Written by Frank Lotierzo
Thursday, 06 March 2003 18:00
Lets look at the reasons why starting with Roy Jones. In looking back at Jones-Ruiz you must examine how it effects Jones career. Roy finally has given us a signature fight signed sealed and delivered. I for one was a skeptic, however their can be no denying Jones is a special fighter, (not the Hector Camacho with muscles that I used to think). Since Jones has thoroughly dominated the Lt. heavyweight division does anyone believe their's a Lt. Heavy out there who can even bother him or who the public would clamor to see him fight ? No, not a one. Forget about Hopkins, with already owning a win over the middleweight champ what does Jones have to gain ? Plus nobody believes Hopkins could beat him. Forget about what's his name over in Germany, Jones doesn't need to go there and Darius won't come to America for his beaten. One must not forget, Jones has achieved the level as a great fighter, he's now fighting for money and cementing his legacy. Beating guys below 175 does nothing for Jones legacy or wallet.
The fight that makes sense for Jones is Holyfield ! Having the name Holyfield on his win column is huge, even if it's an eroded watered down version, (like Tyson thought in 1996). No one can deny that Holyfield is the most respected and best heavyweight since 1990, despite losing twice to Lewis. The first fight Holyfield wasn't there mentally and some feel he won the second fight. So beating Holyfield would be another stepping stone on the way to all-time status. Jones isn't going to fight Tyson, why should he? In Holyfield he's fighting a fighter who knocked Tyson out and made him quit. Holyfield's style is more suited for Jones, he doesn't fight three minutes a round any longer and he doesn't have one punch KO power. It makes much more sense. Why should he take a chance with Tyson, it's a fight he could be out front and winning and get caught with one punch and be KO'd, thus maybe losing immortality and being wrongly remembered like Michael Spinks is.
Forget Chris Byrd, what's he gain beating a guy who used to be a super middleweight, and who has the most difficult style he could face. What about one of the Klitschko's? Na, it doesn't make sense, they're are too big a risk for what the fight would draw. Jones has the WBA title, he does not need or want Wladimir's WBO belt and Vitali has no title, forget the Klitschko's! How about Tua, never happen. Tua is the same scenario as Tyson only less upside and not nearly the payday ! That leaves Lewis, this fight is a possibility but not now. Let Jones beat another Heavyweight and see where Lewis is on his schedule, this fight needs to be built up. Right now it's not the mega super-fight it has the potential to become.
What about Holyfield, what's in it for him ? Jones has the WBA belt that used to be his. Holyfield declined a potential Jones fight before because he had nothing to gain, now he has a lot to gain. Jones would also appeal to Evander because Jones is a little smaller then him, which in all actuality is worse for Holyfield. Looking back at the Warrior's career you can't help but notice smaller quicker fighters have been most troublesome for him, (Byrd & Czyz). Evander probably feels he learned a great deal from the Byrd fight in which would better prepare him for Jones. A win over Jones by Holyfield puts him right back in the title mix. The fight makes all the sense in the world for Holyfield. I have no doubt that while he was watching Ruiz-Jones he was thinking more about what Ruiz didn't do then what Jones was keeping Ruiz from doing.
This fight will happen. It makes perfect sense for both fighters. Can't you see Don King promoting it with the all the pageantry and hype that both names merit. Holyfield, the dominant and most consistent heavyweight over the past 12 years, and Jones the best all around fighter during that same period. I have no doubt this fight happens ! Jones is to smart and shrewd not to make it happen, he knows even a win over an eroded Holyfield strengthens his legacy. It also gives him even more bargaining power for other fights against the heavyweights who are perceived to be the best and most formidable, and he knows that Holyfield is ripe for the taking. On the other hand do you think Holyfield fears Jones, or has any doubt that he can beat him ? I think not, and Evander will be only to willing as long as their is a belt on the line! Look for Jones to be staring at "The Real Deal" next time he steps into the ring.
Written by Charles Jay
Wednesday, 05 March 2003 18:00
That's cool, I guess. I don't mind a good soap opera now and then.
And I can't help but laugh at the pretenders who are trying to be "investigators".
According to ESPN, it wasn't their preference that Kizer come on the "Friday Night Fights" program. They claimed they had tried to get Nevada commission chairman Luther Mack and vice-chairman Tony Alamo Jr. to speak with them on the air, without any luck. But Kizer probably knows the Professional Boxer Safety Act and the Muhammad Ali Act better than anyone in Nevada, and along with Bruce Spiezer of Maryland, as well as any attorney connected to a boxing commission in the United States.
Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean he was ready to be ambushed by Atlas, who came at him in a sophomoric manner that couldn't possibly have been for any other purpose than to create "effect", and give ESPN's public relations guy Dan Quinn additional ammunition to get Atlas more publicity from a few backward boxing writers.
When it came to the substance of the argument, Atlas, who has already used up MY material, came up dry.
Example - at one point when Kizer was trying to say something about the Ali Act, Atlas interrupted him. "We have the law, maybe we can help you," he said. "We're going to help you out." A befuddled Bob Papa then said, "Let's take a look at
the Professional Safety Act (sic). And this is right from the bill."
Then, with Atlas nodding all the way, I'm sure, Papa proceeded to recite a passage from something that in fact wasn't part of any federal law at all, but instead taken from the Nevada Ethics Code, leaving considerable doubt as to whether Atlas, or Papa, or anyone else at ESPN even KNOWS what is in the federal law.
That's quite an embarrassment for the "Boxing Authority", isn't it?
Kizer, who must've been holding back giggles by this time, was gracious enough to point out that what was being shown on the screen wasn't exactly what the "Authority" was attempting to refer to, and with that, Papa and Atlas both flunked their audition for "60 Minutes".
The problem with most of Atlas' "findings" (and we must qualify that because we're not sure where any of them really come from) is that there is a counter-argument to what he offered as "evidence" on ESPN regarding Luther Mack. Kizer had an answer for that, though it may not be one that ESPN liked.
However, there is no plausible argument against bringing up questions related to the APPEARANCE of conflicts of interest, which has been the fulcrum of my case all along, in the process of initially identifying and clarifying this issue. As we've stated before, bring flimsy evidence to the table and your allegations look flimsy. Stay within the abstract as much as possible, and you have an issue that can have relevance, regardless of which commission you're talking about.
