blueollie

Bias of many types…and a walk

Today’s workout: end of “leisure” workout. I did my 8.1 cornstalk course in 2 hours (some rain…I didn’t get that wet) and then 2 more miles on the treadmill: 12:00/11:20 to get 23:20. I wanted to do at least a little faster than marathon pace.

RIP: BKS Lyengar, famous yogi and author of Light on Yoga.

Here he is in 1977 when he was in his late 50’s. What flexibility, strength, and body control!

Bias
Survivorship bias: this is the annoying tendency to see, say, a dozen successful companies, see what they have in common, and then conclude that what they have in common is what made them successful. Nope; you have to see how many companies did those same things and WERE NOT successful, among other things. From the article:

This is what Pomona College economist Gary Smith calls the “survivor bias,” which he highlights as one of many statistically related cognitive biases in his deeply insightful book Standard Deviations (Overlook, 2014). Smith illustrates the effect with a playing card hand of three of clubs, eight of clubs, eight of diamonds, queen of hearts and ace of spades. The odds of that particular configuration are about three million to one, but Smith says, “After I look at the cards, the probability of having these five cards is 1, not 1 in 3 million.” [...]

Smith found a similar problem with the 1982 book In Search of Excellence (more than three million copies sold), in which Tom Peters and Robert Waterman identified eight common attributes of 43 “excellent” companies. Since then, Smith points out, of the 35 companies with publicly traded stocks, 20 have done worse than the market average.

Depression I talked about depression in an earlier post. Here is some of what science knows about it right now:

Racism

See the subtle racism here? The idea is that this black Attorney General who has spoken out about race relations is somehow too “emotionally invested” or biased to be even handed. Why would a black Attorney General be any less evenhanded than a white one? And shouldn’t we be far more concerned with an Attorney General who did NOT see race relations as a problem?

Here: Kansas City police officer posts a snarky post about Michael Brown’s character (the dead teenager in Ferguson) and shows a photo of a young black man with a gun and money in his mouth. But this black man is some guy in Oregon…not Michael Brown. It is amusing that police officers everywhere are telling us to not to rush to judgement but… :-)

I suppose that given that we have 300+ million people in this country and a lot of police officers, a few are bound to be crackpots.

Racism in sports
Sadly, some African American athletes have racist stuff directed at them. Here is an example (Eddie Chambers, an elite boxer)

August 20, 2014 Posted by | boxing, racism, science, social/political, statistics, walking, yoga | , | Leave a comment

Boxing: Body shot knockdowns and knockouts part II

I had a previous post on this topic. This always surprises me when it happens as one frequently sees boxers go to the body, but you don’t see boxers go down that often because of them. But sometimes they do:

And, though this wasn’t a body shot knockout, it was a body shot that got the first knock down:

Remember, these are tough, tough people going down via body shots.

August 14, 2014 Posted by | boxing | , | Leave a comment

8 by 400 workout and giving up too soon.

I’ve changed my workouts somewhat; the emphasis is my walking marathon and so my 5K run will suffer some. That isn’t a big deal though.

First I jogged 2 miles outside. Then I did the Deek 8 x 400 with 200 jog (not quite float), 5K in 28:34 8:51/9:14/9:26 were the mile splits. I used lane 2, hence my splits were somewhat slower than in the past.

Then I walked 1 more mile (lane 3) and then did 10 minutes on the bike.

Note: one doesn’t expect the miles to be even, though the slowdown from mile 2 to 3 is fatigue as there is the same amount of “faster” running involved.

mile 1 is 400/200/400/200/400 (3 “fast 400’s)
mile 2 is 200/400/200/400/200/half 400 (2.5 “fast” 400’s)
mile 3 is half 400/200/400/200/400/200 (2.5 “fast 400’s)
then 200 “fast”.

