Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Boxing Challenge: Fulton squeezes past Figueroa

   The Showtime Saturday card unified two 122-pound titles in a tremendous battle that also had a post-fight altercation that was as entertaining as the fight itself.

WBO junior featherweight champion Stephen Fulton added the WBC champion previously held by Brandon Figueroa with a hotly contested majority decision victory over Figueroa in Las Vegas.

This fight certainly deserves consideration for the 2021 fight of the year as Figueroa continually walked forward, throwing and landing more punches as he forced the pace of the fight with Fulton surprisingly deciding to stand his ground and slug for most of the bout.

Figueroa did throw and land more but Fulton was landing the cleaner punches and landed the higher percentage of punches over the course of the fight.

I had Figueroa a 115-113 winner but I would have been OK with the same score for Fulton as the fight really was that close.

What I didn't care for was Figueroa's behavior after the fight in which he interrupted Fulton's postfight talk with Showtime's Jim Gray and whined about how he won the fight.

While I agreed with Figueroa's claim, the fight was far from the worst robbery of the year as Figueroa stated and things were close to being ugly before things calmed down a bit.

Fulton did verbally spar with Figueroa but he didn't cross the line and Fulton was far more classy in the affair.

I would love to see a rematch in which both fighters at first agreed to meet again but Figueroa seemed to demur when talking to Gray after Fulton left the ring.

It would be nice if Fulton could meet WBA and IBF champion Murodjon Akhmadaaliev and settle the best fighter in the division but I would say it's unlikely for now with rival promoters and mandatory obligations in a very solid division.

The undercards saw the likely next fight for Fulton as Ra'eese Aleem won an easy unanimous decision over Eduardo Baez.

No knockdowns in a good, not great affair with my scoring going for Aleem 98-92.

A fight between Fulton and Aleem seems to be a solid fight and one that could be an excellent Showtime main event in 2022.

The opener was much more entertaining as undefeated bantamweight Gary Antonio Russell survived his toughest test from veteran Alejandro Santiago.

Russell took an early lead and seemed to be on his way to an impressive victory but Santiago took command in the middle rounds with the last rounds featuring many exchanges between the two in a fun fight to start the evening.

Russell took the majority decision that wasn't debatable with two scores of 96-94 for Russell and a 95-95 draw.

As in the main event, I scored a very close fight for the loser as I thought Santiago won 96-94 but I had no issues with Russell's win with the scores being very fair.

In the boxing challenge, I scored four points to Ramon Malpica's three to move my lead to 158-139. 

Browns bounced in Baltimore 16-10

    The Cleveland Browns defense did about all one could ask for in controlling Lamar Jackson (other than allowing one touchdown and one huge gainer when Jackson basically tossed the ball up to avoid a sack) in sacking Jackson twice and intercepting four times but in the end, it didn't matter as the Baker Mayfield-led offense could only manage ten points against the Baltimore defense in a 16-10 defeat in Baltimore.

Baker Mayfield threw for 247 yards and the only Cleveland touchdown to David Njoku, while Jarvis Landry led the receivers with six catches for 111 yards.

Cleveland falls to 6-6 and has this week off before hosting these same Ravens in Cleveland.

Brownie Bits

1) What a wasted defensive performance for a team that has been erratic all season.

Four interceptions of Lamar Jackson, three of them in a two-minute span, and an effective pass rush against a player that has often confounded them.

What a waste.

2) Holding Baltimore to only one touchdown and that score was essentially a fluke as Jackson threw a prayer as he avoided several Browns that found a waiting Mark Andrews in the end zone.

Andrews is another noted Browns killer and the coverage breakdown was understandable as players attempted to keep Jackson from racing upfield

3) Jadeveon Clowney was a player that came to Cleveland with a rap as a player that didn't always bust his hump on every play.

I haven't seen that player in Cleveland as I've seen a guy that doesn't take plays off and some of that could be limiting his use a bit, Clowney has an impact on the pass rush and has done exactly what the Browns could have hoped for with Myles Garrett.

I would be more than fine with another one or even two-year deal with Clowney if it can be afforded.

4) Myles Garrett was another player that seemed to be everywhere with a sack, a batted-down pass that would have been a touchdown as the receiver was open in the end zone, and several near misses on Lamar Jackson.

5) The word was that Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah was drafted to be the type of versatile defender that could spy on Lamar Jackson and not allow him to run with abandon.

The first game for JOK appeared to be a success as Jackson rushed for 68 yards with a long run of thirteen yards.

Owusu-Koramoah finished with six solo tackles, six assisted tackles, and half a sack, so Owusu-Koramoah seems to be an excellent fit for the job.

6) Onto the offense which was utterly terrible.

Baker Mayfield wasn't as bad as he had been at times this season and he didn't throw an interception for a change but he wasn't accurate and once again failed to complete fifty percent of his passes (18/37).

Don't blame Mayfield completely for the loss but he didn't do very much to help matters either.

7) Kevin Stefanski concerns me with his third week in a row with Jarvis Landry taking snaps at quarterback and taking a big loss as a result.

Stefanski was excellent as a play-caller last season but he has struggled to find his path this season and I'm wondering if the demands of coaching an expected playoff team and calling the plays aren't beginning to wear on him.

8) More Stefanski with a team that is paying big money to both of their guards and has built their team to run the football behind a rugged offensive line to wear teams down late in the game.

Yet with two of the better running backs in the game, Kareem Hunt ran the ball seven times (20 yards) and Nick Chubb only eight (16 yards) and there wasn't an excuse of not being able to run the ball because they were behind in the game.

Why Kevin Stefanski didn't use the one part of his offense that is above average right now more is baffling to me.

9) Off off those four turnovers that the Browns defense provided, the Browns turned those into a grand total of three points.

10) While there was pressure on Baker Mayfield on the final fourth down play that saw Mayfield complete the pass to David Njoku but the pattern didn't have Njoku reaching the sticks and Njoku was tackled short of the first down.

Few things in football frustrate me more than a five-yard pattern when you need seven yards.

11) The Browns have scored 17 points or less in seven of their last nine games.

12) The Browns aren't returning to the playoffs.

At 6-6 with five games to go and placed in twelfth place when seven teams make it AND losing tiebreakers to several teams involved in such a race, I think it's over unless they run the table and win all five remaining games.

Baltimore, Las Vegas, Cincinnati at home, and Pittsburgh and Green Bay on the road is not a very likely run to 5-0 and I'm not even sure that winning them and finishing at 11-6 will be a sure thing considering their lack of tiebreakers against teams that they have to jump.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Boxing Challenge: Kambosos stuns Lopez!

  In a 2021 filled with major upsets, the upset that may have the biggest immediate impact took place in New York City as George Kambosos knocked down Teofimo Lopez in the first round and outslugged the heavily favored Lopez to win a split decision and take the three lightweight titles (WBA, IBF, and WBO) away from Lopez.

Lopez had vowed to stop Kambosos in the first round and while he stormed out in an attempt to do Kambosos in early, it was the Australian that scored the knockdown in the first round.

While Lopez wasn't badly hurt, it established that Kambosos was not going to roll over for Lopez and Kambosos began to bank rounds with hurting Lopez in the fourth round.

Both fighters showed facial damage but Lopez was cut over each eye and was sliced along his mouth and certainly was the more battered of the pair.

Lopez began to work his way back into the fight and in the tenth round floored Kambosos and suddenly it appeared that Lopez was going to save his titles but by the end of the round Kambosos was fighting back effectively.

With the fight on the line in the final two rounds, I gave both to Kambosos to win 115-111, which agreed with one judge with another scoring 115-112 for Kambosos with the odd judge giving the fight to Lopez 114-113.

Lopez didn't himself any favors by interrupting the DAZN post-fight interview with Kambosos insisting that he won and wasn't a "Sore Loser" while appearing to be just that to the boos of the crowd that was in favor of him when the fight began.

While on the sheer difference in talent, I still grade the Sandor Martin upset of Mikey Garcia as a bigger surprise, the Kambosos win will easily have the largest impact for 2022.

Kambosos could unify with WBC champion Devin Haney or Joseph Diaz, should Diaz dethrone Haney in their upcoming fight or fight any of the lightweight stars although I would bet he will make a showcase title defense in Australia to bank some big bucks in his home area.

