'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's mailbag feat. Chambers, Haye, Darchinyan, and Pavlik
This weeks 'Left-Hook Lounge' shines light on the only few topics in a currently lifeless sport that still manage to have a little buzz. The sun is about the only thing hot this summer, as the world of boxing continues to deal with a rather cold timeline. Fortunately, there are a few hardcore fans around the world that had a few topics they wanted to discuss, so today, we put an ear to the streets and lay them on the table to dissect them like few in the industry would. Kicking off the mailbag this week is a question from the city of Angels...Los Angeles, CA:
Article posted on 06.07.2009
Ronnie O. (Los Angeles, CA): With Chambers' victory and performance, how do you view him in the heavyweight landscape?
Vivek W. (ESB): I think Chambers' performance put him right in the thick of things, and for those of us who thought America was now a distant land - (as it relates to heavyweight relativity) - I think Chambers' victory quickly changed that perspective.. I was once pretty critical of Chambers because I - (like many others) - viewed him as a fighter with good skills but limited power. Perhaps I was right at the time, but I'll say one thing....he listened to his critics, he saw his weaknesses, and being a fighter determined to excel at all ethical cost, he went back to the lab, strategized, and came back far more proficient than any of us imagined he would or perhaps even could. He dropped weight and increased not only his speed, but his power and stamina. With the type of talent I witnessed in his ability the other night, this dude should put on the closest pair of sunglasses he can find, because there's definitely a bright future ahead. I think with the speed, defense, and total package of talent I witnessed, he can compete with ANYONE in today's heavyweight era. The Klitschko's are the proven benchmarks, and I think with his style he would be an extremely tough matchup for both men. Dimitrenko is no Klitschko, but he was equal in size. To see Chambers do what he did to him, and do it across the pond on his turf....that was a statement fight, mos def. I look forward to seeing what's next for him. Could this be the road back to American heavyweight relativity? That's a question I want to see answered, and I think he can provide them!
Rob B. (Bronx, NY): I'm a huge fan of Kelly Pavlik and I read your article last week about him where I think you made some valid points. I would like to know, do you think a different trainer in his corner would help his development at all?
Vivek W. (ESB): Well, they say "if it's not broke then don't try to fix it". Problem is, something appears to be broken in the Pavlik camp, but I'm not too sure any of us (or them) can identify what it is. Every fighter will have a nemesis of sorts; or someone who stacks up to them at their best. For Pavlik, perhaps it was Hopkins, but a few of us in the industry never saw that as a good fight for him to begin with. It was a totally different league. Aside from the Hopkins debacle, I don't think there was ever reason to discuss a change in the corner, so despite that lost, I don't know that there is room to now. They seem to have a good chemistry and that's important. One thing that does trouble me is that I've seen some of Pavliks flaws repeated, which means that there is limited progress, or that he simply isn't adjusting. That could be a problem with him or a result of his corner not advising him of the proper adjustments. I'm not close to the camp so I really don't know, but from the outside looking in, I think it's just a matter of them pinpointing a few things that Pavlik continues to do - or should I say not do - (fundamentally), and make those adjustments. If Lowe hasn't identified those things and tried to implement those changes, that's a problem. If he has, and they still aren't being done, that's a bigger problem. Who does the problem lie within? That's my response to the question. Until we find that out, there's no room or reason to really speculate about what needs to be changed.
Thomas V.: I know these fighters are a few pounds apart, but would it not have been interesting if eras were such to see Prince Hamed square off against Vic Darchinyan? Had that fight happened, who would you have liked?
Vivek W. (ESB): I think the styles between the two men would have made this an epic affair. You have two southpaws, both standing roughly 5'4"-5'5", both men being the type of fighters that come to fight; All things remaining equal, this would be a fight that I think many fight fans would have craved for. Relative to who actually wins this showdown, I think Naseem and his 'herky jerky' unorthodox style would have presented many problems for Darchinyan, but at the same time, I think Darchinyan's aggression and power could have kept this a very interesting affair. I would sort of lean towards Naseem, but it's really hard to discount Darchinyan. It's really a fight that I struggle to pinpoint one man over the other. Naseem was the naturally bigger man and the old adage has it that a great big man beats a great small man all day long. I don't know if we can apply such an adage in this case, but all things remaining equal - had both men been relatively the same size - I think I'd go with Naseem in a close one. Post Barrera, I think a determined Darchinyan could have edged Naseem out because after that lost he was never the same in my book. Personally or professionally.
Shawn M. (Dallas, TX): What chances do you give 'Fast' Eddie Chambers against someone like David Haye?
Vivek W. (ESB): I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see that fight. That would be a perfect fight for both men. For Chambers, it would gauge his talent against a young, highly skilled fighter with speed and power like few he's ever faced before. For Haye, it would pin him against a fighter that can not only make him miss, but has the speed and power to also make him pay. These two men technically represent that entry level group in the division. And I don't mean entry level as in beginners....I mean entry level as in that group of fighters who are clearly better than the average, yet haven't quite done enough in the minds of the masses to enter the top tier of the division. Haye has gotten to the gate by way of hype, in the sense that he has yet to prove himself against ANY top 10 heavyweights, yet his skills give him the attention he craves. Chambers on the other hand has slowly evolved and earned his way to the top. I personally think that Haye would be a threat, but based on resume, style, and PROVEN track record against his contemporaries, you'd have to give the slight edge to Chambers. I don't sway with the politics of the sport so the buzz surrounding Haye doesn't quite make me see him as invincible as many do. The guy is great, but all I have at this point to support that is my word - as his supportive actions in the heavyweight division have yet to materialize. Would be a great fight, though. I tip my cap to Chambers in the end, based on the info I have in front of me today, Monday, July 6th, 2009.
Zeraphim F. (Philippines): Can you see boxing to be back in it's glory days? where there is only one champion in every division and the best fights the best?
Vivek W. (ESB): You know, this is a question that every hardcore fight aficionado in the world would love to be answered and as unfortunate as it is, it's one that we'll all continue to want answered, yet never have answered. Or atleast not the way we would like. I continue to speak about the fact that there are far too many things in the sport we love that give us a reason to hate it. I'm not a huge UFC/MMA fan, but I recently took a moment to browse some material in the local bookstore, (Barnes and Nobles), and noticed how well defined their sport has become from a marketing and promotional standpoint. Despite very limited interest, I found myself glued to the magazines based on pure content, outstanding photography, and pure buzz. I've smoked Arturo Fuentes cigars for years and never saw an ad for the company in my life until I picked up that magazine. Their sport has dug pretty deep into a demographic that boxing once held, yet has managed to slip away and it all starts with your very question. One that shines light on the fact that there is no transparency or integrity in the ranks. Sadly, there will never be one champion in every division, and there will never be a reform that leads us back to those glory days. Forget any transportation....for it's a place a bus can't take us! The only road to that reform is by people like you and me who are tired of the nonsense finally speaking up. When we said Mayweather had a legacy to fulfill, he returned. When we said Pacquiao couldn't defeat Hatton, he signed the contract. When we yelled Collazo and Johnson should get rematches against Berto and Dawson long enough, they got the contracts signed. There's strength in numbers....only thing is, right now, there aren't enough numbers speaking loud enough to make that statement. I just created the whisper. Now you can join the crusade and bring a few friends along to create the deafening roar that can't go unheard! Lets make some noise party people!
(Vivek Wallace can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 954-292-7346, Facebook and Myspace).
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