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Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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Saturday, January 07, 2006

Ringside Audio Report from the Garden: Double Upsets as Baldomir Decisions Judah and Bell Stops Mormeck in 10 

this is an audio post - click to play

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Getting Ready for the Garden Show Saturday 

It will be a very busy Saturday for the boxing media in New York City.

Even before the show at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, the annual meeting of the Boxing Writers Association of America will take place, appropriately enough for our many XL and up members at a nearby restaurant. Those attending will be electing new officers for this group, as current president Bernard Fernandez, who was key in rebuilding the BWAA after a nasty internal scandal, will be stepping down after many years of unpaid service. Nominations will also be made for the BWAA's various annual awards, which will then be voted upon by the membership by mail and/or e-mail.

Then the big show will begin, the first major card of the new year. As are most shows promoted by Don King, this one has a lengthy list of fights, as noted below.

By the way, I will be renewing my membership in the BWAA. The question is what affiliation I will have. I have been talking with some major boxing web sites about coming aboard, and hope to finalize this in the next few days, one way or another. I also have been going on the teleconferences and applying for media credentials representing Tapout Magazine.

But if you look at all the coverage I have given just this fight on this blog, including text, audio, and photos (albeit the latter are from Showtime), maybe it would be right to sign up under the No Holds Barred blog:

Strong ‘Undisputed’ Undercard at The Garden on Saturday

Weights from Madison Square Garden

RoundCardGirlz at the Garden Saturday Night!

O'Neil Bell: Why I Will Beat Jean-Marc Mormeck Saturday at the Garden

JUDAH, BALDOMIR, MORMECK, BELL SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING FINAL PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES

Audio Report Direct from Madison Square Garden Press Conference for Jan. 7 Show

Zab Judah

Jean-Marc Mormeck

"No Holds Barred" Special Preview 2: Oscar De La Hoya, Don King, Zab Judah, Jean-Marc Mormeck, Michael Spinks, and Pat Burns

Yup, just when these mainly middle-aged guys start to get used to the Internet being the center of the boxing media, we'll have to larn 'em about blogs!

And if I can manage to pull it off, I just may be able to post another audio report to this blog directly from the Garden.

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Strong ‘Undisputed’ Undercard at The Garden on Saturday 

Don King Productions Press Release:

Leading IBF Contender Mark ‘Poison’ Suarez and Undefeated James ‘Spider’ Webb Meet for No. 1 Ranking; Brooklyn’s Undefeated Featherweight Elio ‘The Kid’ Rojas, Undefeated No. 1 IBF Cruiserweight Steve ‘USS’ Cunningham, Heavyweight Contender Owen ‘What the Heck’ Beck, Three-Time WBA Middleweight Champion William Joppy, Undefeated Canadian Heavyweight Knockout Artist Bermane ‘B.Ware’ Stiverne, and Zab Judah’s Undefeated Brother Josiah ‘Gorilla’ Judah Will All Appear

NEW YORK—Don King Productions has announced seven great undercard matches featuring five undefeated fighters supporting an already fabulous “Undisputed” event Saturday at the Theater at Madison Square Garden headlined by world welterweight king Zab “Super” Judah, from Brooklyn, making a mandatory defense against World Boxing Council No. 1-ranked contender Carlos “Tata” Baldomir, from Argentina; World Boxing Association and WBC cruiserweight champion Jean-Marc Mormeck opposing International Boxing Federation champion O’Neil “Supernova” Bell to determine the undisputed champion at the 200-pound weight limit; and IBF junior flyweight champion Will “Steel” Grigsby making a mandatory defense of his crown against No. 1-ranked Ulises “Archie Solis, from Mexico.

Tickets are priced at $505, $305, $205 $105 and $55 are on sale now at the Garden box office and all Ticketmaster locations or by calling Ticketmaster at 212-307-7171, 201-507-8900, 631-888-9000, or 914-454-3388. Ticket prices include a $4.50 facility surcharge. Ticketmaster purchases are subject to a Ticketmaster service charge. Doors will open at 5 p.m. with the first bout shortly thereafter.

