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21 DECEMBER 2014

 

ATE: Cotto Underdog to Pacquiao, Collins-Benn-Eubank Debate, Froch-Dirrell Review, Super Eight, Hating P4P Lists, Mundine and More


Anyone writing Cotto off?: HoganPhotos.com
Anyone writing Cotto off?: HoganPhotos.com

In today’s edition of Ask The Editor (ATE), we speculate if Miguel Cotto has been written off by many in facing Pacquiao, revisit one of favourite debates, Steve Collins-Nigel Benn-Chris Eubank and review the Carl Froch-Andre Dirrell match. An alternate for the Showtime Super Six gets a mention, one reader tells how bad boxing is today, Mike Norby tells us how much he hates P4P lists, we look at where Australian middleweight Anthony Mundine is headed and much more.

Name : Patrick McKenzie
Country : USA
Your Question :
Why is everyone dismissing Miguel Cotto? It’s like it’s a forgone conclusion that he’s going to lose to Pacquiao, making way for the big showdown - Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. Is it just a case of you’re only as good as your last fight? Seems a review is in order: Cotto beat Mosley. The very same Mosley everyone NOW seems to think is the only legitimate challenge for Mayweather. Cotto’s determination has only been halted once, by the alleged concrete-reinforced hands of Antonio Margarito. No one is going to look good against the new Winky Wright - Joshua Clottey. Cotto is only coming down two pounds to fight Pacquiao. If he prepares well, it’s likely Cotto will enter the ring weighing north of 150lbs - a full-blown, crafty, in-his-prime welterweight. I think Pacquiao is in for a gruelling night.

CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: Patrick, my feelings as well. Having said that, Pacquiao has brought his incredible speed up from the featherweight and that’s what has largely given him the success he has enjoyed to date. I’m with you, though, Cotto could be just one step too far. Great fight! I’m really looking forward to it.

GREG JUCKETT ANSWERS: Patrick, I agree that you can’t discount the accomplishments of Cotto nor the Puerto Rican’s chances against Pacquiao. Cotto has proven he’s a fantastic fighter. I think many can’t get the image of Pac-Man starching Hatton and Cotto in a competitive fight against Clottey, so there’s a lot of people talking about Pacquiao dominating Cotto…we’ll see.

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: This is the fight of the year on paper so far because either boxer has a great chance to win. I certainly don’t see this as an easy win for Pacquiao. If Cotto starts cautious, taking his time and not giving Pacquiao easy openings, unlike Ricky Hatton, it will be a very close fight. I can see Cotto winning. I can also see Pacquiao winning. It is best man on the night. You have made your case for Cotto very well.

MICHAEL NORBY: You make some great points, Patrick. I’m certainly not dismissing Cotto. Not in the slightest. I think that he’ll have awful trouble with someone as incredibly dynamic as Pacquiao, but the Puerto Rican can win this fight. I’m leaning towards Pacquiao right now, but I wouldn’t be too terribly surprised if Cotto rose to the challenge - he’s a fantastic fighter.

JERRY GLICK ANSWERS: I couldn’t have said it better, Patrick. I am picking Cotto to win and so are a number of others in the media too whom I have spoken. As for Oscar De La Hoya, it was one of three things that caused him to look so bad that night; 1. He got old that night, or 2. Had a bad night and was flat, we all have bad days at the office now and then, or 3. He was simply never as good as his opponent.

Name : Akil Clark
Country : USA
Your Question :
Can someone please tell me why Miguel Cotto is being so over looked? It has got to be marketing to sell this fight. Cotto has beat all of the men of his time, (minus Mayweather) including Sugar Shane in his prime. His only loss is to a cheater, so in my mind he is the standing champion, best at his weight until proven different by someone whose cred is worth something. Pac beat a bad Oscar and a very bad Hatton. We all knew Hatton was overblown to sell fights and Oscar well, he was great in his day. Please tell me that I’m not the only person seeing this. I think it will be a great fight but Cotto is being down played, why? By the way, I think Floyd is the best but will have to beat Cotto to prove it

CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: As I said in the above question, Akil, I believe Pacquiao may just have bitten off a bit more than he can chew this time. But it is a great fight for the fans

GREG JUCKETT ANSWERS: Akil, to downplay Cotto is unfair, I agree, but Pacquiao is the world’s hottest fighter and his hand-speed and quickness are tough for any fighter to deal with right now. Cotto is the underdog against Pac-Man, and for better or worse, the Puerto Rican is being treated accordingly by the media.

