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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: Immortality
Middletown’s Bertoni is 4 wins away from 4 titles, state-wrestling immortality – Frederick News Post (subscription)
Posted: March 4, 2017 at 1:14 am
In between matches earlier this month at the state wrestling duals, Danny Bertoni bites into an oversized chocolate cookie with orange frosting.
In another hour, Bertoni, a senior at Middletown High School, will pin Sparrows Points John Harris in 1 minute, 4 seconds at 138 pounds, helping the Middletown wrestling team to a 56-19 victory and its second consecutive state duals championship in Class 2A-1A and raising his own record in high-school matches to an astonishing 171-2.
In another month, Bertoni will be chasing state history as he seeks to become the first wrestler from Frederick County and sixth in Maryland history to win four individual state championships.
But all of those things seem pretty far from his mind at the moment.
Sitting in the first row of bleachers at North Point High School in Waldorf, wearing a dark warmup jacket over his singlet, the wrap on his hands for recent thumb and wrist injuries still fresh from the state duals semifinals, Bertoni is light-heartedly asked if he should be munching on a cookie with another big match pending.
He smiles, raises his eyebrows and says, Probably not.
It is, however, in accordance with his every-man charm that makes Bertoni as likable as he is successful.
If you walked into the same room as Danny, you might not know he was there, Adam Bain, a friend, teammate and regular training partner said. He is not going to be bragging about his accomplishments or anything.
In fact, all of Bertonis well-earned accolades in high school wrestling alone three state titles, four regional championships, four county titles, the most wins ever for a Frederick County wrestler command a spotlight he does not actively seek.
I am not a shy person, he says.
But hes not an outwardly expressive one either.
After winning his third state title last March, something only two other Frederick County wrestlers have done, Middletown assistant coach Yank Strube implored him to smile.
He understands the benefit of humility, Bertonis father, Dan, said. He is not going to go out there and make himself a target, talking about what he has done or what he is going to do.
Hence, Bertoni strives to treat every match exactly the same, regardless of its importance. A state final might as well be a nondescript match in the middle of the season in his mind.
Every opponent is treated with the same amount of respect, regardless of skill or experience.
We have always emphasized there are no special matches, his father said. When you make a match special, thats when you are going to start to wrestle differently. No one is more important than the other.
This approach has afforded Bertoni enough margin for error that should he be offered, say, an oversized chocolate cookie with orange frosting in between matches at the state duals, things arent likely to veer off course wildy.
He almost never has to cut weight to compete.
I always told Danny, Expect to win. Prepare for the worst, his father said. If he finds himself in a hole, he has to be able to get out of it.
Bertonis wrestling schedule extends well beyond the high school season into the early part of summer.
It takes him to, among other places, Virginia Beach, where he has placed as high as second in his weight class at the National High School Coaches Association National Wrestling Championships, and Fargo, North Dakota, where a broken nose once prevented him from placing in an Olympic-style national tournament.
However, by the middle of the July, the singlet gets packed away and wont be worn again until the leaves are no longer green.
Bertoni steps out in the backyard of his home in Jefferson and begins to kick the soccer ball around with his friends or his sister, Maria.
In addition to being the schools preeminent wrestler, Bertoni has been a midfielder for Middletowns soccer team, which captured back-to-back 2A state titles in November.
Playing another sport is a foreign concept to most wrestlers of Bertonis caliber. They devote their full time and attention to wrestling and compete year-round.
Soccer season, however, is one of the things that sustains Bertoni going on the mat. It allows him the chance to get away, clear his mind and rest his body.
Wrestling is tough, mentally and physically, Dan Bertoni said. Its not a game. When you are having a bad day in soccer, you can kick it to a teammate, and they can take care of it.
In wrestling, it all falls on your shoulders. There are times when you need to step away from it and rest, mentally and physically.
Dan Bertoni, who was a high school wrestler in upstate New York, has watched a number of kids burn out on the sport by maintaining a schedule that never allowed time for anything else.
He never wanted that for his son.
There are a lot of talented guys out there, he said. They compete all of the time, year in and year out. Then, all of a sudden, they quit the sport. It catches up with them.
For his son to reach his full potential as a wrestler, there had to be an extended break every year.
Its nice to have soccer to get my mind off of things, Danny Bertoni said. It helps me to become a better wrestler. I am just more fresh mentally, more mentally tough.
I just focus a lot better when I do get back in the [wrestling] room [in October]. I want to be back after having that break.
Bertonis matches often seem straight out of a wrestling textbook.
Much like his personality, they are direct, straight-to-the-point affairs, often not stretching beyond one two-minute period. Theres no allowance for any wasted movement or nonsense.
Just watching him wrestle as a freshman, I thought there is a guy who could win four [state] titles, said Catoctin wrestling coach Ryan Green, who works with Bertoni on his Mason Dixon Mat Hawgs club team.
Just because of how technically sound he was, how good he was, not only with wrestling positions. He was just so composed in the big matches.
Bertoni doesnt give opponents much to work with. Hes quick, strong, smart, agile.
While opponents probe for an opening, any sign of weakness, Bertoni is already busy twisting them into a pretzel.
In four years of high-school wrestling, he has yet to lose to anyone from Maryland.
Thats quite an accomplishment in itself, Linganore coach Ben Arneson said. Being able to say you have never lost to a kid from your own state.
Thats not to say there havent been setbacks.
