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Mayweather vs. Pacquiao: 10 Questions You Want Answered?

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The questions, should we be so fortunate, will be answered May 2. And that, most all the hardcore boxing fans say, because we’ve waited, sometimes impatiently as talks heated up and faltered, is something to rejoice.

Who is the pound for pound top dog? Has Floyd Mayweather lost a step, or two, and can Pacman capitalize, or is his power reservoir depleted?

Here are ten pressing question for you to ponder as we tick down these finals days before boxing’s Super Bowl, circa 2015, compliments of KO Digest editor Jeffrey Freeman.

1. Will the fight actually happen on May 2nd as scheduled?

While it seems preposterous to ponder the possibility of boxing’s biggest ever money grab going the way of Mayweather vs. Pacquiao in 2009, all signs point to it finally happening—at last. The contracts are signed. The tickets are sold. The pay-per-view price has been announced. Fight Week has kicked off in Las Vegas for Superfight 2015. But still, not everyone is convinced and cynical skeptics are taking a wait and see approach. As evidenced on Pacquiao’s aborted media conference call, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is at his wit’s end. There is a palpable tension now. Perhaps the lack of press tour promotion was just what “Doctor Moonves” ordered in order to prevent somebody involved from poisoning the well and bringing down the whole fight along the way. Many of these people don’t like or particularly respect each other and it’s been amusing watching them try to pretend otherwise for the sake of a punching payoff. Yes, the fight will happen on May 2nd and that’s the scoop, so pay up Malinowski.

2. What’s at stake between the two combatants?

The huge money involved in the “biggest fight of all time” is all but guaranteed. A 60/40 split in favor of Mayweather should leave “Money May” with at least $120 million dollars and Pacquiao with approximately $80 million dollars. There will of course be other economic residuals and to the boxing insider, it will feel like the sport itself is being cashed out, its fans fleeced for all they’re worth. What’s not guaranteed is what’s truly at stake and that’s what all the fighting is really about: The undisputed welterweight championship of the world, the top spot on any reputable pound-for-pound list, status as this generation’s very best prizefighter, and the enduring legacy that comes with being the winner of the once endless Mayweather vs. Pacquiao saga. Barring a draw or some other unforeseen event that muddles resolution, boxing’s elite scorecard will become crystal clear for the first time in a very long time. When the best fights the best, the loser is second best. The winner is THE best. That’s how it works and that’s what’s at stake.

3. Why did it take so long to get the fight made?

Big egos and bad attitudes. Both participants are “A-side” boxing superstars but Floyd Mayweather is, many say, an egomaniac who likes to humiliate and belittle his opponents. The prideful Pacquiao is not a man who easily abides being humiliated or belittled. For quite some time, it was true that as much as both men needed each other to get to where we all are today, they were both quite willing to go their separate ways against other opponents for lesser, though still lucrative, paydays. That cycle went on for as long as it could until Pacquiao got knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012 and Mayweather ran out of economically credible opponents in 2014 after back to back fights against Marcos Maidana. With just the right amount of vulnerability showing between them and with fans willing to show Mayweather and Pacquiao the money for finally trading punches, the time is now right for all involved.

4. Would the result have been different 5 years ago?

Both boxers were younger and better in circa 2009/2010 so it’s hard to imagine that things wouldn’t have been of a higher quality in the ring but what we’re left with in 2015 is still very special. Mayweather is the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in all of boxing and a reigning two division world champion at welterweight and junior middleweight. Pacquiao is still an icon of the sport, a “fighter of the decade” award winner, and one of pugilism’s very best practitioners. While a controversial “loss” to Tim Bradley and a crushing knockout defeat to Juan Manuel Marquez have somewhat diminished his status, Pacquiao is still seen by most as the perfect foil for Mayweather and the one guy Floyd must finally fight (and defeat) before calling himself “the best ever” with a straight face.

5. Will the fight live up to the hype?

It won’t be easy but it is possible. It’s no secret that Mayweather is a defensive boxer who looks to minimize contact and do just enough punching to win boxing matches. Mayweather will not expose himself to a firefight if it’s not absolutely necessary and the onus is on Pacquiao to make it absolutely necessary. There is just so much at stake between these two personally and there are only 36 possible minutes of fight time for both to make their greatest statements. If somehow a fight breaks out early like it did 30 years ago in Las Vegas when Marvin Hagler battled Thomas Hearns for his ultimate place in boxing history, the tale of Mayweather vs. Pacquiao could be brutally beautiful indeed. The skill and talent required for such a perfect storm will all be in the ring on May 2nd. If the fighters feel the moment and simultaneously seize it, then yes, expectations could not only be met, but exceeded.

