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Articles of 2009

RIP, Lady Ali

Bernard Fernandez

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For many boxing fans, female fighters are still an anomaly. Men are supposed to be the hunter-gatherers of the human species, and as such certain occupations have long been thought (at least by guys) as their exclusive preserve. While males go off to war as soldiers, protect our streets as cops and stain boxing rings with their blood, the ladies are supposed to stay home, bear our children, bake us cookies and, if they really need to get out of the house and earn a paycheck, serve society as nurses, secretaries, waitresses, beauticians and, oh, maybe as pole dancers.

It’s like Bette Midler complained in the lead-in to one of the songs in The Rose, 1979’s semi-fictionalized cinematic take on the short, turbulent life of Janis Joplin. “What are we, ladies?” the Divine Miss M rhetorically asked females in the audience. “We are waitresses at the banquet of life.”

Such stereotypical male attitudes, of course, have been the glass barrier women have been attacking and frequently shattering for as long as the more independent among their ranks have imagined themselves to be full and equal partners with their brothers. If you believe you can do something, having a Y chromosome shouldn’t preclude you from making it happen, which is why such contrarians as Susan B. Anthony, Annie Oakley, Babe Didrikson, Amelia Earhart, Gloria Steinem and Sally Ride have periodically stepped forward with a defiant “Yes, I can” attitude.

All of which should give us pause as we consider the life and times of Jackie Tonawanda, who was 75 when she died last Tuesday of colon cancer at Harlem’s Mount Sinai Hospital.

Tonawanda might not be the “pioneer” of women’s boxing – that designation more properly is reserved for such pugilistic predecessors as Polly Burns, Rosie Danvers, Helen Hildreth and Jeanne La Marr (and you’re excused if you never heard of any of them; neither had I until I researched the history of female fighters for this story) – but she was one of the loudest and most visible drum-beaters for the advancement of equal rights in boxing, that most unequal of professional sports.

The self-styled “Lady Ali” applied for a boxing license from the New York State Athletic Commission in October 1974 and was summarily rejected by then-NYSAC head Edwin Dooley on the grounds that to do so would “bring professional boxing into disrepute.” Which is like the pot calling the kettle black, when you get right down to it.

Undeterred by what she perceived as another chauvinistic roadblock thrown up by a man who probably considered June Cleaver – the mom in the 1950s TV series Leave It To Beaver who cheerfully vacuumed rugs and cooked dinner while wearing dresses and a pearl necklace – to be the essence of femininity, Tonawanda sought injunctive relief in the legal system, where a sympathetic judge ruled in her favor with the admonition that “this court will not hold that women should be precluded from a problem exploiting whatever skills they may have in the sport of boxing merely because they are women.”

Thus Tonawanda, along with Cathy “Cat” Davis and the aptly named “Lady Tyger” Trimiar, became the first women to be granted licenses to box by the NYSAC in 1978. But it was Tonawanda who had the distinction of becoming the first female to enter the ring in Madison Square Garden, a bit of history that forever will belong to her, just as Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova will forever have the distinction of being the first woman to blast off into space, in 1978. Ride became the first American woman to leave the earth in 1983.

Dooley no doubt was dismayed to have been judicially forced to let the ladies into his men-only club (and you have to wonder what he’d think of the New York commission now being headed by a woman, Melvina Lathan), but he was hardly alone. When the commission reluctantly granted Tonawanda, Davis and Trimiar their licenses, former heavyweight champion and NYSAC member Floyd Patterson stood in the background, shaking his head.

“I think it’s terrible,” Patterson said. “I always respected women and have been a supporter of women’s lib. But in the boxing ring, no. I can’t stand to see women cutting each other up and spilling blood in the ring.”

In legend and lore, Tonawanda was a smooth boxer, a sort of Willie Mae Pep, with a devastating punch that qualified her as an Ernestine Shavers. Some accounts, such as the tribute story authored by New York Daily News columnist/cartoonist Bill Gallo, cited Tonawanda as having had a 35-1 record, which included 34 victories inside the distance. Gallo also noted that Tonawanda had been a “bodyguard” for Muhammad Ali at his Deer Lake, Pa., training camp. Other accounts have Tonawanda sparring with The Greatest on Sept. 2, 1976, while he was in training at the Concord Hotel in Kiamesha Lake, N.Y., although he reportedly pulled his punches to the extent that none actually landed.

“His combinations were beautiful,” said the curly-haired Tonawanda, who was 5’11” and 175 pounds during her prime. “A jet plane would (finish) second to him.” This was hardly a revelation; no doubt Cleveland “Big Cat” Williams would have said the same thing.

