Sunday, June 25, 2017

Floyd Mayweather vs the Fab Five from the 80's?

I know there is a lot of hype around the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor exhibition right now,but if I'm going to write about Floyd Mayweather,I'd like to write about something interesting and thought about this-If Floyd Mayweather fought in the best era for great welterweights of all time,would he still be undefeated?

I mean,in my eyes,he's not undefeated anyway as being that I have vision and consider myself pretty capable of judging a fight properly,I had him losing to Jose Luis Castillo 116-113 in 2002,( Don't believe me? You watch and score) but in the record book,he is undefeated and that is what matters.

For the purposes of this,Mayweather will take on five Hall of Famers,all of which held the WBA or WBC welterweight titles from 1976-1983 and bring diverse styles that would challenge Mayweather's heart and talent,
So let us toss Mayweather into the TRS Time Machine and see just how he does...

Fight 1-Floyd Mayweather vs Pipino Cuevas.
Cuevas,an all-time TRS favorite (and profiled here in our Forgotten Superstars series) was one of the most devastating punchers in boxing history and defended his WBA title eleven times before being knocked out in two by Thomas Hearns after which his skills declined.
Cuevas would lose in his only other bout vs his Fab Five brethren being stopped by Roberto Duran in four rounds in 1983,but we're taking prime Pipino vs this bout.
Cuevas hurt whoever he hit (he even wobbled Duran past his prime) and if he hit Mayweather,this gets real interesting real fast as few finished foes like the relentless Cuevas.
However,Cuevas liked to wing his punches very wide as he walked opponents down and he wasn't fast on a good day.
This is the most style friendly fight for Mayweather in his gauntlet run..

Prediction:Mayweather Unanimous Decision.
Cuevas will attack for the distance of the fight (15 rounds,remember),so Mayweather has to be in shape and not get trapped along the ropes or things could change against the heavy handed Cuevas.
Mayweather avoids the wide punches and dances away from the attacking Cuevas to win a clear decision,but if Cuevas landed one of those legendary hooks,that might be the seminal moment of this event!

Fight 2-Floyd Mayweather vs Wilfred Benitez
Benitez,who won titles in three divisions in a time when that meant something,brings defensive skills that rival Mayweather's in this bout.
The "radar" that Benitez claimed to possess allowed him to slip shots through head movement and would test Mayweather against a fighter that was just as slick as he was.
Benitez was 1-2 against Fab Five opponents with a unanimous decision win over Roberto Duran and losses to Thomas Hearns (majority decision) and Ray Leonard (15th round knockout with seconds to go-the fight probably shouldn't have been stopped,but Leonard was going to win the decision anyway).
Benitez was a slick fighter,but he wasn't comfortable setting the pace and with only one exception ( a highlight reel knockout of Maurice Hope) didn't knock many out.
This will likely be a fight that Max Kellerman would love,but most would be spending a lot of time at the fridge..

Prediction:Mayweather Unanimous Decision
In a very dull and tactical fight,Mayweather is the fighter that breaks his normal style,throws more shots and outworks Benitez enough to earn a decision that might even be judged a majority or split nod.
This fight will likely be best remembered for the pre-fight buildup and staredown than for anything that happens in fight action,

Fight 3-Floyd Mayweather vs Roberto Duran
Duran,who won four titles (and had he skipped 140 pounds,would have won five) will offer pressure similar to that offered by Pipino Cuevas with more skills.
Duran was 2-4 against Fab Five opponents as the Panamanian stopped Pipino Cuevas in four and defeated Ray Leonard by unanimous decision,while losing to Leonard in eight in the famous "No Mas" bout and a later unanimous decision with both past their prime,losing a unanimous decision to Wilfred Benitez and losing in two rounds to Thomas Hearns in the bout that re-established "the Hitman" as a puncher.
Against Mayweather,Duran would have to set the pace and come towards Mayweather and attempt to walk him down.
Mayweather certainly wouldn't stand and slug with Duran,so this one will come down to which fighter is able to force things into what he wants to do...