6. If he wins, where does Manny Pacquiao go from here?

Depending on how he wins, a rematch with Mayweather would be most likely. Most experts are expecting a close fight that goes to the judges and in such a case, fans and media will almost surely be divided on who they think the real winner was. All this interest and attention (in boxing we call it controversy) will drive an immediate rematch to settle the score once and for all so to speak. If Pacquiao dominates or knocks out Mayweather, a rematch could become much less likely, particularly if as George Foreman warns, the defeat “devastates” Mayweather as a fighter. Pacquiao has already been through a devastating knockout loss and came back from it to secure his place in the biggest fight in boxing history. It remains to be seen what a bad loss would do to Mayweather’s psyche. If Pacquiao leaves Mayweather unavailable to dance again in September or ever, Manny could be looking at a fifth fight with long-time rival Juan Manuel Marquez or even a third tussle with Tim Bradley to make it another Top Rank trilogy.

7. If he wins, where does Floyd Mayweather go from here?

Again, much would depend on how he wins. If Mayweather is dominant or scores an embarrassing knockout of Pacquiao, a rematch would be far-fetched despite the copious paydays again involved. From Mayweather’s perspective, such a win would prove his point that he was always better than Pacquiao and that having to prove it in the ring was a nagging insult to his greatness. You think he’ll be willing to do it again? No chance. If however Mayweather struggles to win or receives an unpopular decision, the door swings right open for a rematch. In the event that Mayweather makes moot the point of a Manny rematch, look for Floyd to seek a second bout with Miguel Cotto at some ridiculous catchweight for Cotto’s WBC and linear middleweight titles. In most cases, all roads for Mayweather and Pacquiao lead right back to Mayweather and Pacquiao but this is boxing, the theater of the unexpected.

8. Who will win?

Here’s the inside scoop, so remember where you heard it first. The “smart money” in Las Vegas is on the draw result but I’m picking a winner here and that’s going to be Manny Pacquiao. How will he do it where nobody else has been able to pull it off? By being all over Floyd Mayweather from the opening bell and by forcing “Money May” into a perpetual state of discomfort on the ropes and in the corners. This should still be a close and competitive struggle for legacy but an off-balance knockdown scored by Pacquiao against Mayweather will make a critical difference on the judge’s scorecards. If either fighter is to get stopped or knocked out, it will be Mayweather but Floyd has a great chin and Manny wins more on speedy volume and angles now than on power punching and pure killer instinct. The win goes to the fighter who most wants to be in the ring on May 2nd and that is demonstrably Pacquiao.

9. Will there be a rematch?

You better believe it. Too much money is at stake for this not to happen again in September or next May. And after Mayweather tastes defeat for the first time as a professional, he will be itching to get Pacquiao back into the ring to prove his superiority and secure his legacy.

10. What is boxing’s next Mayweather vs. Pacquiao delayed superfight situation?

The promotional acrimony is already well under way. And as always, boxing fans just want to see the fight in question to find out who really is the best light heavyweight in the world. It’s a match-up of pure power punchers and one side of the equation is considered to have been “ducking” the fight while the other side has been accused of using race and vulgarity to bring it to fruition. Main Events promoter Kathy Duva is in one corner with her sometimes boorish charge Sergey Kovalev and boxing adviser Al Haymon is in the other with his avoidant champion Adonis Stevenson. Like Mayweather-Pacquiao, there are also cable network issues standing in the way with Stevenson now attached to Showtime and Kovalev signed with rival HBO. Also like Mayweather-Pacquiao, the feeling is that neither fighter particularly cares for the other and that their respective “powers that be” are gladly letting this one marinate deliberately to make it as big as it possibly can be before it finally gets made. With some notable exceptions, such as Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Aaron Pryor in the 1980’s and Mike Tyson vs. George Foreman in the 1990’s, almost all of boxing’s biggest fights eventually happen and “Superman vs. The Krusher” will too, but just not a moment too soon.

