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We all love football and want the latest football kits from the teams we support, but even the most ardent football fan would have to think twice about buying these shirts let alone wearing them!

Vote at the bottom of the page which jersey you think is most embarrassing:

Shirt 1

Funny Football Shirts

'Your a Wanka, Your a Wanka and you Wanka all day!'

Shirt 2

Funny Football Shirts

'Your a NOBO!'

Shirt 3
Funny Football Shirts

I'm saying nothing about this shirt, all my thoughts are perverse!

Shirt 4

Funny Football Shirts

You need a reliable Goalkeeper, not a clown! Arsenal fans take note!

Shirt 5
Funny Football ShirtsPlaying against 11 men with 69 on your chest, a must for gay football teams!

Shirt 6
Funny Football Shirts

Hang Out with your Wang Out!

Shirt 7
Funny Football Shirts

Easily pleased?

Shirt 8
Funny Football Shirts

My favourite top, hmm Vodka! #hick#

Shirt 9
Funny Football Shirts

A team of 11 Virgins

Shirt 10
Funny Football Shirts

Describes England's reign under Fabio Crapello

Which shirt is most embarrassing?

* Newham interested in aquatics, handball venues

* Organisers say good response from potential bidders (Adds OPLC response, details)

The London borough of Newham added its name on Monday to a list of potential bidders to take over the costly and controversial 2012 Olympic aquatics centre after the Games.

Newham mayor Robin Wales told Reuters that the council would be seeking partners after submitting a formal expression of interest to the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) for the facility and the multi-use handball arena.

However, he said his borough, one of the poorest in London, would want government money to pay maintenance costs and could not rule out the need for major structural changes, including to the wave-like roof.

Newham has already teamed up with Premier League soccer club West Ham United to take over the Olympic Stadium after the Games while retaining the athletics track. Most of the Olympic Park in east London falls inside the council's boundaries.

"We have put an expression of interest in...we are very concerned about the maintenance. This is going to be something which is going to cost money, not make money," said Wales of the aquatics centre.

"Where the stadium will over time not be a drain on public funds, and in fact will make us money, the aquatics is a very different beast.

"But we can see there might be a synergy with the stadium and we are just going to look at that."

The deadline for expressions of interest was last week and the OPLC said 35 organisations had taken part in the process.

"We are evaluating the submissions in order to create a shortlist in the coming weeks. We aim to appoint operators by January 2012," a spokesperson said.


Designed by Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid, the aquatics centre is the most striking of the venues in east London but also one of the least attractive for potential operators.

Wales said the building, whose cost was originally estimated at 75 million pounds ($120.1 million) but now stands at 268 million, was flawed.

"It's got a wooden roof over a chlorinated pool. We are not in the business of protecting that," he said.

"Why do you build something that has got a built-in problem with maintenance? This is foolish," he said.

"If a council did that we'd get eviscerated. And quite rightly too.

"I don't know if you can take the roof off, I'm not a swimming pool designer," said the elected mayor, who is also on the board of organisers LOCOG. "Mind you, I always wanted a lido in Newham."

Wales said Newham's interest was in providing a recreational facility for locals after the Games and had offered at an early stage to pay five million pounds towards a leisure pool being incorporated in the design.

"The trouble is the roof slopes in such a way that you can't get slides in. You can't use it," he said.

"We have consistently stuck to our position which is that we want to use it in legacy, we were willing to put money in to use it in legacy so the community can also be part of it.

"That was not what was wanted at the time it was designed and therefore...there's an implication for that and people are going to have to face up to it."

Wales said the copper-clad handball venue was of interest only for potential synergies with the Olympic stadium.

"It's not in our borough and we are more twitchy about that," he said.

Annette Norberg left it late but claimed her third world title at Canada's expense at the Women's World Curling Championships in Esbjerg.

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The double Olympic champion did it the hard way, with the scores tied 5-5 in the ninth end and with Canadian skip Amber Holland having the last stone advantage in the tenth.

But despite this, Norberg stayed strong while Holland committed some mistakes, allowing Sweden to steal two at the death and claim the crown in Denmark.

Although this was Norberg's third World Championship win, it was her first with the team of Cecilia Östlund, Sara Carlsson and Lotta Lennartsson and she couldn't have been happier with the support she received.

"I'm just thrilled about these girls and how they've performed, and how strong they are as a team after just a few months together," she said. "So I'm really, really proud."

Meanwhile, Norway's Henriette Løvar was handed the 2011 Frances Brodie Award, voted by the players for the individual who best personifies curling's values and good sportsmanship.

Stephen Lee produced a magnificent performance to beat an equally-inspired Mark Williams in the first round of the China Open in Beijing.

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Williams made four century breaks during the match, but found himself on the end of an unlikely 5-4 defeat as Lee refused to be overawed by the Welshman's astonishing break building.

Williams opened up with a 100 and a 133 before Lee scrapped through the next three frames to go into a narrow lead.

Yet when the twice world champion replied with a 104 and a 137 to lead 4-3, it seemed that he must surely go on to win the match.

Lee had other ideas, however, digging in to force a decider.

And there was yet more drama to come: Williams seemed to be on the verge of closing out the match as he led 70-11 in the final frame, but Lee came to the table and made a 61 clearance to win one of the most astonishing matches of the season so far.

In-form Stephen Maguire fell to a surprise first round defeat at the hands of Mark Davis.

