Thursday, September 24, 2009

Formula 1: Singapore GP expectations

Preparations are under way for the most anticipated Formula 1 event of the year, Singapore’s night race.

Started in 2008, the Formula 1 Singtel Singapore GP was a huge success, one which was widely participated by racing aficionados and F1 nuts and fanatics all over the world.

Seeing those million dollar technologically advanced single-seater open-cockpit racing machines from atop the Suntek Tower 4 last year and experiencing more than 90 decibels of squealing 2.4-liter V8s was an adrenaline rush by itself.

Never mind that the race last year was conveniently fixed by a few desperate people, Fernando Alonso’s win was by no means considered a fluke. The Spanish ace was already flat out on Qualifying if not for a mechanical problem. This was proven by the fact that the double world champion duplicated his feat in front of Japanese fans a week later.

Powered by 12 powerful independent generators sending more than 3 million watts of light with digiflag displays around the circuit, Singapore’s tract illuminates drivers and fans alike.

Together with Turkey and Bahrain, the race is anti-clockwise covering 61 laps with a race distance of over 309 km. Average speed is a little over 170 km/hr with maximum attained at over 295 km/hr, one of the slowest in F1. The track covers 23 turns—10 to the right, 13 to the left.

Ferrari driver Felipe Massa was the first driver on pole but finished out of the points system after a pit lane bungle. Kimi Raikkonen, who was running on 3rd that time, crashed onto the concrete barriers just 3 laps before the chequered flag.

This year having 8 races between them, the Brawn drivers Button and Barrichello are the clear favorites bouncing back in the Italian GP to finish their fourth 1-2s.

Looking forward to race redemption is a bevy of F1 drivers with a lot to prove: Lewis Hamilton of McLaren after an embarrassing DNF (did not finish) in Monza just a few hundred meters to the podium; Raikkonen, who will probably be handed back to McLaren next year, after a disappointing showing in SG last year; Fernando Alonso, transferring to Ferrari next year and arguably the best driver out there pound-for-pound, determined to repeat last year’s win without the controversy; Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber of Red Bull looking forward to redeem title contention; veteran Rubens Barrichello fast on the heels of a driver’s title win; and Jenson Button, with a hand cemented on the title.

Qualifying on Saturday and race day on Sunday. Can’t wait.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Boxing: Lopsided boxing clinic, anyone?

Call it sweet science, Floyd Mayweather Jr won a unanimous decision victory against Mexican fighter Juan Manuel Marquez in the welterweight showdown titled “Number One Numero Uno” held in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Fresh from his 21-month long retirement, Mayweather showed top form in winning against many consider a much smaller opponent, Pacquiao nemesis Marquez.

For 12 staggering rounds, Mayweather repeatedly peppered the Mexican warrior with quick jabs and hooks with pinpoint accuracy, Mayweather’s signature shoulder roll deflecting most of JMM’s counters. Although Marquez was floored in the second round by a flash left hook, Mayweather failed to capitalize on this and the Mexican warrior continued to fight gallantly throwing ineffectual combinations against the ring tactician.

It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that the fight was a lopsided victory for the physically imposing Mayweather, smirking all throughout the fight, whose choice of Marquez as an opponent for a comeback fight was in question. Marquez has never fought over the lightweight limit of 135 lbs having only fought Joel Casamayor and Juan Diaz 18 months back in an effort to keep up with erstwhile nemesis Manny Pacquiao.

For Marquez, the defeat only showed his ability to stick it out with the best. Having drawn and been beaten by a point against Pacquiao, JMM has been following the latter’s progress through the welterweight ranks hoping a win against Mayweather cementing a possible 3rd match with the People’s Champ. That will have to wait.

It was embarrassing for Mayweather having failed to make weight the day prior the match. Weighing 4 lbs heavier than the catchweight limit of 144, Mayweather could only remove 2 lbs after strenuous exercise. He officially weigh in at 146 lbs. Marquez weigh in 4 lbs lighter. The money man reportedly paid JMM a total of $600,000.00 for the extra poundage.

The fight, which was originally scheduled last July but cancelled due to a rib injury sustained by Mayweather during training, was a preview of a possible showdown with the winner of the Pacquiao-Cotto match coming in November.

Despite the win, Mayweather’s win over Marquez will not move him up the Pound-for-Pound rankings which he previously topped before his retirement. Known to duck worthy opponents, many believe Mayweather should fight natural welterweights in his class, namely: Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, Sugar Shane Mosley, and even Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

In my opinion, his prior win over the aging Dela Hoya and Ricky Hatton, another small fighter, did nothing to cement his legacy in the sweet science of boxing.