Dougie’s Monday Mailbag (Povetkin KOs Whyte, Taylor-Persoon 2, Smith stops Alvarez)

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WHYTE-POVETKIN OUT-DID TAYLOR-PERSOON 2

Dear Dougie,

I hope you are well.

As you may remember from previous mailbags, I was really excited about the Taylor-Persoon rematch and it delivered, however… How can you talk about anything other than the main event?

Whyte was in full control and seemingly on the way to proving that it was a risk worth taking, then old Alex demonstrates the adage about one punch etc.

It was, in fairness, a moment of sloppiness from Whyte: he slipped then sent out a throwaway cross, meanwhile Povetkin was already a mile away, after his own masterful slip, and well on his way to loading up that perfect uppercut. Perhaps these are the mistakes that someone with such a long amateur career can use to punish a relatively less experienced boxer?

Poor old Dillian though. 1000 days on WBC ice and then that. We should all praise him because he goes about his career in a fan pleasing manner. If only the people in charge of the WBC acted in a similar way. Fighters like Whyte get the brush off whilst Canelo (I’m not a hater) gets a shot, against a relative chump, for a strap at a weight where he’s arguably a tourist.

Hopefully, Whyte is okay and able to take advantage of his rematch clause.

The result might make an undisputed heavyweight fight in early 2021 easier to make. But then again this is boxing… I love it all the same. Keep safe everyone. – Chris, UK

Well, Tyson Fury need only focus his attention on the third bout with Deontay Wilder and not worry about any pending WBC mandatory for the time being; and if numero tres can’t be made by the end of the year due to COVID-19 concerns, maybe the Bronze Bomber/PBC will be willing to step aside for Fury-Joshua to happen in 2021 (after AJ handles his mandatory with Kubrat Pulev). We’ll see, but the countdown for Fury-Joshua seems more imminent now that one of the potential roadblocks has been temporarily removed.

In the meantime, it’s looks like Whyte will enact his rematch clause for return match with Povetkin probably some time in December. It should come as no surprise that Whyte is willing to roll the dice to regain his status in the glamor division.

As you may remember from previous mailbags, I was really excited about the Taylor-Persoon rematch and it delivered, however… How can you talk about anything other than the main event? It’s the top story of the weekend – and one of the more significant happenings of 2020 – but I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Taylor-Persoon rematch and, later on, the Joe Smith’s upset of Eleider Alvarez. Quality matchups yield quality entertainment.

Whyte was in full control and seemingly on the way to proving that it was a risk worth taking, then old Alex demonstrates the adage about one punch etc. Bro, Whyte had an excellent Round 4 and then he got clipped in Round 5. Rounds 1-3, he was soundly outworked by Povetkin.

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Dillian Whyte is out before he hits the canvas from a left uppercut. Picture By Mark Robinson

It was, in fairness, a moment of sloppiness from Whyte: he slipped then sent out a throwaway cross, meanwhile Povetkin was already a mile away, after his own masterful slip, and well on his way to loading up that perfect uppercut. Hey man, you know the Russians love to play chess, right? They’ve excelled at that game for generations, and Povetkin is like a grandmaster in boxing. He started tapping Whyte with a short left to the body in Round 1, and he continued this tactic every time they were in close. (I thought the left to the body would be one of Whyte’s keys to victory, but what do I know.) At the start of Round 5, he camouflaged a left to the body (at least that’s what I THINK he was doing) that he turned into a Burevestnik missile of a left uppercut. Povetkin, one step ahead of Whyte even when he fell behind on the scorecards due to the two knockdowns in Round 4, set it up brilliantly. Whyte had begun to anticipate the left to the body, but he was wide open for a left uppercut. I was talking to Associate Editor Tom Gray about the thrilling one-hitter-quitter, and Tom opined that Povetkin was the only heavyweight rated in Ring’s top 10 who could pull off such a move. I agreed.

