Monday, September 21, 2015

Professional Sports Are Fixed! (Part 1)


Eight Sports Conspiracies That Prove Professional Sports Are Fixed
By Brian Tuohy
The five major professional sports leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and NASCAR) and their commissioners always tell their fans that "all is well" even when that isn't the truth.
It always seems that when an athlete, coach, or referee is caught using drugs or committing a crime or gambling on games, it is an "isolated incident" and those guilty acted alone and were punished accordingly.
League investigations (if actually conducted) never find more culprits than were already under suspicion.
Fans, for the most part, seem gullible enough to believe these lies.
Occasionally the truth about professional sports actually leaks out. Often these truths take the form of a "conspiracy theory," spun that way by a sports media machine that profits from the games as much as the leagues do.
But in the case of the eight "conspiracies" put forth here, more evidence exists to prove them than to disprove them.
If all of these stories are true as presented, then there is no doubt that games have been fixed and outcomes altered by leagues and owners more interested in turning a profit than winning championships.
Every fan should take heed of what is presented here.
Not many fans remember what was at stake in January 1969 when the Baltimore Colts battled the New York Jets in Super Bowl III. The truth is that the future of the NFL was on the line.
The 10-year-old AFL was merging with the NFL and fans were not accepting the upstart league as legitimate contenders.
If the Colts won, which seemed to be a forgone conclusion as they were the most dominating team the NFL had ever seen, the NFL stood to lose millions in future TV revenues.
Thanks in part to five Colts' turnovers, the Jets pulled off a miracle and won 16-7.
Not only did the victory legitimize the AFL to NFL fans, but the drama surrounding the game cemented the Super Bowl in the public's mind.
Had the Colts won, the Super Bowl may have ceased to exist (and that's not hyperbole).
But was the game on the level?
Bubba Smith, who played for the Colts in the game, came out and publicly stated that Super Bowl III was "set up" for the Jets to win.
If one examines the game, Smith's belief seems to be proven as huge question marks surround both Colts' QB Earl Morrell's play and Colts' Head Coach Don Shula's decisions.
The fact is there was too much on the line for the league to allow the Colts win. Having the Jets win was a wise business decision; one that allowed every team owner to profit millions of dollars and essentially create the modern NFL.
In the mid-1980s, Major League Baseball had a revenue problem. Its new commissioner, Peter
Ueberroth, gathered the owners and explained to them how to once again become a profitable league. 
Ueberroth's solution? Don't sign any free agents.
Remarkably, that is exactly what the owners did. Prior to the start of both the 1986 and 1987 season, MLB owners (all of them) refused to sign another team's free agents...unless the team in question didn't want the player back.
The players caught on, and through their union, sued the owners. While waiting for the results, the owners altered their plan slightly prior to the 1988 season, but the results were the same: no free agents were signed.
As player salaries decreased from the owners' frugality, their profits rose significantly. Wins and losses didn't did.
The owners lost what became known as the three collusion cases and were forced to pay the players' union $280 million.
But that didn't stop owners from attempting it again (and losing) in a little publicized battle between 2002 and 2003.
But here in the MLB's collusion cases, fans can witness a true conspiracy involving every owner that affected wins, losses, and even championships in the years in question.
Think games can't be altered? Think again.
Is it possible that bad teams intentionally lose games to make themselves worse? Well, if there's something to be gained from being the worst of the worst (such as a prize like the NBA's No. 1 draft pick), then the answer is yes.
The NBA instituted its draft lottery to put the notion of game tanking to rest. It altered the lottery on more than one occassion to make it the weighted pool it is today.
But that doesn't mean being worse than the other teams still doesn't have its advantages. Having the most ping pong balls in the hopper makes a team's odds that much better to claim the number one pick.
Most sports writers and analysts will admit game tanking takes place. But none dare take it the step further and ask what that means.
Who decides games need to be tanked? The players? No. The coaching staff? Not likely.
The demand comes straight from the team's owner.
What kind of meeting needs to take place to ensure a winnable game is intentionally lost? And if that meeting can occur without question in one instance, it means any game can be "tanked" on an owner's demand.
The slippery slope starts with bad teams losing supposedly inconsequential games, but where does it end?
Perhaps the biggest, most shocking trade in sports history occurred in the NHL. In August 1988, the NHL's biggest star and most recognizable name, Wayne Gretzky, was traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings.
Why was the trade made?
