The possible retirement of Fernando Vargas is the main thrust of this week’s edition of Ask the Editor. Should two-time champ El Feroz walk away from boxing at 28? Is he shot after getting stopped for the 4th time in his last 10 fights last weekend? Read on to find out SecondsOut reader’s views. Plus, Shane Mosley, John Duddy and more.
LIKE TYSON, VARGAS RUNNING ON FUMES
First Name : Joe
Last Name : G.
Country : USA
Your Question : Fernando Vargas has gotten almost as much mileage on the fumes of what’s left of his skills, as Mike Tyson. Like Tyson, people remember the young ferocious fighter of old, and fail to see the tired, shell of a fighter he is now. Vargas’ skills have been diminished for years, and has looked "shot" for his last four fights. Yes, he looked okay against Mosley five months ago, but Mosley is no jr. middleweight. The high number of PPV buys for their first fight demonstrates how fight fans can hold on to their memories for certain fighters. Arturo Gatti is another. Hopefully Vargas retires and finds happiness outside of the ring. To continue will only bring further physical deterioration. Unfortunately, he will most likely find an excuse as to why he lost, and a promoter will find another name opponent to give him another beatdown.
PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: While I have always liked Vargas as a person and boxer, Tyson certainly accomplished more in his career than Fernando has. He is either really struggling with the weight, or he has simply taken too many heavy punches over his career. I’m hoping it is the former.
BEN COHEN ANSWERS: Unlike many people in the boxing world, I actually think Vargas is not shot, and can rebound from his loss. Shane looked fantastic in dismantling him last weekend, but truth be told, Vargas looked completely drained from the weight loss. He was 168lbs the night of the fight, and far too slow to be in there Mosley. It was also evident that his back was troubling him, as he could not torque his body to avoid shots and counter. I thought that Vargas was done before he fought Shane the last time around, but he showed that he had a the ability to still compete at the top. If he moves up to 160, he will be infinitely more comfortable, and he should be competitive against some of the better fighters there.
EL FEROZ CAN STILL WIN TITLE
First Name : Miguel
Last Name : Gutierrez
Country : USA
Your Question : Do you think Mosley should have retired after Vernon Forest put a beating on him? Should he have retired after Winky beat him down? I’m a Vargas Fan. I would like to see him fight Castillejo one more time. If he doesn’t beat him by KO or unanimous decision then he should retire. I don’t want him to go out with a loss. If he can’t be Ferocious then he shouldn’t box anymore.
ANT EVANS ANSWERS: Vargas could certainly win more world titles, Miguel. But the question is - why? He’s already rich and has established himself as a good - not great -world champion. Would winning more alphabet belts really made a difference to his legacy? I doubt it. So, again, why fight on and risk getting KO’d for the fifth time?
BEN COHEN ANSWERS: A rematch with Castillejo would be a good idea given his victory over Sturm. It would certainly give him an indication of how much he has left.
PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: Firstly, I want to see how Fernando fights with some more weight on him. He had no energy or spark in him whatsoever last weekend against Mosley. He was just plodding around the ring after Mosley, just as trainer Danny Smith told him in the corner. At 28, Vargas has time on his side. But he needs to be honest with himself about his performances against Mosley. There is no shame in losing to a great boxer like Mosley, but Fernando has to learn from it and come back better.
VARGAS SHOULD GO ON
First Name : Patrick
Last Name : McKenzie
Country : USA
Your Question : To answer your questions about Vargas, I think he should fight on. I think he has plenty of mileage left in him. (Didn’t everyone have DLH and Mosley labelled washed-up just a few fights ago? C’mon, he’s only 28!) But he should fight the "fringe champs" -- the guys with only one belt (ex. NABF or WBO) or "second echelon" fighters. Because what we’ve found out about Fernando is that, while he’s a very good solid fighter he’s just not a member of boxing’s elite class. Each time he’s tried to step into that elite class (I say he didn’t win the fight with Winky and Quartey was coming off a loss to DLH and moved up in weight to fight Vargas) he has taken a beating mainly because his defense has holes and the top guys will always be able to exploit that. I think we just need to accept Fernando as a middle weight version of Gatti. Also, the large weight gain after the weigh-in (I thought I read he was at 168 at fight time) is an indicator he wasn’t in top shape for his fight with Mosley. If I was his Fernando’s manger I’d have him come back at 160 and fight a guy like Sturm who’s also coming off a loss.
