You can’t give some people too much of one thing, because then they’ll always want more of the same. This appeared to happen after Guillermo Rigondeaux’s unanimous decision victory over Nonito Donaire on April 13, which has been described by some boxing observers as “boring” and a “snore fest.”
Writers Chris Mannix and Dan Rafael were two of the most vocal detractors on Twitter. Mannix tweeted “If I never see Rigondeaux fight again, I’ll be OK. He has no interest in engaging. He’ll win a lot of fights but entertain in very few.” For his part, ESPN’s Rafael lamented, “Sitting here thinking about what a terrible fight that was tonight. So disappointing.”
Mannix also quoted Top Rank President Bob Arum: “This was the exact opposite of the last two @HBOboxing fights. This was not an engaging fight.” This was a reference to the second brawl between Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado — held on March 30 — and Timothy Bradley’s all-out war with Ruslan Provodnikov on March 16.
Arum has seen more boxing than I likely ever will, but his comment came from a simple business calculation. He’s sore that the more marketable Donaire lost to a Hispanic fighter who is neither Mexican nor Puerto Rican — the sport’s biggest Spanish-speaking audiences — and who does not speak English in interviews.
For his part, boxing promoter Lou DiBella — a former HBO Sports executive — called the fight a “snore fest.” If anything, blame for that should fall on Donaire, who was unable or unwilling to engage until very late in the fight. But credit for neutralizing the stronger Donaire must go to Rigondeaux, who proved to be a puzzle that the California-raised fighter simply could not figure out.
There has been a streak of high-profile fights that have turned into fan-friendly wars. That probably led analysts like Mannix to expect more of the same from Rigondeaux and Donaire, both of whom possess knockout power. But not all fights can be Rios. vs. Alvarado, nor should they be.
I think this fight was far from boring. Those who fault Rigondeaux for refusing to engage should have taken a better look at Donaire’s swollen face and purple-tinged right eye. There were hardly any clinches in what turned out to be a technical battle interspersed with moments of action and real drama. Assumptions were laid to rest: Rigondeaux battled back from a 10th-round knockdown and showed he could take on elite competition in the pros after a legendary amateur career. For Donaire, the setback could prove to be a blessing as he moves up to 126 pounds, since he confessed after the fight to not having taking Rigondeaux seriously.
Comparing the battles between Rios and Alvarado to a street brawl does a disservice to the technical skills both fighters possess. And calling a fighter like Rigondeaux boring — when he throws a decent amount of punches, can take a punch and hardly ever holds or clinches — is also unfair.
Guillermo Rigondeaux put on a boxing clinic last night. After this performance, I’m more encouraged than ever to see what he does next.
These are some photos I took last week, before Sandy made its way around the neighborhood.
See Boston and Cambridge in the fall, on Flickr.
These are a few indie bands I’ve liked in the last 10 or more years that have apparently fallen off the face of the earth. The evidence? Their websites haven’t been updated in years. Or, even worse, they link to MySpace. Let’s all shed a tear, then, for the lifeless websites of moribund indie bands.
Longwave: A New York band that came on the scene at the turn of the century, when The Strokes were supposed to revolutionize music forever by paying homage to Television. Steve Schiltz was an iffy vocalist, but the band’s melodies and shimmering, effects-laden guitars were usually a treat. Maybe the guys got in a rut trying to be the next Coldplay. At any rate, their last record came out in 2008. The website has no new content, but at least you can stream or buy all of their music.
Speedball Baby: I remember grabbing their 1996 album, Cinema!, from a discount bin in the only decent record store near Syracuse University at the time (This was pre-Napster, kiddies.) It featured amazing, Beat-influenced punk-jazz performances, with singer Ron Ward often sounding like he was frantically running between moving trains while chased by a lover’s jilted husband. It was one of my favorite records of that era. And really, how can you not love the name Speedball Baby? But their site, such as it is, consists of a few paragraphs in tiny print.
Idlewild: The Scottish group’s 100 Broken Windows was an overheated furnace blast of melody and emotion, all the more impressive due to the fact that they were all, like, 17 or something. Unfortunately, they went on “hiatus” in 2010, and the main link on their site now goes out to a dead page.
Recently guitarist Rod Jones wrote an interesting essay on his reasons for the breakup, stating he felt they weren’t confident enough in themselves to take things to the next level. So go ahead and blame him for the rise of Passion Pit if you want.
