Chat with Eric Raskin
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN.com's boxing writer, Eric Raskin, will log on to take your questions on all the latest news and notes from inside and outside the ring.
Raskin (@EricRaskin) is a former managing editor of The Ring magazine. He co-hosts the twice-monthly boxing podcast Ring Theory.
Send your questions now and join Raskin Friday at noon ET!
Eric Raskin (12:03 PM)
Hey everybody, welcome to the Friday boxing chat! I'm filling in today for Dan Rafael, who, as it turns out, does occasionally take a day off to step away from the Bat Phone and the Fight Freaks. We have the season finale (more or less) of Friday Night Fights tonight and an action-packed September right around the corner to discuss, plus anything else you fight fans have on your minds. Be forewarned that I possess neither the typing speed nor the chatting stamina of Dan, but I'm hoping to go at least an hour (maybe more if I'm having fun), so send in your best questions/comments--with special consideration given, naturally, to those that set me up to plug my podcast, Ring Theory. Let's get the chat started!
Don (Lindenhurst, IL)
Will we ever see a Heavy Weight Champion with the fanfare that a Tyson or even Holmes had? I miss those days.
Eric Raskin (12:06 PM)
"Will we ever" covers a long time. But in the near future, no. At least not in America. The Klitschkos generate "fanfare" in parts of Europe, but they don't set the spine a-tingling like prime Tyson did. A better description for them would be "monumentally efficient." Among American heavyweights right now, Seth Mitchell is generating buzz, but I don't think anyone perceives him as a Tyson- or Holmes-level talent.
David G. (Fighting Words-ville)
What, was Jim Bagg not available to host?
Eric Raskin (12:08 PM)
I've been calling Jim non-stop for the last half-hour, his phone keeps going straight to voice mail. Must have been one of those long, crazy Jim Bagg Thursday nights.
chris k (chantilly, va)
welcome! I hope you don't get treated like a substitute teacher. That being said, Dan usually answers at least five of my questions. This does not count as one :)
Eric Raskin (12:08 PM)
Yes it does. You're down to four.
Can you recall two major PPV'S going head-to-head like this Sept. 15? crazy stuff
Eric Raskin (12:10 PM)
Well, the Canelo show is not a PPV--it's on Showtime. But they are stacking the undercard to make it resemble a PPV. It's a very direct competitive shot at HBO, and that doesn't bode well for boxing fans, who would rather not have the networks warring and counterprogramming one another. That said, I distinctly remember two PPVs butting heads back in '06, when Cotto-Malignaggi was up against Hopkins-Tarver.
Eric, since Dan usually answers these questions with personal insults, I was just wondering if you could put the career of Edwin Valero into perspective. It seems odd that people are able to view the accomplishments of Carlos Monzon in the ring separate from his transgressions outside of the ring, but for some reason, they can't do the same for Edwin. Having his career cut short by tragedy, where do you believe he should rank among the best lightweights of all time, and how much success do you think he would have achieved by now if his life hadn't ended far too soon?
Eric Raskin (12:13 PM)
Well, I won't insult you. But the reality is there's an enormous gap between what Monzon accomplished in his career and what Valero did in his. Valero is nowhere close to making any list of the best lightweights of all-time (unless that list is reaching triple digits). He was a fearsome talent, but you can't consider him an all-time great.
Your thoughts on your former employer's revised championship policy??
Eric Raskin (12:17 PM)
Like many of my fellow journalists and fans, I think they dealt a heavy blow to their own credibility with that. And as I stated on my podcast, Ring Theory (http://ringtheory.podbean.com/), I appreciated their ridiculous maneuvering because it made it easy for me disassociate myself completely from the Ring championships. As far as I'm concerned, there is no belt out there currently that is emblematic of being the true champion in a division.
With Floyd now released from jail, are you throwing out all your Free Money May t-shirts or saving them for his next jail stint?
Eric Raskin (12:20 PM)
I'm donating them to third-world countries, like they do with the "Super Bowl Champion" gear printed up for the team that loses the Super Bowl.
Hi Eric, who caught your eye from the recent Olympic boxing tourney as a potential star in the pro ranks?
Eric Raskin (12:22 PM)
I have to be completely honest: I didn't watch any men's Olympic fights in their entirety. In my article that ran on Grantland before the Olympics started (http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/33224/why-i-wont-be-watching-olympic-boxing), I explained my stance. And I stood by it. I watched a ton of Olympic boxing in '08, and by the time it was over, I felt like asking for those two weeks of my life back. So in 2012, I boycotted fully. And I feel good about it. My blood pressure is much lower than, say, Teddy Atlas' is right now.
Are you all geared up for Survivor: Philippines? I know I am.
Eric Raskin (12:24 PM)
The last two or three seasons of Survivor have been pretty weak, so I'm tempering my enthusiasm for the new season. Unless I hear that Buboy is one of the competitors. Then I'm definitely in.
