The 'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's Q&A Mailbag Featuring Margarito, Cotto, Oscar, Pacquiao, David Haye, and Many More!
30.07.08 - By Vivek Wallace: This weeks 'Left-Hook Lounge' segment takes a look at some pretty interesting questions from fight fans around the globe. On the tab today, we look into matters surrounding everything from last weekends Cotto/Margarito fight, to Pacquiao's proposed showdown with Oscar, to a host of other topics. So, with no further ado........
Article posted on 30.07.2008
Rodrigo Salinas (Houston, TX): What do you think ultimately led to Cotto's loss and what do you see in his future?
Vivek W. (ESB): Leading up to the fight I analyzed probably 8 to 9 hours worth of fight footage and the more I watched Cotto's past fights, the more I was convinced that no matter how great Mosley, Judah, and others he faced were perceived to be, none of them were the type of BONA FIDE CLOSER that Margarito is. They all got him hurt but few would actually attempt to push the envelope and pull the curtains when they got him there. Margarito is that guy. Always has been. My constant questions were how early and often would he hurt Cotto, and how long would it take before Cotto would succumb to the pressure after realizing the fact that he could not hurt him in return? I knew that once that point was reached, it would be a matter of time because that alone is enough to break the will of any man. In the end, that would once again hold true. As far as where he goes now, considering that Pacquiao, Freddie Roach, and attorney Franklin Gacal have stressed that they will mandate a same-day-of-fight weigh in that will require a $750K fine for every pound that Oscar De La Hoya lands over 147 for their proposed showdown, I wouldn't be surprised if such an odd demand and a request for a purse of astronomical figures don't somehow divert the attention back to Cotto. The Cotto camp has stated that they want to be back in the ring before the end of the year and this is a very winnable fight, a big name, and a helluva way to get his confidence back. Stranger things have happened. And when it comes to securing a mega fight, there couldn't be a more desperate source with the intellect support to get it done than Oscar and his group at Goldenboy.
Lamar Parker (Virginia): What do you think of an eventual Margarito/Pavlik showdown? And how do you see it playing out?
Vivek W. (ESB): I think when you consider that there's not much of a weight differential between the two, (when outside of the ring), this fight will be made. When you compare the two boxers, I don't know how this fight isn't made. Margarito is gonna come forward like a battalion with marching orders, Pavlik will do the same. Both men can 'crack' and wear their opponents down in the late rounds. I think the chin edge goes to Margarito. Although we haven't seen him face opposition that size, I think similarly to what we've seen out of Pacquiao, the extra weight will only enhance his power and durability. I won't go out on a limb and try to predict who wins that fight, but i could see them fighting at 160 or a close catch-weight. The cool thing about this is that it should be relatively easy to make happen because once again, both fighters fall under Bob Arum. Seems he's holding all the chips now days. Pacquiao, Pavlik, Margarito, and Cotto all fall under his umbrella, and after last week we now know that he's OK with pitting them against one another if the time is right and the dollars are long. I wouldn't look for such a fight before Winter '09, but once again, stranger things have happened.
Chima Penalosa (Miami Lakes, Florida): Oscar De La Hoya initially said that he would face the winner of the Cotto/Margarito fight, and now he's talking differently. Why is the media allowing Oscar to play them like a pawn instead of giving that attention to true warriors on the rise?
Vivek W. (ESB): I can't speak for the rest of the media, but one thing I don't do as a boxing scribe is play politics and favoritism - with anyone. Others out there give Oscar that special comfort zone, sweeping obvious miscues under the rug, but as legendary as he is and as much as he's done for the sport, I'd tell him to his face if the opportunity ever arrived that he does the sport much better sitting in the stands as a promoter than he does perpetrating as a dedicated boxer. When you look at boxing headlines all over the globe people are calling Oscar out for this. In the SKYSPORTS NEWS, headlines yesterday read "Oscar Scared of Margarito". WBC President Jose Sulaiman was even more candid in his response in a recent interview about a potential fight between Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao when he stated: "what are they gonna do? Stuff Manny [Pacquiao] with tamales and beans, and reduce Oscar in the steam bath to bring them together?" He then added, "It's ridiculous, it's absurd, it's a fraud to the public and it cannot happen"! Those words echo my sentiments exactly and this is precisely why people on the outside of boxing's mainstream find the sport a bit more humorous than headlining. We just got done watching one of - if not THE - best fight of the year so far, and immediately after, we can't even focus on what those warriors will do next because the media is busy buying into the De La Hoya sweepstakes. I'm a fan, and I respect him greatly, but there has to come a point where a line is drawn in the sand. When you trace the hints and check the files, consider this sequence of events......After Hatton defeated Castillo, word quickly spread that Oscar contacted Hatton via cell phone while still in his locker room with what was supposed to be a congratulatory call, but somehow ended up in him saying that they could sell out a stadium in Hatton's homeland. Mayweather comes along and