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KELLIE BY KO Promoter Frank Maloney Stuns The Fight World

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The revelation, delivered in a Brit tabloid on Saturday, does make one who knew Frank Maloney when he was a top-dog boxing manager and promoter in the UK, heading up Lennox Lewis’ promotions re-evaluate who he was, how he acted, what he said, back in the day.

When Maloney drew a deep gulp of breath, and shared with the world that he has really basically always felt like he was a female trapped in the shell of a man’s body, the legendary fightmakers’ legacy veered sharply, from that of a Hall of Fame level mover of pugilists and marketing and salesmanship and such, into a whole ‘nother realm.

When the person formerly referred to as “Frank Maloney” allowed a photog to take some photos that showed off, to a world he had to know wouldn’t be universally embracing of his choice, his new look, and his new identity, which he told us is “Kellie,” the man showed as much courage as any of his boxers did walking up those four steps toward an uncertain fate.

The 63-year-old Maloney, who many US fight fans might remember as a smallish fellow who’d stand and exult by the side of Lennox Lewis as the long, tall Brit of Jamaican heritage showed off his stuff and had his hand raised in triumph, downing the likes of Evander Holyfield while advertising proudly his homebase in a Union Jack blazer and slacks outfit, told the Sunday Mirror that he’s been taking female hormones for about two years.

“I was born in the wrong body and I have always known I was a woman,” the 5-3 Maloney, aka “Kellie,” told the paper. “I can’t keep living in the shadows, that is why I am doing what I am today. Living with the burden any longer would have killed me.”

The dealmaker, who walked away from the sport last year, citing burnout, said he had a hard time living a lie, and grew quite depressed, and self medicated his sorrows with booze. When assessing his life arc, one can now look at Maloney’s chapters, and be tempted to ponder what choices he made under the influence of his hidden duress.

Younger Maloney contemplated the priesthood but didn’t cotton to a stint at a seminary. He tried the jockey life, gave football a go, tried cooking as a trade, but all along, he stuck with the boxing thing, after taking it up in grade school. Makes sense, we all understand that the sport, with its low barrier to entry, attracts square pegs and drifters and loners and even the most refined and mannered and psychologically grounded, to boot…

Armchair analysis aside, Maloney and Lewis worked together and got along well enough that they partnered from 1989, when LL debuted as a pro, til 2001. Maloney’s star brightened immensely when Lewis was handed the WBC crown Riddick Bowe dumped in a trash bin, in December 1992. The diminutive Maloney showed a big bark and could bite when defending Lewis, who naysayers sometimes said fought too cautiously. He drew sympathy when he absorbed the slurs from the likes of Don King, who termed him a “mental midget” and in fact gave Maloney a free boost in recognition a $100,000 retainer to a top firm couldn’t have managed.

The 6-5 Lewis, now 48, stood up for the helmer, taking to Facebook to post his support for the ex manager’s new path. On Sunday, Lewis wrote, “I was just as shocked as anyone at the news about my former promoter and my initial thought was that it was a wind up. The great thing about life, and boxing, is that, day to day, you never know what to expect. This world we live in isn’t always cut and dried or black and white, and coming from the boxing fraternity, I can only imagine what a difficult decision this must be for Kellie (formerly Frank Maloney). ?However, having taken some time to read Kellie’s statements, I understand better what she, and others in similar situations, are going through. I think that ALL people should be allowed to live their lives in a way that brings them harmony and inner peace. I respect Kellie’s decision and say that if this is what brings about true happiness in her life, than so be it. #LiveAndLetLive.”

Maloney’s last top drawer client was heavyweight David Price. Last October, the boxing lifer exited the sphere, saying, “For the last year I have gradually fallen out of love with boxing and my passion has been missing. I did much soul searching over the summer and my heart is no longer in the sport that I loved so much. If I continued as his promoter it would be unfair as I cannot give the commitment and love for the sport that is needed to get his career back on track. When I saw (Price) in the gym last week it was my first visit to one for months and I no longer got the buzz I used to get. The sport has changed so much over the last few years. So many boxers listen to the last person they meet, and trainers who give time but invest no money into the sport are afforded too much power. It has also been a tough time for me personally and I feel a lot more at ease with myself by reaching this decision.”

