The Most Astonishing Boxing Story You’ll Ever Read

By Charles Jay on October 30, 2017
The Most Astonishing Boxing Story You’ll Ever Read
Should boxing promoters be putting "special needs" fighters in the ring? (Allan Swart)

“It appears to be grounds for lifetime suspension for the promoter and a restructure of the commission…”

We are about to take you through a shocking incident that may be unique in the history of boxing, and then we’re going to show you what you can do to prevent it from ever happening again.

That’s not a lie.

For the sake of perspective, it is probably necessary to start on a personal note, if you’ll indulge me for a moment. I spent quite a bit of my life involved with boxing, from a very early age. All told, I would say that I have been either in or around it for over 30 years, performing almost every task imaginable, including that of a matchmaker, manager, agent, promoter, publicist and so on.

Some of you may be familiar with the fact that, I dare say, over about a six-year period, I probably wrote more stories about the “inside” of this game, including tales of corruption and malfeasance, than any human being alive. I figured that I had covered, at least in a general sense, just about every conceivable type of situation that existed, and it was with the attitude that I had done, seen and addressed it all that I stopped doing this kind of thing more than a decade ago and moved on to other endeavors.

But I was wrong.

What I discovered through the incident you will read about in this space over the coming weeks was something that might just qualify as the most egregious thing I have encountered in all my years being around the sport. It is certainly the most unique, and in fact we are still searching high and low for a boxing historian who can tell us that something similar to this has ever happened.

And that is what has pulled me back in, not unlike Michael Corleone in “Godfather Part III”.  Yup, just when I thought I was out for good.

Something I have been doing for the past several months has been to take a survey of sorts—among people involved with boxing, mostly—in which I have presented them with a certain hypothetical situation. We’ve reworded it and changed some grammar here and there over time to make it a little clearer, but essentially it has remained the same. Here it is, in bullet point form:

● A promoter puts a young man into a fight who has never had gloves on in a competitive situation, against an opponent with ten pro fights.

● This contestant in his pro debut has intellectual disabilities (to use the politically-incorrect term, he is ‘mentally retarded’) and in fact, is certified as such because he is a participant in the Special Olympics.

● The promoter KNOWS THIS because he was told well beforehand about the young man’s condition—the day before, at the weigh-in, as a matter of fact.

● The promoter goes ahead with the fight anyway—holding back that critical information from the experienced, aggressive opponent.

● At this point, the poor “special needs” kid, who came into this situation with no representation that we know of, is in a state of potential danger that he may not even comprehend.

Okay, we’re going to stop right there, for a couple of reasons. First off, that’s where I stopped with the people I questioned on a one-on-one basis and through the hypothetical that was posted on my Facebook page. Secondly—hey—I don’t want to give away the rest of this drama, which is epic.

So my question, more or less, at that point was:
“WHAT WOULD YOU DO ABOUT THAT PROMOTER?”

And in many of these surveys, the companion question was:
“WHAT WOULD YOU DO ABOUT THE COMMISSION THAT ALLOWED IT?”

Of course, I didn’t want to reveal names and places because I did not want to prejudice anybody to the point where they could not offer an unfettered opinion. What I got back were some responses that were almost as incredible as the story itself. After you find out what happened, I am going to roll out a lot of those responses—unleash them, as it were, because there was generally not much consideration for anything “measured,” and that’s exactly what I was looking for. There was, in fact, OUTRAGE.

I will say that one member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame, and still a viable presence in the boxing community, who was surveyed a few days before this was written, said that “It appears to be grounds for lifetime suspension for the promoter and a restructure of the commission.” We hope to hear from him again before all is said and done. His feelings echoed those of pretty much everybody toward the promoter; though we saw varying degrees in the way of suggestions, the opinion that this individual deserved a heavy dose of rather severe punishment was unanimous.

And so what we’re going to do is…............

Oh wait, you say it WASN’T unanimous?

That’s right, I almost forgot. There’s an opposing view. if you can believe it. If you guys and gals are really good and loyal readers, you’ll get to meet someone—of carefully-cultivated image—who saw basically everything we had in the way of evidence to kick-start this investigation, got a careful and thorough explanation of the situation, yet in the end not only embraces this promoter very enthusiastically; not only unabashedly insists he is ETHICAL, but believes that he is, to use this individual’s own words, “simply the best.”

Yeah, stick around for THAT story. It’s a real beauty.

The proposition that the commission involved in this fiasco needed to get booted out the door for sanctioning and approving the fight was a slam dunk. Outrage again. We even heard from some people in the regulatory community who went on the record.

Here’s Gianluca Di Caro, Executive Vice President & CEO of the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA):

“Quite simply talking from a sanctioning organisation point of view—there is no way a genuine pro boxing sanctioning organisation would license anyone, let alone a disabled boxer without proof of experience, such as amateur record so I would hope this is hypothetical—if it’s not and this has actually happened please name and shame as not only should the promoter be exposed but so should the sanctioning organisation.”