Prediction:Mayweather Split Decision
This is the one fight of the five that I can see going either way and I've been back and forth on this one since starting this post.
If this fight was at 135,I'd pick Duran.
Duran is my pick as the best lightweight ever and that Duran overwhelms Mayweather,who was more tactical at 147 than 135 in my opinion.
However,Duran's punch didn't carry as well with the higher weight and even lightweight Duran had trouble with slick boxers with movement.
I lean toward Mayweather by a hairline call on the judges cards,which would most likely be split and controversial....

Fight 4-Floyd Mayweather vs Thomas Hearns
The "Hit Man" was the first fighter to win titles in five divisions and could punch or box.
Hearns owns two of the most spectacular knockouts in boxing history with his KO's of fellow Fab Fivers Cuevas and Duran and could box as well as shown in his majority decision win over Wilfred Benitez.
Those three wins with his 14th round stoppage loss to Ray Leonard combined with a draw in their rematch,which was such a robbery that even Leonard says he considers their series a tie at one apiece (Hearns dropped Leonard twice) gives Hearns a 3-1-1 record against Fab Five opponents.
Hearns only weakness was not having the best chin as he was knocked out in four of his five career losses.
This is a very tough out for Floyd Mayweather in this project.

Prediction:Hearns Unanimous Decision
Styles make fights is one of the oldest adages in boxing and it's true.
Considering that,I just don't see any way that Floyd Mayweather wins this fight.
The one weakness of Thomas Hearns (his chin) won't come into play in this bout as Mayweather is just an average puncher at best at welterweight.
Considering the reach advantage of the Hit Man (78 inches to 72),Mayweather will be held at bay by the Hearns jab and unable to win using his usual boxing manner from the outside,he'll have to make a decision-attack and risk a run into the famous Hearns right hand or be jabbed into defeat on the outside,
Looking at Mayweather's safety first career,it's clear which choice he'll make and Hearns will win a comfortable unanimous decision.

Fight 5-Floyd Mayweather vs Ray Leonard
This is the marquee bout and some of the luster is gone after the Mayweather loss to Hearns,but Mayweather actually matches up better against Leonard than he does Hearns.
Similar in size,speed and skills,although Mayweather is a little more of a mover (only two knockouts above 135 pounds) with Leonard being a harder puncher,this fight matches up evenly,
Leonard has a 4-1-1 record vs the Fab Five with two wins over Duran and stoppage wins over Hearns and Benitez to go with the Duran loss and the mentioned Hearns draw that was really a loss.
This would be a clear good vs bad in the buildup with the popular Leonard wearing the white hat against the brash and controversial Mayweather..

Prediction:Leonard KO 10
Floyd Mayweather will test Ray Leonard and I think he'll fight more than he did against Thomas Hearns.
In fact,I'll go as far to say in this fight,Mayweather will fight more like the lightweight Mayweather,which was a far more entertaining fighter to watch,
I think they will have plenty of toe to toe battles with a much better action fight than most expect.
Mayweather will have a slight points lead on the judges cards entering round ten,but body work by Leonard has slowed Floyd,which leaves him vulnerable.
The famous rolling shoulder rolls to block a Leonard right,but Leonard surprises with an explosive left hook that ends the fight.

Floyd Mayweather finishes with a 3-2 record,which indicates he would be very competitive against these fighters,but certainly wasn't head and shoulders above them.

Hope you liked this and let me know if you'd like to see similar things in the future...

Saturday, June 24, 2017

It's Nico-Devils draft Hischier as top pick

The New Jersey Devils caught a lucky bounce in the NHL draft lottery and with questions all the way up to the actual announcement of the selection about who it would be,Devils fans played the game of Nolan vs Nico for weeks.

In the end,the choice was Nico Hischier from Switzerland,who made history as the first ever top overall pick from that country and as the first ever Devil to be the first pick of the draft,although if you trace the franchise back to Kansas City and Denver as I do (and the Devils rarely do),the Colorado Rockies did use the first overall choice on defenseman Rob Ramage in 1979.

