2010 Fight of the Year

On December 11 2010 Middle Weight Competitors Amir Khan and Marcos Maidana faced off for the WBA Light Welterweight Title . The fight offered fans a truly high stakes match up in addition to a highly competitive, stylistically varied fighting display, held at the famed Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Khan, 24 years old born in Bolton, Greater Manchester is a former Olympic Gold Medalist. His record includes 23 wins out 24, 17 of these wins won by knock out. Marcos Mardiana, 27 years old born in Santa Fe, Argentina has a record of 29 wins out of 30 total fights since the beginning of his professional career in 2004 with 27 of his 29 victories being knock outs.

The results of Saturdays fight was the synthesis of a dramatic and highly entertaining 12 rounds, that ended up elevating both competitors and earned the title of Fight of The Year For 2010. In the first round, Maidana suffered greatly, a left hook to his body that pushed him onto the canvas. It appeared as if Khan’s speed, style, and height advantage would present too much for Maidana to overcome. Yet, in the third round Khan lost his footing and Maidana successfully pressured his opponent to overexpose himself, as seen in the ninth and tenths rounds. In the ninth round Maidana seemed to have become re-energized. In the tenth round Maidana landed a few right hands on Khan’s face. However, this was not enough. Khan connected 273 out of 603 shots, while Maidana lagged behind with connecting punches of 156 out of 767. After 156 punches were thrown and twelve rounds passed Amir Khan emerged as the victor having successfully defended his title as the WBA Light Welterweight Title holder.

The Fordham Flip Goes Over The Top For Baseball Plays Of The Year

The Major League Baseball season is more than half over and there have been many great web gems and plays over the year (some say the best play of the year was captured on Opening Day when Mark Buehrle flipped the ball between his legs using just his glove). However, I would argue that the best baseball play of the year didn’t even take place in the Majors but rather took place in college. If you don’t believe me check out the play that many are calling “The Fordham Flip”:

When Fordham baseball player Brian Kownacki leapt over the play at the plate he not only avoided the tag and became an Internet sensation but he may have captured the baseball play of the year.

Your Source 4 Sports Book Club: Romeo Barnes

The following is a post from my friend Romeo Barnes. As a member of the blogosphere, in no way do I want to discount the credibility of online journalism. However, something can be said about the increased level of difficulty involved with self-publishing your own book. Romeo has put himself out there with this newest book, and I commend him for it.

Promotional post:

Emotions: Better Days is the second volume in the poetry series Emotions. The first volume titled Emotions: The Beginning of Turmoil was released April 24, 2009 and is available on amazon.com you can find it here. The Emotions series is about me growing up. From the ages of fourteen to eighteen I was a troubled and lonely person. It was a very unhappy time. Many people ask me why release this now; as it seems out of place as it appears to be written by a 23 year-old. However, the truth is I finished writing the Emotions series when I was eighteen. I’m releasing it now because I feel it’s important for people to see my growth not only as a writer, but as a person.

If you are interested in contacting Romeo, you can visit his “My Many Faces” blog, email him, or follow him on twitter @Rblostpoet.

James Toney, Randy Couture Ready to Settle Boxing-Mixed Martial Arts Debate

I rarely do re-posts here, but seeing as how I am the original author, I think it’ll be OK. Below is an excerpt and link to an article I wrote for NESN.com, one of the finest sports sites out there (especiallly if you are a New Englander ;)).

UFC and boxing aren’t the two most disparate sports in the world, but for years, fans of the two pugnacious pastimes have argued over which sport reigns supreme.

Boxing is one of the oldest of the modern sports, but mixed martial arts has seen an explosion in its fan base over the past few years.

Boxing has never quite enjoyed the same cultural influence which MMA is currently experiencing.

The argument has bubbled up to the highest parts of UFC, as seen when UFC president Dana White discussed boxing and boxing fans (as usual with White, there’s “colorful” language in that interview). As much as bickering between fans served its purpose of extending the debate, there really haven’t been many opportunities to make a definitive distinction regarding which sport produces the better athlete.