When you wrestle in high-profile tournaments across the country, such as the invitation-only Journeymen Classic in Albany, New York, where Bertoni placed fifth at 135 pounds last October, You are going to lose matches, his father said.
Its the nature of the beast.
Bertonis only two losses in a Middletown singlet occurred in the same building, Mount St. Joseph High School in Baltimore, during one of the toughest tests on the wrestling schedule, the Mount Mat Madness tournament.
After a 44-0 freshman season at 106 pounds, Bertoni arrived at Mount Mat in December 2014 with a raised profile. But he wrestled an admittedly sloppy match against Anthony DeLorenzo of Queen of Peach High School in wrestling-rich New Jersey and lost 3-2 at 126 pounds.
That was a wake-up call, Bertoni said. There was a bunch of things I was doing wrong. Some of my shots werent very clean. I was rushing things.
The following season, during a 46-0 junior season, he won the Mount Mat title at 132 pounds.
In December, a bid for a second consecutive Mount Mat championship was thwarted by one of the top wrestlers in the country, Malcolm Robinson of one of the preeminent programs in the nation, Blair Academy in New Jersey.
Wrestling in the championship final at 138, Robinson scored a rare first-period takedown of Bertoni, and that proved to be enough for a 2-1 win.
Bertoni rode Robinson for the entire second period and then picked up an escape point early in the third. But he could not find the takedown he needed, and Robinson was eventually named the tournaments Outstanding Wrestler.
I learn from the losses, each and every one of them, Bertoni said. They teach me what I can do better, where I can improve.
Some wrestlers look like they want to rip someones head off.
They pace back and forth. They seethe. They just reek of intensity.
Bertoni, on the other hand, comes off as the guy you would want babysitting your kids.
By all accounts, hes humble, hard-working, a good student, the model teammate on and off the mat.
He has always been very level-headed, Yank Strube said. He has never thought of himself as better than anybody else on the team. Thats part of what makes him such a good leader.
Today, Bertoni will walk into the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, a wrestling scholarship to the University of Maryland already in hand, as one of 36 state qualifiers from Frederick County.
His high school record has grown to 177-2, and, with four more victories and no losses, he will join Aberdeens Matt Slutzky (1989), Owings Mills Steve Kessler (1994), Herefords Josh Asper (2005), Southern Garretts George Scheffel (2007) and Centennials Nathan Kraisser (2009) as Marylands four-time state champions.
I think its incredible, something that might happen once in 15 years, Bain said. If it happens, I think everyone there will realize how spectacular an accomplishment that really is. Danny deserves it.
Bertoni is within arms reach of a milestone not even he might have thought was possible back when he was 4 years old and wrestling his first match, barely weighing more than his singlet.
He admittedly didnt know what he was doing in those days. He was just rolling around with the other kids. There was no pressure to win and no heartache or frustration with the losses.
I knew he had potential, his father said. He has been the hardest worker in the room since he was little. Hes always been very coachable. He has an incredible drive and a will to win. I am not surprised he has been successful.
During a jog around a local track in Jefferson with his young son, Dan Bertoni was randomly stopped by a woman who suggested the boy had the look of a good wrestler. Maybe he should give the sport a try.
Now, that same boy is on the verge of becoming one of the states wrestling immortals.
Bertoni is the prohibitive favorite at 138 pounds in Class 2A-1A. Every other wrestler in his bracket has at least four losses this season, or two more than the Middletown standout has in his high-school career.
But, staying true to himself to the final whistle, Bertoni is not taking anything for granted. Nor is his family.
I am trying very hard not to think about [four state titles], his father said. The journey is not over. When you think it is, thats usually when something bad happens. I am a cautious man. I am just hoping Danny can finish this season the best way he knows how.
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Posted: March 1, 2017 at 9:14 pm
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images Chad DundasMMA Lead WriterMarch 1, 2017
UFC President Dana White announced Wednesday that Georges St-Pierres return to the Octagon will be a middleweight title fight against Michael Bispingand, boy, is that going to be an unpopular decision.
Of all the likely candidates for St-Pierres returnincluding superfights against Anderson Silva or Conor McGregorBisping was unilaterally regarded as the least appealing.
In the wake of Whites appearance on ESPNs SportsCenter to confirm this fight, early reviews have been mostly negative:
This unrest is nothing against the 185-pound champion himself but, rather, a compliment to the overall strength of the middleweight division. With top contenders like Yoel Romero and Jacare Souza already beating down Bispings door there was just no good reason to further stymie that divisions already slow-motion title picture.
That is, except for the two reasons that trump all else right now in the eyes of this fight company and these fighters: Money and immortality.
Since winning the title with a surprise knockout of Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 in June 2016, Bisping has eschewed the UFCs official rankings in favor of trying to chase down lucrative matchups for himself. Hes defended the title just once since, against Dan Henderson at UFC 206 four months ago.
You cant blame Bisping for this approach. At 37 years old, hed long been considered a nice cog in the middleweight machine, but not championship material. Here hes got an unprecedented and unexpected chance to earn a nice bonus after 11 years and nearly 30 fights worth of service for the UFC.
And for GSP?
Well, what he gets in his return to the Octagon after a three-year absence is a potentially winnable championship fight, a nice payday and a chance at the history books.
If St-Pierre is able to return to action at 36 years old and win another UFC title in a weight class above his natural division, there will simply be no argument against anointing him the greatest MMA fighter of all time.
