Boxing is dying and I know why



The sport of boxing has been lagging in popularity, seeing its influence drop significantly in the last several years. There are many issues posited by long time fans of the sport for its decline. Boxing is a star driven sport, driven by the individual. The thing is, though, that individuals come and go. We would know the individuals if attention was paid to the sport. There is a belief that people just aren’t into combat sports anymore, but if the rise of MMA has anything to say about it, we know that’s not true.

The issues that professional boxing has isn’t with the sport itself, it’s with the people involved in it. The reason that those invested in the sport can’t figure out what’s wrong with it is because they themselves are what’s wrong with it. In order to maximize value for promoters, trainers and the boxers themselves, tonight’s fight will cost the average viewer 200 dollars to watch at home. People can talk all they want about sports leading to a larger cable bill, but I don’t know anyone that can’t get all the sports (non-boxing division) they can handle for less than 200 a MONTH. 200 Nicholsbucks for a couple of hours is ludicrous.

And for what? That’s another problem. This isn’t a title fight, and even if it was, who would even care? Who can navigate the myriad associations and divisions associated with professional boxing. I think we can all figure out weight classes, but who is fighting for which belt in which division? Who gets the title shots? In fact, both fighters tonight hold belts as welterweights in their respective federations. Scoring, fight cards and  cross promotional relationships are all circumspect. With no clear path to a title, and even when you get there, no clear title, it’s hard to take the sport seriously. Essentially, we are being extorted to watch two guys fight in what may not actually be a fair fight when the judges are done with it.

The most troubling thing about tonight’s fight in particular, but the sport as a whole is the hero worship of some pretty terrible people, and allowing them to get away with some horrible things. Tonight, two gifted reporters, Michelle Beadle of ESPN and Rachel Nichols of CNN  were denied press credentials for having the audacity to have been a part of the reportage of one of the fighters’ long history of domestic violence.  After receiving backlash, the two were later offered credentials, but declined (at least in Nichols’ case).

You’ll not that I painstakingly went around naming any names of people involved in tonight’s fight. The credential pulling camp is bad, but his opponent is complicit in the charade that this sport has produced. Domestic violence is of much greater importance and more valuable a conversation piece than the sanctity of a boxer, and everyone involved tonight is profiting from the blind eye that is being turned to his vicious past and refusing to address a serious problem, not only with the boxer, but also in society. In fact, organizers were actively trying to suppress the conversation.

It’s not like this hasn’t ever been a problem with boxing, or really with other sports. Now, however, it’s being sussed out of other sports, because it’s being brought into the light by good reporting by people like Beadle and Nichols. It allows teams and players to be held accountable by an enlightened public. Other sports, the coverage therein, and America as a whole have evolved to become more conscientious and respectful to journalism, Boxing refuses to do so.

Rhino and Compass Radio, Episode 15; Maybe the worst one

On a fast moving Friday night game, Ryan and Kyle chat about the game at hand, the NFL Draft and the beginning of the Wild’s series. There were a lot of screaming tweens in the back ground, and Kyle said sme unfortunate stuff. This was a rough one.

Links of the Day 5/2/15

If you believe some people, today is the biggest sports day of the year. Unfortunately, this is not the 1960s.

During yesterday’s podcast (which I still need to post) Kyle called Floyd Mayweather a scumbag. He is!

Golf fight! 

After a long series, the Lightning started round 2 with a double overtime game. 

Minnesota 1, Chicago 0 – The only run was scored on a wild pitch that Kennys Vargas came around on. Awesome!
Chicago 4, Minnesota 3 – The good news about this game was that the Wild fought back from being down 3-0 to make it a game.

Breaking Down The 2015 Kentucky Derby

The past few years, it has been a common refrain that the group of three year olds making up the Kentucky Derby have been below average. This year, however, that is absolutely not the case, as this is one of the strongest Kentucky Derby fields in recent times. At the very least, it is the best since the 2007 group of Street Sense/Curlin/Hard Spun, but I’ve seen other remark that it is the best field since the 1997 year (Silver Charm, Touch Gold, etc.), and others going back into the 60s and 70s to draw comparisons to. I’m not sure if I’d go quite that far, but it is undoubtedly a good group of colts.

