Sunday, July 31, 2022

Boxing Challenge: Garcia dominates Benavidez

       The Saturday PBC card from Barclays Center in Brooklyn won't go down as the greatest event ever but it will be remembered for two controversial decisions that rank as some of the worst in 2022.

In the main event, Danny Garcia seemed to have easily outpointed Jose Benavidez in his return from an eighteen-month layoff before a decision that was surprisingly close on the scorecards.

My score was 119-109 for Garcia, which seemed to be close to how most watchers saw the fight but the actual judges scored Garcia a much closer winner at 117-111, 116-112, and a downright nutty 114-114.

Garcia looked sharp and even though he never hurt Benavidez, he outboxed him and was far too skilled for the much slower fighter, who was relegated to the occasional counter right hand for his only success against Garcia.

How much of Garcia's outing was due to his layoff to recharge his batteries or was it that the once-promising Benavidez simply has been unable to recover his ability from a gunshot wound that damaged his leg, won't be known until his next outing, which could be against former WBC junior middleweight champion Tony Harrison, who was mentioned during the fight, or against former welterweight champion Keith Thurman, who handed Garcia his first defeat via split decision in 2017 and was mentioned by Garcia at the post-fight press conference as his next fight.

The co-feature was expected to be an action fight and it lived up to those thoughts as Turkey's Ali Eren Demirezen handed Adam Kownacki his third defeat in a row and hopefully will make Kownacki consider retirement.

Demirezen controlled the second half of the fight, wearing down Kownacki as he cut him over the left eye.

Demirezen will likely slide into a title eliminator soon and could win should he be paired with someone that will stand and trade with him but anyone with movement will give the former Olympian major issues.

The best and most controversial fight of the evening was the opener when junior welterweight contender Gary Antuanne Russell was receiving all that he wanted from former IBF junior lightweight and lightweight champion Rances Barthelemy before a very questionable sixth-round stoppage by referee Shada Murdaugh.

Barthelemy isn't known for his thrilling contests or for engaging in toe to toe action but the Cuban did both in this one as he stung Russell in both the first and fourth rounds and led on my card after five rounds 48-47.

Russell was leading on all three official cards though and crunched Barthelemy with a leaping left hook in the sixth to send him to the canvas.

Barthelemy immediately rose and didn't stagger around like a hurt fighter yet referee Murdaugh called off the fight, robbing Russell of a possible convincing win, Barthelemy a chance to ride out the storm, and viewers of a surprisingly entertaining battle.

A rematch would seem to be in order, and even though Russell may have been solving Barthelemy's style, I'm not sure I'd be interested if I handled Russell.

I might figure that my fighter showed heart, ring smarts, and learned some things against a good opponent and move on to bigger things but PBC isn't loaded in the junior welterweight division, although the promotion will have the recently vacated WBA title in their stable with the paper championship being filled next month and the winner of Batyr Akhmedov-Alberto Puello (Akhmedov is a solid favorite in my opinion)  could be in the future for Russell.

Boxing Challenge

TRS: 137 Pts (4)

Ramon Malpica: 115 Pts (2)

Vince Samano:111 Pts  (2) 

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Boxing Challenge

  The July boxing calendar concludes with a Showtime card from PBC's home base at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn New York.

The main event features former junior welterweight and welterweight champion Danny Garcia in his first fight in almost eighteen months making his foray into the junior middleweight division against Jose Benavidez, the brother of super middleweight contender David Benavidez.

Garcia lost that fight by a clear decision to Errol Spence, which means his last victory was a decision win over Ivan Redkach in January 2020, which was before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Garcia has lost only three times and two of those losses could be argued ( decision losses to Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter). However, it can be argued that Garcia won two fights that could be argued as well to Mauricio Herrera and Lamont Peterson.

Still, Garcia doesn't own a win over a top fighter in their prime in the last seven years, dating back to that majority decision win over Lamont Peterson, so Garcia has been matched very well since then with wins over fading former stars such as Paulie Malignaggi, Brandon Rios, and Robert Guerrero, and over fighters that were clearly not in Garcia's class such as Samuel Vargas, Adrian Granados, and the above mentioned Ivan Redkach.

Benavidez also is moving up in weight and in his last fight after a three-year layoff following his only career loss to Terence Crawford, struggled to a draw against Francisco Torres last November.

Benavidez was wounded in a leg in 2016 and when you watch him fight now, it's easy to see how his movement and athleticism have been affected by the injury, and even though Benavidez will have the height advantage, I wonder if he can cope with any movement from Garcia.

The co-feature crossroads fight at heavyweight between Adam Kownacki and Ali Eren Demirezen could see the winner have a chance at a bigger fight on the PBC side as PBC isn't loaded in the division and will need to find fights for Deontay Wilder, the Andy Ruiz-Luis Ortiz winner, or undefeated Frank Sanchez in the future.

Kownacki had been intelligently moved by PBC and after wins over one-time title challenger Gerald Washington, former contender Chris Arreola, and former IBF champion Charles Martin, Kownacki was position to become a mandatory challenger before a shocking fourth-round knockout loss on the eve of the Covid-19 pandemic to thought to be washed up Robert Helenius in a WBA eliminator.

The rematch last October saw Helenius stop Kownacki again in the sixth round and drop Kownacki outside the top fifteen placing him in a must-win position against Demirezen, who fought for Turkey in the 2016 Olympics.

Demirezen has lost only once, to his best opponent in a decision loss to once-beaten Efe Ajagba in 2019, but is coming off the best win of his career in knocking out Gerald Washington in eight rounds on New Year's Day.

I'm interested in this one to see just how much Kownacki has lost from the two knockout defeats to Robert Helenius.

Is this a case of a fighter that fought an opponent that just was equipped to beat him or has Kownacki seen his best days and is transitioning to opponent status rather than contender?

