Vergil Ortiz vs Maurice Hooker Scorecard by Gold

scorecard by GOLD



Vergil Ortiz Jr

Maurice Hooker

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Gold's picture

Good fight. Ortiz can develop into a very good fighter but I don't know if he can be a great one. With his style his defense and head movement leave something to be desired, being that aggressive and hittable someone will have his number. He has an outside chance but he doesn't really have a good shot versus Crawford.

Yeah, I don't think he beats Crawford right now but it'd be a really fun fight. Despite unifying 140 Ortiz would be his best opponent more than likely. Crawford hasn't fought great competition even if it is no fault of his own.

Gold's picture

Possibly, I don't know how much stock in Hooker as an opponent or what to make of Ortiz's opposition generally. It's kind of similar to Crawford's in a way at a lower level, he's beat a lot of B-level contenders at each level he's moved up but it goes without saying it's a huge jump from guys like Herrera and Hooker to Crawford

Champion97's picture

I disagree on Ortiz, I was surprised to read your comment about his defence, but people see fights differently when they have difference expectations, Hooker has never been so inaccurate in a fight, I think Ortiz's defence is great based on this fight and his other fights, and I think he will be a great fighter, I agree he wouldn't beat Crawford now, but I think he'd give him the toughest fight of his career so far even now, I could see him being better than Crawford in a few years.

Gold's picture

I can't agree, I never have been impressed by Hooker's accuracy and he still hit Ortiz clean. Of course, Ortiz will take shots with his style but as I said someone will eventually have his number fighting like that. I don't think Crawford is the guy to fight like that either, Crawford has shown considerably more versatility than Ortiz. He's too skilled, strong, and powerful for Ortiz to have much success trying to walk in and break him down like that.

Champion97's picture

We can discuss Ortiz as a fighter, but not his defence, strange how our interpretations are so different, I've seen great head movement and blocking from him. Do you agree Ortiz has great footwork and is impressive in terms of splitting the guard? I don't think Crawford had shown more versatility than Ortiz when he was where Ortiz is now, I can't say I do or don't think Ortiz will be as good as Crawford. I don't think Crawford is too strong or powerful for Ortiz to be effective, but at this stage, I think his experience would be too much, I'd give Ortiz about as much of a shot to beat Crawford as I gave Lopez to beat Lomachenko.

Gold's picture

Ortiz is a good fighter offensively but in the Hooker fight he was prone to trading punching in combination, it gives him a chance to win versus someone like Crawford but it also means he can get knocked out. It isn't that Crawford is too strong and powerful by themselves, it's that he can apply it and counter Ortiz, win the exchanges that do happen and box much more effectively than Hooker did. Crawford has very good footwork and ring IQ so it will be hard for Ortiz to walk in as he has done with other fighters anyways. I think Lopez had a much better chance personally because the styles and abilities matched up better in favor of Lopez for reasons already mentioned.

Champion97's picture

It seems that because he's the hyped prospect, people over think the shots he takes, I thought the punch stats were a joke, he out landed Hooker fairly heavily, a lot of the shots Hooker threw were blocked, he was slipping a lot of Hooker's shots, the right hand he landed in round 4, that got Ortiz's respect, didn't land with full power because Ortiz moved with it, and Ortiz forced the fight early, look at the tempo he set, he was bound to take some shots. I can't be sure I'm not biased in Ortiz's favour, but I try to be unbiased, I didn't think this performance against Vargas was great, he has some flaws, but not many in my opinion, and head movement isn't one of them for me. I thought Ortiz's finishing was poor against Vargas, but it definitely wasn't against Hooker, and his right hand was more accurate throughout the fight, Vargas might have been more prepared for the right hand than Hooker, but I definitely think he's improving. To be more specific than experience, I think Ortiz would struggle with Crawford's angles, and although we strongly disagree on Ortiz's defence, his peekabo guard makes him a target for body shots, Hooker couldn't hurt him to the body, but Crawford definitely could, with his accuracy and method, Ortiz's footwork is phenomenal, but Crawford's is even better, that would take a lot away from Ortiz, and in terms of his pacing of the fight, Crawford would be more measured, would know when to pick up the pace. I think Ortiz would do a better job of making Crawford fight than any of Crawford's other opponents, but I don't think he could do it for the majority of the fight. It's easier in hindsight, I don't deny that Lopez used his size, but used his ring IQ at the same time, still, I think Ortiz has been more impressive than Lopez had been before he beat Lomachenko. I think Ortiz would give Crawford tue toughest fight of his career so far, I'm 50/50 on whether he'll be as good or better than Crawford when he peaks.

How impressed are you with Ortiz's jab? I could see that being a challenge for Crawford, something Robert Garcia is great at is keeping his fighters' fundamentals solid, I've noticed that with a few of his fighters, especially the hard, accurate jab that blasts through the guard.

Gold's picture

I don't think it's overthinking it, I think it is just being honest with expectations because he's supposedly fighting Crawford next, not Ugas, Thurman, etc, or a contender a tier below that. He was a big 6 or more to 1 favorite over Hooker. I didn't look at the punch stats unless they showed them in the fight and I'm forgetting, I just thought Hooker was able to land a decent amount of shots when Ortiz would trade. Ortiz was able to block more when it was on the outside but as I said I haven't been that impressed with Hooker, his jab was poor in this fight which made it easier for Ortiz to block until he got into range. You are getting at why I think he doesn't have a good chance versus Crawford, Crawford has more versatility on what he can fall back on. I think Ortiz throws a good hook but Crawford has a great one, throws it with variety and power. I think Ortiz has been more impressive as well but I think the Nakatani fight was really good for Lopez, Ortiz just doesn't have a lot of rounds. I think it is unlikely for the reason I mentioned, it is similar to Josh Taylor where eventually someone will have his number taking shots while being aggressive.

Again I think it is hard to say at this point, it looks good now but we'll see later on. I don't know if it will be or not, Ortiz is taller but has a 4 inch shorter reach (supposedly). I think Crawford's variety will keep it in check but he likes to trade, so that will likely be a way Ortiz can initiate his engagements.

Champion97's picture

Supposedly? I was under the impression the talk about a Crawford fight was hypothetical, you probably know something I don't. Still, he's shown great defence in other fights. I saw Hooker miss a lot, he landed more shots than he would have if Ortiz had been more negative and cautious, but that's not surprising. I agree he has more to fall back on, I just think experience is the difference based on how impressed I am by Ortiz. Variety specific to the hook? Do you mean variation on the distance and angle on the shot? That's a good point about rounds, he'll get good sparring, probably already sparred 12 rounds, but it's not the same as fighting.

I think he has a better jab than Haney and Garcia, Hooker had a 10 inch reach advantage, I think the battle of the jabs was more about Ortiz's jab and ability to cut the distance than Hooker's jab being poor, he doesn't have a great jab, Hooker, but he has a good enough jab that he can use his reach to a degree, and Ortiz's reach advantage wasn't a problem at all. Crawford likes to trade? Definitely, he's been in high action fights considering how little damage he's taken. I agree Crawford has better variety, I think Ortiz's head movement would make Crawford think, but Crawford would have the timing and method to negate it, would make Ortiz waste his head movement, if that makes sense.

