by Tim Harrison
When “Ring Theory” podcast hosts Eric Raskin and William Dettloff announced some serious changes at The Ring magazine, fans across the globe voiced their concerns. Golden Boy Promotions, owner of The Ring since 2007, fired long-time editor-in-chief Nigel Collins and managing editor Joseph Santoliquito on Thursday, sending a shock to some in the media and the public. Raskin and Dettloff also announced that The Ring’s headquarters in Pennsylvania will be relocated to Los Angeles, where Golden Boy Promotions is located.
One can imagine how these kinds of personnel changes can cause some to question the future credibility, impartiality, and “superior” rankings of The Ring magazine. RingTV, the magazine’s website, has operated as a valuable promotional tool and informal public relations firm for Golden Boy Promotions since their unholy union of 2007. Co-editor Doug Fischer regularly calls the action for Golden Boy’s web streaming Fight Night Club cards, and it has been rumored he is a possible candidate to step in as editor of the magazine.
Eric Raskin expressed pessimism on his Twitter feed when responding to one fan calling this possibly “the worst thing to happen to The Ring since the ratings scandal in 1976”. Raskin’s reply: “It might prove to be even worse than the ‘70s scandal. We’ll see.”
While it should be noted that the reputations of Collins and Santoliquito have remained outstanding despite Golden Boy’s ownership of the magazine, it is not at all impossible to influence vulnerable parties in order to change rankings or even falsify records. The Ring’s involvement in the 1976 ratings scandal with Don King’s United States Boxing Championship Tournament is proof of this possibility.
There are those of us, however, that are not at all surprised at the recent moves. The writing has been on the wall for some time. And with Oscar De La Hoya’s inflammatory 2010 interview, in which he stated he would like to see boxing headed under one large promotional banner, similar to the way the Dana White runs the UFC, this may be one step in an attempt to make his vision a reality.
UFC Magazine is to the UFC what The Ring has been to boxing since the 1920’s; the sport’s leading publication. Throughout most of the history of The Ring it has covered the sport in its entirety, and not been focused entirely on one promotional company, as is the case with UFC Magazine. Combine De La Hoya’s desire to be boxing’s power broker with his company’s recent shake up of The Ring, and you can see the possibilities.
The recent personnel moves have dealt a blow to the faith of those that stood by and defended The Ring’s credibility and independence. A search of “Ring Magazine” on Saturday morning produced thousands of tweets from fans voicing their displeasure. 14-character obituaries for “The Bible of Boxing” littered the Twitterverse alongside mentions of canceled subscriptions.
Is the collective judgment correct? For those that did not call the 2007 purchase of The Ring as the magazine’s time of death, is there finally a cause for concern?
Our nature forces us all to want to bless this unholy union and give the Golden Boy and The Ring the benefit of the doubt, no matter how small the urge to do so. But in a sport that continually shits in its own socks as it drives itself deeper and deeper into relative obscurity, we can only expect the worst while we hope for the best.