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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 07:49 PM
Number of posts: 50,533

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Boxing: Golovkin vs Rubio

Tomorrow night, HBO will present Gennady Golovkin vs. Marco Antonio Rubio at 10 pm/est. The bout is being held in Carson, CA, and is for Golovkin’s middleweight “title.” The real middleweight champion is Miguel Cotto; however, most of the boxing community recognizes Golovkin as the best fighter in the division. Should he win, it seems likely that he will be able to secure a bout with one of the bigger names in either the middleweight or super middleweight division.

Going into the bout, it seems probable that the hard-punching Golovkin will win. He was a top amateur, and has won all 30 of his professional bouts -- including 27 by knockout. While he has been ready to fight any middleweight, those who have been ranked higher have thus far refused to step into the ring with him. He is currently the “most avoided” person in the sport.

As a result, Golovkin has been fighting the best of the division who are willing to face him. It came as no surprise that Rubio eagerly agreed to fight Golovkin, who will be making his west coast debut. Rubio, 34, made his pro debut in 2000, and has faced many of the best fighters of his era. While some boxing journalists refer to him as a “journeyman,” it is more accurate to view him as a gate-keeper in the division. Although he has come up short when fighting the very best, he has won 15 of his last 16 bouts -- losing only a 12-round decision to the much larger Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., who entered the ring as a cruiserweight.

Rubio’s record stands at 59-6-1, with 51 knockout victories (and 3 knockout loses). Three of those recent victories came against undefeated young contenders, looking to reach the top of the division. Each of the three ended in a knockout. If you consider him in the context of those last 16 bouts -- the only defeat coming against an opponent who literally was three weight classes higher -- you have a top contender, not a journeyman.

Rubio not only hits hard enough to knock out anyone he hits cleanly, but he has a solid delivery system. More, if he hurts an opponent, he knows how to keep them in serious trouble, until the referee saves his victim from more punishment. That is, of course, the result of having so much high-quality experience.

In the professional ranks, Golovkin has really only been fighting near that top level for about two years. I had the pleasure of watching his American debut from ringside in September of 2012. He was as impressive as advertised. The feature that makes him arguably the most exciting fighter today is his extreme punching power. He can end any fight at any time with a single blow -- and this includes by way of his awesome body blows.

Golovkin is not a physically intimidating fighter, such as a Rubin “Hurricane” Carter. Nor does he seek to mentally destroy his opposition before a bout, as does Bernard Hopkins. Part of the attraction is that, outside the ring, Golovkin is an upbeat, polite, and respectful individual, with a happy, somewhat toothy grin. If you saw him in a public setting, he hardly resembles what might be expected of the most feared man in the sport.

Indeed, even while engaged in a fight, Golovkin never appears to be loading up on a punch. Thus, the punches that can end a bout seem almost effortless. Watching him perform from a ringside seat provides for a much better opportunity to gauge his power. When I saw him hitting tough Gregorz Proksa (who was 28-1, with 21 knockouts), he was raising welts with his body attack. He scored knockdowns in rounds 1, 4, and 5. Proksa was brave indeed, and was absorbing brutal punishment before the fight was stopped in round five. I remember very well how the crowd gave out collective groans as Golovkin was landing vicious punches in rounds four and five.

The crowds attending boxing cards do not, as a general rule, strike me as a compassionate lot. Too often, those who purchase tickets believe that they are entitled to bloodshed. However, when the referee ended the assault on a bloodied, dazed Proksa, everyone had seen enough. And those who truly understand the sport knew that they had just watched a special talent.

Golovkin is heavily favored to win tomorrow night’s fight. And most likely, he will not only win, but accomplish that victory by way of knockout. Here’s why I think that:

First, throughout his career, Rubio has been a slow-starter. He rarely enters the ring fully warmed-up. There is always a risk of being “caught cold” when you haven’t properly warmed-up. Rubio’s first two loses (against opponents who’s combined records were 35-1) came within two rounds. And, in other bouts, he has been hurt -- though he stayed on his feet -- in the first round. Clearly, Golovkin is the wrong guy to fight if not fully prepared. (The three minutes that constitute a round in boxing are far, far longer if you are the fellow being hurt inside that ring!)

