'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's weekly mailbag featuring Khan, Kirkland, Pavlik and more!!!

Kelly PavlikBy Vivek Wallace: This weeks 'Left-Hook Lounge' mailbag takes aim at some very intriguing topics in the world of boxing. In what was initially viewed as a rare thing, yet after Saturday will probably become the norm, Amir Khan made the mailbag. Following his footsteps is a man who has now made the last three mailbags after barely surfacing prior to that. That man is none other than Mr. James Kirkland whose fan base is growing by the day. Closing up the gaps and closing the show is a look at Kelly Pavlik's potential opponent, and the future of Enzo Maccarinelli. So with no further ado, we jump right into the mix with a fight fan from H-Town who wanted to know the following....

Ricardo S. (Houston, TX): I read your 'call-out' article about Marco Antonio Barrera last Friday and wanted to know do you think Khan's victory was because he was truly the better man or because Barrera is washed up?

Vivek W. (ESB): Both. Khan was the better man on Saturday night and no doubt, Barrera is no longer the same fighter. Prior to the cut it showed. I think there's reason for Khan and his supporters to be optimistic, but cautiously optimistic, in the sense that he finally displayed the type of talent that we've heard of yet rarely seen, while at the same time, there's still a long road ahead. Similar to the Pacquiao/De La Hoya fight, I think it was a somewhat a deceitful win, in the sense that it came against a very aged contender who in fact lives today based on a reputation established yesterday. For Pacquiao, he's defeated a ton of other big talents so it's far more conceivable in his case to see it as a fighter whose talent is peaking, while Khan still has a way to go. Khan will need to stay focused and continue to sharpen his skills. Perhaps the biggest thing I saw in him that Roach is great at implementing is confidence. It was mostly on display when Barrera would land a good shot, (one of the few times he did), then Khan would raise his hands above his head, (like Pacquiao is known for), then make a mad dash at his opponent to regain the momentum. That type of response is very Pacquiao-esque, and it all has the Roach fingerprint on it. You gotta love that from a guy who was suddenly viewed as a hype fighter after suffering a humbling KO. I think Khan proved he has heart, now he has to prove he's a champion with heart by taking on and defeating better, younger opposition. Yeah, it was a nasty cut, but with or without it Khan was well on his way to a victory and I can't wait to see him build on that win.

Alexander Wells (Brooklyn, NY): What do you think the future holds for Enzo Maccarinelli?

Vivek W. (ESB): Specifically, I don't know, but I hope it entails some time off with a good look in the mirror. The loss to Haye was probably more humbling than most thought because I think there are some lingering effects. Some may not view it that way, but I've always felt that it takes a certain mental makeup to be as strong mentally following a KO, and you never know if the guy has that DNA or not until he faces a similar adversity. Enzo was fighting a decent fight but he was wobbled earlier, and truth be known, his confidence was never the same. He put up a good fight and wore his game face, but two things hurt him tremendously. He felt Afolabi's power early, and Afolabi made it very clear that he was not hurt by Enzo's power at all. The point in which those two things are realized is typically the point in which the true fight begins for a guy who's faced that adversity before. I like Enzo Calzaghe, and I support his fighters for the most part, but this is one who I think has some serious soul searching to do, as it relates to his future in the sport. I imagine he'll get back on the horse and saddle up, but as the old adage states, this horse may be the one whose orders require him to "ride off into the sunset" in game over! Stay tuned.

Walter Jackson (Orlando, FL): Rumor has it that Kirkland is going to face Dzinziruk. I thinks that's a bad match for him at this stage in his career. Would you agree?

I do, yet I don't. With any thing in life, preparation is key. I know that Dzinziruk is a great fighter with a past history to show for it, but the type of preparation that Kirkland endures - which consistently varies in type, yet intensifies in measures - virtually prepares him for anything. Also, the consistency in which Goldenboy Promotions and Team Kirkland keeps him in the ring is amazing and pretty rare now days. He just fought last week, he's scheduled to be on the undercard of the May 2nd Hatton/Pacquiao fight, and this proposed match with he and Dzinziruk is scheduled to take place by the end of July. That says alot. Some have recently criticized Kirkland saying that Julio simply "had a bad night", but I think anyone who Kirkland faces will have a bad night against him if their strength is to set their feet and land a big bomb. My case in's hard to hit him with your best shot if you're backing up, yet he hits too hard to try to stand there and not back up. So if he can take your shot but you can't necessarily take his, bam! The whole dynamic of the fight changes, and that's what I see happening. I know Dzinziruk is a beast with better than average boxing skills but truthfully, I think Kirkland isn't even near his peak, and that's a scary thought considering what we witnessed here recently. It should be a great fight. I can't wait to see it if it does indeed happen.

Matthew L. (Boca Raton, FL): I'm a huge Kelly Pavlik fan but I don't understand why he's trying to face Mora rather than Abraham or someone better. What insight do you have on this topic?

Vivek W. (ESB): I would never go out on a limb and call Pavlik scared because there's no fear factor within that dude, (at all), but I'm also struggling to figure this one out. The Abraham fight should have happened already, and if not, definitely by the end of the year. There's nothing logical about this whole scenario, as I see it. What makes it even crazier is the fact that according to a few sources, it appears this fight will also be another one of those pay-per-view cards from two sites, with Chavez Jr. and (it appears) Antonio Margarito as well in separate matches in one Mexico venue, while Pavlik faces Mora in Atlantic City, NJ. I will go out on a limb and say that although this is not the fight that I want to see, Mora won't come to lay down and his herky-jerky style may cause some problems for the ghost, but Pavlik is a natural middleweight wherein Mora isn't really, so the weight may tip the scale in his favor. Interesting or not, to hear that this is gonna be a pay-per-view card turned my stomach. Someone needs to remind Arum that the qualifier for a true PPV card is to have the marquee names on the card actually facing each other, not individually paired against contenders who few want to see them face. All I can say is as much as I like Pavlik and Mora, this one better be showing at a local bar with no cover charge or I'll be reading about it online.

Timothy G. (Atlanta, GA): Which boxer of the past would you have liked to watch throughout the entirety of his career (just one)?

Vivek W. (ESB): I think it's very hard to narrow this one down Tim. I know you asked for one but I have to cheat here. Muhammad Ali and Rocky Marciano are two guys whose careers I would have absolutely love to watch from the beginning to the end, but even more so (by just a hair) would probably have been Salvador Sanchez and 'Sugar' Ray Robinson. With Salvador Sanchez (R.I.P.), there was just SO MUCH underlying potential. Everyone I've ever heard talk about him just 'knew' that he was gonna be the most dynamic guy to ever grace the sport. While some may not agree, I think I've heard enough stories about him to whet my appetite and give me a hunger for more. As far as Sugar Ray Robinson, what else is there to say? The record, the history, and the accomplishments say it all. Robinson, (R.I.P.), is still viewed as perhaps the consensus best of all time in the eyes of most, so I would have loved to see how he operates. From his mechanics, to his dynamics, to his execution, to his courage when under fire, I would have loved to see him execute. Robinson and Salvador are probably 1 and 2, but Marciano, Ali, and a ton of others stand beside them, not behind them in my book.

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

Article posted on 16.03.2009

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