The opener is a very interesting fight with undefeated junior welterweight Gary Antuanne Russell taking on former IBF junior lightweight and lightweight champion Rances Barthelemy.

Russell won his biggest fight in his most recent outing with a final-round knockout of former WBC champion Viktor Postol and even though the stoppage was controversial (and in my opinion should not have happened), Russell was ahead on the scorecards and would have been a deserving winner in any case.

Russell has stopped all fifteen of his opponents and a win would keep him firmly in contention in the deepest division in boxing.

Barthelemy is a two-time champion and has only a loss (a decision loss to Kiryl Relikh in 2018) in his career but his last good win was over Relikh in 2017 in a very controversial fight that most thought Relikh won and caused a rematch to be mandated with Relikh winning easily.

Since 2018, Barthelemy has won three fights against journeymen and drew with former lightweight champion Robert Easter in what rates as arguably the worst fight of the last fifty years, so who knows what Barthelemy will bring to this fight.

Still, Barthelemy is somewhat of a name that will look good on Russell's resume, and should Russell score a stoppage, it would be a second consecutive impressive win over a veteran former world champion.

Boxing Challenge

Junior Middleweights. 12 Rds
Danny Garcia vs Jose Benavidez
Ramon Malpica and TRS: Garcia Unanimous Decision
Vince Samano: Benavidez Split Decision

Heavyweights.10 Rds
Adam Kownacki vs Ali Eren Demirezen
R.L: Kownacki Unanimous Decision
TRS: Demirezen KO 10
V.S: Demirezen KO 8

Junior Wellterweights. 10 Rds
Gary Antuanne Russell vs Rances Barthelemy
R.L and V.S: Russell Unanimous Decision
TRS: Russell KO 8 

Friday, July 29, 2022

Cleaning out the Inbox: Passings

   We return with a mostly non-sports version of tributes to some recently passed notables.

Goodbye to Paul Sorvino at the age of 83.

Sorvino, the father of Oscar winner Mira Sorvino, played many roles in his long career but the most remembered is as mobster Paulie Cicero in the classic film "Goodfellas" in 1990.

Paulie Cicero was played to perfection by Sorvino, playing him with empathy yet without mercy and Sorvino's casting was simply perfect as well as his performance- visual without being hokey, Sorvino's Cicero could have never been played by anyone else.

Sorvino spent most of his career as a dramatic actor in supporting roles such as "Nixon" playing Henry Kissinger but occasionally turned up in comedic roles such as Bruce Willis's father in "Moonlighting" and more recently Jeff Garlin's father in "The Goldbergs".

Sorvino also was terrific as stoic manager Gus Panas in "Mr. 3000" in 2004 and would find success with voiceover work as he did in "Hey Arnold, the movie" as the bad guy "Mr.Scheck".

However, what made me a Paul Sorvino fan more than anything he performed, occurred in 2018.

Mira Sorvino had been essentially blacklisted from Hollywood by Harvey Weinstein after rejecting his sexual advances and when Sorvino found out about it and was asked by TMZ about Weinstein, he responded with the type of emotion that every caring father would respond in such a situation.

Goodbye to Larry Storch at the age of 99.

Storch is best known for his Emmy-nominated in "F- Troop" in the mid-60s but I'll remember him more for his various guest-starring roles in various comedies of the sixties and seventies, game show appearances, and his roles on Saturday morning television of the age.

Storch voiced many (and I mean MANY) characters on animated programming including Muhammad Ali (really) and starred with F Troop castmate Forrest Tucker on the "Real Ghost Busters" in a live-action Saturday morning program on CBS.

Storch also was known for his stage performances, released a few albums, and started his career as a comedian, so there weren't many entertainment genres that Storch didn't hit at one time or another during his career. 

Goodbye to Tony Dow at the age of 77.

Dow was the earnest older brother, Wally, to the title character in Leave it to Beaver for the run of the series from 1957 to 1963 and was known as one of the nicer people in Hollywood.

Dow's Wally became a stereotype of the American teenager during the show's tenure and while "Beaver" became a staple of syndicated television, it wasn't a big smash during its first-run period as it never finished in the top thirty programs in any of its six seasons.

Dow continued acting but also worked as a director, producer, and visual effects supervisor on various programs as well as bringing Wally Cleaver back for a four-season run with "The New Leave it to Beaver" in the mid-1980s.

Goodbye to Hank Goldberg at the age of 82.

The long-time handicapper for horse racing and football for ESPN, Goldberg moved to ESPN after serving as the color commentator on the Miami Dolphins radio network from 1978 to 1992.

Goldberg entered the handicapping business under the tutelage of Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder and it was Goldberg that was the ghostwriter for Snyder's popular newspaper column of the day and his researcher for Snyder's bits on the NFL Today.

Goodbye to Johnny Egan at the age of 83.

A pass-first point guard, Egan was the shortest player in the league at a listed six feet even and was selected in two expansion drafts in three years.

Egan was taken by Milwaukee in the 1968 expansion draft and two seasons later was tabbed by the Cavaliers in the 1970 version of expansion.

Egan begged his way out of Cleveland and was traded to the then-San Diego Rockets two months into the Cavaliers first season.

Egan would move with the Rockets to Houston, where he would become the team's head coach midway through the 1973-74 season and would hold the job for four seasons, making the playoffs once where the Rockets won their first playoff series in franchise history in a three-game mini-series win over the New York Knicks.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Cleaning out the Inbox

  Time for another inbox cleaning as we lead off with Alison Kosik of CNN explaining how companies are using "Shrinkflation" to keep the offers high.

The term is used when a company subtly changes the amount of product in a container without announcing the decrease to the public.

Of course, containers have to list the amount of product inside but they don't have to say when their particular unit has decreased in amount.

