Boxing

'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's Mailbag feat. Mayweather/Pacquiao, Khan/Bradley, Judah, Berto and more!

floyd mayweather jr.Jermey A. (FaceBook - Atlanta, GA): I'm a big Floyd fan but I'm starting to think he is trying to avoid that (Pacquiao) fight even though I think he would win it easily. What's your opinion?

Vivek W. (ESB): After corresponding with insiders close to both camps involved, the impression I walked away with was that there seems to be apparent concerns across the board, yet neither camp will go public with them in an effort to stop the madness. Both sides agree that this back-and-forth tennis match spat has grown old on the public, and the less the fight fans know, the better things will be when they eventually figure it all out. A source close to Team Pacquiao has led on that there are unstated and unresolved "concerns" on their end that have held talks up which could be amicably swept under the rug to make the fight happen; while sources close to Team Mayweather have intimated that there are also unstated and unresolved concerns on their end as well, only these concerns for Team Mayweather aren't of the variety that would go away so fast..

Speculative theories point to litigant issues (both for Roger Mayweather, and the pending Team Pacquiao lawsuit against the Mayweathers), as well as what appears to be a potential underlying health concern for Floyd Jr. himself. As great as it would be to hear spoken-word directly from the horses mouth, this whole 'keep-it-in-the-locker-room' approach between both camps is actually a good sign, because it shows that there is a certain solidarity and collective effort to ultimately make the fight happen, confirmed by GBP's sheer silence and Arum's easy dismissal, which we know is extremely uncommon, particularly with Floyd on the other end. What really troubles me is the fact that both men could find themselves on the losing end of the battle when it's all said and done.

Margarito and Cotto stand to present very critical challenges for Pacquiao, contrary to popular belief. A lost or weak performance against either man would only strip Manny of his negotiating position even more, in the event that he and Floyd do eventually fight. You also have to consider that even with a victory, Pacquiao's PPV#'s aren't expected to do anywhere close to the numbers of Floyd's recent fight with Mosley, which certainly won't help. For Floyd, the problems get even bigger. What's unclear is whether or not he will take any fights at all during this 'No-Pacquiao-Fight' impasse. If he takes on ANY OTHER fighter, he could substantiate the claim of his critics as a man fearful of Pacquiao, particularly if that opponent doesn't agree to full scale randomized testing.

If he sits it out until next year, more rust accumulates and he would fail to strengthen his negotiating position, which means he would put Pacquiao right back in the drivers seat, which ultimately means no drug testing leverage, which would ultimately mean no fight......Again! (See the domino effect, there)? It's a sad day for the sport, and the only reason I can't fully condemn Mayweather is because I don't know the extent of the unconfirmed reports, and I also have not heard ONE Team Pacquiao member state his (Pacquiao's) level of concessions with the drug testing protocol. Arum previously told the media that Pacquiao conceded to the request for drug testing, yet when pressed, said he "couldn't get into details". That tells me in fact that Pacquiao did NOT fully agree to all-out randomized testing, because with all the comments recently made by Arum, that would have been the most key to note, as it has been the prevention point of the fight from day one. It's Chinese arithmetic at this point, and I'm not good at math! In other words, it's gonna take a helluva lot more time to solve this one. Buckle up, fight fans.....gonna be a bumpy ride....(as if we needed another one of those)!


Carl B. (Orlando, FL): Timothy Bradley looked very good against Abregu. I hear that Berto is interested in a match with him. If they do meet, who do you like, and why?

Vivek W. (ESB): I have to start by congratulating Timothy Bradley on his effort against Abregu. His hard-fought victory proved why he's quickly growing into one of the most acclaimed rising stars in the game today. On the topic of him facing Andre Berto, I think that's a completely realistic future-opponent option, and personally, I think it's a helluva 'barometer' fight for both men. Berto has proven to be on the brink of super-stardom, but technically, Bradley is probably a cut above, based on resume and his career footnote of crossing the pond and performing like a champion in the champs own backyard.Stylistically, where things become intriguing is the fact that Bradley has little power, yet has shown great heart; and Berto has more power, but has shown what some perceive to be less heart at times.

I can't say that I totally endorse that belief about Berto, but not giving Collazo a rematch will forever haunt him if he doesn't re-write our memories, and fast! It's hard to say who would emerge victorious in this fight, but two things that stuck out to me was seeing Bradley stunned by Abregu (twice) with punches that were not very flush, and seeing the ease in which a slow fighter like Abregu landed his uppercuts, repeatedly. Berto withstood Quintana's power which is strong and deceptive; so I'd venture to say he can handle Bradley's. That being said, I'm not totally sold on Bradley being able to handle Berto's power and neck-snapping uppercuts. My money says a distance fight would possibly go to Bradley; but if there's an early stoppage involved, it goes to Berto, without question.

