Boxing


'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's mailbag featuring Williams, Hatton, Pacquiao, Berto, Margarito and more!

Manny PacquiaoIn the first installment of the 'Left-Hook Lounge' for the calendar year of 2009 we take a look at some very critical questions ranging through a number of topics around the sport. This weeks mailbag kicks off with a question surrounding two fighters in the sport who could serve as poster boys for the 'high-risk-low-reward' platform. With no one eager to face them, they apparently said "to hell with it" and just decided to face one another. As we move beyond that question, others to make the list delve into the Hatton/Pacman showdown, the Angulo/Mayorga showdown, welterweight stud Andre Berto, as well as the Margarito/Mosley showdown. So with no further ado, we kick it off right here in Sunny South Florida with a question from a fight fan who wanted to know the following:

Philip Martin (Sunny Isles, FL): What are your thoughts on the potential Paul Williams/'Winky' Wright fight being discussed?

Vivek W. (ESB): I think it should be a very interesting fight but there's one major question that I think we all got upon hearing that this match could be made. That question is which 'Winky' Wright will we get? Sounds funny to put it that way because when 'Winky' was active, i fell in that silent minority that felt he was actually a pound-for-pound candidate, but in this case where he's coming off of such a long layoff, how in the world can anyone expect to see the norm? And particularly against a youthful, energetic fighter like Williams whose punch output is just wicked! If we can see the same 'Winky' that showed up against 'Tito' - (yeah, i know, that's a tall order) - then I think this will shape up to be a fight out of this world; but if stamina is even a remote issue, or if age shows up, there won't be a KO in the cards for Williams, but it'll be an easy points win with his punch rate. One other thing I like about this fight is the fact that it pins too guys that I've wanted to see face Pavlik at one point or another, so perhaps if the Abraham/Pavlik fight doesn't fall into place for later this year, who knows? A strong outing may very well put either one of these men in position to make a surge at that 'Ghost'. No predictions from me yet, but I'm definitely interested in the fight.

Patricia S. (Boca Raton, FL): As a much bigger fighter, Oscar De La Hoya wasn't able to do anything with Manny Pacquiao. Do you think Ricky Hatton actually has a chance in that fight?

Vivek W. (ESB): I think Hatton is a very 'live' underdog in this fight for two reasons. Floyd Mayweather Sr. and the rib shack. No, I'm not referring to the latest pub of Hatton's choice to suck down a few brews...I mean the body blows he's gonna deliver that will test Pacquiao in a way that few have. Much like his son, many despise Mayweather because of his mouth, but in all actuality, this guy is a very good strategist. Funny thing is that he hates to be referred to that way, but I personally think he's a better strategist than trainer. Already there are talks about how he plans to nullify Pac-man's jab and so forth, and truthfully, I think if there's anyone in the sport who can exploit the weaknesses of Pacquiao, it's him. Pacquiao has come a long way and you have to consider him a very solid boxer. Initially I was leaning towards Manny Pacquiao but the more I consider the fact that Hatton is no Oscar and he'll be applying pressure to Pacquiao's body more so than anyone else has that I can think of, it makes me really question within myself why is it that people (before now, myself included) are sleeping on Hatton's chances? I can't remember the last time Pacquiao was tested to the body by a fighter as aggressive as Hatton. Hatton was KO'd by Mayweather but most may remember that for a while in that fight Mayweather had his hands full. Manny is a great boxer but will he be able to weather the storm better than Floyd did? I'm not sure I'm ready to say that. You also have to consider that the height and reach stats are more neutral in this fight than it was between Floyd and Hatton. After further review, I think it's a pretty even fight. Slight edge to Manny, but it'll be highly entertaining when it finally goes down.

Mario Sierra (Dallas, TX): Mosley looked old in his last fight and I think facing Margarito - (who is younger and more powerful) - will be biting off more than he can chew. What do you see as the determining factor in that fight?

Vivek W. (ESB): I see the determining factor in this fight being potentially the same as the Hatton/Pacquiao fight. (That trip right back to the old rib shack)! I don't think any of us can question the fact that Mosley is aging, but when you consider the fact that body shots take the most out of a fighter and that's exactly what Margarito is targeting, suddenly the plot thickens. We know that if Cotto couldn't hurt Margarito that Mosley won't, but where it gets interesting is that Mosley will sit in the pocket to land his own shots more than Cotto did, so it sort of makes me wonder if the odds of him being stopped will increase as a result? I don't think Mosley will be stopped, but if those ribs get finger lickin' good, watch out! Margarito is coming to feast.

Reynaldo Gutierrez (Reseda, CA): I think Andre Berto is good but I'm not totally sold on him yet. If it came down to it, do you really think that he could hold his own against someone in the likes Margarito, or Cotto?

Vivek W. (ESB): I think the expectations on Berto have grown quite a bit but the good thing for him is that he's grown with them. There's a gradual progression that we've seen take place, and when you consider his recent resume, I think it's safe to say it's been a rather intelligent route taken by his team. From Estrada, to Forbes, and now to Collazo, each one of those fighters bring a new element for him to conquer. That being said, Maragarito, Cotto, etc, are on a totally different level, and it isn't to say that he can't handle them, but it is to say that he has more work cut out for him before he can really be considered a potential winner in those bouts by the average fan. To his benefit, there are many things he can do to exploit things that those opponents can do, but it's all a matter of confidence building and that type of confidence I've already seen emerging in the young fighter. The opponent that I think would serve as a true test for him that would fit in the gradual scale that DiBella's camp has brought Berto along in would have been Kermit Cintron but due to the fact that they're stablemates, I don't see it happening. Right now, I have my questions about him against some of the guys you mentioned, but if and when it comes down to it, I'm sure he'll make an entertaining affair and whomever that opponent is will definitely have their hands full.

Kerry E. (Covina, CA): I'm a huge fan of Alfredo Angulo. Do you think there's a chance he will be able to KO Ricardo Mayorga?

Vivek W. (ESB): I think this is a very dangerous fight for Angulo. In the previous question I spoke of how Berto has been taken along at a gradual pace that helps him to learn on the fly. We saw the same with Cotto, to the point where most felt he was actually sheltered. With Angulo, I have no problem with wanting to build a guys confidence, but with only 14 fights under his belt I just think standing across from a very unorthodox fighter with a chin and a decent punch as well could be a true recipe for disaster. Trinidad, Oscar, and Mosley (by a hair) were able to get KO victories over Mayorga but I don't know that Angulo is at that maturation point where he will be able to systematically break Mayorga down the same way. I think you also have to factor in the fact that Mayorga is coming off of a lost and now firmly understands that his days in a primetime HBO slot could be soon replaced with basement undercards in Nicaragua or something bananas like that. I think it'll be a great fight but I'm not sold on Angulo knocking him out. As a matter of fact, I think his team took this fight for the sole purpose of making sure he does get a few rounds in against a solid foe. The way I see it, their mission will be accomplished because Mayorga won't be coming to lay down!

(Got questions or feedback? Contact ESB's Vivek Wallace at vivexemail@yahoo.com and 954-292-7346, or show some love at www.myspace.com/anonymouslyinvolved).

Article posted on 05.01.2009



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