Left-Hook Lounge Mailbag: Mayweather/Pacquiao, Cotto, Garcia, & Guerrero/Thurman!

Chris H. (Dallas, TX): Reports have spread that Miguel Cotto will be announcing his next opponent in a week or so. What are the odds that Floyd Mayweather has opted to face him instead of Pacquiao at this time? And if not, do you think the Pacquiao fight gets done?

Vivek W. (ESB): All eyes in and around the sport remain locked on Mayweather and Pacquiao. I’ve said from day one that there are more layers to this mess than meets the eye, and as time goes on, we’re reminded of exactly how complex these negotiations are. Years ago, these two men stood to make two incredibly healthy pay checks. Despite Pacquiao being knocked out and on the losing end a few times, the demand for this fight is even greater now than it’s ever been, which may actually have a lot to do with why the fight can’t seem to be made.

When you look at the amount of money involved, it’s a very realistic angle to think that the fight – in some respects – is simply too big to be made. The fighter purses, the networks, the sponsorship; there’s just so much money to be made and so many angles to make it, there are just entirely too many people to satisfy. All that being said, I do expect the fight to be made. There’s been a ton more progress made this time than we’ve ever seen before, and there’s been too much ground covered to quit now.

A favorable sign came into play when Top Rank removed their self imposed deadline. But a not-so-favorable sign came when Mayweather posted a picture of himself and Pacquiao talking, saying that he “tried to make the fight”, but “they will continue to tell the public it’s us” (not trying to make the fight). Personally, I think this move could be interpreted as a preemptive counter to justify a decision to go in a different direction.

This is by no means is an indictment to say he will….but clearly, knowing his reputation to always be a step ahead of the game, I think it set a certain tenor that requires us to watch his next move very closely. Could this be a setup for him to bolt in the direction of Cotto? I would hope not. The level of progress that we’ve seen thus far has never been reached, and will never be reached again. It would be borderline criminal to see him wait for Top Rank to remove their deadline, only to turn around and impose his own.

If he were to side-step the continued negotiation in favor of a Cotto bout simply to keep his Cinco de Mayo date, rather than give the world the fight we want to see, I would have a very big problem with that, and a very big problem with Mayweather. It has taken us more than 5 years to get to this level of negotiations. A failure here would prove both tremendous greed and ignorance on behalf of everyone involved. Inside the ring, I’ve never seen a more skilled fighter, as it relates to execution and total recall. Ever.

A victory in a fight like this gives Mayweather a sure spot at the table of Mount Rushmore talents in that great TBE debate. Pacquiao doesn’t have the same talent, however, he remains one of the most transcendent spirits the fight game has ever seen. Only falling short to Muhammad Ali. We would have loved to see a prime Ali vs a prime Tyson. Or a prime Jordan vs a prime Kobe. In the case of Mayweather and Pacquiao, history finally got it right! They arrived in the same era, only separated by one year of life.

A failure to produce this fight at the end of negotiations will unquestionably taint both legacies, because it would be an epic disaster and a catastrophic mockery of the sport. I have confidence in both men, and I would like to think that they’ll do the right thing for the sport, for the fans, and for one another. Cotto would be a great fight, so lets not act like it won’t. But we’ve seen that before. At this time, there’s only one fight for both men, and anything less fails the test. Everything I’m told points to the fight happening. Stay tuned.

Philadelphia, PA): I’m a huge Danny Garcia fan but lately I’m not as confident. How do you see him doing against Petersen? And how do you think he’ll pan out against some of the young stars he’ll need to conquer?

Vivek W. (ESB): Danny Garcia, to me is one of those talents that stands precisely where he needs to at this time. He’s young, talented, and undefeated. That being said, we have recognize that he has fallen off the wave he found after defeating Matthysse, and will have some major ground to make up moving forward, as many fans around the world see him the same way you do (lost of confidence). Many have blamed Garcia for looking lackluster, and I can’t say that he hasn’t. But there are two things at play that probably led to this.

While no one would publicly admit this, the plans of Al Haymon have been a wheel making forward progress for quite some time. I say that to say this: The Herrera fight was a turbulent moment for Garcia and Haymon, who knew that a decision to come in under-prepared almost cost the both of them the betterment of a working plan (PBC on NBC). After that scary moment, my personal belief is that the goal was set to keep Garcia safe and sound, so that he maintain his negotiating leverage for the NBC showdown once it was sealed.

Fast forward a bit, and here we are on the brink of seeing that plan come to fruition. As famed rapper Rakim once said, “this ain’t a memorex” they’re now “live at concert”! So the time Garcia had to dust himself off and prepare for the elite has come and gone. Garcia will need to be at his very best here, because personally, I think we have to admit that if he’s on his game, Peterson can present a level of difficulty unlike anyone he has faced.

I think Garcia will be fine, but right now, the spot light is on him, and we’re about to find out if he is in fact who we’ve been led to believe he is. Personally, I think the kid’s a stud. But hey….I felt the same about Jeff Lacy at one point. It all changes when you get punched in the mouth! Talk is for the birds, and the birds fly south! If he wants to elevate himself to the next level, he now has the stage. Lets see what he can do with it!

Raelynn N. (Chicago, IL): My husband and I are big Keith Thurman fans and have watched him from his early days when we were Florida residents. What are your thoughts on his chances against Robert Guerrero?

Vivek W. (ESB): Major, major test for Thurman. I love his talent, I love his heart, I love his evolution so far. When I put all that ‘love’ in my back pocket, I see a lot of hate! Every ounce of it coming from a man known to relish in the role of the spoiler. Guerrero is one of those guys who doesn’t get the attention he deserves at times, and when I think of his tenacity, I don’t always know why. He’s one tough S.O.B., and that’s not L-I-E! I think Thurman is about to be introduced to a level he hasn’t seen before.

In his last outing, Thurman saw the reality of a question I asked him directly about 3 years ago. My question for him was basically that the KO’s look great, but “what does he have in the chamber to combat the man with enough experience to out think him, and enough stamina to outlast him”? His response was that although he aims for the KO, he has actual skills to fall back on as well and has no problem using them if that’s what it takes to get the nod.

This fight is a classic example of what my reference was, and his answer is a classic example of what he’ll need to “get the nod”. I don’t doubt that he can get the job done, but one element few seem to talk about when they assess a young talent in the sport is the artful game of ‘execution’. When the lights are bright and the stage is set, can he pull the curtains on a man who’ll make him sweat? That’s what we have in this fight. I like the fight for both men, and think it’ll be a great night of action. That being said, I have a hard time right now seeing Thurman win. But the same doubt hovered over Deontay Wilder against Stiverne. Remember how that turned out? Lets see what happens….

(Vivek “Vito” Wallace can be heard every Tuesday night on “Left-Hook Lounge Radio” at 9ET/6PT. He can also be reached at 754.307.7747, Facebook, Instagram (ViveksView), and Twitter (@lefthooklounge1)