All posts by Allensand

One Time, One Job, One Underappreciated Fight

I know I had promised a fight build up for Thurman v Garcia but this thing called “real life” just keeps getting in the way of my hoop dream of being a sports scholar. So since I couldn’t give you the pre fight love I suppose the next best thing is post fight.

“First off I want to thank Al Haymon and God because with out them this wouldn’t have been possible”

The man behind the curtain of PBC

Seriously, you’d be hard pressed to find any real boxing fan who was optimistic about PBC and the direction it was taking boxing when it first started out. PBC strong armed Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy for pretty much every elite boxer not signed to Top Rank. And the way it started out it just seemed like a gimmick. 10 out of 10 in production, 2 out of 10 in fight quality. The matchups were there, I mean they’ve always been there, but nobody seemed willing to really take a chance. The business that is boxing in the post Tyson era has always been about maximizing rewards and minimizing risk. You can blame Floyd for that if you like (I would disagree to some extent), or you could blame the fans. If fans stopped watching or paying for these inflated pay per views, well they wouldn’t put out such crappy fights. PBC was originally the anti PPV scheme, a company for boxing fans or as some writers used to say “but it’s free” TV. They were the answer to the politics that had become boxing or so we thought. PBC was going to rid us of the 1000 belts,sanctioning bodies, and most importantly promoters that blocked mandatory fights and prevented champions from fighting one another. It took some time but here we are and no matter how much I hate on Al Haymon and the business model it looks like he is getting guys the exposure, giving fans the fights they want to see, and getting people paid.

“People want to see the best fight the best”

rare is the occurrence of undefeated fighters meeting for unification bouts

The build up for a real championship fight is one of the best feelings in sports as a fan to me. I watch everything from WNBA to horse racing and there is just nothing that compares to fight week. The trash talk , the workout videos, the nostalgia of past accolades and the enthusiasm of other fighters weighing in on the event just makes it something special. Saturday night might not have lived up to the hype of many, I mean it’s almost impossible to please everyone, but I think it was a good show of two young guys still finding themselves as champions. In my analysis below I’ll give you my grades of the fighters pre fight, post fight and my reasoning behind it.

Power- Pre fight: Garcia B+, Thurman A-, Post Fight: Garcia C, Thurman A-

One of the many complaints coming in of the Garcia detractors was that he hadn’t had a KO in a while nor had he hurt anybody during his brief stint at 147 pounds. Thurman’s power is respected across the board by many and looking back on Saturday’s fight it was very clear he was the stronger fighter. He hurt Garcia multiple times almost knocking him down in the first round. I still have reservations about his KO prowess but that’s no knock on his punching power. When Garcia did land flush punches we hardly saw Thurman retreat. There were plenty of straight right hands, some from the counter, that Garcia hit Thurman with right on the button and nothing. If you want to see the difference look back on the counter hook Garcia was hit with and the counter straight right that Thurman literally walked into. Garcia knees knocked and Thurman blinked.

Speed- Pre fight: Garcia C, Thurman B+ , Post fight: Garcia C, Thurman B+

I’m not going to boost Thurman’s hand speed because Garcia is slower. If you look at it just based off this fight you may be inclined to say that Thurman hand speed is an A or A- but I’m inclined to say that is only because Garcia is a little slower. It might help with the illusion of faster hands if Thurman threw more combinations but speed isn’t really his best attribute it’s like 1B to the 1A of his power. I always joke about the “swift” nickname that Garcia has because frankly his hands are not that fast. He has impeccable timing for a slow hand fighter but not the quickest hands out here.

Chin- Pre fight: Garcia A+, Thurman A, Post fight: Garcia S, Thurman A

My gamers will get a good laugh out the S ranking. S is the grade they give you on fighting games when you surpass A. Garcia took some hard, flush shots to his chin. He had swelling over his left eye most of the fight and punches from Thurman at times literally stopped him in his tracks. He never once hit the canvas…..it was close…but he never went down and for that I have to salute him. Thurman I’m going to keep as an A, I still don’t like the way he responds to body punches and although nothing significantly stopped him or impeded his movement, you could tell he’s still not comfortable with getting hit below his chin.

Intangibles- Pre fight: Garcia A, Thurman B+ Post fight: Garcia B+, Thurman B

This may be the most controversial of grades but hear me out. If there is one knock I have on Keith Thurman it’s the fact that we are constantly bombarded with praise from his trainer and Keith himself about how smart he is in the ring yet I have seen in his last three fights how he doesn’t understand how to control pace or build knockouts. Thurman had Garcia really hurt in the 1st round, I mean he literally had to just string together a good combination and Garcia might have just taken a knee just because but what did Thurman do? He backed off a little, came back head hunting and Garcia survived that round, arguably winning the next round. I’ve always had reservations about Thurman’s ring generalship and if there is one thing that will keep him from achieving divisional domination it will be his lack of the aforementioned attribute.
I dropped Garcia post fight a little as well because there were moments in the fight where he could have capitalized on what Thurman called “cooling down.” Garcia didn’t show much versatility this match either as he was mostly on the defensive side and reluctant to let his hands go. Yes he’s not the fastest and in this match he wasn’t the strongest but you can’t win a fight if you don’t throw punches and Danny has punching ability in both hands but did not display it Saturday night. He was able to time Thurman a little early and it was working with a couple good straight right hands to counter Thurman’s wild swings and some body punches but ultimately he gave up on the strategy.

Corners- Pre fight: Garcia C, Thurman B- Post Fight: Garcia F, Thurman B+

it may be time for a change in the Garcia Clan

I detest father-son partnerships as trainer and fighter. It’s a great story, it’s always a great story, but unless your father was a former world champion or you are just exceptionally gifted, there is going to come a point in time where you guys hit a wall. Garcia and his father are at that wall and I know he think’s he’s doing what’s best for his son but it’s clear to me that in this rise to 147 his father isn’t going to cut it. Danny Garcia needs a nutritionist and better work out regiment and then he needs corner instruction to make up for the talent gap versus these top 147 pound guys. In short they are in over their heads out there in 147lb championship fights. And the little bit of instruction Angel gave Danny was smart, “keep your left hand up”, ” go to the body”, it’s just clear to me he needs more in depth instruction and pre fight training to get over this hump.

Thurman’s corner is good for Keith. That’s about all I have on that when your guy is in control it’s not much that needs to be said. Thurman was never really in trouble in this fight, their game plan was working from the start and Garcia never made them make any adjustments so it was an easy night for him. Trainer and fighter are in sync in Thurman’s camp and if there was a knock on Thurman’s corner it’s that they encourage quotes like this “I was not giving the fight away,” he (Thurman) said. “ I felt like we had a nice lead, we could cool down. I felt like we were controlling the 3-minute intervals in each and every round.” I’m often reminded of a furious Emmanuel Steward yelling at Wladmir Klitchsko during one of his typical jab fest fights. Wlad was killing the guy per usual and comes back to the corner in like the 8th or 9th round and Emmanuel cursed him out like he was losing. Wlad would come out the next round and brutally knock the guy out. “To win alone is not good enough, you need to win by knockout.”

“116-112 Thurman,115-113 Garcia, 115-113 Thurman”

Who’s Man Is This!?

I would be remiss if I did not point out the constant stain that is bad judging in boxing. There is absolutely no way anybody could have watched that fight and scored it for Garcia, especially sitting ringside. These type of things need to be nipped in the butt immediately especially with the potential great matchups for the future in the sport, there’s just no place for atrocious scorecards. Garcia did not hurt Thurman the whole fight, did not outwork Thurman but a few rounds in punch output and landing so how could he have possibly been awarded the fight on a scorecard?

