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H2O Man

H2O Man's Journal
H2O Man's Journal
April 25, 2013

Boxing (4-27)

April 27
At Buenos Aires, Argentina (HBO): Sergio Martinez vs. Martin Murray, 12 rounds, for Martinez's lineal/WBC middleweight title

At Ontario, Calif. (HBO): Cristobal Arreola vs. Bermane Stiverne, 12 rounds, WBC heavyweight eliminator

At Brooklyn, N.Y. (Showtime): Danny Garcia vs. Zab Judah, 12 rounds, for Garcia's WBC/WBA junior welterweight title; Peter Quillin vs. Fernando Guerrero, 12 rounds, for Quillin's WBO middleweight title; Daniel Jacobs vs. Keenan Collins, 10 rounds, middleweights

At Sheffield, England (Showtime, same-day tape): Amir Khan vs. Julio Diaz, 12 rounds, welterweights

There are five good fights on television on Saturday, and -- time permitting -- coverage of a sixth bout that is of interest in the boxing community.

Rather than post one long preview of all the boxing matches, I thought that I'd attach a post on each for this thread, after beginning with the schedule here, in the OP.

2013 has gotten off to an outstanding start in the Great Sport. I expect that Saturday's bouts will continue the high-quality fights that we've been seeing.

April 21, 2013

Pond Vibrations

Until the philosophy which hold one race superior
And another
Is finally
And permanently
And abandoned -
Everywhere is war -
Me say war.

That until there no longer
First class and second class citizens of any nation
Until the color of a man's skin
Is of no more significance than the color of his eyes -
Me say war.

That until the basic human rights
Are equally guaranteed to all,
Without regard to race -
Dis a war.

That until that day
The dream of lasting peace,
World citizenship
Rule of international morality
Will remain in but a fleeting illusion to be pursued,
But never attained -
Now everywhere is war - war.
-- Bob Marley; War

This is a strange time. Maybe it’s always that way. In a sense, every action results in an opposite reaction. Still, it seems to me that on several levels, the negatives are gaining momentum, and at a pace that the positives haven’t caught up to.

There are exceptions, of course. The outpouring of positive vibrations in Boston is the obvious example. I continue to see where people question what motivated two young men to strike out in such a vicious manner. The answer is obvious: hatred. In the United States, And, on one hand, this country has not had much experience with the dynamic of this type of gross violence in its city streets.

On the other hand, in the past fifty years, there has been domestic terrorism aimed at specific groups of people. There were bombings of churches; the Weathermen; Tim McVeigh; the bombing of clinic that provide women with healthcare; and murderous attacks on people targeted for ethnic, religious, and sexual identity. So many people have the experience of being terrorized for simply being human beings.

I read about Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s comments regarding Israel and Iran today. Obviously, I do not know Chuck Hagel, but my impression is that he’s not a hateful person. Yet, his level of being is that of an agent of violence. James Carroll’s classic 2006 book “House of War” documents how being a cog of the pentagon changes even those who enter it with hopes of instituting change.

So long as people think they can defeat hatred with violence -- and I am not denying that human beings have the right to self-defense -- then hatred and violence will continue, with no end in sight. Yet, as overwhelming as the problems we face today seem, we all have the ability to stop participating in the hateful and violent ways that threaten (and often terrorize) the people around the earth.

Being non-violent and refusing to hate doesn’t equal a silent acceptance of victimhood. It isn’t that there is not a need for law and order, if there is to be social justice. Common sense gun laws are a good example. If the young man in Boston lives, he has the right to a fair trial; if he is found guilty, he should face the consequences.

Likewise, I believe that if there was real law and order, justice would demand that the Dick Cheneyites must face consequences. For it is that type of person who initiates violence and warfare on the global scale. And they rarely face consequences: they send ignorant young adults -- sometimes in large, uniformed (thus, depersonalized) groups, sometimes as individuals -- to carry vicious attacks upon groups no different than the good people of Boston who were watching the marathon.

These are some of the things I think about, while sitting out near my pond on a bright spring day. I’m enjoying watching both the fish and birds consume the food that I’ve brought out for them. I’m doing some writing, too (mostly on the book, but also this essay that I may post on DU.) And I have some dry firewood between the pond and cabin, and I’ll start a fire soon. Tonight, I’ll listen to the beautiful song of the peeper-frogs.

Tomorrow, I will be relaxed and rested, and return to the struggle for social justice.

H2O Man

April 18, 2013

Ride a Lama

“Man sometimes thinks he’s been elevated to be the controller, the ruler. But he’s not. He’s only part of the whole. Man’s job is not to exploit, but to oversee, to be a steward. Man has responsibilities, not power. …

“One of the Natural Laws is that you’ve got to keep things pure. Especially the water. Keeping water pure is one of the first laws of life. If you destroy water, you destroy life.”
-- Onondaga Chief Oren Lyons

My friend was surprised when I knocked on his door. We’ve been friends since grade school, but had not seen one another for over a decade. He had introduced me to the Super Fund Site in Sidney Center in 1980, and now I was handing him the health survey that is part of the epidemiological study of the village of Sidney. Though time is a straight line, life is a series of circles.

He said that three years ago, my name had come up in a discussion he had among friends. One of them told him that I had died a few years back. I told him that he was the third person who has told me that, but that I was convinced it was merely a false rumor. He laughed and said that after hearing it, he had contacted my sister, to say how sorry he was. She said that I hadn’t died, which seems to confirm my suspicions about the nature of this particular rumor.

My friend resides in one of the nicer neighborhoods, at least by appearances’ sake. Attractive middle class houses with well-kept lawns and gardens on quiet village streets. But there were numerous people who invited me into their homes, to discuss the reality of living on the edge of a toxic industrial waste dump site. Some told me stories about a family member fighting cancer; others told me that they were fighting it now.