Kizer must've felt like a guest on one of those inflammatory talk shows, where it's more important to be louder and ruder than your "opponent" than to make the more salient points. Even so, he could have been stronger.
Kizer brought up a letter sent by Reid to McCain, in which the Nevada commission was unabashedly praised - "As you know, Nevada's commission has been regarded as the authority on professional boxing for the last 20 years."
maybe that's what this is about - I guess everybody wants to be the "authority".
We'll deal with that letter in an upcoming chapter.
I also felt Kizer's analogy to baseball commissioner Bud Selig did not fit the circumstances. You can't draw a parallel between that and the Alamo/Nevada situation. Major League Baseball is a corporation and a legal monopoly that is not regulated by a government body, whether it be on the local or national level. There is no secret about the loyalties or obligations of the commissioner's office - the commissioner works for the owners. He is hired, and can be fired, by the owners. He is paid by the owners.
In point of fact, when he was both owner of the Milwaukee Brewers and team owner simultaneously, Selig was actually in a position of conflict of interest - a conflict which manifest itself on occasion, and which, in this reporter's opinion, still exists to some extent, as long as his daughter, Wendy Selig-Prieb, is chairman and principal owner of that franchise. It would be too tangential to get into great detail about it, but it's moot anyway, because it's a private issue, not a governmental one. And to use it as an exhibit couldn't do anything but strengthen the argument AGAINST Nevada, if only Atlas had the presence of mind to bring it up.
If you'll excuse my continuing with the baseball analogy, Kizer was in a position where he could have "knocked one out of the park". But he didn't do it.
When Atlas asked the question "Doesn't it have the look of a conflict of interest?", all Kizer would have to say was something like, "Well, let's talk about ESPN for a moment. Having a boxing promoter like Russell Peltz working as a
functionary of the network, with an active input in picking and choosing the promoters who get television dates, then turning around and muscling those promoters for a piece of their action - THAT'S a conflict of interest.
"When somebody, aside from ESPN, pays you an exorbitant weekly salary, Teddy, and all of sudden that particular party is being given ESPN dates, with YOUR fighter appearing on them - gee, doesn't THAT constitute a conflict of interest? Would you like me to go on? The point is, while there might very well be justification to refer to the APPEARANCE of conflicts of interest in Nevada, your network, which calls itself 'The Boxing Authority', is knee-deep in conflicts of interest that are very, very REAL. As someone who holds himself out to be a moral voice for your sport, would you kindly begin to address those now?"
I don't know what the reaction in the ESPN truck would have been to that. But I'd think in the future, they might want to have one of those "Please Stand By" cards to flash up on the screen.
Of course, proper decorum most likely prevented Kizer from going in that direction.
At the close of last Friday's segment, Atlas turned to Kizer and advised him to "catch up on that law."
And I said to my television set, "Yeah Teddy - you do some catching up too."
Copyright 2003 Total Action Inc.
Written by Frank Lotierzo
Tuesday, 04 March 2003 18:00
Case in point: As recently as 21 months ago a well-respected monthly boxing publication matched Oscar De la hoya against 10 of the greatest welterweight champions ever. In the panel's opinion, the then undefeated De la hoya would have defeated all but three of their top 10, which included Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns. I say to them, based on what? After seeing former lightweight champion Shane Mosley out-box and out-punch De la hoya in only his third fight as a welterweight, I wonder how the same panel would rank the slightly- tarnished "Golden Boy". Could they possibly have believed that on his best day he would have beaten Sugar Ray or the "Hit Man"? I question whether Oscar could have beaten the best Donald Curry or Wilfred Benitez. And it's not a given that he could beaten Carlos Palomino.
Did you know that in 1968 "Mr Boxing," Nat Fleisher, the founder of Ring magazine, did not have Muhammad Ali ranked in his top ten heavyweights of all time? However, his top 10 did include the likes of Jim Jeffries, Max Schmeling and James Braddock. I believe it is reasonable to assume that had Fleischer lived to see Ali's entire career, he would have been capable of making a more balanced evaluation, "Mr.Boxing" questioned Ali's toughness and ability to take a punch from a proven knockout puncher. Had he been around to see Ali's three fights with Joe Frazier and his title-winning effort against the fearsome George Foreman, Fleischer would have seen that Jeffries, Schmeling and Braddock had nothing to beat Ali with. He would painfully have had to admit that all three of them would have been only too glad to pay their way into a gym just to see Ali hit the heavy bag.
Still not convinced? Here's the best example why we need to wait until a fighter's career has ended before evaluating his place among the all-time greats: In 1988 another high-profile boxing publication rated then-undefeated heavyweight champion Mike Tyson the second-greatest heavyweight ever. Only the incomparable Muhammad Ali ranked above him. Incidentally, this ranking came on the heels of Tyson's 91-second knockout of 31-year- old former light heavyweight champion Michael Spinks. Does knocking out an over-fed 175-pounder in the signature fight of his career afford such a lofty place in history? Not when 21 months later, Tyson was seen searching the canvas for his mouthpiece while being counted out against a journeyman named Buster Douglas-the same Buster Douglas who had been KO'd in three of four career defeats and entered the ring against Tyson in Tokyo a 42-1 underdog. Douglas will be remembered forever for being the first fighter to expose the myth called Mike Tyson. He also provided answers to the questions that some of us had about Tyson. What kind of chin does he have; can he get up off the canvas to win a fight; and how will he cope with a fighter who can take his punch?
Years later, Evander Holyfield, coming off the two worst fights of his career (the third bout with Riddick Bowe, in which he was knocked out, and a desultory effort against Bobby Czyz) showed, in front of the largest viewing audience ever to witness a televised fight, undeniable proof of Tyson's shortcomings. Holyfield, who had to be medically cleared to fight by the Mayo Clinic, erased any benefit of doubt afforded Tyson after the Douglas fight by scoring a Round 11 TKO. Once again Tyson showed he could not cope with a fighter who could not be intimidated and even dare to fight back. In the rematch eight months later Tyson showed he could not take a butt-kicking like a champion. When Tyson committed the most cowardly act in boxing history by biting both of Holyfield's ears, he was telling us that he wanted out of the fight before he was knocked out by Holyfield for the second consecutive time.
