Two Stories From the Fight Game

It was one of the times that I have felt most proud to be Canadian. It occurred in a hot, sweaty Cuban boxing gym on the outskirts of Havana. Today, however, is a day that I am shaking my head in exasperation about our nation. The two events are linked, here is why. For those readers who follow this blog regularly, you will know that in the last few years I have taken up boxing. I...

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The Sports Corruption Industry and the Great Cover-Up II

10,000 Hours and the Enigma of Chris Eaton To review – there is a now an anti-match-fixing industry. It is like the post 9/11 anti-terrorist-complex in the United States, a self-generating, commercially motivated phenomenon. So in the same way it did not benefit the anti-terrorist industry for Osama bin Laden to be captured (rather they want terrorists to be out there, uncaptured – something vague and ill-defined to allow the industry to continue) – so too is...

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Time to Protest

Dear Friends and Colleagues, A very bad flu hit me over the last few weeks. Only now, after some great care at Brock University where I was a visiting scholar, am I slowly staggering back to my feet. I will pick up the series ‘The Sports Corruption Industry and the Great Cover Up’ very soon. However, for the moment, I wanted to offer my support to the Turkish supporters who protested at Nyon appealing for UEFA to give more help in...

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The Sports-Corruption Industry and the Great Cover-Up I

Cayman Islands, October 2012: Down in the Caribbean to moderate a conference on anti-money laundering. The islands, concerned about their declining reputation are trying to spruce up their banking practices. One of the highlights of the conference is the speech by the charismatic Vince Cookingham. He is a tough ex-cop – former New York Police Department – and was involved in a number of high-profile investigations, like the Son-of-Sam serial murders and the French Connection drug trade case. During...

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Canada’s Excellence at Sports – not!

For the last two weeks we have had to endure a wave of noise about Canadian athletes drive for excellence.   The usual clichés have been spouted about our country "punching above our weight".   We have even had the unseemly sight of an executive for a PR company telling us that all this good feeling around the Olympics was the result of the Stephen Harper government. The problem is that it is not true. It is not true that...

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Two Crises, One Continent

It was a bizarre accident that started the investigation. On a road in northern Italy a driver fell asleep. No big deal. Except the driver was a soccer player from the local team who could not stay awake, no matter how hard he tried. When the police tested him, they discovered he was not suffering from narcolepsy; but a gambler had drugged him and some of his team-mates to ensure that they played so badly they lost the game,...

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Our Founding Fathers

During the upcoming summer there will be lots of commemorative events about the War of 1812. Throughout the celebrations the usual clichés will be spouted about ‘our two democracies’, ‘the longest undefended border in the world’, ‘similar values’, etc. The dreary patina of government sponsored history lessons will hide any real discussions of why the two countries fought so hard against each other for so long. The truth is that there have been profound and significant differences in our...

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Boxing and the Canadian Soul

“The wait in the dressing room before a fight – that last hour – could strip a man who never fought before of whatever heart, courage and desire he thought he had…” (John ‘Iceman’ Scully) When you fight in a boxing match, the whole world goes grey. I realized that about fifteen seconds into the fight. I was boxing in the white-collar bout just before the Brazeau-Trudeau match last Saturday. There were hundreds of people watching but the only thing that...

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So We Lost

So we lost. We know now that more than ten-years after the invasion of Afghanistan - it will all end in failure. Like much connected with this odd war, there was no formal announcement, no hauling down of flags, rather the news came last month in a secret report written by NATO officials and leaked to the BBC which says that the Taliban will probably take over once western forces leave the country. The report was, in part, corroborated by the...

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