It may not have originated in Ireland, but the phrase “the luck of the Irish” rings loudly in the country. According to The Irish Post, more money is spent, per capita, on gambling in Ireland than in almost all other countries around the world. Only in two countries – Australia and Singapore – is more spent hitting the slots and the tables than in Ireland.The media outlet doesn’t source its data, but indicates that the Irish love online gambling more than any other form. Online gambling spend is 60%, greatly superior to other forms gambling and sports gambling, which only accounts for 15% of the money. The lottery receives a 10% cut, the same amount given to gambling machines and slots. Casinos, of which Ireland has around 20, pick up 5% of the action.While Australia and Singapore may see more gambling spend per capita, Ireland is the hands-down winner in online gaming spend, with The Irish Post asserting, “Ireland takes the lead globally when it comes to online gambling.” It adds, “With almost 3 billion American dollars spent on gambling and betting every year, that means that each man, woman, and child in Ireland are spending roughly 500 [euros] ($607) annually on this type of entertainment.”The media outlet further indicates that online gambling is most popular in Ireland because the segment is more regulated. It cites “outdated laws” that some casinos are exploiting to attract attention, but the transparency and accountability afforded gamblers by online operators give them an edge. The Irish Post explains that, according to reports, many Irish would prefer to gamble in a British casino than in a domestic one, possibly as a result of the outdated laws.Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Irish loved to gamble online and the segment increased about 15% each year. Last year, with the coronavirus in full swing, the numbers jumped substantially and, with the introduction of live online casino games and live sports gambling, the online segment has skyrocketed in popularity. Online gambling is inarguably the future, looking down the road 20 to 30 years, but it’s never too early for casino operators to start preparing.Surprisingly, the U.S. ranks fifth in terms of per-capita gambling spend, even less than Finland. However, with a population of over 330 million, it’s the largest market available. $120 billion was spent on gambling in the country in 2019, while the Irish spent $2.7 billion through its population of less than five million.
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The $1,100 MILLIONS Online Mini Main Event field is down to only 25 players and it is Daniel Smiljkovic who leads the way. Smiljkovic is one of two players who finished Day 2 with a stack containing more than 100 million chips, 133,639,726 to be exact.
Smiljkovic has more than $3.4 million in online poker tournament cashes thanks, in part, to a near $50,000 score right here at partypoker. The Austrian won the High Roller One Shot in early February. Finishing fourth or betting in the MILLIONS Online Mini Main Event will best that impressive result.
Hungarian Laszlo Molnar is the other player with a nine-figure stack, namely 127,876,651 chips. Molnar is best known for his high stakes cash game grinding, but he certainly knows his way around a tournament table. It would take a brave person to bet against Molnar going all the way now that he’s so deep stacked.
Jamie O’Connor is another player to look out for when play resumes at 19:05 GMT on February 16. O’Connor won The Big Game on Sunday and now finds himself with enough chips for fourth-place when play in the MILLIONS Online Mini Main Event resumes.
Some of the other players to keep an eye on include start of Day 2 chip leader Sebastian Henao (66,391,911), and Irish Poker Masters Main Event champion Will Kassouf (26,467,500).
MILLIONS Online #01 Mini Main Event Top 10 Chip Counts
Jon De Antonana
Rui Da Silva
Arikan Takes Down Mini Second Chance Event
Murat Arikan took down the MILLIONS Online #02 Mini Second Chance Turbo and turned his $530 into $14,821.
A field of 121 players took to the felt and only 20 of them saw a return on their investment. Sweden’s Andreas Berggren was the unfortunate soul who burst the money bubble, paving the way for the likes of Joseph Cheong, Roberto Romanello and Diego Cuellar to cash.
High stakes guru Byron Kaverman was the first finalist to fall. Sarah Forbes, Kasper Juulsen, Arnaud Enselme, and Brener Vicente followed Kaverman to the rail.
Rick De Boer and Alastair Smith crashed out to leave Arikan and Stoyan Kitanov heads-up. Arikan got the job done and collected the $14,821 top prize, leaving Kitanov to console himself with the $9,537 runner-up prize.
MILLIONS Online #02 Mini Second Chance Turbo Final Table Results
Rock De Boer
What’s In Store On February 16?
There’s plenty of MILLIONS Online action on February 16. First, the Mini Main Event plays down to its final table and we can’t wait to see who reaches it.
