'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's mailbag feat. Pacquiao, Cotto, Mayweather/Marquez, Toney and more!
Manuel L. (Los Angeles, CA): I think the Miguel Cotto/Manny Pacquiao fight will shatter every PPV record in the books. Do you think it'll be by a wide margin when the final numbers are counted?
Article posted on 13.09.2009
Vivek W. (ESB): Personally, my thoughts on how well this fight will do in PPV buys is far different from many others out there. The fact that this fight is gonna be the biggest mega fight of the year, and the fact that it's the most anticipated fight of the year has clouded the reality of some hidden, yet obvious truths. The better-than-lethargic-but-less-than-beaming crowds at the recent promotional tour stops have highlighted this notion. I had a fight fan recently point out to me the fact that he can now "totally understand why Floyd Mayweather plays up the whole bad guy image", citing the fact that the buzz around this type of promotional event is far louder when you have an ego like that, as opposed to having two good guys". After wrapping up our conversation, I did a little research through my old notes and to identify his point for him, it showed in the numbers. No question, these (Cotto and Pacquiao) are two of the most intriguing figures in the sport, but individually, neither man has exactly slapped the numbers out of the park - as it relates to PPV buys.. Pacquiao's PPV numbers remind us that it takes more than talent to get the job done. Pacquiao is arguably the most exciting fighter in the sport today, but against Ricky Hatton he put up 840K PPV buys, and against the cash cow of the sport, Oscar De la Hoya, he put up 1.25M. Very solid numbers, but in contrast, against those same guys, the big mouth of the pack (Mayweather) put up 915K (Hatton), and a record 2.4M (De la Hoya). It's unfortunate, but being the bad guy helped his cause for the simple fact that 2M people that hate you is 2M more people that know you enough to invest a certain level of money in you....even if it is to watch your potential demise. It was the same thing with 'Iron' Mike Tyson after a while, and like then, it always works. The most buys I see this PPV card getting would be roughly between 900K and 1.1M. That doesn't mean it won't be a helluva fight, because I'd venture to say it'll present more action than each of those other fights. It just means that your question was about PPV buys, and in this case, I just don't see this fight doing better than 1.1M PPV buys considering the fact that Pacquiao barely surpassed that same figure against a cash cow like Oscar.
John E. (Miami Lakes, FL): I like Marquez against Mayweather but I've noticed that you seem to be leaning to Mayweather. I would like to know if Marquez nearly beat Pacquiao twice, how do you think Mayweather will defeat him?
Vivek W. (ESB): I think there are a few things you have to take into consideration here, and to repeat a point I continue to make, if Mayweather is at the top of his game, this fight could very well show people what the biggest fundamental difference between he and Manny Pacquiao really is. Paquiao is great, but he can be hit. As a matter of fact, fairly easily sometimes. And that has a lot to do with the fact that Paquiao is an offensive fighter who uses defense only when an opponent is charging. Mayweather, on the other hand, fights from a defensive posture at all times, and only uses offense when the opportunities are there. Key words....ONLY WHEN THE OPPORTUNITIES ARE THERE. Write that down and watch how relevant it is throughout the entire fight come Saturday night. Floyd makes people miss, and he knows how to make them pay at the precise moment in which he should. Oscar De la Hoya threw 106 more punches, yet Floyd landed 85 more. Judah (who usually has a very decent connect rate) threw 40 more punches, yet Mayweather outlanded him by 106 more. I can go on and on with those stats because it's been that way every fight in his past, but few people take note of it because he doesn't frequently get the KO. (Do you really have to when you're outlanding someone that badly?) The reality here is that I like Marquez to have his moments, but a victory is a tall order against someone like Floyd. Remember, Juan Diaz (whom we can all agree has NEVER been a fundamentally sound boxer) was actually up on the cards past the 8th round of his fight against Marquez, and w/out the late KO, he would have conceivably defeated Marquez. If Diaz had that type of success with Marquez, there's no question someone like Mayweather can.
Sean W. (Long Beach, CA): I'm a huge James Toney fan and I think in today's weak heavyweight division if he got himself together he could still make some noise. Do you think he would have a chance today?
