Written by Charles Jay
Tuesday, 31 December 2002 18:00
* Discredit the efforts of the Association of Boxing Commissions until such time as it makes a statement that is, for a change, positive for boxing and sees its way clear to remove Jack Kerns from its board of directors.
* Continue to expose the unfair business practices going on at networks such as ESPN, which has severely diluted the quality of boxing offered on television.
* Continue to expose the hypocrisy in the so-called "editorial comment" from ESPN "experts", who are concerned with cleaning up boxing, as long as it has nothing to do with cleaning up themselves, or their employers.
* Get to the bottom of why John McCain and his followers are so hesitant about including anything in the new boxing bill that would deal with a most pressing issue - the oversight of television boxing.
* Further my efforts in spelling out - in an intelligent way - exactly what justifies the regulation of television networks, as they relate to boxing.
* Shine the light on promoters who think they're going to stiff fighters - and get away with it - so they can't operate any more.
* Pick up on some of the positive things going on in the area of boxing regulation and make sure everyone knows about it.
* Defend boxing to those who criticize it only out of ignorance.
* Reform and revamp the ratings system in the only plausible manner I can think of - by following through on our media poll and integrating it with a sanctioning body so that it can have a real impact on world championships.
* Articulate in detail why it is so dangerous, and foolish, to put the sole authority for ranking fighters and bestowing championships in the hands of one single media entity whose primary purpose is commercial in nature.
* Clearly separate the legitimately-concerned boxing reform advocates from the hypocrites.
* Educate the media as much as possible, because, with no disrespect intended, it can only enhance its capability of covering the sport accurately and effectively.
* Expose members of the press who are "on the take".
* Do everything I can to support people in this business who are truly doing things the right way.
* Lay out a rational, realistic way in which promoters - and other roles in boxing - can be defined, so that it is more difficult for someone to slip through the cracks.
* Make sure as many people as possible realize what kind of folks are running Sugar Ray Leonard Boxing.
* Continue to force boxing commissions to take a long look at what they are doing and how they are doing it.
* Encourage commissions to institute changes in policies and practices that make sense.
* Expose the inadequacies of commissions who don't care, or who refuse to adjust for the benefit of the sport.
* Find out exactly how many boxers are bought and paid for - signed, sealed and delivered to managers or promoters while they're still amateurs, and ascertain exactly how that's allowed to happen.
* Drive Mat Tinley over the edge.
* Explore the exploitation of the insurance system by certain ringside physicians.
* Stay on the corrupt NABF's ass.
* Bring forward true, legitimate alternatives to the current scoring system.
* Do everything I can to help the union effort get off the ground.
* Explore the pluses, minuses, and ramifications of promotional contracts - the fuel on which this business runs.
* Help Joey Gamache and fighters like him who are victimized by phony weigh-ins.
* Come up with a feasible plan by which comprehensive medical tests can be taken care of, without cost to fighters or promoters.
* Figure out a way to assist those who are putting together ways for fighters to obtain insurance and retirement benefits.
* Get it through somebody's head that consumers are a constituency that needs to be protected.
* Get state commissions to reciprocally honor certain suspensions that may not necessarily be related to medical issues.
* Continue to bring forward issues that should be included in boxing legislation, whether they are ultimately included or not.
* Put together an alternative bill that would make more sense than anything that has been submitted in Congress before, in the hope that it may get its due consideration some time in the future.
* Help the sanctioning bodies join their efforts together on certain issues that might result in the betterment of boxing.
* Continue the campaign for neutrality in officials for world championship fights, and to clearly decipher what hidden agenda prompts people like Greg Sirb to be so dead set against it.
* Convince people within the boxing industry that legitimate boxing reform need NOT be a threat to them, but instead something that in the long run will enhance the credibility of their product.
* Convince people like McCain's errand boy Ken Nahigian that a mind is a terrible thing to waste.
* Find a legitimately qualified person to be the national boxing "czar", because we've been offered mostly garbage.
* Force the ABC and its people to put their business out in the open - the same kind of standard they seem to demand from most of the entities they would aspire to regulate.
* Digest as much feedback as I can from people who really care.
* Endure all thirty minutes of "Around the Horn" at least once.
* Explain to Max Kellerman why we are really not in another "golden age of boxing".
* Love my neighbor.
* Make new friends.
* Exercise more tolerance.
* Okay, exercise LESS tolerance - sometimes.
* Be relentless.
* Be honest.
* Be accurate.
* Get more sales. PLEASE - more sales.
Happy New Year.
Copyright 2002 Total Action Inc.
Written by Rick Folstad
Monday, 30 December 2002 21:00
Walk the dog, stroll through the park, have a picnic at the lake.
There are safer things for IBF cruiserweight champ Vassily Jirov to do this month than defend his title against James “Lights Out” Toney.
Barbecue, play softball, fish, visit the zoo. Thank his lucky stars.
Jirov, who lives in California, won’t be fighting Toney on HBO on Jan. 25.
Something to do with his insides.
Ask Toney why Jirov pulled out of their fight and he’ll tell you it was Jirov’s heart that let him down, his backbone that went soft, not his banged-up ribs. Ask Toney and he’ll tell you about heartbreak and lies and revenge and fighting anybody in the universe if it means another title. Jirov claims he suffered the damage while sparring. Maybe. But it’s the fourth time Jirov has found a reason not to fight Toney. How many times you got to be told to go home before you realize the guy doesn’t want to come outside and play? How many times you got to be bit by the same dog before you realize it wants to be left alone? Jirov has more excuses than a politician caught with a hooker on his lap.
In his own eloquent way, Toney recently described how disappointed he was in the cancellation of their title fight on the undercard of the Vernon Forrest - Ricardo Mayorga welterweight title fight.
“The @#%$%*&#@,’’ Toney said after learning of the postponement on Christmas Eve. “Jirov can @&%$#% and then he can @%$#@#$. He’s nothing but a #$%#@#.’’ That said, it doesn’t brighten up the New Year in the Toney household.
“I’m done with it,’’ said Toney, sounding like a guy who finally gets tried of being stood up by the same girl.
As of Dec. 30, there was still no word of an opponent for Toney, though he’s still making regular trips to the gym.
Merry Christmas, James. Have a Happy New Year.
“Bah, humbug,’’ said Toney’s promoter Dan Goossen. “We didn’t have much of a Christmas. I got the news on Christmas Eve. But you just have to bounce back.’’ Funny thing about fighters. Some make excuses, some fight through them. You get the feeling Toney could have cracked five ribs and his right tibia and still climbed into the ring against Jirov.