Lopez looked like a fighter that needed to move up in weight and said he would love to face unified 140-pound champion, Josh Taylor, next but with this loss that fight may have lost some immediate luster and Lopez may first have to notch a win or two at 140 pounds before a potential Taylor matchup.

Larry Merchant always called boxing "the theatre of the absurd" and the saga of Lopez-Kambosos is one that fits the phrase when you consider the out-of-the-ring purse bids, cancellations, promoter changes, and finally the stunning upset.

In the co-feature, Kenichi Ogawa knocked down Azinga Fuzile three times, twice in the final round to win the IBF junior lightweight title that was declared vacant after Joseph Diaz missed weight before a title defense against Shavkat Rakhimov.

I had Ogawa a winner at 117-108.

In the boxing challenge, Ramon Malpica and I missed on both fights from New York.

I will have the Browns loss in Baltimore next as I haven't had time to watch the Saturday fights from PBC and Showtime yet.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Ohio State run over in the Snow-Lose to Michigan

     Ohio State had everything they needed to take their rightful place in the Big Ten title game and a step closer to the final four.

Until they didn't.

The Michigan Wolverines pounded the Buckeye defense again and again on the ground, took their first win over Ohio State since 2011, and for the first time over a good Ohio State team since 2003.

C.J. Stroud threw for 394 yards and two touchdowns and both Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Garrett Wilson caught double-digit passes and finished with over one hundred receiving yards.

The disappointing loss means that Ohio State finished 10-2, 8-1 in the Big Ten which gives them co-champion status with Michigan with the Wolverines winning the head-to-head tiebreaker and the resulting trip to Indianapolis.

Ohio State will likely wind in the Rose Bowl against the winner of the Pac 12 championship game between Oregon and Utah.

Olentangy Offerings

1) Michigan ran for almost three hundred yards (297) and ran for each of their six touchdowns, so it doesn't take very much to circle the key stat in the upset win.

2) Give Jim Harbaugh credit for having his team ready to play and even had a few wrinkles in his fairly staid offense.

Harbaugh had been criticized for not focusing enough on this game and he vowed that this year would be different and for one year- it was.

3) I as almost everyone did, picked Ohio State to win but one thing that I mentioned when asked about the game was my concern about C.J. Stroud.

Despite Stroud's numbers this season, the best team that Ohio State had played on the road in front of a hostile crowd was Minnesota and how would the redshirt freshman react?

4) Stroud didn't throw any interceptions but he resembled another Ohio quarterback a few hours north up I-71 with many missed passes going high.

Stroud didn't play badly but he didn't dazzle in defeat either.

5) One reason that the crowd may have become a factor?

Ohio State didn't take nearly as many deep shots down the field to Chris Olave or Garrett Wilson and as a result, the crossing and curl patterns that the Buckeyes often turn a twelve-yard gain into a sixty-five-yard move were stifled by very few yards after the catch.

Was this on Stroud's being bothered by the Michigan pass rush and wanted to get the ball out fast? Or was Ryan Day being overly safe under the circumstances?

6) The other main worry of mine entering the game was the Michigan defensive ends, Aiden Hutchinson and Ojabo and both were a handful with four sacks, three of those by Hutchinson.

Ohio State has had the dominant pass rushers in this rivalry for years but they didn't have them on Saturday.

7) Is that a long-term issue for the Buckeyes?

I doubt it- remember Ohio State nabbed both of the top two defensive linemen in last year's recruiting in J.T, Tuimoloau, and Jack Sawyer and while neither had huge impacts this season both should take huge jumps next season.

8) The first half touchdown catch by Garrett Wilson was out of this world and while players like Chris Olave and Wilson will be hard to replace the Buckeyes are more than equipped to do so (remember this is a team so deep in wideouts that Jameson Williams transferred to Alabama, of all places, to make the field regularly.

9) I would think both Olave and Wilson will be first-rounders and guarantee that at least one of them will be.

The fact that with three receivers like Ohio State has and does not have a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award is a joke.

10) The Buckeye defense let them down on the biggest stage and makes me wonder what would have happened against a higher-powered offense but there were a few bright spots.

Steele Chambers seemed to be all over the field and Bryson Shaw made a very good interception in the first quarter in the end zone to kill a Michigan scoring drive,

11) The win snapped an eight-game losing streak for Michigan against Ohio State and the first win for Michigan in ten years, since Michigan skipped last year's game due to issues with Covid-19.

12) It wouldn't be Jim Harbaugh, a guy that took seven years to win this game, without being able to be a sore winner as after the game Harbaugh referred to Ryan Day as a guy that "was born on third base and thought he hit a triple".

The observation of Day as a coach that won immediately with a team built by Urban Meyer isn't completely unfair ( the term for that is called pulling a Mike Tomlin) but in typical fashion came off as a smug jackass.

13) As for Ryan Day, the next two games against Michigan could set his legacy at Ohio State after such a stunning loss.

Next year's game will be key in Columbus as in taking their measure for this loss and Jim Harbaugh's smack talk to show it was the rare win in the series and not allow Michigan to set the narrative that the tide had turned.

14) However, even with a 2022 win for the Buckeyes in Columbus, the pressure will not truly be relieved until a 2023 win in Ann Arbor for a second win in a row and a road win.

That is how important regaining control of this series rather than allow Michigan to think of themselves as equals.

Dominance cannot be taken for granted.

15) Wrapping up with this hot take- Is it possible that C.J. Stroud has made his first and last start in a game against Michigan?

After all, Ohio State signed not just the number one quarterback in the nation, but the number one PLAYER in the nation in Quinn Evers, and would Ryan Day take the chance of losing a talent like Evers to keep Stroud?

I might wonder if in this loss if it isn't possible that one of the many things that were lost in Ann Arbor in this game, one may have been C.J.Stroud moving from Heisman finalist to possibly not even starting the game in 2022? 

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Boxing Challenge

     The boxing challenge ends November with the long-awaited first title defense of three titleholder Teofimo Lopez and a three-fight Showtime card that will unify two titles at 122 pounds.

Matchroom and DAZN will finally put on the first title defense of WBA, IBF, and WBO lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez after numerous delays, site changes, and in the end a promoter and network swap.

Lopez has been inactive since his upset victory over Vasyl Lomachenko thirteen months ago, due to promotional issues, purse bids, Covid, and the winner of the purse bid eventually defaulting and giving the fight to Matchroom/DAZN.

Lopez's IBF mandatory challenger is Australian George Kambosos, who has only two notable wins- both split decisions over light-hitting former champions Mickey Bey and Lee Selby with both on the backside of their careers.

Kambosos is a pressure fighter with just average power, so on the surface, Kambosos seems to be perfect for Lopez- a fighter that can't hurt Lopez but yet has to come to the champion.

Eddie Hearn has stated (without verification from Lopez or his usual promoter Top Rank) that Lopez would face WBC champion Devin Haney (promoted by Hearn) next with a win over Kambosos while Top Rank seems to prefer Lopez move to 140 pounds and a shot at unified world champion Josh Taylor.

The co-feature will fill the IBF junior lightweight title vacated by Joseph Diaz when he missed weight earlier this year before his draw with Shakat Rakhimov.

Fuzile was stopped in his only loss to Rakhimov in 2019 but rebounded with an upset win over England's Martin Ward.

Ogawa is remembered for winning this very title in 2017 via a split decision over Tevin Farmer only to drop it after failing post-fight drug tests.

Showtime's three-fight card features a main event that could have an equal amount of impact on boxing in 2022 with a title unification at junior featherweight that will leave the division with two champions each holding two titles.

WBC champion Brandon Figueroa will meet WBO champion Stephen Fulton in Las Vegas in a fight that pits the classic aggressive stalker against the smooth boxer.

Both men won their titles in their last fight, Figueroa knocking out Luis Nery in seven and Fulton easily decisioning Angelo Leo, so experience shouldn't come into play.

Figueroa's win over Nery, who at one time was top ten P4P, was a bigger win than Fulton's over Leo as both were undefeated prospect types but I have a feeling that Fulton could be sitting on a big effort.

