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Feisty USA Boxing President John Brown Sees Better Times Ahead

Sometimes that perennial fixer-upper needs to have a wrecking ball taken to it to make way for a new and improved structure.

Bernard Fernandez



wrecking ball

Sometimes a fresh coat of paint and moving the same rickety furniture around isn’t enough. Sometimes that perennial fixer-upper needs to have a wrecking ball taken to it to make way for a new and improved structure. And if you’ve taken the lead assignment for an overdue rebuilding project, you either admit that the task figures to be lengthy and daunting or you don’t, parsing your words for fear of offending any of your predecessors.

Having coached more than 10,000 amateur boxers, including 19 national champions, during a 50-year labor of love, Kansas-based John Brown knew that the national governing body for the sport, USA Boxing, had become, well, a bit unsightly, as is the global overseer of Olympic boxing, AIBA (the International Boxing Association). Brown nonetheless consented to roll up his sleeves and put on a hard hat when he took over as president of USA Boxing in 2014. He figured the organization’s 43,000 members had been poorly served for too long and they just might need a blunt-speaking, butt-kicking maverick who called it as he saw it and wasn’t hesitant to make sweeping changes.

“Our new model at USA Boxing is going to be GSD (get stuff done) instead of just talking about it,” Brown, previously better known as the founder of Ringside, which manufactures boxing equipment, and the manager of now-deceased former WBO heavyweight champion Tommy Morrison, said upon being voted in as president in 2014. “I believe that transparency and reality keep our feet on the ground. We have  not been doing so well, but we are turning things around.”

Evidence of promised progress was provided during the 2017 USA Boxing Elite National Championships and Junior Open which ended its five-day run in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Dec. 9 Frozen Bouncy Castle with 42 national champions being crowned. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are still more than two years away, but Brown is optimistic that the United States will fare better than it did in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, when American boxers managed three medals (a silver for bantamweight Shakur Stevenson and a bronze for light flyweight Nico Hernandez on the men’s side, with middleweight Claressa Shields a repeat gold medalist on the women’s side). Three medals might seem a bit skimpy when compared to the seven (including three golds) amassed by Uzbekistan or the six (three golds) racked up by Cuba, but consider this: the U.S. men were completely blanked at the 2012 London Olympics for the first time ever.

“There’s a world ranking based on how you do in the Olympics and in the World Championships,” Brown said the day before the tournament in Utah drew to a close. “The USA is now No. 6 in the world. Now, that’s not pretty, but we used to be something like No. 20.

“I’m actually kind of amazed we did as well as we did in the last Olympics because we’re going against people from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Italy and some other countries that are heavily supported by their governments. Some of them are making $200,000 a year; some are going to be in their second or third Olympiad in Tokyo. They’re not kids. They’re 27, 28, 29, 30 years old. The average age of the boxers we sent to Rio was 19.1. And after any Olympics our boxers are gone (to the pros), so we have to start all over again.”

Thus has it always been for USA Boxing, in good times, not-so-good and downright bleak. Brown understands that certain realities aren’t apt to change. Even when the playing field wasn’t exactly level, youthful Americans used to dominate (see the celebrated 1976 and 1984 teams, the former scoring seven total medals, including five golds, in Montreal and the latter taking a record 11 medals, including nine golds, in Los Angeles). But mismanagement, corruption and apathy make for a toxic mix that has served to reduce the U.S. from king of the hill in international amateur boxing to something akin to also-ran status.

“We still have great athletes,” Brown said of the revival he believes is beginning to gain momentum. “We just haven’t had good systems to fully develop them at the elite level. I think we have that now. We have nutritionists, strength and conditioning people, sports scientists, psychologists. We have a beautiful new 40,000-square-foot facility at the Olympic training site in Colorado Springs with five rings, 25 heavy bags and big pictures of Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard on the walls for motivation.

“For whatever reason, we had gotten behind the rest of the world. Before, the world was chasing us. Over time, that role somehow was reversed. We were the ones doing the chasing.”

It’s in discussing USA Boxing’s past missteps and the egregious sins of AIBA, which have yet to be absolved and might never be to everyone’s satisfaction, that the feisty side of Brown is most apparent. Ineptitude angers him, but institutionalized and intentional malfeasance is quite another.

