Originally written on The Queensbury Rules  |  Last updated 10/23/14

It's the politically silly season, so it's truly, honestly possible to find a real-life painting like this one, with President Obama, Tupac Shakur and Muhammad Ali riding horses together in some imaginary landscape of the soul. As usual, political imagery and links do no imply endorsement. But when friend of the site Mike C. snapped a photo of this painting at the Democratic National Convention and sent it my direction, there was no way its awesomeness wasn't going to find a spot on this website, using the thinnest reed of Ali being in it. No. Way. (P.S., the painting is called "Freedom Riders" and it's by Kolongi Brathwaite, if you care to try and buy a copy online.)

It's also the boxing silly season, mostly in a good way. With the slate of fights happening in September and even the next couple months, it's difficult to let the sad stuff in boxing get you down. But we must review some of it nonetheless, although with a decent helping of happy stuff. There are the items in the headline, as well as notes on various trainer changes, a couple small updates about fights this weekend and more.

Before you dive in, though, I'd like to announce yet another digital expansion of the TQBR franchise. We've set up a YouTube page that we hope to begin using for interviews, weigh-in footage, etc. as soon as this weekend. Keep an eye on it. Credit once more goes to TQBR Unofficial Digital Impresario Patrick Connor, the man behind our slowly but steadily growing Facebook page, which we would humply request you "like" if you haven't yet for alerts and bits of exclusive content and discussion.

Quick Jabs

When featherweight Billy Dib's team said they'd been told by an attorney for 50 Cent that the TMT Promotions founder was already getting out of the boxing game, it was shakily-sourced enough that you wondered whether it was true even as you laughed about the idea of a promoter going out of business before ever putting on a show. That's just so... boxing. When Ring Magazine's Twitter account tweeted out a mention that Manny Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz had claimed the superstar welterweight was going into business on some promotional venture with 50 Cent, more than one person asked if Ring was playing some kind of joke. Turns out it's true, according to not just Koncz but 50 himself. Fitty and Floyd Mayweather have famously been best pals, but signs of the relationship souring have mounted for a while, and now Fitty is talking about going into business with Mayweather's biggest rival, and, incidentally, apparently all three of them were once going to be in business together? This is April Fool's multiplied by General Hospital. And it's happened in the span of about a week. I can't wait to see what happens next. Will Jinkee Pacquiao have an affair with Mayweather's lady, Mrs. Jackson, originating during a game of "truth or dare?" Will Mayweather adviser Leonard Ellerbe poison Koncz's whoopee cushion? Tune in next week!...

In other promotional news, the Top Rank/Golden Boy promotional feud is escalating to new heights by the week, too. They're dueling for a variety of dates over the rest of 2012 -- Nov. 10, Nov. 17, Dec. 8, you name it -- with an ever-increasing number likely to feature simultaneous Top Rank and Golden Boy cards. Golden Boy's Richard Schaefer has mostly tried to play the "I'll work with them again if it makes sense" card, but this week he declared he "never" would again. Everybody's digging a trench and hunkering down for a long war. Oh goodie...

We have figures for HBO ratings of Andre Ward-Chad Dawson as well as gate figures, with TV decent and gate very good. The tale they tell is what I expected: better ratings (1.3 million, or about average for HBO this year) than what some might have anticipated, given how much so many poo-pooed the super middleweight fight as unwatchable and undesirable, but not exactly a return on HBO's sizable financial investment. And the live attendance, including 7,611 paid, was near elite by today's standards -- only a handful of guys draw that much of a paid crowd in the United States. HBO can look at it as money well spent if Ward's star grows as I expect it now will, similar to its investment in middleweight Gennady Golovkin, seen by a 2012-low 685,000 people but at what one presumes is a much smaller cost. One also wonders how much better Ward-Dawson does if it's not competing with the junior welterweight Lucas Matthysse-Olusegun Ajose-helmed card that brought in 344,000 viewers on Showtime, some percentage of whom wouldn't have watched a tactical fight like Ward-Dawson under any circumstances -- but unlike with some other competing events, say, college football, this is a boxing audience divided in a way it might not otherwise have been. Do 200,000 who watched Matthysse-Ajose watch Ward-Dawson if Matthysse-Ajose isn't running? If so, the Ward-Dawson rating suddenly leaps up beyond "average" and into "very good"...