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The Hauser Report: Ryan Garcia and the New York State Athletic Commission

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On June 20, the New York State Athletic Commission announced that it had reached a settlement with Ryan Garcia.

Garcia defeated Devin Haney by majority decision at Barclays Center on April 20. But his triumph was soon tarnished. On May 1, it was revealed that urine samples taken from Ryan by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) on April 19 and April 20 had tested positive for ostarine – a banned performance-enhancing drug that helps users build muscle mass, lose fat, and increase stamina. The two “B” samples taken from Garcia were subsequently tested at his request and also came back positive.

The June 20 settlement between the NYSAC and Garcia provided for the following:

(1) Garcia’s victory over Haney was changed to “no contest” on each fighter’s official record.

(2) Garcia was fined $10,000 (payable to the NYSAC).

(3) Garcia’s official purse, which was less than what he was actually paid for the fight, was forfeited and returned to Golden Boy (his promoter).

And most significantly;

(4)  Garcia’s professional boxing license was suspended until at least April 20, 2025, at which time he will be able to resume his ring career provided that he provides satisfactory evidence to the NYSAC (including the result of at least one PED test) that he is medically fit to fight.

As part of the settlement, Garcia waived his right to a hearing and any appeal of the Consent Order which embodied the terms of the agreement.

The announcement marked an end to an unfortunate series of events that occurred primarily on the watch of former NYSAC executive director Kim Sumbler who, citing family and health reasons, had announced her resignation on May 7. Sumbler lived in Canada and was out of the commission office far more than she was in it during her seven-year tenure as executive director.

Let’s put the issues in perspective.

I

THE NEW YORK STATE ATHLETIC COMMISSION SHOULDN’T HAVE ALLOWED RYAN GARCIA TO FIGHT IN THE FIRST PLACE

In the months leading up to Haney-Garcia, Garcia (who has acknowledged having mental health issues in the past) posted a series of conspiracy-theory rants on social media that focused on satanic ritual sex, aliens, time travel, and demons. He predicted that an earthquake would destroy Los Angeles on June 6 and recounted being tied down and forced to watch middle-aged fat men raping young boys in Bohemian Grove. He referenced his own crucifixion, spoke in tongues, and told his followers that PRIME (a sports drink backed by KSI and Logan Paul) contains cyanide and that anyone who drinks PRIME is “working for Satan.” His conduct at press conferences to promote Haney-Garcia was also bizarre.

Garcia’s behavior was so troubling that attorney Pat English (who would represent Haney after Garcia’s positive test result was announced but wasn’t working with Devin before that) decided to telephone Kim Sumbler to suggest that the NYSAC undertake a thorough psychiatric evaluation to determine if Ryan was fit to fight. English tracked Sumbler down at a motorcycle rally in Florida and voiced his concern. Sumbler, in his words, “was non-committal on the subject.”

Thereafter, Garcia was asked to participate in a short Zoom session with two NYSAC representatives (neither of whom was a mental health care professional) to discuss his situation and sign a HIPAA waiver that allowed a small number of medical documents to be released to the commission. Then, in an act of absurdity, the commission required that Haney submit to a similar “psychiatric evaluation” to “even out the process.”

One might note here that when the Nevada State Athletic Commission conducted a hearing to determine whether Mike Tyson should be licensed to fight Lennox Lewis in Las Vegas after he bit Lennox on the thigh at a promotional press conference, the Nevada commission didn’t require Lennox to undergo a similar evaluation. However, it did deny Tyson a license to fight, after which Lewis-Tyson moved to Tennessee.

Having been licensed to fight Haney in New York, Garcia acted throughout fight week in a crude profane manner that brought disrepute on boxing (if such a thing is possible). He missed the specified contract weight for the bout by three pounds and, as noted above, was later found to have an illegal performance enhancing drug in his system. In recent weeks, he has been arrested in California and transferred by the authorities to a psychiatric facility for observation. He was later allowed to return home.

Just because a fighter is physically fit to fight – and wins a fight – doesn’t mean that it isn’t psychologically damaging for him to fight. I don’t think the NYSAC should have allowed Garcia to fight on April 20. I’m not a mental health care professional. But the two people who spoke briefly with Ryan on behalf of the commission prior to his being licensed, aren’t mental health care professionals either.

