Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Azn Badger Won A Round Of A Magic Draft Tournament!

Pictured: A year old photo of The Azn Badger. I'm lazy, so sue me...

Well, the inevitable finally happened.

As readers of this blog might recall, I dabbled in Magic the Gathering at one point in my life.

Said point took place well after the Ninja Turtles started to suck, and just before Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z would cause Japanese language class attendances and White guy/Azn girlfriend biracial relationships to spike 10 fold.

Whatever man, you know it’s true.

Anyway, as mentioned in previous articles, the bulk of my Magic card pile (I can’t call something I don’t care about a “collection”…) is made of old crap inherited from my older brother and his friends.

Like me, my brother dabbled in Magic cards, though unlike me, he saw fit to dump his inventory the moment he lost interest.

Me being me, I held onto the shit, not because I wanted it, but mostly because I was too lazy to find a proper way to dispose of it.

That being said, one of my friends recently began prodding at me to bust out my old cards and throw down with him.

Given that I honestly haven’t had much to do outside of look for a job and write this goddamn blog, I decided to accommodate him.

Thus began my weekly habit of sitting down to extraordinarily casual games of Magic with my buddy.

By “extraordinarily casual” I mean I play with my outdated, ghetto-ass cards, and basically served up to my buddy as a thoroughly outclassed sparring partner for his future tournament matches.

If ever there was a jobber of the Magic the Gathering universe, it’d have to be me.

Indeed, I am the Brooklyn Brawler of Magic.

While I lose probably 80% of the time, one thing that I’ve gotten out of the experience, besides y’know, fun, is the fact that playing with weak-ass cards has taught me a lot about polishing diamonds out of shit-bricks.

That is to say, I’ve learned to look for, and find value in cards that aren’t inherently valuable.

With this fact tucked away in my mind, last week I bit my lip and decided to tag along with my buddy, and join a Draft tournament.

In case you don’t know already, a Draft in Magic is essentially what it sounds like.

Basically, you buy some booster packs, you take 1 card of your choosing from each pack, and then swap the remainder of the contents of said pack with the person to your left.

From there, everyone takes 1 card from the pile given to them, and then continues to pass the remainder on.

The process continues until every card has been exhausted.

Given the random nature of booster packs, you can probably see now why I (grudgingly) decided to join in on a Draft.

Truth be told, it wasn’t an easy decision for me, as the Magic community isn’t exactly what I’d call “my crowd,” nor is the game really my favorite thing in the world; but sometimes you’ve gotta’ do stupid shit to have fun with your friends… Even if sometimes I just wanna’ scream at the top of my lungs:

That being said, from what I can tell I actually drafted some pretty good stuff, (it’s an Innistrad draft) including my very first Mythic Rare, and at the end of the day I decided to put together a green and red deck.

I don’t know any of the fancy terminology used to describe strategic stances or functions in Magic, but by my reckoning the deck I made turned out pretty badass!

I don’t know if “badass” is the right word, but for what it’s worth, as you may have gathered from the title of this post, I actually managed to defeat my friend in my first match!

I beat him pretty solid both times I won, however I well and truly fucked up during the second round, resulting in one of the face palm-ier moments in my Magic career.

The point is though, I’m a winner today, and it feels good to know that.

By the way, here’s my deck in case you’re curious about what’s in it:

Mountain x 8

Forest x 9

Ashmouth Hound x 2

Kessig Wolf x 1

Feral Ridgewolf x 1

Hanweir Watchkeep x 1

Stromkirk Noble x 1

Darkthicket Wolf x 1

Orchard Spirit x 1

Villagers of Estwald x 1

Grizzled Outcasts x 1

Woodland Sleuth x 1

Ambush Viper x 1

Essence of the Wild x 1

Curse of the Pierced Heart x 1

Traitorous Blood x 1

Brimstone Volley x 1

Furor of the Bitten x 1

Prey Upon x 1

Ranger’s Guile x 1

Moonmist x 1

Spidery Grasp x 1

Spider Spawning x 1

Blazing Torch x 1

I apologize if the massive block of bold text above went entirely over you’re head.

