'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's mailbag feat. Bradley/Campbell, Alexander, Cotto/Pacquiao, and more!
Mario W. (Mayaguez, PR): The Cotto/Pacquiao dilemma is getting old and there seems to be no progress. How do you think this will all play out in the end?
Article posted on 04.08.2009
Vivek W. (ESB): You know, I don't claim to be the sharpest knife on the table, but I am sharp enough to cut through the fat and get down to the meat! I totally respect Arum and his contribution to the sport, but that being said......A week ago I spoke of a gut feeling I had that he announced the fight to the public well before either man's ink hit the contracts for a reason. Lets just say we're now learning what that reason was. Being the smart businessman that he is, it appears Arum thought all the hype and buzz around the sport would make Pacquiao and Cotto conform, but he's now learning the hard way that these guys aren't just fighters in the ring. It's hard to point the finger at either fighter because they have to go to war and they're looking out for their personal best interest. Cotto gave up (what's rumored to be) a near 65%-35% financial split, and wasn't willing to give up that much weight, and potentially a title too.. Pacquiao's plight, on the flipside, is "Hey, you need me more than I need you, so take this, or take that (nothing)"! Both men seem to be holding their ground and like I said, I can't fault them because they're reacting publicly to what was supposed to still be a private matter (negotiating), yet isn't because someone had the bright idea to try to outsmart them and it apparently backfired. What's worst is that Team Pacquiao could have taken Mosley to begin with because unlike Cotto, he came without any high demands, and basically put it all on the line. Why that fight wasn't made? Well, because once again, Arum insisted on doing things his way, by keeping the title chase in-house, and even that plan has backfired. When you think about it, everyone gets what they want in this equation but Pacquiao. Arum gets paid, Cotto got an extension (THAT'S ALREADY SIGNED) without putting his belt on the line, and Pacquiao has a potentially big payday with no one to dance with. So, at the end of the day, I don't know how this will play out, but there's a date scheduled for the MGM Grand and a few of us already have accommodations planned on the west coast. The show must go on! Get 'er done fellas!
Jessie M. (Bronx, NYC): How would you rate Timothy Bradley after witnessing his performance against Nate Campbell?
Vivek W. (ESB): Before the Witter fight, I was criticized heavily for saying that I think Bradley will one day be one of - if not thee - best fighter at 140lbs. To this day, I can't say that I would rescind that statement, because it would be a lie. I didn't predict him to win against Nate because I saw him struggle and look vulnerable against Holt, and I wasn't sure that he could make the adjustments necessary to handle a salty vet like Nate. Granted, his victory over Campbell has an asterisk, but truthfully, all Bradley needs to do is keep evolving. We saw him overcome two knockdowns and win against Holt. We saw him overcome a largely partisan audience across the pond and defeat a slippery Bradley. He didn't go the distance, but we saw him hold his on against a solid veteran. So far, there are all checks and no minuses, and he's slowly climbing the same ladder that we watched Cotto and many other young up and coming warriors climb lately to reach the ultimate stage. I think he's a great guy, he's great for the sport, he has a great attitude, and he's determined. I can't say anything bad about him, and anyone who can is clearly speaking with a biased tongue.
Robert M. (Ontario, CA): Who would you pick in a Bradley/Alexander showdown if it ever came down to it?
Vivek W. (ESB): It's hard to say. Very hard to say. Bradley has proven his mettle and is coming along great. Alexander is less popular on the mainstream, but I've followed this kid for years, and I can remember my first fight seeing him and saying to myself that if he keeps his head right, he could be "the next Floyd". Both men are quality fighters, but Alexander is so fundamentally solid, and clearly his defense is better. Few know it, but this guy was 300-10 as an amateur. That' says a lot about both his ability and his ability to conquer different types of opposition - which equates to experience. Bradley had approximately 140 amateur fights, and he's a little older, but still just as solid in nearly every way. Personally, without watching footage and analyzing, I couldn't call it one way or the other at this point, but Don King now has two men that would openly welcome a showdown with Bradley, and if one man doesn't get him (Campbell), I can guarantee the other gets a stab at it (Alexander). Lets wait and see what happens.
R. Collins (Miami, FL): I was completely disappointed with the entire fight card last Saturday on Showtime. What do you think about the way things turned out?
Vivek W. (ESB): Of all the talk in and around the ring, it was a statement made by a heated Don King that perhaps summed this up best, and those thoughts echo my sentiments to the bitter tip. When Gary Shaw was asked about the possibility of a rematch and he decided to shuffle his feet a little bit, King dropped the crown-jewel statement of the year...(hell, the century, for that matter)...by telling Shaw "THIS IS WHY OUR SPORT IS LOSING FANS TO MMA" Some may not agree with the context in which he delivered the statement, but the fact that boxing held centerstage for the evening on a premiere network, only to see both co-headlining televised matches end up in a stirring controversy was as bad as it gets. We can debate the reason for Campbell's stoppage all day long, but the reality is, it was INDISPUTABLY caused by headbutts and the referee has a clear obligation to protect all fighters, not just a house fighter. Bradley is an outstanding fighter and he may have gone on to win, but for David Mendoza (the ref) to act blind, and lie on a national stage is pathetic. I wouldn't get personal, but one fight fan called me clear cross country to bring up his age and openly pondered "why he was even in the ring officiating that night". Never one to discriminate, even I have to say, to be his age and only have 11 championship bouts under his belt, alone, tells me that he wasn't the quality of referee that you want in a nationally televised headlining title fight. Between his actions and that of Witter, (who just seemed out of it completely), I think it was an awful night. My love for the sport makes it hard for me to comprehend why others don't like it, but when I consider that I came into this event totally pumped, and later learned that the Miami Dolphins recently held a PRACTICE session which literally drew a larger crowd, (despite an outdoor heat index a shade below 100 degrees), I have to be honest in saying that perhaps Campbell isn't the only one with a vision problem, because clearly my addiction has made me blind too! The unnecessary controversy and drama was pathetic for the sport. Yes, this is why we're losing fans to MMA. I just hope like hell that under this new government, the sport of boxing finds a way to qualify for a bailout too!
Alex Z. (London): I saw your recent video presentation for the Campbell/Bradley fight and found it to be pretty different. Can we expect more of that in the future?
Vivek W. (ESB): Absolutely. Writing on any topic is my passion, and connecting with people around the world parallels that passion, so this is just another way to whet the appetite. There are several projects that I'm working on, many which have already been completed, but won't be presented until the appropriate time. I won't drop too many hints now, but I will say this...Future projects to be released will include fight fans around the globe that I meet throughout my travels, mainstream fighters, up and coming prospects, and a ton of other things to add a new flavor to the ESB culture. I fully expect someone out there to take this idea and run with it first, but hey, I don't have to make the 'wheel' to reinvent it and make it my own! For those out there who have genuinely appreciated my work, I'm totally humbled by your support and promise this new venture will be purely consistent with any other effort I've made in the past. Innovation is the portal seed that brings us tomorrow's progress....today. Consider this latest move of mine a chip off that old block! Stay tuned!
(Vivek Wallace can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 954-292-7346, Facebook, Myspace, Youtube (Vivek1251), and www.vivekwallace.com)
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