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29 NOVEMBER 2014

 

An Open Letter to Hillary Clinton




By Thomas Hauser

Dear Senator Clinton,

I know you’re disappointed at the way things worked out with your presidential campaign. But all is not lost. There’s a good chance that you can still be president of something.

Bernard Fernandez (current president of the Boxing Writers Association of America) says that he has no interest in another term. In fact, he has declared in Shermanesque fashion, “If nominated, I will not run; and if elected, I will not serve.”

That leaves a vacuum. To be honest; almost no one wants to be BWAA president because the job entails organizing the annual awards dinner, which is a time-consuming pain in the ass. That’s where you could come in.

Two days before the February 16th rematch between Kelly Pavlik and Jermain Taylor, you were campaigning in Ohio and held up a pair of boxing gloves. I saw it that night on ESPN SportsCenter. Jermain is from Arkansas. And if I recall correctly, you were first lady of the Ozark State for twelve years. But the Arkansas primary was over; the Ohio primary was coming up; and Pavlik is from Ohio. So there you were, rallying the troops for Kelly.

Anyway, while you were waving a pair of boxing gloves in the air, I said to myself, “This woman belongs in boxing.”

There are a lot of similarities between boxing and politics. John Schulian once wrote, “Nobody said boxing is polite. The only standard it ever had is that lying and succeeding often go hand in hand.”

Barney Nagler crafted the words, “Boxing is a craft in which double-dealing and malfeasance are considered tools of the trade.”

And then there are the thoughts of promoter Robert Waterman, who was asked if one of his fighters was loyal to him and responded, “He is today.”

Does that remind you of certain super-delegates?

Boxing, like politics, is mired in a perpetual civil war. The most disheartening thing about both endeavors is that outrageous conduct occurs in full view and no one in a position of authority does anything about it.

If you think that the federal government wastes money, you’ll be fascinated by the license fees that HBO pays for some of its fights. If you think that Karl Rove is a master of spin, you should have heard Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer extoll the competitive virtues of the Hopkins-Calzaghe undercard. And you can learn a thing or two about fundraising by watching WBC president Jose Sulaiman collect sanctioning fees.

Like politics, boxing is addictive. One of the anomalies about each is the number of people who tell you that they hate the business and it’s a miserable blankety-blank business; but they love being in the business anyway.

Like a true politician, Sugar Ray Leonard once said, “I always try to smile at the right time.”

And listening to you talk for the past year about the great state of wherever you happened to be campaigning at the moment, I couldn’t help but think that you sounded like a boxing promoter praising “the great chairman of the great state athletic commission” of wherever his fight was.

If you think that the in-fighting in politics is ugly, wait until you see what goes on with the world sanctioning body ratings committees and competition for network television dates.

If you think that the Republicans have been saying ugly things about you and Bill, check out what Ricardo Mayorga and Fernando Vargas said about each other.

Filibusters in the Senate? Listen to Bernard Hopkins.

As far as the Boxing Writers Association of America is concerned; as a rule, the BWAA requires that all new applicants show a substantial body of work for admission. You might not qualify under those guidelines. But I’m on the membership committee with Dan Rafael, Steve Farhood, Tim Graham, Tom Gerbasi, and Doug Fischer. I can’t promise anything; but you might catch a break.

If you get to be a member, the sky’s the limit. Apart from becoming BWAA president, you might win a Barney Award for good writing. And think big. With a boxing background, you conceivably could convince the Democratic National Committee to declare that, as the winner of the New York primary, you should be the mandatory challenger to John McCain.

And one more thought. How do I say this politely? As your campaign progressed, I noticed that your pants-suits started to look a bit tight. If you’d like, I can give you Mackie Shilstone’s telephone number. Mackie worked wonders as a physical conditioner with Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr. Alternatively, Gary Shaw can tell you where he buys his track suits.

In fairness, I should warn you that BWAA presidents are unfairly criticized from time to time. Bob Arum was upset because Floyd Mayweather Jr edged out Kelly Pavlik in balloting for 2007 “Fighter of the Year” honors. Thereafter, Bob questioned the manner in which Bernard Fernandez conducted the election. But given what the “Hillary haters” have said about you, it shouldn’t bother you much if Arum implies a teenie weenie bit that your integrity is at issue.

Also, Bob is a loyal Democrat. Earlier this year, he was asked if his political leanings were liberal. And he responded, “Of course I’m a liberal. Don’t I look intelligent?” You’re more likely to have trouble with Don King than with Bob.

Speaking of Don; he’s the only person I know who can conduct an entire press conference in a Santa Claus suit and make it work. He did that at the kick-off press conference for Roy Jones vs. Felix Trinidad. One of the joys inherent in becoming a boxing writer is that you’ll meet people like Don, Richie Giachetti, Norman Stone, and James Toney. As for some of the others; I won’t even try to explain Lou DiBella to you, other than to say that his heart is bigger than his mouth. Don Elbaum is a treat. And I’ll be curious to know what you think about Shelly Finkel.

Anyway, let me know if you’re interested in becoming a BWAA member. I can be reached by email at thauser@rcn.com.


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