Saturday, February 11, 2006

Mo Lawal Wins Gold in Turkey 

Congratulations go to our buddy, freestyle wrestler Mo Lawal, who Saturday won a gold medal at the prestigious Yasar Dogu International in Samsun, Turkey, at 84 kg/185 lbs.

Mo also took first last week at the Dave Schultz Memorial in Colorado Springs, Colo. He was a 2005 U.S. World Team member, won the 2005 U.S. Nationals and World Team Trials, and also took first in his weight at the Oct. 2004 Real Pro Wrestling tournament.

On top of all this, Mo is a huge fan of both boxing and mixed martial arts.

We hope to speak with him when he returns home.

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John Legend: No Ordinary Performer 

Yeah, he just won a bunch of Grammys, but don’t hold that against him.

John Legend is a present-day soul singer in the hallowed traditions of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and Sam Cooke. While it is far too early in his career to include him in such a distinguished classical group, he has the voice, musical skills, songwriting ability, heart, and intelligence to make it there some day, and maybe in the near future.

If you haven’t listened to and studied his music already, this weekend, with no major boxing and an impending blizzard in the Northeast U.S., is a good one to take the plunge.

There are both full-length studio and live versions of his signature song “Ordinary People" on his page on the VH1 site. This page also links to a short biography.

You can also go to his own site for more information, although unfortunately it is poorly designed and hard to navigate, especially bad for a bidding superstar.

Nonetheless, I highly recommend buying his debut album, Get Lifted, either by legal download, or the CD or CD/DVD versions. This is one you will want to keep and play repeatedly.

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U.S. Loses in Iraq 

It may just about be over. The towel is being readied to be thrown in, as the U.S. is so far behind on the scorecards and has no chance of delivering a knockout blow that for all intents and purposes it has lost its war in Iraq.

The latest sign that a virtual white flag is lurking next to the red, white, and blue is a new article entitled Intelligence, Policy, and the War in Iraq in the March-April issue of Foreign Affairs, written by Paul R. Pillar, the CIA’s top national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia from 2000 to 2005.

Pillar states "that official intelligence analysis was not relied on in making even the most significant national security decisions, that intelligence was misused publicly to justify decisions already made, that damaging ill will developed between policymakers and intelligence officers, and that the intelligence community's own work was politicized."

Where I come from we call that politicians lying to the public.

He also said that U.S. pre-war intelligence showed: "More likely, war and occupation would boost political Islam and increase sympathy for terrorists' objectives -- and Iraq would become a magnet for extremists from elsewhere in the Middle East."

In other words, they knew that the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq was likely to work against the objectives of what Bush called the “war on terror.”

The article is most significant because of where it appeared. Foreign Affairs is the discussion journal of the Council on Foreign Relations.

These are the big money guys, the top bankers and industrialists, and the politicians and professors who love them. Or, as Foreign Affairs puts it about the CFR, "Its 3,400 members include nearly all past and present Presidents, Secretaries of State, Defense and Treasury, other senior U.S. government officials, renowned scholars, and major leaders of business, media, human rights, and other non-governmental groups."

Or as they say in my old 'hood, the ruling class. And the publication of this article signals that most of these guys are mighty pissed off with Bush.

Bush’s choices are now this: get out of Iraq as cleanly and quickly as possible, or go down in the flames of a Nixon-like scandal fueled by the previously docile mainstream corporate-controlled media. Already storm clouds are gathering over his administration's ignoring of the threat of Hurricane Katrina and now the cover-up of its inaction during this tragedy in what its rubber-stamp media call "red states."

But he does not have much time to try to control the media and events as he thus far has been doing. What that battle will bring is uncertain and possibly dangerous, as are all unstable situations, but it is another fight in which he will be the big underdog.

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Friday, February 10, 2006

Athletes vs. Dopes 

The start of the 2006 Winter Olympics has been accompanied by a sleigh full of stories about the new danger of gene-doping, suspensions of more cheaters for old-fashioned doping, and the behind-the-scenes battle between those who are battling this poison and those who are creating loopholes, excuses, and cover-ups for the dopes.

One of these stories which shouldn't be overlooked indicates just how fed up the honest, dope-free athletes are with the widespread cheating in many sports.