Assuming Rubio goes a few rounds, viewers will notice that Gennady Golovkin is a very patient fighter. He has a very high level of “ring intelligence.” Thus, he pursues an opponent like a predator, aware of their every move, seeking to force them into making a mistake. The pressure he puts on forces an opponent to try to keep him at a safe distance, although there is no safety zone inside that ring. Perhaps most impressively, Golovkin has the ability to punch “between” his opponent’s punches with great accuracy. This includes the ability to place his punches (which is distinct from, for example, James Kirkland, the other guy about the same size with extreme power).

I think that it is most likely to end with Golovkin’s superior hand-speed, allowing him to counter Rubio during an exchange somewhere between 4 and 6 rounds. At this point, I’d favor Golovkin over any middleweight. The only two fighters that I think could beat him in 2015 would be Andre Ward at super middleweight, and Floyd Mayweather, Jr., at a “catch weight” between junior middleweight and middleweight. However, in a year’s time, he will be reaching his peak, and potential fights with those two would need to be re-evaluated.

This doesn’t mean that Golovkin is flawless. He is not. And, just as Rubion can’t afford to make any mistake in the ring, neither can Golovkin. Rubio’s best chance will be to try to move Gennady backwards. If he can do this -- even part of the time -- he will be looking to land a hard shot at the end of an exchange -- especially if Golovkin steps straight back. If that happens, look for the boxing journalists to call it “the upset of the year.”

Enjoy the fight!

The Lost Hosts Awaken

“Oh say, can you see it’s such a mess;
Every inch of Earth is a fighting nest;
Giant pencil and lip-stick tube shaped things
Continue to rain and cause screaming pain …”
-- Jimi Hendrix

The 2014 elections are almost upon us. The very least that all citizens should do is vote. Never take the right to vote for granted, because as we have witnessed over the past decades, there are forces at work that seek to deny people the right to vote. Voting is more than a “right,” it is a responsibility. We should vote in each and every election.

Vote your conscience. Vote based upon your values. If you believe in voting the straight party line, good. If you vote, based upon each individual candidate, good. Vote for democracy, vote for social justice. Vote in every national, state, and local election.

Yet informed voting is the minimum of the rights and responsibilities we have as citizens. If we are indeed “informed,” than we recognize that while voting is important, it is surely not the solution to the many problems facing our culture. It is of value in terms of many of the individual issues that are important -- from voting rights to reproductive rights, from marriage equality to public education. The advances made in these areas are as significant as the right-wing reaction to them is dangerous. We can not afford to take them for granted.

Still, within our own life-times, we are witnessing a negative transformation of our nation, from an admittedly imperfect constitutional democracy, to a high-tech feudal state. The symptoms of our social pathology range from never-ending wars, the destruction of the living environment, to economic injustice, to hundreds of commercials for medicines to ease the pain of existence.


“Seraphim, the lost hosts awaken.”
-- James Joyce

Frequently, when I discuss “systems” on DU:GD, I use the model of a mobile, like those that hang over an infant’s cradle. If we think of the United States as a mobile, it certainly isn’t one that we should hang over the heads of future generations. It isn’t a balance of bright Sesame Street characters. Rather, it is a military-police state, which consumes massive amounts of energy, and emit’s the toxins of anxiety, depression, fear, and hatred.

Individuals and sub-groups definitely do contain human goodness: an obvious example is found in the medical community’s ability to cure disease. Still, the economic system creates inequity in people’s ability to access healthcare. More, when the greed of the few relies upon the defiance of Natural Law, not only is “preventative healthcare” snatched away from much of the public, but the life-support systems are poisoned.

So long as “war” is the central organizing force in our nation, it will remain impossible to institute social justice. There are certainly advances that have been made -- for example, the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and ‘60s made real progress. Yet, it seems like every week, there are news reports of another murder of a young black man, by either a police officer or a George Zimmerman fantasy cop. The war mobile, by definition, demands an “us versus them” mentality. Indeed, this was what Dr. King spoke of in his April 4, 1967 address at the Riverside Church. He took a holistic approach to the war in Vietnam, racism, and poverty. He noted that unless America underwent a radical revolution in values, wars like that in Vietnam would continue to take place in other regions of the world.

