There have never been consequences for screwing up on the biggest stages possible. In Germany, we had Matt Macklin get robbed vs. Felix Sturm. In Missouri, the same thing happened to Lucas Matthysse vs. Devon Alexander. And yet, nothing was done to acknowledge those mistakes. On one hand, it speaks to how OK with the status quo some in boxing are. On the other, it shows how inept these three judges were.
While some may feel we need to overturn the decision, in the end, what does that do? The moment of victory has already been robbed from Lara. He will never have the feeling of truly knowing all the work, sacrifice and pain he went through for 12 rounds, not to mention his training camp paid off. As the NJSAC commissioner Aaron Davis stated, the decision is a subjective one and since no foul play or malicious intent was discovered, the decision stands. I agree with this. When we begin changing things after the fact, we get into very dangerous territory.
What is truly needed is some sort of oversight committee headed up by the Association of Boxing Commissions to handle these cases. I would also suggest that even for 12-round special attractions, the ABC rules be put in place. If the ABC is good enough for a vacant belt box-off, then they should be good enough for a random 12-round main event on HBO. This would keep these kinds of showcase bouts under the umbrella of said proposed committee and thus, we wouldn’t have an inept commission doing a quick investigation of itself and determining who the scapegoats are for themselves. Instead, we’d get an impartial group looking not just at the judges but the people who put them in the positions to screw up on a massive scale.
What good does it do to have a commission find itself innocent of totally screwing up?
Where Does Paul Williams Go from Here?
Unlike those on HBO, especially Roy Jones Jr., I don’t believe Williams should retire. Retool, yes. Retire? A bit much. Yes, he is falling off rapidly. Volume punchers usually do. Antonio Margarito and Yonnhy Perez sure did. Guys like these three enjoyed a size advantage to go with their pressure volume styles for years. As they slowed down and/or moved up, however, those advantages gave way to glaring defensive weaknesses.
I found the HBO commentary a little overblown as usual. Over on Showtime, we had a guy in Urbano Antillon, a volume puncher who had been knocked out once before, get stopped. Now that is a candidate for early retirement. His speech is a bit slurred; he is getting stopped sooner and sooner and on top of it, I don’t see a revamp of his style helping. Maybe a revamping of his approach in fights might help but Antillon is who he is. That probably won’t change any time soon.
Now Williams, unlike Antillon, was not stopped in this fight. He had been off for eight months or so and yet you didn’t hear Showtime going on and on about how Antillon kept getting hit with an uppercut (he has the same problem Williams does with left hands. He can’t get out of the way of an uppercut, the punch he hurt and was stopped by against Miguel Acosta) and it eventually set up a right hand that dropped him twice. Perhaps this was because Williams’ trainer, George Peterson, said that even though Williams has been knocked out by a left hand over the top, no changes were needed. That kind of stubborn refusal to change is not only going to get Williams knocked out again, eventually, it will insure that naysayers will harp on it for some time to come unless changes are made.
Williams has some serious decisions to make, regardless. You can make an argument he has not won a fight in four attempts. The first Martinez fight was close; the Cintron fight was as well. Martinez stopped him cold and now, the Lara fight. There is definitely slippage. Can Williams fix this? With his height, he can retool his style just a bit, utilizing that jab and straight left while keeping guys at bay with that giant reach. Will he? I doubt it. He and Peterson have made it this far, have a lot of fights this way and know that Paul is one or two fights away from being done. So why change? Well, considering that Sergio Martinez’s camp now feels that Paul looked so bad he won’t get a third fight with him, I think a retooling to go with a win or two might help Paul get back to what is probably the biggest money fight he will get any time soon.
That is unless, of course, Manny Pacquiao didn’t see the fight and decides Williams is perfect for his fight after Juan Manuel Marquez.
Where Does Lara Go from Here?
If there is any justice in boxing (there isn’t unless you knock a guy clean out), Lara will get the paydays Williams was in line for. It would be nice to see HBO finally reward a guy with a big fight when he upsets a house fighter. Dmitry Pirog is still not on HBO after taking out Danny Jacobs last year with no change to that on the horizon. If Lara’s people (Luis DeCubas Jr. and Golden Boy Promotions) are smart, they get him back in a TV fight soon and against solid opposition. Do not rest on this fight as Pirog did. Sure, Dmitry fought again but it was in Russia, where you could either catch it on their channel 2 or on a stream here. That lack of US promotion killed his US momentum. Sure, it would be nice to get on HBO every chance you get but if you can’t, then what? Promoters need to keep their guys active in order to stay relevant. Hopefully, Lara learns from this win (sorry but from now on, it’s a win in my book) and his promoters build on this and get him another high profile fight, perhaps on the Victor Ortiz-Floyd Mayweather undercard. I’d love to see Lara take on Ishe Smith or someone on that level. I think there is more to Lara and hopefully, we get to see it sooner rather than later.
I get that in California after ten years the couples split everything 50/50 but c’mon, Jin Mosley…are you freakin’ kidding me? TMZ.com reported that Jin Mosley, formerly “Sugar” Shane Mosley’s wife, received custody of his three championship belts. That’s just not right. The man earned those by taking punches that have left their mark on him inside and out for all time. Why the hell does his ex get to have them? So she’ll pass them to his kids when they are 18?
