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Dougie’s Friday mailbag (Canelo and clenbuterol, Valdez-Quigg, Garcia-Lipinets)

Photo by Tom Hogan-HoganPhotos / Golden Boy Promotions
09
Mar

CONTAMINATED MEAT EXCUSE

Dougie,

With Canelo Alvarez being the latest superstar boxer to get caught with PED’s in his system, how believable is this contaminated meat excuse?

I’d of thought diets, particularly of the sports superstars, are so closely controlled, that nothing goes into their systems that the dieticians don’t want to go into their systems but interested to hear your thoughts on the subject. Thanks. – Alasdair Brightwell, Croxley Green, UK



I think Canelo is the first boxing “superstar” in his prime to test positive for a banned substance. I can’t think of a more prominent boxer, currently at the peak of his ability and fame – and also going into such a high-profile fight – to have failed a PED test. (Maybe Fernando Vargas after the loss to Oscar De La Hoya back in 2001comes close.)

How believable is the contaminated meat excuse? It’s believable given the number of instances in recent years that athletes who have consumed beef in Mexico have tested positive for this specific drug. When Erik Morales tested positive for the drug in 2012, the tainted beef excuse wasn’t believable. By the time clenbuterol was found in Francisco Vargas’s system a month before his fight with Orlando Salido in 2016 there was enough information available on the subject for the California State Athletic Commission and the WBC (which sanctioned the 130-pound title bout) to investigate the situation, and there was even cause for the media and some fans not to rush to judgement. However, by the end of 2016, it was common knowledge in the sports world that athletes training or competing in Mexico (and some other parts of the world, including China and Russia) need to be careful of what they consume. So, I totally understand when Gennady Golovkin, his trainer Abel Sanchez, the boxing media and fans say Canelo and his team should have known better.

But just because they should have been more careful about what Canelo put into his mouth doesn’t mean he’s a cheater or that he’s trying to cheat for this bout or that he should automatically be punished and the May 5 rematch should be postponed or cancelled. 

Canelo, just like any other boxer in this situation, deserves due process. He and his team have a lot of explaining to do, and the boxing world should allow them do that to the appropriate governing body (in this case the Nevada Athletic Commission) before condemning him. I’m not saying fans shouldn’t be suspicious or that the media shouldn’t keep the focus and pressure on the NAC to conduct a thorough investigation (they should!), but I am saying it’s premature to assume that Canelo purposely used clenbuterol for its performance-enhancing benefits.

I’d of thought diets, particularly of the sports superstars, are so closely controlled, that nothing goes into their systems that the dieticians don’t want to go into their systems. Maybe this is true for most sports superstars but Team Canelo is a pop-and-son operation. It’s just the Reynosos (Don Chepo and Eddy). They know boxing. Heck, they know about beef (Chepo was a butcher). But they’re not dieticians or nutritionists. They didn’t go to college and study sports medicine. They’re just dyed-in-the-wool boxing guys who happen to manage and train one of the biggest stars in the sport. My guess is that they never considered the possibility of Canelo eating the wrong meat. Canelo’s never failed a drug test before and he usually makes weight and performs well in the ring. That’s all that matters to Eddy and Chepo. They don’t think about crazy scenarios like “What if our man fails a VADA test because of that street taco he ate or that carne asada his mom or auntie made for him while chillin’ in his hometown?” In retrospect, they should have been more careful, but hindsight is always 20-20.

It’s kind of like when fans and some members of the media gave Team GGG s__t for not protesting the NAC’s selection of Adalaide Byrd to be one of the judges for the first fight with Canelo. Byrd had a history of head-scratching scorecards. Other promoters, such as Top Rank, had told the NAC “hell no” when they tried to assign her to their shows (which preceded Canelo-GGG 1). So, we can say “They should have known better” but the truth is that Tom Loeffler, Abel Sanchez and GGG’s management team were not in the habit of thinking about the official judges. Golovkin usually knocked out his opponents and he’d never been on the s__t-end of a close or controversial decision prior to going 12 round with Canelo, so, they weren’t really concerned about Mrs. Byrd going into the biggest fight of GGG’s pro career. Should they have been? Hell yeah! Will they pay closer attention to the officials that get assigned to Golovkin’s future bouts, and do their due diligence in terms of research? You better believe it. Same deal with Team Canelo. I’m sure they will be VERY careful about what Canelo puts into his body going forward. They might even hire a professional nutritionist/dietician. 

