'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's Mailbag feat. Klitschko's Legacy, David Haye, Alexander/Matthysse, & Macklin/Sturm
Brent N. (London, UK): A while back I remember reading on your FaceBook page where you said something to the effect of "the heavyweight division becoming irrelevant after Haye squares off against the Klitschko's", and the fact that you "don't think the Klitschko's legacy will measure up if they both lose to David Haye". Can you talk on those two statements, please.
Article posted on 27.06.2011
Vivek W. (ESB): To be quite honest, I don't remember the statements verbatim, but my sentiment about them goes as follows: The heavyweight division is pretty relevant now only because the Klitschko brothers have carried it. And that relevance, might I add, is pretty much only across the pond, because here in the United States the division pretty much died when Lennox Lewis, or some would even argue Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield lost their respective straps. But again, the division exist in the headlines today only because of their dominance, and the outcome of this fight will somewhat dictate how relevant it is going forward and here's why:
When you consider how much the K-Bros have been a lifeline for the division, you have to ask yourself, "what would really happen if Haye went on to beat both of them"? He's a cruiserweight who's only victories at heavyweight came against a roster of men nearly 40 and older, none which were truly considered to be categorically "special". When you think of the fact that people are already complaining about the weak state of the division, and then you have some cruiserweight come along and beat the two men who have been dominant here for nearly a decade, what would the final sentence in the history books by the critics say?
I truly think no matter what happens here, the division will take a major hit when the final bell rings. If Haye wins and defeats them, critics will say "the K-Bros were really not too good. And with Haye retiring, (if he does), there's no one out there remotely interesting to watch beyond him". If Wladimir defeats Haye, the suspense ends immediately because we all know that the two brothers won't be squaring off.
So essentially a Wladimir victory would mean the K-Bros would continue to hold the division hostage by taking on the Ray Austin's of the world, which technically is no fault of their own. For this reason, I think the division is at a standstill regardless of who wins.
The basis of my statement regarding their "legacy not measuring up if they both lose to Haye" was simple. As I stated earlier, people have already questioned their level of competition. I've tried to be neutral with them, because you can't hold them accountable for arriving in the era in which they came. That being said, a loss to David Haye for the both of them I think would be an absolute bombshell, because Haye simply isn't decorated enough, (referring to his resume) to really be seen as someone who should have come along and taken them over that easy. He did unify the cruiserweight belt, but I don't know how much that will mean to historians years from now.
It's very difficult to really pin down exactly how this will all play out, but if I was a betting man, no question, I think the masses would feel the K-Bros legacy would contain more holes than a pale of Swiss cheese if they both fall to Haye, because they will have lost to their biggest legitimate threats career wise (both Haye and Lenox Lewis for Vitali).
The irony here is that some would say Haye's legacy would springboard ten-fold if he wins. I don't know if I feel that way, totally, for the simple fact that you can't say his legacy would be so enhanced by defeating them if their legacy isn't enhanced by defeating him. It goes both ways, particularly when you consider how much deeper their resume is over his.
Jarrod B. (Atlanta, GA): I had really mixed emotions on Devon Alexander's fight with Lucas Matthysse this past weekend. What were your thoughts on the way things went down?
Vivek W. (ESB): I wouldn't say that I had mixed emotions regarding his performance, but I can see how some may have. I've made it known in the past that there seems (to me) to be some type of unspoken protocol when it comes to judges that requires the trio of judges assigned to a fight to score the following ways: One that provides leverage for the hometown or favored fighter, one who gives leverage to the opponent, and one who is the neutral objector of the three.
As an inside track to help me better understand why certain judges may score certain fights the way they do, particularly hometown fights, I'll score one card that actually gives that fighter the round in any close or hard to decide rounds, and on my true card I score what I personally felt I saw. The funny thing is that every single time I do this, there's at least one judge of the 3 that will score identical (or within a point) to my card designed to give leverage to the favorite or hometown guy. To the contrast, there's always a judge that has a card that parallels my more neutral take on the fight, as well.
I found it awfully interesting in this case as I went back and watched the fight again Sunday that the card I scored to intentionally give leverage to the hometown fighter (Alexander) still only gave him an edge of 2rds. So, if you take away those rounds that I intentionally gave him because they were too close to call, suddenly, you're looking at a totally different score card. Again, I wouldn't go out on a limb and say that this is what's happening, but I will say that without that "leverage" given to him on my secondary card, it's anyones fight at the end of the night.
Based on this truth, I can't argue with those who felt Matthysse was ripped off; however, I will say that I find it all very interesting how it unfolded. Being in his hometown, and just knowing how this sport runs (think Pascal/Hopkins I, Bute/Andrade I, etc.) I can see how Alexander won; but I can't say that anyone who thought Matthysse won is wrong, either. The unfortunate thing is that Matthysse is a great young fighter who has lost two fights he could have arguably won. What can we say? I'll just have to chalk that up as another one of the things I hate about the sport I love.
Alan B. (Chicago, IL): I was completely pissed about the outcome of the Sturm/Macklin fight. How did you score that one?
Vivek W. (ESB): Without great elaboration, in simplest terms, Macklin got jobbed! Period. The Alexander/Matthysse fight was considered a bad call, but the reason I said that one couldn't be ruled a robbery is because Alexander fought much better than he did in his previous fight, he weathered a vicious storm of body shots, and he gave enough of an effort to support those who felt he did enough to win. It was clearly debatable. In this case, there was nothing to talk about. Macklin won the fight fair and square, and to see it end this way was a complete joke.
I think these type of clear and concise robberies should result in the judges being completely stripped of their judging credentials and forced to lose money that would go towards putting food in their kids mouth, so that they can see how it feels to have bigger future opportunities taken at the hands of their careless work. I really felt there was nothing to debate....and that's coming from a guy who has supported Sturm strongly since they robbed him against ODH.
(Vivek Wallace can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 954-292-7346, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VivekWallace747), Skype (VITO-BOXING), and Facebook).
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