The two players split the first six frames of a tough-fought match, but Davis produced breaks of 73 and 137 to knock out the world number seven.

In the two remaining wildcard matches, Gerard Greene beat Yu De Lu 5-2, while Robert Milkins eased past Rouzi Maimaiti 5-1.

Worcester Warriors have re-signed Tongan prop Tevita Taumoepeau for another season.

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Taumoepeau, capped 29 times by his country, has been a cornerstone of the Warriors pack since arriving at the club in the summer of 2005 from French outfit Bourgoin.

Taumoepeau, 36, said: "I've really enjoyed my time at Sixways and Worcester Warriors has become my home over the last six years. I have great team-mates and wonderful fans who support me. This season I have been happy with how I have played and feel I am in some of the best shape of my career."

Warriors forwards coach Phil Davies said: "Tevita is one of the best tightheads I have worked with, particularly in terms of his scrummaging, and he brings real solidity to the pack."

The good news for the Blues comes after Sam Warburton and Tom James also signed new deals.

"I'm really pleased to have extended my stay at the Blues. It's a great club and I had no doubt that this is who I wanted to sign with and happy that we have come to an agreement," said Halfpenny, who made his Blues debut in 2008.

"I've not been tempted to play anywhere else as it's a very ambitious club and with the quality players we have here, with some good youngsters coming through, the future looks very bright."

Second-rower Davies has made 70 appearances for the region and also made his Wales debut in the 2009 Six Nations.

"It's great news to have signed, not only for me personally, but for the rest of the boys who have signed also," said Davies.

Czekaj, who is set to play his 100th match for the Blues against the Ospreys after switching from wing to full-back this season, added: "I've been six seasons with the Blues now and I'd be stupid to want to move with the progress that the team has made over the last few years."

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The tough, single-minded Tasmanian always put the team first and that, he said, had prompted him to stand down after nine years in charge of the Australia one-day team and seven as Test skipper on Tuesday.

The most Test (48) and one-day international (164) wins by any captain as well as successive World Cup triumphs in 2003 and 2007 is an impressive record by any standards, and there has never been any doubt about his quality as a batsman.

And yet, ever since he took over a world-beating side from Steve Waugh, there has always been a question mark hovering over his captaincy.

His honeymoon period as Test captain lasted little over a year until he blotted his copy book with the ultimate sin for an Australian captain, the loss of an Ashes series to England.

Ponting silenced the critics the following year, however, leading from the front with a Player of the Series performance to help Australia regain the urn 5-0, the first Ashes whitewash in 86 years.

The retirement of greats like Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Adam Gilchrist, Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden would have weakened any side, however, and so it was for Australia.

A rare home defeat to South Africa was followed by a second Ashes defeat in England in 2009 and the pressure was now weighing heavily on him again.

"There's no doubt over the last few years, things have become harder around the team, to captain the side when things haven't being going brilliantly," he said.

There were great hopes in Australia that when England pitched up late last year, they would again be put to the sword.

This was a different England side, however, and three humiliating defeats by an innings or more saw the Australians lose a home Ashes series for the first time in a quarter of a century.

As much as he denied it, the pressure had clearly effected Ponting.

Always accused of lacking imagination, the sight of him frantically moving his fielders around the Adelaide Oval as England's batsmen continued to hammer his bowlers smacked of desperation.

His form with the bat also slumped and as the team declined, his undoubted passion for victory started to look more like petulance as he engaged in spats with opponents, umpires and finally television sets and team mates.

Even while they were plummeting from first to fifth in the Test rankings, however, Australia maintained their place as the best one-day side in the world.

While Ponting said his biggest regret was never winning an Ashes series in England as captain, it was to the limited overs game that he was drawn when he was asked for his best moment.

"If I was to pick one, it would probably be the first World Cup that I captained," he recalled on Tuesday. "As a relatively new captain, we got through that tournament undefeated.

"I made a big hundred in the final and to this day, that's one of the proudest moments of my career."

His final innings as captain was a defiant, and sometimes inspired, century in Australia's quarter-final defeat to India at the World Cup last week.

Bucking the trend of his predecessors in the last three decades, the 36-year-old has decided to play on in both Test and one-day cricket.

Unburdened by the captaincy, Ponting will be hoping to rejuvenate his batting, much as happened with India's Sachin Tendulkar -- the only player in the history of cricket to have scored more runs than him.

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Tendulkar (379 runs @ 54.14), the world's greatest batsman, is fiercely focused and determined in what is likely to be his final chance to play in a World Cup winning side. He has scored two hundreds and has a maximum two chances left at this tournament to record a 100th international century before a home crowd.

Gul (14 wickets, economy rate 3.86) does not have the high profile of other Pakistan pace bowlers, including his team mate Shoaib Akhtar, but he has become a consummately skilled operator. Strong and lively, Gul is dangerous with the new ball and a master of reverse swing with the old.

Afridi (21/3.48) has swept all before him with his cleverly assorted mixture of quick leg-spinners, googlies and top-spinners, including 4-34 against the quick-footed Sri Lankans.
India must find an effective counter and the prolific Yuvraj (341/113.66), may be the man. As a left-hander, Yuvraj starts with an natural advantage and his all-round abilities have gathered him four man-of-the-match awards.

Zaheer (17/4.47) is the best and most versatile of the Indian bowlers. The left-armer swings the new ball dangerously, contains in the middle overs and finds reverse swing at the end.
Kamran, (188/37.60) whose failings with the gloves have been well-documented, has been given a licence to attack at the start of the innings, a role he has performed with some success.

