ATE: Hagler’s Best Win, Pacquiao at Catchweight, Margarito’s Handwraps, Klitschkos, Haye, Trash Talk, Chins and More
Hagler vs. Hearns
In today’s edition of Ask The Editor (ATE), we consider Marvelous Marvin Hagler’s best win, question Manny Pacquiao fighting at a boxing catchweight and put Antonio Margarito’s handwraps into perspective. The Klitschko brothers and their heavyweight dominance gets a mention, we throw David Haye into the mix, give trash talk and tough chins a run and much more.
Name : Andrew Rickson
Country : USA
Your Question :
Team, I am interested to hear your thoughts on what was the best win of Marvelous Marvin Hagler’s great career at middleweight?
CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: For there were many but the one that sticks out in my mind is the war with Tommy Hearns.
GREGORY JUCKETT ANSWERS: Andrew, I realize I’m might be taking the easy way out here, but I think Hagler’s dramatic stoppage of Tommy Hearns was his greatest victory, considering the high-profile status of the bout and its conclusive result. Others victories that rank up there have to be his revenge wins over Willie Monroe and Bobby Watts – two pretty good fighters out of Philadelphia.
PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: I still think Marvelous Marvin Hagler beat Sugar Ray Leonard 115-113. Anyway, I’ll select Marvelous Marvin Hagler vs. Thomas Hearns and recall what promoter Bob Arum told me one day about that fight. “I’ll tell you that my major recollection was sitting in the second row at Caesars Palace in the outdoor stadium,” Arum stated. “The Caesars Palace Chairman was sitting in the first row and his guest for the evening was comedian Joan Rivers. After the first round she turns around to me and she says, I can’t believe it. Are they all like this? I said, No Joan, they sure as hell aren’t.”
JERRY GLICK ANSWERS: No question; Hagler’s three round explosion with Tommy Hearns needs no explanation.
Name : Phillip Dawson
Country : United Kingdom
Your Question :
Hi Guys. I would like to ask what your thoughts are on Manny Pacquiao fighting world championship fights at catchweights? I hear his upcoming bout against Margarito will be fought at 150, as his advisor’s consider Margarito too big at 5 11’ and 154. Isn’t this just a blatant attempt to weight drain the person and thus handicap an opponent? We saw the same 145 rule for the Cotto fight and a similar one again for De la Hoya. Surely if you think someone is too big at the maximum weight then you shouldn’t be fighting people from that division? You can make a case that Margarito usually fights at 147, but he is perhaps struggling with that weight just like Cotto was, hence the move up. I think we can agree that Margarito is lucky to get the fight full stop, but still I would like to see him fight people at the given weights. Thoughts please?
CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: Spot on Phillip. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time now. You’re quite right if world titles are at stake at whatever weight then fight at that weight limit not a few pounds less. I will keep saying it until I’m blue in the face, as long as the fans are prepared to pay for what I call cheapening of titles, then boxers, promoters, managers and the TV suits will keep getting away with it. I’m a great believer that if you fight for a title then fight at the weight NOT catchweight. Lets be honest, Manny Pacquiao has made his name by winning fights at catchweight against bigger fighters boiling down. This is nothing new. I’m going back a few years now but I remember when Sugar Ray Leonard fought Donny Lalonde for his WBC light heavyweight title in 1988. Although the light heavy limit is 175lbs the fight was made at 168lbs because the vacant WBC super middleweight crown was at stake as well. There should have only been the super middleweight title at stake but Leonard won the light-heavyweight against a weight drained and much bigger Donny Lalonde. No problem fighting for two titles but at the higher weight
GREGORY JUCKETT ANSWERS: Phillip, unfortunately, I think many of these catchweight super bouts are based on the overall lack of big and marketable names in boxing. There’s just not enough star power within one particular division to yield a Hagler-Leonard-Hearns-Duran-Benitez type of scenarios. Manny Pacquiao is the sport’s biggest attraction, but the man is not big in physical stature, so fights like Pacquiao-De La Hoya that seemed ludicrous at first…are getting made.
PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: Manny Pacquiao is the star of the fight and he is taking as many advantages as he can. The boxer who brings in the money calls the shots. It makes a nonsense of calling it an even contest. But I’m not going to complain too much. Give Pacquiao credit for making an interesting fight.