The headliners for the field are a pair of Bob Baffert colts: American Pharoah and Dortmund. American Pharoah, in particular, has drawn immense praise. I can’t remember more hype surrounding a horse coming into a Derby- for example, a bloodstock agent who has been in the game for 35 years saying he ‘might be the best horse I’ve ever seen,’ and also comparing him to Michael Jordan.

But take away American Pharoah, and there are still 3 or 4 other horses that, in a normal Derby year, would likely be favored. Dortmund is the undefeated winner of the Santa Anita Derby. Carpe Diem is 5 for 6, with the only loss being a second in last year’s oddly run Breeders Cup Juvenile. Materiality is the undefeated winner of the Florida Derby. And other than Dortmund, I could realistically see either one of those two horses having odds of 10-1 or greater. And there are several other horses that, in a normal year, would be highly thought of, but will be lost in the shuffle a bit with the others in the race.

Here’s a look at the field, in post position order:

1. Ocho Ocho Ocho (50-1): He’s not fast enough, has distance limitations, the wrong running style, and is stuck on the rail. Not using.

2. Carpe Diem (8-1): I get that he needs to get faster from a speed figure standpoint, but I also don’t think we’ve seen anything near his best. Todd Pletcher gets grief for his Derby failure, but his one Derby winner (Super Saver) followed a similar pattern to Carpe Diem. Carpe Diem should also relish the extra distance. Win contender.

3. Materiality (12-1): One of the toughest calls for me- he’s the fastest horse from a Beyer standpoint, running a 110 Beyer while winning the Florida Derby. And he does have two wins at 1 1/8 miles, plus a strong pedigree. But it bugs me that he’s only run at Gulfstream, a quirky track that is known to produce Pletcher freaks but don’t quite replicate it outside of that track. Will use defensively in exotics, but ultimately trying to beat.

4. Tencendur (30-1): He did improve last time out in the Wood, but he had a perfect trip, and was still comfortably beaten by Frosted- a horse who did not have a perfect trip. Not using.

5. Danzig Moon (30-1): He’s getting a lot of hype as one of the most impressive horses training at Churchill. The problem is, he’s always looked great in training, and it hasn’t translated to the track. Not using.

6. Mubtaahij (20-1): Another tough call for me. He looked impressive in the UAE Derby, but I don’t know what he beat, and he sat behind a much slower pace than what he will see here. He has a great trainer in Mike de Kock- he has only ran six horses in the United States in his career, and all of them have finished in the top three. But it concerns me that his feed- one of de Kock’s creation- won’t be allowed in the US. It might make a minimal difference, but it can’t be a positive, and on a horse I’m on the fence about, it’s enough to tip the scales against him for me. Not using.

7. El Kabeir (30-1): He is what he is- a solid horse that is a tier below the best and that has some distance limitations. With Calvin Borel as his jockey, he’ll be overbet. Not using.

8. Dortmund (3-1): The likeliest winner in the field to me. He’s won in blowouts and in dogfights. He’s also already won at Churchill. He’s won setting the pace and by passing horses. And he’s consistently running very fast, with three straight mid-100 Beyers. The one concern I’d have with him is getting into traffic trouble around the turns- he’s such a big horse that he doesn’t run smoothly on the turns. But if he gets past that, he’ll be tough to beat. Won’t get great odds on him though. Win contender.

9. Bolo (30-1): He’s a grade one caliber horse, but I think that is on turf and going a bit shorter. Think he’s in a bit too deep here. Not using.

10. Firing Line (12-1): He’s the only horse that Dortmund has had any trouble with. Firing Line has lost by a head twice to Dortmund. I think he was best in their first meeting, with Dortmund having the better trip, but would give Dortmund the edge in their more recent race. Once he got away from Dortmund, he absolutely destroyed an overmatched field in the Sunland Derby. Another positive- he has three time winning jockey Gary Stevens on his side. I think he’s dangerous. Win contender.

