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Articles of 2009

Joey Gamache's Final Fight, For Truth, Justice: Part 2

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After suffering his second beatdown as a pro, to Gussie Nazarov in 1994, Joey Gamache and those close to him searched for reasons why.

The easiest and most popular deduction to make in situations such as this, is: it's someone else's fault. That someone can be the promoter, for not giving you enough time or money to train properly for the fight; the officials working the fight, who had it in for you from the start; your wife, or ex wife, for nagging you and keeping you from concentrating completely on the task at hand; your trainer, for coming up with a subpar gameplan, which didn't play to your strengths; the matchmaker, for matching you up with a foe that didn't allow your strengths to stand out. That's a partial list, of course; historically, bad breakfasts, lumpy hotel beds, excessive Vasoline and poisoned water bottles have been affixed blame after a man's plans go awry. All are explanations–never “excuses”– the reasons given for a loss are simply explanations for that bad outing, which of course must be seen as an aberration, not a symptom of that most common disease which afflicts us all but ravages an athlete in particularly cruel fashion, aging.

Nazarov was a 28-year-old Russian who'd never fought in the US before he came onto Joey's turf, in Portland, Maine on Dec. 10th, and he got down to business in bone-breaking fashion at the outset. He broke Gamache's nose with a vicious left hook midway through the first and dropped Gamache twice in the second round. The second time, Gamache tried to beat the count, but the rest of his body over-rode his balls.

“I have absolutely no excuses,” Gamache said after. “He surprised me. He was exceptionally strong. He tagged me early and he rocked me. I just never got on track. Not at all. I came into this believing in myself. Not overconfident, but very confident. I worked as hard as I could. Sacrificed. And the better man won.”

Joey Gamache is one less afraid to buck tradition, and focus on the most logical suspect in the hunt for the reason why he'd lost another high profile bout: himself. So after Nazarov gave him the business, and he conceded that Nazarov was the superior fighter on that night, he started looking in the most logical spot for answers: the mirror.

Did I get old, he asked himself.

Do I have too many miles on me?

Has the game passed me by?

Was I really all that I was advertised to be, or not?

He wondered if it was time to pull the plug on the romance, if a breakup with boxing was the smart move. The rollercoaster ride in the sweet science had started off pleasant enough, and took some thrilling turns. The 1991 WBA super featherweight title win over Jerry Ngobeni in Lewiston was a trip. The WBA lightweight title victory over Chil-Sung Chun the next year, also in Maine, no one would ever be able to taint that memory. But the next bout was the loss to Tony Lopez, and the ride got rougher still with the Nazarov effort.

He asked himself those questions, but some people around him thought it wiser to find another villain. As so often happens, they locked in on the guy that sounded a bit different, who didn't blend in seamlessly, a fella who by virtue of a congenital inability to suppress his righteous indignation, especially when it came to the fight game, his sainted yet imperfect betrothed.  Some folks around Gamache pointed the finger at Johnny Bos, the advisor who'd been instrumental in getting Gamache to a certain place. They'd been together, the soft-spoken Mainer and the easily excited Brooklyner, since Joey was 3-0 as a pro. Bos got him some gigs on undercards in France, and had stuck together ever since. “He had three fights in Maine and was kind of in limbo,” Bos said. “I got a call from the Acaries brothers in France. They were looking for an American Frenchman to build up. I didn't have anybody. I thought Joey was Italian.” Joe's dad, Joe Sr., he and Bos didn't mesh. Two men with sturdy ideas of the right way to do things, quite sure that their method is far and away the wisest. Joe the younger was caught in the middle, a nice guy not inclined to take a side, break a tie, keep both sides in line, even though it was his tuchus on the line in the arena.

