The Ring’s Turdnado

By Dennis Taylor on May 15, 2018
The Ring’s Turdnado
All illusions of independent journalism have been stained by Stefan Friedman's action.

The Ring magazine took a big dump on journalism a decade ago when it sold its soul—literally—to Golden Boy Promotions…

The Ring magazine took a big dump on journalism a decade ago when it sold its soul—literally—to Golden Boy Promotions, which purchased the celebrated publication in 2007. That left a smell that “The Bible of Boxing” was hoping fans could ignore.

It mostly worked until last week, when a turdnado started whirling behind closed doors, and its odor spilled out to the rest of us.

As The Ring reported on its own website, the magazine’s three-person ratings panel (managing editor Brian Harty, associate editor Tom Gray, and editor Doug Fischer) voted last week to strip Canelo Alvarez of its middleweight championship belt because he tested positive on two separate occasions for a banned substance, Clenbuterol, a performance-enhancing drug that supposedly has multiple different effects.

Canelo has attributed the dirty tests to a likelihood that he ingested tainted Mexican meat during training camp—an explanation fighters have used with some success in the past. He subsequently took a hair-follicle test that, according to his promoter, came out clean.

But here’s the rub. The Ring’s ratings panel was created to do exactly what it did—make a decision, one way or another, about Canelo’s status as champ. The panel rendered its decision and stripped his title.

But that decision was unilaterally overruled by The Ring’s new publisher, Stefan Friedman, who was installed to oversee operations at the magazine by its owner, Golden Boy Promotions—Friedman’s former employer.

You read right. Stefan Friedman previously worked for Golden Boy Promotions—of Canelo Alvarez—as an advisor and official spokesperson before being anointed as publisher of The Ring.

The fact that Friedman intervened and overruled the decision of the three respected boxing journalists who took Canelo’s title reeks of corporate interference—and a horrendous breach of journalistic ethics. Golden Boy promotes Canelo … Golden Boy, as owner of The Ring, installed one of its own to run the magazine. The Ring magazine’s journalists made a journalistic decision to take away Canelo’s title … and the new publisher overruled.

At worst, that’s incest. At best, it sure looks like incest.

Whether it’s true or not, Friedman can be—and should be—suspected of being nothing more than a toady for the parent company, Golden Boy Promotions, which leaves The Ring in an untenable position that does irreparable damage to its proud legacy.

If “The Bible of Boxing” hopes to restore its standing as the most-respected source in boxing—a position it has enjoyed for most of the past 96 years—must be fired as publisher and replaced with a person who has no connection whatsoever with Golden Boy. All illusions of independent journalism have been stained by Friedman’s action.

If Friedman is not replaced, rational boxing fans will have no option, from this point forward, except to regard The Ring as a mouthpiece and shill for its parent company, Golden Boy.

The principles of unbiased journalism have been blatantly violated, and “The Bible” now looks like a fraud.

Dennis Taylor is a veteran journalist of 45 years with multiple daily and weekly newspapers in Colorado, North Carolina, and California. He also is editor/publisher of, host of The Ringside Boxing Show, and co-author (with John J. Raspanti) of “Intimate Warfare: The True Story of the Arturo Gatti vs. Micky Ward Boxing Trilogy,” currently on Amazon’s bestseller list.

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  1. Bruce Kielty 10:02am, 05/31/2018

    Obviously The Ring’s credibility will always be questioned when it is owned by a promoter.  However,  remember that when Nat Fleischer founded The Ring in 1922, it was reported that promoter Tex Rickard financed the upstart publication.  Production-wise, The Ring’s photography and layout has improved, but they duck most of the major issues plaguing boxing (ie. sanctioning bodies, etc.).

  2. nicolas 10:12am, 05/20/2018

    Yes, while I never met Jack Fiske, I did read his column in the chronicle religiously. I remember the article before the first Leonard-Duran fight. where he was not that impressed with Duran’s accomplishments as light weight champ. He made some good points in that article, and while I do feel Duran is the greatest Panamanian boxer of all time pound for pound, I would not call him the greatest light weight of all time. I would even go so far as to suggest that Pernell Whitaker and Floyd Mayweather would have had the tools to defeat him, as well as Henry Armstrong. However, at the same time, had he Esteban Dejesus, the first man to defeat him, and it would be some eight years before anyone else would, I wonder if we not have De Jesus listed as one of the all time great light weights. Of course Ken Buchanan is in the hall of fame. I think that even Oscar Da Lahoya might have had a chance against Duran.

  3. Lucas McCain 09:23am, 05/19/2018

    Glad to hear you have some of Jack’s prized possessions.  I only spent a couple of hours with him—brought over to meet him by a mutual friend, the late (another late, alas) wild one, Christopher Coats.  But Jack was a very nice guy, loved his collection, and the afternoon was memorable.

  4. J Russell Peltz 09:05am, 05/19/2018

    Lucas:  I visited Jack Fiske in San Francisco before he passed away and bought a lot of memorabilia from him, mostly his framed collection of Ted Carroll artwork along with a lamp of a boxer given to sportswriters at the Nino Benvenuti-Don Fullmer fight in Italy, one of my now-prized possessions.  It sits on my desk in my Philadelphia office.  Jack was a good man and he greatly influenced me on making sure two boxers fighting each other do not wear the same colored trunks.  People may not think it’s a big deal but, believe me, if you’re sitting in the balcony and two fighters with the same skin color are wearing the same colored trunks, it IS a big deal, also for the judges at ringside.

  5. Lucas McCain 09:00am, 05/19/2018

    JRP: the only home library I ever saw with a complete, bound series of the Ring was the late Jack Fiske’s in San Francisco.  His whole place was an art and history museum of boxing paintings, posters, books, etc., a dream come true for anyone except one’s rational spouse.  Glad to know there’s another one around, even if it survives more by inertia than passion.

