Sunday, May 30, 2021

Boxing Challenge: Donaire regains, Haney retains.

    In the boxing challenge, one title remained with a talented young star, and one title was returned to a star of the past with one more remarkable effort in a career filled with them.

Starting in Carson, California with PBC and Showtime, 38-year-old Nonito Donaire regained the WBC bantamweight title that he held in 2011 (that's ten years, folks) by knocking out formerly undefeated champion Nordine Oubaali in the fourth round.

The two split the first two rounds of feeling each other out before Donaire hit Oubaali in the third round with a glancing left hook that caused Oubaali to touch his gloves to the floor but didn't seriously stun the champion.

That couldn't be said when at the bell and I mean just at the bell, Donaire landed another left hook that knocked Oubaali down, and referee Jack Reiss did an excellent job in realizing that Oubaali wouldn't have to take another punch in the round and allowed the champion to go to his corner (Well, he walked to the wrong corner first) and try to summon the strength to get himself together.

It didn't help as Donaire walked Oubaali down for ninety seconds or so and then landed a left hook which was the best shot followed by a right and another left hook that sent Oubaali to the canvas with Reiss ending the fight without a count.

For Donaire, who entered the fight an underdog after what appeared to be his last stand in a gallant losing effort to Naoya Inoue where he lost his WBA title by unanimous decision, Donaire wants a rematch with Inoue which would unify three of the four bantamweight titles.

I'm not sure of Donaire's contract situation with PBC, but if an Inoue match couldn't be worked out Donaire could fight for the WBO title, should John Riel Casimero retain his title in his summer match vs Guillermo Rigondeaux.

A Donaire-Casimero fight could be quite the shootout, but I doubt Donaire would have any interest in a Rigondeaux rematch after his loss chasing Rigondeaux around the ring.

In any event, it was a terrific night for boxing as Donaire showed that even at 38, he is still a quality bantamweight and could give Inoue another tussle, although it could be that Inoue is still too strong for the veteran.

No matter Donaire's future, he gave boxing fans another great memory and added another page to a career that will eventually see him inducted into the boxing hall of fame.

Meanwhile, in Las Vegas. Devin Haney held off the late charge of Jorge Linares and defeated the former three-division via unanimous decision to retain his WBC lightweight championship.

Haney boxed very well and dominated the first nine rounds until late in the round when Linares landed a strong uppercut that foretold the final three rounds as Linares won the final three rounds and seemed to have hurt Haney just before the bell in round ten.

The Linares right hand bothered Haney to the point that he wobbled to his corner in the most tenuous state of his career and Haney would do well to get through the eleventh before Haney's head started to clear against several strong punches from Linares.

Linares would win the final round, but Haney did better than in the previous two stanzas and avoided a mishap to work his way to the final bell.

For Linares, the impressive finish and lasting to the final bell in defeat for the first time in his career will earn him another solid fight or two for sizable paychecks, even if he will have to live a late rally that fell short.

As for Haney, his dominance will be remembered, and now there will be some that question Haney's chin after riding out the late rounds.

I think it's fair to keep that in mind, but remember Linares knocked down Vasyl Lomachenko and is noted for his punching ability, so it wasn't a pillow-fisted boxer that stunned Haney.

The fight to make next for Haney should be Teofimo Lopez and settle this WBC franchise champion nonsense to unify all four titles as it should have been, to begin with.

Eddie Hearn said he had no problem allowing Haney to fight Lopez on ESPN for a Top Rank appearance against Lopez, which solves a major roadblock in making the match.

I'd favor Lopez in that fight, but give Haney a chance of winning as well.

In the boxing challenge, Ramon Malpica and I each scored two points on the weekend and moved the total for the year to 72-68.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Boxing Challenge

  Thanks to all that contacted me through various avenues about my post from Thursday.
I'm appreciative of those of you that cared enough to drop a line or two.
Thanks again.

Despite two boxing cards on Saturday, I decided to keep the boxing challenge simple with only the intriguing main events for the challenge.

While my recent post had something to do with the decision, the preferred reasons are that the other fights aren't quite interesting enough for the challenge, and with June's calendar looking like it will have many fights to select from, I decided to keep it small.

In Las Vegas, Devin Haney defends his WBC lightweight title against veteran Jorge Linares.

Haney is the questioned WBC champion, which the organization brought on itself with its ridiculous "franchise" champion designation, which it said couldn't be lost even if the champion lost and when Teofimo Lopez upset Vasyl Lomachenko the title indeed was transferred,  is the WBC champion in my eyes although Lopez should be.

That's a mouthful for me to type, but it's indicative of the mess that sanctioning bodies make of things by simply not leaving well enough alone.

Haney dominated a well past his prime Yuriorkis Gamboa in his last fight in winning every round, but he didn't seem interested in trying to stop Gamboa or looking sensational in the attempt.

Haney looked like a good puncher in his rise up the rankings but hasn't scored a knockdown in either of his last two fights against Gamboa and Alberto Santiago and has much to prove against Linares.

Linares has held titles at 126, 130, and 135 and is known for his smooth offensive style that leaves many slackjawed as they watch the combinations flow from the native of Venezuela.

The issue with Linares has always been his ability to absorb punches as he has been stopped in all five of his losses, so Haney may have an opponent that has the ability to win rounds and maybe even the fight if his chin holds up, but that same chin could be the factor that allows Haney notch the spectacular victory against a name opponent that he has been looking for.

While Haney-Linares is intriguing on several levels, the Showtime main event is equally interested as France's Nordine Oubaali defends his WBC bantamweight title against Nonito Donaire, a champion in four different divisions.

Donaire hasn't fought since his fight of the year caliber effort against WBA and IBF champion Naoya Inoue in November 2019 in the finals of the WBSS tournament, but neither has Oubaali, who decisioned Inoue's brother, Tayuma in the co-feature on the same card as Inoue-Donaire.

This is a rescheduled fight that has been canceled twice for each man dealing with Covid-19, so that factor may be a wash.

Donaire has stated an Inoue rematch in a unification match is his goal should he win, while Oubaali may decide to make a different unification match on Showtime against the winner of a summer bout between WBO champion John Riel Casimero and Guillermo Rigondeaux with a victory.

Donaire's effort against Inoue at almost 37 (he's 38 now) ranks as one of the most courageous in recent years as he pushed Inoue as no other opponent has been able to do so, but it's fair to question how much that tremendous fight has taken out of Donaire.

Oubaali is undefeated but other than his win over former champion Rau'shee Warren, Oubaali is taking a step in competition.

This is a very close fight to call and it could come down to how much did Donaire lose after the Inoue battle?

If Donaire is similar to the warrior that gave Inoue all he wanted, he has enough to get by Oubaali and get his rematch with Inoue, but if it was a great champion's final stand and he's on the edge of a fight that shows the wear and tear of a long career- Oubaali is good enough to take advantage and grab the win.

In the boxing challenge, I lead Ramon Malpica 70-66.

WBC Lightweight Title. 12 Rds 
Devin Haney vs Jorge Linares
R.L: Haney Unanimous Decision
TRS: Haney KO 10

WBC Bantamweight Title. 12 Rds
Nordine Oubaali vs Nonito Donaire
R.L: Oubaali Unanimous Decision
TRS: Donaire Unanimous Decision 

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Since I’ve been away

     I have been more than a bit busy of late and I thought that I would write a bit, explain a little about the ups and downs of the last ten days, and why I have written so little with TRS suffering as a result.

I drove to Ohio to pick up Cherie's anniversary present, which I had hoped to have written about by now and will do so soon, and had a good time.

The picture is from my final stop for dinner on the way home in Triadelphia WV.

I found a few things for Ryan's collections and one small thing for my own.

But the problem came when I returned home as an incident at work, that I cannot really discuss due to confidentiality, resulted in a few minor injuries.

I'm not in bad shape, but they are still visible and not healed (but improving) over a week later.

Again, I cannot get into things too much, but the problems at work are still there and I'm not the only one dealing with them.

The result has been this over the eight days since.

