'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's mailbag featuring Cotto, Pacquiao, Margarito, Taylor, Gamboa and more!!

Manny PacquiaoThis weeks 'Left-Hook Lounge' takes us all across the world of boxing as we uncover the latest buzz to hit the airwaves once again. Making headlines this week is many of our usual suspects as Miguel Cotto notches a couple questions, while Jermain Taylor, Manny Pacquiao, and Gamboa also popped in for good measure. With much to cover and little time to do so, we jump right into the mix with a question from Hollywood, Florida where a fight fan wanted to know the following:

Damien H. (Hollywood, FL): With so much going on in the life of Miguel Cotto, do you think this fight against Clottey could be a trap fight?

Vivek W. (ESB): This is an equation I hadn't thought of prior to this question being posed, and to be honest, I do think it rates a long analysis. In a matter of a 10 month span, Miguel Cotto has been humbled by Margarito, took some major time off, returned to the ring in a hard-to-judge performance because it came against a cupcake (in comparison to the sports elite), and now the untimely and very turbulent lost of his head trainer who shares his bloodline, too. That's a roller-coaster if I've ever seen one, and psychologically, none of us truly know how he will be impacted when he learns what many others have - which is that no matter how hard you punch Clottey, he goes in one direction - forward. I think in many ways Cotto will see a mirror image of himself across from him in the ring that night. Only this shadow has a much better defense (fundamentally), and also won't shy away from taking a hard shot to land a ripping combination of his own. When I first heard this fight would happen I was very intrigued, but considering the recent turbulence in Cotto's life, I think the latest dimension added could in fact be enough to tip the scales. Guess we'll soon find out.

Brad S. (Dallas, TX): Do you think Jermain Taylor will have enough to deal with Froch?

Vivek W. (ESB): Few American fight fans know much about Carl Froch, so the odds are a bit deceiving. Personally, I think Froch has more of a chance than many have given him, and wouldn't be terribly surprised to see him get the nod. Trouble is, as much as I don't like to think that fighting on foreign soil will become a factor, I really believe that Froch would have to overwhelmingly destroy Taylor to get the nod here in America. When you think of Taylors only losses to date, both came against a man (Kelly Pavlik) who had the power to KO him. Froch is strong, but I don't see him KO'ing Taylor under any circumstances. That being said, Bernard Hopkins lost two decisions to Taylor, and Hopkins I find to be a much better boxer than Froch, even if he does have a less than appealing style. So, in order to defeat Taylor, Froch would have to do what no other man has been able to - and that is defeat him on the score cards as a less popular fighter. Kelly Pavlik had the KO in his rear view which made that easier. Wright, Spinks, and a few others came up short despite notching very good performances against him. For Froch, I think that's a tall order and I'm not so sure it will happen.

Carlos M. (Little Havana, FL): What do you think of Yuriorkis Gamboa as a rising prospect in the sport?

Vivek W. (ESB): I'll start by saying that the word prospect is no longer valid, considering that he just earned a new nickname (Champ) by winning the first official strap of his career. His performance put everyone in and around the sport on notice, so for those who didn't know him, I'm sure that will change soon if it hasn't already. I may be laughed at for saying this, but honestly, in watching him, I think his speed, power in both hands, and ego remind me a lot of a young Roy Jones Jr. His reflexes are sharp, his footwork is decent, and he has a certain flair about him that I think fans like. You've got to be a real stud to crack a guy and stand back to admire your work as he recovers, rather than finish him off because you KNOW it's inevitable that you eventually will! I hate to go political here, but President Barack Obama isn't the only one trying to put Cuba on the map! America and Europe has thrown some brilliant champs in the mix throughout history, but per capita, Cuba is slowly creeping up on Puerto Rico as a small destination that puts out some of the best talent in the game. Gamboa and Erislandy Lara are two examples, but there are a ton of other Cuban prospects who the average fight fan has yet to hear from. His only disadvantage is his size, but if he doesn't get tempted by bigger pay days and end up at a much bigger weight limit, there's no doubt in my mind that he can run Featherweight division for years to come.

Paulio S. (Orlando, FL): Bob Arum recently spoke of a potential Pacquiao/Cotto fight. Who would you give the nod to in such a showdown?

Vivek W. (ESB): I think it would be a rather intriguing matchup. Some would argue Cotto to be too big for Pacquiao, but I do think that Pacquiao has come on strong as a great boxer, and his speed and power would be something to reckon with for Cotto as well. The flipside of this argument is the fact that Pacquiao would be in against a guy who is a very solid welterweight and the fact that he commits himself to the body so strong I think would be quite intriguing. I've often stated that Pacquiao's fight with Hatton will come solely down to Hatton's ability to go to the body often with strong success, and I think a matchup between Cotto and Pacquiao would be the same. If Cotto took Mosley's punches, as well as Margarito's for 11 rounds at a high connection frequency (and possibly loaded gloves as well), there's no reason why he wouldn't be able to handle Pacquiao's. That being said, Pacquiao would have to sustain his attack and find a way to win on points which would be a tall order. At the end of the day, both guys are Arum fighters, so this fight may actually be closer to happening than the potential showdown with Mayweather because being under the same stable, I think the negotiations would be a bit easier. I'd love to see Mayweather face Pacquiao, but trust me, I wouldn't lose one ounce of sleep if this match was made either! Arum, get 'er done!

Arthurio G. (Houston, TX): I read your latest piece about Antonio Margarito. Is there any reason why you continue to target him as opposed to some of the others in the sport like Mosley who are guilty of other things as well?

Vivek W. (ESB): I've addressed the Antonio Margarito matter a number of times and for the record, unless asked publicly, this will be my final time doing so in any of my columns unless new info presents itself to change something. In accordance with what I've said from day one, yes, there have been many men who have done some pretty questionable things in the sport, but in cases like this, I think you have to not only weigh the act, but the detriment of it as well. Yeah, Mosley has said basically that he took a substance with limited knowledge (to my understanding). Does everyone buy it? Probably not. But, at the same time, if you want to be technical, the only person he [Mosley]was hurting by taking a banned substance if he did is himself. It may help him recover from the rigors of training and so forth a little quicker, but by no means does it endanger the life of someones Father, son, brother, or favorite athlete. Margarito's opponent is another human being who has sacrificed blood, sweat and tears like he had to, and is also trying to provide for his family; and he had the nerve to attempt to employ something that dangerous in the ring? I guess some people would have had to be the guy in the opposite corner to fully understand, but in my estimation, there's nothing left to talk about. Mosley's use of a banned substance must have been quite dangerous for him to win a decision over Oscar that most believe he actually lost! Yeah, right, sounds dangerous to me! Margarito is the same guy that was caught on camera taunting a badly hurt Cintron to get off the canvas so he could beat him some more! That was the first time that I truly started to question his moral fiber. I didn't think he could ever display a lower act than that moment, and now this? Yeah, I'm sorry, but he showed very little regard to his opponents, and maybe it's karma, but if it is it has come full circle. I supported Margarito when few others would, but please, don't try to compare a detriment to one mans own body against a weapon designed specifically to hurt an opponents. He has his story that he's sticking to and this is mine. I'm done talking in circles about an act that was obviously square! Thank you....

(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 Facebook and Myspace).

Article posted on 20.04.2009

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