One reason is that Oilers' owner Peter Pocklington needed cash. In an interview with the CBC in Canada, Pocklington admitted that Gretzky was seen as nothing more than a commodity and therefore could be dealt with accordingly (something every athlete today should consider).
As for Gretzky, he had fallen in love. His new wife was actress Janet Jones, and Wayne wanted to be closer to her.
In trading The Great One to the Kings, both sides seemed to get what they wanted. Yet then, and even now, each side points a finger at the other in making the trade a reality.
Why are there still questions surrounding how this deal went down? Because the entity that profited the most from the deal is likely the one that actually brokered the deal: the NHL itself (Gretzky basically said as much in the tear-filled trade announcement and press conference).
Gretzky in Hollywood opened the league up to a entirely new fan base. His black-and-white No. 99 Kings jersey became fashion staple. But most importantly, since Gretzky's arrival in L.A., the NHL has completely changed its makeup.
No longer is it a Canadian league; more teams inhabit the American South than Canada.
The NHL could not afford to have its biggest star, its greatest player exist solely in the northern outpost of Edmonton. His trade to the Kings resulted in millions of dollars for NHL owners and the trade's effects are still felt today.
The death of Dale Earnhardt Sr. at the conclusion of the Daytona 500 in 2001 was NASCAR's biggest tragedy. It rattled the sport to its core.
Yet just five months later, when NASCAR returned to the site of Earnhardt's death, the racing league's most heartfelt story occurred.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. overcame the huge odds and emotions surrounding the Pepsi 400 at Daytona and won. But his victory wasn't without questions.
For one, the Pepsi 400 was the first race broadcast on NBC after the network and NASCAR signed a multi-million dollar TV revenue contract, the biggest in NASCAR's history.
The race was also a night race, shown live in prime-time and NBC instructed the NASCAR teams to whoop it up at the matter who won the race.
As for the race itself, Dale Jr's car seemed to be more powerful than the others out on the track with him - something that shouldn't be possible in a restrictor-plate race.
With six laps to go, Junior was in seventh place. Coming off a yellow flag, he zipped to the lead and never looked back. One driver, Johnny Benson, actually questioned the legitimacy of Earnhardt's car (if only momentarily) prior to expressing his happiness at Junior's win.
But what raises the biggest red flags about Earnhardt's emotional win is the fact that the drivers that came in second and third behind him (teammate Michael Waltrip and Elliot Sadler) were both quoted as saying they had no intention to beat Earnhardt. They let him win.
If the second and third place drivers let him win, who else did the same? Clearly when Earnhardt brought home the checked flag and every pit crew ran out to congratulate him (following NBC's orders), it appeared as if a Hollywood script had just been broadcast live from Daytona.
When the 1994 World Series was cancelled due to the labor dispute between MLB owners and players, many fans swore off the game.
Four years later, when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were hitting home runs at an unbelievable rate, the fans returned in droves.
Baseball knew its players were using steroids. They knew performance enhancing drugs like speed had been part of their athletes' diet for decades, and when steroids seeped into the sport in the late 1980s, it came as little surprise.
MLB owners never cared that the drugs had become part of their sport. Players were breaking new ground each and every season because of their usage, and more importantly, fans were paying more and more attention. Money was being made...big money...and it was good business.
Never mind that the owners knew, or that the GM's knew, or that the coaches knew, or that the players knew, or that the hallowed Baseball Writers of America knew...the secret had been kept by all (a definition of conspiracy if ever there was one) and all were profiting.
Yet only once that good business turned into bad business, thanks to Barry Bonds assault on all that appeared pure in the game, did MLB change its tune on steroids.
Suddenly, steroids were the demon drug that needed to be banished from the game.
Baseball made its investigation. It outed the guilty players. And now all is once again clean and pure in the league...if you believe its drug testing program and ignore all the performance enhancers (like HGH) it doesn't test for.
After winning three NBA championships and enduring the murder of his father, Michael Jordan suddenly retired from the NBA.
Or did he?
At the same moment in time, Jordan was under investigation by the NBA for his off-the-court gambling problems. Problems like owing over $100,000 to a known drug-dealer from a gambling debt accrued on the golf course.
It didn't end there. Jordan owed $100,000+ to yet another golfing associate. This one claimed to have overheard Jordan talking to an unknown person about the gambling line on a sporting event.
Jordan was not just another NBA player. He was the NBA. He was also McDonald's, Nike, Chevrolet, and more. He meant a lot of money to a lot of people and none of them wanted to see Jordan go the way of Pete Rose.
