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Articles of 2009

Will Dan Goossen Finally Lay That Golden Egg?

Bernard Fernandez

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Trying to analyze the up-and-down career of promoter Dan Goossen presents a challenge to those whose only recourse is to draw analogies … lots and lots of analogies.

To some, Goossen is like the hyperventilating Wall Street speculator dealing in sow-belly and frozen orange juice futures. He has made and lost fortunes, but, regardless of whether he is flush or busted at any given moment, you know he’ll be back on the floor of boxing’s stock exchange again, trading like crazy in the hope of making that really big score.

To others, Goossen is like the common cockroach, which survived the Ice Age while mighty dinosaurs perished from the earth. Not the most appealing of images, but then maybe there is a nobility in any creature’s refusal to be eradicated.

Not surprisingly, Goossen rejects the cockroach analogy. Then again, he doesn’t exactly equate himself with a dinosaur, reserving that designation for septuagenarian competitors Don King and Bob Arum.

“I’d prefer a parallel to the Buffalo Bills,” said Goossen, 59, referring to the 1990s AFC powerhouse that advanced to four consecutive Super Bowls at the conclusions of the 1990 through ’93 seasons, only to come up short each time in the NFL’s ultimate game. “They were always there, always close to the top, but never won the big one.”

During the America Presents stage of his meandering journey down boxing’s side roads and grand boulevards, Goossen often was depicted as the New York Yankees, spending millions on free agents and hotshot rookies as if he were a replication of deep-pocketed George Steinbrenner. But not only did America Presents miss wide right, as kicker Scott Norwood did in the closing seconds of a 20-19 loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXV, Goossen’s dreams of empire fell apart like a house of cards when it was discovered that he and partner Mat Tinley actually were a small-market franchise, overextending themselves on money from Tinley’s billionaire, cable-magnate uncle, Bill Daniels, the executors of whose estate turned off the cash spigot when Daniels passed away, after a long illness, on March 7, 2000, at the age of 79.

The Denver-based Daniels was a generous philanthropist, contributing to any number of charities in addition to indulging nephew Mat’s boxing jones, but he made no provisions in his will for his largess toward Tinley to extend beyond his own life span. When the bills began blowing in like a November blizzard over the Rocky Mountains, Goossen voluntarily bailed or was forced out later in 2000, depending on whose version of the story you choose to believe. Whatever the circumstances, America Presents ceased operations the following year when Tinley no longer could pay the freight and his stable of quality but disgruntled fighters began to drift away like the lyrics from that Dobie Gray song.

Tinley hasn’t been heard from since, but Goossen is still around, still making waves as president of Goossen Tutor Promotions. He is like the proverbial cat – See? Another analogy! – that, when tossed high in the air, somehow manages to land on its feet, or paws as the case might be.

If everything falls just right, as it almost did for his initial start-up operation, Ten Goose Boxing, and then for America Presents, the big Irish-American lug with the hearty laugh and gregarious nature could scoot up the charts as rapidly as did the latest Beatles song in the magical spring of 1964. It’d be like Scott Norwood nailing that field goal and being carried off the field on his teammates’ shoulders while peering into the camera and proclaiming, “I’m going to Disney World!”

Consider the possibilities:

—Chubby, bomb-throwing Chris Arreola (27-0, 24 KOs), a Goossen Tutor fighter, has at least a puncher’s chance to dethrone WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko (37-2, 36 KOs) in their Sept. 26 title bout at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

—Undersized but fast-handed Eddie Chambers (35-1, 18 KOs), who is co-promoted by Goossen Tutor (along with Rob Murray Jr.) and is coming off an impressive majority decision over previously undefeated Russian Alexander Dimitrenko in Berlin, just might be quick and elusive enough to shock IBF/WBO heavyweight titlist Wladimir Klitschko (53-3, 47) in a fight whose date and time has yet to be determined, although signs point to a Dec. 12 meeting in Germany.

