clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Stealing Kevin Iole: Episode 1

Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Kevin_iole_mediumI'm not trying to make any bones about this: I'm stealing Kevin Iole's hard work and talking about his opinions.

Iole takes a lot of heat from both boxing and MMA fans for his fight opinions, but there's something I like about him. I often disagree with him, but I think he comes off like the type of laid-back cat that wouldn't have an aneurysm about the fact.

Here's the original mailbag article. Now I will lazily critique Iole's answers and the questions he's answering, because (1) I'm bored, and (2) I am a total unprofessional.


Miguel Cotto’s body attack is exceptional. He’s smarter, he has better ring general (skills), he keeps his cool and he has great punching power. All that combined will be too much for Tony Margarito. Margarito is rough, has a great chin and punching power. But I expect Cotto to use his attributes to their fullest and win this fight.

Daniel Montalvo
Newport News, Va.

I believe Cotto wins, too, though it is a very difficult and dangerous fight for him. Margarito’s chin is exceptional. But I think Cotto’s body attack will be the difference. I don’t see a stoppage, so I think Cotto wins a unanimous decision.

You might think I want to take Mr. Iole to task over every single thing. But that's not the case. Here's an instance where I agree with him, almost to the letter. Cotto-Margarito is such a genuinely exciting fight to have on the schedule, one that actually deserves folks at home paying to see it go down. I think Cotto is the better overall fighter, and that he'll win a thoroughly hard-fought decision.


What do you think about the officiating job on Hatton vs. Lazcano? I had Hatton up on my scorecard, but that lecture the referee gave Lazcano after Hatton was hurt was unnecessary and the shoe being untied just took what little chance Lazcano had in that fight away.

Fremont, Calif.

Howard Foster was awful. If there is a word worse than awful, then that word should be used to describe Foster’s performance in the Hatton-Juan Lazcano fight May 24. Lazcano badly hurt Hatton – cleanly – in the 10th round and had him on the verge of going down, if not out. Foster broke the action for nearly 90 seconds, first to warn (really, he argued with him) Lazcano about holding and then to allow Hatton to tie his shoes. It was one of the worst examples of homerism I have ever seen.

Another instance where I'd have to agree. A BLH member and I recently discussed this very same incident; he does note that shoelaces being undone makes it mandatory for any referee to stop the fight. That's in the rulebook. We don't disagree there. But there's also the fact, I feel, that this was not the No. 1 factor in the fight at that moment, and there's also the complicating problem of Foster giving Hatton SO MUCH time to recover from Lazcano battering him. Look, maybe Lazcano doesn't knock Hatton out or even down. Maybe -- likely, even -- Hatton clinches up and hangs on and survives the round and gets his wits back.

But we'll never know. Luckily for Howard John Foster, his questionable refereeing job is rather lost in the shuffle following the disgraceful Williams-Airich fight in Spain, which could have been better refereed by a legitimately blind four-year old, and the hot buzz headlines of the CBS-aired EliteXC MMA card, which featured more than one stoppage that was questioned the next day.


How many people want to see a Kelly Pavlik-Joe Calzaghe fight? I believe it would be a great fight between two good champions. Also, do you think Paulie Malignaggi has what it takes to handle Miguel Cotto should they ever meet again?

Austin, Texas

I think a Pavlik-Calzaghe fight would be one of the most significant of the year. Two unbeaten champions with Pavlik having the opportunity to earn recognition as the champion in three weight classes simultaneously would make it huge. As for a Cotto-Malignaggi fight, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it. Malignaggi is a 140-pounder with no power. Cotto is a 147-pounder with great power. He delivered a frightful beating to Malignaggi when they first fought and I wouldn’t see that changing in a rematch. I’m not sure Malignaggi would want any part of that bout.

