A year in review, I think not!
This tends to be the time of year, where we tend to reflect upon the events of the outgoing three-hundred and sixty-five days. In sports, like any other , there too, fans and analysts alike will tend to dissect and reflect upon what is said to be their favorite moments of the 2013. From a personal standpoint, I believe that there were a number of highlights , but none that would simply have me jumping out of my seat and suggest that they were simply fantastic feats of excellence . As a once proud and avid boxing fan, well let’s just say it was another year of simple fatigue and neurosis for a sport now dying on its feet .
Floyd Mayweather still rules the roost as the best boxer on the planet , while his best adversary Manny Pacquiao made a comeback of sorts in claiming a title that does nothing for the legitimacy of a fighter who remains on a downward slide . Far be it for me to suggest that Pacquiao and his handlers are avoiding Floyd Mayweather , but a proposed mega-fight between these two long-time adversaries , no longer elicits the excitement that it would have perhaps two or three years ago . Pacquiao’s manager Bob Arum still believes that a fight can be made , but had he not spent a great deal of his time haranguing Mayweather and the boxer’s main representative Leonard Ellerbe , then perhaps a fight of this magnitude would have definitely happened a long time ago.
If dinosaurs were still alive today, then I believe that they would be truly represented by the Neanderthals , who now are part of the heavyweight scene of boxing ! The Klitschko brothers for the past eight years have fought no one of anyone of any real consequence while padding their statistics with their numerous title defenses of the heavyweight title . To suggest that Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko , are now the two best boxers within the division, is truly an affront to the sport and it denigrates the achievements of champions past , when boxing historians are now trying to suggest that the Ukrainian siblings are the most dominant fighters to have come along in the sport of boxing over the past decade. Somehow, these individuals, are either viewing the division through rose-colored glasses or indeed the stature of heavyweights within boxing, is extremely dire . It may well be both, but I can assure of this, if Mike Tyson were to make comeback and get himself into shape , that was part of his preeminent reign , early in his career. He would have, clearly carved up this division and provided us with an undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. Instead, it has been the Klitschko’s refusal to meet each other in the ring, that clearly sets not only the sport back , but also from the division from now being taken seriously .
As to the other notable events within boxing that are said to have taken place , if you simply have no recognition of many of the fighters now afforded championship status , why would anyone seek to take an interest ?
The Miami Heat strolled their way to a second consecutive NBA title , albeit , that in the 2013 NBA Finals , they were pushed to the limits by the San Antonio Spurs . Miami Heat player LeBron James proved beyond a reasonable doubt , why he is now arguably the best player in the NBA , leaving little else to the imagination with his spectacular play during those Finals. The four-time League MVP and reigning two-time reigning Finals’ MVP has definitely cemented his legacy , as he now seeks to add a third consecutive title for the franchise , and the Heat’s fourth overall .
Now while the Miami Heat may well seem to be laboring this season , do not be fooled into thinking that although with a revamped roster . The appetite of the players has lessened, as they seek to place themselves amongst a very select fraternity. Erik Spoelstra , his coaching staff and the front office , led by team President Pat Riley have a singular purpose in mind this season , and that is to make a successful defense of their title.
The Eastern Conference of the NBA this season has become an eyesore , for the most ardent of fans as the teams there , just seem to be going through the motions, without showing actual competitiveness or signs of real life . At present, only three of the top eight franchises , actually possess a winning record within the conference , and in all likelihood , we are likely to quite possibly see five of the eight occupants for the upcoming NBA Playoffs with conference records that will be, sub 500 . If that is not a sad indictment of the NBA brand at present , then the league hierarchy led by NBA Commissioner David Stern , has to offer the fans a succinct explanation for the league’s travails this season . Fans may well be willing to part with their hard-earned disposable income, but at what cost to their own allegiance to their teams, when the play has been so abhorrent.
Injuries, will continue to plague any team sport and rob it at times , of their marquee stars. Nowhere has this become more relevant or prevalent, than with the misfortunes of Chicago Bulls’ point guard Derrick Rose , who for the second time inside of eighteen months, has been lost to the league for an indeterminate period , through no fault of his own , as he once again succumbs to a career threatening injury. Chicago for its part , has continued on without the star , while posting some impressive wins , with coach Tom Thibodeau , now asking more of his players than ever before. As to whether or not the team can keep up their momentum over the course of the season remains to be seen .