“AIBA is in complete chaos,” Brown said of the worldwide governing body for amateur boxing that scarcely bothers to conceal its most obvious blemishes. “There was more corruption unfolding than ever in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Dr. (Ching-Kuo) Wu (the president of AIBA from 2006 until November of this year) recently was forced to resign. There’s an interim president, somebody from Italy (Franco Falcinelli), and threats of lawsuits. Their finances are a mess. They owe at least $15 million to outside entities and maybe as much as $30 million. It’s a nightmare. We at USA Boxing just kind of act is if they’re not there.”

Reform for AIBA is theoretically possible, at least to whatever extent that an American, Tom Virgets, is able to manage. Employed by the U.S. Naval Academy, Virgets, a respected former president of USA Boxing, is, in Brown’s words, “pretty high up in AIBA” and “very involved in its rehabilitation and reorganization.”

But while Virgets tries to fight the good fight on that wider front, Brown can only be concerned with the ongoing makeover of USA Boxing, whose gradual decline he attributed to a succession of administrators who were “not really boxing people and not good businessmen.”

“It’s really been a neglected entity for about 20 years,” Brown said of an organization he believes has lacked a clear vision and in the recent past sort of muddled along in the expectation that things somehow would get better. “There’s been a parade of incompetent, moronic, non-boxing people making the decisions. Thankfully, we now have good boxing people making the calls.

“The change began about a year and a half ago. The key to any successful business is to run it like a business. We had to get the right people on the bus. I fired the previous executive director and I hired Mike Martino, a solid boxing guy. Mike gave good service for a year and a half before he moved on with his life, then I brought in a young guy who used to box for me (Mike McAfee) as our new executive director.  He knows his stuff. And I made sure we added luminaries like Al Valenti and Christy Halbert. Christy almost singlehandedly got female boxing into the Olympics a few years ago.”

Also holding positions of prominence are renowned international coach Billy Walsh, who came over from Ireland, and a former boxer at Notre Dame, Chris Cugliari, who together with Valenti and Halbert helped form the newly created USA Boxing Alumni Association, a notion that had been floated 30 years ago but never acted upon. Such former U.S. Olympians as Fernando Vargas, Paul Gonzales, Virgil Hill, Raul Marquez and Augie Sanchez were in Salt Lake City as representatives of the Alumni Association to celebrate not only what once was, but what, hopefully, will be again.

Like any good businessman – Brown founded Ringside in his basement, and built it into a thriving enterprise – the USA Boxing boss man knows that it takes money to make money. Although USA Boxing is not and never has been subsidized by any governmental agency, it is now on better terms with the United States Olympic Committee than it had been in some time. USOC funding for USA Boxing has increased 33 percent, which helps pay for the half-million dollars now being spent on youth camps for boxers ages 12 to 16, “because that’s where our future lies,” according to Brown.

For elite boxers, like 20-year-old Richard Torrez, the super heavyweight winner in Salt Lake City, there are now more reasons for remaining an amateur through the next Olympics than to grab pro money in the here and now. A prime example of those who cited economic hardship for passing on a chance for Olympic glory is Erickson Lubin. The gifted southpaw signed with the now-defunct Iron Mike Promotions upon turning 18 on Oct. 1, 2013, rather than hang around for Rio, where he likely would have been America’s best hope for a gold medal.

“The Lubin kid was desperate for money, as I understand it, and USA Boxing didn’t even try to help him,” Brown said. “He would have been a great potential medalist in Rio.

“Now take Richard Torrez, who just turned 18. He’s a Rocky Marciano/Mike Tyson type, very powerful, a future star. His father’s a coach. Al Valenti and I talk all the time about the need to develop stars, and this kid has a chance to become one on the Olympic stage. Richard is one of the elite boxers who is living now at the training camp in Colorado Springs, where they’re being groomed for the 2020 Olympics.  Our elite boxers can earn as much as $40,000 depending on the success they achieve. The USOC is starting to step up to the plate so that our top boxers can have the option of remaining amateurs through the Olympics.”

