Open Letter to Dan Rafael

By Robert Ecksel on February 20, 2013
Open Letter to Dan Rafael
Dan Rafael can sometimes be merciless, as cruel as the Marquis de Sade on a bad day.

ESPN’s Dan Rafael is the voice of boxing in the U.S. There are of course other voices, many voices, a veritable cacophony of off-pitch caterwauling. But Rafael’s voice can be heard loud and clear above the din. It’s in part because he has a brand platform. It’s in part because he never questions the powers that be. But when it comes to the powers that never were, the questions are endless and he can be merciless, as cruel as the Marquis de Sade on a bad day.

Rafael isn’t athletic. Nor is he much of a writer. But he has more Twitter followers than God, so his lack of athleticism and serviceable prose hasn’t proven a liability. Nevertheless, there are some in the industry that he rubs the wrong way. It’s not professional jealousy, not when it concerns managers and trainers. It’s the blasé rejection of hard-working professionals that so many find so galling.

In the ongoing sweepstakes as to who Vitali Klitschko fights next, one of the names tossed about was that of Fres Oquendo. Some have questioned his candidacy to fight Dr. Ironfist. Many think Oquendo is undeserving. But few have been as dismissive as Dan Rafael, to which Oquendo’s manager, Tom Tsatas, has taken offense.

In an open letter posted on, Tsatas made his displeasure known, with writing as undistinguished as the writing about which he’s complaining, and he, like Dan Rafael, didn’t pull his punches.


I hope you read this. Firstly I want to introduce myself. My name is Tom Tsatas and I own the 5th St Gym and I am Fres Oquendo’s manager. I would like to ask you when was the last time you were punched in the face? Also I am surmising the last time you were in a ring there was probably a donut or a piece of meat in there. Your comments on your article are about as intelligent as a grain of sand, same as your brain capacity.

Firstly, Fres has NEVER been knocked out. Or seriously hurt. Unlike Vitali he has never quit like a loser on a stool like Vitali did against Byrd, who Fres clearly beat. He has never lost to a guy like Ross Purity or Corrie Sanders and would have NEVER been humiliated by Lamon Brewster. So before you attempt to go down to your knees for a fellatio session with Klit next time please try and control yourself.

If you really knew Heavyweights (boxing that is, because I am sure you have plenty of Heavy weighted fatties around the buffet table daily) you would know enough about Fres’ talents. Nearly 300 pro rounds at HW, (More than anyone except Wlad who has a few more) against legitimate champions and hall of famers in their home town, country or promoters’ cards. Some of those fights YOU yourself have called them robberies The real truth is Fres won’t get chosen by these weak, no heart, quitter paper champions because they know they cannot beat Fres. As proof I offer that Fres was in Vitali’s camp and frustrated him, got the best of him, busted him up and dropped him.

Yes I know, please tell me how he is boring, old, washed up blah blah blah. Nobody disputes Ruiz was a horrible fight. So was Holyfield/Valuev, most Floyd Mayweather fights and a million others like most Klit fights. They cannot all be Ali/Frazier, Ward/Gatti Castillo/Corrales, Holmes/Norton round 15. I will mention that unlike Klits who are quitters, Fres fought Ruiz with a torn labrum, Holyfield with 102 fever and strep-throat and his last fight stopping a guy who David Tua, David Boytsov and Samuel Peter couldn’t stop and did it, with a broke hand. He did not sit in his stool and quit in any of those fights. Or look embarrassingly pathetic as Wlad did in his 3 losses. Wlad would never have come back from a Tua beating let alone stay on his feet. In the Mormeck fight as well as Toney, Byrd, Holyfield and McCall, Fres out-threw, out-landed those guys in every aspect and just about every round. It is I am sure a coincidence it was in the opponent’s home town that he lost those fights.

So chubby, you would be correct in saying that Fres and I are complete bonehead morons for thinking at one time that we might get a fair shake without crooked promoters, corrupt government appointed commissions and shyster like the IBF who was dismantled for taking bribes at one time; you would actually be dead on. But to denigrate a World Class fighter like Fres who is a great dad, husband, does not drink, beat his baby momma, wear woman’s stockings while coked up and wind up in rehab is repulsive.