At the same time, 19:05, some of the world’s best players will battle it out in the MILLIONS Online #03 6-Max High Roller, a $10,300 buy-in one-day event with $500,000 guaranteed. An hour later, at 20:05 GMT, is the MILLIONS Online #04 6-Max High Roller Turbo, a $5,200 buy-in one-day event with $200,000 guaranteed.
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Odisha FC head coach Gerald Peyton has revealed that they are going with a gameplan when they face FC Goa at the Fatorda Stadium, this Wednesday evening. The ‘Juggernauts’, placed at the bottom of the table, have won just one game in the season and collected 9 points from 17 matches so far.Odisha FC’s Interim Head Coach Gerry Peyton is now ready with a gameplan for the home team FC Goa for their next game in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL). Attending the Pre-Match Press Conference ahead of the upcoming match against the Gaurs, he said that it is difficult to play matches in quick succession; however, he will want certain players to be fresh and have legs to do well tomorrow.“They have done well because of which they are at the top of the table. I think all the top teams now, like Mumbai yesterday, are showing little bit of nerves. We will go there with a gameplan to do well and get a result,” the 64-year-old professional explained.“I think it’s (playing back-to-back games) very difficult because we only finished last night going through all the details. Now I am starting to prepare for the training today with all the information how we are going to play against Goa. That sort of things – quick succession of games, the physical demands on the players, who is fit and who is not fit, having players fit…. Like last game, I rested Diego (Mauricio) thinking he comes on second half and then I want him fresh for the game against Goa. I want Diego to score two or three goals against Goa. I know I am asking too much, I always ask too much. I want Brad (Inman) fresh and I want certain payers fresh so that we have legs to do well against Goa.”Elaborating more about Odisha FC’s plan, he mentioned, “When you look at the second half against NorthEast, we had a high percentage of passing, higher than them. We also had 81% accuracy of pass and against Goa, they are a good passing team. I know their tactics; I know how they will play against us. We will play in a certain way. After 15 minutes, we seem to settle down and then start to pass or we start to get our game together. This is going to be important that we start straight from the off.”With three games to go for the Kalinga Warriors in the seventh season of the League, Coach Peyton, who had joined before the start of the season as an Assistant Coach, said that he is now preparing the team for the next ISL season. “We are now preparing Odisha for next season. What I have said to the players is – This is your challenge. If you want to be successful next season then you have to prepare now for next season. Everything you do now is in preparation to get off to a winning start next season. If you don’t prepare now and let this season go, you are still in that state of mind when you start next season. These three games are very important,” the former Arsenal Coach asserted. Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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At 23, Rublev is two years younger than Medvedev and grew up playing junior tournaments against him in Russia. For a long time Rublev, seeded No. 8, and Karen Khachanov, 24, the third member of Russia’s latest golden generation, were better than Medvedev. The rise for Medvedev came in 2018 and 2019, when he nearly beat Rafael Nadal in the 2019 United States Open final.“He reads the game really well,” Rublev said of Medvedev. “It’s amazing, the patience he has to stay so long in the rallies, to not rush, to take the time, because in the end these little details, they make him who he is.”Russia is the only country with two players in the top 10. Khachanov gives it three in the top 20. Aslan Karatsev, 27, another Russian ranked No. 114, came out of nowhere to make the quarterfinals here in his first Grand Slam tournament.Medvedev comes into the quarterfinal on perhaps the best roll of his career. He has won 18 consecutive singles matches. He won the ATP Tour finals in London in November, pulling off the nifty trick of beating the world’s top three players — Novak Djokovic, Nadal and Dominic Thiem — in a single tournament. For Russia at the ATP Cup, he beat Alexander Zverev of Germany, a 2020 U.S. Open finalist, in a tight, three-set match in the semifinal round.Medvedev spent his early childhood in Moscow and played few sports other than tennis growing up. He worshiped Russia’s last golden generation, which included Marat Safin and Yevgeny Kafelnikov, who were in their prime when he was a young child. He moved to France to train as a teenager and became fluent in English and French.Medvedev could be heard screaming at his coach, Gilles Cervara of France, in French during his third-round match against Filip Krajinovic of Serbia, as he frittered away a two-set lead before recovering to win the final set, 6-0.
