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Floyd Jr accuses HBO of race bias
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Recently retired boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. accused the US pay-TV channel Home Box Office of bias against him and other black fighters.

Mayweather, a 31-year-old former Olympic bronze medalist from Grand Rapids, Michigan, told The Grand Rapids Press in an interview on Friday that HBO "is great," but criticized its boxing analysts.

"They talk about Kelly Pavlik, a white fighter, like he's the second coming. Or they go crazy over Manny Pacquiao. But I'm a black fighter," Mayweather said. "Is it racial? Absolutely. They praise white fighters, they praise Hispanic fighters, whatever. But black fighters, they never praise."

HBO and Showtime are the two major American pay-TV channels that televise many of the high-profile bouts.

"I've noticed it for a long time but I couldn't say anything because I had to do business with them. I'll still do business with them, but I'm done holding my tongue."

HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg said in a statement that the network, which has carried many of Mayweather's bouts, was disappointed to hear of the boxer's remarks and denied his claims.

Abruptly retired

Mayweather gave the interview on the first day of a three-day retirement celebration in downtown Grand Rapids. He abruptly retired last month at the peak of his athletic skill and earning power.

Mayweather retired after a remarkable 18-month stretch in which he beat Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton, made more than US$50 million in the ring and became a bankable celebrity outside it.

In the past year alone, Mayweather has appeared on the American TV show Dancing With the Stars, worked on his record label, served as the honorary starter at the Indianapolis 500 auto race and entered the wrestling ring.

In Las Vegas, Kendall Holt survived two knockdowns in the first 35 seconds, then landed a right that stopped Ricardo Torres just over a minute into the first round to capture the WBO junior welterweight title on Saturday.

Holt, 27, improved to 24-2 with 13 knockouts, getting a bit of payback for a suspect loss to Colombian Torres, 28, in his hometown of Barranquilla last September. Holt was leading on all three judges' scorecards when that fight was halted.

Torres (32-2) was defending the junior welterweight title for the third time.

(Agencies via Shanghai Daily July 7, 2008)

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