Saturday, July 19, 2014

Chisora - Fury: LIVE in US, AWE Network




Thursday, July 17, 2014
Gennady Golovkin
Daniel Geale
Abel Sanchez, Trainer of Golovkin
Graham Shaw, Trainer of Geale
Tom Loeffler, K2 Promotions
Gary Shaw, Gary Shaw Productions
TOM LOEFFLER:  We are definitely excited about this event.   I would like to thank some of the partners that we have for this event.  Gary Shaw was very instrumental as Daniel Geale’s promoter for which we have a great-co-feature for this card at Madison Square Garden, the World’s Most Famous Arena, the Mecca of Boxing.  We are very excited to be going into the big room for this fight.  Without HBO and their financial support, we wouldn’t be able to put an event like this together.  This is clearly the biggest test, the biggest name and the most experienced person that has been willing to get in the ring with Gennady, so far in his career.  Geale is a two-time world champion – he won two world championship titles over in Germany, which is not the easiest thing to do.  He beat two great fighters in Sturm and Stieglitz and the credentials he brings to the ring are impressive.  We want to thank Gary and Team Geale for accepting the challenge. Gennady has been labeled as the fastest rising star in boxing and brings excitement every time he gets into the ring.
GARY SHAW:  I would like to thank Tom and K2 who have been wonderful partners.  As everyone know we had a cancelled fight in May due to an injury to Mike Perez, but everything has been rescheduled at the Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden and it doesn’t get any bigger than that.  I also want to thank HBO on behalf of Team Geale.  Graham Shaw, Geale’s trainer is a man of few words and has been with Daniel for about 5 years and has two world title wins in Germany. He’s a great trainer but a lot of people in the United States don’t know him because most of his work is in Australia but I can tell you he is up there with the best of them.  As far as Abel Sanchez, I know him personally and have the world of respect for him.  He’s a great trainer, does a great job in Big Bear, and Gennady is lucky to have him.  As far as Gennady goes, we respect him and his power – he is a great champion and a great person out of the ring, as is Daniel Geale and that’s what makes this fight so great.  We have two great fighters willing to fight one another.  Daniel Geale has always told me he has wanted to fight Gennady, we never ducked Gennady, but due to the pay-per-view in Australia we were unable to schedule until now.   Now the fight is on and it’s a wonderful double-header with Bryant Jennings and Mike Perez as the opening fight and rarely do you get an opening fight with two heavyweights who are undefeated and a final eliminator for the WBC to fight the winner of Stiverne and Wilder.  Daniel Geale has wanted this fight, he is very confident in his own abilities and his ability to win this fight. 
DANIEL GEALE:  Thanks Gary, that was nice.  I would like to say that I am really excited to be fighting on such a big show at Madison Square Garden.  It is going to be a perfect step for me, fighting a guy like Gennady, who is one of the hottest names in boxing today.  I’ve been saying for years in Australia – I will fight the best fighters and this is the only way to do it.  To do it like this, in Madison Square Garden, with my team and Gary Shaw, I couldn’t be happier.
TOM LOEFFLER:  I would like to touch on the co-feature we have, the eliminator for the WBC heavyweight title, really could stand on it’s own as a main event. That’s why we are excited about this being a great HBO double-header.  Bryant Jennings is from Philadelphia, is very marketable and will bring a lot of fans with him.  This will be Perez’ third time on HBO and he is also undefeated.  It’s only a main event like this that we can make that fight a co-feature.
ABEL SANCHEZ:  We are extremely happy that we are in the last week of training.  Gennady can’t wait to get in the ring.  I’m sure Danny will be well prepared working with Graham – I think he’s a great coach.   This will be the first time that Gennady has had so much time off between fights but he is chomping to get in the ring.  We are looking forward to going to Madison Square Garden and putting on a great show.
TOM LOEFFLER:  Now I would like to introduce the WBA & IBO Middleweight Champion.   He has the highest knockout ratio of any world champion today.  This will be his third time at Madison Square Garden and his 5th time appearing on HBO, and we are excited to bring Gennady back to the USA for his fans.
GENNADY GOLOVKIN:  Thanks Tom, It is very important for me.  I respect Daniel Geale very much.  I have been watching his fights and I know it is not going to be an easy fight.  This is going to be a great show.  The heavyweights – that is a great fight.  I am looking forward to coming back to Madison Square Garden onJuly 26.
What is it that you see in Gennady Golovkin, who is 29-0 with 26 KOs, that makes you want to fight him so bad?
DANIEL GEALE:  To be honest, Gennady has got titles and I want titles.  That’s my main goal here.  I want to fight the best fighters and I want to win some titles and there is only one way to do that, whether he has a great record or not.  You have to get in there and test yourself against the best fighters in the world.
What fights have you watched and what makes you think this is not going to be an easy fight?