The Bos-Gamache pairing worked, by and large, and it's not like Gamache couldn't have tucked in with a more mainstream advisor. Bob Arum and Don King both dangled dough and promises in front of Joey’s nose. One good thing about Bos, he knew a bit about roller coaster love affairs; he’d been married to boxing since he was about ten. He missed school many days, but never the Gillette Cavalcade of Sports, the Friday Night Fights of the late 1960s. The game was a pretty good wife to him, for the most part. It kept him out of as much trouble as he’d likely have found without an intense vocational focal point, and gave him something to latch on to when his boozing and drugging threatened to overwhelm him in the 80s. “Boxing's always been a sport for the down-and-out people,” he said once. “My kind of people. Me.” But sometimes rather than faithful spouse, boxing played the part of cruel mistress. Bos loved and loves boxing so much, he wants it to be the best it can be. Instead of going along, and getting along, he’ll launch into a spiel morning, noon or night about the sports’ inefficiencies. The gloves, the number of rounds, the refusal to allow lidocaine shots to fighters with balky hands, Bos will critique his mistress mercilessly, and she has not taken it mutely. Boxing has answered back, shoved Bos back, withheld favors from the man. He will tell you he has been blackballed, and since you know the depth of his knowledge in the game, even though you have no concrete proof that he has been blackballed, you do not dismiss his claim. Knowing what you know about the game, and life, today, you don't dismiss his claim.

Back in 1994, boxing hadn't yet beaten Bos down, or brought Gamache to the the scene of the final battle of his career as a prizefighter, the New York Court of Claims. But the sport was testing him, on a daily basis, querying his mettle. He'd answered, by taking on drywall jobs, just a week after the Nazarov loss. Maybe, he thought, this is it. Maybe I was what the detractors said I was. Maybe this is my place, hanging sheetrock. I can do it in my sleep, and expectations are manageable.

But the siren beckoned. Questions weren't erased as tried out the 9-to-5 laborer life. How do I want to go out? On a bum note? Or on my terms, with my head screwed on straight, no girlfriend problems, or issues with my dad hanging in the air, distracting from the task at hand? So down went the drywall, and on went the gloves.

Gamache exiled himself to New York, and took on a new manager, New Jerseyite Lenny Shaw, to make things happen, do some dealmaking for another title shot, as Bos set up soft and semi-soft touches to get his confidence back, and get him acclimated to 140. That he did, with the help of Tim Bonds and Tony Enna, both of whom he beat twice in a one-year span in 1995-1996. Gamache won a minor-leagueish title, the WBU junior welter crown, on March 31, against Rocky Martinez, then 20-1 but with a record built on a flimsy foundation. The money was nothing to write home about, let along buy a home with. He beat Martinez in front of maybe 600 people at the Sullivan Gymnasium at the University of Southern Maine, made 20 Gs. After, Gamache still had questions. In a boxer, being a ponderer typically isn't a great trait. Having a philosophical bent, being prone to mull issues over, instead of simply accepting, and concentrating on positives, can be self destructive. After the Martinez bout, Gamache still lay in his bed at night, and stewed. “I want to take some time off and evaluate this fight,” he said.  “I want to know if it was me or whether he was just that good. I was standing still too much. I don't know why.”

That question lingered, but Gamache's pride overrode some of the likelier answers. Aging was why. Mileage. The way of the world. It's a younger, fresher man's game. Gamache was 29, positively aged in the lower weight divisions, especially for someone with over 100 amateur bouts under his belt. But he submerged the questions as Bos got to work on a money fight. He employed a technique we all do, of benign delusion, and told himself that once his personal life smoothed out, his ring performances would benefit. Long term boxers often fall prey to a dangerous mindset, that of the “I am owed a fat payday.” They have devoted scads of hours, and allowed relationships to wither, and tortured themselves, and deprived themselves, and possibly harmed themselves neurologically down the line for so long…so they believe a payoff bout is owed to them. In a perfect world, it would be owed to them. But there is often no direct correlation between what someone is owed, and what they receive. That mom two doors down from me, the one with four kids, the one whose husband died of a heart attack at 44, who cleans houses five days a week, and works in the convenience store on Saturday and Sunday so she can keep her kids in a nice, safe neighborhood, she deserves a windfall. She deserves a big pile of money, if we're rewarding people based on their effort, and their decency. That friend of a friend who works for the hedge fund, the kid whose dad pulled a load of strings to get him into Princeton, and then into the firm even though he majored in cocaine and date rape in college, the guy who pulls down more in a quarter than that lady down the street will in her lifetime, this guy deserves a smackdown, so he can get a taste of how the Have Nots live. But ours is not a merit based world, and this is why so many are attracted to the idea of an after life where the scales of justice aren't tipped by power or money, where bad people get their due, and good souls receive what is rightfully theirs. A fighter who early on understands and accepts that the equation of effort + time + talent = fat payoff is the exceptional path, not the normal one, is ahead in the game.