I don't feel like doing much.

I haven't watched a sporting event other than Taylor-Ramirez and I don't feel like I'm missing much.

I had a nice day on my anniversary and I'll write about that sometime as well, but generally, I'm not finding enjoyment in things often.

I've played one game of Action sports and it felt like I was forcing playing rather than enjoying it and I've seldom watched television as well.

I'm just not able to relax and enjoy things.

Everything is about what happened at work, what is happening there, and what will happen in the upcoming night.

I'm just feeling disinterested in so many of the things that I usually enjoy.

This brings me here.

I haven't felt like writing either.

I usually feel like I don't have enough time to write or occasionally things to write about.

That's not the case this time.

I have my trip, Cherie's gift, a filled inbox, three good ideas for a post sitting in the development folder that has been started but not finished, a one of a kind item that I connect with personally that I recently purchased, and videos for the program collection to be worked on.

And I don't feel like doing any of it right now.

So in short, I haven't been motivated.

This took a lot for me to sit down to write, and I'm not really looking for attention.

I'm letting the people that do read this know why I haven't done very much and if the 'slog' continues and why.

I'm sure I'll do a boxing challenge and cover the Saturday events, but I don't know what else I will do.

One day, I'll want to do something and I'll get to work doing this.

It's what I love doing and the enjoyment I receive from it is more than financial, so I'll be back I'm sure, and maybe even soon regularly.

Just wanted to let you all know.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Boxing Challenge: Taylor defeats Ramirez

    All four of the championships in the junior welterweight division will reside in Scotland as Josh Taylor retained his WBA and IBF titles and stripped Jose Ramirez of the WBC and WBO versions via a close unanimous decision in Las Vegas.

All three scorecards were 114-112 for Taylor (I had Taylor a 115-111 winner), which means that each judge gave each fighter six rounds, but Taylor's knockdowns of Ramirez in the sixth and seventh-round allowed Taylor to to earn the two-point victory.

Taylor's left hand dropped Ramirez in the sixth and uncorked a left uppercut that sent Ramirez crashing to the canvas in the seventh that had a smidgen of controversy as it appeared that Ramirez had stopped and waited for ref Kenny Bayless to call for a break and relaxed just a bit.

Taylor took advantage and it is always protect yourself at all times, but it was a mistake by Ramirez to relax and give Taylor the open opportunity.

Ramirez was aggressive throughout, but Taylor was able to stand his ground enough to build an early lead on the cards and hold off Ramirez's traditional late charge for the victory.

In the end, it was a really strong contest, but the more versatile fighter that can do everything well had just enough to defeat the stronger fighter that can fight best in only one style.

I would be fine with a rematch, but Taylor has a choice to make for his next fight and neither involves Ramirez.

Taylor would seem to have two big-money choices available with Top Rank as he could move up to welterweight against WBO champion Terence Crawford as Crawford still has one fight remaining on his contract with the company or he could stay at 140 for an all-UK affair against WBO mandatory contender Jack Catterall, who took a step-aside fee to allow Ramirez to face Taylor.

Taylor could also stay at 140 and defend those titles against Teofimo Lopez, who holds three (officially anyway) of the four lightweight belts but should Taylor decide that he wants to keep all four titles at junior welterweight, he will have to face Catterall first as Catterall is not likely to take another check to allow a Taylor-Lopez bout next.

Should Taylor move up to 147 pounds, all four titles are likely to be vacated and I'd think that Jose Ramirez would be involved in the scramble to grab one of the titles as arguably, along with Regis Prograis, who like Ramirez has suffered only one loss and like Ramirez, a close decision loss to Taylor, the best non-Josh Taylor junior welterweight.

Boxing is at its best on nights like Saturday.

Two undefeated young champions giving their all on free television for all to see and at the end of the night- only one will stand tall.

In the co-feature, Jose Zepeda won convincingly but didn't dazzle in winning a unanimous decision over aging veteran Hank Lundy in a junior welterweight ten rounder.

Zepeda is rated first by the WBC and will be in line for an eventual shot at Josh Taylor or more likely involvement for the vacant title should Taylor move up to welterweight.

Zepeda won clearly (98-92 on my card), but Lundy hung tough as a late replacement and deserves credit for doing what he could do against Zepeda.

In the boxing challenge, I earned four points to Ramon Malpica's two to boost my lead to 70-66 in the overall standings. 

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Cleaning out the Inbox:Passings

  We move to the sports world for the latest collection of tributes to recent stars that have left us, in many cases, far too early.

Goodbye to Bobby Unser at the age of 87.

Unser won the Indianapolis 500 three times, when USAC racing was equally, if not more popular than NASCAR, in 1968, 75, and 81, and along with Rick Mears, Unser won his Indy's in three different decades.

The Unser brothers (Bobby and Al Sr.) are the only pair of siblings to win at Indy with seven (four for Al and three for Bobby) and counting his nephew Al Jr's two wins, the Unser family owns nine wins at the Brickyard.

Unser's third win was controversial as during a caution period, Unser and Mario Andretti made a pit stop with Unser passing eight cars under the caution to Andretti's two.

Unser would win the race but was stripped of the win the following day with the victory awarded to Andretti.

After five months of lawsuits, Unser's win was reinstated, but the process took a lot out of Unser and he would retire at the end of the season as he moved into broadcasting IndyCar races along with the occasional NASCAR race for many years.

Goodbye to Colt Brennan at the age of 37.

Brennan led Hawaii to an undefeated season in 2007 before the Rainbow Warriors lost in the Sugar Bowl to Georgia and finished sixth in 2006 and third in 2007 in the Heisman Trophy voting.

Brennan held the NCAA record for touchdown passes in a career (131), and is currently still 4th all-time.

Brennan was a sixth-round draft pick by the then-Washington Redskins in 2008 and made the team but didn't play in a game.

Brennan spent 2009 on injured reserve and was released in training camp in 2010 by Washington.

Brennan suffered a brain injury in a 2010 car wreck and had developed drug dependencies, which had caused him to enter rehabilitation centers on several occasions.

Goodbye to Fred Martinelli at the age of 92.

Martinelli was the long-time football coach at Ashland College (University) from 1959-1993.

Martinelli finished his coaching career with a record of 217-119-12 and was inducted into the college football hall of fame in 2002.

Goodbye to Rennie Stennett at the age of 72.

Most remember Stennett as the only player to go seven for seven in a nine-inning game, which Stennett achieved in 1975 for the Pirates against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, but Stennett, who played for both of the Pirates world championship teams in the 1970s, was just starting to come into his own as a potential star in 1977 when Stennett broke his leg sliding into second base.

Stennett was leading the National League in batting average at .336 at the time but would fall twelve plate appearances short of qualifying for the batting title.

Stennett was never the same player after returning in 1978 and despite signing a five-year contract with the Giants in 1980, Stennett's struggles continued, and would only play two years of the contract before being released by San Francisco.

Stennett would never play in the majors again with his career over at only 31.

Goodbye to Don Kernodle at the age of 71.

A journeyman wrestler for most of his career, Kernodle spent much of his career in the Mid-Atlantic area wrestling for Jim Crockett Promotions.

Kernodle's biggest success was with Sgt.Slaughter as the NWA world tag team champions in a heated feud with Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood that would result in a famous steel cage match that sold out the Greensboro Coliseum on March 12, 1983.

Kernodle moved to the WWF as a high-level preliminary wrestler for eight months before returning to the Mid-Atlantic, where he teamed first with Bob Orton and then with Ivan Koloff, winning the NWA tag titles for the second time with Koloff.

Kernodle would turn against the Koloffs and wrestle against them in 1985, but after the steam of that turn faded, Kernodle dropped down the cards and would leave the company in 1986.

Kernodle would wrestle for independent promotions for many years, but never returned to the larger companies and instead worked for a local sheriff's department until his passing.

Boxing Challenge

   The Boxing Challenge will have only two fights this Saturday, but the main event is one that fans should be extremely excited about as the junior welterweight division is about to be unified with one champion holding all four championships from Las Vegas.

