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Articles of 2009

George Foreman: What Was, What Could've Been, Nothing Short Of Mind Boggling-Part Two

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In Part One the three signature achievements of George Foreman's career here examined. In Part 2, a case is made that had Foreman won the biggest fight of his career, he possibly could've reigned as heavyweight champion for 10-15 years and gone down in history as the greatest heavyweight champ of all-time. It's conjecture but entirely plausible.

Could've Been The Greatest?

In what was the highest-profile and signature fight of his career, George Foreman defended his undisputed heavyweight title against Muhammad Ali in “The Rumble in The Jungle.” This time instead of being a 3-1 underdog as he was when he took the title from Joe Frazier as the challenger, he was a 3-1 favorite as the defending champion. In the almost 35 years since “The Rumble In The Jungle,” many things about the fight have been overlooked and misstated, starting with the ring size. The Foreman-Ali bout was contested in an 18 foot ring, not the 20 foot one that's been reported. When Foreman was cut over his right eye by sparring partner Bill McMurray, eight days before the fight date of September 25th 1974, the prevailing thought was the delay would be a major blow to the 32 year-old Ali. Since mid June of 1974 everything Ali did was centered on him peaking September 25th. The cut pushed the fight back to October 30th and was thought to be beneficial to the champion.

Foreman's power more than compensated for his lack of boxing basics. His success hid the fact that his trainer, Dick Saddler, was really just a regional trainer based in Oakland, California. The only other world class fighters Saddler worked with other than Foreman were the declining Sonny Liston during the last couple years of his career, and 1960s welterweight contender Charlie Shipes. Foreman may have bonded with his trainer but, Saddler wasn't Whitey Bimstein or Ray Arcel like some painted him as being at the time.

Saddler dehydrated Foreman before fights and cut many corners as he brought him along. Saddler was convinced no fighter could stand up to George's punch and often said so. His philosophy training Foreman was rudimentary, consisting of running and chopping wood in the morning and beating on the heavy bag and his sparring partners in the afternoon. No doubt this appeased Foreman and made him feel indestructible. Foreman was intoxicated by his power and after he destroyed Frazier he abandoned his jab and looked exclusively for the early knockout as champion.

In defense of Dick Saddler, he understood how important it was for George to take away Ali's room to move and box by cutting off the ring against him like Joe Frazier did in their previous two bouts. Foreman cut off the ring brilliantly the night he fought Ali. Which brings up another fallacy pertaining to Ali surrounding this bout, the “Rope-A-Dope.” This strategy saw Ali rest against the ropes allowing Foreman to work his body, with the intent of Foreman tiring and punching himself out. Later in the bout Ali came on to seize the fight versus Foreman who was spent physically. The fact is, Ali's “Rope-A-Dope” tactic was forced on him out of necessity. He had no other choice. It wasn't a Plan-B strategy that he carried to the ring with him in the back of his mind or thought about while his hands were being wrapped before the fight.

From the second round on, Ali didn't use his legs to move away and circle Foreman. The fact is Foreman took two/three steps to the right or left and blocked Ali's escape route and prevented him from boxing. Foreman was too strong and punched too hard for Ali to engage with. There were a few things that saved Ali in that fight. His quick hands and his capacity to take a punch to the head and body were as good or better than any heavyweight champ in history. Also, Ali may have taken some hellacious shots to the body, but Foreman didn't connect to his head or chin repeatedly.  Muhammad Ali may have out-boxed Sonny Liston, but he didn't George Foreman. He out-toughed him.

What if Ali's durability and ruggedness were slightly less than what it turned out to be? Had that been the case Foreman would've made his third successful title defense and would've left the city of Zaire the same way he arrived, as the undefeated and undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. The reality is Foreman was just too strong to box. The fighter who stopped Foreman in the eighth round to take his title had size and speed, along with being a physical specimen with great stamina and strength capped with a granite chin and a will to win that bordered on being unhealthy.

After losing his title to Muhammad Ali, Foreman didn't fight for 15 months and was never the same fighter. When he came back he met Ron Lyle in his first bout and had replaced Dick Saddler with Gil Clancy as his trainer. Clancy changed his style with the result being a more measured Foreman in the ring, something that made Foreman less effective and just reinforced the seed of doubt planted in his mind by Ali in Zaire regarding his stamina.

