A Quick Update

I will continue to post my college football and NFL picks, but next Saturday I will be posting something a little different.

Since I’m a big Star Wars nerd as well as a big fan of the NBA, I will write an article on which NBA Player fits which character in the Star Wars universe.

So buckle up your X-Wings, and may the force be with you.

HOHOHO

A Small Tribute to Ken Norton

Muhammad Ali v Ken NortonIn the golden era of the heavyweight division, the likes of Muhammad Ali, Joe Fraizer, and George Foreman engaged in some of the most memorable fights of all time. This trio managed to overshadow other good fighters such as Jerry Quarry, Ron Lyle, and Earnie Shavers.

However, the best guy not part of the trio was Ken Norton, who passed away last Wednesday. Norton compiled an impressive hall-of-fame record of 42-7-1 (33 KO) but the most impressive quality about Norton was his humility and the strong character that he exhibited throughout his career and life.

He is best remembered for giving Ali three of the toughest fights of his career, even breaking the legend’s jaw and winning a split decision that should have been unanimous the first time the two met. This fight put Norton on the level of the elite in the heavyweight division.

In the rematch, Ali used his foot movement much more but Norton applied a strong comeback in the second half of the fight. The scorecards were split again, this time in Ali’s favor.

After Ali pulled off one of the biggest upsets in boxing history against George Foreman, the duo met for their rubbermatch with the championship on the line. Although most observers thought Norton did enough to dethrone Ali, the scorecards gave a close, unanimous decision victory to Ali, much to Norton’s disappointment.

This wouldn’t stop Norton from attaining the crown.

After Leon Spinks violated the terms of the WBC by choosing to take a lucrative rematch with Ali after upsetting him for the crown instead of facing Norton, the title was stripped from him and awarded to Norton. He reluctantly accepted the belt, determined to prove he was no “paper” champion.

He proved his championship qualities in his first defense of the title against a young Larry Holmes. Both fought with grit and determination. Holmes used his jab and right cross while Norton stayed confident and put enormous pressure on Holmes. The 15th round is among the best in boxing history as both men landed thudding combinations and refused to back away.

Once again the scorecards would deliver Norton bad news as Holmes won a close split decision victory to capture the title.

Despite the tremendous disappointment, Norton exhibited humbling self-criticism and honesty by giving Holmes his due and gracefully accepting the loss without any excuses.

It was these qualities that made Norton not only a great fighter, but a great human being. He may not have been the best fighter who ever lived, but he a damn good one and a great example of what hard work can do for a person and what being a ‘good’ person means.

For a more in depth story on a man that I only knew in articles and interviews click on the links below. It’s worth the read.

In the golden era of the heavyweight division, the likes of Muhammad Ali, Joe Fraizer, and George Foreman engaged in some of the most memorable fights of all time. This trio managed to overshadow other good fighters such as Jerry Quarry, Ron Lyle, and Earnie Shavers.

However, the best guy not part of the trio was Ken Norton, who passed away last Wednesday. Norton compiled an impressive hall-of-fame record of 42-7-1 (33 KO) but the most impressive quality about Norton was his humility and the strong character that he exhibited throughout his career and life.

He is best remembered for giving Ali three of the toughest fights of his career, even breaking the legend’s jaw and winning a split decision that should have been unanimous the first time the two met. This fight put Norton on the level of the elite in the heavyweight division.

In the rematch, Ali used his foot movement much more but Norton applied a strong comeback in the second half of the fight. The scorecards were split again, this time in Ali’s favor.

After Ali pulled off one of the biggest upsets in boxing history against George Foreman, the duo met for their rubbermatch with the championship on the line. Although most observers thought Norton did enough to dethrone Ali, the scorecards gave a close, unanimous decision victory to Ali, much to Norton’s disappointment.

This wouldn’t stop Norton from attaining the crown.

After Leon Spinks violated the terms of the WBC by choosing to take a lucrative rematch with Ali after upsetting him for the crown instead of facing Norton, the title was stripped from him and awarded to Norton. He reluctantly accepted the belt, determined to prove he was no “paper” champion.

He proved his championship qualities in his first defense of the title against a young Larry Holmes. Both fought with grit and determination. Holmes used his jab and right cross while Norton stayed confident and put enormous pressure on Holmes. The 15th round is among the best in boxing history as both men landed thudding combinations and refused to back away.

Once again the scorecards would deliver Norton bad news as Holmes won a close split decision victory to capture the title.

Despite the tremendous disappointment, Norton exhibited humbling self-criticism and honesty by giving Holmes his due and gracefully accepting the loss without any excuses.

It was these qualities that made Norton not only a great fighter, but a great human being. He may not have been the best fighter who ever lived, but he a damn good one and a great example of what hard work can do for a person and what being a ‘good’ person means.

