Escondido, CA
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Mostly cloudy

Firing away with some more laptop snapshots

It’s time to once again fire up the laptop and let go with some opinions, viewpoints and observations on what the writer considers to be the never dull world of sports.

Living up to the Hype

Finally, a highly anticipated boxing matchup lived up to the hype, with middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin and challenger Canelo Alvarez doing themselves proud in an entertaining 12-round bout that ended up in an unexpected draw this past Saturday night.

Though the final result might have been a bit unsatisfying, the action was not. The thousands that took in the proceedings at the T-Mobile Arena in Sin City and those that doled out the requisite bucks to catch it on pay-per-view certainly weren’t shortchanged as they more than got their money’s worth.

GGG continued to verify that he’s the real deal and a most worthy champ with a solid performance that saw him operate behind an effective and noteworthy jab and unarguably land the biggest punches on the night, including a huge right hand in the fifth round that had Alvarez visibly shaking his noggin. Golovkin also did some impressive head hunting in the eighth.

But Canelo proved to be every bit the competitor and had his share of moments in which he flashed good hand speed, found the range with some hooks and uppercuts and hit hard.

There were some exciting flurries that were exchanged and when these two warriors found themselves in the center of the ring in the 10th round, they put on a dynamite show while trading impactful punches that had the crowd roaring.

Obviously, with such an indeterminate outcome, a rematch is assuredly in the cards. It’s an absolute must that these two guys rumble again so as to achieve some kind of resolution.

As for the scoring, anybody with any sort of discernment should have seen this as a close and tight contest. To virtually no one’s surprise, Judge Dave Moretti scored it 115-113 for Golovkin while Don Trella had it 114-114.

But the outlier was Judge Adalaide Byrd whose tally read 118-110 in favor of Alvarez, an absolutely absurd score given what took place in the ring. Perhaps a reasonable case could have been made that Alvarez might have won on points but not by such a ridiculously wide margin. It made one wonder if Byrd’s eyesight had been severely impaired because either she hadn’t consumed enough carrots while growing up, macular degeneration had set in or perhaps she was a close relative of Mr. Magoo.  Regardless of the reason, her distorted perception of the fight undermined almost all of her credibility. Besides his admirable work between the ropes, Alvarez’s biggest asset might have been having Byrd as a judge at ringside.

So it’s just a matter of time (the sooner the better) before Golovkin/Canelo II takes place with the hope that it can somehow match or even exceed its predecessor in entertainment value. To be sure, boxing got a championship fight that measured up and didn’t take the count. At long last!

Mixing Boxing and MMA

Here’s a brief post mortem of the recent Floyd Mayweather/Conor McGregor tussle that drew monumental attention and intermingled the worlds of boxing and MMA. Though McGregor showed much better than many aficionados thought possible and offered a surprisingly competent jab, his inability to get inside, work the body and deliver any sort of a damaging punch was a disappointment. After all, the tale of the tape and sheer physique suggested that the Irishman was the bigger and stronger of the two combatants.

Another area where McGregor lagged was in his inability to substantially enhance his stamina. Upgrading his staying power should have been given the highest priority during his training and the run-up to the fight. Even in MMA circles where he’s justifiably praised for his intensity and what he brings to the table, McGregor isn’t known for being someone who can last particularly long. He and his handlers should have figured that Mayweather’s ultimate game plan would be to bide his time, drag the fight into the later rounds and then take full advantage of a tiring McGregor who had shot his wad. And guess what? That’s the exact scenario that played out.

Things might have been even more compelling if McGregor had been able to call upon some heretofore undiscovered reserve that would have allowed him to go the distance and offer some real resistance until the final bell. In truth, exhaustion and fatigue had as much to do with his eventual defeat as did Mayweather himself.