It raises a lot of questions. What’s Jirov got against fighting? After a busy 2001, he hasn’t fought since last February. How do you hold a title after you’ve gone into retirement? Just who is this guy and why does he like to hide? Is there really a Vassily Jirov out there, or is he a creation of the IBF, a shadowy figure who won the title and decided it was too big a risk to keep defending it? The bottom line is, Toney may be left with a lot of unexpected free time on his hands if they don’t find him another fight, though he knew better than to mark the date on his calendar in ink. There are no promises in boxing. When dealing with a guy like Jirov, all bets are off. But Toney can still hope. The name O’Neil Bell - the WBC’s No. 1 challenger - has been knocked around, and Toney said he doesn’t care what contender or champion he knocks out on Jan. 25. “#@#$%$#,’’ Toney said.
You can say that again.
Written by Steve Kim
Monday, 30 December 2002 21:00
Here are my resolutions that I'd make for some of the luminaries in the sport of boxing.
* Floyd Mayweather: No more excuses. Anyone else sick of listening to 'the Pretty Boy' whine about what ailments he came into the fight with? Whether it's his fragile hands, a bum shoulder or his squabbles with his promoter Bob Arum, he always has an alibi. Hey Floyd, nobody cares, you get paid plenty to perform and those that buy tickets don't care that you might have a hangnail; they want nothing but the best effort out of you.
Mayweather reminds me of former Los Angeles Dodger slugger Mike Marshall, who's second home seemed to be the disabled list. The bottom line is this guy is lucky to be a boxer where he only has to perform once every 6 months- he simply couldn't handle the rigors of an NBA, NFL or baseball season. Ask any athlete if they are ever 100-percent healthy after the first day of training camp or spring training and they'll laugh at you.
Injuries and ailments are a part of the job, overcoming them is what makes a true professional. Mayweather still hasn't grasped that concept.
* Jim Gray: Respect. I guess this little weasel is whom Aretha Franklin was talking about in her song. Think about it, have you ever seen a guy be so disrespectful to fighters in post-fight interviews like this guy. Don't even mention HBO's Larry Merchant- he isn't afraid to ask the tough questions like a true journalist and he's consistent. Gray looks at boxing as a secondary gig and looks down on boxers in general.
Don't believe me? Just compare and contrast his softball interviews that he does for NBC and the hatchet jobs he does on Showtime.
* Max Kellerman: No more over-hyping New York boxers. Look, I get along and respect Max, but when you look up the term 'East Coast Bias' in Webster's, his picture may be used as the definition of it. From Zab Judah to James Butler and to Tokumbo Olajide, he'll have you enshrined in Canastota if you come out of the Big Apple.
What's worse are the excuses he'll come up with for his New Yorkers when they fall on their faces. Max is great for boxing but he's gotta realize New York hasn't been a player on the boxing scene for at least 20 years.
* Crocodile: A new catchphrase. You know Crocodile, right? He was Mike Tyson's hype-man for all these years…the guy with the menacing shades and the army fatigues who used to scream, "GUERILLA WARFARE" at the top of his lungs over and over again.
I've heard that enough and it's about as played out as 'Whoop, there it is' and it's time he came up with a new one. All the great ones can add to their repertoire.
* HBO: Admit they acknowledge the titles. Stop being the Hypocritical Boxing Organization and just stop saying that you don't recognize these organizations. The latest example of their double-talk? Well, for years they dogged John Ruiz and his WBA title, suddenly Roy Jones challenges Ruiz and HBO is hyping this up as some sort of historic challenge of a light heavyweight trying to capture a heavyweight title.
Yeah, the same title they had basically trashed for years.
* Joe Cortez: No more over-officiating. His line is that,' He's firm but he's fair'. I'd argue about that the last couple of years but my biggest gripe with him is that he seems to make himself waaaaay too visible during fights and gets too involved. Nobody is there to watch him and he should just let the fighters fight.
Too often I see these fights with Cortez lose their flow as Cortez continually interrupts the action with his admonishments and warnings. Joe, take a step back and let us watch what we came to see.
* Don Turner: Stop living off of Holyfield-Tyson I- If you ever talk to this guy, he'll talk as though he invented boxing. And his big coup was co-training Evander Holyfield against Mike Tyson. 'The Real Deal' upset Tyson and suddenly Turner was being hailed as the new Chappie Blackburn and he became a media darling.
My question is this, did he suddenly teach Holyfield how to fight 35 fights into his career? Also, I contend that my mother and I could work Holyfield's corner and he would whip Tyson everyday of the week and twice on Sunday. And ask yourself this, when was the last time he was in the winning corner for a big fight?
* Newspaper writers: Start crediting the Internet. Ok, this is a sore subject with me, but too many times I've seen stories from the major newspaper scribes who amazingly have stories that are eerily similar to stories that I've read on the internet (or that I've written myself) and use quotes that I got in one-on-one interviews and they don't attribute their sources- the internet.
When I take quotes or info from a story I make a point to give credit where it's due. Now, I just wish these guys would do the same.
* Roy Jones: no more hip-hop entrances. Roy, you're a magnificently gifted prizefighter, you can also play just a bit of hoops, but your rhyming skills are that of Shaquille O'Neal. In other words, you're doing street nursery rhymes not Nas.
Please, oh please, stop embarrassing yourself and the sport with your cheesy as nacho's attempt to become a hip-hop performer. His last entrance/performance reminded me of one of those really bad Sir-Mix-Alot videos of the early 90's.
* Panama Lewis: an exit out of the game. You remember Lewis right, the guy who gave Aaron Pryor the mysterious white bottle before the 14th round of his bout against Alexis Arguello, which seemed to give 'the Hawk' a sudden burst of energy that enabled Pryor to brutally KO Arguello. Afterwards, Pryor would skip out on his post-fight drug test.
Then there was the fight with Luis Resto, where he would tamper with his gloves between rounds, and bearing the brunt of this tomfoolery was Billy Collins who's faced was turned into a bloody mess. Collins, in the aftermath of this brutality committed suicide. For this, Lewis was banned permanently from working a corner. But that doesn't mean that he can't go into the gym and train fighters and even attend fights.
The bottom line is simple, this man has no place in the game of boxing and boxing shouldn't tolerate him in any way.
* Cedric Kushner: no more gimmicks. This guy has tried everything from the disastrous 'ThunderBox' to one-day $100,000 heavyweight tournaments- and all have failed miserably.
He can put on a boxing version of 'Survivor' or 'Real World' if he wants but the reality is, boxing fans want good fights and interesting fighters, nothing more, nothing less.
Stop with the shenanigans and stop with the junk.
