The Best I’ve Ever Seen ……………

The Best I’ve Ever I Seen

Some of my work colleagues and I were having a discussion as to the best sport stars we’ve seen at (in) their respective sports. I told them that as I wasn’t all that versed to many of the top athletes or teams here in the US that we’ve all seen over the course of our lives. Being a Brit ,I’ve seen my share of stars across varying sports arenas. But across the North American landscape I’ve not seen many of the best, per say.

Having arrived here in the early nineties , the primary US athletes that I knew or were aware of, were tennis players and track stars , John McEnroe , Jimmy Connors , Arthur Ashe , Stan Smith , Pete Sampras , Andre Agassi , Carl Lewis , Lerory Burrell , Mike Powell , Ed Moses and Michael Johnson .

Now don’t get me wrong but as good as those players are . To my mind the best tennis player I’d ever seen was Bjorn Borg ! Over the course of his illustrious career he’d won “eleven” Grand Slam singles titles. But what was even more astounding was the rate at which he won those titles. Five successive Wimbledon singles titles and six French singles titles. All of those titles were won before retired at the age of 27. Borg did make a brief comeback but it was short lived. And people would suggest that Sampras was a far greater player than Borg ? In what universe ? Measure their feats over their comparative ages and you’ll see that Borg had achieved far more and that’s with the fact of him retiring from the game at a comparative early age. Experts my a_s !

Bjorn Borg wins his fifth successive Wimbledon title in defeating John McEnroe in 1980.

Now people might suggest that Sampras was Borg’s equal but anyone who knows the game of tennis will know that Sampras’ game was flawed when it came to playing on clay. Now we’ve seen the rise of Roger Federer and there’s no doubt in that he is the greatest male player of this or any other generation of male tennis players . Fourteen Grand Slam singles’ titles should be proof of that and the fact that he’s made it to the semi-finals of 19 straight Grand Slam singles tournaments. No male or female tennis player in the ‘Open or pre-Open era’ has ever accomplished that feat. And it’s unlikely to repeated or be surpassed by another player in the future. That is complete dominance of a sport , far greater than that of Tiger Woods’ dominance of the PGA Tour .

HBO’s presentation of the now infamous Hagler vs Hearns middleweight bout 1979. One of the most vicious bouts there will ever be in the annals of boxing.

I’ve gotten to the stage where I look at the sport of boxing and just think to myself what the hell went wrong with this damn sport ? The top fighters rarely fight each other anymore. And then we have an ass in boxing promoter Bob Arum telling us that the sport of MMA is ran and by a bunch of racial bigots. This coming from a promoter who once described one of the boxers in his stable …. “as one of the ‘best niggers’ I’ve ever had “. Now forgive me, but if Arum can be that condescending and still hold down his position as one of sport’s most powerful promoters. Then it would suggest to me that the sport is simply devoid of integrity . Both Arum and Don King have made a mockery of the sport.

Ali knocks out George Foreman in Kinshasa , Zaire to win the world heavyweight title.

Now I’m not going to deny that Muhammad Ali is the ‘greatest heavyweight boxer’ of all time and that’s with due respect to Joe Louis . His feats in the ring simply speak for themselves. The three time heavyweight champion of the world. And the fact that for almost four years he was denied the right to defend his title having never lost in the ring. He was stripped of his title for refusing to enlist in the US military and to fight in the ‘Vietnam War’ . As a conscientious objector , it was his right but politically the Lyndon Johnson administration wanted to make an example of the fighter. His epic ‘three epic fights’ with Joe Frazier and then his emotional laden bout with Larry Holmes cemented Ali’s legendary status. Less we forget also, there was ‘the great upset’ when he knocked out the then ‘invincible’ George Foreman in Kinshasa , Zaire. And although growing up I saw many of Ali’s fights. I still felt that when it was indeed time for him to walk away from the sport that he graced for so many years. He simply stayed in it for all of the wrong reasons. He was coerced into this decision by his then promoter Don King. And in King , you had someone who essentially is a parasite who clings to the boxers in his stable very much in the same way that a fly loves to be around fecal matter looking for anything it can derive of it that would be of benefit to them at the time.

My own favorite boxer in the ring was and still is Marvin Hagler . And though many well feel that Sugar Ray Robinson is the greatest middleweight of all time. Which he could well have been but I’m not so sure that a ‘Sugar’ Ray Robinson at his best could beat Marvin Hagler ! And though many talk about Ray Leonard being a supremely gifted fighter but I feel that Leonard simply fought to please himself and to make money. And that has been essentially it as far as his legacy was concerned. We’ve since the dominance of Bernard Hopkins within the division and his 20 successful defenses of the middleweight title. But the pedigree of the fighters of this era when measured against the era of Hagler , Leonard and Tommy Hearns pales into comparison. Middleweight fighters of this era are nowhere as skilled or versed as boxers, much less punchers or knockout artists.

