Boxing


The 'Left-Hook Louge': Vivek Wallace's Weekly Q&A Mailbag, Featuring Oscar, Cotto, Pacquiao, Hopkins, Mayweather And More!

Bernard HopkinsThis weeks 'Left-Hook Lounge' segment takes us back into familiar territory as questions about the ongoing negotiations between Oscar Dela Hoya and Manny Pacquiao resurfaced. Aside from that, the Pavlik/Hopkins fight that's supposedly one of little interest has earned a spot in the session as well. Rounding out the mailbag is talk about the potential Miguel Cotto and Kermit Cintron showdown, as well as a curious 'Money' Mayweather sighting. So with no further ado, we take the 'Lounge' down to Orlando, Florida where a fight fan wanted to know......

Pedro S. (Orlando, Fl): Based on media reports the Dela Hoya/Pacquiao fight still seems up in the air. Do you think it will actually happen?

Vivek W. (ESB): Personally Pedro, I think there's a huge contingent around the fight world that would rather this fight not happen. According to more recent reports, it appears that the purse size is still the only major point of contention between both parties. Oscar De La Hoya is a bigger name, however, Pacquiao is nearly (if not) just as big as Mayweather was - (on a global name recognition scale) - he's in the process of doing something potentially more grand - considering the large jump in weight - and he's conceded to many other request from the GBP camp to add on top of the 4 inch height and 6 inch weight advantages; If Oscar De La Hoya and his people were in this for the right reason and truly wanted to be 'fair' in their negotiations process, they would throw in a wrinkle where the larger portion of the agreed upon purse split is awarded to the winner. Be it 70-30, 60-40, or whatever. But when you consider the fact that Oscar and his camp are not willing to budge much more than they have (which is now reportedly somewhere around the 65-35 range), I think that move just puts a very uneasy feeling in the stomach of fight fans who already seem to know what's really going on. This is nothing new. Mayweather was the champ, yet he had to concede the smaller ring, the smaller purse, a non-preferred glove type, you name it. He overcame those odds, still won, and couldn't get the bigger purse in a rematch. Same thing in the case of 'Tito' Trinidad. Giving up as much as Pacquiao is in this fight, I would lay down my ground rules then simply move on. He's a global phenom in and outside of the ring and he's gonna make this money in one place or another. With Mayweather, Tito, and possibly Pacquiao drawing their line in the sand, soon, Oscar won't have a choice but to concede a few notches. Imagine that.

Roxi Gonzalez (Miami Lakes, Fl): Kermit Cintron is being discussed as a possible opponent to Miguel Cotto. Who do you like in that fight?

Vivek W. (ESB): This fight is one that I'm not so sure will go the way most plan. On paper it looks like a Cotto fight all day long, but we've all learned in life at some point or another that paper burns! I think that Cotto has the tools to eventually wear down and potentially stop Cintron, but I don't think most of those that see this as a Cotto-win truly see all the dynamics involved. Granted, both men lost to Margarito, and Cotto lasted longer between the two, but the underlying fact is that Cintron is a much bigger puncher than Margarito, and that may not bode too well for Cotto. Cotto is great, but he doesn't possess Margarito's chin to walk through those punches all night. The flip side is that Cintron may not be able to handle Cotto's body work, but you have to account for the fact that once again, Cotto has to find a way inside and when you land as hard as Cintron does, that's some stiff 'security' to slip past. Initially, I liked Cotto in this fight, but when I analyze closer and think of the height advantage (4 inches), and the reach advantage (7 inches), Cintron is actually at a stronger advantage than Margarito was over Cotto. You couple that with the power and it gets kinda scary. The one 'wildcard' here is the fact that Cintron is like a taller, more powerful version of Zab Judah, in the sense that mentally, he doesn't always hold up when the storm comes. That's Cotto's best shot because if Cintron comes to play ball, Cotto could very well end up on the losing end again. Guess we'll have to wait and see.

Enrique Minto (West Covina, CA): If the Pacquiao/Dela Hoya fight falls through, is there any chance that we could see Oscar face Cotto?

