'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's Mailbag feat. Mayweather, Pacquiao, Cotto/Vanes, Hatton, and More!!!

Chad R. (Reseda, CA): I think Pacquiao is better than Mayweather, but what do you think the continuous catch-weight request will do to his legacy overall?

Vivek W. (ESB): When it comes to this recent catch-weight agenda, I think my position is an echo of the average fight fan around the globe. I can understand supporting your countryman or your guy, but anyone who fails to find an issue with this is very much in denial with the fact that this move is simply one more reason for many out there to find issue with Pacquiao and ultimately question his level of accomplishment. With his demeanor and style, you'd like to support Pacquiao at all cost, but at some point you just wanna say, "if you're as good as we believe you are, it's time to beat someone in their own element". I think that Pacquiao has done enough to cement his legacy as a future Hall-of-Famer, but when you get into that lengthy debate about the "greats of all-time", (not greatest, but collectively the "greats"), I think this action leaves room to debate Pacquiao's position in some respects and I think it all has to do with the way his management team is writing his script..

In recent days, a hot topic has been whether or not he owns 7 titles in 7 divisions, as opposed to 6 titles in 6 divisions - as one of them was a linear type, which technically is not a world title won in the ring, in the sense that he didn't actually beat a champion to get it. When I heard such a hair-splitting argument being kicked around, it was full proof that people are in fact beginning to truly question the validity of his accomplishments. If you actually take the time to question whether one world title was an actual strap or not, logically, the next place for these type of critical fight fans to go would be the catch-weights, and for the ones that truly want to ignite the fire, the unconfirmed allegations would follow. I just think all the way around, this is a bad move. In a recent interview with Gabriel Montoya, Freddie Roach made it very clear that he didn't support a catchweight against Cotto. Why this plan would change against Margarito speaks for itself.

The fashionably correct thing to do lately is compare Pacquiao's legacy with that of Mayweathers. The oddity here is that many would argue Mayweather would never dare step foot in the ring with guys in the likes of Cotto, Clottey, or Margarito; and while that may hold some weight, records reflect that when you look at the men he has faced throughout his career, he always did it in their natural habitat (Baldomir between 14-18lbs heavier, Corrales (RIP) 18lbs heavier, Oscar, better than 10lbs heavier, etc.). Granted, my perspective isn't the 'end-all-be-all', but judging by that comparison, you make the call. Some would say Floyd was bigger than Hatton and Marquez, but an advantage goes both ways. Him being bigger than these men is no different than Pacquiao making bigger men fight smaller. It's not my call. Fight fans have to decide what they feel about his legacy themselves.

Cedrik O. (Miami Lakes, FL): Rumor has it that Miguel Cotto and Vanes Martirosyan could be headed towards a showdown. Do you think Cotto has enough in the tank to get past him?

Vivek W. (ESB): To be quite frank, I'm not within that contingent who feels very high on Martirosyan. I think he has a few skills, but by no means would I characterize him as being unbeatable. He's still young and has a way to evolve, but I truly think that he can be beaten, and against a soft-punching Joe Green who showed very little aggression, he did very little to truly impress. Cotto is a bit more seasoned, and contrary to what many think, I feel he has more in the tank than most are prepared to deal with. A top-level world class fighter would give Cotto a few problems. I wouldn't say that Vanes won't get there one day, but right now, he simply isn't there.

This would be the equivalence of putting a very good and still evolving Timothy Bradley in the ring with Pacquiao. Both men would make a good account for themselves, but when the final bell rings, the experience factor will have told the story. Cotto is slowly regaining his confidence, and for those who seemed to have forgotten, this is the same guy who outfoxed Mosley, more than a year prior to him thrashing Margarito. So yes, Cotto has more than enough in his tank to be tier two fighter like Vanes, in my opinion.

Jason T. (Brooklyn, NYC): I remember you saying in a past article that if Floyd Mayweather jr. decides to take another fight after walking away from Pacquiao, you would have a problem with that. Looks like he could be considering Cotto. What will you have to say if he does?