11 March 2014 28:14 (lane 1) 8:36/9:04/9:30
29 Nov. 2011 27:33 (lane 1) 8:45/8:47/9:00
8 Nov. 2011 28:10 (lane 1) 8:42/9:07/9:17

I was ok. Now about the marathon: part of the mental preparation is getting ready to push through the rough spots. It is very human for even stellar athletes to give up when they get discouraged, even though they might not be doing that badly and they still have a chance to win.

I’ll draw from boxing: in the Clay (later known as Ali) vs. Liston fight, Liston quit after 6 rounds, even though the score cards were 57-57, 58-56 (Clay), 58-56 (Liston). When Duran quit against Leonard, the cards were 68-66, 68-66, 67-66 Leonard…Duran was still very much in contention.

When Foreman didn’t exactly rush to get up when he was knocked down, the cards were 68-66, 70-67, 69-66 Ali. Of course had he beaten the count, he would have been down 78-74, 80-75, 79-74 after 8 (out of 15). He was definitely behind but not completely out of it.

Anyway, I don’t want to make that mistake during discouraging moments.

August 5, 2014 Posted by | boxing, running | , , , | Leave a comment

One thing about boxing: you see dreams being made and being crushed

In the major team sports, it is hard to follow the upward path of an individual player, or to watch a dream vanish.

In running: you can always see someone’s results before hand; e. g. if someone’s 10K best is “only” 29:xx, they won’t be in the lead pack of the Olympic Marathon, or probably even IN the Olympic marathon to begin with (save the exemptions for “developing countries”).

In tennis, though the matches are person against person, there are tournaments and seeds and a tennis player plays a lot more tennis matches than a boxer has fights, for good reason.

So, in boxing, when an “up and coming” prospect attempts to move up, their attempt is right in front of you, against one other person. And you know not exactly how it will go; this isn’t like a 3:50 miler racing a 4:10 miler.

So the prospect usually starts against fighters than aren’t highly regarded (by professional standards) and after a bit of seasoning, they make their first step up. So, you have “undefeated prospect vs…….” and the “step up opponent”, depending on the level that one is stepping up to, is usually:

1. a journeyman who has fought (and often lost to) tougher competition or
2. a ranked but not “title shot ranked” fighter or
3. a former champion or formerly ranked fighter who is trying to work themselves back into title contention.

Yes, sometimes the prospect passes the test. But, many times: they don’t. Last night saw a couple of examples of 1 and 3.

In the case of 1, a 9-0 prospect faced a 6-7 journeyman and was in trouble; Teddy Atlas had the fight tied going into the final round (6 in this case; I had the prospect ahead by 1 point) when late in the round, the prospect managed a strange TKO. Super middleweight Immanuwel Aleem was struggling against Juan Carlos Rojas (who was only 6-7-1, but had fought harder opposition) but landed a right hand which put Rojas out on his feet…while standing up. Since he didn’t go down, there was no opportunity for a count, and he was defenseless. So the referee correctly stopped the fight.

I’ve seen it go the other way as well, when the journeyman ended the prospect’s rise to the top.

In the case of 3, light heavyweight former WBA champion Gabriel Campillo gave prospect Thomas Williams Jr. is first loss by giving him a cut over his eye, which lead to a stoppage. But prior to the stoppage, Williams was clearly bothered by not only the cut, but by Campillo’s boxing. That struck me as a bit strange as it appeared TO ME that Williams was landing a lot of good body shots, but he was getting hit too and the latter really got to him.

Afterward, Williams went over to Teddy Atlas and apologized for “letting Atlas down” (Atlas was high on Williams prior to the fight), and Atlas gave him some excellent “mentor like” advice. It was very touching to me; this is the best of “older men to younger men” relationships that I remember having in sports, the military and in graduate school. I suppose that I sometimes act that way with my students.

But back to the boxing: a few weeks ago, junior lightweight Mark Davis (then 18-0) stepped up to take on Michael Farenas who was 38-4-4; Farenas had fought for the title twice and had faced far, far tougher opposition. The step up proved to be too much for Davis; the referee stopped the carnage in the 8’th round.

