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Articles of 2009

The Greatest Fighters Ever: Egregious Omissions/Inclusions, Part 2

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Along with the inexcusable names that were missing and included among  the greatest fighters ever list discussed in Part One, there are some other monumental mistakes and holes in the final ballot that I'll  touch on in this final installment.

The list was supposed to include the 10 greatest fighters in each of boxing's original eight divisions with the heavyweight division having 12 different fighters to pick from as the greatest. In case you missed the original, here is the story that started the whole debate. www.tss.ib.tv/boxing-article/6938/greatest/ In Part One I went into detail as to what I believe were the most outlandish omissions and inclusions. Below are some quick thoughts and reasons why the list  is hard for this writer to take seriously.

I welcome any debate by one and all of the panelists who believe I'm wrong. My e-mail is attached as always.

What is discussed below is just a quick overview and one could go into much more detail omitting and exchanging names. Some (Villa & Galaxy) have already been touched on by TSS and there's no need to repeat what's already been said.

Heavyweight: No Jim Jeffries?

Jim Jeffries (18-1-2) retired undefeated and didn't suffer his first defeat until coming out of a six year retirement,  losing to reigning heavyweight champ Jack Johnson. Jeffries beat better opposition in James J. Corbett, Bob Fitzsimmons and Tom Sharkey than did John L. Sullivan who made the list. Jeffries fought at a measured pace but was willing to engage his opponent if pressured. He led with his left while fighting from a low-crouch and had seemingly endless stamina. He also scored the quickest knockout in lineal heavyweight title fight history taking just 55 seconds to stop Jack Finnegan. If the 12 greatest heavyweights in history are going to be named, Jeffries name must be on the list way before that of John L. Sullivan.

Light heavyweight: No Tommy Loughran?

Georges Carpentier (88-15-6) makes the list but Tommy Loughran (117-29-13) doesn't? Loughran won a 10 round decision over Carpentier in a light heavyweight bout the only time they fought. Although it may have been at a time when Carpentier was on the decline, there's no case for Carpentier over Loughran, who was a better overall fighter and beat better opposition than Carpentier. Loughran beat other greats and near greats like Mickey Walker, “Young” Stribling, Jimmy Slattery, Mike McTigue, King Levinsky and heavyweights Paulino Uzcudun, Arturo Godoy, Al Ettore and champions Max Baer, Jack Sharkey and James Braddock.

Loughran was a master boxer, and routinely made his opponent miss and then made him pay. He was a terrific counter-puncher, used every inch  of the ring, was a great feint-er and mixed his punches to the head and body brilliantly, always keeping his opponent guessing. With the exception of not being a great puncher, Loughran could do everything in the ring. Tommy Loughran is considered by practically every respected
boxing historian in the world as being among the ten greatest light heavyweight champions ever and most have him among the top six or seven. Georges Carpentier is seldom listed amongst them. It's one thing not to include Loughran, but to not include him and include Carpentier is out-right wrong.

Middleweight: Carmen Basilio is on but not Jake LaMotta or Dick Tiger?

Basilio belongs on the list among the greatest welterweights, not middleweights. Other than splitting two fights with Sugar Ray Robinson, most of Basilio's signature wins came while he was fighting at welterweight.

Jake LaMotta compiled a career record of 83-19-4. LaMotta was known for having a terrific chin, and like Jim Jeffries fought out of a low crouch. He applied a lot of pressure, brought the fight to his opponent and was exceptionally strong physically, despite not being a big puncher. He was best fighting on the inside and tried to force his opponents to fight and trade with him at close range. Jake is probably best known for handing undefeated welterweight great Sugar Ray Robinson his first defeat. In a career that lasted 13 years, LaMotta
not only beat Robinson,  he fought him six times, losing five of the six. Along with Robinson, he beat the likes of Marcel Cerdan for the middleweight championship, Fritzie Zivic, Holman Williams, Bob Satterfield, Tony Janiro, Laurent Dauthuille, Robert Villemain and Tiberio Mitri. LaMotta, due to his level of opposition and strength, more often than not makes the cut among the top ten greatest middleweights in history.