Interpol: Yes, I always liked Interpol. Of the crop of samey not-quite-shoegaze bands that came out in the 2000s, they are definitely the one I still listen to the most. Their site currently features a weekly promotion of merch based on their breakout Turn On the Bright Lights. Which is fine. At least there’s a pulse there. But when you’re looking back so earnestly, it really doesn’t leave much hope for new things to come.
Aerovox: I grabbed a handful of their songs from somewhere around the same time The Strokes were all over music mags. They weren’t anything great, but no worse than all the other crap that arose after Casablancas & Co. (I’m looking at you, Arctic Monkeys.) Now all that remains of the group is a bleak, pre-CSS, one-page site that features radio play information from 2006. And a MySpace link.
Now that’s depressing.
BOSTON — Una multitud de venezolanos residentes en Nueva Inglaterra llegaron el domingo hasta el consulado de ese país, localizado en la calle Boylston de Boston, para emitir su voto en las elecciones presidenciales.
Uno de ellos fue Daniel Oreadi, de 37 años y residente en esta ciudad. Oreadi indicó que ha vivido “mucho tiempo” en Estados Unidos, pero se ha mantenido informado de la campaña y el proceso para votar a través de internet.
Oreadi indicó que su esperanza era demostrar que el proceso democrático está funcionando en Venezuela. De igual forma, dijo esperar que no ocurran incidentes violentos en el país cuando se conozcan los resultados.
“Independientemente del resultado, lo importante es que la democracia sea exitosa,” dijo Oreadi.
Luis Fernando Serrano, un joven estudiante valenciano, vino a apoyar a sus paisanos, aunque no pudo emitir su voto ya que tiene 17 años, uno menos que la edad mínima requerida.
El estudiante de ingeniería mecánica en la Universidad de Massachusetts en Dartmouth indicó que en esa institución no hay una comunidad venezolana grande. Pero dio crédito a Twitter e Instagram como los medios que ha utilizado para seguir y emitir información sobre la campaña.
El joven, quien llevaba una bandera venezolana sobre los hombros, también esperaba que no hubieran incidentes que lamentar en su país, pero admitió que había mucho “nerviosismo” entre los que apoyan un cambio en el mando.
“Todo el mundo está nevioso. Se le salen las lágrimas del nerviosismo”, dijo Serrano.
Aunque mencionó haber escuchado de incidentes en que “chavistas” recibieron dinero para asistir a marchas del mandatario Hugo Chávez, Serrano dijo que el rival de éste, Henrique Capriles, “ha dado mucho en qué confiar” de cara al voto.
“Toda mi vida ha sido Chávez”, dijo el joven sobre la situación política en Venezuela. “Hay una falta de diversidad en el poder. Esa diversidad es muy importante en una democracia. [Y] mi esperanza es que exista un mejor futuro para Venezuela”.
Life in the Boston area can be brutal, nasty, and – for those who choose to leave – likely short. But within the daily grind of life here, one would do well to stop and appreciate its aged beauty. Especially in late spring and during the summer.
See more of Boston and Cambridge, Spring/Summer 2012, on Flickr. (Wait, people still use that?!)
Are bloggers or Twitterers journalists? One of the principal AM news stations in Puerto Rico dealt with the topic on Monday. I was a bit shocked that this is still a question there. And I think it misses the point.
The important issue for journalists, reporters, writers, or anyone who contributes to the media conversation is the same: accuracy and reliability. It’s not whether an organization or, in Puerto Rico’s case, the local State Department deems you worthy of the title of journalist or press.
Which doesn’t mean that there aren’t very real problems with simply retweeting rumors behind the mask of anonymity. But it does mean that it’s up to the audience to sift through the cacophony of voices and decide for itself who is trustworthy.
You can listen to the conversation on RadioIsla1320.com, or by following the link below. Contains Spanish.
(Disclosure: I know one of the persons interviewed, Juan Carlos Pedreira of CaribNews, from our days together at Syracuse University).
I’ve never sky-dived or bungee-jumped, so I can’t say if this would be any different. But two activities in my life have made me feel alive like nothing else: playing live music and covering sports events.
I didn’t have a long career doing either, and not having the chance to do one or the other one right now is frustrating. But those moments are vivid in my mind.
I would be nervous any time I had to do event coverage, because it was always a challenge. Getting to the place, setting up, getting the camera rolling, filming and then writing stories — it was always different and sometimes tough. But those are the things that are the most worthwhile to do. What’s the point of having everything come easy?