Is this the body of work of a fighter considered to be the second-best heavyweight ever by some of those who are supposed to know? They could not have been more wrong! A fighters career must be complete on order to determine when he was truly at his best. Trying to match yesterday's fighters with those of today is about as credible as the computer that said light heavyweight champion Bob Foster would knock out heavyweight champion Joe Frazier one month before they fought. Frazier went on to knock Foster out cold in the second round.
Written by Charles Jay
Monday, 03 March 2003 18:00
What is upcoming in this volume is perhaps the most instructive collection of stories you'll ever read on these pages, or anywhere else, for that matter.
It will be a recurring series, within this online book, which will focus on the Kentucky Athletic Commission - specifically its behavior, philosophy, competence, sense of duty, and level of conscience, as it relates to a tragic incident which took place on March 9, 2001, when former WBA heavyweight champion Greg Page nearly lost his life.
We originally explored this territory in a "special report" which began in September of 2001, entitled "Horse Manure Isn't the Only Thing That Stinks in Kentucky".
That particular series of stories shocked an awful lot of people.
Only recently did I discover that I'd only scratched the surface.
I don't consider myself to be someone normally given to hyperbole. So when I say the following, I want you to understand how serious I am:
What you're about to read over the next couple of months is the result of probably the most chilling, horrifying, disturbing evidence that has ever come across my desk. And that should tell you a lot.
It is the story of a brand of collective idiocy I have heretofore not been familiar with, and how dangerous that can be when you are playing games with the lives of individuals who put their safety in jeopardy on a consistent basis.
It is the tale of personnel in a state agency so apathetic that, to this day, they do not realize, or are even willing to acknowledge, that what they were doing was out of the ordinary, or out of line.
If you're paying attention, it should explain, once and for all, something I have maintained from the start - that the scourges of the boxing industry are NOT the so-called "thieving" promoters. They are NOT the so-called "corrupt" sanctioning
bodies. They are NOT the so-called "greedy" networks. No - they take a back seat to the hopelessly incompetent, arrogant, uncaring members of boxing commissions who have contributed greatly to turning this sport into a joke in the eyes of the general public.
And you know what the scariest thing of all is? The Kentucky commission may actually be closer to the rule than the exception.
Do not read this series with the perspective that this is symptomatic of something so isolated, so abnormal, so freakish. What happened to Greg Page can very easily happen in any number of states that still treat proper safety precautions as an afterthought. Those states have just been lucky - so far.
The kind of attitude that creates circumstances like this should be an outrage. And I don't mean just for the politicians in Washington, ready to vote on boxing legislation, who have a multitude of ulterior motives. The fledgling Boxers Organizing Committee should be outraged. Boxing fans who truly care about the sport should be outraged. Promoters and managers who wish to prevent their business from being knocked into oblivion should be outraged. Those sportswriters who pop out from under a rock, pontificating about "black eyes for boxing" only when Mike Tyson fights, should be outraged.
And those in state government who oversee the appointment of people to boxing commissions should take a very long look at this material and seriously re-think the process by which candidates are screened and hired. After all, massive liability due to neglect is nothing to take lightly.
If the people who can truly implement changes are willing to read this series with any intellectual honesty whatsoever, there is no way their perception of the sport, and business, of boxing could ever be the same again.
The material I ultimately present is the product of legal documents, personal interviews, and independent research, most of which has been compiled just recently.
The stories, for the most part, will appear not necessarily in a block, but intermittently, inserted in between subsequent chapters of "Operation Cleanup 2". That's because I'm going to be posting it as it's being researched and written.
New evidence is coming in every day.
If you've followed some of the stuff I've written over the last couple of years, you'll become re-acquainted with the following characters in this bizarre, pathetic little farce - people like JACK KERNS, the one-time chairman of the Kentucky Athletic Commission, who made the critical decisions that put Greg Page's life in jeopardy; DR. MANUEL MEDIODIA, the doctor who served as ringside physician for the Greg Page-Dale Crowe fight despite the fact that he did not have a license to practice medicine in the state of Kentucky; NANCY BLACK, a woman who, though she served as executive director of a boxing commission, had never attended a fight card in her entire life; and TERRY O'BRIEN, the promoter who should have made the proper safety provisions, but didn't, and who looks like he's going to be the commission's "fall guy" - well, sort of.
All of them had better be ready for the abuse.
It starts in less than a week.
Copyright 2003 Total Action Inc.
Written by Steve Kim
Sunday, 02 March 2003 21:00
" I think that Jones' hand-speed can keep his feet steady. Everyone thinks about how his feet are going to have to be quick but his hands are very quick. If his hands can get off quick enough, he doesn't have to run, he can step around a little bit, maybe hold Ruiz off."
And Atlas believes that where Evander Holyfield couldn't pull the trigger on openings against Ruiz( who he fought three times), Jones will be able to sharp shoot him at will. And one other thing, Jones, according to Atlas wouldn't be taking this fight unless he was sure he could take down Ruiz.
" I think that Jones who has been a pretty good manager himself, beside being a pretty good fighter, is picking this fight because he looks at it the same way."
So what wins out, the talent or the size? It's a tough call but after some waffling I'm going with Jones. Why, you may ask? Well, I've always felt that boxing was a sport dependent on skill, not size. Size and strength only matter if everything else is equal. In this case, it isn't. Jones is so much better in every other tangible category you get the sense that Ruiz's advantages in size and strength will only keep the fight somewhat competitive and interesting, but not enough so that he downs Jones.
Let's make this clear, like Atlas stated, Jones knows how to pick his spots. He's made a great living leveraging his HBO contract which has basically allowed him to pick and choose his opponents- and he's been very judicious in doing so. No matter how much he may be getting paid for this( a cool $10 million in this case), his ego simply wouldn't allow him to take a fight that he wasn't sure to win. And while other light heavyweights like Billy Conn took on the great Joe Louis and Michael Spinks moved up to face Larry Holmes. Jones, is taking on a guy that, while he does have the WBA belt around his waist, is considered nothing more than a titlist and no better than the fifth or sixth best big man in the game, currently.
