The Cause of A Great Man ….

The Cause of A Great Man …

The death of Muhammad Ali brought an outpouring of grief , sorrow and sadness as literally tens of millions from around the world sought ways to express their condolences. Various media sources had their tributes and the print media in particular paid their respects with full-page articles , op-ed pieces and even comments sought from the public , in letters sent to the newspapers. Obituaries were also resplendent with the announcement of Ali’s death and of course the Hollywood literati also mourned the death of the fighter in their own inimitable way.

From my own standpoint , much of what I have read in the recent days subsequent to Muhammad Ali’s death has reminded me how little things have really changed since the days of his seeking to speak out against the injustices wrought upon minorities here in the United States , the country’s entry into the Vietnam War and his stance taken as a conscientious objector. Many seem to forget , the fighter was well within his right not to fight in the war even though he had been drafted. Politically motivated or not , the verdict of the US government could not sway Ali in his determination. The boxer may well have been leveling his criticism at the government , but in reality, a great deal of what he saying was indeed true and even judging by his vocal opposition to the war and the US government’s mistreatment of minorities. If you take a look at the racial divide now in place within the country, the economic and social angst , without seeing a number of the current Presidential candidates using race as a platform for their political diatribe and you have to really wonder how much a real social advancement has actually been made in the US, altogether .

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I have long admired Muhammad Ali as a fighter, humanitarian and a genuinely passionate individual. He brought a voice to the issue of the downtrodden , when many of his boxing peers at the time remained silent. Even his most famous opponent of his illustrious career , Joe Frazier was very critical of Ali and his antiwar stance. Yet , if anything Frazier could very well have been thought of as an ‘Uncle Tom ‘ , with his own stance and obeisance of not wanting to offend his Caucasian associates within the sport and the public in general. Floyd Patterson , himself a former boxer , was also critical of Ali and beyond the three-time world heavyweight champion’s choice to change his name and religious faith from being a Christian to a Muslim , was also seen as a threat. The perception being , Ali’s choice of aligning himself to the Nation of Islam and its then leader the Honorable Elijah Muhammad posed a real threat to the country. Anti Muslim sentiment then and even more so now , but no one seems to give a damn, that the biggest threat posed to the country remains the ineptitude of the US Congress and successive Presidential administrations over the past four and a half decades. It is simply the downright ambivalence and stupidity of the electorate along with the ongoing nonsensical diatribe of politicians at the local, state and national levels which continues unabated.

As a youth , my fondness for the sport of boxing came from my father who was as passionate about the sport as he was about Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis and Sonny Liston . It would be his fight against Liston where Ali would make his name professionally, when he won the world heavyweight title for the first time. A successful defense against Sonny Liston and the drama which surrounded the bout still draws a great deal of attention and criticism to this day. Muhammad Ali would go on to make eleven successful defenses of the world heavyweight title (WBA/WBC) before he suffered a loss to Joe Frazier at Madison Square Garden , New York City, New York on the 8th March ,1971. There were three now classic fights between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali, which are considered to be among the very best in boxing history . Nothing before or since has been considered close in comparison , though everyone will have their favorite bouts or series or trilogy of fights between famed boxers over the years.

Perhaps the fight which might resonate the most with fans of Muhammad Ali , has to be the bout against George Foreman , who at the time was considered to be the most lethal fighter of his generation. Forman was known for his punching power and his ability to knock an opponent out with either hand. Foreman would defend the title he won in defeating Joe Frazier by making a defense against Muhammad Ali in Kinshasa , Zaire (Democratic Republic of Congo) on 30th October , 1974 . In a result which was seen as one of the biggest upsets in boxing history , Ali as the challenger would defeat Forman in the eighth round by a TKO (technical knockout) . These two protagonists would never meet again professionally in a boxing ring , but a long-lasting friendship would begin , lasting right up to Ali’s death.

If Muhammad Ali’s greatest professional triumphs were said to have taken place in the ring , then he also had a number of demons outside it , which I believe arose from what he saw as a blatant disregard of human rights , a government still steeped in racism , with a wish to disenfranchise segments of the population. Forget about the protests about the Vietnam War and simply look at the facts as they stood at the time during the Civil Rights’ Era of the sixties and the lead-up into the seventies. Politics was divisive , the Klu Klux Klan wielded a great deal of power not just in the Deep South, but across the country. Yet, there are those who try to gloss over those rather abhorrent moments in history and simply deem it as being an idyllic period in the nation’s history and this was particular true from the White perspective. There were also internal fractions within a number of black organizations , as the unity sought within the NAACP and Nation of Islam (NOI) might well have been orchestrated by the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) as a way weakening the growing power of both groups. Funny isn’t it this sought of attention was never seen as appropriate in dealing with the violent actions of Klu Klux Klan , as then FBI Director J Edgar Hoover only felt there to be a threat against the country by either Communists and organizations such as the NAACP and Nation of Islam , whom he felt to be subversive and a danger to national security.

The Vietnam War was a sham and the country’s involvement the conflict brought a great deal of loss for the nation, with so young men dying for no apparent reason , other than the fog , folly and down right stupidity with the decision-making of the Congress and President at the time. Those returning heroes in many cases , were not seen as heroes in some circles , but more so as murderers and many of them also returned , psychologically battered and mentally unstable . PTSD (post traumatic stress syndrome) was not yet a syndrome or psychosis which was fully understood by the medical establishment and even to this day the Department of Defense and the VA (Department of Veterans Affairs ) are not able to fully appreciate the ravages of this illness, much less treat the sufferers of this illness appropriately or with dignity. So in effect it was better deflect the incompetence of an administration, , by haranguing an athlete , Muhammad Ali , who sought to speak out about social indifference , the folly of war and the fact he felt his country had no respect for many of its citizens .

Four-plus decades on and there have been few athletes in today’s arena who are willing to speak out on social injustice. In many respects so-called acts of opposition are orchestrated and rather comedic with regard to the effect sought. Nowhere has this been more self-evident than with the rather innocuous stance taken by the NBA and a number of the high-profiled stars within the league in the aftermath of the death of teenager Trayvon Martin . Since then , there have also been some rather tedious and asinine PSA’s (public service announcements) on the issue of gun violence , but no real vociferous calls for any type of real dialogue concerning the issue.

Muhammad Ali may well have set a template for athletes to be vocal on issues of social inequality , but far too many of today’s superstar athletes are far too concerned with endorsement deals , accumulating wealth or simply being boorish in terms of their conduct in public or private . Ali gave of himself monetarily , in a variety of causes which he truly cared about around the world, but a great deal of this seems to be forgotten by those who only seek to oppose what he stood for .

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While the world mourns Muhammad Ali’s passing , the eulogies continue across various media formats , with a cast of thousands posting daily about their memories of one of the most widely recognized athletes in history and how much he meant to them. As a youth my memories of him have to proven to be long-lasting , but it has been my respect and what he has stood for, which has my ultimate admiration ! The cause of a great man can be deemed as doing something great , but I feel it can also mean having a lasting impression on others, where they also seek to change a life for the better. Not only do I believe Ali has been able to achieve this feat, he has also changed the viewpoint of many on how we also look at our political leaders and question their conduct while in office.

Tophatal …………………..

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I love the smell of Napalm in the morning …

I love the smell of Napalm in the morning !

Well, in the  aftermath a tumultuous  NFL season we now know the twelve teams   to have made the NFL postseason. The New Denver Broncos and New England Patriots are the two top-seeds within the AFC, leaving the Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals as the top seeded contenders within the NFC.

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Results   emanating   from Sunday’s games left us in no doubt who the top teams were within the    conferences after the two hundred and fifty-six games played. As usual with the postseason approaching , speculation will be raised to the possible coaching carousel likely to take place. There is the likelihood we might well have seen the last game coached by Tom Coughlin   as the head coach of the  New York Giants   after the team’s rather embarrassing loss to divisional rivals the Philadelphia Eagles.

With Chip Kelly’s abrupt firing by the Eagles’ front office , the number of coaches terminated this season are numbered at four , with the recent dismissals of Mike Pettine with the Cleveland Browns and Jim Tomsula with the San Francisco 49ers . As abysmal a season had by each of the teams in question , they were not the franchises with the worst record in the NFL during the 2015 regular season schedule . That accolade belonged to none other than the Tennessee Titans (3-13) a mark which was also shared with the Brown. What this might suggest about both teams can be best summed by their results over the course of the season and their statistical play throughout.

With the top two teams in each conference having a bye in the wildcard round of the postseason , teams seeded three through six will begin the playoffs with the scheduled games due. Those match-ups are likely to prove very intriguing with perhaps the best of the bunch being the NFC contest , which pits the Seattle Seahawks against the Minnesota Vikings . The two opposing quarterbacks Russell Wilson of the Seahawks and Teddy Bridgewater of the Vikings, will provide the fans to see two of the more productive passers within the NFC this season.

Though we have not yet reached the midway point of the NBA season there can be no denying which team has been the best in the league at this point of the schedule. Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors have set a blistering pace leaving others in their wake . Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr , in his absence has seen his understudy Luke Walton guide the team with a great deal of coaching acumen , leading a number of analysts to believe, Walton will likely be pursued by a number of teams at the end of the season, once the customary firings begin to take place. There are likely to be at least six teams seeking the former player’s services, but I do believe he will be reluctant to leave, unless his desired destination is with a franchise where there is a more than reasonable chance of success.

Coming off another victory , Curry and his teammates will next take to the court to face the Charlotte Hornets at the Oracle Arena , Oakland, California on Monday, 4th January . This should prove be an easy win for the Warriors against an Eastern Conference opponent given the team’s record against the conference and their record at home . The Hornets for their part will be looking to keep apace within their conference as well as against a Western Conference opponent where the team has had relatively little success this season.

The Los Angles Lakers (8-27) and the Philadelphia 76ers (3-33) have combined for eleven regular season wins at this point of the season , having played roughly thirty-five games. It would be fair to suggest both teams could very well end up with what would be franchise lows in terms of regular season victories. There also appears to a remote possibility the Sixers are well on their of equaling the NBA league-low number for regular season wins, a mark held by 1973 Philadelphia 76ers .Wins have been have been very difficult to come by for this Brett Brown coached Sixers’ team . Philadelphia’s last victory came on the 30th December when they defeated the Sacramento Kings by the score of 110-105. The team’s next game will be a home contest against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday evening.

For Byron Scott and the Los Angeles Lakers , their season has been one of sheer ineptitude with only sparing glimpses of Kobe Bryant at his best among the players on the Lakers’ roster. It is hard to envisage where the Lakers now go from here , as GM Mitch Kupchak and team owner Jim Buss have very few alternatives with regard to the depth on the roster. Capable perhaps of only playing for their self-respect, the Los Angeles Lakers do not appear to have a short-term, much less a long-term strategy once Kobe Bryant has played his last game for the franchise. Bryant made it official , this would indeed be his last year with the Lakers , formally announcing his retirement for the end of this season. Unlikely to be a major player in the free agency market , salary dumping or otherwise, Kupchak can only seek to assess the current crop of Los Angeles Lakers’ players and go from there with regard to rebuilding the roster. With a game coming up against the Golden State Warriors , which will be on the road , it will be interesting to see how the team will fare against a conference opponent , the reigning NBA champions .

The College Basketball season is now in full swing and with the teams gearing up towards ‘March Madness’ ,and it has been an interesting season , which has meandered its way through a slew of games. Seated atop of the rankings are the Kansas Jayhawks (12-1) under head coach Bill Self and his Jayhawks’ team . Wayne Selden , Perry Ellis and Frank Mason are the leading scorers for the Jayhawks , but a great deal of praise this season has been heaped upon Ben Simmons of the LSU Tigers . Simmons is considered to be a consensus first round lottery pick and the likely number one choice of the team privileged to have the first pick in the 2016 NBA Draft . Judging by his game that is not without merit for a player whose all-round skill-set has been compared to has been compared to four-time NBA League MVP and Cleveland Cavaliers’ player LeBron James . Great praise indeed, but I believe it to be way too premature to be making such comparisons ! The LSU Tigers have an upcoming game against the Kentucky Wildcats.

Bill Self and his Kansas Jayhawks will have pride of place when they tip off against the Oklahoma Sooners in a battle of top-ten ranked teams.

We know the SEC to be the best conference in College Basketball and there can be no questioning of that very fact. The programs within the conference, speaks volumes as to the quality of play witnessed each year. Florida are now going it alone without Billy Donovan going as the head coach of the program. His successor Mike White is being asked to fill a big pair shoes after the considerable success achieved by Donovan during his reign. Florida is off to an inauspicious start to their season and their most recent game was an exhilarating victory over the Georgia Bulldogs with a fourteen-point 77-63 win . White and the Gators will be on the road to face the Tennessee Volunteers in a contest which should bring out the best in both teams.

I have to admit in recent years I have grown tired of the sport of boxing ! It remains corrupt , devoid of real leadership at the international level and most notably without any real transparency by way of leadership here in North America. The USBA which is affiliated to the IBF remains a constant joke, like many of the international counterparts which now hold sway over the sport internationally. Consider the fact there is no undisputed champion in any of weight categories and it is easy to understand why this sport is dying on its knees and close to being in need to resuscitation.

Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao may well have brought back a certain amount of excitement in what was Mayweather’s last professional bout which saw close out his career with an unbeaten 49-0 record. In reality however, this fight was five years too late and simply lacked the excitement the fans truly hoped for . Lackluster, would be too soft a word to describe the title fight , where both fighters walked away with an estimated $300 million to split between them , Mayweather taking the larger slice of the purse before taking into account another $200 million in television rights from the overseas sales and merchandising revenues grossed.

From my own perspective , I believe Floyd Mayweather will make a return to the ring to push his record to 50-0 . Mayweather has not really fought anyone of consequence in the past four years and even though his resume’ boasts and unbeaten record , along with multiple title defenses , one could suggest the record might well stand the test of time , but it truly lacks the hyperbole many believe it deserves.

Several boxers at the welterweight and light middleweight division would undoubtedly like to head into the ring and got toe-to-toe with Floyd Mayweather, but herein lies the caveat with the unbeaten fighter. He cherry-picks his opponents and simply added insult to injury , when he chose Andre Berto , to push his record to 49-0 . Berto was certainly undeserving of a title shot and the fact he was not high enough within the welterweight category clearly indicated the titleholder wanted a “patsy ” in the opposite corner for his last professional bout.

It has been ten years since the heavyweight category last had an undisputed champion with the last titleholder of the titles being British fighter Lennox Lewis. Since Lewis’ retirement from the ring there have several claimants to the differing established belts as recognized by the four main international governing bodies. Unfortunately, the entities in question have failed to give the fans what they yearned , a unified and undisputed champion. Siblings Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko for years, each held claim to one version of the title but refused to defend their versions against each , seeking to unify the division. With Vitali having retired it was left to Wladimir to reign supreme over the division , which in many ways he had done with a string of successful defenses, against less than credible opponents.

Yet in what was believed to a bout where he was considered to be a clear-cut favorite , he fell to the boxing skills of Tyson Fury of Great Britain in what some considered to be one of the biggest upsets in recent boxing history. The bout itself was far from being an instant classic but what it lacked in drama was made up for with the passion shown by the challenger as he wrestled away the title from the Ukrainian champion. However, in what one could only deem as farcical the IBF (International Boxing Federation) has seen fit to strip Tyson Fury of the belt he legitimately won in the ring. The explanation if it is to be believed, smacks of stupidity on the part of the governing body and from the former titleholder , Wladimir Klitschko , who was said to be not only upset with the decision rendered by the judges in a fight he lost in a unanimous decision, but also by the fact Fury sought not to grant him an immediate rematch within ninety days. If boxing has a flaw , then it is one of its own self-importance and indulgence , where the fighters themselves lack as much credibility as the various governing bodies which preside over the sport.

Boxing has lost a great deal of credibility around the globe, albeit , if there are claims it remains the one pugilistic and combative art form every fight fan yearns for . I am not so sure those claims are any longer legitimate and can be proven. While boxing has seen a marked decline , the rapid rise of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) now under the banner of the UFC , seems to be giving fans something they really yearn for. UFC has brought legitimacy and business acumen to a sport which has now become the fastest growing participant sport across the globe. Many of the fighters within the UFC stable of MMA stars are fast becoming recognized names as well Hollywood action stars and crossover celebrities. Suffice to say, the UFC hierarchy under Dana White has struck box-office gold , even if White is considered to be a dictatorial executive.

Ronda Rousey’s shocking and surprising loss to Holly Holm may well prove to be a welcome change for the sport and actually shape the direction and open even more opportunities for women who might see an interest in entering the genre. Rousey created a buzz needed when many felt MMA had lost some of its appeal. Now with her defeat, her drive and eagerness to reclaim her Bantamweight title could be the best thing to happen to Women’s MMA as well as the UFC in general.

In recent months several champions have seen their reigns come to an end within the UFC and added new honorees within the sport. It could well be seen as a good thing for MMA and its viability long-term if the excitement created can be maintained . Certainly , Dana White is taking a new approach of growing the UFC brand globally as well as expanding across North America , with the executive’s biggest wish being to see the sport be granted the license to promote and stage events in New York State.

For some strange reason the State Legislature of New York State sees no need to grant a license and continues to show their disapproval of a sport they deem barbaric. Last I looked, with the issues stemming from the NFL and how that particular league hierarchy has dealt with the issues of chronic head trauma , I would have to say the New York State Athletic Commission has been oblivious to the idiocy of Paul Tagliabue and his successor Roger Goodell , who have somehow chosen to remain in the dark ages as to the deniability of the damages caused from years of brutal head to head helmet contract driven by the physicality of football within the NFL. The league itself , still seeks to challenge the multi-billion dollar settlement obtained by retired by players in a Federal Appeals Court ruling , while also seeking reinstate their four—game suspension of Tom Brady for his alleged involvement in Deflate-Gate. Begs the question, at what point will both the New York State Athletic Commission and the NFL hierarchy actually wake up and smell the coffee , much less the napalm ?

Sports in general as always is in need of a good shakeup , be it at the competitive level or among its hierarchical leadership structure. One thing for sure, without real change , things tend to stagnate and show signs of recession rather than real growth or excitement.

Tophatal ………. NB : By clicking on the individual images seen below you can view them in a reformatted size along with a narrative.

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A year to savor …

A year to savor

In the blink of an eye the remnants of the last few monents of 2014 disappeared before our very eyes and from a sporting standpoint it was mainly a big disappointment from my own point of view. Nothing said or suggested mediocrity more than a regular NFL season so embarrassing , with the incompetence of a litany of teams. Major disappointments came thick and fast , along with the customary off-season firings and walkouts by either front office executives of head coaches. Jim Harbaugh now rides off into the sunset , assured that he will be welcomed with open arms by the Michigan faithful as he seeks to resurrect their fortunes and status among College Football’s fraternity. San Francisco 49ers’ front office executives may well have parted ways with their former head coach by mutual agreement , but if the rumors are to be believed , Harbaugh’s relationship with GM Trent Baalke , CEO , Chairman & team owner , Jed Yorke had deteriorated to such an extent , communications between the executives and Jim Harbaugh were simply cordial , professional , and nothing more than that. Off the field issues may well have also played a part in Harbaugh’s downfall beyond the complacency shown by the team throughout the course of the season, with the players simply lacking leadership and Colin Kaepernick seemingly more concerned with his growing public image and own self-importance , rather than his performing at a very high level in comparison to last season.

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The San Francisco 49ers failed to make the postseason and barely challenged within the NFC West , where they finished a disappointing third within their division, behind the Seattle Seahawks as the newly crowned divisional champions and perhaps the NFC’s surprise team of the season the Arizona Cardinals who finished in second place. Where San Francisco now goes from here will be solely dependent upon the choice made by Trent Baalke as he goes in search of a successor to fill the vacant head coaching position with the NFL franchise. There will be a litany of candidates qualified and not so qualified looking to be interviewed for the position. It’s safe to say, the question now becomes about who wants to be out on the West Coast coaching a team with a great deal of talent, but now lacking direction and a real sense of purpose ?

Having won their sixth AFC East title in succession the New England Patriots will now be looking to cement their status as the best NFL franchise over the past decade and a-half. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady remain the main building blocks of this franchise , but the Patriots’ long-term future will soon be about the younger players on the roster and the organization seeking a successor to Belichick , at the time of his choosing to ride off into retirement. As the number one seed in the AFC , New England has a bye in the first round of the postseason . Their closest rivals within the conference the Denver Broncos squandered their chance of positioning themselves to take that mantel by falling apart in the last few weeks of the regular season . Hopes of a Tom Brady versus Peyton Manning match-up is still very much on the cards, if both of these teams play to their true potential during the postseason. That very premise could take place in the AFC championship game.

The wildcard round of this postseason has some very intriguing games on the schedule, where the match-up between the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys takes center-stage among the NFC contests . In the AFC , the ongoing rivalry between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers takes off on another chapter of what has been often described as one of the most heated rivalries in the NFL and certainly one, which tends to provide a great deal of drama , if not explosive outcomes . John Harbaugh and Mike Tomlin will also get the chance to match wits against each other as the opposing coaches on the sidelines .

The drama surrounding this postseason will not be lost on the fans or the broadcast outlets alike , as they seek to pour over the events as they unfold. One can only hope the fans are not disappointed by the games or the sense of foreboding as things unfold over the course of this weekend.

Money is aid to be the ” root of all evil “ and that definitely would be the case in the world of politics, where the politicians’ greed is not only furthered by their avarice , but also by their sheer contempt of the electorate and the very fact that they believe themselves to be above reproach . That same analogy I believe can be used in the world of baseball (MLB) , where during this off-season we have seen some major moves in the free agency marketas well as a number of teams striving to either deplete themselves of talent or take on the pretext of proving to their fans they are ready to compete .

