UFC Vegas 34
Boxing all-time great Manny Pacquiao lost to Yordenis Ugas Saturday night in Las Vegas in what may be the final fight of his legendary career. Though he came in as a heavy favorite against the unheralded WBA welterweight champion who was a late replacement opponent, Pacquiao, at 42, finally appeared to be showing his age in dropping a unanimous decision.

Fighting for the first time in two years, Pacquiao started the match darting in and out, firing off combinations with his trademark fast hands. But Ugas, with his guard kept high, picked off many of the blows. As Pacquiao slowed a bit in the later rounds, Ugas landed a number of hard right hands that sealed the bout for him. A senator in his native Philippines, Pacquiao hinted this might be his final fight as he considers a run for president next year. If so, he leaves behind a remarkable legacy that saw him win the flyweight championship back in 1998 and make unprecedented jumps in weight all the way up as high as junior middleweight where he won a title. Overall, he captured major and minor championships in eight different weight divisions.

That a director of my city's opera company would call me seemed a little odd. There are probably some monkeys who know more about opera than I do. But the director was inviting me to lunch, so of course I went.

It turned out the company was producing a performance of Madame Butterfly, the Puccini opera that tells the story of a doomed love between a French military officer and a geisha in early 19th-century Japan. The opera has come under fire for its stereotyped, utterly fanciful depictions of Japanese culture. The local company was trying to anticipate such criticism, and the director asked me, since I serve on the board of some organizations related to Japanese culture, what I thought.
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Apologies in advance for the title if it gives impressions that this is going to be all that poetic. It's not this presentation that is all that literary, but something else. Haikus and pentameter aside, MMA has moments that are nothing less than poetic on a pretty astral level. Not long ago, irony at the nauseating level (unless you are a psychopath) happened when former UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman broke his leg on Uriah Hall's leg in an eerily similar way as the other former champ Anderson Silva did on Chris's in their title rematch. If you know anything at all about MMA and did not know this story, you have to have been living under a rock. Save your energy and do not go look at pictures of either event as it is nightmare material.
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Dr. Craig's Martial Arts Movie Lounge

Have you ever watched a film that was just so amazing that when the sequel came out, your mind started developing great expectations and that it would be a pip, which has nothing to do with a Charles Dicken's novel, yet a movie that could be a real humdinger?

In 2017, one of the most engaging and exciting elements of the Sammo Hung and Vincent Zhao starring God of War is that it was a remake of Jimmy Wang Yu's classic kung fu flick Beach of the War Gods (BWG; 1973). This gave me the perfect opportunity to see how a film on the same subject was handled by two Chinese filmmaking eras 44 years apart and how the fight choreography was used to tell the hero's story.

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