Written by Steve Kim
Thursday, 26 December 2002 21:00
And not just fights that have the highest profile or the biggest names - because sometimes those fights, like Lewis vs. Tyson - are nothing more than high-profile mismatches. I'm talking about fights that are evenly matched between the game's best and are the most intriguing inside the ring.
Here are some fights I'd pay to see in the upcoming year; full well knowing that most of these fights are pipe dreams as the business end of the sport would bog these fights down quickly. But hey, we can dream right?
* Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Erik Morales or Marco Antonio Barrera: Name me another fighter that has never won a world title belt that is better than Marquez? You can't and this guys been ducked and dodged long enough. On February 1st he takes on Manuel Medina for the vacant IBF featherweight title and it says here that he should face one of the game's best known 126-pounders, either Morales or Barrera. Marquez is a master boxer with great counter-punching skills and his hand-speed would give either one of his Mexican compatriots fits. There are some in the industry who have been saying for a while that Marquez is already the game's premiere featherweight; I'm not inclined to disagree that strongly.
CHANCES OF HAPPENING?: With Barrera, not good, as Ricardo Maldonado sees no real upside in this match-up and would most likely take an easier fight on HBO for about the same amount of money he could make facing Marquez.
With Morales, the logistics are much less complicated. Both of them are promoted by Bob Arum and there is some talk that they could face each other in May if a Morales-Barrera III isn't made.
* Bernard Hopkins vs. Roy Jones: Not only because it's a match-up of two of the very premiere fighters in the world, but Hopkins needs to resume his career with some meaningful fights and Jones should be fighting guys like 'the Executioner' instead of participating in novelty acts like his proposed bout with John Ruiz.
And don't think for one minute that this would be a blowout. Jones couldn't blowout a green Hopkins in 1993 and won't be able to do it now. Hopkins, unlike most of Jones' opponents, isn't in total awe of Pensacola's finest.
CHANCES OF HAPPENING?: Not good, Sharon and Arafat will find a common ground regarding the Middle East before these two proud and stubborn men find one in contract negotiations.
* Oscar De La Hoya vs. Vernon Forrest: For fans of pure boxing and strategy this is a fight that can't be missed. Both men have strong jabs and match-up well physically. 'The Golden Boy' has the better left hook and 'The Viper' has a more effective right hand. Between these two well-schooled boxers you can expect a tense and tight boxing match with subtle momentum swings round by round.
CHANCES OF HAPPENING?: For 2003, not very good because it looks like Oscar will be fighting once in the upcoming year - a September rematch against Shane Mosley - and Bob Arum has stated that Forrest simply brings nothing to the table promotionally. This can be interpreted as another way of saying that he's not Latin, too dangerous or just another black fighter who can't sell a ticket. The bottom line seems to be that unless Forrest raises his profile in the upcoming years, De La Hoya will be facing guys that make economic sense.
* Floyd Mayweather vs. Kostya Tszyu: This would be a face off of the sport's premier lightweight against the game's best jr. welterweight. 'The Pretty Boy' would bring speed, quickness and boxing ability to the dance. While Tszyu would bring a decided edge in strength, size and punching power. They say styles make fights and you have two contrasting ones here.
CHANCES OF HAPPENING?: Not likely. This is for a couple of reasons. First, Vlad Wharton who promotes Tszyu, is seemingly deathly afraid to take any risks with Tszyu, who's basically his cash cow. Secondly, Mayweather got a reality check from his two bouts with Jose Luis Castillo, who at 135 pounds was able to muscle him throughout their 24 rounds they fought in 2002. And Tszyu is faster, sharper and just as strong as Castillo. I'm not sure Mayweather is in any rush to make the move up to 140-pounds.
* Lennox Lewis vs. Wladimir Klitschko: The industry is always better off when there is action in the heavyweight division. So why even mess around by having Lewis take on 'the other' Klitschko or knock out Tyson again; getting right in there with the man most pundits are claiming is the heir to his throne in Wlad Klitschko?
The time is now, Lewis is getting up there in age and really doesn't have that much left in his gas tank anyway and it would be prudent for him to face Klitschko now before he gets any better. Remember, that's the tact they took in facing Michael Grant when they did - but it has to be noted that Klitschko is much better than Grant.
Lewis would have the advantages in experience and savvy, but for one of the few times in his career he would be facing a disadvantage in size and perhaps power. The two best big men on the planet squaring off, what else could you ask for?
CHANCES OF HAPPENING: Actually pretty good, since Lewis himself has stated his plans to take on both Klitschkos in between his rematch with Tyson. But with Don King now making a full court press to garner the services of Lewis, who knows what direction he goes to now.
Written by Steve Kim
Thursday, 26 December 2002 21:00
On paper it looks like an intriguing and appealing match-up. It says here that it's a mismatch.
Yeah, McCline is on a decent run having beat Michael Grant, Lance Whitaker and Shannon Briggs in succession. But seriously, that's 20 feet worth of heavyweight victories that are suspect. Break it down, Grant was always overrated and a HBO creation that was fed to the lions against Lennox Lewis. Whitaker was developing nicely until he went 'Goofi', and Briggs is, well, Briggs.
And Lampley's assertion that McCline is this country's best big man? I'd take Chris Byrd and Evander Holyfield in a heartbeat over McCline, who is a nice story of overcoming adversity and overachieving, though. It's well known that McCline served time in prison for gunrunning and basically began his pro career without any amateur bouts under his belt. And he began that career in his mid-20's, so for a guy of his limited experience to have accomplished what he has, it's quite impressive in that context.
But ultimately that will be his downfall against Klitschko, who many are tabbing as the heavyweight heir apparent. Klitschko is a guy who has boxed for most of his life and was good enough to have won an Olympic gold medal in Atlanta, Georgia in the 1996 Olympic Games. This is a huge advantage for the hulking Ukrainian. He is a much more fluid and natural fighter than his counterpart who, like most big athletic kids in America, played sports like basketball and football and then only decided to try on a pair of Everlasts as a last resort.
In fact, if you think about it, guys like McCline and the trio he downed, all have the same physical features. There all above 6'4 and weigh between 240-260 pounds. And in the case of Grant and Whitaker, all had (as teenagers) more experience in basketball and football than boxing. Sadly, the days of the great American heavyweight may be a thing of the past. Quite simply, there are plenty of short, little guys that will box from an early age, but with the lure of the other professional sports - with their college scholarships and lucrative professional contracts- the American heavyweight talent pool is filled with a bunch of failed power forwards and offensive tackles.
