Wednesday, 24th July 2019

Karma Breaks Margarito’s Face

Posted on 14. Nov, 2010 by FSM Staff in Boxing, General Sports

Karma Breaks Margarito’s Face

In January 2009, Antonio Margarito tried to enter a boxing ring with loaded hand wraps to fight Sugar Shane Mosley. Last night, avid fans in the boxing world finally got their revenge for Margarito’s heinous act.

Margarito received the beating of a lifetime at the hands of Manny Pacquiao in front of a crowd of 41,734 at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas. For true aficionados of the sport, the beating was well deserved for the stunt Margarito tried to pull in the Mosley fight and his subsequent claims of ignorance he expected us to believe once he was caught.

What Margarito did between January 2009 and now to earn his penance is a mystery. How does a disgraced cheater earn a shot at the best fighter in boxing today (not to mention a $3 million dollar payday)? The answer is that the disgraced cheater and the best fighter share the same promoter in Bob Arum.

I am not certain what the appropriate punishment for Antonio Margarito should have been. Hardcore fans of the sport would probably support banishment for life while those less draconian in nature would settle for a temporary suspension and some donations to charity. Few however would agree with the punishment that Margarito actually received – no punishment.

After lying low for a brief period of time after the Mosley incident, Margarito found bouts in Mexico and now Texas. It did not seem to matter to anyone else that California held firm on the decision to uphold Margarito’s suspension and not to allow him to fight in their backyard. Instead, Margarito stepped in to the ring with the hottest fighter in boxing today and made millions.

The outraged boxing fan is now left looking for justice wherever they can find it. For just like Antonio Margarito, they would like to move on from the loaded hand wraps and the Shane Mosley fight. Manny Pacquiao’s 12 round thrashing of Margarito at Cowboys Stadium last night provides a perverse sense of closure. Fans can take comfort knowing that Pacquiao beat Margarito as if he was using loaded gloves and Margarito is awaiting surgery to repair a fractured orbital bone in his face.

Lights Out for Shawne Merriman

Posted on 15. Oct, 2010 by FSM Staff in General Sports, NFL

Lights Out for Shawne Merriman

Add Shawne Merriman to the list of superstars discarded by the San Diego Chargers. The announcement was made earlier this week that the Chargers have placed Merriman on the injured reserved list with a “minor injury” designation. NFL regulations require that players with this designation be released upon returning to full health.

The Chargers will have an opportunity to resign Shawne Merriman after his release though this scenario is highly unlikely. If management wanted to keep him in San Diego they would have never placed him on the IR to begin with. And even if the Chargers made the effort, would Merriman give them the time of day? Fans who are familiar with Merriman’s strong personality would tell you hell no.

This article is by no means written to defend Shawne Merriman. His multitude of injuries aside, Merriman has been plagued by issues off the field including problems with the law and steroid use. Not too many would argue that keeping him is more trouble than he is worth. This article is simply an observation that NFL teams these days are more willing to part with big name stars for very little or nothing in return.

Is it arrogance on the part of the Chargers that is the driving force behind the dissociation with talented players like LaDainian Tomlinson, Vincent Jackson, and Shawne Merriman? This perceived disloyalty definitely cannot be good for the business of attracting quality players down the road. No one wants to play for an organization with an itchy trigger finger.

For the present time, Merriman is taking everything in stride. In a statement released through his publicist, Merriman quite uncharacteristically let the football world know the following:

“I have been blessed to call San Diego my home for the past six years. I can’t say enough about my teammates, the coaching staff and of course the fans who have made my career with the Chargers such an amazing experience. I am approaching this situation as an opportunity to grow as a player and to bring my leadership and talents to a new organization. I am ready for the next chapter in my career and I am excited about the opportunity to continue my journey with a new team.”