Even the same decrease can make a difference in profit margin for the manufacturer, so this happens far more often than one would think.

Jeff Heimberger sends this note of an orange lobster found on its way to a Red Lobster restaurant.

We often seem to make note of these rare lobsters when they are caught in the wild and the orange color looks very similar to how the lobster looks after it has been cooked.

I'm not sure how orange ranks on the list of color scarcity but "Cheddar" will be living its life in the Myrtle Beach SC aquarium.

Newsweek writes of a recent finding of a fully intact Burger King behind a wall of a mall store in Concord, Delaware.

The "Time Capsule" Burger King looks to me to be an early nineties franchise and the mall hopes to be leasing the space soon.

The article has lots of pictures of the abandoned BK and while the store is intact, it has been used by a maintenance crew that runs hoses through the store to water plants inside the operating mall.

The Athletic writes of comedian Richard Lewis and his massive Ohio State football fandom.

Lewis, who starred in his own sitcom "Anything but Love" with Jamie Lee Curtis for four seasons from 1989-92, is currently appearing with friend Larry David in "Curb Your Enthusiasm" on HBO for its upcoming twelfth season and is an OSU graduate from the class of 1969. tells of recent damage to the James Webb Space telescope from micrometeorites.

NASA had known from the start of the project that micrometeorite damage was unavoidable but hoped it would be minimal and not happen so quickly.

The damage to one mirror on the lower right side of the telescope cannot be corrected but hasn't been an insurmountable problem thus far for the Webb, which has the ability to see 'back into time' with pictures of stars and systems never before seen in human history. 

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Boxing Challenge: Dogboe nips Gonzalez

      Isaac Dogboe grabbed the final two rounds with the fight even on two cards entering the ninth round and earned a split decision over Joet Gonzalez in the main event of an ESPN+/Top Rank card from Hinckley, Minnesota.

With the victory, Dogboe won a regional title (and shiny belt) but more importantly, moved into position for an eventual opportunity against WBC featherweight champion Rey Vargas or WBO champion Emanuel Navarrete, who owns two wins over Dogboe and one over Gonzalez.

Dogboe started quickly in winning the first three rounds and looked to be on his way to a comfortable decision win before Gonzalez began to rally in the middle rounds with his highlight coming when he wobbled Dogboe with a right hand in the fourth that came the closest to scoring a knockdown from either fighter.

My card was dead even after eight rounds as Gonzalez had been the more accurate puncher with Dogboe throwing more in a good but not great battle.

Dogboe turned up his attack in the ninth and won the final two rounds to win the fight on my scorecard 96-94 and that was the same as both judges that chose Dogboe scored the fight with the Gonzalez judge scoring the exact score for the Californian.

The fight was very close and 96-94 for either fighter is a very reasonable scorecard and although a rematch would make little sense for Dogboe, I wouldn't be against one happening, and I'd wager you could see one a year or two down the road after Dogboe receives his chance at a championship.

I'd think that Dogboe might prefer a chance against Vargas rather than a third try at Navarrete, who owns both of the career losses for Dogboe but an attempt against Vargas comes with the difficulty of Top Rank working with the promoter of Vargas, which is PBC.

As for Gonzalez, the defeat may hurt him a small bit for a short time but close losses against world-class fighters don't tend to hold fighters back over the long haul as long as they remain active and work their way back through the division.

In the co-feature, undefeated lightweight Giovanni Cabrera won a convincing unanimous decision and may have erased the prospect status for good of the once-trumpeted Gabriel Flores, who has now lost two of his last three, and his win sandwiched in between the losses was very close.

Cabrera dropped Flores with the first punch that he threw in the first round as a straight left crashed Flores to the floor.

Cabrera would score another knockdown later in the round with Flores being very fortunate to reach the end of the opening stanza.

Flores won the fourth round (the only one that he won on my scorecard)  and seemed to possibly win the fifth before Cabrera knocked him down again late in the round and deflated Flores for the remainder of the bout.

If Cabrera would have been a harder puncher (only seven knockouts in his twenty wins entering Saturday), Flores could have been seriously injured as he was strafed with blows throughout and was cut and dealt with severe swelling on and under his left eye.

Flores showed plenty of heart in surviving to the end as he did in his first loss to Lopez but the appeal that he once had as the youngest fighter that Top Rank ever signed to a promotional agreement has been extinguished and at minimum, Flores will have to be rebuilt and matched very carefully for his next few fights as he has taken far too much punishment for such a young fighter in his last three matches.

As for Cabrera, he will make a move up in competition in the division soon, maybe against someone like Jeremiah Nakathila, and a win would move him into the top ten in the division.

At 28, Cabrera will need to stay active as he may not have the time to wait for those types of fights.

Boxing Challenge

TRS: 133 Pts (2)

Ramon Malpica: 113 Pts (2)

Vince Samano: 109 Pts (2) 

Friday, July 22, 2022

Boxing Challenge

     The boxing weekend is relatively sparse this week with one card from Hinckley, Minnesota on ESPN+ with two very intriguing 50/50 fights at the top of the card.

The main event is a WBO eliminator at featherweight with two-time title challenger Joet Gonzalez squaring off against former WBO junior featherweight champion Isaac Dogboe.

Gonzalez lost a lopsided decision to Shakur Stevenson for the then-vacant WBO title, and a closer but clear decision loss for the same bet to Emanuel Navarrete last October, taking a severe pounding in the process.

Since the loss to Navarrete, Gonzalez returned with an impressive ninth-round stoppage of Jeo Santisma in March, looking nonetheless for wear.

Dogboe looked headed for potential stardom when he stripped highly thought of champion Jessie Magdaleno of his WBO 122-pound title by brutal eleventh-round knockout in 2018 and after a title defense that ended with Dogboe scoring a first-round KO, Dogboe was favored over Emanuel Navarrete but lost his title and the rematch (decision and final round knockout) in consecutive fights.

