Mailbag sure was full this week

Kevin Iole
Yahoo! Sports

The reader mailbag was hot and heavy over the past week, and I'm going to get to it quickly so as to devote as much space to your questions as possible.

But before I do, I want to give a shout out to promoter Don King, whose Internet broadcasts of fights are superb. The quality is excellent and streams without a hitch. King broadcast a WBA lightweight title fight Monday from Tokyo between Jose Alfaro and Yosuke Kobori.

It was an entertaining fight and one most fans wouldn't have watched if not for King's Internet broadcast, which you can see here . There are several other bouts archived there which you can watch.

King deserves a tip of the cap for the service to the fans for broadcasting these shows on the Internet when there is no TV deal.

With that, I'll get to your questions. My answers are in italics.


Where does Ricky Hatton go after he presumably disposes of Juan Lazcano in their bout on Saturday in Manchester, England? The prospects for entertaining fights with the current batch of super lightweight guys is limited. Junior Witter lost his belt to Timothy Bradley, and Paulie Malignaggi couldn't knock out my 13-year-old sister. I have always liked the idea of Michael Katsidis moving up to 140 to fight Ricky as far as entertainment goes, but he has a September date with Jesus Chavez. I think the Hatton crew knows that 147 is off limits, but there really isn't that much out there at the moment at 140.

Ian MacCallum
Middletown, Conn.

If Hatton wins and Malignaggi defeats Lovemore N'dou on the undercard, Golden Boy Promotions is going to try to set up a Hatton-Malignaggi fight for the fall. Malignaggi is not a puncher and it would be an interesting fight from the standpoint of whether Hatton's pressure would cause him to break or whether Malignaggi would be elusive enough to win a decision. Saturday's Hatton fight with Lazcano, which Hatton should win going away, will be televised nationally in the U.S. on Versus at 3:30 p.m. ET. Congratulations to Versus, because the bout is a step up from what it has been showing. Enough of Tye Fields already, guys!


Can boxing "cut" Floyd Mayweather Jr., Oscar De La Hoya and Bernard Hopkins? A man can dream, can't he?

David Essig
Daytona, Fla.

I suspect you'll be rid of at least two of the three by the end of the year, David.


With everyone talking about Vitali Klitschko coming out of retirement to fight Samuel Peter, I hada question. Where do you rate Vitali among the best heavyweights of the last 20 or 30 years? He was 35-2 with 34 KOs! Not only that, but his two losses were the result of a torn rotator cuff against Chris Byrd and a bad cut over his eye against Lennox Lewis. He has never been knocked out or outpointed in a professional fight, and as I'm sure you are aware, he was leading on every scorecard in his losses to both Byrd and Lewis. Just wondering where he lands on your heavyweight rankings.

Brian Lee
Lincoln, Ill.

I have much respect for what Vitali has accomplished, but until he fought Lewis in 2003, he never had one bout that he wasn't a heavy favorite going in. He doesn't have one outstanding win. And while he fought bravely against Lewis, Lewis was clearly taking control of the fight and I believe would have stopped him eventually had the cut not done so after the sixth. Over the last 20 years, there have been outstanding heavyweights such as Lewis, Evander Holyfield, Riddick Bowe and Mike Tyson that would clearly rank ahead of Klitschko, if all were in their primes. Klitschko would have been a difficult fight for each of them, but I believe he would have been beaten by each more often than not.


What was referee Jay Nady thinking not stopping Chris Byrd's fight with Shaun George? He was obviously done after the first knockdown in the ninth round. In contrast, the referees on Saturday night did the right thing, stopping the fights before anyone was injured. Eromosele Albert wanted to continue, but it was clear his legs were not under him, and another brutal knockdown was looming. Alfredo Angulo had Richard Gutierrez dead on his feet, and it was amazing that Gutierrez was even still standing. I thought Tony Weeks did a great job of stopping the fight. Do you think the Angulo vs Gutierrez fight has a chance for Fight of the Year? They banged it out the whole fight, and with Angulo getting hurt in the fifth, and coming back for the knockout win, it was an incredible fight. I think it should at least be considered.

