The 'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's Weekly Mailbag Featuring Andrade-Bute, Paul Williams, Judah, Taylor, Kessler, and More!

Jermain TaylorIn this weeks 'Left-Hook Lounge' installment we cover some pretty interesting ground for a week with no mega fights scrolling on the marquee. Among the many topics we'll touch on today is the horrific outcome of the Andrade-Bute fight in Canada last Friday, and the recent division hopping by Paul Williams. In a more speculative fashion, two questions presented ponder the outcome of potential fights between Taylor and Kessler, as well as Bradley and Judah. Then wrapping up this weeks 'Lounge' we take a stab at one fantasy question where a fight fan was bold enough to question which country produces the best boxers.

Democratic VP candidate Joe Biden recently stated that if he and Barack Obama make it into office their administration would probably be tested early, and when a question like "which country produces the best boxers"? comes into the fold, it's safe to say we can now firmly identify the source of the initiating spark that will ignite that proverbial World War III! At least here on ESB anyhow.....But with no further ado, we hit the streets of Miami Lakes, Florida where an avid fight fan wanted to know the following:

Mario Santana (Miami Lakes, Fl): Last Friday night's ending to the Andrade-Bute fight was an absolute disgrace. How is such a thing still possible in the sport?

Vivek W. (ESB): I think everyone who wasn't Canadian or a relative to Bute felt robbed after that fight. It was a total aberration in peak form. I've never met the referee (Marlon Wright), but that's a guy that I can say without a second guess, unequivocally and unapologetically, that I have not an ounce of respect for. I watched that fight and saw the replay from a ton of different angles, and neither one supported the action he displayed. I try to limit personal attacks or venomous words because the third man in the ring never has an easy job, but it was totally pathetic and as a result I would parallel that sentiment with him as well. A referee's job is to protect the fighters, but that protection is from ill acts amongst one another, not protect a home favorite from a loss. Even if Andrade was out of his corner, he was no where near the opponent and far from a compromising position relative to the location of Bute. That whole charade took close to 20 seconds (if not more) and there's no dispute that the 10 count would have been reached to end the fight - giving the victory to Andrade. I hope that there's an immediate rematch invoked, but in a best case scenario, I wish I could see the decision reversed completely. On a personal note, I think Marlon Wright should be relieved of any future referee duties. His judgement left room for much speculation about both his ability to do his job, as well as his intentions as a man.

Shawn Mobley (Los Angeles, CA): With Paul Williams scheduled to take another fight above the welterweight division, is it safe to say that his days at 147lbs are numbered?

Vivek W. (ESB): Technically, this isn't a question that I can answer directly, but based on the recent actions of the Williams camp, I'm inclined to say I think he definitely has plans of taking his show on the road. The thing about Williams is that he has the freakish size and length ability to do exactly what we see him doing, and if he can continue to make weight between the three divisions (which we know he can), why not? Personally, I don't see anyone at '47 doing much with him. Cotto would be a great fight but if Margarito wore Cotto down, Cotto would never escape the length and activity of Paul. For those out there that thinks Cotto would eat away at the ribs, tell me how he'll get in that close first and I might believe that. Don't let the first Quintana fight fool you. That was the night that we learned of the possibility of Williams going north in weight one day, as he entered the ring at 168lbs officially, meaning he was well drained for having to make the 147lb limit less than 24hrs earlier. Margarito would be a great rematch, but I'm beginning to really question how much Margarito wants that fight. Margo was very vocal about calling Cotto and Mayweather out, but the word "Williams" has been a bit missing from the vocab lately. Margarito is clearly not afraid of the fight, and would come in knowing what to expect after having faced him once already, but I can't blame him for wanting to milk some more millions off of his strap and status in more safer fights. So if Williams can stay hydrated and fresher by being able to fight heavy and be enough of a threat to land in the mega fight mix at '54 and '60, hell, why not? Personally, I think he presents the same challenge for many of the front-runners in those divisions as he does at '47, it just comes down to how well he can take the punches. It'll be interesting and to be honest, I wouldn't mind him making either of the three divisions home.

