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Sunday, 27 March 2011

Kids These Days

This is fantastic.

Picture is not related to the story, unsurprisingly.

Quick Jabs 1

I'm hoping to begin writing for another website, http://www.thescore.ie on my first love, namely boxing.  They published my first article on Saturday (it's a little dated now) but here you go.

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There’s no way to disguise that last week was very disappointing for Irish boxing fans.  Two of our own fought for World Titles – unfortunately, both were beaten – however, neither was disgraced.

Willie Casey was always going to find it tough going against Guillermo Rigondeaux.  Despite the advantage of a partisan Dublin crowd, Casey’s inexperience showed against the two-time Olympic Gold Medallist.  Rigondeaux was forced to come to Ireland after his last fight, a snore-fest decision win against Ricardo Cordoba (another man familiar to Irish fans), but in blowing Casey out of the ring in the first round, he is likely to have once again garnered the attention of the US TV Networks.  For Casey meanwhile, it is difficult to see where he can go from here but the Limerick man is affable and can sell tickets, so expect him to return, and possibly again fight for a European title.



Good as RIgondeaux was, Belfast’s Brian Magee arguably faced an even tougher fight when he fought Lucian Bute in Montreal.  Magee survived until the tenth round, before the referee rightly stopped the fight following a massive uppercut which saw him hit the canvas for the third time.  Magee earned a lot of fans with his performance, as he was never expected to trouble the Romanian.  He may now be offered further fights against American and Canadian prospects, against whom he would be expected to provide a stern test.  It’s up to Magee, who turns 35 in June, if this is a road he wants to travel down.

It hasn’t all been doom and gloom for Irish fans, with our amateur stars again leading the way, recording two wins over a China this week in Dungarvan and New Ross.  Of the 24 fights so far, Ireland have won 18 ahead of tonight’s third and final meeting in Dublin.  Katie Taylor will look for a third win over former World Championship Final opponent Cheng Dong – the Bray woman won each of their first two fights this week on a 17-2 scoreline – while former Olympic medallist Kenny Egan will be in action at the National Stadium for the first time since his recent loss to Mullingar’s Joe Ward in the National Championships.

Note - Egan was one of four Irish boxers to win on Friday night, but Ireland lost out to the Chinese.

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It’s been another good week for Floyd Mayweather.  The man they call ‘Money’ hit the jackpot in Las Vegas, with a massive bet on an NBA Basketball game.  According to his twitter page, Mayweather cashed in a slip worth over $37,000 following the Chicago Bulls’ win over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday. 

No doubt, the money will come in very useful.  It’s reported this week that, for a third time, talks on a proposed superfight between Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao have fallen by the wayside, this time because of Floyd’s financial demands.  It’s claimed he was seeking a ridiculous $100m to take on boxing’s biggest potential fight, making one wonder if he wants it to happen at all.

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After last weekend’s plethora of pugilism, this weekend is a much tamer affair though there are some interesting fights ahead.  Tomorrow afternoon, Russian middleweight Dmitry Pirog enters the ring for the first time since he captured the vacant WBO title with a stunning knockout win against Daniel Jacobs last July.  Pirog faces off against Argentine Javier Francisco Maciel in his homeland in a fight that will be televised here on Setanta Sports 1 on Saturday afternoon.

Also this weekend, the under-rated Yuriorkis Gamboa defends his World Featherwieght titles against Mexican Jorge Solis and Albert Sosnowski has an interesting defence of his European Heavyweight Title against Alexander Dimitrenko in Hamburg.  Neither of those fights will be televised in Ireland.

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This Week In Boxing History

On March 24th 1975, Muhammad Ali fought the relative unknown Chuck Wepner for the World Title, a fight which lasted the full 15 rounds despite the perceived gulf in class between the fighters.  Wepner was knocked out in the final round, but was deemed to have floored Ali in the ninth, despite the champion’s assertion that his foot had been stood on.

The fight is also notable in that it served as the inspiration for a young Sylvester Stallone, who, after watching it, locked himself in a room to write Rocky.


Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Nike Probably Not Unhappy Despite Ad Leak


You've probably seen the above video already - it was made by Nike ahead of Saturday's win for Ireland over England in the Six Nations.  Had the English won, then they would have clinched their first Grand Slam since 2003 and this ad, presumably, would have been all over our televisions like white on rice.

The ad popped up online yesterday, and since then has been tweeted about by about a bazillion people and news stories have been made about it, both in Ireland and the UK.  A Google News Search for 'Nike Ad England' brings up over 2,300 results.