It is my (highly non-expert) opinion that both Thomas and Davis can come back from these setbacks, IF that is what they have a burning desire to do. I see these defeats as harsh lessons that they can learn from.

But I’ve also seen the case in which a fighter steps up in competition, and as the fight goes on, comes to realize that they are not only in over their heads at the current time, but lack the fundamental natural ability to reach that level.

One (cruiser weight? heavy weight) actually broke down and cried as he realized his dream wasn’t in the cards for him.
I know the feeling (not from boxing).

Of course, there is the case where an elite boxer doesn’t quite have what it takes to become champion, but in my book, they are already wildly successful as they made it to elite status.

Example: here is heavyweight Eddie Chambers, who is attempting a comeback of sorts.

If you are qualified to get in the ring with Wladimir Klitschko AND take him to 11.9 rounds, you are pretty awesome.

August 2, 2014 Posted by | boxing | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

midweek workout change

I need to get some more walking midweek and so will replace a lifting session (Wednesday’s) with a medium walk (10 miles). I’ll keep this up until marathon taper week.

Today: from the Riverplex to the first road crossing on the East Peoria trail (about 8 miles) then to the Marina. 2:32 was the total time; it was a lovely day but it was an effort. Yesterday’s workout took something out of me.

I also did 10 minutes on the bike afterward.

Boxing
It sure looks as if someone is trying to promote a Wladimir Klitschko vs. Shannon Briggs match:

I’m not sure if fight fans will buy this; Briggs is tough but is 42 years old, and his outing against Vitali Klitschko was, well, rather ugly:

Here he was, in the hospital after the fight:

briggs1

How he got there:

Are the fans really clamoring for this?

July 30, 2014 Posted by | boxing, walking | , , | Leave a comment

Boxing: “best rounds” compiled

Now some may argue with the choices. I, for one, would have loved to have seen that epic Holyfield vs. Bowe, round 10 (which I provided). But these are excellent choices nevertheless.

June 30, 2014 Posted by | boxing | | Leave a comment

Quite a knock out…

Last night’s Friday Night Fights featured two 8 found middle weight matches as part of a boxing tournament (Boxcino). But to me: the (scheduled for 6 round) heavyweight match prior to these fights (which WERE good) stole the show. Nate Heaven was an underdog to Donovan Dennis and Dennis appeared to be winning round 1 when this happened.

heavenknockout

The middle weights: yes, Brandon Adams beat Raymond Gatica by a split decision which, well, puzzled me. On my card, I had it 79-71 Adams (too many big shots) but the judges had it: 78-74, 78-74 Adams (which I could understand; some rounds WERE close) and one had it…77-75 for Gatica (????)

In the second bout, Willie Monroe “upset” the favored Vitalii Kopylenko (not sure why Kopylenko was favored); I too had this one 79-71 for the winner. The judges saw it 79-73, 79-73, 78-74. These scores, IMHO, were more reasonable. Kopylenko did land a couple of very hard shots but was mostly beaten to the punch all night long.

April 19, 2014 Posted by | boxing | | Leave a comment

Outliers and society

I think that this is common in this day and age: I have some students who are struggling in our “elementary conceptual calculus” course. They come to class, but work a large number of hours at a job in order to make ends meet. So…they are often left with very little time to study.

And yes, IN THIS COURSE, most of the students need to study quite a bit in order to have a chance at even a “C”.

In short: most students need to have a certain number of hours in order to sleep and to study..in addition to making the classes and their part time jobs.

Now, some might say that this is nonsense.

I remember a professor I had at the Naval Academy. He said that when he was an undergraduate he studied very little for his math classes as he paid his own way through school by waiting tables. He made up for it by PAYING ATTENTION IN CLASS.

That is well and good…..but then remember that he had an earned Ph.D. in mathematics from MIT.

Most of us don’t have that type of natural ability.