BEN COHEN ANSWERS: I dont think it is fair to compare Vargas to Arturo Gatti, Patrick. Fernando was highly competitive with the elite jr middleweight fighters of his generation whereas Gatti was absolutely humiliated when he fought his elite contemporaries. I agree that Vargas is not quite on the level of Delahoya, Mosley or Trinidad, but I don’t think it is because of his leaky defense. Vargas is inherently slower than the above mentioned fighter in hand and foot speed, and his chin slightly more susceptible. Mosley and Trinidad have taken their fair share of punches and neither can claim to be a defensive genius. Vargas is an extremely intelligent fighter, and has always displayed great maturity in the ring, but his faults were not mental, but physical. If De La Hoya and Mosley are ’A’ fighters, then Gatti is a ’B’ fighter, and Vargas an ’A-’.
PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: I agree Patrick. The key is that Vargas has to assess all aspects of his training and preparation and look at what he can do better. Moving up in weight is step number 1. He has to work on his boxing skills. I would suggest that he has been spending so much time training to lose the weight to drain down to 154lbs, that it is restricting the time he can spend working on his skills and game plan for his opponent.
ANT EVANS ANSWERS: It’s not a question of training, it is a question of the beatings he took from Shane, Oscar and Tito, a question of his back problems and steroid use and the fact that he’s not looked impressive for four years now.
TITO DIDN’T RUIN REID OR VARGAS
First Name : Chris
Last Name : Egoavil
Country : USA
Your Question : I don’t believe that Tito ruined Vargas or Reid. Did you see the way Reid’s eye looked droopy before the first round ever started in his fight with Tito? Did you see the way that Vargas held his own against Tito, and might have even won if not for dirty tactics that Tito used during the fight? Vargas came back from a long hiatus and faced two quality opponents. they weren’t elite fighters, but had to be considered at least quality. Castillejo went the distance with De la Hoya too. Joval is a decent Middleweight, a guy that was naturally bigger than Vargas. Maybe the steroids did something to his body. Maybe he should have had surgery on his back instead of the alternative healing. I think, truth be told, he should have stuck with his old trainer. I think the weight loss drained him. I didn’t see this fight yet because I was away for the weekend, and the undercard sucked so I didn’t bother ordering it, and setting it to record when I can see the main event the following weekend. I did see the first fight, and Vargas looked drained. Did you guys see the way his cheeks looked? How dry his body looked? Lastly, give some praise to the guy that beat him, because if Vargas had won, you guys would be saying the same thing about Mosley right now. Boxing isn’t what it used to be in the old days, I guess. A fighter isn’t allowed to lose any fights because then they are considered washed up or second, third tier fighters. Maybe that’s why we don’t see more BIG fights, because there is too much risk for these fighters and there standings.
ANT EVANS ANSWERS: Sorry, Chris, Tito butchered Vargas in that fight. Yes, Tito hit low once in the fight but it was Vargas who was drilled to the canvas again and again and ending losing via KO. I agree with what you are saying re: his weight and - yes - Vargas can still beat very good opponents. If he wants to be just another guy with a belt, he can be, but if thought he wanted to be a legend.
PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: You make a good point Chris. We mustn’t forget to praise Mosley, but it was clear Vargas was a shell of himself. He had no fire, no spark, no pizazz in him. Seeing him move up to 160lbs will tell us more. Maybe it is just a coincidence, but Reid and Vargas were seemingly never the same after they lost to Trinidad, fairly or not in Vargas’ case.
