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May 8, 2015

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I: Page16 BOSTON POST-GAZEI-rE, MAY 8, 2015 MAYWEATHER Floyd Mayweather Years in the making, the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight finally happened last Satur- day night. It was the most hyped fight in the history of boxing, and because of social media and 24/7 coverage on cable, the promoters were able to convince the public that a matchup between to historically average fighters would be on the level of, as George Foreman said, Ali- Frazier I and the second Louis-Schmeling fight. The build-up, while ridiculous, worked, getting millions of fans, I would guess the vast majority of whom were not regular boxing fans to pony up close to $100.00 to watch what really would be nothing more than a couple of over the hill club fighters face each other. Now that the fight seems to have disap- pointed everybody, no sur- prise there, a controversy is being, created around the possibility of an injured Pacman having gone into the ring. Yes, the hype is already beginning for a rematch, and I have little doubt it will happen and once again mil- lions of people will pay to ~see these two go 'at it again. P.T. Barnum had it right. Okay, -so now to my thoughts on the fight itself. I don't particularly care for either of these fighters, so I did not care who won, leav- ing me to express my opin- ion based solely on what I saw. To begin with, I did not shell out for the pay per view. I was able to follow the fight on line by reading a blog that was done in real time by the fine boxing writer for the Wall Street Journal, Gordon Marino. He did an incredible job giving a blow-by-blow account during and after each round, accompanied by photos taken during the fight. The next morning I was able to watch the fight on the internet. " I had predicted that the fight would go the distance - PACQUIAO P.T. Bamum was Right and end in a close decision where Pacman's fans would think he won and the same would be true for Floyd's backers. This would lead to a rematch. Things turned out a bit differently. I actually found the fight much more interesting than I ever expected. In the open- ing rounds Floyd used an effective left hook counter over Manny's right jab. That is a great tactic against a southpaw as the hook has the same effect as a right Floyd and Manny stare down. cross on an orthodox fighter. By doing this, Floyd also made Manny gun-shy about using his jab as he was get- ting hit when he threw it. From there Floyd went on to countering with a nice right hand up the middle. This was not a slugfest, but rather a tactical fight on Floyd's part. I know he has been criticized for not going toe- to-toe with Manny, but why would he? I would also say that it was Manny's job to force the action, and he just didn't throw many punches. He is now blaming that on his shoulder problems, but I attribute it to the fact that he was getting countered when he did try to open up. Floyd took his fight away from him. For those who are upset with Mayweather, just remember that he fought the way he always fights, it was Manny who was off his game. Floyd won at least nine of the twelve rounds, avoided punishment, con- fused and disarmed his op- ponent, and walked away with his brains and a barrel full of money, sounds to me like he had a good strategy, I heard many people complaining they didn't get their money's worth because neither fighter was bruised, cut, or injured at the end of the fight. Well, while this was not a great fight by any means, if people had a bit more knowledge of the intri- Manny Pacquiao cacies of boxing they would have appreciated the chess game that was played here. Unfortunately, today's fans are lusting after a bloodbath. They want to see two fight- ers just stand there and hit each other until one drops. Joey Maxim and Jersey Joe Walcott need not apply. As to this foolishness about Manny's shoulder and the controversy raised by the question of whether or not he went into the fight in- jured goes. If he and his team knowingly went along with letting him fight when he was in no condition to, if he knew he was injured and still signed the form stating he was in top shape to enter the ring, and if the promoters knew about this, all the pay per view customers should be re- funded their money. There is also a serious issue to be addressed concerning the people who wagered on the fight while having this infor- mation concealed. Unfortunately, instead of justice being served, the spin machine is in full operation building up the return match based on the shoulder injury and telling the public they did not get to see the real Manny Pacquiao in there on Saturday night. It's a sad fact about the pub- lic, but eventually this game will work and people will once more be suckered into paying to see the rematch. It will sell because as washed up as these two are there are no other possible match ups on the horizon that can create any excitement at all. This is the best today's box- ing can offer. It is a dying sport that has been on life support for years now slip- ping into a coma from which there will be only one result. The hucksters and charla- tans will bleed every last dollar out of it before it is finally laid to rest. Pitching In For Kids and Shane Victorino Host All-Star Comedy Celebration and Auction On Monday, May 18, 2015, Pitching In For Kids (PIFK,) and Red Sox Outfielder Shane Victorino will be hosting a night of fun and laughter at the All-Star Comedy Celebration and Auction ,with Comedians/Emcees, Lenny Clarke and Tony V., and Steve Bur- ton of WBZ-TV, Auctioneer Dan McLaughlin and more celebrity surprises from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm at the Revere Hotel Boston Com- mon, 200 Stuart Street, Boston, MA 02116 The evening