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Articles of 2009

Where Have You Gone, Harry Greb?

Springs Toledo

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Black clouds gather fast and break over Forbes Field in Pittsburgh where Tommy Gibbons (51-0) and Harry Greb (159-12) are fighting like hell. It’s the last day of July in 1920. The crowd scatters for shelter in the electrical storm. Thunder crashes as Gibbons, standing over six feet tall with a twenty pound weight advantage, lands his feared right cross flush on the jaw of Greb in round seven. It doesn’t faze the smaller man. Greb is Greb –he’s all over Gibbons from every angle, with punch stats that are off the charts. The lone reporter who had not taken cover under the ring strains to see through the downpour and calls the particulars as his peers scribble away in wet notebooks: “Greb lands a right to the face, a left to the stomach, a right to the ear, a left to the face, a right to the neck…” To Gibbons, lightning seems to strike from every angle.

Almost fifty years later, Francis B. Maloy recalled that this fight was “eerie …like a scene from Dante.”

Only two days earlier, Harry Greb was at Jack Dempsey’s training camp in New York City where he fought his third exhibition in three days with the heavyweight champion. Dempsey, known for sending sparring partners out of the ring sideways, could not handle the man known as the “Pittsburgh Windmill” despite being twenty-five pounds heavier and four inches taller. The last day of sparring ended after only two rounds –Greb landed a right that split Dempsey’s eye wide open.

In September, Dempsey was preparing for an upcoming fight with Billy Miske. Heavyweight “Big” Bill Tate and middleweights Greb and Marty Farrell were his sparring partners. According to the New York Times, “the bout with Greb was a real one… a real honest to goodness battle.” Greb was a “veritable whirlwind” – swarming all over the champion and “forcing him around the ring”. Dempsey was throwing his famous short left hooks and rights but could neither connect nor keep him off. Greb hit Dempsey “almost at will”, at times leaping off the canvas to land shots upstairs.

As the year drew to a close, Greb faced “Captain” Bob Roper at Mechanics Building in Boston. Roper was a journeyman heavyweight known for hard punching and hard ways. With a befitting skull and crossbones patched onto black trunks, he was a disqualified four times in his career and once entered the ring with a live snake around his neck. Despite the presence in his corner of Jack Blackburn (whom Greb had already defeated and who went on to train Joe Louis), Roper did not land more than a half dozen shots on Greb, whose speed and activity was dizzying. The Boston Daily Globe reported that Roper had to cover his face with both hands as a “sea of gloves” came at him. It was “laughable at times” when Roper stretched his neck to avoid overhands to the head that always seemed to land anyway. This was vintage Greb. His aerial assaults from the outside were no less effective than his work inside on a much larger man.

Two years later, Greb would fight Tommy Gibbons again at Madison Square Garden. Since the loss to Greb at Forbes Field, Gibbons earned twenty-one stoppages in twenty-six victories. The winner of this bout would fight Gene Tunney for the American Light Heavyweight title as “a qualifying test” to face Dempsey. Seated amid high society were the interested parties –Tunney and Dempsey. More than 14,000 had come out to see Gibbons, prematurely decreed as “Dempsey’s next opponent”. It was almost a black tie affair. Hundreds of women in evening dress raised the eyebrows of the boys from the Bowery and the Lower East Side but their cheers co-mingled as “society cast aside all aloofness”.

The wrong man won. Gibbons took only three out of the fifteen rounds. The betting figure that favored him was the ratio by which he was out landed in the fight: two-to-one. “I never saw so many boxing gloves in my life,” Gibbons admitted the next day, “his punches seemed to come from everywhere –from the gallery, from under my shoes, from behind my back.”

In May the handicappers at Madison Square Garden got smart and made Greb a three-to-one favorite when he entered the ring against Gene Tunney. Tunney, undefeated before this fight and never defeated afterwards, could not halt the “human hurricane” either, despite being warned by Dempsey himself about Greb’s uncanny abilities. According to the New York Times, Tunney’s exceptional defensive skills were overwhelmed by Greb’s attack and he was “completely at sea for fifteen rounds.” Greb fractured Tunney’s nose in two places in the first round and soon Gene’s handsome features were rearranged into a Picasso painting. Tunney’s corner ran out of adrenaline chloride to stop the bleeding from his nose, mouth, and deep cuts over both eyes. Abe Attell, sitting ringside, ran off to a druggist and returned with a supply which he cuffed to Doc Bagley, Tunney’s chief second. It didn’t matter. Tunney reported that all he saw for most of the fight was a “red phantom”. Greb “was never in one spot for more than half a second,” he said in an interview years later, “all my punches were aimed and timed properly but they always wound up hitting empty air. He’d jump in and out, slamming me with a left and then whirling me around with his right or the other way around.”

