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Default Sports Central Newsletter - #69 - Disgraceful Boxing; More

The Sports Central Newsletter
January 27th, 2002 - Issue #69

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|-- IN THIS ISSUE... --|

- Words From the Editor 01.27.02
- What's new at Sports Central?
- Feature article: The Disgraceful State of Boxing
- The Lancaster Report 01.27.02



Hello folks,

The 2002 SC Awards were announced last Monday and our long-time
contributing columnist George Soules, of Washington Post fame, took the
yearly honors for Columnist of the Year. Congratulations to George, and
runner-up hockey guru Vishal Patel. For a breakdown on all 12
sports-related categories, visit the awards page at:
<https://www.sports-central.org/featu...rds/2002.shtml>. From
Athlete of the Year to Most Hated Sports Figure, we've covered the
sports world that was in 2001 from top to bottom.

Our Sports Career Center column was updated this past week and this time
around, sports marketing is covered by Rick Wilson.

"So, what is sports marketing? This question is like telling a little
child to pick just one candy from the candy store. Sports marketing is a
very broad subject area. In this introduction article on sports
marketing, I will break it down into sample categories and a brief
overview. Regularly, I will have an article related to at least one of
the categories or jobs mentioned in the overview."

You don't want to miss this!

Be sure to peek at Mike Round's latest masterpiece in the Feature
Article. This time, he tackles the sport of boxing - wait, should boxing
even be considered a sport anymore? It's an intriguing question.

We'll be back on Feb. 9th with the Super Bowl aftermath. Until then,
keep visiting and checking for new content posted daily!

Until next time,

- Marc James, Your Editor
mailto:[email protected]


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Revisiting the new articles for the week of 01/21/01 - 01/27/01:


NBA: Rough play plagues the NBA
By Piet Van Leer

Shaquille O'Neal, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, and Kenny Thomas were all
suspended three games for very different actions. While Shaq tried to
blindside Brad Miller and effectively end his career, Abdur-Rahim and
Thomas were merely squaring up to one another. Does the NBA treat it
stars with preferential treatment, there by instilling a natural double
standard? SC's Piet Van Leer explains why he thinks so.



COLLEGE: On the money, so far
By John McManus

He was a college basketball prophet in December, going 3-0-1 with his
early season predictions. Now, let's look at SC's John McManus' current
midseason observations and see if they hold to form as the stakes get
much higher.



TENNIS: Women's tennis keeps getting better
By Motez Robinson, Jr.

Wow, what a way to start the 2002 tennis season! Jennifer Capriati
stunned Martina Hingis for the second year in a row at the Australian
Open Friday evening, and in very dramatic fashion, says SC's Motez
Robinson, Jr. as he disputes Marcelo Rio's claim of women's tennis being
a joke. Rios and his male moaners should grow up and realize that the
gap is closing and that women's tennis may one day take center court -
over them.



COLLEGE: The All-Cinderella top 10
By Brian Ault

SC's Brian Ault takes a look at the "Cinderella" teams, the college
basketball teams who seemingly come out of nowhere each March to knock
off a perennial power. They are the best teams that no one seems to know
about ... until now.



COLUMN: The Amico Report: Net minding
By Sam Amico

Hoops guru Sam Amico is back this week to give his mid-week takes on the
latest NBA action and rumors. Amico ponders if the East-leading Nets are
contenders or pretenders; M.J. and the Wizards' inability to finish late
in games; the Jazz are seeing glimpses of the next Hornacek; the Hawks'
surprising center Nazr Muhammad's story; the NBA's new TV deals with
ESPN and ABC; as well as answering a ton of reader e-mail. It's all in
this week's The Amico Report.



NHL: Great Gretzky falls flat
By Lee Manchur

The great Wayne Gretzky will never be exceeded on the ice. Off the ice,
however, is a different story. In this week's NHL column, SC's Lee
Manchur asks how can the "offensively-minded" Team Canada 2002 that
Gretzky built could not contain two of the top five leading NHL scorers,
and seven of the top 13 in that same category.



NBA: Cuban has a point
By Mike Round

The "Cuban Missile Crisis" is at it again. The latest in a series of
run-ins with David Stern and the suits of the NBA cost him $500,000 and
a spell at Dairy Queen. A pittance to the founder of Broadcast.com, who
recently purchased a Gulf Stream 5 Jet for $41 million over the
Internet. Sadly, the NBA seems to want Cuban out. Instead, they should
embrace him, because the man is a breath of fresh air in the stale world
of sports ownership and has made some valid points about the NBA and its
officiating, says SC's Mike Round.



