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LEFT-HOOK LOUNGE: DONAIRE, KHAN, MARQUEZ AND GARCIA

By Vivek Wallace | December 18, 2012
LEFT-HOOK LOUNGE: DONAIRE, KHAN, MARQUEZ AND GARCIA

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 the the recent performances of Nonito Donaire, Amir Khan, and much more.



Alex H. (Oakland, CA): Nonito Donaire continues to prove why he's the top fighter below the lightweight division in the sport. I think he would make easy work of Rigondeaux and Mares. Would you agree?


Vivek W.: Honestly, right now I'm not so sure about that. I like Donaire and think he's definitely the torch bearer for the Filipino nation. That being said, I really don't think either man would be easy work for him, despite him saying that. Rigondeaux is vertically challenged, therefore Donaire's speed, power, and other attributes could be a tall order for a counter-puncher like him over the course of 12 rounds. But even considering the leverage Donaire would have, I wouldn't totally rule out Rigondeaux's chances either. I think his powershots to the body could prove very detrimental late in the fight. A bout with Mares would be a total toss up, and I'd actually lean Mares if the two were to square off.

I don't know how to really narrow it down, but something is missing in Donaire. It could be a motivating force across from him that brings the best out. At this stage I really don't know. But there's something that appears to be missing. His recent opposition over the past few fights could be identified as marginal at best. Physically, he appears very soft around the midsection and far from toned....and has a few fights in a row now. His offense is solid, but defensively he gets hit far more frequently than I would expect from someone with his athleticism against inferior opposition. I just really think it all comes down to two things:

Either he isn't quite as good as we think he is. Or he isn't quite as motivated as he should be in order to land on that perennial contender list of the relative elite. What's most troubling to me is that when we look at the guys in recent years who Arum carried along in such a non-threatening manner, neither of them were what we were told they were in the end analysis. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is a perfect testament to this perspective.

I've always supported Donaire and think he can be all that he's supposed to be and more. But right now that vision is blurry. I'm simply not impressed with what I've seen versus what I believe I can see from him. And this is the third or fourth mailbag to follow his fight in a row where I've sang a similar tune. It's a bit disappointing. 2013 should bring him plenty opportunity. Will he answer the call? That's what inquiring minds want to know.

Barry Q. (Orlando, FL): Amir Khan appeared to be very similar to what we saw of him before last Saturday. Do you think he can become a major staple in the jr. welterweight or welterweight division under Virgil Hunter?

Vivek W.: Amir Khan is a very interesting topic to me. I've always loved his spirit. Always loved his heart. That being said, I think many questions still remain. Now.....to keep it real, that statement holds true for half the fighters in the sport, so should he be singled out? Not necessarily. Everyone looks at his union with Hunter and for some odd reason believes that overnight we should see some Herculean effort. Reality is that like any other tandem, it'll take time. I truly believe that Hunter's very high Boxing IQ could benefit Khan. My only question is how well will Khan remember those lessons taught in the heat of the battle?

I saw Khan do a few things the other night that were clearly a demonstrated growth. The in-fighting....the punch, punch, walk.....where he landed his shots and took a few steps to reset his position. There were a few things that clearly demonstrated growth. The contrasting view to this was that his biggest challenge he faces appears to still be in tact. This is how I know the true test will lie in his 'cold-blooded execution' when things get hot! All night long he was tagged with the same left hand that has been an issue for him. As one fight fan commented to me via FaceBook: "the one thing he needed to address the most was the one thing that appeared unchanged". That's a problem!

The upside here is that it was only one training camp. The ground work is laid and Hunter's reconditioning of Khan's mind is in place and slowly penetrating. Khan wants to step up his level of competition next. I don't know if it's such a great idea just yet. I'd probably take one more "litmus test" fight. One with someone who won't go away easy, yet won't flip the applecart either. Can he be a front-runner in the jr. welterweight or welterweight division? Absolutely. But only with intense conditioning of the mind. I know it's the hurt game.....but it only appears physical. The true battle....much like life itself, is all between the ears....not only between the ropes like it seems.

Salil G. (Aventura, FL): Who would you see winning a fight between Juan Manuel Marquez and Danny Garcia?

Vivek W.: I have great respect for both men, but in all honesty, I don't see this as a very tough question to answer. What I love about Garcia is the fact that he doesn't do anything spectacular, but the kid knows how to win. He gets the job done! That being said, stepping in against someone like Marquez is a totally different story. I just think the precision punching, the durability, and the new-found power of Marquez would be his ultimate undoing when the smoke clears.

Those who have followed me over the years know that I always take it back to the amount of 'tools' in that proverbial 'tool belt'. When I look at these two men, I just see one who absolutely trumps that of the other. I see Garcia as a very solid young fighter in the sport, but his 'tools' could arguably be confined to two-deep. And I don't mean that in a good way. I mean essentially heart and power. Had Khan not been stopped, you could argue Khan wins that fight. A guy like Marquez who could take those shots and lower the boom himself would undoubtedly make for a long night for him. Beyond that, Marquez possess the skill to soundly outbox him even if that power doesn't land.

I just really like Marquez in that fight, despite the youth advantage. We may never know, and to be honest, I hope we never find out. There are plenty other fights out there to be made for a young stud like Garcia. I'd like to see some of those. I'm not a big fan of this fight, as I think there would be little to gain for the sport in seeing it happen. Two good men....not exactly two good men who I care to see in the same ring any time soon. But stay tuned....stranger things have happened.

Vivek "Vito" Wallace can be reached every Wednesday night on FightHypeRadio, also at Twitter (@vivekwallace747) and Facebook.

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