Harbhajan (6/4.43) has played a containing rather than an attacking role but remains the best of the Indian spinners.

Younus (172/34.20) is a supreme technician against all types of bowling who supplies ballast to a fragile middle-order.
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Bell Racing has launched a new visor panel in an attempt to avoid a repeat of the injuries suffered by Felipe Massa in his accident at the Hungaroring back in 2009.

The Brazilian suffered head injuries when he was struck by a bolt that had broken away from the Brawn GP car of Rubens Barrichello, with Massa lucky to be able to resume his racing career after being placed in a coma in the aftermath of the incident.

The FIA Institute looked into various ways of improving driver protection in the frontal area of the helmet with a series of tests being carried out before the results were approved by the World Motor Sport Council earlier this month.

On the back of that, Bell has launched the Visor Panel with immediate effect, with the new part being recommended for use by the FIA.

Bell's visor panels - complying with the FIA specifications - are made of a highly resistant aramid fibre, covered by an external skin of carbon fibre and processed with autoclave technology. The panel weight is approximately 66 grams and is attached to the helmet's visor with a specially developed adhesive.

The part was trialled in the Abu Dhabi test following the 2010 season by Robert Kubica, with Vitaly Petrov, Sebastien Buemi, Jarno Trulli, Sergio Perez and Jerome D'Ambrosio then testing the part successfully in Barcelona.

The visor panel is likely to become mandatory in the future.

Fernando Alonso says there was nothing "disastrous" about Ferrari's performance at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso says there was nothing "disastrous" about Ferrari's performance at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Although the Spaniard and his team arrived in Melbourne as one of the favourites to fight for victory, the reality was different, and the Italian squad did not have the pace to match Red Bull or McLaren.

Alonso finished in a distant fourth position, and he admitted it had not been the start of the season he wanted.

But the two-time champion made it clear there was nothing to worry about, and is sure he would have been closer to the podium if not for a poor start.

"It wasn't the start that we all wanted but nor is it anything to get worried about," said Alonso. "I already said it at the track: 12 points is not far below the world champion's average last year and two title contenders finished behind me.

"So overall the Australian Grand Prix can't be defined as disastrous. Certainly, in qualifying we were very far from Vettel's Red Bull and far from Hamilton's McLaren but in the race the situation improved - perhaps not compared to Sebastian but certainly against the others.

"The start was a pity: if I hadn't found myself down in ninth place at the beginning of the first lap I'd have been able to fight to the finish for the two lower steps of the podium."

The Spaniard insisted Ferrari's performance in Australian did not come as a big shock to him, as no one knew what the real pecking order was after testing.

"For me there weren't any big surprises, particularly because I didn't arrive in Melbourne with a clear idea of how the grid would line up," he said. "From the tests, especially this year, it was difficult to have a realistic picture of the situation.

"The only positive surprise was the behaviour of the Pirelli tyres which, at least at Albert Park, showed less degradation than what we saw at the test.

"We will see how things go in Malaysia at Sepang, on a track that is very different to the semi-street circuit of Albert Park."

Man, didn't Yuriorkis Gamboa-Jorge Solis look eerily similar to Floyd Mayweather-Diego Corrales? The styles. The height difference. The speed. Jumping in with the lead left hook. I loved the right to the body/left hook combination. But, Gamboa punches more like Tyson than Mayweather. If Gamboa would just cover his chin, though. Everyone is not as tall or slow (compared to Gamboa) or weight-drained as Solis. He's going to continue getting caught coming in. -- JW

We’ll see. I noticed that Gamboa held his hands up more than usual, especially when he was in close with Solis. He still drops them often, mostly to lure his opponents in, but I think he’s gradually cleaning up his technical flaws.

I didn’t think about it while the fight was happening but I guess there are some aesthetic similarities between Gamboa-Solis and Mayweather-Corrales. However, as impressive as Gamboa was, I was far more impressed with Mayweather’s performance over Corrales (even though the late “Chico” was so dried out that he looked like a zombie at the weighin). Corrales didn’t even attempt to jab as Solis did, but he had something the Mexican lacked -- power. Gamboa was a lot like Mayweather in the manner in which he couldn’t miss with his lead left hook, but he wasn’t in the ring with somebody who could turn a fight with a single punch.

Gamboa obviously possess that attribute, which is why it will be a lot of fun watching him take on the best of his deep division. I know we probably won’t see the big showdown with JuanMa Lopez in 2011, so I’d like to see Gamboa take on either Chris John or Daniel Ponce de Leon or Elio Rojas later this year.


Hey Dougie,
So this weekend was pretty disappointing up until the Gamboa fight. All the underdogs seemed to have trained well, but Erislandy Lara, Dmitry Pirog, and whatever that bronze super heavyweight medalist from the Pirog undercard's name was all disappointed. These guys were all clearly in set up fights and couldn't sustain their own work rate for even a full round at a time. It was disgusting. They were all much better than the guys they were fighting, and all deserved to win (or tie) probably, but their conditioning was really disappointing. I understand fighters aren't always matched super tough every time out, and that's fine, but if someone's given a gimmie they need to win it in style. It's not an excuse to train half as hard.

Gamboa was excellent. It's worth correcting some writers though, he was equally brilliant in splattering Mtagwa. I've been a fan of Gamboa for a while and am glad to see him getting some credit (I do believe he has been more deserving of the low top ten lb 4 lb spot held by Lopez than Lopez himself is).