That is, until now… [read more on James Toney at NESN]

Poignant Discussion on the Differences Between Boxing and MMA

A lot of people like to criticize Joe Rogan. I’m not personally one of his biggest critics, but usually when he tries to make a point, all I can think of is him forcing contestants to eat elk testicles on Fear Factor. Despite his history with that masterpiece of television programming, over the years Joe has made a name for himself in the MMA/UFC world. With his years of experience both as a fighter and a commentator, I would consider him to be a qualified advocate of the sport.

I feel that boxing- the sweet science- might not be “dying” as Rogan describes, but it is important to respect the long history and following that the art has. Arguments about whether or not an MMA fighter could match up against a boxer are folly; they are indeed very different sports with different rule-sets and training regimens.

Having said all that, it definitely appears as if MMA fans are more accepting of boxing as  a sport than the other way around. I have seldom- if ever- heard MMA supporters discount the validity of boxing. What do you think though? Please take a look at the video below and share your thoughts.

Everyone Hates Chris- Including Phil Jackson

This is hilarious, and it’s not a Chris Rock punchline this time. Obviously, what celebrities think about sports is more important than actual analysis, but Phil doesn’t appreciate the intrusion.

Did you see the look on Chris Rock’s face? He looks like he just got scolded by his mother! Too funny.

Strikeforce Los Angeles Results

What an exciting night for Strikeforce and MMA! I wanted to wait until the official scorecard came out for the main event before making this post, and without further delay, here are the results:

By a unanimous decision, the judges gave the win to Babalu Sobral, and I would have to agree. After a frenzied three rounds, the scorecard came down to 29-28 for Sobral. The first round found Babalu grappling off the bat, with Robbie Lawler focusing on throwing calculated strikes. By the end of the first round, Lawler was able to avoid any serious holds, and took his minute to recompose himself.

At the start of the second round, Babalu appeared to be switching strategies, and landed some excellent blows to the body, including a tremendous body kick. Lawler came out with a decidedly more aggressive tempo, throwing more jabs, but not connecting as many solid hits as he would have liked. Towards the end of the round, Babalu’s landed a devastating strike to Lawler’s ribs, and despite Lawler looking shaken, he manages one more direct hit to Babalu’s chin before the conclusion of the second round.

The start of the third round had Sobral and Lawler trading throws evenly. As the round dragged on, Lawler seemed to realize that Sobral was gaining the upper hand. Lawler struggled to land a knockout blow, but to no avail. While “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler made a valiant effort towards the end, it is eventually clear to the judges- and the crowd- that Babalu fought the better match.

While the main card was a true contest of endurance for the fighters, it was not the highlight of the evening. Prior to the showdown between Lawler and Sobral, Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos decimated Marius Zaromskis with an explosive knockout just minutes into the first round. Despite this post being rushed, it looks as though Zaromskis’ fall stemmed from a failed head kick, which gave Santos the opportunity to land a head kick of his own, followed by a few punches, and finally the blow that knocked Marius to the ground.

Other results from the night had Tim Kennedy submitting Trevor Prangley via rear naked choke in the first round. Kennedy had an impressive performance tonight, he was clearly hungry for the win. The Conor Heun/ K.J. Noons fight ended with a bit of a twist, with one of the judges scoring a perfect match for Heun. It was close, but there was definitely at least one round of the match where Noons dominated Heun, and he ended up edging out Heun for the victory by split decision.

Rampage Jackson: “Acting is Kind-of Gay”

I have been mulling over doing a post about Rampage Jackson’s (agent’s) brilliant marketing move to have his fight coincide with the release of his A-Team remake. Despite Jackson losing to Rashad Evans this past weekend, I still thought it would make a good story.