The selection of Nico Hischier made sense to me mainly because Hischier seems to have the potential to be the type of creative scorer that the Devils haven't had in years (Ilya Kovalchuk) and haven't drafted in even longer (Zach Parise).
Hischier's skating and puck carrying is reported to be his strengths and his upside is reported to be as a first line center,although he could play left wing in the future as well.
Hischier is also not a defensive liability as many scorers are as he is supposed to be pretty solid in getting back into his own end of the ice.

Hischier was my choice and the Devils over Nolan Patrick for two reasons-Hischier has a much better chance of being an offensive,number one center than Patrick,who projects to be a nice player,but not the type of player that you can build around and the injuries to Patrick throughout his junior career makes you wonder a bit about the health of Patrick.
Nagging injuries when you are young tend to happen more and more as you age and that was a concern of mine with Patrick.
It'll be interesting to contrast the career of Nico Hischier with that of Nolan Patrick,who was picked by the rival Philadelphia Flyers with the second pick and it'll also say a lot for general manager Ray Shero down the road for if Patrick turns out to be the better player and does so for the rival Flyers,it'll won't reflect well on Shero.

I'm excited about this pick.
Nico Hischier isn't the type of franchise lifter that the last two drafts provided in Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews,but he certainly might be a top caliber player and an exciting player to watch as the Devils continue to try to rebuild.
The Devils might not be very good next season,but assuming that Hischier makes the team,which I think he will,along with 2016 number one pick Michael McLeod and the young players that were on last years team that they might be more fun to watch,if not improved in the standings....

Friday, June 23, 2017

Busy Day/Dull Night-NBA Draft

After a busy day spent running from work to home to auto service centers multiple times and the same looming for tomorrow,I expected the NBA Draft to hold my attention.
The Cavaliers didn't have selections in either round one or round two,but all week there had been so many rumors about trades with not only Cleveland being involved,but many others as well-to the point of this being thought as a night that would have impact beyond the drafted players.

Instead,absolutely nothing happened as only one big name connected to the Cavaliers moved as Jimmy (I want to play my entire career in Chicago) Butler was dealt to Minnesota,where he will play for his old coach with Tom Thibodeaux and the evening ended with a tweet from the team that basically talked about being interested,but found nothing exciting enough to pursue.
In other words,for all the bluster and rumors that had players ranging from Butler to Paul George to Carmelo Anthony to even at the draft LaMarcus Aldridge and Danny Green being chased by the Cavaliers-the draft was more like a one person jog around the neighborhood.
It'll be interesting to see just what the Cavaliers do or maybe even don't,but they have to do something-even if it risks what they currently have.

Meanwhile about the only thing on draft night that really interested me was the drafting of Xavier guard Edmond Sumner by New Orleans in the second round and was then sold for cash considerations to Indiana.
Sumner was the best player on Xavier last season and the late season slump by the Musketeers was directed caused by the torn ACL suffered by Sumner in late January against St,John's.
Sumner was averaging 15 points and five assists a game before the injury and Sumner was thought to have been a possible first round pick,if he would choose to be eligible following his sophomore year.
The knee injury threw a crinkle into that,but even with the injury,Sumner still made into the second round,although I think he might have been better off returning to Xavier and proving the knee was solid.
Sumner is more of a slasher than a pure shooter,but he has excellent physical tools and assuming that his knee heals properly,could have a solid NBA career...

I might be back with a Devils draft preview,but if not,the next post will be about the results of the first pick in the NHL draft.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Devils lose Jon Merrill in Expansion Draft

The New Jersey Devils finally found out what player they were losing off their roster in the expansion draft to the expansion Las Vegas Golden Knights and it was one that had long been a whipping boy at the home office.

