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The Hauser Report: Mike Tyson, UFC, and More

Thomas Hauser



Mike Tyson annihilated Trevor Berbick

THE HAUSER REPORT. A significant anniversary in boxing history is drawing near. Thirty years ago – on 22 November 1986 – 20-year-old Mike Tyson annihilated Trevor Berbick to claim his first championship belt. Nine months later, he was the undisputed, unified, heavyweight champion of the world.

Tyson-Berbick was contested at the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas. Berbick (31-4-1, 23 KOs) had claimed the WBC crown with a narrow points win over Pinklon Thomas eight months earlier. Tyson entered the ring with 27 victories and 25 knockouts in 27 outings.

It was a coronation rather than a competitive fight.

Don King once said of Tyson, “No fighter has ever been more committed to the knockout. And no fighter was ever better able to deliver it.”

There was no feeling-out process in Tyson-Berbick. Tyson went after his foe like a pitbull tearing apart a rabbit. He dominated Berbick from the opening bell and staggered him several times in the first stanza. In round two, he pummeled Berbick around the ring, knocking him down twice. After the second knockdown, Berbick tried to rise from the canvas and fell down. Twice. It was over at 2:35 of the second round.

Tyson looks askance now at the person he was when he was heavyweight champion. The self-loathing he felt then appears to have been replaced by cautious optimism on his part regarding the future and how he has evolved as a person.

“The best decision I ever made was to retire from boxing,” Tyson says. “I like the person I am now more than I did. I don’t like Iron Mike. I like Mike Tyson.”

That said; I hope that, on some level, Tyson understands and derives satisfaction from what a great fighter he was when he was young.

*     *     *

Manny Pacquiao has remained an active fighter past his feel-good date. He’s still a formidable ring presence. But he’s no longer the electrifying warrior who thrilled boxing fans around the world with his destruction of Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, and Miguel Cotto during an eleven-month period that ended seven years ago. Pacquiao’s faux retirement after decisioning Tim Bradley this past April didn’t help his marketability. And the “Senator Manny Pacquiao” storyline has some of lost its luster. Americans had their own election to worry about this year. And Pacquiao was tarnished by his support of Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte’s dictatorial policies as well as his own homophobic rants.

Pacquiao was a 5-to-1 favorite on November 5 when he faced Jessie Vargas. Because of his diminished marketability, Manny had agreed to slash his contractually-guaranteed minimum purse to, in promoter Bob Arum’s words, “no guarantee that would get us in trouble.” Later reports put the number at $4,000,000; well below the $20,000,000 that Pacquiao had been guaranteed for his previous fight.

Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz said the deal made sense for Manny because the fighter would have a piece of all revenue streams from the promotion, making Pacquiao and Top Rank “true partners.” Arum elaborated on that theme, saying, “Anything north of 600,000 buys would be a big night, and he would make a lot of money.”

If I won the Powerball lottery, I’d make a lot of money too. The widespread assumption is that this will be Pacquiao’s lowest take from a fight since he fought David Diaz eight years and fifteen fights ago.

Pacquiao-Vargas showed that Pacquiao is still a good fighter, although not as good as he once was. He dropped Vargas with a straight left in round two. Jessie rallied a bit, helped by the fact that the bursts of machine-gun fire from Manny’s fists are fewer and further in between than they once were. After six rounds, the fight was close with Pacquiao having a slight edge. But by then, he’d figured out Vargas’s one-dimensional style. And Jessie was tiring. That enabled Pacquiao to run the table for the rest of the fight en route to a unanimous decision triumph.

Pacquiao would like to fight Floyd Mayweather next. The guess here is that Mayweather will fight again. Who Floyd fights is an open issue.

*     *     *

Danny Garcia has been going in soft lately. His latest victim was Samuel Vargas, whose previous moment in the spotlight was in the role of cannon fodder en route to a fourth-round knockout defeat at the hands of Errol Spence at Barclays Center on April 11, 2015. Garcia fought in the main event that night. Clearly, Danny decided that his skills would match up better against Vargas than against Spence.

Garcia-Vargas evoked memories of Garcia vs. Rod Salka, a woeful mismatch that was contested 27 months ago. Against Vargas, Garcia was listed as a 50-to-1 favorite. He looked sharp. Samuel looked awful.