 

STACKED BOXING WEEKEND

Hello Doug,

We have yet another stacked weekend of fights with Golden Boy’s ESPN card and ShoBox for Friday and Top Rank’s ESPN show and the Showtime card from Texas on Saturday. I’ll be attending the Golden Boy card in Orange County and then be at the StubHub Center on Saturday as well. I’m pretty excited.

I favor Mikey Garcia to smoke Sergey Lipinets on Saturday and win another world title in yet another weight division. Showtime recently replayed Lipinets’ last fight vs Akihiro Kondo and I don’t know how you felt, but nothing in that performance told me that Lipinets has anything that poses a real threat to Mikey Garcia in that ring on Saturday. I think Mikey ices him in the mid-to-late rounds. How do you see it playing out?

Oscar Valdez vs. Scott Quigg at the StubHub seems like a matchup that is fitting for that intimate/war-inspiring venue. I think we get a tough fight with both guys trading heavy blows with maybe a knockdown or two. I favor Valdez to win by a hard fought decision, however not without Quigg exposing some of his flaws. How much of a threat is Quigg to Valdez in your opinion?

The Golden Boy cards are always intriguing to me just in the fact that there’s always these new young hot prospects to check out and this week it’s Alexis Rocha. I also think Ronny Rios vs Azat Hovhannisyan will deliver some excitement.

Regis Prograis vs Julius Indongo, I think is going to be a solid fight, but I’ve always liked Progrias and I think he proves he’s the real deal and a true threat to anyone in the 140-pound division. Does Indongo get stopped similar to when he fought Terence Crawford? Or is Crawford just on another level than Prograis, making this fight a toss-up?

I couldn’t write this week without mentioning the elephant in the room. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez definitely disappointed me, regardless of tainted meat or not. Look, I’m a huge supporter of Canelo. I buy his gear, buy his PPVs, and even bought tickets to this fight on May 5. I just hate that everything leading up to this point and probably everything after this, is always going to be marred by this positive test. I guess it’s also just not his own personal career but the sport of boxing. Instead of all the talk this week being about how great that Wilder vs Ortiz fight was (after about round 4), we had to be bombarded with this unfortunate news. But hey, looks like the fight will go on and I’m still going to be just as excited, but I’ll be happier once my co-workers stop asking me “what happened with your boy – Canelo?”

Thanks again Doug. – Andrew, Chula Vista, CA

That’s to be expected, Andrew. No matter what happens from here on – even if Canelo defeats GGG in the rematch, and then goes on to post Julio Cesar Chavez Sr.-caliber stats and never fails another drug test – this clenbuterol scandal will mar his career. It’s one of the reason’s I have a hard time believing that he purposely used clenbuterol to gain an edge in the ring. The performance-enhancing benefits of the drug simply don’t outweigh the risk and consequences of getting caught. Even if there is this “built-in excuse” of consuming contaminated meat, his name will forever be attached to a failed PED test, and that means a lot to a legacy-minded fighter like Canelo.

It also sucks that Wilder’s gutsy and dramatic KO of Ortiz has been all but forgotten amid Canelo’s clenbuterol controversy. Oh well, at least we have the weekend, and I bet you’re happy to be a Southern California boxing fan. You get to attend two out of the four major U.S. boxing cards – and they are damn good ones.

