Boxing


The 'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's Weekly Mailbag Featuring Mosley, Williams, Berto, Haye, Muhammad Ali, and Lennox Lewis!

Andre BertoThis weeks 'Left-Hook Lounge' installment hones in on a combination of fighters that all find themselves in position to make an impact in their respective weight divisions. The deep welterweight division plays a key role in today's questions as fight fans ponder how far the young and energetic Andre Berto might go, and whether or not Shane Mosley's tank level means it's indeed time for him to go?

Other questions on the tab today hone in on the U.K.'s David Haye, welterweights Paul Williams and Joshua Clottey, as well as a finale that comes from a fight fan who chose to take a trip down memory lane as he and a few friends pondered the results of a Lennox Lewis/Muhammad Ali showdown. Yeah, I know, it's a video game scenario, but call me a gamer because that sure as hell didn't stop me from hacking away at it! So, with no further ado, here we go again my fellow fight fans from the Eastside.....

Jerry M. (Detroit, MI): I found the Mosley/Mayorga fight somewhat uneventful. What was your interpretation of the fight?

Vivek W. (ESB): I thought the fight was fairly uneventful myself until Shane decided to give us some fireworks as the fight ended.. In hindsight, what I really took away from that fight overall was the exact thing that I knew I would but hoped that I wouldn't. That was the fact that a fighter that I've enjoyed watching and find as a total class act - (Shane Mosley) - has suddenly become marginalized by time and according to who you listen to, potentially the lack of performance enhancing substances. What I saw in Shane last Saturday night was a man who clinched a lot more than he used to, and appeared winded a bit more than I'm used to. It came as a total shock to me personally because against Miguel Cotto, I think he showed some age, but he did enough to make it a competitive fight, and according to some, he did enough to win. This Mayorga fight was the total opposite. He looked lethargic, he looked sluggish, and he didn't make adjustments and execute too well. What bothers me more is that it was my perception from the very beginning that Mayorga was chosen as a warm up opponent because he serves as a template of what Team Mosley can expect from Margarito - hard head, hard chin, decent punch - but the truth of the matter is, Mayorga is no Margarito, and Margarito in my opinion would be too much at this stage for Shane. I'd love to see the fight but if Cotto edged Shane out and basically boxed him, Margarito would plow straight ahead, light him up and blow him out. That could very well be the first time we ever see Mosley stopped within the distance. I think he can still make some competitive fights (not guaranteed wins) against at least two of the current welters (Berto and Clottey) but his days as a formidable contender that many fear have expired, apparently.

Mark Wright (Boca Raton, FL): In your estimation, did WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto prove anything to you by barely beating a former 140lb'er?

Vivek W. (ESB): My answer to this question would be an emphatic YES! Was the fight his best performance, probably not, but that had more to do with Forbes being - in my observation - his best opponent to date. Berto did all you can ask of a young champion, and that's execute the gameplan, and gut out a tough performance to get the "W". I find it a bit contradictory by many of these fight fans who have condemned DiBella and Berto for taking this fight. Some of these same guys diminishing his victory over a guy that they deem too small are the same ones who support ODH facing a guy whom he holds a near 20 pound, as well as 6 inch reach and 4 inch height advantage over. I don't have anything negative to say about Berto's performance. It's easy to want to see a knockout from your couch at home with a brewski in one hand and a remote in another, but remember, there's a prime reason why Forbes has rarely been down, and never been knocked out. Oscar still packs a great punch but he couldn't get the KO. Berto packs a great punch but he couldn't either. Just add those names to the list of many who've tried. And even if he [Berto] could have, it's great that he didn't. At his developmental stage, he got some well needed rounds in against a very masterful boxer who has been around long enough to know all the tricks in the trade. I have great respect for both Berto and Forbes and now that Forbes has decided to go (and stay) at 140 lbs, personally, I'd like to see another young gun roll the dice against such a dangerous foe. That young gun is none other than the suddenly emerging Timothy Bradley. We'll see if they can make it happen.

