Quick Jabs: Wrinkles For Floyd Mayweather And Showtime; PEDs, Thrown Fights, Corruption Scandals Again; More

Boxing promoter 50 Cent is one of our own now, which means we have to talk about him more often. This failed smooch with Erin Andrews has gotten a lot of attention, but people haven't noticed quite as much the way he goes all creepshow following her around afterward. Female sideline promoters and guys who have basically or fully left their first careers… what's with that?

By starting the post in that fashion, and with what comes next, I've pretty much taken Nigel Collins' critique of the boxing media and used it as a reverse roadmap to sin. The critique that the media spends too much time talking about the outside-the-ring stuff has a certain ring of truth to it, but I also think it's true that one of the reasons for it is that the business of boxing has been playing a big role lately in us not getting the inside-the-ring product we all want. I do think there are writers who are a little too obsessed with the business/scandal/other extracurricular side, but I think there are other writers who give it short shrift. I try to find a modified middle ground that's tilted more toward the actual fisticuffs — focusing on the fights first (previews, recaps), but mixing in some posts that are in between (the "fights in the works" Round And Round columns, the occasional interview/feature/news conference write-up) and once a week or every other week, doing a post that's purely on the extracurriculars, like this running Quick Jabs column. Who knows if I achieve the goal. The rest of the TQBR team is more focused on the fights themselves, generally, which helps shift the site's balance toward that.

Enough of my bellybutton. Let's just talk about the things in the headline, as well as TV ratings, strange allegations by one fighter against another, trash talk between boxers' fathers and so on.

Quick Jabs

Last week there weren't as many details about the Floyd Mayweather deal with Showtime, so there are two important wrinkles that have emerged since that need to be spoken aloud. Both come from unnamed sources, but via multiple credible reporters. One is that the Showtime guarantee to Mayweather for each fight is reportedly over $30 million and upside on pay-per-view buys, which adds up to at estimated $200-250 million if he does all six fights. That's a lot of money, and you can see better now why HBO might have balked at that kind of commitment to an aging fighter. Relatedly, Mayweather has an out after one fight, reportedly — although it's hard to imagine why he'd walk away from that kind of money, so it's probably academic…

As for Mayweather and May 4: His dad and his welterweight opponent Robert Guerrero's dad really don't like each other, for some reason. Any time some guys are threatening to brawl and engaging in oneupsmanship over whose gunshot wounds were worse, things could get ugly. These should be eventful news conferences, once they get to them. Also, Canelo Alvarez won't be fighting on the undercard and instead will meet junior middleweight Austin Trout on April 20, because Alvarez wanted a guarantee that he'd be fighting Mayweather next if he'd be boosting his undercard. Mayweather didn't want to give it to him. I get both men's stances, and I while I like Mayweather-Guerrero and Alvarez-Trout on one undercard more than I want them separate, it's not so bad for fans or Showtime's ratings that Alvarez will be on regular Showtime rather than PPV…

Speaking of TV ratings and trash talk: Lightweight Adrien Broner's last bout on HBO against Gavin Rees was back to his usual high-for-modern-HBO ratings standard after a dip against Antonio DeMarco, which would seem to confirm that fans prefer seeing Broner in against weaker opponents than stronger ones. What it probably means, in reality, is that there was some kind of competition for Broner's potential audience in November that wasn't present this time. It also shows something our friend David P. Greisman likes to say: There's more to evaluating successful ratings than raw total viewers. I think the body of work, though, suggests that Broner is a top-tier ratings guy for HBO, one blip aside. Broner and Brandon Rios recently had a Twitter spat that got attention, and while Twitter spats can be entertaining, it's an empty spat because they'll never fight due to their separate promoters, Golden Boy and Top Rank respectively, hating each other. Hard not to fantasize about that bout, but it, too, is all academic…

Welterweight Timothy Bradley had wanted to use the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for his upcoming bout against Ruslan Provodnikov, but now will use the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association. Told you so. Top Rank likes VADA, Golden Boy likes USADA — these guys have their own fighters, their own networks, their own pet testing agencies. Maybe next they'll have their own referees, their own sanctioning outfits, their own judges, their own states, their own animal mascots, their own fight songs, their own favorite peanut butter and jelly ingredients, and everything will be separate and great. When you were a kid, didn't you want your parents to get divorced so you could have two Christmases? This isn't bad for boxing. It's like having two different boxings! Two different leagues! Two is better than one!…

Heavyweight Tony Thompson caused a stir over in England last week when he said, basically, let's just legalize performance enhancing drugs and get it over with. I thought people overreacted; Thompson has always spoken his mind, and he was espousing a not uncommon view in boxing fandom. I do, however, think he's wrong. There was a time when I wasn't sure PEDs were helping boxers — guys who got busted with them either lost (Fernando Vargas) or didn't look physically like they helped all that much (James Toney), so while there's a spirit of fair play element to PEDs, it didn't look like it was playing out in practice. And it didn't seem to be resulting in any increased danger to the opponents facing boxers on PEDs, or at least there was no evidence that it had yet. It's why I was able to say I didn't think 'roids were on the same level of cheating as Antonio Margarito's loaded handwraps, at least for me, because loaded handwraps do have a track record, a crippling one. Over time, slowly, we've seen a couple fighters score knockouts and test positive afterward in a way that is worrisome that a boxer could soon do serious damage to another fighter with the aid of PEDs. Thompson's argument — that it's widespread — isn't good enough. Lots of bad things are widespread, but that doesn't mean authorities should just flat give up on trying to stop or eliminate them. And the argument that it would make athletes "bigger than life" might be OK if it weren't for the fact that a totally unregulated "everybody take whatever drugs they want" sport would almost certainly result in more boxers being killed or crippled, and I think even the most bloodthirsty fans want to keep that to a minimum. That's not a "bigger than life" tradeoff I'd embrace. And the "it's a person's choice" argument might hold some water if there wasn't another person in the ring who didn't have any say in the matter…

Heavyweight Herbie Hide recently got caught in a newspaper sting offering to throw a fight, although he said it's all a big misunderstanding. Three is a trend. In the years I've been writing about boxing, there have been two other well-publicized allegations of a thrown fight that come to mind, both of them of questionable veracity, enough to make it so I could confidently say that there was no evidence fight-throwing was happening on the level the average casual/non-fan suspects it is. Lately, I'm feeling less sure — although I'm still relatively confident it's not happening at the highest level of the sport, where there is more financial incentive to win than to take the kind of payoff Hide seemed to be requesting…

It's been a while since we had a classic promoter/sanctioning outfit payoff scandal in exchange for higher rankings, but we now have an allegation of one. The promoter involved, Gary Shaw, denies that his company did anything wrong, and the evidence of wrongdoing is a touch thin by my reading, but we don't have all the details yet. I'm not inclined to trust the IBF or any of the other alphabet gang members, either…

How's this for a funky allegation: Zab Judah thinks that Danny Garcia camp was having the cops stalk him because they said Judah and his crew were going to START A RIOT. There was no reply from the Garcia camp in this story. Maybe they didn't think such deranged-sounding rantings were worthy of a response?…

Andre Berto is switching trainers from his longtime coach Dan Morgan. If anybody needed a new trainer, it is Berto, a swift and powerful action hero who has become increasingly clueless about how to fight, and whose last attempted at trying to improve — the shoulder roll defense — was an unconditional failure. Whoever this new trainer is, one of the first rules should be banishing entourage members from his corner between rounds, where cacophony overrules instruction on how to actually win a bout.

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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