Tag Archives: sportsball

Boxing: Mayweather v Pacquiao

by Dave Banuelos


I have loved Boxing longer than I’ve loved Baseball.

My early childhood was far more defined by Hagler-Leonard than the ’87 Mariners, and watching Mike Tyson destroy people was just a little more exciting than watching Jim Presley and Ken Phelps (even though those two combined for 51 HRs that year…who knew?). That eternally divisive decision (I still think Hagler won), and that Godzilla-like rampage through the heavyweight division occurred a generation ago when the sports world still converged upon a prizefight.

This Saturday, the fight in Vegas is—once again— all that matters. I know there’s a horserace, and some semi-dramatic early season baseball games, and some playoff basketball, and some playoff hockey. The fight is all that matters in sports on Saturday.

And this might be the last time that ever happens.

As a bordering-on-hardcore boxing fan in 2015, I can tell you that there are fighters out there who are way more exciting to watch than either of the two first-balloters who will finally face each other tomorrow. Gennady Golovkin is currently laying waste to the middleweight division in Tyson-like fashion. Sergey Kovalev is doing similar work at light-heavyweight. There are even more dazzling technical boxers (Guillermo Rigondeaux), and offensive machines (Leo Santa Cruz) out there than either of the guys fighting in the main event this weekend.

But Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao has the buildup, the compelling and sometimes sordid backstories (Floyd is a woman-beating sociopath, Manny probably took PEDs at some point) that have brought more attention from mainstream media on a boxing match than I’ve seen in over 20 years. Boxing has had its share of incredible moments in the last two decades, but it hasn’t produced a truly awesome sports moment since Foreman knocked out Moorer in 1994.

And I’m disheartened to inform you that Saturday is unlikely to produce a moment like that. Tune in early, and watch rising stars Vasyl Lomachenko, and Leo Santa Cruz do their respective things. Just don’t go in expecting the drama of Leonard-Hearns, or the Hollywood ending of Tyson-Douglas after Floyd and Manny receive their final instructions from referee Kenny Bayless.

I’m not saying it’s impossible. We would all love to see PacMan clip Money with a straight left, swarm him, and stop him. We’d all like Manny to do better than any rational fan could hope for, and eke out a Leonard-Hagler like decision. I’ve even fantasized about it being a questionable stoppage, or a garbage decision. The post-fight interview with Mayweather would be fucking amazing.

But Floyd is the Kobayashi Maru brought to life. He is the no-win scenario, the unbeatable computer simulation. He has made virtually everyone he has stepped in the ring with look helpless and befuddled at some point.  The only way Manny beats him is to hit him so hard and clean that it reprograms the machine. I’m not sure I like his chances, but I have a fan’s hope that I am wrong.

And while I hope this isn’t the last time boxing own the sports spotlight in my lifetime, I plan to carry on watching it until—for whatever reason—I can’t anymore.

Sportsball Wrap-Up: The Jaws of Victory

“It was a nice run, Kev. Had to close out someday. Nobody wins them all.”

In the stunning aftermath of yet another Russell Wilson victory over a Super Bowl winning quarterback (this time, himself), I find myself wanting to wallow in the unanswered questions which followed that game. But, along this run of improbable successes, I seem to have lost sight of the fact that I am a Seattle sports fan, and yesterday’s game was not the anomaly. Sure, I have snarky remarks that I could use to turn this into a caustic, laugh-so-you-don’t-cry piece, but the truth is that I am still proud of my team. Unlike last season, where a run to the Super Bowl looked unstoppable, and the Lombardi Trophy, a foregone conclusion, this season was heart and soul. It seemed that going into mid-November, the curse of the Super Bowl champions was nestled snugly upon us, and we could look forward to next year. And then this team of Sportsball heroes that nobody else seemed to want decided that they they didn’t want to go whimpering off into the night. They won every game left, and strode into the postseason, looking like the championship team we’d seen the year before. And even after the first three quarters of the NFC Championship, where it looked like all hope was lost, they managed to pull off a comeback that even the Seahawks’ faithful would have been hard-pressed to imagine.

There have been calls for a certain offensive coordinator’s head on a silver platter. And honestly, with the judgement shown with that final call, it might be an idea worth revisiting. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that this is Seattle team, and sooner or later, something like this was bound to happen. The Seahawks are now 1-2 on the big stage, and don’t have another chance to go after back-to-back championships for another two years, at least. The Patriots walked away with yet another victory, and it looks like the team that best personified the Bush era isn’t quite ready to fade into that long night. But Seattle should hold its head up high: there will be other chances for athletic glory, and Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger aren’t going to be around forever. The Seahawks have given the city of Seattle something to unite behind, and we will stand with them, good times or bad.

A friend of mine posted that she’d like to see them given a parade, despite the loss. I’m sure that the rest of the country would mock us for not knowing how parades are supposed to work, but I think it’s a wonderful idea. We have all had days where we just couldn’t get it done, professional missteps that we’d rather no one knew about. The lucky thing for the rest of us, is that when we screw up, it’s usually not on a global stage. We quickly look around to make sure that no one saw us, and then do our best to make sure that something like that can’t ever happen again. It’s too easy to say you’re with someone through thick and thin, and then want to pile on when they seem hell-bent on snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. I’m fairly certain that there is nothing that any of us can say that will make anybody on that team feel worse than they do already. But with the narrative against them, and criticism bubbling up from everyone who saw the game, and knows they would have called it better, perhaps it’s time to tell our team something that they haven’t heard: Thank you.

And no, not the sarcastic mumbled thanks that spill out of one’s mouth like a toddler forced to apologize, but a genuine offer of gratitude for the simple joys we’ve been provided throughout the past few years, with a touch of sympathy, because we’re human beings, and not just raging animals. On one of the worst days of your life, it’s not uncommon for everyone to seem lined up against you. But sometimes just a simple reassurance from someone who matters to you, or even just a well-meaning stranger, can make all the difference. I’m aware that this is just a requiem for Sportsball, and that there are so many other things that deserve our full attention. But I’ve also spoken in the past of the banality of evil, and how the world might be a better place if we could just keep trying to fill it with random acts of kindness. So let’s start today, and never let it fade. Let’s stand together as the Twelfth Man and show that we support one another. It’s the easiest thing in the world to knock someone down a peg, but if there are enough us, we might manage some heavy lifting, and bring them back up again.

There are those who say that to survive in a world of ubiquitous terrorism, we must be just as ruthless as those who seek to do us harm. We must bend the rules which bind our hands, and keep us from our victory. We’ve all been hearing it for thirteen years, and, like trickle-down economics, I’m pretty sure it’s been debunked. I mean, yes, we can probably gain success against those who might do us harm if we toss out all civility. But those rules are not in place to protect the people we are up against: they are to protect us from ourselves. The “enemy combatant” who is spared from torture is probably relieved, I’m sure. But the moment we decide that we are above the very laws we’ve put in place, and seek vengeance because justice has eluded us, we are no better than those who seek to do us harm; actually, as they have no illusions about what is that they are doing, and why they have been doing it, it makes us worse. We will be hurt. People will take advantage of us. There will be times when we will lose. But we will not let the sting of failure keep us down, nor the seeming futility of goodness rob us of our decency. We will stand up for that which we believe in, and keep standing until the light, and all which it has come to represent, has driven back the shadows, not only from ourselves, but from everyone frightened by the night.