The other fights on the card include Ra'eese Aleem, who will likely land a shot at the winner of Figueroa-Fulton against Eduardo Baez, and undefeated bantamweight Gary Antonio Russell against veteran Alejandro Santiago.

In the boxing challenge, I lead Ramon Malpica 154-136.

WBA/IBF/WBO Lightweight Titles. 12 Rds 
Teofimo Lopez vs George Kambosos
R.L: Lopez KO 6
TRS: Lopez KO 10

Vacant IBF Junior Lightweight Title 12 Rds
Azinga Fuzile vs Kenichi Ogawa
BothL Fuzile Unanimous Decision

Unification WBC-WBO Junior Featherweight Titles. 12 Rds
Brandon Figueroa vs Stephen Fulton
R.L: Figueroa KO 8
TRS: Fulton Unanimous Decision

Junior Featherweights. 10 Rds
Ra'esse Aleem vs Eduardo Baiez
Both: Aleem Unanimous Decision

Bantamweights 10 Rds
Gary Antonto Russell vs Alejandro Santiago
R.L: Russell KO 9
TRS: Russell Unanimous Decision

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Devils not Wild in Shootout loss

    The New Jersey Devils rallied from a two-nothing deficit entering the final period to force overtime against the Minnesota Wild at the Rock in Newark.

However, the shootout woes continued as the Devils missed on all three shootout attempts against Wild goalie Cam Talbot and watched Minnesota skate away with a 3-2 win.

The Devils salvaged the point behind goals by Pavel Zacha (8) and Yegor Sharangovich (3) with Sharangovich scoring with just over a minute to play with New Jersey playing six on five with Mackenzie Blackwood pulled from the net.
Hell Raisers

1) The game was delayed for thirty-five minutes when the Wild, who were staying in Manhattan, could not reach the arena due to traffic leaving New York City.

2) The Devils did score the tying goal with Yegor Sharangovich on a six on five late in the game but this overshadowed a miserable late-game power play that included a five on three that ended without a goal.

3) The man advantage continued not to be an advantage as the Devils didn't score on any of their four chances and haven't scored in their last ten opportunities on the power play.

4) Before the game, the Devils sent first-round draft choice Alexander Holtz to Utica with Chase DeLeo getting the call from the Comets to replace Holtz on the roster.

Holtz had appeared in six games for the Devils, compiling two assists, and it is a move to get the young winger badly needed ice time.

5) The Devils need to look at the power play situation and since there isn't much they can do about personnel right now, their only move might be with power-play coach Mark Recchi.

I'm not saying fire Reechi but it certainly is time to try some different things and maybe even some outside help.

6) I really hate the Devils new third jersey.


Wednesday, November 24, 2021


   The PPM starts early as always on Thanksgiving weekend after a strong last week with our predictions. 

Last Week:12-3 
Overall: 105-63

Ohio State over Michigan 31-23
Boise State over San Diego State 27-24
Baylor over Texas Tech 42-22
Bowling Green over Ohio U. 21-18
N.C. State over North Carolina 40-38
Washington State over Washington 24-19
Houston over Connecticut 46-13
Appalachian State over Georgia Southern 33-21
Texas A&M over LSU 24-14
Middle Tennessee State over Florida Atlantic 34-31

Games of the Week
Mississippi State over Ole Miss 41-38
Oklahoma State over Oklahoma 31-21
Ravens over Browns 24-14
Bills over Saints 34-24

Game of the Week
Packers over Rams 27-21


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Boxing Challenge: Crawford Stamps Legacy in Porter Stoppage

     In Las Vegas, Terence Crawford earned the biggest victory of his career when he ended a very close fight in the tenth round to defend his WBO welterweight title via TKO over former WBC and IBF champion Shawn Porter.

The two fought evenly for most of the first nine rounds before Crawford knocked down Porter twice in the tenth round and when Porter arose from the second knockdown, his father and trainer, Kenny Porter, stopped the fight to some controversy as many thought Porter could have continued.

I think that Porter may have been able to continue but what was the point?

Porter was going to give a 10-7 round away when he was down on points anyway and against a fighter that is known as the best finisher in the game, Kenny Porter made the right call.

For Crawford, arguably the best fighter in the game, he establishes a legacy as the most avoided fighter of his era and as the best welterweight in the world, unless you believe that Errol Spence holds that title.
While almost every boxing fan would love to see Crawford-Spence, Crawford has interesting alternatives such as young studs Vergil Ortiz or Jaron Ennis or even a move to 154 against Jermell Charlo or Brian Castano.

As for Porter, who announced his retirement at the end of the evening and who knows how long that will last, he can rest assured that he will be remembered by fans and historians far better than Keith Thurman, who won a close decision over Porter, Danny Garcia, who Porter won a close decision over, and maybe even Spence, who for all of his talents dodged Crawford by constantly using the fallback phrase "wrong side of the street" as his reason for not fighting him because Porter didn't say no to any fighters at any time- Those types of fighters are always remembered well.

I haven't seen the three fights in boxing challenge action with the following results

Esquiva Falcao won a technical decision over Patrice Volvy when the fight was stopped in the sixth round.

Janibek Alimkhanuly stopped Hassan N'Dam in the eighth round

Artem Dalakian retained his WBA flyweight title with a ninth-round stoppage of Luis Concepcion.

In the boxing challenge, I scored five points to Ramon Malpica's four and moved my lead to 154-136.

Browns nip Lions 13-10

      Jarvis Landry ran for a touchdown and Nick Chubb caught one in a small role reversal as the Cleveland Browns held off the winless Detroit Lions 13-10 by the brisk winds of Lake Erie.

Chubb finished with 130 yards rushing with Baker Mayfield throwing one touchdown with two interceptions.

Cleveland staggers to 6-5 with the win and faces Baltimore next Sunday night in yet another must-win affair,

Brownie Bits

1)  The number one reason for this win comes down to Nick Chubb, who only finished with top-notch stats, it was Chubb that ground out the final first downs in the final three minutes to save a wobbling offense.

2) Nick Chubb is the only above-average skill position player on this offense.

Kareem Hunt is when he is available but outside of those two -That's it.

When your best skill receivers are rated as average, it's going to be a struggle in the passing game.

3) Keep in mind the Browns went down to the wire with a winless team with a QB making his first start, and a coach that kicks a field goal on fourth and one down six points and punts with under three minutes to go down three.

4) I did like the use of Jarvis Landry on his touchdown, which had Landry possibly throwing the ball and then tucking the ball down and running with it for the score.

Other than Nick Chubb, Jarvis Landry is the player that is likely to make a play on this offense, so anything that can get the ball in his hands is a good idea.

5) The defense played pretty well other than the 57-yard touchdown run by DeAndre Swift and although it was the Lions with Tim Boyle, credit is still due.

6) Chase McLaughlin has been solid most of the season but in bad weather for the first time, McLaughlin missed a field goal and had an extra point blocked.

One more home game like that and the questions will start again about the kicking game.

7) The offensive line had its struggles with penalties and three by usually solid Wyatt Teller. didn't help matters.

Teller committed one penalty after Nick Chubb converted a third and long early in the second half that essentially ended a promising drive.

8) Now, it's onto Baker Mayfield.

Mayfield is playing with several injuries and his proponents point to those injuries as a reason for his poor play.

Someone is pulling someone's leg as the team lists these injuries as questionable yet Mayfield is acting like he is playing on career-ending injuries.

The truth is somewhere in the middle, Mayfield is far from 100 percent but if he cannot play reasonably well with these injuries, then perhaps he shouldn't be out there.

9) Mayfield's two interceptions were both awful.

His first one to a wide-open Jarvis Landry for what would have been a huge gain was about five feet above a leaping Landry and ten yards down the field.

Just awful.

10) The second one could have lost the game, early in the fourth quarter when a terrible throw allowed  Detroit to start deep in Cleveland territory and allowed the Lions to kick their field goal to cut the lead to three points.

Two terrible interceptions that could have cost the Browns the game.

11) Finally, a win is a win and 6-5 keeps them in the hunt with two games against Baltimore looming.