NBA Commissioner David Stern approached Jordan at this point, and I believe, offered him a deal: "retire" and seek help for the gambling addiction (which has proven to continue to consume his post-NBA career) and if "cured," be welcomed back to the league.
This makes sense in light of what Jordan talked about in his retirement speech. He claimed to want to spend more time with his wife and playing AA baseball for six months of the year.
He had accomplished all he wanted to in basketball, yet he needed to return not just once, but twice to the NBA.
But perhaps the most telling statement Jordan made was when asked if he'll return to the NBA, Jordan said "if David Stern lets me back into the league."
Why make such a statement if the retirement was legitimate and not an under-the-table suspension for his gambling problems?
Jordan would return to the NBA, win three more championships and make millions for both himself and the league. But the full story of his legendary career continues to remain in the shadows.
Tim Donaghy was a 13-year NBA referee when the FBI busted him for associating with gamblers and profiting from giving them inside information with which to bet on NBA games.
Donaghy and his crew won 80 perccent of their bets, something unheard of in professional gambling (pros are lucky to win 60 percent of their wagers, most are satisfied with 56-58%).
Despite monitoring both its referees' on-the-court calls and off-the-court actions, the NBA had no clue of Donaghy's behavior until the FBI came calling.
Since then, the NBA has admitted all of its referees had broken their collective bargaining agreement by engaging in various forms of gambling.
The league stated it wouldn't punished its officials for this, instead the NBA would rewrite its rules to allow refs to gamble.
Despite that, the most incredible part of the Donaghy story came from the former referee himself.
Through his lawyer, Donaghy made public the fact that the NBA has intentionally altered the outcomes of its own games through its referees to garner better TV ratings and make more money.
This story was so believable, federal authorities lowered Donaghy's prison sentence based on the evidence he provided.
Why didn't the FBI then investigate the NBA? Because if the NBA is fixing its own games, it's not illegal because the NBA (like all pro sports leagues) are entertainment entities.
There is no fraud occurring because all the league offers is entertainment - whether fixed or not.
These eight "conspiracies" are but the tip of the proverbial iceberg in the sporting world.
Games have been and continue to be fixed - not just by the mafia and gamblers (who have been proven to fix games even today), but by the leagues themselves. Why? Because the leagues have the most to gain from doing this.
The leagues' profits rest in TV revenue which is based on ratings. No ratings, no money. Would you leave those billions up to chance or coincidence? No smart businessman would.
What's worse is that sports fans are being led astray by these leagues. Like the ancient Romans, people today are being distracted by meaningless sporting events while they watch their lives - and the world around them - drift away.
If you know the league are lying to you - and they have proven to be excellent, yet pathological liars - then why watch? What are you really getting back from the sports to which you pay your hard earned money?
For more, visit:
The Big Question: Is horse racing fixed or just a highly competitive sport?
The former champion Kieren Fallon, venerated by punters as the most dynamic jockey of his generation, is one of 11 people charged this week in connection with a lengthy police investigation into allegations of corruption. Until the details of the case become public, nobody knows what Fallon, first arrested in September 2004, is alleged to have done. But he is charged with conspiracy to defraud customers of the online betting exchange, Betfair. Two other jockeys, Fergal Lynch and Darren Williams, face a similar charge. A trainer, Alan Berry, and a farrier, Steve O'Sullivan, were meanwhile accused of conspiracy to defraud with a horse that was lame when entered for a race at Carlisle in June 2003. Police say that they laid the filly to lose.
All those charged have protested their innocence. But the allegations against Fallon, champion six times in Britain before returning to his native Ireland last year, guarantee a collective trauma for racing. If he is found guilty it would be a source of immense disillusionment.
Have betting exchanges made corruption easier?
Unquestionably - in theory. In practice, however, they have also made it much harder to get away with skulduggery. Before exchanges, it was possible only to back a horse to win. Historically, therefore, a horse would presumably be stopped - whether by "nobbling" or fraudulent riding - only at the instigation of a corrupt bookmaker.
In a betting exchange, one party to the wager offers to lay the horse to lose, the other backs it to win. By cutting out the middle man and allowing punters to trade directly with one another, exchanges have made it possible for anyone to profit from the defeat of a particular horse. Clearly this could present a new opportunity, and temptation, to cheats.
