Month: April 2009

Down And Out But Not Necessarily Forgotten ……………..


Down  Out  And  Out     But   Not  Necessarily  Forgotten ………….

We  all  tend  to  rather   not  see  our  sporting  heroes  or   icons   carry  on  beyond  their    prime.  When that   happens  their   frailties   become  much   more  glaringly  exposed.     Perhaps  the  most  recognizable   of   them   all    may  well  be   Muhammad  Ali.

Fighting  on   beyond   his  prime  and   years .  Those   frailties   were  exposed  for  all  to  see.   And  all  the  more   disheartening   when  he   lost   to   fighters  who  were  at  best   never    in  his  class   when  he was   in  his   prime .  When   Ali  finally  stepped   away   from  the   ring  he   was  merely  a  shell   of   himself.

Chuck   'The Iceman'  Liddell   cometh .................
Chuck 'The Iceman' Liddell who faces on Saturday Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua in a lightheavyweight bout as part of the undercard of UFC 97. The venue for this and other bouts will be the Bell Center in Toronto , Ontario, Canada. picture appears courtesy of ufc.com ....................

Which  now  me  brings  me  to   real     point   of  this   particular    piece.    In the  upcoming   MMA   extravaganza  of UFC   97Chuck  Liddell once  one of the   golden  boys  of  the  sport   will  meet Mauricio  ‘Shogun’  Rua in a  light  heavyweight  bout   at  the  Bell Center  in Montreal, Canada,  this  Saturday.   Though   not  the  main  attraction  on the  card  which   is  headed  by  the   bout   between Anderson Silva and Thales Leites in  a  highly  anticipated  middleweight  clash.  Two    exponents   who  are   at  the  top  of   their  game   at  this  moment  in  time .   Liddell  the  alltime   biggest   draw   for   UFC  in  terms  of   revenues  attained  via   PPV.

Mauricio  'Shogun'  Rua   who  will  be  facing   Chuck  Liddell  in  an  upcoming  lightheavyweight  bout  against   Chuck  Liddell .........
Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua flexes his muscles at the weigh-in prior to a bout. Rua will face Liddell in an upcoming lightheavyweight bout at UFC 97. picture appears courtesy of Zuffa LLC .........................

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For  him  it’ll  be  the   fight   that  will  either  make   or  break  his   long  and  distinguished    career.     By  no  way   stretch  of   the  imagination   a   loss  at  this  juncture   for Liddell   will  almost   certainly  mean  an  end to   his  career. There’ll be  nowhere   but  down  to   go   from  here   with  a  loss.  However  a   win    would  place   back   amongst  the  upper  echelons   of  elite    fighters  within  the  light  heavyweight   division.   Where  it  can  be   said  there  are  a  plethora   of   top    class   fighters  all   looking  to  sit   atop  of  the  pile.

And  with Rashad  Evans installed  as  the   lightheavyweight  champion   looking  to   secure   a  long   tenure   of    the  title  as   champion.   It  can  be  said  that  he’d  be   more  than  willing to  face   any  and   all    who  prepared  to   challenge   the  title  holder.  He’s   never  been   know  to  sherk    what  he  feels   are   his   responsibilities  as   champion.   He  wants  to   viewed  as  the   people’s   champion  and   not  just   another  fighter   who’s   been  adorned  with   a   title.

Dana  White  President  of   UFC  seen here  discussing  the  death  of   Charles Lewis   at   press  convened.
UFC President Dana White seen here discussing the sudden death of Charles Lewis. White has overseen the infancy and growth of UFC from its inception . He's also an minority stake holder in the organization. UFC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Zuffa LLC, . Which in is owned by the Fertitta brothers. picture appears courtesy of mma.com/ Luiz Castellano ................................

