Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas won the womens 400 m final with a diving finish, preventing American Allyson Felix from capturing a fifth Olympic gold medal
With the finish line approaching and an Olympic gold so close she could almost touch it, Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas dived. She sprawled across the hard, blue Olympic Stadium track without genuinely knowing why she had said and done. Her intellect was blank. Her body was cut, with skin torn away merely below her right ribcage, her right elbow and three places on her legs. But she didnt feel them. Her body was numb. She couldnt move.
All she knew was that she had run the race of their own lives, the 400 m at a shine, beautiful pace and now she was staring at the stadium illuminates unsure what to think, only wanting lie of the cool wet way because she had no energy left. Then she heard her mom screaming from the stands. Get up! Get up! And this was how Shaunae Miller learned she had won Olympic gold. Later, there would be time for the details.
She would learn she had beaten American track legend Allyson Felix by the length of her lunging limb, or 0.07 seconds. But at that moment she couldnt digest her success, her dream achieved. I was believing, Oh my gosh, I am lying on the ground right now, she said. And yet neither her moms pleas nor a gold medal would pull her to her feet. She had plunged onto the stadium floor to win an Olympic race and it was there she wanted to stay.
An hour after her victory she still seemed perplexed as to why she hurled herself across the finish line in the first Olympic medal race of her life. It was instinct, a reaction, a response to seeing Felix in her peripheral vision. But, hey, I got a medal out of it, she said.
When she finally stood up, several minutes after the race, she found her body had cooled. This is when she took account of the injuries from her diving, the bloody spots on her torso, elbows and knees. She felt them all. Oh gosh did I cut myself up? she asked. Somehow she didnt intellect.
The Dallas Cowboys veteran is merely called into action around seven days a game. But he has yet to make an error after a dozen seasons in the league
Imagine an NFL player who has been perfect for virtually 12 seasons; a human who has been true every moment of his career never once sliding in the dirt or stumbling to catch his feet or suffering a bad day. It seems impossible. Even machines occasionally break down and humans err.
You may have never heard of Ladouceur though he has played for more than a decade on one of the worlds most famous teams. Chances are you wouldnt recognise him without his helmet since the majority of his television appearances are closeups of his backside in the instant before he flicks a football between his legs. You have, undoubtedly, watched his work in the form of a decades worth of precise snaps whistling true to Dallas punters or flying toward the hands of holders on extra points and field goals. It is highly unlikely you took a moment to marvel at his reliability.
Long snappers live to be ignored because if they are noticed, it usually entails a cataclysm has resulted. A snap has been botched and the ball is flying over the punters head or rolling helplessly toward the holder on a field goal, throwing video games most anonymous player under the glare of the television lens. Abruptly everybody knows the long snapper and theres no place to hide. For Ladouceur, his perfection is silence.
I think the more you play this game, you start to realize that mentally you have to be sharp, he says by phone following a recent practise. The physical component is kind of a given. The guys who last long know that.
Long snappers are often everybodys joke; the guy at the bottom of the roster who has little to do with the outcomes of the game. They are mocked for their lack of impact, unappreciated by fans who have no idea the mental toll of waiting alone until the time comes to snap the ball. A few years ago, the Madden video game ranked Washington long snapper Ethan Albright as the leagues worst player , as if they knew something about him. He was a snapper and snappers have failed at more demanding postures, the believing goes.
Nobody understands the importance of a long snapper until something happens, which is the damning thing about precision at the position. Last Sunday the Philadelphia Eagles lost their long snapper, Jon Dorenbos, to a season-ending wrist injury. Then Brent Celek, the only other Eagle who could long snap, injured his neck and couldnt play. This left Philadelphia without a snapper.They couldnt punt or kick field goals, until late in video games when, in desperation, they brought out tight end Trey Burton, who was able to complete an ugly, awkward snap on a go-ahead field goal. Two weeks later, they signed a real snapper to replace Dorenbos.
At least the Cowboys understand the value of a reliable snapper. They have bestowed on Ladouceur two, five-year contracts over the years which is almost unheard of for a NFL player. His career earnings approach $10 m and he has carved a life for himself in the Fort Worth suburb of Aledo that no football-loving child from Montreal could have dreamed of living. All for roughly seven snaps a game.
