On May 19, 2012, a rumor filtered through the toy collector community that Thomas Hauser had dressed like Optimus Prime on three occasions and had filmed Transformer porn for release in Eastern Europe.
See how easy that was?
In a recent article for Max Boxing, Thomas Hauser, a well-regarded member of the boxing media and former grand poobah of the Boxing Writers Association of America, began a two-part expose on the issue of performance enhancing drugs in boxing (The PED Mess) with an unsubstantiated and unsourced rumor about Floyd Mayweather:
“On May 20, 2012, a rumor filtered through the drug-testing community that Mayweather had tested positive on three occasions for an illegal performance-enhancing drug.”
With plenty of actual, proven cases of PEDs use in the sport and, literally, a half-dozen equally unsubstantiated rumors currently floating around the fight and boxing writer community, he went right at Mayweather.
There are many possible reasons for this, but the truth will remain in Hauser’s head and on his conscience. Just let it be said that tossing out such a rumor with no validation other than its status as “a rumor filtered through the drug-testing community” is disgustingly unprofessional.
Yeah, Hauser is a better, more accomplished writer than yours truly. His series on HBO was interesting, biting, and eye opening– until his silence was bought by the network via some token consultant job thrown his way. That’s why this shart of an expose– mostly built via cut and paste scrapbook method from other writers’ work– was so disappointing.
I’m not going to pretend to find some intrigue and value to “The Ped Mess” just because Hauser wrote it. The fact is that when you set up your piece with a highly unprofessional eye-catching unsourced rumor up front, the rest of the work will suffer. Kind of like a master chef serving his soiled old man briefs as the first course of a meal, but then insisting that the other six courses will be stellar.
In this recent laborious opus aeternum, the dean of modern boxing journalism managed to rehash the winding, twisting road of recent PEDs intrigue– six months after the fact– and come to the same conclusions that many of us had already expressed publicly, back when these were actually timely issues. That can all be forgiven. Clearly, the man is fighting to stay relevant and hard-hitting now that he can no longer use his HBO moles to feed him behind-the-scenes gossip. But, really, what was all of this supposed to accomplish? And why go out of your way to toss a wildly unsubstantiated rumor into a piece where the rest of the sources have been meticulously documented?
Maybe there is truth behind the Mayweather rumor. Who knows? We certainly don’t know how true it is by anything Hauser wrote. Hauser just decided to toss it out there with not even the pretense of citing a protected source.
And this is the second time Max Boxing has chosen to lob that rumor out there.
The first time was via sneaky, indirect way when Golden Boy’s attorneys mentioned the rumor in a cease and desist letter to Max Boxing’s Gabriel Montoya, which the website then proceeded to publish on its front page.
I’m not pretending to know the truth here or the real motivations behind the selective targeting of specific fighters. Oh, I hear stories. I hear plenty of stories and rumors that get sent my way. The difference is that I don’t go ahead and print them without actual proof.
As for the issue of PEDs in boxing– It’s a dead issue unless someone, somehow convinces some centralized authority to make it a priority.
Voluntary testing is pure publicity and should be seen as such. We’ve already had fighters “busted” for banned substances under volunteer testing and, because it’s all done outside of the jurisdiction of any recognized commission, none of it matters a lick. As we’ve seen, fighters can test positive and just pick up and resume their career when the dust settles. Hell, Erik Morales tested positive and still found a way to fight that same weekend. PEDs enforcement and detection is not even worth discussing if it’s all done via private contract by event organizers or fighter management.
The grandstanding members of the boxing media who beat on this dead horse are looking for the quick, sexy headline. It’s the easy way to generate some buzz. All it takes is one anonymous rat willing to pass information along and a reporter’s own willingness to disregard professionalism in favor of salacious TMZ gossip.
Nothing is being accomplished by any of this PEDs muckraking. As is usually the case in the boxing media, this is about ego-satisfaction and maintaining the appearance of propriety.
Maybe Hauser, who had been widely blasted by his peers and by knowledgeable fans for signing his silence over to HBO, is feeling the pressure to stay relevant and “in touch” with his journalistic roots.
But picking and choosing unsubstantiated rumors out of the trash bin of behind-the-scenes boxing gossip is not journalism. It’s just irresponsible. From some of these sleazy media types, we expect such things. From Hauser, we expect better.
You can email Paul at email@example.com or listen to one of his many podcasts dedicated to Doomsday preparedness. Paul is a full member of the Burger King Kids’ Club, a born iconoclast, and an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church.