But Betfair, the pioneering exchange and clear market leader, would argue there is now an unprecedented audit trail to those who have made conspicuous profit from suspicious betting patterns. Betfair first alerted the Jockey Club to the races under investigation. If betting exchanges have provided cheats with a new weapon, they have also introduced the ability to take "fingerprints" from the trigger.
How difficult is it to fix a race?
Racing has long suffered from a perception that where there's brass, there's muck, and the history of the Turf has many chapters that illustrate its vulnerability to turpitude. In 1844 the Derby itself was won by a "ringer" - an older, stronger horse running in a race confined to three-year-olds - while a disgraced former jockey, Dermot Browne, claims to have doped 23 horses in two months in 1990.
But it would be wrong to assume that the sport is endemically corrupt. Race-fixing in its baldest terms is impractical. Horses are too unpredictable. Corruption tends to concern a specific runner, and racecourse stewards always look out for horses that start slowly and do not appear to be ridden very earnestly in the finish.
Those who owe their image of racing to Dick Francis should acknowledge a more mundane reality. At every level, British racing is frantically competitive. There are too many trainers, and jockeys, and those who cannot make a legitimate living by winning races will ultimately not make a living at all.
Should the industry do more to stop abuses?
Those who work in the day-to-day business of racing tend to circle the wagons in times of trouble. But the same can no longer be said of the sport's regulators, who have made energetic efforts to grasp the nettle. The Jockey Club recently transferred its responsibilities for integrity issues to a new body, the Horseracing Regulatory Authority (HRA). It had made several purposeful changes already, hiring a senior policeman as head of security and responding to rapid changes in the betting landscape. Licensed individuals, for instance, have been prohibited from laying their own horses. The HRA, which handed over this week's case to the police, is currently engaged in several other investigations. The Authority's hope is perhaps that the approaching trials should serve as catharsis, an equivalent to the present anguish of the Italian football league.
Have the police intervened in racing before?
It must be said that their previous form would not encourage you to have a bet. In 1995, they gave the sport a comparably turbulent experience by including five jockeys among 15 arrests, but the case collapsed. This time, the scale and cost of their investigation is unprecedented and the advent of betting exchanges has certainly given them more scope. After all, the big problem in such cases has always been the quest for "a smoking gun". Suspicious practice in horseracing is hard enough to identify if you know the business intimately. To others, racing can be an impenetrable maze. Some routine practices might be considered dubious by an outsider, for instance, but are so familiar to punters that anyone who cannot perceive them is frankly beyond protection.
What happens to racing's image now?
Whatever the outcome in the courts, it could be argued that damage has already been done - both to the reputation of the individuals facing charges, who could justifiably complain they have already had a cloud over them for the best part of two years, and to the sport itself.
Racing is torn between the determination to prove its probity, and anxiety about the signals sent out by the self-scrutiny. The industry depends on a share of betting profits, and its share of a booming gambling market is diminishing. It is therefore imperative that punters trust the sport - both those who steer the horses, and those who in turn keep jockeys on the straight and narrow.
Some have always secretly nursed the belief that its immoral adventures give the Turf an agreeably picaresque flavour. But if it is wrong to think of British racing as fundamentally corrupt, then it is equally wrong to persevere with such a convenient delusion. Everyone now accepts that the stakes are far too high.
Is the Sport of Kings plagued by corruption?
* Betting exchanges have made it possible for anyone to profit from the defeat of a particular horse
* Racing is too conservative and introspective to apply adequate safeguards
* Cheats know it is hard to prove why a horse has failed to perform, and any connection to their own financial gain
* Betting exchanges have made it much easier to trace those who profit from malpractice
* Despite a crackdown from regulators, proven corruption has so far been only marginal
* Most assumptions about the day-to-day workings of an unsparingly competitive sport are ignorant


The Mob, Murder Inc. and Madison Square Garden: Boxing's Tale of Corruption

By Jon Vale, Contributor
29 August 2011
Dim lights barely puncture the cigarette-fueled mist that envelops the room. The smooth sound of Louis Armstrong glides across the air, soothing the ears of New York’s biggest players and high-rollers as they sip the most refined scotch money can buy and talk about the world.  
The time is 1950’s New York; the place is Toots Shor bar, on 51st Street Manhattan, and everything about it is effortlessly cool.
In the corner sit four particularly shady men, who seem uninterested in socializing with the other drinkers of the day. The eldest of these is Jim Norris, one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in American sport during the mid-20th Century. 
