canelo kills himself to make 160 pounds but there’s no doubt that he trains more comfortably if he’s fighting at 168 pounds, and he’s probably stronger at super middleweight. So, my guess is that he’ll fight at 168 pounds for his next bout or two but if there’s a big enough fight to be made at middleweight – such as a showdown with Jermall Charlo – he’ll be willing to drop back down to 160.

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Gallo clocks SSR durign their rematch. Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/ Getty Images

I saw the WBC ordered SSR-Estrada III. Was anybody clamoring for a third Estrada-Sor Rungvisai bout after the Rat King’s Bizarro World strategy of fighting right-handed for the first eight or nine rounds in the somewhat disappointing rematch? Estrada took the orthodox version of Sor Rungvisai to school despite the close official scorecards, and as much as enjoy and respect the Thai badass, he really hasn’t done much since that loss (no, I wasn’t impressed with his decision over former beltholder Amnat Ruenroeng in a 10-round junior featherweight contest). The fight to be made at 115 pounds is Estrada-Gonzalez II. El Gallo is the Ring Magazine/WBC champ and on most pound-for-pound lists and Chocolatito, a future hall of famer, is the front-runner for Comeback of the Year with his WBA belt-winning performance against Kal Yafai and his recent title defense. The time is now for them to share the ring again. It’s madness to delay it.

Is this going to derail the Estrada-Choc rematch we’ve all been wanting?

The only way it will derail it is if Estrada loses to Sor Rungvisai (which isn’t out of the realm of possibility). Otherwise, it’s just going to push it back on the 2021 calendar, which sucks, but let’s face it, we’re all used to sanctioning body mandatories delaying the fights we want to see. After Artur Beterbiev beat Oleksandr Gvozdyk, we wanted a futher-unification showdown between Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol, but no, we’ve got to talk about Beterbiev vs. Meng Fanlong (good grief!), because the undeserving Chinese boxer is the IBF mandatory. Tyson Fury smashes Deontay Wilder for the Ring Magazine and WBC heavyweight titles, the contracted third bout goes to “Bolivan” (as Mike Tyson would say) so, of course, we all clamor for Fury vs. Anthony Joshua for all the marbles at heavyweight, but nooooooooooooooo…. we’ve got to wait for Joshua vs. Kubrat Pulev, because the Cobra is the IBF’s mandatory, and next year we might have to sit through AJ vs. Aleksandr Usyk because the former cruiserweight king is the WBO mandatory. Teofimo Lopez upsets Vasiliy Lomachenko for all (or most) of the lightweight titles and the boxing world salivates at the thought of him defending those belts and the Ring title against the likes of Gervonta Davis, Ryan Garcia and Devin Haney, but we all know his next fight (and possibly his last at 135 pounds) will be an IBF mandatory vs. George Kambosos Jr. (no disrespect to the “Ferocious One” from Down Under).

Why the WBC gotta get in the way of what boxing fans deserve? It’s not just the WBC, as my examples of sanctioning body “mis-mandatories” shows. In fact, the WBC is probably the only sanctioning organization that tries not to get in the way of unification bouts, but its also got an obligation to its former beltholders and No. 1 contenders. That’s fine for them and that particular fighter but sucks for fans when it prevents or delays us from getting the fights we want.

What are your thoughts on Jerwin Ancajas. I think he’s a solid pro, definitely world class (and well traveled), but he resides in one of boxing’s deepest divisions, so I view him as the “weak link” among 115-pound titleholders.

He’s been IBF champ for the last 4 years and has made 8 title defenses, according to Boxrec, and has yet to mix it up with any of the four horseman. What gives? Boxing politics, bro. Ancajas is with Top Rank (and MP Promotions), the other top junior bantamweights aren’t. Estrada and Sor Rungvisai are with Sir Eddie. Chocolatito is angling for the Estrada rematch. WBO beltholder Kazuto Ioka just finalized a Japanese mega-fight with three-division titleholder Kosei Tanaka for New Years Eve. Sucks for Jerwin, but none of the “Super Flies” are thinking about him.

A few months ago, he said he wants to unify but, since he’s under Top Rank, how feasible is that? It’s not for the time being, unless he’s talking about the winner of Franco-Moloney II (who will hold the WBA’s “regular” 115-pound belt).

 

POUND FOR POUND RANKINGS

Hello Doug,

Hope you and your family are keeping well.

