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  • Caesar Cliffius

    My name is Cliff Eastham. I live in West Virginia with my wife Debbie, the loveliest lady in the world, and my youngest daughter, Holly who is equally as lovely as her mother.

    I enjoy writing about sports, and love a good healthy debate. My favorite teams are the Cincinnati Reds and the Washington Redskins.

    There are only a couple of sports that I don't write about, Hockey and Soccer specifically. My favorite sports are Baseball, Boxing, NFL, NCAA Basketball, MMA.

    Feel free to look around, and your comments are most welcome. Subscribe via email if you wish.

    It is decreed.....Caesar Cliffius
    this 8th day of December, in the Year of our Lord 2009.

Tiger Woods and Miguel Cotto: “Players” in Every Sense of the Word

If nobody else in the world is rejoicing over the news that former welterweight champion, Miguel Cotto is being sued for sexual harassment, I am sure Tiger Woods is.

All we have seen or heard for days, ad nauseum is Tiger Woods alleged affairs and sexual wrongdoings. It would be a breath of fresh air for Woods if the story moved up from page five. Misery loves company, or so they say.

Of course Cotto’s troubles are only alleged at this point. But, then so are Tiger’s, at least the majority of them.

A former employee of Cotto, Martha Chacon Acevedo is suing the boxer for a cool $500,000. She worked in a capacity not associated with his boxing endeavors. According to ESPN, Acevedo claims that she eventually yielded to his sexual advances, out of fear of losing her job. They had an affair, she alleges, for two months before she broke off the relationship. At that point, Cotto terminated her employment in October, 2008.

This would be nothing but a monetary issue if Cotto was not married with children. His family supposedly backs him wholeheartedly, but how many times have we seen this unsightly scenario unfold?

Cotto was whipped like a rented mule by Manny Pacquiao in November of this year, capturing his WBO Welterweight Championship belt in the process. When it rains, it pours.

The “Pride of Puerto Rico” is not the first professional athlete to alledgely extend his “training regimen” outside the bedroom. For that matter, thanks to Tiger he isn’t even the first this month.

Cotto does have an advantage on Woods when it comes to bringing “baggage” into his sports arena. Cotto can use it as a tool to build aggression against an opponent. Tiger, on the other hand, must have keen mental focus in order to perform his sport optimally,

Tiger has reportedly spent millions of dollars in a futile effort to keep his “transgressions” minimized. Miguel does not have the resources to write “big money” checks as a silencer for his alleged wrongdoings.

Sport fans have had their fill, I would suppose, of “off the job” trashings of their favorite athletes. Tiger has always been revered as a consummate professional and loved by the masses. Cotto is one of the most loved persons in Puerto Rico with a huge fan base.

It is wrong for we as parents to expect athletes and movie stars to serve as role models for our children. As hall of fame baseball pitcher, Bob Gibson said, “Why should I be a rold model for your kids. Be a role model for your own kids.”

Cliff Eastham is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report.

Did You Know That Miguel Cotto is Really Fernando Vargas ?

A boxer’s identity is something they have worked long and hard to achieve. Whether they want to be perceived as charming, polite, and gracious such as the identity crafted by the Golden Boy, Oscar de La Hoya; or a mean, frightful, vicious persona such as Ferocious Fernando Vargas.

The identity the boxer chooses is one that generally affects what the public perceives them to be. I think of Oscar and I think of something so pure it farts rainbows. On the other end of the spectrum when I think of Vargas I think of a monster who would rip your heart out and show it to you before your untimely demise.

The two fighters in this article, Vargas and Miguel Cotto, both like to present the feeling that they would absolutely die on their sword and be carried out on their shield rather than give up the conquest.

They both started out meteorically. Fernando Vargas reeled off 20 consecutive wins before sampling the acidic taste of defeat. On the other hand, Cotto had fought 32 times before his initial undoing.

Why do I draw comparisons between these two? What do they have in common?

Vargas and Cotto both fought some very good fighters on their way to the spotlight. Vargas was good enough to win a majority decision against Winky Wright in an IBF Light Middleweight title fight in 1999. That fight provided the impetus for Wright to go on a nearly seven-year streak where he didn’t lose again.

Miguel Cotto’s first fight with a marquee opponent, in my opinion, was in 2006 when he dealt Carlos Quintana his first defeat for the vacant WBA Welterweight title. Cotto beat Quintana into submission forcing him to retire in five rounds.

Vargas went on to beat Ike Quartey and Ross Thompson before giving us one of the most thrilling fights of the year when he succumbed to Felix Trinidad in a unification of the IBF and WBA Light Middleweight crowns. Vargas nearly fell on his own sword as Trinidad knocked him out in the 12th and final round. Both men had been down previously in the contest, Vargas twice in round one and three times in the final round. Trinidad was knocked down in the fourth.

After Cotto dispatched Quintana he went on to defeat Zab Judah, Shane Mosley and Alfonso Gomez before he met his “controversial” Waterloo. In a fight which he was being soundly whipped by Antonio Margarita, the corner threw in the towel near the beginning of the 11th round. Cotto’s camp claimed that Margarita had used an illegal substance in his gloves during the fight. It certainly tainted a beautiful performance by Margarita, but meanwhile left Cotto’s “superman” status somewhat deflated.

After Vargas was starched by Trinidad, he went on a successful two-fight rebuilding tour that brought him to the gates of Goldentown. That’s right a war with the Golden Boy.  Oscar beat him badly that night and Fernando was tested positive for steroids, resulting in a suspension of nine months and a $100,000 fine. Vargas denied the abuse of drugs but served the sentence and paid the fine.

Cotto knocked out Michael Jennings in a comeback cruise that was comprised of two fights. In the second fight he won a hard-fought split decision over Joshua Clottey in September of 2009, setting up what would be a fight for the ages with Manny Pacquiao, the pound-for-pound champion in the world.

Fernando Vargas went on to win against four handpicked opponents in the next two years and set up a big money fight with Sugar Shane Mosley. Mosley beat him like he stole something, twice actually, and then he lost a decision to Ricardo Mayorga, whose claim to fame was a three-round devastation of the late Vernon Forrest, and for smoking a cigarette in the ring after the fight. Vargas retired after that fight realizing that whatever he had once was gone.

In Cotto’s showdown with Manny it was evident that the beating he took at the hands of Margarito had taken its toll. He looked good for the first round or two but then was completely outclassed and ultimately disassembled by the non-stop action of Pacman.

There you have a portrait of two careers, both promising at the beginning. Both promoted highly by HBO and other puntiffs of the sport. Both fighters eventually revealing a chink in their proverbial armor, and both having it handed to them but a superior fighter.

Though Vargas’ career is over, the light switch hasn’t been turned off yet by Cotto. There is still millions to make, stiffs to fight, and much, much rebuilding to do if he should get another big money fight.

There is nobody left that Cotto can beat. Mosley would pick him apart this time, as would Pretty Boy Floyd Mayweather.

The end has come to Cotto’s tenure of greatness just as it did with Ricky “Hitman” Hatton.

Cliff Eastham is a Featured Columnist on Bleacher Report, where this article was first published.