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: People have fresh in their mind Cotto’s battering at the hands of Margarito and are unable to rationalise 100% if there was any outside assistance involved. They also remember Clottey giving Cotto quite a few problems, even thought I think Cotto won the fight. Those two fights, plus Pacquiao’s impressive wins over De La Hoya and Hatton are giving many people the impression that Cotto is damaged goods. That simply may not be the case at all. That’s why we get the boxers to have the fights, so we can see the outcome for ourselves. I certainly won’t be surprised if Cotto wins, but I understand why many people are picking Pac-Man.

MICHAEL NORBY: Good email, Akil. Cotto has beaten a slew of terrific fighters and, as you point out, his only loss came to a man who may have had his hands loaded. Cotto is as tough as they come in the ring and he knows how to get the job done. If he can get to Pac-Man’s body early and damage the smaller man to prevent him from attacking furiously, he has a great chance. That is a huge if, though.

JERRY GLICK ANSWERS: I agree with much of what you say, except I think that Pacquiao was the better fighter the night he crushed Hatton. Unless Hatton was psyched out, he was simply not as fast, or talented as Pac-Man and was defeated, that’s all.

Name : Andy Browne
Country : United Kingdom
Your Question :
I was reading your story on Steve Collins this week. How can his fans be so delusional? Everyone knows that “Simply The Best” Chris Eubank was the best of the Eubank, Collins, Benn trio.

CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: I disagree Andy. OK, not entirely as all three had different qualities when debating who was the best. Benn was the most exciting and explosive, Eubank was a great boxer and entertainer while Collins was teak tough and single minded determined brawler, who never took a backward step. We can make a case for them all and there was not a lot in it but for me Collins was just that bit better an all round fighter.

GREG JUCKETT ANSWERS: Andy, I think a lot of people will disagree with you that Eubank was the best of the trio based on Collins head-to-head successes against Eubank and Benn, but I did think that Eubank beat Collins in their first fight.

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: I can see where Clive and Greg are coming from, but I think while Collins was later in age, he was still young in big fights and primed himself for his matches with Eubank and Benn, which were the biggest nights of his career. But at that time, Benn and Eubank had already been in huge fights and had taken a lot pf punishment throughout their careers. Don’t forget, Collins-Benn 1 ended with Nigel twisting his ankle and Collins wasn’t exactly dominating clearly any of the first four rounds. Benn actually announced his retirement sitting on the ring apron after the fight. In his mind, he had already retired when he came back for the rematch. I don’t believe Benn was at his best mentally or physically for either fight. At their absolute peaks, I have Eubank and Collins at the top. Collins’ fitness and workrate beat Eubank twice. Chris just couldn’t keep the same pace when they fought, although he fought well in spurts. I thought Benn beat Eubank in their rematch. Nigel landed the cleaner, harder punches. Eubank took a lot of punishment in the later fights in his career and I think this hurt him against Collins.

MICHAEL NORBY: I’ve said this time and again, and I’m not just saying it because I’m Irish, but once Steven Collins found his groove, he was terrific and became, in my opinion, the most underrated 168lber in the short history of the division. Benn and Eubank were fine fighters, but the record speaks for itself, Andy.

JERRY GLICK ANSWERS: My recollection of the middleweight division back then is that Benn seemed to be the more successful against other top fighters. More than the two others, but Collins is 4-0 against Benn and Eubank. Benn against the others is a dismal 0-3-1, and Eubank is a bit better at 1-2-1. Benn held wins over the tragic Gerald McClellan, Robby Simms, Doug DeWitt, and Iran Barkley. The others did not fare so well in that category. So take yer pick lad.

Name : Jack Kelly
Country : United Kingdom
Your Question :
I just wondered what your thoughts were on the Carl Froch vs. Andre Dirrell fight? It was very close, but I think as the aggressor for most of the fight, Froch deserved to keep his belt. I do think Andre Dirrell lost it for himself more than Froch won it though. It looked to me that if Dirrell had thrown caution to the wind, come to fight and actually used his speed and slick skills to actually engage with Froch, he could’ve caused some serious problems for the champion. Generally, I’m a fan of boxers over exciting brawlers, so I enjoy watching technical boxers like Lennox Lewis, Mayweather Jr, JMM, Winky Wright etc but if Dirrell’s game plan was to outbox Froch in that style he didn’t execute it properly and he just looked like he was running and holding for a lot of the fight and that is what lost it for him I think. Froch did well to adjust and stay with him, but this fight did prove two things in my mind though – 1) Carl Froch would no way have beaten Joe Calzaghe. 2) Carl Froch is in big trouble against Kessler and Abraham in his next two fights.

CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: Hi Jack. You know boxing fans are not silly and we all know what we saw. And you’re right, Dirrell lost it, Froch did not win it. You can’t just go into a champion’s backyard and expect to nick the title the way he tried to. If Carl performs the same way he did against Dirrell and Jermain Taylor, he’s gonna be in for a very tough night against both Kessler and Abraham. Carl is a very intelligent guy. He knows his stuff. He plays the game and talks a good fight when it comes to Kessler and Abraham, but deep down he knows if he is gonna beat either of them he is gonna have to dramatically improve his all-round game.

GREG JUCKETT ANSWERS: Jack, it’s true that Dirrell needed to be more assertive against Froch especially fighting in the WBC champion’s backyard. As far as handicapping Froch vs. Calzaghe, it would be hard to pick against Calzaghe, but against Kessler or Abraham, I think Froch has a real chance to win.

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: I had Froch winning 7 rounds to 5. Froch looked amateurish at times the way he was swinging and missing, but Dirrell couldn’t keep him at bay for one or two more rounds. Froch’s aggression won him an extra round or two on the scorecards of the judges’. Abraham’s clinical punching will cause frock a lot of problems. Kessler needs to step up to the challenge. If Froch can hit Mikkel hard, it is a winnable fight. I’m picking Calzaghe against anyone at super middleweight until he loses!

MICHAEL NORBY: I thought Froch did just enough to retain his title, Jack and I was disappointed by Dirrell to be honest. You’re right, I don’t think Froch would have beaten Calzaghe and he’s going to have his hands more than full against Kessler and Abraham - two fighters who I think are joint favorites to win the tournament.

JERRY GLICK ANSWERS: Look, there is no question Jack, that it was close. Maybe it was a draw, but I thought Dirrell edged him out. You are right to say that the challenger needed to snatch that belt away from the champ’s grasp, not to try to simply take a close win. Side note: I too prefer to watch a fine classic boxing match. I recently told a former, but active, former junior-welterweight champion that I have a name for that type of fighter and it is a finesse fighter.

Name : Chris Lewis
Country : United Kingdom
Your Question :
Two questions, both linked to Carl Froch. Firstly, when Kessler beats him, Kessler is obviously committed to a few more fights but will hold the WBC and WBA belts. Will Kessler be able to continue holding those or will he be stripped of one for not facing his mandatories who may not be in the tournament? Secondly despite his boasts, we know Froch would never beaten Hearns, Hagler or Leonard, but how do you think he would have done against Calzaghe, Benn, Eubank and Collins? I think Calzaghe outclasses him over a wide, wide points decision, Benn would see a slugfest with Froch’s better chin helping him edge it and being the last one standing. Eubank-Froch may have been a bore-fest unless Froch pushed the action and then Eubank’s counterpunching and iron chin I think would see him edge it. Collins was a wily pro and I think his workrate would edge out a points win, although it could go either way. I give Froch credit for being an unbeaten world champion but I think when he faces someone who can take his shots as Calzaghe and Eubank would have, the flaws in his technique and his lack of workrate gets exposed.

CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: I think you have done your homework brilliantly Chris. Yes, I think Calzaghe would be too busy and accurate for Carl. Benn’s speed and power may also have been too much for him. Eubank could a nick a decision but home advantage could prove the difference if they fought. I just think Collins’ all round game would have proved too much for Carl.

GREG JUCKETT ANSWERS: Chris, I wouldn’t be surprised if the sanctioning bodies will let any resulting unified champion from the Super Six tournament to have a temporary reprieve from mandatory challenges. There’s no way Froch would beat Hearns, Leonard, Hagler or Calzaghe, but he would have a betting chance against Eubank, Collins and Benn.

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: The WBC and WBA have sanctioned the Super Six tournament and those two world title belts will be won or lost in each fight as the tournament goes along. Froch is still relatively unproven. But here is his chance. If he remains undefeated and wins this tournament, people may well have a different opinion of him. He doesn’t match with any of the other boxers you have suggested...yet. Now is Carl’s chance to forge a stellar reputation for himself. I think Kessler and Abraham will really test Froch.

MICHAEL NORBY: Calzaghe, Collins, Benn and Eubank would all have been favorite to defeat Froch in my opinion, Chris. Froch loves to talk about himself and, until someone beats him, you can’t fault him for talking himself up. I think he’s done a great job with the talents that he has. His stamina in particular is unbelievable, he’s undefeated, a world title holder and he keeps winning – he’s allowed to brag.

JERRY GLICK ANSWERS: I don’t think that any fighter ever was or is as good as Froch thinks he is. It is healthy for a fighter to be confident, but Froch is over the top. As for Kessler (or Froch for that matter), the WBC has said that they will not burden any of the tournament fighters with mandatory defenses during the series of fights. I can’t say at this time what any other organizations are doing.

