Saturday, October 31, 2020

Boxing Challenge: Munguia cuts down Johnson

Boxing never fails to show you something that you haven't seen before and the Golden Boy card on DAZN from their home base in Indio, California gave another new memory in the main event as Jaime Munguia stopped Tureano Johnson at the end of the sixth round.

Sounds pretty average, until you see the uppercut that Munguia landed on Johnson that tore a piece of his lip off and sent it flying outside the ring.
It literally left the ring and calling what Johnson was left with on his lip a cut is being very conservative as it took a chunk out of it.
While any loss is an unfortunate one, Johnson was just starting to gain some ground on Munguia before the ending of the fight and I would doubt that we would see a rematch.
I had Munguia slightly ahead (58-56) after six, but I think Johnson may have made the final half of the fight an interesting one.
Instead, I'll remember for that missing gouge out of Johnson's lip..

The co-feature saw a dazzling effort from slick boxing Rashidi Ellis in winning a unanimous decision over fellow unbeaten Alexis Rocha.
This was the fight that I was most looking forward to on this card, not for the action but for two talented fighters with a strong step to a higher level and I went back and forth on which fighter to select.
I chose the stronger Rocha over the faster Ellis and regretted it as Rocha was far too slow to deal with Ellis's quickness.
I had Ellis a 116-112 winner in the biggest win of his career and I'm willing to bet that few will want to face in a future eliminator.

Elwin Soto defended his WBO light flyweight title over Carlos Buitrago with a unanimous decision that seemed to be closer in my eyes than on the judges scorecards.
Soto won on one card 119-109 and 117-111 on another with the final card of 115-113 being the same as my card.

Ramon Malpica picked up six points to my three and continues his late season rally in cutting my lead to 140-135.

Boxing Challenge

   The boxing Saturday is a huge one with three cards on three platforms.

    The afternoon begins from the U.K. with a key heavyweight battle between former unified cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk in his first test at heavyweight against veteran gatekeeper Derek Chisora.

Usyk, who is the mandatory contender in the WBO ratings, has fought once as a heavyweight, stopping journeyman Chazz Witherspoon and will be tested against Chisora, a respected gatekeeper who has fought many top heavyweights including Vitali Klitschko. Tyson Fury twice, Dillian Whyte twice, David Haye, and Kubrat Pulev.

What will be interesting in this fight is how effective the highly skilled Usyk will be against a lesser skilled,but far larger man in Chisora, who has won five of his last six with the loss coming against Dillian Whyte, who knocked Chisora out in the eleventh round with one punch in a fight that Chisora was leading.
If the fight is close, could the size of Chisora wear Usyk down for what would be a huge upset?

The co-feature is an IBF lightweight eliminator between former IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby against Australia's George Kambosos with the winner earning a title shot eventually against Teofimo Lopez in a fight that few will be excited about.
Selby has won both of his fights at lightweight with one over former champion Ricky Burns since losing his title to Josh Warrington in 2018, while Kambosos defeated another former champion in Mickey Bey in his last fight last December.

In Russia, the man that Oleksandr Usyk defeated to unify all four cruiserweight titles and win the World Boxing Super Series returns for the first time as Murat Gassiev will take on Sefer Seferi.
Gassiev has been inactive for over two years due to injuries and the pandemic and will be making his heavyweight debut.
Seferi is best remembered for being the first fighter to face Tyson Fury after Fury returned to the ring following his hiatus from boxing in a fourth round loss that resembled a pro wrestling show more than a boxing match.

ESPN+ holds court with the top fighter of the weekend with the Las Vegas debut of  "The Monster" Naoya Inoue, who will be defending his WBA and IBF bantamweight championships against Australia's Jason Moloney.
Inoue makes his return from his terrific war with Nonito Donaire in the WBSS finals last November and with his track record of spectacular early knockouts, I wouldn't venture too far away from the screen once the first bell rings.
Moloney is a talented back end of the top ten contender, but suffered his only loss in the WBSS first round when he lost a split decision for the IBF bantamweight title to then-champion Emmanuel Rodriguez, the same Rodriguez that Inoue steamed through in two rounds in the semi-finals with Inoue taking that title.

PBC is back with another pay per view card that really should be based on Showtime, but unlike the recent card with the Charlo brothers which had a solid undercard, tonight's card from San Antonio Texas is saddled with an undercard that could be best described as non-descript.

The main event is one that various minds have opinions that range from mismatch to intriguing as Gervonta Davis faces Leo Santa Cruz with the WBA's junior lightweight championship held by Santa Cruz and Davis's minor WBA belt at stake.
The odd two weight class title event was insurance against Davis not being able to make 130 pounds (Davis has been known to have weight difficulties) and a title could still at risk, but Davis surprisingly made 130 pound and all is well with the main event.

I wouldn't say that the main event is a mismatch in talent, but Davis is a much larger and stronger man having spent his career at 130/135, while Santa Cruz has usually fought at 122 and 126 pounds and looked very pedestrian in winning the vacant WBA junior lightweight title over journeyman Miguel Flores.
Santa Cruz lacked power against Flores, who isn't in the same league as Davis, and doesn't seem to have the power to force Davis to respect him, so he'll have to hope that he can land punches in bunches and try to win through accumulation.
I'm interested in the fight, but I'm not sure it's going to be competitive and I'm really sure that it's not a main event worth eighty dollars on PPV...

The undercard is pretty dreadful with nothing especially exciting and I'm trying to be kind in saying that.

Mario Barrios defends a minor title against "Cowboy" Ryan Karl in a junior welterweight battle.
Barrios won a controversial decision over Batyr Akhmedov and took a major pounding in doing so, which makes me wonder what Barrios will bring into this fight.
Fortunately, Barrios is matched very lightly with local product Karl, who has fought few fighters above the average level, and has been stopped twice.
Karl has appeared several times on PBC television over the years on undercards and the best comparison could be to old school pro wrestling when a grappler was shown to be above the usual suspects on television by giving him a few wins before feeding him to a new wrestler that would help build that person's credibility.
If this was for a "real" title, I'd be much more angry about such a mismatch, but since the title can be discarded and Barrios could use a soft touch after the Akhmedov fight, I can see why it was made- I just wouldn't be thrilled with it as the co-feature on an eighty dollar PPV.

Regis Prograis makes his PBC debut against veteran Juan Heraldez in what is a comeback fight after his first career loss to Josh Taylor.
Prograis isn't matched too tough against Heraldez, who is a cut or two below Prograis although if it was Heraldez against Ryan Karl, I'd make Heraldez a slight favorite.
Still this is a tuneup that should help Prograis after time away from the ring and hopefully he'll face better competition next time.

The opener is an IBF lightweight eliminator and might be the best fight of the night as Jessie Magdaleno is pitted against Isaac Cruz.
The veteran Magdaleno might be nearing the end of the line after a highlight reel knockout loss to Teofimo Lopez last year, but did rebound with a win over prospect Austin Dulay.
Cruz earned his biggest win in his last fight with a majority decision win over Thomas Mattice.
This is your typical crossroads fight, although I wouldn't want to see either against Teofimo Lopez anytime soon.

In the boxing challenge, Ramon Malpica continues his late season rally and has cut my lead to 140-135.

