Japan Karate Association demo this Sunday

My wife Jasmin’s uncle, Dr. Antonio Gestosani, was in Cebu two weeks ago. He lives in Ohio. After the usual hi’s and hello’s, the first question I asked the top anesthesiologist who lives an hour away from Cleveland was, “How hated is LeBron James in your place?” His eyes enlarged, his voice amplified, his body language turned animated. “Oh, absolutely,” he said, “LeBron is the most despised person in Ohio!”

A U.S. poll, conducted by The Q Scores Company, asked the general population who they loathe the most. The answer? LeBron James—from being one of the most respected and loved of Americans—is “the sixth most disliked sports personality.”

Ouch. This is terrible news for LBJ. The good news? He’s no. 6. The top five? They’re Michael Vick, Tiger Woods, Terrell Owens, Chad Ochocinco and Kobe Bryant. At least, when the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers meet in the NBA Finals, Kobe’s the “badder” of the two. (I can’t wait for the NBA season to start on Oct. 26 with the first game—guess who—between Miami and the Boston Celtics.)

Added Dr. Gestosani: “Can you imagine LeBron and the Heat playing the Cavaliers in Cleveland?” Oh, my. He’ll be stoned, spat at, thrown plastic bottles. That’s a game (scheduled on Dec. 2) that you and I will not miss!

NICK TORRES. Commenting on Rafael Nadal’s victory at the U.S. Open, here’s an astute observation from tennis devotee Nick Torres: “Confidence. Will. Mental strength. Belief. Pistol Pete would have it one day but not the next. Roger had it. Supremely. Up until all the French losses started to eat him on the inside. And one day in 2008, he lost it in Wimbledon. And again this year in Flushing Meadows. This one was more telling because he lost to another player – the Joker. I hope Rafa never loses ‘it.’ But judging from the way the Spanish Armada wages war on the tennis courts, barring injuries (Rafa’s style is so brutal on his body), I’m looking eagerly forward to the next 5 years.”

JKA. If you’re interested in martial arts, troop to the Active Zone of Ayala Center Cebu this Sunday at 2 p.m., said the invitation sent to me by Boston Marathon qualifier Millette Chiongbian, a JKA practitioner:

“You are invited to view a rare exhibition of an age-old martial art. View our karatekas and get a glimpse of the winning kata that earned Cebu’s very own, Noel Espinosa, a gold in the recently-held 2010 Korean Open Intl. Karatedo Championships… Japan Karate Association (JKA) Asia Pilipinas – Cebu presents an exhibition to demonstrate the skills acquired by our karatekas in their respective levels. Performances will be given by yellow all the way to black belt and 1st to 5th dan practitioners. Karatekas from different chapters in Cebu will be demonstrating some of the basic, kata and kumite techniques to promote awareness of karate—not just as a sport but also as an effective means of self-defense.” This is open to the public for free.

SURGERY. At 10 a.m. tomorrow, I’ll undergo surgery. Having sustained pain in my right shoulder for nearly a year now, I’ll finally be put to sleep then cut open by the expert hands of Dr. Tony San Juan. I have a tennis-related injury. After serving and overhead-smashing for nearly 25 years, my shoulder screamed timeout. I joked Dr. San Juan—one of the country’s best sports medicine (orthopedic) physicians—by asking, “Can you change my shoulder so that I can serve like Andy Roddick after the operation?” He grinned. It won’t be months, though, until that Babolat racquet can be swung.

FLOYD. “Is Floyd Mayweather’s Career Over?” That question was answered by a top sports website: “The Queensberry Rules: A Boxing Blog.” Visit the site to read the expert comments (especially of our Sarangani congressman) by Tim Starks.

BOXING. One of the best titles I’ve read: “Mosley and Mora Paint A Picasso — They Draw.”

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