Is Sonny Bill Williams the next Ali?

January 31, 2011 in Boxing by pacejmiller

SBW against one of his outmatched opponents

In what must be the funniest claim of the year thus far, Tony Mundine, a former boxer and father of Anthony Mundine, says rugby player and occasional boxer Sonny Bill Williams can be ‘the next Muhammad Ali’ if he continues boxing.

For those who don’t know, Williams is a former rugby league player who lost the plot and fled to France in the middle of a season to play rugby union for more cash.  The only guy that seemed to support him at the time was his good friend Anthony Mundine.  And thanks to Mundine, Williams began professional boxing (originally for charity) but is now beginning to seriously consider switching sports again, with the Mundines in his corner.

At 6’3″ and 238 pounds, Williams is a freak of nature with astonishing athletic ability.  Anyone that has seen him on the football field can attest to that.  But his first three fights (with two KOs) were against overweight and out of shape bums that Williams could have beaten without any training given his natural gifts.

And now, just after his third professional bout, Tony Mundine claims that Williams live up to a boxer many consider the greatest of all time (at least for a heavyweight).

“I said to [Williams] in 12 months time he could be the second Ali. He could be anything,” Mundine Sr said.  “I saw him about 12 months ago, I really thought he moved like Ali….He needs more fights … If he keeps on boxing seriously, he will be the second Ali.”

Yep.  Another pearl of wisdom from the Mundine family.  Not to piss on William’s amazing athletic ability, but to say that a 25-year-old guy who did not step into a boxing ring until May 2009, with no amateur experience and three professional wins against fat bums, can in the next 12 months become the ‘next Ali’, a guy who started boxing at 12, won numerous state and national titles and an Olympic gold medal, all before turning professional — well, I’ll let you make your own conclusions.

Here is a video of Williams against his second opponent.  Pretty hilarious stuff.

Amazingly, that’s not even the most hilarious thing Mundine Sr said in that interview.

“He’s got a big question mark – rugby league, rugby union or boxing,” Mundine Sr said when discussing Williams’ future.  “In rugby league and union there’s a lot of injuries, he can damage himself [in the] knees, neck, elbows and ankles.”

So to avoid injuries, Williams should quit the highly dangerous sports of rugby league and union and join a sport where the sole purpose is to punch the crap out of your opponent.  Makes sense.

If Sonny Bill Williams keeps hanging around the Mundines, he could very well end up like Muhammad Ali — the Muhammad Ali of now.

PS: Nothing against Williams personally.  I met him once and he was very nice and friendly.

Bradley gets disappointing decision over Alexander

January 31, 2011 in Boxing, Sport by pacejmiller

Bradley and Alexander in their title unification bout

This one was just for the boxing purists.

Few people might know about them, but undefeated junior weleterewights (140 lbs) Timothy Bradley and Devon Alexander took each other on in a unificaton bout over the weekend.

As it turned out, there was a good reason why neither guy is not more famous — because the fight kind of stunk, and neither demonstrated the kind of skill that would earn them a shot against the likes of Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather Jr (if he avoids prison).  Perhaps even Amir Khan would be too much to ask.

Bradley (now 27-0, 11 KOs) won a technical decision over Alexander (now 21-1, 13 KOs) after the fight was stopped in round 10 because of a cut resulting from an accidental headbutt.

Bradley led with his big head all night and managed to be leading when the fight was stopped, with scores of 97-93, 96-95 and 98-93, and came away with the decision in front of around 6000 fans (9000 capacity), most of whom booed when the fight ended.

It was a pretty boring fight without much serious action, and neither boxer put the other in any real trouble.  CompuBox numbers reflected the way the fight went down —  Alexander was credited with landing 129 of 475 punches (27 percent) while Bradley landed 128 of 419 (31 percent).  For a 10 round fight, that’s only 13 landed punches for each fighter per round.

A real shame because this was a fight many fans had been looking forward to, especially with the disappointment over the Pacquiao-Mayweather fallout and the fact that Pacquiao picked old Sugar Shane Mosley as his next victim instead of Juan Manuel Marquez or even Andre Berto.

Needless to say, Alexander wants a rematch, but I doubt one will be made, or at least one fight fans will want to see.

Boo.

Too bad for Li Na and Andy Murray!

January 31, 2011 in Sport, Tennis by pacejmiller

What a fantastic weekend of sports.  I’ll start off with the biggest news — the Australian Open.

I’m not much of a tennis player (the fact that I won two consecutive ‘Most Improved Player’ awards at school and still suck says it all) but I do love watching it, especially the Grand Slams.  Unfortunately, both players I was rooting for lost.

Women’s Final

Sadly, Li Na won't be able to celebrate Chinese New Year with a Grand Slam title

In the women’s, Belgian Kim Clijsters beat the sentimental favourite, China’s Li Na in three thrilling sets (3-6, 6-3, 6-3) to claim her first Australian Open title and her fourth GS title.  As a friend of mine told me recently, GS finals usually disappoint, but this one really didn’t.

