Monday, 26th August 2019

In Review: When the Game Was Ours

Posted on 24. Jan, 2010 by FSM Staff in General Sports, NBA

In Review: When the Game Was Ours

Reading this book has the same effect as stepping in to a time machine and setting the dial for any year in the 1980’s. Sure, there is some discussion of 1979, the early nineties, and a few events in this century, but for the most part, When the Game Was Ours is a beautifully written sports chronicle anchored in one of the greatest eras in NBA history. There is a beginning and an end to the story of Magic Johnson versus Larry Bird, but it is the middle of the journey that is the highlight of this collaboration written by Johnson, Bird, and sports journalist (as well as Around the Horn alumni) Jackie MacMullan.

The book is easy to follow and alternates between Magic and Bird’s anecdotes. It is a nice treat for sports fans to hear directly from both men about some of the biggest moments in NBA history. Many famous and not so famous names pop up throughout the voyage. Both Magic and Larry are straight forward and pull no punches. This is not one of those “dirt” books however. Besides some disturbing comments Magic makes about Isiah Thomas during the time of his HIV announcement, When the Game Was Ours is relatively drama free.

The impact of Magic and Bird’s rivalry on the struggling NBA in the early 80’s is well documented in this book. League commissioner David Stern’s role in turning the NBA’s fortunes around is discussed many times as well. Sports fans will have a new respect for Stern after reading this tale. His intelligence and creativity helped bring the NBA brand back in to the mainstream and his attempts to globalize the league are truly groundbreaking in sports.

There is also talk about Michael Jordan in this book though not as much as one might expect. This should not be too surprising however as this is not his book. When the Game Was Ours is based solely on events experienced mutually between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Those events usually involved the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers, though this book is not exclusive to that storied rivalry. You will bump in to many familiar names and happenings from the last thirty years as you read and everything and everyone will always somehow connect back to Magic and Bird. That is the beauty of this book and this story. Magic and Bird’s fierce rivalry and eventual friendship transcended basketball and had an impact on many aspects of social life.

When the Game Was Ours is highly recommended for both casual and avid readers. You do not have to be a sports fan to appreciate the story that is being told. There is nothing complex or cryptic about Jackie MacMullan’s writing style. She tells a famous tale in simple fashion. There is an accurate account of events and her descriptions often conjured up some of my favorite NBA memories that I had completely forgotten about. Many direct quotes from NBA greats are included as well which is an added bonus. It was nice to get insight from people besides Johnson and Bird when certain topics were being discussed. For 324 pages you will be transported to a time when the game truly belonged to Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Some of the highlights of your trip will include:

*1979 NCAA Championship Game between Indiana State and Michigan State

*1984 NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers

*1985 “Choose Your Weapon” Converse commercial where the Magic/Bird friendship begins

*1987 NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers

*1992 NBA All Star Game in Orlando, Florida where Magic comes back for the first time after announcing he is HIV positive

*1992 Dream Team going for Olympic Gold in Barcelona, Spain

Welcome Back Mac

Posted on 15. Jan, 2010 by FSM Staff in General Sports, MLB

Welcome Back Mac

I always told myself that if Mark McGwire ever came clean about using steroids, I would still never forgive him. I really need to stop making passionate, absolute statements like that because I rarely stick to my guns. After hearing Mark McGwire confess to using steroids earlier this week, I was satisfied with what he had to say to baseball fans, and I found myself accepting his apology.

I saw this day coming when I heard news of Tony La Russa hiring McGwire as a hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals. I almost felt like La Russa was trying to sneak an intervention in through the back door. It was probably in the back of everyone’s mind that, in order for McGwire to rejoin the Cardinals as a coach, he would sooner or later have to address steroids in some way or another. He would either have to vehemently deny the use of performance enhancing drugs or he would have to spill his guts and apologize to the MLB fans. There is no middle ground in this type of situation. While McGwire did not exactly spill his guts during his admission of guilt, he seemed sincere and confessed to enough for me to have no problem with his reentry in to baseball as the hitting coach for the Cardinals.

It was a bit surprising that McGwire addressed the matter so quickly however. I thought this would be something that played out until March. I guess I cannot always be right which makes me sad. Perhaps McGwire’s guilt was too much and he wanted to set the record straight as soon as possible. It is more likely he confessed to using PEDs a bit sooner than expected in order to avoid being a distraction to his team during the season. Whatever the reason for the timing of the admission, Mark McGwire is sleeping a little easier tonight.

