Will Anthony Joshua find redemption against Andy Ruiz on Saturday?

By December 06, 2019
Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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  • Opinion: Hosts keep missing the point about COVID19 Opinion: Hosts keep missing the point about COVID19

    The hosts of the various big events in the world of sports have been missing the point over and over for the last three months, much like many governments have.

    The COVID-19 Pandemic has inch by inch, ground sports to a halt all over the world and looming events have had to be either cancelled or postponed as it becomes clear that the word ‘pandemic’ is as horrifying as it sounds and the world won’t get over this issue in a few weeks or months as administrators seem to feel.

    But even more important than that, these administrators seem to feel that whether or not an event can go on, depends on the environment at the event.

    But I suggest there is more to it than that.

    The Olympics, for instance, in Tokyo, Japan, seemed to hinge on whether or not the island could get its COVID-19 problems under control before the rest of the world would travel to the event.

    When it became clear that this would not be the case, the event was postponed.

    However, up until that time, even as preparatory events for the Olympics were being cancelled and/or postponed all over the world, the International Olympic Committee had been asking athletes to prepare as if there would still be an event in July of 2020.

    That, I believe, was unfortunate, because it meant, even without travelling to meets all over the world, training was putting athletes at risk of contracting the virus.

    The danger of picking up the virus becomes even more acute when you consider team sports and how much contact it takes to get one working in unison and performing at a high level.

    For that to happen, there needs to be a combination of technical staff, trainers, teammates, and much more. That will up the chances of contracting a virus and therefore it doesn’t matter what is happening at whichever venue in the world, the athletes are at risk.

    I am acutely aware that much planning goes into putting on a large event like the Olympics or the UEFA Champions League, and that there is a lot of money riding on the event going ahead as planned.

    These considerations, I believe, make decisions grey and not as completely black and white like it might from the outside, however, sports and entertainment being the last to get on board with social distancing was, in my mind, slightly callous.

    But that’s just in my mind. These organisers may well have foreseen the financial fallout for the athletes themselves and wanted to save them, for as long as they could, from months without earning in some cases.

    Whichever way you see it, the truth is COVID-19 is likely to bankrupt far more people than it kills.

    Many of the reports on COVID-19 have also indicated that it hurts people with underlying conditions and the elderly, so the athlete with his fitness at the peak of their value, along with usually being under 40, is not in any real danger.

    But how about the person the athletes give it to? And, as was the case of 21-year-old Spanish coach, Francisco Garcia, who knows who has an underlying condition that this virus may attack?

    Garcia, a coach at Atletico Portada Alta, found out he had undiagnosed Leukemia, after being admitted to hospital with coronavirus symptoms. By then, it was too late.

    How I see it is that people and countries can recover from going broke. It happens all the time.

    I’ve never seen anybody recover from being dead.

    Cricket West Indies and the England Cricket Board are entertaining the idea of having a series between the two, scheduled for June, behind closed doors.

    Hopefully, they think better of it in short order.

  • On this day in sport: Sutton's flying start, Louis KO and Hammond's masterclass On this day in sport: Sutton's flying start, Louis KO and Hammond's masterclass

    Chris Sutton was in a hurry on this day in 1995, scoring the fastest goal in Premier League history at that time.

    Six decades earlier, heavyweight great Joe Louis was similarly not looking to waste any time in defence of his world title.

    However, England batsman Wally Hammond found a way to make his work stretch out languidly for hours.

    Let's take a look back at April 1 in sporting history.

     

    1995 – Chris Sutton scores Premier League's fastest goal

    Alan Shearer's prolific strike partnership with Sutton was pivotal in firing Blackburn Rovers to the 1994-95 Premier League title and they combined with aplomb after 12.94 seconds at Goodison Park.

    Shearer nodded a lofted ball down for Sutton, who took a touch before thumping home to set a 2-1 win in motion - making April fools of the home defence.