COLLEGE: It's as easy as ABC
By Michael Dillin

When the BCS formula was put into effect, the driving force, no
surprise, was money. ABC Sports jumped in, paying huge fees for the
rights, the college football powers became glazed over by the dollar
signs, and the very questionable BCS formula was created. We hear it
can't be done. Or at least for another five years. A real college
football playoff. Well, it can be done, and it's as easy as ABC, says
SC's Michael Dillin.



NFL: Instant reply, upon further review
By Craig Hardesty

Those in favor of instant replay would have us believe that it helps
make football a better sport, but does it really? It is time for the NFL
to do away with instant replay - for good, says SC's Craig Hardesty as
he breaks down the use of instant replay in the Raiders/Pats memorable



MLB: Power shift in baseball
By Gary Cozine

For a long time, baseball players were traded like - well, like baseball
cards. But lately, even players under contract are calling the shots.
SC's Gary Cozine looks at the recent shift in power. Too often,
disgruntled players decide that if they decide they no longer want to
play for a given team, they just make life so unpleasant for their
teammates that they leave the front office with little choice but to
trade them.




The Disgraceful State of Boxing

Lewis and Tyson are due to go at it in April - if Tyson can stay out of
jail and the Nevada State Athletic Commission grant him a license. The
fight is set to be the biggest grossing bout in history. Gross is a good
word for it, because that's exactly what heavyweight boxing has become.


By Mike Round

Anyone of my advanced years (older than grass, younger than dirt)
retains a special respect and nostalgia for the noble art of boxing. I
knew little of the intricacies of boxing as a kid, but looked forward to
the big fights almost as much as I looked forward to opening my
Christmas presents. The '70s was, perhaps, the golden decade for boxing.
So many great champions - Ali, Frazier, Norton, Foreman, and, in the
late '70s and early '80s, Larry Holmes, perhaps the most underrated of
heavyweight champions.

Personally, I hated Ali and always cheered on his opponent. I never
could reconcile his obvious talent with the disgraceful manner in which
he treated Smokin' Joe, a fine man of virtue, integrity, bravery, and
honor. He was also on the receiving end of some diabolically biased
points decisions, particularly in his epic bouts with Ken Norton, who
always seemed to have Ali's measure, except with the judges. But, there
was no denying Ali was must-see TV. Almost every other month there was
another mouth-watering clash between one of the heavyweight contenders,
all of them worthy champions. No one can replicate that era not even
Don King.

In the modern sporting world, heavyweight boxing has been reduced to a
sideshow, thanks in part to Don King taking it off the mainstream TV
schedule. However, even if boxing were a staple part of our sporting
televised diet, without the need to remortgage just to pay for a fight,
no one would care. There just isn't the quality in the heavyweight
division to attract the attention. Ever heard of John Ruiz? Me neither,
but apparently he's the WBA Heavyweight Champion. If Hasim Rahman could
be transported to the 1970s, he'd be a sparring partner for the top
fighters at best.

Boxing used to be the way out of the poverty trap for young men trapped
in America's poor neighborhoods. To a certain extent, that's still true,
especially for young Latino's weighing about as much as a decent burger.
But, in the heavyweight division, the supply has dried up. Two
200-pound-plus guys can channel their energy into football or basketball
and have a much better shot at wealth without the danger that boxing
brings. West Indian cricket, once by far the world's best, has suffered
the same fate. The supply of big, tall, strong guys that could hurl a
ball at close to 100 mph suddenly stopped, once they realized that a
basketball scholarship in the United States was a much more profitable
route to take.

Heavyweight boxing has been reduced to the crass level of the WWF. Fake
brawls at press conferences, ridiculous posturing and braggadocio, ear
biting, and general cartoonish behavior. It's a sad sight to behold for
anyone who remembers the good days.

Many have said the events last week at the Millennium Hotel in New York
City signaled a new low for the sport of boxing. I've got news for them
there is no new low boxing is as low as it gets. Watching Tyson,
Lewis, and entourages wrestle around the floor didn't engender rage or
pity or condemnation. Just apathy. The whole thing was as predictable as
it was pathetic. Ho hum men with pea-sized brains exchange blows the
real world of sport exists in the NFL Conference games or the Australian
tennis championships.