will feature silent and live auctions including tickets to summer con- certs in Boston, such as the great lineup at Fenway Park, a New England Patriots Expe- rience with game tickets and a signed and framed Tom Brady jersey and Capital Grille Dinner for 10 people and more! Plus a spe- cial musical performance by Micah Chris- tian and the Sons of Serendip, finalist on NBC's America's Got Talent. Proceeds will benefit Pitching in for Kids and the Shane Victorino Foundation. Follow Pitching In For Kids on Twitter @Pitchingln4Kids and on Facebook Follow the Shane Victorino Foundation on Twitter @SVictorinoFtdn and on Facebook HAL GILL COMPLETES A SWEET 16 -- It's often been said that teams will look far and wide for potential tal- ented players to sign in the National Hockey League. In the case of Hal Gill, the Bruins didn't have to look very far. There he was at home in Boston's west sub- urbs, about a half hour away from the Garden. Gill, who had grown up sur- rounded by the history of this area, made some of his own during his career. Selected in the eighth round by the B's in the 1993 Draft, he would defy the odds that come with such a low choice by playing some 16 seasons in the NHL. But first came college and a four-year career at Provi- dence, during which the Friars won the 1996 Hockey East Championship at the Garden. That was a foretaste of the future for Gill, who within the next 18 months, would come to call the Cause- way Street arena his perma- nent hockey home for the next several seasons. He would make his NHL debut with the B's on Octo- ber 17, 1997, record his first NHL assist on November 6th and then tally his first NHL goal on November 13th against the St. Louis Blues. By the time it came to say goodbye, those numbers had increased to 36 goals and 148 assists for 184 career points, while playing for 6 different franchises over the course of those 16 seasons. Indeed, this large 6-7, 240-pound defenseman left one big mark on the NHL. And it could be said that Boston was fortunate enough to get the best of those Hal Gill years. He played in 68 regular season games and 6 playoff contests during his rookie season. Then during his second year (1998-1999) he played in 80 games, start- ing a streak of 9 straight seasons where he played in at least 76 games of the yearly 82-gaffle regular sea- son schedule/ During the 2001-2002 cam- paign, he put up 22 points as he helped the B's start a play- off run that lasted 3 consecu- tive seasons. The next sea- son (2002-2003) he paced the Black and Gold with a plus 21 rating, the best of his career. However, Gill will probably be remembered best as the victim of a Joe Thornton hit that came on January 10, 2006. Thornton, the former captain of the Bruins, had been traded to the San Jose Sharks back on November 30, 2005. When he left the Black and Gold Jumbo Joe was leading the Bruins in scoring. And when he re- turned that night, he was still leading the B's in scoring- even though he hadn't played for them in over a month. There had been a tremen- dous buildup for what was informally being called "Joe Thornton Night" and fans packed the Garden hoping to see Jumbo Joe play a com- plete game. However, with a little over five minutes gone in the first period, Thornton hit Gill from behind and drove him hard into the boards, injuring the defenseman. The refs not only assessed a checking from behind pen- alty, but also gave Thornton a game misconduct, mean- ing he could not continue to play. For the rest of the night, the man everyone had come to see was nowhere to be seen. There comes a time for every player to leave the Bruins. For a special few, it comes with a retirement announcement. For most others, it comes through a trade or free agency. And thus, it was that, Hall Gill signed as a free agent with the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 1, 2006. After learning the game as a child in the Boston suburbs, after' a superb high school career and a memorable col- legiate career at Providence College and after I0 years with the Boston Bruins, Hal Gill would be permanently based outside New England for the first time in his life. And he didn't disappoint. He played all 82 games for the Leafs while scoring 20 points. The next year {2007- 2008) he set career highs in points (24 and assists 21, which he finished with Pitts- burgh after being dealt to the Pens at the trading deadline. Some might call that sad, but it was really Gill's sal- vation. Four months later there was Gill skating in the Stanley Cup Final. The Pens fell short, but the experience worked wonders for the next year (2009} Gill grasped the Cup, playing in all 24 playoff games in the march to the title. He shared that victori- ous moment with Bill Guerin and Sergei Gonehar who had also played with the Bruins in the past. Next it" was on to Montreal for the better part of three seasons. It was in October of 2011 that Gill would play his 1,000 NHL game, becoming only the 12th player in the long history of the Habs to achieve that milestone as a member of the Canadiens. Trade talk became a real- ity again and in February 2012 Gill found himself sent to Nashville in a swap that would see him play portions of two seasons with the Predators. After that there was a final stop with the Philadelphia Flyers. As with many long careers, it was one of high points and low points, straightaway's and curves, zigs and zags, challenges and cheers. Un- like many players it was played mostly in his home area, from youth leagues to high school, to college and Causeway Street. But for all his travels over the last several seasons, Gil never forgot his home area. Today, he and his wife Anne and their three chil- dren live in Lincoln, just a few wheel spins from Concord where it all began. Proof that you can come home again -- because that is where your heart truly is.