Tunney lost every round.

Dempsey ducked Greb.

Dempsey fought Gibbons the year after Greb whipped him, and would later twice lose to Gene Tunney –the second time in the famous “Long Count Fight”. Greb had been calling out Dempsey almost as soon as Dempsey began making waves in 1918, and stepped up the pressure after he knocked out Gunboat Smith in one round the year after Dempsey had knocked Smith out in two. By June of 1922 it got to the point where Greb’s manager showed up at Dempsey’s manager’s office with a generous proposition. It went nowhere. Curiously, King Dempsey was more than willing to fight heavyweights that Greb had already defeated, including not only Gibbons and Tunney, but also Miske and “KO” Bill Brennan. Greb was 2-0-1 against Miske, and Brennan couldn’t beat Greb to save his life –losing all four bouts against Greb inside of one year.

Earlier in the careers, Dempsey and Greb shared several opponents. Among them was Willie Meehan who Greb beat twice though outweighed by thirty pounds. Dempsey posted two losses to Meehan within the same time frame. “The bigger they are,” Tunney asserted, “the less respect Harry had for them… I have seen him virtually climb opponents a foot taller and bring them down to his size.” As late as August 1925, Dempsey was still ducking the 5’8 middleweight, claiming that the only “fight he wanted was with Harry Wills”, who was a 6’2, 213 pound African-American Heavyweight. Dempsey never faced Wills either, though pursued by Wills for years.

At the end of Greb-Tunney fight, Tunney collapsed and had to be carried into his dressing room. Stubbornly refusing to go to the hospital, doctors on the scene stitched up Gene’s face, reset his nose, and used a stomach pump to remove about two quarts of blood, brandy and orange juice, and adrenalin chloride. Greb, unmarked, didn’t look like he even had a fight. He spent the night drinking ginger ale (his preferred beverage) in a speakeasy surrounded by friends.

Happy Albacker was among them. Happy had a secret, but secrets are hard to keep when you’re three sheets to the wind. When the inevitable glass was raised and someone toasted Greb’s victory over the undefeated Gene Tunney “though handicapped by height, weight, and reach”, Albacker blurted out “-and by one eye!” Had it not been for Greb’s ability to parry unexpected blows, the secret would have been out. It would have meant the end of his career.

Harry Greb’s vision in his right eye had been diminishing since the summer of 1921, when Kid Norfolk thumbed him during a particularly violent mill in Pittsburgh. Bill Paxton, the author of “The Fearless Harry Greb,” offers compelling evidence that Greb suffered a retinal tear in the Norfolk fight and so had only partial vision when he faced Gibbons, Tunney, and Tommy Loughren (incidentally, three of the greatest light heavyweights of all time). It is believed that Greb went completely blind in his right eye after his fifth fight with “Captain” Bob Roper. He took almost two months off afterwards (one of his longest periods of inactivity), spent a week in the hospital, and was seen with patches over both eyes. His return fight took place on New Year’s Day, 1923 –against Captain Bob Roper. He would fight sixty-seven more times, take the middleweight title, defend it six times, fight and beat terrors like Tiger Flowers and Mickey Walker, master all-time greats like Jimmy Slattery and Maxie Rosenbloom –all while blind in one eye. 

According to the Boston Daily Globe, Greb earned a few more technical knockouts in Pittsburgh one night, though unofficially. After a female companion in his car was relieved of $95 and a ring on a lonely road in Highland Park by five robbers, Greb reported the incident to the police.

When they arrived on the scene, the officers noticed blood all over the road. It was not Greb’s.

