Saturday, June 28, 2008

Boxing is Run by Complete Idiots, Part 651,909

After getting sick of having everyone tell me that they couldn’t hear me on my aging cell phone, I finally decided to retire it and replace it with a new one Friday afternoon. The one I had, like Arturo Gatti, was once pretty good and very durable, but it had taken far too much punishment, and was now starting to bleed much too easily.

I went to my favorite T-Mobile store where I have purchased all my phones. I’m quite satisfied with the service, and having been involved in telephone company evaluations in another lifetime, that is quite an endorsement from me (make checks payable to “Eddie Goldman”).

A young man helped me make this cell phone transition, setting up the new phone and handling the paperwork, while we chatted. Judging from his name, he was of either Russian or Eastern European origin, although by his accent he had either been born in America or had moved here a long time ago.

After we had some techie talk about new cell phones coming soon like the Google phone (actually a phone running a Google-devised operating system) and similar stuff, he asked me if I had watched the soccer game yesterday. I said I hadn’t, and, in an instant, added that I watch boxing (interesting that this was my first reaction considering some other sports I cover).

He perked up and said he, too, likes boxing, and asked me whether I liked the heavyweights or the lightweights. I said these days the heavyweights were awful, and that Saturday there would be an interesting lightweight title fight between Manny Pacquiao and David Diaz.

Now one of his co-workers came over to join our little discussion, and he said he expects Pacquiao to win. So here, out of the blue, I had discovered two young, knowledgeable boxing fans.

Then I said to these obviously tech-savvy guys that while the fight was on pay-per-view, you could watch it for free online.

Now my helpful retail sales representative, as I believe they are called, smiled broadly, and nodded. He said he knows all about these sites, and implied that this was how he would watch this fight live.

So there it is once again. Boxing still has a lot more young fans than the ruling networks and promoters realize. These fans just aren’t coughing up 45 or 50 bucks a month to HBO pay-per-view when they can watch these same fights, and even more, for free through a site like SopCast.

When a sport’s business model is based upon relying on obsolete technology that has already been bypassed by new, user-friendly services available to almost anyone with a computer and a high-speed Internet connection, then it needs a major change.

But while I realized that I had to retire and replace my cell phone ASAP, how long will it be before the dinosaurs running this sport will come to a similar conclusion?

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Chagaev Injured Once More; Why Not Put in Ruiz Against Valuev?

The only news less shocking would have been that more people were massacring each other in the Middle East, that another crooked businessman or politician has been caught, or that you will be getting less service for more money from the medical, airline, and cable TV industries.

Ruslan Chagaev is certainly taking advantage of his medical services, as once again he has pulled out of a fight claiming an injury. He had been scheduled to defend his WBA heavyweight title July 5 against the man from whom he won it, Nikolai Valuev, in Germany. Now, reportedly suffering from an Achilles tendon torn in his left foot during sparring Thursday afternoon, he is out of this fight and is now facing surgery.

Plus, for all you infidels, his promoter, Universum, even has a picture to prove it:


Chagaev had previously pulled out of fighting Valuev on this fight’s original date of May 31, and also a title unification fight with then-WBO champion Sultan Ibragimov last fall, all citing illness.

This July 5 card had been billed as a night of rematches, since Chagaev had won a majority decision over Valuev in April 2007, with the scheduled co-feature having WBA middleweight champion Felix Sturm fighting Randy Griffin in a rematch of their draw from last October. Sturm-Griffin will go on as planned, but the heavyweight fight is off.

But why? Why not try to use another former WBA heavyweight champion, John Ruiz?

I haven’t spoken with Ruiz and don’t know if he is ready or available, especially on such short notice, but Ruiz lost highly controversial decisions to both Chagaev and Valuev in Germany, yet has never been given a rematch.

Ruiz dropped his WBA belt to Valuev by majority decision in Berlin, Germany, Dec. 17, 2005. In Ruiz’s next fight, Nov. 18, 2006, he lost a split decision to Chagaev, also in Germany. If those fights had been judged elsewhere, Ruiz easily could have been declared the winner, or at worst retained his belt by draws.