“Somebody’s 0 had to go”

Beware of a man that meditates, listens to grunge rock and is vegan”

So where do they go from here? Thurman has two belts , Garcia has none now. After a “split” decision there will be calls for a rematch. Of course Garcia’s camp thinks they won, wants a rematch, you know the typical reaction after a loss. Fact of the matter is Garcia loss and it wasn’t really close. He never hurt Thurman and looked out classed at key spots in the fight. All paths lead to a truly unified division. Errol Spence will be fighting Kell Brooks for a belt and Manny Pacquiao is seemingly still actively seeking “tough” fights so if Garcia truly wants a rematch with Thurman he’s going to have to get one of those belts first. It doesn’t make sense for Thurman, a guy openly committed to unifying the division, to fight a guy with no belt. So while it might seem a little bleak this loss doesn’t actually hurt Garcia’s draw he just has to take a step back to get two steps forward again. With the outcome of this fight Thurman is in the driver seat versus the winner of Spence v Brooks. If Spence wins he will definitely pursue a Thurman fight as soon as possible. He’s been the guy looking to fight the top guys so I don’t see it being a big deal with him. Manny is a wildcard as he’s with Top Rank and the relationship between Top Rank, Showtime and PBC is as good as Trump and the media. Either way Manny only has about two years max (I’ve been saying that since the Marquez knockout) left in the sport and the division is still offering up good fights. There’s Khan v Pacquaio being talked about , Berto v Porter, Spence v Brook, Adrian Broner is at 147, Danny Garcia is at 147, Terrence Crawford will soon be moving up to 147, and Jesse Vargas, Lamont Peterson are both capable players in the division. The future is bright for welterweight post Floyd Mayweather and while Thurman is yet to be crowned the undisputed King, he’s taken the first step in the right direction to carve out his legacy and establish himself as The Guy in a very loaded and talented division.

I feel you Danny…if anybody feels you IBSYeezus feels you

Y.G.A.M.F “Too Early To Tell” Week 2

I’d like to welcome you all back to Y.G.A.M.F the week to week column of IBS. Someone read this sh** last week and liked it so much we came back for an encore! Okay, truth be told I’m doing this in the wee hours of the morning and I think once I post it to the site it can’t be removed….so YOLO let’s get to it!

Week 2 is officially “too early to tell” week. So all the positive from Week 1 that you can find can be blown up with one bad week 2. So here are my too early to tell takes that I expect to change or stick around.

1) Carson Wentz is the real deal (Too early to tell)

" IBS Yeezus said I just needed to fix my feet I wonder what he thinks about me now"
” IBS Yeezus said I just needed to fix my feet I wonder what he thinks about me now”

If you’re not impressed by what Wentz has done in his two starts you probably have no understanding of the complexity of the Quarterback position in the NFL. Wentz poise and knack for making the correct audibles and adjustments at the line this early are impressive, especially when you consider the system he left in North Dakota State (Shoutout to the Wentzes for the big upset this past Saturday). Wentz and the Eagles have a tough game this Sunday versus the Steelers and I fully expect him to “lay an egg” eventually but considering the poise I’ve seen and the fact that his coach has a system that is very QB friendly I think it’s safe to stay positive about Wentz.

2) The Dallas Cowboys should fully invest in Dak Prescott (Too early to tell)

Hey Jason, Romo (Background to the right) doesn't approve of your instructions to the kid
Hey Jason, Romo (Background to the right) doesn’t approve of your instructions to the kid

Look I love Tony’s toughness and he’s sacrificed a lot for the ungrateful Cowboys fanbase, however I think it’s time for Cap to let Willy Beaman run the show. The Cowboys don’t really have anything to lose it’s not like they are throwing away a good opportunity regardless of what fans think. I’m thinking from a GM perspective you got a kid that is playing good ball and the team is responding, I say let him continue and grow with experience.

3) The Seattle Seahawks are in trouble (Too early to tell)

We're still not sure what exactly happened on this night but we do know that Russell hasn't been the same since this picture.......
We’re still not sure what exactly happened on this night but we do know that Russell hasn’t been the same since this picture…….

Seattle has never been a perfect team, in fact their biggest weakness over the last few years has been their offensive line so it would make sense that back to back weeks versus two talented defensive fronts we would see a weaken Seattle. The fact they they still can’t find a use for Jimmy Graham is disappointing but this is still the perennial NFC contender and they are always battle tested in the NFC West. The fan in me would love to see them lose to the 49ers this weekend but the analyst in me is saying even if they lose you still can’t count them out. It’s plenty of ball left to be played in regards to Wins and Losses.

4)The New England Patriots can win with anybody at quarterback (Too early to tell)

Every Patriot's fan wet dream now.  A victory with a different QB every game
Every Patriot’s fan wet dream now. A victory with a different QB every game

we haven’t seen how they will play when Edelman is running the show….seriously how does this not alarm anybody that they are able to…never mind I’m getting ahead of myself HAIL HYDRA!

5)The Washington Redskins are through (Too early to tell)

Stick a fork in these clowns. Jay Gruden is the new Lane Kiffin and could quite possibly be the most immature NFL coach in the league today. The only thing he got right was picking Kirk Cousins over RG3 and he still managed to mess that up somehow. The Redskins are worse than my 49ers last year as far as organization goes. They still have guys running around like Thurman Thomas, looking for helmets and trying to figure out who’s on what team. I don’t think you can trust a team that has little to no structure and it doesn’t bode well for them that former players are sounding like Cowboy fans…..SEND THEM TO MORDOR (England)!

14 more games of this....
14 more games of this….

Week 2
Best Individual Performances:

(staring at reflection having a Matt to Matt conversation) "You are not the turnover machine they said you are. You are a franchise and elite Quarterback Matt!"
(staring at reflection having a Matt to Matt conversation) “You are not the turnover machine they said you are. You are a franchise and elite Quarterback Matt!”

QB: Matt Ryan, ATL-76.5% completion, 396 yards and 3 touchdowns…. Sorry Drew, it looks like your stats but the difference here is Matty Ice actually got the win ( Week 2 excuse: “the raiders are the complete opposite of what everyone expected defensively. I’m convinced this is just a marketing ploy so they can play “Return of the Mack” on airwaves again”)

That moment it hits you: "Holy **** I made the Y.G.A.M.F!"
That moment it hits you: “Holy **** I made the Y.G.A.M.F!”

RB: Isaiah Crowell, CLE- 18 rushes 133 yards and 1 touchdown. Sure 85 came on one carry but seriously the Browns deserve something to cheer about and with Gordon, Griffin, Coleman out….Crowell is the default playmaker! (Week 2 excuse: Cleveland natives ” is it basketball season yet?”)

A well deserved mic drop from Mr. Diggs
A well deserved mic drop from Mr. Diggs

WR: Stefon Diggs, MIN- 9 catches 182 yards, 1 touchdown in the win over the Packers. With stats like this you would think he visited Revis Island or BreeLand but apparently the Packer’s have space for rent in their secondary too. Definitely helps that he has a real QB in Bradford back there now too, word to Bleacher Report (walks in front of traffic after this post) (week 2 excuse: Got to blame Olivia here…every time the Packers struggle it’s most certainly her fault.)

Best Individual Defensive Performances:

DISRESPECT IBS YEEZUS AGAIN!!!! HE GOT GOONS ANDREW!
DISRESPECT IBS YEEZUS AGAIN!!!! HE GOT GOONS ANDREW!
DL: Vonn Miller, DEN- 3 sacks, 5 tackles, 2 assisted tackles, 1 forced fumble, 4 QB hits sheesh Vonn is everything the world wants us to believe Mack is. A part of me almost felt bad for Andrew Luck but then I remembered he was already a future Hall of Famer and multiple super bowl winner in the minds of most so he’s fine! ( Week 2 excuse: This is what you get when you ban a man’s footwear NFL!)

"Please take me with you I dont want to stay in Buffalo"  "Dude get off of ME!!!"
“Please take me with you I dont want to stay in Buffalo”
“Dude get off of ME!!!”
LB: Preston Brown, BUF- 16 tackles and 1 forced fumble in a loss that would see people crown Ryan Fitzpatrick as the next best thing in the NFL….not to mention he plays for a team where the coaches weight gets more coverage than staff firings and game outcomes. This is the feel good award of the week here (week 2 excuse: Could have won but Ryan Fitzpatrick is just too damn good)

DB: Patrick Peterson, ARI- We don’t need stats, AB said he was the best so he’s the best

Never forget.....this guy owns the best CB in the league time after time....#slander!
Never forget…..this guy owns the best CB in the league time after time….#slander!

