'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's Mailbag feat. Jones/Hopkins, Mayweather, Pacquiao, Campbell and Marquez
Jesse O. (Orlando, FL): I thought your article on Roy Jones jr. and Bernard Hopkins last Friday really helped many of us see this rematch in a different light, but if you could, explain why you think so many people still choose to question their legacy?
Article posted on 16.02.2010
Vivek (ESB): Personally, I've never encountered a perspective in life that I refused to sit and listen to, but I just have a very tough time comprehending any argument that supports questioning the role these two men have played in the sport. When it all boils down, I think it's simply a matter of people liking and supporting who they want to like and support - which is cool, but has ZERO to do with talent, which is how all these athletes should be judged. Some say, "Hopkins and Jones haven't faced the same type of competition as Leonard, Hagler, and company". I can't view that as a reasonable excuse because the talent pool of this era was far thinner, and we can't hold these men accountable for their date of birth. And besides, the Klitschko brothers have run the heavyweight division in arguably its weakest state, maybe of all-time, yet they still manage to fill seats back at home.. So, overall, opposition has little to nothing to do with it. People will continue to find reasons to slight these men, and while I will concur that their current age is not ideal, and that this fight is more than a decade late, I think people need to see the bigger picture here. When it comes to Jones and Hopkins, inwardly, I liken them both to the human body. Sounds funny in theory, but I say that in the sense that they're far more amazing, deep, and complex than the average man could ever comprehend, and for that reason, many tend to let them work without much aid or support until they notice that they've begin to break down. In other words, when they were performing to perfection and doing everything we could ever ask without much effort, things were great; but the moment we see them weakening and aging, suddenly, we want to start analyzing everything of the past.
Bottom line, people can see them in this aging stage and attempt to analyze them, but nothing anyone can do or say will ever be able to take away the amazing work they performed in the past. To play devils advocate.....even if this fight is for a 'final payday', my parting question to you is this......can you name two other men in the sport today that deserve it more? We may never see one (or both of these men) do a ring walk to the ring again. To me, that's a sad day. If it is, my only request is that B-hop breaks out the executioners mask and holds up the "X" on his way to the ring, and that Roy brings out his alter-ego, RJ, and gets down and nasty one more time! That's how I remember them, that's how I want to see them go away. I plan to attend this fight for journalistic obligations, but I also plan to drop my 55 ducketts in the bucket because I just think these two men have earned that. We all love a story. What's there not to like about a man who left a prison yard after serving years behind bars, lost his first pro fight, and just took himself to a whole new level? Or a retiring superstar who was talented enough to become the 2nd man in history to win a middleweight and heavyweight strap? I can't wait for the 24/7 series, and I can't wait for the fight!
Joseph E. (Atlanta, GA): Nate Campbell recently called out Timothy Bradley, again. I thought that Bradley would have won that fight but I want to know what are your thoughts on him not taking the rematch?
Vivek W. (ESB): I think there's a lot of angles you can take when analyzing this whole matter. Many may remember that I was very vocal about the way that Bradley showed no integrity in the ring after failing to admit that a headbutt caused the gash, knowing full well that it did. That being said, I have nothing against the guy. As I think back on the fight and the uproar it caused amongst fight fans at the time, I do think it's a little comical how everyone seems to think that Bradley was well on his way to a victory, yet here we are months later and he has failed to go ahead with the rematch. What's even more comical is that there's a wide contingent out there, to include Bradley himself, who seems to think that no one wants to face him, yet aside from Campbell, Valero and a couple other guys have made their intentions to face him known. Now......let me say this.......I don't see Bradley being afraid to face these men, necessarily, but I do think that his team is now cognizant of the fact that all it will take is one bad night to sink his stock. Based on that truth I think what we're seeing now is a team that understands and has began to employ that never-too-popular high/risk, low/reward mentality. It isn't great from a fan perspective, but many seem to do it. Floyd, Pacquiao, Oscar, and down the line. If there's a shot at losing and it's not for big money or a title, it's not worth it. And that's the option Mr. Bradley seems to be exercising right now. Can we blame him?
