'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's mailbag featuring Marquez, Diaz, Hopkins, Mayweather jr. and more!

Juan Manuel MarquezThis weeks 'Left-Hook Lounge' is absolute fire!!! After a weekend full of stirring events, it's time to do what we do every Monday morning, which is let the hardcore fight fans dissect and debate. Kicking off the mailbag this week is obviously none other than Juan Manuel Marquez.

With more than one question dedicated to him, we also take a few moments out to chew on the latest speculations to involve Bernard Hopkins, the future of Juan Diaz, and finding his way back to the chatterbox is a purist who only pops his head from the underground when there's money on the table...yep, you guessed it....Mr. Floyd 'Money' Mayweather jr. So with no further ado, we start things off by putting an ear to the streets of Dallas, Texas where a fight fan wanted to know the following:

Fabian E. (Dallas, TX): Juan Manuel Marquez called out Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. Do you think he will actually get either man, and how do you see those fights if he does?

Vivek W. (ESB): No! As much as it sucks, and as much as it cheats us boxing fans out of seeing the best matches available, I don't see either of those fights happening, and I'll tell you why. I have total respect for both men, but following the footsteps of Oscar De La Hoya, (who followed Mike Tyson), both Floyd Mayweather jr. and Manny Pacquiao have graduated and changed zip codes. They no longer reside on the side of the tracks where us hardcore aficionado's dwell. They moved to Hollywood. They feel they've paid their dues and their interest lies solely in mega fights that result in one of those rare events that require normally busy celebs like Tiger Woods and Magic Johnson to circle a date on the calender, cease all other operations, and carve out the time to make a cameo live on HBO, right before Michael Buffer says LETS GET READY TO RUMBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Yeah, a totally different type of party, and I'm sure you get my point! In other words, their days of taking huge risk for less than stellar purses are gone like yesterdays trash. As great as Marquez is, and as great as we all know those fights would be, there's no way in hell that Mayweather is getting off of his sofa to face a guy that dangerous whose name has never been uttered from the mouth of anyone outside the mainstream boxing circle. Relative to Pacquiao, both Arum and Pacquiao made it clear in the ring after their last encounter that there will be no third match any time soon, if at all. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I don't see the fights happening. What I do like about this whole scenario, though, is the fact that it shines light on the deeper issue. Many of us, (myself included), used to tear Oscar down for picking and choosing big money fights. Then we started jumping on Mayweather for doing the same thing. Now, Pacquiao, (who has never turned down a great fight), is at a point where he's gonna have to either cater to the demands of the hardcore fan or run the risk of watching his own stock in the sport plummet because of all potential opponents that could (or should) give Marquez a shot, he's the only one that truly OWES Marquez one - based on the fact that he's never defeated him decisively. Unfortunately for Marquez there's not enough marketability associated with his name, so he will need a victory over Pacquiao before he can even be considered as a true opponent in the mind of Mayweather. Trouble is, I don't see Pacquiao giving him that shot soon, so that means the circle will never be complete, making this a very square deal. Sucks for the fans, but I like to call a spade a spade. It is what it is people. Don't look to see Marquez fight either man soon.

Steven Parker (Reseda, CA): Rumor has it that Bernard Hopkins recentely called out Tomasz Adamek. Do you think that's a necessary or particularly safe fight for him at this point in his life?

Vivek W. (ESB): I have been appraised of the fact that Hopkins reportedly wants to face Adamek, and suprisingly, I don't think it would be a bad fight. As a matter of fact, I'll even go out on a limb and say that I don't think it's a totally safe fight for him either. We talk about how guys like Floyd and Oscar and Manny have started a trend of picking and choosing fights based on mega money implications, but when you see a guy like Hopkins who is willing to fight a relatively unknown dangerous fighter simply for the thrill of it, you have to respect that. Hopkins' last fight showed us that you can never count him out, but Adamek is tough S.O.B., and he can really take a punch and land a few more. I think it would be a helluva fight, and I can't speak for everyone, but I'd love to see it happen. I hope that the promoters get the deal done. Call Hopkins boring or whatever else, but this is the kinda grassroots fight that converts people to the sport. Promoters, get 'er done!

Charles O. (Miami Lakes, FL): What are your thoughts on Chris John after his performance last Saturday night?

