Joshua vs Wilder: The fight everybody wants to see

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published November 13, 2017

The fight that might be able to return fans in droves to boxing is an Anthony Joshua versus Deontay Wilder heavyweight bout. It is the fight everyone wants to see. 

Boxing legend Floyd Mayweather faced MMA fighter Conor McGregor in what many called a spectacle. Mayweather knocked out boxing debutant McGregor in the 10th round.
(Source: MMA Fighting)

Earlier this year, ardent fans and non-fans of boxing were treated to arguably a spectacle and not a fight between Floyd Mayweather versus Conor McGregor. Though it was an upgrade to the disappointing Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao pay-per-view fight of a few years earlier, it was not in the truest form a boxing match between behemoths, which the fans crave. Make no mistake, it was not a Muhammad Ali versus Joe Frazier, Thrilla in Manila or the Muhammad Ali versus George Foreman, Rumble in the Jungle. Nevertheless, it was a spectacle which saw a former five-weight class champion in Mayweather exchange blows with a mixed martial arts UFC fighter in McGregor at the light-middleweight boxing weight class.

In my opinion, outside of the 1980s when “Sugar” Ray Leonard, “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler, Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns, and Roberto Duran delivered breathtaking bouts in the middleweight and welterweight divisions, the heavyweight division decides the popularity of the sport worldwide. When Ali, Frazier and Foreman were kings, boxing captivated everyone’s hearts. Similarly, when Mike Tyson pummelled all before him, boxing caught the attention of the public at large. Continue reading

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Remove “interim” tag, name Henry coach

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published November 6, 2017

Under interim coach Sasher-Gaye Henry, Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls reached the finals of the just-concluded Fast5 Netball World Series. Netball Jamaica should name her the head coach. The players obviously believe in her methods and play for her.

Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls tackled the English Roses in the deciding Test in Coventry.
(Source: Ricoh Arena)

Last year, void of the financial resources to travel all over England to watch the Jamaican national netball team in action, I had no choice but to resort to my telly. After the first two Tests in London and Manchester, Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls and the England’s Roses were locked in an immense battle at 1-1. The decider was being held in Coventry and I woke up early that Saturday morning to catch it on Sky Sports. The final Test was a fierce encounter. However, Jamaica prevailed with especially Shanice Beckford and Jhanelle Fowler-Reid remaining composed in the latter moments of the fourth quarter to push Jamaica ahead. That was the last time, I felt good about Jamaica’s netball until recently.

Since that fateful series win in December 2016, two coaches have resigned, a former national treasure, who was tipped for the top job said she felt slighted and according to some, the program was about to capsize in a pandemonium of emotions and news reports due to discord between some players and one former coach. Continue reading

LaVar Ball is great for the NBA

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published October 30, 2017

For some individuals, LaVar Ball is the “worst thing to happen to basketball in the last hundred years.” On the other hand, right now, he may be the best thing for the NBA. 

LaVar Ball has turned heads in more ways than one with his sons and how he manages their promising careers.
(Photo credit: Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

If you follow the NBA and College Basketball, then for the past year-and-a-half you must have heard about LaVar Ball. In 2015, Ball was introduced to the world as the father of three sons, Lonzo, LaMelo and LiAngelo, all elite basketball prospects. He and his wife Tina, a biracial couple, coached an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) team named Big Ballers VXT for which their three sons played. Thereafter in 2015-2016 prep basketball season, all three brothers played for their high school team, Chino Hills High, which went undefeated. Chino Hills amassed a record of 35-0 to be crowned sectional, state and national champions. This was a true Hollywood story.

Starting in late 2016, LaVar blew up on social media when he made some bodacious comments regarding his sons, their talent level, their future destinations and even his own skillset. For one, he guaranteed that his son, Lonzo, would win the national college basketball title playing for the UCLA. Unfortunately, UCLA didn’t. They lost to Kentucky in the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA tournament. He further remarked that Lonzo was a better than Steph Curry. He even went down the sacrilegious viewpoint, according to some, when he claimed that back in his day, he would kill Michael Jordan in one-on-one basketball. The basketball world went berserk. Continue reading

Will these changes rescue Test & ODI cricket?

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published October 23, 2017

The ICC has given the green light for the long-awaited Test Championship, an ODI league and the trial of four-day Test matches. Will these changes revive Test and ODI cricket from the stranglehold of T20 cricket?

The ICC has finally given the green light for the Test Championship and the ODI leagues in cricket.
(Source: ICC)

Seventeen months ago, I wrote a column highlighting six things we must do to rescue Test cricket. Among the things listed included playing four-day, not five-day, Test matches along with a greater thrust to more day-night Test matches. In columns thereafter, I bewailed the stuttering steps and delays by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in implementing a World Test Championship, one that would add greater context and greater meaning to Test cricket as it fights for survival with the T20 leagues across the world. Thankfully, it seems my cries have been heard.

Last week, the ICC announced widespread changes to the future of Test and ODI cricket. The changes included the long-anticipated Test Championship league, the ODI league and the trial of four-day Test matches. Continue reading

Boring NBA All-Star game needed to change

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published October 9, 2017

The NBA All-Star Game had become a circus and an insult to the fans. The NBA announced major changes to the format for the 2018 edition. Will the changes restore the fans’ interest?

A week after the 2017 NBA All-Star game, NBA Commissioner (left) and NBPA president Chris Paul started discussions about possible changes to the All-Star game. The changes were announced last week.
(Source: Slam Online)

The National Basketball Association made a ground-breaking announcement last week regarding the NBA All-Star and how the members of each team will be selected. For 66 editions spanning 67 years, All-stars from one conference played against All-stars from the other conference in the traditional West versus East battle. However, the 2018 edition of the All-Star game will mark a new chapter in the NBA’s Exhibition battle.

On Tuesday, the NBA declared that the East versus West model would be abolished for a model where the opposing teams could comprise players from both conferences as teammates. As in the past, twelve players from each conference will be selected to play in the All-Star game. The starting five of each team will be elected by a combination of voting by the fans, the players and media members. The head coaches will pick the seven reserves from each conference. Nothing new, right? Continue reading