When one piece attempts to shake the mobile, the other pieces become entrenched; if the single piece continues to threaten the balance of power, it is removed from the mobile. King, of course, understood his fate. But he believed his sacrifice could awaken the sleeping giant, and motivate thousands of the little pieces on that mobile to create a shift in its balance.

If that radical revolution in values was important in 1968, it is a thousand times more urgent today. Again: none of the serious problems we are confronted with can be fully resolved, so long as we remain a military-police state. For such a state must create an “us versus them” level of consciousness, that saturates large portions of society. We are divided by sex, sexuality, “race,” economics, religion, and political and social ideology, among others.

The external mirrors the internal: this country fears and hates; it is feared and hated by others; and it literally becomes fear and hatred in essence.

We have been lied to since our early childhood. You and I have been taught to believe in “leaders.” Hence, we continue to believe that those in Washington, DC, can change the direction our culture is headed in. This, despite the sad fact that, as the pace builds momentum, the overall quality of elected “leaders” drops in quality, ethics, morals, and conscience. Indeed, as long as we head in that direction, this cannot be otherwise. Still, despite the evidence that is daily shoved in our faces, we expect otherwise.

Real change -- the absolute transformation required to begin to move our nation in a different, healthy, life-sustaining direction -- can only come from the “bottom” up. From the grass roots. From putting into practice our “inner-Dr. King.” For while Dr. King was a powerful man, the measure of his power’s ability to institute meaningful change was found in the masses of people who stood with him.

Birmingham, for example, did not change because one inspired human being told the Truth. It changed, because hundreds and thousands of people understood the Truth he told, and internalized it, and then acted accordingly. These people were willing to sacrifice, to make change. This required more than a willingness to face the brute force of Bull Connor, and his thugs, dogs, and fire hoses. It was more than their willingness to go to jail. For in order to be willing to take those brave steps, they had accepted King’s teachings that they had to be willing to sacrifice their feelings of anger, resentment, and hatred of their oppressors and the system that sought to dehumanize them. Indeed, King taught that these negative emotions dehumanized them.

We can change America. We can create that revolutionary transformation that Dr. King spoke of. But we cannot accomplish this by investing all of our energies in the same manners that fuels the negative, that builds the momentum that is hurling us in the wrong direction. It is a human potential, on the individual and group levels. And it takes the exact same amount of energy to add to the positive force, as to the negative.

That said, the only real question is: how far are you willing to go?

Thank you,
H2O Man

Hey! (Yes, You!)

(Ab)normally, I post about boxing here. Tonight's an exception.

Instead, I want to talk about high school sports. Rural, small school sports.

My youngest daughter's soccer team just played a team that, for over a decade, has been one of the best soccer teams in upstate New York. And her team won. Not only that, but they won because my little girl stepped up, and played the best game ever.

I've sat ringside, to watch Ali versus Frazier. I've watched lots of sports. Championship teams.

Tonight ranks.

"Kids for Cash"

Here is a link to something that I believe will be of interest to the DU community:

http://kidsforcashthemovie.com/blog/

I’ve been friends with Tanya’s family since the mid-1960s. (All three of her brothers were good amateur boxers.) This has to do with her outstanding work with the juvenile justice system, an area of our society that needs reform.

Thank you.
H2O Man

Systems & Secret Service

The recent attention given to the failures of the Secret Service is troubling, indeed; yet it has the potential to bring about positive changes before a national tragedy occurs. Even the current director was unable to make the case that things are improving, when she testified before a congressional committee yesterday. In fact, a leak to the media documented that she was not fully honest in her testimony regarding recent shortcomings.

It is -- obviously -- unacceptable to have this series of failures at any time. But it is especially troubling when these events take place at a time when the threats against the current president are at an all-time high. Although one can only speculate as to why events are unfolding exactly as they are, there are two general theories that tend to explain what we are witnessing. By no coincidence, the two have some degree of overlap.

The first of these is “systems.” The Secret Service was formed in the 1800s, as a branch of the Treasury Department, to focus on counterfeiting. It soon was tasked with providing protection to the President of the United States. Hence, it can accurately be described as a bureaucracy, which is important in two senses. First, a bureaucracy is simply a system that seeks to identify the most common solution to a given problem among a group of people -- in this case, those who would seek to create fake money, and those who seek to harm the president.