And looking at the current crop of U.S. bred heavyweight hopefuls; the prospects of getting a dominant American heavyweight seem sluggish at best. Malik Scott, Dominick Guinn, Joe Mesi, DaVarryl Williamson and Derrik Bryant aren't taking anyone's breath away as of this moment.
If Wladimir Klitschko turns out to be the real thing and can supplant heavyweight supremacy from Lewis in the near future- he may have a very long reign at the top. But remember though, this was a guy who petered out and lost to American journeyman Ross Purrity on his home turf, so it's not like he's invincible.
McCline is a tough guy with a good head on his shoulders and you know he will come in completely prepared and focused. But I just wonder if a guy who was a bit apprehensive against Briggs is ready for a guy like Klitschko who's as impressive an offensive fighter as you will see for a heavyweight.
It says here he isn't.
ROY ROLLS THE DICE
I gotta hand it to Roy Jones, after what seemed like years of negotiating, he finally signed on the dotted line to take on WBA heavyweight titlist John Ruiz on March 1st at the Thomas and Mack Arena in Las Vegas.
And it's a no-lose situation for Jones. If he loses, hey, it was a heavyweight he was giving away about four or five inches to and about 40 pounds. And if he wins, he makes a bit of history. Either way, he comes out of this with at least $10 million. Not bad at all.
But I think this is a tough (and quite possibly ugly) fight for Jones. I talked to Chris Byrd this past weekend and Byrd, who ended his career as a super middleweight (and a silver medallist in the 92 Olympics) told me," I'm just beginning to get used to being a heavyweight right now. Roy doesn't really know what he's getting himself into." And this from a guy who's fought at heavyweight the past 10 years.
And think about this; Bob Foster was possibly the biggest and hardest punching light heavyweight ever, and he was routinely drilled by heavyweights when he moved up in weight - and he was facing guys that topped out at 220 pounds. Now believe me, I'm not putting 'the Quiet Man' anywhere near the stratosphere of fighters like Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, but the law of physics has to be at work here somewhere.
But regardless, my hat's off to Roy.
Sources tell me that the 'Real Fights' pay-per-view show featuring IBF lightweight titlist Paul Spadafora did around 14,000 buys- which isn't bad considering that they needed 9,000 buys to break even and that it was going up against a show on Showtime on November 9th.
These smaller pay-per-view shows are going to be more prevalent in the next year with dates becoming harder to get on both HBO and Showtime and with both networks trimming their boxing budgets.
Oh, for the days of boxing on ABC, NBC and CBS. Seems so long ago. Well, actually it was.
It seemed like a lock just a few weeks ago that Buddy McGirt was going to be in the corner of one Mike Tyson. Well, it seems McGirt is a bit hesitant to leave his Vero Beach, Florida roots and stop working with his vast stable of fighters. So now the Tyson brain trust is looking at other options.
Names like Freddie Roach, Bouie Fisher, Kenny Adams and Thell Torrance have all been kicked around.
But seriously, does it matter who trains Tyson at this point? He is what he is. A faded fighter who still has some marketability and can knockout a few guys here and there. I'm not sure that any trainer can really make that big of an impact at this point.
WHERE THERE'S SMOKE
Lou DiBella, former boxing czar at HBO, has inked Derrik 'Smoke' Gainer to a deal.
I say good luck to DiBella in getting anywhere with that. Gainer, in the past, has proven to be quite a stinker on Roy Jones' undercards.
I have a hard time believing that the likes of Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales and Johnny Tapia will ever get in the ring with that guy.
Written by Charles Jay
Thursday, 26 December 2002 18:00
I fully expect this to show up in the Charles Jay File (totalaction.com), that is why I am writing to the entire membership. It seems as though one or more of our members has been providing Mr. Jay with emails which were sent to the ABC membership as a way to keep them updated. I have always tried to keep the membership apprised of activity regarding the ABC. But, I am getting tired of seeing my email on Mr. Jay's webpage.
The actions of one or more of the ABC members providing this information has caused me to become more guarded in the information that will be provided to the membership as a way of keeping you dated. Sadly, most of the membership will suffer due to your actions.
I am certain this email will be forwarded as the others. I am certain the person(s) responsible are not professional enough to admit and tell me (us) why they would do such a thing. If you are doing this to hurt me that is one thing, but you have to realize you are hurting the entire association.
Division of Professional Registration
Missouri Office of Athletics
End of story, right?
Not only should Lueckenhoff NOT be supressing information from his fellow ABC members, he shouldn't be supressing it from ANYONE. And it can be argued that, by law, he actually can't.
That's because Lueckenhoff performs all of his duties as president of the ABC out of the offices he occupies in the Missouri Office of Athletics, where he is the chief administrator. That is the address, phone and fax number that is listed for him on the letterhead of the ABC. In effect, a state office has become the working headquarters of the ABC, to the point where the phone number to Lueckenhoff's commission office is listed as the contact number of the ABC on its official website. Lueckenhoff does not receive compensation for his role as ABC president. But he performs all his duties on state time, from state offices, using state phones, and while he is being paid a state salary.
In addition, all his e-mail correspondence with ABC members, including the above letter warning about me, was sent through his state e-mail address - firstname.lastname@example.org, being carried over state e-mail servers. In fact, if you notice Lueckenhoff's signature file, he identified himself as a state official - "Chief Investigator, Division of Professional Registration -- Administrator, Missouri Office of Athletics".
As such, everything Lueckenhoff does, and has done, as president of the Association of Boxing Commissions - that means his correspondence with various boxing commissions, memoranda regarding the implementations of federal law, any official documents or records relating to ABC business; in short, anything that exists on paper as a result of his duties with the ABC that may have originated from, or come into, his state offices, might very well fall under the scope of the "Missouri Sunshine Law", because Lueckenhoff's ABC activity becomes more or less an extension of his state activity.
The part of that law which would concern Lueckenhoff is summarized in the following way on the state's website:
"PUBLIC RECORDS -- 610.010, 610.023, 610.024 Unless otherwise provided by law, records of a public governmental body are to be open and available to the public for inspection and copying. The governmental body may charge a reasonable fee for providing access to or copies of public records. The fee is not to exceed actual cost of the document search and duplication. Upon request, the governmental body shall certify in writing that the cost does not exceed that body's actual cost.
Each public governmental body appoints a custodian for the records. The Sunshine Law requires that each request for access to a public record be acted on no later than the end of the third business day following the date the request is received by the custodian. If access is denied, the custodian must explain in writing and must include why access is denied, including the statute that authorizes the denial.
If only part of a record may be closed to review, the rest of the record must be made available."