II

RYAN GARCIA AND HIS LAWYERS ACTED ABYSMALLY IN RESPONDING TO THE PED TEST RESULTS

Garcia’s statements on social media and elsewhere regarding his PED test results speak for themselves:

*        “It’s straight bullshit. It’s a con job . . . I’m going to find out who paid who to create this lie . . . These guys are probably pedos.”

*        “Do not believe the hype. They’re trying to set me up. F*** them all. This is some bull-****ing-shit. These mother******* are known cheaters. They know how to cheat and they know to taint shit because they just tainted my greatest victory. One-hundred percent, it’s the devil, bro. I would never, ever take steroids in my life. I don’t cheat in video games.”

*        “It’s a fake. Fake. Completely fake. It’s fabricated. It’s the most fake shit I’ve ever seen in my life. They’re faking it. I’m clean all the way through. F*** them. They can suck a big one.”

Much of Garcia’s rage has been aimed at Victor Conte, the former BALCO mastermind who has since become a forceful advocate for clean sport. After claiming (inaccurately) that Conte was affiliated with VADA and had manipulated his urine sample analysis, Ryan proclaimed on social media, “I’M SUING VADA and victor conte. I’m taking this to court !!!!!! Be prepared. ITS WAR!”

Garcia’s allegations were so off base that Memo Heredia (Conte’s archrival) took to social media and posted, “As much as Conte & I have differences, I like to say he has no access to urine samples. He doesn’t perform any sample analysis or control laboratories for any bias matter. Ryan just trying to mislead and create doubt.”

Meanwhile, as the drama unfolded, Garcia’s attorneys were throwing so many red herrings into the mix that it recalled the words of Abraham Lincoln who counseled, “If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. And if the fact and the law are both against you, pound the table.”

After both of the “B” samples collected from Garcia by VADA also tested positive for ostarine, Ryan’s legal team said that he had submitted hair follicles to a Paris clinic and that these samples had been found to be negative. In part, their statement read, “Soon after being notified of his positive test, Ryan voluntarily had his hair collected and shipped to Dr. Pascal Kintz, the foremost expert in toxicology and hair sample analysis. The results of Ryan’s hair sample came back negative, meaning Ryan has never intentionally taken Ostarine in the last six months.”

But that didn’t put the issue to rest since the aforementioned Dr. Kintz had authored a study in 2017 that concluded, “Hair testing should not be considered as an alternative to urinalysis but only as a complement in [a] positive case, and it must be clear that, in case of positive urine results, the negative hair result cannot overrule the positive urine result.”

Shifting gears, Garcia’s legal team then cited what it called the “ultra-low levels” of ostarine in the urine samples taken from Ryan on April 19 and 20 – “in the billionth of a gram range [that] point to Ryan being a victim of supplement contamination and never receiving any performance-enhancing benefit from the microscopic amounts in his system.”

However this “billionth of a gram range” was sixty times the amount of ostarine allowed to be in Ryan’s system under the rules of the New York State Athletic Commission.

Hence, the Garcia legal team advanced yet another argument: “We are certain that one of the natural supplements Ryan was using in the lead-up to the fight will prove to be contaminated. We are in the process of testing the supplements to determine the exact source.”

Lo and behold! On May 30, Garcia’s legal team announced that two supplements (NutraBio SuperCard and Body Health) that Ryan had ingested prior to fighting Haney had been tested by the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory (SMARTL) and had tested positive for ostarine.

“This confirms what we have consistently maintained,” Paul Greene (one of Garcia’s attorneys) said. Ryan was a victim of supplement contamination and has never intentionally used any banned or performance-enhancing substances.”

But – and this is an elephant-sized “but” – both supplements had been sent to SMARTL by Team Garcia in unsealed containers. That violated the most basic testing protocols and left open the possibility of tampering.

“This is nonsense,” Victor Conte declared. “Look at the chain of custody. No reputable commission would accept open containers. Garcia’s people have to get the lot numbers for the supplements he supposedly took and send several containers, unopened and untampered with, to the commission for testing. And by the way; isn’t it odd that both – I repeat, both – supplements tested positive?”

