Saturday, April 08, 2006

Have a Mayweather-Judah Pay$Per$View Party Tonight, Y’all! 

So you don’t want to fork over $44.95 to watch tonight’s pay$per$view headlined by the fight between welterweights Floyd Mayweather Jr., almost everyone’s top pound-for-pound fighter, and Zab Judah, he who holds that tainted belt which he retained after losing to Carlos Baldomir Jan. 7 in Madison Square Garden. Even a hot undercard, featuring flyweight slugger Jorge Arce facing former champ Rosendo Alvarez, and exciting and undefeated WBA lightweight champ Juan Diaz against undefeated Jose Miguel Cotto, don’t do it for you.

With a mountain of fees just to receive cable or satellite, to subscribe to premium networks, and even to keep the electricity on where you live, the omnipresent blizzard of pay shows in boxing and other forms of combat sports real and imagined makes it easy to pass up all but the most scintillating. Plus, the main event will likely be on HBO next week anyway, and available to you assuming that you pay the fee for that service.

So what to do, fight fans, if you want to see it live but don’t want to jack up your bill into three digits?

Here’s a suggestion, one I follow many times: Have a pay$per$view party! Have some people over or go over to someone else’s place. Share the cost of the show. Share the cost of refreshments and munchies. Share the fun and excitement of seeing it live. And, of course, all this is perfectly legal and even expected by the millionaire moguls who put on these shows on these billion dollar networks.

That’s what I plan to do tonight. And if we get done in time, I may even be able to catch the end of the celebration of the 12th anniversary of Doc Holliday’s Bar.

Plus, you can still listen to our discussions with both Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Zab Judah on SecondsOut Radio.

It is free to listen to SecondsOut Radio, but you must register to gain access to it. Just click here, and listen, learn, and enjoy.

Plus, since you're probably smart and/or savvy since you're reading my blog, check out my latest column on TheSweetScience.com entitled “Victorious Sons of a Fallen Empire”.

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Friday, April 07, 2006

“Victorious Sons of a Fallen Empire” on TheSweetScience.com 

My latest column on TheSweetScience.com is up.

Entitled “Victorious Sons of a Fallen Empire”, it not only explains the background to the recent success of so many Eastern European heavyweights such as Sergei Liakhovich of Belarus, who captured the WBO heavyweight belt from Lamon Brewster last Saturday, but also delves much deeper.

Let’s just say that it is a capsule “History of the 20th Century and 21st So Far as Seen Through Boxing's Prism”. And in about 1700 words.

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Tom Brands Press Conference Video 

A video showing highlights of Wednesday’s press conference for Tom Brands being named head wrestling coach at Iowa is available to watch for free on youtube.com here.

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Tom Brands Named Iowa Wrestling Head Coach 

As we discussed on this week’s edition of No Holds Barred, the University of Iowa Hawkeyes named Tom Brands head wrestling coach Wednesday.

Here is the Iowa Wrestling press release:

Wrestling Contact: Traci Wagner
April 5, 2006


IOWA CITY, IA -- Former Hawkeye wrestler Tom Brands, a 1996 Olympic gold medalist and four-time all-American has been named head wrestling coach at the University of Iowa. The three-time national champion and member of wrestling’s Hall of Fame was introduced to the media by Iowa Director of Athletics Bob Bowlsby at a press conference this afternoon. He is only the eighth wrestling coach at the University of Iowa.

“We are very pleased and proud to have Tom Brands returning to lead our wrestling program,” said Bowlsby. “The Iowa program is one of the most decorated sports programs in all of intercollegiate athletics and with that comes very lofty expectations. We feel that Tom is capable of meeting those expectations and further contributing to our achievements. We also feel that Coach Brands will lead the program with high integrity and that he will support our team members in all areas of their experiences on our campus.”

Brands served as head coach at Virginia Tech University for two seasons (2005-06), recording a 17-20 dual mark. In his first season with the Hokies, Brands led the team to the 2005 regular season Atlantic Coast Conference title, set a school record for dual meet wins (16) and had a school-record five wrestlers qualify for the NCAA Championships. During his tenure, Virginia Tech crowned five conference champions and two all-Americans. Senior heavyweight Mike Faust was named 2006 ACC Wrestler of the Year.

