Thursday, 18th April 2019

Top 11 Non-Actor Performances in the Rocky Franchise

Posted on 06. Jul, 2018 by FSM Staff in Boxing, General Sports

Top 11 Non-Actor Performances in the Rocky Franchise

To celebrate the much anticipated release of Creed II this Thanksgiving, the following Top 11 list ranks the best on-screen performances of professional athletes and sports personalities appearing in the ROCKY and CREED movies. Spoiler alert coming…most people on this list are professional fighters. The rest are sports personalities who have had heavy involvement in professional sports in some way. No one on this list is a working actor, so don’t send in complaints about Mr. T being excluded. Furthermore, each person on this list had more than 10 seconds of screen time so the same goes for any complaints about Smokin’ Joe Frazier being left off. It’s not that serious people. Just sit back and enjoy these rankings and make sure to catch CREED II this Thanksgiving!

#11 Gabriel Rosado as Leo “The Lion” Sporino (CREED)
In a case of art imitating real life, Gabriel Rosado was given the task of playing the gatekeeper to bigger and better fights for main character Adonis Creed in the seventh installment of the franchise titled CREED. In simple terms, gatekeepers in boxing are generally B+ level fighters that the up and comers need to get through before moving to fight more established superstars. In real life, Rosado played stepping stone to the likes of Gennady Golovkin, Peter Quillin, and David Lemieux. In the movie world, Leo Sporino posed a tough test for Adonis Creed who was fighting professionally for the first time on American soil. Rosado played his small part well, took some cool looking punches (that shovel hook!), and most importantly, made Adonis Creed’s character look good in the ring. Click here to watch Sporino versus Creed.

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

#10 Michael Williams as Union Cane (ROCKY V)
Rocky V was released so long ago, most people have long forgotten about Michael Williams by now. Heck, most people didn’t know who he was in the first place when the movie debuted in theaters in 1990. Williams, a real life professional heavyweight at the time, played the paper champion Union Cane who was quickly vanquished by the film’s antagonist, Tommy Gunn. As a professional, Williams was a rising prospect who could never quite get over the hump, losing bouts to fighters such as Buster Douglas and Corrie Sanders. As an actor, he played the paper champion to perfection which included expressing a delusional overconfidence that he could beat Gunn then turning into a human punching bag when the actual fight took place. The fight itself was crucial to the plot of the movie as Gunn becomes the new heavyweight champion while a betrayed and slightly brain damaged Rocky watches it all from the basement of his home. Bonus points to the wardrobe people for having Cane’s everyday look consist of a turtle neck/blazer combo, gold chain, and flat top hair style. Click here to watch Cane versus Gunn.

#9 Andre Ward as Danny “Stuntman” Wheeler (CREED)
The recently retired Andre Ward was a pound-for-pound superstar who flew under the radar during his career due to his good manners and lack of flare. Ward isn’t too different from his Wheeler character in CREED who calmly and coolly walks into the gym and gives Adonis Creed a harsh reality check in the form of a sparring session KO. Ward played his small part well, including his scenes with fellow professional Tony Bellew, and effectively garnered interest in a possible Wheeler-Creed showdown in the future. Click here to watch Andre Ward KO Michael B. Jordan.

#8 Lou DiBella as himself (ROCKY BALBOA)
In the sixth installment of the franchise, an aging Rocky needs a little extra convincing to get back into the ring with the reigning heavyweight in the film, played by Antonio Tarver. Can you think of anyone better to give Rocky this extra push than Lou DiBella? DiBella is a real life boxing promoter (DiBella Entertainment) who is generally loved and respected by everyone in the fight game. Some of the more notable pugilists associated with his stable include Sergio Martinez, Andy Lee, and Deontay Wilder. DiBella’s acting skills are certainly not as good as his promoting skills but his performance was solid enough to add value and a touch of realism to this film. Click here to watch DiBella do this thing.

#7 Larry Merchant as himself (ROCKY BALBOA)
Most people love themselves some Larry Merchant. You ask why? Maybe it’s because he is in the crazy old man phase of his life (a phase going on 25 years) and he does things like tell Floyd Mayweather Jr. live on HBO that he would kick his butt if he were just a few years younger. Though Larry Merchant only appeared in Rocky Balboa as a color commentator for the final fight, his short performance was memorable for the many scripted zingers it produced. It doesn’t matter that Merchant sounded like he was reading straight from a cue card. His memorable lines include referring to the bout as an execution instead of an exhibition, questioning if Balboa took his arthritis medication before the bout, and of course welcoming everyone to “Rocky-Land”. Honorable mention goes out to HBO boxing commentators Jim Lampley and Max Kellerman as well for making the final bout between Rocky Balboa and Mason Dixon one of the most memorable of all 7 films. Click here to listen to Jim, Max, and Larry provide flawless commentary during the final round of Balboa-Dixon.

#6 Hulk Hogan as Thunderlips (ROCKY III)
The story goes that the folks running the World Wrestling Foundation (currently the WWE) were so upset with Hogan’s decision to appear in Rocky III that he was blacklisted from the WWF for a short period of time. It was only when the owner’s son, Vince McMahon Jr., took control of the wrestling promotion that Hogan was invited back with open arms. Perhaps McMahon saw something in Hogan’s bigger-than-life performance as Thunderlips, the hulk of a man who beat Rocky mercilessly as part of a charity event in the film. Hogan was even good on the microphone, dubbing the match “the ultimate man versus the ultimate meatball”. Though the scenes were ultimately a bit over-the-top (Stallone movie reference), they were quite enjoyable nonetheless. Click here to watch Rocky turn the tables on Thunderlips.

#5 Leroy Neiman as Ring Announcer/Himself (ROCKY III, IV, V, ROCKY BALBOA)
Much like his contributions to the Rocky franchise, famous sports artist and painter Leroy Neiman super glues this list together at #5. Neiman (and his moustache) made appearances as a ring announcer in a few of the films announcing bouts like Balboa versus Thunderlips and Creed versus Drago. However, it’s his artwork that has been far more influential on the franchise as a whole than his on-screen performances. Hardcore fans will recognize Neiman’s colorful mural displayed at the end of Rocky III, the same one that makes its way on to the wall of Adrian’s restaurant in the sixth and seventh installments of the franchise. One doesn’t have to look too closely during Donny and Rocky’s first encounter in Creed to see Neiman’s classic painting looming in the background. Click here to watch Leroy Neiman’s mic drop moment (at the 1:19 mark).

#4 Tony Bellew as “Pretty” Ricky Conlon (CREED)
Tony Bellew plays himself in the movie CREED. But for some reason they kept referring to him as “Pretty” Ricky Conlon the entire time. All kidding aside, Bellew does an excellent job of playing a very likeable villain that Adonis Creed can’t quite vanquish in the film. Bellew’s acting during the press conference scene was hilarious as he roasted the young Creed the entire time. His performance in the ring during the film’s finale was even more impressive as he was able to work with Michael B. Jordan to create a very realistic and exciting fight. Bellew’s presence was definitely a factor in the moments building up to the climax of the film. If you enjoyed the Conlon character you will likely also enjoy the real thing. Bellew has experienced a bit of a career resurgence in the last few years, including knock outs of fellow countryman David Haye in a pair of bouts at heavyweight. Click here to watch Pretty Ricky got to war with Adonis Creed.