Tony La Russa has a history with Mark McGwire, not just in St. Louis, but in Oakland as well. It is hard not to notice that he has a soft spot for Big Mac. It seems like this is one of those extremely odd, genuine cases of friend helping friend rather than some type of weird rehabilitation project that La Russa is engaging in because of boredom. La Russa has said he would consider adding McGwire to the active roster at some point during the season. That would make a great story wouldn’t it? I am not hoping to see Mark McGwire return to action in an attempt for redemption (though I am not opposed to the idea). I just hope that he can have a positive impact on the game of baseball this season, even if the impact is minute.

For the outro to this piece, I am requesting the Welcome Back Kotter theme music be played on computers across America. I can wait while you download it “legally” from your bootleg Napster website…Welcome Back la la…

Welcome back Mark McGwire. You did the right thing and I sincerely hope you feel better. The chance to make things right does not present itself too often. When it does, you have to grab it. Good luck with your new gig.

UFC Calling Toney?

Posted on 06. Jan, 2010 by FSM Staff in Boxing, UFC

UFC Calling Toney?

I was watching Mickey Rourke in the movie The Wrestler and I couldn’t help but think of all those former great boxers who refuse to stop fighting. The ones who still take punishment just to get paid while at the same time punishing the fans with their poor performances. The faces of Roy Jones Jr., James Toney, and Evander Holyfield popped in to my mind as I watched Randy the Ram wrestle until his heart exploded – first figuratively and then literally. I stared wondering where all those old-school boxers go after they take the gloves off for the last time. Will Roy Jones Jr. eventually open a car lot? Will Holyfield open a Deli? Will James Toney actually try to fight in the UFC?

When you have made a name for yourself doing something, you can always find a way to get paid, even long after the glory days are over. If James Toney was a journeyman boxer, UFC’s Dana White wouldn’t waste a fart on him. But since Toney is a legitimate former champion (in a few different classes) he knows that there is money to be made somehow. Making money ultimately trumps the circus-sideshow nature of Toney’s current relationship with the UFC.

Not that James Toney wouldn’t be a good candidate to crossover to the world of mixed martial arts. He can take a punch to the face and he has knockout punching ability. His portly stature makes him hard to grab and grapplers might have difficulty getting him to the ground because of his weight. If the UFC finds the right opponent I could see an interesting fight. James Toney might even win a round. Not to worry if he loses though. Vince McMahon and the WWF, I mean the WWE, would probably be willing to let Toney host Monday Night Raw or be a general manager on Smackdown.

All kidding aside, I would tune in to see James Toney step in to the octagon or even a steel cage. I just wouldn’t pay for it. If the fight is on cable television I will certainly watch, curious like a cat, to see what happens. But if Toney and friends want me to spend my hard earned money on a pay-pay-per view, they are in for a surprise of epic proportions (well maybe I would spend up to $24.99).

For Johnson, Size Matters

Posted on 04. Jan, 2010 by FSM Staff in NFL

For Johnson, Size Matters

Running backs in the NFL have what Arnold Schwarzenegger would call a “raw deal”. They are handed a leather oblong and are told to beat eleven men of various shapes and sizes down an unforgiving field of grass and turf. Gaining 1,000 yards rushing in an NFL season may be common these days, but it is definitely still something to applaud. Gaining 2,000 yards rushing in a single NFL season is by no means common and deserves more than clapping. A 2,000 yard season can be considered legendary and at the very least requires a standing ovation. In fact, if you see a 2,000 yard rusher pass you by on the street, it would be perfectly acceptable to bow down right then and there. Only six players in the history of the NFL have ever achieved this great feat. The latest is Tennessee Titans running back Chris “Sonic the Hedgehog” Johnson and he was the first one to do it since 1984.

What makes Johnson’s accomplishment of 2,006 yards extra impressive is his small size. Not small for most people of course, but small for a running back who is trying to rush for 2,000 yards. Chris Johnson stands around 5’11” and weighs about 200 lbs. This is not exactly the ideal size for a running back who runs the ball as much as Johnson does. To get some perspective, one can compare him to NFL great Eric Dickerson (the last player to rush for over 2,000 yards). Dickerson stood 6’3” and weighed in the area of 220 lbs. Dickerson’s body was much more equipped to take a beating from the beasts in the NFL. Johnson was nicknamed after a hedgehog for a reason and it wasn’t because he is the size of an elephant.