Gold's picture

Yeah, it's hypothetical, I'm talking if the hypothetical situation is true. I think it is easier to do versus guys who he can bulldoze, Hooker did miss but he did connect as well, it was a high-tempo fight in spots. Yes, we have seen how he can vary it, the Brook fight was a good example as well.

Hooker has a reach advantage over everyone but he doesn't really know how to use it, he's an entertaining guy to watch but he's not a technician. Crawford has traded more at 147, he's got KOs that way but he's more hittable now. I hope the fight does happen if we aren't getting any other interesting fight for Crawford, Josesito Lopez is a trash fight, that cannot happen.

Champion97's picture

One of us must have misinterpreted the fight, we differ too much on Ortiz's defence to really discuss that aspect.

I agree on that, he doesn't need a gap to land the right hook, can land it at mid range, and against Brook, he landed a long hook, the set up was great, the timing, positioning, accuracy were perfect, I think Brook knew where Crawford's front foot was, was prepared for the left hand, leaned slightly to his left as he threw the right hand, but Crawford drew him towards the hook, I don't think it was a big mistake from Brook, Crawford wasn't in the usual position to land the right hook. I don't understand how people thought that was a jab, I thought it was an obvious hook.

I don't agree at all that he doesn't know how to use it, I don't think that's the problem, I think he doesn't use it well overall because his reach doesn't bode well with his style, he doesn't have the patience to make the most of his reach, and he chooses to fight, I'm not saying it's harder to deal with Hooker's 10 inch advantage than Crawford's 4 inch reach advantage if you're Ortiz, like with Mikey, he was able to deal with Easter's longer reach advantage, but not Spence's, however, Hooker is not a fighter who doesn't have anything to fall back on, I think he's a fighter who's been trained to use his reach, so Ortiz negating his reach advantage as early as he did was impressive. Lopez against Crawford? That's not a trash fight man, not unless Lopez gets old overnight, I know he's old, so are Pacquiao, Donaire etc, I'm not saying he's on their level or has a good shot to beat Crawford, but that's not a trash fight by any means, have you seen his last 2 fights? How well is done since training with Garcia is very impressive. Nonetheless, I agree Crawford vs Lopez isn't particularly interesting, and I hope we see Crawford in a big fight.

Gold's picture

I can rewatch it this weekend, I think part of the difference may be the bar we are judging him by but it seems like you think he is at a very high level now so perhaps that isn't right.

I think he doesn't know how to use it because his style is what he's naturally good at doing, it's like how people said Paul Williams should have used his length and boxed like Hearns, that just wasn't his game. I don't think Hooker is good at using his reach, his career has shown that, he isn't able to effectively use his jab or set up counters on the outside. I heard Josesito Lopez was a possible option for Crawford, I haven't seen his last two fights but they weren't versus top contender opposition so it's difficult to take a lot from that. The Thurman fight shows why Lopez couldn't beat Crawford, Crawford could move on him easily and counter him coming in as Thurman did but at a better level. I would be surprised if Lopez could go the distance versus Crawford.

Champion97's picture

Only if you want to man, I suppose it was a good fight.

I agree on his style, that's what I said when I wrote my prediction break down, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have the ability to use it at all, I'll bet his coaches taught him to use his reach as an amateur, and as a professional, he often neglects it, but still, I've seen him use it against LesPierre and Flanagan to a degree, there are levels, a great fighter could use a 2 inch reach advantage better than he can use a 10 inch reach advantage, my only point about his reach is that Ortiz did well to close the gap and walk him down as early as he did. I agree on that assessment, I'd also be surprised if Lopez went the distance, but I wouldn't be surprised if it went to the late rounds, and I think he'd give Crawford as tough a fight as his last 3 opponents if not tougher,I think Molina had got old overnight, possibly Santana as well, but Lopez still looked great, I think he'd beat Khan and Brook, would give Kavaliauskas a tough fight, so it's not a particularly good or bad fight is what I'm saying, it's a shame Crawford isn't able to get the fights he should be, and although his working relationship with Arum is likely over, he's adamant the Spence fight won't happen. What do you think is stopping Crawford signing with Haymon? Because that seems like the key to making the fight.

Gold's picture

It could be at least partially mental, that he knows he is better at in fighting so even though it may be situationally better to try to box on the outside, he doesn't commit to it as much as he could versus guys who are better than LesPierre and Flanagan. I think Kavaliauskas is a good fight for someone like Lopez, it would be good to see Kavaliauskas in a real contender level fight to see his level, we know he beat Avanesyan but he hasn't looked great in other contender level fights and especially the Ray Robinson one. I'm sure you saw the Pacquiao vs. Crawford rumors, obviously I am putting very little stock in it given the recent history of rumored Pacquiao opponents and Crawford's history but that would be a great fight to make still. I don't think the Crawford vs. Spence fight would happen regardless if it was at PBC, it seems like a stupid personal grudge that neither wants to be the B-side or make any concessions. I still think Crawford would beat Spence, it is a very close fight but I honestly think one underrated area Crawford would have an advantage is punching power. I'll be putting in my PCOM predictions soon, by the way, before this weekend's fights.

Champion97's picture

I agree on that, fighters have a natural style, and sometimes a long reach doesn't necessarily favour that style, a coach can teach them to use it and the fighter can try to build that into their skilset, but some fighters might not have the discipline to use it. I think that's boxer vs puncher, at least to some degree, Kavaliauskas's power is his best attribute, Lopez doesn't have a good chin, but Lopez's combinations are great, varies his shots to head and body very well, his pacing and tactical discipline are great, wastes nothing, is patient, is very experienced, I think Lopez would beat Kavaliauskas, but I could see Kavaliauskas stopping him. I don't think Kavaliauskas cuts off the ring well, and he doesn't cut the distance fast enough to counter or get off before the opponent has moved to the side, he hurt Crawford, but I think Gamboa have Crawford a tougher fight. I'm not taking that seriously until the fight is confirmed because there is so much speculation about Pacquiao's next fight. That's the reason I don't think Whyte vs Wilder will happen, because they wouldn't come to an agreement, I was disappointed to hear Crawford say it will never happen. I think Crawford hits slightly harder relative to his own size, Spence's natural weight is likely 154, I think Crawford's is 140-147, so at 147, who hits harder is interesting. I think Crawford would have to accept a minority split if he fought Spence, given Spence has headlined PPV cards, is a bigger draw, but I'm not necessarily blaming him if the fight doesn't happen, because I don't know what the offer would be, I think it should be a 60/40 split.

Great, but do you have a prediction for McKenna vs Turarov?

Gold's picture

I actually don't think Spence can go above 154 viably, but I think he could be the best at 154. I think he is kind of between 147 and 154, his frame is not that big really, whereas someone like Ennis has a big frame for 147. What do you think about Casimero vs. Rigo? That's supposedly up next, I think at his best Rigo would beat Casimero widely or even stop him but I think the pace will be too much for old Rigo.

McKenna UD, I forgot to put that one in. I'll probably be watching the DAZN card tomorrow but maybe the Uzbek card won't overlap a lot with the Frampton vs. Herring one. Did you see Nietes is back on the Top Rank card?