At the time, I thought it…odd…that he put the word out that he didn’t want to be bothered, and wanted to simply step away, and let that statement speak for him. No interviews or requests to chat about legacy or such, he said. Now we know better why, I suppose…

Maloney is not to be confused with the still-in-the-game Frank, Frank Warren, the head of Box Nation, who has a smaller than it used to be but still respectable stable. He and Maloney sparred regularly, and then would make up, and do some business together. Maloney took one to the chin and heart when his boxer Paul Ingle was brain damaged in a 2000 bout. But he kept at it in this most dangerous game, though his fondness was dealt a blow when he and Lewis parted ways in fall 2001. There was friction in the partnership when Lewis lost his crown to Hasim Rahman in April 2001, as trainer Emanuel Steward said Maloney has been too MIA when it came to Lewis. Maloney shifted his gears and took up politics, running for the Mayoral seat in London. He stepped in when he went on the attack against gays, in 2004, saying, “I don’t (gay people) do a lot for society. I don’t have a problem with gays, what I have a problem with is them openly flaunting their sexuality…I’m more for traditional family values and family life. I’m anti same-sex marriages and I’m anti same-sex families….I don’t think it’s right for children to be brought up that way. I don’t think two men can bring up a child. ..If you are homosexual, you are homosexual – just get on with your life and stop bitching about things.” He finished fourth in the Mayoral hunt. By 2006, he was back all-limbs in the boxing waters, getting then cruiserweight David Haye to sign on, while also steering feather Scott Harrison to a title. He was tested in 2009, when he had a heart attack after finding his boxer, Irishman Darren Sutherland, dead from hanging in the fighters’ apartment. His split from second wife Tracey, at the end of 2012, took something from him, as well.

Maybe he was feeling some tension from home stuff when he made the beyond-tasteless crack that Wladimir Klitschko was probably happy he didn’t have to pay a trainer cut to Emanuel Steward for his fight against Mariusz Wach in November 2012, soon after Steward passed away. In October of 2013, Maloney had enough, and waved adieu to the sport.

Maloney’s decision will bring up recollections and discussions of the former Richard Raskind. The New York born Raskind was a tennis ace, and showed off mad racquet skills at Yale. Raskind went into opthamology, but gender orientation issues plagued him, and by 1975, he was a she. As “Renee Richards,” she sued to be able t play in the US Open. She won, and rose as high as 22 in the ranks on the pro women’s circuit. It is clear that such decisions and stories as this Maloney development aren’t happening in a vacuum. The boxing family warmly embraced Orlando Cruz, who came out as a proud homosexual in October 2012, and while there were the odd Twitter cracks by lunkheads, as we’ve seen in reaction to the “Maloney-Kellie” affair, the buzz stirred up lasts less and less every time a Jason Collins (NBA, came out April 2013 to the world) or Michael Sam (NFL, came out as gay in Feb. 2014) break new ground.

Maloney said in the Mirror stunner that he isn’t in a mode to think about a romantic romp or anything of the sort. The now avowed transsexual was twice married and has three children.

To wrap up, I will leave it to Lewis, who threw a tight flurry on Facebook, stating, to those getting wound up over the Maloney-to-Kellie deal, “There are more important things in this crazy world 2b mad about! Starving children, poverty, conflict. LeBron leaving Miami.”

Amen, Lennox. I wish Kellie nothing but the best of luck, and admire the ration of gumption it took to surrender to the truth.

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Michael Dutchover Remains Undefeated in Ontario, Calif.

Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

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Michael Dutchover

ONTARIO-Calif.-Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

Lightweight prospect Dutchover (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out southpaw Aguilera (14-4-1, 4 KOs) in the fifth round with a barrage of body blows that left the Costa Rican limp at the Doubletree Hotel.

For two rounds Aguilar used an awkward counter-punching style that had Dutchover a little tentative. But once he figured out that combination punching was the key, he opened up with barrages and floored Aguilar with body shots at the end of round four.

That signaled doom for Aguilar.

The fifth round saw Dutchover target the body with impunity as Aguilar tried holding, running and covering up with no success. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth signaled the fight over at 2:31 of the fifth round giving Dutchover the win by knockout.

In a bantamweight clash Santa Ana’s Mario Hernandez (7-0-1, 3 KOs) and Mexico City’s Ivan Gonzalez (4-1-2, 1 KO) fought to a majority draw after six back and forth rounds.

Hernandez targeted the body against the taller Gonzalez who relied on long range counters. Both found success but neither could prove superiority after six turbulent rounds.