The second system’s dynamic is that, as a general rule, all bureaucracies seek to expand. In the context of government agencies, we see this at “budget time,” when the heads of agencies request more funding for current programming, as well as for new programs that they claim are necessary to meet new circumstances. Thus, the tensions between those holding the purse strings, and the agencies requesting more funds.(There is evidence, in this case, that the recent republican “shut down” of the federal government may be an important factor in recent events.)

Within the larger bureaucracy of the Secret Service, our attention should be focused primarily upon that section tasked with protecting President Obama and his family. Specifically, we should consider those employed at the level of guarding the White House and President Obama as he travels. In doing so, I would start with the idea that most, if not all, of those taking that job do so for good reasons. That job demands that, if called upon by circumstance, the individual will lay down his or her life to protect the president.

From that starting point, one can recognize that the job involves a potential for high levels of stress. The individual must maintain a high level of alertness. This, despite the fact that on the average day, no drastic incident takes place. Such jobs, by design, tend to take a toll upon the individual. Though not an excuse, it is the explanation of much of the bad behaviors that have taken place over the years, including the heavy drinking and associated misdeeds reported in recent years.

This does not imply that all of the agents are burned out, and hung over on the job. But it can be enough of a problem to make for some “weak links” in the security details, which compromises its effectiveness. And it could explain how a “lone nut” was able to enter to enter the White House.

The other school of thought focuses more on how a group of people who strongly oppose President Obama might seek to exploit the weak links in the system, either to intimidate or harm him. I suspect that every thinking American would recognize that recent events might embolden foreign enemies of the United States to attempt to harm President Obama. More, while it is uncomfortable to think about, there may be domestic interests -- beyond the lone wolf, Lee Harvey Oddball -- who could have similar intents.

Indeed, the amount of sheer hatred that is being aimed at President Obama helps to create a very dangerous climate. It goes way, way beyond the sport of politics. I recognize that politics isn’t a pillow fight, but far too much of the republican opposition -- mostly aimed towards the unhinged members of the Tea Party -- has saturated our nation with a clinically paranoid form of hatred. It appeals to racism and violence. It is purposeful, and it, too, is systematic.

As I’ve noted here in the past, I like to view “systems” by using the model of a mobile, such as those used to hang over an infant’s crib. In the context of the US, each government system makes one piece of a larger mobile; likewise, the US is a piece of the global mobile. Those of us residing in the US who are appalled by the fear and hatred all around us need to consider the option of a truly non-violent, peace movement. It won’t repair the Secret Service, of course, but it would add a much-needed piece to the US mobile. Our future hangs in the balance.

Peace,
H2O Man

War Pheromones

If a person decides to swat a hornets’ nest with a stick, there is a very good chance that she/he will learn a harsh lesson: the hornets will rapidly swarm, and sting that person to protect their nest. In fact, the hornets will likely sting anyone with that person, as well as unsuspecting people in the general area.

President Obama’s policy of bombing Isis is, in my opinion, similar to the swatting of a hornets’ nest. As has happened in the past, when the US attacks people in their own lands, they tend to attack back. This has included attacking US forces, those who are there supporting us, and those who simply are in the region.

If we consider 9/11, for example, we see that Usama bin Laden had demanded that US forces leave Mecca and the surrounding area. This is not to imply this was the only reason for the attack, much less a justification. But it is one of the primary reasons that al Qaeda opted to attack the United States, inside of the United States.

Although President Obama maintains that there will be no US “boots on the ground” in Iraq or Syria, there are already special forces in place. Once Isis reacts to the current bombing with an attack -- most likely on US interests outside of the country -- the demand for retribution will bring American troops into the war. It would be foolish to think that if we venture down this path, that we will avoid reaching that destination.

Perhaps the most troubling dynamic at this time is the number of Americans who express support for the bombing of Isis, while not believing that it will prove successful. Like Isis, they are responding to the pheromones of war, only as a docile swarm.

