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Dublin: 15 °C Monday 3 August, 2020

The lingering Sonny Liston mystery and more of the week's best sportswriting

Plus, why Brooks Koepka is known as ‘the twat in the hat’… affectionately.

Source: TheSopranosTVSeries/YouTube

1.  “See that attractive barmaid over there? She was asking about you”. Brooks now has this little smile. “Oh yeah?” he goes, so I told him: “Yeah, she said you look like a tw*t in that hat”.

‘He gives me a funny look and asks, “What is a tw*t?” Bloody hell. Americans. So I go, “It’s a cool dude, Brooks, a cool dude”.

In the Daily Mail, Riath Al-Samarrai speaks to the people closest to golf’s new apex predator.

2.To his own fans, his relative unpopularity has to do with American and western European chauvinism and the reluctance of privileged fans from traditional tennis countries to see a Serb gate-crash the glass tower of Nadal and Federer. To everyone else, it has to do with Djokovic being kind of smug and needy and stressful to watch, and the way he seems like he’s a little too desperate for you to like him…”

Brian Phillips examines why Novak Djokovic still can’t win hearts and minds even with 16 Slams to his name, for The Ringer.

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American Boxer Sonny Liston Sonny Liston in London in 1963. Source: PA Archive/PA Images

3. Just 104 seconds into the fight, which took place in the tiny town of Lewiston, Maine, Liston went down after an apparently innocuous punch that few people at ringside even saw. The infamous ‘phantom punch’ enraged Ali – who screamed at the downed Liston to get up and continue. “You’re supposed to be so bad! Nobody will believe this!” he cried. Sprawled flat on his back, Liston would roll and stumble and then roll again. That scene, of Ali imploring Liston to get up, would produce one of the most iconic photographs in sports history.”

An iconic image is merely a snapshot of this expertly-pieced-together tale, by the BBC’s Gareth Evans, of the ongoing mystery that shrouds the death of Sonny Liston, ‘the last great investment the mob made in boxing’.

4. ”The only down side to being a commentator around (the England football) squad these days is the embarrassment of the Snarly Army that follow the flag to helpless cities like Porto. None of the inebriated foot soldiers hell bent on their mission to ‘drink all your beer’ share much in common with Eton and Oxford-educated Rees-Mogg.

Except one thing. They don’t ‘get’ sport either.They don’t even sing football songs very often. Their only ditty that refers to a specific player tells us that Harry Maguire ‘he drinks the vodka, he drinks the jagers’. Er, no he doesn’t. It’s a song that totally misrepresents both the individual and the team ethic. It’s a thought as far removed from the culture that Southgate has cultivated than the notion that they might be playing for Brexit Britain or to ‘fuck the IRA’.”

Clive Tyldesley rails against Jacob Rees-Mogg’s effort to claim political points for the Brexiteers after England’s Cricket World Cup win, for Football 365.

5. “My friend Stephen Mehigan and I once mowed that lawn with the avidity of Augusta National greenkeepers tending azaleas, burrowing out two holes that we filled with empty Batchelors Beans’ cans so we could while away summer playing a golf that was more putt than pitch. At least they haven’t touched the front gate over which Cork’s own Borg and McEnroe produced so many eternal rallies. Yet.”

Dave Hannigan visits the place where his love of sport was kindled, in the Irish Times.

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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