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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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 !


Picture and slideshow gallery details below .


(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 ……



tophatal ………….

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It’s Time To Put Up Or Shut Up …………

It’s Time To Put Up Or Shut Up …………

It now becomes a battle and test of wills but somehow the Los Angeles Lakers as two time defending champions will have to prove that they’re worthy of the mantel of being champions . Now down 0-3 in series that most on paper would have the Lakers winning with ease the Lakers now find themselves caught between the Devil and the deep blue sea. The Dallas Mavericks have all but placed that last nail in the coffin of the Lakers during this less than suspenseful series . It’s hard to explain but the Lakers faltering at this juncture has more to do with the mindset and complacency that has beset not only this team but also the organization as a whole. The acquisitions made by the Lakers as an addition this team if anything hasn’t improved the Lakers albeit that they ended up with the second best record within the Western Conference .


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It seems inconceivable that Phil Jackson and the two time —— defending champions could find themselves in such a position . I don’t know about you but until the white flag of surrender has been raised I think that no there’s no way in hell that the Lakers will give up this series without a fight . That being said if Kobe Bryant is the only one prepared to step up to the plate then there’s really not much else to be said concerning the complete ineptitude shown by the Lakers shown throughout this series . Bryant may well be of the belief that there’s still a great deal to fight for but he ought to remind his teammates that they ought to get their fat asses off the sidelines and man the fu_k up !

I don’t know about you but I’ve long held the opinion that boxing is actually on its last legs . I find it ironic that a sport that once gripped the nation has now become nothing more than after thought amongst the vast majority of sports fans . The heavyweight division and the title itself was once deemed the most prestigious individual title in sports now that division as well as the title itself has become a parody and metaphor for that is actually wrong with the sport. Manny Pacquiao may well be viewed as the face of the sport at present but once he retires this sport may as well fold its tent and pack it all up. There are no longer any real legitimate stars that can be viewed as the future of the sport and those who are now coming to the fore in many respect they lack a personality and if anything they lack a great deal of skill. Promoters such as Don King , Bob Arum and Oscar De La Hoya have made the sport a complete laughing stock as the pre-eminent promoters within boxing . The welterweight title bout that took place this past weekend between Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosely which was staged at the MGM Grand Casino & Resort in Las Vegas , Ne was if anything , something of a non- event. For twelve utterly boring rounds these two champions of the sport staged a fight that was simply so boring that I for one thought the fans would have been better off seeing two octogenarians in the ring trading blows . Mosely a three time three division champion fought a lackluster fight and and his Filipino opponent simply was unable to live up to the hype that many have now come to expect from the all action spectacles he’s given us the majority of his long and illustrious career.

Pacquiao won a unanimous twelve round decision and with it his legacy is still in tact as the best pound for pound fighter on the planet. At this juncture I do believe that it would be in Pacquiao’s best interest to retitre as there are no more challenges left for him to attain. A potential blockbuster bout against Floyd Mayweather seems to be a thing of the past and with Mayweather’s ongoing legal troubles I for one seriously doubt that fight will ever take place .

Two no hitters have been thrown within seventy two hours and the latest was attained by the Detroit Tigers’ Justin Verlander in his team’s —– 9-0 shellacking of the Toronto Blue Jays . This has been the second time that Verlander has achieved this feat and if anything he’s proven why it is that he may well be one of the main contenders for the AL Cy Young Award this season. I don’t know about you but I’ve never considered the Blue Jays a team that could compete within the AL East much less the rest of baseball ! They’ve not been competitive in a decade and a half at least and while the feat of that no hitter can be considered an excellent feat . Come on now we’re talking the Blue Jays ! . Watching that team hit is like watching the likes of Mitt Romney , Joe Biden and Tim Geithner explain the inherent problems that plague the US economy. They’re simply too stupid to explain it even in laymen’s terms that anyone could actually comprehend and likewise with anyone who actually feels that the Blue Jays are a team that can be viewed as being competitive.

As to the Tigers’ own aspirations this season within the AL Central I do believe that once again they’ll simply underachieve as they have done over the past five seasons . This team has been way too inconsistent for my liking and I feel that Jim Leyland and his coaching staff I do believe are bereft real ideas as to how best to get the optimum out of this team . GM Dave Dombrowski will no doubt make the appropriate acquisitions at the trade deadline needed to make the Tigers competitive enough to be considered a legitimate contender for the World Series .



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What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on this topic .

Alan aka tophatal ………………………..

Picture and slide show details below .

(1) The Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant leaves the floor after the Lakers lost 122-86 to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 4 of a second-round NBA playoff basketball series, Sunday, May 8, 2011, in Dallas. The Mavericks swept the series. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez …..

(2) Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, right front, and business partner Todd R. Wagner embrace after the Mavericks defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 122-86 in Game 4 of a second-round NBA playoff basketball series, Sunday, May 8, 2011, in Dallas. The Mavericks swept the series. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez ………..

(3) Teammates rush out as Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander(notes), center right, and catcher Alex Avila(notes) celebrate Verlander’s no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays in a baseball game in Toronto on Saturday, May 7, 2011. The Tigers won 9-0. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darren Calabrese ……

(4) Shane Mosley of the US falls down after being punched by Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines (L) in their bout for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title at the Garden Arena in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 7, 2011. Pacquiao retained the WBO welterweight title by beating Mosley to extend his winning streak to 14 bouts. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS ……

(5) (L-R) Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines throws a right at Shane Mosley in the WBO welterweight title fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 7, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. AFP/Photo Gabriel Bouys …….


