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Mailbag: Great time to be a fight fan

Kevin Iole
Yahoo Sports

This is a great time to be a fight fan. There is only one fight of note this weekend – ex-heavyweight boxing champion Chris Byrd meets Alexander Povetkin in a title elimination bout in Germany – but the following three weeks are stacked.

Unbeaten super middleweight champions Joe Calzaghe (WBO) and Mikkel Kessler (WBA/WBC) will meet for the unified 168-pound title on Nov. 3 in Cardiff, Wales. On Nov. 10, Miguel Cotto defends the WBA welterweight belt against Shane Mosley in New York.

And on Nov. 17, the UFC presents a stacked card for its first show in New Jersey in a long time at UFC 78, and there also is a sensational super featherweight boxing match that night in Atlantic City between Humberto Soto and Joan Guzman.

I can't wait. One of the reasons I think I have the best job in the world is that I'll be at nearly all of them. Mark your calendars for these fights and note that I'll be in Wales for Calzaghe-Kessler, in New York for Cotto-Mosley and then in Newark, N.J., for UFC 78. Anyway, the mailbag was overflowing with questions on both boxing and mixed martial arts, so let's jump in.

This is the last combined version, by the way. The MMA and boxing pages will be separating this week. I'll continue to post a mailbag each Tuesday, but the boxing questions will be answered on the boxing page and the MMA questions on the MMA page.

As always, my answers are in italics below the questions.


I saw both the Marco Antonio Barrera-Manny Pacquiao and the Juan Diaz-Julio Diaz fights recently. Afterward, Juan Diaz said he would welcome a fight with Pacquiao. In your opinion, how likely is that and who would you list as the favorite? One thing I would be interested in watching is how Manny's power would translate to a different weight class.

Washington, D.C.
I'd love to see Juan Diaz take on Pacquiao, but it's not going to happen for a while. Pacquiao is going to fight either WBC lightweight champion David Diaz or WBC super featherweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez. Juan Diaz has a mandatory defense against Michael Katsidis, which itself promises to be explosive. But a Juan Diaz-Pacquiao fight would have Fight of the Decade potential. And I'd give the Baby Bull a decent shot at an upset. He is very, very good and getting better.

Bland fight card

Any other time, I would have been upset to not see the UFC on the front page after a pay-per-view show, but this one (UFC 77) was awful! I am huge Dana White fan. I think he is a leader in this business and I have nothing but respect for the man, but Tim Sylvia stinks. The reason he is so disliked is because he wants to credit his fights to his talent, when in reality he has none. He talks a lot of trash when in reality it is his awkwardness that causes people to not be able to beat him. Every time Tim loses, he has an excuse. Every time he does not perform well, like on Saturday, he again has another excuse. People do not want to hear excuses! We want results and we want good ones at the end of the fight!

Henderson, N.C.
I’m not sure if you want Tim to say, "Well, I didn't deserve to win and I'm awful, but I got lucky and won." I agree that he could win more fans if he handled himself correctly. And I agree that he could be more exciting. He needs to let his hands go more. When he does, he's a tough match for any heavyweight in the world. He gets in trouble when he waits.

Wrong on Kang

You are an idiot if you think Denis Kang couldn't take Anderson Silva out. A pure idiot. Dennis has fought world-class competition and absolutely destroyed his last 20-plus opponents. The only way you might be right is because Silva has the cage experience and Kang doesn't. Put them in a boxing ring and Kang would pummel Anderson.

Seoul, South Korea

He may have destroyed his last 20 opponents, but one of the destroyed (editor’s note: Kazuo Misaki, career record 18-8-2) managed to win the fight anyway. For what it's worth, Kang is on a one-fight winning streak. I'm sure Anderson Silva isn't lying awake at night thankful Kang signed with K1/Heroes and not the UFC.

Sylvia a conundrum

Tim Sylvia is a conundrum to me. The man has phenomenal skill and potential, and while I'm willing to concede his last two performances weren't 100 percent, he hasn't really had any impressive performances in a while. His second fight with Andrei Arlovski at least showed he has a desire to win, but the reason he's lost the fans is because he has a combination of cockiness that seems to be the trademark of the fighters in the Miletich camp. Sylvia wins more by surviving than actually dominating an opponent.

Rafael Osornio
Eugene, Ore.

Sylvia isn't a highly skilled fighter. The reason he's a top guy is his size and his sheer power. But he hurts himself, as I said above, by not throwing more. He needs to be active, active, active, active.

