Canelo v Mayweather: Last of the Megafights

Canelo Alvarez of Mexico celebrates his fifth round TKO victory over Josesito Lopez of the U.S. for the WBC super …

This past Saturday night in Las Vegas, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez stopped Josesito Lopez in five rounds to retain his WBC light middleweight title for the fifth time.

It wasn’t supposed to be Lopez: Victor Ortiz was foolishly all but named as the next challenger before he had fought Lopez, as scheduled. Not that it mattered who won Ortiz-Lopez and moved on to the title shot. Canelo would have stopped ‘Vicious’ Vic, too.

That isn’t to belittle either challenger: both are good fighters. Lopez especially has significantly raised his stock and his 2012 earnings even in defeat. Jose Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, Matthew Hatton and Kermit Cintron are good fighters too.

But they’re not great. And Alvarez is destined for greatness.

The Mexican is 41-0-1 with 30 inside the distance at the age of just 22. His performances have the confidence and maturity of a veteran who has ruled the sport for over a decade. His fights are progressively becoming cash cows.

Canelo is ready to fight Miguel Cotto. He’s ready for Sergio Martinez. He’s ready for Manny Pacquiao. And yes, he’s ready for Floyd Mayweather.

If we’re being honest, we are never going to get Mayweather-Pacquiao. Vitali and Wlad would rather cruise in first gear all the way to retirement than box each other. And Pacquiao-Marquez IV will no doubt be an enjoyable battle, but the pairing is beyond stale.

Those who claim boxing is a dying business may as well write ‘troll’ on their foreheads in permanent marker, but there’s no denying the distinct lack of big — no, BIG — grade ‘A’ match-ups that will hush all the talk of Barcelona, Roger Federer, Tiger Woods and Usain Bolt on any given weekend and draw all eyes that Saturday to the ring.

Canelo-Mayweather on Cinco de Mayo weekend 2013 would.

In the build-up, at the box office and especially in the ring the two assured counter-punchers would be virtually guilty of arson, that much they would set alight.

Both would also have points to prove: Alvarez that he truly is worthy of pound-for-pound best billing, Mayweather that he does welcome challengers to his throne after having his motives questioned during the Pacquiao manoeuvring.

Canelo said after the Lopez win that he is ready for the big boys. It’s hardly a coincidence that Cotto was there in attendance. Though the Puerto Rican has undefeated American Austin Trout up next in December, it is clear who he has next in his cross-hairs.

Good. Why not? Canelo-Cotto would be an great chapter in the never-ending sporting rivalry between PR and Mexican boxers.

Just make sure the ‘Money Man’ is next, if so. Boxing has a rocket to the moon it’s waiting to ride, and it’s strapped to the back of these two men.

It could be the last huge headliner realistically left, at least in the near future.


This coming weekend sees a fight which has quite the buzz on a strictly-British level. Kevin Mitchell heads to Ricky Burns’s back yard in Glasgow to challenge for his WBO lightweight title.

Despite all of the support and endorsement of his peers, Mitchell is a heavy underdog against the classy Burns.

The East Londoner has only lost once, to Michael Katsidis. Unfortunately, he was destroyed in three rounds by a fighter who has been exposed at higher levels since, including in Glasgow against Burns.

The defeat happened at Upton Park, home of his beloved West Ham United, in front of his friends, family and fellow ‘Irons’ diehards. Physically and mentally, he has only managed two fights in the two and a half years since.

Perhaps being the guest instead of the host will give ‘The Dagenham Destroyer’ a psychological edge. The Pugilist doubts it. But there is an opportunity in this publicised fight for a world championship for Mitchell to get back on track, even in defeat.

If he impresses at the SECC Arena, a tough period in his once-meteoric career will be over. He will have proven he can hang, and maybe even one day get a world title of his own.

This writer believes Mitchell will lose to Burns — but also hopes he can indeed gain a victory in defeat.

Let’s be real…Mayweather is never gonna loose!

Usain Bolt Set To Play For Manchester United In Friendly Vs Real Madrid…!

