Arum: Mayweather, Jr. an “ignorant, illiterate kid”

Today’s Bob Arum gave us a command performance promoting what will probably be his last superfight. Never thought I’d say this, but Arum has quite literally done the impossible. He’s somehow succeeded in convincing the media and fight fans that a fight that will generate the most money in the history of the sport could be called off.

Mayweathers and Bob Arum

(Arum digitized for your protection)

But you just knew that if the 78-year-old talked enough today, he would say some things about the Mayweathers that were wildly inappropriate. And I’m pleased to report that Arum didn’t let us down. Read more…

Old Boxing Guy Says MMA Is For Gays & Racists

If the name “Bob Arum” sounds only vaguely familiar, that’s okay. That’s because boxing is only vaguely familiar to many younger sports fans, a demographic that has trended largely toward MMA over the last few years. But Arum’s a fight promoter, one who’s been in the business for decades, and is in charge of the Pacquiao-Cotto fight coming up this November.

Melvin Costa's Awful Tattoos
(Granted, Melvin Costa’s tattoos really aren’t doing MMA any favors on this one.)

As you can imagine, Arum doesn’t hold MMA in very high regard. He’s also a very senior citizen who “grew up in a different era,” as polite people often say, and when pressed to elucidate his disdain for MMA, unleashed some ridiculously offensive comments, the likes of which you’d never hear from high-ranking people in any sport but boxing. Or, um, MMA. Video is below.

Read more…

Speed Read: Unholy Isiah Thomas/Clippers Union

I’ll be blunt: End Times may be upon us. Sources have told ESPN.COM that the Clippers have had discussions with Isiah Thomas about bringing him into their front office. While the two sides have apparently only had “informal yet substantive” conversations, the thought of arguably the worst executive in NBA history joining forces with perhaps the most sad-sack franchise in all of pro sports should be enough to make anyone tremble in fear.

Isiah Thomas, Clippers and the Rapture

(A sign of things to come?)

One source within the Clippers organization (in between bouts of crying and failed suicide attempts, I’m sure) said that the discussion of bringing Thomas or Randy Pfund into the front office to “help” Mike Dunleavy is just “a smoke screen to defray the criticism of the franchise” about the lawsuit filed by former GM Elgin Baylor. I don’t know if that’s true or not; what I do know is that even throwing the idea of Thomas and the Clippers linking up is tempting fate.

Mike Dunleavy

(Why is this man smiling? Seriously, help me here - I have no idea.)

Because make no mistake, this is bad news on an apocalyptic scale - the Staples Center area might be turned into a giant vortex of suckage that it would collapse into itself, taking the majority of downtown LA with it. Those little yippy dogs that celebs like Paris Hilton carry in their purses would turn into blood-thirsty savages. Hollywood Boulevard might become a river of molten lava, carrying away the homeless and Japanese tourists there to see “Grease” starring Taylor Hicks to a fiery death.

I’m sure as hell leaving at once if this happens, and I’m bringing enough cyanide pills for the family in case we don’t get out in time. Perhaps I’m being a bit too panicky, but you have to plan for these things: I just have a feeling that more than the Clippers’ salary cap is going to explode if Isiah Thomas joins the Clippers.

Also making plans: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who is significantly more together than either Thomas or the Clippers. His latest plan, according to USA TODAY: expanding the regular season to 17 or 18 games, and eliminating one or two preseason games in the process. Imagine that…actually trying to give fans more meaningful games and eliminate season-ticket holders having to pay for lousy games featuring star players for one series and then a bunch of scrubs for the remainder of the game.

Of course, the union hasn’t approved the plan yet, and they are sure to not be pleased about their players having to play two more competitive games a season. (And if there’s an 18-game season, you can pretty much wipe out things like a 1,000-yard season as being any sort of benchmark for success.) And is certainly interesting that the league would consider putting the players through more wear and tear a day after announcing new rules to “protect” them.

