The Left-Hook Louge: Vivek Wallace's Mailbag Q & A Featuring Quintana, Tyson, Cotto, Pacquiao, Berto, and Haye

andre berto14.02.08 - By Vivek Wallace: What a difference a week makes. Last week we were getting ready for what most thought would be a walk-in-the-park for Paul Williams. This week we're talking about a welterweight division in the midst of a grand shakeup. Obviously, I'm not the only one in the world who sees the changing landscape of the welterweight division, and in todays mailbag, fight aficionado's around the globe decided to chime in.

Not only about the welters, but also some of the other hot names in the sport. Can't quite get to all of the questions, but today I'll decipher what I view as the most intriguing 6, which includes the likes of David Haye, Carlos Quintana, Miguel Cotto, Manny Pacquia, Mike Tyson and a young guy who could be on the brink of taking the sport over. Only time will tell, but for now, here goes.....

Doug (Richmond, VA): You picked Williams to beat Quintana and Quintana beat him decisively. Where do you see him (Quintana) headed in the division?

Nothing can take away from Quintana's performance but I do think you have to note that he was facing a guy who tipped the scales at 147, and entered the ring on fight night at 164. An 18 pound increase overnight definitely suggest that Quintana faced a fighter who was weak and not at his best. That being said, Quintana looked very good. One thing that did concern me about him, however, was that he appeared a bit winded late in the fight as Williams began to steal rounds. I think Quintana has a good shot at competing with some of the current crop of welters but if Margarito doesn't get to him first, he'll definitely fall victim to the same guy that took his lunch a few months ago, the young Miguel Cotto. Quintana did reinvent himself with more head movement and better execution, but in this game you have to remember that head movement doesn't matter when you're in with a guy who will destroy the body that holds that head up. Improved, Quintana is, but is he on the Cotto, Mayweather level? I'm not completely sold on that theory just yet. Let me see him soundly defeat a Joshua Clottey, or perhaps even a rugged fighter that's durable like a Carlos Baldomir. He does that, and I'd quickly point out a guy headed straight to the top.

Giovanni M. (Chicago): What do you think about the career and story of Mike Tyson?

This topic is almost too much weight for one brain to take. Being an avid "Iron" Mike fan growing up, seeing his life spiral out of control was a very unfortunate thing. When you're close to the sport you learn the mind of a fighter, and the struggles that they go through just to even make it. For all the ridiculous antics we've seen from him over the years, in an act that showed me his true common sense at its best, Mike Tyson once said something that will always resonate in my mind for as long as I live. He said - almost verbatim - "society has no idea what they're doing when they place 5, 10Million dollars in the hands of an 18 or 19 year old, and expect them overnight to become model citizens without realizing that they just literally gave them every tool possible to work against that same 'model' they require them to live by". He then went on to say that "money is the root of all evil, and when paired with ignorance, there can only be one result". Now granted, not every athlete who has millions from a young age turns sour, but when you take a person that was raised on the sidewalk and only knows street talk, how can you conceivably ask them to lose their 'gutter' mentality and fly with the eagles? If it were that easy prisons around the country wouldn't be filled. For all the wrong things he's done, the one thing I like that he has done is shown us all - (serving as a microcosym of society) - that there's a deeper problem the world needs to face. (Guess that was my Dr. Phil moment of the day) - (Smiles)

Gilberto (San Juan): What do you think of a possible Cotto/Margarito showdown later this year?

I don't give either man a true edge. Miguel Cotto is the better boxer, but after seeing them both live, I would go out on a limb and say Margarito is the harder puncher. Cotto can deliver brutal body shots. Margarito annihilates from the top. It's a tough one to call and anyone who tells me that they know the winner for sure in this fight is talking from chimney-mode, because all they're really doing is blowing smoke! I've never really seen Margarito hurt, and although Cotto is a body-banger, his chin would be checked before he gets to the body of a guy whose reach advantage is solid. That would be a tough fight to call because both men have great determination and a great will to win. It's a fight that's been on my short list of 'must-sees' for quite some time, but with Cotto scheduled to meet Gomez, followed by what could be an interesting matchup with Mayorga, doesn't look like it'll happen before 2009. Definitely keeping my fingers crossed on that one though.

John (Ft. Lauderdale, FL): Do you think Pacquiao needs another trainer?

I think Freddie Roach is an excellent trainer and I think his chemistry with Pacquiao is superb, but I do wonder how great would Pacquiao actually be if he was with a defensive oriented trainer. Fortunately for him it hasn't mattered because he can take a punch, but imagine if he entered the ring with his current stamina, his current power, and had a defense that would allow him to stay fresh from being hit less. That raw combination could be the end of the Jr. Lightweight division as we know it. All things being considered, I think Pacquiao is right where he belongs. Pacquiao is a certain type of guy and I don't see anyone out there that can handle him that he actually respects like Roach. Don't look to see this tandem broken anytime soon.

Maurice (St. Louis): What is your thoughts on Andre Berto at this stage?

To me, Andre Berto is one of those phenomenons that don't come by often. Not since a young Mike Tyson have I personally seen such a pure crescendo of power, speed, skill, and ability paired in one man. It's obviously early in his career, but his victory over Estrada showed me something, and anyone not figuring him to be the welterweight ruler in the near future isn't isn't very good at what he does. I would personally love to see a fight between two young lions like him and Miguel Cotto once he actually arrives at his true potential. I give him up to 3 more fights and perhaps another year, maybe year and a half or so before things kick into high gear for him. If he stays focused and continues to hone his craft, the skies the limit for this guy.

Alex (Wales): What do you think of David Haye?

I think David Haye is a name that alot of people had better get used to using. The thing about Haye that intrigues me is that he's not the most fundamentally sound fighter that you'll find, but he more than makes up for it with his brute power and his style. Other than Jean-Marc Mormeck, his resume doesn't have too many big names, but this guy has no business whatsoever flying under the radar, and if he is able to dispatch Enzo Maccarinelli in March, he won't be there for much longer. The first time I was asked about him, I responded by saying "cool, I'll look out for him". The second time I responded by saying "I keep hearing about that guy, I have to see what all the hype is about". After getting a little fight footage of his to break down and later watching him destroy Mormeck, I found myself asking other people the same question that was originally being asked to me. I'll repeat it because like me, there are still people who have no idea: "Have you seen that guy David Haye"? If not, grab yourself a cold one, tune in to Showtime on March the 8th, and get ready to keep this "have you seen him" question in motion because when it's all said and done, you'll want them to witness what you did for the first time. This guy's a banger!

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(Check out The Left-Hook Lounge Q & A mailbag with Vivek Wallace every Thursday)

Article posted on 15.02.2008

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