'Left-Hook Lounge': Martinez, Bradley/Pacquiao, Mayweather, & Alvarez/Cintron
By Vivek Wallace:
Article posted on 03.10.2011
Victor C. (Orlando, FL): I saw some of your FaceBook comments regarding Sergio Martinez and his recent victory. I think you were a little critical but I'm not sure you meant it the way I took it. Can you explain your statement that Martinez "looked ordinary " Saturday?
Vivek W. (ESB): I think there's been much made about nothing in regards to this particular comment. Basically it was made in response to a fight fan who asked for my personal assessment on the performance of Martinez. I think people have to realize that when you ask someone for their particular assessment, you're going to get theirs....not any one elses or one that any one else should naturally expect to endorse. My particular opinion of Martinez has always been a great one and I don't think it necessarily changed. That being said, like always, I like to take a look at every angle and the subject matter of Sergio Martinez is no different.
When we look at some of the perennial figures of the sport, the Hopkins', the Mayweathers, the Pacquiao's etc; we think of guys who dominated for years and a certain level of not only greatness, but also expectation came with those performances. In the case of Martinez, I've always been a fan, but it wasn't until I assessed his entire body of work that I had to truthfully respond by asking myself, "exactly how good is this guy"?
I've always found him to be flawed fundamentally, but like Pacquiao, he makes up for it with that exciting rapid burst of punches that come fast and often with a lot of pop! That's all well and good, but that type of fighter often comes attached to a looming backdrop that makes you wonder "what happens when he faces someone who won't let him land all those shots, who has enough skill to land a ton of their own"? When I looked at him from that angle and started to view his body of work, I began to simply question how good he really is?
He has taken advantage of opportunity placed before him and for that you have to respect him; but has anyone stopped to realize that only 3, 4 years ago he was facing men who had 34 losses? Here's an interesting fact to ponder: Between the years 2005-2007 his collective opponent win/loss record was 108-119. Kinda looks like a lopsided scorecard, but it's not. 119 losses to 108 victories. That was just a few years ago. Then you press fast forward and take a look at the men he did defeat whom the public knew: Williams, Pavlik, Barker, and a draw against Cintron.
Each of these men have come with a bevy of questions surrounding their names, yet defeating three out of four of them has left some calling him a #3 P4P fighter in the world. To me, there's something gravely wrong with that position. Bottom-line, I have nothing bad to say about Martinez and I consider myself a fan. That being said, I see him like I see all other fighters: FROM BOTH ANGLES. I look forward to his next fight, and I wish him well, but the straight right hand seems impossible to miss him with and the dropped-hand defense simply isn't a winning combination in my book. When I think about all of those flaws and the questionable resume, I ask the same question, and this time, maybe you can answer it for me: "Exactly how good is Sergio Martinez"?
Shawn N. (Dallas, TX): What are your thoughts about the possible Cintron/Canelo Alvarez showdown being discussed?
Vivek W. (ESB): I think it makes for a very interesting showdown. No doubt. The last few performances for Kermit Cintron haven't exactly been ones to be proud of, but at the end of the day, he's a powerful puncher, an athletic boxer, and a man whose ability when at the top of his game can be enough to do the impossible......no matter who that "impossible" is on that given night. 'Canelo' Alvarez doesn't exactly possess the type of skills that makes one think he's unbeatable, so against a seasoned veteran like Cintron, absolutely, I think that he has his work cut out for him. 'Canelo' is a very spirited fighter and that's his major claim to fame, but against a power puncher like Cintron, anything is possible, and I don't see Alvarez hurting him, so that means he'd have to go the full 12 rounds. I like the fight. I hope it's made.
Barry N. (Reseda, CA): Timothy Bradley has officially signed with Top Rank. How strong are the odds of us seeing him face Pacquiao next?
Vivek W. (ESB): VERY!!! As a matter of fact, I'd go out on a limb and say get your money ready now, as these two will undoubtedly square off next Spring. There's been a major point of contention for many Pacquiao critics out there who have talked about Pacquiao's lack of "slick African American fighters on his resume", and this possibility provides fulfillment of that quota. Well........maybe sort of. Mosley was said to be too old, so now, Arum will be able to kill two birds with one stone by delivering on the mega-money fight that Bradley has so desperately wanted, while also giving critics of Pacquiao the type of match they feel he has avoided.
Unfortunately, in the mind of most, there isn't much "slick" about Bradley, but at any rate, he is a very good young boxer, and one that we've seen evolve on every level he's been placed on in the sport thus far. I think it'll be a good fight while it last, but I like Pacquiao in a late stoppage in this one. Bradley has a few intangibles that could make it interesting, and an accidental *headbutt* (clearing my throat - because you know it's gonna happen) would set the stage for a very intriguing ending; but I just don't see him getting the job done against Manny. Being the hardcore fight fan that I am, I'll be tuned in if I can help it, but the outcome is already in the books on this one. Sad but true.
Mario R. (Chicago, IL): Why is it that neither of the P4P kings of the sport (Mayweather/Pacquiao) will give Sergio Martinez a fight?
Vivek W. (ESB): I think this is a classic example of why people need to better assess their perspective on certain things before they go public with them. I hear a lot of people ask this question, yet many are the same ones who questioned Mayweather for facing Marquez (who had to come up 2 weight classes), or many other similar examples. I can understand the logic that Martinez can make 154, and so can Pacquiao and Mayweather, but it should be duly noted that Martinez has been part of the jr. middleweight division as early as his second career fight back in 1998. Mayweather went north in weight because that's where the money was, but remember, this is the same guy who weighed in at 146lbs in 2006 against Zab Judah, and a day later after full hydration, tipped the scales unofficially at the same weight on fight night.
This is the same guy that took 16 months off, yet still tipped the scales a pound below the welterweight limit of 147lbs, and was only two pounds over that limit a full 30 days before the fight. Regarding Pacquiao, some will point to the fact that he tipped the scales in his 150's a few times well before entering the jr. middleweight division, (Hatton fight), but again, this is a man who is naturally smaller, and certainly was no where near this division back in 1998 when Martinez was. Martinez walks around closer to 170lbs or so between fights. I know the money is down south, but if he wants to gain the accolades these other men have, he needs to build his resume and perhaps consider facing those at middleweight or agreeing to catchweight to face some of the bigger names at super middleweight.
Ward, Froch, or Bute would all be extremely great challenges for him, and and would truly help put the stamp on his legacy, with or without Mayweather and Pacquiao. I'd love to see these fights, and I hope they happen one day. For the sake of solidifying his legacy, I hope for Martinez that they happen, because I don't see enough benefit in it for Mayweather or Pacquiao to justify the fights ever happening. Both have already gone up to the 154 and claimed a title, therefore there's not anything in the division worth going up for. Would Martinez kill himself and try to make 147lbs again? I don't know, but even if he did, who'd wanna watch after seeing how ODH struggled to get that low against MP. It's not a good business move for either party involved and I don't think there's enough money involved to make it happen.
(Vivek "Vito" Wallace can be reached at email@example.com, Youtube (Vivek1251), Twitter (VivekWallace747), Skype (Vito-Boxing), and Facebook).
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