Are the changes already implemented or in the works going to be enough to return the United States to the Olympic prominence of yesteryear? Hard to say. During his one unhappy year as USA Boxing’s mostly ceremonial director of coaching in 2006, the late, great Emanuel Steward often felt like there were forces even he and other well-intentioned sorts simply could not overcome.

“I got out of it because there was too much bickering, too much chaos, too much dissension,” Manny lamented. “I couldn’t see where any progress was being made. I felt like I was just spinning my wheels.”

Brown also has felt that way at times, but now he is allowing himself the luxury of hope. The dream he has always held for amateur boxing in America never died, for a lot of people it simply took a very long nap.

“We have had a branding problem,” Brown admitted. “A lot of people don’t think boxing is a good activity for young people. It’s OK for parents to send their kids to martial arts schools and let them get kicked in the head, but some of those mommies would never allow them to go to a boxing gym. That’s a branding problem. We have to do a better job of informing our country as to what we actually do in the sport of boxing.  We take kids off the street and give them something positive to work toward. That hasn’t been promoted as well as it should.

“We’re trying to build from the top down, and from the bottom up. I think that Olympic dream is still alive for a lot of our kids. It’s amazing how the sport gets in your system and you can’t get rid of it. It’s always been that way for me.”

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The BWAA Shames Veteran Referee Laurence Cole and Two Nebraska Judges

Arne K. Lang



In an unprecedented development, the Boxing Writers Association of America has started a “watch list” to lift the curtain on ring officials who have “screwed up.” Veteran Texas referee Laurence Cole and Nebraska judges Mike Contreras and Jeff Sinnett have the unwelcome distinction of being the first “honorees.”

“Boxing is a sport where judges and referees are rarely held accountable for poor performances that unfairly change the course of a fighter’s career and, in some instances, endanger lives,” says the BWAA in a preamble to the new feature. Hence the watch list, which is designed to “call attention to ‘egregious’ errors in scoring by judges and unacceptable conduct by referees.”

Contreras and Sinnett, residents of Omaha, were singled out for their scorecards in the match between lightweights Thomas Mattice and Zhora Hamazaryan, an eight round contest staged at the WinnaVegas Casino in Sloan, Iowa on July 20. They both scored the fight 76-75 for Mattice, enabling the Ohio fighter to keep his undefeated record intact via a split decision.

Although Mattice vs. Hamazaryan was a supporting bout, it aired live on ShoBox. Analyst Steve Farhood, who was been with ShoBox since the inception of the series in 2001, called it one of the worst decisions he had ever seen. Lead announcer Barry Tompkins went further, calling it the worst decision he has seen in his 40 years of covering the sport.

Laurence Cole (pictured alongside his father) was singled out for his behavior as the third man in the ring for the fight between Regis Prograis and Juan Jose Velasco at the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans on July 14. The bout was televised live on ESPN.

In his rationale for calling out Cole, BWAA prexy Joseph Santoliquito leaned heavily on Thomas Hauser’s critique of Cole’s performance in The Sweet Science. “Velasco fought courageously and as well as he could,” noted Hauser. “But at the end of round seven he was a thoroughly beaten fighter.”

His chief second bullied him into coming out for another round. Forty-five seconds into round eight, after being knocked down for a third time, Velasco spit out his mouthpiece and indicated to Cole that he was finished. But Cole insisted that the match continue and then, after another knockdown that he ruled a slip, let it continue for another 35 seconds before Velasco’s corner mercifully threw in the towel.

Controversy has dogged Laurence Cole for well over a decade.

Cole was the third man in the ring for the Nov. 25, 2006 bout in Hildalgo, Texas, between Juan Manuel Marquez and Jimrex Jaca. In the fifth round, Marquez sustained a cut on his forehead from an accidental head butt. In round eight, another accidental head butt widened and deepened the gash. As Marquez was being examined by the ring doctor, Cole informed Marquez that he was ahead on the scorecards, volunteering this information while holding his hand over his HBO wireless mike. The inference was that Marquez was free to quit right then without tarnishing his record. (Marquez elected to continue and stopped Jaca in the next round.)