Heavyweights 12 Rds
Oleksandr Usyk vs Derek Chisora
R.L: Usyk KO 8
TRS: Usyk Unanimous Decision

Lightweights. 12 Rds
Lee Selby vs George Kambosos
Both: Selby Unanimous Decision

Heavyweights 12 Rds
Murat Gassiev vs Sefer Seferi
R.L: Gassiev Unanimous Decision
TRS: Gassiev KO 7

WBA/IBF Bantamweight Titles. 12 Rds
Naoya Inoue vs Jason Moloney
R.L: Inoue KO 5
TRS: Inoue KO 2

WBA Jr.Lightweight Title. 12 Rds
Leo Santa Cruz vs Gervonta Davis
R.L: Davis Unanimous Decision
TRS: Davis KO 9

Junior Welterweights. 12 Rds
Mario Barrios vs Ryan Karl
R.L: Barrios KO 8
TRS: Barrios KO 7

Junior Welterweights. 10 Rds
Regis Prograis vs Juan Heraldez
R.L: Prograis KO 4
TRS: Prograis KO 6

Lightweights. 12 Rds
Diego Magdaleno vs Isaac Cruz
R.L: Magdaleno Unanimous Decision
TRS: Cruz Unanimous Decision








Friday, October 30, 2020

PPM

What seems to be a full week of football in the PPM, always has the chance to be less so with the Covid-19 pandemic.

I don't really believe anyone is actually playing until I see them warming up on the field!

Last Week: 10-2
Overall: 42-16

College
Ohio State over Penn State 35-21
Boise State over Air Force 40-24
Oklahoma over Texas Tech 45-27
Houston over Central Florida 32-28
LSU over Auburn 35-31

Game of the Week
Oklahoma State over Texas 38-37

NFL
Raiders over Browns 27-17
Saints over Bears 31-21

Game of the Week
Ravens over Steelers 23-17


Boxing Challenge

    It's a huge boxing weekend on tap with four cards on Friday and Saturday over three different providers.

I'm going to try to do a preview of the Saturday events, but I will start with a very good card on Friday from DAZN and Golden Boy with the return of former WBO junior middleweight champion Jaime Munguia from Indio, California.

Munguia, who was very impressive in his title win over Sadam Ali and his first defense over Liam Smith, began to struggle in his last few fights at 154 and was the beneficiary of a decision that he didn't deserve against Dennis Hogan before moving to 160 with a fourth round stoppage of Spike O'Sullivan.
Munguia will be facing rugged veteran Tureano Johnson, who wore down Golden Boy's middleweight prospect Jason Quigley and surprised many with a ninth round knockout last summer.
Johnson took a pounding in his other fights against top competition against Sergey Dereyvanchenko and Curtis Stevens and his straight-forward style looks to be custom made for the taller Munguia.
This one looks to be interesting, but it'll be a disappointment if Munguia doesn't shine.

The co-feature is one that I am looking forward to as highly touted prospect Alexis Rocha puts his undefeated record on the line against fellow unbeaten Rashidi Ellis.
Ellis holds two wins over Eddie Gomez, who at one time was a highly regarded prospect, while Rocha's last two victories came over veteran Brad Solomon and talented Roberto Valenzuela, so this one will be a classic crossroads fight with the winner likely moving into a fight against a top ten fighter in 2021 and the loser taking a small step back.
Ellis is the smoother boxer, while Rocha seems to have a edge as the bigger puncher with Ellis's first round knockout of Gomez in their first fight aside.
This one may or not be the most exciting fight on the card, but it could prove to be the most competitive.

The remaining challenge fight is a world title event with WBO junior flyweight champion Elwin Soto defending against Carlos Buitrago of Argentina.
Soto won his title in a great fight last year when he came from slightly behind to stop Angel Acosta in the final round and has defended his title once since.
Acosta has moved to flyweight since losing to Soto and Golden Boy may want to match the two in a rematch at flyweight eventually, but Soto will stay at 108 pounds for now.
Buitrago has lost in two previous title shots against Acosta and Hiroto Kyoguchi and holds a loss to McWilliams Arroyo, so he's used to fighting the best in his division, if not defeating them.

In the boxing challenge, I lead a charging Ramon Malpica 137-129 and Ramon will have lots of chances to cut into the lead further with these three fights and eight on Saturday!
I'll be trying to post a preview of the Saturday fights later today...

Middleweights. 12 Rds
Jaime Munguia vs Tureano Johnson
R.L: Munguia KO 8
TRS: Munguia KO 10

Welterweights. 10 Rds
Alexis Rocha vs Rashidi Ellis
R.L: Ellis Unanimous Decision
TRS; Rocha Unanimous Decision

WBO Lt Flyweight Title. 12 Rds
Elwin Soto vs Carlos Buitrago
R.L:  Soto Unanimous Decision
TRS: Soto KO 9






Thursday, October 29, 2020

I Tell Ya' Herbie

    It's been a while since I've written an "I Tell Ya' Herbie", which I started last year as a weekly look at college football that tries to hit notes that don't involve the Ohio State Buckeyes.

I haven't been excited about college football as much since half of the game was on hiatus from their decision on how to deal with Covid-19.

Still, the time is right with all the conferences playing now, so I'll be doing "Herbie" weekly or until things shut down again.


I Tell Ya' Herbie:
                            I think most fans (that aren't fans of Penn State) had to be happy for Indiana's one-point win over Penn State in overtime on the two-point conversion shown above, but I also have to say that in real-time, Michael Penix's dive for the pylon looked like a score.
However, on the replay and in photos, Penix looks to this eye to be an eyelash short.
It's always nice (except when it's your team taking the hit) to see the bottom dwellers of a league KO a blue blood and Indiana has always been one of the weak sisters in the league.
Tom Allen seems to be the type of coach that can succeed at Indiana, a school that doesn't have silly expectations and a fanbase that would be satisfied with a minor bowl bid every season.

I Tell Ya' Herbie: 
                            I'm not saying that group of five unbeaten's Cincinnati and BYU can be competitive with Clemson, Alabama, or Ohio State, but I will say this- If the Big 12 champion comes out with two losses, I would rather see one of those two teams earn a spot in the playoff than a one-loss runner up from any other conference.
The Bearcats would seem to have the edge as far as their total schedule being tougher, but should BYU run the table, they might have the best victory as they will have to play Boise State on the road at the home of the blue turf.

I Tell Ya' Herbie:
                             Going into this season, I figured the Texas Longhorns would be improved and I figured even if they weren't substantially improved that Tom Herman would have one more year to stem the tide in Austin.
Now I'm not so sure.
Texas has played some exciting games, but have lost to TCU and Oklahoma and should have lost to Texas Tech.
The Longhorns face undefeated Oklahoma State in Stillwater this Saturday in a game that could be Herman's last chance to deliver a signature victory and perhaps cool off a seat that has become increasingly hot this season.

I Tell Ya' Herbie:
                            More from Austin as the Longhorns lost 2022 quarterback commitment Quinn Ewers after Ewers decided to re-open his recruitment.
Ewers isn't only the top rated quarterback in that class, he is rated by some as the top overall player period in that class.
I'm not a recruiting guru by any standards, but it is usually a good indicator of a coaches status when highly rated recruits start changing commitments.
Keep an eye on more Texas commitments as the Tom Herman future watch continues.