Zach Chandler (Boca Raton, Fl): Who do you like in a future potential showdown between Mikkel Kessler and Jermain Taylor?

Vivek W. (ESB): I think a showdown between Kessler and Taylor would be a great fight. I haven't seen enough of Taylor at super middleweight to say he'd be 'the man', but I will say that as we know, styles make fights, and I don't think there's anyone else in that division whose style matches as closely to his as Kessler. Librado would be a great fight to watch against Taylor, but he'd end up being outpointed. Lucian Bute is a crafty southpaw and I think that'll make for an interesting night, but you have to figure that if a fighter as mechanically slow as Librado walked him down and nearly got the KO, Taylor might take it to him earlier. Kessler is a great mix of speed, power, action, and heart. I think that'll be a great fight and personally, I'm not ready to predict a winner there. I'd have to analyze some fight footage and pick a few things apart first but I couldn't go on record and make a strong case for either man at this point. Hopefully we won't have to speculate much longer because with Kessler winning recently and Taylor about to fight, I would guess the respective promoters are wondering about this fight just like we are. Hopefully they make it happen.

Phil Tomsovic (Seattle, Wa): There was recent talk about the possibility of Zab Judah fighting at the 140lb weight class. If his team did decide to go down in weight, how would you see a fight with he and Tim Bradley playing out?

Vivek W. (ESB): Before getting into my answer, I just want to comment that I think it's pretty intriguing how the '47 weight class has suddenly began a phasing out process of the fighters who aren't near 6' tall or naturally heavier men who can make the weight. Recent talks have linked everyone from Collazo, to Berto, to now Zab Judah as current welters who are potentially headed south. As far as the question itself goes, I think this fight would be a helluva match. Zab hasn't fought at the 140lb weight class in nearly 5 years but if you look at the his previous fight, he actually tipped the scale at 143lbs, which tells me that he wouldn't have a problem making that weight at all. He would carry a one inch height and two inch reach advantage into the ring over Bradley, but Bradley's one tough customer and I question how Zab would handle his prowess over the second half of the fight. Zab is easily one of the most talented fighters I've witnessed, but when it all boils down, that talent has either not translated well in big fights, or has simply been overshadowed by questions of his alleged lack of heart. I think this is actually a winnable fight for Zab, but he'd better pack a lunch and bring his hard hat because Bradley would present equal or greater danger than anyone in that divison right now. Hey, as far as I'm concerned, let the underground chants begin.....I'd love to see this one happen.

Alex Smith (Philadelphia, Pa): In your opinion, which country do you think currently has the best stable of boxers in the sport?

Vivek W. (ESB): I can answer this question by pointing out certain elements involved, but this is a pure fantasy type issue because I think with all the weight classes and diversity you see in the ring now days, it's nearly impossible to answer with any accuracy. When you think Mexico, you think of the iron-chinned Antonio Margarito, the tactician Juan Manuel Marquez, Israel Vasquez, and a few others. When you think British boxers (in general) you think Hatton, Calzaghe, David Haye, and so on. When you think American boxers you think Bernard Hopkins, Chad Dawson, Roy Jones, Kelly Pavlik and a host of others. That's just three locations and we haven't even touched the tiny island of Puerto Rico (non-continental U.S.) where you have what's viewed as easily the most talent per capita, as this tiny island has produced more greats than many countries 3 times its size. To really get an understanding for how out of sorts this whole question is, consider the fact that Ukraine only has two major figures in the mix, yet they single handily own and run a complete division to themselves, thanks to Heavyweight twin towers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko. So when it all boils down, there's no true way to justify any country or continent producing the best talent. At least not in my opinion. One day that may change, but one thing for sure, there will never be a point where you see one country totally dominate across the board at all! Ever!

(Got Questions or Feedback?: Contact ESB's Vivek Wallace at and 954-292-7346, or show some love at

Article posted on 29.10.2008

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