What he means by “sanctioning organisation,” of course, is the commission.

And by the way, we should mention that a fair amount of people thought what we were talking about was strictly a hypothetical, because they considered it way too extreme a situation to actually be real.

But by now I hope you have caught on to the fact that this is real—VERY real. Yes, it REALLY HAPPENED.

Not only does the hypothetical mirror the story of the incident, as we have been able to ascertain it, but you’ll learn that:

— The promoter himself did a “mea culpa,” in public view, which is one of the more remarkable things you’re ever going to come across.

— The commission which approved the fight, and which is headed up by one of the prominent people in his field, not only WON’T do a “mea culpa,” but refuses to answer any questions about it.

— The young man of “special needs” is a very special young man indeed. It’s just that he never boxed before, and boxing is a whole different animal.

— There are others with special needs who do indeed compete—and do it the right way.

What you WON’T learn, just yet, is how the commission where this promoter is NOW doing business is going to deal with it. We’re going to have to get back to you on that, as part of the ongoing story.

What you’re going to enjoy most are the “teaching” moments—that is, the ones where YOU do the teaching. You know, if you’re a boxing fan, you can read all manner of stories on a day-to-day basis that might complain about what this or that sanctioning body is doing, which promoter is ripping off which fighter, who is the latest world title contestant to fail a drug test, and so on. This is all well and good, but there isn’t a whole lot that writers or fans can really do about it.

It’s going to be different here. Do you actually want to start cleaning up boxing? Do you want to affect change? Do you want to put your money where your mouth is? Do you want to “school” these people on the right way to do it? If you follow us, and take action—and I am not blowing smoke up your ass—you can contribute to changing the way promoters conduct due diligence in finding contestants, and the way commissions go about approving them. You can insist that being licensed by a boxing jurisdiction is not a “right,” but a privilege, and that the privilege can be withheld for those who don’t operate in the best interests of the sport. And you can start to bust open this age-old culture of “See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Get Paid” which creates the mechanism by which people in boxing feel enabled and empowered to do egregious things over and over.

We ARE going to use this series as a lens through which to look at the larger picture, and you CAN make a difference. I know what I’m talking about when I say that. I will show you how.

There are fifteen stories in this series—fifteen “rounds,” if you will. Of course, as things develop, we suspect we might go into “overtime.” And take my word for it, I can keep punching for as long as it takes.

So as we suggested at the top, if you are ready for, quite possibly, the most astonishing boxing story you will ever read, come take the journey with us as we go…..

LOWER THAN LOW IN ST. JOE

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Discuss this in our forums

Related Articles

Comments

This is a place to express and/or debate your boxing views. It is not a place to offend anyone. If we feel comments are offensive, the post will be deleted and continuing offenders will be blocked from the site. Please keep it clean and civil! We want to have fun. We want some salty language and good-natured exchanges. But let's keep our punches above the belt...
  1. Jeff E Ruf 08:34am, 11/03/2017

    Wait til you guys read the next few installments, as I have heard a great deal of the story. Indictments may follow.

  2. Pete The Sneak 04:25am, 11/02/2017

    Great Stuff Charles Jay! Can’t wait for the next installment…Peace.

  3. David Harrington 05:13am, 11/01/2017

    Stick it to ‘em Montero no mercy for the corrupt no rest for the wicked.

  4. Charles Jay 05:25pm, 10/31/2017

    First chapter of the story in-chief should be along in about 48 hours, Bruce. I want to circulate this around until then.

  5. Bruce Kielty 03:58pm, 10/31/2017

    When will the next segments to this story be forthcoming?

  6. Sheldon Leonard 11:40am, 10/31/2017

    “Garden variety mismatches”?! I take it you are referring to 95% of the professional matches that are made ....not just at the top of a card but up and down every card that is put together. This “egregious” example is just more of the same only uglier! Takam was a 40 to 1 “underdog”....just think about that term “underdog” and visualize a scrawny overmatched pit bull underneath a more powerful ferocious pit bull who is in the process of tearing his throat apart. FYI MacGregor should have been a 1000 to 1 “underdog” against Mayweather!

  7. scott yaniga 10:00am, 10/31/2017

    “Mismatch”? I think you’re missing the point of the article. This was much more egregious than a garden variety mismatch.

  8. Sheldon Leonard 08:20am, 10/31/2017

    Mismatches are the life blood of professional boxing…..those that are running the show at a local level are no diffferent than the big boys….they’re just dumber and have less resources. Boxing fans like to see people getting beat up….the 70,000 or whatever at Cardiff weren’t there to see a competitive match ....they were there to see Takam get his ass torn up!

Leave a comment