For a more in depth story on a man that I only knew in articles and interviews click on the links below. It’s worth the read.

http://www.ibhof.com/pages/about/inductees/modern/norton.html

http://ringtv.craveonline.com/blog/180941-a-tribute-to-ken-norton

Just Another Night For Mayweather

 

532369-mayweather-v-caneloOne of the most highly anticipated and promoted boxing matches of recent years ended up being just another lopsided victory for Floyd Mayweather (45-0 26KO) as he earned a majority decision victory over Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (42-1-1 30KO). With this win, Mayweather captured the WBC, WBA, and Ring Magazine 154 pound titles.

From the opening bell Mayweather knew exactly what he wanted to do and Alvarez simply lacked the tools to stop him. Both men tried to establish their jab early but Mayweather’s speed and accuracy prevented Alvarez from landing any combinations on him.

By the middle rounds Mayweather opened up his offense by landing looping and straight right hands as well as left hooks and uppercuts. Alvarez threw more punches during these rounds but was unable to establish any consistent success with his offense as the slick Mayweather used every defensive trick in the book from rolling with punches to shifting his body at certain angles that made Alvarez’s punches ineffective.

As the fight progressed, Canelo showed more and more frustration and continued to hit nothing but air and it became clear that he was not going to get a late knockout. Mayweather simply used his legs to avoid Alvarez in the 12th round, the only round the Mexican fighter could have conceivably won.

The judges scored the bout 114-114, an utterly ridiculous scorecard that has led to the judge (C.J. Ross) to take an indefinite leave of absence. The other two judges had it 116-112 and 117-111. Theses scores were generous and don’t reflect the actual fight, which most observers scored a shutout (120-108) for Mayweather.

At this point there aren’t many options for Mayweather in terms of an opponent. Danny Garcia (27-0 16KO), the junior welterweight (140 Ibs.) champion, appears to be the strongest candidate right now but it’s hard to imagine him posing any serious risk. Garcia is a smart, resourceful fighter who has beaten most of the top fighters of his weight division but Mayweather is a completely different animal. He’s just as intelligent as Garcia and far quicker.

Alvarez could get a chance to win a title in his next fight if the newly crowned IBF 154 junior welterweight titleholder Carlos Molina (22-5-2 6KO). Don’t let the record fool you, Molina is a clever boxer who could give Alvarez major problems if they decide to fight but Canelo does possess a mix of power and underrated boxing ability. A fight like that would create some buzz due to the skill level of the two. Even if he decides not to face Molina, Alvarez is only 23 and has time to recover from his first professional loss.

Right now, Mayweather remains the king.

AL MVP Race

Miguel Cabrera will likely win his second MVP. Like always, his offensive numbers are ridiculous. A .350 batting average, 43 HR, and 133 RBIs will usually earn you a couple of awards but the stats don’t stop there for “Miggy”.

His sabermetric stats aren’t bad either to say the least. So far this year, his RC (runs created) is the second highest in baseball at 133.1 and his BB/K (0.93) is actually decent considering the festival that pitchers have had this season. Only four other players have a better BB/K than Cabrera.

The only other player I see that could win the MVP besides Cabrera is Mike Trout of the Angels. His numbers are impressive as well and do at least as good as Cabrera in certain areas such as batting average (.337), RC (133.9) and WAR (8.4). Some fans will point out that Trout’s WAR is higher than Cabrera’s (6.9). Although I don’t think WAR is everything, it is something to keep in mind. Trout also has a great BB/PA (Walks per plate appearance).

Trout is a better fielder than Cabrera. He also runs the bases well as displayed by his 32 SB (stolen bases). But what seals the deal for me on Trout is his ability to put all his skills together. The stats and simple observation show Trout playing the game with versatility. Frankly, he has more tools than Cabrera. There is no doubt Cabrera is a great offensive player, Trout just happens to have a more fluid athletic quality and excellent skills in batting, base-running, and fielding. Cabrera is a great hitter put possesses average ability in fielding and base-running.

Hence, Mike Trout is my pick for the AL MVP award this year. However, don’t be surprised if Cabrera overshadows him with his batting average, HRs, and RBIs.

Here’s the rest of Week 1

Well my picks for college football could have been better today, but regardless it was fun to see my Cougs upset #25 USC and also get to watch Michigan beatdown Notre Dame on College Gameday.  Anways here’s the rest of my Week 1 NFL picks.

Dolphins at Browns

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Dolphins

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Browns

Both of these teams could be in for very strong seasons considering the strong freshman campaigns for Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill and Browns running back Trent Richardson.  Both of these teams could be good this season, but I still have questions about how good the Browns passing game and defense can be even with the addition of Paul Kruger.  After all you can’t be good off of just one guy (unlike other past Cleveland sports teams).

