BBC BLOGS - Ben Dirs

Archives for March 2012

A letter to Sachin

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Ben Dirs | 12:00 UK time, Friday, 16 March 2012

Dear Sachin,

You don't know me, although I do know you. Actually, I don't really know you, but like hundreds of millions of others, I think I do. Which is why you can't leave the house. Sorry about that, but take it as a compliment: that's what happens when you are one of 'the few'.

What, you might ask, are 'the few'? Well, the way I see it, 'the few' are those sportspeople so great - the greatest of the great, if you will - that they can't even pop out for... well, anything actually, for fear of being trampled to death in Morrisons (or wherever it is celebrities pretend they do their shopping in India).

If it's any consolation, we've got a bloke in our country - well, he used to live here, before he outgrew Morrisons - called David Beckham, who might know how you feel. But, between me and you, with Becks, it's as much about his looks, which means he's not strictly one of 'the few' at all, more a very good footballer who they let in because he has a nice face.

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Boxing fights on regardless

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Ben Dirs | 06:37 UK time, Friday, 2 March 2012

Contrary to what some would have us believe, David Haye and Dereck Chisora's melee in Munich was not the end of British boxing as we know it. Pre-fight trash-talk, news conference brawls, post-fight riots, none are new to the sport, as veteran journalist Colin Hart made clear at Thursday's BBC boxing summit at London's York Hall.

"I've been covering the sport for 50 years," said Hart, "and things like that have always happened." But it would be disingenuous - and complacent - for those within boxing to claim the unsavoury dust-up between Chisora and Haye was simply more of the same. For it is all about context.

When the middleweight world title fight between Britain's Alan Minter and American great Marvin Hagler at Wembley in 1980 descended into a riot, boxing writers labelled the scenes a disgrace. But those same boxing writers, rightly defensive of their sport, could point to better things.

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