Hagler for his part fought all comers and defended his title successfully eleven times before eventually losing it to ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard , in what some still consider to be a controversial split decision to this day. Hagler walked away from the sport angered by the decision. Leonard went on to further glory but to this day he knows that the decision went a long way in leaving the sport befuddled as to the decision making of the judges and the fracturing of the sport. Leonard for his part continued to fight adding to his legacy until he retired from the ring inauspiciously. He made one or two comebacks against lackluster opponents. But problems away from the ring soon blighted his personal life. Substance abuse , allegations of spousal battery and then a rather acrimonious divorce from his then wife.


Ed Moses wins Olympic gold in the 1976 Olympics in the men’s 400 meters hurdles .

When people talk about records and how special they are, the talk about Joe DeMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak in baseball. The UCLA Bruins’ 87 game win streak and Hank Aaron’s home run record. And as phenomenal as those records are. Very rarely do I ever hear the name of track and field star Ed Moses’ name being mentioned and his feat as the world’s greatest high hurdler . Over the course of 122 races at in the 400 meter hurdles event, Moses went unbeaten . And to add to his feat Ed Moses won two Olympic gold medals and multiple world championships on the track over the distance. But that span of 122 successive victories were over the span of a decade . Consider this also, of the fifty fast times ever at the distance , 28 of those times are held by Ed Moses. That is dominance my friends , complete and utter dominance. But unfortunately the sport of track and field is no longer the bastion of US male dominance. It has now become a niche sport that now only gets heightened interest once the quadrennial Summer Olympics comes around . Then and only then, is there a heightened interest in track and field and many of its major star athletes.

Bolt   wins   200m   in   world   record  time  of   19.30  at  the  Beijing  Olympics  .  photo  appears   courtesy  of   bbc.co.uk/sports/  ................

Usain Bolt wins with the men’s 200 meters’ Final at the Beijing Olympics the world record time of 19.30. It would be one of three gold medals won by the Jamaican athlete all in world record times . photo appears courtesy of bbc.co.uk/sports ……………..

The world was more than in awe when Usain Bolt burst unto the world at the Beijing Olympics . His world record shattering feats at the 100 200 meters and 4x100m relay , has left the Jamaican track star at the top of heap in the track and field world. And Bolt looks to successfully defend his titles at the 2012 London Olympics . But before that he’ll also look to defend his IAAF World Championship titles in those events. Bolt to my mind may well have the career that can span a decade if he’s totally dedicated to his sport. At present there isn’t a track star in the world that is his equal ! And the notion that Tyson Gay is even in the same area code as him as a track athlete, is like making the comparison between a Lamborghini Murcielago and a Dodge Pinto . It’s simply not justified at all ! We’ve seen how ordinary Gay was made to look in Beijing and prior to their meeting at the Olympics, Bolt literally took the mental resolve of his American opponent and completely shattered it. When an athlete already has you beat psychologically then inevitably you will be defeated physically.

Bolt wins   gold in the  100 meters   going   away   from  his   fellow  competitors   in   Beijing  in  a  world  record  time of   9.69 .    photo   appears  courtesy  of  Reuters/   David   Duscherre  ...............
Bolt wins gold in the 100 meters going away from his fellow competitors in Beijing in a world record time of 9.69 . photo appears courtesy of Reuters/ David Duscherre ...............

This will be the first part in a series of pieces that I’ll be doing on an athletes that I’ve come to admire during foray into the love of sports . Be sure to look out for part two . I trust that you’ll enjoy the series ? And by all means chime on with a comment of your own concerning the athletes I’ve mentioned here and those who you’ve seen that have left you in awe as to prowess in their chosen sporting endeavor.

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………….

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Aaliyah feat’g Timbaland ……….”We Need A Resolution”
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Author: tophatal ...........

An avid sports' fans that's all !!!!!

11 thoughts on “The Best I’ve Ever Seen ……………”

  1. I dunno…thought I’d see some awesome looking broads….instead I got something about sports, damn what a letdown LOL
    I think the best boxer I have ever seen was Ali, hands down.
    Even with the juice…Barry Bonds////Pete Rose and Johnny Bench.
    Arthur Ashe for tennis. Johnny Unitas, Bradshaw and Staubach. Forgot Montana……….Tigger Woods and Arnie, golf

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    1. al clements

      Ali is by far the best boxer I’ve ever seen in the ring. But I’ve an affinity for Marvin Hagler . He ducked no one and when it came to fighting in the ring . I doubt that there’s been a better boxer counter puncher in the game at the division.