With millions of Americans out of work, the first sign of a recovery has to be in new jobs coming on the market. The tribal gaming industry is doing its part, with several operators posting new jobs in the past few weeks.Seneca Gaming Corporation has lots of jobs available at the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino in Niagara Falls and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in downtown Buffalo. The operator will be hosting a job fair for open positions on February 25 between 10:00am and 6:00pm.“Even with the changes and challenges everyone has gone through over the past year, Seneca Gaming Corporation has remained one of the largest employers in Western New York, and we are excited to be growing our team across a variety of departments,” said Meghan Smith, Seneca Gaming Corporation’s vice president of human resources. “We truly believe that the time we spend at work should be rewarding, fulfilling and fun. That’s how we approach our jobs every day. If people are looking an opportunity in that type of environment, we are ready to talk to them.”Attendees can check out what’s on offer in person or virtually, but should be ready for an interview at a moment’s notice.On the other side of the country, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians are also on the look out for fresh talent. That operator has more than 500 jobs to fill, with as many as 2000 coming for the rest of the year. They’ll be having their virtual career fair on February 18 from 9:00am to 4:00pm.“The expansion of San Manuel will offer an economic boost to the local job market at a time when it is really needed,” said Brigitte Saria, Chief People and Infrastructure Officer. “Our efforts to boost the local economy are guided by our commitment to ensuring our employment process and work environment follow leading health and safety standards.”The Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino in Coarsegold, California are also hiring. The tribe is looking for 50 full-time and part-time positions, and will have a job fair on February 23 from 10:00am to 1:00pm.Add those jobs to the 150 that Oneida Nation Enterprises were offering as of last week, and there’s a lot to be hopeful for about the future of the economy, and particularly that of tribal gaming.Connecticut tribes close to new dealGovernor Ned Lamont wants sports betting in his state, and he needs a new deal with the tribes to get it done. He used his budget address to emphasize the push:“My administration has been in active negotiations with our tribal partners to bring the state’s gaming economy into the digital age. And I am submitting legislation which reflects what I believe to be the best bet in ending this stalemate of inaction in a way which is in the best interest [of] the entire state.”Construction resumes at Four WindsThe Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians’ contractor recently resumed building a hotel at Four Winds South Bend Casino. Construction slowed down significantly due to Covid-19.The new 23-story hotel was originally due to be completed this year. But with construction crews only working on the foundation now after a 10-month delay, maybe 2022 seems more accurate.
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PokerStars has rolled out Tetris + Spin & Go, a temporary takeover of their ultra-popular lottery sit and go game with a new theme and a lucrative new promotion for players.
F5poker first revealed that PokerStars was working on such a promotion back in September 2020. On Monday, it deployed globally on most licenses on the global dot-com pool as well the European shared liquidity network of Spain, France and Portugal.
The Spin and Go lobby in the client has been redesigned with a Tetris aesthetic, as have the tables. The game itself remains unchanged—fast, winner-takes-all sit and gos with a random top prize.
What is new is the promotion on top: Tetris-themed leader boards. While the mechanics are fairly complicated—it involves Line Clears, Levels and Game Scores—it boils down to daily player rankings where cash prizes are given out to the highest volume players.
For players that fall outside the cash prizes, the operator has a $5000 daily prize draw for players that finished in the top 500.
In total, the operator says that over $1.5 million will be paid out in the dot-com market and almost as much—€1 million—in the Southern European market from now until the end of March. This works out at over $33,000 daily in dot-com, and €23,000 in Southern Europe.
It appears to replace the previous long-running Spin & Go 20 and 50 leader boards. This had given away just over $20,000 a week and had run throughout much of 2020.
