See You At The Crossroads , We’re Already There ….

See You At The Crossroads , We’re Already There

At a time when both sports are in need of some rejuvenation , both Boxing and MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) , find themselves at a crossroads. Oscar De La Hoya and his Golden Boy Promotion , in spite of their stable of boxers , are vesting more into the world of Mixed Martial Arts, though not aligning themselves with either the UFC or Bellator , who just happen to the UFC’s biggest rival competitor. De La Hoya of late , is doing his best to promote his visible fighter , Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez , after the fighter’s lopsided unanimous verdict over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr . Now with a proposed mega-fight due to take place in mid-September, with Saul Alvarez facing Gennady Golovkin for the middleweight title . This should prove to be the “biggest fight” of 2017 on the boxing calendar , unless the much-anticipated fight takes place with Floyd Mayweather Jr comes out of retirement to face UFC fighter Conor McGregor . UFC President Dana White now seems to be on-board with latest piece of buffoonery. Bearing in mind the recent mismatches seen in some of the most recent bouts in the UFC , which have been title and non-title fights, I am not so sure fans will be prepared to meet the likely $59.95 PPV price for this particular freak-show .
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In recent months UFC has seen the decline of its biggest star with consecutive losses suffered by Ronda Rousey , whose career slide has been as fast as her supposedly being the next big female action star in Hollywood. It is unlikely Rousey will return to the octagon , where her career ascent was fast , but clearly because the opposition faced in the early stages of her career was simply mediocre at best. Hype in MMA is just about everything and it can also mean absolutely nothing. Beyond the proposed fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Conor McGregor , for which contracts have yet to be signed or a proposed date being set, other the continued emphasis of hyperbole that it will take place, the UFC can only promise that some of its biggest stars will be seen inside the octagon within the coming months . Proposed bouts within the Light Heavyweight Division will see Daniel Cormier defend his title against the division’s former champion Jon ‘Bones’ Jones , in a bout which will bring about even more tension , given the apparent dislike each fighter has for the other.

The long-awaited return of another former champion can’ t come around fast enough as the former Welterweight Title holder Georges St Pierre makes a comeback. St Pierre was due to face Michael Bisping the UFC Middleweight champion , but with Bisping having suffered a knee injury , Dana White is now proposing “Rush” as he is more commonly known, face the division’s champion Tyrone Woodley . Georges St Pierre was adamant upon his return to the octagon , he had no wish to fight once again within the division . The fighter is considered greatest welterweight in UFC history and his record number of defenses remains a benchmark not only within the division , but among all of the weight categories within the UFC , with only Demetrious Johnson having made more double-digit defenses of a UFC title.

Among the Women’s ranks of the UFC , Amanda Nunes has now become the “Face of the Sport” , having toppled the division’s best among the Bantamweights . With their being only three weight categories within the UFC for women to fight at the professional level , it remains to be seen what other challenges lie ahead for this highly skilled fighter. I certainly believe she is capable enough of surpassing Ronda Rousey’s record in terms of the number of title defenses . Nunes’ rematch with Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 213 should prove to be a thrilling fight, with Shevchenko looking to make amends for her loss to Amanda Nunes at UFC 196 .

I read a recent article, which tried to concoct a debate as to who has been the greatest Heavyweight Champion in UFC history . Consider the fact, no claimant to the title , has ever been able to make more than three successful defenses, speaks volumes as to how mediocre the division has been throughout its history. Randy Couture might well have won the title on more than one occasion , while also being the only UFC fighter to have held both the Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight titles simultaneously. Brief spells alone , Couture remains perhaps the division’s most well-known champion. The current champion , American -born Stipe Miocic , who is of Croatian ancestry , has already joined a select group of UFC heavyweights who have made two defenses of UFC Heavyweight Title. The division might just be the weakest in all of the weight categories within the Men’s Division of the UFC and at a time when boxing longs for an undisputed champion among the Heavyweight Division , it easy to understand the reason why there is no real interest in either category of the respective sports.

Stipe Miocic doesn’t fight for the glory , but he does seek make the sport and in particular his division a more respectable one . His greatest reward comes from the fact he is a fireman in his native state of Ohio. Miocic’s next bout is likely to be against a top-five contender within the division , with Dana White having the last say as to the challenger is likely to be. Fabricio Werdum and Cain Velazquez are the two leading contenders within division and it will be down to Dana White to make the pick, as to whom he believes would provide the most appealing and lucrative fight for the champion as well as the UFC.

I will continue to maintain until there is an undisputed champion in any weight division of boxing , the sport will continue to be an after-thought to even their most ardent fans. There has not been an undisputed champion in any weight category in over a decade and it has been fifteen years since the Heavyweight Division had a lone champion , with the division’s last undisputed champion being Lennox Lewis . Nowadays , it comes down to be anointed a lineal champion announced by Ring Magazine . Not unlike the winner of a beauty pageant being given a tiara made of cubic zirconium rather than real diamonds .

At present there are only two legitimately recognized claimants to the Heavyweight Title , with both boxers having unbeaten records . Deontay Wilder is the current holder of the WBC crown , while Anthony Joshua claims the IBF , WBA and IBO belts . I am not about to suggest , this decade of heavyweights have been among the best seen over the past twelve years , but it certainly does make a difference to know , we no longer have to put up with the idiotic claims that Vitali Klitschko and his brother Wladimir Klitschko were the best things to have happened within the sport of boxing. The skills of both siblings were always questionable and the fact that in his latter years , Wladimir’s jaw was like a glass slipper along with his declining skills was proof of the fact he was an overrated champion. His fight record was littered with meaningless bouts , which padded his successful championship defenses .

Wladimir Klitschko’s last two professional fights ended in defeat, losses , one a unanimous loss, suffered at the hands of Tyson Fury and he then followed that up with a TKO (technical knockout) loss to Anthony Joshua. Now with his demands of a rematch against Joshua falling on deaf ears , there is no real reason why Klitschko should be rewarded with a second fight against his conqueror. Waiting in the wings as possible opponents for Joshua are , Joseph Parker , WBO title holder from New Zealand or a far more lucrative unification bout against Deontay Wilder. With so many international governing bodies presiding over boxing , a sport which remains in constant disarray , it should come as no big surprise , fans are leaving in droves. Boxing no longer has any real charismatic fighters or truly “ big draws” likely to lure in the crowds. Once prominent promoters, such as Don King and Bob Arum , have become aging dinosaurs , while the likes of Oscar De La Hoya and the somewhat retired Floyd Mayweather are now said to be breathing new life into the sport as promoters. One of the real issues for this sport , is the fact , it cannot escape its seedy past or an unclear future, where there does seem to be some lackluster talent laying claims to greatness.

The sport of boxing needs to be more streamlined , , properly regulated not just domestically but also on the international front. Corruption remains ever-present and while know some of the biggest names within the sport can earn millions annually and it should be noted there is little done to protect the well-being of the fighters should they fall upon hard times or suffer from a mishap inside the ring . These are some of the horror stories which often go unreported by the media or the governing bodies themselves.

When the UFC was purchased by the William Morris Agency for the unprecedented sum of $4.6 billion , it set about a great deal of intrigue for the once upstart organization. Dana White was still retained as President but , Frank Fertitta and his brother, Lorenzo Fertitta were able to walk away with over $2 billion apiece , while still retaining a small minority stake in the company. Self-made billionaires in their own right , they can now sit back and watch as the UFC enter its third decade of existence , while being one of the few professional sports’ entities in North America with over a $1 billion in revenues. The humble beginnings of the UFC and what it has been able to achieve since 1993 has been truly staggering. However, the question still remain , under a new ownership structure, will Dana White still be given so much power to hire and fire fighters as he sees fit, while signing them to contracts which in many circles might be seen as indentured slavery with their having few rights if any ? In recent months there has been dissension within the ranks of the UFC , with fighters such as Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz , leading the fray , questioning White’s authority , with UFC’s new owners offering little by way of any serious changes which would be of benefit to their biggest assets, the fighters .



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What do you believe is the biggest hindrance to the sport of boxing ? Also , can the UFC become an even bigger sport than its pugilistic counterpart while also creating household names ? If Conor McGregor can become the only UFC fighter among the highest paid athletes in the world , while the sport of boxing only has three boxers among the top one hundred , then surely MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) has to be doing something right.

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Tophatal ………………. 05/22/2017

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Hit ’em high, hit ’em low …

Hit ’em high , hit ’em low ….

Well in the world of sports , the news encapsulating recent events have been widespread and intriguing. In the first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown , the favorite for the Kentucky Derby , Nyquist romped to a victory and will now be looking towards the second leg of the triumvirate of races which makes up the sport’s premiere racing spectacle. The next race will be the Preakness Stakes to be held at Pimlico Racecourse on May 21st ,2016. Whether or not Nyquist can win the Preakness remains to be seen, but the whole world will be watching if the prohibitive favorite can take the second leg and join a select group of horses to have won the first two legs of the Triple Crown. In 2015, American Pharaoh became the first horse in almost four decades to have won all three races , and there can be no doubt Nyquist’s jockey Mario Gutierrez and his trainer Doug O’Neill will be looking to make this all a reality.

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Away from the world of horse racing the pugilistic world of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) saw the return of former UFC World Light Heavyweight champion Jon ‘Bones’ Jones to the octagon. Jones having returned from the UFC mandated suspension was looking to resume his career and getting back to winning ways. Jones’ original bout was set to be against the current champion Daniel Cormier , but with Cormier having suffered an injury , Jon Jones met Ovince St Preux for the interim title. This now sets up a mega-match between the two dominant fighters within the Light Heavyweight Division . UFC President Dana White believes it should solidify the winner as the premiere fighter within the UFC at present given the recent hype over fallen champions Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey . If nothing else, MMA needs the spotlight to be shone brightly on the sport after some rather disappointing results within the octagon in recent months.

In spite of recent denials, there has also been mounting speculation that Zuffa LLC , parent company of the UFC , owned jointly by Frank Fertitta , Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White might be willing to sell the UFC for a reputed $4 billion to a Chinese venture capital firm. If the price is right, I believe the entity could be sold to a foreign entity without their being major controversy being created !

The next major event being staged by the UFC will showcase   Fabricio Werdum     against Stipe Miocic for the UFC Heavyweight Title at UFC 198 in Las Vegas , Nevada on May 14th , 2016. Werdum will be making the third defense of his title while seeking to add to his legacy as the division’s latest champion.

With the recent retirement of Floyd Mayweather Jr and that of his contemporary Manny Pacquiao , the world of boxing now faces something of a vacuum with their being no widely recognized face to lead the sport for the next decade. Mayweather left the sport with an unbeaten record , having earned in excess of $400 million in career earnings , as well as  being the highest paid athlete in the world. Granted, the sport witnessed the dethroning of linear Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko as he lost his belts to British fighter Tyson Fury . A rematch is scheduled for later this year , with Klitschko vowing to win back the titles he has held for almost a decade. Fury, while being a talented fighter , has yet to make a name for himself in North America , which remains the Mecca for the world of boxing. This has been a sport which has been dying on its last legs for several years and having no unified and undisputed champion at any weight category , simply makes it all the more uninteresting and something of a morass. If boxing is to have any real continued traction among its fans , then real meaningful contests will have to take place and that should start with a title fight between Saul Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin for the unification of the world middleweight titles.

In the world of professional sports , for all of the ambivalent diatribe that tends to be referenced by the media as well as the fans . The one thing you can be sure of is that both will often continue to make excuses for the most repugnant behavior by the an athlete. Recently in the world of baseball we had the reigning NL League MVP and Washington Nationals’ outfielder Bryce Harper berating an umpire after what he believed was an erroneous call by the official . Harper’s actions , specifically his tone and abusive language directed at the official has been an ongoing trait of a player who remains immature despite his immense talent . Now vowing to accept his one-game suspension mandated by the league, the player initially sought to appeal the suspension. From my own perspective , I believe the hierarchy of Major League Baseball remains weak , and bereft of intelligence along with the continued ambivalence shown by the MLBPA (Players’ Union) .

Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals have been able to set a blistering pace within the NL East and the National League . Standing a half-game behind the division leading New York Mets (21-13) , the Nationals are coming off a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers and where Max Scherzer struck out twenty Tigers’ hitters on his way to a complete game. Harper and the Washington Nationals’ next game , will see them take on the Miami Marlins in Washington, DC.

Injuries will continue to plague so many of the teams this season and it will be up to teammates to step up to the plate when those players are sidelined. For the New York Yankees in recent years , it has simply been an ongoing issue for a franchise which continually failed to develop talent from within their farm system . In their present format the New York Yankees with a bloated payroll and a number of unproductive players on the roster the Yankees are already struggling to make their presence felt this season . The Yankees will continue to struggle while Joe Girardi and his managerial staff will continue to show they are bereft of ideas. This was very much indicative in their last result , where they were on the wrong side of a lopsided 7-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals . Thursday afternoon and both teams will back on the mound . The Royals will have Ian Kennedy as their starting pitcher in the contest when he faces Nathan Evoldi of the Yankees.

The NBA Playoffs are now in full swing as the remaining participants are now playing for a Conference Finals’ berth. Reigning NBA champions the Golden State Warriors have booked their berth having beaten the Portland Trailblazers in a lopsided series . In the Eastern Conference the Cleveland Cavaliers as the top seeds await the winners of the series between the Miami Heat and the Toronto Raptors . For the Heat , who were viewed as the presumptive favorites , they now find themselves on the brink of elimination and facing a pivotal game six contest . It’s now or never for the Miami Heat as the roster , with its current makeup is considered to be aging , with seasoned veterans Dwyane Wade , Udonis Haslem and Luol Deng now approaching the end of their respective careers.

In what might now be turning out to be the best series in the second round of the NBA Playoffs. The San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder have provided their fans with a wild and suspenseful ride . This series has ebbed and flowed due to the outstanding play from both teams.

Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich will implore his players to put it all out on the court tonight when they face the Thunder in game six , which now becomes a “ must win-game” for the team. Down 3-2 , they cannot afford to be eliminated at this stage of the Playoffs. Thursday’s game at the Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City , Oklahoma should prove to be truly entertaining as the San Antonio Spurs seek to draw equal in this series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

If there is one thing to be said as the regular season came to an end in the NBA. It was the mere fact, for the teams at the lower end of the season’s standings , theirs was not a season they wish to remember. No no need to have any empathy for either the Los Angeles Lakers or the Philadelphia 76ers . These two teams simply sank to a level of ineptitude not often seen in the NBA, as they continually wore out their welcome at home and on the road during the season. With Byron Scott no longer returning to the Lakers next season, with his successor Luke Walton having been named . It would appear the franchise now believes, change was needed sooner rather than later . For the moment , it would appear Brett Brown’s position within the Sixers’ organization is secure , but I can’t but feel , Jerry Colangelo will be ready to pull the trigger and relieve Brown of his coaching duties with the franchise ! It just seems to make sense given the disastrous tenure of Brown as the head coach of the Sixers.