My Pick:  Dolphins

Vikings at Lions

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Vikings

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Lions

This one could go either way.  The Lions have the strong passing combination of both Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson, and the Vikings…well they have a certain punishing running back.  While Christian Ponder does have his struggles I think that the Vikings are a more complete team, and well they have Adrian Peterson the 2012 MVP.  You just can’t go against that.

My Pick:  Vikings

Raiders at Colts

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Raiders

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Colts

Sometimes the picks are just this easy, like this one…

My Pick:  Colts

Chiefs at Jaguars

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Chiefs

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Jaguars

and this one…

My Pick:  Chiefs

Buccaneers at Jets

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Buccaneers

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Jets

…and this one.

My Pick: Buccaneers

Maybe Revis will be the best receiver for the Jets this week.

Falcons at Saints

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Falcons

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Saints

This is another one that could go either way.  These teams split the season series 1-1 last year, but the Saints have their coach back so things might be getting more interesting.  It always comes down to these teams for the NFC South division title, and things this week will be no different.  I look at the way the Falcons ended their season last year and to me that makes me think that this team wants to start 2013 with a bang and put last years struggles behind them.  With Matt Ryan throwing the ball to both Julio Jones and Roddy White, as well as being able to hand the ball off to Steven Jackson, expect just that.

My Pick:  Falcons

Titans at Steelers

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Titans

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Steelers

I wonder if I should be cheering for Jake Locker or the Steelers this game.  I could really care less about if the Steelers win, but if Locker throws 5 interceptions and Pittsburgh somehow loses the game that’s fine by me.

My Pick:  Steelers

Bengals at Bears

 

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Bengals

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Bears

This one is another interesting Week 1 contest because here we can see if Jay Cutler can take some steps to improve his game, as well as figure out if the Bengals are for real this year.  This should be a hard fought contest, but I think that the Bengals have too much talent on both sides of the ball for Chicago to start with a win.

My Pick:  Bengals

Seahawks at Panthers

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Seahawks

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Panthers

This one could be a trap game for the Seahawks considering how high the expectations are going into this season.  Cam Newton is still a star quarterback and I think that he can still make some big plays against this vaunted Seattle defense.  Newton might break off a run here or there, but expect for Russell Wilson and company to make a few plays of their own, en route to a possible Super Bowl victory.

My Pick:  Seahawks

Patriots at Bills

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Patriots

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Bills

It’ll be interesting to see if former Cougar quarterback Jeff Tuel gets any playing time in this game, but expect that to be the lone bright spot for Buffalo.

My Pick:  Patriots

Packers at 49ers

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Packers

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49ers

This same matchup happened at the start of last year and I remember that everyone said that the Packers were going to win, only to be proven wrong as the Niners won that contest as well as that divisional playoff game against the Packers last year on the way to their 6th Super Bowl appearance.  I think this will be another hard fought contest, but I still think Green Bay has yet to figure this team out.  I can be wrong though, but I say the Niners have too much of an edge at home.

My Pick:  Niners

Cardinals at Rams

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Cardinals

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Rams

It’s wierd how just a few seasons ago the NFC West was the laughingstock of the entire NFL and now they are one of, if not that the, best division in all of football.  Carson Palmer will now be throwing some spirals for Arizona, which is a huge upgrade from all the other quarterbacks who have been throwing for the Cardinals, but again the question is how complete is your team.  The Rams were able to get Jake Long in free agency as well as Trayvon Austin in the draft, and they could turn out to be a pleasant surprise this year (depending on how you look at it).

My Pick:  Rams

Giants at Cowboys

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Giants

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Cowboys

Before I say that the Cowboys will lose this game because of Tony Romo (which they will), I will say that the Cowboys might just win the division this year.  Simply because Dez Bryant is poised for a big year and I think that with an improved defense this team has enough pieces in place to be a contender in the NFC.  I expect for Eli and the Giants to have the edge (considering that they are also 4-0 in the Cowboys new stadium), but expect for the Cowboys to have a better season in the end.  Even if they don’t win this week.

My Pick:  Giants

Eagles at Redskins

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Eagles

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Redskins

Games like this are going to make Chip Kelly wish that he was back at Oregon.  I’m sorry Eagles fans but I can’t make a case for your team winning tomorrow’s game.

My Pick:  Redskins

Texans at Chargers

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Texans

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Chargers

Same with this one for the Chargers.  I’m sorry but Houston is just too good.  I also have their defense in fantasy.

My Pick:  Texans

Thanks for taking your time to read this, and I hope to see more fan contribution with this segment in the near future. I also apologize for an earlier error I committed in my Week 1 College Football Picks. The Cougars actually traveled to Los Angeles to play the Trojans and didn’t play them in Pullman.

My Record:  1-0

Best of luck to all your teams this season!

HOHOHO!