GENNADY GOLOVKIN:  Daniel is a great fighter.  I have watched his tapes, and the last fight in particular, makes me realize this is not going to be an easy fight.
You fought Gennady in the amateurs?
DANIEL GEALE:  Yes, the fight was in 2001.  I don’t remember a lot about the fight but I kind of believe I got put down in that fight, but that was a long time ago and now we both believe we are better fighters these days and that’s why it’s going to be a good fight now.
The other two middleweight champions have boxed with Daniel and have predicted he will beat Gennady if he sticks to the right fight plan.  What is the right fight plan?
GRAHAM SHAW:  Well, without giving too much away, if Daniel fights his absolute best, and that is how he’s looked in the gym – the best he has ever looked.  If he fights his best, he beats Gennady’s best.  But we’ll see on the night.
You have said you rank Gennady behind Sugar Ray Robinson and Bernard Hopkins as far as middleweights go.  What kind of a statement do you think Gennady needs to make in this fight?
ABEL SANCHEZ:  Ranking him behind the two people that you just mentioned, we hope to get the kind of fights that would showcase him to prove that statement that I made.  He definitely needs to fight Daniel in the same manner as some of the past opponents.  But Danny possesses the ability to go 12 rounds and I think that is going to be the big issue – to see if he can control a man and dominate a man that is used to going 12 rounds.  For Daniel to go to Germany to win those two world titles says a lot about Daniel and we’ve got a fight on our hands to propel him to that level that I told you about.
What glimpses of greatness did you see in the Curtis Stevens fight?
ABEL SANCHEZ:  What I saw in the Curtis Stevens fight was somewhat of a Hagler composure.  Curtis upset him because of some of the antics he was doing on social media and Gennady was able to keep his composure and be patient and punish Curtis because of some of the things he had been saying.  All of those pluses that he has in comparing him to Hagler and Leonard and Sugar Ray Robinson, they will all be seen in time as he fights great fighters like he is fighting on the 26th.
What fights do you see for Gennady assuming he gets past this fight?
TOM LOEFFLER:  It’s my job as Gennady’s promoter to look forward and to plan ahead.  No one on our team is underestimating what Daniel Geale brings to the table.  He is clearly Gennady’s biggest challenge to date.  That being said, if everything goes the right way on July 26 for Gennady, it is still my job to strategize ahead of time.  Certainly with Cotto and his big win against Sergio Martinez to win the WBC title, certainly moves him to the top of our list.  There were talks about a Chavez fight before and that didn’t come to fruition.  Gennady is up for fighting anybody – any of the big names.  If it is a compelling fight or if it is a PPV, Gennady would move up or down.  If he beats Daniel on the 26th, then the priority would be to unify the middleweight titles, but no one is underestimating Daniel by any stretch of the imagination.
GARY SHAW:  I wouldn’t look past July 26 if I were you.
What qualities will Gennady bring out of you?
DANIEL GEALE:  To be honest, Gennady is the type of guy, he’s got a powerful punch and everyone knows about his skills to back that up.  You can’t be one-dimensional in any way because he will find a hole.  To me, that is good because I have to improve and I have to step up and fight at my best.  Normally when I do fight great fighters, I step up and fight better as well.  In this case I am going to make that happen.
Where does Gennady feel that he gets his power from?
GENNADY GOLOVKIN:  It comes from hard work every day on my speed and my timing coming all-together for the power.  The timing is very important.  I am not a body builder – it is natural power, it’s original.
Do you feel the big fights you have been in will help you?
DANIEL GEALE:  Yes it definitely, I have been in big fights before. On big occasions and have had a big crowd against me in those situations as well.  Those experiences will serve me well in this fight.  Being the underdog as well is something that I am used to.
Do you believe Daniel Geale poses your most difficult fight to date?
GENNADY GOLOVKIN:  Yes absolutely because he has a specific style.  He has proved that in his fights and it will be difficult to solve.
You lost two close fights in the US – do you feel a need to win more convincingly to get the decision to go in your favor?
DANIEL GEALE:  It’s always tricky in close fights.  You want to be as convincing as possible for decisions to go your way and sometimes they don’t.  That makes you who you are.  Those close losses, although they were disappointing, they did push me on to train harder and want to achieve more.  I didn’t feel as if I was beaten in either of those two fights, so it just motivated me to train harder.  There is always going to be bad decisions in boxing – you can’t let that affect you in any way.  You just have to go out and do your job to the best of your ability.
What about your style will give Gennady trouble?
DANIEL GEALE:  I would like to say that my defense is usually pretty good so I am going to be making the most of that – not giving him an easy target to aim at.
Has Gennady’s training evolved over the years?