    Six players have since dipped inside Sutton's best mark. Dwight Yorke did so later that year, while Shearer himself now sits inside a top three headed by Shane Long – the Southampton forward who stunned Watford after 7.69 seconds.

    1938 – Joe Louis knocks out Harry Thomas

    Bigger things lay in wait for Louis, who put away challenger Harry Thomas after two minutes and 50 seconds of round five at Chicago Stadium.

    'The Brown Bomber' had won the heavyweight title the previous June against James Braddock – aka 'The Cinderella Man'.

    Any remaining question marks against Louis' claims for greatness were largely eradicated next time out, when he claimed sweet revenge against Max Schmeling. The German contender stopped Louis in 12 rounds two years earlier, but he was obliterated inside the first session at Yankee Stadium.

     

    1933 – Wally Hammond hits 336

    Even though he was one of Test cricket's great technicians, New Zealand must have been fed up of the sight of Hammond by the end of their 1933 series, where he averaged a scarcely credible 563.

    In the first Test, he made 227 and remarkably went much bigger in Auckland. Hammond's 336 not out featured 10 sixes and was the highest score in Test history at the time.

    His compatriot Len Hutton surpassed the mark with 364 against Australia at The Oval five years later. Hammond's innings remains ninth on Test cricket's all-time list.

  • Opinion:  Russell the Windies new Gayle, Lara - not so fast Bravo Opinion: Russell the Windies new Gayle, Lara - not so fast Bravo

    Few could fail to be amazed by the flat-out, raw hitting power or the devastating ability to single-handedly change a game that Windies T20 star Andre Russell possesses, but as far as being the new Chris Gayle or Brian Lara, he’s not quite yet there.

    Now, the point recently made by veteran West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo is not lost.  After a solid performance against Sri Lanka with both bat and ball, which in the end delivered the team a comfortable win, Bravo sees Dre Russ as having picked up the mantle as the team’s go-to guy.  The role played to great effect by both Gayle and Lara for the regional team over multiple formats.

    To some extent, Russell has, on occasion, delivered for the Windies.  And, if we were speaking about club T20 cricket where his many big-time performances have seen him stack up titles right around the globe, there could be little argument regarding the snap assessment. 

    At the international level, however, Russell still trails behind the two greats in one important area; consistency.

    Not that it wasn’t ever true about the two Windies stars against which he is being compared, but too often it seems that Russell has failed to measure exactly what is required in the instant of the game when he arrives at the crease. As a result, he is sent back to hutch, head hung, with helmet in hand soon after.

    A quick look at the averages will show that Russell averages almost 12-runs fewer than Gayle’s average of 32.54 in T20 international cricket. Overall, in T20s he averages 26.95 to Gayle’s 38.20.

     Of course, each man bats at different times in a innings.

    Gayle has far more time to settle in than Russell who comes further down the order.  Even so, one can’t help but suspect that better application could have meant a higher average. 

    In T20Is Russell is yet to register a 100 or 50 in the format, while Gayle has two 100s and 13 half-centuries.  Almost 10 years Russell's senior, Gayle has played more international T20 cricket, but not a lot more. Nine more, in fact, 58 to Russell’s 49.  One would think that with a more consistent approach, Russell would at least have registered a few more half-centuries.

    As far as potential goes, however, the talented Russell could easily have the big two looking over their shoulders in the next few years.

    His wicket-taking ability, which ensures that he is also a key part of the team’s bowling attack, is an element neither Lara or Gayle would have had. 

    Russell also has the ability to be very effective in the ODI format of the game, giving us a glimpse at last year's ICC Cricket World Cup before being hobbled by injury.  During the tournament the quickest batsman, in terms of balls faced, to score 1,000 runs in ODIs, facing only 767 deliveries.

    All that points to the fact that the sky could be the limit for a fully fit, fully focused Russell but he certainly has to deliver on a more consistent basis to fall into the same category of two of the greatest to ever play the game, even as a go-to guy.

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