Lionel Messi scored two goals of the highest quality in La Liga this weekend to take his tally to 15 for the season.Both of the Argentine’s goals were scored from outside the box in superb fashion, as he helped Barcelona on their way to a 5-1 win against Alaves.Messi may now make our leaderboard, but he is still some way off reaching the runaway leader, Robert Lewandowski.The Bayern striker scored again on Monday in the German side’s rearranged Bundesliga match versus Arminia Bielefeld which was moved due to their Club World Cup exploits over the weekend.Lewandowski now has 25 goals and 50 points.His nearest rival for the Golden Shoe is fellow Bundesliga striker Andre Silva, who has now scored 18 for the season.Liverpool may have lost against Leicester, but Mohamed Salah still scored a lovely goal to take his tally to 17.Georgios Giakoumakis of Venlo has scored an impressive 22 goals and is the highest player on our list who doesn’t feature within one of Europe’s top five leagues.A talented group on 16 goals for the campaign includes Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe, Romelu Lukaku, and Luis Suarez.2020/21 EUROPEAN GOLDEN SHOE STANDINGS 2020/21 European Golden ShoeA reminder: The five elite leagues – Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 – all carry a weighting of 2, meaning that a player will be awarded two points for every goal they score in these competitions. For the leagues ranked sixth to 30 in Uefa’s coefficients rankings goals scored are given a weighting of 1.5, and goals scored in a league outwith the top 30, goals are given a weighting of 1. Ciro Immobile won the 2019/20 European Golden Shoe, scoring 36 goals for Lazio in a tremendous Serie A season. 2020/21 EUROPEAN GOLDEN SHOE (Summer Leagues) 2020 European Golden ShoePlayerTeamGoalsPointsKasper JunkerBomo/Glimt2740.5Amahl PellegrinoKristiansund2537.5Philip ZinckernagelBodo/Glimt1928.5Christoffer NymanNorrköping1827Rauno SappinenFlora Tallinn2626Veton BerishaViking1624Astrit SelmaniVerbergs1522.5Mushaga BakengaOdds BK1522.5Moses OgbuMjallby1421Anders ChristiansenMalmo1319.5Leke JamesMolde1219.5Maksim SkavyshBATE Borisov1919This is the 2020/21 European Golden Shoe race. If you want to see the final standing for the 2019/20 European Golden Shoe, follow this link.
As Americans continue to weather the pandemic, the $2.3 trillion coronavirus relief and spending bill passed by the federal government in December brought an unexpected and lasting gift: a new national park.The 5,593-page spending package included a raft of provisions authorizing little-known projects — the construction of the Teddy Roosevelt Presidential Library in North Dakota, for one — and giving lawmakers a chance to advance a variety of long-delayed initiatives. Among them was the elevation of the New River Gorge, in southern West Virginia, to the status of Yellowstone, Yosemite and the country’s other most renowned outdoor spaces. The designation of the area — roughly 72,000 acres of land flanking 53 miles of the gorge — as a national park and preserve creates the 63rd national park in the United States and completes a multigenerational effort, started in the mid-twentieth century, to transform a tired industrial area into a national landmark.“Towards the end of this year, with these big bills coming down, I decided to strike,” said Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican and the state’s junior senator, who, along with Senator Joe Manchin III, a Democrat, introduced the New River Gorge legislation in 2019.“This was the right opportunity,” she said.A draw for rafters, kayakers and other outdoor enthusiastsThe gorge and its surroundings have been prized for decades as one of southern West Virginia’s more spectacular natural places.In 1963, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed a resolution seeking to designate the New River Gorge as a “national playground,” preparing to send the proposal to President John F. Kennedy, whose primary campaign was lifted substantially through support from West Virginia voters. But momentum to create a national recreation area stalled after Mr. Kennedy’s assassination later that year.Though the gorge remained a curiosity among rafters and outdoor enthusiasts, the area only received federal protection from the Interior Department in 1978, when it was designated a national river.Now, the outdoor offerings in the gorge have come to define the area as a premier destination for adventure sports in the East.The New River plunges 750 feet over 66 miles, resulting in long stretches of violent rapids that can reach a class five level, generally considered the most difficult that can be navigated by white-water boaters. (Licensed outfitters operate in several towns near the river, providing rentals and tours for rafting and kayaking.)The canyon walls, which soar as high as 1,600 feet, offer miles of cliffs that rank among the best in the East Coast for rock climbing. Sheer faces in the gorge made of robust Nuttall sandstone provide both traditional and sport-climbing routes across the difficulty spectrum.Bike routes are scattered throughout the park on both sides of the river, with options for both technical mountain biking and more casual pedaling along former railroad beds.A glimpse back in timeAccording to the National Park Service, geologists believe the New River — its name a misnomer used by early American explorers who often assigned the same name to any river they came upon for the first time — was a segment of the preglacial Teays River. This larger river, which traversed much of the current Ohio River watershed, was later diverted and broken up by glaciers. The age of the Teays is uncertain, but fossil evidence suggests it could be as much as 320 million years old, leaving its remnant, the New River, as quite possibly the second oldest river in the world.Beyond the millions of years of geological history on display, the gorge is also filled with signs of the region’s heritage as a major coal production hub.Miners once capitalized on the easy access to rich deposits of high-quality bituminous coal in the canyon, where the river had already shorn through hundreds of feet of rock. Especially after the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway linked the New River coal fields to markets in 1873, dozens of boom towns popped up along the river’s edge, thriving well into the 1920s.In 1963, a coal mine was still operating in the gorge, said Dave Arnold, a state tourism commissioner who operated a rafting company for more than 40 years.