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I don't hate Georges St. Pierre. I don't hate Georges St. Pierre. I don't hate Georges St. Pierre.
Many of you think I have it in for the former UFC welterweight champion, who returns to the octagon on Saturday at UFC 74 against Josh Koscheck, after reading my column about him last week.
My suggestion that St. Pierre showed less class than Britney Spears for making excuses about his loss to Matt Serra didn't sit well with the keyboard warriors.
I'll take on those questions, as well as ones about my column on George Foreman, my views on the upcoming Felix Trinidad-Roy Jones Jr. fight and various mixed martial arts topics, in my weekly mailbag.
The mailbag is open to questions on any topics regarding MMA or boxing. Click on the link at the bottom of any of my columns to reach me.
My answers appear in italics below the question.
TOO HARD ON GSP
I feel you came down hard on St. Pierre, as if questioning his character. And you spoke very highly of Matt Hughes – too highly in my opinion. This is the man who cheated in his second bout with St. Pierre, pretending he had been hit low a number of times when he had just in fact been hurt. I respected Hughes up until this bout and also how he came across on the show. Both of these men come across polite but only one is sincere in my opinion. In short, I believe you portrayed Georges as an excuse maker over losing a fight. Yes, he did on this loss, but I believe it was only him getting sick of repeatedly being asked the same question over and over again.
I'm not sure where the idea is coming from that I was critical of St. Pierre. In the column, I noted he is one of the most talented athletes in the sport and that he mixes the disciplines like few others. But I do think his mental state is key in this fight. How he handles what was a devastating and completely unexpected loss is a big part of this match. He made wholesale changes in his team after one loss. That would worry me if I were a GSP supporter. I think he beats Koscheck, but I'm still not convinced he's let go of the Serra fight yet.
GSP said nothing of that sort at the post-fight interview. Get the facts correct. Making stuff up isn't going to help your story. It angers people and I'm not even a GSP fan. Your story was way off base. Saige Thomas
St. Pierre said all the right things at the post-fight news conference the night he lost to Serra. But days later, he began to change his tune and in one interview, he said he was injured and would have pulled out had he been fighting Hughes. But he said he went through with the fight because he felt that even injured, he could beat Serra. There was nothing made up and St. Pierre admitted his comments. He also admitted he was wrong for saying it.
REMEMBER THE MONGOOSE
I greatly enjoyed your piece on George Foreman and how he has changed the view of age in boxing. But I wonder if at least a brief nod to Archie Moore might not have been appropriate in this context? Volker W. Stieber, M.D.
Moore was a great fighter and, like Foreman, won a world title after 40. He was 44 and was still recognized by New York as the light heavyweight champion. Foreman's win had a greater impact because it came on national television and was for the heavyweight title, but there's no denying Moore's legacy.
Do you think Foreman at 40-plus is really that similar to Hopkins at 40-plus? It seems like Big George (one of the great heavyweights of all-time) had a few tough fights after 40 but mostly beat up on hand-selected fighters who were significantly beneath him in class with the only historically well thought of fighter being Evander Holyfield. Bernard has pretty much fought the best fighters out there (Felix Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoya, Winky Wright, Antonio Tarver and Jermain Taylor) over the past six years. Would you chalk this up to strength of division?
Hopkins is amazing the way he keeps himself fit. Foreman is a different case. But Foreman opened the door for a lot of these guys and convinced promoters and television executives to give them a chance. Guys like Hopkins have come along and taken advantage of the opportunity that Foreman helped carve for them.
Just wanted to ask you about the Roy Jones Jr. vs. Felix Trinidad fight. Who do you think is going to win? Will Tito lose punching power with all those extra pounds? Will Jones be as fast as in the past? Will Jones use the Hopkins-Wright plan and expose Trinidad again?
Angel M. Diaz
I think Jones wins a unanimous decision. Jones is far too big for him. Only Don King really thinks this one is a big fight. Five years ago, yes. In 2008, it will be two washed-up guys going at it only for a payday. I can't begrudge them that, but it doesn't mean I have to watch.
I thought it was just an American thing where many athletes talk trash prior to their fights but now I see an African is making the ultimate mistake of giving his opponent the emotional edge. Like Floyd Mayweather, Samuel Peter is saying he will knock Oleg Maskaev out in three rounds when they meet for the WBC heavyweight title on Oct. 6 in New York. He also said Oleg is already dethroned as far as he is concerned. Peter might do it but why give the adrenaline edge to your opponent? Besides even if Peter does beat Maskaev, he still can't beat Wladimir Klitschko or Vitali Klitschko, so big deal. It is really embarrassing how many Americans talk trash prior to their fights and in contrast how most others from Russia, Europe, etc. are more polite and just let their actions speak for them.
I don't mind trash talking if it's light-hearted and not mean-spirited. Sam Peter is a good guy and I think he's just trying to sell the fight. It's not my thing, but he really means no harm. And with so much money at stake, I don't think they need words to motivate them to fight their best.
LEONARD-DE LA HOYA?
As big as the De La Hoya-Mayweather fight was, at least in terms of PPV money, I was wondering how big a fight between Sugar Ray Leonard and De La Hoya, both in their primes fighting for the welterweight title, would have been?
If Ray Leonard were in his prime in 2007, he'd be the best boxer in the game and the biggest draw in the sport.
Do you think the team aspect in MMA fights started by the IFL will catch on?
Why is MMA not sanctioned in all states? I know that it's been banned or not sanctioned in many states. Sen. John McCain once called it human cockfighting. How is it that much different from boxing or other fighting sports?
MMA is sanctioned in 30 states and soon should be sanctioned in Illinois, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Hawaii, said Marc Ratner, a UFC official who is working on such matters. If a state sanctions boxing , it should sanction UFC fights. It's that simple. To do otherwise is simply ignorance and an unwillingness to try to learn.
MMA IN THE 'BURGH?
I was just wondering if you have any word on whether the UFC or any other major organizations will be sanctioned in Pennsylvania. I'm tired of watching on TV. The new arena in Pittsburgh would make a great PPV venue.
MMA will be legal in Pennsylvania soon, and so I would expect regular shows to occur there shortly. But UFC in Pittsburgh? As much as I would love it, being a Pittsburgh native, I'll say this: Dana White probably holds Mellon Arena in the same low regard as the Penguins' management. Translated, that means that until Pittsburgh's new arena opens sometime in the fall of 2010, I wouldn't stand in line waiting for UFC tickets in Pittsburgh. When it happens, though, I'll be there.