Alex Ferguson will give Usain Bolt the chance to play for Manchester United in a match against Real Madrid. *SHHOCKED FACE*

The Red Devils boss told Inside United that he will happily give the Jamaican sprint legend his chance to take to the field in the club’s annual charity clash against the Spanish giants next year. Fergie left open the tantalising possibility that if Bolt acquits himself well enough, there may be a chance for him to take his ambition of playing for the side further.

“Usain’s a character and a big United fan,” Ferguson said, “It’s interesting he says he’d like to play in a charity game.

“It could be brilliant, and next year when we play Real Madrid’s Legends again, there could be opportunities to bring him up and see how he does.

Bolt has always maintained that he would love to play football for United, and is certainly confident in his ability.

“I would not take up the challenge if I didn’t think I was good enough,” he said recently. “I am a very accomplished player and know I could make a difference.

“People think I am joking. But if Alex Ferguson called me up and said, ‘OK let’s do this, come and have a trial’, it would be impossible for me to say no.”

Bolt recently spent the day as guest of honour at Old Trafford, being presented to fans on the pitch and meeting not just Ferguson, but also club legends Bobby Charlton, Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney.

10-year-old boy sends his medal and a letter to distraught Olympians

A ten-year-old boy’s charming and touching gesture has made him famous around the world after he tried to comfort four of his country’s failed Olympians.

Canada’s Justyn Warner is comfortedElijah Porter was distraught when Canada’s 4x100m relay team were stripped of their bronze medal following the final in London, a decision which was taken when video replay evidence showed that Jared Connaughton stepped out of his lane during the race.

But rather than simply feel sad for his idols, Elijah decided to do something to try and cheer them up: he sent the quartet a medal he had won in a recent football tournament so that they didn’t finish their summer empty handed.

Connaughton and his team-mates – Justyn Warner, Gavin Smellie and Oluseyi Smith – were so touched by the gesture that they decided to share it via Twitter, to let the world see Elijah’s fabulous gesture of consolation.

Here’s his letter in full:

Arsenal Left Behind By Van Persie Sale *Sad Face For Arsenal*

Arsenal's Robin Van Persie (L) shakes hands with manager Arsene Wenger (Reuters)

Given that the symbolic discarding of the captain’s armband is now a near annual ritual at Arsenal’s training ground in London Colney, Wednesday’s news that the club had agreed to sell Robin van Persie to Manchester United should in theory have been greeted with an emotion other than outright shock and horror.

After Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas had all come to the realisation that, with Arsenal’s ambitions receding after 2005, their career prospects would be better served elsewhere, supporters who probably should know better by now were consumed by a fresh wave of outrage upon learning that Van Persie had also sought to escape Arsene Wenger’s clutches. To lose one captain could be considered unfortunate, to lose four in seven years…

But this, undoubtedly, is different. Arsenal can stomach losing players to Barcelona or to Manchester City – indeed they have become inoculated to it to a certain extent. Six players have made the trip to Catalunya and six have journeyed to the blue half of Manchester under Wenger, while Alex Song could yet join the Barca exodus. Van Persie, though, is the first to make Old Trafford his destination. The only business Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger has done was the frankly bizarre deal that took Mikael Silvestre to Emirates Stadium.

Ferguson did have a sustained interest in Vieira at a time when the Frenchman was engaged in a prolonged war with Roy Keane, but the very thought of Arsenal selling their captain to United during those fractious, ultra-competitive years was unthinkable. This, we must remember, was a time when even the police threatened to intervene as Ferguson and Wenger’s verbal sparring grew ever more embittered. Arsenal v United was English football’s primary rivalry, bar none.

It became all too apparent those days were gone when Wenger and Ferguson cosied up to each other on stage at an LMA dinner in 2008. With the fate of the two teams diverging on the pitch and in the Premier League table, Ferguson could allow his guard down. Bitter hate turned to bonhomie. And rapprochement set the clubs down a path where Arsenal could agree to allow their captain, best player and top scorer to reinforce Ferguson’s ranks. There are some who never thought they would see the day.

And whatever spurned Arsenal fans may seek to claim about Van Persie’s injury record, or the £24 million fee paid for a 29-year-old, there is no denying this is an epochal transfer. A monster. It entirely overshadowed England’s friendly with Italy; commentators broke off from covering Puerto Rico v Spain to announce it to their viewers; it made the front page of the newspapers.

