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The Great One

Not Mt. McKinley
When I lived in a tiny cabin in Anchorage, on the shores of Alaska's Cook Inlet, I could sometimes - if the day was perfectly clear and I squinted a little - see the peak of the continent's tallest mountain in the far, far distance. And when I did, I would tell friends, "I could see Denali today," and everyone understood. When we spoke of the mountain - as, this being Alaska, we did quite often - it was always Denali. Always. Denali - supposedly, although perhaps not in fact, Athabascan for "The Great One" - is a defining feature of the 49th State, and its name and putative English translation are ingrained in the state's vocabulary. Although there were outliers - deliberate contrarians and establishmentarians - virtually nobody in Alaska would refer to it as Mt. McKinley, its official name. Indeed, that imprimatur offended: McKinley, an undistinguished president, never visited Alaska not had any particular connection to it, yet efforts to have the insult removed repeatedly ran into roadblocks from the congressional delegation of McKinley's native Ohio.

Now, President Obama has taken executive action to write a 98-year-old wrong, and ensure that Denali is henceforth known officially by the name to which it is referred by all Alaskans. In the Great Land, the news was met with overwhelming enthusiasm and gratitude; to judge from the reactions of Ohioans, GOP presidential candidates and the multitude of social media users whose knee-jerk reaction is to oppose everything the president does simply because he does it, he might as well have announced that he was reversing the result of WWII. There are many reasons why perusing Twitter is enough to give a rational person reason to despair for humanity, and it seems strange that this particular explosion of faux outrage above all others has depressed me so. But is a topic that is close to my heart; personally, I am grateful to the president for his symbolic but significant gesture, and in time I hope the wailing and gnashing of teeth will find another target, as Denali continues to stand tall and imperious above the fray.  Read More 
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For a bunch of reasons, this song is very much on my mind right now. Not much in life more depressing than losing a great thing.
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Kieran and Miguel

I've long been a fan of Miguel Cotto. He's the first fighter I've followed ringside all the way from prospect/contender status to veteran champion. I enjoy interviewing him, too. Here I am, talking with him and with Daniel Geale, his opponent at Brooklyn's Barclays Center on June 6.

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Back to the Tundra

I'm thrilled to announce that I'll be heading back to the frigid shores of Hudson Bay later this year, at the invitation of Polar Bears International, who have asked me to host some of their live programming direct from the tundra. It has been seven years since I was last in the Polar Bear Capital of the World; it will be great to see some old, furry friends - and join up with some old, less furry, bipedal friends too. More updates as I have them. Read More 
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One Day Away

The Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao clash is now just one day away.

Check out the final pre-fight press conference, which I co-hosted, and also the brief interview I conducted with Manny Pacquiao immediately afterward. And meanwhile, many thanks to my friend Stephanie Trapp for the photo of Manny and me.

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It Begins

After five years of waiting and wondering, the Mother of All Fight Weeks is upon us. Floyd Mayweather will face off against Manny Pacquiao on May 2, and already the hype is at fever pitch. I, of course, am doing my best to add to it:

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Award 2.0

I could get used to this. Another Friday, another award. :) Tonight, I was honored with First Place in Event Coverage by the Boxing Writers Association of America for this piece about Sergey Kovalev dethroning Bernard Hopkins. With me in this photograph - taken by his wife Liz - is my good friend Ed Mulholland, HBO photographer, who won a photography award at the same annual BWAA dinner. Read More 
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It was quite the week last week: Las Vegas and Los Angeles for the Mayweather and Pacquiao media days, and then on to Rome, Perugia and Paciano in Italy before coming home. For the best part of a week, I was pretty much in a different hotel room in a different town every night, but it was all for good reasons. There was the nerve-wracking enjoyment of hosting the media day shows, of course, but my flying visit to Italy was also special: I was this year's winner, National and International Sections, in the 'Stories on Umbria' International Journalism Awards 2015, for my Washington Post Magazine article on Paciano and olive oil. It was an enormous honor, and I am extremely grateful to those who gave me the award and who treated me so very nicely during my time in Umbria last week. Read More 
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Media Day

The highly anticipated Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao clash is now less than two weeks away. Last week, each man held a media day/open workout, and in a sign of the immensity of the event, we livestreamed both days. I co-hosted the live shows with Showtime's Mauro Ranallo, and you can see the results here. (You'll want to start the Mayweather video at 1:53:00 or so, thanks to the fighter's tardiness; the Pacquiao broadcast starts at 11:28).

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Going Down to Liverpool

So here's a story. As a young thing, I was a huge Bangles fan. In fact, I was for a while dating a woman whose previous boyfriend had produced their most recent album, so the way I saw it, we were practically related.

But the Bangles broke up, and life went on, and I became a boxing writer, as you do.
Then one day, I'm guessing about 10 years ago but maybe a little less, I was in Las Vegas to cover some fight or another at the Mandalay Bay, and as I'm walking around the casino, I see a poster that reveals that a) The Bangles have reformed (yay), and b) are performing at The Beach at Mandalay Bay that week (OMG!) but that c) the show is on Saturday night, when I'm going to be ringside (booo!).

Over coffee one morning, I express my sadness to my friends Gordon and Scott at Mandalay (as then they were, as I believe this was before The Corporate Unification), and they say, "No problem. We can get you a ticket, and the fight will be over before the concert starts." And the fight card begins, and people are getting knocked out left and right, and I'm all excited. But the TV fights all go the distance, and by the time the broadcast ends, I know I've missed my chance.

I slouch sadly down the hallway that leads from the bowels of the Mandalay Bay Events Center, in time to hear the final chords of 'Eternal Flame' and Susanna Hoffs saying, "You've been a wonderful audience. Good night."

And I was sad.

And that's the end of my story.

But this video features both some very young Bangles AND Leonard Nimoy, which makes it inherently cool and also makes me happy.

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