Dogboe has all won all three of his fights since rising to featherweight against solid but not outstanding opponents (Chris Avalos, Adam Lopez, and Christopher Diaz) and hasn't looked like the same fighter that plowed over Magdaleno so impressively.

I lean toward Gonzalez slightly as the naturally larger fighter and the more versatile of the two but I could easily see Dogboe winning as well in what could be a very entertaining battle.

The co-feature is just as interesting with a lightweight battle between unbeaten Giovanni Cabrera and the once heavily-touted and once-beaten prospect Gabriel Flores.

Flores was the youngest boxer ever signed by Top Rank when the Arum bunch signed him at the age of sixteen and seemed to be steaming his way to contender status when Flores stopped former title challenger Jayson Velez in six rounds in early 2021.

However, Flores took a fearful battering last September against Luis Lopez in losing a decision that saw many calling for the Flores corner to stop the fight in the late rounds to save the young prospect from the prolonged punishment that Lopez would dish out.

Flores returned in March and barely squeaked out a majority decision over Abraham Montoya that was heavily jeered by the fans in Flores's hometown of Fresno with Flores barely able to be heard over the boos in his post-fight interview.

The undefeated Cabrera has looked strong in his two 2022 wins, including a decision win over power-punching Rene Tellez Giron that was a mild upset.

Neither of the two is a strong puncher with Cabrera scoring only seven knockouts in his twenty wins and Flores scoring seven in his twenty-one victories, so this looks very likely to go the ten-round distance.

This may not be a card with the biggest stakes in these two fights but they are two well-matched fights without a strong favorite in either bout and should be an entertaining evening of boxing.

Boxing Challenge

Featherweights 12 Rds 
Joet Gonzalez vs Isaac Dogboe
Ramon Malpica and TRS: Gonzalez Unanimous Decision
Vince Samano: Gonzalez Split Decision

Lightweights. 10 Rds
Giovanni Cabrera vs Gabriel Flores
All: Cabrera Unanimous Decision 

Browns sign Josh Rosen

     The Cleveland Browns signed an interesting player on Thursday when the team signed Josh Rosen after the former first-round pick tried out in front of the brass at Berea earlier in the day.

Rosen was part of the 2018 quarterback crop and was the fourth quarterback taken, tenth overall, by the Arizona Cardinals behind Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, and Josh Allen.

Rosen would start thirteen games for the Cardinals as a rookie, throwing eleven touchdowns and fourteen interceptions as the Cardinals finished 3-13, fired coach Steve Wilks after his first season, own the first pick in the 2019 draft, and hire Kliff Kingsbury as their new head coach.

Kingsbury would install an entirely new offensive system and with the intention of drafting Kyler Murray of Oklahoma with the top overall selection, the Cardinals decided to trade Rosen to Miami for the Dolphins 2019 second-rounder and a fifth-round pick in 2020.

Rosen would play in six games for the Dolphins, starting three and losing all three starts after throwing only one touchdown with five interceptions.

Rosen made four appearances for the Falcons last season in garbage time, throwing two interceptions among eleven passes.

I liked Rosen when he declared for the draft in 2018 and had him as my third-rated QB behind Darnold and Allen because I really liked his arm and how he threw the football but I did have questions about a perceived lack of love for football and a history of concussions at UCLA.

I'm not sure that Rosen's style suits what the Browns may want to run but Cleveland needed to have the fourth arm in camp and a veteran to perhaps be the third quarterback when the inevitable DeShaun Watson suspension is announced and maybe Rosen could have a small edge over Joshua Dobbs in the event that Jacoby Brissett would be injured but that would be an absolutely disastrous situation.

In best case scenario, Rosen comes into camp, serves as a backup quarterback, does so in a team-first manner, and maybe places himself into consideration for a team's second-string slot in 2023.

Still, it's nothing to get excited about in signing Rosen but I'm also intrigued when young quarterbacks that have been given no support by a bad team and flame out receive chances with other teams because one wonders if the player was poorly evaluated, was he ruined because of a rotten organization, and could the player be capable of revitalizing his career in a better situation?

And how often are the Cleveland Browns the better situation for players in the last twenty-plus years? 

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Forgotten Superstars: Fred Ward

  We return to the Forgotten Superstars universe to honor the recently deceased actor Fred Ward.     

The long-time character actor passed away in May at 79 with a long list of credits as a supporting actor. However, over his career, Ward had two opportunities to break into the next level as a lead star and show that in Hollywood, as in life, everything is about timing.

Ward's first chance at stardom was in 1983's The Right Stuff.

Based on the Tom Wolff book of the same name, the story of the original seven Mercury astronauts, Ward was playing the role of Gus Grissom, the second man in space, and arguably the one that had the meatiest real story to tell of the seven as Grissom's Liberty Bell capsule sunk into the Atlantic Ocean when the hatch blew prematurely, took on too much water, became too heavy for the helicopter to lift and plunged into the ocean with Grissom almost drowning in the process.

The Right Stuff was expected to be a huge hit and could have sent Ward into leading man roles but disappointed at the box office (making only twenty-one million and costing twenty-seven million to produce) and despite being a critical hit and an artistic one (the film won four Oscars), the film's length of over three hours in length hurt it when moviegoers were deciding what film to attend.

Ward's career worked best as a co-star with huge stars with memorable roles in Escape From Alcatraz (Clint Eastwood), Uncommon Valor (Gene Hackman), Silkwood (Meryl Streep), and The Player (with several stars including Tim Robbins) but Ward made a few pictures that might not be remembered as brilliant cinema but to its targeted audience are well remembered.

In the 80s teen comedy Secret Admirer, Ward shines above the cast as "Lou Fimple", the angry police officer father, who thinks the secret love letters to his daughter are intended for his wife, and the hijinks that ensue.