Hes already routinely mentioned on the short-list of contenders for that honor alongside former middleweight champion Anderson Silva and former light heavyweight champ Jon Jones. Defeating Bisping would definitively put GSP over the top in that three-horse raceat least for the time being.
Silvas claim to the throne has taken a big hit in recent years.
Back-to-back losses to Chris Weidman at UFCs 162 and 168 signaled the end of his career as a truly elite middleweight, but had Silva walked away then he might still be able to lay credible claim to GOAT status.
Unfortunately, he soldiered on and has gone just 1-4-1 dating back to the beginning of 2013 (that record includes the Weidman losses). His only official win in that span came three weeks ago, in a controversial unanimous decision against middling contender Derek Brunson.
Perhaps most damaging, Silvas win over Nick Diaz at UFC 183 was overturned after he tested positive for two banned substances. Its tough to make any case for greatest-of-all-time seriously from a guy who has tested dirty for performance enhancers.
Jones, meanwhile, is the most gifted athlete and strategist the UFC has ever seen, but has had a hard time keeping himself on the organizations active roster of late.
Hes managed to fight just once a year the past three years and has missed significant time, first while sorting out legal issues stemming from a hit-and-run accident and then after himself testing positive for banned substances during the lead-up to a fight against Daniel Cormier at UFC 200.
Joness claim that the positive test resulted from a tainted dietary supplement was later substantiated by the US Anti-Doping Agency, but as of this writing hes still out serving a one-year suspension.
If Jones can return and win back his light-heavyweight title at age 30 hell still have plenty of time to move past both Silva and St-Pierre for consideration as best ever. That future has never appeared less secure than now, however, as Jones out-of-the-cage transgressions have taken on considerable momentum and have left him facing what might be his last chance with UFC ownership.
For the time being, St-Pierre leads his two closest competitors by a nose. Even before he makes this comeback, the case against him as greatest of all time must be made primarily on style points.
From 2006 to his announced break from the sport at the end of 2013with the exception of roughly one year spent without the title after a fluke loss to Matt Serra at UFC 69he ruled the UFC welterweight division with merciless zeal. He defeated nine consecutive challengers, more often than not taking out the best 170-pound fighters the UFC could find without so much as losing a round.
Critics called it boring, but the truth was, it was amazing. Without any organized background in wrestling, St-Pierre transformed himself from a stand-up oriented, Kyokushin karate stylist to one of the most dominant grapplers in Octagon history.
He beat wrestlers like Matt Hughes, Jon Fitch and Johny Hendricks. He beat potent strikers like Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit. He beat submission aces like Serra (in their rematch at UFC 83), BJ Penn and Jake Shields.
It didnt matter what they did. St-Pierre beat them all.
Meanwhile, his built-in Canadian audience turned him into the UFCs single biggest pay-per-view draw to that point. It was a different time for the UFC, but GSPs PPV numbers are still staggering. He sold an estimated 625,000 PPVs for his fight against Fitch at UFC 87, 770,000 against Dan Hardy at UFC 111 and 800,000 against Shields at UFC 129.
In todays UFC there is next to no one who can consistently provide those kinds of numbers, outside of McGregor.
Thats one place St-Pierres detractors fall flat. The notion that MMA fighters need to be exciting only exists because of the PPV model. Conventional wisdom preaches that fighters need to impress audiences in order to convince them to shell out $60 to watch them fight.
But GSP never had a problem with that. In fact, he did it better than anybody else from his era.
Can he still? That remains to be seen.
His accomplishments to this point are nearly peerless, however. Now, if St-Pierre can return from his lengthy hiatus, defeat Bisping and win another UFC title in a different weight class?
With all due respect to Silva and Jonesand to borrow a phrase from longtime MMA announcer Michael Schiavellothats good night, Irene.
[Estimated pay-per-view numbers courtesy Dave Meltzer's ProWrestling Observer, as compiled at MMA Payout.]
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Posted: February 28, 2017 at 8:07 pm
As a biological researcher studying aging, some of the most common questions I get asked by people are: How can I live forever? or Have you discovered the fountain of youth yet?
I usually reply with some quirky comment about being close to a Nobel Prize-worthy breakthrough in the lab that is going to be huge. But all kidding aside, there are some organisms that are considered biologically immortal, such as bristlecone pines and marine life we can find along Maines coastline (ex: American lobster, and hydras).
Biological immortality is a bit different than true immortality, in which you live forever and never die. A 100-year-old lobster would be massive, most likely weighing 20-plus pounds and be about the size of a toddler. On a side note, there have been several of these large lobsters documented, one in New Brunswick as recent as last November.
Unlike most animals who stop growing upon reaching adulthood, lobster can continue to expand, molt, and even regrow lost appendages regardless of adult age. Their cells possess the ability to regenerate and dont show signs of deterioration with each consecutive cell division. This provides the lobster a youthful internal system, while appearing mature and hardy on the outside. The larger the body, the less likely the lobster will fall prey to predators such as cod, flounder, and dogfish.
Ultimately, the main predator for adult lobster would be humans. This means that even though biologically the lobster has cells that are immortal they can still become our dinner, and thus succumb to their mortality.
But now the wheels are turning, how can humans reach biological immortality?
