'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's Mailbag feat. Mosley/Mora, Ortiz, and Saul Alvarez!!
Carlos A. (Bronx, NYC): I felt the Mosley should have gotten a squeaker against Mora, but again, us fans were disgusted in the end. What do you think is behind this bizarre decision and what do you think Mosley's future looks like?
Article posted on 20.09.2010
Vivek W. (ESB): I learned a long time ago that there's strength in numbers. What I saw happen last Saturday night solidified that reality in more ways than one. It's not my job to change minds, as my perspective is my perspective, and only my perspective, but what I will say is that I wonder would the average fight fan truly feel the way they do today had the HBO crew and Harold Lederman not been so pro-Mosley? What many fight fans don't take into consideration is that the ringside judges scoring the fight have angles that vary in a huge way from the one you may have on your flat-screen at home; and also, they're swayed very little by the broadcasting team because they don't hear them like you do. What they hear is the many ooh's and ahhh's in the arena, and in this case, oddly enough, the chants weren't always too much of a pro-Mosley variety, despite him being the bigger name in the ring. What made it even more difficult to narrow down from a scoring standpoint was that Mora didn't look particularly motivated, and Shane didn't look particularly good at all, either, so nothing was truly clear and concise.
Mosley would land something nasty in the midst of a 20-punch flurry combination that only hit air, and Mora didn't land anything nasty too often, but when he let his hands go he was hitting his target far easier than Mosley was. The only thing about this fight that was crystal clear to me was that Mosley has officially "lost". Now, when I say Mosley "lost", obviously he didn't lose the fight itself, but in the aftermath, it's no secret that he "lost" everything else. He literally devalued himself! He "lost" at the box office, as I'd be completely shocked to learn that any more than 350K people actually shelled out for that fight, 80% of which were probably in California somewhere. He "lost" his mega-money potential for the future, as his past reputation precedes him enough to take him from contention with anyone who has any upside worth exploring, (hence Bob Arum's immediate stance that Mosley wouldn't be considered to get a shot at Pacquiao). Those two things were damaging enough, but the biggest thing he seemed to have "lost", evidenced by the final scorecards, was the benefit of the doubt in the minds of the judges. Some hinted at this back when he fought Cotto, but that result was widely considered tough, but fair.
In this case, Mora has never been close to the level of Mosley, yet in an era where it's custom to say "you have to take it from a champ", or "you have to become legend to defeat a legend (on the cards)", we saw a 'contender' eek his way into a draw that few felt he should have gotten. Prior to the fight, a fellow friend/fight fan told me that this would be "De la Hoya/Forbes all over again". The irony here is that in that fight, the lesser known man did enough to make it questionable, yet here, one could argue that it nearly went the other way because the more-known man did very little to actually remove question. I spoke a moment ago of things that Mosley has "lost", and in hindsight, perhaps I should add his mystique and reputation, because nothing about him last Saturday night gives reason to fear. I've been a fan of his talent from day one, but I'm afraid the time has come. We love you man.....but it's time to look at life away from Boxing. You've won enough, and now you're losing more. Don't let it result in a loss of respect, too! Just somethin' to think about!
Hector U. (Hallandale Beach, FL): Victor Ortiz seems to be the 'dark horse' in the jr. welterweight 140lb division. I think he's actually poised enough to fight with the bigger names. Do you think he could be an unlikely last man standing when the smoke clears?
Vivek W. (ESB): I must admit, I was pretty intrigued in Victor's victory, but I'd be the first to say these two things first: (1) Harris is no Khan, Alexander, Bradley, or Maidana. (2) No one ever questioned whether or not Ortiz had the talent, we questioned whether or not he had the heart! I thought it was a very strong performance, in the sense that he seemed more poised and more content to stick with the gameplan.....more disciplined. But that alone doesn't mean he'd have the same level of discipline when the opponent returns fire. In lamest terms, I want to see how Ortiz responds against someone who won't wilt under an early barrage of fire. One of the reasons that my respect for Amir Khan has grown immensely is because he stood in a place far darker than Ortiz has ever been - KO'd in the 1st round against a man few people knew - and he immediately dusted himself off, jumped back on his horse, and never looked back.
