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  1. Smith didn't belong in there. I've never quite "got" Paul Smith - I don't see what he does particularly well. He's had his last chance at world glory last night and he did next to nothing. The two world title fights in Vegas both ended in bizarre circumstances. FWIW, my viewpoint was exactly the same as Paulie's in both cases - the Mexican fella realised he was well out of his depth against Rigo and took a dive; and it's perplexing that Weeks didn't give Kov a 10 count. Ward was going to stop him, but now we're left wondering. Also, I know that the rounds are close, but I just don't see how HBO and Rafael had Kov so far ahead. Rafael's scorecards often confuse me - I'm often wondering if we're watching the same fights.
  2. Absolutely. Very excited about this one. Big fan of Mr Ward. Got a glove autographed by him sat on my chest of drawers upstairs. And had him winning the first fight (as did most of the people I watched it with). Logic dictates that now he's "worked Kov out", he should do the same again tonight. But I just have a funny feeling that Kov might stop him this time.
  3. Statistically, captaincy seems to have been good for the Smith/Williamson/Kohli axis so if it has a similar impact on Root we're laughing. As a #4, I'd hope that it has less of an effect than it would on an opener like Cook. Cannot be easy on the occasions where you're in the field for 2 days, getting pulverised, then 15 mins after the innings is over you're out there expected to concentrate on batting.
  4. I COMPLETELY forgot that Basturk played for us! Obviously he did nothing for us but what a player he was. To think, there were days we could sign someone like that, it not work out, and everything still be OK enough for it to disappear from trace. Barry Ferguson was probably the biggest letdown of my time watching. I was also really excited about signing Matty Holmes and that never turned into anything. We've had far worse, but I remember my heart sinking every time I saw Jonathon Douglas on the team sheet.
  5. Just read on BBC that 4 of the last 5 players to score a century on debut for England were born in SA.
  6. Can more knowledgeable fans of the wider English game than me please share their thoughts on our potential next generation of seamers? Obviously there's still some gas in the tank of Jimmy and Broad but they won't be around forever. Woakes and Finn can definitely do a job but I'd be concerned about them leading our attack consistently. And Stokes is terrific but a bit injury prone and is having to shoulder a massive workload. Who's up and coming? And are we talking potential world beaters or your more run-of-the-mill international players?
  7. Love the sport and love Murray. Deep down I still think that Djokovic is a better player and will beat him more times than not (Sunday was his, what, fourth win against him since 2013?) but that makes Murray's ascent to #1 all the more remarkable. It's impossible to fluke that achievement - Stan has a grand slam this year and still has fewer than half the points of Murray and Djokovic - so you can't just have a good fortnight or two and top the rankings. Fair enough viewpoint Al on the advantage of serving - but I think that's one of the intriguing elements of the sport. Breaking is so important (Murray and Djokovic both break more than a third of the time too, which is ridiculous). Similar to the impact of weather conditions and pitches Test Cricket - I tend to find sport more interesting when there is some sort of "advantage" to battle against. Not always the case, of course - it works against F1.
  8. I simply can't see it happening. He'll be absolutely sickened by the power. What GGG did to Martin Murray was frightening. Can anybody more in the know than me explain the logic for sparring Liam Smith? Obviously he'll have been sparring others too but wouldn't it be better preparing for GGG by sparring super-middles? Or actually will Liam be at that kind of weight with a few weeks still to go before Canelo?
  9. Really enjoyed the Frampton fight. Easy to say after the event that he won, but I was properly holding my breath when the scorecards were being read. I leaned towards Carl but wouldn't have felt Santa Cruz on points would have been a robbery. I think he's a real class act and he's shown it in outpointing Quigg and LSC just months apart. Would love to see him in with Selby, though if I were him I'd be going after Josh Warrington and all that Leeds-sponsored dollar. Would Santa Cruz come to Belfast for a rematch? I suspect if he really does think that the crowd swayed the judges in New York, he wouldn't go near it. Very telling that he was pushing for LA for a second fight.