One was an old acquaintance from decades past. He recognized me, but could not place me in context from our previous interactions. As we talked, I could see that he had difficulty with his mind. Fighting cancer does that sometimes. We spoke for about half an hour, until he became too tired. He wanted me to stay, though, and so I said that I’d come back to visit him sometime soon, when I’m not going door-to-door.

As I approached a house on the next block, I could hear a man listing some chores to a teenaged boy. Although it was finally a warm spring day in upstate New York, the man’s tone struck me as grumpy. He asked me what I wanted, in a less than chipper tone. When I told him, he responded, “Well, you better hurry the fuck up, before everyone is dead.”

At first, he thought that I was working for the town. I explained that I wasn’t, and that I doubted that I was likely to win an outstanding citizen award from those “community leaders” that he did not trust. But the more I told him about the study, the friendlier he became. Eventually, he invited me into his house, explaining that he wanted to introduce me to his wife.

She was on a cot in their living room, watching television. She has been fighting cancer, and is nearing the end. Although she was too weak to talk, as her husband told her who I was and what I am doing, she raised her head slightly and smiled. The fellow asked me to sit down, and if I wanted anything to drink or eat? I said that I should get back to my duties, and he followed me back outside. He asked me if I could assist people who wanted to sue the industry that poisoned their homes and properties? He said it wasn’t about money, so much as being able to move to a safe environment. I told him that I would stop back with some information, including legal contacts, for him and others he knew.

In the last week of February, two of my friends died of cancer. Both had worked at the industry that polluted in Sidney. The brother of one, who I’ve been close friends with for many years, is fighting the same type of cancer. Add in two siblings, and a couple of extended family members, and it seems like cancer is everywhere I look.

I try not to let one issue saturate my mind. I stay busy with school board responsibilities, especially now that it is “budget time.” Also, a citizens group from another town in another county has asked me to assist them in planning a law suit against the state; I did some research, and provided them with two good legal firms. They contacted both, and both firms expressed interest in their case.

Still, I found my mind getting as tired as my old and aching bones. I needed a vacation. For me, a “good” vacation -- in which I can relax and rest -- is more often in time than in distance. So I decided to take some time and walk in an area rich in human history. It’s an area where Mohawk leader Joseph Brant had a camp site during the Revolutionary War.

Among other things, I found a Madison point -- a triangular flint arrowhead, dating to about 1,500 ad. Then a Lamoka javelin point, which had been made some 4,000 + years ago. But mainly, I found things like pottery shards, knives, and scrappers, which would have been used by women. Also, a unique stone bowl, with sections ground into the underside for one’s fingers, to hold it securely. My afternoon vacation had taken me to another place in time.

Upon returning home, I decided to check my e-mail -- sure evidence that I had arrived at the present of modern society. One message was from a professor of environmental studies at a Ivy League school in another northeastern state. She wants to interview me, as part of a project to “energize” the grass roots. I am honored that this lady, who I’ve never met (or heard of before) thinks I’m worth talking to.

Another message came from Onondaga, through a couple of Clan Mothers.I’ve got to call to schedule a meeting there in the near future, to discuss grass roots environmental advocacy. We need to add a “new” concept (actually, to update an old one) in the struggle to keep the water supply as pure as possible.

Time moves in a straight line; life goes in cycles.

H2O Man

April 14, 2013

Boxing: April 13

April 13
At New York (HBO): Nonito Donaire vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux, 12 rounds, WBO/WBA junior featherweight title unification.

If you get a chance, tune in to tonight’s “big fight” on HBO at 11 pm/est. It features two of the most outstanding boxers of this era, and is definitely the best possible match that could be made in the lighter divisions.

Donaire is 30 years old; stands 5’ 5.5”; and has a 68” reach. He turned pro in 2001, and besides losing a decision in his second bout, has been unbeaten. He won the NABF super flyweight title in 2006, but remained largely unknown until he challenged tough Vic Darchinyan in July of ‘07. In an early title defense, Vic had brutally knocked out Donaire’s older brother, and few experts thought Nonito would fare any better. But he won the title with an devastating hook that left the champion unconscious; in an interview in the ring after the bout, Vic couldn’t grasp the fight had ended -- he wanted to keep going!

Donaire has had 13 wins since then, winning 9 by KO. He was the 2012 Fighter of the Year, having defended his title four times. In the first, however, he was held to winning a split-decision over challenger Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr.

His record is 31-1, with 20 knockouts. Donaire is widely recognized as one of the top five “pound-for-pound” champions today.

Rigondeaux is considered one of the greatest amateur stars in boxing history. The Cuban native won Olympic gold in 2000 and 2004, among numerous other titles. His exact record is disputed; however, he won between 250 and 400 bouts, while losing from 3 to 6. Teddy Atlas has called him the best amateur he ever saw, and Freddie Roach considers him the greatest Cuban fighter.

After coming to the USA, Rigondeaux won a world title in his seventh fight. He has had four defenses since then, winning 3 by KO. He is widely recognized as the best body-puncher in the sport today, winning several outstanding bouts with a single, well-placed punch.

The two are both best at counter-punching. Hence, in the early rounds, the fight may be similar to the 11-30-79 fight between welterweight champion Wilfred Benitez and challenger Ray Leonard: both men were cautious, waiting to see who made the first error.

The difference tonight is that both men have “one-punch knockout power.” And while it took Ray 15 rounds to catch up to Benitez (who had only trained for a few days, because he viewed Leonard as an inferior talent), both men will eventually initiate exchanges. It is likely that the first man to make a mistake will be the first one hurt, and possibly knocked out. However, once either is hurt, the other has to be very careful not to run into a counter-punch that ends the fight.

What could be better? This is the type of fight I love!

Enjoy the bout!

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