Friday, February 22, 2008

Crooks or Cretins?

Back in the summer of 2006, I wrote a series of articles explaining the importance of utilizing MySpace to market boxing. One was called The Dinosaurs Come Home to Roost, which appeared on Bragging Rights Corner and in other places in various forms, including TapouT Magazine.

Little came of that effort, except for the establishment of a MySpace page for DiBella Entertainment (which has not received enough support from DBE), and a positive review of my piece by staff writer David Utter in Web Pro News.

Even today, virtually the entire boxing establishment continues to ignore the MySpace Boxing Forum, despite the fact that this group, which is free to join, has, as of this writing, 7184 members, a number which is continually rising. How much do you think it would cost these Einsteins to put together a mailing list of over 7000 boxing fans who are online and volunteered to join a boxing forum?

Each successive boxing show at Madison Square Garden this year has elicited a louder chorus of protest from established journalists who have either been given auxiliary media credentials, often meaning they are relegated to sitting in unsold nosebleed seats, or just denied media credentials altogether. At the same time, the media section is filled with fans, guests of the promoters, people drinking and even making out, children up past their bedtimes, and the like.

Already I am hearing complaints about the credentialing process for Saturday’s Klitschko-Ibragimov card – except, of course, from Boxing Writers Association of America. Perhaps when they learn what computers, the Internet, blogs, and e-mail are, and how to use them, we shall hear something.

Now yet another marketing disaster has been reported, this time involving amateur boxing. Thursday’s Washington Post ran a piece entitled American Heavyweights Search for a Ring Master, by John Scheinman. Despite some factual errors (Klitschko-Ibragimov is not on pay-per-view but regular HBO, and Emanuel Steward’s first name is misspelled, for starters), the article details how the American amateur boxing program has failed to produce world-class heavyweights.

In analyzing why this program is so bad, the article notes the experience in attempting to assist amateur boxing in the U.S. of Michael King, the former president of the television syndication giant King World Productions. King raised $60 million for this program.

The article states, “In 2003, he [King] signed a 21-year contract with USA Boxing, the national governing body of amateur boxing in the country, and gave the organization more than a million dollars a year. In December 2006, he canceled the contract.”

It goes on, “‘I gave these people $4 million and I never got one thing except yelled at,’ King said.”

Robert Voy, the president of USA Boxing from 2000 to 2004, was quoted as saying, “He had no desire to run USA Boxing, but some board members were suspicious they would lose control of the organization.” Voy also said, “They gave him a very difficult time trying to start a marketing program, and there's probably not a better marketing person in the country. It was very short-sighted on the part of the organization.”

So it’s simply not a lack of money hampering amateur boxing. They pissed away $60 million and ruined a gift contract from a wealthy and influential supporter of boxing.

The question then is, for both professional and amateur boxing: Are the people running it crooks or cretins? Do they fear wider coverage by the media and marketing of the sport because of their corrupt practices so much that they will damn near destroy their own enterprises first? Or are they just that blockheaded, stupid, backwards, closed-minded, technophobic, incapable of learning, and incompetent that they have no idea what they are doing? Or, worse still, is it a little of both?

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Will You Tell This Man He Will Lose to Joe Calzaghe April 19?

Bernard Hopkins at New York news conference, Feb. 19, 2008. Photo by Eddie Goldman.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Most Important Heavyweight Fight in Years

The title unification fight this Saturday night, Feb. 23, in Madison Square Garden between IBF champ Wladimir Klitschko and WBO champ Sultan Ibragimov will not only be the first time since 1999 that heavyweight titleholders from various sanctioning bodies strive to bring some resolution to the crisis caused by the absence of one consensus heavyweight champion of the world. This fight will be, hopefully, the first step in that process.

More significantly in the long run, it will be a key historical moment in the rise to prominence of heavyweight fighters from the former Soviet Union, and, conversely, of the dismal end of the 20th century dominance of that division by Americans.