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You Had Me At Hello ………. !

You Had Me At Hello !

In the Cameron Crowe directed and written movie ” Jerry Macguire” there’s a scene in the movie where Tom Cruise’s character Jerry Maguire ____ his wife in the film played by Oscar winner Renee Zellwegger says the words “you had me hello ” . Well here’s a case in point as I survey the world of sports and the news forthcoming within that arena . The NFL is still looking as if their problems now will be litigated within the US Federal Court system and in which an upcoming case will be heard in Minneapolis , Minnesota. What both the NFLPA ( union) and the NFL continue to show is that neither side is apparent in actually resolving this matter in which an amicable resolution is reached , albeit that owners Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft have stated that’s what they seek with the union led by Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and its executive committee . Pardon me for saying this , but common sense went out the window concerning these deliberations the moment that the union sought to decertify in order that players could challenge the NFL’s antitrust exemption status and its legality within the judicial system.


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What might be further illuminating and shows that intelligence on the part of the players is merely a preconception , is the fact that they state they’re now prepared to negotiate directly with the owners rather than NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell . Less I’m mistaken wasn’t the action to instigate the lockout done at the behest of the owners and was enacted by Goodell as the NFL’s highest ranking official within the league’s hierarchy ? Well folks , there’s more to come from this soap opera’s saga and the outcome that most sorely await.

Can someone explain to me why it is that everyone is so sold on the New York Knicks even after the team’s acquisition of Carmelo Anthony instigated by GM Donnie Walsh and team owner James Dolan ? The problem is that in spite of Anthony’s acquisition along with that of Chauncey Billups the New Yorks Knicks have been a rather pedestrian 7-8 whereas the Denver Nuggets in exchange are an impressive 9-6 after Anthony’s departure under coach George Karl as the Nuggets try to make a play for a playoff spot in the Western Conference . Something that many may well have felt beyond the Nuggets after this trade was made by GM Masai Ujiri .

I’m not thoroughly convinced that this Knicks’ team even with the addition of Anthony and Billups are still good enough even with perennial All Star Amar’e Stoudemire leading this team and that’s with the advent of Mike D’Antoni’s coaching philosophy or lack of it thereof. Please don’t try and convince me that the Knicks are legit , when they can’t even play with any semblance of consistency be it on the road or at home . People were so in awe of this trade that they seem to have forgotten that neither Anthony or D’Antoni’s teams have never been known for their defensive capabilities and that clearly has been the case once again with the New York Knicks under D’Antoni’s tutelage. Madison Square Gardens may well play host to its litany New York celebrities such as Spike Lee and Chris Rock who may well be in awe of this team’s aspirations over the course of the season but the Knicks are going to in for a big surprise should they make the postseason and are still playing at the fame level inconsistency we’ve seen from the team .

Now as many of you know I’m an avowed boxing fan but as of late I’ve become disenchanted with the sport and just about anything that’s associated with the sport be it from a world title fight or the latest news involving Floyd Mayweather , Manny Pacquaio , two of the sport’s biggest stars. I’d recently written a piece that dealt with the fortieth anniversary of the fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier . To my mind that first fight and the duo which followed after-wards to make up the trilogy of fights which has made up the greatest series of boxing matches ever to have been staged at any weight category over the sport’s history ! Well this past weekend were led to believe that once again the heavyweight division was once again relevant as Vitali Klitschko would be defending his WBC title against the mandatory number one challenger Odlanier Solis in what was meant to be a bout that the fans would long to see.

The fight itself lived up to the expectations one would come to expect when you have an over hyped challenger and a title holder whose record has been based on meeting opponents either well past their prime or who essentially have been asked to step by now what I largely believe are unscrupulous promoters who don’t necessarily are what the fans think just as long as they’re making money from these staged promotions . Solis a Cuban emigre essentially gave up after one round having been knocked out Klitschko with effortless ease. Solis’ record of having been undefeated merely showed me that the heavyweight division is genuinely devoid of any real talent in spite of what the boxing journalists out there are trying to sell the public. Beyond a disinterested Manny Pacquiao who now merely is fighting for the money and a way of satisfying the ego of his promoter Bob Arum , boxing has now become mundane and about as interesting as watching paint dry or a political debate between two intellectually challenged candidates. Does anyone remember the Vice Presidential debates between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin ? Need I say anymore on the matter ?

A number of my friends know that I’m a former military member who served in the Royal Marines for a 8 1/2 year period serving in various parts of Europe and North Africa . During that time I’d seen active service having been stationed in Northern Ireland , Ethiopia , Eritrea and further afield. And I have to admit those experiences have molded me into the person I am along with my upbringing and post military experience has given me a great deal more insight than I could ever have hoped for . I’ve long maintained that without the experience of having traveled or an education then your life can be something of a void . Luckily enough having brought up by a single mother and being the eldest of the three my mother drummed it into us that education is of the utmost if we’re to strive . Having graduated from high school my initial thought wasn’t to enter college as I’d no real idea as to what I wanted in terms of a vocation. So being rather capricious I entered the military much to the dismay of my mother , and my younger brother and sister. That being said after my stint in the military I was lucky enough to be hired by a bank working within corporate finance and my employer at the time paid for my education having enrolled at UCL and then LSE where I was able to obtain an MBA and degrees in International Finance and Economics .