Paulie Malignaggi lacks Conte’s scientific pedigree but came to the same conclusion, noting, “A substance that’s not that common, very rare, winds up in two different batches of two different companies and both of those batches out of all the places they could have went to in the world, both wind up in Ryan Garcia’s house. This is what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about Mega-Millions lottery numbers. If it turns out that this excuse is as false as it sounds ridiculous, does your lying prove intent because obviously you’re trying to cover something up?”

The supplement companies weren’t happy about the allegation of contamination either, since it had the potential to impact negatively on sales of their products.

Thus, on June 14, Nutrabio founder and CEO Mark Glazier issued a statement that read, “Nutrabio categorically rejects the reckless claims made by professional boxer Ryan Garcia and his team that the Nutrabio supercarb product caused Mr. Garcia’s positive test for ostarine. Nutrabio has never manufactured a supplement with ostarine and has never brought ostarine into our manufacturing facility for use in any product, ever. A retain of the Supercarb in question has been tested for ostarine by Eurofins and BSCG, both of which are leading independent third party testing providers. The testing confirmed there was no ostarine detected in the product. Further, the miniscule amount of ostarine allegedly in the open container of Supercarb [provided by the Garcia camp to its own testers] does not explain the amount of ostarine identified in Ryan Garcia’s urine which, at 6 ng/ml, is 60 times the testing limit. We take any claims against our company extremely seriously and stand by our process for ensuring the quality, safety, and security of our products.”

In sum, as Victor Conte noted, “Test results from unsealed containers provided by the athlete himself can’t possibly be authenticated. And Ryan Garcia’s lawyers know that. This is an attempt to influence the New York commission with wave after wave of publicity that would be regarded as ludicrous if it wasn’t repeated so often by con men and idiots.”

III

THE PROCESS BY WHICH THE NEW YORK STATE ATHLETIC COMMISSION RESOLVED THE RYAN GARCIA MATTER EXPOSED SERIOUS FAULT LINES AT THE COMMISSION

The Ryan Garcia debacle happened on Kim Sumbler’s watch. Following her departure from the commission, former director of boxing Matt Delaglio was named acting executive director. Delaglio is respected throughout the boxing community. He’s a hard worker who understands the sport and business of boxing and performed much of the nuts and bolts work for the commission that should have been handled by Sumbler during her tenure.

Delaglio is a capable public servant. But the NYSAC needs an overhaul at the commissioner level.

New York law provides that five commissioners should oversee the NYSAC. One of these positions has been vacant for years. The other four are filled by people who, for the most part, have little or no understanding of the intricacies inherent in combat sports from a competitive or business point of view.

None of the four NYSAC commissioners even attended Haney vs. Garcia.

The settlement negotiations that led to the Consent Order agreed to between the NYSAC and Ryan Garcia were conducted over a two-week period. Three of the four commissioners were aware that negotiations were going on but did not participate in them or vote on the resolution. The fourth commissioner was completely out of the loop.

The Garcia matter also exposed holes in NYSAC drug testing protocols since the commission’s own fight-night test on Garcia’s urine came back clean. How could that be? Because, to save money, the commission sent Garcia’s urine sample to Quest Laboratories rather than to a WADA-accredited lab. And Quest doesn’t test for ostarine. Later, the commission arranged for a WADA-accredited lab to test its Garcia B-sample (which came back positive).

The settlement between the NYSAC and Garcia was orchestrated almost completely on the commission’s side by David Mossberg, who has been a supervising attorney with the New York State Department of State since 2006.

Pat English (who Haney retained to look after his interests once Garcia tested positive for ostarine) says that the NYSAC refused to send him copies of correspondence and other documents exchanged between Garcia’s legal team and the commission, even though he was entitled to see them given Devin’s standing in the matter.

English also recounted a 75-minute conversation with Mossberg on June 18 and complained, “Mossberg didn’t know the facts. There were a number of legal points that I don’t think he understood. He kept saying things that were just plain wrong.”

English was also offended by the fact that Samantha McEachin (the attorney assigned to the NYSAC by the Department of State) repeatedly failed to return his telephone calls.

Paul Greene (who represented Garcia in the negotiations) suggested to the NYSAC that his client receive a six-month suspension. That was unacceptable to the commission, which was readying to temporarily suspend Ryan and schedule an administrative hearing when a bargain was struck.

The resolution could have been worse from a public policy point of view. It also could have been better.