Bos hunted it down, that back-to-the big-leagues bout, and put out some calls. Julio Cesar Chavez, the legend who was now on the slippery slope of the downside, coming off his first loss to Oscar De La Hoya, was needing a dance partner. At 34, Chavez had just two losses on his ledger, to Frankie Randall in 1994, and De La Hoya (TKO4). Chavez wanted to hold onto the baton, keep his run as the reigning idol to Mexican fight fans and to Hispanics intact. De La Hoya, at 23, had already picked up three crowns (WBO feather, WBO lightweight, IBF lightweight), but fight fans wondered if he had the stones enough to get the better of the vet taking part in his 32nd title fight. He did, from minute one, and he opened up a sick gash on his left eye which caused the ring doc to stop the proceedings in the fourth round. After the tussle, Chavez grasped for an explanation, and offered an all-time great: his three year old kid had head-butted him three days before the fight, and opened a cut on his tattered visage. Another handful of formerly devoted Chavez devotees drifted away from their icon, finding his parade of excuses unseemly. But he marched on, as there was pride to buoy, and the taxman to satisfy. Four months after he had his baton yanked away from him by the Golden Boy, Chavez was booked into a slide-stopper, a bout to arrest the inevitable snowballing slide. “The payoff, that was an element in taking the Chavez fight,” Gamache says. “That was the biggest payday of my career, $250,000.” But taking the Chavez bout was by no means purely a fiscal play. Gamache saw a fighter in decline. “He wasn't getting any younger. This is my way back, I thought, my fight back to the big leagues. It was the right time to catch this guy. I saw it as an opportunity for redemption for my two losses.”

So Chavez vs. Joey Gamache was booked, two guys looking to redefine their role in the sport, their worth as an athlete. They would fight on Oct. 12, 1996 in Anaheim, California. The bout wouldn't go Gamache's way, but he would leave Anaheim answering a question in his mind about his worth as an athlete, a fighter, a man.

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

A Very Special New Year's Day Column

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It has been just over four months since Nick Charles, the play-by-play announcer for Shobox: The New Generation, was diagnosed with stage IV bladder cancer and forced to take a medical hiatus from the monthly show that has aired since 2001.

Since then he has undergone grueling chemotherapy treatments that have resulted in him losing all of his hair as he forces himself to live as normal of a life as possible. Through sheer force of will, as well as the strength and support that he receives from his wonderfully loving family and his strong Christian faith, the 63-year-old Charles has managed to keep his weight up while not falling prey to the always lingering threats of depression, cynicism and negativity.

If one was unaware that he was battling such an insidious disease, you’d never know from talking on the phone to him that he has been to hell and back. He has lost none of the inspiring energy that has endeared him to members of the boxing community and legions of worldwide viewers.

“I’m doing great,” Charles said during a telephone conversation on December 30th. “I’ve been off the chemo for a month, and the doctors have told me that I’m 80 percent in remission. I’m going to see them again in three months. It may come back, but if it takes one year, or two years, or however long, I’m going to make the most of the good time.”

As physically and emotionally wrenching as the grim diagnosis and subsequent treatment has been, even for someone as perpetually positive as Charles, the longtime announcer said a lot of good things have come from it.

Having been married three times, Charles is the father of four children: Jason, 38, Melissa, 34, Charlotte, 22, and Giovanna, 3 ½.

While Charles is not big on regrets, he is the first to admit that he wasn’t always there for his older children. For many years he traveled the world as a CNN correspondent, often putting the demands of his career above all else, including those closest to him. Nowhere was the strain more evident than in his relationship with Melissa.

Having been divorced from Melissa’s mother since 1977, Charles said his relationship with that daughter has been especially “hot and cold, all of our lives.”

