31 May 2013

Boxing News Round-Up

Mayweather defeated Robert Guerrero in his last outing
by Billy Ferguson

It's been a busy two days or so in the boxing world with some big news, some surprising and some not-so-significant announcements.

We'll start with the biggest: Floyd Mayweather Jr. will go up against Saul Alvarez on September 14th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It's the biggest fight that could have been made in boxing right now and, thankfully, it's happened. There has been no repeat of the Mayweather-Pacquiao shenanigans.

The fight will be contested at a catchweight of 152lbs, which, if you're being picky, is about the only criticism you can have of this bout. Alvarez competes in the 154lb division, so a drop of two pounds had to be agreed upon in order to pry Mayweather away from the comforts of welterweight.

24 May 2013

Carl Froch vs. Mikkel Kessler Preview

Froch (left) will meet Kessler for the second time on Saturday

Three years ago in Denmark Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler engaged in a fierce and competitive battle over 12-rounds.

Kessler, coming off a technical decision loss to would-be king of the division, Andre Ward, Kessler's career was arguably on the line. A loss to Carl Froch that night would have left his career in the lurch; the big fights would not be as forthcoming with a defeat.

Indeed, had Kessler lost, he claimed that he would retire. That was how much it meant to him. Obviously, Kessler did not lose and, thus, did not retire. In winning he took not only Froch's WBC world super-middleweight title, but also his unbeaten record.

As the pair prepare to face one another for a second time on Saturday night in front of a sold out crowd at the O2 Arena in London the roles are some-what reversed.

23 May 2013

UFC 160: preview and predictions

By Thomas Hunter

Velasquez (left) is favourite to retain his title 

The UFC returns to the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas this Saturday night for the hotly anticipated UFC 160 event in which the undisputed heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez will attempt to defend his title against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. As well as this, hard-hitting heavyweights Junior Dos Santos and Mark Hunt will scrap for recognition as the number one contender in the heavyweight division in a fight in which fireworks are virtually guaranteed. 

22 May 2013

Flabby to Fabby: My 'Body-Rehab'

 by Emily Kirkwood

Struggling with weight loss can be an incredibly difficult and lonely road to good health. Some have the willpower to change their lives all on their own, others the confidence to seek help in support groups. For many however it can feel like a never ending journey. You seek out the latest weight loss fad or trendy diet, you take advice online from 'experts' you starve yourself and sometimes it can feel like you're doing it all for nothing. Forever a prisoner in your own body. This doesn't have to be the case. The Sportist is delighted to have Emily on board to hopefully help guide you along the path back to the person you want to be. As someone who struggled with her weight and decided it was time to change her life and done so Emily knows how you feel and has been kind enough to share her journey with us. Both her emotional journey and some handy tips on working out and eating right. We hope she can be an inspiration to you as she has been to me and many of her close friends.  - Andy

17 May 2013

Di Resta's great weight

With the 2013 Formula 1 season looking like being a straight fight between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso, for fans of the British drivers a long season of not very much at all looms ahead. 

Lewis Hamilton has made no secret of his displeasure with his Mercedes car – and while desire to achieve is vital for any sportsman you have to hope he learns how to cope with setbacks a little better than he's done in the last couple of years – and Jenson Button is fast achieving laid back Dad status with his resigned, good humoured acceptance of one of McLaren's occasional disaster wagons.

Leaving rookie Max Chilton to find his feet at the back of the grid, main interest lies in Paul Di Resta and his need to put in a consistent, solid season, with the odd highlight when he breaks out from midfield and mixes things with the top dogs. 

16 May 2013

Rafa: Thank you and goodbye

by Andy McKellar

Rafael Benitez returned to English football in the most surprising of circumstances and arrived at Stamford Bridge under a dark cloud of thundering discontentment from the supporters. It was always going to be challenging for any manager to replace the ever-popular Di Matteo, especially considering his enormous success as interim-manager last season, but the former Anfield boss had been previously outspoken against Chelsea and our fans.

That, of course, was held firmly against him. Benitez, who previously claimed that he would never manage Chelsea out of respect for Liverpool Football Club, was not just unpopular due to his rather unfriendly words. Since the early years of his tenure at Anfield I think it is fair to acknowledge that his career has hardly been awash with highlights. This was perhaps epitomised by his disastrous time as head coach of Inter Milan which lasted only a matter of months. All in all it really was a bizarre appointment.

A Mark that cannot be erased

On the 10th anniversary of his death, Bill McMurdo looks back on the life and legacy of the "Most Powerful Man in Sports," Mark McCormack

13 May 2013

Is Roger Federer Finally on the Decline?

by Ewan McQueen

Roger Federer is easily one of the greatest men to ever pick up a tennis racket. Debate will probably rage until the end of time about whether he is the best ever, but with 17 Grand Slams to his name, the Swiss superstar is the most successful player of all time in that regard.

However, he is now 31 and slowly but surely Federer is finding it trickier to deal with the rigours that every tennis season brings. In 2013 so far, he has failed to reach a final and most recently he lost to Japanese youngster Kei Nishikori in the third round of the Madrid Masters.

Over the course of a 15-year professional career Federer has had a truly remarkable injury record. He has never had a major injury to speak of and when he pulled out of the Qatar Open in January this year, it was only the second time he has ever withdrawn from a tournament. Fitness might not be a major concern (he does have a troublesome back), but his form and increasing lack of invincibility over opponents do present a very real question; will Roger Federer ever win another Grand Slam tournament?