But if you think any of this is easy, “its not”. Technique is important and while fans may scoff, long snappers put in long hours of practise on top of gym sessions and team meetings. Ladouceur says he works with the kickers and punters for large chunks of each Cowboys workout constantly bending over and snapping. Again and again and again until he has it right.
Basically[ a snapper has] to be a linebacker, but backward, be able to snap the ball backward like the quarterback throws, Cowboys special squads coach Rich Bisaccia once told the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram .
But its hard to be a linebacker who isnt truly a linebacker. In college, Ladoceur was a defensive lineman and he still keeps the defensive players longing to run downfield and make someone. He has seven career tackles but rarely gets to attain contact on punts or kicks. He lives in a strange dynamic inside the Cowboys locker room, playing a position that should give him a bond with offensive linemen but knowing he can never live in that shut society, while remaining an outsider as well to the defensive linemen who would normally be his peer group. He is friends with players in both groups but he is a special teams player, a designation that puts him in a different realm.
The Yankees are the greatest hype machine of all time, but the 23 -year-old Sanchez is doing legendary things. Plus Yasiel Puig, Bartolo Colon, and the reaction to Tim Tebows baseball workout
There was Kevin Maas and Shayne Spencer. Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Hideki Irabu. Shelley Duncan and Greg Bird. The Yankees can boast the most championships in major league history and also that the franchise is the greatest of all-time at producing overhyped prospects.
Any Yankees minor-leaguer who arrives in the Bronx with a bit of pedigree or touch of early success is unavoidably elevated to future legend status. Maas was the next Lou Gehrig when he made 21 home run in half a season in 1990. He merely hit 44 more home run with the Yankees over the next three seasons, becoming more the next Steve Balboni than Gehrig. So its easy to eye-roll whenever a Yankees rookie starts grabbing headlines. The natural reaction is to ignore it and wait for the inevitable breakdown to come.
But if youre doing that this year youre missing a Yankees rookie that actually happens to be worth watching. Gary Sanchez, called up to the big club in early August as the Yankees embarked on their youth movement, is doing legendary things. Its hard to find a hitting record the 23 -year old catcher doesnt hold for the first month of a career. Hes the first player to reach 11 home runs in his first 23 games, has the highest OPS in history through a players first 100 plate appearances, is leading baseball in WAR since the start of August and is the first American League player to win three consecutive player of the week honors since Albert Belle in 1998. Theres no over-hyping total predominance. You can say weve considered it before with a Yankees call-up, but baseball hasnt find anything quite like this in history.
Sanchez is playing so well that hes helped the Yankees stay on the fringe of the wildcard race more than a month after the front office entirely gave up on the season. And while his production at the plate describes all the attention, his play behind the plate is outstanding compared to most 23 -year olds at the position. He can hold a place in the majors on that alone even when he stops making major league pitching like hes a 6ft 2in kid in the Little League World Series. The Yankees undoubtedly have their catcher of the future and they may even have a guy who can develop the leadership and intangibles that induced Derek Jeters name holy terms in the Bronx.
He is Gary. He is not just the most recent Yankees hype creation.
Video of the week
Seeing a Steven Wright knuckleball move like that is hard to comprehend. Its nearly as mystify as the issues to from the old Steven Wright joke: OK, so whats the velocity of darknes?
Quote of the week
I would give him the same advice I would be asking for right now. I would sit with him face-to-face and then tell him the things that he has been doing wrong, the things he should do better to be a better teammate and stay in the big leagues.
Yasiel Puig , Dodgers minor leaguer, on what he would tell his younger self if he could
Good for Puig if he feels like he has matured and become more professional since get demoted to Oklahoma City. But its fiction that he was sent to the minors because he was a bad teammate. He had a. 706 OPS with the Dodgers this year before he was demoted. He wasnt playing good baseball, so they sent him to play baseball somewhere else. In his rookie year of 2013 his teammate skills were no better, but his OPS was. 925. If Puig ever gets to speak to his younger ego, he should tell Young Puig to stay really good at baseball because then he can behave however he wants to.