The last fight I covered was Cotto vs. Mayorga on March 2011 in Las Vegas. While there, I received the news that I was out of a job after AOL purchased the Huffington Post Media Group. My boss — who had also been let go — said I could get on the next plane back to Miami, or stay through the original schedule. I opted to stay. Not out of any high-minded purpose or to set any sort of example. It was my story and I was determined to finish it. And, on a professional level, it was the one thing that was keeping me alive.
These credentials mark that time. Now I’m tossing them. Not because I want to forget about those events — they helped define the last few years. But I’ve come to believe in having less clutter, and that a clearer space can influence thoughts, creativity, and action. So it’s time, for now, to let go of that past. Even if that past doesn’t want to let go of me.
There’s been a bit of controversy in recent weeks over San Juan, Puerto Rico mayor Jorge Santini’s plan to provide free Wi-Fi to the residents of the country’s largest housing project.
Santini said the initiative at the Luis Llorens Torres complex, a sprawling development located a few miles from the island’s principal airport, will be the first step towards rolling out the service throughout the city.
His announcement was understandably panned by many, coming as it did in the heart of his reelection campaign. But the pro-statehood mayor is widely favored to win his fourth term in November; this decision won’t likely result in new voters coming to his side. Aside from these political ramifications, though, there has been little talk of the overall digital divide in the country.
Recently, the Puerto Rico Broadband Taskforce declared that just 31% of island homes have broadband access, less than half the adoption rate in the US. But this public-private partnership appears to rely on private industry to build the necessary infrastructure to increase broadband availability and adoption. Which has not exactly worked out well in many US cities.
As more public and private services move online, it is critical for the government to
provide the infrastructure to make high-speed internet widely available. But for whatever reason, the Puerto Rico government is ignoring the player that could quickly get this done throughout the island.
The local power utility has the technology already in place. Last year they rolled out a WiMax proyect in a small community in the southeastern town of Salinas. Why not expand this to other areas of the country?
In the end, it’s about jobs. The working poor and unemployed need access to current technologies. But they also need employment training and improved educational opportunities. That’s where true leadership is needed, and it’s still the hard reality that simply providing a fast internet connection won’t solve on its own.
LeBron James has been an object of derision all across the country since he did that awful exit interview on national television. But what are people really on his case about?
Beyond The Decision, what seemed to turn people off was the sight of James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh rising up from the bowels of American Airlines Arena like the Black Eyed Peas in that awesomely ridiculous post-signing celebration.
This did not play well outside of Miami. Never mind that the free event was perhaps the only time many in the audience would be able to afford to see these guys in the flesh.
James was ripped for wanting to play for a better team, in a city with greater opportunities for a young millionaire. But that’s all most people with any ambition try to do — move to a better situation, expand their horizons. In a country built on mobility, it was odd to see him scolded for having outgrown his home state. It’d be truly puzzling if he’d done the reverse and left Miami for a smaller, cold-weather market. What kind of idiot does that?! (Note: I did that.)
The other aspect is the Lone Wolf Theory of Sports Success. “Michel Jerdan nver aksed to play wid Berd or Maigic or Barkly!!!!” thumbs Incoherent Twitter Guy. So LeBron James, who took a Cavaliers team that consisted of Larry Hughes and Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ bald spot to the NBA Finals, was suddenly the bad guy who couldn’t win on his own. How does that happen?
People conveniently forgot how Kobe Bryant grumbled about the post-Shaq Lakers’ woes halfway through the 2006-2007 season and indicated he wouldn’t mind being traded to a better situation. It wasn’t all happy days then. Then the Lakers got Pau Gasol and went back to winning, and we had Kobe the Killer all over again.
Michael Jordan didn’t win as a pro until Phil Jackson came into his life and has been a disaster as an NBA executive, but he’s beloved all over the world.
Kevin Garnett is a certified jackass who couldn’t take the T-Wolves past the Western Conference Finals, but now he’s a “winner” because he fell into the perfect situation when Boston happily traded away half its lineup to get him.
Dwight Howard, who like LeBron has not won anything yet, just got his coach fired, but he’s still that lovable giant, Mr. Superman.
Nobody wins on their own. But we like to pretend it happens because those moments of glory are seared in our minds. We forget about the frustrations and early playoff exits.
Does LeBron James have the “heart” to win when it counts? I have no idea. But I wouldn’t question the desire of people who have had to endure much greater obstacles to reach the highest level in their profession than most of us could imagine.
But if he does win — especially multiple times — people will very likely forget why they ever hated him these last few years.