Continuing to labor, under the belief, that they remain credible challengers to the Miami Heat and the high-flying Indiana Pacers . This season, if nothing else, the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks have provided their fans with a bellyful of comedic drama and quite actually, some horrendous play. With a combined record of eighteen and thirty-eight (9-19 apiece) , it is easy to understand why some are calling for the heads of Jason Kidd and Mike Woodson , respectively. Only the , actual ineptitude of Mike Shanahan and his handling of the playing staff of the Washington Redskins , might be considered a worst performing coaching experience than of any coach of the four major professional teams sports over the course of this or last season. Granted , Bo Porter and the managerial staff of the Houston Astros have been a testament to ineptitude over the past two seasons . Yes, it’s the Astros and we simply cannot expect any-less from baseball’s worst franchise over time span in question.
James Dolan and Mikhail Prokhorov , as the respective owners of the franchises in question , may well feel it appropriate to make a combined payroll outlay exceeding $200 million , to see an outpouring of such banality , fitting enough to make a child suffering from a stomach ailment , feel even worse than they already happen to be .
In the Western Conference last season’s conference champions the San Antonio Spurs are gently plodding along , as if they have not skipped a beat in terms of their form of last year. Gregg Popovich and his coaching staff still have the triumvirate of Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker to work with , along with the rising star of Danny Green , who last season proved himself to be a budding accomplice to the renowned trio. This season, it is hoped, that Green’s maturity, along with that of the team in general, will lift them over the hump and on to a fifth NBA title. Meanwhile, the rest of the West, saw the arrival of Doc Rivers as the new head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers , while what appears to be the angst of the Los Angeles Lakers still taking a turn for the worst, with Mike D’Antoni still unable to get the best out of what in actuality is a poorly assembled roster . With Kobe Bryant having only appeared in six games all year this season for the Lakers, it is hard to imagine how the team can fare without him and his leadership abilities. Lakers’ fans merely speak in hyperbole and cannot point to another player on the roster capable of leading the team in the player’s absence , such is their real lack of intelligence on the issue .
With Rivers’ arrival in Los Angeles to coach a team led by point guard Chris Paul , the question now being asked , is whether or not the coach can corral the talent on the roster and get these players playing as a cohesive unit on both ends of the floor . Vinny Del Negro tried as hard as he did to achieve that last season, but it was clear that the players felt it only necessary to show their prowess on offense and simply forget about defense altogether . Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan , will certainly, have to prove their worth in that, very aspect of the game if the Clippers are to have any real chance during the postseason , should they actually make it that far. With the only other real stories of any relevance within the conference , might just be the ascent of the Portland Trailblazers under head coach Terry Stotts this season and the growing signs that Damian Lillard is very much the player that many presumed him to be . Also back into the mix are the Oklahoma City Thunder , where the league’s top offensive duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are now making it a statisticians’ nightmare in trying to keep up with their combined offensive and defensive prowess. It is now fair to say , that there seems to be a new ” pecking order “ within the Western Conference , with once perennial Lakers now taking a back seat to teams with more athleticism and coaching ingenuity.
No matter how much anyone tries to spin it and this continued idiotic insistence in using the idiom, that there is such a thing as parity in the NFL . The fact of the matter is , the only reality has been that there are some good teams , mediocre teams , extremely inept coaching and no real dearth of talent at some of the more notable positions . For the protagonists, still trying to use parity to make their claims, and then please feel free to make your case. Otherwise , simply shut the hell up and look at the facts as they are being displayed right in front of your very eyes. Last season in the league , the Baltimore Ravens simply got into a rhythm a of consistency that brought them the Superbowl and laid the foundation for Joe Flacco to be given an exorbitant contract that he has failed to live up to this year , beyond his own lack of consistency , but failure to step up to the plate as a leader of this team .
