'The Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's Mailbag Featuring Hatton, Margarito, Campbell, Williams, and More!
26.11.08 - By Vivek Wallace: After last Saturday nights performance by Ricky Hatton, there's no question, this weeks 'Left-Hook Lounge' installment will come heavy on the Hatton dosage. Not only on Hatton himself, but also the trainer in his corner, as well as the options they'll have to collectively ponder about his future. Aside from that, we analyze questions relative to the Margarito/Mosley showdown which now appears to be firm, as well as one fight fans dream to one day see a showdown at 154 lbs between James Kirkland and Paul Williams. As always, there are a lot of topics to conquer, so with no further ado, we jump right in.
Article posted on 27.11.2008
Jeffery S. (Miami Lakes, Fl): At times you've supported Hatton, but you've also been critical of him in regards to his dedication to the sport. What do you think of him now that he has Mayweather Sr. in his corner?
Vivek W. (ESB): Personally, I try to see the ups and the downs involved with every scenario, and the Hatton evolution is no different. Good news first...The positives that I drew from Hattons performance was that he controlled his aggression. It was only their first fight together as a team, yet Hatton showed a solid commitment to his ring discipline and was actually well adept at not being overly aggressive. He put his punches together better and seemed to have a more organized battle plan that he executed to near perfection. The flipside to that, it's a great thing that Malignaggi doesn't pack much power and that he seemed to be fighting with only one hand - (his left) - because when he decided to let his hands go he landed at will. Seeing that made me question whether Hatton was able to control himself simply because he wasn't being fazed by his opponents punches. Had that been a stronger puncher doing more damage, I question how disciplined Hatton would have remained. It's easy to stick to the script when you don't feel threatened, but when you know that a man can get you out of there with a flush shot or two, or that he can hurt you with a couple big pops, the pressure tends to add, forcing a fighter to attempt to get their opponent out of there sooner. That's the test that I want to see from the 'new' Hatton. How well he handles adversity under the tutelage of his new trainer. Until I see that, I don't think I can totally buy the transformation we're being sold. It looked encouraging but where's the ledge? Is there more room for improvement within Hatton's learning curve, or has he adjusted as much as we can expect? Time will tell. What I loved about the Rickster in that fight was the he knew his critics were doubting him and he came out and made it his business to show them what he was all about. I love the guy personally, and I'm happy to see that he did manage to stay disciplined enough to come in not only prepared, but eager to prove doubters wrong. That's the Hatton many hoped for, and in the end, he made many wishes come true that night!
Jorge Silva (Boca Raton, FL): Now that Margarito/Mosley is a confirmed deal, what are your thoughts on the showdown and how do you think it will play out?
Vivek W. (ESB): I think the fight is gonna show us exactly what we need to know about both men. After his victory over Miguel Cotto, Margarito finally got the accolades, money, and fame that he always wanted and in the process, he subsequently joined that 'silk pajamas' crew. My questions surrounding him is how motivated will he be in his followup effort after finally reaching that proverbial mountain top. It's extremely difficult reaching that point (as he knows better than most), but it's twice as hard to stay there. As a hardcore fan of the NBA's Miami Heat, trust me, no one in the world knows better than I do about seeing a team (or in this case a person) go from being the toast of the town, to suddenly forgetting how steep the climb was to get there, and being utterly humbled in their followup campaign as a result. I don't think that Margo will take his foot off the gas, but you have to realize that he's facing a man who lost to the last person that he beat down thoroughly. Also, this same guy who lost to the last man he beat looked old in his last campaign, and many in the fight world are predicting that it could be easy work him. So there are definitely some 'sleeper' elements and traps to this scenario, but all in all, it'll show us where these two men really are. Can Mosley turn back the hands of time after watching his stablemate (Bernard Hopkins) do it? Will he have the same re-invention success that Hatton just found with fresh blood in the corner? Many felt that Cotto could have beaten Margo had his stamina and chin been better, so does that mean a sturdy-chinned Mosley would fare better if he can actually go the distance? There are many angles we can look at but soon enough I guess we'll find out. Should be a decent fight at worst, but ironically, I think it'll go down as one of the best fights of the year because both men are warriors, don't like to fight going backwards, and come to the ring to win....Period!
Marvin Tisdale (Bronx, NY): Paul Williams has recently put himself in position to compete in the light middleweight division. It doesn't appear to be a possibility, but how do you see a fight with him and James Kirkland playing out if it ever happened?
Vivek W. (ESB): For starters, I think it's funny that this consideration has even crossed the mind of anyone, considering that both men are still trying to carve out a place for themselves in the division elite, and one of them (Williams) has never even fought there. That being said, I think it would be a helluva fight. Williams' work rate, reach, and stamina would be a huge issue for anyone across from him, but Kirkland has some granite whiskers, and I don't care how good your chin is, you're gonna feel those bruisin' bombs he throws at some point. Honestly, that's a fight I can't call without careful consideration, but it's one that within another year or two could very well materialize. Kirkland has shown great improvement and is finally putting his punches together and turning the corner on some of the technique flaws he had earlier in his career. That makes him just as formidable as anyone out there at 154lbs. I think there's a lot of work ahead for both men and many paths they can take to cross those rivers, but hopefully at some point in the distant future, if both men continue to win, this is a fight we can see materialize.
Alex S. (Seattle, WA): Hatton has made it clear that he prefers big name/big money fights. Do you think there's a chance we ever really see him in against someone like Holt or Bradley?
Vivek W. (ESB): If I was a betting man, I'd say no! There's absolutely too much risk and not enough reward in either fight for Hatton. A win over those guys would do very little for him, but a loss resets the million questions he started to get after the loss to Mayweather. Is his heart in it? Has he finally succumb to the ills of years and years of beer bashin', etc. I don't think Team Hatton will subject themselves to those possibilities before he capitalizes on the promotional deal with Oscar and GBP, which will inevitably include a matchup between the two. That's unfortunate for fight fans though because Bradley's power and style would make for a interesting matchup against him, and it would be interesting to see him deal with Holt's reach and other attributes.
Marcus Williams (Covina, CA): Is there any truths to the rumors pinning Nate Campbell against Marco Antonio Barrera and how do you see that fight playing out?
Vivek W. (ESB): As it stands now, there's nothing firm on that potential showdown, and according to the source himself - (Nate Campbell) - it's not really on the radar because Ali Funeka is his mandatory and he's the sole mission on his plate until that fight is over and he comes out victorious. After the Guzman debacle, few can blame Campbell for staying low and handling personal business behind the scenes, but one thing for sure, I do expect him to come out in '09 swingin', I think it could be a busier year for him than many expect. There's the possibility of a Juan Diaz rematch, there's Juan Manuel Marquez.....Money talks so you although he hasn't said it, you definitely can't rule out a chance to go 5 pounds north in weight and fall in line with the Hatton's and Pacquiao's of the world, depending on what happens with them. So there are many options, and the great thing about Nate, he's not running from any of them! As far as how I see a Campbell/Barrera fight panning out, I think Barrera's official retirement would commence that night. Without disrespecting the Mexican great, I think I'll leave it there.
(Got Questions or Feedback?: Contact ESB's Vivek Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org and 954-292-7346, or show some love at www.myspace.com/anonymouslyinvolved)
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