“Show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser.”
Inoue KO2 Narvaez

I’m not exactly an old man, but I’m old enough to remem­ber how dif­fi­cult it was to fol­low box­ing before the inter­net became a tool for the peo­ple. If a fight hap­pened in Asia, I had to wait about a month—if not longer—before The Ring’s Joe Koizumi or USA Today’s Dan Rafael wrote some­thing that reached my neck of the woods.

Now, thanks to YouTube, if an impor­tant fight hap­pens across the globe, a few hours later I can watch it on my com­puter, if not stream it live.

This brings me to Naoya Inoue, a name that you need to remem­ber if you’re a fight fan. Thanks to YouTube, hours after Inoue (8–0, 7 KOs) anni­hi­lated WBO junior ban­tamweight champ Omar Nar­vaez in two rounds, I was able to watch the bout.

What I watched was impres­sive. This was a big result, but first, some con­text. Con­tinue read­ing »

Pettis submits Melendez

For bet­ter or worse—and there are valid argu­ments to be made on both sides of the debate—the UFC has become the de facto pro­fes­sional mixed mar­tial arts orga­ni­za­tion in the world today. This evo­lu­tion has been one of acqui­si­tion, as it has bought or absorbed the WEC, WFA, Pride FC, (pos­si­bly) the IFL, Invicta FC, Eli­teXC and Strike­force.

It was that Strike­force deal that brought Gilbert Melen­dez to the UFC. While guys like BJ Penn, Frankie Edgar and Ben Hen­der­son were tak­ing turns rul­ing the UFC’s 155-pound divi­sion, Melen­dez was dom­i­nat­ing Strikeforce’s light­weight divi­sion.

In 2006 Melen­dez claimed the organization’s title by out-pointing Clay Guida, but he wouldn’t make his first defense of the belt until 2008. He would only defend it suc­cess­fully once before Josh Thom­son scored a huge upset later in ’08, win­ning a clear-cut unan­i­mous deci­sion.

Melen­dez claimed the interim title after var­i­ous leg and foot injuries forced Thom­son out of a cou­ple sched­uled fights. Melen­dez would defend the interim strap once before gain­ing revenge over Thom­son in 2009, win­ning his own unan­i­mous deci­sion.

Melen­dez estab­lished him­self in some eyes as the best light­weight in the world after win­ning a deci­sion over Japan’s Shinya Aoki, who was the cham­pion of the DREAM orga­ni­za­tion and who him­self was con­sid­ered by some as the best light­weight in the world. When Penn lost to Edgar in 2010, Melen­dez appeared to be the best at 155.

But with­out a UFC belt, ques­tions would always per­sist. Sure, he won fights in the WEC (actu­ally, he won the inau­gural belt there, before bolt­ing the orga­ni­za­tion), Shooto and Pride, knock­ing off some of the elite Japan­ese mixed mar­tial artists along the way. But as was becom­ing evi­dent, Pride and WEC suc­cess did not mean that you would imme­di­ately enter into the UFC and remain dominant—quite the oppo­site, actu­ally.

So the rift grew between the Melendez/pro-Japan/pro-Strikeforce crowd and the pro-UFC crowd. After Strike­force was acquired in 2011, the dis­pute would be set­tled in the cage in 2013 after the orga­ni­za­tion was slowly merged into the UFC.

Melen­dez and Ben Hen­der­son, who dethroned Edgar in 2012, met in a uni­fi­ca­tion bout. Hen­der­son won a hotly-disputed split deci­sion. It would end up being as close as Melen­dez would ever get to becom­ing UFC light­weight cham­pion and cement­ing his legacy as the great­est light­weight ever. Con­tinue read­ing »

Donnie Nietes

It’s not hard to under­stand boxing’s dimin­ish­ing pop­u­lar­ity in the United States—it’s not on net­work TV; peo­ple are becom­ing increas­ingly sen­si­tive toward vio­lent sports; there are a mil­lion cham­pi­ons and weight classes; the best don’t always fight the best.

But per­haps most impor­tant is the fact that the heavy­weight divi­sion is a dump­ster fire of com­pletely dread­ful contenders…after the Klitschko’s, that is. And to that last point about the Ukrain­ian broth­ers, com­pound­ing the dis­in­ter­est in the US is the fact that the Amer­i­can tal­ent pool of heavy­weights has dema­te­ri­al­ized; cratered.

