Pendulum Shift: Part One

By Ted Sares on February 13, 2012
Pendulum Shift: Part One
Antonio Margarito's two monster paydays were a crass case of revenue versus morality

It wasn’t just one thing that started this malaise. Rather, it has been an accumulation of things. Seeds were planted several years ago…

“You start winning when you stop losing.”—Anonymous

“Those of us who once looked to the boxing establishment to do the right thing have begun looking elsewhere. Wrongheaded decisions now seem commonplace, by those entrusted with the fight game’s integrity, no less than its history.”—Robert Ecksel

I have always walked a tightrope between love and hate and knew that someday my guilty pleasure might intersect with my revulsion of this pastime called boxing. Well it seems to be doing just that but hopefully not in a way that is irreversible. It wasn’t just one thing that started this malaise. Rather, it has been an accumulation of things. Seeds were planted several years ago. Things just built up. However, bookmarking the very first incidents in a precise manner is not an easy thing to do.


The years 2007-2009 seem prominent as to when my discontent began. Maybe it occurred in 2007 when The Boston Globe suspended veteran award winning sports writer (and until then one of my favorites) Ron Borges amid accusations he plagiarized part of a football column from another reporter. Borges did not credit the true source, but a disclaimer at the bottom of his column did acknowledge that “Material from personal interviews, wire services, other beat writers, and league and team sources was used in this report.” Borges, a BWAA stalwart, was and is known for stirring up controversy. He was suspended without pay for two months and barred from broadcast appearances for the same period. Shortly after returning from his suspension, Ron announced his retirement from the Globe on May 18, 2007 and now works for the Boston Herald. The disgraceful incident did not seem to impact his high standing with the BWAA.

(Sources: Sylvia Lee Wingfield, “Boston Globe suspends sports writer amid plagiarism allegations,” The Associated Press, March 6, 2007; Jessica Heslam, “Globe denies more plagiarism by sports columnist,” The Boston Herald, March 8, 2007; “Borges is leaving Globe,” The Boston Globe, May 19, 2007.)

Some discontent occurred earlier when Golden Boy Promotions bought the vastly overrated Ring Magazine thus giving new meaning to impartiality or credibility. When GBP recently cleaned house and moved The Ring to LA, it became clear that the magazine’s days were numbered or even worse, that it could become the advertising tool of a promotional company. Whatever the case, I shall not shed a single tear when it shuts its doors because I have not followed The Ring since its own ugly scandal in 1976 when it fabricated records of selected boxers to elevate them, thereby securing them lucrative fights on the ABC television network, as part of the United States Championship Tournament.

“Plaster Gate”

The infamous “Plaster Gate” in 2009 got my negativity and cynicism snowballing as it was a terrible black mark for boxing. Incredibly, things metastasized when Antonio Margarito (another one of my fallen favorites) was allowed two monster paydays to fight Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto. It was a crass case of revenue vs. morality, and morality never had a chance.

Other, more recent incidents have spurred the pendulum shift. They include “Toe Gate”; the “sage” and “moral” proclamations from hypocrite supreme (and Hall of Famer) Jose Sulaiman; the advent (aka onslaught) of young online writers who lack historical perspective and write with a mixture of arrogance, condescension, narcissism, pomposity, and a put-together-too-quickly style while simultaneously forgetting that they are toiling for slave wages; the related incomprehensible methodology behind the Hall of Fame balloting; PEDs; morally challenged state boxing commissions; dangerous late stoppages; the impact of political pressure (as in Pat Russell); the Rubio-Chavez testing controversy; and much more.

Stay tuned.