I don't think that the way this team is playing right now, particularly at quarterback, that I'm very optimistic for this week against Baltimore.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Buckeyes roll over Sparty 56-7

     Ohio State was expected to defeat Michigan State in a battle of two top ten teams and some thought that the win could be one won handily.

But no one (at least that I saw) saw the bloodletting in the first half as Ohio State scored seven touchdowns to take a 49-0 lead into the locker room and held the ball most of the second half to take a 56-7 victory over Michigan State in the home finale' at Ohio Stadium.

C.J Stroud completed 32 of 35 passes for 432 yards and six touchdowns while Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba all finished with over one hundred receiving yards with Olave and Wilson each catching two touchdowns and Smith-Njigba grabbing one pass for a score.

Ohio State improved to 10-1 overall, 8-0 in the Big Ten and will travel to Ann Arbor next week against one loss Michigan with the winner winning the Big Ten East division.

Olentangy Offerings

1) Entering the game, one question that was asked was could the Buckeye defense stop the Spartans Heisman candidate Kenneth Walker?

Walker would finish with twenty-five yards but only on six carries because MSU had to throw the football against a deficit that increased with every possession.

2) C.J. Stroud stepped forward on the Heisman stage with his 32 for 35 performance and if Stroud is able to repeat that performance this week against Michigan,  Stroud may have a chance of winning it.

3) When people look back at the loss to Oregon, what has changed in the passing game has been C.J. Stroud's ability to get the ball out of his hand quicker.

Stroud has improved in that area so much since the week two loss to the Ducks and the Buckeye passing game has flourished due to the improvement.

4) All three Buckeye star receivers with over one hundred yards and five touchdowns among them.

The difference between those receivers and the Spartans defensive backs were massive and yes the Michigan State pass defense was rated near the worst in college football entering the game but this bunch is capable of doing that to any team on any night.

5) Another positive from such a big win was that Ohio State didn't have to use TreVeyon Henderson as much as Henderson carried only nine times for sixty-three yards.

The reduced usage could come in very handy in the final game vs Michigan and possible post-season outings.

6) The much-maligned Buckeye defense allowed a single touchdown and that didn't arrive for the Spartans until the fourth quarter.

7) That touchdown was against the backup Buckeyes and it was on a short field as backup quarterback Kyle McCord threw an interception around midfield.

Give the Buckeye defense plenty of credit for the improvement, Michigan State offense isn't a weakling and shutting them down in that manner gives the Buckeye faithful some hope that the defense can keep Ohio State into games and give the offense a chance to build leads rather than trade scores.

8) The offensive line kept C.J. Stroud upright and clean for most of this game.

The offensive line gave up only two sacks and one of those was one that Stroud gave himself up for the easy sack.

Like Stroud himself, the line improvement has been great as the season progressed, and opposing defenses are having more and more problems getting pressure on Stroud.

9) Chris Olave's two touchdown catches tied and then surpassed David Boston to become the all-time Ohio State leader in receiving touchdowns.

People forget just how good David Boston was because he was on the John Cooper era Buckeyes that lost to Michigan all the time and during his time with the Arizona Cardinals, David Boston looked to be a new wave of receiver with the size of a tight end with the speed of a wide receiver.

Boston didn't play well after leaving Arizona for a big contract with the Chargers due to weight gain, steroid use, and off-the-field problems but at his best, David Boston was a damn good receiver.

10) Win over Michigan in Ann Arbor, the season keeps rolling with a trip to Indianapolis.

Lose and you go straight to a New Years Day bowl.

Don't take it for granted.

As well as C.J. Stroud has played, he is still a redshirt freshman on the road against a coach and program desperate for a win- Don't assume this is a gimme. 

Saturday, November 20, 2021


 Another week with the PPM.

Last Week: 10-5 
Overall: 93-60

Ohio State over Michigan State 42-31
Oklahoma State over Texas Tech 54-37
Boise State over New Mexico 27-13
Houston over Memphis 38-27
Miami Ohio over Bowling Green 28-17
Washington over Colorado 20-14
Middle Tennessee State over Old Dominion 30-26
N.C. State over Syracuse 43-30
LSU over UL-Monroe 46-17
BYU over Georgia Southern 39-17

Games of the Week
Utah over Oregon 36-33
Alabama over Arkansas 40-29

Browns over Liona 20-13
Saints over Eagles 23-21

Game of the Week
Chargers over Steelers 34-24

Boxing Challenge: Andrade Annilates Quigley

     The DAZN card from Manchester, New Hampshire played according to plan as the heavy favorites both scored dominant victories and as is usual in boxing, had a disappointment in the third pairing.

In the main event, Demetrius Andrade did what champions are supposed to do with overmatched challengers- dismiss them quickly and Andrade did just that in his second round knockout of Jason Quigley to defend his WBO middleweight title.

Andrade knocked Quigley down in the first and two more times in the second with referee Arthur Mercante Jr.ending the fight after the second knockdown.

Andrade will hopefully receive a bigger fight than a undeserving challenger such as Quigley and he called out all the right names but I still think getting any of those are unlikely.

Still, Andrade has made the first step to getting those fights in not allowing his opponents to survive longer than they should.

M.J. Akhmadaliev won every round in retaining his WBA and IBF junior featherweight titles over late replacement Jose Velasquez.

Akhmadaliev showed every tool in his kit except for power as he was unable to knock down the rock-jawed Velasquez, who showed plenty of heart and earned kudos for his toughness in the defeat.

Akhmadaliev needs a bigger test and the best fight could be made with the winner of next Saturday's Brandon Figueroa-Stephen Fulton fight, which would leave two titles with the victor and two with Akhmadaliev.

The other fight was shaping up to be a good one between Julio Cesar Martinez and McWilliams Arroyo for the WBC flyweight title held by Martinez before a clash of heads in the second round caused the fight to end in a no contest before the beginning of round three.

Both fighters scored knockdowns in the first round and Martinez scored another in the second round with Arroyo also scoring well in the round

The head clash caused two separate cuts on the eyelid of Arroyo and when Arroyo told the doctor that he couldn't see the fight was stopped immediately.

It seemed like Arroyo could have continued and now it will be up to the WBC to decide if a rematch is needed or not.

In the boxing challenge, Ramon Malpica scored three points to my two to move the boxing challenge to 149-132 in my favor.

Boxing Challenge

    The boxing challenge continues with two cards with fighters that have a claim to the dubious honor of the most avoided fighter in boxing and an untelevised fight with the best flyweight that you aren't seeing.

Saturday night's PPV main event from Top Rank/ESPN is the long-awaited top fighter to finally face WBO welterweight champion, Terence Crawford, as former WBC and IBF champion Shawn Porter steps forward to face arguably the best fighter in boxing.

It's been a long time coming for Crawford, who has wanted to face the better names of the division for years and now thanks to the WBO (and give them credit for making the fight as they show what sanctioning bodies can do when they do the right thing), Crawford will get his chance.

Crawford is as skilled as they come and yet isn't a safety-first fighter along with being the best finisher in the game.

The knock on Crawford is his opposition but he has several good fighters on his resume' although not elite ones.

Shawn Porter always brings it to the ring and while many note his controversial win over Yordenis Ugas, his loss to Keith Thurman could have gone to either fighter and his loss to Errol Spence might have been a draw without a late knockdown.

And for all the hype for Crawford vs Errol Spence (Which I want to see as well), Porter may very well give Crawford the best fight of the PBC fighters, and that in no way demeans the skills of Spence or the other PBC contenders (PBC controls most of the best at 147 missing only Crawford, Jaron Ennis, and Vergil Ortiz).

I'm very excited by this fight and I think it's a very good fight both stylistically and technically that will be very influential for the welterweight division over the next year or two.

The undercard will see an IBF middleweight eliminator between former Olympic silver medalist Esquiva Falcao and Patrice Volny.

Falcao is undefeated but has fought weaker competition since turning pro nine years ago faces Canada's Volny, who is in the same situation minus the Olympic medal.

I have no idea what this one will bring but the winner will become the mandatory challenger for IBF middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.

Another middleweight fight on the card pits undefeated Janibek Alimkhanuly against former middleweight minor beltholder and contender Hassan N'Dam.