Moved at the ensuing hearing by the weeping wife and children of one of the assailants, Greb offered to post bail. For those close to him, this was not a surprise. Contrary to the myth that he was a half-cocked hell-raiser, Greb was a kind man and a practicing Roman Catholic. There is nothing to suggest that he was anything less than in love with his wife Mildred throughout their courtship and marriage. When she died of tuberculosis in 1923, he was at her bedside. Harry was a faithful husband even if he was not the kind of widower who held a candle.

To his credit, Greb had no regard for color lines. Some boxing historians rightfully hesitate before testifying to the greatness of fighters like Dempsey and Tunney because they would not fight the full range of threats on the spectrum. Tunney never once faced an African American in seventy-seven professional contests. This kind of discrimination affects legacy. It has to. Greb, by contrast, avoided no man. He faced several black fighters beginning as early as 1915 against Jack Blackburn, as well as Willie Langford, Kid Norfolk, Tiger Flowers, Kid Lewis, and Allentown Joe Gans.

Greb’s last fight was in 1926. It was an attempt to regain the middleweight crown he lost to Tiger Flowers. The determined ex-champion turned the clock back and fought well but lost another split decision to Flowers. Most believed that the victory was rightfully his; that he had done more than enough to take back the title. Greb himself said “well, that was one fight I won if I ever won any.” But the windmill was creaking. Greb was finally slowing down.

In September, Greb had his right eye removed and replaced with a glass eye. He confided to a friend that his career was over and that he planned on opening a gym in downtown Pittsburgh. It must have been bittersweet for Greb as he sat in the audience at the Dempsey-Tunney title fight in Philadelphia later that month. He watched Tunney do what he always knew he himself could do if given the opportunity –outbox Dempsey and become world heavyweight champion.

The end was near. After what was supposed to be a non-serious operation on his face, Harry fell into a coma. At 2:30pm on October 22, 1926, the 32-year-old Greb died of heart failure. It was shocking news.

This fighter’s fighter, often seen smiling in the heat of battle and laughing when hit with a good shot, lived only two months after his final bout. Perhaps Greb was a romantic who couldn’t live without the object of his passion. This much is beyond dispute: In a rougher era when boxing was just emerging from the seedy underground and men fought to live, Harry Greb lived to fight.

His legacy dwarfs what we see today. In a career that spanned from 1913 to 1926 and over 300 fights, Greb fought and beat almost a dozen Hall of Famers (including two who were previously never beaten) and champions in four divisions. Ninety years ago, he gave us a boxing milestone that you can bet your house will never be repeated:

Greb fought forty-five times in 1919.

-That’s an average of one bout every eight days against an array of sluggers, boxer-punchers, and defensive specialists. That’s a record of 45-0 against not only other middleweights, but light heavyweights and heavyweights –in one calendar year!

Raise a glass of ginger ale in honor of the Pittsburgh Windmill: a remarkable middleweight who fought them all –any time, any place; the spirit smiling behind every club fighter, contender, and champion who fights with the sudden, ruthless passion of a summer storm …for the glory of it all.

Here’s to you, Harry Greb.

The author wishes to both acknowledge and highly recommend Bill Paxton’s The Fearless Harry Greb, Jack Cavanaugh’s Tunney, Peter Benson’s Battling Siki, and Andrew Gallimore’s A Bloody Canvas. Thanks to the Boston Public Library Microfilm Department, an invaluable resource for locating obscure fight reports. Gregory Toledo can be contacted at scalinatella@hotmail.com

Articles of 2009

UFC 108 Rashad Evans vs. Thiago Silva

David A. Avila

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Former champion Rashad Evans meets Brazil’s venerable Thiago Silva in a non-title belt that can lead to a return match with the current champ, but first things first.

Evans (15-1-1) and Silva (14-1) meet in Ultimate Fighting Championship 108 in a light heavyweight bout on Saturday Jan. 2, at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. A win by either fighter could result in a world title bid. The fight card is being shown on pay-per-view television.

Events can change quickly in the Octagon and anybody can beat anybody in the 205-pound weight division. Just ask Silva or Evans.

Silva and Evans are both experienced and can vouch firsthand about the capriciousness of fighting in MMA and especially as a light heavyweight. On one day this man can beat that man and on another day, that man can beat this man. It can make you absolutely daffy.