Of course, Goodell has other things on his mind, like the fact that he might need to rule on Michael Vick’s status sooner rather than later. Vick left a federal prison yesterday for a bankruptcy hearing in Virginia, but the day was hardly successful. The AP reports that U.S. Department of Labor has filed complaints accusing Vick of illegally spending about $1.3 million in pension funds from one of his companies for personal reasons, including paying restitution in his dog fighting case.

This should close any debate about who the stupidest person in America is. I wonder if the Clippers have room on their staff for him?

Some other sports news from last night that you might have missed if you were in Brussels waiting in line to use the restroom…and waiting…and waiting…

  • Our economy might be going down a drain, but that doesn’t mean we as Americans are too broke to engage in the American Dream: going to a baseball game and eating a hamburger the size of a kitten. The GRAND RAPIDS PRESS reports that the West Michigan Whitecaps will be debuting The Fifth Third Burger, a 4,800-calorie, four-pound behemoth that includes a one-pound bun, five patties and five slices of cheese. And a cup of chili for good measure.
  • The Fifth Third Burger

  • BALL DON’T LIE salutes Wizards forward Dominic McGuire, who scored on a dunk last night to break a streak of 116 minutes played without a point.
  • Los Angeles TV and radio personality John Ireland made a hasty bet with James Worthy: if his UCLA Bruins didn’t advance as far as Worthy’s North Carolina Tar Heels in the NCAA Tournament, Ireland would sing the UNC fight song on TV. Bad idea, after the Bruins tanked against Villanova. Here are the unfortunate results - it’s like the drunk guy at karaoke who gets pressured into singing by his friends and spends his whole time on stage planning ways to kill them.
  • YAHOO! SPORTS takes promoter Bob Arum to task for encouraging American fans to attend a fight card in Tijuana this weekend, despite the U.S. government’s warning on travel. Something about armed drug violence turning into a civil war. Bob, I think I’ll catch it on TV instead.
  • Scary stuff for Olympic gymnastic hero Shawn Johnson: NEWSDAY reports that a nutjob armed with two guns and duct tape tried to break into the set of “Dancing with the Stars” and “get to” Johnson and her dancing partner. To be fair, if she wasn’t interested in him, she shouldn’t have been sending subliminal messages to him through the TV and through ESP. Women.
  • Of all the things I would think to impersonate in a scam, a youth soccer referee wouldn’t be one of them. But DIRTY TACKLE says that’s just what some fake ref did in Northern Ireland, convincing three teams to give him a “match fee” before games he never reffed.
  • Apparently the NHL doesn’t like it when a goaltender pushes a referee and then shoots a puck at him: the TORONTO GLOBE AND MAIL says that Martin Gerber of the Toronto Maple Leafs has been suspended three games after going nuts Tuesday against the Washington Captials.
  • The Boston Celtics death spiral continues as the BOSTON GLOBE reports the Magic beat them 84-82 to edge closer to the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Is it too late to give last year’s MVP to Kevin Garnett since we know now just how much he means to this team?
  • I think it’s fair to say that the Dallas police officer who stopped Houston Texans RB Ryan Moats from being at his dying mother-in-law’s bedside - at the hospital parking lot, over a red light - should not just be suspended or fired, but drawn and quartered. SPORTS RUBBISH has the awful, infuriating details.
  • For some players, spring training is a chance to get in shape; for others, it’s a chance to hit the free buffet in the locker room every day. THE LOVE OF SPORTS looks at the Top 10 Overweight Baseball Players. Maybe they’ll win a free Fifth Third Burger for making it on the list?

Who was the worst former player turned sports executive?

View Results

Speed Read: Jim Leavitt Has Totally Lost His Mind

Being a college football coach is a high-pressure business - maybe not being an air traffic controller or a heart surgeon, where if you screw up people die, but it can be pretty intense. And if your team is getting a nasty reputation for late-season collapses, it might start getting to you after awhile. Witness South Florida coach Jim Leavitt: THE WIZ OF ODDS has video of him losing his mind during a press conference:

This is exactly how my cousin Aldo used to act, right before he took to chasing after the ice cream truck with his pants off and trying to recruit local children to “help repel the Huns.” Despite the lack of blustery, screaming theatrics, I’d still like to suggest that Leavitt ask his doctor if Paxil is right for him.

