Recently Ron Borges of the Boston Globe and Mike Katz, who writes for the New York Times, got into a physical scuffle at a Bob Arum press conference prior to the Oscar De La Hoya -- Felix Sturm fight. Though Borges is hardly a kid, Katz looks like he belongs in the Mayo Clinic, and the well-built Borges was out of line for slapping the feeble 65-year-old on the back of the head, even though Katz called him a shill for Don King.
Boxing writers laughed as Katz began swinging his cane, while Arum and his long-suffering PR man Lee Samuels dove in. Samuels supposedly hurt a shoulder to break up the melee. But what nobody is asking is: what is Borges doing get paid by King, ostensibly for his work as a TV analyst, while he's supposed to be an objective, unbiased reporter for the Globe?
Surely, as one of the most powerful, well-read boxing columnists in the country, Borges knows that King has been charged with tax evasion and fraud; he's endured three grand jury investigations, killed two men and survived an FBI sting operation. Hell, he can't even get a promoter's license in New Jersey and was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Bob Lee bribery case. In the early 1990s Organized Crime family member Michael Franzese claimed under oath in front of a congressional committee, that King was heavily mobbed up. Other sources had him routinely meeting with the late Godfather John Gotti. Former FBI man Joe Spinelli insists that King is involved with four of the five New York crime families, including his old one in Cleveland, where he started in the illegal numbers business.
King had ample opportunity to deny the allegations, but the flag-waving ex-con, who is never at a loss for words, quickly took the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination when he was forced to testify.
Then there's King's treatment of fighters. Despite the Ali Act, he still operates like the Fugitive Slave Act is on the books, and his fighters invariably end up broke, after being "managed" by his step-son Carl King. Guys like Tim Witherspoon insist that they've been forced to sign on with Carl, who laughably "negotiates" with his step-father, but according to an affidavit by King's former accountant, Joseph Maffia, (which I printed in my book Boxing Confidential), Monarch Boxing, which was Carl King's company, was nothing but a front and was totally controlled by Don King. Normally, this might get one indicted, but not in boxing.
Don King has turned conflicts of interest into an art form. But he recently lost a civil lawsuit to Terry Norris, for $7.5, million, after Norris found out that he was signing sweetheart contracts, because the predatory King owned the note on his manager's ranch. Norris ended up brain damaged. How many more Terry Norris' will there be? Kids from the ghetto, who had a dream, but end up getting paid off in uppercuts, because of those like King.
Mike Tyson found out that his two "managers" - Rory Holloway and John Horne - were also getting paid by King. Somehow, tens of millions disappeared....
While the Boston Globe often pontificates about newspapers, and the "public's right to know," what are they doing about Borges, and his shameful relationship with King? One of the reason why this sport can't be cleaned up is because of writers who simply whore for their press pass. But Borges has taken it to new levels.
A couple of years ago, the Globe finally fired columnist Mike Barnicle, because he routinely plagiarized and had gotten to the point where he was simply making stuff up. Patricia McNamara, another columnist, also got the boot shortly thereafter, because she was writing "human interest" stories, about people who never existed. When was the last time Borges wrote a tough piece about King? The Boston Globe is still one of the finest papers in America, but the only thing the Globe has is its credibility.
Does Don King, who allegedly used to bribe cops and judges when he was in the numbers business, pay off boxing writers?
The late Mark Kram got fired from Sports Illustrated in 1977 because he took money from King. Fresh out of the Cleveland numbers racket, King even promised he'd find him work as a screenwriter.