Dick Tiger was a physical beast and was only the second middleweight champ in history to defeat the reigning light heavyweight champion. He compiled a career record of 60-19-2 over a career that spanned 18 years. His best fighting weight ranged between 156-168 pounds. Tiger applied pressure but wasn't really a swarmer . He was more prone to fight in spurts and was probably at his best on the inside. Tiger really didn't posses a signature punch, but had power in both hands. The level of opposition he faced is first-tier. His career got off to a rough start due to mismanagement, but he scored wins over such fighters as former middleweight champ Terry Downes, Randy Sandy, Joey  Giardello, Holly Mims, Florentino Fernandez, Henry Hank, Gene Fullmer,  Hurricane Carter, Nino Benvenuti, Frankie DePaula, Andy Kendall and  Jose Torres, twice. Tiger, Like LaMotta  clearly belong on the list among greatest middleweights before Basilio.

Welterweight: Aaron Pryor is on, but (Barbados) Joe Walcott and Kid Gavilan are not?

Joe “The Barbados Demon” Walcott (99-33-25) is considered one of the  five greatest welterweights in history. Walcott was a short-in-stature fighter with long arms and dynamite in both hands and fought fighters between lightweight and heavyweight and even fought Sam Langford to a draw. Early in his career the original Joe Walcott scored a first round knockout over an opponent who weighed 180 pounds. Walcott was
welterweight champ from 1901-04 and actually coined the phrase “the bigger they are, the harder they fall.” He was considered a physical freak whose neck measured 18 inches and his chest expanded measured 41  inches, which is unheard of even today for a welterweight. Walcott's reputation as a puncher was so big that he said in the Police Gazette October 30, 1900 “since no welterweight or middleweight will fight me
I'm compelled to go to the next weight class,” and issued challenges to heavyweights Tom Sharkey, Gus Ruhlin and champion Jim Jeffries. Walcott has been ranked among the top five welterweights in many Ring Magazine polls, but failed to make the cut here.

Kid Gavilan (108-30-5) was never stopped once in 143 fights. Gavilan was a great boxer with fast hands and feet. He invented the “Bolo” punch and won the welterweight title shortly after Sugar Ray Robinson gave it up so Ray could challenge middleweight champ Jake LaMotta. Gavilan fought Robinson twice during Ray's peak and lost by close decision twice, once for the welterweight championship. Some referred
to Gavilan as Robinson without the devastating power. During his career Gavilan beat former or future champions Ike Williams, Carmen Basilio, Beau Jack, Johnny Bratton, and lost a highly controversial decision to Johnny Saxton for the welterweight title. Gavilan also beat fighters above welterweight such as Rocky Castellani, Tony Janiro,  Laurent Dauthuille, Eduardo Lausse, Tiger Jones, Chuck Davey,
Gasper Ortega, Chico Vejar and Ernie Durando. Gavilan is usually ranked among the top-10 greatest welterweights ever but missed the cut on the greatest fighter ever list.

Aaron Pryor (39-1) is without question one of the greatest fighters in history. That said, Pryor fought three (2-1) times as a welterweight and that was at the end of his career. Pryor is not in the conversation when it comes to naming the 10 greatest welterweight champions in history. As great as he was it's preposterous to include  him at 147 because his body of work there doesn't exist.

Lightweight: Floyd Mayweather is on, but Aaron Pryor is not?

As mentioned earlier it seems the criteria for the greatest fighter ever is more about being popular than it is about being a great fighter. With Floyd Mayweather's 39-0 inclusion it has the feel as if  the panel was trying to find a place for him. Mayweather has a terrific skill set, but he's not creative offensively and his punch variation is pretty vanilla. Yes, he's very good fundamentally and is hard to hit cleanly. Like Evander Holyfield was during his prime, he did nothing great but is outstanding at everything else. The difference being Holyfield moved up and fought better fighters and beat them. Mayweather's best wins at lightweight are over Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo. Corrales was undefeated but he's not on anybody's list of great lightweights, and in this author's opinion, Mayweather had to fight Castillo twice just to beat him once in the ring. The record book says he's 2-0 versus Castillo, but in my opinion he lost the first fight and knew it until after the decision was announced.

