You've had a lot on your mind and so the boxing mailbag is filled with questions and comments about various aspects of the sport. There are takes on both sides of the Joe Calzaghe situation, comments about Wladimir Klitschko and questions about my choice as Fight of the Year.
Read on for an overflowing mailbag. As always, my answers are in italics. And for those who have been wondering, the December rankings will be out sometime on Wednesday. Now, on to your questions and comments.
Quit the bashing, Joe
All I have to say about your column on Joe Calzaghe is "Amen!" He is very good, but beating a faded Roy Jones Jr. does not give one the clout to bash the sport that made you rich. Also, everyone complains about the fighters Jones dodged, but why didn't the Pride of Wales fight Nigel Benn, Steve Collins, and Gerald McClellan himself? Cardiff, Wales, to London is a much shorter drive than Pensacola, Fla.
San Diego, Calif.
I don't care for Calzaghe's comments that the sport which made him rich is dying, but to be fair, Pat, Benn, Collins and McClellan fought before Calzaghe entered his prime. Benn retired in 1996 and Calzaghe didn't win his first world title until October 1997. Collins' last fight was in July 1997 and McClellan's career tragically ended in 1995 when he suffered permanent brain injuries during his fight with Benn. The point of the column was not to bash Calzaghe for his choice of opposition, because he's clearly one of the best of his generation and a certain Hall of Fame inductee. However, the point is that he didn't try to improve the sport's lot when he had the chance. He waited until he took all he could from it and then he spoke out.
'Shockingly bad' column
I just read your column about Calzaghe and it was shockingly bad. You have the poo for brains to call him a hypocrite for not giving up his belt or whoring himself out to the American media all in an effort to fix boxing's problems, while at the same time agreeing there are problems and your solution is to criticize the boxer. You are part of the American media who refused to recognize for years the talent of Calzaghe all because he was on the wrong side of the pond. Maybe if you'd shown some interest in him and tried to get lazy boxers like Bernard Hopkins over to Wales these fights would have happened years ago. This article was poorly written drivel.
I am not part of the media that refused to recognize his talents. To the contrary, I was one of Calzaghe's earliest and most ardent supporters in the U.S. media. I agree with Calzaghe that boxing is plagued by too much political machinations and that there are too many titles, though I disagree that the sport is dying. My problem with what he said is that he did one thing throughout his career and then another when he's done. If he felt there were too many champions, why keep the WBO belt, which when he won it certainly was the most lightly regarded of the four, ahem, major sanctioning body titles? Bottom line, he benefitted from what he now criticizes as a corrupt system and said nothing. Now that he's made his money, he doesn't want to help make the sport better for the next generation of fighters, but rather simply denigrates it.
Calzaghe earned right to criticize
Joe has done more for the sport than most of the flash in the pans that you rave about! Most of his life has been toiled with blood, sweat, and tears. What about you? He has reached a status where his comments are far more meaningful than people such as you. You seem to take yourself way too serious. Stick to raving about losers like Steve Cunningham.
I'll totally disagree that Calzaghe has done a lot for the sport. If he had done so much for the sport, he wouldn't have been so anonymous to so many boxing fans for so long. And that's really a cheap shot at Cunningham, a good guy and the kind of person boxing needs more of.
Calzaghe is a jerk
Calzaghe is a jerk for his comments. Everything you mention in the article is dead on. Also, if he wants to revive a dying sport, why doesn't Calzaghe give young lion Chad Dawson a chance to become a superstar? Stardom and the overall health of the sport should be predicated on the younger up and comers getting a chance to knock off the Big Dogs. Calzaghe has been more of a plug-pulling Kevorkian than he has been an agent of CPR to breathe life into the sport.
I don't think guys like Calzaghe and Hopkins will fight someone like Dawson, because Dawson is too much risk for too little reward at this stage of their careers. I just don't like he was looking down his nose at other fighters. He dissed Froch, but Calzaghe should remember that was him at one point.
