Canelo-Golovkin: The time has come
Two of the world’s most fearsome and hard charging fighters, Saul Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin will meet tonight in a clash that stands to be one of the most interesting in a very long time.
Alvarez is a Mexican prodigy while Golovkin, the ageing knock-out-specialist hails from Kazakhstan in Eastern Europe. A staggering four world titles, the WBA, WBC, IBF and the The Ring belts will be put on the line, in a fight that has given both bookmakers and pundits a hard time to decisively calculate. Of the pair, Golovkin is the undefeated and commands one of the highest knockout ratios in the history of the middleweight division. He has won all 37 of his fights, 33 of them by knockout.
Alvarez is only 27 years while Golovkin is 35. Nevertheless, despite being much younger it is Alvarez who has a longer and arguably compact professional record. He turned professional at the age of 15 in his home country whose boxing system’s bull’s eye is nothing other than turning pro. At only 27 years, Alvarez has already fought 51 fights, won 49 of them, drew one and lost one to Floyd Mayweather in a fight that calls to mind the Floyd Mayweather-Oscar de la Hoya bout with regards to the anticipation and excitement.
His real break was his 2013 fight with Austin Trout where the power and of the then 24 year old Alvarez floored Trout. The Mexican sensation has steadily risen and stepped up in class over the years racking up decisive wins and displaying exceptional ring generalship. Alvarez has drubbed over world champions it e form of Miguel Cotto and Sugar Shane Mosley whose scalps had been previously been claimed by Mayweather. Other world champs who have succumbed to the Alvarez power include the Cuban Erislandy Lara, Amir Khan, Julio Ceasar Chavez Jr, Josesito Lopez and Liam Smith.
On the other hand today’s clash is viewed as Golovkin’s real world class bout with a deserving client. Some argue that Golovkin’s record was made after facing only journeyman fighters and is devoid of any tough world class opponents, an assertion that might hold some truth in it. The only real tough opponents who Golovkin has faced as stepped up in class are Kell Brook, David Lemiux, Willie Monroe, Curtis Steven’s and Daniel Jacobs who are not really at the peak of the American boxing food chain.
The other blemish might be that after an unstoppable ascent, Golovkin’s last fight against middleweight Daniel Jacobs went the distance and was adjudged by the judges, a clear and ill-timed break from his knockout streak. Today’s clash will also be Golovkin’s major league American fight in Las Vegas unlike Alvarez, who has already fought in Vegas, the Mecca of professional boxing about 6 times before. But, above all Supremacy, as the fight is billed has all the hallmarks of what it takes to be titled a fight of the century.
It invokes the magic and bravado that used to prevail in fights between Manny Paqcuiao and Juan Manuel Marquez in all their unprecedented four fights, the last being a decisive knockout delivered by Marquez in their last fight in 2012. Both boxers have never been knocked down in the professional careers. The fight will possibly offer high drama, hard punches, frenzied flurries and possibly a knock down or two an element that has been lacking in the sport since the likes of Paqcuiao and Marquez retired officially or into oblivion.
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Orange injects P350 000 into Phikwe marathon
Mobile network Orange Botswana is committed to supporting the development of local sport. Through its sponsorship, the company will be able to promote and market the sport. According to Maano Masisi, the company believes that sport can unite people from different backgrounds.
He stated that through the sponsorship of the marathon, the company will help promote healthy lifestyles and unity among the people of Selebi Phikwe.
The Selebi Phikwe Marathon is scheduled to take place on July 29, 2023. It is expected that it will attract international, regional, and social runners. A total of P216 000 has been allocated for the prize money for the first ten places in the 42.2 km race. For the 15km and 10km races, the LOC will give away prizes to the first five places.
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AFRICA’S RECOVERY: Sports as game changer
The year 2022 witnessed unprecedented phenomena. Several Africans- Gotytom Gebreslase, Sharon Lokedi, Victor Kiplangat, Tamarit Tola and many others- swept the World’s marathons records.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting control measures implemented in several countries, led to many high-level sports competitions being cancelled or shelved, the Dakar 2022 Youth Olympic Games was moved to 2026.
Founder and Executive Chairman, African Sports and Creative Institute, Will Mabiakop, says the inability to hold traditional and amateur sports events have had a serious effect on public health overall, including mental health, sparking a revolution whereby athletes began to talk more openly about stress, mental overload and performance anxiety.
“Africa is home to the fastest growing economies before the crisis, no longer on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). COVID-19 deepened interdependence between SDGs, making them harder to achieve, especially SDG 10 (reducing inequality) and SDG 5 (gender equality_ as the pandemic had a disproportionate impact on poorer countries, and heavier burdens (such as care work) fell to women.”
Mabiakop stresses that as policymakers contemplate actions to speed up recovery and build resilience, they must argue that sports and creative businesses should play a central feature in this effort.
“The sports economy worldwide is estimated at 5% of GDP, but only 0.5% in Africa. If exploited, Africa’s sports and creative industries can offer policymakers innovative solutions. Especially, as regards job creation, and providing employment to the 15 million people entering the job market annually.”
HOW CAN THE INDUSTRY DO THIS?
By leveraging the two-for-one concept: past studies shown that a 1% growth in the economy delivers a 2% job increment in this sector (these ratios are calculated using data from 48 African countries and adjusted to the reality of the sports economy in Africa by the authors). There are between 30 and 50 job types, in sports and creative industries, respectively. These jobs do not fade away with the first major shock.
Mabiakop indicated that policymakers can use these industries to tackle multiple crises- jobs, poverty, and climate risks. Sports diplomacy- defined as communication, representation and negotiation in or through the prism of sports- has proven effective in building inclusive and cohesive societies. Moreover, sports and the creative industry can support better mental health and well-being, both important for productivity.
“Policymakers can also be true to the game by leveraging culture and tradition to celebrate identity and reap commercial value in sports, textiles and jewelry. Creative sectors allow deeper connection with culture, are not easily copied and provide great economic potential.”
He said supporting grassroots sports has powerful distributional effects. “Fortunately, technology has made reaching wide audiences easier, generating higher rates of success when talent is discovered.”
However, Mabiakop held that potential pitfalls must be highlighted. “First avoid build it and they will come policies with infrastructures denuded from the rest of the ecosystem. Like the many sports stadiums left largely unused.”
“Policymakers must remain mindful of how these sectors move the needle in human capital development. Also, align the requisite public policies needed for progress from grassroots participation to professional sports, and even to international sporting events. They should also support investment instruments to render these sectors performant.”