I recently had an opportunity to interview an award-winning commentator, Dave Bontempo. Bontempo made his broadcasting debut in 1985 with ESPN, and has worked with every major network since then. Dave has called major bouts worldwide for HBO’s international division, and has covered events like Ortiz-Mayweather and Tyson-Lewis.
In this interview with Dave Bontempo, I get his thoughts on the upcoming Miguel Cotto-Canelo Alvarez bout, and on who he thinks will ultimately win that match up. Bontempo also shares his thoughts on the Mayweather-Pacquiao result and if he think’s there should be a rematch. Additionally Dave shares his views on who Mayweather should fight next, and if Gennady Golvokin is Mayweather’s toughest test. Here is what Dave Bontempo had to say.
Robert Brown: Do you think we have enough seen enough of Miguel Cotto, with his performance over Daniel Geale, to gauge how he would do with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez?
Dave Bontempo: It’s tough to gauge you off of that, but what is good to gauge is they both come in — if they fight some time soon — over fights that both made them look very good in their last outings. Those types of knockouts early like that, explosive, powerful, no doubt the fights will bring a lot of momentum for each guy into it.
You wonder if the boxing math works because Gennady Golovkin knocked out Geale in three rounds and here’s Cotto doing it in four, so they’re saying, “Oh you’re equal to Golovkin.” We don’t know what will happen stylistically when they get in there.
Cotto is the veteran and I think Canelo would have a natural edge on youth because he’s the more natural 154lb guy, but when you get a guy like Cotto with some momentum and the resurgence from Freddie, then you’re going to have a fight that has variables that will make it interesting.
Robert Brown: If you had to put your money on either Cotto or Canelo, who would you be backing at the moment?
Dave Bontempo: I would back Canelo just for the idea of him being younger and him being able to withstand a torrid pace for an entire fight if it came to that. That’s where my money would go if it had to go some place, but I’d still sit back and enjoy that fight because it would really be nice. The Canelo that showed up in his last fight I think would win this match up, even with the Cotto that showed up in his last fight.
Robert Brown: I want to talk about the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight that took place last month. Did the bout play out the way you expected and what were your thoughts on the fight?
Dave Bontempo: It played out from a result standpoint the way that I expected because when Mayweather wins, it looks like that and he’s very hard to hit. He’s the master defensive fighter. What surprised me just a bit — even though I did not think it would have changed the outcome — I was looking for a little bit more ferocity from Pacquiao than he showed.
Mayweather in the last couple of years, he’s beaten Canelo handedly, he beat Pacquiao handedly, and he beat every big name that has been put in front of him. I’m happy for those guys that they made the fight and that Mayweather did fight Pacquiao — I wish they would have done it in 2010 because maybe this could have been the third or fourth installment.
Robert Brown: Because of the aftermath and the shoulder injury that Pacquiao had, would you like to see a rematch?
Dave Bontempo: The interesting thing about your question is that me, I would not care to see the fight again because I’m feeling if some kind of injury report comes out afterwards, you knew it going in. If you took the fight and you knew it going in, then you really shouldn’t discuss it or let it come out afterwards, or you should downplay it.
If the fight had been riveting and close and you could say to yourself, “Well, if he had a better shoulder, he would have won,” then you could think about a rematch. I look at that and I don’t think that Pacquiao would have won under any condition. That’s me, but I don’t know how the boxing public and the public at large will see it.
Robert Brown: What do you think is next for Manny in twelve months and who do you think Mayweather will fight? Do you think Mayweather will fight Amir Khan or Keith Thurman?
Dave Bontempo: When you look at Mayweather, who can really bring something to him? I’d rather see ‘GGG’ come down and fight him. As a fan if you asked me, I’d rather see a catch-weight with somebody like Golovkin. I don’t think Khan gave a compelling performance against Algieri. Khan won the fight but not in a way that made you say, “Oh he has to fight Mayweather.” Cotto looked good but he’s already fought Mayweather.
If you don’t give Mayweather someone powerful, and nobody is saying that Golovkin is gonna fight Mayweather but that’s what I’d like to see. If you take that off the table, I think it’s just a Floyd showcase. There’s nobody that says to me, “I have to see this guy with Floyd.”
Robert Brown: Hypothetically, if Golovkin gets down to 154lbs and fights Mayweather, does Golovkin have the tools to beat him?
Dave Bontempo: He does, he has the power. This is a guy that has been stopping everybody, he has the highest knockout percentage in the division. If you really want to sell a fight with Floyd, you have to put somebody in front of him that would threaten him, that the average fan would say, “He’s got the power to do this.”
Golovkin’s one of the few guys that hasn’t been exposed yet, everybody else has had the chance. For me as a fan, I would salivate over Golovkin and Floyd Mayweather coming together. I think that would be a great fight to watch.