 Alimkhanuly looked devastating in June when he delivered a beating to former contender Rob Brant in stopping Brant in eight rounds.

N'Dam is dropping back to middleweight after being stopped in three by Callum Smith and then losing a unanimous decision to Fedor Chudinov and is clearly a faded fighter that never had a great chin to start with.

In Kyiv, Ukraine, the top flyweight in the world defends his title as WBA champion Artem Dalakian battles Luis Concepcion, who was the minor titleholder in the WBA  before being stripped as they attempt to eliminate their minor titles.

Dalakian will be making his fifth title defense since winning the title from Brian Viloria in 2018.

In the boxing challenge, I lead Ramon Malpica 149-132 (this includes the results from the Friday DAZN show) 

WBO Welterweight Title. 12 Rds 
Terence Crawford vs Shawn Porter
Both: Crawford Unanimous Decision

Middleweights 12 Rds
Esquiva Falcao vs Patrice Volny
R.L: Volny KO 8
TRS: Falcao Unanimous Decision

Middleweights 10 Rds
Janibek Alimkhanuly vs Hassan N'Dam
R.L: Alimkhanuly KO 7
TRS: Alimkhanuly KO 4

WBA Flyweight Title. 12 Rda
Artem Dalakian vs Luis Concepcion
Both: Dalakian Unanimous Decision

Friday, November 19, 2021

Boxing Challenge

   We start the boxing weekend with a Friday night slate from Matchroom/DAZN from Manchester, New Hampshire with the main event pitting undefeated WBO middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade defending his title against Jason Quigley.

Andrade is the middleweight that no one wants to face because he's a mover, a talented fighter, and brings very little to the table in name recognition and dollar value.

As a result, Andrade has been forced to face lower contenders and no-hopers just to remain active and he is fighting another one in Quigley, a former amateur star, that lost to the best fighter that he has fought when Tureano Johnson stopped him in nine rounds in 2019, and arguably should have lost his last fight, a majority decision win over Shane Mosley Jr, who is far from a contender.

The only real question seems to be whether Andrade scores the stoppage.

Murodjon Akhmadaliev defends his WBA and IBF junior featherweight titles and late replacement Jose Velasquez of Chile in what now amounts to be a stay busy fight.

Akhmadaliev was originally slated to face mandatory challenger Ronny Rios. who fell out due to illness.

Another title is at stake as Julio Cesar Martinez defends his WBC flyweight title against his mandatory contender in McWilliams Arroyo.

The exciting Martinez is one of the four exciting flyweight champions that would make a fun four-fighter tournament and Arroyo is a veteran that has challenged for various titles on three occasions but fell short.

This one will be the best fight of the evening.

In the boxing challenge, I lead Ramon Malpica 147-129

WBO Middleweight Title. 12 Rds
Demetrius Andrade vs Jason Quigley
R.L: Andrade KO 8
TRS: Andrade KO 6

WBA/IBF Junior Featherweight Titles. 12 Rds
Murodjon Akhmadaliev vs Jose Velasquez
R.L: Akhmadaliev Unanimous Decision
TRS: Akhmadaliev KO 7

WBC Flyweight Title.12 Rds
Julio Cesar Martinez vs McWilliams Arroyo
Both: Martinez Unanimous Decision


TRS Boxing Ratings: Part Two

    Part two of the TRS boxing ratings will list the lower weight divisions starting with the lightweights through the light flyweights/strawweights and ending with the top ten pound for pound ratings.

Thanks to Ramon Malpica, Vince Samano, John Herndon, and our newest committee member C.J. Burney for their help.

We only did three ratings this year and I like to do at least four and if the gentlemen have the time, I'm considering going to an every two months format...

A few notes.

First, two divisions that may stand out are featherweight and junior lightweight.

Featherweight where Gary Russell has sunk like a stone without losing and Junior Lightweight where WBC champion Oscar Valdez is ranked behind a fighter that he beat earlier this year.

I don't ask voters to explain their votes but my guess is that Russell is finally getting backlash for his once-a-year title defense and two voters left Valdez off their ballot entirely for his recent PED issues.

While I may or may not disagree with either or both of these voters, my job is to trust the voters as good boxing men and tally up their votes.

If I was to change votes that I disagreed with, I might as well do this alone.

The continuing problem with Gervonta Davis, who hurts himself in the rankings with his insistence in bouncing among three divisions and different voters vote him higher in certain divisions.

Davis makes it very difficult to rank him properly and it only hurts a very talented fighter.

Also, the Flyweights and Junior Flyweights do not include C.J. Burney's vote and rankings were collected before Kid Galahad's KO loss last weekend, so that is not reflected in the ratings.

Now on with the countdown.

1: Teofimo Lopez WBA/IBF/WBO Champion 25 Pts
2: Vasyl Lomachenko 19 Pts
3: Gervonta Davis 13 Pts (Up One)
4: Devin Haney WBC Champion 10 Pts (Down One)
5: Ryan Garcia 5 Pts
Also Received Votes: Richard Commey, Joseph Diaz, George Kambosos.

Junior Lightweights
1: Shakur Stevenson WBO Champion 25 Pts (Up Four)
2: Oscar Valdez WBC Champion 12 Pts (Down One)
    Chris Colbert (Unranked) 
    Miguel Berchelt (Unranked)
5: Jamel Herring 6 Pts (Down One)
Also Received Votes; Shavkat Rakhimov, Gervonta Davis WBA Champion

1: Emanuel Navarrete WBO Champion 25 Pts (Up One)
2: Mauricio Lara 16 Pts (Up Three)
3: Josh Warrington 13 Pts
4: Kid Galahad 10 Pts
5: Gary Russell WBC Champion 8 Pts (Down Four)
Also Received votes; Leo Santa Cruz WBA Champion, Tug Nyamabayar, Mark Magsayo

Junior Featherweights
1: Murodjon Akhkandiev WBA/IBF Champion 23 Pts
2: Brandon Figueroa WBC Champion 19 Pts 
    Stephen Fulton WBO Champion (Up Three)
4: Daniel Roman 6 Pts (Down One)
5: Emanuel Aleem 3 Pts (Unranked)
Also Received Votes: Angelo Leo 

1: Naoya Inoue WBA/IBF Champion 25 Pts
2: Nonito Donaire WBC Champion 20 Pts (Up One)
3: John Riel Casimero WBO Champion 15 Pts (Up One)
4: Guillermo Rigondeaux 5 Pts (Up One)
5: Reymart Gaballo 4 Pts (Unranked)
Also Received Votes; Nordine Oubaali, Lee McGregor, Jason Moloney.

Junior Bantamweights
1: Juan Francisco Estrada WBA/WBC Champion 24 Pts
2: Roman Gonzalez 19 Pts (Up One)
3: Srisaket Sor Rungvisai 17 Pts (Down One)
4: Kazuto Ioka WBO Champion 8 Pts (Up One)
5: Jerwin Ancajas IBF Champion 7 Pts (Down One)

1: Artem Dalakian WBA Champion 19 Pts
2: Julio Cesar Martinez WBC Champion 15 Pts
3: Junto Nakatani WBO Champion 13 Pts (Up One)
4: Sunny Edwards IBF Champion 8 Pts (Up One)
5: Crisofer Rosales 5 Pts (Unranked)

Junior Flyweights/Under
1: Hiroto Kyoguchi 20 Pts (Up One)
2: Felix Alvarado 16 Pts (Up  Two)
3: C.P. Freshmart 10 Pts (Up Two)
4: Jonathan Gonzalez 8 Pts (Unranked)
5: Elwin Soto 3 Pts (Down Two)
Also Received Votes; Masamichi Yabuki, Rene Cuarto

Pound for Pound
1: Canelo Alvarez 46 Pts (Up Two) 
2: Terence Crawford 43 Pts
    Naoya Inoue (Down One)
4: Tyson Fury 34 Pts (Up Three)
5: Errol Spence 28 Pts (Down One)
6: Josh Taylor 21 Pts (Unranked)
7: Oleksandr Usyk 19 Pts (Unranked)
8: Teofimo Lopez 18 Pts (Down Four) 
9: Gervonta Davis 7 Pts (Unranked)
10: Vasyl Lomachenko 5 Pts (Down Three)
Also Received Votes: Artur Beterbiev, Juan Francisco Estrada, Gennady Golovkin, Shakur Stevenson, Roman Gonzalez.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

TRS Boxing Ratings- Part One

   The TRS boxing ratings return with their final rankings for 2021.