Ward also was well-received as "Earl Bassett" in the first two films of the "Tremors" series, where Ward's Earl Bassett and Kevin Bacon's "Val McKee" battle monster worms in the American Southwest.

Tremors would become a cult favorite through the years and much of that is due to Ward's performance helping the series to get off the ground.

The second opportunity for Ward to leap into stardom was thought to be in the leading role in "Remo Williams-The Adventure Begins".

Based on the Destroyer series of novels, Remo Williams was hoped to be an action hit in 1985, which would then lead to a series of films, and send Ward into stardom with it.

Remo Williams was a box office disappointment, was more of an intellectual action film rather than a slam-bang affair, and was not a critical hit.

All of which meant nothing- because I loved it.

Other than Ryan, who has watched it almost as much as I have, no one else that I know has seen the film or mentioned it to me.

It may not have been a hit or a critical darling but for whatever reason, it's one of my favorite films and when it's on somewhere, it's one of those films that I have to stop and watch.

Ward was very good as Remo Williams but while I liked his take on the character, the screenplay may have been better suited with a little more action to hook people unfamiliar with Remo Williams or Ward to make them want to see more films in a potential franchise.

Remo Williams and the Destroyer series had the potential to be rolling to this day with several actors trading the characters every few films or years similar to the James Bond series but the failure of the original film doomed those plans and there hasn't been another attempt to give the franchise a try to the present day.

Ward would not receive another chance at stardom, although he would continue to work regularly as a character and supporting actor, including in some of the roles mentioned above, and worked until 2015 when his final credited role came in HBO's "True Detective" series.

Fred Ward may not have wound up as a big star in acting but Ward had an excellent career, made a nice living, and will be well remembered for being a part of films that are well-loved by their fans.

And we welcome Fred Ward as the latest member of our Forgotten Superstars universe.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Cleaning out the Inbox

   It's time for another inbox cleaning and we start with two space-oriented notes from the web.

Accuweather discusses a recent study that believes that Jupiter may have gathered its size from eating other planets during the beginning of its formation.

Jupiter's core was examined by the JUNO spacecraft and discovered to have solid material that is thought to have gathered from "eating" other planets at the time of formation.

As the planet grew, it became large enough to siphon gases such as hydrogen and helium to form its atmosphere, and scientists believe with this discovery that they may to reexamine that the remaining three gas giants (Saturn, Uranus, Neptune) may have developed in a similar manner.

CNN reports of a double-crater rocket impact on the moon but it's unknown what the rocket was that made the impact.

NASA believes it's a piece of space junk that likely had been flying around for years, so it's uncertain the exact rocket will be identified but it is known that this seems to be the first time that a moon crater has been created from an unintentional landing into the moon.

There have been several intentional crashes from spacecraft into the moon from Apollo missions and others but this is the first time that this has happened unintentionally that NASA is aware of.

The lovely Cherie sends me word from the Akron Beacon Journal of the anniversary celebration of the final remaining restaurant of the Arthur Treacher's seafood chain.

Treacher's started in Columbus, Ohio in 1969 and at its peak had 826 locations but now there remains only one in operation- in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.

The Cuyahoga Falls location is celebrating its fifty-year anniversary and became the final Treacher's after the same owner closed the Garfield Heights, Ohio location last June due to staff shortages.

Seafood eateries are having trouble in recent years with another TRS favorite Long John Silvers closing many locations around the country, including the Hagerstown location inside the Valley Mall, which while I cannot write this with certainty, I believe had been open since the Mall started business in 1974.

Mental Floss scores with this article on legendary Democratic prankster "Dick Tuck", who made his goal in life to mess with Richard Nixon!

The article writes of several pranks including in the 1968 election with Tuck hiring pregnant women to attend Nixon rallies and wear t-shorts inscribed "Nixon's the One", which was Nixon's campaign slogan in his successful campaign!

And we wrap with writing a story that starts sad but ends with a happy ending as the article follows the lost children of the late wrestler Rocky Johnson, all of them across Canada when Johnson (a Canadian native) was wrestling there well before his American fame.

The happy ending arrives with the various half-siblings getting to know each other and their uncle (and former Rocky tag team partner, Ricky) as they begin to form a family that never existed before.

This of course makes each of them half-siblings to Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Devils swap defensemen with Penguins

    The New Jersey Devils needed to add something to shake up a defensive unit that needed to bulk up its second and especially third pairings.

General manager Tom Fitzgerald hopes that he has addressed that problem after swinging an inter-divisional trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins to add John Marino in exchange for defenseman Ty Smith and a 2023 third-round draft pick.

The twenty-five-year-old Marino played in eighty-one games for Pittsburgh, scoring one goal, finishing with twenty-four assists and a plus one in the plus-minus rating.

Marino finished third in the Calder Trophy voting (rookie of the year) in 2019-20, scoring six goals with twenty assists in the shortened by pandemic season in fifty-six games.

Marino's play has slipped a bit according to followers over the last two seasons but at 25, Marino could return to his rookie form.

Marino is expected to slot into the second defensive pairing and while Pittsburgh needed to clear some cap space quickly to re-sign Evgeny Malkin, that doesn't mean that Marino is overpaid.

Actually, Marino is locked up under a very friendly contract that will pay him 4.4 million for each of the next five seasons with the final three seasons under a limited no-trade clause (Marino will pick eight teams at the beginning of each season that he cannot be moved to without his permission).

The Devils traded former first-round selection, Ty Smith, to Pittsburgh and I'm sad to see Smith go as I had high expectations for him as an offensive blueliner.

Smith was the Devils top pick in 2018 and the Devils were hoping that Smith could develop into at least a second-pairing defender that would be strong on the power play.

