2008 has been a good year for sports and sports betting with the emergence of new superstars and breaking of old records all in all it was quite a run.
The Green Machines
Boston Celtics made a historic run against the Los Angeles Lakers gunning for their 17th Championship on their great franchise. A Cinderella run after a dismal 2006-07 season having a record of 24-58, second-worst in the NBA, including an 18-game losing streak but after acquiring Kevin Garnet and Ray Allen on a trade to Minnesota and Seattle respectively the Celtics soared high starting a 26-3 record and ended in a 66-19 record win. It was an uphill climb against the eight-seeded Atlanta Hawks on their first matchup in the Playoffs and went to seven games against Cleveland. The Celtics crush the Lakers in just 6 games in their finals battle. Though the Lakers were leading most of the games but towards the end the Celtics always come back with the win. After 22 years the Celtics had won their 17th NBA championship a truly deserving win for a seemingly down franchise that overcomes adversity and went on to win with their big hearts and strong willed.
The Beijing Olympics opened in August 8, 2008 and American Michael Fred Phelps went on to become one of the greatest Olympian in history as he surpassed fellow American Mark Spitz having won 8 medals the most in any Olympian and breaking 7 world records. Spitz held the record with 7 medals for 36 years until Phelps changed history. It was indeed an 8-8-8 fever with Phelps breaking records with his 8 gold medals.
The fall of the ALA boys
The once undefeated AJ Banal tasted defeat through the hands of unheralded Rafael Concepcion many thought AJ will breezed off a win against a smaller foe but as the fight progresses AJ loss steam and suffered a TKO loss against Concepcion. Z Gorres road to redemption was cut short after a heart breaking decision loss to Montiel, Gorres was awarded a split draw against cocky Vic Darchinyan who floored Gorres for about 3 times in the fight. Though he escapes with a draw but people and boxing observers saw it for Vic with a wide margin. Vic Darchinyan went on to fight for the IBF title which he easily won via knockout and trash reigning WBC champion Christian Mijares in a unification bout. The last ALA boy was Rey “Boomboom” Bautista who everyone thought is already ripe for a title crack again after failing to answer the mandatory count in round one against hard hitting Ponce De Leon in the boxing world cup. But to everyone’s dismay “Boomboom” failed again and this time against a class B journey man in Heriberto Ruiz. Rey has many flaws but still too young to retire. He needs a major change to get back in championship form. The ALA boys who everyone thought would follow the footsteps of Manny Pacquiao failed on their respective assignments. The dream is there for the taking the question would be how much they want it? Will 2009 be a better year for the famed ALA boys? …Will see.
The MMA kings
We all thought Kimbo Slice would dominate MMA this year but it turns out to be all hype. He was slowly self-destructing as opponents exposing his capability to fight. His fight with unknown Seth Petruzelli was a testament of who the real Kimbo is.
Brock Lesnar who shifted from wrestling to American football found his home in UFC. Winning a championship belt is a rewarding accomplishment but winning it against a legendary fighter is a different thing. Brock took Randy Couture’s UFC belt in an amazing fashion. Kimbo should try his luck in UFC if he wants redemption and fighting against Brock would be much much rewarding for him but then again we don’t want it to over hype coz we all know what happens next.
Pacman doing an Armstrong feat
Henry Armstrong fought in the featherweight, lightweight and welterweight divisions all at once and become champion in those divisions the feat was never duplicated especially in this era were a growing number of champions are made with different organizations built. But Manny Pacquiao has changed history fighting Juan Manuel Marquez as a superfeather weight, fought David Diaz as a lightweight and fought Golden boy Oscar De La Hoya as a Welterweight though the Marquez fight was a close one and could go either way but his manner in dismantling Diaz and Oscar was a tactical display of the once one sided warrior from the Philippines. Manny Pacquiao has showed tremendous determination especially against a bigger foe in Oscar. 2008 was Manny’s year and with bigger fights coming this 2009 against Ricky Hatton or Mayweather Jr. we would witness another classic fights in the making.
2008 was quite a good year for sports and could set up a much bigger and brighter future with records to break and titles to earn. It’s nice to reminisce on all the things that happened. But we all have to move on and face a brighter 2009 with a smile.
2008 what a year that was….