Boxing


The 'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's Weekly Mailbag Featuring Guzman, Campbell, Marquez, Haye, Jones jr, and Mayweather!

Joe CasamayorThis weeks 'Left-Hook Lounge' takes us on another journey around the sport of boxing as we break down fan questions on everything from the Guzman/Campbell debacle, to the suddenly quiet David Haye, as well as various other topics. With so much going on in the sport there's never a dull moment, and what better way to survey the landscape than connecting with fight fans around the globe? I can't think of one, so that being said, we open it up for another session with the best fans in the world, kicking off right here in my neck of the woods.....Miami, Florida.......

Cedric T. (Miami, Fl): What are your thoughts on the fallout of the Guzman/Campbell fight and the recent apology of Joan Guzman?

Vivek W. (ESB): I think what Guzman did highlights and deeply underlines the problem with not only the sport of boxing, but a certain percentage of today's athletes in general. It goes right back to that old 'silk pajamas' theory. Many of today's athletes want the rainbow without the rain. They want the notoriety and the money, but they don't want to hold up their end of the bargain by pouring out the blood, sweat, and tears required to maintain those things. What's unfortunate is that it takes years of dedication to build a stellar reputation, and one dumb decision to tear it down in a hot second. I've gotten tons of email from fight fans out there who are all totally disgusted by what happened and it sucks because Guzman is actually a very likable dude. Relative to his apology, the one thing that I looked for was absent, and that was HOW and WHEN he plans to give fight fans the fight they expected to see. Based on the absence of that passage, I think it has to be taken for what it was - which was a damage control mission. One that did very little to pay back the lost money to the local fans, one that did very little to repay the lost time Campbell spent away from his new wife and family, and one that did very little to take back the fact that some avid fight fan turned down a classy young lady to be home for a fight that never happened. (This one resonates on a personal level - hope she's reading - Hahaha)! Bottomline, this is an undefeated fighter with a huge upside so to even consider the notion of him being ill-prepared for arguably the biggest stage in his career is pretty telling. After all, this is a guy trained and crafted by the same man who laid the blueprint for Floyd Mayweather Jr., and we all know the work ethic he bares. How in the hell did unpreparedness ever even become a possibility? I have no idea. Frankly, there is no way for Guzman to take this one back, but time heals all wounds. Try asking me this question some time next year.

Terry F. (Greensboro, NC): What do you think of the waffling going on with David Haye and the hesitation to identify his first heavyweight opponent?

Vivek W. (ESB): I think that many fight fans - apparently yourself included - are getting a bit disturbed by the fact that we've seen more talk than action so far from Haye. I've never had an issue with fighters mouthing off because basically it's promotion and marketing and some of them try to back it up, but in this case I just think that he's a clear cut example of why it's best to do that talking leading up to a fight, not when you're trying to figure out who you're gonna fight. Maybe the constant talk was Haye's way of keeping his name fresh in our minds, but he and his camp have come out with at least two names (Rahman and Johnson) that were being targeted publicly and not only is neither deal done, but if talks have gotten close with another fighter, they sure as hell haven't been as open to the public to let that be known so there are genuine mixed signals in that sense. Some have quietly speculated that Johnson's recent victory gave team Haye a few things to think about, and based on the way the dialogue suddenly evaporated, I can't say I totally disagree. What I find fascinating about this whole thing is that Haye made no secret that he wanted to come north in weight to face Klitschko, and in my mind he has a great chance to win that fight, but the path he has to travel to get that shot seems to be filled with a ton of fighters that many believe he may not get beyond. James Toney is aged and slower, yet many think in the latter days of his career he would still be too crafty for Haye. Eddie Chambers isn't nearly as powerful, but many think he would outclass Haye. Arreola and Johnson fall in that discussion as well. Is it me, or is the once not-so-deep heavyweight division starting to beef up at the right time? I think that's great for the sport, and what's even more compelling is that it forces fighters like Haye who want to clean out the division to get a little dirty in the process. All I can say is that I hope he's truly up for the challenge. If so, let the games begin!