In 2013, the Ravens have certainly regressed , but such has been the banality of the play , that the team still remains remotely in the hunt for a playoff berth , even with an 8-7 record within the AFC . Baltimore faces a sizable task on Sunday afternoon, when they face their divisional rivals and leaders of the AFC North , the Cincinnati Bengals in the final game of the season for both teams as the regular season comes to a finale. A win is imperative for John Harbaugh and the team if they are to have any chance of making the playoffs along with the failures and at the expense of the Miami Dolphins , Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers , if they are to assure themselves of a playoff berth.
The AFC as a conference , has now come down to which opponent, is capable of stopping the offensive juggernaut of the Denver Broncos and the record-breaking season of Peyton Manning , who now seems on course to win an unprecedented fifth league MVP Award , barring the downright stupidity of the voters. No other NFL player this season has remotely come close to putting up the type of statistics , much less show the consistency of Manning, as he and the Broncos have simply laid waste to the rest of the NFL over the course of the season . Nick Foles remains a nice feel-good story for the Philadelphia Eagles and their fans , but is anyone truly ready to trust that defense much less the coaching ability of Chip Kelly at this juncture ? Especially in light of what has been a downright pathetic showing within the NFC East by all four occupants of the division over the course of their respective schedules . The Seattle Seahawks for their part , while proving to be very effective , because of the progression of Russell Wilson and the undoubted ability and tenacity of Richard Sherman. Yet, the conference itself, the NFC remains a pick ‘em , as to who the outright conference champion is likely to be amongst the top four contenders . You simply cannot discount the Carolina Panthers and the coaching acumen shown by Ron Rivera , while Cam Newton has regained the type of form shown during his rookie season , while becoming a better all-round player and the apparent leader on that Panthers’ team . It is simply amazing what winning can do in changing a player’s attitude and mindset along with showing a great deal more maturity. Those traits have been evident with the Panthers’ quarterback , all season long. The Panthers will seek to not only close out their season with a win against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday , but also secure themselves their first divisional title since 2008 , when they won the NFC South quite handily over their closest rivals that season the Atlanta Falcons .
I do not believe that there was a great deal to be learned from this past baseball season , other than the fact that the owners still remain clueless , general managers are overpaid and work nowhere near hard enough some would have us believe . As to the players themselves , well let’s just say they remain in denial are poor examples as human beings as well as role as being, a role-model for the young . The entire playing fraternity’s stance on the use of banned substances within their sport remains a joke with not one noted player willing to step into the fray or up to the plate to address the issue of PED’s (performance enhancing drugs) within baseball . And yes , that does include the likes of Derek Jeter , Mike Trout , Albert Pujols , Miguel Cabrera , Mariano Rivera , Yasiel Puig .
When you have a union (MLBPA) that simply remains disingenuous alongside a league hierarchy made up middle-aged individuals who are not quite aware that we now are in the twenty-first century and that the sport has evolved . Then you simply can no longer take the game seriously on its merits , let alone point to any real positive strides that have been made. As to the purists falling in line , with the idiocy of the introduction the use of cameras for instant replay. If you are dumb enough to believe that to be the most important issue within the game , then simply bury your head in the sand or preferably in a bucket of dog crap and smell the odor emanating there , because it is simply no different from the bull#hit being served up from the MLB Commissioner Bud Selig during his entire tenure.
The season did not play out as planned for teams such as the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers , two teams with the highest payrolls in baseball , with a combined outlay exceeding $425 million , with several of their players being amongst the highest paid in the game. For managers Joe Girardi and Don Mattingly , their task was at a minimum, to guide both teams deep into the postseason . Anything less, had to be viewed as a major disappointment for both ball-clubs as well as their respective fans who are among the most rabid in all baseball , if not professional team sports. While those teams faltered , the storyline for much of the season was simply about whether or not the Pittsburgh Pirates could hold sway and make a successful attempt in gaining their first playoff berth in two decades. Granted, Yasiel Puig and the Dodgers did provide the fans in general with a fifty-game stretch , where the team went a 42-8 , a run that essentially made the NL West a foregone conclusion before the end of the season.
