Quick Jabs: The Return Of The Boxing Dive; The Drug Testing Morass; More

Boxing dives are making a comeback in a big way! Let's party like it's the 1940s. The dives seem especially popular when they involve athletes from other sports, as with the opponent of former Atlanta Falcons football player Ray Edwards above, and one more case we'll discuss below. The floppy fellow in the video was suspended by the North Dakota boxing commission, and while that's the only time I think I've ever mentioned them on this blog, they strike me as a pretty good commission if I just base my opinion on this one move.

It's a down and dirty edition of Quick Jabs this week, if you can't tell from the headline. But mixed in with the Golden Boy-Top Rank feud nonsense and the other dirt, you'll encounter more positive vibes from news like "appreciation for a longtime boxing warrior" and "slightly greater appreciation for an up-and-coming boxing warrior."

Quick Jabs

The Frans Botha heavyweight fight against rugby player Sonny Bill Williams not only has a dive element, but also a drug testing element and rules shenanigans element. It's everything that's conceivably dirty about boxing all tossed into one giant quicksand pit! Botha said Williams' manager approached him about taking a dive, and the referee in the fight said he knew about the alleged offer, but Williams' manager thinks it's fishy that the fight was allowed to go forward only for those two to go public later. Botha reportedly failed a drug test, but there were doubts about that and he has since produced a clean one. I don't know which of the various stories I believe there; too much he said, she said. And the whole "first it was 12 rounds, then it was 10 rounds and coincidentally that was around the time Williams was in bad, bad trouble" switcheroo looked bad at the time because so few people seemed to know about it until the final bell rang, but the fact that Botha's manager has since said he agreed to it beforehand takes some of the salaciousness out of it. Although, with this thing, I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out the mafia kidnapped Botha's manager's family to make him agree to that or say that — it's past the point of anything straining credulity…

Oh, and the performance enhancing drugs get sillier all the time. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has no power to speak of within boxing but it's still threatening to ban Erik Morales — a boxer who plans to soon retire — for testing positive for a PED a long, long time ago. I fall somwhere between Brent Brookhouse and SC on this: USADA and its rival the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association both have proven toothless when it comes to having an impact on the outcome of whether a fight goes forward when there's a positive test, but it's not so much their fault as it is that state commissions simply aren't honoring their test results, except in one case where a VADA test was only one factor. VADA comes off a little better because at least they've taken steps to notify commissions, whereas USADA didn't in the Morales case until the absolute last second at best and looks dumb issuing a ban well after the fact against someone over whom they have zero power. One of the really good points related to all this that Brent raised that I haven't seen explored is why junior welterweight Lamont Peterson is fighting in D.C. next weekend when he doesn't have a license in Nevada, what with the tradition of state reciprocity that sometimes is ignored but mostly not. Hopefully I'll get to explore it this coming fight week. Peterson wants people to move past his own banned substance encounter and says he does want to do expanded drug testing going forward, and I hope he means it, but we'll see if he ends up with his preferred choice of VADA or USADA given the friction between his new promoter Golden Boy and VADA. Likewise, welterweight Timothy Bradley, who is promoted by Top Rank, wants to use USADA but we'll see if that sticks…

Which brings us to the Top Rank-Golden Boy feud. Recently, for the first time in the titanic struggle between the two companies that has spanned years and years in its various iterations, Top Rank boss Bob Arum claimed that the legal obligations/contracts of the two companies prevent them from working together. I don't buy it, and not just because Golden Boy's Richard Schaefer says it's bullshit. It's not that it isn't complicated. If this was such an impediment, I think it would've come up before now, and don't forget that it wasn't very long ago at all that the companies did indeed work together. Any excuse to perpetuate a grudge, I guess…

At least welterweight Victor Ortiz might be on Dancing With The Stars. America isn't ready for this hilarious, awkward, strange space cadet. Also, more people are making fun of late of his VO FaceLube product. Like Eric Raskin, I'm guessing it sounded like a cool, heterosexual product name to somebody — "Men are like engines. How do you take care of an engine? Lube!" — but instead, the notion of putting lube on your face makes more people think it implies it makes your face easier to have sex with. Or maybe they knew people would joke about it and adhere to the policy that all publicity is good publicity. One day I'm going to see about doing a product review of this. It gets made fun of so often that I'd like to give it a chance as a product of value… 

Too bad about Michael Katsidis getting a bad bill of health, but you didn't have to watch too many of his fights to see that coming. What you worry about with a guy like Katsidis is that he hurts himself badly before he can get out, and the good news here is that he found this out before it got any worse. Katsidis fell into that small category of fighters whose demand could not be affected even remotely by a loss — he was just so damn fun to watch every time out that you couldn't wait for the next outing. And while he had his limitations as a figther, let's not pretend that he wasn't a top lightweight for a long stretch — he took champs Joel Casamayor and Juan Manuel Marquez to the brink, and also beat contender Kevin Mitchell. It's a career he can be proud of, and he'll go down as one of the most beloved fighters for hardcore fans of his generation. He hasn't entirely ruled out a return, unfortunately, so hopefully he'll close the door for good after talking with his team…

Hardcore fans also love junior welterweight Lucas Matthysse, but that hasn't translated into big gates. The trend is going the right direction, at least — 1,137 tickets sold for his bout against Mike Dallas, Jr. is paltry, but not as paltry as the 377 Matthysse sold for a fight last year…

This round-by-round breakdown by Juan Manuel Marquez of his fifth fight with Manny Pacquiao is outstanding. Marquez's brain remains his biggest ring asset…

Muhammad Ali's brother claims his words about The Greatest being near death were twisted by the media, and while I don't buy it, his family does. For his sake of Muhammad and his family, I'm glad they buy it…

HBO is adding Steve Weisfeld to their team, but he strikes me as redundant; I don't question his rep or qualifications, but if HBO already has one guy who can discuss rules, why have two? Spend that money on more fights, I say…

I try to do a Weekend Afterthoughts for most every weekend, but it's been so uninspiring lately that there hasn't been a need. Our man on the British scene, Andrew Harrison, covered the most meaningful fight of the past weekend, and I don't have anything to add, other than that it really was a good performance by Carl Frampton based on some highlights I watched. The ESPN2 Friday Night Fights card from last weekend featured the latest in a streak of durable old men (Nate Campbell) getting beaten up for a prolonged period by a younger man (Keith Bizier). I try to be a completist around here, but sometimes it's difficult to muster the energy spending even a few sentences talking about a fight like Bizier-Campbell.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C., where he is a staff writer for CQ Roll Call.

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