Please understand, winning is not something I experience with much frequency, so just try and play along for tonight.

Please?

Oh fine, here’s some Batman for your troubles:

Filed under: Comics, Games, Movies, Uncategorized, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Donaire vs. Montiel: Vengeance By Proxy

A funny thing happened way back in 2005.

You see, I’ve been a fan of boxing ever since the first time I watched Rocky with my old man; but up until 2005, there were no active Asian, or more specifically; Japanese fighters that caught my interest as being noteworthy in the sport.

Sure, Toshiaki Nishioka and Daisuke Naito were, and are pretty good fighters; but nothing about them ever seemed competitive on the world stage I.E. the elite level of the sport.

The simple fact of the matter is that boxing simply isn’t all that popular in Japan, nor do I believe the Japanese physiology is all that well-suited for the sport in the first place.

We’re short, we’ve got stubby limbs, we’ve got a reputation for being pillow-fisted, and we have a tendency to grope/fondle others in public.

Pictured: How we say "hello."

Bullshit aside, a major factor in the stunted progress of Japanese boxing, is the simple fact that the country is an island nation.

Combine the insane travel arrangements required to put fights together on Japanese soil between a foreigner and a national, with the public’s general lack of interest in the sport; and you have an equation that results in Japanese fighters rarely having the opportunity to test their mettle against the world’s best, nor having the in-house competition available to them to prepare them for said contests.

Needless to say, most of what I read (I never got to see an Asian boxer on TV until Manny Pacquiao’s HBO debut) about Japanese fighters consisted of Ring Magazine articles about them getting flattened by Mexicans, or worse yet, beaten by their countrymen in boring 12 round jab-fests.

For most of my life, hall of famers like Khaosai Galaxy, Gabriel Elorde, Pancho Villa, and Masahiko “Fighting” Harada would serve as my only “Azn Boxing Heroes.”

That all changed for me when I discovered the Kobe based bantamweight, Hozumi Hasegawa.

Not a handsome man by any standard, but a good fighter nonetheless...

Hasegawa first caught my attention when he dethroned long-reigning bantamweight champion, Veeraphol Sahaprom.

To put things in perspective, Sahaprom had held the bantamweight title since 1998, not to mention had fought Toshiaki Nishioka 4 times prior to this, drawing and decisioning Nishioka on every occasion.

While the man had the kind of bloated record that only Thai fighters can produce in this day and age, few could argue that Sahaprom was a stiff challenge to any bantamweight of the time.

Seriously though, only a Thai could be so audacious as to defend his world title against debuting fighters, or worse yet, 0-1 fighters; on multiple occasions no less.

Hasegawa’s victory over Sahaprom would serve as the first of many happy moments I would be proud to witness as a half-Japanese boxing fan.

Pictured: The face of a half-Japanese boxing fan. That's right, we do exist!

For the first time in my life, I had found a contemporary Japanese fighter that was not only winning consistently, but seemingly growing and improving with every bout.

The funny part was, aside from being left-handed, Hasegawa never really seemed all that different or special compared to other Japanese fighters.

For most of his career he was a defensive minded out-boxer with with quick yet economical hands, sharp straight punches, and a good eye for counter-punching.

He wasn’t a powerhouse, he wasn’t a physical specimen, he was just a good Japanese fighter that, for whatever reason; was on a helluva’ winning streak.

Following his victory over Sahaprom, Hasegawa would go on to win their rematch by TKO, as well as defend the bantamweight title more than any other Japanese fighter in history, all while amassing 7 KO’s, more than he had accrued in his entire career up until 2005.

Despite all of my apparent dick-sucking of Hasegawa, I feel it’s worth mentioning that there’s another little element to my hero worship of the man.

You see, way back when, my brother actually went to live in Kobe for a year.

While he was there, he joined a boxing gym headed by trainer Senrima Keitoku, the man who would one day go on to train Hozumi Hasegawa.

While it’s a loose connection at best, for whatever reason, it means something to me to know that the same goofy old Korean-Japanese that my brother told me used to cane fat kids in his gym, just happens to be same one that trained one of my personal sports heroes to world champion status.

