Left-Hook Lounge Mailbag: Deontay Wilder, Miguel Cotto, & Saul Alvarez!

By Vivek Wallace - 01/19/2015 - Comments

Jeff H. (Liberty City, FL): Deontay Wilder served me a huge bowl of ‘crow’. I was really impressed with the way he performed and don’t see too many people walking thru his power the way Stiverne did. How did you rate his performance and what would you like to see next for him?

Vivek W. (ESB): For starters, I’d like to say congratulations to Deontay Wilder and Team Wilder on a job well done. What a way to start the new calendar year of Boxing! What I loved most about this fight was that it put the spotlight on a man who said he was “ready” for the next level, as well as the burden of proof which required him to rise to the occasion. What was perceived as “conventional logic” prior to the first bell was a totally different story once the bout was in the books!

“Wilder has no chin”….”Wilder will be lucky to see 6 rounds”….”Did you see the way David Haye and that amateur guy rocked him”? All of these quotes got major buzz throughout the sport from the day the fight was inked, and that doesn’t even take into consideration those who said “he’ll never take the Stiverne fight” to begin with. I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, this victory paralleled the feeling I got the night Miguel Cotto defeated Shane Mosley.

Not that the two were anywhere near the same level in magnitude. But the victory over a solid opponent who some felt he could beat, yet few were sure of how it would happen was definitely present. I thought Wilder showed great poise for a guy on this stage for the first time, great discipline, a Championship caliber jab, and even without the KO, a level of power that few heavyweights can cure over 12 rounds. Overall, I would assess his performance as solid, and definitely credible enough to put him in the upper echelon of a very weak division.

When I look at the fan feedback, honestly, I’m a little confused. I’m hearing things like “all he did was keep the smaller guy at the end of the jab”, and “his stamina isn’t great”. Oddly enough, that’s the collective criticism of Wladimir. When I assess Wilder’s performance and parallel that effort to what we’ve seen from Wladi-K, the only true areas of separation that I see are experience and better precision punching by Wladimir. Outside of those two, I see comparable power, comparable length/reach, and comparable height.

Who wins the skill battle? I’d actually give a slight edge in that department to Wilder. A key indication of this is how Wladimir will clinch and lean to wear down an opponent. Wilder uses his jab to break them down at a distance, and actually implements in-fighting when they try to smother and clinch, which is something I’ve never really seen Wladimir do. Wilder also has keen defensive reflexes to help slip shots. If they fought today, Wladi-K wins. But I’ll be clear: no one today poses a bigger threat. And there’s no fight in the division I’d rather see more.

Alberto N. (Ponce, Puerto Rico): What are your thoughts on the way things suddenly fell off between Miguel Cotto and Saul Alvarez. I don’t understand how this fight was basically done and now it’s off. What specifically happened?

Vivek W. (ESB): I think it’s safe to say that none of us truly know the pure intricacies of what happened, but following the specifics that have been verified, the reality seems pretty clear. Back in December, we heard Canelo and Cotto go public stating that the fight was “done”. We later heard that counter offers were introduced and going “back and forth”. When probed about those “back and forth” proposals, it was revealed that Cotto wasn’t going to concede the location, the date, and the heavier end of the purse.

What’s troubling is that no where during the course of negotiations did Oscar and Canelo seem to alter their vision of taking Cinco de Mayo away from Mayweather. I raise that point for the fact that Cotto seemed very clear from the beginning that he not only wanted the greater majority purse split, but also a Summer blockbuster in NYC for the Puerto Rican festival weekend. While he was said to be be ready to compromise some of those points, my gut feeling is that it wouldn’t be at the expense of sacrificing his eligible worth (purse split), as well.

Based on published reports and confirmed source info, it seems that Cotto wanted the fight just like Canelo, but there seems to also be a realization that this bout may not go as easy as desired. The reaction to that reality is that if there’s gonna be a gamble strong enough to potentially end his career, the fiscal element will have to be commensurate to the risk involved. Similar to Mayweather, Cotto realizes that he holds all the cards, for the most part.

Over zealous media sources like ESPN’s Dan Rafael have followed Goldenboy Promotions lead by saying that Cotto’s refusal to take the deal means there’s a strong likelihood that he and Mayweather will face off. While this could be the eventual plan, both Cotto and Mayweather have been firmly planted in negotiations with Canelo and Pacquiao, respectively. On the Mayweather/Pacquiao front, networks have been hard at work to solidify a deal, and are expected to come to terms no later than the end of the week.

Cotto will seek out the best deal for him at this stage, but it should be duly noted that Oscar and Canelo removed the date from the table; not Cotto based on some imaginary deal with Mayweather. It went from “it’s a done deal”, to “we’ve given him 5 weeks”. The very thing which appears to have killed that fight is their fixation to overpower Cinco de Mayo from Mayweather. Cotto has been viewed as a “diva”, but confirmed reports show that he’s well within his right to stand his ground, here. He knows he probably won’t win the fight. Why not try to win ‘this’ fight?

(Vivek “Vito” Wallace can be reached at 954.770.9807, Twitter (@lefthooklounge1), InstaGram (ViveksView), and Facebook).