Kondo attacks Lipinets. Photo / @ShowtimeBoxing

Showtime recently replayed Lipinets’ last fight vs Akihiro Kondo and I don’t know how you felt, but nothing in that performance told me that Lipinets has anything that poses a real threat to Mikey Garcia in that ring on Saturday. I agree. Despite the official scorecards, I thought the Russian went life and death with the ballsy but limited Japanese warrior, and he appears tailor-made for Garcia.

I think Mikey ices him in the mid-to-late rounds. How do you see it playing out? I’m thinking Garcia stops him late, maybe due to facial cuts and swelling.

Oscar Valdez vs. Scott Quigg at StubHub seems like a matchup that is fitting for that intimate/war-inspiring venue. I agree, that’s why I plan to be there (wearing thermal underwear and packing a plastic rain parka in case the weather gets uncomfortable).

I think we get a tough fight with both guys trading heavy blows with maybe a knockdown or two. I think you’re right.

I favor Valdez to win by a hard-fought decision, however not without Quigg exposing some of his flaws. That’s sounds very possible.

Scot Quigg. Photo by Mikey Williams-Top Rank

How much of a threat is Quigg to Valdez in your opinion? I think the Englishman is a live dog. I’m picking Valdez on points, but I’m expecting a competitive, close and maybe controversial fight.

The Golden Boy cards are always intriguing to me just in the fact that there’s always these new young hot prospects to check out and this week it’s Alexis Rocha. I like Rocha a lot. He’s big, strong southpaw bomber and he seems to improve with each fight. He’s also got a bright personality.

I also think Ronny Rios vs Azat Hovhannisyan will deliver some excitement. I agree 100%. I’m looking forward to it.

Regis Prograis vs Julius Indongo, I think is going to be a solid fight, but I’ve always liked Progrias and I think he proves he’s the real deal and a true threat to anyone in the 140-pound division. Prograis is a legit contender. Time will tell if he’s a special titleholder and world-beater.

Does Indongo get stopped similar to when he fought Terence Crawford? I would be surprised if Prograis stopped Indongo in the early rounds, or with a single body shot.

Or is Crawford just on another level than Prograis, making this fight a toss-up? I consider Prograis a strong favorite against Indongo, but for the time being, I don’t consider him to be on Crawford’s level.

 

CLENBUTEROL: RECENT MAILBAG EMAIL

Hello Dougie.

Interesting article on your website by Mike Coppinger on March 5 regarding Canelo and clenbuterol. Frequent contributor to your mailbag, Juan Valverde, recently submitted a letter you published addressing this very issue and how a lot of Mexican fighters are taking advantage of the meat in Mexico excuse.

I don’t doubt that Canelo eats more than his share of tacos, but as the saying goes, if it looks like a duck and smells like a duck… What are your thoughts? Cheers. – Dennis, El Centro, CA

LOL, well, I hope the NAC conducts a more comprehensive investigation than that.

Luis Nery.

I won’t dismiss Mr. Valverde’s opinion, but at times they do tend to skew negative and paranoid. He makes some valid points, but I don’t like the insinuation that a legion of Mexican boxers are drug cheats. I’m sure his sources in Tijuana are solid, but Tijuana is just one small part of Mexico, and while the average Mexican boxer trying to scrap his way out of poverty may indeed view the “tainted meat excuse” as a viable defense for willful use of clenbuterol and similar drugs as performance enhancers (and I would toss Luis Nery, the fighter that sparked that March 5 email, into that lot), I don’t think that’s the mindset of a world-famous athlete like Canelo, who has a legacy he wants to protect as well as multi-million-dollar sponsorship deals which could be terminated if his name is attached to a PED scandal.

Think about the millions of dollars the Tecate beer company, which is probably Canelo’s biggest sponsor, spent on that commercial with Canelo magically turning a giant slab of beef (hung, Rockyesque, like a heavy bag) in a boxing gym into carne asada for him and his Tecate-drinking homies. That entire ad campaign is a joke now. And you KNOW damn well Tecate ain’t happy about that.