What does make this fight interesting is that Jones has always referred to himself as a 'blown-up super middleweight' and is now facing a fighter that will come in around 220 pounds. Again, he is the better prizefighter, but will the law of physics take over? Think about it, Bob Foster, at 6'3, was one of the biggest and hardest punching 175-pounders ever, yet he would get routinely hammered by heavyweights who weighed no more than 210 pounds. But then again, nobody has ever accused Ruiz of being in the same class as Joe Frazier, Muhammad Ali- or even Doug Jones or Zora Folley for that matter.
Styles do make fights, but class and skills win them.
Ok, I'm not saying that Clifford Etienne didn't get hit by a good right hand from Mike Tyson this past weekend, but my only question is, if he was that paralyzed from the punch that he wasn't going to make an effort to beat the ten-count, how did he have the wherewithall to calmly take out his mouthpiece while on the canvas? I mean he did everything short of stifling a yawn and stretching out a bit.
As for Tyson, I know some myopic Tyson fanatics will claim that this 49-second demolition of 'the Black Rhino' was the beginning of another Tyson rebirth. But what it really is, is a testimony to the matchmaking skills of Shelly Finkel and all of his other enablers who will try to milk their cash cow for all it's worth.
Etienne, was chosen for a reason and that reason was shown on Saturday night. He's more fragile than fine china or Marcus Camby.
And it's interesting to me that Etienne, who's one shot at being competitive was to take the fight into the middle rounds would come out to the center of the ring and slug with Tyson. Tyson, is no doubt a spent bullet, but he will forever be a puncher. Wouldn't it have been more prudent to at least try and stay away from 'Rusty' Mike and take him into the deep water? He didn't even make him go into the kiddie pool. But again, that's why he was chosen to face Tyson, he only knows one way to fight.
Afterwards, Tyson stated that he needed at least two or three more bouts before going into a rematch with Lennox Lewis. It may have been the most honest Tyson's been with himself or anybody else in a long time. But the stark reality is that Tyson detests training and would have a hard time making a commitment for the lesser fights knowing he could make as much for a rematch with Lewis as he could for facing two or three Etienne-like opponents.
And as someone close to the Tyson situation told me on Monday night," I wouldn't believe any of that. He's been saying he's been two or three fights away from a Lewis fight forever." In other words, actions speak louder than words and don't be completely shocked if Tyson and his people jump right back into a return match with Lewis.
Also, Showtime, which has televised Tyson exclusively for the past decade is way tired of the shenanigans and headaches. They reportedly have one more fight left on their deal with Tyson- which is for a Lewis rematch- and they themselves may not want to deal with the problems Tyson brings anymore. Who can blame them?
After being taken along on the roller-coaster ride that was training Tyson, Freddie Roach had an appropriate ending to his week.
After going through the twists and turns of the past week- where the fight was post-poned and then recalled within 24 hours- Roach would travel to Memphis to work with Tyson after his fighter had basically stopped coming to the gym as he worked out his 'issues' two weeks ago. Through all the turmoil and tumult, it was Roach who made it clear that he felt Tyson should not fight.
Well, like everyone else, he would be in Memphis- hey, who could blame him? You spend six weeks with Tyson and try coming home with nothing- and it would be an easy night's work as Etienne was quickly dispatched. Afterwards, Roach, would be left behind and forgotten by the rest of Team Tyson and he would have to hitchike his way back from the arena to the hotel.
Anyone else get the feeling that Roach may have worked his last bout with Tyson?
Written by Rick Folstad
Friday, 28 February 2003 18:14
John Ruiz is the WBA heavyweight champion of the world, though he gets about as much respect as the runner-up in the frat-house Ping-Pong tournament. Outside of the Boston area and the Latino community, it’s not John Ruiz, it’s John Who?
He goes 36 tough rounds with Evander Holyfield and all he gets is his name mispronounced.
And now he’s going to fight light-heavyweight champ Roy Jones Jr., a smaller guy with fast hands and a faster mouth who thinks he’s the best thing to come along since remote control and chip dip.
Ruiz and Jones are supposed to fight March 1 in Las Vegas, though I wouldn’t bet the wife’s fine China on it happening. So far, their fight has been nothing but rumor, innuendo, posturing, denial and back peddling. And that‘s just Roy Jones’ side of it. On a teleconference call Tuesday, Jones said the reason it took him a dog’s life to finally agree to the fight was promoter Don King, who apparently had a few issues to settle. Deals had to be cut, promises had to be made and broken. Palms had to be greased.
“Don’t make it seem like I was the one who was holding out, because that is not me and those are not my points (what size ring and gloves will be used),.’’ Jones said. “My points are little things that are going to matter 10 years from now. It was not Ruiz, it was dealing with Don King. If it had just been between me and Ruiz, the deal would have been done a long time ago.’’
As easy as it is to take shots at King, you have to figure the pouting party in this month-long soap opera was Jones. Like he said three times during the teleconference, “Roy makes the final decision.’’
Later, Jones said nothing was going to get in the way of the fight because “Roy Jones and John Ruiz want this fight to happen, and they’ll come together and make it happen.’’
Obviously, Jones gets a kick out of referring to himself in the third person. Let me give it a try.
The writer thinks Roy Jones is a superbly gifted fighter but an arrogant SOB and the writer hopes Roy gets his Pensacola butt kicked, though the writer also thinks Jones will be too quick for Ruiz and that’s why Roy decided to fight him in the first place.
“I don’t know if I’ll continue to fight as a heavyweight (after the Ruiz fight),’’Jones went on. “It depends on how I feel.’’
Asked how he might react to getting hit by a heavyweight - someone 40 or 50 pounds heavier than the fighters he’s used to facing - Jones sounded like a carnival barker trying to sell tickets.
“That’s what everyone wants to see,’’ he said. “That’s why you’re just going to have to watch it.’’
Gee, thanks for the insight, Roy.
Suddenly, Jones decided he was done with the questions and the teleconference.
He said it was nice talking to everybody and he hung up .Click.
You have to hand it to Jones. He makes it easy to cheer for Ruiz.
“This is a big challenge for me,” Ruiz said when it was his turn to chat with the press. “I get a chance to show the world I can also box (instead of just slugging it out like he did with Holyfield). It’s going to be a great fight. His quickness against my strength.’’