Now in light of ESPN’s most recent series of their 30 For 30 series of documentaries to commemorate the outlet’s thirtieth anniversary as a sports programming content provider . Their most recent edition was on Michigan’s Fab Five which was that hyped team led by Juwan Howard , Jalen Rose and Chris Webber which went to two straight Final Fours in the NCAA Tournament .

This specific episode though commissioned by the cable outlet provider was in fact produced by Rose’s own production company (Three Tier Entertainment) in conjunction with ESPN and the episode was one of the better made documentaries made shown by ESPN. In the aftermath of the episode’s showing Rose who is also an NBA analyst on TNT’s NBA show has been particularly vocal in the fact that he hates the Duke Blue Devils and the very fact that he’s felt that African Americans who’ve played for Mike Krzyzwewski have been Uncle Tom’s . Much of Rose’s anger in making that statement comes from the fact that he wasn’t recruited by by Duke when he became eligible as a college player. I can understand Rose’s statement but I do believe that the issues raised shows his ignorance and immaturity as a human being ! . Not only that given the fact that even if he’d come from a single parent home it doesn’t change the wholesale environment if what any recruit has to go through once given the chance as a student athlete at any educational establishment . The criteria that has to be met doesn’t necessarily change because of one’s socio-economic standing or ethnictiy , as Rose clearly believes that it does .

In the aftermath of this all , perhaps Duke’s greatest player Grant Hill took umbrage at the statements made by Rose and wrote a concise and illuminating op-ed piece in the Washington Post challenging Rose’s statements and preconceived ideas. If it’s not bad enough that in this day and age young African American males and female have very few role models to which they can look up to, we now have an idiot like Rose now looking to drag down African American males within his own race who just happen to role models that many of today’s youth can look up to , regardless of ethnicity and their sexual identity. What might be even more telling is that Rose hasn’t yet issued any type of formal apology or any further statement having made that original remark. It may well have been done as an effort to further publicize the Fab Five episode but if anything to my mind whatever damage done be it slight in some peoples eyes may well be something that can’t be recanted and looked at as merely a player feeling aggrieved over an issue. The fact of the matter is as great as Rose’s college career may well have been his professional career paled into insignificance where there was nothing exceptional that actually stood out !

Rose may well look back on the statement with some regret but for the moment it looks as if he’s prepared ride it for all that it’s worth while it provides the actual episode that little extra publicity it might not actually get from ESPN from any additional advertising on the cable network.

It’s extremely rare where you get a young athlete that simply takes a sport by storm and where now the expectations become so high after that individual does something that no one literally thought possible. At UFC 128 — Jon Jones the light heavyweight challenger for Mauricio Rua’s UFC title belt made such an emphatic statement that has sent a seismic shock wave across the sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). In the space of three brutal and clinically decisive rounds Jones literally beat the formidable Rua and in doing so took the title holder’s belt with discriminate ease. What was scheduled to be a five round title fight where many felt that Jones would be tested by the vastly more experienced Rua simply didn’t come into being. If anything it was the young 23 year old fighter who took the fight to the champion , had him bloodied , bewildered and disheartened long before the fight came to an unlikely ending with a TKO in the third round of the five round title fight.

Now Jones will have to deal with other title aspirants within the division such as former title holders Rashad Evans , Lyoto Machida and the always dangerous and perennial title contender Ryan Bader .The speed and impressive way at which Jones (13-1) has moved up the ranks of the sport and in particular the light heavyweight division with so little allout experience in the UFC ranks speaks to how he has applied himself and the skills that he brings into the genre as a former All American collegiate wrestler. His jujitsu has improved greatly and it only adds to his all round weaponry within MMA . A prospective rematch with Rua seems unlikely given the nature of Jones’ victory over the Brazilian . And now what may well await him is a big money defense of his title against Evans the number one mandated contender for the title . Jones replaced Rashard Evans he’d suffered an injury in his preparations to fight Rua at UFC 128 , his replacement was Jones who took the fight on short notice although he’d been in training for an upcoming fight , seen as an eliminator for the light heavyweight title. Now with that belt now his own the newly anointed champion can now pick and choose his challengers while along the way gaining further notoriety , fame and wealth.

On the opposite side of the MMA genre we have the woefully inept and mediocre situation now arising within the sport of boxing . I’m sorry but I can no longer see the relevancy of the sport when the fights that the fans desire to see aren’t going to take place ! Over this past weekend Vitali Klitschko (42-2-0 ,39KO’s) defended his WBC heavyweight title against what we’re led to believe was a credible mandated number one contender by the WBC in Odlanier Solis . Well the fact that this bout took place in Cologne , Germany gives you all the credcence you need to know why the heavyweight division is no longer taken seriously . The boxing scene and in particular the the division no longer resonates with anyone within North America and the very fact that the division is now dominated by a group of lackluster and character devoid aspirants of fighters chasing greatness makes this all the comedic . There hasn’t been an undisputed champion within the heavyweight ranks for almost 7 years and it’s unlikely that there’ll be one anytime soon.