WBA and IBF champion Josh Taylor will face WBC and WBO titleholder Jose Ramiez in Las Vegas in what is sure to be a slugfest and could create a superstar with the title on national television on ESPN.

The pair of undefeated dual champions will be facing their toughest test in each other, but both are battle-tested with Taylor's wins over former champions Regis Prograis, Viktor Postol, and Ivan Baranchyk and Ramirez's victories over former champions Maurice Hooker and Viktor Postol along with a win over top contender Jose Zepeda.

Taylor is a boxer-puncher type that will likely attempt to fend Ramirez's aggressive style off enough to score with his own punches, while Ramirez will try to march forward and work Taylor's body to make him vulnerable to Ramirez's usual late-round charge.

This is as close to a 50-50 fight as you'll find and I've been back and forth on whom to select to win.

Taylor's win over Prograis is the best win of the two, but Ramirez has found a way to pull out the close fights as he did against Zepeda and Postol and there is something to be said for knowing how to win.

Taylor is the more versatile of the two and he can win in different ways than Ramirez.

In the end, that might be enough to make the difference.

The co-feature will pit the number one contender in the WBC ratings in the 140-pound division, Jose Zepeda, against late replacement Hank Lundy.

Zepeda became the top contender in the WBC after winning the fight of the year for 2020, a fifth-round knockout of former IBF champion Ivan Baranchyk that saw each fighter hit the floor four times.

Zepeda lost a close majority decision to Jose Ramirez for his title in 2019, so he's a tough out for the winner of Taylor-Ramirez or anyone that he could face for a possible vacant title should the winner move to welterweight.

Lundy is a rugged veteran that once was a top fifteen fighter, but has lost a step since his time of contention in the early to middle part of the last decade.

At 37, Lundy will have to turn back the clock to upset Zepeda.

In the boxing challenge, I lead Ramon Malpica 66-64.

Unification WBA/IBF-WBC/WBO Junior Welterweight Titles. 12 Rds
Josh Taylor vs Jose Ramirez
R.L: Ramirez KO 9
TRS: Taylor Unanimous Decision

Junior Welterweights. 10 Rds
Jose Zepeda vs Hank Lundy
Both: Zepeda Unanimous Decision 

TRS Boxing Ratings-Part Two

  Part two of the TRS Boxing Ratings return with the lightweight divisions and lower along with the top ten in the pound-for-pound rankings.

Keep in mind that a few fighters are eligible to be rated in multiple divisions, most notably Gervonta Davis, who holds the WBA top title at junior lightweight and one of their minor titles at lightweight, and Leo Santa Cruz, who inexplicably still holds the WBA featherweight title despite not fighting in the division for twenty-seven months and counting, can be rated at featherweight or junior lightweight.

Thanks to Ramon Malpica, Vince Samano, and John Herndon for taking the time to participate!

1: Teofimo Lopez WBA/IBF/WBO Champions 20 Pts
2: Vasyl Lomachenko 15 Pts
3: Devin Haney WBC Champion 11 Pts
4: Gervonta Davis 8 Pts
5: Ryan Garcia 5 Pts (Unranked)
Also Received Votes: Richard Commey

Junior Lightweights
1: Oscar Valdez WBC Champion 18 Pts (Up Four)
2: Gervonta Davis WBA Champion 14 Pts (Unranked)
3: Jamel Herring WBO Champion 12 Pts (Up One)
4: Shakur Stevenson 6 Pts (Down One)
5: Joseph Diaz 4 Pts (Down Three)
Also Received Votes: Miguel Berchelt, Chris Colbert

1: Gary Russell WBC Champion 19 Pts
2: Emanuel Navarrete WBO Champion 17 Pts (Up Two)
3: Xu Can 12 Pts
4: Leo Santa Cruz WBA Champion 8 Pts (Unranked)
5: Mauricio Lara 4 Pts (Unranked)

Junior Featherweights
1:Murodjon Akhmadliev WBA/IBF Champion 15 Pts
2:Brandon Figueroa WBC Champion 14 Pts (Unranked)
3:Daniel Roman 11 Pts
4: Rey Vargas 10 Pts (Down Three)
5: Stephen Fulton WBO Champion 7 Pts (Unranked)
Also Received Votes: Luis Nery, Gavin McDonnell

1: Naoya Inoue WBA/IBF Champion 20 Pts
2: Nordine Ooubali WBC Champion 13 Pts
3: Nonito Donaire 10 Pts
4: John Riel Casimero WBO Champion 8 Pts
5: Guillermo Rigondeaux 7 Pts

Junior Bantamweights
1: Juan Francisco Estrada WBA/WBC Champion 19 Pts
2; Srisaket Sor Rungvisai 15 Pts (Up One)
3: Roman Gonzalez 14 Pts
4: Jerwin Ancajas IBF Champion 6 Pts
5: Kazuto Ioka WBO Champion 5 Pts
Also Received Votes:: Kal Yafai

1: Artem Dalakian WBA Champion 17 Pts
2: Julio Cesar Martinez WBC Champion 16 Pts
3: Kosei Tanaka 8 Pts
4: Junto Nakatani WBO Champion 7 Pts
5: Sunny Edwards IBF Champion 4 Pts
Also Received Votes; Moruti Mthalane, Jay Harris, Vincent LeGrand, Sho Kimura

Jr, Flyweight and Under
1: Kenshiro Terahji 18 Pts
2: Hiroto Kyoguchi 17 Pts
3: Elwin Soto 9 Pts
4: Felix Alvarado 7 Pts
5: Carlos Canizales  5 Pts

Pound for Pound
1: Naoya Inoue 37 Pts
2: Terence Crawford 35 Pts
3: Canelo Alvarez 34 Pts
4: Teofimo Lopez 23 Pts
    Errol Spence
6: Artur Beterbiev 14 Pts
7: Tyson Fury 12 Pts
    Vasyl Lomachcnko
9: Juan Francisco Estrada 9 Pts
10: Gervonta Davis 6 Pts
Also Received Votes: Josh Taylor, Jermell Charlo, CP Freshmart, Oleksandr Usyk, Manny Pacquiao, Oscar Valdez,

Thursday, May 20, 2021

TRS Boxing Ratings-Part One

  After over six months, it's time for the return of the TRS boxing ratings.

That's longer than I usually wait, but I'm going to try to do the next set around Labor Day to have things back in its time frame.

Thanks to Ramon Malpica, Vince Samano, and John Herndon for participating.

Please remember we rate the top five in each division with the pound for pound using a top ten with the up and down in parenthesis for each fighter that changed their rating from the previous list.

1: Tyson Fury WBC Champion 20 Pts
2: Anthony Joshua WBA/IBF/WBO Champion 16 Pts
3: Deontay Wilder 13 Pts
4: Dillian Whyte 5 Pts (Unranked)
5: Joe Joyce 4 Pts (Unranked)
    Oleksandr Usyk (Unranked)

1: Mairis Briedis IBF Champion 19 Pts
2: Lawrence Okolie WBO Champion 16 Pts (Up Three)
3: Illunga Makaba WBC Champion 10 Pts (Down One)
4: Yuniel Dorticos 8 Pts (Down One) 
5: Arsen Goulamirian WBA Champion 5 Pts (Unranked)
Also Received Votes: Noel Gevor

Light Heavyweights
1: Artur Beterbiev WBC/IBF Champion 20 Pts
2: Dimitry Bivol WBA Champion 16 Pts
3: Joe Smith WBO Champion 7 Pts
4: Jean Pascal 6 Pts
    Gilberto Ramirez (Up One)
Also Received Votes: Lyndon Arthur, Marcus Browne

Super Middleweights
1: Canelo Alvarez WBA/WBC/WBO Champion 20 Pts (Unranked)
2: David Benavidez 14 Pts
  : Caleb Plant IBF Champion 14 Pts (Up One)
4: Billy Joe Saunders 7 Pts
5: Callum Smith 5 Pts (Down Four)
Also Received Votes: Anthony Dirrell