Should Arreola and Chambers hit their respective lotteries, as Buster Douglas did against Mike Tyson in 1990 – and let’s not forget that all five of the defeats incurred by the Klitschko brothers came on stoppages – Goossen immediately becomes the heavyweight division’s premier power broker. He could have his new champions chart separate courses or pit them for the mostly undisputed title, although some allowances would have to be made for the WBA belt held by 7-foot Russian oaf Nikolai Valuev.

Oh, and don’t forget 41-year-old James Toney (71-6-3, 43 KOs), a world champion as a middleweight, super middleweight and cruiserweight, and Manuel Quezada (28-4, 18 KOs), who is rated No. 4 by the WBC. They’re heavyweights in the mix who both scrap under the Goossen Tutor promotional banner and could be factors at some point.

Goossen also holds paper on such quality fighters as middleweight Paul “The Punisher” Williams (37-1, 27 KOs) and super middleweight Andre Ward (19-0, 12 KOs), each of whom could gain admittance to the exclusive superstars club.

“We’re always knocking at the door,” Goossen said. “We’ve always been there, going back to the early days. We’ve been steady and consistent in building talent. I’m very proud of what we’ve done as a team throughout the years.”

So what happens if the dominoes begin to tumble and Goossen finds finally finds himself The Man?

“(The possibility of such success) won’t change me, but in the future please call me Mr. Goossen,” he said, laughingly, of the way the jigsaw puzzle is being fitted together. “Quite frankly, I haven’t thought too much about what might happen, but with victories – which I believe Chris and Eddie both can achieve – we would be in a very advantageous position. But I’ve been around too long to anticipate anything.”

Goossen has been on the cusp before. Ten Goose, the Sherman Oaks, Calif., mom-and-pop operation – actually more of a sibling act, as Goossen has seven brothers and two sisters who all pitched in to varying degrees – began modestly in the early 1980s in Sherman Oaks, Calif., with a backyard ring and several promising young prospects on which the fledgling company could build.

Foremost among them was Michael Nunn, a supremely gifted middleweight from Davenport, Iowa, who the Goossens saw as their express lane right to the big time. And Nunn, who did win the IBF middleweight title by beating Frank Tate in 1988 and held it through five defenses, might have completed the trip all the way up the mountain had he not began listening to other voices. The Goossens had Terry Norris for a while, too, and heavyweight knockout artist David Tua. But the breakthrough to boxing’s inner sanctum never quite happened.

“We thought we had our superstar when we signed Nunn in ’84,” Goossen recalled. “He beat Frank Tate (for the IBF 160-pound crown) in ’88 and we began to think we had the future of boxing, which Nunn probably should have been, but his career went south when he began hanging out with the wrong people, people who gave him bad advice and drove a wedge between him and us.

“The list goes on and on. We could have hit the jackpot with Tua vs. Lennox Lewis, but didn’t. With Terry Norris when we had him. We had a lot of really good fighters, like the Ruelas brothers (Gabriel and Rafael, both of whom went on to win world titles).  But we never quite got all the way there.”

After Ten Goose’s goslings flew off in different directions, Dan caught on with Arum’s Top Rank operation, where he remained until he resigned in 1996 to become president of America Presents, whose founder and CEO, Tinley, figured he could spend his way to instant success with Uncle Bill footing much of the bill.

The piece d’resistance was when America Presents signed the United States’ only gold medalist at the Atlanta Olympics, Philadelphia’s David Reid, to a five-year contract that included a $1.5 million signing bonus. It was reported that, if Reid met all the provisions in his contract, he would earn as much as $14.4 million over the life of the deal, and potentially much more than that.

“He’s the best amateur to come out of the American Olympic program since Sugar Ray Leonard,” Tinley said at the time of the signing. “He’s good speed, talent and power.”

But Arum, whose five-year, $7 million offer to Reid didn’t come close to America Present’s package, questioned whether his new competitors were being financially prudent.

“The figures I’m hearing are insane,” Arum harrumphed when he lost out on Reid. “(America Presents) is going way, way out on a limb with this contract. It’s like these people don’t know the business.”

