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MAGNO'S BULGING MAIL SACK: MUNGUIA, CANELO VS. ODH, KING RY VS. PEDS, INOUE, MORE...

By Paul Magno | May 09, 2024
MAGNO'S BULGING MAIL SACK: MUNGUIA, CANELO VS. ODH, KING RY VS. PEDS, INOUE, MORE...

Hello boxing fans and dedicated haters. Here’s another week’s worth of my bulbous sack, bulging with gooey, salty truth, in your face. Enjoy. This week, we have comments/questions regarding Jaime Munguia, Canelo vs. Oscar, Ryan Garcia vs. PEDs, boxing’s dangerous weight game, and Monster Inoue.

What a Past Two Weeks for GBP (Munguia, Oscar-Canelo, Ryan-PEDs)!

For starters, Munguia won me over as a fan. This kid has come really far as a fighter. I remember when he first hit the scene, he was nowhere near the boxer that he is today. His level of improvement goes to show how far you can come as a fighter in the professional ranks. I don't think I've been that impressed with a fighter in defeat. I'm not a believer in moral victories, but the way he fought and the improvement that he showed is something that I haven't seen in a long time.

On the flip side, the pre-fight press conference stole the show. Canelo and De La Hoya going back and forth was hilarious. Canelo laid into him and exposed a lot that many assumed but chose to ignore regarding Oscar.  "The only thing this man does is be a scourge of boxing. Steal from boxers. For whoever is with him, please contact your lawyers, because he is surely stealing from you. It's the only thing he comes to do in boxing." That speaks volumes, anyone doing business with GBP has been warned. 

Oscar called Canelo a steroid cheat just a few hours before his current cash cow Ryan Garcia got popped with a dirty blood sample. Like I said previously, those around Ryan need to get a hold of him. Oscar obviously doesn't care about Ryan, he let the shit show go on. But as Canelo said "He's a scrouge"! So yeah, he'll put a guy who's mentally unstable as a headline, he'll let him take PEDs, disrespect the sport by coming in 3.5 lbs overweight-- without any regards for becoming a champion, as long as he's getting his cut. Sounds like some Don King-type tactics. 

In the aftermath, Ryan Garcia is in complete denial about testing dirty. I am appalled by the lack of criticism from the boxing community, and the doubt behind the test results. I've never seen an athlete test dirty, then have fans and pundits questioning the validity of the results or ignoring the results. I read an article in USA Today written by Josh Peter titled "Ryan Garcia fails drug test. His opponent, Devin Haney, is connected to Victor Conte." One of the most irresponsible pieces of sports journalism that I've read in quite a while. As if the B sample doesn't exist and as if Ryan doesn't have the authority to have the B sample tested. His B Sample tested dirty too! The drug that was found in Ryan's system is only administered via injection. That's big time doping!

– Na'-il Rahman

Hey Na'-il.

Great stuff here.

Yeah, Jaime Munguia was impressive and well-improved. I had mentioned his improvements after the Ryder fight. He seemed a bit more poised and patient-- just, all-around more mature. For a while, though, it looked like his skills were actually regressing, but I think, maybe, that Derevyanchenko close call woke him up. This Canelo fight will help him as well, at least in the sense that he now knows he can hang with the elite. I’m anticipating that he’ll be more confident and sharper the next time out. 

That Canelo-Oscar stuff at the pre-fight press conference was a trip. I especially got a kick out of Canelo bringing up the kitchen utensils-as-dildos stuff. 

What’s disappointing about Oscar as a promoter is that he was a fighter and should have greater concern for the fighters working under his watch. Knowing a few things, it’s not surprising, though, that he doesn’t. IMO, there’s a definite strain of sociopath behavior that has characterized De La Hoya’s entire adult life. I wouldn’t trust the guy to dog sit, to be honest. Oscar would be shut down and run out of business if boxing were run like an actual sport with actual rules, regulations, and moral standards. 

Speaking of which…

Ryan Garcia has been on quite a run and I would hazard to guess that his career won’t be the least bit affected by anything he’s done these last weeks/months. The boxing world will learn what the political world learned during the Trump era. Just do whatever the hell you want, deny everything (loudly), deflect, make up silly conspiracies, and you'll never be held accountable for anything because there will always be enough idiots and convenient enablers around you to ensure safe passage.

The story of VADA and PEDs testing is a tale for another day, but the Cliffs Notes version is this: The VADA model offered boxing bossmen the ability to create the impression of true PEDs testing without being bothered by any of the binding rules and sanctions involved in actual enforcement or prevention. The boxing media was duped (surprise, surprise) into selling VADA to the public and now, here we are, with PEDs testing that doesn’t necessarily stop any fights or lead to any cheaters being seriously sanctioned. 

I have no issue with VADA testing, itself. My issue is that, in a true anti-doping program, prevention and results management are where all the value is. In a 2017 interview I conducted with noted anti-doping expert Richard Ings, he had this to say about boxing’s paltry anti-doping efforts: “The collection of samples is the simplest aspect of anti-doping. It is the independent management of any positive and the mutual recognition of any sanction that is critical. This aspect is missing from professional boxing anti-doping programs...Fragmented testing without uniform rules and globally recognized sanctions can in no way assure fans and competitors that the sport is clean.” 