The 2016 NBA Draft is imminent and both the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers will have the privilege of being Lottery choosers during the whole process in the first round . Mitch Kupchak and his Sixers’ counterpart Jerry Colangelo will be mulling over the Draft Board and making sure the decision they will make will be the right one concerning the needs of their respective franchise in the interest of the long-term future.

Twenty-four-seven , three-sixty-five, year-round the NFL remains part of the sports news’ cycle without fail . The passing of the 2016 NFL Draft , signing of the first round rookies and now OTA’s will be upon us , as well as the beckoning of the preseason .

Tom Brady’s suspension might well have been rescinded with the NFL hierarchy feeling pleased with itself and in particular NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell . Yet all signs seem to be pointing to a possible challenge to this latest verdict with a filing to placed on the docket with the US Supreme Court . Let’s just hope for Roger Goodell’s sake Chief Justice John Roberts isn’t an ardent New England Patriots’ fan or else , all bets are off as to the decision likely to be rendered by the Justices .

Johnny Manziel’s career in the NFL came and went in the blink of an eye. Immaturity , lack of real leadership and talent were on display to be seen and his supporters have now ran off to the woods to hide in silence. Good riddance to Manziel and the opinionated morons who simply bleated on like sheep as to greatness of the former Cleveland Browns’ player.

With each passing season over the past eight years we have seen the best and the worst of the Dallas Cowboys . Team owner Jerry Jones still yearns to win another Superbowl and he still has high hopes Tony Romo will be the quarterback to lead the team to the ‘Promised Land’ . Well Romo is no Moses and the parting of the Red Sea as positioned around Tony Romo’s postseason career , can be best described as the Israelites being engulfed by the high seas. God has forsaken the Cowboys and with good reason . He just doesn’t like ugly and the Dallas Cowboys gave simply been damn ugly over the last decade .

The Dallas Cowboys’ draft was somewhat nondescript , but as usual it is still being championed in some circles as one of their best in recent years. Jason Garrett still remains the head coach, with his staff having not really changed over the past two seasons. The Cowboys are coming off another season of exceptional mediocrity and while excuses are being made for the injuries suffered. There can be no denying the issues of the team were widespread and have yet to be address by the coaching staff or the front office .

Dallas’ preseason schedule should prove to be interesting as Jason Garrett and the staff look to assess their roster . However, in week one of their regular season schedule they will have a tough test on their hands when they face divisional rivals the New York Giants in a home game at Texas Stadium , in Arlington, Texas,. Dallas needs to get off to a fast start and in doing so, be in with a chance of winning the NFC East , a division I still consider to be the most overrated in the entire NFL ! If they can at least go 4-0 or 5-1 through their first six games , then it bodes well for the team. From my own perspective I believe the Dallas Cowboys will struggle if Tony Romo is unable to play at a continually high level let alone play a full NFL schedule of sixteen games each season . We know Romo’s postseason record to be abysmal and that is with good reason , his denials as to his own flaws , while also apportioning blame elsewhere. Should the Cowboys make the postseason , then it will be interesting to see how deep they are able to make it during the postseason and how their quarterback is able to acquit himself for the franchise .

 

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What have been your impressions in recent weeks within the world of sports and which unfolding story or stories do you believe will prove to be the most interesting during the coming weeks ?

Tophatal …. 05/11/2016

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The case of the man in the moon …

The case of the man in the moon …

Somehow, in the wake of the horrors of the events which took place in Paris, France with the world taking a moment to mourn the loss of the victims. The sports’ world paid their condolences to the victims’ families. In the UFC , in what has to be deemed the most shocking event in the genre’s history the Women’s Bantamweight Champion , former Olympic judo medalist Ronda Rousey saw her unbeaten run come to an end, as she was defeated by challenger Holly Holm with a second-round knockout.

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For Holm , the unbeaten challenger and now champion, this was the biggest win of her career. Calls for a rematch now seem to be a certainty , with UFC President Dana White knowing a return bout between the two would be an instant sellout and a major PPV draw. Rousey has been the biggest draw in the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) since her debut. Her charisma has attracted a slew of female and male fans , along with young girls now seeing the former champion as something of a role model. It hasn’t hurt also, with Ronda Rousey having carved out something of a niche, as a budding action star, with revelations that she will be the lead , in a revamped remake of the Patrick Swayze action drama “Roadhouse” .

For the moment however, Rousey will be looking to prepare for her rematch against the newly crowned champion Holly Holm. UFC 193, the event where the shocking result took place, will likely prove to be a major revenue winner by way of PPV broadcast views and ancillary rights for the UFC. A win-win situation for everyone involved in the event , including both the main fight card headliners , Holm and Rousey.

I am not so sure what can be learned from week ten of the NFL schedule , other than to suggest there were one or two teams who are now falling way short of expectations for the season. Inexplicable losses on the road as well as at home may well have led to a great deal of frustration among the fans as well as the coaching staffs of the franchises around the league. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were able to pull off a last-minute come from behind victory , defeating the New York Giants by the narrowest of margins eking out a one-point 27-26 victory , with kicker Stephen Gostkowski being the hero of the day. With the win the Patriots, moved their record to 9-0 . leading the AFC East by a healthy margin , with Bill Belichick likely now preparing the team for their week eleven contest against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium, Foxboro’ , Massachusetts, on Monday , 23rd November, 2015.

Of the more unexpected results , we witnessed the losses suffered by the Denver Broncos falling to divisional rivals the Kansas City Chiefs and the Green Bay Packers seemingly falling apart at the seams , losing to the Detroit Lions. Those defeats suffered , might not have as lasting an effect on the teams in question, but in the case of the New Orleans Saints and their thirty-point plus loss to the Washington Redskins , this might well have put the final nail in the coffin for the Saints and their inept season.

Sean Payton as the head coach of the Saints , is now left wondering what went wrong during his team’s 47-14 loss to the Redskins. The defeat was the New Orleans’ worst loss of the season and likely leading to some major shakeups to the roster before the Saints meet their week twelve opponents the Houston Texans on the 29th November, 2015. Week eleven will be a bye-week for the Saints as the coaching staff and players look to reassess the issues of the team.

A seven-game losing streak hasn’t yet convinced Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys front office , this team is simply bereft of coaching acumen , leadership on and off the field of play. At the start of the season , Jones believed the Cowboys was capable of actually winning the Superbowl. Needless to say , Jerry Jones remains delusional and continues to live in the land of make belief. Sunday afternoon , was just another day at the office for the Dallas Cowboys, as the display from the players was as inept as any given during the seven game losing streak , accumulated by this team over the course of the season. The fact the Cowboys were facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should have been a warning sign of things to come as their ineptitude , shown throughout the contest remained bewildering through four quarters.

In a low-scoring game, the Dallas’ offense could only muster six points and 216 yards of total offense . The two opposing quarterbacks combined for three interceptions , two fumbles and plethora of mistakes throughout the contest and questions are likely to be asked of Jason Garrett , the Cowboys’ coaching staff and the lack of commitment from the players on the Dallas Cowboys’ roster. Lovie Smith may well be smiling after the Buccaneers mind a numbingly boring 10-6 victory, but there was nothing about this win which could convince anyone the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still capable of gaining a wildcard berth for the NFL postseason. As to where this now leaves the Dallas Cowboys, can be best summed up by suggesting Jones and the front office are hoping for a high draft pick from the 2016 NFL Draft .

Ten games into the NBA season and needless to say, the Los Angeles Lakers(2-8) have been the butt of so many jokes , with continued criticism of Byron Scott , his coaching staff and the team . With Kobe Bryant back in the lineup and the team being inconsistent through season’s infancy , there is the belief the Lakers will continue to struggle over the remainder of the season. Coming off a twelve-point home victory over the Detroit Pistons this past Sunday , the win provided something of a respite for a team still in search of an identity .

On Monday night as the Los Angeles Lakers seek to keep the momentum going , they will get the opportunity when they meet another Western Conference counterpart , with the team meeting the Phoenix Suns in what is likely to be a thoroughly entertaining contest.

Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak, team owner & CEO Jim Buss will be hard pressed to turn things around at this juncture , with this likely being the last season of Kobe Bryant illustrious career . The five-time NBA champion will certainly be looking to go out with a “Big Bang” , but that is unlikely to happen this season given the Lakers’
woes
at this stage of their NBA schedule.

In their last game, played on the 14th November , Golden State toyed with the rather inept Brooklyn Nets on their way to an eight-point , 107-99 victory over the Eastern Conference based Nets. The Brooklyn Nets have been struggling and it seems unlikely the coaching staff led by Lionel Hollins knows how to get the team out of their current funk . In their next game the Brooklyn Nets will face the Atlanta Hawks in their home venue of the Barclays Center , Brooklyn, New York on the 17th November, 2015. The match-up should prove to be very interesting as the Nets seek to improve on their current record and stop their current losing streak, where Brooklyn are 1-9 in their last ten games . Only the Philadelphia 76ers have a worse losing streak (0-10) over the time-frame in question , which is no big a surprise , considering the 76ers’ record this season within the NBA .

It would not be remiss to suggest the front office of the Philadelphia 76ers remain without a clue and they are a badly ran franchise . Team owner Joshua Harris and GM Sam Hinkie seem bereft of intelligence , leaving many to wonder if their intent is simply to share in the spoils of war , when one considers how , profitable the NBA teams have become , seeing a sizable appreciation in the value of the franchises ?

Philadelphia 76ers’ head coach Brett Brown will be hard pressed to have this team playing with any type of resilience , when the coaching staff , itself not being able to find anything worthy from the players on the roster. Work in progress or not with the last two first round picks on the roster, but it is clear Brown and Sam Hinkie can no longer this malaise to continue.

Brett Brown and the Sixers will play their next game at home against the Indiana Pacers . Neither Joel Embiid or Jahlil Okafor have been able to provide significant production for Philadelphia this season. The Philadelphia 76ers remain a franchise simply out of their depth and there are no signs, this team is about to get any better anytime soon. It has been almost fifteen years since the Sixers last won a divisional title ,not since the 2000-01 season , with their last Playoff Appearance coming during the 2011-12 postseason , where they fell to the Miami Heat in the first round .

James Harden of the Houston Rockets (4-7) has now become an elite player within the NBA , but it remains to be seen whether or not he can lead Rockets to another NBA title for the franchise. The Houston Rockets have yearned to raise the Larry O’Brien Trophy and for team owner Leslie Alexander , nothing would give him greater pleasure than for his team to win the title. Head coach Kevin McHale and his coaching staff , I believe are capable of coaching this team their being able to make a deep playoff run, but a great deal of that will be dependent upon the play of Harden and whether or not Dwight Howard can finally step up to the plate during the postseason. The Rockets’ center has continued to disappoint and I do not believe he is capable of playing at a high-caliber , when it matters the most and that is during the NBA Playoffs.

Houston has made a solid start to the season, but with the Western Conference being so tough , their best chance of a postseason berth I continue to believe will their winning the Southwest Division within the West. In their most recent game the Houston Rockets hung tough in their contest against the Boston Celtics , but lost a game , which on paper, was far from being close, with the Rockets falling , 111-95 in a home loss .


Brad Stevens
has achieved a great deal since being hired to succeed Doc Rivers as head coach of the Boston Celtic. The fact that the team made the NBA Playoffs of last season before being brushed aside in the first round might well provide the fans and the franchise with the hope Stevens was not only the right man for the job, but GM Danny Ainge and team owner Wyc Grousbeck had to be extremely satisfied with the hire. Stevens has now cultivated a mindset within his young roster of players , which everyone now seems to be buying into , including the Boston Celtics’ fans. Boston might not be prolifically talented by way of their offense , but this team does play with a great deal of bravura .

Jared Sullinger , Kelly Olynyk, Amir Johnson , Evan Turner , James Young , Tyler Zeller, Isaiah Thomas , Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier are among the teammates of the Boston Celtics who are making the franchise one of the hot topics of conversation this early in the season among the Eastern Conference as well as within their division and the NBA this season. Clearly, if the Celtics are able to make back to back playoff appearances and build upon what was achieved last season. Then there is no reason to believe why this team cannot be seen as a legitimate contender for the NBA title at some point in the future. With a very good coaching staff in place, along with a front office making the right type of personnel decisions ,the future does seem bright for the franchise’s long-term relevancy .

Something is finally going on after the recent years of instability within the Detroit Pistons’ franchise and organization. Team owner Tom Gores along with the front office seemed to have figured it out. Former agent Arn Tellem has been brought in to run the business side of the Pistons’ operations, with Jeff Bower as the general manager of the franchise. The ouster of Joe Dumars was seen as an obvious move , after the decline of the franchise during the last few years of his tenure as general manager.

Sitting two games behind the Cleveland Cavaliers (8-3) within the Central Division of the Eastern Conference the Detroit Pistons find themselves in a comfortable position in a division which will be closely watched. Coming off great victory over the Cavaliers, where LeBron James could not muster his teammates to get the win needed to increase their lead within the division , while also while also looking to pad their lead over the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks within the conference. The win might be the most significant of the Detroit Pistons’ young season which is still in its infancy. It might bode well for the team, if they can build upon the victory and put themselves in a position to contend within their division as well as the Eastern Conference.

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With all the news which has come into focus over the past few days beyond the world events . There is the common belief sports can truly unite the masses ,when we can witness a genuine act of sportsmanship , heroics on the field of play. but above all else , a true love of the environment being cultivated on the field of play.

Tophatal ……..

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Rick Ross featuring Ne-yo .. ” Super High ”

News , views and chews ….

As Major League Baseball awaits the victor of the ALCS series which now stands at 3-2 , with the Kansas City Royals leading the Toronto Blue Jays in the series. We await the outcome of game six which will be played at the Kauffmann Field , in Kansas City . Missouri, on Friday evening.

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Taking the mound for the home team will be former AL Cy Young winner David Price who will face Yordano Ventura of the Royals in what will be a pivotal game for both teams. A win for Kansas puts them in this year’s World Series , while a win for the Blue Jays forces an exciting game-seven decider between the two AL teams. Awaiting the winners of the AL Pennant will the their NL counterparts the New York Mets , whose convincing series’ win over the Chicago Cubs was as good as the Mets have been in a recent postseason foray. Both their pitching and offense was of the highest level expected from a well-managed Terry Collins’ team.