There isn’t a lucrative pie this wily operator doesn’t have his finger in; champion racehorses, the National Hockey League and Madison Square Garden; Norris is a major influence in all three, along with holding his primary title of President of the International Boxing Club. 
This club is THE organization in boxing throughout the 1950s, and Jim Norris is the man with the connections to ensure it stays that way.
Sat to Norris’ left is the most intellectual of the four, equipped with his trademark heavy-framed glasses and none-too-flashy suit, Truman Gibson. 
A qualified lawyer and influential campaigner for black rights in the political and military fields, Gibson was now deeply engrossed in the complex world of professional boxing having excelled whilst managing former heavyweight champion Joe Louis. 
A shrewd legal mind and uncanny eye for business opportunity had turned Gibson into one of the International Boxing Club’s biggest assets, often acting as the friendly public face of an organization long associated with New York’s murky underworld.
Infamous Mobsters
The two other men at this table are primary reasons for this unwelcome association. 
Blinky Palermo and Frankie Carbo were two of New York’s most notorious mobsters, both serving lengthy spells in prison at some stage for murder. 
Carbo is the brighter of the two, spotting the riches that could potentially be made from the profitable world of boxing promotion, a much cushier job than his previous employment as a gunman for Murder Inc. 
Palermo, on the other hand, is the muscle; a squat little bull of a man with a fuse liable to blow at the slightest flicker. Carbo, while no stranger to a spot of intimidation, gives the orders; Palermo carries them out, often going violently beyond what was asked of him. 
British journalist Kevin Mitchell, who wrote extensively about the mob and boxing in his book ‘Jacobs Beach’, is very clear on the type of man Frankie Carbo was.
“He was a charmer, looked after his mum, all that stuff. But he had this split personality; he could be ruthless, aggressive, one of the scariest guys you’d ever meet. They called him 'Mr. Grey', because he just stayed in the shadows.
"He didn’t want a public profile; he wanted to do things in private, without people knowing his face. That’s just how he operated, a nameless face who was arguably the most powerful man in boxing at that time.”
It was Carbo, ably assisted by Norris, Truman and his murdering mate Palermo, who sat at his table in the sublimely classy Toots Shor bar and decided the fate of the world’s top boxers. And given the vast number of talented fighters in the 50s, especially compared to today’s standards, this was a lot of dreams to be juggling with. 
Sports like American Football, basketball and baseball were not the financial juggernauts they are today; a career in boxing was arguably the most appealing and potentially lucrative to any promising athlete in the world, with the title of World Heavyweight Champion the biggest in all of sport. Put simply, boxing was massive. 
Worthless Effort
Yet, for the great fighters of the day it didn’t matter how much hard graft they put in, how many long hours they spent running the roads or how many punches they threw with venom into the heavy bag. To get to the top, unless they were absolutely exceptional, it was a case of who they knew rather than what they knew if they intended to get ahead. 
Mike Silver, boxing historian and author of the acclaimed book ‘The Arc of Boxing’, explains further: “The mob's influence was pervasive during the 1950s primarily because they controlled the International Boxing Club - the sport's major promotional outfit. And since the IBC controlled televised boxing that gave the mobsters even more power. 
"Frankie Carbo and Blinky Palermo controlled the lightweight and welterweight championships. In addition they had silent partnerships in the management of many top contenders desirable to television.
“I'm not saying that every fight was fixed but a number of lightweight and welterweight championship fights were fixed, either by paying off judges or one of the fighters agreeing to throw a fight. Many other non-title fights were fixed as well.
"It was very easy to fix a fight as you only had two men competing so you just had to get one of the fighters to cooperate. The only positive thing to say about mob control in the 50s was that important bouts got made and the business ran smoothly. But it was corrupt in many ways and that corruption eventually rotted the sport from the inside.”  
Boxing historian Ray McCormack agrees. “The mob's influence was enormous and everyone knew it, but it was hard to prove. Dan Parker of ‘The New York Mirror’ was a crusading reporter against the mob in boxing, and there were a few others such as the famous Jimmy Cannon. But a lot of writers were getting payoffs from promoters and managers to look the other away and ‘promote’ fighters. This practice was not new. It's as old as boxing itself.” 
The mob controlled it all, from the trainers and managers to the reporting journalists, with a combination of intimidation and financial backing ensuring everybody the mob wanted was under their control. To break this cycle, a man far-removed from boxing’s jurisdiction was required to take a stand.
