Sunday, April 17, 2011

No Holds Barred: Agbeko-Mares Preview, Ortiz-Berto Review, Poker Sites Busted 

Photos of Ortiz and Berto by Cathlin Daley, Daleyphotography.net
On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman previews the Joseph King Kong Agbeko-Abner Mares fight coming up April 23, reviews the recent series of upsets in boxing including the victory by Victor Ortiz over Andre Berto on April 16, and discusses the implications of the U.S. government indictment of the founders of the three major online poker sites and the shutting down of those sites.
IBF bantamweight champion Joseph King Kong Agbeko (28-2, 22 KOs) of Accra, Ghana, and the Bronx, New York, will defend his title against the unbeaten Abner Mares (21-0-1, 13 KOs) of Hawaiian Gardens, California by way of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, in the finals of the Showtime bantamweight tournament. This fight will take place Saturday, April 23, at the Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE in downtown Los Angeles, and will be telecast in the U.S. on Showtime.
We spoke with Joseph Agbeko at a recent media workout at John's Boxing Gym in the South Bronx about what to expect in this fight. We also hear Abner Mares talk about this fight during a recent media conference call.
Not only has there been a rash of unexpected results of late in boxing, but it also is just as unexpected that so many upsets have been taking place at all in a sport where promoters and networks like to control the outcomes of fights through careful matchmaking as much as possible. The latest of these upsets in major fights took place in the main events on Saturday night, April 16, on both HBO and Showtime.
Victor Ortiz was still trying to live down accusations of being a quitter after indicating that he no longer wanted to fight in his 2009 TKO loss to Marcos Maidana, and a safety-first draw with Lamont Peterson in 2010. Now moving up to welterweight to face the then-unbeaten WBC champion Andre Berto, Ortiz vowed to prove that he had the heart of a fighter and a champion, and that his critics were wrong. Ortiz certainly re-established himself as a fighter to watch, as he won a bruising 12-round decision over Berto in the main event at the MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods in Mashantucket, Connecticut. In that fight, yet another fight of the year candidate, both fighters were knocked down twice. We discuss that fight, as well as the upset victory by Orlando Salido against another previously-unbeaten fighter, Juan Manuel Lopez, in front of a pro-Lopez crowd in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.
On Friday, April 15, it was announced that eleven defendants, including the founders of the three largest Internet poker companies doing business in the United States - PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker - had been indicted in the U.S. Southern District of New York on charges of bank fraud, money laundering, and illegal gambling offenses. The domain names of these online poker sites were also seized by the U.S, government. According to U.S. law, Internet gambling is illegal within the U.S. One of these three poker companies, Full Tilt Poker, has been a major sponsor of mixed martial arts fighters, especially of late in Strikeforce.
We discuss the implications of these charges, and how they highlight the need for an international sports anti-corruption agency. We also hear the question about this asked of Jacque Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, at a recent news conference by Jens Andersen, the International Director of the anti-corruption organization Play the Game.
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