Garcia’s victory over Haney was changed to “no contest” on each fighter’s official record. That was the correct resolution.

And Garcia was fined $10,000, payable to the commission, which was the maximum involuntary fine that the NYSAC could have imposed (although Ryan could have consented to a larger amount).

The problems begin with the forfeiture of Garcia’s “official purse” – the amount that Ryan received on fight night as paid to him by Golden Boy through the commission. Initially, the official purse was to have been roughly $2,000,000. After the penalty that Garcia paid for missing weight (believed to be $600,000) and other deductions, the “official purse” dropped to approximately $1,200,000.

But the forfeiture penalty has the feel of smoke and mirrors. The $1,200,000 is to be paid by Garcia to Golden Boy – not to the commission. That means it could be an unearned windfall for Golden Boy. Or quite possibly, Golden Boy has promised to give the money back to Ryan as a quid pro quo for his agreeing to the Consent Order.

It’s Golden Boy’s money. They can do what they want with it. With one limitation.

Under the terms of the bout contracts, Haney is entitled to 47 percent of the profits from the event. Logic dictates that Devin would claim that he’s entitled to 47% of any purse forfeiture that Golden Boy receives from Garcia.

And Haney might go further, filing suit against Garcia on grounds that there was ostarine in Ryan’s system (not hard to prove), that Garcia knowingly or negligently ingested it (harder), that the ostarine affected the outcome of the fight (harder still), and that Devin’s marketability has been adversely affected by what happened in the ring on April 20 (a slam dunk).

Now we come to the biggest issue – the length of the suspension negotiated between the NYSAC and Garcia. Some penalties should be eased by mitigating circumstances. Here, there are exacerbating circumstances such as Garcia blowing off the contract weight and his overall conduct in advance of the fight.

Garcia’s professional boxing license has been suspended until at least April 20, 2025, at which time he will be able to resume his ring career provided that he provides satisfactory evidence to the NYSAC that he is medically fit to fight. There’s a school of thought that two years would have been a more appropriate suspension. But the NYSAC didn’t want to go through litigation and what could have been a long embarrassing process.

The fly in the ointment is that the drug testing provision in the Consent Order (which relates to Garcia’s medical fitness) could be a sham. Prior to having his license reinstated, Garcia must submit one negative urine test result (not blood, only urine) from a WADA-accredited laboratory to the NYSAC. Garcia may choose the testing agency and the time frame for this one test. The agreement doesn’t specifically state what he must be tested for or the type of tests required. It only calls for “a urinalysis which does not indicate a positive result for illegal and/or prohibited substances as mandated by the Commission, including a negative result for Anabolic Agents.” This means that Garcia, hypothetically, could use banned performance enhancing drugs for the next eight months before cycling off and being tested and then have his license reinstated.

The Consent Order does state that the medical evidence must be “to the satisfaction of the Commission.” But a blind man could drive a large truck through that hole without putting a dent in the vehicle.

So what’s likely to happen next?

As Chris Algieri notes, “It’s a two-tiered legal system. It depends on who you are and how much money you’ve got. This is not really going to affect Ryan Garcia. Yes, it takes a win away, but Ryan Garcia doesn’t really care. He’s made a ton of money. He’ll probably be back in the ring by the beginning of next year.”

Correction . . . He’ll be back in the ring if —

IV

RYAN GARCIA NEEDS HELP

In recent weeks, Ryan Garcia has indicated numerous times on social media that he’s retiring from boxing:

*        “Y’all may catch me out and about but, as far as boxing, I don’t know. I’m over it. I may do acting or singing. I’m hurt and I’m done with it and everyone. The sad part is I’m a great boxer. And I entertain and knock people out. I’m sad bc I love boxing.”

*        “Boxing will be alright without me. But sucks. I was fun in the game. And it was fun to punch people. Forget I existed everyone. I’m outty”

*        “I’m officially retired.”

Few people take these posts seriously. Garcia is unlikely to retire from boxing of his own free will. But mental health issues might preclude him from fighting in the foreseeable future.

On June 8, 2024, Garcia was arrested at the Beverly Hills Waldorf Astoria Hotel and charged with felony vandalism after allegedly causing $15,000 worth of damage while having a meltdown. According to media reports, he was held for psychiatric observation for three days before being released.