Pictured: A pennant my brother back with him from Kobe.

Like I said, it’s hardly a connection, but to me it means something special.

Anyway, before I let things totally veer off into weird touchy/feely bullshit, I think it’s time we actually got down to addressing the subject heading of this post:

This evening, Filipino bantamweight superstar Nonito Donaire challenged stalwart Mexican champion Fernando Montiel.

This is called a "filler" image. It bears no purpose other than breaking up the text in an eye-pleasing fashion.

Coming into the bout, the 2 men represented the top-tier of the division.

While a bantamweight tournament is currently being hosted by Showtime, a tournament which both Donaire and Montiel were invited to participate in; both opted out in favor of fighting each other due to the general belief being that they were “above” the majority of the other participants in the first place.

It was one helluva’ big deal, and a bout that I was very much anticipating.

On paper, both fighters were quick-fisted and fleet of foot, with Donaire having a slight edge in both categories, while Montiel held the more intangible advantages of caginess, fundamentals, and; arguably, tenacity.

Perhaps the most attractive aspect of the bout however, was the fact that both fighters were known to possess extraordinarily heavy hands for their weights.

Maybe not Carlos Zarate “heavy,” but heavy nonetheless.

Goofy 'stache or not, this man wrecked so many people's shit it wasn't even funny...

Despite all this, my interest in this bout came not as a result of their skill sets or attributes, but rather as a consequence of their previous in-ring achievements.

While Donaire had indeed caught my eye with with his revenge KO of his brother Glenn over Vic Darchinyan back in 2007, Montiel was the one that really got me invested in this match-up.

You see, Fernando Montiel actually fought Hozumi Hasegawa this past April.

While Hasegawa looked to be on the way to a comfortable points victory in the early goings, Montiel caught him on the point of the chin with a savage left hook.

Thoroughly knocked onto Queer Street, or rather; 2 blocks down the road onto the even queerer street that is “Queer Manor,” Hasegawa got hung up on the ropes and was brutalized for several seconds longer before the match was stopped, his titles were stripped from him, and his winning streak and reputation were sent down the shitter.

Despite how much I hate to watch it, here’s a clip:

Regardless of what Hasegawa’s gone on to accomplish, coming back to win a bout 2 weight classes North at featherweight and generally staying out of trouble; my heart sunk the day I saw the man utterly destroyed at the hands of Montiel.

While I would go on record saying I bore nothing but respect for Montiel, after all not that many Mexicans are willing to fly all the way out to Japan just to claim an alphabet title, I would be lying if I said I came into the Donaire/Montiel bout not hoping to see the man knocked silly.

Seriously, I wanted to see Montiel knocked the fuck out almost as much as I wanted to see Ricky Hatton get Pacquiao-ed in every fight he ever had.

Fortunately, tonight I had Nonito Donaire AKA “The Other Filipino” to sub in for tonight’s Pacquiao-ing of Montiel.

From the opening moments of the fight, it was quite clear that there was a palpable disparity in overall speed between Donaire and Montiel.

Both guys looked a little pensive, an expected consequence given both fighter’s punching power; however Montiel seemed almost too relaxed, holding his arms outstretched as if expecting to deflect the majority of the incoming punches.

Not exactly a sound tactic when the other guy is clearly the faster fighter.

Despite this, only about 2 punches of note were landed in the first round, a counter left hook to the chin, and a heavy body shot, both of which were landed, quite authoritatively I might add; by Donaire.

In 2nd (and final) round of the contest, Montiel rushed out the gate, landing a few decent shots here and there, and generally looking to set the pace of the fight.

Then, as if answering my prayers; Donaire flattened Montiel as I have seldom seem a fighter flattened.

Charging in and pressing the action, Montiel let loose with quick straight right hand, unaware of the monster left hook that Donaire had begun the process of uncorking just a millisecond earlier.

In short, Montiel landed his shot, and fairly cleanly at that; however in the process of doing so he overextended himself and quite literally ran chin-first into the sock full of quarters that is Nonito Donaire’s left fist.