Vivek W. (ESB): I think John showed many people a lot. Everytime I see guys like him, it makes me ask myself why is it that people refuse to believe that the sport is still thriving, contrary to popular belief that it's dying? Guys like John, who bring it every single fight, yet get little recognition, really makes you wonder what the average sports fan who hasn't been converted to a fight fan looks for? He's fundamentally sound, he can take a punch, he has the heart of a lion, and believe it or not, he's proven. People can call it controversial or what not, but this same guy is the one who defeated the same Juan Manuel Marquez that lit the sport up the other night, and he's never been beaten. I hope he continue to thrive. In many ways, he reminds me of the Manny Pacquiao. That same fiery resolve. That same quiet storm. Just the kinda fighter that you love to watch. I wish the guy the best! I hope he gets more big name recognition than he has because the sports failure to promote him, like Marquez, is one of the biggest robberies in the sport today.

Melvin Roberts (Orlando, FL): Prior to the fight, I think many thought Diaz would defeat Marquez in a close fight. Now that he has lost in such a decisive way, what do you see next for him?

Vivek W. (ESB): I think Diaz still has a huge upside. Don't forget, Marquez came on strong late, but prior to that round, Diaz was doing enough to earn the draw that I predicted would come. It was a very close fight, and I think he could have done enough to win, he just got caught with the right continuation of damaging blows and wasn't able to recover. Credit Marquez for the great skills he has, but in no way does that symbolize the end of Diaz. I still think that 95% of the lightweight division catches pure hell against him, and he's a hungry guy, so the lost will help him to back up, regroup, catch a grip, and come equipped. He'll be back, and I don't see anyone else in the lightweight division that would give him much problem. Now if and when he decides to go north, that's when his trouble starts because 140 is full of the guys that he hasn't been able to conquer, or never got a chance to try against - (Pacquiao, Marquez, and Campbell). Hopefully Diaz will come back stronger. He's a great kid, and helluva fighter.

Erick Slater (Seattle, WA): Last Friday you stated that Juan Manuel Marquez needed a career defining victory. He got it. Will you finally give him his props?

Vivek W. (ESB): I'll start by saying thank you kindly for being honest enough to say that I felt he "needed" a career defining moment, because that's exactly what I meant. Many took my comments critically, and it's the most bizarre thing ever because anyone who has followed my work knows that I've championed his cause for the longest, as it relates to him being highly underrated for whatever reason. I think he's a great talent, but I see the big picture with him like all other fighters or people in general, myself included. I think he has the best precision on his punches that I've probably ever witnessed in the sport - and I've seen quite a few talents in my day. I think he's a great talent, but that doesn't mean that I'm gonna step out on a limb and say he isn't beatable. My point was that of his four losses, three have been highly disputed, and at some point if he plans to get the acknowledgement that he deserves, he's gonna have to not only win some of those 'spotlight' fights, but do so decisively. Big time players make big time plays, and he answered the call, but in no way, shape, or form, does that mean his work is done. Consider this....If he fought Mayweather and loss, or fought Pacquiao and loss again, his all-time record against formidable competition of his era that he faced would go to an abysmal 2-4-1, with him defeating Casamayor and Diaz, while losing to Pacquiao, John, and Norwood, and drawing with Pacquiao, prior to the fight. (Please don't mention Barrera because Morales and Pacquiao had already taken the starch off and brought out his wrinkles - if you feel me on that). But my point is that there's no way to justify that 2-4-1 record as it relates to a strong enough argument relative to him being a true all-time great. In the pound for pound and all-time great debate, he's less contender, more pretender until he moves from that shadow of a doubt. Pacquiao has earned a spot on that list by getting the job done under the spotlights. Mayweather has done the same. Marquez is probably as good as both, but with different results, whose argument would stand up? Don't get it twisted, he's a formidable talent and I think he's brilliant, but always remember, GREAT TRANSLATES, WHILE GOOD MAKES FOR BIG DEBATES. There's little to dispute when a certain plateau is reached. He's simply not there yet. I don't define what 'great' is, the perception that follows many victories and less losses do. That's not a Vivek thing. It's east coast, west coast, cities to meadows, and burbs to the ghetto's. You may not agree, but try telling that to the masses.

(Got questions or feedback? Contact ESB's Vivek Wallace at and 954-292-7346, follow more of his work at 8CountNews and The Examiner, or show some love at Myspace and Facebook).

Article posted on 03.03.2009

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