Sugar Shay's Mid-Day Mailbag

By Ishe Smith


Sugar Shay's Mid-Day Mailbag

Shay - Not to start off on a sour note, but why does it seem like Golden Boy Promo only pushes certain fighters? I can't wait to see your next fight, and I really hate it when fighters in their absolute physical prime being shelved for the sake of promotional disputes. After the Powell fight they should have had you back in the ring within 3 months. A follow up bout right after a fight like that was a perfect opportunity to plug those little leaks, and truely learn from why you didn't get the decision. (I had you winning by two points). I'd hate to think that GBP is just spread too thin to really take care of the fighters and their ring potential in favor of their earnings potential. I don't yet know if this is the case, but sometimes too many cooks spoil the pot. I also have to disagree with you on the PBF debate. Floyd is not a fighter that hardcore fans who don't like him, will typically pay to see. I think people need to step back and look at the DLH-PBF fight as a truely special, and maybe even once in a decade type event. Believe me that a PBF pay per view event is built and sold on the opponent. Nobody looks at Floyd as a p-p-v draw, especially in a mandatory defense situation. Floyd better be ready to almost approach parrity with the Mosley's, the Cotto's or the Margaritos if he plans on making any money outside of an unlikely ODH rematch. By pricing himself away from these guys, the only real losers are his fans that want to see him fight. I, for one, could care less if I ever see him fight again, and I think I've missed maybe one or two televised fights in the last five years. (like most real fans I'd suspect). Hey, how about you beating up on JA Rivera? Lord knows why he's getting so much attention, but I think you stop him in 6 rounds, and you're right back on the map! Chin down, Christian in St.Paul


Ishe Response:  I have no idea what was on Golden Boy’s mind after I lost my fight to Sechew Powell.  I had Jimmy Burchfield calling me out to fight one of his guys, I never replied because I believed in my team at the time.  I just wish we could of agreed on a release on Feb 18th, to sit out 3 months, have a baby in that span, and then have your team agree on some kind of release is strange to me.  I wanted to get right back into the mix and I said it in the locker room after my fight, I told the only person they sent with me to the fight that no matter what I had to do I was willing to do it, no matter if I had to go back to ESPN, Telefutra, Off TV, I told them I was wlling to make my way back up to HBO.  That is why I give Manfredo props because he is staying very active and in the public spotlight.  Three months go by and now we’re at this stage, I wish them much success.  I stand firm on my beliefs that Mayweather is the best fighter in our era, I listen to all the points, but in my opinion Mayweather is the best hands down.



What's up, Champ? Great work on the mailbag. I like how you take the time to give a measured, detailed response, even to the haters. I really can't stand it when guys write in to criticize your choice of the best fighter of our era (in this case, Mayweather) without offering up an opinion regarding their own choice, even just for argument's sake. That said, I'll have to disagree, even though Floyd is definitely up there due to his accomplishments at multiple weight divisions and undefeated record. He was outstanding at 130, though I had him even up with Castillo after their series at 135. Sadly to say, I think that was the last time he really fought a top guy in their prime. I'd put Floyd behind Bernard Hopkins due to his extensive reign at 160, win over P4P entrant Trinidad, dominant win to capture the legit 175-lb crown, and just for still being a badass past 40. Most people count the Taylor fights against him, which is fine, but I saw Hopkins winning 8 rounds in the first fight, while I scored the second even. Take care and good luck with your career.
Baltimore, MD


Ishe Response:  Very good points and I totally understand your argument, Bernard was and still is a terrific fighter.  Reigning in one division is a great accomplishment; I can name several past Middleweights better than him in my opinion.  I will start with the great Ray Robinson, Marvin Hagler, Carlos Monzon, Harry Greb; I could go on but I will stop it right their.  Lets talk about the 20 defenses shall we, 3 of them was against Robert Allen, another 2 against Antwun Echols, give one to Syd Vanderpool, William Bo James (did this guy even deserve a title shot), and let’s not forget about the dreadful Morrade Hakkar.  I don’t know why people seem to take those 20 title defenses and make it seem like it was impossible or something.  I think Bernard is in the hall of fame, the great historian Teddy Atlas did not even put Hopkins in his all timet top 10 for middleweights, I respect Bernard and what he has accomplished, but he is not one of the best middleweights off all time.  Tito was a blown up welterweight and let’s be real about Oscar, he was also a blown up welterweight at the time, and in reality he lost that fight to Felix Sturm.  If you poll 10 people who they thought won that fight, all 10 will say that Felix Strum won hands down, this is the same Felix Strum who got TKO’ed by Castillejo, and the same Castillejo who lost to Vargas.  Need I say more?  Floyd Mayweather is still the best in our era in my opinion. 

