The Left Hook Lounge: Vivek Wallace's Weekly Mailbag Featuring Oscar, Hatton, Haye, and Mixed Martial Arts Buzz!

Ricky HattonThis weeks version of the Left-Hook Lounge takes a glimpse into the buzz surrounding everything from the upcoming Haye/Enzo fight, to the questions surrounding last weeks Vasquez/Marquez showdown, to Ricky Hatton's future, as well as the premiere of MMA on CBS. All of these topics have gotten major 'airplay' in the world of Boxing, and for that reason, I chose to showcase these four questions as presented from fight aficionado's around the globe:

(Marcus Smith/Tampa, Fl): What do you think of Goldenboy Promotions lack of promotion for the Vasquez/Marquez showdown?

VW: I would agree with boxing promoter Gary Shaw that what Oscar Dela Hoya/GBP did was a direct reflection of "what's wrong with the sport today". Here we had what appears to be the final installment of an incredible trilogy that has gotten more and more amazing with each episode. Rather than using this great matchup as a launching pad to get the fight game fresh in the minds of those who aren't a part of it, there was no 24/7 series, there was no major promotion campaign, and there was no special attention given to the fight. Instead of promoting this stellar fight with an edge, Goldenboy Promotions (acting as co-promoters of the fight) chose to promote Oscar Dela Hoya's fight coming up against Steve Forbes which most view as not only a tuneup, but one of marginal quality at best.

As much as I think Oscar's Goldenboy Promotions is a first class operation, the lack of promotion for this fight was very much in line with what the history indicates. The promotion leading up to Oscar's initial fight with Mayweather was perhaps the biggest promotional campaign in the history of the sport, yet the very credible matchup between rising Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto and the legendary Shane Mosley received such minimal promotion that the event failed to even sell out the venue. This is just another example of how the sport caters to the money making possibility as opposed to the actual talent intrigue. It's a redundant statement, but it's also a very accurate assessment.

(Eduardo Navarette/Orlando, Fl): Now that MMA has struck a television deal with CBS, what does this mean for the sport of boxing?

VW: I think it's great to see MMA prosper the way that the sport has recently, but as a boxing aficionado, it's a bit disappointing to see this type of progress for the fight game and not have it associated with boxing. In boxings rich history of 'greats' - guys from Muhammad Ali, to Leonard, to the Joe Louis' of the world and etc - there's simply been too much great lineage to understand how the sport has dwindled to it's current state. The 'powers-that-be' in boxing have done little aside from hurt it's overall appeal.

If you were to compare boxings biggest scheduled headliner (Oscar vs Floyd) versus a primetime MMA card on any given Saturday night, then consider that one's a marginal rematch that you have to pay almost $60 for and the other is headlined by new phenom Kimbo Slice and it's for free, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that even if the boxing fight is the bigger draw, it inevitably loses a portion of the fanbase because half the available demographic gets equal or better entertainment at no cost. This is the issue facing the sport of boxing which is why more should be done to get the sport of Boxing on regular television to open up the national interest. As great as it sounds, seeing it happen isn't something anyone should plan to see materialize any time soon. Bottom line, despite the recent string of quality fights in the world of boxing, unless you're a die-hard fan, you probably don't know a thing about them when their over unless something bizarre happens which means no true progress has been made, and the global entertainment deficit only gets deeper. Sad but true.

(Alex Smith/London): How do you see the Haye/Enzo fight ending?

VW: I see this fight being very solid, yet the potential to end early is there as well. You look at the history of both guys and consider the fact that Haye has only been beyond the 8th round about 4 times, and Enzo not much more, and it becomes a given that if able to connect with any sort of frequency, either man may fail to see the final bell. One other major factor in the equation is the fact that Haye looked very suspect in his last victory at this weight level which is why he initially stated that he wouldn't fight there again. If Haye is weakened due to weight issues, Enzo has the skills to close the show. The flip side of this argument is that Haye was dropped by Mormeck in the 7th after dealing with the same fatigue issues and rallied back to stop his opponent. I bring that point up to say that you can never underestimate the heart of a Champion. I don't have a true pick in this fight, but based on the past history of both guys, I can guarantee fireworks. The later the fight goes on, the better the chances for Enzo, but if there's an early stoppage I think it undoubtedly belongs to Haye. Let Enzo tell it, things could be the total opposite, as he was recently quoted for saying "Don't blink". A sheer reference to what he feels could be an a short night in his favor.
(Ivan Finnes/ Orlando, Fl): How do you see the future of Ricky Hatton?

VW: Ricky Hatton is a fighter that I love to watch personally. After watching his humbling loss to Mayweather Jr., I question how close is the current Ricky gonna be to the one that was able to rise to stardom? If Hatton can regain his luster of yesterday then I think as long as he stays south of the Welterweight division he's good to go, but if he comes north, he easily finds himself on the receiving end of another humiliating loss in my opinion. Trouble is, there isn't much reason for him to want to stay in the light welterweight division because aside from Witter - who he isn't interested in fighting - and Malinaggi, there really isn't much to do in his current weight class. A shallow talent pool like this can cause guys to pull the curtains on their careers much sooner than expected. Talks have began. Don't be surprised to hear that Hatton is hanging the gloves up within the next year or two. Word around camp is that he's currently setting the stage for a career in fight promotion like a man he openly marvels that we all have come to know as the Goldenboy. Could there be a UK wing established in the Goldenboy headquarters? Wouldn't surprise me one bit. Hey, what in this sport does now days? Think about it!

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Article posted on 05.03.2008

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