The 34th Round

Apparently not content merely with being the vice-chairman of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Tony Alamo Jr. may now have designs on “higher office”, so to speak.

Alamo Jr., who we've covered extensively in previous chapters of “Operation Cleanup2” may launch a run to become president of the ABC, according to reliable sourcesboth within the organization and in Nevada.

If this is true (and Alamo hasn't confirmed this himself), it could lead to an interestingstate of affairs indeed. Inasmuch as we will have a piece of legislation on the tablewhich could establish a “United States Boxing Administration”, it would benatural for the president of an organization such as the Association of Boxing Commissionsto become a candidate for that position.

If Alamo wished to establish a power base for the purposes of becoming the boxing”czar”, or being a “power broker” who would have a great deal ofinfluence over the eventual selection, you could take a lot worse track than go move intothe second-highest position in the most prominent boxing state (Nevada), then to a postheading up a trade organization (ABC) that will invariably be involved in shaping policy,establishing criteria for ratings, disclosures and the like, and designating differententities to do different things, such as the national “boxing registry”, whichis currently Fight Fax.

When that person is someone who is, besides the networks, quite possibly the biggestfinancial “backer” of fights in the United States, not to mention a licensedpromoter in its own particular jurisdiction, there are a lot of questions that have to beasked. We've been trying to ask them all along.

I'm not saying Alamo Jr. is doing anything overtly wrong, or will be in the future. If heis, that is something we'll find out, because it becomes pretty tough to hide from peoplelike us. What I'm worried about are the COVERT things, which involve the “quid proquos”, vote brokering, deals that could be made among people who are clearlypolitical animals, not just in the ABC, which is comprised mostly of political hacks, butalso Senator John McCain's committee, which as we pointed out includes Senator JohnEnsign, who is the son of Michael Ensign, chairman of Mandalay Resort Group and thus notonly the ultimate superior of Tony Alamo Sr., but also the ultimate “financier”of all this boxing activity.

If all these connections are so close, it represents a good reason why we ask questionsabout the motivations of the individuals involved. It's called the APPEARANCE of conflictof interest, and it's completely legitimate to bring up.

In fact, I'd venture to say that in a sport which is constantly striving to achieve someform of credibility in the public's consciousness, circumstances where the son is theregulator of the father, and regulator of other competing entities at the same time, aremore detrimental to the game than any antics Mike Tyson could possibly perform. That'sbecause Tyson will disappear from the radar screen soon enough, and he'll take hisreputation with him, whereas when you have persons in positions that would seem to producepossible conflict, and it goes unchecked, it will beget MORE possible conflict. When youtake that kind of thing to the national level, it just gets magnified.

If Alamo were to run for the ABC presidency, which would have to happen at theorganization's annual convention in July (being held in Missouri, the jurisdiction ofcurrent president Tim Lueckenhoff), it would be interesting to see what kind of supporthe'd receive. That's because it would offer a statement as to how the ABC members feelabout the APPEARANCE of conflict of interest in terms of the regulation of boxing. Some ofthem may indeed be beneficiaries of some kind of conflict of interest in their own homestate, which would make things perhaps a bit more intriguing.

We'll be conducting a little “straw poll” to this effect, but as a preliminaryinquiry, we asked a couple of commission operatives, who have votes in the process, whatthey thought of the possibility that Alamo Jr. might seek the ABC presidency. Theycommented on conditions of anonymity, of course.

“I'd be willing to give him every opportunity to speak his peace, if he wanted to atthe convention,” said one of the commission people, “but I would really want tohear his rationalization as to why he thinks people shouldn't bring all this (theconflicts) into question. If he could do that to my satisfaction, I'm sure I wouldconsider supporting him.”

One commissioner, however, was not so liberal about it.

“I've been in boxing for over twenty years, and all this politicizing and nepotism isa bit too much,” he said. “You just can't continue to send this message out tothe public – that this 'father-son' thing is okay because there's a lot of money behindit. I think if Alamo were to get elected, I would recommend that my state drop out of theABC. Somewhere along the line this whole thing has to stop.”

It's our understanding that Lueckenhoff might be brought onto ESPN2's “Friday NightFights” to speak with “ace reporter” Teddy Atlas about the Nevadacommission. Let's hope someone reads this story and has the initiative to ask Tim how hefeels about his possible successor being a product of that very situation.

Copyright 2003 Total Action Inc.