Sunday, December 10, 2017

Boxing Challenge-Lomachenko Dominates Rigondeaux

Huge weekend in the boxing challenge and since I was in Pittsburgh for the Steel City Comic Con, I have yet to catch on everything as of this writing, but I did see the biggest card of the weekend from Top Rank on ESPN with the anticipated first ever meeting of two double Olympic gold medal winners as Vasyl Lomachenko defended his WBO junior lightweight title against Guillermo Rigondeaux.

Sadly, the bout didn't live up to its hype as Lomachenko dominated every round against Rigondeaux and left the reluctant Cuban to retire on his stool at the end of the sixth round with an injured hand.
Now, it is tremendously difficult to fight through a hand injury and I'm not attempting to diminish the injury at all, but it's the difference between the warrior and just a fighter and when it was time to determine what was in the tank for Rigondeaux when the rubber hit the road, he chose to quit.
No knockdowns scored and what wasn't expected to be a war, but it was even more disappointing than expected.
I'm not sure what Rigondeaux has in his future, but Lomachenko doesn't appear to have any challenges at 130 unless he wants to collect belts and even then I don't think those are true challenges,simply exercises in collecting.
Lomachenko may have to move to 135 for potential fights against Jorge Linares or Mikey Garcia to face any sort of competitive opponent.

The co-feature promising junior lightweight prospect Christopher Diaz blow out Bryant Cruz in three impressive rounds as he scored knockdowns in every round.
Diaz may not be ready for Lomachenko soon, but he might be the fighter that takes over the division when Lomachenko moves to 135.

On FS1 from the PBC on Friday, former light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal had not looked good of late and entered what he claimed to be his final fight against Ahmed Elbali, who had looked very impressive as he had worked his way through his early tests.
I thought Pascal was ripe for being the first name on Elbali's resume and early on it looked to be the case.
However, Pascal drained the gas from Elbali's tank and stopped an exhausted Elbali in the sixth round.
Let's see after such a big win if Pascal truly is able to walk away.

On HBO, a three bout card from Las Vegas saw the junior lightweights featured.
The main event saw the end of the exciting career of the only fighter to defeat Vasyl Lomachenko as Orlando Salido was stopped by Miguel Roman in the 9th round of an excellent fight.
I had Roman slightly ahead entering round nine, mainly on the basis of knockdowns scored in the fourth and eighth round before closing the show in the ninth.
Glad to see Salido go out before he gets seriously hurt and going out in a good fight instead of one in which he was badly overmatched.

We saw a Hamburglar arrival as Kenichi Ogawa won the vacant IBF title by a split decision over Tevin Farmer.
This was a robbery as I had Farmer a 117-111 winner and I fail to see how anyone could see Ogawa a winner in any way.
I would not be surprised to see the IBF mandate an immediate rematch due to the decision.

Francisco Vargas won the opener by a unanimous technical decision in the tenth round when a head butt split the ear IN HALF (YES!) of Stephen Smith in round ten..
I've been around boxing a long time-I've never seen an injury like that!
If you didn't see this and have a weak stomach, don't look this up!
I had Vargas a 97-93 winner.

Boxing challenge points
R.L: One point for Lomachenko and Roman wins
TRS:Two points for Lomachenko win/KO, One point Cruz win

Total Standings TRS leads:188-171

I'll have to watch the other three bouts on youtube later this week and I'll add them to Wednesday morning's Jeff Horn bout for that Challenge recap!
 


Friday, December 8, 2017

New Sheriff Dorsey Cuts Kenny Britt!

The Cleveland Browns announced the hiring of former Kansas City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey to the same position today and it didn't take long for Dorsey to make his presence felt in his new role as he sliced Sashi Brown's biggest failure in free agency off the roster as the Browns released Kenny Britt after just twelve unproductive games.

I plan on a larger piece on the Dorsey hire later this week, but the move to quickly dispose of the divisive Britt showed that Dorsey has been watching this team and has some thoughts on just what he has in mind in how to improve the franchise under his guidance.
Britt was a surprising sign by the Browns coming off his career year in 2016 with the Rams where he barely topped 1,000 yards and the team was rumored to have been warned about him by Gregg Williams that Britt was difficult to deal with.