For the past two seasons the Los Angeles Dodgers have been the biggest spending team in Major League Baseball , making an outlay in excess of a half-billion dollars ($500,000,000) during the time span in question. Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly and his managerial staff have proven to be adroit during the regular season, but in 2013 as well as last year the ball-club failed to meet the expectations of their fans and the front office , with abysmal performances during the playoffs . The decision by Dodgers’ team President Stan Kasten to hire Andrew Friedman to become the Head of Baseball Operations indicates the franchise has decided to change their philosophy somewhat, when it comes to acquiring talent and not overpaying , but taking into account, there are several players on the current roster earning in excess of $15 million a year , it is hard to see how anyone can take the Dodgers seriously as they seek to turn over a new leaf.

Don Mattingly and his team capitulated to the St Louis Cardinals in this past season’s NLDS , a series where it was inexplicable to surmise how bad the Los Angeles Dodgers were said to be on all counts . The Dodgers’ offense may well have been anemic , but their pitching by comparison was nowhere to be seen . As the Dodgers embark upon their off-season sojourn before they begin their preparations for Spring Training and then the 2015 regular season , there will be some new faces as part of the roster , after the departure of several familiar figures who were a staple of the club over the past few seasons. One of those departing faces was Matt Kemp , now a member of the San Diego Padres .

It would be fare to suggest the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants provided baseball fans with one of the more memorable World Series in recent years , with the perceived underdogs the Royals looking usurp the NL franchise . Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy and the team triumphed in a thrilling seven-game series downing the Kansas City Royals in a climactic final game . In a pitching performance for the ages Madison Bumgarner brought back memories of the postseason performances of pitching legends Sandy Koufax and Don Larsen . It seemed only fitting Bumgarner was named World Series MVP . GM Brian Sabean during the off-season replenished the team’s roster with several acquisitions likely to make the ball-club stronger at several key positions while also knowing there are a number of players within their farm system ready to make that leap up to the Majors .

The “stain” which remains part of baseball’s folklore, beyond the ” Black Sox ” scandal will forever be the “steroid era ” and the fact Bud Selig failed miserably in reining the abusers , who sought to cheat the fans and the game of baseball by smearing some of the most historic feats within the sport. With the departure of Roger Clemens and others associated with that sordid chapter , baseball still has the remnants of Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun still within our midst , albeit , both players have served league mandated suspensions for their egregious transgressions with somewhat asinine acts of contrition on both their parts. Rodriguez will make his long awaited return to the New York Yankees and to a ball-club in the midst of change with the retirement of Derek Jeter after a two-decade long career with the ball-club. In the throes of this upheaval GM Brian Cashman will be looking to several of the veterans on the current roster to assume the mantel of leadership , the role Jeter assumed for several years as well as being the team captain. If Cashman now believes Rodriguez can fit the role , then he is sadly mistaken, along with the belief the player can provide the productivity needed to challenge within the AL.

New beginnings and a resurgence of a franchise still seeking its first NBA title. This was meant to be the storyline for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season . The return of LeBron James brought back Cavaliers’ fans to the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland , Ohio in droves. The four-time League MVP brings with him his productivity and an all-round game that has become the envy of the league and erstwhile fans alike. James’ departure from the recent two-time defending NBA champions the Miami Heat shook the foundations of the organization and simply took everyone off guard including his former former teammates. Miami’s failure in last seasons NBA Finals indicated a flawed team whose over-reliance on LeBron , was simply overwhelming the player during that Finals’ series. That heartbreaking loss may well have been the straw that broke the camel’s back and led to his decision to leave the Miami Heat.

As The Prodigal Son, whose return was welcomed with open arms by the organization led to the upsurge in ticket sales , increased merchandize revenue and the appreciation in the value of the Cavaliers. This has been the impact LeBron James on the NBA and the franchise. Beyond his salary , the player’s annual income along with corporate endorsements places him among the upper echelons of international athletes and the top-paid NBA star . Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert and GM David Griffin sought to bring in also ,a wealth of experience by way the team’s roster . Point guard Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are meant to be the complementary foils guiding the ambitions of the team this season. A rookie head coach , David Blatt and his coaching staff have struggled to gain any real semblance of consistency the Cavaliers this season .
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Cleveland’s record (18-14) places the team five games behind the the Central Division leading Chicago Bulls (23-10) . Now with the reported loss of LeBron James for two to three weeks due due to a lingering injury , this will likely put a severe dent in Cavaliers’ divisional title hopes as well as the possibility of a high conference seeding within the Eastern Conference. James in the Cavaliers’ lineup offers the team the best chance of winning , rather than his being seated on the bench . The Cavaliers without LeBron James in the lineup after the announcement of his injury , saw the team take on the Charlotte Hornets in a road game at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte , North Carolina . All hands were on deck for the Cavaliers as Kevin Love led the team in scoring as they defeated the Hornets 91-87 .

Next up for Love and his teammates will be a home game on the January 4th , when they clash with Dirk Nowitzki and Rajon Rondo of the Dallas Mavericks at the Quicken Loans Arena . This contest could one of the highlights of the games scheduled for Sunday afternoon. Dallas comes into the contest on a four-game winning streak , with Rondo’s acquisition having set the tone for the team , as they move forward . The trade of the former Boston Celtics’ point guard immediately provides an uplift for the Mavericks and gives the a facilitator who is among the best in the NBA and who will also provide them with a very good defensive presence. Mavericks’ Mark Cuban’s insistence and pursuance of this deal that acquired Rajon Rondo , has certainly made the team a lot better and an almost certainty of being among the top contenders for the number one seed within the Western Conference this season. It would take a rather foolish individual to bet against this team and its pursuit of a second title, to add to the crown won in 2011 .

I’ll fight the good fight in support of a sport , just as long as I feel it will be of benefit to the masses ! Yet for all of the showmanship and acknowledged popularity of Floyd ‘ Money’ Mayweather , I have gotten to the stage , where I find the sport of boxing to be a complete comedy of errors and tragic parody of a once proud sport , which captured the fans’ imagination and held it drawn with its excitement and intensity !. No longer can it be case or where anyone can try to justify it, as still being truly relevant. Other than the world welterweight champion, there is not really a major draw in spite of the fact his greatest rival just happens to be an aging Manny Pacquiao . These two fighters for one reason or another have never sought to face each other at the prime of their careers , instead , often choosing to face lesser opponents along the way , to pad their statistics and the pursuit of multi-million dollar payday .

Mayweather and Pacquiao have passed the pinnacle of their respective careers and the legitimacy they each now seek will not be determined by final contest between the two , because in essence it will prove nothing at all. A proposed mega-fight would likely gross well over $200 million in revenues worldwide with each fighter guaranteed a minimum of $50 million apiece , but in the end of what profit would be to a sport now dying on its knees when there are no other high-profiled boxers on the horizon with the charisma or talent to be seen as the face of the sport and its long-term future? Multiple international governing bodies preside over boxing and there is no real uniformity other than the mandatory twelve rounds of boxing for a world title fight at the international and national levels dependent upon the allegiances of the national boards of the sport worldwide.

The alphabetical melange of who’s who , and the pecking order of the IBF, IBO , WBA , WBC and WBU created this actual nonsense within the sport of boxing and even now , with the pursuit and support shown by current WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman for a unified world champion primarily within the heavyweight division . The appeal for such distinction is lost on the fans and the litany of claimants of the various versions of the crown in question . It has been almost two decades since boxing had a undisputed heavyweight champion , with the last claimant being Lennox Lewis and it should be noted there is not an undisputed champion in any of the weight categories in the sport of professional boxing . Yet , this is the sport Senator John McCain (R-Az) , by his rationale believes relevant , while denouncing its upstart rival the genre of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) as being barbaric , with their being no rules or etiquette ? McCain’s idea of barbarism should be considered a joke , while he ought to be looking at his own legacy within the Congress and its lack of productivity over the last six years .

The rise in prominence of the UFC and the sport of MMA over the past decade and half , ought to be seen as how to brand , manage and package sport , where its reach is now global and in many ways has surpassed the branding and marketability of both the NBA and NFL. NFL combined . Dana White , UFC President along with the Fertitta brothers own the UFC and its affiliated concerns , a company with an estimated value of over $2 billion ($2,000,000,00) , making the three primary partners in this enterprise , extremely wealthy individuals . Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta , were already self-made billionaires , having made their fortunes in the casino and hospitality and hotel management business . Now their primary goal is to expand the growth of the sport globally , which they have been extremely successful in doing , with a stable of fighters from around the world signed to their company , as well as having affiliated associations across the globe.

In 2015 , UFC will ring in its schedule (UFC 182) with its first major title bout of the year, when Light Heavyweight Champion , Jon ‘Bones’ Jones makes a defense against challenger Daniel Cormier . Jones , the division’s best fighter is making his record ninth defense of his title. On January 3rd , 2015 from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas , Nevada , UFC will unveil UFC 182 with an under-card of several terrific bouts, along with the marquee title title fight , with Jones’ Light Heayweight crown being on the line. Jon Jones , can be seen as the protagonist , with Cormier viewed as the antagonist , but there is the feeling the titleholder may well be looking to play ” the villain ” of the piece , because of the apparent ‘bad blood’ between he and the challenger , Daniel Cormier. Undoubtedly, Jones has become one the biggest names within the sport , with perhaps only Ronda Rousey , UFC’s most prominent female fighter, Cain Velasquez , Anthony Pettis and Jose Aldo among active fighters , considered to be extremely popular among the genre’s mass appeal of fans . The title fight itself , could be a contest, where Jones’ experience will out-match the simple bravado of his challenger Daniel Cormier . A thrilling five rounds of combative MMA should tell us a great deal about the champion and his opponent on Saturday night .

Tiger Woods remains the biggest draw in the world of golf, but he is no longer the best player in the game . I once read an asinine comment by someone, who determined because of his drawing power , it made him not only the best but also the only relevant person on the PGA Tour . Granted his having won his own version of the Tiger-Slam and having a career Grand Slam (the feat of winning golf’s four major tournaments [ US Open, PGA Championship , The British Open & US Masters]) gives him that aura of actual invincibility. Quite rightfully so, but over the past eighteen months , Woods’ game has been on the decline , he knows it and only an idiot would try and suggest otherwise , much like the buffoon and his comments concerning the former world number one ranked golfer. Tiger Woods’ legacy is unquestioned, but my question____ is beyond his off the course sexual peccadilloes , where he does he stand on social activism, his well-staged and manufactured philanthropic efforts ? Tiger Woods remains a damn hypocrite of the highest order, while trying to be a role model to young kids . Far too many of today’s professional athletes as well as those within the collegiate level, fit that very mold. Unfortunately, the media and fans alike, with a great deal apathy and naivete’ would prefer the salaciousness and candid sordid details , rather than witnessing great feats of athletic achievement . Never-mind the fact , when many of these athletes are continually caught in a lie, they will repeatedly seek to apportion blame elsewhere.

This upcoming season on the PGA Tour , it will be interesting to see whether or not Tiger Woods can wrestle away the number one ranking from Rory McIlroy , by far the greatest challenger to Woods’ once dominant presence on the PGA Tour . Phil Mickelson remains an afterthought , because more often than not , his challenges to Woods have ” petered out”, because of his missed opportunities. With over $265 million in official prize money being offered on the Tour(PGA Tour) , golf has now become one of the most lucrative way of earning a nice income from professional sports, without taking into account the enormous bye product of commercial endorsement from national and international corporate behemoths .

At the peak of his earning power, Tiger Woods earned well in excess of $100 million annually , now that figure is down to $65 million , still not bad for a player whose last Grand Slam Major victory came by way of the 2008 US Open in La Jolla, California ,. Yes, I can see why Woods is still considered a draw , with that victory , six years later , still toiling for his fifteenth Grand Slam victory , while Jack Nicklaus’ giant shadow and his own accomplishments in the Majors are simply glossed over by idiots and a buffoon with little knowledge of the sport or the African-Americans who created the legacy for Woods’ access to the game. Far be it for me to suggest this @sshole , has any damn idea what he is talking about to begin with .

Billy Horschel (three career wins) was feted , having won the FedEx Cup (2014) and with it a $10 million annuity as prize , but even with his consistency on the Tour in 2014 , the player was never a fixture or a major threat in any of the Grand Slam Majors , but yet I am being asked to be transfixed by character-less stereotypical androids who now make up the bulk of the players on the PGA Tour ? I think not !

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Picture gallery .

What sporting event of 2015 is likely to have you closely watching a performance or set of performances during this year ?

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Picture and slideshow gallery below.

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(1) Ryan Lindley (14) is here along the sidelines speaking with teammate Drew Stanton during a brief interval. A decision will be made by head coach Bruce Arians as to which of the quarterbacks is liable to be the starter for their wildcard round game to be played against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte , North Carolina , on Saturday, 3rd January , 2015 in the first of the two scheduled wildcard contests to be played on the day. Neither of the Panthers’ quarterbacks has any postseason experience playing in the NFL . The visiting Cardinals are deemed to be the slight favorites in the NFC contest. AP Photo / Keith Mitchell …

Ryan Lindley(14) of the Arizona Cardinals passes in the first quarter against the San Francisco 49ersat Levi’s Stadium on December 28 , 2014 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images North America/ Ezra Shaw ..

(3) Former San Francisco 49ers’ head coach Jim Harbaugh is seen here on the dais having just been introduced as the new head coach for the Michigan Wolverines program by AD Dave Brandon.Harbaugh and San Francisco formally parted ways by mutual agreement , but it is rumored the head coach had outlived his welcome within the organization because of his brash behavior . The Forty Niners for their part, thanked the head coach for his contributions and the resurrection of the team’s fortunes during his tenure . AP Photo / Jenny Hart ..

(4) Tom Brady (12) and Rob Gronkowski(87) of the New England Patriots react after Gronkowski caught a touchdown pass during the third quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on December 14, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. . Getty Images / Jim Rogash ..

(5) Los Angeles Dodgers’ team President Stan Kasten , left is seen here team manager Don Mattingly ,center and senior managing partner Mark Walter . The organization in the past two years have committed in excess of $500 million on payroll , only see the team squander their chances in the postseasons of 2013 and 2014. In both cases , the Dodgers fell in those hurdles to defeat the hands of the St Louis Cardinals . The decision was made to bring in Andrew Friedman to head up the Baseball Operations of the Dodgers with Ned Colletti given a lateral move within the front office, on becoming a special assistant and adviser to Kasten. Some changes have been made to the playing personnel , where fan favorite Matt Kemp was traded to the San Diego Padres. It is unlikely this will be last major move made by the Dodgers during the off-season . AP Photo / Ted Ross ..

(6) LeBron James(23) of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts to a call by the referees during the game against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on December 30, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. James will be sidelined for a prolonged period believe to be between to two three weeks as he seeks to recuperate from an injury , leaving his teammates to pick up the slack as they contest several games in the upcoming weeks. LeBron James is not the only major NBA star to be felled by an injury , with Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks also out , adding to the Knicks’ turmoil this season and their moribund record . Getty Images /Kevin C Cox …

(7) Considered the best fighter of his generation and the linear champion within the welterweight division , Floyd Mayweather has never really shown the inclination to meet Manny Pacquiao in the ring in spite of his denials . At the same time, a proposed mega-fight between the two fighters has never taken place , because of disputes in how the purse would be split or the antagonism created by Pacquiao’s main promoter in the US Bob Arum and his continued disdain for Mayweather. In 2015 , the fight many have yearned for may well be scheduled but do not hold your breath waiting for the event to actually take place . Mayweather is likely have at least two fights placed on his schedule as he seeks to fulfill his $200 million fight-deal with cable broadcast outlet Showtime (CBS subsidiary) . AP Photo / Matt Engle ….

(8) Jon Jones ,left is seen here facing his challenger Daniel Cormier for the UFC Light Heavyweight title fight due to take place at the MGM Grand Casino & Hotel Resort Complex in Las Vegas , Nevada on the 3rd January, 2015. The main marquee event is the headliner for UFC 182. Range Finder Inc . @ all rights reserved copyrighted material …

(9) From left to right , background UFC ring announcer Bruce Buffer , Jon Jones , UFC President Dana White , Daniel Cormier and comedian and fight analyst Joe Rogan . There have repeated physical altercations between Cormier and Jones with the insults hurled at an alarming speed between the two. Whether or not this is being done to publicize the bout remains to be seen but UFC is expecting a high PPV audience for the clash . …

(10) Jack Nicklaus, left , an eighteen-time Major winner also having won a carer Grand Slam of golf’s four major tournaments (The Masters British Open, US Open and PGA Championship ) is seen here alongside Tiger Woods . The two are considered to be greatest players of their respective generations and two of the greatest players in the history of the game. Woods seeks to emulate his idol by surpassing his historic tally of eighteen Majors wins . Yet his record pales in comparison to Nicklaus not solely because of fourteen wins of the four Grand Slam tournament but the mere fact Woods has not had as many top-five or top-ten finishes in each of the four tournaments in question , albeit, Tiger Woods has yet to compete in as many Slam tournaments over the course of his career. AP Photo / Eric Messner .. ….

(11) Rory McIlroy the world number one in the official World Golf rankings is already a three-time Major tournament winner, with only the The Masters yet to be added to his resume’ of Grand Slam victories . McIlroy joined Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only players to have won the first their first three Grand Slam tournaments before turning the age of twenty-five.. The Irish player is seeking to improve on his triumphant 2014 season, where he topped the PGA Tour and European Tour winners’ list in official prize money earnings . Getty Images Europe /. Henrik Thorstvaldt .. …

(12) Billy Horschel is seen here at the 2014 Valero Texas Open at the TPC in San Antonio , Texas . The tournament was won by Steven Bowditch. Horschel would go on to claim the FedEx Cup prize and with it a $10 million paycheck (annuity) . Billy Horschel has three PGA Tournament victories to his name and over $8.2 million in career prize money earnings. AP Photo / Eric Parsons ….

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It’s that time of year to reflect , review and then ponder as to what happens next …

It’s that time of year to reflect, review and then ponder as to what happens next …

There can be no denying this year within the world of sports we all witnessed the highs and lows of the sporting season. Basketball crowned a new champion in the NBA with Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs winning the title, the franchise’s fifth in their admired and revered history. The fact the Spurs defeated the Miami Heat with so much ease , came as a major surprise to many who favored the LeBron James’ led lineup that boasted Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Ray Allen among their ranks. Complacency and a lack of support for James, were the contributing factors leading to Miami’s demise. With James departing during this off-season, a bewildered Pat Riley , the organization and the coaching staff of Erik Spoelstra will now have to start from scratch rebuilding the roster which hopefully, will have some semblance of competitiveness this season.

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Off to what might deem a favorable start to their schedule , the Miami Heat are no longer a team to be favored or feared, though I believe they are good enough to gain a playoff berth this season, given the mediocrity of the play encountered in the Western Conference , in a season where in its infancy, the basketball in the conference has been truly astounding and banal. The results bear z this out , without delving further about the reasons why beyond stating , two obvious factors, bad coaching and no depth of talent by way of the rookie players .

While of late, singular achievements have been given a great deal of praise, with Kobe Bryant having surpassed Michael Jordan on the all-time career points list (third) and LeBron James moving ahead of Charles Barkley for twenty third in the rankings. While I believe this all to be commendable achievements, it begs the question, why are fans now beginning to make comparisons with today’s players and those of the past ? The game has changed drastically during the respective eras, along with a number of rule changes initiated by outgoing NBA Commissioner David Stern. This is all overlooked as fans and analysts alike try create a debate that will be filled with conjecture and a great deal of nonsense behind the supposed logic by a number of the debaters on the matter.

On the court the Golden State Warriors led by their dynamic duo of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are seen as capable of leading the team on a dominant run in the NBA and to a deep NBA Playoff foray, albeit, they have encountered some stiff opposition resulting in a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies (20-4) the Warriors still maintain a healthy lead within the Pacific Division of the
Western Conference . No major fallout from this loss, as the loss ,as the team has been able to show its resilience over the course of the season .

In the collegiate ranks of basketball, the NCAA Tournament . Kevin Ollie and the U Conn Huskies won another title which heightened the prestige of the program and the fourth title in the school’s history. The Huskies’ victim in that tournament victory, the John Calipari coached Kentucky Wildcats are once again atop of the college rankings with an unbeaten season and the deemed the best team in the country. They are likely to be a team to be reckoned with as Calipari seeks a second title win to add to his burgeoning resume’. Kentucky has cut a swath through their opponents , but I feel we are reading far too much into the accomplishments at this stage of the season ! The run up to this season’s NCAA Tournament and the event itself will place an d even greater emphasis on how good the Kentucky Wildcats are likely to be. Hard to suggest where a likely challenge is likely to come from in stopping the Wildcats’ dominance.

With its inaugural format within College Football now in motion , last season’s defending national champions the Florida State Seminoles will be looking to make a successful defense of their title. Jameis Winston the program’s 2013 Heisman Trophy winner in spite of his off the field problems has been able to lead the team to their unbeaten run this season. The Seminoles ended the regular season ranked in the top four availing the chance to be part of the playoff schedule which has been essentially adjudged a four-team semi-finals’ playoff format with contests’ winner playing in the national title game.

The four programs who are the recipients of this inaugural system are Alabama , Oregon , Ohio State (Buckeyes) and Florida State making up the quartet. While there will be continued debate as to the veracity of this format , many feel a four-team playoff is by no means the best way to decide a national champion . Yet for all of the criticism leveled and the fact an empaneled body were arbiters on this whole scheme, not everyone can state this was of satisfaction to the doubters as well as some protagonists of the new format. Money remains the driving force behind this all, without anyone trying to suggest this system has been the best possible solution after years of idiocy with the BCS format and a system so void of legality , that it was simply ridiculous for anyone to try and justify its legitimacy. Come full circle, in reality the progress made is simply miniscule , even if the new format is tinkered with at various points in the future, as is likely the case.