11. Stanford: He has been scratched.

12. International Star (20-1): He swept the Louisiana series of races, and I’ve consistently underrated him. And he should sit a decent trip. But I still tend to lean towards him being the beneficiary of getting great trips against a relatively mediocre group of horses. Not using.

13. Itsaknockout (30-1): I don’t like him in this spot; he’s not on the level of the others in the Derby. But keep him in the back of your mind if he ends up running in the Belmont Stakes- he reminds me very much of Commissioner last year. Not using.

14. Keen Ice (50-1): On paper, he’s not fast enough, but if you are looking for a bomb in the exotics, I think he is the one. He has a great distances pedigree, and the right running style to get a piece. Dale Romans horses always seem to outperform their odds in the Derby. And I think he’s had excuses in all of his races, either due to running into a slow pace or being forced to run wide while International Star has been able to cut the corner in their races. Do I think he’s one of the top 4-5 horses in the field? No, but neither was Golden Soul two years ago or Commanding Curve last year, and they each ran second. He doesn’t need to be the best horse, he just needs the right trip to get into the bottom of the exotics, and that seems very plausible to me. Exotics contender.

15. Frosted (15-1): He had minor throat surgery after his collapse in the Fountain of Youth, and he came back to win impressively in the Wood Memorial. His best race puts him in with the other top contenders, and, other than maybe Firing Line, he’ll be a better price than any of them. And he’s also a horse that can sit back a bit, and could benefit from a more contested pace. Win contender.

16. War Story (50-1): He’s just not that good, and he’s also had a history of breaking slow, which would further hurt his chances. Not using.

17. Mr. Z (50-1): He’s always game, and he shows up every time at any track you ask him to, but with the number of races he’s run, it’s tough to imagine him improving, and he would need to do so significantly to contend. Not using.

18. American Pharoah (5-2): I can’t remember the last Derby horse that has been hyped as much as he as- even from competitors. I’ve even heard some comparisons to Seattle Slew thrown around. He’s brilliant, there’s no doubt about that. But I can’t get over the fact that he’s had easy trip after easy trip, and that the female side of his pedigree is very much orientated to speed, not stamina. And as great as he’s looked, his speed figures aren’t any better than the other main contenders, and it isn’t if he’s been beating any great horses- a horse like Dortmund has been keeping much better company this year. Will use defensively in exotics, but ultimately trying to beat.

19. Upstart (15-1): He hasn’t run a bad race yet, and has multiple races that make him competitive. But I’ve always had some distance concerns with him, and given his post position and running style, I could see him having a less than ideal trip. Similar to Mubtaahij, he scares me a bit, but I will be against him. Not using.

20. Far Right (30-1): He’s another deep closer that, theoretically, could make a late run and pick up a piece. But he’s had much more favorable trips than a horse like Keen Ice this year, and I don’t think he’s been training all that well in the lead up to the Derby. Still, at his price, I could maybe throw him into the bottom of exotics. Fringe exotics contender.

21. Frammento (50-1): With the defection of Stanford, he draws in to the field. He’s another horse that will be coming from well back, but I don’t like him as much as some other closers in this group. Not using.

Win Contenders: Carpe Diem (2), Dortmund (8), Firing Line (10), Frosted (15)
Exotics Contenders: Materiality (3), Keen Ice (14), American Pharoah (18), Far Right (20)

Kentucky Derby Selections:
1. Carpe Diem (2) 8-1
2. Dortmund (8) 3-1
3. Firing Line (10) 12-1
4. Frosted (15) 15-1

Links of the Day 5/1/15

I have read some people endorsing the drafting of Phillip Dorsett because T.Y. Hilton might be a free agent after next year. Of course, Andrew Luck might be too injured to continue his career after next year too.

I only discussed 4 picks from yesterday, so let’s check out an entire recap of the first round. 

More roster moves for the Twins.

Couple of dudes are boxing tomorrow. 