ABEL SANCHEZ:  His style and his progression has evolved, as I outlined to him when we started working together.  I asked him for some time and dedication and discipline and I promised him I would make him into what he is today.
Does he still have the hunger since he has trouble getting big fights?
ABEL SANCHEZ:  As far as his dedication and wanting to fight…I think the fact that when he goes home, and when he does, he forgets about boxing when he’s with his family.  Then when there is a fight scheduled eight or nine weeks out he comes up to Big Bear and completely submerges himself in the training in preparation for a fight that is going to keep him hungry.  As long as he separates those two I think he is going to be tough to deal with because he is going to be so committed to what he is doing that the skills and the power and a tough fight like Daniel will be fresh for him.
Daniel, last time you were on American TV, you dropped Barker but lost the decision.  How do you recover from that?
DANIEL GEALE:  Firstly, the Barker fight was frustrating – knocking him down in the 6th and not getting the decision, but you have to take it on the chin and come back from that.  I didn’t dwell on it too long.  I got back in the gym and now I am on a huge show again fighting for a world title.  I am coming over to the US trying to turn it around to get on the winning side of things.  This next fight with Gennady is at a huge venue, Madison Square Garden and it is for titles, couldn’t be any more than I want.
How are ticket sales and what do you consider a success for this fight?
TOM LOEFFLER:  Tickets are tracking very well.  The Garden is happy with the sales.  It has gotten a great response ever since we announced it.  Having a fight like this with Gennady defending the titles and Daniel, who has been on HBO before and brings credibility and the co-feature gives this event a life of it’s own.  Right now it is scaled to the lower bowl, so including the suites it is about 11,000 total, which is a big jump up from Gennady’s last time at the Theater against Curtis Stevens and we are expecting a great turnout.
Do you feel any added pressure fighting in the big room?
GENNADY GOLOVKIN:  I’m so happy to be back at Madison Square Garden and to be in the big arena this time.  I am excited about the fight as well as fighting Daniel and the whole thing is just amazing.
TOM LOEFFLER:  I might add that this may be the first time that a headliner for a Garden boxing event will also appear in a Broadway play in the same week – Gennady will be appearing at Rocky.
Do you feel if the fight goes long you will have an advantage?
DANIEL GEALE:  Gennady’s fitness…I’m sure he is training very hard for this fight.  If it does go the distance or even to the later rounds, we are not thinking it is going to be much easier in that respect.  I am going out there expecting the best fighter that he can be and I am just going to go out there and do my thing.  I have been the distance with plenty of great fighters in world title fights so I have that experience.  If it’s an advantage I am definitely going to make the most of it but we are expecting Golovkin to be strong later in the fight.
ABEL SANCHEZ:  Every fight that we have fought for titles could have gone the distance.  We prepare for 12 in every fight.  Our game plan has to be a little modified so as to not let Daniel get comfortable in the early rounds because Daniel is a volume puncher.  Of course we are aware of the fact that Daniel is used to going 12-rounds and is used to throwing a lot of punches in every round.  We know his conditioning is going to be great.
How do you feel about opponents avoiding you?
GENNADY GOLOVKIN:  I don’t think much about this, but I heard my team was planning this upcoming fight and I knew it was difficult to get fighters, but that is basically all I heard and I don’t think much about it.
How has sparring with George Groves gone with Gennady?
ABEL SANCHEZ:  Sparring went very well with George.  George is a high-caliber fighter.  He gave us some great work but he was just one of five sparring partners we had in this camp.  George fought three or four days with Gennady and four rounds each day so he helped us and we appreciated it very much.
How do you mentally prepare for a boxer such as Gennady who has so much power?
DANIEL GEALE:  That’s a good question.  Mentally I have been preparing for the toughest fight of my life.  It’s going to be a tough fight against a very tough fighter.  I put in a very difficult training camp.  I feel since the Macklin fight fell through – things were looking great then, and now they have stepped up again.  I have been confident throughout and I have been wanting to fight Gennady for a while.  I believe that things happen for a reason and we are very excited about that.
In closing…
TOM LOEFFLER:  Not only will this fight be broadcast on HBO but it will be televised live in over 100 countries.  I know it is on PPV in Australia for Danny so it brings a lot of interest worldwide.  The four fighters are all in the prime of their careers – that’s what makes these match-ups so compelling.
GARY SHAW:  I think it’s great for boxing that two great fighters are willing to fight each other and in the co-feature, two great heavyweights willing to fight each other.  It’s going to be a fans’ fight and it’s great to be a part of it.  July 26 is going to be a great night and Daniel Geale will be victorious

