'Call Em Out Fridays': Ward, Marquez, Berto, Froch & Abraham - Questions Raised, Questions Answered
By Vivek Wallace - Saturday night promises to be one of the most action packed evenings the sport of boxing has witnessed in quite some time. A spotlight of this magnitude doesn't always shine, but when it does, he who stands in the ray of the light does so knowing the opportunity may never come again, elevating the level of pressure associated with taking such a calculated risk. With much to gain and perhaps more to lose, 5 men in particular at the center of this spectacle firmly realize the time to perform is now. Many questions have been raised, but not all have been answered. As we hone in on these men, we take a look at the biggest questions surrounding each:
Andre Berto: Is He Ready For The Next Level?
For quite some time now, fight fans have questioned exactly how far Andre Berto can go in the sport. Present is the speed, snapping power and incredible physique; absent is the results which typically follow such a specimen. Although the zero losses on his resume answer many questions, it's the 26 wins which raise more, as few within that group earn Berto the praise he would need to truly satisfy the eye of the critic. Recently, his name became part of a short list with great odds to meet the sports co-P4P king, Manny Pacquiao..
Consideration is one thing. Possessing the ability to perform on such a level is another. There's no way to gauge the worth of a fighter without testing his mettle, but this test is one that none have passed, and virtually all have fell......as very few have met the final bell standing. Freddy Hernandez, while adequate, is nowhere near the level of Manny Pacquiao. Any rough spots in this one and the young Berto will make DiBella's job very easy, because Martinez will be the only horse in his stable worth shopping.
Juan Manuel Marquez: Full (of) Heart, Empty Tank?
The million dollar question surrounding Marquez is "can he do today the things which made him great yesterday"? Never the fastest or strongest, Marquez has always been amongst the smartest, and that same ring IQ and precision punching has seemed to follow him every step of the way....but is tomorrow a new day? Age 37 and facing the proverbial 'westside' of his career, many questions surround the current state of Marquez, as it relates to his future in the sport.
Many walked away feeling that he failed to win a round on the scorecards against the sports other co-P4P king, Floyd Mayweather jr. What those people probably haven't asked themselves is how many others accomplished the difficult feat of doing so? A year ago I sat in a Las Vegas conference room at the MGM and asked Manny Pacquiao would he ever face this warrior again? His answer came with two words and a straight face. NO! Could that change after this fight? YES! But if Marquez looks good, the answer to the aforementioned title question will again be NO!
Andre Ward: 'Goal-den' Opportunity With A Silver-Lining?
In my estimation, when talking pure fundamental skills, Andre Ward is easily and arguably the most gifted fighter in the sport behind Floyd Mayweather jr. Although Sakio Bika isn't the most polished opponent he could be facing, a victory over him would keep Ward at the head of the class. Many know that Ward is an Olympic Gold winner, so after a successful amateur career and a pro career that has gone thus far without flaw, the San Francisco born brawler has set his eyes on another 'goal'. This one? Win the Super-6 Tournament, comprised of the best super middleweight talent in the world today.
A week ago we saw Argentinean Sergio Martinez land a flush shot which knocked Paul Williams out, and knocked Martinez in (to P4P contention). Although this bout isn't a marquee affair, could a strong effort, highlighting those great skills, help place Ward into the P4P mix, as well? Probably not....but for those who appreciate the "sweet science", there's no way you could ever leave him off. For those who only equate P4P contention with KO's.....shame on you!
Froch/Abraham: Another Case of True-Lies?
This weekends Carl Froch/Arthur Abraham showdown could result in one of 2010's best fights of the year. Many in the American media have failed to give it the attention it rightfully deserves, but at the center of this showdown you have two men who come to lay it all on the line, and when the bell rings, we should expect no less. The excerpts going back and forth between the two men and their respective camps have been chilling, intriguing, and in some cases, downright comical.....but the underlying tone remains no laughing matter!
As odd as some of the threats may have been, by the end of the night, one man will prove his words to be true, while the others words will be reduced to little more than unfulfilled promises, which are essentially true lies. If real eyes realize real lies, then even the blind man can see the truth! That line may have lost a few of you readers, but as is the case in this fight, a deeper analysis will clear it all up in the end. Stay tuned!
(Vivek Wallace can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 954*292*7346, YouTube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEKWALLACE747), Skype (VITO-BOXING), FaceBook and Myspace).