Rosenborg 3, Start 2 – I lost my Rosenborg hat. Perhaps it was an unlucky hat.
Minnesota 12, Chicago 2 – Chcago is so much more beatable than Detroit. New Strategy: Keep playing Chicago.

A brief Round 1 recap

There weren’t many trades in the first round of the NFL draft this year, and there certainly weren’t all that many surprises to speak of. There were some, certainly, like Todd Gurley ending up in St. Louis, the Packers and Saints making rough picks and The Rhino and Compass hitting on the first 5 picks. I’m not smart enough to break down all the teams, but I can offer some insight, limited though it may be, into the picks of a handful of teams. How about the ones we track at this very site?

Nov 2, 2013; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans cornerback Trae Waynes (15) celebrates the win over the Michigan Wolverines at Spartan Stadium. MSU won 29-6. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State – Vikings
This was one of the picks that we got right in our mock draft. The Vikings were likely going to supplement the passing game, either on offense or defense. They could have added a receiver, which would have been nice long term after Mike Wallace departs, but adding Waynes, the top DB in the draft will help round out a defense that is turning scary. Remember when the defense was dreadful? Christian Ponder does. This is the type of squad that will compete with Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford. Pretty good pick.

Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon, – 49ers
Some aren’t as optimistic about Armstead as the 49ers, but as for what the 49ers need, it’s hard to deny that they could use the help of a good D linemen after a wave of departures and injuries on their defense. The only issue is whether or nor Armstead provides the best value at this position. I think he was, so don’t listen to those pessimists out there.

Shaq Thompson, OLB, Washington – Panthers
1) I’m not sure that Cam Newton will be happy that he didn’t get any help, either in the way of an offensive lineman or at wide receiver, when he could have definitely used either. They needed patches on defense, but they need an overhaul on offense.
2) Shaq Thompson, according to Scouts Inc, was a 3rd round talent. He was the 8th rated outside linebacker. He wasn’t even the highest rated linebacker from Washington in this draft. Other than that, great pick.


Philip Dorsett, WR, Miami – Colts
What in the thundering hell was this. I said that, so long as the Colts didn’t draft a running back, I would be OK with their selection. Kudos, then, to the Colts for calling my bluff. Let’s run through some of the greatest needs the Colts had going into the draft.
Offensive Line
Rush Linebacker
Running Back
Coffee Machine
New Field turf
4th Wide Receiver
So, basically, what I’m saying is there were a lot of options out there that would have significantly benefited the team with the first pick o the draft. Using their first round pick on the SEVENTH wide receiver selected, talented or not, seems misspent. I’m not sure I would have picked a wideout in the first 4 rounds this year. OK, let’s be honest. I wouldn’t have picked one at all.
The O line candidates were picked over pretty good, but TJ Clemmings was available. They would have been applauded if they drafted Randy Gregory, and he would have filled a big role on the team. Landon Collins, the best safety in the draft by many accounts, was still out there. Eli Harold would have improved the linebacking corps. Jalen Collins is a first round talent at corner back. There were so many other picks that would have been better used than this pick on Dorsett. I mean, they have Andre Johnson, TY Hilton, Duron Carter and Donte Moncrief already. Why did they get another wide receiver? What the hell is going on? This was, undoubtedly, the worst pick of the first round.

Links of the Day 4/30/15

It’s Draft Day. I’m fairly sure I’m still not getting drafted..

Billy Donovan is leaving Florida for Oklahoma City. Already, rumors of Richard Pitino becoming his replacement have started.

Casey Fien went on the DL, and the Twins will call up Michael Tonkin.

Andrew Wiggins is rookie of the year!

Detroit 10, Minnesota 7 – This was a disaster all the way around. The Twins had a 4 run lead when Phil Hughes left (with an injury) and then they blew the led and suffered 2 more injuries.
Baltimore 8, Chicago 2 – For some reason, I suspect most of the conversation won’t be about the the gameplay on the field in this one.