Egyptian swimmer Rania Elwani, a member of the Athletic Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), is quoted as saying, "Everybody clean wants a stronger ban."

The article states that these athletes are proposing "dope cheats to be banned for four years for a first drugs offence instead of two."

Such a doubling of the present ban may be unlikely to be adopted, especially since so many, including the international football (soccer) federation FIFA and almost all American sports organizations and those politicians who have addressed this issue have been arguing for reducing it or making it more "flexible."

Nonetheless, it is a good sign that such prominent clean athletes are speaking out against the dope cheats and those who aid them.

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The Martin Luther King Rodeo 

Those of you who are city slickers know everything about country and rural life, right? Just like you know everything there is to know about everything else, eh?

For those whose minds are still at least relatively free of the Borg-like influence of the major corporate-owned mainstream media brainwashing and brain-damaging machine, check out some information about the Martin Luther King Jr. African American Heritage Rodeo of Champions, held Jan. 16 at the Denver Coliseum.

Honored were Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Hattie McDaniel, cowboys and cowgirls, steer wrestlers, and their families. One review of it can be seen here.

Such as event, of course, busts a lot of myths about a lot of people who devoted their lives to busting racist myths. So keep on learning, because grasping the truth, which shall set you free, requires an active mind.

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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Coming Up .... 

this is an audio post - click to play

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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Muhammad Cartoons 

I was sent by a boxing writer colleague an article about the escalating controversy about the publication of a series of cartoons depicting Muhammad, the founder of Islam. The article, similar to many which have appeared in the Western media, aimed its fire directly at Islamic radicals.

You won’t find me defending any religion and you won’t find me defending censorship, let alone calls for the death penalty over some controversial cartoons. But you also won’t find me defending racism against Arabs or sweeping stereotypes of Muslims.

Here is my response:

Problem is, it is not only the Islamic radicals who do this. Far more Palestinians than Israelis have died in their territorial warfare. Don't forget the Crusades. The popular singing group the Dixie Chicks was run off country radio for criticizing Bush, a position now a majority of Americans agree with.

There are also several issues here. Did you see the cartoons? Some were just weird, but the ones with the bombs in Muhammad's turban could be considered not only blasphemous, about which it is just too bad, but racist, which is a real issue. Basically, those imply that Muslims in general are terrorists.

What would these right-wings media outlets which are now reposting or reprinting these cartoons do if the following appeared:

A cartoon of Moses with a bomb in his yarmulke (think King David Hotel, JDL, West Bank settlers, Lebanon, etc.).

A cartoon of Jesus with a bomb in his hand or wherever (think abortion clinics, American slavery, fascist Italy and the Vatican, etc.).

A cartoon of the Ten Commandments tablet saying "Thou shalt kill those who won't give us their oil."

A cartoon of Bush with bombs, torture dogs, and wiretaps on the Presidential seal.

You see, there are many issues involved. The Islamic fanatics are stirring up people for their own ends. But so are those who oppose them. First Amendment concerns are very real, but not the only issue, just as they were not the only issue when there was a battle against anti-Black imagery in the U.S.

And to take it to boxing, what would the BWAA do if a member wrote, say, about yesterday's Mayweather-Judah press conference using the type of language used about Jack Johnson in his day, and got fired?

By the way, it should be obvious that I do hate these Islamic fascists. But you can't fight them with racism, unless all you want to do is occupy their countries and turn them into people without rights.

This is also why I oppose all religious fanaticism and mythology, another issue for another place and time. So you better not say nothin' bad about MY favorite, Zeus!

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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

“Should Titles Be Won in the Ring or in The Ring?” on TheSweetScience.com 

My latest column on TheSweetScience.com has been posted. Entitled “Should Titles Be Won in the Ring or in The Ring?”, this one takes on both the alphabet soup sanctioning bodies and those who are trying to replace them, especially The Ring.

Check it out and let us know what you think.

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Chris Byrd-Wladimir Klitschko 2 Set for April 22 in Germany 

It has finally been officially announced that the rematch between IBF heavyweight champion Chris Byrd and Wladimir Klitschko will take place April 22 in Mannheim, Germany. When they first fought, in October 2000, Klitschko won a 12-round unanimous decision victory, also in Germany, to win the WBO belt. Byrd, however, charged that some substance had been improperly used to cause his eyes to swell up.

