Boxing

'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's Mailbag feat. Pacquiao, Mayweather, Bradley, Cotto, and Margarito!

floyd mayweather jr.Rene' P. (Charlotte, NC): In your article last Friday you touched on the fact that several sources have replaced Manny Pacquiao as P4P king, going instead with Floyd Mayweather jr. From a media standpoint, do you think the infatuation of Pacquiao is wearing off?

Vivek W. (ESB): I wouldn't view things that way. Not at all. Although I'd agree that Pacquiao is considered by most to be the 'peoples champ', it's hard not to separate the two, (Mayweather and Pacquiao), when you have one warrior with a huge heart and another one who loves the role of a villain. That being said, I don't think the shift in P4P rankings have anything to do with personal favorites, for if it did, the selection would have never changed. I simply think it has more to do with the fact that this is a "what-have-you-done-for-me-lately" type sport, and although Pacquiao has done some great things, it's just absolutely impossible to discredit what Mayweather recently accomplished, which is fresher in our minds..

As I stated in my youtube video segment about Mayweather's performance against Mosley, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeJGS5Rt-ZU), he didn't beat Mosley the way the experts said he would......he beat him the way his biggest critics said he couldn't, which is a huge difference! Mayweather's fundamental skills and ring generalship make him an attraction whether you like him or not. Critics have found him 'boring' since the Corrales fight, (RIP), yet he somehow managed to get 2.44M to tune in against ODH, and another 1.4M against Mosley - (both records in the sport). When it all boils down, I think those numbers prove that there's a bit more to him than the villain role he likes to paint himself with. His recent performance and the recent elevation in P4P status I think represent this point better than any words any of us could ever say.

Carlos E. (Bronx, NYC): Emanuel Steward recently stated that he finds the Cotto/Foreman fight to be 50/50, and that if he had the decision, he would not have picked Foreman for Cotto for the same reason he felt Pacquiao chose not to take the fight which was Foreman's size and movement. What are your thoughts on this topic?

Vivek W. (ESB): Emanuel Steward remains one of the sharpest minds in the game, and considering that, there are several angles he could have employed in making such a statement. The angle I think he best represents in making such a statement is that for starters, he realizes he has a new fighter under his tutelage who has had his confidence shaken in a major way in recent years. On top of that, he knows the great perception out there that Foreman is talented, yet too 'feathered' in the fist to keep Cotto off of him. These two truths suggest that Cotto could easily fall back into his slug-it-out mentality and just go recklessly after his opponent, forgetting the techniques he learned in fight camp. Steward may have made this comment with great emphasis on the movement of Foreman to make Cotto think twice about such an approach, and instead fight tactically and intelligently.

Foreman is an undefeated fighter with far greater technical skills than many seem to know or give him credit for. Cotto's power can definitely make a difference, but limited use of solid fundamentals could result in him easily getting outpointed in this affair, which would signal the end of his days in true contention whether he wants it to end there or not. My opinion is that Steward is doing what he needs to do to get Cotto conditioned enough in the mind to fight the right fight. Or, at least I hope so, because if this was a direct and honest assessment, that could only mean he sees quite a few challenges in camp and is warning everyone that the odds don't look too good. In two weeks we'll all find out!

Angelo R. (Reseda, CA): Manny Pacquiao has recently agreed to the 14-day window by Mayweather, but only if the sample is a certain amount of blood each time. The amount he is OK with is apparently very small amount, which may make accurate testing impossible. What do you think about this?

Vivek W. (ESB): If Pacquiao has an amount in mind that he deems to be 'sufficient', yet it isn't enough to conduct the proper testing, there will be no fight. It's that simple. What isn't that simple is my ability to understand why there continues to be so many trigger points in this negotiation. Seems that literally every single ounce of progress is met with resistance, and when you solve one issue another pops up. Although neither party is exempt, I see far more room to question one side over the other. During the first negotiations between the two camps with the mediator, Team Mayweather came up with the 14-day proposition there at the end. Arum said it wouldn't work for Pacquiao, then said it hadn't been offered in time, but it took roughly two weeks to sign the Joshua Clottey deal beyond that point, yet no moves to amend were ever made. Now Arum/Team Pacquiao have decided to accept the same offer that it said wouldn't work before, and there's no understanding for why it's good now but wasn't before.