I Tell Ya' Herbie:
                            I was always a bit dubious of Maryland's hire of Mike Locksley and the answer usually came back with "Locksley knows and will be able to recruit the DMV".
Some also answered that his time with Nick Saban would help him learn after a disastrous tenure at New Mexico that saw the Lobos struggle on the field (2-26) and off as well.
Well, Maryland has won one game (over Rutgers) since winning their first two games in 2019 and a 43-3 embarrassment against Northwestern in their opener hasn't shown growth in the program.
Maryland does have some hope with a good recruiting showing for 2021 with several top-notch area players in the fold, which was a main reason for Locksley in getting the Terrapins job.
Should Maryland fail around this season and heaven forbid lose to Rutgers, the one school that they cannot afford to lose to, will Locksley be able to retain those players?

I Tell Ya' Herbie:
                            What's the game that I'm looking forward to seeing that I don't have a rooting interest in?
November 17th in the Sun Belt between Appalachian State and Coastal Carolina in the battle between the traditional heavyweight Mountaineers and the upstart Chanticleers that should decide the conference champion.
Not only are both teams entertaining, but should Coastal Carolina enter that game undefeated (Appalachian State has a road loss to Marshall), they could have be a dark horse for the Group of Five slot in the New Years Day Bowls, should Cincinnati suffer a loss or by an upset earn a spot in the playoff.






Monday, October 26, 2020

A Tale of Two Bakers- Browns Rally Past Bengals 37-34

   Baker Mayfield threw five touchdown passes in the final three quarters and hit rookie Donovan Peoples-Jones with a 24-yard pass in the end zone with eleven seconds remaining to lift the Cleveland Browns to a 37-34 victory.

Mayfield finished the afternoon with 297 yards passing with those five touchdowns to four different receivers. 


Rookie tight end Harrison Bryant caught two of those scoring passes and Rashard Higgins grabbed all six of the passes thrown to him for 110 yards.

Kareem Hunt led the Browns in rushing with 76 yards in the victory that boosted the Browns to 5-2 on the season and in playoff contention.

Cleveland will host the 3-3 Las Vegas Raiders next Sunday before their bye week

Brownie Bits

1) Before I start on the win, the Browns announced on Monday that Odell Beckham tore his ACL while attempting a tackle on Baker Mayfield's first-quarter interception and will miss the rest of the season.
I know how it seems like Baker Mayfield has been chemistry with other receivers and it may be so to an extent, but I also know this- this team doesn't have a deep threat on the roster without Odell Beckham other than the still-raw Donovan Peoples-Jones and as opponents realize this, the underneath throws to Jarvis Landry and Rashard Higgins will be contested more and more.

2) On to Baker Mayfield, who missed on his first five passes, his first was intercepted on the play that ended the season of his star receiver, and generally looked terrible in the first quarter.
As people such as myself were going crazy with his poor play (although I did criticize him on Twitter, I didn't call for Case Keenum as many did), the Browns started their first possession in the second quarter and...

3) That Baker Mayfield left the building, replaced by this other guy that resembled the player that finished the 2018 season.
The quarterback that arrived would complete every pass that he threw for the remainder of the game with the exception of one clock spike and would throw the game-winner with seconds to play.
That Mayfield played with confidence, put the ball on a line, didn't hang his receivers out to dry, and generally looked like a quality NFL quarterback.
Kevin Stefanski didn't ask him to make long downfield throws and maybe that could be the key to success for Mayfield, but I don't think you could ask for more than what the Browns got from their quarterback in the final three quarters.

4) All of that said, it's not unfair to say we still need to see a body of work.
Baker Mayfield's career passing rating against the Cincinnati Bengals is 111 and in all other games, his rating is 83.
That doesn't' mean that it will remain that way, it just states what has been to this point.
The schedule plays to his advantage with an erratic (much like the Browns) Raiders team next before games against weak sisters Houston and Philadelphia with all three games in Cleveland followed by a visit to one win Jacksonville.
It's not out of the question the Browns could be 9-2 or at least 8-3 going into Tennessee without a true test other than maybe the Raiders and we won't know that much more about Baker Mayfield's future than we do today.

5) Rashard Higgins, the most popular player in Cleveland, steps in and finishes with over 100 yards with two of the biggest catches of the game.
Higgins digging a low pass from the grass only gained eight yards, but Higgins managing to get out of bounds was a huge play in saving time and his following catch for thirty more yards put the Browns in a spot to throw more than a Hail Mary to score.
I recently wrote that everyone loves Higgins except several coaching staffs who try to avoid using him at every turn.
Perhaps now, Higgins can have some of the respect he deserves.

6) Donovan Peoples-Jones did make an excellent catch on the game-winning touchdown, but there was a little bit of luck involved as the ball literally passed between the arms of Bengals defensive back Darius Phillips.
I'll take the luck this time, but Peoples-Jones, for now at least, is the major deep threat on the roster and he'll need to continue his development.

7) Austin Hooper missed the game after an emergency appendectomy on Friday,  but the Browns did not miss him as much as they could have with Harrison Bryant catching two touchdowns and David Njoku catching another.
I really like Bryant and the Browns might have found themselves an excellent tight end.

8) Myles Garrett continued his display of dominance with two sacks, a forced fumble on Joe Burrow, and has sacked a quarterback in six straight games, which established a team record.

9) Denzel Ward had an excellent game covering A.J. Green, but the safety position is going to kill this team (like it has done several times) if Andrew Berry doesn't step up and get someone that can play safety.
Eric Reid is a Pro Bowl level safety that is available for nothing but money and the Browns would be well served to give him a call.

10) The Browns still almost lost this game after all that- Watch the Hail Mary and after the tip drill started, the ball was going straight to A.J. Green but bounced off the chest of Sheldrick Redwine.
For all of the excitement of this game, it almost added even more.

11) The injuries are piling up on offense.
Their top running back is gone as is the only deep threat in the passing game and although the schedule will help with the next four games against one team at .500, can you rely on Baker Mayfield to outscore all of these teams without his two biggest weapons?
We shall see.

12) And can you outscore EVERYONE, even the bad teams?
Let alone the good ones?
It makes me think that although this team has improved, can they take the step forward by beating all the teams they should and do it with all offense?

13) Winding up with this- I always remember Dick Vermeil, back when he coached the Eagles, discussing the Miracle in the Meadowlands and what he was thinking before the famous Herman Edwards recovery and touchdown.
Vermeil was thinking about the game, but what he said was his thoughts were about his program.
In 1978, the Eagles were in their third year under Vermeil and his thoughts were about the foundation of the Eagles being the domination of the New York Giants and how that was slipping away before that fumble.
The Steelers and Ravens have that feeling with the Browns- they will bully them, beat them, and even when they play them close that they will find a way to win and the Browns know it.
Perhaps Kevin Stefanski has begun the foundation of his program with the domination of the Cincinnati Bengals?