Whos closer to victory: Donald Trump or the Cubs?
Hillary Clintons unfavorable numbers are way up again after her latest email dispute, forcing the world to again responding to the truly frightening prospect of a President Trump. The Cubs keep rolling along, but theyll have to get through a postseason tournament that includes nine other very good teams. Trump only has to beat one Hillary Clinton to win it all. Thats like the Cubs merely having to get past the Twins to win the World Series. This weeks advantage goes to Trump.
How did the kids piss off Goose Gossage this week?
Three minor league players, two in the Pirates system and one with the Tigers, got in an altercation at a bar in Toledo, Ohio, the coming week when a bartender reportedly dumped out the drink of Indianapolis infielder Gift Ngoepe at last bellow. No one can speak for Goose Gossage here speaking for someone is likely against a code but I think we can all agree that a bartender dumping out a patrons drink unprovoked is incorrect. The three players ultimately were arrested and charged with assault, but at the least they will never be charged with transgressing the unwritten rules of going to a bar.
Nine thoughts in order
1. Tim Tebow held his( much-anticipated ?) baseball workout on Tuesday in Los Angeles. One National League scout said off-the-record that he sucked, while another NL scout said he hit some bombs, simply bombs. Talk about exit speed off the at-bat. It was astonishing. No one knows where Tebows career will take him next, but we can be sure that no matter what he does, exactly half the people will think hes great and the other half will insist hes the worst ever.
2. A pitcher in the KBO named Lim Chang-yong came up with a great new style to hold athletes on the base without requiring fielders to cover the purse: just hurl the baseball at the baserunners head.
A three-game suspension for innovation? Outrageous. Geniuses are so rarely appreciated in their time.
3. Max Scherzer has taken a no-hitter into the sixth inning nine times now since joining the Nationals last season. As baseball continues to search for ways to speed up the game, this fact presents a fairly obvious one: in all Max Scherzer games, only skip the first 5 half-innings in which he would pitch. Thats 30 minutes saved right there. Youre greeting, baseball.
4. Bartolo Colon had two makes in his last start to become the second-oldest Mets player in history to get two hittings in a single game. Colon will break Julio Francos record during the 2021 season when he is 48 and reaches two triples. Then maybe people will finally believe me that Bartolo is the greatest athlete in the sport.
5. The Rangers are now 30 -8 in one-run games this season, putting them on pace to best the 2012 Orioles for the best winning percentage in one-run games in baseball history. Impressive. But that Baltimore team didnt make it out of the first round of the playoffs. And despite having the best record in the American League and the second-best mark in all of baseball, the Rangers are merely tied for 13 th in run differential at plus-9. Run differential is the stat that tells if a team is truly dominant the Cubs are plus-2 21, for example while winning one-run games is often a function of luck. The Rangers are going to make the playoffs, but theyre going to need a lot of luck to do anything there. For a squad that has never once had even a hint of postseason luck, thats a daunting fate.
6. Carlos Beltran expended the last two and a half seasons with the Yankees before getting traded to the Rangers at the deadline. The Yankees have long had strict requirements about player hair; the Rangers clearly dont have any such policy.
You dont have to like the Yankees. But the organization cant be all bad if it avoided catastrophes like Beltrans paint hair from resulting.
7. The Mets took the first two games of their series this week with Marlins to stay right in the thick of the wildcard race, but pitcher Noah Syndergaard did not appreciate watch fans do the wave.
This is a losing battle for Syndergaard. Most fans like the wave. There are only a few, the brave, who sit while all those around them stand. Like this Blue Jays fan.
8. Major league rosters expand today, devoting squads the option to grow from 25 players to 40. Its an odd day as contending squads suddenly have their playoff fates tied to lesser players who days ago were toiling away in forgotten towns. Or maybe its not that odd. MLB lets the Twins and Braves and Reds have an impact on World Series homefield via the All-Star Game, so why not spread such an approach out over an entire month.
9. Colin Kaepernicks refusal to stand for the national anthem is likely the biggest sports-related anthem disagreement since Roseanne Barr screeched the anthem punctuating the performance with a crotch grab and spit before a San Diego Padres game in 1990.