This is the first one in six months and I prefer to stay between three to four months for each rating period,

I hope to have a shorter time between these and the next one so I have a fresh slate to start 2022.

Thanks again to Ramon Malpica, Vince Samano, and John Herndon for their time in voting.

We welcome C.J.Burney to our rating committee as well in his initial slate of rankings.

Two small notes that will may make you wonder about the rankings.

In the Super Middleweights and Junior Welterweight divisions with fully unified champions, Canelo Alvarez and Josh Taylor are the champions with five challengers below them.

However, I didn't tell Ramon, Vince, or John about those changes, so the numbers will not add up as usual in those two divisions.

1: Tyson Fury WBC Champion 25 Pts
2: Oleksandr Usyk WBA/IBF/WBO Champion 19 Pts (Up Three)
3: Deontay Wilder 15 Pts
4: Anthony Joshua 11 Pts (Down Two)
5: Dillian Whyte 3 Pts
Also Received Votes: Joe Joyce, Andy Ruiz

1: Mairis Bredis IBF Champion 25 Pts
2: Lawrence Okolie WBO Champion 17 Pts
    Yunier Dorticos 17 Pts (Up Two)
4: Illunga Makabu WBC Champion 10 Pts (Down One)
5: Kevin Letena 5 Pts (Unranked)
Also Received Votes: Arsen Goulamirian WBA Champion 

Light Heavyweights
1: Artur Beterbiev WBC/IBF Champion 25 Pts
2: Dmitri Bivol WBA Champion 20 Pts
3: Joe Smith WBO Champion 13 Pts
4: Gilberto Ramirez 7 Pts
5: Badou Jack 4 Pts (Unranked)
Also Received Votes: Marcus Browne, Callum Smith, Joshua Buatasi 

Super Middleweights
Canelo Alvarez- World Champion
1: David Benavidez 19 Pts (Up One)
2: Caleb Plant 16 Pts
3: Billy Joe Saunders 6 Pts (Up One)
4: Anthony Dirrell 5 Pts (Unranked)
5: Daniel Jacobs 3 Pts (Unranked)
Also Received Votes: Carlos Gongora, John Ryder

1: Gennady Golovkin IBF Champion 24 Pts
2: Jermall Charlo WBC Champion 21 Pts
3: Demetrius Andrade WBO Champion 15 Pts (Down One)
4: Jaime Munguia 8 Pts
5: Ryota Murata  WBA Champion 4 Pts (Unranked)
Also Received Votes: Chris Eubank Jr.

Junior Middleweights
1: Jermell Charlo WBA/WBC/IBF Champion 23 Pts
2: Brian Castano WBO Champion 22 Pts
3: Erickson Lubin 11 Pts (Unranked)
4 :Tim Tszyu 10 Pts (Unranked)
5: Sebastian Fundora 3 Pts (Unranked) 
    Erislandy Lara (Unranked)
Also Received Votes: Magomed Kurbanov, Tony Harrison

1: Terence Crawford WBO Champion 24 Pts
2: Errol Spence WBC/IBF Champion 21 Pts
3: Yordenis Ugas WBA Champion 10 Pts (Unranked)
4: Jaron Ennis 9 Pts  (Up One)
5: Shawn Porter 7 Pts (Down One)
Also Received Votes: Vergil Ortiz

Junior Welterweights
Josh Taylor-World Champion
1: Jose Ramirez 17 Pts
    Regis Prograis 17 Pts (Up Two)
3: Jose Zepeda 9 Pts (Up One)
4: Gervonta Davis 8 Pts (Unranked)
5: Arnold Barboza 3 Pts (Unranked)
Also Received Votes: Subriel Matias

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Weakened Cavaliers beaten by Boston

    The already battered Cleveland Cavaliers lost one starter before the game and another during their game in Cleveland against the Boston Celtics yet played the Celtics down to the final seconds before losing 98-92.

Cleveland was led by Ricky Rubio with 28 points and Cedi Osman's 26 in the defeat.

Cleveland fell to 9-6 with the loss and will play Wednesday in Brooklyn against the Nets.


1) The season is still early and I noted the improved play of Cedi Osman in another Swashbucklings but here is Osman again with a big game.

10 of 17 from the floor, six of twelve from three-point range, and five assists in thirty-one minutes?

That's more than anyone expected from Osman and this improvement comes from a player that still is only twenty-six.

2) As much as Cedi Osman has surprised, the larger surprise has been Ricky Rubio.

Rubio was brought in to play point guard for the second team behind Darius Garland and give the Cavaliers a player to upgrade a position that the team lacked last season.

Instead, Rubio has started the season as a new man and is often on the floor at the most crucial times of the game, averaging close to fifteen points and six and a half assists a night.

3) Rubio's Achilles heel as a player has often been his shooting with a career shooting percentage of thirty-nine percent and under thirty-three percent from beyond the arc.

Rubio's total shooting percentage is actually down half a percentage point from his career average but his three-point percentage is over six points higher than his career average in his fifteen games in Cleveland.

4) The Cavaliers played without center Jarrett Allen, who had a non-Covid illness that will keep him out of the lineup again on Wednesday against Brooklyn.

Evan Mobley played the pivot in place of Allen and had his problems in missing all eleven shots from the floor and finishing with a single free throw in the points column.

5) And in even worse news, Mobley left the game in the fourth quarter with a sprained elbow that will cost him two to four weeks on the sideline.

Mobley was having arguably the best rookie season in early play and the Cavaliers will miss his athleticism badly.

6) The temporary loss of Jarrett Allen, the loss of Evan Mobley for the next month (hopefully less), and the earlier loss of Collin Sexton to a torn meniscus means that only fifteen games into the season, Cleveland will go into Brooklyn with only two of their five starters able to play.

The Cavaliers fast start may buy them some time before things could completely sink but be ready for some rough waters over the next month.

7) I used the above picture for the best picture of this season's "the City" uniforms for the Cavaliers.

I love the use of the classic Cavalier logo, but just as with the black uniform with the C, I just prefer the logo to not be on the jersey.

8) However, I LOVED the classic court that will be used on the nights that the "City" uniforms will be worn!

Classic logo at center court, not a lot of color and logo/icon overkill and just the type of court that keeps the focus on the game and the players - not making the game harder to follow and distracting,

Monday, November 15, 2021

Browns Pasted by Patriots 45-7

 The Cleveland Browns continued their year of erratic performances with a loss that was so bad that I wasn't able to watch the final quarter and a half as the New England Patriots trounced the Browns 45-7 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

D'Ernest Johnson finished with 99 yards rushing and led the receiving stats for Cleveland with seven catches for 58 yards.

Baker Mayfield threw a two-yard touchdown pass to Austin Hooper to give the Browns their only score on their first possession of the game.

Cleveland drops back to .500 at 5-5 with the loss and will host winless (with a tie ) Detroit next Sunday.

Brownie Bits

1)  Let's give the good news- Love the effort of D'Ernest Johnson, who as the only healthy running back played his guts out in a game that was so poorly played by the Browns that I can't give almost any credit to anyone otherwise.

2) The defense was awful.

45 points to a rookie quarterback not known for lighting it up in Mac Jones and 100 rushing yards to Rhamondre Stevenson and I just can't spin this at all.

3) Myles Garrett answered a question at the post-game press conference that ended with Garrett stating that the Browns made "no adjustments".

That does not look good or bode well for the long-term employment of defensive coordinator Joe Woods.

4) Longest completion of the game? 18 yards.

5) Ok, Baker Mayfield time.

Another one of those games that you watch and wonder how the guy is in the league.

Second of the year to have that type of terrible outing.

6) Yes, Mayfield's one interception was a really bad one and it was the return of the ball sailing through the air like it was intended for the Cavaliers Tacko Fall but I'm not blaming all of this on Mayfield.