Vargas is an arm-puncher who doesn’t seem to understand that a fighter should move his head when the opponent is punching. He also kept his left hand low, brought his jab back slowly, and got hit all night with right hands over the top that everyone in the arena except Samuel could see coming. By round seven, it was clear that his cause was hopeless and he was taking too much punishment. Mercifully, the fight was stopped.

As for what comes next . . . The crown jewel in Showtime’s recently-announced fight schedule is Garcia vs. Keith Thurman, which boxing fans have been promised will be contested on March 4, 2017.

Garcia-Thurman would be a very good fight. Has it actually been signed? Are the fighters locked in? Or will Garcia find an excuse to avoid Thurman by taking what is billed as an “even bigger fight.”

Premier Boxing Champions, Showtime, Garcia, and the fighters’ respective camps all say that Thurman-Garcia will happen on March 4. I hope they’re right.

*     *     *

The November 12 match-up between Luis Ortiz and Malik Scott epitomized why boxing fans are turning away from the sweet science.

In the best of times, the heavyweights are boxing’s flagship division. These aren’t the best of times.

Initially, fans were promised an autumn match-up between Tyson Fury and Wladimir Klitschko. Then Fury fell victim to his demons, and we were told that Klitschko vs. IBF beltholder Anthony Joshua would happen. Joshua-Klitschko (like Fury-Klitschko) would have been a compelling fight. But that too fell apart. Now Joshua is slated to face an overmatched Eric Molina on December 10. That same day, Joseph Parker will square off against the habitually overweight Andy Ruiz for a bogus WBO heavyweight belt.

The WBA recently decreed that Lucas Browne and Shannon Briggs should do battle for its strap before the end of the year with the winner to face Fres Oquendo within 120 days. Browne has fought a string of has-beens and never-weres. Briggs will be 45 years old in December. His last win over a quality opponent was ten years ago. Oquendo is 43 years old and hasn’t fought in 28 months. His best wins were in 2001.

To complicate matters further, the WBA has also ruled that Joshua and Klitschko have been granted a “special permit” to fight for its “super” heavyweight belt (presumably in spring 2017). And the WBA has been making noises about an “interim” heavyweight title fight involving some combination of Manuel Charr, Alexander Ustinov, and David Haye.

WBC beltholder Deontay Wilder is on the shelf until next year because of surgery.

All of that left Luis Ortiz (who would have been a credible challenger) as the odd man out. Rather than fight a competitive opponent, Ortiz was in the ring on November 12 against a shopworn Malik Scott (who was knocked out by Wilder in 96 seconds 32 months ago and hadn’t fought in over a year).

It was a horrible fight. Scott, a 30-to-1 underdog, didn’t even pretend to be interested in winning. Nor did he box, move, or dance. He flat out ran for twelve rounds. Malik landed one punch in round one and one more in round two. Overall, CompuBox credited him with just 45 punches landed over the course of 36 minutes.

Ortiz had trouble cutting off the ring and didn’t look particularly good despite knocking Scott down three times. On a half dozen other occasions, Mailk went to the canvas voluntarily to avoid punches. The final tally of the judges was 120-105, 120-106, 119-106.

Ugh !

*     *     *

UFC made its long-awaited New York debut at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.

The star of UFC 205 was Conor McGregor, a trash-talking former plumber who stepped into the void when Ronda Rousey lost to Holly Holm on November 15 of last year. McGregor subsequently lost to Nate Diaz. But unlike Rousey, who has been out of action since losing to Holm, Conor returned quickly to the octagon and defeated Diaz on a razor-thin majority decision in a rematch this past August 20.

When UFC 205 finally arrived, McGregor disposed of Eddie Alvarez with relative ease to claim the UFC 155-pound throne. Tyron Woodley and Joanna Jedrzejczyk prevailed in other title fights.

Boxing can learn from UFC. Take the September 27 kick-off press conference for UFC 205 as an example. The curtain went up on the stage at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. UFC president Dana White was standing center stage at a podium flanked by a dozen combatants who would appear on the card and were seated on either side of him. There were no longwinded speeches from managers, trainers, television executives, athletic commission personnel, or sponsors. White and the fighters took questions for thirty minutes. Then it was over.

On fight night, the attitude wasn’t, “We have Conor McGregor in the main event so the undercard can be garbage.” It was, “Let’s give people who are buying tickets and paying for the pay-per-view a lot of exciting fights.” Moreover, by and large, UFC gives its fans what they want to see when they want to see it. It doesn’t “marinate” fights until the meat turns rancid.