Two things though: First, I'm not sure why people say "we can't compare Pacquiao and Gamboa." No one has compared them entirely, Solis only compared their punching power, and after fighting bravely through both men's best shots he's earned the right to compare whatever he'd like to about them. It's fair for him to say Gamboa hits harder. He's in a good position to have an opinion. He may be right. Pacquiao has certainly eased off of his focus on power that he had at 126 (he fought Solis at 130), and turned into an aggressive boxer puncher since he passed into 135. Or he may be wrong, but there's no reason not to compare the two. In the lead up to the Frietas-Corrales fight I remember The Ring interviewed old sparring partners and common opponents and they pretty much all said Corrales hits hard but Frietas' power is on another level. It turned out not to matter when Corrales flattened Frietas in a pretty one sided beating. So right or wrong, no one should be making too big a deal out of believing or not believing what Solis had to say. He's a classy guy for saying it, you rarely see fighters that respectful of an opponent anymore.

The second point I wanted to make is that Gamboa-Lopez would be a great fight, but until it's going to be made I don't want to hear about it. It's not like Mayweather-Pacquiao where it's the only evenly matched fight either man could get into. It's just one of many attractive fights at feather right now. I'd love to see Gamboa in against Chris John (I'd pick Gamboa based off how close a short slow Rocky Juarez came), or even Jorge Linares. What I'd really like, (and what I'd trade never seeing the Lopez fight for) is to see Gamboa at 135 in two years. There are a wealth of fighters available at 135 and I'd guess the money gets better there too, plus, after having seen every fight both guy has been in on major networks, I really don't think Lopez-Gamboa is that close a fight anymore. Lopez is a powerful sharp shooter but his feet aren't anything more than average and his defense is wildly porous. It's not a 10 to 1 type fight or anything, but I think it's a lot closer to Jones-Toney than Leonard-Hearns. Take care. -- Todd

Comparing Gamboa-Lopez to Jones-Toney is giving Gamby a little bit more credit than he deserves and it’s giving JuanMa way too much credit. The Puerto Rican southpaw is a solid technical puncher but he’s nowhere in Toney’s class in terms of ring generalship, defense, counter-punching ability and versatility. Having said that, it should be pointed out that Lopez has a lot more punching power at featherweight than Toney had at super middleweight. And because of this power, and his above-average accuracy, I don’t think anyone should make Gamby more than a 2-to-1 favorite over Lopez. However, knowing how most fans and boxing writers pee on themselves with excitement over fighters with the combination of power and ultra-quick hands/feet/reflexes, I have no doubt that whenever the fight takes place the Cuban dynamo will be installed as at least a 3-to-1 fave, and probably as high as 6-to-1. That’s going to be a mistake because Lopez can clip him, hurt him and stay patient while looking for the kill while Gamby tries to go all “cyclone” on him. Both featherweights have been rocked in past fights (Lopez more so than the Cuban) but the Puerto Rican has reacted with more professional poise to his adversity in my opinion. Gamboa gets caught up in proving that he’s not hurt whenever he’s been dropped, and at times, he’s gotten a little wild. Maybe he’s matured past that point, but maybe not. Solis didn’t have the power to let us know.

I hope it doesn’t seem like I’m not impressed with Gamby’s performance over Solis because I am. He exceeded my expectations and I’m very excited about his future. I can’t wait to see him fight again. And like you, I really don’t care to focus solely on the Lopez showdown because I think there are other worthy challenges out there for him. However, I do believe that Lopez is one of those worthy challenges.

Let’s hope Bob Arum doesn’t try to milk the matchup for too long. I don’t mind the fight not happening this year (although I’d prefer it in the fall) but if they don’t get it on by June of 2012 I’m going to stop talking about the damn matchup. I have no idea who you’re referring to when you say some people don’t want to hear any comparisons between Gamboa and Pacquiao but please tell them that Dougie says they need to get a grip and a life.

I was also disappointed in Lara’s performance against Molina. I didn’t see the Pirog-Maciel broadcast but I heard the Russian beltholder kind of stank it out. The “super heavyweight bronze medalist” I assume you are referring to is Vyacheslav Glazkov, who won the bronze in the 2008 Olympic Games for his native Ukraine. I saw where Glazkov (9-0, 6 KOs) was taken the eight-round distance by Denis Bakhtov on Pirog’s undercard.

Even though I haven’t seen the fights, I’m not surprised that Pirog and Glazkov struggled a bit. I’m not entirely surprised that Lara struggled, either. Why? Because I disagree that they were in with “gimmie” opponents. A “gimmie” is a bout where the favorite’s opponent can’t fight at all. That’s not the case with Molina, Maciel or Bakhtov. These guys are not rank journeymen. Maciel is prospect, which is basically what Pirog is. Yeah, the Russian is 30 and he had a lot of amateur bouts but come on, the dude just fought his 18th pro bout. He ain’t Marvin Hagler, so I don’t see why we should be so shocked or disappointed if he didn’t murder a tough kid from Argentina who has some skill and athletic ability (and actually more fights than Pirog). Pirog’s claim to fame is cold cocking Daniel Jacobs, who was what? A PROSPECT. Nothing more or less.