The big question? Aside from a hefty payday, what does Ruiz gain by fighting Jones? If he loses, he lost to a light-heavy. If he wins, he beat a light-heavy. “The only thing I have to gain is a win,’’ Ruiz said. “And I want to look good doing it.’’
Will they respect him then?
“I don’t think I will receive (respect) until 10 years down the line when I’m still the heavyweight champion,’’ Ruiz said.
That might just work.
Written by Charles Jay
Wednesday, 26 February 2003 18:00
Dear Governor Guinn,
I am writing to express my concern regarding recent conflict-of-interest allegations involving Nevada State Athletic Commission Chairman, Luther Mack, and Vice Chairman, Dr. Tony Alamo, Jr. These allegations are particularly troubling in light of the historically high regard in which the Nevada Commission has been held.
The United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which I chair, has worked diligently over the past seven years to curb the unscrupulous behavior that plagues the sport of boxing. Although two federal boxing laws have been enacted during this time, these laws have not been enforced by either federal or state officials, and the sport continues to cry out for reform. If true, the allegations concerning the Nevada State Athletic Commission described below would be contrary to the efforts of this Committee and Congress to improve the sport, and further evidence of the need for broader federal oversight of boxing.
As I assume you know, Dr. Alamo is the son of Mr. Tony Alamo, Sr., a Senior Vice President at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, a hotel licensed as a boxing promoter and regulated by the Nevada Commission, and considered by many as the world's premier venue for professional boxing matches. I understand that Dr. Alamo, who you appointed to the Nevada Commission in September 2001, was recently elevated to Vice Chairman by Chairman Mack, replacing the knowledgeable and well-respected former Vice Chairman, Dr. Flip Homansky.
It has been alleged that Dr. Alamo's relationship to the overseer of boxing at Mandalay Bay (his father, Mr. Alamo) conflicts with, or at a minimum, appears to conflict with Dr. Alamo's responsibility impartially to discharge his duty to regulate the sport of professional boxing on behalf of the State of Nevada. Dr. Alamo's original appointment to the Commission, and his recent promotion to vice chairman, have been widely criticized by many in the boxing industry.
In addition to concerns that have been raised regarding Dr. Alamo, conflict-of-interest allegations have also been leveled against Chairman Mack.
The Nevada State Code of Ethical Standards specifically states, "A public officer or employee shall not seek or accept any gift, service, favor, employment, engagement, emolument or economic opportunity which would tend improperly to influence a reasonable person in his position to depart from the faithful and impartial discharge of his public duties." Furthermore, federal boxing law strictly prohibits any "person who administers or enforces State boxing laws" from receiving "any compensation from any person who sanctions, arranges, or promotes professional boxing matches."
Despite these proscriptions, I understand that Chairman Mack, a resident of Reno, Nevada, has on several occasions received significantly discounted room rates from Mr. Alamo and Mandalay Bay, including a December 2002 stay only two weeks before Mr. Mack promoted Dr. Alamo to vice chairman. When questioned during a February 7, 2003, interview with ESPN regarding his receipt of discounted room rates from Mandalay Bay, the Chairman responded that his conduct was not out of the ordinary, and added, "in all honesty, a lot of judges and referees get their rooms for free."
I strongly encourage you to review Dr. Alamo's position on the Commission to determine whether his continued service is in the best interest of professional boxing in your state, and to examine boxing officials' receipt of compensation from regulated entities. Given that the Nevada State Athletic Commission is considered the standard bearer for all boxing commissions in this country, it is imperative that you remain vigilant in maintaining the highest possible ethical standards.
Look at the monster we've created.
I guess it's safe to say that Tony Alamo Jr. won't become a boxing "czar" if McCain has anything to do with it. That letter pretty much clinched it.
Of course, there are some things about the Nevada situation that deserve looking into. And as we've mentioned, with the Ali Act in question it can very easily become a federal matter, which would take any investigation outside the scope and control of the people who have taken so much money from the Mandalay Bay casino - Governor Guinn and Attorney General Brian Sandoval.
Actually, when you put this thing in its proper perspective, it's kind of funny - on the one hand you've got NSAC chairman Luther Mack, who's been taking heat for accepting what may or may not have been a substantial discount on a hotel room from Mandalay Bay.
Then on the other hand, you've got Guinn, who HAS taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Mandalay Bay, and suddenly Tony Alamo Jr. is on the boxing commission, overseeing his father, who does the bidding (in boxing terms) for the big contributor. Then you have Sandoval - who HAS taken political contributions approaching six figures, or more, from the Mandalay Bay - writing disclaimers for Alamo Jr. in order to "reconcile" his presence on the commission, then letters to ESPN like this:
February 11, 2003
Rob Beiner, Producer
ESPN Friday Night Fights
Bristol, CT 06010
Re: Nevada Athletic Commission
Dear Mr. Beiner:
On the last two editions of Friday Night Fights, two of your announcers
speculated about certain actions of some of the Nevada Athletic
Commissioners. The reports demonstrated a lack of understanding about
Nevada and federal law. Consequently, I feel compelled to assure you
that all five Athletic Commissioners have acted in full compliance with
applicable federal and state laws. These laws include the federal
Professional Boxing Safety Act, as amended by the Muhammad Ali Boxing
Reform Act; Nevada's Ethics in Government law; and the Administrative
It is a true privilege of mine to work with these honorable gentlemen.
Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
And we're being asked to believe that there's absolutely no connection to politics at all. Of course not.
At the same time, though, it has been drilled into the minds of boxing fans that if Don King does some intense lobbying for one of his fighters, buys some advertising space in the program for one of those WBC conventions, overpays sanctioning fees, and puts some judges into hotel rooms, that it's so dirty and unholy.
Maybe it is. But my question, for purposes of this piece, is this - what's the fundamental difference between what a guy like King is customarily accused of doing and what is going on in Nevada? Not much, when you consider that essentially it's all about the same thing - money changing hands and favors being granted as a result.
Of course, when someone named Dean Juipe writes in the
Las Vegas Sun
"The state, through its attorney general's office, has looked into the matter and its supplemental allegations and come to a rational conclusion: No harm, no foul", I'm convinced I should feel much more secure about everything.
I'm also convinced there is no shortage of enablers out there in the press.