S. Zito (Los Angeles, CA): I loved how Timothy Bradley called Pacquiao out. Do you think he's ready for Pacquiao or Mayweather?

Vivek W. (ESB): I totally agree with those out there who feel Bradley would be a better option for Pacquiao than Margarito and Cotto, but in all actuality, I just don't think he's ready. It's sort of like a video game, where you have to go from one level, to the next, to the next, and suddenly you reach that highest echelon where there are no certainties and just one shot! For Bradley, Berto is the 'next level', wherein Pacquiao and Mayweather represent what I would view as the 'stress' level! A barely known Abregu - who has very little speed or skill - was able to exploit Bradley in spurts.

A taller, faster, more accurate, defensive specialist like Mayweather, who has somewhat mastered critical thinking in the ring would be an absolute nightmare for Tim. While Pacquiao is a comparable size, I'm a firm believer that his speed, power, and warrior spirit would unquestionably exploit Bradley like no one he has ever witnessed before. Bradley can't hurt Pacquiao. Pacquiao could badly hurt him. I love Bradley's evolution, and within a year or so I don't doubt he'd be ready for this challenge. But right now, no.....I don't think he'd find success against either man, and would venture to say he'd probably be stopped late by Pacquiao.

Chester L. (Long Island, NYC): Amir Khan called out Timothy Bradley on his Twitter account. Do you think he's ready for Bradley at this point?

Vivek W. (ESB): Personally, I'd love to see Berto/Bradley, but this (Khan) is truly the fight Bradley should take next. Bradley has been sold on the notion that he's ready for those elite mega-fighters of the sport, but as inspired as I am with his talent, I'm just not sold on him being able to 'clean out' the welterweight division, or even necessarily be competitive there. Abregu's a power puncher, but he's slow and unskilled, yet he was able to stun Bradley at points. Taking a fight like this would allow Bradley to test himself against a fighter with superior skills, but a more manageable level of power, before he ultimately test himself against the likes of the true welterweight ranks. As far as who wins this potential showdown, that's a tough one to call. Everyone seems to keep linking Khan to the Bredis Prescott debacle, but truthfully, Khan is far removed from those days.

Since then, Khan has run through a solid string of opponents and performed one helluva job while doing it. The Barrera victory didn't say much, but Kotelnik, Salita, and Malignaggi......that's three studs that in the end simply didn't stand a chance. The Malignaggi victory in particular told me that Khan's evolution is far more developed than even I had given him credit for. He always had the tools. Now, Roach has instilled intensity, refined skills, and given him a hunger for more. Bradley is a talented fighter, but I have $500 for the first person who can give me the name of his most recent opponent to possess both speed and pop........(OK, times up)! We could've gone another 24 hours and we'd still have no one claim the money, because he simply hasn't faced that combination. Holt was the closest, but his heart can be questioned, and at the end of the day, even he wasn't viewed categorically as 'fast'. So, I think Khan has a better shot at victory than some think. Bradley's heart could be the X-factor, though. Hopefully we'll find out.

Taz O. (West Covina, CA): Zab Judah looked pretty impressive. Do you think he can work his way back in the mix at 140?

Vivek W. (ESB): I watched Judah's fight with a keen eye looking to see two things specifically. 1.) How comfortable he would perform at the reduced weight after years of fighting heavier? and 2.) Would his already questionable stamina become more of an issue (at the reduced weight)? I walked away thinking to myself that he handled the weight reduction quite well, and oddly enough, his stamina didn't seem to be the issue it once was, either. Now, granted, this was not an elite fighter in front of him, but it was a credible opponent, and Judah took care of business quite well. Not to be taken as an insult, but before stepping in with a formidable jr. welterweight, despite his experience, I would still try to take one more fight against a slightly better opponent to see how he responds. This time around, I'd like to see him against someone who can give him some stiff rounds, preferably 10 or more.

I'd love to see him face a salty opponent who won't go anywhere and will stand toe-to-toe. A healthy Nate Campbell, Juan Urango, or even Joan Guzman, who would try to outfox him, would all be interesting options. All are winnable fights, but none would come easy. If he can find a way to net a solid victory against one of these slightly aged, but still 'game' competitors, I think his confidence would soar, and so would his potential to win. Any southpaw who can throw 137 jabs in 3 rounds with precision is hell to deal with. You parallel that with the fact that Judah also employed more discipline and defense, and suddenly, you have perennial contender on your hands. I really liked what I saw. I just hope that he stays active and continues his strong pursuit. At his best, Judah would be hell for ANY of the current jr. welters. Hope they got the memo!

(Vivek Wallace can be reached at Facebook, vivexemail@yahoo.com, 954.292.7346, YouTube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEK747), and Myspace).

Article posted on 19.07.2010



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