The 'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's Weekly Mailbag Featuring the Klitschko's, Pacquaio, Mayweather, Haye, and More!
This weeks 'Left-Hook Lounge' installment touches on some pretty interesting topics. Consuming much of the space - similar to their larger than life size - are the three huge heavyweights in the two Klitschko brothers and Nikolay Valuev. Also finding a way back in the sportlight is the sports retired but still honorably mentioned Floyd Mayweather Jr. who now finds himself in the circle of Manny Pacquiao's pursuit. Closing the show is a take on a potential Chad Dawson/Bernard Hopkins showdown. So with no further ado, we jump into it.....
Article posted on 17.12.2008
Ross K. (Ontario, CA): David Haye has recently stated that Vitali Klitschko will knock him out if he lands a flush shot first. What are your thoughts on that statement from him?
Vivek W. (ESB): I see that comment from two angles. For starters, I think it's a very intriguing thing to hear a boxer (of all athletes) come out and openly state that he believes another man could take him out.. Secondly, the fact that the biggest fight on the horizon in the sports most storied weight class is one where the key figure is openly stating that he may not last beyond one flush shot is pretty telling and clearly displays the sad state of the heavyweight division. When the average fight fan thinks of an upcoming war, in this post Mike Tyson era they want to see something along the Margarito/Cotto variety, or the Marquez/Vazquez variety, not the proverbial 'one-shot-one-kill' mantra that's great for a buildup, but often remembered as more of a let down. I like Haye alot, and I think he's the breath of fresh air that the heavyweight division needs, but to hear him confirm what many have openly speculated wasn't such a great move. Vitali has the skills and ability, and is definitely one who can pull the curtain on anyone in the division so if Haye's words are true, HAYE WILL BE EXPOSED! For the sake of "Joe-the-fight-fan" out there, I hope this eagerly anticipated showdown last longer than the one fight tenure Haye currently owns in the division.
Barry Wilson (Miami, FL): What did you think of Wladimir Klitschko's victory over Hasim Rahman?
Vivek W. (ESB): Personally, I'd put that into the same box with Pacquiao's victory over Oscar. I think it showed how effective he can be when his tools are clicking in top form but it didn't exactly answer how he'll fare against a live opponent who brings his same attributes to the table. Pacquiao's victory said ten times more because it came against a bigger man and was a huge leap of faith, but the parallel I'm trying to draw is that much like Oscar, Rahman failed to present a true challenge so that in itself taints the true question of how well Wladimir would do against a guy who could actually sustain a jab, or shoot a double hook followed by the vicious uppercut, and so forth. I have great respect for both of the Klitschko brothers, but of the two, Wladimir continues - regardless of the level of opposition - to show that he can at times be far too cautious and often lack that killer instinct that would make him the beast many of us would like to see. I hate to say this, but a Vitali lost to Haye, or even a partial embarassment at least would probably be a good thing for Wladimir for two reasons. Vitali is much stronger mentally and could bounce back well, while seeing this would force Wladimir to come out against Haye or any other dangerous foe with that killer instinct warrior's mentality; A "win-or-die" type mentality. That's what he lacks. Every critics big knock on him is that he appears way too cautious and it could land him in big trouble despite the success he's earned in the past. I want to see him cross that threshold and facing guys like Rahman won't test him like the Arreola's of the world will.
Aaron S. (San Diego, CA): Roach and Pacquaio have stated that they want to explore the chances of a match against Floyd Mayweather Jr. How would you compare the two fighters in the following categories: Speed, Power, Ring IQ, and Chin:
Vivek W. (ESB): As previously stated, I think a fight between the two would be the best fight that could be made for the sport. Contrary to what many believe, against a fighter closer to his size, regardless of strength and so forth, Floyd will try to wear them down and attempt to take the fight to them late like I predicted and he subsequently did against Hatton. A fight against Paquiao makes that an interesting proposition beacuse like Mayweather, Pacquaio gets stronger as the fight goes on. Comparing the two categorically...I think the speed is very similar but different. Pacquaio's speed is based on combinations and so forth, and from that standpoint I think he's equally as fast; however, Mayweather is by far quicker, and that quickness brings an element of surprise. We all know the shot you don't see coming is the one that hurts the most. Mayweather's defense makes it hard for fighters to hit him flush after the first shot of a combination, where-in his well timed, well placed cross or jab will be enough to stun Pacquiao, or as we've seen before, maybe even send him to the canvas temporarily. When it comes to speed, Pacquiao's is just as fast, but Mayweather is far quicker. The edge in power I think you'd have to give to Manny. When he has a stationary target he will do damage. An elusive one like Marquez - which Mayweather would be - was a much tougher night in the ring for Manny, twice, neither which was very decisive. Ring IQ, I think you have to go with Mayweather. Manny is brilliant in the ring but Mayweather is a surgeon. Most play checkers in the ring, Mayweather plays chess. Much discipline, many well thought out plots, few mistakes. I think the edge there goes to Mayweather. Chin would be a toss up but many would argue that we really don't know. We've seen Manny go down, but Mayweather's defense has helped him avoid this question. If you want to highlight that example, it's another point for Floyd. Despite many of these areas pointing to a Floyd advantage, it doesn't mean by any stretch that Floyd is a lock to win the fight. Hopefully we'll see soon enough to remove all questions.
Skuli Tomsovic (Charlotte, NC): Do you give Evander Holyfield much of a shot against Nikolay Valuev?
Vivek W. (ESB): I think at this stage Holyfield's better days are behind him, but does that mean he doesn't have any good ones ahead? No...not at all. Many point to Valuev's size differential in the fight and although I think size and reach can often be deal breakers, I also think that against a guy as smart as Holyfield in the ring, it could work against Valuev. Oddly enough, I think Evander will be a very live underdog in this fight and I wouldn't be surprised to see him pull it off. Some may remember a recent interview with Lamon Brewster that I did on ESB where he quoted Holyfield who once stated "I didn't beat all those guys with my muscles, I beat them with my mind". That statement I predict will be the X-Factor here. Valuev has all the advantages but so did Oscar against Floyd and Manny and we all know how that turned out. Youth will never be on Evander's side again, but his ring intelligence will give him an edge with much significance. Valuev won't be throwing any combinations. His shots will be well telegraphed, pretty methodical, and fairly slow. If Holyfield can group his shots and land at the right time, not only can he establish a points margin of victory, but he could also hurt the giant. Yes, to answer your question, I think Holyfield has a great chance. Now defending those straps is another story!
Shawn M. (Orlando, FL): Chad Dawson's people are now calling out Bernard Hopkins. Do you think 'Bad' Chad can take the 'Executioner'?
Vivek W. (ESB): I think a fight between the two would be a great one. Personally, I would like to see Dawson get a crack at Calzaghe but I think Calzaghe will decide to walk off without flirting with a possible disaster. When you look at what Dawson went through against Johnson, there's no question Hopkins would be a tough match for him. Hopkins would present a different type of challenge against him and I think that would be a great chance for Dawson to prove his mettle. If he wins more decisively than Calzaghe did against B-Hop, that sets the table for a showdown between the two. I'm not ready to say that Chad definitely wins the fight, but I am ready to say that if Calzaghe doesn't take the challenge of facing Dawson, there's no better, big money fight out there for him. As far as who wins, I'll let these two studs figure that one out in the ring for themselves, as they're both well adept at doing so.
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