This year’s Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota can go out on a high if he is able to lead Oregon past Florida State in their highly anticipated game on the 1st January, 2015. Mariota is highly regarded within the college ranks and seen as one of the most dynamic players in the game as well as perhaps the best quarterback in college football. A victory in that that game, to be followed with a championship victory , will lead to certain financial gain, a high draft pick the upcoming NFL Draft of 2015.

In light of the recent disaster of Johnny Manziel’s first professional start in the NFL this season was such a catastrophe it is hard to see any positives which could come out of the debacle, where the Cleveland Browns were shutout by the Cincinnati Bengals in their divisional clash 30-0 . The fact this was a home game for the Browns was all the more embarrassing for the fans. Manziel in the aftermath of his disaster has suggested he can play better , but that must now come into question after the idiotic decision made by Mike Pettine to sit Brian Hoyer merely to gauge what the team’s 2014 draftee was capable of doing. We’ve now seen what Manziel is not capable of doing and that is to lead a team with any great authority, much less play competently at the NFL level.

As the NFL season has unfolded we have witnessed the disasters of teams thought to be contenders , merely to have their hopes blown asunder, because of sheer complacency or simply bad play and extremely bad coaching. Jim Harbaugh’s tenure with the San Francisco 49ers (7-8) is likely to come to an abrupt end after a disastrous season for a franchise which has he taken repeatedly taken to the postseason in four of the five years of his tenure .

As the NFL season has unfolded we have witnessed the disasters of teams thought to be contenders, merely to have their hopes blown asunder, because of sheer complacency or simply bad play and extremely bad coaching. Jim Harbaugh’s tenure with the San Francisco 49ers (7-8) is likely to come to an abrupt end after a disastrous season for a franchise which has he taken repeatedly taken to the postseason in four of the five years of his tenure . San Francisco’s home loss in week sixteen to the San Diego Chargers put an immediate end to their postseason hopes. The fallout from it all , has been the growing speculation Harbaugh will fired or he resigns and accepts the vacant coaching position at Michigan (Wolverines). An 8-8 is the best the San Francisco 49ers can now hope for , something no might have envisage at the start of this season’s NFL schedule.

It is extremely difficult to now try and justify any reason why Rex Ryan should be retained as the New York Jets’ head coach for next season. In spite of their narrow one-point loss o to the New England Patriots(12-3) the defeat dropped the Jets’ record , with a with a penultimate game left on their schedule, they now find themselves bearing a mark of 3-12 . The franchise’s front office will have several decisions to make beyond Ryan’s immediate future, there is also the questionable performances of Geno Smith and Michael Vick over the course of this season. It remains to be seen wheter not both players are likely to be retained for the upcoming season, but clearly , GM John Idzik and the front office staff have to ponder the drafting of a quarterback or acquiring a reliable free agent to fulfill their needs .

The NFL enters its final week of games, with a number of divisions having been decided . Yet,for all of their accomplishments, there still remains the preposterous diatribe served up within the NFC South all season long . With the Carolina Panthers (6-8-1) now holding a slender one-game lead over the New Orleans Saints (6-9 and Atlanta Falcons (6-9) , a great deal still remains on the line as they each head into the final week knowing that a defeat could end their hopes of winning the division and gaining a playoff berth . Atlanta made sure, they still remain in the hunt, with their total annihilation of the Saints in Sunday’s game, beating a demoralized New Orleans’ team 30-14 . Carolina for their part, kept up their side of the ongoing equation by making sure the Cleveland Browns’ woes continued as the team suffered their second successive defeat . Thankfully, for the Browns’ fans, Johnny Manziel was kept on the sidelines for the entire game,as his services were not needed , not even for mop-up duty .

While I thoroughly enjoyed the exploits of the Kansas City Royals during this MLB Postseason . The AL Central franchise became the rallying cry for the underdogs within the game of baseball, as they wore down team after team on their way to the World Series . Alas, for the Royals it wasn’t to be, as the San Francisco Giants and Madison Bumgarner had more in store for the underdogs than they could ever have imagined . The series’ statistics may well stated the Giants won their third World Series’ title in five years . with some ease (4-3) and in part they actually achieved that. Yet to my mind, the Royals were never in with a chance of winning game seven , simply because of their lack of postseason and veteran experience being part of their lineup !

During this off-season with the Winter Meetings in full swing , teams made their play a> to acquire the free agents sought, while also jettisoning players they believed superfluous to their needs. The Miami Marlins made the headlines for the right and wrong reasons, dependent upon your point of view , but their signing Giancarlo Stanton to his now ridiculous $325 million contract smacks of sheer lunacy and a great deal of narcissism and conceit on the part of the organization . Two years ago this very same ball-club had a burgeoning roster of high-paid stars who simply flamed out under the misguided managerial acumen of Ozzie Guillen . A last place finish in the NL East games out behind the the divisional winner and a further out of card berth sealed Guillen’s fate for the year, leading to his dismissal after a disastrous season where the team was uncompetitive and > in complete disarray on and off the field . In the aftermath of the disaster, GM Michael Hill summarily initiated the fire sale which led to the trading away of those highly paid players from 2012.

A great deal will be expected of Mike Redmond and his managerial staff this upcoming season, because of the high and renewed expectations of this team led by Giancarlo Stanton and their NL Rookie of the Year pitcher Jose Fernandez , who was also signed to a very lucrative deal by the Marlins.

For the greater part of my youth and into my teenage years, I was an avid and voracious boxing fan and aficionado . My two biggest idols from the sport are still remain Muhammad Ali , ‘Marvelous’ Marvin Hagler with former light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins not far behind . All three fighters were great champions during their prime with each rewriting the history books with records likely to be surpassed. I now champion the world of MMA and as an actual martial arts’ practitioner (karate & tae-kwon-do) this sport I believe has far exceeded what has boxing has failed to do in the last decade and that is to draw fans in, rather than systematically pushing them away . The death of another peer of Ali’s , at the age of seventy-five Ernie Terrell died but his career was memorable for the bout in which a charismatic , flamboyant Ali taunted Terrell in a lopsided contest where Muhammad Ali showed his dominance and gave light to what he would go on to achieve in the future . .

Muhammad Ali faces Ernie Terrell for the WBA Heavyweight title at the Houston Astrodome on the 6th February , 1967.

In light of the recent news, that Ali has been admitted into hospital with what is alleged to be a slight bout of pneumonia and with the former champion’s health having deteriorated over the past two-and a half decades. It may well seem sordid, in surmising he could now be at death’s door , wherein, if Parkinson’s disease doesn’t take him from within our midst, this latest health setback, likely will. Ali remains to this day not only the biggest icon in the sport of boxing, but his name and face are the most universally recognized in the world of sports. Outside of Michael Jordan in the NBA and Pele’ in the world of soccer, I sincerely doubt that there has been a more revered icon in the world of professional sports on a global scale.

Boxing has now become a sport, lacking in a charisma , where the top fighters in the various weight categories, simply avoid each other while formulating their prowess and claims of being the ‘true champions’ of their weight divisions . Personally, for all of the hype surrounding a potentially lucrative fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao, I will continue to maintain, it is a fight a number fans have become completely disinterested in ! Is there anyone willing at this juncture, to pay in excess of $55.00 for the “privilege” of seeing these two fighters, who have spent the past three years padding their stats with meaningless bouts , while earning exorbitant fight purses ? This has become the ” new norm” within the sport, along with the petulance of the fighters, promoters , connivance and continued corrupt practices of the various international governing bodies which preside over the boxing. Yet we wonder why the sport no longer truly resonates with fans and how it now lacks a broad-based appeal ?

Meanwhile, a viewed as a pugilistic upstart, continues to dominate the landscape and has become a multi billion-dollar industry under the main promotional flagship of UFC . MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) has now become the fastest growing sport in the world , with an increased audience participation , rising viewership and gate attendances for many of their biggest events staged around the globe. Idiots such as promoter Bob Arum and ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard continue to question the legitimacy of the sport , but have failed to recognize , while boxing has become pallid and stagnant, the growth of Mixed Martial Arts has been explosive. . In little over a decade, this combative style of fighting has caught the imagination of fans around the world and now has a growing legion of female fans, while holding on to its main demographic of males aged between eighteen to thirty-five . If you think fans of the the sport , is strictly confined to adults alone , then you would be wrong, as martial arts’ dojos are now beginning to incorporate MMA within their criteria , while still teaching their main forms of combat , such as karate, judo , taekwondo , Ju-jitsu , Krav-magav and other lethal forms of fighting.

Dana White rules the roost of the UFC, but he has now become more a totalitarian dictator, rather than a lead executive and arbiter of the sport. His apparent idiocy, in chastising many of the biggest names in the sport, who helped place it on the global map, shows not only White’s bombastic attitude, but also his naivete’ and complete stupidity. Can you imagine David Stern questioning the abilities of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson , Kobe Bryant or even LeBron James at the height of their careers ? Well, White has managed to do that with the MMA fighters, while becoming the antithesis of what is expected of a governing sports’ executive.

It may well be a great deal of schtick and panache’ on the part of Dana White, but before too long his idiocy will being to grate on the nerves of not only the fans but also the fighters themselves. The two biggest names in the sport at present are Cain Velazquez and Jon Jones , but with neither fighter having recently defended their respective titles, a small void has been created , yet to be filled by any other fighter, with the character or genuine appeal to strike a note with the masses. Ganted, the likes of Jose Aldo , Anthony Pettis and of late the sport’s only genuine female ‘star’ Ronda Rousey have a growing fan-base , but that might not be enough, unless there is a major title bout involving Jones, Velasquez or former champions Anderson Silva or Georges St Pierre. Rousey and St Pierre may well carved out side careers having appeared in a couple of Hollywood action movies, but their ” bread and butter ” remains the UFC for now .

Having been justifiably critical of the UFC and the lack transparency shown by the hierarchy concerning the drug testing of its fighters with repeatedly violations , most notably by Chael Sonnen , it will be interesting to see if Dana White is willing to welcome back the former UFC welterweight champion Georges St Pierre. Johny Hendricks’ first championship defense of the title , he won in an vacant title bout title as the successor to St Pierre, ended with his loss to Robbie Lawler. . All of the hype and actually nothing to back it up, simply indicated, Hendricks , was not all he was cracked to be .

With no major event on the schedule until January 3rd , 2015 , when Jon Jones defends his Light Heavyweight title against Daniel Cormier in a bout that will see the finality to what has already become contentious period between the two fighters , name calling asides , it’s time for both Jones and Cormier to sort their ” beef out”, rather than act like petulant children . I know the fight scene has to create an angle , with a ” hero” and a ” villain” , but when you are being asked to choose between two self-absorbed individuals, there isn’t much to actually throw your support behind. Your thoughts on that ?

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Picture gallery.

This was my simple breakdown of some of the interesting events I witnessed during the sports’ year and granted, I failed to touch on the PGA , NASCAR the NHL and even the WSOP (World Series of Poker) . So by all means chime in with your thoughts on the event or events of this sporting year which piqued your interest.

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Picture and slideshow gallery .

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(1) Dec 16, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra gestures against the Brooklyn Nets during the fourth quarter at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn , New York . The Heat defeated the Nets 95-91 . Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports …

(2) Dec 16 , 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) reacts to losing the ball against the Brooklyn Nets during the first quarter at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports …

(3) Dec 16, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Johnson (7) holds his head as Miami Heat guard Norris Cole (30) and Miami Heat forward Luol Deng (9) high-five late in the fourth quarter at the Barclays Center. The Heat defeated the Nets 95-91. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports ..

(4) Nov 11 , 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr (right) pats guard Stephen Curry (30) during the first quarter against the San Antonio Spurs at Oracle Arena . The Spurs defeated the Warriors 113-100 . Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports …

(5) Kentucky players from left, Devin Booker , Tyler Ulis , Trey Lyles, and Willie Cauley-Stein celebrate their 83-42 win over UCLA during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game , Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, in Chicago. AP Photo Nam Y. Huh …

(6) Left , Marcus Mariota of Oregon and Jameis Winston of Florida State . Both college quarterbacks are one of the primary reasons why their respective programs will be part of the inaugural college playoff format which will decide this season’s national champion at the FBS Level of College Football . Both players will likely declare their eligibility status at the end of the playoff season , seeking to enter the 2015 NFL Draft . Mariota and Winston are considered consensus first round draft picks . Yet , there is a common belief teams in need of a passer might well be weary in light of the recent issues of Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Johnny Manziel . AP Photo / David Parsons …

(7) Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers runs off the field after the 49ers lose 38-35 in overtime to the San Diego Chargers at Levi’s Stadium on December 20th, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images / Ezra Shaw …

(8) Quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) of the San Francisco 49ers shakes hands with free safety Eric Weddle(32) of the San Diego Chargers after the Chargers defeat the 49ers 38-35 in overtime at Levi’s Stadium on December 20, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images/ Ezra Shaw ….

(9) New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) talks to his team in the huddle during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun …

(10) New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan , left, and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, right, shake hands after an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Patriots won the game 17-16 . AP Photo/Julio Cortez

(11) Quarterback Geno Smith (7) of the New York Jets is tackled by defensive tackle Vince Wilfork (75) of the New England Patriots in the first quarter during a game at MetLife Stadium on December 21, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. AP Photo/ Julio Cortez …

(12) Miami Marlins’ manager Mike Redmond left and Giancarlo Stanton are seen here in the dugout at Marlins Ballpark in Miami , Florida during a home game on 2nd September , 2014 played against the New York Mets . Miami would go on lose the contest 8-6 . …

(13) In what is believed to be the last known public appearance by former world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali is seen here attending the funeral of boxer Joe Frazier in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , in November of 2014. Ali was recently admitted to a local hospital where he is said to be suffering from a mild respiratory problem and a bout of pneumonia . Ernie Terrell whom Ali beat during his illustrious career recently died at the age of seventy-five. AP Photo / Steve Woods … …

(14) Ernie Terrell gets advice from his advisor Joe Louis between rounds of the vacant 1965 WBA World Heavyweight Title fight versus Eddie Machen at the International Amphitheatre , Chicago, Illinois on the 5th March , 1965 ,. UPI Syndicate ….

(15) Anderson Silva (left) is seen here with UFC President Dana White prior to Silva’s defense of his world welterweight title against Chris Weidman . The challenger would score a surprising knockout of the champion and then follow up that victory with a successful defense against Silva in their rematch which ended with a TKO after the former champion suffered a broken leg in their bout at UFC168 . Courtesy of MMA Magazine . @ all rights reserved …

(16) From left to right , Georges St Pierre , Anderson Silva and Jon ‘Bones’ Jones . St Pierre relinquished his welterweight title, taking a prolonged leave of absence from the sport . The former champion has been critical of Dana White for his lack of consistency and a stringent drug testing policy. White in retaliation, was less than salutary to one of the sport’s biggest attractions and most successful fighters in MMA history . MMA Junkie … …

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News, views and a whole lot of crap from the world of sports …


News, views and a whole lot of crap from the world of sports …

Well once again as we approach a festive period , in this case, Christmas and all of the alleged joy it is meant to bring .Sports’ fans are left to ponder what is happening within the realms of professional sports. The NFL remains a complete farce and once again we had a Thursday Night Game which failed to live up to expectations. The Arizona Cardinals (11-3) found a way to eke out a victory over the rather inept St Louis Rams. Cardinals’ head coach Bruce Arians , believes incumbent starting quarterback Drew Stanton has what it takes to lead the team all the way to the Superbowl . Based on the events of the last night’s contest , I believe the head coach is delusional and definitely jumping ahead of himself !

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Slideshow.

For the present Arizona has the best record in the NFC and will be looking for home field advantage throughout the postseason. The NFC West, where Arizona has a comfortable lead over their closest rivals , is now a division, which is theirs to lose . As to the continued idiocy and buffoonery by some, who believe the San Francisco 49ers (7-6) were good enough to gain double-digit wins for the season , well their year has been completely turned upside down with the head coach Jim Harbaugh no longer being seen in a favorable light by the front office led by CEO Jed Yorke and GM Trent Baalke. Whether not Harbaugh returns next season is now open to a great deal of debate and conjecture. The Niners have a divisional clash on Sunday afternoon against the defending Superbowl champions the Seattle Seahawks and that contest will certainly be a ” make or break game ” for the team.

Colin Kaepernick will certainly have to now prove his worth beyond his audacious contract , one which he now has to live up to in more ways than one.

With the Cleveland Browns (7-6) still in the thick of things within the AFC North and fighting for their very lives, looking to make the postseason for the first time in almost twelve years , it remains to be seen whether or not this team can make that premise a reality. Head coach Mike Pettine has decided to sit starting quarterback Brian Hoyer in favor the team’s draftee Johnny Manziel and so the era begins for a player, many believe lacks the maturity to play in the NFL. The Browns’ coaching staff may well live to regret this decision, should the team fall at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals (8-4-1) when these two AFC North teams meet in a decisive and pivotal division game on Sunday afternoon. Manziel will get the chance to show what he is made of and perhaps persuade his doubters and actually prove to them , he is the future of this franchise.

The NBA season continues with a number of teams already in complete disarray. The Toronto Raptors (16-6) and Golden State Warriors (20-2) are the respective conference leaders within the league as we reach the first quarter of the NBA’s eighty-two game schedule. Undeniably , there is still a long way to go before the season reaches its climax , but already we are beginning to see the frustration among the fans as well as a number of players , because of the continued poor play of the teams. Needless to say , teams such as the New York Knicks (4-20) , Philadelphia 76ers (3-19), Detroit Pistons (3-19) , Charlotte Hornets (6-15) , Minnesota Timberwolves (5-16) and Los Angeles Lakers (6-16) are no longer having to prove why they are so inept . Just take my word for it they are and will remain so over the course of the season based on their current play. Neither of the teams mentioned, have shown any signs of real competitiveness and clearly that has been shown in the results seen this season.

For all of the praised heaped upon Phil Jackson as a head coach , it has to be said, the expectations and his being able to work a miracle by turning around the misfortunes of the New York Knicks have been way beyond his control. The team is in complete disarray , with no signs of life now being shown. The situation will not be helped with Carmelo Anthony being sidelined due to an injury and as the team’s best player and offensive threat , it becomes easy to understand how dire the situation has become for the franchise. Jackson was brought in to head up the Knicks’ operations and now as the Head of Basketball Operations as well as holding a position as a Senior Vice President, the former head coach is witnessing the fact , the job of an executive is not as easy as first thought. Add in the culture of the New York Knicks’ fans and fan-base who have been starved of success for years and weight of expectation from the perceived savior, may well be now in doubt.

The indignity now being suffered by the New York Knicks apart from their dire record and the fact they are on a ten-game losing streak adds to the ineptitude witnessed from this team. Their last victory came in defeating the lowly and even less effective Philadelphia 76ers in a 91-83 win , which took place on the 22nd November , 2014. Hard to say where there are meant to be any positives to be found concerning the Knicks without delving further into the fact, they have a rookie coach , Derek Fisher and a coaching staff who are clearly out of their depth . The team’s next game will be on the road when they face the Boston Celtics (7-13) at the TD Banknorth Gardens , in Boston , Massachusetts on Friday evening .

To now understand how dire things have become for the New York Knicks , consider the fact at the start of the season the franchise did their utmost in getting Carmelo Anthony to re-sign with the team with the player signing a five-year $124 million deal , tying him to the Knicks for the next years. Now comes word, the front office is said to be contemplating trading the NBA All Star and former scoring champion , but the premise would be based on Anthony waiving his no-trade clause. Anthony is not due to become a free agent until 2019 and his $ 22.5 million salary is not necessarily cap-friendly to a team wishing to acquire the player much less obligate themselves to the remaining four years on his current deal. Undoubtedly, Anthony would be a desired player by a franchise looking for offensive firepower , but it is my belief the forward’s desire would have wish to be traded to a credible contender. The New York Knicks for their part are obviously seeking pieces which would complement their roster while looking to the future , whatever that may well be. Though this current situation is by no means the fault of Phil Jackson, it is my belief his arrogance and sheer complacency in not seeking improve the roster during the off-season, has led to this current debacle. For years this franchise has stumbled with their repeated pratfalls and lack of sheer insight as to what what was needed to improve their plight , without delving into the fact team owner James Dolan remained negligent in his responsibilities as the senior executive within the Knicks’ hierarchy. Come full circle and the New York Knicks are now heading aimlessly nowhere and an organization without a clue as what to do next .

It becomes asinine when fans try compare the careers of players from one generation to the next , before one of the athletes in question has actually retired .Yet like the ever anal retentive idots within the sports’ world, there will always be the fan or pundit seeking make an argument as to the merits in such a case . With Los Angeles Lakers’ guard Kobe Bryant recently passing the plateau of 30,000 career points , the lead among active players and placing him among the top-ten all-time scorers in NBA history. Now as Bryant inches closer to the career points’ total of the player the greatest in the game’s history , the comparisons are now being made between Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan . The former Chicago Bulls’ great, his career being well-chronicled , as been littered with accolades at every level of the game and it should be noted Jordan won an NCAA title at the collegiate level , whereas, Bryant made the jump straight from high school directly to the professional ranks of the NBA, forgoing a college career. Both players have won multiple NBA titles , Jordan’s six to Bryant’s five. Each has been a recipient of the Finals’ MVP Award and League MVP Award. Yet, the comparison should end there , because Bryant has become an anathema and petulant child, now resorting to chastising his teammates and the Lakers’ organization , publicly . Something, Jordan chose not to do publicly , and it was only with the advent of the breakup of the championship winning team in the Bulls’ last triumph under the auspices of general manger Jerry Krause , where the player was critical of the Bulls’ organization. specifically of Krause and his wish to breakup the winning team from that season. The similarities can end there , in-as far as the players may well have been critical of their respective hierarchies .

