Friday, March 24, 2017

Boxing Challenge

The boxing challenge features just one fight this weekend as an exciting rematch in the UK not only will provide action,but no matter the winner,the winner has some excellent prospects for their next fight or two.

The WBA lightweight title that Jorge Linares won from Anthony Crolla is on the line as the main bauble,but the winner will be the mandatory challenger for WBC champion Mikey Garcia in what would not only be a unification fight,but a victory would send the winner up the charts in both the mythical pound for pound ratings and recognition as the best lightweight in the world.

Jorge Linares was the WBC champion before injuries forced him to become the WBC's "Champion in Recess",which in basic terms,allows the WBC to crown a new champion,but gives Linares the right to fight for the WBC belt when he wishes.
Anthony Crolla would be obligated to fight Garcia with a victory over Linares,but has a bigger fight (in local stature,if not worldwide) on tap in the UK against WBO beltholder Terry Flanagan (should Flanagan retain his title in two weeks against Petr Petrov) for a sizable paycheck.
Both fighters have a come forward action style and both tend to bust up facially,so this fight should be a good one at 6;30 Saturday night on Showtime...

Ramon Malpica and I both like Linares to repeat his close,but unanimous decision win in the boxing challenge,which I lead 29-27 to date.
Linares just is a little more versatile in his skill set and that little difference will give him the edge..

If you missed their first fight,here it is as an appetizer for the rematch,

Power of X and the Mid-Majors...

I planned on hitting the Forgotten Superstars circuit,but the Xavier Musketeers upset roll continues as the Muskies surprised second seed Arizona 73-71 in the West region semi-final.
Xavier will play Gonzaga (another favorite) Saturday for the right to go to the final four.

I'm not going to do a recap (although I'm considering one for the Saturday game vs Gonzaga),but it did make me want to write about college basketball.
I don't watch as much as I used to,likely not half as much as I used to.
I would guess that with the exception of the conference tournaments and the NCAA ,I didn't watch more than a snippet from any teams games this season except for two-Ohio State and Xavier.

Ryan had encouraged me to watch more Big 10 basketball while we were on our trip to the Big 10 football championship and I decided to so.
Ohio State was disappointing on many fronts in this season (The Buckeyes didn't even merit an invite to the NIT),but Xavier was playing well-that was until the injury to Edmund Sumner in a late January game that I was watching against St.John's.
The loss of Sumner,who was the team second leading scorer was a huge one and it sent the Musketeers spiraling to the point that some said that a season finale win against lowly DePaul after a five game losing streak before hand was needed to have a chance at an NCAA bid.
After that win,a Big East tourney run would be helpful and Xavier beat DePaul again and then Butler before a three point loss to Creighton in the semis sealed the bid.

I've been watching their wins over Maryland and Florida State,but I figured Arizona would be the end of the line.
Xavier has notched several Sweet Sixteen seasons,but only two times in the Elite Eight,so I figured the loss of Sumner would be glaring in this one.
I watched the first half as I sat at the road office flipping between boxing on ESPN2 and then when that was over,I was able to watch the remainder of the game...

I became an Xavier fan long ago,through three conferences (MCC,Atlantic 10 and Big East) and several head coaches that fed the monster with the wins,enabled the program to dominate and be an attractive program to conferences looking to fill an opening.
Of all of them,my favorite coach was the late Skip Prosser,who I followed to Wake Forest and rooted for his Demon Deacons until his passing,but all of them were successful,even if I liked some and others not so much.
I liked Pete Gillen,who really got the program on its way, a lot and I didn't really care for Thad Matta,who of course would wind up at Ohio State,but I didn't mind Sean Miller and I'm more than pleased with current coach Chris Mack,who is in the running for the open job at Indiana right now.

The sad part for me is Xavier having to play Gonzaga,who I also pull for often.
The Zags are similar to Xavier having battled their way through the ranks,having power conference teams refuse to play them and yet built a powerhouse program of their own.
The good thing is that either team will give me someone to cheer for in the final four,though obviously I'd prefer Xavier.