After six rounds one judge saw it 58-56 for Gonzalez but the two other judges saw it 57-57 for a majority draw.

Other bouts

South Central L.A.’s Ruben Torres (7-0, 6 KOs) extended his undefeated streak with a knockout over Mexico’s Eder “El Koreano” Amaro (6-6, 2 KOs) in a lightweight fight. But it wasn’t easy.

Amaro switched from southpaw to orthodox and was matching Torres for two rounds until the taller local fighter began blasting away to the body and head with precision. Many in the crowd cheered “Koreano” in unison but it couldn’t help once Torres zeroed in.

At the end of the fourth round Amaro could not continue and the fight was stopped giving a knockout for Torres.

Richard Brewart Jr. (2-0) mowed through Edward Aceves (0-5) flooring him with body shots in the first round then overwhelming him in the second. After seven unanswered blows referee Eddie Hernandez stopped the fight at 1:32 of round two giving Rancho Cucamonga’s Brewart the win by knockout in the super welterweight bout.

Southpaw David Ortiz (1-0) won his pro debut by unanimous decision after four rounds in a welterweight match against San Diego’s Mario Angeles (2-11-2). Ortiz lives in Bloomington, Calif. and is trained by Henry Ramirez. No knockdowns were scored.

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Charr-Oquendo Scuttled When Charr Tests Positive; the Odious WBA Saves Face

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Manuel Charr

Manuel Charr and Fres Oquendo were scheduled to fight in Cologne, Germany, later this month (Sept. 29). Charr would be defending his WBA world heavyweight title, the “regular” version of it, not the “super” version which rests in the hands of Anthony Joshua.

The bout was quickly cancelled when it was revealed that Charr had tested positive for two banned anabolic steroids. The test was performed by VADA, the anti-doping agency identified with Las Vegas neurologist Dr. Margaret Goodman.

The 33-year-old Charr, born in Lebanon but a resident of Germany since the age of three, won the belt in his last start with a unanimous decision over 281-pound Russian behemoth Alexander Ustinov in Oberhausen, Germany. The title was vacant. Charr won the right to fight for it with a 10-round decision over Albanian slug Sefer Seferi. The victory over Ustinov elevated his record to 31-4. He has been stopped three times, by Vitali Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin, and Mairis Briedis.

If it wasn’t for bad luck, as the old saying goes, Fres Oquendo wouldn’t have any luck at all. For various reasons, his fights keep falling out. Before long he’ll be drawing social security. Well, not exactly, but he turned 45 in April and hasn’t fought in more than four years.

Oquendo has competed for this belt before. In his last ring appearance in July of 2014, he lost a majority decision to Russia’s Ruslan Chagaev in Grozny, Russia. As a concession for taking the fight on short notice, Team Oquendo negotiated a rematch clause in the contract, but a shoulder injury prevented Fres from activating it. When the injury healed, he had to go to court to compel Chagaev to fulfill his obligation. But then the Russian retired, muddling the water.

The WBA was legally bound to find Oquendo a title fight and in desperation turned to ancient Shannon Briggs. But the Oquendo-Briggs fight, scheduled for June 3 of last year in Hollywood, Florida, fell out when Briggs’ urine specimen showed an abnormally high level of testosterone.

Fres Oquendo was dogged by bad luck even before these recent developments. His professional record, 37-8, is somewhat misleading as six of his eight defeats were razor-thin including his 2003 setback to Chris Byrd and his 2006 setback to Evander Holyfield. However, Oquendo, something of a cutie, was never a crowd-pleaser and in none of his narrow defeats was there a public clamor for a rematch.

The cancellation of Charr-Oquendo cuts the World Boxing Association out of a sanctioning fee, but one would think that the WBA honchos are actually rather pleased by this turn of events. The fight, more precisely the WBA’s world title imprimatur, would have brought more unwanted publicity to the Panama-based organization.

ESPN’s Dan Rafael, who has the largest platform of any boxing writer, has been a persistent critic of the organization which once recognized 41 “champions” in 17 weight classes. In 2009, Rafael wrote, “(The WBA) has become such an absolute farce that even somebody like me, who follows boxing closely, sometimes has a hard time keeping track of all the nonsensical so-called world title belts the WBA has been doling out at an alarming rate. It almost reminds me of the ladies at Costco who hand out various samples on a busy Saturday afternoon.”