JERRY GLICK ANSWERS: I agree that if you are a champion especially, you must be willing to defend at your weight limit. In this case Pac-Man would be moving up to 154, but wants to limit it to 150, that is okay with no title at stake, but not in a title fight. All this assumes that I want to see Margarito fighting at all.
Name : Jez Inson
Country : United Kingdom
Your Question :
I’ve just read Thomas Hauser’s very interesting account of the Antonio Margarito handwrap issue and there’s something that strikes me. Handwraps are used to protect a fighter’s knuckles, not to cause damage to his opponent. Gloves are used to protect both the fighter’s knuckles and the opponent. Knuckles are made of bone. They are hard. Gauze, even slightly tampered gauze, is not as hard as bone. If a fighter didn’t wear hand wraps to protect his knuckles, his hard knuckles would be directly below the glove padding, and I imagine that would be legal. Any material or substance that he puts between his knuckles and the glove padding, is going to be softer than his knuckles, hence it will do less damage to an opponents face than no handwraps would. If he was to put a material harder than his knuckles in his wraps, he’d just break his knuckles. So my point is, where is the danger to the opponent, even if the hand wraps were tampered and slightly harder than normal gauze? Plus, don’t forget, those pads are closer to his knuckles than they are to the opponent, as there is glove padding between the opponent and the pads. I’m not saying this should be allowed, but Hauser mentioned a word: perspective. Let’s get it into perspective, it’s one thing to take padding out of the gloves, it’s quite another to essentially increase the padding in the glove, even with a slightly firmer material than normal. I don’t believe for one second these pads, which only felt slightly firmer to Richardson’s touch, could have made the slightest bit of difference to any fight. They’re illegal, so you can’t have them. He’s been banned, served his sentence, now let’s have some perspective. Correct me if I’m wrong, but logic says no-one was in any danger, the guy’s been punished, now let him fight on. This is not on the same level as the Billy Collins incident. And if sweat can harden gauze pads, surely all gauze pads will be harder by the end of the fight than they were when it started, hence in round 12, isn’t everyone now fighting with illegal handwraps? It seems to me that a mountain has been made out of a molehill.
CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: I don’t agree, Jez. There was quite clearly illegal inserts inside the wrapping of Margarito’s gloves. According to Thomas’s article the inserts were well worn, sweaty and discoloured resulting in the inserts hardening and therefore potentially dangerous and giving him an unfair advantage. This certainly is not a mountain out of a molehill. I don’t need to tell you or anyone else how dangerous a sport boxing is and loading up hand wraps is a definite no no. It goes without saying.
GREGORY JUCKETT ANSWERS: Jez, I think your analysis might be a little too cavalier in down playing this situation as far as potential harm and injuries go. I’m not sure how long Margarito and/or his team has tampered with gloves and I’m quite sure many corner men have done so over the years to gain an advantage, but Cotto was strikingly marked up after he fought Margarito. I think it’s better to treat this matter very seriously. I DO agree with you that it’s time to “fight on,” but Team Margarito needed to be made an example of and pay the price for their indiscretions regardless of damage incurred.
PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: They attempted to turn Margarito’s fists into something like a set of bricks. Shane Mosley could have been killed! How’s that for some perspective?
JERRY GLICK ANSWERS: Any effort to cheat in boxing is an abomination. Whether successful or not. I firmly believe that Cotto’s face after the Margarito fight is testimony to what those gloves can do. And YES it is akin to what happened to Billy Collins.
Name : Barnaby Chesterman
Country : Italy
Your Question :
Hi guys, I’d like to know what you think of the latest pair of Klitschko match-ups. Personally I can’t see how on earth Shannon Briggs has got a shot at Vitali but at least there’s potential for some fireworks. He would have a puncher’s chance although I imagine he’ll get battered for as many rounds as it takes Vitali to finally deck him. And as for Samuel Peter, isn’t he worse, fatter and more vulnerable than when he first fought Wlad?
CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: I agree, Barnaby. Of course I’m not happy about either match-up but as Alexander Povetkin has pulled out again and David Haye has lost the Klitschko’s telephone number what other match-up are out there?