Vivek W. (ESB): Quick clarification...I wouldn't view today's heavyweight division as being too "weak" with the recent emergence of guys like Chambers, Arreola, and others - not to mention the dominance of the Klitschko brothers. But that being said, I think James Toney is one of those guys that totally distorts the whole mythical P4P chitter-chatter. He isn't the flashiest, he isn't the most powerful, but aside from Hopkins and Mayweather, there's no one in the sport to this day that embodies that whole throwback, total package type swagga. Those who have followed him can attest to watching an out of shape Toney totally dismantle men with his mind alone. He's mental, and boxing is a thinking man's game. Him entering the ring at an amazingly low 217lbs I think is a direct testament to how serious he is about his fighting chance, even if no one else is. If he remains committed and brings the game we once saw him use to pick guys apart, I don't think anyone with a brain can conclude that he has no chance. Now, it's gonna take some strategical planning as well, like that we see with Hopkins and some of the other elderstatesmen of the game. I hope he doesn't plan to try to run through any and everyone because he doesn't have that type of time at age 44. But if he can win a few impressive fights against some solid contenders, I think for a fact that he could land in the ring for a title against one of these guys and even get the nod. I know everyone doesn't quite feel the same, but let me go on record loudly and say I'll be highly interested and watching his every move until the man hangs 'em up for good. Yes, I'm a fan! And yes, he has a chance!
Ron L. (Washington, DC): There's so much argument about the difference in size between Cotto and Pacquiao, but in seeing them physically, there doesn't seem to be much of a difference. Do you think the size issue is as big as many make it out to be?
Vivek W. (ESB): It's hard to say no, but I think it's even harder to say yes. Anyone who has ever stood next to or even got close to Manny Pacquiao knows that he isn't consistently as small as many believe. He's done some moderate training lately, and right now he's walking around (by his own admission) in the 150lb range. You compare Pacquiao to someone like Ivan Calderon, and quickly, you see the difference in a naturally small man, and a man who can make himself small but isn't quite naturally small. Just as we see Paul Williams scale from 147lbs to 160lbs plus, Pacquiao has a very interesting dynamic behind his frame and genetics that allow him to tap into his strength whether he's bigger or smaller. Manny Pacquiao has a set of calves like Bo Jackson! As a matter of fact, when you look at the tale of the tape between he and Cotto, Pacquiao actually has the size advantage in a few areas, and those which he doesn't, he comes within an inch or less away, with the exception of the waistline (which means nothing). The guy has been in the ring for fourteen years, and over the course of that time, his body has evolved like any other man. While I do think Pacquiao is smaller than most, I don't subscribe to the theory that he's this life-time flyweight who just happens to be able to bulk up when he needs to. Ivan Calderon couldn't walk around at 150lbs if his life depended on it, simply for the fact that he truly is a naturally smaller man. Think of it this way....Pacquiao has entered the ring on fight night in the high 140's quite a few times before in his career (147lbs on fight night unofficially against Diaz, and presumably higher against ODH). If he went through a rigorous 8-week training camp and hydrated himself back to a weight that high within 24hrs, either he drank an entire pool before the fight, or this "smaller man" thing is not quite true; because there's no way that you can do all that calorie burning road work, running and sparring for 8 weeks and still end up at 147lbs on fight night if your walk around weight is only 150lbs. (Should we really believe that he only lost 3 pounds after an entire fight camp...c'mon!) It makes for a good story, but truthfully, Pacquiao isn't much smaller than these guys. I love Freddie Roach as a person, but in his own words, "the lower we get him to go, (Cotto - in weight), the better!" This weight thing is just another strategical angle to gain an advantage and their best odds were at 141/142lbs, because anything over that and basically Cotto will be in the middle of a typical fight camp. Nothing more! Which means the 'smaller' man could very well come up short in the end.
Jay S. (Coral Gables, FL): All things remaining equal, a prime George Foreman and a prime Mike Tyson; who wins?
Vivek W. (ESB): I have absolutely no idea! (Smiles). George was just such a beast, but "Iron" Mike had brute strength as well. It's a tough one to call. Mike with the bobbing-and-weaving, the strong chin, his explosiveness....he had a helluva lot of attributes to deal with, but Foreman had power too. One thing I know for sure, the fight would have gone the distance, because both men were very tough in their primes. Mike had a better defense (In my observation) so had he made Foreman miss and capitalize with some of those vicious combinations, things could have gotten awfully interesting over the course of the fight. Truthfully, that's one I really can't call. I could see either man getting the job done, but my gut feeling leans towards Mike on points. Power is almost equal, but Mike's speed would have been an X-Factor.
(Vivek Wallace can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEK747), Facebook and Myspace)
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