Mark “Poison” Suarez (24-2, 12 KOs), from Riverside, Calif., will meet undefeated James “Spider” Webb (18-0, 15 KOs), from Columbia, Tenn., in a scheduled 12-round match for the IBF No. 1 welterweight ranking.

Suarez is already the North American Boxing Organization welterweight champion and has become the IBF’s leading contender. An all-action fighter, Suarez doesn’t mind taking chances while reaching for greatness.

Webb is a Southern gentleman who was a military champion before turning professional. In his last appearance, he earned the right to fight for the No. ranking by scoring a huge upset over highly regarded Jose Celaya.

The best prospect boxing in New York today, undefeated (and Felix Trinidad look-alike) Elio “The Kid” Rojas (14-0, 10 KOs), from Brooklyn, will face Tiger Smalls (17-9-1, 6 KOs), from San Diego, in a featherweight attraction scheduled for eight rounds.

Rojas has displayed precocious skills—tremendous punching power and blazing speed—in an extensive amateur background and in his early professional career. The former Dominican champion is rapidly approaching a world title appearance.

Smalls, approaching eccentric Californian status after recently appearing on the cover of High Times magazine, is tall, rangy, skillful and is a threat to anyone he opposes.

Undefeated, No. 1-ranked IBF cruiserweight Steve “USS” Cunningham (18-0, 9 KOs), from Philadelphia, will take on Lloyd “Jabba” Bryan (21-11, 9 KOs), from Memphis, in an eight-rounder.

Cunningham, an All-Navy boxer while in the military, served notice on the cruiserweight division last year that he is a force to be reckoned with by winning a split decision over the legendarily tough Panamanian boxer Guillermo “El Felino” Jones and scored a lopsided unanimous decision over former IBF cruiserweight champion Kelvin “Konkrete” Davis.

The slick veteran Bryan will attempt to spoil Cunningham’s plan to face the winner of Mormeck vs. Bell, which will take place later in the evening.

Three-time WBA middleweight champion William Joppy (35-4-1, 26 KOs), from Washington, D.C., will attempt to regain his status in the division against Erik “The Hurricane” Howard (11-9-1, 6 KOs), from Crossville, Tenn., in a scheduled eight-round bout.

Owen “What the Heck” Beck (24-2, 18 KOs), from Nashville via Jamaica, will meet fellow heavyweight Darnell Wilson (18-2-3, 15 KOs), from Middleton, Md.

Beck surprised many last year when he wobbled Monte Barrett early in their match but was unable to finish “Two Gunz” and succumbed to his more experienced foe by technical knockout –although he was ahead on one of the judges’ scorecards.

He met Ray “Rainman” Austin in his last appearance and suffered a narrow split-decision loss.

He will face a huge puncher in Wilson, who would love nothing more than to further his career by handing Beck his third loss in a row in a match scheduled for eight rounds.

The best heavyweight prospect in boxing, Bermane “B.Ware” Stiverne (4-0, 4 KOs), from Las Vegas, will make his New York debut against John Turlington (5-7-1, 4 KOs), from Sullivan, Mo., in an attraction set for four rounds.

This will be Stiverne’s coming out party to display his quick hands and devastating power in front of a huge media contingent assembled for the first major boxing event of 2006.

Zab Judah’s brother, Josiah “Gorilla” Judah (4-0, 1 KO) will attempt to keep his record unblemished when he meets super middleweight contender Franklin Armstrong (3-7-3, 2 KOs), from Winston-Salem, N.C.

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Whatever Happened to American Efficiency? 

This week I received a postcard -- you older folks might remember those -- from Verizon, my DSL provider, asking me to update something on my account. Since I don't use their awful e-mail, which uses Outlook Express, I guess this was the only way they figured they could contact me. Maybe the nerd in their wireless company's commercials was too busy getting his hair styled.