If there was a Mike Tyson-esque char­ac­ter, rest assured that HBO or Show­time would put their money behind that man and try to build him up. Hell, if there was a Michael Grant-esque fighter out there right now, TV execs in box­ing would look to make him seem like the next Joe Louis. There’s gold in ‘dem ‘der 220-plus-pound hills.

Heavy­weights have almost always made for good rat­ings, rat­ings lead to adver­tis­ing and adver­tis­ing means $$$. Even when the divi­sion has been weak—Patterson/Liston era, Holmes era, Tyson era—the money and audi­ence have been there. It used to be that you couldn’t have a major PPV with­out at least one big boy as part of the main or co-main event. Con­tinue read­ing »


When a fighter, wrestler or mixed mar­tial artist enters a bout with a truly awful strategy—a strat­egy that defies logic and one’s own abilities—it has to be asked whether or not he ever believed he could win.

In his match with Manny Pac­quiao, Chris Algieri entered the ring this past Sat­ur­day (Sun­day morn­ing, Macau, China time, which is where the fight took place) with a stun­ningly idi­otic game plan. Algieri and his trainer, Tim Lane, decided that the Long Islander was going to knock Manny Pac­quiao out cold (or make him quit, I’m not fully sure).

After all, they had seen Pac­quiao get drilled against Juan Manuel Mar­quez just 23 months ear­lier! Mar­quez (who entered that fourth meet­ing with Pac­quiao built like a brick shit­house) was never known as a huge puncher, but with one soul-shaking right cross he buried Pac­Man face-first into the can­vas.

So I guess that if Mar­quez could do it, so too could Algieri—you know, the same Algieri who is 30 years old and who entered the bout with a ledger of 20–0. Hell, Algieri had even stopped eight oppo­nents in his career. Sure, in his pre­vi­ous six fights he only had one TKO and that was against a dude with a record of 14–12…oh, and the fight was stopped because of an “eye injury”…but why couldn’t Algieri pull the prover­bial rab­bit out of the hat and end Pacquiao’s career with a hail­storm of punches…it’s plau­si­ble!!!

Bull­shit. Con­tinue read­ing »


There is noth­ing more excit­ing than a tremendously-talented, yet fatally-flawed fighter. Think Meldrick Tay­lor. Today you have Amir Khan or, a hair before, Rafael Mar­quez. Throw it back to Julian Jack­son. And you can even include the big guys, like Ken Nor­ton or Floyd Pat­ter­son. And there are numer­ous oth­ers that are well before my time.

When you have a man with either blis­ter­ing speed or dev­as­tat­ing power, you blend that skill with a pinch of a faulty chin, the result­ing prod­uct is a fire­cracker. These are the fight­ers that keep you on the edge of your seat. These are the fight­ers that—win or lose—you keep com­ing back to watch. They’re flawed cham­pi­ons and they’re worth the price of admis­sion.

That is the kind of boxer that Yuri­orkis Gam­boa should’ve been. That is the kind of boxer that Yuri­orkis Gam­boa still can be. But if his­tory is an accu­rate indi­ca­tor of the future, Gam­boa is likely to become a clichéd exam­ple of “what could have been”. Con­tinue read­ing »


It’s the mark of a book that’s prob­a­bly not worth buy­ing if you can learn every­thing there is to know about it by read­ing the table of con­tents. Before you plunk down $12 for the paper­back ver­sion of “He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Guide to Under­stand­ing Guys,” by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuc­cillo, you might take a sec­ond to read the table of con­tents and won­der if that $12 might be bet­ter spent on new shoelaces or a teething ring or some­thing.

The table of con­tents reveals that the book has 18 chap­ters, the first 11 of which all begin with: “He’s just not that into you if …” and then: Con­tinue read­ing »

Tom Brady Hit

There’s really not much that can ever be extrap­o­lated from Week 1 of the NFL sea­son. Since the pre­sea­son is mainly a spar­ring ses­sion where starters don’t play the whole game and play­ers are mixed and matched on var­i­ous units, con­ti­nu­ity is never there when the real thing comes around in Sep­tem­ber.