Away from the on-field foray has been the big news to hit the world of baseball with Don Mattingly and the Los Angeles Dodgers mutually agreeing to part ways. Unfortunately, the public explanations being given in the interviews granted to the press remain unconvincing from both parties , with neither the front office executives or Mattingly , himself , being truly convincing with their summation as to the reasons behind their abrupt dismemberment. One thing is for certain , Andrew Friedman as the Head of Baseball Operations has been given full control to make the decisions necessary to bring about a real turnaround for this franchise. The complacency seen which has been seen from the Dodgers over the past four seasons during the MLB postseason , is unlikely to be tolerated by Friedman or the team’s general manager Farhan Zaidi.

Having spent over $1 billion on salary since their acquisition of the franchise the owners have seen the team simply implode at almost every hurdle during recent postseason play . This season in particular the Los Angeles Dodgers were never good enough to convince anyone they could be seen as the presumptive favorites for the World Series. A $315 million payroll , the highest in the game , and all we witnessed from the Dodgers throughout much of the season were the thrills and spills of a highly overrated team. Granted, Zach Greinke had an exceptional season for the team and will likely be crowned the 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Typically, one would laud the feat as being a great achievement, but in retrospect , singular awards while credible , for this franchise the only success sought, was that of a World Series’ triumph , something last achieved by the Dodgers in 1988.

There can be no denying the NFL season so far has proven to be nothing more than the usual storm in a teacup. Granted, there are several teams we knew would be either be bad or just mediocre , while there will always will be one or two surprises which have left us bewildered. Who knew at this point of the season the Cincinnati Bengals (6-0) would be one of the best teams in the AFC as well as the league in general ? Coming off a week six victory over the Buffalo Bills. The Bengals have a bye-week during week seven , whereby they can rest and recuperate before resuming their schedule in week eight , with a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on 1st November,2015.

Two games on this weekend’s schedule , will likely have the fans’ attention, will be conference contests featuring the New York Jets facing the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro’ Massachusetts. Tom Brady is having an excellent season and it would appear the idiocy of the Deflate-Gate scandal now seems to be in the rear view mirror of the four-time Superbowl winning quarterback. No doubt Brady will be looking to extend his regular season record against the Jets , while the team seeks to increase their lead over the Jets within the AFC East. The other game of note, pits the Dallas Cowboys against the New York Giants , in a must-win contest for both teams. Given the mediocrity of the NFC East . there remains the possibility that the winner of the division could be no better than 8-8 or 9-7 at the end of this season.

Eight weeks into the College Football season and as expected , the talk begins as to which teams are deserving to be called the best in the nation. The Ohio State Buckeyes remain unbeaten and atop of the heap in the College Football rankings . Saturday afternoon , the Buckeyes will be on the road as they visit Piscataway , New Jersey to fact Rutgers University. Somehow , I believe this game will end in a rout , with Ohio extending their unbeaten run to twenty games dating back to last season. This Buckeyes’ team is playing at an exceptional level , barely being challenged by their opponents this season.

Texas Christian (TCU) , Baylor, Utah and LSU (Tigers) are among the unbeaten teams all vying for a playoff berth. Les Miles head coach of the Tigers will be hoping to see his team prove their worth in their scheduled contest on Saturday afternoon when they face Western Kentucky. Leonard Fournette , Louisiana’s all blistering running back will be looking to excel in this game while also showing himself to be a viable candidate for this year’s Heisman Trophy.

With four games left to the College Football schedule , there remains a great deal to play for as the season seeks slowly winds down .

The NBA regular season will begin on Tuesday 27th October , but for the moment the preseason is still winding down. Defending NBA champions the Golden State Warriors will be looking to make a successful defense of their title while also seeking to become the first back-to-back titlists since the Miami Heat were able to were able to achieve the feat in 2012 and then again in 2013 . The team was unable to make it a triple , succumbing to the San Antonio Spurs in 2014 . This season the Heat will seek to make their presence felt within the Eastern Conference where the Cleveland Cavaliers will be seen as the prohibitive favorites for the conference title.

Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are the elder statesmen on the Heat’s playing staffand they are being entrusted to lead a roster with a mix of youth and experience. Erik Spoesltra and his coaching assistants will certainly have their work cut out for them over the course of Miami’s schedule. The team will begin their regular season schedule with a home game against the Charlotte Hornets on 28th October, 2015 . However, I believe the true test for the Miami Heat will come in their conference meetings with the Chicago Bulls , Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks , three of the better teams within the Eastern Conference , based on last season’s standings. The Heat will also be counting on their young rookie Justise Winslow to make a major contribution to the team this season , as he comes under the wings of his mentor Dwyane Wade.

For the Eastern Conference champions of last season , the Cleveland Cavaliers after being soundly beaten by the Golden State Warriors in last season’s NBA Finals , this season will be their chance at seeking redemption. The Cavaliers’ front office led by team owner Dan Gilbert and GM David Griffin have acquiesced to all of LeBron James’ whims facilitating him with a roster , he believes can win the franchise a title. Big money contracts have been offered to players such as Tristan Thompson , with the hope Thompson can prove to be productive for the team.

LeBron James and his Cavaliers’ teammates will begin their regular season schedule against divisional rivals the Chicago Bulls in their game to be played at the United Center in Chicago , Illinois,. While I believe the Cleveland Cavaliers remain the best team in their conference, and likely to repeat as conference champions this season, my belief remains the this team will struggle to beat any of the top-three teams within the Western Conference.

Kevin Garnett has returned to the franchise where he first made his professional league debut. The fact that Garnett now in the twilight of his career is once again with the Minnesota Timberwolves seems not only fair , but brings back memories of a time when he was among the best all-round players in the league, able to play every position possible , without there being a problem for this once agile player. Now he brings to this team , age , experience and a basketball mind second to none , with perhaps only Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant with an adept knowledge of the game and what is needed to succeed. Having won a title with the Boston Celtics as well as multiple appearances as NBA All Star and a League MVP in 2003 . It could be said Garnett’s career has come full circle, without him having much else to prove , other than being a mentor to a young team in need of real leadership.

Flip Saunders , head coach GM , Head of Basketball Operations as well as a minority stakeholder in the Timberwolves, will seek Kevin Garnett’s assistance in providing the on-court stability needed to make Minnesota competitive this season. Karl-Anthony Towns the franchise’s first round draft pick , alongside Andrew Wiggins and Ricky Rubio are seen as the primary contributors for the team as they embark upon their schedule. The true test for the Minnesota Timberwolves will come when they take on the best the Western Conference has to offer , beginning with their regular season opener against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Speculation will continue to surround the events which led to former NBA star Lamar Odom being found lying unconscious in the room of a Nevada brothel. Unfortunately, this simply adds another episode in the life of a player who never lived up to the expectations sought as a parent or as a teammate , in spite of the sympathetic words now being used as a cacophony to make up for another athlete’s shortcomings as a habitual drug user.

Odom through his publicists and his estranged wife Khloe Kardashian have thanked the press and public alike for their well-wishes , but this latest episode cannot hide the fact the NBA actually continues to enable and facilitate the use of banned substances within the game. The league’s so-called policy on banned substances remains weak and the fact the NBPA has sought to weaken the original structure of the policy simply goes to show how much of a ferret David Stern just happened to be, before handing over the reigns as commissioner to his chosen heir-apparent Adam Silver. The NBA Commissioner has yet to issue a public statement concerning Lamar Odom’s issues, purely on the basis the player is no longer active within the league. However. it should be noted , Odom never officially announced his retirement from the NBA and was still hoping to pursue a career , by returning to the league, signing with a team seeking an experienced veteran.

The NBA Commissioner has yet to issue a public statement concerning Lamar Odom’s issues, purely on the basis the player is no longer active within the league. However. it should be noted , Odom never officially announced his retirement from the NBA and was still hoping to pursue a career , by returning to the league, signing with a team seeking an experienced veteran. It seems doubtful a franchise would be willing to risk all. after this latest debacle concerning Lamar Odom.

Speaking of athletes with some off-field issues , with his recent plea agreement with the State’s Attorney’s Office former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon “Bones” Jones has been reinstated by the UFC , allowing the fighter to makes his return to the octagon. Jones was stripped of the title , after it was revealed he fled the scene of traffic accident while under the influence. It was later revealed the fighter had high level traces of cocaine within his system. Now while he has attended drug intervention program and the fact UFC President Dana White issued an indefinite suspension of the former champion. What cannot be denied, has been the fact, White has been very lax in whom he chooses to punish with impunity when he feels it is necessary.

Jon Jones in his last bout before being stripped of the title tested positive for a banned substance and it was widely reported that several top executives were prive’ to the fact Jones’ test had come back positive on the eve of his title defense against Daniel Cormier. Dana White for his part brushed aside those claims aside , stating it was pure fabrication on the part of detractors of the UFC. However, the Nevada State Athletics Commission which governs the sport within the state has records to prove the UFC hierarchy were well aware of the positive tests. Cormier the current Light Heavyweight Champion would like to make a defense against Jon Jones , knowing such a match-up would lead to a big money payday for himself as well has his challenger. There are very few fighters with the appeal and athleticism of Jones within the UFC at present and the biggest draw currently is the Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey who seems be totally unbeatable within her weight class.

Rousey will be looking to parlay her ongoing fame and notoriety in her next bout when she meets Holly Holm at UFC 193 scheduled to take place at the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne , Australia on the 15th November, 2015.

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In light of the latest occurrences in the world of sports what do you feel will be the main talking points in the coming days or over the next week ?

Tophatal …

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The buck doesn’t stop here but it should …

The buck doesn’t stop here but it should …

So  two weeks into the  NFL season and already we’re  witnessing  how  banal so many of the teams just happen to be . Nonetheless, things are likely to get far more problematical for several of these franchise before possibly getting better.

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In the NFC East , the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants having opened their respective season schedule with two consecutive losses are proving to be among the pick of the litter when it comes to sheer ineptitude. Far be it for me to suggest, but head coaches Chip Kelly of the Eagles and Tom Coughlin of the Giants are likely to know their jobs are on the line. Team owners , Jeffrey Lurie and John K Mara cannot be entirely happy with what they have both witnessed from their respective teams to start the season.

The Philadelphia Eagles were on the wrong side of an inept performance , with a week two loss to the Dallas Cowboys , whose 20-10 victory , also saw the loss of quarterback Tony Romo due to an injury. This all could spell some serious issues for the Cowboys, having lost Romo quite possibly for a sizable chunk of their regular season schedule. Dallas’ head coach Jason Garrett will now have to reassess Tony Romo’s fitness and the likelihood of possibly going with his backup, Brandon Weeden , should Romo not be available for Dallas’ week three contest against the Atlanta Falcons on the 27th September, 2015 at Texas Stadium in Arlington. Texas,. Inasmuch as analysts and fans alike try to attribute Tony Romo’s toughness to his abilities , in reality the player lacks real leadership and tends to apportion blame elsewhere when his play has been mediocre.

A great deal is being asked of Brandon Weeden, should he be entrusted with the task of leading the Cowboys into battle against the Falcons next Sunday.

For the New York Giants and their start to the season appears to be inexplicable, but at the same you cannot overlook the fact Eli Manning and his teammates have failed to deliver when all is said to be on the line. Granted, Manning has led the Giants to two highly celebrated Superbowl victories over the New England Patriots in the last six seasons. Losses in week one and week two to the Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons respectively, have left many wondering where do the New York Giants now go from here. The Giants’ defense and offense have proven to be equally inept and with receivers Odell Beckham and Victor Cruz yet to show anywhere near the skill-set sought for the team to viewed as legitimate contenders within the league this season. Cruz remains sidelined and there seems to be no indicator as to when the Giants will see his return to their starting lineup. The New York Giants’ next game will pit them against the Washington Redskins on the 24th September , 2015 in a Thursday night contest.

Over the last two seasons , I believe quarterbacks Jay Cutler and Matthew Stafford have failed to show what they are capable of players in their respective roles. With the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions both getting off to inauspicious starts to their season , these two teams are likely to be in for a torrid time as the NFL schedule pans out. Neither the Bears or Lions can afford to go through their first three games with consecutive losses , but given their play at present , it simply doesn’t bode well for either of these two teams. Sunday afternoon, we witnessed the Chicago Bears falling to the Arizona Cardinals in a high-scoring contest 48-26. Stafford and the Lions fell to the Minnesota Vikings in a result which simply reflects how bad Detroit just happens to be , as they succumbed to the Vikings 26-16.

While I am not about to suggest at this point of the season the NFC as a conference is less superior than the AFC , there do seem to be pointers which may reflect this position , albeit , two weeks into the schedule should not be truly reflective of the position. By week four , one quarter of the way through the NFL season , the teams should have found their rhythm, as they look to play themselves into divisional and conference contention.

There are thirteen games left in the baseball schedule , for the league’s thirty teams , with several of the divisions still to be decided as of the 20th September . For much of the season , both the St Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals have remained among the two best ball-clubs within the game. Whether or not the two teams will clash in this year’s World Series remains to be seen and will be predicated on their play as schedule plays out to the likely intensity we have seen in recent weeks. The Royals under manager Ned Yost might well be seen as the likely front-runner for this year’s AL Manager of the Year , with among his closest rivals being AJ Hinch , John Gibbons , Jeff Banister and Paul Molitor .

The Kansas City Royals coming off a decisive 10-3 win over the free-falling Detroit Tigers will seek to increase their lead within the AL Central when they face the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field in Seattle , Washington on 22nd September ,2015. On the mound for the Mariners will be Hisashi Iwakuma as he faces Jeremy Guthrie of the Royals.

Kansas now has the inside track on the division, with the Minnesota Twins unlikely to build up a big enough challenge for the AL Central. With the reverberations from the faltering Tigers , in the aftermath with the abrupt departure of former GM Dave Dombrowski . There is now the belief that Dombrowski’s successor Al Avila will make the decision not to extend the contract of the team’s manager Brad Ausmus , leading to further turmoil within the organization. The Tigers’ players have yet to make their thoughts known on the possible departure of Ausmus , but there seems to be a widespread belief Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera are not entirely happy with the situation, in spite of their indifferent seasons and it is easy to understand the many reasons why the Detroit Tigers have failed so miserably this year. The changes for the Tigers during the off-season could very well be dramatic and very nerve shattering, as a number of high-priced players are likely to be jettisoned. Seeking to assess the players , within their farm system is now likely to be an option for Al Avila , as looks to rebuild for next season.

It would be the ultimate tale of sheer stupidity if Mike Matheny was not awarded the NL Manager of the Year Award for this season. He has clearly been the best manager in baseball this year and has been a worthy successor to Tony La Russa . If Matheny can now take this Cardinals’ team in the postseason where they are likely to be the clear favorites for the NL Pennant , then there is no reason to believe why St Louis cannot go on to win their twelfth World Series title, with their last coming in 2011 when they crushed the the Texas Rangers in seven games . The series’ result might suggest the Rangers might have been in with a chance through the entire seven-game series, but at no point did they ever take advantage of St Louis during the showcase series’ finale .

