The Byrd Has Flown the Coop
This past Friday night I was subjected to nine of the most painful rounds of boxing I have ever had to watch. Like many, I had tuned in to ESPN for former two-time heavyweight champion Chris Byrd's debut (reintroduction, actually) in the light heavyweight division. His opponent? Solid but little known Shaun George, sporting a 16-2-2 record, nowhere near as gaudy as Byrd's 40-4 mark. There was talk that after Byrd was through with George there would be a fight with Roy Jones, Jr.
Of course, that was before George spent the better part of half and hour taking Byrd apart, using faster hands, harder shots and superior defense against the slow and plodding ex-champ. Having dropped Byrd in the first round, George dropped him with a well-placed right near the end of the ninth, and Byrd couldn't even get his feet under him as he went down. Not a good sign. After the 8-count, George proceeded to knock Byrd almost through the ropes before scoring a second knockdown that basically ended the fight. Now it is George who will move on, possibly to a title shot against WBO champ Zsolt Erdei later this year. Byrd, meanwhile, had to endure the humiliation of his wife, Tracy, making his retirement decision for him after the fight. Not that it wasn't the right decision, but it is one I'm sure he would have liked to make on his own, on better terms than these.
Big Brown=Triple Crown
For the first time in 30 years, it looks like we might finally have a Triple Crown winner, if last Saturday's Preakness Stakes is any indication. Prohibitive favorite Big Brown hardly broke a sweat in cruising to a 5 1/2 length victory. more telling is that he didn't seem to expend any energy in making his move near the home stretch, which leads me to believe that he can more than handle the 1 1/2 mile Belmont Stakes in three weeks. Besides, no one has emerged as anything remotely resembling a serious challenger. And while I'm not ready to call it a certainty yet (like many did for Funny Cide, Smarty Jones and War Emblem in the past), it's about as close as you can get to one.
What the Hell, Odell?
Did I miss something in the whole Odell Thurman saga a couple years back? I seem to remember he didn't shoe for a drug test, got suspended for 4 games, and then got hit with a DWI that he somehow was forced to sit an additional 28 games for. Is there something here that the media hasn't reported yet? DWI is serious, sure, but a two-year suspension? And on top of all that your team releases you because you had the temerity to attend the funeral of the person who raised you? I used to have a ton of respect for Marvin Lewis, but the stances he's taken with Chad Johnson and now Thurman have convinced me that he's trying to prove that his (private piece of human anatomy) swings closest to the ground.
I like what Roger Goodell is doing to clean up the game, but unfortunately this appears to be nothing more than him making an example of a young star who screwed up (but no worse than anyone else) and proving that he can because he's the commissioner and for no other reason. If this were the U.S. government, Odell could sue for cruel and unusual punishment. Some team is going to take a chance on him (Dallas?) and will receive a heck of a return on their investment.
More Sports and Stuff
1. With their 97-92 win Sunday the Celtics not only advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, but also keep hope alive for a Celtics/Lakers Finals.
2. Applause to Si.com's giving boxing and MMA their own page. Boos to that page featuring virtually no boxing news whatsoever.
3. Love the idea of Ken Griffey Jr. going back to Seattle. Problem is, what do they have left to trade for him?
4. There is talk of a Roy Jones/Joe Calzaghe fight for the fall. This could be Jones' final hurrah, and I think he will make the most of it.
5. Someone better sign up Family Guy for another 500 episodes. That show could last forever and I would never get tired of it.