Moral Citizen
This man was Estes Kefauver. Born in Madisonville, Tennessee, Kefauver was the very personification of the word ‘nerd’. 
A childhood spent trawling through works of Shakespeare was followed by a law degree from Yale, where a thirst for politics and government was developed, and eventually quenched with his election to the Senate in 1949. 
A thoroughly decent and trustworthy man, Kefauver believed in the goodness of men, believed in America’s morals and treated all those that stepped into his office, be they white, black, purple or green, with the utmost dignity and respect.
Organized crime disgusted him. The criminal work of the mafia, where decency was considered irrelevant in the endless pursuit of personal satisfaction, went against all the principles he longed to believe in. So once Kefauver had his hands upon some real reins of power, he wasn’t going to squander the opportunity. 
He set about ending organized crime with a verve and vigour seldom seen in politicians, a breed whose grand speeches and preaching of ethics are rarely backed up by action. He ignored political bartering, ignored compromise and slowly, despite making several mistakes along the way, got the job done.
It was in 1960 that the Kefauver Committee was finally able to bring justice against boxing’s illegal ruling classes, because of a fighter, these murdering mobsters had deemed too unstable to consider a serious investment. 
Don Jordan, a talented if erratic welterweight, was identified as a potential champion by the most legal of this unholy foursome, Truman Gibson. With this influential backer supporting him, Jordan, with a less than impressive career record, suddenly found himself thrust into a world title shot against the recently crowned champion Virgil Akins.
Jordan, despite being an overwhelming underdog, won. This unremarkable fighter, a man whom the mob had thrown into a title match without yet negotiating their stake in him should he emerge victorious, was now a world champion ready to headline the biggest boxing shows in the world. 
Carbo, furious at how such sloppiness could potentially cost him thousands of dollars, set about his usual tactics of intimidation. Jordan’s manager, Don Nesseth, refused to buckle, telling Carbo and his henchmen in no uncertain terms they would not be getting a ‘cut’ of his new welterweight world champion. 
An associate of Nesseth and the man who first introduced Jordan to Truman Gibson, Jackie Leonard, reported Carbo’s bullying antics to the authorities. Unsurprisingly, Leonard was found beaten senseless days later.
Brought to Trial
Leonard's well-being was a sacrifice even a man of Estes Kefauver’s morality could withstand. 
Charges of extortion, menacing and conspiracy toward Leonard and Nesseth were brought against the trio of Gibson, Carbo and Palermo, with Norris’ legal connections in the world of horse racing and hockey saving him from prosecution. 
The three-month trial was a blockbuster, with top managers, trainers, promoters and boxers all called to the stand in an effort to officially unravel in court the severity to which boxing had become a play thing for New York’s illustrious underworld. 
Every day the evidence stacked up against Palermo and Carbo particularly, with a list of their associates touching almost every major player in 1950’s boxing. The eventual verdict was damning; 25 years in Alcatraz for Carbo, 15 years in prison for Palermo and five years probation for the comparatively innocent Gibson.
This punishment was just reward for these lifetime criminals, especially given the lasting effect their corruption had upon boxing’s top practitioners of the time. Ike Williams, one of the sport’s greatest ever lightweights, once famously said: “See these eyes? These aren’t even my real eyes. Blinky robbed me blind!” 
Throughout their dominance over boxing the mob made millions of dollars from it, stealing money from the brave men who stepped through the ropes of boxing rings around America every single week. 
They orchestrated a monopoly to suit those "in the know", rewarding the greedy majority on their payroll and hounding the brave few that dared to take a stand against them. And, most criminally, they diminished the in-ring accomplishments of some of the sport’s greatest ever fighters, whose heroic battles will forever be tarnished with an element of doubt, with observers now unsure whether any defeated man was in fact a brave loser or mob-instructed quitter. 
Given the sheer intensity of boxing as a sport and the risks that every single fighter takes with each match, this is a scepticism this forever-proud sport can do without.     
Kevin Mitchell is Boxing Correspondent for The Guardian. All quotes were obtained in a first-hand interview.
Mike Silver is an esteemed figure in the world of boxing, having written for The Ring magazine, The New York Times and Boxing Monthly as well as writing the acclaimed "The Arc of Boxing: The Rise and Decline of the Sweet Science". All quotes were obtained in a first-hand interview.
Ray McCormack is a renowned boxing historian who is a member of the International Boxing Research Organisation. All quotes were obtained in a first-hand interview.