As a fan of the New Eng­land Patri­ots, this is what I’m telling myself today. But the sec­ond half of yesterday’s game against the Miami Dol­phins was an absolute dump­ster fire. Even still, there are three rea­sons to think that this is not the first sign that the wheels are falling off. Con­tinue read­ing »

Houston Astros v Seattle Mariners

Every­thing just seems ter­ri­ble right now if you’re a fan of the Hous­ton Astros. A sea­son that started with such promise has rather impres­sively gone off the tracks at the Ball­park at Union Sta­tion.

As I sit here, I want to keep pos­i­tive, but after years of inep­ti­tude, just as things started to turn a cor­ner, a string of incom­pe­tence and unfor­tu­nate luck have absolutely crushed my faith.

But to set the stage, let’s start with the good.

After tak­ing some heat for send­ing right fielder George Springer back to Triple-A fol­low­ing spring train­ing, GM Jeff Luh­now quickly changed course and called the 24 year old up to the Bigs in mid-April. While he strikes out a ton and his aver­age has been Adam Dunn-esque, he’s also been crush­ing the ball with team-leading 20 homers through 78 games, an OPS+ of 123 and a WAR of 1.8.

That call-up was fol­lowed by the pro­mo­tion of first base­man Jon Sin­gle­ton. Through 40 games the 22 year old has strug­gled might­ily, but when he con­nects with a ball it’s usu­ally an absolute no-doubter to leave the park. He will learn and progress.

Speak­ing of learn­ing and pro­gress­ing, there’s our diminu­tive sec­ond base­man, Jose Altuve—the heart and soul of the team. At 24 and in his fourth sea­son, Altuve has rounded into full All-Star form. He leads the Amer­i­can League in aver­age (.336) and stolen bases (41), he leads the Majors in hits (136), and is pulling in a 3.4 WAR. Con­tinue read­ing »


I used to be just like you. You’re sit­ting there, watch­ing soc­cer, a player falls to the ground in a heap and is writhing in pain. OH THE HUMANITY! WHAT HAPPENED?!

What hap­pened was noth­ing. He was slightly clipped and now he’s act­ing like a land­mine went off right under­neath his feet. You yell at the TV. Tell the lit­tle bitch to get up. You then turn to the per­son next to you and say, “This is why Amer­i­cans hate soc­cer! They’re all a bunch of flop­pers!”

I got ya. It’s annoy­ing.

But then one day I was talk­ing with one of my friends, a Por­tuguese fel­low named Goncalo. He’s an ardent sup­porter of Ben­fica and there’s no one bet­ter to watch a soc­cer match with. Con­tinue read­ing »

Old Press Hat

This is going to be more of a com­men­tary on the state of sports jour­nal­ism, but I’m going to ram­ble from time to time. If you’ve read any of my pre­vi­ous posts, you’re likely used to this.

Any­way, I launched this site on Feb­ru­ary 11, 2010. Basi­cally, I wanted to cre­ate a blog where I could work on my writ­ing and I thought it would be fun to bring in fam­ily and friends so that they could have an out­let to dis­cuss their feel­ings on any­thing sports related. Up until Sep­tem­ber 2013, GSL writ­ers cov­ered most every sport under the sun, but there was more of a focus on box­ing and mixed mar­tial arts (MMA).

But after trash­ing Mar­i­ano Rivera’s going away party—yeah, I can be an ass—I decided to take a break. The great­est rea­son for the sab­bat­i­cal was because of the work­load at my day job, where I cover finance and tech­nol­ogy. The other ratio­nale was how dis­il­lu­sioned I’ve become with the state of col­umn writ­ing.

First, I think that there’s an impor­tant dis­tinc­tion that must be made between colum­nists and reporters. To be sure, many colum­nists are reporters, and there are reporters that are also colum­nists. But a col­umn and a reported arti­cle appear­ing out­side the opin­ion sec­tion are not the same thing. While that should become increas­ingly evi­dent in today’s envi­ron­ment of the “Hot Take”, sadly, the “Hot Take” feel of columns are start­ing to bleed into long­form jour­nal­ism. Con­tinue read­ing »