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17 NOVEMBER 2018


ATE: Hitman Hatton, Boxing Health Check, Hopkins’ Decision, Oscar & Hamed’s Best Win, Paul Williams’ Wing Span and More

Prince Naseem Hamed flies in:
Prince Naseem Hamed flies in:

In today’s edition of Ask The Editor (ATE), we review Ricky Hatton’s win over Paul Malignaggi, check on the current health of boxing and suggest what Bernard Hopkins should do now. We consider further what is Oscar De La Hoya’s best win, select Prince Naseem Hamed’s best victory, try to measure Paul Williams’ amazing wing span and much more.

Name : Jack Kelly
Country : United Kingdom
Your Question :
I just wondered what your general thoughts on Ricky Hatton’s TKO victory over Paulie Malignaggi are? Personally, I was shocked, but delighted at how easy things turned out to be for Hatton. I’m a massive fan, but had been backing Malignaggi to pull off the upset since the fight was made. I just felt, based on recent performances and their age that if both brought there best to the table, then Malignaggi’s style could prove a real headache for Hatton. On the night though, Malignaggi looked far from his best while Hatton looked very close to his. Malignaggi looked overawed almost immediately, even after a promising 1st round for him. But did the Magic Man just bottle it, prove he’s not as good as people thought or did he not realise just how strong and relentless an in-form Ricky Hatton is? I think it’s the latter. Ricky Hatton looked in great shape physically and mentally and I was also impressed with Floyd Mayweather Sr in his corner. As both have now said, imagine what can be achieved with more time and a better understanding of each other. I won’t get too carried away, but will just finish by saying that even if everything does go horribly wrong next fight, I’m glad this win for Hatton looks like booking him a mega-fight with De La Hoya or Pacquiao. Which should be good for boxing and everyone involved... especially if it is Pacman!

CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: Jack, I think Ricky knew he needed to put in an impressive performance after the lack lustre showing against Juan Lazcano. And he delivered big time. Ricky underwent a long and strenuous training camp with new trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr and I think the combination of the two paid off. Whether he can raise his game to the next level against Oscar or Manny remains to be seen.

GREG JUCKETT ANSWERS: Jack, I knew Hatton was going to beat Malignaggi as soon as I saw Malignaggi’s reaction to Hatton’s first meaningful punch…Paulie didn’t take it well…Hatton was just too strong. And, I agree, I would much rather see Pacman-Hatton, but it’s probably going to be Oscar-Hatton, should De La Hoya continue to fight.

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: You could only be very impressed with Ricky Hatton’s win, even more so when so many people were saying that Malignaggi would be a tough fight, some even tipping Paulie to win. Hatton looked fresh and enthusiastic. When he gets up on his toes and bounces in without losing his balance, stringing his punches together seamlessly, he looks great. I wrote after the fight that Pacquiao-Hatton will be one of the biggest fights of 2009, if Pacman beats De La Hoya.

MICHAEL NORBY ANSWERS: I thought Hatton was excellent last week, Jack. That was his best performance in some time and he seems to be reaping the benefits of having Floyd Senior in his corner. He was sharp, focused and fought an intelligent fight. I felt bad for Malignaggi. He was extremely upset at the stoppage, but he’s one of boxing’s good guys and will come again. Hatton’s strength was just overwhelming.

Name : Thomas Peak
Country : United Kingdom
Your Question :
Even as recently as 18 months ago, it seemed that every other article or letter in to ATE asked what had happened to the once glorious sport of boxing and it seemed almost like there was a general consensus that boxing was dying if not dead. Today however, we have superfight after superfight, people have finally realised that it is sensible to ignore the belts and focus on the champions and we have a ruling dynasty in the heavyweight division who seem unstoppable. The best fighters are no longer afraid to fight one another and it seems to me that boxing is the healthiest it has been for years or even decades. Do you guys agree that boxing has revived itself and do you think we are due for another dark age any time soon?

CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: Thomas, I don’t think for one minute the boxers chose to avoid each other. I think it was mainly a decision by promoters trying to protect their cash cows. In the U.S promoters have always built up their top fighters and matched them in super fights. These super fights, with the help of big money from HBO/Showtime, have kept the sport alive. In Britain ITV/Sky now insist on the best fighting the best, which is why we are now seeing more competitive fights. And long may it continue.

GREG JUCKETT ANSWERS: Thomas, you make some very good points. For me, the reason boxing isn’t as glorious now is because less and less average sports fans have real knowledge of the fight game. The sport needs to be on network television, and what would qualify as PPV now isn’t always PPV worthy in my opinion.

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: There has been a noticeable change in tone about the health of boxing over the last two years. Promoters, television networks and the leading boxers finally realised that by serving up constant mismatches, the sport was doomed. Big fights are being made, champions are fighting champions, regardless of world title belts. Boxing is no way back to full health and it could quickly go back the other way, but right now we are heading in the right direction. More undisputed world champions and meaningful fights can only help boxing. That is all the fans ever asked for.

MICHAEL NORBY ANSWERS: I don’t think boxing was ever going to die, Thomas. It just needed to get better to reward loyal fans and to attract new ones. The sport still has a long way to go.

Name : Bill Watkins
Country : USA
Your Question :
What do you think Bernard Hopkins should do now? Retire after the great win over Pavlik, or chance it again for another big fight.

CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: Bill, I said on ATE after the Calzaghe fight that Bernard should continue to fight. I thought he still had so much to offer and I think he proved me right. At 43, I’d be happy for him to retire and enjoy a well earned retirement. Having said that I’m happy to see him carry on. He still has plenty to offer.

GREG JUCKETT ANSWERS: Bill, my guess is Hopkins probably fights on. I have no idea who he’ll want to fight next, but I’d much rather see him hang ‘em up for good.

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: I said Bernard should retire on top after he beat Antonio Tarver because he could never win better at his age. He lost to Calzaghe and then reached an even higher level with his win over Pavlik. I’ll say again that Bernard should now retire on top, but he will probably fight again in 2009. I’m just not sure what is the right fight for him? Perhaps a third fight with Jermain Taylor at 175lbs.

MICHAEL NORBY ANSWERS: I think ‘Nard should keep going. His dominant win over Pavlik has proven that he still has the goods. Ironically, the only super fight out there for Hopkins is a rematch with Roy Jones Jr. I would not be surprised if that fight is made. I can’t see Bernard fighting a young lion like Dawson and a rematch with Glen Johnson is just as doubtful.

Name : Roni Bedon
Country : Australia
Your Question :
Paul Upham, I hear you asking many times in the media what is Oscar’s best win? Well, the answer is, which you seem to have overlooked, is his win over Pernell Whittaker - one of the best P4P fighters in the last 30 years.

GREG JUCKETT ANSWERS: Roni, I also think the victory over Whitaker was Oscar’s best win. Despite many outside distractions, Whitaker was focused and at his best that evening. In my opinion Whitaker made De La Hoya look very ordinary, but to his credit, De La Hoya kept up the pressure and made the fight very close.

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: I did have the Whitaker fight on my short list. I also said last week that I wasn’t exactly 100% sure what Oscar’s best win was. I don’t have a problem with anyone suggesting that beating Pernell was De La Hoya’s best victory. One thing to be considered is that many people will tell you that Oscar didn’t deserve the decision in that fight. But I am not going to say you are wrong Roni.

MICHAEL NORBY ANSWERS: I’d have to agree that Oscar’s best win was over Whittaker. If you go back and read the last ATE, then you’ll see that both Gregory and Paul made reference to that contest.

Name : Kenneth Palmer
Country : United Kingdom
Your Question :
I would like to ask what you think of Wladimir Klitschko and his chin? I don’t think he has a great chin, but also I do not think it is as bad as many people make out, although I could be wrong. As far as I remember his loss versus Brewster was more down to him being totally exhausted - or whatever reason - although I did not see his fight versus Ross Puritty. I read this loss was down more to exhaustion too. Of course, he lost to Corrie sanders via knockout, but this happens to many people and I think this was due to stupidity and inexperience from Wladimir (getting up too quickly, panicking and so on). He did get knocked down a few times versus Sam Peter, although I think one of these was certainly not a knock down and to be fair, Peter is a bit of a beast, but he survived this and won a unanimous decision. Overall, I think Wlad and even his chin is a bit underrated.

CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: I agree Kenneth, Wladimir’s chin is not that bad. Heavyweights hit very hard and if anyone gets hit on the chin flush, nine times out of 10 he will buckle.

GREG JUCKETT ANSWERS: Kenneth, I think Klitschko’s chin is average…a good puncher can obviously hurt him if he lands cleanly. Both Klitschko’s are big and strong, but they are very beatable.

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: Wladimir has won 51 times as a professional, so his chin isn’t too bad. Yes, his stoppage losses to Puritty, Sanders and Brewster will always be held against him. But give him credit for working his way back and being on top of the heavyweight division today. Many boxers who have been stopped three times can’t claim to have done that. Wladimir Klitschko is not going to be considered one of the best of the big men in history, but he is not too bad today amongst a relatively weak division.

MICHAEL NORBY ANSWERS: Whether you are an imbiber or otherwise, I think that it’s pretty clear that Wlad is the premier heavyweight in the world. His older brother may have something to say about that but, for now, Wlad is the best of the big guys. He should beat Hasim Rahman in their upcoming bout, although the Rock has some experience in upsetting premier heavyweights with his power – just ask Lennox Lewis.

Name : Angus Smith
Country : United Kingdom
Your Question :
After seeing Kelly Pavlik schooled by Bernard Hopkins at light heavy, the fight I would most like to see to determine the supremo of the super middleweight division is Kessler against Pavlik. I would tip Kessler to win it, then go on and fight Hopkins at light heavyweight. Two matches for 2009?

CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: It’s no secret I’m a big fan of Kessler and believe the best is yet to come. And yes Kessler vs. Hopkins, great fight. Not sure Bernard needs that type of fight though.

GREG JUCKETT ANSWERS: Angus, I commend you on a well thought out future fight scenario, but I would pick Pavlik to beat Kessler and then have Pavlik attempt to lure Arthur Abraham up to 168.

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: Me thinks Pavlik is headed back to middleweight for a while, at least until he re-establishes his reputation after the loss to Hopkins. A tune-up win and then a middleweight super fight would be the best course of action for him. Kessler needs to get his career back on track with a big fight at 168lbs. Turning down a fight with Edison Miranda was a bad career move.

MICHAEL NORBY ANSWERS: I’d like to see Pavlik fight Abraham next year at middleweight and I’ll be surprised if Kelly doesn’t rejoin the ranks at 160lbs. How about Jermain Taylor as a possible opponent for Kessler in 2009?

Name : Andrew Nelson
Country : United Kingdom
Your Question :
What do you see as Naseem Hamed’s best win?

CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: I’d say Naz’s best win was probably Steve Robinson in my opinion. Why? Because I think this early part of his career was where I think he was at his very best. He was so strong and dominant in that fight.

GREG JUCKETT ANSWERS: Andrew, for sheer excitement and to display the ability to rise to the occasion in front of a foreign/MSG crowd, I think Hamed’s KO4 victory over Kevin Kelley in December ’97 was the Prince’s greatest triumph.

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: I thought Hamed’s win over Wayne McCullough was impressive. It was a messy fight, but I was expecting Wayne’s pressure to be more effective on the Prince. Hamed was too awkward.

MICHAEL NORBY ANSWERS: The spectacular 4th round KO of Kevin Kelley in his U.S debut in New York was incredible, Andrew.