Hey Ishe, Thanks for the mailbags, it's always nice for fans to be able to communicate with an actual fighter instead of the usual writers (no offence to them). just had to get my two cents in regarding floyd and your question of who has acheived more than him. I was pretty surprised that you'd rate Mayweather's accomplishments as tops for this era - over Hopkins? I know Mayweather has faced tough opponents but they were almost never the toughest guys available - certainly not at 140 and 147. Even at 154 he never fought the toughest guy around, not that I'd question his motives for fighting Oscar. For me that affects the way I look at him as a fighter and at his career. I'd rate Hopkins over him by a mile, I'd rate Barerra over him, if Manny keeps going and keeps winning I think he'll go past Floyd's accomplishments. I'd put Floyd and Roy Jones on around the same level. I think if Shane were to beat two top Welter's (eg Cotto and Maragarito) he'd go past Floyd. I guess though it depends what the criteria is, which you never went into too much. There are so many factors  - and I guess Floyd Mayweather and Roy Jones are probably peerless when it comes to talent, but talent is only one part of it. Keep writing and I'll keep reading, Cheers, Ponch

Ishe Response:   I think I pretty much summed up some of those 20 defenses in the last question.  As far as Shane goes, Shane is in the hall of fame in my opinion, let’s take a close look at him also.  Everyone likes to mention how Floyd did not fight the best in some of the divisions he captured titles in; how about we analyze Mosley.  In the 135 division he defended against Manuel Gomez 17-8, hmm that sounds like p4p material; he did face Leija, Rivera and Molina.  If any of you can say that these guys are better or are any different than the guys Floyd face then we have a serious problem.  At 147 he faced two names, Oscar and Vernon; he lost two to Vernon and won the other against Oscar. At 154 he lost to Winky twice and beat Oscar once, I will not even mention the Vargas fights.  So why do so many of you say he has beaten better people or is better than Floyd Mayweather?  Corrales, Castillo twice, Jesus Chavez, Hernandez, Oscar, Zab, need I say more?



What it is Shay? I will give you my Top 10 draft picks if I was a promoter. I feel that you left off some big names here is mine;
1. Floyd Mayweather
2. Manny Pacquiao
3. Winky Wright
4. Bernard Hopkins
5. Miguel Cotto
6. Rafael Marquez
7. Juan Manuel Marquez
8. Joe Calzaghe
9. Chad Dawson - How could you leave him off, The Future.
10. Mikkel Kessler
Here are some that I think just missed the Top 10, Juan Diaz, Kelly Pavlik, Jermain Taylor (I just dont think he is Top 10), Paul Williams, Joshua Clottey and Cory Spinks.
Thanks for your time. Take Care.........Eric....Tampa, Florida

Ishe Response:  I love your list, the only reason I left Dawson out because he is so young and has not been tested yet.  I do believe he is the future of the light heavyweight division; other than that I think your list was great.  I wouldn’t have put Kessler in there, and as I said earlier Dawson needs a career defining fight.  Spinks should of also made the list, other than that it was a pretty good draft for you.