Yes, Mohammed Ali could break the conventional rules of boxing (dangle his arms, lean away from punches):

But most, including most other professional boxers, don’t have that kind of ability.

Yes, there are people who can run a 2:15 marathon on 35 miles a week of training:

Following the 1976 trials he trained by running 35 miles per week and ran “a 2:14:37 for second place at the Nike-Oregon Track Club Marathon in Eugene in 1978. After that, he ran 2:15:23 for 15th place in the Boston Marathon in 1979.”

But most of us aren’t that gifted (this was Tony Sandoval, cowinner of the 1980 US Olympic Trials Marathon)

Yes, some can make a successful film while being stoned on marijuana, but most of us aren’t as talented as the Beatles.

The list can go on and on. The bottom line: you can gain inspiration from the incredibly successful, but you won’t be able to get away with taking the short cuts that many of them got away with. Neither you nor I are outliers.

Public policy should reflect this. Yes, it is great that a tiny minority of people might strike it very rich. But MOST WILL NOT. It is unjust to orient society that way.

February 25, 2014 Posted by | boxing, education, marathons, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Fighting a Ghost: Chambers vs. Mchunu, part II

I did a short “live blog” of the fight here.

You can read other accounts of the fight

Here (Boxing News)

When Chambers would come in punching range, Mchunu would pot shot him with jabs, right hands and straight lefts. Mchunu looked like a heavier, more muscular version of Floyd Mayweather Jr. with the way that he was able to dominate Chambers with pot shots and counter punches all night long.

Chambers looked frustrated in the second half of the fight, as he kept getting nailed by Mchunu fast shots over and over again, and there was nothing he could do about it because he didn’t have the hand speed or the skills to compete against the little known Mchunu.
This Mchunu looks for real at cruiserweight.

Here (Bad Left Hook):

Mchunu (14-1, 10 KO) won on scores of 99-91, 99-91, and 97-93, the latter score closer than anyone else had it that I was able to see on Twitter or on the site here. BLH had it 100-90 for Mchunu, finding no pity rounds to give Chambers (36-4, 18 KO).

The 31-year-old Chambers just never got out of the starting blocks in this one, as he looked bewildered by the southpaw counter-puncher from South Africa, as if he had no real game plan and was just there to wing it and see what happened. Several theories were offered during the fight: Chambers’ usual speed advantage was gone, Chambers didn’t know how to fight a southpaw, Chambers ate bad Subway pulled pork, #FAMJUICE is definitely not a PED, and so on, but really, he just got outboxed and outfought for the entire fight.

and here (Super Sport: South Africa)

Mchunu had hardly any trouble in keeping the experienced American at bay and picked his punches well throughout. Rated seventh by the WBC, Mchunu probably put himself in line for more lucrative bouts against good opponents.

He improved his professional record to 14-1, with 10 knockouts. Chambers dropped to 36-3, including 18 short-cut wins.

The 31-year-old American had fought the likes of Samuel Peter, Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin. He fought at heavyweight for most of his 13 years as a professional but recently dropped to the cruiserweight division.

Mchunu, a 24-year-old southpaw, had never fought outside South Africa before taking part in this Fight Night tournament.

Chambers lost to Klitschko and Adamek in his previous three fights and had been inactive since June last year. But he was expected to use his height and reach advantages to beat the little-known South African.

If one wants to look at all aspects of this fight, one has to give Mchunu credit for a fine performance. He was very well prepared and he shone; he fought a very smart, disciplined fight.

But I am approaching this as a Chambers follower/fan.

So here is my fan’s opinion (which, by definition is probably a mostly uninformed one):

Here is what went wrong: (follow for the first 2 minutes):

Wait: this was over 3 years ago, right? (March 2010)

In my opinion: Chambers was 35-1 coming into that fight, with just a UD loss to Alexander Povetkin. Losing to Klitschko made him 35-2. Then, after recovery, he had a sort-of lackluster (but earned) UD vs. Derric Rossy (a guy he had previously knocked out) and a controversial UD loss to Tomasz Adamek; Chambers tore a bicep muscle early in the fight and fought on anyway, and in my opinion (and in the opinion of other observers), actually out landed Adamek (causing visible damage) but lost on the score cards because Adamek was busier.