Vivek W. (ESB): That statement was made well prior to me learning more about the cause for the broken down negotiations. I said then and I still maintain that if Pacquiao actually conceded to the full scale randomized drug testing and the proper money split, and Mayweather still decided to walk away, then you got it, I'd be all over Mayweather like white on rice. But unfortunately, that's not the case. We later learned that there was never a true concession, and that it was deemed better to keep the backlash on the D.L. so that the fight public wouldn't get so jaded that the overall level of interest fades (which has happened regardless). That being said, I have no problem with Mayweather exercising his right to consider a future opponent WHO WILL meet those demands. I won't openly speculate on why Pacquiao chose not to, but I can tell you unequivocally that Paul Williams, Sergio Martinez, Miguel Cotto, Alfredo Angulo, Andre Berto and Timothy Bradley have all said they'd be more than willing to do the randomized testing, particularly if the price is right.

So if Mayweather steps in with one of these guys or someone credible like he did with Mosley, I think that would be good, in the sense that it's technically the only lifeline for his potential showdown with Pacquiao, in terms of maintaining interest. After this last bit of drama, we need to see these men individually scale some forbidden terrain in order to peak enough curiosity to want to see them face-off again. They have really and truly hurt the fight public with this latest debacle. If Cotto is the guy, great! But I don't think he will be. The recent meeting between Mayweather and Cotto was said to be strictly business.....promotional business. Besides, there would be no ground for Mayweather to cover with Cotto, considering that he has already won a jr. middleweight strap and is somewhat considered damaged goods. I wouldn't agree that he's damaged goods totally, but if Mayweather shut him out like he did Mosley, that would be the running punchline. I don't agree with everything Mayweather says, but he makes a good point in the sense that he can't win either way with the fans.

Walter P. (London, UK): With Ricky Hatton renewing his license, I have a hunch he will return. If he does, who would you like to see him face?

Vivek W. (ESB): Well, to his credit, like he said, he still hasn't "actually announced his retirement"! That being the case, we can never say never, until he does. The biggest concern with Hatton is that he didn't stay in tremendous shape when he was active between fights, so this much of a layoff, and I'm concerned about whether or not he has been doing anything. He mentioned Floyd Mayweather jr.'s return with success after nearly two years off, but what he failed to mention was that Floyd's lifestyle is vastly different than his. If there's any beer bottles to be picked up around the Mayweather camp, they were his friends! Pretzels and pastries....maybe a little, but truth be known, forget about it! Ricky is another story.

I think if he begins to slowly work himself back into shape, anything is possible, though. And despite the backlash he gets, you have to remember, his only two losses were to the two best fighters in the world. If he does return, I wouldn't want to see him try to go too deep just yet. I think a perfect fight would be either Urango again, or even Nate Campbell. Both men have great talent, yet a certain level of questions surrounding them, as well. It would be definitive both ways. For one man it would be an emphatic "I'm back", and for the loser, it would be the emphatic "I'm gone"! All three men have the capability and relative questions to produce either one of those effects at any given moment at this point in their respective careers. Stay tuned.

Isidro I. (Los Angeles, CA): I have a feeling that Marquez will KO Juan Diaz this time. How strong would you rate his chances at doing it?

Vivek W. (ESB): I've actually began to sway a little, in regards to this fight. It's easy to say that Marquez is the more skilled fighter and all of this stuff, but the reality is that had Diaz not been cut in the first fight, he was actually doing well enough to get the job done, and potentially could have. I don't think it's gonna be a 'layup' for Marquez. He has been through a ton of wars and is very close to 37 years of age. The toll that his body has taken is something few seem to think about, Marquez is no Hopkins. The one thing Diaz has going for him is youth. With Shields in his corner, and enough passion to win, I have no doubt he can outbox Marquez. Will he, though? Not so sure he will. Under no circumstances do I see Marquez knocking Diaz out again, unless the cut opens again, or potentially another one.

Aside from that, I just think that Diaz knows this could be it, and although he has his law degree, there was a reason he turned the local gig in Houston down a while back. In his own words: He's "not ready to sit behind a desk for a living". Another loss and his option will be that desk, or Friday Night Fights! Nothin' wrong with Friday Night Fights, but the world watches on Saturday's.....which is why the bigger checks get cut on that evening. We'll see. Personally, I think he has a good shot at victory.

(VERY IMPORTANT: For those fight fans who like to chat on FaceBook, I have had to open a new page due to a hack job. Please locate the new page (WITH VISIBLE PICTURE) and send an add request so we can do what we do best! Talk fight game)!

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

Article posted on 26.07.2010

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