Cedrick H. (Atlanta, GA): Don King recently said that he will consider putting Devon Alexander in the ring with Floyd Mayweather jr. if Alexander wins against Bradley. I know you’ve said that Khan isn’t ready yet, but you’ve talked about Alexander showings glimpses of a “still green” Mayweather (from his early days), so do you think this would be an intriguing match-up with either he or Bradley against Mayweather?
Vivek W. (ESB): Before I address the question itself, I’d like to clarify the statement. In the past I spoke of my first experience seeing Devon Alexander live, and how the speed and certain attributes reminded me of seeing a young Floyd Mayweather jr. before he polished his talent. It wasn’t as much to say that Alexander “is” the next Mayweather, or “will be”, because I don’t think that’s the case at all. What I did mean, however, is that he has a set of attributes that I think, once polished and fine tuned, can make him one of the best in the game, and if he builds confidence in himself and turns his budding confidence into greatness, he won’t have to worry about being the “next” Floyd Mayweather jr., because he could be the “first” Devon Alexander, inspiring young fighters to wanna be the “next”, Devon Alexander….if you follow me!
Now that we’ve covered that, to answer your question, I don’t think it’s cool at this stage to try to say either man should be paired with Floyd Mayweather jr. in a near future bout. Distant future? Certainly. Near future? I’m not feelin’ that idea…..at all! Alexander has shown great promise, but we’ve seen what a fighter with better than average technical skills could do to him when honed in (Kotelnik). Now granted, Alexander will one day make the adjustments to grant him mega fights against the likes of Mayweather or Pacquiao, but now isn’t the time.
Bradley, same scenario. Great fighter, great promise for tomorrow, but today is another day. In my personal opinion, Bradley has more technical flaws than Alexander. If you look at a few of his more recent fights, the great thing is that his resilience which led to him overcoming obstacles and actually winning them demonstrated his huge upside; but the downside is certainly there, in the sense that his looping punches and often-poor footwork leave him open for precision punches and flash knockdowns. Someone like Mayweather would probably stop him. With Pacquiao, there’s no question he would fail to make the distance. A few more fights under their belt and I expect both of these men to reach that level, but the time isn’t now.
Remember, it took Mayweather 40+ fights to become who we see today. It took Pacquiao nearly 60. These two young men barely have 25 under their belts. They’re truly a work in progress, so we need to let them “progress” before we put them in a situation where they will inevitably regress. Just that simple!
Levi N. (Brooklyn, NYC): Timothy Bradley recently stated that he was battling flu like symptoms in an interview. I can’t understand the purpose in going public with a statement like that. How do you read this move?
Vivek W. (ESB): There’s a few ways we can read this admission, but there’s one in particular that will stick. That “one” comes down to what many will say is little short of a built-in excuse. I don’t know Bradley to be this type of person, and I could never ever fathom him entering a fight with a defeatist attitude – at least not against someone short of the big two (Mayweather/Pacquiao). So, this is a bit baffling to me, but never-the-less, perception is reality, and to many fight fans, this is the created perception. It’s simply something that I would never allow my fighter to do. Period!
He has to know that it will be viewed as an excuse, so to go through with actually saying it taints his image leading up to the fight in many ways. I could see if the reporter heard him coughing, or saw him visibly shaken, but to admit this without inquiry really leaves a lot to question. One wildcard is that Bradley is confident of victory and wanted to add an element of intrigue for those who question him, making himself look better in the end (which some fighters have done regarding injury in the past); but this is (I’m sure) wishful thinking. It simply doesn’t make sense. All I’ll say is that I won’t read too much into it, but if Bradley somehow appears timid and/or intimidated, it’s gonna all start to add up, which will ultimately subtract from his performance. Stay tuned.
Jason H. (Las Vegas, NV): I see a lot of fight fans give you slack about your predictions, but I feel you have a very good understanding for the sport and notice you’ve been quietly on a roll over the past few months. What are some of the things that you do to help you make your predictions?
Vivek W. (ESB): This is always a humorous topic to me, because at the end of the day, my record is no better or worse than the next man. I think the “bad predictions” reputation has more to do with who those predictions came against, rather than the predictions themselves. I went out on a limb and predicted Pacquiao would fall short against Hatton and Cotto and those two predictions have apparently been my most memorable in the eyes of the radicals out there, because the fact that I picked him to defeat ODH, Clottey, and others some how never came into play.
I don’t really put too much stock into the words flung my way regarding this matter, because similar to the issues that draw a wedge between Team Pacquiao and myself, (the testing protocol), when you look at all details involved, somehow the truth finds a way to create separation in the end. Always does. The same people that give me flack about my predictions never bring up the fact that I predicted Hopkins would soundly defeat Kelly Pavlik, Margarito over Cotto, and also the uncanny prediction that Clottey would “do enough to get the decision against Cotto, yet not get it in a controversial outcome”. For every “bad decision” some seem to point at, there’s been a very credible one, too; so it’s all taken in stride, but never kept inside! Definitely isn’t something I pay much attention to.
As far as how I go about making predictions? I spend a ton of time watching fight footage. An incredible amount of time. I’ve always been a student of the game, but I’ve become so engulfed in film study that I honestly feel at times like I could literally develop a fight plan strategically for certain fighters out there. Film study is a passion of mine and I often do it very intensely without distraction for hours. One key thing I’ve learned to do is implement a fighters learning curve. By that, I mean I’ll watch a fighter have a rough go at it, then watch him and his technique in the follow-up fight and see how well he adjust by leaving those mistakes in the past.
Some fighters you’ll see do an incredible job, wherein others will revert to those same bad habits the moment the heat is on. When I see a fighter reach the stage where they can’t overcome certain habits, I virtually never predict in favor of them against certain level opponents. Cotto, Pavlik, Judah, Cintron……..all men who I would say now categorically fall in this position. But aside from that, there’s no true design. I simply watch a lot of footage and ask myself which man’s weaknesses could I exploit the most if I was in the opposite corner. I’m not always right when I do this, but it’s based on analysis of the men themselves, so I’ll live with those odds all day every day…..make one prediction, and never think twice!
(Vivek Wallace can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 954-292-7346, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEKWALLACE747), Skype (VITO-BOXING), and Facebook).