“In ’76 or ’77, if you were in my boat, we’d have been floating down the river and I would have been showing you, ‘here’s an old coal tipple, here’s the old hotel at Caperton, here’s this and that,’” he said.The demand for coal around the turn of the twentieth century was so high that towns existed every half mile along up the river, according to the Park Service. As the industry went into decline, however, by the 1950s many were already abandoned, leaving ghost towns scattered throughout the gorge. Additionally, logging during the late nineteenth century stripped vast portions of the gorge bare, clearing enormous swaths of virgin forest.The park contains the remnants of communities such as Nuttallburg and Kaymoor, which still stand near the riverbank and are accessible from points higher up. Seams of exposed coal are visible along some trails leading into the gorge and its towns, where abandoned mine portals and the foundations of coke ovens remain.Restoring an ecosystem with diverse wildlifeDespite the environmental degradation and pollution that industry unleashed, some unique ecological features make the gorge well-suited to a diverse combination of wildlife, which has slowly reappeared as time has passed.The river lies at the center of a migration corridor where plants and animals that typically range further north or south come together, including several federally endangered and threatened species, such as the Virginia big-eared bat and the Allegheny woodrat.According to Lizzie Watts, the park’s superintendent, the river itself is also notably warmer than surrounding areas, making it a popular warm-water fishing destination with more than a dozen public access points. The river is one of the premier spots for smallmouth bass fishing on the east coast, and muskellunge and walleye are common in the park today.“The next generation will have the opportunity to see what, in the last 150 years, it looks like when an area goes from being logged and mined to left alone,” Ms. Watts said. “The ecosystem has come back to full trees and mature forests.”As federal protections took effect after the Park Service began overseeing the area as a national river in 1978, wildlife has largely recovered, and many see an opportunity to showcase the region’s natural elegance.“To show off our rock climbing, our extreme sports availabilities in that area, is just really exciting,” said Ms. Capito of what she described as a “kind of wild and wonderful part of our state.” ‘The cream of the crop’The National Park Service, created in 1916, oversees more than 400 areas across the country, including national monuments, seashores and battlefields as well as parks, which together total more than 85 million acres.While the new title for New River Gorge does not fundamentally alter the area’s day-to-day operations, both lawmakers and the Park Service tend to view “national parks” as the crown jewels of the park system — a protection granted to some of the largest and most prized tracts of the country.“National Park status is usually considered like the cream of the crop,” Ms. Watts said. “But it really is just another one of those names.”The New River Gorge does not match the scale of many national parks in the western United States, where Death Valley, the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone sprawl over more than 1 million acres each.Nevertheless, officials expect the new designation to bring a substantial influx of travelers, boosted in part by a dedicated set of enthusiasts who strive to visit every national park.In typical years, around 1.3 million travelers visit the gorge, according to the Park Service’s tourism data. Based on studies of other areas that received national park status, Ms. Capito said she expects to see visitors increase by as much as 20 percent.“It does feel like the very beginning stages of transformation for the whole area,” said Becky Sullivan, the executive director of the New River Gorge Convention and Visitors Bureau. “I’ll be very, very interested to see where we are in about 10 years.”Maintaining the community and its favored pastimesAs unique outdoor attractions throughout the Appalachian region have gained more national visibility, some concern has grown over the idea of a wealthy and mobile set from out of state trampling the communities adjacent to these places.West Virginia remains the second-poorest state in the country in terms of median household income, according to data collected by the United States Census Bureau. And while tourism has brought a needed injection of wealth to areas all around the gorge, it has also changed the makeup of neighboring communities, as more people have come to visit the park or settle down near it.Interest in the natural offerings around the park has brought slow but measurable change for small towns nearby like Fayetteville. Officials say that the advent of remote work during the pandemic has only hastened a trend of properties in the area being repurposed for vacation rentals and outsiders snapping up second homes.