I don't know why, maybe they plan it out this way but Duco's boxing events always seem to fall on the same weekend as a UFC event. It makes things interesting because we get a great look at the differences between the two events and how they are run. Duco's boxing events are all about celebrity, B-grade celebrity that is while the UFC is more about what happens in the octagon. It really is apples and oranges though as they exist on totally different scales, but it's hard not to watch them both and think 'this is what it could be like'.
Obviously Joseph Parker fought and won, again. He looked exactly how we've come to see Parker look in his copious amounts of fights this year - very quick, powerful and hard to get at. We got to see some more knock out power and we got to witness the flashes that are his hands whacking someone in the face.
Hopefully that's the last fight like that we see Parker take part in. If his next fight sometime next year is in New Zealand, then we have a problem as it's time for Parker to start fighting some of the big dogs. Sure, we know we have a great boxing talent in Parker but we don't really know what we have until he fights someone who has a genuine chance of knocking him out. Duco has made plenty of money out of Parker, folks have had a good old time at the events and Parker's come to terms with professional boxing, it's hard to be excited for another Parker fight against some guy in Hamilton.
That UFC event, UFC 181 was a humdinger with the UFC putting on a pretty stacked card after a few quieter ones. Ruthless Robbie Lawler got his revenge and won the title of Johnny Hendricks, with Lawler going nuts in the last few rounds to get back in favour with the judges. The co-main event was Anthony Pettis vs Gilbert Melendez - damn, Pettis is a joy to watch. He's got everything with some ruthless kicks, more than decent hands and with his victory coming thanks to a guillotine choke, he can submit your ass as well. Perhaps the most interesting takeaway from the night was the announcement that CM Punk will be joining the UFC, more on that elsewhere.
Everything went pretty well for our surfers on the weekend with Ricardo Christie appearing to qualify for next year's World Surfing League, which is exactly what we wanted. What we didn't want was all the results that played their part in Christie having to wait until after the Billabong Pipeline Masters to find out if he actually made it. Pipeline finishes on December 20, so Christie has a bit of a wait which must suck as it's a pretty big deal for Kiwi surfing to have someone on the premier world surfing tour. Simply put, it will take something pretty special from a surfer ranked lower in the rankings to bump Christie out of qualification. Send your positive vibes the way of Ricardo Christie folks!
The Black Sticks ladies couldn't quite do something special themselves as they fell short in the semi finals to Australia - bloody Aussies. The game went to a shoot out where the Kiwi girls seemed to lack of a better term, choke a wee bit and weren't as clinical as the Aussies. I'll explore this all in much more depth in the 'Summer Hockey' series, but off the top this was a pretty good result as the ladies have finished 4th (they lost to the Dutch for 3rd/4th). They'll be rightfully disappointed but they have shown that they can compete on the world stage consistently.
With the NRL season launch being announced, it's in Auckland! I thought I'd ask a wee questions ... first of all, it's a season launch so who really cares? It doesn't mean much besides a nice little event for the sponsors to tickle each other, but who is responsible for the NRL taking note of how much Kiwis love rugby league? Is it the Warriors or is it the rest of Aotearoa who support a wide range of NRL teams with equal passion as the Mt Smart faithful? I'm going with the latter, so this is a win for all you rugby league fans throughout NZ!
Let me ask myself a question ahead of the first test match between Australia and India - who would you rather have; Peter Siddle or Josh Hazlewood? Siddle, start the series off with a solid attack that can ruffle a few feathers. Hazlewood's young, he's taller and quicker but Siddle, I just reckon Siddle has the skill set to dismantle India's attack. Plus, he's probably the most passionate Aussie bowler there is at the moment and it's going to be a pretty passionate test.