‘Fedal’, ‘The Money Fight’ And Some Of The Greatest Sporting Moments Of 2017

Serena Williams holds her trophy after defeating her sister Venus during the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia in January.

In less than 24 hours, the year 2018 will be upon us. It promises to be another exciting sporting year with several events, including the FIFA World Cup, bringing mixed emotions into the lives of fans across the world. But before 2018, let’s take a look at some of those moments that rocked the sporting world in the last 365 days.

Here’s my top 10 greatest sporting moments, achievements, and actions in 2017:

10. “The Money Fight”

On August 26, 2017 at the T-Mobile Arena in Nevada, boxing great and undefeated eleven-time five-division boxing world champion Floyd Mayweather Jr came out of retirement to face two-division mixed martial arts (MMA) world champion and at-the-time current UFC Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor in a…boxing bout.

It started as a joke, many thought it was just for the show, but it turned out to be a keenly contested boxing bout. For all of six rounds, McGregor looked like he was made for boxing and was going to pull off a shocker. But as the match progressed, he got weaker, and Mayweather who had before then played a rope-a-dope tactics gradually got into the fight.

Mayweather won the fight by TKO after referee Robert Byrd stopped the fight in Round 10. Both men had a big payday, with Mayweather reportedly earning over $300,000,000 from the fight and McGregor earning over $100,000,000.

With $4.3 million domestic buys, the fight raked in the second most in pay-per-view behind Mayweather vs Pacquiao (2015).

9. Anthony Joshua makes statement with Wladamir Klitschko win

“I hope you enjoyed the fight. The best man won tonight. And it’s an amazing event for boxing.”, Klitschko said after the fight. His words were of respect to a better fighter, an endorsement, and in some way the passing of mantle.
April 29, 2017, in front of a post-war record crowd of 90,000 at Wembley stadium, IBF Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua scored a TKO win in the 11th round against Wladamir Klitschko to unify the IBF, WBA (Super) and IBO titles.

That night, Anthony Joshua, 28, launched himself into superstardom and showed he isn’t a pretender, but a main contender in the boxing world. A real statement-making, game-changing moment in boxing.

8. Usain Bolt bows out

It was time to say goodbye. One of the greatest – if not THE greatest – athletes of all-time was bowing out at the IAAF World Athletics Championship in London and every athletics fan wanted a show. A sign-off worthy of an athlete who had reached the status of a god.
Instead, Usain Bolt showed he’s indeed human (wow! that’s surprising), and why we should respect his achievements over the years even more.

In his final 100 metres race, Bolt started slowly as he had done many times throughout his career, but he didn’t have enough gas to claim the win, finishing third in 9.95 secs behind Americans Justin Gatlin (9.92 secs) and Christian Coleman (9.94secs). Anti-climax, you say? Not yet. Bolt wasn’t done.

His final race was the 4 X 100 metres relay. Running Jamaica’s anchor leg, the 31 year-old took the baton from teammate Yohan Blake with Jamaica in third place. The world stood, hoping for another masterclass from Usain Bolt. Hoping for him to run like he was never going to run again. But it wasn’t to be. Usain Bolt had risen so high, I guess his crash had to be spectacular as well. As he began to gather speed, he pulled up with what looked like a hamstring injury about 60 metres from the finish line. Even in embarrassing defeat, Usain Bolt still stole the show.

7. Golden State Warriors reclaim NBA title

After losing the 2016 NBA title to Cleveland Cavaliers, the Golden State Warriors had to make a statement. And they did it in style. In came Kevin Durant. The All-Star and former MVP teamed up with Steph Curry, Draymond Green Klay Thompson to led the Warriors to a league best 67-15 record, clinching a playoff berth by February.

In their third successive year facing off against LeBron James and the Cavs, the Warriors showed they were a different class, beating the Cavs 4-1 in the NBA Finals while finishing the entire playoffs with a 16-1 record.
Kevin Durant also averaged 35.2 points en route winning the NBA Finals MVP.

6: Real Madrid successfully defend UCL title

No team had won back to back European Cup titles since Arrigo Sacchi’s AC Milan side of 88/89 & 89/90. Even more, no side had managed the feat since the competition was rebranded, and renamed the UEFA Champions League in 1992.

But if anyone could do it, it had to be Real Madrid; The club that won the first European Cup title (1955), The club with the most consecutive titles (5), The club with the most titles (11 at the point), but also the club in great form with two of the last three titles.
June 3, 2017, faced with a chance to make history, Real Madrid came out in style to blow away Juventus 4-1 and claim their 12th European Cup/Champions League trophy.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice to finish topscorer with 12 goals, Casemiro and Marco Asensio scored the other goals while Mario Mandzukic scored a beauty of a consolation strike for Juventus.
La Duodecima delivered.

https://twitter.com/FranceRMACF/status/914504059536670720

5. New England Patriots pull off comeback of the year

February 5, 2017, The New England Patriots executed the greatest and largest comeback in Super Bowl history to claim their fifth Vince Lombardi trophy.

