'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's Mailbag feat. Pacquiao/Clottey, Mayweather/Mosley, Chambers/Klitschko
Alan W. (London, UK): You've been critical of Manny Pacquiao in the past and I noticed that you actually predicted him to win this fight. What were your thoughts on his performance?
Article posted on 15.03.2010
Vivek W. (ESB): The name Manny Pacquiao has become a very prestigious one in the industry, and to be quite honest, based on that 'brand value' associated with his name I find myself holding him to a higher level of critique than I would probably any other fighter outside of Mayweather. When you hear the name Pacquiao, you immediately think perfection - as it relates to the ring. Speed, power, artistry, mechanics, heart, and the list goes on. That being said, not only do you respect that greatness, but you find yourself asking "IS ANYTHING IN LIFE TRULY PERFECT" as well. Judging from a positive perspective, I thought that he basically did all that you could expect of him, given the circumstances..
He took the fight to his opponent, but the opponent simply didn't come to fight. Can't blame him for that. You can't engage in war alone. I thought he stuck to his plan and technically fought like the bigger man. He used his angles, he used his speed, and he stayed consistent. He took some monstrous shots and they never broke his will; but looking at things from a not-so-positive perspective, those monstrous shots is precisely where my problem with his performance lies. Pacquiao has become a much more dynamic fighter compared to the man we saw in the ring years ago, but the one aspect of his game that either can't be improved or simply hasn't is his defense. He gets hit entirely too much. Fortunately, he has the chin to take the punishment, but we thought the same thing about the great Mohammad Ali until a day came when his ability to respond had suddenly changed forever. As a trainer, my primary concern would be the level of punishment he seems subjected to fight after fight.
He's no longer a featherweight where the punches hurt but can be shaken off by midnight (so to speak). These huge welterweight fighters he has faced lately pack some major heat and with nearly 60 fights under his belt by age 32, I just hope that his faculties hold up later in life. Other than the grace of God, I don't know what could possibly keep him standing after some of the monstrous shots he takes, but what serves as enough today may not necessarily keep him healthy tomorrow. Defense....that's a major area of concern in my book. People call Mayweather a runner, but if Ali could do it all over again, trust me, he would have had more Mayweather in him than he chose to decades ago. It's a 'pain' game, ladies, and gents.....and it takes no prisoners!
Jerris D. (Brooklyn, NYC): I felt that Joshua Clottey's performance was very weak against Pacquiao. What do you think this outing did for his future career? (Is he a gatekeeper or do you see him competing on the world stage again)?
Vivek W. (ESB): This is a very good question and I'll be awfully intrigued in seeing where his travels take him next. I spent quite a bit of time with Clottey in his recent fight camp and have talked with him at several points in the past, to include while he was all the way back in his native country, and nothing in ANY ONE of those conversations prepared me for the Clottey I saw in the ring last Saturday night. He has never been one to get too caught up in the moment, so the stadium, the lights, the stage....I just don't see those things being grand enough to have really gotten him out of his element. Truthfully, his status moving forward is a bit hard to comprehend at this point. His talent is very formidable to say the least, so I don't think anyone can view him as a journeyman. That being said, being a loser in each of his biggest career fights certainly leaves a lot to be considered.
I guess it all depends on how we WANT to view this loss. I say that because history has shown us that the media can either inflate or debate status, depending on whom they feel is credible enough. Oscar De La Hoya is one of the most legendary names to ever lace up a pair, but lets be real here......he retired with an 0-6 all time record against future hall-of-famers, (Mosley 2x, Trinidad, Hopkins, Mayweather, and Pacqiuao), so does one have to ever really cross that hump to keep a seat in the mainstream? I'm not sure he does. Clottey lost to a former lineal champion in Baldomir, (by decision), he lost to Margarito, he lost to Cotto, and has now definitively lost to Pacqiuao. A solid win against someone credible in his next fight places him right back in the thick of things. Journeyman? Not at all. Gate-keeper? The jury is still out. Perennial contender? Maybe. All of those questions will remain questions until he surfaces again to answer them.
Arthur R. (Dallas, TX): I thought the PPV card for Pacquiao/Clottey was very poor and wanted your thoughts on the event over all.