Name : Tim Young
Country : Australia
Your Question :
With the super middleweight tournament now underway, I was wondering if your opinions of the concept is anywhere close to mine. My view is that it’s a money making farce that will settle very little in the division. Three Americans, three Europeans, well one must get the balance right, mustn’t one? A nice little round robin concept, with lucky losers and a points system. Gimme a break. Boxing is all about winners and losers, champs and challengers not a stupid merry go round. A real tournament was surely within grasp, just add two more names, Lucian Bute IBF champ and Robert Steiglitz WBO champ and that makes eight boxers. Easy then, quarter finals, semi finals, and a final to find the undisputed super middleweight champion oft the world. Surely that’s what we all want isn’t it? Maybe some would think too many Europeans, but I for one wouldn’t care if all the field came from Madagascar. The next problem would be the lot of the poor old 1st round losers, well boohoo, get busy getting back in the frame against the likes of Bika, Green, Andrade and Inkin. For too long, managers and promoters have slagged off the fact we have multi-pal champs, but have greatly benefited from the situation. The last thing they want to see is their cash cow lose his say WBO championship and instead be rated No.8 in the world. Anyway I’ve had my grumble and now look forward to hearing from the panel.

CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: I think you way off the mark, Tim and your view is a little unfair. Super Six is a great concept and at least we are gonna see six very good fighters face each other. I know this tournament will last into 2011 but in the end Bute, Bika etc will get their chance to face the winner of Super Six. It’s a win win situation and the loss has not hurt Andre Dirrell in terms of credibility. Sorry, I disagree.

GREG JUCKETT ANSWERS: Tim, you make some good points, but boxing can use something different and I think the Super Six has been a refreshing change.

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: If it was that easy, it would have already been done Tim. The key point that got this Showtime tournament going was the fact that the boxers were guaranteed three very good pay days regardless of whether they won or lost. Without that, the tournament doesn’t happen. I would have liked to have seen Bute in the tournament, Sakio Bika too, but I think boxing is better off with the tournament that Showtime has provided, as opposed to no tournament at all.

MICHAEL NORBY: Who got out the wrong side of the bed this morning in Australia, eh? Good grief. That was the grumpiest email I’ve read since my mother sent me a scroll-downer for not giving my little brother a lift from work in the rain a few months ago. What can I say? I was in Ireland on vacation and jetlagged to hell. Anyway, I think it’s a good first effort and I’m excited about the tournament. Is it perfect? No. There are fighters, like the ones you mentioned, who would flesh it out for the better but for now I’m happy with what we’ve got.

JERRY GLICK ANSWERS: I agree that I would much prefer an eight man grid as you described, ending with two in the final round. I question how well Jermain Taylor can/will perform now after a devastating KO loss like that. He probably will not get the rest that he might have taken, and a comeback/tune-up fight would not be against the likes of the other guys in this tournament. I disagree with your statements about the managers and their cash cows. I have respect for all those involved, I just would prefer an elimination style contest. As you pointed out it would also allow for eight of the best rather than six.

Name : Ndumiso Mbele
Country : South Africa
Your Question :
Hello gentlemen, I am disillusioned with the business of boxing (it has not been a sport for a very long time!). For a while now, I have defended boxing, particularly the so-called top boxers, from my non-boxing friends and colleagues. Looking at various P4P lists (forget the alphabet soup sanctioning bodies’ divisional champions and ratings!), I finally have to concede that the sport I have loved so much and for so long has been on the decline for a while now despite the occasional hints at mainstream resurgence. And I am not even saying anything about the sad state of the heavyweight division! Lately, P4P lists are littered with businessmen, comprised of inactive old-timers and declining greats living off past glories and on borrowed time, self-obsessed closet models posing as boxers in once-a-year events sold as boxing matches and television network-manufactured stars with no serious credentials to speak of (you all know the people I am talking about here!). Let’s take the SO P4P list, for example. Outside of the two true fighters facing each other on November 14th and probably two or three more (you know them, too), how many others would have been on it had they been active, say, 20-25 years ago, based on whatever would have been the consensus P4P criteria then? What has really gone wrong here? Is my disillusionment misguided?

CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: Good question Ndumiso. Maybe your disillusionment is slightly misguided in my opinion. All sports, not just boxing have changed. There is far more advertising and media outlets around now in most sports. More sports than ever are televised and profiled now, meaning sportsmen have more of a choice in careers now. For example footballers (soccer players) footballers (American), basketball players, baseball players, etc are getting paid obscene amounts of money now because of increased advertising compared to 30 or 40 years ago. In the 1940’s and 50’s, the opposite was true. Boxing was a major sport and a perfect way for working class men to make big money back then. But far more sporting options now exist, leaving boxing with a far less talent pool to choose from and less financial revenue due to minor sport status. Let’s not forget, boxing like any other sport IS a business.