Splayed out on the mat, eyes unseeing, and brain thoroughly checked at the front desk, Montiel rolled about like a turtle on it’s back, a very drunk and/or “special” turtle; for half of the referee’s count.

Like this, but on his back. And y'know, almost half-conscious.

Why the ref even bothered to count, or allowed Montiel to continue, even if it was only for a few seconds; is beyond me.

Despite my feelings leading up to the bout consisting of wanting to see Montiel punished, and my hero avenged; I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Fernando Montiel…

For about 2 minutes.

Seriously though, he’s a terrific fighter, that sadly doesn’t (and probably won’t) receive the press or fanfare that he likely deserves, but tonight, Nonito “The Master of the Revenge KO” Donaire was by far the better man.

Anyway, thus was the tale of the Azn Badger’s boxing hero, Hozumi Hasegawa; and his vengeance by proxy via the fists of Nonito Donaire.

Thanks for reading, I know it was long; but hopefully it was worth the trouble!

Filed under: Boxing, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sitting In On A Game Of Magic The Gathering

Today I had a chance to sit on my first Magic The Gathering tournament.

After having just done my Tactical Panda Magic card parody the other day, the tournament was kind of a nice surprise; being as Magic was obviously on my mind.

Back in the day, I never really got too into Magic.

I started around fifth edition, and though I played the game and collected the cards for a few years; I never got into it enough to learn the nuances of deck construction or skillful play.

Like many casual card game collectors, most of my fascination with trading card games sprung from the amazing quality of the artwork.

To date, I’ve collected or played Magic, Star Wars, Marvel Overpower, and Pokemon at various points in my youth; though my involvement with each never grew beyond a casual fascination.

Overpower: Fun Until Everybody Forgot How To Play...

Seeing Magic played by skillful players was actually kind of fun.

As is generally the case when watching/listening to things outside of your pool of knowledge, there was a lot of information that blew right over my head; however I was frequently surprised by how much of the core mechanics of the game I was able to remember.

Tapping mana, buffing creatures, managing upkeep, it all came back to me like I was some sort of long retired pro having flashbacks of my heyday.

Which is of course bullshit, being as I was never any good at Magic.

Pictured: How most Magic games involving The Azn Badger would usually end up. By the way, I'm the guy on the right.

I found it downright spellbinding how all the players in this evening’s tournament were able to cite familiarity with each other’s cards, to the point in which little or no explanation of each player’s intent and card capabilities was necessary, making for a far more streamlined experience than I was used to.

Hell, 80% of the time I spent playing Magic was devoted to my opponent and I reading our card abilities to each other and fiercely debating their fairness.

Anyway, I don’t have much to say about the tournament, other than the fact that it was a lot of fun to watch other (better) players tool around in a game I abandoned so many years ago.

I don’t see myself ever getting back into card games, but it was a fun trip down memory lane nonetheless.

Excuse me as I root through my old Magic cards in search of any rare or valuable ones that may have found their way into my collection…

Filed under: Comics, Games, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bernard Hopkins vs. Jean Pascal Prediction

Tonight, Bernard Hopkins will attempt to make history in being the oldest man ever to claim a major world title.

If successful, the 45 year, 11 month, and 3 day old B-Hop will claim The Ring’s Light Heavyweight title, (an unofficial title, but honestly the only one that counts) and surpass George Foreman’s Heavyweight achievement by 38 days.

All of this depends on a major “if” in the form of Hopkin’s opponent: Canadian dynamo, Jean Pascal.

The trouble with this fight, for me anyway; is the fact that in making a prediction for it, I have to find a happy medium between my feelings of what I honestly think will happen, and what I want to happen.

Unlike the Pacquiao and Margarito fight, wherein I was largely unbiased, and simply wanted to see a good fight, this time around I honestly want B-Hop to win.

I have nothing against Pascal, in fact I feel he’s a fairly exciting fighter that is a healthy element to an otherwise dead-in-the-water weight class; however as a long time fan of Hopkins, nothing would make me happier than to see Pascal lose his title to an “old man” that will likely retire without defending it, leaving the division even more fractured than before.