Pendulum Shift: Part 1
Pendulum Shift: Part 2

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

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Miguel Cotto Vs Antonio Margarito part 2

Miguel Cotto Vs Antonio Margarito part 3

Miguel Cotto Vs Antonio Margarito part 4

Miguel Cotto Vs Antonio Margarito part 5

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  1. CharlieN 11:01pm, 02/23/2012

    Greetings Ted. Again we find ourselves in the midst of non-believers and believers,and because of age it is surely hard to get the facts straight or whos right or wrong.As I look over my own personal treasure trove of scrapbbooks my father put together from articles on his career, wins & losses mind you, I am still finding out things about the game that many never even heard about. You can imagine what 60 years time can have on history going from one set of lips to ears to lips to ears, 1,000’s time over.Facts twisted so bad that fights were not what they were.
    Like Warner Wolf used to ploy” Lets go to the videotape”-At least we can visualize the fight scene in the Ring,but not the story behind it.
    You are one of just a few left out there writing about guys like my father Charley Norkus,Tippy Larkin,Johnny Busso, Coley Wallace,Ernie"The Rock” Durando etc etc.
    Every day a guy can pick up a book (odds are it is most likely written by Bert Sugar- he who has many) and read on Pep,LaMotta,Ali,Frazier- Thats great and all-but the kids and not so kids anymore should know the other names out there who forged this sport before Football was football famous now,or Canadas Hockey or Basketball-the cities game. Either you hit homeruns or scored KO’s back in the day and that is where you are a master at work,informing us with the trusted word. Thanks.

  2. the thresher 06:29pm, 02/15/2012

    Thanks Rax. That was great.

  3. raxman 03:29pm, 02/15/2012

    ted - yeah lester could’ve been something great but he was poorly managed. he was 19 and he got sucked into fighting his boyhood idol and one time mentor in barry michaels. he was that offended that michaels would call him out that he insisted that the fight be made - once in the ring it was probably the greatest 15 round war ever seen in australian boxing. but lester was experienced enough at 16-0 to beat michaels who was 44-8 - lester should’ve been protected - his title should’ve been better protected at that point. there is a great documentary on it called “a melbourne story” you would love it - the melbourne underworld was involved with one side, the old world, the painters and dockers union (don’t let the union bit fool you for many years they were bad bad men) siding with barry michaels and the calabrian mafia with lester ellis - one so called big man in the mafia beat michaels so badly some time after the fight that michaels was never the same in the ring and lost his belt to rocky lockeridge. anyway check for yourself - this is a link to the trailer
    i’ll try and find the whole film for you.

  4. the thresher 07:08pm, 02/14/2012

    Rax, I knew all these Aussie guys you mentioned. Lester was something else,

  5. the thresher 07:06pm, 02/14/2012

    RAX, Ellroy is a big fight fan. No doubt. That guy can write when he isn’t sniffing panties.

  6. the thresher 07:05pm, 02/14/2012

    Good stuff Paul. You have the beat, amigo.

  7. Paul Magno 06:32pm, 02/14/2012

    Regarding rankings…I don’t want to sound like I’m tooting my own horn too much here, but give ours a look…I think it walks the line between computerized and opinion based:

  8. raxman 06:20pm, 02/14/2012

    mike casey - i know what you mean re ibo and the rankings - i remember the disparity coming up when danny green defended his 200pound title - their rules say a fighter must be top 10 to challenge (or something like that) but at the time it was established that rule was made to be broken. i think the problem lies in the “who cares about the IBO basket “. although they have or have had some superstars wear their belts Vlad and Pacman i think - for the most part the ibo title has piggybacked on one of the big4 - if this is the case then its no wonder the IBO boss didnt say it plain and simple. its one thing being the poor cousin, its another admitting to it.

    all that said i think their scoring system or one like it most defintely is the way to go. if you are ranked #10 you get more points for beating #5 then you would #55 and so on. you never hear any of the tennis players quibbling about their rankings.