Week 1 came and went and Week 2 provided us with more “too hot to trot” takes left and right so let me give you my top 3 caliente takes of Week 2.

#3 Sam Bradford is the missing piece of the Minnesota Vikings

The uh..future is here Minnesota
The uh..future is here Minnesota

Nope I’m not making this up for dramatic reactions. I saw this headline on Bleacher Report the minute it was confirmed that Bradford in fact suited up for the vikings….and did not get hurt. In fact it was AP who got hurt in the showdown with the Green Bay Packers. Bradford not only came in to lead his team to victory but he outplayed Aaron Rodgers along the way! Seriously I made that last part up and just looked up the game stats….no comment

#2 The New York Giants are the best team in the NFC East

ugh...I don't have a suitable caption for this fruit cake...... wait yes I do "Gmen are always number 1 in my book" - Odella
ugh…I don’t have a suitable caption for this fruit cake…… wait yes I do
“Gmen are always number 1 in my book” – Odella

“Stop it Five” there is no such thing as the best team in the NFC East. If you don’t believe me just ask the fans of NFC East teams. Eagles fans will fight you for talking to them, Giants fans would talk about their Super Bowls over the Patriots, Redskin fans would cry from thoughts of the RG3 failures and Cowboy fans will just tell you that if Romo wasn’t hurt they would own the division (the problem is HE’S ALWAYS HURT PEOPLE). So seriously how the hell are we going to determine a winner out of this mess? I mean if I used Cowboy fan rationale (brace yourself)
**Clears throat**
If Romo is hurt the cowboys don’t win the division, if romo is healthy the cowboys win the division. So one could say that the fate of the division hinges on the health of Romo, who is a cowboy so by default the cowboys have to be the best team in the division because they determine the winner every year. Okay I just loss 90% of my readers….oh well if it’s not broke don’t fix it right? Right Romo?? Okay, come on Cowboy fans before you get mad and tell me you hate this article or threaten me in my inbox just remember it wasn’t me who stepped on the crack that broke Romo’s back.

#1 Ryan Fitzpatrick is the most underrated QB in the league

Seriously man....he's not that good to warrant this much excitement. And I know some of you are like "he's a good teammate" and to you I say  "I don wanna hear it!!!"
Seriously man….he’s not that good to warrant this much excitement. And I know some of you are like “he’s a good teammate”
and to you I say “I don wanna hear it!!!”

Nothing said this week made my blood boil more than this. I saw it all over facebook, twitter, and naturally Bleacher Report. Every time I see a pro Fitzpatrick article or comment I just assume Brandon Marshall is behind it. I mean seriously people this man vouched for Jay Cutler and you’re going to take his word when it comes to Ryan Fitzpatrick? I mean at some point someone should question his eye for talent but …hey who am I to judge? Ryan Fitzpatrick has a degree from Harvard, a multi million dollar athletic career, and still somehow looks like he’s one bad business venture from being “the homeless guy receives a t-shirt” feel good post. All things considered though I’m sure his parents are the proudest people in America right now. Nick and Brandon you did a great job raising this hype job.

Week 2 is in the books, Week 3 is coming fast and I’m already questioning the meaning of Life. Why am I writing this and not trying out to be the backup of the backup to the back up on the Patriots??

Y.G.A.M.F : Week 1 NFL

Welcome all to the first ever “You Got A Minute Fam.” Yes we have unofficially trademarked this troll phrase and are now in the process of marketing it. All the slander minus the Cory Stats….let’s get to it!

Week 1 is the worse time of the year for NFL fans. Nobody ever gets credit the first week, if you have a good performance “it was week 1 you know”, if you have a bad performance “it was week 1 you know”, if you picked Carolina in your Elimination Pool…eh, I guess you can’t really use that excuse there…just blame Goodell!

You know...after a while you get used to this face
When you picked Carolina over Denver week 1 and now the crew got jokes but you have no comeback

Best Individual Offensive Performances:

QB: Matthew Stafford, DET- 79.5% completion, 340 yards, 3 touchdowns and minus the greatest Decepticon of all time! (Week 1 excuse: “it was the colts defense”)

"This guy gets it!!"
“This guy gets it!!”

Honorable Mention: Drew Brees, NO- 66.7% completion, 423 yards, 4 touchdowns and one L….a common theme for the gunslinger (Week 1 excuse: “dahhhhhh George Bush doesn’t care about black people??”)

Thinking: " stupid mom never lets me have dessert first. I can't wait til i'm an adult!"
Thinking: ” stupid mom never lets me have dessert first. I can’t wait til i’m an adult!”

RB: Does the league really even use these anymore?

DeAngelo Williams, PIT- 26 rushes, 143 yards, 6 catches and 2 touch downs (Week 1 excuse: it was the Redskins)

"So glad I picked you up for fantasy these first four games!"   "Me too bro!"
“So glad I picked you up for fantasy these first four games!”
“Me too bro!”

WR: A.J Green, CIN- 12 catches, 180 yards, 1 touchdown, An island claimed, my God I didn’t realize his numbers were that good Sunday. No wonder everyone keeps trying to take Revis out back and put him down quietly. (week 1 excuse: none….he didn’t have to do Revis like that man)

Warning: Images of AJ Green v Revis are graphic
Warning: Images of AJ Green v Revis are graphic

Honorable Mention: Antonio Brown, PIT- 8 catches, 126 yards, 2 touchdowns, Breelands Soul, and permanent claim to the space behind the Redskins secondary (week 1 excuse: “it’s nothin to a boss”)

(Daily Double Sound) Alex:  Suspect behavior is often overlooked in this league in the name of Fandom Me: What is the NFL?
(Daily Double Sound)
Alex: Suspect behavior is often overlooked in this league in the name of Fandom
Me: What is the NFL?

Best Individual Defensive Performances:

DL: Leonard Williams, NYJ- 2.5 sacks and 5 QB hits, 3 tackles and 3 assisted geez slow down big fella, you gonna hurt someone big fella (week 1 excuse: look at him he’s huge…you go block him)

Treating Andy like a red headed step....never mind
Treating Andy like a red headed step….never mind

LB: Kwon Alexander, TB- 17 tackles, 15 solo and 1 sack the motor was running full throttle sunday for Kwon (week 1 excuse: dude, nobody cares about the Buccaneers)

Kwon was using a fully automatic sunday with 17 tackles
Kwon was using a fully automatic sunday with 17 tackles

DB: Baushaud Breeland, WAS- 7 catches, 110 yards, 2 touchdowns receiving and 1 rushing touchdown, helped power a potent Pittsburgh offense through the air and on the ground (week 1 excuse: none, I hope you don’t expect him to hang his head)

Breeland showing off the strong hands on this TD catch
Breeland showing off the strong hands on this TD catch

Thank You Wallace ( the three hottest takes segment and in no particular order)

1) Alex Smith is a good quarterback

"Hey 49ers hows that hot hand working out for ya?"
“Hey 49ers hows that hot hand working out for ya?”

G**da****……why in the name of tebow do we have to go over this every single year every 2-3 weeks. We get it. Alex can win football games yaay!! He’s the guy in the control room and the chiefs are the scud missles bombing the opposition. Yes, the chiefs came back sunday down by almost two scores, yes he ran in the game winning TD, yes every other QB gets credit for stuff like that but NO he did not lead the chiefs to victory. An act of God saved Peters and the chiefs defense from death by bludgeoning when Keenan Allen went down from a non contact injury. And people say there is no God or He doesn’t have a sense of humor!

2) The NFL doesn’t care about Black QBs

Never fear GQ Cam is  here! Combating all our racial tension one interview at a time.....
Never fear GQ Cam is here! Combating all our racial tension one interview at a time…..