Any member of the general public can fill out a public records request from the state of Missouri, and the burden presumably would be on a public official (like Lueckenhoff) to demonstrate just cause as to why something should remain secret. There are exemptions to the law, but none would likely be justified in this case.
Keep in mind that the same thing applies to other members of the ABC, most, if not all of of whom, as state employees, have their own public records laws to comply with.
I bring all this up not because Tim sent that letter - in fact, I found that e-mail sort of comical. Rather, I wish to illustrate that the same organization that would seem to demand accountability from managers, promoters and sanctioning bodies would not feel it incumbent upon themselves to adhere to the same spirit and principles of disclosure.
In point of fact, they're actually hiding behind certain provisions in the federal law in order to hold back information that rightly should be accessible by fighters, when it suits the purposes of some special interest. That's simply wrong. And it's certainly something we're going to be exploring in a lot greater detail as "Operation Cleanup 2" progresses.
I don't know - maybe I shouldn't be taking Lueckenhoff's recent communication with his colleagues too lightly. Tim is very, very familiar with what I do - in fact, if you've followed what we've done all along, you know that the original nucleus for "Operation Cleanup" came from a collection of suggestions for federal regulations that I compiled at his request.
Over the course of time, as the ABC has shown itself to be generally weak, ineffectual, and even hypocritical at times, we have seen fit to expose various things - one of the latest, which evidently hit a nerve, involved the inappropriate handling of a situation regarding confiscation of WBA sanctioning fees by the California commission and supported by the ABC - detailed in Chapter 72 of "Operation Cleanup". In the process we re-posted letters from Lueckenhoff to WBA president Gilberto Mendoza (copied to California commission director Rob Lynch), and U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.
Throughout the last seven months, I may not have been subtle in getting my point across, but at all times I wrote what I believed to be true and accurate. None of what was done was intended with a mean spirit. And it's all in the best interests of boxing.
Yet it appears that Tim is intent on keeping me - and in turn,YOU - in the dark, to the extent that he has threatened to only selectively inform his ABC constituents of matters they should be apprised of. Think about it for a second. The idea that public accountability would be "hurting the entire association", as Lueckenhoff put it, has got to send a message loudly and clearly. And I can assure you, that message is not something that is good for boxing in general.
Consider this - quite obviously, somebody from within the ABC membership has felt it absolutely necessary for me - and the public - to be aware of what is going on there, right?
Thank God for THAT.
It's just a shame that the guy who actually runs the organization takes the opposite view.
(P.S. -- I heard some ABC members might pass around our paid content to each other as a way of extracting a little "revenge". All I can say is that it would be quite amusing to cause some embarassment for commissioners within their state governments as they're caught pirating intellectual property.)
Copyright 2002 Total Action Inc.
Written by Charles Jay
Wednesday, 25 December 2002 18:00
Needless to say, the network failed that test, tucking its tail between its legs and running to some safer pastures.
As you know, on March 9 of 2001, Greg Page wound up in a coma, and subsequently brain damaged as a result of a fight in which the Kentucky Athletic Commission failed to have any of the proper safety requirements in place (ambulance and/or paramedics, stretcher, licensed physician, even insurance) that were prescribed by federal law, with the finger pointing squarely at Jack Kerns, the chairman of the commission, who would later become First Vice-President of the Association of Boxing Commissions.
About a month later - on Easter Sunday, in fact, an ESPN "investigative" show called "Outside the Lines" explored the Page situation with a trio of guests - Ron Borges of the Boston Globe; Greg Sirb, then-president of the ABC, and Lou DiBella, who had just resigned as head of boxing at HBO to go out on his own.
There was a pre-produced package, where the ESPN crew went down to Kentucky, interviewed Nancy Black, the executive director of the commission, along with Manuel Mediodia - the unlicensed doctor who was at ringside that night, and Patricia Love-Page, soon-to-be wife of Greg.
The ESPN crew made a few discoveries - though not many that weren't previously reported by other sources such as the Cincinnati Enquirer , for example.
What was considerably more significant was what they missed.
When I was doing my research for a special report entitled "Horse Manure Isn't The Only Thing That Stinks in Kentucky" (included in the 'Operation Cleanup' book), in the space of about a week I had managed to find out a whole host of things that the ESPN report did not contain - things that were not inconsequential, either.
For example, at the time of the Page fight, Dr. Mediodia had not just been put on probation twice by the state of Ohio for questionable practices, he was UNLICENSED in the state of Kentucky to boot. This not only conflicted with the federal law, it was contrary to Kentucky's STATE law as well.
That's serious business, and considering that Mediodia is said to have turned and ran out the door EVEN BEFORE PAGE'S FIGHT ENDED, it's probably one of the more serious acts of malfeasance in this case.
It surprised me that an ESPN "investigative" team would miss this rather crucial piece of information. And I was more than just a little curious about it.
So I placed a call to Andy Lockett, an ESPN producer who was in charge of doing the Kentucky piece for "Outside the Lines".
He told me that it was just assumed that Mediodia was licensed in Kentucky if he were working a Kentucky fight. After all, why would a doctor even attempt to practice in a state in which he did not hold a license? That would be absurd, wouldn't it? In fact, almost too absurd to follow up on.
I guess I agreed, to a certain extent, although I reminded him that this was boxing, and one should never make ANY assumptions when it comes to the ineptitude of a boxing commission.
Then our conversation kind of went like this:
ME: "Well, don't you think, in light of some of the irrefutable things we've managed to find out, that this is well worth a follow-up piece by you guys?"
HIM: "Absolutely. We already tried to do it."
ME: "Then why didn't you do it?"
HIM: "Because......well, because, and I hope you wouldn't mention this, but (pause).......we were pressured by programming to back off."
ME: "Programming? I thought you guys WERE programming."
HIM: "No - I mean they figure they do boxing, and that's their product - it's part of programming, and they had a show coming up in Kentucky, and well,........."
Yeah, I know.
Indeed, ESPN went to Owensboro, Ky. on March 23 - just two weeks after the Page fight - to do a fight card featuring Bones Adams in a WBA 122-pound title fight against Ivan Alvarez, although I'm not quite sure why that should have impacted on anything investigative that they did or could have done. But then again, we're dealing with Disney here.
Oh sure, ESPN did what they considered to be a "follow-up" on the Page story. It focused in on the human interest angle of Page's friendship with Kentucky heavyweight Dale Crowe, his opponent in that fateful match. The piece, which was terrific, was produced by Lockett, but it intentionally sidestepped some of the substantive issues that prompted Page to file a lawsuit against the Kentucky commission, and what make that suit potentially an important one for anyone concerned with boxing reform.