7) Because a team that just handed out big long-term extensions to their guards (Wyatt Teller and Joel Bitonio) allowed five sacks, more hurries, and hits on their quarterback than I can count along and considering Mayfield was already in the lineup injured, the offensive line just mailed this one in at the cost of the health of their starter.

8) To be fair, the injuries to Jack Conklin and his backup Chris Hubbard have forced the right tackle position to developmental project Blake Hance and Hance is over his head.

It's not the player's fault that he's out there but Hance isn't of even second-team quality right now and the Browns have no other options.

9) The Browns have struggled all season on third downs.

The offense rarely converts them and the defense rarely stops them and this continued in this game.

Cleveland: One of Eleven, New England: Seven of Nine.

10) Jason Lloyd of the Athletic offers a stat that I didn't know about and is correct on the fault.

The Cleveland Browns lead the league in pre-snap penalties- the cause of this?

Lloyd says discipline and coaching and he's right on both.

Remember the Kevin Stefanski mantra of accountability?

11) New England finished the game with three scoring drives of over NINETY yards!

NINETY! 9-0!

12) The Browns continue to struggle to get the ball to their wideouts and while some of that is on Baker Mayfield, the receivers need to take some blame too and Kevin Stefanski does as well.

Jarvis Landry's four catches netted a massive twenty-six yards and other than a single Donovan Peoples-Jones catch for sixteen yards, there were no other contributions from the wide receivers.

I know Odell Beckham isn't what he once was and I know the drama from the situation but it's numbers like those that made me laugh when Beckham was released to hear the Browns are better without him,

Not with a passing game like this, they aren't.

13) Erratic teams are usually around .500 and this one is but the Browns aren't beating good teams with two wins over teams with .500 or better records over the 5-4 Bengals and the very mediocre 5-5 Broncos.

In the seventeen-game season, my guess is that it will take at least ten wins and more likely eleven to feel comfortable that you are in the playoffs.

With seven games to go, only next week's home game against winless Detroit and a home game against the embattled Las Vegas Raiders seem to be safe bets.

I think the Browns are likely to beat the Bengals at home in the last game of the season mainly because the Bengals are the only team that Baker Mayfield reliably lights up, so let's say that three wins are likely.

That puts you at eight wins with a home game against Baltimore and road games against Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Green Bay remaining and having to win three of the four to reach eleven.

This team has the talent in spots to go 5-2 or more likely 6-1 to get the wins needed but I'm dubious of them pulling this off.

At this point, I am prepared to write this off as yet another disappointing season for the Browns.

Boxing Challenge: Martinez upsets Kid Galahad

    The showcase fights in the boxing challenge played out very close to expectations but the real surprise occurred in what was thought to be the mismatch of the day and would result in a new champion that could result in a stampede of promoters and managers attempting to step into line for the first shot at a new and very vulnerable champion.

We start with an upset that is likely second only to Sandor Martin's surprise win over Mikey Garcia as the upset of the year.

For almost five complete rounds, England's Kid Galahad was dominating his handpicked opponent for the first title defense of his IBF featherweight title in his hometown of Sheffield, England in Kiko Martinez, who entered the bout with many have the thought of Martinez being a shopworn fighter.

Things can change on a dime in boxing and when Martinez landed one right hand near the end of the fifth round that shocked everyone watching the fight by dropping Galahad to the floor, the time was-a-changin as Galahad barely beat the count and was almost carried to his corner by his team.

Martinez had to know this might be his only chance of victory considering how the rest of the fight had played out and as the two fighters moved to the center of the ring for the sixth round, the Spaniard gunned one more right hand that slammed into the champion's jaw sending him sailing to the floor where the fight was immediately stopped giving the aging Martinez the IBF title and his first win over a world-class opponent in close to eight years.

Martinez had lost to his better opponents during that time in losses to Carl Frampton, Scott Quigg, Leo Santa Cruz, Gary Russell, and most recently top British prospect Zelfa Barrett in February, and was looked as not only over the hill and undeserving of a title opportunity but a fighter that was being given one last payday as a gold watch for a solid career.

Instead, Martinez will get at least one more payday, if not more...

DAZN's evening main event from Anaheim, California, and Golden Boy gave the observers what they expected in a bruising battle between middleweights Jaime Munguia and Gabriel Rosado.

Munguia won the decision on the scorecards by a wide margin (winning by six, eight, and ten points) but it certainly wasn't an easy win ( I scored Munguia a winner at 118-110) because as almost always (Daniel Jacobs fight excepted) Rosado brings it to the ring.

Munguia landed combinations throughout the fight against the veteran, but never dropped or hurt Rosado and was unable to truly stop Rosado from coming forward.

Still, for all the aggression from Rosado, he wasn't able to land enough to keep the younger and faster Munguia from controlling the exchanges and that meant the difference in the fight.

Mungia called out Gennady Golovkin after the fight and assuming that GGG wins his December unification fight against Ryota Murata, that could be not only an easy fight to make but a fun one to watch.

As for Rosado, his usual effort likely keeps his name in circulation and he'll continue to get paid for game and gritty efforts, just not usually winning ones.

On Showtime, David Benavidez broke down a very game Kyrone Davis with his relentless storm of punches and forced the Davis corner to throw in the towel during round seven.

Davis took a tremendous amount of punishment from Benavidez, but never stopped trying and even landed a few right hands.

However, Benavidez overwhelmed Davis and when he started to crunch Davis to the body in the fifth and sixth rounds you could make an argument that Davis would have been best served by his corner to have ended the fight after the sixth round.

Benavidez is one of the two names from the PBC that are mentioned most prominently for the next opponent for Canelo Alvarez along with WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo and while I'd hope that it will be Benavidez facing Canelo ( or facing Charlo with the winner faces Canelo), I'm thinking it would be Charlo first.

I think Benavidez's size and punch rate can give Canelo many problems, while Charlo is likely to fight a similar fight to Caleb Plant and Billy Joe Saunders and meet a similar fate.

In the boxing challenge, Ramon Malpica scored four points to my three (Ramon called the Benavidez fight to end in a seventh-round KO) and cut my lead to 147-129. 

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Cavaliers puncture Pistons 98-78

    The Cleveland Cavaliers bounced back from a collapse that cost them a game against the Washington Wizards Wednesday and delivered a beating to the Detroit Pistons at the Rocket Field House in Cleveland to the tune of 98-78 in a game that wasn't that close.

Darius Garland led Cleveland with 21 points with help from Cedi Osman off the bench with 17 points for the Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers host Boston tonight in the first of two games against the Celtics in a home and home series/


1)  The meeting was touted as the first meeting of the first pick in the 2021 draft (Cade Cunningham of Detroit) and the third pick (Cleveland's Evan Mobley).

Mobley finished with sixteen points and seven rebounds while Cunningham scored nine points and six rebounds and although they don't play the same position and would rarely defend each other, it'll be interesting with these two youngsters as the centerpiece player (for now) of two geographical and division rivals.

2) Cedi Osman was a player that many were counting out entering the season with the possibility of Osman playing elsewhere considered very possible, if not likely.

Instead, Osman has gotten off to a good start off the Cleveland bench, averaging just under ten points a game as he has improved his shooting to 47 percent from the floor and 41 percent from three.

It's only thirteen games into the season and the jury is still out to see if the improvement is sustainable but if Osman can shoot at this level consistently, he may have a long career as a versatile player for a second unit.

3) The Cavaliers weren't allowed to play Kevin Love as he returned from the league's Covid protocol program but Love was cleared to return to team activities and he was on the bench with the team during the game.

I'm not sure when they will play Love again but I would imagine he may need a few practices to roll back into normal usage on the floor.

4) Lamar Stevens was the first man off the bench, played one minute, and rolled his ankle, unable to return.

Stevens was announced as suffering a right ankle sprain and there is no word on how long Stevens may be out of the lineup.

5) One thing that I've noticed that is being to jell a bit is the chemistry between Darius Garland and Evan Mobley.

Garland and Mobley seem to connect on a higher number of lob/slam dunk combinations each night and these things naturally rely on chemistry, which needs to develop over time but this pairing appears to have it organically.

6) The Cavaliers victory cigar appears to be 7'6 center Tacko Fall.