Let’s put these fights in their proper perspectives. Yes, Glazkov won a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics, but he still entered his bout with Bakhtov with only eight pro bouts under his belt. He was fighting a real veteran of 38 pro bouts (33-5) in his first bout that was scheduled for more than six rounds. That’s a tall order. Don’t get carried away with Olympic credentials. It’s obvious that the competition isn’t what it was 20 or 30 years ago, especially in the super heavyweight division. I mean Deontay Wilder won a bronze in Glazkov’s division, for Christ’s sake, and despite having Vitali Klitschko’s frame, the dude is barely a six-round fighter two years after turning pro. The American is 15-0 with 15 knockouts and still not ready to face anyone nearly as experienced and competent as Bakhtov. (Wilder was dropped and seriously hurt by a real “gimmie” opponent, Harold Sconiers, last October.) So cut Glazkov some slack.

You don’t have to cut Lara as much slack because he had the talent, skill and style to soundly beat Molina even without his vast amateur experience. I agree that he probably wasn’t in the best of shape but I also think he was hampered by his mentality going into the fight. I don’t think he respected Molina (which he should have) and I think he tried too hard (at least in the early rounds of the bout) to go for the KO. That was a mistake because Molina is not just a tough-guy opponent with a decent record. The Chicagoan can fight and he can box. He isn’t dynamic and he doesn’t look smooth doing it but he knows how to employ some of the finer points of the sport and he did so against Lara. Molina didn’t just outwork the Cuban. He knew when to move his hands, when to move his head and when to move his feet.

Molina is definitely not a “gimmie” opponent. Ask Julio Cesar Chavez, Mike Alvarado, or Alexis Camacho. Those guys were all hot prospects when they fought Molina, and he did the same thing to them as he did to Lara. I was ringside for his second bout with Junior and I thought it could have been another draw or a close win for Molina. I thought the Alvarado bout could have been a draw. He soundly defeated Camacho, a puncher with a 17-1 record. If Molina got the nod in the Chavez and Alvarado bouts, his record would have been 20-2-1 going into the Lara fight and I bet a lot of fans would have viewed the match up in a different light.

Anyway, thank goodness for Gamboa, who exceeded expectations and looked sensational doing so. When highly touted fighters do that (as Nonito Donaire did against Fernando Montiel and Brandon Rios did against Miguel Acosta) it pushes them a little closer toward “star” status and creates a buzz in a sport that sorely needs as much as it can get.


Hi Doug. It was great to see Nick Charles again. I was so happy to see him. He didn't look like what he was before but it was totally understandable. When Bob Papa started talking bout him, I actually thought he'd say something I didn't want to hear. Instead, when the camera panned out, here he was, standing right next to Bob and holding the microphone. It was awesome. I have a cancer patient in my family so I got emotional a little bit. He definitely has a special place in my heart. I really hope he'll beat the disease and come back 100%.

On to my thoughts about the fights on Friday/Saturday:

1. Lara didn't impress me at all and I thought he lost. Other Cuban 154 Lber seemed to be decent. The cruiserweight guy didn't impress me at all.

2. That was first time I saw Mikey Garcia fight. He's solid, patient and calculated like everyone said. I don't think he's ready for JuanMa or Gamboa though. I'd like to see him fight someone more experience and solid like Orlando Salido or another young guy with solid skills like J.C. Burgos, Daud Yordan, etc.

3. Gamboa impressed me. I have never been impressed by him before but the way he finished Solis, he impressed me. I wanna see him fighting punchers like Bernabe Concepcion or Jhonny Gonzales next before facing JuanMa.

Keep up the good work. -- Naoki, Reno, Nev.

Thanks for writing in with your thoughts on Nick Charles, Naoki. Charles has a special place in all boxing fans’ hearts. It’s not just because of his valiant fight against a terrible and debilitating disease. It’s also because of his passion for the sport we all love and the professional but friendly manner in which he’s broadcast his vast knowledge and love for boxing over the years.

I had the honor of working two small pay-per-view broadcasts with Charles in 2008 (the Jorge Arce-Devid Lookmahnak ’Latin Fury’ from Mexico in May of that year and the Ivan Calderon-Hugo Cazares rematch from the very hot and humid Puerto Rico in August) and can tell you that the man is as warm and genuine in person and off-camera as he is on camera. The color commentator for both of those broadcasts I did with Charles was Genaro Hernandez, who is fighting his own battle with cancer. Both men are an inspiration. I always tell non-boxing fans who ask me what it is a like about the sport that “some of the best people I’ve met in life are boxing people.” Nick and Genaro are definitely among those people.

Anyway, onto your points, which I will reply to in order:

1. I thought Molina won the fight by winning six out of the 10 rounds, but I didn’t think the draw was a poor verdict. I was also disappointed with Lara and unimpressed with the cruiserweight, who appeared sloppy to me. Yudel Jhonson looks like a smooth operator in the ring. I’d like to see him in with a bigger, younger opponent than Gutierrez.

2. I agree that Garcia isn’t ready for Gamboa or Lopez (give him another year and he will be). Burgos would be a very dangerous fight for Mikey right now, but I’d love to see it. It would not disappoint. I’d like to see Garcia take on Bernabe Concepcion. That’s a fun fight.

3. I think Gamboa would ice Concepcion in one or two rounds. Gonzalez isn’t a viable opponent in my eyes unless he can pull the upset against Hozumi Hasegawa in Japan on April 8. I want to see Gamboa take on only the be best 126 pounders, Rojas, John, and of course, Lopez.