12 May 2013

The worst job in football?

by Andy McGowan

Today is the day every Manchester United fan has feared for years.

Today Alex Ferguson took charge of his last game at Old Trafford, a 2-1 win over Swansea, and now has only an away trip left as manager of Manchester United.

There are many people, myself included, who have never lived a day that Sir Alex Ferguson wasn’t manager of United. In 26 years he has achieved everything there is to achieve in club football. In fact, he’s achieved it twice. He’s broken more records than some premiership clubs have points this season.

He’s seen off managers of Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, and it seems he will take the manager of Manchester City down with him one last time as a parting gift to United’s local rivals. He has taken Manchester United from despair to the pinnacle of English football. He even did what seemed unthinkable once upon a time by besting Liverpool’s 18 league championships.

Scottish Reconstruction: A Sensible Step

by Lewis Carr

For those of you who don’t know much about Scottish football I won’t go into the complexities about the bickering that goes on between clubs about how the game should be run (it would take a full book to try and summarise). 

Instead I’m here to tell you that common sense seems to have finally prevailed in terms of reconstructing the game in Scotland. This week it was revealed that all 12 members of the Scottish Premier League have seemingly come to an agreement over the future structure of league football in this country. A formal vote will be held and the 30 Scottish Football League clubs will also have to approve the plans at a vote.

The casual football fan might scratch their head at fact that the league set up will for now remain the same using the 12-10-10-10 format however the proposal isn’t as simple as that. You would think that with Scotland having a historical precedence for producing great inventors, that someone involved in its football would have realised long before know that league football can longer be primarily be seen as a competition. It must be seen as a brand. 

11 May 2013

Milan On The Rise

by Danny Grant

With every ESPN broadcast of an AC Milan match since January, viewers have been gratefully informed of the Italian club's "turnaround".

Commentators repeatedly laud the fact the once 15th-placed Serie A giants currently reside comfortably in third place, and never fail to use as many superlatives as possible in waxing lyrical about just how dramatic the club's fall to the basement the team's plummet was, and how equally remarkable its ascent to the top was.

As clich├ęd as this observation is, due to the clout the Rossoneri have in the world of football, while faithful fans may get tired of the repetition of it ad-nauseum, it is also quite understandable how much it has been highlighted.

10 May 2013

Please Go Back To Brockville

by Owen O'Donnell

To any non locals, at the end of Hope Street in Falkirk there is a Morrisons supermarket. Outside this supermarket sits an old fashioned turnstile. It is the only surviving part of the football ground that stood there on this day ten years ago.

Brockville Park was rammed to capacity on the 10th May 2003 where the Bairns would play at their original home (a 3-2 defeat to Inverness Caledonian Thistle) for the last time before the bulldozers moved in. 

The ground being in a state of decline for many years and the SPL stadium criterion left the club no choice but to say goodbye.

The ground was small and mostly terraced, while this could provide a fiercely intimidating atmosphere on matchday, the 8,000 capacity did not meet the guidelines of the Scottish Premier League which demanded a 10,000 all seated stadium.

Three wheels on my bicycle

by Andy Steel

Well into the first week of the first Grand Tour of the cycling season and despite torrential downpours, plenty of crashes and oh yes, some excellent sprinting from the biggest names in the sport, the big news from the Giro D'Italia is the struggle for dominance among the superstars of cycling.

Not on the roads of Italy, though. Inside their own teams, and in their own minds.

The British triumvirate of Mark Cavendish, Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins are at the forefront of the sport's move from kinda popular-but-niche to big big news, and their reactions have been interesting because they point to a sport where ego is looking as important as ability. This is not exactly new in cycling: even non fans will have heard of Lance Armstrong's control freakery in between jabbing steroids into his ass, and three stars in one team is pretty much a recipe for infighting. But it's a bit disappointing.

08 May 2013

Derrick Rose and the Infinite Sadness

by Shane Nicholson

It's been somewhere around 12 weeks since Bulls superstar/walking sideshow Derrick Rose was cleared following successful surgery and rehab on his injured ACL.

Twelve weeks that a 24 year old former MVP has chosen not to take the court to complete said rehab and rejoin his teammates in their run to the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Twelve weeks of plenty of copy (you can add this to that growing list now), plenty of coverage, plenty of people shouting on the television and radio.

Oh, and twelve weeks of waiting on God to show up on Madison Street. (For the record, I don't think that's his stomping grounds.)

Today, Bloomberg's Jonathan Mahler had a go, reaching out to Grant Hill to get his take on the whole fiasco. Let us quote thy great Duke Blue Devil:

“It’s noble and admirable what Noah and Robinson and these guys are doing. But to compare that to what Rose is going through is irresponsible.”

Grant Hill says thou shall not compare thine injuries only three paragraphs in. What does Mahler do? Take 12 more to compare Rose's misfortune to Hill's.

07 May 2013

Welcome to The Sportist

Well, here it is: The Sportist, coming to bring you sport news and views from all over with no pretenses and no favors.

We'll get into every corner we can and give you fresh content often enough to keep you coming back. We'll take it a day at a time and give you content on the fly. We'll have full details on our opening staff of writers coming soon and content before you know it. Give us time to get the gears in motion and we're sure you won't be disappointed.

So get following us on Twitter – @The_Sportist – and keep your eyes open for the first stories coming down the pipe soon.