Of course, when I got to their site and tried to make some of these changes, I got all sorts of messages that their servers were down, that the "tool" I wanted was unavailable, and so on.

After the eight-day phone outage my neighborhood endured from Verizon in October, along with numerous similar outages throughout the City of New York affecting many thousands of Verizon landline customers, it is obvious that this once-Baby Bell is trying to rival Time Warner Cable as the worst provider of communications services in New York. And when Verizon comes knocking with its new FIOS fiber-optic television service, which it says is an alternative to both cable and satellite, remember their record of unreliability in delivering the services they already widely market. They do have time to get their act together, but not much as one day some new technology will send them to the same pasture where Western Union resides.

But the problems do not stop with the usual suspects for making your online and electronic life an overpriced nightmare. I tried several times Thursday and Friday unsuccessfully to upload my audio interview with O'Neil Bell on my page at Ourmedia.org .

This is an independent site associated with the Internet Archive which says it "is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form." Ourmedia.org is dedicated to helping average people post their text, audio, video, and photos online to bolster the grassroots media. And it is all free.

Although I finally got the audio up late Friday night, this site did have some glitches in the past few days which were very frustrating for its users. Hopefully Ourmedia can straighten all this out, because unlike the sharks who run Verizon, the people behind it seem to be pursuing a worthy, socially conscious agenda.

I have also been searching around for other free sites to serve as a host for the audio files I am preparing. After seeing a podcast on the wild and wacky mixed martial arts site Fightsport.com -- about the only one of these sites never in bed with the promoters of that eight-sided monster (lol) -- I came across two more sites which host audio for free, the similarly-named Shockpod and Switchpod.

Apparently the people who run these two sites used to work together, but no more. In any case, I successfully posted the audio files on Shockpod, but they did not play on Switchpod.

So what gives here? From the giant monopolist thieves to the independent social reformers to the entrepreneurial geeks, it's been Internet hell. Maybe that's what I get for putting time into these blogs instead of visiting some of my lovely bartenders.

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Friday, January 06, 2006

Weights from Madison Square Garden 



Photos: Tom Casino, Showtime

Jean-Marc Mormeck (upper left) 197 3/4
O'Neil Bell 199 1/2

Zab Judah 146 3/4 (lower right)
Carlos Baldomir 146 1/4

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RoundCardGirlz at the Garden Saturday Night! 



Hot newz from RoundCardGirlz.com:

We are starting off 2006--the way we left 2005---WITH A BANG!!!

Saturday, January 7th, 2006
RCG Sensation Rosanna heads an ALL-STAR line up at
UNDISPUTED
Don King Productions
The Theater at Madison Square Garden
1 Penn Plaza
New York, New York
featuring
Jean-Marc Mormeck vs. O'Neil Bell (WBC/WBA/IBF World Cruiserweight Championship)
Zab Judah vs. Carlos Baldomir (WBC Welterweight World Championship)
Will Grigsby vs. Ulises Solis (IBF Junior Flyweight Championship)

Also coming:
Saturday, January 21th, 2006
New England Hottie--RCG's EVA heads an All-Star Line Up at
Chuck Norris Present
WCL--World Combat League
Full Contact Kickboxing
Mohegan Sun Casino
Uncasville, CT
featuring
New York Clash vs The Miami Force vs The Philadelphia Fire vs The New England Strikers

Saturday, January 28th, 2006
Veteran RCG and current "IFBB Figure Pro" Jennifer Searles knocks them out at
Main Events Presents
Championship Boxing
Boardwalk Hall
Atlantic City, New Jersey
featuring
Arturo Gatti vs. Thomas Damgaard (welterweights)

"The Best Will Always Be The Best in 2K6"

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O'Neil Bell: Why I Will Beat Jean-Marc Mormeck Saturday at the Garden 


Photo: Tom Casino, Showtime

Few people seem to be giving IBF cruiserweight champion O’Neil Bell much of a chance when he faces WBC and WBA champion Jean-Marc Mormeck in a title unification fight this Saturday night, Jan. 7, at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, and to be shown live on Showtime in the U.S. A main reason: The last two fights for Bell (25-1-1, 23 KOs) did not exactly vault him into contention for 2005 Fighter of the Year honors.