The fear of losing a world class player for free next summer no doubt weighed heavily on an Arsenal board who have a strong track record in operating in net profit, yet whilst it may be financially prudent to accept the £24 million on offer, allowing Van Persie to join Arsenal’s direct competitors for league position is entirely illogical in a sporting sense. A surrender of the strangest kind.

This deal rankles like no other for Arsenal. A transfer to Juventus could have been forgiven. A move to City understandable, and acceptable given Arsenal have absolutely no hope of competing with a side so enthusiastically engaged in what the North Londoners’ manager has termed ‘financial doping’. But United, stymied by the debt loaded onto the club by the Glazers, were surely vulnerable, surely mortal. Or at least they were before securing what must be considered one of the most audacious transfers in the Premier League era.

With Chelsea spending a huge amount to reinforce again this summer, with players such as Eden Hazard and Oscar joining the club, there is a creeping feeling that Arsenal are already looking at a battle for third, and possibly fourth, as a best-case scenario at the start of the season.

In truth, Arsenal haven’t been close to United for some time – an 8-2 defeat at Old Trafford last season demonstrated that clearly enough – yet having finally spent significant sums on quality players in the shape of Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, there was cause for some optimism that the gap between the clubs could have been significantly closed. Seeing Van Persie hop over to the other side widens it to a chasm once again, irrespective of Arsenal’s transfer manoeuvres this summer.

There is some truth to the argument that in their three new men, Arsenal have already signed three very good replacements for one excellent player. But that misses the point. These are three signings, or perhaps two, that should have been made last summer, when Van Persie hadn’t set his heart on leaving the club. They were not necessarily mutually exclusive.

The key moment surely came 12 months ago when Arsenal witnessed a severe denudation of the quality of their playing staff. They dragged out the departures of Fabregas and Samir Nasri and brought in Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benayoun at the last minute. Arteta is a good player, yet he is no Fabregas, not by a long stretch.

Wenger should have signed players of the calibre of Cazorla and Podolski last summer if he had serious ambitious of convincing Van Persie to commit his future to the club. That he did so this summer was an admirable shift in his transfer policy, but it came far too late. Instead, the erosive effects of a disappointing 2011 in the transfer market exposed Arsenal’s inhibited ambition, and Van Persie no doubt took note.

Prior to the sale of both those talented midfielders last summer, Wenger let his guard down and, full of false confidence, memorably asserted that “If [Fabregas and Nasri leave] you cannot pretend you are a big club. Because a big club first of all holds onto its big players.”

It was a unambiguous statement, and one that Van Persie surely ingested uneasily as he cast his eyes to the side of him and saw Benayoun and Park Chu-young filling up their lockers. Approaching 30, Van Persie surely realised he couldn’t wait any longer to start winning trophies, not with just one FA Cup winners’ medal to show for his time at Arsenal.

Though the North London club finished third in the end last season, an improvement on the previous year, it was only thanks to Tottenham’s implosion and Chelsea’s horrid league campaign. Arsenal even needed a rank performance from Marton Fulop to finish as high as that on the final day, but ultimately it was Van Persie’s 30 goals that prevented Arsenal slipping out of the Champions League for the first time under Wenger.

The striker’s statement announcing he would not sign a new contract in July was self-serving, ungracious and frankly downright disrespectful to Wenger. But concerns over the club’s “future strategy and their policy” were entirely legitimate. The signing of Cazorla appeared to be a riposte of sorts, but by that point Van Persie had reached the point of no return.

Ultimately, this was a transfer a year in the making. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise. But for those who revelled in the Wenger-Ferguson duels for so many years, the reaction to Wednesday’s news can be nothing but bemusement.

Well I guess Man U run tings now ay?

England can’t afford to play for penalties…

England have exceeded the expectations of many by making it through to the quarter-finals of Euro 2012, never mind as winners of Group D.

Avoiding a date with Spain in the next round is just reward for finishing above France in their group, but it’s not as though facing Italy in Kiev on Sunday is a plum draw.