GREG JUCKETT ANSWERS: Ndumiso, I think the biggest reason there’s been a decline for boxing is the sport’s lack of network television exposure. Times have definitely changed…it’s not the same, but a true boxing fan, like yourself, can still spot a great fight. I don’t read too much into the PFP ratings…to me, they’re just something to debate about.

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: Greg is spot on. How can you grow the sport when the biggest names are more often on pay-per-view? The boxers and promoters are making more money, but they are affecting the ability of the sport to reach new audiences. Things can’t all be bad. We have had some football stadium sell-outs in Germany of late and this new Showtime tournament looks good. Manny Pacquiao is still fighting, so things can’t all be bad. Trying looking at boxing with the glass half full attitude, rather than being half empty.

MICHAEL NORBY: I wish people would stop with the pound for pound garbage, ridiculous, based on whim and nonsense bullshit. I hate pound for pound lists. I have admittedly used the phrase pound for pound, toe-curlingly, in some articles and I’ve answered questions on this mailbag about pound for pound this and pound for pound that and I’m a lesser person for it. It’s stupid. So, Ndumiso, I agree with you wholly on this subject. I think I just trumped Tim on the pound for pound grumpy list. Doh!

JERRY GLICK ANSWERS: Yes, it is, Ndumiso. It just ain’t that bleak out there in boxingland. If you are referring to Hopkins and Mosley as businessmen because of their positions at Golden Boy, I think that you are off base. There is nothing wrong with the fighters taking a hold of their lives and finances. Oscar, Shane, and Bernard as well as others, are highly intelligent and are capable of doing what they are doing. Do they belong among the best P4P, yes, they do. They belong there today and yesterday. Every generation of fans and experts denounces the current crop of boxers and yearn for the good old days. In some way, and some how, one era is better than another, but I can’t choose and I may not know everything, but I have been looking at different eras since 1959; 50 years ago!

Name : Robbie Blyth
Country : Australia
Your Question :
In regards to Anthony Mundine, can someone, most likely Paul Upham, tell me why he continues to fight no name fighters, yet calls himself a champion? When is he going to step up and fight the best fighters in the world? The middleweights aren’t that strong at the moment with Pavlik being inactive, Abraham moving on and Sturm isn’t that strong. The opportunity is now there for him to make his mark. However, he wastes his talent and he is now 34 almost 35, fighting has beens. Now he is going to fight the winner of the Aussie Contender next year. When is he going to get serious and fight the best? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

GREG JUCKETT ANSWERS: Robbie, there’s been more than a few champions who have fought a curious array of competition. Mundine might be in a comfort zone at this point in his career and unfortunately he may not be interested/willing to take another fight along the lines of his points defeat to Mikkel Kessler.

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: When he beat Danny Green, Anthony Mundine was king of Australian boxing. Everyone respected him that night. Unfortunately, the big international fights have not come since then. Looking back, the key moment for me was after Mundine had regained the vacant WBA super middleweight world title by defeating Sam Soliman. The WBA ordered Mundine to rematch Mikkel Kessler, but instead of avenging his loss, Mundine gave up the belt and moved down to middleweight, subsequently defeating Daniel Geale to win the IBO strap in May this year. During this time, Mundine has been business like taking pay days for lesser risk. Geale did give him a great battle. But one thing many Mundine fans lament is their boxer not having a big fight in the USA. Mundine said the other night after winning in Tasmania that he wanted the winner of Kelly Pavlik and Paul Williams. Well, Pavlik is now injured, so Mundine can go and pursue Williams. But to do so, he would have to go to the USA to fight and take the short end of the money purse. Let’s see if it happens. In boxing you can go two ways. Try to beat the best to become the best, regardless of the money/deal on offer. Or treat it as a business and look for the most money for the least risk.

JERRY GLICK ANSWERS: Okay Paul, I’ll help you out here (LOL). It would benefit him greatly if Mundine would step up and out because there is money to be made in the US and elsewhere including his home country, Australia. Checking his record shows that he is not without some decent opposition. He has faced a few A level fighters and he has fought B+ fighters as well, namely Shannan Taylor, Danny Green, Sam Soliman (won three times), Sven Ottke, Antwun Echols, and Mikkel Kessler. What he needs is exposure. Carl Froch understands this and has said how he want to make it happen for him in the U.S market, Mundine needs to as well. Good thinking Robbie.


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