If ever there was an appropriate way to recap a ridiculously high-scoring (i.e. actually fun to watch) Week 12 in the NFL, the Saints’ 51-29 thrashing of the Packers was it. New Orleans became the 12th team to score 30 or more points this week, more than during any other week this season.

Saints fan before game vs Packers

Drew Bress continued his assault on the NFL record books, throwing for 323 yards and four TDs, but the Saints’ MVP might have been Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers, who had a very Brett Favre-like performance on Monday night, except this was the bad Favre of 2005-2006. Translation: Rodgers threw three interceptions and the Packers had no chance.

And finally, a word to the wise - if you are going to shoot someone flashing a random group of tailgaters before a Cowboys game, try not to do it from directly behind them. Then again, if the flasher in question looks like a 45-year-old high school softball coach, maybe it’s for the best:

Here are some other stories you might have missed last night as you, like the rest of the US, were an emotional wreck after hearing about the Hannity and Colmes divorce:

  • Not even Tiger Woods is recession-proof: BLOOMBERG says that GM is pulling out of its endorsement deal at the end of the year, meaning that he’ll get to quit pretending that he really loves driving a Buick.
  • Tiger Woods and GM

  • Retired NHL goon Claude Lemieux is attempting a comeback, as the CANADIAN POST reports that the 43-year-old has signed a tryout contract with the San Jose Sharks. He’ll be heading to the AHL first to work on his baiting and sucker punching.
  • RIVALS.COM has a depressing look at Northwestern, the worst basketball program of the major conferences and the only which which has never been to the NCAA tournament. But at least their football team has a rich history of…ugh, never mind.
  • Your usual video of a student’s first trip to the Montana/Montana State rivalry, including drinking, push-ups…and a pretty solid catfight at about 1:05 in. (The problem with catfights in Montana in November: too much clothing to rip off.):
  • Despite this week’s performance, THE GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS would like to see all the Brett Favre vs. Aaron Rodgers comparisons stop, thanks.
  • The Clippers/Knicks trade is in limbo because of questions about Cuttino Mobley’s heart, says David Aldridge on NBA.COM. Literally - the Knicks have concerns about a possible pre-existing heart condition.
  • Mike Shanahan tells the AP that he’s OK with players taking out idiot fans who run out onto the field during games. How does he expect his team to tackle rowdy fans if they can’t even stop the Raiders?
  • Bob Arum confirms to ESPN.COM that the fight between Antonio Margarito and Shane Mosley is back on for Jan. 24 in Las Vegas, as boxing continues to respond to rumors of its demise by putting out decent fight cards.
  • Eric Thomas, who helped lead Kent State to the Elite Eight back in 2002, has been sentenced to eight years in prison for burglary and assault. The DAILY KENT STATER says that’s enough to get a banner with his accomplishments pulled off the rafters, but not enough for his number to be unretired.
  • Roger Goodell tells BROADCASTING & CABLE that despite the BCS package going to ESPN, we shouldn’t expect NFL playoff games on cable anytime soon. Also of note: the BCS considered a package that would have put all the BCS games on FX, which is just weird.

When you think “historically inept sports teams” you think about…

View Results

Speed Read: Ball State Still Perfect, Still Screwed

It’s official: Ball State is the real deal. At least, as real as a win against a team called the Chippewas can make a team, but still: going on the road to take out a tough opponent like Central Michigan is tough. But the Cardinals pulled it off, winning 31-24 behind 177 yards rushing from Quale Lewis, keeping them perfect at 11-0 and keeping them on track for…the Motor City Bowl.

Ball State after defeating Central Michigan

Because no matter if the Cardinals win out, they aren’t getting an automatic BCS berth ahead of Utah, Boise State and BYU. And even if, say, Boise State loses a game, and USC wins the PAC-10 outright, freeing up another at-large spot, the choice for a BCS bowl would likely come down to a non-BCS school or Ohio State, and guess who wins that battle? (Unless the Buckeyes get upset by Michigan this weekend. Please stop laughing now.)