Whats up Ishe? Nice to see you're doing the mailbag thing again, but as a fan of yours, I'd much rather hear that you're training for a fight.. I think you're an underachiever, and I'm not blaming you for that.. I think you've got a shitload of talent, an interesting and unique style that I enjoy watching, and I feel like if you were promoted properly and as active as you should be, your name would be in the top 10 at 147 or 154, whichever you decided to fight at.. I feel like right now, you SHOULD be in your prime, and I hate to see this time go to waste that you should be.. It's gotta be frustrating for you just waiting around like you are, but shit, why not try to get any fight at this point? at least to stay active.. Well, I hope to hear that you are going to fight soon, I thought the scores in the Powell fight were ridiculous, but you can't change what's already happened, just move forward.. So, keep your head up, try to stay busy, and show everyone that you are capable of so much more than we've seen, like I know you are.. So anyway.. People need to stop accusing you of being up Floyd's ass and all this crap, you just tell it like it is.. There is no argument that Floyd is the best fighter of the past decade, I agree with you on that.. Something I disagree with you on though, is this weekends fight.. I don't really understand what you're thinking if you pick Hatton over Castillo, explain your prediction for me? I just think Castillo is too much for him, but I guess we'll see on Saturday..
B from NY

Ishe Response:  Thanks a lot; I am training everyday, lifting, boxing, and being a father, lol.  I totally agree with your assessment, I just want a chance; from there I know the rest is up to me.  I don’t think I’ve had a fair chance since 2003-2004; for all the slamming I have taken from people through the years, I will have to say Gary Shaw was the best promoter that I have ever had.  It wasn’t his fault I had money troubles and maybe I could of did some things different in my life back then, I was a kid at the time with a young son, my family was in financial trouble, so I made the best decision for them at the time.  I fought at the Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas earlier in my career; I wouldn’t have any problems taking some Off TV fights if I had to.  I know what I have to do as a fighter right now, I need to stay active and keep winning.  I am hoping to fight by the end of August or sooner and if we can’t come to terms with any promoters, I will look to other options.  Thanks for your support; Hatton is too strong for Castillo in my book, I expect a war and lots of fireworks.


Whats good Ishe, thanks for picking up the mailbag duties. Good to see it back on a regular basis. I watched the fight b/w Cotto & Judah, it was a good fight. I am glad that zab showed courage and took his beating like a man this time and didnt resort to the things he did against mayweather. But in all honesty I feel zab needs to get a real trainer. He has no boxing skills whats so ever. If zab dont hit you with a str8 left and get you out of there quick, he is done. Because his arsenal is limited to just that, a str8 left. Cotto was a sitting duck for alot of punches, and zab just didnt know how to deliver them. He went back to the corner and his dad just said you need to throw punches, and that was the obvious, but what punches to throw and how to throw them is what zab needed to be told. I noticed in the fight Cotto didnt like being touched to the body when zab seldomly did it. I also noticed that the left hook is the punch that he is most vulnerable too, if you can time him right when he is lunging in. Cotto is good, but not good enough to be in the ring with Mayweather. Mayweather would work his body, and connect upstairs with ease. I think mayweather will be the first person to actually put him down and keep him down should they ever fight. Reason being mayweather lands precision punches, mayweather has great defense & foot work, mayweather has a great trainer in roger, and the #1 reason, he is one of the best in the pocket fighters of this era. And in the pocket is where the slower cotto will be caught with punches he doesnt even see. 
P.S. Ricky hatton is a joke, tell him to let go of that kotsz tszu win. It was nothing more that a wrestling match he won. If the ref does his job and keeps him from holding, Castillo in 10.


Ishe Response:  That decision is totally up to Zab and his team, I will not tell a man he should change trainers or what he should do with his career.  I don’t think the lost had anything to do with Yoel, I think the inactivity, maybe the low blows hurt him as well, or maybe it was Miguel Cotto.  This is Ricky Hatton’s time to shine; he has the stage this Saturday in Las Vegas, what else can a fighter asks for. 

What up Ishe? I just want to get your thoughts on some fighters that are making noise so far this year. What do you think about Pavlik? I have been following this guy for a couple of years now I think he can give all of the middleweights trouble with his size and iron chin. Also, what about Humberto Soto? Talk about all action, how do you see him doing against Pac Man, Marquez and Barrera? What about Eddie Chambers? I think with his speed he could give all of the giants trouble in the HW division, what do you think? Now, what about Chad Dawson? This man has some real skill, how do you see his career progressing? Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions. Cant wait to see you in the ring again, I thought you won your fights with Mora and Powell. Take care homie........Eric..Tampa, Florida