Kobe Bryant now finds himself in something of a dilemma as he plays on an uncompetitive team short on talent and coaching prowess being brought to the table by Byron Scott and his coaching staff. One could go as far as to suggest, Scott might be doing an even worst job than his two previous predecessors, Mike D’Antoni and Mike Brown , two former Lakers’ coaches who simply struggled to lead the franchise to any type of meaningful success during their respective tenures. Steve Nash remains unavailable to the team and Jeremy Lin , has proven to be about as useful as a dish-cloth being used to mop up an oil spill in the middle of an ocean. Beyond Lin, Carlos Boozer and Jordan Hill , there is very little to suggest the Lakers can survive the long haul of an eighty-two game schedule , let alone remain being competitive.

With a 6-16 record the Lakers find themselves at the bottom of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference 13 1/2 games behind the division leading Golden State Warriors . To put it mildly , the Lakers are no longer the best NBA franchise in the state of California , a mantel they have held for a number of years , in particular in recently history , up until the 2012-13 season .

The Los Angeles Lakers are equally abysmal at home as they are on the road , further enforcing the fact they cannot win anywhere , let alone provide an opponent with some meaningful competition . Coming off a 98-95 victory over the Sacramento Kings their next opponent will be defending NBA champions the San Antonio Spurs in a game to be played at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. The resilience shown by Los Angeles could go a long way in defining the remainder of their season and whether not drastic changes are likely to be made at the trade deadline by GM Mitch Kupchak .

You have to admire rapper, entrepreneur , budding media mogul and now owner of an upstart sports’ management empire , seeking to challenge the likes of CAA , Top Rank , IMG , Golden Boy Promotions Inc as the next big thing in sports’ management and promotions. Jay-z , having accomplished a great deal as a musical artist , has now set his sights on becoming not only a boxing promoter , but also the manager of a stable of fighters. His fledgling agency RocNationSpotrts under the umbrella of parent company RocNation has entered the field of boxing promotions and management. Having been granted a license by the New York State Athletic Commission , his company will now seek to sign up and coming fighters to his stable of established sports’ personalities and athletes. Nevermind his coterie of renowned musical talent within the RocNation empire. Anything, which furthers the profile of boxing and can drag it out of the depths of mediocrity has to be seen as a welcomed thing , but given the lack and dirth of talent , I am not so sure, Jay-z will be as successful in this endeavor as he has been with his other commercial enterprises . Far be it for me to suggest , with the likes of Victor Cruz , Geno Smith , CC Sabathia , ,James Young said to be having indifferent seasons within their respective sports. It has to be said, an upswing of sorts , is needed for the agency. The biggest high-profiled athletes within the agency remain , Robinson Cano, Kevin Durant , Ndamukong Suh and Dez Bryant .

Boxing needs a dose of fresh air and creativity, because the likes of Don King and Bob Arum have been about as beneficial for the sport as the US Congress can be likened to have been of benefit to the country over the past six years. Inactivity, continued partisan bickering and infantile behavior, have become synonymous on Capitol Hill , just as much as it can now be witnessed within the sport of boxing. Needless to say, there are those who might think otherwise , perhaps due to their ongoing stupidity and complete lack of intelligence.

MLB’s Winter Meetings are not yet in full swing , but there has been abundance of trade activity since the postseason came to an end. A newly crowned World Series’ champion in the San Francisco Giants , and the witnessing of the largest individual contract being signed in professional sports’ team history, when Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins signed an outrageous $325 million deal , far dwarfing the next biggest contract in baseball. Needless to say, there are those , now questioning the wherewithal within an organization , which has been just as quick to jettison high-salaried players , as it has been to feign poverty , while team owner and billionaire art dealer Jeffrey Loria continues to pull the wool over the eyes of the Marlins’ fans as well as the league hierarchy , whom it appears have willingly let Loria get away with his unscrupulous behavior. Yet, baseball remains a law unto itself , with their being very little financial prudency being shown by the teams let alone with some of the most senior leaders within the league’s management .

Can anyone actually justify the $25 million salary paid to outgoing commissioner, Bud Selig , this past season or the fact , his successor Rob Manfred is likely to be paid in excess of that sum in 2015 ? All of this, coming at a time when a number of teams can barely survive on their gate revenues and still turn a profit even with endorsement deals from major corporate sponsors and that is without taking into account the ever growing payrolls around the league .

The Miami Marlins were far from convincing last season within an NL East division, which was sub-par and mediocre . One only has to understand that fact , in seeing how easily the the division’s winner , the Washington Nationals were brushed aside with the utmost ease during the postseason. Miami for its part, will continue to make good on its promise, to bolster their roster for the upcoming season with a number of deals, as they seek to make themselves competitive , in face of the alleged stiff competition within their division , the NL and the league. This might be just as good as it gets for the franchise, before they are back to ways of old , and the jettisoning of high salaried players.

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Picture gallery.

During 2014, which major sporting event has provided you with the greatest pleasure and which to your mind has been the most disappointing ? Chime in with a comments as you see fit on this and anything else you believe of merit concerning the subject matter.

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below.
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(1) St. Louis Rams’ Kenny Britt (81) sits on the field following an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 in St. Louis. Arizona won 12-6 . AP Photo/Tom Gannam ..

(2) St. Louis Rams quarterback Shaun Hill (14) reacts after the Rams turned the football over on late downs late in the second half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 in St. Louis. Arizona won 12-6 . AP Photo/Tom Gannam …

(3)St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher left, talk with Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians following an NFL football game Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 in St. Louis. Arizona won 12-6 . AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

(4) San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) scrambles from Oakland Raiders linebacker Miles Burris (56) during the second quarter of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014. San Francisco would go on to lose the game 24-13 . to the Raiders. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez ..

(5) Johnny Manziel will be making his first professional start in a regular season game when the Cleveland Browns take on the Cincinnati Bengals in an all AFC North clash on Sunday afternoon , the 14th December during week fifteen of the NFL regular season schedule. AP Photo/ Reece Carr …

(6) New York Knicks Carmelo Anthony reacts after a foul in the third quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden in New York City on March 4, 2011. The Cavaliers defeated the Knicks 119-115 . There now seems to be mounting speculation the Knicks might be willing trade the player with their season now spiraling out of control , but it would take Anthony to waive his no-trade clause to facilitate such a deal, likely to involve multiple teams and several players. UPI/John Angelillo

(7) Michael Jordan, left and Kobe Bryant whose careers are not intertwined by a great many meetings on the court , but clearly Bryant’s game was modeled on Jordan’s iconic stature . UPI / Roger Powell ……

(8) Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins having signed the most lucrative deal in baseball history hopes lead the franchise to greater glory this upcoming season . The organization has also signed their NL Rookie of the Year , pitcher , Jose Fernandez (16) to a long-term deal , using both players as marketing chips to lure fans back to Marlins Ballpark , in Miami , Florida . A venue, which in recent seasons has been sparsely attended . Miami Herald / Octavo Figueroa …

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You can’t squeeze those to make lemonade, but you can get a whole lot of milk and a great deal of pleasure from giving her an assist .

Up in the air , heads above the clouds ….

Up in the air , heads above the clouds …

By Tophatal

It was interesting weekend in the weekend in the world of sports , acclaimed Hollywood actor and former Oscar, Best Actor nominee, Mickey Rourke at the age of sixty-two decided to to resurrect his boxing career. Well, with his acting career , somewhat on the decline, Rourke has painstakingly fought to get himself back into shape, for what he says is a serious attempt to legitimize himself as serious athlete in the sport. At an age in Hollywood, where leading man status are so few and far between , Mickey Rourke’s attempt as a boxer now seems comical. His bout in Moscow , Russia against a journeyman boxer , the loser of nine of his last ten bouts was not only idiotic, but his this contest against Elliot Seymour , was simply a non-event.


Rourke’s bout in its entirety against Elliot Seymour .

Rourke’s opponent in this match, put up as much resistance as the French, when they were under siege in Paris during the second World War (WWII) . Claims that the bout and result was staged as nothing more than a gimmick, with the state authorities governing the sport under pressure to conduct an in depth investigation in the match, has to be met with a state of realism and I would say derision ! Personally, from my standpoint, nothing concerning the outcome happens to be a surprise at all anymore ! The sport of boxing has now become a paradoxical paradigm and a complete joke ! With fans now yearning for a multi-million dollar mega-fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao , the thought process has to be any damn gimmick to heighten the interest in a waning sport has to be better than nothing at all.

Elliot Seymour , left , looks to take evasive action as Mickey Rourke attempts land a left hook to the body . AFP / Alexander Nemenov …

Elsewhere , within the AFC West both the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers came away with victories, that kept their divisional and postseason hopes alive. Peyton Manning and the Broncos had an easy victory over the Kansas City Chiefs , while the Chargers came away with a narrow win over the Baltimore Ravens, leaving John Harbaugh’s team in a tightly contested divisional race in the AFC North. John Harbaugh’s sibling , Jim Harbaugh head coach of the San Francisco 49ers saw his team put up a rather inept performance as the Forty Niners went down without much of fight in a 19-3 shellacking at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks. The loss might well have sealed the fate of the Forty Niners with this divisional loss and their chance of the NFC West divisional title outright. There remains mounting speculation also, concerning the future of Jim Harbaugh, as there seems to be a growing discord between the head coach and senior executives within the organization’s front office. GM Trent Baalke and CEO Jed Yorke may well come to the decision to relieve their head coach of his duties at the end of the season. Among the NFL teams said to be interested in the services of Harbaugh are the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders.

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The best contest of this past Sunday in the NFL was the eagerly anticipated match-up between Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. This was only the second professional meeting between two of the league’s most outstanding quarterbacks. With everything to play for including the best record in the league, this contest lived up the expectations and a great deal more. Brady was unable to mount a game-winning drive or come from behind win as the Packers came away with a home victory.

Green Bay not normally known to have a stout defense held the Patriots’ offense to five first-downs and under one hundred rushing yards in the contest .New England for their part face a tough clash when they go on the road to play Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium , in San Diego, California on Sunday afternoon.

The College Football season has seen its highs and lows but this past weekend may well have sent reverberations around the game’s landscape with the death of Ohio State Buckeyes’ player Kosta Karageorge . The defensive lineman died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, with his body being found in a dumpster not far from the college’s main campus in Columbus , Ohio,. Columbus Police Department are not treating his death as suspicious, but their ongoing investigation has revealed that Karageorge had been suffering with bouts of depression as well as repeated headaches brought on by concussions likely suffered during his playing career with the Buckeyes. Kosta Karageorge was also an accomplished wrestler and member of of the Buckeyes’ wrestling team as well as being part of this season’s sixth-ranked team in the nation. It has been seen as a devastating blow to the program as well as to his teammates and his fellow students on campus .

Buckeyes’ head coach Urban Meyer has offered his condolences to Karageorge’s family on their loss, but I cannot help but wonder where were the coaches and the team’s medical staff as well campus counselors in the midst of this all ? For years we have been told by the NCAA and many of the more prominent coaches within the game, stressed that safety has been of the utmost importance, but neither NCAA President Mark Emmert or Urban Meyer himself, have ever stressed that to be of utmost importance and whereby the schools or college athletics’ governing body have jointly conducted an in-depth study of the cause and effects of blunt force head trauma from an extremely physical and violent sport such as College Football. While this issues still remains something of a ” hot potato” in the NFL , with Roger Goodell either backtracking or seemingly trying to be proactive on the issue, it is becoming abundantly clear, the only things that seems to matter to the conference commissioners and coaches , are the burgeoning financial windfalls to the sport and the level of publicity raised for the respective programs. Whether not Karageorge’s death will lead to a rethink on the part of the NCAA or Ohio State and how they treat the issue of concussions suffered by athletes will be predicated upon the actions of the athletics department and coaching staff moving forward. As to the NCAA itself, it continues to be an archaic and corrupt organization devoid real leadership and ingenuity.

Ohio State (11-1 ,8-0) stand atop of the Big Ten Conference and on track to garner a playoff berth for the inaugural season of the postseason format in College Football. Next up for the team will be the Big Ten Conference Championship game against the Wisconsin (Badgers) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis , Indiana on the 6th December , 2014. That contest should be a rip-rousing affair with both teams seeking to impose their will against each other.

As Mississippi State’s season has been curtailed after their loss to Alabama (Crimson Tide) in a classic SEC game as has often been the case with the best conference in College Football. With the Bulldog’s fall from grace , so too possibly has the chances of Dak Prescott to win the Heisman Trophy . The Bulldogs’ quarterback is having an exceptional year and though the defeat has led to their dropping down in the rankings, while Alabama’s ascent to the top seems to have happened with the utmost of ease, although they are are a one-loss team. Defending national champions Florida State (Seminoles) and their troubled Heisman Trophy star Jameis Winston remain unbeaten and on track it would appear, to make their way back to the national championship game. Any slip-up by the Crimson Tide or the number two ranked Oregon (Ducks) and the Seminoles will be a ” shoo-in for one of the two final berths for the title game.

Oregon’s quarterback Marcus Mariota and his team am are in still in the running for a championship berth and a case could very well be made they might be more deserving of one of the two berths than Florida State whose schedule might well be deemed inferior to the Ducks’ over the course of this season. The upcoming games for both teams are likely to prove to be intriguing with Florida St taking on Georgia Tech (Yellowjackets), while Oregon will pursue Arizona (Wildcats) in an all Pac-12 clash.

The NBA season has been dire and were not yet one-quarter of the way through the schedule. Suffice to say, a number of teams’ seasons are essentially on track to franchise leading paths to possible ineptitude and most certainly at this juncture it is definitely the case of the win-less Philadelphia 76ers, who now bear the mark of starting their season on a sixteen-game losing streak. At this point, it would be fair to suggest that the Sixers haven’t a shot in hell of winning the NBA title though they might well be on the path to leading the NBA for the second time in three seasons> for sheer ineptitude .

It is hard to imagine how the league hierarchy and a number of NBA analysts can continue to look the other way, when a franchise such as the Philadelphia 76ers can continue to demonstrate such monstrous ineptitude, while trying to point to the fact that the level of play in the league, is said to be great, when in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Brett Brown and his Sixers’ team will have the privilege of facing the defending NBA champions at home on Monday Night when the San Antonio Spurs come to town. Neither defense or offense have been prerequisites of a 76ers’ team actually starved of creativity and the very fact Brown and his coaching staff appear to be out of their depth. A seventeenth consecutive loss does seem to be on the cards and the league’s longest losing streak of twenty-six games ought to be Philadelphia’s for the taking .

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If someone can impart some wisdom upon me, as why I should have any belief in two of the NBA’s most storied franchises, then I would like to hear from right now ! To witness how bad the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks have become is a question as to how inept their owners and respective coaching staffs are said to be . One can wax on lyrically about the fact Mitch Kupchak has won four NBA titles as a front office executive and Phil Jackson’s legacy as an NBA head coach makes him, perhaps the greatest NBA coach in the league’s history. Let us however, put it all into context, Kupchak has not actually been able to assemble a roster without the talents of two superstars to provide the Lakers with their most recent successes. I would dare say, without the insight of his predecessor Jerry West, their five most recent titles would not have come into being without the acquisitions of Kobe Bryant or Shaquille O’Neal. With the last of the franchise’s triumphs coming in 2010 , albeit, that O’Neal was no longer part of those two final series’ victories.

This season the Lakers’ 4-13 mark places the team at the bottom of the Western East Conference with no respite in sight. As to what this might suggest about the coaching acumen of Byron Scott and the mediocrity of the roster will play a great deal in how this organization is likely to move forward, as they approach the trade deadline. Coming off a seven-point victory over the Toronto Raptors may well provide the Lakers with the momentum needed, but it has become abundantly clear this team is far from being competitive enough to be in with a remote chance of winning their division, much less a conference berth as an eighth seed or better for the NBA Playoffs .

I am not saying the New York Knicks have capitulated , but even Phil Jackson had to have known James Dolan’s request for him to assume control for all player personnel decision moves, was not going to make his job any easier. He has a player roster that has marginal talent with the exception of Carmelo Anthony and beyond that the pickings are threadbare.

The saying is , ” it’s not easy being cheesy “. Well , the Knicks have been that and a great deal more, with it being a reflection of their current record in the NBA. Feeling sorry for this team is akin to seeking to make an amends for an obese individual, who has no intent to look after their health .I mean, it is not as if this New York Knicks have actually shown a propensity to improve over the course of this season, as borne out in their standing within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference, where only the Philadelphia 76ers lies beneath them in the division. To bear this out further, on Sunday night, Derek Fisher and his rag-tag of a team hosted their heated conference rivals the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden in New York City , New York. As hosts, the Knicks succumbed to the Heat , with the utmost of ease, and their being no resilience shown by New York throughout this entire contest. Once again, it was left to Carmelo Anthony to try and carry the Knicks on his back, as he has so often done throughout his career with this franchise. If Phil Jackson and GM Steve Mills cannot recognize the real issues on this roster, without this incessant idiotic belief that the ‘ Triangle Offense ‘ will aid this team , then the proponents of that idiocy, clearly have no damn idea as to what the hell they are talking about concerning this roster and their play , ultimately in this case, the lack of it .

Next up for Fisher and the New York Knicks will be a game against the Brooklyn Nets 6-9, the Big Apple’s other franchise whose own woes are no better than their conference rivals. New York ” bragging rights” or not , this is likely to be one spectacle that the NBA’s fans can do without as two pitiful teams face off against each other.

A last place finish in the AL East was enough to convince Tom Werner and John Henry , owners of the Boston Red Sox that something drastic had to done to bolster last season’s roster . GM Ben Cherington wasted no time in making a big splash signing Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez . Boston’s acquisitions are unlikely to be over as they may well seek to make further additions to their projected roster as well losing several players to through attrition via free agency.

Having committed almost $200 million in acquiring both Ramirez and Sandoval , you simply get the impression the Red Sox will not stand idly by while the Baltimore Orioles , New York Yankees , Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays seek improve their rosters. Oh wait, let’s be real, the Rays are unlikely to make that sort of financial sacrifice to begin with, as the front office would rather penny-pinch , bitch and whine all the way into next season , as to their dire situation, financially and dare I say it , logistically ?

The Rays lost their two biggest assets during this off-season when GM Andrew Friedman sought to take his services elsewhere, rather than having to deal with an off-season of uncertainty and the constant whining among the local political dignitaries as well managing partner Stuart Sternberg, as to how close the franchise might to getting a new venue to replace the archaic Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. Following Friedman through what has now become the Rays’ postseason turnstile, was the franchise’s most successful manager Joe Maddon. His signing a five-year $25.5 million deal to manage the Chicago Cubs , may on the face of it seem comedic. However, the Cubs are likely to move heaven and earth to give their new manager the tools necessary to get the job done , as they seek their first World Series’ title in over a century. Could the same thing be said of the Rays while Maddon’s tenure brought about a lone appearance in baseball’s showcase finale ? Tampa’s last postseason appearance came in 2013, when they were summarily dispatched with a great deal of ease by the the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS .

Tampa has yet to name a new manager to succeed Joe Maddon and it appears the interview process remains ongoing, but topping the list of potential candidates is Raul Ibanez . Rays’ GM Matt Silverman has not confirmed or denied that the ball-club is still pursuing the former player, but it would appear the organization would rather their cards closely to their chest, than divulge their apparent choice of a successor to Maddon.

While the Boston Red Sox will be hoping for quick turnaround in 2014, a return to the postseason, where their last appearance came in 2013 and unlikely run to the World Series’ that year. For the Tampa Bay Rays, it could very well be another forlorn season where the team lacks leadership both on and off the field of play. Evan Longoria continues to play the part of a Major League star, but what the franchise actually desires from the player are ” superstar exploits “ and a great deal more vocal leadership, none of which has ever really appeared to be evident with Longoria, during his time with the Tampa Bay Rays.

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What if anything, may well have piqued your interest, of the sports’ stories which came into being during this past weekend ? Chime in with a comment as you see fit and thanks for the continued support of this site, as it has always been greatly appreciated !

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(1) Mickey Rourke, right , is seen here taking on his opponent Elliot Seymour in what was said to be legitimate bout, but in some circles the contest is being viewed as simply an exhibition fight. The fact remains , it was something of a sham event , that took place at the Moscow Concert Hall as an under-card event . Elliot was said to be a former Golden Gloves’ champion with a credible record as an amateur . What is known about Rourke’s opponent, was that he has been homeless, living on the streets of Los Angeles and was used as a sparring partner for some of the stable of fighters within Golden Boy Promotions Inc , the boxing , managerial and promotional arm of Oscar De La Hoya’s sports’ interests . De La Hoya was not involved in the promotion of the bout and has distanced himself the controversy surrounding the fight. . Getty Images / Mattheus Huchtner …

(2) Mickey Rourke lands a blow to the head of his opponent Elliot Seymour during the first round of their five round bout . Rourke managed to knock down Seymour six times during the fight , three times during the second round . The bout was eventually stopped by the referee to stop the Los Angeles’ based fighter from suffering further punishment . UPI Press Syndicate Europe ….

(3) Elliot Seymour , left , looks to take evasive action as Mickey Rourke attempts land a left hook to the body . AFP / Alexander Nemenov …

(4) Alex Smith (11) of the Kansas City Chiefs passes against DeMarcus Ware (94) of the Denver Broncos during the first half at Arrowhead Stadium on November 30, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. Getty Images North America /Peter Aitken …

(5) Tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) of the New England Patriots runs with the football after a reception past free safety Clinton-Dix (21) of the Green Bay Packers during the second quarter of the NFL game at Lambeau Field on November 30, 2014 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Getty Images / Christian Petersen …

(6) Kosta Karageorge a member of the Ohio State Buckeyes’ football and wrestling team. The player’s body was found in a dumpster in what the local law enforcement agency believe to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound . The weapon was found close by with the victim’s body in close proximity to the main campus of Ohio State University. The Columbus Police Dept will be carrying out their ongoing investigation , but it is not believed there are any suspicious circumstances behind Karageorge’s death . AP Photo / Keith Jardine …

(7) Oregon Ducks’ starting quarterback and almost certainly the Heisman Trphy favorite for 2014 Marcus Mariota . AP Photo/ Chris Harper … ….

