'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's Mailbag feat. Donaire, Hopkins/Dawson, & Angulo/Kirkland!!!
Jason H. (Reseda, CA): Many writers in the sport have listed Nonito Donaire as a top P4P fighter and honestly, I'm just not so sure that I see it. How did you rate his performance last Saturday night?
Article posted on 24.10.2011
Vivek W. (ESB); I'm probably not the right "writer" to ask about the mythical P4P list, as I've said for many moons now that it's totally in the mind of the beholder, and now days it's more a matter of popularity and fan fare than anything. Few writers or even historians of today speak on the topic using the textbook definition in principle. I've touted Donaire for quite some time but regarding the mythical list, it's all subjective and holds very little merit in my book. What I think is intriguing is that literally within the last few months many have gotten a raw glimpse of precisely what I mean when I state that most writers of today are so busy swingin' on that proverbial pendulum from "exciting" fighter to "exciting" fighter that they fail to exercise sound judgment when speaking on the topic, as most of the men placed on their list have shown why they probably don't come so close to the top on mine.
People rushed to say that Sergio Martinez was a top 3 P4P fighter, totally overlooking his entire career prior to a few stellar KO's over a few men who most would deem one-dimensional. Suddenly he faces someone who isn't a plod straight ahead, rock 'em sock 'em robot, and introduced to the equation are words like "exposed", "overrated", and "ordinary". In this case we see a talented young stud in Donaire, eager to prove his mettle, yet also guilty of reading his own press to an extent as well, suddenly run up against someone who has a polished skill level like him, and again we see the introduction of such words previously laid upon Martinez and several others. It all points to the fact that there's entirely too much emphasis in this sport placed on shock value.
Many seem so eager to give high credibility to the guy who can put cheeks in seats by putting backs on mats and that's a personal preference, but I've always asked those people who felt that way, "what happens when that KO-King or exciting fighter faces someone he can't hit or hurt"? Last Saturday night Donaire learned this very lesson and so did many of his fans, and for many, it changed the way people grade him overall. Many have taken my thoughts on the great Manny Pacquiao critically because of this very same effect, when all I've been saying all along is that the guy is incredible when he lands, but I want to see him against someone who makes that more of a task than he's used to, who's also equipped to do comparable destruction to him.
Donaire will continue to look great against fighters he can hit, and he has a decent enough skill level to entertain a few he can't, but this was clearly an eye opener that proved he isn't yet as great as some would report. We need to let him continue to evolve, knowing that he will one day get there, but his experience level (which I find to be his biggest challenge when it comes to the top 3 P4P fighter argument) isn't quite there. We just saw what happened to him against a man with that level of experience. When Donaire gets closer, we'll know it. Right now he has shown flashes, but he simply isn't there.
Carl B. (Aventura, FL): I saw on your FaceBook page that the WBC has overturned the Hopkins/Dawson decision to a "Technical Draw", paving the way for Hopkins to have his title returned. What are your thoughts on this and how do think it will shape the future of these two men?
Vivek W. (ESB): For starters, I think it's necessary to make sure fight fans understand that this is by no means the "OFFICIAL" ruling. This is the WBC's decision based on the fact that the fight ended as a result of an action the rules of the sport doesn't support. Weeks ago I said in this very same mailbag that the decision made on the night of the fight would be over-turned and the WBC's ruling was the first step was the first sign of what's more to come. Hopkins is one of those perennial figures in the sport who most love to hate, and although some of it may be justified, when you take the emotions out of the equation and call things down the middle with a clear head, there's no question the outcome of this particular fight was unjust.
To take it a step further, Brother Naazim Richardson recently spoke on something no one in the media has even touched on, and that's the fact that Dawson's glove touched the deck as a result of a landed punch, yet Hopkins wasn't given credit in a scene very reminiscent of the Mayweather/Judah fight where Mayweather's glove touched the deck and went uncalled by the referee. It's all unfortunate, because the last few PPV events in the sport have ended in a way that left viewers unhappy and in many ways uninterested (in the sport). It'll be very intriguing to see where the two men go from here, because few care to see Hopkins again and although Dawson is the younger guy deemed to be the man of the future, I haven't talked to too many fight fans who truly care to see him any time soon either, definitely not on PPV.
I think in the end, they will be ordered to take part in a rematch. Whether they do it or not remains to be seen as both promoters said it simply wasn't good business and a rematch is unlikely. If Dawson turns down the rematch, considering he would no longer have the strap, his options would be a bit limited, although a Pascal rematch, with or without the strap does have limited appeal and in Canada would make good papers. By mid-December the California State Athletic Commission will make their final ruling and this will all be sorted out officially. Stay tuned.
Hector N. (Charlotte, NC): Who do you like in the upcoming Angulo/Kirkland showdown on November 5th?
Vivek W. (ESB): I love the heart and spirit of both men in the ring, but truthfully, unless he has found a way to turn the corner on a few of the flaws I've seen lately, I don't see a way for Kirkland to win. Since returning from prison I think Kirkland has just not quite looked the same. I will say that the fight he lost to Isida was not a surprise to me. Many looked at this as another tune-up, but I told everyone willing to listen that Ishida was basically a poor mans Glen Johnson. He comes to fight, he's tough to hurt, and has a lot of heart. Matchmakers were ridiculous enough to place Kirkland in the ring with him following a fight camp that only spanned roughly 3 weeks (if my memory serves me correctly). It was a an arrested development from day one and they had no idea until cuckoo birds were tweeting in the young mans' ear!
I think that move certainly didn't help his mindset, and going in against a fighter like this who won't spare him a dime, no question, his work will be cut out for him. At it's best, Angulo was already what I would dub a 'stylistic square' for him; you add to that the fact that he's been active and dedicated at a greater length and I just really think Kirkland would have to be at his best to overcome the mountain he'll stand across from on the night of November 5th. It's not an impossible task, but considering the fact that these two have been on a collision course for quite some time and the stakes are quite high, no doubt, he'll have to beat the best Alfredo Angulo......which means he'll have to be the best James Kirkland. Is he ready for the challenge? Only he and God knows.....but soon enough so will you! Stay tuned.
(Vivek "Vito" Wallace can be reached at email@example.com, 954.292.7346, Youtube (Vivek1251), Twitter (VivekWallace747), and Skype (Vito-Boxing) and Facebook).
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