The BQBM movement was in full force after the Thursday night loss to the Broncos because Cam Newton took quite a few shots to the head througout the game not resulting in penalties. Fine’s are coming and the league has reiterated that it is thoroughly invested in the Concussion research and development in concussion prevention and CTE. Couldn’t you tell after they put him back in the game and ran him a lot after the fifth blow to the head. The guy crashed his car and it rolled over and everything he got up, ran through the tunnel and led his team to victory.

3) NFC east reactions (minus philly of course)

Come on NFC East lighten up like these two.....
Come on NFC East lighten up like these two…..

Redskins suck, Cowboys suck, Giants are division champs!!! Seriously does anybody in that division have patience besides the Giants? I feel like people finally realized Eli is special (ed) and they are nice to him to make up for all times they wished him dead.

***Honorable Mention for Hot Takes: Week 1 power rankings***

umm.. Cody O_O
umm.. Cody O_O

No Slander Just Facts on Jeff Fisher:

In conclusion I just want to remind everyone in America, Jeff Fisher sucks at his job, Jeff Fisher is still employed at his job, when his job gave him an extension Jeff Fisher had recently benched the #1 draft pick and loss by 28 to a division foe and arguably the weakest link not named the Rams. Jeff sucks, don’t be like Jeff Fisher!

The real american dream....getting paid for nothing
The real american dream….getting paid for nothing

****Don’t forget to check out all the content on the http://www.iconoclasticallybombastic.com/ website, Cody Stewart has put a lot of time into his articles so at least take the time to look at them and tell him how much you disagree.ygamfintro

Thurman v Porter: The Road To Supremacy Starts Here

On this day, June 25, 2016 two young guns face off to what most are hoping will be the start of a series of challenging match ups at the 147 pound division. Keith “One Time” Thurman, a knockout artist with the potential to end a fight with one punch versus Shawn “Showtime” Porter, a gritty blue collar fighter. The records of both men are impressive given their young careers as Thurman is 26-0 and Porter is 26-1-1 but how will they match up inside the ring?

Thurman’s Assets

Although it has been a few fights...."One Time" power is still very much a concern for opponents facing Keith Thurman
Although it has been a few fights….”One Time” power is still very much a concern for opponents facing Keith Thurman

Thurman is a very athletic fighter with strong hands. I would say after watching both fighters for a while that he’s the more fundamentally sound fighter. He keeps his guard high and works behind quick feet and hands. Rare is it that we find a combination of both speed and power but in Thurman’s case there has been flashes of that throughout his career. Thurman has shown a wide array of punches in his repertoire all with ko potential as he’s managed to stop fights with hooks, jabs, uppercuts both to the body and head. Defensively Thurman is no slouch as he fully utilizes his athletic ability able to slip the majority of hard punches thrown back at him. He has a more traditional guard with his chin tucked and ,thanks to his quick hands, has shown the potential to be an effective counter puncher which makes him extremely dangerous in the ring. For a young fighter Thurman seems to be fully aware of his capabilities as both a knockout puncher and effective counter puncher however if there is one flaw in his attack it’s his reluctance to build behind the jab. With his quick hands he is more than capable of firing off jabs that can be effective due to his strength. Unfortunately with a name like “one time” he gets caught looking for that “one punch” and it can lead to fights being made a lot harder than what they should be, especially if his opponent has a strong chin and good stamina. I personally worry about Thurman’s love for power punching, in the fight before last versus former champion Robert ” Ghost” Guerrero, Thurman landed 211 punches the entire fight. Out of that 211 a 172 were power punches. In his last fight according to compubox Thurman landed just 13 of his 137 jabs thrown for a 9% connect rating. Words can’t really describe how bad that is and if there isn’t any improvement in this area from Thurman he will be in for a tough fight tonight.

Porter’s Assets

It's not always pretty but it wins for Shawn Porter who used to go by the nickname "Pitbull Porter" for his aggressive style
It’s not always pretty but it wins for Shawn Porter who used to go by the nickname “Pitbull Porter” for his aggressive style

Porter does not possess the athleticism of Thurman inside the ring. He’s not as slick or fluent in his movement with his offense or defense as a matter of fact in contrast to Thurman he’s far more rugged. But what he lacks in the skill department he makes up for in tenacity and grit. Porter is an in your face type of fighter, he loves to make fights ugly and uncomfortable for opponents. When I say he likes to make fights ugly it’s rare that Porter allows opponents to box by staying on the outside. He seems very comfortable in fighting throwing wild punches and pushing his opponent around. I hate to say it so bluntly but there’s just not much special about Porters offensive or defensive attributes. He’s a solid fighter and has come a long way with his father as his trainer but I don’t think he does anything better than Thurman. However, with that being said the one thing that has always kept him in the fights and allowed him to become a champion is his will. In my opinion Porter has gotten this far by outworking his opponents more so than relying on any type of skill. In the loss to Kell Brooks a few fights ago I think we got a glimpse of what Porter can do when placed in the ring with someone who possesses a little boxing IQ and skill. Porter did not look good in that fight and was beat to the punch by a cleaner and smarter attack. Brooks effectively countered Porter’s aggression with sharp counter punches and footwork. He also dictated the spacing in the ring due to Porter’s inability to walk him down. The fight was close but in the end the victory went to the sharper fighter in Brooks. Many people like to point to the victory over Broner when they talk about Porter but honestly Broner isn’t that skilled of a fighter.

Keys To Victory

it's been a while since boxing has had two up and coming fighters face off.  Porter v Thurman has generated some excitement among fans of the sport
it’s been a while since boxing has had two up and coming fighters face off. Porter v Thurman has generated some excitement among fans of the sport

For Thurman to win I believe he has to utilize his quick feet and counter punching ability. If he falls in love with the power punches and gets himself tired that’s when Porter can capitalize. Thurman possesses all the tools to dispose of Porter in 7-8 rounds max but he’s yet to fully tap into that potential. He loves knock outs and hasn’t realized that they don’t come so easily when you step up in competition. All the skills like power, speed, and footwork favor Thurman so I think he just needs rely on those things inside the ring in unison. Not just speed or power and sometimes his footwork, but rather everything that he possesses at his disposal.

Porter on the other hand has to be the intelligent fighter. This is also something that I worry about a little as I have not seen Porter and his camp execute any other game plan besides out lasting his opponent and overwhelming them with pressure. This tactic will not work this fight. Porter can try it but I honestly would not recommend walking into Thurman punches as a gameplan. It’s not talked about much but the early portion of Porter’s career was at 154 pounds and I believe as an amateur he has fought as high as 160 so it is not like he can’t take a punch. The combination of the speed and power of a clean Thurman punch however can lead to flash knockdowns and if that happens Porter will find himself in an uphill battle that he does not want to participate in. Porter will need to box to score points but also make it the typical ugly Porter fight. I have noted Thurman’s lack of jab accuracy and that can come into play with a guy who likes to come forward and crowd. If Porter can avoid the one timer he shouldn’t have much of a problem in the later rounds from Thurman much like Robert Guerrero did.

Fight and Prediction

Who will it be One Time?
Who will it be One Time?
Or Showtime
Or Showtime

Thurman has all the tools and in all honesty a guy like Porter should not be hanging around after rounds 8 and 9 with someone of Thurman’s caliber. Porter to me is just a tough kid and Thurman is the real rising star in the sport of boxing. With that being said, Thurman does not fully utilize all his tools in his fights. He’s been somewhat of a dud for the last year and Porter always gives his best effort and that could be enough. I have the fight starting a little slow with both fighters feeling each other out. I do not expect a display of high skill as these are still two guys finding their way in the game. Thurman always goes for the knockout but he will find himself in his third consecutive fight where quite honestly “one time” will not be enough. This fight will go to the cards with a unanimous decision for Keith “One Time” Thurman

….who will call out Floyd Mayweather and say Pacquiao retired to avoid fighting him!