I keep a lot of notes and emails, and in reviewing a few, I found an odd trend that somehow reversed itself, which displays exactly why I have questions. Pacquiao supporters now say on record that "the fight isn't happening because Mayweather is afraid to face Pacquiao". But, reviewing emails from the time frame when Mayweather was set to return to the sport, the common thread was that Mayweather was "only coming back for the money to face two smaller men, (Marquez and then Pacquiao), rather than facing someone bigger or at least his size". Ironically, Floyd has taken that exact challenge against the bigger man that most said he wouldn't face at that time, (Mosley), and here we are still struggling to put together a fight with him and the man he was supposedly "too big for", and now, supposedly "too afraid to face". None of it adds up and it's very troubling. Pacquiao said before that giving blood too close to a fight would make him weak, then he said "only if the commission tells him to", now he's saying saying he would do it without the commission if it's a "small amount".....one that he will personally have to decide.

This is why my original take on the whole blood thing was filled with questions. If you can't do something, doesn't matter who tells you to do it, YOU CAN'T DO IT! If I ask you to walk across a busy intersection and you say "no, only if my boss tells me because I have more affinity to him"......What difference does it matter if I tell you or your boss tells you, considering that either way it will result in you being struck by a car? Doesn't matter who gives the instructions.....if having to give blood at 14days will make you too weak to compete effectively, that's the end result, regardless of who originates it. So, that's where my issues come in at. I love and respect both men, but the delays seem to be exclusively from one angle. We know Pacquiao fears no man, but unlike those who blame one side, I will blame both for this if it doesn't go down. (Which it seems it won't)!

Steve P. (Boca Raton, FL): I think the Abregu fight will be very dangerous for Timothy Bradley, but few seem to be talking about that fight. What are your thoughts about this showdown?

Vivek W. (ESB): Many fight fans never truly understand the role of a match-maker, but this type of fight can make or break one, because it's a winnable fight for Bradley, but it has 'trap-fight' written all over it. If Bradley isn't careful, his nickname, 'Desert Storm', could find a literal meaning, as this affair could truly equate to 'COLLATERAL DAMAGE. Abregu presents everything that would be attractive to Bradley as a beatable opponent, (always open for the left-hook, can be hurt rather easily at times); yet he also encompasses everything that can make for a long night for Bradley as well (known to come on MUCH stronger after he gets up off the canvas, shows great resolve when faced with adversity). When you look at all of Abregu's challenges in the ring of the past, they all came from men who stood at least 5-9, with good range.

Timothy Bradley has a decent work rate, but being a first time welterweight at 5'6" with a 69inch reach, and a subpar KO ratio of 42%, I'm not sold on the notion that he has anything that will stop Abregu from landing his powershots. Abregu is a very good boxer, complete with good foot movement and a jab that he uses quite well. Bradley's pressure could result in a decision victory for him, but if the light punching Lamont Peterson was able to hurt Bradley to the body, Abregu's power will definitely prevent Bradley from swarming too much. Bradley has been open for combination attacks at time. The telling moment will be when Abregu lands that patented left jab, followed by that jarring right cross. If it lands flush, Bradley will be hurt, and this would be the first time he finds himself in that position against a closer. The move to 147 was to eventually setup a Mayweather or Pacquiao showdown. This is the type of fight that will either prove him to be on the path to such greatness, or it could be the type of fight that never allows him to get there. Soon enough, we'll all find out.

Peter M. (Ontario, CA): Manny Pacquiao recently stated that he agreed to the 14-day proposal from Team Mayweather, but only if Kash L. (Hollywood, FL): Bob Arum said we'll see Margarito take on Pacquiao if the Mayweather fight doesn't happen. Considering Margarito's time-off and the speed deficit between he and Pacquiao, do you give him a chance to defeat Pacquiao if they meet?

Vivek W. (ESB): I would like to see what Margarito truly has left in the tank before making that call. The Margarito that walked Cotto down would arguably stop the smaller Pacquiao. The Margarito who stepped in the ring with Mosley would have big issues. This would be an intriguing matchup based on the fact that Margarito would be the ONLY fighter in recent times to match Pacquiao's work rate, which would be a major issue coming from a man whose height and reach would be considerably overwhelming to begin with.

I would never doubt Pacquiao's ability to win against any fighter under the jr. middleweight ranks, but this would be a tall order. We can debate the wraps scandal all day long, but the two things that would make him a threat to anyone is his granite chin and his wicked work rate. Frankly, I don't know who would win, but if Mayweather/Pacquiao doesn't happen, being an avid fight fan, I'd watch this fight, personally!

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

Article posted on 24.05.2010



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