The now former Devil selected was defenseman Jon Merrill,who was a second round pick by the Devils in 2010 and never seemed to reach the level that he was touted to have the potential to be.
Merrill was selected with the then-Atlanta Thrashers second round pick obtained in the Ilya Kovalchuk trade (New Jersey had traded their first round to the Thrashers) from Michigan and was thought to be a first round talent that had slid to the second due to some off ice problems.
The Devils never had those types of issues with Merrill,what they did have issues with was uneven play and a player that was just disappointing

Merrill couldn't stay healthy (Never played more than 66 games),wasn't nearly the offensive player he was reported to be (Never scored more than 2 goals in a season) and made lots of silly mistakes on defense (never better than a -9 over the last three seasons),which is kinda a bad thing when you are a defenseman.
For a sizable blueliner ( 6'3 205),he seemed to shy away from contact,which could have been lived with had Merrill been a speedier offensive minded player,which he wasn't either.

Now,I'm not saying Jon Merrill was a huge loss,but the Devils had to be hoping that Vegas would have picked the big contract of Mike Cammalleri (Cammy would have helped the Knights in year one as long as he could have stayed healthy) or maybe even Ben Lovejoy (who in his one year with the Devils,might have been worse than Merrill at a higher cost),but I cannot imagine anyone with Devils interest being disappointed in losing Merrill.
I'm not sure which player was unprotected (Merrill or Lovejoy most likely) that would have been protected before the trade for Mirco Mueller,but both would have had advantages for being exposed.
Merrill's notes from above with Lovejoy being overpaid for two more years made losing either fine with me.

I won't miss Jon Merrill and if you had asked me about my concern on the expansion draft on the day Las Vegas was approved for entry,but told me the Devils were going to lose their seventh defenseman-I would have taken that then and there!
Not a loss that is going to severely damage the future of the franchise at all..
Back later with any Cavaliers news with the NBA draft tonight and the Devils leading off the NHL draft on Friday...

Cleaning out the inbox

Time for the remainder of the inbox cleaning and I'll start with an interview from the website Pray for Surf with Mark A.Moore.
Moore wrote the most comprehensive,well,record of Jan and Dean yet-The Jan and Dean Record.
The book looks massive in detail and in size and might be a must for every Jan and Dean fan,if not for one thing-the expense.
The book is 29.95 on Kindle and 75.00 in paperback form!
That's a bit rich for my blood,but sample the interview,that alone is massive in scope...

Some of you might have noticed a new addition
to the links column in Lipstick and Nachos-a new site started by my friend Samantha Blinn.
Now,I'm not even a remotely knowledgeable person on makeup,but I've been known to sample nachos on occasion,most notably the large nachos that Doug Hopkins and I had at the Kast Hotel in Williamsport PA!
Samantha promises Nacho recipes and makeup tips,so if either interests you,check her out on the links column!

The cable network Decades shows older television shows and a recent page on their website listed eleven little known facts about the Wild Wild West.
As I am a long time fan,I knew most of these,but there was one fact that I didn't know-can you guess which one that was???

The Toronto Sun writes of SCTV and its history in a long article on the lost TV "Network".
Several of the stars of the Canadian comedy classic are talked with in the article,but it discusses more than just the actual show as it looks at the influence it had on even today's comedians and comedy television...

Denise Nicarry sends this on the accidental creation of the world's hottest chili pepper.
The Dragon's Breath measures at 2.48 million on the Scoville Scale beating the Carolina Reaper's 2.2.million.
The Dragon's Breath is reported to be too hot to eat as an attempt to eat it,could burn so badly that it could close your airways and asphyxiate you.
Now,that's hot!!!

I'm sure if you have ever ordered a Papa John's pizza (Of the chain pizza places,I like them best),you might wonder why it includes a pepperoncini pepper with every order.
Thrillist tells the story of how it came about,why they continue to keep the pepper and what happened when they tested removing the pepper from their pizza boxes.