I was pumped to see Juan Manuel Lopez in the ring after the Gamboa fight. Hopefully that fight will actually happen. It needs to happen. If not, what's next for Gamboa? I think with his speed he'll be able to move up easily if nobody will fight him at his current weight. As a sidenote to how amazing boxers are as athletes: Zbikowski was gassed in a 4 round fight and he plays in the NFL! Thanks for all the good work Doug, keep it up. -- Matt from Mattawan

I remember a quote from Mark Gastineau, a five-time Pro Bowler who tried boxing in the early 1990s (and had around 15 or 16 bouts, some of which were reportedly set-ups), when he was asked to compare being in shape for pro football to pro boxing conditioning (and I‘m paraphrasing here): “I was on vacation the entire time I was in the NFL and I didn’t know it.”

Anyway, my guess is that Gamboa, who began his pro career at 130 pounds, could go up to junior lightweight anytime and kick ass. However, I think that would be a mistake. There are no notable fighters at 130 pounds right now, unless you count Jorge Linares, who is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, which puts him on Bob Arum’s ban list.

The better fighters are at 126 pounds right now, so that’s where Gamby should stay. Lopez isn’t the only talented featherweight in the game. I think there are others who can give the Cuban a fight.



A few quick points:

1. I grew up watching network fights in the 80's, with the CBS involvement in the upcoming PPV fight do you see major fights coming back to network TV. Is this format more beneficial to fighters pockets or marketability?

2. I know you're a comics fan like myself and Marvel has a large digital archive of their comics, like early issues of Spiderman and Thor. Do you see The Ring Mag doing such a thing?

3. Whose the guy the walks in the ring now with the kufi and tank top, most recently with Mayorga. He looks like MC Shan on roids.

-- Kino, New York, New York

Hey Kino. I’ll answer your questions in order:

1. I don’t see major boxing returning to network TV even if Pacquiao-Mosley is a huge pay-per-view success because of the fight’s exposure on CBS. What could happen is that the promotional build-up to more major PPV shows could be see on networks in the future. The network format is definitely more beneficial to a fighter’s marketability, which could translate into more money for those special few who possess the right mix of talent and charisma.

2. I am indeed a bigtime comic nerd. The good news for bigtime boxing nerds is that THE RING is working on making its vast archives available to those who subscribe to the digital edition of the magazine. I believe that the Imirus microsite (where you buy the digital edition) will begin listing individual back issues on April 1. I don’t know how far back these issues go, but I think the ultimate goal for the company is to eventually have most (if not all) editions of THE RING dating back to 1922 (when it was founded) in an accessible digital format.

Here’s the link to the sign up page for the digital edition if you’re interested:

3. I have no idea who you are talking about, and I have no desire to look into who it might be, but I have to say that it never ceases to amaze me what and/or whom captures the attention of you hardcore heads before, during and after a fight. God bless ya!

The UFC's first trip to Seattle was successful, with several young, untested fighters showing they belonged in the Octagon. Who rose above the rest?

No. 1 star -- Chan Sung Jung: In their first bout, Jung and Leonard Garcia swung wildly at each other for three rounds. They created an exciting bout that will long be remembered as one of the WEC's best, but still ended up in a loss for Jung. He changed his plan this time, fighting a more calculated bout that ended with him slapping on twister submission. It was the first twister performed in the UFC, and it earned Jung at $55,000 Submission of the Night bonus.

No. 2 star -- Amir Sadollah: Since winning the seventh season of "The Ultimate Fighter," Sadollah has had an up-and-down tenure in the UFC, plagued with injuries, sickness and odd losses. None of those troubles were obvious on Saturday night, as he gave DaMarques Johnson an old-fashioned beating. In the second round, Sadollah inundated Johnson with elbows, causing Johnson to tap and earning Sadollah his second straight win.

No. 3 star -- Michael McDonald and Edwin Figueroa: Smaller weights are known for putting on a show, and McDonald and Figueroa delivered. McDonald won their three-round decision with a mix of strikes and submission attempts, but Figueroa won respect by standing through every strike and making it out of every sub attempt. They both won $55,000 for a Fight of the Night bonus.

Honorable mention -- Johny Hendricks: Unfortunately, the main event ran over time, so we didn't get to see Hendricks' knockout of T.J. Waldburger. A report from on-site described it:

Hendricks connected on two powerful left hands. The back-to-back blows sent Waldburger to the mat, and the ref halted the action before Hendricks could deliver any further punishment.

Hendricks earned the Knockout of the Night bonus, good for $55,000.

Martin Laird: Laird was well on his way to being one of the week’s big losers – until he rallied on the back nine to post his second tour win. The two-putt on 18 was not easy, though he made it look that way.

Steve Marino: Granted, he squandered his chance to collect his first tour victory with the bogey at 15 and the double at 17. Yet he somehow found a way to hit one of the best shots of the week – the approach at the treacherous 18th – which gave him a chance to get in a playoff if Laird were to falter. Marino is too good for the winless drought to last much longer.

David Toms: Can you believe it’s been five years since Toms won a tournament? A lot of that is due to injuries. But if he’s healthy again, the former PGA champion is still young enough at 44 to win again. Nobody owns a purer putting stroke. Even when he misses, they look like they should have gone in.

Spencer Levin: Dear golf gods: Let Levin win and soon. If this year so far has been about the emergence of new, interesting characters on tour, nobody is more interesting – and perhaps volatile – than the passionate Levin. He also possesses a wonderful short game.