I’ve been banging this drum since the very beginning and I’m starting to see some people come around to what I’ve been saying (years and years later). But don’t expect anything to change when there’s no real incentive for change to take place or punishment to force that change. 

Canelo, Benavidez, and the Weight Game

Hi Paul

I have been doing some thinking about weight lately. I have felt shortchanged by Canelo ducking Benavidez. I also think that if Haney beat Loma then it was at the very least contentious all the while fighting someone who is 3 or more weight classes below him on fight night. However, as much as I want to see the Benavidez fight, doesn't Canelo have a point? Fighting someone who is significantly bigger than you on fight night is, as long as they have their rehydration down pat, a huge and unfair disadvantage. Now, it is also not for him to say he doesn't want to fight his mandatory because of weight or for any other reason. If you have the belts it's your duty to defend them. But that doesn't make it reasonable. So, he's right. And he's wrong. And given you signed up to be a boxer, he is more wrong than right. But that doesn't mean things don't need to change. I want to see, at any given weight class, who is the best around. I'd like there to be a standard level of water weight in a fighters system -- medically, I don't know if there is an agreed upon spectrum of what is healthy, or whether we all operate at slightly different levels in which case testing the fighters average water weights could be done similar to out of competition testing, and then having them fight within the weight class that allows them to be within that healthy parameter. 

1. why isn't something like this done?

2. why are fighters in-ring weights not made clear to the watching public before the fight?

3. has something changed historically with regards to weigh-ins? I have a friend who was around for the Ali fights and the 4 kings after him. I asked him if he thought the 4 kings all fought at very close to the same in-ring weight. He said Duran always struggled with weight, but that the other 3 he believed came in about the same. Do you have any knowledge on this matter?

I appreciate all you do for the sport

Omar from London

Hey Omar.

For most of boxing’s history, weigh-ins were conducted on the morning of the fight, not 30+ hours before. This pretty much guaranteed that fighters would be entering the ring at their natural weights and, also, matched against fighters the same size. That changed in 1983, when the weigh-ins were changed to day-before. Some lame safety-related explanation was given for the change, but the real reason was to prevent last-minute fight cancellations in an era where more and more fans were flying into events. That opened the door for mass weight manipulation. Back in the day, you could actually be sure that a welterweight would be fighting a welterweight for the welterweight title and not a junior middleweight fighting a super middleweight for the welterweight title. Crazy. Not too long ago, “day of fight” weights WERE shared in the Tale of the Tape before fights, but networks stopped doing that when we’d see that some guy who flattened the other was actually fighting three weight classes higher than his opponent.

It’s NOT fair for someone to walk into the ring with a massive size advantage, just because they have the ability (and have the scientific aid) to rehydrate several divisions higher by opening bell. That’s why I’ve always favored rehydration clauses and I think all fights should have them-- at least until boxing does something about weight manipulation (they won’t). It’s frustrating to see the most potentially dangerous sport allow a very dangerous practice like weight manipulation to go unchecked. Until some change is made, there’s nothing to legally do about this weight game if the fighter in question can actually squeeze down to a smaller division by weigh-in. And the promoters/commissions have not helped by changing the official weigh-ins from the afternoon of the day before the fight to the morning of the day before the fight. This actually encourages weight manipulation. It’s up to the fighters, themselves, to force rehydration clauses into their contracts to ensure a level playing field. I will note, though, that the IBF does have rehydration clauses in place for their title fights.

Monster

Hey there Paul,

Was wondering if you had any thoughts worth sharing on the latest Naoya Inoue fight. I thought it was a good and ballsy performance against a mad Mexican who was not scared to trade all the way to the end regardless of taking a lot of punishment but it also seems to me that the traits that make Naoya such a fan favorite: his willingness to take risk, get into dangerous brawls and aim for brutal finishes might cost him dearly in the future. He gave Nery no respect and found himself on the floor after which he barely dodged a few more scary haymakers that might have put an end to his great run. Even after being knocked down in that first round he still did not shy away from getting into heated exchanges with his hard hitting opponent. I mean given his excellent reflexes, foot and hand speed, jab and good boxing, he could secure convincing wins in a much less risky manner. I mean I love to watch him fight but I always get this nasty feeling that because of that seemingly reckless abandon he will end up getting ko'd by getting hit with something big that could have been be easily avoided if he'd be just tiny bit more careful or conservative if you will (as an example, when Crawford fights I do not get nervous because I get the sense that he is safe). Also, I guess he really has chosen to represent that Japanese type of hegemonic masculinity according to which the demonstration of bravery and courage are considered essential.

Would love to hear your thoughts on the matter if you happen to have any.

Best wishes,

Oliver

Hey Oliver.

I really don’t have a whole lot to say about Inoue, other than repeat what others have said about his greatness. I do see your point, though, and I agree. As Inoue moves up in weight, he’s going to be hit by harder and harder punchers and those risks he takes will be even more dangerous. Like a lot of greats who’ve relied on incredible natural ability to help get them to the top, Inoue has developed a degree of arrogance in the sense that he feels he can walk right through people. That won’t necessarily be the case against naturally larger fighters. He’d be wise to add a bit of nuanced defense to his game as he moves up/slows down. In the meantime-- enjoy.

Got a question (or hate mail) for Magno’s Bulging Mail Sack? The best of the best gets included in the weekly mailbag segment right here at FightHype. Send your stuff here: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com.

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