Solis came into this fight with a record (17-0 , 12 KO’s) that if anything that on paper seemed impressive but as they say what you see on paper doesn’t actually represent anything in terms of a legitimate resume’ . This fight was over before the initial bell rang for the opening round and for the fans in attendance at the Lanxess Arena , Cologne had to have been disappointed in seeing the challenger barely last three minutes into the first round having been knocked flat on his backside from a punch that on appearance didn’t seem to be all that devastating much less having any real power. But this is now what the sport of boxing has now become by way of many of the fights now being staged for the apparent appetites of the fight fans out there. I’m sorry but seeing an overweight bloated specimen being knocked flat on their ass much less lying prostrate on their back isn’t what I for one find anywhere near entertaining ! And that’s in spite of fans and boxing writers now talking as if Vitali Klitschko and his brother Wladimir are now the faces of boxing as far as the heavyweight division is concerned . The two have refused to face each other in order unify the titles within the division and create an undisputed champion within the heavyweight ranks. And fight are suppose to take either seriously within the world of boxing ?

Now one can understand why the sport of boxing and in particular the division can’t be taken seriously as a legitimate concern . I can only surmise that’s why both Don King and Bob Arum as the sport’s pre-eminent promoters aren’t overly concerned with the division or promoting any of the top ranked contenders within the division who just happen to be Europeans ! In doing so they know for a fact that they’d be facing a losing endeavor in trying to gain anyone’s interest in a proposed bout on this side of the Atlantic which is and has always been the epicenter of the fight game.

I personally have lost all faith in the legitimacy in the sport of boxing as it has become devoid of talent , character and most certainly promoters who actually wish to give the fight fans what they want and that’s competitive and entertaining fights . That’s not really too much to ask at this juncture is it ?

Well it goes without saying the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is in full swing and there have already been one or two upsets that most hadn’t envisaged. Suffice to say if your brackets have already imploded because of an errant pick on your part take heart in the fact that you’re probably amongst millions who’ve seen their situation ripped asunder because of that pick . I for one am looking forward to the rest of the tournament as we’re now down to the ” Sweet 16 ” as from hereon in it’s now going to be about the contenders being separated from the pretenders .



Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the weekend’s sporting events what if anything has been your own most enjoyable moment ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the issues raised within this piece and any sporting topic you wish .

Alan aka tophatal …………….

Picture and slide show details below

(1) FILE – In this file photo taken Feb. 1, 2010, then Houston Texans guard Chester Pitts makes a point to members of the House Judiciary Committee during a forum in Houston. Football labor negotiations with the NFL involving a federal mediator broke off March 11, 2011, without an agreement. NFL players have been warned for years about the need to save and the importance of budgeting their money in case of a work stoppage. Well, the lockout is here. All the players have taken a bit of a financial hit already because of the lockout: NFL teams no longer are paying for their health insurance. AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, ……..

(2) NEW ORLEANS, LA – MARCH 21: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones attends the NFL Annual Meetings at the Roosevelt Hotel on March 21, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Despite a NFL owners imposed lockout in effect since March 12 the league is conducting its annual owners meeting in New Orleans. Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images …….

(3) Three of the in famous Fab 5 of Michigan’s basketball team of the early nineties that had the five freshmen reach two consecutive NCAA Final Fours . From left to right Juwan Howard , Jalen Rose (center) and Chris Webber . AP /Reuters/ Chris Hill ……………

(4) New York Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni argues a call with referee Ken Mauer (41) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, March 20, 2011, in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Bucks won 100-95 . AP Photo/Morry Gash ……….

(5) Milwaukee Bucks’ Andrew Bogut , right, has some words with New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, March 20, 2011, in Milwaukee. The Bucks won 100-95. AP Photo/Morry Gash ………..

(6) Pictured a badly beaten Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is somewhat dismayed after his loss to Jon “Bones” Jones. In losing to Jones at UFC 128 Rua lost his light heavyweight title in his very first defense to his younger opponent. MMA Fight Weeky .

(7) Jones (right) took the fight to Rua from the opening round here he’s seen unleashing a kick to the champion during their UFC light heavyweight title fight at UFC 128. Both fighters have been suspended by the UFC pending the outcome of their post-fight medical medical results . MMA Ken Pishna …

(8) Jones delivers a frontal kick to Rua’s midrift that he was able to avoid but only partially. Jones would use his athleticism and quickness to defeat the Brazlian jujitsu expert with considerable ease. MMA Ken Pishna ………..

(9) Ukrainian heavyweight titleholder Vitali Klitschko celebrates with the winner’s belt after defeating Cuban challenger Odlanier Solis after their WBC heavyweight world championship boxing match in the western German city of Cologne on March 19, 2011. World heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko won the fight and defended his WBC heavyweight title with a shock first-round knock-out of Cuban challenger Odlanier Solis. Photo credit should read PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images ………

(10) World boxing champion Vitali Klitschko of the Ukraine, right, watches challenger Odlanier Solis of Cuba go ing down during the first round of the WBC heavyweight title bout at the arena in Cologne, Germany, Saturday, March 19, 2011. Solis lost in in the first round with an injured knee. Klitschko’s win was declared k.o. by the referee. AP Photo/Martin Meissner ………..

(11) Cuban challenger Odlanier Solis gets help as he leaves the ring after he lost the fight with Ukrainian heavyweight titleholder Vitali Klitschko in their WBC heavyweight world championship boxing match in the western German city of Cologne on March 19, 2011. World heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko won the fight and defended his WBC heavyweight title with a shock first-round knock-out of Cuban challenger Odlanier Solis. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZ

(12) Ben Hansbrough (23) of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish reacts on the bench in the second half during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the United Center on March 20, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Florida State won 71-57 in regulation. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……..