In Review: Pistol

Posted on 14. Aug, 2010 by FSM Staff in General Sports, NBA

In Review: Pistol

Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich takes the reader on a surprising journey through light and dark while telling the tale of a basketball legend that will not be soon forgotten. Perhaps the quote that appears on the soft cover version of this intriguing biography written by Mark Kriegel summarizes this literary effort best by stating that, “His game was lordly, inimitable, and he should have been the greatest player to ever play the game. This great book will explain why he was not…”

I was excited to read this book for a few reasons. Primarily I wanted to learn a little more about the legendary Pistol Pete as he terrorized opponents in the NBA before my time as a fan (and as a human being). Secondarily, the book’s first couple of pages are lined with nearly 50 quotes from people in the media who are singing its praises. I figured so many experts couldn’t be wrong and delved in to 323 pages of basketball history with high expectations.

Pistol reads more like a chronicle than a biography. Many names and dates are hurled at the reader often times disrupting the flow of the narrative. Kriegel succeeds in providing a highly detailed account of Pete Maravich’s life but it comes at a cost. This is not the typical page turning sports biography which may be unappealing to a less seasoned reader. It is more of a textbook about the Maravich family beginning with a lengthy background about Pistol’s notorious father Press Maravich and ending with a melancholy update on what the Pistol’s two sons have been up to in the last few years.

It would be impossible to tell the story of Pistol Pete without mention of his hard driving father and the turmoil he was experiencing in his family life. Kriegel documents a number of incidents and relays many tales when only a few would have sufficed. The thesis of Pistol is perfectly clear and its themes reoccur on nearly every page. Before the reader makes it half way through this book, they will have a good understanding of all the demons the Pistol was dealing with. After a while, the stories of demons become overkill. Pistol takes on a dark tone, and maybe rightfully so, but it would have been nice to read more about Maravich’s exploits as a professional basketball player and the magic he created on the hardwood.

Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich has great historical value for fans of the college and professional game. It answers a multitude of questions including why a guy as talented and skilled as Pete Maravich never won a title or why he will never be considered in the same breath as Michael Jordan or Wilt Chamberlain. But people looking for a quick read or page-turner should try finding their fix elsewhere. Pistol is recommended for avid fans of basketball and sports historians only. The fringe would be better suited to remember Pete Maravich by watching YouTube highlights or the occasional feature on ESPN Classic.

History Repeats Itself for Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Posted on 20. Jul, 2010 by FSM Staff in Boxing, General Sports

History Repeats Itself for Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Manny Pacquiao’s people recently gave Floyd Mayweather Jr. a deadline to agree to a mega fight. The deadline passed this past Saturday with nothing but the sound of crickets coming from the pretty boy’s camp. Fans of boxing are concluding that Mayweather is running scared, ducking the mighty Manny because he is afraid of losing for the first time in his professional career.

Boxing historians are viewing the situation in an entirely different light though. Perhaps Pretty Boy Floyd is being more strategic than most are giving him credit for. Perhaps in the back of Mayweather’s mind he knows the fight will happen eventually.

The question is not if Floyd Mayweather is ducking Manny Pacquiao, for few can doubt that he is going out of his way to avoid this mega fight with Pac-Man. The question is, why are fight fans surprised?

Fans of boxing have witnessed this behavior before, they just probably do not remember (or they were not born yet). Remember a little rivalry that involved Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvelous Marvin Hagler? Marvelous was on a path of destruction, knocking out opponents with regularity. Hagler and Leonard seemed destined to meet, much like Pacquiao and Mayweather. Then Sugar Ray started playing mind games and started ducking the Marvelous one. A few years passed and the idea of a mega fight slowly fizzled and died.

But Sugar Ray was simply biding his time.

Though still dominant, Marvelous Marvin Hagler was running out of steam. He continued to fight while Sugar Ray was in “retirement”. The instant that Sugar Ray thought Hagler was slipping was when he started talking about a comeback and a mega fight. The fight eventually happened in 1987 and Sugar Ray won a controversial decision. Most would agree that Marvin Hagler would have destroyed Sugar Ray Leonard had they fought three years earlier.

Floyd Mayweather seems to be taking a page out of Sugar Ray Leonard’s book. He is waiting for Manny Pacquiao to burn out and Pac-Man seems all too happy to oblige. Manny is keeping himself busy in the ring and with his fledgling political career. Pretty Boy Floyd is coming in and out of retirement to face washed up fighters way past their prime. Perhaps he is simply waiting for the moment when Manny falters so that serious negotiations for a mega fight between the two can finally begin.