John Farrell and his managerial staff worked a major miracle, in taking a last placed team from 2012, and simply turning the Boston Red Sox into a championship caliber talent in 2013. GM Ben Cherington , felt it prudent enough to simply jettison a number of big name and highly paid stars , in order to make the roster a great deal more competitive. Contributions came from all round, as the improbable, became possible and the memory of Bobby Valentine’s year of incompetency , seem a distant memory from the past . Having won the AL East with considerable ease , the Red Sox were up to the challenge of the postseason , as they swept through the ALDS , ALCS and the World Series , without simply skipping a beat . Their opponents in the postseason finale, the St Louis Cardinals gave a bold effort , but they were found wanting in so many ways . Boston’s triumph in that series, was the ball-club’s third title in the past eight years and their eighth overall.
As to baseball’s individual prizes for 2013, there were no major surprises overall, as the most worthy individuals won the awards in question.
With the steady decline of boxing, the sport of MMA has come within focus for the public, while leaving the more renowned pugilistic sport in its wake, as the rise of the UFC , has guided mixed-martial arts to the forefront of combat sports. UFC President Dana White , Frank Fertitta and Lorenzo Fertitta the co-founders of the sport’s sanctioning body , have built the genre into a multi-billion dollar commercial behemoth . . The fighters within MMA have in many cases become household names and there is now a global presence not only with UFC affiliates but also amongst the practitioners , male and female , who have come from around the globe to make a name for themselves.
At the forefront of this ascent of MMA in recent years , have been Georges St Pierre, Jon Jones , Demetrius Johnson , Jose Aldo , Anthony Pettis , Cain Velasquez , Anderson Silva and the most notable female fighter Ronda Rousey , who now represents the female face of MMA.
Anderson Silva holds his fractured right leg having suffered the injury in his rematch against UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman on Saturday night in their title contest . UFC Inc/Zuffa LLC
Of the most anticipated bouts on the UCF’s schedule during 2013, was the highly anticipated middleweight title defense of MMA’s most successful fighter Anderson Silva , who happened to be making a record twelfth defense of his championship belt . His challenger, at the time, was the well-rounded former college wrestler Chris Weidman . What took place at UFC 162 is perhaps the biggest upset in MMA history , as the challenger wrestled away the belt from the champion with a ferocious knockdown and then knockout that was heard around the world and shook up the middleweight division . Their highly anticipated rematch at UFC 168 , would also end up with an equally surprising outcome , with the former champion being forced to retire , having suffered a leg injury . Referee Herb Dean immediately stopped the fight in the second round of the five round title bout, realizing the gravity of Silva’s leg injury (broken right fibula) and Weidman was declared the winner , with a successful first defense of his title, improving his record to 11-0 . Anderson Silva’s future now seems unclear, but the future Hall of Fame inductee is assured of one thing , his legacy has certainly helped the sport to gain worldwide respect as well heightening the fact that the Brazilian jujitsu art form is amongst the most successful fighting forms , in mixed martial arts as well as all forms of combat sports .
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Picture gallery .
In what has been a highly eventful year in the world of sports in part two of this look at the sports’ calendar. I will address my thoughts on the College Basketball and College Football seasons and what the fans were afforded during 2013. Yet, do take time to provide me with your own analysis of the sports’ year , as you have viewed it overall.
Picture and slideshow gallery details below.
(1) Floyd Mayweather ,right , on his way to a twelve round majority decision over Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez this year . The fight was even more controversial than necessary , because of the incompetency of the judging by one ringside official , Cynthia CJ Ross , who actually scored the fight a draw , after Mayweather overwhelmed his opponent throughout the entire twelve round contest , held at the MGM Grand Casino & Resort Complex in Las Vegas , Nevada,. AP Photo / Benny Thompson …
(2) Bob Arum , Chairman & CEO of Top Rank Inc , is seen here with Filipino fighter Manny Pacquiao . The boxer recently suffered a number of untimely losses that has now placed in an unenviable position . Any proposed mega-bout between he and Floyd Mayweather now seems unlikely , even with the renowned ‘clout’ of Pacquiao’s promoter . The animus that there remains between the two opposing camps remains as deep as ever in spite of Arum’s insistence that he and Leonard Ellerbe remain in close contact , seeking to make a deal , for a a proposed bout . Getty Images / Tom Rowan …….