Champion97's picture

He isn't reliant on his size, I think he's a light middleweight, certainly a big welterweight, I think he could have done well at 160, but he'd have had to move up in weight earlier than he did, I think he can do well at 154, but by the time he'd fought at 154 enough times and adapted to 160, he'd be old, and I don't see Spence aging well, he doesn't have too many miles from fights, but there will be long term damage on some level from the car accident, hasn't lived the life over the years. One thing I agree on is Spence not being as big as people say, he isn't a natural middleweight. I agree on Ennis's size, and speaking of Ennis, I did my prediction write up earlier, it will be interesting to see how Ennis paces himself and how much of his power and volume he sustains down the stretch. I like that fight, I agree with you on it, Casimero seems to have come of age, is at the stage where his miles haven't caught up to him, but is very experienced, I don't think small fighters should have licences at 40, he's always had a low output, but he'll be slower, his reflexes aren't the same based on the Solis fight, and he'll be easier to hit, it only takes one shot to change the fight against Rigondeaux. I was looking forward to Inoue vs Casimero, I like that fight better than Casimero vs Rigondeaux.

It shouldn't overlap, the Uzbek starts at 3 pm UK time on the DAZN app, Herring vs Frampton has landed on channel 5 and isn't on until about 10 pm. I saw that, I'd have liked to have seen him retire on a high, it's a fight he should win, but like Rigondeaux, I think he's too old to win another world title, he likely isn't as good as Gonzalez, but like Gonzalez, he went unacknowledged for many years because of his size, won belts from 105 to 115, definitely an underrated fighter.

Gold's picture

He isn't, but his frame is limiting. I don't think he can succeed versus top level guys at 160, unless the next generation of guys is smaller. I don't think Spence will age well either, but he does a lot of things right technically with very good fundamentals so I don't think he will age poorly because of a drop in athleticism, it will be because of what you mentioned. I'm very interested in Ennis versus Lipinets. As you said, we may see about the defense, chin, and ability to go rounds of Ennis. Mikey Garcia recently spoke favorably about the power of Lipinets, Mikey was fighting defensively versus Spence but he never seemed like he was in trouble with Spence's power. I think Ennis will win but it will be a good development fight for him, I would be surprised if Lipinets couldn't win rounds. I think the money was an issue for Inoue vs. Casimero, but with fans it won't be, so it should be next.

I'm watching the Uzbek card, one thing you should know is that the Hasanboy Dusmatov fight says "Dustmatov" instead of "Dusmatov" so you may want to change that. I think the management of Nietes after he beat Ioka was very questionable, makes you wonder what was really going on. I wouldn't mind seeing the Ioka vs. Nietes rematch, I thought Ioka won their first fight.

Champion97's picture

I hope Canelo vs Spence doesn't happen, I think it would be similar to Golovkin vs Brook, but I could see the fight happening if Spence can't get a good fight at 147, 154 is a solid division at the moment, but Castano isn't enough of a draw it seems, obviously he won't fight Charlo, I couldn't see Spence going to 168 to fight Canelo, but 160, hopefully it won't happen, Spence has already made a lot of money, he should get good fights at 147 if Thurman cashes out or if the Pacquiao fight is finalised. Spence's fundamentals are great, Mikey is a great basic boxer, and Spence took a lot away from him by beating him at his own fight. Mikey and Peterson both said Lipinets hits harder than Spence, I don't see the personal reason they'd have had to say it, but Lipinets definitely hits hard and is a good chin test for Ennis, whether you believe them or not. I'd be surprised if he couldn't win at least 1 round, I think he'll do good work to the body, because Ennis parrys head shots in close, but I don't think his blocking is great, and if he doesn't use his reach, it won't be hard for Lipinets to get in range to land body shots. I think Lipinets will draw a reaction from Ennis with his jab, I don't think he can set up great shots, Ennis has the better reflexes, but Lipinets can make him uncomfortable. Good fight, but I'd be shocked if Casimero could pull it out, Inoue's situation reminds me of Crawford's in 2015-17, where he dominates a division, and the second best is a long way down, and he's just 1 below one of the best divisions in boxing.

I'll alter that, thanks. I wouldn't want to see that personally, Nietes is just too old.

Gold's picture

I think it would be similar as well, I think in a pound-for-pound sense Canelo is better anyways, plus he is much bigger. I don't think we will ever see Canelo again at 160, he seems filled out at 168 and hasn't suggested anything other than fighting other champions at 168. I think it will be interesting to see if Ennis has another gear already, he's been facing guys below his level. Lipinets has to be able to cut the distance and get in on Ennis, which I think he will have some success doing and will make him uncomfortable but it won't be enough as you said. I think fights like Ennis vs. Lipinets and Lubin vs. Rosario are good matchmaking by PBC. I heard they are rebooking Oubaali vs. Donaire as well. I would be surprised if Casimero could either, he'll trade with Inoue who is better technically and more powerful. I don't think Casimero would make it the distance with Inoue.

Nietes is old but I don't believe he has a lot of miles. Ioka isn't old but he's been at a high level for a long time, won his first title in 2011. I think it could be interesting as a fight if others are occupied, we all know Ancajas is holding the belt hostage so he's not a relevant option.

Champion97's picture

I don't think he's much bigger in terms of natural build (factoring height in amonst other things), but I think he's slightly naturally bigger, and given he's fought at 175, is strong at 168, I think the size aspect would favour him aside from how much bigger he is. I heard Canelo has said he'd never go to cruiserweight, which is very wise, he knows his limit, I'm surprised he's as strong as he is at 168, I think his ability to back up the opponent is his footwork and positioning as much as strength, but it strength hasn't been an issue. I agree, he's experienced at 168, I don't think it kills the GGG fight, that's a big money fight, and I could see the Plant and Benavidez fights happening if the promotion aspect isn't a roadblock. Something worth noting is that Ennis took some heas trauma against Van Heerden, it was one of the worst head clashes I've ever seen, no one's fault, no malice, it was just unfortunate timing and placement, but Van Heerden's cut spoke for itself, and Ennis was clearly in pain, he should be fine now the fight is happening when it is, but I questioned if that would be a factor when the fight was supposed to happen before. I heard about both of those fights, both great fights that could be 50/50. What a division PBC has at 154, I can think of 10 solid fighters, champions and contenders. Have you seen the full card PBC have announced for May 1? I think it's great.

He's just too old in my opinion, 38 is old for a heavyweight, I'd say he's as old a boxer as a heavyweight in his mid 40s, and in terms of miles, his record only shows so much, we don't know how much damage he took earlier in his career. Nietes won his first title in 2007, so I don't think he's fresher than Ioka on that basis. One thing worth noting about Nietes, which is a different but not unrelated subject, is that his only loss was against an opponent 2 weight classes above him on the scales, I don't know what the regulations are in the Philippines, but in the UK or USA, certainly now, that wouldn't happen. What surprises me is that Nietes's opponent got away with it, Pacquiao missed the weight by less, probably because he was still growing, and was penalised with heavier gloves, which is excessive, no surprise he lost that.