Prior to taking the helm at Virginia Tech, Brands was an assistant coach at Iowa for 12 seasons (1993-2004). He helped the Hawkeyes to a 177-27 dual record, seven NCAA and eight Big Ten titles, while crowning 23 NCAA Champions, 73 all-Americans and 36 Big Ten Champions. He was named National Wrestling Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year in 2000.

In 2004, he was one of three coaches for the U.S. Olympic freestyle wrestling team, participating in Athens. Brands also served as assistant coach for the 2002 and 2003 U.S. Freestyle World Teams, earning Freestyle Coach of the Year honors from USA Wrestling both years. He was also a member of the U.S. coaching staff at the 2001 World Championships, and has coached a number of other U.S. teams in international competition.

As a competitor, Brands won the 1996 Olympic freestyle gold medal at 136.5 pounds in Atlanta, GA. He also won a gold medal at the 1993 World Freestyle Championships in Toronto, two World Cup gold medals (1994, 1995) and was the 1995 Pan American Games champion. He won four U.S. Nationals titles (1993-96) and made four straight U.S. World or Olympic teams (1993-96). Along with his twin brother, Terry, Tom was named 1993 USA Wrestling Athlete of the Year, the 1993 John Smith Outstanding Freestyle Wrestler and 1993 Amateur Wrestling News Man of the Year. He was inducted into wrestling’s Hall of Fame in 2001.

Brands was a four-time all-American at Iowa (1989-92). During his Hawkeye career, he won three NCAA titles and was named Outstanding Wrestler of the 1992 NCAA Championships. Also a three-time Big Ten champion, Brands won 95 percent of his matches at Iowa. His career mark of 158-7-2, included an undefeated season in 1991 (45-0).

The Sheldon, IA, native was born April 9, 1968. He earned his B.S. degree in physical education from Iowa in 1992. He and his wife, Jeni, have three children, Madigan, Kinsee and Tommy.

Tom Brands At Iowa

1989-92 -- 126-134 pounds
· Won gold medal at 1996 Olympics
· Four-time all-American
· Three-time NCAA Champion
· Three-time Big Ten Champion
· Outstanding Wrestler at 1992 NCAA Championships
· Career record was 158-7-2
· Holds school record for best season winning percentage (1.00 in 1991 and 1992) with 12 other Hawkeyes
· Ranks second in school history in season wins (45 in 1991) and career wins (158)
· Ranks third in career winning percentage (.952), seventh in career pins (46) and eighth in season wins (41 in 1992) in school history.

Year W-L-D (Wt.) NCAA Finish Big Ten Finish
1988-89 32-4-2 (126) 4th 1st
1989-90 40-2-0 (134) 1st 2nd
1990-91 45-0-0 (134) 1st 1st
1991-92 41-1-0 (134) 1st 1st
Career 158-7-2

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Gretchen Wilson on AOL and Big & Rich on NBC Tonight 

If you haven’t yet checked out the rockin’ and innovative acts of the “Redneck Woman” Gretchen Wilson and Big & Rich, or you just can’t get enough of their countrified soul, they each will be performing tonight, Wed., April 5, via mass media.

At 9:30 PM EDT, Gretchen Wilson will headline a live performance from Atlanta to be webcast on AOL via Network Live. The info is here.

Also tonight, Big & Rich will be performing on NBC’s “The Tonight Show”, which starts at 11:34 PM EDT (yes, that’s the start time listed on NBC.com’s schedule). Make sure to check your local listings.

Now, with all this massive mainstream media attention, don’t you think it is time for them to be booked at Madison Square Garden? They’d sell the joint out, no doubt.

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No Holds Barred’s All-Grappling Show: Eddie Goldman speaks with Kid Peligro and Bob Mayeri 

On this week's edition of NO HOLDS BARRED, we have a special all-grappling show.

Host Eddie Goldman speaks with Kid Peligro, both a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and a leading journalist in that sport and art, about this weekend’s PanAmerican Jiu-Jitsu Championship being held April 7-9 in California State University Dominguez Hills in Carson, California. We also discuss Rickson Gracie’s Budo Challenge, held this past October in Los Angeles, and the state of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

We speak as well with former college wrestler and veteran wrestling journalist Bob Mayeri about the recent coaching changes at two legendary college wrestling powerhouses, the University of Iowa and Iowa State, and the state of college wrestling in the U.S.