While Johnson fell short of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record of 2,105 yards, he did succeed in breaking Marshall Faulk’s yard from scrimmage record. Johnson piled up 2,509 total yards from the line of scrimmage passing Faulk at the 2,429th yard. In what can be described as an odd season for the Titans (starting 0-6 then finishing the season 8-2), Chris Johnson was definitely a bright spot. The fans in Tennessee have something to look forward to as Johnson has stated he still plans on breaking Dickerson’s single season rushing record next year.

I’ll end by giving Sonic the Hedgehog a standing ovation. Even though nobody is watching, I urge that you do the same. Chris Johnson is a hard worker and an asset to the NFL. He has love for the game and understands that he is part of something bigger than himself. Some would have taken all the credit after a 2,000 yard season. Johnson instead chose to give his linemen Rolex watches in appreciation of their efforts.

Berto is a Dirty Word

Posted on 03. Jan, 2010 by stavkav in Boxing

Berto is a Dirty Word

I have been trying really hard in the past few years to get on the Andre Berto bandwagon. I have had no success. I think the closest I ever came was during his 2007 fight with David Estrada. That was an extremely entertaining, drama filled bout that lasted 11 rounds. The kind of fight that you were not really expecting, and when it was over, one that you were glad you did not miss. That was the last time an Andre Berto fight ever got its hooks in me.

I think it was during Andre Berto’s 2008 match against Steve Forbes (of The Contender fame) that I started turning on him. I was not impressed that Berto failed to knock out a small guy like Forbes. I did not expect a legendary knockout but I thought Berto could use his speed to land a TKO late in the fight. To Forbes’ credit though, he hung in there for twelve rounds and took his beating like a man. Hanging in there does not necessarily make for a good fight however.

Despite being less than mildly entertaining, Berto’s fight with Forbes also left a bad taste in my mouth because the bout was full of holding, something that seems to be becoming an Andre Berto trademark. I felt like I was in an Edgar Allen Poe Story. All I could fixate on was Berto’s holding during the match. I became obsessed with it and my dislike for Berto’s style grew. Racing thoughts started whizzing around in my noggin. The more skilled boxer should go out there and take care of business. Why is he holding? This fight is terrible. Why isn’t the ref taking a point? Let your hands go! Stop holding. Not another decision. Berto’s dirty.

I must admit I am a bit bipolar when it comes to excessive holding. When a highly regarded young prospect relies on holding as part of his arsenal, I consider it dirty. When an aging fighter on his way out is using every weapon he can think of (including holding) to hang on one last time, I think it is perfectly acceptable.

Andre Berto’s tiny comeback against Luis Collazo in January 2009 should have impressed me but all I could think about was the holding. Berto’s recent domination of Juan Urango left me feeling the same way. I want to be a fan of Andre Berto but he holds just to darn much.
Perhaps commentator Max Kellerman said it best during the telecast of the Berto-Urango fight on HBO when he mentioned the referee was actually doing Berto a disservice by not penalizing him for holding. As long as Berto is allowed to hold, he does not have to fight. He can dance around the ring throwing a few power shots before moving in for the bear hug.

My critics no doubt will be quick to point out Andre Berto’s boxing record and some of the better opponents he has dominated. My response to them is what happens when Andre Berto tries to hold a guy like Paul Williams or Shane Mosley and how many people would care enough to watch it?

Winky Slides as Williams Shines

Posted on 03. Jan, 2010 by stavkav in Boxing

Winky Slides as Williams Shines

Ronald “Winky” Wright has accomplished so much in his lengthy career that there would have been absolutely no shame in having at least one tune-up fight before getting back in the ring after a 21 month layoff. But never one to back down from a fight in any circumstance, it was only fitting that his first opponent after such a long time away from the ring would be a freak of nature like Paul Williams.

When I first heard the news that this fight was going to happen, I immediately knew what the outcome would be: Paul Williams by unanimous decision. And that is exactly what the outcome was when these two great fighters came together on April 11th in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s not that I am some sort of boxing Nostradamus. It’s just that 27 year-old Paul Williams is an extremely busy fighter and 37 year-old Winky Wright hadn’t fought in nearly two years. Winky also likes to go the distance and hasn’t been knocked down in quite some time. Even if the fight was competitive for twelve rounds, I thought Williams would win by decision as Winky has a knack for getting robbed in close fights (Fernando Vargas comes to mind).