With Canelo’s name and sponsors, plus his desire to be a legendary fighter, I find it hard to believe that he would willing risk it all for whatever edge clenbuterol would give him. But, hey, I’m not a professional athlete, and I’m certainly not a prize fighter. I’m just a regular guy, so maybe I don’t think like they do. Maybe I have no concept of the competitive pressures they deal with or how they seek to cope with it.

 

QUIGG-VALDEZ

Hi Dougie,

I’ve been reading for a few years but this is my first time writing in.

Everyone is very negative about Deontay Wilder but he knows how to win. He reminds me of Danny Garcia. I’m not comparing their styles, only that they often don’t look impressive but they both know how to win. I’m looking forward to his next fight.

My main reason for writing is to talk about Scott Quigg v Oscar Valdez. How do you see the fight going? Is it too soon for Quigg at the new weight?

I’d like to hear your thoughts on a few mythical matchups:

Naz v Rigo  (122)

Naz v Loma (122,126)

Naz v Frampton (122,126)

Calzaghe v Kovalev

Regards. – Adam, Manchester

What’s up Adam? Thanks for finally sharing your thoughts with the mailbag. I hope you write in again real soon.

Regarding your interesting mythical matchups, I’ll go with Hamed by mid-round KO, Lomachenko by competitive-but-clear decision at both weights (although there’s a chance the Ukrainian marvel could be weight-drained at 122 and if he slips up even a little bit against the Prince he could be put to sleep), Frampton by close, maybe split decision at 122, Naz by late TKO against Frampy at 126, and Calzaghe by close up-from-the-canvas decision against the Krusher.

Everyone is very negative about Deontay Wilder but he knows how to win. It may seem like “everyone is very negative” about Wilder if you go by your Twitter timeline, but I think the Bronze Bomber made some new fans with the mettle he showed during his hard-earned late stoppage of Ortiz.

He reminds me of Danny Garcia. I’m not comparing their styles, only that they often don’t look impressive but they both know how to win. That’s true, and as it did with Garcia, it’s going to take a very talented fighter to beat Wilder. Right now, I’d only give Anthony Joshua, Joseph Parker, an in-shape and active Tyson Fury and maybe Alexander Povetkin a good shot at beating the WBC titleholder.

I’m looking forward to his next fight. Who isn’t? Seriously, even all the fans that are “very negative” about Wilder are going to tune into his next fight, no matter who the opponent is.

My main reason for writing is to talk about Scott Quigg v Oscar Valdez. I’m glad there are some fans out there that realize what a quality matchup this is.

How do you see the fight going? I think it’s going to be hard fought, nip and tuck all the way to the final bell.

Is it too soon for Quigg at the new weight? No, I don’t think so. Quigg was a big junior featherweight and he’s been fighting above 122 pounds since his loss to Frampton. Valdez will be his fourth fight at featherweight.

 

WHY?

Hi Doug,

Hope you’re well?

I thought I’d add my two cents to the big news this week. Canelo testing positive for Clenbuterol – what a surprise… not. How is this fight still on? Yes, I read Mr Coppinger’s report and the official line is “Contaminated meat” – I’m calling bulls__t on this excuse as many others already have including Victor Conte.

Let’s say for sake of argument that he did eat contaminated meat, why put yourself in this position? You’re just about to take part in the biggest boxing match of the year, earn millions upon millions of dollars and yet he and his team can’t even take the simplest of precautions when it’s well known not to eat Mexican beef if you’re being drug tested. (Yes, even if that does mean living in a different country for 16 weeks) It just doesn’t make sense to me.

I think you’ll get a lot of angry emails regarding this subject and rightly so. Canelo is a supreme boxer with an immense fan base around the world and the outcome of this test just taints him and I’ll never look at him the same way again. I just find it unbelievable that you’d put yourself in a position to do more harm than you’re already capable of dishing out at his level. It’s not like he just starting out in his career and has been poorly advised.

