'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's Mailbag feat. Mayweather/Mosley, Pacquiao, Hopkins, Berto, and more!
Nasir Muhammad (Atlanta, GA): Mayweather/Mosley has the potential to do some very strong PPV #'s, maybe even close to the 2.4M that Mayweather/ODH did. If they do come close to those figures, what are your thoughts about Arum's 50/50 purse split expectation?
Article posted on 12.04.2010
Vivek W. (ESB): Personally, I didn't think Mayweather would be willing to do a complete split with Pacquiao before, knowing that he did far greater PPV #'s against most common opponents. To me, that showed that he was interested to some level in making the fight because he didn't have to concede that major bargaining tool. That being said, I think the same rules will apply in this scenario if he wants the fight. If Mayweather is fortunate enough to get past Shane Mosley, even if their numbers fly off the chart, I think Mayweather will still have to comply with the 50/50 split for the simple fact that anything less won't get the job done. This is where one of my chief concerns with Team Pacquiao has always come.
There seems to be a willingness to get the other side to bend, yet they've remained firm in areas they could probably be a bit more flexible.. There was a concession for glove size, there was a concession to the far-from-normal $10M weight clause, and a ton of other things between the two parties; but aside from the weight itself, I can't name ONE THING that Team Pacquiao did in fact concede, and I employ anyone out there who can educate me to do so. I am totally open to reshaping my opinion, and I challenge anyone to help me in doing it. There simply has been no good reason to. In any other fight with any other fighters, having the physical stats to support being the bigger draw between the two contestants would be more than enough to end this discussion.
In this case, somehow, it's turned into a situation where one man hasn't quite reached that same level of fiscal success in PPV#'s, yet since he's more adored, there's a perception that he should be given this pass against a man most love to hate, despite that man being co-owner to the biggest numbers ever amassed in the rich and tenured history of the sport. If things were reversed would we really even be having this discussion? If Team Mayweather chooses to concede again, that's a great way to start negotiations because technically, they don't have to. I just hope Team Pacquiao meets them half way by conceding somewhere else, this time.
Some would argue that Mayweather had a better dance partner, but let the truth ring loud and clear: First....Mayweather had a choice of opponent just like Pacquiao and Arum did, he just made a better decision (because the same Shane Mosley, as well as Paul Williams, WBC champ Andre Berto, and other non-Top Rank fighters were available well prior, yet never got the nod). Mosley even agreed to go down to 140 which would have been sick! Secondly, Some say Floyd was 'forced' into this fight, but I can't agree with that because he didn't have to sign the contract, he could have opted to take on Cintron, or several other fighters. Should Team Mayweather take the 50/50 split? To be fair and make the fight, yes. Do they have to....not at all, and the numbers support why. It's not my word or my opinion....it's the reality...supported by facts.
Mike Jones (Denbigh, UK): When you look back at the careers of Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones jr., who do you think will be viewed as the best pound-for-pound fighter of the two?
Vivek W. (ESB): When it comes to that term P4P, most who have followed my work over the years know that I feel the text book definition is a bit different from today's version, which probably explains why terms like 'mythical' often accompany those definitions when spoken by other scribes around the sport. In an effort to accommodate this new 'language', I've published a breakdown of my own list with a definition that encompasses both, my view, as well as the industry standard of today, at www.vivekwallace.com.
To answer your question, though, in Roy Jones jr., you have a fighter whose natural athleticism was unparalleled in his prime, and despite those that chose to question his resume and so forth, I would go out on a limb and say that a precious few in the history of the sport, to include today's Floyd Mayweather jr., have been able to match his sheer athleticism in the ring. Now, when you're talking fundamental, textbook definition type skills, Bernard Hopkins was - in my humble observation - the more talented of the two. I say that for the simple fact that Jones' relied heavily on instinctive reflexes. Instinctive reflexes are great, but with older age, they begin to fade, and in Jones this became obvious.
With Hopkins, there is a strong ring IQ (not to say Jones didn't have one) that gave him an incredible understanding for both how and when to employ offense, as well as when to simply ride the back of his superb defense. The tell-all-be-all between the two is that Jones was easily the more physically gifted, but despite not being the fastest or strongest, Hopkins was able to last much longer and parallel his success because of a balanced attack that was not based on instinctive reflexes that fade with age, but rather good ole fashion skills! You can't teach what Jones had. It's a natural God-given gift. But, fundamentally speaking, Hopkins is simply the better pure boxer.