This was improper. For this indiscretion, Cole was prohibited from working a significant fight in Texas for the next six months.

More recently, Cole worked the 2014 fight between Vasyl Lomachenko and Orlando Salido at the San Antonio Alamodome. During the fight, Salido made a mockery of the Queensberry rules for which he received no point deductions and only one warning. Cole’s performance, said Matt McGrain, was “astonishingly bad,” an opinion echoed by many other boxing writers. And one could site numerous other incidents where Cole’s performance came under scrutiny.

Laurence Cole is the son of Richard “Dickie” Cole. The elder Cole, now 87 years old, served 21 years as head of the Texas Department of Combat Sports Regulation before stepping down on April 30, 2014. At various times during his tenure, Dickie Cole held high executive posts with the World Boxing Council and North American Boxing Federation. He was the first and only inductee into the inaugural class of the Texas Boxing Hall of Fame, an organization founded by El Paso promoter Lester Bedford in 2015.

From an administrative standpoint, boxing in Texas during the reign of Dickie Cole was frequently described in terms befitting a banana republic. Whenever there was a big fight in the Lone Star State, his son was the favorite to draw the coveted refereeing assignment.

Boxing is a sideline for Laurence Cole who runs an independent insurance agency in Dallas. By law in Texas (and in most other states), a boxing promoter must purchase insurance to cover medical costs in the event that one or more of the fighters on his show is seriously injured. Cole’s agency is purportedly in the top two nationally in writing these policies. Make of that what you will.

Complaints of ineptitude, says the WBAA, will be evaluated by a “rotating committee of select BWAA members and respected boxing experts.” In subsequent years, says the press release, the watch list will be published quarterly in the months of April, August, and December (must be the new math).

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In Boxing, the Last Weekend of July was Chock Full of Surprises

The first upset of last weekend occurred in an undercard bout on the big show at London’s O2 Arena. David Allen, a journeyman with a 13-4-2 record, knocked out previously undefeated

Arne K. Lang



The first upset of last weekend occurred in an undercard bout on the big show at London’s O2 Arena. David Allen, a journeyman with a 13-4-2 record, knocked out previously undefeated

The first upset of last weekend occurred in an undercard bout on the big show at London’s O2 Arena. David Allen, a journeyman with a 13-4-2 record, knocked out previously undefeated Nick Webb (12-0, 10 KOs) in the fourth round. Allen said that he intended this to be his final fight, but will now hang around awhile.

In hindsight, this was an omen. Before the show was over, upsets – albeit mild upsets – were registered in both featured bouts. Dereck Chisora, trailing on the scorecards, stopped Carlos Takam in the eighth. Dillian Whyte outpointed Joseph Parker. And later that same day, in Kissimmee, Florida, Japanese import Masayuki Ito made a big splash in his U.S. debut, beating up highly touted Christopher Diaz.

– – – –

Joseph Parker is quite the gentleman. Following his loss to Dillian Whyte, Parker was gracious in defeat: “I say congratulations to Dillian. I gave it my best. The better man won.”

In case you missed it, Whyte survived a hoary moment in the final round to win a unanimous decision. Most everyone agreed that the decision was fair but there were a few dissenters. Well known U.K. boxing pundit Steve Bunce said, “I thought Parker deserved a draw.” Bunce noted that the scribes sitting near him were in complete accord that the most lopsided score (115-110) was far too wide.

We’ve seen fighters grouse that they were robbed after fights that were far less competitive. Parker’s post-fight amiability was all the more puzzling considering that he had a legitimate beef that referee Ian John Lewis was too lax, enabling Whyte to turn the contest into a street fight.

Parker’s trainer Kevin Barry was all on board with the selection of Lewis. “He’s a very highly qualified guy who I think is the best British referee,” he said. But Barry changed his tune after the fight, saying that there were at least two occasions when Lewis should have deducted a point from Whyte.

Veteran Australian boxing writer Anthony Cocks said that going forward, Parker, a soft spoken, mild mannered man, needs to have more of a mongrel in him. Cocks noted that when Whyte transgressed, Parker’s response was to look at the ref with a bemused expression. The first time that Whyte bent the rules, opined Cocks, Parker should have hit him in the balls.