(3) LeBron James of the Miami Heat is seen here on the sidelines with the team’s head coach Erik Spoelstra during a game . The Heat are seeking to win a third consecutive NBA title this season , with the only obstacle likely to be in their way , are the players’ own complacency . Miami Herald /AP Photo / Alberto Ramos ….
(4) Mikhail Prokhorov , owner of the Brooklyn Nets is seen here inside the franchise’s cavernous venue the Barclays Center , in Brooklyn , New York . This season, the Nets have simply underperformed , while having amongst the NBA’s highest paid salaried team payroll , with a crop of aging players in Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry . Fans may well feel it plausible that the team can still make a run at gaining a postseason berth within the Eastern Conference , given the dire state of play within all three divisions as well as the conference , itself . That belief however , may well be only viewed with any reality by the front office and the Nets’ fans and players , themselves . NY Daily News /AP Photo / Mark Brown ….
(5) Los Angeles Clippers’ point guard Chris Paul is seen here with team head coach Doc Rivers as they discuss a play during the interval of a game played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , California . Off to a good start within the Pacific Division of the Western Conference , fans and the players are hoping for the team to make a deep run in this season’s playoffs. The Clippers who share their venue with their more famous residents the Los Angeles Lakers , who are laboring at present without their All Star guard Kobe Bryant , with their being calls for changes in the coaching and roster makeup . As the Clippers’ ascent seems to be more assured , for the Lakers , their days ahead seem very uncertain , albeit that Bryant signed a two-year $48.5 million deal with the franchise. LA Time/AP Photo / Hector Munoz ….
(6) Joe Flacco (5) of the Baltimore Ravens answers questions from the media during Super Bowl XLVII Media Day ahead of Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 29, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The San Francisco 49ers will take on the Baltimore Ravens on February 3, 2013 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome . The Ravens would go on to defeat San Francisco in a highly contested Superbowl contest . This season for Baltimore , with the retirement of Ray Lewis and the trading of Ed Reed , the team’s season has been one of inconsistency , with the quarterback’s play .. being somewhat erratic , without their being any on-field leadership being provided by Flacco or any of his teammates . A remote chance and shot of making the postseason was simply obliterated on Sunday afternoon with the team’s embarrassing loss to the Cincinnati Bengals . Getty Images North America / Scott Halleran …..
(7) Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington , background , is seen here with manager John Farrell foreground , as the formal announcement was made that Farrell would succeed Bobby Valentine , who was fired at the end of the 2012 season . The newly hired manager would lead the team to the AL East divisional title as well as the ALCS pennant and World Series in his first season as the organization’s manager . In 2014 , with the front office having made several moves to bolster the roster , the Red Sox remain favorites within the division as well as being likely to make a successful defense of their divisional title and ALCS pennant . AP Photo / Alex Reid ….
(8) At UFC 162 then UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva is seen here mocking his challenger Chris Weidman in the first round of their title fight . Weidman would go on to defeat the champion with a devastating knockout in the second round of their bout . On Saturday night at UFC 168 , in their highly anticipated rematch Chris Weidman would prevail once again in the first defense of his title , after the former champion suffered a leg injury that would prohibit him from carrying on in the bout . Referee Herb Dean , had no other option , but to call a halt to the fight . Silva’s future may well remain in doubt , as Weidman now looks to flourish within the middleweight division by making another defense of his title against the number one contender Vitor Belfort . . Courtesy of Foxsports .
(9) UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman , right , looks to avert a leg kick from challenger Anderson Silva during their rematch at UFC 168 , held at the MGM Grand Garden Casino & Hotel Resort in Las Vegas , Nevada . UFC Inc/Zuffa LLC . Copyrighted material all rights reserved …
(10) Referee Herb Dean calls a halt to the UFC middleweight title bout between Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva (lying prostrate) after the challenger suffered a broken right fibula during the bout in the second round . Weidman retained his belt in his rematch against the former champion. UFC Inc / Zuffa LLC …
Anderson Silva holds his fractured right leg having suffered the injury in his rematch against UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman on Saturday night in their title contest . UFC Inc/Zuffa LLC
NB: Related article A year in review, part two
A breast in one hand is better than a bird don’t you think ? Adult star Alexa Loren .
And here’s Alexa, having some fun with her mammary glands