Evans, 30, is the former UFC light heavyweight world champion who only defended his title on one occasion and lost by vicious knockout to current champion Lyoto Machida of Brazil. It’s the only defeat on his record.

Silva, 27, is a well-rounded MMA fighter from Sao Paolo, Brazil who is versed in jujitsu, Muy Thai and boxing. He can end a fight quickly in a choke hold just as easily as with a kick or a punch. His only loss came to who else: Machida.

Evans and Silva know a win can push open the door to a rematch with current UFC light heavyweight champion Machida.

“A win against Rashad would put me in the track against Lyoto,” said Silva, in a telephone conference call. “That's what – what I want to do.”

When Silva fought Machida the two Brazilians were both undefeated and feared in the MMA world. The fight took place in Las Vegas and with one second remaining in the first round a perfectly timed punch knocked Silva unconscious.

“I was humbled big time, man,” says Silva who fought Machida in January 2009. “I learned a lot from that fight.  I think I can correct the mistakes from that fight, not overlooking anything else right now, but just I want to get the chance to fight him again.”

For Evans it was a different circumstance. The upstate New Yorker held the UFC title and was defending it after stopping then champion Forrest Griffin by knockout. Still, many felt Machida was far too technically versed. Evans was stopped brutally in the second round.

“I've made it a point to not – to not get distracted on what I want to do, because you know Thiago (Silva) is a very hungry fighter,” said Evans who has not fought since losing the title to Machida last May. “My focus is just on Thiago so much.  You know I don't want to overlook him, you know, not even a little bit.”

Dana White, president of UFC, says the winner of this fight could conceivably fight Machida in the near future. Evans and especially Silva are motivated by the open window.

“I learned a lot from that fight. I think I can correct the mistakes from that fight,” says Silva. “Not overlooking anything else right now, but I just want to get the chance to fight him again.”

What a prize. The winner gets to face the man who beat him: Machida.

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Articles of 2009

No One Is Leaving This Stage Of Negotiations Looking GOLDEN

George Kimball

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Early in his political career, the young Lyndon Baines Johnson served as a congressional aide to Rep. Richard Kleberg, the wealthy owner of the King Ranch who was elected to seven consecutive terms in the House of Representatives, at least in part because he often ran unopposed.

One year an upstart rival politician we'll call Joe Bob had the temerity to challenge Kleberg in the Democratic primary, resulting in the convocation of the Texas congressman's staff to plot an election strategy. Several ideas were kicked around before Kleberg himself came up with a brainstorm.

“Why don't we start a rumor that he [copulates with] sheep?” proposed the politician.

This was a bit over the top, even for Lyndon Johnson. The future president leapt to his feet and said, incredulously, “But you know Joe Bob don't [copulate with] sheep!”

“Yeah,” replied the congressman, “but watch what happens when the son of a bitch has to stand up and deny it!”

******

Events of the past week or two have seen the Floyd Mayweather camp adopt a similar tactic with regard to Manny Pacquiao.  But if introducing what would appear to be a red-herring issue — the debate over drug-testing procedures — to the negotiating process was intended as a negotiating ploy, it would appear for the moment to have backfired.  The idea might have been to force Pacquiao to go on the defensive, but Pac-Man instead responded with his stock in trade, the counterpunch — in this case the multi-million dollar defamation suit he filed against the Mayweathers, pere et fils,, with the U.S. District Court in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

In boxing even more than in life, you never say never, but you'd have to say that Pacquiao-Mayweather is a dead issue right now, at least in its March 13 incarnation. Bob Arum says Pacquiao is prepared to move along to another opponent, and Mayweather is supposedly looking at Matthew Hatton in England.

We'll believe that when we see it, for at least three reasons: (1) There would hardly seem to be enough money in that one to make it worth Floyd's time, (2) He's going to have to put so much into preparing a defense to this lawsuit that he mightn't have time to train and (3) He'd get a better workout if he stayed in Vegas and boxed one of Uncle Roger's girl opponents.

*****

Colleagues on this site have already done a good job of dissecting this process. Ron Borges is absolutely correct in noting that in the midst of all the posturing that's gone on, you'd be a fool to accept at face value anything coming out of any of the parties' mouths. And Frank Lotierzo is spot on in noting that if you had absolutely no desire to actually get in the ring with Manny Pacquiao but were still looking to save face, you'd do pretty much exactly what Mayweather has done. Which is to say, talk tough while you get others to run interference with a series of actions seemingly calculated to ensure that the fight doesn't come off.