Mike Matheny and the St Louis Cardinals have been a model of consistency throughout much of the season , with their pitching and offense being equally potent on all fronts. To round out their three-game weekend schedule against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago , the Cardinals came away with a well-deserved 4-3 victory over their divisional rivals . On Monday evening the St Louis will play host to the Cincinnati Reds , with John Lamb of the visiting team on the mound to face his opposing number , Jaime Garcia of the Cardinals.

With Tiger Woods now falling off the face of the PGA Tour and this ongoing stupidity he still remains the biggest draw in the game. I have to wonder what type of idiot , there remains within realms of the sports’ world in terms of the fans who simply have no idea as to what the hell they are talking about ! Woods has not come close to winning a tournament on the PGA Tour in almost two years and his last major Grand Slam title was almost six years ago . He has fallen so far down the world rankings (292 nd) , that he is no longer deemed to be a worthy talking point , unless you want to discuss his ongoing medical ailments. A second back surgery , is now in the offing and Woods’ game has deteriorated to such an extent , that only the player himself has any belief he will be able to resurrect his play to the level where he was once considered the heir-apparent to Jack Nicklaus .

There are now much younger players on the Tour , who are just as determined as Tiger Woods , when he was at his best , but they have shown themselves to be more resilient and less prone to litany of mistakes which have become part of Woods’ current persona on a golf course. Jordan Spieth , Rory McIlroy and Jason Day have become the new faces of the PGA Tour , as well being major draws , and a boost to the television ratings.

Jason Day’s five wins on the season which include the PGA Championship , The Barclays Championship and this past weekend the BMW Championship has pushed the Australian to the top of the world rankings , pushing both Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy to second and third within the standings. With those five wins and ten top-ten finishes on the PGA Tour , Day tops the Fedex Cup standings and is line for the $10 million payout which comes with a first place finish in the Fedex Cup overall final placings. If golf and in particular the PGA Tour is to withstand the loss of Tiger Woods and the deterioration of his game. Then the likes of Jason Day , Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy will now have to stand tall in face of the overwhelming odds that fans yearn a dominant and charismatic player within the sport. Woods had the game, but his indiscretions and willingness to cite others for his problems, was simply another indication of a self-absorbed athlete who yearns the limelight but when faced with off-field adversity, they simply haven’t the intellect to handle it well.

A top-five finish in the Tour Championship at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta , Georgia , which is the final tournament of the PGA Tour schedule , could see Day come away with the $10 million bonus payout and quite possibly the Player of the Year Honors, albeit , Jordan Spieth’s two Major victories on the year do make his credentials all the more impressive. Yet if consistency is to be the measure on the season , then the Australian has fared better than his American counterpart.

There are howls of laughter as Floyd Mayweather Jr maintains his wish to now retire from the sport of boxing, having defeated Andre Berto in the defense of his WBA and WBC welterweight titles . Still recognized by Ring Magazine and several of the top analysts within the sports as the Pound-for-Pound King of The Ring and best fighter on the planet. I personally do not believe Mayweather can simply walk away from his unbeaten 49-0 record without seeking to push that mark to 50-0 ! Granted , for an athlete who in the last two years has earned in excess of $400 million from the sport of boxing , there might be few challenges left for a fighter of his caliber. He has the admiration of legions of fans the world over , but he has never been able to truly gain the respect of some of the passionate fans of the sport as well many of the women who follow the sport of boxing from afar.

Floyd Mayweather has failed miserably in trying to allay the persona of his misogyny and denigration of women, albeit , his open invitation of Jen Welter to a press conference and to his bout with Berto was met with a great degree of sarcasm and some embarrassment for Welter , who initially accepted the invitation for both events. Yet it cannot be denied , with Mayweather’s well-chronicled troubles concerning his ex-fiancee and the mother of two of his children , there can be little left to believe the boxer is indeed trying to change his ways. His publicists and management company are trying to create the persona of a social activist , philanthropist and boxing promoter seeking to not only clean up the sport, but also show Floyd Mayweather to be a man of the people. Yet, when it is all said and done, the boxer’s actions outside the ring and his outlandish behavior simply proves the persona created has been nothing more than a charade.

Mayweather still yearns the respect of the purists who cover the sport within the media , even with his impressive fight record. Mayweather Promotions Inc , the boxer’s own management company will certainly be surveying the landscape for a fighter seen as his next challenger. A rematch against Manny Pacquiao would simply be a waste , considering the hype over their first fight and lack of competitiveness seen from the Filipino boxer on his way to a unanimous defeat, was not only embarrassing for the sport of boxing, but also a general fleecing of the paying public and the reputed $500 million gross revenues gained from the bout. Mayweather’s reputed $300 million payday before expenses for the highest grossing title and fight in boxing his history, was nothing more than a comedic mess of gigantic proportions.

The international governing bodies (IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO) for the sport of boxing have been nothing more than a travesty , with Mauricio Sulaiman , Gilberto Mendoza , Daryl Peoples and Francisco Varcarcel have simply forgone their obligations to oversee the sport with robust stewardship, instead leaving it to the unscrupulous boxing promoters to reign over the sport, while leaving the Nevada State Athletic Commission with their connivance and corrupt activities continue to make a mockery of boxing . Conflicts of interests, inexperienced ringside judges adjudicating title bouts have seen the state Athletic Commissioner Francisco Aguilar has been quick to suggest the officials who have judged many of the most recent title fights within the state’s jurisdiction have been without reproach. Yet, in the aftermath of the fiasco concerning the judging Mayweather’s most recent bouts against Manny Pacquiao and Andre Berto has left a great deal to be desired about Aguilar’s claims.

If boxing is left in something of a void in spite of the rise of Deontay Wilder as a titleholder among the heavyweight champions. Yet in reality, Wilder can only be seen as seen as either stepping stone for Wladimir Klitschko to further enhance his claims of being the best heavyweight boxer in the world. Klitschko’s own record has been filled with challengers whose records if nothing else, can only be viewed as comedic and idiotic. The rise of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) under the UFC banner , has seen the growth of the fastest growing combative sport in the world. UFC’s fighters are now becoming household names with Ronda Rousey leading the way for the sport along with the sudden emergence of Fabricio Werdum as the undisputed heavyweight champion. Werdum’s devastating victory over Cain Velazquez was not only for the title was not only exciting but it also breathed life into a sport , where in recent months , we had witnessed the fall of established stars such as Jon Jones , Nick Diaz and Johny Hendricks either through misdeeds outside the octagon ring or through poor performances within.

UFC President Dana White has proven to be an autocratic and somewhat tyrannical ruler of the governing body of the sport , dictating his whims as to what he believes best serves the interests of the sport. Unfortunately. White has proven to be less than forthright as to a number of decisions he has made concerning fighters, who are known to have known to have used substances prohibited by the UFC. Dana White has been complicit in allowing fighters such as Jon Jones , Nick Diaz, Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen to have fought , having then been tested for a banned substance.

Sonnen, now an analyst covering the UFC has not issued a statement concerning his twice being suspended for the use of performance enhancing drugs , while Nick Diaz has continually derided White and suggested he will continue with his use of marijuana as and when he pleases. Silva a former middleweight champion will be making his long-awaited return to the octagon, but with the revelations of his testing positive steroidal medication as well as for an anxiety medication during his rematch with Chris Weidman for the middleweight title at UFC 183.

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Sports , amateur and professional sports, have now become a fickle industry promulgated by profligate athletes and hierarchies, where accountability has become a simple bye-word for lack of leadership, athletes without any real integrity and the continued belief that an act of social responsibility paints them as a person moral integrity.

Floyd Mayweather continues to be indicative of such a persona , while Tiger Woods might well now be wishing he could turn back the hands of time. Hierarchy leaders such as Roger Goodell, Adam Silver , Garry Bettman , Dana White , Rob Manfred and Mark Emmert have become oblivious of what needs to be done to actually clean up the mess they preside over , and can only point to the one known fact they actually care about and that is to make millions of dollars at the expense of the consumers , otherwise known as the fans. Accountability remains the farthest thing from their minds while the fans remain apathetic to what is actually now within their midst.

o_O

Tophatal ……. 2015/09/21

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And this is what we know …

And this is what we know ..

Over the past week I have not thought to delve back into the world blogging ,regaling readers with my impressions from the world of sports . In reality, I find this time of the year extremely boring , with their being nothing of note to be seen . The NFL remains in a quandary and it would appear that the once respectful relationship between Bob Kraft and Roger Goodell has now come to an unsavory end. NFL Commissioner Goodell , has seen fit to punish not only the New England Patriots’ star quarterback Tom Brady, but also the Patriots’ organization , owned by billionaire Kraft. As to where this now places the New England Patriots among the most hated professional sports’ franchises in the country , let alone history , I am prepared to let you all figure it out , as I believe it would actually make for a great debate among the sports fans’ fraternity.

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With Brady having been suspended for four games and his appeal being unsuccessful , the next step is for the player and the commissioner to once again lock horns in a US Federal Court, where there is likely to be a finality to this idiocy. Personally, I believe both sides to be culpable in this mess , with the track record of the Patriots being there for all to see, while the league hierarchy under Goodell has always been weak, apathetic and without a clue. The Patriots are not the only team in the NFL bending the rules. It just happens to be that they are the only ones to have been caught more than once , albeit , we have seen the antics of the New Orleans Saints under Sean Payton , Gregg Williams and general manager Micky Loomis. How easily one seems to forget the Bounty-gate Scandal .

Entering into the NFL preseason , I am not so sure I would be happy as a fan of the Buffalo Bills , knowing head coach Rex Ryan is unsure who is starting quarterback will likely be for the Bills’ preseason schedule , let alone the regular season. His choices are, veteran Matt Cassel , EJ Manuel and Tyrod Taylor ,as competing quarterbacks for the starting role. Based on last season’s performances and the statistics noted , it easy to suggest Ryan’s worries might are justified , but then I look at his own experiences with Tim Tebow, Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith during his last few years with the New York Jets. His failure there, alongside the poor play of the players mentioned, is not only a cause for concern, but it would hardly allay one’s fears as a fan of the Buffalo Bills let alone being a fan of the NFL.

Buffalo with a new owner in tow , billionaire Terry Pegula ,has promised to bring back the luster to a franchise long starved of success. Consider the fact , the last time the Bills won the AFC East was in 1995 and their last playoff appearance was in 1999 and you can well understand why success has been something of a non-factor in the franchise’s struggles over the last sixteen years. The preseason schedule almost in sight , Buffalo’s coaching staff will be looking to use this time to assess not only the quarterbacks on the staff, but also lesser players hoping to make the team’s final roster before embarking upon their regular season schedule.

With the possibility of Tom Brady still being out for the first four games of the regular season , unless the Justice System has a change of heart, then the other three teams within the AFC East must feel they are in with a chance to dethrone the current divisional champions. To my mind the task will not be that easy, as I believe the Patriots will still be a force to be reckoned with should Jimmy Garoppolo start in replacement of Tom Brady , while the three-time Superbowl MVP sits out the first four games of the Patriots’ regular season schedule.

It’s going to be fun watching as the teams embark upon this preseason schedule, when one bears in mind, in 2014, nothing from the preseason pointed us in the direction of how the regular season would finally pan out. Granted, the belief remained the Seattle Seahawks were seen as the class of the NFC , with the Green Bay Packers perhaps their biggest conference rival. What we found out in the end, Peter Carroll while being a very good head coach, needs to show more authority among his coaching staff and place responsibility where it lays when an assistant makes a bone head decision , as seen during the waning moments of last season’s Superbowl . Russell Wilson will never be able to distance himself from the play and I am sure Marshawn Lynch must be feeling a great deal of anger from the fact he was not allowed to make one final dash into the end-zone. Talk about nightmares, there are still thousands of Seahawks’ fans reliving the image of Malcolm Butler intercepting Wilson’s pass during the waning moments of the game.

The Hall of Fame game kicks off this season’s preseason schedule , with the Pittsburgh Steelers facing the Minnesota Vikings at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio on Sunday afternoon. Week one of the preseason actually kicks off on Thursday 13th August ,2015 when the Baltimore Ravens play hosts to the New Orleans Saints , with the two teams being viewed among the favorites for their respective divisional titles and possible contenders for this season’s Superbowl. Opposing head coaches Sean Payton and John Harbaugh will have a great deal to prove this upcoming season for their respective teams.

So if this baseball season has proved to us anything, it has been the fact being complacent is still prevalent within the game. Fallout, has not only been the managerial departures but also what appears to be dissatisfaction between an owner and a front office executive. Jerry Dipoto left the Los Angeles Angels , after what appears to be an internal power struggle , as to who had the ear of team owner Arte Moreno .

In Detroit , the abrupt stepping down of Dave Dombrowski as the general manager of the Detroit Tigers has shocked not only the fans of the ball-club , but the entire baseball community. Michael Ilitch has thanked the executive for his fourteen years of service and the success brought , but with the missing piece to the puzzle being a World Series title. It clearly wasn’t enough for the eighty-two year old owner and his long-held ambitions of a world championship. Al Avila, a protege of Dombrowski now ascends to the position of general manager for the franchise , hoping to turn things around for the team as they enter the stretch run of the season , looking to close the gap on the Kansas City Royals who lead the AL Central and are seen as one of the primary contenders for the AL Pennant this season.

Boston Red Sox team President Larry Lucchino has stepped down from his role within the organization as team owners John Henry and Tom Werner have to be wondering what went wrong this season, as John Farrell , his managerial and playing staff have been so lax with their play and performances this season. With no chance of mounting a sustainable challenge within the AL East the Red Sox aren’t even competitive enough to challenge for a wild-card berth as the schedule enters its final third of the season. Needless to say. GM Ben Cherington will have some major decisions to make once the team’s season comes to an end. Boston’s record since winning the World Series in 2013 have simply been an unmitigated disaster both on an off the field of play.

Mike Trout remains the best player of his generation and has now become the best player in the game, bar none. If you doubt that , then simply look at the player’s statistics since he entered baseball and now having won the AL Rookie of The Year as well as ALMVP . He now has his sights set on a World Series crown with the Los Angeles Angels , something last accomplished by this franchise in 2002 , under their current manager Mike Sciocsia .

Trout alongside teammate , Albert Pujols have led an offensive onslaught for the Angels this season, with the duo likely to finish with a projected combined home run total of ninety-five home runs. The last duo to accomplish the feat of one hundred home runs in a season were Alex Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro as teammates with the Texas Rangers in 2002. The Rangers for their part , as competitive as they were , simply lacked the the stamina for the long haul and also failing to make the postseason. Both Palmeiro and Rodriguez’s careers have respectively taken unexpected turns due to their web of deceit and lies. These two players have become infamous , with their names now synonymous with the use of banned substances with their repeated denials in light of the mounting evidence which suggested to the contrary.

