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Articles of 2010

The Atlas Foundation Is There When The Insurers, Megacharities Fail

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It was two days away from the Teddy Atlas Foundation dinner, the annual gala which raises funds for people in New York who have fallen through the cracks.

Because we live in a society and a system which reveres profit-making, and quarter after quarter growth, and Wall Street wizardry which looks an awful lot like wholesale larceny when you look closely, with a magnifying glass and more than a rudimentary understanding of the-deliberately-so-intricate-to-encourage-exploitation complexities of modern day instruments of moneymaking, and has lost sight of the plight of the have nots, Teddy Atlas was hustling more than usual trying to fill the room, the Hilton Garden Inn in Staten Island, New York, his home base.

Youve all noticed, the economy, unless you are a Wall Street wizard, or maybe run a payday loan(sharking) business, basically sucks. Unemployment is over 9%, if you believe the government stats, or something closer to 20% if you believe a less biased assessor. Those with jobs, Regular Joes who dont rely on dividends, and capital gains, if they are lucky enough to work a full slate, and havent been cut back in the name of productivity, worry that they wont keep that job. Every dollar they make goes to keeping the roof over their head, food on the table, and anything extra probably gets socked away for the kids education fund, or a rainy day fund, to be used to stave off bankruptcy stemming from catastrophic illness.. Many of us, I dare say most us, would like to do more in the realm of charitable giving. But when were scraping by ourselves, many of us cant be as generous for those truly in need as wed like.

Atlas has noticed. I was just on the phone with him yesterday, getting an update on the likely attendance number at the Teddy Dinner, which this year will feature honoree Dick Ebersol, the current chairman of NBC Universal Sports and Olympics, as well as special guests Twyla Tharp, the dancer/choreographer; ex flamethrowing reliever Goose Gossage; and Phil Simms, the ex Giants QB who was MVP of Super Bowl XXI. He gave me an update on the prospects for a packed house at the dinner on Thursday, and a primer on why the Foundation matters, and why it works.

Its going good, said the ESPN boxing analyst, who started the Foundation in honor of his father, Theodore, who is beloved on Staten Island for doing house calls, and for taking a a bag of apples, or a chicken dinner, in payment for his services. from a family down on its luck. Its been tough economic times the last couple of years, but it seems like the people whove supported us before, even in difficult times find a way to be with us at the dinner, support the Foundation. I think well sell out, but this is the first year were a couple days away and were not sold out.

The room fits 800, but shhh, dont tell the fire marshal, its a good cause, as many as 1,000 or so can fit. So, even if the number of attendees drops slightly this year, guess what? The number of calls from people at the end of their rope, with nowhere else to turn, will likely only increase.

When insurance companies tell Mrs Jones that yes, well pay for your kids operation to remove that tumor, but no, we wont pay for the medication which can tally $1,200 bucks a month to keep the cancer at bay, the Atlas Foundation writes a check.

When that organization that is set up to battle muscular dystrophy tells Mr Smith that the funds they take in go mostly to research, so one day a Timmy Smith wont have to fight a losing battle with his muscles that are wasting to nothing…and Mr Smith does some research, and learns that 86% of monies taken in go to administrative costs, and he gets pissed off, but contains his fury, and hunts for an angel, and reaches out to the Atlas Foundation, the Foundation sets him up with a specialized wheelchair.

Were a stopgap organization, Atlas explains. We step in when people need help that moment.

Many of us are fortunate enough, and willfully blind ourselves to the sad truth that in this land of plenty, the richest nation in the world, where were so engulfed in a culture of greed that the billionaire head of the private equity firm the Blackstone Group says, Its a war. Its like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939 when it became clear that President Obama might up the taxes on the revenue (from 15 to perhaps 35%) taken in when PE firms buy and then sell companies, that kids go hungry every day in the US. The Foundation feeds well over 300 families a week, people who werent born fortunate, or on a fast track to fancy schools. Dont let those folks who want to further strip away the safety nets that exist for the have nots try to convince you that most of those who get a handup are just sponges, looking for freebies while they laugh at the hard working saps who pay into the system.