Gold's picture

I'm pretty sure we've had this exact same discussion before or one that is very similar, what I will say is that Canelo is significantly bigger, most of it is in his torso if you look at fight night pictures of them. Canelo is younger than Spence, he hasn't made 154 since 2016, it will be two years soon since he has fought at 160. Spence has been at 147 his whole career except for a few catchweight fights before he got to a title level, he's 31, if he was going to be at 160+ because he was still filling out into his frame it would have happened. It is very rare a boxer can win titles at 147 and 160+ generally, and if they do they usually don't move up from the lower weight at 31+ years old. I don't think the Golovkin fight is finished but I don't think it's a priority for Canelo and if it happens it will be at 168. Canelo is the A-side, it seems like after BJS he wants Plant, would be a logical fight for him to become undisputed. What fights interest you on the Ruiz vs. Arreola card? I think Fundora vs. Cota and Figueroa vs. Ramos could be good, I'm not familiar with the other opponents for guys like Granados and the Lara fight is trash to me. The card is a 40 dollar PPV in the US, I don't know who would pay for that. I'll watch it but it's a good Fox card and not a PPV. It seems like PBC is on the way out with Fox, they are moving their most competitive fights to Showtime and I wonder if they will try to get some fights on CBS (Showtime's parent company, an easily accessible channel like Fox).

He's old and I don't think he is fresher than Ioka, but I think he's someone who uses his craft well and aged better than most because of it. I think stuff like that will happen more in places like the Philippines where boxers make very little, it may happen in places in the US due to the decentralized nature of commissions, but very likely not in the big states and almost certainly not in California. Japan is likely the most strict, his opponent would have received a significant ban for that.

Champion97's picture

We have, but it was a while ago, and it became a back and forth argument about one aspect rather than an interesting discussion. Canelo is definitely bigger than Spence, and on reflection, I'd say a good full weight class, Canelo's height was supposed to be 5'9, BoxRec says 5'8 now, but he's obviously stocky, Spence is bigger at 147 than Canelo was at 160, but Canelo was likely bigger at 154 than Spence at 147. All good points you make about age, but how much of that is about Spence being able to make a lower weight than Canelo? And how much of that is Canelo opting to strategically build muscle? Because Canelo has definitely gained muscle, he didn't seem drained against Liam Smith, how much longer could he have made 154? If your definition of a natural weight class is the one single weight class you're at when you don't have to build up to it or cut down to it, Canelo can't be that much naturally bigger than Spence, but I think you once said you believe a weight class that wasn't a fighter's natural division, can become his natural division, which is interesting, because that wasn't my understanding, and if that's the case, then at this stage, Canelo is a lot naturally bigger than Spence. What I will say is that I think Canelo would back Spence up easily, he'd be the smallest fighter he's fought Khan.

I agree it isn't a priority, the ball is in Canelo's court now, I think Golovkin would go to 168 to fight Canelo, I don't think Golovkin can make it close against Canelo again, but he can be somewhat competitive, and in terms of it being a big PPV event, the fight makes sense. I agree on that, it's another belt, and it's not a high risk fight. I think I exaggerated, a way of rephrasing it might be a stacked card, but Figueroa vs Ramos is a great fight, I'm impressed by Fundora, the Cota fight is a chance for him to make another statement. I didn't know it was $40, I think Ruiz vs Areola will be entertaining for as long as it lasts even though it's likely to be one sided, Ramirez vs Avelar should be a good fight, but I wouldn't encourage anyone to buy it for that price, that's more expensive than Ruiz vs Joshua II.

I agree with that, and it's the reason he's done as well as he has in his mid 30s, I just don't think it's enough at his age. What's your opinion on how fighters age according to their size? For example, how old would a heavyweight Nietes be given he's 38 at his size? I've heard some people exaggerate on this subject, Dwyer did a video on Haney vs Gamboa, and said a 37 year old lightweight is like a heavyweight in his 60s, I haven't watched much of him since and unsubscribed from his channel after that.

Gold's picture

What do you mean by bigger in a relative sense at those weights, compared to others? Canelo was always bigger comparing them directly, they are around the same height but Canelo is very filled out. Canelo was a big rehydrator at 154 and there is of course the rehydration controversy in the Mayweather fight, Spence fought for the IBF at 147 which has a rehydration clause and never looked bad. Spence is able to make a lower weight because his natural frame is smaller than Canelo's even though their height is the same or similar. We've seen guys try to bulk up to go up in weight and lose their speed and power advantage, Canelo went from 154 to 168 without issues, I highly doubt the same would be true for Spence if he went from 147 to 160. Canelo may be able to make 160 still by cutting some mass but that has had mixed results. I think it's exactly what you mentioned, a fighters natural weight class can change as they age, look at Floyd and Pacquiao for extreme examples. Crawford is another one, he could not make 135 anymore. I don't think Canelo would be afraid of Spence's power, as you said he would walk Spence down, if Spence fought defensively I think he may make it the distance, but otherwise he would get broken down.

I think how much fighters age is heavily variable but generally the lower weight guys will age much quicker, they can't rely on slowing the pace down as well as heavyweights, but Nietes is good technically so he would have a better shot than many low weight fighters. If a heavyweight (as much as you can compare them) had Nietes skills at 38, I wouldn't say that is a problem, but they would be beginning to decline, so I can see where you are coming from. Dwyer is a guy who exaggerates, but he thinks outside of the box so he can also hit on things that are true that other people may not pick up on well. It's like the clip of him saying Spence's backfoot game doesn't exist before the Mikey fight and that's what he did much of the fight, but he also described the way Wilder sets up his power in a way I thought made sense that I hadn't seen elsewhere.

Champion97's picture

I simply mean Spence is small enough to make 147 more easily than Canelo could make 154, but because Canelo made 160 more easily before he moved up to 168, than Spence made 147, he isn't 2 weights bigger. My measuring stick is difficulty making a weight when the fighter is disciplined and does everything they can to make the weight, so it isn't a measuring stick for Broner, Kovalev, Chavez Jr. Not saying he wasn't always bigger, all I'm saying is, if Canelo's natural weight class is middle, but he isn't a big middleweight, while Spence is a big welterweight, therefore Canelo isn't as many as 2 full weight classes above Spence, my question was in regards to a previously unnatural weight class becoming a natural weight class for a fighter.

Do you think Canelo would have looked bad against Smith had there been a 10 lb rehydration clause? I don't think so personally. Would you highly doubt it if Spence had moved up as Canelo did? I don't think Spence can do at 160 what Canelo has done at 168 because it's too late, but do you think he couldn't regardless of the time, that explains some of what I'm asking. I agree it has mixed results, and I could see that putting miles on a fighter, I doubt a doctor would recommend it.

What this depends on is how loosely you use the term natural weight class, it's been my understanding that a fighter has only one natural weight class, one weight he'd be at if he didn't increase his muscle mass much if at all, and bulking up to another weight, even if it's lean muscle he builds over enough time, the higher weight class isn't natural, but if you think a fighter doesn't have one guaranteed natural weight class, that's his natural weight class changing, that explains a lot. As you know, Crawford was never going to be able to cut to 135 in his 30s because it was never his natural weight, but is your argument that his natural weight class has changed from 140 to 147?