Aaron Pryor (39-1)  was a non-stop punching machine. Pryor threw punches from every angle and with legitimate knockout power in both hands. Pryor had incredible stamina and could take it to the head and body. For years he was avoided fighting as a lightweight. Finally after realizing he wasn't going to fight for the lightweight title, Pryor moved up and challenged defending champion Antonio Cervantes for the junior welterweight title in his 25th fight. Cervantes, who was only stopped once before fighting Pryor early in his career, was knocked out in the fourth round and lost the title to him. During Pryor's reign as junior welterweight champ he stopped the three division champ Alexis Arguello twice. In all Pryor made 10 successful defenses of the title, winning eight by stoppage. After taking a two year hiatus, Pryor came back fighting as a welterweight and lost for the only time in his career when he was stopped by Bobby Joe Young.

When ranking the 10 greatest lightweights of all-time, it's difficult  to find a spot for Pryor because it's one of the deepest divisions and it is littered with great fighters, but he probably needs to be included.

On the other hand Mayweather only makes the list if you're either a huge fan of his, which should not come into play, or if you're trying to drum up interest in the voting. Pryor definitely over Mayweather at lightweight.

Featherweight: Jeff Fenech is on, but Johnny Dundee isn't?

Johnny Dundee (90-31-19)  is best known for his speed of foot and ring movement and he was only stopped twice in 22 years fighting the best of the best. He was crafty and could punch from anywhere in the ring. Dundee was an exceptional counter-puncher and was also known for his toughness. During his time he beat the best featherweights of his time and a lot of lightweights. Dundee fought Benny Leonard, one of the greatest lightweights in history, nine times and he fought the murderous punching Lew Tendler three times. Nat Fleischer, the founder of Ring magazine, ranked Dundee among the top five greatest featherweight champions in history, and as recently as 2005 the  International Boxing Research Organization ranked him fifth.

Jeff Fenech (29-3-1)  was a crowd pleasing fighter who was aggressive and threw punches in bunches. However, he did his best work fighting as a bantamweight. He was outstanding but no way does his body of work and opposition faced at featherweight merit him being on any list making up the greatest featherweights in history.

Bantamweight: Orlando Canizales is on, but not Terry McGovern?

Terry McGovern (65-6-7) was a genuine life-taker as a puncher and was avoided by many fighters between bantamweight and lightweight during his era. McGovern was a swarmer with a stocky build and threw every punch trying to end the fight. McGovern held his hands high and used a lot of head and upper-body movement, making it hard for his opponents to catch him clean. He was a short armed puncher and known for his non-stop aggression. McGovern won thebantamweight title at the age of 19. McGovern would later capture the featherweight title from George Dixon, who held it for almost 10 years, making 23 successful title defenses. Prior to fighting McGovern, Dixon was never off his feet, however McGovern dropped him twice en-route to giving the older fighter a one-sided beating.

Orlando Canizales (50-5-1)  was another modern fighter who fought all comers in his division. Canizales was an exceptional boxer puncher with more than adequate power in both hands. He is worthy of  consideration on a list of great bantamweights, but not before a fighter like McGovern. To include Canizales and not McGovern shows a gap in knowledge or that the voting is based on popularity.

Flyweight: Vic Darchinyan is on, but Fidel LaBarba isn't?

Since Pancho Villa has been covered, I'll go to another glaring omission; Fidel LaBarba (70-15-6) is a fighter who should've made the cut among the top-10. At least above Vic Darchinyan. Although LaBarba wasn't a puncher, he was an aggressive boxer and his level of opposition like most fighters of the early 20th Century is unquestioned. He also ended Frankie Genaro's five year title reign; Genaro had ended Villa's reign as flyweight champ. The ballot would've been stronger with the inclusion of Villa and LaBarba.

Vic Darchinyan (32-1-1)  is an incredibly strong guy. Darchyinyan is a southpaw. He's very patient and methodical because, until Nonito Donaire knocked him out, he didn't believe anyone could hurt him. He holds his hands by his sides and just wings punches from any angle.He's very heavy handed, but not an unusually hard puncher. He's more concussive than sharp, but his punches add up. Darchinyan never gets
tired, and the pressure never stops. He's got no subtlety whatsoever. But he's definitely a dangerous guy. Since being knocked out (althoughhe'd never admit it), he's begun boxing more–holding his hands higher, blocking punches, and moving his head. His defense is still his offense, but (unlike most all aggressive fighters who get brutally knocked out) he's actually better and more dangerous now. Darchinyan is a good fighter in his own way, but to call him a “great” is an incredible over-reach.

