The Mandalay Bay Shark Reef exhibit in Las Vegas will be slightly more crowded Thursday morning when a 40-pound giant Pacific octopus will be called upon to predict the winner of Saturday night's Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz world lightweight title fight.
The octopus will decide which Juan to pick around 9:45 a.m., when reef keepers will drop two plastic boxes filled with food -- one marked "Marquez" and the other "Diaz" -- into the octopus tank.
The Mandalay Bay octopus was nameless until late Wednesday, when a suddenly comedic boxing promoter Richard Schaefer said he had decided to call the creature Oscar, in tribute to business partner Oscar De La Hoya.
The stunt by De La Hoya and Schaefer, who own an MLS franchise in Houston, clearly is influenced by the uncanny ability of an octopus at a German aquarium named Paul, who correctly picked every World Cup soccer match that he was called upon to project.
"They're just cashing in; Paul was unique," said sports reporter Kevin Baxter, who was part of The Times' World Cup coverage in South Africa. "Near the end of Paul's success, we were hearing about a parakeet in Malaysia and an elephant somewhere. They've come late to the party."
Whatever. Paul is still the Regina George of the sea animal community. I hope Oscar enjoys eating his lunch in a bathroom stall next to Jorge the sea turtle.
· How does promotion/relegation works?
· What teams play in First Division?
· Why is the season divided in two?
· How do teams qualify for Libertadores/Sudamericana Cup?
· What are the main rivalries between teams?
Apertura '10 will start in only 2 weeks, so you better be ready for it! Here's some basic info about how football works around here.
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Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti believes Mario Balotelli will turn Manchester City into genuine title contenders.
Balotelli, who turns 20 next month, is set to leave Inter for Eastlands in a move rumoured to be worth €35 million. Balotelli has courted controversy on a regular basis during his time in Serie A but, while Ancelotti feels the tabloids could cause problems in England, he expects the striker to be a major success.
"With him, Manchester City will challenge for the title, not just fourth place," Ancelotti told La Stampa. "Mario is a crazy talent. The Premier League is the ideal place for him.
"He'll find Roberto Mancini, the coach who launched his Serie A career, and there is almost no racism to contend with here. No alibis or advice for him anymore, except for one thing: he needs to watch out for the tabloids."
Asked if Inter were doing the right thing by selling the player, Ancelotti said: "Well, €35 million is a tidy sum. There is also too much pressure on young players in Italy, so clubs prefer 'secure' used goods to the uncertainty of the new."
Balotelli is said to have held a goodbye party in Milan and reports suggest the deal could be completed before the end of the week.
They took the stage at the People's Palace of Culture in the capital Pyongyang while 400 students subjected them to a six-hour reprimand.
Reports claim coach Kim Jong-Hun was made to work on a building site and expelled from the Workers' Party of Korea. He was blamed for "betraying the trust of Kim Jong-Un", one of dictator Kim Jong-Il's sons, after the country went into the tournament with high hopes of qualifying from the so-called 'Group of Death'.
The criticism was led by Ri Dong-Kyu, a commentator for state TV, which made the 7-0 drubbing at the hands of Portugal its first ever live sports broadcast. The decision to show the game live came in the wake of an encouraging 2-1 defeat to Brazil. North Korea lost their final game 3-0 to Ivory Coast.
Radio Free Asia claimed the dressing-down took place on July 2, but news only leaked out of the famously secretive country this week.
Japanese-born pair Jong Tae-Se and An Yong-Hak escaped censure, flying straight to Japan from South Korea.
A source from South Korea’s intelligence community told the Chosun Ilbo newspaper: "In the past, North Korean athletes and coaches who performed badly were sent to prison camps. Considering the high hopes North Koreans had for the World Cup, the regime could have done worse things to the team than just reprimand them for their ideological shortcomings."
Pic from club website.
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OK, maybe it's time to start spamming with pics of ~football and fashion~?
Cristiano Ronaldo addressed the media following Real Madrid's first training session in Los Angeles.
"We are very excited and working very hard. We have to keep this level of excitement up in order to win titles."
"Raul was always an important player to Real Madrid. He made the decision that best suited his interests. He is a great professional and I'm sure he will play at a very high level."
"I already knew Mourinho well. His training sessions are spectacular. They have great intensity. We are all very happy to have him. We don't feel tired because we are extremely motivated."
"Mourinho is a winner. Real Madrid has attacking players, so we will be an offensive team. The priority right now is to get back in shape as soon as possible."
"I would like to have the number '7' shirt and I'm sure Raul would be happy if I had it because he knows how I am and how I think."
"Barcelona were more regular than us last year, but we are not worried about what they may do this season. I'm sure we will have a better run this year. If I actually believed we couldn't defeat Barcelona I would be home instead of here."
"All great players are welcome here and we will greet them the best way we know how. All the summer signings are very good."