Some things should be sacred. Clearly, marriage is not (why anyone gets married anymore is beyond me but I digress). Take half the money, the kids, the house, whatever, but his belts? That’s just dirty pool in my book.
Bob Arum’s Latest Ploy with a Little Testing on the Side
So earlier this week, Bob Arum said that Manny Pacquiao would do all the random testing needed to fight Floyd Mayweather but then threw in that he only wanted WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) because he felt USADA (the US Anti-Doping Agency) might be biased against his Filipino fighter.
Is this a possibility? Who knows? It’s highly unlikely. In an interview with FightHype.com’s Ben Thompson this week, Terence O’Rorke, Senior Manager of Media Relations and Communications for WADA, said he felt that USADA would be the best agency to handle the testing. The fight is in the US; Manny spends half his training camp in the US and he is fighting a US fighter. Why wouldn’t a US-based agency handle this?
Here is the thing: Are these tests (assuming the testing being done with Ortiz-Mayweather and previously done in the Mayweather-Mosley fight) done with the same protocols that are used in the real Olympic-style , 365 days a year, 24/7 testing for athletes who signed up with USADA? We don’t know if they are. There is no transparency regarding the testing in several areas.
For one, in real Olympic-style testing, an athlete is allowed to miss two tests within an 18-month window of time. They can claim any number of excuses and not only does the athlete receive no reprimand, the public is not made aware of this missed test. If they miss a third test, they get an automatic suspension and a positive test result in essence.
Why is this significant? Well, let’s say you are using EPO. Depending on how you put it in your body, it can be flushed in 24-48 hours. So, say an athlete misses a test, flushes his system and then takes his make-up. As soon as the test is over, he can cycle back on with one more “Get out of Jail Free” card. It should be noted that more often than not, when a test is missed, the inspectors don’t just wait around or show up the next day. Most times, a letter is sent to the athlete and the testers return in a few days. Plenty of time to flush your system.
In a 365/24/7 program with an 18-month window for missed tests, missing here and there might not be significant.
In a roughly 12-week testing program that Mayweather and Ortiz are undergoing (July 1 to the day of the fight, September 17), two misses like that are crucial. Most doping experts would agree that if you are using PEDs, you want to taper off closer to the fight anyway. So, say a guy juices in the first half of camp but misses two tests and flushes and cycles back on, that’s a huge advantage for him. What’s more, the public will never know if a fighter (if this protocol is part of the Ortiz-Mayweather testing) missed some testing days, which I think is significant.
Look, we do not know if that protocol exists in this form of tailor-made testing. Why? No one will give a straight answer. Hell, when I asked Golden Boy’s Richard Schaefer who paid for the Mayweather-Mosley testing and if Golden Boy would submit all of their fighters for testing from now on, I got a call back a few days later from his assistant who told me “No comment” on all fronts.
While I think Arum’s comments are either misguided or simply a ploy to prevent whetting the appetites of those who constantly report on a fight that may never happen in order to build toward it, I can understand his trepidation entering into an agreement where the details might be a bit shadowy. No one seems to give a straight answer about this testing. When I asked Floyd if he had signed up to be tested year-round, 24/7, his adviser, Leonard Ellerbe, responded, “They can test him any time.” Not exactly a yes. So I asked Floyd if he had signed up for the full USADA package and he said, “They can sign me up for the platinum package if they want to.” Pretty sure USADA does not have one of those. And again, not exactly an answer.
To me, the only way to insure everyone is clean is simple: year-round testing that is truly random. Knowing when testing starts, as are the cases with the last two Mayweather fights, is an essential part of any PED user’s game plan. Knowing the window is not random in the truest sense of the word. Sure, they can come any time within that timeframe as far as we known but what about the rest of the year? What about the time spent away from the sport? I’m not just pointing at Floyd but every fighter. Most doping occurs out of competition, not in the thick of it.
While this is a great first step and I applaud Mayweather for doing it and starting a much needed conversation, boxing should be happy with this first step. More is going to be needed from better testing to more transparency regarding the whole process.
I’ll have more on this issue next week.
Speaking of retirement, Vivian Harris fights on Friday against Lanardo Tyner- for a vacant regional welterweight title, no less. Anyone who has seen Harris’ last few fights, where he quit on his stool after one round against Jessie Vargas or was brutally KO’d by Victor Ortiz in three, knows this is a man at risk. He has been stopped five times in 37 fights, four times in his last six fights. This is a ring death waiting to happen. Some will say Tyner is not a vicious puncher or not good enough to hurt Harris. What they fail to see is that any prolonged fight for Harris, even if he wins, can be very dangerous.
What’s worse is the main event features a 41-year-old Rob Calloway, 71-12-2 (57). He’s lost four of his last six, all by stoppage and he has not fought since August of last year. Luckily, he is fighting 37-year-old Carl Davis, 15-3 (11)…I guess.
Honestly, shame on everyone who is allowing stuff like this to happen.
You can email Gabriel at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/gabriel_montoya and catch him on each Monday’s episode of “The Next Round” with Steve Kim. You can also tune in to hear him and co-host David Duenez live on the BlogTalk radio show Leave-It-In-The-Ring.com, Thursdays at 5-8 PM PST. Gabriel is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.