Since then, Ruiz has only fought twice, stopping journeyman Otis Tisdale in two on Oct. 13, 2007, and winning a lopsided decision over Jameel McCline March 8, 2008, in what was billed as a WBC title eliminator.

Ruiz is still only 36 and should have several good years left in him. He dominated McCline, who in his previous fight had dropped now-WBC champion Samuel Peter three times before fading and losing a decision.

So why no rematch with either Chagaev or Valuev? Once again, boxing puts politics first, and leaves a former champion out in the cold.

The July 5 card will be telecast in Germany by ZDF. No doubt the streamers at SopCast will make it available for the world to see. But don’t tell the promoters, who probably wouldn’t get it anyway.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Boxing is Run by Complete Idiots, Part 648,362

This past Saturday night, June 21, in Birmingham, England, one of the most popular boxers in both the UK and the world, the 21-year-old Amir Khan, participated in a wild and entertaining brawl with Michael Gomez, one of the most reckless but exciting brawlers in that part of the world.

Khan, of course, is a 2004 Olympic silver medalist. He is now 18-0 with 14 KOs as a pro and still the Commonwealth lightweight champion after TKO’ing Gomez in the fifth round.

This fight, however, was one which many believed would be a one-sided blowout for Khan, who was dropped by Gomez in the second round and hurt later on by a vicious body shot. Khan, who dropped Gomez in the first round, did rally in the fifth to force a referee stoppage on a beaten Gomez, who falls to 35-9 with 24 KOs, with six of those nine losses coming by KO or TKO.

Gomez is actually an Irish-born fighter named Michael Armstrong, who has taken a Mexican name and wears the colors of the Mexican flag on his trunks, and sometimes a huge sombrero, in honor of the many great Mexican brawlers. At age 31, however, he is becoming almost a sideshow, guaranteed to come forward, throw lots of punches, and eat many more before being stopped by whoever the main attraction is.

This one belongs in the same category as the Gatti-Ward fights, albeit with even less technique and defense than those battles. Such slugfests, though, especially involving two popular figures, do have a place in boxing, and can help the sport. But this seesaw contest once again shows that the preferred rating given Khan at lightweight by (#8) and The Ring (#7, actually the same since they have a “champion”, Joel Casamayor, atop those ratings) is unwarranted.

All this, no doubt, should interest boxing fans regardless of where they live. It was certainly one of the most exciting televised fights of the weekend. How good Khan is or isn’t will be debated again for some time to come. Yet, because of the stupidity of the guys who run boxing, it was not televised in the U.S.

That, of course, did not stop many outside of the UK from viewing this fight. Because the dolts running boxing are largely still ignorant of the Internet, and especially online video, anyone can see this fight for free on YouTube. Anyone can also embed the videos in their blogs, as I have done so below.

This is also something about which the major boxing media idiots, who are mainly current or former newspaper hacks, do not like to discuss. They may offer occasional powder-puff criticisms of the promoters or networks, but real journalists should be acting as watchdogs for the public and educating the people to the realities of the woeful decline of boxing.

And here is the most feared word in boxing, for those few who even understand it: SopCast ( That is a site through which you can watch most pay-per-views for free, and without spyware or adware. Yes, it is a pirate site, but where else have you seen a boxing journalist mention it by name?

It is not the job of the journalist to conceal the existence of such sites, which are widely discussed on many message boards, just because the current technology has outstripped the business model of the promoters and networks. That fact should be openly discussed, and the fact that it is not just demonstrates how conciliatory most of the boxing media is to these promoters and networks.

If a free web site undermines the crux of their business plan, what does that say about the business and their understanding of technology?

While you mull all this over and get ready to post comments about these idiots, watch Khan-Gomez:

Part One, Rounds 1-3

Part Two, Rounds 4-5 and postfight interview

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