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Summing Up 2017 in Boxing

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The year 2017 has been one of the best years in boxing in quite a while. The seventies, eighties and even the nineties were outstanding but the 2000s, especially 2016, not so much. 

One of the best and most influential years in boxing was 1976. Muhammad Ali, the undisputed heavyweight champ, made four successful title defenses and was at the height of his popularity throughout the world. In January, George Foreman, in his first bout since losing his title to Ali, fought a slugfest for the ages with top contender Ron Lyle. The fight saw both sluggers crash to the canvas before Foreman finally finished Lyle in the fifth round. During the summer, perhaps the greatest American Olympic boxing team ever captured five Gold Medals in Montreal and, in November, the motion picture “Rocky” premiered in New York City and was released throughout the United States in early December. Boxing was thriving by the end of 1976.

As for the year 2017, it was certainly memorable. There are a few things, some negative but mostly positive, that I’ll remember and it’s likely some of the remnants will carry into 2018 and perhaps even beyond. 

Three Bad Decisions Based on my Scorecard spiderman bouncy castle Watching the Fight Live: 

March 18th at Madison Square Garden, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai won a 12-round MD over undefeated defending champ Roman Gonzalez to capture the WBC flyweight title. The judges scored it 115-113 twice and 114-114. I scored the fight 114-112 Gonzalez and felt that aside from the flash knockdown, being head butted and elbowed, Chocolatito scored the cleaner punches and exhibited the superior ring generalship. It wasn’t the worst decision of the year, but the wrong fighter had his hand raised.

July 2nd in Brisbane Australia, undefeated Jeff Horn won a 12-round UD over Manny Pacquiao to capture the WBO welterweight title. Horn won by the scores of 117-111, and 115-113 twice. I scored the bout 116-112 for Pacquiao. Granted, it wasn’t Pacquiao’s finest hour but he scored the cleaner and harder punches and in return Horn mauled and bulled through them. Pacquiao had the biggest round of the fight in the ninth and the rounds he may have lost after that were too close to shade the fight in favor of Horn. When the bell rang to conclude the final round, there wasn’t a morsel of doubt in my mind Pacquiao not only won, but would also have his hands raised after the decision was read.

September 16th at the T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas, unified middleweight champ Gennady Golovkin retained his title via a 12-round draw versus lineal champ Canelo Alvarez. The officials saw the fight 114-114, 115-113 Golovkin and 118-110 Canelo. I scored it 116-112 Golovkin and wrote the day after the fight I could live with 115-113 Golovkin. For the first 10 rounds, Golovkin, although not having the best night of his career (something which age and Canelo contributed to), seemed to be in command for all but a few rounds and moments. Canelo fought with more urgency during the last two rounds to close the gap but it wasn’t enough to net even a draw. For a majority of the bout it was contested more on GGG’s terms than Canelo’s…that much was clear. Sadly the poor decision will haunt Golovkin for the rest of his career. These two will meet again in 2018 and I don’t see Golovkin winning unless he stops Canelo and I’d be willing to bet against that happening.

The Most Significant Fight of the Year:

April 29th in the UK, undefeated IBF heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua stopped former unified champ Wladimir Klitschko in the 11th round to retain his title and win the vacant WBA belt. Klitschko, prior to November of 2015 when he was upset by Tyson Fury, was the dominant fighter in the division for the past decade. Fury beating Klitschko was the case of Wladimir being too sure of himself and looking at Fury with total disdain and not considering how difficult Tyson could be stylistically to fight. In Joshua, Klitschko fully grasped that if there was a heavyweight who could prevent him from ever being champ again, it was AJ. Wladimir knew derailing him would surely erase the setback to Fury and be the defining victory of his long career.

Wladimir tortured his body getting ready to fight Joshua and on fight night showed up with a will to win we hadn’t previously seen from him, a desire that would light up the faces of Joe Frazier and Evander Holyfield and make them proud. Going into the fight Klitschko’s right hand, even at 41, was still the biggest single shot in the division and against AJ he let it go. For the first four rounds, Joshua and Klitschko fenced with each other, then in the fifth round, AJ took the initiative and hurt and dropped Klitschko. His only misstep was thinking Wladimir was finished. Showing reserve never seen from him before, Klitschko went after Joshua and dropped him with a perfect right hand to the chin in the next round. AJ beat the count but looked spent for the duration of the round. Showing great savvy, Joshua’s poker face deterred Klitschko from not really going after him, thus enabling him to gain his second wind. Once he was completely gathered, AJ pressed the tiring Klitschko and in the 11th round dropped him twice, ultimately leading to the bout being stopped.

The case can easily be made that no prior heavyweight champ met and defeated a more dangerous fighter than Wladimir Klitschko in just his 19th bout (Cassius Clay defeated Sonny Liston in his 20th bout). In beating Klitschko in the manner he did, AJ exhibited for all to see that he can really box and punch and has a tremendous will to win. (And if you think his chin and stamina will be his Achilles heel as his title tenure progresses, all I can say to that is – it’ll be some time before he’s pushed and tested the way he was by Klitschko). Moreover, he did something past greats Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis never did during their careers and that’s come back to win after being down and physically spent.