1: Gennady Golovin IBF Champion 17 Pts (Up One)
2: Demetrius Andrade WBO Champion 15 Pts (Up Two)
    Jermall Charlo WBC Champion  (Up One) 
4: Sergey Dereyvanchenko 4 Pts
    Jaime Munguia
Also Received Votes: Chris Eubank Jr, Ryota Murata WBA Champion

Junior Middleweights
1: Jermell Charlo WBA/WBC/IBF Champion 20 Pts
2: Brian Castano WBO Champion 11 Pts (Unranked)
3: Jarrett Hurd 10 Pts (Down One)
4: Julian Williams 9 Pts
5: Jeison Rosario 8 Pts (Down Three)
Also Received Votes: Erislandy Lara

1: Terence Crawford WBO Champion 19 Pts
2: Errol Spence WBC/IBF Champion 17 Pts
3: Manny Pacquiao 9 Pts
4: Shawn Porter 7 Pts
5: Javon Ennis 4 Pts
Also Received Votes: Vergil Ortiz, Yordenis Ugas WBA Champion

Junior Welterweights
1: Jose Ramirez WBC/WBO Champion 18 Pts
    Josh Taylor WBA/IBF Champion
3: Regis Prograis 10 Pts
4: Jose Zepeda 4 Pts
    Viktor Postol
Also Received Votes: Arnold Barbosa, Mario Barrios

Monday, May 17, 2021

Cleaning out the Inbox-Non Sports Version

   Time for some cleaning of the inbox, this time with an all non-sports version.

The Washington Post Magazine's Patricia McCormick tracked down the whereabouts of Mary Ann Vecchio known by almost everyone as the "Kent State girl" from what I would rate as one of the most famous photos of the last 100 years.

McCormick does a deft, but thorough job of talking to Vecchio about her life since that day, how it was affected by the incident, and some of the backstory behind that day with some surprising pieces of info that Vecchio discusses concerning the immediate aftermath after she was returned to Florida.

Read the article to find out what I mean.

The Atlantic asks the question of what if a single vaccine could cure all of Covid-19 and all its variants for 100 years?

The first step would be a universal vaccine to eliminate Covid and the variants with the second phase developing a vaccine that would check future coronaviruses of all types.

The Atlantic argues that such an achievement would be a generational achievement, yet one that could be closer than you may think.

The key is finding a common protein in the SARS virus and find a way to recognize a common portion (most likely the stem of the virus) that all forms of the virus carries and would inhibit the developments of common variants, therefore stemming the tide of the wave of variant viruses.

It makes sense to take things seriously and put the time in to develop attacks before they arise, but I am more likely to believe that these types of developmental processes will be given enough to work on a problem, but not enough to truly make a dent.

Humankind celebrates immediate triumph and moves on to the next battle rather than being proactive and avoiding a future one.

The Bulletin takes a reasonable and scientific look at the origin of Covid and the question of did it escape from the infamous Wuhan China lab or was there a deliberate release by the Chinese?

The article discusses both theories and then offers which is the more likely scenario.

It's a pretty deep read, but a very interesting one.

Hakai Magazine writes of the unlikely success of fish sticks, those rectangle-shaped pieces of fish that most of us thrived on as kids as quick dining in school lunches, tv dinners, and as fast food in various packaging.

The article writes of the process of making fish sticks, which hasn't really changed since they began to show up in your grocer's freezer with their surprising start as "fish bricks".

Fish bricks were sold in the shape and style of a gallon of ice cream with the idea that you would cut off what you served that evening and then put the remaining brick into the freezer.

If that doesn't make you wonder, read the article and see what you think about how they are formed today!!

Through the years in the inbox, I've found notes on different oddball colors of lobsters, but I've never seen one such as this- the calico.

This calico lobster almost found its way to a plate, as workers at a Virginia Red Lobster found this guy

(?) during an April seafood delivery to the restaurant in Manassas Virginia.

The speckled orange and black lobster is the third rarest lobster in the world behind the split-colored and albino versions and the chances of catching one in one in thirty million.

The calico's color would make it an easier target for predators in the wild due to its brighter coloring.

"Freckles" will be living its life at the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News Virginia 

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Boxing Challenge: Figueroa Nails Nery

Luis Nery and Brandon Figueroa exchanged both hits and misses in an exciting fight that seemed to be headed towards an exciting conclusion for six exciting rounds.

In the seventh, the action ended quickly and conclusively as one left hook to the ribcage saw Nery wince in pain and fall to the floor where he was counted out, giving Figueroa a mild upset and Nery's WBC junior featherweight championship.

I had Nery slightly ahead after six rounds (58-56), but it did seem like the pace was affecting Nery more than Figueroa as his body language gave away his weariness at the end of round six.

Both fighters landed their share of punches (Nery 34% and Figueroa 27%), but there many awkward swings in the air throughout and it isn't because either fighter reminds anyone of Salvador Sanchez defensively.

Figueroa retained his minor WBA title, which confused viewers throughout as if you didn't know any better you would believe that Figueroa had unified two titles, but he had not as the true WBA titleholder is M.J. Akhmadaliev.

Still, Figueroa now holds a true world title and will actually unify with WBO champion Stephen Fulton in a scheduled September fight.

I'm glad that we are getting Figueroa-Fulton rather than Nery-Fulton not for any personal reason, but as I was watching the fight, I thought that a Nery-Fulton fight might be awkward pairing due to styles, but that Fulton-Figueroa looked like a very good meshing of styles.

Big win for Brandon Figueroa and he'll need to step his game up even further against the smooth boxing Fulton.

The co-feature was another entertaining affair as former WBA and IBF junior featherweight champion Daniel Roman took a few rounds to figure out aggressive Ricardo Espinoza but won the final six rounds on my scorecard to win a unanimous decision.

Roman busted Figueroa's face up badly with swelling and Figueroa might not have been able to make it through two more rounds had the fight been scheduled for twelve rounds rather than ten.

I had Roman a 98-92 victor.

Considering Roman's status as a former two-organization champion and the closeness of his loss to M.J. Akhmadaliev, shouldn't he be a mandatory challenger in one of the organizations?

In the opener, Money Team member Xavier Martinez won a clear but not easy unanimous decision over veteran Juan Carlos Burgos in a junior lightweight ten rounder.

There were no knockdowns in the fight, but plenty of punches pitched, and Burgos fought well, but was not able to keep pace with the younger Martinez.

I scored Martinez a 98-92 winner.

In the boxing challenge, Ramon Malpica and I each scored four points on the weekend to move the totals to 66-64.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Boxing Challenge

 The boxing challenge revolves around Showtime and PBC this Saturday with a three-fight program from the premium cable provider.

The main event pits WBC junior featherweight champion, Luis Nery, against minor champion Brandon Figueroa in what appears to be an almost guaranteed action fight.

Nery didn't dazzle anyone in his last fight in a decision win over Aaron Alameda, but in previous fights, Nery had shown an aggressive style that had seen him stop his last ten opponents before going the distance with Alameda, but chose to change things up after a change to trainer Eddy Reynoso entering that fight for a boxer-puncher manner that didn't work to his benefit.

Nery has returned to his original training team with a vow to return to slugging and against Figueroa, holder of a minor belt (the real WBA champion is Murodjon Akhmadaliev), Nery should find an opponent that will give him all the toe to toe opportunities that he'll ask for.

The undefeated Figueroa will face his toughest test and while Figueroa has beaten a solid group of opponents, they were of the top ten to fifteen types without the power of Nery.

Plus two fights ago, Figueroa drew with Julio Ceja in a fight I thought Ceja won (115-113), but Ceja missed weight by so much, Figueroa had a legitimate excuse against a much larger opponent.

I think this should be an excellent fight and it could end before the twelve-round distance.

The winner will fight WBO champion Stephen Fulton in the fall in a unification matchup that will leave the division with two fighters each holding two of the four titles.

The co-feature will pit a fighter that formerly held two of those titles in Daniel Roman, who lost to Akhmadaliev via a split decision in 2019 against Ricardo Espinoza.