Porter v Thurman
Porter v Thurman

“It’s Not Bragging If You Can Back It Up!” Why Muhammad Ali Truly Was The Greatest Of All Time

There will always be nothing but respect from me for Muhammad Ali as an athlete and as a man. Ali was a polarizing individual, quite possibly the most polarizing individual in American Sports history. From his stance on the Vietnam war and civil rights, to his ability to rhyme and entertain the masses with his words, wherever Muhammad Ali went the world was watching and listening. There are so many people who have so many personal stories and interactions with the Champ and I truly wish I could have met him before he passed however the closest I could get to Ali was one of his old training sites in Miami. I was on my way back to Richmond and had stumbled upon the gym looking for a gym to exercise in while I was in Miami and every day I went by it was closed. It just so happened that someone was cleaning the place when I was headed out and allowed me to walk in. To think that I was standing in the same spot that an 18 year old Ali (at the time he was still known as Cassius Clay) stood when he requested the services of Angelo Dundee, trained and beat Sonny Liston, it was almost too much for me to handle as a boxing fan. I remember standing there looking at the pictures on the wall, a few of his belts and even throwing some punches at a heavy bag that he apparently used (not really sure I believe that but it looked extremely ancient) bouncing around attempting to shuffle my feet. I might have stayed in there for hours if the janitor did not kick me out. I soaked in the moment one final time, took a few pictures before my phone battery died and went on to board the plane back to Richmond. Looking back it never dawned on me to think of a time when Ali would not be here but that day has sadly come and while others have more credentials than I when it comes to speaking about Ali, I feel the need to put some words to paper for someone that has inspired not only me but so many others.

‘It’s hard to be humble, when you’re as great as I am.’

A young Ali was quite the entertainer
A young Ali was quite the entertainer

Nobody had the gift of gab like Muhammad Ali. His only match for wit and comebacks might have been his partner in crime Howard Cosell. Their back and forth interviews are as comical as they are informative. A young Ali was surgical with his verbal barrages on opponents outside the ring. It did not just start with calling Foreman ugly or Frazier a gorilla, Ali was rapping and styling around fighters before he even got a championship fight! ”To make America the greatest is my goal, so I beat the Russian and I beat the Pole. And for the USA won the medal of gold. The Greeks said you’re better than the Cassius of old” This was just one of many examples of a young Ali establishing his place as one of the best talkers in boxing early and has he would later hint, it was all part of his plan to build himself to be larger than life. Boxing is just as much of a mental sport as it is a physical sport and while we can say that about every sport, there is something about 1 v 1 competition that takes the mental game to a whole other level. When Ali said something you know he meant it and he had no problem with letting you or anybody else know about it. Ali was so good at trash talking that there is even some out here who think he helped create rap as we know it. He was without a doubt one of a kind when it came to trash talk.

‘I am the greatest, I’m the greatest that ever lived. I don’t have a mark on my face’

After defeating Liston  ( a man many viewed as indestructible) a young Ali really shocked the world at the age of 22
After defeating Liston ( a man many viewed as indestructible) a young Ali really shocked the world at the age of 22

Often times when we look back on our sports legends and heroes we tend to skip over the beginning and just start at the good part. With that being said most people when they talk about Ali just start with Sonny Liston, the iconic picture, and the “I am the greatest” quote. I always find it funny that prior to the Sonny Liston fight and young Ali had be hurt a few times in his career and even had Liston ringside at a fight commenting that he couldn’t fight Ali because “they would arrest him for murder.” Ali did not do himself any favors before stepping in the ring with Sonny Liston as he had been knocked down twice and in one fight against Henry Cooper needed the assistance of his corner to stall long enough to get his wits about him before the bell. With that being said I think a lot of people do not realize just how imposing of a champion Sonny Liston was at the time. Liston was so intimidating that the man who had Ali out on his feet , Henry Cooper and his trainer, were quoted as saying if Liston won they had no intentions of meeting him in the ring or “walking down the street.” So when the 7:1 underdog Ali won and declared himself “The Greatest” he kind of had a point. There have been many claims to the title of the greatest since Ali’s time but in regards to boxing there hasn’t been many who have a resume as impressive as Ali. He was a champion at 22, defeated two of the hardest punchers in the sports history in Liston and Foreman, and has one of the most memorable rivalries in sports history with Joe Frazier. If not for the layoff and political distractions involved with his affiliation with Nation of Islam Ali could have been even greater as a fighter than what we know now.

‘I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.’

Not everyone was happy about Ali's conversion to Islam.  Malcolm X guided him early in his career but when Malcolm split from the Nation, he and Ali grew distant
Not everyone was happy about Ali’s conversion to Islam. Malcolm X guided him early in his career but when Malcolm split from the Nation, he and Ali grew distant

Often times when we as fans look at sporting events we never learn the full story behind what it took to create that event. Those stories behind the events are more entertaining than the event itself at times and Ali versus Liston is no exception. Leading up to the first fight Ali was known to hang with Malcolm X and members of the Nation of Islam (henceforth referred to as the NOI). At the time of the first Liston fight the NOI was considered a radical group of African-Americans who hated white people and preached violence. As the story goes the promoters threatened to call off the fight if Ali did not renounce the NOI and his affiliation with Malcolm X. Ali’s father even spoke out against he NOI stating ” They ruined my two boys, muslims tell them to hate white people, hate their mother, and hate women.” There’s no telling how hectic things became but Malcolm X eventually agreed to keep a low profile until the night of the fight and through all the criticism and pressure Ali never renounced the NOI. It is said that the promotion loss close to $300,000 because of this and you can imagine the reaction from the world when before the second fight with Liston, Muhammad Ali publicly embraced the NOI, Malcolm X and Elijah Mohammad. The NOI did not fully embrace Ali until after he defeated Liston the first time, under the guidance of Malcolm X, Ali would learn to embrace his new found platform as heavyweight champion and also find his calling in the Islamic faith. Elijah Mohammad himself gave the name Mohammad Ali to the young Cassius Clay and although there seems to be a few different translations the consensus is that it means “one worthy of praise.”

‘Get up and fight, sucker!’

probably the most iconic photo of his boxing career.  The short lived Ali v Liston II is still debated today.  This photo is often misinterpreted as Ali gloating but in actuality he was upset that the anchor punch had actually knocked Liston down.  " Get up and fight sucka"
probably the most iconic photo of his boxing career. The short lived Ali v Liston II is still debated today. This photo is often misinterpreted as Ali gloating but in actuality he was upset that the anchor punch had actually knocked Liston down. ” Get up and fight sucka”

Prior to the first fight there was a carefully worded rematch clause that allowed Liston’s promoters to promote Ali’s next fight. Rematch clauses are the norm in today’s boxing however at this particular time the WBA forbid rematch clauses and seeing that the information was kept separate from the main contract it did not sit well with the sanctioning body. So when the rematch was announced the WBA stripped Ali and dropped Liston from their rankings. Due to his open affiliation with the NOI and controversial figure Malcolm X the second fight with Liston was more of a circus than an actual fight. Several months before the fight would take place Malcolm X left the NOI and severed his friendship with Ali. When he was assassinated rumors spread that his supporters would retaliate by attacking Ali. There was controversy with Liston as well, rumors started to circulate that his promoter was tied to the mafia then Liston was arrested for drunk driving and carrying a pistol. This scared many boxing commissions from approving the fight so when Massachusetts said they would host it looked as though the promotion was saved.All the commotion and fear surrounding both fighters is ultimately why the fight ended up in a little known town of Lewiston, Maine. The second Liston fight proved to be one of the most debated knockouts in boxing history. The fight started and ended before most people even sat down and at the time was one of the quickest knockouts in heavyweight history. I’m sure we have all seen the iconic photo of Ali standing over top of a groggy Liston but many people don’t like to talk about the actual event that led up to that photo. Liston went for the kill on Ali and was countered with a right hand flush on the chin. The debate comes in as to whether Liston was actually hit or not and some say the photo taken isn’t Ali bragging but angrily telling Liston to get up because he did not think he hit him. The distraction caused by Ali interrupted the refs count and while Liston eventually got up the timekeeper had officially counted him out. The fight ended at exactly 2:12 and Ali had once again shocked the world.