Research with model organisms from microscopic yeast to large primates indicates that aging can be slowed down, and perhaps one day reach biological immortality. Science is finding that aging really boils down to a few general factors: 1) genetics, 2) environment, and 3) life choices.
Although we have little control over the genes we are given from our parents, we can control some aspects of gene expression. Certain genes are activated upon eating, others while sleeping, and some while exercising, smoking, imbibing, are drug activated or repressed (and the list can go on). What this means is that we might not be able to control what genes we are given at birth but to some extent we can alter the way genes are expressed.
This is where environment and life choices can really impact the rate in which we age. We heed warnings to stay away from environments containing radioactivity as it can cause death with exposure, but the simple act of reducing the amount of calories ingested daily without reducing nutrition has been shown time and time again to slow down aging (at least in model organisms).
Notice I said this was a simple lifestyle change? Which in reality, is not simple at all. I enjoy eating, drinking, and living this mortal life too much to want to restrict my eating so that I can delay aging. Instead, scientists (myself included) are involved in seeking out biological ways to activate the same anti-aging pathway without having to deprive oneself of that slice of cake (remember Nobel Prize in the making).
Perhaps one day we will truly be biologically immortal and can eat our cake, too.
Amber Howard has been an assistant professor of biology at the University of Maine at Augusta since 2015. She is a 2011 Ph.D. graduate of Georgia Regents University, and recent postdoctoral researcher for the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory. She primarily focuses her research and teachings on physiology, disease mechanisms, and the biology of aging.
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Living Immortality, Russian Economy in 2017, How Big Is Russia’s Inequality Gap, and the Kremlin’s Risky Plans – Institute of Modern Russia
Posted: at 8:07 pm
In this weekly media highlights, Alexander Rubtsov reflects on the sad state of affairs in the Russian show business; Andrei Movchan offers his outlook for the Russian economy in 2017; Meduza fact-checks Alexei Navalnys presidential program; Valery Solovey shares his insights on the countrys political developments; and Peter Topychkanov discusses the Kremlins potential response to Donald Trumps nuclear initiatives. If you are interested in receiving this weekly roundup in your mailbox every Friday, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of Russia's most recognized pop-singers Philip Kirkorov who gained popularity in early 90s performs at the New Year's Night show at Channel One. As some experts observe, the fact that there are very few new faces in the country's show business reflects the general conservation trajectory in society. Photo: Dmitry Serebryakov / TASS
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Nathan Andrews helped compile this week's roundup.
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Posted: February 26, 2017 at 11:16 pm
Anna Novikova - February 26th, 2017 12:37 pm
Mila Arutyunyan in Yaroslavl
Mila Arutyunyan in Yaroslavl
No, I wont! You show me your passport, I hear a loud splutter of a drunken teenager. Youre not even Russian, what right do you have to teach me if I can drink or not? Why do I even have to show you my passport to get the booze? Why do you ask me that?, the teenager insists with withering scorn.
Because Im obliged to by law, she responds calmly, while resisting the tears stored up under her long black eyelashes.
The teenager slams the door demonstrably and leaves. She looks back at him and in her eyes, I can see she is remembering the day when, under the shower of bombs, she was forced to leave the mountains behind her.
Her name is Mila. She was born Armenian in Nagorno-Karabakh. Today she works as a cashier at a supermarket.
Mila Arutyunyan Her story by Anna Novikova and Vitaly Vakhrushev
Immediately after the teenager leaves, she is caught up with another client, chatting away and her radiant smile is back again, drowning everything around her with light.
Most of the clients prefer me to other cashiers, she confesses later to me over a cup of tea. People always tell me that I am too kind. So I ask them: what prevents you from being just as kind?, she tells me, gracefully holding her cup in a way that would never let me guess her employment.
What made you so kind? I ask.
She throws a long look out on the dark street and glances back at me with her eyes full of life.
I have spent my childhood under the bombs. Seven years of my life, Anna. The ground was drenched with blood, she stops, takes a sip and drops her voice as if someone could accidentally overhear us. Dont take me wrong, I am not in any way a nationalist. When someone asks me how I feel about the Azerbaijanis, I always say, If that was Gods will, then I must simply accept it. What I cant understand is why someone would start a war with another people. Arent we all the same, arent we all humans? I just cannot understand who makes these decisions that someone is more worthy of living than another.
What did the war teach you?
It taught me to set the priorities. The true, undeniable riches arent countable, Anna. Take my father, for example. He had two houses, carsand then the war took it all away from him. War alters your perspective. You hear about your friends parents being killed, so you start thanking God for yet another day spent with yours. When we came over here to Yaroslavl, it was in November of 1991, and snow dusted the ground already but I had no coat to wear. I was only eighteen and my husband and I were already expecting our first daughter. We didnt have a job and I couldnt even get into a university because I had to leave my school diploma behind. It felt as if we were back in 1941.
By Vitaly Vakhrushev
She tells me with her large, childish eyes, which shine with a special light, making everything she says sound like a fantastic tale.
Simple things like clothes, food and a roof over your head you start appreciating that. I often hear people complain about the economic crisis and I think to myself, They dont know what a real crisis is. Whatever may happen in life, I am prepared to face it. It would be nothing compared to war and utter poverty. And even that I know how to deal with now. I can survive anything. I guess thats what brings me so much freedom and happiness.
Still strong today, her memories take her back to when the Russian troops came to her village.