  10. DeGale is a funny one. He looked supreme for four rounds, then faded, allowing Medina to get back into it and make it closer than it should have been. Afterwards he basically admitted that he thought it would be an easy job and he was surprised at Medina's toughness and durability. For me, his mentality is not that of a top level fighter. Makes me wonder how he will cope with true adversity in a fight. I don't doubt that he's the kind of person who raises his game against the best, which is the sign of a winner. But he has a real sulky, petulant side, which tends to get people into trouble sooner or later. Will be interesting to see the fight with Badou Jack if and when that happens. Jack looked good in spells against Bute, but he's not totally won me over yet. I'd make DeGale a slight favourite.
  11. I find Khan/Canelo hard to fathom. Is there really that much money in it for him? Even if he's been killing himself to make welterweight (which I'm not sure is the case) you should be looking to have a fight or two at the new weight to acclimatise. To jump in straight away against Canelo, who looked a beast next to Cotto, is asking for trouble. I've always felt as though Khan sees himself as a technical expert - a version of Mayweather - so is perhaps assuming he can follow the Floyd blueprint to beating Saul. But actually I think he's much more limited technically than is the perception of him. He's quick but his footwork isn't excellent, his defence is leaky (especially against pressure fighters) and he's there for the counter, as Danny Garcia has proven. Credit to him for stepping up but I can't see the logic. Surely the Brook fight would have made more sense on almost every single level, aside from US profile. I wonder what Virgil Hunter's true thoughts on it are.
  12. I've convinced myself that AJ/Haye needs to happen soon, and that it will. Just feels like it makes sense (commercially, at least). Haye doesn't deserve a title shot, but then again in what world is Charles Martin vs 15-fight Anthony Joshua a world title fight? The Haye fight would be really interesting - one of those where in the build up I'd manage to convince myself that both will win. Wouldn't feel comfortable sticking AJ in with Fury. I think the big man would have too much ring savvy for him. And, like donnermeat suggests, I think there might be a big issue with AJ's stamina if he gets dragged into the later rounds. Every fighter eventually meets the man he can't knock out, so AJ needs to be able to beat people by winning rounds when he's knackered too. Feed AJ a couple more "testers", give him Haye at the end of the year, then he can look to Wilder in 2017. As for Calzaghe: my favourite fighter ever, and always will be!
  13. Been a Frampton fan for years now, so rooting for him to do the job tonight. I've liked learning more about Quigg from the buildup though. Seen his fights but not known an awful lot about the guy himself. He comes across as very genuine, and clearly loves what he does - fair play to him. It's obvious he's uncomfortable "selling" an event, but that in itself is endearing. The guy just wants to box. Will certainly follow with a bit more interest from now on. Either way, I've got high hopes for a real spectacle tonight. Frampton to win on points despite being knocked down at some point.
  14. Not sure what I think about this one. By all accounts Martin is far from special. But he's 6'5", unbeaten, a southpaw, and (ridiculous as it is) can call himself heavyweight champion. That has to amount to him having more than a puncher's chance. So what happens if Martin takes advantage and wins? His lack of name value means AJ's reputation would be in tatters (particularly among the casuals, who are the ones making him money). But even if AJ wins, what's the plan thereafter? If he wants to keep the belt he'll have to defend against IBF mandatories. And I'm worried that's too big a jump for him right now. I'm not saying he wouldn't win, but I wouldn't bet my house on him against the likes of Stiverne or Pulev if they fought tomorrow. It's easy to forget that David Price looked similarly terrifying before Tony Thompson found him out. I don't think Dillian Whyte is the proving ground for world-level fighters. So yeah - can't help wondering whether this is misguided short-term thinking. If he wins, the likes of Haye and Fury will be all over him looking for the belt and a pile of cash. Real dangerous fights for him. But then again, maybe the way I'm looking at this is symptomatic of what boxing has become - all strategising and career mapping to protect reputations and unbeaten records - and instead we should just let them all get on with it!
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