Fall, who looks almost exactly like Manute Bol, (Bol was even slightly taller at 7'7) is listed at 311 pounds and looks like he weighs 150 pounds on his body frame.

Fall will likely be shuttled between Cleveland and G League affiliate Canton and played one game with the Charge, scoring 25 points on Thursday after playing about four seconds as the man covering the inbounder in the final seconds against Washington on Wednesday,

Fall is 25 and he might wind up being a one-dimensional last big man off the bench used strickly in situations for his size as he was used against Washington as the game evolves away from the traditional center but remember how Manute Bol suddenly became effective as a three-point shooter late in his career playing for Philadelphia?

Fall likely will never be more than he becomes right now but aren't those project types so interesting to try to develop in the hopes of finding some gold? 

Friday, November 12, 2021

Boxing Challenge

   The boxing challenge isn't deep this weekend but does have three interesting fights on two different networks with a title defense from England and two intriguing young contenders each staying active in their divisions.

The biggest name is on Showtime where two-time WBC Super Middleweight champion and undefeated (you may never see statistics like that again) David Benavidez returns to action against late replacement Kyrone Davis in Phoenix.

Benavidez is usually thought of as the one 168 pounder that could have a chance of defeating Canelo Alvarez and I would agree with that as Benavidez has the size, strength, and most importantly has the type of punch output that could give Canelo problems.

Benavidez was scheduled to fight former IBF champion Jose Uzcategui, who is the only solid win on the resume' of Caleb Plant, but Benavidez was left without an opponent when Uzcategui failed a test for PED's and was removed from the fight.

Enter Kyrone Davis, who had a non-descript career until last February, when he filled in as a last-minute replacement against former WBC champion Anthony Dirrell and gave the veteran all that he wanted in a fight that ended in a draw.

The Dirrell draw looks even better after Dirrell's highlight film knockout of journeyman Marcos Hernandez on the Canelo-Plant but remember that Benavidez tore through Dirrell and stopped him in nine brutal rounds two years ago.

DAZN will have two cards, one in the afternoon from England and another in the evening from Anaheim, California.

From Birmingham, England, IBF featherweight champion Kid Galahad will make his first title defense against Spanish veteran Kiko Martinez.

Galahad won the vacant title in his last fight when he stopped James Dickens in nine rounds and this is a homecoming for the local hero against Martinez, who held the IBF junior featherweight title eight years ago but seems to be well past his prime and against top ten level fighters has been overmatched in recent years.

The biggest question here is whether Galahad wants to try to stop Martinez and give himself a boost with the fans or is content to dominate Martinez and win a wide decision while playing it safely.

In the evening, a middleweight eliminator should be a safe bet to feature many middle of the ring exchanges and should be a bombs away action fight as former WBO junior middleweight champion Jaime Munguia battles veteran Gabriel Rosado in a middleweight eliminator.

The unbeaten Munguia hasn't beaten any world-beaters at 160 but has knockout wins over veterans Tureano Johnson, Spike O'Sullivan, and Kamil Szeremeta in his last three fights and the rugged Rosado provides another gauge for Munguia at middleweight.

Rosado has been a gatekeeper for years and looked to be ready to be put out to pasture as recently as 2020 before a surprising performance last November against former WBO and IBF middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs.

The performance was surprising on two levels as Rosado lost a split decision that is most remembered for the terrible fight (Rosado win or lose almost always brings the wood ) and the mistake by ring announcer Jeremiah Gallegos calling the winner from Philadelphia (Rosado's residence) and then announcing the name of Jacobs as the winner.

Rosado then was expected to be the foil for  "Bek The Bully", Bektemir Melikuziev, a former Olympic silver medalist, who looked to be moving into title contention.

Melikuziev, dropped Rosado in round one, dominated the second round and most of the third when Melikuziev followed what he thought was a hurt Rosado into a corner only to be nailed with a Rosado right that sent the Bully face-first to the canvas for a stunning KO win for Rosado, who has now parlayed that win into a shot at Munguia.

Rosado is dropping back to middleweight from super middle for the fight and I wonder if that will take a lot out of the veteran, who turns 36 in January.

Munguia is bigger and taller and one would think that Munguia could batter and beat up the tender-skinned veteran as Rosado charges inside, as has been done to Rosado so many times against top fighters.

However, one thing to note is Rosado has added a little bit of boxing to his game and if Rosado is able to use that to trap Munguia into a dogfight, we still haven't seen Munguia in a close physical fight how he will respond as his controversial win over Dennis Hogan really wasn't that type of fight.

In the boxing challenge, I lead Ramon Malpica 144-125.

Super Middleweights. 10 Rds
David Benavidez vs Kyrone Davis
R.L: Benavidez KO 7
TRS: Benavidez KO 6

IBF Featherweight Title 12 Rds
Kid Galahad vs Kiko Martinez
R.L: Galahad Unanimous Decision
TRS: Galahad KO 9

Middleweights. 12 Rds
Jaime Munguia vs Gabriel Rosado
R.L: Munguia KO 9
TRS: Munguia KO 10



     The PPM continues with another big week on the gridiron!

Last Week: 8-5
Overall: 83-55

Ohio State over Purdue 34-20
Boise State over Wyoming 40-23
Iowa State over Texas Tech 40-28
Toledo over Bowling Green 38-24
Houston over Temple 39-13
Georgia Southern over Texas State 34-29
Middle Tennessee State over Florida International 27-20
Arizona State over Washington 26-19
Wake Forest over N.C.State 45-43
Arkansas over LSU 23-20

Games of the Week
Texas A&M over Ole Miss 38-34
Oklahoma over Baylor 30-24

Browns over Patriots 24-21
Titans over Saints 27-17

Game of the Week
Chargers over Vikings 35-27

Devils take two at home

  After watching the New Jersey Devils stun the Florida Panthers earlier in the week with a seven-goal barrage in a 7-3 win over the then-once beaten Panthers, it would be fair to expect a letdown against their occasional rivals in the New York Islanders.

Instead, the Devils used the flawless goaltending of Mackenzie Blackwood to shut out the Islanders 4-0 at the Rock in Newark.

Devils goals to Dawson Mercer (4), Dougie Hamilton (3), Janne Kuokkanen (3 shorthanded), and Tomas Tatar (1 power play).

The Devils play next on Saturday against Boston on a crowded sports day, so unsure if I'll see the game live o not.

Hell Raisers

1) 42 saves from Mackenzie Blackwood in only his third game back from heel surgery showed his skills haven't been dulled by his time away.

Blackwood stepped up and kept the Islanders off the board despite his defense allowing a few too many opportunities and the Islanders had several strong chances- this one goes to Blackwood.

2) The Devils have become one of the faster skating teams in the league and one that seems comfortable in a run and gun game.

The Devils have gotten younger (youngest team in the league) and faster but the larger question is can the Devils keep the legs under them for an entire season playing in such a style?

It is always a question to ask for teams that are changing their style a bit but even more so when moving to an offensive style.

3) Why have the Devils gotten away with so many chances allowed to opponents?

Why it's due to an upgraded defensive corps and signing players like Dougie Hamilton and Ryan Graves to put in front of Mackenzie Blackwood.

When you have those types of players on your blueline you can take more chances because not only can they make up for a deficiency on a breakaway, their presence allows a team to be more aggressive on the offensive end.

We aren't reinventing the wheel here.

4) Love rookie Dawson Mercer and his potential to be the type of power forward the Devils have lacked for years. 

Mercer's line with Andreas Johnsson and Jesper Bratt was all over the ice and Mercer's play around the net is helping Johnsson bounce back from a disappointing first season with the Devils.

5) Special teams improvement?

Well, definitely from last season, and the win over the Islanders was keyed by goals on the power play and the man advantage.

Of all the things that cause me optimism for the Devils, it's the possibility of an improved power play that I'm most excited about.

It's been quite a while since the Devils have had a strong power play and any chances of a surprise season are going to depend on keeping that level of improvement.

6) I find it hard to hate the Islanders.

I don't know if it is all the years playing in the dumpy Nassau Coliseum, the cheap ads on the ice back then (Circulatory Socks?), or Lou Lamoriello turning them into a contender, but I have a hard time hating the Islanders.