Mike Sciocsia and the Angels have what appears to be an insurmountable lead within the AL West and can be seen as one of the prohibitive favorites within the AL (American League) this season alongside the Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees. I certainly believe given their play , the Angels might just be the best team among the aforementioned trio , but the Royals appear to be on a mission of redemption after last season’s heroics during the postseason , ultimately ending with their series’ defeat in the World Series against the San Francisco Giants.

Trout and the Angels will be up against the Baltimore Orioles when they begin a weekend three-game home series at Angels Ballpark in Anaheim, California , starting on Friday, 7th August, 2015. On the mound for the opening game of the series will be Andrew Heaney of the Angels as he squares off against Kevin Gausman of the Orioles.

In recent months the term ” the most dominant athlete in sports” has been banded about like its the only acclaim which can best describe an athletes’ prowess in their chosen field. As to that might be of late , can be best summed by how one might view the accomplishments being lauded over. Serena Williams continues to dominate the WTA Tour like no other female tennis player of her generation , with the last such player to have matched Williams’ feats being the now retired Steffi Graf . There the comparisons can come to an end , because until Williams has actually achieved the Grand Slam of winning the four tennis Majors in the same calendar year, all of this apathetic stupidity can stop. I have always maintained that the North American sports’ fans and members of the media would rather deal in hyperbole, than the evidence actually in front of them. In the case of sports such as tennis , soccer , auto racing outside of NASCAR , the fans and media alike are simply oafs with little or no intelligence at all !

Now comes the case where the comparisons are actually being made among female and male athletes , as to who the most dominant just happens to be . So next up , I guess it will be left to idiots such as Christine Brennan , Stephen A Smith and Bill Simmons to enlighten us all and tell us that Floyd Mayweather just happens to be a better athlete than LeBron James , Ronda Rousey , Serena Williams , and Jimmy Johnson ? While each of the individuals are considered to be among the best in their chosen fields , all of the hype and conjecture simply makes for a great debate and not much else beyond that. Trying to adjudge the dominance of an athlete from differing sports’ endeavors is like trying to count the grains of sand on a one foot square area on a beach . It is impossible to do, especially when you are simply going by what’s said to be their achievements and then not looking at the level of competition.

Ronda Rousey destroyed her last opponent Bethe Correia inside of one round at UFC 190 in Rio de Janeiro , Brazil on 1st August , 2015. It would be fair to suggest Rousey has become the brightest face in UFC at the moment and perhaps its biggest star. With their being no real challengers within her bantamweight division of note and the UFC weight class for female fighters solely tied to the bantamweight and strawweight division . There seems to be little chance Ronda Rousey will be dethroned as the female bantamweight champion within the UFC. She has been by far the best female fighter within the UFC ever since her first appearance inside the octagon and now with growing and unrelenting calls for her to face Cristiana Chris Cyborg Santos , a fighter within the rival Strikeforce organization .

There seems to be growing optimism the fight could take place. However, Santos has ran afoul of Strikeforce having tested positive for a banned substance leading to her being suspended by the organization . Rousey for her part, has drawn this fact to everyone’s attention and the fact she believes Santos has devalued the sport with her suspension, having tested positive for a banned substance. Now as if to keep the feud going ,Cristiana Santos has sought to have her lawyers draw a defamation lawsuit against Ronda Rousey , stating the fighter has defamed her character with unsubstantiated allegations. Much ado about nothing I believe , as Santos is more in need of seeing her profile being raised. while also seeking a big payday for a proposed bout against Rousey.

As if to prove the state of disarray the sport of boxing just happens to be in . Floyd Mayweather has announced his next opponent as he defends his welterweight title belts will be against the lightly taken and exceedingly mediocre Andre Berto . Mayweather may well be seeking to equal and then best the 49-0 record of the late Rocky Marciano , but taking fights against lesser opponents now simply demeans a sport now dying on its feeble and last legs, .

The welterweight title holder (Mayweather) was barely tested in his last fight a unanimous decision over the past his prime Manny Pacquaio . The fact that both fighters split an estimated $225 million purse, only adds further injury to insults, one would still like to throw not only at both fighters, but the various international governing bodies of the sport of boxing. Needless to say , with promoters such as Don King , Bob Arum , Oscar de La Hoya and Mayweather himself , pulling the strings as marionettes , there is little that can be done by the likes of the WBA , WBC , IBF and WBO . Not that the governing bodies in question has ever had the sport’s best interests at heart. Consider the fact , there is not an undisputed champion in any of the weight categories in the sport of boxing and it easy to understand why there is now growing disinterest in the sport. With Mayweather’s likely retirement coming sooner, rather than later , boxing will lose its biggest draw and most acclaimed and gifted fighter of the last fifteen years. Vacuum in the sport ? I guess so !

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Tophatal …

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First, do no harm …

First do no harm

Apply the Hippocratic Oath to the sports of baseball and football is simply idiotic in this day and age, when the hierarchies of both sports remains rudderless and completely lacking in leadership.

Rob Manfred in assuming the position as the successor to Bud Selig has been adrift at sea, wading towards and for firm ground. Already we have seen the suspensions high-profiled players for their ongoing abuse of the game’s steroid policy. In the NFL . Roger Goodell remains the oaf , we already knew him to be without the fact with the upcoming NFL Draft , there are several players having declared their eligibility, will be among the crop of college athletes to be chosen from the process , set to begin on Thursday , 30th April, 2015. Perhaps the most visible among the players to be taken will be Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston , for whom excuses are still being made his legal representatives as well as fans and NFL analysts concerning the player’s well-chronicled issues. If Winston doesn’t possess the maturity level, but almost everyone seems to be impressed with his playing ability , it doesn’t equate with success or his being able to lead, whereby his teammates will follow his lead. Perhaps this all might be above the IQ of those Winston supporters ? Yet there you have it, all wrapped up in a box, waiting to be opened by an unsuspecting team. Pointers and clues have already been placed within our midst concerning players said to have a great deal of ability, only for them to have been a tremendous disappointment .

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Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is hoping to be the number one player taken in the 2015 NFL Draft. Winston leads a the current crop of quarterbacks seeking to make a name for themselves in the NFL . AP Photo/ Richard Hall

Does anyone remember the NFL careers of either Ryan Leaf or JaMarcus Russell ? There are literally many more , but time is of the essence and this article and its writer has no wish to make this a lengthy ode to incompetence at the highest levels of the NFL.

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The first month of the baseball has season is almost in our rear view mirror and the New York Mets appear to be the early surprise to the start of regular season schedule. New York has a comfortable lead over their nearest rivals within the NL East, but are far from being the best team in baseball , in spite of their impressive record. For the moment Terry Collins doesn’t have to bother with looking over his shoulder to see if the daggers are out signaling his imminent departure as the manager of the New York Mets.

Across town, in the city of New York, the New York Yankees find themselves at the top of a very weak AL East division which has been personified by some mediocre pitching and hitting at this early stage of the season. Yankees’ sluggers Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez are having very good starts to their respective seasons . With the money committed to both players this season. It easy to understand why there remains a fascination concerning their fates over the course of this baseball year. For Teixeira the concern will remain his health and for Rodriguez, it will be about his trying to stay clear of any type of controversy and suspicion of using a banned substance. Having recently hit his six hundred and sixtieth career home run , a mark which meant his supplanting Willie Mays among the all-time careerhome-run leaders. The question remains, how will history judge Alex Rodriguez’s career?

A recent home series’ slide to the New York Mets further emphasizes how weak the AL East has become, but also how ‘overrated’ all of the occupants within the division just happen to be. For managers , Joe Girardi, Buck Showalter , Kevin Cash , John Gibbons and John Farrell this will a season where their managerial acumen will be severely tested. Cash will be under a great deal of pressure to prove himself in his rookie season as a manager for the Tampa Bays, who during the off-season lost the franchise’s most valuable assets with the departures of Joe Maddon and Andrew Friedman .

Mayhem and idiotic rhetoric has followed with the statements from GM Matt Silverman and team President Brian Auld. As to what this is meant to achieve , can be best summed up by the fact the Rays’ fans and the local media analysts of the ball-club, continue to point to the plight of the organization and the very fact they are still bemoaning the fact there has been no financing for a new ballpark for the franchise. Team owner Stuart Sternberg remains bereft of intelligence as well as any type of financial acumen. Yet you would be hard pressed to convince the naive and apathetic idiots within the area , who fall in line with the ongoing idiocy as to the ambitions of the Rays.

At 11-10, the Tampa Bay Rays sits third within the AL East and there has been little to suggest this team will have the ability necessary to make a consistent run, seeking to win the division or gain a wildcard berth enabling their appearance in the postseason.

A 4-2 loss suffered at the hands of the New York Yankees at Yankees Stadium by the Tampa Bay Rays, further emphasized the struggles the visiting team is likely to have over the remainder of the season . Next up for the Rays will be a game to be played on Wednesday when they visit the Yankees again to end their current series. Taking the mound for the Tampa Bay Rays will be Drew Smyly facing off against Michael Pineda of the Yankees.

If the self-inflicted problems of Alex Rodriguez have not received enough coverage, then the fact of his surpassing Willie Mays’ home run career tally , must now be something of a newsworthy issue. As the slugger seeks his own personal redemption, with each passing career feat, the player and his supporters will try to suggest he can now be seen in a positively new light. From my own standpoint , Rodriguez has disgraced the game and any act of contrition on his part, is far too late, well after the damage has been done. As for this continued idiocy of those calling for the ban to be lifted on Pete Rose , merely because of his apology and that his banishment has been far too severe a punishment. My question remains , if Rose is said to have merely been banned, solely on the basis of his gambling on games as a manager of the Cincinnati Reds, how do we know that as a player , his actions were not just as complicit ? The former Reds’ manager has never been forthright on this matter , merely admitting his guilt on the accusations of his being involved in gambling on games while a manager. Baseball , its hierarchy and owners have been complicit in many of the issues to have plagued the game over the past two-and-half decades, and even with the change at its uppermost levels, there seems to be no inclination that anything is likely to change under the stewardship of Rob Manfred.

Arte Moreno dropped the hammer and in one fail swoop he has been able to rid himself of the trouble plagued Josh Hamilton . Moreno has seen fit to rid the Los Angeles Angels of the former AL MVP Award winner after four unproductive years with the Angels . In his return to the Texas Rangers, the Los Angeles Angels will still remain on the hook for the remaining years left on Hamilton’s contract and the $68 million owed to the player.

Josh Hamilton for his part, other than his admitting the fact he fell foul of his rehabilitation program , though having an arbitrator then side with the player in seeking to have his suspension overturned by MLB , because the arbitrator did not feel the player had contravene any part of his program. This is how asinine the game of baseball has become, where an outside adjudicator shows about as much intelligence as can be found in the carcass of a dead rancid possum. Whether or not Josh Hamilton can regain the form that made him one of the most feared and productive players in the game remains to be seen. The departure of Josh Hamilton could not have come fast enough and without as much heightened publicity. Sadly, there seems to be too few owners willing to take a real stance when it comes to the misconduct of the players within the game.

The rapid ascent of Jon Jones to the top of the UFC ” food chain ” was nothing short of spectacular . Unfortunately , for all of the visibility , fame and fortune , lying beneath the facade, was that of an egotistical MMA fighter who simply believed himself above the law and beyond the reach who oversee his sport and that of law enforcement .

Jon Jones fell foul of UFC President Dana White when the results from Jones’ pre and post-fight drug test from his Light Heavyweight title defense showed a positive test for cocaine use . White , himself a hypocrite, allowed Jon Jones’ Light Heavyweight title defense against Daniel Cormier to go ahead . Now comes news, that Jones having fled the scene of a hit-and-run vehicular accident , has been stripped of his title and suspended indefinitely by the UFC hierarchy. If that was not enough , Dana White is acting perplexed by this all, not willing to acknowledge the fact Jones’ drug rehab stint was nothing more than window dressing, with the fighter signing himself out of the venue after less seventy-two hours’ stay at an unnamed facility. All of this frigging hypocrisy and incompetence by White, and you can now well understand why there seems to be a growing call for his removal as the UFC President.

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UFC Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones was recently stripped of the title after it was announced the fighter fled the scene of traffic accident in which he was involved as a driver. Neither Jones or any of his representatives have issued a public statement on the matter with Jones merely stating on twitter.com that he is going through a difficult time at present. AP Photo / Chris Hardy

With the Light Heavyweight title now vacant, Dana White has ordered a title clash to take place between Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson, with the winner being deemed the successor Jon Jones as the newly crowned champion. An imminent return of Jones is a long way off and there is a likelihood with his latest legal issue there is a great deal at stake for the renowned fighter to lose.

This weekend when Floyd Mayweather meets Manny Pacquiao for their long-awaited welterweight title bout at MGM Grand Hotel Resort & Casino Complex in Las Vegas , Nevada, . The boxing match will likely be the most watched PPV bout in boxing history. With the closest ringside seats and tickets averaging $25,000 and a likelihood of a sell-out crowd , this fight will be the most lucrative in the sport’s history. Away from this all , one of the sordid aspects of this contest has been the fact Mayweather and his handlers try to portray him as a reformed character but it cannot and has hidden the fact the Las Vegas’ based fighter has a less than desirable past and trait outside the ring. The WBA (World Boxing Association) long viewed as the one boxing hierarchy which holds some sway within the United States, has been a poor conduit and regulator of the sport when dealing with the misconduct of fighters licensed under their authority.

The fight is now expected to gross in excess $550 million in gross revenues with each fighter having a major pay-day for their efforts . Mayweather, as a co-promoter of the bout will garner the lion’s share of the purse, where he is expected to earn by all estimates, in excess of $220 million, by far his biggest earning fight of his unbeaten career . Floyd Mayweather has tried to suggest the issues of his past are being used against him because of his popularity. There is nothing popular about being a convicted criminal where the charges of domestic violence , child and spousal abuse have been proven ____ and where you have also been sentenced also for threats of violence to witness in one of the cases, for which you charged and found guilty. Having been given something of a lenient sentence by the judge , Mayweather resumed his career unperturbed , earning tens of millions of dollars along the way . With both fighters closing in on the latter part of their respective careers , a win for either boxer seals their legacy and places them among the all-time greats to have graced the sport of boxing.

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Manny Pacquiao (left) will be meeting Floyd Mayweather in their WBA welterweight title fight on Saturday, 2nd May , 2015 at the MGM Grand Casino Hotel & Resort in Las Vegas , Nevada ., The promoters already have a live sellout crowd for the event but will be hoping for in excess of 2.55 million PPV buys for the event. Getty Images

Floyd Mayweather’s pursuit of reaching the mark of 50-0 is well within his reach , but Manny Pacquiao will be seeking to add to his legacy as well and the defeat of the his opponent would certainly add to the Filipino fighter’s status. Saturday night will provide us with the chance to see what the outcome will be . Protests or not by a women’s rights advocates and groups, will have no bearing at all on Floyd Mayweather , nor will it change the environment of a social issue that sports’ world in general sees as a subject matter that is has no real wish to address. The buffoonery of Roger Goodell has been a clear indication of that league’s understanding of domestic violence and the horrors it brings into the lives of its victims and their immediate family members.