I've also rooted for Wichita State through the years as a mid-major.
I remember their big run when I was a teenager when they had eventual NBA players Antoine Carr and Cliff Levingston and I always liked their quirky mascot along with their colors,but when they hired Gregg Marshall is when I added them to my mid-major follows.
I'm a big Marshall fan and if I was doing the hiring at N.C.State,I would have went all out to hire Marshall as the latest Wolfpack coach (State hired Kevin Keatts from UNC Wilmington) and counted on him to return State to prominence.
Wichita State is following the Xavier template of moving up the conference ladder to improve their schedule as they are reported to be soon to be joining the American Conference and leaving the Missouri Valley in order to upgrade.

The final mid-major that I pull for in basketball is all about the coach as I've started following the Nevada Wolfpack since Eric Musselman became their head coach.
I've always been a fan of Eric and his late father Bill with their Ashland connection from when I lived there and Eric Musselman moved the Wolfpack from nine wins in the year before he left to 18 in his first season to 28 wins,a Mountain West title and NCAA berth in his second season.
Musselman was mentioned as a candidate at Cal when Cuonzo Martin left to take the Missouri coaching job,but withdrew his name after the interview process.
Barring Musselman taking a job at a school that I really dislike,I'll be following his teams for a while.

Mid-Major basketball is more fun to me than the bigger colleges.
The players usually stay for four seasons,you get to know them and it's easier to buy in than for the one and done factories like Kentucky,Duke,etc.
I'm still a Buckeye fan and have soft spots for Maryland,N.C.State and Wake Forest,but I'll stick with the mentioned teams-it's just more fun to root for schools that put basketball first!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Educating the Uneducated

Before I begin,I apologize for the recent absence and another one next week.
The battle for decent internet continues with Verizon and usually I lose that fight,but there is hope on the horizon (which rhymes with Verizon)-I'll have a new provider on March 30th.
That doesn't change issues until then,but that light at the end of the tunnel is now there!
I'm going to write a post on my three weeks with Verizon when all of this is over,I hope you'll laugh a little with me then!

The net was a little better on my lame duck connection with Verizon today and I read one of the most ridiculous boxing articles that I have ever read.
I'm not linking to it as giving the author (Branson Wright of the Cleveland Plain Dealer) any credence,although you can find it on,but in short-I was blocked on Twitter by this guy for educating him.

I'm a fan of Gennady Golovkin.
I'm a fan of a lot of fighters,but every fighter has flaws and if you fight long enough,every fighter gets beaten.
This gentleman thinks Daniel Jacobs deserved the decision against Golovkin,I disagree,but there are a few others that I've read that agree with him,although far more feel Golovkin won a close but clear decision.
Daniel Jacobs far exceeded my expectations and deserves a rematch,although that should come down the road and not immediate-the fight wasn't THAT close.
What Jacobs should do is stay busy,notch a KO win or two and make people really want a rematch instead of sitting on his laurels for a year,which Jacobs has done in the past as far as inactivity goes.

Mr.Wright decided to denigrate Golovkin (and later Canelo Alvarez) for not fighting better fighters and in the case of Golovkin offered FIVE fighters(Andre Ward,Erislandy Lara,Jermall Charlo,Chris Eubank Jr and Andy Lee)  that he should have fought,but didn't.
I called him out on such an awful premise and noted the following facts.
Of the five fighters that GGG supposedly wanted no part of-Three have never fought at his division (Andre Ward fought at 168 and 175 during Golovkin's reign,Erislandy Lara is at 154 and Jermall Charlo recently moved to 160,but has yet to fight at that weight),one dodged a Golovkin bout (Chris Eubank Jr) and the final one (Andy Lee) had signed for the fight,but Golovkin's father passed away and the fight was postponed.
Since the postponement,Lee won and lost the WBO title and took 15 months off before returning on the GGG-Jacobs undercard.
Putting the weight issues aside and the massive promotional issues involved (Lara and Charlo are PBC fighters with Ward's Roc Nation being notoriously difficult to negotiate with) and you have a result of why none of those fighters,with the exception of Lee would be a fight that had a mild chance of happening.

