Boxing


'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's Mailbag feat. Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez, Floyd Mayweather jr., & Haye/Klitschko!

Matthew B. (Chicago, IL): After our conversation, I went back and looked at more of Saul Alvarez and found him to be a very interesting fighter. That said, I would like you to clarify a statement you made about him. Are you saying that you think he's ready at this particular time to face the top level of fighters at 154?

Vivek W. (ESB): Before I answer your question, let me take this matter full circle: For starters, lets identify who the "top level of fighters at 154" really is. You have Bundrage (IBF Champ), Dzinzurik (WBO Champ), and Cotto (WBA Champ). When we move beyond that group, you have Margarito, whom when healthy is as durable and dangerous as anyone else there; as well as Kermit Cintron, who you can't discount either. In my mind, this core group comprises what I would personally call the best of the best at 154.

Now....I know someone out there is gonna say "where's Vanes Martirosyan and Angulo"? My response: I have nothing personal against Vanes or Angulo, but at this time, although their hype and talent may suggest an elite level, (in the minds of some), I think their respective resumes haven't quite caught up and I've seen too many fights where they didn't quite impress the way I felt they would, or should at this stage. So, that being said, when you look at that group of elite 154lb'ers listed, I won't say that 'Canelo' beats all those guys, but I would argue in his defense as it relates to how or why he could make such a fight an interesting one.

Cotto looks better but would be tested by a young fighter with fast hands, a durable chin, and decent power that often comes in combinations. Bundrage is pretty good, but I've seen him lose to men far less spirited and I really think there's no way he'd get the decision over Canelo. Dzinzurik? Interesting matchup. Cintron? Very interseting matchup, because Cintron is powerful, but has had issues with men who punch in bunches and aren't afraid of him. Margarito? Now there's a true nemesis. I think of all the men listed, Margarito is the one who's style poses a direct challenge. If he withstood 12rds of Pacquiao's best, Canelo is a cakewalk.

My personal pick between all these fights is the Cotto fight. Chavez jr. would make the most economical sense, because they could stage it in Mexico and blow the lid off the local circuit. That being said, such a fight won't find the same global level of interest. The best money fight to be made that could also live up to the hype would be Cotto. Cotto remains a fighter under question, but keep in mind, his only two losses came to a man who may not have been playing clean and another fighter deemed the best in the sport, who, (lets be honest), has a few scratching their heads about his supernatural ability.

So, I think this would be an incredible fight, and would tell us practically all we need to know about either man. Now.....as we all know, both fights would require rivals GoldenBoy Promotions and Top Rank to do business and this is no easy affair. At the end of the day, both these men are driven by money, and if it doesn't involve sacrificing the top money maker in the stable (which it doesn't) I would expect cooler heads to prevail.....followed by one hot night of boxing. Stay tuned.

Gilbert B. (Northridge, CA): What are your thoughts on Floyd Mayweather jr. and his failure to appear in court for the Pacquiao lawsuit?

Vivek W. (ESB): Lets take a quick trip down memory lane.....perhaps when we're done many will understand why this "issue" is a non-issue to me. The first individual to actually go public about his thoughts on Pacquiao was Paulie Malignaggi. There were discussions in the underground around the media at one point because a few even came my way, but the first person I can recall actually going public with this sentiment was Paul Malignaggi. Next, Floyd Snr. started to talk, then Roger, and then so did Oscar and Schaefer.

The lawsuit soon followed, but the irony here that few seem to take note of is the fact that when you take a deeper look at the timeline, none of the words coined as "allegations" really carried any weight until Mayweather agreed in principle to all demands, including the non-commission-established $10M over-weight clause and the fight was imminent. No one seems to be talking about the fact that GBP was still actively negotiating the fight when the lawsuit was filed, but it wasn't until Mayweather agreed to all terms that the talk of a lawsuit truly intensified.