Rozalski : “Trzeba skończyć happy endem”; Adamek: “To ostatni test”

Nie chcę wchodzić w szczegóły tego, kto w Polsce będzie rywalem Tomka Adamka. Czy Artur Szpilka, czy Mariusz Wach, czy wreszcie ktoś zupełnie inny. Ja wiem i rozumiem, że to temat numer jeden dla kibiców i organizatorów, ale chciałem napisać o temacie, który przy okazji tych spekulacji jest zapomniany. O tym, że przynajmniej moim zdaniem, będzie to ostatnia walka najlepszego polskiego pięściarza w historii tego sportu. Ziggy Rozalski, doradca Tomka niczego by bardziej nie chciał; sam Adamek daje sobie ostatnią szansę.

Rozmowa pierwsza, z Ziggym Rozalskim:

“Powiedziałem Tomkowi, żeby skończył karierę po przegranej z Witalijem Kliczką. Byłeś przy rozmowach, słyszałeś” – mówi Ziggy. “Tomkowi trudno  zrozumieć, że nie zawsze wszystkie marzenia się spełniają. Tomkowi spełniło się ich więcej niż 99,9 procentom tych, którzy zakładają rękawice. Był mistrzem świata w  dwóch kategoriach wagowych. Próbował w trzeciej, ale trafił na legendę, nie było szans. W “polskiej” pojedynku będzie miał prawie 38 lat, ma ponad pięćdziesiąt walk ale dwa razy zmieniał kategorię wagowe, więc to tak, jakby ich miał tych walk ze sto. Ma dla kogo żyć, ma rodzinę. Jest bogatym człowiekiem. Da sobie radę bez boksu. Już teraz to robi, zaczyna myśleć jak biznesmen”.

Kiedy dorzucam, że Tomek daje sobie radę poza ringiem, bo miał od początku  pobytu w USA  kogoś takiego jak on, Rozalski odpowiada: “Dlaczego miałbym nie pomóc kiedy zaczynał? Zawsze wszystkim pomagam, jak mogę. Życie poza ringiem jest zupełnie inne. Są inni ludzie, inne rzeczy się liczą niż w sporcie. Tomek szybko się uczy, cała rodzina Adamków ma głowę na karku. Będzie dobrze. On się nie musi bać, co będzie, jak nie będzie pięściarzem -  świat sie na niego nie zawali. Dlatego chciałbym, żeby ta walka w Polsce, była jego ostatnią. Tomek o tym wie”.

Jeśli ma być koniec, to pytam o miejsce Adamka w polskim boksie. “Numer 1” – odpowiada Rozalski. “Nawet wiedząc, że Andrzeja Gołotę dwa razy oszukali, w walkach z Ruizem i Byrdem, Adamek jest na pierwszym miejscu. Gołota był bliżej, znacznie bliżej tytułu w wadze ciężkiej, ale to nie znaczy, że w boksie więcej osiągnął. Dwa mistrzostwa świata Tomka, jego legendarne walki, próba zdobycia tytułu, wywalczenie pozycji w wadze ciężkiej, to jak Hollywood. Trzeba skończyć happy endem”.