France Makes Mockery of World Cup

Posted on 22. Jun, 2010 by FSM Staff in General Sports, Soccer

France Makes Mockery of World Cup

The national soccer team of France has officially been eliminated from the 2010 FIFA World Cup after losing to South Africa 2-1. For fans across the globe following the tournament this is no big surprise. The French national team has been imploding since the first game of group play. Perhaps this is a fitting end to the team’s run that really should have ended in the qualifying stages after a controversial victory over Ireland.

The poor play of the French national team is disappointing from a spectator’s point of view but true fans understand the highs and lows that national teams can experience. Ultimately, poor play on the world’s biggest stage can be forgiven. The poor behavior exhibited by the players on the French national team is another matter entirely. Their actions as a collective group are simply unacceptable and will not be soon forgotten by the people of France.

The abridged version of the story starts with an angry Nicolas Anelka cursing out coach Raymond Domenech during halftime of the game against Mexico in which France ended up losing 2-0. It was reported that Anelka made inappropriate comments about Domenech’s family and refused to apologize the next day. The French soccer federation told Anelka to take a hike (back to France) and the rest of the team chose not to practice as a show of support to Anelka while also protesting the federation’s decision to send him home. A more detailed chronicle of events can be found by clicking here.

The FIFA World Cup is a magical event that only comes around every four years. People from all walks of life in places some never even knew existed come out of the woodwork with painted faces and flags waiving. Hope, joy, and national pride beam out of their television sets and fill the air.

For the soccer superstars lucky enough to actually play in the World Cup, the event is exponentially more special. Some players will try for their entire careers to qualify for the tournament and never make it. France won the FIFA World Cup in 1998 and was the runner up in 2006. It seems like they have taken the tournament for granted for the French players to be acting like this.

The World Cup commands respect. A small period of dominance by the French national team is not a pass to disrespect the spirit of the tournament.

The great players from this French national team like Franck Ribery will always have an asterisk by their name indicating that they were present when the self-destruct button was pushed at World Cup 2010. Refusing to practice was a team effort so there is plenty of blame to go around. Some will carry more of the blame than others. Nicolas Anelka for example will always be remembered as public enemy number one as he was the catalyst for the beginning of the end.

No Redemption for Ken Griffey Jr.

Posted on 04. Jun, 2010 by FSM Staff in General Sports, MLB

No Redemption for Ken Griffey Jr.

MLB slugger Ken Griffey Jr. announced his retirement earlier this month. The announcement was somewhat of a shock to baseball fans out there but few can deny that his career was on life support. Perhaps the hardest thing to stomach for true fans of the game is that he did not have a hero’s exit. There was no miraculous walk-off homerun or RBI. Ken Griffey Jr. did not save the day one last time. Instead, his departure was preceded by a stretch of extremely poor play, a benching, and the infamous “Nap-Gate” controversy.

Ken Griffey’s career includes 630 homeruns, 10 Golden Gloves, 13 All-Star selections, 1,836 RBIs, and a unanimous MVP award. He was also involved in the great homerun chase with Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire but eventually fell out of contention (geez I wonder why?). A great, productive career is ending with a whimper and it is painful to watch. The same type of painful that came from watching Michael Jordan’s final game in Washington.

Ken Griffey Jr. spent his best years playing for the Seattle Mariners, the club that drafted him in 1987. After playing for the Cincinnati Reds for nine seasons, Griffey returned to Seattle in 2009. His presence immediately helped changed the negative vibe of the team and for a 39 year-old often injured veteran he was putting up respectable numbers as a designated hitter (batting average of .214 with 19 homers). The Mariners decided they would try their luck one more time and Jr. signed on for the 2010 campaign. The magic wasn’t quite there this time around.

Griffey Jr. was batting a dismal .184 and had yet to hit one over the fence this season. He eventually found his way on to the bench and then in to the clubhouse where he was caught snoozing during an actual Mariners game. It was becoming clear that this was his last season. The Seattle Mariners had enough class to let him finish the year in uniform and Ken Griffey Jr. definitely earned that right. Griffey though said he did not want to become a distraction to his beloved team and made his decision.