For

President Dania White he   views   this    whole    event  as    just   another     slice    in  an  already   diminishing  piece  of  the    pie   from  which  the   mixed  martial   art’s  genre   has   taken   away  from   the   fans  of  the  sport  of   boxing.   With   each  show    promoted   under  the   UFC   banner  trademark.   Even  less   is   left   for  the  fans  of   the  once  much   heralded   sport.     So  much   so  that  in the  last   four  years   MMA  has   outstripped   the   gross   revenues    of    boxing  here   in   North  America.     And much  of  that  is   due  to  the  fact   that   boxing   as  a   sport   is   now   devoid   of   real   stars  that    resonate   with  the   fans.   And  within  the   division  once    viewed  as  the  bastion  of  the   sport.   The   heavyweight   division   has  become  the  laughing   stock   of   the  world .     And  with  there  being  no  end  in  sight  as  to  the fact    there  isn’t  a   undisputed   champion  within  the   division.    It  leaves  the  world   looking   elsewhere   for    their   gratification.

Saturday   night’s   event  no  doubt   will  be   something  that  even  the  most   ardent   fans  of  the   sport   are   looking   forward to.  And   as  much   as   we  all   appreciate    a  good    fight.    Shoould  the  bout  between    Liddell   and  Rua    be  anything   but  that  .  Then    at   least   the   bulk   of   the   fight  card   will  offer   us  something  meaningful.   Other   fighters   featured   will   be   Krzystzof    Sozynski  versus   Brian  Stann.    We  also    have   Cheick   Kongo    facing    Antoni  Hardonk,  Steve  Cantwell   versus   Luiz   Cane . The  full  card  is   filled  with    up  and  coming   stars  as  well  as  seasoned  veterans   of  the sport.

Thales   Leites (left)  faces   Nate Marquardt  in  UFC  85
Thales Leites(left) faces Nate Marquardt in UFC 85. Leites will face Anderson Silva in a middleweight bout at UFC 97 this Saturday at the Bell Center in Toronto , Ontario, Canada. picture appears courtesy of Zuffa LLC, @ copyrights reserved ..............

If   there’s   one  thing    that  we  know    it   is that   Liddell  come   out   looking   to   dictate  the   pace  of  the  bout.  Rua    for  his   part    will    not  let   that   happen   under  any   juncture.   They  both  know   that   their   best   showing   will  be   what    the   fans  above   all  else    will  be   looking    for.   Leites    may  well   be   the   slight   favorite  in  the  bout.    But   that  may  well  count   for   nothing  at   all  ,  when  one  considers   what’s  at  stake.

Nothing   would   delight   the  fans  more  to  see  Liddell   be   triumphant  .   And   for    Dana   White   who  has  indicated  that  should    Liddell   lose  the  bout   .   He  can  see  the   fighter   walk  way   from  the  sport  and  off  into   retirement.     For  Rua   a  loss   at   this    stage  of   his  career   won’t   bring  about an  immediate  end  to  his   career.    But  it  would   certainly   lower  his  profile   as   one   of   the  marquee   names    within  the   division.   A   win   would   raise   his  profile   even  more  and    give   him  a  greatr  chance   of   being  the   next    challenger    for   Evans’    lightheavyweight   title   belt.   Liddell    would   like   nothing  better   himself     than  being    the   main   antagonist    in   derailing   Rua’s    hopes  .   And   then     place   himself    as  the  main    challenger   to  Rashad  Evans.

Anderson  Silva  delivers  a  crushing  knee  blow  to  the  head of   his   opponent   Rich  Franklin .
Anderson Silva delivers a crushing blow knee blow to the head of his opponent Rich Franklin. Silva viewed by many as quite possibly the best pound for pound fighter in the genre of mixed martial arts. Though it is felt that George St-Pierre and Fedor Emelianenko may well be his equal. However one may view it the middleweight champion will face a stiff challenge from Thales Leites whom he faces this Saturday at UFC 97 . picture appears courtesy of Zuffa LLC. ................................