Much of the American boxing media, who usually only see stars and stripes, cannot explain this phenomenon, and yearn for the days when the heavyweight champs had names like Jack, Joe, George, and Mike, and not Wladimir, Oleg, Ruslan, and Sultan. Rather than welcoming the emergence of this recent crop of heavyweights into the professional ranks from lands where such activity was previously banned, we get jingoistic laments coupled with an astonished incapability of explaining either the rise of the fighters of the former Soviet Union or the fall of the fighters of the USA.

Klitschko and Ibragimov may not be all-time great fighters or the most exciting ever to wear a heavyweight title belt, but the winner will be perhaps one fight away from establishing himself in the eyes of the public as the true heavyweight champion of the world. If the Klitschko-Ibragimov winner takes on the winner of the March 8 fight between WBC regular champ Oleg Maskaev and WBC interim champ Samuel Peter, and especially before the end of 2008 or by early 2009 at the latest, we should then have an unequivocal one-name answer to what has been one of the most complicated questions about contemporary boxing to answer since Lennox Lewis’s last fight almost five years ago: Who is the heavyweight champion of the world?


NO HOLDS BARRED: Introducing The Boxing Standard

  • NO HOLDS BARRED on PodOmatic

  • On this edition of NO HOLDS BARRED, host Eddie Goldman is joined by our correspondent Charles Farrell to introduce the new online journal of boxing, The Boxing Standard. Eddie and Charles are also the editors of The Boxing Standard.

    In a lengthy discussion, we explain why we aim to stir up the highly mediocre world of boxing journalism. Among the many topics raised is how the boxing media is missing the real story of the most important heavyweight fight in years, the title unification bout between IBF champ Wladimir Klitschko and WBO champ Sultan Ibragimov this Saturday, Feb. 23, at Madison Square Garden in New York.

    To listen to NO HOLDS BARRED, click here and just press the play button on the player.

    You can also download it by scrolling down that page and clicking on the download link (right-click to save it).

    You can also listen to it through the player on this blog and the NO HOLDS BARRED MySpace page, also by pressing the play button on the player.

    Also, NO HOLDS BARRED is available through iTunes.

    The show is in MP3 format, so may take some time to download.

    The NO HOLDS BARRED theme song is called "The Heist", by musician Ian Carpenter.

    NO HOLDS BARRED is free to listen to and is sponsored by:

    Art of War, the undisputed arena fighting championship, promoted by SUN Sports and Entertainment, producing world class mixed martial arts events. For more information, check out their web site,

    IFL, the International Fight League, the world's first professional mixed martial arts league. Make sure to check out their regular TV shows on FSN (Fox Sports Net) in the U.S. and to check your local listings for dates and times. Check out the IFL web site,, for a listing of IFL live events and their TV schedule.

    Gladiator Challenge, shaking up the mixed martial arts world since 1999, and now with 30 shows per year. For more news and info, check out their web site,, your premier source for all Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gear, videos, books, and much more.

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    Thanks, Eddie Goldman

    No Holds Barred blog

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    Sunday, February 17, 2008

    The Rules for The Boxing Standard

    Like an early no-holds-barred fight, there are only a few rules for posting here on The Boxing Standard.

    1 – The members (or contributors) of this blog, listed on the right near the top of the main page, can initiate posts.

    2 – Anyone else can post a comment. You only have to have a free Google, Blogger, or OpenID account. That is to prevent obvious spammers. If spam becomes a serious problem, we may have to increase the barriers to commenting.

    3 – Make it intelligent and interesting, but we do not want any censorship for content.

    That’s it.

    Oh – and no biting or eye-gouging.

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    Pavlik-Taylor, Too

    Not a bad fight, but not as exciting, no knockdowns, no real fireworks, yet the same victor.

    Why did Taylor not let his hands go more? He corrected some of his major flaws of the past, but maybe at the expense of aggressiveness.

    Pavlik finally looked human, but also beatable by a more active fighter. He remains unbeaten in 33 pro fights, but his impressive knockout streak ends at nine.

    Next for Pavlik will be someone chosen to be KTFO, like John Duddy or Felix Trinidad. Taylor supposedly will go to 168, with HBO pushing Taylor-Kessler.

    2008 is just not 2007.

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