Signed to a four-year deal for over thirty-two million dollars, Britt struggled with drops. knee injuries and a general lack of effort that brought to mind another Browns receiving bust of the past to mind in Dwayne Bowe.
The 29 year old finished his Cleveland career with just 18 catches for 233 yards and two touchdowns and might be best remembered for the towel that he kept over his head constantly as he sat on the bench or one might say that he threw in as far as effort goes as soon as he signed his fat contract.

I questioned the signing of Britt from the start as I wondered about giving a large contract to a player that had a track record of knee injuries, laziness,off the field problems and Britt managed to stay out of legal problems off the field, although he did miss curfew when the Browns visited Houston.
Britt's tenure proved to be a complete waste of time, which is much like the Sashi Brown tenure in a nutshell in itself.

As for John Dorsey, who I'll write more about next week, he immediately establishes that he isn't going tolerate mistakes and will be willing to cut losses no matter who they are as he attempts to use the current "in" phrase "Culture Change".
There are few places that need more change than the Cleveland Browns.
Kenny Britt was a good place to begin.




Boxing Challenge

Time is very short for me and I want to use it to write about John Dorsey being hired by the Browns at GM, so for this boxing challenge, I'm just going to go with the fights and predictions for this weekend.
I selected one fight from a PBC Friday card and a next Wednesday Fight from Australia on ESPN as well.
I lead Ramon Malpica 185-169.

Light Heavyweights. 10 Rds.
Jean Pascal vs Ahmed Elbali
Both:Elbali Unanimous Decision

WBO Junior Lightweight Title.12 Rds
Vasyl Lomachenko vs Guillermo Rigondeaux
R.L; Lomachenko Unanimous Decision
TRS: Lomachenko KO 10

Jr.Lightweights.10 Rds
Christopher Diaz vs Bryant Cruz
R.L.: Cruz Unanimous Decision
TRS: Diaz Unanimous Decision

Jr.Lightweights. 10 Rds
Orlando Salido vs Mickey Roman
R.L.: Roman Unanimous Decision
TRS: Salido Unanimous Decision

Vacant IBF Jr.Lightweight Title. 12 Rds
Tevin Farmer vs Kenichi Ogawa
R.L: Farmer KO 8
TRS: Farmer Unanimous Decision

Jr.Lightweights. 10 Rds
Francisco Vargas vs Stephen Smith
Both: Smith Unanimous Decision

Lightweights.10 Rds
Denis Shafikov vs Rene Alvarado
R.L; Alvarado Unanimous Decision
TRS: Shafikov Unanimous Decision

IBF Super Middleweight Title. 12 Rds
James DeGale vs Caleb Truax
R.L: DeGale KO 8
TRS: DeGale KO 6

IBF Featherweight Title 12 Rds
Lee Selby vs Eduardo Ramirez
R.L: Ramirez Unanimous Decision
TRS: Selby Unanimous Decision

WBO Welterweight Title. 12 Rds
Jeff Horn vs Gary Corcoran
R.L: Horn Unanimous Decision
TRS: Horn KO 8

Browns fire Sashi Brown, Keep Hue Jackson

Photo Credit: John Kuntz: Cleveland Plain Dealer
The Cleveland Browns made my Thursday but raised a few questions on a day where they could have made at least a little public relations, if not personnel advancement.
Sashi Brown was fired from his role as head of football operations, but Hue Jackson will return as head coach for the 2018 season.

Hue Jackson's hiring was applauded by me, but he has been a disappointment in Cleveland.
Odd play calls,strange personnel decisions, and awful clock management have marked Jackson's two years.
I can understand giving Jackson another year since his roster has been so weak, but his performance has been so bad, I could see firing him as well.
Jackson will likely have a short leash in 2018.

The firing of Sashi Brown was one that I strongly agree with.
Brown was never qualified to run a football personnel department and the various maneuvering that has resulted in just one win in two years can mostly be laid at his feet.
Brown's rigid decision to stick to a plan even when given opportunities to keep players outside his box (notably Mitchell Schwartz and Terrelle Pryor) in free agency, signings of players such as Kenny Britt to large guaranteed contracts and his questionable use of numbers to evaluate college talent sent the Browns careening deeper down a hole that was deep to start with.