Trailing 21–3 to the Atlanta Falcons at halftime, and 28-3 midway through the third quarter, the New England Patriots fought back with 25 unanswered points to level 28-28 and force overtime.

In the first ever Super Bowl to be decided in overtime, running back James White was the hero, scoring a touchdown to give the Patriots a 34-28 win.

Inspirational quarterback Tom Brady broke single-game Super Bowl records with 43 completed passes, 62 pass attempts, and 466 passing yards. He also claimed his fourth Super Bowl MVP and record fifth overall victory in the game.
A game to never be forgotten.

PS: There was also this:

4. Barcelona pull off comeback of the year

Did I say “comeback of the year” before? It’s hard to choose really. Just go ahead and choose whichever you want.

While the New England Patriots did their’s in one single game, Barcelona had the torture of going weeks knowing they had to participate in, and attempt the impossible.

“As long as there’s a one percent chance, we’ll have 99 per cent faith,”, said Neymar in the build up to the game. Even he couldn’t have believed those words.

https://twitter.com/MagistralMessi/status/848250478425190400

But Barca were up for it. March 8, 2017 at the Camp Nou, the Catalan giants overturned a 4-0 Round Of 16 first leg deficit, beating PSG 6-1 for a 6-5 aggregate win over the Parisians.
With two minutes of normal time left, Barcelona were ahead 3-1 (but behind 3-5 on aggregate) and needed three goals to go through. Neymar then scored a freekick, before burying a penalty in added on time. But there was an unlikely hero. Late into stoppage time and with virtually the last kick of the game, Sergi Roberto stretched to poke home the all important goal for Barcelona. Delirious scenes all over the world.

If anyone could do it, it was Barcelona.

3. Nigeria qualify for 2018 World Cup

The qualification process had started since 2015. But it was 2017 that proved crucial for Nigeria. Up against reigning African champions Cameroon and former African champions Algeria and Zambia in the ‘group of death’, Nigeria needed to be solid to make it through to Russia 2018.

Coming off the back of two wins in two games against Zambia and Algeria in 2016, Nigeria were faced with back to back games against Cameroon in September. Nigeria claimed a comfortable 4-0 win in Uyo, before playing a 1-1 draw in Yaoundé in a game which would have seen them qualify if they had won.
Disappointed but not derailed, the Super Eagles, knew they would qualify with a win over Zambia in October. October 7, 2017, the Super Eagles of Nigeria defeated Zambia’s Chipolopolo 1-0 via Alex Iwobi’s 73rd minute strike, to claim a World Cup berth.

Forfeiture of the point gained in their final group stage game; a 1-1 draw against Algeria wasn’t enough to stop the Super Eagles, as they soared to their sixth World Cup finals.

2. Fedal roll back the years

‘Fe’ from Federer and ‘dal’ from Nadal…you get, yeah…Ok.
After a disappointing 2016 for arguably the two greatest tennis players of all-time, 2017 proved to be a reminder of what we missed, and what these amazing players are still capable of pulling off.

Federer started the season ranked 16th, and Nadal started ranked 9th. Both players finished the year 2nd and 1st respectively.

Federer won the most ATP titles (7), while Nadal played in the most finals (10).

Both players shared the four Grand Slam of the year between themselves; Nadal winning the French Open (his 10th) and the US Open, and Federer claiming the Australian Open and Wimbledon (his 8th). Neither player had won a Grand Slam since Nadal won Roland Garros in 2014 (Federer’s last was Wimbledon 2012).

They gave us an epic Australian Open final which Federer won. They even gave us a doubles pairing at the Laver Cup in September.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal spoiled us in 2017. Old order restored.

1. Serena Williams sets record…while pregnant!

January 28, 2017, Serena Williams beat sister Venus to win her 7th Australian Open title and 23rd Grand Slam in total, surpassing the previous Open Era record of 22 held by Steffi Graf.

She announced on April 19 that she wouldn’t be playing anymore competitive tennis for the year because she was 20 weeks pregnant. The timing means that she would have been roughly eight-weeks pregnant when she won the Australian Open.

She gave birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. on September 1, and then returned to tennis (!) on December 30th, losing losing her exhibition match to reigning Roland Garros Champion Jelena Ostapenko 2–6, 6-3, [5–10].

A proper fighter and a true legend. 2018 holds even more ground breaking feats.

Let’s know what you think of this top 10…