Barry N. (Houston, TX): Floyd Mayweather has ripped several people in the news lately and it’s not only uncalled for, but also kind of hard to understand it all. What do you think is really going on with him lately?
Vivek W. (ESB): The on-going drama we’ve seen lately between these four men have somewhat reached a boiling point. While Smith and Mayweather Sr. have stepped away from the table, it seems little Floyd and Khan still have a few things to air out, which we’ve heard lately. There are so many different angles to this discussion that I don’t even know where to start, but I guess the safest statement for me to lead off with is the fact that I think there’s a hint of truth to all of their respective positions, with the exception of maybe Steven A. Smith’s.
Floyd Sr. spoke on the need for the Pacquiao fight to happen before Mayweather retires, which I agree. Khan spoke of being eligible for a Mayweather fight on the strength of his victory over Maidana who Mayweather was forced to face twice, which, if you want to be honest, does actually hold merit. While those two positions from Khan and Mayweather Sr. can’t really be disputed, I think little Floyd and Smith are the two I would aim a bit of criticism towards, as their positions are somewhat debatable.
In the case of Smith, he feels it’s safe to assume that Mayweather is “afraid” of Pacquiao by facing Khan first instead of Pacquiao. While I can understand his logic, (considering how bad we all want to see this fight), you have to ask yourself, if FMW has two fights left, why would he face Pacquiao first and then Khan? Think about that for a sec. Why would he face Pacquiao now and face Khan to end his career? Wouldn’t it make more sense to save the best for last and end it all on that encore performance, knowing that there’s no opposition bigger that awaits? I think that makes more sense.
You also have to consider the fact that Mayweather understands the business element of it, in the sense that he can face Khan in a sold out Wembley Stadium, which, if he wins, could only make the Pacquiao fight even bigger on the heels of an international spectacle that only he can pull off at this stage. So, again, I understand Smith’s position, but it does in fact benefit Mayweather to take the Khan fight first if he’s hell-bent on taking it at all. I don’t think the way Mayweather responded to Smith and the others was necessary, but his point makes more business and personal sense than facing Pac now, and trying to end his career with someone like Khan.
At the end of the day, I continue to say that we may not like Mayweather’s antics and many of his personal decisions, but from a business standpoint, there’s very little to criticize. He and his team seem to have a very innate ability to understand what will be most beneficial and how to execute it. I don’t care for a Khan fight, personally, but if he’s gonna do it, it has to be now. That last fight of his contract is too big to be placed next to anyone who’s name recognition doesn’t carry that weight. Many have criticized the Khan option, but how many would if they knew for a fact that Pacquiao would come next? Lets see what happens next. Stay tuned.
Andrei S. (Miami Lakes, FL): What chances do you give Rubio and Walters this weekend at scoring the upsets over GGG and Donaire?
Vivek W. (ESB): I think both fights are solid litmus test for the men involved. While I still don’t totally agree that Rubio is a threat to Golovkin, I do think having over 60 fights with a few top notch fighters in the mix can only help him when the bell rings. Golovkin hasn’t really faced anyone to date that I view to be a world class fighter, and that’s part of my only criticism of him. We’ve attacked names like Chavez Jr., the Klitchcko’s and Canelo for facing less than stellar opposition; yet somehow, we’ve been sold on the notion that Golovkin is different. I like the kid and think he’s good for the sport, but despite Rubio’s tenured resume, he is not on an elite level so nothing changes.
Do I give Rubio a shot at the upset? No. I don’t think Rubio is on Golovkin’s level. Rubio is a 34 year old fighter who has never held up against vicious punchers, as evidenced in his bout with Pavlik. One key element to note is the fact that of his 59 victories, 51 came by way of knockout. Some will look at that and criticize it, in the sense that most of those names were opponents we’ve never heard of back in Mexico. Well, I think the same criticism should exist for Golovkin, who also boast more than 75% KO’s coming against unknown talent. These truths are what I look at when I assess the overall worth of any fighter. Again, he’s a solid talent, but questions exist, and Rubio won’t answer them.