#3 Stu Nahan as himself (Rocky I, II, III, IV, V, ROCKY BALBOA)
Perhaps the biggest underdog on this list, California sportscaster Stu Nahan cracks the top three thanks to his history of providing blow-by-blow analysis for some of the franchise’s most significant fights. In fact, Stu Nahan is one of only a select few who appeared in every one of the first six films. He was there when Rocky took on Apollo in the first two films, Clubber Lang in the rematch for the third one, and was the commentator during the unfortunate Ivan Drago murder incident in Rocky IV. He even made his way into Rocky Balboa as the voice heard commentating the computer generated “cartoon” fight between Mason Dixon and Rocky. Nahan does his job so well that he largely goes unnoticed in the films. He serves as a great narrator during the fights, offering insights into what each fighter is thinking while keeping the dramatic pace going. He pulls it all off without sounding overly frenetic or cliché. Click here to listen to Stu Nahan provide commentary for the “cartoon fight” (Uncle Paulie’s words).

#2 Antonio Tarver as Mason “The Line” Dixon (ROCKY BALBOA)
Most known for his stunning upset knockout of Roy Jones Jr., Antonio “Magic Man” Tarver had to put on a few pounds to look like a heavyweight for the film Rocky Balboa. Unfortunately, he was never quite able to regain his form after the film and his boxing career began a steady decline. That buzzkill aside, Tarver delivered above expectations as Rocky’s final foe in what many thought would be the end of the franchise. As Mason “The Line” Dixon, he is prominently featured from the outset of the movie. He plays the role of a slightly bitter, underappreciated champion well and the final bout with Rocky is possibly the best fight of all seven films. The action in the ring is as impressive as Tarver’s ability to stand side-by-side with Stallone during the pre-fight press conference and the scene right after the weigh in. We’re not making a case for a golden globe, but Tarver definitely didn’t seem like just another athlete trying to act. Click here to see Mason “The Line” Dixon try to psyche out Rocky.

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

#1 Tommy Morrison as Tommy “The Machine” Gunn (ROCKY V)
When making the argument for Tommy Morrison being #1 on this list, context matters – a lot. ROCKY V is easily the weakest installment in the franchise, as the masses had a hard time stomaching a severely compromised Rocky Balboa. Why Sylvester Stallone decided to meddle with his formula is anyone’s guess. One would think even a street fight deserves its own training montage. Yet, Tommy Morrison was a bright spot in this film, deserving to make #1 on this list based on screen time alone. The year was 1990 and bad acting was a thing. Morrison’s performance hovers around B movie territory which is forgivable during this era of film when the late 80’s and early 90’s collided. For having to help carry the movie (he is the only Rocky opponent to spend significant time with Rocky’s family), the 21-year-old delivered in his big screen debut. His physical appearance lived up to his Machine Gunn nickname and his mullet, well, it was mesmerizing. His bad acting was bearable considering it was 1990 and was not the reason why this movie ended up being a stinker in the eyes of the mainstream. At the end of the day, fans were treated to a satisfying montage of video game style KOs during Gunn’s ascension and some great scenes between Rocky, Tommy, and Uncle Paulie. A few years after Rocky V, Tommy Morrison the real boxer would go on to win the world heavyweight championship by beating the legendary George Foreman. Sadly, his career was derailed 3 years later when he was diagnosed with HIV in 1996. His tragic final years are documented in the superb 30 FOR 30 documentary Tommy. Click here to see Uncle Paulie call Tommy Gunn a piece of garbage.

Free Cash for Buying Sports Stuff!

Posted on 01. Jul, 2018 by FSM Staff in General Sports

Free Cash for Buying Sports Stuff!

Friends have been telling me about EBATES for years, but I was always a bit skeptical. Someone is going to give me free money just for shopping? Yeah Right.

But one day, boredom struck and I decided to sign up for EBATES. I received $10 bonus cash just for signing up. Okay – so far so good.

I then took a look at which stores they partner with (which were many). I thought there is no way my beloved Nike is a part of this. It was. Wow. Okay, I’ll give this a shot I thought to myself. I clicked through to Nike.com and purchased a pair of Nike SB shoes. The next day I got an e-mail from EBATES notifying me I had just earned 7% cash back on the purchase.

A few weeks later I needed a motel room for part of a road trip. So I tried my luck again with EBATES. I clicked through to a Best Western and made my reservation. After my trip (which was awesome), I got an e-mail letting me know I just received 5% cash back on my purchase. Nice!

About a month later, I received my first EBATES cash back check in the mail. Was it life changing money? No. But it was nice to get some spending cash for making purchases I would have made anyway. It was enough for a tank of gas and bite to eat by the way.

So how does EBATES work? Stores pay them a commission for sending people to their websites. EBATES then shares that commission with you. It’s that simple! Additionally, the EBATES site is always letting you know about sales, coupons, and promo codes!

Get $10 just for signing up!!. Click here.

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

FSM Exclusives: Horseshoe Bend

Posted on 23. May, 2016 by FSM Staff in General Sports, Highlight

FSM Exclusives: Horseshoe Bend

Just like Hulkamania in the 80’s, Free Sports Magazine recently sent out some of its correspondents to run wild on Horseshoe Bend in Page, Arizona, the only place where the Colorado River does a 280 degree turn.

Armed with only a GoPro HEROand some hoodies, the FSM army of two braved the Arizona winds and captured their shenanigans on the following exclusive video that we humbly present to you:

FSM Exclusive: Horseshoe Bend @ Page, AZ

Golden Boy Exclusive: Amir “King” Khan Transcript

Posted on 21. Apr, 2016 by FSM Staff in Boxing, Highlight

Golden Boy Exclusive: Amir “King” Khan Transcript

The fight that seemingly came out of nowhere is almost upon us. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez will take on Amir “King” Khan at the new T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas in what is easily the most anticipated fight of the spring. Since the good folks at FreeSportsMag know a guy who knows a guy, audio of King Khan’s recent conference call promoting the fight was sent to us exclusively from Golden Boy Promotions.

The fast punching Khan is predicting an upset over everyone’s darling, Canelo Alvarez (46-1-1, 32 KO) when they meet next month for their middleweight bout. The entire transcript of Khan’s call is presented below. If you’ve taken too many punches to the head and would rather just listen to it on your iPod, you can click here for the mp3 version.

