There was a moment on Saturday night, right after Paul Williams crumpled to the mat, when even Sergio Martinez had yet to fully register what had taken place.
It reminded me of watching PiazzaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s post-9/11 homer floating past me in the upper deck at Shea. Watching the formerly feared Williams sprawl face-first on the mat, time slowed to a crawl as our minds furiously processed what we had seen. And as MartinezÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s jubilation took hold, everyone erupted, regardless of rooting interest.
A moment like that is a reminder that through all of the issues and nonsense boxing fans are privy to, it finds a way in the end to give us something to hold on to.
The fact that Manny PacquiaoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s whitewash of Antonio Margarito last Saturday drew anywhere between 1.25-1.4 million pay-per-view buys, depending on who you ask, is a testament to two things: the popularity of Pacquiao, and the effectiveness of the HBO 24/7 program.
TonightÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Paul Williams-Sergio Martinez rematch in Atlantic City, which I will be attending, has neither of those aspects in its favor. But while last weekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s spectacle was valuable in that it showed that boxing could still be a major mainstream draw, the vibe for tonightÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fight from fans and writers actually possesses more excitement.
Last weekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fight was for everyone. This oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s for us.
As per usual, my weekly thoughts on football. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll offer my standard disclaimer that I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t claim to have any substantive knowledge about the sport itself.
When I was in high school in the early-to-mid 90Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s, NFL hierarchy was far more readily defined. You had the Cowboys, the 49ers and Packers in the NFC, and the Bills leading a pack of AFC also-rans that also included the Chiefs and Steelers. It was sort of comforting to always be able to easily differentiate between the haves and the have-nots.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not really a boxing fan,Ã¢â‚¬Â the guy working at Champs Sports in Times Square told me as I tried on a Manny Pacquiao sweatshirt. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But I never miss one of MannyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fights.Ã¢â‚¬Â
HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the latest installment of Nick BenvenutoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s college football picks. Coming off a 3-0 week, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d say NickÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s on his game. NowÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the time to three-team parlay those picks down there! I also look forward to hearing NickÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s take after attending Ohio State vs. Penn State this weekend.
Don’t sleep on The Weekly! After getting a slow start out of the 2010 gates, we’ve chopped all the way back to the .500 mark with our first undefeated week of the season.
For the first time of the 2010 season, I went back to personal favorite football haunt HoulihanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s. No LT this time, but it was still a good time. As always, I offer the disclaimer that IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m hardly a football expert.
With the baseball seasonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s conclusion giving me a modicum of free time, I ventured back to familiar haunt HoulihanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s in Secaucus for the first time this season, and was unfortunately confronted with exactly what I go there to avoid:
Screaming, irrational fans. Specifically, two of them, loud enough to drown out a jet engine.
I continue to get closer to game time with this. This week, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s because of a writing assignment for my day job, and taking down my Halloween decorations Ã¢â‚¬â€œ which takes longer for me than it probably does for most. Regardless, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll try to scale this a little earlier in the week (i.e. not within 12 hours before the games start).
I work for a website devoted to a sport other than football, and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s always the same routine when I work on Sunday. Everyone sits around and lobbies for the Colts to throw it to Pierre Garcon, or for the Giants to offer goal-line scraps to Brandon Jacobs, or some such.
Some might have been surprised by last MondayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ratings, when a horrible Jaguars-Titans blowout beat a good Rangers-Yankees playoff game in the ratings, but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s really not a shock if you think about it. Fantasy leagues and gambling have become the bedrock that forms the foundation for the entire sport of football.
HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the latest installment of Nick BenvenutoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s The Weekly. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve enjoyed reading his picks and takes, and though I havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mentioned this to him yet, maybe he can offer up some thoughts on the Cam Newton situation, as I know heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a fan.
For those of us who’ve played sports our whole lives, you get used to hearing coach after coach give you the same clichÃƒÂ©s over and over again. Some of them find ways to be unique, but most are pretty lame.