As I mentioned earlier, there would have been no shame in taking a safe fight after such a long period of inactivity. Instead Winky decided to fight the young, hungry Paul Williams, a 6’1 southpaw with a punch output that would make Joe Calzaghe proud. Even the great defense of Winky Wright was no match for the rising star Williams on April 11th in Las Vegas.

Paul Williams now faces a situation that is all too familiar to Winky Wright. Some boxing fans might even believe that he has inherited Winky’s curse. After thoroughly thrashing a fighter on the level of Winky Wright, the big name fighters are going to avoid Paul Williams like the plague, perhaps now more than ever.

If an intriguing opponent is not found soon, perhaps the Williams camp can settle for an intriguing storyline. A rematch with the disgraced Antonio Margarito would create enough intrigue, anger, and excitement to translate in to a high amount of PPV buys. Of course the fight would have to take place outside of the United States (just get Don King on the phone). I know I would pay $50 to see Paul Williams throw over 1,000 punches at Margarito. And given Margarito’s recent cheating ways, I’m sure many boxing fans would do the same.

DONE-leavy in Los Angeles?

Posted on 03. Jan, 2010 by stavkav in NBA

DONE-leavy in Los Angeles?

Just when I think I have myself all figured out, life knocks me on my arse and shows me just how ignorant I truly am. The most recent knockdown occurred on April 10th, when I was fortunate enough to get free tickets to the L.A. Clippers versus the Sacramento Kings contest at Staples Center. On this night, the basketball gods were kind enough to reach down to the 8th row behind the Clipper bench and replace one fan’s hate with wisdom.

In the previous five years, there has been no greater Mike Dunleavy basher than yours truly (well maybe the Sports Guy Bill Simmons). As an avid Los Angeles Clippers fan, many of Coach Dunleavy’s decisions have caused me to experience panic attacks, curse profusely in front of family, and abuse alcohol. Dunleavy’s coaching against the Phoenix Suns in the 2006 NBA Playoffs was especially bad for my physical and mental health. I never want to hear the name Daniel Ewing again.

A good Dunleavy bashing always starts with a little bit of history. Before a tirade begins, the listener must be told that the only reason Mike Dunleavy took the L.A. Lakers to the finals in 1991 was because Magic Johnson and James Worthy were on that team. The listener must then be made aware of the monumental meltdown/choke-job that occurred in the 2000 Western Conference Finals where the Portland Trailblazers, coached by Dunleavy, gave up a double digit lead to Shaq, Kobe, and the rest of the L.A. Lakers during the final minutes of game 7. Damon Stoudamire never wants to hear the name Mike Dunleavy again.

After the history portion of the bash is complete, any number of Dunleavy short-comings or current Clipper woes can be discussed at length using as many expletives as necessary. When concluding the tirade, it is crucial to mention the only way to make everything right is for owner Donald Sterling to fire Mike Dunleavy.

I was prepared to use the Dunleavy-bashing formula described above on April 10th at Staples Center. My hate for the man was turned up to 11 and I was ready to talk with whatever fan was willing to listen. But that didn’t end up being necessary because a drunken fan sitting a few rows away from me spoke up for the entire Clipper nation. The rumblings started in the first half. A few well-timed “Fire Dunleavy” shouts left most of us in the section by the Clipper bench chuckling. The beer must have been flowing at halftime because this fan really picked it up a notch during the second half. The shouts turned in to chants and his cronies even started getting in on the action. The chants then became louder and more frequent and the Clipper bench started to take notice.

Ricky Davis was the first to nonchalantly look back in an attempt to get a glimpse of the heckler. He also tried to hide a smile once he spotted him. I noticed others get sucked in to the drama as well. Assistant coach and former player Rory White casually glanced up during a time out as did announcer Mike Smith. This heckler was relentless and there is no doubt in my mind that Mike Dunleavy could hear every word. After a while, it just started to get uncomfortable in my section, especially as the “Fire Dunleavy” chant started to spread.

That’s when a very strange thing happened to me. I started to feel bad for the man who had been tormenting me for the last 5 years; I started to feel bad for Mike Dunleavy. I don’t know how or why this happened (that’s why I attributed the epiphany to the basketball gods earlier in this article), but somehow it happened. I started to think of all the positive things coach Dunleavy has done for the Clippers like leading them to the best record in franchise history and convincing owner Donald Sterling to finally spend money. I thought of some of the bigger names he was able to help bring to the Clippers like Sam Cassell, Baron Davis, and Marcus Camby. I realized that, besides Elgin Baylor and Eric Piatkowski, Mike Dunleavy is the only other form of continuity the Clippers have had in recent years. So, I finally cut the guy some slack.