Compare that with the slop that Mayweather Promotions and Top Rank inflicted on the public on the night of Mayweather-Pacquiao.

Unfortunately, the behind-the-scenes activity surrounding UFC 205 and the legalization of mixed martial arts in New York has revealed how inept and morally lax the New York State Athletic Commission and its puppet-masters in Albany have become. I’ll have more to say on that subject next month.

*     *     *

Sixteen years ago – on November 11, 2000 – the eyes of the fight world were on Las Vegas when Lennox Lewis successfully defended his heavyweight throne against the challenge of David Tua. But the world was focused on the uncertainty surrounding the November 7, 2000, presidential election and whether George Bush or Al Gore would be awarded Florida’s 25 electoral votes and become the next president of the United States. Ultimately, Bush prevailed before the United States Supreme Court by a 5-to-4 margin.

Eight years later, on November 4, 2008, Barack Obama defeated John McClain to become the 44th president of the United States. The next day, Roy Jones and Joe Calzaghe met at the final pre-fight press conference prior to their November 8, 2008, fight at Madison Square Garden.

“Last night made us all equal,” Roy told me.

Three nights later, I was with Jones in his dressing room after he lost a lopsided decision to Calzaghe. Roy sat on a folding metal chair with his head down, his face battered and swollen. Roy Jones III, age eight, stood to the side with tears streaming down his face. Raegan Jones, as cute as a four-year-old can be, moved to her father’s side and put her arms around him.

“I’m a big girl, daddy,” Raegan said. “I don’t cry.”

Roy smiled and gave her a hug. Then I reminded Roy of what he’d said the morning after Barack Obama was elected president.

Roy’s face lit up.

“God is good,” he said.

On November 19, the eyes of the fight world will once again be on Las Vegas when Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev meet in the most significant boxing match of the year. Once again, presidential politics will provide the backdrop; this time with the reality that Donald Trump has been elected president of the United States.

Check out The Boxing Channel for more boxing news on video.


Thomas Hauser can be reached by email at His most recent book – A Hard World: An Inside Look at Another Year in Boxing – was published by the University of Arkansas Press. In 2004, the Boxing Writers Association of America honored Hauser with the Nat Fleischer Award for career excellence in boxing journalism.


The BWAA Shames Veteran Referee Laurence Cole and Two Nebraska Judges

Arne K. Lang



In an unprecedented development, the Boxing Writers Association of America has started a “watch list” to lift the curtain on ring officials who have “screwed up.” Veteran Texas referee Laurence Cole and Nebraska judges Mike Contreras and Jeff Sinnett have the unwelcome distinction of being the first “honorees.”

“Boxing is a sport where judges and referees are rarely held accountable for poor performances that unfairly change the course of a fighter’s career and, in some instances, endanger lives,” says the BWAA in a preamble to the new feature. Hence the watch list, which is designed to “call attention to ‘egregious’ errors in scoring by judges and unacceptable conduct by referees.”

Contreras and Sinnett, residents of Omaha, were singled out for their scorecards in the match between lightweights Thomas Mattice and Zhora Hamazaryan, an eight round contest staged at the WinnaVegas Casino in Sloan, Iowa on July 20. They both scored the fight 76-75 for Mattice, enabling the Ohio fighter to keep his undefeated record intact via a split decision.

Although Mattice vs. Hamazaryan was a supporting bout, it aired live on ShoBox. Analyst Steve Farhood, who was been with ShoBox since the inception of the series in 2001, called it one of the worst decisions he had ever seen. Lead announcer Barry Tompkins went further, calling it the worst decision he has seen in his 40 years of covering the sport.

Laurence Cole (pictured alongside his father) was singled out for his behavior as the third man in the ring for the fight between Regis Prograis and Juan Jose Velasco at the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans on July 14. The bout was televised live on ESPN.

In his rationale for calling out Cole, BWAA prexy Joseph Santoliquito leaned heavily on Thomas Hauser’s critique of Cole’s performance in The Sweet Science. “Velasco fought courageously and as well as he could,” noted Hauser. “But at the end of round seven he was a thoroughly beaten fighter.”