‘Man I ain’t got no quarrel with them Vietcong’

The draft dodging accusations were detrimental to Ali's early career.  In the face of extreme public scrutiny he never backed down
The draft dodging accusations were detrimental to Ali’s early career. In the face of extreme public scrutiny he never backed down

With such a quick rise to fame and the backing of powerful figures around the nation it would have been very easy for Ali to lose himself. Yet we find that the young Ali was willing to risk everything for what he believed in. I think a lot of people are unaware that Ali had enlisted in the military two years before he was arrested for draft dodging. His IQ score wasn’t high enough and when the government wanted to increase their military presence in Vietnam they lowered the standards which meant Ali qualified. It is said that support of the Vietnam war was over 50% when Ali refused enter the draft. A month after Ali’s famous line, support for the war dropped below 50% and in a year it was as low as 27%. Ali essentially destroyed his career after denouncing the war, he was stripped of his boxing license in all 50 states and publicly ridiculed. People he once considered friends, like Jackie Robinson, spoke out in opposition to Ali’s stance. How could Ali, a man who has found success in America, turn his back on his fellow Americans fighting in Vietnam? Ali remained steadfast though, questioning the reasons behind the war and methods of recruitment. “The government had a system where the rich man’s son went to college, and the poor man’s son went to war,” he said. In order to try to maintain some level of income Ali was forced to fight outside of the United States but no closed circuit establishment show his fight so all the promotions lost money. Eventually Ali started traveling the country speaking out on the war at colleges and rallies around the country. Knowing what I know about Ali the person I feel as though he would frown at the idea of calling his three and a half year hiatus from boxing a waste. In fact he was very productive and influential to the civil rights movement and anti-war movement of the 60’s and as support for the war faded many people began to support Ali and in 1971 his conviction was overturned. For all that he did in his career Ali’s stance on the Vietnam war and willingness to stand fast to his beliefs amid criticism from even people he called friend was undoubtedly one of the main attributes that make him The Greatest of All Time.

‘Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.’

"I had seen Frazier kill many a man with that left hand.  Ali took it and then got up in three seconds" - Ringside observer at the "Fight of the Century"  which would see Ali lose for the first time in his career
“I had seen Frazier kill many a man with that left hand. Ali took it and then got up in three seconds” – Ringside observer at the “Fight of the Century” which would see Ali lose for the first time in his career

Post Vietnam protest Ali bothers me a little. I have always personally wondered when he should have stopped fighting and why he kept going. Ali did not seem to possess the lust for money that his predecessor to boxing greatness Sugar Ray Robinson had. He clearly did not care what others thought about him or his legacy in the ring. So I always find myself looking for something, some bread crumb as to why he kept going. Most men take a lay off from boxing and fight a few tune ups, exhibitions and call it a career. Ali came back did the tune ups, exhibitions and then went straight for the top. And it is in his second ascension to the top that I start to see quotes and interviews with Ali that tell me that he knew his work towards greatness was not done. Ali’s fights of the 70’s solidified his hall of fame status and supremacy over the best heavyweights of his era. There’s the trilogy with Joe Frazier their first fight being called ” the Fight of the Century.” The trilogy with Ken Norton and of course the infamous Rumble in the Jungle with George Foreman. The Rumble in the Jungle posed the same threat as the Sonny Liston fight, a strong, knockout artist champion who was coming off a dominant victory. Ali was passed his prime by that time to many observers and his rope-a-dope tactic was ill advised and extremely dangerous. If you look the 70’s Ali took a lot of punishment from some of the heaviest hands in boxing history. This combined with his longevity in the sport is what many believe led to him being diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Ali’s career personified him as an individual, sure he liked to talk to the talk but it was always more satisfying to prove people wrong and defy the odds. As he stated “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”

‘I’ve made my share of mistakes along the way, but if I have changed even one life for the better, I haven’t lived in vain.

“The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
“The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”

It amazes me how many things he has done that have went under the radar but seem to be jumping out at us today. “Ali stops a gang fight, Ali talks man out of suicide, Ali negotiates the release of 15 American hostages in Iraq.” Looking back on his life you almost get the feeling that even if it were made into a motion picture, the original story would be more entertaining than anything we could create. Ali was larger than life all the way up until his death and the fact that he remained human is what truly makes him the Greatest Of All Time. We all possess the courage to stand up for something when it’s not right, we all possess the ability to inspire, to change but there are not many of us that are willing to be selfless and carry the burdens of our fellow man. Ali did not do things for attention and admiration, Muhammad Ali changed the world by simply being himself. He utilized his fame and notoriety to routinely draw attention to society’s wrongs and the negative connotations associated with being a Muslim. Often times when he helped African-Americans he would be quoted as saying “I am your brother.” In tribute we see a lot of people saying there will never be another Ali and I believe they are right. Our athletes today are too careful with what they say and too aware of what others think about them. They say a lot of things but they do not act on half of what they say so their words ring hollow. Ali was just as much about action, inside and outside the ring, as he was about talking. As with any good story even Ali’s must come to an end. Ali retired from boxing officially in 1981 long pass the time many thought he should have hung it up. The rope-a-dope tactic he utilized for the latter portion of his career was strategically brilliant and also came at a heavy cost. By 1984 Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, something many believe to be a direct result of the punishment taken primarily during the 70s. And while he eventually lost his ability to speak, Ali continued to inspire and lead by example without any voice all the way up to his death. Muhammad Ali never looked away from the injustice facing African-Americans and Muslims alike. He worked tirelessly to become a beacon of the right way for his people and while society has negative views on both African-Americans and Muslims, Ali remained the best example of how we as a people can be better and do better for one another. He is not only one of the greatest boxer of all time, he is one of the greatest human beings of all time. Rest In Peace to the Champ.

Editors note: In recent days there has been a wave of pro black support for Ali. My goal with this article was not to pull Ali to one side, he was apologetically black without a doubt, however he belonged to the world. He was a servant of the people and while he looked out for HIS people most, do not sully his image by making him a symbol for racial violence. Ali stood for peace and equality. We would do well to honor his memory by not circulating these opportunistic articles and memes saying otherwise.

All That Glitters Is Not Gold: The Real Danger Behind The 2016 Olympics

In 2009 when it was announced that the 2016 Summer Olympics would take place I was stoked. It was big news for the country as well because they were also slated to host the 2014 Fifa World Cup. One would think that these type of events bring along the exposure and money that could really boost an economy. In fact if you let the experts tell it, events like the World Cup and Olympics are great for any hosting country. Articles like this one written by CNBC’s Kate Holliday cite expert opinions from Walter Boettcher, chief economist at Colliers International, and it reads pretty simple. The events come in to the host country, build new state of the art venues, attract tourist willing to spend on everything, build patriotism within the country and provide the host country with a platform to become globally recognized. But is that really true?

Then and Now….

Like I stated before, in 2009 with the initial announcement that the 2016 Olympics were going to take place in Brazil I immediately called up some of my friends and began to plan a trip. I love the summer Olympics but I would be lying if I did not admit that I really wanted to go experience Brazil. The country comes off as the place to be with beautiful beaches, awesome clubs, and of course the world famous Brazilian women. And back in 2009 that is exactly what Brazil was when it was chosen to host: a vibrant, festive country with beautiful beaches and women for all. But this is no longer 2009 and in 2016 the current state of Brazil is a shell of what it was seven years ago. Today Brazil is in the midst of impeaching their President and in all honesty this may be the best news coming out of the country leading up to the Olympics these days. The Brazilian President, Ms. Rousseff is accused of using money from state banks to cover up for the budget shortfalls ahead of her 2014 election. Her impeachment was spearheaded by a former member of her political party and while she her claims of innocence are noted, it does not seem like the senate in Brazil are satisfied with her explanation. Making this story even more crazy is the fact that the man accusing President Rousseff of wrongdoing is also taking heat for allegedly accepting over $5 million in bribes from oil companies. And it is not just one senator who has been implicated but there are reportedly dozens more who may have taken part in shady business while serving their country. What was once a proud country has now fallen into turmoil amidst government unrest. As you can imagine there are many who still support the President and just as many on the other side who support her opposition. From the looks of some of these timelines and proceedings, Brazil could very well be under new leadership by the time the Olympics officially start in August but that’s not the worse part of this story unfortunately.