I bet Lockett, if he had his choice, would have done something different. My assumption is that he would have wanted to explore the issues of negligence a little further, or at least revisit some of the things we found. After all, one would imagine that would be more in keeping with what the purpose of "Outside the Lines" is - to present a "hard-hitting" sports editorial and news magazine program.
But hard-hitting it isn't.
I suppose it's not all that shocking that when Lockett had the audacity to want to be a newsman, his colleagues and/or superiors would slap that notion down. Just like HBO's "Real Sports", in which "nothing is out of bounds" except when it
deals with sensitive areas of company business, commerce and conscience just don't seem to mix at the "Worldwide Leader in Sports".
And "conscience" is absolutely the right word, because when the ESPN "boxing personalities" decided they wanted to go into the business of influencing minds, and influencing federal legislation, they sent out a gold-plated invitation for the kind of scrutiny I have been putting them through.
And if you're familiar with the network at all, you realize it could never hold up to such scrutiny. Not now. Not ever. And the evidence to that effect continues to roll in.
We caused our share of controversy with our reports about the corrupt, inept, indifferent, imbecilic Kentucky commission back in the fall of 2001, and have forced a lot of commissions to take a very long look at what they are doing. I know it, because I get the phone calls.
But let's face it - I may get a lot of intelligent boxing fans, media members, and industry people to come to the TotalAction website, and read the "Operation Cleanup" books, but that's absolutely nothing compared with the kind of audience ESPN has.
If the network had decided, even before I had become well-acquainted with the Page story, to make a major issue out of the horrible, and avoidable, chain of events that led to the near-fatal injury of Greg Page, it probably could have created enough of a snowball effect to get the ball rolling on some positive national regulations that may have precluded me from ever having to write "Operation Cleanup".
But it didn't, and so now you're discovering that it's because it was more important to televise a Bones Adams fight from Kentucky than it was to affect some positive long-term change for the sport, which - and here's the really ironic thing, something ESPN doesn't seem to "get" - would make boxing, in the end, a more attractive product for consumers.
Instead, the ridiculous circle just keeps going round and round. What we've got is ESPN "commentator" Teddy Atlas, who's in bed with John McCain, who's in bed with Greg Sirb, who's in bed with Kentucky's "Minister of Maim", Jack Kerns.
You'll want to remember that.
But don't be overly surprised, or even disappointed. I'm not.
It's what I've come to expect from the network of Mickey Mouse, Russell Peltz, and Bjorn Rebney - the most dangerous, disingenuous, hypocritical of all the alphabet soup organizations.
Copyright 2002 Total Action Inc.
Written by Steve Kim
Tuesday, 24 December 2002 21:00
Is it a subjective ranking? Yes, but I try to be as objective as possible in doing them. After all, it's hard to compare a featherweight with a middleweight and then subsequently a heavyweight. And the criteria can change based on who is doing the ranking. The original concept of 'pound-for-pound' was created for the great Sugar Ray Robinson who was being overshadowed in the era of Joe Louis. Of course there was no way even for Robinson to take on 'the Brown Bomber' but the pound-for-pound designation was to honor Robinson for his overall skills, which were the best in the sport.
My personal criteria includes: skills, strength of opposition, achievement and some good old-fashioned intuition. Yeah, it's somewhat like the controversial BCS system that has plagued college football, but no computer geeks that don't even know football are involved. These rankings come from what I've seen with my own two eyes.
13- Lennox Lewis: For all intents and purposes he is the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world and while he'll never be a universally beloved prizefighter, it's hard to take away from his accomplishments. Outside of a few months last year, he's been a titlist since 1997 and has defeated the likes of Evander Holyfield when he was considered the games premiere heavyweight.
Yeah, I know he's lost to two journeymen in Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman, but he's avenged both losses. Lewis, when motivated, has a sharp jab and a big right hand. But it says right here that his legs are fading and he is vulnerable against either Klitschko brother.
12- Tim Austin: I'm a big advocate of the 'Cincinnati Kid' but it's hard to put him any higher than 12(and some would argue he shouldn't be here at all) because while he's been a titlist for over five years, can you name his biggest win? Didn't think so, because outside of Adan Vargas he's taken on a collection of IBF mandated no-names.
But with that being said, he's a skilled craftsman who can really box and because he's in a division where African-American fighters have a tough time making money, he's been avoided. Also, having a promoter in Don King that routinely puts him on the shelf doesn't help his cause. His February fight against Rafael Marquez will be among his toughest challengers.
11- Jose Luis Castillo: This Mexican tough-guy drops a little bit after his second loss to Floyd Mayweather, but many thought he did enough to get the verdict over 'the Pretty Boy' the first time around. He may look crude, but he's a guy that is pretty well schooled and he has plenty of experience. And he is tough as a boot.
He's gone 24 nip-and-tuck rounds with the respected Stevie Johnston, stopped Cesar Bazan and had Mayweather running from him in their rematch a few weeks ago after a tough first encounter. Castillo downs any other 135-pounder easily.
10- Erik Morales: I gotta give it to 'El Terrible', throughout 2001 I thought he was a spent bullet and that Marco Antonio Barrera would get him out of there. Instead, he was the aggressor throughout the night and many believed that he did more than enough to get the decision the second time out. Then in November he would put the game, but out-gunned, Paulie Ayala through the meat grinder in an impressive 12-round performance.
He's not the smoothest or prettiest fighter to watch, but all he does is win (or give guys like Barrera hell) and prove that he is one of the sport's best featherweights.
9- Floyd Mayweather: It's been said of prodigious talents like Mayweather, that they themselves are the only ones that can beat them. Well, in the case of 'the Pretty Boy' that was almost the situation in 2002. It seems that past few years that we read more about his personal problems or squabbles with his promoter than his performances inside the ring. And now it looks like he's got a brittle body as he's complained of having bad hands and he also talked of a sore shoulder after his first bout with Castillo.
All these factors have affected his performance, because the fighter that dominated the likes of Genaro Hernandez, Angel Manfredy and Diego Corrales at jr. lightweight simply doesn't exist at 135 pounds. He's still very good- but it doesn't seem he's as good as he likes to tell us.
8- Shane Mosley: At this time last year we were all comparing him to the likes of Ray Robinson and Ray Leonard, now he's a question mark because of his two losses to Vernon Forrest who seems to be his achilles heel.
Some in boxing are wondering if Mosley has seen his best day but I need him to have a bad day against someone other than Forrest to convince me. If he does the expected against Raul Marquez on February 8th, I think he gives Oscar De La Hoya hell in September - again. He may never beat Forrest, but he might always beat De La Hoya.
