The 'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's Weekly Q&A Mailbag Featuring Cintron, Pavlik, Jones Jr., Mayweather, Mosley, and Many More!
In this weeks 'Left-Hook Lounge' segment we take a look at a few rather interesting topics. Making the list this week are a few of our typical suspects in Cotto, Margarito, and Mayweather, but also jumping in on the action was the ever dangerous Kelly Pavlik, as well as Shane Mosley. In another interesting sidebar, one fight fan put me on the spot about some of the best rising prospects in the sport as well. So without hesitation, we take a look at a few questions posed by some of the biggest fight fans on the planet. This weeks mission kicks off near my neck of the woods, in Miami Lakes, Florida....
Article posted on 20.08.2008
Carlos Z. (Miami Lakes, Fl): Dibella and Cintron were pretty vocal about a showdown with Cotto and now there's talk of a tune-up fight first. How do you read into this?
Vivek W. (ESB): I'll start by saying that it doesn't surprise me. As good as Cintron has looked in the ring away from Tony Margarito, it's no secret he'd be facing arguably the best pure boxer he's ever faced in Miguel Cotto. Margarito was very relentless against Cintron, but he was also a standing target. Cotto could be much harder to hit, and in the mind of many, will hit back much harder as well. Overall, Cotto presents a totally different challenge for Cintron and I think he could benefit from getting back in the ring with a fighter good enough to press the action and give him some good work, while building his confidence back up to his pre-Margarito era. He could accomplish all of that in a tune-up against the right opponent. I think a fight with Cotto will be a better fight than the one-sided affair that some are predicting, but with Cintron taking an interim fight, one has to wonder if the showdown will actually take place? Even in defeat, it's pretty safe to say that Cotto is still considered the divisions top contender and the bigger money draw, so it's conceivable that if Cotto wins his next fight and we get a Mosley victory over Mayorga, Shane Mosley and Cotto could very well do a bigger money rematch that would eventually land one of them in the ring against one of the current strap holders, leaving Cintron to do so elsewhere. Few have noted the fact that Cintron was in negotiations to face Paul Williams at one point and that broke down when Cintron was injured against Feliciano. So if Cotto opts to face another champ after his interim bout, and Margarito faces Clottey, we may very well end up seeing Cintron against Williams at some point in the future. Either way it goes though, I think the interim fight notion is the best for Cintron before facing a lion like Cotto.
Reginald Hunter (Charlotte, NC): I was a huge fan of Roy Jones Jr. as a kid and before his retirement I thought Floyd was the best pure boxer. Of the two, who do you think had the better pure skills and talent?
Vivek W. (ESB): I'll start by saying that I'm still a huge fan of both, myself, and I would never want to slight either man, but when analyzing the two of them, I think you have to go with Roy Jones Jr. Floyd was brilliant, and most haven't been able to really appreciate Floyds true greatness because when as he moved up in weight in recent years, he developed a more tactical and defensive style than we saw in his early days against great fighters near his natural weight class, in the likes of the late Diego Corrales (R.I.P.) and others. It's a really tough one to call though, because Floyd, to me, is probably one of the most ring disciplined fighters of all time. Cotto's recent loss to Margarito was a clear indication of how a great pure boxer can lose it all when he lacks the discipline to fight the fight that he knows will give him the win. Floyd was a master at maintaining his own created pace. Larry Merchant once spoke of the fact that no matter what an opponent did, there was no way to get Floyd out of his fight pace. Another great example was in the Judah melee when all hell broke loose in the ring, and despite Floyds corner, Judah's corner, and everyone in between going bananas, Floyd stood in one corner of the ring and never flenched a muscle. When it was over, he walked out of that corner and elevated his mindset to execute his gameplan against Judah - who had been doing very well to this point - and eventually made it a one-sided affair. Roy has more overall talent, but he can be coaxed into an opponents style and it has cost him in the past. But from a pure talent standpoint, Roy Jones Jr. never lied when he asked fans to "name another fighter you've seen throw a 10-punch combination"? This guy once had amazing speed and reflexes, power in both hands, and a certain level of flair and finesse when he employed them. Emanuel Steward said that he thinks Roy Jones Jr. is the best pure boxer he has personally seen in many decades, and I don't think I could reasonably argue with him. Floyd is a hair away, but I have to go with Roy personally.