I was not in favor of Sashi Brown being hired from day one and not because I was against his plan.
Teams in all sports have executed plans that saw teams tear franchises down to the floorboards and attempt to build them back up and Brown shouldn't be ridiculed for that.
What he should be was for the lack of talent that he selected to make his plan work.
Other Browns regimes have mastered the trade down method as they attempted to emulate the building plans of the New England Patriots among so many, but Brown took it to an extreme, passing on elite level talent in order to select quantities of mid-level talent.
Many Browns slaughter Brown for the trades that saw the team bypass Carson Wentz in 2016 and DeShaun Watson in 2017 and rightfully so, but there are other mistakes that show the limitations of Brown's evaluation of talent.
The Browns had tons of cap space and yes, Joe Haden and Demario Davis were overpaid for their production, but both would have helped this team and to give them away (Haden released, Davis traded for Calvin Pryor, who eventually was released) for nothing when the team could have afforded them was nonsensical.

I generally don't destroy teams for passing one guy for another, mainly because positional need does come into play and if you need a cornerback, it's hard to criticize years later for not taking a tackle, but the exception to that rule is when you miss on a player that turns out to be a star at a position that you chose another player over that player.
An example of this was when Brown's front office selected in the first round, wide receiver Baylor's Corey Coleman, who has struggled with drops and staying healthy over Ohio State's Michael Thomas, who has become a star in his two years in New Orleans after the Saints being a second-round selection.
That isn't excusable because that comes down to talent evaluation and that is where the vaunted 'analytics' came up short.
It wasn't the battle plan, it was the generals executing that battle plan.
Brown's defenders claim that his drafts were so strong because so many players are on the team, but keep in mind they are a one win in a two-year team.
Only Emanuel Ogbah and Joe Schobert have shown anything more than average production from the 2016 draft and the 2017 draft has been better with Myles Garrett and the rare trade up for David Njoku, but even then the overdrafting of the tweener Jabrill Peppers has been a miss thus far and missing on Desmond King in favor of Howard Wilson (Injured in camp, to be fair) loomed large in the 2017 draft.

In the end, Sashi Brown seemed to be a nice guy that was simply miscast in a job that he was unsuited for and never should have been hired for to begin with.
I'm not sure who I blame more- Brown for wanting the job or Jimmy Haslam for thinking Brown was the right man for the job.

Back later with the boxing challenge and some words on the man that will be replacing Sashi Brown in charge of football operations for the Browns.


Thursday, December 7, 2017

PPM

Editor's Note: I will have a detailed post tonight on the Browns firing of Sashi Brown from his personnel role.
This was prepared early, so look for that tonight or early tomorrow morning!.

The PPM comes out early this week with the Saints playing on Thursday night and with just one college game this weekend.

Since the schedule is light, I'll be adding a third NFL game until the bowls start.

Last Week: 10-3
Overall: 114-51

College
Army over Navy 23-20

NFL
Packers over Browns 16-13
Saints over Falcons 30-27

Games of the week
Rams over Eagles 27-20
Jaguars over Seahawks 23-20
Steelers over Ravens 20-17

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

David Cassidy

I have been meaning to work on this post since the news broke, but better late than never, I suppose as I write about David Cassidy's recent passing.

David Cassidy's most torrid portion of teen idol worship was a little before my time.
I was in pre-school in the years of 1970-73, but I do remember watching the Partridge Family in the years as part of ABC's Friday night block with the Brady Bunch until both shows were canceled in 1974.
In my elementary school childhood, David's younger half-brother Shaun was a much bigger teen star than David was, due to the Hardy Boys tv show and the singing (I use that word loosely) of "Da Doo Ron Ron" while David was the much better singer.

The Partridge Family's music was a bit "bubblegummy", but it was solid music that stands up well today and despite Cassidy's less than enthusiastic feelings towards the music during the show and for a while after.Cassidy came to terms with what was pretty solid music, if not socially meaningful or music with a hard edge, but yet made fans of his and the show pretty happy (get the pun there?)
Some of their songs still are recognized by people that were either not around or fans of the show.
I think a lot of Cassidy's problems with the show/audience/fame etc came from the fact that he was really just too old to play the role of a teenager.
When The Partridge Family hit the airwaves in 1970, Cassidy was 20 years old playing the role of someone 15/16.
When the show ended, Cassidy was 24 playing the role of a high school senior/college freshman and I'm sure that's not always easy on the psyche'.
Hollywood does this all the time and I'm not sure why that it is because if the show becomes a success and it becomes a multiple year program, the actor's age always catches up to them.
That alone might have been a huge problem being 23 and having 13 yrs screaming Keith at you everywhere you went!