Adidas takes over the uniforms for the NHL for the 2017-18 season and as most of these new contracts involved do-they'll be bringing changes.
We'll see what they are soon,but here is a link looking at the lineage of the Devils franchise going back to their days as the Kansas City Scouts and Colorado Rockies.
I've always liked the idea of a yearly heritage night that alternates between wearing the Scouts and Rockies jersey or even using those logos with the Devils colors,if someone wants to see the home team in the same colors.
Kansas City never made the playoffs and Colorado only did once (losing in the long ago best of three series in two straight games),but I still feel that those teams and towns are part of the Devils heritage and occasionally should be showcased as such.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

David Griffin leaves Cavaliers-Jump or Pushed?

The Cleveland Cavaliers have issues  with prosperity as the team and general manager David Griffin could not come to an agreement on a new contract,so effective at the end of the month,Griffin will vacate the office and the team will be hiring another general manager.

The reports appear to lean towards Chauncey Billups as the new leader of the front office,which makes all the sense in the world because he played for the Detroit Pistons (Dan Gilbert would much prefer owning the Detroit Pistons than the Cavaliers,so former Pistons can always find a job in Cleveland),he has no experience and is a television voice,so that makes him more than qualified to replace Griffin,who helped the team to a world championship and two finals appearances.

It appears that despite some canny moves by Griffin (turning Dion Waiters into several useful pieces),making a good move for the present,if not the future (Kevin Love for Andrew Wiggins) and some moves that didn't work as well as hoped (Kyle Korver and Deron Williams),David Griffin did a solid job for the Cavaliers and one that deserved an extension.
That extension was especially deserved to be given after several teams asked about Griffin for their teams and had permission to talk to him denied.
Considering that,the issues between Dan Gilbert and David Griffin had to have happened since those openings and the old standby- "different direction" appears to be the issues here.

Now,the questions begin-what is Dan Gilbert's different direction?
Is Gilbert really dumb enough to place the future of his franchise with LeBron James one season away from free agency in the hands of untested TV talking head Chauncey Billups?
Is this vision to go all in for a title for one season or the beginning of his future without LeBron?
I'm not sure what that entails,but I will say that David Griffin caught a raw deal.
He wasn't perfect,but no general managers are and he hit on more than he missed.
Is this the beginning of the end of the Cavaliers contention or is it simply the beginning of an entirely new run of Cleveland basketball?
We will see.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Father's Day in Harrisburg

I had a long and great Father's Day that saw a visit from Ryan,a trip for the lovely Cherie and I to Harrisburg for brunch with Fred and Linda Landucci,an ice cream cake from Rachel and a meeting with a should be HOF member that I'll never forget.

I've never been a person that worried much about Father's Day.
It's nice to have the children acknowledge me,but I look at that as part of the job of being a parent.
However,on this one,Fred Landucci graciously invited Cherie and I to Harrisburg for a brunch on the field before the Senators game against the Richmond Flying Squirrels.

I worked all night and had to leave as soon as I got home from work,if I was going to arrive on time,so it was a bit tiring to be out in the sun on a very hot day.
It really wasn't so bad when the cloud cover was available,but when it wasn't-it was blazin'!
The Senators only sold a handful of these packages for brunch and they placed the tables on the infield,so we were eating on the field.
Harrisburg has a terrific suite area for eating that Fred took us to last year that is prepared by tremendous chefs and they did great work again for this event.
They had a steak that just melted in my mouth and the other items (especially the potatoes) were terrific and Harrisburg's food in that area ranks at the top of food on the local minor league circuit!
A great event and thanks again to Fred and his wife Linda for hosting us!

We had about 45 minutes to kill before the gates open,but the Senators graciously allowed the people from the brunch to stay in the stadium,if they desired.
While I am sure that sounds like a small thing,it isn't.
Most teams would have rushed you out of the stadium and dumped you in line with the other fans after they collected your money.
Harrisburg didn't do that and on a hot day,it was very much appreciated.