(8) Brett Brown head coach of the Philadelphia 7ers , the team currently with the worst record in the NBA. Getty Images / Angela Harris …

(9) Boston Red Sox senior executives , John Henry , left and media mogul Tom Werner . The pair are hoping to see an immediate turnaround for the franchise this upcoming season . Courtesy of The Boston Globe ….

(10) Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays, long considered to be the franchise’s best player and the outward face of the organization . Questions have arisen about Longoria’s ability to lead and be more vocal on a team , that is certainly desperate for success, where in the AL East they have to deal with the burgeoning financial resources of the four other occupants of the division . Tampa Bay Times ….. all rights reserved @ copyrighted material …..

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Keeping your eyes on the prize …

Keeping your eyes on the prize

MLB (baseball) has ended its regular season schedule with the divisional races having reached a conclusion . The most surprising story of the season must be the Kansas City Royals having claimed a postseason berth and entry into baseball’s postseason foray. In doing so it ended the longest drought professional sports’ team history in North America. The last time the Royals were part of the playoffs , came by way of their triumph in the World Series in 1985 when led by George Brett , the team triumphed over the St Louis Cardinals . For the privilege of being a participant in this season’s foray the Royals will face the Oakland Athletics in the wildcard round of the AL postseason scheduling. In a one and done scenario , the AL Central runners’ up will play host to their AL West rivals at Kauffmann Stadium on Tuesday , September 30th , 2014. In the NL contest the Pittsburgh Pirates for the second year in succession have made the postseason and they will play host to the San Francisco Giants .

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The high-flying Los Angeles Dodgers with their $240 million payroll will be taking on the St Louis Cardinals in the best of five game series which are likely to be a highly competitive contests . In the AL with the New York Yankees not being part of the postseason , the presumptive favorites are thought to the Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Angels , the two teams with the best record in the league and by far the two best teams in the AL throughout the year. Buck Showalter , manager of the Orioles and Mike Scioscia of the Angels , will be under no illusions about what is expected of both their teams and a likely match-up in the ALCS seems to be the expected result from this year’s playoff scenario . Granted , the Detroit Tigers are likely to want to turn that scenario upside down as are the Kansas City Royals .

If this postseason can match the excitement witnessed in 2013 , then the fans will be in for a treat and where several players will be looking to add to their stature during baseball’s postseason fare .

Perhaps one of the more unsavory moments of the sporting weekend actually took place across the Atlantic, in the wake of 2014 Ryder Cup , where Team USA fell to the European Ryder Cup Team . Phil Mickelson , a veteran of earlier Ryder Cup teams was severely critical of US Team Captain Tom Watson and his strategy for the entire three-day competition held at Gleneagles Golf Course , Gleneagles, Scotland,. Mickelson’s criticisms were pointed and aimed squarely at Watson , whom the player believes underestimated their European rivals in just about every facet of the competition and the strategies put in place by the team captain. Warranted or not , what was abundantly clear was the very fact this US Team was never in the hunt at any point of the competition with Paul McGinley’s players strolling to an easy victory winning the competition and retaining the Ryder Cup by a margin of 16 1/2 points to 11 1/2 points .

Whether not this was dissension by Phil Mickelson , it seems to have an ugly setting for the player , the PGA and how they came into the competition with the hope of reacquiring one of sports’ most prestigious team prizes . Team USA was simply overwhelmed in this competition and their hopes were simply dashed by not only the great play of their opponents , but primarily from the lack of experience on this team captained by Tom Watson. Watson was aided by his assistants , Vice Captains , Raymond Floyd , Andy North and Steve Stricker .

The 2016 Ryder Cup competition will be held at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska , Minnesota and it will be interesting to see how the PGA goes about choosing their next captain and whether or not any major changes will be made in how the team is decided which now is based upon the Fedex Cup with the captain having two addition picks in conjunction with the top-ten players in the standings being mandatory team members.

Four weeks into the NFL season and the dust has begun to settle , with several teams now on the cusp of seeing their year simply go up in smoke . The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were able to pull off an impressive road victory in defeating the hapless Pittsburgh Steelers in a competitive game , 27-24 . The win provided Lovie Smith and his team with a timely morale booster as they head into week five , where they will face divisional rivals the New Orleans Saints , who coming off a really horrendous display in a lopsided loss (38-17) to the Dallas Cowboys , in week four.

Sean Payton and the Saints will have to rethink their efforts after a game which saw quarterback Drew Brees at times excel , only to then fall back with some inconsistent play against the Cowboys . The NFC South now becomes something of a farcical division , in the aftermath of the Carolina Panthers also falling in something of an uncustomary way with their defeat suffered at the hands of the AFC South based Baltimore Ravens . It is one thing to have an explosive offense , but it simply means nothing when your defense is simply mediocre and nondescript , as is the case with the Panthers and Saints .

The Arizona Cardinals (3-0) and Cincinnati Bengals (3-0) are the only two remaining unbeaten teams now left in the NFL . Bruce Arians and Marvin Lewis are the two coaches are sitting pretty , as their teams are the best within the NFC and AFC , while looking to make their presence felt within those conferences. By week five , I believe we will begin to get a true picture of the NFL as the contenders will start to make the push to separate themselves from the pretenders .

Arians and the Cardinals will be the guests of the Denver Broncos in the league’s week five schedule , while the Cincinnati Bengals will have to be ready for their all AFC clash when they meet the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough , Massachusetts ,. For Bill Belichick and the Patriots , they will have to get over the spluttering start to the season , where the only strength to the team has been the defense , which currently is the second best in the NFL . Belichick however, will have to get his team ready for their Monday night game which closes out the week four schedule , when they meet the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium , in Kansas City , Missouri .

If the rumors are to be believed and the intent is ongoing where Oakland Raiders’ GM Reggie McKenzie will seek to pull the plug on the disastrous tenure of head Dennis Allen . Then it begs the question, why did the franchise enter this season Allen still retaining his position ? In 2013 , he guided the team to a 4-12 season with their being no signs of life on the field and very little actually happening off the field of play in terms of the NFL Draft or through their free agency acquisitions . Oakland sits at the bottom of the AFC West with an 0-4 record and after their hapless showing against the Miami Dolphins , the question has to be , can things now get much worse for the team overall ?

It is the one boxing match everyone wants to see, but if proposed , it will be taking place at least five years after the proper time . Floyd Mayweather has been padding his statistics over the past five years , having posted a 47-0 record (26 KO’s) without seriously being challenged in his last six fights . Manny Pacquaio for his part has seen his career wanes , albeit , recently he is once again a world title holder , having won his title against a less than impressive Tim Bradley . The Filipino fighter now relishes a chance to get into the ring, toe to toe with Mayweather the linear champion in the welterweight and light middleweight division . A big payday is likely for both fighters should the bout ever take place , but with all of the name calling , heckling and outrageous antics from both boxers . One seriously doubts fans would really being interested in super-fight likely to have PPV subscribers paying in excess of $60.00 for the privilege of seeing two of boxing’s most narcissistic and controversial fighters in recent years.

Mayweather in recent weeks has offered up his views on the troubles facing the NFL and the misconduct of the players there . Less we forget , the boxer is no stranger to the issue of domestic abuse and violence , having threatened his ex-fiance , his children and certain members of her family with violence . The fighter was found guilty , incarcerated within the Nevada penal system for his crimes, but showed little remorse , blaming others for his actions including the press. Recently , I read something of asinine article, where the writer suggested Floyd Mayweather was simply a product of his environment and society . In truth , the fighter , is nothing more than an egotistical self-righteous and self-serving bastard , with little respect for his sport or women in general . Mayweather loves the glare of the spotlight , basks in the fame and fortune amassed , while being the self-proclaimed savior of the sport of boxing .

This mega-fight would likely produce the biggest gross in boxing history if one takes into account merchandising the overseas’ rights and the likely 2 million projected North American market buys . A $250 million gross is not out of the question, with Mayweather likely to take home the lion’s share of the revenue pie . Given the fact from his last fight , the American fighter was paid an outrageous $35 million (he co-promoted) without even breaking sweat in his last bout before earning another reputed $25 million in ancillary fees , it is easy to understand why the fighter is now highest earning sports’ personality on the planet , far exceeding the highest paid players in the NBA , baseball and the NFL .

The sport of boxing has become redundant , with their being no real dearth of talent in any of the major weight categories. Floyd Mayweather may well leave the sport looking to win his fiftieth bout, surpassing only Rocky Marciano as the only fighter in boxing history to have won a world title and retiring unbeaten with a near fifty-fight unbeaten record.

If the sport of boxing is to survive in some guise then it will have to discuss the issue at the national level with all of states’ athletic commissions have a meeting of the minds as well dealing with the numerous international governing bodies which preside over the sport internationally.

The NBA off-season was well chronicled, with the main story being the departure of LeBron James and his rejoining the Cleveland Cavaliers , the franchise where he first made his mark in the NBA , having been drafted by the Cavaliers as the number one overall pickin the 2003 NBA Draft . Team owner Dan Gilbert and GM David Griffin have appeased James in rebuilding the roster with a complete makeover in several of the positions with the key elements remaining Kyrie Irving and Anderson Varejao .

With LeBron James reacquainting himself with the Cavaliers , the expectations for the team this upcoming season will undoubtedly be high , with the odds-makers in Las Vegas making the Ohio based franchise the odds on favorites to be the Eastern Conference representatives in this year’s NBA Finals . Having been to the Finals with the Cleveland Cavaliers, where the team was swept aside by the San Antonio Spurs in four straight games. For James this was bittersweet , but in many respects it cemented the player’s determination to win an NBA title. In his eleven year career, LeBron James has amassed a number of firsts , along with four League MVP’S and two Finals’ MVP Awards . A fifth League MVP Award is likely to be part of the scenario for this upcoming season , but the challenge likely to come from last season’s MVP Kevin Durant , Derrick Rose , James Harden , Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul .

A great deal is likely to be made of this Cavaliers’ team as their season begins , especially under their first-time head coach David Blatt and his coaching staff made up some veteran coaches and former players. Will LeBron James buy into the coaching philosophy and principles of Blatt and what happens when there is likely to be frustration on the part of the player ? These are the things which will likely decide how good this team is likely to be and whether or not they can justify the belief of being the prohibitive favorites within the Eastern Conference. As good as the Cavaliers are likely to be several teams in the Western Conference with greater depth and who will be better coached than the rookie head coach now seeking to make a name for himself in the NBA . When Cleveland opens up its regular season schedule against the New York Knicks , where Carmelo Anthony will be hoping to resume his productivity against a team where has been able to have a great deal of success throughout much of his career.

Anything less than a sixty-win season, divisional title , conference finals’ appearance , the NBA Finals will have to considered a major disaster for the Cleveland Cavaliers and specifically for LeBron James , but also for the Cavaliers’ front office who are banking on this team and its best player.

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What do you believe has been the biggest story of this baseball season and which teams do you believe will provide the biggest surprises of the postseason ? Through the fist four weeks of the NFL season what has been the biggest disappointment in your estimation ? Last but not least , with the ongoing nonsensical hype in the sport of boxing is there any chance this sport can still resonate with the fans even with the now considerable popularity of MMA (mixed martial arts) ? If LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers fail to make it to the NBA Finals where will the blame ultimately lay ?

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(1) Paul Konerko (14) of the Chicago White Sox walks the field with his sons for the last time at the end of play against the Kansas City Royals on September 28, 2014 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images / Tasos Katopodis

(2) Starting pitcher James Shields (33) of the Kansas City Royals delivers the ball against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on September 25, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images / Johnathan Daniels …

(3) Steve Stricker , front right , vice captain of the US Ryder Cup Team looks on during play of the Ryder Cup at the Gleneagles Golf Course , in Gleneagles , Scotland . Europe defeated the US 16 1/2 to 11 1/2 for one of the most lopsided defeats in recent history of the competition of the biennial competition . In 2016 the Ryder Cup will be held at the Hazeltine Golf Course in Chaska , Minnesota ,. . Getty Images . Chris Potter ..

(4) Phil Mickeslson , member of the USA Ryder Cup team is seen here greeting fans at Gleneagles Golf Course , in Scotland during this year’s Ryder Cup . The player was extremely critical of team captain Tom Watson and his assistants , suggesting there was no planned throughout the competition , leading to the team’s lopsided defeat at the hands of the European Team captained by Paul McGinley . Getty Images / Chris Potter …

(5) Tom Watson , left , captain of the US Ryder Cup team is seen here with Jack Nicklaus . The two are considered to be two of the very best players to have been part of a US Ryder Cup team , representing the country in the biennial event . Nicklaus’ record in the competition is a monument to his success overall in the competition. Getty Images / Amanda Rice … …

(6) Ben Roethlisberger (7) of the Pittsburgh Steelers is sacked by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Gerald McCoy during the game played at Heinz Field this past Sunday . Tampa defeated Pittsburgh 27-24 to get their first win of the season , though the team still remains firmly rooted at the bottom of the NFC South . Getty Images / Harry How … …

(7) Vincent Jackson (83) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers catches a game winning touchdown in the fourth quarter in front of William Gay (22) of the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on September 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Tampa Bay won the game 27-24 Getty Images/ Justin Haller …

(8) Jon Gruden , center , is seen here alongside his commentary colleagues Mike Tirico , left and Ron Jaworski . With the firing of Oakland Raiders’ head coach Dennis Allen it is rumored the franchise’s general manager , Reggie McKenzie is seeking to gauge Gruden’s interest in returning to coach the team . A Superbowl winning head coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2003 , it is widely believed Jon Gruden would only return to the NFL to a position where he would have complete control in terms of all personnel decisions for a team . Whether or not McKenzie and team owner Mark Davis would be amenable to such control is now open to a great deal of speculation around the game and within the Raiders’ organization . ESPN/ABC @ copyrighted material …. all rights reserved ..

(9) Floyd Mayweather , left and Manny Pacquiao currently the two biggest names in the world of boxing . The two fighters have never faced each other in the ring after years of antagonism and promises of a meeting will take place . Pacquaio’s promoter Bob Arum is now seeking to engineer a mega super-fight between the two title holders. Mayweather through his promotion’s company Mayweather Promotions Inc have stated their only wish in facilitating such a bout would be for the fighter to gain the largest slice of the proposed $275 million the fight would likely gross , when taking in the merchandising and PPV revenues . AP Photo / Jeff Parsons …

(10) LeBron James , left, is seen here making a defensive play against Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves during a game played between the Miami Heat and the Timberwolves at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida on the 4th April, 2014 . Minnesota won the game in double overtime 122-121 , with James being the leading scorer for the Heat in the contest , while Love led his team in the scoring in this thrilling game. During the off-season , James rejoined the Cleveland Cavaliers and the franchise then acquired Love in a multi-player deal which sent number one draft pick Andrew Wiggins from the Cavaliers to the Timberwolves for the All Star power forward . AP Photo/ Chris Parsons …

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It’s not the fight that is left in the dog , but whether or not, its bark and bite might send you running

It’s not the fight that is left in the dog , but whether or not, its bark and bite might send you running

It no longer pains me to say this , but the sport of boxing is now dead ! Granted, we are led to be believe that Floyd Mayweather still provides a great deal of excitement in a boxing ring. My question however , does a Mayweather fight truly induce the fans to appreciate what remains a sport that is really devoid of talent , once you take multi-talented champion out of the picture ?

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Aging veteran, Sergio Martinez recently lost his middleweight title against Miguel Cotto in a tenth round stoppage. Cotto’s record coming into this bout was not overly impressive but his manager and promoter are now seeking a bout against Floyd Mayweather , in what would prove to be the biggest purse of Miguel Cotto’s career. For Mayweather , he would once again be on his way to banking another $25-$35 million for a meaningless bout . Yet, this is now what the sport of boxing has come to , with their no longer being any meaningful fights taking place, where an undisputed champion is created.

To understand how far this sport has fallen, once can equate that with the Fall of the Roman Empire with the Emperor Nero playing an instrument while that city burned. Suffice to say, the same scenario is now set with the state of play within boxing. Richard Schaefer , former CEO of Golden Boy Promotions Inc , the boxing promotion company founded by Oscar De La Hoya . The former championship title holder and Schaeffer are said to have had a difference of opinion on the direction that the company was being directed . Golden Boy Promotions , Don King Promotions and Top Rank Inc , remain the three largest boxing promotions’ companies in North America, with the triumvirate battling to decide which of them holds sway and the power within the sport.

Oscar De La Hoya , Don King and Bob Arum are the three executives who run the respective companies that seem to have a stranglehold on the sport of boxing, where corruption , incompetence and a great deal of mismanagement reigns supreme . While all three promoters see themselves as champions of the sport in selling it to the masses, in reality, the biggest obstacle to the sport remains the fact, there are no undisputed champions in any of the weight divisions within boxing . One has to bear in mind also , with four main international governing bodies , boxing remains splintered among the WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO . Given the issue , that neither of these bodies in question seems intent on perhaps merging or sharing similar standards , the only constant has been their title fights remain twelve round contests .

With Manny Pacquiao coming off his recent defeat of Timothy Bradley , the Filipino fighter is once again a world champion. However, in light of that fact, Pacquiao and his promoter, Bob Arum, remain unable to engineer the long-awaited bout with Floyd Mayweather . Both fighters are on the downside of their illustrious careers and the possibility of a mega-fight now taking place does seem remote. Unless the payout in the prize money is right and Mayweather’s favor. Then such a fight remains a major topic of debate and conjecture , with no one profiting from their continued stupidity. If the two combatants, cannot come to meet in a civil way, whereby they split a fair share in what would be the biggest boxing match in history. It seems redundant at this point, to consider a proposed bout would still ignite any type of intensity among a fan base of the sport of boxing. Quite possibly, there might be a record number of Pay-Per-View (PPV) buys for such an event, with Mayweather and Bob Arum’s Top Rank co-promoting the event.

There are a number of fighters positioning themselves to be viewed as likely challengers for Manny Pacquiao , Miguel Cotto and Floyd Mayweather , but none of them I believe will elicit enough interest whereby fans would be willing to pay $49.95 for the privilege of witnessing such a bout. Mayweather still remains the biggest draw within the sport of boxing , but he has already hinted that upon fulfilling his six-fight deal with Showtime PPV , for which he will earn $200 million . The boxer is likely to retire, with his record remaining intact, without having suffered a loss.

Richard Schaefer’s decision to leave Golden Boy Promotions , leaves a void within the organization altogether , with his business acumen engineering the substantial growth of the company. Golden Boy Promotions beyond staging and promoting fights also manages fighters , has a publishing arm , as well as branching out into other lucrative area of the sport and into the area of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). These business decisions have made Oscar De La Hoya an extremely powerful and wealthy man, with a voice big enough to influence a number of major decisions within the sport. Yet, for all the decisions made , boxing has regressed to the point where it is now having to play catch-up to the more competitive and exhilarating genre of MMA , under the UFC banner. Schaefer is likely to start his own company or possibly join Al Haymon or Mayweather Promotions Inc, where Floyd Mayweather is the primary owner of that particular business entity.

The threat to Oscar De La Hoya now, is how to keep his company relevant while remaining among the top promotional groups within the sport. His retention of fighters may well prove difficult if they are close to the end of the contracts with the company. Also bear in mind, many of the fighters saw Schaeffer more as the real brains behind Golden Boy Promotions , with De La Hoya seen as a figurehead, because of his name recognition. Boxing is now self-imploding, because of the ongoing idiocy within the sport and the dog eat dog mendacity being shown between rival groups of promoters, the seediness of the international governing bodies and dare one say , the incompetence of the Nevada State Athletic Commission and their failure to have any proper oversight of their officials ? Las Vegas remains the Mecca for the sport of boxing, but as of late , it has been the state’s Athletic Commission, that has many of the sport’s fans up in arms concerning the integrity of that agency and its failure to conduct in-depth investigations into the character and integrity of the boxing judges and referees under its jurisdiction.

There is no denying, the explosion in the growth of MMA over the past decade has primarily come from the marketing and shrewdness shown by UFC President Dana White . His eye, for what was considered to be in some circles, a barbaric sport, has now become the fastest growing global phenomena of combative competition in the world and the popularity of MMA has exceeded boxing, with many of its top practitioners being more widely recognized than some of boxing’s biggest named fighters. White , his co-founding partners , Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta , now preside over a multi-billion dollar empire , with the mercurial President running the show. Unfortunately, in recent months, Dana White has begun to make a complete ass of himself , with either veiled criticism or threats of fighters who have made the sport so popular , bringing along legions of rabid and loyal fans. Yet, for all the pomposity shown by the executive, he also must now realize that his sport is under threat when he fails to act judiciously in reprimanding fighters who fail to adhere to the sport’s strict rules .

For the third time in his career, former middleweight title challenger Chael Sonnen has failed a random drug test , with the fighter now announcing his immediate retirement. Yet, for Sonnen’s wrongdoing , White is now seeking to blame the Nevada State Athletic Commission for their draconian measures in suspending the fighter and asking that his license within the state be made permanently inactive. If Dana White wishes to uphold the integrity he believes MMA to have , then he should be pursuing the banishment of Sonnen from the UFC altogether , rather than seeking to support the fighter. It has been a pattern of behavior with Chael Sonnen, which should not be condoned as being in the best interests of the UFC or the genre of MMA. The issue may well be that with the lack of charisma of the current middleweight champion Chris Weidman and the very fact the UFC’s greatest fighter and the division’s former champion Anderson Silva is in the twilight of his career. UFC now finds itself in a position where its biggest and most popular asset is a champion in Jon ‘Bones’ Jones , a fighter who marches to the beat of his own drum and is someone who is not ready to have White dictate the terms of when and who he should fight. As immense as Dana White’s power is now said to be , he is being looked upon as an executive, who is seeking to become bigger than the sport he has built into global phenomena.