It was the Defender of the Fatherland Day. I remember we were so grateful for the intervention of Russian soldiers that we simply didnt know how to thank them. We made pies and taught little children to sing Katyusha in Russian.
Isolated in her memory today, 25 years later, the memories of war still bring mixed emotions on her face.
Ill never forget those soldiers. What they did for us will always stay with me. People dont see this now. Money blinds them and they remain unaware of the simple truth that the real prosperity comes from kindness. Thats how you get to live forever, in the hearts of others, and theres nothing more precious than that, she says as I witness a smile entering those dark-lashed eyes.
I watch the silent glow of her angelic aura, feeling I could speak to her for hours and yet, she is the kind of person you want to be silent with. Suddenly I realize, Wouldnt it be wonderful if no words had to be spokenso that we would sit here in silence, feeling each other, gazing into the windows of our souls?
Anna Novikova is an economics Ph.D. and writer, fluent in 5 languages, who has a passion for travel, the arts, music, Russian history, and literature. She has lived, studied, and worked as a translator and interpreter throughout Europe, in London and Washington D.C.
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Posted: February 25, 2017 at 3:19 pm
Fighting McGregor Has any fighters road to boxing immortality been easier or come with more surefire wins than Floyd Mayweathers? Floyd just turned 40 years old. He is officially retired but there can be no doubt that he will be seen in a boxing ring sometime this year, against a man who is an elite combat sport participant but has never once fought as a professional boxer. The money is too good for Conor McGregor and Mayweather to pass it up and the challenge for Maywesather is too easy for Mayweather to decline.
Depending on your age and when you started following boxing, your opinion varies on what you think of Floyd as a fighter. If you were born after say 1982, you most likely started following boxing around 1997, a year after Mayweather made his pro debut. And by the time you were in your mid-twenties, Mayweather was one of the most elite fighters in boxing. Since beating a shopworn and rusty Oscar De La Hoya in 2007, Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao have been the two biggest box office draws in boxing, with Mayweather eventually eclipsing Pacquiao. Today Mayweather is undefeated (49-0, 25 KOs) and arguing his place among the all-time pound for pound greats with fans that never saw the greats circa 1967-2007, is like arguing politics. In other words its a waste of time because the opinions are so far apart.
Instead of going there Ill just say if Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns fought every opponent Mayweather did on the night that he fought them all three would be 49-0 with more than 25 knockouts. Just as if Sonny Liston fought every opponent Rocky Marciano did on the night Rocky fought them Sonny would also be 49-0 with one or two more than the 43 knockouts Marciano recorded.
Most fans who have been around and have seen the greats circa 1967-2007 see Mayweather as a fighter whose undefeated record is due more to brilliant management and matchmaking than to his ability as a fighter. More succinctly put, Mayweather picked his spots. I can name past greats between 1967-2007 who were faster and smarter and more skilled than Mayweather, and if you were around then and saw them you already know their names. However, if youre 35 years old or younger, theres nothing anyone can say thatll convince you there was one, let alone a dozen, fighters greater than Floyd who were active between 1967 and 2007.
Early in Mayweathers career, going back to when he was a prospect, he challenged himself more as a fighter. However, the more he learned about marketing and the more established he became, the less he challenged himself and the more confident he became about promoting himself as an all-timer. Floyd grasped somewhere around 2005 or 2006 that, as long as he could remain undefeated and played the bad guy character, the more the interest there would be in seeing him fight and hopefully lose.Since barely beating De La Hoya in 2007, Mayweather has fought 11 times, but only three opponents Shane Mosely, Miguel Cotto, and Casnelo Alvarez went into the ring with slightly more than a snowballs chance.
Mosley was coming off a significant layoff and the fight in 2010 was five or six years past when beating Shane was a herculean feat. Eight years earlier, Vernon Forrest beat a prime Mosley much more convincingly than Floyd did and at the same weight, yet Forrest never got the accolades for beating him the way Mayweather did. When Floyd fought Cotto, Miguel had only lost twice, but was thrashed by Antonio Margarito, who may have been aided by loaded gloves and by Manny Pacquiao.
Pacquiao stopped Cotto and beat him beyond recognition and there were crickets after the fight. Three years later Cotto gives Mayweather one of the tougher bouts of his career en route to losing a decision and the Mayweather fans were screamingSee, he beat Cotto! And in another genius move, Mayweather fought undefeated Canelo Alvarez when Canelo was still on the way up, before he really blossomed. Not to mention that the style contrast suited Floyd perfectly. In between those bouts he picked his opponents carefully, yes, including Marcos Maidana, who made his name beating Mayweather wannabe Adrien Broner.
Finally, after a six year build-up and conning many fans into believing that he feared a fighter who weighed 106 pounds in his pro-debut, Mayweather agreed to fight Manny Pacquiao in the biggest grossing fight ever. Yes, Pacquiao was an eight division champ, but he picked his opponents and mastered catchweight bouts almost as great as the father of them, Floyd Mayweather.Floyd understood that Manny was like shooting fish in barrel for him stylistically. If you doubt that, read my pre-fight piece the day of the bout May 2nd, 2015.
Many of Floyds bouts were against fighters that had 0% chance to be competitive with him and McGregor is the icing on the cake. Yes, in a boxing ring, McGregor has as much chance of beating Mayweather as Floyd would have to beat Conor in a cage, and it may even be less because Mayweather, being such an accurate striker, could get lucky and stop McGregor wearing 4-ounce gloves. But thats not the point. The point is that Mayweather is playing both boxing fans and MMA fans in this one.
