1. “On Saturday night, referee Pat Russell stood in the middle of the ring after he had stopped the best boxing match in recent memory. His decision didn’t win him much popularity in fight nation. The light welterweights Mike Alvarado and Brandon Rios had been beating each other senseless, and everyone watching seemed to want it to continue, indefinitely if possible. “I will take ‘em into deep water, but I won’t drown ‘em,” Russell said.
“As in most sports, it’s not traditional for a boxing referee to be interviewed after a bout, but Russell wanted to explain himself to the television audience and the sellout crowd at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. He had stopped the fight in the seventh round after Rios had thrown a straight right and then delivered a series of unanswered combinations to Alvarado’s head. Russell had seen enough, stepped in, and Rios was given the TKO win.”
Gary Andrew Poole writes in The Atlantic about the agony of ending a classic bout.
2. “Who has superior physiology for cycling: Lance Armstrong or Cadel Evans? There is no denying the Texan’s record of dominance in the Tour de France. But when it comes to consistently racing well throughout an entire year the Australian also has an impressive history – two MTB World Cup titles and the ProTour victory in 2007, the last time the showcase series included all the truly significant races on the calendar.
“If you are a keen cycling fan, you can probably conjure up images of Lance and Cadel when they have had good days racing in the mountains. That look, that rhythm, that tenacity as they ride uphill and the rest of the world’s best climbers struggle to hold their wheel. Obviously both are exceptional cyclists born with great physiology. In addition, their relentless training has likely encouraged physiological adaptations to the highest level. Although winning a road race requires far more than great physiology, for the purposes of this article I want to focus on physiological fitness parameters possessed by these two successful professionals.”
Dr David T. Martin, writing for RideMedia.com, goes back in time to compare the disgraced Texan and the 2011 Tour de France winner.
3. “Didier Deschamps may have been overlooked for the France job in both 2008 and 2010, but upon finally taking up the role in July this year, he found the problems facing the national coach had barely changed.
“As in 2010 and, to a lesser extent, 2008, France emerged from this year’s major tournament chastened by underachievement and embarrassed by reports of off-pitch turmoil. The fallout from Euro 2012 was nowhere near as painful as it was after the rank humiliation of the 2010 World Cup, nor were the performances as poor as they were in South Africa or at Euro 2008, but Deschamps knows that there is nonetheless, if not a full rebuilding process, then a period of recalibration to be undertaken.
“For all the criticism of France’s conservative approach against Spain in the Euro 2012 quarter-finals, and all the tales of changing-room unrest that abounded, Laurent Blanc clearly left the team in a far healthier state than he had found it. Three months after taking up the reins from his former international team-mate, Deschamps is already making his mark by attempting to create a side that packs more of a punch on the pitch, but generates fewer headlines off it.”
The Guardian look at the upturn in fortunes in French international football, even before the 1-1 draw against World and European champions Spain.
4. “Frankel. It is not a name that rolls off the tongue, like those of some other great thoroughbred racehorses, such as Nijinsky, Mill Reef and Brigadier Gerard.
“But in racing people it ignites sheer wonder, for Frankel is the superstar of Flat racing, not simply unbeaten in 13 races, but untouchable.
“In monetary terms his potential to sire future champions makes him the most valuable single sporting commodity on the planet. It is said £100 million would not buy him.
“At Ascot tomorrow afternoon Frankel and his jockey, Tom Queally, will attempt to extend their winning run to 14 races out of 14. Should they fail, the shock will radiate far beyond Berkshire, the more so as tomorrow’s big race, the Qipco Champion Stakes, is likely to be Frankel’s valediction. At four years old, the racehorse said by some to be the greatest ever foaled is on the verge of retirement.”
The Daily Telegraph’s Brian Viner on Frankel’s last (?) stand.
5. “The optimism that some people felt when the NHL handed a new offer to the players on Tuesday quickly faded Thursday after the league rejected the NHLPA’s counter-offers that union members said were based on what had been presented to them. The players had three approaches that would all get to the 50-50 split in Hockey Related Revenue that the owners want, except that the split would not be realized in the first year of a new deal, only after a few seasons. The owners continue to want that division immediately.
“As a result, talks — which only lasted about an hour today — have stalled once again and, barring some sort of reversal by one of the parties very soon, the league’s hope that a full season can be played now seems gone.”