On 21 August 2017, the web site NewsPunch published a fake news article claiming that Barry Gibson, a boxing promoter, was killed for revealing that the upcoming boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Connor McGreggor is fixed:
A boxing promoter who had been working on the upcoming Mayweather-McGregor bout, was found dead within hours of warning the fight is fixed.
Barry Gibson was found dead in his hometown of Washington D.C. in what has the hallmarks of an execution-style killing, hours after blowing the lid on the Mayweather-McGregor fight backstage at a press conference in Toronto, Canada.
NewsPunch is the new home for YourNewsWire, a disreputable web site that has garnered a reputation for publishing misinformation. Despite the new name, it seems that NewsPunch is continuing with the shoddy journalistic practices.
NewsPunch's Gibson article is illustrated with unrelated photographs. For instance, the featured image was swiped from a story about the 2002 D.C. sniper attack. Washington Post photographer Bill O'Leary took the photograph, which shows a police officer near a the body of woman killed in the attack. The caption reads:
Bill O'Leary / twp Five people shot dead, apparently at random and with frightening precision, over a 16 hour period in various Montgomery county locations within close proximity to each other. Pictured, a police officer takes measurements in front of the remains of a hispanic woman killed on a bench in front of a fast food restaurant (crisp^n juicy) near a post office in Leisure World plaza, on Georgia avenue.
NewsPunch also made a few logical errors. For instance, while the photograph shows a dead body on a bench, the text of the article claimed that Gibson had been killed in his Jeep.
The web site also claimed that Gibson worked with Mayweather Productions, but we found no mention of a promoter with that name on their web site. In fact, we have not been able to locate a boxing promoter named Barry Gibson at all.
NewsPunch also claimed that The Washington Post had published (then quickly deleted) a story about Gibson's death headlined "Boxing promoter, 44, found shot dead in 'execution-style' in D.C." and included an image of the supposed article:
This image, however, is doctored. We searched for this URL in various internet archives and Google's cached pages and found no record of this article ever appearing on the Washington Post. Rick Maese, a sports writer for the Post, told us in by email:
I can tell you that we never published any story about a boxing promoter being executed in DC in connection with the Mayweather-McGregor fight.