'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's Mailbag feat. Agbeko/Mares/Mora, Donaire, Kimbo Slice & Return of Oscar Dela Hoya!!!
Hector L. (Northridge, CA): I read your FB post but I would like to know more about your thoughts on the pathetic officiating we saw in the Mares/Agbeko fight and what you think should be done in the aftermath?
Article posted on 15.08.2011
Vivek W. (ESB): Honestly, it was thee most pathetic display of officiating that I've ever witnessed in my years. Not my years as a boxing scribe, or my years as a fan, but my
years......as in my entire life! It was absolutely horrendous and it left me sick to my stomach. Many fight fans become outraged when they see this because they want equality in the sport, which is great and bodes true for all of us, but the biggest problem I personally have with these type of situations is that it prevents an athlete who has sacrificed his life for the sport from receiving future pay days and opportunities that he has worked hard to earn. These type of mishaps literally take food from the mouths and clothes from the backs of the families of these athletes that fall on the shorter end of the stick and it has to be stopped.
A few months ago we saw the actions of the Williams/Lara judges cost them dearly. I said at that time that I “hope it was [the] watershed moment for the sport where these officials are finally held accountable" and I sure hope it was. I hope Russell Mora is held accountable to the highest degree and I would go on record as to say that due to his out right defiant attitude, stating that the punches “looked good” after seeing video footage where they clearly weren't, I don't think he should ever be allowed to officiate another boxing match again because the biggest element of any official or judge is unbiased integrity and he proved to us all that he has none, which accompanies poor vision and apparently poor judgment. I truly hope that they make an example of him like they did the Williams/Lara judges and that the sport continues to shake the tree and remove all these 'bad apples'.
Now.....regarding Mares, I felt his performance was a decent one, but I loss respect for him as well after seeing him publicly state that the “punches were clean”, after video footage proved they weren't. I'm very big on integrity, and seeing things like this make me lose total respect for any man or woman. Timothy Bradley, Evander Holyfield, and many others were all men that I greatly respected who saw that respect fade immediately on the heels of this type of integrity lacking affair. Mares has made himself the latest fighter to add to this list. Some of his faithful will try to give him a pass on these fouls, but here's a little something for those ladies and gents to think about: Why do these
things ONLY happen in the fights?
If this was truly a natural tendency of a fighter to throw punches this low, wouldn't it also be happening in sparring where he trains specifically to iron out those type of elemental flaws? So my question evolves to this: If it's normal, why isn't it happening in training? And if it's not happening in training, how can it be categorized as anything other than intentional based on the fact that it's ONLY happening in the fights? We've never heard of this type of mishap from any of his sparring partners, current or past, so why is it continuously happening to the men he faces? And if it has happened in camp and we don't know about it, why hasn't his corner worked on this flaw? This reality makes Mora's actions even more sickening, because Mares acted as if he could not control it and the man who was supposed to opted not to.
Again, I lost total respect for Mora and despite his talent, Mares made me lose respect for him, as well. I wouldn't lose any sleep if Mora never officiated another fight and I wouldn't lose any sleep if Mares was stripped of his title, the Bantamweight trophy, and the victory, if not a retracted purse as well. Just my thoughts. Harsh to some.....but fair to all.
Miguel G. (San Francisco, CA): Who do you see winning a showdown between Nonito Donaire and Abner Mares?
Vivek W. (ESB): I think Abner Mares is a very skilled fighter. Good skills, good footwork, very good ability overall, but personally, I think Donaire picks him apart, maybe even easily. I like Mares' workrate and his shot selection, but he leaves himself open for certain punches that I think could pull the curtains on him if Donaire were to land them. Watching Mares down the stretch against Agbeko, there were times as early as the 8th round started to show signs of fading and left himself open for everything
from the jab, to the hook, to the cross, to the uppercut. Agbeko has a little looping to his punches, but Donaire is far more precise. Donaire would connect with more power and do far more damage. The toughest part of the fight for Donaire would be the early rounds.