  9. raxman 04:38pm, 02/14/2012

    ted - sounds like crime fiction set in the boxing world is the go. i loved reading rope burns and the other one by the dude writing as fx toole (? or whatever his nom de plume) - as you know some of the great usa writers of the 50’s, 60’s wrote with crime as a back drop - and ellroy’s black dahlia had some great fight descriptions and general view of its prinipal cop characters former pro fighters. do you know the story of the oz boxing brothers from the late 80’s early 90’s the waters’? troy had an all time great round vs terry norris - he was prob the best of the 3 but his brothers were not bad. Dean (a battler but oz heavyweight champ) and Guy who like troy was world class but not quite world champ material (losing to virgil hill in 12) but won commonwealth title. anyway their father and trainer a tryant former east london crook ruled them with an iron glove to the point he forced eldest son dean to commit murder. its a great story espec the outcome of Dean’s trial where he was able to convince a jury that despite being HW champ of oz his 5ft2 father controlled him completely. dean beat the blue - his mate that went along for support had no such defence, the mate ended up getting a hamburger with the lot!! as they say. anyway if you dont know the story its a fascinating one. as was that point in time for oz boxing with fenech, barry michaels, lester ellis and jeff harding all holding world titles. the bug bit me in 85 - despite always having an interest in the sport - but hagler/hearns sold me - and then to follow that with the fighters above i can’t see a time when i’ll ever give up on the sport and i plead you don’t either

  10. pugknows 04:24pm, 02/14/2012

    Ha ha, I love your use of the word “metastasized “. Cancer is a sound analogy to this slimy business.

  11. mikecasey 11:13am, 02/14/2012

    Agreed, Ted. We have slipped into a very dangerous place now where many forms of improper and downright criminal behaviour are either forgiven or simply overlooked. THAT is the significant difference between now and then even though ‘then’ was never the Garden of Eden. It was also the difference between Nat Fleischer and Nat Loubet at The Ring. Boxing doesn’t have to be the baddest boy on the block in terms of the way it conducts itself. It is not written in stone anywhere that our game has to the armpit of sports. Nothing irritates me more than the old glib cry of, ‘Yeah, but it’s boxing’ by boxing people who should know better. How comforting and convenient, eh? Hey, folks, it’s boxing so let’s get on with the business of enjoying it and ignore all that brown stuff that’s nearly up to our eyes.. Not good enough. That won’t do it.

  12. the thresher 10:50am, 02/14/2012

    Mike, these guys have gotten away with their crap for far too long and it’s time to take them to task. Why in God’s name would an accused plagiarizer possibly be on the membership committee of the BWAA?

    I’m sure there must be an acceptable reason, but now I am asking it. Why? And I won’t hold my breath waiting for answer.

    Why is Pat Putnam’s name still listed on the BWAA’home page under awards for the years 2006 and 2007? I am from a family of severly wounded combat veterans (me excluded).

    They and every other veteran deserves better. Take that lying rat’s name off forthwith. Korean War POW my ass.

  13. the thresher 10:43am, 02/14/2012

    Must reading re PEDS

  14. mikecasey 10:39am, 02/14/2012

    Rax, I interviewed IBO boss Ed Levine a few years ago and asked him why there was such a strange contradiction between their computerised rankings and the guys who were actually fighting for the IBO belts. It was the one question to which he couldn’t give me a satisfactory answer.  It was a very long and earnest answer, but ultimately it sounded like a corporate press release.

  15. the thresher 10:33am, 02/14/2012

    RAX, easier to walk away to something else. Boxing journalism is on the low end of the scale. Crime pays. Trust me on that.

    I have sold more issues of my crime book in two months than I did of all three Boxing books combined. Maybe boxing needs me more than I need it, but either way, I have one eye on the exit door as things progress (or regress).

  16. the thresher 10:30am, 02/14/2012

    Paul, you are the best, man

  17. Paul Magno 08:12pm, 02/13/2012

    Ted…what a long, strange trip it’s been….I’ve only been doing this for less than 4 years and I already have several cloak and dagger novels worth of material…anonymous tips, hush-hush phone calls from insiders, threats, threatened lawsuits, attempts to bury me…all this started when I began to flick at the infected scab of boxing journalism. Mark my words, the REAL story in boxing has to do with these guys who report on it….Reading your stuff gives me hope to keep going forward…send me an email. Not sure if I still have your address on file (

  18. raxman 07:19pm, 02/13/2012

    ted - you’re a boxing scribe with few peers quality wise - dont walk away - just give us more history articles. forget the modern scene if you must but you have 50 or 60 years of the sport to draw on

  19. the thresher 05:54pm, 02/13/2012

    John, especially when they don’t even understand the nature of boxing

  20. johnwriter60 04:49pm, 02/13/2012

    writers don’t make fighters win or lose. They merely interpret the situation after the fact, after a hand is raised in victory. Sadly then, those who do make decisions that leave a bad taste, those that decide whose hand will be raised, and who will falter as a result, do ofter bear too much influence over those on the outside looking in.

