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Articles of 2009

THE KIMBALL CHRONICLES: Waiting For Budd

George Kimball

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Until he was cast in the role of former light-heavyweight Terry Malloy for last summer's two-night performance of Budd Schulberg's ON THE WATERFRONT in Hoboken, Jason Cerbone's most noteworthy fight experience had come in the men's room of the Bada Bing Club, where James Gandolfini beat him within an inch of his life in a 2001 episode of “The Sopranos.”

So how convincing is Cerbone as a boxer? It's difficult to tell one way or the other from the brief fight clip included in Garry Pastore's WAITING FOR BUDD, but Cerbone seems to show a decent jab, effective enough that despite giving away close to a hundred pounds and clutching a script in his right hand, he still had Big Pussy backing up.

And the best part of it was, Budd Schulberg got to watch him do it.

*  *  *
WAITING FOR BUDD had its debut screening on October 29, the final night of the New York International Film Festival, and was enthusiastically received by a select audience that included several members of the Schulberg family, festival judges, and much of the cast. A splendid little gem, WAITING is on one level a documentary about the making of a play and on another a tribute to its iconic author, who attended the second and final night of the star-crossed Hoboken production barely a week before his death. And if one has created the impression that WAITING FOR BUDD might be characterized in some quarters as “The Sopranos” meets “On The Waterfront,” in the words of George Foreman, “they're only saying that 'cause it's true.”

The four principal male leads — Cerbone (Terry), Vincent Pastore (Johnny Friendly), Al Sapienza (Charlie) and Robert Funaro (Father Barry) — are all veterans of the classic HBO series.  Both Cerbone's (Jackie Aprile Jr.) and Vincent Pastore's (Salvatore “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero) characters met unfortunate demises as the victims of mob hits, while Funaro's (Eugene Pontecorvo) hung himself in despair after an unsuccessful attempt to resign from the family business. At least two other “Waterfront” cast members, Garry Pastore (who in addition to directing and co-producing WAITING FOR BUDD, played Big Mac in the Hoboken play), and Arthur Nascarella (Pop Doyle) had also had  prior “Sopranos” roles.

(Lest we appear guilty of profiling here, it might also be noted that 11 members of the 19-character “Waterfront” cast, including Robin Paul, who played Edie Doyle, have also been featured in various incarnations of “Law and Order,” whose bad guys are less ethno-specific.)

In another of those serendipitous degrees of separation, just a year before Rod Steiger (the original Charlie) passed away in 2001, Sapienza, the Hoboken Charlie, had portrayed Steiger's son in “A Month of Sundays.”

The casting, in fact, appears to have been in many cases the outcome of a series of a happy accidents, since most of the actors were chosen following open auditions at the Mayfair Hotel on June 25. (“Who wouldn't want to do 'On the Waterfront?” noted Garry Pastore, who was inspired by the response to the casting call to corral the cameras and record subsequent proceedings on film.)

The New Artists Theatre Company had been founded by Vincent Pastore, Licato, and Puccio. Cousin Garry was there to read Father Barry's and Terry's lines back to the other actors. The deaths that day of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett cast something of a pall on the proceedings among the show-biz crowd.

“Then Chuck Zito arrived, insisting that he wanted to play Terry Malloy,” recalled Pastore. “Now, Chuck is this huge, muscle-bound guy who's sixty years old (only 57, actually) and he's gonna play Terry? and I told [“Waterfront” director) Frank Licato “we really ought to be filming this.

“I just found it so hysterical that Chuck wanted to play Terry,” recalled Pastore. “It planted the seed about shooting footage, because I was sort of amused by the cast of characters who kept coming in to audition. Some were good and some not so good, but they all had heart and gave it their best shot.”

Once filming began, the bulk of the task fell to Fokke Baarssen, a Dutch student at the New York Film Academy, who initially hired on as a production assistant/intern with the Hudson Film Group, but proved to be so valuable that he was in the end listed as Cinematographer and Film Editor for Waiting For Budd.

*  *  *
Rehearsals took place in New York on July 8th and 15th.

The script used was not Schulberg's Oscar-winning screenplay but a stage version written for an ill-fated Broadway run a decade and a half ago that lasted only slightly longer than the two-night stand in Hoboken last July. In the Broadway version, for which Stan Silverman shared writing credit with Schulberg,  the 'incidental music' was composed by David Amram.  Ron Eldard (“Doubt”) played Terry and David Morse Father Barry, while Charlie was portrayed by — you gotta love this — James Gandolfini.

When that play closed after just eight performances, the $2.5 million it cost its backers was at the time a Broadway record for non-musicals.

Last summer's concept was to use professional actors in a staged reading, and in a unique setting — on the same New Jersey waterfront where Schulberg's original masterpiece had been set, and where the 1954 movie had been filmed, but it was not without its own difficulties. Pastore's partner, executive producer Deborah Mello became so ill she was hospitalized a week before opening night.

In advance of the performance, the local media had been invited over for a 'press' day at the waterfront stage, where several members of the cast would be made available for interviews. When the appointed time arrived, not a single newspaper or television station showed up. Only later did Pastore learn that they had all been pulled off the story to deal with the bombshell events of the day — that Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarata had been among those taken down on corruption charges that morning.

“Here we were doing a play about corruption on the waterfront in Hoboken and our press day gets spoiled because the mayor was busted for corruption,” Pastore noted the irony.

