Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: A rough weekend for fringe sports

Talk to anyone over 45, and they'll longingly describe a time when the sports of horse racing and boxing actually meant something.  Those two sports took a beating this past weekend, just the latest in a long run of falls that have left the once venerable institutions far off the national radar of relevance. 

Today in the bag, I'll discuss the disappointment at Belmont and the controversy in Vegas, before briefly touching on the NBA playoffs.

Click below for the bag...

I'll have another scratched from the Belmont

Mere hours before it was to run for racing's ultimate distinction, I'll Have Another finished a practice session with a little inflammation, and was retired before it could go any farther.  No Triple Crown run, career over.  Just like that.
The "Price is Right horn" was unavailable for comment.
 The news was so sudden, so deflating (even for someone so disinterested in the proceedings), like a solid punch to the gut.   I might not care about horse racing, but I do understand what a triple crown winner would've meant to those who still do, and the whole scene gave me pause.  Certainly not tragic in any sense, but still a sad story for a sport seemingly incapable of conjuring up any uplifting news. 

In light of the continuing parade of bad news, I can't help but ask: how long before stories like this are off the lead of SportsCenter, and simply features of the style section in your local paper?

Pacquiao "beaten" by  Bradley -

Speaking of sports that have lost their fastball, boxing took another turn towards the absurd with the controversial end to the Pacquiao/Bradley fight Saturday evening. As far as I can tell, everyone ringside had Pacquiao winning the fight on their cards.  Everyone, that is, except for two of the three judges responsible for posting the official scores.  A stunning split decision goes the way of the challenger, and boxing slips a little further into irrelevancy.
Wait, what?  From: CNN/SI
It certainly doesn't look good.  Pacquiao out-punched, out-powered, and out-played Bradley, yet still loses. Even before the fight, and then immediately after the decision had been announced, not only a rematch, but a precise date was being discussed.  Add to it the fact that both fighters belong to the same promotions company, and it's all a little too fishy for my nose.  But how does that differentiate this event from any other in boxing's recent past?  Allegations of corruption or pure incompetence are simply par for the course for the "sweet science."
They already had a rematch date.  From: ESPN
Regardless, Pacquiao-Mayweather is done.  Even if the fight eventually happens, it's obvious that it won't be what it once could've been.  While Pacquiao should've won Saturday, it's clear that he's no longer the fighter that dominated boxing over the past 7ish years, and the loss only furthers the loss of luster.  It's a damn shame, yet unfortunately unsurprising, that boxing proved incapable of taking advantage of a sure thing.  I hope everyone involved enjoys their trip to the style section with the horse racing crew.

Lebron and Heat advance past the Celtics -

Think back to the moments after the Celtics had used their Game 5 win to edge out a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.  ESPN cranked up their over-reaction machine, pronounced the Heat dead, questioned  whether the team was about to be broken up, and essentially fired Coach Erik Spoelstra.  Uh huh.  The Heat would, of course, go on to win the next two games and secure the Eastern Conference title in seven games.  Not for nothing, but maybe ESPN needs to stop planning their next entertainment-sports cross-promotion, and get back to analysis based in reality.
Surprise, surprise, the Heat ended up winning.
There was no doubt in my mind that the Heat would rebound, and that's exactly what they did.  They did it against Indiana in the previous round, and the response was no difference in the Conference Finals.  Two blistering performances later, including an eye-popping performance from LeBron in Game 6 on the road, and Miami advances to face the Thunder in the Finals.  Maybe this time around the glitz and glamor crew in Bristol won't be so quick to pass judgement, and actually let a series unfold before writing the conclusion.

Happy Monday!

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