Tracy S. (Virginia Beach, VA): Several sources are reporting that Joshua Clottey is calling out Paul Williams. Who do you like in that potential showdown?

Vivek W. (ESB): I think that'll be a fight worth watching. A very good fight. Paul Williams is a trainers dream in terms of fighter intangibles and so forth, but Clottey has a granite chin, a rock head, and is a very solid defender who knows how to go on the offensive as well. What intrigues me about this fight is the fact that Clottey as a defender is known to pick shots off like enemy jets on the radar, but when a fighter has the reach and punch output of Williams, how effective can Clottey's defense really be? Now the flipside to this topic is the fact that I've never seen Williams in against a solid fundamental fighter with a chin and power who likes to go to the body. I think despite the great advantages for Williams, this is still a pretty even fight. If all things remain equal, I expect Williams to win on points, but there will be so many ebbs and flows in that fight that I think it'll definitely go down as a potential "Fight of the Year" candidate. And the fact that it would be a unification fight makes it all swell. With Antonio Margarito scheduled to face an interim opponent (presumably of lesser stature) and then take the rematch against Miguel Cotto, it would appear that he's out of the picture; So if Goldenboy Promotions doesn't jump into the mix by dangling Shane in a potential fight with Williams first, I think the Williams/Clottey fight pretty much has to be made. Stay tuned for developments....

Paul Johnson (Bronx, NY): David Haye has selected Monte Barrett to face in his first heavyweight fight. Do you think Barrett has much of a chance in that fight?

Vivek W. (ESB): I think Barrett is a very 'live' underdog, and if Haye thinks that he chose a cupcake, I want him to know personally that this perceived desert may turn him into the main course! Barrett is a very credible fighter with a lot of heart, and physically, the tale of the tape from a reach and height standpoint are equal. The big knock on Barrett is the fact that he has little to no consistency. How do you explain a fighter that goes the distance with Hasim Rahman, and 11 rounds with Nikolay Valuev, then gets KO'd by Cliff Clouser? When it all comes down, if Barrett comes in unfocused and poorly trained like we've seen at times, (which is possible considering that he'll be fighting on foreign soil), then it could be a night of fireworks for the Haye camp. If Barrett comes in ready to rumble with a Buster Douglas type chip on his shoulder with something to prove, anything is possible. I think ultimately Haye will win the fight, but one thing for sure, with all the talk he and his camp have been doing about taking the heavyweight division by storm, he'd better know that all eyes will be on him and he'd better deliver!

Shawn Moyer (Miami, FL): I'm a huge fan of both Muhammad Ali and Lennox Lewis. My buddies and I have a running debate that we'd like you to chime in on. Considering the weight advantage, who wins a match between a young Ali and a young Lewis (in your opinion)?

Vivek W. (ESB): Personally, I've never cared for the whole "this fighter in this era against that fighter in that era" chat, but for the sake of being a good sport, I'll give my supportive stats on both guys. Before I do that though, I'll start by saying that I think the better question would be who would win a rematch between the two? Sounds crazy, but here's my logic.....Ali was by far the better fundamental boxer. He was faster, he was more aggressive, and despite all the great things you tend to hear about him, his chin for some odd reason never makes the conversation. He fought with these attributes in full effect until his twilight days. Now, Lennox Lewis on the other hand is one of the few fighters in the sport that has been able to eventually conquer and avenge every man who defeated him. Also, another interesting but rarely talked about fact relative to Lennox Lewis is the fact that - by his own admission - Lewis got considerably better as he aged. So if you consider that Lewis got better as he aged, and was known to avenge every lost that he ever encountered, in my opinion, his best (and maybe only) chance at defeating Ali would have been coming into the ring with a chip on his shoulder after a previous loss to him. In an initial encounter featuring these two guys in their prime, I think Ali is the obvious choice, and I'm sure Lennox would agree. If not, I'd love to hear from him!

(Got Questions or Feedback: Contact ESB's Vivek Wallace at 954-292-7346 and vivexemail@yahoo.com, or show him some love at www.myspace.com/anonymouslyinvolved)

Article posted on 01.10.2008



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