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The Hauser Report: Four Fights

Anyone who was on the job and watched them all would have put in a full eight-hour shift and been eligible for overtime pay.

Thomas Hauser



overtime pay

There were a lot of fights available for viewing in the United States on Saturday, June 9. Anyone who was on the job and watched them all would have put in a full eight-hour shift and been eligible for overtime pay.

The festivities began in England at the Manchester Arena where Tyson Fury returned to the ring after a 924-day absence.

Fury will go down in history as one of boxing’s oddest heavyweight champions. He won the crown by decision over Wladimir Klitschko on November 28, 2015, in one of the most dreary heavyweight title bouts ever. Then psychiatric problems, drug issues, and other difficulties forced him from the ring. A proposed rematch with Klitschko was cancelled twice, the second time after Tyson acknowledged that he was psychologically unfit to fight. Fury also admitted to using cocaine after urine samples taken from him in September 2016 tested positive.

Compounding his troubles, Fury was justly pilloried in the media after making a series of misogynist, homophobic, anti-semitic statements.

Speaking of himself, Fury told Oliver Holt of the Daily Mail, “Whatever is conventional, I am the opposite. So if you want to walk in a straight line, I am going to walk in zigzags. If you want to throw a one-two, I’ll throw a two-one. I have always been not straightforward. Nothing has run smoothly with me throughout my life. Everything has had ups and downs and lefts and rights, and that’s just the way it has panned out for me. Some people love it, some people hate it. Some people think I’m a barm cake. I don’t really care what they think of me to be honest.”

More alarmingly, Fury later acknowledged, “I think I’m a screw loose in the head sometimes. I’m not joking. I can wake up in the morning, everything’s fine. The afternoon, I could commit suicide.”

But Fury can fight. He has size, natural strength, reasonably fast hands, and a good boxing IQ (which at times, seems like the only IQ he has). Moreover, from a marketing point of view, there’s a curiosity factor surrounding Tyson, even if it’s akin to watching a beached whale that has washed ashore and is struggling to get back in the ocean.

The opponent chosen for Fury’s comeback bout was Sefer Seferi, a 39-year-old Albanian club fighter who now lives in Switzerland. Seferi brought a 23-1 (21 KOs) record into the contest. But he has limited boxing skills and had fought most of his career as a cruiserweight against mediocre opposition. Nothing on his resume indicated that he’d be competitive against Tyson, which was why he was selected as the opponent.

Fury (25-0, 18 KOs) was a 50-to-1 betting favorite.

When fight night came, Tyson entered the ring looking like a man who’d won a pie eating at least once a week since his triumph over Klitschko. He’s huge to begin with; a broad 6-feet-9-inches tall. And before he began training for his comeback, his weight had ballooned to almost 400 pounds.

He weighed in for Seferi at 276-1/2 pounds, thirty pounds more than for the Klitschko fight. And the extra thirty pounds were flab.

Seferi weighed in at 210.

As for the fight itself; Fury showed little interest in fighting in the opening stanza. In round two, referee Phil Edwards told him to stop fooling around and box, which had no effect whatsoever on the flow of the action. In fact, late in that round, Tyson stopped boxing altogether to watch a fight that had broken out at ringside.

This was consistent with the theme of the evening, which was that, against Seferi, Fury could do pretty much what he wanted to do. Then, in round four, Tyson became a bit more serious about boxing. After that stanza, Seferi quit in his corner. He was brought in to lose, and he did.

One should be wary of criticizing a fighter for saying “that’s enough.” But the booing that followed the conclusion of the bout was justified.

“It was what it was,” Fury said afterward. “He took a couple of hard punches and he told his corner not to send him out for round five. If I’m brutally honest, I could have knocked him out in ten seconds. I could have done him in the first round. But what would that have done me? I got four rounds instead of ten seconds.”

