'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's mailbag feat. Pacquiao, Mayweather/Mosley, Margarito, Herschel Walker
Ronald D. (Atlanta, GA): If both Pacquiao and Mayweather win their pending showdowns, who do you think would be the bona fide P4P king of the sport?
Article posted on 02.02.2010
Vivek W. (ESB): Many who have followed my work over the years knows full well that I've never been a huge fan of the whole mythical P4P convo because personally, I think it's all in the eyes and minds of the beholder these days. The term P4P as initially designed when used to describe the great 'Sugar' Ray Robinson was a term that explained the greatness of a boxer whose PURE TEXT BOOK FUNDAMENTAL TALENTS would be able to transcend any era in time, regardless of weight, size, or otherwise. In this modern era, the term has been modified to include items such as resume (or wars encountered), guts, and all of this other machismo stuff. While I do think that resume (wars encountered) help us to measure certain aspects of a fighter, I personally subscribe to the old-school text book definition of the term. That being said, someone like a Robinson, Willie Pep, or a Floyd Mayweather jr. would always stack higher on my personal list in their respective era's. To many, the art of war is far more important, and I respect that vision greatly, but while it's a blast to watch, truthfully, how much skill does it really take? If anything, that kinda fight is all guts and durability, which, if we used as the measure of principle, a true P4P list would look more like Glen Johnson, Margarito, and Pavlik, than Robinson, Pep, or James Toney..
People want to see some tough-guy stuff now days which speaks greatly for the growing passion for MMA/UFC. To those that feel that way, I can't knock your vision, but you have to also respectfully realize that in boxing, execution of the sweet science can often outplay that rugged nature, allowing a fighter to win, even with a certain element of finesse based on crystallized pure fundamentals. There is no finesse in MMA/UFC. It's blood and guts. That's what separates a pure fundamental boxer from that rugged nature found in boxing brawlers or MMA/UFC contenders. So, that's the difference in what I personally look for and what others seem to like. I like someone who may not be as gutsy or durable, yet has the ability to purely out-think his opponent and win as a result of employing that select group of things he does best while reducing his opponents' strengths and effectively making them less. So, long story short, no matter who does what in these pending fights, if both men win, it'll still all come down to what we individually like the most anyway, so what I think is rendered irrelevant. We'll never agree on who's the best P4P fighter, but we can all agree that both men are truly amazing to watch in their own respects.
Joshua R. (Philadelphia, PA): I read your piece on Antonio Margarito last week and found it pretty interesting. If he is able to return from suspension, how much of a role do you think he will actually play in the welterweight division?
Vivek W. (ESB): Personally, I have very mixed emotions on Margarito even being able to continue to fighting, but as it relates to his active role in the division if he is able to compete, I think he can play a very intricate role without question. Many tend to think that his loss to Mosley had more to do with him not being a good fighter, but I think there were two very fundamental elements that contributed mostly to his loss to Mosley. First and foremost, the mental aspect. A fighter goes his whole fight camp - a good 2 months or better - focusing on this one big night. Then, suddenly you make it to that grand night, and only moments before you enter the ring, something catastrophic happens that not only takes away from your power, but also your mind? Yeah, that's a huge obstacle to overcome. Aside from that, we have to remember that only a few months prior he had taken part in an absolute war that decimated him more than any other fight in his career, despite him ending up on the winning end in that affair. So, I would never take anything away from Shane's performance, but there is a side of me that wonders would Shane have gotten the nod that night if we saw him against the same Margarito that Cotto faced? Shane's speed would have still been the major difference, but would it have been so lop-sided, if not different all together? Bottom line, the two things that can make any man in the ring dangerous and are proven to knock out most any 'wrinkle' an opponent could ever bring in the ring is an iron will and an iron chin. Margarito possess both these things in great abundance, so clearly, he can become a major player in the welterweight division like he was before his suspension.
Chaz L. (Long Beach, CA): Mayweather and Mosley have agreed to randomized blood/drug testing in their fight contract. Do you think this routine will catch fire in the sport and what do you think it will mean for fighters who opt not to do it?