One of the reasons I embarked on "Operation Cleanup" was to tear away at these hypocrisies, and to point out that just because you are white, put a suit and tie on every day and call yourself a "public servant" doesn't mean that mean that you're not right down there in the gutter with everyone else when it comes to playing dirty little games.
McCain, of course, is not immune either. Sure, I concur with many of the points he made in his letter - how could I not, since he took most of those points directly from ME - but the letter was not without considerable political overtones. McCain, who is heavily financed by the television industry, and at odds with Nevada's casino industry by virtue of his quest to have college sports betting banned, would to be holding the upper hand over the Silver State, and particularly Senator Harry Reid, who has opposed McCain on the betting issue..
I'm not sure what McCain has ever done to "curb unscrupulous behavior". But it does seem clear that one of McCain's primary purposes is in "leveraging" the pressure he can put on Nevada into pressure on Reid, who has a competing piece of
legislation intended to create a "national boxing commission". Reid wants TV networks - McCain's benefactors - to be subject to some form of regulation in their boxing activities, and McCain naturally would like him to drop that idea completely.
If he feels he absolutely has to, McCain will use this Nevada situation against Reid. He'll make the natural connection of Reid to a state that has a "questionable" commission which is a product of a questionable political structure, in the hope that
Reid's position as a senator from a "major boxing state", which has been part of his sales pitch, is weakened.
Of course, in doing that, McCain will leave himself wide open on both flanks. And it'll be up to Reid to figure where those vulnerabilities lie and how to capitalize upon them.
And you thought you were going to REDUCE the politics in boxing?
Hey, this is America. It's ALL about politics. Down and dirty. I love it.
Gee - can I play too?
Copyright 2003 Total Action Inc.
Written by Charles Jay
Wednesday, 26 February 2003 18:00
Are we ready to play?
Okay, let's go.
So you say you'll take "Boxing Absurdities" for a hundred.
And the answer is.......
When THIS happened,
NBA superstars Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Tracy McGrady were still in high school.
Phoenix Suns star Amary Stoudamire was still in GRADE SCHOOL.
Tiger Woods was still an amateur.
Michael Jordan, who is on the verge of his third retirement, was still sitting through his FIRST.
Mike Tyson was still in prison for his rape conviction, and George Foreman was heavyweight champion of the world.
Alexis Arguello has just finished his last pro fight.
USA's "Tuesday Night Fights" was still a hot program, and there was no such thing as ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights".
The world had never heard of Britney Spears, Eminem, Monica Lewinsky, or "The Sopranos".
The Dallas Cowboys were the reigning two-time Super Bowl champs.
The Toronto Blue Jays were the reigning two-time World Series champs.
The Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars and Arizona Diamondbacks did not yet exist.
The St. Louis Rams were still in Los Angeles.
So were the Oakland Raiders.
Bill Clinton has not yet won a second term as president.
The OJ Simpson trial was just four days old.
My nephew hadn't been born yet, and now he's in the second grade.
NBC's "Friends" were hardly even acquaintances - the show was halfway through its first season.
And "Oz" was still considered a wonderful place to be.
Are you stumped?
Well, time's up.
The question - What was the world like on January 28, 1995 - the last time Eddie Croft won a fight scheduled for ten rounds, or for that matter, beat an opponent with so much as ONE pro win?
Why does that mean something?
Because Croft fought Erik Morales for the World Boxing Council's world featherweight title last weekend.
Incredible, isn't it?
Dangerous, you say? Maybe. If you want to explore that, read Pedro Fernandez' blurb in a recent column (http://www.ringtalk.com/Articles/pedro/022603.htm).
If you want to take a trip into the humorous and ridiculous, stay right here.
Croft had beaten Frank Lizzaraga on an eight-round decision in November of 1998, when, according to BoxRec (http://www.boxrec.com), a pretty good record-keeping source, Lizzaraga was 0-6. The January 1995 fight was a ten-round decision win over Antonio Ramirez. That's EIGHT YEARS AGO. That's a long time. And he had not fought since January of 2000 when he stepped in for his three-round TKO loss to Morales.
Could we possibly fathom any scenario that justifiably place Eddie Croft in a world title fight? I'll tell you what - if you could bullshit well enough to do that, I'd hire you on the spot for my sales staff. In fact, you could actually BE my sales staff!
Let's stick Eddie Croft into the spin machine and see what we come up with.
First stop - WBC "Championship and Elimination Rules".
"Rule 1.13 WBC DISCRETION TO DENY CERTIFICATION OF BOUTS. The WBC reserves the right not to certify or to withdraw certification from any bout as being for a WBC recognized championship if, in the opinion of the Board of Governors, the bout jeopardizes the prestige and good standing of the WBC, or fair and uniform treatment of its own champions, or may cause confusion in the boxing community or the public."
I'm not confused, are YOU?
"1.21 CHAMPIONSHIP DEFENSE OBLIGATIONS.
a) Voluntary Defense Obligations: All WBC recognized champions must defend their title at least three (3) times a year or twice, subject to the approval of the Board of Governors. The defenses must be against:
i) any of the top ten (10) rated contenders,
ii) a boxer rated from the No. 11 to 15 position, if special circumstances prevail and upon a majority vote of the Board of Governors;
iii) upon a 2/3 affirmative vote of the Board of Governors and subject to certification of unavailability of any contender rated in the first 15 positions, any boxer rated from 16 to 30 positions;
iv) Youth world champions, with the approval of 2/3 of the Board of Governors;
v) a champion or a rated boxer of another immediate lower or higher weight division, subject to the majority vote of the Board of Governors;
vi) a retired world champion or other boxer of great prestige, subject to a majority vote of the Board of Governors and after undergoing a complete physical examination acceptable to the WBC Medical Advisory Board.
vii) a champion of another boxing organization recognized by the WBC, may be authorized by a majority vote of the Board of Governors to contend for the WBC title in a voluntary defense."
Well, I can't find Croft under (i), (ii), or (iii), and as far as the rest, well, he's not too youthful (33 years old), he's not a champion, has no prestige, and he holds no one's championship now, unless it's a city or county title.
Shall we move on?
I'm not going to bore you with all the "Rating Standards" Croft does not meet, except under Paragraph Nine of Rule 6, where it refers to one of the things a boxer must have (I presume, if all else fails):
"5) extraordinary and special circumstances for him to be considered for ratings in any division and also receiving a recommendation by the continental federation where they are licensed."