Perhaps these are the mistakes that someone with such a long amateur career can use to punish a relatively less experienced boxer? Whyte is as battle-tested as any top heavyweight, but his experience isn’t on Povetkin’s level. Povetkin has more world-class amateur and professional experience than any other active heavyweight.

Poor old Dillian though. 1000 days on WBC ice and then that. We should all praise him because he goes about his career in a fan pleasing manner. We should credit him for taking on worthy opponents and for not sitting on his WBC mandatory, but you know how #salty and nasty hardcore fans can be. Even with a rematch victory over Povetkin, it might take another 1,000 days for Whyte to reposition himself for a shot at one of the major titles. Then again, the KO loss and repeat loss or a shaky rematch win over Povetkin might convince the elite heavyweights that he’s not that much of a threat, and he may be granted a title shot sooner rather than later. Boxing is f__king crazy.

If only the people in charge of the WBC acted in a similar way. Fighters like Whyte get the brush off whilst Canelo (I’m not a hater) gets a shot, against a relative chump, for a strap at a weight where he’s arguably a tourist. Oh come on man, that’s a WBC-proposed matchup that is not likely to happen (DAZN is reportedly not interested). It’s wishful thinking on their part. Why give Canelo s__t for that? Are you saying he ISN’T worthy of fighting for the WBC’s vacant 168-pound belt? Is it his fault David Benavidez couldn’t make super middleweight? Is it his fault that the WBC rates Anvi Yildirim as their mandatory/No. 1 contender?

 

POW-VETKIN POWER

Hi Dougie, I hope this message finds you and your family well rested after your summer break.

It’s one of the HW division’s most often heard cliches “this is boxing and it only takes 1 punch” but Alexander Povetkin v Dillian Whyte – Wow..! That uppercut he delivered on Whyte’s chin proved the cliche correct and will probably be in every KO highlight reel for the next 50 years, such was the sweetness of it. I tried to think of a comparable fight where someone has been so far on top of the match only to suddenly become undone with a thunderbolt punch out of nowhere. The best I could muster was Herol “Bomber” Graham dominating but being brutally KO’d out of the blue by Julian Jackson.

So, with that shock of a result, how plausible does it seem that AJ v Fury can happen by next Summer at the latest?

Very few boxers ever really recover from such a devastating KO but there is a rematch clause between the 2.

How do you see that fight going if it gets made? Do you think Whyte gains revenge?

Congratulations to Katie Taylor after her win v Delfine Persoon. I had Taylor win the last 2 rounds and as such win the fight by 2 rounds. Persoon should count herself unlucky tho: win the final round and she would have earned a majority draw. I thought Taylor boxed better than in the 1st fight which I had her lose by 2 rounds – despite being controversially awarded the win. It was yet again a massive effort by both fighters for which they should be applauded. I can’t help but think tho that 3-minute rounds would benefit Persoon massively. That girl is a punching machine and just never lets up.

Do you think there is a case for female championship bouts to be made 3 mins rounds?

Love the mailbag each week. Kind regards. – Raymond, Tranent Scotland

Thanks, Raymond.

Of course, there’s a case for 3-minute rounds in women’s boxing. If high-profile female fighters, promoters and fans push for it enough, I’m sure the various commissions will be willing to extend the rounds to 3 minutes for non-title bouts, and, eventually, the sanctioning bodies will come around. However, I think it was Cecilia Braekhus who Tweeted that getting paid equal to what male boxers make is a higher priority for most women boxers than how long the rounds are. I’m probably in the minority, but I don’t have a problem with 2-minutes rounds. They make for a faster pace. Sometimes I wish certain men’s boxing matches had 2-minute rounds.