He didn't question whether or not he "should be getting beat up this way". He took that loss and all the misery it encompassed and turned that pain into a passion to never feel that way again! Today, he's right back in the thick of things and remains at the top of the heap. Ortiz has put together a few victories, but while some would argue with Khan's level of competition as well, those opponents he (Khan) has faced bring a bit more to the table than the ones we've seen Ortiz face, post Maidana. So, to answer your question, it's still a bit early to say that Ortiz could be a "dark horse" when the smoke clears. He has the speed, the punch, and the smile, but that only hits the spot in Hollywood. This isn't Hollywood. It's reality television in every sense of the word. So much of a reality that Ortiz had better understand there may be no second chance to solidify his first impression. Stay tuned.
Ranel I. (San Diego, CA): What is your honest opinion of Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez?
Vivek W. (ESB): You know, I continue to get criticized at every turn for saying this, but truthfully, this young man is thee most intriguing new fighter to watch in the sport for me right now! He really is! I'm not so sure why so many people are so critical of him, and although I can respect their positions, I want to remind those that feel this way of a few facts that may help them appreciate him a bit more. When we look at today's rising crop, we see Alexander, Bradley, Khan, Gamboa, JuanMa, Maidana, and a few others. When we look at that group, what's the big knock most have on every last one of them? Too many questions. YOU HAVE ZERO IDEA HOW THEY WILL RESPOND WHEN THEY GET A 'LIVE' OPPONENT IN THEIR FACE WHO WILL BANG WITH THEM AND NOT STOP UNTIL THE LAST BELL SOUNDS! Alexander and Khan are widely considered the most talented of the bunch, but this question remains relevant to them as well. Bradley has a ton of heart, but against a slow Abregu, we saw him look a little leery in spots.
Gamboa, great skills, but has a knack for touching the canvas, and JuanMa, great power, visibly deficient stamina and can be hurt, as well. Some may argue with the resume of Alvarez, but you know what, you've got to start somewhere, and what he just did to both Jose Cotto and Baldomir, (who has a chin like a piece of steel), was nothing short of scintillating! The kid comes to fight every single night, and I don't give a damn how much of a banger the man in front of him is, he uses a certain level of skill and power to break him down with no fear while doing it. What I find really interesting about him is that he doesn't have the prototypical Mexican style, either. He has the great Mexican toughness, but far more. He actually has a set of intriguing skills, and his heart is amazing. People have to realize, this young man is 19. 19, people! I can't speak for everyone, but I can firmly say that I understand why the great people of Mexico are so high on this lad. I'm a believer! Soon enough, I think many of you will be too! Just keep watching.
Jazz H. (Atlanta, GA): Do you think that Mosley has looked so lackluster lately because he's now forced to fight clean for the first time in a while?
Vivek W. (ESB): I continue to hear this notion, and while I can't use facts to defend him against those who make this point, I will say that I think it's a bit tasteless to say that this is the case. I think it's a bit comical for some to begin to say that this decline in Shane's ability is based on him "finally fighting clean", yet we continue to call fighters like Morales (34), Barrera (36), and Marquez (37), old, and question their same decline in the ring based on countless wars, despite them being far younger than Shane. I am fully aware of the cloud hovering over Mosley because of the whole Balco/Victor Conte scenario, but the reality is that this is a man who has simply began to age like the rest of us. I have zero idea relative to the specifics surrounding Mosley's usage, but neither do you! And based on that, I won't contribute to the effort to kick someone while they're obviously down.
Stress can zap energy more than anything, and this is a man who recently had his family fall apart, and loss one of (if not thee) biggest fights of his career only a few months ago. The anxiety relative to public pressure, the personal life scenario's, and many other things contribute, but the biggest reason we see what we see in Mosley is age. The man is a future hall-of-famer, but no one can do it forever. I won't comment on what I think about this being the "first time he has had to fight clean in a while" because what I think doesn't matter, and neither would it be the truth. Only Shane, God, and those close to them know the reality here. My choice is to respect that.....I think that should be your choice too!
(Vivek Wallace can be reached at 954-292-7346, firstname.lastname@example.org, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEK747), Facebook, and Myspace).
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