When word of Nap-Gate broke, it was an opportunity that Ken Griffey Jr. should have taken advantage of. It should have been a galvanizing incident with the final result being a respectable (not necessarily spectacular) end to the 2010 season and his hall of fame career. Broken and betrayed, Ken Griffey Jr. chose to walk away instead.

FOX Makes Champions League History

Posted on 22. May, 2010 by FSM Staff in General Sports, Soccer

FOX Makes Champions League History

FOX networks keep pushing the envelope in a quest for ratings supremacy with shows like Family Guy and Glen Beck. Who would have thought they could sink so low as to broadcast a nationally televised soccer game? Give credit where credit is due though. FOX made television history this month by being the first network ever to nationally televise a UEFA Champions League final in the United States.

The good folks over at FOX are wicked smart so it is hard to figure out why it took them so long to do something like this. After all, they have an entire channel dedicated to soccer and it has been around for quite some time now. Certainly the anticipation for the upcoming FIFA World Cup this summer helped them see the light.

Add Champions League to an exclusive and elite FOX Sports stable that includes the MLB World Series , NFL Super Bowl, and Daytona 500 just to name a few. The FOX Sports brand is gaining momentum which is a good thing for fans across the country who like to experience a nice balance of sports. FOX has quickly become the network that people go to for sports, politics, and entertainment.

Martinez Proud to be a Momma’s Boy

Posted on 21. Apr, 2010 by FSM Staff in Boxing, General Sports

Martinez Proud to be a Momma’s Boy

In the wake of Edwin Valero’s recent murder-suicide, one professional athlete is not afraid to let the world know that he is just a momma’s boy. Newly crowned middleweight champion Sergio Martinez has stepped up to let the masses know that fighting belongs in the ring and not in the home.

Edwin Valero was described by many as being unstable, addicted to drugs, and often times depressed. Perhaps it was these extreme qualities that made him such a warrior in the ring. Riding a wave of emotions is sometimes a way of making it through a fight, even if those emotions are self-destructive. Valero’s demons helped him knockout 27 straight opponents. His demons also made him batter his wife and eventually stab her to death. She was only 24 years-old.

Valero had a well documented history of domestic abuse in his native country. Venezuelan authorities and Valero’s training camp had a well documented history of looking the other way. Rising middleweight boxing star Sergio Martinez says enough is enough.

“I love and respect women. Violence against women is simply unacceptable. The great number of cases, too often involving athletes, requires action. I have always confided in my mother and consider myself to be a momma’s boy. Women must be respected, not abused,” Martinez commented recently. He is making this his cause, using his new found fame as middleweight champion of the world to help deliver this important message.

Sergio Martinez has plans to start a foundation for women who have been victims of domestic abuse. His actions are a breath of fresh air in a brutal sport where athletes mostly lookout for themselves. Martinez’s actions are already creating a positive buzz in the boxing community. Respected promoter Lou DiBella said he would try to work with the Boxing Promoter’s Association to help further the cause.

Realistically speaking, domestic violence is probably a more common problem amongst professional fighters than the public thinks. Competing in professional sports requires a level of aggression that is not easily found in the common person. Sergio Martinez is to be applauded for his efforts to help women affected by this horrible problem. He is not looking the other way this time and the world of boxing would be wise to follow his lead.

McNabb’s Wings Clipped in Philly

Posted on 05. Apr, 2010 by FSM Staff in General Sports, NFL

McNabb’s Wings Clipped in Philly

Donovan McNabb is no longer soaring high with the Eagles. Instead, his wings have been clipped and he has landed in Washington to join a band of sacred people. News hit early this month that the Philadelphia Eagles have traded their one-time franchise quarterback to the Washington Redskins for two draft picks (the 37th overall and a pick in 2011).

The 33 year old quarterback is starting the second voyage in his career. The first voyage was like watching Rodney Dangerfield do his thing. Quality for the most part, but still, somehow, he got no respect. Perhaps he’ll get some when they realize no one is there to throw 75 yard bombs to DeSean Jackson.

