Boxer Victor Ortiz Arrested for Rape, Charged with 3 Felonies https://t.co/tGBlJgHxGa— TMZ (@TMZ) September 26, 2018
Some week there will be nothing but positive, feel-good stories from the boxing world to write about. This is not that week.
Victor Ortiz Charged with Rape, Molina Fight CancelledThis week, Victor Ortiz was charged with “forcible rape, forcible oral copulation and forcible digital penetration” after a woman told the police he sexually assaulted her inside of her Oxnard, California, home. Although it is far from the main issue, this did lead to his fight with John Molina which was scheduled for this Saturday, being cancelled.
While on Instagram, Ortiz posted “Truth will rise above falsehood as oil above water,” this is not the first run-in with the law Ortiz has had, though the allegations are by far the worst he has faced. At the risk of repeating myself, after his loss to Marcos Maidana in 2009, the then-22 year old Ortiz considered retirement, saying "I'm young, but I don't think I deserve to be getting beat up like this. I got a lot of thinking to do." I sure wish he did.
Billy Joe Saunders Fails Drug Test Leaving Andrade Fight in DoubtThe hits just keep coming for Billy Joe Saunders. After last week, when a series of videos showing Saunders being an awful person in a wide variety of ways emerged, this week he failed a drug test, putting his Oct. 20 bout with Demetrius Andrade in doubt.
Saunders’ urine sample tested positive for oxilofrine, which may mean he was injecting himself with ephedrine. The Massachusetts State Athletic Commission is now in charge of whether the fight will go forward or not. Andrade’s promoter Eddie Hearn insinuated that should the Saunders fight get called off, Andrade will seek a replacement opponent for the Oct. 20 fight in Boston.
HBO Officially Abandons BoxingIn a move that was widely seen coming, HBO officially announced they would discontinue their boxing programming starting next month. In a written statement, HBO said “Going forward in 2019, we will be pivoting away from programming live boxing on HBO. As always, we will remain open to looking at events that fit our programming mix. This could include boxing, just not for the foreseeable future."
Supposedly, HBO has done studies and found that boxing is not a determining factor in whether people are subscribing, so they are abandoning the sport after 45 years. While this does free up fighters like “GGG,” “Canelo” and Daniel Jacobs to create matches elsewhere, the loss of HBO Boxing is a truly a loss for the sport.
While bitter MMA fans have declared that their sport made boxing null, the truth is that as soon as the first ape picked up a rock, unarmed combat has been irrelevant. What HBO understood above all else was that it is the human beings, not the knockouts or the blood that make boxing so fascinating. Through unmatchable promotional shows like “24/7” or documentaries like the incredible “Legendary Nights” series, HBO gave you a reason to care about fighters’ hopes and dreams, their trials and tribulations, their incomparable highs and unspeakable lows, before you had even seen one land a single blow.
The various commentating teams at HBO were better than any other. Seeing Jim Lampley ringside in a tuxedo or listening to Larry Merchant’s often hard-to-follow literary metaphors made HBO boxing feel like something classy, an opera or a fine ballet, a radical difference from the nu-metal screeching and over-the-top screaming UFC promotions provided at a similar time.
Boxing will survive being taken off HBO; it’s survived far worse. But, boxing will likely never feel as important as it did when it was on HBO, and for young boxing fans especially, that is a truly sad thought.