'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's Mailbag feat. Mayweather Rants, Pacquiao, Hopkins, Ward/Dirrell, and More!!!
Lerron C. (Orlando, FL): I've seen Floyd Mayweather jr. do some wild things in the past, but I never expected the type of stuff he did and said recently. What are your thoughts about this incident?
Article posted on 06.09.2010
Vivek W (ESB): For starters, there is no logical excuse for what Mayweather did. I've seen some low things in the sport. This was absolutely the lowest of them all, and after watching it twice to make sure I heard what I thought I heard, I walked away telling myself that Pacquiao now has an official reason to request a drug test from Floyd as well, as he clearly came off as someone who was a bit stoned to say the least! What bothered me most is that I've been ridiculed and called a slew of racial names by a small contingent of Filipino fight fans who felt a need to note (and degrade) my Afro-Cuban roots and the dark skin we possess. I never found it amusing, although I didn't lose sleep either, all based on the fact that I realize there's a certain percentage of ignorant people out there who need to add to their incomplete selves by trying to subtract from others. But those were fans. As the athlete himself, Mayweather has to know that this is completely a no-no..
Obviously he enjoys making money. I'd think that somewhere in that process he'd want to build endorsements, not kill them. It was a horrendous move. Now.........that being said, I think there were two main reasons for this pathetic display. No one is talking about it, but just a week or two ago, Mayweather spoke of a potential fight by the end of the year in Dubai, possibly. I don't know about the Dubai stuff, but I continue to hear small rumblings about a potential showdown with an unspecified opponent somewhere between December and January, providing a good 6mos to rest in preparation for what could be a summer blockbuster with you-know-who! Although we haven't heard an opponents name yet, this was clearly a P.R. move to snatch the spotlight back from Pacquiao who had moved on and was in the process of launching his own promotion.
That was reason #1. Now......secondly.....I must confess: I have ZERO idea what it takes to promote a fight that would net someone $60M+. Mike Tyson did some atrocious things, yet he had no idea how to promote a fight that would net him $60M+. Muhammad Ali did some outlandish things.....and despite being the best talker in the history of the sport, he had no idea how to promote himself to such a huge gain. And you know what? Apparently, neither do any of you reading this! Bottom line, I don't agree with anything Mayweather did or said, but he's is the owner of the largest single-fight purses in the history of the sport. I'm sure it's not easy to outdo some of the garbage he's done outside the ring in the past, but if this is what it takes to make sure he adds to that recently reported $60M+ evening against Shane Mosley, then God bless him! I just hope that somewhere in the process of earning all those dollars he also earns a little more sense! Right now he's pretty wealthy in the pocket, but seemingly poor in the mind!
Cedric T. (Los Angeles, CA): I happened to see the question you posted on your Twitter page yesterday asking who had the "best pure talent" between Jones, Hopkins, Toney and Mayweather. I never saw your answer and wanted to know who you rate as the best among them based on their pure talent.
Vivek W. (ESB): I think the answer to this question depends on how we as individuals define the term "pure talent". Each of these men will go down as greats of this era, a few maybe even greats of all-time; but When I look at them individually, I see a separate set of skills. Hopkins is EXTREMELY defensive, yet sees weak prey at a distance like a lion. And when that prey shows signs of depreciation, he takes over, but only then! Toney, in his prime used excellent upper-body movement to get fighters out of position, allowing him to land with great precision, showcasing what has always been a very solid offense. In Floyd Mayweather jr., you have the upper-body movement and amazing footwork, which he typically uses to set up his offense, and contrary to the other two previously mentioned, he's arguably the most offensive of this batch, with the exception of Jones jr. In Roy Jones jr., (the prime one), you had what I feel will go down as arguably the most incredibly gifted fighter of this generation, perhaps even of all-time.