OSCAR DE LA HOYA, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions:   Thank you for joining us today on this international media conference call for 2004 Olympic silver medal winner and former two-time world champion Amir “King” Khan.  As you know, Amir Khan will battle Canelo Alvarez for the WBC and Ring Magazine Lineal Middleweight Championship which will be on Cinco de Mayo weekend on May 7th, live from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and if you can’t make it to Las Vegas, you can watch it on HBO Pay-Per-View.
 
We’re really excited once again to be working with Amir Khan, and as you know, Golden Boy Promotions is the exclusive promoter to Canelo-Khan, and we are thrilled that Amir Khan is once again working with us.
 
This fight is all about speed and power, and history has shown us that these types of fights make for an exciting one, action-packed fight.  I’ve said it before:  This fight takes me back to Maidana, who had Amir in a really, really tough fight, and Khan with his amazing footwork and speed and strength, you know, he was able to be victorious.
 
We are extremely thrilled and excited, and we certainly can’t wait for May 7th. I do want to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors, Cerveza Tecate, “Born Bold,” O’Reilly Auto Parts, Casa Mexico Tequila, and DOOM, “Fight Like Hell,” on May 13th.  All of the marketing, if you haven’t seen it yet, will start kicking in in these next couple of days.  They are doing a tremendous, tremendous job on a global scale to make sure that everyone knows about this tremendous, tremendous fight.
 
Tickets are still available, and they are moving fast.  We expect a sellout, a sellout crowd.  We expect a lot of Brits.  We expect a lot of wonderful fans from all over the world supporting these two great fighters.  If you haven’t gotten your tickets, they are moving fast.
 
The person I will introduce to you now I’m happy to call a friend, a man that I’ve always admired.  He’s brought up Amir Khan in such a way that a lot of people should be envious about.  He is Amir’s father and manager, and that is Shah Khan.  Shah?
 
SHAH KHAN, Father and Manager of Amir Khan:  Hi, everybody, and thank you for coming online for this media conference call.
 
Yeah this is a tough challenge for him, and Amir is up for the challenge.  The interest in the UK is incredible.  Massive interest, just alone, just from the office, we’ve sold like 1,000 tickets, you know, not talking about the ticket — or the ticket outlets, and it’s a massive interest in the UK, and I’m looking forward to it.  It’s going to be a great night for boxing.
 
The preparations are going really, really well, and Amir is really up for this fight, and it’s going to be a great fight, two great fighters.  You’ve got power and you’ve got speed, and I think it’s going to be easily a contenders’ fight in boxing.  Thank you.
 
OSCAR DE LA HOYA:  Thank you very much, Shah.  Next up to say a few words, he really needs no introduction.  He’s trained some of the top fighters in the world today, and my hat’s off to him for doing a wonderful job a couple of weeks ago with probably one of the top fighters on the planet today, so let me introduce to you Amir’s trainer, Virgil Hunter.
 
VIRGIL HUNTER, Trainer to Amir Khan:   Thanks, Oscar.  Hello, everyone.  Once again, glad to be part of such a big, big event in boxing, a sport that I love.
 
Amir is having a great training camp in preparation for a fight that we know is a very dangerous fight, and I commend him and his courage and his insight on taking the fight and thanking everybody who is involved, and looking forward to seeing everyone May 7th.
 
OSCAR DE LA HOYA:  Thank you very much, Virgil.  And now the man of the hour.  He’s Britain’s top fighter, Amir “King” Khan.  He was catapulted into the media spotlight after winning the silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, and he went on to turn pro the following year in July of 2005 with a first-round technical knockout victory over Phil Edwards, which obviously has taken him to the top of the sport.  Amir Khan is a fighter who is a technical challenge, is a fighter who wants to fight the best, is a fighter who has been a multiple world champion, and yes, he continues to work hard and can push himself to new heights and push himself to the limit.  He’s the kind of fighter who I personally have admired ever since he turned pro, ever since I saw him in the Olympic Games, and so I want to introduce to you a man who, like I said, shies away from no challenge and is willing to fight the very best, to be the best, and let me introduce to you Amir “King” Khan.
 
AMIR KHAN, Former Two Time World Champion:  Hi, everyone.  Thanks for joining the conference call. Training camp is going really well.  It’s going really well.  We’re still continuing all the camp.
 
It’s been tough, obviously, working on these strategies with my trainer Virgil, being more focused, because I know that one little mistake in a fight like this could get me in trouble, so I’m making sure that I’m not making any mistakes from being in the ring, scoring, or being in the gym training, doing work, or even outside the ring when I’m recovering and how long I’m going to be keeping the weight on, keep my — because I want to walk into this ring strong.  I don’t want to be too light because by being too light, it could only — it won’t make me real strong.
 
I’m up against a very big middleweight fighter, which Canelo, he’s a middleweight world champion. We’re doing everything right.  I mean, look, my skills are what’s going to win me this fight.  I know I’m not going to be stronger than Canelo in any way.  I’m not going to be thinking I’m stronger than Canelo, but I’m going to stand with him and fight with him.  I think my skills in this fight will win me the fight, and I don’t know if the speed I have is something that – I don’t think that Canelo’s experienced speed with combinations and speed with power.  I think there will be a lot of people who will be – I would say I will definitely shock the world come May 7th, otherwise I wouldn’t take the fight.
 
I’ve been watching video of Canelo, and day after day it’s getting more and more confident that I can beat this guy.  So I’m really looking forward to it, and we still have another three to four weeks left of training where I’m going to be focusing, and I’m still going to be giving 100 percent so when I do walk into that ring, I’m not only going to do myself proud, but I’m going to do my family proud, I’m going to do my country proud, and I’m going to bring back home the belt.  Thanks.
 
OSCAR DE LA HOYA:  Thank you, Amir.  Before we go to questions, just a quick reminder, we’re going to host the media on Monday, April 18th, in Oakland, so if you don’t get a chance to ask a question, then hopefully you can make some time to go out there and see Amir train live in person.  Thank you.
 
Q. Amir, you’ve been training a while now at this weight.  How have you felt?  Is this possibly the best you’ve ever felt not having to take weight off?
 
AMIR KHAN:  I think I do feel stronger.  I feel strong.  I’m sparring with some very tough guys in the gym, and I do see that by holding on to the weight, it’s given me a lot of ability and a lot of strength and a lot of power, as well.  That’s something that I know I’m not going to be naturally stronger than Canelo.  Canelo is going to be stronger, obviously.  He’s one of the bigger guys, but I think what’s going to happen to me is just happier at this weight and not killing myself.
 
Q. And having not to lose weight, meaning have you had more time to work on tactics and technique and improving that side of your game?
 
AMIR KHAN:  Correct, yeah.  That’s what we’re working on because obviously normally we have to be losing a lot of weight, and going down in weight and stuff like that weakens me, so this time I won’t be doing that.  I’ll just be focusing on my game plan for the fight and improving my boxing skills.
 
Q. Could I ask Virgil a question, please.  What did you think, Virgil, when Amir came to you with this fight?  What was your first reaction?
 