I think this is underestimating the chutzpah and bustafazoo of Paulie Malignaggi, who is feather-fisted but iron-willed and steel-chinned, and truly believes in himself. Some people call it arrogance or cockiness, and while it's true that Malignaggi purposely gives off that aura to make himself a more attractive, memorable fighter, I think it's mostly an act. Malignaggi is a guy who has had an injury history that would make most fighters call it quits and look into training or doing something else entirely. And in that savage beating at the hands of Cotto, he never relented. He's also several times noted that he'd be more than willing to go up to 147 pounds. I think he'd fight Cotto again in a heartbeat, whether that's foolish or not. I also think he'd get beaten severely again.


Why do some boxers fight so dirty and get away with it? Although I recognize that Ricky Hatton is a great boxer with courage and determination, nevertheless he does it with illegal punches, by holding and at the moment of separation he punches again illegally and gets away with it. Of course, at the end he frustrates his opponent, softens them up and ends up winning. I don’t think he is that great and no referee has ever stopped him from doing this besides a few giving him a warning.

Alberto Balcarce

I have long felt Hatton held too much to be acceptable. Regulating the tough inside fighting is a referee’s most difficult job. He wants to allow the action to flow uninterrupted, but he also has to make certain one guy isn’t mauling the other. Hatton has used his physical strength in numerous fights to do this, taking advantage of most referees’ reluctance to break up action.

Where is this army of referees that are reluctant to break up dirty boxing and inside scrapping? Let's call a spade a spade. Hatton is a star, and he gets breaks like this. He's not the only one. And the fact that he gets the breaks is not his fault, nor should he be blamed for it in any way.

I do always find it funny when someone like Hatton or Lovemore N'dou DOES get properly warned and pulled away for their tactics, then they lose and spend months talking about how the referee didn't allow them to "fight their fight." Get outta heeeeeyah.


Why is it that Joel Casamayor isn’t in your top 10? After he destroyed Michael Katsidis, I don’t see a reason as to why he is not there. If he defeats Juan Diaz later this year, will it be as big a win if Diaz didn’t lose to Nate Campbell?

Lawton, Okla.

He’s not in the rankings because he had a horrid performance in November against Jose Armando Santa Cruz and hasn’t had a truly significant win in the last couple of years. Katsidis is very unproven. And, of course, much of the luster is off Juan Diaz after his one-sided loss to Nate Campbell.

The top ten in question is a division-encompassing pound-for-pound list, and no one in their right mind should be ranking Casamayor top ten. The question is rather preposterous. I wonder if Rob from Lawton, Okla., saw Casamayor-Santa Cruz.

However, the "very uproven" bit about Katsidis is almost as absurd. Katsidis was winning that fight when he got knocked out for being a cowboy and fighting a more well-rounded, naturally skilled boxer with a mean streak. Katsidis, in fact, roared back from almost insurmountable odds to get himself into position to win that fight in the final rounds. Then he got caught. It happens. If anyone still thinks Katsidis is "unproven," I think they're asking way too much.

Then Mr. Iole refers to Diaz-Campbell as "one-sided." Well, part of it was. Diaz held his own and then some until he was left hanging out to bleed half to death by his pathetic cut man.


How do you see David Haye performing as a heavyweight? And what do you think about his comment that the current heavyweights are “fat slobs?” Wladimir Klitschko is a large man, but hardly fat, and he is pretty much accepted as the top guy in the division. Sam Peter is a tad overweight but has carried it fairly well so far. Do you think Haye can put up a fight against Wladimir or Samuel Peter? My bet is that he gets blown out big time when one of these “fat slobs” nails him with a power shot.


Haye is a good fighter with a bit of a questionable chin. I think he’ll be among the better heavyweights, but size and his chin will cause him problems against the upper-echelon guys. I think he was just looking for attention with that comment and I wouldn’t get too worked up by it.

An answer to a question about David Haye doesn't come much more generic than, "He's a good fighter with a bit of a questionable chin."


Why do HBO and Showtime always seem to show good fights on the same night? In April, it was Chad Dawson-Glen Johnson on Showtime and it was Miguel Cotto-Alfonso Gomez and Antonio Margarito-Kermit Cintron on HBO. Why do they want to divide the fan base? On Saturday, they each have a show I’d like to see again.