Fres has a nonprofit to help kids get off the street through boxing to stop the violence. However, you use your menial job in life, in your little world, where you think you are King and flap you fat mouth about guys who risk their lives to feed their family instead of doing something productive. You could have made a case to help him bring a title back here to the US and give him the opportunity and make a few dollars to help his family and non-profit to do some good. As if Fres Oquendo could do worse than Adamek, Solis, Thompson, Charr, Rahman, Peter, Chisora, Briggs or Sosnowski? Yeah you know boxing fat-boy. Go eat at a $9.99 buffet and get your money’s worth now.

We have no dog is this fight. Everyone, journalist and manager alike, is entitled to his opinion. But we’re not sure that fighting fire with fire is the way to go without seeming pryomaniacal. Dan Rafael is who he is, just as he is not who he is not. If Tom Tsatas wants Rafael to dial it back, we’re not convinced that an open letter, or at least this open letter, is the best way to proceed.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

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  1. Lee 08:39am, 02/25/2013

    How can you say so about the fight Golota - Saleta? What a shame that you have never seen it. Before you comment anything do the effort to see it before!!!! That was the best HW fights in recent years!

  2. Owen 05:28am, 02/22/2013

    Tom Tsatas responds to letter with an idiotic post on an Irish Boxing Website:

  3. bk don 02:10pm, 02/21/2013

    Fres Oquendo? Are we really talking about fres oquendo here? gimme a break. he’s 40 years old now. he’s not slipping any punches anymore. the last noteworthy fight he had was against 50 yr old Oliver McCall and he lost that! dan can be harsh. has he crossed the line before, i believe you def can make that argument. Ask Malik Scott about that.  however, it really doesn’t matter. When your the head boxing writer (or whatever his title is) at ESPN, the most well known site for sports coverage, you can pretty much get away with saying whatever you want w/o any consequences b/c no promotional company or manager is going to want to be blacklisted from ESPN.

  4. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo (aka) Gimpel 06:23am, 02/21/2013

    That $9.99 buffet sounds good to me….got to be somewhere off the Strip…probably downtown! BTW when they do ESPN Friday Night Fights at the Hard Rock and they don’t have enough asses in the seat they comp any and everyone in the hotel/casino area to get them filled by the time the main event is televised.

  5. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo (aka) Gimpel 05:55am, 02/21/2013

    Bodyshots-Dang! Let it flow man! Let it flow! James Joyce would have been proud…you are definitely in the stream!

  6. Matt McGrain 05:17am, 02/21/2013

    I wonder what it feels like to have a new ass physically torn into your body?

  7. Clarence George 05:02am, 02/21/2013

    Gotta say I love Tsatas’ letter.  I’ve got nothing against Rafael, and Robert is quite right in pointing out that Tsatas’ effort will probaby be at best ineffective; at worst, counterproductive.  Still, I found the relentless and over-the-top abuse and vilification amusing and entertaining.  And why not?  After all, I wasn’t on the receiving end of it.  And that…that makes all the difference.

  8. the thresher 06:00pm, 02/20/2013

    Harsh, Shots, harsh

  9. Bodyshots 05:53pm, 02/20/2013

    “Fres who is a great dad, husband, does not drink, beat his baby momma, wear woman’s stockings while coked up and wind up in rehab” because he can’t afford too. Btw, i always resent when trainers or boxers try and pull rank by citing the minimal baseline of their chosen profession, i.e., being hit in the face. otherwise, i beat the piss and crap out of the boxer that KOd me in a boxing ring and quite frankly, he fought like a helpless puss outside of a ring and beyond the protection of his coach and a ref. anyway, i’ve been no fan of any presumed “expert” since Clancy (except perhaps Bernstein) and Oquendo isn’t entitled to PPV paydays he hasn’t earned. i mean, really? who isn’t hip to the real motivation for Tom Tatas outburst and it ain’t the integrity of my favorite sport. ALL of these crooks are more than willing to sit silent and mind their manners when THEY’re the ones benefiting from the corruption.

  10. Meinhard Schmidt 02:11pm, 02/20/2013

    tsatas has a new friend request on fb. all i want to say about it :-)

  11. the thresher 12:19pm, 02/20/2013

    Boxer Olusegun Ajose just told Dan on twitter this morning to basically STFU off because Dan “never laced up gloves.”

    Dan is on the ropes it seems.

  12. the thresher 12:15pm, 02/20/2013

    Fres has been stiffed more times than ________________ (fill in the blank)

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