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14 NOVEMBER 2018


ATE: De La Hoya Retires, Froch Future, Paul Williams, Khan-Prescott 2, “USS” Cunningham, Fat Heavyweights and More

Oscar De La Hoya:
Oscar De La Hoya:

In today’s edition of Ask The Editor (ATE), we comment on the retirement of Oscar De La Hoya, consider the future of Carl Froch and look at who could beat Paul Williams. There is speculation on an Amir Khan-Breidis Prescott rematch, we ask why Steve “USS” Cunningham can’t get a fight, suggest a way to trim some of the fat off the heavyweights and much more.

Name : Riaz Uddin
Country : United Kingdom
Your Question :
Hi guys. great work on the site. De La Hoya retires not with a bang but with a whimper. The most popular boxer of his generation has had his critics but I believe that, even after his recent poor performances, he was one of the all time greats. His biggest fights against the likes of Trinidad, Mosley and Mayweather were extremely competitive and I believe on more then one occasion he was screwed (Trinidad and Mayweather). Do you think his legacy as an all time great is sealed?

CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: Good question Riaz. First of all, I thought Mayweather did beat Oscar. For an all time great, it is not just about being a great fighter in the ring. Of course, being a great fighter is paramount when deciding all time greats, but for me, it is also about the example you set and how you represent the sport as well. Oscar was involved in many of the richest PPV fights in history outside the heavyweight division and is responsible for bringing hundreds of thousands of new fans to the sport. So yes, I do believe he could be considered an all time great.

GREG JUCKETT ANSWERS: Riaz, I think De La Hoya is an all-time great. He was an Olympic gold medallist and won multiple world championships, and Oscar never backed down from anyone. You also make a good point the De La Hoya probably got robbed in a few major fights.

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: Without a doubt, De La Hoya will be remembered as one of the most popular boxers in the modern era. He was a very good boxer in his prime. I thought he was robbed clearly on the cards against Trinidad. He is a Hall of Famer and the sport is worse off that he is now retired as a boxer. But he did lose a number of big fights. I still ask the question, what was his best win? He will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame one day. By retiring now, he goes out at the right time.

MICHAEL NORBY ANSWERS: Yes Riaz, to say he went out with a whimper just about sums it up, but I believe that De La Hoya’s legacy is sealed. He did the right thing by retiring instead of coming back and chasing after one last night of glory and, even though he was embarrassed by Pacquiao, his impact on the sport will be remembered for the right reasons.

Name : Ranjeev Kumar
Country : United Kingdom
Your Question :
An Oscar De La Hoya 12 Second Yes / No Quiz:
1. Good fighter or great fighter?
2. Manufactured champion?
3. Fought very carefully managed fights?
4. Regularly beat hand-picked, under-sized and/or over-the-hill opponents?
5. Only had three fights worthy of positive comment: Julio Cesar Chavez (Part 1), Pernell Whitaker and Felix Trinidad?
6. Could rarely live with the greats of his era?
7. Traded on his Hispanic heritage and was largely only popular because of it?
8. Ruined any legacy by losing to Pac-Man?
9. Provided great sports entertainment and brought the concept of ‘celebrity’ to boxing?
10. Style over substance?
11. Provided a temporary buttress against what was a fading sport?

CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: 1. Good fighter; 2. Possibly; 3. In later career; 4. In later career; 5. No; 6. Not true; 7. Not true; 8. Yes; 9. Possibly; 10. Yes; 11. No.

GREG JUCKETT ANSWERS: 1. Great fighter; 2. No; 3. Yes; 4. No; 5. Not true; 6. Not true; 7. Not true; 8. Not true; 9. Yes & No; 10. Not true; 11. Somewhat true.

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: 1. Good fighter; 2. No; 3. Yes; 4. No; 5. No; 6. No; 7. No; 8. No; 9. Yes; 10. No; 11. No.

MICHAEL NORBY ANSWERS: 1. In between; 2. No; 3. Sometimes; 4. Sometimes; 5. No; 6. No; 7. No; 8. No; 9. Yes; 10. No; 11. No.

Name : Chris Lewis
Country : United Kingdom
Your Question :
At this stage in his career, what do you guys think of Carl Froch and what he will go on to do? Being a Calzaghe fan, it is quite disappointing to hear a boxer in Froch, keep making false claims that Calzaghe stepped up from super middleweight to avoid him, trying to make a reputation on the back of Joe. Incidentally Carl, when Calzaghe vacated the WBC belt he stepped up to fight B-Hop a HOF in Las Vegas, whereas you fought Albert Rybacki in Nottingham. That alone illustrates how far apart you both are. Secondly to Robert McCracken, to say there has not been a fighter like Carl in 50 years would suggest you have not watched a lot of UK boxing. Carl has a low workrate, hardly uses his jab, holds his head in the air using his reflexes as a defence, and keeps trying to land one or two hard punches at a time. His style is that of Junior Witter, and several of the Ingle fighters. In the last 20 years never mind 50, we have had Hatton, Calzaghe, Lewis, Hamed, Benn, Eubank, to name but a few and I don’t feel Froch will ever be able to put himself among these guys. What do you think?

CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: Hi Chris. Firstly, I agree, what Carl was doing trying to call out Joe, I don’t know? Let’s be honest here, Joe would be heavily favoured to beat Froch. As for Froch’s shortcoming’s you’re right, Carl’s jab is non existent and he does hang his head out to dry but his work rate is very good. As for Robert McCracken saying there has not been a fighter like Froch for 50 years. I have not heard that one. Time will tell whether Froch will be mentioned in the same breath as the aforementioned we will have to wait and see.

GREG JUCKETT ANSWERS: Chris, I think it’s too early to make any conclusive assessments regarding Froch’s career and legacy in UK boxing circles, but the KO over Taylor was an excellent win and the attempt to start some controversy with Calzaghe is just Froch trying to make a high-profile fight with the popular retired champion.

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: All credit to Froch for beating Jermain Taylor. Great win for him. Calzaghe needs to realise that a whole heap of boxers are now going to call him out. That’s the way of the boxing world. Who knows, maybe Froch keeps winning and retires as an undefeated world champion. It wouldn’t appear so at the moment, but right now he is an unbeaten world champion. One thing I give extra credit to Froch for – he was prepared to travel to the USA for a dangerous fight with an American boxer much earlier in his career than Calzaghe ever did.

MICHAEL NORBY ANSWERS: Froch did very well to pull out the win last week, Chris. He travelled to the US – well out of his comfort zone – and, although he was out-boxed for much of the fight, he never gave up and he kept picking away at Taylor. In saying that, though, I think he should concentrate on making money while he can now – perhaps even by offering Jermain Taylor a rematch. Calzaghe, Kessler, Bute and even Allan Green look to be a step above for many of the reasons that you outline in your email. He can turn a fight on a dime with his power even, as we witnessed last week, very late in the fight – but how long before he faces a fighter who boxes the ears off him and doesn’t get tired and/or sloppy?

Name : Gerald McGrew
Country : USA
Your Question :
Carl Froch vs. Paul Williams. How ’bout it?

CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: Love it. Would be interesting

GREG JUCKETT ANSWERS: Gerald, I like your thinking...a Froch-Williams bout is one I would like to see!

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: Is super middleweight one weight class step to far for Williams? Maybe not. He still has the great height and reach. Yes, very interesting fight. Why not?

MICHAEL NORBY ANSWERS: Williams says he is willing to move up to 168lbs so, who knows? If he can take a strong super middleweight punch then I’d pick Williams to win by decision. He’s too gifted, too busy and Froch is too easy to hit.

Name : Fateen Wilson
Country : USA
Your Question :
Greeting guys, keep up the great writing. I just have a quick question: Who do you see beating Paul Williams from 147 to 160? As Williams fills in, I can see him winning belts all the way up to cruiserweight. What do you guys think?

GREG JUCKETT ANSWERS: Fateen, it looks like Williams has a couple of potentially great fights at 160, including Pavlik and Abraham, and I think he can win both of those fights, but as Williams moves up in weight to bouts against possibly Chad Dawson or Tomasz Adamek, we’ll have to see how well he can handle the power of bigger fighters.

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: Good question. Right now, Paul Williams is a dangerous proposition for anyone. I’d watch him against any of the leading boxers right now from junior middleweight to super middleweight. But as he got heavier at light heavyweight and cruiserweight, will it affect his impressive workrate? Regardless, you would have to give him a chance to do it.

MICHAEL NORBY ANSWERS: I would not be confident enough to say that a particular fighter “would beat Paul Williams.” Floyd Mayweather, Kelly Pavlik and Shane Mosley would be extremely interesting match-ups for different reasons. I’ll tell you one thing – I wouldn’t want to fight Williams at any of those weight classes.

Name : Daley Francis
Country : United Kingdom
Your Question :
I’ve just seen on that Edwin Valero is making a defence of his title against Breidis Prescott in July. That makes an interesting 2 weeks as Amir Khan fights Kotelnik at the end of June. If Khan beats Kotelnik (which for the record I think he can if he keeps his boxing tight and speedy for 12 rounds) and Prescott beats Valero - how about that all important rematch (essential for Khan’s career) for both titles - like Sugar Ray Leonard did all those years ago against Donny Lalonde? If both fighters lose, I think they will need each other even more! I doubt Frank Warren has anymore backbone left though after the Barrera call. It disturbed me how astounded Ian Darke was when Khan took a clean punch from Barrera in the 3rd round, “He took it! He took it!” It shows how little faith people have in that chin of his!! How much faith will he have if the Kotelnik fight goes wrong?

CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: Daly, I think Khan should come through this as I expect him to box Kotelnik from the outside and nick the fight

GREG JUCKETT ANSWERS: Daley, I think you’re right when you say that Khan needs to keep “his boxing tight and speedy for 12 rounds” if he’s going to beat Kotelnik and I also agree that at some point a rematch against Prescott will need to happen should Khan continue to win, but I wouldn’t hold your breath that it’ll happen right away.

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: I like Khan to beat Kotelnik, but he has to fight a very good fight. Khan doesn’t look too study when he takes clean punches to the chin. Even if he wins, I still can’t see him rematching Prescott anytime soon.

MICHAEL NORBY ANSWERS: I don’t think that revenge over Prescott is ‘essential’ for Khan’s career, Daley. More essential is that he silences those who legitimately question his ability to take punches, no matter who the opponent. I agree with you, however, that if both fighters lose then they may try and hash out a deal for a rematch.

Name : Adrian Borchok
Country : Australia
Your Question :
What is happening with Steve "USS" Cunningham? I cannot believe this guy cannot land another fight! He has just come off a narrow loss in the fight of the year (a fight which has only grown in reputation and esteem since taking place in December last year) yet things are all quiet on the Cunningham front! The guy is technically sound, charismatic, talented, marketable and, all in all, a class act! Surely, something must be around the corner for the man!

CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: Steve’s a quality fighter and he will get his chance again.

GREG JUCKETT ANSWERS: Adrian, unfortunately Cunningham is too talented for his own good in a weak division. I’m not sure what his next fight will be, but an all-American match-up against BJ Flores would be nice to see.

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: There is normally too reasons why a top line boxer like Cunningham can’t get a fight. Either they bring absolutely nothing of value to sell a match, or they can’t fight damn hard. I think Steve falls into point two. It says a lot about the other leading boxers at cruiserweight in that they won’t get into the ring with him.

There is nothing on the radar for Cunningham right now unfortunately, Adrian. He should be given the opportunity to fight Adamek again – I would pay to see those two go at it again.

Name : Stephen Norrie
Country : United Kingdom
Your Question :
Hi guys, a thought on the fat heavyweight crisis. Where a heavyweight has a track record of coming in fat, couldn’t the TV companies insist on clauses in their contracts where they only get the full purse if they come in under a certain weight? After all, no-one wants to watch fat heavyweights, and it must be harming TV audiences. You could set different weights for different fighters: obviously, Valuev is never going to get down to a weight at which ’Fat’ Eddie Chambers would look an athlete. And you could make it cover both the weigh-in and on fight night to stop fighters merely dehydrating to make the weight. On another note, it was good to see my favourite fighter Nonito Donaire back with a KO win on Saturday, but I’m wondering where he goes from here. I’ve read Gary Shaw won’t let him near Darchinyan again after the fallout from their promotional relationship, but to be honest, I don’t think the first match left many unanswered questions anyway. Vic only knows how to fight aggressively, jumping on his opponents with fast, straight combinations, but Nonito is too mobile to be caught and Vic would just end up jumping onto his lethal counterhooks again. So Vic aside, what challenges do you see in the future for the Filipino Flash?

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: Interesting idea for the heavies. TV networks don’t want to be hands on promoters, so a clause in contracts may be a little too far. An exciting fit heavyweight is going to come along one day and electrify the division. It will happen. As for Donaire, as long as Darchinyan keeps dominating, it makes Nonito look even better, regardless of what he does himself. But the way Darchinyan keeps moving up in weight and collecting world title belts, it would seem a rematch will never happen.

MICHAEL NORBY ANSWERS: That’s an interesting heavyweight proposal there, Stephen. It would never happen, though. Being a heavyweight is like being a student and the teacher telling you that there is a really important exam coming up, but only study if you really want to. Heavyweight’s need discipline and too many potentially good ones have little or none. Onto Donaire. I know Shaw said something he probably shouldn’t have after the Arce fight but Vic Darchinyan is a proud fighter and I’m sure he really wants another crack at the Filipino Flash so I wouldn’t close the door on that possibility just yet.

Name : Barnaby Chesterman
Country : Italy
Your Question :
What’s happened to Joe Mesi’s boxing career? I was wondering recently so I looked him up on the internet and saw he hasn’t fought since 2007 and since then ran for governor of Buffalo or something like that. So is that it, he’s a wannabe politician now, is his boxing career over?

GREG JUCKETT ANSWERS: Barnaby, I think we’ve seen the last of Joe Mesi in a boxing ring. The controversy regarding his health (bleeding on the brain) really slowed down his career and it’s probably best that ‘Baby Joe’ doesn’t fight again for that reason.

MICHAEL NORBY ANSWERS: Mesi unsuccessfully ran for New York state senate last year and now works for the state in his hometown of Buffalo, NY. Vassily Jirov effectively ended Joe’s career in 2004 after a late thumping caused bleeding on his brain. Even though Mesi won that fight, and had a bunch of subsequent fights against lesser opposition, it was clear that he needed to focus on something else and it seems that he has settled outside of boxing now. Good for him.

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