Now, Atlas is probably a better strategist than I. I have no clue what way if any he leans politically. He doesnt rail against the politicians, the cynical, soulless opportunists who see this recession as an opportunity to remove entitlements, to strip away Social Security, and health care for the less wealthy. My railing here, thats all me, my way of coping, and yes, attempting to pursuade some fencesitters who are open to logic, facts, and the willingness to nurture their conscience and seeds of selflessness, instead of..whatever it is Fox News/the GOP is peddling. Instead, Atlas out there, heading to at-risk schools, trying to change the lives of some of these dead end kids whose resume will read Rikers Island 2014-2034 if they continue on the path to self destruction.

I know some of you reading this want me to shut up, stop moralizing. Maybe youre inclined to tell these kids to suck it up, find better role models, pull yourselves up by your bootstraps. Easy for you to say, from your throne of relative privilege.

Teddy, on many days when he isnt working on Friday Night Fights, or training his heavyweight contender, Alexander Povetkin, sees kids like Antoine, who doesnt have any boots to pull up, and wouldnt know how to lace em up if he got a pair, because nobody was inclined to mentor the kid. Antoines dad was a drug dealer, and was shot and killed on the streets. His mom is a hooker, his stepdad is also a drug dealer. And Teddy gets in their face, something like he does when he sees a fighter who isnt living up to his potential blowing it.

What do you care about, Antoine? Atlas says to the kid during a school visit. I dont think you care about anyone, from what I hear from the teachers here.

I care about someone, the kid says.

No you dont, says Atlas, challenging the his assumptions, putting a little fear of rigorous self analysis into him.

How do you know? I care about my sister.

Well, you dont care about yourself, I know that. Because if you continue like youre going, you better stop caring about your sister. Because youre heading to Rikers. So if you do care, stop caring. because there, theyll use that against you, to destroy you.

The teachers tell me you dont do any work, he continues. You think maybe youre too smart for that. But at Rikers, you are going to be doing work. Overtime. Youre going to be working hard to keep people out of your ass. Work to not get raped. To keep those sneakers on your feet. Man, I wouldnt take that job. And youre not going to be paid, Atlas says. No, wait, I take that back. Youll get ten cents an hour.

He didnt know what to say, Atlas said to me Tuesday.

Adults in Antoines life are so busy trying to eke out an existence, as flawed and sick and sad as it may be. They dont have extra love, or attention, to give to the kid, the kid who seems incorrigible, a waste of space and time.

But it isnt all scared straight stuff. Atlas holds out hope, and a carrot. Lots of these kids do have role models. They like the NBAers, LeBron, Kobe. So Atlas tells them, If you toe the line for two months, show up to school, pull up your grades some, treat the teachers with some respect, Ill take you to the Garden, watch the Knicks against the Heat.

With Antoine, Atlas heard the kid liked football. So he said if Antoine pulled himself together for two months, hed take him to the football camp run by the Browns coach, Eric Mangini, an Atlas pal.

He didnt really deserve it, but he was a special case, Atlas says.

So Antoine, 13, piled on a bus with 55 15-16 year olds, and went to the camp this past summer. Atlas asked tight end Dustin Keller to give Antoine some extra attention. So in a seven on seven touch game, Antoine went out for a pass. He caught a spiral, and ducked, and dodged, and scampered into the end zone. And he collected some high fives, and he flashed an every-tooth-showing grin. And it was one of the only times hes felt good about himself, the analyst/trainer said. He never had anyone applaud him, not ever, not even for a birthday. The bottom line, hes doing better now.

Instead of dismissing kids like Antoine as one of a seedy lot of undesirables, as so many stone-hearted types tend to do, if they even contemplate them at all, Atlas takes his sometimes stern, sometimes intimidating manner, into the schools regularly, and gives the kids a dose of tough talk.

Not long ago, Atlas went a school, and was going to give the kids, at risk youth, with not enough textbooks, in a low income neighborhood, a lecture. In a classroom, his jaw dropped as he saw the youth, 14, 15, rampaging. They looked like this wasnt a special occasion of misbehavior, either. They were running around, yapping.

The teachers were a bit embarrassed. One tried to stop an unruly child.

Get your effin hands off me! he barked.

Atlas went from surprised, to steamed, to boiling over.

Im angry, he said to a group of three teachers. You guys should be ashamed of yourselves, for letting this happen. This is your classroom!

I, sir, am the principal! one of the adults answered, nostrils flared to the max.

Atlas then turned his attention to the kids.

Shut the eff up!

They stiffened, went dead silent.

You guys are a bunch of punks, he said. Youre in your groups, every one of you in a group. If you were alone, youd never behave this way.