NCAA Men’s basketball results

Sweet 16 draw


Continue reading “You Had Me At Hello ………. !”

Beauty Is In The Eye Of Beholder ……..Oops We’ve Another Heavyweight Champion of The World ….

So here I am, scouring the “net” as well as US editions of several British newspapers I subscribe to ,in order to keep myself abreast of what’s happening back home in the land of my birth. Quite often I’ll also take in the BBC America network outlet for the latest business and international news. CNN and Fox News may well believe that they’re best at covering a story with in depth coverage and analysis. But in actuality they pale by comparison , when judged against the professionalism shown by the journalists of the BBC .

Best  to  be  seen  and  not  heard . Paris  Hilton  and  Tara Reid   are   getting   far too much   exposure  than  is  needed  .   Can  someone  remind them  that they need a  modicum  of  talent and  intelligence  as  well  ?  Not  unlike what   unlike what  we're  now  witnessing  within the  heavyweight   division  of  boxing .  picture  appears   courtesy  of  getty images north  america/   Julian  Proctor .........

Best to be seen and not heard ? Paris Hilton and Tara Reid are getting far too much exposure than is needed. Can someone remind them that they need a modicum of talent and intelligence as well ? Not unlike what we’re now witnessing within the heavyweight division of boxing. picture appears courtesy of getty images north america/ Julian Proctor ………..

If it’s not enough of anathema, to think that the heavyweight boxing division is now ruled by East European boxers. It’s enough to make one ask the question where’s the talent of yesteryear in terms of boxing within the division ? It was bad enough seeing the claims of one aspirant from the US bite the dust with such embarrassment. That the talk of Chris Arreola (27-1, 24 KO’s) returning to the ring , is being met without as much as excitement, as the next on screen performance of Paris Hilton or Tara Reid . Neither of whom, it can be said was all that talented to begin with, when it came to the art of acting. But then again, if you’re a testosterone driven hetero sexual male. The thespian talents of either is hardly the thing that’ll lure you to watch either of these two females.

Vitali  Klitschko   proves  his   dominance  stopping  Chris Arreola in the  tenth  round  of  their WBC heavyweight  title  fight  held  at the  Staples  Center , Los  Angeles , California , in  September .

Vitali Klitschko (right) the champion proves his dominance in stopping Chris Arreola (left),the challenger for his WBC heavyweight title fight held at the Staples Center, Los Angeles, California. Arreola was forced to retire at the end of the 10th round of the bout. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Mark J. Terrell …

Arreola , for his part has reminded us how devoid of home grown talent this country really is, when it comes to the heavyweight division of boxing. Furthermore, the excuses being made that most athletes shy away from the sport because there’s more money to be made playing in the NBA , NFL or MLB . Well, that’s akin to saying I don’t really want to get but I’ll try my hand and at something else less painful. Any sport runs the risk of an athlete being hurt at some point in their career. That’s part and parcel of being an athlete to begin with. It’s not solely about making money. It’s the thought of challenging one’s self against the obstacles placed in your way and being able to overcome it for the gains at the end of the day. Money , fame and the notoriety is just a bye product of it all.

The newly  crowned WBA heavyweight  champion of the  world  David  Haye (center  foreground) who won  the  title  with a  unanimous  decision over the  former  champion  , Nikolai Valuev of  Russia .     picture  appears  courtesy  of afp/getty images/  Shaun  Curry ............

The newly crowned WBA heavyweight champion of the world, David Haye (center foreground) who won the title with a unanimous decision over the former champion, Nikolai Valuev of Russia. picture appears courtesy of afp/getty images/ Shaun Curry ……….

Chris Arreola in his last bout challenged Vitali Klitschko (38-2-0,37 KO’s) for the WBC heavyweight title. His challenge was met with the usual customary reverence one could come to expect of a champion unwilling to let an inferior opponent try and avail themselves of something that is not rightfully theirs. He forced the challenger to retire in the tenth round of their scheduled twelve round title fight at the Staples Center , in Los Angeles, California, on the 26th September 2009.

Valuev (left) looks to defend  himself against  the  challenger  ,  Haye , in their WBA heavyweight  title   fight held  in  Nurumberg  Germany  on the  7th  November  2009.       picture appears  courtesy of  afp/getty images/ Shaun  Curry ........

Valuev (left) looks to defend himself against the challenger , Haye, in their WBA heavyweight title fight held in Nurumberg , Germany on the 7th November 2009. picture appears courtesy of afp/getty images/ Shaun Curry ………

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports and Associated Press:

Haye defeats Valuev for WBA heavyweight title

By David Hein , Associated Press Sports Writer

NUREMBERG, Germany (AP)—David Haye certainly backed up his brash prediction.

Haye used his superior quickness to surprise Nikolai Valuev, winning a majority decision on Saturday night and winning the WBA heavyweight title.

The British challenger came close to knocking down Valuev for the first time in his 16-year pro career during the final round, but had to settle for the decision. The scores were 116-112 on two of the judges’ cards, and a 114-114 draw on the other.

“The key was my speed,” Haye said. “People don’t realize I am very fast. And I have a powerful punch. I’m athletic, and if I wasn’t a boxer I would be playing football or rugby.”

The former cruiserweight titleholder won his third fight at heavyweight, despite giving up nearly a foot and 100 pounds to the tallest and heaviest champion in history.

“Everybody thought I was crazy,” Haye said, “but I knew I could make him miss.”