Ishe Response:  Kelly Pavlik is a very good fighter and I am looking forward to the showdown with Jermain.  I saw Soto fight at the Orleans a few times back in the day when I was young in the game and I was impressed with him way back then.  If any of the champions take this guy lightly, I can guarantee he will beat them, and he hasn’t even shown that he can box and move yet, trust me the guy is the real deal.  Chad Dawson is the future of the light heavyweight division.  I can accepted the defeat against Powell, I think Max Kellerman said it best, when he said that most people were not counting the Mora loss on my record.


whats up Ishe, this is a response to your comment that fans only like over hyped punchers. some of the greatest fighters of all time have been raw brutal punchers. how about Louis, Lamotta, Marciano, Frazier, Duran? and the list goes on and on. there has always been a part of the boxing public that has always liked your raw pugilistic brawlers.

i also disagree with you comment that the art of the sweet science is gone. it seems that nowadays there are too many ultra defense not wanna get hit and stink the joint out so called sweet science tacticians. what alot of people fail to realize is that alot of the top sweet science boxers of past generations also had a high K.O RATE. how about Ray Robinson? Ali,Ray Leonard? those guys were sweet science tacticians but the were also exciting and HAD A HIGH K.O RATE IN BIG FIGHTS. just because fans dont prefer fighters like the Cory Spinks and Winky Wrights doesent mean that they cant appreciate the sweet science on a high level it just means they dont like those particular type fighters.

today it seems like alot of fighters are of the throw a few punches and run and hope for a decision instead of putting there punches together and puting down the serious hurt the way past great sweet science fighters have done it.

this is not an article to knock you Ishe or the sport of boxing, its an article to stand up for the fans a little bit. when we shell out our hard earned money 49.95 for the pay -per views. we want guys that fight with a passion and leave it all in the ring. we can appreciate boxers as well as brawlers and just because your a brawler or puncher doesent necessary mean your unskilled even though i will admit there are alout of unskilled brawlers out there at the moment.plenty of the greats of all time have been brawlers. there are 2 sides to the sweet science one can be pretty when done at a hight level and the other not so pretty but when done right can be just as effective.

good luck with your career Ishe, and you also do a fantastic job hosting the boxingtalk mail bag section. IKE FROM DELAWARE


Ishe Response:  I was referring to Miranda and the public wanting to see a lot of over hyped punchers, rather than the smooth boxing styles of Mayweather, Paulie, and Winky. Joe Louis was a puncher, but he also was a very good boxer, Louis rarely made any mistakes, none of his punches were out of place, he kept everything tight and precise, this guy could knock you out from the inside or the outside.  Look at some old film on Louis and you will see that none of his punches were thrown far back or pulled, he threw everything right, and it was beautiful watching Joe Louis fight.  I am not saying I don’t respect the punchers in boxing; what I am trying to say is the fans need to respect the ones who are trying to perfect  the craft rather than stick their chin out first and say hit me. Cory Spinks and Winky Wright are fun to watch to me, that is what boxing is about, boxing is not all about guys who can punch.  Now days the fans take a guy like Miranda and you even have a legend like Bernard Hopkins endorsing this guy as the guy who is going to carry the torch in the middleweight division.  I always thought he was way too over hyped with no boxing ability, had Alan Green’s ass not of been bothering him he would of stopped him too.  I want the fans to get excited for guys like Spinks, Winky, Paulie, Mayweather, and Forbes, just like they do for over hyped punchers.  Boxing is an art, it is not the UFC, MMA, or the IFL, let these boxers perfect their art.

What's up, Ishe? I think you make a lot of good points in your mailbags and I totally agree that Floyd is the best P4P fighter in the game right now. But to say that he is the best fighter in the last 10 years may be a bit of an overstatement. If I had to pick a fighter out of the last ten years who has truly made his mark, it would have to be Bernard Hopkins. Floyd has accomplished a lot in various weightclasses, but Bernard has 20 defenses at middleweight. Plus he has Tito, Oscar and Tarver on his resume - all A level fighters who he either dominated or knocked out. You can make an argument that Oscar didn't belong at 160, but you can also make the argument that Floyd caught Oscar at the tail end of his career, after a 1-year layoff, and after it has been proven that he is very beatable. Floyd's best wins are perhaps against Chico, Castillo, and Oscar and I don't think that compares to what Bernard has done. Bernard ruins fighters - most of these guys aren't the same after they get in with him. And one blemish on Floyd's record is his first win against Castillo which most people feel that he lost. Bernard's only losses are his first fight which was at the wrong weight class, his fight with RJ when he was very green, and the two losses to Taylor which were close if not suspect. Your thoughts and opinions appreciated. 
D Linder