Following just a couple of weeks of rehearsal, the July 28th opening night al fresco performance, with the New York skyline serving as a backdrop, was by all accounts  a success. Had the second night proceeded so seamlessly, admitted Pastore, “we probably wouldn't have had a movie,” but mother nature intervened to provide the dramatic tension necessary to drive the second half of the 30-minute film.

*   *  *
On July 29th, 2009 the entire metropolitan area was besieged by a day-long monsoon of biblical proportions. Their faces glued to the screen, Pastore and Licato looked like a couple of guys trying to read tea leaves as they hopefully stared at a Doppler radar screen in a fruitless search for a break in the weather.

Waterfowl were already swimming around in what would have been the stage. Puddles several inches deep had formed on the seats from which the audience would have watched, in the unlikely event an audience had braved the rainstorms at all.

“This is not good,” Pastore reflected as he watched the ducks swim in the newly formed pools on the stage. “This is not comforting.”

By early afternoon it had become apparent that the performance would have to be canceled unless a suitable indoor location could be procured on short notice.

Someone came up with a small auditorium — to be precise, it was the physics lecture auditorium  at Stevens College, but upon reaching that venue, Licato realized that it would be hopelessly inadequate.

“I hate it. We're going to have to cancel,” the play's director sighed to the film's director. At that point Pastore reminded Licato that Budd Schulberg was already on his way to Hoboken.

“Budd's coming? He's definitely coming here?” Licato seemed to immediately reconsider. “I guess even if we have to play just to Budd, we have do do it.”

There seemed to be little choice in the matter.

“The show must go on, right?” agreed Garry.

At this point Licato asked about sound and lighting equipment. Both, it turned out, had been delivered to the school by truck a few hours earlier, but VIncent Pastore made a unilateral decision to send the gear back to Uncle Junior.

“We'd been setting up the stage, Vin and I with a few wooden kegs and crates set for dressing, and a sound guy moved the set dressing to put up this big, ugly oversized speaker that looked like it could be used for a Stones concert,”  recalled Garry Pastore.

Lapsing into his Big Pussy mode, “Vinny pretty much told him to take a [bleepng] hike,” said Garry. “Maybe it wasn't in the nicest tone or choice of words, but it was actually very comical.  I wished I'd had the cameras rolling then, but if I had, Vinny probably would have smashed it at that point.”

“The rain was coming down so hard you couldn't even ask anyone to stand there with a sign to redirect the audience,” recalled Garry Pastore. “Besides, who would have seen it?”

Rounding up the cast proved equally challenging. Some of them had been informed, erroneously, that the performance had already been scrapped. Many of the actors lived in Manhattan, a circumstance which was complicated by the fact that the tunnels were flooding and the George Washington Bridge was hopelessly backed up.

At the Lincoln Tunnel it was even worse than that. With police limiting traffic to a single line of vehicles, all of mid-Manhattan had succumbed to gridlock.  Facing a delay of several hours, Funaro resorted to ingenuity. Donning Fr. Barry's collar, he explained to the cops that he was due to give last rites to Runty Nolan and say a Mass in Hoboken. (Which was, in one sense, true.) In light of this clerical emergency, his car was escorted to the head of the line and Funaro was shortly on his way to Jersey.

*   *   *
The lecture hall had a capacity of 200. Somehow, the word got around in Hoboken, and the show was completely sold out, with standing room only. Budd Schulberg, accompanied by his son Benn, was a late arrival, and was introduced to a standing ovation by the audience.

“The people were in absolute awe of him,” said Pastore.

So was the cast.

“To be able to perform in front of an icon like Budd Schulberg — and to think that it almost didn't happen, Wow!” marveled Robin Paul.

“It was like Burbridge reciting the words back to Shakespeare,” said Joe Dandry. “The fact that I was able to do that is something I'll never forget.”

Word trickled backstage that Schulberg appeared to be “beaming” as he watched the show. When the Oscar winner (and Hall of Fame boxing writer) was later asked about the Hoboken production, he said, “I thought they did an excellent job. I was very pleased.”

Schulberg autographed programs for those who had braved the storm to attend that night. One of them had the temerity to ask him to compare Jason Cerbone's Terry to Marlon Brando's.

Schulberg resisted the temptation to answer “he coulda been a contender.”

“Well, nobody's ever been as good as Brando,” Budd replied with a soft chuckle. “But I liked what (Cerbone) did with it very much.”
Eight days later the 95 year-old Schulberg was dead.

“We got to perform 'On the Waterfront' in front of Budd Schulberg for the last time,” said Garry Pastore, “and what started out as really an incredibly shitty day turned into a night I never, ever will forget, not in my lifetime.”

*  *   *
“For some odd reason, this play was meant to be done, and this little film was meant to be made. Where it goes from here is anybody's guess,” said Pastore.

For the nonce, Pastore's plan is to continue entering WAITING FOR BUDD in film festivals here and abroad. The eventual hope is that it will wind up on television, if not on HBO, Showtime, or PBS, then at least “on a station that really cares about Budd and his legacy, said Pastore. “I know it's a longshot, but if we could win a few awards, maybe we could go for the grandaddy of them all. Since this film is dedicated to Budd, wouldn't bringing home one more Oscar for him be a perfect addition to his legacy?

“As our tagline goes, 'Some things are just meant to be.'”

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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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