It was so bad that then-president George HW Bush called it disgraceful. But it wasnt without its positive qualities. For example, Roseanne had the courtesy to sing the anthem that style before the invention of Facebook, so no one had to deal with their aunt angrily posting about it four times a day for a week.
Nick Kyrgios has let his racquet do the talking to cyclone into the second round of the US Open in New York
Nick Kyrgios let his racquet do the talking to cyclone into the second round of the US Open, a day after pointing out tennis players are allowed to smoking marijuana on tour in a Q& A with his Twitter followers.
Kyrgios overcame a troublesome hip and an early showdown with the chair umpire to blast past Britains Aljaz Bedene 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in less than two hours on Tuesday night.
The 14 th seeds routine win came after officials said he would not be sanctioned for his latest headline-grabbing moment on the eve of the seasons final grand slam event. Kyrgios offered up a simple yep when asked by one of his Twitter adherents: are you allowed to smoke weed on tour?
And he is correct, with a Wada spokesman confirming that while marijuana is a prohibited substance for in-competition testing, it has never been prohibited out-of-competition. In consequence, that means players are OK to smoke marijuanas while not competing at tournaments.
During the same snap, two-minute Q& A, Kyrgios also teased that he would walk away from tennis at just 21 if he won the US Open on Sunday week. If I won the US open now u[ sic] would never find me again, he replied to a fan ahead of his opener against British No3 Bedene.
After sitting out the Rio Olympics following his running battle with Australias chef de mission Kitty Chiller, Kyrgios also seemed to have a laugh at the Australian squad boss.
Asked who inspired him the most over the Olympics, he replied: kitty. But, as his wont, the two-time grand slam quarter-finalist backed up his pre-tournament banter with an impressive opening to his campaign.
Kyrgios fired down 14 superstars and thumped 43 wins in booking a second-round date on Thursday with Argentine Horacio Zeballos.
His victory wasnt entirely incident-free, though, with Kyrgios receiving a code violation in the first game of the match for aggressively hitting a ball, after a rally that the umpire deemed came dangerously close to a linesman.
Youre giving me a code violation for reaching the ball too hard. Ive heard it all now, Kyrgios said.
Kyrgios match with Bedene was the fourth of the working day on the old Grandstand court all of which featured Australians.
Sam Stosur joined Kyrgios in victory after she won through to the second round for an eighth hour at Flushing Meadows following a tough workout against Camila Giorgi.
Australias 2011 champion overcome three service breakings and some relentless pressure to emerge with a 7-5, 6-7( 4-7 ), 6-1 victory over the free-hitting Italian. Stosur, the 16 th seed this year, next plays Zhang Shuai, who crushed Australian wildcard Ellen Perez 6-1, 6-1 in her opening match.
Daria Gavrilovas campaign has ended in tears with a shattering straight-sets first-round loss to Lucie Safarova. The Australian No2 was unable to hide her letdown after falling 6-4, 6-4 to the 2015 French Open finalist.
And Bernard Tomic also crashed out, losing 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6( 7-0) to Bosnias Damir Dumhur while also making headlines for a lewd statement he made to a fan in the stands.
Rounding off a busy day for Australians in New York, in-form John Millman fell short of pulling off the first big surprise of the tournament. Millman led Dominic Thiem two decides to one before succumbing 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 to the eighth-seeded Austrian.
It was a tough draw for Millman, who regained his place in the worlds top 70 on Monday following his charge to a career-first ATP semi-final last week in Winston-Salem.
I started weightlifting three years ago at the age of 46. Id done competitive athletics in my 20 s and wanted to find a physical activity that would challenge me. I loved the movie Rocky, and the classic develop sequence from it, so I decided to join a boxing club. Non-competitive boxing became my second love for 10 years. But eventually it started to take a toll on my body, and I cease just after my 40 th birthday.
If youre not a runner( and I never enjoyed operating ), the options for fitness in the middle years really narrow down to a handful of activities. Many play tennis( which yields a high chronic injury rate in the over-4 0s ), take up yoga( which is fine, but doesnt truly get the heart rate up ), or try golf( which isnt my thing ).