VIRGIL HUNTER:  Well, it was Shah who came to me with the fight, and initially I wasn’t for the fight, but I hadn’t seen Amir yet.  Well, I take that back.  He was here in the States.  I wasn’t for the fight.
 
I think what changed my outlook on it was Amir’s response to me when I asked him why do you want this fight, and his response to me was quite assuring that he understood what he was going up against and what he was getting into.
 
Off of that, I felt much more confident in his ability to be competitive and win the fight.
 
Q. And how do you think he is looking at this weight in training?
 
VIRGIL HUNTER:  Well, I’ve seen him come past through this weight before, and I’ve always been impressed when he was at this particular weight on his way down to making weight.  It’s good, like he said, to be able to train and to be able to just focus on boxing and not have the worry and the grind of taking off pounds and doing it right and making sure you’re going to peak right and all these things.  It’s been a plus.  It’s been a plus.
 
Q. My first question is for Virgil.  My question for you, I heard what you were just saying about when you asked Amir why he wanted to fight.  When you heard that he wanted to fight, besides your opinion and as far as how Amir could match up against Canelo, what was your thought about what it said about Amir’s sort of mentality and desire to fight the best fighters?  What did you think about that when he asked you about this match-up?
 
VIRGIL HUNTER:  Well, again, maybe I said it wrong; he didn’t ask me initially.  I was conversing with Shah, and once Shah let me know that the fight was on the table, I asked Amir why he wanted to fight.
 
Q. I heard that part.  I heard that part.  I meant your thought about that, when he told you.
VIRGIL HUNTER:  When he asked?  Well, what he told me as I was thinking also when he went into the fight, and usually it takes maybe two to three weeks sometimes for a fighter to buy into any strategy or plans you might have, maybe sometimes even longer, but to go into a camp already on the same page, that’s really a plus.  You can get right to work.
 
So it was quite convincing, but it let me know that he understood what he was going up against, and he understood what he could and could not do.
 
Q. So how impressed are you by the desire to fight a bigger guy who’s got as much – a lot of experience against top fighters where your fighter is certainly the underdog?  Do you like the idea that he wants to be great like that?  What is your thought about that?
 
VIRGIL HUNTER:  Well, you have to be impressed.  I mean, it’s a step that not many fighters would take under those circumstances, so you have to be impressed.
 
I always said one thing about Amir, even in some of his setbacks, I’ve never really seen it affect him to the point where he got gun shy or not competitive.  He has a personality and characteristics about him that he believes in himself, and he understands why he lost when he lost, and he just moves forward.  That’s a plus in itself.
 
Yeah, I give him all the credit in the world.  He’s got more than guts and balls; he’s got audacity.  So it means a lot.
 
Q. Is it going to be difficult do you think for Amir and for you to sort of get it through his mind that he’s going to have to stay very disciplined with the way he boxes against a fighter that’s as big and strong as Canelo Alvarez because obviously that would appear to be part of the plan where you’re — nobody is going to expect Amir to stand there and slug it out with this guy.  As he said in his statement, it’s going to be his skills that win this fight, not necessarily because he’s a bigger, stronger fighter.  Can you keep him disciplined for 12 rounds?
 
VIRGIL HUNTER:  Well, first of all, if he’s disciplined, I can keep him disciplined.  If he doesn’t have the discipline and focus now, he’ll never have it, but I believe it’s there, and I think it’s very intact, and he understands what he needs to do, when he needs to do it.  He understands the danger, and he also understands how to win the fight.
 
So it’s just going to be a great fight, I believe, and I believe that he has a fight in him that hasn’t come out yet, like all fighters when they get around 29 to 30 if they’re winners.  They can just bring a fight out, bring it up, and I believe that that fight is in him somewhere, and I expect to see the fight come up that night because of all the elements.  It should, and it will.  If it’s ever going to come up, it’ll come up May 7th.
 
Q. Amir, I know that you were very disappointed that you did not get a fight with Mayweather, you did not get a fight with Manny Pacquiao, but now you’ve got probably the best guy other than them, and those other two guys now claim to be retired.  What was your thought process to constantly strive to have the biggest fight possible, and not only have the biggest fight possible with Canelo, but then to go up in weight against a guy that’s going to be bigger and stronger than you?  What is it that drives you to take that type of risk?
 
AMIR KHAN:  I’m thinking about making history in boxing and leaving a great legacy behind and fighting the best out there.  I wanted the big fights against Mayweather, Pacquiao, and both fights didn’t happen.  I wanted the next big thing, and the next big thing was Canelo, and I remembered a long time ago being asked to speak about that fight, and you know, it seems to be more realistic now.  I’m in a position where I’m growing up now and getting stronger, and I’m knowing and getting to understand boxing a lot better now, and having a good team around me with Virgil and the team, I think that helps, also, so I just needed that big fight now because that was something that was only going to give me more confidence and kind of give me that more drive.
 
Q.  It kind of strikes me, Amir, I get the feeling from hearing some of your comments, from seeing some of your interviews and seeing some of the stories that you kind of like the fact that you’re the underdog because it will give you even more satisfaction should you be victorious?  Can you speak about that and that mentality?
 
AMIR KHAN:  I think it’s great, yeah.  I think it’s great to be the underdog.  This is the first fight I’m walking into as the underdog because normally I’m walking in as the favorite, and possibly a bit of pressure on you, where this time I’m going to be walking in as the underdog, and that way it’s a time where I can prove people this is where I belong.  I belong as one of the best fighters in the world, and it’s going to be a great test for me.
 
Q.  Oscar, when you boxed, there’s nobody that would doubt that you always strived to fight the very best fighters out there.  You fought everybody in your career.  When you look at Amir Khan and you see the desire for him to take on these types of challenges, does it in some ways remind you of the attitude that you had, and can you speak about that and the mentality of that as far as desiring to fight the best out there because you always did it?
 
OSCAR DE LA HOYA:  Yeah, that’s who Amir Khan is.  He’s a fighter, a human being that believes in himself, believes in his abilities.  He’s a hard worker.  I strongly feel that every fight should look at Amir Khan and dare to be great.  That’s exactly what takes it to the top, whether they’re tough fights or whether they’re winnable fights.  As long as you take the challenge, that’s the only way you’re going to know if you’re going to be great or not.
 
Q. Does it remind you of yourself a little bit?
 
OSCAR DE LA HOYA:  You know, it actually does.  It actually does.  I won some, I lost some, but one thing about my career today is that nobody can take that away from me.  I dared to be great and fought everybody that was in front of me, and that’s who Amir Khan is.
 
Q. I have a question for Virgil.  Virgil, you were saying that your initial reaction to the match-up is that you were against it.  Can you explain what your thinking was there just when you first heard the idea of Amir facing Canelo?
 
VIRGIL HUNTER:  Well, just being logical.  Size difference being first and foremost, and the fact that Amir had been off for a while.  Those are the first two things that came to my mind.  Canelo has been fighting quite regularly, and you can get into a groove fighting as frequent as he’s been fighting and Amir having some time off.
 
