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'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's mailbag featuring Bradley, the Klitschko brothers, Campbell, Haye, and more!

Timothy BradleyThis weeks 'Left-Hook Lounge' takes us back to the streets where we'll dig into the hottest buzz around the sport like we always do. Making the list this week after a solid performance is a man who's name is quickly becoming a hot topic, Timothy Bradley. Aside from Bradley, a couple other names in the industry that seem to be gaining steam in light of the recent news is that of the Klitschko brothers and current nemesis, David Haye, who will lock horns in only a few months. Closing the show will be a question on Nate Campbell, as well as a quick glimpse at the Williams/Wright showdown, and the future of Kendall Holt. So, with no further ado we jump into the mix with a question from Miami Lakes, Florida where a fight fan wanted to know the following:

Peter B. (Miami Lakes, FL): I read your article last Friday about Timothy Bradley and find your opinion of him to be inflated. Do you still think he's ready for the best after watching him barely escape Kendall Holt?

Vivek W. (ESB): I think people are gonna be a bit critical, but overall, I don't think those words will mean much in the end. The right of passage for any young fighter on his way up in the sport is greatly helped by matching him against every 'template' in the sport. We saw him wipe out the Junior Witter template months ago, which was more of a slippery, shifty, type fighter who will take you the distance but won't necessarily KO you. We later saw him wipe out a rugged come-straight-at-you type template when he faced Edner Cherry, who has decent power and will press the action more than the Witter type template. Last Saturday, we saw Bradley - for the first time in his young career - take on a monstrous puncher, and after surviving the knockdowns, he showed great heart and kept pressing until the end, overcoming that KO puncher type template as well. Granted, there are many other templates to face, but he is slowly working his way up there to the Campbell, Hatton, Pacquiao range. Similarly to Andre Berto, being a champ now, his time to master his learning curve is significantly less, but none-the-less, he's walking the proper path. Some may remember the rise of Miguel Cotto which saw him encounter a wide array of fighters, (each more improved than the one prior), evolving from Corley, to Torres, to Malignaggi, to Judah, and beyond. Bradley has to walk that same path for that right of passage to bigger paydays and better experience. Just like we had to see Cotto overcome a knockdown or two along the path, don't be surprised to see Bradley face that same fate. If he's the real deal, he'll overcome as well. The one X-Factor with Bradley is the fact that he's supremely conditioned, so if you can't get him out of there you'd better be good because he WON'T stop coming forward. I stand by my comments about him. I don't' know what exactly his future holds, but get your Oakley and Ray Ban's ready, because it'll be a bright one!

Vaughn E. (Orlando, FL): With Nate Campbell present at the Bradley/Holt fight, do you think he'll get a crack at Bradley next?

Vivek W. (ESB): It is my understanding that Bradley has been recently ordered to take on the WBC top contender, Devon Alexander next. With this truth coming into the equation, I think there are two things that can play out. It's a given that Bradley's name doesn't hold much weight from a negotiating standpoint, so does he want to relinquish the WBC strap now for a better than average pay day against Nate Campbell? Or does he want to face Alexander, and after defeating him, (hypothetically), go on to face a Campbell, Hatton, or Pacquiao while legitimately holding two straps? By doing it that way, he may initially lose out on a big payday, but in the end it works best for him, giving him more leverage at the negotiating table against one of the big names by being a dual holder of the weight class hardware. Granted, he'll never get a bigger purse than any of those guys, but if he wants to optimize his chances of getting big money, he'll do much better holding two straps than he would holding one. As far as a potential fight (Campbell/Bradley), I think Bradley is the absolute truth, but at this present time, Campbell eats his lunch! Snack and all....Period! In a year or two after a few more slugfest maybe his evolution would be full circle and Campbell would be a bit older, but now, I have to go with 'Nate the Great'.

Ray S. (Bronx, NY): What do you see next for Kendall Holt?

Vivek W. (ESB): I think Holt is at a crossroads in some respects. The one good thing about him is that he has amazing resolve, and when he gets knocked down he stands back up. For him, that's a priceless asset because as witnessed in the short documentary about him prior to his fight, his life has seen some pretty tumultuous times in and outside of the ring. I think he's a very talented fighter with a certain level of evolution to overcome, but from here on out he's gonna have to be properly matched and brought along if he wants to ever stand at the top again. And I'll go out on record and say that he probably needs to revamp his whole lineup. I don't know his trainer and he seems more than adequate, but I think Holt would definitely benefit from a major camp shakeup. A new voice and a new direction. I don't know if complacency is setting in or what, but I really think there's a huge source of untapped potential in him that hasn't come forward. For a guy with that type of 'pop' in his punches to only have 11KO's says alot. Ever wonder what he would be like with a better work ethic? Some don't think he has a bad one now, but I have to really question how is it that a guy with his youth, fighting at his peak weight, isn't conditioned enough to pop a jab forcefully for 12 rounds. Every time he landed it he absolutely rocked Bradley. He couldn't for the duration and that says far more to me than anything. I hope he rebounds and I don't doubt he will. I just hope it comes soon because in a very loaded division it's easy to get loss in the shuffle.

Tony E. (Chicago, IL): In any scenario do you see a knockout in the Williams/Wright fight?

Vivek W. (ESB): No. Both men have more pop than they're given credit for, but I don't expect either man to be knocked out. We've seen Williams hurt before by Quintana, but I think gaining 18 pounds between the weigh-in and fight night proved to us that he was a bit weight depleted. I expect a much sharper Williams than we saw in the first Quintana fight. What I don't know is how Winky will look, but even at his worst, Winky won't be knocked down or out. Keep a few low-key brewski's on the rocks and keep the popcorn poppin' because this fight will definitely be going the distance.

Roger W. (San Antonio, TX): What are your thoughts on the Klitschko/Haye deal?

Vivek W. (ESB): Due to the fact that your question was received only a few hours before publishing this article, I haven't been able to really dissect the tidbits that have hit the underground to confirm anything, but on the surface, I think it's very consistent with the type of shenanigans that have eaten away at the integrity of this sport for quite some time. All of the added stipulations about rematches, or in this case, rematches of rematches, and so forth are as bizarre as it gets. As quoted by several media sources, David Haye says that he "will have to fight three Klitschko's in whatever order they choose". So no matter what, the biggest money to be made in the entire heavyweight division will be in Germany exclusively, and between one of three men exclusively. In other words, mandatory obligations against, say a Chris Arreola, or whomever else, probably won't happen as it should because there's so many underlying factors here and the sanctioning bodies won't get in the way much due to the money that stands to be generated. I thought it was highway robbery when I heard about the wacky deal between Oscar and Floyd where Oscar made Floyd concede on everything from the smaller purse, to a smaller ring, to the weight the fight takes place at, and the gloves, among other things. This act has apparently made that one look bad from all accounts I've heard. Also, it should be duly noted that contrary to popular belief that Haye was afraid, I think we now understand exactly why this negotiation process took forever to materialize. The fact that Haye even signed for it I think makes me favor him in this contest because he truly got the raw deal up front...hopefully he can get something on the back end!

(Got questions or feedback?: Contact ESB's Vivek Wallace at vivexemail@yahoo.com 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 06.04.2009



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