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Articles of 2009

Cheer Up Ross, Dan's A Fan

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It’s easy to tell someone how to do their job, and it’s easy to play Monday-morning quarterback.  Hindsight vision is, after all, 20-20.  But what isn’t easy is to run a network that serves as the largest forum for an ever-changing sport – all while no one is thanking you for your services.

Over the past few years, there has been copious criticism of HBO – world-class boxing’s home since the late 70s – and its executives for hurting the sweet science through poor matchups and unwise budget spending.  Fans and pundits alike continue to complain about HBO’s boxing program, and lower ratings indicate that some fight fans are going as far as cancelling their subscription to the network.

“HBO’s boxing program is crap,” said one Internet blogger in October.  “Serve people crap and they’ll find other things to eat.”

In terms of numbers, 2008 was an up-and-down year for HBO’s boxing program.  Despite the low Nielsen ratings, many of which fell between 1 and 2, HBO’s pay-per-view station did manage to hype and sell the third biggest non-heavyweight pay-per-view fight in history this December when Oscar De La Hoya met Manny Pacquiao in a welterweight bout.  And that was during an economic crisis.

But in terms of the quality and quantity of HBO boxing programming, 2008 may have been the best year boxing’s seen since Mike Tyson’s glory days nearly twenty years ago.  Call me crazy, but as a die-hard boxing aficionado, I’m finding the “crap” HBO serves us to be quite delicious.

We live in a new, on-demand world where if one wants something – be it information, entertainment, or even a romantic partner – a click of the mouse is all that’s required to obtain it.  What impresses me most about HBO is how the network has kept up with the times.  No longer is HBO a place where fight junkies can get their boxing fix only through the occasional Saturday-night fight; the channel has warped into a multi-media powerhouse that delivers quality fight programming on a slew of forums.

HBO On Demand, which is available to HBO subscribers for a small monthly fee, features recent HBO fights, fighter profiles, past fights, fighters’ “greatest hits” (quick clips of the significant matches of a fighter’s career), and much more – all at the click of a button.

Much of what HBO features On Demand is on HBO’s YouTube channel, Youtube.com/HBO, which, needless to say, is free to even non-HBO subscribers.  The site features over 70 top-notch boxing videos, and the number grows by the month.  Videos range from the first episode of “De La Hoya-Pacquiao: 24/7” to actor Mario Lopez and De La Hoya talking about whether sex before a fight weakens legs.

2008 also saw HBO debut their new online series “Ring Life” which follows the lives of world-class and journeymen fighters in and out of the ring.  The heart-warming and inspirational tales of boxers like Edvan Barros, the 9-6-1 Brazilian who fights to support his sick mother thousands of miles south, remind fans of boxing’s essence.  And they’re free on HBO.com.

The aforementioned “24/7” series, which follows and spotlights fighters and their personal lives throughout training camps, is breathing new life back into pay-per-view fights.  The two-year-old show allows fans to see their favorite fighters spar, run, and most importantly talk about their opponents before mega showdowns.  Nothing gets me more fired up for a fight than seeing the combatants preparing for battle.

HBO’s upgrade into the 21st century has made me, along with countless other fight fans, love boxing more than ever.  So much of the sport stems from within the fighters’ personal battles, and seeing into those battles through HBO’s new programming brings fight nuts closer to the sport they love.

So why the hell is everyone complaining?

The current criticisms of HBO are unwarranted and, quite frankly, a bit whiny.

Recently, boxing scribe Thomas Hauser expressed his concerns about HBO and its methods of televising and promoting boxing.  He condemned everything from the fights the network televises to the promotional shows hyping them.

 “De La Hoya-Pacquiao: 24/7, while pretending to be sports journalism, was primarily an effort to engender pay-per-view buys and, secondarily, an exercise in image-building for Oscar coupled with a product placement tool for Ring sportswear,” said Hauser.  “The issue of De La Hoya trying to lure Pacquiao away from Top Rank and signing him with Golden Boy by giving him a briefcase filled with US$300,000 in cash and the ugly recriminations that followed were never discussed.”

While offering suggestions to improve boxing is something all fight scribes should do, disparaging “24/7” is unnecessary.  Boxing is a business that makes its money off of entertaining people.   Fans watching “24/7” aren’t concerned about sports journalism; they watch the show to get amped for fights.   Aaron Cohen, who writes the shows with beautiful, captivating prose, isn’t a journalist; he’s a wordsmith, and a damn good one. HBO televises the show to generate hype and buys, which subsequently raises boxing’s popularity.  And it works.  I brought two of my best friends from college to my house to watch “De La Hoya-Pacquiao:  24/7,” and despite the fact that neither had ever watched boxing before, both were anxious to watch the fight after seeing the countdown.  Had something as mundane as the promotional battle over Pacquiao been discussed, I can’t say my friends would have had the same excitement.