I tried British Military Fitness for a year, but you need the staman of a younger athlete. I considered CrossFit, but there was no way I was going to manage the dynamic moves. I was intrigued by the strength-based exercises and set out to find a qualified strength and conditioning trainer. Will Davis at Performance Pro started me off with body weight workouts, and at first, where reference is asked me to pick up a bar buzzer, I told him I didnt want to lift heavy weights; I worried that I would get big. He insured I would not. I thought about the women Ive considered lifting weights who seem lean, and changed my mind.
Powerlifting consists of three lifts: the squatting, the bench press and the deadlift. Lifting weights is technological, but thats what I love about it. You make improvements each week. It has a huge health impact for women as they age. I had a bone density scan last year and the technician told me mine was off the following chart. I have also fell a dress size as fat has gradually become muscle.
Lifting offer a challenge for me, and I love the training environment. My gym is full of athletes of all ages, each with their own objectives. No one is there to show off. It really is empowering.
My weekend workout
Sessions per week ? Three. Best pre-workout meal ? Peanut butter on toast. Most exhausting move ? My maximum deadlift of 92.5 kg; one and a half days my body weight.
Five ways to get started
1 Go to the Global or UK Strength and Conditioning website( nsca.com; uksca.org) to find a trainer with qualifications near you: its about the trainer , not the gym. Finding someone who will teach you proper technique and form will make traumata less likely.
2 Be patient. Powerlifting takes time. You might expend weeks learning the basics, but once you have mastered them, youll be thrilled when your weights get heavier.
3 Start with a simple squatting. Stand with your feet just wider than shoulder-width apart, pull your shoulders back and keep your back straight. With your limbs above your head slowly push your bum back as you lower it to the floor. Pause and come back up.
4 Get a gym develop buddy; you can watch each others form and help move the plates on and off the barbell, which can be tiring on your own.
5 Mark Rippetoe is an expert lifter and former Olympic coach. Watch his video explainers or find his volume, Starting Strength. Many lifters call it the bible of Powerlifting.
( CNN) Kyle Schwarber has been an incredible — borderline miraculous, even — World Series story for the Chicago Cubs.
The 23 -year-old, aside from five plate appearances in April, missed most of the season following surgery for a torn ACL and LCL in his left knee. Surprisingly, he returned to the Cubs’ lineup as the designated hitter merely in time for the start of the World Series. He’s been one of Chicago’s best offensive producers, batting. 429 with three makes and two RBIs in Games 1 and 2.
The LPGA is under fire for introducing a draconian womens golf dress code that precludes plunging necklines, leggings and revealing skirts on the course
The Ladies Professional Golf Association( LPGA) has come in for stiff criticism after it introduced a new dress code that prohibits female golfers from sporting plunging necklines, leggings or uncovering skirts on the course.
As of 17 July, the LPGA will crack down on athletic wear following a 2 July email to all players from LPGA player president Vicki Goetze-Ackerman, which detailed an extensive listing of attire that will no longer be allowed on course and at pro-am parties on the tour.
Any transgression of the new code, as indicates that there is a report by Golf Digest, will result in a $1,000 penalty for the first offence, with fines doubling for each subsequent breach. Items in the new code were expressed in the following dot points in Goetze-Ackermans email 😛 TAGEND Racerback with a taunt or regular collar are allowed( no collar= no racerback) Plunging necklines are NOT let. Leggings, unless under a skort or shorts, are NOT permitted Length of skirt, skort, and shorts MUST be long enough to not see your bottom area( even if covered by under shorts) at any time, standing or bent over. Appropriate attire should be worn to pro-am parties. You should be dressing yourself to present a professional image. Unless otherwise told no, golf clothes are acceptable. Dressy jeans are permitted, but cut-offs or jeans with pits are NOT allowed. Workout gear and jeans( all colourings) NOT allowed inside the ropes Joggers are NOT allowed
Allegations about the American coach are not going away, which means both he and Farah must engage more fully with those who are challenging them
The last hour I spoke to Alberto Salazar, in a hotel hall in Beijing, he offered some simple financial advice. You should put your money on me being cleared, he told, smiling. Its a win wager. That was in August 2015, in the midst of a blizzard of allegations and an investigation by the US AntiDoping Agency against him. Yet 18 months later he remains in limbo, neither damned or saved, still awaiting his fate. And there, right beside him, stands Sir Mo Farah and British Athletics.