Smith's play in his rookie season of 2020-21 was promising ( two goals, twenty-one assists, seven power-play points and an acceptable minus six in forty-eight games for a non-playoff team) but he regressed badly in his second season with five goals, fifteen assists, four power-play points and an awful minus twenty-six in sixty-six games.

Smith has only one season remaining on his entry-level contract and with the Devils having to make decisions on the future of Damon Severson and Ryan Graves with contracts that end at the conclusion of the upcoming season, the Devils didn't need to have questions about the future of three of their top six defenders.

I'm not ready to give up on Ty Smith yet but the Devils needed a little more certainty for the next few seasons and if Smith is the player that played in Newark last year and not the promising rookie, the Devils did well in getting a steady, cost-controlled defenseman in John Marino.

And for a team that was trying to move salary, Pittsburgh did well in getting a talented and still young (22) defenseman that could easily improve with a change of scenery, and adding a third-rounder doesn't hurt the Penguins side of the swap either.

In other words, this could be a deal that both teams are able to profit from over the next few seasons.

All About The Jersey writes of the trade with more statistical detail.

Boxing Challenge: Garcia Stops Fortuna

      Ryan Garcia was noticeably larger than Javier Fortuna at the first visual glance of the two and he fought like the bigger man as he rarely allowed Fortuna to attack, let alone land a punch.

And when Garcia landed punches, he was the much bigger puncher as he dropped Fortuna three times with left hooks, once in round four, another in round five, and the final in round six, which ended the fight in Garcia's favor.

Garcia's win was impressive but I'm not quite as impressed as many seem to be by the victory as while Fortuna is a solid contender, he has never succeeded against the elite of any division, and Fortuna is naturally a junior lightweight with Garcia moving north in weight.

Every time that Garcia landed solidly, you could see that Fortuna was badly outgunned and when Garcia scored the first knockdown in the fourth round, the outcome was decided, only when the fight would end was in question.

Fortuna was resigned to occasional fruitless lunges to attempt to get to Garcia but was punished with each attempt by Garcia consistently landing the left hook that would score the three knockdowns.

Garcia called out Gervonta Davis for a fight that many will anticipate and just as many would be surprised if the network issues (Garcia DAZN and Davis Showtime) could be straightened out in order to make the fight.

Garcia also said that he preferred to stay in the junior welterweight division and challenged Davis to fight him at that weight.

That would be an advantage for Garcia as the naturally larger man as Davis doesn't really have the frame to move much higher than 140 pounds.

A Garcia-Davis fight carries lots of intrigue as both fighters have one-shot knockout power.

Neither has faced the best competition yet with Garcia's best win over long-time top ten lightweight Luke Campbell with Davis's best win over Jose Pedraza years ago.

I think Davis has the better chin from what we have seen thus far but style-wise, Garcia may have the edge with the smaller Davis having to attack the lanky Garcia in the same manner as Javier Fortuna unsuccessfully tried last night.

I'd love to see this one signed and in the ring before the end of the year but I will believe it when I see it.

Boxing Challenge

TRS: 131 Pts (2)

Ramon Malpica: 111 Pts (3)

Vince Samano: 107 Pts (1)

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Boxing Challenge: Barboza defeats Zorrilla

   Undefeated junior welterweight Arnold Barboza outslugged his undefeated opponent Danielito Zorrilla and won a unanimous decision in the main event of an ESPN/Top Rank card from Temecula, California.

Barboza won the middle rounds of the fight and generally outboxed Zorrilla, who was fighting his first fight against a world-class opponent.

Barboza appeared to have hurt his left hand in either the sixth or seventh round and it hampered his offense a bit but the bigger concern for the Barboza camp as their fighter nears an eventual title shot could be his chin as Zorrilla hurt Barboza in the final round with a right hand as Zorrilla looked for a comeback win.

Barboza was hurt but wasn't knocked down as he stemmed the tide of Zorrilla's late rush.

Barboza won handily on all three official scorecards, winning 98-92 and 97-93 x2, which was the same as my scorecard.

Zorrilla showed some heart as every time Barboza appeared to be nearing a stoppage in the middle rounds, Zorrilla would fire back with his strong right hand to gain the respect of the more polished title contender, and Zorrilla fought well enough that I'd like to see him again.

As for Barboza, who I also like, he was fighting for the first time in eleven months and there was some rust that he fought through but I'm starting to wonder if he is a top ten contender or a title threat?

Barboza isn't a smooth boxer or a big puncher, he's just a solid versatile fighter, and those types of fighters often have to be special or lucky enough to fight the right champion to win a title.

Still, he might be good enough to overcome that problem, if he can stay active and sharp.

Boxing Challenge

TRS: 129 Pts (0)

Ramon Malpica: 108 Pts (1)

Vince Samano: 106 Pts (2)

Friday, July 15, 2022



I am not sure I ever counted on reaching any particular age and while I respect that many people don't enjoy their birthday, I always have.

I'm not over the top about it but I do usually have fun with it.

I enjoyed this year's version but it's a little different for some reason.

I feel like things that once were important, gradually haven't become so.

Sports don't seem as important and the only baseball I watch is the few games that I have attended for work other than two games with Mike Oravec at new stadiums, one visit in which I still have to write about.

I still am passionate about boxing and football but my hockey interest has waned a bit as Rachel lost interest and rooting for a team with one playoff trip (and a first round exit) in a decade can do that to a person.

It just seems like all I do is work, which is a person that I could never have imagined years ago, I don't do a lot, and I don't really feel like doing much either.

I have a good time on trips but I don't feel like doing much else.

I spend a lot of time trying (and often failing) to sleep and I just stay inside a lot.

I feel like I have little time to do anything and yet rarely does anything appeal to me to do but while reading what you have just skimmed may seem like the words of a person that is either unhappy or severely bored and that's not really the case.