As we sat underneath the stadium in the cool,we noticed Giants roving instructor Kirt Manwaring walking by.
Manwaring works with the catchers and I have him for my two Score sets.
Manwaring was nice enough,but he lives fairly closely (Elmira NY was on his baseball card) and when Richmond comes to Harrisburg,the usual rover is Manwaring for that reason I suppose.
I thought to myself "Manwaring again.why can't we ever have one of the other rovers".
This is mainly because the Giants have some pretty good rovers with not only cards in the sets that I collect,but excellent big league careers such as Lee Smith,Vince Coleman and Ellis Burks.
Because I try (not always possible) to see Richmond,I always carry cards with me for the Giants rovers,but it's almost always Kirt Manwaring.

Well,on this day,whether it was divine intervention,blind luck or karma-about five minutes after that thought crossed my mind,Lee Smith came out of the locker room,texting on his phone and sat down at the table beside us.
I hate to ever interrupt people when they are on the phone,so I didn't go straight over to him,but I did scurry through the box for the three Smith's that I needed for my set.
With my luck,Lee Smith was in BOTH traded sets for 1988 and 1990,so I needed four cards for him (It was actually three,as I had forgotten that Ed Loyd in Richmond had gotten the 1990 Smith with the Red Sox signed for me a while back) and that's not always an easy get with former major leaguers,let alone one with Lee Smith's resume".
Fred and I waited quietly for a few minutes and then Linda looked over at Smith and said "thanks for signing".
A puzzled Smith looked at her oddly as he hadn't signed a thing,but it did break the ice enough for Fred and I to walk over and ask him to sign-so thank you,Linda for that!!

What followed was arguably the best interaction that I've ever had with someone since I started this as Lee Smith talked to Fred and I for 15 minutes and signed everything that we had.
We talked about his days as a Cub,pitching at Wrigley Field and most of all the Hall of Fame and what he thinks has been held against him by the voters along with his feelings on the Veterans Committee,where his candidacy will be considered next.
Lee Smith has the third most saves of all time (A few players below him have less) and was the last of the old school closers that pitched more than one inning to get a save.
Smith should be in on those facts alone...
It was fifteen minutes of old school baseball talk with as Fred called him "a classic baseball man".
It's times like these that make me glad that I do this often crazy hobby...

I then watched warmups for Richmond and got some guys finished with just two other graphers.
I gained a nice addition in former major league outfielder Jerry Sands,who signed three cards and got to talk for a while with one of my favorites in Richmond pitching coach Steve Kline,who not only is a good guy,but one of the most hilarious people around!
The player that I had the most cards was Sam Coonrod,a pitcher in the system that I just never seemed to get in various visits.
Coonrod never visited Hagerstown with Augusta,wasn't with Richmond on one of their Harrisburg visits last season and I couldn't make the other.
Add to the stack of team set cards that he is in two Bowman sets and I had plenty.
I was hoping for two-his SAL prospect card with Augusta and his 2016 Richmond card.
I settled for one...

I begged off early with the heat and the 90 minute drive home after working all night,I was worn out.
It was in the second inning and I knew if I had stuck around longer,I would have stuck it out and gotten the rest of my stuff signed.
Instead,I did the smart thing for once and took Cherie home.
Once I got there,Ryan had written me and said he wanted to see me for Father's Day,which was very nice.
As I waited for Ryan,Rachel gave me an ice cream cake for Fathers Day,which was very nice.
I'm eating better (38 pounds down!),so I had just a small piece before Ryan's visit,which was very nice and welcomed.
Ryan was nice enough to get me an Amazon gift card,which I'm sure will be used someday soon!!
Finally,I went to bed,collapsing and sleeping from 7pm to 8am (with one small break in between) to complete a long day..

A better Father's Day,I cannot remember and one more thanks to Fred and Linda Landucci for the brunch,my children for visiting with me,the lovely Cherie for coming with me to Harrisburg and Lee Smith for talking baseball.

The schedule looks like this (breaking news permitting)-another cleaning out the inbox,the NBA draft (Cleveland doesn't have a pick unless they make a deal Hmmmm),the Devils picking first in the NHL draft and something else from the archives of my past....