Who would have predicted this in June 2015, when the allegations against Salazar first surfaced on the BBCs Panorama? Depending on ones point of view, this shows either commendable religion or staggering misjudgment on the part of Farah and British Athletics. The accusations are not insubstantial. Salazar has faced a rap sheet of potential violations including devoting Galen Rupp testosterone when he was 16 and now it has been suggested that he ignored the warns from a UK Athletics doctor not to prescribe Farah vitamin D or calcitonin in high doses in 2011 because of a medical condition.
Yet still he evades all attempts to set him down for the count. On Sunday night he was dismissive of the Sunday Timess latest tale, telling the newspaper had simply recycled old allegations that have been refuted nearly two years ago and again insisting: I believe in a clean athletic and a methodical, dedicated approach to training.
One might not believe him and even his friends and supporters would admit that he is a coach who operates in most of the 50 tints of grey. But, as of yet, Usada has not been able to nail him.
Farah must realise that he risks suffering reputational damage by sticking with Salazar. He was told so much better by the UK Athletics chairman, Ed Warner, virtually two years ago. But still he stays with the man who made him an nearly unbeatable mid-distance champ. One can see why. Before Farah moved to the US in late 2010 he hovered just under super-elite level, finishing sixth in the 5,000 m at the 2007 world championships and seventh in the same event in 2009. Since then he has won nine gold medals and a silver at Olympics and world championships. Even at 33 his powers seem undiminished: in truth he could have won a medal at every distance from 1500 m to marathon at the Rio Olympics.
On Sunday he again protested his innocence, just as he has done since the Salazar accusations surfaced. But this time his statement had sharper teeth: I am unclear as to the Sunday Timess motives towards me but … its entirely unfair to make assertions when it is clear from their own statements that I have done nothing wrong.
Here Farah is on dangerous ground. It is not unreasonable to press him harder given Usadas investigation into Salazar and his previous evasiveness over his relationship with the Ethiopian coach-and-four Jama Aden, who is being investigated by the Spanish anti-doping bureau. He should look at how Bradley Wiggins has been treated after the revelations that he employed a therapeutic use exemption to realise that he is not alone.
Meanwhile there are also questions for UK Athletics in all this. In 2015 it set up a performance oversight management group to investigate its relationship with the Nike Oregon Project, led by Jason Gardener. The former sprinter is well liked but he is not a skilled investigator. One would not ask Elliot Ness to operate the 100 m.
UK Athletics will also be asked, just as it was in 2015, whether it has got too close to Salazar in the pursuit of medals. From 2012 to 2015 the performance director, Neil Black, used to travel at the least six times a year to the Nike Oregon Project, while the head of endurance, Barry Fudge, was also a regular visitor. Both men would deny such charges. As Black sets it: Alberto is absolutely brilliant. He is a genius. And “hes one” of the best people to work with that I have ever come across.
He is not the only one who thinks that style. Bob Williams, a running coach-and-four who has known him for more than four decades, says there is no one better at training endurance athletes. Albertos skill is to make really good athletes even better, he says. Theres a fine line between pushing them to their limits and avoiding injury and Alberto is a master at it. Senior British Athletics coaches also pinpoint Salazars uncanny ability to select the right final hard workout before a major race to get them to perform on the working day. Some, though, are far more sceptical.
Bryan Armen Graham: The Omaha fighter tabbed to succeed Mayweather as Americas next big thing readies for his Madison Square Garden debut
The next big thing in American boxing descended the narrow staircase of the Mendez Boxing Gym on Wednesday afternoon clad smartly in a black sweatsuit, blue Creighton knit cap and pair of white Kobe Xs. He fielded boilerplate queries from the modest gaggle of media, orbited by the dozen or so family members who trail him everywhere, before climbing into the ring and skipping rope absent-mindedly, a wrinkled glob of Doublemint dangling from his gap-toothed smile. Just another day at the office.
