Alpha Mail

Alpha Mail

By Jake Rossen Sep 1, 2008
What do David Berkowitz, Virginia O’Hanlon and readers have in common? They all enjoy writing letters, of course. Hopefully, that’s where the similarities end.

Missives on the pound-for pound-debate, fighter physiques, media relations and the turbulent career of EliteXC lightweight champion K.J. Noons (Pictures) follow.


I can’t say I disagree with the article -- especially being a huge Georges St. Pierre (Pictures) fan -- but I was surprised by your omission of B.J. Penn (Pictures). I am not going to argue his case because I don’t feel as though he has proven to be better than the three you listed, but there are many that feel he is deserving of the No. 1 pound-for-pound spot; Bas Rutten (Pictures) has stated as much. So why not even a subtle jab at the lightweight champ?
-- Andrew Mshar

The “lightweight champ” has no apparent inclination to defend that title anytime soon, preferring to bounce between weight classes. That’s the biggest knock on Penn. He’s an awesome 155er and could be a pound-for-pound great there, but he insists on carb-loading to turn in mediocre performances in a class that doesn’t suit him.

He looked like a new man against Sean Sherk (Pictures) and Joe Stevenson (Pictures), but I need to see more than two fights in his proper weight division before I’m convinced Penn is past his trademark inconsistency.

I agree 100 percent about why GSP is the pound-for-pound best. The mere fact that Anderson Silva (Pictures) has not faced a devastating wrestler or fighter with devastating wrestling like GSP suggests that he has one untested area left to be explored. I've been telling friends since Silva beat Rich Franklin (Pictures) and Travis Lutter (Pictures) that GSP is probably the man they need to defeat Silva, and I still believe that. GSP has shown that he can adapt quickly in a fight.

The Matt Serra (Pictures) incident in my eyes is still the right shot landing at the right time. Could have happened to anyone. Fact is the same fighter had five rounds to prove it the last time and honestly never came close. In my opinion, that wipes the slate clean.
-- Kevin Jackson

I don’t hold the Serra loss against GSP. People were behaving as though Serra was a journeyman performer -- he was coming off of multiple wins and had hit a stride in his stand-up.

Happens to everybody. Anderson Silva (Pictures) got flying-heelhooked by Ryo Chonan (Pictures), who had hardly been setting the world on fire otherwise.

Fedor Emelianenko (Pictures) has won all the fights he needed to win in his career. He defeated Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (Pictures) to claim the number one spot, beat the number one contender [at the time] in Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic and later wiped the floor with Tim Sylvia (Pictures), a man said to be a bad matchup for him. The only relevant fight for Emelianenko, as far as rankings go, is Randy Couture (Pictures).

In my mind, Anderson Silva (Pictures) hasn’t had an important fight, for rankings that is, since he stopped Rich Franklin (Pictures) and thereby reached the top. The question marks out there for him are Paulo Filho (Pictures) and perhaps Cung Le (Pictures). Lining up 50 James Irvin (Pictures)s for execution won’t be the answer.
-- Andreas Bruzelius

At 45 years old, the last thing I would call Couture is “relevant.” Taking a year off in your 40s isn’t the same as doing it in your 30s. I hope people are prepared for the inevitable “Randy was too old” riff if Emelianenko happens to beat him. Despite being heavily anticipated, the fight really isn’t going to settle anything. There will always be people asking “what if” concerning his age.

Andrei Arlovski (Pictures) and Josh Barnett (Pictures) are two very credible, very dangerous opponents for Emelianenko. If he happens to beat them both, I’d say the only viable fight left is with Antonio Silva (Pictures). After that, he might as well run for Prime Minister.

I think you have to consider the fact that GSP has been beaten -- and badly. Being armbarred is a complete and total loss, and being TKO’d by a guy who has no business anywhere in the top 10, ever, in his entire career, isn’t good. Those are huge and permanent black marks against GSP’s record.

Fedor defeats at least another three people a year in combat Sambo and crushes them -- big time. He has been doing this for years and years and years, in addition to MMA fights, where he’s been crushing people for years and years. Fedor’s consistency is second to no one, and that is an important trait to consider. GSP has made stupid mistakes and failed hard, and Fedor hasn’t.

I think an important thing that people overlook is organizational experience. Fedor has fought practically everywhere, in all kinds of different time zones, cultures and organizations, and nothing has thrown him off; he always goes out there and wins. Oh, and yeah, I agree, rankings are silly.
-- Bazarov Vorazab

You bring up a really solid point: variables like travel, jet lag and even crowd support can all adversely affect a fighter’s performance. I’ve been especially impressed with the way Anderson Silva (Pictures) has handled fighting in front of partisan crowds (against Rich Franklin (Pictures) and Dan Henderson (Pictures) in Ohio, versus Lee Murray (Pictures) in London).

I’m not buying the maturity argument, though. Emelianenko had nine professional fights -- and countless Sambo matches -- before St. Pierre ever stepped in the ring. A seasoned GSP at 32 or 33 years old is a frightening prospect.
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