War & the Constitution

C-SPAN 2 is replaying a 9-16 debate on the role of war, Congress, the president, and the Constitution now (6 pm/est). It looks to be well worth watching, although the two panelists -- John Yoo and Bruce Fein -- may represent a limited scope in viewpoints.

Is anyone else watching this? Or watched it before?

Peace,
H2O Man

The War Machine

In reading discussions on DU:GD in the past few days, it is evident that -- as in the rest of the country -- there is a divide between those who support President Obama’s actions versus Isis, and those who are opposed to the “newest” war. Although I am generally opposed to the current march to war, I recognize that many of the Obama supporters make valid, important points. One area where I disagree is where a friend noted his belief that it is incorrect to compare the current conflict to the Bush-Cheney attack on Iraq, and/or the Vietnam War.

I’m reminded of one of my favorite quotes, from the Persian Sufi poet Jalal-ad-din Rumi: “This world and yonder world are incessantly giving birth: every cause is a mother, its effect the child. When the effect is born, it too becomes a cause and gives birth to wonderous effects. These causes are generation on generation, but it needs a very well lighted eye to see the links in their chain.”

President Obama is without question a highly intelligent human being. The combination of his intellect, and his promise to effect change within our system of government, created great excitement in 2008. In particular, I believed his stance on the Bush-Cheney policy of military aggression was essential for getting the United States on a positive track.

Now, however, as he pursues a path that was perhaps forced upon him, in the sense that the dynamics in the Middle East include problems that are a direct result of Bush-Cheney, it seems fair to ask if, rather than him changing the system, has the system changed him?

The United States is neither the source of all good, or all bad, in the world today. Our role truly has been a mixed bag of very good and very bad. I believe that it is fair to say that more of that good has resulted from the actions of the Democratic Party, and more bad from the republicans. Yet, in a very real sense, those at the top of both parties have acted as advocates for corporate interests. It would be impossible, for example, to have a firm grasp of American policy in the Middle East, without recognizing and taking into account the influence of oil.

Likewise, there are benefits to understanding “systems.” When a person is placed within a system, either willingly or unwillingly, where he/she finds many things that are highly offensive, unless that person can simply drop out, they tend to follow a general path. First, they observe the system; then they begin to evaluate it for its strengths and weaknesses. They attempt to identify those regions within the system that are comfortable to them. They look for areas to stand their ground, and also areas where they are willing to compromise. In time, they become acclimated to the system, and begin to accept the limitations on their ability to change it. In time, they come to accept the system, including both its positive and negative features. Eventually, they become comfortable enough to accept the system for what it is, and become part of it.

It would be foolish to think that Obama could serve two terms as president, and not become part of the very system that, as a candidate, he promised to change. Yet, it would be equally foolish to believe that, because he is president, that our system’s approach in the current conflict will be significantly different than that of Bush-Cheney. The chances of this “new” war policy, as it unfolds over the coming years, having a different outcome seem rather small. Indeed, even the promise that there will be no American boots on the ground is a lie: special forces are there already, in the role of “advisors” -- exactly as we had “advisors” in Vietnam during the Eisenhower and Kennedy years.

Judging by the polls I’ve seen reported on the news, the majority of Americans support the President’s decision to bomb Isis in Iraq and Syria -- even though they do not think the outcome will be successful. Perhaps this is the result of the system’s conditioning, for few in the House and Senate are challenging the administration. Indeed, even the media is portraying the new war as our nation’s only viable option.

5 Questions (re: "good" democrats)

One of the things that I find most interesting on this forum is the discussion of what makes a person a “good democrat” -- including opinions on party loyalty. I do not believe that there are rigid rules that define the answer. Indeed, the differences of opinion, and even the different value systems that individuals may have, makes the Democratic Party far more interesting than the republican party.

Yesterday, I read Tavis Smiley’s new book, “Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Final Year.” King was, of course, a registered republican up until the 1960 presidential election. The democratic candidate, Senator John F. Kennedy, reached out to Mrs. King while Martin was incarcerated -- the situation posed a serious risk to King’s safety -- and by doing so, won the support of King and his father. The support of black citizens would give Kennedy the margin of victory in an extremely close contest.