Regarding the Greatest Fighter Ever Contest, my biggest issue and fault with it was a lot of the names that belonged among the 12/10 finalists were missing, and there were some names that made up the list that in my opinion no way belong. The debate as to who is “the” greatest in each division isn't etched in stone, however I think to narrow it down, you must have the correct names in the mix. I think the greatest fighter ever ballot should've been declared a popularity contest moreso than the greatest fighter ever.

As far as the greatest fighter ever in boxing history? That distinction can only go to one man, Sugar Ray Robinson aka Walker Smith Jr.  In my opinion the debate begins with, Who is number two?

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

Articles of 2009

UFC 108 Rashad Evans vs. Thiago Silva

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Former champion Rashad Evans meets Brazil’s venerable Thiago Silva in a non-title belt that can lead to a return match with the current champ, but first things first.

Evans (15-1-1) and Silva (14-1) meet in Ultimate Fighting Championship 108 in a light heavyweight bout on Saturday Jan. 2, at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. A win by either fighter could result in a world title bid. The fight card is being shown on pay-per-view television.

Events can change quickly in the Octagon and anybody can beat anybody in the 205-pound weight division. Just ask Silva or Evans.

Silva and Evans are both experienced and can vouch firsthand about the capriciousness of fighting in MMA and especially as a light heavyweight. On one day this man can beat that man and on another day, that man can beat this man. It can make you absolutely daffy.

Evans, 30, is the former UFC light heavyweight world champion who only defended his title on one occasion and lost by vicious knockout to current champion Lyoto Machida of Brazil. It’s the only defeat on his record.

Silva, 27, is a well-rounded MMA fighter from Sao Paolo, Brazil who is versed in jujitsu, Muy Thai and boxing. He can end a fight quickly in a choke hold just as easily as with a kick or a punch. His only loss came to who else: Machida.

Evans and Silva know a win can push open the door to a rematch with current UFC light heavyweight champion Machida.

“A win against Rashad would put me in the track against Lyoto,” said Silva, in a telephone conference call. “That's what – what I want to do.”

When Silva fought Machida the two Brazilians were both undefeated and feared in the MMA world. The fight took place in Las Vegas and with one second remaining in the first round a perfectly timed punch knocked Silva unconscious.

“I was humbled big time, man,” says Silva who fought Machida in January 2009. “I learned a lot from that fight.  I think I can correct the mistakes from that fight, not overlooking anything else right now, but just I want to get the chance to fight him again.”

For Evans it was a different circumstance. The upstate New Yorker held the UFC title and was defending it after stopping then champion Forrest Griffin by knockout. Still, many felt Machida was far too technically versed. Evans was stopped brutally in the second round.

“I've made it a point to not – to not get distracted on what I want to do, because you know Thiago (Silva) is a very hungry fighter,” said Evans who has not fought since losing the title to Machida last May. “My focus is just on Thiago so much.  You know I don't want to overlook him, you know, not even a little bit.”

Dana White, president of UFC, says the winner of this fight could conceivably fight Machida in the near future. Evans and especially Silva are motivated by the open window.

“I learned a lot from that fight. I think I can correct the mistakes from that fight,” says Silva. “Not overlooking anything else right now, but I just want to get the chance to fight him again.”

What a prize. The winner gets to face the man who beat him: Machida.

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Articles of 2009

A Very Special New Year's Day Column

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It has been just over four months since Nick Charles, the play-by-play announcer for Shobox: The New Generation, was diagnosed with stage IV bladder cancer and forced to take a medical hiatus from the monthly show that has aired since 2001.

Since then he has undergone grueling chemotherapy treatments that have resulted in him losing all of his hair as he forces himself to live as normal of a life as possible. Through sheer force of will, as well as the strength and support that he receives from his wonderfully loving family and his strong Christian faith, the 63-year-old Charles has managed to keep his weight up while not falling prey to the always lingering threats of depression, cynicism and negativity.

If one was unaware that he was battling such an insidious disease, you’d never know from talking on the phone to him that he has been to hell and back. He has lost none of the inspiring energy that has endeared him to members of the boxing community and legions of worldwide viewers.

“I’m doing great,” Charles said during a telephone conversation on December 30th. “I’ve been off the chemo for a month, and the doctors have told me that I’m 80 percent in remission. I’m going to see them again in three months. It may come back, but if it takes one year, or two years, or however long, I’m going to make the most of the good time.”