Jason Rodriguez

There is no easy answer, Jason. Sometimes, it’s outright stupidity. Other times, it’s unavoidable because of available dates. But neither HBO nor Showtime care about boxing fans. All they care about is their ratings.

Oh snap. Big Kev bringin' the heat. Maybe he's right, but if they cared only about their ratings, you'd think that dividing the fanbase would be entirely avoided whenever possible, since you're not ever going to get the maximum amount of potentially interested viewers that way. And it probably is generally avoided. So...I'm not sure what he's driving at here. I mean, I get it, but...uh.


The Calzaghe-Pavlik fight will never happen at 168 pounds. Plus, I doubt there’s enough money to make it. Calzaghe’s last fights will be at light heavyweight. I also think Pavlik will have all the trouble he wants with Gary Lockett on Saturday.

Johnny Beadnall

There definitely is the money to make the fight, Johnny. And Joe himself said he’d fight at 168 if the fight were right. And a Pavlik fight would be one such bout. Not saying I am convinced it happens, but it’s more likely than not.

I love our friends from across the pond, but what in the holy hell is Mr. Beadnall from England talking about? There's not enough money to make Calzaghe-Pavlik, which would draw a massive crowd in Wales, England, or Cleveland, and do well in Atlantic City or New York, or even Las Vegas? Plus, it would be a pay-per-view event with huge backing from Top Rank, Frank Warren, and HBO? There's not enough money for that? There was enough money to put Hopkins-Calzaghe in Vegas (which was dumb) and pay a massive rights fee to air it on World Championship Boxing? Hopkins is a bigger star than Pavlik? (Truth: He's really not. Pavlik is a hot new star. Hopkins has never been an exciting fighter or massive star, and has never carried a PPV buyrate or anything.)

And why wouldn't Joe want to fight at 168 against Pavlik? He only went to 175 because Hopkins held the legit title in that division. As far as I've heard, he's never had any notable trouble making 168 pounds, and the last time he was in that division, he put on one of his best performances and beat the world's second-best super middleweight convincingly.


Kevin, you mentioned how charitable and accessible to the media Vernon Forrest is. However, you probably do not realize how cold he is toward his fans. At the Orleans Arena, when he was going to fight Ricardo Mayorga he was by himself, leaving the press conference with nobody around and he would not sign a poster. He flat out said no and kept walking. The next day after he weighed in he was walking out to the casino. I stopped him in a hallway. No other fans, press, or anybody was around. He would not sign anything. He rudely said I can’t and kept walking. Another time when he wasn’t even actively fighting, he walked by a group of people and completely ignored a group of fans request for pictures and autographs. Does he think his signature is even worth anything? Most hardcore boxing fans only know of him because he has wins over Shane Mosley.

Jeff Barela
Las Vegas


That does not sound like the Vernon Forrest I know, but there are two sides to everyone.

One must take into account that the Vernon Forrest that Kevin Iole knows looks like a cinch for the Hall of Fame. A lot of stuff like this is being bandied about now that Forrest got so vile toward Sergio Mora and Jeff Wald, and Dan Rafael said the other day that Vernon has long "run hot and cold" with his attitude toward others.


I would love to see Oscar De La Hoya forget about Floyd Mayweather and fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. instead. What do you think?

Seferino Gomez
Miami, Fla.

De La Hoya may yet fight the younger Chavez before he’s through, but not at the expense of a rematch with Mayweather that will make him an additional tens of millions of dollars. A De La Hoya-Chavez Jr. bout may occur sometime next year in De La Hoya’s farewell bout. It, too, would be lucrative, but not nearly as much as a bout with Mayweather.

Boy. Would Oscar, even at his age, chew up Chavez, or would Oscar, even at his age, chew up Chavez? Also, there are plenty of fights that I think Floyd should take instead of Oscar, but the ONLY fight that makes sense for Oscar is Floyd. And it's certainly not freaking Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bad Left Hook Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your global boxing news from Bad Left Hook