      In golf I’ve seen Greg Norman at his best and at his very worst. At the same time ‘Nicklaus Palmer era’ had that edge to it. Nowadays it’s Tiger leading the field by a mile and there’s absolutely no serious challengers to the guy’s dominance of the sport. One of my own favorite golfers is the Spaniard Seve Ballesteros . He was absolutely great and he more than anyone else did more to put European golf on the map more than anyone else. Faldo was good but he simply didn’t Ballesteros’ personality. Nick Faldo was hum-drum and robotic.

      In part two of the series I’ll touch on sports such as the NBA , MLB , soccer , and many of the female athletes as well, that I’ve admired.

      Vanessa Minnillo

      I trust that you like whipped cream and strawberries ? LOL,LOL,LOL !!! Heroes’ Ali Larter in her younger days.

      So be on the lookout for it all. Sorry there were no ‘hot chicks’ this time around but here’s something to wet your appetite.

      Alan Parkins

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  2. I know he wasn’t the most gifted tennis player, but there was no one I would rather watch play the game than Jimmy Connors. He was the hardest working player that I’ve ever seen.
    As far as boxing goes, I’m just glad I was around to witness such great fighters as Ali, Frazier, Hagler, and Leonard to name but a few. The likes of we probably will never see again.
    When it comes to baseball, I must admit to being partial to the players of my youth. Players like Mays,Mantle,Rose, and Aaron.
    The name Edwin Moses always reminds me of watching the speed and skill I witnessed during the best olympics I have ever watched.
    Thanks for the memories man. Have a great weekend!

    Like

    1. aero

      Connors to me was a great player but what he lacked in skill he more than made up for in grit and determination. He may not have been as gifted as McEnroe or Agassi or Sampras. But man he just simply wouldn’t give up when he was on the court. My only problem initially was his immature attitude and the fact that he’d always attack an umpire verbally when things weren’t going right. He much like his peers at the time McEnroe and Nastase just seem to let loose with the profanity against the officials for no good reason. It didn’t serve the game well at all.

      In part two of the series I’ll touch on baseball and some of the other sports and their athletes. But I’d agree with you on the players you’ve mentioned . Each of them in their own way brought something to the table. And they were exemplary even if they had their off the field problems , as the case maybe . Thanks for chiming in with a comment and here’s an added bonus in a similar vein as the one given al clements.

      Vanessa Perroncel

      I think you’d be happy with either in your bed wouldn’t you ?
      Katie Price aka Jordan.

      Alan Parkins

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    1. Chris Humpherys

      This’ll be a regular series that I’ll do from time to time. Next up will be female athletes and other sports such as soccer , NFL, MLB, and F1 .

      I’m just sitting here in the office watching time go by. Set up three corporations and a tax shelter. Don’t let the either the US Treasury or IRS know. It’s all legal but the way that the Feds and FBI having been going after tax dodgers , who knows what’ll happen ?

      Alan Parkins

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  3. You have to put the UCONN women up there in greatest ever, since no one can really beat them.

    But, as for the greatest that you put out there, I have to go with Iron Mike. I loved Hagler and he was a mini Tyson, but people fought Hagler and got whooped in the ring. People signed up tot fight Tyson and they were seriously scared and whooped BEFORE getting into the ring.

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    1. Steve

      Part two of the series I’ll be touching on the female athletes and sports they participate in. And you’re right about the U Conn (Women’s) Huskies . They’re so far ahead of everyone else that it’s frightening . But it’s plain in the male oriented and dominated world of sports they’re never going to get the recognition that they so richly deserve.

      As for Tyson , he much like Ali intimidated his opponents. But Tyson’s problem was that he couldn’t fight a ten much less a twelve round fight if his life depended on it. His defense was flawed and he only knew one way to fight and that ‘was to fight’ and not box when needed.

      Alan Parkins

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  4. Interesting read! I like the way you covered a lot of sports for the blog. Wanted to direct you to two things: firstly in relation to your blog I wrote a piece last year on Usain Bolt’s amazing achievements which you can take a look at here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/aug/21/usain-bolt-human-achievement

    Secondly my new blog, on Liverpool’s excellent performance against Sunderland on Sunday, has inspired many Reds fans to believe that Liverpool can still get fourth spot. Here’s what I thought of the match: http://vaishalibhardwaj.wordpress.com/

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    1. Vaishali

      It’s my firm belief that Bolt is the most dominant track & field athlete we’ve seen in years. If he keeps himself in shape then there’s no reason not to believe that he won’t be just as dominant in London for the 2012 Olympics .
      He is that good !

      Alan Parkins

      Like

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