'Left-Hook Lounge': Vic Darchinyan, Mosley/Pacquiao, Juanma, Berto & Pavlik

By Vivek Wallace:

Alan H. (Manhattan, NY): I never hear you speak about Vic Darchinyan and would like to know how did you rate his performance last Saturday night, and how do you rate him as a boxer in the sport?

Vivek W. (ESB): I've always considered myself a big fan of Darchinyan! This may come out wrong, but to me, there has always been something grand about a smaller guy in the sport with the ability to dismantle a bigger opponent. When you look at the way fighters like Tyson and Pacquiao were/are received, perhaps I'm not alone in that love-fest! But I really think he's a great fighter, he comes to fight, and knows how to win.

I'll be the first to admit that from a pure boxing standpoint, there are several chinks in his armor, but he's pretty durable and he's a banger, so if you can't figure out a way to get him out of there first, chances are he'll get you! But short of that, I think there's nothing not to like about V-Darch!

The irony in this matter, similar to what we see in other fighters is that pure boxing fans love boxers and fighters, but not all fans who love true fighters care for more natural boxers. So, lucky for V-Darch, he's a fighter and doesn't look to make fights technical, he simply uses the Tyson mantra: "The only objective to war is to conquer the opposition or surrender"! Call it the "Napoleon Complex" or whatever you must, but guys like Darch, Tyson, and Pacquiao do just that! They don't come to observe; they come to take over! I tuned in last Saturday, and I'll be tuned in again as long as I can! I like to see the man fight!

Chris B. (Deerfield Beach, FL): I found Fight Camp 360 last weekend to be very dull and far from entertaining. What were your thoughts of the broadcast?

Vivek W. (ESB): I've said in the past and I'll repeat.....there's a reason why people are still talking about Mike Tyson despite his departure from the sport, and Floyd Mayweather jr., despite him having no significant dates lined up that don't involve a courtroom. That reason is simply because the villain role which keep many still talking about them despite their absence is strongly necessary in an attempt to promote a fight with optimal entertainment. Pacquiao and Mosley are obviously great at what they do in the ring, but they're one in the same. They are both good men, they both are peaceful men, and as much as we like to say "the sport needs more guys like that", a dull Fight Camp 360 shows us why we also need the opposite.

The yin and the yang.....the good and the bad.....the plus and the minus; however you wanna categorize it, it is what it is, and the opposite is needed when it comes to striking a strong balance (through promotion), like everything else in life. I notice many fight fans have taken issue with Showtime, but I think you have to be honest in the assessment, and simply realize that the camera's can only capture what they see. It's no different from the fighters actually being in the ring. The camera's can only capture what they see. In this case, you have two great guys who prefer to be warriors in the ring, but humble men outside of it.

I thought the broadcast was modest at best, and had it not been for my son and my affinity to the sport and the two men involved, I may have found something better to do with my time last Saturday. As a matter of fact, had it not been for my son, I may have actually watched the DVR later and turned on the spot. I found it lacking entertainment and thought the missing 10 minutes certainly didn't help.

I'm not quite sure why they condensed it to only 20minutes, but I think what happened is that this segment could have been shortened so that when they broadcast them on CBS closer to the fight, there will be no missing parts in edits. Remember, CBS has commercials that reduce the duration of footage broadcasted. Pay television (Showtime) doesn't. So that would be the only logic I can make of them shortening a segment that clearly needed more time.....and perhaps more bite!

Hector O. (Miami Lakes, FL): I heard you recently speak on your FaceBook page about the fact that you believe, unlike Berto, JuanMa will have a tougher time regaining form and getting back to the top. Can you elaborate on that some?

Vivek W. (ESB): The point I was trying to make about Berto and JuanMa was that coming into the evening of the fights, they both had questions surrounding them that all centered around stamina and possible chin issues. Both men were found to be somewhat 'guilty' of flaws in those areas as the night unfolded. The silver-lining here is that not too long ago it was Ortiz who found himself on this very trail. Khan too! Both men wanted up off the deck.....and found greener pastures. These two men can as well.

Where things totally take a different path for these two men is that in the case of Berto, you have blinding speed, and you have a few other attributes that make it easier to mask certain flaws if you adopt good habits like a fast, strong jab, head movement, etc. In the case of JuanMa, I hope not sound offensive, but as one Puerto Rican fight fan was honest enough to assess in our recent conversation, you have to go back perhaps to the 80's to find good fighters from the island that were not so mechanical, and were actually good boxers.

Trinidad could be hit easily, Cotto has gotten better but still lacks sound defense and balance as a boxer, and JuanMa is (in my observation) more challenged than all of them. Ivan Calderon was clearly the only boxer of the bunch with sound skills fundamentally, and aside from possibly Cotto, I think the only Puerto Rican at the top of his game today with better than average boxing skills is Cruiserweight Francisco Palacios. I don't know where the emphasis changed from a training standpoint, but many of today's Puerto Rican fighters are very robotic, and when you don't have blinding handspeed or a jab and other trap shots, life is tough. Add a questionable chin to the equation and you have real problems.

So, yes, I think both men have their work cut out for them, but no question, with such a limited arsenal and such limited capability beyond power punching, I would say, and think most have to agree that JuanMa has a much steeper hill to climb, or will have to be part of very strategical matchmaking. We'll see what unfolds.

Marc H. (Chicago, IL): What do you think of Kelly Pavlik's return to the ring and how successful do you see him in his return?

Vivek W. (ESB): I think Kelly Pavlik's story has been a very intriguing one and clearly demonstrates how fragile life as a boxer can really be. This was a young man who had it all on many levels, went from rags to riches, and from sweet to sour, almost in one quick swoop! It's unfortunate to see him fall from grace the way he did. I considered myself a big fan, simply for the fact that it was cool to watch this skinny kid from Ohio totally destroy men, some in which you didn't think he had the capacity to handle at the time.

Fast forward a few years, a few fights, and one humbling beatdown, and life has never been the same. His alcohol problems have been well chronicled, and it's unfortunate, because you just have to ask yourself what could life be like had this never happened? As far as how his career pans out from here, I think only Pavlik and God know. Like anyone else, he'll have to give his full 33 1/3, or he'll fall flat again. I would hate to see that, but similar to what was just expressed with regards to JuanMa, Pavlik doesn't bring a full arsenal. Short of powershots and a fairly durable chin, his options are a bit limited.

Fighters have always been able to beat him to the punch, he just found a way to first beat him with his. When he met someone (Hopkins) where that didn't work, it all went south! Also similar to Berto and JuanMa, Pavlik will need to realize that this comeback trail he now finds himself on is pretty much a career defining one. This unprecedented streak of upsets in the sport could be a very undesirable jinx factor, and if it lands on him, it could be game over! I wish Kelly the best, but well beyond the ring, I wish him the best as a man! He's a Father, a son, and a husband. I love to see him in the ring, but those people clearly need him more than I do. Best wishes, Kelly! One Love!

(Vivek Wallace can be reached at, 954-292-7346, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEKWALLACE747). Skype (VITO-BOXING), and Facebook).

Article posted on 26.04.2011

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