On May 20, 2005, Bell won a highly controversial 12-round decision in Hollywood, Florida, over Canadian veteran Dale Brown. Many viewers who saw this fight live on American television thought that Brown deserved the victory.

Then, on Aug. 26, 2005, also in Hollywood, Florida, Bell defeated little-known South African Sebastian Rothmann by an 11th-round knockout, but only after two of the judges had it even at 94-94 following the tenth round, with Bell ahead only 95-93 on the third scorecard.

Mormeck, meanwhile, took the WBC title from previously-unbeaten Wayne Braithwaite in impressive fashion on April 2, 2005, in Worcester, Mass., by a clear-cut unanimous decision. Mormeck, with a record of 31-2 with 21 KOs, has not lost a fight since 1997, and then only in his fifth pro fight.

But at Thursday's final pre-fight press conference at the Garden, Bell stated his case that he was, as he called it, "the best kept secret in the cruiserweight division," and favorably compared his résumé with that of Mormeck by arguing, "I have fought and defeated much tougher fighters throughout my career."

Right after the formal press conference, we got a chance to interview O'Neil Bell.

You can listen to that for free here and here .

You only need to be able to play MP3 files, and wait a few moments for it to download.

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

JUDAH, BALDOMIR, MORMECK, BELL SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING FINAL PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES 


Photo: TOM CASINO/SHOWTIME

Boxers (left-to-right) Jean Marc-Mormeck, Zab Judah, promoter Don King, Carlos Baldomir and O'Neil Bell pose after Thursday's press conference in New York. SHOWTIME begins its 20th year of televising fights with a highly anticipated world championship doubleheader on Saturday (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast). In the main event, Judah, the undisputed welterweight champion, risks his belts against WBC No. 1 contender Baldomir. In the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING co-feature from The Theater at Madison Square Garden, reigning cruiserweight champions Mormeck (WBC/WBA) and Bell (IBF) square off for the undisputed cruiserweight title.

Courtesy of Showtime:
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING FINAL PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
UNDISPUTED WORLD WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPION
ZAB "SUPER" JUDAH,
WBC NO. 1 WELTERWEIGHT CONTENDER CARLOS "TATA'' BALDOMIR,
WBC/WBA CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPION JEAN-MARC MORMECK,
IBF CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPION O’NEIL BELL

THURSDAY, JAN. 5, 2006, FROM MADISON SQUARE GARDEN

SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING begins its 20th year with a world championship doubleheader Saturday, Jan. 7 (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast). Hometown favorite and one of the world’s best pound-for-pound boxers, undisputed welterweight champion Zab “Super” Judah, will put all his belts on the line against WBC No. 1 contender Carlos Baldomir in the main event at The Theater At Madison Square Garden. In the SHOWTIME co-feature, WBC/WBA champion Jean-Marc Mormeck faces IBF champion O’Neil Bell for the undisputed world cruiserweight championship. The 12-round world title fights are promoted by Don King Productions.

ZAB “SUPER” JUDAH (34-2, 1 NC, 25 KOs)
“I am not playing anymore. I am focused and my mind is right. I know where I want to go. I am not looking past anybody. You have to give Baldomir his due. He did what he had to and worked his way to get to No. 1. But it is time to hurt and destroy.

“To be fighting on SHOWTIME at Madison Square Garden is really big for me. It is big for New York and for all of boxing. This is going to be a great fight and I look forward to putting on a great show.

“No boxer in any division will do what I want to do in 2006 if I get the opportunity. I am calling out everybody. This is going to be a beautiful year.’’