Floyd knows boxing fans want to see him tune up McGregor so they can rub it in the faces of MMa fans saying boxers are tougher and better fighters than MMA combatants. And MMA fans want the same bragging rightsproclaiming that an MMA combatant crossed sports and beat one of boxings best at his own game. How can fans and observers be so foolish? Floyd is using McGregor because as of this moment hes the biggest star in MMA. Its easy money for Floyd and it may turn out to be the biggest or second biggest purse of his career. As for McGregor, hes trying to become the Mayweather, as far as earning potential, in mixed martial artsand at the same time stick it to UFC honcho Dana White. McGregor knows that after the exhibition with Mayweather hell never need to enter an octagon or a ring again if he doesnt want to.
The only other real all-time great who wrapped up his career by defeating an 0-0 guy from another sport was Archie Moore who knocked out wrestler Mike DiBiase. But Archie was 50 at the time (born 1913, not 1916), had 219 previous fights, and wasnt getting paid millions of dollars.
In the final analysis, Mayweather will eclipse Rocky Marcianos record by fighting a man who is 0-0 in the ring while at the same time making a ton of money. When its over Floyd will claim hes the king of combat sports and is the biggest star in both boxing and MMA.again strolling down one of the easier ways to immortality! No fighter or athlete mastered the game of playing the fans greater than Floyd Money Mayweather, nobody.
Fighting McGregor / Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com
Posted: February 23, 2017 at 1:13 pm
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. Jimmie Johnson might have had an easier time had his 6-year-old daughter asked for help with a school art project. Genevieve Johnson instead left dad briefly bewildered with a messier question:
At school, the kids are asking her, saying, Your dads famous, Johnson said. How do you answer that question?
Does your dad dress in a Lowes fire suit, slide into the No. 48 Chevrolet and race on national television every weekend? Does your dad have more than 2.3 million Twitter followers, is he besieged by autograph seekers and asked to voice cartoons on the Disney Channel?
Yes, Genevieve, your father is famous.
But the more contemplative question is this: Is Johnson the greatest to ever drive a stock car? That answer is up for debate, though arguments for other contenders thin as Johnson continues to add to his championship collection.
Seven of em, if youve lost count.
An eighth would push Johnson past Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty for the most ever, leaving him alone as NASCARs greatest.
Johnsons shot at history hit him in 2010 when he won his fifth straight Cup title and talk about chasing eight intensified. He won his sixth in 2013, and his surprising seventh last year now makes an eighth championship seem more inevitable than a longshot.
With 80 career wins and a pair of Daytona 500 victories, the 41-year-old Johnson wont let the record define him.
No, he said, but Im going to try (and win it), though.
Long before he fires up the Chevy, Johnsons championship pursuit begins near dawn with a run. Johnson long ago traded his race helmet for a bicycle helmet during off-hours at the track and put a twist on his Sunday finish line by running the occasional marathon before a race.
At Daytona, he biked 42 miles on Sunday morning hours before he pulled double duty and raced in the Clash and qualified for the 500. Hes inspired and coached members of the NASCAR family crew chiefs, fellow drivers and helped whip them into shape before he whipped them on the track.
With a wife, two daughters and enough race trophies to stuff a storage unit, the fitness freak has never been happier. Johnson has even won over fans who had grown tired of the 48 dynasty built with team owner Rick Hendrick and crew chief Chad Knaus. Before the championship race at Homestead, Johnson was greeted by fans holding up seven fingers, not the one-finger salute hed grown accustomed to receiving.
I get the respect from being around a long time, now he said. I think the age kind of does something.
NASCAR fans are coming around to what the drivers have known for years Johnson is an easy guy to root for.
I dont know anyone who doesnt like Jimmie, 2010 Daytona 500 champion Jamie McMurray said. I feel like hes the guy that you would like not to like because he does win all the time. Hes got a beautiful wife. Hes got great-looking kids. He just kind of like has everything. But hes just always so nice.
Life as a stay-at-home dad will be confined to the winter for now. While Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards have called it quits the last two years, Johnson said hes not even thinking of retirement. He loves racing too much.
When it feels like work someday, Ill stop, he said. It hasnt been there yet.
Certainly not when hes coming off a bit of a surprise championship.
Johnson was practically gifted his seventh title when Edwards aggressive attempt to win the championship ended in a wreck. Johnson got the restart of his life in overtime, took the lead on the very last lap, won for the first time in his career at Homestead and grabbed the final Sprint Cup trophy.
Johnson won all his titles in the Chase era and goes for eight under a rules revamp that divided races into segments and every point counts. Who knows? The format could be just the jolt needed for him to win five straight championships for a second time.
If I did it before, I guess it is possible, Johnson said. Its probably not probable. But its certainly possible.
Just keep some fingers free to count more championships.
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Posted: at 1:13 pm
As children, you were probably taught that life expectancy was around 75 maybe 80 at a stretch.
However, recent breakthroughs in science and medicine have begun to challenge preexisting assumptions about human longevity.
An international team of scientists funded by the UK Medical Research Council and U.S Environmental Protection Agency has just published a study on life expectancy in the medical journal Lancet.
The findings of the study come with some caveats, but shows a significant rise in life expectancy in most of the 35 developed countries that were studied.
