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.
Super Six not a total loss
While your article about the Super Six did make some valid points, I'm not ready to call it a total loss. Assuming Glen Johnson defeats Allan Green, which I'm pretty confident he will, the semifinals and finals should provide us with some great fights. Can you imagine Johnson against either Carl Froch or Arthur Abraham? Talk about a slugfest. And what about the technical superiority of Ward having to face a pressure fighter like Froch, Abraham, or even Johnson? At the end of the day in today's boxing world, it just has to be about making good fights and I still think this tournament has the potential to make some good, if not great, ones.
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.
Pavlik to Super Six?
What do you think of picking Kelly Pavlik to replace Andre Dirrell in the Super Six?
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.
Pavlik suffers from poor management
Isn't Kelly Pavlik the victim of poor management? Don't you agree that Jack Loew's decision to fight Bernard Hopkins (nothing to gain) and Sergio Martinez (unorthodox style and way too fast) were probably the worst moves in Pavlik's career and the real reason his camp is looking for help?
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.
Don't jump on Margarito bandwagon
You were very quick to write off Antonio Margarito as a cheater. Now, you are writing about him. He is going to knock out Pacquiao and you will then idolize Margarito as the best. With your experience you should know better.
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.
Pacquiao-Margarito a big fight
Why is everyone really downplaying the upcoming Pacquiao-Margarito fight? As a fight fan, it's one I want to see. Margarito made a major mistake by trusting his ex-trainer, Javier Capetillo, too much and that caused a problem with the wrap issue. I believe he didn't know, and tend to think he suffered enough, not just from the suspension, but his reputation took a hit. Either way, it's a great stylistic fight. What is your call on this fight?
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).
Sanctioning bodies a major problem for boxing
I liked your article about the Boxing Promoters Association, but I don't think that is the only problem with boxing. The sanctioning bodies also are a big problem and their multiple world titles or minor title belts. There should be just one title in each of the weight classes. I would like to see an article about the World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association, World Boxing Organization and the International Boxing Federation and how they are messing up boxing and confusing the casual fan. I'd like your thoughts.
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.
BPA not an original idea
How would this new Boxing Promoters Association differ from previous attempts at a similar idea like the original National Boxing Association that turned into the current WBA? Or even a similar idea like the National Wrestling Alliance which attempted the very same idea to a degree of success in the '50s, '60s, and the early half of the '70s? In each instance, both organizations ended up being investigated by the federal government for antitrust violations. I wholly agree that boxing needs a central organization to clean things up, but how could we be sure it would do as intended and not favor one promoter or the other? Given the human factor involved, something like that is bound to happen and we will be right back to square one. The idea is great, but as history proves many times over, great ideas do not always turn out great in reality.
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.
Where is the heavyweight talent?
I wonder about two things: One is why there are no more heavyweight talents around the corner like they used to be? Is it because there are other sports promising good paydays without the risk of being beaten up? Or is it because, contrary to public perception, there are less and less underdogs who fight their way from the streets up into the ring? Also, I am not quite sure the Klitschko brothers do a lot in terms of trying to get better fights. I live in Germany, where they do and where they fight the majority of their bouts, and they avoid talking about potential fights or opponents. It should therefore not only be David Haye who is to be blamed for the fact that there is no fight between them. Wladimir and Vitali seem to feel very comfortable outside the ring. Their fights have become so boring that even over here, the excitement is slowing down.
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.