Naturally, Irish fans have rejoiced at this while according to The Guardian, the English have been left red-faced.

Somehow though, I don't think Nike will mind too much at all.  There's no such thing as bad publicity, or so the saying goes, and nothing better than free publicity so though the Chariot may have been derailed at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, I somehow think the Swoosh are still smiling.

Another Amazing Tale From The World Of Sport

Just last week, I wrote about inspiration in life and in sport, and how powerful a force it can be for us all.

As if to serve as a reminder, this weekend just gone has given us one of the most inspiring stories you can imagine.

Anthony Robles is from Mesa, Arizona, where he was born in 1988.  He wrestled throughout high school, went undefeated in his final two years (that’s 96 straight wins) and became state and national champion.  He then went on to continue wrestling for Arizona State University, winning a scholarship, and three times he has been the best wrestler in his weight division in the PAC-10 division.  This past weekend, in his biggest achievement to date, he again won a national title, becoming the best collegiate athlete in the 125lb weight division.

Anthony was born without his right leg, and hasn’t worn prosthetic one since he was 3 years old.






To watch this video and to see his tenacity and inability to acknowledge adversity is phenomenal.  It is the definition of inspiration if it ever existed.  Even his words following his victory show humility, level-headedness and courage.

"People have been asking me if I want to try out for freestyle (the Olympic style) or anything like that," says Robles.

"But I've had a great run. Started wrestling when I was a freshman in high school. It's been a great ride.


"Wrestling's been my life for nine years now. I don't know what I'm going to do without competition now. But it's been a blessing in my life. It's taught me so much. It's really helped me to become a man. And I'll be forever grateful for that."

"I really don't see missing my leg as a handicap.  You know, my parents raised me strong and they didn't give me any special treatment. So, I believe I can do anything I set my mind to and wrestling is something I enjoy, I love it and I'm just trying to be best at it."


I wish Anthony all the best, and thank and congratulate him for giving us this amazing story.

Monday, 21 March 2011

The Coke, The


We spotted this somewhere near Kilcullen while on our way to Belfast for the Irish Blog Awards on Saturday.  If the night out and Sunday's booze cruise weren't worth the trip, and they were, then this certainly was!

(Note: Blog title refers to this Simpsons joke, in case you were wondering)

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Inspiration Is All Around

In life, and in sport, perspective is everything.

The majority of posts on this site, sporadic as they are, are of the here and now; of the game/match/fight/story of that day. Current affairs are, after all, the most pressing kind.

However, that does not mean that we should not know from where we come. I enjoy watching sports and fights from before I was born as much as I do those happening live on television. Some query this; my better half lists ESPN Classic and the BBC Red Button’s fantastic Classic Formula 1 feature among her pet hates. I also love watching sports documentaries, often about people and events I know little of, and I do this for one reason above all others.

Inspiration.


Perspective and knowledge are key, but without inspiration sport wouldn’t exist. Sports stars need a hook to draw them into a sport. Bernard Dunne speaks about the importance of Barry McGuigan, Lewis Hamilton idolizes Ayrton Senna and goodness only knows how many 10 year olds have kicked a ball against a wall imagining they are Pele, or Maradona, or Keane, or Rooney or whoever. As much as sport is about community, and our very existence, it is also something that inspires us, fans and competitors alike, and spurs it on.

I watch those historic events to be inspired, to see great fighters and athletes at their best, creating history. I also watch live events to see history as it is created, so in years to come I can say I was there when Dunne knocked out Cordoba, or when Schumacher clinched a World Title, or at the very least I can say I was sat in front of the television rejoicing with millions others when Bolt ran 9.58 in Berlin, or McAteer scored against the Dutch or any one of thousands of other events. I was alone, or in a small group, but I was one of many rejoicing. Together, alone. We were inspired by the things in front of our noses, something that I get to experience every day.

I am inspired by the woman I love, my Hellie. She took up blogging at my behest, twitter too. She know kicks my ass at both. Tomorrow, we heard to Belfast for the Irish Blog Awards 2011 in which her blog, http://www.anseo-a-mhuinteoir.com is nominated in the Best Education/Science Blog Category. Her’s is the only Primary School blog in the final five. She is also very active on twitter, @anseoamuinteoir, and best of all, she does this not for herself but for others. Blogging and interacting allows her to be a better teacher, something she loves, something she was born to do.

It is her passion, and it is her hope to inspire children for years to come. This passion can be see on her site, and in how she has made friends and relationships and earned the respect of others online. She inspires me as well. I intend to work hard over the next twelce months so that when we return to next year’s awards, we do so as a pair of nominees.

Thanks babe x