But also on the other end, I believe that fighters who have started out as young as Amir has at nine and eight years old, that they need periods of time off.  I think that it refreshes them, and I think that that’s been proven, Pacquiao the other night, Mayweather fighting Marquez, even Andre coming back and fighting No. 1.  When you’ve been fighting since you were a kid, those muscle memories, they stay intact, and you don’t really get ring rust unless you’re doing things in your lifestyle, staying up, staying out drinking, whatever you’re doing that’s detrimental to your physical well-being, that can throw you off, of course, and it would exhibit to the viewers some sort of rust and things that are missing.
 
But the size and his frequency of fighting, that was the first concern.
 
Q. Virgil, when you spoke to Amir you mentioned that his excitement kind of changed your thinking and changed your mind on that.  Was there anything else that changed your opinion about the fight, or was it just Amir’s – just his confidence?
 
VIRGIL HUNTER:  No, his response.  That pretty much did it.  I didn’t entertain any other thoughts.  Just his response.
 
Q. And lastly, about the size issue, heading into the fight, how do you think Amir – obviously Amir is going to be bigger.  How do you think he’s going to respond to being a bigger fighter?  Will that affect his speed do you think at all?
 
VIRGIL HUNTER:  His speed has not been compromised at all, and I know it’s a lot of photos out there, outlets or public, make your own determination, weigh-in or during the fight, but he has not lost an iota of speed.  When you’re gifted with it like he is, you’ll grow with it.  It’s no different than LeBron James being in high school touching the white square at 190, and he still can do it at 230.  It’s really not that much different than a sprinter, Bo Jackson running a 9.1 in the 200 and still doing it at 225.  No, his speed hasn’t been compromised at all.
 
Q. Amir, just wondering, did you have to convince Virgil that this was the right match-up, and what was that conversation like when Virgil, I guess, expressed that maybe he had some second thoughts on the match-up?  Just take us through that conversation that you had with him.
 
AMIR KHAN:  We had to think about it, because there’s always a bit of — we don’t want to walk into a fight and get hurt.  There’s a life after boxing, and I think that my thinking about this fight, and I think by me taking this fight, I think even Virgil probably understood and knew that I’m going to be more focused, and I know that I can’t make any mistakes against a guy like this.  I’ve made mistakes in the past against guys my own weight because I know naturally I’m more gifted than them and I’m more skilled than them and I’m a better fighter than them, but these are ones that probably could be my worst opponents because I don’t really have that fear element, whereas when you’re fighting someone who’s tough and who’s dangerous and it’s going to be a tough fight, then that’s what brings out the A game in me.
 
I think Virgil understood that, as well, and I definitely understand that myself, that I’m going to train more, I’m going to be more focused for a fight like this than I would be for a fight against someone my own weight and someone I know who I’m better than.
 
Q. Virgil, we heard Amir say maybe 10 minutes ago that he intends on shocking the world.  It sounds like he recognizes he’s the underdog of this fight.  Given the way that the odds seem to be stacked against him, the size difference, et cetera, how does this compare to your greatest challenges as a trainer?
 
VIRGIL HUNTER:  I’m sorry, I didn’t get the last part.  How does it compare to what now?
 
Q. Your greatest challenges as a trainer.
 
VIRGIL HUNTER:  Well, every fight is a challenge.  You know, that’s how I feel about it, from an amateur to a prospect to the level that Amir is on.
 
Of course I understand the whole content of the fight.  I understand what comes off a victory, and I understand that by him saying that he intends to shock the world that quite possibly it could be a shock.  It’ll be a shock to a lot, but I it won’t be a shock to some.  So he falls somewhere right in that 60 percent shocked, 40 percent I’m not shocked.
 
But it means a lot to be able to participate in the sport that you love at this level and in an event of this magnitude.  It’s very humbling.  I feel fortunate.  I feel blessed to have been here, not just one time but a few times.
 
To me, to be able to maybe one day be retired and hopefully have enough health to reflect back, it means quite a bit.
 
Q. When was the last time you felt or you had a fight where you felt like the underdog?
 
VIRGIL HUNTER:  Probably Andre going into the Super Six.  I know everybody viewed him as an underdog, but I didn’t.  I don’t view Amir as an underdog in this fight.  I’m very confident in his abilities.  I think I would be doing him a disservice if I viewed him as an underdog.  I view him as the top dog, and that’s how we’re approaching the fight.  We’re not approaching the fight hoping to get the victory.  We’re not approaching the fight hoping that it goes our way.  We’re approaching the fight determined to get the victory and to make it go our way.  That’s the approach.
 
Q. Amir, this is the biggest fight of the year.  You can’t sit on the fence.  Those that love you support you, those that go for Canelo go for Canelo.  What do you tell your supporters, and what do you tell the people that are doubting you?
 
AMIR KHAN:  Well, I know it’s the biggest fight this year that’s going to happen, and I just want to tell them to tune in and watch this fight because this is going to be a fighting style a lot of people are going to love.  You’ve got a boxer versus a fighter, and you’ve got speed versus power, and it’s going to be exciting from round 1 until the end.
 
It’s a fight for me that I want to prove to people that I really do belong up against the best fighters in the world, and I want to be the best one there.  This is a great fight for the fans to watch, as well, and I’m going to give it to the fans of the UK because they’ve always been waiting and expecting a big fight from me, especially with Floyd Mayweather not happening and then Manny Pacquiao not happening.  I want to do this for the UK crowd and hopefully bring back home the belt, and definitely it’s going to be a big, big Mexican holiday.  I believe that the UK fans are going to turn out for me and they’re going to come and support this big fight.
 
Q.  Virgil, if you could compare in the history of boxing, who does Canelo remind you of and who does Amir Khan remind you of?
 
VIRGIL HUNTER:  Boy, you’re putting me in a position where I’d be doing somebody a service and a disservice.
 
Look, I’d like to give each one their own identity.  They’re one of a kind.  I would probably have to search high and low to get a close comparison, so to speak.  But there is a time in an athlete’s career if they’re gifted that they should be able to stand alone in their own aura, and I give both of these gladiators that respect.
 
Q.  Oscar, with Manny retiring, Mayweather retiring, what are the implications of this fight?  Where does it put the winner?
 
OSCAR DE LA HOYA:  Well, I mean, it puts the winner as being the man.  You know, now that Pacquiao retired, Mayweather is retired, the winner of this fight becomes the man.  You know, it doesn’t happen often, including other sports, where just because you beat the man doesn’t make you the man, but in this case here, you have two elite fighters, elite athletes, who are at the peak of their career, who are at the top of their game, and whether Amir wins or whether Canelo wins, the winner is going to be the man in boxing for a very long time.
 
Q.  Amir, my first question is when you opted to take the fight with Canelo, why didn’t you tell Virgil that this was a discussion you were having?
 
VIRGIL HUNTER:  I did know.  I did know there were discussions with his dad, so I did know.  He didn’t keep me uninformed.
 