Despite my admittedly steep bias, here is my best attempt at a legitimate prediction:

Hopkins by split-decision.

Bernard Hopkins is a ring technician, through and through.

While he’s been an “old man” in the sport for almost a decade now, his sly and dirty tactics of butting and hitting and holding, combined with a wily and superb sense of ring generalship, have kept him well preserved.

That being said, ‘ole B-Hop’s past few fights have shown a few chinks in the armor, namely a lack of desire to win, and of course; the requisite loss of foot coordination and stamina that comes with age.

He’s still shown a capacity for putting punches together, and indeed manages to lash out with his trademark ducking right straight+headbutt+clinch combo from time to time.

Even so, he won both of those fights, and while that may not mean much given the lack of competition, when you’re 45 on the world stage every victory is a godsend.

Jean Pascal on the other hand, is a tremendously physical fighter on top of his game, with hunger in his heart after only just recently dethroning the overhyped Chad Dawson for the Light Heavyweight title.

An admitted imitator and admirer of Roy Jones, (a fight who in his prime defeated Hopkins) Pascal is an aggressive fighter that relies on his natural attributes more so than fundamental boxing skills, making him an unorthodox, if not somewhat wild fighter.

While he does in fact show shades of the Jones of old, he’s nowhere near as quick, accurate, or elusive as ‘ole Roy, making him essentially a powerful, but less economical and much easier to hit version of his idol.

With a minor history of injuries in his career, it should be noted that Pascal is also quite tenacious, and often willing to take a few to dish out some of his own.

Despite this, Pascal shows a tendency to overextend himself in some of his bouts, particularly the recent Dawson fight where he would dominate much of the contest, only to end up gassed for minutes at a time.

If you ask me, Dawson’s lack of conviction and willingness to assert his will in the ring were just as responsible for his loss that night as Pascal’s boxing skills.

So, if you put the 2 fighters together, you have an old man that’s still kind of slippery, versus an energetic young buck that tends to burn himself out.

In my book, that adds up to either an early round bludgeoning of B-Hop at the hands of Pascal ala Danny Green vs. Roy Jones, or a more boring and tactile fight where the stamina’s of both fighters even out as the fight progresses.

My money is on the latter happening.

Hopkins has done well to stay out of trouble and on his feet throughout his entire career, in fact I believe that’s a large reason as to why he’s still fighting.

B-Hop finds a way to protest the judging of all of his losses, and I honestly feel that an emphatic KO defeat is the only thing that will ever convince him he’s ever legitimately lost a bout in the sport of boxing.

That being said, when it comes to “boring and tactile,” Hopkins wrote the book on the matter, which leads me to believe that Pascal will fall into the trap of fighting B-Hop’s fight.

Every fighter that has fought Hopkins has said that they were going to come out and flatten him, and basically show him no respect, yet to date none have done so.

Joe Calzaghe out-quicked and, goddamnit; legitimately outboxed him, (don’t you ever tell anyone I said that!) however he did so at a fairly tentative pace, and never thoroughly got his game going.

Being as Calzaghe was one of the great fighters of our time, (again, don’t let anyone know I said this!) and a much quicker and elusive fighter than Pascal to boot, I don’t see the big Canadian being able to get the upper hand on B-Hop any better than he did.

Then again, if he does come rushing out the gate, and try to flatten Hopkins early on, there’s a good chance the “old man” won’t be able to weather the storm as well the B-Hop of old.

Make no mistake, this result is entirely possible, as the last great performance Hopkins had was against Kelly Pavlik, who was a far slower and more linear fighter.

All it takes is one bad angle and one nasty punch…

Like I said though, B-Hop’s way too manly to take a trip down Queer Street, and Pascal’s too much of a fighter and not enough of a boxer to send him there.

In either case, expect much clinching and seemingly inane circling on the part of Hopkins, resulting in a split decision for somebody that will be heavily disputed.

That being said, I don’t see this anywhere near an exciting fight, but as with every B-Hop fight since the glory days of Don King’s Middleweight tournament in the 2000’s, I’ll find a way to watch it, and enjoy it.

 

 

 

Filed under: Boxing, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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