Rozmowa druga, z Tomkiem Adamkiem:

“Czy już teraz mam odpowiedzieć, czy skończę prawie dekadę zawodowej kariery w Polsce? Nie powiem” – mówi Tomek Adamek. Właśnie zrobił nagranie dla polsatowskiego “Punchera” i kiedy rozmawiamy na temat  walki w Polsce, przyznaje, że to może być jego ostatnia. “Prawdę o sobie poznaje się w ringu. Wszystko inne nie ma znaczenia” – mówi Adamek. “Jak wyjdę na ring i będę wiedział, że wszystko jest świetnie, że mogę walczyć na 100 procent, to może dam sobie jeszcze jedną walkę, jedną szansę. Jak tylko wygram – inaczej być nie może, bez względu na to, czy będzie to Szpilka czy Wach – ale będę wiedział, że to nie to samo, to skończę moje bokserskie lata tam, gdzie rozpocząłem – w Polsce. Samego siebie nie można oszukiwać. Ta walka to będzie test 38-letniego mężczyzny i sportowca. Może ostatni”.

Rozmawiał: Przemek Garczarczyk, fot: Wojtek KUBIK

Tuesday, July 15, 2014



 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                            

July 15, 2014


The Chicago Bulls announced today that the team has amnestied forward Carlos Boozer.

“Carlos epitomized professionalism in everything he did for the Bulls both on the court, and in the community, during his time here in Chicago,” said Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman.  “Over the last four seasons, Carlos’ productivity helped elevate our team to another level.  I have nothing but respect for Carlos, and certainly wish him the best as he moves forward.”

In four seasons with the Bulls, Boozer appeared in 280 games (all starts) and averaged 15.5 ppg, 9.0 rpg and 2.0 apg in 30.4 mpg and shot .491 from the field.

Kovalev-Caparello Conference Call Quotes

Kovalev-Caparello Conference Call Quotes
Atlantic City, NJ:  Last night the media got a chance to engage in a Q & A with Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev (24-0-1, 22 KOs) and Blake "Il Capo" Caparello (19-0-1, 6 KOs), and their respective camps, as they prepare to face-off on August 2 at Revel Casino Hotel for the WBO Light Heavyweight Championship.  Below are the highlighted quotes from the call: 
Krusher Kovalev
Photo Credits:  Rich Graessle/Main Events

Main Events' CEO Kathy Duva

We are very excited to head into Sergey Kovalev's fourth fight on HBO. We are thrilled to be working with them again and with Revel Casino Hotel. Tickets are on sale now on through Ticketmaster. Also HBO is going premiere "2 Days: Sergey Kovalev" on the 26th after the Gennady Golovkin fight. 
Sergey impresses me because he doesn't fight each fighter the same way. He finds out what is going to work and changes his plan to adjust to each fighter. It is a joy to watch him develop. There is nothing in the world like his intensity. Three of last four opponents have been unbeaten. An active fighter is a successful fighter and Sergey just wants to fight.
Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev

Thank you to my promoter, Main Events, to my trainer, John David Jackson, and to all my fans. Blake is undefeated. I am taking him serious. Good opponents are getting serious training camp and I know he is. I just get in to box and to win. We are both stepping in the ring to do our job. Blake has an advantage because he is coming to get the title. He is hungry and has nothing to lose. It is my job to keep the title. More pressure on me to defend the title. I don't know Bernard Hopkins, all I know is my next opponent and his name is Blake Caparello.
Kovalev & Jackson
Photo Credits: Rich Graessle/Main Events

Sergey's Trainer John David Jackson

Luckily for me Sergey Kovalev is a true professional. I don't have to watch him or babysit him. He trains like he is still the challenger. Blake is a decent puncher and boxer. Sergey understands this. He knows we have break down Blake slowly. He is not overlooking Blake. He trains very, very hard. I just try to prepare him so he can go on to bigger and better things. 
You can't sell Blake short. Nothing is outstanding but he is very good at what he does. Sergey needs to cut the ring off and he has done very well against Southpaws. Once Blake gets hit and feels Kovalev's power all his game plans are going to go out the window. I don't think this is going to go 12 rounds.  Sergey is very disciplined. He is very professional. This is his job. He takes each fight like he is the challenger. When we first starting working together he could punch but he was a head hunter. Now he understands a body attack will also help him. We coordinate a plan together. He studied Blake so much he is probably sick of looking at him. I love working with him because he allows me to my job. He is a class act to be around.

Sergey and I have never talked about a fight with Bernard Hopkins. We are focused on Blake. It hasn't been a distraction at all. We aren't looking past him we are looking right at him. After we get passed him we will look at Bernard Hopkins.

