The Left-Hook Lounge: Vivek Wallace's Weekly Q & A Mailbag Featuring Dela Hoya, Mayweather, Pacquiao, and More....

Manny PacquiaoJose Monterro (Miami, Fl): In your article about boxings Pound 4 Pound candidates "The Great Debate" you listed Kelly Pavlik but did not list Juan Manuel Marquez. How would you explain that?

VW: There were two reasons that I didn't list Juan Manuel Marquez in my Top 10 P4P candidate list. For starters, it can be argued that Marquez failed to hit 'paydirt' on the biggest stages of his career. He's easily one of the gutsiest fighters that I know and there's rarely a dull moment watching him in the ring, but results played a major role in my decision, and quite frankly, despite the fact that the some results were questionable, in the end, he rarely got the OFFICIAL nod when it counted. One must remember, when talking P4P greatness, the equation should come down to a fighters greatness and the results that greatness yields. Granted, there are some that made the list who have multiple losses, but those guys (for example Bernard Hopkins) are the ones who've come back from losses and totally reinvented themselves in a way that ultimately solidifies their talent beyond the norm. Secondly, the P4P status is typically referred to as a "mythical" status because in a blunt reality, it's part fact, part opinion. Some may not agree, but in example you can view the P4P Top 25 countdown on another highly credible website (which I won't name) that list Oscar Dela Hoya but not Miguel Cotto or Shane Mosley. At least one of those men (Mosley) is far more gifted from a talent standpoint, and the other (Cotto) defeated that same Dela Hoya conqueror and has shown an upside that could one day be just as bright. My opinion doesn't support their version but that would explain the variation of the two list. In the end, as it relates to Marquez, I wouldn't argue with a list that has him on it, but as I see things, him being in a Top 10 P4P list candidate is far from a closed debate.

Cedric Williams (North Miami Beach, Fl): What are your thoughts on Floyd Mayweather Jr. and his latest family feud?

VW: Truthfully, I think it's more sad than substance. Inside the ring, there's absolutely, unequivocally, no way to dispute the ways of Floyd. Outside the ring is another story. While I think Floyd had a legitimate beef, I also think that there was another way to handle it; One that would have been less visible to the media. Aside from the way it was handled, I don't think there was a problem with his concerns. You have to figure, his trainer was gonna train a fighter who's facing his next opponent. You're basically giving your next opponent a test run at the blueprint he's about to face. Not only that, but if that 'test-run' comes to perform and somehow defeats the common opponent, the big payday goes away. Floyd was basically protecting his best interest which most of us do in life and you can't argue with that. Skeptics may not like the perceived wining and bickering from Floyd, but why be surprised, after all, this is a guy who calls himself 'Money'!

Elizabeth Arjuna (Chicago, IL): As a boxing fan, what was your most exciting moment(s)?, your most stunning moment(s)?, and your most pleasurable moment(s)?

VW: Boxing, and sports in general in my family is one of those "from the cradle to the grave" type things. Basically a way of life. I can remember being knee high to a duck and sitting with my Dad and uncles watching all of the greats of the past 30 plus years. Over that time the love for the game and the respect for the men who make it has increased ten-fold. The rush I get at a fight when they show the fighters entering the arena headed to the locker room backstage on the jumbo cam, or the moments in the locker room as they lace up their gloves and warm up before they go to war is a feeling that I can only parallel to the birth of my kids. That being said, the events over the years that have instilled that love for the fight game in me are very profound. My most memorable moment(s) collectively came watching the emergence of "Iron" Mike Tyson in his prime. It was something that I wanted to be a part of at all cost. The only places that would broadcast PPV fights when I was younger were the gentlemans clubs. I could remember joining my Dad (a former Pastor) for the first and only time in such a place because our cable wasn't working properly but we wouldn't dare miss the fight. Wow, what a show, oops, I meant fight, that night. (Smiles). All of Mike Tyson's heyday moments were by far the most exciting for me. The most stunning moments also involved Mike Tyson. It was the night that he fell victim to Buster Douglas in Tokyo Japan. Remnants of that numbness still remain to this day. The other most stunning moment would be sitting at the Ritz Carlton Casino in San Juan, Puerto Rico watching Roy Jones Jr. get KO'd by Tarver. Most pleasurable moment would be covering the Mayweather/Dela Hoya fight and being in the media area talking to both the legendary Angelo Dundee and Lou Duva at the same time. Boxing history would be very minimal without the larger-than-life contributions of these guys and I was blessed enough to pick their brains and share the same airspace with them for one night.

Eric S. (Ontario, California): What boxing promotion group do you think is the best in the sport?

VW: I think each of the major players in the promotional aspect of the fight game give you a little something different. Goosen Tutor is pretty good, Top Rank is very good, Warriors Boxing is credible, as well as a number of others. Overall I think you'd still have to say that Golden Boy Promotions and Don King Promotions are the two most consistent frontrunners. Golden Boy Promotions has sort of reinvented the game by using features like 24/7 (which to my understanding was actually a concept created by Floyd Mayweather Jr. - prior to the fight with Dela Hoya - that was later used for other fight cards). The way the GBP promoted the Dela Hoya/Mayweather fight last year was the total epitome of what a promotion should be. Everyone in every corner of the universe knew about that fight. The only problem with GBP is that on most of the fight cards, aside from the main event, there usually aren't many other noteworthy fights. That's why I think Don King Promotions remains somewhere at the top of the list. More often than not, whether the main event is a true headliner or not, there's generally more depth to the card itself which makes fans a little more apt to tune in or drop the 55 smacks in the bucket.

Rick M. (Dallas, TX): What do you think of the possible Pacquiao/Dela Hoya fight being discussed for November?

I think this kinda fight is good for the fan, bad for the sport. It highlights the new wave of 'money driven' fights that seem to be replacing the love of the sport. If Oscar Dela Hoya isn't going to make a serious run at a strap in one of the divisions, he needs to hang it up and let the young lions roam. You take away the gift decision against Felix Sturm and Dela Hoya hasn't beaten anyone but Ricardo Mayorga since 2003. If he fights Pacquiao, it'll be his third catch-weight fight in 2 years. Consider the fact that catch-weights only come into effect when you're trying to pin one opponent against another whose weights don't generally match, and that tells you that someone is cherry picking the best opponents at every weight class he can find. Personally I love Oscar Dela Hoya in the ring, but I wish the boxing world would start to realize that he's not the only 'big dance' in town and start scheduling true and equal opposition. Well, then again I forgot, he's the promoter that puts the fight cards together and as long as he can promote himself and be paid accordingly, the only choices we have is to suck it up or watch something else. Which of those two options do I choose? I'd rather not say, but here's a hint, just don't expect me to pick up my phone on fight night. (Smiles)

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Article posted on 27.03.2008

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