Sunday, October 25, 2020

Boxing Challenge: Lipinets, Clayton battle to Majority Draw

   Saturday night's PBC card from Showtime didn't appear to be one of their more glamorous offerings from the premium cable network and while it lacked huge names and anything resembling what DAZN televised on Friday night, they still delivered a decent night from their Covid-19 home of Uncasville, Connecticut.

In the main event, welterweights Sergey Lipinets and late replacement Custio Clayton battled to a majority decision draw for an interim IBF belt that was planned so long ago that at that time, the organization didn't know the status of their champion Errol Spence and Spence will fight in early December against Danny Garcia.

Hopefully, the majority draw and Spence's return will take this belt out of play because one of the few things that the IBF ( and the WBO for the most part) does well is that they usually stay out of the multiple titles in the same division garbage that the WBA and WBC do so often with their "titles".
This one wasn't filled with action, but there was enough to follow that it wasn't a boring fight either and Clayton credit as he stepped up well as a late replacement and in his first test after an amateur career that saw him fight at the Olympic level.
I had Clayton a 115-113 winner as did one of the judges, but have no problems with the majority draw in such a close fight.

The two undercard bouts featured prospects from the Floyd Mayweather camp with the evening ending in a mixed bag for the Money Team.
Junior lightweight Xavier Martinez survived an eighth round that saw veteran Claudio Marrero knock him down twice to win a unanimous decision.
I haven't watched this fight yet in its entirety (was on the way to the road office), but reading the reports of others Martinez deserved the close nod despite the knockdowns from Marrero, who continues to be a stern test as a crossroads fighters in the 126 and now 130 pound divisions.

I did see the first fight with junior welterweight Subriel Matias rebounding from his first pro loss with a stoppage of a surprisingly meek Malik Hawkins when the doctor ended the fight one second into the seventh round.
Matias is the young bomber that knocked out Maxim Dadashev and Dadashev passed away from his injuries shortly after the fight.
Matias lost his next fight after that and I wondered if Matias may have been scarred by the tragedy entering this match with Hawkins, but Matias walked through Hawkins' punches, ignored his jab and broke Hawkins down with a stoppage seeming to be inevitable.
For Matias, the win returns him to fighter to watch status and for Hawkins, this uncompetitive loss combined with his last fight with Darwin Price, where he was on his way to a loss before a knee injury to Price gave Hawkins the duke, marks him as more suspect than prospect. 

In the boxing challenge, Ramon Malpica scored three points to my two to cut my lead further at 137-129.


They are back! Buckeyes roll over Nebraska 52-17

  The Ohio State Buckeyes finally started their 2020 season in an eerily spooky near-empty Ohio Stadium, but slowly pulled away from the Nebraska Cornhuskers on their way to a 52-17 win in Columbus.

Justin Fields completed twenty of twenty-one passes for two touchdowns and 276 passing yards to go with his team-leading fifty-four rushing yards.
Garrett Wilson caught seven passes for 129 yards and a score to lead the skill players in the victory.
The 1-0 Buckeyes travel to State College and an angry bunch of Nittany Lions, who will be looking to even their record after giving what looked to be a sure victory away at Indiana in overtime.

Olentangy Offerings

1)  Can you be any better than 20 for 21?
Only if it's 21 of 21, but Justin Fields looked in mid-season form in this win.
It's only one game against a mid-level Big Ten team, but if this is the type of play that Ohio State fans are going to see from Justin Fields, it might be the best season ever from an OSU quarterback.

2) Fields showed a strong arm and nice touch on two different completions to Garrett Wilson and almost hit the perfect day as the one incompletion was on a Chris Olave pass in the end zone that was a little high.
Olave climbed the ladder and had the ball in his possession before being hit by a Nebraska safety and giving the ball up.
That is how close Fields came to 21 for 21.

3) Garrett Wilson was tremendous out of the slot and I'm not sure how opposition slot corners are going to deal with his combination of speed and strength. 
Wilson is going to improve with time (this was his first game moving inside to the slot position) and here is the problem for the opposing defenses- Wilson is going to be too fast to be covered by linebackers and perhaps too strong for slot corners, creating a nightmare in coverage for the opponent.
Good luck.

4) Chris Olave got his bell rung later in the game on a ball he caught and fumbled.
Ryan Day said he seemed fine after the game, so hopefully, Olave will be available for Penn State.
Olave finished his day with over one hundred yards on six catches, so he didn't take a backseat to Garrett Wilson in any stat other than touchdown receptions.

5) Nebraska was in this game for a while, but Ohio State showed their firepower when they ended the first half with a five-play drive for a touchdown, opened the second with an eight-play drive for another, and when Sevyn Banks vacuumed up a Husker fumble and raced fifty-five yards for another score, the game had moved from 17-14 to 38-14 in less than half a quarter of game time.

6) But the same defense occasionally struggled in the first half and I'm sure it will be a developing defense that will improve as the season moves on.
Ohio State did finish with three sacks against the very mobile Taylor Martinez, so there is room to grow there, but they did have issues with one of the eight thousand McCaffery offspring, who ripped off a 47-yard run and finished with ninety on the day.

7)  Ryan Day apologized after the game for not kneeling on the ball late in the game and the ensuing touchdown run by freshman quarterback Jack Miller.
Day is known for being friendly with Nebraska coach Scott Frost, so this may be trying to stay in good graces with someone he likes.
I doubt he'd worry about such things in their next game.

8) The running game will also need to pick the pace up.
Yes, the Buckeyes did rush for 161 Non-Fields yards and Master Teague's runs on one touchdown drive were powerful in between the tackles, but there is work to be done on the ground.

9) I was impressed by the garbage time carries by Steele Chambers, who carried four times for thirty-two yards.
Chambers ran once for a seventeen yard gain that was impressive and I'm hoping to see more from him.

10) Then there was the play of the day in the phenomenal touchdown catch from freshman Jaxon Smith-Njigba that is pictured above.
How the frosh pulled that pass down and managed to scrape the red of the end zone for a good catch astounds me.
The pass-catching talent in this freshman class is incredibly deep and while Justin Fields will not be around to reap the total benefits of these players as C.J.Stroud, Jack Miller, and 2021 incoming freshman Kyle McCord will, Fields will be on his share of big plays from these young men this season as well.

11) Penn State had a win over Indiana in their hands late in their contest and gave it away as noted above.
It's hard to blame Penn State's Devyn Ford for scoring a touchdown to boost a lead to eight points late in the game.
Players are taught to score when you can from the first game you play as a child, it is the coaches job to make sure the players know what to do in those situations- No matter how prepared you think they are!
Penn State is going to be ready for the Buckeyes as an 0-2 start in a shortened season is even larger than usual.
I'll write more about this in the return of I tell ya' Herbie later this week.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Boxing Challenge: Estrada, Gonzalez win to set rematch

DAZN's Friday night card with two titles at stake in the junior bantamweight division received quite a boost with the main event turning into a battle that won't be forgotten anytime soon as Juan Francisco Estrada retained his WBC title with an eleventh round stoppage of challenger Carlos Cuadras in Mexico City.