– – – –

Top Rank hasn’t had much luck with their Puerto Rican fighters lately. First there was Felix Verdejo. Hyped as the next Felix Trinidad, the 2012 Olympian was 22-0 when his career was interrupted by a motorcycle accident. He won his first fight back in Puerto Rico, but was then exposed by Tijuana’s unheralded Antonio Lozada Jr. who stopped him in the 10th round at the Theater of Madison Square Garden on St. Patrick’s Day, 2018.

More recently, Top Rank gave a big build-up to Christopher Diaz, but Diaz, the 2016 ESPN Deportes Prospect of The Year, also hit the skids after starting his pro career 23-0. Diaz was upset on Saturday by Masayuki Ito in a match sanctioned for the vacant WBO 130-pound title.

Unlike Verdejo, Diaz was still standing at the final bell, but he was taken to the cleaners by his Japanese opponent who won comfortably on the scorecards.

– – – –

Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin made his pro debut on the Diaz-Ito undercard. Nikitin won every round of a 6-round contest.

If the name sounds vaguely familiar, this is the guy who defeated top seed Michael Conlan in a quarterfinal bantamweight match at the Rio Olympics. The decision, which Conlan greeted with a middle finger salute to the judges, was widely seen as a heist.

In signing new prospects, Top Rank honcho Bob Arum likes to gather up fighters who compete in the same weight class as fighters that he already controls. This sets up a scenario where he can double dip, extracting a commission from the purse of both principals.

The cluster is most pronounced in the lower weight classes. These fighters, listed alphabetically, are currently promoted or co-promoted by Top Rank: junior bantamweight Jerwin Ancajas (31-1-1), junior featherweight Michael Conlan (8-0), featherweight Christopher Diaz (23-1), super bantamweight Isaac Dogboe (19-0), super bantamweight Jessie Magdaleno (25-1), super bantamweight Jean Rivera (14-0), featherweight Genesis Servania (31-1), bantamweight Shakur Stevenson (7-0), bantamweight Antonio Vargas (7-0), featherweight Nicholas Walters (26-1-1).

The aforementioned Nikitin launched his pro career as a featherweight.

– – – –

In July of 2004, Danny Williams knocked out Mike Tyson in the fourth round at Louisville. Iron Mike had one more fight and then wisely called it quits. Williams had 48 more fights, the most recent coming last weekend in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Williams was stopped in the 10th round by a local man, 35-year-old Lee McAllister, whose last documented fight had come in 2013. In that bout, McAllister, carrying 140 pounds, outpointed a Slovakian slug in a 6-round fight. During his hiatus from boxing, McAllister (that’s him in the red and white trunks), served a 9-month prison sentence for assaulting a patron while working in an Aberdeen kebab shop.

Danny Williams’ weight wasn’t announced, but in his three fights prior to fighting McAllister he came in a tad north of 270 pounds. He reportedly out-weighed McAllister by 4 stone (56 pounds), likely a loose approximation.

Williams is a product of Brixton, the hardscrabble Afro-Caribbean neighborhood in South London that also spawned Dillian Whyte. But he has no intention of going back there. After the McAllister fight, in which he was knocked down three times, he said he was retiring to Nigeria where he had a job waiting for him as a bodyguard.

– – – –

The ink was barely dry on the weekend’s events when news arrived that Tyson Fury was close to signing for a December bout with WBC heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder. On social media, Fury said the deal was almost done and Fury’s promoter Frank Warren confirmed it while saying that it was conditional on Fury looking good when he opposes Francesco Pianeta on Aug. 18 at the Windsor Park soccer stadium in Belfast. Fury vs. Pianeta underpins Carl Frampton’s WBO featherweight title defense against Luke Jackson.

As to whether he would be ready to defeat Wilder after only two comeback fights, Fury, who turns 30 this month, said he was ready to beat Wilder on the day he was born.

Deontay Wilder is disappointed that his dream match with Anthony Joshua won’t happen until next spring at the earliest, but there are plenty of options out there for him and more of them for him to ponder after this past weekend’s events.