Klitschko not popular because he's white
In your column, you wrote "Why that man isn’t Wladimir Klitschko, though, is beyond me." Come on now! I think you have a little bit more than an idea why. Number one, he has the wrong skin color. Boxing is a sport where people bearing the same skin color as Klitschko have been ridiculed for decades as "Great White Hopes." You should know as well as any that there is an element that does not want to see fighters like Klitschko succeed because of the color of his skin. Number two, he is not American and number three, he doesn't have a great story of hardship about growing up dirt poor in a ghetto, like the media loves so much. Four, he is highly educated and goes about his career in an all-business fashion, without running his mouth or using showboat antics.
Jason, if anything, he'll get a break because he's white. I think the primary reason Klitschko is unappreciated is because he's not American and because he performed very badly in two fights (against Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster) on American TV.
Mystery of the Great White Hope
Very good article regarding Wladimir Klitschko. What is ironic to me is that many years ago, people were looking for the great white hope. Yet, I guess, for many that meant he had to be an American. Wladimir and his brother are probably the best Caucasian heavyweight champions ever, but they are not American. Also, I think that boxing overall might be more popular in Europe now then in the US. Part of the problem is the lack of coverage, and the use of too much pay-per-view shows, which by the way, often have poor undercards. Versus recently showed a good doubleheader, led by the Pole Tomasz Adamek winning the cruiserweight title from Steve Cunningham. More shows like that might bring up some interest.
The lack of regular network television coverage has undeniably harmed boxing's popularity in the U.S. But again, I'm going to disagree on the race issue. I think the fans just want to see good fights. Racism exists, but the majority of fans isn't racist and would rather see competitive, evenly matched bouts.
Best offensive heavyweight
I'm a huge Wladimir Klitschko fan! Do me a favor and dig up all the greats and tell me if you've seen a better offensive fighter in the history of the sport! I've watched Muhammad Ali's fights a ton and I would have loved to have seen Wlad in there with him. I honestly believe Klitschko is bigger, faster and stronger and would have KO'd Ali. I also think he would have beaten a prime Mike Tyson, too, because of his sheer size and with that jackhammer jab of his!
I like Klitschko as a fighter a lot, but apparently not nearly as much as you, Steve. I'll respectfully disagree. He's nowhere close to the best offensive heavyweight ever, let alone the best offensive fighter ever. We'll have to agree to disagree.
Great show on Versus
How entertaining was the Tomasz Adamek/Steve Cunningham fight? I don't think anyone will claim it was a technical affair, but they both left it in the ring and that's all fans want to see. I think Cunningham takes the rematch. Do you agree? Also, if that hasn't been the fight of the year, what is your choice? Finally, do you think there will ever be a star in the cruiserweight division, or will boxing fans always see it as the "small heavyweights" division?
The Adamek-Cunningham card was Versus' best card by far. The bout has to be considered for Fight of the Year, but I'll still vote for the third fight between Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez over it. It's in the top five, maybe the top three, however. I do think there will be a star again from cruiserweight. It takes the right combination of personality and ability. It could have been David Haye, but he moved to heavyweight. One will emerge at some point, though.
In hindsight, Marquez looks awesome
I applaud Manny Pacquiao's victory over Oscar De La Hoya. However, I was left to wonder at how good Juan Manuel Marquez is. He's only lost like five rounds to Pacman. Let's get those two together again and help save boxing.
Broken Arrow, Okla.
Marquez is a world-class fighter who is deservedly ranked in the top five by all credible ranking polls. I'd love to see them hook up again, but Pacquiao has plenty of options other than Marquez for great fights.
Now that Shane Mosley has admitted in released grand jury testimony to taking banned substances, how does that affect his record? Do his wins become "no-contests" and the losing fighter's record also get adjusted accordingly? He had a couple wins against Oscar in there among other fighters. It will be interesting to see what comes of that.
Mosley admitted to taking EPO only for one fight, his 2003 rematch in Las Vegas against De La Hoya. Because EPO wasn't specifically banned by Nevada at the time of the fight, there is no mechanism to overturn his victory, so he and De La Hoya's records will both remain as they are. The public, though, may choose to view it differently.
- Can’t get enough of Kevin Iole’s mailbag? Then check out last week’s edition.
- Wladimir Klitschko
- Joe Calzaghe
- Steve Cunningham