Croft doesn't even qualify THERE, unless a WBC Convention or seminar would be considered a special circumstance.
Let's move to something called "RATINGS ADDITIONAL CRITERIA":
"Ratings Additional Criteria. The ratings committee shall use the additional criteria in consideration for their rating of boxers:
a) Their career records
b) The results on their last 5 to 10 bouts
c) The class of boxers they have contended against
d) The importance and decisiveness of their victories
e) A consensus of hometown decisions
f) Victories at hometown or as a visitor
g) Current physical and boxing condition
h) Championships in important confederations
i) Meritorious national championships
j) Olympic medal winners
k) Top Thai Kick boxing professional records
l) Losses being by a cut in close bouts
m) Gate, marketing, or national boxing heroism in assumed equal boxing
circumstances with others.
n) In accordance with strong or weak divisions in regard to boxers
o) Lack of knowledge of merits gained through boxing results
p) Intuition of the ratings panel regarding the boxers' world position in ratings, in the cases of very difficult estimates in comparisons among boxers, but always with a majority voting."
Whatever some of that shit is supposed to mean, I doubt you could spin it in any way, shape, or form to make Croft eligible to fight for a title.
But here's the one I like:
"6.2 INACTIVITY. Any rated boxer who is inactive for six (6) months (except when caused by certified and legitimate medical or legal reasons) shall ordinarily decline in the ratings as his inactivity lengthens thereafter, and shall not be rated if he is inactive for any reason for over one (1) year, except on special circumstances and with the approval of the Board of Governors."
This should actually be the DIS-qualifier for Croft, although I'm sure I'll see those "special circumstances" in the next WBC Newsletter, which, by the way, can't be accessed online (it's "under construction" - by that I mean the newsletter, not the 'special circumstances').
Now let's take a trip over to the Association of Boxing Commissions website (http://www.abcboxing.com), and take a look at their "Criteria for the Ratings of Professional Boxers", which of course, are in accordance with federal law - Section 11 of the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act to be precise, with the applicable clause reading as follows:
"SEC. 11. SANCTIONING ORGANIZATIONS.
`(a) OBJECTIVE CRITERIA- Within 2 years after the date of the enactment of the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, the Association of Boxing Commissions shall develop and shall approve by a vote of no less than a majority of its member State boxing commissioners, guidelines for objective and consistent written criteria for the ratings of professional boxers. It is the sense of the Congress that sanctioning bodies and State boxing commissions should follow these ABC guidelines."
Let's discuss some of these criteria:
"1. Ratings must be solely based on win/loss records, level of competition and activity. Records of any top (10) rated boxers must be verified."
Could Croft qualify using ANY of these components, especially the one about 'activity'? remember, it had been THREE YEARS since he had fought, and he was KNOCKED OUT in that 2000 fight.
"3. For a boxer to be rated in the top (10) and to compete for a world title he/she must have competed in at least (2) ten-round bouts. To stay in the top (10) he/she;
a) must compete at least once during a 12 month period from the time boxer gets rated and also must compete within (6) pounds of his/her weight and;
b) must have competed against another top (15) rated boxer within a (18) month period from the time the boxer gets rated.
A boxer who does not meet this level of competition shall not retain his/her rating. Exceptions can only be made for an injury."
Well, as we said, Croft hasn't competed in twelve months, PERIOD. So he doesn't meet the standard set by (3a) OR (3b), regardless of WHEN or IF he was rated, since if the WBC stuck him in the ratings at the eleventh hour solely to qualify for the Morales bout, it couldn't reasonably be with any justification as set forth in (1). Follow?
All that having been said, when do we get to see the rematch?
Written by Frank Lotierzo
Tuesday, 25 February 2003 18:00
The Chelsea Mass. native must utilize his only advantage, physical strength, and apply it in a strategy that negates Jones two advantages, speed and boxing ability. Ruiz must make this an alley fight. Forget boxing and clean punching, he must maul Jones. Yes, superior physical strength can neutralize speed and boxing ability. The swarmer usually gives the boxer the most trouble because he doesn't allow the boxer to box, he forces him to fight, which Ruiz must make Jones do, fight not box. Ruiz has to cut off the ring and take away Jones' escape routes. Also, Ruiz must not head hunt, he must go underneath with his shots. Jones can make Ruiz miss to the head but, he can't hide his body. A strong body attack enhances the chance that the worlds' greatest lt. heavyweight will be slowed later in the fight and will be forced to engage with the WBA Heavyweight titlist.
RUIZ MUST OLD-SCHOOL BOX CIRCA 1930' & 40's
The "Quiet Man" must open the fight aggressively, throwing punches at Jones non-stop. He must hit Roy with his shots anywhere he can, elbows, forearms, top of the shoulders or even his wrist. Ruiz must try to injure Jones early in the fight, by breaking his wrist, numbing his joints, and jabbing at his shoulders making them sore in order to slow down his hands and hinder his punching ability. Ruiz must send the message that he's the boss and Roy, your speed is going to do about as much good as your 40 pit-bulls. See, I'm going to make you fight for your life. I'm taking your speed out of this fight. Your going to have to worry about surviving, forget scoring and boxing, it's not an option. Jones can move or run but, he can't protect his arms and shoulders since they are going to be covering his face and body. Ruiz must make Jones pay for using his arms and shoulders for his protective cocoon by beating on them.
Ruiz constantly throwing bombs at Jones will pay another dividend. It will keep Jones rocking back and on the defensive, which eliminates his effectiveness to counter back. It also may have a psychological effect on Jones. Once Jones feels that he is in with a fighter who can knock him out or hurt him, it may subconsciously change his mind-set of fighting to win to trying to survive, which is a losing strategy. By Ruiz applying continuos pressure he'll be negating Jones from scoring cleanly because he'll be rushing his shots. Hopefully the mauling and brawling will tire Roy where he's too spent to move and is forced to fight from a stationary or flatfooted stance. This is where Ruiz can do his most effective fighting! By having Jones slowed to a walk Ruiz should be able to turn this bout into a fight. In this writer's opinion, Jones hasn't shown he has the punch or physical strength to fight Ruiz off of him. Jones has hit many decent lt. heavies on the chin who didn't go. I have to assume that Ruiz shouldn't be bothered by any punch Jones can deliver. Ruiz has been hit by Holyfield and Kirk Johnson in his last 4 fights totaling 46 rounds and wasn't close to being stopped. Roy Jones doesn't punch in the same zip code as Holyfield or Johnson. However, Jones can hit Ruiz cleaner and with more precision punches then either of them but, bottom line is Ruiz shouldn't be anymore then bothered by them and more then willing to take some of Jones' best in order to get to him.