To listen to "No Holds Barred", just click on one of these links:




The show is in MP3 format, so may take some time to download.

“No Holds Barred” is free to listen to and is sponsored by:

Underhook, with Next Level Apparel, the tops in grappling shorts, rashguards, and more.

BJJMart.com, your premier source for all Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gear, videos, books, and much more.

Throwdown Magazine, action lifestyle for extreme sports and the best in combat sports journalism.

King of the Cage, the number one cage fighting promotion on the planet.

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Monday, April 03, 2006

SecondsOut Radio: Eddie Goldman speaks with Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Zab Judah 

When Zab Judah was upset on Jan. 7 at Madison Square Garden by the unheralded Carlos Baldomir, the plans for an April 8 showdown between Judah and the unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr., atop most observers’ pound-for-pound lists, almost imploded. The unanimous decision victory by Baldomir earned him Judah’s WBC welterweight belt, but since he had only paid sanctioning fees to them and not the WBA or IBF, whose belts Judah also, we were told, was defending that night, he did not win those titles. Instead, Judah lost his distinction of being the WBA “super champion” since he no longer held multiple belts, but did retain his IBF belt for reasons so absurd which only perhaps Lewis Carroll or Dr. Seuss could explain.

But promoters Bob Arum and Don King, along with HBO Pay$Per$View, all decided to go ahead with this Judah-Mayweather fight anyway. From the start, its justification to the public and the media was fraught with nonsense. The fight was billed as being for the “world welterweight championship,” and is still described by HBO as being “a blockbuster showdown for Judah's IBF welterweight title”. Yup, and Saddam Hussein is still the president of Iraq.

Then the marketing types came up with the moniker “Sworn Enemies!” for this fight. To their credit, both Mayweather and Judah repeatedly stressed that they each respect the other, that they do not hate each other, but that they do have a job to do in the ring April 8. Someone must have thought that they were promoting this past Sunday’s major pay-per-view, “Wrestle”-mania.

After this very bad start for this promotion, however, it soon began to sink in that this indeed may be a worthwhile fight, despite the aforementioned rubbish.

Mayweather, 29, has a record of 35-0 with 24 KOs, but is only in his second fight at welterweight. Whether or not he can be as successful in this division as he has been at lower weights remains to be seen in the ring.

Judah, 28, is 34-3 with 1 no contest and 25 KOs. As has been pointed out numerous times in the build-up to this fight, the loss to Baldomir puts him on the hot seat. He must fight well, or his next stop might be Palookaville, Margaritaville, or anywhere other than the main event in places like the major Las Vegas casinos and Madison Square Garden, and major television exposure on pay-per-view. He thus should, if logic can ever be our guide in boxing, be expected to perform far, far better than he did in January in his listless outing against Baldomir.

In addition, while Judah’s retention of the IBF belt was a preposterous move by this alphabet soup body, almost all the independent rankings polls have both fighters rated in the top four at welterweight (except The Ring, which still, as of March 29, 2006, inexplicably has Mayweather at 140). Thus, if you look beyond this title madness, you end up with a fight between two top fighters, with one, Judah, desperate to stay at the top of the sport, and the other, Mayweather, already there but trying to meet new challenges.

Further, the HBO pay-per-view, perhaps because of the tainted title situation of its main event, has at least two worthwhile and intriguing fights as co-features.

Jorge Arce, 43-3-1 with 32 KOs, from Los Mochis, Mexico, and one of the most exciting fighters in all of boxing today, takes on the veteran former two-division champ Rosendo Alvarez, 37-2-2 with 24 KOs, from Managua, Nicaragua. This fight will be for Arce’s WBC interim flyweight belt, but more importantly it could be another step in the emergence of Arce as a star with electrifying punching power reminiscent of a young Mike Tyson, while being a better boxer, and without the drama.

Also on this card will be the undefeated University of Houston student Juan Diaz, 28-0 with 14 KOs, from Houston, TX, defending his WBA lightweight belt against the undefeated Jose Miguel Cotto, 27-0 with 19 KOs, from Caguas, Puerto Rico. This Cotto is the older brother of the undefeated WBO junior welterweight champ, Miguel Cotto. Both Diaz and Cotto are known as bangers, so expect some fireworks here as well.

