'Left-Hook Lounge': Goldenboy/Top Rank Feud, Pacquiao/Clottey, Mayweather, Alexander, and more!

Manny PacquiaoMario E. (Miami Beach, FL): What were your thoughts on the situation with Team Mayweather allegedly being racist and turning down the request of a Filipino news source to speak with him at the Mayweather/Mosley press tour?

I hate to sound cliche-ish here, but it goes back to that old "there's-always-more-than-one-side-to-a-story" theory. I have covered promotional events for Goldenboy Promotions on several occasions and what I have noticed is that (by personal admission) they simply don't go out of their way too much for what Richard Schafer calls (to use his exact terms) "secondary sites". It may sound discriminatory on the surface, but there's a good reason why they don't, and in their defense, it is never unilateral, it always has more to do with the industry status of those making the request, rather than the color or race of them. In other words, it all came down to the pecking order, and those of us at the bottom of the totem pole simply had to realize that we weren't gonna always have the same level of opportunity..

To a certain level, it also has more to do with how we accept our role than how defined that role may be. I can remember one event in particular when two fellow scribes from one of these "secondary sites" were declined the opportunity to speak to ODH, but me being humble enough to acknowledge and respect that I was simply at the bottom of the totem pole at the time (compared to the ESPN's and the HBO's) turned out to be the reason why I was allowed to speak to him and those who got hot were asked to take a seat somewhere and cool down. No matter what the scenario is in life, you have to understand your position and play it accordingly. My first few conference calls with Goldenboy Promotions and others, I knew I going into these calls that I would be the last one allowed to ask questions, and I knew I would only get one question on that call - and in a very hurried fashion. Rather than trying to make a huge deal of it, my intent was to simply make the most of that opportunity. Suddenly, you start to hear things like "great question", or "wow, I didn't think of that", (from the call moderators) and as your reputation for good work grows, so does the level of opportunity.

My response to those from the Filipino news staff that were turned back is to take this in stride and see the bigger picture. Even the great Bert Sugar has gone on record about stories of how he was declined credentials and looked down on in his early days. The fact that this story was even broadcasted as racist is partly why these "secondary sites" generally don't get the same level of opportunities. This story was initially reported to say that Mayweather was racist, but somehow they left out the major detail that Mosley didn't speak to them either. Does that mean he's racist, too? If not, why didn't we see an article about him? That example right there highlights why the credibility of many "secondary sites" doesn't afford the same level of opportunity. The best two ways to overcome this matter is to simply improve the quality of the content you donate, and let your work speak for itself. It has nothing to do with race. It has everything to do with earning the title (as a respected scribe).

Marv L. (Chicago, IL): Which would shock you more? Joshua Clottey knocking out Manny Pacquiao early or Pacquiao knocking out Clottey early?

Vivek W. (ESB): While many of us marvel Pacquiao's power, I think seeing him stop Clottey early after taking 12 rounds to get a damaged Cotto out of there would really shock the hell out of me! That being said, Clottey has gotten quite a bit of flack for not always dialing up the aggression when it counts most, so to see him step up and not only dig his way through Pacquiao's grueling assault, but have enough left in the tank to stop him would be something that would really leave me speechless as well. When you look at the two men involved, I think both have the natural attributes to knock the other out, but truthfully, I think defense is gonna determine who is able to knock the other out first.

If Pacquiao takes a pounding early, I wouldn't totally rule him being stopped at some point. Just not early. If he (Pacquiao) is able to figure out the defensive shell of Clottey and land at will early while using his great footwork to remain elusive and avoid taking shots, seeing him get a mid-round KO may not be far-fetched either. I don't really know how to answer this question from a comparative standpoint, as either one would shock the hell out of me. I think an early KO for either man would steal the show for me because they're just both so spirited. They're warriors in every sense of the word. That's what makes this an easy fight to get pumped for and a hard fight to answer such a question!

Tavis R. (Memphis, TN): I know that you have been very high on Devon Alexander. What were your thoughts on his victory over Juan Urango?

Vivek W. (ESB): I have tried to tell everyone within shouting distance that Devon Alexander is as talented as ANY rising star in the sport today. For whatever reason, he doesn't get the same respect, but if it takes performing like he did last night to earn it, trust me, the kid will oblige. I remember first seeing him while covering a Don King card a while back and watching him live, my first opinion was that "with improved defense, this kid could be as good as Floyd Mayweather jr., because he has great speed and amazing talent". His defense has improved, (although still not on that elite level), but across the board, I think you had to be totally impressed with his ability. He demonstrated a durable chin, a great shot selection, and above all else, he proved to us that it isn't how much power you have, it's how and where you place your shot.

I think if there were any questions about his ability, last Saturday night's performance immediately showed many that he belongs in that same conversation with the Bradley's, the Khan's, and the Valero's. He and Khan would be a helluva fight because of the speed factor, but a fight with Bradley would be amazing. He and Valero, on the other hand, would be a spectacle because he has now proved that he can handle power and won't run from it. Knocking out Urango was no easy feat, and I think that clearly established him as a perennial force in the division. We'll have to see what happens, but I'm thoroughly impressed and all the emails I've received in the aftermath tell me that I'm not the only one.

Ardis L. (Brooklyn, NYC): Do you think Edison Miranda has a chance against Lucian Bute?

Vivek W. (ESB):I think it all depends on the Lucian Bute that shows up. The one that we saw in the first fight against Librado Andrade that barely escaped, needing the help of referee Marlon B. 'Wrong'; or the one that showed up in the sequel with a chip on his shoulder that just wouldn't be denied. In the second Andrade fight, Bute was at his best, and showed each of us why he remains a top-tier talent in the sport. That Bute I think would be able to avoid the power punching of Miranda and win on a clear and decisive decision. Anything less and things could get quite interesting, as Miranda has not only a punchers chance, but also what's being described as a 'hunger for more' that needs to be quenched. You have to remember that Miranda knows a competitive win erases all his recent setbacks from the minds of fight fans. That in and of itself can be enough motivation. I think it should be an interesting fight, but if I had to put money down, I'd like Bute on points. It'll be great to watch.

Leones R. (Miami Lakes, FL): I think Carlos Quintana is a much better boxer than Berto. Would you agree that this is his fight to lose?

Vivek W. (ESB): No. That's my short answer. Not at all. I think that Quintana has far more skills than many seem to give him credit for, but he hasn't fought at the welterweight limit in 2 years and there was a reason that he went up. Some have stated that when he was in the welterweight division, he wasn't all too comfortable there. While that hasn't been confirmed, I can say for a fact that he appeared a bit more energized at his higher weight, although the level of competition wasn't anything to get excited about, either. I wouldn't rule out him (Quintana) winning the fight, as Collazo proved that Berto still hasn't quite mastered the slick southpaw type. That being said, I do think that once Berto settles in, his power and speed will be a major issue for Quintana if he isn't at his best. If the fight goes the distance, I like Berto on points, maybe even by a wide margin. But if it is somehow stopped early, I think one of Quintana's sneaky shots that comes from the blindside could be the culprit. As Oscar Dela Hoya once reminded us, "it's the shots you don't see coming that hurts the most"! Bombs away! May the best man win!

(Vivek Wallace can be reached at, 954-292-7346, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEK747), Facebook., Myspace).

Article posted on 08.03.2010

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