As physically and emotionally wrenching as the grim diagnosis and subsequent treatment has been, even for someone as perpetually positive as Charles, the longtime announcer said a lot of good things have come from it.

Having been married three times, Charles is the father of four children: Jason, 38, Melissa, 34, Charlotte, 22, and Giovanna, 3 ½.

While Charles is not big on regrets, he is the first to admit that he wasn’t always there for his older children. For many years he traveled the world as a CNN correspondent, often putting the demands of his career above all else, including those closest to him. Nowhere was the strain more evident than in his relationship with Melissa.

Having been divorced from Melissa’s mother since 1977, Charles said his relationship with that daughter has been especially “hot and cold, all of our lives.”

His illness has enabled them to forge a relationship that has been “based on a massive amount of forgiveness and understanding.”

“This has had a tremendous healing effect on both of us,” said Charles. “My illness has had a fortifying effect on a lot of things, the most important of which is my relationships with my family.”

That also includes his first wife, with whom he has had an often acrimonious relationship over the past three decades.

“It took a long time for the scab to become a scar, but we had lunch one day and it was so great to once again see the gentle, soft sides of each other,” he explained. “The whole divorce process creates a hardness that doesn’t always go away.”

Charles is also the grandfather to three children, some of whom are about the same age as his youngest daughter. He jokes that he has a “nuclear 21st century family” because of the similar ages of two generations of children. One of the hardest things for him has been the realization that he can’t always play with them in manner in which he would like.

“The hemoglobin is the fuel in your tank, so when it’s low you can’t will yourself to do things no matter how much you want to,” said Charles. “You can’t just sleep it off or work through it. I don’t want the kids to wonder why I can’t play in the backyard with them, or kick a soccer ball, or throw them in the air.”

Particularly difficult is when Giovanna reminds her father of how handsome he is, but then innocently asks him what happened to his hair, eyebrows and lashes.

“You try to keep things on a need to know basis, which is not easy when dealing with curious kids,” said Charles.

While Charles might look like the kind of guy that things have often come easy to, the reality is that his beginnings were far from auspicious. But, he says, his often challenging Chicago childhood blessed him with the steely resolve that has helped him so much during the arduous journey he is now on.

“I had it pretty rough growing up,” he explained. “I remember the lights and the heat being shut off and eating mustard sandwiches. I went to work at 13 and always had insecurities about the future. But I always expected and saw the best in people, so when I got sick, never once did I say 'Why me?”

Since taking a leave of absence from Shobox, the outpouring of support from the boxing community has warmed Charles’s heart. For a guy that is battling for his life, he actually considers himself fortunate to be surrounded by so much goodness in both his personal and professional lives.

“I always hear that boxing people are ruthless, but I couldn’t disagree more,” said Charles. “I’ve probably received about 1,000 e-mails, and people are always following in sending their best wishes. From the relatively unknown people in boxing to many of the more famous people, there has been an outpouring of true affection.”

Charles said that the Top Rank organization has been exceedingly kind and gracious. He was touched beyond description when he learned that officials in Oklahoma got special permission to have a seamstress sew “Keep Fighting Nick” onto their sleeves. He chokes up when talking about cut man Stitch Duran giving up an endorsement opportunity so he could put Charles’s name on his outfit. He never tires of hearing shout-outs from fighters on television.

Charles has always been a people person with an inordinate faith in the goodness of his fellow man. Battling this illness has only made his already strong faith in humanity even stronger.

“Adversity is a great teacher, and it really teaches you who your genuine friends are,” said Charles. “I have a lot of friends.”

He also has a remarkable wife, Cory, a CNN producer to whom he has been married for 11 years. She is the daughter of an electrician, a self-made woman who exudes all of the warmth of her native Brooklyn. She has reinforced her husband’s spiritual base by her love, optimism and strength of character.

“If I get down, she reminds me to not get too caught up,” said Charles. “I believe in eternity, and that has put me pretty much at peace.”

More than anything else, Charles wants to get himself back behind a microphone sooner rather than later, and hopefully on Shobox. He is the first to admit that viewers “don’t watch the series to see Nick Charles,” but he is proud of the fact that he was “part of the identity” of such a popular show.

“And people love comeback stories,” added Charles. “That’s the message I’m getting from the people out there.”

