Pacquiao-Clottey: Easy Win or Upset?

March 11, 2010 in Boxing by pacejmiller

[For the results of the fight and analysis, click here]

I know a lot of people are still up in arms over the failed Mayweather-Pacquiao fight which would have taken place on Saturday, 13 March 2010, had the two sides not lost the plot over drug testing procedures.

Instead, we now have pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao taking on Joshua Clottey at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas (capacity 45,000) on the same day, and undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr taking on Shane Mosley on 1 May 2010.

To be honest, the hype for the Pacquiao-Clottey fight has been relatively low.  And it’s perfectly understandable.

Fist of all, there is the disappointment over the Mayweather fallout.  Secondly, there is the related fury over Pacquiao’s refusal to accept blood testing.  Thirdly, many simply think Clottey is not a worthy opponent.  Clottey’s most recent bout (13 June 2009) was a split decision loss to Miguel Cotto, the man Pacquiao destroyed over 12 rounds on 14 November 2009.

However, there are plenty of factors at play in this bout, most of which have been ignored or downplayed.  Clottey is a much more dangerous opponent than most people give him credit for.

So is this going to be just another easy win for Pacquiao?  Or will Clottey pull off the stunning upset?

(Click on ‘more…’ for the analysis)

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Book Review: Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

March 11, 2010 in Book Reviews by pacejmiller

Nate from theninthdragonking was right.  I should have read the book first before watching the movie.

But then again, had I read the book first, the movie probably wouldn’t have been as good.

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane (who also wrote Mystic River) is a solid book, an intelligent, well-written thriller with slick dialogue and fascinating characters.  But it didn’t blow me away or anything.  Like I said, maybe watching the movie (which was remarkably similar) first had something to do with it.  After all, it does reveal the ending.

The premise is simple.  In 1954, Teddy Daniels, a US Marshal, is called to Ashcliffe hospital (for the criminally insane) on Shutter Island to investigate the disappearance of a patient.  But of course, Teddy is thrown into a wild, dangerous world where nothing is as it seems.  Will he come out of it with his health and sanity in tact?

The atmosphere is dark and suspenseful.  The plot is full of twists and turns.  The characters are memorable, especially Teddy’s new partner Chuck Aule, a funny, likable sidekick.  Lehane is a master manipulator who knows how to keep readers confused.  However, the thing I liked most about Shutter Island was the way Lehane handles the dialogue.  Each character’s voice is distinct and easily recognisable, with their own tone, style, and beat.  It’s certainly something I can learn from.

That said, there was too much dialogue.  At times it felt like that was all I was reading.  I think the story stagnated because of it. For a 369-page novel (my movie tie-in edition), I kind of expected a bit more to happen.

And really, when you think about it, the story requires a ridiculous amount of suspending disbelief.  I suppose credit should go to Lehane for making such a preposterous premise semi-believable.

Ultimately, a good read, but not as good as I expected.

3.5 stars out of 5

[PS: SPOILER ALERT – a lot is made about the book’s (and the film’s twist ending).  Yes, it’s not all that hard to figure out, but do reviewers have to keep reminding readers that a twist ending is coming?  Take for example the back cover, a review from the New York Times: “A deft, suspenseful thriller that unfolds with increasing urgency until it delivers a visceral shock in the final moments.”  Then, inside the front cover, from Washington Post Book World: “Its shocking outcome kept me awake”; from Denver Post: “And then there’s the ending.  You’re sure to talk about this one over lunch…”; from Raleigh News Observer: “leads us hypnotically to a climax that is both absolutely shocking and wholly plausible”; and the worst one of all, from Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Lehane throws in a beauty of a reversal toward the end, one as surprising as the revelation in the movie The Sixth Sense”.]