CARLOS BALDOMIR (41-9-6, 12 KOs)
“Everything is perfect. I feel very comfortable and am not nervous at all. I am confident that I will upset Judah and send all his fans home unhappy. In my heart, I already feel like the new champion.

“This is my first world title fight. I have waited a long, long time for it. It wouldn’t matter who I was fighting, I would still be extremely excited. There is going to be a big surprise on Saturday night.’’

JEAN-MARC MORMECK (31-2, 21 KOs)
“I want to thank Don King, SHOWTIME, everyone involved, for making this fight possible. I am proud to be able to fight at Madison Square Garden.

“Bell has been doing a lot of talking, but he is the one that has to justify himself (his credentials) – not me. I do not have to justify a thing. Bell has never fought anyone like me.

“I am a fighter. I live to fight. I am really looking forward to Saturday and proving to everybody who the best cruiserweight in the world is.”

O’NEIL BELL (25-1-1, 23 KOs)
“I am the best kept secret in the cruiserweight division, but that will change after I win Saturday night. It is an honor for me to be fighting for the undisputed cruiserweight title. I am ready for a top performance.

“What you have seen in my last couple fights was me at only 80 percent. I had things going on outside the ring. I was changing up my boxing style a little. I was in transition.

“But there will be no excuses after I fight Mormeck. If you compare his resume to mine, or compare our accomplishments, you will see I have fought and defeated much tougher fighters throughout my career.’’

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A Real Fighter Passes 

Urbano Lazzaro, the Italian partisan fighter who captured the fascist leader Mussolini towards the end of World War II, died Tuesday at the age of 81.

May his example continue to inspire freedom fighters everywhere.

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Audio Report Direct from Madison Square Garden Press Conference for Jan. 7 Show 

this is an audio post - click to play

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World Sumo Challenge Plans 2006 Tours 

We just got word from Jeff Daniels, the COO of Big Boy Productions, which put on the World Sumo Challenge Oct. 22 in Madison Square Garden, about their future plans.

Jeff wrote that "there will be definitely be a North American tour of the World Sumo Challenge commencing Spring '06 to be followed by a European tour. Also, we have reserved a date in October for the next New York World Sumo Challenge at Madison Square Garden." The tour dates and locations will be announced shortly.

I also just finished writing a piece on the World Sumo Challenge for Tapout Magazine (formerly Bodyguard Magazine) which will go to press soon and be out in a few weeks.

A new combat sports league is here, and that is big news about the biggest athletes in the world.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Power of the Internet 

Noted boxing scribe Brian Moore and his wives had a very wild New Year's Eve.

Fortunately they all lived to write about it.

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Zab Judah 


Photo: Tom Casino, Showtime

Listen to Zab Judah on "No Holds Barred" here or here .

From Showtime: Undisputed welterweight champion Zab Judah works out during an open media workout Tuesday in New York. Judah puts all his belts on the line against WBC No. 1 contender Carlos Baldomir in Saturday's main event on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast). In the first half of the Don King Productions Jan. 7 world championship doubleheader on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING from the Theater at Madison Square Garden, WBC/WBA cruiserweight champion Jean-Marc Mormeck meets IBF cruiserweight champion O'Neill Bell for the undisputed world cruiserweight title.

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Jean-Marc Mormeck 


Photo: TOM CASINO/SHOWTIME

Listen to Jean-Marc Mormeck on "No Holds Barred" here or here .

From Showtime: WBC/WBA cruiserweight champion Jean-Marc Mormeck works out during an open media workout Tuesday in New York. Mormeck faces his IBF counterpart, O'Neil Bell, for the undisputed cruiserweight world title Saturday on SHOWTIME 9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast). In the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING main event on the Don King Productions world championship doubleheader Jan. 7 from the Theater At Madison Square Garden, undisputed welterweight champion Zab Judah defends against WBC No. 1 contender Carlos Baldomir.

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I Wanna Go! 