Speaking of Golovkin: Rafe Bartholomew wrote a piece for Grantland suggesting Golovkin was the next Pacquiao, which is putting an awful lot of pressure on the Kazakh. Bartholomew acknowledges the metaphor is imperfect, but some of the reasons are worth repeating. Golovkin doesn't have that Filipino fan base, so no matter how he fights or who he beats, Golovkin isn't going to tap into the not-making-this-figure-up 3,000-strong Kazakh-American demographic to create Golovkamania on par with Pacmania. But in the way he is so "holy hell" destructive, I can kind of see it...

Some updates on this weekend's cards: There's a Tecate rebate for the HBO pay-per-view show headlined by middleweights Sergio Martinez and Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., and I didn't know it until recently, but that card will also be available for purchase online, per a Top Rank news release. Additionally, Golden Boy Friday issued a news release announcing they've sold out of nearly 14,500 tickets for the rival Showtime card headlined by junior middleweights Canelo Alvarez and Josesito Lopez. I'm dubious of that figure, which would be a big one considering that nearly 20,000 are expected at Martinez-Chavez just down the street, but if we found out from the Nevada commission later that it was true I'd have to believe that would be a big success...

Trainer merry-go-round, with one of them kind of related to this weekend: Virgil Hunter, trainer of Ward, is reportedly or rumoredly maybe going to work with junior middleweight Alfredo Angulo and middleweight Fernando Guerrero. We've seen Hunter prove himself of late with Ward, and if Angulo and/or Guerrero showed major improvement under Hunter, that would have to be considered a validation of Hunter as a top trainer rather than a trainer a la Roger Mayweather/Floyd who just has a good rapport with one pupil. Also, Naazim Richardson is joining forces with Martinez's camp this weekend, not as much for his boxing training skills as much as it is because he is notorious for catching people in rival camps in acts of skulduggery, and Chavez has been suspected of his share...

ESPN and HBO now have a deal to cross-promote some HBO PPV content, with Sportscenter airing highlights and ESPN airing episodes of HBO's 24/7 documentary series. It's the kind of thing that makes you wonder why it didn't already exist, but it's another small step forward for boxing's broader mainstream exposure...

My man David P. Greisman has been doing some thoughtful work on how little we know about the accuracy of figures released as a result of mandatory, sanctioning organization-required weigh-ins. Conflicts abound, per Paul Magno. This week featured one example of this dubious data: One day, the WBC announced (using figures from someone in Chavez's camp) that he weighed 167 at seven days in, but two days later Kevin Iole told me that Chavez's trainer Freddie Roach said he weighed 172. Either Chavez was gaining five pounds in two days during a week when his weight should be dropping, or he never weighed 167...

In yet another couple instance of how little we know about what's ACTUALLY happening in boxing, the spotlight turned anew this week to fighters' purses. If you think Lopez is making $212,000 to fight Alvarez because that's what his purse was reported as by Nevada authorities, his trainer Henry Ramirez advises that he's making a lot more somehow. And if you think Martinez is getting short-changed by making $1.4 million to fight Chavez, his promoter Lou DiBella reports that, no, he'll get a lot more than that. So what's the point of the state figures, again? I guess we know the basement of what boxers are making for a given fight...

I got nothing at all against men taking care of their skin. But yes, I get a kick out of welterweight Victor Ortiz being involved with a product called VO By FaceLube, "an ultra-masculine, eco-friendly, high-end men’s anti-aging grooming line that is Built for a Champion - Fit for a Man’s Man," per a news release last week. There's always something slightly off about Ortiz, and usually in a way that amuses me. From the wacky surfer/Midwest combo, to the unpredictable things that happen in the ring when he's in it (Will he quit? Will it be a Fight of the Year? Will he do something that's never happened before?), to the outside-the-ring products from goofy songs to endorsing a subtance for Lubing one's Face, I can't get enough of the guy, I simply can't. Every little thing he does is magic.
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