Cuadras started very quickly and raced to an early lead with a knockdown of Estrada in round three as the highlight of the initial rounds.
Estrada wasn't severely hurt, but the knockdown from a right uppercut and glancing left hook gave Cuadras hopes of ruining the expected Estrada-Roman Gonzalez fight early in 2021.
In the fifth round, Estrada began to turn the tide as Cuadras began to breathe through his mouth, throw fewer punches and those that were thrown were far wider than in the early rounds.
The technically sound Estrada connected with accurate shots to the head and to the body and slowly began to take more and more energy from Cuadras by the round to take a small lead.
Cuadras made a last stand by winning the tenth round, but Estrada closed the show in round eleven with two knockdowns that saw a courageous Cuadras exchange punches as best he could before a right hand swiveled the head of Cuadras and allow the referee to end the fight.
I had Estrada slightly ahead after ten rounds, 95-94 (6-4 with the Cuadras knockdown), and would have clinched a decision win after the eleventh, had Cuadras survived.

The other title fight saw the WBA version of the 115-pound division championship defended as Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez won a clear, but not easy unanimous decision over a determined Israel Gonzalez.
The taller Israel Gonzalez won the first two rounds on my card and was never hurt by Chocolatito, but also couldn't keep the champion's pressure slowed enough to make a claim thereafter other than winning the tenth round for my final card of 117-111 for the champion.
A solid victory for Roman Gonzalez in his first title defense after defeating Kal Yafai earlier this year and a unification match with Juan Francisco Estrada looks likely for early next season in what is one of the most anticipated fights in the game.
Gonzalez won a close unanimous decision over Estrada to defend his then-flyweight title in 2012 when Estrada was the first fighter to keep the fight close against Gonzalez, who was ranked at the time as one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world.

WBC flyweight champion Julio Cesar Martinez won a non-title fight by second-round knockout over Moises Calleros.
The fight was scheduled to be a title fight, but Calleros missed weight badly as a late replacement with the fight continuing as a non-title bout.
The extra weight didn't help any as Martinez dropped Calleros in the first round with a left hook and battered him into submission in the second round for the victory.

In the boxing challenge, Ramon Malpica and I each scored four points to move the total to 135-126 in my favor...

Friday, October 23, 2020

PPM

   Finally, the PPM will be welcoming a full college football schedule with the return of the Big Ten and Mountain West!

Last Week: 3-4
Overall: 32-14

College 
Ohio State over Nebraska 45-22
Boise State over Utah State 35-21
Houston over Navy 28-21
West Virginia over Texas Tech 45-28
LSU over South Carolina 34-31
North Carolina over N.C.State 30-20
Middle Tennessee State over Rice 24-19
Coastal Carolina over Georgia Southern 48-38


Game of the Week
Cincinnati over SMU 27-25

NFL
Browns over Bengals 27-20
Saints over Panthers 32-21

Game of the Week
Seahawks over Cardinals 35-34




Boxing Challenge

   The boxing weekend starts on Friday this week with a strong card from DAZN before Showtime takes over on Saturday with a slate that isn't quite as strong, but has some interesting matches as well.

DAZN hasn't exactly set the boxing world on fire with their few offerings since Covid-19 arrived, but Friday's card from Mexico City is a solid return with three world titles at stake before a miss at the weigh-in caused one to be shifted to a non-title affair.

The main event features Juan Francisco Estrada defending his WBC junior bantamweight title in a rematch from 2017 against Carlos Cuadras in what at that time was an eliminator for that title, then held by Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.
The first fight was decided by a tenth round knockdown scored by Estrada that made the difference on all three cards (114-113) at a time when Cuadras was the slight favorite after his stern challenge against the then-dominant Chocolatito Gonzalez.
The careers of both men diverged after that as Estrada split two fights with Rungvisai and now is considered for top ten pound for pound listing and Cuadras losing his next fight by decision to McWilliams Arroyo in a surprising loss with three wins against lesser competition following the Arroyo defeat.
This one is important to both men with Estrada risking a lucrative unification fight against Roman Gonzalez and Cuadras needing a strong showing at minimum to show that he is still competitive at the elite level of the sport.

The co-main event is the aforementioned Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez defending his WBA junior bantamweight title for the first time after his title win over Kal Yafai just before the beginning of Covid-19 in February against Israel Gonzalez.
Chocolatito's ninth-round knockout wins over Yafai not only gave him a world title, it returned him to fight fans thoughts of wanting to see him in big fights and a unification fight against Estrada, whom Gonzalez defeated via decision in a flyweight title defense in 2012, would be an anticipated fight for boxing fans.
Gonzalez will be a solid favorite against a fellow Gonzalez, who won a split decision in his last fight over former world title challenger Sho Ishida in Ishida's native Japan to earn this championship challenge.

The other scheduled title fight will take place, but without a title, as Moises Calleros missed weight by over five pounds and will not challenge for the WBC flyweight championship held by Julio Cesar Martinez.
The journeyman Calleros isn't really of world title caliber, but Martinez lost a summer fight in Tulsa for various reasons and accepted the fight anyway to stay active despite the weight advantage that Calleros will hold.
Martinez should still use the fight in the same manner as planned- a match to display his talents in the suddenly packed flyweight division...

Saturday sees the stage shift to Showtime in their version of the 'bubble' in Uncasville, Connecticut with a three-fight card of interest, if not the star power of the DAZN version.

The main event will star Sergei Lipinets against late replacement Custio Clayton for the IBF's "interim" welterweight title.
Why they need an interim champion when the actual champion (Errol Spence) is in action in six weeks is one question and why the IBF, who had been above the fray in this multiple titles per organization and division business, is doing this at all.
Lipinets briefly held the IBF junior welterweight title before dropping it to Mikey Garcia and has won three fights since with an impressive tenth round stoppage of Lamont Peterson that sent the former junior welterweight champion into retirement leading the trio.
The fight was delayed a few weeks due to visa problems with original opponent Kudratillo Abdukakhorov and when those issues couldn't be cleared up, the IBF ruled that Clayton could step in his place.
Clayton is a former Olympian from Canada and is undefeated, but his best two wins were over well past their prime former contenders DeMarcus "Chop Chop" Corley and Johan Perez, so I have plenty of questions about Clayton that will need to be answered.

The other two bouts on the card will pit undefeated fighters from Floyd Mayweather's money team against their toughest foes as professionals.
Xavier Martinez is paired against veteran Claudio Marrero in the co-feature at junior lightweight with the talented Martinez expected to make a move forward in his first test against a solid veteran
Marrero, who seems to be on every PBC card in the featherweight division, will be a tough test as Marrero loses to top ten fighters (Tug Nyambayar and Kid Galahad), but beats almost anyone else and if a prospect isn't up to snuff, Marrero can not only defeat them, he can eliminate them in destructive manner as he did undefeated'prospects Jorge Lara and Carlos Zambrano, both of whom were taken out in one round on national television by Marrero.
Still, Martinez is the naturally larger man and I think that will come into play.