I mean in an average sense, I'd say about 7-8 years between a minimumweight and a heavyweight. I agree, a big heavyweight Nietes would be beginning to decline at 37 or 38, but I think a 45 year old heavyweight would be as old as Nietes is. It was just too much of an exaggeration for me, and he said Brook was a better athlete than Crawford, not as farfetched as the age and weight equivalency, but still a hard argument. I think the reason why Dwyer welcomes opinions and tells others to follow their own opinions is because he knows he isn't a boxing expert, but I'm sure he's a respectable lawyer, and understandably, he doesn't say anything about following your own opinion when he does crime videos, that's his lane.

Gold's picture

I don't think Canelo could make 154 at all, I think he would have to cut some mass to make 160 again which has had some questionable results in the past. Canelo isn't a big MW in terms of height but he's filled out at the weight, I don't think Spence is a big WW personally, he's good-sized but not like Hurd at 154 for example. Trinidad is someone who I'd give as an example of a big welterweight.

I don't think he would have looked bad because the fight was at 168, he's probably over 180 in the ring though. That lends itself to my point, Spence has been at 147 except for a few catchweight fights his entire career, I don't think he could regardless because he's not as good as Canelo, if he would have started earlier as a pro then of course he would have had a better shot of going up in weights, but like I said before he's been at 147 since 2012.

What I mean is that a fighter can only have one natural weight class (unless they fall in some weird position between the weight classes) but because of growth with age, inability to make big weight cuts anymore, etc they have to move up. I think the higher weight class can be considered as natural as the lower one provided there isn't a performance drop. Hopkins was a natural MW then became a natural LHW late in his career. Yes, Crawford is now a natural 147, maybe he could cut down to 140 again but he's filled out now as a WW.

Maybe, but it would be a very young 40+, if he was 45 if he were a heavyweight he would have been 42/43 versus Ioka, so I don't think it necessarily works out that way, but of course it's easier to be old as a HW than as a low weight fighter.

Champion97's picture

Sorry for not being clear, I know he'd have to cut mass to make 160, likely couldn't make 154, my question was, if he hadn't chosen to build to the higher weights, and had tried to stay at 154 for as long as Spence has stayed at 147? Would he have been able to? Because I stand by what I said about what weight a fighter can't make when they are disciplined and haven't tried especially hard to bulk up, being a good metric for natural size. I don't agree, because his strength at 147, but I agree he isn't a natural middleweight as some people say. Hurd's natural weight class must be 160-168, I don't think he'd be small at 168, it's not often that a fighter can cut 2 weights below their most natural weight class in their late 20s, and that's why I think fighters in their early twenties are unwise not to move up, because they are still maturing, I wonder if that's what happened to Higa against Rosales, and Diego De La Hoya passed out trying to make the weight, couldn't fight.

Sorry again, I meant Liam, not Callum. He's fought north of 147 in his career, wasn't at 140 in his early twenties, nonetheless, we can agree Canelo is at least 1 natural weight class above Spence, and the fight shouldn't happen because the weight difference is too much.

Ok, but is it their natural weight class if they were having to make big weight cuts? That is, if they either live the life and aren't heavy between fights, or they don't rush the weight cuts, because time is crucial. True, but how often do you see a fighter going on as long as him? Was he a natural middleweight? Or a natural super middleweight who was cutting to middle? Because he was intelligent in terms of being prepared as well as in the ring, he knew when to move up, which backs up that him doing as well as he did at 160 didn't mean it was his natural weight class. So he wasn't a natural welterweight before but is now? If so, I see what you mean, but it seems like we have different ideas of what natural size means.

I think he could have done it at 43, it would be a big ask, but what he did against Ioka, at 36, was as big an ask in my opinion, 7 is an approximation, I definitely think it's between 5 and 10 years, but there isn't 20-30 years between a lightweight and a heavyweight as Dwyer said, that's for sure.

Ennis made a statement at the weekend, and I read Dulorme vs Stanionis was a good fight, I'm looking forward to catching up on those fights.

Gold's picture

No, because he's always been a big rehydrator and went up with age whereas Spence hasn't. I think what you are saying about what weight a fighter can make when they are disciplined and don't try to bulk up can be true but in the day before the weigh-in era, it isn't true in many cases in practice because they can physically only do big weight cuts for so long. I think Hurd is a big 154 but he made the IBF rehydration limit like Spence, so he can't be doing that huge of a cut. Higa versus Rosales was a case of bad promotion trying to turn around a fighter too quickly, but I get the point you are making, I just don't think it applies to Spence vs. Canelo

Spence hasn't fought above 147 in any notable capacity, he fought once versus Van Heerden at 156 1/2 but hasn't fought above 150 otherwise which I assume were just catchweight fights earlier in his career. In addition, he fought at 69kg for many years in his amateur career, which supports that he isn't someone who can move up in weight classes easily, his weight has stayed similar for a long time now. My point is that Canelo is more than one weight class above him, which makes it worse for the fight to happen.

Yeah it is their natural weight class if they are making the weight even if it is a big cut, if they are inconsistent in being able to make the weight it isn't. Hopkins was actually an example of someone bulking up successfully, he wasn't a big 160, just a tall one. Yeah, what you said about Crawford is what I mean, he's become a natural welterweight.

I need to score the Ennis fight, I watched it at the time but didn't, I was impressed by him but disappointed by Lipinets. Stanionis seems like his level is somewhat limited but he will be an interesting fighter to watch because he walks forward and has good volume.

Champion97's picture

I'd agree on weight cuts getting harder with age being the more of a factor in this case if Canelo had stayed at 160, but given he has gone to 175, is campaigning at 168 now, he's strategically choosing to bulk up, and he isn't moving up because he has to. We had a detailed debate about the significance about ring weights and how low a weight a fighter can make, I know a lot of the difference in water retention, I exaggerated when I said ring weights didn't mean much, but I still think some fighters fight heavier than others aside from their size, you've said yourself Hurd is massive, I heard he fought weighing 159, we know Pacquiao is very small at 147, he was 152 against Mayweather, so I just can't put too much stock in it. I definitely think some fighters who are the same natural size can strategically cut or build to different weights throughout their careers, as well as being small at a weight above their natural size like Pacquiao.

I appreciate the time you've taken to back up your argument, but I think the disagreement is on too small an aspect, and in the grand scheme of things, we don't disagree at all, I think Canelo would back Spence up very easily without needing to use his footwork like be does at 160-175, Canelo can't make 154 now, 160 would be too much of a jump for Spence, so I don't like the fight, I wouldn't be surprised if it happened though. I compared the fight to Golovkin vs Brook, I don't know if you already knew, but Golovkin offered to fight Brook at 155, and Brook declined the offer, very stupid in my opinion, I don't think he'd have beat Golovkin at 155, but he'd have had a better shot than at 160.

I think people have different definitions of natural size in boxing. In Crawford's case, we agree, that he is big enough to be more or less as dominant at 147 as at 140.

I think that's fair, Ennis shouldn't have beaten him that easily given what we've seen from him in the past. I think James vs Stanionis would be a 50/50 fight, and an interesting fight, I don't know if there would be enough to gain for both fighters, but PBC should be able to put both in good fights. There are a lot of good fights I want to catch up on, Stanionis vs Dulorme is one of them, did you see it?

