Hall of Fame boxing commentator, Al Bernstein, recently joined me for an interview to talk about all the latest new stories going on in the sport. Bernstein gave his thoughts on Gennady Golovkin’s recent destruction of David Lemieux and talked about what direction he would like to see ‘GGG’ go next. Al also talked about Floyd Mayweather’s decision to retire from boxing and where Mayweather should be ranked among the greats. Additionally, Bernstein shared his views on Manny Pacquiao’s future and a potential Pacquiao-Crawford fight. Here is what Al Bernstein had to say.
Robert Brown: How did you assess Gennady Golovkin’s performance against David Lemieux? Do you think he will end up facing the winner of Cotto and Canelo in his next fight?
Al Bernstein: I thought it was an excellent performance. David Lemieux is a very good fighter, not a great fighter, but a good fighter who has power. The way he would have tested Golovkin would have been if he could have landed something powerful but Golovkin made sure that didn’t happen with good defense, a stiff jab to offset Lemieux, and just enough movement, and he kept Lemieux on the outside.
I think Golovkin is a very good fighter and he probably has underrated techniques and skills that people don’t pay attention to. I think tremendous pressure will be brought to bear on the winner of Canelo-Cotto to fight him, by HBO and by everybody. For the winner of the fight, it’s certainly the most lucrative for them to follow up on that fight with. The question will be whether they want to.
I believe that Canelo is much more likely to fight Golovkin than Cotto, and that’s ironic because Cotto is near the end of his career and you’d think he would want that payday the most. I hope the winner fights Golovkin, I think it would be good for the sport.
Robert Brown: Out of Canelo and Cotto, who do you think has the best arsenal to give ‘GGG’ the most problems?
Al Bernstein: I think Golovkin beats both of them but Cotto is now an attacker and I don’t know if he has the power but he’s gonna walk into a lot of punches from Golovkin. Canelo, while I don’t think he would beat Golovkin, I think he stands a better chance of getting something done from the outside and landing some punches, because his skill set is a little bit different than Cotto’s. By a hair I might say Canelo could give him a little bit more trouble, and Canelo is by nature the bigger fighter.
Robert Brown: What are your thoughts and prediction for the Miguel Cotto vs. Canelo Alvarez bout?
Al Bernstein: I think Canelo is probably going to win it because Cotto is now an attacker and I think Canelo is younger, he’s a little stronger and I think he’s gonna be a little bit more precise with his punches. Now if Cotto can take him into the later rounds, he can certainly win the fight because Canelo always has issues in the later rounds. I don’t know if that gonna happen.
I believe that Canelo is going to win this fight, however I think it’s gonna be a fire fight and it’s gonna be very entertaining. Not to suggest that Cotto can’t win it, he certainly could.
Robert Brown: So you’re favoring Canelo for an early to mid round stoppage?
Al Bernstein: Yeah but sometime before the eight round I think. If he doesn’t get that stoppage, he’s gonna have to go twelve rounds without Cotto doing serious damage to him.
Robert Brown: Now that Floyd Mayweather has retired, where do you rank him amongst the greatest fighters of all time? Do you have him in your top fifteen or top twenty?
Al Bernstein: Yeah I would say in my top twenty, he would be somewhere in there. He’s not in the top ten, in my opinion, but probably in the lower part of the top twenty is where I would put him.
Robert Brown: Will the speculation about the saline drip tarnish Mayweather’s legacy?
Al Bernstein: I think it depends how it goes forward — if it moves forward. It may still go forward even though the commission attempted to put a kibosh on it. At the very least one would wonder why the commission would not have held some kind of hearing on it after the fact.
I think there was enough smoke there that I think everyone would like to know exactly what transpired. These things have a way of getting forgotten and in the grand scheme of life, it probably won’t tarnish his legacy.
Robert Brown: The negotiations for a fight between Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan have broken down. What do you think is next for Manny if the negotiations don’t get back on track?
Al Bernstein: Well Bob Arum was talking about Pacquiao and Terence Crawford but I would be a little surprised if that materialized. Even though they are talking about it and Crawford is a potential star, and unless they feel like Crawford is gonna take the mantle of Pacquiao and even if he loses or wins it would be good. That would be an interesting fight, I personally as a boxing fan would like to see it.
Robert Brown: Crawford has immense talent but how do you assess his chances in that fight?
Al Bernstein: If Pacquiao gets down to 140lbs where Crawford is, it would be some fight. Pacquiao has power, he’s a puncher still and I think the power edge might go to Pacquiao. But I don’t think it’s an inappropriate fight for Crawford.