But left almost unscathed in all of this heretofore has been the convoluted role played by Golden Boy — by CEO Richard Schaefer, by the company's namesake Oscar the Blogger, GBP's subsidiary enterprise, The Ring, and at least a few of the lap-dogs and lackeys whose favor GPB has cultivated elsewhere in the media.

In late March of 2008, Shane Mosley and Zab Judah appeared at a New York press conference to announce a fight between them in Las Vegas two months later. As it happened, the BALCO trial had gotten underway out in California that week. That day I sat with Judah and his attorney Richard Shinefield as they explained that they intended to ask that both boxers agree to blood testing in the runup to the fight. Citing Mosley's history with BALCO and its products The Cream and The Clear (which Shane claimed Victor Conte had slipped him when he wasn't looking), Shinefield and Zab, noting that Nevada drug tests were limited to urinalysis, proposed that the supplementary tests be administered by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Want to know what Richard Schaefer's response to that was?

“Whatever tests [the NSAC] wants them to take, we will submit to, but we are not going to do other tests than the Nevada commission requires,” said Schaefer. “The fact is, Shane is not a cheater and he does not need to be treated like one.”

But the fact is that Mosley had a confirmed history as a cheater. Manny Pacquiao does not. Yet in the absence of a scintilla of evidence or probable cause, less than two years later Schaefer was howling that the very integrity of the sport would be at risk unless Pacquiao submitted to precisely the same sort of testing he had rejected for Mosley.

And you thought it was Arum who was famous for saying “Yeah, but yesterday I was lying. Today I'm telling the truth!”

Schaefer, by the way, defended his 180-degree turnabout by saying he is now better educated on the issue. He couldn't resist aiming a harpoon at the media by adding that many sportswriters “don't know the difference between blood and urine testing.”

Don't know how to break this to you, Richard, but sportswriters, who have had to deal with this stuff for the past twenty years, probably know more about drug-testing procedures than any other group you could name.

*****

Now, the reasonable assumption would be that by assuming the role of the point man in this unseemly mess, Schaefer was insulating his boss (De La Hoya) and his fighter (PBF) by keeping their fingerprints off it while he made a fool of himself publicly conducting this snide little campaign.  

And yes, Money would have stayed out of the line of fire had not a two-month old, expletive-filled rant in which he described the Philippines as the world's foremost producer of performance-enhancing drugs not exploded on the internet at the most inopportune moment. That the lawsuit was filed less than 24 hours after “Floyd Meets the Rugged Man” overtook the Tiger Watch probably wasn't a coincidence.

And we're assuming that this Dan Petrocelli, the lawyer who filed Pacquiao's suit, knows what he's doing, because if there were an even one-zillionth chance that somebody could credibly link Manny to PEDs, then it was a pretty dumb thing to do. You could ask Roger Clemens about that.  Clemens' transformation from Hall of Famer-in-waiting to nationwide laughingstock didn't come from the Mitchell Report. It came from his wrongheaded decision to file a lawsuit against Brian McNamee, which in turn threw everything open to the discovery process.

*****

De La Hoya, in the meantime, was playing both sides of the fence. He let Schaefer play Bad Cop as he distanced himself from the negotiating process, but simultaneously was sniping away at Pacquiao from his First Amendment-protected perch as a Ring.com blogger.

“If Pacquiao, the toughest guy on the planet, is afraid of needles and having a few tablespoons of blood drawn from his system, then something is wrong…  I'm just saying that now people have to wonder: 'Why doesn't he want to do this?' Why is [blood testing] such a big deal?' wrote Oscar the Blogger. “A lot of eyebrows have been raised. And this is not good.”

Ask yourself this: Exactly what caused those eyebrows to be raised, other than the innuendo coming straight from Oscar's company?

Providing De La Hoya with a forum from which to dispense propaganda  only begins to illustrate the hopelessly compromised position from which The Ring continues to operate. They might as well give Schaefer a column, too, while they're at it.