Jonathon Wells

I agree that Nady made a mistake in not waving the bout off after the first knockdown in the ninth round. I think he was trying to give Byrd, a courageous, smart, veteran fighter, every benefit of the doubt. I also agree with your point on Saturday's officiating. Weeks, in particular, was superb. After the Angulo-Gutierrez bout was stopped, the doctor examined Gutierrez, who said something akin to, "I'm ready to continue." He was hurt so badly he wasn't aware he was out, which makes your point about Weeks' stoppage that much stronger.


Does Manny Pacquaio have a chance of beating Ricky Hatton? Most boxing analysts consider it a mismatch.

Michael Barros

Manny is the more skilled fighter of the two, but Ricky would be too strong physically. I'd love to see the bout, but I think Hatton would win because he's too big for Pacquiao.


Yuriorkis Gamboa has great speed and potential. His only flaw is that I think he needs more discipline and to keep his hands up. As of now, for his first national exposure on HBO, I was not impressed. I know while he trained in Cuba he did not fight like that with his hands down. He has good skill, but needs to get back to his roots of boxing skills he was taught. He will be one of the best and would be one of the best in his weight class. I think he would school Manny Pacquiao.

Hernan Mendoz
Roseville, Calif.

Gamboa showed the physical skills that will one day allow him to be an elite professional boxer. But he's not nearly there mentally yet. Promoter Ahmet Oner fired trainer Osmiri Fernandez in an emotional dressing room on Saturday.


I enjoy the mailbag every week and have two questions. First, after seeing how badly the weight drop hurt Chris Byrd, doesn't it also show how good of an athlete/boxer Roy Jones is/was. He went up 30 pounds and dropped back down and is still fighting at a pretty high level, albeit a step below what he was. Secondly, where do judges sit during a fight? I always wonder how the scores vary like they do in some close fights. Are the judges all sitting together with the same view or spread out around the ring to see all angles?

Jones' feats of moving up from light heavyweight to win the heavyweight title and then going back down to claim a light heavyweight belt were significant accomplishments that haven't gotten their just due. As for the judges, they sit in the center at the ring apron on three sides of the ring. Occasionally, if a fight is fought a lot in one corner, the judges may have a different verdict because one judge may be able to see something that the other two can not.


I have been a big fan of the Klitschko brothers for a couple of years now. I want Vitali to come back to the heavyweight division and dominate with his brother. However, these frequent injuries by Vitali are very disheartening. I fear that if he gets injured again, he will lose any credibility to be a legitimate heavyweight contender. Do you think that this fight with Sam Peter could, in some way, be his last chance to be taken seriously?

Danny Martinez
Sacramento, Calif.

Vitali is one of the two best heavyweights of his era and I believe he's taken seriously by anyone who knows the sport well. His body is trying to tell him it's not able to go to war any more, but he seems to be ignoring it. What Vitali is doing won't hurt his own legacy, but it will impact his younger brother's. Wladimir Klitschko would be far better off if Vitali stayed retired and was able to fight Peter for the WBC belt. A win would give him the WBC-IBF-WBO titles and make him clearly the man in the division. If Vitali Klitschko defeats Peter, an undisputed champ will never be clear because the brothers won't fight each other.


Please explain the rule that says a fighter cannot be saved by the bell in any round. This one confuses me. Does it mean that if the fighter is receiving a count, the referee must continue it and then the fighter can return to his corner?

Cindy Martini
Baton Rouge, La.

A fighter can not be saved by the bell except in the final round. That's because the time of the competition has ended. But the reason that there is no saving in the other rounds is that it wouldn't be fair to the fighter who scored the knockdown. The competition is still ongoing and if there's a knockdown late, the fighter must beat the count regardless of whether or not the bell sounded. If he does, he gets the minute rest to see if he can sufficiently recover. But it would not be fair to the fighter scoring the knockdown if it were done otherwise.


How good do you think James Kirkland can be? He reminds me of a young Marvin Hagler. I think he could totally dominate the light middleweight and middleweight divisions.

Austin, Texas

That sound you just heard is the legendary boxing writer, Michael Katz (now of screaming in agony at reading those words. Kirkland is a nice, young fighter with a lot of power, but he's nowhere near the league of Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Nor will he ever be.

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