Today was a good day to be a Flyers fan.

I'm sitting at me desk at work this morning while the Philadelphia Flyers are playing the New York Islanders. Of course i would rather be sitting in front of my TV watching this all unfold but i have to be content with being updated on bleacher report and every now and then turning the audio on with the GameCenter app. Even with all of this i couldn't help but get amped with the 7-0 victory.


Now i know that all the people looking at the NHL standing are saying that although its a good win it doesn't mean anything in the bigger picture but to a Flyers fan it means that they may be down but not out, that there is still some fight left in them. They know what they need to do and they are capable, all that's left is to win.


Those of you who know me might think its quite weird that the Flyers actually mean a lot to me because i don't live in Philly (or even America/Canada), i live in a country that is dominated by rugby. Up until the past year i also never really paid much attention to hockey but that was mainly due to the fact you have to actively seek it to get any information here. So to those people and anyone else reading, let me tell you some things that may clarify why.
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I think that the best place to start is the NBA in the mid nineties. 


Even if you knew nothing about basketball, you knew who Michael Jordan was. Back then i was just a little kid and little kids don't just like things, they get obsessed. Jordan was my idol, the Chicago Bulls were my team. They were the best of the best.


Now looking back i didn't know anything about basketball, i mean i knew the basic rules but i had no clue about team stats and probably couldn't name three other teams, but that didn't matter, i still put on my Bulls shirt and tried to dunk the hoop in my driveway.


The point i am trying to make here is that, it didn't matter that i didn't follow the sport, the team was my team and no one could tell me otherwise.


With that being said let me take you back to an exhibition game in 1976.

This is a time in Flyers history when they were seen as one of the best (if not the best) teams in the world but there was another team, the Central Red Army team of the Soviet Union that were dominating.

On the 11th of January the Soviets took to the ice against the Flyers in a game that will go down in history. The Flyers were known for their rough and rugged style of play and it didn't take long before they started knocking the Soviets around. Midway through the first period the Red Army team walked off the ice refusing to continue the game with what they saw as unskilled brutes. They only returned when they were warned that if they didn't they would lose their salary for the entire season.


After returning to the ice the unskilled brute beat them 4-1.


I came across this when i was searching for something else (probably hockey fights) one day years after it happened and it made an impression on me. Not only were they tough but they were damn good at what they did and even though i didn't know jack about hockey, they became my team.


Now years later when i have started to follow hockey more closely, i have my favorite teams like the Bruins and the Red Wings but deep down it will always be the Flyers. 
 
 
Everyone has someone that they want to see crash and burn.


Most of the time they can't even tell you why, they just do. This season for me it was the LA Clippers. This morning when the Knicks were beaten down by the Clippers it affected me way more than it should of. I was at work and had to redo things because i did them wrong from not paying attention, i couldn't even enjoy the Red Wings win. Now i don't even care about the Knicks really (i bleed Celtic Green), i just wanted the Clippers to lose. I have learnt my lesson with basketball but this got me thinking about something where this is even more evident, fighting.
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Why i don't like Overeem is something i can actually explain. Not only the whole roids issues that don't seem to have any negative impact on his career, his cocky transition from K1 to MMA, his trash talking but the fact that he retired Lesnar. He's the type of guy you love to hate and watching him get KOed by Antonio 'Bigfoot' Silva was damn sweet and i know that i am not the only one who felt that way.


There is a boxer (if you can call him that) which has been accused of rigged fights. He is not only controversial but his very career could actually damage the reputation of the boxing industry within his home country.
I am talking about Sonny Bill Williams. 
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He is a league star, was part of the world cup winning All Blacks and is the WBA international heavyweight champion.


What he is NOT, is a real boxer.


If he wasn't so high profile in other sports no one would look at him twice. The fact that he is only an average boxer at best and holds a title is not the only reason why i feel the way i do. My reasons can be summed up in one fight, Williams vs Botha.


Francois Botha is a 44 year old who used to be a championship contender who fought greats such as Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. 'Used to' should be the part that stands out from that last sentence but with all the hype one would think that he is still physically at that same level he was when he fought Tyson.


Funny thing is, with everything that has been said about Botha, critics painting a picture of him that can be likened to Mickey Rourke's 'Ramzinski' from 'the wrestler', anyone who was watching that fight knew that in the tenth round when the fight was stopped Sonny Bill Williams was in trouble.


 If the fight had gone for the full 12 rounds that everyone was expecting (by everyone i mean, Botha and his trainer, the TAB, SKY and anyone who saw any of the advertising for the event), then we would probably have seen a very different ending.


It has been said that the contract signed by the two fighters stipulated that the fight was only meant to go 10 rounds, this was confirmed by the Queensland branch of the Australian National Boxing Federation. This would be easy to trust if it wasn't for the fact that this has happened in two previous Sonny Bill Williams fights.


In short, most people believe that the fight was stopped when Sonny Bill Williams started to lose for one of two reasons 1) they didn't want him to get hurt and not be able to play league or 2) Promoters can make more money off him if he stays a winner.


Either way the TAB has stated "they will continue to take bets on bouts  featuring Williams but reserve the right not to, if it doubts a fight's integrity".


Sadly this fight has made me lose any trust i had in the WBA and has made me question the integrity of the Australian National Boxing Federation (and any fights sanctioned by them).


If the WBA  wants to be respected ever again they need to demand a rematch


or


Strip Sonny Bill Williams of the title and have him retire from boxing.