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If the world of professional sports seeks to address social issues. Is is not best to have a leadership, which fully comprehends the issues and images being portrayed through acts of domestic violence , racial bigotry and sexism ? Or should it simply be left to the justice system to deal with and their penchant for subjugating victim far more than the original act perpetrated against them ? In the cases of both Alex Rodriguez and Pete Rose , does the game of baseball really owe either of these individuals anything at all , solely based on their actions in seeking to redeem themselves ? Chime in with your thoughts as you see fit .

o_O

Tophatal

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Bored to your wit’s end, don’t think, just do something …

Bored to your wit’s end, don’t think, just do something …

With the regular season of the NFL coming to a close and the postseason about to reach its penultimate stage, there is not a great deal for the erstwhile sports’ fans to really their teeth into. The NBA season remains one of missed opportunities , the over-hyping of teams and players , the asinine and apathetic ongoing morass of comparing players of one era to another of the past. If you lack the intelligence to realize the fact, this type of debate is merely there to create conjecture then you are simply as dumb as you look in trying to perpetrate this ongoing premise.

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MLB (baseball) continues to lapse into its own continued cesspool of inequality, between the have’s and have nots , never mind the ongoing stupidity of the franchise owners’ continued pursuit of overpaying for mediocre talent, while serving up a banal on-field product. Let us not forget also, the sport has its own cabal of self-absorbed and egotistical bastards currently playing or in retirement. Curt Schilling still remains aggrieved he was denied induction into Baseball’s Hall of Fame , blaming his not garnering enough votes because of his political beliefs . I guess this is why those of a Conservative ‘bent’ cannot understand why their pompous and supercilious behavior grates on the nerves of the rank and file, not that those on the other side of the political aisle are any better to begin with.

The 2015 season will present us with the return of Alex Rodriguez in the New York Yankees’ pinstripes as the disgraced third-baseman seeks to resurrect his tarnished career and reputation after his year-long league mandated suspension. Personally, I do not believe the addition of Rodriguez to a Yankees’ lineup devoid of talent and leadership will see the team winning their division much less adding to their tallyof World Series’ titles. There remain far better teams in baseball not just within the AL East, but also the American League and baseball in general. It will be interesting to see how Rodriguez fares in his first eight to ten games of this upcoming season within MLB and whether or not he can regain the form that made him one of the best players in the game with the use of steroids and dare one say , without it ?

Monday 6th April when the Yankees take to the field in their home opener of the regular season against the Toronto Blue Jays , Alex Rodriguez will have a great deal to prove without the added pressure of the press monitoring his every move on and off the field of play.

At the halfway-point of the NBA season, let’s just say the failure of several teams should not come as any major surprise. LeBron James does not walk on water and he can only be asked to do so much , can only succeed when he is surrounded by talent commensurate to his own very intimidating skill-set. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ record is currently a true reflection of what this team is said and meant to be about. Personally, I never bought into the premise of James’ return to Cleveland would to immediate success, in spite his playing alongside the caliber of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love . Anyone with an ounce of common sense, still has to realize this team is only as good as the players on the court and the coaching acumen of the staff led by David Blatt. And the head coach’s lack of NBA experience has led to the Cavaliers’ current issues both on and off the NBA court. An impressive win over the Los Angeles Clippers was very good indeed, but against the top teams in the Western Conference, Cleveland has not fared very well at this point of the season.

OK, so the season in the NFL provided more excitement off the field than anything witnessed on the field , with the continued misconduct of the players and ineptitude shown by Roger Goodell , the team ownersand of course not to be left out of the equation, the continued piousness of the NFLPA (union), whose unwillingness to address or reprimand the egregious behavior of their members continues to be not only baffling but also astonishing. Needless to say , with the imminent start of the Aaron Hernandez murder-trial we will either get to see the gullibility of the jurors as they remain awe-struck or the incompetence of the prosecuting attorneys, conducting the case on behalf of the State of Massachusetts’ Attorney General’s Office . A guilty verdict does seem likely , but it would come as no surprise , if the jurors made a mockery of their judicial system , with a not guilty verdict or the District Attorneys simply showing how inept they just happen to be. Trusting them to even indict a ham sandwich , would not necessarily prove to be that difficult were they handed concrete evidence , but hey , look at the makeup of the US Congress and the litany of legal minds within the federal legislative chambers and then ask yourself , how competent and productive have those morons been ? Answers , please on a legal size paper, cursive writing, in no less than five-hundred words.

As a die-hard New England Patriots’ fan , not only am I looking forward to Sunday’sAFC Championship Game game between New England and the Indianapolis Colts, but the fans will be get the privilegeof seeing one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL’s history by way of Tom Brady as he faces the young upstart hoping to rewrite the Colts’ history books as well as further enhancing his reputation as the best quarterback to have been drafted in this league since 2006. It is hard to question the success of Andrew Luck at this juncture , with his this having led the Colts to the postseason in each of his first three seasons in the NFL. Tony Romo is now conducting his own investigation as to the reasons why he’s failed so miserably in the postseason, while the Dallas Cowboys’ fans continue to walk around with their heads shoved up their own proverbial @ss, unwilling to accept the patently obvious.

Romo while very good in the regular season, he is like a baby takings its very first steps when it comes to postseason play in the NFL . And all of the bitching , whining and seeking to blame game officials for another postseason loss cannot make up for the fact the “Dallas Cowgirls” are what they are and meant to be , soft as butter melting off a hot knife !

The two opposing quarterbacks in Sunday’s AFC contest , will both be wearing number twelve, so at least someone with that number will also be on hand in the NFL title game on the 1st February, 2015. Oh by the way , don’t hold you breath waiting for any excitement to be provided next weekend in the league’s annual “schmuck-fest” of the NFL Probowl Game, as the opposing captains Cris Carter and Michael Irvin, each in their own unique way try and lively up that particular idiotic event with their character and levity. There’s more action to be found in a dead corpse than anything you are likely to see from what has repeatedly turned out to be an uncompetitive and meaningless gathering of players, simply turning up to ensure their guaranteed contractual incentives have been met and not much more beyond that.

The momentum is building up towards this season’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and though brackets have yet to be set, fans of the college game are up, for the one time of year on the sporting calendar where everything else takes a back seat, as this tournament takes center-stage for an exciting month of games from the sixty-five original participants.

John Calipari and his Kentucky Wildcats sit atop of the rankings , unbeaten and playing very much like the best team in the nation. Perennial powerhouse programs Duke (Blue Devils) , Kansas Jayhawks and Florida (Gators) have made some uncharacteristic slip-ups with losses you wouldn’t normally associate with the programs at this stage of the season , but they are likely to place them in good stead as they move forward. However, with the Blue Devils having suffered two consecutive losses , I am not yet saying it’s time to throw the baby out with the bath water , but there now seems to no sense of urgency with this Mike Krzyzewski coached team . Those back to back losses coming against North Carolina State and Miami (Hurricanes) , has me wondering what is the current mindset of the Blue Devil players and who among them will likely to step up to the plate and assume the role of the leader on the roster . The first of the two losses in question, against North Carolina State explained a great deal about Duke and what appeared to be a lack of preparedness for the contest . Yet , the defeat suffered at the hands of Miami might have been even more inexplicable as the team simply lacked cohesion throughout the entire contest. Yet, the defeat suffered at the hands of Miami might have been even more inexplicable as the team simply lacked cohesion throughout the entire contest. If neither Quinn Cook or Jahil Okafor are scoring for then the Blue Devils will likely suffer a loss .

Saturday afternoon saw Mike Krzyzewski take his team on the road to Louisville , Kentucky to face Rick Pitino and his Louisville Cardinals in a game which pit two of College Basketball’s most well-respected, celebrated and successful coaches in a contest, best described as entertaining and thrilling. Duke came away with an eleven point victory setting the Blue Devils back on track, while also seeking to cement themselves as legitimate contenders this season within the ACC .

Boxing longs for a charismatic figure to prolong its existence and to be face of its future. Over the last decade it has been left to Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao to represent its present persona, one which can be best described as lackluster. Neither of these two multifaceted boxers have sought to face each other at the peak of their careers, instead choosing to harangue each other with jibes and idiotic petulant taunts. Now with 2015 in its infancy, there seems to be a reality setting in for both fighters, that if both are to be viewed as among the best ever to have ever to have stepped into a boxing ring, then a meeting between the two have to take place. A multi-million dollar payday awaits both fighters will the split likely to be split of 60-40, favoring Mayweather, which sees the Las Vegas based fighter have the biggest payday of his heralded unbeaten career. $110 million for one fight might well seem outrageous but if this bout takes place, then look for Floyd Mayweather not only boast about this payday, but also his name being placed along the likes of Muhammad Ali , Rocky Marciano , Joe Frazier, Marvin Hagler and “Sugar” Ray Robinson , boxers deemed to be among the greatest of any era to have stepped into a boxing ring.

Executives within Top Rank Inc and Mayweather Promotions Inc , speaking on the condition of anonymity, have stated both fighters , Mayweather and Pacquiao are prepared to put their differences aside and make this fight a reality at some point in 2015. From my own standpoint, with both fighters past their prime, this bout should have taken place five years ago. Unfortunately , for a sport now dying on its knees, common sense has never been a driving force behind anything sought to make the sport remain relevant. In the midst self deprecating idiocy consider the fact the sport of boxing does not have an undisputed champion on any of their weight divisions , most notably among the heavyweights long seen as the most prestigious division in all of boxing. It has been almost a decade since Lennox Lewis ruled the roost as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. Since then, there have been a litany of claimants to the crown, where until recently, in one form or another the Ukrainian siblings, Wladmir Klitschko and Vitali Klitschko held at least one version of the belts, signifying themselves, as a title-holder within that specific weight category.

With Vitali Klitschko having retired last year , the WBC crown was on the line and Bermane Stiverne became the most recent recipient and claimant of the title. On Saturday night, Stiverne made his first defense of the crown when he faced challenger , Deontay Wilder in their title clash at the MGM Grand Casino Hotel & Resort in Las Vegas , Nevada, on Saturday, 17th January , 2015,. Stiverne’s first defense, would be his one and only , as he was pummeled mercilessly by the challenger, who won by a unanimous decision, with all three ringside officials scoring the Wilder the winner, by wide margin. So now we have an unbeaten homegrown US born fighter, whose record was simply padded , having not met anyone of note in a thirty-three fight career, with 32 KO’s and only one of his fights having gone the distance. If this what fight fans believe, adds credibility to the world of boxing, then sadly , they remain delusional and completely out of touch as to what currently ails this sport. A proposed unification bout between Deontay Wilder and Wladimir Klitschko appears to be on the cards, but I won’t be holding my breath for the proposed event to take shape and materialize, Let’s put it bluntly, boxing has seen its heyday long past and we are currently witnessing its death knell, with a lackluster bunch of characters leading it off into a massive graveyard of buried carcasses. Not much more needs to be said, beyond that !

If UFC President Dana White wants to be taken seriously , not only as an administrator and a legitimate representative within the world of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), then he will have stop with his boorish behavior , pomposity and be more consistent in his rulings. White’s behavior has been less than gracious with his comments concerning many of the genre’s most prominent fighters who placed the sport on the global map over the past decade. Imagine former NBA Commissioner David Stern mocking either Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson at the height of their careers, when the NBA as a sport, was far more popular than both MLB and the NFL combined . It would have constituted ridicule and dare I say it a great deal of backlash against the then commissioner. However, in the case of White , he continues to backtrack on the comments attributed to him or dismissing the statements made as being taken completely out of context. Now the UFC President has to deal with a situation of his own making and one where his stewardship of this sport must come into question.

Jon Jones , the current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, having recently defeated challenger , Daniel Cormier , for his record-breaking ninth title defense , suddenly saw his pristine image come crashing down with an almighty fall. Jones having tested positive for cocaine use , a I might add which cu is manadatory for all UFC title bouts , the UFC hierarchy knowing full well the test results, prior to the scheduling of UFC 182 , where the title defense was made, allowed the champion to go ahead with his bout. Yet all of this seems to have been overlooked by not only the fans but also the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) whose own integrity in recent years, has come into question alongside that the commissioner who presides over this particular state agency, which covers all professionally sanctioned sporting events within Nevada. The fact , that both boxing and MMA falls under the NSAC’s governing umbrella, comes as no surprise, but what now comes as a surprise , must be depths of of malfeasance and incompetence now taking place, with White either being complicit in this all or his just turning a blind eye, all for the sake of the “Almighty Dollar” .

With the absence of Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva from the octagon, Dana White has suddenly realized , Jon Jones’ stupidity and the fact Ronda Rousey has no credible challengers leaves his sport in something of a quandary , because there have been no real breakout stars currently drawing fans to the sport in even greater masses than witnessed in the past five years. Jones’ mea-culpa , has White hoping Silva’s return to the octagon for a third saga of a trilogy against Chris Weidman will bring about a welcome return of fans , along with the possible return of the former welterweight champion GSP (St Pierre). The Welterweight Division division at present has become something of farce with St Pierre’s successor , Johny Hendricks losing his title in his very first defense. with a less than striking performance. Far be it for me to suggest, but Dana White should not only be bending over trying to kiss his own @ss, but he should also be practicing pressing his lips firmly against the sphincters of Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre , requesting that they ” pucker up ” , while he also slips his tongue into their orifice, giving them some welcomed pleasure after the undue criticism leveled at both fighters and former champions.

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Picture gallery .

What to your mind in recent weeks, has brought about your close attention in the world sports, be it on the field of play or away from it ?