The opener is the most interesting fight of the evening to me with undefeated Mayweather protege Malik Hawkins against once-beaten Subriel Matias in a junior welterweight battle.
Hawkins defeated undefeated Darwin Price in his last fight, when Price, who was leading on the scorecards tore a knee ligament in the fifth round and was unable to continue.
Price was outboxing Hawkins before the injury and I wonder what Hawkins might have as his level of opponent improves.
Matias looked so impressive when he came out of nowhere to upset and stop Maxim Dadashev in the eleventh round as a heavy underdog before Dadashev would pass away from injuries suffered in the bout, but two fights later sleepwalked for ten rounds against Petros Ananyan in losing a unanimous decision.
Matias was knocked down in the seventh round by Ananyan and had that not occurred would have salvaged a majority decision draw but just looked like he was a fighter that didn't want to fight anymore.
Two talented fighters with plenty to prove after a less than impressive outing might make a good match if both are motivated.

In the boxing challenge, I lead Ramon Malpica 131-122

WBC Junior Bantamweight Title. 12 Rds
Juan Francisco Estrada vs  Carlos Cuadras
Both: Estrada Unanimous Decision

WBA Junior Bantamweight Title. 12 Rds
Roman Gonzalez vs Israel Gonzalez
R.L: R.Gonzalez KO 9
TRS: R.Gonzalez KO 6

Flyweights. 12 Rds
Julio Cesar Martinez vs Moises Calleros
R.L: Martinez KO 10
TRS: Martinez KO 4

Welterweights. 12 Rds
Sergey Lipinets vs Custio Clayton
Both: Lipinets Unanimous Decision

Junior Lightweights.12 Rds
Xavier Martinez vs Claudio Marrero
R.L: Martinez KO 9
TRS: Martinez Unanimous Decision

Welterweights.10 Rds
Malik Hawkins vs Subriel Matias
R.L: Matias Unanimous Decision
TRS: Hawkins Unanimous Decision



Thursday, October 22, 2020

Cleaning out the Inbox

Time to clean out the ol' inbox with a few of the various clippings that hit the inbox for times like these.

The Athletic scores with this profile of Doris Burke before Burke's debut as the first female analyst to cover the NBA Finals.

Burke is an analyst that knows the game, comes off as extremely prepared, and is witty without the need of being the center of a vaudeville act.
I will admit that I wasn't always a fan of Burke not for a lack of knowledge, but for appearing so grim and not seeming to enjoy the game.
That's not her M.O. anymore and I enjoy her work.
Doris raises the point that it would be nice if her gender wasn't mentioned every time she worked on a big game and that it'll be a good day when it isn't brought up.
I agree, but what will be equally refreshing will be when you can say I don't care for this person's work and not have to be called a sexist.
I enjoy Burke calling a game, I'm not a fan of Jessica Mendoza's when she commentates on a baseball game.
I'm not a crusader for liking Burke's style and I'm not a sexist for disliking Mendoza- It'll be a good day when you can say I like or dislike and it's accepted as an opinion, not as a stance on a woman calling the game.

NPR really hits one out of the park with this article on the oil companies and their pushing of plastic recycling and the myth of all plastic being able to be recycled.
It's a very eye-opening read with why most plastic isn't recycled due to the cost and the quality, recycled plastic isn't nearly as strong as new plastic (I've been saying that for years!), why recycled plastic can't be recycled forever, among other facts as well.
The illusion of this goes back to the late 70s and early 80s when people were beginning to show anger about the amount of plastic trash lying around and the oil companies (many of whom have subsidiaries that make plastic products from petroleum) and the companies pushing the idea of recycling all plastic.

Rolling Stone writes their feature article on the Beatles and the 50 year anniversary of their 1970 breakup.
The anniversary is based around an upcoming documentary using the films that were saved from the Beatles documentary "Let It Be" entitled "Get Back", but it's still intriguing as it goes behind the scenes as the band is beginning to fizzle.
Yes, there is a bit on Yoko Ono and her influence, but there are other contributing factors to the unhappiness of the various Beatles and the new film is discussed as well.

Discover Magazine writes of the five NASA spacecraft that are on their way out of the solar system.
What I found most interesting was the chart in the article which displays two different views of where each craft currently is located and their trajectory of where they are headed.

The New York Times gives some bad news on climate change and I know that we see these types of articles often and we can become numb to them after a while, but this doesn't write about what could happen.
Instead, it writes of what is happening with hurricanes and the current wildfire situation in California and makes the case that the disruption to the climate is now irreversible to a degree with only the remaining questions of how bad things will be in the future with how able are we to deal with those changes.
Earlier this summer, the temperature in Death Valley, California reached 130, the hottest ever recorded by man, and earlier this week, Arizona hit its 144th day of the year of over 100 degrees for a new record.
You can argue on the causes or the solutions with this issue, but denying that there is a problem is simply closing your eyes and wishing it to go away.















Monday, October 19, 2020

Browns pounded in Pittsburgh 38-7

    The Cleveland Browns entered Pittsburgh on a four-game winning streak and prepared for arguably their biggest regular-season game in years.

The Browns would leave Pittsburgh with a 38-7 beating that some teams never recover from and with many doubts about the immediate future.

Baker Mayfield threw for the only Browns score when he tossed a thirteen-yard pass to Rashard Higgins in the second quarter, but Mayfield also threw two interceptions, one of which Minkah Fitzpatrick returned for a score and finished with a mere 119 yards.

Cleveland slips to 4-2 with the defeat and will complete their AFC North road schedule next week in Cincinnati against the  1-4-1 Bengals.

Brownie Bits

1) Baker Mayfield was just awful in this loss.
To be fair, Mayfield did enter the game with bruised ribs from a hit in the Browns win over Indianapolis, but his decision making continues to be poor as well as his accuracy.
The rumblings have mildly started about Case Keenum replacing Mayfield due to the sore ribs.

2) Should the Browns make that call, the team could be in a difficult spot if Keenum plays well.
Can the Browns afford to switch back if Keenum would play well?
Keenum did play during garbage time in this one and didn't dazzle anyone in completing five of ten passes for forty-six yards, but it's something to keep an eye on.
There isn't a controversy yet and I don't think that there should be, but Baker Mayfield is slowly playing his way into one.

3) However, the Browns had more to blame than Baker Mayfield as the offensive line was overwhelmed by the Steelers' pass rush.
Jedrick Wills and Joel Bitonio had major struggles against Bud Dupree and Stephon Tuitt and the Browns were never able to establish anything on the ground with the longest run of the game coming from a nineteen yard run in garbage time from Dontrell Hilliard.
The Browns were bullied back by Pittsburgh's physicality and it shows that the Browns still have a lot of paths to cover before catching up to them.

4) The Browns were a terrible one of twelve on third downs and the first third down of the game came when Baker Mayfield fired a bullet to Steeler safety Minkah Fitzpatrick with Fitzpatrick taking the pass for the score.
The Steelers were intent on placing the Browns in third-down situations that would force Mayfield to throw and since the Browns quarterback was less than healthy, accurate, or effective on this day, Pittsburgh was able to stop this with ease.

5) Kareem Hunt rushed for forty yards on thirteen carries, which isn't the greatest day for sure but what I really like about Hunt is that he never takes a play off.
The Browns were well behind and yet Hunt still ran like the game had only started.
Hunt never stops driving forward and isn't afraid of contact.
The Browns need more like Hunt.

6) The Steelers pass rush was effective, but the Browns missed Wyatt Teller badly.
I wouldn't have thought Teller's absence would have made that much of a difference, had you asked me a few months ago, but he was playing at a Pro Bowl level before his calf injury.
Teller is still week to week, but it will be interesting to see how the Browns line plays next week in Cincinnati if Teller doesn't play again.