Ishe Response:  I think I gave some valid points in the beginning of this mailbag about Bernard’s 20 defenses; if you don’t agree with those points, get at me and we can debate some more.

Although I do agree with you in that Floyd "maybe" the best of this era, he cannot be considered the best based on his resume.  Since arriving at 140 pounds his opposition has been hmmm how shall I say this.....WEAK.  Corley,  Bruseles, and Gatti Hmmm yeah of these guys I give Gatti the most props and he is waaayy past his heyday( which came before he fought Ward). Ok how about his opposition at 147 .....mmmm sorry once again very weak opposition a very old and no longer in his element Sharmba Mitchell,  Zab Judah career underacheiver and Carlos where is he now Baldomir. You tell me these guys match up against Dela Hoya's 140 opponents Julio Ceasar Chavez, Miguel Angel Gonzalez at 147 Pernell Whitaker, David Kamau, Hector Camacho,Wilfredo Rivera,Julio Ceasar Chavez, Ike Quartey, Oba Carr, Tito Trinidad, Shane Mosley and Arturo Gatti. Now please tell me who has the stiffer opposition in these two weight classes??Titles won Oscar has more, oppositon Oscar win lose or draw has fought the better opposition. So In what do you base Floyd having accomplished more then Oscar?? What has he done that Oscar hasn't?? I can tell you what oscar has done that Floyd hasn't, and that is fought the best of his era, Simple as that. I respect the fact that Floyd has some serious skills but he hasn't even tried to fight the best in his weight classes. Until he takes some of those challenges from Margarito, Cotto, Mosley and Hatton.  Even if he just fights two of these people it would erase  some of the doubts that I and many others have about Floyd. Right now he has incredible "POTENTIAL" but till he gets in the ring with these people I can't say he has acomplished more then Oscar. So let me know what you think Shay? So when you getting in the ring again?? 


Ishe Response:  Did you say Julio Ceasar Chavez, David where are you Kamau.  Come on, we all now Chavez would have used Oscar as a toothpick back in the day.  He was way past his prime and it was a disgrace to see him lose like that.  Oscar has lost every major big fight he has been in except for 3, and when he didn’t win the general public thought he lost.  People thought he lost to Quartey, Whitaker, he did beat Vargas, and Mayorga, but other than that he lost two fights to Mosley, one to Hop, one to Tito, and one to Mayweather.  Its hard for me to rank a guy like Oscar ahead of Mayweather, Oscar has lost everyone of his career defining fights.  Even though I love the guy for what he has done for the sport; that is not going to make me rank him the best in our era.  Mayweather has that title!  I hope to be in the ring before the end of summer.