The teachers asked him how he shut them up, made them listen.

The kids knew it was the truth, he told me. Nobody was alone. Everyone had a posse.

He told them what awaited them at Rikers, where most are headed for, if not a lengthy stay, then at least a stint, if they keep it up.

He told them they were cowards, for not trying to excel at square stuff, that they were taking the easy way, because if they didnt try, they could blame it on not trying, instead of trying, and falling short. Nobody will say youre stupid, Atlas told the kids. Theyll say you dont care.

They never heard any stuff like that, Atlas said. Most knew he was involved in boxing, had trained Mike Tyson. He told them that to be a champion, theyd have to face unpleasant truths.

Youve got to be able to face things, not spend youre whole day running. Thats what a champion does.

He continued. He asked them to raise their hands if theyd like one day to excel, and get a belt, a fancy car, two houses. Hands shot up, stayed up.

Whod like to do twenty years in jail? he asked.

Not a hand went up.

Put your hand up, Atlas said, targeting one kid who came off like a leader. Twenty years. Thats what youre aspiring to, embracing.

Two months later, Atlas got a call back from one of the teachers. Six of the kids in that class were doing significantly better. They responded like Michael Moorer did against Holyfield, in 1994.

When I chatted with Atlas, we delved into the Foundation stuff for a half hour, then I asked him to weigh in on Pacquiao-Margarito, and the De La Hoya comeback. I told him that Id like to pull a Trojan Horse deal, lead with the boxing stuff, then sneak in the Foundation stuff.

But the hell with that.

The Foundation stuff is a whole heck of a lot more important than who Manny will fight next. Heck, Manny even knows that.

We all, and I include myself in the mix, divert ourselves from the harsh realities of who we are as a society. I see it as a crucial crossroads in the US, where we could undo much of the good we did in terms of the safety nets for the common man, if we let the shrink the deficit crowd convince us that needs to happen at the expense of the programs which make this land a more equitable, gentler place than many every man for himself, every Rand acolyte, would like. They have their cushion, their stream of dividends. You dont? Tough tamales. They have their health insurance. You dont? Sorry, Jack, thats the breaks.

If there is anyone else in the fight game who puts out more time, energy, effort, and does more philanthropic good than Teddy Atlas, please submit that name to me, and Ill toot their horn loud and proud. Hey, maybe you dont care for that accent, or maybe you lost a few bucks backing Margarito after Teddy touted him on Friday Night Fights, etc etc. Whatever. The guy is making a difference in the lives of people who deserve it, because fate has kicked them in the teeth, and when they went down to pick up the chiclets, booted them in the gut like a field goal kicker. So, I know theres a couple of you high rollers out there in TSS Universe who can write a check thatll do some good. Heres the info on the Foundation. www.dratlasfoundation.com/ Please make it happen.

Later today, well delve into why Teddy knew he backed the wrong horse in the first round of the Pacquiao-Margarito fight, what might be inspiring De La Hoya to try a comeback and why hed rather see Yuriorkis Gamboa fight Pacman next, over Shane Mosley. Its good stuff, provocative stuff.

But really, its diversion. The real deal, the meaningful stuff, takes place on Thursday night at the Foundation dinner, and the other 364 days a year when the Foundation is making the world a little bit more hospitable, a bit brighter, to people less fortunate than you and me.

Articles of 2010

Judah To Fight Mbuza March 5 In NJ

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Totowa, NJ – Kathy Duva, Main Events CEO, announced their promotional firm won the purse bid held at IBF headquarters in East Orange, NJ, Thursday. The bid was for the right to hold the IBF's junior welterweight title fight between Zab Judah of Brooklyn, NY and Las Vegas, and South Africa's Kaizer Mabuza.

IBF Championships Chairman, Lindsay Tucker explained, “It is a 50-50 split of the earnings between the two fighters. Kaizer is ranked No. 1 by the IBF, and Judah is No. 2. Where the fight will be held is up to the winning bidder.”

Judah (39-6, 26 KOs) is promoted by Main Events and his own firm Super Judah Promotions, and Branco Milenkovic, of South Africa, promotes Mabuza (23-6-3, 14 KOs).

Kathy Duva confirmed the fight will take place at Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, late February or early March this year as part of Main Events' Brick City Boxing Series.  (Saturday Update: the fight is March 5th, in NJ at the Pru Center. The bout will be part of a PPV card.)