In short, Chambers has lost 3 of his last 4 fights, albeit to top competition (current champion, past champion and top ten contender, top ten contender).

But, it appears to me that he has lost something; 40 professional heavyweight fights vs. people like Sam Peter, Wladimir Klitschko, Tomasz Adamek, Alexander Povetkin and Alexander Dimitrenko will take something out of you.

I wonder if it is time for him to start thinking about *owning* a gym rather than training in it; right now his mind appears to work pretty well. He has had an excellent career.

As far as last night’s fight: Chambers has got some rather negative remarks on the social media.

This reminds me (vaguely) of what happened to me my freshman year at the Naval Academy. I had wrestled in high school and had beaten a couple of other guys who wrestled in high school. So when I took the “place out of PE wrestling” test, I was matched against someone who was recruited for the wrestling team and who had WON varsity matches as a freshman.

When I went against him: total joke. I’d try a move and …he wasn’t there anymore…he was constantly a step (or two or three!) ahead of me the entire time. I looked pathetic; as if I had never wrestled a day in my life. I failed the “place out test”.

The two guys that I had beaten (easily): they wrestled each other and BOTH placed out. Later, I wrestled both again, and had no problems; I could beat them. But I couldn’t beat a ghost.

Obviously, last night’s professional fight was at a much, much, much higher level, but I know the feeling of making a move (punch in this case) and the target being long gone and ready to counter. You get frustrated, tentative and discouraged, and that is what I saw last night.

August 4, 2013 Posted by | boxing | , , | Leave a comment

Eddie Chambers vs. Thabiso Mchunu: live blogging

Round one: boxers feeling each other out; both land jabs; Mchunu landed the harder shots. 10-9 Mchunu, but it was close.

Round two: not much; both fighters are cautious but Mchunu landed a bit more. 10-9 Mchunu.

Comment: it appears as if Chambers is surprised at how quick Mchunu is. No one has gotten hurt.

Round three: like the first two. 10-9 Mchunu.

Comment: it is weird to see Chambers in the ring with someone that is quicker than he is. But that appears to be the case, at least so far.

Round four: just like the first 3. 10-9 Mchunu. It is cat/mouse; not a lot of exchanges and very few connects by either fighter. Chambers doesn’t look comfortable, at all.

I hate to say it, but this looks like a fighter on his way up versus one on his way down.

Round Five: crowd boos; Chambers falls further behind. He appears to be in with someone who is too quick for him, at least too quick to fight this style. Can he brawl?

But after 5: 50-45 Mchunu.

After 6: Chambers is getting frustrated and Mchunu is taking advantage. Again, no real damage but Mchunu is landing more. 60-54.

Chambers needs knockdowns or a knock out; he needs to take risks.

After 7: nothing changed. 70-63 Mchunu. Again, the punch difference is maybe 6-7 more per round. No one is hurt, but Mchunu is outlanding him.

Round 8: same old. Chambers can’t land; Mchunu counterpunches. 80-72.

The speed advantage that Chambers is used to having is gone; it might be the drop in weight division, and it might be…age.

Round 9: 90-81. Not close at all; Chambers is not hurt but is getting outboxed. Then again, this is his 40’th fight…and he hasn’t really been the same after the Klitschko knock-out.

Round 10: same. I have it 100-90, Mchunu.

Chambers: he trained and he tried. But this is his 40’th professional fight and he is in his 30’s; unless there is something going on that we don’t know about, he is on the downside of his career.

But he has had an excellent career.

Official scores: 97-93, 99-91, 99-91. Oh Eddie, you had a rough night. But it takes guts to put it all on the line for all to see and you did that.

August 4, 2013 Posted by | boxing, Uncategorized | | 1 Comment

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