2012 YEAR IN REVIEW

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  • Pacquiao plans if Mayweather says no
    Pacquiao plans if Mayweather says no

    Filipino boxing star Manny Pacquiao has a plan in place if yet another bid to fight Floyd Mayweather fails -- a May 30 bout, possibly against England's Amir Khan. Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum told ESPN that a backup plan if a hoped-for May 2 blockbuster against unbeaten US star Mayweather falls through is a fight four weeks later in Las Vegas, New York, London or Abu Dhabi. "A lot of places around the world want to host a Manny Pacquiao fight," Arum said. Arum also told ESPN that Khan, a former welterweight champion, is the leading candidate, although Khan would also be a top contender to fight Mayweather if Pacquiao is not his choice.

  • Liverpool scent Chelsea blood as Wembley looms
    Liverpool scent Chelsea blood as Wembley looms

    With Chelsea reeling from FA Cup humiliation, Liverpool will visit Stamford Bridge for their League Cup semi-final second leg on Tuesday with increased confidence of reaching the final. Liverpool were unfortunate not to emerge victorious from last week's first leg at Anfield, drawing 1-1, and they will scent blood after Chelsea were bundled out of the FA Cup by third-tier Bradford City on Saturday. Liverpool's own FA Cup tie did not go quite according to plan, a 0-0 draw with Championship side Bolton Wanderers leaving them with an unwanted replay, but they were at least spared the embarrassment that befell Chelsea.

  • Bouchard regretful as Slam chance goes begging
    Bouchard regretful as Slam chance goes begging

    Canadian seventh seed Eugenie Bouchard admitted she was full of regrets on Tuesday after blowing the chance to make a Grand Slam statement against second seed Maria Sharapova at the Australian Open. The 20-year-old, hyped as the rising star of a new generation destined for glory at the majors, was seeded seventh at Melbourne Park but looked outclassed in her quarter-final against the Russian five-time Slam champion. Bouchard insisted she had chances to win the match, including two break points in the first set, but failed to seize them. Bouchard was the most consistent player at Grand Slams last year, making the Australian and French semis along with the Wimbledon final.

  • China officials dine on endangered salamander: reports
    China officials dine on endangered salamander: reports

    Chinese officials feasted on a critically endangered giant salamander and turned violent when journalists photographed the luxury banquet, according to media reports Tuesday on the event which appeared to flout Beijing's austerity campaign. The 28 diners included senior police officials from the southern city of Shenzhen, the Global Times said. The giant salamander is believed by some Chinese to have anti-ageing properties, but there is no orthodox evidence to back the claim. The species is classed as "critically endangered" on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List of threatened species, which says the population has "declined catastrophically over the last 30 years".

  • Sharapova blows away Bouchard to march into semis

    By Greg Stutchbury MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Maria Sharapova showcased all of her canny experience and brutal efficiency as she gave Eugenie Bouchard a 78-minute tennis lesson to advance to the Australian Open semi-finals on Tuesday. The 20-year-old Bouchard reached the last four in Australia and France as well as the Wimbledon final in 2014 but was no match for Sharapova, who showed she was not ready to be usurped by the younger generation just yet in a 6-3 6-2 victory. The 27-year-old has now beaten the Canadian in each of their four meetings, three of which have been at grand slams, and set up a meeting with 10th-seeded compatriot Ekaterina Makarova for a place in the final. "I felt pretty good from the start (and) I kept my focus throughout the whole match," Sharapova told reporters.

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