Whatever  the   end   result   may  well   be  this   Saturday  within  the  Bell  Center   in  Toronto.   One   can  be  sure  that   the  fans  in   attendance  and  those  watching    via  PPV   won’t   be  starved  of   entertainment  value   or   excitement.     Such  is  the  action  within  the  world   of   mixed   martial   arts.  It’  the  sport    for  those  who    just   want   allout   none   stop  action.   Which  is   more  than   can   be   said   from  what   we’re   now  witnessing  within  the  sport  of   boxing.    It’s  not  that  it  has  become   archaic .  It  is  merely   that   the   desire   that  the   fans   once   had    for   the   sport   is   no  longer   there.      Boxing  has  shot  itself   in    the   foot   repeatedly   and  has  yet  to   realize   that   by   not   making   itself    more  amenable  to   the  fans.   It’s   now  losing   much  if   its  appeal   as   the   genre  of    MMA  has   caught   on   not    just  with   young  male    but  also   amongst    females   as  well.Those  demographics    alone  is  enough    a  solid   foundation  for    MMA  to   build  on  over  the  coming   years.   And   White  as  well   his   stable   of   fighters   have   gone   out   and  made  themselves  all  the    more  accessible   to   the  fans   at  large.

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It’s Just Class That’s All Few Have It But Those Who Do Conduct Themselves The Right Way ……….


 
 
 
 
It’s Just Class That’s All Few Have It But Those That Do Conduct Themselves The Right Way ………………

 

 

In high school I loved track and field . The one sport where at times I felt at ease with myself. However once I got bitten by the martial art’s bug . That was it I was smitten. Track and fied though was the regimen that gave me strength and power to build my body. OK so there are some who’ll say lifting weights’ll go a long way as well . And I for one wouldn’t disagree with that at all.

 

Moses is congratulated  by  teammate Michael Shine  who  took the silver medal  in the event  at  the  1976 Olympics  in Montreal.
Moses is congratulated by teammate Michael Shine having won the silver medal to Moses' gold in the event at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. picture appears courtesy of corbis @ all rights reserved. .............

 

But of all the track athletes I’ve seen over the years . And it’s been a considerable number even given the exploits of Usain Bolt at the Beijing Olympics. Where it can be said even though he was overshadowed by the exploits of Michael Phelps there in Beijing. Phelps’ own shortcomings since then has been tabloid fodder for the dailies acrosss the world. Somewhat ironic given the fact that Bolt as a Jamaican would be the one you would consider more likely to be taking a hit from a bong. But there again it’s somewhat disdainful to tar everyone with the same brush. No not really as Phelps was being an ass to begin with !

 

Moses  competing  at  the  Los Angeles  Olympics  in  1984 .  Moses  would  go on to win  his  second of   two  Olympic medals in the event having  first  won  in  1976.
Moses seen here competing in the men's 400m hurdles at the Los Angeles Olympics. Moses would win the second of his two medals in the event having first won a gold in the event at the Montreal Olympics in 1976. picture appears courtesy afp/ Jack Wilson ................

   

Back to the point of this piece. As alluded to track and field is a sport that I love tremendously and still do. However the sport itself here isn’t given the coverage that it’s normally accustomed to getting in Europe and in the Far East and on the African continent. Here however you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who could tell you the name of the members of the US men’s relay team on the 4x100m team in Beijing. As I said the sport isn’t really given any due attention until the Olympics . And even then it’s got to be because there’s a chance that there’s a competitor and contender that the country actually cares about. US Track & Field (USATF) does a poor job in getting the sport connected to the public at large. And the coverage the sport gets is merely a passing one here in the US.

 

Moses  and  Mary  Lou  Retton are  seen here  on the  cover  of  SI in 1984. They  were  the  respective  Sports Man  and Sports  Woman of The  Year.
Moses and gymnast Mary Lou Retton seen here on the cover of SI . They were voted the respective Sportsnman and Sportswoman of the Year for 1984. picture appears courtesy of si.com/Steven Matthews ......................