Don’t buy into the early season results


I know there is already a lot of chatter about certain teams. Are the Twins going to be terrible again (they sit only 2 games below .500 right now)? The Brewers have been awful, they could be selling. Mike Redmond in Florida could be on the chopping block. Could have been, before they made it on a decent run.

Let’s look at the 19 teams currently in position for the playoffs and see what their chances at making the playoffs actually are, using a mythical % rating for each team.

AL East
New York Yankees – 68% – The Yankees are in a division that is chalk full of slightly above average teams, and currently has drifted to the top. They are also the tea in this division that can go out and buy players. They might just do that  given injury issues to their rotation.

AL Central
Kansas City Royals 47% – It was a lot of smoke and mirrors, and they barely made it to the playoffs last year. The Tigers are still better than they are, and the Indians, White sox and Twins are probably better than they were last year. Besides, Yordano Ventura might explode soon.

AL West
Houston Astros 22% – Perhaps better than most were thinking. If the Astros actually are coming of age, then they could definitely be the team to come out of the West. If they aren’t there yet, the crash back to earth will be devastating.

Wild Card
Detroit Tigers 76% – The Tigers are playing really great, get to play the AL Central and have a fall back of claiming a spot as a Wild Card if the Indians or someone is better than expected. They also have the will to acquire players to patch holes and make a run.
Tampa Bay Rays 31% – If there is one team in the East that can’t compete this year, it’s the Rays. They have no money and have undergone way too much turmoil to sustain a competitive pace.

NL East
New York Mets 14% – I like the Mets less than the Astros. Crazy, I know. The NL East has good teams off to bad starts, in Miami and Washington, while the Mets are pinning too much of their hope on a rotation reassembling after frequent injuries and suspensions, and an ordinary offense with old corner outfielders. Stranger things have happened, though.

NL Central
St. Louis Cardinals 86% – The Cardnals would be in the 90s, but they lost Adam Wainwright for the year. They are still battle tested and have a mighty good team.

NL West
Los Angeles Dodgers 92% – The Dodgers aren’t off to as fast a start as some of their contemporaries, but they have one of the best teams money can buy. If they aren’t getting a lot out of a particular position or player, they will have no problem replacing them. Dodgers are an almost certainty for the post season this year.

NL Wild Cards
Chicago Cubs 46% – The Cubs are just too young, and they still don’t have Jon Lester where he should be. I’m waiting to see if they keep it up when pitchers get a book on their youngsters. Still, I’m not thoroughly convinced they will fall apart.
Colorado Rockies 3% – They are currently 11-9 and have the second best position in the wild card rate. That’s basically a market correction. The Twins are as many games below .500 as the Rockies are above. And the Rockies are terrible, and have a tougher schedule.

So, the Rockies are definitely making the playoffs.

Links of the Day 4/29/15

I’m currently watching the Orioles-White Sox game. It’s the weirdest thing.

Rosenborg extended youngster Jonas Svensson. Here is a link about that in Norwegian!

Like I said, this game is super weird. 

Purdue has a decent history of getting linebackers drafted.

Minnesota 3, Detroit 2 – The Twins finally beat Detroit. That’s positive.

On the Menu Greek Lemon Chicken

Greek lemon chix

I feel like by these titles and the fact that I am posting them so shamelessly, you might suspect that I know what I am doing in the kitchen. I do not. This was chicken to be cooked with the potatioes after being drizzled with an herby oil and lemon juice mixture. The pan was too small.

Another little foible I had was when putting together that marinade (I guess it was a marinade) was in the addition of rosemary. I didn’t realize that, upon flipping the cap open it was a giant hole, rather than something in which to shake out a dash of the stuff. I had to go back in and pluck out about a tablespoon of the stuff.

In the end, it STILL wasn’t terribly flavorful, and I think that is a construct of the recipe. The chicken just didn’t have much flavor, despite hitting it repeatedly with lemon. There was some flavor on the potatoes, and I definitely liked those, but they still were better with a sauce, which they shouldn’t have needed.

This seemed like a sure fire winner, but in the end, it was more of a draw.