Any sport with an ounce of self-respect would have banned Tyson forever,
years ago. Even disregarding his criminal record and serial abuse of
women, which is hard to do, he attempted to bite of an opponent's ear in
the ring and publicly stated he wanted to eat Lennox Lewis' children.
Likewise, Lewis has been involved in these types of events before, most
notably with Hasim Rahman. Lewis likes to portray himself as a gentleman
fighter with intelligence. He's neither. WBC president Jose Sulaiman,
who got knocked out during Tuesday's brawl, doesn't have to guts to deal
with these men. He's too busy counting dollar bills in his head.

Tyson has become a road accident to a lot of the sporting public. You
don't want to slow down and look, but can't help yourself. You know it's
wrong, but can't fight the urge. He's clearly deranged, completely out
of control, and certain to self-destruct any day. That's why Shelly
Finkel and crew want this fight to cash in on a man who has the
lifespan of a zebra hanging out with a lion pack. Tyson is about to be
charged with rape again and this could be the last big Tyson payday.

Tyson is increasingly looking like a man who's not interesting in
fighting Lewis in the ring at least. Lewis may be a plodding champion
without the killer punch, when compared to past champions, but he's way
too good for an aging, fat, undisciplined Tyson. He's seven inches
taller than Tyson, has a foot longer reach, and is a lot heavier. Plus,
he actually trains in a gym unlike Tyson. The Tyson of the '80s
would have slaughtered Lewis. The modern day version doesn't belong in
the same ring. Finkel knows that all too well.

Tyson hasn't been served well by his advisors or management since he
began his career. Cus D'Amato, Don King, Shelly Finkel, The Nation of
Islam, et al have all helped create the monster we see today. No one has
ever been prepared, or able, to take this man of limited intelligence to
task and discipline him. They've all either been overawed by his talent,
used him to further their own agenda, or were seduced by the riches he
offered. Tyson has as much chance of living out an uneventful life until
old age as the Kansas City Royals have of being crowned World Series
Champions next fall. He won't be missed once he implodes.

Boxing should take the next logical step. Merge with the WWF under the
McMahon banner. Lennox "Double L" Lewis against The Undertaker for the
World Heavyweight Boxtling Championship on Monday Night RAW. Then, we
can consign the noble art to history, where it belongs.

For anyone who genuinely yearns for the days of great encounters in the
ring, Sugar Shane Mosley, the best pound-for-pound boxer on earth and
a nice guy fights Vernon Forrest on Saturday night in Madison Square
Garden for the WBC welterweight title. Both men have acted with dignity
and have a mutual respect for each other, yet no one will be watching.


Send us your feedback:
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By Ross Lancaster

This week's TLR is new and improved! Instead of completely being
dedicated to college basketball, I'm introducing NFL and NBA sections to
TLR. This way, a sport will pretty much always be in season when this
column is published. There's more flexibility for myself and the
readers. Needless to say, the college basketball section is still here,
with an all new Top 25, and weekly conference reports appearing, too.

--> Gridiron Grumblings

You know what I'm going to talk about in the NFL section: The Fumble, or
the New England Snow Job, or anything else you want to call it, during
the Patriots/Raiders divisional playoff game last Saturday night. The
play happened when the Raiders' Charles Woodson came around on a
cornerback blitz and slapped the ball out of quarterback Tom Brady's
hands, clearly looking to be a fumble, and sealing the Raiders' trip to
the AFC title game. However, the so-called "tuck rule" allowed the call
to become an incomplete pass, and for the Patriots to retain possession
and ultimately go on to win the game 16-13 in overtime. The question is:
should the call have been upheld or overturned, as it was?

It is my belief that what Raider Tim Brown called "bull----" was
actually correct. The NFL rules state that what Brady was doing was an
incomplete pass. If it's a rule, then it is, and really no one can argue
with what is stated in the rules. However, common sense tells any
person who's ever watched football that the play was a fumble. The rule
is just bogus, and it will likely be changed by the Rules Committee when
they meet in Dallas and in Boston, ironically enough, in February.

As for this Sunday's conference championship games, I see two games that
could end up being competitive, but not likely. In the AFC, expect the
Steelers' defense to shut down the surprising Tom Brady and for Kurt
Warner and the Rams to beat down the Eagles' terrific defense, and set
up the Steelers/Rams Super Bowl that seemed inevitable from the start of
the playoffs.

