Well, I’m not really sure what to make of all that.
Clearly I wasn’t expecting it to be an instant classic, and although there was definitely intrigue and interest in seeing Mike Tyson back in a boxing ring, the contest itself was so clearly a pale imitation of anything they were capable of in their prime, you have to question the point.
Having said that, Tyson clearly enjoyed himself. He looked enthused, happy, pleased to be back in the ring and has got himself in tremendous shape, given his age and the punishment that his body had taken over the past couple of decades (and more).
Yes, both Tyson and Jones were clearly competitive against each other, but that was pretty much it.
So, from a nostalgic point of view, it was OK, but I wouldn’t want to watch that again.
As for the rest of the event, the first two fights on the undercard were quite interesting and competitive from a sporting perspective, but from the point that Jake Paul entered the ring, it should have been clear that the serious stuff was over for the day.
Thanks for joining me this afternoon for some boxing fun, we’ll be back with another blog for the the next big domestic fight between Tim Tszyu and Bowyn Morgan on December 16, but for now, good afternoon.
In a New York minute, the joyous news that it was possible 25,000 people could attend each day of the Boxing Day Test degenerated into a squabble about the allocation of cricket’s golden tickets.
On one side are the Veruca Salts of the MCC Members demanding value for their subscriptions after an AFL-free winter; on the other the Augustus Gloops of the outer whose presence lends the occasion its boisterous soundtrack as the beer cup snakes lengthen.
Yet rather than unseemly, this familiar cultural clash about access to a major Melbourne sporting event seems as comforting as the roar that will echo around the MCG when the first Boxing Day wicket falls.
Even before the old Members Pavilion was replaced, the MCG was largely defined by its vast capacity and consequent acoustics rather than its now mostly functional grandstands and unremarkable aesthetic.
Crowds of 25,000 that would fill smaller venues rattle around in the cavernous confines of the ‘G where thousands of empty seats can create the false impression a relatively well-attended contest has been forsaken.
But assuming Melbourne’s next wave is Mexican and not COVID-related, on Boxing Day the MCG will for once seem quarter-filled rather than three quarters empty despite the gaps between patrons.
Thus the second Test against India will be a symbolic moment of sports viewing liberation in the self-proclaimed sporting capital; the first “mass” celebrated in nine months in Melbourne’s sporting cathedral since the wonderful Women’s T20 World Cup viewed by 86,000 spectators preceded a winter in sporting purgatory.
Competing forces will argue Boxing Day crowds are possible because of the stout efforts of Victorian Government officials who have reduced case numbers from a Bradmanesque average to a more manageable McGrathian number, despite the bungling of the same officials or in spite of the jeering that has come across state borders.
But however you spin it, Boxing Day 2020 presents as not merely a highly anticipated Test against a richly talented Indian men’s team. It will usher the return of some kind of sports viewing normality to a city where major events were, before the pandemic, considered a right rather than a privilege.
Melbourne desperate for sport
While Melburnians have slowly become accustomed to the deprivation of their sports viewing rituals throughout the winter, two abject experiences near the tail end of the COVID-19 drought will make Boxing Day even sweeter.
Last weekend’s AFL grand final in Brisbane was — quite literally — a glowing success, given the gladiatorial contest and the energetic, laser-lit half-time performance (as opposed to the rather tame pre-game karaoke).
In a year when merely staging games required the kind of logistics traditionally reserved for military invasions and Rebecca Judd’s Christmas parties, the Gabba grand final provided far more than a pale imitation of the real thing.
This made it impossible to assess what a night or twilight grand final would be like in Melbourne — although should a 7:30pm start be preceded by large gatherings in hotels and backyard barbecues, I would suggest the correct answer is “drunk”.
While those in other states might bemoan Melbourne’s sense of AFL grand final entitlement, the long pause was a kind of requiem for a city mourning its lost sporting soul.
Melbourne Cup day will present differently. There will be no soapie stars strutting in marquees or sozzled blokes in nun’s habits and footy shorts on the Flemington lawns, but there will be the chance to congregate in small numbers to watch the race off-course.
Quite understandably this Melbourne spring carnival has failed to gain momentum. Never has it been more apparent that it is the social rituals rather than the racing itself that elevates the month-long event.
So where usually the Melbourne Cup is the exclamation mark at the end of a series of racing-themed parties, this one will be somehow detached and discordant.
In that regard, the tour game between India and Australia A in Sydney could be as useful for the home team in finalising selection as it is for the tourists in aiding acclimatisation.
The now unusual back-ending of Test matches into the new year — hosted by Sydney (January 7-11) and Brisbane (January 15-19) — is also welcome for those whose idea of holiday heaven is a poolside banana lounge and ABC Grandstand cricket on the radio.