His chief second bullied him into coming out for another round. Forty-five seconds into round eight, after being knocked down for a third time, Velasco spit out his mouthpiece and indicated to Cole that he was finished. But Cole insisted that the match continue and then, after another knockdown that he ruled a slip, let it continue for another 35 seconds before Velasco’s corner mercifully threw in the towel.

Controversy has dogged Laurence Cole for well over a decade.

Cole was the third man in the ring for the Nov. 25, 2006 bout in Hildalgo, Texas, between Juan Manuel Marquez and Jimrex Jaca. In the fifth round, Marquez sustained a cut on his forehead from an accidental head butt. In round eight, another accidental head butt widened and deepened the gash. As Marquez was being examined by the ring doctor, Cole informed Marquez that he was ahead on the scorecards, volunteering this information while holding his hand over his HBO wireless mike. The inference was that Marquez was free to quit right then without tarnishing his record. (Marquez elected to continue and stopped Jaca in the next round.)

This was improper. For this indiscretion, Cole was prohibited from working a significant fight in Texas for the next six months.

More recently, Cole worked the 2014 fight between Vasyl Lomachenko and Orlando Salido at the San Antonio Alamodome. During the fight, Salido made a mockery of the Queensberry rules for which he received no point deductions and only one warning. Cole’s performance, said Matt McGrain, was “astonishingly bad,” an opinion echoed by many other boxing writers. And one could site numerous other incidents where Cole’s performance came under scrutiny.

Laurence Cole is the son of Richard “Dickie” Cole. The elder Cole, now 87 years old, served 21 years as head of the Texas Department of Combat Sports Regulation before stepping down on April 30, 2014. At various times during his tenure, Dickie Cole held high executive posts with the World Boxing Council and North American Boxing Federation. He was the first and only inductee into the inaugural class of the Texas Boxing Hall of Fame, an organization founded by El Paso promoter Lester Bedford in 2015.

From an administrative standpoint, boxing in Texas during the reign of Dickie Cole was frequently described in terms befitting a banana republic. Whenever there was a big fight in the Lone Star State, his son was the favorite to draw the coveted refereeing assignment.

Boxing is a sideline for Laurence Cole who runs an independent insurance agency in Dallas. By law in Texas (and in most other states), a boxing promoter must purchase insurance to cover medical costs in the event that one or more of the fighters on his show is seriously injured. Cole’s agency is purportedly in the top two nationally in writing these policies. Make of that what you will.

Complaints of ineptitude, says the WBAA, will be evaluated by a “rotating committee of select BWAA members and respected boxing experts.” In subsequent years, says the press release, the watch list will be published quarterly in the months of April, August, and December (must be the new math).

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel


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In Boxing, the Last Weekend of July was Chock Full of Surprises

The first upset of last weekend occurred in an undercard bout on the big show at London’s O2 Arena. David Allen, a journeyman with a 13-4-2 record, knocked out previously undefeated

Arne K. Lang



The first upset of last weekend occurred in an undercard bout on the big show at London’s O2 Arena. David Allen, a journeyman with a 13-4-2 record, knocked out previously undefeated

The first upset of last weekend occurred in an undercard bout on the big show at London’s O2 Arena. David Allen, a journeyman with a 13-4-2 record, knocked out previously undefeated Nick Webb (12-0, 10 KOs) in the fourth round. Allen said that he intended this to be his final fight, but will now hang around awhile.

In hindsight, this was an omen. Before the show was over, upsets – albeit mild upsets – were registered in both featured bouts. Dereck Chisora, trailing on the scorecards, stopped Carlos Takam in the eighth. Dillian Whyte outpointed Joseph Parker. And later that same day, in Kissimmee, Florida, Japanese import Masayuki Ito made a big splash in his U.S. debut, beating up highly touted Christopher Diaz.

– – – –

Joseph Parker is quite the gentleman. Following his loss to Dillian Whyte, Parker was gracious in defeat: “I say congratulations to Dillian. I gave it my best. The better man won.”

In case you missed it, Whyte survived a hoary moment in the final round to win a unanimous decision. Most everyone agreed that the decision was fair but there were a few dissenters. Well known U.K. boxing pundit Steve Bunce said, “I thought Parker deserved a draw.” Bunce noted that the scribes sitting near him were in complete accord that the most lopsided score (115-110) was far too wide.