I read more than before (and that really does say a lot) and I find that I'm reading even more on different topics as I try to learn and expand my knowledge.

I worry about things, not aging as much as the changes that comes with the body and health issues and of course Covid-19.

I'm not a person that lives in fear and I go places when I wish but I certainly do carry caution with people I don't know.

All of which makes me no different than anyone else.

My life is pretty good- Thanks to my wonderful family and friends and all that they do..

Boxing Challenge

    A light boxing weekend with only two fights in the boxing challenge and two shows to watch.

The most significant will be lightweight contender Ryan Garcia facing former minor beltholder Javier Fortuna in Los Angeles.

These two were supposed to square off last year but the fight was canceled when Garcia pulled the boxing equivalent of Shawn Michaels "Losing his smile" and pulled out of the fight to get his mental health together.

The move has been questioned for its legitimacy and even though there is no proof that Garcia was lying, much as Shawn Michaels has been questioned even twenty-plus years later, Garcia will carry that stain with him for a long time.

Fortuna fought former IBF junior lightweight champion Joseph Diaz and lost a unanimous decision and carried some resentment for losing a large payday, so getting that payday on his 33rd birthday has to be a welcomed gift.

Fortuna has always been a solid top ten contender that failed in his biggest tests (losses to Diaz and Robert Easter) and it's likely that Garcia will continue that trend if his skills back up the hype.

Garcia hopes for a huge fight with Gervonta Davis with a win that of course will come with promotional and broadcast difficulties in making the fight.

Top Rank and ESPN will host a show tonight from the casino town of Temecula, California with the main event pitting undefeated junior welterweight contender Arnold Barboza against the also-undefeated Danielito Zorrilla.

Barboza has bullied his way into contention on ESPN over good, not great competition with decision wins over Antonio Moran, former title challenger Alex Saucedo, and a knockout over faded former champion Mike Alvarado.

The undefeated Zorrilla enters this fight after his biggest win, a second-round knockout of former contender Pablo Cesar Cano.

Barboza seems to be the more proven fighter but Zorrilla is the harder puncher and I have a feeling that this could be an excellent main event in the offing with a possible upset.

Boxing Challenge

Junior Welterweights. 10 Rds 
Arnold Barboza vs Danielito Zorrilla
Ramon Malpica:: Barboza KO 9
TRS: Zorrilla KO 9
Vince Samano: Barboza Unanimous Decision

Lightweights 12 Rds
Ryan Garcia vs Javier Fortuna
R.L: Garcia KO 6
TRS: Garcia KO 5
V.S: Garcia Unanimous Decision

Devils sign Ondrej Palat

     The New Jersey Devils wanted Johnny Gaudreau badly and between Gaudreau's growing up in New Jersey and the fact that the Devils could pay Gaudreau more than any other could, it wasn't unreasonable to think that the Devils could have been secure as the favorites to sign the high scoring and most coveted free agent.

Had you bet on that outcome, you lose (in my best Warner Wolf voice) as Gaudreau signed with Columbus, so Tom Fitzgerald needed a backup plan which proved to be Ondrej Palat as the Devils lured away the veteran left-winger away from his only NHL home in Tampa Bay with a five-year agreement worth thirty million dollars.

The thirty-one-year-old Palat was drafted by the Lightning in the seventh round in 2011 and has spent the last ten years with Tampa Bay, where he has received kudos for his excellent playoff production with three trips to the Stanley Cup finals, two of those resulting in two titles.

Palat scored eighteen goals with thirty-one assists for Tampa Bay last season and has been extremely consistent over his career.

The problem is that Palat may be too consistent as after Palat's rookie season when he scored 23 goals, Palat has scored between fifteen and eighteen goals in six of the next eight seasons, never higher and twice lower.

While there is something to be said for consistency, Palat's goal scoring doesn't seem likely to improve, and should it move higher, it is likely to be a career-best season.

Considering his age at the end of the contract (36) and his goal production, this is an overpay and likely a panicky move from Tom Fitzgerald, who must have had all of his eggs in the Johnny Gaudreau basket and was surprised to see Gaudreau slip away to Columbus, which forced Fitzgerald to do something fast.

Ondrej Palat is a fine player and I'm sure that he will produce for the Devils what he generally has over his career.

However, I'm not sure that the Devils needed a player of his skills, especially considering his age, length of the contract, and the price, so I am not a fan overall of this signing.

New Jersey also signed veteran defenseman Brendan Smith to a two-year contract worth 1.1 million per season.

The thirty-three-year-old Smith played forty-five games with Carolina, finishing with four goals, four assists, and a plus six.

He's a guy that is best used as a depth defenseman that can play on your third defensive pairing or ideally as Carolina (Or any good team) as the seventh defenseman that plays when someone is a little dinged up and needs a night off.

It's an average signing- nothing to get upset with, nothing to leap into the air in excitement over either.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Devils deals- Add Vanecek, Haula

    The first day of NHL free agency arrived and left with the New Jersey Devils swinging big for the top player available for the second year in a row but this time settling for a consolation prize.

I'll be writing about that signing later but for now I'll finally get around to discussing the Devils draft day trade and their free agency day swap with the Boston Bruins.

On the second day of the NHL draft last week, New Jersey hopes to have solved at least some of their problems in net with the acquisition of Vitek Vanecek from fellow division member Washington.

The teams flipped second-round picks and New Jersey sent Washington a third-rounder for the signing rights to Vanecek, who is a restricted free agent.

The Devils had massive problems in goal last season with Mackenzie Blackwood looking like he had never played before, Jonathan Bernier played in only ten less than effective games, and a parade of players either too young, too old, or vagabond types that were incapable of patching the hole even temporarily.

