Boxing


'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's Mailbag Feat. Roach/Pacquiao-Margarito, Mosley, Canelo/Chavez jr., and Inez Sainz!

Freddie RoachArtes S. (Ontario, CA): Freddie Roach has been talking lately about Antonio Margarito like he doesn't have a snowballs chance in hell. The only time Roach gets to speaking this way is when he knows something others may not. With Oscar, Roach said he was shot, with Cotto, he felt the weight would bother him, with Ricky, he felt he wasn't the same. What do you think Freddie knows about Margarito that no one else does?

Vivek W. (ESB): Honestly, the more I've heard, the more I've began to ask myself this very same question. One thing about Freddie Roach, there isn't many better minds in the game, and I'd place him somewhere squarely in the top 4, arguably the top 2. I won't get into motives, but Freddie Roach is one of the most intelligent minds I've ever talked boxing with in passing, and I can't truly recall a time where he said something and was found to be wrong (as it relates to Pacquiao and a pending opponent). The more and more I listen to Roach, the more I begin to ask myself is he going 'all out' because he knows that for the first time in a long time, Pacquiao is going into true gorilla warfare? By that, I mean, this is (Margarito) a bad-boy in every sense of the word. We know that the illegal padding is gone, but the ever-present "now-come-take-this-ass-whippin'-like-a-man" persona of Margarito is very much still alive..

The same guy who urged Cintron to "get the 'F' up" when he was on the mat in agony. The same guy who took Cotto's best shots and gave him a steady dose of his infamous "is that all you got" sly smile. That guy is alive and well. He has nothing for Pacquiao's speed, but mentally, he's equally a warrior, and totally committed to fighting to the bitter end. Many point to Mosley's victory and find it a blueprint for Pacquiao. Problem is, Pacquiao isn't nearly 5-11 with a 74 inch reach. He's 5'6" with a 67 inch reach. And he has to figure out a way to penetrate the onslaught of a man who throws as many punches per round as he does. I like Pacquiao to win, but this "he will KO Margarito in 7" stuff???? I can't go there. Sorry. What Roach may be tipping his hat to is the fact that Margarito has only had one fight to pad his long inactivity span, but new trainer Garcia has given him better head movement than I've ever witnessed, (judging by Margo's last fight), and I'm not convinced by the Mosley fight that he lost the iron slab he has had in the past as a chin.

One other thing most seem to be discounting is the fact that Margarito has become very knowledgeable of the southpaw fighter, after showdowns with Sergio Martinez, Paul Williams, Daniel Santos (2x), Joshua Clottey, Andrew Lewis, and converted southpaw Miguel Cotto. Clottey and Williams were both comparable men (in height) with equal punch output, and Margarito held his own in both fights, actually winning against Clottey. I'm not sure what exactly Freddie Roach sees, but that's why he's training and I'm writing. After he trains his pupil according to what he sees, I'll comment on it in the aftermath! I know I'm the writer here, but in this case, I have to simply stick to the script, and I'm afraid Roach and Pacquiao will be the one to write that one.....help courtesy of Margarito.

Javier R. (Kendall, FL): I think Top Rank went a little far in assigning controversial Spanish reporter Inez Sainz to the Margarito/Pacquiao fight coverage. I love her looks like any other man, but I think this is a stretch. Do you think the move made any sense?

Vivek W. (ESB): When you think of why Margarito was suspended, and then you think of the unsubstantiated, yet very rampant allegations surrounding Pacquiao, you would think by this point Top Rank would do all they could to prevent adding another controversial element to the mix. Well, they didn't. But in their defense, I think this is a bit different. For starters, this is a promotion for a boxing event. It isn't the strictly governed corridors of the NFL and/or the NBA where there's some major agenda to build some pristine family atmosphere. This is a 'pinstripes and skin-tights' crowd of high-rolling alcohol consumers who dwell in high-stakes casino's for the purpose of watching big fights! What better stage could one possibly assemble a lineup filled with muscular fighting men, bikini clad ring card girls, and a Latina with a lot of ASSets (clearing my throat) serving as the resident MC?

Humor aside, this is boxing, ladies and gents. Few respect women as much as I do, but the way things went down in the Jets locker room isn't quite what oneshould expect here. In the other scenario, she had a group of male and female reporters, (many whom were old enough to be her parent), standing around watching this virtual nobody (in the America media landscape) attract attention they had never earned themselves in years in the industry, and for all the wrong reasons. The attention Sainz got from the athletes and fellow reporters became too much, and she felt a bit embarrassed and uncomfortable. I would never support the unwanted advances she received, but this was triggered due-in-part to her mistake of dressing rather 'lust-friendly', yet expecting to be respected like a professional. This would have never happened to the ever-professional Suzy Colbert or Pam Oliver, (as examples), who I think are both very attractive woman, as well, they simply WORK in the standard dress code. There's a level of professionalism that has to be kept in certain environments. The NFL is one of them.