We’ve seen fighters grouse that they were robbed after fights that were far less competitive. Parker’s post-fight amiability was all the more puzzling considering that he had a legitimate beef that referee Ian John Lewis was too lax, enabling Whyte to turn the contest into a street fight.

Parker’s trainer Kevin Barry was all on board with the selection of Lewis. “He’s a very highly qualified guy who I think is the best British referee,” he said. But Barry changed his tune after the fight, saying that there were at least two occasions when Lewis should have deducted a point from Whyte.

Veteran Australian boxing writer Anthony Cocks said that going forward, Parker, a soft spoken, mild mannered man, needs to have more of a mongrel in him. Cocks noted that when Whyte transgressed, Parker’s response was to look at the ref with a bemused expression. The first time that Whyte bent the rules, opined Cocks, Parker should have hit him in the balls.

– – – –

Top Rank hasn’t had much luck with their Puerto Rican fighters lately. First there was Felix Verdejo. Hyped as the next Felix Trinidad, the 2012 Olympian was 22-0 when his career was interrupted by a motorcycle accident. He won his first fight back in Puerto Rico, but was then exposed by Tijuana’s unheralded Antonio Lozada Jr. who stopped him in the 10th round at the Theater of Madison Square Garden on St. Patrick’s Day, 2018.

More recently, Top Rank gave a big build-up to Christopher Diaz, but Diaz, the 2016 ESPN Deportes Prospect of The Year, also hit the skids after starting his pro career 23-0. Diaz was upset on Saturday by Masayuki Ito in a match sanctioned for the vacant WBO 130-pound title.

Unlike Verdejo, Diaz was still standing at the final bell, but he was taken to the cleaners by his Japanese opponent who won comfortably on the scorecards.

– – – –

Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin made his pro debut on the Diaz-Ito undercard. Nikitin won every round of a 6-round contest.

If the name sounds vaguely familiar, this is the guy who defeated top seed Michael Conlan in a quarterfinal bantamweight match at the Rio Olympics. The decision, which Conlan greeted with a middle finger salute to the judges, was widely seen as a heist.

In signing new prospects, Top Rank honcho Bob Arum likes to gather up fighters who compete in the same weight class as fighters that he already controls. This sets up a scenario where he can double dip, extracting a commission from the purse of both principals.

The cluster is most pronounced in the lower weight classes. These fighters, listed alphabetically, are currently promoted or co-promoted by Top Rank: junior bantamweight Jerwin Ancajas (31-1-1), junior featherweight Michael Conlan (8-0), featherweight Christopher Diaz (23-1), super bantamweight Isaac Dogboe (19-0), super bantamweight Jessie Magdaleno (25-1), super bantamweight Jean Rivera (14-0), featherweight Genesis Servania (31-1), bantamweight Shakur Stevenson (7-0), bantamweight Antonio Vargas (7-0), featherweight Nicholas Walters (26-1-1).

The aforementioned Nikitin launched his pro career as a featherweight.

– – – –

In July of 2004, Danny Williams knocked out Mike Tyson in the fourth round at Louisville. Iron Mike had one more fight and then wisely called it quits. Williams had 48 more fights, the most recent coming last weekend in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Williams was stopped in the 10th round by a local man, 35-year-old Lee McAllister, whose last documented fight had come in 2013. In that bout, McAllister, carrying 140 pounds, outpointed a Slovakian slug in a 6-round fight. During his hiatus from boxing, McAllister (that’s him in the red and white trunks), served a 9-month prison sentence for assaulting a patron while working in an Aberdeen kebab shop.

Danny Williams’ weight wasn’t announced, but in his three fights prior to fighting McAllister he came in a tad north of 270 pounds. He reportedly out-weighed McAllister by 4 stone (56 pounds), likely a loose approximation.

Williams is a product of Brixton, the hardscrabble Afro-Caribbean neighborhood in South London that also spawned Dillian Whyte. But he has no intention of going back there. After the McAllister fight, in which he was knocked down three times, he said he was retiring to Nigeria where he had a job waiting for him as a bodyguard.

– – – –

The ink was barely dry on the weekend’s events when news arrived that Tyson Fury was close to signing for a December bout with WBC heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder. On social media, Fury said the deal was almost done and Fury’s promoter Frank Warren confirmed it while saying that it was conditional on Fury looking good when he opposes Francesco Pianeta on Aug. 18 at the Windsor Park soccer stadium in Belfast. Fury vs. Pianeta underpins Carl Frampton’s WBO featherweight title defense against Luke Jackson.