Reid fared reasonably well in the short term. He received an impressive $200,000 for his pro debut, a four-rounder against Sam Calderon that was televised by HBO on the undercard of the first pairing of Roy Jones Jr. and Montell Griffin and, after winning his first seven bouts, three of which were on HBO, Reid signed a multifight deal with the premium-cable giant on Feb. 4, 1998, that might have made him a multimillionaire had he fulfilled the promise Goossen and Tinley believed he had.

But a recurring ailment, a drooping left eyelid, stamped Reid as a medical risk, which might have prompted his handlers to move him more quickly than was advisable. Although Reid won the WBA super welterweight championship by outpointing Laurent Boudouani on March 6, 1999, and successfully defended the title twice, he was hammered unmercifully in his March 3, 2000, defense against Felix Trinidad, going to the canvas four times although he somehow managed to last all 12 rounds.

Reid won his next three bouts, albeit against third-tier opponents, before prematurely flaming out, as had Nunn, on a ninth-round TKO to journeyman Sam Hill on Nov. 11, 2001, in that noted boxing hotbed of Elizabeth, Ind.

“David Reid just woke up one day and was finished,” said former WBA lightweight champion Sean O’Grady, then a boxing analyst for Fox Sports Net.

And so, too, for all practical purposes, was America Presents. The company had expanded too fast, signing as many high-upside prospects and big names as it could, as if they were trading cards to be hoarded. Just when it was thought that there were no more headline-grabbing splashes for Goossen and Tinley to make, they signed Mike Tyson, who was coming off four months in jail for assaulting two middle-aged motorists in a chain-reaction fender-bender, to a megabucks contract.

“He’s still the most exciting fighter in the world today,” Goossen reasoned. “He’s still the most dangerous fighter in the world today. If you were to build a heavyweight from scratch, you’d build Mike Tyson.”

In 1985, maybe. But not in September 1999. This Tyson took large advances against future purses and, not surprisingly, declined to pay them back. America Presents’ investment in the rusted, disinterested Iron Mike was akin to throwing mounds of money into a bottomless pit.

It also didn’t help the situation that Goossen, falsely presuming that the gravy train of his new gig would keep on chugging, developed a fondness for five-star hotels, fine cuisine and chartered jets. At the time of his departure from the America Presents, most of the company’s fighters and employees had received checks that didn’t clear, or were promised and never delivered.

But while old fighters, like old soldiers, might fade away, promoters always seem to survive to fight another day. The America Presents debacle had scarcely been laid to rest when another money man, construction magnate Ronald Tutor, stepped forward with the capital for Goossen to launch another project.

“I grew up with Dan and the Goossens,” Tutor said. “We’ve very close friends.”

And, indeed, this time around the mistakes of the past seem to have been eliminated. Goossen is going back to his roots as it were, forsaking the flashy, high-risk moves for the steadier, incremental progress of a day laborer building something to last.

“We went after too many, too soon, too fast,” Goossen said of his America Presents misadventure. “I’ve always been one to build from the ground up and not try to buy your way to the top. I think it’s the wrong formula for success. That’s the way the New York Yankees do it. They always have the highest payroll in baseball by far, but how long as it been since they’ve won the World Series?

“I tried to tell Mat that maybe we ought to, you know, slow down, but when things took off we just sort of let it snowball. Maybe it shouldn’t have happened the way that it did, but what’s done is done.”

Ironically, Toney is the Goossen reclamation project that represents a link not only to the past, but maybe to the future.

Nunn had only recently left Ten Goose when he took on the mostly unknown Toney on May 10, 1991, in Davenport. Goossen was on hand, in a minor-league baseball stadium, for what figured to be another perfunctory victory by Nunn over another 20-1 underdog.

The script was followed for a while, Nunn winning handily on points, until Toney lived up to his “Lights Out” nickname by chilling the champion with a perfectly timed left hook in the 11th round.

“I’d be lying if I thought James, at that point, would go on to become a legendary fighter and a first-ballot lock for the (International Boxing) Hall of Fame,” Goossen said. “I did know he was a good, young fighter because back then Nunn was a tough man to beat. But James proved he had staying power, didn’t he? He just refused to go away.”

Like the common cockroach and, it now appears, Dan Goossen.

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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