 

At the collegiate level is primarily where the sport garners much of the attention and the interests of the public be enlarge. To say nothing of which many of those athletes are looking to take it to the next level on the professional circuit. Top track stars can make quite a decent living but when measured against that of the more high profiled sports . It pales into insignificance. However the likes of Bolt can make a decent sum when measured the added benefits of appearance money for certain high profiled track meets and the attaining of records. But it’s the off track earnings that can be enormous. And Bolt having garnered three gold medals in Beijing including the sprint double of the 100m and 200m in world record times made a name for himself around the globe. The third was added in the men’s 4x 100m again in world record time. And if anything he’s now the most recognized track athlete in the world. Something of a great accomplishment considering that before Beijing he wasn’t that widely known within the sport at the international level.

 

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Talk To Me Tell Me What It Is You Need ….It Can’t Be All About The Money


Talk  To  Me  Tell Me  What It  Is   You   Need………It  Can’t  Be All About  The Money……..

It seems  funny that  as  the  Major  League  Baseball  season  has  come  upon  us.  It  oughtn’t  to  surprise us  that  many  of the  teams  who’ve   made   a  big  splash  in the  free  agency  market  to  sign   in  some  cases  a marquee player. Those  players  in  particular  will  be  under  a    great  deal  of  pressure  to   justify  the   bounty  that they’re   being  paid.

A general  view  of  the festivities  before  the  game  between  the Philadelphia Phillies  and  Atlanta Braves  on Opening  Day if the  MLB  2009 season.
A general view of the festivities on Opening Day for the first game of the 2009 Major League Baseball season. The game in question was between the reigning World Series Champions the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves. The home venue of Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia brought about the start of the season . picture appears courtesyn of getty images/ Ezra Shaw ...........

The Philadelphia  Phillies start   off  the  defense  of  their  World  Series  title  with  a  game   against  the Atlanta  Braves.  The   Phillies  for their  part   are  looking  to be  the  first  team since  the New  York  Yankees in   1998 and  1999  to  successfully  defend  their  title. The  Yankees  would actually  go  on  to  win   a  third  consecutive  title  in 2000.  As  to whether  or  not  they  the  Phillies  will  be  able  to   do this  can  only  be  assessed   by  their   performance  on the  field  this  season  .  Most   certainly  their   All  Star  short-stop Jimmy  Rollins seems to  think   that  they’re  capable  of   doing  so.

Brett Myers  throws out the  first pitch of the game  against the  Braves'  Kelly  Johnson.
Brett Myers of the Phillies throws out the first pitch of the game to the Braves' Kelly Johnson. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Ezra Shaw ...............

The New  York  Mets for their   part  with  the  additions  of J J Putz and Francisco Rodriguez and  now   veteran  stalwart Gary Sheffield make this  a  team  a  formidable   opponent.   On  both  sides  of the  ball  they’ve  got to be   considered  worthy of   being  mentioned  as  potential  contenders  for  the   World  Series.   However the   caveat   would   be  for  the   team  to overcome  their    near  end   season jitters  and  unraveling.   If they’re  able to  do  that  then  they   can   create  a rivalry  with the  Phillies   that’d  be  worthwhile  watching .

Braves'  starting  pitcher Derek Lowe on  Opening  Day  on the  mound  against  the  Philadelphia  Phillies.   picture appears  courtesy of  getty images/Ezra Shaw  ..............
Braves' starting pitcher Derek Lowe on te mound against the Philadelphia Phillies. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Ezra Shaw ...............

And  with  the  NL East  seemingly  up  for  grabs   it  makes  this  upcoming  season  seem   somewhat  special.   The  AL East  as  a  division   may   appear to  be  where the  action  and   stories  will come  from .  But  I’d   like  to  think that  the division that  also   possesses  the Florida  Marlins and  the Washington  Nationals as  well  as  the  Braves. One  could   argue  that  here   within the  division  you’ve  got  some  very good  teams.  And  those  teams   may  well  elicit  a  great   deal  of  entertainment   for  their   respective  fans.

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