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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

"No Holds Barred" Special Preview 2: Oscar De La Hoya, Don King, Zab Judah, Jean-Marc Mormeck, Michael Spinks, and Pat Burns 

Our second special preview show of "No Holds Barred", hosted and produced by yours truly, has just been posted. You can listen, and for free, at Ourmedia.org and Shockpod.com .

All that is required is a media player which plays the MP3 format. Depending on your connection speed, it may take some time to download the show.

This second special preview show focuses on the world of boxing.

We spoke with Oscar De La Hoya about his plans both as a promoter and a fighter.

We asked Don King about the Jan. 7 card he is promoting at Madison Square Garden, as well as rumors he may be entering the world of mixed martial arts.

Headlining that Jan. 7 card at the Theater at Madison Square Garden is world welterweight champion Zab Judah, who defends against challenger Carlos Baldomir. We asked Zab about how he sees this fight going, as well as his future plans and a possible showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Also on that card is WBA and WBC cruiserweight champion Jean-Marc Mormeck, who also fights on that same card at the Garden against IBF champion O'Neil Bell in a title unification match. We spoke with him about his plans.

Former world heavyweight champion and Olympic gold medalist Michael Spinks was at a recent roast for Don King in New York. We asked the champ how he compares today's heavyweights and fighters in general with the boxers of his era.

And we spoke with trainer Pat Burns, who has guided middleweight champ Jermain Taylor, about his candid criticisms of how amateur boxing is being run.

If you have any comments, you can e-mail us at nhbnews@gmail.com .

Look for more information about the next step in the revival of "No Holds Barred", and keep checking out my blogs right here on Blogger and Ourmedia.org .

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Second Special Preview of "No Holds Barred" On Deck 

I have been working on posting the second special preview of "No Holds Barred", but some of the free audio hosting sites seem to have been taking the New Year's holiday off, so to speak.

This show, which is all edited and ready to go, focuses on the world of boxing. We have interviews with promoter and fighter Oscar De La Hoya; promoter Don King; welterweight champion Zab Judah, who fights Sat., Jan. 7, at Madison Square Garden; cruiserweight champion Jean-Marc Mormeck, who also fights on that same card at the Garden; former heavyweight champion and Olympic gold medalist Michael Spinks; and trainer Pat Burns.

Stay tuned for info on where to hear it.

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Monday, January 02, 2006

Hauser on Internet Piracy of Boxing Pay-Per-Views -- But What's the Solution? 

Noted boxing writer Thomas Hauser has an important piece on Secondsout.com called "Pay-Per-View Piracy and The Internet". It outlines the history of pay-per-view piracy from the analog TV age through digital cable to the rise of file-sharing on the Internet today. With all the new and mostly free software making the posting of pirated pay-per-view shows fairly easy and very cheap to do, Hauser states, "It's only a matter of time before it impacts significantly upon pay-per-view buys."

While Hauser is opposed to this practice as a form of piracy, he reports, "At present, virtually every pay-per-view fight can be seen on the Internet within an hour of the final bell."

This all raises some important issues worthy of commentary.

First of all, the pay-per-view pirates are not only stealing from the monopolies like HBO, which may seem to lessen or remove the ethical qualms for some people if not the legal ones for this digital piracy. The fact is that the pirates are also stealing directly from the fighters themselves.

Most fighters receive some type of percentage of the pay-per-view revenue, often when the number of buys passes a certain level, as part of their purses. The media giants like Time Warner's HBO may be around for a long time, but most fighters' careers, especially as pay-per-view attractions, are short. And on top of this they still have no union, no medical coverage, no pension, no collective bargaining, etc.

Next, many of these file-sharing networks have been known to be loaded with spyware and adware. The users risk ruining their computers or at least having to endure the usually difficult and near impossible task of cleaning out this junk, just to watch a free fight. I haven't heard this directly about boxing videos or done it myself, but reports abound about this occurring on other videos and, of course, for music file-sharing. So if you roll around in the mud with these Internet thieves, you are going to end up quite dirty.

However, Hauser misses a few key points in his analysis.

