Everybody’s favorite judge and HBO’s unofficial scorekeeper Harold Lederman took time out to talk some sweet science. Read on to learn Harold’s thoughts on this weekend, why he believes Floyd will do the right thing and fight the winner, why he likes Paul Williams and Tavoris Cloud and much more…
BoxingInsider: We have the big one we all been waiting for this weekend, you have to be excited.
Harold Lederman: “Very much so, I think it’s going to be a sensational fight. Miguel Cotto is a very hard puncher, he’s the bigger guy. Durable, he keeps coming, he always makes exciting fights. He digs to the body. He’s certainly capable of giving Manny Pacquiao trouble.”
BoxingInsider: You’re picking Cotto to win?
Harold Lederman: “No I’m not picking anybody. I gotta keep score, I gotta be nuetral [laughs]. But Manny is really in is prime right now. Bigger guys don’t bother him, we saw what he did to Oscar, David Diaz, Ricky Hatton. He looks sensational. He throws a punch, he just doesn’t miss. Always right on the money. The question is can he stop a real full fledged 147 pound fighter like Miguel Cotto? We don’t know. On the other hand, can he stand up to Cotto’s power? It’s gonna be interesting. If Cotto looks great…if either one of them looks great, it’s gonna set up a heckuva fight with Floyd Mayweather. I’m really excited.”
BoxingInsider: Do you think it will happen? Floyd seems not to be too interested.
Harold Lederman: “I think Floyd is looking for the best money he can get. And I think the best money he can get is with the winner of Pacquiao-Cotto. I think it’s a bigger fight than Shane Mosley. I think more people will want to see it. The Mosley fight might be easier to make but I think Floyd will just look at the numbers and say, I’m gonna do the best fight – Cotto or Pacquiao. Personally I think Floyd is praying for Manny Paquiao to win because he loves to fight small guys [laughs]. But it remains to be seen. If the fight turns out to be a dull fight – which I don’t think is gonna happen – then Floyd will probably take Shane Mosley.”
BoxingInsider: But we have heard rumors that Floyd is looking to make a Hatton rematch, or pick Dimitri Salita – if Salita upsets Khan.
Harold Lederman: “I don’t think so. I doubt it. I think he’s looking for the biggest money he can make. I think it’s with the winner of Pacquiao-Cotto.”
BoxingInsider: This will be the biggest night of the year for boxing.
Harold Lederman: “Huge, I think it’s absolutely gonna be huge. Everybody wants to see the fight. It’s exciting, it’s huge in the Latin and Filippino communities. The guy on the street wants to see it.”
BoxingInsider: Yeah people like Shaq, the New York Giants are hyped about it. Like the Larry Holmes era in the 80s, the welterweight division is picking up the slack and taking the sport to a higher level.
Harold Lederman: “There’s more interesting fights at welterweight than there is at heavyweight. The heavyweights are dominated by the Klitschkos, they look terrific. You can’t take it away from them, they just keep on winning. You don’t see any opponents out there who can give them a competitive fight. They both have fights coming up – Vitali with Kevin Johnson and Wladimir with Eddie Chambers.”
BoxingInsider: We know who will win those.
Harold Lederman: “That’s what I’m saying, the Klitschkos are so dominant. Eddie Chambers is really a good fighter, but at his size, can be beat Wladimir Klitschko? He’s not a really big guy.”
BoxingInsider: Solis from Cuba looks like he could be the future of the heavyweight division.
Harold Lederman: “You know what scares me about Odlanier Solis? I saw him beat Monte Barrett and he has power. But when he was an amateur beating Felix Savon, he weighed 201. For Monte Barrett he weighed 271. That’s scary. I don’t know if he can put on all that weight and be efective. I don’t know, I’m a little leery. Wait till we see him in a couple more fights. He may be suffering from that problem Chris Arreola has – in other words, he may be 25-30 pounds overweight. But from what I saw in the Barrett fight, it sure looks like he can punch.”
BoxingInsider: With the “Super Six” on Showtime, Cotto and Pacquiao on Saturday, you’ve been in boxing a long time. Is your enthusiasm for the sport still very high? Or has it declined?
Harold Lederman: “No [laughs]. Not in the least [laughs]. Without question, Mikkel Kessler-Andre Ward is gonna be a great fight, there’s no doubt about that. And our show is going to be fabulous. I’m really excited about several fights coming up. I’m really looking forward to seeing Paul Williams against Sergio Martinez in Atlantic City.I’m looking forward to Paulie Malignaggi-Juan Diaz again December 12 in Chicago. I’m looking forward to Librado Andrade-Bute in Quebec City.”
BoxingInsider: How good is Paul Williams?
Harold Lederman: “Dynamite. When do you see a southpaw knock people out with right hooks? I mean, he doubles and triples the left hook. Which is unheard of for a southpaw. I think he’s a terrific fighter, he really is. Not only does he have a helluva straight left hand, good size, good power, but what he can do with a right hand is amazing for a southpaw.”
BoxingInsider: And where is the boxing talent in America? The amateur system is not producing the future stars like we have come to expect, especially in the heavyweight division. What is going on?
Harold Lederman: “We will. It’s a lull in the action. They’ll be back. I gaurantee they’ll be back. There’s Deontay Wilder, Demetrius Andrade from the last Olympics. Guys like that. It’s just a matter of time. Now there isn’t a lot of young Americans coming up but I’m impressed by Tavoris Cloud. He seems to be a great name that we didn’t know about. The new IBF Light Heavyweight champion of the world. He impresses me with his punching power. I’m sure, before long, we’re going to see a whole lot of new faces.”