One notable exception is the U.S, where a combination of obesity, risks at childbirth, homicides and a lack of equal access to healthcare is inhibiting the rise. Life expectancy in the U.S is predicted to lag so much behind other developed nations that it will be around parity with Mexico by 2030. Dont tell Trump.
Of all the developed nations studied, South Korea is likely to see the largest increase in life expectancy. According to the study, there is a 90 percent probability that South Korean women will live longer than 86.7 years.
The study also showed that men, who tend to live shorter lives, are closing the gap on life expectancy.
According to the study, Aussies are kicking goals when it comes to living.
The key to longevity may also be a really big knife
Male Australians born in 2010 can expect to live to around 80, which is currently longer than any other country. However, it is predicted that by 2030, South Korean male babies will overtake this and are expected to live to around 84.
Meanwhile, female Australians are currently ranked fourth in life expectancy at around 84. Aussie sheilas born in 2030 can expect to live to the ripe old age of 87ish.
Along with South Korea and Australia, Switzerland, Canada, New Zealand and Japan are also doing well.
By 2030, the populations with the highest life expectancies are predicted to be:
1. South Korea 2. France, Japan 3. Spain 4. Switzerland 5. Australia
For men it will be:
1. South Korea 2. Australia 3. Switzerland 4. Canada 5. Netherlands
The study utilised 21 different models of life expectancy in order to come up with as definitive predictions as possible. However, when dealing with the future there is always a degree of uncertainty.
The authors posit that South Koreas top position is most likely due to improvements in the economy and education. In addition, infant mortality has dropped and nutrition has improved. Obesity, something that Aussies need to be wary of, is not a huge issue in South Korea and very few women smoke.
Professor Majid Ezzati, an author of the study, told BBC News:
South Korea has gotten a lot of things right They seem to have been a more equal place and things that have benefited people education, nutrition have benefited most people. And so far, they are better at dealing with hypertension and have some of the lowest obesity rates in the world.
The countries performing well all invest in universal healthcare systems which reach or attempt to reach the entire population.
In Australia, we are lucky enough to have such a system.
Stefan is an Adelaide-based writer who has returned to Australia after living in Taiwan for 14 years. In his spare time he plays nerdy board games, collects vinyl and brushes up on his Mandarin.
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Posted: February 20, 2017 at 7:16 pm
You can think of The Invention of Morel the opera with music by Stewart Copeland (yes, the co-founder and drummer of the Police) and his co-librettist and director, Jonathan Moore in many different ways. On the one hand, the work, now receiving a winningly haunted and haunting production by Chicago Opera Theater, is the alternately unnerving nightmare and beautiful fever dream of a man on the run who sees no hope for his future until he conjures a relationship with an enigmatic woman.
It also can be seen as the chronicle of a wholly disorienting journey into what Joseph Conrad called The Heart of Darkness. Or you might consider it a meditation on the decadent members of an elite social circle who entertain a wholly delusional sense of privilege and are blind to anyone beyond their tight enclave.
But there is more.
THE INVENTION OF MOREL Highly recommended When:7:30 p.m. Feb. 24 and 3 p.m. Feb. 26 Where: Studebaker Theater in Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan Tickets: $39 $125 Info: (312) 704-8414; http://www.chicagooperatheater.org Run time: 90 minutes with no intermission
Barbara Landis (from left), Valerie Vinzant, David Govertsen, Nathan Granner (seated), Scott Brunscheen and Kimberly E. Jones in Chicago Opera Theaters production of The Invention of Morel. (Photo: Liz Lauren)
In fact, so many themes are laced through this 90-minute work based on a 1940 novel by the Argentinean writer Adolfo Bioy Casares everything from the idealization of unrequited love and the tension between science and faith in God to the decidedly mixed blessing of immortality that you might well find yourself diving into its philosophical arguments as much as listening to its winningly eclectic and expertly sung score, a mix of familiar modernist dissonance spiced with a richly refreshing use of percussion, Latin rhythms and the popular dance music of an earlier time.
And on top of everything else in this co-commissioned world premiere with Californias Long Beach Opera, there is the enticing, off-kilter visual world of the piece conjured by set designer Alan Muraoka, lighting designer David Martin Jacques, video designer Adam Flemming and Jenny Mannis, whose costumes (with their hint of the 1920s world of The Great Gatsby) could easily find a place on Fashion Week runways.
The story begins as a bearded Fugitive (Andrew Wilkowske) and his double, who serves as the Narrator (Lee Gregory, like Wilkowske a fine actor and strong baritone), stagger onto a lush, seemingly deserted island in the South China Sea. Its a place with a mythic history, including the outbreak of a devastating plague (and, ironically, it is now the site of genuine geopolitical turmoil). The man, who seems to be a disgruntled intellectual/poet, has fled persecution in Italy and still fears he is being pursued as he takes shelter in a grand museum and mansion whose basement is home to diabolical machinery.
RELATED: Stewart Copeland arrives for world premiere night at the opera
Soon, a luxury ship arrives on the island, dispensing wealthy, self-involved guests who see it as a paradise. There is Morel (the honeyed tenor Nathan Granner, just smarmy and egotistical enough as the inventor who is revealing his monumental discovery), along with Scott Brunscheen as the egotistical architect, Barbara Landis as the Duchess, Kimberly E. Jones as the famous chanteuse and David Govertsen as the man who argues that science and faith need not be mutually exclusive.
