Weir’s Week: A torch turn-off, a couple of Cooks and Rangers go Green

Usain Bolt – not carrying the Olympic torch in Scotland Picture: thor_matt83
Usain Bolt – not carrying the Olympic torch in Scotland Picture: thor_matt83

Boxing has a habit of throwing up strange decisions, mainly because it is judged and all judging is subjective.

Which is why we end up with results like Timothy Bradley’s controversial split-decision win over Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas.

The result was forwarded for review by the World Boxing Organization (WBO) after two judges scored the bout 115–113 in the undefeated American’s favour.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission, which sanctioned the bout, said it stood by the verdict of “three seasoned professionals”, which marked the first defeat in seven years for Pacquiao – a result made all the more suspect by the fact he landed 94 more punches than Bradley.

No wonder promoter Bob Arum called for an investigation and threatened to take the outcome to the Supreme Court.

Of course, many of these decisions may be wrong. But with money-spinning rematch clauses part of so many championship contracts, does anyone in boxing ever lose?

Especially promoters …

Nearer home, I finally come out of hiding to find that Friday’s cancelled blue riband race on the Isle of Man, the Senior TT, has been abandoned, the first time in TT history.

I’m gutted, but understand why you cannot take 1,000cc, slick-shod, lightweight machines around a 37-mile lap of public roads, six times, when the track is even moderately damp.

As racer Gary Johnson put it: “Even with red and yellow lack of adhesion flags, it doesn’t make the walls any softer.”

The Canadian Grand Prix is won by Lewis Hamilton, the McLaren driver becoming the seventh different winner from seven grands prix in this season’s F1 championship.

I hate predictability …

England make their big entry into Euro 2012 against France, manager Roy Hodgson’s first competitive match.

A 1-1 draw was as good (or as bad) as it got for the Three Lions, having taken the lead through Joleon Lescott.

A few years ago I had the pleasure of doing some work with the Manchester City defender – who, despite playing for the richest club in the world, is a thoroughly grounded guy.

He had many tales of how he kept himself amused, playing video games being one of them. So when it came to naming his all-time XI it was surprising – and very funny – to hear him mix reality and fantasy.

For two of his starting eleven were selected on their performances for him on his X-Box, namely French defender Lilian Thuram, who Joleon reckoned he’d converted from right-back to centre-back before anyone at Juventus thought about it, and former Argentinian striker Claudio Caniggia.

“He was brilliant for me,” admitted Lescott. “Loads of ability – and he was cheap.”

Probably why he ended up playing for Joleon and Rangers …

I wake up this morning, and to use Sanka Coffie’s line from the movie Cool Runnings, “I am feeling very Olympic today”.

I don’t know why. Olympic fever hasn’t set into the Weir household just yet, more a mild temperature I’d say, although sufficient enough for my youngest daughter Zara’s eight-week-old kitten to get the name “Oly” (short for Olympic), so christened by my son. More of him later.

But maybe it’s the apparent shambles which is Team GB’s selection process in certain sports.

Final ratification (best settled by a fight to the death if those Nevada boxing promoters had their way) has still to come in the case of Lutalo Muhammad being selected ahead of Aaron Cook by a GB taekwondo Olympic selection panel, a decision challenged by the British Olympic Association (BOA) and then by the sport’s international governing body, the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF).

If that wasn’t enough, news came out that fencer Keith Cook may miss out on the Olympics because he did not give selectors his contact details.

Ireland’s medal hopes Paddy and Mick were disqualified when they ran out of posts. There, my one and only Olympic fencing joke.

But it’s no laughing matter for Scotsman Cook.

British Fencing said athletes wishing to be considered for the Games were required to pass on their contact details as part of a formal selection process, something they say Cook failed to do.

British Fencing’s chief executive Piers Martin told Cook by email: “British Fencing therefore did not consider that you wanted to be considered for selection.”

Cook fended that attack off and countered: “I have been representing Great Britain for years, of course they had my contact details.”

However, it had crossed my mind that the authorities in fencing and taekwondo have suffered salmonella or botulism at some time in the past, and just don’t trust Cooks …

Anyway, the Olympic Torch continues to make its way around Scotland, with a great many people getting very excited over something which, let’s face it, if it appeared in their own home, would cause nothing but blind panic.

Contrived tales about those carrying the flame haven’t done anything to excite me in the same way stories of torches exploding did in the 70s.

So dragging myself out to see it was never going to happen. But I felt it right that I should ask my young son Callum (given his choice of name for the sabre-tooth tiger we are now owned by) whether he wanted to see this spectacle.

“Who’s doing it?”

“Different people, ordinary folk.”

“Usain Bolt?”


And interest was lost. And probably will remain that way until the gun goes for the men’s 100m final.

But at least all those billions spent in bringing the Games to London has him interested up to a point – although I think the scars inflicted by the cat may be more of a lasting legacy …

Late in the day, news starts to break about Harry Redknapp departing Spurs.

No sooner has it appeared on Sky Sports News than the first jokes start to emerge – my favourite, for those who haven’t heard it, being along the lines of ‘Arry getting a £3m pay-off, which after tax will be worth three million quid …

And no, he wasn’t leaving White Hart Lane to become tax adviser at Ibrox either …

The never-ending Rangers saga (or as it is known among journalists, “the story that just keeps giving”) takes more twists and turns than the Isle of Man TT course I spoke about earlier.

Firstly the Daily Record proclaim that Gers boss Ally McCoist has quit the club, only for that to be proved not to be the case.

But it kicked off a series of events, the first being the emergence of former manager Walter Smith as a consortium leader ready to try and take over the club’s affairs, only for it to be revealed within the hour that long-standing preferred bidder Charles Green had indeed purchased the assets of the stricken institution.

There followed a series of statements and hurriedly organised press gatherings, during which time the Smith camp told Green to sell up (to them) and head off, while the Yorkshireman hung around to poke fun at the newspaper press, using the timeless put-down that the newspapers were only good for fish and chips.

Really, Charles?

That might be fighting talk in sleepy-hollow Sheffield where you inherited one of the Steel City’s rusting hulks – eh, and which the last time I looked was still in the depths of league football.

But you might find one or two journalists (make that a dozen) who take it upon themselves to prove you wrong.

Apart from fried food, newspapers are still exceptionally good at feeding people gossip.

And don’t forget obituaries, either …

Of course there are those who believe Charles Green is nothing more than a carpetbagger, an asset stripper, someone out to make a quick buck from an equally quick turnaround.

How could anyone think that when Green – who, remember, bought the Rangers assets for £5.5m – is reported to be looking for upwards of £15m – some saying nearer £20m – to pass control over to Walter Smith’s group?

Supporters will see that as a man with entrepreneurial skills at the helm of the club, and a man who within days is already running the whole show at a profit, and a man they will be delighted to hand over all their season-ticket money to in one go.

Won’t they?

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