Clijsters has long endeared herself to Australians and earned the nickname “Aussie Kim” because she once dated Lleyton Hewitt (when he was the world’s top player and did toilet paper ads on TV) — and managed to keep that nickname long after they broke up because she actually wins (kinda like how Russell Crowe is Australian when he wins Oscars and a New Zealander when he throws phones).

Li Na is also a fascinating story because she’s the best tennis player China has ever seen and will probably inspire a whole new generation of Chinese tennis players.  She’s funny and charismatic too, which is a bonus.  At 28, Li is probably heading towards the twilight of her career, but the current world no. 7 is certainly not done yet.  She had actually defeated Clijsters in a tournament just before the Australian Open and won the first set of the final in dramatic fashion.  However, in the end Clijster’s poise and experience guided her to victory.

I would have loved to have seen Li take out the trophy because it would have been quite historical, and more importantly, I find it extremely embarrassing that Aussies latch on to “Aussie Kim” simply because she’s a winner.  But then again, when the media makes a big fuss because Bernard Tomic didn’t get completely wiped off the court by Rafael Nadal (well, it was in straight sets), I guess they do need someone to root for.

Men’s Final

Sadly, this unappealing expression will continue for Andy Murray

It was great to finally see a GS final that didn’t involve Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal (as much as I admire both men).

But this was an intriguing matchup.  Novak Djokovic was searching for his second GS trophy (having won the Aussie in 2008) and Andy Murray was looking for his first (having lost two finals to Federer before, including last year’s Aussie final).  The two came up the ranks together as juniors and have been friends forever.  With Federer declining and Nadal a potential timebomb because of injury concerns, this was the perfect opportunity for one of them to step up.

My wife dislikes Djokovic because, let’s face it, he looks like and sometimes acts like a bit of a dick.  But I actually quite like him and thought he has embraced the occasional villain role quite well.  And he’s one heck of a player too.

However, on this occasion I was definitely going for Murray.  I felt sorry for the guy after he lost to Federer twice in previous finals, despite being a legitimate chance in both matches.  He, like Tim Henman before him, must have been feeling the pressure of all of Great Britain on his shoulders, so I wanted him to finally relieve that tension.  Besides, he’s too good of a player to never win a GS.

But this one turned out to be competitive but one sided.  Perhaps it was the experience from winning one before, but Djokovic just seemed so much more comfortable than Murray, who served poorly and failed to execute the big shots.  Luck certainly played a part in it — Djokovic’s shots were landing on the line and Murray’s were hitting the net.  In the end it just wasn’t Murray’s day (6-4, 6-2, 6-3), and it looks like that perpetually frustrated, constipated look on his face will live on for yet another GS tournament.

Nevertheless, a good start to 2011 and a great end to the week!

PS: I wouldn’t feel too sorry for either loser though.  The winner took home AUD 2.2 million while the loser got AUD 1.1 million.

My 2011 Oscar Predictions: Who Should Win and Who Will

January 28, 2011 in Entertainment, Movie Reviews by pacejmiller

Source: Oscars.com

Well, the nominations for the 2011 Academy Awards are finally out, and as usual, there were few surprises.  Overall, I think 2011 was a pretty solid year for cinema, with some standout films, unique films, classic films and groundbreaking films.  Of course, there were some duds too, but apart from the massive overkill of pointless 3D films, I’d say it was a good year for cinemagoers.

As per the last couple of years, it’s time for me to predict the winners!  Here goes.

To read on click on ‘more…’

Read the rest of this entry →

My nap made me more tired!

January 26, 2011 in Blogging by pacejmiller

Source: ImageShack

I am an avid fan of the afternoon power nap, even though I have not had one for ages because of work and when I haven’t been working, because time is too valuable to waste.  Besides, I tend to get enough sleep at night anyway (around 8 hours) so I don’t usually feel tired in the afternoon.

Yesterday I had my first afternoon nap in years while watching the Australian Open — a match between a Danish woman and an Italian guy — and fell asleep as the match reached the end of the first set.  I woke up midway through the third set, probably about an hour later, expecting to feel refreshed and energised for the night ahead.  But no, I was groggy and exhausted!

It literally took me a few minutes of staring passionlessly into nothingness before I managed to compose myself as I had to drive out.  I felt a little better after dinner but when I got back home I was ready to collapse into bed.  And I did.

So how is it that my afternoon nap had the opposite effect of what I expected?  How could more sleep make me more tired?

Anyway, I did some quick research, and as it turns out, I didn’t really have a ‘nap’.  I had a ‘sleep’.  According to this article, there are seveal stages of sleep — stage 1 is just drifting off, stage 2 is brain activity slowing, and stages 3 and 4 run into deep sleep.  An afternoon nap ought not to take more than 30 minutes, or else you risk falling into stages 3 and 4, which is what must have happened to me.

Looks like the next time I would like to take a nap I should set an alarm.

Talk about a post about nothing.