I’m preaching to the choir here I know but boxing is the toughest sport out there. Even if a fighter doesn’t juice there is still a chance they can kill a fellow fighter. Four fighters in the last five years have tragically lost their lives in the ring. Now imagine if one of the four opponents failed a drug test, they’d be arrested for manslaughter (at the very least). Luis Resto didn’t juice, he had his gloves tampered with and look what happened to him. He’s been completely ostracised by the boxing community, still hasn’t been granted a trainers licence and probably won’t ever be given another chance. Don’t get me started on Panama Lewis……

Finally, as I know I’m rambling, the worst part about this whole thing is, it’ll just be brushed under the carpet in a couple of weeks and the people in power, State Commissions, Sanctioning Bodies, Promoters and Canelo himself will just go about life as if nothing happened. Boxing needs to sort its act out quickly otherwise the people calling for the sport to be banned, which in the past few weeks has been gathering momentum in the U.K., will win out, and I for one don’t want to see boxing die or go underground.

We need our sports superstars to be clean from PED’s. I don’t and would never expect boxers to be role models, but I do expect them to be clean and respect the person standing in ring with them. Sorry for the rant. – Steve (Randall) – U.K.

Well, you’re hardly the only boxing fan who has been ranting and raving since news of Canelo’s positive drug test was made public. Most hardcore fans already viewed Canelo as the poster boy for everything that’s wrong with the sport, so this scandal only added gasoline to their fire.

Regarding the sport being banned, I don’t think PED use will lead to that happening (unless a fighter dies in a high-profile bout and it turns out the winner had used PEDs), but it’s definitely something that will push fans away. However, I think the number of positive tests (most of which have been conducted by VADA) among prominent boxers in recent years has been a good thing. It’s letting the public and the boxers themselves know what’s out there in terms of PEDs, what these banned substances do and how they can enter a fighter’s system, and the boxing world is becoming more educated about the subject. And I think when a superstar like Canelo tests positive it sends a message out to all boxers that ANYONE can get caught with some banned junk in their body, so would-be cheaters might think twice and honest fighters might be more careful about what they put into their bodies.

Canelo testing positive for Clenbuterol – what a surprise… not. How is this fight still on? The short answer is because Team GGG haven’t told Team Canelo, Golden Boy Promotions and the NAC to go f__k themselves. The longer, more complicated answer is that clenbuterol-contaminated meat is a reality in Mexico, where Canelo lives and where he begins most of his training camps. And the fact that the initial VADA tests were taken more than two months prior to their May 5 rematch has also likely been taken into consideration. Had this happened closer to the fight it may very well have been cancelled.

Yes, I read Mr Coppinger’s report and the official line is “Contaminated meat” – I’m calling bulls__t on this excuse as many others already have including Victor Conte. Really? I heard Mr. Conte tell Steve Kim and Gabriel Montoya that he believed Canelo’s claim on Monday’s “The Next Round” boxing podcast (go to the 6:57 mark).

Let’s say for sake of argument that he did eat contaminated meat, why put yourself in this position? Ignorance? Arrogance? A combination of both? I’m sure he was aware of the problem but maybe he didn’t know that close to 30% of the meat in his country could be contaminated. Maybe he assumed (as you and many other hardcore fans do) that all of the boxers that claimed their positive PED tests were the result of meat contamination were lying and were actually juicing, so he never thought it would happen to him. Knowing what I know about Canelo, I don’t think he would willingly put himself into this position.

You’re just about to take part in the biggest boxing match of the year, earn millions upon millions of dollars and yet he and his team can’t even take the simplest of precautions when it’s well known not to eat Mexican beef if you’re being drug tested. It just doesn’t make sense to me. It doesn’t make sense to me either, which is why I seriously doubt that he knowingly ingested the drug.

I think you’ll get a lot of angry emails regarding this subject and rightly so. I’ve been getting angry emails about Canelo for the last two years, and thanks to this situation, I’m guaranteed to get a steady stream of Canelo hate for the rest of his boxing career.