TIE- 6- Vernon Forrest and Oscar De La Hoya: It's hard to separate the two - who were teammates on the 1992 U.S. Olympic team - while Oscar has a better overall resume, Forrest himself is undefeated and has two wins over Mosley.
And a fight between these two would be a dead-even fight. Both have good jabs, with Forrest having the superior right cross and De La Hoya having the better left hook. Forrest is bigger than De La Hoya, and the edge in speed and quickness would go to Oscar. So with that, I rank them even.
5- Kostya Tszyu: Just look at his recent run: a win over WBA titlist Sharmba Mitchell, a win over solid contender Otkay Urkal and then a knockout of IBF King Zab Judah. Then in his first defense as the unified jr. welterweight champion he took on the rock-solid Ben Tackie and basically shut him out over 12 rounds.
Tszyu is a sharp shooting, boxer/puncher who is tough as nails and disciplined. He's in a deep and fertile weight class but it's gonna take a helluva fighter having one helluva night to take 'the Thunder from Down Under'.
4- Roy Jones: Yeah, I know this may raise a few eyebrows and there is no way I'm debating this man's natural skills but this is like the mighty Miami Hurricanes playing in the Big East and not taking on the likes of FSU, Tennessee and Florida. That's basically what Jones has done for five years as he has taken on one mis-mandatory defense after another while hiding behind a plethora of title belts.
As for his challenge of John Ruiz, I guess it's impressive and all, but the last I checked, guys like Bob Foster and Archie Moore, when they moved up to fight heavyweights, took on the true heavyweight champions. They didn't hand pick a guy that just happened to have a title that they thought was easy pickings.
3- Marco Antonio Barrera: Will the real Marco Antonio Barrera, please stand up? Y'know, the one that had barn-burners against the likes of Kennedy McKinney, Jr. Jones, Erik Morales and to a certain extent Naseem Hamed. Suddenly, this guy fancies himself as a patient counter-puncher that no longer feels the need to come forward, dig to the body and exchange at will. He managed the impossible by turning his rematch with Morales into a chess match. Good grief.
I admit, it's a safer way to fight, it'll prolong his career, but it's just not the same. But with that being said, I never said it wasn't effective, as he's currently on a winning streak that includes: Hamed, Enrique Sanchez, Morales and Johnny Tapia.
2- Bernard Hopkins: Since disposing of Felix Trinidad in September of 2001, 'the Executioner' has done lost his mind - and seemingly every ally he ever had. But make no doubt about it, the man can flat out fight and is among the all-time great middleweights.
But on the flip side, he has lost all the momentum from his huge win and the Cinderella story is no longer there. In many circles he is a pariah, but maybe he likes it that way. Since the Trinidad win, he's fought once - a stoppage of mandatory challenger Carl Daniels in February - and he isn't getting any younger. Will he continue to negotiate his way out of big fights? We'll see.
1- Vacant: Yup, you read that right, if the sanctioning bodies can have a vacancy so can I. The bottom line here is that while there are still plenty of great performers, at this moment, no one has done enough or separated himself from the pack to merit selection as my 'Bakers Dozen' top dog.
Come back in a few months and we'll see how things shake out.
Written by Charles Jay
Tuesday, 24 December 2002 18:00
He is in the midst of waging a legal battle against the Bluegrass State, the Kentucky Athletic Commission, KAC chairman Jack Kerns, executive director Nancy Black, ringside "physician" Manuel Mediodia, promoter Terry O'Brien and others, stemming from the collective neglect they demonstrated in connection with a fight last March in which Page almost lost his life.
As if it's any consolation, things are a lot better than last Christmas, when Page could hardly move or speak at all. When the Kentucky commission was in such a state of denial about its complicity that it was insulting to the sensibilities of any reasonable person. When Patricia had to go, hat in hand, from state agency to state agency in order to find any kind of aid whatsoever for Greg, only to rebuffed most of the time.
At least now Greg Page has a new friend. His name is Dale Crowe, who, in case you didn't know, happens to be the opponent who sent Page to the canvas and eventually into a coma on that fateful evening (March 9, 2001, to be exact). Over the course of time, Dale Crowe began to feel incredibly guilty about his role in the near-fatal incident. That's only natural, because fighters - the men who put their physical well-being on the line every time they step into the ring - have a clear, first-hand understanding of the risks involved that the general public simply can't fully comprehend. And it follows that there is a common empathy for each other that may be hard for even the combatants to put into words.
The irony, of course, is that Dale Crowe, the one guy who really has nothing at all to feel guilty about, has carried the Page tragedy around like an albatross, while the dirty, filthy scoundrels who are actually at fault - people like Kerns and Black - could not be more defiant, could not blame each other enough, and could not flee quickly enough toward any legal partition they can hide their gutless asses behind.
And talk about gutless - the people who run the Association of Boxing Commissions are so gutless it makes me want to puke. Kerns, who is almost without question the most dangerous person in boxing, from the standpoint of fighter safety, is one of their own. The group showed such tacit approval of his abhorrent actions and policies that four months after Page's "accident", it elected him to the position of FIRST VICE-PRESIDENT of the organization, and is now offering its moral support to Kerns as he fights the Page litigation.
No wonder Larry Hazzard has pulled his New Jersey commission out of the ABC, with no doubt others to follow suit.
In effect, the group comprised of individuals who now collectively control the regulation of boxing in this country, who want substantial responsibility and power if newly-proposed legislation creates a "national" commission, and which includes people like Tim Lueckenhoff (current ABC president) and the ever-disingenuous Greg Sirb (past president) who are in the power grab to be the boxing "czar" should such a bill come to pass, is actually lining up with Kerns and AGAINST Page, because at Kerns' request, it is aiding him in creating the facade that he is a "respected" member of the boxing community.
He is, in fact, the antithesis of that.
And ABC people seem to have convinced that "special contributor to boxing", Senator John McCain, and errand boy Ken Nahigian, that it's not an issue worth getting passionate about, or even addressing to any extent.
You should take a VERY strong message from all this.
Look, the injury that Page sustained might well be something that could happen to anyone who steps into the ring. That's just the nature of boxing, or any contact sport, for that matter. But the SEVERITY of that injury is something that could have been minimized if not for the fact that some very silly, stupid, careless people were in a position of authority. Well, there is no room for silly, stupid, careless people on a boxing commission.
The thing is, I'm not sure there are too many people associated with the ABC who agree with me.
