The inbox was overflowing this week with questions and comments on a variety of topics, so I'm going to get right to them.
As a reminder, I'm going to have my story on the readers' picks for the 10 greatest heavyweights ever later this week. If you want your vote included, email me at email@example.com.
Again, I'm going to remind you to include both your first and last names as well as your hometowns when you write.
PRAISING WHITE GUYS
After reading your column on Michael Katsidis, I'll bet you were a Ricky Hatton fan, also. You probably thought he was a great fighter as well. And you are probably a Joe Calzaghe fan. These guys are not great fighters. They just happen to be white. It is a shame that you can't write a great article like this one about an American fighter, especially a black American. Floyd Mayweather Jr. may be the most gifted fighter that the world has ever seen. It's a shame that the media can't say such positive things about him right now while he is in his prime. The race relations are never going to get any better until the media starts accurately representing the facts. Katsidis just got an undeserved payday because of media relations. As a matter of fact, most non-black fighters do. The black fighters have carried the sport of boxing for many, many decades. However, they are not recognized by the boxing media until they can no longer fight and lose the ability to capitalize on making big money in big fights. Pushing a guy against the ropes and groping him all night does not make a good fight. The next time you write an article, take a chance on giving a black American some good publicity. I'm not calling you a racist because I don't know you, but I have read some of your articles. I have read some nice things that you have written about black American fighters, but I have never heard you praise one the way you praised this fellow.
Obviously, Donald, you have not read much I have written on boxing, because you clearly have either missed many of the things I've written or are intentionally misrepresenting the facts. It's funny to hear you ask for me to write something positive on Mayweather; one of the biggest criticisms I've received in my tenure at Yahoo! Sports is that I've written far too much about Mayweather and have been too complimentary of him. When the fight between Mayweather and Hatton was announced, I wrote, "Mayweather will win at least 12 rounds; and yeah, I said at least." You are completely off-base with your comments and I reject them out of hand.
I see you don't have Antonio Margarito on your list of the best fighters in the sport. You are crazy. Kermit Cintron? What about Carlos Quintana? And Ricky Hatton? Ha! Ricky has not and will not ever be on any list of mine. I didn't have to see his last fight to know that. Why else do you think Mayweather took that fight? And how does Winky Wright get ranked? Wow! Let me interview for your job.
The Yahoo! Sports rankings are a vote of many of the top boxing writers in the world. I have one vote. In the March rankings you reference, I had 28 people vote and didn't receive a single vote for Margarito. He's a tough, entertaining fighter, but I don't think he's anywhere near one of the 10 best in the world. And I think Winky's time has passed as a top 10 fighter, but he received the votes.
What was your opinion about the Joel Casamayor-Michael Katsidis fight on Saturday? Also, what did you think of the performance of referee Jon Schorle? I thought Katsidis was a little dirty in the ring. There was the flagrant throw down of Casamayor somewhere in the middle rounds and I felt like every time the fighters were coming out of a break, Katsidis had his forearm in Casamayor's neck. The referee gave no warnings to Katsidis, and I thought I heard the referee tell Casamayor to stop complaining. Then, he deducted a point from Casamayor for a low blow without a previous warning. That's all to say I'm glad Casamayor won!
Richard B. Rodriguez
After an awful performance in November against Jose Armando Santa Cruz, a fight he deserved to lose, Casamayor came back with a good performance. I think Katsidis was somewhat exposed. He's a tough kid and he's going to beat a lot of guys because of his will and his punching power, but he's not now nor will he ever be an elite fighter. His style is a difficult style for an official. All in all, I thought Schorle did a good job. I agreed with the point deduction on Casamayor. I think he could have taken a point from Katsidis for flinging Casamayor to the canvas the way he did, but I don't have a major problem with any of Schorle's decisions on Saturday. The better man won.
BEST TICKET SELLERS
Can you give me your top five or 10 boxers who are ticket sellers? I'm wondering why a Floyd Mayweather-Miguel Cotto fight isn't in the works. Even a Cotto-Ricky Hatton fight would be a dandy. Don't you think so? I am surprised by the talk linking Manny Pacquiao with fighters in other weight classes simply to sell the fight. Thanks for your time.
Two men stand clearly above the others when it comes to being ticket sellers, Joey. Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr. are so far ahead of the field that they make Secretariat's win in the 1973 Belmont look like a photo finish by comparison. There are boxers who are good draws if they're in the right building against the proper opponent. Cotto, for instance, is huge in New York, where there are a lot of Puerto Rican fans who come out to support him. But Cotto wouldn't have sold 8,000 tickets in Las Vegas had he fought Zab Judah there instead of in New York. That said, I'll choose, in order, De La Hoya, Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Felix Trinidad and Bernard Hopkins.
Do you think Freddie Roach is holding Manny Pacquiao back? It seems uncharacteristic of Manny not to brawl against Juan Manuel Marquez, Oscar Larios and Marco Antonio Barerra who are less powerful punchers. Yes, they can counter punch, but one punch from the Pacman and it's light's out for anyone.
Roach deserves tremendous credit for Pacquiao's development. Pacquiao is a much more complete fighter now than he was five years ago and much of that is due to Roach. I think he spent a fair amount of time brawling with Marquez on March 15, but Roach made the wise decision to work on Pacquiao's right and to improve his overall boxing ability. As a fighter moves up in weight, he becomes more susceptible to an opponent's power. Pacquiao isn't nearly as one-dimensional as he once was and now sits near the top of the pound-for-pound rankings. His coach deserves a lot of credit for that.
Why does it seem you always favor the Marquez brothers? Why can't you accept the fact that Juan Manuel Marquez wouldn't be as popular as he is right now if he did not fight Pacquiao?
Alex G. Fontanilla
I accept the fact that Marquez wouldn't be as popular as he is right now if he didn't fight Pacquiao. But I also believe Pacquiao wouldn't be as popular as he is had he not fought Marquez. The fighters brought out the best in each other and put on two extraordinary bouts. That earned them both many more fans than they had previously.
THOUGHTS ON BUTE
Lucian Bute (who, like me, is a Romanian by birth) seems to be big in Montreal, but not anywhere else. He's 22-0 now; do you think he's got much chance of making it big and maybe adding belts to his IBF in the super middleweight division?
I think Bute is a good, solid professional and a worthy champion. I don't see anything in him that tells me he's going to be a superstar, but I don't think it's out of the question that he could pick up one or more of the belts that Joe Calzaghe gives up when he leaves super middleweight to fight Bernard Hopkins at light heavyweight. Assuming Calzaghe is out of the division for good, I'd say Bute is the second-best 168-pounder in the world behind Mikkel Kessler.
Now that Gary Lockett has been assigned that task of getting destroyed by Kelly Pavlik, I want to know how much longer you think he'll last in the ring than John Duddy would have, or will he not last at all? I know you're not a Duddy fan in the least, but I think he would've been a better opponent than Lockett. Also, who could be a good match for Pavlik?
I am not anti-Duddy, I just don't believe he's earned a title shot yet. You're right about Lockett. He's going to get destroyed. He's a come-forward fighter with nowhere near Pavlik's skills or power and is going to get stopped in the first half of the fight. Winky Wright and Arthur Abraham are the two guys out there who make the most sense for Pavlik in terms of competition at this point, but the division is barren. There aren't a lot of options for him until he moves to either 168 or 175.
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