In reality Ruiz shouldn't lose this fight! If Ruiz is properly prepared and executes the above battle plan he wins this fight. Keep it simple-stupid, make it a fight. No head hunting, no trying to end it with one punch, constant pressure, and hit Jones anywhere he can and don't worry about landing perfectly flush, just hit some part of him every time you let your hands go. And most importantly, don't wait and try to react to him, make him react to you. Make Jones prove not only is he amazingly fast but he also posses the chin of Hagler, the toughness of Greb, and he can take it to the body like a Lt. Heavyweight Ali. Oh and John, if Jones proves he can do all that, then resort to Plan-B, RUN!!
Written by Charles Jay
Monday, 24 February 2003 18:00
You see, that's because Kohl isn't a manager - he is a PROMOTER.
Well, at least he's principally a promoter. And in all his press materials, he refers to himself as a promoter. His managerial "duties" are really a by-product of what he does as a promoter - which is to say that he wants nothing less than complete control of his fighters. In effect, as a promoter he is negotiating with himself.
Actually, there's nothing to prevent that from happening in Germany, where Kohl operates a company called Universum. But that's not the case in America. And after all, this is the Boxing Writers Association of AMERICA, isn't it?
It just illustrates - seemingly the line has indeed blurred between manager and promoter to the point where those who fancy themselves from time to time as "moral guardians" of the sport would seem rather indifferent to it.
We've covered - very extensively - the reason why there should be a distinction between a manager and promoter; that is, for the people who even wanted to bother doing their homework.
Let me - one more time - take an excerpt from Chapter 51 of "Operation Cleanup", as it referred to what was then (August of last year) pending litigation between the John Ruiz camp (which ironically included "Manager of the Year" Stone), and Don King, regarding King's "obligations" to Ruiz:
"King has one overriding obligation to Ruiz - to deliver a specified number of fights at a fee that is (a) subject to negotiation, and (b) not below a pre-determined minimum price..
It is not necessarily to "advise" Ruiz, or to act in the fighter's best interests, at least to where it is to the exclusion of his own, or even to the exclusion of other heavyweights he may do business with.
Ruiz' lawyer and co-manager, Tony Cardinale, has a fiduciary duty to the fighter.
Norman Stone, the other co-manager, has a fiduciary duty to the fighter.
Don King does NOT have a fiduciary duty to the fighter. He simply has a CONTRACTUAL relationship with him.
King is not Ruiz' manager - in fact, in many ways, his function is actually AT ODDS with that of the managers of Ruiz.
You see, the obligation of Stone and Cardinale is to secure, for their fighter, the best price possible with the promoter, who happens to be King. That creates, by definition, an adversarial relationship - not in the sense that they are enemies, but hopefully - ideally - in the healthiest sense possible, in that they are both negotiating in good faith with each other, with each having objectives that are not necessarily mutually inclusive of each other.
For example, if King wants Ruiz to fight "Fighter X", and offers $1 million to Ruiz, and Stone and Cardinale come back and they want $2 million, they will negotiate back and forth over the figure, until a deal is made in which both parties are satisfied. The less Ruiz takes, the more money King will make, at least theoretically. Likewise, the more money Ruiz is able to negotiate for himself, the LESS money King will make."
Likewise, as it applies to our current subject, the level of success of Kohl, the PROMOTER, is actually predicated on how little Kohl the MANAGER is willing to accept in the way of purses on behalf of his fighters. That's because there is invariably a difference between what the fighters get paid and what Kohl is paid, especially when they fight on someone else's card, as they have here in the U.S. You can put whatever tag on it you want - "promotional rights" or "side money". I can assure you that whatever money Kohl is taking, he's doing it as a PROMOTER. And if he's also taking a percentage as a MANAGER, well, there's a term for that too: "double-dipping".
Isn't that the basis upon which many of the BWAA members have vilified Don King for years?
It sounds absurd, but it's absolutely true. And what is just as absurd is that someone like that would be considered for a manager's award.
Look - there isn't a boxing writer alive who needs to tell me anything about the realities of the boxing industry. Since I've actually been IN the industry, I probably have more awareness of those realities than all of them combined. I acknowledge that managers have edged toward extinction in this day and age. But guess what - that's exactly the point.
To me, a true "Manager of the Year" candidate is someone who has survived, thrived, and maintained at least some degree of independence of action, and duty to his client, as a manager in a sport completely dominated by the network, the promoter, or the network/promoter, if you will. Stone can fit that description. Kohl most decidedly does not.
The "Manager of the Year" award should be a celebration of the role of the manager, not a validation of the deterioration of that role.
If we're talking about an organization that aspires to high-minded principles, certainly one of those principles has to be the idea that a fighter should be represented by a manager, who negotiates the best possible purse with a promoter. Period.
But that apparently goes unrecognized, which is sad. Oh by the way, their "Trainer of the Year" is Buddy McGirt, who is primarily under contract not to fighters, or their managers, but to a promoter. We covered that rather comprehensively in the 18th Round of "Operation Cleanup 2".
And last year's recipient for "excellence in broadcast journalism" was a guy named Atlas.
Maybe that explains some of it. And perhaps another part of the reason resides in the BWAA membership itself. Simply put, there are a lot of people in the BWAA who don't write about boxing. Sure, the organization has its fair share of beat writers from major newspapers, as well as a handful of respected internet journalists.
But there are also quite a few members who either work for promoters, or who are commonly available to be hired by promoters, whether it be for public relations work or other duties. Therefore, it wouldn't be too surprising if these folks had a tendency to see things from a promoter's point of view, would it?
And so I guess that's how we wind up seeing a promoter winning "Manager of the Year".
Oh, what the hell - we don't even know who the real boxing writers ARE anymore.
Copyright 2003 Total Action Inc.