It’s one of the HW division’s most often heard cliches “this is boxing and it only takes 1 punch” but Alexander Povetkin v Dillian Whyte – Wow..! Remember Lou Savarese? The 1990s contender who took on all-comers, including HOFers George Foreman, Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield, had an up-and-down career until his retirement in 2003. Sometimes his lost when he was supposed to win, sometimes he won when he was supposed to lose. I recall a post-fight interview he did on HBO (but I can’t remember who he fought or if he won or lost) and he said something like “heavyweights are always one punch away from a KO and one win away from being right back in the mix.” And he was right. Povetkin was off the board coming into Saturday’s showdown (although hardcore fans and insiders gave him a shot of pulling the upset), now he’s back in the mix and Whyte is, at least temporarily, off the board. That’s boxing, but it’s especially Heavyweight Boxing.

That uppercut he delivered on Whyte’s chin proved the cliche correct and will probably be in every KO highlight reel for the next 50 years, such was the sweetness of it. That punch took my breath away and put me into a dream state. It made me think of all-time classic one-hitter-quitters such as Jersey Joe Walcott’s seventh-round KO of Ezzard Charles in their third bout. The “old man” just wasn’t supposed to win like that.

Barkley Hearns exchange RING - Dougie’s Monday Mailbag (Povetkin KOs Whyte, Taylor-Persoon 2, Smith stops Alvarez)

The Blade loads up on The Hitman. Photo from THE RING archive

I tried to think of a comparable fight where someone has been so far on top of the match only to suddenly become undone with a thunderbolt punch out of nowhere. The best I could muster was Herol “Bomber” Graham dominating but being brutally KO’d out of the blue by Julian Jackson. That’s a good one. How about Iran Barkley’s third-round KO of Thomas Hearns? The Hitman was beating the s__t out of The Blade until the Bronx badass landed that right hand that turned everything around. Or how about Hasim Rahman’s right-hand blasting of Lennox Lewis in South Africa? Rock pulled the hat trick in the same round that Povetkin did vs. Whyte. Lewis seemed well in control for four rounds.

So, with that shock of a result, how plausible does it seem that AJ v Fury can happen by next Summer at the latest? One possible roadblock has been removed, but there’s still the matter of Fury’s contracted third bout with Wilder and Joshua’s IBF mandatory defense against Pulev. As we’ve been reminded, there are no guarantees in Heavyweight Boxing. If those fights happen, it’s not out of the realm of reality for Wilder and Pulev to score upset KOs. Time will tell.

Very few boxers ever really recover from such a devastating KO but there is a rematch clause between the 2. I don’t know about that. I think it’s more mental than physical. If the fighter is mentally strong and committed to the sport, I think he or she can bounce back. The aforementioned Jackson, Barkley, Hearns, Lewis and Rahman all rebounded and enjoyed success after suffering devastating KOs. I know Hearns and Lewis are great fighters, but I’ve seen club-, gatekeeper- and fringe contender-level boxers come back from one-hitter-quitter KOs. Whyte’s a world-class operator, who’s obviously got big stones. He can do it. And it looks like he’s enacting the rematch clause. Good for him.

How do you see that fight going if it gets made? Do you think Whyte gains revenge? I can envision Whyte winning a decision or scoring a late stoppage, but I wouldn’t be shocked or even surprised if Povetkin has his number. Would you?

Congratulations to Katie Taylor after her win v Delfine Persoon. Congrats to BOTH women. They are warriors.

taylor persoon2 082220 mr ftrjpg 1mxs2q7oj8gri1bswkz3820lbj 300x169 - Dougie’s Monday Mailbag (Povetkin KOs Whyte, Taylor-Persoon 2, Smith stops Alvarez)I had Taylor win the last 2 rounds and as such win the fight by 2 rounds. Those last two rounds were close. Taylor was tiring and couldn’t keep Persoon off of her (although I thought Persoon smothered her punches in these rounds and often landed on Taylor’s forearms and gloves). Persoon had a hell of a Round 8. Credit to Taylor for coming back from that round in the final six minutes.

