You can follow Kevin Iole on Twitter at @KevinI
There is a wide variety of topics covered in this week's edition of the boxing mailbag, which will be the last for a while since I'm on vacation.
I discuss (what else?) the potential Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao fight, my top 10 list and other hot-button topics in this week's edition of the boxing mailbag.
I'll be back to work on July 19, so enjoy and see you then.
A bout to get excited about?
Kevin, in the midst of this rather uneventful boxing summer, are we really supposed to get excited about the Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz rematch? While the first match won Fight of the Year honors in 2009, it essentially was a great fighter, Marquez, systematically breaking down and then beating down a very good but limited fighter, Diaz. It is difficult to imagine that the rematch will be a more competitive affair. I frankly see very little Diaz can do this time to change the outcome, except that perhaps the end might come more quickly. I actually am concerned that Diaz, whose best days seem to be behind him, could get seriously hurt by a great fighter anxious to reassert himself after losing to Mayweather. I would be interested in hearing what you think.
I wouldn't have been shedding tears had there not been a rematch, Kevin. That said, the bout should be entertaining for as long as it lasts and I don't share your concerns about Diaz being injured. They have a very solid undercard beneath it as well, so I don't have as big of an issue with the bout as you seem to have.
The return of Harry Busacay
Hello, I am Harry Busacay. The funny thing about your mailbag is that you can choose a comment or a question to be featured. I have sent you a lot of questions regarding the credibility of your articles and your pound-for-pound list, but then you choose to pick the question/comment that you can answer in a way that may make you sound right and at the same time discourage the user to comment against you. Even before the Floyd Mayweather-Shane Mosley fight, you were itching to erase Pacman's name on top of that list. Just by reading your articles you can tell how he hates the Filipino Pride. If Mayweather is really that good, I don't think that his win over Mosley is enough to place him in the top pound-for-pound spot. That fight was boring. If Mayweather did the same thing to Mosley as Pacman did to Oscar De La Hoya, then that would be something else. Answer this!
Quezon City, Philippines
Harry, you had to go and do it, didn't you? You exposed me as a guy who thinks Manny Pacquiao is one of the greatest fighters of all-time, who is the second-best fighter in the world, who is an inspirational hero for his country. And you figured out my scheme with the mailbag. I figured, hey, since it's my mailbag, I ought to get to pick the questions that should be answered. I fooled most of the people, Harry, but obviously I couldn't slip it past you. And, unfortunately, not past my boss. He caught wind of this bias of mine and of how I handle the mailbag. In order to improve, he suggest I read this book to try to understand how to better handle the letters I receive.
Not on the up and up
I smell a rat! Bob Arum, Manny Pacquiao's promoter, announces that all "issues have been resolved," but yet says that he doesn't know if Floyd Mayweather Jr. wants to fight this year? I would have thought that Mayweather deciding whether or not he's going to fight again this year is a massive hurdle. If it's not known whether Mayweather wants to fight again this year, what's the point in Arum making statements about "hurdles being resolved?" It seems to me that Arum is just playing politics.
First, Paul, I want to put you to the opening sentence of my column on this. I wrote that the bout "is inching toward reality." Notice, I said inching. It did not read "speeding to a conclusion." This is not the same as a story on a signed contract. Having said that, let me answer your question in a way that may show why Arum isn't playing politics. Let's say Mayweather comes out tomorrow and says he wants to fight again in 2010. Since negotiators for a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight have already cleared obstacles such as salary and the drug-testing issue, then they can just select a venue and a date and get the fight signed and begin to promote it. Obviously, I'm aware that is only Arum's side of the story. The other side is not talking. Mayweather's de facto manager, Al Haymon, never speaks to the media. Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer and Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe haven't made any public comments in six months. Interestingly, though, Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya, in an interview with Univision's Rafael Hernandez, said in Spanish that the bout was nearly finalized. Schaefer said he was misquoted, though several Spanish speakers viewed the video and said De La Hoya's answer was translated perfectly.
Pacman against the Punisher?
Do you have any idea if Paul Williams would go down to welterweight to challenge Manny Pacquiao for his WBO welterweight title? If Pacquiao-Mayweather doesn't happen in November, it would be nice to see Pacquiao-Williams.
Williams would do it in a second, but there's no chance of the fight happening. If Pacquiao is going to fight an Al Haymon-managed fighter, it's going to be Floyd Mayweather Jr., not Paul Williams. You can go to the bank on that. If the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight does not come off for some reason, Arum will match Pacquiao with either Antonio Margarito or Miguel Cotto. There is zero chance it would be Williams.
Hating on 'Money'
Why do your readers hate Mayweather so much? What has Manny done in his career that would suggest that he would destroy Mayweather the way some of your readers believe? Why is Moseley an "aging fighter" when Mayweather beat him, but people get amnesia when they talk about Manny destroying what I guess they believe was a "youthful" De La Hoya. I guarantee if you look back at past entries from your readers, you will find that the names of people who said that Moseley would beat Mayweather and the ones who said that Moseley was too old were the same people. I like both fighters (Mayweather a little more), but I would not devalue one fighter's obvious talents because I like the other more. I think BOTH are extraordinary talents, but I just think Mayweather is slightly more gifted.
West Orange, N.J.
Pacquiao's fans are extraordinarily passionate and, frankly, many of them aren't boxing fans so much as Pacquiao fans. I agree with you and I am in the same boat as you. I, too, admire both fighters very much and believe Floyd is slightly better. It's frustrating in a major way to deal with, but it's part of the landscape as long as Pacquiao is around.
You always seem to give credit to those who are either outspoken or riding a high with a few victories. Tell me why have I never once read in this column what a great fighter Ricardo "Little Hands of Stone" Lopez was? He was undoubtedly the best strawweight who ever put on a pair of gloves. He was a superb boxer with a knockout punch in either hand. I can not understand why he was never given his due. Possibly the language barrier, but in my opinion, he has to be ranked in the top 10 ever.
I think Lopez was terrific and one of the best fighters I've seen in person in my life. That said, he's been retired for nearly nine years. I've mentioned him in passing, but it's kind of hard to write too much about him given he hasn't boxed since 2001. I'm not sure he's top 10 all time, but I think he's definitely top 50 and maybe close to top 25. Just wondering, though: You think my man Jose has ever heard of "Finito?"
Possible to unify
Is it even possible to unify a division in this day and age? I hear Devon Alexander's trainer talking nonstop about unifying the belts (and good for him), but is it even a possibility with things like mandatory challengers? Let's say for the sake of argument that Alexander beats Timothy Bradley and Amir Khan to consolidate the straps. He would then have to fight four mandatory challengers a year per the sanctioning body bylaws or risk being stripped of his belts. Furthermore, the rankings from these corrupt bodies are often laughable and wouldn't solve the problem of answering who the best fighter in a division is because of challengers that lack merit or credentials. What do you think?
I think you're a very smart and wise man, Luke from Los Angeles. It's damn near impossible to win all four major belts (WBA, WBC, WBO and IBF), and it's even harder to retain them. The WBA reeks. The WBC reeks. The WBO reeks. The IBF reeks. They are what is wrong with boxing. If they only offered fair rankings, the best would fight the best and the sport would be special on a regular basis and not just a few times a year.