I could finally admit that I was mad at myself and not Mike Dunleavy. In psychology, it is referred to as projection. I was angry with myself and projected that anger on to coach Dunleavy. I was mad at myself for having hope and believing the Clippers could ever be more than just L.A.’s b-team. I tasted a little bit of success in 2006 and thought it would be enough to change the history of a franchise overnight. I wanted immediate results and I started to get unruly. I think a big portion of the Clipper nation felt or currently feels this same way.

Los Angeles Clippers fans are usually patient, easy-going, and kind, not bitter and angry. This fan is going back to basics.

Who knows what the future holds for coach Mike Dunleavy? Based on his performance in the last three years, one would naturally assume that he may not be coaching the Los Angeles Clippers next season. However, knowing how the fiscally minded Donald Sterling likes to work, it also just as likely that Dunleavy will be the coach of the Clippers for the next few years instead of being bought out of a contract where he has over $10 million still coming his way.

The Joe Calzaghe Debate

Posted on 03. Jan, 2010 by stavkav in Boxing

The Joe Calzaghe Debate

Joe Calzaghe’s career leaves much to the imagination of the American boxing fan. But before I continue I must provide a warning to Calzaghe fans around the world: you will probably not like this article.

It has been about five months since Joe Calzaghe retired with an undefeated record of 46-0 (which included an impressive 10 year title reign). He left the boxing world spouting the same old rhetoric, something about achieving everything possible and going out on top. I guess what else would he say? That he didn’t want to risk getting that first L? I do remember him making a comment about fighters who don’t know when to put up the boxing gloves. That reminded me of a gentleman named Roy Jones Jr.

I am not disputing that Joe Calzaghe’s legacy is great. I am simply postulating that his legacy was built on safe fights and European fan frenzy. One must admit that Calzaghe’s camp had impeccable timing when it came to fighting certain opponents. He also rarely ever left his comfort zone to fight (I guess who can blame him with the gates he was bringing in). But even Calzaghe knew he had to fight in the United States to get his respect. My question is why didn’t he come in his prime?

Don’t get me wrong. I was ready to jump on the Joe Calzaghe bandwagon after seeing him demolish Jeff Lacy. But the fights against Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr. made me put down the kool-aid. What I saw was Joe Calzaghe get knocked down by two old-timers. I know Calzaghe slapped his way back to victory in both of those fights, but I could only imagine how many times he would have been knocked down if he was fighting in the United States as an up-and-comer. This “what if” will always make me think of Calzaghe as being one notch below the truly greats.

The true test for Joe Calzaghe does not come in the form of Bernard Hopkins or Roy Jones Jr. or any other boxer who just wants to get paid (I’m actually surprised there wasn’t a Calzaghe-Mayorga fight at some point). The true test comes in the form of someone who is not a household name but that is capable of doing some damage. There is someone just like that who is calling Joe Calzaghe out right now. The road warrior Glenn Johnson would like the human slap machine to come out of retirement for one more fight. This is the same road warrior Glenn Johnson that made shorter work of a younger, fresher Roy Jones Jr. The same road warrior Glenn Johnson that says he can beat Joe Calzaghe. The same road warrior Glenn Johnson that I think has a pretty good argument.

A Momentary Lapse of Reason

Posted on 03. Jan, 2010 by stavkav in General Sports, NBA

A Momentary Lapse of Reason

Professional basketball fans in Los Angeles usually fall in to one of two groups. The first group is comprised of mellow people who have no problems going with the flow. These people never have high expectations and can have an equally good time going to a club or staying home to watch television. The second group is comprised of quite a different breed. This group is ultra confident and always wants to have a good time. In fact, their confidence can resemble arrogance and they may even seem to have a sense of entitlement. Some members of this group might enjoy a quiet night at home, but the majority are out and about, being seen and living the L.A. life up. If you live in southern California you know where I’m going with this. If you don’t call Los Angeles home, then pick which group you identify most with. Group number one means you are a Clippers fan. Group number two means you root for the Lakers.

While there are many more differences between Clippers and Lakers fans than the few mentioned above, one glaring similarity exists: both want to enjoy themselves and are not looking for any trouble. This holds a bit truer for Clippers fans as there is more drama associated with winning titles and tensions can be a bit higher over in Laker land.