Should one man (White) be able to wield that much power? Well, dependent upon the authority and knowledge shown, I believe that some fans might not have a problem with that ! Yet , in today’s sports environment , we have executives such as Bud Selig, David Stern, Mark Emmert and Roger Goodell continually showing a great deal of incompetency , without fully understanding the ever-changing environment around them . One only has to look at Selig’s handling of the steroid issue within baseball, Stern’s apparent behavior and his failing to reprimand Donald Sterling for his behavior prior to this latest outrage in the NBA . NCAA President Mark Emmert’s ongoing lack of credibility on a slew of issues affecting collegiate sports and last, but not least, Goodell’s insistence, at the NFL all along, has acted in the best interests of football’s retired elderly veterans. With the ongoing apathy of some fans and their staunch support for idiots such as David Stern , I have no reason to believe that things are likely to get any better ! The same can be said for the lack of leadership now being shown within Congress and by a President , who now seems to be bungling his way through his second term in office, as his tenure begins to wind down.

The UFC seeks to bring the best contests possible and those events tend to have the best talent available, in marquee match-ups that headlines each of these shows. On Saturday, another of UFC’s usual fare will be on display , when they stage UFC174 , to be held at the Rogers Arena , in Vancouver, Canada, with another championship contest being staged. Headlining the card will be the marquee bout featuring Demetrious Johnson against Ali Baugautinov , as Johnson defends his UFC Flyweight Title . . This will be Johnson’s fifth defense of his title, as he seeks to cement his own legacy within MMA and specifically UFC and the champion is a firm favorite in this contest. On the under-card we have welterweight contenders Rory McDonald facing off against Tyrone Woodley, with the winner a likely future opponent for the newly crowned welterweight champion Johny Hendricks . For the welterweight champion, Hendricks would like nothing more than to prove that he is a worthy successor to Georges St Pierre , who relinquished the title rather than be forced to defend it . A great deal of criticism was leveled directly against the former champion by Dana White , who suggested that St Pierre should be willing to defend the title against all contenders. Granted, while that may well true, it might well have escaped White’s notice Georges St Pierre was one of the most active champions in UFC history , having made eleven successful defenses of the welterweight title, within a seven-year span. Yet, White with all of his bombastic attitude , sought to somehow ridicule the Canadian and many of his accomplishments within UFC. Makes one wonder, does the UFC President believe that he is above any criticism, while also being critical of Anderson Silva ? It might now be time, for Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta to consider having a new President replace their incumbent partner.

As boxing seeks to steer its way through another crisis of its own making , I firmly believe that the sport cannot regain its lofty status of being one of the country’s most beloved pastimes . A famine has ravaged boxing of real talent beyond that of an aging Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather , who are now in the twilight of their careers. Miguel Cotto may well have added to his legacy by winning another world title , but he is no longer the once dominant of five years ago . Within the heavyweight division of the sport, the most dominant champion, just happens to be a Ukrainian still seeking name recognition in North America. Wladimir Klitschko might well be the heavyweight champion , holding the titles that count, but he still remains something of a paradox in what is expected of a truly great champion .

Coming off a lopsided unanimous decision over Alex Leapai , Wladimir Klitschko’s next opponent has yet to be decided. With no real credible challengers within the heavyweight division, you simply have to wonder why anyone would bother to take an interest in any boxing match, taking place within this specific weight category. Long gone, are the days of a truly dominant champion, where everyone took note his title bouts. It has been a decade or more since the division had an undisputed champion , with that accomplishment being achieved by Lennox Lewis of Great Britain . Lewis’ title defenses were not necessarily memorable, but there were nonetheless the only thing that validated the division, without going overboard.

While boxing remains something of staple across the country , Mixed Martial Arts has yet to make a major inroad within the state of New York. The sport is banned by the New York State Legislature and the <a href=http:// New York State Athletic Commission despite receiving countless petitions by the fans and from Dana White and his partners from the UFC , the ban remains in place . Repeated votes within b both legislative chambers of the New York State Legislature, have seen the members simply reiterate their wish, to not grant a statute for the sport to become legal within New York State. The economic impact for the state would be immense ($135 million annually) but yet, there seems to opposition to a sport that is more regulated than the sport of boxing and where the issues of injuries and specifically neurological in nature, are taken far more seriously than the incompetency that has been witnessed with the an-nihilistic nature of pugilism (boxing) .

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Picture gallery .

m Do you believe, the sport of boxing is under threat from the genre of Mixed Martial Arts? In addition, what are your thoughts to the possible reasons why Richard Schaefer would leave Golden Boy Promotions under such a cloud? Finally, have the members of the New York State Assembly made a monumental mistake, in not legalizing the sport of MMA within the state? Simply leave a comment on this and anything else you believe relevant to this topic and thanks as always for the continued support of this site as it is greatly appreciated !

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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(1) For the second time in three years , Floyd Mayweather has been named the world’s highest paid athlete , having earned $105 million in the last calendar year. The boxer hopes to have a scheduled fight in September 2014 , with the venue being the MGM Grand Casino & Resort Complex , in Las Vegas, Nevada. AP Photo / Richard Trent ….

(2) Miguel Cotto , right , is seen here dispatching middleweight champion Sergio Martinez in their WBC title fight staged at Madison Square Garden in New York City , New York this past Saturday . Also in picture , is referee Michael Griffin . Cotto won the fight with a tenth round knockout of the former champion . AP Photo/ Arturo Gomez ….

(3) LAS VEGAS, NV – MAY 01: CEO of Golden Boy Promotions’ Richard Schaefer (L) introduces President of Golden Boy Promotions Oscar De La Hoya at the final news conference for the bout between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Robert Guerrero at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino on May 1, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather will defend his WBC welterweight title against Guerrero. An acrimonious split between Schaefer, a co-founder of Golden Boy Promotion Inc and De La Hoya , has now left that company facing a great deal of uncertainty . Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images ….

(4) UFC Light-heavyweight champion Jon ‘Bones’ Jones (left) is seen here with UFC President Dana White . The UFC executive has been extremely critical of late, of two of the sport’s biggest stars , Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva . St-Pierre has called for more stringent testing protocols within the sport, having at times come under a cloud of suspicion as to his presumed use of a banned substance . The fighter has never tested positive at any time during his professional career within the UFC . However, it now seems ironic, White would leap to the defense of Chael Sonnen , who has now tested positive for the third time in his career , within the sport . A second positive test brings about a mandatory suspension by the UFC , and a third such violation , calls for the immediate banning of that fighter, for life . AP Photo / Rich Arnold ….

(5) Chael Sonnen, a former UFC middleweight and light-heavyweight contender announced his retirement from the sport , having tested positive for the third time during his career. Sonnen has yet to give an explanation for the reasons behind testing positive for a banned substance . This was the third transgression by the fighter , that calls for a mandatory lifetime ban from the sport. Courtesy of MMA World …..

(6) Wladimir Klitschko , left , the linear heavyweight champion is seen here defeating Alex Leapai of Samoa during their WBA , WBO and IBF world title fight . Getty Images North America/ Julio Hernandez ……

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A year in review , I think not !

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.

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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.

Silva

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.

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below.

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(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 …

(11)

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

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tophatal ……….

NB: Related article A year in review, part two

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No it’s not a punch drunk diatribe ……… it’s real boxing , is dead on its feet .. no last man or standing count

No it’s not a punch drunk diatribe ……… it’s real, boxing is dead on its feet .. no last man or standing count

It has becoming increasingly embarrassing to look at the world of boxing and take that sport, either legitimately or seriously . The talent level, I believe has dropped to an all-time low ! Granted , we are asked to look at the ring exploits of Floyd Mayweather (45-0, 26 KO’a) with a great deal of praise as he seeks to make his reign with the sport even more impactful than it already is . To my mind , Mayweather’s statistics, have simply been padded out over the past seven years ,with the welterweight champion having not fought anyone of note . The fact that he is now being paid a king’s ransom for many of these bouts is an affront to fans of the sport, but more so, I believe, it continues to show the gullibility of the fans and the fractious nature of a sport governed by so many international bodies , with each having their own champions in the various weight ; categories . Add in the fact that promoters such as Bob Arum ( Top Rank Inc) , Don King ( Don King Promotions ) , Oscar de La Hoya ( Golden Boy Promotions ) , Shelly Finkel , Lou Duva and Dan Goosen have simply made a mockery of boxing’s landscape along with corrupt practices of the Nevada State Athletic Commission and the lack of real accountability within the state ran agency .

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Consider the following , it has been almost a decade since the sport of boxing had an undisputed heavyweight champion. The title holder at the time, was Lennox Lewis of the United Kingdom. Lewis was a boxer of limited ability , but with a more than adept defense , in terms of his boxing skills , but he was simply not a fighter who drew you to the edge of your seat once he was in the ring , let alone provide you with great deal of excitement or entertainment level . His career record bore this out , in spite of becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world . Boxing longs , and yearns for the days when Mike Tyson ruled the heavyweight division with such animus and venom . Unfortunately, the division is simply devoid a dearth of talent and the title holders , a pair of Ukrainian siblings , in Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko , have no wish to unify the titles and grant the fans the wish of seeing an undisputed champion. To show how dire the situation now appears to be, the top ten rankings as ratified by the WBA and WBC , two of the more recognized international bodied that govern the sport , the list of American fighters ranked are barely known in the country much less from a global standpoint . Such are , the dire state of affairs in the sport , where US born fighters , once actually littered the rankings with recognized names . Now you would be hard pressed to ask a fan if they could recognize Chris Arreola , Deontay Wilder , Bryant Jennings and the other no-named aspiring list of contenders for what was once the most prized possession in sports, and that was to be known as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world .

If you thought things could not get much worse in a sport, where there no longer seems to a dearth of young and upcoming talent . Consider, the fact, that aging veterans such as Shane Mosley and Bernard Hopkins are still lured back into the ring , simply to bask in past glories. Both fighters are both past their prime , albeit , that Hopkins is currently the current IBF light heavyweight champion , a title that he will be defending against the lightly regarded Karo Murat , though ranked the number two contender by the IBF for the crown . That fight is scheduled to take place on Saturday , 26th October , 2013 at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey . This will be Hopkins’ first defense of the title won under a controversial decision when he defeated Tavoris Cloud . To say that the sport is not without its ongoing controversies and problems could be best summed up in stating , ‘that boxing’s governing bodies and the various states’ athletic commissions , still show a great deal of incompetence at all levels , from the officiating to the referees actually presiding over a number of these title fights . In the case of Shane Mosley , whose yearning for one more title shot seems about as compulsive , as one might believe, that the fighter would be still be considered at the age of forty-two , a serious contender to challenge either Floyd Mayweather or Timothy Bradley . Yet with his proposed fight against Australian , Anthony Mundine being postponed, due to a contract dispute between the fighter and Mundine’s promoter , in a schedule bout that was due to take place in Sydney, Australia . It begs the question, why else would Mosley now risk life and limb, in a bout where it is unlikely that the winner would likely prove to be cannon fodder in a proposed title bout against any of the claimants in the light middleweight division .

As financially rewarding as the sport has become for Floyd Mayweather with the world champion having now surpassed over $300 million in career earnings , a figure unheard of with regard to the sport, with only Mike Tyson , and Oscar de La Hoya having exceeded the $200 million career earnings’ mark in their professional ring careers. Mayweather for his part, in conjunction with Leonard Ellerbee , his business partner as well his chief legal counsel, have invested the fighter’s earnings into several lucrative fields , with Floyd Mayweather now owning large tracks of real estate in the greater Las Vegas area , alongside a lucrative collection of classic automobiles, as well as his own fight promotion’s company . With the fighter also midway through his six fight $200 million deal . with Showtime PPV , whose parent company Viacom , are looking to re-sign the champion to perhaps an additional two or three fight deal,. that could net him as much as $150 to $200 million . One has to wonder what will happen , when the announcement is made by Floyd Mayweather that he intends to retire ? It is solely my belief , that if he is able to run his career record to 50-0 , he will walk away from the sport knowing that he will go undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest fighters ever to grace a boxing ring , in the annals of pugilism history . Should he be anointed as the greatest of all-time ? Well, that is rather subjective rather than being objective, but the boxing historians are likely to try and make a case either way.

With no real challenger on the horizon, Floyd Mayweather simply cherry-picks his opponents, while seeking to obtain the highest financial rewards possible . In his last bout, against the then unbeaten Saul Alvarez , which turned out to be an erroneous mismatch . Yet somehow, an official sanctioned by the Nevada State Athletic Commission came up with a scorecard that suggested that the ’bout’ was a draw . These are the repeated types incompetency shown within the sport at the highest levels which brings into disrepute , boxing , the collective misdeeds of the promoters , the governing bodies and the state commissions, themselves . With their being no intent by the states, to have some uniform code applicable to the sport , there remains no cohesive mandate of how boxing governed in the United States . In the aftermath of Mayweather versus Alvarez fiasco , the lone dissenter amongst the group of boxing adjudicators Cynthia “C J “ Ross , took an indefinite leave of absence, notifying Executive Director Keith Kizer of her decision . It should be noted however, that Kizer stood by Ross’ decision and scorecard from the bout , calling her a person of impeccable character and above reproach . With the comedic derision and echoes of criticism that followed Keith Kizer’s statement, it is a wonder how the sport of boxing remains relevant within the state of Nevada , let alone Las Vegas.

The fight that everyone yearned for , but it all came to no avail, would have been the match-up of arguably the two best boxers of the last decade , in the welterweight division . A contest between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines . Yet the constant bickering between the two opposing camps, the constant mistrust and allegations of outrageous demands , meant that a proposed bout would never get off the ground in spite of the undoubted promotional acumen of Bob Arum , the promoter of Pacquiao and the always publicity seeking forte of Mayweather . With the Filipino fighter , having lost two of his last five bouts , his career on the decline, a proposed match-up of the two fighters , though lucrative in some circles, would not necessarily bring about the rewards sought by the promoters and for either Mayweather or Pacquiao .

Another troubling aspect, that remains within boxing , is the simple reluctance with the various title holders , in seeking the unification of the titles at the various weight categories . At present , there is not one unified champion , in any of the categories , in what is now turning out to be a drab and an almost unprecedented era in the sport’s history . Yet, with the decline of the sport, figurehead promoters such as Bob Arum and Don King remain eternal optimists, while pointing to what they say are fast rising stars within boxing . I am sorry , but despite the skills of Andre Ward , Sergio Martinez , Gennady Golovkin , Adrien Broner and Adonis Stevenson , no one is likely to feel that these fighters are likely to set the sport abuzz , with each lacking the charisma to lure fans back to the sport in droves .

While Las Vegas has now become the Mecca for the sport of boxing , with the most lucrative fights taking place in the gaming capital of the world . It is easy to understand why boxing has become a billion dollar economic impact for the city on annual basis . It is has become a rarity for either Vitali Klitschko or Wladimir Klitschko to fight in North America , where their popularity can be best summed up, as being marginal. Beyond the presence Floyd Mayweather and the now declining skill-set of Manny Pacquiao , boxing will face a hard time ringing in a new era of superstars within its sport . Mayweather and his promotion’s company Mayweather Promotions Inc do seem to be nurturing a budding stable of stars , but they are a long way off from gaining the notoriety or becoming the marquee names , sought to make them a lucrative draw in the boxing capital of the world .

With boxing’s marked decline and the rapid rise of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) under the banner of UFC . Simply another reason why the sport of boxing either has to do something radical to bring itself back into the mainstream or become on the brink being extinct . It is my belie, f that the sport is now considerably closer to the latter than most would care to admit and that includes notable boxing historians , journalists who cover boxing along with the president of the WBA Gilberto Mendoza , WBC President Jose Sulaiman , IBF President Daryl J Peoples , and WBO President Francisco Varcarcel . All of whom are somewhat distrustful of the other competitive organizations governing the sport and their alleged altruism and intent. From my own perspective , with that much dissent within the masses , nothing good can be gained , when all of the parties concerned, have their own self interests at hand, rather than seeking to sort out their difference and then work towards the betterment of the sport and a common goal !

The state of Nevada and California have been quick to recognize the rapid growth of MMA , with UFC President Dana White leading the charge for the combative genre/sport to gain national and worldwide recognition . With their being now twenty-four state sanctioned commissions now validating the sport and a code of conduct in place alongside what in many circles is deemed to be one of the toughest medical and drug testing policies in all of professional sports . It does lead to the question , as how far behind does the sport of boxing remain in that particular category ? When fighters such as Evander Holyfield , Roy Jones Jr and Miguel Cotto are allowed to circumvent one state’s rules and then be sanctioned to fight, after having proven to have suffered a major concussion . In all fairness , it does seem that boxing and the pretext set , that it cares about the fighters, must be seen as a charade .

White along with Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta III have come in with the mindset of giving the fans what they want by way of their brand and product . Competitive bouts, regular title fights , and with fighters , who are of an accomplished skill-set to go alongside a personality . That type of “selling point” , obviously beats out the “ scripted idiocy” of the WWE and the current lackluster scene within the state boxing . Fighters within the UFC have made themselves accessible to the fans and events scheduled by the UFC as a precursor to major title bout brings out legions of fans seeking a chance to many of the top stars on show , as well as the protagonists for the scheduled fights in question . With many of the UFC’s titleholders now becoming significantly more well-known , not just by way the television broadcasts but with the sport now gaining a much wide acceptance within the print media. Clearly , Dana White and his co-founding partners of the UFC have given the consumers and fans alike , something that they deem to be a viable brand and product . Can the same be said for the current state of boxing and the exorbitant prices fans are being asked to pay for a pay-per-view (PPV) event ?

If the unbeaten Floyd Mayweather is seen as the “current face “ of boxing , then in the world of MMA , with the rapid ascent the UFC’s light heavyweight champion Jon ‘Bones’ Jones , that division as well as the genre could be well served for years to come if the charismatic and unbeaten Jones simply delivers what he has been doing since his entrance into the sport a little more than five years ago. . Jones has become increasingly popular, not just within the sport but his new-found celebrity status has now brought him not only fame and fortune, but also opportunities outside the sport, by way of contract endorsements. The light heavyweight champion has become the first MMA fighter to be actually signed to an endorsement deal with sports’ apparel giant Nike Inc . Add in the fact , that Jon Jones’ agent Malki Kawa was also able to land him an endorsement deal with Gatorade and it is clear that beyond the ring earnings for a fighter within the sport there are now untold riches to be attained outside the octagon. One of MMA’s greatest fighters Randy Couture , a former light heavyweight and heavyweight champion has now progressed from the sport , to now a supporting cast member of the now popular Sylvester Stallone driven action series’ franchise , ‘ The Expendables’ , of which the two movies have now grossed over $575 million worldwide . With Couture back on board, for the third movie, now being shot on location, there is no telling whether or not this might also be something that is likely to pique Jones’ interest at some point in the future , with his delving into Hollywood. Certainly, with the heightened popularity of female MMA fighter Ronda Rousey and her having joined the cast for the third installment of the action series . It begs the question, do UFC fighters make better actors, than their boxing counterparts ? No one ever claimed that either Muhammad Ali or the late Ken Norton , were thespians of a proven quality , but their presence in front of a camera even in an acting portrayal , were considerably less memorable than their careers in the ring .

With no projected bout on the horizon for Jon Jones but with a legitimate batch of contenders all seeking to take the crown away from the champion . It will be left in the hands of UFC President Dana White to make the announcement, as to who Jones’ next challenger is likely to be . For Jon Jones, much as it now has been for Georges St Pierre , Jose Aldo , Anthony Pettis and Cain Velazquez , the sport of MMA has become their stomping ground to gain worldwide fame and access to a new burgeoning legion of enthusiasts for the genre. Boxing has never effectively marketed their fighters or the sport, in such a way. So much so , that beyond the marked decline in its popularity , other than Floyd Mayweather there is simply no fighter that one could point and make the valid claim that he would be a worthy successor , once the current pound-for-pound “King of the Ring” hangs up his gloves permanently .

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Boxing fan or not , what do you believe to be the greatest impediment to the sport over the past decade ? Has it been the rapid rise of Mixed Martial Arts or the continued misdeeds by those who govern the sport or has it been the unwillingness of the title-holders to unify their divisions ? Chime in, with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the topic as a whole. Thanks, as always, for the continued support of this site as it has always been greatly appreciated , whether or not you are in agreement with the content matter .

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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(1) Saul Alvarez , left , is seen here taking some extreme punishment from welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr during their title in September held at MGM Grand Resort Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas Nevada . Mayweather would successfully defended his title , winning with a majority decision , but not without controversy after it was revealed that ring judge Cynthia ” CJ ” Ross declared the bout a draw , scoring her card 114 points apiece for each fighter after the twelve round title fight . Ross has since taken a prolonged leave of absence as a licensed boxing judge with the Nevada State Athletic Commission . AP Photo / Mark Ross ……

(2) Mayweather , left , is once again seen getting the better of his opponent Saul Alvarez during their welterweight title fight . Floyd Mayweather has now pushed his record to 45-0 (26 KO’s) and is looking to reach that fifty fight win streak before perhaps calling it a day in the world of boxing . Having multiple titles in multiple weight classes , the future seems somewhat bleak in terms of a quality opponent being found for the title holder in terms of his fight . With his seeming reluctance to move up into the middleweight division and perhaps meet Sergio Martinez , we are likely to see Mayweather simply cherry pick his opponents as he meets his contractual obligations with Showtime PPV . Getty Images / Brian Ettinger …..

(3) Lennox Lewis is seen here defeating Mike Tyson in their WBC / IBO heavyweight title fight in June , 2002 , staged at The Pyramid in Memphis , Tennessee . Lewis won the fight with an eighth round stoppage of the challenger , with a knockout . The British boxer was the last undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. It has been over a decade since we have a claimant of that undisputed crown within the heavyweight division . Daily Mirror UK / Evan Grant ….

