By Jason Cruz
Northwest Asian Weekly
Welcome to another edition of The Layup Drill. In this issue, we look at Manny Pacquiao’s latest victory, a Heisman winner, and a Seattle Marathon winner, among other things for the last column of the year.
Pacquiao wins, Mayweather next?
Six knockdowns. This is how many times Manny Pacquiao put down Chris Algieri in their fight this past November in Macau, China. Pacquiao returned to his old form with speed and power that overwhelmed the New York native. It could be that Algieri was outclassed, as well as overmatched. In his 21st fight, it was Algieri’s first fight outside of the state of New York as a professional. With the 6 knockdowns and overall dominance, Manny Pacquiao defeated Algieri by unanimous decision.
Is Floyd Mayweather next for Pacquiao? While we’ve talked about this before and Pacquiao has asked for the fight, even making light of the fact that he wants a fight with Mayweather in a recent Foot Locker commercial, it has never materialized. Mayweather has come out and challenged Pacquiao to fight him on May 2nd, 2015. The only catch is that there will be business issues about what network will have the rights to the pay-per-view broadcast. Mayweather is contracted with the premium pay cable network Showtime, while Pacquiao is aligned with rival HBO. Both networks are battling to see which network would put on the pay-per-view event, which would likely be the biggest in boxing history. A Mayweather-Pacquiao fight would be held in high regard and it would not be surprising to see the fight have a price tag of $100 on pay-per-view. Fight fans that watched Mayweather’s September 2013 fight against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez had to pay $75. It would not be out of the realm of possibility that a premium price tag would be put on the long-awaited fight.
It’s a big money fight that should have happened several years ago. The two fighters and their respective managers, lawyers, and promotional companies have bickered over money, drug testing, and anything else that prevented the dream fight. Pacquiao and Mayweather are nearing the end of their respective careers and this fight is something that both state they want. While a fight between the two will still be a great spectacle, it will not match what could have been. Then again, I’ll take what may be. We’ll see if the two will fight this May.
Mariota wins Heisman
University of Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota was awarded the Heisman Trophy in a ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 13th. The award is given to the most outstanding college football player of the year. The junior from Hawaii, who is part Samoan and part German, has led the 12 win and 1 loss Ducks to the first College Football Playoffs. In winning the award, Mariota becomes the first Pacific Islander and first player from Hawaii to be awarded the highest individual award in college football. Mariota stated that he hoped winning this award would serve as an inspiration to those in the islands that they be open to leaving to pursue their dreams. In his acceptance speech, Mariota stated, “In Hawaii, if one person is successful, the entire state is successful. It’s family.”
Mariota was initially recruited by the University of Oregon, even though he was not the starting quarterback on his high school team. His coach at Oregon discovered him on film and after further investigation, he was too good to be true. He was offered a scholarship to Oregon and the rest is history.
Mariota’s next game is the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1st. Oregon will play Florida State to see which team makes it to the championship game.
In all likelihood, Mariota will enter the National Football League draft and some have predicted the 6’ 4” quarterback to be the first player selected in the draft. The only criticism that anyone has about him so far is that he may be “too nice” to be an NFL quarterback. We’ve learned from Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson that you can succeed in the NFL even if you are too nice.
We should look for Mariota’s name in the NFL next fall.
Sophia Liu wins Seattle Marathon
Redmond’s Sophia Liu won this year’s Seattle Marathon on Nov. 30th with a time of 2 hours and 57 minutes. She was the only female competitor to post a marathon time under 3 hours. On a day of extreme cold for Seattle natives, Liu still ran in shorts and was happy that it didn’t rain.
The 31-year-old just completed her doctorate at Ball State University in exercise physiology.
Still a bad owner
New York Islanders owner Charles Wang has made another list he likely does not want to be on. Rolling Stone magazine pinned him as one of the worst owners in sports. This is hardly a surprise as Wang has been criticized for how he has run the NHL franchise, which is moving from Long Island to Brooklyn this year. Wang’s mismanagement of the team includes the move to Brooklyn and assigning an inexplicable corporate structure which routes all team decisions through a committee that does not have anyone on it that has dealt with hockey personnel decisions. The team actually has a winning record this year, but I’m sure Islanders fans are not praising Wang. Of note to general Seattle fans, Clay Bennett is ahead of Wang on the Rolling Stone list of worst owners in sports. We don’t need to go into what he did to the Sonics (now Oklahoma City Thunder) fans.
Speedskating event named after Ohno debuts
While we reported Apolo Anton Ohno completed the Ironman Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii in October, he has not left the sport of speedskating entirely. This past November, Ohno promoted the first annual Apolo Ohno Invitational at the EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. The event venue has some sentimental value to Ohno as he first burst onto the speedskating scene in 2002 at the Winter Olympics held in Salt Lake City. According to the eight-time Olympic medalist, he hopes that the event is the “first step in hopefully showcasing the sport and making it more popular globally.”
The event featured speedskaters from the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, and China. (end)
Jason Cruz can be reached at email@example.com.