On Sunday, June 9, Darin Chavez (a member of Ryan’s legal team) released a prepared statement that read, “We are aware of the recent arrest. This comes at an extraordinarily challenging time for Ryan, as he has been grappling with devastating news regarding his mother’s health. First and foremost, we urge everyone to respect Ryan’s privacy during this difficult period. Ryan has been open about his struggles with mental health over the years and at this time he is dealing with an immense emotional burden. The support and understanding from fans and the public are crucial as he navigates these personal challenges. We are working diligently to provide Ryan with the resources he needs. Our team is committed to ensuring that he receives the appropriate help and care to address both his immediate and long-term well-being. We ask for continued support and compassion as Ryan focuses on his family and his health at this time.”

That statement rubbed some people the wrong way. Soon after it was issued, I received an email from a fan who wrote, “What a child to act out and feel sorry for himself and blame his mother for his actions. He should stop thinking of himself and learn to think of her and how to be helpful to her. I’m not trying to claim moral superiority. It’s just that, when so many people have so little yet act with respect towards others, it is hard to watch.”

Or phrased differently, most of us have suffered grievous losses at one time or another in our lives. We didn’t respond by going out and trashing a hotel lobby.

Yet the enablers won’t be stilled. One day after Garcia entered into his settlement with the New York State Athletic Commission, Chavez and Guadalupe Valencia (another of Ryan’s attorneys) issued a statement that (with my comments in brackets) read:

“There is a lot of misinformation being disseminated [by Ryan Garcia and his legal team] about Ryan Garcia, However, the undisputed facts [they’re very much in dispute] are as follows. His positive test was the result of contaminated supplements [unlikely] of which he was unaware. The subsequent lab testing of the supplements proved to be in the billions of a gram [it was sixty times the legal threshold in New York and the supplements sent to the lab had been previously opened by Team Garcia]. And the two positive tests were in the billions and trillions, that every expert will attest to had absolutely no performance benefit [experts that Garcia’s attorneys hire aren’t ‘every expert’]. To be clear, Ryan Garcia’s sole advantage over Devin Haney was that he is simply a superior fighter [Ryan also had a significant size advantage as a consequence of not making weight and an illegal PED in his system on fight night]. Rest assured, there are multiple agendas [now we come to paranoia} that have been at play since Ryan’s clear and convincing win against Haney, and all those agendas have been aimed against King Ryan [enough said].”

Thomas Hauser’s email address is thomashauserwriter@gmail.com. His most recent book – MY MOTHER and me – is a personal memoir available at www.amazon.com/My-Mother-Me-Thomas-Hauser/dp/1955836191/ref=sr_1_1?crid=5C0TEN4M9ZAH&keywords=thomas+hauser&qid=1707662513&sprefix=thomas+hauser%2Caps%2C80&sr=8-1

          In 2004, the Boxing Writers Association of America honored Hauser with the Nat Fleischer Award for career excellence in boxing journalism. In 2019, Hauser was selected for boxing’s highest honor – induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

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Denny and Crocker Win in Birmingham: Catterall vs Prograis a Go for Aug. 24

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Matchroom was at Resorts World in Birmingham, England today with a card topped by an EBU European middleweight title fight between Tyler Denny and Felix Cash. Denny was the defending champion and had home field advantage, but Cash, undefeated heading in (16-0, 10 KOs) went to post a consensus 9/4 favorite.

A member of the Irish Traveler community, Cash was making his first start in 18 months. As noted by Tris Dixon, he had a number of distractions during his hiatus, including a bitter divorce. Tonight, he looked rusty and he never did get the chance to establish a rhythm.  In the second round, he suffered a cut on his right eyelid from what was ruled an accidental clash of heads. The cut deepened, and in round five the referee stopped the action and had the ringside physician inspect the wound. On his advice, the bout was stopped.

Owing to the derivation of the cut, the bout went to the scorecards. Tyler Denny was ahead on all three cards: 49-46 and 49-47 twice.

Denny, who improved to 19-2-3, won his second straight inside the distance, an oddity as every one of his first 17 wins went to the scorecards.

Co-Feature

In the co-feature, Belfast welterweight Lewis Crocker advanced to 21-0 (11) with a unanimous but unpopular 10-round decision over Wolverhampton’s Conah Walker (13-3-1). The judges had it 95-94 and 96-93 twice. There were no knockdowns, but Walker had a point deducted in round nine for low blows.