And then there is the cool, elusive man magnet Faustine (Valerie Vinzant, a powerful soprano with a supermodel allure, flapper bob and the ability to unfold on a beach towel with balletic grace). The Fugitive immediately falls madly in love with her, even if, in the face of all his efforts to pursue her on the beach, he remains entirely transparent. That unrequited love becomes his driving life force (and fatal compulsion) as he muses on a fabled brothel of the blind in India where men are felt but never seen. His embrace of the very idea of love becomes that feelings best manifestation here, and perhaps a strange key to immortality.
At once eerily realistic and altogether phantasmagorical, The Invention of Morel deftly balances period charm with a contemporary sense of artificial reality. A most intriguing new work.
NOTE: Earlier this month, artistic director Andreas Mitisek announced he will be leaving his position at COT at the conclusion of this season. In April, Mitisek (who eliminated all the companys debt during his tenure) will conduct Phillip Glass opera The Perfect American at the Harris Theater, and he will continue a future relationship with COT as a guest conductor and director in the 2017-18 season (to be announced) and beyond. Beginning in September, COT will be led by general director Douglas Clayton, currently the companys executive director. Asearch for a part-time music director to join the artistic leadership team is planned.
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Posted: February 19, 2017 at 11:14 am
Feb. 18, 2017
By Leigh Torbin
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Notre Dame's Karen and Kevin Keyes Family Head Women's Basketball Coach Muffet McGraw has taken the penultimate step towards the sport's ultimate lifetime honor as she is included on the list of 14 finalists for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame's Class of 2017, announced on Saturday.
Also a finalist for enshrinement in 2016, McGraw will learn if is she is one of the latest enshrines on April 3 at the men's basketball Final Four in Glendale, Arizona. Joining McGraw as women's committee finalists are Rebecca Lobo, Kim Mulkey and the pioneering teams from Wayland Baptist University as a collective unit.
McGraw, who guided the Irish to the 2001 national championship and seven Final Four appearances, is the winningest single-sport coach in Irish lore with 756 wins. Over her 30-year coaching career, McGraw is 844-267 (.760), making her the sixth-winningest active coach nationally and the 10th-winningest all-time at the Division I level. She is the sixth-winningest female coach in women's basketball history and one of just four women to ever win 750 games at a single school.
She is the 2017 recipient of the Wooden Awards' Legends of Coaching Award, becoming just the third female to receive this honor, joining Tennessee's Pat Summitt and Stanford's Tara VanDerveer. She is the fourth women's coach to be recognized with this honor, joining Summitt, VanDerveer and UConn's Geno Auriemma.
Among her countless other career highlights:
* She is one of five coaches (men's or women's) in Division I history with 800 wins, seven Final Fours and five NCAA title game appearances, joining the elite company of Summitt, Auriemma, Duke men's coach Mike Krzyzewski and the late North Carolina men's coach Dean Smith, all of whom are enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
* McGraw is the only coach to be named the consensus national coach of the year three times, sweeping the Associated Press, Women's Basketball Coaches Association, Naismith Award and United States Basketball Writers Association honors in 2001, 2013 and 2014.
* Only four coaches have ever competed in the national championship game five times and McGraw is joined in this lofty regard by Hall of Famers Summitt, Auriemma and Louisiana Tech's Leon Barmore. The Irish reached the sport's final game in 2001, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015.
* Her decades of consistent winning includes guiding the Irish to 14 Sweet 16 appearances in the past 20 years, making Notre Dame one of just five teams nationally to do so.
* McGraw's 29 20-win seasons ties Georgia's Andy Landers, for seventh in Division I history.
* Over the past six seasons, only UConn (209) has won more games than Notre Dame's even 200.
* Under McGraw, Notre Dame has made 23 NCAA Championship appearances, including a current string of 21 consecutive NCAA tournament berths, marking the fifth-longest active run of consecutive appearances and seventh-longest streak at any time in NCAA tournament history. During this current streak (1996-2016), Notre Dame has won at least one NCAA postseason game 19 times.
* Notre Dame's current stretch of 25 consecutive winning seasons, all under McGraw, is the ninth-longest in NCAA history.
* McGraw has led the Irish to eight regular season or tournament conference championships. Notre Dame is presently three-time defending champions of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
* Her lasting legacy of mentoring successful people along with merely successful players is reflected in having perfect NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) score in seven of the past nine years (2007-16). In that time, Notre Dame is one of four programs in the country to record a perfect GSR score and go on to play for the national title later that same season (something the Fighting Irish have now done four times, most recently in 2015).
McGraw's current Irish team is ranked No. 7 in the nation and stands at 24-3, marking the 11th year in a row and the 23rd time in the past 24 seasons that Notre Dame has won at least 20 games. Notre Dame leads the ACC with a 12-1 conference record as it aims for its fourth straight ACC regular season crown and sixth consecutive outright regular season conference title overall, including the final two years in the BIG EAST. The Irish return to the court at 5 p.m. on Sunday when they face No. 21 Syracuse at the Carrier Dome live on ESPN2.
Leigh Torbin, athletics communications associate director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2013 and coordinates all media efforts for Notre Dame's women's basketball and men's golf teams. A native of Framingham, Massachusetts, Torbin graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in sports management. He has previously worked full-time on the athletic communications staffs at Vanderbilt, Florida, Connecticut and UCF.