As to whether he would be ready to defeat Wilder after only two comeback fights, Fury, who turns 30 this month, said he was ready to beat Wilder on the day he was born.

Deontay Wilder is disappointed that his dream match with Anthony Joshua won’t happen until next spring at the earliest, but there are plenty of options out there for him and more of them for him to ponder after this past weekend’s events.

Cuban southpaw Luis Ortiz looked good against Razvan Cojanu, dismissing his hapless Romanian adversary in the second round on the Garcia-Easter card in Los Angeles.

After the bout, WBC prexy Mauricio Suliaman gave Wilder his blessing to skirt his mandatory against Dominic Breazeale for a rematch with Ortiz.

Presumably that also applies if Wilder accepts promoter Eddie Hearn’s offer for a match with Dillian Whyte. The WBC now lists Whyte as their “silver” champion and has bumped him ahead of Breazeale into the #1 slot in their rankings. And then there’s Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller who has an Eddie Hearn connection and is a more interesting opponent than Breazeale.

If Wilder vs. Fury is a go, say Fury and Warren, it will be held in December in New York or Las Vegas. We make New York the favorite. The only good date in Las Vegas in December for an event of this magnitude is Dec. 1 and that’s only because Thanksgiving arrives early this year. The National Finals Rodeo, a 10-day event which fills up the town, arrives on Dec. 6, eliminating the next two weekends. And when the rodeo leaves, Christmas is right around the corner. Historically, boxing promoters shy away from putting on a big show right before Christmas on the theory that fight fans have the “shorts,” having exhausted their discretionary income on Christmas gifts.

There are some interesting fighters competing in the upper tier of the heavyweight division and a slew of intriguing prospects coming up the ladder. The division hasn’t been this exciting since the Golden Age of Ali, Frazier, Foreman, et al. Enjoy.

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Les Moonves, Hero of Mayweather-Pacquiao Deal, Now Cast as a Villain

“He refused to take ‘no’ for an answer.”
That comment, offered in praise of Les Moonves for the pivotal role the chairman and CEO of CBS Corporation played in helping make the May 2, 2015, megafight pairing

Bernard Fernandez




“He refused to take ‘no’ for an answer.”

That comment, offered in praise of Les Moonves for the pivotal role the chairman and CEO of CBS Corporation played in helping make the May 2, 2015, megafight pairing Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, has taken on a more sordid connotation in light of the avalanche of accusations of sexual impropriety that have thrust the 68-year-old Moonves into the unwelcome company of such accused high-visibility miscreants as Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, Bill O’Reilly and Matt Lauer.

But while the other aforementioned power players have been fired or indicted, their reputations in tatters, Moonves remains on the job as one of the most influential and highest paid (a reported $70 million in 2017) media executives in the United States. Despite a damning article authored by Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker that details numerous instances of bad behavior ranging from merely dubious to criminally actionable, and to which Moonves himself has admitted to some extent, CBS on Monday issued a statement of support that seemed to catch the editors of Variety somewhat off-guard. The entertainment publication’s opening paragraph reads thusly: “In a surprise move, CBS’ board of directors is keeping Leslie Moonves as chairman-CEO even as it launches a probe of sexual assault allegations leveled against him by six women in a New Yorker expose.”

Why should still another story of alleged sexual misconduct by an older man seeking to exert improper control over younger women be of any significance to a fight audience? Well, normally it wouldn’t, except for Moonves’ position, which includes a say in the direction of Showtime’s increasingly important boxing operation if he so chooses. When negotiations for Mayweather-Pacquiao, a pay-per-view event which was to be co-produced by Showtime and HBO, hit a snag, Moonves insinuated himself into the discussion because it made financial and logistic sense for him to do so. CBS/Showtime had entered into a six-bout, $250 million deal with Mayweather, and three of the four fights held to that point had underperformed. Subsequently, the prevailing belief in CBS/Showtime’s executive offices was that Mayweather’s long-delayed showdown with Pacquiao was not only advisable, but absolutely necessary to stanch the flow of red ink.

“Without Les Moonves, this fight wouldn’t have had a prayer of happening,” Top Rank chairman and CEO Bob Arum, a longtime friend of Moonves, said after the last “i” had been dotted and the last “t” crossed. “The real hero in getting this done is Les Moonves.”

