Sweden’s Heavyweight Boxing Champ Ingemar Johansson

Former heavyweight champ Ingemar Johannson died in a Swedish nursing home in January 2009 at the age of 76. He’d lived in the nursing home in his hometown of Kungsbacka since the mid’90’s when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia. No official cause of death was given, but Johannson had suffered a serious bout with pneumonia just prior to his death.

Johannson rocketed to international fame and rock star like superstardom in Sweden by virtue of his 3rd round knockout victory over Floyd Patterson on June 26,’59 to become only the 5th heavyweight champion born outside of the US. Johannson was considered the underdog going into the matchup, and due to the perception that he wasn’t training particularly hard entered the bout a 5/1 underdog. Johansson was frequently seen in Catskill nightspots during his training camp with his attractive young secretary in stark contrast to Patterson’s disciplined regimen in preparation for his title defense.

Despite his devil may care approach to training, he shocked the boxing world on that night in Yankee Stadium. After a lackluster first two rounds, Johannson knocked Patterson to the canvas with a right hand early in the third. Patterson never recovered and was knocked down a total of seven times before the ref waved off the fight and awarded the victory to Johannson.

Johannson would hold the title for just under a year before he lost it back to Patterson in a rematch at the Polo Grounds in New York City. Patterson was the aggressor from the opening bell, and would eventually regain his title as he knocked Johannson out cold in the fifth round with a looping left hook. Johannson went down like he got shot, and took a ten count staring up at the lights with his leg twitching and blood dribbling out of his mouth. In the immediate aftermath of his victory, Patterson displayed the class of a champion as he was more concerned about Johanssons well being than celebrating his win. Patterson sat on the canvas with his fallen opponent cradling his head as medical personnel tended to Johannson. Floyd Patterson had just become the first man to regain the undisputed heavyweight championship, but his thoughts were with the man hed taken the title from.

Johannson would again face Patterson less than a year later, with the champ retaining his title via 6th round knockout after an exciting slugfest that saw both competitors taste the canvas. Eventually, however, Patterson’s superior conditioning prevailed and he earned the victory. Johannson would fight only four more times after that, all in his home country of Sweden, before retiring for good in’63.

Patterson and Johannson remained close lifelong friends and would travel to visit each other every year until the American champion died in 2006. While it is commonplace today for former in-ring adversaries to become close personal friends(eg: Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosely, Mickey Ward and Arturo Gatti), it was less common in the’60s. Johannson remained a big star in Sweden, occasionally appearing in movies and enjoyed good health well into his 60’s when old age began to take its toll.

Ingemar Johansson is considered one of Sweden’s greatest sports heroes, and was a crucial element in fueling the popularity of boxing in Europe and Scandinavia. He was married and divorced twice, and is survived by five children.

Ross Everett is a freelance sports writer and highly respected authority on NFL football betting. His writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sportsbooks and sportsbook directory sites. He lives in Southern Nevada with three Jack Russell Terriers and an emu. He is currently working on an autobiography of former energy secretary Donald Hodell.

The Story Of 1977 Triple Crown Winner Seattle Slew

Seattle Slew, horse racing’s lone remaining living Triple Crown winner, passed away on May 7, 2002 at the age of 28. Already ranked among the all time greats by virtue of this accomplishment alone, Slew is even more notable as the only Triple Crown winner to go undefeated as a three year hold. He came from humble beginnings, bought at public auction–the only Triple Crown winner to be acquired in this manner. After retiring to stud in’78 he remained a very profitable horse based on a stud fee of $300,000. His offspring earned over $76 million dollars at the race track and include over 100 stakes race winners including’84 Kentucky Derby champion Swale.

The Seattle Slew story began very modestly at a public auction in Lexington, Kentucky. The Keeneland Summer Yearling sale wasn’t supposed to be the marketplace of champions, and the idea that this particular horse would ever amount to anything other than a farmhand was downright laughable. Slew looked clumsy, due primarily to a right forefoot that splayed outward and resulting in a shuffling gait at a trot. He also wasn’t a majestic beast like his predecessor by a few years, Secretariat. Slew was borderline ugly. So ungainly a creature was he that he was given the less than inspiring nickname “Baby Huey” by the Keeneland staff. He was purchased by two couples (Karen and Mickey Taylor and Jim and Sally Hill) for $17,500. What wasn’t apparent at the yearling sale was the intangibles that make up a championship thoroughbred–poise under pressure, love of competition, toughness, heart and desire. The Taylor’s and Hill’s had stumbled onto an equine Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan who’s competitive fire quickly became apparent to the trainers that worked with him and the jockeys that rode him. His first race came at Belmont in’76, and the three races he entered–and won–as a 2 year old gave a hint of what was to come.

Slew quickly became a horse to watch as a three year old as he won three Derby prep races including the Wood Memorial. In the Derby, Slew got off to a terrible start as he stumbled out of the gate. He recovered from the miscue and essentially bulled his way through a pack of horses to lead at the 1/4 mile pole. Slew would win the Derby by a length and 3 quarters. He took another tough victory at the Preakness before clinching the Triple Crown with a 4 length victory in the Belmont Stakes.

Slew continued to campaign as a four year old, but in the days before the Breeder’s Cup there weren’t many opportunities for an older horse. He retired to stud in’78, where he sired champions such as the aforementioned Swale and’92 Belmont Champ AP Indy. Slew stood at Three Chimneys Farm in Midway, Kentucky from’85 until early 2002 when he was moved to Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm in Lexington, KY following a spinal operation.