Wright lamely offered that "Have you ever heard of catchweight fights".
Catchweights are awful and hurt boxing,so it doesn't stun me that the ill-informed Wright would like them and said GGG "Could have fought Ward there" or dropped to fight Lara or Charlo.
Doesn't take more than a minute to see that the dull Lara and the somewhat unproven Charlo (I was very impressed with his final win at 154 vs Julian Williams) bring little money or fan interest to make a catchweight worth pursuing and Ward was more interested in Sergei Kovalev than Golovkin,but why ruin a good fantasy?
The followup for the beaten Wright was criticizing Golovkin for fighting welterweight Kell Brook rather than his list.
I can see why people wondered about Brook,but two things to note.
One) Brook took the exact same contract for a GGG fight as was offered Chris Eubank Jr-first.
Eddie Hearn promotes both fighters and has nothing to gain from a lie and has said just that-"Brook took the same contract offered to Eubank".
Two) Brook moved to GGG's division to take his shot at him-no catchweights.

So what was Wright's response to facts?
He blocked me.
I didn't name call,didn't curse,just hit him where it hurt most-his lack of knowledge about the product.
In order to have his lack of knowledge kept under wraps to his followers-he blocked me.
Consider it a mercy stoppage,similar to a boxer beaten around the ring all night until the referee steps in and says he's had enough.

Branson Wright was educated and he needed to be-I've always said that news outlets (print and visual) have always looked at boxing and horse racing as the two sports that "anyone can cover".
The results in these cases are usually bad as said person looks totally uninformed on what they are supposed to knowledgeable in covering.
Now,that assignment may not have been their choice,but they inevitably wind up looking poorly to the fans of what they are covering.
It doesn't take long to show lack of knowledge,if I did a call-in show on Monday,but instead of sitting in on FightHeads,I sat in on a podcast that discussed soccer.
I'd be overmatched and within five minutes,my lack of knowledge would be apparent.

It may seem like I'm wasting my time with Branson Wright,but I educated him.whether he admits it or not.
Be fair to the topic you are writing about-learn the topic or stick to the results,those cannot be argued-Ridiculous and uneducated opinions only make the writer look foolish....

Monday, March 20, 2017

Cleaning out the inbox

Time to clean the inbox and we start with the new logo and colors for the Frontier League (Independent) Lake Erie Crushers.
The Crushers have decided to honor the "Grape and Wine industry" in Ohio with the color and logo change.
It's very similar to the old Jamestown Jammers logo before the New York/Penn league team moved to Morgantown West Virginia with the grape being so prominent,although the Crushers logo is a much "friendlier" grape than the snarling Jammers version.
I kinda like it and even though I don't count independent stadiums on my "passport",I wouldn't be against a trip to Avon for the Crushers and of course,a hat....

I've written before about my fandom of the NBC late night legend-Late Night with David Letterman,but I stumbled upon a 2015 (around the time that Dave was wrapping up his CBS show) interview with Merrill Markoe from Dangerous Minds.
Markoe was involved in the original show as head writer,producer and other jobs involving the show during her run there and her involvement was a large part of the success of the show,
It's a really interesting look at the history and behind the scenes of a groundbreaking program with someone that had a vital role in what the program became.

An old (almost a week) Browns note saw the Browns use a waiver claim on James Wright,a wide receiver from the Bengals.
Wright spent three years in Cincinnati as mostly a special teams player,but Hue Jackson has to be familiar with him and might be the same special teams player in Cleveland.
The former LSU Tiger caught 13 passes for 106 yards last season in Cincinnati and made eleven tackles on special teams.

The Comeback writes of the return from almost oblivion of New Orleans basketball,who made the NCAA tourney as the Southland champions,but lost a close game in the play-in round to Mount St.Mary's.
The charter member of the Sun Belt conference was ready to drop to Division III (yes,the non-scholarship level) as a result of the financial damage done to the state of Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina and there was a drastic decrease in dollars for the school.
The Privateers managed to stay afloat and stay in division one (they don't play football at UNO) for basketball and joined the Southland conference.
It's a nice story,even with the loss to the Mount...

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Golovkin decisions Jacobs-Boxing Challenge

Three fights from Madison Square Garden for the boxing challenge saw Ramon Malpica and I each score three points on the evening and I maintained my two point lead at 29-27.

