By Paul Magno | October 12, 2017

Thursday is sack day, so let me sit back and dig deep into my bulge for a handful of awesomeness.

Cotto is Better Than Me


I saw where you dissed on Miguel Cotto for fighting Sadam Ali in December. So what if he gets one easy one for his last fight after all he’s already done in boxing? I’m talking Margarito, Mosley, Pacquiao, Mayweather, Judah, Martinez, Malignaggi and so many more. What have you done where you can disrespect this Hall of Fame warrior? 

-- Pedro C

Huh? I’m fine with fighters pulling a fast one on the sport and pursuing the easiest match-ups for the most amount of money. If they can get some dupe of a network or sponsor to support their efforts for a soft touch, that’s cool with me. Fighters deserve all the money they can make while they can still make it. But let’s not pretend that this Ali fight and the Kamegai fight in August are anything but cynical cash grabs aimed at matching Cotto against tailor made opposition. This whole year has been one big victory lap for Cotto. And, yeah, maybe he deserves to shove as much cash into his pockets as possible before he finally leaves the sport, but don’t we have a right to call him on it? Also, at what point does his right to cash in on his drawing power with easy paydays conflict with our right to have a good, compelling boxing product for out premium cable dollars? Put this shit on free TV or find a way to pay for it without sneaking it on to HBO subscribers’ cable bills.

Judging This Mess

I found your article on boxing judging to be very informative. It certainly opened my eyes. I’ve been a boxing fan for almost ten years and did not know how the judging system works. I don’t know how this can be fixed without overhauling the whole system and starting all over. You are absolutely right that you can’t trust any decision coming from judges who owe their jobs and payment to the promoter with a fighter in the ring. How would you propose cleaning up this mess? Maybe a national commission? 

-- Albert Nicci

Forget the idea of a national commission in boxing. Why? Well, who would be put in charge of building and staffing such a commission? Yeah, it would be the same crooks, creeps, and convenient idiots currently pulling a train on the sport. Anyone honest who could actually do good would never be appointed because, really, who the hell would appoint him? If Congress ever did legislate a national boxing commission into existence, guys like Bob Arum and an all-star list of state commission dick-heads would probably be entrusted with building the commission-- and what the hell good would THAT do? Fixing the judging system in boxing wouldn’t necessarily require a complete overhaul of the sport. It would just require cutting the ties between an event’s promoter and the commission that oversees the officials assigned to the fight(s). Maybe an independent fund could be established within each state with money fed blindly into the commission pot by promoters holding events in the state. Judges and officials could be compensated, but it would not be coming from one specific promoter for one specific event that the judges are being asked to score. From there, work to ensure that the promoter has zero say when it comes to state-appointed officials and zero contact with the commission regarding anything other than safety concerns. It can be done, but nobody is pushing for it because so many in this business--- from commissioners right down to media—are living off the “kindness” of promoters with plenty of horses in this race.

Bye-Bye PBC?

Hey There. I saw how you used to suck up to Al Haymon and his godawful PBC product. He tried and he failed to take over the sport. Even you have to admit this now, Magno. Where’s PBC now? Nowhere to be found and he ruined all these fighters in the process! Maybe we can get back to actual boxing now.

-- Tony Carrion

I’m not sure how I used to “suck up,” but I do admit that I was hoping for a successful drive to primetime network TV from them (just as I hope for success from any project aimed at bringing boxing to a wider audience). The more important question here is why any fans and media were rooting AGAINST them. Guys like you were eager to crush the PBC project from the moment it was first announced and, really, it boggles the mind as to why. At one point in time everyone agreed that the key to revitalizing boxing was in getting the sport back on network TV—until an outsider like Haymon came along and actually tried to do it. The boxing establishment raged against a guy coming in and turning the power structure in the sport upside down, they got their media lap dogs to go on the attack, who, in turn, sold a certain subsection of fans on the idea that it was to their benefit to tear down this one particular company. It was fucking bizarre to see fans actively campaigning AGAINST more boxing on TV and, for some reason, raging about the finances of this company that was bringing them more fights to more accessible networks for less money than ever before. Talk about a good dose of brainwashing! But, having said that, I’m not so sure that PBC is over and done with. They’ve clearly restructured their business model and have adapted to the realities of the market, but what constitutes a failure? The brand is still being marketed and utilized. Shows are still being made. If they officially announce their demise tomorrow, then, fine. I won’t shed a tear. But it would’ve been nice to see how far this new model would’ve gone without half of boxing fandom trying to bring it down. Whether Haymon failed or succeeded was never a concern to me, but the new structure he brought to the sport represented boxing’s best chance at substantive reform and that widespread change seems out of the question now, even if the project still chugs along.

Favorite Boxing Writers

Magno. I like your style. And I also hate a lot of the media gimps you hate. But who would you recommend as the best of the best in boxing writing right now so I can start following them?

-- Dylan Ree

Hi Dylan. The best of the best right now, in my opinion, is Charles Farrell, who does work for Deadspin and has published some pieces on my old site, The Boxing Tribune. Charles is not only a terrific writer, but he also has tremendous first-hand knowledge of the sport as a former manager of fighters such as Mitch “Blood” Green and Freddie Norwood. If you want REALITY when it comes to boxing culture and the boxing business, he’s the one to read. Google him, you won’t regret it. My personal favorite is “Why I Fixed Fights.” As for the other good writers out there, I hate to toss out names because I always forget somebody. I will say, though, that the truly good ones with something worthwhile to say tend to have some sort of personal, first-hand experience in the sport like Frank Lotierzo at The Sweet Science and Gordon Marino at the Wall Street Journal. On the flip side, the writers who choose to work directly for promoters tend to be the worst—lots of macho fairytale fantasy stuff and catty agenda-wielding. A good rule of thumb is that if a promoter is eager to hire them, they’re probably eager shills or useful idiots. 

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