Canelo is a supreme boxer with an immense fan base around the world and the outcome of this test just taints him and I’ll never look at him the same way again. Nobody will look at him the same way again. That’s how it goes with failed drug tests, and the more popular and famous the fighter is the more intense the scrutiny and the more lasting the damage to his reputation. Again, unless that clenbuterol is more potent and amazing than I realize, I just don’t see why he would put his boxing legacy on the line to gain an artificial edge in his training, weight cutting and in-the-ring performance.

 

MIKEY GARCIA/VALDEZ-QUIGG

Hey Doug, hope all is well. Gonna tough the rain forecast out and go to this card Saturday.

When this fight got made I immediately loved it. I think the styles should blend so well that unless Valdez is just too strong early (unlikely), we will see a hard-fought battle with momentum changes. I think Valdez has to try and use more brain than brawn here because if he’s loading up too hard and swinging for the home run every shot Quigg has the style to pick him off and beat him with his shorter punches and tighter technique.

It’s a fascinating fight and I think it’s going to be a close one. We know Quigg is skilled, tough and mentally resilient and more experienced. It’s close to a 50/50 in my opinion on paper. Let’s see how it turns out on a ring.

A quick word on Mikey Garcia. Now, I know Lipinets isn’t a bad fighter but he also didn’t look outstanding winning his title and has a very minimal amount of fights. Is it me or does it just seem like Mikey is specifically fighting slower, come forward guys with limited defense like every fight?

For all this calling out of god knows how many guys he sure doesn’t fight the opponents fans want and he’s often the one using reasons why certain fights can’t happen. I mean, he’s about to be a 4-weight “champion”, yet he’s only made 1 defense across all of his reigns!!

No unification bouts, no fighters that anyone would consider top 30-40 pound for pound but he is hardly being called for this. I don’t understand it? Call me old fashioned but I’ll take unifying or proving to be the undisputed #1 in one division than winning four trinkets Broner style. Then again at least Broner defended a couple of times and fought different, more difficult styles. Mikey is a great talent no doubt but as somebody that was a big fan of his at one point I am disappointed with the type of fighter he’s become.

Cheers and hope to see you at the fights this weekend! – Chris Smith

Say hi if you see me at StubHub (and if the rain doesn’t come down too hard).

Photo by Esther Lin/SHOWTIME

You make a lot of good points about Garcia, and I really don’t know why he’s given a pass by so many fans and members of the media. Maybe it’s a combination of his excellent skill/technique, generally entertaining style, well-mannered/articulate personality, and the fact that he’s anti-promoter (a lot of fans hate promoters). He’s THE RING’s No. 1-rated lightweight, but he hasn’t fought at 135 pounds in more than a year. Yet nobody – not a single member of THE RING Ratings Panel or any of the usually overactive boxing fans on my Twitter TL – have clamored for him to be dropped from those rankings. When Canelo dropped down to junior middleweight for one fight (vs. Liam Smith in 2016) fans demanded that he be stripped of THE RING middleweight title AND dropped from the 160-pound rankings IMMEDIATELY. LOL.

But whatever, double standards are part of boxing. Folks generally like Mikey and they’re not mad at him for, in his words “going in another direction,” rather than unify 135-pound titles vs. Jorge Linares and Robert Easter Jr., or make good on his bluff to jump to 154 and take on Miguel Cotto.

We’ll see if their patience lasts after the Lipinets fight.  

When (Valdez-Quigg) got made I immediately loved it. I think the styles should blend so well that unless Valdez is just too strong early (unlikely), we will see a hard-fought battle with momentum changes. Of course! If Valdez had a hard time with Miguel Marriaga and Genesis Servania, Quigg ain’t gonna be a walk in the park.

I think Valdez has to try and use more brain than brawn here because if he’s loading up too hard and swinging for the home run every shot Quigg has the style to pick him off and beat him with his shorter punches and tighter technique. I agree, and I also think that Valdez is what he is – a homerun swinger. Finesse really isn’t part of his ring identity, Bless him!