Then I came across this story on the LA Times site and I could not resist the urge to discuss it. Now, you don’t get cast to play the embodiment of Mr. T by being soft or good-natured, but I would have to describe Jackson’s comments as a little inflammatory.

“Acting is kind of gay,” Jackson said. “It makes you soft. You got all these people combing your hair and putting a coat over your shoulders when you’re cold. I don’t want a coat over my shoulders! I’m a tough-ass [expletive deleted]!

“Vancouver strikes me as a San Francisco-kind of place,” he continued. “And I don’t want [expletive deleted] getting ideas about me. I feel in my heart I’m the toughest [expletive deleted] on the planet. And I don’t want nothing changing my train of thought. If you don’t believe that when we step inside the octagon, it shows.”

Oh brother! I wonder what Jackson would say were he forced to revisit these comments. Considering his abysmal performance on May 29th, there is a very good chance his primary income for the remainder of the year will be from being kind of gay an actor.

“Acting is kind of gay,” Jackson told Chris Lee of the Los Angeles Times of his experience filming in Vancouver. “It makes you soft. You got all these people combing your hair and putting a coat over your shoulders when you’re cold. I don’t want a coat over my shoulders! I’m a tough-ass (expletive)!

Spotlight: Nick McKinless, Stuntman to the Stars

We’ve got a special treat for you guys today. During my travels of the interwebs, I ran into quite an interesting gentleman by the name of Nick McKinless. Nick runs a blog called Beyond Strong which features various weight-lifting and training tips. What impresses me most, though, is his day job.

Nick is a stuntman- the guy you are usually watching during the most exciting parts of the movie when the high-paid actors can’t risk their necks. Not only does he do stunts, he also coordinates and trains actors for the stunts that they opt to do. Let’s just name a few of the films he’s worked on, shall we?

  • Bourne Ultimatum
  • Dark Knight
  • Clash of the Titans
  • Kick Ass (which releases today!)

Nick was recently interviewed by Bare Essentials magazine, see the excerpt below.

1. How did you go about designing a training routine for the Titans?

I knew most of the guys on the stunt team and although already in shape many of them were detrained from working so much and not being able to find the time to train. We work long hours and often itʼs sleep and relaxation that takes emphasis over training, especially when you consider the physicality of our job already. This job was no different so the workouts had to be short but effective. We were often training at 6am or squeezing something in between lunch.

2. What are the key concepts to your program?

It is always about a combination of functionality, athleticism, strength and conditioning. Usually if you combine that with a good diet then you will look good too. Training to look good has never made any sense to me if you can’t perform well physically. Most of the guys ate really well and managed to get under 10% body fat. That’s a TRUE 10% which is much more difficult than people think.

3. How do you address the different disciplines (conditioning, strength, agility etc.)?

I challenged the guys with exercises I have used for many years that I knew would produce the best results. Usually a workout would have an element of strength followed by some repetition work, some speed or agility work like knee jumps or rope climbs and then we’d end with something unusual like the wheelbarrow ab wheel or carrying a heavy sack for distance or planks with someone kicking you.

4. What about equipment what is essential?

We were pretty limited but you can always make do! We had a chin and dip station, dumbbells up to 85lbs, one adjustable bench, an Olympic barbell and about 300lbs of weights plus I brought in things like strength bands, a climbing rope, the power wheel, a sack, grip equipment and a core blaster. The guys would usually hit the pads 2-3 times a week as well.

5. What did your Titans struggle with the most (most wicked workout)?

You know these guys are real athletes. Most of us have won National or World titles at some point over the years. I had various stunt doubles from Bond to Batman to Brad Pitt on the team so we weren’t short of talent! With that in mind you really have to push yourself otherwise these guys are going to just think you’re a pushover.

Anytime you put the body into oxygen debt you are going to have a tough time. However, you have to be careful not to do this too often as it will lead to overtraining and results will suffer. Once a week we would have a tough one. It might be a H.I.T style workout moving from one exercise to the other without rest and me screaming at you or it might be high sets of chins and dips followed by partner resisted band sprints.

