Boxing


The Left Hook Lounge: Boxing Q&A's With ESB's Vivek Wallace

paul williams06.02.08 - By Vivek Wallace: Being a boxing scribe for many years I've had the opportunity to connect with some of the best boxing fans on the planet. On a daily basis I receive questions and feedback from readers so rather than answering them one by one, today I kick off a weekly feature entitled "The Left-Hook Lounge", where I address these questions for everyone since most fight fans often wonder about the same things. Each week I'll take the five most intriguing questions and respond, while you, the reader get to chime in as well.

So, with no further ado, ladies and gents, here we go.....

Tim (NYC): What chance do you give Carlos Quintana against Paul Williams?

VW: I think Quintana is an above average fighter, and has a style about him that would give some fighters fits. That being said, relative to his chances of defeating Paul Williams, I would say in a very speedy fashion that his issues with Paul would mirror those of every other welter in the division. I wouldn't say that Williams is unbeatable, but overcoming a bizarre work rate, an incredible reach advantage, and a chin sturdy enough to withstand a night with Antonio Margarito would come at a Hall-of-Fame type premium. It'll take someone with brute strength or Mayweather-esque defensive talents to over come these intangibles, and even then it's not a lock. I give Mayweather and Cotto the only true shots at making for an interesting night in the ring with Williams. No one else in the division do I see slowing down this train. Bar None.

Jose (Los Angeles): What do you think about Mayweather fighting Dela Hoya again?

VW: Well, there's the media perspective, and there's the fan perspective. The fan perspective in me says there ought to be a law. A law that requires fighters like Mayweather who owns a few straps to defend them against the best competition available, not the biggest payday available. No one loves and appreciates Mayweathers talents like I do, but when they fought the first time, ODH threw 96 more punches and still landed 76 fewer. I never saw the fight being as close as some had it. Aggression doesn't win fights, points based on connected shots do. I think Mayweather should be forced to fight Cotto if anyone. Now, that being said, the media perspective in me understands the fact that this is a sports business, and as we all know, every sport is a form of entertainment and every business looks to generate 'benjamins'. When the guy at the focal point in this equation - (ODH) - is the guy manipulating the strings, and one of the guys in the ring, at the end of the day it can only mean green. As in mo' money mo' money. This fight will be bigger than the previous which was off the charts. How can the boxing public not tune in when you have a fighter looking to take a man out of this world who's trainer bought him into it? This is reality television at it's best. We can talk down on this fight all day long, but the reality is that when the time comes, we're all gonna drop that $50 spot in the bucket one more time. If you're tired of feeling dooped like the rest of us fight junkies, just ask your wife to hide the cable bill to avoid seeing it and having that same inevitable "Damn, they got me again" feeling.

Martin (Atlanta): What are your thoughts on the Mosley/Judah talks?

VW: I would like to see the fight but at the end of the day, I think this is just one of those fights where both guys are on the outside looking in, and simply trying to re-generate interest in themselves so that they can try to enter the great 'welter' sweepstakes. Sad thing is, both of these guys are great fighters, but when the final bell rings on this night, one of them will be banished from true relativity in the sport forever. Neither man can afford to have an off night. Another Mosley loss would signal the end, and another lackluster night from Judah would solidify him as a fighter who just never really made it over that hump. I'll watch it because I totally respect these guys, but it'll take some major fireworks to earn the respect of fight fans again.

Alex (Raleigh): Who do you like in the Pavlik/Taylor fight?

VW: Despite the slight change in weight and the change of trainers, I'm in that silent majority that probably feels like Taylor just doesn't have what it takes to defeat Pavlik. Don't get me wrong, Taylor is one helluva fighter, but Pavlik's power and work rate I think is just too much for Taylor to overcome as the fight wears on. The only way Taylor wins this fight is if he executes a defensive gameplan that employs alot of head movement, and an offensive gameplan that employs a steady dose of jabs. If he can't land his shot and avoid Pavliks, the round may change, but the end I see the same.

Nova (Manchester): I see Hopkins losing on points to Calzaghe. Would you agree?

VW: I think this fight is intriguing on many fronts. Your opinion would be the most widely accepted when you consider Calzaghe's work rate in comparison to Hopkins, but few fighters rival the ring brilliance of the "Executioner". I've always seen Winky Wright as a top pound for pound fighter without the reputation to back it because no one in recent years has been able to de-scramble his style and defense. Bernard Hopkins became the first man I know of to totally diffuse the Winky bomb. If he found a way to get to a guy like Winky, and has taken the powershots of much stronger fighters, that tells me that despite Calzaghe's decent strength, he may not be able to keep Hopkins off of him. If Hopkins comes in aggressive like he did against the lanky Tarver and takes an aggressive fight to Calzaghe, fighth fans may see for the first time a fight where Calzaghe retreats more than normal. I won't go out on a limb and say that this WILL happen, but I know that Hopkins has a style that spoils any boxers style, and if he can get JC anxious and out of his normal fight mindset, anything is possible. After all, even with the huge British following, this will be Calzaghe's first fight on American soil. That in and of itself has defeated many men.

Earl (Miami): What did you think of Roy Jones' win over Tito?

VW: I recently listened to an interview with Buddy McGirt where he talked about Roy Jones Jr. and after considering his thoughts and witnessing Roy's masterful performance at the Madison Square Garden, there's no way I would discount him. I continue to remind people that although RJJ is 18-4 with only 9KO's above 171 lbs, he's a solid 34-0, with 29KO's when fighting under that weight. That tells me that if he can keep his weight down and maintain his speed and reflexes like we saw a few weeks ago against Trinidad, there's probably no man in that weight range that could do a thing with him. This guy is easily the most talented fighter of this era. Mayweather is masterful but he doesn't possess that power in both hands, or the ability to rip those 5, 6, 7 punch combinations. If he does, he hasn't done it nearly as often and effortlessly. I like Roy at his current weight and if he stays there, in my humble opinion he may very well grab every strap in sight. I could be wrong, but whomever his next opponent is will have to accomplish a feat that has never been done before. Which is defeat RJJ at his current weight. Bottom line, Roy's best days may be behind him, but you're crazy if you think he doesn't have any good days ahead.

(Got Questions/Feedback?: Write ESB's Vivek Wallace at vivexemail@yahoo.com or show some love at www.myspace.com/anonymouslyinvolved)

Article posted on 07.02.2008



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