Persoon should count herself unlucky tho: win the final round and she would have earned a majority draw. She seems to have accepted the rematch loss a lot better than Taylor’s #Salty Society, who seem to blame her for Victor Loughlin’s 98-93 scorecard and have no problem misplacing their hate and frustration for Eddie Hearn and the Sky Sports broadcast team on the brave shoulders of the undisputed lightweight champ.

I thought Taylor boxed better than in the 1st fight which I had her lose by 2 rounds – despite being controversially awarded the win. I thought she edged both fights, but her performance in the rematch was more polished. But she’s never going to win comfortably vs. Persoon.

 

WILD WEEKEND, REWATCHING OLDIES BUT GOODIES

Hi Dougie,

A lot to get off my chest, will try and keep it short:

– Dillian Whyte – not one of my favourites, gotta respect him though. He was the most deserving challenger for Fury/Joshua (apart from obviously them fighting each other). He must be devastated and I fear that he will never get a title shot now. IMO he shouldn’t be dropped down too far in the rankings, maybe fifth behind Fury, Wilder, Joshua and Povetkin. Povetkin proved a few things, including why (especially with heavyweights) you always wait for the fat lady to sing and that his top level experience and amateur career helped him deal with adversity. With his past transgressions, I hope he doesn’t get a shot, but he brings money and name recognition, and would probably be seen as beatable by a long armed fighter such as Fury or Wilder.

– Joe Smith – I really like the guy, epitome of blue collar/working class. I’ve followed him since he smoked Fonfara. The Alvarez fight was excellent and he took Alvarez’ heart. I do feel that Alvarez could possibly have beaten the count, glad he didn’t, he had given more than enough of himself. Where do you see Smith going now? He’s a reasonably big name, so hopefully he gets a shot. I’d have him at third, behind Bivol and Beterbiev, neither of whom I can see him beating, but would see him as a very live chance with Kovalev and anyone else ranked below.

– Ward/Gatti 1 – Thanks for the supplement, has got me revisiting these classics. One down, two to go and then on to the Robinson wars.. Did you agree with the scoring of the first Ward/Gatti war? I felt that for long stretched, Gatti was doing the better boxing, but the knockdown and low blow deduction cost him dearly. The low blow deduction was strange, I didn’t see much warning afterwards, yet Gatti didn’t stop straying low (occasionally).

– RJJ – Having re-watched the trilogy, I cannot see fight one as controversial, fight two was a KO and fight three seemed to me to be two fighters unwilling/unable/scared to open up. When RJJ opened up he was taking over, then went back into posing off (we just needed Ravishing Rick Rude to join the fun). Thoughts on the RJJ who smoked Griffin vs Tarver? Whilst Tarver will always be hassle for RJJ, I just see that a prime version of RJJ would eventually handle him like he did with Harmon, Woods, McCullum et al.

– RJJ-Calzaghe. I know RJJ was past it at this point, but was coming off a good win over an undersized Trinidad, but this to me was one of Joe’s best performances. He was so good at taking away the other fighter’s strengths after a feeling out stage. IMO – Joe is the best Super Middle of all time (longevity, performances, etc) and would give any light heavy in history problems. I know you’ve got a prime RJJ over Joe (as do I), but how close would it be?

Didn’t manage to keep it short, but we’ve now got some boxing back and I’ve been busy on Youtube for six months.

Stay safe. – James Linley

Um, yeah, a 540-word email is definitely not “short,” James. LOL. But it’s all good. I’m longwinded, too.

The mythical matchup of the prime super middleweight versions of Jones and Calzaghe would be very competition and close on the scorecards if Joe could avoid getting clipped in the early rounds (it’s worth noting that he was caught by surprise by a very faded light heavyweight version of RJ, but that wasn’t the prime 168-pound version of Calzaghe). Calzaghe’s nimble footwork, southpaw stance and fast, busy hands would trouble Jones in my opinion. But I think Jones would set traps, find his spots and land the harder, cleaner blows throughout.  