"Il Capo"
Photo Courtesy of:
DiBella Entertainment/Ed Diller
Blake "Il Capo" Caparello

Sergey Kovalev is the biggest puncher in boxing. Anyone can hit hard. We are working on different game plans to deal with Sergey's power. I won't know how hard he punches until I get in the ring with him. If we go toe-to-toe and his power is too much we will change the plan. I do have the pop to stop people. When I put my punches together I can really hurt people. I have had a lot of great sparring camps. If an opening appears, I will go for the knockout but I am going to fight to the end. 
I get the sense they are looking past me. I am very confident myself. I know I am going to win and I already told Lou to get me a unification fight with Adonis Stevenson after I beat Kovalev. Nothing plays on my mind. I am very mentally tough. Sergey Kovalev has power but I don't fear him. I wanted to fight Kovalev because he is the best there is in the division. He is the man I want to beat.
Photo Courtesy of:
DiBella Entertainment/Ed Diller

Caparello's Promoter Lou DiBella

On behalf of Blake and Sam I would like to thank Main Events and HBO. When your name is "Krusher" you know you can punch. This is the fight that Blake wanted and Main Events was nice enough to offer this to us so we jumped on it. Sergey Kovalev is going to have his hands full. The only way to beat Sergey Kovalev is stand right in front of him and box. Blake is a true boxer and Kovalev has a real challenge on his hands. Blake fights like a boxer. This is a fight he desperately wanted. When I first signed him he told me that everyone is afraid of Kovalev but he felt he could beat him. Standing in front of Kovalev is dangerous so Blake has to use angles and avoid that "Krusher" blow. Kovalev is going to have his hands full. 
There is a great advantage to fighting Kovalev: if you manage to hang in there with him, you are going to earn the respect of fans. There are a lot of guys who are afraid of Kovalev but Blake isn't. Blake is going to go out there and do his best to win. I expect a great performance whether he wins or loses. 

I knew Blake was a natural. His instincts are excellent. He does a lot of things right. This is the fight he always wanted. I lobbied for the fight and told Main Events we wouldn't price ourselves out of the fight.

About Kovalev vs. Caparello:

The WBO Light Heavyweight World Championship between Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev, (24-0-1, 22 KOs) and Blake "Il Capo" Caparello (19-0-1, 6 KOs) is onSaturday, August 2nd at Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic, City, NJ.  The fight will be telecast as part of a split-site triple-header on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 9:45 PM ET/PT.  The event is presented by Main Events in association with DiBella Entertainment.  Tickets prices are $55, $80, $160 and $250.  They are available at or 800-745-3000.  Doors open at 6:30 PM and the HBO Boxing After Dark special triple header split site telecast begins at 9:45 PM.  

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Efekt LeBrona Jamesa

LeBron James wiele się przez cztery lata nauczył. Nawet więcej poza parkietem niż na nim. Powrót do Cleveland to znakomity  marketingowo pomysł, który wygląda jak romantyczny powrót  supergwiazdy do rodzinnego domu i chęć naprawienia dawnych błędów. Jedną decyzją, najbardziej nielubiany koszykarz w USA zamienia się błyskawicznie w bohatera tłumów.  Tylko, że “przy okazji” umknie gdzieś dla przeciętnego zjadacza koszykarskiego chleba fakt , że “King” zamienia drużynę gorszą (Miami) na lepszą (Cleveland), zdejmuje z siebie presję ciągłego wygrywania, którą miał w Miami, a na dodatek powiększa swój zasięg marketingowy. 24 godziny temu, jeszcze kiedy powrót “Króla” był tylko plotką, klub już sprzedał biletów za  milionów dolarów. Sześć godzin po oficjalnym liście “Króla”, wszystkie karnety Cleveland Cavaliers na sezon 2014/2015  zostały wyprzedane. .

Najtrudniej zarobić pierwszy miliard

LeBron James zarobił w swojej karierze w NBA 450 milionów dolarów – 126 milionów z kontraktów w Clevaland Cavaliers oraz Miami Heat i 326 milionów z reklam między innymi - wymieniając tylko największych - z Nike, Coca-Colą, McDonaldsem i Microsoftem. Ta suma nie obejmuje 30 milionów, które zarobił jako udziałowiec firmy elektronicznej “Beats”, kiedy firmę produkującą najpopularniejsze wśród koszykarzy – i nie tylko – słuchawki, zdecydowało się kupić za trzy miliardy “Apple”.