King would go on to have a close, though sometimes tense, working relationship with LBJ when Johnson became president. Despite FBI Director Hoover’s obsessive warning that King was a “communist” and “sexual pervert,” LBJ would maintain close contact with the civil rights leader, and invite him to the White House several times. Even as King began to connect issues of race with poverty, President Johnson considered him to be a reliable supporter. And King recognized Johnson’s civil rights legislation as historic, and LBJ’s dream of a “Great Society” promising.

Yet, in 1967 -- against the advice of the majority of his associates -- King had connected the war in Vietnam with racism and unjust economic policies. LBJ began to ignore King. No more phone calls, much less invitations to the White House. In time, the president would come to side with Hoover; hence King, now considered a threat to national security, was monitored by military intelligence.

Thus, in January of 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr., would call his first press conference of the year. In it, Dr. King expressed several beliefs that many advisors thought were “risky.” Among them were the following:

-- he attacked the US Department of Justice for indicting Benjamin Spock and William Sloane Coffin for actively assisting young men in opposing the draft;

-- he expressed support for Senator Eugene McCarthy’s run against LBJ in the democratic primaries; and

-- he criticized Senator Robert Kennedy for not opposing the war as frequently or loudly as King believed he should.

Thus, my questions to other forum members are: Was King a “good” democrat? Should he have opposed the democrat president publicly? Was he wrong in wanting a choice in the primaries, other than the sitting president? Was he wrong to criticize the Justice Department? And was he wrong for attempting to pressure Senator Kennedy to speak out forcefully against the war in Vietnam?

Thank you,
H2O Man

"Unchecked Abuse of Presidential Power"

Last month, the University Press of Kansas published “Iran-Contra: Reagan’s Scandal and the Unchecked Abuse of Presidential Power,” by Malcolm Byrnes. The 448-page book documents, among other things, the central role that Ronald Reagan played in the illegal activities his administration engaged in, on opposite sides of the globe. More, it shows that Vice President George Bush was an active participant in these crimes.

I believe that the book -- based on over 15 years of research, and containing numerous, never before published documents -- is essential reading. This is not because Reagan and Bush were criminals who damaged our constitutional democracy, for we already knew that. Rather, it is a “must read” because our nation’s current policies in the Middle East are a direct consequence of the crimes of the Reagan administration.

This includes the shady role of international weapons merchants, and intelligence officers from several of the countries that are “in the news” today. Thus, while some of the faces may have changed, the agencies and governments involved then, are involved now. Also, some of those involved in the congressional investigation of the Iran-Contra scandals would continue to subvert the Constitution, and keep the United States involved in the never-ending wars in the Middle East -- Dick Cheney being perhaps the most significant.

Indeed, that congressional investigation is among the most cowardly betrayals of the Constitution in our nation’s history. As I noted in an essay here last week, one of Congress’s primary responsibilities is to inform the public. The Senate’s Watergate investigation remains the best example of this educational function in recent history. Indeed, the Senate Committee’s final report includes a good bit of information on this requirement. Congress’s later investigations into the intelligence community’s gross abuses of power, though flawed, were also good examples.

A decade later, those selected for the congressional investigation were primarily motivated to protect the presidency of Ronald Reagan. They also failed to pursue VP Bush’s major role in the criminal activities. Hence, the Congress’s oversight responsibilities, which were a key part of uncovering the wide range of crimes known collectively as “Watergate,” were severely damaged by the events of Iran-Contra. While Dick Cheney played the central role in that, the fact is that democrats went along willingly -- even though the issues involved were as much a reason to impeach, as anything that Nixon did.

That failure resulted in the failure of Congress to take action relating to the Plame Scandal, which should definitely have resulted in VP Cheney’s being impeached. Nor did they ever address the purposeful lies of the Bush administration, that resulted in the invasion of Iraq.

There is zero chance of a future administration (I am purposely not speaking about President Obama at this time) operating in the manner defined by the Constitution, when neither house of Congress fulfills its duties. This isn’t to imply that pre-Nixon, everything was working wonderfully. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.’s book, “The Imperial Presidency,” documents the history of the executive office’s abuse of powers, always relating to “war powers.” However, events from the post-Nixon era do show a definite failure on the part of Congress to honor the oath of office, and to honor the Constitution.
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