In the tradition of the ‘Rumble in the Jungle,’ and the ‘Thrilla in Manila’, Floyd Mayweather and Victor Ortiz this week brought us The Remix to Contrition. This was a boxing match that takes the art of the misdirection to a whole new, if not confusing, level. Right when things seem to be going one way, for instance Ortiz headbutting Mayweather and getting deducted a point by the referee, things take a turn and Ortiz tries to kiss Mayweather in the spirit of apology. Then when the fight should be back underway, Ortiz seems to be even further intent on apologizing to Mayweather, although Mayweather gets right back to throwing punches anyway. An unprepared Ortiz is knocked out.
I’ve been thinking a lot about ‘misdirection’. It’s certainly had it’s way with the sports stories of the week. But there’s even been some room in the highlights for a couple of new faces in the arena of Canadian sports. So while Floyd Mayweather was busy getting into a post fight shouting match with 80-year old in ring interviewer Larry Merchant (pictured above), here’s what else was happening:
1.The new guys. As lumberjack and ‘axe grinding’ jokes abound, the Globe and Mail and National Post both run the same story in their weekend papers about Adam Kleeberger, Canada’s rugby ace at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. He was man-of-the-match against Tonga and helped Canada claim victory. He is very heavily bearded. Yesterday against France Team Canada fell short, but walked away proud to have represented us well, especially since we’re a country that doesn’t even have a professional rugby league. And then there’s there’s our next tennis ace Vasek Pospisil. Even with Milos Raonic (ranked 31 in the world, and the highest ranked Canadian tennis player) out of action, Pospisil propelled Canada to victory over Israel to grant Canada a spot in the World Group of the Davis Cup (which is sort of like the World Cup of tennis). Pospisil beat Amir Weintraub to get the win for Canada. Kleeberger and Pospisil, good work both of you.
2. Spanish TV. You’ve been wondering why the Lingerie Football League hasn’t been more of a media presence in Toronto, especially if Mayor Ford’s niece, Krista Ford, is both middle linebacker and marketing manager for the Toronto Triumph (a strange combination of roles). The Triumph lost in its home-opener on Saturday, by a score of 48-14. Commercials for the (of course North American) Lingerie Football League have been running on Spanish sports channels, for instance the sort of channel that would have been broadcasting the Spanish team’s games in the Eurobasket championship. Incidentally, Spain won the Eurobasket final on Sunday against France in convincing fashion.
3. Lind’s woes. You thought that former hot shot designated hitter turned Blue Jay’s first baseman was pretty much shelf-ready for the rest of the season, at least partly given that Adam Lind’s bat hasn’t been called ‘hot’ since, I don’t know, July 18 or something. Cited by many as the major reason for his recent lack of production on the diamond: Lind is tired. He’s worn out from his defensive duties and the extensive preparation he underwent in the preseason to be ready for his responsibilities at first base. And then, out of nowhere, Lind tallies two home runs in Sunday’s game to lead the Jays past the New York Yankees 3-0.
4. Eyes on the prize.The Blue Jays take momentum from significant wins against the Yankees and set sights on the playoff race… Now, we know that’s not true. The Jays did beat the Yankees twice this past week, but Sunday’s win came with Derek Jeter along with two other NY starters in street clothes. The Yankees feel they can afford this kind of rest and relaxation plan of attack because division rivals the Boston Red Sox have been languishing lately. They are even in jeopardy of needing to fight for second place in the division against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Remember though, it will do Toronto well to pay close attention to how the Rays manage, if they manage, to chase either New York or Boston (the two division powerhouses) for a playoff spot. Because you’ll recall that that is the position we want Toronto to be in next year.
5. It had to happen. But let’s remember that while, yes, it is great news that Ron Artest has now paid his outstanding parking tickets (and ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith treats this as a real story) and has gone through with his official name change. The Dancing With The Stars contestant is now legally known as Metta World Peace. Notice how this article in the Christian Post takes strange measures to subtly infer that Artest’s more ludicrous antics might have might have been due to Buddhism all along.
Kyle Buckley is the Toronto Standard Sports Critic.