On this week's edition of SecondsOut Radio, host Eddie Goldman speaks with both Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Zab Judah about their fight Sat. night, April 8, in Las Vegas.

It is free to listen to SecondsOut Radio, but you must register to gain access to it. Just click here, and listen, learn, and enjoy.

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Accessibility and NYTimes.com’s New Design 

The New York Times has just redesigned their web site.

They asked for comments, so this is what I sent late Sunday night to the address they gave, feedback@nytimes.com , about their new design and the issue of accessibility:

The new nytimes.com design is more cluttered than previously and uses lighter fonts which make it harder for people with vision problems such as myself to read. At first glance, it appears a step backwards in terms of accessibility.

These are all far cleaner and easier to read:




All I have received back so far is an automated response. We’ll see in due time how seriously they take the issue of accessibility.

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Hats Off 

Usually I get asked what I want for my birthday, which was March 22, the week before last. And usually I tell folks to save their money, as I detest rituals.

But now, belatedly, I have found something that I want: A real cowboy hat made from a real beer case.

And who said I ain't into fashion?!?

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Sunday, April 02, 2006

Liakhovich Upsets Brewster in 12 

Photo by:Tom Casino/SHOWTIME(c)

Showtime caption: Sergei Liakhovich (right) connects with an overhand right to the head of Lamon Brewster (left) during their world title bout Saturday on SHOWTIME.

Despite being a huge underdog and having remained inactive for the past 16 months, Belarus native Liakhovich shocked the sports world by scoring a 12-round unanimous decision (117-110, 115-112 and 115-113) over champion Brewster to capture the WBO heavyweight crown.

One of the most thrilling heavyweight fights in recent years aired live on SHOWTIME at 11 p.m. ET/PT from the Wolstein Center at Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio, and was presented at a special time to accommodate fans who tuned in to the NCAA’s Men’s Final Four on CBS. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING broadcast also was part of a SHOWTIME Free Preview Weekend (March 31-April 3) in which the network opened its signal to 45 million TV households nationwide.

Using a good jab, rights to the body, and outworking his opponent, Sergei Liakhovich survived a seventh-round knockdown to win a 12-round unanimous decision and upset Lamon Brewster to capture the WBO heavyweight title Saturday night in Cleveland, Ohio. Scores were 115-113, 115-112, and 117-110, all for Liakhovich.

Each fighter had the other in trouble several times in what was one of the most action-packed heavyweight title fights in years. There is already talk of a rematch, although what happens next remains to be seen.

In the U.S., this fight was shown live on Showtime. The replay schedule will be posted soon.

From Don King Productions:

World Boxing Organization Heavyweight Championship
Wolstein Center ● Cleveland ● Saturday, April 1, 2006


Ray Austin: "They don't recognize me but I'm the IBF No. 2 ranked contender. Byrd or Klitschko, either one I don't care. It's time for some rain and I'm gonna bring it."

Kevin McBride: “My timing was off a wee bit not having fought in 10 months but this man was not going to hurt me. I’m just glad to be back in action and fighting for Don King. Every fight I gain experience. I’m on the road to winning a world title. I want the Russian giant Nicolai Valuev.”

“I dedicate this fight to Charlie Ross, the Boston fight writer that died this week that gave me the name Clones Colossus.”



“Liakhovich deserved to win. He earned it. I take my hat off to him. He won and we have a rematch. I cannot wait to do it again. He fought a good fight and is a good fighter. We both deserve to be at the top.

“I stayed on my feet in round nine from sheer will.”

BUDDY McGIRT: “I’m sorry Lamon lost the title but we’ll go back to the drawing board. We’ll be back.”


“Lamon was a real great champion. I know he hits real hard with power and has lots of will but I answered him every time. Then he felt my power.

“After the fourth round I knew I was controlling the fight but Lamon hits like a mule. I felt like I did the right thing when I took a knee at the end of round seven. I almost sent him down twice too.

“I would love to fight Wladimir Klitschko. They say I’m scared in the Russian press. I am afraid of nobody.”

KENNY WELDON (Sergei’s trainer):

“Sergei Liakhovich is the best boxing heavyweight in the world and he punches with power in both hands. He is a complete fighter that has come into his own. Remember, he did this to Lamon Brewster after a 16-month layoff.