Nearly seven months have elapsed since we last visited the Ring/Golden Boy relationship, and at the risk of winding Nigel up, it might be useful here to note that in the midst of last June's discourse, The Ring's editor offered a laundry list of the magazine's covers since the De La Hoya takeover as a demonstration of Golden Boy's restraint.

After listing them, Nigel Collins wrote “that's 28 covers over the course of 21 issues, of which Top Rank had 12 fighters, as opposed to eight for Golden Boy and eight for other promotional entities. Obviously, The Ring has shown no bias to Golden Boy when it comes to magazine covers.”

It had never even been suggested that the conflict of interest extended to the magazine playing favorites in choosing its cover subjects, but since Nigel brought it up it is probably worth noting now that of those eight covers given over to “other promotional entities,” two were of David Haye, whose promoter was properly listed as “Hayemaker,” but who had also signed a promotional deal with Golden Boy in May of 2008. (Just last month GBP issued a release in De La Hoya's name in which it described itself as “Golden Boy Promotions, the United States promoter of World Boxing Association Heavyweight World Champion David Haye.”)

And even more to the point, in four other issues Nigel Collins offered in evidence the cover subject was Floyd Mayweather (Independent), although what has transpired with regard to the Pacquiao fight doesn't make Money look very independent at all, does it?

We don't regularly keep track of these things, but in making sure we didn't misquote  Oscar's Blog we also came across a representation of the January 2010 issue on The Ring's website.  The picture on the cover of the Bible of Boxing is of the Golden Boy himself, and the cover story “De La Hoya: The Retirement Interview.”

Wow! Now there's a hot topic for crusading journalists.

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Articles of 2009

Paul Malignaggi Explains Why He Thinks Manny Has Used PEDs

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In theory and in practice I am vehemently opposed to people tossing out unfounded allegations against someone. Supply evidence, then we can talk. But saying someone is using steroids, or EPO, or HGH, based on a theory, or your gut instinct….I have to consider, what if the allegation were thrown at me, and I was 100% innocent. I'd be mightily irked. And so too would you be.

Manny Pacquaio has been hammered from all sides with folks insinuating and coming right out with the contention that they think he's been cheating, that he's been using illegal performance enhancers to give him an edge in competition. Floyd Mayweather Sr, Paulie Malignaggi, Miguel Cotto and Kermit Cintron have either accused Manny, or insinuated that he's been using PEDs. One has to wonder, where's all this smoke coming from? Is it possible that there's fire lurking? That these folks aren't just lobbing unfounded barbs at Manny, that their allegations and hints aren't just sour grapes, or posturing, or a ploy to lure Manny into a fight?

By and large, there hasn't been much in the way of coverage from the standpoint of: what if Manny is using PEDs, or was using PEDs? I think that is rightly so; I'd be more comfortable if none of us trafficked in the innuendo and speculation, and worked within the realm of evidence, and facts. But it's out there, and a topic of conversation and speculation. Perhaps it's a symptom and sign of the times we live in…

TSS reached out to Malignaggi, just off a solid win in his Dec. 12 rematch with Juan Diaz. The Brooklyn-based pugilist has never been shy about speaking his peace (I picture him exiting his mom's womb and barking at the labor and delivery crew to get the room cleaned up, stat!), and he shared with TSS what he bases his allegations, which he's careful to label opinion, upon.

First off, Malignaggi is of the belief that if the Pacquiao-Mayweather negotiations are at a fatal impasse, Yuri Foreman, and not he, will get the coveted date with Pacquiao. Malignaggi has been mentioned as stand-in for Mayweather.

He started off by insisting that ” I have nothing against Pacquiao” but then went from mellow to madman in a 30 second span.

First off, the boxer wonders why Team Pacquiao isn't going after big-time newspapers, with deep pocketed owners, for libel, for insinuating that Pacquiao is drug cheat.

“If Pacquiao's so sue happy, why not sue the New York Daily News?” he asked. “Maybe they know the steroid allegations are true.”

By and large, Malignaggi thinks it is impossible, utterly impossible, for a boxer to put on 15 or more pounds between March 15, 2008, when he fought Juan Manuel Marquez and weighed 129 pounds at the weigh in, and Nov. 14, 2009 when he fought Miguel Cotto and was 144 pounds at the weigh in, and more on fight night.