Lesnar deserves respect

How is it that a 265-pound man who is a four-time All-American and an NCAA wrestling champion with a 106-5 record and the ability to lift a large man over his head with ease is getting put down so much like Brock Lesnar has been? Oh wait, it's because he was a WWE pro wrestler. Lesnar will be a dominant heavyweight against overrated Pride fighters and hacks like Arlovski and Sylvia.

Nick McKnight
Riverside, Calif.

Lesnar has a world of potential. He has the ability to one day become UFC heavyweight champion. But the UFC needs to bring him along slowly. He's had only one MMA fight.

Look into the crystal ball

Who do you think will beat Anderson Silva? Do you see the winner of Matt Serra-Matt Hughes facing Georges St. Pierre or Jon Fitch? If GSP, then when do you think Fitch will get his title shot?

Yusef McNeal
Collierville, Tenn.

I'm betting Silva fights Thales Leites next, though it's far from determined. UFC president Dana White is on record saying the Serra-Hughes winner will fight St. Pierre next. Fitch will have to wait until mid-next year, at the earliest. He's hurt by being in a very crowded division.

Hopkins not a top-10 fighter

How can any so called "expert" have Bernard Hopkins and Winky Wright listed in a top 10? Mayweather can be No. 1, but only for his marquee value. He refuses to fight anyone young with speed and punching power. He ducked Antonio Margarito and flat-out refused to duke it out with Miguel Cotto. And speaking of Cotto, he's taken care of every opponent placed before him and hasn't ducked anyone. If Ivan Calderon could hit, he would be in the top three. But all you front-running journalists only like punchers.

Arlington, Texas

You call us front-runners who like punchers and not boxers, but then you dispute the selection of Mayweather as the top fighter in the world?

Pick deserving challengers

Is it just me or is the UFC giving title shots to fighters who draw more tickets sales than the fighters who have actually deserved the title shot. I was happy to see Dan Henderson compete for the title against Rampage Jackson, but part of me felt like some of the other fighters who had been in the UFC the whole time should have gotten a shot before Henderson did. There are a large number of fighters in each weight class who I feel have proven their worth and should get a shot at the championship, but the UFC would rather sell tickets than reward the fighters.

Tyler Gray
Bluford, Ill.

Remember that the UFC is a business and it makes its money, in part, from ticket and pay-per-view sales. So yeah, a fighter's ability to sell will get him a title shot quicker than one who can not. That's just giving the public what it wants to see. I think, by and large, the UFC does a great job doling out the title shots.

Pacquiao overrated

How is Manny Pacquiao second on the Yahoo! boxing ranking? Joe Calzaghe, Ricky Hatton and maybe even Miguel Cotto should be in front of this guy. How does your system work?

Steven Phillips
Bakersfield, Calif.

I have a panel of voters from around the world who choose their top 10 fighters. I award 10 points for a first-place vote, nine for a second and so on down to one point for a 10th-place vote. I have voters from around the world and, for the November poll, will add Claude Abrams, the editor of British Boxing News, and Gunnar Meinhardt, the boxing writer at Die Welt, the large paper in Germany.

Calzaghe, Hatton and Cotto all have big fights upcoming and, with impressive wins, could challenge Pacman for No. 2.

Pavlik is significant

In my opinion, the Kelly Pavlik-Jermain Taylor fight is of the three most important boxing matches in recent memory. Regardless of whether or not Pavlik was a proven commodity, I heard more non-boxing fans talk about that fight than any fight besides Oscar De La Hoya-Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson. I am very curious to read your opinion.

Jonathan Williams
Dale City, Va.

Fans love punchers and Pavlik gets it on. I love his fights and am happy he's so young and in such good health. I expect he's going to be one of the game's big names before long.

Heavyweights deserve love

Why are the heavyweights being ignored by media? Wladimir Klitschko is the top in the world and all four heavyweight titles are or have been dominated by whites. Could this be the reason? Fact, the Evander Holyfield loss the other night got about two seconds air time on a ticker by ESPN. Imagine had he won? Why are the inner-city hoods getting knocked out regularly by the top heavyweights?

James Turpin
Miami, Fla.

Race has nothing to do with it, though I admit to a chuckle at the thought that whites are being discriminated against in favor of blacks. The reason the heavyweights are largely ignored is that by and large, the division reeks.

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