Haye had spent months taunting fellow heavyweight champions Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, and even embarked on a press tour to promote a fight against Wladimir Klitschko before it was called off. Now, he’ll probably escape facing the two men considered the best in the division because his first defense of the WBA title is supposed to be against John Ruiz.

The former titleholder earned the shot by stopping Adnan Serin in the seventh round earlier in the night—and already Haye is offering another prediction.

“He’s a good fighter who is very underrated,” Haye said of the American. “He is not the most spectacular, but I don’t feel like I will struggle with him. He’s about the same size as me and I think I will knock him out.”

Valuev dropped to 50-2, and admitted that Haye was too quick for him.

“Tonight only one thing happened that I didn’t expect,” Valuev said. “It was like a marathon for me. It was like a track event. I wasn’t ready to run that much.

“The judges made their scoring and I think the last round made the difference, especially the end of it.”

Haye tried to keep Valuev on the move, opening with a left to the Russian’s chin followed by a powerful combo. Valuev struggled to catch Haye, finding him only with left jabs.

Haye said he injured his right hand hitting Valuev in the head, likely in the second round.

“It was like punching a brick wall,” Haye said.

Nicknamed “The Hayemaker,” the Brit connected with big rights and lefts to Valuev’s head to build up his points lead. Valuev finally came alive beginning in the fourth round, but in the sixth Haye landed a right-left combo and two solid lefts.

Haye continued to make Valuev work while finding holes, including a strong right followed by a left to Valuev’s face in the ninth. After another big right in the 10th, Haye wrapped up the fight by landing two left hooks that left Valuev wobbly in the 12th.


With the  distinct  height  and  weight advantage   Valuev (left)  still  gets  caught  by  the  challenger  , David  Haye  ,  in  their  WBA  heavyweight title  bout.      picture appears courtesy of  afp photo dpp/ getty images/  Timm Schamberger  .................

Valuev covers up and is still getting caught by the challenger , David Haye , in their WBA heavyweight title bout. picture appears courtesy of afp dpp/getty images / Timm Schamberger ………

As much as it pains me to say this with regard to the sport of boxing and in particular the heavyweight division. The sport is now getting what it thoroughly deserves by way of a lack of real talent and charisma within the heavyweight scene ! For far too long the likes of promoters Don King and Bob Arum have force fed the public so much mediocre talent within the division over the last decade. That when the retirement of Lennox Lewis came about. They were essentially like a chicken running around the coop ,after its head had been severed. It suddenly occurred to them that the well had finally ran dry. And the fact that there wasn’t a decent US fighter of a known caliber , talent and charisma within the current climate-much less on the horizon. It led to a dearth of East European fighters coming center stage and challenging the US’s dominance within the division. Now, not only have they challenged it but they’re also now dominating the the division to an extent not previously seen.

Valuev seated  in his  corner  listens to  his  trainers give  him  some  much needed advice  during  his  title  defense  against the  challenger  David   Haye.    Valuev  would  suffer  the  second  loss  of  his   professional  career   losing a  unanimous  12  round   decision to   David Haye.     picture  appears   courtesy  of afp dpp/getty  images  /  Timm  Schamberger  ................

Valuev seated in his corner listens as his trainers give him some much needed advice during his title defense against the challenger David Haye. Valuev would suffer the second loss of his professional career in losing a unanimous 12 round decision to David Haye. picture appears courtesy of afp dpp /getty images/ Timm Schamberger ………

With the division being so fractured an no real intent in unifying the division. There are now three different champions who lay claim to holding a version of the heavyweight title. The IBF and WBO titles are held by Wladimir Klitschko(53-3, 47 KO’s) , the WBC title is held by Vitali Klitschko and the recent recipient of the WBA title is David Haye (23-1, 21 KO’s) of Great Britain. And though not a great deal is known about Haye . Other than the fact the he was once the undisputed cruiserweight champion. The fact of the matter is we’re now no clearer or closer now, in getting an undisputed champion within the heavyweight division.

Haye  looks to evade  a  shot  from Valuev  while on the  ropes  during  their title  bout.  The  scene  of the  event  was  the   Nurumber  Verischerung  Arena  in  the  city  of  Nurumberg , Germany.      picture appears courtesy of  Bongarts/getty images/  Alex  Grimm  ..................

Haye looks to evade a shot from Valuev while on the ropes in their title bout. The scene of the event was the Nuremberger Verischerung Arena in the city of Nurumberg , Germany. picture appears courtesy of Bongarts/ getty images/ Alex Grimm ……….

The Klitscko brother as holders 3/4 of the recognized titles have refused to fight each other. Thus, while making a complete mockery of the division. And the respective bodies of the governing organizations, for which they hold those belts seem powerless to do anything about it all . Either that, or they completely refuse to force mandatory showdown between the two brothers. And Haye for his part, as the newly crowned champion has been saying all of the right things. But one essentially knows, that saying something and then doing it , are completely two different things. He’s called out both brothers in the past , merely as a publicity gimmick. But now that he’s got a piece of the title. He’d better be ready to back up those challenges one way or another. But first Haye must make a mandatory title defense against journeyman and former title holder John Ruiz (44-8-1,30 KO’s-1 NC). The fact that the WBA think this bout is appealing to the fans. Well, it only goes to show how out of touch not only are the various governing bodies. But it also shows us that the promoters still haven’t learned a lesson at all. They’re still of the belief that these are the types of fights the fans want to see within the division. Nothing could be further from the truth at this juncture.