Roman, who could very easily have gotten the decision against Akhmadaliev, would be very deserving of a rematch, or now that he fights for PBC a chance against the eventual winner of September's fight and isn't matched easily against Espinoza, who has won two straight since being stopped in the final round against JohnRiel Casimero.

Against Casimero, Espinoza was ahead on one card and was even on the other entering the last round before the stoppage and should give Roman a solid run.

The opener will pair undefeated junior lightweight Xavier Martinez against former WBC champion Juan Carlos Burgos in a match that has both fighters meeting with something to prove.

Martinez was knocked down twice by Claudio Marrero in his last fight and won a close decision in his first step toward contention, while Burgos lost decisions to Devin Haney and Hector Tanajara in an ill-advised move to lightweight before winning a decision over an 8-6 fighter.

Martinez needs to show that he can take a good punch from world-class opponents, while Burgos will be attempting to prove that he is still a world-class boxer and hasn't dropped a step to gatekeeper status,

In the boxing challenge, I lead Ramon Malpica 62-60.

WBC Junior Featherweight Title 12 Rds
Luis Nery vs Brandon Figueroa
Both: Nery Unanimous Decision

Junior Featherweights.10 Rds
Daniel Roman vs Ricardo Espinoza
Both: Roman Unanimous Decision

Junior Lightweights.10 Rds
Xavier Martinez vs Juan Carlos Burgos
Both: Martinez Unanimous Decision

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Cleveland Browns Draft Review

      I wrote so much over the NFL draft weekend that I took a few days off before I returned here.

However, the Browns review still needs to be posted with my thoughts on how the Browns draft stacked up.

This could be a very short post if I wanted to be succinct- I loved the draft.

Cornerback Greg Newsome in the first round will have a chance to start this season and at worst, will likely be the starter in 2022.

Linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is the type of smaller, speedier player that may not have a defined position, but his ability to be moved around the field could make him a three-down player, which is far more important than the term used for where he is in the lineup and to get him for the difference of sending Carolina a third-rounder in return for Carolina's fourth, is absolute theft.

Wide Receiver Anthony Schwartz may have been a slight overdraft, but Schwartz brings elite speed, which might be the fastest in the NFL from day one and his one skill could be very helpful in opening up the field deep.

When the Browns lost Odell Beckham, the Browns lacked a receiver that could stretch the field and force opponents to respect the deep pass, so Schwartz's presence alone could be dividends in that area.

Fourth-round tackle James Hutson should be a depth player for a year or so and hopefully develops after only playing offensive line for two seasons.

Defensive tackle Tommy Togiai should be at least a rotational player and has the potential to eventually be a top-notch interior lineman.

Linebacker Tony Fields will contribute on special teams with his speed and plays very similarly to Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, so Fields may be one of those day three players that just forces his way into the lineup somehow.

Big-hitting safety Richard LeCounte was very productive at Georgia, should be a special teamer at least, and I like his chances to beat out Sheldrick Redwine as a backup in the secondary.

Demetric Felton was a UCLA running back, was expected to be a wide receiver, and played in the Senior Bowl at the position, but the Browns announced him as a running back and they could be looking at him as a Darren Sproles Swiss Army Knife type of player.

And to sign a Marvin Wilson, who has top 50 level talent, for the price of a check as an undrafted free agent has the potential to have people around the league not believing that someone didn't take this guy!

The Browns also added an extra fourth-rounder for next year's draft and who knows what they could use that for in 2022.

Part of being a playoff team and one that's expected to make some playoff hay this season is that not all of these players are going to make the team.

And while I'm sure that the Browns would like to slide anyone that they would release onto the practice squad, again when you are a stronger team other teams are more likely to claim the players that you have to waive, so that could come into play with any potential roster spot wars.

Give Andrew Berry and his bunch a lot of credit for this draft- Other than not drafting a defensive end, the Browns addressed every major need and minor needs as well.

Excellent job in Berea and I'd be surprised that if anyone thought the Browns didn't do very well with this draft. 

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Boxing Challenge: Canelo breaks down BJS

    For almost eight rounds, the super middleweight title unification fight was close (unless you were one of two judges) between Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders and seemed to be ramping up towards a dramatic ending in Arlington, Texas.

Alvarez ended all of that drama late in the eighth round when a crunching right undercut damaged the right eye of Saunders and as the round ended, Saunders' eye was inflating by the second.

Within the minute between rounds, Saunders's corner determined that the damage was too much for their fighter to continue and stopped the fight, which handed Alvarez the WBO title to add to the WBA and WBC championships that Alvarez held entering the fight.

Saunders was quite slippery and had some success against Canelo with my scorecard showing the battle even at 76 after eight rounds, but the eighth was Alvarez's best of the fight and with a damaged eye Saunders was clearly going to need a miracle as the scorecards had him trailing by two, four, and four points after eight.

Give Saunders credit for only stumbling a bit after taking a tremendous shot from Canelo and he was never even in mild trouble during the fight, but he didn't throw enough punches and going against a fighter like Canelo Alvarez when you aren't a big puncher you will need to win a decision and to win such a decision you may have to win 9-3 or 10-2 in rounds to win a 7-5 decision.

Saunders's eye socket is suspected to be broken and you have to wonder how Saunders will recover physically as after Kell Brook broke his eye socket against Gennady Golovkin, he broke it again against Errol Spence and was never the same fighter.

Canelo Alvarez called for the only champion that is left to defeat next in IBF champion Caleb Plant.

Plant fights for PBC and while you would think that Plant cannot make anything close to what he'd make to face Alvarez, PBC head Al Haymon has ways that make his fighters decide to work against their financial interest in the past, most notably, Jermall Charlo turning down seven million (twice his career-high at the time) to fight Demetrius Andrade on DAZN and Peter Quillin vacating his WBO middleweight title rather than fight Matt Korobov for a career-high 1.4 million (over three times his career-high purse at the time) for Roc Nation after the now-defunct company won a purse bid.

I could also see Haymon thinking that the missing title is what makes Plant valuable (he's right on that considering Plant's resume'), have Plant score another dominant victory over a non-entity (Plant has fought one fighter of top ten quality in Jose Uzcategui) in an attempt to increase Plant's value before he cashes in with a fight that he is likely to lose.

In other words, don't be surprised at all if Caleb Plant, the guy noted as "What else does he have to do" by Eddie Hearn, actually finds someone else to fight.

The co-feature saw WBO light flyweight champion Elwin Soto defeat former minimumweight champion, Katsunari Takayama, by ninth-round stoppage when our "favorite" referee Laurence Cole stopped the fight a bit early in my opinion.

I had Soto had ahead 76-75 (5-3 in rounds, with Soto losing a point in the first round for hitting after the bell) and Takayama was rallying on my card, winning three of the four previous to the ninth.

Soto could have a unification match with WBA champion Hiroto Kyoguchi soon as both fighters recently fought for the first time with Matchroom and what should be an almost guaranteed action battle.

Friday in Russia, Magomed Kurbanov won a unanimous decision over former WBO junior middleweight champion Liam Smith in a fight that could have been scored for either combatant.

I scored Kurbanov a 115-113 winner, which was the same as two judges with the third a ridiculous 117-111 card, but the fight was extremely close and I wouldn't even offer a word should someone score Smith a close winner.

Smith landed plenty but didn't seem to hurt Kurbanov and these two are the type of solid back end of the top ten/twelve contenders that could fight five times and deliver five tight affairs.

Ramon Malpica outscored me four to three in the boxing challenge and cut my lead to 62-60.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Cleaning out the inbox: Passings

   The tributes never stop in our world and we return with a few notable folks that have recently passed on.

Goodbye to Michael Collins at the age of 90.

Collins was the command module pilot on Apollo 11, the first flight to land on the moon, and while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon, it was Collins floating in orbit alone as any human has ever been.

Collins also was the first person to have performed more than one spacewalk and had the opportunity to return to the moon as commander of what proved to be the last moon visit in Apollo 17.