Perhaps Tonawanda was as dominant as self-advertised, or maybe she was just the female approximation of another larger-than-life boxing figure: Don King. Like King, she talked the talk like no other, with enough chutzpah to sell ice to Eskimos, but some insist her actual ring experience consisted of far fewer bouts than she took credit for, and that her skill-set was not nearly as impressive as she would have had listeners believe.

Nonetheless, during an era when women boxers were are rare as whooping cranes spotted in the wild, Tonawanda packaged herself as a stone killer who would have become an icon had only she been born a man. Her argument for her right to acceptance was compelling, regardless of whether her accomplishments justified the hype. Somebody has to carry the banner for gender equal rights, be it Susan B. Anthony for suffragettes or the first bra-burner during the Helen Reddy “I Am Woman” revolution in the 1970s. Tonawanda took that role upon herself, and the walls of Jericho came tumbling down.

Well, maybe not. Those walls are still standing, although they’re missing a couple of bricks. King, the quintessential hypemeister, signed Christy Martin to be his Annie Oakley, the sharpshooter who wowed audiences in Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West shows in the late 1800s. Martin was a featured attraction on a number of King-promoted cards and, in 1996, became the first female fighter to grace the cover of  Sports Illustrated.  Largely because of her popularity, women’s boxing experienced a spurt of unprecedented growth, spawning such recognizable names as Lucia Rijker, Mia St. John and celebrity daughters Laila Ali and Jacqui Frazier-Lyde. Rijker had a prominent role as Billie the “Blue Bear” in 2004’s Million Dollar Baby, which not only was a movie about women’s boxing, but won the Academy Award as Best Picture.

But the boom period of late has been stunted, and what few female fighters still get major exposure do so because they’re comely enough to give major exposure. Not for nothing was St. John, who has physical attributes that have nothing to do with how well she can hook off the jab, featured in a Playboy magazine pictorial.

You can say that Tonawanda was born too soon for that heady period in the 1990s when women fighters gained greater acceptance, but face it: She was never going to get a photo spread in Playboy. It’s all right for a male fighter these days to more closely resemble Carmen Basilio than Oscar De La Hoya, but the path to recognition for their female counterparts remains an express lane only if the faces out front are prettied up with mascara and rouge. A firm bosom and well-turned leg are also marketable assets. Until more bricks are knocked from that figurative wall, sex appeal always will be a major component in male acceptance of women’s boxing.

The mere fact that this story is being posted a week after Tonawanda left this mortal coil suggests that female fighters are still in the middle rounds of a long, tough and interminable fight. But then boxing had bigger fish to fry this past week than to note the passing of an old woman whose exploits remain a matter of conjecture. We were distracted by the International Boxing Hall of Fame induction of Lennox Lewis, Orlando Canizales and Brian Mitchell, the welterweight title fight in Madison Square Garden between Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey, the 84th annual Boxing Writers Association of America Awards Dinner which was attended by 2008 Fighter of the Year Manny Pacquiao, the announcement of the postponement of Floyd Mayweather’s comeback bout against Juan Manuel Marquez. Once again, a woman in boxing had to take a back seat, or more precisely a reclining position in a coffin.

Christy Martin spent the weekend in Canastota, N.Y., where she attended the IBHOF induction festivities for the 14th consecutive year. She knows first-hand that fans were there to praise Lewis, Canizales, Mitchell and the returning Hall of Famers, not to bury Tonawanda.

Nor is Martin herself inclined to shower praise on the departed Jackie, perhaps because Tonawanda made a conscious effort to belittle Martin when she began to rise through the ranks. Protecting one’s era is hardly a phenomenon restricted to boxing; remember how Wilt Chamberlain chided Lew Alcindor/Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as a lesser talent when the young skyhooker made it to the NBA? Kareem, in turn, now finds fault in Dwight Howard. As always, the wheel goes ’round and ’round.

Perhaps Martin, who goes there every year anyway, will become the first female fighter to be invited to Canastota in an official capacity, joining promoter Aileen Eaton in the Hall’s highly exclusive ladies’ club. It all depends on how many more bricks can be knocked from that wall of resistance.

“I never knew her,” Martin said of Tonawanda during a phone call from the central New York hamlet that has become to boxing what Cooperstown, N.Y., a mere hour’s drive away, is to baseball. “I never saw her fight. Obviously, she must have loved the sport of boxing. I give her credit for that.”

Of the putdowns Tonawanda hurled at her, Martin wonders why another female fighter felt the need to go after another in such a manner.

“I never said I was the pioneer,” Martin said. “I never said that. I just wanted to fit in.”

Tonawanda always was something of a round piece trying to wedge herself into a square hole, which might have accounted for her obstinance. But no one can say she didn’t go down fighting.

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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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