Slew may not have earned the appreciation he deserved in his prime, coming so closely on the heels of the charismatic’73 Triple Crown winner Secretariat–arguably the greatest thoroughbred race horse in history. The jockeys that rode him, however, understood fully what a special animal they were dealing with. Jockey Angel Cordero gave Seattle Slew this lofty praise: “If I had a chance to take any horse in the world, if someone said your life is depending on riding one horse to win, I would take (Slew). I rode 44,000 horses, but he was special, he was different. He was muscled, like a wrestler. He ran different than any other horse. It was like he came from another planet.”

Slew was laid to rest at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm in Lexington, under a statue.

Ross Everett is a freelance writer and highly respected authority on sports betting odds comparison. He writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sports news and sportsbook directory sites. He lives in Las Vegas with three Jack Russell Terriers and a kangaroo. He is currently working on an autobiography of former interior secretary James Watt.

Rio De Janerio Wins 2016 Summer Olympic Games

South America will host the Summer Olympic Games for the first time in 2016, as Rio De Janeiro, Brazil was awarded the honor on Friday. Rio beat out the US choice of Chicago, Illinois along with Tokyo, Japan and Madrid, Spain to earn the right to host the games. Despite a high pressure effort from the American power elite–including President Barack Obama and TV gabfest queen Oprah Winfrey–Chicago was the first city eliminated from contention. Tokyo was the next to go, before Rio got the nod over Madrid in the final round of balloting.

Bookmakers offered odds on the host city choice, with Rio listed as second favorite at +200. Chicago had been the wagering favorite at most books, particularly after President Obama got involved personally in the US bid effort. Chicago was bet as high as a -300 favorite, while Madrid and Tokyo were priced in the +250 range. Some suggest that Tokyo didnt deserve to have such short odds, but was the beneficiary of regional pride from the notoriously enthusiastic betting population of Japan. Despite some media attention to the betting odds, bookmakers reported that they didn’t receive a lot of action on the event.

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil, got the better of his US counterpart Barack Obama The Brazilian leader stressed the unfairness that South America had never hosted the games in his speech to the committee;

“It is a time to address this imbalance. It is time to light the Olympic cauldron in a tropical country.”

The Olympic committee was apparently swayed by this presentation and paid no mind to Rios many downsides. It is without a doubt the most dangerous of the finalist cities, where drug cartels and armed bands of thugs roam without impunity. Well do to Rio citizens are used to removing watches and jewelry before they drive anywhere lest they be targeted by carjacking brigands. Rios murder rate is also one of the highest in the world. Brazilian bid officials have stressed that security will be a priority at the games and it better be lest the Olympics turn into a bloodbath.

Some IOC members suggested that the summary dismissal of Chicagos bid was more of a rebuke of the notoriously corrupt USOC. The last two Olympics held in the US were tainted by crime and corruption. The’96 Atlanta Olympics were disrupted by a terrorist bombing, while the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games were marred by a well known bribery and corruption scandal. Some suggested that US President Obama’s quick and perfunctory visit was taken as more of an insult by the delegates than anything else.

Ross Everett is a widely published freelance sports writer and respected authority on football betting. His writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sports news and sportsbook directory sites. He lives in Las Vegas with three Jack Russell Terriers and an emu. He is currently working on an autobiography of former interior secretary James Watt.

Calvin Borel Guides Super Saver To Kentucky Derby Victory

In the muddy mess of a rain soaked Churchill Downs, jockey Calvin Borel continued his mastery of the track as he guided Super Saver to victory in the Kentucky Derby. Super Saver had gone off as an 8-1 choice behind 6-1 favorite Looking At Lucky, and Borel took the ‘Run For The Roses’ for the second consecutive year and an unprecedented third time in four years. In the only Derby Borel didn’t win in the last four years he finished in the money, guiding Denis of Cork to a third place finish in 2008.

Borel became the ninth jockey to win the Kentucky Derby at least three times. Eddie Arcaro and Bill Hartack both won it five times while Bill Shoemaker has won it four times. Angel Cordero Jr., Kent Desormeaux, Gary Stevens, Issac Murphy and Earl Sande are the others to have won three Derbies.

After the race Bob Baffert, who watched race favorite Lookin At Lucky finish sixth, gave Borel his due credit:

“This Calvin Borel, you got to give him credit, he knows how to win this race. He gets right on top of that rail, takes advantage. Smart rider; he owns this track. The thing about Calvin is he takes control of the race. He’s great here. He’s a great rider and he can get it done.”

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas concurred:

“Used to be Pat Day, now I think Calvin owns Churchill Downs. He’s got a great feel for it and they’re running for him and his confidence is sky high. He’s just a great rider, too, a great horseman in a lot of ways.”

Super Saver’s trainer Todd Pletcher also praised Borel:

“I said earlier in the week that Calvin Borel is a great rider anywhere he goes, but for some reason at Churchill Downs he’s even five lengths better. He’s just figured out Churchill Downs. He knows how to ride this track, he gets along with the colt really well.”

Super Saver won by 2 lengths over second place Ice Box. Paddy O’Prado finished third. Make Music for Me was fourth, followed by Noble’s Promise, Lookin At Lucky, Dublin, Stately Victor, Mission Impazible, Devil May Care, American Lion and Jackson Bend.Discreetly Mine was 13th, followed by Dean’s Kitten, Conveyance, Homeboykris, Sidney’s Candy, Line of David, Awesome Act and Backtalk.

Ross Everett is a freelance sports writer and respected authority on football betting. His writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sports news and sportsbook directory sites. He lives in Southern Nevada with three Jack Russell Terriers and a kangaroo. He is currently working on an autobiography of former energy secretary Donald Hodell.