Foreman scored five straight knockouts with Clancy in his corner. In his sixth bout he traveled to Puerto Rico as the number one challenger to fight third-ranked Jimmy Young. Young benefited greatly by getting to Puerto Rico 10 days before the fight and gave his body time to get acclimated to the mid March climate. Foreman showed up the day before the fight and his body had no time to adjust to the hot temperature and climate.

With the Young bout being his first in an outdoor stadium since losing to Ali, Foreman was over-cautious and sleep-walked for the first six rounds. In the seventh he caught Young with a massive left hook that knocked him across the ring and out of range preventing Foreman to follow up with a finishing punch. Young showed tremendous heart and reserve surviving the round. Foreman started to tire in the eighth as Young picked his spots and scored. In the 12th round Foreman was spent and went down to a knee from a few Young taps and exhaustion. Young won a unanimous decision and Foreman retired and didn't fight for 10 years.

It's plausible that if George Foreman stopped Muhammad Ali in the eighth round instead of the reverse, he would be considered the greatest heavyweight champion of all-time and may have produced the longest title reign in boxing history. Having stoppage wins over Frazier when he was undefeated, along with Ali at a point in his career where he'd never met a fighter he couldn't beat nor was he ever stopped before, would out-rank any two wins posted by any other all-time great heavyweight champ or legend. Johnson, Dempsey, Louis, Marciano, Liston, Ali, Frazier, Holmes, Holyfield, Tyson nor Lewis have two wins, let alone stoppage wins versus two opponents close to Ali and Frazier on their record.

Having dispatched Frazier, Norton and Ali by the end of 1974, who was around or on the horizon to dethrone Foreman? Ron Lyle earned a shot at the title versus Ali in 1975 and was stopped by Foreman in January 1976, so forget him ending it for Foreman. In fact the Foreman who fought Lyle may have been the least prepared version of George we ever saw both mentally and physically. He was coming off his first defeat and a 15-month layoff and it was his first fight under new trainer Gil Clancy who completely changed his style. By the end of 1975 Larry Holmes was best known for working as a sparring partner for both Ali and Frazier. During that time Don King was being careful bringing him along. He was confident Holmes could beat all the heavyweights circa 1975-76 that nobody cared about, but the fighters that could bring attention to him were too risky to fight. In 1976 Larry Holmes (19-0) was ranked among Ring Magazine's top-10 ranked heavyweights for the first time at number six.

If Foreman hadn't lost to Ali, he wouldn't have lost to Jimmy Young. I can't envision Young beating Foreman who hadn't tasted defeat or didn't harbor any self doubt. In 1976, the two most likely opponents who would be in line to fight Foreman for the title were fourth ranked Duane Bobick (38-0) and sixth ranked Larry Holmes (19-0). Foreman would've been a huge favorite to knock out Bobick. Meaning, he would've then faced Holmes who wasn't close to the fighter he became two years later when he beat Ken Norton for the title. Now, the other side of the coin–Foreman easily may have been even better than he was in 1974.

Translation, Foreman knocks out Holmes early in a devastating fashion, maybe even preventing the Holmes era from ever being realized. Who knows, maybe even the Tyson and Holyfield title reigns never get started either. Holyfield had his hands full with Foreman coming off a ten year retirement. Mike Tyson had more than a few chances to fight Foreman circa 1990-91 and looked the other way. Again, how long Foreman could've held the title had he defeated Muhammad Ali in Zaire is speculation. What's not speculation is Foreman lost the title in 1974 and won it back 20 years later in 1994 after a 10-year retirement. It's not a reach envisioning Foreman holding the title from 1973-94 had he never left the ring. His biggest challenge would've been boredom and overconfidence, more so than any heavyweight fighter that came along between 1976 and 1994.

In the ring George Foreman had one weapon as a fighter, an overload of strength and punching power. In just his 14th month fighting as a pro, he stopped George Chuvalo who'd only been stopped twice in 93 fights. He was the first fighter to defeat Joe Frazier (29-0) and did it twice. He's also responsible for putting Frazier down 8 of the 11 times Joe was down in his career. Before fighting Foreman, Ron Lyle had only been dropped by Earnie Shavers, thought by some to be the hardest puncher in heavyweight history; Foreman did it twice and knocked him out. Scott LeDoux's only stoppage defeat before taking on Foreman was due to a badly cut eye. George was the first to really stop him and half killed him in the process. Dino Dennis (28-0-1) was undefeated until he was stopped by Foreman. In his title winning effort at 45, Michael Moorer was undefeated (35-0) until Foreman knocked him out with one short right hand to the chin.