Collins turned down the offer with his reasoning being that his goal was to help the dream of John F.Kennedy to reach the moon before the end of the 60s and since that goal was accomplished, Collins didn't feel the personal need to return to space.

Collins also was a key player in the building of the National Air and Space Museum as its director from 1972-78 and getting the museum opened on time as the museum was hoped to be opened by July 4. 1976 for the nation's bicentennial.

The museum made the goal by three days.

Goodbye to Johnny Crawford at the age of 75.

One of the original Mouseketeers, Crawford was one of the twelve that was released following the first year of the Mickey Mouse Club when Disney decided twenty-four was far too many to have on one program.

Crawford would reach his biggest fame in 1959 when he landed the role of "Mark McCain", the son of former Cubs and Dodgers first baseman Chuck Connors on "The Rifleman", which was one of the first shows to feature a single parent and perhaps the first with a single father.

Set in the 1880s, the Rifleman centered around Connors with his parenting of Crawford a key part of the show.

Crawford would continue to act after the Rifleman finished its run, including a guest appearance on "Branded", another vehicle that starred Connors and would sing as a teen idol of the age with four songs that reached the top forty, including "Cindy's Birthday" that reached eight on the charts in 1962.

Goodbye to Lloyd Price at the age of 88.

Price, known as "Mr.Personality" after his hit "Personality", which he is remembered most for, scattered several minor hits through 1963 before moving to a post-performing career that included owning record companies, construction companies, helping Don King with King's boxing promotions, and managing Global Icon Foods, a company that features southern-style foods.

Personality may be the song that most people connect with Price, but his only number one hit was 1959's "Stagger Lee", which is remembered by me for what other reason than professional wrestling?!

I'll try to remember to add that story to the next cleaning of the inbox that doesn't feature tributes.

Goodbye to Mike Davis at the age of 65.

Davis won two Super Bowls with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders in an eleven-year career after being drafted in the second round by Oakland in the 1977 draft but is remembered by many for one play.

And it's a play reviled in Cleveland to this day with the Browns trailing the visiting Oakland Raiders 14-12 with under a minute to play from the Raiders fourteen-yard line, the play call was "Red Right 88" with quarterback Brian Sipe instructed to throw the ball away if he didn't have a receiver open.

Sipe threw the ball to his checkdown receiver tight end Ozzie Newsome, who was briefly open before Davis cut in front of Newsome to intercept the pass and end the "Kardiac Kids" season.

Goodbye to Jim Bertelsen at the age of 71.

Bertelsen was the top ground gainer for the Texas Longhorns 1969 national champions and would have won the 1970 national title, had Texas not lost in the Cotton Bowl to Notre Dame 24-11.

Bertelsen along with backfield mates Steve Worster and Ted Koy behind quarterback James Street revolutionized the ground game as part of the first "Wishbone" offense and would finish his Texas career with over 2,500 rushing yards.

Bertelsen would be selected in the second round by the Los Angeles Rams in 1972 and would make the Pro Bowl in 1973 when he rushed for a career-high 853 yards.

Bertelsen would retire after the 1976 season after his playing time had been reduced by the Rams drafting of Penn State running back, and 1973 Heisman winner John Cappelletti.

Goodbye to Del Crandall at the age of 91.

Crandall, an eight-time All-Star as a key part of the Milwaukee Braves of the 1950s that won the 1957 World Series and were the 1958 National League champions, won four Gold Gloves as arguably the National League's best defensive catcher of the 50s.

Crandall wasn't known as a hitter, but he did hit double-digit homers for the Braves in each season from 1953 through 1960, with a high of 26 long-balls in 1955 for Milwaukee.

Crandall would manage the Brewers from 1972 to 1975, managing a teenaged Robin Yount, and would manage the Mariners in 1983 and 1984, but would never finish a season with a winning record.

Crandall was the final surviving player to play for the Boston Braves, who moved to Milwaukee in 1953.

Crandall played two partial seasons for the Boston Braves in 1949 and 1950 at the ages of 19 and 20 and was the runner-up to Brooklyn pitcher Don Newcombe for the 1949 National League Rookie of the Year before missing the Braves final two seasons in Boston due to military service.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Boxing Challenge

It's not a huge weekend for boxing as far as quantity, but as quality, it doesn't come a lot larger than a Canelo Alvarez title unification fight.

But first, ESPN+ has a card from Russia with a title eliminator in the junior middleweight divisions with former WBO (and Canelo victim) Liam Smith facing Magomed Kurbanov.

Kurbanov is an undefeated and talented fighter but has been out of the ring for twenty-five months, while Smith hasn't fought for almost seventeen.

Smith has won three straight since his 2018 loss to Jaime Munguia and has fought better competition than Kurbanov, but this is a 50-50 fight and it might be tough for Smith to win a decision on the road.

Of course, the big news is Canelo Alvarez placing his WBA and WBC super-middleweight titles against the WBO version held by Billy Joe Saunders with the winner holding three of the four championships in the division from Arlington, Texas.

Saunders has been attempting to get inside the head of Alvarez with complaints about the size of the ring, remarks to Mexican reporters, and general mind games that bring to mind the tactics of Saunders' cousin Tyson Fury.

However, this is a chance to show how much Canelo has progressed since the last time that he faced a slick boxing southpaw as the last time he faced one similar to Saunders, he received yet another generous decision in a 2014 split decision win over Erislandy Lara.

Canelo has improved since that win and Saunders doesn't always impress in victory, but I have a feeling that like Tyson Fury, Saunders fights best when challenged, and I just cannot get past his brilliant win over David Lemieux.

I think Saunders has a real chance to pull this upset, but the Texas judges, the aura of Canelo, and his own style with its tendency to bore may all work against Saunders.

The co-feature pits Elwin Soto against Katsunari Takayama for Soto's WBO light flyweight title.

Soto will be fighting for the first time since signing with Matchroom Boxing and will be defending his title for the third time against the veteran Takayama, who held the minimumweight title on three occasions between 2007 and 2015.

Takayama won a six-round decision in December in the first fight of his comeback but will have plenty to overcome against Soto, including ring rust, age, and fighting on the road.

In the boxing challenge, I lead Ramon Malpica 59-56.

Junior Middleweights. 12 Rds
Liam Smith vs Magomed Kurbanov
Both: Kurbanov Unanimous Decision

Unification WBA/WBC-WBO Super Middleweight Titles. 12 Rds
Canelo Alvarez vs Billy Joe Saunders
R.L: Alvarez Split Winner
TRS: Saunders Split Winner

WBO Light Flyweight Title. 12 rds
Elwin Soto vs Katsunari Takayama
Both: Soto Unanimous Decision 

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Boxing Challenge: Parker, Ruiz survive Heavyweight tests.

    Two former heavyweight champions survived stern tests from veterans attempting to stay relevant on Saturday with both winning entertaining affairs and both having to get off the floor to notch victories.

In Manchester, England, former WBO champion Joseph Parker was knocked down in the opening seconds and fell far behind on the scorecards against Dereck Chisora before rallying in the second half of the fight to grab a split decision.

Chisora was more aggressive and banked most of the first half of the fight, but tired badly as the bout continued with visible gasps for air in the corner between rounds.

Parker turned the tide against the weary Chisora in the second half of the fight, but on my card, it was decided by the knockdown in the opening round, 114-113 for Chisora.

Two judges scored it 115-113 for each fighter, which was very fair, and then the decisive score of 117-111 for Parker was ridiculous.

Parker is rated in the top six by the WBC, IBF, and WBO, so he'll likely have an eliminator soon, but the opponent is unknown as the fighters above him are with other promoters except for Oleksandr Usyk, who would be unlikely to take such a fight.

As for Dereck Chisora, it was yet another close fight that didn't quite go his way, but a strong effort that will earn him another paycheck against another contender.

On the other heavyweight fight, I wasn't surprised that Andy Ruiz and Chris Arreola put on an excellent fight, I was surprised that it went the twelve-round distance with Ruiz winning a unanimous decision.

