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T.K. Answers Some Reader Mail

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ALVAREZ-LARA SCORING

Tom, you are probably going to be sick of seeing these types of emails as I'm sure your inbox was full of them after Saturday night. But dude, here is the thing, I don't think Canelo Alvarez won that fight against Erislandy Lara and I know I am not alone in that thinking. How anybody in their right mind could score that fight 117-111 or 9 rounds for Canelo is outrageous! Was that judge drunk or high on drugs - or both? I know you've been around, but I've seen a few fights myself and this sort of thing is just crazy. These judges with these scores are ruining boxing! C.J. Ross. Lisa Giampa and now Levi Martinez! What the hell man? How did you see it and what do you think about these whack-a-doo scores by these whack-a-doo judges? Jeremy, Culver City, CA

No doubt it was a close fight because of the lack of activity and punches thrown. I thought the fight was boring and there was so little to choose from that it was like trying to tell the difference between "normal" bananas and "organic' bananas at the grocery store (that still perplexes me). Anyways, I had it 115-113 for Canelo. Bottom line is that he landed the harder shots and he tried to at least make the fight. He came forward and chased the runner Lara around for 36 tedious minutes. I can see a 114-114 draw as a good score or 115-113 for Lara is also acceptable. Anything on either side of 115-113 for either guy is the wrong score and is off base. You are not alone in your thinking Jeremy. Many respectable scribes scored it for Lara while it seems just as many respectable scribes had it for Canelo. It was a close fight. The problem is that the 117-111 score handed in by Martinez was incompetent in my view. That means he scored 9 rounds for Canelo which is just way, way off the mark. Canelo won 7 rounds - at best. I have no idea what Martinez was watching just as I have no idea what C.J. Ross and Lisa Giampa were watching when they handed in "whack-a-doo" scores. I don't think it is corruption or that they have been paid off - my personal feeling is they are incompetent and not capable of scoring a prizefight. The thing is, Las Vegas is just a weird, weird place when it comes to boxing judges and scoring fights. I don't know if it's the lights or the slots or the heat - but when judges score fights there they seem to lose their minds. You are correct, however, when you say that these judges are destroying boxing. The sport has enough credibility problems as it is and these "whack-a-doo' scores are just driving more nails into boxing's coffin. It would help in these high-profile pay-per-view events if someone would get knocked out, but that is the exception rather than the rule. So, get used to it - as I say it gets worse as time goes on. I hate to be a skeptic, but I don't see it ever getting better. My own personal feeling is that these "whack-a-doo" scores and distance fights are why pay-per-views sell so poorly.

WHAT'S NEXT FOR CANELO?

Hi T.K., I only have one question man. I know Canelo is not going to give Lara a rematch - so what's next for him? - Bobby, Boston, Mass.

Well, the thing is, Mayweather, Pacquiao and Cotto will all be gone sooner rather than later. Have a look around and there are very, very few remaining fighters that can carry a pay-per-view event. The money is in PPV - and in boxing you have to follow the money as first and foremost the sport is a business. Canelo is the heir apparent and the anointed one that everyone looks to when it comes to the future of boxing. I can't say as I disagree with anyone who believes in that notion. The bottom line is that Canelo is good for the bottom line because people will pay to see him and with his youth and obvious skills he will be around for a long time to come. Having said all of that, I would say Canelo will likely end up with Miguel Cotto next. Make the fight at 155 or so for Cotto's middleweight championship and that fight sells out Madison Square Garden, the MGM Grand Garden or any other "garden" you can think of. It's a legitimate fight, it pits Mexico vs. Puerto Rico which is always big business. Cotto is on the way out and this would be a colossal payday for him on the way out the door. If Cotto loses, well, he loses to a younger guy on the way up. Canelo would be expected to win so if he did it would only add to his resume and solidify him as the one that will carry boxing into the future. I don't think you'll see him against Gennady Golovkin as Oscar De La Hoya suggested. Chavez, Jr. is too big now, Mayweather is unlikely to want a rematch as he already gave the kid a boxing lesson once. Who else is there? The only fight that makes sense to me is Cotto.

STEROIDS IN BOXING

Just curious about something. I bought your book and it was good BTW. So I respect your opinion and know you have been around a long time, so what is your take on steroids in boxing? Do you think guys are still using? Tell me all you know! - Keith, Sarasota, Florida

Well, I have to admit that I have my own views and opinions on steroids and their role in boxing. My own personal feeling is that in the 80s and 90s their use was absolutely rampant. I think most of the top guys were "juiced" to the eyeballs. Even into the new millennium their use was overwhelming as far as I'm concerned. Have a look at some of the pictures in the old boxing magazines or the history books or Google some images. Bottom line is that many of the physiques of yesteryear were just freakish. The guys looked more like bodybuilders than boxers. They were as "shredded" or as "ripped" as many professional bodybuilders. Obviously I cannot "name names" due to legal concerns and liability worries - but like I said - my opinion is that most of the top guys were all using. You can draw your own conclusions, but Roy Jones, Jr. did test positive for steroids. Mike Tyson was admonished in one of his psychological reviews to avoid steroids. Several of the top fighters worked with pro bodybuilders for their strength and conditioning programs and their physiques seemed to mirror those of their mentors. Many have questioned the physiques of fighters from Evander Holyfield to Vinny Pazienza to Manny Pacquiao and wondered how they could have gained weight and maintained such awesome, muscular physiques - devoid of fat - as they moved up in weight. I have personal knowledge of some fighters that did use steroids as I'm sure do many other boxing scribes. It was a given in the 80s and 90s that if you wanted to be a top fighter that you had to use. That meant that most guys who you saw on TV back then were juiced up. Have a look at some of the shoulders and arms on some of those dudes from back in the day and there was no way that was done on a meat and potatoes diet. Thomas Hearns tried to accuse Ray Leonard of steroid use prior to their second fight and much was made of that accusation. As far as guys still using? I say absolutely it is still happening. It might not always be steroids but it's other "stuff" now. The drug testing is better now at the top levels, but club fighters and those in far flung areas and in other countries are still juiced to the max. The only way to rid boxing of PEDs is to conduct random testing all year long. That is not going to happen here in the "wild west" of sports and as a result guys are still going to get away with it. Lastly, I thought it was an interesting story when Wladimir Klitschko recently balked at the drug testing protocol that his upcoming challenger Kubrat Pulev suggested. The reaction of Klitschko and his camp seemed oddly defensive to me - but that's just my opinion. One last thing I will leave you with Keith - if it looks to good to be true and a bit freakish - then you can bet something is a little off there. It doesn't mean a fighter is using now - but it means he may have used at one time. The results of steroids will stay around a long, long time and for guys that have been around for many, many, many years - you can look up those names - they still look aesthetically impossibly good wouldn't you say?

PACQUIAO VS. ALGIERI

So, I guess the latest is going to be that Manny Pacquiao fights Chris Algieri in November in Macao, China. Thoughts? - Lisa, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The only thought I have on that fight is that I hope Chris Algieri gets paid. Pacquiao will lay a paint job on that kid and Freddie Roach knows it. Freddie already saw his guy Ruslan Provodnikov beat Algieri (though he was robbed of the decision) and he has twice the offensive fighter in Pacquiao than he does in Provodnikov. The deck in that fight is stacked in Pacquiao's favor and the latest rumor I hear is that Algieri is looking for more money than the $1.5 million he has been offered. Whatever the case, I suppose I'd want as much money as I could get if I was going to get in the ring with Pacquiao, too. My thoughts are that Pacquiao wins relatively easily and probably blackens up both of Algieris' eyes.

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