7) Rashard Higgins caught the only touchdown for Cleveland, but it was also the only ball that he caught all day.
Baker Mayfield clearly looks for Higgins in clutch situations and what I liked a lot after the catch?
The Browns were trailing 24-7 and instead of his red carpet celebration, you could see Higgins wave his teammates off and flipped the ball to the referee.
Very classy to not bring attention to himself when his team is getting smashed.

8) Bud Dupree did what he normally does when he sees the Browns-turn from a very good player into the second coming of Lawrence Taylor with two sacks, multiple pressures, and along with Cameron Heyward punish Baker Mayfield's injured ribs that would eventually run him from the game.

9) Wish I could applaud Odell Beckham's behavior on the sidelines late in the game when he slammed his helmet, punched a cooler, and took his cleats off.
I get his frustration after getting beaten so badly and finishing with only two catches for twenty-five yards, but a little less me would go a long way.

10) All and all, a horrible game by the Browns and one that shows the gulf between the Browns and the Steelers and Ravens at the top of the division.
Two games vs the pair and outscored on the road 76-13.
They will have to do better when they play both of the two at home to give an idea how they stack up by the end of the season.




Sunday, October 18, 2020

Boxing Challenge: Lopez shocks Lomachenko

 IBF lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez entered his lightweight unification fight against the thought to be unbeatable WBA and WBO champion Vasyl Lomachenko with plenty to back up after Lopez and his father had spent much of the last year crowing about how Lopez was equipped to defeat the two-time Olympic and three-division champion.

There will be no crow eaten by Team Lopez on this night as Lopez upset Lomachenko via unanimous decision in a fight that might be looked at equally at what Lopez did do and what Lomachenko did not.
The scores were far too wide with a 119-110 Lopez that will comfortably fit into the Hamburglar file of terrible scorecards by the usually reliable Julie Lederman, but I have no problem with Lopez receiving a nod.

Twitter seemed pretty varied in its thoughts with many having Lopez winning by as wide as nine rounds to three and others scoring it as narrow as an even split of six rounds each for a draw.
I watched the fight live "virtually" with Fred Landucci and after the fight, I counted my score as even at 114, but I didn't feel comfortable and felt that I needed to rewatch the fight immediately before outside sources begin to sink in with their cards.

Upon the rewatch, I gave Lomachenko one round that I scored for Lopez in the rewatch, and another that I gave to him could have been scored for either fighter, so the rewatch score was 115-113 or 116-112 for Lopez.
I still think Lomachenko landed the bigger shots in the second, but it's not unfair to not give him another until the eighth round.
I gave Lomachenko rounds eight through eleven and Lopez won the final round.

There were no knockdowns and neither fighter was seriously hurt in the fight, but what it really came to down to was this- Lomachenko moved too much for the first half of the fight and didn't throw nearly enough punches in that half.
When Lomachenko threw, he was effective and found his target often- he simply didn't do it enough to grab this one from the fire.

I wouldn't be against a rematch, but I'm not sure we will see one.
Lomachenko certainly deserves one, if he wants it, but there was not a rematch clause in the contract and it would be entirely up to the Lopez team to provide it.
Lopez certainly was tiring down the stretch and gave it all in winning the final round, but Lomachenko can make a case that a rematch would be different as he could start earlier in the fight.

Lopez may move up to junior welterweight, but I love the idea of Lopez staying around for a while at lightweight against other talented young fighters such as WBC champion Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia, and Gervonta Davis.
I would like the idea of Lopez against the Josh Taylor-Jose Ramirez winner at junior welter, but I'd bet that winner moves to 147 for a Terence Crawford match and would leave Lopez in a vacant title addition, which I don't like nearly as much.

Lomachenko has been mentioned as a candidate to return to the 130-pound division for years due to his smallish stature at lightweight and there are some interesting fights there, should he do so.
The winner of December's WBC title fight with champion Miguel Berchelt against former WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez would be an excellent option for Lomachenko.
Berchelt, in particular, has been a rumored Lomachenko opponent for years and both are promoted by Top Rank as is WBO champion, Jamel Herring.
The only issue for Lomachenko is that there likely isn't a ton of money in dropping back down to 130 other than maybe the Berchelt-Valdez winner and I'm not sure any of the other fighters are much of a challenge to him.

In the co-feature, junior welterweight Arnold Barboza won a unanimous decision over former world title challenger Alex Saucedo in a fight that was more exciting than expected.
The faster Barboza was expected to box more, but he stood and engaged the aggressive Saucedo often and was able to win many of those exchanges.
Saucedo did score the fight's only knockdown when a hook awkwardly sent Barboza to the floor in the seventh.
The knockdown wasn't scored officially until between rounds, when the Nevada replay rules scored it correctly.
I scored Barboza a 95-94 winner (6-4 minus the knockdown) and when the junior welterweight divisional gold rush begins after the expected leaving of the division by the Taylor-Ramirez winner, Barboza may be in line for one of those titles.

In the Boxing Challenge, Ramon Malpica outscored me two points to zero to slice my lead to 131-122.


Saturday, October 17, 2020

Boxing Challenge

   The weekend in boxing may not be deep in action, but the main event will be the best that the sport has to offer since its return from COVID-19.

WBA and WBO champion Vasyl Lomachenko seeks to add the IBF championship to his collection against talented bomber Teofimo Lopez on ESPN and free television.

Lomachenko, who held the WBC title until the organization's ridiculous franchise champion title was endowed upon him, should be unifying all four titles, but thanks to the WBC, Lomachenko (or Lopez should he win) would have to fight Devon Haney to control all four titles.
Haney's a fine young fighter, but I'd bet the WBC's "franchise" designation was conceived as not only to gain the usual sanctioning fee, but for the bonus occasional "Unification" match also.

Both fighters have been off since 2019 with Lomachenko decisioning Luke Campbell last August and Lopez knocking out Richard Commey in two rounds last October to win his championship.
Lomachenko is the solid favorite, but there are more than a few people that are selecting the naturally larger and stronger puncher in Lopez to pull off what would be a upset along with a changing of the guard in the sport.

Most people that are picking Lopez to win are thinking Lopez lands big shots early and wins by knockout in the first half of the fight.
I can see that and Lomachenko has been knocked down by Jorge Linares in his toughest test at lightweight, but I think Lopez has a better chance of winning by using his size and strength to bully and rough up the smaller fighter as Orlando Salido was able to do in Lomachenko's only loss.
The circumstances around that fight with Salido will not be repeated in this one, but Lopez would be well-advised to try using some of those tactics to frustrate the more skilled boxer.

Lomachenko will likely do what he does best- probe his opponent, begin the process of breaking them down, and then finish them off in the late rounds either by stoppage or wide decision.
Lomachenko will try to frustrate Lopez, make him swing and miss, and give Lopez looks that his limited experience (Only Richard Commey is a Lopez opponent of top ten quality) has not remotely prepared him for.