  21. the thresher 03:37pm, 02/13/2012

    Jesus Christ, Pug. That came in while I was answering Rax. See my answer to Rax. Re Old Yank, see my post below.

  22. the thresher 03:35pm, 02/13/2012

    RAX, things have happened of late that have exceeded anything I have experienced in the past 60 years. I’d rather not go into them right now. But they drove me over the edge. Other things happened in 2008 that I’ll write about down the road. Also, this was a combination of things occurring in a short enough period of time to suggest (to me at least) that it won’t get any better. When we had Panama Lewis, we didn’t also have Jose Sulaiman, PEDS out in the open, 100 different titles and sanctioning bodies that want their fees from the chattel they sanction. Most things should improve. Boxing has not improved—-in the United States. I have been totally converted by Mike Silver in that respect. I have always said that the periphery and infrastructure of the sport are the sleaziest parts. That has not change. It simply has gotten worse. If thing get worse, I’ll simply walk away. I did it once before for several years. This time it will be for good. Doesn’t mean I might not watch a fight or break bread with my boxing mates. Just means I will no longer write about or or do much watching. I have another genre (true crime and noir) that I’ve been working on and I can well move into it if I need to satisfy any research or writing Jones.

  23. pugknows 03:32pm, 02/13/2012

    Ted, what if the pendulum continues to shift? What will you do? And did something happen recently that put you into this mode? Your last paragraph night well have been written by Old Yank.

  24. raxman 03:18pm, 02/13/2012

    the pendulum to which you refer is your own internal one yeah? i dont really understand how anyone who has followed the sport as long as you can be surprised by anything that happens. nothing is new. in the 21st century we had plaster gate - 30 odd years ago we had panama lewis’ black bottle and padding free gloves. its more a case of everything old being new again, so perhaps peter allen’s song would’ve been a better opening quote.

    i’m interested though, given your distast for the ring magazine, what you think of their belt, which many boxing fans recognize as the purest of the alphabet. personally i think the ibo with its point system not disimilar to tennis has the right idea but at least the ring has a “beat the champ to be the champ” mandate.

  25. the thresher 01:06pm, 02/13/2012

    Dollarbond, not really. Yank says it differently than me, but the subjects are pretty much the same. His tolerance level is a bit less than mine as well.

    I suspect we are on the same page with this sleaze.

  26. dollarbond 12:39pm, 02/13/2012

    You have listed a lot of stuff that Old Yank Schneider did.  Am I missing something here?

  27. the thresher 12:08pm, 02/13/2012

    When guys write for crumbs, what you get is crummy writing.

    I’m clearly no Hemingway and never said I was, but at least I do my research and try to educate from a historical context. What drives me nuts is to read something written by a young kid about Charlie Fusari or Tony Jamiro or Charley Norkus. Give me a break.

  28. the thresher 11:58am, 02/13/2012

    Don from Prov, well put. I get criticed by the so-called pros for doing this as a hobby—-but wtf, what they are doing is working for slave wages. How much do you think an avearge on-line writer is paid anyway? Most are too embarassed to tell you.

    They say I’m nuts for writing for nothing but what the forget is that I can afford to write for nothing. My committment is to help make a premier site. At some point I might get paid for my efforts. That’s a situation that I’m good with.

    What I’m not good with is when some imbecile who is competing with questions the standard of my writing. Man, you talk about conflicts out there in the boxing writers world? Stay tuned because you have not seen anything yet. Some of these slim balls put new meaning into the words “compromised” and “syncophants.”

  29. the thresher 11:51am, 02/13/2012

    Good stuff, Pug. Borges’ biggest issue is that he indeed tries to inject himself into his stories, but he is nothing but an oversized Baby Huey.