Excessive winning can make a fan impatient. Laker fans have been known to get quite vocal at times. But their rants and shouts from the stands are usually comical in nature and rarely do they cross the line. Occasionally, the crowd will unite after a blown call to chant bullsh*t, bullsh*t in unison, but that is about as bad as it gets. So it is surprising to hear about the unruly behavior of the L.A. fans this past Christmas day during the game against the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers. The game was physical and the referees swallowed their whistles for the most part. The lack of foul calls frustrated the Lakers and ultimately led to Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, and Lamar Odom getting technical fouls in protest. Odom persisted and was ejected from the game which prompted an atypical reaction from the crowd on hand at Staples Center. They shared the frustration of the Laker players and expressed this feeling by littering the court with foam hands that were passed out as part of a Nike promotion earlier that night.

“I’ve never seen an L.A. crowd react like this before,” said Lakers coach Phil Jackson after the incident. “I like their enthusiasm. I don’t like their demonstrative manner.”

Though the reaction from the L.A. fans at Staples Center was atypical, it was definitely not excusable. Amid the harmless foam signs that were twirling on to the court, a few water bottles found their way on as well. You will get no argument here that getting hit with foam is harmless. A full water bottle however, that is another story entirely. King James would agree:

“The only thing that you hope doesn’t happen is one of the players getting hit or a referee getting hit, especially by a full water bottle…when that came on the court, it was coming pretty fast. You don’t want that to happen because it could definitely hurt somebody. Luckily no one got hurt, and that’s a good thing.”

It is easy to see how a fan could have a momentary lapse of reason during a game of this magnitude. Kobe versus Lebron aside, there was also the storyline of Shaquille O’Neal making yet another glorious return to L.A. with yet another contender. In the heat of the moment, any fan might feel the urge to fling some foam.

“If you want to throw something, at least throw something that isn’t going to hurt,” Kobe tried to explain after the game. “So I guess that (foam) was the best situation.”

Shame on Lou DiBella

Posted on 03. Jan, 2010 by stavkav in Boxing

Shame on Lou DiBella

Lou DiBella is known to boxing fans as a promoter with a stable of fighters that currently includes names such as Andre Berto, Glenn Johnson, and Paul Malignaggi just to name a few. One name that is no longer affiliated with DiBella entertainment however is Jermain “Bad Intentions” Taylor. That is because DiBella recently resigned as Taylor’s promoter amid growing concerns about Taylor’s health, and more specifically, the severe concussions and brutal knockouts he has been subject to in four of his last five bouts.

Jermain Taylor’s most recent setback occurred in October 2009 during the first stage of the Super Six tournament in Berlin, Germany. Taylor was fighting a talented Arthur Abraham and was knocked out with six seconds remaining in the final round. He took a clean right to the chin and fell to the mat, banging his head on the canvas in the process. Taylor was diagnosed with a severe concussion and had to spend a few days in a German hospital. The brutal knockout was delivered in similar fashion as the ones Taylor experienced in late round losses to Kelly Pavlik and Carl Froch in previous fights. The difference is that this time there was a problem. This time, concussions and memory loss were involved.

The first stage of the Super Six tournament is set up in a round robin format. This means that a fighter can lose his first fight without being eliminated from the tournament. Jermain Taylor is guaranteed another fight and he intends on taking it this April. It is no surprise that Taylor’s inner circle, DiBella included, was urging him not to continue. Jermain Taylor is not listening and DiBella is done talking. Taylor’s insistence has prompted DiBella to wash his hands of the entire situation and resign as his promoter after nearly a decade of service.

Many in the boxing community are praising DiBella’s hard stance and his decision to step down as Taylor’s promoter. Few are talking about a confused Jermain Taylor who will be walking in to the lion’s den against a hungry an eager Andre Ward this coming April. Andre Ward is shining as Jermain Taylor is sliding and there is potential for some real danger here. Taylor could definitely use a guy like Lou DiBella in his corner watching his back (or at least trying to). DiBella had every right to leave Taylor to his own devices, but that does not make it right. Jermain Taylor will be at his most vulnerable when he trades blows with Andre Ward and it is looking like he will have a minimal amount of support.

In DiBella’s defense, he has experienced a boxing related death with one of his fighters in the past. One could easily see why he wants no part of a sequel. But one could also ask the question, shouldn’t that make his commitment to Jermain Taylor even stronger?