Oh yeah, the ABC gave Page a token donation of $300 from something it calls its "Professional Boxers Assistance Foundation". Of course, that fund has over $5700 sitting in it, presumably gaining interest somewhere, administered by Sirb, overseen by no one. I don't know if it's still there, what they intend to use it for, or how it's decided who it goes to, but who better than someone who has been rendered disabled by the malfeasance of one of the ABC's own board members?
I know of private individuals who have given more - people who probably couldn't afford to, but did so anyway, because they were so OUTRAGED by the fate that befell Page. Relative to Kerns' level of responsibility in this matter, the $300 is such an insult that I almost suggested to Patricia that she should tell Sirb he can take his money back and stick it where the sun doesn't shine. But I'm not that selfish.
You know, when I originally published "Horse Manure Isn't the Only Thing That Stinks in Kentucky", our special report on the Kentucky commission and the Page story (which you can find in the first "Operation Cleanup" book), I offered the thought that, and I quote, "if this isn't the perfect illustration of why we need a national boxing commission, I don't know WHAT is".
Well, I think I'd have to change my tune there. Now, it's more like "maybe yes, maybe no". Through personal experience and close observation, I've now had the opportunity to see what the people who would conceivably populate a national commission, and certainly those who would head it up, would do about a situation like that which happened to Greg Page. And I've undoubtedly gotten my answer.
Nothing positive. N-O-T-H-I-N-G.
It's now been demonstrated that it's more important to secure the vote of Jack Kerns at an ABC convention than it is to potentially save lives. Sadly, not one of them have the character, or the conscience, of a Dale Crowe.
What a thing to have to write on a holiday like this.
But it's precisely why, if Greg Page is going to have a better Christmas NEXT YEAR, it will only be because a court of law has made it so.
Society in general can only hope for that much.
Copyright 2002 Total Action Inc.
Written by Charles Jay
Monday, 23 December 2002 18:00
I'm continually hearing about how evil it is when a promoter also has a managerial interest in a fighter, or vice versa. There is even a specific provision addressing it in the Ali Act. Although it can apply to a number of different situations, it's quite
obviously aimed at King - and the professional relationship he's had through the years with his son, Carl. I can't say that I disagree with the principle involved. The dynamic between manager and promoter should be one of negotiation, not coercion.
The fact is, while enforcement is certainly another question entirely, there would seem to be at least a recognition of the problem of these conflicts.
While I was doing a little research for Chapter 51 of "Operation Cleanup", which dealt with John Ruiz' dispute with King, I happened upon something I consider to be quite remarkable.
I was trying to make the point that fighters who shared the same manager were not allowed to compete against each other because of the obvious conflicts of interest; however, when fighters shared a promoter, there was nothing wrong with them facing off, because the promoter-fighter relationship was not one of a "fiduciary" nature.
Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful in trying to make that point. Want to know why?
Because no matter where I looked, I couldn't find a state that expressly forbade a manager from having two fighters in the same bout.
And believe me, I looked through so many sets of rules that my eyes started to blur. And unless I'm missing something very important and very obvious, there's no prohibition addressing this in either of the major federal laws in effect - the Professional Boxer Safety Act or the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, or, for that matter, the bills that have been proposed - the United States Boxing Amendments Act and the National Boxing Commission Act.
Suffice to say that the vast majority of jurisdictions- if any - have not created the mechanism to deal with the issue.
It's somewhat amazing. And let me explain it to you, if it is not obvious enough.
First, as we mentioned, the manager has this FIDUCIARY relationship with the fighter. What that means is that the manager has been placed in a position of TRUST and CONFIDENCE by the fighter; he is charged with the responsibility of acting in the fighter's best interests. The fighter is more or less putting his career in the manager's hands, with the expectation that the manager will work FOR him, and not AGAINST him.
In some states, the manager actually has limited power of attorney, in which he can sign contracts and make deals on behalf of the fighter. In Florida, for example, we dealt with a standardized contract, issued by the commission, which not only empowered the manager with this kind of authority, but also prescribed that the manager could be paid by the promoter, then turn around and pay the fighter his agreed-upon percentage.
The point here is, unlike the promoter, the manager negotiates FOR the fighter, not WITH the fighter.
Different people have slightly different perspectives on what the manager's overall "credo" should be, in terms of what he does for the fighter.
I like the one offered up by the late Jimmy Jacobs, and expounded upon by a few others - "least risk, most reward". The idea of the "risk vs. reward" philosophy would be to maximize financial opportunities, while at the same time creating
the atmosphere that is most conducive to career advancement.
Whatever variations you want to use on that theme, the term "best interests of the fighter" is always a good operative phrase to use.
But you can probably throw all that out the window if the manager has two of his guys fighting EACH OTHER.
It goes without saying that a manager commonly has to have an agenda, a purpose, for putting one of his charges into a fight.
It follows logically that if he's got both fighters in a match, there couldn't possibly be two agendas at work without some kind of conflict existing between them, unless it is in the most extraneous of circumstances.
I simply don't know if a manager can be acting in the best interests of both fighters simultaneously; by definition, you can't be following the "risk vs. reward" philosophy by doing that, because one of the fighters has to suffer a defeat, and
therefore reduced status in the general marketplace.
You have to figure if the manager is putting both guys into a virtual "toss-up" fight, surely he's acting contrary to some course of action that would be a preferable alternative. If he's doing what is done in most cases, which is to put one of the fighters in there to serve as a stepping stone for the other, an "opponent", which will, in effect, work out to the advantage of one fighter over the other, then how could he claim, with any degree of credibility, that he is acting in the best interests of both fighters as would be expected by the nature of such a manager-fighter relationship?
I don't really care - and I don't think regulators should care - if both fighters have agreed to such a match. The inevitable result is one where one of the fighters will receive a benefit, while the other will suffer a detriment. There is no plausible way a manager can represent both contestants if he knows one of them will not benefit. In simple terms, a manager should be rooting for his fighter - but there's no way he could root for both, is there?
And I haven't even gotten to the questions of legitimacy a fight like that would bring up. I know that if I saw a match where both fighters were of the same "stable", I'd be wondering what kind of "arrangements" were made. And why shouldn't I?
Invariably, one fighter is on the way up, and the other is on the way down. And a guy doesn't need a nudge from his manager to continue a downward slide.
Admittedly, this is not a problem that appears to be widespread; indeed, if it happens it's probably more prevalent in some of the "backwoods" areas of boxing - those that don't have a whole lot of efficient regulation. Still, like many things, it's not a problem to be dealt with until someone catches it occurring, so it's best to have something in place to correct it, right?
I would consider this to be a glaring oversight on the part of boxing commissions; one that deserves to be dealt with.
Do you think commissions can somehow "manage" that?
Copyright 2002 Total Action Inc.