GREGORY JUCKETT ANSWERS: Barnaby, the fact that Briggs and Peter are getting shots at any portion of the heavyweight title is just another reminder of how un-compelling heavyweight boxing is these days. It’s not the Klitschkos fault either – they’re great athletes, but their fighting styles, combined with a lack of intriguing opponents, have made the division pretty much unwatchable. That’s why most Klitschko fights don’t even make it to American television.
PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: The Klitschko brothers are the kings of the heavyweight division. Give them some credit. If Haye won’t make a fight with either of them, he’s had a couple of chances already, that’s not Vitali and Wladimir’s fault. Let’s give the champions from Ukraine some praise!
JERRY GLICK ANSWERS: I must agree with you on all points. As far as who the Klitschkos are fighting, the field is getting thin. Keep in mind that Peter is a sub opponent and Briggs is a keep busy opponent, but both had the potential to score an upset KO. They won’t, but they could.
Name : Joe Sumner
Country : United Kingdom
Your Question :
Hey guys, great site! Not sure if you saw Mike Tyson’s recent interview, he basically said that he liked David Haye but he needed to fight all the other heavyweights before taking a shot at one of the Klitschko brothers...to prove himself. My question is: does he have to? Two years ago he smashed Monte Barrett in five, having knocked him down a dozen times. David Tua, on the brink of a title fight again, could only draw against Two Gunz! He was even down in the last...and supposedly Haye has a weak chin but wasn’t! Surely the cream rises to the top...lots of people go straight in at world title level because they are simply better. Our own Amir Kahn ignored British and European level. Why should they have to fight riff raff like Arreola (who Tyson suggested), Tua, Chambers etc? Unless of course, the objective is to grow into the weight and thus prepare him best for Vlad or Vitali? I’m just crying out for a meaningful world title fight. Vlad vs. Haye. If Haye can connect...just once...then we can be saved! Your thoughts gents? P.S fully aware Fraudley is being lined up by Haye next...which is a mockery.
CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: Hi Joe. I just think after all David Haye’s talk about what he is going to do to the Klitschko he should now back up his boasts. As Wladimir said, “talk is cheap”.
GREGORY JUCKETT ANSWERS: Joe, as far as I’m concerned, the more Haye gets into the heavyweight mix, the better! Haye can punch and he’s got a mouth on him that people love or hate…exactly what the division needs.
PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: Maybe Mike feels that Haye needs a lot more rounds to even think about defeating either Klitschko. Regardless, where do we go if Audley Harrison beats Haye? Audley always said he would be heavyweight champion one day. He’s only one punch away from winning a world title belt now. It’s not needed fights like Haye-Harrison where something wacky happens and the champion gets upset.
JERRY GLICK ANSWERS: Haye needs to convince the fans that he is a legit heavy. That is a good reason to fight his way through the division before facing the Klitschkos. It will make that fight meaningful.
Name : Ndumiso Mbele
Country : South Africa
Your Question :
Hi Gentlemen, trash-talking has been as much a part of boxing as broken noses and mismatches. African-American fighters, in particular, have mastered this art. Occasionally, boxers have overstepped the mark when engaging others in an attempt to promote a fight and to gain a psychological edge. In your opinion, would less or no trash-talking at all take away anything from modern boxing or is it a necessary and integral part of a fight’s promotional machinery? Who do you consider to be the most impressive non-African-American trash-talker of all time and why?
CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: Keep the hype going that’s what I say. I think the hype before the fights is equally as exciting as some of the fights. I think David Haye and Herbie Hide have trash talked with the best over the years.
GREGORY JUCKETT ANSWERS: Ndumiso, trash talking definitely has its place in boxing. I think the sport is better for it. The best non-African American trash talker I can think of is Ricardo Mayorga…the Nicaraguan has come up with some great “material” over the years.
PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: Muhammad Ali, no doubt, was the father of the trash talk today. Often, it goes way too far. Hello Floyd Mayweather Jr! I do think however clever trash talk adds to the pre-fight build-up. Some of Ricky Hatton’s quotes were classics. But if you want pure unadulterated confidence before a fight, listen closely to bantamweight Vic “Raging Bull” Darchinyan. Vic talks just like he fights. Knockout punches from the opening bell directed at the head of his opponent.