“We are very happy that Zab has the opportunity to fight for the IBF Junior Welterweight title right here in New Jersey.  Winning this fight will put Zab right in the mix with the winner of Bradley-Alexander and Amir Khan.” Duva elaborated, ” Zab will work very hard to win this fight so that he will be one step closer to his ultimate goal of unifying all of the Junior Welterweight titles by the end of 2011!”

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Articles of 2010

UFC 125 Preview: Frankie Edgar Vs. Gray Maynard

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UFC_Edgar_and_Maynard_Dec._2010
Few predicted Frankie Edgar would grab the UFC lightweight championship last year but he did. Most felt he would eventually win it but Edgar not only took the title, he beat one of the best mixed martial artists in history to do it.

Edgar (13-1) has emerged from the milieu of nondescript MMA fighters to become one of the more brilliant performers for Ultimate Fighting Championship. Next comes a rematch with Gray “The Bully” Maynard (11-0) tomorrow at the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas. UFC 125 will be televised on pay-per-view.

All it took was not one, but two victories over BJ Penn.

If you’re not familiar with Penn, he’s one of the most versatile fighters in MMA history and had been nearly unbeatable in the 155-pound lightweight division. That is until he clashed with Edgar. Until he met New Jersey’s Edgar, the Hawaiian fighter chopped down lightweight opponents with ease. It was only the heavier welterweights he had problems against. Namely: Canada’s Georges St. Pierre.

Edgar showed poise, speed and grit in defeating Penn in back-to-back fights. The world took notice.

“You know, if I keep winning fights, the respect will come eventually,” said Edgar during a conference call.

Now Edgar will find out if he can avenge the only loss on his record.

“I just think I grew as a fighter. You know, mentally, you know, physically I, you know, possess differently skills, increased – you know, I think I boxed and got better, my Jiu-Jitsu got better and, you know, just have much more experience now,” Edgar says.

Maynard seeks to find out if Edgar has added any more fighting tools to his repertoire. Back in April 2008, the artillery shelled out was not enough to beat the Las Vegas fighter.

“It’s a perfect time. He had the chance and, you know, he took it and the time is now for me and I’m prepared,” said Maynard (11-0). “Any time you’re going up against the top in the world, you evolve and change and so I’m prepared for a new fight, so it will be good. I’m pumped for it.”

Though Maynard’s record indicates he is unbeaten that’s not entirely true. He did suffer a defeat to Nate Diaz during The Ultimate Fighter series and subsequently avenged that loss last January.

The UFC lightweight title is in Maynard’s bull’s eye.

“Looking to take the belt for sure,” said Maynard. “We’ll see on January 1.”

Edgar versus Maynard should be a good one.

Other bouts:

Nate Diaz (13-5) faces Dong Hyun Kim (13-0-1) in another welterweight tussle. Diaz is the only fighter with a win over Maynard. Anyone watching TUF remembers Maynard tapping out from a Diaz guillotine choke. The Modesto fighter has a tough fight against South Korea’s Kim.

Chris Leben (21-6) fights Brian Stann (9-3) in a middleweight fight. Leben is a veteran of MMA and if an opponent is not ready for a rough and tumble fight, well, that fighter is not going to win. Stann dropped down from light heavyweight and we’ll see if the cut in weight benefits the Marine.

Brandon Vera (11-5) meets Thiago Silva (14-2) in a light heavyweight match up. Vera is trying to rally back to the promising fighter he was tabbed several years back. Silva is a very tough customer and eager to crash the elite. A victory by either fighter could mean a ticket to the big time.

Clay Guida (27-8) versus Takanori Gomi (32-6) in a lightweight bout. Guida has become one of the most feared fighters without a title. No one has an easy time with the long-haired fighter. Gomi lost to Kenny Florian but knocked out Tyson Griffin. Can he survive Guida?

Marcus “The Irish Hand Grenade” Davis (22-8) clashes with Jeremy Stephens (18-6) in another lightweight fight. Davis is a go-for-broke kind of fighter and is looking to get back in the win column after a tumultuous battle with Nate Diaz last August. Stephens needs a win too. In his last bout he lost to Melvin Guillard.

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Articles of 2010

Borges Looks Back, And Forward With Hope

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PacquiaoClottey_Booth_6

As the end of another year approaches, there’s no need to invoke Charles Dickens to describe what went on in boxing. It was neither the best of times nor the worst of times. It was just too much time spent on The Fight That Never Took Place.