Arreola knocked Ruiz down in the second round and won some early rounds, but Ruiz kept grinding and when Arreola courageously battled through a shoulder injury, he was meat on the platter for Ruiz, who swept the final rounds for the victory.

I scored Ruiz a 116-111 winner and though Arreola had his moments in an entertaining battle, Ruiz was the clear winner.

Ruiz is ranked in the top five by three of the four organizations and even though his PBC affiliation hinders him from title chances against Anthony Joshua or Tyson Fury, there are interesting fights for him against Deontay Wilder or Luis Ortiz at the top of the food chain or Adam Kownacki or Robert Helenius below him.

Any of those names would make entertaining brawls against Ruiz and a win over a Wilder or Ortiz would zoom him to the top of the contender list.

On the Parker-Chisora undercard, WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol won an unimpressive unanimous decision over a surprising Craig "Spider" Richards.

Richards had fought no one of Bivol's caliber, but tried throughout and landed occasional right hands which is more than I expected of him, but Bivol never tried to step up the pace and was content to take a closer than expected decision with two scores of 115-114 and 115-113, which were too close in my opinion.

I scored Bivol a 117-111 winner with Richards winning the final three rounds while Bivol was on cruise control, but Bivol, who was once thought of as a possible future superstar, continues to be content to win less than thrilling decisions that drive away fans.

Bivol is expected to face former WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez next in a fight that Bivol will need to perform far better than he has of late.

On the Ruiz-Arreola card from Carson California, former WBC lightweight champion Omar Figueroa was beaten up for six rounds by fringe contender Abel Ramos and then had the fight stopped in the corner in what has been reported as an uncompetitive fight.

I haven't seen this yet, but it sounds like the once-promising Figueroa may be headed for retirement.

On the Fox version of the undercard, Erislandy Lara knocked out undeserving Thomas LaManna with one punch in the first round to win one of the WBA's gumball machine belts, this one in the middleweight division.

I rambled about the wretched WBA in previewing this bout, so I'll save my breath now rather than ranting further about a mismatch that was clear before the contract was signed.

In the boxing challenge, I scored five points to Ramon Malpica's four and lead the challenge 59-56.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Browns sign Marvin Wilson

    I thought I was finished with the Cleveland Browns draft picks after their selection of UCLA running back Demetric Felton in the sixth round.

The keywords were draft picks because as I followed the draft while watching the Joseph Parker-Dereck Chisora fight, and the name that I continued to look for was Florida State defensive tackle Marvin Wilson.

I mentioned Wilson as one of my "Persons of Interest" for the Browns at defensive tackle and his 2019 season for the Seminoles was outstanding.

Wilson would have been at least a second or third-rounder in the 2020 draft after his 2019 campaign, but he didn't play as well in the shortened 2020 season after new coach Mike Norvell installed a different scheme at Florida State and Wilson fell down the draft boards.

Still, I figured Wilson would go somewhere on day three and even to the Browns, but the drafting of Ohio State defensive tackle Tommy Togiai in the fourth round made me believe that the Browns wouldn't select Wilson after Togiai.

The Browns dealt their seventh-round pick to Detroit in an earlier trade that landed Cleveland the Lions fifth and Detroit's 2022 fourth, so the Browns were finished after the sixth round, but like me, the Browns were keeping their eye on Wilson and when the draft ended, Andrew Berry acted swiftly to get the Browns involved in what was described as a "bidding war" for Wilson by Brad Ward for USA Today.

Cleveland would win that war by giving Wilson a $162,000 contract guarantee and a $ 30,000 signing bonus to add the 6'5 300-pound defensive tackle to their rotation.

Wilson may wind up making more money than sixth-round selection Demetric Felton, as the Browns had to pay up and quickly to land Wilson.

Wilson won financially by not being drafted as the Browns would have likely picked him had they retained a seventh-round choice.

Wilson is strong, difficult to stand up, good against the run, and is a solid pass rusher for a defensive tackle, but the bonus that comes with Wilson is his kick blocking ability.

Wilson blocked three last season and having a lineman with that skill is a rarely found bonus.

Remember the Browns claiming Vincent Taylor off waivers last season after the final cutdown with his kick blocking prowess as one of the reasons and Taylor did block an extra point last season.

Taylor signed with the Houston Texans in the off-season, so Wilson may have a leg up as he competes for a job in a tackle rotation with veterans Malik Jackson and Andrew Billings, 2020 third-rounder Jordan Elliott, and Tommy Togiai.

I didn't plan on another post on a Browns rookie, but I also didn't expect them to land a player such as Marvin Wilson after the draft had completed! 

Browns select Demetric Felton

  The Cleveland Browns completed their draft with their sixth-round selection of running back Demetric Felton from UCLA.

Felton averaged 111 rushing yards in his six games in 2020 for the Bruins, including a 206-yard explosion against Arizona.

Felton can catch the ball out of the backfield, catching 22 passes for 159 yards and three touchdowns, but he can also catch the ball on the outside as he played wide receiver at the Senior Bowl.

Felton was rated by most as a wide receiver entering the draft, but the Browns announced the pick with Felton as a running back, so Cleveland must be planning on trying him there or maybe as a jack of all trades type that sees Felton possibly used at either position depending on the situation.

Felton also returns kicks which add to his chances of making the roster.

Felton will likely have to beat out D'Earnest Johnson at running back or it's also possible he could take JoJo Natson's spot as kick returner, slot receiver, gadget play guy as well.

Felton is a smallish (5'8) receiver that wasn't changed to running back until the arrival of Chip Kelly at Westwood and could be an eventual fit in the slot.

Dane Brugler was impressed by Felton's play at the Senior Bowl, considering his lack of reps at receiver, but Cleveland must have different plans for the former Bruin.

I'll have a review of the draft over the next day or two and later tonight, I'll have the boxing challenge from the road office. 

Browns select Richard LeCounte

 Sometimes in the draft, there are productive college players that for one reason or another are downgraded by draft analysts and slip through the cracks of the draft.

Driving to the road office last night, I was listening to the draft and one of the NFL radio guys mentioned one of these players in safety Richard LeCounte of Georgia.

Georgia defensive backs were taken in the first round (Eric Stokes to Green Bay) and the second (Tyson Campbell to Jacksonville), but LeCounte was mentioned as a player that was just as productive for the Bulldogs, yet wasn't as highly rated.

The Browns took LeCounte and added him to their safety room and the 5'10 three-year starter at Georgia may have been added for his special team skills, which have been noted by several sources.

LeCounte is noted for his aggressiveness that can be sometimes a detriment in making the tackle, and his 40 time wasn't great and likely cost him in the draft.

But LeCounte plays faster than his time in the forty and he's been highly recommended by the Georgia program as the type of leader that draws players to him.

LeCounte is a very interesting selection for the fifth round and I would not surprised to see him make the Browns ahead of Sheldrick Redwine for one.

I'll be adding more on the Browns sixth-round pick tonight from the road office.

Browns select Tony Fields

 The Cleveland Browns used the first of their two fifth-rounders on a very interesting player in Tony Fields, a linebacker from West Virginia.

Fields started his career at Arizona and finished with a final year at West Virginia as a graduate transfer.

Fields racked up strong tackle numbers as a linebacker that runs to the ballcarrier and has been compared to the Browns second-round pick Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in his style of play.

Fields is 6'2, but only 222 pounds with more of a rangy build than a prototype linebacker.

Dane Brugler rated Fields as a 4th or 5th rounder that will need to play in space due to his size as larger blockers can push him away from the play.

Fields speed should help him play on coverage teams and this could be a pick that puts pressure on Mack Wilson to make the roster.

I just don't see the Browns keeping seven linebackers with Anthony Walker from free agency, Jacob Phillips, Malcolm Smith, and Sione Takitaki returning, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and Fields drafted, and then Wilson.

I'm a Mack Wilson fan, but I may like him more than the front office does.

It'll be interesting to see how the linebacker situation plays out in Berea.

