By Paul Magno | August 09, 2018

Thursday is sack day here at FightHype—a time for boxing fans to check out my bulging, bulbous sack and bathe in the wisdom that spews out from within. This week we have questions regarding a whole wide array of topics as well as one particularly charming piece of hate mail. BTW, the mail sack is usually compiled and submitted by Wednesday, late afternoon, so if you want the best chance at having your email included, please send it in by Wednesday morning. 

Me Being Wrong

Hey Paul, long time no chat.  My appreciation for your truth talking and boxing knowledge has followed me across the Pacific, all the way to China.  Thanks for keeping things real!

Okay, now that the obligatory sack massage is out of the way, I have a question for you: part of being a good writer/person is admitting when you are wrong.  So Mr. Boxing, when have you been wrong on a fighter?  Which fighter were you sure was gonna be great and turned out to be a dud?  Also, which fighter did you think was crap and turned out to be pretty damn good?

Thanks again for being the perfect counterweight (and you need a lot of weight) to Rafael.

-Jeremiah Davis

Hey Jeremiah. Wow, a crack at Rafael, all the way from China! Nice. Thanks for the kind words.

OK…I’ll answer your second question first. I remember being very dismissive of Sergio Martinez. I thought he was a slowed-down Roy Jones wannabe, but he proved to be more skilled than I gave him credit for and definitely tougher than I thought. I’m sure there are other examples of me being incorrectly dismissive of a fighter, but Martinez is the one who comes to mind first and foremost. 

As for your first question, well, there was a time when I thought Larry Donald would be the next Larry Holmes…so, yeah, I missed the mark there. 

Hey Puto

Hey puto you writing those articles about boxing one day you will get hurt you never put your gloves on and being in the ring you will get knock the fuck out so bad they will have to come out and draw chuck line around your fat doubled chin body because it will be a murder scene. One other thing you have little kids read your article and see you cussing on it and read bias bullshit you write. You sorry pathetic waste of human shit lol not even a life because you don’t have one

-- Mikhail Bardikov

Hey Sunshine! You make a lot of assumptions, but miss wildly with all of them. I HAVE put gloves on and have been doing boxing for 40+ years. I DON’T have a double chin. And, as for me not having a life—well, I’m getting paid to do what I love, live in a nice house, keep my own hours, and am knee-deep in lovely senoritas down here in Mexico…So, I’m going to assume that my life is a lot more satisfying than that of some weirdo troll sending insulting and threatening emails to a boxing columnist. 

As for me cussing, I’m so fucking sorry for that. There’s something about racist pieces of shit that just brings out the worst in me. 

Random Questions

Dear Paul,

I love boxing and was a crap amateur. I wanted to be Sugar Ray Robyn. My coach said Shit Ray Robyn. Anyway - 

Roberto Duran and Floyd Mayweather collide at their Lightweight Peaks. What happens? Please make any comments you want at other weights.

Jack Dempsey comes back from the dead at his 1919 Willard shape. Where is he? probably Cruiser. Would he be the great terror he was? 

Sorry if this is a VERY stupid question. It’s probably confused. A fighter is say 160lbs. What exactly happens to his body composition if he wants to come in looking for an early knockout [i.e muscles up] or to go the distance. I can’t get the change in body comp. If he is at 160, he is 160. What is dropped to make room for greater muscularity? Your time is valuable. Ignore this if it’s a bad question.

How do sub heavyweight fighters use weight training? They can’t put on mass because they will go up a class. So what’s the point?

Great respect and appreciation, 

Man Lernt Nie Aus,

 -- Robyn Bunting

Hi Robyn. I’ll attack these in order.