Boxing, however, lives according to a different creed. The boxing culture is a different world, entirely. You have to remember, in so many words, Sainz stated that she wasn't bothered by the attention, she just didn't want it in that environment (paraphrased). Not only would she be able to report and thrive in this new found attention, but I'd venture to say she'll eventually land a more prominent role. So, I can understand your plight, but I'm afraid you and the other purist around the sport will be greatly outnumbered here, my man. She will be welcomed in the boxing community, both Latin and non-Latin based. As a member of the American boxing media, I welcome her with open arms (no pun intended). If we were to cross paths, I won't make the same mistake my NYC counterparts did by standing at a distance, talking and pointing. What I will do is shake her hand, welcome her, and keep it moving..........unless of course she's in the mood to.......... maybe........'talk boxing'..........or something! (LMAO)

Mark I. (Orlando, FL): Do you see any way possible for Shane Mosley to bounce back from his beyond poor PPV tally. Rumor has it that the count stands around 115K or so. Do you think anyone will take a risk with facing him in a marquee matchup in the future?

Vivek W. (ESB): This is a question that I pretty much addressed in last weeks 'LHL' segment, and those who read it probably remember me using the word "lost" to help accurately explain his new status. My point was that he has "lost" his value, has lost his opportunity at future mega-fights, and somewhat lost his credibility at this stage in his career. I would address this question in the same breath. Last week I thought this would be the case, but never in a million years did I expect this low group of PPV #'s. Prior to the fight, I wrote that I would have been surprised to hear the final tally go beyond 350K. This approximation is truly frightening, but I think it touches on a few topics many have come forward with in the past. Shane Mosley has been one of my favorite fighters to watch over the past decade plus, but one of the key topics surrounding him has been his limited box office appeal. And that was when he was at the top of his game.

Fast-forward a few years and suddenly, what was once bad has become worst. It's troubling because - steroid controversy aside - he has been a very honorable ambassador in the sport, and a damn good fighter to watch. None of that has helped him gain any more fans, and his latest performance pretty much just sealed it. I have no idea what he can do to re-establish what appears to closed chapter to a once illustrious career. Cotto isn't what he once was, but he was too much before and is now rebounding well enough under Steward to remain relevant. Margarito probably won't go in that direction again, but even if he does, he seems to have more youth on his side to out-survive Mosley over 12rds. I'm afraid there's nothing else. Shane has to decide what's next for him, but I'm afraid his last performance decided it won't be a mega fight.

Alberto O. (Los Angeles, CA): Recently, Chavez Jr. stated that he "wasn't too impressed" with Saul Alvarez and his victory over Baldomir. I support Chavez as a fellow Mexican warrior, but I like what I see in Alvarez. Do you think Alvarez is ready for Chavez jr. at this stage?

Vivek W. (ESB): Chavez jr. is a fighter that I have watched for quite some time, but truthfully, he never really earned my respect until he faced and defeated Duddy. That victory was hard-fought, and it showed me something in him I hadn't seen prior to that point. Heart, guts, drive, passion, to name a few. I was happy to see him respond to that adversity, but I'll be honest with you, Saul Alvarez has shown me more of that in his 34 fights than I have seen in Chavez's 50+. Part of the reason for that is because Chavez had to literally learn that.....wherein Alvarez, it's just a part of his DNA. Sounds funny, considering that Chavez is the son of a legend and Alvarez isn't, but no question, Alvarez was literally born to do what he has done. Chavez had to be taught it, and even once he was, it didn't quite sink in right away, as many wondered would he be "protected" for the rest of his days, living off his Father's efforts.

It's safe to say that Chavez jr. has now arrived and earned his keep without the help of Dad, but I really think Saul Alvarez - even at this early stage in his life - has shown great promise, and tons of heart, and skill. I know that his nickname "Canelo" came as a result of his red hair, but it couldn't be any more fitting, as similar to the spice itself, his ring style is both sweet and spicy. He has fundamental skills and the grit to slug it out. I find him too polished for Chavez, and although it won't be a walk in the park, I think he'd hurt and potentially even stop Chavez over 12. I could be wrong, but even at 20, "Canelo" is no Duddy. And that's not a knock on Duddy, it's 'props' to Canelo. The kid is for real, my people.

(Vivek Wallace can be reached at 954-292-7346, vivexemail@yahoo.com, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEK747), Facebook, and Myspace).

Article posted on 27.09.2010



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