Cassidy tried to do other things after Partridge Family to varying degrees of success, but to a certain degree was going to be thought of by his fan base that had grown older and moved on as "Keith Partridge."
I imagine that has to be hard for someone that is remembered as someone else, a someone that becomes even more distant as days go by.
I was a fan of the sitcom and I was amazed when I picked the first season of the show out at a Ohio Wal-Mart to give us something to watch at our hotel (I know it wasn't THAT long ago but was still before the streaming option) and Rachel hooked onto the Partridge Family so quickly-to the point of being crazy about it and ranking it as her favorite show of all time!
I liked it, but I didn't like it THAT much!
Still, I've always thought it was really cool that she cared about it that much and made it that much meaningful when I was able to take her to meet Shirley Jones earlier this year.

David Cassidy might have felt that his teen idol/Partridge Family run was a time wasted to a certain degree, but there are a whole bunch of people in their early to mid 50's now (children of the 70's) that think far differently about his time in the spotlight.
Not a bad way to be thought of.

Monday, December 4, 2017

I'm OK with the decision vs not OK with it

A few words on the decision by the college football committee.

I understood both sides of the decision and wouldn't have been furious either way.
Ohio State didn't want to lean on the importance of conference titles last year when Penn State won the Big 10 and now they do.
Cannot have it both ways Buckeye fans.

On the other hand, Alabama hasn't exactly solidified their case either when Nick Saban said last season "You should have to win your conference".
Cannot have it both ways Tide fans.

Here's my take: the committee changes the unofficial requirements to enter the tourney every year to fit their own narrative.
Last year, that worked for Ohio State, this year it worked against them, but neither case featured a consistent and cogent manner of deciding who should have gotten the spot by a defined set of guidelines.
This isn't from an OSU perspective, maybe if they hadn't given up 55 points to a team that lost in the same stadium two weeks later to Purdue, none of this would have mattered, but still one year conference titles matter, the next they don't, one year a tough non-conference game or two matters, the next wins over Mercer matters more.
It's just not consistent.,

Speaking of consistency, when is someone going to stand up against the SEC and their playing eight conference games rather than nine so they can play the Mercer's of the world later in the season.
The other four conferences are playing nine and are being penalized for improved scheduling rather than cash grabs.
Yesterday's decision will not be an immediate change, but it could change how teams schedule non-conference matchups.
The Big 10 has almost mandated that their teams not play 1-AA teams (which was why Youngstown State disappeared off the OSU schedule in 2015 after being scheduled to be the Buckeye opener) in order to boost the strength of schedule.
I'm actually not against 1-AA teams, but they need to be played in the first three weeks of the season and only once.
SEC teams since they play four non-con's can play one good team and then two or three teams from group of five or I-AA,so if it comes down to wins and losses-the SEC has a significant advantage.

I think that there are far too many persons of influence on the committee (Full Disclosure Ohio State's AD Gene Smith is on the committee) and too many people involved even with the standard recusal when your school comes up.
My solution? No one on the committee that draws a check from a school, conference or television network.
We can come up with a strong committee of former players, coaches, athletic directors and yes media members that have no dog in this fight to come up with a fair decision to avoid all conflicts.
To me, this makes sense and eliminates any questions of conflict of interest.

Do I think the committee made a mistake here?
No, and I would have said the same had Ohio State gotten in.
Both sides had very credible arguments and I'm sure not going complain now, although Nick Saban was far from gracious in taking shots at Ohio State before the decision (I get that, part of campaigning) and after (Was less than sportsmanlike after his team won the final berth) were less than needed.
I'm more than fine with Alabama.
Honestly, I think they are a little better than Ohio State (especially with J.T. Barrett at quarterback) and should make a better show vs Clemson, but there is plenty wrong with this process and there needs to be some repair.

I don't think this is a totally bad thing for one reason-the road to eight teams, which is the correct number, began yesterday with the inclusion of the second SEC team.
The road starts now...