--> Inside the NBA

[Game of the Week]

Sacramento at Minnesota - Target Center, February 3rd

The two Western Conference division leaders face off in this great
matchup. Points will definitely not be at a premium, with these two
teams ranking second and third in the league in scoring offense,
respectively. Sacramento recently had their 12-game winning streak
snapped by Portland, 116-110 on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Minnesota is coming
off of a 21-point trouncing at the hands of mediocre Detroit, 104-83, on
Wednesday night. The only TV for this game looks to be in local areas,
so much of the nation will be stuck out of watching this great contest.

Game Breakdown

Offense ... Kings
Defense ... Timberwolves
Guards ... Timberwolves
Forwards ... Kings
Center ... Kings
Bench ... Kings

Prediction: Kings, 112-104

--> College Basketball Showcase

[Top 25]

[Editor's note: As of 01/25/01]

1. Duke
2. Kansas
3. Maryland
4. Cincinnati
5. Florida
6. Cincinnati
7. Kentucky
8. Illinois
9. Virginia
10. Alabama
11. Oklahoma State
12. Georgia
13. Syracuse
14. Stanford
15. Gonzaga
16. UCLA
17. Arizona
18. Wake Forest
19. Miami Fla.
20. Ohio State
21. Pittsburgh
22. Connecticut
23. Texas Tech
24. Southern Cal
25. Hawaii

[ACC News]

Duke showed on January 17 that they are clearly the best team in the
nation with a 99-78 thrashing of Maryland. The win was especially great
in the fact that it got the Blue Devils to the top of the ACC standings
and ended their personal two-game home losing streak against the Terps.
Also, Wake Forest may be a team that ends up losing to every formidable
opponent they play, and winning against the weaker teams in the
conference. Virginia seems to have gotten back on track after recent
losses to Clemson and NC State.

[Big Ten News]

Out of the six major conferences, this has been the wackiest, and
weakest so far. Of 11 teams, it appears as if three are surely going to
be dancing in March. Of the remaining eight, it appears only three of
those have a chance, and for even one of those to make it would be a
great feat. Also, Michigan State's home court winning streak was broken
on January 12 by of all teams, Wisconsin, 64-63. With Iowa falling to
Northwestern last week, it's looking more and more like the only teams
that can be counted on at all in the Big 10 are Illinois, Ohio State,
and Indiana.

[Big East News]

I'm beginning to question Syracuse's validity of being nationally ranked
at all. The Orangemen are struggling to beat any non-conference
competition at all, and failed their first Big East test miserably,
against Pittsburgh. The Eastern Division is looking to be even more wide
open than originally planned. Connecticut is the only team to have not
lost yet in the Big East, and with only three other teams, Pittsburgh,
Syracuse, and Miami, even over .500. No one will run away with this
conference, and we will be as unsure of the future conference champion
in early March, as now.

[Big 12 News]

If the first half of the college basketball season has told us anything,
it has told us that the Big 12 is the best conference in college
basketball, and really not even close to any other conference. The
conference will most definitely have six teams in March, but with the
most miraculous coaching job of them all in Lubbock. What Bob Knight has
been able to do is amazing, he has turned Lubbock into a basketball
powerhouse, and done it overnight. You can argue with his ways all you
want, but you can't argue with results.

[Pac-10 News]

After going up 23-9 early in their nationally-televised game with
Arizona, UCLA some how managed to lose the game, and by a 10-point
margin, nonetheless. UCLA got too comfortable and simply didn't play
defense. They're hurting themselves by playing to the level of their
opponents, not the same, high-quality level they have shown they can
play to. If UCLA plans to be any where close to Atlanta in April, things
like this are unacceptable, at the least. Also, this looks to be another
wide open conference, as no team has less than two losses in conference.
Any game between Cal, UCLA, Arizona, USC, Oregon, and/or Stanford will
be absolutely crucial for the regular-season conference race, as the
Pac-10 now continues with a postseason tournament.

[SEC News]

The SEC East is loaded. Half of the division (Georgia, Florida,
Kentucky) are in the RPI Top 10. The most surprising thing about that
may very well be that Georgia has beaten both Florida and Kentucky so
far, and still has one game each against the Gators and the 'Cats.
Meanwhile, in the SEC West, Alabama looks to be the only real elite
team, having a 16-3 record, and an RPI of 12. Mississippi and
Mississippi State may sneak up on some people as they are 14-4 and 15-4,
respectively, as of 01/25.


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