Friday, 23rd August 2019

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.

How to beat Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 3 easy steps

Posted on 01. Nov, 2011 by FSM Staff in Boxing, Highlight

How to beat Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 3 easy steps

How to beat Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 3 easy steps

With all the recent controversy over the Floyd Mayweather Jr. – Victor Ortiz knockout, the most important topic of all has been overlooked – How exactly do you beat Floyd Mayweather Jr.? Luckily for the sporting world, the experts at FreeSportsMagazine have finally devised a plan. Follow these three easy steps and FSM guarantees you will attain victory.*

Step 1: Go Amish

In the era of social networking and HBO’s 24/7 series, one of Pretty Boy Floyd’s greatest weapons has been psychology. He is certainly a provocative figure who knows how to push people’s buttons. If you end up hating him, he has done his job. For once you let Floyd Mayweather Jr. wiggle his way into your brain you have already lost the battle. A hate filled fighter throwing wild punches full of rage (Victor Ortiz anyone?) plays right into his hands. Take away the platform, and you take away some of his power. Don’t dare watch television and forget about twitter. Abstain from the internet and only talk to your closest friends.

Step 2: Get Fit

Perhaps the only fighter in history to come in to the ring in better shape than Floyd Mayweather Jr. is Rocky Balboa. Pretty Boy Floyd will battle to the end and you will have to win this fight in the late rounds. Forget about good conditioning. This effort will require supreme conditioning. Don’t waste time working on technique or punching mitts. Run and spar. Run and spar. Run and spar. For as long as possible for as many days in a row as possible. Mix it up with heavy sparring as well. You will have to be able to take punches without getting tired. Sucker Floyd into thinking your stamina has peaked and then take it to the next level for a TKO in the championship rounds.

Step 3: Become the Hunter

Just because step one calls for ignoring Floyd Mayweather Jr., it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t throw verbal jabs of your own whenever you get the chance. Any time someone in the press asks you about him, respond by asking, “Are you referring to the bronze metal winning Floyd Mayweather Jr.?” Remind him of his only failure in boxing. Get under his skin and ignore him when he tries to get under yours. Floyd is an emotional guy. Find his bugaboo and get personal if you have to.

*If anyone other than Manny Pacquiao beats Pretty Boy Floyd we will assume they read this article. Our cut is 10%.

Klitschko TKO’s Adamek, Multitasks in the Process

Posted on 10. Sep, 2011 by FSM Staff in Boxing, Highlight

Klitschko TKO’s Adamek, Multitasks in the Process

I’m usually not a betting man. However, from time to time I have been known to place a wager on a long shot that I’m positive will pay off. Perhaps the ghost of Jimmy the Greek inhabits my body, or perhaps I just have the sport aficionado’s sixth sense. I knew the 2007 Golden State Warriors would beat the Dallas Mavericks in six games and I knew the 2008 New York Giants would halt the undefeated New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. I even had the audacity to believe that Tomasz Adamek could score a twelve round split decision against Vitali Klitschko when the two heavyweights collided today in Poland.

Before you call the loony bin to come pick me up, just hear me out. My prediction was born more from an apprehension over Klitschko’s age and history of injuries than Adamek’s ability to get the job done. And I was never going to be more than $100 anyway.

No disrespect to Tomasz Adamek. He was outsized and outclassed from the beginning. But he showed up and let his gloves go as much as he could in typical Adamek fashion. It just wasn’t enough though as he suffered a TKO in round 10 in his native Poland.

At one point Vitali Klitschko was averaging 44 jabs per round. At age 40, are you kidding me?

Hyperbole be damned. Vitali Klitschko is one of the most dominant pugilists I have seen in my 30 year lifetime (I didn’t start following boxing until my late teens). Lean and mean, what I saw today defies logic. There is no doubt in my mind that Vitali can whip Wladimir’s arse any day of the week.

More impressive is that Vitali and his younger, overrated brother, have the nerve to multitask while they are dominating the heavyweight division. That’s how easy it is for them to fight. Despite thriving, busy careers, they still have the time to promote themselves via their promo company K2.

The Klitschko brothers are no fools. Once their domination in the ring comes to an end, they will give their full attention to dominating the world of promotion. With the fledgling K2 gaining slow momentum like George Foreman in a Michael Moorer fight, it was a no-brainer that Vitali Klitschko would agree to defend his title on his opponent’s home turf when he faced Adamek today in Poland. The event took place in brand new stadium capable of accommodating 40,000 fight freaks (as Dan Rafael would say). The vast majority of those fans were Polish and were card carrying members of the Tomas Adamek fan club. There was potential for a hostile environment to say the least. In the end however, Vitali Klitschko took care of business as usual while planting a small promotional seed with the Polish nationals. A seed, like so many of the other little seeds the Klitschko brothers have been planting throughout Europe, that will grow in to a redwood by the time both retire and are out of the fight game for good.