  6. J Russell Peltz 10:32am, 05/18/2018

    I have every single copy of The Ring dating back to 1922.  The Ring has not been relevant since they got rid of Nigel Collins.  The only reason I continue to get it is to continue the collection.

  7. Kid Blast 11:50am, 05/16/2018

    Nicolas, one of those judges was Jose Feliciano.

  8. nicolas 11:42am, 05/16/2018

    Ring was probably compromised as far back as 1970’s , when they had the tournament to decide something of an American champion, and some fighters like Marvin Hagler were left out, and they were in league with Don King as I remember. Also there were other shenanigans that were discovered as I recall, and they scrapped the tournament. As far as Oscar goes, I liked him as a loser but certainly not as a promoter. You have to ask yourself what happened when Golovkin only got a draw against Oscar boxer Alvarez, and that 118-110 score, and also how the fight that Lomo had with Linares could be so close, with one judge having Linares up by two.

  9. Kid Blast 06:02am, 05/16/2018

    The Ring is compromised. Therefore, it’s articles and content become suspect. It still has some very fine writers but at some point, even their work must be reviewed by an editor and that’s where the inflection point occurs. SAD

  10. Ollie Downtown Brown 04:29pm, 05/15/2018

    “I ain’t got nothing against the East Coast, you want some people,  well they got the most.”  IF “The Ring” ever had an East Coast bias, it was so slight that it was hardly noticeable. Now, someone like Crawford fighting in “flyover country” does have to deal with REAL BIAS. I wouldn’t know about “The Ring” nowadays, but back in the day plenty of West Coast talent got plenty of ink. Back then, heavyweights ruled boxing, and most of the American heavyweight contenders were based out of the East Coast or at least east of Iowa. Fighters fighting out of the Midwest and the South DO EXPERIENCE REAL BIAS

  11. Lucas McCain 03:48pm, 05/15/2018

    Tetumbo,  Call up a site that has the major organizations’ rankings side-by-side and see if you think any of them is preferable to the Ring’s.
    Much of this is subjective.  I don’t think many would agree with your outrage at GGG or Loma being ranked above Canelo.  (You may be right about Crawford; he may end up being the best of anyone in this era.)

  12. tetumbo 02:50pm, 05/15/2018

    I used to be a devoted reader of Ring but haven’t read another issue of Ring Ragazine since 1990. THAT’s when their blatant east-coast bias and collusion with sanctioning bodies and promoters became obvious to me. I mean, how many more times would they rank and shill for hype-jobs as top “P4Prs” withOut the ring-creds and only to be exposed as unworthy during their first true test v. the best comp? They’re still at it, e.g., How in the Hell does Gennady and Lomo rate above Crawford, Canelo, and Garcia and why is Rigondeaux still ranked among the top-10 at all?!? Ultimately, serious fight-fans don’t need biased “experts” to explain what we can see with our own eyes.

  13. Balaamsass 11:51am, 05/15/2018

    “Turdnado”! Pure genius! Couldn’t have said it better myself! Not as fanciful as you might think if one envisions a tornado touching down in a cow pasture!

  14. Lucas McCain 09:08am, 05/15/2018

    I’m glad to read a defense of Fischer, since I enjoy his mailbags, and he wrings his hands convincingly (wringing at the Ring?). But Oscar’s unctuous ruthlessness is an unsolvable problem, since he was actually in there with the best, got his brains shaken by real knocks as opposed to written ones (though written knocks are real for those who take writing seriously).

  15. Donald Grant 08:09am, 05/15/2018

    Indisputably disgraceful, and a devastating blow to the publication’s reputation. But Doug Fischer is not to be blamed. I even give Stefan Friedman, obviously a stooge of management, something of a pass. After all, both he and Fischer have mouths to feed. No, this all comes down to Golden Boy.

  16. Dennis Taylor 07:35am, 05/15/2018

    Journalism still exists, Skippy. If you think it’s all “fake news,” you’re the one who’s been lied to, Skippy. (We can speculate about who installed that kind of cynicism in your brain, but that’s a conversation for another arena.)
    When Golden Boy Promotions approached The Ring with an offer to buy the publication, the correct answer was, “No, thank you ... we’re dedicated to the principles of journalism. Go buy a public relations company.”
    In fact, journalism is exactly what The Ring editor Doug Fischer did: He exposed The Ring’s grossly inappropriate relationship with Golden Boy by breaking the story himself. (How quickly do you think a furious Oscar De La Hoya speed-dialed Fischer when that story hit The Ring’s webpage?)
    The next plot line to watch is whether The Ring/Golden Boy fires Doug Fischer for being a journalist, rather than a PR shill, or if Fischer finds a new place to work on his own, for the sake of his own very-respectable legacy.

  17. Lucas McCain 07:35am, 05/15/2018

    and, in case you want to read further, you will either find annoying, or sympathetic, or neither, Fischer’s own explanation from last week as he attempts to tap-dance around his frustrations:

  18. Lucas McCain 07:10am, 05/15/2018

    For those who never read the following, from a former Ring writer in the Columbia Journalism Review.  BTW, it’s anti-boxing and has a personal bone to pick, but it’s a on the same subject and set tongues wagging a few years ago:

  19. Ollie Downtown Brown 06:32am, 05/15/2018

    “unbiased journalism?” Really. When did “unbiased journalism” ever exist? FAKE NEWS has gotten worse, but was it ever really 100% the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? For the most part you have been lied to, Skippy. Haven’t purchased a boxing publication in decades, why should I when the internet has so much more info for free.

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