Jason A. (Bronx, NYC): What are your thoughts about the way that Goldenboy Promotions has handled the careers of Hopkins and Mosley after hearing Hopkins' recent statements?
Vivek W. (ESB): This isn't a question that I can answer totally, based on the fact that none of us on the outside looking in know all the facts, and so far, we've only heard one side of the story. While I can agree with Hopkins that Schafer could have found a better way to make his statement about Hopkins' 'consideration' of retirement, as it relates the career management issue, things get a bit more unclear. Lets look at the facts and play devils advocate both ways here.....Both men, Shane and Bernard, sat for extended periods of time totaling a year or more while there were plenty of options out there for them. Flip side of that argument....for Hopkins, there was Dawson, Adamek, Green, and a few others that never saw deals materialize for various reasons, many which was reported that Hopkins personally had to do with.
With Shane, my point all along was that rather than WAITING on Floyd or Pacquiao to face him, it was more beneficial to start collecting the other welterweight straps - even for less money - making himself the undisputed unified champion, which in effect would have FORCED Floyd or Pacquiao to face him based on both name recognition and credentials. Shane sat for what will be a bit shy of 16 months. With only 3 other belts in the division, since he opted not to face Paul Williams who wanted a shot at him, he could have faced Berto (WBC) sooner, Zaveck (IBF) immediately afterward, and been clear right in time for Pacquiao's WBA strap after he defeated Clottey.
This blueprint would have gotten him a shot at both Pacquiao and Mayweather. I love both Hopkins and Mosley as fighters and don't dispute that GBP may have failed to exhaust all possibilities, but from the outside looking in, there seems to be room to share the load of this blame all the way around. Bottom line, if I'm a hungry fighter in the ring and I know my family is hungry outside of it, I'm fighting Tommy Chucker the neighborhood sucker if I have to, but I'm gonna keep those checks rolling in and keep doing what I have to do to remain in championship contention. I don't doubt the hunger of these two warriors, but no question the big paydays of the past allowed them to sit away and pick their spots knowing that their kids aren't (hungry). This double-edged sword made them more comfortable than perhaps they needed to be!
Darnell L. (Miami Gardens, FL): In the past you were a little critical of Andre Berto, yet not as disrespectful as many others out there. What do you think of him after his performance last Saturday night?
Vivek W. (ESB): I thought the young Andre Berto looked damn good, for lack of better words! I saw more growth from him in the Quintana fight than ever before, and I told him so when it was all over. My questions before came mostly from conditioning and not-so-great strategical execution. What I saw against Quintana at ringside left me feeling very, very, inspired with him. Coming off of an 11-month layoff, I didn't know what to expect, but when he got his legs under him and shook the nerves, he really impressed me.
He took some monstrous shots and stuck to the gameplan, wherein before, I think things would change for him at that very same point in a heated battle. I thought it was a great step in the right direction and I think we all saw a glimpse of his maturation process. Honestly, I can't wait to see the next step. I think the kid is finally becoming what many of us knew he could be, yet didn't always see. I wish him the best, and I hope he remains grounded and remembers that the work isn't done!
Garvin R. (Washington, DC): What are your thoughts about Evander Holyfield sticking around in the sport?
Vivek W. (ESB): This question is a very tough one to answer, and trying to remain, seeing both sides of the fence makes it even tougher to answer. On one side you realize that it's a brutal sport, and consider someone like Muhammad Ali whose legendary 'talk' of the past is unfortunately the only way new fight fans of today can hear him, as a result of lost faculties from too much punishment. On the other hand, you consider that each state has a battery of medical test to take, and not only has Holyfield been passing them, but he's been getting results in the ring, as well. When you consider he has a family and quite a number of children to support, I just have a big problem with forcing a man to walk away from his primary bread winner when he still has the ability to do the job.
If he was getting beat from pillar to post or ending more fights on his back than on his feet, I think those who want him to walk away would have a solid argument. But considering that a few years ago he was unable to pass these medical test and get a license, and after rehabilitating himself and now passing those test and performing after he passes them, I don't see a way that you can truly stop him from fighting if he is still winning. The only difference in his age, and we've seen this with Jones as well, is that it takes a bit longer to get the engine revving. But when it does, this old lion can run with the wolves any day. Maybe not on a championship level, but he can make a few pretty pennies in the ranks as well. Until he can no longer do it or has a problem being physically cleared to perform, I say he has to be allowed to feed his family.
(Vivek Wallace can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 954-292-7346, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEK747), Facebook/Myspace, and www.vivekwallace.com)
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