Vivek W. (ESB): I stated before the Margarito/Cotto fight, after the fight, and I'll state once again; Cotto is a fight that Oscar feels comfy taking, for whatever reason. The more we see the Pacquiao fight negotiations break down, the more probable I think this fight is. What else is there out there for Oscar? Cotto has made it clear that he wants to fight again this year. And besides, Oscar never said no to fighting him, it appeared more like the GBP crew bowed down after seeing him take such a devastating loss, under the false notion that Cotto would take the rest of the year off. This fight works for everyone involved. Oscar can fight at the higher (and much desired) weight, Cotto would stand to make the largest purse of his career, Arum could safely stash Pacquiao away, letting him get in a defense while also buying them some time to set up the eventual fight with Hatton that they want, and the rest is history. For Cotto, this would be a great fight to take because despite the madd chase for the money bags, Oscar clearly comes to fight, even if it is only for 6 to 7 rounds lately. That would give Cotto a decent measure to gauge his mindset, and it would also be the biggest name, on the biggest stage of his career, which helps him overcome his humbling lost to Margarito easier. If the Pacquiao fight breaks down and is non-repairable, this will be the fight to take it's place.

Reggie Meadows (Philly, Pa): Bernard Hopkins has been less vocal in the buildup to his fight with Pavlik. Should we view this as a sign of fear?

Vivek W. (ESB): First and foremost, I find it difficult to fathom that anyone, ANYONE, could sense any remote type of fear within Bernard Hopkins. If anything, he feels a need to do some miniature damage control after he stepped out on a limb and fell to uncharacteristically low levels before the Calzaghe fight in proclaiming that he "would never lose to a white boy". This time around, we're basically seeing the calm before the storm. I won't get into predicting this fight, but in a fight where the younger guy is clearly the favor, I have an odd gut feeling that there's something about this matchup that has Hopkins licking his chops. Most seem to be taking note of what Hopkins is not saying, but it's the few subtle things that he is saying that has my attention. Recently he reported that "in his near 60 fights, he's never been cut". He followed that up by stating that "he has 43 year old legs, he never tried using them to run in the ring when he was younger, and he won't start now". Taking it a step further, he ended by saying "Pavlik leans over an opponent trying to land that big right hand, but he isn't too mobile either". Listening to the way those words were assembled, I think it's clear what's about to take place here. Or atleast what Hopkins is about to try to make take place. Against Tarver, (who had previously been two weight divisions and 15 pounds heavier than Hopkins), we saw Hopkins come in far more aggressive than we ever have. Against Trinidad, who was similar to Pavlik, he did the same thing. Calzaghe was a different fighter and a naturally bigger one, so I don't think this strategy was employed. Pavlik didn't appear to have the same pop against Taylor at 166 lbs, and facing a man who is naturally bigger, despite his age, I think there could be a few lessons learned for him by the nights end. It should be a good one. But to answer your question, fear is the last thing on the mind of any guy who calls himself an "Executioner". Trust me on that one.

Shawn Morris (Chicago, IL): Are there any truths to the rumors that Floyd Mayweather Jr. is secretly training for a fight?

Vivek W. (ESB): Pardon me for being blunt here, but if he was secretly training and we happen to know about it, it's probably not much of a secret anymore now is it? Trust me, if Floyd was spotted working out, considering his homes living space and his other outlets, you can best believe that he meant for you or those sources to see him. By all accounts in my realm, Floyd is doing what any dedicated athlete does...Which is sticking to the conditioning and training regimen that he's always used. The day I hear that he's running hills, and doing multiple workout sessions in one day, then I'll think there's more to it. But to see him in a gym once or twice I would easily dismiss as typical conditioning. Normal people like you and I may go without working out a few days, but when it's genetically embedded, a day probably isn't a day without working up a good sweat by hitting the pavement or the treadmill. Some out there may say that this is a hint that the De La Hoya fight with Floyd is being slowly rekindled, but as great as Mayweather is and as much as I adore him, if he's not training to face Margarito, I don't think many would care to see him back in the ring. So don't pull your 'Money' Mayweather shirt out too fast their poncho! The money-man is probably laughing at this mere discussion right now, chillaxin' in his silk pajamas, wondering what the fight media will come up with next.

(Got Questions Or Feedback? Contact ESB's Vivek Wallace at vivexemail@yahoo.com, 954-857-6858, or show some love at www.myspace.com/anonymouslyinvolved)

Article posted on 13.08.2008



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