So after unconvincing performances against Fres Oquendo, Andrew Golota, and even DaVarryl Williamson, can Chris Byrd retain his title in this rematch with Wladimir Klitschko? And in Germany? We'll try to ask him Wednesday at a New York press conference to hype this fight.

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Monday, February 06, 2006

Blogger Going Down Again Monday Night 

A note from Blogger: "Just a quick reminder that we will be going ahead with a planned network maintenance on Monday the 6th from 7–8PM PST. Blogger and Blog*Spot blogs will be unavailable during that time."

So, No Holds Barred folks, you can also catch me at my page at Ourmedia.org at http://www.ourmedia.org/user/57277/ .

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A Not-So-Golden Boy 

Seven-foot, two-inch Nikolai Valuev, who won the WBA heavyweight title in December from John Ruiz with a highly disputed majority decision victory, has nonetheless been receiving mainly sympathetic coverage from the mainstream media, especially in Europe. But now the glitter seems to be wearing off his golden image.

Valuev, writes Andrew Osborn in the Feb. 6 online edition of the UK's The Independent, "has been accused of beating up a 61-year-old parking attendant, and murky reports have started to emerge of his moving in criminal circles in the 'wild' 1990s."

We doubt we have heard the last of the escalating controversies surrounding Valuev.

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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Saturday Night Down the Tube 

As I told y'all I would (or, for my New Yawk homies, youse), I watched the boxing on Showtime Saturday night and skipped the UFC.

The Jose Luis Castillo-Rolando Reyes fight literally was putting me to sleep. Both guys mailed it in as Castillo coasted to a 12-round decision. Castillo seemed to be preserving himself for his big money rubber match with Diego Corrales, which was postponed from last night because of a rib injury Corrales suffered while training. It will probably now take place in June or July. As for Reyes, despite saying all the right things in his pre-fight interviews, including with us, he basically fought to survive and not get knocked out. No Carlos Baldomir was he.

The co-feature, however, was a thrilling, see-saw, action-filled battle between up-and-coming lightweight contenders Jose Armando Santa Cruz and Edner Cherry. These guys gave it their all for 12 hard rounds, with Santa Cruz surviving a knockdown and being rocked several times to outwork Cherry to take a close decision. Cherry just couldn't put Santa Cruz away when he had him in trouble, try as much as he did.

These fights will be replayed for the first time on SHO Extreme on Monday, Feb. 6, at 11 PM ET/PT. Here are other replay dates, all in ET:

SHOTOO Feb 07 10:00pm
SHOWTIME Feb 08 11:00pm
SHOWHD Feb 08 11:00pm

Make sure to check your local listings, watch the Santa Cruz-Cherry fight, and, if it is not that important to you, skip Castillo-Reyes.

We also have the Showtime press release and some photos from this show posted on the Boxing News page on Combat Sports News.

As for UFC, I did not pay 40 bucks to see the 42-year-old Randy Couture in what turned out to be his retirement fight. I did cover his first NHB fight (that's what we called it then) in 1997, and what also turned out to be his retirement match in Greco-Roman wrestling after losing at the 2000 Olympic Wrestling Trials. Last night Couture was stopped in the second round by Chuck Liddell.

Congratulations are due to the victorious UFC light heavyweight champion Liddell (whose last name so much of the "MMA media" still can't spell correctly). But I'm sure his name is spelled right on the checks he receives. I just hope he socks it away somewhere and does to all the vultures what he does to his opponents in his fights.

Yes, my priorities have changed over the years. So have my income opportunities.

Now to get ready for the Stupor Bowl. Sorry, no nasty Janet Jackson this year, only those peaceful Rolling Stones.

Preview: Look for at least one announcement in the coming week about where in the media you will also be able to find my work.

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Down Goes Blogger, Again 

All the blogs on Blogspot have once again been down for considerable periods of time in the past few days.

If you try to access this page and it doesn't come up at all, you can also check out my No Holds Barred page at Ourmedia.org at http://www.ourmedia.org/user/57277/.

It has similar content, although not as much as here, at least for now.

And make sure to bookmark that page for your convenience.

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