Realistically speaking, this is the proper way to bring Fury back if he’s to become a serious contender rather than just a vehicle for a cash grab. Tyson has a name. He can make a lot of money by fighting the likes of Tony Bellew, not to mention Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder, right now. Whether he can regain his old ring skills and hold his fragile psyche together long enough to climb to the top of the mountain again is another matter.

Meanwhile, one should consider the thoughts of Terence Dooley, who earlier this year wrote, “Maybe it is time to extend a little understanding to Fury and wait to see what comes next. Mental illness is the most elusive opponent any of us will ever face. If Fury is fighting that fight, then he needs our understanding, which may also lead to sympathy. But that’s up to you.”

Fury-Seferi was available for viewing in United States on the Showtime Boxing Facebook page and Showtime Sports YouTube channel. Later in the evening, Showtime’s premium cable network offered fans two more fistic encounters, both from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

First, Jermell Charlo (30-0, 15 KOs) defended his WBC 154-pound title against Austin Trout (31-4, 17 KOs).

Charlo is good but largely untested. Trout has skills. But he’s an old 32 and hadn’t won a big fight since decisioning Miguel Cotto in 2012. Since then, he’d lost four of nine bouts, albeit to quality opponents (Canelo Alvarez, Erislandy Lara, Jermall Charlo, and Jarrett Hurd).

“I look to do what my brother did against Trout [a twelve-round decision triumph], but way better,” Jermell said at the final pre-fight press conference. “Trout wants a belt, but this is the wrong belt to go after.”

The fight began with Jermall stalking his man and Austin trying to blunt the assault. It continued with Jermall stalking his man and Austin trying to blunt the assault. And it ended with Jermall stalking his man while Austin tried to blunt the assault.

Charlo kept trying to go for broke with his right hand. Trout had enough skills to make Jermell miss but not enough power to make him pay. Austin scored points when he landed but didn’t inflict enough damage. Charlo scored knockdowns with a right hand in round three and a counter left in round nine.

Two of the judges actually watched the fight, scoring it 118-108 and 115-111 for Charlo. The third judge, Fernando Villarreal, inexplicably scored the contest even at 113-113.

“I went to fish,” Jermell said afterward. “I tried to get some trout but I couldn’t catch him on the hook. I know they’re used to seeing me knock boys out, but at least they saw me take care of business.”

The obvious next fight for Charlo is a unification bout against WBA-IBF 154-pound beltholder Jarrett Hurd, who knocked Trout out in ten rounds last October. The winner of that bout could deservedly call himself the 154-pound world champion.

The second half of the Showtime doubleheader matched WBA 126-pound beltholder Leo Santa Cruz (33-1, 19 KOs) against Abner Mares (31-2, 15 KOs) in a rematch of their 2015 outing which Santa Cruz won by majority decision. There was no reason to believe that things would end differently this time, and they didn’t.

Mares started well in the first two rounds on Saturday night but then faded in a spirited encounter. Santa Cruz (a 7-to-2 favorite) won a 117-111, 116-112, 115-113 decision. A possible unification fight with WBC featherweight beltholder Gary Russell Jr. is now on the horizon.

Meanwhile, the brightest star in the galaxy on Saturday night was Terence Crawford, who faced off against Jeff Horn at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.

Crawford (now 33-0, 24 KOs) is on the short list of fighters who are in the conversation for boxing’s #1 pound-for-pound ranking. Last July, he consolidated the four major 140-pound belts with a third-round knockout of Julius Indongo. Then he moved up in weight.

Horn entered the Crawford bout with an 18-0-1 (12 KOs) record and was the WBO 147-pound beltholder by virtue of a misguided decision over an aging Manny Pacquiao in Horn’s Australian homeland last July.

The issue wasn’t whether Crawford would beat Horn but the degree to which Horn would test him. Or phrased differently, not who would win but rather, “How many rounds?”

Horn and his camp made a lot of silly statements during the build-up to the fight. At one point, Glenn Rushton (Jeff’s trainer) likened his charge to Rocky Marciano. That had even less credibility than promoter Bob Arum’s proclamations that the bout would be highly competitive.