Terence Crawford, the almost famous junior welterweight champ of the world, was typically cool ahead of Saturdays title fight at Madison Square Garden, breezing through a light workout amid the blur of activity in the subterranean Flatiron gym. The easy tenor was a stark contrast from only minutes earlier when the challenger, a South Philadelphia boxer-puncher named Hank Lundy, had filled the room with blustery promises of Crawfords demise Hes all nervous energy! Ive got him right where I want him ! before vanishing into the gray downpour outside.
In his assessment Lundy is practically alone. He wasnt the first or third or even fifth option for Crawford, who is unbeaten in 27 professional bouts and widely regarded as presumptive successor to Floyd Mayweather as Americas next pay-per-view superstar. An entire platoon of the 140 lb divisions uppermost names passed on the invitation to face him, among them WBC titleholder Viktor Postol, Ruslan Provodnikov, Lucas Matthysse, Mauricio Herrera and even Manny Pacquiao, who opted for known quantity Timothy Bradley over the young lion from his own promotional stable. Oddsmakers have priced Lundy as a 10 -1 longshot, lending the occasion of the champions New York City debut the subdued feel of a stay-busy battle. Not that it concerns the Omaha native.
Im a fighter, he said. Im not a promoter and Im not a director so I leave that up to my director and my promoter and I only fight.
And how. The slight, sinewy Crawford is a highly intelligent and complete operator, dependent on no one attribute. The tactical aptitude and mental dexterity that sets him apart a preternatural sense of timing and distance, an uncanny ability to adjust to an opponent throughout a fight and create or change his game plan as needed might not evoke the primal anxiety of a Gennady Golovkin or a Sergey Kovalev, other popular claimants to Mayweathers vacancy atop boxings pound-for-pound pecking order. But a scalpel can finish you just as decisively as a hammer.
Crawfords adaptability includes the capacity to change between southpaw and orthodox postures during the course of its battles. He delivers with equally formidable power and precision from either side, a ability he developed when he fractured his right hand in local schools oppose as an 11 th-grader and persisted at the gym despite the cast. That switch-hitting ability inordinately rare in upper-class prizefighters was the difference-maker in Crawfords signature knockout of the gifted Cuban defector Yuriorkis Gamboa, where he floored the Olympic gold medalist immediately after switching postures in the fifth round and thrice more before aiming it in nine. The wildly entertaining scrap was the second of three wins during Crawfords breakthrough 2014, when he burst from oblivion to capture fighter of the year honors, shortlisting himself among the worlds best regardless of weight class.
The 32 -year-old Lundy, more of a gatekeeper than bona fide contender after losses in four of his last eight, has flashed his Philly credentials to cast the champ as a farm boy out of his depth, but Crawfords formative experiences elude the cornfed stereotypes of flyover country. He survived a gunshot to the head while sitting in his automobile after a dice game in September 2008. The slug connected behind his right ear, their own lives spared merely because the closed rear window altered the bullets trajectory. The sangfroid thats served him so well between the ropes immediately kicked in: he drove himself to the emergency room while calling his family along the way to let them know what happened.
The near miss, which expensed him a fight that would have been his television debut, inspired his withdrawal from the Omaha streets and a wholesale recommitment to his craft thats paid off handsomely. Now one of HBOs most prized assets, he will earn a career-high handbag of $1.21 m for Saturdays bout.( Lundy will collect $150,000.)
Crawfords growth has inspired largesse both at home and abroad, only widening his scope as his profile has risen. He opened the B& B Boxing Academy in his hometown to help keep at-risk children off the street and has embarked on charitable missions to Uganda and Rwanda with a former elementary-school teacher. Hes also brought championship boxing back to his hometown, drawing near-capacity mob in three title fightings at Omahas 18,320 -seat CenturyLink Center, where native son Warren Buffett has become a gallery regular.
The tempered degree of difficulty underpinning Saturdays fight might not move Crawford any closer to the crossover stardom he seems bind for, but it could be the last chance to watch one of the athletics very best without plunking down $60 for the privilege.
Im looking forward to putting on a great performance, he said. Its always special to fight.