For the second straight year the sport could not deliver The Fight, the only one fans universally wanted and even casual fans craved – the mix between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao.  No one has to be singled out for blame for that failure because this time there’s plenty to go around on both sides. The larger issue is what does it say about a sport when it cannot deliver its top event?

What would the NFL be without the Super Bowl? Where would major league baseball be without the World Series? Golf without the Masters? College basketball without March Madness?

They would all be less than they could be and so it was with boxing this year. Having said that, the sport was not without its signature moments. It was not bereft of nights that left those of us with an abiding (and often unrequited) love for prize fighting with good reason to hope for the future.

Three times promoter Bob Arum took the sport into massive stadium venues just like the good (very) old days and each time boxing drew a far larger crowd than its many critics expected. Twice those fights involved the sport’s leading ambassador, Pacquiao, who brought in crowds of 40,000 to 50,000 fans into Cowboys Stadium against inferior opponents Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito. Imagine what he might have done had Mayweather been in the opposite corner?

While both fights were, as expected, lopsided affairs, they showcased the one boxer who has transcended his sport’s confining walls to become a cultural icon and world celebrity. Pacquiao alone put boxing (or at least one boxer) on the cover of TIME and into the pages of such varied publications as Esquire, GQ, The Wall Street Journal, the American Airlines in-flight magazine and even Atlantic Monthly.

As history has proven time and again, that is what happens when boxing has a compelling personality to sell it and Pacquiao is that. Mayweather is such a person as well,  but for different reasons.

The one night he appeared in a boxing ring, he set the year’s pay-per-view standard against Shane Mosley while also leaving a first hint of dark mystery when he was staggered by two stinging right hands in the second round.

Mayweather was momentarily in trouble for the first time in his career but the moment passed quickly and Mosley never had another. By the end he had been made to look old and futile, a faded athlete who’d had his chance and was unable to do anything with it. So it goes in this harsh sport when the sands are running out of the hour glass.

As always there were some surprising upsets, most notably Jason Litzau’s domination of an uninterested and out of shape Celestino Caballero and Sergio Martinez’s one-punch demolishment of Paul Williams. The latter was not so much an upset as it was a stunning reminder that when someone makes a mistake against a highly skilled opponent in this sport they don’t end up embarrassed. They end up unconscious.

SHOWTIME did all it could to further the future of the sport, offering up a continuation of its interminably long but still bold Super Six super middleweight tournament as well as the launching of a short form bantamweight tournament which already gave fans to two stirring and surprising finishes with Joseph Agbeko decisioning Jhonny Perez and Abner Mares upsetting Victor Darchinyan in a battle of contusions.

While the Super Six has had its problems – including several of the original six pulling out – it also lifted the profile of former Olympic gold medalist Andre Ward from nearly unknown to the cusp of universal recognized as the best super middleweight in the world this side of Lucian Bute. If Ward continues winning he’ll get to Bute soon enough because that’s why SHOWTIME signed a TV deal with the Canadian and America may get its next boxing star if Ward proves to be what I think he is – which is still underrated and underappreciated.

HBO and HBO pay-per-view put on 23 shows, few of them compelling and many of them paying big money to the wrong people while doing little or nothing to grow the sport that has helped make their network rich. But they did have the knockout of the year – Martinez’s second round destruction of Williams – and some fights in the lower weight classes that were left you wanting more.

Two new names popped up who are causing the kind of fan reaction that also gives us hope for 2011 – American Brandon Rios and Mexican Saul Alvarez. They are two of the sport’s brightest young prospects because each comes to the arena the old-fashioned way – carrying nothing but bad intentions.
Aggression and knockouts still sell boxing faster than anything else and each exhibited plenty of both this year and left fans wanting to see more. Alvarez is already a star in Mexico without having yet won a world title and Rios is the definition of “promise.’’ Whether the star will continue to shine and promise will be fulfilled may be answered next year and so we wait anxiously to find out.

Backed by Golden Boy Promotions, there is no reason 2011 shouldn’t be Alvarez’s year and if it is people will notice and remember him because he has a crowd-pleasing style that is all about what sells most.