Q. Okay, because it seemed like when we spoke to you in Los Angeles that you didn’t know the discussions were going on, so then Virgil, I’ll ask you, since Amir has joined your stable, what do you think is the biggest change in him from that time until now?
 
VIRGIL HUNTER:  Well, you know, change is always subtle.  I’ve seen him tremendously focused, and I’ve seen him slightly distracted.  So I think in Amir’s case, it’s where his focus is.  If his focus is locked in, he becomes a very formidable opponent.  If he’s slightly distracted, then he can make his way a little tougher.  But even in those situations, I’ve seen his competitiveness, his will to win, even when he’s distracted and he’s come up against a tougher situation than is expected.  I’ve seen his competitiveness take over and still pull out the victory.  I mean, he’s a silver medalist at 17, so he’s a winner.  But when he’s focused, he can do some things that you really can’t prepare for, and for this fight he is focused, as he very well knows he has to be.
 
Q. I’ve just got a couple for Amir.  Obviously you know that Canelo is going to wear you down, therefore your speed is going to be major in this fight.  Are you worried that putting on the extra weight you’re going to run out of gas in the championship rounds at the end?
 
AMIR KHAN:  No, look, we’ve been conditioning well.  We’ve been training very hard, so we know — we’re going to expect that Canelo is going to come forward and try to grind me down, and we know what to expect.  I’ve got some great sparring partners who are going to get me conditioned and get me ready for that kind of pressure.  So I’m looking forward to whatever Canelo brings, really.  I’m just going to be working towards a very strong, hard-hitting, come-forward fight with Canelo, and we’re going to be ready for that, and if he wants to do that, we’re going to have answers for it.  If he wants to do – whatever Canelo does in the fight, we’re going to have answers, also.  We’ve basically worked on two different strategies for this fight.
 
Q. How are you feeling about the weight long-term because if you pull this off and your hand is lifted at the end of this fight, there will be pressure for you to stay at that weight and not drop back down to 147 or 154.
 
AMIR KHAN:  Yeah, it just depends on – we’re going to wait and see how everything – how the outcome becomes and what naturally feels good for me.
 
I mean, look, this weight could be amazing for me where I feel strong and it suits me better, so it just depends on – we’ll see after the fight.  Me and Virgil will sit down afterwards, but naturally I think I am a middleweight, naturally, but who knows.  By putting this extra bit of muscle and strength on, I think it’s only going to maybe make me stronger, and time will tell.  It’s hard to tell at the moment, but while I’ve been sparring and while I’ve been in the gym training, I do feel really strong and really good, and I feel really happy, as well.  It gives me enough time to spend on skill and to work on my defense and work on my boxing skills.
 
Q. Away from this actual fight, this is an Olympic year.  Obviously you showed success in our country with your fantastic escapades in the Olympics.  We’ve heard from Oscar earlier on about the start of his career in the Olympics, as well.  What’s your attitude about professional boxers going into the Olympics?
 
AMIR KHAN:  I think it’s hit and miss, really, because a lot of the world-class professionals might not enter.  It’s something that I’d love to maybe enter because me winning a silver medal and I want to turn it into a gold medal by going to the Olympic Games, it would be a little different because obviously you’re only fighting three rounds, but the minutes of the rounds are going to be the same.  It could work and it could not work.  It’s just a matter of it would be too much of a big risk for these world champions as professionals to go into.
 
I think it just all boils down to what I think – it’s hard to say, really, but I think if it was me and I had the opportunity to go back to the Olympic Games and change out a silver medal to a gold medal, because when I was in Doha certainly I was invited by AIBA and they invited me to be there, and I watched the guys who were fighting at my weight category, and I was watching them and thinking, I can still beat these guys, even having the same work rate and everything, and even not fighting 12 rounds but fighting three rounds.
 
Yeah, it’s something I would probably maybe consider.  Like I said, time will tell, but before that I have a big fight to focus on, and we’ll get past this fight and then we’ll see what goes on.
 
Q. Amir, do you think boxing is a logical sport, or do you think the boxing logic –
 
AMIR KHAN:  What do you mean, sorry?
 
Q. Do you think that boxing is a logical sport?
 
AMIR KHAN:  I mean, boxing really is a sport, but at the end of the day you’ve got – it’s a sport that you need skill, I think, and you need to have a big heart.  There’s a lot of fights out there that don’t happen because a lot of fighters don’t basically have the balls to take the fights on, but I think with this fight, me taking this fight, I hope it inspires other fighters out there and other professionals to take big fights in their boxing career, and if you want to be remembered as a great fighter, you need to take big fights like this.
 
So yeah, that’s what boxing is all about, really, and that’s one of the reasons I’m in boxing, because I want to be remembered as a great fighter and I want to achieve everything and fight the biggest fights in my boxing career because one day when I leave, I don’t want to ever be like, oh, I regret not having this fight and I should have taken this fight and I should have had this fight.  So that’s something different, yeah.  Everyone is different.
 
Q. The last time that a Mexican opened a big arena like this time, like Canelo will open the T-Mobile, was Chávez vs. Randall ‘94, so do you believe that you are the Randall of Canelo?
 
AMIR KHAN:  Canelo is a great fighter.  He’s a great fighter, and this is going to be a big event.  Whoever comes to this fight is going to be really happy because you’ve got a style there, and it could be bigger than the Chávez-Randall fight because you have the whole of Mexico, you have the whole of – you have the whole world watching that fight, and I think in this fight, especially two big superstars from two different parts of the world fighting each other, I think this could be a massive fight really because not only you’ve got Great Britain, you’ve got like – you’ve got the whole of Asia, India, you’ve got Pakistan, you’ve got the Middle East, you’ve got America, you’ve got so many nations who are going to be choosing and watching this fight, this is a very big fight, and it’s just great for boxing.  It’s only promoting our sport of boxing, and it’s going to, like I said, promote big fights in the future.
 
Q. Last week I talked with Mayweather Sr., and he said that you are wrong about gaining weight and losing your velocity.  Do you believe that you are gaining weight and you don’t lose the velocity?
 
AMIR KHAN:  I don’t think it’s going to really make a difference on the speed or anything, because I’ve been training, and this is more natural for me.  Normally what I do, I have to go down in weight and I have to lose weight normally, but this time I’m not going to be losing the weight, this time I’m going to be at my natural weight.  I’ll be happy making the weight.  I’ll be keeping the strength, I’ll be keeping the speed, so this is all natural for me.
 
Q. Can you tell me something about your Mexican trainer, Luis García, how he’s doing in Oakland?
 
AMIR KHAN:  Yeah, we love Mexican people.  I mean, a lot of people said my fighting style is like a Mexican.  A lot of people say my style is like a Mexican fighter.  I’ve been watching a lot of Mexican boxers for a long, long time, you know, and I like the fighting style they have.  So this is going to be a great show.  I mean, you’ve got two warriors in the ring come May 7 that both want to be the best in the world and both want to win, so it’s what makes this fight even more better and classic.
 