Chris (Redondo Beach)
Eric, hasn't GB and Canelo taken a greater risk fighting Josesito Lopez? Wouldn't a "safer" fight have been, say "K9"?Just sayin'
Eric Raskin (12:28 PM)
First off, I'm sick of the lazy phrase "just sayin'." Let's all stop with that. Anyway, I disagree with you completely. K9 Bundrage, for all his limitations, is a pain in the butt to fight. I'd favor Canelo over him, but it's not easy night in the ring. I think Josesito Lopez is a much safer matchup for Alvarez. He has a more straight-forward style and he is two full weight divisions smaller than Canelo. The matchup I wanted to see, once 43 different potential Canelo opponents fell out, was Canelo vs. the man in tonight's FNF main event, Carlos Molina. He deserved the shot and would have represented a step up for Alvarez, but GBP apparently never gave him consideration.
Kevin (Fall River)
Has Teddy Atlas ever met a metaphor he didn't like?
Eric Raskin (12:30 PM)
Teddy meeting a metaphor he didn't like would be like me cooking a three-course meal in the kitchen, and sitting down to eat it, and getting set up with all the fixins, and then deciding it was too hot in the kitchen and I couldn't stand the heat. Or something like that.
todd (sf, calif)
nice, raskolnikov is at the helm! can we make this a regular thing?
Eric Raskin (12:31 PM)
I wouldn't expect it to be a regular thing. Just doing it because Dan has the day off. But hopefully it won't be a one-time only thing either.
With Shields winning a gold in womens boxing. How could she possibly turn pro and make a living out of it? Especially since womens boxing is pretty dormant!
Eric Raskin (12:33 PM)
Good question. Claressa Shields is positioned to become the next (only?) star in American women's boxing, but the market is not promising, as you point out. She's in a tricky spot--only 17 years old, probably wants to finish high school, but if she's going to turn pro, she needs to strike while the iron is hot, as the cliche goes. What she has working for her is the possibility of making some money because the TV networks might be interested in her. I could see her turning pro on ESPN2 or Fox Sports or something and making more than just a few hundred bucks for some off-the-radar four-rounder.
Power Pellets (Las Vegas)
I think to add to what BJ said, you pair Shields up with Ann Wolfe. How scary would that be?
Eric Raskin (12:35 PM)
Yikes. I'm sitting in a puddle of my own urine just thinking about it.
Charlie (Chicago, IL)
Has there been a fight in the past 2-3 years that has come to fruition that you were as excited for from a blood and guts standpoint as you are for Rios-Alvarado?
Eric Raskin (12:37 PM)
I was similarly excited, actually, for Rios-Antillon last summer. And that lived up to its billing for the three rounds that it lasted. But, no question, Rios-Alvarado has "if you watch one fight all year, make it this one" potential.
Juan Manuel Marquez (Mexico)
I'll take that urine off your hands if you don't need it
Chirstopher (Kalamazoo, MI)
Eric, what do you think of the notion that some boxing folks have that "you have to take the belt from the champ" in order to win a fight against a current champ. This basically suggests that they believe the champion should get an advantage and that it's not an even fight from start. To me, that is total garbage.
Eric Raskin (12:39 PM)
I'm with you. It's basically a myth. The champion's advantage is that he only needs a draw to leave the ring as champion. Beyond that, there should be no real advantage for the champion, assuming the judges are doing their jobs properly.
Eric, what are your thoughts on the Ward-Dawson fight? Who do you have and why?
Eric Raskin (12:41 PM)
I'm not just saying this as someone who does some freelance writing for HBO.com: I'm really looking forward to this fight. This is high-level stuff between two guys in their primes. Will it provide Ward-Gatti-esque action? No. But not every fight has to. I'm looking forward to this, and if I have to pick a winner, let's just say I have a really hard time picking against Andre Ward until someone shows me how the heck to beat him.
Eric, who do you think has a bigger hill to climb? Amir Khan or Victor Ortiz?
Eric Raskin (12:44 PM)
This is a complicated question because Khan's ceiling is higher. He's a P-4-P type guy if he can put it all together. I don't think Ortiz is a P-4-P talent. And with that in mind, Ortiz losing like he did to Lopez doesn't hurt his stock much. He is what he is: a deeply flawed fighter who just might be the most exciting guy in the game today (seriously, look at the run of great fights against Maidana, Berto, and Lopez, plus the Mayweather fight was plenty memorable). So Khan, in a way, has the bigger hill ahead of him.
Eric, you better show Dan how it's done - I want an EPIC chat, and this better last 5 hours at least!
Eric Raskin (12:45 PM)
Don't count on that. I have other work to get to, I have kids I want to spend a little time with today. Errands to run, maybe a trip to Bed Bath & Beyond. :) I'll certainly go beyond one hour, but I ain't lasting five.