The thing with Roy is that his gift was his amazing athleticism. That's practically what separated Jones from everyone in this group, to include Mayweather. Jones' speed and power in both hands made him incredible. To use the term "pure talent", I would have to say probably Jones Jr. If your interpretation of "pure talent" is closer to what I view as the 'natural art of textbook fundamentals', I give this accolade to Floyd. He has enough offense and defense to provide a balance that none of these men carried, and it's deceptive, in the sense that although people call him a runner, in the past he has always somehow landed the higher percentage of clear and precise shots, although that could change tomorrow, depending on who he faces next (Pacquiao, Williams, etc).
If your interpretation of "pure talent" encompasses heart, I think the debate is narrowed down to Toney and Hopkins in the mind of most, as neither man has ever met a challenge they didn't like. So again, it's all in the mind of the beholder, but for the record, Floyd is the most balanced, Jones was the most physically gifted, Toney was probably the most rounded (skills, heart, etc), and Hopkins did the most with the least and will finish with arguably the best results of them all. In the end, there are no losers in the question, in my mind!
Gabriel O. (Ontario, CA): Manny Pacquiao recently spoke about considering UFC/MMA. Do you think he'd do better than James Toney if he crossed over?
Vivek W. (ESB): Yes! Without question, or hesitation.....yes! The true irony in your question is that like James Toney, Manny Pacquiao is also a fighter. Toney has a bit more skill, but truth be known, that's probably what hurt him, and probably what would help Pacquiao. Wherein Toney wanted to use that strong skillset to find a way to win standing up, Pacquiao is a fighter who does exactly that.....fight! Pacquiao's lightning quick handspeed, his lateral movement, his southpaw stance, his youth, and his fiery nature would combine to make him awfully dangerous in the octagon. How successful he'd be is beyond me, but without question, I think Pacquiao would definitely be an interesting watch in the octagon. He takes punches, he damn sure lands a lot, and has great power. If he's KO'ing guys with 8oz gloves, remove half the padding (4oz in UFC) and that could equate to permanent damage. I don't think Arum would let him do it, but it'd be a great watch. If any boxer tries it, this is the man I'd endorse.
Jeff M. (Atlanta, GA): What are your thoughts on the Ward/Dirrell fiasco and do you think the two will actually fight?
Vivek W. (ESB): You know........a few years ago there was a fighter (Manny Pacquiao) I touted on a very grand scale, and suddenly, one day, he did something I didn't care for and couldn't help him explain, and for simply voicing that out loud, his followers never viewed me the same. In case you're wondering, yes, that was Manny Pacquiao. Anyhow, I hope this doesn't turn in to the same scenario, because most know that after Floyd Mayweather jr., Andre Ward is a guy I easily consider to be the best pure-fundamental fighter in the sport today, bar none. That being said, there is no way to justify Ward's position to fight at home again, when every other fighter in the tournament has been required to take their show on the road. Goosen, Ward's promoter, has basically taken the approach that fighting out in Ward's locale would net the two camps the most money and the larger crowd at the gates.
While I can't argue that point, I could reply in saying that both Froch and Abraham could feel up much larger venues in their respective countries, but you don't see anyone knocking the doors down to run over there based on gate revenue, etc. It's a bad proposition for Ward. Period. I love the guy's talent, I love what he brings to the sport, as both a personality and fighter, but fair is fair. If every other man has to pack a bag and move the crowd, he's no exception. He's an Olympic Gold Medalist with amazing skills and a helluva amateur background. If he isn't confident going on the road at this point, I'm not so sure he'll ever be.
(Check out Wednesday's 'OPEN MIC FAN MAIL' segment, where a random letter directly from a fight fan like you is published and openly discussed live via chat forum - Send all 'Open Letters' to firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Silent prayer to the Arum family who recently suffered a loss. Recent developments with certain Top Rank fighters have put Arum under great scrutiny, but I hope those critics can find the room in their hearts to pray for him. This is truly a major loss. God Bless)
(Vivek Wallace can be reached at email@example.com, 954-292-7346, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (vivekwallace747), Facebook, and Myspace).
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