Prior to fighting Ali, former greats Joe Louis, Jack Dempsey and Archie Moore emphatically stated in boxing publications and during interviews that George Foreman was the hardest hitting fighter in boxing history. None of the old great fighters or writers gave Ali a chance to beat Foreman, who was viewed as being a genuine life-taker going into their fight. They were confident Foreman would do what Sonny Liston was too old to do and Joe Frazier was too short and small to do, that was squash the Butterfly. Foreman at 25 had youth, size, strength and a punch that they couldn't envision Ali being able to take or survive, at least for more than a round or two. After the fight they were boxed into a corner by their statements.

Had Foreman destroyed Ali like they predicted, they would've been more than happy heaping Foreman with all due praise while admonishing Ali as nothing more than being self hype. The thought that Ali could win just didn't exist. The reason Ali is accepted as the greatest or at least one of them today by old school boxing observers is because he convincingly beat George Foreman. After professing that Foreman was the hardest hitting heavyweight of all time, they couldn't say he wasn't all that after the fight. So instead of coming off like a bunch of hypocrites, they took the high road and accepted that Ali proved he really was a great fighter and had won them over.

In the aftermath of “The Rumble In The Jungle,” it's been often said that Foreman was vulnerable to a good boxer, citing his bouts versus Ali and Jimmy Young. What's missed is, Ali didn't out-box Foreman and Young didn't fight the real Foreman. Just because Ali pulled a rabbit out of his hat against Foreman, I wouldn't bet or say with impunity that Jack Johnson, Gene Tunney, Ezzard Charles or Larry Holmes could've done the same.

Muhammad Ali is a legend today because he beat George Foreman, which has wrongly led many boxing observers and aficionados to dismiss and overlook Foreman's herculean career accomplishments and trifecta. No, Foreman didn't match up with Ali, but if Ali is the greatest due to his upset of Foreman, George can't rank too far behind the GOAT.

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

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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Articles of 2009

Paul Malignaggi Explains Why He Thinks Manny Has Used PEDs

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In theory and in practice I am vehemently opposed to people tossing out unfounded allegations against someone. Supply evidence, then we can talk. But saying someone is using steroids, or EPO, or HGH, based on a theory, or your gut instinct….I have to consider, what if the allegation were thrown at me, and I was 100% innocent. I'd be mightily irked. And so too would you be.

Manny Pacquaio has been hammered from all sides with folks insinuating and coming right out with the contention that they think he's been cheating, that he's been using illegal performance enhancers to give him an edge in competition. Floyd Mayweather Sr, Paulie Malignaggi, Miguel Cotto and Kermit Cintron have either accused Manny, or insinuated that he's been using PEDs. One has to wonder, where's all this smoke coming from? Is it possible that there's fire lurking? That these folks aren't just lobbing unfounded barbs at Manny, that their allegations and hints aren't just sour grapes, or posturing, or a ploy to lure Manny into a fight?

By and large, there hasn't been much in the way of coverage from the standpoint of: what if Manny is using PEDs, or was using PEDs? I think that is rightly so; I'd be more comfortable if none of us trafficked in the innuendo and speculation, and worked within the realm of evidence, and facts. But it's out there, and a topic of conversation and speculation. Perhaps it's a symptom and sign of the times we live in…

TSS reached out to Malignaggi, just off a solid win in his Dec. 12 rematch with Juan Diaz. The Brooklyn-based pugilist has never been shy about speaking his peace (I picture him exiting his mom's womb and barking at the labor and delivery crew to get the room cleaned up, stat!), and he shared with TSS what he bases his allegations, which he's careful to label opinion, upon.

First off, Malignaggi is of the belief that if the Pacquiao-Mayweather negotiations are at a fatal impasse, Yuri Foreman, and not he, will get the coveted date with Pacquiao. Malignaggi has been mentioned as stand-in for Mayweather.

He started off by insisting that ” I have nothing against Pacquiao” but then went from mellow to madman in a 30 second span.

First off, the boxer wonders why Team Pacquiao isn't going after big-time newspapers, with deep pocketed owners, for libel, for insinuating that Pacquiao is drug cheat.

“If Pacquiao's so sue happy, why not sue the New York Daily News?” he asked. “Maybe they know the steroid allegations are true.”