Gold's picture

I don't think there's a lot of dispute that he was bulking to get to 175, but I think he has filled out at 168, I don't want to repeat myself because I think as you mentioned that we may just disagree on it. I think with Hurd that was when he was fighting with the IBF rehydration clause, but I agree it can be deceptive in some cases.

I don't think we disagree in a large way either, both of us think Spence would lose to Canelo clearly and that Canelo is too big. I think that was really stupid of Brook as well, he was a very good fighter but doesn't have a lot to show for it. Not taking the Jessie Vargas unification was another bad mistake by Brook.

I think as we've discussed in our other conversation PBC has a lot of fighters they can matchmake well, James versus Stanionis would be another good one. I watched Stanionis versus Dulorme, I remember thinking it was good but not great, there was a good amount of pressure fighting from Stanionis though so perhaps that would make it interesting enough to watch.

No doubt, but I also don't put much stock into Crawford's opponents. Crawford's best opponent is who? Kavaliauskas where he took the A-side "slip" and struggled early? Victor Postol who is a good 140er but got beat decisively by Taylor? I'm not entirely convinced Victor Postol is on such a different level than Hooker, I think that'd be a close fight.

That's not say Crawford won't be the a pretty solid favorite, but I'm tired of the "he's not ready" mentality. If the fighters are fighting near the same level of competition, the matchup should get made. It's all just BS to excuse the boxing matchmaking strategy of not fighting competitively and milking because the promoter isn't sure whether his fighter will make it at the next level(and knows he can get more just fighting mismatches). MMA, Pacquiao, Canelo, Hopkins, etc. are all examples that one loss doesn't really mean a fighter will be less marketable. The matchmaking in boxing is one of the worst parts of the sport IMO, and overall is probably one of the primary reasons I watch a little more MMA than Boxing. I know you've said stuff about MMA fighter pay in the past, which I get, but at the end of the day I watch first to see great fights. MMA actually has entertaining prelims rather than prospect vs. bum matchups down the card, and even in main events it is more often evenly matched.

I'd much rather see Crawford vs. Ortiz than say Crawford vs. Ramirez who can't even cleanly beat B+ level outside fighters at his own weight. I also see Taylor beating Ramirez decisively. Other than that, there is Porter which probably won't happen because PBC/TR don't work well together, and Spence which almost certainly won't happen for the previous factor combined with Spence's higher profile(than Porter). I just want to see Crawford fight someone who isn't washed or unknown.

Gold's picture

I think it really depends on how you frame it, someone could easily make the opposite argument and say that Ortiz and Crawford beating a variety of B level guys at their respective levels is good. I don't think Crawford's resume is good either but I can't say I agree about Postol and Hooker, Postol was much closer than the scorecards versus Taylor and fought Ramirez very close. I don't think it's that constructive to get into the resume critiques because everyone can look bad doing that, but again I think there is a clear difference in levels between Postol and Hooker. Hooker has only beat C-level guys, has looked bad versus C-level guys, and has been blown out (in entertaining fights) by the two best guys he's faced.

I agree, they should make the fight if it's the best available but part of the problem is also that the constant assessment of risk versus reward extends to the mid-level guys and promoter conflicts. There is no reason for someone like Thurman or Ugas to fight Ortiz even if there were no promoter issues even though a fight like that would be a good step up and challenge for Ortiz without being a reach. One of the big issues is what you are getting at, prospects are paid too much up front and it creates a demand to get guys to a star status without fighting anyone because promoters don't want to take a loss on their investment. There has to be a balance between too much and too little pay. The problem with the current market structure is it's heavily biased towards distribution to current boxers rather than collective growth for boxers and the sport. I think if the matchmaking was generally more like Golden Boy's undercards that would be a step forward. I think it's very doable as well. Perhaps you know much more than me about MMA but while they may be more competitive I don't think the level is actually that good on UFC undercards in part because of the pay. It's similar to how the Strikeforce fighters had a lot of success in the UFC, yeah they do capture a lot of the talent but it's also marketing, having the rankings system, etc. I enjoy watching the UFC but I don't pay for it outside of a general ESPN+ sub, the amount of shilling on their broadcasts to try to push certain narratives/generate stars is like HBO at its worst.

Crawford vs. Ramirez is interesting if he beats Taylor but I agree, I think Taylor will win decisively. I don't think the Porter fight will happen either, it seems like TR is trying to run a tight budget until things get fully opened again. I think we might have to forget about the Spence fight, both sides seem totally uninterested even though it's the #1 fight for both of them. A lot of blame is placed on Crawford exclusively but Spence has talked about fighting Canelo, obvious cashout fight and there's no reason to discuss it in my opinion.

Chris M95's picture

apologize for interjecting guys but Crawford looked majestical the night he beat Postol, he beat him up at 3 ranges didnt he

Gold's picture

100%, that's one thing to Crawford's credit, he tooled Postol whereas Taylor and Ramirez couldn't with older versions of Postol.

I can't disagree too much on your point with Hooker, I just think if you got the two(Postol and Hooker) in the ring it'd be a competitive fight. Neither really has a great resume although Crawford's is better and he is much more accomplished achievement wise, but my main point was just that the gap in level between top opponents was really not all too significant.

I agree with everything you said in regards to boxing structure and the pay level when it comes to combat sports in general. I do think on the flipside to boxing overpaying and milking prospects/mismatches at the expense of the viewer, UFC will have to up pay eventually to give a fairer portion of the revenue and retain the best talent, although despite the poor pay they've done a better job at marketing more mid-level(compared to the top) type fighters than boxing. I don't necessarily view that as a negative, it creates a decent class of fighters below championship level that can get some attention.

The level on recent undercards has been lower than usual because the UFC has signed lots of young prospect type guys to combat covid-19 cancellations, and they run a high volume of cards that was even higher when they were trying to make up for cancellations. However, that's not bad because if matched well those fights can be extremely entertaining. They could be in boxing too, it is just that even at the lower level one guy is typically being set-up to win. Also, especially on PPVs, they stack the cards way, way more than boxing. Even the main card itself sometimes has 2-3 fights that would be main events in boxing, but you'll also occasionally get legit top ten matchups on the prelims or just great prospect versus prospect fights. Some of the best cards will have 5+ fights I'm excited for, UFC 259 is a good example even if didn't turn out to be greatly entertaining in practice.

As for that talent level versus outside orgs, I agree that the UFC isn't end all be all and there is good talent outside of it, but at the end of the day there is only one division (FLY) where the talent (at least at the top) is as great or greater outside of the organization. That was partially by design since they almost cut the division. Depth of talent and top talent is still largely in the UFC. It's hard to look at something like Strikeforce's success and take that as proof of UFC being overhyped. It's like saying Pride wasn't as good of a competitor as Strikeforce just because a lot of their champions came in and failed. I think a lot of it comes down to timing. Bellator, Rizin, ONE, etc. each have a few top talents that would be relevant in the UFC. However, Strikeforce is actually proof the majority of those guys will reach the UFC at some point in their prime. Since Pride, it hasn't really been possible to be considered a top champ outside of the UFC due to their monopoly on most of the best talent, and that drives many fighters to go even in situations where it is for less pay.