News reports indicate that super McNabb aficionado (and Eagles head coach) Andy Reid was reluctant to let his little baby go. At the end of the day though, results are what matter in the NFL. A decade of work with McNabb as his co-pilot and even Reid finally acknowledged that one unsuccessful trip to the Super Bowl is not the optimal result for 10 years of blood, sweat, and tears. So the sun set in Philadelphia and rose in Washington.

This departure should not tarnish Donovan McNabb’s good name. He performed well in a city that is notorious for its bipolar sports fans. They love you, they hate you, they hate you. Once in a while McNabb would bicker aloud or say the wrong thing. Once in a while he would say he didn’t know a game could end in a tie. Most of the time though, McNabb would flash that giant crooked smile to the fans and be happy peddling his chunky soups.

Trading McNabb won’t have a devastating effect on the Eagle’s franchise. Perhaps the only thing the Eagles can be accused of is making this move prematurely (or being disloyal if you’re a die-hard McNabb fan). Andy Reid probably could have worked his magic, the incompetent wizard that he is, and squeezed a few more seasons out of McNabb. But the allure of a second round pick was too strong in the end, and the Eagles made a solid deal with the Redskins.

Football fans in Washington now wait with open arms. The Zorn-Campbell era will soon be a fuzzy memory, tucked away with other sports moments Washington fans try not think about. The trade will most likely be a blessing in disguise for Jason Campbell as well, big tease that he is. He will make an excellent back-up to McNabb should he stick around or he may be given the opportunity for a fresh start. There will no doubt be teams interested in a 28 year-old quarterback who was tough enough to survive a brutally bad Redskins offensive line last season.

The Washington Redskins currently have many nice pieces in place, on the field and in the front office. Donovan McNabb does not have big shoes to fill but expectations are still high – high enough for both parties to be working on a new contract at least.

Jordan’s Dream is Charlotte’s Nightmare

Posted on 18. Mar, 2010 by FSM Staff in General Sports, NBA

Jordan’s Dream is Charlotte’s Nightmare

Michael Jordan recently said that owning the Charlotte Bobcats is a dream come true. Jordan’s dream might very well end up being a nightmare for sports fans in the North Carolina area. Though number twenty-three is considered the greatest basketball player of all time, his greatness has yet to step foot in to the front office.

The running joke amongst NBA insiders is that Michael Jordan makes deals on the golf course which is also where he spends most of his time. The running joke should be that Michael Jordan now owns an NBA franchise.

Just because you want something really bad doesn’t mean you should have it.

Basketball fans in Charlotte deserve better. Let me rephrase that. PROFESSIONAL basketball fans in Charlotte deserve better. Undoubtedly there are those UNC fanatics that are drooling over Michael Jordan and everyone else UNC related who is affiliated with the Bobcats. But what about the true NBA fans? The ones that saw the birth of the Charlotte Hornets and the scrappy duo of Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning. The ones that were teased by Baron Davis and Jamal Mashburn then screwed by BET mogul Robert Johnson?

The Bobcats’ fortunes did not truly turn around until the hiring of Larry Brown as head coach. Michael Jordan gets credit for one great move and no more. It wasn’t until Brown’s arrival that the team started to add solid role players (the kind you need to win). This is no coincidence as Larry Brown has Michael Jordan’s ear and Jordan is listening.

I wish I could be a fly in the head of a Bobcats fan. Close your eyes and think. Better yet, close your eyes and dream about it. Momentum is building and the team is changing for the better. NBA fans in Charlotte are getting anxious. They are afraid to have hope. It’s looking like the Bobcats will make the playoffs for the first time ever. This is great. Finally things are looking up again. Michael no! Now is not the time. Michael please. You know how Larry gets. He gets itchin’ to move on. We only have a few years left with him and we need to focus on doing some damage in the East. Do you understand? When Larry leaves you’ll be in charge again. No more great suggestions from coach. It will be back to drafting Adam Morrison and trading for Vladimir Radmonovic. Back to trying to get big money players who won’t help us like Jason Richardson. Oh my Michael. It might be worse than I thought….you’ll be the owner too…I think I just had a nightmare.