Aztecs Need a Bigger Challenge

It’s a shame that the timing isn’t right because based upon the manner in which they’ve impressively competed against Pac-12 schools over the past couple of seasons, the San Diego State Aztecs would make a great fit for that conference. Having proved that they can clearly hang with such company after taking down the likes of Cal, Arizona State and heavyweight Stanford, the Mountain West no longer seems a prominent enough stage for the rapidly ascending program of Coach Rocky Long. The Aztecs are showing every sign that they need a bigger challenge and are more than ready to take a step up in class.

Given the size of San Diego, its existing and potential football fan base and that fact that the Benedict Arnold Chargers have skedaddled north to become a comparative afterthought, the pigskin market is ripe for the Aztecs to make an even bigger imprint.

If the SDSU administration/athletic department and the powers that be at the Pac-12 aren’t already engaging in some form of courtship, they should be. This appears to be a potential marriage made in heaven. So start working through the specifics, establish a timeline and for Pete’s sake, get the damn thing done. Time’s a wasting on something that should be a front-burner issue for all concerned parties.

Superlative Opening Game Performance

The only high school gridiron squad in Escondido that has managed to put together a plus-.500 record thus far is unbeaten Calvin Christian, a titan when it comes to 8-man football. A CIF champion and runner-up over the previous two campaigns, virtually every preseason prognostication had the Crusaders remaining dominant and getting back to the title game once again. And paced by an explosive offense headed up by talented quarterback Matt Lafleur and dangerous dual threats Wesley Salzman and Daniel Esquerra, Calvin seems driven to prove that its lofty reputation is truly justified.

This writer was fortunate enough to have witnessed a superlative opening game performance by Escondido High running back Kevin Rodriquez when he powered through, gashed and then went around visiting Mission Bay on his way to a 237-yard, three-touchdown effort. I remember thinking to myself as I left Wilson Stadium that night that the rugged but surprisingly quick Cougar senior would be hard pressed to duplicate such an effort. Well, “Rockin” Rod did something this past Friday even more sensational during a 42-10 conquest of Serra that got the Cougs back to the break even mark at 2-2. Toting the rock a rather Herculean 38 times, Rodriguez rushed for a massive 310 yards in addition to hitting paydirt five times. I wonder what’s next on the agenda for this terrific and prolific youngster?

How many Bolts fans remain?

It would be interesting to know how many folks here in San Diego County still find themselves pulling for the Charger players but wish nothing but a pox on anything connected with the dastardly Dean Spanos. Talk about being conflicted.

Selected by many as a trendy pick to be one of the surprise teams of the NFL and a possible playoff team, the L.A. Bolts have sure come a cropper with losses in very winnable games against Denver and Miami. Kind of makes you believe that maybe karma does exist when it comes to turncoat Deano. Perhaps what’s even more gratifying is the fact that the Chargers can’t even fill the band box that is the StubHub Center. It may not last but right now Spanos and the NFL bigwigs can’t see straight because of all the egg that’s stuck to their faces.

A gallant effort

Escondido resident and MMA fighter Victor Rosas had his recent bout against Michael Reyes ruled a no-contest. Participating in a high-profile promotion entitled King of the Cage that was held at Ontario’s nifty Citizens Bank Arena, Rosas endured two accidental head butts that left him with cuts on both his forehead and eye lid. But despite this adversity, Rosas gallantly soldiered on and showed well in an entertaining first round most observers felt that he carried. However, after being examined by the attending doctor, it was decided that Rosas shouldn’t continue and the proceedings were brought to halt. Because the bout hadn’t yet gone the required two rounds in order to go to the score cards, the no-contest verdict was invoked.

Though the outcome was a frustrating one for Rosas because he sensed he was about to exert his will on Reyes, the 125-pound local product was philosophical about what occurred and looked at the positives he derived from having been part of such a notable event. With his ranking not affected by the result, Rosas looks forward to getting back into action sometime in November or December. A real up-and-comer, Rosas isn’t about to let a temporary disappointment or a couple of cuts deter him from his expected climb up the MMA ladder. Believe me, you’ll be hearing plenty about Rosas in the ensuing months and years.

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