Sergio Garcia: First, the good news. Sergio’s ball striking looks as sharp as ever. There were many who claimed that, even during Tiger’s prime – we have seen his prime, haven’t we? – Sergio, from tee to green, was more consistent. Now the bad news. He still misses too many short putts, including an unthinkable gag from 18 inches on Saturday. If he could putt, he might have won the thing.

Sam Saunders: Did anyone have more pressure on him at Bay Hill than Saunders, the King’s grandson? Given the circumstances, he performed magnificently with a tie for 30th. The kid has game.

Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Invitational had all the trimmings to make it feel like a big-time party, full of anticipatory pre-Masters buzz, like a pre-Augusta kegger: great weather, Tiger, Simmerin’ Spencer Levin, U.S. Open-like bloodshed, Tiger, Steve Marino pain, a Euro winner not named Lee, Martin, Ian, Rory or Graeme, ‘last channel’ remote-control function giving us Shaka Smart magic on hardwood, Johnny Miller cracking wise on NBC (he called Marino a “walking lip-out,” yes he did), Tiger and, of course, the King himself.

When Arnold is in the house – deeply-tanned, sweater draped over his shoulders on the NBC broadcast, exuding Arnie-ness – all is right with the golf world. And let’s be honest: This coming week’s Shell Houston Open is window dressing, the golf equivalent of the final weekend of baseball spring training, when bags are packed and all anybody can do is look forward to blowing out of town.

In baseball, that means teams splitting from Florida and Arizona for Opening Day.

In golf, that means enduring the Shell Houston Open until we get to the Masters.

Consider Bay Hill a final cram session before the year’s first major, then. And like John Belushi’s Bluto Blutarsky springing from the trash bin with the answers to the final exam in “Animal House,” we’ve got some final answers right here:

• Tiger will not win the Masters. This is not about Tiger hate, dear reader. This is an honest evaluation of a guy who can’t putt right now – much less reliably hit fairways and greens. When Tiger Woods goes to Torrey Pines, Dubai, Doral and Bay Hill and posts T-44, T-20, T-10, T-29 … well, that’s like Larry Bird shooting a cool 11 percent from the field at the Boston Garden. Amazingly, the greatest player of our time is wracked by a lack of consistency – and worse, a lack of confidence – in his game. How else can you explain being in contention at Torrey after 36 holes, then firing a 74-75 on the weekend? Or being in contention at Dubai after 54 holes, then posting a 75 on Sunday? Or following up a buzz-worthy Friday 68 at Bay Hill with a 74-72 weekend? For Tiger to struggle is one thing. For him to struggle on weekends is something else entirely. I’ve long thought that, even given his travails since Nov. 27, 2009, he’d still pass Jack Nicklaus’ major record because of his comfort zone at Augusta National, where I thought he’d win three more green jackets just by showing up. And that still may be. Just not this year.

Sergio Garcia played well from tee to green at Bay Hill, but he's unlikely to be a factor at Augusta National.
(David Cannon/Getty Images)

• Spencer Levin will not win the Masters, but he will entertain you nonetheless.Trick statement: Levin does not have an invite for Augusta, and won’t make it unless he wins at Houston this week. Regardless, Levin, who produced a woeful Sunday in the final pairing and wound up T-6 at Bay Hill, is a 26-year-old with a game on the rise. He’s been known in Northern California circles for years for his prodigious talent, homemade swing, affinity for on-course cigarettes and, ahem, intense desire. That’s another way of saying Levin runs hot. Perhaps you all saw his errant drive at 16 on Saturday, followed by a wicked practice swing, at full force, at his tee in the ground. My favorite Levin anecdote came when I covered him in the 2003 California State Amateur at Pebble Beach. Approaching the 15th tee box, three holes down, he spied a spectator clutching a cold bottle of beer. Amid the pressure of the moment, an expressionless Levin was thoughtful enough to ask the gentleman: “How’s that Heineken treatin’ you?” Bonus points for Levin, a San Francisco Giants fan, for wearing the team lid last October at tour events during the G’s run to the Series.

Sergio Garcia will not win the Masters despite a recent flash of form.A general rule of golf is: Sergio Garcia – ever since the Medinah Tease of ’99, and backed up by the Carnoustie Crash of ’07 – will never win a major. Whether it’s because he enraged the golf gods with the “Loogie in a Cup” move, or whether it’s because he’s proven to have a dime-store head in pressure situations, or whether it’s because he’s really a poor putter, El Nino will be El Zip-o when it comes to career majors, sadly. And yet, here he is in 2011, preaching slow improvement, patience and posting better results: eighth at Bay Hill; ninth in Qatar on the Euro Tour; a T-15 at Innisbrook. Don’t fall for it and catch Sergio Fever going into Augusta. Amazingly, Garcia has fallen to 72nd in the world rankings (as of Sunday) and only qualified for the Masters by virtue of his three-year exemption from winning the 2008 Players Championship, his last tour win. That’s sort of shocking.

