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LEFT-HOOK LOUNGE: WHAT KIND OF CREDIT WILL DONAIRE GET IF HE BEATS NISHIOKA?

By Vivek Wallace | October 09, 2012
LEFT-HOOK LOUNGE: WHAT KIND OF CREDIT WILL DONAIRE GET IF HE BEATS NISHIOKA?

Boxing Scribe Vivek Wallace brings his Left-Hook Lounge mailbag to FightHype.com, answering questions for fans and giving his own unique perspective on all the latest current events in boxing. This week, check out his response to fans as they discuss Nonito Donaire's upcoming clash with Toshiaki Nishioka, a potential showdown between Saul Alvarez and Sergio Martinez, whether or not Arturo Gatti should be inducted into the Hall of Fame, and much more.



Pele N. (San Francisco, CA): I think you have been very critical of Donaire in the past, but you have shown Nishioka great respect. If Donaire defeats him, will you give Donaire his credit?


Vivek W.: For the record, I wouldn't consider my thoughts on Donaire to be "critical". I consider myself a fan.....just a very unbiased one. I think Donaire is a great rising talent and great for the sport. The flipside to that is that he hasn't impressed lately, and I don't think his work in the ring has supported the various P4P arguments we continue to hear tossed back and forth. I don't consider him a top 5 P4P fighter. Sorry. That being said, I do think he has done enough to elevate himself to a platform where a few more solid efforts could potentially place him there.

Nishioki represents one of the stiffest challenges he could encounter at this stage, and this is the platform where you want to see him excel if he's to merit those accolades and generous P4P entitlements. In a recent conference call he spoke of being going back to his "old days", where he would "pick guys apart" and eventually "get them out of there late". To quote Donaire in that same interview, "people expect a lot (from him)". True....but I don't know that this is the fight where he wants to press too hard to get a KO, because the man across from him this time has the skill level to make him miss and make him pay. This will be one of the best boxers he has ever faced.

Not only that, but this is a guy who hasn't been stopped since his second pro fight back in 1995, and hasn't lost since 2004. Winning impressively is important, but I think Donaire and trainer Robert Garcia had better give that game plan a lot more thought before entering the ring against a fundamentally sound southpaw like this. In the end, if Donaire gets the victory, I think it will help his overall position, but a lot will come down to how impressive the victory is. If it's controversial, I think it actually hurts him, because it would be a string of fights in a row now where he didn't impress. If he somehow lands the KO, he certainly breathes life into the P4P talk.

If he wins via comfortable decision, he lives to die another day, setting up a potential future showdown with the likes of Mares, Rigondeaux, or one of the other top dawgs up the ladder. So, time will tell, but right now, I'm just ready for the bell to ring! I think this card will be one of the best we've seen in a long time! Stay tuned.

Leonel H. (Houston, TX): Saul "Canelo" Alvarez's trainer recently came out and stated that he would defeat Sergio Martinez, and that they're actually up for that challenge. Do you see that fight happening? And do you think Alvarez has a legitimate shot?

Vivek W.:  I have no doubt in my mind that the fighters are more than willing and eager to make the fight materialize. Now, will the promoters co-sign and give it the push it needs to actually happen? Highly doubtful, Which really sucks, because I think aside from either man facing Puerto Rican warrior Miguel Cotto, there's no better fight to be made in the division outside of them facing one another.

I really think this would be an incredible fight, and what's intriguing about this matchup is that against another opponent not named Miguel Cotto or Mayweather, neither would do astronomical numbers on the PPV circuit, but against one another, pairing two Latin countries, this would be HUGE! Say what you must about Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions, but they have both excelled in a strong way at selling Latino fighters to the public and to their cultures, and a fight like this would do epic numbers, so you could lose all fear of the fight itself flopping, as neither of these men would come to lay down.

It would be a helluva night from the first bell, and both have a chin, so fans would get their monies worth, as it would clearly go the distance. Relative to how much of a "shot" I give Alvarez of winning, honestly, a very good one! When we look at the list of men Martinez has defeated, none of them have shown me what Alvarez shows me. This isn't to say that Alvarez defeats him, because it won't be an easy night for either man, but I really think the youth, toughness, and body work of 'Canelo' would make him a very intriguing opponent for Martinez.

The key to this bout would come down to the pressure of Alvarez. Martinez likes to let an opponent come to him, so he can use his movement and awkward footwork, combined with speed to land flush shots without taking much punishment in return. That works beautifully against someone like Chavez who's slow and robotic. Alvarez is far more skilled and explosive, and Martinez wouldn't have such a luxury of a slow start and slow plodding hunter in front of him. I hope the fight can be made. I really do. That would be a helluva fight, and I'd go on record and say the official "Fight of the Year". No doubt!

Erick M. (Brooklyn, NYC): Recently there was a lot of uproar about the late Arturo Gatti (R.I.P.) being admitted into the Hall of Fame. Last week during FightHypeRadio you tweeted your position but I wasn't that clear on your thoughts. Could you elaborate?

Vivek W.:  I think it's a very big topic of discussion because as celebrated as Gatti was within the sport, the reality is that there are a ton of other fighters who some could argue should have been inducted prior to him. My thoughts on Twitter were very limited, and I kept it that way because they could have been interpreted wrong. My position was basically, God bless his soul, but had he not been lost tragically, (or at all), would we really be discussing an induction at all right now for him? Honestly? Had he just walked away from the sport, or gracefully retired, would his merits in the ring have culminated into an effort strong enough to support a Hall induction?

That's the area that remains very gray, not only in my mind, but many others. Some view the induction as a "sympathy" vote. I don't like that terminology, but when we narrow things down, it's easy to see how that position seems so easy to settle on. The reality of it all is that me personally, while I don't totally agree, it's not something I'd try to fight, change, or dispute, for the simple fact that everything in this sport is mythical now days, so why should the Hall inductions be any different? We actually have media organizations known as leaders in the sport who still identify Pacquiao as the top P4P fighter. How in the hell is that one possible? Really?

This same Hall of Fame body enshrined Sylvester Stallone, among others, who have never done anything to solidify their name next to the likes of Ali, Robinson, Marciano, and others. That says all one needs to know as it relates to the logic of Gatti's presence. Gatti did have some memorable nights in the ring. Unfortunately, practically all of them he lost. For those who want to reduce this to hairsplitting, playing devils advocate you could point to the record of Oscar Dela Hoya, who despite his greatness while young, still boast a humbling 0-6 record against future Hall of Famers he faced while in their prime (Mosley twice, Mayweather, Pacquiao, Trinidad, and Hopkins).

The reality is that while he did lose all of those fights, he only lost to the best; wherein Gatti suffered losses to the likes of Manfredy, Gomez, and a bunch of other opponents who will never quite see the Hall. Bottom line, although he technically doesn't merit the induction, when you consider some of the others who landed in there, and how 'mythical' this sport is now days, why argue? Also, remember.....the Northeast region is where Gatti was a bit of a cult-phenom!

Geographically and politically, although the voting members don't all hail from that area, there's no way they'd go without the induction of the Northeasts' favorite son. So, get over it ladies and gents! As rapper Rakim once said: "nobody beats the odds, so stop yellin'! Save it......put it in your pockets for later!" 

Vivek "Vito" Wallace can be reached on Wednesday nights at FightHypeRadio, also at vivekwallace@ymail.com, Youtube (Vivek Wallace Boxing Channel), Twitter (Vivekwallace747), and Facebook.

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