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Mailbag: Give Klitschkos some credit

You can follow Kevin Iole on Twitter at @KevinI

It's not a boxing mailbag these days without at least one question about Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, so we have a few of those for you yet again. Thankfully, though, this week's edition includes more than just complaints about Pacquiao's place in the Yahoo! Sports rankings and Mayweather's drug testing demands. Let's hop right to it, but this will be the last time I address the drug testing issues surrounding a potential Mayweather-Pacquiao fight unless or until something changes.

Klitschkos deserve respect

Thank you for being one of the few boxing experts who gives the Klitschko brothers the respect they deserve. I agree with you they both would be successful in any era. Most Americans ignore them due to where they're from, but if they were American, I believe they would be among the biggest draws in boxing.

Nick
Southbridge, Mass.

There have been different complaints about each Klitschko, but both are chided for lack of competition. That's clearly not their fault. Some questioned Vitali's toughness, which stems from a 2000 fight against Chris Byrd, when he quit after the ninth round while far ahead. But it turned out he needed major shoulder surgery and could have done significant, permanent damage to his shoulder had he continued. And I think he subsequently has proven his toughness, particularly in his loss to Lennox Lewis. The criticism of Wladimir was about the quality of his chin and his conditioning. He's seemed to solve his conditioning issues and he hasn't so much as wobbled in a fight in several years.

Show more aggression

I totally agree the Klitschko brothers are faced with a lack of quality opposition and that it is unfair to judge them based on this. However, I really think they both need to take a more aggressive approach to their fights. Of course, no one expects a fighter, especially a heavyweight, to take a quixotic risk in the ring. They should fight smart. But it's tough for the public to watch these two highly skilled giants fight so hesitantly against much smaller and much less formidable opposition.

Vinny C.

Thanks, Vinny. I think Wladimir fights cautiously and your point is apt in regard to him, but I don't believe that's fair to Vitali.

Kevin, I have read a lot of your articles and never had an issue with any of them, However, this one about Klitschko and Sosnowski bothers me. For what reason are you degrading Sosnowski? Your article is very unprofessional and insulting to not only Sosnowski but the other heavyweights you mentioned. Granted, the talent in the division is weak, but to outright insult and call the challenger a fraud and a no-hoper is ridiculous. Why bother having the fight then? Buster Douglas was a so-called no-hoper when he beat Mike Tyson and we all know what happened then.

Mike
Nashua, N.H.

Thanks for the note, Mike. However, your argument struggles. There was a big difference between Buster Douglas and Albert Sosnowski. Douglas was always viewed as a talented guy who didn't always fight with heart. He clearly put it all together against Tyson. No one other than those in Sosnowski's inner circle could honestly say the same about him. I wasn't insulting him; I was just pointing out the truth. Klitschko won every second of every round before stopping Sosnowski in the 10th. Would you have preferred I built up Sosnowski as a legitimate challenger when I knew he was not? Sosnowski fighting for the world title is the equivalent of the Pittsburgh Pirates being put into the World Series.

I read your Hooks 'n Jabs column and I completely disagree with your opinion that Israel Vazquez does not belong in the boxing Hall of Fame. He deserves to be in simply for the awesome three fights he put on against Rafael Marquez, but I think he also he has been one of boxing's best fighters for more than 10 years and he should be honored for that. I don't think you know about all of his other fights. He deserves more respect than you gave him.

Oscar A.
Los Angeles

If we're going to reward someone for having a great fight, or a great trilogy, by putting them into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, what does that then do to the quality of the Hall of Fame itself? It should be just for the best of the best, not for guys who won titles and maybe had a few exciting fights. By your standard, Micky Ward ought to be finishing up his induction speech. I love what Vazquez did in his fights with Rafael Marquez, but I think he comes up a bit short when you objectively examine his entire career.

PED evidence

I can't believe you would state there is a problem with performance enhancing drugs in boxing. You should have evidence or facts before you degrade all the professional boxers. Your emphatic statement that "PED usage in the sport needs to be controlled" insinuates that you have the facts that there are many boxers out there who use PEDs. I don't think that is true in boxing. If you conduct a survey of boxing trainers, they will all agree that one needs technique and proper training to be a good boxer. Being heavy or more muscular, even if it resulted from use of PEDs, does not make one a good boxer. I don't really see why people, including you, make a big issue about requiring blood testing one to two weeks before the fight when there is no scientific evidence that a boxer will be guaranteed to win a fight if he uses PEDs during that time period.

Lyndon Garcia

I live in Las Vegas, Lyndon, and I regularly see fighters who fail their post-fight drug tests. Most of them get little attention because they're not big names. It's not always only for steroids, either. Some take diuretics to help them cut weight. Others use EPO in order to help them train longer and harder. There are some who simply abuse recreational drugs. Yet, not all fighters are tested. Plus, there is a percentage who are taking and who are tested who beat the test because of things like masking agents and cycling. I will agree that just becoming more heavily muscled does not guarantee a win. There is a reason, though, PEDs are banned and boxing regulators should be vigilant to expel them as much as possible from the sport.

Take the test, Manny

I'm a Manny Pacquiao fan and I want Pacman to take the random drug test Mayweather demands. I want this fight badly and I want to be there to watch the fight live.

Xavier
Baghdad, Iraq

I want the fight to happen, too, Xavier. I suspect there are going to be issues other than drug testing that are difficult to resolve, as well. I created a group on Facebook that is called "Make the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight." The more people who join and post a comment about their demands to see the fight, the more influence it will have.

Manny has no good reason

There truly is no reason for Manny Pacquiao to elude the blood testing issue. In this day and age where spectators pay expensive ticket prices and buy pay-per-view to see sporting events, we should have the certainty that we are watching an event of participants at the top of their game. In boxing more than any other sport, this should be mandated. Boxing has long been manipulated and managed by less than savory participants, and we should strive to do whatever it takes to make it the sport it was originally intended to be. Testing should be done various times prior to the fight and no less than 72 hours before by an independent medical team. Fighters who test positive for PEDs should have their license suspended for four years and a lawsuit against the boxer's team, management and sponsors, guaranteeing the investment of the promotion for said fight. Only by doing this will boxing ever be a clean sport.

Ray Gutierrez
Miami

I'm all for cleaning up the sport, Ray, but if you say the sponsors of a fighter will be sued, that will guarantee that no fighters have sponsors.

Mares was robbed

I just finished watching the Abner Mares-Yohnny Perez fight for the IBF bantamweight title for the umpteenth time and I still come up with the same score I had on fight night when I watched it live and in the flesh at Staples Center. I had Mares up seven rounds to five. Those two judges deserve a swift slap back into good judgedom. Dan
Los Angeles

It was a very close (and entertaining) fight, Dan. I don't complain about a draw, but I do think Perez should give Mares a rematch.