It all seems nice and soothing, and normal — nothing more so than the prospect of sports-hungry Melburnians fighting tooth and nail for the big game tickets they consider their birthright.
Offsiders will have analysis of all the major sports events and stories, including a special Melbourne Cup preview, on Sunday at 10:00am on ABC TV.
Cricket Australia has announced the summer schedule for the eagerly awaited Border-Gavaskar trophy between India and Australia.
CA says the traditional Boxing Day Test will be played in Melbourne at the MCG, as a morale-lifter for the Victorian capital, which has been hit so hard by COVID-19.
The remaining three Tests will be played in Melbourne (December 26), Sydney (January 7) and Brisbane (January 15).
India is due to arrive in Sydney on November 12 and will quarantine at a hotel for two weeks at Sydney’s Olympic Park, where the team can also train.
Australia’s cricketers who are currently playing in the Indian Premier League, including Steve Smith and David Warner, will also go into quarantine.
“Australia and India represent one of the great rivalries in world sport and we are delighted to welcome Virat Kohli’s outstanding squad to Australian shores this summer,” said Cricket Australia’s interim boss, Nick Hockley.
“In relation to the Boxing Day Test at the MCG, we are working with the Victorian Government and the Melbourne Cricket Club on plans to safely host spectators at the iconic event, with details to be confirmed in due course.”
The four-Test series will begin with a day-night Test in Adelaide on December 17.
Once out of quarantine, the Indians will play Australia in three One-Day Internationals on November 27 and 29 at the SCG and December 2 at Canberra’s Manuka Oval.
The two teams will then play a T20 International at Manuka on December 4, before returning to Sydney for another two T20s at the SCG on December 6 and 8.
The Border-Gavaskar series picks up at the end of the T20s following a tour match against Australia A at the SCG from December 11-13.
Abdullah El Nasher, 29, and Mr Allouche, 25, have been charged with murder and attempted murder, and Mr Myko, 27, and Ali El Nasher, 30, are charged with attempted murder.
Leading Senior Constable Craig Rooney, from the police ballistics unit, said officers found four types of ammunition at the scene: .25 and .22 calibre bullets and casings outside the building, and .32 and .38 calibre casings in the foyer.
However police couldn’t be sure that a gun was fired inside as there were no signs of damage caused by bullets in the foyer, Leading Senior Constable Rooney said, although there was broken glass on the floor and framed sports photos were damaged.
It was also possible casings found inside the foyer were either left behind by someone or knocked over by people running through the area, the police officer told the court.
Abdullah El Nasher and Mr Allouche have been charged with murder over Mr Togiai’s death and Mr Myko and Ali El Nasher are charged with attempted murder.
Police allege Mr Myko shot Mr Abouchaya in the abdomen, cheek and right leg and Ali El Nasher then stomped three times on the wounded man’s head.
Ali El Nasher was this year granted bail and watched Monday’s hearing via video link from his lawyer’s office. The other three men remain in custody and appeared via video link.
Tim Tszyu ascended to the throne of Australian boxing after supplanting Jeff Horn by force on Wednesday night in Townsville.
Tszyu jumped out of the shadows of his famous father, proclaiming: “My name’s Tim … not the son,” after Horn failed to come out of the corner to contest the ninth round.
Horn’s trainer, Glenn Rushton, will again come under criticism for a tardy stoppage as he continually questioned his charge about whether he wanted to continue, despite calls from the rest of the corner to throw in the towel.
It felt as if we were watching the end of a storied chapter in Australian boxing, who deserved to go out in a finer manner.
Even Horn was unable to answer what comes next.
“It’s time to go home and give the girls [wife and daughters] a cuddle,” Horn said with a raspy voice.
The ever-graceful Queenslander called on Australia to support Tszyu as he passed the torch to his countryman.
UK and US interest in new young star
Tszyu is not only Australia’s top domestic star but also a wanted signature by overseas promoters.
Eddie Hearn (Matchroom Boxing, UK) and Top Rank founder Bob Arum (USA) have both expressed interest in the boxing blueblood.
“If Tim Tszyu was a race horse, you’d have to give him a lot of points,” Arum told ABC Grandstand this week.
“I think we can arrange for him to come over to the States and we can advance him up the ranks so he can fight for a world title. Similar to what we’re doing for these Moloney [Jason and Andrew] kids.”
The Las-Vegas-based Top Rank are currently staging events in a quarantine hub known as The Bubble, airing on ESPN, who also carried the Horn-Tszyu bout.
The belt holders in junior middleweight division (69.9kg) are Jermell Charlo (WBC), Jeison Rosario (IBF, WBA) and Patrick Teixeira (WBO).