Cuban southpaw Luis Ortiz looked good against Razvan Cojanu, dismissing his hapless Romanian adversary in the second round on the Garcia-Easter card in Los Angeles.

After the bout, WBC prexy Mauricio Suliaman gave Wilder his blessing to skirt his mandatory against Dominic Breazeale for a rematch with Ortiz.

Presumably that also applies if Wilder accepts promoter Eddie Hearn’s offer for a match with Dillian Whyte. The WBC now lists Whyte as their “silver” champion and has bumped him ahead of Breazeale into the #1 slot in their rankings. And then there’s Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller who has an Eddie Hearn connection and is a more interesting opponent than Breazeale.

If Wilder vs. Fury is a go, say Fury and Warren, it will be held in December in New York or Las Vegas. We make New York the favorite. The only good date in Las Vegas in December for an event of this magnitude is Dec. 1 and that’s only because Thanksgiving arrives early this year. The National Finals Rodeo, a 10-day event which fills up the town, arrives on Dec. 6, eliminating the next two weekends. And when the rodeo leaves, Christmas is right around the corner. Historically, boxing promoters shy away from putting on a big show right before Christmas on the theory that fight fans have the “shorts,” having exhausted their discretionary income on Christmas gifts.

There are some interesting fighters competing in the upper tier of the heavyweight division and a slew of intriguing prospects coming up the ladder. The division hasn’t been this exciting since the Golden Age of Ali, Frazier, Foreman, et al. Enjoy.

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Les Moonves, Hero of Mayweather-Pacquiao Deal, Now Cast as a Villain

“He refused to take ‘no’ for an answer.”
That comment, offered in praise of Les Moonves for the pivotal role the chairman and CEO of CBS Corporation played in helping make the May 2, 2015, megafight pairing

Bernard Fernandez




“He refused to take ‘no’ for an answer.”

That comment, offered in praise of Les Moonves for the pivotal role the chairman and CEO of CBS Corporation played in helping make the May 2, 2015, megafight pairing Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, has taken on a more sordid connotation in light of the avalanche of accusations of sexual impropriety that have thrust the 68-year-old Moonves into the unwelcome company of such accused high-visibility miscreants as Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, Bill O’Reilly and Matt Lauer.

But while the other aforementioned power players have been fired or indicted, their reputations in tatters, Moonves remains on the job as one of the most influential and highest paid (a reported $70 million in 2017) media executives in the United States. Despite a damning article authored by Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker that details numerous instances of bad behavior ranging from merely dubious to criminally actionable, and to which Moonves himself has admitted to some extent, CBS on Monday issued a statement of support that seemed to catch the editors of Variety somewhat off-guard. The entertainment publication’s opening paragraph reads thusly: “In a surprise move, CBS’ board of directors is keeping Leslie Moonves as chairman-CEO even as it launches a probe of sexual assault allegations leveled against him by six women in a New Yorker expose.”

Why should still another story of alleged sexual misconduct by an older man seeking to exert improper control over younger women be of any significance to a fight audience? Well, normally it wouldn’t, except for Moonves’ position, which includes a say in the direction of Showtime’s increasingly important boxing operation if he so chooses. When negotiations for Mayweather-Pacquiao, a pay-per-view event which was to be co-produced by Showtime and HBO, hit a snag, Moonves insinuated himself into the discussion because it made financial and logistic sense for him to do so. CBS/Showtime had entered into a six-bout, $250 million deal with Mayweather, and three of the four fights held to that point had underperformed. Subsequently, the prevailing belief in CBS/Showtime’s executive offices was that Mayweather’s long-delayed showdown with Pacquiao was not only advisable, but absolutely necessary to stanch the flow of red ink.

“Without Les Moonves, this fight wouldn’t have had a prayer of happening,” Top Rank chairman and CEO Bob Arum, a longtime friend of Moonves, said after the last “i” had been dotted and the last “t” crossed. “The real hero in getting this done is Les Moonves.”