Duran-Mayweather at 135: I usually stay away from these historical dream fight things because there are so many variables that come into play—utterly unresolvable variables that completely throw a wrench in one’s ability to make any sort of reasonable prediction. In the case of Duran-Mayweather, for instance, I believe Mayweather would’ve been an even sharper fighter if he had come up in the 70’s like Duran. He would’ve been all-around busier, would’ve faced a better all-around caliber of opposition on the way up, and probably would’ve been even hungrier. I often got the impression that Mayweather could go on cruise control in this modern era because he was so far ahead of opponents’ ability to deal with his skills and abilities. On the other hand, maybe if Duran had come up in this modern era, with huge money, a two-fight-a-year schedule, and an overall less-skilled talent pool, he may have been a bit less hungry, a bit less sharp than he was in his own prime era. So, the answer to who’d win would, in my opinion, boil down to when they would’ve fought. If Mayweather of 2002 went back to fight Duran of 1975, Duran wins. If the Duran of 1975 got sent to the future to face a 2002 Mayweather, Duran also wins. BUT, if Mayweather, with his skills and abilities, was a fighter brought up in the 70’s I’d pick Mayweather all day. An odd, drawn-out answer maybe, but fight predictions involving time travel should never be easy propositions.

Jack Dempsey: Yeah, he’d be a cruiserweight. His toughness, alone, would make him an elite, provided he adapted a modern training regimen and tweaked his style to deal with modern styles. 

Body Composition: Whether a fighter was working to be a marathon fighter or a short-sprint KO artist would depend a lot on who he was as a human being and what physical attributes he had. Ideally, ALL fighters should be conditioned to go the distance, though. Not sure I completely get your question, to be honest.

Sub-Heavyweight weight training: In a smaller fighter, you’d be aiming for longer, leaner, more efficient muscle mass. That would call for lighter weights and more reps. Really, that should always be the goal. Generally speaking, bulk is not a fighter’s friend.

Hope I answered your questions.

ESPN & Top Rank: Yay or Nay?

Yo Paul - 

Real interested to hear your thoughts on the new 7-year deal Top Rank has with ESPN, and if this is a good thing or bad thing.

I’m kind of torn on this for a few reasons.

Of course Primetime fights on free TV is always great for the sport of boxing.   And they’re talking about 18 fight cards per year on regular ESPN.  That’s more than 1 per month, which is great for fight fans. Plus, I always enjoy hearing Tim Bradley on the color commentary.

But let’s be real about it.   Besides Crawford, Lomachenko, & maybe Linares, who do they have that’s gonna draw decent ratings?   Crawford & Loma only fight roughly twice/year. So who the hell are they filling up all those other cards with?   Will their 2 stars even be put on ESPN, or will they fight on garbage ass ESPN+ ?

Not to mention the fact that they’re aggressively pushing this ESPN+ deal.   I mean, Crawford is arguably top 3 lb for lb fighters on the planet.  And they put him on ESPN+ a couple mo’s ago?

Don’t know how much blame goes on ESPN, and how much goes on Bob Arum... who’s always been extremely greedy, but now is legitimately senile & delusional.

Anxious to hear your thoughts on this.

Daniel L.

Hi Daniel. I share your guarded optimism and logical pessimism. I also find it hard to believe that Arum will be able to fill all those ESPN and ESPN+ dates without turning things into a slop fest. I’d like to believe that Arum will look to work with other promoters to help fill those dates with quality scraps, but we all know Arum doesn’t generally work that way. 

My biggest concern, though, is that the boxing on ESPN will become little more than a promotional tool for directing fight fans to their subscription-only ESPN+ service. Maybe we’ll end up getting a lot of fights for free this first year or two of the deal, but they’ll be fights of diminished quality or showcase squashes featuring Top Rank’s elite and it’ll all go towards selling the pay app as the place where the “good” fights happen. 

Putting Crawford on the pay app leads me to believe that they’re no longer interested in promoting him (or, by extension, the sport as a whole) and that this ESPN deal is just a short-range cash grab, playing to a network with a big wallet and a need for exclusive streaming content. We shall see.

Got a question (or hate mail) for Magno’s Bulging Mail Sack? The best of the best gets included in the weekly mailbag segment right here at FightHype. Send your stuff here:

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