I expect Golovkin to coast to a late stoppage, and I’m somewhat OK with that, but only if Rubio is able to land some shots and test him along the way. I’d really like to see Rubio test him, I’m just unsure that he will. In regards to the Walter/Donaire fight, I really think this fight could be the fight of the night. Donaire has many questions surrounding him, and this is one of those fights that could answer those questions, or perhaps not. Many of us have felt that Donaire has not looked the same since his lost to Rigondeaux and subsequent decision to walk away from Victor Conte. Some would refute such a criticism, but I think it’s very valid, as he has looked marginal at best in the aftermath of both.
The biggest questions in this bout probably surround Walter. He has been the proverbial ‘dark horse’ for quite some time now, with many wondering whether or not he has the ability to win at the top level. He certainly has the power to hurt Donaire, but power doesn’t matter as much when you don’t have the ability to win when you can’t land it. Donaire has never been too hard to hit, but he lands with very good power himself, so the operative question goes from whether or not Donaire can take his power, to whether or not he can handle Donaire’s? Although Walters does present a risk, I personally haven’t seen enough from him to tell me that he can handle that.
In the aftermath of this bout, one man will have positioned himself close to the top of the heap, while the other will walk away searching for answers. A loss for Donaire would inevitably be the beginning of the end. A questionable victory would be no different. If Donaire is able to win this fight and remove all doubt, it’ll be interesting to see if he pursues Rigondeaux to avenge that loss. Again, so many things can come from this bout, but we won’t know until it’s all over. Does Walters have a shot at the upset? It will all depend on where Donaire’s heart truly is. If he’s in it and he comes to win, Walters is in for a long night. If he isn’t, without question, Walters will claim victory. Stay tuned.
Eric L. (Atlanta, GA): I’ve followed this drama between Floyd Mayweather, Steven A. Smith, and Amir Khan, lately. While I don’t care much for Khan or Smith, I think Khan has a point. If you read his interview on FH, what were your thoughts about his position?
Vivek W. (ESB): I think Amir Khan makes a lot of sense. I don’t like the Mayweather vs Khan fight, as I can think of many people that Mayweather could use this second to last bout to face. That being said, I have to respect Khan’s position, in the sense that although he has loss to lesser competition, he has also prove than he can soundly beat the man that Mayweather didn’t quite look himself against. Styles make fights, and that’s what we all have to keep track of. Khan pointed to the fact that even Pacquiao has been floored and unable to move forward. Pacquiao’s stunning KO loss happened more recently than Khan’s. Do we use that to disqualify him for a shot at Mayweather? No.
We as fans and media say “styles make fights” routinely, yet we abandon that angle when it comes to fights we’d rather not see. I have to be honest in admitting that, yes, Khan has never really struggled against a pure boxer. Every last one of his defeats came at the hands of men who had that proverbial ‘eraser’, able to remove critical errors with one thunderous shot that the rendered Khan helpless and unable to move forward. If Mayweather can’t stop him, how does that bout go down the stretch? For the record, I don’t give Khan a strong chance of winning, but if Ortiz and Guerrero got a shot, why not? He does present a more beneficial style than those two men did.
I think sometimes, we as fans and media need to get out of the emotional element of things and look at the reality of it. When I pursue that particular angle, it makes things a bit more clear. There’s nothing about the Khan fight that I like, outside of his speed and length. But if people paid to see Ortiz or Guerrero, people will probably pay to see this, too. The only question for Mayweather, is how does his manage to keep the Cinco de Mayo date from a potential Cotto/Canelo showdown with Khan as his dancing partner? That question alone may prevent Khan from getting the shot he wants. Outside of that, I think he actually has a solid argument for landing this fight.
(Vivek “Vito” Wallace can be heard every Tuesday night on ‘Left-Hook Lounge Radio’ at 9ET/6PT. He can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 954.770.9807, Twitter (@vivekwallace747), Instagram (ViveksView), and Facebook).