(4) CEO of Mayweather Promotions Leonard Ellerbe (L) talks with boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. during the final news conference for Mayweather’s bout against Shane Mosley at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino April 28, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather and Mosley will meet in a 12-round welterweight bout on May 1, 2010 in Las Vegas. Ethan Miller / Getty Images North America …..

(5) Owners, from left, Frank Fertitta, Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta have come a long way since Zuffa was founded in 2001. Zuffa LLC is the holding and parent company of UFC and its associated affiliates . With in excess of $1.6 billion in annual revenues , the company has made all three men extremely wealthy individuals, with the UFC brand, now reaching globally, with offices in London , , Montreal , Rio de Janeiro , Sydney, and Beijing , China. AP Photo / Eric Jamison ….

(6) Challenger Chael Sonnen ,left, is met with an elbow from UFC light heavyweight title holder Jon ‘Bones’ Jones in their bout at UFC 159 staged at the Prudential Center in Newark , New Jersey on April 27th 2013. MMA Junkie / …..

(7) A skilled grappler and wrestler , Jon Jones has now become the quintessential fighter and the pound-for-pound top ranked practitioner in the UFC , holding a 19-1 record . Jones also holds the record for the number of title defenses made as the light heavyweight champion , with five successful defenses. Heath Evans / AP Photo ……

(8) Miesha Tate , left , is seen here at the cursory pre-fight picture junket and publicity exhibition , where Tate will challenge the unbeaten women’s Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey for her title at UFC 168 , which will be staged the MGM Grand Garden Casino & Hotel Complex in Las Vegas on December 23rd , 2013 . Rousey has become one of the most recognizable faces in the world of women’s MMA as well as within the UFC as whole , which has allowed her to parlay that notoriety into some acting roles , notably in Fast & Furious VII as well as ‘The Expendables III ‘ . Top Fighter Inc ….

(9) With the male demographic making up more than 85% of the fan-base of MMA , there is no denying that at every opportunity the UFC will choose to use the sexual allure of their female fighters . Ronda Rousey has no qualms and is seen here as part of a very extended Maxim pictorial photo shoot . Courtesy of Maxim Magazine .

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Hits , misses and what the hell was that about ?

Hits , misses and what the hell was that about ?

Well appreciative of the fact, for the first time in twenty-one years , a congratulatory note of applause must be displayed towards the Pittsburgh Pirates and their making the MLB post-season for the first time in that time-span. For Clint Hurdle , his staff , the players and front office , this will be a time to celebrate. Having finished second to the St Louis Cardinals in the NL Central , within that division , the Pirates will be joined by the Cincinnati Reds , for the second of the two wild-card berths within the National League (NL). The celebrations began in earnest after Pittsburgh’s 2-1 victory on Monday evening over the competitively challenged Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field , in Chicago , Illinois. Far be it for to me suggest, but both the Cubs and Chicago White Sox have been two woefully inept teams and an absolute abomination to watch over the course of this season , who have performed with such ineptitude. As to this asinine notion, that Cubs general manager Theo Epstein will be looking towards making the ball-club competitive by no later than 2015 , now seems to be in question after the failure of the team this season.

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Dale Sveum , manager of the Cubs has not been guaranteed that he will be given a contract extension, and it is unlikely that the manager will now return to the organization for the 2014 season , along with a number of members of his current managerial staff . There have been few pluses of note for the Chicago Cubs over the course of their season and for that I believe a great deal of the blame has to fall squarely upon the shoulders of Theo Epstein and what appears to be a clear lack of commitment from the Ricketts’ family , the team’s owners. There has been more money spent on the refurbishing and upgrading of Wrigley Field in recent seasons than one would like to believe. Meanwhile, Tom Ricketts’ commitment seems to be more of treating this ball-club as a bauble, rather to parade it to members of his social circle , than create a competitive professional sports’ franchise and bring back some semblance of respectability to this once esteemed baseball franchise.

For the Pirates, as they wind down their regular season schedule with five games left to play. All eyes, are likely to be placed upon their wild card round game on 1st October against the Cincinnati Reds. Now one could place a great deal of emphasis on the season series between these two teams , but to my mind, a single elimination game will be more about , which is the best prepared to deal with the added pressure .

The race within the AL for the two wild-card berths , now appears to the Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians for the losing, as the two teams hold the top two spots in those standings . Yet for all of the drama to be had , this race still seems to be far from over , with the Texas Rangers , Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees , all within four games of a wild-card berth . Of the three teams now vying for that spot, I do believe that the Yankees have essentially played themselves out of contention , albeit , with Joe Girardi and his team due to play the Tampa Bay Rays in a pivotal three game series at Yankee Stadium beginning on Tuesday. It would be fair to suggest that neither team in this series, can afford a slip-up at this juncture.

. Girardi will become a manager without a contract at the end of this season , with their being no guarantee that a contract extension will be forthcoming from GM Brian Cashman or directly from senior managing partner , Hal Steinbrenner . There is the common belief that Girardi is likely to viewed as a managerial candidate for the possible vacant Cubs’ position, if the decision is made fire Dale Sveum. This off-season could be a dramatic one for the franchise, with the retirements of Andy Pettite and Mariano Rivera . Compounding this even further, may well be the uncertainty concerning the immediate future of Derek Jeter , whose season was shuttered by the front office , with the short-stop placed on the disabled list . With his skills declining, Jeter only provides leadership and little else, beyond that , albeit, that at times, he can still offer momentary flashes of brilliance in the field .

Three weeks into the NFL season and we already seeing a plethora of really bad performances from a number of teams . Far be it for me to suggest , but those seeking parity in the NFL , are looking for something to hang their hats on . In reality , it is not about parity , but more to do with the caliber of the coaching of the NFL and the quality of the players drafted . Poor performances asides, having witnessed the Denver Broncos’ complete annihilation of the Oakland Raiders on Monday night , to go alongside the Seattle Seahawks’ utter surgical dismantling of the Jacksonville Jaguars , has me believing that this NFL season is likely to be filled with more lows than highs , in comparison to last season.

As Peyton Manning continues to rewrite the record books, with the player already having thrown twelve touchdown passes in the first three weeks of the season. It will be interesting to see whether or not the quarterback can surpass the single season record of fifty touchdowns , a feat managed by Manning’s contemporary , Tom Brady during the 2007 NFL season. Besides the superlatives one could use to describe Peyton Manning’s performances this early in the season , it should be noted that this Broncos’ team seems to have gotten a great deal better on both sides of the ball in comparison to last season. As to where the challenge might well come from within the AFC West and the AFC as a whole , I do believe that there is not a team at present good enough to throw down the gauntlet of meeting that challenge .

Week four , will grant the Philadelphia Eagles the privilege of trying to stop the Broncos’ unbeaten run, when the two teams meet this Sunday at the Sports Authority Stadium , in Denver , Colorado,. The Eagles’ alleged high-octane offense and rather anemic defense , are likely to meet the same fate as the Broncos three previous predecessors . Chip Kelly may well have been an offensive genius at the collegiate level , while coaching the Oregon program , but his introduction to the NFL has been painful to watch , with his ego having been deflated by the team’s two successive defeats. Whether or not, this will be a bounce back game for the Eagles or them simply being bounced all over Mile High, remains to be seen. Yet , given the ineptitude of the Eagles on defense, I am do believe that it will be the latter !

Not one for appearing naive, but I do believe that the NFL’s punishment of Vonn Miller was merely slap on the wrist , being a two-time offender of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. The player sought to appeal his original four-game suspension which was upheld , but the league tacked on an additional two games , after it was revealed that Miller compromised his test samples by colluding with a lab technician to substitute another sample , as his own . Miller’s actions not only showed his disdain for the league’s rules, but also for the NFL and bringing a great deal of unwanted attention to the Denver Broncos’ organization , after a successful start to their season. Vonn Miller’s return will not take place until week seven, when the Broncos are hosts of the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium , in Indianapolis , Indiana ,. Surely, if a player is willing to go those lengths and be dishonest as well as committing an act of fraud , then should it not be within the league’s right to punish that player with impunity , rather than being soft and appearing soft on that issue ? My question for Commissioner Roger Goodell , who is he really afraid of in such an instance , the union (Players’ Union) or is it, the fans themselves ? Your thoughts , on this all ?

Three months before the NBA regular season kicks off and the biggest story of the off-season , beyond the marriage of LeBron James to his high-school sweetheart Savannah Brinson and the Miami Heat’s re-signing of Michael Beasley . That story, is the fact former NBA center and All Star, Shaquille O’Neal has become a minority stakeholder in the Sacramento Kings. O’Neil , in association , with a business associate, Mark Mastrov , founder of the health-club gym chain, 24 Hour Fitness, have purchased a 5% stake in the NBA franchise . The deal was with the full approval of team owner Vivek Ranadive , who seems to be of the belief , that the best way to bring back some pizzazz to the downtrodden franchise, would be to add some “star power ” to the ownership makeup of the organization. Perplexing as this may seem, it was not that long ago, that O’Neal described the Sacramento Kings as the “Sacramento Queens” . Unless I am mistaken, not much has changed in the subsequent seasons , since the former player made that infamous statement. The Kings have fallen on hard times, being uncompetitive, being financially mismanaged by former owners Joe and Gavin Maloof , and their siblings. Add to this whole menagerie of stupidity, was the over-inflated price paid ($535 million) for a franchise that is amongst the most poorly supported in the NBA. Yet, it has been under this sort of misleading and often surreptitious model that David Stern continues to paint the facade that the league and its teams are in the healthiest of conditions. All well and good, but it simply does not answer the question , as to the continued struggles of a number of small market teams and the financial imbalance created, with the unwillingness of the NBA hierarchy to adopt a hard salary cap.

Consider the fact, that a number of the teams within the NBA , repeatedly each season , seek to go over the league’s soft salary cap ($58.044 million) . At the same time, when posed the question , as to why a number of teams remain unprofitable , the commissioner has been quick to deflect those questions, by simply pointing to the fact of growing revenues for the NBA and an increasing presence in the global market , in terms the growing popularity of the game in Europe and the Far East. All well and good, but it simply does not answer the question , as to the continued struggles of a number of small market teams and the financial imbalance created, with the unwillingness of the NBA hierarchy to adopt a hard salary cap. I would like to think that the reason behind this , is the fact that the league believes that their current business template this all works to their advantage . Yet , I am more inclined to believe , that the union (NBPA) dictates and has the power to simply make the team owners and powers that be , simply cower in a corner , like a mouse about to be devoured by a hungry feline.

It is hard to imagine how a Kings’ team from this past season that finished with a 28-54 record within the Western Conference . A mark which was good enough for thirteenth place within the conference and only fourth place within the Pacific Division , can be considered remotely good enough to compete in the talent and offensive minded environment of the conference in question and where the King themselves were far from efficient in terms of defense . This is a team built around the somewhat mercurial talents and immature behavior of DeMarcus Cousins . Yet, the biggest issue for the Sacramento Kings is the very fact their head coach Michael Malone will be a first-year rookie , whose previous stop was the coach of Loyola Marymount University . Then you can add in the fact, that on the team’s roster itself , beyond Chuck Hayes, Travis Outlaw and John Salmons , no other member on this squad has more than six years’ experience of playing in the NBA as a professional . as an NBA player d with the Sacramento Kings, A fact which was also mirrored during the 2011-2012 NBA season. This upcoming season , what should fans of this franchise, really expect from a roster with such minimal experience?

A great deal is being asked of Michael Malone and his coaching staff for the upcoming season, something I do not believe that they are likely to fulfill , even with the added experience of Chris Mullin as a consultant to the front office led by GM Pete D’Alesandro . His experience alongside that of Mullin and even with the additional input of Shaquille O’Neal , is unlikely to prove fortuitous , immediately. The returns sought , may well come about in two to three years , if the fans can be patient enough, as the front office assesses the entire roster. To my mind , the Sacramento Kings is unlikely to become one of the first places a prized marquee free agent, is likely to seek out, to further their NBA ambitions. That was never the case over the past five seasons, and it is unlikely to be the case now . Destinations, such as, either one of the Los Angeles franchises ( Clippers , Lakers) , Oklahoma City , Miami , Houston , Chicago , Brooklyn , San Antonio , New York or Indiana would prove to be a far more appealing a destination , than the California state capitol to further one’s NBA career. Success has proven to be fleeting for the Sacramento Kings , and will prove to just as elusive now , even with the experience now gathered within the front office and the ownership group .

The NBA regular season will begin on October 29th, 2013 , with a slew of games . Yet for the vast array of fans, the season does not really get started until the Christmas week schedule comes into focus . The Kings will begin their schedule , with a home game against the Denver Nuggets at the Sleep Train Arena , in Sacramento , California. All eyes, will be focused on the Kings , as they embark upon a new chapter and era in their history. As to what the outcome is likely to , that remains to be seen , but for now , the real challenge is simply to savor the moment .

The death of former heavyweight champion boxer , Ken Norton at the age of seventy, brought back a deepening perspective of a bygone age within the sport . There are few champions , let alone great fighters from that era still alive today. Norton’s untimely passing, reminds us what is sorely lacking in the sport of boxing at present , and that is great fighters , willing to take on all-comers, simply to prove their greatness in the ring. Sadly, today’s fight game, it has become about the “ me mentality” and how much money , a fighter can now gross from one mega-title fight and with no respect for the sport itself , never-mind the ongoing incompetence of the ringside officials .

True fight fans can cling to their memories of the great world heavyweight title fights of seventies , eighties and early nineties. Unfortunately, that was not the case for Ken Norton , who some years ago suffered a near fatal crash, which brought severe head trauma and respiratory problems and a speech impediment for this once great fighter. A CAT scan of Norton’s brain , showed atrophy and severe damage to his brain tissue , brought on from years of pounding, taken to his head , undoubtedly brought on from his fight career . An illustrious career , that also saw three classic bouts with Muhammad Ali . Norton went toe to toe with some of the very best during the prime of his career, but his trilogy of bouts with Ali , are what he is best remembered for , and perhaps his now infamous love scene with British actress Susan George in the movie ‘ Mandingo ‘ . Let’s just say, Norton’s best years were definitely in the ring and not on celluloid, in a tawdry tale of slavery and masochistic sex .

Memories , fading over time for both Leon and Michael Spinks , with a rarely seen in public, Muhammad Ali. It is sad , that even with such legends as Larry Holmes and George Foreman still visible within our midst , the sport of boxing is still sinking into a morass of ambiguity and incompetence . Any suggestion that the likes of Oscar de La Hoya and his company, Golden Boy Promotions Inc , has brought back some semblance of dignity to the sport , has to be met with a great deal of ridicule and suspicion. De La Hoya has his own personal issues to deal with, beyond the fact that his company , has been a litigant in several cases , where the accusation of fraud and larceny, have been leveled against the former boxer and his promotion’s company. Needless to say, the promoter pleads innocent, to all of the allegations made against him and scoffs at the suggestion that his company has acted unprofessional.

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Picture gallery .

There were a number of interesting sports’ stories within the sports’ world this past weekend, but which event to your mind proved to be the most interesting in terms of its relevance ? Do leave a comment, as you see fit on this and anything else you believe relevant to the subject matter .

Picture and slideshow gallery details .
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(1) Gaby Sanchez , Pedro Alvarez and Andrew McCutchen celebrate the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 8-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs in a game played on Tuesday 24th September , 2013 ,2 at Wrigley Field in Chicago , Illinois . For the first time in just over two decades the Pirates will make their first post-season appearance , having gained one of the two available NL wild-card berths . AP Photo / Charles Rex Arbogast ….

(2) The Pirates’ Gerrit Cole heads to first , after hitting a two-run single off Chicago Cubs’ starting pitcher Chris Rusin , which in turn scored Gaby Sanchez and Pedro Alvarez during the second inning of the game played between the two NL Central teams on Tuesday 24th September , 2013 . AP Photo / Rex Arbogast …..

(3) Chicago Cubs’ GM Theo Epstein , foreground , is seen here with the team’s owner Tom Ricketts . Epstein who became the general manager of the Cubs in October 2011 , has presided over two years of mediocrity of an organization , that has not made a post-season appearance since 2008 , when the team went do the NLDS. This season the Chicago Cubs underperformed and will finish once again with a sub .500 record for the second consecutive season , of which the last time the ball-club had a winning season came in 2009. Getty Images / Jonathan Greene ……

(4) Players from the Tampa Bay Rays celebrate their shutout of their AL East rivals the New York Yankees , in a game played at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday 24th September , 2013. The victory inched the Rays closer to obtaining one of the two available wild-card berths within the American League (AL) . This victory has in essence placed New York pout of the wild-card race and whatever chance the team had of making the post-season but there remains two more games to be played of the current series between the two teams . In 2013 it has been the Tampa Rays who have had the upper hand in the regular season series between the two teams . It also casts doubt on the strength of this current Yankees’ lineup and heightens their vulnerabilities , showing them now to be a team on the decline. AP Photo / Kathy Willens ………

(5) Eric Decker (87) of the Denver Broncos tries to break the tackle of Brandian Ross (29) of the Oakland Raiders in the second quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High , in a game played on the September 23, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. Getty Images ? Doug Pensinger ….

(6) Left guard Zane Beadles (68) of the Denver Broncos and left tackle Chris Clark (75) of the Denver Broncos prepare to defend the blind side of quarterback Peyton Manning (18) of the Denver Broncos as they face the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 23, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 37-21 . Doug Pensinger /Getty Images …

(7)
Shaquille O’Neal holds up a shirt with “Shaqramento” printed on it as he poses with Sacramento Kings majority owners Vivek Ranadive, left, and Mark Mastrov, in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013. O’Neal was welcomed as a new minority owner of the Kings and promised to help restore the franchise to its winning ways and mentor to Kings center DeMarcus Cousins. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli …

(8) Ken Norton , left, seen here facing Muhammad Ali in the third and final fight of their trilogy , which was fought at Yankee Stadium , in the Bronx , New York of September 1976. Norton felt he won the fight but it was given to Ali in a unanimous decision . AP Photo / archives …

(9) Muhammad Ali and Ken Norton exchange blows during their 1973 fight in San Diego, the first of their three bouts against one another. Ali would wind up losing a 12-round decision after Norton broke his jaw early in the fight. Neil Leifer/SI ….

(10) LAS VEGAS, NV – FEBRUARY 18: Former boxer Ken Norton arrives at the Keep Memory Alive foundation’s ‘Power of Love Gala’ celebrating Muhammad Ali’s 70th birthday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena February 18, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event benefits the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and the Muhammad Ali Center. The former title-holder died earlier this month complications from heart failure and a respiratory condition . AP Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Keep Memory Alive …..

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tophatal ………. 09/24/2013

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No news is good news , unless it is happening in the world of sports …..

No news, is good news , unless it is happening in the world of sports ….

With the recent firing of Philadelphia Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel by the front office of that organization , led by GM Reuben Amaro . It should now come as no surprise that the team is likely to be in a rebuilding mode . Lackluster performances throughout much of the season and a number of injuries did not quite render this year as meaningless . Yet the question has to be asked , how damn naïve was Amaro to begin with , in thinking that he could enter the season with a roster of overpaid stars and barely anyone performing at their best ? A team payroll exceeding $165 million and projected payroll for 2014 in the region of $114 million , the ball-club will have a little more wiggle room than anticipated .

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Slideshow.

One of the more asinine assumptions I have read concerning the franchise , has been the fact that with their television contract due to expire in 2015 , with Comcast , the ball-club is likely to seek a more valuable deal , accordingly, something similar to the two-decade almost $8 billion deal that the Los Angeles Dodgers now has with Time Warner Cable Inc . Now the last time I looked, the city of Philadelphia may well have been in one of the nation’s largest ad-markets, but there is no way in hell that the franchise will be able to negotiate a deal with Comcast that is likely to net the Phillies remotely anywhere the financial reward they hope to gain .

The person offering his opinion on this all, has no idea as to the integral business template of a concern such as Comcast, who are still having to deal with the difficulties of their loss-making concerning NBC-Universal , the broadcast and film studios outlet bought from industrial giant GE . Consider the fact, that NBC is hemorrhaging red ink by the thankful, in terms of its bottom line . Only an idiot, would now believe that Comcast would be willing to shell out as much as $400 million annually over the next two decades to a ball-club, who this season has shown the competitive zeal of a baby seal , on the cusp of being clubbed to death .

With Ryne Sandberg’s installation as the interim-manager until the end of the season , it remains to be seen whether or not his audition will prove to be successful enough whereby he is offered the position on a full-time basis, and that of multi-year contract. From my own perspective , I do believe that team owner David Montgomery should have also sought the termination of Reuben Amaro’s contract as the team’s general manager . Those who witnessed the press conference announcing Charlie Manuel’s firing , while the former manager was seated alongside the general manager , obviously were able to see the dis-ingenuity of the executive, as he in part blamed the manager also on several issues , none of which , had to do with the fact that the team’s record of 64-77 , that had them languishing third , in the NL East and barely baseball that would prove to be entertaining enough for their fans to eagerly enjoy .

With two weeks to go before the regular season reaches its culmination, the Philadelphia Phillies still lie third within the division and their being of late some resilience being shown , having gone 6-4 in their last ten games. It would be safe to say that this off-season is likely to be a tumultuous one for the organization . The biggest off-season decision, possibly for the Phillies, is whether or to bring back to being back starting pitcher Roy Halladay and of closer Jonathan Papelbon . Both have said successful careers in their chosen roles, but if the truth be known, 2013 has provided us all with an insight into what can indeed go wrong when you have an overpaid star underachieve. While not the most expensive stars on the roster , they are the ones deemed superfluous to the team’s needs.