In boxing the word “champion” is often overused because it pertains only to winning belts and receiving worldwide recognition for being the best at your craft. The reality is that life’s real champions have other qualities, such as the innate ability to treat people well and always make them feel better about themselves, especially when the recipients of the goodwill are in no position to give them anything back.

By that standard of measure, Charles is as much, if not more of a champion than all of the boxers he has covered during the nine years that Shobox has been on the air.

I know I speak for scores of others when I say, “Happy New Year, Champ. We hope that you are the comeback story of the year in 2010.”

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Articles of 2009

No One Is Leaving This Stage Of Negotiations Looking GOLDEN

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Early in his political career, the young Lyndon Baines Johnson served as a congressional aide to Rep. Richard Kleberg, the wealthy owner of the King Ranch who was elected to seven consecutive terms in the House of Representatives, at least in part because he often ran unopposed.

One year an upstart rival politician we'll call Joe Bob had the temerity to challenge Kleberg in the Democratic primary, resulting in the convocation of the Texas congressman's staff to plot an election strategy. Several ideas were kicked around before Kleberg himself came up with a brainstorm.

“Why don't we start a rumor that he [copulates with] sheep?” proposed the politician.

This was a bit over the top, even for Lyndon Johnson. The future president leapt to his feet and said, incredulously, “But you know Joe Bob don't [copulate with] sheep!”

“Yeah,” replied the congressman, “but watch what happens when the son of a bitch has to stand up and deny it!”

******

Events of the past week or two have seen the Floyd Mayweather camp adopt a similar tactic with regard to Manny Pacquiao.  But if introducing what would appear to be a red-herring issue — the debate over drug-testing procedures — to the negotiating process was intended as a negotiating ploy, it would appear for the moment to have backfired.  The idea might have been to force Pacquiao to go on the defensive, but Pac-Man instead responded with his stock in trade, the counterpunch — in this case the multi-million dollar defamation suit he filed against the Mayweathers, pere et fils,, with the U.S. District Court in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

In boxing even more than in life, you never say never, but you'd have to say that Pacquiao-Mayweather is a dead issue right now, at least in its March 13 incarnation. Bob Arum says Pacquiao is prepared to move along to another opponent, and Mayweather is supposedly looking at Matthew Hatton in England.

We'll believe that when we see it, for at least three reasons: (1) There would hardly seem to be enough money in that one to make it worth Floyd's time, (2) He's going to have to put so much into preparing a defense to this lawsuit that he mightn't have time to train and (3) He'd get a better workout if he stayed in Vegas and boxed one of Uncle Roger's girl opponents.

*****

Colleagues on this site have already done a good job of dissecting this process. Ron Borges is absolutely correct in noting that in the midst of all the posturing that's gone on, you'd be a fool to accept at face value anything coming out of any of the parties' mouths. And Frank Lotierzo is spot on in noting that if you had absolutely no desire to actually get in the ring with Manny Pacquiao but were still looking to save face, you'd do pretty much exactly what Mayweather has done. Which is to say, talk tough while you get others to run interference with a series of actions seemingly calculated to ensure that the fight doesn't come off.

But left almost unscathed in all of this heretofore has been the convoluted role played by Golden Boy — by CEO Richard Schaefer, by the company's namesake Oscar the Blogger, GBP's subsidiary enterprise, The Ring, and at least a few of the lap-dogs and lackeys whose favor GPB has cultivated elsewhere in the media.

In late March of 2008, Shane Mosley and Zab Judah appeared at a New York press conference to announce a fight between them in Las Vegas two months later. As it happened, the BALCO trial had gotten underway out in California that week. That day I sat with Judah and his attorney Richard Shinefield as they explained that they intended to ask that both boxers agree to blood testing in the runup to the fight. Citing Mosley's history with BALCO and its products The Cream and The Clear (which Shane claimed Victor Conte had slipped him when he wasn't looking), Shinefield and Zab, noting that Nevada drug tests were limited to urinalysis, proposed that the supplementary tests be administered by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Want to know what Richard Schaefer's response to that was?

“Whatever tests [the NSAC] wants them to take, we will submit to, but we are not going to do other tests than the Nevada commission requires,” said Schaefer. “The fact is, Shane is not a cheater and he does not need to be treated like one.”