The crowd’s dissatisfaction with the decision (Walker was clearly the busier fighter) was tempered by the fact they got to see a doozy of a fight. At times, notably in the last two rounds, the action was furious.

A rematch is in order, but all indications are that Crocker’s next fight will come against Paddy Donovan who was in attendance. A Top Rank signee from Limerick, Ireland, Donovan is 14-0 as a pro after a decorated amateur career.

Before the main event, Matchroom honcho Eddie Hearn announced that he had come to terms with Jack Catterall and Regis Prograis who will lock horns on Aug. 24 at the new Co-Op Live arena in Manchester, England. In his last assignment, Catterall comprehensively out-pointed former unified 140-pound world champion Josh Taylor while avenging the lone “L” on his record, a highly controversial setback to Taylor two years earlier in Glasgow. Regis Prograis, a two-time world title-holder at 140, has had only bad showing, but that came in his last start when he was thoroughly outclassed by Devin Haney.

Photo credit: Mark Robinson / Matchroom

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Results from Las Vegas where Rafael Espinoza Retained his WBO Title in Grand Style

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Top Rank made its first foray to the newest Las Vegas Strip resort, the Fontainebleu, tonight. Topping the bill was an all-Mexican featherweight title fight between Guadalajara’s Rafael Espinoza and Oaxaca’s Sergio Chirino. The lanky Espinoza, at six-foot-one the tallest featherweight world title-holder in history, was making the first defense of the title he won with a shocking upset of Robeisy Ramirez and tonight he looked sensational.

Espinoza, who advanced his record to 25-0 with his 21st KO, had his countryman on the canvas in the very first round, the result of a counter left uppercut. Chirino wasn’t badly hurt, but it quickly became apparent that he was out-gunned. In round three, Espinoza sent him to the canvas again with a four-punch combo climaxed by a short left to the liver, and Chirino would be down once again in the following round, hunched down from a series of punches that caught only air. At this juncture, referee Raul Caiz Jr wisely stepped in and stopped the fight. The official time was 2:45 of round four. Chirino, who came in riding a 13-fight winning streak, declined to 22-2.

Espinoza is expected to have a rematch with Ramirez, provided that Robeisy gets past his Mexican opponent later this month in a match that, on paper, looks like an easy win for the Cuban southpaw. In their first meeting, the unheralded Espinoza was a massive underdog. Based on his showing tonight, he looks no worse than “pick-‘em” in the sequel.

Co-Feature

In a 10-round junior lightweight fight, North Las Vegas native Andres Cortes scored a unanimous decision over former world title challenger Abraham Nova. The scores favored the local fighter by scores of 96-94 and 97-93 twice.

Cortes had the crowd in his corner, but the reaction when the verdict was announced was one of surprise. Nova, who was credited with throwing and landing more punches, was in better condition and seemingly had the best of it in the late rounds. It was the twenty-second win without a loss for Cortes. Nova (23-3), a class act,  was diplomatic in defeat.

Also

In a true crossroads fight (a “pink slip” fight in the words of ESPN commentator Mark Kriegel),Troy Isley, a former Olympian and stablemate of Terence Crawford, out-worked Javier Martinez to win a unanimous 10-round decision. The judges had it 96-92-and 97-91 twice.

The middleweights were well-acquainted, having split four fights at the amateur level. Isley, from Alexandria, VA, improved to 13-0 (5) Martinez, born in Milwaukee to immigrants from Mexico, was 10-0-1 heading in. Both fighters lost a point for low blows after repeated warnings from referee Tony Weeks.

Other Bouts of Note

In an 8-round bantamweight fight that turned zesty after a slow start, Floyd Mayweather Jr protégé Floyd “Cashflow” Diaz improved to 12-0 (3) with a unanimous decision over Tijuana’s Francisco Pedroza (18-12-2). The judges had it 78-73 across the board. Diaz was making his second start under the tutelage of Brian “Bomac” McIntyre. Pedroza lost a point in round six for hitting on the break.

Steven Navarro, a hot prospect from a prominent SoCal boxing family, won his second pro fight with a 6-round shutout over rugged but outclassed Juan Pablo Meza (7-4), a 33-year-old Chilean.

Photo credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank

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