Q. How close do you think that you are for Mayweather blueprint with Canelo?
 
AMIR KHAN:  Mayweather is his own fighter, and everyone is their own fighter, everyone is different in that way, so I’m not going to say that I’m going to do what Mayweather did.  I think since Mayweather beat Canelo, Canelo is a better fighter.  I’ve been watching his fights, and I think he’s improved a lot as a fighter.
 
So really I’m just going to have to beat the Canelo who is going to be in front of me.  I know he’s going to be changing his style a lot, but whatever Canelo brings we can have answers for.  Canelo is a strong guy.  There’s not much of a blueprint there.  There’s only one guy who beat him, which is Mayweather, and like I said, he’s changing as a fighter.  He’s getting better.
 
Once we get in that ring, we have a game plan.  We have a game plan.  We have a strategy to win this fight, and it’s all about sticking to that, and I know I can win this fight that way.
 
Q. Do you think that the winner of this fight after Mayweather and Pacquiao leave boxing should be the next star of boxing, Canelo or Amir Khan?
 
OSCAR DE LA HOYA:  Look, I was asked that question before, and what I said was the winner of this fight is going to be the man, yeah, and when you take everything into consideration, you look at the regimens, you look at the fight, the number that it’s going to generate, this is going to be a mega, mega, mega event, and whoever wins this fight is going to call themselves the Pay-Per-View King.  This is part of the stakes that goes along with a fight of this magnitude, you know, and so that’s why this fight is so important for both guys, for many reasons.
 
CECILIA ZUNIG, Golden Boy Promotions:  Amir, do you have any final comments to the press on this call?
 
AMIR KHAN:  I just want to say a big thank you very much for being on this conference and supporting me.  The UK press has been great.  I mean, the press around the world have been great.  They’ve been very supportive in this fight, and they have given me a chance – a lot of people at first didn’t give me a chance, and now I think as time is getting closer, they’ve really seen that I can go into this fight and win this fight, so I hope to see you all at the fight.  It’s going to be a big fight, and just a big thanks to you guys again, and hopefully we’ll see you soon.  Thank you.
 
CECILIA ZUNIGA:  Oscar, we’re ready for your final comments and any reminders.
 
OSCAR DE LA HOYA:  Thank you very much.  I gave you the reminder.  Amir Khan will be working out, whoever didn’t have a chance to ask a question.  He is opening up his training camp which will be Monday, April 18, in Oakland, so we will see you there.  Thank you very much.

Cliff Notes: Angels Landing

Posted on 01. Mar, 2013 by FSM Staff in General Sports, Highlight

Cliff Notes: Angels Landing

Angels Landing located at Zion National Park in Utah is perhaps the most semi-famous hike in the United States. Many hikers I’ve encountered during my travels have “kind of” heard of it. Common responses are, “That’s the one with the big walls right?” or “The one where people always fall off and die?” My answer to these and similar questions is usually, “Well…kinda.”

Anyone in half decent shape shouldn’t have trouble completing this hike. There is nothing overly strenuous about this trail. The switchbacks leading up to the final leg of the trail are steep but they are also paved which is extremely helpful (not to mention a rarity on this kind of trek). This section is affectionately known as Walton’s Wiggles. As you hike up the wiggles, you will have solid canyon wall to your left. To your right, you will have a sliver of a view of the bigger canyon you find yourself in. Depending on the time day, you will see a different mix of orange, red, and maroon in the rocks with random greenery sprinkled throughout. An avid hiker would probably spend no more than 60 minutes completing this trail through the end of Walton’s Wiggles.

View from Walton's Wiggles

The WW switchbacks lead to a narrow trail that eventually ascends like a staircase to the point of the trail known as Scout’s Lookout. This is where first timers will have an initial glimpse of the behemoth they are about to take on. This is also where people usually start thinking about turning back. I mentioned earlier that this hike is not strenuous which is true. The emotional component to completing this hike cannot be understated however. When you are standing on Scout’s Lookout, gazing at the thin strip of trail that leads up to Angels Landing, looking at the thousands of feet of drop-off on each side, there is a good chance your nerves will make the decision of quitting or going on for you. Don’t make a hasty decision though.

The Disclaimer Plaque

View from Scout's Lookout

Use the random outhouse at the lookout if you need a second to compose yourself. Take reassurance knowing that the number of people who have died trying to reach the top is not even in double digits. My point is that’s an extremely low number.

Admittedly, there are a few spots on the way to the top of Angels Landing that could use some chains. But the final portion of trail is well constructed and safe overall. Hold on to the chains whenever available, watch where you step, and resist the urge to take in the scenery until you summit. Once you make it to the top, there is plenty of space to relax safely and admire the beautiful views: giant walls of multi-colored rock on both sides with a river curving its way through the canyon floor.

The Payoff!

Don’t let any initial fears at Scout’s Lookout prevent you from completing this hike. If you exercise caution and respect your environment, you should be fine. The payoff for crossing the finish line is twofold. You get treated to unimaginable views that few will ever see form that vantage point and you gain the satisfaction of completing what most consider a daunting task. The trail is properly named. If a landing strip for angels really exists in Utah, there is good chance this is it.

Orlando Cruz Announces He Is Gay

Posted on 06. Oct, 2012 by FSM Staff in Boxing, General Sports

Orlando Cruz Announces He Is Gay

In a sport where people are trying to punch you in the face, you must give credit to Orlando Cruz for coming out as the first openly gay active professional boxer.

Cruz is not some tomato can journeyman or a guy who is about to retire. He is a fringe contender in the featherweight division. At age 31 and with a record of 18-2-1, he definitely has a few good years left ahead of him. He is headlining a card that will be televised on Telemundo later this month for example. That is what makes his announcement that much more remarkable.

“I want people to look at me for the human being that I am. I am a professional sportsman that always brings his best to the ring. I want for people to continue to see me for my boxing skills, my character, my sportsmanship. But I also want kids who suffer from bullying to know that you can be whoever you want to be in life, including a professional boxer, that anything is possible and that who you are or whom you love should not be impediment to achieving anything in life.”

In a perfect world, this wouldn’t be news. Orlando Cruz is gay. So what. But we are talking about boxing here and it’s not the most progressive sport at times, and neither are many of its fans. Reaction to the announcement by those in the boxing world has been positive in the media but who knows how people really feel behind the scenes?

Boxing is not in the spotlight like the MLB, NFL, or NBA. Though Orlando Cruz is a fringe contender, you’ve probably never heard of him before reading this article. The fact that a featherweight from Puerto Rico had the guts to become the first openly gay active professional in these four sports is a surprise and a shame on the MLB, NFL, and NBA. The fact that this story still matters is a shame on the rest of us.