The Phillies’ issues beyond injuries and the inconsistent play, has been the fact, that there is said to be no vocal leader, with the likes seasoned veterans Jimmy Rollins , Cliff Lee and Chase Utley and Michael Young simply going about , business as usual . Whatever sense of urgency there was said to be, certainly wasn’t being shown under Charlie Manuel and in reality , although this recent ten-game stretch has shown that when this team is ready to play, they can do so. I do believe that it is all too little and far too late . The Philadelphia Phillies are now playing for their self-respect and pride , if nothing else . Sunday afternoon, will see the team face the Washington Nationals at Nationals Ballpark , in the nation’s capital of Washington, DC . Monday, the Phillies will then host their fellow divisional rivals the Miami Marlins in a three-game series , of teams said to be heading in the wrong direction .

For the Philadelphia Phillies and the likelihood of their cash windfall in 2015 , let us get one thing clear , fans are not likely to tune in to see a ball club whose product in 2013 was horrendous , and in 2014 , there is no likelihood or guarantee that Reuben Amaro is likely to show the insight needed to get have the best possible product on the field of play . Amaro has gambled, failed miserably in 2012 and 2013, so should the fans actually expect any different in 2014 , even with stars such as Ryan Howard , Cole Hamels , Cliff Lee and perhaps a number of prospects from the team’s farm system on board ? The Nationals and Atlanta Braves are likely to get considerably better and so too might the New York Mets , if their front office can actually find a way of not aiming the gun at their own damn feet and aiming it instead at their chosen target

The hype certainly was not worth it, , as once again the sport of boxing perpetrated another massive fraud on the public . On Saturday night, pound-for-pound king , welterweight champion Floyd ‘Money ‘ Weather ‘ defended his titles against Mexican fighter Saul ‘Canilo’ Alvarez . The unbeaten challenger, it was said, would give the champion the toughest test, he was yet to have faced in his unbeaten career . Pardon me for saying this, , but since when was it feasible to produce this hyperbole over a challenger whose record is as soft as a newborn baby’s ass ? Much of the blame for this charade, lays with Alvarez’s promoters, Golden Boy Promotions and its proprietor Oscar de La Hoya . The fight’s main card and under-cards were jointly promoted by Golden Boy Promotion and Mayweather Promotions and Entertainment Inc , a company wholly owned by the fighter , that oversees his professional and business interests. Mayweather’s business partner and legal counsel Leonard Ellerbee runs the business side, with the fighter simply making sure that the revenues are simply deposited into his now sizable and growing bank account. This title fight was the second of a six-fight deal with cable outlet provider Showtime Inc (parent company Viacom) , that will net Floyd Mayweather in excess of $200 million over the next eighteen months .

The only fireworks produced in this bout was the explosiveness and rapid succession in which Mayweather was allowed to land his blows, with his challenger simply being able to land a punch of any consequence . If Saul Canilo Alvarez is said to represent what was said to be a new breed and wave of tough up and coming Mexican boxers , then I am sorry, but Alvarez should now be hanging his head in shame, because the tradition of the great Mexican fighters of years past of which this young man wishes to join , will not be happening anytime soon. For twelve rounds the challenger offered nothing of substance, as the champion came away with a majority verdict , something of a farce given the lopsidedness of the victory , that now pushes his record to 45-0 (26 KO’s) . In suffering his first loss , Alvarez will have to revisit the drawing board and assess where he went wrong in this bout. From my own perspective , he simply was not ready for a fight of this magnitude in spite of record which to my mind is nothing more than a damn paperweight ! There are octogenarians and double amputees, who have shown more life than Saul Alvarez was able to exhibit on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Casino Arena & Resort Complex in Las Vegas , Nevada. Sooner or later the Nevada State Athletic Commission will have to start vetting a great many more of these title fights, taking place within the state’s line , particular those involving Floyd Mayweather . They either need to make sure that the title holder is not fighting a cadaver and that the opponent is in fact licensed to fight not only within the state, but nationwide .

As to who Mayweather’s next big money opponent might be , after his clinical and surgical dismantling of his challenger on Saturday night . Well, let us just say, that for twelve rounds of work, the champion will take a home $41 million guaranteed before the anticipated ancillary figures are known , which could very well add a further $45 million to $55 million to his take home pay for this one bout . Premium ringside seats went for high as $25,000 , but that included one’s accommodation and a limousine for the duration of the attendee’s stay in Las Vegas . The PPV (pay per view) figures are expected to top 2.4 million buys, making it the largest in the sport’s history and then weigh in the fact, that to subscribe for the event itself, the consumer was being asked to fork over $59-95 , an extortionate fee . One can now understand why this sport is now not signaling its own death knell, but the very fact that Mayweather’s only regard beyond what he alleges will be his legacy , is simply to ” break the bank ” with each purse he now earns in terms of his fights . He has already surpassed the lifetime earnings of both Mike Tyson and Oscar de La Hoya , two of the biggest names in the sport of boxing over the last two decades and he could be well on the way to becoming the first boxer to earn in excess of half-a-billion dollars ($500,000,000) solely from ring earnings ( estimated career earnings $392 million ) .

Well so much for that high-powered offense exhibited last week by the Philadelphia Eagles in their victory over the Washington Redskins . The team’s week two schedule , a game against the Mike McCoy coached San Diego Chargers has quickly brought Chip Kelly and his players back to earth with a crashing thud . Fans and analysts alike seemed to be overly excited with what many inane idiots were trying to suggest , that this was a new era in the NFL . How quickly they seem to forget and perhaps never seem to learn . For that type of efficiency and consistency , you have a team that is said to be on the same page as the coaching staff . Sunday afternoon and the Philadelphia Eagles may well have proved to us all that reading is fundamental , because everything about Philadelphia in this game suggested that not many of the team learned the playbook . Playing against a Chargers’ team led by quarterback Philip Rivers , the Eagles were made to pay for their errors as they were upstaged at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania .

And as exciting as Chip Kelly’s play-calling may well be, someone should remind the former Oregon coach, that this is not the Pac-12 , where just about no one plays any defense . He is now playing in amongst the big boys of the NFL , where a game strategy is made up offense as well as defense . The Eagles’ veteran quarterback , Michael Vick had a career high day in his team’s defeat, but the Eagles’ defense , it appears may well remained in the locker room , because for a large part of this game they were simply nowhere to be seen .

For the moment the Philadelphia Eagles remain tied atop of the NFC East at 1-1 , but that is likely to end after week two’s results are indeed a matter of record .

For those, who might still have doubts as to how good Aaron Rodgers might just be . Consider the following, the Green Bay Packers’ quarterback through three-quarters of work in Sunday’s game threw for an astonishing 374 yards , but fell a mere twenty yards of having a 500 yards’ career passing day . The opposition in this case just happened to be the hapless Washington Redskins , who have now fallen to 0-2 , albeit that Robert Griffin III , their sophomore quarterback continues to show growth as a player and as a quarterback in the NFL . Unfortunately, for Mike Shanahan , it has been the defense that has let this team down. And the likelihood is , this continues to be the norm , then defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and defensive lines’ coach Jacob Burney , will be abruptly shown the door.

This game may well have cemented the Packers as one of the teams to indeed watch within the NFC alongside both the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks . I am sorry folks , but it is still far too early to be talking about the Dallas Cowboys as a viable contender in spite of the force-fed diatribe of Skip Bayless , Merril Hoge , Ron Jaworski and the team’s owner Jerry Jones .

Speaking of the Seahawks and 49ers , well those two teams put on a stellar display in an NFC match-up that could prove to be a precursor and dress rehearsal for the NFC championship game . If ever there was a time for San Francisco’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick to prove that last season was no fluke , then Sunday’s display by the quarterback may well have a been a real cause for concern for the player’s fans and an even greater argument for his detractors . Pete Carroll’s …. defense simply harried the Kaepernick into making errant plays , while their offense led by opposing quarterback Russell Wilson , simply shredded and picked apart the Niners’ much vaunted defense , in coming away with a clinical and lopsided 29-3 victory . Can the Seahawks now be considered the most balanced and perhaps the best team in the NFL at present ? I will let you be the judge of that , but most certainly, do offer up your own thoughts on that .

The “Manning Bowl “ this past Sunday , provided us with a chance to see a sibling rivalry, in which the elder of the two siblings , Peyton Manning has the upper hand over his younger brother Eli Manning . In Sunday’s third meeting between these two seasoned and celebrated quarterbacks to display their skills before a national audience of millions besides the over 63,000 in attendance at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Aerial display and a rushing offense, provided the fans with over 780 all-purpose offensive yards . Defense seemed to be at a minimum as the Broncos came away with their second victory of the season with a 41-23 victory to put the Broncos atop of the AFC West and Peyton Manning with a 3-0 lead in regular season games over his younger brother . As to Archie and Olivia Manning , they must have been pleased with the performances of their two sons. Whether or not, there was said to be any favoritism being shown by the parents to one son over the other, that is a question, that can be asked of the individuals themselves .

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Picture gallery .

As exciting as this sport’s weekend was said to be , there were still a great many stories that I could have touched on, but with a limited amount of time and a patronage that quite possibly would not be interested in things such as NASCAR and EPL (English Premiership) soccer , I will simply leave it to the topics covered . So by all means, do leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site as it has always been greatly appreciated!

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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(1) Phillies’ starting pitcher Tyler Cloyd seen here delivering a pitch during the first inning of a game played against the Washington Nationals on Sunday afternoon at Nationals Ballpark in Washington , DC . The Nationals would go on to defeat the Phillies in a lopsided game 11-2 , with pitcher Jordan Zimmerman of the Nationals 1 gaining his eighteenth victory of the season . AP Photo / Susan Walsh …..

(2) The Nationals’ Bryce Harper steals second, as he makes his way to third base during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday afternoon at Nationals Ballpark in Washington , DC. Washington would go on to win the game 11-2 . AP Photo / Susan Walsh …

(3) Deposed manager Charlie Manuel, right, is seen here alongside GM Reuben Amaro Jr . Manuel the Philadelphia Phillies’ most successful manager, was fired earlier this month and replaced by Ryne Sandberg as the ball-club’s interim manager until the end of the season . Since his installment, Sandberg has not really fared that much better than his predecessor, having post a 16-13 record . Getty Images / Nick Walters ….

(4) Saul Alvarez, right , of Mexico is here in his WBC welterweight title fight against title holder Floyd Mayweather . The champion would win in dominating fashion with a unanimous verdict and pushing his unbeaten record to 45-0 . A forty-one million dollar payday was the reward for the champion, with the likelihood that his purse could be as high as $ 80 million after budgetary costs are taken into account for the staging of the title bout at the MGM Grand Casino Resort Hotel & Casino Complex in Las Vegas , Nevada . Getty Images North America / Rick Parsons ….

(5) (L-R) Floyd Mayweather Jr. throws a right at Canelo Alvarez during their WBC / WBA 154-pound title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 14, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather successfully defended his WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine titles with a unanimous verdict over his challenger . Getty Images / Ethan Miller ……

(6) Floyd Mayweather Jr. (R) hits Canelo Alvarez in the seventh round of their WBC/WBA 154-pound title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 14, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather won by a majority decision. Getty Images / Ethan Miller …..

(7) Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles attempts a pass to James Casey during the game against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania . The Eagles’ defense were woefully inept as they allowed Philip Rivers and the Chargers back into this contest , as the home team dropped to their first defeat of the season . AP Photo / Matt Rourke …..

(8) Eddie Royal of the Chargers makes it into the end-zone as he evades Nate Allen of the Eagles . AP Photo Matt Rourke ….

(9) Quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers attempts a pass during the game against the Washington Redskins played at Lambeau Field in Green Bay Wisconsin . Green Bay would defeat their NFC rivals 38-20 to improve their record 1-1 within the NFC North and dropping the win-less Redskins to 0-2 within the NFC East and at the bottom of the division. AP Photo Mike Roemer ….

(10) Peyton Manning (18) congratulates his younger brother Eli Manning after the game between their two the teams met in a scheduled regular season game ____ the Denver Broncos and the New York Giants , on Sunday afternoon . This was the third regular season meeting between the pair of siblings , with the elder Manning having won all three contests . The Broncos defeated the Giants 41-23 to improve their record to 2-0 in the AFC West , while the Giants sit at 0-2 within the NFC East . AP Photo / Frank Franklin II …

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tophatal …… 09/15/2013

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In the land of milk and honey

Well the NFL Draft came and went without too much fuss or ballyhoo , but yet fans are now either trying to speculate as to what now is likely to take place amongst a number of franchises around the league . The biggest story might well have been the New York Jets’ decision to waive the team’s backup quarterback, Tim Tebow . GM John Idzik in many respects , was simply being polite with regard to the player’s future and undoubtedly his deteriorating skillet . Yet , for some sense of purpose there seems to be fans around the NFL , who believe that the player is still capable of playing the game at a high level within the league . From my own perspective in spite of what Tim Tabor was able to achieve in 2011 , he is simply not good enough to play the position in the NFL . Doubt my word , then simply look at the stats which will bear this all out , most notably in 2011 and of course last season .

The pressure now seems to be on the Jets’ incumbent starting quarterback , Mark Sanchez , whose own long-term situation will be under scrutiny by the front office . Not to be left out of that equation also , will be the future of head coach Rex Ryan , whose four years with the franchise , has seen more lows than highs. Ryan it was said , was a defense minded guru of the game , but over the past two seasons, this was not borne out at all , by the team’s play . And with the team’s draft class , said to be one a mixed bag of tricks , with the biggest name of that class being West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith . As to what, this might now mean for Mark Sanchez, can now be determined in the public statements made by John Idzik . The general manager for the fans and public’s consumption has said that in essence all five quarterbacks on the team’s roster will be part of the competition , to fill the starting role for the franchise this upcoming season .

Character issues or not , the young rookie quarterback will have a great deal to prove in his rookie season , if it is his intent to beat out Sanchez , David Garrard , Greg McElroy and Matt Simms , for the starter’s role on this team .

There now seems to be a complete disconnect in the NBA between the intelligence of the players , how they view themselves and what now seems to be happening in the real world . As all know , athletes today, simply see themselves , as above the fray , above the law , and if nothing else , they will have their agents , simply create an image, that in no way reflects who these athletes , actually are . The New York Knicks in the past forty-eight hours have gone from a franchise that was one everyone’s lips as the likely contender and opposition for the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals , to a roster full of self-observed players , in which their fans are now looking to make excuses for the players’ lapse in judgment and their somewhat anemic performance in game five of their first round match-up against the Boston Celtics . A Boston team , who now seem to be playing with a great deal of emotion , in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon tragedy . As to the lapse in judgment , put that down to the juvenile mentality of a seasoned veteran , in Kenyon Martin , who seems to be having something of a rejuvenated NBA life after something of an underachieving career overall . It was at Martin’s insistence , that he and his teammates dressed in black as a show of unison , and apparently as a way of somehow imposing their will upon their opponent . Well, that idiocy seemingly backfired , with the Knicks being hoisted on their own ass , deservedly so , as they were soundly beaten by their Eastern Conference rivals .

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Forced into a pivotal game six match-up , albeit , that the Knicks lead the series 3-2 , they simply cannot allow the Boston Celtics to come away with a victory tonight , when the two teams meet in a packed TD Bank North arena , in Boston, Massachusetts ,. With seemingly nothing to lose , Celtics’ coach Doc Rivers knows that with his team riding on a wave of emotion and with the fervent support of the residents of Boston , leveling the series and then setting up that series’ deciding game seven , would place the Knicks in an unenviable position . A scenario that doesn’t exactly bode well for the New York Knicks and specifically New York sports’ fans in general . The 2004 ALCS between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees , not only did that series rancor the New York fans , but it set about the spiraling out of control of every fan within the tri-state area who just happened to be a Yankees’ fan , after the Red Sox came back from erasing a 3-0 deficit to win the series 4-3 , then going to win the World Series that season .

The likelihood of that scenario now happening does seem remote , but given the uncertainty shown by this Knicks’ team and the inexperience of this current roster as it relates to postseason play. It would not necessarily be something of a surprise to see the team bow out postseason play . Yet on the other hand , it would be seen as catastrophic , given the high expectations of this organization , the coaching staff and players . It would be pretty much safe to say that after Carmelo Anthony’s spectacular season , the one thing the one thing he is likely to regret , would be for this team to dumped out of the postseason unceremoniously , while the whole NBA world looks on .

The New York Knicks’ fans may well have been justified, in suggesting that their team were perhaps the ones to beat during the regular season , with the exception of the Miami Heat within the Eastern Conference . Yet , when asked to succinctly put into words the strengths and weaknesses on this roster , it was akin to watching a child trying to speak their very first words . They were enraptured , by style over , any real substance , it was as plain and simple , as that ! This Knicks’ team lacks a great deal of heart , lacks toughness , but it overall , when it comes to real adversity , there is no one willing enough to step up to the plate and lead by example . While ESPN analyst and noted journalist Stephen A Smith gushes over the team like a high school senior out on a prom date , believing that he’s unto a sure thing . At the back of his mind , even Smith , is now having reservations as to whether or not they possess the psyche to actually get the job done .

With their being some critical game sixes on the schedule tonight , for all sense and purpose a number of teams participating , are likely to see their seasons come to an abrupt end . This much I do know , of the first round series that have taken place or that have yet to reach their finality . None has been more entertaining than that of the series between the Golden State Warriors and Denver Nuggets . Not only has this contest become one of mental attrition , it has become physical , with now an apparent dislike between the two teams and the opposing head coaches , each making their feelings felt as to the lack of sportsmanship by either . It’s time for George Karl and Mark Jackson to “ throw down “ , take off the gloves , really say what they mean and might feel .

Last night , it all came to a head when the two teams met in game six , with the Warriors looking to close out the series and the Nuggets simply looking to stay alive . Instead , the game became the “coming out party “ for Steph Curry , who this postseason , has been the most electrifying player to watch , as his stature and game has grown. . There was a sense that we were seeing the NBA’s new star , and indeed Curry may well be what the Warriors’ fans have yearned for, after all these years in the wilderness and being the butt of so many jokes around the NBA.

Warriors’ owners , Joe Lacob and Peter Guber , along with Jerry West , have steered this franchise from being a nondescript entity to one of the league’s more surprising teams this season . A season in which the franchise has shone , a great deal now is expected of this team as they proceed forward . In the conference semifinals , a second round match-up against the number two seeds , the San Antonio Spurs awaits Steph Curry and his teammates . As to the likely outcome of that series , much of that will be predicated upon the play of Curry and the coaching ingenuity shown by Mark Jackson . I get the feeling that while that series will be entertaining , the likely outcome will not be what the Warriors’ fans are hoping for !

On Saturday night , WBC and WBA light middleweight champion Floyd Mayweather (43-0,26 KO’s) will defend his welterweight title against fellow American , Roberto Guerrero in what will or should be a highly entertaining spectacle . Mayweather , long regard as the best pound for pound fighter on the planet , in reality is now fighting merely to pad record and the monetary gain. The financial rewards for the titleholder for this bout , is likely to see him , walk away within excess of $25 million , simply for defending his title, and before any residuals are added to that figure. Already , a shrewd businessman , Floyd Mayweather , along with his partner Leonard Ellerbee , through his promotion’s company , now have the financial clout to dictate when , where and whom he fights and that is all set to his own schedule.


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Mayweather remains the biggest draw in boxing , and the long awaited bout that many have yearned for , is now unlikely to ever take place . With two recent losses on his record , Manny Pacquiao is now on the decline and no longer a desired opponent of Floyd Mayweather , in spite of his own claims, of having offered the Filipino fighter $25 million guaranteed , to face him at a place of their choosing . The titleholder knows how to talk up a fight , denigrate an opponent , but most of all , he simply knows how self-promote. Not since Muhammad Ali at his very best , have we seen a fighter with this much talent , simply wade through his opponents as if it were all secondary to him and simply a light workout . Granted , one might point to “Sugar” Ray Leonard and Mike Tyson at the height of their acclaim , but neither fighter had the aptitude or showmanship now being exhibited by the Michigan native .

Mayweather for is part, seeks to stake his claim , as one of the best ever in the annals of boxing history . With career earnings in excess of $ 225 million , the fighter recently signed a six-fight deal with the CBS owned Showtime Network , that will see Floyd Mayweather earn $200 million over the duration of the deal, which does not include any of the ancillary benefits normally associated with such deals. Boxing`s steady decline, in terms of viewership and the sport`s now narrow audience , no longer makes it the prerequisite destination for the average male , let alone the legion of females drawn to the bouts and the fighters .

Away from the gladiatorial arena , Mayweather, in a recent interview conducted with ESPN`s , Stephen A Smith , which sought to soften the boxers image . Smith fawned over the fighter. much like a schoolboy with a crush on a teenage girl . The interview in so many ways , was bile inducing drivel and slop , with the fighter pointing to the fact that he was incarcerated for a six-month sentence, during which he stated he missed his kids , spouse and other immediate family members . It should be noted, that the reason for Floyd Mayweather`s incarceration, was the fact he was charged with assault and battery on his spouse , children, as well as threatening a federal witness and law enforcement officer. Yet , this was excluded in the interview while Smith tried to suggest Mayweather had in fact turned over a new leaf in is life. I`m sorry but Smith , like Floyd Mayweather , were simply seeking to blow smoke up everyone`s ass with an interview that simply had no substance to it at all . Being the biggest, doesn’t always mean the best and that now is certainly the case when it comes to journalistic integrity .

One month into baseball`s long and arduous season, it looks as if we already know the teams that seem to be playing themselves out of contention without any chance of being remotely involved in postseason play . I am not about to suggest that this season is likely to be a monumental bust , but there does seem to be something of anomaly being set in this scenario. Coming into this weekend`s schedule , several games are likely to have the fans rooting wholeheartedly for their teams . The Boston Red Sox (20-8) currently have the best record in the Majors leading the AL East by a 2 ½ game margin over the New York Yankees (17-10) .

The San Diego Padres are a team heading nowhere with the team`s coaching staff seemingly at a loss , as to how best to address the woes of the organization . Far be it, for me to suggest , but having changed hands in terms of the team`s ownership , nothing seems to have changed at all in terms of the medioc