JERRY GLICK ANSWERS: From a financial, build up the fight, point of view it helps to raise interest, but I see it as demeaning. I cannot see any difference in trash talk by racial lines. They all do it.
Name : Hela Sendi
Country : France
Your Question :
I have a question about chins. I want to know if there’s anything a fighter can do to improve his chin. Fighters can improve their, speed, power, footwork, guard etc etc but what about the chin? Why do some people have a good chin and others not. All chins are made of bone. Why do some legs turn to jelly and others not? And is there anything like, building up neck muscles or, I don’t know, anything that a fighter can do to take a punch better?
CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: Hela. My thoughts are that not many fighters have bad chins. It is extremely difficult to knock a man clean out no matter hard the puncher. But if the timing and accuracy is right pretty much any fighter will hit the deck. Having said that there are some fighters around that pretty much soak up everything thrown at them and never get knock out. I’m not so sure it’s always the power of the punch but how open a boxer leaves himself.
GREGORY JUCKETT ANSWERS: Hela, I believe that some fighters indeed attempt to build up their neck muscles in order to take a punch better, but for the most part, I think it varies from person to person how well the brain reacts to the resulting chain reaction of trauma from the chin being struck by a punch. In medical terms, I’m not sure what separates one person’s ability to take a punch better or not as well as the next person.
PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: Interestingly, recently I heard someone close to Roy Jones Jr talk about how he used to be so dedicated doing neck strengthening exercises for most of his career, but when he lost some of his dedication to training and ditched the neck work, it coincided with his string of knockout losses. Just a co-incidence perhaps? I do think some boxers are born with a better ability to take punches. Some just have better defensive techniques. I also believe that most boxers, when they are knocked out for the first time, are never the same again. Like an internal brick wall inside them has been broken down for ever. There are many boxers who seemingly had chins of iron, but after that first knockout loss, they just don’t seem to be able to take a punch the same way anymore.
JERRY GLICK ANSWERS: Maybe I missed something over the last 52 years that I have been following boxing, but the only thing one can do to improve his chin is to improve his defense.
Name : Paul McBride
Country : USA
Your Question :
Where did all the boxing magazines go? Back in the 80s and 90s, I used to blow my pocket money every month on KO, The Ring, Boxing ’88 (or whatever year it was), Boxing Illustrated etc. Now, all I see is The Ring, and even that’s nowhere to be seen on the shelves in stores. Hell, last time I saw it was in Books-a-Million and it wasn’t even in the sports section, it was under "Entertainment"! Compare that to the unbelievable number of MMA magazines. What happened? I really, really miss reading those things.
CLIVE BERNATH ANSWERS: Boxing magazines have been in decline for years now, Paul. Problem is pretty much all the information we seek now is on the internet.
GREGORY JUCKETT ANSWERS: Paul, there’s no question that boxing magazines have lost their place on newsstands. As the sport becomes more marginalized and with the proliferation of the internet, the demand for boxing-related publications has dipped substantially. The Ring is really the only publication you ever see these days. I don’t believe that its sister publications, KO, World Boxing, etc, still exist. Boxing Digest is still around, but in very limited distribution. I’m with you; I used to read them all. Hell, I used to wait by my mailbox for every new copy of Boxing Update and Flash, back in the days when those two industry trade publications where the fastest way to get results and keep up on gossip.
PAUL UPHAM ANSWERS: It’s the way of the world. Boxing has hurt itself over the years with mismatches and scandals and shrunk its viewing audience. I still subscribe to The Ring, but these days I tend to look for specific writers rather than websites, newspapers or magazines. I always read Thomas Hauser, William Dettloff, Nigel Collins, Patrick Kehoe, Steve Kim, Dan Rafael and our team here at SecondsOut. You have to go for quality over the often questionable quantity. That is why you are here reading at SecondsOut.com.
JERRY GLICK ANSWERS: Ah, you bring old memories of mine to mind. I recall pestering my local store with ‘is Ring in yet? How about Boxing Illustrated? Or Boxing & Wresting?’ Even The Police Gazette had a great boxing page. Today the internet is killing much of the print media but you can still get The Ring and believe it or not, Boxing Illustrated, only it is now called Boxing Digest. Yes, same mag, new name. I do miss the style of the older magazines, but hey I’m OLD!