The boxing mailbag is back and with it is a series of questions and comments on a wide range of topics. In this week's edition of the mailbag, I'll address questions about the Super Six tournament, Kelly Pavlik's career, the Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito fight, where the heavyweights have gone and more.
Matthew, I don't totally disagree with you, but it could easily turn out to be far less than you cite. Most likely, the semifinal rankings are going to play out with Ward first, the Abraham-Froch winner second, the loser third and Johnson fourth. That would mean a rematch between Abraham and Froch and a Ward-Johnson fight. I don't think Glen has near the quickness at this stage to deal with Ward. Plus, Ward went into this looking to get a boost by fighting quality opponents. Instead, he got a replacement in Green, who barely showed up. Next, he'll fight a yet-to-be announced replacement, and then he's likely to face a fading Johnson. I give Johnson much, much credit for being the kind of boxer we want to see more of, but he's no longer near his peak. Plus, we have to think that making 168 for the first time in more than 10 years is going to drain him. If Green were to happen to beat Johnson, you'd have a Ward-Green rematch and that would be a flat nightmare. The first Ward-Green fight was horrendous and I know of no one who wants to see it again. I commend Showtime and Ken Hershman for putting the event together, but I still stand by my original stance it would have been far better off as an eight-man tournament.
It would be nice, Cameron, but it's not going to happen, nor can it happen. Pavlik is fighting Bryan Vera in Arlington, Texas, on Nov. 13 on the Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito card. Andre Ward, who was supposed to fight Dirrell, is still slated for Nov. 27.
George, I don't agree, but let me correct some things: Cameron Dunkin and Mike Pavlik, Kelly's father, are co-managers. Loew is the trainer. But I disagree that he should have skipped those fights. They both paid extremely well and they were both big fights. In the case of the Hopkins fight, that only came after Pavlik was unable to negotiate a bout to fight Paul Williams. But bottom line, if you're going to be a world champion and fight at the highest level, those are the kinds of fighters you have to meet, and beat.
El Paso, Texas
Leo, Margarito did cheat. There is no question. He was caught with an illegal knuckle pad in his hand wraps. That's cheating. The question is whether he knew it. I wrote in January that he should be licensed because there is no evidence whether he was aware the trainer Javier Capetillo slipped the hardened pad into his wraps. I still am not happy, though, that Margarito got the Pacquiao fight, whether he knew or not. I am pleased that he's hired Robert Garcia, a highly respected trainer, to replace Capetillo and view that as a positive.
Adam, I don't think anyone is downplaying the fight. I'm not sure where you are coming up with that thought. There are a lot of people who aren't happy that Pacquiao chose Margarito, given the hand wrap controversy, but no one is ignoring the fight. Remember, it's still a month away. I like Pacquiao to win the fight because of his speed. Margarito's best chance is to cut off the ring, pin Pacquiao in a corner and do his work in a confined space, the way he did in his fight with Miguel Cotto. I just don't believe Margarito is going to be able to cope with Pacquiao's fast hands, even if he is able to cut off the ring (which I doubt he'll be able to consistently do).
Arthur Vallejo Jr.
Arthur, the sanctioning bodies are a major problem in boxing. However, if the promoters formed an association and essentially appointed a commissioner, they could work around many (though admittedly not all) of the problems the sanctioning bodies create. I don't have a problem with the sanctioning bodies' existence, though I am a harsh critic, because I believe in a lot of cases, fighters make more money with the titles. A few of the many problems created by sanctioning bodies are: Poor rankings, which lead to undeserved title challengers and champions; stripping fighters who won belts routinely; changing the rules on a whim to suit their needs. Boxing needs a central authority figure who can rule on disputes, impose discipline and create structure to a sport that has none.
I'm not an attorney, Ryan, but I don't believe there are any antitrust issues with the concept. I do agree that the potential for abuse exists, but couldn't the same potential exist in the NFL? Roger Goodell is the commissioner appointed by the owners and could favor, theoretically, the Cowboys over everyone else. But if you hire an independent commissioner, write a strong set of rules and give him the power to do his/her job, it can work.
Thank you, Hans. I think you answered the first question yourself. Most of the larger athletes in the U.S. nowadays are choosing sports other than boxing. They're playing baseball, football or basketball instead of fighting. Also, mixed martial arts is taking some of them, though I believe the impact of that will be greater down the line than it is currently. Men who are 160 pounds and less don't have much of a chance to play any of the major team sports professionally in the U.S., because their size generally precludes them from doing so unless they're an exceptional athlete. But above that weight, we see those men going into the team sports, where they often get a free education in college before turning pro and where, in the pros, the average salary is in the millions of dollars. As for the Klitschkos, I don't criticize them much for their choice of opponents because the pickings are extremely slim.
- Kelly Pavlik
- Antonio Margarito