    Sad thing is that he wrote one of my favorite stories—one about the fight between Micky Ward and Reggie Green.

    As the internet begins to pick up speed (no pun intended), guys like Borges, bookstores, magazines, will begin to fade away.

  30. Don from Prov 11:50am, 02/13/2012

    Here is a (lightweight) analogy—-

    Young men and women coming up today have no idea of the educational opportunities that were open to students through grants a number of years ago.  They just assume that they’ll be in debt.  Likewise, young boxing enthusiasts coming up today have no idea how narrow the boxing world has become.



    Just a fact.
    A sad one to me.




  31. pugknows 11:29am, 02/13/2012

    From Wikipedia: In June 2004, Borges was involved in a physical altercation with New York Times and reporter Michael Katz at a press conference in Las Vegas. Reports state that Katz was in the process of interviewing boxing promoter Bob Arum when Borges interrupted to ask Arum a question. Katz objected to the interruption and allegedly accused Borges of “being a shill for” boxing promoter Don King. In a column earlier in the year Katz had called Borges “a vomit-smelling sleaze” and criticized Borges for “writing about a fight without revealing he was being paid by King to provide television commentary”. Borges responded by striking Katz, who responded by striking at Borges with his cane. Katz was described as “a short, fat man in his 60s who walks with a cane and wears a neck brace because of chronic back problems”. The fight between the two was broken up by Arum and his aide. And check this one out:
    The thing is about Borges and others of his low brow ilk, they try to make the story about themselves. Doesn’t he realize that nobody gives a shit about him? He stirs up shit just to get his mane out there.

  32. pugknows 11:26am, 02/13/2012

    I love it when you take out your surgical instruments. No one does it better and I can’t wait to see what you come up with next.
    As for Borges, he has been a juvenile in adult clothing for as long as I can remember. He went after Pat’s coach Bill Belicheck which was not the smartest thing to do. Most people in Boston hate his guts. He is a jock sniffer supreme and will do just about anything to get a story. Check out Wikipedia for the incident when he had a fight with 60 year old Katz who was on a cane. This rat is just another wannabe athlete who gets it off by hanging around locker rooms where he can smell the jocks and the sweat. Ugh.

  33. the thresher 09:59am, 02/13/2012

    Here is an interesting article by Paul Magno one of my favorite writers:

  34. the thresher 09:32am, 02/13/2012

    Bill, yeo. Go figure

  35. SRBILL-HARDPORN XXX 07:36am, 02/13/2012

    Tony Margarito is the luckiest S.O.B. alive… Here’s a dude who supposedly has cheated with illegal wraps, gets suspended, gets reinstated and earns over $10 million dollars in his two failed comeback fights against “Packy and Cotto.” Well, God bless America….

  36. the thresher 07:20am, 02/13/2012

    Tex, a review of The Ring’s history would make a great case study at the Harvard B school on what happens when the wrong people try to do the right thing.

  37. the thresher 07:18am, 02/13/2012

    Bill, there will be at least 3 more. And they will be direct and to the point with no window dressing.

  38. the thresher 07:17am, 02/13/2012

    Bill, maybe, but I sure feel a lot cleaner getting rid of my denial. I have a very high tolerance level for this kind of stuff, but Sulaiman kind of took me over the edge. He is an insult to my intelligence and the IBHOF also insullted my intelligence when they inducted him.


  39. dollarbond 07:16am, 02/13/2012

    How many parts will there be to this?

  40. the thresher 07:14am, 02/13/2012

    United States:
    6 Months - $33.70
    1 Year - $53.70
    2 Years - $78.70

  41. TEX HASSLER 07:09am, 02/13/2012

    The Ring Magazine once was the greatest of it’s kind on boxing but it seems like it is down for the count now. Boxing has had cycles of ups and downs and hopefully it will make it to the up side again. There will always be some who try to cheat and that is true in other sports as well but it is not acceptable behavior!

  42. dollarbond 06:58am, 02/13/2012

    Wow!  Any sour grapes in this on your part?

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