2012 London Olympics Opening Ceremony A Surreal Ride

Posted on 28. Jul, 2012 by FSM Staff in General Sports, Highlight

2012 London Olympics Opening Ceremony A Surreal Ride

If you are an aficionado of the Olympic games or just a passive observer, chances are you saw the opening ceremony for the 2012 games in London on Friday night. As usual, the artistic presentation of the event made for a grand spectacle leaving more questions than answers, like “what’s with that giant baby?”

Based on anecdotal evidence gathered at the FreeSportsMag water cooler, opinions of the opening ceremony seem to be a bit more polarized this time around. Judging from the buzz on the internet, this appears to be an accurate assessment. FSM’s offical stance? We think the opening ceremonies in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 came across as more meaningful while the 2012 opening ceremony gave us nightmares (well just the weird bootleg Harry Potter part) but ultimately delivered.

The 2012 opening ceremony started with a whimper. Watching working slaves usher in the age of industry was drab to say the least and not the most uplifting visual in this bustling economy (sarcasm). Things started to pick up however when giant Olympic rings were raised to the sky and golden colored fireworks spilled out from the them giving the illusion of flowing hot metal as the image of the rings was scorched in to the ground. Next to the lighting of the torch, it was our favorite visual of the evening.

But things started to degenerate again when for some reason famous fictional British villains were honored which later gave way to some demons and a bunch of scared kiddos hiding in their beds. Then came the giant baby which should have elicited an “Awwwww” reaction but instead most people just said “Ewwwww”. At this point we had to make sure we did not accidentally step in to a time machine and go back our college days because we thought we were having a bad trip.

Luckily, the parade of athletes and actual lighting of the Olympic flame was entertaining and we snapped backed in to reality. Having David Beckham deliver the torch via a speeding boat was corny but in a nice way. It was also a touching sentiment to have former English Olympic greats receive the flame and literally pass the torch to the youngsters that will be representing Great Britain in the years to come. When the time came to light the big flame, it was a beautiful sight to see 200 smaller metal torches rising and uniting to form a single, giant cauldron.

Bonus points for having Paul McCartney get caught up in the moment and almost break down and cry before starting his performance. It was an appropriate way to end a surreal night. In the spirit of the Olympic games, FSM is handing out medals and this opening ceremony receives a bronze.

What are your thoughts about the London Olympics 2012 opening ceremony ? Feel free to comment below.

Winky and Sugar Shane Say Goodbye

Posted on 04. Jun, 2012 by FSM Staff in Boxing, Highlight

Winky and Sugar Shane Say Goodbye

In the prime of their careers, Sugar Shane Mosley and Ronald Winky Wright were the best at what they did. Defensive specialists with chins of steel, it wasn’t until their final handful of fights that they even looked vulnerable. Now at age 40, both men are calling it a day.

For the love of the fight game and a few extra payouts, both ended their hall of fame careers with more of a whimper than a bang. Mosley was highly criticized for lackluster performances against the likes of Sergio Mora and Manny Pacquiao. He showed some fight in what would be his final bout against Canelo Alvarez in May, but he ultimately lost on the scorecards with the outcome never being in doubt. Wright lost his last three fights, though two of those were against Bernard Hopkins and Paul Williams. His final match was against undefeated Peter Quillin in June. It was one of those ultra rare nights where the boxing world got to see Wright get knocked down en route to a decision loss.

In a few years though, the ending of their careers won’t be remembered. Boxing is one of those sports where undefeated records don’t mean much to avid fans. Mosley and Wright’s shortcomings as they went up against father time (who Charles Barkley says is undefeated) in their final fights will fade from our memories. Instead, fans will remember Sugar Shane beating a prime Oscar De La Hoya not once but twice. They will think of Winky Wright clearly beating Fernando Vargas on HBO but losing by controversial majority decision and his surprise domination of Felix Trinidad.

Mosley and Wright would even face each other in a mini rivalry of sorts. In an effort to unify the championship belts in the 154 pound division, Sugar Shane challenged a surprised Winky to a unification bout in 2004. Winky scored an upset decision victory and became the first undisputed champion in the division in 29 years. It was the biggest moment in Wright’s career and he followed up with a majority decision victory in the rematch later that same year.

Perhaps it is somewhat fitting then, that both men announce their retirement on the same day. Confident in their bodies of work, they didn’t need a retirement fight against a tomato can opponent just to go out with a W.

The boxing hall of fame will surely be calling on Sugar Shane Mosley in the near future. It will be a shame if the invitation is not extended to Winky Wright as well.

Wladimir Celebrates His 50th

Posted on 04. Mar, 2012 by FSM Staff in Boxing, Highlight

Wladimir Celebrates His 50th

Spare us the same old comments about the heavyweight division being boring and weak. Though we don’t think they are 100% untrue, they shouldn’t overshadow what Wladimir Klitschko accomplished in the ring on Saturday night when he dominated Jean-Marc Mormeck en route to his 50th career knockout.

The bout only lasted four rounds and Mormeck was dropped on multiple occasions. The inevitable occurred in front of 50,000 fans in Düsseldorf, Germany, a venue where the Klitschko brothers enjoy a more than healthy following. With his monumental KO victory, Wladimir slides up to 5th on the all-time list for knockouts in the heavyweight division. He can now be mentioned in the same sentence as Joe Louis.

The numbers are impressive. Sixty bouts, 57 wins, 50 KOs, and only 3 losses.

Klitschko turns 36 years-old later this month. It has been nearly a decade since he has taken serious punishment in the ring. It’s not unrealistic to think he will be in the boxing game at a high level for another five years if that’s what he chooses to do.

Happy 50th KO Wladimir!

The Plight of the Modern NBA Fan

Posted on 07. Dec, 2011 by FSM Staff in Uncategorized

The Plight of the Modern NBA Fan

The NBA lockout is finally over folks. As hot dog vendors and professional basketball players gear up for a shortened 66 game NBA season, the common fan has been lost in the shuffle.

When news broke that a tentative labor agreement was reached, the feeling was bittersweet. I was happy I would get to see Blake Griffin do his thing, but also upset at the owners and players for putting us fans through this mess. Both parties had their hiss-fit over millions and billions all the while knowing we would be there with open arms when they finally came to their senses.

And that’s just the problem. The fans are never willing to lockout out the NBA. Our love of basketball trumps our poor treatment. We will sit there and take it month after month because we just want to see some hoop. The players know this and the owners do too. Why wouldn’t they take their sweet time?

I would love to lead a movement that calls on sports fans to boycott the NBA for these upcoming 66 games. If they don’t want to play the first half of the season, we shouldn’t be so eager to watch the second half. But there will be no revolution for me, especially in the midst of a recession. This country needs every job we can get right now from the parking lot attendant to the half-time show entertainment. Also, I’ve been itching to watch Blake Griffin’s high flying antics again. Did I mention I like Blake Griffin?

So it’s with great frustration that the loyal NBA fans around the world must usher in the abridged 2011-12 season. In a few years we will put all the negative feelings behind us and the outrage will subside – until this mess happens all over again.

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