If he stays in control through the 5th round, I sincerely think he'd coast the rest of the way, particularly if Mares starts out fast like he did against Agbeko. The more I analyze that fight, the more I think that could have actually been the reason that he faded late. Strategy would be very key for both men in this fight, but all things remaining equal, I like Donaire on the cards, maybe even late stoppage.
Marcus N. (Liberty City, FL): What are your thoughts on Kimbo Slices debut performance last Saturday night and how do you see him factoring into the sports heavyweight
Vivek W. (ESB): Short answer to your questions: Thoughts on his performance....exactly what I expected. How he factors into the sports heavyweight division? I don't. To
elaborate on those thoughts, I think it's funny how many fight fans have jumped on Kimbo Slice and attacked him for becoming a part of one of the sports most boring divisions. Hate to go here, but there are people that still think “Iron” Mike Tyson should come back! There's no one on the planet who's a bigger fan of him than I am, but
guess what, there's no way in hell I could sit there and try to watch him at this stage. Slice on the other hand is aged fighter, but still able to be competitive. Do I see him taking his dominance to the top? No. Not at all. But here's a plight to consider for all those guys out there who want to be critical:
Every single fighter in the sport is in it to make money. Some do it WITH pride, but they all do it FOR money. That's why they became prize fighters, not street fighters. Something else to add to that point is the fact that every fighter in the sport has an assigned matchmaker. What separates many who make it to the top from many who don't is the ability of that matchmaker. If prompted, we can all think of a few fighters who looked great until they faced someone their matchmaker never wanted them to face but it was a necessary evil because that matchmaker had done such a great job building the fighter up, they finally positioned themselves to cash in by facing a top dollar opponent who was well worth that risk – from a monetary value standpoint.
My point is that similar to Holyfield and some of these other aged vets in the sport, as long as he can pass the physicals like every other fighter, and as long as solid matchmaking is available to position him for a big payday at some point, who are any of us to say he needs to pack it in and hang 'em up? My advice to anyone who feels that way would be to simply not watch. But despite the novelty and circus effect, I have no issues with his participation in the sport. I'd take him against a Klitschko any day over men with ability and no heart like we recently saw with David Haye. The one thing he needs to excite me as a fight fan most is the one thing he has: heart. He won't defeat the K-bros in his greatest dream, but I have no problem with his pursuit of greater happiness. Rawk on, Kimbo!
Luis I. (Chicago, IL): Is it true that scar De La Hoya is considering a return to the ring, and how do you see things working out if he does?
Vivek W. (ESB): Rumors have been swirling for a little bit now in the underground about a potential Oscar return and to be honest, he wasn't my favorite fighter in the
world, but I loved to watch the man fight because he wasn't gonna come to lay down. Oscar has one of those odd legacies that could use a little tweaking before it's all said and done. Despite his great reputation and the mega-watt smile, when you look at the bottom line numbers, ODH finished his career 0-6 against future hall of famer's who he faced while in their prime (Mosley twice, Hopkins, Mayweather, Pacquiao, & Trinidad). He has a number of other quality victories, but a few more won't hurt, and it certainly won't hurt the lining in those Versace laced pockets of his. Whether some want to see him return or not, there's two things that will make a return inevitable:
First.....his name recognition and promotional duties will keep him in contention as a big draw against any of today's bigger names in the jr. middleweight division. Call me crazy, but even with Emanuel Steward, I don't see him looking too bad against Miguel Cotto, and I think it's actually a fight he could steal on the cards under the right circumstances. Saul Alavrez in a huge showdown in Mexico? Very winnable fight for ODH, and it would do incredible numbers at the gates, maybe even sell out a stadium across the border. Shane Mosley in a “loser goes home for good” bout, anybody? Or how about Julio Caesar Chavez jr. in a “first fighter to defeat a legend and his undefeated son” battle? Comedy aside, there are fights that Oscar could not only make for big paydays, but also be competitive in to ensure more big paydays.
Remember the answer to the Kimbo Slice question ladies and gents: Careful matchmaking and an ability to pass a physical can take even the worst prize fighters to several prizes. Stay tuned.
(Vivek Wallace can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 954.292.7346, Youtube (Vivek1251), Twitter (VivekWallace747), Skype (Vito-Boxing), & Facebook).
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