Vivek W. (ESB): Mayweather hasn't always gotten credit for his actions due to his antics, but in this case, I think clearly you have to tip your hat to the man, as this is a very pioneer-like move that the sport has needed for quite some time. In an era where EPO's and HGH's (among other things) continue to be silently abused, to know that the sport of boxing has turned the corner and in fact joined the ranks of other professional leagues in trying to crack down is a major step. To answer your question directly, I don't know if it will catch on in the sport beyond the fights in which Mayweather demands it. Should it? Absolutely. Will it? Probably not. There's a few prime reasons that it hasn't happened up to this point, and they all center around the fact that unlike the NFL, NBA, and MLB, boxing simply doesn't have the funds at its disposal to do so. That major challenge will make it hard to see the sport go to this measure across the board, but where there's a will there's a way. As far as how it will impact the fighters who opt not to do the testing? I don't think any man who decides to take part in the sport for a living will be ignorant enough to take such a position. Pacquiao was the closest I've ever seen to that and even he stated that he would concede if it were part of the wishes of the athletic commission. So I don't think this will be an issue at all. If it's a universal language every man will have no choice but to speak it. Stay tuned.
Reginald O. (Los Angeles, CA): Which fight card do you think you will do the best PPV numbers. Pacquiao/Clottey or Mayweather/Mosley?
Vivek W. (ESB): Without question, Pacquiao is the most entertaining fighter to watch in the sport, but having an adequate dancing partner is the key to selling tickets and PPV slots, and as great as I think the matchup between Pacquiao and Clottey will be, I have little question that Mayweather/Mosley will be the better selling draw. Pacquiao/Clottey has the stadium setup which will be an amazing spectacle, but truthfully, there's no way to deny that the bigger fight is Mayweather/Mosley. This is a fight that the world has waited to see for years. Not to be taken out of context, but the reality here as well is that the Mayweather/Mosley fight is an all American affair. Considering that the PPV tally usually reported is the U.S. tracked numbers, this will play a huge role. I say that in the sense that it pairs two men who didn't have to be promoted heavily and built in the minds of American fight fans like the effort we saw with Pacquiao and we now see with Kahn. With Mayweather and Mosley, these are two men who Americans were able to watch in the amateurs and in the case of Mayweather, the Olympic games, as well. These are two men that have a history that can be traced in local newspapers and so forth. The ability to follow them for decades (even before they became household names) places much better value on them being that the fights are taking place in America. Now, had these two fights both been scheduled to take place overseas, I think it would be much closer, or perhaps even the other way around. But here in America, people may know Pacquiao and Clottey, but they ALWAYS KNEW of Mayweather and Mosley. This fact will have a lot more to do with which of the two fights will win the PPV count tally in the end.
Desmond E. (Orlando, FL): Herschel Walker recently participated in StrikeForce. If you had an opportunity to watch, I'm curious to know whether or not you feel that seeing athletes cross over to fighting sports that way will become regular, and whether or not you think boxing will ever get cross some of that action?
Vivek W. (ESB): Despite not being an avid MMA/UFC fan, I did watch the events that took place last Saturday. I know that many will state that Herschel won because he was in with a cupcake, but the truth is, he actually won because he was what most of us always knew him to be....an absolutely incredible athlete. When you look at the fundamentals of being an athlete....things like speed, agility, reflexes, intelligence....those were the very skills that allowed him as a 47 year old to enter the ring for the first time and defeat a very youthful opponent who's probably been training for this most of his life. It was great to watch. That being said, I do think eventually that both boxing and UFC/MMA will begin to see an influx of athletes try to cross over and take part in one or the other. Many talented men around the world land in the NBA, NFL, and other sports leagues, but there are also a ton who don't make it, and those 'scraps' will definitely try their hand in the ring. As far as world renowned athletes crossing over goes, I think we're gonna see some of that too. In the NBA, Rasheed Wallace has strong interest in boxing, Ron Artest is the son of a former boxer who has also given thought to entering the ring. Also, from the football front, former University of Miami star Quatrine Hill and former Florida State University star James Bryant are scheduled to enter the ring (against separate foes) in February at the Hollywood Hard Rock and Casino in Florida. So, without question the buzz surrounding fighting sports is starting to catch on and all it does is help popularize the two sports. Should be great to see who else this list includes as time goes one.
(Vivek Wallace can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 954-292-7346, YouTube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEK747), Facebook, and Myspace).
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