More significant than the fight itself from a long term point of view, Crawford-Horn was the first big exposure for boxing on ESPN+. An April 21 match-up between Amir Khan and Phil LoGreco had been a test run of sorts.

ESPN+ is a streaming subscription video service priced at $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year. When Top Rank and ESPN announced an exclusive boxing partnership last year, fight fans were told that the venture would bring massive exposure to Top Rank fighters with stars like Crawford fighting on ESPN and reaching an audience far beyond what HBO had brought them.

Crawford should be happy with the $3,000,000 purse that, according to ESPN, he was paid to fight Horn. But the other side of the coin is that Crawford – the 2016 Boxing Writers Association of America “Fighter of the Year” – fought on Saturday night in a half-empty arena at the MGM Grand in a bout that was televised on an app.

“When we revised our deal with ESPN to take into account the digital platform,” Arum explained, “we wanted to really start with a blockbuster.” Then the Hall of Fame promoter added, “You can’t hold back the future, and the future is direct to consumer. In the next ten to twenty years, everyone will be watching their entertainment on direct to consumer platforms. Like Netflix in entertainment, ESPN+ will be the place for sports in abundance. To fans now in the United States and around the world, it is the future. Get used to it.”

The entire Crawford-Horn undercard was also shown on ESPN+. There was more cheerleading than serious commentary from the announcing team of Todd Grisham and Jon Saraceno during a string of lopsided preliminary fights. Then the trio of Joe Tessitore, Tim Bradley, and Mark Kriegel came on board for the two main bouts.

Jose Pedraza outpointed Antonio Moran 96-94 X 3 in a bloody encounter, after which it was time for Crawford-Horn.

Horn came to fight. But so did Crawford. And as expected, Terence was the better fighter. In the ring, he’s a nasty SOB.

Crawford makes adjustments well as a fight progresses. He usually takes a few rounds to figure out his opponent. Then he breaks his adversary down and dominates the action. He’s equally comfortable fighting on the inside or at a distance. When he smells blood, he takes his assault to a new level.

By round four, Crawford-Horn had become a one-sided battle. By round seven, Horn was in survival mode. In round eight, he took a bad beating. After that stanza, his corner, the ring doctor, someone, should have stopped it. But no one did, so Horn went out for round nine to get knocked down and battered some more until referee Robert Byrd stopped the carnage at the 2:33 mark.

The award for dumbest comment of the night went to Glenn Rushton, who complained afterward, “It was definitely a premature stoppage.”

Horn is an ordinary fighter. Still, Crawford turned in a scintillating performance. It was sort of like watching Luciano Pavarotti sing in an ordinary opera. The libretto might not be that good, but it’s still Pavarotti.

The one flaw on Terence’s resume is the absence of an elite opponent.

“I want the other champions,” Crawford told Arum in the ring immediately after the fight, “I want the big fights. Bob, make it happen.”

IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence is fighting in a “gimme” against Carlos Ocampo next Saturday night. Right now, Spence-Crawford is on the short list of fights that boxing fans most want to see. Spence-Crawford would also do more than any other possible match-up to prove the winner’s greatness.

After Crawford-Horn, Arum said of the 30-year-old Crawford, “He reminds me of Sugar Ray Leonard. And that to me is a great great compliment because I always thought that Leonard was the best. This guy is equal to if not better than Ray was. The future is unlimited.”

But at age thirty, Leonard had beaten Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Duran, and Wilfred Benitez. Crawford has beaten Viktor Postol, Felix Diaz, Julius Indongo, and Jeff Horn.

So why not put Crawford in next with Errol Spence? The winner would be boxing’s pound-for-pound, number-one fighter. And a superstar.

Thomas Hauser can be reached by email at His most recent book – There Will Always Be Boxing – was published by the University of Arkansas Press. In 2004, the Boxing Writers Association of America honored Hauser with the Nat Fleischer Award for career excellence in boxing

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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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