“You cannot find a house for sale in Fayetteville, because they’re just in such high demand,” said Sharon Cruikshank, the town’s mayor. “So that definitely changed the budgeting of the town as well as the county.”When legislation was first introduced to designate the area as a national park, pushback came from some locals. Hunters have long enjoyed access to secluded sections of woods around the gorge, and with hunting prohibited in federal parks, some protested the potential loss of thousands of acres of hunting grounds.In a compromise, more than 65,000 acres of the total area were designated as a nature preserve where hunting can continue as before, and only roughly 7,000 acres directly within the canyon are officially off limits as national parkland. A provision was included to empower the park to acquire more than 3,000 acres of private land around its current boundaries as well, to expand the size of the preserve and add public hunting grounds.In a nod to tradition, the legislation also enshrines the right for visitors to continue to make use of one of the park’s most famous features — the New River Gorge Bridge — at least once a year.BASE jumping, an extreme sport in which jumpers parachute from elevated structures or cliffs, is banned in every other national park.But, since 1980, BASE jumpers have been permitted to plunge from the top of the 876-foot-high bridge and parachute down toward the river once a year, on Bridge Day, held one Saturday in October. The legislation designating the area as a national park allows that tradition to continue.As many as 100,000 people typically come to watch the jumpers plunge, according to Ms. Sullivan, providing a major boost for businesses in the region. The event has only been canceled twice, including last year because of the coronavirus.Bridge Day’s organizers advise jumpers that the only dependable way to touch down safely is to plan to land directly in the river. In normal years, hundreds do so, often multiple times that day, gliding down and softly hitting the New River’s waters.
The British Boxing Board of Control’s Robert Smith talks to Matt Christie following yet another controversial night in a British ring
There have been suggestions that Josh Warrington should have been pulled out sooner. What was your perception of the main event from your position at ringside?
I’m sitting six metres back behind a perspex screen. The people closer are the judges and the referee. I spoke to Howard [Foster, the referee] after the bout. In all but name, Josh Warrington was a world champion. Although he was hurt, Howard tells me Josh’s eyes were clear and, when asked, he said, ‘I’m alright, Howard.’ So he addressed the referee by his name. So Howard let it continue.
You will notice that a couple of times, Howard was concerned about Josh’s jaw so he’s gone to have a look in the corner and Josh was readily talking. Also, during the bout – after the fourth – Josh was talking to his opponent. So Howard felt that he should be given the benefit of the doubt and be allowed to continue.
I actually thought Josh was clawing his way back into it. So with all that in mind – Howard’s experience, that Josh’s eyes were clear, he was talking and he was fighting back plus the fact that Josh was a world champion, it was an important fight, his qualities are well known and other people have come back from similar situations to win – Howard made the call to let the fight continue.
With that in mind, that Howard knows Josh as a fighter and made a decision because of that, would the same chances have been given to Lara if he’d have been in similar trouble?
People are assuming things. The first priority of the referee is the safety of the boxer. Once he’s decided that he can continue then other factors may come in. How is he recovering? He knows Josh has an experienced corner – now that’s not shifting responsibility, it’s a fact that has to be taken into consideration. And I would hope that if Lara had been in the same position, if he had responded in the same way, the fight would have continued also.
Were you uncomfortable at any point watching the fight develop?
First of all, what took everyone by surprise, was the shock of what was happening; I was shocked that Josh went over as he did. It was a good shot and he was obviously hurt. His legs were stiff and you could see he was not his normal self but he’d just been hit with a very good shot.
But yes, I am always concerned if anybody is in that position.
Will Howard have to face any hearing?
It’s too early to say. I’ve spoken to him but I am awaiting reports to come in regarding the whole tournament. But from initial discussions, he acted in the proper way. To my mind he’s a world class official and people will say he got it wrong, people will say he gave the boy the benefit of the doubt. There are numerous examples of fighters being given the benefit of the doubt and going on to win the fight.
What was your reaction to the scores in the Zelfa Barrett-Kiko Martinez fight?
I can tell you this: The closest people to the action are the judges and the referee. I am six metres back and I had Barrett winning by a couple of rounds. Two metres behind me is the promoters. Now, when I spoke to Eddie Hearn, he thought that Barrett had nicked it by a round. The commentary teams are significantly further back – they’re in a box – and they had it a draw. Further back still, at an angle, you’ve got the pundits like Johnny Nelson and Adam Booth. So the further you went back the more the perception of the result changes.