– Dillian Whyte – not one of my favourites, gotta respect him though. He was the most deserving challenger for Fury/Joshua (apart from obviously them fighting each other). Not anymore, but I still respect him for not sitting on his mandatory. It’s nice to know that other fans, even those who don’t like his personality, still respect him.

He must be devastated and I fear that he will never get a title shot now. I think he will, but he might have to wait a year or two, and he’s going to have to win the Povetkin rematch and put together another win streak.

IMO he shouldn’t be dropped down too far in the rankings, maybe fifth behind Fury, Wilder, Joshua and Povetkin. That sounds about right.

Povetkin proved a few things, including why (especially with heavyweights) you always wait for the fat lady to sing and that his top level experience and amateur career helped him deal with adversity. You can never count out a tough, experienced veteran with the amateur pedigree that Povetkin possesses.

With his past transgressions, I hope he doesn’t get a shot, but he brings money and name recognition, and would probably be seen as beatable by a long armed fighter such as Fury or Wilder. I would favor those two to beat the Russian Czar, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he sparked Wilder. You bring up Povie’s, ahem, “transgressions” (very diplomatic way to put it). It’s amazing how many hardcore boxing heads that have branded Canelo with a Scarlet “PED” and want Jarrell Miller to be banned for life are now MADLY IN LOVE with Povetkin. LOL.  

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Smith looked comfortable and focused from the get go. His heavy hands bothered Alvarez. Here, in this Mikey Williams pic, Alvarez feels the effects of both.

– Joe Smith – I really like the guy, epitome of blue collar/working class. He’s also the epitome of a legitimate light heavyweight contender. He’s probably going to be rated in The Ring top five following the Alvarez stoppage. But, yeah, it’s easy to root for Joe. I’m not even mad at him for retiring my main man, the last great fighter, The Immortal B-Hop.

The Alvarez fight was excellent and he took Alvarez’ heart. He did. You’re just tellin’ the truth.

I do feel that Alvarez could possibly have beaten the count, glad he didn’t, he had given more than enough of himself. He had NO answer for Smith’s measured pressure and volume punching, and improved technique. Smith turned The Storm into a light drizzle.

Where do you see Smith going now? Well, the Alvarez fight was a WBO title-elimination bout, so my guess is that he’s going to face either Umar Salamov or Maxim Vlasov (the WBO’s Nos. 1 and 2 contenders; Smith is currently No. 3) for the belt that Canelo vacated after stopping Sergey Kovalev. Salamov, who is just 26, has talent but he’s still wet behind the ears. Vlasov, who had a decent run at cruiserweight, is more experienced, but I still I favor Smith over both Russians. If Smith’s team doesn’t want to go the mandatory route, they could wait around for a shot at unified titleholder (and Ring No. 1-rated) Artur Beterbiev. I’m sure Top Rank and ESPN would have no problem making that fight and would pay Smith well for the challenge. I’d be into that matchup.

He’s a reasonably big name, so hopefully he gets a shot. He will.

I’d have him at third, behind Bivol and Beterbiev, neither of whom I can see him beating, but would see him as a very live chance with Kovalev and anyone else ranked below. I think he’ll land at either No. 3 or No. 4 (where Alvarez was rated) in The Ring’s 175-pound rankings. I can envision Smith cold cocking Kovalev, but I can also envision the Russian veteran jabbing the s__t out of Smith for 12 rounds. I’d be into THAT matchup.

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Gatti vs. Robinson (Photo: Al Bello)

– Ward/Gatti 1 – Thanks for the Special Issue, has got me revisiting these classics. One down, two to go and then on to the Robinson wars. Those back-to-back 10-round shootouts with Robinson were sensational. I thought they totally used up Gatti and expected him to retire after 1998 (a year that saw him go 0-3 vs. Angel Manfredy and Robinson). But Gatti’s heart, Main Events’ matchmaking and promotion, and HBO’s support brought him back and delivered that thrilling trilogy and a solid run after. Gatti and HBO’s Boxing After Dark series made A LOT of hardcore boxing fans.