Name : Danny Johnson
Country : Australia
Your Question :
I will never understand how or why Anthony Mundine was suddenly catapulted to the position of No.1 contender for the WBA middleweight world title after just one fight and a win at middleweight against a blown up junior middleweight from Uruguay who had no business in the same ring as The Man in the first place. How does Mundine expect to be able to compete successfully against a bonified world champion in Felix Sturm, when the best opponents he has faced in preparation for Sturm is a string of bums and no hopers who wouldn’t be good enough to be Sturm’s sparring partners, let alone world title defence opponents? While Mundine has been busily allowing his skills to stay stagnate against what are basically club fighters, Sturm has been constantly facing the best in the world and beating them in the process. His loss to Oscar De La Hoya a few years back was controversial and even if he didn’t quite do enough that night to bring home the bacon against the Golden Boy, he at the very least severely tested De La Hoya, if he didn’t push him to his utter limits. Anybody who can make De la Hoya work for his win will probably prove to be too much a handful for the likes of Mundine, who I feel would struggle to find answers against the slick skills and constant walking up of the German who never stopped walking up and took everything the Golden Boy could throw. The point I am trying to make is that if Oscar struggled, even with his genius talent and skills, to fend Sturm off, my guess is that Mundine, who is not the boxer De La Hoya is, has no chance. Your thoughts, please fellas?

GREG JUCKETT ANSWERS: Danny, I agree with all your assessments. I think Sturm would easily outpoint Mundine and for the record, I thought Sturm beat De La Hoya.

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: The WBA have rewarded Mundine for being a former two-time world champion at super middleweight. The weirdest thing though is that Mundine hasn’t actually made the 160lbs limit for any fight yet! I still think Mundine would have a very good chance to beat Sturm. I do question whether Anthony can make 160lbs and feel comfortable. Looks like it is Shannan Taylor next for Mundine in February. If I was Shannan, I’d be insisting that Mundine weigh in at 160lbs exactly or loss.

Name : James Kettle
Country : United Kingdom
Your Question :
A few months ago I saw a report that Ian Lewison had signed to turn pro. In the past I have watched him fight and he was an outstanding fighter. The best fights I saw in the A.B.A’s was him vs. Joe Young, all three of them and a few wins he had over a few other people. Please let me know when I can come and watch him.

CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: Hi James. The last I heard Ian was turning pro with Evans/Waterman as promoters and Bruce Baker managing him. That was a few months ago but I will find out the latest for you.

Name : Thomas Peak
Country : United Kingdom
Your Question :
Looking at some potential super fights in the lower weight divisions, I was thinking what a great clash Calderon and Darchinyan would be at catch weight. Do you think there is any chance it would happen? Obviously because of his size and power, Darchinyan would start a heavy favorite, but he could only make his advantages tell if he could tag Calderon, which is a very difficult task indeed. I think if these guys fought, then the winner could be pushing Calzaghe in the pound for pound stakes. Any chance it will happen?

GREG JUCKETT ANSWERS: Thomas, when I look a Darchinyan’s future opponents, nobody stands out as someone I want or need to see Vic fight, so I think a Calderon-Darchinyan boxer-puncher match-up would be great.

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: It is not a fight that has been mentioned around Vic Darchinyan and his team. Vic is looking now at Jorge Arce and other fights up in weight. Vic has told me that he could go back down to flyweight if he wanted to, but what he wants now is more world titles and big fights.

MICHAEL NORBY ANSWERS: Calderon is a great boxer but I don’t think he’d want any part of a much stronger and ruthless Darchinyan.

Name : Barnaby Chesterman
Country : Italy
Your Question :
Right, I’m writing this before Paul Williams fought Verno Phillips, so if he lost this is going to look rather daft...but anyway, given that he beat Antonio Margarito, who beat Miguel Cotto, and both of those usually feature in people’s P4P Top 10, why doesn’t Williams get in there? And if his size puts people off fighting him, wouldn’t it be better for him to step up to middleweight, maybe if he got in with the likes of Pavlik or Abraham and beat them then he get the recognition? Also, how the heck does a 147lbs fighter have a longer reach than the Klitschko brothers, is that really true?

PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: Williams’ last fight was at 160lbs. He is fighting at 154lbs tonight against Phillips. The reason he is not in most people’s top ten P4P is because of his loss to Carlos Quintana, though he avenged that impressively with a 1st round KO in their rematch. I want to see the Williams-Margarito rematch in 2009. It is on my list of must make fights. Paul Williams’ reach has been listed as 82 inches at Wladimir Klitschko is 81 inches and Vitali Klitschko is 80 inches. Very interesting if those measurements are accurate.

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