It’s a fascinating fight and I think it’s going to be a close one. We know Quigg is skilled, tough and mentally resilient and more experienced. It’s close to a 50/50 in my opinion on paper. That’s how I see it.

Is it me or does it just seem like Mikey is specifically fighting slower, come forward guys with limited defense like every fight? Well, I wouldn’t call Broner “slower” but The Problem is rather flat-footed with an overrated defense. Dejan Zlaticanin and Lipinets, however, do fit the “plodding-come-forward” mold of fighter.

For all this calling out of god knows how many guys he sure doesn’t fight the opponents fans want and he’s often the one using reasons why certain fights can’t happen. You’re not wrong, Chris.

I mean, he’s about to be a 4-weight “champion”, yet he’s only made 1 defense across all of his reigns! That is not a statistic to boast about.

 

AWESOME ISSUE!

Dear Doug,

The latest issue of The Ring is terrific. Way to leave your stamp on the mag! I’ve only read a little bit just moments ago after finishing up some early morning work.

Really a great idea to feature the new media coverage of the sport that is so present today. Small touches to the layout and font make the magazine more fun.

Also, George Foreman guest editor – cool! How much did he have to do with the content and production? Inquiring minds want to know.

I’m sure most will rightly write in about the fireworks in Brooklyn this past weekend but I wanted to send you a shout on this topic. I look forward to seeing how you take the Bible of Boxing into the future.

With great regard! – Mark Abramovich

Thank you for the kind words, Mark.

I’m pleased and proud that you enjoyed the May 2018 issue, which focuses on the heating-up heavyweight division. It’s a very special edition for me because it’s the first at the new price of $6.95 (down from $8.95), which should make it more affordable to fans who spot it on shelves at their local newsstands, book stores, pharmacies and convenience stores, and it’s our first edition to feature a guest editor (and we couldn’t have asked for better living legend to discuss the potential of new heavyweight golden age than Big George, who was a major player in two of the most competitive decades for the big men ever – the 1970s and the 1990s).

Sugar Ray Leonard will be the guest editor for the next issue of THE RING and he brings just as much insight to the magazine as Foreman did. This is a trend we hope to continue throughout 2018. The future looks bright and it’s not just Yours Truly guiding the ship. The magazine (print and digital) would not exist without the devotion fellow editors Brian Harty and Tom Gray (who was integral in getting Foreman and Leonard to be guest editors), art director Lamar Clark, who spearheaded the revamped layout, controller Deborah Harrison (who does everything) and circulation director Ken Gudaitis (who loves the publication more than anyone). New publisher Stefan Friedman is also very passionate about elevating the magazine back to its former status and beyond.

The latest issue of The Ring is terrific. Way to leave your stamp on the mag! If you enjoy reading the “Rising Sons” feature on the Japanese boxing scene – it’s culture, history and new faces (penned by Anson Wainwright and Yours Truly) – and you learn something from it, you will have made my month. That’s a piece that I’ve wanted in the magazine for many years.

Really a great idea to feature the new media coverage of the sport that is so present today. That was Mr. Clark’s idea and it was great to see workaholic YouTuber Elie Seckbach and my old MaxBoxing.com cohort Radio Rahim, as well as the dynamic radio duo of Ak and Barak, in the pages of THE RING. These guys are helping to cultivate new boxing fans every day.

Small touches to the layout and font make the magazine more fun. Again, you can thank Mr. Clark for that.

Also, George Foreman guest editor – cool! How much did he have to do with the content and production? Inquiring minds want to know. Foreman contributed the one-page Ringside column in the front of the magazine and served as the main source for the cover story. Leonard did the same. Future guest editors might want to pen their own story or have more of a say in the overall editorial content, all of which I’m open to (hey, it’s less work for us). My favorite guest editor will the one we convince to help us copy edit stories and proof final pages.

 

 

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer

 

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