Any interest in a Hatton comeback?
Eric Raskin (12:47 PM)
I'll go Dan Rafael on you here with a short and sweet answer: No.
Rick (San Diego)
Eric, I saw that Pacquiao has booked the MGM on November 10 for a fight. Were you surprised by that? I had started buying the rumor that he was just going to take fall off and wait for Mayweather in April (lest he lose again).
Eric Raskin (12:50 PM)
Not surprised, the word all along was that he was looking to fight in November. Hey, the clock is ticking for Manny. He's making obscene amounts of money each time he fights, and that won't be true forever. To fight only once in 2012 would be foolish from a financial perspective.
Substitute Teacher, Dan won't tell us, so we'll give you a shot: who would you favor in a Pacquiao-Mayweather-it-probably-won't-ever-happen fight?
Eric Raskin (12:53 PM)
I think Dan has told us without telling us--his recent declaration that he's thought it's the same winner all along suggests to me that he picks Floyd. And I do too. Absolute prime vs. absolute prime, maybe it's a tougher call, but right now, I think Manny is farther from his absolute prime and I favor Mayweather.
Todd (Florence, SC)
Since we may not get to chat with you again before Sept. 15th, who do you have, Chavez Jr. or Martinez? That would have been a silly question a year ago, but I think Junior's size and body puching coupled with Martinez having some struggles with guys like Macklin and Baker gives Julio an excellent chance.
Eric Raskin (12:55 PM)
I'm getting a lot of questions about that fight, with a lot of you feeling Chavez has a good chance. I still make Martinez a clear favorite. But you're right that it's gone from looking like a disgusting mismatch a year ago to one of the most appealing fights that can possibly be made. But I still think it's a little bit too soon for Chavez Jr.
Tom (New Haven)
Does Bill Simmons know a thing about boxing?
Eric Raskin (12:59 PM)
Clearly, Bill is not a hardcore boxing expert, and he doesn't claim to be. But he knows a thing or two--particular about the '70s, '80s, and '90s, when he followed boxing more closely. And importantly, he IS a boxing fan. Which is good news for me and for boxing fans who enjoy Grantland. If Simmons wasn't the fight fan that he is, boxing wouldn't get the exposure that it does on his site. And for the record, the Leonard-Hagler oral history that I wrote for Grantland was Bill's idea.
I don't know if it was Bill Simmons or not who wrote it but the Leonard/hagler article on Grantland was a MUST READ.
Eric Raskin (1:00 PM)
Thanks, Chris, you kiss up to me like that (even if you think you're kissing up to someone else), and I'll post your butt-kissery. Here's a link to the piece, while I'm at it: http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/6983512/view/full/an-oral-history-1987-fight-marvelous-marvin-hagler-sugar-ray-leonard
Eric, if they do make the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight in the near future, do you still think it would break the PPV record? Or do you think interest has declined to the point that people might not even buy it out of spite?
Eric Raskin (1:02 PM)
Good question. I once believed the fight would sell 3 million PPVs. I no longer believe that. The record is 2.4 million, and yes, I think if they make the fight for the spring of 2013, it would still top that. But it would be close.
Ever think of a weekly ring theory? I used to listen to all episodes before you guys started charging. I'd probably pay if it was weekly
Eric Raskin (1:05 PM)
Well, if we did the show weekly, we'd probably charge you twice as much. :) The reality is the show takes time to prep for, record, and edit, and twice a month is about all that Bill Dettloff and I have time for. Still, you're getting 24 episodes a year for 30 bucks. That's practically a dollar a show. Stop being a cheapskate and chip in for my kids' college education.
chris k (chantilly, va)
RIP Michael "Dynamite" Dokes
Eric Raskin (1:06 PM)
Amen. If you've never seen his fight with Holyfield, look it up on YouTube and enjoy it. A true heavyweight classic.
Bill (San Francisco)
Who do you see Cotto fighting next?
Eric Raskin (1:08 PM)
I haven't really heard any names floated yet. I'm sure Cotto would love for it to be Canelo, since the longer that fight percolates, the better Canelo's chances of winning. But I imagine Cotto's December fight won't be a blockbuster on that level.
Wait. You prep for that podcast? Who knew? You do a good job of disguising it. In contrast it is blindingly obvious that I do no prep for mine.
Eric Raskin (1:09 PM)
Hey, I know a guy named Kieran who is currently vacationing in Anchorage and who hosts a podcast ... small world. If you bump into Kieran Mulvaney up there, say hi for me.
Chaz (Ogden, Utah)
I thought this was just a Twitter joke. But an actual Raskin chat! Best Friday ever. By the way, how are you going choose in the Donaire - Nishioka fight (what with your Grand Canyon-like Quick Picks lead)?