Rolando Lantigua (North Miami Beach, Fl): Marquez's performance against Casamayor spoke volumes. Why are so many fight fans blind when it comes to the true greatness of Juan Manuel Marquez?

Vivek W. (ESB): I think that's a very good question. One that I can't answer directly because like many of those fans, categorically, I fall in that same boat. Most won't admit, but I'm an open and honest guy; I've always watched him, I've always liked him, but it wasn't until recently that I acknowledged and totally understood how great this dude really is. It's fighters like Marquez that led me to say that there's very little honor in the whole mythical pound for pound status now days, simply because it seems to be more 'star power' driven than talent driven. (Which is why I don't support the conversation in general much anymore). The only reason Marquez has never been in the P4P argument is because he (just like Ivan Calderon) didn't have the drawing power. Two fights against Pacquaio later, and everyone has him in their radars and on their list. Truth is, this guy has been doing what we see now for quite some time, we just hadn't collectively opened up to him. Everything in this era is marketing and promotions and he doesn't do too well in either area. He's multi-talented and that's all I can look for in a boxer. Anyone who sees it that way couldn't possibly leave him off of the top performers list. The guy is talented and blind is the right word to use because you would have to be exactly that to miss his greatness.

Mario E. (Bronx, NY): Roy Jones Jr. and Floyd Mayweather Jr. are arguably the most talented fighters in the past 15 years. What separates the two from a talent standpoint and who do you give the edge in "best boxer" category?

Vivek W. (ESB): Although both are considered very great, technically, they're two very different fighters who offer similar parallels in speed and reflexes. Aside from those two things, I think Mayweather is one of the most mentally gifted fighters the sport has ever seen. Jones jr. on the other hand I find to be more physically talented. He had power in both hands, and those 10 punch combinations were pretty wicked. Mayweather certainly had better defensive skills, while Roy Jones jr. relied more on his reflexes. It's hard to judge between the two because Roy Jones jr. has fought in a stage of his career that we haven't seen Floyd in. Could Floyd avoid KO's in a higher weight division later in his career? There are so many hypotheticals and variables that come to mind which makes it very hard to really answer such a question. Even at his older age, I think Roy Jones jr. is still a helluva fighter, which takes me back to that same old P4P conversation. I hate to even bring it up because no one in their right mind can tell me it's not somewhat driven by star power now days. Think about this.....Calzaghe is somewhere in the top 3 on every list in the world....Jones is no longer listed....Yet we can all agree that Jones was/is the more talented fighter. That being said, if Jones (the unranked fighter on the P4P list) somehow defeats Calzaghe (the top 3 consensus P4P fighter on everyones list), what does that say for the list of those who deny that star power actually plays a role in this conversation when you consider that he [Jones] was always viewed on a grandscale as the more talented of the two? That's a rhetorical question so don't answer it, just ponder it. Bottomline, the man is easily the most talented fighter of this era, and as great as Mayweather is, I just think aside from defense and MAYBE in-fight adjustments, categorically, you have to go with Jones from every other angle.

Patrick Cherry (Cerritos, Ca): How do you see Casamayor rebounding after the loss to Marquez?

Vivek W. (ESB): I think Casamayor will be fine. He has a ton of heart and even as he gets older, he's still more talented than a great majority of the lightweights out there, so I think he'll rebound. What he'll need to do is get back in the ring as soon as possible and get his first career KO out of his mind. That can be a very humbling way to lose and it makes rebounding that much harder, but after another fight or two, I think he'll be ready to step back in with the best of them. I think that fight showed us more about Marquez than it did about Casamayor. Casamayor is a great fighter, he just lost to a better man, like many others. My parting thought on this matter, it's no coincidence why some feel Marquez defeated Pacman once, maybe even twice! Think about it.

(Got Questions Or Feedback?): Contact ESB's Vivek Wallace at vivexemail@yahoo.com, 954-292-7346, follow his work at www.examiner.com, or show him some love at www.myspace.com/anonymouslyinvolved).

Article posted on 17.09.2008



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