The Left Hook Lounge: Vivek Wallace's Q&A Mailbag Featuring Cotto, Margarito, Pacquiao, And More!
12.03.08 - Today's LHL mailbag scans a wide array of questions posed directly from the minds of some of the sports most avid fight fans. On the tab in today's Q&A session is everything from Antonio Margarito's recent comments about "Beating the Champions of Puerto Rico", to Alphonso Gomez's chances of defeating Miguel Cotto, to a look at the Pacquiao/Marquez showdown and much, much more. When it's all said and done, as always, we learn that for every question answered there's a new question raised, but never-the-less, today we do it all over again.....So here we go:
Article posted on 12.03.2008
(John C./Davie, Fl): How do you see Marquez/Pacquiao unfolding?
I think this fight picks up right where the initial one left off. In the first fight you might remember Pacquiao getting off to a fast start and knocking Marquez down early. After the knock down, Marquez's 'heart' kicked in and the remainder of the fight was very equal. I think he (Marquez) comes into this fight with the gut feeling that there's nothing Pacquiao can do to hurt him that he can't handle. Although Pacquiao will have his moments, I don't see him being able to shake that newfound confidence of Marquez. In the end I think it comes down to how determined Paquiao is because from all I've gathered in the prefight leadup, Marquez appears poised to do something on a very grand scale and he clearly doesn't plan to flounder late in the fight like we saw both Morales and Barrera do. Marquez is coming to win at all ethical cost and it'll take a very solid effort from Pacquiao to get the "W". Pac-Man's best effort wasn't enough to win in the first fight, and if Marquez has a strong first half in this fight, he could do enough to edge out Pacquiao. Should be another outstanding night of action for fight fans and if I had to actually give a prediction, the only safe one I have to render in terms of who will win is the fans. Pacquiao has a heart the size of the Pacific and Marquez will come in ready to outperform his brothers recent effort against Vasquez which isn't an easy feat. Regardless of whomever wins, it's safe to say no one actually loses.
Hector Perez (Miami, Fl): Antonio Margarito opted to fight Kermit Cintron as opposed to Carlos Quintana despite being his mandatory. What do you think about that?, and what do you think of his recent comments about "defeating the Puerto Rican Champs"?
VW: Everyone in the world of boxing seems to have taken note of the fact that Margarito chose Cintron over Quintana, but no one seems to remember the fact that the final excerpt in that statement was when Margarito stated that "Money is what talks"! I point that out because personally I don't think Margarito is afraid of Quintana, I just think he realizes that Cintron is the safest route to go (after easily defeating him before) to perserve what appears to be a bigger payday. Same thing Floyd Mayweather and a few others have been accused of in the past. Margarito, (in my estimation), probably beats Quintana, but the reality is that he's never been too keen on facing southpaws and after watching the way that Quintana dispatched of the guy who defeated him (Paul Williams), it only makes sense for Margarito to put Quintana to the back of the 'line', as opposed to accepting that challenge before he gets the big payday, which comes against Cotto. Win, lose, or draw, Cotto is the fight that Margo wants since he knows that Floyd won't be ringing his phone any time soon. For Margo, Cotto means more money, more accolades if he wins, and a ton more mega-money options that far exceed anything Quintana would currently bring to the table.
As far as Margo being able to defeat all of the current Puerto Rican Champs goes, I personally would love to see all of those fights. After seeing Cintron struggle against the gritty yet unorthodoxed Jesse Feliciano, I don't think he holds up a full 12 rounds against Margarito. Cintron is powerful but he won't knock out Margo which means that he'll need to outpoint him, but he won't do that either because Cintron, like Zab Judah, gets very predictable and very shakey when his power isn't doing the damage he thinks it should. If he gets in the ring thinking too much it could be another quick trip to the showers. A Margo/Cotto fight I think is the most interesting of all. Cotto's skill level is far more superior, but this is the one guy in the welterweight division who I think slugs it out with Cotto with no fear factor and eventually wears him down, if such a thing can be done. Margo/Quintana presents another type of challenge. Margo would have to overcome the 'legend of the southpaw' which he openly has reservations about. In the end, I think his workrate allows him to do it. I think it's a stretch to say that Margo beats all of the current Puerto Rican welterweight Champions but what I love most is the fact that he's the only current welter out there talking about doing it. Gotta love it!
(Marlon S./Miami, Fl): After seeing the Diaz/Campbell fight, do you think youth is really an advantage in boxing?
VW: In any sport I think it comes down to the actual athlete. You take someone like the legendary Michael Jordan for example. When the day came that he was no longer able to fill the highlight reels with material, he went from being a 'dunkman' to a 'mental massacre', basically outhinking and outexecuting everyone on the court. He polished his jumpshot, he polished his passing skills, and after enhancing all of those things he implemented them into who he already was and became that much more deadly. In boxing, we've seen guys like George Foreman, Glen Johnson, and Bernard Hopkins do this time and time again. Campbell - at age 36 - I don't think is quite in that category, but the others mentioned have made a name for themselves in the sport by overcoming those odds. What it really comes down to is execution and basic knowledge of the game. You take Bernard Hopkins for example. He was nearly unstoppable for a decade, lost to Jermain Taylor twice, went back to the lab, and totally reinvented himself. Against Antonio Tarver, we saw a man who was previously known as a slow starter come out and take the fight to the bigger man like a beast. Against Winky Wright it was the same thing, only in this fight he was able to use his ring smarts to help him decipher a defensive style that was previously impenetrable. Time and time again we've seen him do this at the ripe age of 40 and older. If he can somehow figure out a way to defeat the workrate associated with the UK's finest, Joe Calzaghe, he personally goes down as one of the greatest of this era in my book. To answer your question, age for a 'good' athlete means a decline of youthful progression; Age for a 'great' athlete is an acronym which means: A GREATER EDUCATION. A greater education as in omnipotent knowledge used to conquer any given situation they may encounter in their respective crafts. That greater education is what separates the pretenders of the sports world from the contenders.
(Fernando Munoz/Hialeah, Fl): Do you give Alphonso Gomez a shot against Miguel Cotto?
VW: Earlier this week I posted an article entitled "ANY GIVEN NIGHT" that speaks of the fact that know matter how great a fighter is, proper planning and enough motivation for even a dead-man-walking can change things quickly. We saw it in Douglas/Tyson, Johnson/Jones Jr., and a countless amount of other fights. I don't expect Gomez to win this fight but I give him a far better chance than the boxing public seems to be at this point. This has all the makings of a 'trap-fight'. One fighter knows the bigger paydays lie ahead, his promoter sets up a match designed to keep him fresh and in sync and has no idea that this opponent is more motivated than the average and is as live an underdog as possible. Cotto wins this fight, no doubt, but if he comes in expecting short work, he'll be unpleasantly surprised. Few take note of the fact that Gomez has campaigned as a middleweight and won't be pushed around the ring like some of the natural welters against a 'stalk-until-they-can't-walk' type fighter like Cotto. Gomez I think will make it interesting, but once Cotto's body blows find their range, it'll be a matter of time.
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