Podejmując decyzję powrotu do Cleveland, LeBron James podwyższył -  według “Forbesa” - wartość klubu “o przynajmniej 250 milionów dolarów”. Bez dotknięcia piłki, czy wygrania choćby jednego meczu. Ten sam magazyn szacuje, że dla samego miasta Cleveland, powrót Jamesa warty jest około 70 milionów dolarów.

 Milionów, które przestały wpływać, kiedy przestały się zapełniać restauracje wokół hali, gdzie Cavaliers grali przy wypełnionych trybunach. Jak był LeBron, zarabiali wszyscy. Kiedy przeniósł się do Miami, zarabiali tylko niektórzy. LeBron James kilka godzin po przenosinach  z Florydy do Ohio, wsiadł do prywatnego odrzutowca i poleciał oglądać finał piłkarskich mistrzostw świata. Po pierwsze, do tego zobowiązywał go kontrakt z “Nike”, a po drugie “Król” naprawdę zaczął oglądać piłkę nożną. To pierwsze było ważniejsze.

Paradoksalnie, koszykarz James będzie w niedzielę w Rio de Janeiro jedynym świadectwem potęgi marketingowo/sportowej Nike, bo obaj finaliści (Argentyna i Niemcy) mają kontrakt z Adidasem. Ale firma zrobi wszystko, żeby LeBrona było widać.  To też starannie obmyślana startegia, bo James doskonale zdaje sobie sprawę z tego, że bycie globalną ikoną sportu jest możliwe tylko wtedy, kiedy się wygrywa i kiedy wszyscy na świecie wiedzą, że jesteś najlepszy. “Najtrudniejszy do zarobienia jest pierwszy miliard” – mówił James jeszcze przed odejściem do Heat. Teraz będzie łatwiej, choć trzeba mu oddać, że nawet jak mieszkał  na Florydzie, to nadal czuł się obywatelem Ohio. Nigdy nie zmienił miejsca rezydencji, choć na Florydzie, unikając podatku, mógł zaoszczędzić setki tysiące dolarów.

James: większy niż NBA…  i polityki?

Do godziny 12.13 po południu czasu nowojorskiego, kiedy “Sports Illustrated” opublikował jego list otwarty, nikt nie wiedział, jaka jest decyzja Jamesa. Przez ostatnie 72 godziny, National Basketball Association było zakładnikiem LeBrona, bo jego decyzja powstrzymywała wszystkie pozostałe kontrakty.  Zresztą cała Ameryka była zakładnikiem czekania na to, co zrobi najlepszy koszykarz świata. Przyszło się o tym  przekonać nawet czołowym politykom USA

Republikański kongresman Steve Israel miał właśnie na informacyjnym kanale MSNBC dyskutować o pozwie przeciwko prezydentowi Barackowi Obamie, kiedy producent przerwał mu w pół zdania, mówiąc, że “nie będzie teraz na to czasu, bo trzeba podać informację o powrocie LeBrona Jamesa do rodzinnego Ohio”.

“Już raz mi się coś takiego zdarzyło, kiedy zamiast rozmowy pokazywaliśmy, jak Irakijczycy przewracają pomniki Saddama Husseina. Ale przynajmniej wtedy ktoś mnie ostrzegł, dali mi dokończyć zdanie. Tym razem było bez litości - bo to Król James” – skomentował sprawę kongresman z Nowego Jorku.

Żadna z gwiazd  NBA nie chciała podjąć decyzji o wyborze klubu, dopóki nie zrobi tego James, bo nie było wiadomo, kto będzie i ile pieniędzy będzie do dyspozycji. Już kilka godzin po informacji o wyborze “Króla”, zaczęły padać kolejne kostki koszykarskiego domina. Chris Bosh, który tak samo kocha Miami, jak pieniądze, dostał jedno i drugie, podpisując z Heat kontrakt warty 118 milionów dolarów. Bosh zrezygnował z przejścia do Houston Rockets, gdzie grałby w zespole walczącym o tytuł, bo widoki w Miami są o niebo lepsze. Pozostali, jak Carmelo Anthony (Knicks albo Bulls), Kevin Love (Cavs lub Golden State) czy gwiazda teraz już mniejszego formatu Pau Gasol (Bulls lub Spurs), mogą wreszcie zadecydować o swojej przyszłości. James już  zadecydował, więc oni też mogą wybierać.