My own opinion was that Martinez was full of industry but a lot of the punches, his hooks and swings, were landing on the gloves whereas Barrett was landing the cleaner shots. Now people can interpret that in many ways.
You had two judges who had exactly the same score (118-111). Now I’m not defending anyone but that’s a fact. So you look closer and the judges only agreed on five of the 12 rounds. In the remaining seven, there were three rounds where one judge scored it even and there was a further two rounds where there was a complete split – one went for the red corner, one went for the blue corner and another judge called it even. That indicates to me that they were close rounds.
With the current system, a close round can be 10-9 and a wide round can be 10-9 and maybe that’s where something needs to be changed. That’s where we get the difference of opinion.
In your position, can you trigger a change of thinking in regard to the scoring?
The whole world needs to change. I have stood up at sanctioning body conventions and said we need to consider making a wide round 10-8 and a round where a knockdown is scored, 10-7. But just because there’s a knockdown doesn’t make it 10-8 now if it’s a flash knockdown. It’s down to interpretation but I do believe there is value in looking at the system.
What is your opinion on open scoring?
We don’t permit it here because there could be a crowd reaction. I also think you could get a situation where a fighter is so far ahead they just get on their bike and run which would take away the endeavour.
I quite like that you don’t know the result until the end. We’re not like football or rugby where you get points or goals on the board. We are the only sport where you don’t know the result until the end.
I do think that half the problem is that someone gets a feeling that someone has won it and they haven’t. I think on Saturday, because of his endeavour, a lot of people thought that Martinez won when I don’t believe he did win.
There is clearly an issue in the viewers’ perception so frequently differing from the actual result. It can be wildly different and that is also different to any other sport.
I understand that. But from your position at home you can be swayed by the commentary.
Is there more that the Board of Control can do, in the face of accusations of incompetence and even worse, in terms of how you react to the controversial decisions?
We get the reports, we read the reports and if we’re concerned about anyone’s performance we act upon it. I do think that the current time period without crowds, where the majority of people who are voicing their opinion aren’t in the crowd or aren’t at ringside, has something to do with this. Again, those who are in the arena have different views. Some are one metre away, others are 100 metres away. Some can see replays, some can’t. There are lots of factors why people are disagreeing with results but that doesn’t mean it’s crooked or people are incompetent.
I do respect the opinion of everyone but that doesn’t mean that they’re right. I thought Barrett won by two rounds and I accept that people will disagree with that.
What was your reaction to Eddie Hearn saying that it will be difficult to get fighters to the UK because of the ongoing controversy?
Of course it hurts. I don’t think it’s helpful that people are saying that but I do understand why people are saying that. It all stems back to how the fight is scored. You can have a 12-rounder that’s a rip-roarer and someone wins every round by 10-9 and it then looks on paper like it’s been a whitewash when it hasn’t been a whitewash. That’s where the problem lies.
Are the judges encouraged, if a round is close, to score it one way or the other rather than scoring it even?
Yes. I say to people they need to find a winner from each round.
Does that not create a problem when the best solution to scoring a round that’s close is to score it level?
I’m not going to argue with that but I do feel, in the space of three minutes, you can generally find a winner. I’m not saying they HAVE to find a winner in every round. A lot of the time we can forget what happened in the first minute of the round, or in the first half of the fight. You know as well as I do that you can watch a fight at ringside, then go back and watch on TV and it looks like a completely different fight.
These are not crooked decisions. But I do believe there are flaws in the system that affect how the fights are scored that can be looked at. The key is to ensure everyone in the world looks as well because it’s imperative that all judges score the same way.
