The 39th Round

I have been doing investigative pieces of one kind or another since about 1986. Since then I have encountered many instances of injustice, neglect, greed, stupidity and corruption that cried out to be addressed. Indeed, I have tried to address as many of them as I possibly could – most of it has comprised the content you have read in the original “Operation Cleanup” as well as “Operation Cleanup 2”.

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.

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Copyright 2003 Total Action Inc.