derails those plans. After being humbled, Hatton changes his mind and kills the idea totally. Mayweather considers a rematch with Oscar, only to find that despite defeating Oscar once, Oscar still won't concede to giving him the larger portion of a rematch purse - which is what he did with Trinidad in negotiations as well - so after getting tired of the diva charade, Mayweather moves on about his business. Next Oscar says that although his wife doesn't want him to fight a Puerto Rican, "he makes the business decisions", and warms the public up to the notion of him facing Cotto, and then Margarito comes along and derails those plans. Rather than him taking the last man standing - (Antonio Margarito) - he comes out with the lamest excuse in the book, stating that he doesn't wanna go out of the fight game facing another Mexican. I can't say he's scared but it sure as hell looks that way. He thought Cotto would defeat Margarito, so to create a path for that fight, the recent rhetoric only days before that fight was that he thinks Pacquiao should face Marquez again. Now Cotto loses and he doesn't want Margarito so he tells the public that Pacquiao's comments about "knocking him out" stirred up his desire to face him. Let's take a look here, that's Hatton, Mayweather, Pacquiao, and Cotto, yet somehow the true contender - who happens to be closer to his own size - is the one in position to face him in what could be a mega fight, but he declines? If it were near Cinco De Mayo, I gaurantee you he would use that as a selling point to make a fight with Margarito for their fellow Mexicans because the monetary reward would justify the risk, but on a regular ole Saturday night in December, what it all comes down to is found in the words of Margarito's co-manager, Sergio Diaz who stated that "Oscar wants to retire, but he doesn't want to retire hurt!" That's the bottomline. Fighting Pacquiao is low risk, high reward, and the only one being rewarded is Oscar, because Pacman has all the risk, and the fans will barely be rewarded. I say we all move on!
Bryan Smith (Coral Gables, Fl): What are your thoughts on the James Toney/Hasim Rahman decision being overturned?
Vivek W. (ESB): I think it's another slap in the face and another black eye to the sport. Technically, the rules state that the fight should have been a no-decision since it ended before the 4th round, but it wasn't what happened as much as it was how it happened. The cut wasn't serious, and my point of contention is the fact that by his own admission the night of the fight, the doctor stated that he hadn't even analyzed the cut when the fight was stopped. He stated that he saw the cut, but before it was officially analyzed, Rahman stated that he could not see, so if he couldn't see, the fight needed to be stopped. Regardless of how the cut got there, (headbutt or not), a fight can only be stopped as a result of a fight doctor analyzing a wound and deciding that a fighter can't go on. That's not what happened. The fighter basically told him that he wasn't gonna go on. So I don't agree with the call at all, and if you look at the fight again, you notice that Rahman had not even flinched or rarely winked that eye until Toney came alive and started tossin' hot leather at him. Rahman's words after the fight was pretty telling when he said "I'm not crazy enough to fight James Toney with one eye". That was a slap in the face of fighters in the past who have fought with broken jaws, broken hands, severely closed eyes, and all kind of other stuff. I think Rahman quit, personally, but all he did was prolong the inevitable because it seems that David Haye is gonna choose him for his first heavyweight fight. It took a James Toney that was out of the ring for over a year three rounds to begin to pick him apart, but with Haye's speed and power, I give Rahman 5 rounds tops before Haye turns the lights out.
Javier Acosta (Brooklyn, NY): In light of the Cotto loss to Margarito, do you think that an undefeated record necessarily means a whole lot in the world of boxing?
Vivek W. (ESB): This is a topic that I've openly spoken out about in the past, and to address it directly, not at all. Don't get me wrong, if it's done by a fighter who takes on all comer's and somehow he was able to escape the "L" column, definitely, more power to him. But in the grand scheme of things, I don't think a loss tarnishes the reputation of a fighter much, if at all in the long run. You take a guy like Lennox Lewis who literally came back to avenge every lost he ever suffered by defeating the men who gave them to him, or someone like Paul Williams who lost to Carlos Quintana, and came right back and totally dismantled the guy; Those are examples of fighters elevating their game by effectively making a method from the madness. At times, it takes a setback like a loss to bring out the true greatness within a fighter and as great as Ali, Tyson, Leonard, and many others were, it's safe to say that if they never lost, they wouldn't have been the men we now know them as. Taking it a step further, you take fighters like Glen Johnson, or even Antonio Margarito, both of whom suffered alot of losses early for whatever reason, yet now stand amongst the best of their current crop, and that's a clear testimony to the fact that there's life after losses. In team sports where you have a group of men to rely on it's tough to remain undefeated, so why people believe that it should be easy in a sport where it all falls on one set of shoulders is beyond me. These guys are only human and on any given night, the best can be conquered by the rest.
(Got Questions or Feedback?: Contact ESB's Vivek Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org, 954-857-6858, or show some love at www.myspace.com/anonymouslyinvolved)
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