Demonstrators parade large inflatable dolls depicting Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in prison garb and current President Dilma Rousseff dressed as a thief, with a presidential sash that reads "Impeachment," in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, March 13, 2016. The corruption scandal at the state-run oil giant Petrobras has ensnared key figures from Rousseff’s Workers’ Party, including her predecessor and mentor, Lula da Silva, as well as members of opposition parties. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
Demonstrators parade large inflatable dolls depicting Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in prison garb and current President Dilma Rousseff dressed as a thief, with a presidential sash that reads “Impeachment,” in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, March 13, 2016. The corruption scandal at the state-run oil giant Petrobras has ensnared key figures from Rousseff’s Workers’ Party, including her predecessor and mentor, Lula da Silva, as well as members of opposition parties. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
Some of the water conditions in Rio and throughout Brazil
Some of the water conditions in Rio and throughout Brazil

No Church In The Wild….

Contrary to popular belief the 2014 World Cup did not help the Brazilian economy. As a matter of fact Brazil’s economy has steadily declined since 2014 with the outlook not getting any better. They are currently in the midst of a recession and there are even reports that workers for the Olympic venues are not getting paid and protesting. And depending on who you talk to there is no telling what could happen to you as a tourist or visitor in the country these days. So if we are taking count, there is clearly civil unrest in Brazil, a lack of a government presence, why the only thing missing here for the new Call of Duty is a viral outbreak. Oh wait, we have that too. I am not going to act like I know a lot about Zika or what it does but the world is getting spooked by the idea of it and with an event like the Olympics coming to the country it does not reinforce anything positive about the experience for tourist and athletes. With all this going on there has to be a silver lining for the athletes right? Wrong, there are reports that Brazil might actually be worse for Olympian athletes than China was as far as pollution goes. There’s also security concerns for athletes who may opt to stay outside of Olympic Village and if the locals aren’t enough to make you abide by curfew, you might not even be safe as an athlete or spectator at the venues. Brazil shares a border with 10 other countries and given the events of the Paris attacks the threat of terrorism striking the Olympics is real in a lot of minds. Many people question whether the country is prepared to handle a terrorist threat or ,worst case scenario, a terrorist attack. Oh, did I mention the alligator problem in the country?

 United States goalkeeper Hope Solo is one of the athletes who have spoken out on concerns about Zika in the 2016 Olympics
United States goalkeeper Hope Solo is one of the athletes who have spoken out on concerns about Zika in the 2016 Olympics

The Show Must Go On….

In the end none of this will matter I suppose. Millions and millions of people around the world will tune in to see their respective countries ( except maybe Russia)compete for the glorious gold medal. And while I’ve spent some extensive time reading about the hazards facing the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, as an athlete I do not think I could pass up the opportunity to compete. There have been a few athletes who have backed out the Games for various reasons but outside of Zika nobody has mentioned anything about the other problems listed in this article. I expect that come August the networks will do the same and we will see nothing but smiling faces, beautiful beaches, and beautiful women. Brazil has 99 problems but getting the Olympic Games completed ain’t one.

Open Mic:

-If you haven’t seen Texas Rangers 2nd Basmeman Rougned Odor’s punch on Toronto Blue Jays Right Fielder Jose Bautista…..all I can say is NSFW

-There has been a lot of information about the Olympics and the failed preparation for the event. I know there are a lot of links in this particular article but I wanted to show that I’m not just making this stuff up.

-The Fail of the Week goes to the whomever forgot to take the practice bomb out of Old Trafford.

-I have ventured into the uncharted waters of WNBA. I’m actually proud of myself for willingly watching the games. Hopefully one day I will be inspired enough to write on the sport, I respect the athletes and it really does look like it could be shaping up to be more entertaining than before so stay tuned

-If you are a part of our group on Facebook check out the BBall Breakdown reports there is a lot of good information on these playoff games

-Make sure you check out this weeks Episode of Head to Head, The Full Count, and tonight at 8 pm the NBA on IBN.

Take Me Out To The Ball Game: These Cubs Are The Real Bears of Chicago

It has been a long, long, long time since the Chicago Cubs have had a reason to celebrate or even look forward to baseball at Wrigley with championship aspirations. Now usually I don’t buy into the hype but this one time I will allow myself to fall in love with a mainstream story. If you haven’t taken notice the Chicago Cubs seem to be the real deal this year. I know, I know it’s a long season, it’s early, they haven’t played anybody, “come on dude it’s the Cubs we’re talking about.” Trust me I’m with you on any given year in my 20+ years of baseball watching but this year, for 2016 I think we have to buy into the hype.

The Chicago Cubs , and I have to specify because the other team in Chicago is playing some good ball themselves, are not just winning games but statistically they are whipping people. They are top 10 in just about every statistical category offensively except strikeouts and in that case they are in the bottom 10 in the league. Batting average, RBIs, Walks, Home Runs, Doubles, Hits…I mean the only thing they haven’t managed to do a lot of is hit triples. And the crazy thing about this team offensively is that they can actually be better. I know it is cliche to say that, but I really think that this team hasn’t hit it’s peak on the offensive side of the ball and that’s beyond scary for the National League. You’ve got two guys in that line up in crucial positions who have yet to deliver like we know they can. Those two guys, Jason Heyward and Jorge Soler, still find a way to impact the game by drawing out at bats and putting pressure on teams when they do get on base by stealing. And on days you think you’re going to catch a break guess what? You have to deal with a talented bench of Javier Baez, Matt Schzur, and Tommy La Stella. That’s three guys batting over .300 coming off the bench and making an impact on any given day or night.

And don’t think that these Cubs are just a hitting machine. You can’t talk pitching in MLB without talking the Chicago Cubs this year. It goes beyond their ace Jake Arrieta, this Chicago Cub staff is holding opponents to a combined .201 batting average in this first month and have a collective ERA of 2.48. As a matter of fact the Chicago Cubs are the only team with a winning record who has single digit save opportunities so far. In the 30 games they have played Chicago has went into the 9th inning with a save opportunity just 8 times so far! If you look at the differential in the runs given up ( a league low 75) and the Runs scored by the Cubs (a league high 184) you start to wonder just how high these guys can go. And you know what got me a tad bit excited about these Cubs? This weekend they took on a more than game Washington Nationals team who came in red hot with big wins on their road series. Chicago all but whipped them up until today and in extra innings guess who won the game for them? Javier Baez, the kid off the bench. With depth, youth, experience, and the ultimate anti-curse, good luck charm, Theo Epstein, this Chicago Cubs team just …might…exorcise the demons that have held Chicago baseball back for 100 years.

The Ghost of Chicago Past looms as the 2016 Cubs fight a history of bad luck
The Ghost of Chicago Past looms as the 2016 Cubs fight a history of bad luck

“7th inning stretch”

-Don’t sleep on the other Chicago team either. The White Sox might not be as appealing as the Cubs but they have the best record in the American League and don’t seem to show any signs of slowing down any time soon. With both Chicago teams playing so well early in the season I’m reminded of a series of commercials that were highly underrated Chicago v Chicago

– The Washington Nationals are playing really good ball but until they figure out how to protect Bryce Harper they may continue to lose close games. Bryce set a record by reaching base 7 times today without an official at bat. He was walked 6 times today, one time with runners on 1st and 2nd and two outs in extra innings. When the guy behind him is batting 2-15 in the series expect Bryce to be avoided as long as a base is open.