That is what boxing needs more of – fresh faces and new stars… so as fans we should root for guys like Alvarez, Ward, Rios and young Brit Amir Khan, who is a star in England but still a question mark with a questionable chin but a fighter’s heart here in the U.S.

Those guys and others not yet as well known are the future of boxing, a sport that for too long has been recycling the likes of Mosley (as it will again in May for one last beating against Pacquiao in a fight that's a joke), Bernard Hopkins (who can still fight although it is unclear why he bothers or where it’s all headed), Roy Jones and, sadly, even 48-year-old Evander Holyfield, who continues to delude himself but not many other people into believing he will soon unify the heavyweight title again.
If fighters like Ward, Alvarez, Rios, Khan, WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto and middleweight king Sergio Martinez continue their rise they could be the antidote for the art of the retread that Arum and Golden Boy have been forcing fans to buy the past few years at the expense of what boxing needs most – fresh faces.

The heavyweight division, which many believe determines the relevancy of boxing to the larger world, remains a vast desert of disinterest here in the US. The Klitschko brothers, Vitali and Wladimir, hold 75 per cent of the title belts but few peoples’ imaginations in the US, although to be fair they are European superstars and don’t really need U.S. cable TV money to thrive economically.

Each defended their titles twice this year, Vitali against lame competition (Albert Sosnowski and Shannon Briggs) and Wladimir against better fighters (Sam Peter and Eddie Chambers) but not competitive ones. Sadly, there is no American on the horizon to challenge them, a comment on the division and on our country, where the athletes who used to be Joe Louis or Muhammad Ali now opt for the easier and frankly safer road of the NFL or the NBA. Who can blame them considering all the nonsense a fighter has to go through to just make a living these days?

The one heavyweight match that would be compelling and might lift the sport up for at least a night would be either of the Klitschkos facing lippy WBA champion David Haye. The fast-talking Brit claims to not be ducking them but he’s had more maladies befall him after shouting from the rooftops how much he wants to challenge them that you have to wonder if Haye is simply a case of big hat no cattle syndrome.

For the sake of the sport, we should all be lighting candles each night in hopes our prayers will be answered and Haye will finally agree to meet one of them. It may not prove to be much of a fight but at least it will give us something to talk about for a few months.

Whatever Haye and the Klitschkos decide the fighter with the most upside at the moment however seems to be Sergio Martinez.  He has matinee idol looks, a big enough punch to put Paul Williams to sleep with one shot and a work ethic second to none. The Argentine fighter had a year for himself, starting with a drubbing of Kelly Pavlik followed by his demolishment of Williams. Those kinds of victories, coupled with his Oscar De La Hoya-like looks, are the type of things that if HBO or SHOWTIME would get behind him could allow Martinez to capture the attention of both fight fans and more casual ones.

In general, Hispanics fighters continued to dominate much of the sport’s front pages with Juan Manuel Marquez’s two victories in lightweight title fights leading that storyline. His war with Michael Katsidis is a strong candidate for Fight of the Year and his technical skill and calm demeanor make him the uncrowned challenger to Pacquiao. The two have unfinished business that should be settled this year if Arum stops standing in the way.

Two other fighters who gave us moments to remember in 2010 were Juan Manuel Lopez, who knocked out three solid opponents including highly respected Mexican warrior Rafael Marquez, and Giovani Segura, who won four times (that’s three years work for Mayweather) in 2010, all by knockout. Along the way, Segura defeated one of the great minimum weight fighters in history, slick Ivan Calderon, to win the belt on Aug. 28.

Lastly, boxing gave us another magical cinematic moment as well with the release of “The Fighter,’’ a film based on the life and hard times of junior welterweight scrapper Micky Ward. The film has won rave reviews and many awards and seems likely to have several of its actors nominated for Academy Awards, most notable Christian Bale for his sadly humorous portrayal of Ward’s troubled half brother, former fighter Dickie Ecklund.

Boxing has a long history of providing the framework for memorable movies and it did it again with “The Fighter,’’ a film that did more for boxing than any promoter did all year.

All in all, it wasn’t the best of years for boxing but it was a good year that picked up speed in the final months and, like that great golf shot you finally hit out of the rough on the 18th, left us with reasons to hope for a better year in 2011. If somehow it gives us Mayweather-Pacquiao, the emergence of Alvarez and Rios, the ascension of Martinez and Haye vs. the best available Klitschko in addition to the kind of solid performances that always come along, it could be a year to remember.

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