'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's weekly mailbag featuring the Klitschko's, Mayweather, Angulo, Jones, and more!
23.03.09 - This weeks 'Left-Hook Lounge' takes us well across the globe as we hone in on some very key topics in the world of boxing. The heavyweight division has long been in need of a spark, and the solid performance by Vitaly Klitschko (Photo by Pavel Terekhov) apparently wasn't enough to stop one fight fan from pondering the dominance of he and his brother, Wladimir.
Article posted on 23.03.2009
Two other heavy topics to make the mailbag was the return of two men who many would rather see back continue their exit from the sport. Those men being Floyd Mayweather and Roy Jones. Tying up the loose ends is a look ahead at the potential Cintron/Angulo fight being pondered, and how it all breaks down when the two men hit the ring. So with no further ado, we kick things off in Miami Lakes, Florida, where a fight fan wanted to know the following:
Erick W. (Miami Lakes, FL): What do you make of the Klitschko brothers' dominance in the heavyweight division? Do you think they are that good, or maybe the division is just that bad?
Vivek W. (ESB): I think there's a little of both at play here. Both brothers are outstanding, yet the level of competition around them is so shallow that it's hard to truly gauge them, which ultimately makes others hold back on giving them full credit. Some may not agree with that position, but "Iron" Mike Tyson was the most menacing fighter in the recent history of the sport and even his name has been tossed around in this argument, with many saying he only dominated his era because there was no formidable competition, and the few better than average fighters he did face defeated him. If such an argument could be posted about him, I think you have to legitimately look at what's available today and consider it more so. David Haye is being viewed as the 'saving grace' of the heavyweight division and the guy looked average at best fighting Monte Barrett, a man most would view as a journeyman. When you consider Enzo Maccarinelli's lost last week, and Haye's only victory as a heavyweight, I still don't know what TRULY FORMIDABLE opponent David Haye has beaten on any level, aside from maybe Jean Marc-Mormeck. So the fact that we have a talented, yet hyped up natural cruiserweight with little to no heavyweight experience being touted as the man to disrupt the heavyweight dominance of the Klitschko's says it all. I can't take anything away from the Klitschko's because they are great fighters, but no, I don't think this era is deep enough to truly define how great they are.
Lamont J. (Orlando, FL): Mayweather is apparently back in training. What fights do you think he needs to take to truly seal his legacy?
Vivek W. (ESB): There are two sides to ever legacy, and rarely do they match up. You have the public perception, and you have the history books which are written by historians who simply lay out the facts. Based on public perception, Mayweather left some big fights on the table, leaving him a question mark in some ways to many fight fans; then you have the history books that say he was one of the highest grossing boxers of all-time, he was a six time world champion in 5 different weight divisions, and a host of other things. In my personal opinion, if he never fought another day in his life you'd have to judge him by those he DID fight, not by those we wanted to see him fight. I would love to see Calzaghe fight Glen Johnson or Dawson, but if he never does it doesn't take away from what he did when he did fight. Same rules apply with Mayweather. He's the one risking his life in the ring, so I can't be the gauge for his career resuming or ending. That being said, the hardcore fan in me would like to see him take three fights in particular, with at least two victories of the three sealing the deal shut. The fights I think he needs is Pacquiao - which would be the sports current pound-for-pound king - and would give him defeats over the most recognizable fighters of his era. Secondly, Miguel Cotto - because he was the dominant welterweight who arrived at the end of Floyd's era, yet both were still in their peak and despite losing to Margarito, there's no controversies attached to Cotto's name which makes him the bona fide welter to prove such a point against. Last and not least, Shane Mosley - because he was the welterweight divisions ruler and some would argue its best fighter in the pre-Mayweather era. These three would give Floyd a win over the former welterweight king, the current pound for pound king, and the currently recognized true welterweight king. There would be nothing anyone can say to deny him, even if he decided to take two of these fights (and win them), then walk away. Three wins would put him in line to be recognized as a potential G.O.A.T., as there would be no legitimate argument to nullify the facts.
Roy Jones jr. looked very impressive in his win over Omar Sheika. Considering that he wants to continue fighting, do you think there's any chance he gets another big fight any time soon?
Vivek W. (ESB): I think based on name recognition alone he will get another big fight. I'm a firm believer that fight fans make up their minds way too soon based on fight outcomes. Rather than giving Calzaghe credit for being a great fighter, all of a sudden people think that Jones' lost means that he can't bean ANYONE in the sport which I think is garbage. Styles make fights, and at this point in his career, Jones has very little for a guy who can throw nearly one hundred punches a round. He's a strategy fighter who picks his spots and has always had the speed to land more often when doing so. Mathematically, even with that type of speed, there's no way for even a great boxer to win against a great volume puncher if he doesn't throw enough punches. The beating Jones took against Calzaghe is one that few others could give him, even today. Dawson is not a volume puncher, and even though his power would be a problem for Jones, I think Jones' power could be a problem for him as well if he lands enough. Would Jones defeat Dawson, probably not, but I think neither man would be knocked out, and it would be a helluva fight. To answer your question, as long as he has the kind of speed and flash that I saw the other night, yes, I think Jones will get another big payday, and yes, I think many of you reading this will watch.
Julio O. (Dallas, TX): Rumors have began to spread about a possible Kermit Cintron/Alfredo Angulo fight. Who do you like in that showdown if it happens?
Vivek W. (ESB): There are two things that will dictate the outcome of this fight and they will be determined early. Can Angulo handle Kermits power, and will Kermit be able to handle it if Angulo can? Angulo is more of an Antonio Margarito clone than Kermit probably wants to contend with, and if he eats a few shots and keeps coming forward, that could effectively be the start of the end once again for Kermit. That will definitely give Angulo the mental edge. If Angulo isn't comfortable with Kermits power, it will make a totally different fight because Angulo's strength arrives when he can press forward and push a guy back. Kermit likes to plant his feet and lay solid, flush shots. We saw Kirkland use a strategy to diffuse a fighter like that a few weeks ago. I expect Angulo to go with a similar strategy. If he can keep Kermit on his back foot, Cintron will lose the fight, and potentially his career, because the public perception of him is starting to waiver greatly. Many view him as a great talent with a weak mind, and this fight will answer that riddle one way or the other.
Ceaser O. (Charlotte, NC): Everyone says boxing is dying, but I think we have some of the best overall action in years. What do you think is most responsible for this change in the sport?
Vivek W. (ESB): I think the recent rise in the level of competition is primarily based on one thing. The promoters of boxing realize - with very good reason - that the MMA movement is growing fast. The mindset is that they don't want to be on the outside looking in, so the time is now to seize the moment and step up the level of competition. Personally, I think the whole "MMA is taking over" argument is a false alarm because there's nothing that the sport of MMA can do to replace the rich history of boxing. Name one figure in the history of MMA that would ever win the world over and make non-fans become avid fans like "Iron" Mike Tyson, or Muhammad Ali did. To answer your question, what do I think is most responsible for this change in the sport? Promoters are finally doing more to give the fans what they want. If MMA helped the cause, I can live with that. I like the sport of MMA and I support it's personnel, but replacing boxing will never happen, so if it took that competition to help Arum, Goldenboy, and these other guys step it up, great!
(Got questions or feedback?: Contact ESB's Vivek Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-292-7346, follow more of his work at 8CountNews and The Examiner, or show some love at Myspace and Facebook).
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