His illness has enabled them to forge a relationship that has been “based on a massive amount of forgiveness and understanding.”

“This has had a tremendous healing effect on both of us,” said Charles. “My illness has had a fortifying effect on a lot of things, the most important of which is my relationships with my family.”

That also includes his first wife, with whom he has had an often acrimonious relationship over the past three decades.

“It took a long time for the scab to become a scar, but we had lunch one day and it was so great to once again see the gentle, soft sides of each other,” he explained. “The whole divorce process creates a hardness that doesn’t always go away.”

Charles is also the grandfather to three children, some of whom are about the same age as his youngest daughter. He jokes that he has a “nuclear 21st century family” because of the similar ages of two generations of children. One of the hardest things for him has been the realization that he can’t always play with them in manner in which he would like.

“The hemoglobin is the fuel in your tank, so when it’s low you can’t will yourself to do things no matter how much you want to,” said Charles. “You can’t just sleep it off or work through it. I don’t want the kids to wonder why I can’t play in the backyard with them, or kick a soccer ball, or throw them in the air.”

Particularly difficult is when Giovanna reminds her father of how handsome he is, but then innocently asks him what happened to his hair, eyebrows and lashes.

“You try to keep things on a need to know basis, which is not easy when dealing with curious kids,” said Charles.

While Charles might look like the kind of guy that things have often come easy to, the reality is that his beginnings were far from auspicious. But, he says, his often challenging Chicago childhood blessed him with the steely resolve that has helped him so much during the arduous journey he is now on.

“I had it pretty rough growing up,” he explained. “I remember the lights and the heat being shut off and eating mustard sandwiches. I went to work at 13 and always had insecurities about the future. But I always expected and saw the best in people, so when I got sick, never once did I say 'Why me?”

Since taking a leave of absence from Shobox, the outpouring of support from the boxing community has warmed Charles’s heart. For a guy that is battling for his life, he actually considers himself fortunate to be surrounded by so much goodness in both his personal and professional lives.

“I always hear that boxing people are ruthless, but I couldn’t disagree more,” said Charles. “I’ve probably received about 1,000 e-mails, and people are always following in sending their best wishes. From the relatively unknown people in boxing to many of the more famous people, there has been an outpouring of true affection.”

Charles said that the Top Rank organization has been exceedingly kind and gracious. He was touched beyond description when he learned that officials in Oklahoma got special permission to have a seamstress sew “Keep Fighting Nick” onto their sleeves. He chokes up when talking about cut man Stitch Duran giving up an endorsement opportunity so he could put Charles’s name on his outfit. He never tires of hearing shout-outs from fighters on television.

Charles has always been a people person with an inordinate faith in the goodness of his fellow man. Battling this illness has only made his already strong faith in humanity even stronger.

“Adversity is a great teacher, and it really teaches you who your genuine friends are,” said Charles. “I have a lot of friends.”

He also has a remarkable wife, Cory, a CNN producer to whom he has been married for 11 years. She is the daughter of an electrician, a self-made woman who exudes all of the warmth of her native Brooklyn. She has reinforced her husband’s spiritual base by her love, optimism and strength of character.

“If I get down, she reminds me to not get too caught up,” said Charles. “I believe in eternity, and that has put me pretty much at peace.”

More than anything else, Charles wants to get himself back behind a microphone sooner rather than later, and hopefully on Shobox. He is the first to admit that viewers “don’t watch the series to see Nick Charles,” but he is proud of the fact that he was “part of the identity” of such a popular show.

“And people love comeback stories,” added Charles. “That’s the message I’m getting from the people out there.”

In boxing the word “champion” is often overused because it pertains only to winning belts and receiving worldwide recognition for being the best at your craft. The reality is that life’s real champions have other qualities, such as the innate ability to treat people well and always make them feel better about themselves, especially when the recipients of the goodwill are in no position to give them anything back.

By that standard of measure, Charles is as much, if not more of a champion than all of the boxers he has covered during the nine years that Shobox has been on the air.

I know I speak for scores of others when I say, “Happy New Year, Champ. We hope that you are the comeback story of the year in 2010.”

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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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