Eric Raskin (1:12 PM)
Best Friday ever? Wow, you need to get out more. But thanks, Chaz. And thanks for referencing my enormous lead in Quick Picks over Dettloff. As flat as Donaire has been looking lately, I'm not ready to pick against him. Smells like Nonito on points to me--and maybe fighting an elite opponent will inspire him toward the big KO, as it did against Montiel.
Obviously Ring has undergone big changes, but do you still have contacts within the organization? Has there been any knowledge of Golden Boy pressure being exerted on the content in terms of pushing and/or avoiding criticism of certain fighters?
Eric Raskin (1:15 PM)
I don't really have any contacts there, other than being friendly still with one or two freelance contributors. As for GBP influencing the content, how could they possibly be influencing it if Oscar isn't one of the 10 best Olympic/pro fighters of all time? (Does sarcasm come across clearly in chat text?)
Alright, listened to the Richard Schaefer is a d*****bag discussion on the free preview. Sold. I'll buy
Eric Raskin (1:17 PM)
More of you need to follow Cody's lead! In all honesty, go to the site (http://ringtheory.podbean.com/), listen to a few free previews, and if you like it, sign up. And that will be my last shameless plug for the podcast. Possibly.
Erik (Atlanta, Ga)
Since D$$ isn't around are you aware of how many Ricky Hatton's there are?
Eric Raskin (1:18 PM)
The same number of Ricky Hattons it takes to screw in a lightbulb.
Have you heard anything about a Lucas Matthysse vs Ajose Olusegun fight on the Devon Alexander vs Randall Bailey undercard?
Eric Raskin (1:20 PM)
Yes, that fight is on the Sept. 8 show, as you'd know if you checked Dan's boxing schedule: http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/boxing/news/story?page=boxing/schedule/index. (See, I can plug for other people besides just myself.)
Dieter (From Sprockets)
Now is the time in the chat when we DANCE!!!!!
Eric Raskin (1:21 PM)
Incorrect. The dancing commences in about 10 minutes. And the time is still to be determined for the touching of monkeys.
Eric Raskin (1:22 PM)
In all seriousness, regardless of when everyone chooses to start dancing, the chat will be wrapping up in about 10 minutes. So get your questions in now ...
What's up with Jorge Julio?
Eric Raskin (1:23 PM)
Ahhhhh, the Love Child's lesser-known brother Jorge.
really bummed we won't see Cloud-Pascal now! who would u have picked in that one Eric?
Eric Raskin (1:25 PM)
I'm bummed too. That was looking like an excellent fight, but like every other fight we hoped to see in August, it didn't happen. I hadn't really put any thought into making a pick. But off the top of my head, I'd go with Pascal. If all else fails, he figures to win on points in Montreal if it's close.
Who do you think is the best trainer right now: Steward, Hunter, Beristain, Roach, Sarmiento?
Eric Raskin (1:27 PM)
Roach is obviously cooling off a bit after about a 10-year hot streak. I love the way Beristain fighters fight. Tough to say who's "best" right now. How's that for a cop-out non-answer?
Martin (Granada Hills, CA)
First off, you're easily the funniest journalist/writer in boxing right now, just thought you'd like to know. Second, do you think there could be a realistic shot that the winner of Chavez Martinez fights the winner of Canelo Lopez?
Eric Raskin (1:29 PM)
Thanks, Martin. I must admit, it's fun to have the power to pick questions that flatter you shamelessly. To answer your question, I don't think we'll see Chavez-Canelo anytime soon. But if the favorites win, Martinez and Canelo, if GBP feels Martinez is looking vulnerable, I suppose that's not impossible.
Brinsley (St Albans, UK)
Do you think Khan should change trainers or stick with Roach?
Eric Raskin (1:32 PM)
There seems to be a lot of drama in the Khan camp, and whether it's Roach's fault at all or not, Khan has lost two straight. If Khan needs more attention than the busy Roach can give him, then a new trainer probably makes sense.
Eric, any all-time "I thought this fight would be awesome and it ended up a dud" fights?
Eric Raskin (1:33 PM)
I've written about this before, but I thought Gatti vs. Leo Dorin was a guaranteed classic, and it ended in the second round on a single bodyshot. Nice KO, but huge disappointment that it was over so quickly.
How many hours of fight video did you and Detloff breakdown to prepare for your Christy Martin- Mia St. John preview segment on Ring Theory?
Eric Raskin (1:33 PM)
Oh man, countless hours of intense research, with a Telestrater and everything. We took that fight very seriously, as you know.
Eric Raskin (1:36 PM)
All right, everyone, this has been a blast (including reading some hilarious questions that I couldn't post). Hopefully we'll do it again sometime. Everyone enjoy tonight's FNF, have a great weekend, and thanks for chatting.