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(1) Doug Baldwin of the Seattle Seahawks holds aloft the NFC Championship trophy , after the Seahawks’ late game heroics and then overtime play , earned the team their victory and second successive Superbowl appearance . Seattle will meet the New England Patriots in Glendale , Arizona on the 1st February , 2015 in Superbowl 49 . AP Photo / David J Phillip …

(2) Members of the New England Patriots’ secondary celebrate after the team’s 45-7 blowout victory over the Indianapolis Colts . Patriots MVP of the game was running back LeGarrette Blount who had another astonishing postseason performance with a three touchdown game for the Patriots . This will be the franchise’s sixth Superbowl appearance in the last fourteen years all coached by Bill Belichick . AP Photo / Chris Moore …

(3) Andrew Luck (12) , left, of the Indianapolis Colts is congratulated by Tom Brady after the Patriots’ victory over the Colts . Luck remains win-less in four attempts against the Patriots in his professional career with this 45-7 loss the biggest defeat during his postseason appearances for the Colts. AP Photo / Adrian Myers …

(4) Curt Schilling currently a baseball analyst with ESPN , voiced his disapproval having been omitted from being inducted into the 2015 Baseball Hall of Fame class , claiming his omission was because of his political beliefs. Schilling could provide no proof to substantiate his claims , further opening himself up to the inevitable ridicule , which most certainly will come his way . Getty Images North America

(5) Having sat out the 2014 season due to a league mandated year-long suspension Alex Rodriguez will return to the New York Yankees in 2015 , hoping to reestablish his career and lead the franchise to another World Series title , with the ball-club’s last appearance in baseball’s Fall Classic coming in 2009 . His presence on the team will likely come under close scrutiny throughout this entire season, as he will once again will have to shrug off any suggestions of returning to the use of PED’s (performance enhancing drugs). AP Photo / Barry Young …

(6) LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks to move against the Los Angeles Clippers during the game on January 16 , 2015 at STAPLES Center in Los Angles , California . Getty Images/NBAE/ Andrew D Bernstein

(7) Marshall Plumlee (40) , Matt Jones (13) and Jahlil Okafor (15) of the Duke Blue Devils celebrate with fans following their game against the Boston College Eagles at Cameron Indoor Stadium on January 3, 2015 in Durham, North Carolina. Duke defeated Boston College 85-62 . The Blue Devils seeking to avoid a third successive defeat this season defeated the number sixth ranked Louisville Cardinals 63-52 . Getty Images North America / Lance King

(8) Floyd Mayweather (left) considered the linear champion within the welterweight division has actively suggested he wants to fight Manny Pacquaio , but in the five years since a fight was first proposed to take place , a bout has never taken place . Mayweather remains unbeaten , the Filipino fighter has encountered a number of losses along the way , while recently coming back into form avenging his loss to Timothy Bradley and then successfully defending his version of the welterweight crown (WBO) in a rather nondescript bout against Chris Algieri .

(9) UFC President Dana White is seen here standing at the dais , while UFC Light Heavyweight champion Jon ‘Bones’ Jones speaks to the convened press at a press junket publicizing UFC 128 . The fighter recently tested positive for cocaine use, prior to his most recent title defense against Daniel Cormier at UFC 82 . It is alleged White knew of the positive test results but allowed the contest to go ahead rather than promoting one of the under-card bouts from the event . Something the UFC President refuses to address publicly , while expressing the fact Jones was fined $25,000 and mandated his taking a drug rehabilitation stay at a facility . It has since come to light Jon Jones merely had an overnight stay at a drug prevention facility and is now back in training for his next title defense. No formal statement has been forthcoming from White on this latest new,s but has led to a number of fighters now questioning Dana White’s leadership and inconsistencies when dealing with fighters known to have violated the UFC drug policy . MMA World / Outright Features Inc. all rights included @ copyrighted material

(10) LAS VEGAS, NV – JANUARY 17: Deontay Wilder (L) connects on WBC heavyweight champion Bermane Stiverne during their title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on January 17, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Wilder took the title with a unanimous decision. Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images

(11) LAS VEGAS, NV – JANUARY 17: Deontay Wilder (L) celebrates after going 12 rounds with WBC heavyweight champion Bermane Stiverne during their title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on January 17, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Wilder took the title by unanimous decision. Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images

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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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Slideshow.

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 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 !

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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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Stupid is as stupid does , or Dana White showing why he’s seeking to become bigger than his sport …

Stupid is as stupid does , or Dana White showing why he’s seeking to become bigger than his sport …

I do not care who you are as an executive of a company, even if you are its founder or co-founder , you simply cannot and should not believe it right to criticize the most productive or popular of your employees without provocation and without justification ! . Yet, within the sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) under the banner of the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) , that governing body’s President Dana White continues to ride roughshod over that entity , as if it is his God-given right. His recent criticism of two of the sports’ most popular fighters in Georges St Pierre and Anderson Silva , simply indicates that White has not been fully appreciative of what these two profoundly gifted practitioners have done to make this genre the fastest growing and one of the most popular combative sports in the world. Imagine , the outgoing commissioner of the NBA , David Stern being critical of LeBron James and Michael Jordan , in simply calling both , egotistical and conceited. White for his part was critical of former middleweight champion Anderson Silva for not wanting to compete on regular basis , which is clearly idiotic when you consider that over the past three years Silva made multiple defenses of his middleweight crown in a calendar year before his two recent losses to current champion Chris Weidman .

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In the case of the Canadian , Georges St Pierre , who has relinquished his welterweight title belt , with White suggesting that the champion has personal issues to deal with. It should not be the UFC President’s place , to make such a statement, unless he was given the permission to do so by St Pierre. In recent months, , it was common knowledge that George St Pierre was not completely satisfied with the direction that the sport was heading in, with their being no strict regulations with regard to testing protocols for fighters, fighting outside the state of Nevada , where the UFC is actually headquartered in Las Vegas and where the sport , itself comes under the jurisdiction of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. A body, which in recent months, has come in for a great deal of justifiable criticism, after the asinine officiating at several recent world championship boxing bouts , for which the then state athletic commissioner Keith Kizer stood steadfastly in support of the licensed judges who presided over the bouts in question. Dana White has for his part, has seen several such controversies arise within MMA, and his criticism of the officials in question, has often been a profanity laced tirade , rather than being one that is succinct and to the point. If anything, Dana White has become everything that MMA under his tenure, sought not to be, with has now dragging the sport down to depths of sheer buffoonery with his antics.

White’s business partners in the founding of the UFC, siblings , Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta III have both become extremely wealthy with the founding of UFC, during which time the principal brand has taken over several of their smaller rivals, integrated those brands and marketed them under the umbrella parent banner. From humble beginnings, that brand (UFC) has now become, a multi-billion enterprise , with affiliates around the globe, with the sport’s popularity exploding around the globe and rivaling that of several other martial arts’ related combative sports.

I suspect that White knows , without both Silva and St Pierre as MMA’s two biggest draws , with the exception of light heavyweight champion Jon ‘Bones’ Jones , he can either choose to combative towards both fighters, as they seek recuperate from injuries , as is the case with Silva , having broken his femur in his most recent bout in challenging Chris Weidman for the middleweight title . Or in the case of the St Pierre, simple fatigue and the very fact that the fighter had now become disenchanted with the sport altogether . While there is a great deal of positive direction for MMA , complacency is the one thing that cannot be allowed to set in, as has been the case, with the sport of boxing, which has now become so devoid of character and talent , that it now relies simply on the visibility of Floyd Mayweather to keep the sport alive and some might say, relevant , if that is to be correct analogy to be used . Boxing has been dying on its feet for a decade , with their being no undisputed champion in any of the weight categories.

Linear boxing champions, are simply an anathema to a sport, where at one time, fight fans were simply happy to witness a bout , where Mike Tyson was either pummeling an opponent into submission or more often than not , simply knocking them out. The heavyweight division of the sport has become fractured, with the Klitschko siblings, dividing the spoils, between them both. Although, with the recent announcement by Vitali Kiltschko that will retire from the sport relinquishing his WBC title to enter the world of politics and seek democratic reforms in his native Ukraine , which is currently undergoing a civil struggle, with many Ukrainians longing for the days of former Soviet rule, which others seeks a Western style democracy , which both Klitschkos are in favor of .

Vitali’s brother, Wladimir Klitschko continues his career , having made several defenses of his titles , putting together a string of successive wins defenses against nameless faces , which now has him with the third-longest string of title defenses within the division , with seventeen . Only the twenty-five defenses, made by the late and great Joe Louis “Barrow” and Larry Holmes with twenty consecutive defenses have more successful marks . Yet, in terms of longevity, Wladimir Klitschko’s reign as the IBF , WBA , WBO and IBO heavyweight champion , is the second longest in boxing history at eight years, within the heavyweight division . Joe Louis’ tenure of eleven years, eight months and eight days , remains the yardstick against the heavyweight championship reign is measured by.

While Dana White believe he is now in the driver’s seat, in terms of his overwhelming power within the sport , unlimited access to make decisions, as he sees fit, that benefit the sport. It has not gone unnoticed, that he has run afoul of a number of fighters who believe that the UFC President has at times far exceeded his powers, concerning contract negotiations with fighters and their agents or managers as the case maybe , by strong arming, with threats of never having a fighter be promoted or be allowed to fight on any UFC sanctioned or promoted event . These are the antics often heard of and used by noted boxing promoters, Bob Arum and Don King , but you would be hard pressed to hear the UFC President admit to that fact, not now , not ever .

For years the UFC , was dead set against having female fighters within its ranks , but having witnessed the growing clamor for female combatants by the male and female supporters amongst its ranks , Dana White finally acquiesced , when the UFC introduced the bantamweight division as the only weight class for women within the entity’s ranks. Ronda Rousey , the first female champion within division , who remains undefeated , has now become one of the most recognized faces within the genre and overnight she has become a household name , while away from the octagon , Hollywood has recognized her appeal. Rousey, has been tapped to play a role in the third chapter, of the Sylvester Stallone action movie saga , “The Expendables “ . The first two movies combined , have grossed in excess of have crossed the half a billion dollars threshold ($500,00,000), in terms of international gross, and the third installment back with many of the original cast , with the exception of Bruce Willis , is expected to continue the trend , and also become Stallone’s most profitable project, since the Rambo installments came to a welcomed end.

MMA has made giant inroads as a mass appeal sport, amongst young males , far exceeding even Dana White , Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta’s expectations . Moreover, who could have guessed that the growth of the sport would also enhance the sibling’s wealth , now placing them amongst Forbes’ Wealthiest 400 Americans ? Their combined wealth, $2.6 billion , originally built up through their gaming and casino holdings ., still plays a significant part in their business empire, of which Zuffa LLC , is the holding company under which UFC operates, as part of that overall empire. By comparison , White’s wealth is significant, having been a co-founder in UFC and part owner, his estimated worth $200 million, would include his stake in the UFC, which based on current revenues, would realize a value far exceeding $2 billion.

Ronda Rousey has been a breath of fresh air to the sport , bringing along sex appeal , physical savvy and exceptional talent to her art. Not surprising, when you find out that her mother Dr AnnMaria De Mars Ph.D is one of the world’s greatest female judokas , a multiple world champion and the very first American to have won a world championship in the ancient Japanese art . In the world of academia , De Mars is a well-recognized name, excelling in the field of statistics, but it is her work with Native American Indians, that she feels proudest of , alongside that of the careers of her children .

With the absence of both Georges St Pierre and Anderson Silva, it will now be left to stars such as Ronda Rousey , Jon Jones, Cain Velazquez , Chris Weidman , Jose Aldo and Anthony Pettis to keep those wheels churning , as well as the excitement created and generated by the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA). There is a clear reason why , in terms of demographics , more young males from differing ethnic backgrounds are now drawn to the sport, than they are to boxing . Quality of the contests staged are of the highest standard and rarely is there a situation , where you have a champion seeking to avoid an opponent in a title fight. The same cannot be said, in the world of boxing, where there is not, an undisputed champion, in any weight category. Moreover, at this late a stage, it is highly unlikely , the one fight that should have taken place at least five years ago , will now ever take place .

Manny Pacquiao is no longer fighting to secure his legacy , but to repair it, and inasmuch , he believes that a rematch with Tim Bradley will be his redemption , any thought of his meeting Floyd Mayweather in any type of mega-fight for a multi-million purse, should be put in his rear view mirror. Pacquiao, is past his prime and Mayweather now seems disinterested in meeting the Filipino world champion , for no matter how much money is thrown at him , as a lure . His six-fight guaranteed $200 million deal with Showtime PPV , simply cast aside any doubts, about such a proposed mega-fight , long ago .

The UFC will stage UFC 171 , this weekend , with the stage being set at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas , Texas,. Headlining the event will the welterweight title contest between the division’s top two fighters , with Johny Hendricks taking on Robbie Lawler , with the winner becoming the newly crowned welterweight champion. Granted , there will be those who suggest, that with Georges St Pierre (GSP) having relinquished the crown in absentia , he should be given first right of approval, in facing the winner , upon his return to the octagon. I beg to differ, as I believe that St Pierre, should have at least one fight against a ranked opponent within the division , before facing the victor of the Hendricks’ Lawler bout ! At the same time, given the machinations and manipulative behavior of Dana White , whose idea of showmanship, is to create as much hype and antagonism as can be possibly had, simply to sell tickets and create rabid fervor. I would not put it past him, to be now engineering some type of drama and emotion , where there is none to be had , in preparation for Georges St Pierre’s return to the octagon. As of now, his layoff and that of Anderson Silva’s, whose long-awaited return, might be as long away , as another six months. The void that has to be filled, with the absence of both of these great fighters, it will now be left with White and his PT Barnum style showmanship and its gregariousness, or we can look to the champions within the sport to now step up to the plate. Personally, I would rather, see the likes of Jon Jones , Anthony Pettis and Ronda Rousey , fill the vacuum, left by GSP and Silva, rather than having to witness the antics and petulant immaturity of Dana White !

White seems to be following in the rather asinine footsteps of both Don King and Bob Arum, and we have all seen how fast that sport has now fallen from grace with such a rapid decline in a short space of time. That, is most definitely something, that MMA and the UFC can well do without .

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Picture gallery.

In all professional sports, we have executives, who oversee the business as well as competitive side of that entity, with them, using their guile and obvious acumen to achieve the very best possible results. What if anything, do you feel is definitely needed for a professional sport to succeed at the highest level , beyond that of the acumen of the senior most executive ? Leave a comment as you see fit on this and anything else that you believe to relevant to this subject matter and thanks as always for the continued support of the site as it is greatly appreciated !

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Johny Hendricks , center, reacts following a UFC 167 mixed martial arts championship welterweight bout on against Georges St. Pierre, of Canada, on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, in Las Vegas. St. Pierre won by a controversial split decision. Hendricks will be the main headliner alongside Robbie Lawler when the two meet at UFC 171 for the vacant UFC welterweight title that was vacated by Georges St Pierre . The Canadian fighter will be taking a leave of absence but it is hoped that his return to MMA and the UFC will be a quick return, where he dominated the welterweight division making a record number of title defenses. AP Photo/Isaac Brekken

(2) A clearly shocked Chris Weidman looks on as his opponent , Anderson Silva lies on the octagon mat unable to carry on in their rematch for the UFC Middleweight Title at UFC 168 , a bout which Weidman won on a TKO , after it was confirmed that Silva had in fact broken his leg during the contest . MMA Junkie / Kieran Russell ….

