I recently was afforded an opportunity to speak to Hall of Fame boxing commentator, Al Bernstein. Bernstein has been in the sport for over thirty years and is widely regarded as one of the knowledgeable figures in the boxing. In part 2 of my interview, I talk with Bernstein about Floyd Mayweather’s future and how he thinks a Golovkin vs. Mayweather fight would go. Additionally Bernstein gives his views on Klitschko-Fury and more. Here is what Al Bernstein had to say.
Robert Brown: Does the Manny Pacquiao that faced Floyd Mayweather have enough to beat Terence Crawford?
Al Bernstein: Well it would probably be whether there in fact was an injury or if Pacquiao was just bothered by the defensive prowess of Mayweather. Let’s remember, while it wasn’t an exciting fight, I thought the fight wasn’t some total domination by Mayweather. Pacquiao didn’t get that much done but neither did Mayweather.
Pacquiao would want to be sharper and probably would be against Crawford, who is gonna move less. Pacquiao is in his late thirties and has been through a lot of fights, so I’m sure Pacquiao would want to be sharper than he was in that fight. A Pacquiao approaching where he can be at certainly would be tough for Crawford to deal with.
Robert Brown: Would you still be favoring Pacquiao at this stage?
Al Bernstein: Maybe a little bit, but it’s a very competitive fight and that probably is a big part of the allure. We’ll see how it flies.
Robert Brown: With Mayweather retired and Pacquiao maybe having his last fight soon, do you think we’ll be heading for an exciting time in the welterweight division?
Al Bernstein: I hope we do, then on the other side of the fence, boxing is always divided by promotions and Tim Bradley is sitting on the other side over there along with some other welterweights, but I hope they all fight each other.
Boxing could be in a period where it will not have a crossover star right now — at least not in the United States, and maybe not worldwide — and it’s uncommon in boxing, which has a number of very good fighters and has some potentially great matchups.
It’s gonna be important to have competitive exciting matches to be able to sell that facet to the public, so I hope those people do fight each other. It looks like Thurman and Porter are in fact headed toward a fight, possibly in December.
Robert Brown: What are your early thoughts on a Thurman vs. Porter match?
Al Bernstein: I think it’s a very good fight. Keith Thurman has a better skill set but we’ve seen Keith Thurman in recent fights fade a bit, especially in those later rounds. If Thurman doesn’t hurt Porter in the course of the first seven or eight rounds, Shawn Porter is gonna be hell on wheels for him as that fight continues.
I think this is a winnable fight for either fighter. Thurman in recent fights has been much more of a boxer, instead of a boxer-puncher, and I don’t know if that will serve him well in this fight. He can box, but he has to hurt Porter with something.
Robert Brown: If Mayweather returns, do you think it’s likely that he will face Gennady Golovkin?
Al Bernstein: I don’t know, I don’t think he wants to fight Golovkin. That would be a huge fight for him and it would make zillions of dollars, but I don’t know that he wants to do that. I don’t think he wants to fight a bigger man. He’s hoping that Miguel Cotto beats Canelo, and if Miguel Cotto beats Canelo, he can return and fight Cotto again, and that would be a lucrative fight.
Robert Brown: So you feel he would come back to add the middleweight belt to his list?
Al Bernstein: Yeah exactly, he might do that. I think that opens up the new arena that’s gonna be opening in Las Vegas. We’ll see how that goes, but trust me, he’s gonna sit there on November 21st and root hard for Miguel Cotto.
Robert Brown: Hypothetically, would you favor Mayweather to beat Golovkin if that fight occurred?
Al Bernstein: I don’t think he beats Golovkin, I think Golovkin beats him. He’s too big and too strong and he knows how to box. I’m not sure Mayweather at this age can even defensively outbox him over the course of a twelve round fight. It’s gonna be hard for him.
Robert Brown: How do you assess the upcoming Klitschko vs. Fury bout? Do you give Tyson a chance?
Al Bernstein: I wouldn’t go as far as to pick Tyson to win the fight but I think Tyson Fury because of his height and the skill set he has, will not be the easiest opponent for Klitschko. Of course Tyson Fury goes down, he can be hit with power punches, he’s never stayed down but he hasn’t been hit by Klitschko. This fight could be a blow out, Wladimir Klitschko can whack him with a right hand and boom he’s gone, but Tyson Fury could hurt him.
Wladimir doesn’t get hit with that many big punches, he was even very wary of David Haye’s right hand. It’s gonna be harder for him to avoid the right hand from Fury, so I think Fury might get something in, in this fight. I think Fury is a live underdog, though certainly Klitschko deserves to be the favorite in this. We’ve seen some signs of erosion from Klitschko, he’s in his late thirties and at any fight here he could get old. I think it will be an interesting fight.
Robert Brown: Will you be favoring Klitschko by knockout?
Al Bernstein: We haven’t seen Klitschko get really clipped on the chin well in the last few fights, so if Fury can do that, he may make something happen. But I would think it would be a stoppage one way or the other.