Browns select Tommy Togiai

    Ohio State defensive tackle Tommy Togiai was a player that I was hoping the Browns could land coming into the draft and especially entering day three.

I was a little disappointed that the Browns didn't take Togiai with their first pick in the fourth round, not that I was bothered by the selection of James Hudson, but the Browns could use more depth at defensive tackle.

But Togiai's improvement last season at Ohio State and his coming out a year made me think that someone was going to pick up a bargain.

That someone was still the Cleveland Browns, who selected Togiai with their own pick in the fourth round.

The 6'1 294 pounder might have been a day one or early day two pick in 2022, had Togiai returned to Columbus, but his decision to enter the draft may have cost him a few dollars with the upside of coming to a team that needed depth up the middle.

Togiai finished 2020 with three sacks and eight tackles for loss in his only season as a starter and at only 21, Togiai has plenty of room to develop.

Togiai is a powerhouse in the weight room and is a player that never takes a play off.

Togiai does need some work on his pass rush, but I agree with Dane Brugler's evaluation that at worst, Togiai is going to be a high effort run stopper, and with work and luck on his pass rush could develop to an upper-echelon defensive tackle.

A real bargain at this point in the draft.

Browns select James Hudson

   The Cleveland Browns had two picks in the early portion of the fourth round and it was assumed that unless no one wanted to trade up that the Browns would not use them both.

That's exactly what happened as after the Browns used the fourth-rounder acquired from the Eagles last season (110) on Cincinnati tackle James Hudson, the Browns swapped the pick added from Carolina last night (112) to the Detroit Lions.

Cleveland received the Lions fifth-round pick at 153 and the Lions fourth-rounder in 2022 for the aforementioned pick and the Browns seventh-rounder at 257, two picks before the final pick of the draft.

This places the Browns with their own pick in round four, two picks in round five ( from the Rams and Lions), and their own pick in the sixth round.

I'm still thinking that Andrew Berry isn't finished and may not use the remaining fourth and the two fifth-rounders.

Moving to James Hudson, a 6'4, 303-pound tackle that played for the Cincinnati Bearcats after transferring from Michigan earlier in his career.

Hudson was recruited as a defensive lineman and after a redshirt season was moved to tackle, but after a few games decided to transfer to Cincinnati.

You may remember the dustup over Hudson's eligibility between Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and Cincinnati's Luke Fickell over Michigan's lack of help in getting Hudson a waiver to be immediately eligible with the Bearcats.

Hudson claimed depression issues and the move to tackle, but the waiver was denied by the NCAA.

Hudson must have come around as he played tackle for Cincinnati making all-AAC in 2020.

Hudson is a bit unrefined as he has played only fourteen games at offensive line, but Dane Brugler likes his feet and strength, although he has shorter arms than most tackles which can be a liability.

Hudson had a third-round grade from Brugler, so early fourth isn't extremely far off and the Browns build their depth in the event Chris Hubbard isn't fully recovered from his late-season injury, so this selection makes a lot of sense.

I've worked all night and other than a short nap, I'm pushing myself to get through the draft.

As long as I'm up, I'll be writing about the newest Browns.

Boxing Challenge

The boxing Saturday covers two continents, two important heavyweight fights, a world championship fight, and two others of interest including the latest ridiculous news from the always ridiculous WBA.

Matchroom and DAZN start in the afternoon from Manchester, England with a heavyweight contest that could be very entertaining.

Former WBO champion Joseph Parker continues on his comeback trail against veteran gatekeeper Dereck Chisora in what is essentially an eliminator without being sanctioned as one.

Chisora usually makes entertaining fights, and when he loses, he can often lose spectacularly and while Parker's fights are seldom entertaining, his decision loss to Dillian Whyte was a great fight because Whyte forced Parker to stand and fight.

Who had two excellent fights with Dillian Whyte? Dereck Chisora.

I have a feeling this could be a very big action fight with the winner moving on to another contender in the division.

The co-feature sees the return to the ring of WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol against journeyman Craig Richards.

Bivol hasn't fought since October 2019 with a less than exciting win over Gilbert Castillo, and this is hoped to be a tune-up fight for Bivol, who may fight former super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez in his next fight.

Richards is 16-1, but hasn't fought anyone near the top ten and isn't expected to give Bivol much of a test, although Bivol's power is starting to be questioned after four decision wins in a row, so the tag for this fight could be about Bivol's power.

In the evening, Fox will have a preliminary card before a pay-per-view that really shouldn't be one.

The PPV could have an entertaining brawl between Mexican heavyweights Andy Ruiz and Chris Arreola.

Ruiz fights for the first time since dropping his three titles back to Anthony Joshua and is supposedly in shape after joining trainer Eddy Reynoso.

You hear that often through the careers of fighters that are out of shape, so I'm dubious but Reynoso isn't known as a coddling trainer so perhaps Ruiz is ready to go.

If Ruiz is ready, his fight with 40-year-old Chris Arreola could be fun to watch with punches exchanged often.

Arreola was often described in similar manners to Ruiz during his prime, but he has been in better shape in recent years and he set a record for punches thrown by a heavyweight in his last fight- a 2019 decision loss to Adam Kownacki, so this could be a good fight- for as long as it lasts.

The undercard on the PPV isn't much, but former WBC lightweight champion Omar Figueroa faces Abel Ramos in what could be the last run for Figueroa, who once showed so promise as a future star but for various reasons never fulfilled his potential.

Figueroa lost for the first time in 2019 to current WBA welterweight champion Yordenis Ugas in a fight that he barely won a round and looks to be far too small against the best welterweights, but unable or unwilling to cut to 135 or 140 which would be the best weight for him.

Ramos lost a split decision to Ugas in his last fight, but the scorecard for Ramos was one of the worst in recent years and his only big win was the final round stoppage of Bryant Perrella with only seconds remaining.

The win over Perrella looks better after Perrella's recent draw against Tony Harrison, which I thought Perrella won close, and this again could be an action fight if Figueroa is in shape.

The final challenge fight isn't from the PPV, it is from the Fox preview show with former WBA junior middleweight champion Erislandy Lara moving up to middleweight for one of the WBA's ridiculous minor titles.

It's not only that Lara is in a "title" fight in his first fight at the weight, or that he looked disinterested in his last win over Greg Vendetti, it's his opponent Thomas LaManna.

LaManna like Vendetti isn't a fighter of this level and the only question in this one is-  Will Lara care enough to stop his opponent or like against Vendetti, be more than happy to drag fans through twelve rounds of "action".

LaManna has lost to both fighters that he's faced that are even fringe contenders (Dusty Hernandez-Harrison and Jorge Cota) and is undeserving of facing Lara period-let alone for a 'title' as worthless as that title.

Keep in mind that his five-round knockout loss to Jorge Cota was against a fighter used to build other fighters at the contender level, hence Cota's early KO losses to Jermell Charlo (in 3) and Erickson Lubin (in 4) and Cota being fed to promising Sebastian Fundora on this PPV card in a bout that I didn't even place on the challenge.

Yet Cota stopped LaManna, LaManna has lost two of his last four and has never fought at middleweight, yet he is on national television for a "title" from a sanctioning body.

LaManna's last two wins are over fighters with 30-26 and 22-14 records and even against a 38-year-old and aging Lara, he seems sadly out of his league- PBC and the WBA should be ashamed.

In the boxing challenge, I lead Ramon Malpica 54-52.

Heavyweights. 12 Rds 
Joseph Parker vs Dereck Chisora
Both: Parker Unanimous Decision

WBA Light Heavyweight Title. 12 Rds
Dmitry Bivol vs Craig Richards
R.L: Bivol KO 7
TRS: Bivol KO 5

Heavyweights. 12 Rds
Andy Ruiz vs Chris Arreola
R.L: Ruiz KO 10
TRS: Ruiz KO 6

Welterweights 12 Rds
Omar Figueroa vs Abel Ramos
Both: Figueroa Unanimous Decision

Middleweights 12 Rds
Erislandy Lara vs Thomas LaManna
R.L: Lara Unanimous Decision
TRS: Lara KO 9