We know longer have the likes of either Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis or Evander Holyfield to entertain us . So instead , it’s the usual perfunctory pattern of tomato cans and buffed up meatballs we’re allegedly told is what is now for good for the heavyweight division. And that in effect to the downward spiral of the sport as a whole.

Haye’s victory over the former WBA champion Nikolai Valuev (50-2-0,34 KO’s-1 NC) was as unexpected , as it was in some ways it was not. Valuev’s primary claim to fame, is that he has been the tallest and heaviest champion in history. Hardly the credentials one would come to expect of a world champion. His skills are basically pedantic and his maneuverability in the ring has always come into question. As too has the fact that he cannot take a punch. For man who’s 7 feet tall and weighing in excess of 375 lbs, his chin is remarkably soft as porcelain. As evidenced in his bout against Haye, when he was repeatedly rocked by left hooks and upper cuts to the chin. Several times throughout the bout he became groggy and unable to keep his footing – that he came close to being knocked out by the man who as as the challenger, was a 100 lbs lighter than the champion, Valuev.

A  victorious  Haye  cannot hide his  emotions having  just  pulled off  the  shock  upset  in  defeating the  now  former  champion  Nikolai  Valuev of  Russia  for  his  WBA heavyweight title   in  Nurumberg   Germany  on  Saturday  night.     Haye  now faces  a  mandatory  defense  against  another  former  champion  in  John  Ruiz  of the  United  States.    picture appears courtesy of  afp/getty images/  Timm  Schamberger .................

Haye cannot hide his emotions having just pulled off the shock upset in defeating the now former champion , Nikolai Valuev of Russia for his WBA heavyweight title in Nurumber, Germany. Haye now faces a mandatory defense against former champion John Ruiz of the United States. picture appears courtesy of afp/getty images/ Timm Schamberger ………..

The shape of boxing and in particular the heavyweight division is in such a poor state. That to use the analogy ……”emergency is there a doctor in the house” ? Well, let’s just say that one seriously doubts that a doctor would be predisposed to resuscitating the patient. If anything, it would be far more generous to call on the services of Dr Jack Kevorkian. Too harsh an outcome ? The premise may not appear to be right but it’s better than dealing with the travesty we’re now witnessing within the sport !

WBC heavyweight rankings 1 through 10 :
1 Ray Austin (US) (28-4-4,18 KO’s)
2 Oleg Maskaev (Kazakhstan) (36-6-0,27 KO’s)
3 Odlanier Solis (Cuba) (15-0, 11 KO’s)
4 Alexander Povetkin (Russia) (17-0, 12 KO’s)
5 Kevin Johnson (US) (22-0-1, 9 KO’s)
6 James Toney (US) (72-6-3,44 KO’s – 2 no contests)
7 Manuel Quezada (US) (29-4, 18 KO’s)
8 Denis Boystov (Russia) (26-0, 21 KO's)
9 Samuel Peter (Nigeria) (32-3, 25 KO’s)
10 Tomasz Adamek (Poland) (39-1, 27 KO’s)

The Fight To Remember Or Perhaps Not …………….

One of the great tragedies of the modern sporting arena, was to witness the downward spiral of the boxing career of Muhammad Ali . We all knew that he fought way past his prime and if anything had four or five fights too many. Call it the ‘Pride And The Passion ,The Agony Of Shame And Defeat’ . But nothing to my mind epitomized that more than when Ali fought Larry Holmes (69-6-1, 44KO’s) for the WBC heavyweight title in October of 1980 .

Here, Ali (56-5, 37 KO’s) is seen challenging Holmes for the heavyweight title in a bout that took place at Caesars Palace , in Las Vegas, Nevada , on the 2nd October , 1980 .

What cannot be disputed is that, whilst being courageous , Ali was also being foolhardy in thinking that he would be able to defeat at Holmes at this stage of his career. Larry Holmes at the time, was the pre-eminent heavyweight boxer in the world and his record suggested as much. And though the relationship between the two wasn’t all strained. Holmes as a former sparring partner of Ali, was at first reluctant to accept his challenge. With that in mind , the fight still went ahead with the usual ballyhoo accorded with such a spectacle. We had a former champion looking to regain the title for an unprecedented fourth time. Holmes if anything , wanted to keep some semblance of respect that he had for his former mentor. But it was hard to do so when Ali , himself, wanted to sell the fight with his usual aplomb. A task made certainly all the much easier as it was being promoted by none other than Don King. Perhaps no else within the sport of boxing as a promoter, would be able to put on such a spectacle and at the same time have the public lapping it all up like voracious beasts ?

Ali (left)  seen  here  in the  ring  with   Holmes (right)   in their   match up  for  the  WBC  heavyweight title  bout held  at  Caesar's  Palace  in  Las Vegas , Nevada  .  The   fight  took   place    2nd  October   1980   .  It  was  Ali's  penultimate   fight   , which  he  lost  in  an  11th  round  TKO  decision to the  champion ,  Larry  Holmes.  In  his  last fight   Ali   would   also   lose  a  unanimous   verdict  to   Trevor  Berbick  of Canada.    picture  appears  courtesy of   John  Iacona  ..........   copyrighted  material      @  All  rights  reserved ...........