IVAYLO GOTZEV (Sergei’s manager): I will personally send trucks to the doorsteps of the television networks and pay the dumping charges after they’re loaded with all of the older heavyweights so the public can see the new generation of heavyweights like Sergei and see for themselves what they have been missing.”

Showtime press release:



From The Wolstein Center at Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio

World Championship Bout Will Be Replayed First Time on SHO Extreme Monday, April 3, At 11 p.m. ET/PT

CLEVELAND (April 2, 2006) – The Cold War may be over, but the Russians refuse to go away. Despite being a huge underdog and having remained inactive for the past 16 months, Belarus native Sergei Liakhovich shocked the sports world by scoring a 12-round unanimous decision over champion Lamon Brewster to capture the WBO heavyweight title Saturday on SHOWTIME.

One of the most thrilling heavyweight fights in recent years aired live on SHOWTIME at 11 p.m. ET/PT from the Wolstein Center at Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio, and was presented at a special time to accommodate fans who tuned in to the NCAA’s Men’s Final Four on CBS. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING broadcast also was part of a SHOWTIME Free Preview Weekend (March 31-April 3) in which the network opened its signal to 45 million TV households nationwide.

Liakhovich (23-1, 14 KOs), of Scottsdale, Ariz., by way of Vitebsk, Belarus, won the last five rounds on one scorecard, the final four on another and three out of the last four rounds on the third scorecard to win his first world title. Judge Phil Rogers scored it 117-110, Tom Miller had it 115-112, while Dana DePaolo tallied it 115-113.

“I answered Brewster every time,” Liakhovich said. “Then, he felt my power.”

The new WBO heavyweight champion overcame a seventh-round trip to the canvas and utilized both a punishing left jab and overhand right to take control in the late stanzas. After the bout, Liakhovich had nothing but praise for his counterpart.

“Brewster was a real great champion,” Liakhovich said. “He hits real hard with power and has lots of will. After the fourth round, I knew I was controlling the fight, but Brewster hits like a mule. I felt like I did the right thing when I took a knee at the end of round seven. I almost sent him down twice, too.”

Brewster (33-3, 29 KOs), of Los Angeles, scored the lone knockdown when he sent Liakhovich to one knee with only seconds remaining in the seventh round. Despite seeing his nine-bout winning streak come to an end, Brewster displayed the heart of a champion throughout and was gracious in defeat.

“Liakhovich deserved to win,” Brewster said. “He earned it. I take my hat off to him. He won and we have a rematch. I cannot wait to do it again. He fought a good fight and is a good fighter. We both deserve to be at the top.

“I stayed on my feet in round nine from sheer will.”

SHOWTIME broadcasters Steve Albert and Al Bernstein praised the heart displayed by both fighters.

“This was one of the best heavyweight championship fights in years,” Albert said. “It was even more pronounced because it comes on the heels of recent heavyweight fights that have been lackluster. Boxing needed this – an exciting, competitive and compelling heavyweight fight. It clearly got it.”

“Liakhovich gave a tremendously complete performance and he needed to,” Bernstein said. “Brewster hit him with some tremendous punches. This fight was not only exciting, but it was skillfully fought. That is something we do not always see in the heavyweight division.

“I cannot wait for the rematch.”

SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING’s Albert and Bernstein called the action from ringside with Karyn Bryant serving as roving reporter. The producer of the SHOWTIME telecast was David Dinkins Jr. with Bob Dunphy directing.

SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING celebrates 20 years of hard-hitting, explosive programming in 2006. In March 1986, SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING was born when “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler defeated John “The Beast” Mugabi in a spectacular and unforgettable 11th-round knockout in Las Vegas. Since that time, the network has aired some of the most historic and significant events in the sport including both Holyfield-Tyson bouts.

Always at the forefront of boxing, SHOWTIME has set itself apart by telecasting “great fights, no rights” on the first Saturday of every month. SHOWTIME is the first network to regularly deliver live boxing in High Definition. In addition, SHOWTIME continues to be a pioneer in sports television with a number of interactive features across multiple platforms making SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecasts the most enjoyable, immersive viewing experience for the boxing audience.

For information on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING and “ShoBox: The New Generation” telecasts, including complete fighter bios and records, related stories and more, please go the SHOWTIME website at http://www.sho.com/boxing.

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