Przemek Garczarczyk  

Najgorsze werdykty 2014 roku: cuda przy ringu

Minęła już połowa 2014 roku, więc czas przyjrzeć się czarnej stronie pięściarstwa – czyli werdyktom sędziów. Od dawna wiadomo, że najtrudniej walczy się z sędziami w Niemczech, były też słowa krytyki, co do punktacji gal w Polsce, ale niestety na amerykańskich galach wpadki zdarzają się coraz cześciej. Wraz z kolegami z “Bleacher Report” przygotowałem swoje zestawienie decyzji sędziowskich, który nikt nie rozumie…

Beibut Szumenow – Bernard Hopkins 114-113, (wygrana Hopkinsa). To jedna z najgorszych punktacji sędziowskich nie tylko w 2014 roku, ale w ostatniej dekadzie. Sam Szumenow myślał, ża taka punktacja to pomyłka anonsera. Hopkins trafił 51 procent swoich ciosów, zdeklasowany i nie za bardzo wiedzący, co się dzieje na ringu Szumenow - tylko 21 procent. Dla niżej podpisanego Szumenow wygrał maksymalnie 1-2 rundy, a według wszystkich sędzia, który dał zwycięstwo Szumenowowi albo nie zna się na boksie, albo był w kieszeni pięściarza, którego zwycięstwo punktował.

Jessie Vargas – Khabib Allakhverdiev 117-111 (wygrana Vargasa) To kolejna z tych punktacji, gdzie trzeba się mocno zastanawiać czy sędzia nie wziął pieniędzy bo trudno przypuszczać by nie wiedział i widział, co się dzieje na ringu. Dziennikarze ESPN stawiali na nieznaczne zwycięstwo (115-113) Khabiba, taki sam wynik miał Dan Rafael z ESPN. Jakim sposobem sędziowie dali zwycięstwo Vargasowi, w tym jeden nawet różnicą 9 rund do 3, pozostanie dla wszystkich znających się na pięściarstwie tajemnicą.

Danny Garcia – Mauricio Herrera 116-112 (wygrana Garcii). Garcia, który ma talent ale czasami wygląda w ringu bardzo przeciętnie, wyglądał w walce z Herrerą po prostu słabo.  Większość dziennikarzy punktująca walkę z Herrerą dawała Garcii remis – i to tylko dlatego, że bił się w rodzinnym Portoryko. “Powiedzmy szczerze – Herrera nie mógł tego wygrać na punkty, bo tak było postanowione” – skomentował Steve Kim. Patrząc na dwóch sedziów, którzy dali Garcii 8 z 12 rund, trudno nie przyznać mu racji.

Rusłan Prowodnikow – Chris Algieri 117-109, sędzia Max DeLuca (wygrana Algieri). Typowa walka dwóch zupełnie innych stylów walki – siły i ciągłego ataku ze strony Prowodnikowa, liczby ciosów i wyprowadzanych kombinacji ze strony Algieri. Statystycznie walka była bardzo równa: liczba trafionych ciosów – Algieri 288, Prowodnikow 205; silne ciosy – Algieri 177, Prowodnikow 164.  Dla mnie wygrał Prowodnikow 115-113 bo “silny cios” w jego wykonaniu to coś zupełnie innego niż w wykonaniu jego rywala, ale 117-109 to przesada.

Floyd Mayweather jr – Marcos Maidana 114-114, (wygrana Mayweathera). Z 38 walk, który statytystycznie śledził Compubox, nikt nie zadał Floydowi więcej ciosów niż Maidana (221), ale to tylko jedna strona medalu. Walki pięściarskie to osobna ocena każdej z rund, a nie ogólna wartość całego pojedynku. Przykładowo – pięściarz może minimalnie wygrywać każdą z rund, i choć walka będzie wyglądała na wyrównaną i zaciętą, skończy się jednogłośnym, wyraźnym zwycięstwem. W tej walce Mayweather zadał więcej celnych ciosów, a co najwazniejsze bił z 54 procentową celnością, przy 26 procentach Maidany. Za machanie rękoma rund przyznawać się nie powinno, ale niektórzy – jak było widać w Las Vegas – ciągle to robią.

 Przemek Garczarczyk