Withdrawal: Pass the summer with boxing, golf

If you're tired of dissecting LeBron James’ fourth-quarter performances, you’re not the only one. While James uses the summer to lick his wounds and come up with new ways to insult Dirk Nowitzki, the rest of us can (gratefully) move on to other things. If you’re not a baseball fan, the summer can seem like a barren wasteland, but it doesn’t have to be. There are ways to pass the time until football starts.

Believe it or not, in just a few weeks a major boxing match will take place that doesn’t involve Manny Pacquiao. On July 2, Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye will fight to unify WBA/IBF titles, and it’s a heavyweight fight that’s actually worth watching.

Haye, the current WBA champion, is about to retire– with only one professional loss to his name. Granted, he pulled out of a fight with Vitali Klitschko in 2009, but he’s inflicted some pretty major damage since then. Hayes is the first British boxer to hold a world heavyweight title since Lennox Lewis; he's ranked third in the division after the Klitschko brothers.

It remains to be seen whether Wladimir (#1) has completely overcome his aversion to knocking out his opponents (he’s done it 49 times, but it never seemed like he really wanted to). On July 2, Klitschko may not be able to indulge his penchant for going all 12 rounds because Haye loves the knockout and is unlikely to try for anything less with his retirement just around the corner.

What’s better than being lulled to sleep by the dulcet tones of golf announcers? Some people are happy to forego a nap to see a now-famous Rory McIlroy collapse. If you're one of those people, be sure to pop a NoDoz June 16-19 and July 14-17: the U.S. and British Opens are imminent.

This year’s U.S. Open will be the first without Tiger Woods since 1994, and much like women’s tennis, the field is underwhelming. The big guys– Mickelson, Els and Singh (names even I know)– aren’t exactly tearing up the course these days, and Singh didn’t even show up for the U.S. Open qualifier. So which pretty-good-golfer will win the purse is anybody’s guess. Heaven help McIlroy if he can’t get it together with odds like this.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup starts June 27, and though the U.S team is ranked number one, they haven’t won the championship since 1999. Like women’s tennis and men’s golf (as we have just learned), women’s soccer is in a transitional period with the heavy-hitters– U.S., Norway, Germany– rebuilding.

It seems that the countries long dedicated to men’s soccer– Brazil, England, France– have finally taken notice of the women’s game and are intent on making their dominance of the sport asexual. With the U.S. and German captains both over the hill at 35 and 33 respectively, the upstarts may have more than a decent chance at the cup.

There is always Wimbledon, of course, and the Tour de France (really, Alberto Contador?) and the World Swimming Championships (Michael Phelps will be swimming, but he's also “rebuilding,” so don’t expect miracles). Myriad NASCAR races offer Kyle Bush plenty of ways to get into or cause trouble.

If you're not a baseball fan and think tennis is for sissies, or that cycling isn’t a sport and boxing either barbaric or lackluster, you can always use the summer months to get your fantasy league roster (and your wallet) in order– though I wouldn’t count too heavily on the addition of Terrelle Pryor and Plaxico Burress to the mix. Once bitten twice shy, you know.
Juanita lives on a farm in Charlotte County with her husband, son, and many dogs.