(3) From left to right , Jon Jones , UFC light heavyweight champion , Anderson Silva , former middleweight champion and Georges St Pierre . In recent months UFC President Dana White has been overly critical of both Silva and St Pierre , often disparaging both fighters with the use of obscenities . However, consider the fact , that the two fighters have accounted for some of the biggest television viewership ratings, when their title bouts have been staged and you would have to ask yourself, what is it, that the UFC President is trying to achieve with his gross behavior and attitude towards both fighters . Keith Stewart / AP Photo ….

(4) Co-Owner, UFC, Lorenzo Fertitta , mixed martial arts fighter Junior dos Santos , President, UFC Dana White and Co-Owner, UFC Frank Fertitta attend UFC on Fox: Live Heavyweight Championship at the Honda Center on November 12, 2011 in Anaheim, California. Getty Images North America / Jason Merritt ….

(5) Wladimir (L) and Vitali Klitschko pose with their award for sport at the Bambi Awards 2009 at the Metropolis Hall at the Filmpark Babelsberg on November 26, 2009 in Potsdam, Germany. The two siblings hold all of the recognized and relevant title belts in the heavyweight division of professional boxing but have refused to meet each other in the ring to bring about an undisputed heavyweight champion . The last boxer to hold that distinction was Lennox Lewis of Gt Britain , almost a decade ago , with the division and the sport remaining fractured ever since , without an undisputed champion any professional weight category in the sport. Getty Images Europe / Michel Villagran ….

(6) Regarded in some circles , certainly amongst many boxing historians as perhaps the greatest heavyweight champion of all-time, Joe Louis . His record twenty-five title defenses stands the test of time and is unsurpassed in boxing history. Though many have come to regard Muhammad Ali , as the greatest heavyweight in history , their respective records speaks for themselves . Getty Archives @ copyrighted material ….

(7) UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion , Ronda Rousey , left holds her belt as she stands across from her opponent , challenger , Miesha Tate , prior to their scheduled contest at UFC 168 . Rousey would go on to defeat Tate , keeping her unbeaten record in tact. Already, with a legion of male and female fans , Ronda Rousey has also brought a great deal of “sex appeal ” , having posed nude for SI , as well as doing several other notable magazine pictorial . The lure of Hollywood has also come knocking , with the MMA artist accepting a role in the 2014 release of “The Expendables III” and also unconfirmed reports of her also being cast in the seventh installment of the action movie car chase saga F&F VII (Fast & Furious 7) . Both action movie series have done considerably well at the box office , domestically , but more so, on the international market , which the Hollywood movie industry now relies on , more so than ever before, for their movies to be extremely profitable . AP Photo / Kelly Marshall ……

(8) Headliners at UFC 171 , and fighting for the vacant UFC Welterweight Title Johny Hendricks , left is seen here with Robbie Lawler . The two were promoting the bout in Dallas Texas , where the event will be staged on Saturday night , 15th March , at the American Airlines Arena , in Dallas , Texas . The new champion will be succeeding Georges St Pierre , the previous holder who held the record for the number of title defenses and tenure , in terms of the length of reign . l ……

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tophatal …………………… 03/16/2014

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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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Slideshow.

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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A breast in one hand is better than a bird don’t you think ? Adult star Alexa Loren .

And here’s Alexa, having some fun with her mammary glands

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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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This might be one point of the year that in terms of the sporting landscape the world simply has nothing to really offer . Granted , one can point to other outside events beyond the four major professional team sports in North America . In Europe , the Tour de France has now started and that rancid stench that will continue to emanate across from France over the remaining seventeen days fifteen days of the event might be enough to induce regurgitation of one’s meal . The sport of cycling remains in tatters as to its image , with its international governing body , the ICU (International Cycling Union) still at a loss , as to how to abate the rampant and widespread cheating that still remains within the sport .

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Lance Armstrong still remains a pariah , as he continues to skirt the real reasons why he chose to cheat by using steroids as well as EPO and several other illicit substances . As to what was meant to be an in-depth interview with media maven and mogul, Oprah Winfrey . Well that bile inducing bilge , was about as noteworthy as Clint Eastwood’s appearance at the Republican National Convention , when he stood on stage , asking questions of an empty chair that suggested he was questioning Barack Obama . Well if that is what it takes the GOP , to be seen as enlightened and a party of the inclusive ____ good luck to them . Personally , I am looking for someone and a party that is keenly aware as to how to deal with many of the issues that still beset this country and not a bunch of clowns from either party , simply paying lip service and giving us sound bytes on what they believe that the electorate needs to hear .

The Tour de France is sport of cycling`s premiere event , with only the World Championships and the Olympics having as much prestige . Yet it is the classic French endurance event that brings in widespread acclaim and undoubted wealth for the winner . However , considering that Alberto Contador , Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis , three of the most recent of eight winners of the event , have in some way been caught up in the less savory and most corrupt revelations and side of the sport . Landis and Armstrong had their names stricken from the record books , as to the list of winners of the event . Contador , for some reason still remains a competitor in the sport and is a contestant in this year’s event , though he is not seen as an overall favorite .

As a Brit , I know how painful it is to watch tennis at the All England Lawn and Tennis Club at Wimbledon each year ! It has been almost eight decades since an Englishman has raised the Men’s Singles Trophy denoting a native-born winner . Fred Perry won the last of his three-straight titles in 1936. And since then , no other male player from the United Kingdom has come remotely close to producing a home-grown champion . This year’s hopes rest with the Scot , Andy Murray , who as the reigning US Open and Olympic champion , will have the nation , soundly supporting his efforts . Now, if Murray should make it through his semifinal meeting with Jerzy Janowicz , he will have the dubious privilege of having to meet the number one ranked Novak Djokovik in the Men`s Finals . All odds favor the Serbian whose run through the tournament has been nothing short of amazing . By Sunday afternoon , we may well witness Djokovik adding to his already impressive resume` , as he seeks to rewrite the history books and place himself amongst the modern-day greats of the Open Era.

The United States does not have single male or female representative left , in either the Men’s or Women’s Singles Tournament. Something I believe , that will sternly that will need to be addressed by the USTA (United States Tennis Association) and how they assess the structure and system now in place . Serena Williams has been the most dominant player in Women’s tennis for just over a decade , but as her career has now reached its apex . There is no telling how long the desire will remain for the fourteen-time singles Grand Slam winner . With her amassed wealth estimated $100 million fortune , and outside business ventures , those scenarios could very well be a driving force that sees the thirty year old step away from the sport sooner , rather than later . On the men’s side of the equation , there is not a great deal that could lead one to believe that there is a future Grand Slam winner amongst the best male players in the United States . The highest ranked in the world rankings , is Sam Querrey at number nineteen , and his run at Wimbledon was somewhat short-lived and about as scintillating as being hit in the face by a wet rag , as he succumbed to the unseeded Bernard Tomic in five sets .

The UFC will kick off UFC 162 , with a co-headline event that will see reigning middleweight champion Anderson Silva defend his title against Chris Weidman . For the Brazilian jujitsu practitioner this will be the twelfth defense of his title, as well as seeking his seventeenth consecutive win inside the octagon . All feats are now UFC records and the primary reason by Silva is considered to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in mixed martial arts (MMA) . As a practitioner (karate & muy-thai) and proponent of MMA , this is now the primary reason why I believe that mixed martial arts has simply left the sport of boxing in the dust . It has now become far more popular as a genre and participant sport , with an ever-increasing demographic, as well as now drawing a large following amongst females . Granted, , with the rise of females fighters such as Ronda Rousey , Jessica Andrade , Liz Carmouche , Alexis Davis and Germaine de Randamie . It is now easy to see why UFC President Dana White finally succumbed to admitting females within the UFC fold , as well creating the bantamweight division weight class for women . Rousey is currently the unbeaten UFC champion within that weight class .

Saturday night’s main and under-card a, provides the most discerning fans of the sport, the chance to see some of the best practitioners of this fast growing sport into the public domain . From my own perspective, I do not believe that Weidman will provide all that stern a test for the champion , simply because of the challenger`s inexperience and the lack of real quality opponents that he has faced over his short career within the UFC ! Silva for his part , has toyed with his opponents , simply making a mockery of the division and the lack of overall talent within the middleweight division . Anderson Silva is not, and has not been thoroughly challenged by any of his opponents over his last sixteen bouts . Those who believe to the contrary , simply point to an instance were that has actually been the case and then point out , what the end result tended to be .

The Mandalay Bay Hotel Resort & Casino Complex , in Las Vegas , Nevada , will be the scene for this latest extravaganza being staged by Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta , as owners of UFC. What started out , as merely a tough man contest where differing fighting styles were pitted against each other , by the respective fighters , has now become a multi-billion dollar global concern , presided over UFC by the Fertitta brothers, in conjunction wit Dana White . In a little more than a decade and a half , from UFC 1 to now , UFC 162 , this sport has become more respectable and more disciplined , in terms of safety issues, than anything shown by the international governing bodies of the sport of boxing . Subsequent events have now become regimented with a greater emphasis being placed on the safety of the fighters . Furthermore , with the misuse of steroids being part of the sports` panacea , MMA under the UFC banner has become one the few sports were their initiative beyond suspending for a first offense , they are also penalized monetarily by the UFC hierarchy and are subject to further punishment in the states where the sport is sanctioned in North America . Can the same be said , with regard to baseball , basketball , football or hockey ? Most definitely not ,when you consider the intransigence shown by the respective bodies , especially under the auspices of Bud Selig , David Stern , Roger Goodell and Gary Bettman .

Baseball has reached the midpoint of its season and a number of teams , I believe can be counted out of contention as it relates to their postseason ambitions . It is pretty much safe to say that barring divine intervention from up on high, the New York Mets (35-47) , will once again be on the outside looking in . Recent results or not , J P Ricciardi and Sandy Alderson can already begin to think about next season , while getting rid of the dead weight on the roster . Far be it for me to suggest , but if it were possible to jettison Fred Wilpon , his son, Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz . I for one , believe that we would all breathe a sigh of relief and so too might the majority of the fans within baseball ! One could also preface that, by saying the same thing for baseball`s hierarchy , because under Bud Selig , let us put it succinctly , not everything he as touched , has actually turned to gold . Selig`s imprint on the game has been akin the AIDS` virus and its virulent spread across the globe , specifically on the continent of Africa and in the Far East Asia where it still remains a scourge .

Matt Harvey may well be having a terrific season for the Mets , but beyond his contributions and that of David Wright . It is pretty much safe to say that there is not a great deal that can be taken away from the season as a positive for the franchise , much less by way of the managerial acumen of Terry Collins and his managerial staff . Coming off a 5-4 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks the Mets have a mere handful of games before Citi-Field in Flushing, New York, hosts the 2013 MLB All Star Game and all of the festivities we are accustomed to witnessing at the mid-season that is associated with the showcase event .

New York`s next game will pit them against the Milwaukee Brewers (34-50) in a match-up between two desperate ball-clubs seeking redemption at this point of the schedule , after performing poorly through the first half of the season. The rest of the way should prove to be really interesting over the remainder of the MLB schedule .

Homer Bailey of the Cincinnati Reds now has the unique distinction of being the only pitcher in the last decade to have pitched two no-hitters . The fact that he was able to achieve this feat inside the space of eighteen months is all the more surprising . Albeit , that for much of this season in terms of pitching heroics , the buzz has simply been about Matt Scherzer (13-0) of the Detroit Tigers and his phenomenal start to the season , in going 13-0 with a . fourteenth consecutive victory not seemingly out of the question. No-hitters and perfect games are the Holy Grails for a big-league pitcher, and for them to have their names etched in baseball immortality, is not something , that can be taken away or denied. Granted in the age of skepticism and the very fact the game of baseball has been unable to get rid of steroid cheats , makes the fans not necessarily admirers of many of today`s achievements by the players. Especially, when we know that the league hierarchy and the union itself, has done little to rectify the plague that has become widespread within the game . For those of you in doubt , then simply be aware of the fact that over almost two hundred players have now been embroiled in the abuse of steroids covering the game of baseball , covering the Minor League as well as in the Majors . Yet Bud Selig , team owners and Michael Weiner of the MLBPA have simply not offered any explanation for these statistics and the very fact that cheating still remains a blight on and to the game . There still remains the apathy of the fans and analysts alike , which is not unusual, when in large part neither shows a preponderance of showing any damn common sense concerning the issue .

To make things even worse , as it relates to an already tarnished image within the game . The Texas Rangers` GM Jon Daniels signed …. Manny Ramirez , a two-time steroid offender to a Minor League contract . Ramirez who escaped the wrath of a mandatory one hundred game suspension by immediately retiring , then went off and parlayed his services to the highest bidder by playing baseball in the Far East . Now having returned to the game , he has been welcomed back with open arms , as if his actions were never of any consequence . Daniels in a public statement ____ stated, `that taking a flier on Ramirez was well worth the risk`. What I would like to know , is how the ownership group of the Texas Rangers feels that this is in any way beneficial for their image much less of benefit to the game , which is still in a state of disrepair ? Any thoughts on that, at this juncture ?

? Baseball , but for its own stupidity , simply cannot get out of its own way or the repeated pratfalls that it constantly tends to make .

It may not have come as a surprise , given the recent upheavals amongst the coaching fraternity within the NBA . Yet the hiring of Brad Stevens to succeed the nine year tenure of Doc Rivers , may well have taken the whole world by surprise . Stevens who coached the Butler Bulldogs for six successful seasons and then on to two successive NCAA Finals Tournament appearances in 2010 and 2011. . That may well been the sort of composure and coaching acumen that impressed the Boston Celtics` front office staff , led by team owner Wyc Grousbeck and GM Danny Ainge to hire the young college coach . We know the nature of the NBA , where the mindset is to win , now , and along the way place a competitive product on the field of play . With the departures of Rivers to the Los Angeles Clippers and the trades tat sent Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets . It would appear that the rebuilding process for the Celtics is now underway. To my mind this maneuver is simply two years too late . Doc Rivers over the last two seasons may well ave been somewhat disgruntled with the direction tat the franchise may well ave been heading in , but it did not seem to negate his intent , tat saw him re-sign with the Boston Celtics , a contract for a three-year extension , paying approximately $ 18 to $20 million over the period in question . Somehow, I get the feeling tat Doc Rivers was simply blowing smoke up everyone`s ass , as to his own discomfort , and $20 million was just a nice way of easing the pain .

Stevens may well bring in his own coaching staff , but a great deal of what may well transpire , will come out of the relationship fomented and built up with Celtics` point guard Rajon Rondo , which will be pivotal the success of the franchise and its long-term future . The team`s draft class and their subsequent transactions may well bring about the success sought , and in light of the cap space created , the franchise will be one of the teams that could be an ideal destination for one of the marquee free agents seeking to make that organization a legitimate contender.
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Given Boston`s poor showing in the postseason in their first round loss to the New York Knicks summed up a rather lamentable season for one of the league`s most prestigious franchises .

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