Joshua’s win over Klitschko was probably the most important win of the year for any fighter in boxing. There’s a great chance Joshua can become the most popular and important heavyweight title holder since Mike Tyson. If that happens, he’ll be leading the current resurgence of professional boxing, something that couldn’t be realized without him beating Klitschko in the manner in which he did and answering the pertinent questions most observers have regarding the next supposed great heavyweight ruler.

A Potentially All-time Great Fighter Surged: Terence Crawford

August 9th at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska, undefeated WBA/WBO junior welterweight champ Terence Crawford knocked out WBA/IBF titlist Julius Indongo in the third round. Crawford 32-0 (23), who is an orthodox fighter, came out fighting the southpaw Indongo as a southpaw. Indongo immediately attempted to give Crawford a different look while bouncing in and out, only to be met with a buzzsaw of punches every time he let his hands go. By the end of the round, Crawford had Indongo reaching and lunging for him, leaving him exposed to Crawford’s uppercuts and right hooks and straight lefts to the head. With a minute left in the second round Indongo was down and up, fighting as the prey to Crawford the predator. With a minute and a half left in the third round, Crawford set Indongo up by moving in, bluffing aggression, knowing Indongo would answer with his own counter attack – and when he did, Crawford took a half step back and ripped him with a hybrid left to the body, ending the fight with Indongo writhing on the canvas.

Terence Crawford processes what his opponent is doing and then adjusts to it so much faster than any other fighter in boxing that whoever is second is light years behind him. The Indongo fight is just the latest example. TC is the most versatile fighter/boxer in the sport with no stylistic weakness. Every fight for him unfolds differently depending on the style of his opponent. He seldom does the same thing twice and if he does, it’s only to gauge how the opponent reacts to it. He forces pressure guys to become more measured and careful. Conversely, if he senses his opponent wants to box and fight measured, he fights more aggressively, forcing them to open up. Unlike most fighters, he enters the ring with the mindset of, let me see what you want to do – and then I’ll get you away from that and force you to fight at the distance, tempo and style at which you’re least effective, and I’ll continue to make you fight from your weakness.

In 2018 Crawford will campaign as a welterweight, a division that is loaded with young killers in their prime who can both box and punch. The two alpha fighters in the division are unified WBA/WBC champ Keith Thurman and IBF champ Errol Spence. They’re both outstanding, but Crawford has enough physicality and too many dimensions in both his brain and style to be nullified by either. As the book closes on the year 2017, Crawford is the best, most complete stylistically and most versatile fighter in boxing. Whomever you think is next best resides on a different block where the real estate is taxed at a lower rate.

A Dynamic Fighter Who Has Everybody Talking Emerged: Vasyl Lomachenko

On December 9th at Madison Square Garden, WBO junior lightweight champ Vasyl Lomachenko overwhelmed former bantamweight champ Guillermo Rigondeaux so convincingly that after losing 16 minutes of a fight that only lasted 18, he surrendered on his stool. 

Because he wins in a unique manner (his last four opponents accepted they had nothing to beat him with and retired on their stool) Lomachenko 10-1 (8) has created interest in seeing him fight. He may be the most dynamic fighter and best eye candy in boxing. He’s not the technical marvel he’s been painted. What he is is a tremendously gifted athlete with the best footwork and coordination in combat sports. Lomachenko is the same fighter strategically every time out and forces his opponent to think more about catching him than putting any real hurt on him. 

He’s not a big puncher but he’s physically stronger than he looks. Lomachenko uses his applicable ring strength to press his opponents, making them punch across their body at him. He tantalizes them with pesky jabs and one-twos and dares them to commit……and when they do, he’s in a position where he can hit them but they can’t reach him. And the more he senses they’re tentative to punch, the more he pressures them physically and mentally to do something. After a few rounds, his opponents worry about missing and they go into a shell and with no incoming punches, Lomachenko turns it up and it becomes rinse, repeat. 

Lomachenko has morphed the styles of Hector Camacho and Pernell Whitaker, two greats who were nearly impossible to hit. He will be most troubled by a fighter, most likely a tall fighter, who is pro-active and also possesses an overload of strength. The right style isn’t enough. It’ll require the style and power to give him concern when standing in front of him. The greatest gameplan will erode if the opponent doesn’t have the guns to give him a little trepidation. Lomachenko’s uniqueness has been wrongly construed as greatness (it’s too soon to confer greatness on him), but that’s okay because he is unlike any fighter today and because of that he’s great for maintaining interest in boxing. He along with Joshua and Crawford have been gifts to the fans and to the sport of boxing for 2017.

Boxing is thriving as it enters 2018!

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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The BWAA Shames Veteran Referee Laurence Cole and Two Nebraska Judges

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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

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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

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Moonves

“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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