Fast forward a little and suddenly, despite making statements that parallel those of the accused, Oscar, Schaefer, nor Malignaggi find themselves in the final suit; neither do the men at the center of the "controversial email" allegation, (Teddy Atlas and Tim Smith of the NY Daily News). That in and of itself is sketchy because that particular allegation remains the closest ammo this saga has seen to an actual 'smoking gun'! (pun intended)

So, we look at who spoke, what they said and when they said it; then we look at the initiation of the lawsuit and how the timelines run their course. Essentially, here we have a man professing innocence, yet that man has refused the best available testing the market can supply. I firmly believe Pacquiao can be clean and innocent of any substance intake, but I also consider his position and how often it changed (Ex: from...."I'll take any test, anywhere, any time", to...."it will make me weak", to...."I will do what the commission requires only"....and beyond). Anyone familiar with defamation versus free speech knows there is far too much inconsistency here for the accused party to accuse.

At the end of the day, there are 3 things that a judge considers when pondering defamation: Truth or factual properties, duty of speech (ones obligation to say certain things), and last but not least, freedom of speech. We know that Mayweather had no "duty to speak", but what we also know is that we have no idea if the statements made by Mayweather and company are true or not because Pacquiao has in fact refused the most extensive testing under many inconsistent circumstances. There has to be an established truth to say there's an established non-truth. Currently, we have no more truth that he's innocent than we do that he's guilty.

Bottom-line, Mayweather is a man who has other cases against him and he's also a man who's free today as a result of bonding out of another active case against him. If this were the "serious matter" some believe, there's no way in hell the judge would have allowed the day to end without taking action to bring him to justice immediately. He isn't hard to find! I won't say this is a false alarm, but I will say this: If Mayweather goes down, it'll be from one of the other cases. Not a sketchy defamation case. Too many inconsistencies here. ESSENTIALLY PACQUIAO IS OPTING TO PAY TO FACE A MAN IN COURT, RATHER THAN BE PAID TO FACE A MAN IN SPORT. If I see this, so can the judge.

Aaron R. (Dallas, TX): After seeing the HBO face-off between Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye, who do you give the edge when they meet up?

Vivek W. (ESB): I'd be the first to admit that while the episode was as good as probably all the others I've seen, I think you have to remember that they were fully dressed and sitting in a room far away from the ring they'll be standing in face to face in a few weeks. Simply said, I don't really eat off the hype machine like these type of promotions try to get us fans and media to do. I've seen too many men act big in promotions, and walk away feeling very small on fight night.....as witnessed just a few weeks ago with Shane Mosley.

I think the fight has all the trimmings of something special, but there's an unspoken reality that I'm gonna let you all in on right quickly: Aside from Pacquiao/Mayweather, there's no bigger fight to be made in the sport. The fact that this fight is finally made can be a good thing for the sport, or it could be one of the worst things for the sport. We all love the hype of a big fight, but for the two men involved, there's also a realization that all it takes is one big shot and all that 'rise' we feel can quickly fall! Mayweather/De la Hoya was the highest grossing fight in history, and many remember all that hype producing a safety first fight in the end.

When you think about the two men involved here, both have shown tendencies to fight very tight against far lesser opposition. Do people really expect these guys to come out and play "hero" with guns blazing and get wreckless on the highest stage the sport will see this year? Bottom-line, I really think there's gonna be so much adrenaline involved that both men will do their best to avoid being the guy that didn't live up to the hype. I expect that it'll be a very cautious battle, and if this is true, I lean to the bigger man, because the bigger man will land a lot easier than the smaller one, despite the speed deficit.

I want to give Haye the edge, but Wladi-K has speed too, and if he misses with the jab, he'll have a cross coming right behind it. Haye will probably be afraid to try to penetrate that reach. If so, it'll be a tough night for him. Haye has the tools to win and win easily, but does he have the heart to risk it all? I'm not sure he does. The cool thing is that this is the stage men live for, and it's the one where legends are born. One of these men can cement their legendary status to some degree. I don't know who I truly give "the edge" to just yet, but what I do know is that the one willing to risk it all will be the one that stands tall in the end. This is the most feedback I can give until I watch more fight footage and prepare for a final prediction for the fight.

(Vivek Wallace can be reached at vivexemail@yahoo.com, 954-292-7346, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEKWALLACE747). Skype (VITO-BOXING), and Facebook).

Article posted on 20.06.2011



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