Agree that Spence also takes blame in the fight not happening. I think sometimes these guys, or at least their promoters, don't realize by taking a risk making these fights both can come out as greater stars. I don't see how either will really significantly raise their profile without fighting each other in that division, and they're both over 30 years old, so they don't have tons of time to grow.

Gold's picture

The problem is who is going to make the UFC do it? Unless a relevant competitor enters the market and forces them to raise their revenue share to fighters, there's no reason to do so. That's also a problem for boxing on ESPN relative to the UFC, they have to pay far more for less of a product that gets less coverage. They bought out the last relevant competitor in Strikeforce and as we've seen with Bellator and other companies such as ONE it's hard to do. I think ONE could succeed on TNT with the Muay Thai/Kickboxing stuff in the US though, I haven't watched much of it but it seems to be very spectator friendly. Guys like Dana and the Fertittas before are clever, they know how to pick the top guys off who could lead any unionization efforts which could raise the revenue share for fighters. The relevant retired top guys are shills for the UFC after their career ends except for GSP and now possibly Khabib, but I doubt he would get involved in that. I think they have done a better job marketing as well, of course partially that comes from the centralized nature of the UFC and their controlling position in MMA.

I think that's my point though, that the level of fights in the UFC seems better than it actually is because of marketing and matchmaking. As you know the UFC's ability to make the fights is enabled by the way they run the business which is to the detriment of the UFC, whereas boxing is the opposite. Certainly it has come some way from the earlier specialist fighters but even at the championship level it can be very style dependent on who is able to win, who is able to hold championships, etc. Perhaps that is just the nature of MMA though, that it will always be difficult to cover all of the bases at a high level.

Pride and the UFC is more apples to oranges than Strikeforce and the UFC, but I understand what you are getting at and that the UFC has a significant amount of the talent. I think the Strikeforce situation was due more to unique market situations. Perhaps you could argue Bellator's LHW division could challenge the UFC, at least Nemkov could challenge Blachowicz. Nemkov is someone where it would be interesting to see if he goes to the UFC.

I would hope a unionization would make them do it, but right now they are being run by WME and a lot of people think they're using the UFC's cash flow to cover their debts, so they'll certainly fight against it happening soon. It is a similar question to when is a central structure to boxing going to appear that forces the best matchups to be made? The answer is probably not any time soon, since the politically fractured nature of the sport has been beneficial to boxers trying to maximize their pay, even if I think it hurts the sport as a whole.

I'd like a middle ground to be reached where there is one clear dominant structure with fair pay for MMA, but like you pointed out that won't happen without legitimate competition or unionization. And of course if it comes through competition, that might just open MMA to becoming another boxing with tons of political divisions dictating the way fights are made. I doubt Khabib will be any leader of that effort, he is basically buddy-buddy with Dana since he got paid very well for his fights near the end. He got PPV points for the McGregor fight which was one of the most successful PPVs ever.

As for their competitors, Bellator has made some good signings and brought in good talent over time, but their production and marketing has left them as a B-level organization. I think taking on UFC cast-offs for their name value hurt their reputation, but they have gotten to the level where they've generated some pretty damn good home grown fighters and absorbed less washed ex-UFC guys, even if their overall cards and talent level doesn't seem set-up to actually compete with the UFC. I think their circular cage encourages lesser fight quality too. Additionally, Scott Coker even going back to Strikeforce, likes to match-make like a boxing promoter for guys coming up, and that doesn't help the quality of the promotion for the viewer either.

ONE is definitely better when it comes to viewer quality as they put on a fun brand of fights that emphasizes a lot of kickboxing with rules similar to pride. However, financially they're poorer run than Bellator or Strikeforce was, and they're basically getting by in the red by getting investors to buy in( I think they deliver a product that could be the most legit challenger since Strikeforce, but I don't really have any faith in their management's ability to run the company, and they haven't really gone about getting people's attention for their move to gather a US audience. I just realized they were making their debut on TNT on April 7th and I'm a huge MMA fan lol. How is the casual audience going to follow that?

Disregarding the level for a second, my primary point was that the matchmaking when it comes to competitive quality is much better than boxing. It is not only not rare for a boxing card to be all one-sided mismatches, it is common including even the main event. This is of course made possible by them having a near-but not total-monopoly over the sport, but I have to say that type of structure is good for the growth of the sport.

As for the fight level, I do disagree with you there. While I do think there is a UFC marketing quality that makes people underrate outside talent, by and large the best fighters do fight in the UFC. The era of specialists was just because the sport was so young you basically had guys coming in with one discipline. By the time you got to the late 2000s-early 2010s, it reached the level of great, well-rounded champions(GSP as well as Hughes before him, Anderson Silva, Aldo, Dom Cruz, Jon Jones, Cain Velasquez etc.). You have to remember guys like Silva and Aldo reigned over their respective divisions for many years. They aren't different than boxing pound for pound guys in anyway except for the fact they were forced to fight tough matchups from the start of their career, and they were fed to the best contenders while past their prime. Silva was 41+ and washed for the majority of his losses, while Aldo went pro at 18 and aged early as some lighter weight fighters do. I think if more of boxing's champions were made to consistently fight the best competition during their reigns and fought tough competition after their best, they'd end up with something more similar to these two.

I actually had this argument recently, and the guy I was responding to brought up that the difference between the winning percentage of the current champions in each sport was 9 percent(something like 86 to 95). I think that when it comes to greater unpredictability at all levels including the top, that can be explained as an intrinsic part of MMA. In boxing for example, fighters are given a "puncher's chance", but you have huge gloves that make it easier to deflect punches, a ten count that makes it easier to recover from a lucky punch, the ability to clinch without much fear of strikes being thrown in that clinch, and far fewer avenues to actually exploit this finishing chance. In boxing have to use the same weapons that your opponent is far more skilled with (punches), while in MMA you might get a fluke finish by a submission, crazy kick, knee, or elbow timed perfectly, etc. Using the example of a previous fighter early in their carer(Anderson Silva), his loss against Chonan was by a 1/1000 flying heeling hook submission in a fight where Chonan was utterly outmatched in terms of size, skill, power, and athleticism. There isn't really any comparable event like that in boxing. As you said yourself, MMA covers so much more ground than boxing in the skills required. I think it is much easier in MMA, even in non-fluke victories, to find one area of weakness in an opponent and exploit it. So it will always have more of an element of that "styles make fights" type unpredictability.

I agree Nemkov is probably the one champion vs champion matchup Bellator would have a decent shot at. Blachowicz is underrated due to his awkward style, but someone with well-rounded skill and physicality like Nemkov might give him trouble. I do expect to see Nemkov in the UFC whenever his bellator contract runs out. Freire is another guy with the talent to fight at the top of the UFC, although I think Holloway finishes him. 125 is the only division where you've probably got equal or better talent outside of the UFC, with Demetrious Johnson in ONE and Kyoji Horiguchi in Rizin. Of course, both were developed in the UFC though.

Gold's picture

First of all, thanks for the detailed reply as usual, you seem to know much more than I do about MMA, I'm basically a casual.