He asks, "How can the industry fight it? The answer involves a panoply of legal issues ranging from copyright law to the governance of cyberspace."

While he cites the fiasco of the music industry's response as an example of what not to do, in essence he advises the boxing networks to follow a similar path.

File-sharing of music blossomed in large part because music fans were sick and tired of paying between 12 and 18 dollars for an entire album which had only one or two songs on it they wanted. The albums were often designed to limit the amount of potential hits on them and were loaded up with filler. You could always tell your baby you loved or missed him or her in a song next year.

In the old vinyl days, fans mainly bought 45 RPM singles. Albums began to become more popular in the 1960's with concept albums of longer songs, and these remained popular for some time. But in the CD age, the recording companies de-emphasized singles and packed most albums up with junk.

After its absurd attempts to stop the use of the Internet for the delivery of music, the industry finally adapted to it, with legal downloads of individual songs for 99 cents apiece now widely available.

Boxing faces a similar problem but without a similar solution being evident. Major title fights migrated to pay-per-view after the non-pay networks could no longer get enough advertisers to support these events. Boxing's rampant corruption resulted in most non-beer sponsors deciding that they didn't want to be associated with what was going on in and out of the ring, and they hightailed it to the growing selection of other televised sporting events. Similarly, high-profile deaths and major injuries in the ring shown live and in dying color scared them off as well. Could you imagine an unconscious and battered fighter being shown carried out of the ring on a stretcher followed by a commercial to be happy and eat at McDonald's?

The response of the ever-shortsighted boxing industry was to move these events to pay-per-view. That, however, led to its own set of problems. Entire generations no longer can see title fights unless they cough up 50 bucks. That has helped marginalize boxing even further.

In addition, the proliferation of almost monthly major pay-per-views along with countless smaller ones, both of varying quality and too often involving bad fights or mismatches, has disgusted many fans.

So just as the greed and monopoly practices of the music business made it easier for illegal file-sharing and piracy to grow, so have the similar practices of the boxing and pay-per-view industries.

In boxing, however, there is no equivalent of a song which can be a hit as a single and sold for a profit at 99 cents. The solution has to involve better pay-per-views made available legally, and also online for lower prices.

But it also must involve getting major title fights back on for free, whether on TV, online, or both. That means cleaning up the sport, including regulating these networks as the promoters they really are in this digital age. The cable industry monopolists have remained opposed to this, again showing shortsightedness is not only a trait of the old-line, individual fight promoters.

If they keep charging 50 bucks for fights of questionable quality, on top of the always rising monthly cable subscription fees, for what we used to get for free, there will be more and more piracy, regardless of the rearguard legal and technological hurdles they may try to put in place. Piracy may be wrong and illegal, and two wrongs may not make a right, but if the cable and boxing suits continue on the path they have chosen outlined above, they will lose this battle.

In the end, the undermining of this pay-per-view revenue base will prove even worse for the fans and fighters. Thus a mutually self-destructive battle is underway, with no clear end in sight.

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Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Year's Thoughts When I Should Still Be Sleeping 

With 2005's conclusion, hopefully we have seen the last of all these infernal lists for a while. Please return to living now.

I didn't do amateur night New Year's Eve. But I hear there's plenty of beer left.

Boxing returns in earnest this week.

The Judah-Baldomir and Mormeck-Bell show promoted by King at the Theater at Madison Square Garden and on Showtime is Saturday, with the usual pre-fight press conference and weigh-in theatrics on tap.

Plus, from Cicero, Illinois, near Chicago, Showtime's "ShoBox" starts the year off Friday with undefeated welterweight Joel Julio facing Robert Kamya.

There are also at least three boxing conference calls planned for the week, and, last I heard, finally the annual New York meeting of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

The blog nomenklatura recommend using as many links as possible in an article. I dunno, it's way overdone sometimes, even by me. So here's a link to end all links. Use it!

Here's hoping both youse and y'all have a happy new year.

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