Charlo and Rosario have agreed to unify their belts, while Teixeira is signed to fight Argentine Brian Castano.
With the belts tied up in the division and border restrictions showing no sign of easing, Tszyu may have to bide his time for a world title shot.
His devastating victory over Horn will ring bells across the boxing world, as the Tszyu 2.0 arrives.
Mike Tyson first won the heavyweight world title in 1986 aged 20
Roy Jones Jr is a former four-weight world champion, winning the heavyweight title in 2003
At 51, Jones is three years younger than Tyson
The former heavyweight champion will meet four-division champion Roy Jones Jr in an eight-round exhibition match on September 12 in Los Angeles.
Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history when he won the title in 1986 at age 20, and for a time was the most feared fighter in boxing.
But his career and life took a turn for the worse, and he served nearly three years of a six-year jail term for rape in the 1990s.
He hasn’t boxed since 2005, when he lost to Irishman Kevin McBride, his second straight defeat and sixth in 58 career contests.
He has occasionally teased a return with workout videos, sparking wild speculation on social media of an imminent return and even a trilogy fight against Evander Holyfield, against whom he lost twice in the 1990s.
In the second fight, the pair were involved in one of the most infamous incidents in boxing history when Tyson bit the ear of Holyfield, prompting his disqualification.
Jones, 51, won titles in middleweight (70-73kg), super middleweight (73-76kg) and light heavyweight (76-79kg) before moving up to win the heavyweight (over 91kg) title in 2003, becoming the first former middleweight champion to do so in 106 years.
Jones described the fight as “like David and Goliath” in a promotional video.
“He’s a giant monster … and I’m the lil’ David who only has God on my side. And that’s gonna be all I need,” Jones said.
Jones hung up his gloves in 2018 after beating Scott Sigmon on points in a cruiserweight (max 90.7kg) contest.
The event will air on pay-per-view and the social media music platform Triller.
Further matches on the card and musical entertainment will be announced in the coming weeks.
It was James Pattinson (3-34) who struck next, finding the edge of BJ Watling’s bat with a scorching delivery to complete a bountiful first hour for Australia.
Opener Tom Latham (50) and Colin de Grandhomme (11) offered some resistance after the first drinks break, until the big seamer played a rising delivery from Mitchell Starc to Warner at gully.
After lunch, the hosts cleaned up the remaining four wickets required, with Cummins leading the way again. He finally out-foxed the solid Latham, who was caught behind by Tim Paine, before Pattinson had Santner out the same way next over.
If Australia were thinking of enforcing the follow on, some frolicsome slogging from the tail may have pushed them to resist the urge.
Eventually Cummins completed his five-for with the wicket of Tim Southee, caught behind, before Starc completed the rout by taking out Trent Boult’s leg stump. New Zealand was all out for 148, trailing by 319.
Back at the crease, Australia’s batsmen enjoyed a mix-and-match performance with the willow as they set about hurriedly adding to New Zealand’s potential target.
David Warner (38) mistimed a cut shot to club Neil Wagner straight to cover, before Marnus Labuschagne (19) was run out after taking on the fielder trying for a quick single.
The struggling Mitch Santner then got his first wicket of the series when Joe Burns (35) cut the ball straight into the keeper’s gloves, before Wagner proved Steve Smith’s nemesis again, Smith glancing straight to short fine leg to be dismissed for 7.
With two whole days to play, Australia could add even more runs to its total in the first session before sending the Black Caps into bat as it hunts a 2-0 series lead.
Look back at how the action unfolded in our live blog.
Australia has romped to a 247-run victory over New Zealand at the MCG to end the Boxing Day Test a day early and seal a trans-Tasman trophy victory.
A classy century for opener Tom Blundell (121) was a highlight for the visitors, who also passed 200 for the first time this series, but it was not enough to prevent going 2-0 down with one Test to play.
Kiwi quick Trent Boult was ruled out for the remainder of the series early on day four, meaning the New Zealanders were all out when 9 wickets down for 240, with James Pattinson (3-35) and Nathan Lyon (4-81) the primary wicket-takers.
“As a team we’ve sat down watched and re-watched the fight and we have some concerns about a number of things that happened during the fight that shouldn’t have,” Zerafa’s co-manager Brendan Bourke said.
“If the calls to my phone since the fight are anything to go by, these concerns aren’t limited to me or the team.
“Many people in the boxing community have contacted me and have raised the same issues.
“I don’t propose to go into detail at this stage. We have more than a week before we lodge the protest and we want this to be dealt with properly and we want it dealt with it respectfully to both Michael and Jeff.”