-I have been dominating the sports group I’m in with #’s for baseball. #youthmovement for big time plays by guys under 28, #nonathlete for all athletic plays, and #fatmansport for plays made by guys who’s BMI makes them overweight (an inside joke in the group). With that being said the play of the year has already been made and the guy who made it fits the latter # and his name is Bartolo Colon. His homer was so historic that it got it’s very own baseball card. The story behind Bartolo’s comeback in the league is even more fascinating and a great read. He’s truly become the ambassador for the slow pitch softball bodied athletes left in baseball today. Eat your heart out Babe

-As superstitious as the game of baseball is it’s a wonder that the guys agreed to switch to pink shoes, bats, hats ,and mitts for today’s games. It was all fun and games until a struggling Tigers offense didn’t get a hit until they broke the pink bats and were forced to use their regular bats

-David Ortiz is the official Yankee killer and if you didn’t know that just check his stats this year as he’s saying good bye the best way he knows how….taking them yard Big Papi gonna Big Papi

-Lost in all the action so far is the fact that Major League Baseball is looking to expand. Now I don’t know if that is good for the sport or not yet as some people would have us believe baseball is dying, but something must be going good for the league to want to expand. One of the cities reportedly interested in taking an expansion team is none other than Montreal. I for one would love to see the old expos back in action.

-This week’s fun stat is brought to you by the Radio broadcast for the Tigers and Rangers game. According to the Rangers broadcast, in 2015 the Rangers had 100 less hits than Tigers. The Rangers were such a more efficient base running team that they took an extra base 47% of the time the opportunity was given to them. The Tigers on the other hand took an extra base 34% of the time. The difference in runs for each team? With a 100 more hits the Tigers scored almost 70 less runs. Just a reminder that the little things add up in baseball

Remember if you like the article share the article! And as always check out the many podcast we do here at IBN.

Protect Yourself at all Times:How the Business that is Boxing will Inevitably delay another Marquee Match up

Before I start this let me first say that while I find the outcome of Saturday’s Canelo v Khan fight funny, in actuality there is nothing funny about such a brutal knockout. With that being said, combat sports in general always run the risk of harm to the competitors for the sake of entertainment and I am glad that Khan is at least functional as of this writing Now let’s get to the point, this fight should have never been made. I’ve said that from the announcement, all the way through the promotion, and even in the final seconds of Amir Khan concussed body hitting the canvas. I consider Amir a 140lb fighter who was moonlighting at 147 because that’s where the money was. Prior to taking this fight Amir had only fought four fights at the welterweight limit of 147 lbs. Of those four none where top 10 fighters, as a matter of fact the last top 10 fighter Amir Khan faced was Danny Garcia in 2012, a fight that ended in a stoppage by the ref after a dazed Khan was picking himself up off the canvas for a second time that night. So all things considered how the hell does Amir Khan get to fight the best 154lb* fighter in the world for the MIDDLEWEIGHT championship? Let me say that again, a guy who typically fights at 140-147 just got knocked out by a guy who is 154lbs* but has the middleweight belt, a belt that rightfully belongs to the men in the 160lb division.

“How Sway? “

The story on how Canelo obtained the middleweight belt is another article in and of itself so for this particular discussion we are going to focus on the sham tonight. You see there is the “new” stigma in boxing where every fighter has to establish themselves to a certain side in the negotiations. There’s the A side where we see the money being made. These are your headliners on the pay per view and the one making 8 figures for the fight. Then there is the B side which in today’s boxing negotiations just means that you take the blame for the fight if it doesn’t go through. Somewhere between Oscar De la Hoya and Floyd Mayweather , this A-side title became the “one ring to rule them all” type title. Oscar honestly started this when he set up the first fight with Floyd Mayweather and Floyd took it to a whole other level remaining undefeated and collecting almost 10x as much money at one point in the latter part of his career than the actual fight with Oscar De La Hoya. The title of PPV king has taken priority over the roots of boxing and self-preservation is a necessity for a PPV king. And that’s what we get nowadays fighters who are afraid to look bad or lose for fear that after a defeat fans and networks won’t tune in anymore. And the craziest part about that logic is that there are countless examples of boxers who have loss but still remained attractive to fans and networks. So how does this pertain to Canelo? Canelo is being groomed to be the next big thing in boxing. Much like GGG is being groomed to be the next big thing. When you break down their success over the last few years the only advantage Canelo has is his opponents have name recognition. As far as the sport goes both men essentially dominate a dead division but guys like Cotto, Mosely, Mayweather, Khan sound better and look better on your resume than Stevens, Macklin, Geale, Ouma. Hell the last person that Gennady fought was an 18-0 kid from Maryland and honestly I’m not even sure how he got the fight.

The Ruse

Canelo v Khan was always made to have Canelo look really good in front of an audience so that he can use this fight as leverage when he tells GGG he has to come to 155 lbs if he wants the belt. As the junior middleweight-middleweight champion Canelo has more victories versus welterweights than any other division. All signs point to Canelo aging out of the 154 lb division completely. He’s 25 years old and hasn’t’ fought at his normal weight class since 2013. Granted it’s just 1lb but if you can’t make the weight you have to move up or agree to a catch weight. They don’t make belts for a 155 lb champion so Canelo either has to move up to 160 or get guys from 160 to agree to a catch weight and have it sanctioned. The sanctioning hasn’t been a problem but getting the names to come down has been and this is where we will see the Canelo v GGG fight stalled for all eternity.
That is Canelo’s side of the story but let’s not act like GGG is without his faults in this spat. GGG has stated he would come down to fight Floyd Mayweather as low as 154 pounds but he won’t fight Canelo at 155 pounds for his belts? And why hasn’t he fought any of the top contenders in the middleweight division? The new baddest man on the planet has fought has beens and bottom level “top competition.” What I mean by that is he’s made a living off avoiding top 5 fighters in his division somehow. GGG has been active since 2006 in the middleweight division, and in 2006 Miguel Cotto (the man who beat the man for the middleweight belts) was still a small welterweight making his impact on the sport. In the 10 years since then the middleweight division has seen its share of worthy champions like Paul Williams, Kelly Pavlik, Sergio Martinez, Jermain Taylor, Bernard Hopkins but GGG hasn’t added not one of those names to his Resume in a 10-year career. Unfortunately, in the end he has nobody to blame but himself, and the idea that someone is actually running from GGG in that division just isn’t accurate. There has been plenty of time for GGG and his handlers to make moves if he’s as good as everyone makes him out to be and yet he’s chasing smaller guys trying to lay claim to the division, much like Canelo.

For now….we wait

This fight will be a negotiating nightmare for fans. It has all the makings of Mayweather v Pacquiao and the “what could have been” talks. Honestly the Mayweather v Pacquiao fiasco might not be as bad as this because while many say Floyd waited til Pacquiao “slowed down” the reality is that it didn’t necessarily benefit Floyd to wait until his reflexes declined through age either as he was slightly older than Manny. Regardless of which spectrum you’re on with Floyd v Manny they were closer in age than Canelo who is 25 years old and GGG who is 34 years old. Time is not on GGG’s side and that might be the only thing that will force him to concede to the Canelo camp’s demands and the fight gets made. He won’t really have much choice unless the sanctioning bodies strip Canelo, and well I don’t want to start a conspiracy theory but Mexican champions hardly ever get stripped by a sanctioning body especially the WBC. I often talk about the levels of boxing and how there is a right way to make a name in the sport and a wrong way. The way everyone goes about it now is the wrong way, many of these self-entitled fighters aren’t really drawing the “A Side” type numbers they think they are. Canelo is definitely a bigger draw than GGG but you can argue that’s more due to the fact his opponents were established names rather than he himself being the established name, and the opponents have hardly ever been evenly matched usually giving up 8 lbs most of the time or in Angulo and Kirkland’s case, inactive for about two years prior to the fight. So buckle up fight fans we’ve got two spoiled children about to sit down at the table and negotiate. I for one , won’t get my hopes up.