Benny R. (Miami Lakes, FL): In your latest YouTube video I noticed that you continue to question Pacquiao's ability to win. What does Pacquiao have to do to earn your respect?
Vivek W. (ESB): For starters, I think a quick trip down memory lane will clarify my position on Pacquiao rather easily. What's a bit intriguing here is that there wasn't anything in that video that went against Pacquiao, it simply opened a dialogue on the challenge that awaits, which each of us without an agenda or affinity can identify with. I think Pacquiao fans have to realize that you can't have it both ways. If Clottey is such a loser or such a 'cakewalk', why is there all this hype about Pacquiao "picking the toughest opponent available"? Why? I can tell you why. It's because - as I stated in the video - this will be the first time that Pacquiao will step in the ring for the first time against a man who will not only tip the scales at 147lbs at the weigh-in, but unofficially enter the ring as heavy as the mid-160's, maybe even low 170's. Oscar was weight drained fighting at a weight he hadn't been a part of in nearly a decade; Cotto had to lose two pounds, which if there wasn't an advantage too, Roach would have never made a comment like "the weaker he is, the better". While I don't think any of us can take away from Pacquiao's stellar performances as a result of those things, that doesn't change the fact that this time around it will be an even cylinder with both men holding the same amount of ammo in their chamber, so to speak. So, it has zero to do with not liking anyone. Aside from two predictions and the randomized drug testing issue, there have really been no other issues that I haven't seen eye to eye with Pacquiao and his supporters on. The reality here is that like any other matter, there will be agreements and disagreements. As it relates to Pacquiao, we can agree that he's the most exciting and spirited fighter in the game today. We can't agree that he had a valid reason for refusing randomized drug testing because I don't subscribe to his theory. Doesn't make me a hater......it simply makes me a man who makes up his mind using facts, not affinities or agendas.
Jose. O. (Covina, CA): 'Nacho' Beristain recently stated that he thinks Marquez needs time to heal after that Mayweather loss rather than facing Kahn. Do you think that Mayweather really damaged him that bad, or do you think that he feels this just isn't a good match for his guy?
Vivek W. (ESB): All of this talk about Marquez being washed up I think is very premature and somewhat ridiculous. Yeah, he's been in a countless amount of wars, but before Floyd, the guy was coming off of arguably the most triumphant moment in his career with the dismantling of Juan Diaz in a very spirited effort. When Beristain mentioned that he thinks Marquez needs more time to "heal" after the Mayweather fight, I found that to be very intriguing. We've heard Hatton say that the Mayweather loss was "by far" the most humbling of his career, making him "cry like a woman" for months long after; now we're hearing that a warrior like Marquez needs additional time to "heal" after their showdown. I've said before that it seems fashionable to cast a shadow of doubt around Floyd or downplay his efforts at every turn, but I think it says something that a man who everyone views as "feather-fisted" can continue to yield this type of result over some very credible opposition. As it relates to Marquez, we really don't know what to expect. We've seen guys like Kahn bounce back in a strong way after a loss, and we've seen guys like Jermain Taylor take a few loss and never quite bounce back. I think Marquez is a resilient guy and can overcome most any setback, but it will all come down to what's in this heart. Can he win that fight against Kahn? Absolutely. Should he take that extra time to heal that Nacho is talking about? I'm afraid none of us will know until a moment after the results of his next fight are in.
Eduardo C. (Ontario, CA): It looks like Antonio Margarito won't be fighting on the Pacquiao/Clottey card. Has he been officially denied his reinstatement?
Vivek W. (ESB): Well, it's not that he's been "officially denied" his reinstatement. It's more an issue of him not applying the proper way and subsequently being declined as a result until he does. There was a great effort to accelerate his return by trying to put him on the Texas fight card, circumventing the proper protocol, and I think if any thing, that's what backfired. There were some for (his reinstatement) and many against, but the true 'kicker' here is that there's no way a person condemned of something in one place can be allowed to conduct business a few 'doors down', so to speak. There's a hearing taking place on February 22nd to revisit his case, but until that is all sorted out, he won't be on that card or any other.
(Vivek Wallace can be reached at email@example.com, 954-292-7346, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEK747), Facebook, and Myspace)
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