But the fact is that Mosley had a confirmed history as a cheater. Manny Pacquiao does not. Yet in the absence of a scintilla of evidence or probable cause, less than two years later Schaefer was howling that the very integrity of the sport would be at risk unless Pacquiao submitted to precisely the same sort of testing he had rejected for Mosley.

And you thought it was Arum who was famous for saying “Yeah, but yesterday I was lying. Today I'm telling the truth!”

Schaefer, by the way, defended his 180-degree turnabout by saying he is now better educated on the issue. He couldn't resist aiming a harpoon at the media by adding that many sportswriters “don't know the difference between blood and urine testing.”

Don't know how to break this to you, Richard, but sportswriters, who have had to deal with this stuff for the past twenty years, probably know more about drug-testing procedures than any other group you could name.

*****

Now, the reasonable assumption would be that by assuming the role of the point man in this unseemly mess, Schaefer was insulating his boss (De La Hoya) and his fighter (PBF) by keeping their fingerprints off it while he made a fool of himself publicly conducting this snide little campaign.  

And yes, Money would have stayed out of the line of fire had not a two-month old, expletive-filled rant in which he described the Philippines as the world's foremost producer of performance-enhancing drugs not exploded on the internet at the most inopportune moment. That the lawsuit was filed less than 24 hours after “Floyd Meets the Rugged Man” overtook the Tiger Watch probably wasn't a coincidence.

And we're assuming that this Dan Petrocelli, the lawyer who filed Pacquiao's suit, knows what he's doing, because if there were an even one-zillionth chance that somebody could credibly link Manny to PEDs, then it was a pretty dumb thing to do. You could ask Roger Clemens about that.  Clemens' transformation from Hall of Famer-in-waiting to nationwide laughingstock didn't come from the Mitchell Report. It came from his wrongheaded decision to file a lawsuit against Brian McNamee, which in turn threw everything open to the discovery process.

*****

De La Hoya, in the meantime, was playing both sides of the fence. He let Schaefer play Bad Cop as he distanced himself from the negotiating process, but simultaneously was sniping away at Pacquiao from his First Amendment-protected perch as a Ring.com blogger.

“If Pacquiao, the toughest guy on the planet, is afraid of needles and having a few tablespoons of blood drawn from his system, then something is wrong…  I'm just saying that now people have to wonder: 'Why doesn't he want to do this?' Why is [blood testing] such a big deal?' wrote Oscar the Blogger. “A lot of eyebrows have been raised. And this is not good.”

Ask yourself this: Exactly what caused those eyebrows to be raised, other than the innuendo coming straight from Oscar's company?

Providing De La Hoya with a forum from which to dispense propaganda  only begins to illustrate the hopelessly compromised position from which The Ring continues to operate. They might as well give Schaefer a column, too, while they're at it.

Nearly seven months have elapsed since we last visited the Ring/Golden Boy relationship, and at the risk of winding Nigel up, it might be useful here to note that in the midst of last June's discourse, The Ring's editor offered a laundry list of the magazine's covers since the De La Hoya takeover as a demonstration of Golden Boy's restraint.

After listing them, Nigel Collins wrote “that's 28 covers over the course of 21 issues, of which Top Rank had 12 fighters, as opposed to eight for Golden Boy and eight for other promotional entities. Obviously, The Ring has shown no bias to Golden Boy when it comes to magazine covers.”

It had never even been suggested that the conflict of interest extended to the magazine playing favorites in choosing its cover subjects, but since Nigel brought it up it is probably worth noting now that of those eight covers given over to “other promotional entities,” two were of David Haye, whose promoter was properly listed as “Hayemaker,” but who had also signed a promotional deal with Golden Boy in May of 2008. (Just last month GBP issued a release in De La Hoya's name in which it described itself as “Golden Boy Promotions, the United States promoter of World Boxing Association Heavyweight World Champion David Haye.”)

And even more to the point, in four other issues Nigel Collins offered in evidence the cover subject was Floyd Mayweather (Independent), although what has transpired with regard to the Pacquiao fight doesn't make Money look very independent at all, does it?

We don't regularly keep track of these things, but in making sure we didn't misquote  Oscar's Blog we also came across a representation of the January 2010 issue on The Ring's website.  The picture on the cover of the Bible of Boxing is of the Golden Boy himself, and the cover story “De La Hoya: The Retirement Interview.”

Wow! Now there's a hot topic for crusading journalists.

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