• The rest is wide open. Without getting an eyeball test on Martin Kaymer or Lee Westwood, who didn’t play Bay Hill, we can fairly proclaim the 2011 Masters gigantically open for conjecture. It wasn’t always thus. In Tiger’s prime, you’d come to Masters week and assess the field like this: Tiger, Tiger, Phil, Tiger, Tiger, Ernie, Tiger, Tiger, Vijay, Tiger, Tiger, Retief. Now? Take about 20 names, shake ‘em up in your Masters bucket hat and have at it. Everybody looks good – and everybody has flaws. Bubba Watson? Sure, he won at Torrey and is great pick and all … but he shot 78 on Sunday at Bay Hill. Nick Watney? Love him, may be the smartest pick out there – and then I remember that 69-68-66-81 at Whistling Straits. Dustin Johnson? A second at Doral was sweet, but a missed cut at Bay Hill was sour. Phil Mickelson? Just two top-10s in six stroke-play starts, but the defending champion only had one top-10 last year before rolling down Magnolia Lane and leaving with a third green jacket. Hunter MahanPaul CaseyLuke Donald … we could go on. Point is, take any of them – except Tiger. Or Sergio. Or Spencer. And you’ll be good to go.

Scorecard of the week

70-65-70-75 – 8-under 280, Martin Laird, winner, Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Invitational.

And then there’s this guy – proving a player may be able to win “Comeback Player of the Year” in one day.

Martin Laird is a Scotsman who came to America to play golf at Colorado State, and never left. After his 11th hole on Sunday at Bay Hill, however, he was probably wishing he could move back to the Scottish Highlands and hide out for decades in a cave.

Laird took a three-shot lead at Bay Hill and massacred it. He bogeyed No. 3. He bogeyed No. 7. He bogeyed No. 9. And on 11, he snapped a shot from a fairway bunker into one of Bay Hill’s many watery graves for a double bogey. That’s five shots given back to the field, and after he bogeyed 14, too, a three-shot deficit. Slow death.

But while Steve Marino found agony in double bogeying 17, Laird stayed calm, birdied 15 and 16, made a tough two-putt for par on 18 and won his second PGA Tour event. Go figure. Sudden life.

Maybe we should get used to this guy. Like last week’s winner Gary Woodland, Laird is a monster off the tee, sixth in driving distance at 302.1 yards. He’s 16th on tour in putting, and fourth in scoring. He had three top-10s prior to the win, too, and will make his Masters debut this year.

On a day when Scotland’s Paul Lawrie won for the first time in nine years – yes, like you, I thought Lawrie moved to Bora Bora years ago, never to be heard from again – let’s call Sunday “Braveheart Day” in the golf world. To paraphrase “Fantasy Island’s” Mr. Rourke, I say: Kilts, everyone! Kilts!

Mulligan of the week

• Amazingly, the LPGA played another event in the continental United States. In California, even! The Kia Classic was a doozy, too. Jiyai Shin, who has name recognition, eight wins and a major, had a battle royale with Sandra Gal, who has no name recognition, zero wins in 70 starts, and stands 6 feet tall.

Turns out Gal, a German who went to the University of Florida, lists modeling as a hobby and has the bikini photos to prove it. (Now there’s something she does not have in common with Martin Laird.)

At any rate, Gal and Shin came to the 18th hole at City of Industry near Los Angeles all tied up, and both women hit stony approach shots, answering the bell. Shin was three feet out; Gal just 24 inches away.

And then it reared its ugly head – the Golf Pressure Monster (GPM) … Shin, who has done this all before, suddenly felt the temperature inside her body rise about 40 degrees and had to back away from her three-footer. A juiced-up crowd whooped and hollered at Shin’s indecision, and then it happened: The GPM showed up. Shin blocked her 36-incher, lipping out. Ouch!

Gal, of course, kicked in her winner and became the tallest winner this side of Michelle Wie. Shin, meanwhile, gave an interview so full of good cheer and grace to The Golf Channel, I found myself asking: Wait, didn’t she just miss a three-footer on national TV? Where’s the Spencer Levin-esque rage?

Still – shades of John Daly at Harding Park in his playoff with Tiger Woods – you hate to see somebody lose like that. It would have been great to see the two tangle further, so let’s rush back out to 18, place Shin’s ball three feet out and … give that young lady a mulligan!

Broadcast moment of the week

“You’re seeing a lot of chips in the Foley Era come up short.” – Johnny Miller, NBC, getting a dig in at Tiger’s short game and new swing coach.

You give Johnny Miller a chance to tweak, and he will tweak.

With all sorts of golf luminaries – Arnie, Jack, Lee – wondering aloud why Tiger would go to such great lengths to re-invent his swing for the third time, Miller took the chance to call out Tiger’s short game after an indifferent chip on Saturday left him about 12 feet for par.

Sad thing is, Miller is right. Among the many things that ail Tiger’s game right now is a lack of that sizzling short game. Tiger around a green used to be the surest bet in sports. Now, it’s a 50-50 proposition.

Miller saw the opening and attacked. It’s what he does – like a lion in the savannah.

Where do we go from here?

• In a feat once thought impossible, the LPGA will play three consecutive weeks Stateside – somebody alert Ripley’s! It’s the Kraft Nabisco in Rancho Mirage, Calif., the year’s first major, too. Is it time for The Big Wiesy? A distinct possibility, friends.

And while I spent the top part of this column ridiculing the very notion of the Houston Open, the field isn’t half bad: Mickelson always loves to get work in the week before Augusta and is in. Mahan and his big surfer shades will be there. Bay Hill protagonists Levin and Marino will be, too. Lee Westwood will dare to find his way to H-Town, as well.

And anytime Fred Couples shows up, everybody has a good time. Oh – he’ll also be at the Masters. You might want to give him a look. Why not?