And this from Stephen Espinoza, Showtime Sports’ executive vice president and general manager, tossing another verbal bouquet to his boss: “One of the main reasons this deal got done, when maybe other ones didn’t, was having Les Moonves as part of the process. He was deeply committed to making this deal. He is someone that all parties in this negotiation respected. He was really the catalyst for seeing this through. He refused to take `no’ for an answer from any side. He was there making sure that the parties came together in a successful and cooperative manner.”

But while the high-level wheeling and dealing to finalize Mayweather-Pacquiao was done behind closed doors, so too were those instances when Moonves was attempting to arrange a private deal with a female subordinate whose career he could either advance or stymie. One such occasion allegedly involved writer-actress Ileana Douglas, who was summoned to Moonves’ office to discuss matters involving a television project in which she was to have starred. The New Yorker story quotes Douglas’ heightening discomfort as Moonves made coarse and physical advances toward her.

“At that point, you’re a trapped animal,” Douglas said of the incident. “Your life is flashing before your eyes. It has stayed with me the rest of my life, that terror.”

After The New Yorker story came out, Moonves apologized, sort of, to the six women who told Farrow that the CBS bigwig had sexually harassed them. All claimed he became cold and hostile after they rejected his advances, and that they believed their careers suffered as a result.

In a statement, Moonves said, “Throughout my time at CBS, we have promoted a culture of respect and opportunity for all employees, and have consistently found success elevating women to top executive positions across our company. I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes and I regret them immensely. But I always understood and respected – and abided by the principle – that `no’ means `no,’ and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone’s career … We at CBS are committed to being part of the solution.”

What makes the furor that has suddenly swirled up around Moonves all the more curious is his prominent support for the #MeToo movement and other feminist causes. In December, he helped found the Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace. A month prior to that, at a conference in November, he said, “I think it’s important that a company’s culture will not allow for (sexual harassment). And that’s the thing that’s far-reaching. There’s a lot we’re learning. There’s a lot we didn’t know.”

There’s a lot we didn’t know? Oh, for sure. We didn’t know for a very long time that TV’s favorite father figure, now-81-year-old Bill Cosby, would be classified as a sexually violent predator by a Pennsylvania court. Cosby is due to be sentenced Sept. 24 on three counts of aggravated indecent assault, and his alma mater, Temple University, rescinded the honorary Ph.D. it conferred upon him in 1991. The Cos resigned his spot on Temple’s  Board of Trustees in 2014, after 32 years, amid accusations that he sexually assaulted dozens of women over decades.

We also didn’t know that Harvey Weinstein, 66, the co-founder of Miramax, would be dismissed from the company and be expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences after the New York Times ran a story on Oct, 5, 2017, detailing decades of allegations against him by over 80 women. It would seem that the most important piece of furniture in Weinstein’s office was not his desk, but the proverbial casting couch.

One of the more intriguing developments in the widening scandal involved TV newsmen Bill O’Reilly and Matt Lauer. In September 2017, O’Reilly, fired by Fox News for a series of alleged sexual improprieties, appeared as a guest on NBC’s Today show, where he told host Matt Lauer that his dismissal was “a hit job – a political and financial hit job.” Two months later, Lauer was canned by NBCUniversal after it was found he had an inappropriate sexual relationship with another much more junior NBC employee. Three additional women subsequently made complaints against Lauer.

Boxing is a physical sport, maybe the most physical there is, and in most cases the transgressions committed were by fighters who resorted to brute force, the fastest way to bring cops and attorneys into the equation. Think Tony Ayala Jr. spending 17 years behind bars for rape, a conviction that came on the heels of a previous incident in which he broke a teenage girl’s jaw after he made unwanted advances toward her in the restroom of a drive-in theater. But it might be argued that those who seek to have their way with women by exercising a different kind of power are just as much or even more reprehensible, an affront not only to the females they view as disposable objects but to any man who would not want to see his mother, wife or daughter treated so shabbily.

According to CBS, there have been no misconduct claims and no settlements against Moonves during his 24 years at the network. He deserves, as everyone does under the American system of jurisprudence, the presumption of innocence. But given the current landscape befouled by others who apparently felt that they could do whatever they wanted because they always had gotten away with it, sticking with the status quo might send the wrong message.

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