And this from Stephen Espinoza, Showtime Sports’ executive vice president and general manager, tossing another verbal bouquet to his boss: “One of the main reasons this deal got done, when maybe other ones didn’t, was having Les Moonves as part of the process. He was deeply committed to making this deal. He is someone that all parties in this negotiation respected. He was really the catalyst for seeing this through. He refused to take `no’ for an answer from any side. He was there making sure that the parties came together in a successful and cooperative manner.”

But while the high-level wheeling and dealing to finalize Mayweather-Pacquiao was done behind closed doors, so too were those instances when Moonves was attempting to arrange a private deal with a female subordinate whose career he could either advance or stymie. One such occasion allegedly involved writer-actress Ileana Douglas, who was summoned to Moonves’ office to discuss matters involving a television project in which she was to have starred. The New Yorker story quotes Douglas’ heightening discomfort as Moonves made coarse and physical advances toward her.

“At that point, you’re a trapped animal,” Douglas said of the incident. “Your life is flashing before your eyes. It has stayed with me the rest of my life, that terror.”

After The New Yorker story came out, Moonves apologized, sort of, to the six women who told Farrow that the CBS bigwig had sexually harassed them. All claimed he became cold and hostile after they rejected his advances, and that they believed their careers suffered as a result.

In a statement, Moonves said, “Throughout my time at CBS, we have promoted a culture of respect and opportunity for all employees, and have consistently found success elevating women to top executive positions across our company. I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes and I regret them immensely. But I always understood and respected – and abided by the principle – that `no’ means `no,’ and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone’s career … We at CBS are committed to being part of the solution.”

What makes the furor that has suddenly swirled up around Moonves all the more curious is his prominent support for the #MeToo movement and other feminist causes. In December, he helped found the Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace. A month prior to that, at a conference in November, he said, “I think it’s important that a company’s culture will not allow for (sexual harassment). And that’s the thing that’s far-reaching. There’s a lot we’re learning. There’s a lot we didn’t know.”

There’s a lot we didn’t know? Oh, for sure. We didn’t know for a very long time that TV’s favorite father figure, now-81-year-old Bill Cosby, would be classified as a sexually violent predator by a Pennsylvania court. Cosby is due to be sentenced Sept. 24 on three counts of aggravated indecent assault, and his alma mater, Temple University, rescinded the honorary Ph.D. it conferred upon him in 1991. The Cos resigned his spot on Temple’s  Board of Trustees in 2014, after 32 years, amid accusations that he sexually assaulted dozens of women over decades.

We also didn’t know that Harvey Weinstein, 66, the co-founder of Miramax, would be dismissed from the company and be expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences after the New York Times ran a story on Oct, 5, 2017, detailing decades of allegations against him by over 80 women. It would seem that the most important piece of furniture in Weinstein’s office was not his desk, but the proverbial casting couch.

One of the more intriguing developments in the widening scandal involved TV newsmen Bill O’Reilly and Matt Lauer. In September 2017, O’Reilly, fired by Fox News for a series of alleged sexual improprieties, appeared as a guest on NBC’s Today show, where he told host Matt Lauer that his dismissal was “a hit job – a political and financial hit job.” Two months later, Lauer was canned by NBCUniversal after it was found he had an inappropriate sexual relationship with another much more junior NBC employee. Three additional women subsequently made complaints against Lauer.

Boxing is a physical sport, maybe the most physical there is, and in most cases the transgressions committed were by fighters who resorted to brute force, the fastest way to bring cops and attorneys into the equation. Think Tony Ayala Jr. spending 17 years behind bars for rape, a conviction that came on the heels of a previous incident in which he broke a teenage girl’s jaw after he made unwanted advances toward her in the restroom of a drive-in theater. But it might be argued that those who seek to have their way with women by exercising a different kind of power are just as much or even more reprehensible, an affront not only to the females they view as disposable objects but to any man who would not want to see his mother, wife or daughter treated so shabbily.

According to CBS, there have been no misconduct claims and no settlements against Moonves during his 24 years at the network. He deserves, as everyone does under the American system of jurisprudence, the presumption of innocence. But given the current landscape befouled by others who apparently felt that they could do whatever they wanted because they always had gotten away with it, sticking with the status quo might send the wrong message.

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