The main event saw Gennady Golovkin score a unanimous decision over Daniel Jacobs to retain his WBA,WBC and IBF middleweight titles.
Golovkin knocked Jacobs down in the fourth round,but seemed to have Jacobs in far more trouble in the ninth round before time ran out in the stanza.
I had Golovkin winning 116-112 (7-4-1 in rounds with Jacobs losing a point for the knockdown),which seems to be a little wider margin than most and even a few thinking Jacobs had won.
Give Jacobs lots of credit for a determined effort and fought far better than I had expected,but his unprofessional behavior in skipping the IBF mandatory weigh-in on the day (had Jacobs won,the IBF belt would be vacant) in order to blow up to the light heavyweight,if not cruiserweight division by the start of the fight shows that weigh-in formulas still need to be tweaked in order not to be taken advantage of.
Golovkin looked vulnerable in the eyes of some and people are looking at his age (35) as a likely factor,but I see another factor-activity.
Golovkin has been a fighter that has thrived on fighting four times a year,fought only twice last year and had been off six months since his last fight against Kell Brook.
Wrap up inactivity,a little bit of age and a larger and better opponent than expected and you have a recipe for a good fight and why some people could see Golovkin as being ripe for a defeat.
Perhaps now Canelo Alvarez and more likely Oscar De La Hoya might be ready to sign that contract vs Golovkin should they get by Julio Cesar Chavez Jr....

In what will be a contender for fight of the year,Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez lost his first fight in his career and his WBC junior bantamweight title in an absolute war to former champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai via a majority decision.
Gonzalez was knocked down in the first round and suffered a large and ugly cut over his right eye from a Rungvisai head butt in the third.
Rungvisai would be penalized a point in the sixth for head butts and the pair spent most of the second half of the fight sending each other careening around the ring in a violent dance that had the crowd screaming.
Roman Gonzalez was a great fighter at his previous weight classes,but seems to have reached "the wall".
The wall is the point for great fighters where their greatness is caught up with by their rising weight and counter balances their skills with the larger fighters they are facing.
In other words-the weight eventually makes a great fighter a very good one.
I scored Gonzalez a 114-112 winner (7-5 in rounds,with Gonzalez losing a point for the knockdown and Rungvisai a point for the head butt).
Most had Gonzalez winning with a few for Rungvisai,but I wouldn't put this into the robbery section.
It was a close fight that demands a rematch,but that won't be next as Carlos Cuadras,who beat Rungvisai for the title before being the first to show some smudges on the previously shiny finish of Gonzalez before losing that title in their bout last year,will be the mandatory challenger next for Rungvisai.
Cuadras won a unanimous decision over David Carmona before the two main events.
I didn't have a chance to see that fight,but it was reported to be less than thrilling.

Ramon and I each scored one point for the Golovkin win and two for the unanimous decision by Cuadras.
Both Ramon and I each picked Roman Gonzalez for no points.

For more on this news filled weekend-listen to Fight Heads tomorrow night for more opinions and talk...

Friday, March 17, 2017

Boxing Challenge

The boxing challenge hits New York City with the return of the man that holds three of the four middleweight titles in the main event of the weekend.
I lead the boxing challenge 26-24 over Ramon Malpica.

Gennady Golovkin defends his WBA,WBC and IBF titles against Daniel Jacobs,who holds the junior varsity title of the WBA and as often is said before a Golovkin fight-is the latest "best guy GGG has ever faced".
We previewed the fight on fightheads (go listen!) and I've said many times that Jacobs is just 1-1 against top 20 competition,so take that for what you will...

The undercard features two junior bantamweights fights in a prep for a rematch later this year of one of the better fights of
WBC champion Roman Gonzalez defends for the first time since being taken to the limit by Carlos Cuadras against the man that Cuadras dethroned in Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.
I've wondered if Gonzalez has finally hit the wall between great and very good with his rise in weight and he'll have a good test in Rungvisai.
Carlos Cuadras stays active for the rematch against Gonzalez against tough David Carmona,who went the distance with WBO champ Naoya Inoye in his last fight.

WBA/WBC/IBF Middleweight titles.12 rds
Gennady Golovkin vs Daniel Jacobs
R.L:Golovkin KO 5
TRS:Golovkin KO 7

WBC Junior Bantamweight title.12 rds
Roman Gonzalez vs Srisaket Sor Rungvisai
Both;Gonzalez unanimous decision

Junior Bantamweights,10 rds
Carlos Cuadras vs David Carmona
Both:Cuadras unanimous decision

Podcast:Scott Dryden

Scott Dryden returns to the podcast with 90 minutes on the Browns and the NFL Draft!