Vivek W. (ESB): I thought the PPV card - outside of the Duddy/Medina fight - was by far the absolute worst that I've ever seen. I've seen some very poor cards, both in person and from home as a viewer, but this card was totally unfathomable in my humble opinion. The biggest problem that I have is that it was touted as this "Event", and after getting Jones and the Cowboys involved, and making this such a huge media marketing affair, the 'event' itself was technically anything but. On a night that the world was watching, I just really wish the sport I love actually gave them something more to watch. We wonder why the MMA/UFC movement has gained ground on boxing? Well, last Saturday's card was precisely why. We had one half way decent match. We had another that kept our attention in spurts (Soto/Diaz). We had a third that I'd rather not talk about, and in the main event, we had a big guy against a 'little' guy where the 'little' guy actually fought like the big guy.
The single best part about the entire night to me was during the trio of national anthems. During that particular time frame I took a certain pride in the realization that two men from far less fortunate nations were able to literally make their countries stand still for 48minutes (despite the everyday struggles) while their native sons took center stage in the land of the free. Perhaps that's the soldier in me coming back out, but aside from the company of Pacquiao's biggest fan (my son - haha) the night was a real bummer. Arum and Top Rank got an A+ for the promotion and for bringing attention back to the sport.....I just hope that now that they have it, they'll start to help the sport give the world more action. First line of order tomorrow....Ask my accountant can this line of work help me write off these type of losses! Because that's all it was. For all of us!
Jenn R. (Hollywood, FL): Freddie Roach said a while back that Mosley was not a fight that interest him, now he says that they would like the winner of him and Mayweather. Who do you think Pacquiao will face next?
Vivek W. (ESB): For starters, I'm not quite sure I remember Roach saying that the Mosley fight "doesn't interest him". I remember him saying that Mosley "came by the gym twice about a Pacquiao fight and [he] told him no because there wasn't enough money involved and no because he was too good". If we're talking about the same quote, I'd venture to say that we're now seeing the reality of that statement, because of all the quotes and soundbytes Roach gave us in the past, it's the recent one that sticks. The one that says "we want the winner" of Mayweather/Mosley. Truth is, I don't think any of us know what Pacquiao will do next. When you look at the options on the table, you have those options that make business sense, and then you have the options that make business 'cents'.
Antonio Margarito has come out and said that he would be willing to go abroad and face Pacquiao in his own nation. We know that'll be a hot ticket with no problem to sell. Aside from that option, you have the possibility of Foreman somehow defeating Cotto, and Arum enticing him into a lucrative showdown with Pacquiao, allowing him to make an unprecedented race for the 8th (world title). Another roll of the dice gets you someone like Valero. But when the chips fall and all else fails, you're left with the only two fights that people genuinely want to see.....Mayweather or Mosley....whomever wins. Mayweather will come with demands, so win, lose, or draw, Mosley could still find himself in the running if he's competitive against Mayweather. Truthfully, I don't think they know which one of these men it will be, but what I can guarantee is that it will be one of them, for sure.
Chaz T. (Denver, CO): Do you think Eddie Chambers has a realistic shot at defeating Wladimir Klitschko?
Vivek W. (ESB): I think Eddie Chambers has shown a vast improvement and I think his ability will serve him well. Will he win the fight? I won't go out on a limb and say that, but I will say this much....He will look a helluva lot better than Kevin Johnson did over there months ago. Chambers I think will surprise many people before the night is over with with his drive alone. He seems to have a much better command of himself, as it relates to his ability to handle certain elements in the ring. I look forward to this fight and will definitely attempt to tune in. Wladimir is probably more athletic than his older brother, but in many respects, I actually see him as the more beatable options between the two brothers. Vitali is a beast and comes a bit more stern, wherein Wladimir usually takes a bit of time to settle in, but if you're good enough to get him rattled a little, it's possible you could do enough to swing the momentum and perhaps even get the nod. Should be a great fight, despite the little fan fare here in the U.S. Can't wait to see how it all unfolds!
(Vivek Wallace can be reached at email@example.com, 954-292-7346, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEK747), Facebook, and Myspace)
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