Rafael took note when WBA president Gilberto Mendoza promised to cull the herd by eliminating “regular” titles, and then became more caustic when Mendoza didn’t follow through. Recently, in one short, punchy diatribe, Rafael blistered the WBA as wretched, vile, and rancid.

Regardless of your opinion, it’s hard not to feel sorry for Fres Oquendo who keeps getting stranded at the altar. No, he’s not fun to watch and a man of his age shouldn’t be taking any more punches, but he has always been an honest workman and by all accounts he’s a very decent man. Born in Puerto Rico but raised in Chicago, Oquendo pitched right in when the island nation of his birth was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. He was personally responsible for relocating Puerto Rican boxing legend Wilfred Benitez and Benitez’s sister, his caregiver, to Chicago where their lives wouldn’t be as hard.

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Bob Arum Hails Terence Crawford (not Lomachenko) as Boxing’s Next Superstar

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Arum says Terence

Top Rank’s Bob Arum says Terence Crawford will become this generation’s Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao–elite boxers who became worldwide celebrity sensations. Arum, who promoted both Mayweather and Pacquiao on the way to their historic crossover statuses expects big things from the undefeated Crawford over the next few years.

“He’s the best fighter in the United States, and he’s so charismatic,” said Arum. “He comes from middle America, and In the next year or so, he will be huge.”

Arum’s assertion is noteworthy for two reasons. First, Arum is also the promoter for Vasyl Lomachenko. Lomachenko is ranked No. 1 pound-for-pound by The Ring, the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. More importantly, Lomachenko seems to have a groundswell of support behind him both in the media and among fight fans.

Lomachenko has also been heavily featured through Top Rank’s television partnership with ESPN. While Crawford has achieved more in his career than Lomachenko (at least in my eyes) and, as noted by Arum, is a homegrown American talent, Lomachenko seems to be considered the more marketable commodity to that network judging by the amount of promotional materials ESPN has pumped out about the fighter over the last year.

The other reason Arum’s claim about Crawford is interesting is the performance of Canelo Alvarez over the weekend in his majority decision rematch win over Gennady Golovkin. Besides Mayweather and Pacquiao, Alvarez is the clear PPV leader among all of boxing’s current commodities, and his status as boxing’s new money fighter should only grow stronger after the best win of his career.

Still, Crawford is one of the few very elite fighters in all of boxing. He’s ranked No. 2 pound-for-pound by The Ring, the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.

While Lomachenko and Alvarez are also candidates to become boxing’s next big thing, there’s no doubt Crawford is also one of the few boxers in the sport right now with the right things in place to become the next Mayweather or Pacquiao.

Omaha’s Crawford is in the midst of an historic run. When he stopped Jeff Horn in round 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in June, Crawford captured a world title in his third different weight class, welterweight. This after Crawford had already captured two lineal boxing championships, as well as multiple alphabet titles, in both the lightweight and junior welterweight divisions.

By any measure, Crawford is truly one of the best boxers in the sport. Not only does he look the part in the ring on fight night (something more and more writers seem to value most when voting for pound-for-pound lists), but the fighter has already accomplished so much in his career that it seems Arum is doing more than the fiduciary duty of promoting his fighter when he ascribes to Crawford such lofty praise.

Crawford, still just 30 years old, is already halfway to matching Mayweather and Pacquiao’s shared record of most lineal championships. Over the course of his career, Mayweather captured lineal championships at junior lightweight, lightweight, welterweight, and junior middleweight. Pacquiao won his as a flyweight, featherweight, junior lightweight, and junior welterweight.

In order for Crawford to grab lineal championship No. 3, most believe he’ll have to go through welterweight phenom Errol Spence. While promotional entanglements might keep this superfight on the shelf for a while, Arum said he had no problem pitting Crawford against Spence in what would be one of the best matchups in recent memory.

“Absolutely,” said Arum when asked about working with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, who represents Spence, to make the fight. Could any response from him be more exciting? Crawford vs. Spence might be the next superfight in boxing. Both fighters are among the very elite, and unlike what ultimately happened with Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, who fought each other well past their peak years, both would be in the prime of their careers.

Winning that fight would certainly go a long way to making Arum’s vision of Crawford’s future come true. And who knows? Maybe Crawford really is the next Mayweather or Pacquiao. Heck, for all we know, he could even be on his way to doing something more.

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