Ali (left), seen here with Holmes (right), in their WBC heavyweight title clash . Ali would lose the bout to Holmes in an 11th round TKO. The fight would be Ali’s penultimate fight but he would go on to have one last fight against , Canadian , Trevor Berbick . A fight which he also lost in a unanimous decision. picture appears courtesy of John Iacona – copyrighted material . @ All rights reserved …………..

Now, not wanting to sound outlandish or come off as being trite. I do believe that those within the sport and many who governed the sport of boxing at the time. I feel , full well that they were quite aware as to the acute problems that Ali was facing at the time. Primarily , with his health and the fact that he was lured into taking on fights that in no way shape or form , should be have done so, to begin with. And even prior to the Holmes’ bout , it was quite evident that his skills had already began to erode as a boxer and were in fact on the decline. Unfortunately however, he was being enabled by his handlers and many in and outside of his entourage. They impressed upon that he was still ‘The Champ’ , even if it was in name only. And by all accounts , that was how Ali still wanted to be referred to -as ” The Champ” . Sadly, but surely this was one of those episodes where valor may well have not counted for a great deal on Muhammad Ali’s part.

Holmes   the   aggressor  takes  the   fight  to  Ali   and  backs  him   up  into  a  corner   for  a  vicious  onslaught  in the  sixth   round.   picture  appears  courtesy of boxing/archives    ......................

Holmes the aggressor takes the fight to Ali and backs him up into a corner where unleashes a vicious onslaught with a barrage of punches in the sixth round. picture appears courtesy of …….

From the moment that the bell first rang and until the referee stopped the fight in the eleventh round. One knew that this was going to be a night when we all saw a once great champion be brought humbly to his knees . Ali had his moments in the fight, where he brought back memories past , with moments of impish speed and flashes of brilliance. But on the side of the equation, there stood Holmes , a masterful technician, with an all too wicked right jab , powerful upper cuts and tremendous body punching. Who completely at will , literally went about destroying the legacy and myth that was once Muhammad Ali. He was brutally efficient in exposing Ali to his barrage of attacks and more than once he called on the referee to stop the fight , in order to save Ali from further punishment and embarrassment. Alas, much of that fell on deaf ears as the referee proceeded to let the fight continue to its bitter conclusion.

Don King , boxing promoter and infamous showman. Here he talks about his influences , the sport of boxing ,how he feels that he’s influenced and enhanced the sport . Little does he speak of the subpoenas that he’s received over the years from boxers who he’d represented over that time. You can see also, that King has a way with words, as he waxes on so lyrically on a number of subjects. I do believe that he’s swallowed a dictionary !

Now we come full circle where both of these tremendous gladiators of the ring have moved in differing directions as far their lives have gone. Both having been inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. However, one of these two fighters is in conscious state of clear health. Aging , but still active in the community , Holmes resides in Scranton , Pennsylvania, with his wife and family close at his side. Ali , as we all know suffers from Parkinson’s Disease, plus various other ailments that have ravaged his body over the course of time. Much of it coming from his many fights within the ring.
Cognitive of those around him , Ali now mumbles as he’s unable to speak , nor can he facilitate any prolonged movement because of the degenerative disease. Furthermore , with him being cloaked in silence , it seems all the more bewildering for us all who’ve witnessed him speak with rapid fire aplomb about he would indeed defeat an opponent. Medication alone won’t bring him back to us in some shape or form that we can all recognize from days of old. Sadly in part, this has been due to the negligence of others. But perhaps , even more so, the negligence shown by Al, in not heeding the advice of others who only wanted the best for him and not the worst.

Ali in a scene from a ESPN commissioned documentary entitled ’30 For 30′ . The titles denotes the sports programming network’s thirty years as a cable broadcast outlet. And it has commissioned a wide variety of documentary films covering sport’s topics of the past thirty years. One of the films in question , is a piece on the Ali – Holmes’ title fight , entitled ‘ Muhammad And Larry’ . Which goes into great detail, as to the lead-up to the fight and what ensued after-wards.

Ali  seen  here  at  a    black  tie  affair   ,  though  cheerful  and   irreverent   . He's   nowhere   near  the person  we  once   idolized  as  a  fan  .        picture appears   courtesy of celebtrities/sports-icons/   Brett  Stephenson  ......................

Ali seen here at a black tie formal affair, though cheerful and irreverent . He’s nowhere near the person we all once idolized as fans. picture appears courtesy of …..

There are very few sporting icons alive today whose names are immediately recognized no matter where you are on the face of the planet. Muhammad Ali is one of those icons whose light still shines brightly in terms of that said recognition. But now, it merely in his own mind , it is but a fading ember as his memory . And for we , his fans all we now have to live with are those memories that are on film. Never again will hear his voice speaking passionately on a wide range of subjects. As his voice has now been silenced in the most cruel of ways. I can only but imagine how different his life might have been ,had he not been struck down by such a debilitating disease.

Ali’s career fight record 56 (37 KO’s)-5

Date of Birth 01/17/1942
Name; Born Cassius Marcellus Clay changed name to Muhammas Ali after change in religious status- becoming a Muslim- Nation of Islam
Place of Birth; Louisville, Kentucky,.
Notable achievements; Olympic Gold Medalist at the 1960 Rome Olympics Lt Heavyweight champion
First Professional fight ; 10/29/1960 Opponent ; Tunney Hunsaker W UD 6 rounds
Final Professional fight ; 12/11/1981 Opponent ; Trevor Berbick L
UD 10 rounds

First man to win the heavyweight title three times

* UD Denotes- Unanimous Decision

Nation of Islam