Eric Brodtman (Gary, IN): I am a huge fan of Kelly Pavlik. I read your piece on him last week, and it gave me a few things to consider. Do you think that a victory over Hopkins will put him in the sports elite class?
Vivek W. (ESB): You know, people have to be careful when they discuss this fight. I open this question with that statement because so many have made such a stink about the fact that Hopkins is past his prime, and is a has-been, but those same people will say that Pavlik is great if he knocks him out. While obviously no longer in his prime, I personally think that Hopkins is still better than a vast majority of boxers out there, and a win over him by Pavlik would answer any questions I have. A knockout would nearly seal the deal in my mind. In 50 plus fights I don't think I've ever seen Hopkins leave the ring with a black eye, or even a bad cut, because it's almost impossible to land flush often enough to do so to him. If Pavlik can pull that off, there'd be no questions asked. Only months ago, this same supposedly old Hopkins lost a narrow split decision to a fighter who is undefeated after more than 40 fights. To me, that says alot. I don't think anyone can question Pavlik with a solid victory in this fight, and it's a very probable possibility. The flipside to that, though, is if Hopkins finds a way to pull this off, you have to really consider where he falls in the list of all time greats. I think that's a bigger question that some are waiting to have answered. Relative to Pavlik and his status among the sports elite, that's a no-brainer if his hand is raised when this one ends.
Fritz Montross (Seattle, WA): I notice that you have done many articles and interviews on boxers who aren't currently household names. Which fighters on the rise impress you the most?
Vivek W. (ESB): With so many fighters around the world that will eventually become champions of tomorrow, I think it's probably unfair to narrow that scope down to only a few, but for the sake of answering the question, I can think of a couple that I think have tremendous upsides. Featherweight Yuriorkis Gamboa of Cuba, currently a fellow Miami resident like myself, is a very credible talent. Great skills, flashy, fast, just very solid overall. Light Middleweight James Kirkland is another. This guy is hands down one of the best prospects I've personally witnessed. A total package. Power in both hands, a southpaw, fast; What more can you look for? Middleweight Peter 'Kid Chocolate' Quillin is another one who's talents have grabbed my attention. In the Light Welterweight division I think Timothy Bradley and Devon Alexander have both showed me some great skills. I could remember standing in an arena after covering a fight and hearing a fan say "that Devon Alexander kid reminds me of Floyd Mayweather". That comparison told me immediately that I wasn't the only one who witnessed potential greatness in the making. Among the fighters I've personally worked with, I would have to say female Featherweight Sandy 'Lil Tyson' Tsagouris, and Rashad Holloway. Both have the skills to pay the bills and from a personal standpoint they're genuinely great people. There are so many others out there to name and I don't wish to slight any of them, but these guys are the ones on my shortlist.
Mark E. (Boca Raton, FL): Do you think Shane Mosley is still a legitimate part of the welterweight mix or has time passed him by?
Vivek W. (ESB): With Oscar De La Hoya preparing for a final fight, and Hopkins preparing for what could be his final fight, it's safe to say that Shane somewhat represents the last leg of the great GBP fighters as we know them. A lot of people get wrapped up in his age (36), but that's the least of my concern when talking about Shane Mosley. Even at his current age I like Mosley against any of the welerweights out there with the exception of Cotto, and potentially Margarito and Williams. Less than a year ago, we saw Mosley go toe to toe with Cotto, and despite the loss, it was actually an entertaining fight. I think someone like Clottey would be a good matchup to gauge his abilities at this point, and his fight with the always 'game' Ricardo Mayorga should be pretty telling. We know with Shane the offense is there, the speed is there, and the heart factor is there. What I think will answer my personal questions is whether or not his defense is there. In the past, Shane has taken too many shots to land a precious few, and it has cost him in some of those fights. If he takes too many shots from Mayorga and shows a sub par defense, that will tell me that indeed in may be time for him to hang it up. People want to look in the ring and see the old Shane and to an extent, you may get some of that, but you do have to be realistic. His best days may indeed be behind him, but that doesn't mean he doesn't still have some good ones ahead. On pure talent and heart alone, Shane would be a tough matchup for nearly anyone in the welterweight division. So to answer the question, sure, Mosley still plays a role in the welterweight mix. More limited than once suggested, but none-the-less, his presence is still felt.
(Got Questions or Feedback?: Contact ESB's Vivek Wallace at vivexemail@yahoocom or show some love at www.myspace.com/anonymouslyinvolved).
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