The entire concept of a “bull market in stocks” makes little sense. Sound crazy? These days, certainly, because we’re always hearing about a perpetual bull market in stocks. Valuations increasingly disconnected from economic reality, asset bubbles in one class or another, armies of speculators moving like zombie hoards descending on the next fad and blowing it up to infinity and beyond, Buzz Lightyear-like.Why is the whole concept of a bull market generally, nonsense? Because if the value of everything is going up simultaneously, then nothing is going up. If everyone is a superhero, nobody is. If, in an imaginary economy, absolutely everything costs, say, $5, (labor, land, capital whatever) and then the next day everything costs $10, then what’s changed? The answer is absolutely nothing.The only thing that matters is relative valuations between asset classes. Let’s divide them into three of the most basic ones. Equities (stocks), bonds (debt), and commodities (consumer goods). If all three are going up in tandem, then there is no “bull market” in anything. If commodities are going up faster than stocks and bonds, you have inflation, or even hyperinflation. Ask anyone in Venezuela whether they care that their stock market is doing great, nominally. They don’t. They’re looking for their next glop of gruel or morsel of moldy bread to survive the day.But if stocks and bonds are rising and consumer goods are static to falling, you have a bull market in financial assets. This is where we are now. And boy are we really hard and deep into it now. Below is the ratio of the S&P 500 to the CRB Commodities Index.And I’ve got news for everyone. This bull market in stocks relative to consumer goods in dollar terms is already over. It ended almost a year ago. On April 20, 2020 to be exact. Red circle blowoff top above. That was when oil crashed to negative $35 a barrel and we all lived in an alternative financial freakhouse universe. But I have more news than that. This entire “bull market” in stocks has been one gigantic illusion from the very beginning. Stocks aren’t going up. They haven’t gone up for 21 years. Money is going down. Here is the graph of stocks relative to the prime monetary commodity, gold, over the same timeframe above.We can see here that from 1990 to 2000, we had a real bull market in stocks. Equities rocketed in gold terms and in terms of consumer goods generally. Everyone felt richer. Portfolios up, expenses down. But since that time, money has been dying at an accelerated pace and the standard of living has fallen.The bull market in stocks over the last 21 years has been an illusion, a tiny echo of the bull that ended at the turn of the century. We have spent the last 21 years trying to reinflate it, but gold has exposed the lie. We are now at the point where the illusion is about to collapse completely. In my view, we have only a few months left until it all hits the fan. Until then, the bubbles will keep coming in staccato frenetic fashion, moving from one asset class to another faster and faster, until we all get so dizzy we can’t follow it anymore. Last week I speculated that maybe the next target for the zombie hoard will be in penny gaming stocks. I was close. It’s in Macau stocks. It may already have started two weeks ago. The frenzy has started over news about China opening up again. I mean, just look at this crazy chart of the Macau proxy ETF:That last surge higher is just since February 1. We could be at the beginning of a crazy but brief ride higher in Macau stocks right now. New all time highs again, and Macau isn’t even fully open yet. The latest full month statistics for December show a 78.6% drop in visitors year over year. And yet we’re at new all time highs in these stocks already. It’s just completely crazy. I can understand the Macau opening up again trade, but to argue that this factor is being priced in at these levels, at new all time highs? As if none of this full year shutdown hurt any of the casinos fundamentally at all? That’s just totally bonkers crazy. It’s a reflection of the value of the currency these stocks are priced in, not the stocks themselves.What’s happening is that the zombie hoard of bubble chasers is reading the headlines regarding China starting to open up again, and they’re slamming buy orders and call options like they’ve been doing with tech stocks and Gamestop and BTC and all the other fads. We just got news out of Bloomberg that China’s Imax had a face-ripping rally due to exploding ticket sales. China is, indeed opening up, and the zombie hoard of speculators is now going to spray their money hoses at anything Chinese. Macau might be at the center of it.How high can this Macau bubble go, if that’s what we just saw start two weeks ago? The truth is, it doesn’t matter. If you get into it, you’ll get hooked and keep levering yourself up, counting your paper gains, unable to separate from them until you get caught in a vortex. At some point, my view this year, it’s all going to come crashing down when all the damage from 2020 is finally revealed all over the world. You can’t paper it over forever. The damage to Macau casinos doesn’t just go away. It festers in the form of more and more debt, and a damaged consumer base that can no longer patronize casinos in the way it once could. Festering wounds need the paper bandage removed and they need to be operated on. That is painful. And it’s coming.When we think of the word “bubble”, what are we really talking about? A bubble is something that looks, from the outside, to be really big and stable. The shape of it, a sphere, is the most stable shape in the universe. It’s why planets, stars, moons, and possibly even the spacetime continuum itself, spontaneously shape themselves into spheres. The force of gravity equalizes at every point on the sphere, forming equilibrium. Nature always seeks equilibrium. And so bubbles take on the illusion of stability, but unlike a real sphere, there’s nothing inside them. When they pop, they are gone almost instantly. This one is about to pop. Macau appears to be the next victim sucked up by the bubble. Macau will survive and rebuild. The question is, in what form? I wouldn’t take a bet the depended on me getting the answer to that question right.
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