'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's Mailbag feat. Bradley/Alexander, Haye/Klitschko, Hopkins, Dawson & Pascal!
I was looking at your FB page this weekend and saw your thoughts on Alexander/Bradley. You seem to lean towards Alexander, but Kotelnik made him look very marginal. I know that you haven't declared him your official pick, but what makes you think he has such a chance?
Article posted on 10.01.2011
Vivek W. (ESB): I think alot of people have counted Alexander out because of the Kotelnik fight, but history tells us that's not only unfair, but more often than not, quite misleading. When you look at the early days in the career of several marquee fighters today, you'd be hard-pressed to find many who didn't have an opponent that gave viewers at home a reason to question some element of their true worth..
Miguel Cotto suffered his first career knockdown against Colombian Ricardo Torres, who made us question Cotto's ability to take a punch. Mayweather struggled mightily against Castillo in the first encounter, which made us question his ability to handle the physical prototype. Pacquiao had to handle the ills of an early KO loss to Rustico Torrecampo . We see the progress that each of these men made in their respective careers after those early defining moments, and the irony here is that their defining moments came against came against basic competitors, while Alexander struggled against a former Olympic Silver Medalist.
So like life itself, you have to narrow things down to perspective, and when you do that, the truth inevitably finds its way to the surface. When you look at the strategical aspect of this fight, the more fight footage I watch, the more I see certain things that make me lean towards Alexander. Bradley, to me, is the "little engine that could" (for those who remember that story). He's that guy who doesn't have the size and power of his contemporaries, but when the race starts, you can bet he'll finish ahead of the best of 'em! Trouble is, he'll be facing a precision puncher who has an ability to slip a few punches and land some deadly accurate ones.
That won't bode well for Bradley, who can be seen (via fight footage) regularly throwing looping punches. At the end of the day, neither man has a decisive edge, but yes, you're right.....I do lean towards the man who's more fundamentally polished between the two. That would be Devon Alexander. The intrigue is that Bradley always find a way. Lets see if he can again.
Marv H. (Los Angeles, CA): I'm disgusted with the sport right now. Mayweather/Pacquiao doesn't look like it'll happen, and now, Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye doesn't look like it'll happen either. I haven't heard your thoughts on the Wladimir/Haye fall out. How do you feel about everything that has taken place?
Vivek W. (ESB): In short, I'm just as disgusted as everyone else. I think it's nothing short of criminal, and we might as well throw in the word juvenile, as well. Similar to my position in the Mayweather/Pacquiao scenario, I don't blame one man, I blame both men. Fight fans from both sides can think of a million reasons why their man isn't at fault, but I think think of a million more why their man is. The reality here is that it takes two, and it's hard to side either way when the road was clear and all stipulations have been met, yet the two sides still won't be moving forward.
Some have asked why I choose not to point the finger at one man or the other here like I seemed to in the Pacquiao/Mayweather scenario. Truth is, when you take a look at the facts, anyone would be mixing apples and oranges to even try to view it that way. In the Mayweather/Pacquiao scenario, one man stated that there would be no fight if a certain stipulation wasn't met, and he held his ground on that front. I supported his position, not to support him, but for the fact that his position is something that I think any athlete, particularly in a bloodsport should champion.
In this case, there is no paramount stipulation that was made as a true point of contention that separates the two. And the ones that were have seemingly been removed. I never agreed with the Klitschko's basically forcing Haye to face both men, requiring him to face the other if he defeats one. The flip side to that is that I didn't support the way Haye threw stones from behind the bush, basically barking loud and not biting when it appeared that he would have the chance in the past. So, again, I think of many reasons to point the finger at BOTH men, and will continue to do so. Just to throw a quick curve ball into the equation, for the record, I will admit, although I don't want to point the finger in either direction, I do take offense to Chisora getting the nod, considering that he isn't an actual mandatory. And I'll leave it there.
Tremaine G. (Charlotte, NC): It looks like Hopkins will get another shot at Pascal, despite Dawson having the right to his rematch. What do you think about the way this whole thing is unfolding?
Vivek W. (ESB): It's no secret that politics play a huge role in the sport, and this case has been no different. Beyond that, the reality is that star power and influence also play a role, indirectly. The Dawson fight was somewhat entertaining, but there were many lulls in the action, and Dawson did far less to capture the mind of the audience. In many ways he looked trapped in the moment and unable to respond, and when he finally attempted to, it was too late. With Hopkins, it was a good fight from the beginning to the end, and most would argue that had that fight taken place on neutral ground, or in the U.S., we wouldn't be having this conversation because he probably would have been declared the winner.
The current sentiment of WBC head figure Jose Suliaman is to strip Pascal of the title if he chooses not to honor their wishes of giving Hopkins an immediate rematch. This requires Pascal to decide whether or not he wants to shed the strap and hold the less gratifying IBO strap, or honor their wishes and risk losing one, maybe both. I think Dawson deserves his rematch, but in the political climate we now see this era engulfed in, there's no question, the 'sexy' option is Hopkins, so Pascal can simply pucker up and get ready to take a few more to the kisser! It's not my job to say what's best and what isn't, but in my opinion, the best fight to be made has been ordered by the WBC. Should be a great rematch!
(Vivek Wallace can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 954-292-7346, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEKWALLACE747), Skype (VITO-BOXING), Facebook, and Myspace).
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