By and large, Malignaggi thinks it is impossible, utterly impossible, for a boxer to put on 15 or more pounds between March 15, 2008, when he fought Juan Manuel Marquez and weighed 129 pounds at the weigh in, and Nov. 14, 2009 when he fought Miguel Cotto and was 144 pounds at the weigh in, and more on fight night.

“It's not natural looking,” Malignaggi said. But, I countered, what if Manny's supremely blessed, that unlike some other fighters who go up in weight, and look a bit bloated, and lack definition, he's just a special creature?

“He's not supremely blessed,” Maliganngi said. “I know body builders. They can't put on 17 or whatever pounds of muscle in a year. It's not doable, in my opinion. These are my speculations, my opinions based on certain factual evidence. Does his weight gain look normal to you? And his head looks like it has blown up in size, too.”

I offered to Malignaggi that perhaps we should be attacking the system, if we believe it to be lacking, rather than the individual.

“We can blame the system a little bit, but if you were Manny, wouldn't you want to leave no doubt? Or speculation?” said Maliganngi, who believes that by not agreeing to the terms set forth by Team Mayweather, and opposing a blood test within 30 days of the bout, Pacquaio appears guilty.

Pacquiao has agreed to take 3 blood tests: the first during the week of the kickoff news conference in early January, the second random test to be conducted no later than 30 days before the fight, and a final test after the bout. A video making the rounds from the HBO 24/7 series shows Pacquiao submitting to a blood test two or three weeks before he was due to fight Ricky Hatton, and that has cast doubt on Team Pacquiao's stance that Manny is disinclined to get a blood test too close to a bout, for fear he may be weakened. Originally, it was reported in error that that test was taken 14 days before the Hatton bout, but subsequent reports pegged the test as being taken 24 days before the scrap. Malignaggi feels Pacquiao has been caught lying, that the report from Team Pacquiao that he “has difficulty taking blood” is a cover story. “Why is he effing lying?” Malignaggi said, heatedly.

The New Yorker doesn't believe too many fighters in the lighter weight classes are using PEDs, but thinks usage isn't uncommon in the heavyweight division. “That's hard to do and make weight,” he said.

The question is asked of Malignaggi: why does the issue make him so steamed?

“I don't like cheaters,” he said. “This is not baseball. You're not just hitting home runs. You have to worry about peoples' lives. Miguel Cotto in my opinion has been beaten by two cheaters. Manny if he's cheating is taking away from guys who are doing things the right way. His team is reneging on their words.”

And what if you're wrong, Malignaggi? What if Manny is clean, and you are hurting his rep with these allegations?

“I bet everything I own that I'm not,” he said. “But we'll never find out. Hey, I would take the test in a heartbeat. I would want people to know I'm clean. He wants to leave doubts!?? His entire legacy is being questioned, he's willing to hurt his legacy and leave $40 million on the table?”

Maliganngi, after reminding TSS that he was correct in predicting he'd be gamed by judges in the first fight with Diaz, insisted that he isn't singling out Pacquiao for a personal vendetta. “”I've never had anything against him. But that's enough now. I call it like I see it.”

What about those who'd say he's just trying to anger Pacquiao, to lure him into a fight?

“No. I expected he'd take the random tests to get this fight. No way I thought he'd throw away everything. That blew me away. It was cool to have my name mentioned.”

Malignaggi thinks the boxing media has dropped the ball, and not exercised due diligence in examining the possibility that Manny has used PEDs.

“I understand most people like Manny, and not Floyd. Just cause that's the case doesn't mean Manny might not be cheating. It's nothing to do with him personally. But I call a spade a spade. Too many people avoid the possibilities because Manny's a likable person. He's got that front, his country loves him. That front works like crazy. Floyd plays the bad guy, but he's natural. Just don't downplay the fact that Manny might be cheating. You have to open your eyes and at least be willing to look at it. This is bigger than me. The fact that the fight is not being made, you have to question the integrity of Pacquiao.”

Malignaggi then offered an analogy to the Manny-refusing-to-be-subjected-to multiple-random-drug-tests prior-to-a-fight-with-Mayweather deal. “It reminds me of the drunk guy who's pulled over at 3 AM. He has a field sobriety test, the cop knows he's drunk, he looks and acts drunk. But he refuses a breathalyzer test. That don't mean the cop don't haul him to the police station.”

I reiterate…I don't think anyone should be casting aspersions based on circumstantial evidence. But with so many people ganging up on Manny, I think fight fans are owed some details on why people are accusing Pacman of using PEDs.

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