I know P4P is a bit of fun and can be debated endlessly but it’s something I’ve always liked.

I’m glad to see Josh Taylor entering the rankings, however the glaring omission here to me is Tyson Fury. I really don’t like how heavies are generally omitted from these rankings, or the theory that P4P is a ranking system for the lower weights.

For me, P4P should be based on relative body of work and current ability, with a bias on the former (in order to allow for the odd underperformance).

For Fury he has four fights that warrant his inclusion.

1) How easily he dealt with Chisora in their 2014 rematch.

2) Beating Wlad in Germany who had at that stage perfected his craft, was the universally recognised undisputed champion and on an 11 year winning streak.

3) The disputed draw with Wilder after a 3 year championship level exodus and with all the issues he had.

4) Annihilating Wilder in the rematch.

As for currently ability – the Wilder performance suggests he is at the peak of his powers.

Compare that against the likes of Spence who is rated 5, despite the highlights of his resume being wins over a damaged post-GGG Brook, blown up Garcia and SD over a high level gatekeeper in Porter. Current ability is unknown following the car crash but we’ll known more on that next month.

Sure he’s passed the eye test, but isn’t P4P (and particularly a top 5 ranking) better reserved for what is proven at the highest level? Looking back, do you think Broner was rushed into the Top 10 a few years back? Do you feel he wasted his ability, or was he just overrated?

As for the rest of the list, I think it can be generally argued any way, including the addition of Tank Davis.

That’s all from me. Cheers. – JS

Davis is an exceptional talent, but also a hot-and-cold performer who basically has two victories worth mentioning – the stoppages of Leo Santa Cruz and Jose Pedraza. If he can hold the form he exhibited vs. Santa Cruz and defeat one of the top 130-pound fighters (or Lomachenko) or one of the best lightweights, I think he’ll have a much better case for cracking The Ring’s pound-for-pound rankings.

I definitely believe Adrien Broner was rushed onto into the P4P top 10. I said it numerous times in this mailbag column. I don’t the boxing world did him any favors by kissing his ass the way so many did and setting the bar that high at that young age and relatively early in his pro career. I think Broner’s talent is real and I don’t think he was overrated at junior lightweight and lightweight, he just wasn’t ready to jump straight to welterweight and it didn’t take long for him to lose his focus.

Regarding Fury’s inclusion in the Ring’s P4P rankings, it’s funny to me that you list his rematch win over Derek Chisora, who is a real gatekeeper, as one of the performances that help merit his inclusion while dismissing Shawn Porter as a “high-level gatekeeper” in order to discredit Errol Spence’s placement in the top 10. You can argue Spence’s ranking simply by saying the only legit top-10 welterweights he’s faces are Brook, Porter and maybe Lamont Peterson (who was getting long in the tooth when they fought). But come on, man, don’t act like Porter wasn’t/isn’t a top-five welterweight. The man was the WBC welterweight titleholder going into that fight. That was an IBF/WBC title-unification bout that Spence won. Yeah, it was hotly contested and close, but Porter’s no joke. Take a look at his record.

And then take a close look at Fury’s record. There’s no doubt that the big man can box and fight his ass off. He’s the best ring general of the heavyweights, but let’s not pretend the glamor division is one of the deeper weight classes of the sport. It isn’t. The two champs that Fury beat were quality. Klitschko is a first-ballot hall of famer. Wilder was (and maybe still is) the most dangerous of the heavyweights. But the so-called contenders Fury has defeated are a mediocre bunch at best. The only opponents worth mentioning apart from Wladimir and Wilder is Chisora, who is rugged and battled-tested but someone who generally loses to world-class opposition, and maybe Otto Wallin, who was tough and talented but also untested.

But listen, don’t take any of this the wrong way. If you rate Fury among the best boxers in the world, I won’t argue with you. He’s No. 2 on BoxRec.com, No. 5 in the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board’s list, and No. 8 with ESPN.com and the BWAA. So, it looks like most folks agree with you.

It’s not like The Ring doesn’t recognize that Fury’s special. His upsets have made him Fighter of the Year and a two-time Ring champion. His character to pull himself out of depression and his willingness to travel to the U.S. to face Wilder the for their first fight earned him Most Inspirational and Comeback of the Year awards (not to mention Round of the Year).

Let’s see who he fights in December, note how he looks, and then keep our fingers crossed that the massive showdown with Joshua can be made next year. The winner of that one will surely crash The Ring P4P.

 

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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