BEN COHEN ANSWERS: I agree with many of your points Chris, but I do think that Trinidad took something away from both Vargas and Reid. When a fighter with Trinidad’s pin point accuracy and freakish power lands repeatedly on your chin, it will never be the same again. Vargas was almost decapitated by Trinidad in their fight, and I believe his punch resistance was never the same. Reid was also clearly physically damaged from his fight. You just had to watch the punches that Trinidad landed.
I don’t believe that Vargas is washed up, and I think you are right that the boxing community tends to write fighters off whenever they lose. Just look at Glen Johnson for example. He took a horrendous beating from Bernard Hopkins years ago, and look where he is now.
MIDDLEWEIGHT REMEDY, SHANE IS AWESOME
First Name : Joe
Last Name : Hatchett
Country : USA
Your Question : Ant, Like you, I picked El Feroz to step up and put a little hurt on Mosley to win a decision. Making the weight may just be too much for him and he should look to take some easy fights at Middleweight to gauge himself before making a final decision to retire. Maybe a Sergio Mora, Sam Soliman or a rematch with new title holder Javier Castillejo (give Trinidad another try to end the show). Not to take anything away from Mosley who really never was washed up just that in Winky and Forrest (like Hearns to Barkley and Leonard) he meet his spoilers. He has had no injuries, stays in great shape and should fight the Gatti vs. Baldomir winner and have a belt to dangle for the belt-less Mayweather at Welterweight. Heck Mosley could have a nice rumble with Judah. I am just amazed that Mosley thinks Mayweather and Margarito should fight each other then give him the opportunity to fight the winner for the big bucks. Mosley has a little more to prove to me to be so deserving, but he sure has guts!
PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: Shane Mosley is all class in my book. Many forget he has been fighting above his weight, lost and rematched to naturally bigger men in Vernon Forrest and Winky Wright. Since his first loss to Forrest, Shane has been fighting without confidence. But it seems to be back now! Maybe Shane feels he needs time to get back down to 147lbs before facing Mayweather in 2007. I have no problem with that. He has fought the bigger Vargas twice this year and won. Shane deserves the rest of the year off. The way he sustained defeat, tried to avenge it, then re-tooled and came back again, that’s a true warrior.
ANT EVANS ANSWERS: Paul makes a great point - Shane has been mixing it with much bigger men since 2000. I’d love to see him fight Mayweather in November. I also hear Cory Spinks is a possibility, too.
B-B-Q EL FEROZ
First Name : Nay
Last Name : Sayer
Country : USA
Your Question : Stick a fork in him, Vargas is DONE!
PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: Certainly he is at 154lbs. Now Vargas has the chance to go away, re-invent himself, improve and come back hungry at middleweight.
HOW CAN BOXING FIGHT BACK
First Name : Micah
Last Name : Yonkoski
Country : USA
Your Question : Kudos to the fight fans site and all that make it so important to all fellow boxing junkies. I was wondering if anyone had any articles on how boxing could restore itself within the public eye? Perhaps an article exploring the different directions that boxing could take to again be respected and recognized for the great sport that it is. Is teh answer one champion per division? Perhaps a corporate sponsored championship that wipes the sanctioning bodies away. Could a corporate sponsored league of sorts change the face of the sport like it did in Nascar? Is the answer as simple as another great heavyweight? Is it getting rid of King and Arum a step in the right direction because many casual fans feel they are the black cloud. Is it just getting more exposure for the fighters or even a National Commission? I would love to see this addressed and all of your thoughts on what can be done to capture the UFC type of marketing and begin to get boxing back where it belongs. Thanks for your time and keep up the good work.
PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: You ask some important questions Micah. The overall problem is that boxing is such an individual sport, everyone is looking out for themselves and neglecting what is best for the sport of boxing as a whole. Being a world sport, that aspect will be hard if not impossible to fix. But it doesn’t have to be so complicated. The evidence is there for everyone to see. A well promoted boxing match that features the best boxers in meaningful matches will always attract people. Deep down everyone loves to watch a good fight. The problem is as a sport, boxing has done everything possible to make boxing unappealing to the casual fan. Multiple world champions, mismatches and pay-per-view are three of the key problems. As a sport, if we made it a universal goal to establish one world champion for each weight class, have the best boxers facing the best and elminate all the wacky and joke results, you would go a long way to solving the problems boxing faces. But going back to my original question, how is that going to happen with everyone looking out only for themselves?
ANT EVANS ANSWERS: You ask too wide reaching questions to be properly answered here, Micah, although Paul makes a great start. I’d add to his list that boxing needs to find proper, young ’cool’ people to market the sport, not 50-year-olds, HBO suits or Swiss Bankers. Promoters have to stop cutting each other’s balls off, right now, absolutely.
CAN DUDDY MOVE THE ROCK?
First Name : Patrick
Last Name : O’Connor
Country : Ireland
Your Question : With a Jim Rock - John Duddy face off looking more and more likely who do you think would come out victorious in this bout? Rock, although not a stellar opponent, is still a considerable step up for Duddy, how do you think Duddy will cope with the wiley old Pink Panther? Is he ready for this fight or has it been made too early for him?
ANT EVANS ANSWERS: I think Duddy already has far too much for Rock, Patrick. I was ringside when Takaloo wiped Rock out years ago and thought Rock should have gotten out of the game then. He’s proved me wrong by coming back and boxing well but, Duddy starts a massive favourite here.
SHANE SO SWEET AGAIN
First Name : Tom
Last Name : Peak
Country : United Kingdom
Your Question : Hey guys firstly I would like to congratulate Shane Mosley on his career’s fabulous Indian summer. Can you believe it?!! He was almost as good as he was in his blistering prime when demolishing Vargas! We could have been back in the early 2000’s watching him annihilate Shannon Taylor or Adrian Stone. I always had him as my pound for pound number 1 above Roy Jones even after the first defeat to Forrest. I have to admit though his losing the title to Forrest was the best thing that happened to boxing since Erik Morales And Barrera happening to be in the same place at the same time historically speaking. You had Forrest being heralded as the true pound for pounder then he was blown away by Mayorga then Cory Spinks graced us with his amazing ability all fights that may never have happened had Shane Mosley’s career not nose dived. So dont get me wrong I am a huge Mosley fan I think he easily had the potential to eclipse the previous two Sugars, and still can, if his mooted fight with Floyd Mayweather materialises and he comes out victorious. But do you guys honestly believe at 34 he can drop down a division and maintain the magic for one last night and actually beat Mayweather. I hope so as Mayweather’s attitude stinks and he needs to be taught hes not Mike Tyson - pocket size, but I have serious doubts and even fear for Shane’s safety especially if Floyd turns up with his very, very, best game on. But then again if Shane really is back to his best and I mean in his head because its only confidence that left him not physical ability then you had better fear for Floyd Mayweather because Shane was quite frankly the most awesome fighter I have ever seen- and I’ve been present at Roy Jones, Mike Tyson and Jean Marc Mormeck contests.
BEN COHEN ANSWERS: If Shane had stayed at Lightweight/lightwelter, I honestly believe he would have gone down as one of the worlds greatest fighters. His athleticism, speed, power and will were quite extraordinary and I can’t picture too many people beating him down there. As for whether he can beat Floyd, its a tricky fight to evaluate. I personally believe Shane is a little too old for Floyd right now. He makes mistakes that Mayweather will capitalise on, and while I dont think he can knock him out, I see Floyd winning a close but clear decision.
PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: Mosley-Mayweather is at the top of my list of must see fights now. I think Shane can beat Mayweather. His confidence is back, his speed is still there and he has that power that Floyd is going to have to be cautious with. Mosley would be the toughest test to date of Floyd’s career and the fight must be made. If Floyd can pull out a win, then he truly is one of the greats. But I think Mosley is going to make it a must-see fight. It will be simply criminal if it is not made.