Hauser continued his bashing by criticizing the relationship between HBO and Golden Boy Promotions.

“It’s hard to shake the belief that HBO is tilting the playing field in Golden Boy’s favor to the detriment of other promoters,” he said.

Hauser quoted Top Rank President Todd DuBoef to corroborate his statement.  DuBoef called Golden Boy Promotions “stealers and poachers.”  Hauser also quoted Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum saying how he would change HBO’s boxing program if in charge of it.

“Right now, it’s idiotic,” Arum said of the network’s pay-per-view system.  

It’s hard to blame DuBoef and Arum for bashing boxing’s biggest network, especially considering Top Rank’s bleak future in comparison to their rivals at Golden Boy Promotions.  While Golden Boy continues to sign hot fighters like heavyweight David Haye and (less recently) light-welterweight star Ricky Hatton, Top Rank’s stable of stars is diminishing year after year.  Erik Morales retired in 2007; Jose Luis Castillo was blown away by Hatton in June of 2007; and superstar hopefuls Humberto Soto, Zahir Raheem, and Hasim Rahman have all been beaten or parted ways with Top Rank.  Golden Boy, run primarily by Richard Schaefer and De La Hoya, is young, new, and exciting.  Arum is 77 years old and not getting any younger.

Here’s a wakeup call to the boxing world:  Golden Boy Promotions is the strongest promoter of today and tomorrow.  They’re the ones with the best champions and prospects, and their collaboration with HBO will bring those world-class boxers to fans.  Instead of viewing HBO’s relationship with Golden Boy as a conspiracy, fans should view it as a partnership between two boxing superpowers.  Arum had the Versus network reserved for Top Rank fighters for more than enough time to prove the worth of his company, and the fights he put on were uncompetitive, insignificant, and boring.  I sure as hell would rather see Golden Boy fighters on HBO than suffer through Top Rank battles on boxing’s biggest network.

Further criticism towards HBO lies in the quality of fights it broadcasts, both on regular cable and pay-per-view.  Mismatches that feature prospects vs. no-hopers and mediocre fights being put on pay-per-view, fight critics say, are bringing boxing down.   While some of this denigration is indeed called for, the boxing world is a bit too harsh given the sport’s modern state.  Unlike five years ago, boxing doesn’t have a stable of stars and prospects to match against each other.  Marco Antonio Barrera, Jose Luis Castillo, Erik Morales, and several others are no longer worthy of significant HBO matches, and exciting upstarts like Rocky Juarez have run their course been replaced by less talented pugs like Chris Arreola.  Boxing’s depth is not the sport’s strong point.  HBO is working with limited resources.

The unfair criticism is again evinced in Hauser’s article.  In it, he asked:  “Did HBO really need Paul Williams vs. Verno Phillips paired with Chris Arreola vs. Travis Walker?”

The answer is an emphatic ‘yes.’  Williams is one of the sport’s brightest young stars.  But at 6’1 and with a extraordinary punch output, the world’s best 147 and 154 pounders want no part of him.  Phillips, though a limited opponent, was willing to take the challenge.  So should HBO not televise one of boxing’s best and most exciting fighters just because his opponent isn’t dynamic?  That would be unfair to the sport’s fans.  And Williams can’t wait around until someone like Miguel Cotto decides to fight him.  He has a family to feed, a living to make.  Regardless of who he is facing, I want to see him make that living.

Arreola, though flawed, is one of boxing’s hottest prospects, which, admittedly, isn’t saying much. But   he’s exciting, big, and heavy-hitting, meaning he’s a perfect fit to be on television.  Walker, a one-loss hard hitter who had beaten prospects Jason Estrada and Jorge Garcia, was a worthy opponent for a stepping-stone bout.  And the fight was actually exciting.

Granted, putting fights like Roy Jones Jr. vs. Felix Trinidad on pay-per-view is unfair to fans, but every sport has flaws, and if boxing’s biggest flaw means putting extra cash into the pocket of a soon-retiring ring legend, then $50 for a fight every now and then is okay by me.  And it’s not like HBO and Golden Boy aren’t making an effort; in 2008, they collaborated to bring us De La Hoya vs. Steve Forbes, Bernard Hopkins vs. Joe Calzaghe, and Ricky Hatton vs. Paulie Malignaggi for free.

In the past four months, boxing suffered two major programming setbacks.  Telefutura cut their “Solo Boxeo” series, and ESPN2 ridded “Wednesday Night Fights” of their airwaves.  The reduction in televised boxing will make HBO’s role within the sport even bigger.  My advice to the network:  market your multi-media features more, and continue to hype your fights.  Your online and On Demand programming are a fight fan’s dream, and your “24/7” series deserves all the praise in the world.  And hopefully, with more advertising, the boxing world will realize what a great job you’re actually doing.

Articles of 2009

UFC 108 Rashad Evans vs. Thiago Silva

David A. Avila

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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

George Kimball

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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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