Taken from the March/April  2010 issue of Bare Essentials Magazine

RIT Mens Hockey Reaches Frozen Four!

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) of NY has always been home to great hockey.  However, for years, the Mens hockey team was playing in division III.  While they continually won, their hope was to be entered into the division I competition.  Just a few years later after joining the division I, RIT finds themselves in the frozen four championship series.  The story is below:

Source: Democrat and Chronicle

URL: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/article/20100329/SPORTS09/3290310/1007/SPORTS/RIT-hockey-team-believes-it-deserves-to-be-in-Frozen-Four

There really never has been a moment this season when the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers believed they couldn’t win a hockey game.

That’s the nature of sport within any decent athletic program.

And that’s why, when the Tigers showed up in Albany for the NCAA East Regional, they refused to embrace the underdog role everyone wanted to bestow upon them.

RIT would have nothing to do with any David vs. Goliath scenarios, unless someone painted them as Goliath.

The Tigers (28-11-1) believed they were just as deserving as their first-round opponent, the University of Denver. The Tigers proved it by defeating the nation’s No. 2-ranked team by a score of 2-1.

RIT also believed they were just as good, or better, than the University of New Hampshire, their opponent in the title game. The Tigers again showed they were right, disposing of UNH in convincing 6-2 fashion.

“If you’re competitive by nature, you’re thinking you belong there,” RIT coach Wayne Wilson said. “Not that you’re disrespecting your opponent, but you always think you’re better.”

Even so, the magnitude of their accomplishments didn’t really sink in until Saturday was turning into Sunday, when the Tigers were on their bus and roaring through the darkness on the New York state Thruway back to Rochester.

“You’d just look over at another guy,” senior defenseman Alan Mazur said, “and they’d be laughing and you’d be laughing, and you’d start asking, ‘How’d this happen?’

“We’re so confident right now. It feels like we can’t lose.”

That’s because they haven’t lost in nearly two months. The Tigers have won 12 straight games, the longest streak in the nation this season, and continue their journey to a place where no Rochester collegiate athletic program has ever gone: An NCAA Division I championship tournament.

The regional championship earned the Tigers, the tournament’s 15th seed, a spot in the Frozen Four April 8-10 at Ford Field in Detroit. They will play No. 3-seeded Wisconsin (27-10-4) at 5 p.m. Miami (Ohio) and Boston College play at 8:30 p.m.

Time, however, was of no importance in the wee hours of Sunday. Hundreds of fans — they may have even numbered into the thousands — greeted the bus when it pulled onto campus around 2 a.m. Sunday.

Can you say party?

Can you say party hard?

“We could hardly get off the bus because the fans were crowding around and wanting to just touch us,” Mazur said. “It didn’t even feel real. You felt like a star, a huge star. I’ve never experienced anything like it.”

Players were already riding a euphoric wave when they hoisted sophomore winger Scott Knowles onto a real wave. Above their shoulders his 5-foot-7, 170-pound body went and Knowles did a little body-surfing above the fans.

“I was only hoping they weren’t going to drop him,” Wilson said.

Freshman forward Bryan Potts, a reserve, soon rode the same waves.

“Their smiles were priceless,” said senior goalie Jared DeMichiel, who was voted the most outstanding player of the East Regional. “That scene is definitely something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

“I didn’t know what it feels like to be a real star but that was amazing. The fans, the alumni, the faculty, they’re all very appreciative of what we’re doing for RIT. But at the same time, we’re very appreciative of the support everyone has given us.”

The backing will only grow larger in the next 10 days. That will also give the rest of NCAA hockey time to figure out just who this RIT school is.

“Maybe the country doesn’t know who RIT is,” DeMichiel said, “but we’re all finding out RIT has roots that go all over the nation.”

And all those fans have just as much faith in their team as the players themselves.

KEVINO@DemocratandChronicle.com