“It's not natural looking,” Malignaggi said. But, I countered, what if Manny's supremely blessed, that unlike some other fighters who go up in weight, and look a bit bloated, and lack definition, he's just a special creature?

“He's not supremely blessed,” Maliganngi said. “I know body builders. They can't put on 17 or whatever pounds of muscle in a year. It's not doable, in my opinion. These are my speculations, my opinions based on certain factual evidence. Does his weight gain look normal to you? And his head looks like it has blown up in size, too.”

I offered to Malignaggi that perhaps we should be attacking the system, if we believe it to be lacking, rather than the individual.

“We can blame the system a little bit, but if you were Manny, wouldn't you want to leave no doubt? Or speculation?” said Maliganngi, who believes that by not agreeing to the terms set forth by Team Mayweather, and opposing a blood test within 30 days of the bout, Pacquaio appears guilty.

Pacquiao has agreed to take 3 blood tests: the first during the week of the kickoff news conference in early January, the second random test to be conducted no later than 30 days before the fight, and a final test after the bout. A video making the rounds from the HBO 24/7 series shows Pacquiao submitting to a blood test two or three weeks before he was due to fight Ricky Hatton, and that has cast doubt on Team Pacquiao's stance that Manny is disinclined to get a blood test too close to a bout, for fear he may be weakened. Originally, it was reported in error that that test was taken 14 days before the Hatton bout, but subsequent reports pegged the test as being taken 24 days before the scrap. Malignaggi feels Pacquiao has been caught lying, that the report from Team Pacquiao that he “has difficulty taking blood” is a cover story. “Why is he effing lying?” Malignaggi said, heatedly.

The New Yorker doesn't believe too many fighters in the lighter weight classes are using PEDs, but thinks usage isn't uncommon in the heavyweight division. “That's hard to do and make weight,” he said.

The question is asked of Malignaggi: why does the issue make him so steamed?

“I don't like cheaters,” he said. “This is not baseball. You're not just hitting home runs. You have to worry about peoples' lives. Miguel Cotto in my opinion has been beaten by two cheaters. Manny if he's cheating is taking away from guys who are doing things the right way. His team is reneging on their words.”

And what if you're wrong, Malignaggi? What if Manny is clean, and you are hurting his rep with these allegations?

“I bet everything I own that I'm not,” he said. “But we'll never find out. Hey, I would take the test in a heartbeat. I would want people to know I'm clean. He wants to leave doubts!?? His entire legacy is being questioned, he's willing to hurt his legacy and leave $40 million on the table?”

Maliganngi, after reminding TSS that he was correct in predicting he'd be gamed by judges in the first fight with Diaz, insisted that he isn't singling out Pacquiao for a personal vendetta. “”I've never had anything against him. But that's enough now. I call it like I see it.”

What about those who'd say he's just trying to anger Pacquiao, to lure him into a fight?

“No. I expected he'd take the random tests to get this fight. No way I thought he'd throw away everything. That blew me away. It was cool to have my name mentioned.”

Malignaggi thinks the boxing media has dropped the ball, and not exercised due diligence in examining the possibility that Manny has used PEDs.

“I understand most people like Manny, and not Floyd. Just cause that's the case doesn't mean Manny might not be cheating. It's nothing to do with him personally. But I call a spade a spade. Too many people avoid the possibilities because Manny's a likable person. He's got that front, his country loves him. That front works like crazy. Floyd plays the bad guy, but he's natural. Just don't downplay the fact that Manny might be cheating. You have to open your eyes and at least be willing to look at it. This is bigger than me. The fact that the fight is not being made, you have to question the integrity of Pacquiao.”

Malignaggi then offered an analogy to the Manny-refusing-to-be-subjected-to multiple-random-drug-tests prior-to-a-fight-with-Mayweather deal. “It reminds me of the drunk guy who's pulled over at 3 AM. He has a field sobriety test, the cop knows he's drunk, he looks and acts drunk. But he refuses a breathalyzer test. That don't mean the cop don't haul him to the police station.”

I reiterate…I don't think anyone should be casting aspersions based on circumstantial evidence. But with so many people ganging up on Manny, I think fight fans are owed some details on why people are accusing Pacman of using PEDs.

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