Teofimo Lopez has a chance to win this fight, but I think he's unprepared for what he's going to see from arguably the best fighter in the world and unless he is more than a talented fighter with a bright future, he could be in line for the type of lessons that even great fighters receive on occasion.
As for Vasyl Lomachenko, he hasn't fought a fighter that punches as hard as we think Teofimo Lopez does, and at lightweight Lomachenko has been merely elite rather than the otherworldly fighter from his days at 126 and 130 pounds.
Can Lomachenko repel a fighter as young and powerful as Lopez?

The co-feature pits a pair of junior welterweights as undefeated Arnold Barboza and former world title challenger Alex Saucedo face off in what should be an interesting battle.
Saucedo, who was involved in a tremendous fight against Lenny Zappavigna in June 2018, lost in his title challenge to then-WBO champion Maurice Hooker by knockout in his hometown of Oklahoma City in the fight following the Zappavigna fight and has fought only twice since.
The undefeated Barboza is taking a step up in competition and has looked very good at times, but he didn't seem to want to pick up the pace against outgunned veteran Tony Luis in his most recent fight and the effort reminded a bit of that of featherweight Ruben Villa in his loss to Emmanuel Navarrete last week as in having very good boxing skills, but will he be able to have enough pop in his punches to gain the respect of the top fighters in his division?

Both fighters have questions to answer- how much did Saucedo leave in the ring in his war against Zappavigna and his lopsided loss to Hooker? 
Is Barboza ready to move up in opposition and does he have the motor to step it up in order to really impress observers?
The winner might find themselves in line for a shot at one of the vacant belts that are sure to clutter the boxing landscape after the Josh Taylor-Jose Ramirez winner moves up to welterweight, so this is an important step for the winner.

In the boxing challenge, I lead Ramon Malpica 131-120.

Unification WBA and WBO-IBF Lightweight Titles. 12 Rds
Vasyl Lomachenko vs Teofimo Lopez
Both: Lomachenko Unanimous Decision

Jr. Welterweights. 10 Rds
Arnold Barboza vs Alex Saucedo
R.L: Barboza Unanimous Decision
TRS: Saucedo Unanimous Decision


Friday, October 16, 2020

PPM

 One week closer to Big Ten football, but still other conferences in action and a big Browns game on Sunday.
How often do I get to write that?

Last week: 6-3
Overall: 29-10

College
Houston over BYU 33-30
N.C. State over Duke 32-22
Middle Tennessee State over North Texas 24-20
Georgia Southern over Massachusetts 41-17

Game of the Week
Georgia over Alabama 36-33

NFL 
Steelers over Browns 31-24

Game of the Week
Packers over Buccaneers 35-27


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Cleaning out the Inbox: Passings

  The tributes never stop at TRS and the inbox always fills back up as notes and passings accumulate.

Goodbye to Jay Johnstone at the age of 74.
Known almost as well for his zany antics than for what he did on the field, Johnstone managed to use his pinch-hitting prowess and his defensive skills into twenty seasons for eight teams in the majors.
Johnstone hit a two-run pinch-hit homer in game four of the 1981 World Series for the Dodgers in a series that the Dodgers were trailing and would rally to win.
Johnstone's pranks were legendary including one where he dressed as Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, trotted to the mound in a game to talk to the pitcher as he carried Lasorda's recent book and can of SlimFast, which Lasorda huckstered for years!
Johnstone also served as an announcer for the Yankees and Phillies and appeared in the movie Naked Gun, batting righthanded.
Johnstone was a lefthanded batter in real life.

Goodbye to Helen Reedy at the age of 78.
Reddy was a huge solo star in the 1970s with fifteen hits reaching the top forty.
Six of those made the top ten and three climbing to the top spot.
Of course, her signature song was "I am Woman", which was adopted by the feminist movement of the age, but if you grew up in the 70s Helen Reddy was more than a singer.
Reddy was all over your television with many guest appearances, usually on variety shows, but she also had a summer series in 1973, the semi-regular host of the music program the Midnight Special, the starring role in the live-action/animated Disney film Pete's Dragon and a small role in Airport 75.
Reddy retired from show business in 2002 and stayed in retirement with the exception of a brief run of concerts in the early 2010s.
Reddy was reported to have suffered from dementia in recent years that had kept her out fo the spotlight except for singing "I am Woman" as part of a Women's March in Los Angeles in 2017 on the day following the inauguration of Donald Trump.

Goodbye to Eddie Van Halen at the age of 65.
Known as the founder and lead guitarist of his namesake band "Van Halen", it was Van Halen that survived success, changes in the lead singer for the band (David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar, and Gary Cherone), and changes in the core band (Bass guitarist Michael Anthony replaced by Eddie's son Wolfgang) for long term success.
Van Halen became known for his 'tapping' guitar work and held a patent until 2005 for a piece that helped to play the guitar similar to a piano.
Of course, the band would be named to the Hall of Fame for their career, and even though the major albums and corresponding singles that the band's biggest hits were the 1984 album with Roth and 5150 with Hagar, my favorite album was always the "Diver Down" album, which I played to the point of wearing out the cassette.
Van Halen also received mainstream attention at a time when hard rock bands really didn't when he dated and then married "One Day at a Time" star Valerie Bertinelli in 1981.
The two divorced in 2007.

Goodbye to Whitey Ford at the age of 91.
The left-handed starter on six World Series champions and a ten-time All-Star for the New York Yankees, Ford won 236 games for the Yankees, which remains tops in Yankee history, and won a Cy Young in 1961, when he finished 25-4 for arguably the best offensive team in baseball history.
Ford still owns the record for victories in the World Series with ten and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1974.
Jim Bouton discussed Ford in "Ball Four" for his various doctored pitches which included the buckle ball, which would be scuffed against a sharpened buckle on catcher Elston Howard's shin guard, the mud ball, the spitter, and a pitch that would arrive with a chunk out of the baseball that was gouged out by Ford's wedding ring.
Ford became almost as well known after baseball for his stories of his off-field antics with Mickey Mantle and for his Miller Lite commercials, as his other ventures which included commentating for the Toronto Blue Jays and a brief stint as a restaurant owner in New York City.

Goodbye to Louis Carter at the age of 67.
Carter was the star running back for the Maryland Terrapins on the first teams under Jerry Claiborne as Claiborne turned Maryland from an also-ran into the ACC powerhouse during the Claiborne era.
Those Terrapin teams were led by several players that would wind up with long NFL careers including Hall of Famer Randy White, Bob Avellini, Walter White, Ken Schroy, and Steve Mike-Mayer that helped the Terps to three bowls in the time when bowl games weren't as plentiful and the ACC was looked at as a second tier football league.
Carter played on the first two of those bowl teams with Maryland losing the 1973 Peach Bowl to Georgia 17-16 and the 1974 Liberty Bowl to Tennessee 7-3.
Carter won the Peach Bowl MVP when he rushed for 158 yards and threw a long touchdown pass to tight end Walter White in defeat.
Carter was drafted by the Raiders in 1975 in the third round and after his rookie season was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1976 expansion draft.
Carter threw the first touchdown pass in Tampa Bay history when he was handed the ball and was stopped behind the line of scrimmage before lobbing the ball to Morris Owens for the score.
Carter would play for three seasons in Tampa Bay before retiring.