So yeah, another reason to hate Ohio State - not only did they ruin the last two BCS Title games, but now they are ruining things for Ball State. I know that Hawaii totally tanked last year against Georgia, but come on - wouldn’t you rather see Ball State in the Sugar Bowl against, say, Alabama than Ohio State?

Speaking of Cardinals…just as Arizona fans were starting to enjoy their team’s prosperity and start thinking about home playoff games, here comes a giant mess down the I-10. In this case, the ARIZONA REPUBLIC reports that it’s disgruntled running back Edgerrin James, who apparently wants to be released but the team won’t let him go. His agent Drew Rosenhaus maintains that he won’t be a distraction.

Edgerrin James

Since this is Drew Rosenhaus saying this, let me translate for you, Cardinals fans: this is going to be a massive, season-crushing distraction. Glad I could help. I still don’t know what team would be interested in a running back who is an old, beat-up 30 but plays about 40. Unless the Detroit Lions are in the market.

Finally, let’s transition from the unethical oiliness of Drew Rosenhaus (when a character based on you is so loathsome and unlikable that they need Jay Mohr to play you, that’s not a good mark on your character) to someone on the moral high ground: golfer J.P. Hayes. You might have heard that he DQed himself from PGA Tour Qualifying School after realizing that he had accidentally used a prototype ball during a round.

That’s pretty impressive moral fiber - it’s better than how I felt when I found someone’s wallet and resisted the urge to use their Shell gas card to by smokes even though I was broke and totally need some.

ESPN.COM’s Jason Sobel speculates that Hayes’ good sportsmanship could bring some good karma, as tournament sponsors will likely be lining up to offer the two-time Tour winner exemptions into their tournaments.

Other sports miscellanea from overnight:

  • KTRK-TV passes along word that those Texas cheerleaders who are accused of using feces to haze the JV squad have been indicted and are facing trial. Looks like something’s really hit the fan for them.
  • Morton Ranch High School cheerleaders

  • Top Rank boxing promoter Todd duBoef rips the ending to the Randy Couture vs. Brock Lesnar UFC Heavyweight Title fight, telling the LOS ANGELES TIMES that it looked “nothing more than a tough man contest” and that there is “no way it’s safer than boxing.” UFC President Dana White responds by telling the MMA EXPERTS BLOG that Top Rank chief Bob Arum is “95 years old and senile.” Let’s give this round to White, 10-8.
  • How does Mike Mussina plan on celebrating his first-ever 20-win season? Ken Rosenthal of FOX says he’ll do so by retiring.
  • Want tickets to the big Utah vs. BYU game? How about coughing up $1,600 each, asks the DESERET NEWS? I guess when you don’t drink, your have to spend the beer money somewhere.
  • The HOUSTON CHRONICLE says that Donald Driver’s father is in critical condition, two days after he was allegedly beaten by cops arresting him on outstanding traffic warrants. A family spokesman says one of the cops may have gone to school with the Packers’ WR and held a grudge.
  • The U.S. breezes past Guatemala 2-0 to finish up the semifinal round of World Cup qualifying. But as GOAL.COM notes, the big story is that Freddy Adu (is he really still only 19?) scored his first goal for the National Team during the match on a rather impressive free kick:
  • Toronto probably aren’t getting the Bills any time soon - in fact, FOOD COURT LUNCH thinks the NFL is going to London before Toronto. So they’ve provided their Canadian brethren with a handy British lingo guide.
  • What do you have in common with the NFL? You both probably want 49ers coordinator Mike Martz to shut up: CBS SPORTSLINE says he was fined $20,000 by the league for whining about a “quick spot” of the ball on the team’s final play against the Cardinals a few weeks ago.
  • The CHARLESTON CITY PAPER notes that four Charleston Southern football players are charged with allegedly robbing a couple at gunpoint for a whopping $35.
  • The TENNESSEAN reports that eight players from a Knoxville high school football team were arrested in a shoplifting ring that involved $9,000 in stolen merchandise, putting their status for their playoff game this week in doubt. Do you think?

Which rivalry game are you most interested in watching this week?

View Results