Sup Shay, glad you`re running the show for now and hope to see you in the ring soon.
Now I`m tired, no.... VERY TIRED of people thinking some of us dislike Floyd Mayweather because of his arrogance or the way he acts outside of the ring..etc  That, atleast for me, it`s not true. I don`t pay money because of a boxer`s looks or attitude. I pay to see boxing!
I loved Sugar ray Leonard, who was also an arrogant and cocky boxer like Floyd..and loved Mike Tyson who`s had a lot of personal problems outside of the ring worse than Floyd.
What a boxer does outside of the ring is their business not mine.
The reason Floyd vs. Oscar broke records..  1.Oscar always brings huge numbers no matter who he fights, 2.The best promotion across the country we`ve seen in awhile.. 3.24/7 was another great reason ..oh and 4.Floyd`s big threats towards Oscar.  Notice Floyd never done that before with other fighters in his resume' by screaming in his opponets faces.. Floyd never said I will "ice" baldomir nor Judah etc...only with Oscar.  Nice promotion tactic. Floyd doesn`t bring big numbers and that is because he`s not "a people champion" sort of speak.  Oscar vs Tito2 or any other big name boxer wouldve broken records too with that kinda promotion and 24/7 series attached to it.  Face it...The majority of boxing fans don`t like Floyd`s boxing style without taking risks.  Ali,Whitaker, Pep, Leonard etc..were competive ,and knew how to box by throwing combos not joust pot shots. Can you really compare Floyd`s opponents to Leonard`s opponents... Baldomir to Duran... Judah to Hagler... Gatti to Hearns... C`mon!!!  Delahoya was Floyd`s first "real" accomplishment even though the fight failed for fight of the year candidate.  Wouldn`t want to see Floyd vs Oscar 2.   AND PLEASE, spare me with the "floyd would be a fool to turn that fight down" bit...
I`m not Floyd`s business adviser and we the fans don't shed our good money to watch his pocket grow...we pay to see good fights.  And our opinions should count and be considered because it`s our money that`s going in his pockets.
If Floyd wants to continue fighting using his same "pot shot" routine then that`s fine...but he needs to bring in fights vs Mosley, Cotto, Hatton, Margarito/William winner and get that ridiculous retiring crap. Ali fought the best in his era...Leonard fought the best in his...
and that is what Floyd needs to do...he started with move on to the next 3 and earn your stripes.  Tyson and Oscar earned their PPV king it`s your turn floyd. Stop leaning on Oscar and be your own man by being competitive and not just a "business man".
To be considered an all time great, you need a boxer that has, Talented skills...impressive record...impressive opponets....impressive entertaining fights....and a boxer that brings in the audience and fills in the seats!!!  Floyd has only covered 2  1/2 of that.  You name me one All time great that has fallen short of those qualifications. Thanks...  ~Joe from Dallas

Ishe Response:  Very good email Joe and you make a lot of very good points.  HBO promoted this event very well.  I never said Mayweather was better than Leonard, I said Mayweather is the best of our era.  If you think differently please enlighten me on who you think is better.  I will now kill the Roy Jones theory; while Jones did accomplish a lot in this era, he has also been a major disappointment as well.  Greats don’t get knocked out cold; okay maybe once, but they definitely don’t get knocked out twice.  Floyd never ducked or dodged anyone, how can anyone put down his opponent’s is beyond me?  If Floyd stays retired, I will still say he is the best of this era until Pacman beats a few more people, because he is knocking on Floyd’s door for that title.  Floyd is undefeated, he has beaten champions, hall of fame boxers, and semi champions, how can this guy not be the best in this era?  Beating the Golden Boy cemented his place in history; I would tell Floyd go up and fight the winner of the match between Pavlik and Taylor.  After that retire, what will people say next?  Shane had his chance, I think he would beat Shane easier than he beat Oscar, it is Floyd’s world if he wants Shane then he should do it, he is the man right now, everything is up to him.  Thanks for the email Joe.

Closing thoughts:   The out pours of email have been great; I might have to go to a mid-day mailbag if it keeps up like this.  My inbox is completely full, I will do my very best to get to as many mailbag questions as I can.  Remember if you send great questions and make valid points, I can guarantee those will be the ones that I will pay the most attention too and post on the website.  Last night I gave you my top 10 draft choices, tonight I will give you my top ten fighters in this era, God Bless:

Floyd Mayweather  (Need I say More)
Bernard Hopkins   (Of those 20, twelve were really good, okay maybe 8)
Lennox Lewis  (Most Underrated Heavyweight of Our time)
Roy Jones  (The Old Timers Like Bob Foster will say He got Knocked out to much)
Marco Barrera  (His Record speaks for itself)
Erik Morales  (only problem with him was Manny Kryptonite Paquaio)
Manny Pacquiao  (Beat two legends, need I say more)
Winky Wright    (What this guy did earlier in his career was amazing)
Antonio Tarver  (The first man to defeat Roy Jones)
Oscar De La Hoya (Has all the credentials to be number 1, as far as fans, money making, pay per view dollars, most recognizable, the only problem is he didn’t win matches when they counted)

I would love to see your top 10 fighters of this era.   


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