At the beginning of the pandemic I heard there were some potential cash flow issues for WME due to the loans they took out to buy the UFC, but they were able to keep booking fights, which I have heard even PPVs are guaranteed to some level by ESPN, and I haven't heard anything otherwise so I assume it's fine now. Exactly, I think we are on the same page, they are close to the opposite ends of the spectrum. Personally, I would rather wait to see big fights and them get paid a fair amount of the revenue, but when stuff like Spence vs. Crawford happens it makes you question the boxing system.

I think GSP has to be the guy, but it is very easy to pick off and threaten fighters, I think it would have to come through competition or some kind of MMA Ali Act, but we'll see I suppose.

It seems like everything goes wrong with Bellator as well, crazy DQs, fights are bad that should be good on paper, etc. I want Rumble vs. Yoel Romero to be the crazy fight everyone wants but it seems like a fight where there's a chance it's a dud. First fight back for Rumble who had motivation issues and Yoel is old and has no issue keeping his hands in his pockets.

I heard that about ONE, all of the fake streaming numbers and such, I assume there is some legitimacy to an untapped Asian market, but ONE likely hasn't found it. I don't know if they have advertised or will advertise the ONE card on stuff like Inside the NBA, NBA games on TNT, etc. That's just the bare minimum as well of course. I think I stumbled on it by chance.

Oh yeah, I get what you mean regarding the matchmaking, given I mentioned Golden Boy before, do you think that could be a happy medium? Or is that just a result of the status of Golden Boy and mismanagement/non-management by Oscar?

That's what I was getting at, the sport is still getting up to a high level because of its age. Again, I'm just a casual, but to my knowledge even someone like Silva was able to face mostly strikers and when he faced Chael and then Weidman he had real issues because of their wrestling. My point being that if that happened at the highest level, then what was below that? I've seen some people raise similar questions about Usman facing good matchups, but I don't know how legitimate that is. The best wrestler he's faced is probably Covington right? Who gave him his toughest fight.

I think what you are saying about MMA being more unpredictable and upset favored is true with what you've said. It would be interesting to see a comparison of championship fight records exclusively, that may be more telling given the matchmaking differences explained earlier, MMA fighters are more likely to take early losses learning on the job or lose in a relatively flukey way.

Metalhead123's picture

I don’t mean to intrude lol but I just wanna say that I’m really excited for Rumble vs Romero. Yeah there’s a chance it’s a dud, Ngannou vs Lewis was supposed to be a crazy fight and it wound up being on of the most derided MMA fights of all time. But I think, that if things are as they should be (everyone’s on their A game) it should be a smashing fight.

Gold's picture

No worries, I just don't think their A game is likely given where both of them are in their careers, but if they are it will be a crazy fight. I don't know if you saw it but ONE card went off awfully except for the Muay Thai fight which delivered as expected.

Don't worry about it, you aren't intruding at all. I think it is a fight I would have rather seen 4-5 yrs ago, but it should still be entertaining so long as Rumble puts on the pressure. Romero has had boring fights in the past when the opponent commits to counter striking.

No problem, I've always enjoyed your responses to my comments on here, I feel for the most part it lead to a lot of interesting discussion. I am a pretty big MMA fan, probably even bigger than I am of boxing, but I'd say if you're a casual then about 80 percent of the watchers are. You've seen fights in Bellator which is more than I can say for most.

UFC has definitely done well in the pandemic, it was probably the most aggressive promotion in combat sports and sorted itself out quicker than the rest. I'd say it is has arguably grown. Like you said, the payment arrangement changed with the ESPN deal. However, WME owns more than just the UFC and came in with debt before that purchase. I don't pretend to know the finances of it all in detail(not my area at all), but I know they own a lot of entertainment type stuff that probably did much worse than the UFC, and I know they were in a very precarious position at the start of the pandemic(

That's a totally fair opinion, on my side I do wish fighter pay would increase, but I don't wish it to increase to the point where promotions fracture causing Spence-Crawford type situations or divisions with a million belts. GSP doesn't quite strike me as enough of a rock the boat type of guy, but he'd certainly be one of the candidates. I just hope it doesn't come through anything that removes the centralization of the sport's talent.

Bellator definitely has some unlucky results, although the UFC has had more of that as well recently. I've been liking what they've done with these tournaments but otherwise their cards just aren't all that great on average. I agree that Rumble-Romero fight could be exciting on paper but a stinker in reality. Romero can get conservative as hell if the opponent commits to counter-strking, the onus will be on Rumble to pressure him enough to create an entertaining fight.

There's some truth to the asian market having potential but I don't think ONE has the right tools to tap it. The biggest challenge to the UFC in its history was pride, and it basically had a total monopoly over Japan. ONE has to compete with regional organizations like Rizin for control over Japan, and traditionally that has been the biggest market for MMA in Asia. If they did advertise I didn't see it. I actually forgot to watch and had to catch them online after the fact lol. The MM upset was interesting(I think weight played a big part), but otherwise I didn't really care for the card.

I think Golden Boy is closer to what I'd like to see but probably not far enough to reach a happy medium, and it seems most in the boxing business consider it mismanaged. They're on the edge of losing their two biggest stars, although I don't really think that is down to the matchmaking. I think the medium I'd like to see in boxing matchmaking would require at least some consolidation for it not to be considered mismanagement. As fractured as things are now I almost can't blame the intended winner-intended loser arrangement with which the vast majority of fights are made.

It's true Silva was most vulnerable to wrestling, but I'd argue simplifying it to just not having faced quality wrestlers is a misunderstanding. Silva faced Dan Henderson who was an olympic level greco-roman guy that averaged over a TD a fight. He also beat Yushin Okami, who is way past it now but was a relentless wrestling heavy fighter in his prime. Many of the guys he faced in general had a decent level of grappling ability, they just couldn't employ it against Silva because he controlled the range well and was very athletic. It's probably fair to say he would have had a tougher time at say 205 where they were tons of high level wrestlers, but that's just circumstance like a boxer being in a division where the inside skill is lacking.

I think as he aged he found it harder to use footspeed and reaction time to prevent takedowns. He was already 35 by Sonnen I and 38 by the fight with Weidman. Keep in mind he adjusted in Sonnen II, stopped 3/4 takedowns, and stopped him in the second round. BTW, Sonnen was an all-time wrestler for MW who got tons of TDs on almost everybody, he just had notoriously bad submission defense. His 3-5 finish while old at weightclasses he didn't belong in(LHW/HW) make people forget he pretty much only lost by submission up until that Silva rematch. Weidman was like the perfect fighter to beat Silva, I think he would have given him trouble even in his prime. Weidman had grappling, top control, size, ground and pound, and great cage cutting against counter fighters. He was like the perfect recipe for Silva. Weidman's career looks the way it does now due to a bunch of injuries, the IV ban(made his tough weight cut tougher), Herb Dean being incompetent, and issues with defense when he is put on the back foot.

As for Usman, this second Masvidal matchup is utter BS, but otherwise I wouldn't say he hasn't been challenged with good matchups, even though I personally dislike watching them haha. Besides Covington, Burns is a world level BJJ guy that forced him to strike. Usman got shook up a bit early but established his jab and dominated from there. Woodley was another quality wrestler with good TD defense, although in that case I think Woodley dropped off precipitously with age(he relied a ton on athleticism) and had a passive style that played right into Usman's clinch heavy gameplan.