This post was supposed to be up on Monday, but between a hectic work schedule and recovering from the weekend it has been pushed till now. Why has it taken me two days to recover from the weekend? Scratching something off my sports bucket list takes a lot out of me.
Last Saturday I attended my first Championship Professional Boxing match at the MGM Garden Arena in lovely Las Vegas. Marcos Maidana, apparently the pride of Argentina, versus the undisputed king of boxing, Floyd “Money” Mayweather aka TBE – The Best Ever. I had no idea how many members of TMT – The Money Team – there were until I walked the strip on Saturday.
Anyone whom loves sports and has yet to attend a prize fight of this magnitude I highly recommend making it a priority. It is a rare atmosphere that makes it worth going to see it live over the comfort of our couches and big screen Plasma TVs. An electricity tingles through the crowd as it divides for its fighter of choice. This one was decisively in the corner of Marcos Maidana, as it felt at times that half the population of Argentina was there. The Maidana supporters brought with them the soccer crowd mentality of constantly chanting, often in a sing-songy manner, for its man.
And boy did they have a lot to cheer about, especially early on as Maidana took it to Floyd, decisively winning three of the first four rounds with some question over the result of the fourth. This is when the electricity got turned up 10 notches as The Money Team felt something it never had before, concern. It would be easy to point to Mayweather’s 45-0 record, now 46-0 post Maidana, and call him the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world, but until you see him live you cannot fully appreciate how great he is.
With his back against the wall Mayweather made adjustments, dug deep, and found renewed focus in order to dominate the middle portions of the match, winning four of the next five rounds rather easily. The disappointment of betting heavily on the KO, bet on both Mayweather +200 and Maidana +1200 to win by knockout and had Maidana in round 9 at 80/1 and Mayweather Round 8 at 13/1, was offset by the excitement of watching the best in the world at what he does work his magic.
At this point I thought it was going to be a cakewalk to decision for Mayweather, but then Maidana did the unexpected and found renewed vigor. He battled Mayweather in the last three rounds winning two of them, in my unofficial scoring at least. After the final bell both men raised their heads and pounded their chest thinking they had won the fight, which by my scoring both men deserved to do. I, like Judge Michael Pernick, scored the fight as a draw. Maidana controlled most of the pace, while Mayweather showed off his precise attack to great effect. Alas for anyone that bet the 25/1 odds that the match would end in a draw, the match went Mayweather’s way with a majority decision.
The Argentinians reigned boos down on Mayweather as he went into Money Mode and gloated about his 46th straight win. Maidana, for his part, called him a coward and said he was willing to grant Mayweather a re-match. Exciting post-match interviews for an exciting boxing match. An item crossed off the bucket list in grand fashion. But since the match I’ve been thinking, what other items are on my sports bucket list? And when will I be able to cross them off?
Sports Bucket List:
- Attend Wrestlemania – This, just like the boxing match, is about the crowd experience. WWE’s recent push to get 80-90 thousand fans packed into large outdoor stadiums has created a crowd that is unparalleled in its craziness.
Prediction: This will be scratched off next April. WWE brings its showcase of the immortals to the Bay area in the 49ers new stadium. Since the show might never come to LA as long as Summerslam takes place here every year, this might be the closest it will ever be to me. I have to take advantage of the money to be saved between the drive up and the people I know living in the Bay Area that will let me crash there. As cool as it would be to pop my cherry in Dallas at Jerry’s World, San Francisco makes more logistic sense and I should probably temper my super fandom before 2016, you know if I’m to get married and what not.
- Attend a World Cup on foreign soil – The World Cup is the largest sporting event in the world. It should be on every sports fans bucket list to attend. The thrill of 32 nations converging on one country to root on their teams to claim the biggest prize in the world’s biggest sport is unparalleled. Plus there is the added bonus of traveling to a foreign country and taking in the sites inbetween exciting soccer matches.
Prediction: As much as I wish this could be crossed off this Summer in Brazil, I must sadly admit that it is just not going to happen. And since the World Cup only happens once every four years, it limits my options a bit. In 2018 Russia will host. Based on some of the horror stories from this past Olympics, Russia does not appear to be the ideal host for large sporting events. If only runner-up Spain/Portugal had received the bid, now that would be a trip. But as bad as Russia appears, 2022 is completely off the table as Qatar will play host. 120 degrees in the shade combined with a dry country that does not permit the sale of alcohol equals a clear and concise “no go,” from Tommy. Why Australia only received one vote for its bid I’ll never know. Since 2026 is too far off I’ll have to take the lesser of two evils and cross this off my list in Russia.
- Attend the Masters – In the world of Golf there is the Masters and everything else. The only major that happens at the same course every year adds the level of history and tradition. I know that course better than any other, including the one’s I’ve played hundreds of times before. As a golfer, this is the Mecca of the game and I need to make the pilgrimage in my life.
Prediction: I’m going with 2016 Masters. Most people assume that this is some hyper exclusive ticket, when in reality it is about as accessible as any other major sporting event. But since I’m planning Wrestlemania for next April I cannot double up with the Masters the following week. I need to save up and get ready to head to Augusta in the year we elect Hilary Clinton as our next President.
- Sit Court Side at a Basketball game (preferably Playoffs) – Court side at a NBA game is the best seat in any major sport. Basketball players are freaks of nature. The openness of the court, limited equipment, and close proximity of the seats would be the ultimate viewing experience.
Prediction: I’m going with the 2020 NBA Finals, Bulls vs Lakers. My Agent will hook me up as I watch DRose, Melo, and JoNo go for their fourth title in six years against Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Jabari Parker and the Lakers.
- Attend a Tennessee Football Game – This may seem strange, but it is less about the game and more about tailgating.
Prediction: 2017 on my road trip to Tennessee to check out a Memphis BBQ and what NashVegas is all about I will make it a priority to attend a UT tailgate and game.
I can write a book on my bucket list, but I’m feeling generous and will spare you further reading by stopping now. Perhaps, if people want to read more, I will add writing a Part II to my bucket list.