Friday February 26th, 2010

Victor Ortiz can't regain his status as a viable HBO headliner in one or two fights. But he's certainly headed in the right direction. Thursday night in Los Angeles, Ortiz (26-2-1) dismantled Hector Alatorre via 10th-round knockout to pick up his second straight win following a career-threatening loss to Marcos Maidana last June.

Against Alatorre, Ortiz showed his trademark power and speed, overcoming a slow start to punish Alatorre over the final five rounds before the referee stepped in.

Ortiz's next shot at redemption is a big one: In May, he will face veteran lightweight champion Nate Campbell. The crafty Campbell will be one of Ortiz's toughest tests to date and will go a long way toward determining whether he can ever regain his status as a top prospect.

Now, on to the mailbag ...

Chris, the hoopla over testing that went on with the Manny and Floyd fight is sad. While I am not of fan of the WADA's invasive doping procedures, the Nevada Athletic Commission asking Manny to give a urine test at a Filipino lab is akin to Sam Ervin asking Richard Nixon to ask the RNC to verify the Watergate Tapes. I find it absurd! Your thoughts? -- Chris, Redondo Beach, Calif.

The Nevada Commission is well-respected and has busted illegal drug users (most recently Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.) in the past. Besides, if Pacquiao is using performance-enhancing drugs, he's not taking anything that's going to show up in a urine test. He's been testing clean in Las Vegas since 2001, and if he's using (again, that's a big "if"), the only way he will get caught is through random blood testing. If boxing ever goes to a blood-testing system -- right now, any blood tests are contractually negotiated between the fighters and not required by commissions -- you can bet there will be one overseeing body that conducts all the tests. In other words, Pacquiao won't be allowed to simply drop off his blood at a lab.

What about Edwin Valero? Any fight with him in it against anybody for as long as it lasts has to be entertaining! -- Juan, Miami

Agreed. Valero is tremendously exciting with the kind of power that could make him a very popular fighter in the U.S. Like most writers, I have my questions about his chin (more so about the fact that his style leaves it out there wide open), but he answered a lot of questions about his toughness when he beat down Antonio DeMarco with a grotesque cut streaming blood from his forehead. Bob Arum has talked about matching Valero with Timothy Bradley, but for my money Valero needs a few more tune-up fights before he gets in the ring with a fighter of Bradley's caliber. Still, he has the tools to be a force at the 135- or 140-pound division.

I would like to comment on your article about Mosley vs. Mayweather. It is a huge fight that will do huge numbers. Mosley is considered the true welterweight champion and is recognized as a top five pound-for-pounder in the world as well. Mosley is, in many opinions, the guy who will beat both Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. -- Tory, Las Vegas

You make a valid argument. If this fight were taking place in May 2009 (when Mosley would be coming off a three-month layoff) instead of May 2010 (when Mosley will be fighting for the first time in 15 months), I would lean toward Mosley. The way he dismantled Antonio Margarito showed me that Mosley was still at the top of his game. But I worry what that kind of layoff will do to a 39-year-old fighter. Mayweather's not the kind of fighter you face with any ring rust. He gets ahead on points way too fast and once he does, he makes you fight his fight. I'm looking forward to the fight, but I'm taking Floyd all the way.

Do you believe that Tomasz Adamek has a chance against the Klitschko brothers? -- Darek, Queens, N.Y.

Adamek's not fighting a Klitschko, and I don't blame him. It's a suicide mission. I was at Adamek's most recent fight, against Jason Estrada, and I watched Estrada -- whose as close to being a Klitschko as I am to being A.J. Liebling -- connect on some big shots. He just doesn't have the defensive skills to get out of the way, and if he stands in against one of the Klitschkos, he's going to wind up flat on his back. I'm not knocking him, either, because I think Adamek can have a productive (and entertaining) heavyweight career. I love this April fight with Chris Arreola, and I fully expect Adamek, if he wins, to start chasing David Haye, a former cruiserweight himself who owns the WBA version of the heavyweight title. It's just the smarter play and he knows it.

I'm a fan of both but is there a point to Roy Jones v Bernard Hopkins? -- @cmitch1978

There is no point -- I repeat, none -- to this fight whatsoever. This is an embarrassment for boxing and I point the finger right at Hopkins for making it happen. Jones is just collecting one last payday. He knows, just as everyone knows, that he has been a shot fighter since Antonio Tarver dropped him nearly six years ago. He has rebuilt his career on the backs of stiffs (Omar Sheika, Jeff Lacy) and washed-up legends (Felix Trinidad), and every time he gets into the ring with someone with a pulse, he gets demolished. I don't blame him for taking this fight. But Hopkins had choices. He chose to low-ball Adamek and insist that the reigning cruiserweight champ fight at 180 pounds. He chose to duck Chad Dawson and deny the world a chance to see the true light heavyweight champion crowned. Instead, he is going forward with a farce of a fight against Jones that will be as boring as it is meaningless. I pass.

Thoughts on horrible Miguel Cotto-Yuri Foreman matchup? -- @McCulloughSprts

Actually, I like this matchup. Foreman has been getting killed in the press, but it's mostly by people who look at his low knockout numbers (eight in 28 fights) and not his fights. I was ringside for his last fight with Daniel Santos and I thought Foreman was entertaining. He hurt Santos a couple of times and showed superior skill.

For Cotto, it's a chance to establish himself as the face of a new division. Name me the best 154-pounders. Paul Williams? He's more of a middleweight at this point. Sergio Martinez? I'll give you him, sure. But the other reigning titleholders are jokes (Cory Spinks still has a belt) and there isn't one fighter in the division with whom Cotto would be overmatched. Throw in the fight being at Yankee Stadium in front of 30,000 rabid fans, and you have yourself a good matchup.

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