A Letter to the NBPA and NBA Owners

Posted on 12. Jul, 2011 by FSM Staff in Highlight, NBA

A Letter to the NBPA and NBA Owners

Dear NBPA & NBA Owners,

I am writing to inform you that I am also engaging in a lockout. My situation is far direr than that of the NBA players and owners. For nearly 20 years I have been investing my time and money in the NBA, and I have yet to see any returns on my investment. Roughly 10% of my pathetic $35,000 annual salary goes to tickets, merchandise, memorabilia, parking, beer, and nachos. I used to have no problem spreading my money around to the NBA, but the players have made me see the light. Why would should I keep making someone else rich if they don’t want to share their profits with me? Even if the 2011-12 NBA season goes on as scheduled, I still plan to employ a lockout until the following fan demands are met:

-The NBA owners must do as much as possible to cover up news reports of players behaving badly. Perhaps the media outlets in North Korea can be used as a model. Andrew Bynum will still be allowed to “make it rain” by throwing his cash up in the air, the hard working fans just don’t need to see it or know about it because it makes us feel bad. Also, players should not be allowed to show off the ridiculous material possessions they have purchased with fan money on MTV Cribs.

-The NBA players must admit that what they do for a living is not important – at all. They throw a little ball through a metal ring. If the NBA were to end forever, the world would go on without missing a beat.

-The NBA players and NBA owners must share their wealth with the cotton candy guy at your local stadium. You know the guy I’m talking about – he’s worked there for 10 years and drives home every night in his Datsun with the primer paint job. He is also still enthusiastic about selling cotton candy for some reason.

-Offering contracts like Eric Dampier’s $60 million deal should be punishable by jail time, or possibly the death penalty.

-Fans will get back 1% of every dollar they spend on the NBA as a show of appreciation for making NBA players and owners filthy stinkin’ rich.

-NBA players will admit that their life is not as hard as they claim. Traveling from town to town on a private jet and playing sports is not a tough life. Having money, women, and weed available at all times is actually fun and can lead to good times, even if you are married.

-At least one NBA player has to come out of the closet as being gay and that player must be accepted by everyone. We know players and owners are greedy, but we’re not so sure they are good, empathetic people.

Once these demands are met, I may consider watching the NBA again. Actually, I would even settle if you meet me half way – it’s called a compromise in case you are unfamiliar with the term. Until then, it will be nothing but Major League Soccer for me because I think I make more money than most of those guys and I harbor no resentment towards any of them whatsoever.

Goodbye Tractor

Posted on 11. May, 2011 by FSM Staff in General Sports, NBA

Goodbye Tractor

It is with great sadness that FreeSportsMag is reporting on the death of former NBA player Robert “Tractor” Traylor. Traylor’s body was discovered earlier today at his apartment in Puerto Rico where he was recently living while playing for the Bayamon Cowboys. It is believed that the 34 year-old Traylor passed away as a result of a heart attack.

Many remember Tractor Taylor during his college days playing for Michigan. He also played for seven seasons in the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets. Those who knew him described him as a gentle giant that cared for others.

Click here to learn more about Robert Traylor. R.I.P. Tractor.

NBA Jam Session Scores With Fans

Posted on 20. Feb, 2011 by FSM Staff in General Sports, NBA

NBA Jam Session Scores With Fans

David Stern’s well oiled basketball machine rolled in to Downtown Los Angeles this weekend for the annual NBA All Star game. The game brings with it three days of festivities and goodies for fans of all ages. FreeSportsMag was on hand this Saturday getting a taste of the All Star life at NBA Jam Session, a fan festival of sorts that runs from Friday to Monday during the All Star break.

Jam Session took place next to Staples at the enormous Los Angeles Convention Center. The masses were out in full force and a pleasant, playful vibe was in the air. Fans were made to feel special upon entrance in to the event getting to walk down a hardwood path surrounded by volunteers smacking thunder sticks and giant murals of NBA stars hanging on the walls.

Fans of hoop could spend the entire day at Jam Session without getting bored. Many activities and exhibits filled the convention center with the more popular attractions having the longer lines. Photo opportunities were plenty and there seemed to be an emphasis on hands-on interaction. Fans had a chance to take pictures with championship trophies and could even insert themselves in to the L.A. team photo.

Most youngsters enjoyed basketball challenges that were setup throughout the event. It was fun watching kids shoot, dribble, and have a good time. It was even better to watch grown adults try to slam dunk on eight foot rims. More avid fans of the game enjoyed historical exhibits and memorabilia showcases. Team USA had a booth and the Basketball Hall of Fame displayed some items that struck a nostalgic chord with many fans.

A mix of NBA legends and current players were sprinkled through the event at various times during the day. Dwayne Wade made an appearance at the T-Mobile booth while Robert Horry helped coach a youth team from China that was playing in an exhibition. Norm Nixon signed free autographs and every once and a while an official team mascot could be spotted stirring up some benign mayhem.

The NBA got it right with the Jam Session event. Catch it if you can when the All Star game rolls through your town.