Irrespective of whoever England were put up against in the last eight, they have to adapt to the different requirements they must meet in the knockout phase. In the group stage, England’s attitude was much more focused on being hard to beat. None of their games so far have been what you would call ‘must-win’ games, but that is exactly what every match from here to the final will be.

England are unlikely to claim victory over the Italians in the manner which saw them beat either Sweden or Ukraine. They will not be able to rely on defending as poor as Sweden’s, nor will they be gifted a goal thanks to a goalkeeping error as they were against Ukraine, who really outplayed England in their final group game.

Roy Hodgson must find a way to adapt his team so that they are more capable of winning the match in 90 or perhaps even 120 minutes. Playing for penalties is a contentious strategy for any manager but when you are in charge of England, with their awful record in shootouts, it is well worth avoiding if possible.

Whether Hodgson decides to make a tactical adjustment with the same personnel who started the last game or changes his starting XI remains to be seen.

Bringing in Theo Walcott, as many were calling for following his match-winning cameo against Sweden, would be a risky move in my opinion. He failed to replicate that impact when he came off the bench against Ukraine, so much so that it was easy to forget he had even come on.

Besides, Walcott does not offer much in the way of defensive support for his full-back. That is why James Milner has been preferred to him in each of England’s games so far in the tournament. The midfielder may not offer much in the way of creativity but his work rate will be invaluable against Italy, who have a good complement of dangerous attacking players.

Hodgson is likely to leave the attacking brief to the other winger and his two forwards. Wayne Rooney will obviously start, while Ashley Young remains favourite to retain his place on the left wing despite his lacklustre performances so far – although I think it may be worth giving Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain another go.

So if he is to make a change in his starting line-up, it could be that Danny Welbeck is the one to make way for Andy Carroll. England have already shown they have little interest in keeping the ball, and the Liverpool forward would help them get it up into the opposition half quicker and with a greater chance of it staying up there.

It may seem an uninspiring game plan but it worked well for them against Sweden, and with the sort of deliveries Steven Gerrard is serving up at the moment it may be worth a shot.

England are of course not going to morph into a free-flowing attacking force overnight – the secret of their success has been in Hodgson making the players realise and accept their limitations. However, if they are to progress in this competition without relying on winning a penalty shootout for only the second time in their history, they will need to find a way to attack more effectively than they have up to this point.


100 Days To Olympic Inspiration

London 2012 has marked 100 days to go to the start of the Olympics by launching the slogan for the Games: “Inspire a generation.”

A launch event at Kew Gardens in London also saw the unveiling of giant Olympic rings created by flowers which will be visible from flights arriving at Heathrow airport.

London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe said: “With 100 days to go to the start of the Games, millions of people are getting ready to do the best work of their lives and welcome the world this summer. Expectations are high and we won’t disappoint.”

Organisers also announced that the Red Arrows – the RAF aerobatic team – will perform a flypast across the UK to mark the opening ceremony on July 27, flying over London 2012 live sites in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London.

There will be a total of 22 live sites in towns and cities with big screens.

Hmmm not sure i’ll be in the country to enjoy this event but let me know how it goes ok?

Manchester United set to win 20th Premier League title after Balotelli’s tantrums

Easter Sunday and miracles did happen as Manchester United fans became ARSENAL fans!!!! Never thought I’d ever say that!

Well they’re prayers worked out and now Manchester United sit comfortably at the top of the premier league table with 8points clear of their local rivals Manchester City and 6 games to go.

The match between Arsenal and Manchester City was filled with high tension which it seems Balotelli had a few issues controlling resulting in him eventually being sent off with a red card and Arteta sealing victory for Arsenal … (and United).

But WHY ALWAYS HIM? Poor Mario, it seems every pundit is against him right now, but he really isn’t helping himself. Hopefully as he grows in age maturity will take over and some of the control of team mates such as Kompany will rub off on him and if our eyes didn’t deceive us we are pretty sure he had the letters YOLO underneath his team shirt …smh Mario.

And what of Mancini? He’s been ridiculed for his inability to reel in players such as Balotelli and Tevez. He has overcome the ‘Tevez’ drama and hopefully Balotelli can be taught to calm the heck down! But we fear it’s more likely Balotelli will be out and Mancini will live on to manage another season.

It’ss only a game … yeah right!!!