Did you agree with the scoring of the first Ward/Gatti war? Yes, I did. I had Irish Micky winning by one point.

I felt that for long stretches, Gatti was doing the better boxing, but the knockdown and low blow deduction cost him dearly. They could have stopped it during or immediately after that incredible Round 9. Nobody would have complained.

The low blow deduction was strange, I didn’t see much warning afterwards, yet Gatti didn’t stop straying low (occasionally). Gatti always swung for the fences. He’s wasn’t a marksman. And the late referee Frank Cappuccino was a strange official, but it was often fun to listen to him grumble at the fighters.

– RJJ – Having re-watched the trilogy, I cannot see fight one as controversial, fight two was a KO and fight three seemed to me to be two fighters unwilling/unable/scared to open up. Yeah? So what’s your point?

When RJJ opened up he was taking over, then went back into posing off (we just needed Ravishing Rick Rude to join the fun). Thoughts on the RJJ who smoked Griffin vs Tarver? That version of Jones was dangerous because he was hell bent on scoring a KO as soon as possible but he was also extremely vulnerable due to that zeal. I think Tarver would have clipped him early.

Whilst Tarver will always be hassle for RJJ, I just see that a prime version of RJJ would eventually handle him like he did with Harmon, Woods, McCullum et al. Tarver was a hell of a lot better (and more dangerous) than Harmon, Woods and the 40-year-old light heavyweight version of Mike McCallum.

 

THIS IS WHY I LOVE BOXING

Hi Dougie,

Povetkin knocking Whyte out after being in the floor himself, is why I love boxing!

Where do they both go from here?

Also do you think the post fight PED tests might be a factor in any future plans?

Do you see Joe Smith perhaps getting a shot at Canelo?

What did you make of Porters win? I’d love to see him cross the street to fight Bud.

I was pleased to hear KingPin Johnson had a win. I remember he fought here in Australia years ago and knocked out Solomon Haumono. His right hand when it connects is decent.

Also, who do you think is the most accomplished heavyweight of the 80s? Keeping in mind Holmes’ win over Norton was in the 70s and Tyson’s loss to Douglas was in 1990. After those two, who would be third? Spinks?

Thanks mate. Regards – Will

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Holmes vs. Withersppon. Photo from The Ring archive

I’ll go with Holmes at No. 1. He went 16-3 during the 1980s, defending his lineal title against the following undefeated young bucks – Gerry Cooney, Tim Witherspoon, Carl Williams, Renaldo Snipes, Marvis Frazier and David Bey. His losses were to Tyson (past his prime and after a layoff) and Spinks (which were controversial).

Tyson is No. 2. He was undefeated and amazing during the ’80s, unifying the three major belts and beating an undefeated Tony Tucker, a dangerous Pinklon Thomas and Olympic gold medalist Tyrell Biggs.

And I’ll go with Witherspoon at No. 3 because of his bold stand vs. the 1983 version of Holmes and his victories over talented and undefeated Tony Tubbs, Greg Page, Frank Bruno (in England), Snipes and “Quick” Tillis.

Povetkin knocking Whyte out after being in the floor himself, is why I love boxing! Same here!

Where do they both go from here? A rematch most likely.

Also do you think the post fight PED tests might be a factor in any future plans? Geez, I really hope not, but no, I’m gonna think positively and assume both men were clean for this fight.

Do you see Joe Smith perhaps getting a shot at Canelo? No.

What did you make of Porter’s win? I’d love to see him cross the street to fight Bud. I thought Porter looked sharp and poised vs. an tough unknown. Crawford-Porter is one of the best matchups that can be made at 147 pounds.

I was pleased to hear KingPin Johnson had a win. I remember he fought here in Australia years ago and knocked out Solomon Haumono. His right hand when it connects is decent. His jab is his best punch. His durability and willingness to travel is what makes him the busiest heavyweight gatekeeper in boxing.

 

 

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 every Sunday.

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