The 26-year-old Vanecek won twenty games for Washington last season with a 2.67 GAA, a .908 save percentage, and four shutouts in his second season with the Capitals, sharing the position with 

Vanecek is hoped to team with a revitalized Blackwood as the Devils goaltending tandem as no one knows what they would receive if anything out of Bernier this season. 

Is Vanecek the long-term answer? I doubt it but he seems at least capable of producing similar statistics to his two seasons in Washington and I think the Devils would be pleased with those results.

On the first day of free agency, New Jersey traded former 2015 first-round pick Pavel Zacha to Boston for veteran left wing Erik Haula in a deal that spelled the end of high hopes for Zacha, who did a little of everything as a forward but not enough of anything to be special.

Zacha scored 15 goals with 21 assists last season but was an awful minus twenty-one and scored two fewer goals than in 2020-21 in twenty more games played.

The time may have come to cut Zacha loose and see if he needed a change of scenery.

As for Erik Haula, he's 31 and has one year remaining on his contract, which is worth 2.3 million to Haula and is coming off his second-best season in his career with 18 goals and 26 assists in his first and only season in Boston.

I wonder about older players that exceed their normal statistics playing with a strong team and then move to a lesser one and that's my concern on Haula.

Haula should help the third line a bit but while I understand moving Pavel Zacha might be best for both parties, I'm not sure that I'm expecting Erik Haula for perhaps only one season to be worth Zacha's chances of putting it all together.

As the weekend approaches, I hope to have a look at the Devils free agent signees and the one that got away. 

Boxing Challenge: Ioka avenges Nietes defeat in rematch

    Kazuto Ioka controlled the fight from the opening and easily retained his WBO junior bantamweight title via unanimous decision over former four-division champion Donnie Nietes in Tokyo Japan.

The victory avenged a controversial split decision loss to Nietes in 2018 and could send the forty year old Nietes into his retirement years.

Ioka was the stronger fighter and pounded Nietes throughout a fight along with cutting him over the left eye.

Ioka did try to quicken the pace in the second half of the fight and had he been busier in the first half, perhaps Ioka could have scored a late round knockout as Nietes weakened.

For Ioka, perhaps a unification fight could be next against IBF champion Fernando Martinez, as Ioka had one scheduled last year against then-IBF champion Jerwin Ancajas that was canceled due to Covid considerations before Martinez dethroned Ancajas.

Ioka is deserving of a bigger fight in the 115 pound division that ranks with the junior welterweight division as the deepest and most competitive in boxing.

Boxing Challenge

TRS: 129 Pts (2) 
Ramon Malpica: 107 Pts (2)
Vince Samano: 104 Pts (2) 

Monday, July 11, 2022

Boxing Challenge: Ioka vs Nietes

    It's a rare mid-week boxing challenge but the main event is an important one as WBO junior bantamweight champion Kazuto Ioka defends his title against the former four-division champion and former WBO champion in this division, Donnie Nietes.

These two fought on New Year's Eve 2018 with Nietes winning the vacant belt via a split decision, only to vacate the title before defending it.

Their first fight was controversial as even though the fight was in Ioka's hometown of Tokyo and most thought ( I scored Ioka the winner 115-113) Ioka was the deserving winner, Nietes took the fight with scores for each fighter of 116-112 and a stunningly awful 118-110 score for Nietes.

Ioka has defended the title four times since winning the title vacated by Nietes with a tenth-round knockout of Aston Palicte, including a decision win over long-time minimumweight champion Francisco Rodriguez and an exciting knockout of three-division champion Kosei Tanaka in eight rounds on New Year's Eve 2020 in a mild upset.

Nietes has fought only two times since his win over Ioka, a decision win and a draw in December against Norbelto Jimenez in the UAE, so it is reasonable to wonder about how long Nietes will be an elite fighter considering his current age of 40, which is similar to someone 55 in the heavier weight classes.

Ioka seems to be hitting his stride and while he doesn't seem to be quite on the level of the big three of the division in WBA champion Juan Francisco Estrada, WBC champion Jesse "Bam" Rodriguez, or Roman Gonzalez, Ioka would be competitive against any of the three I think and with IBF champion Fernando Martinez, former champions Nietes, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Jerwin Ancjas, and Carlos Cuadras, minor titleist Joshua Franco, and former minimumweight champion Francisco Rodriguez compile along with junior welterweight the deepest and most competitive division in boxing today.

All: Ioka Unanimous Decision

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Boxing Challenge: Chisora clips Pulev, Vargas dethrones Magsayo

     The boxing Saturday was filled with fun fights with lots of competitive matches and a title changing hands in the featherweight division.

We start earlier in the day from London with a Matchroom/DAZN card and a heavyweight fight that lived up to its hype as Derek Chisora avenged a split decision loss to Kubrat Pulev in 2016 with a split decision win of his own.

Chisora started strong and hit Pulev to the body often in the first few rounds but in the middle rounds decided to return to the tactic that he used effectively against Joseph Parker by going to the ropes, and firing looping right hands that often found the mark against Pulev.

Pulev scored well from distance and wobbled Chisora badly in the eighth round with a left uppercut and landed more throughout the fight.

Both fighters stayed active to the end and the final four rounds were fought toe to toe with two tired veterans throwing and landing bomb after bomb until the final bell.

I scored the fight even at 114, so I had no issues with Chisora getting the nod by scores of 116-112 and 116-114 (No typo, one judge scored two even rounds) while the dissenting judge scored 116-112 for Pulev.

I had to feel good for Chisora, who has so often lost close decisions in the past but as exciting as his fights have been of late, I have concerns about the punishment that he is taking.

I wonder about referees that know Chisora's tactics and will want to give him every chance to continue in fights and on a wrong night it could result in Chisora receiving an even worse beating.

Chisora called out Deontay Wilder after the fight and while promotional issues make that fight unlikely, it would be very interesting to pair Wilder's power but vulnerable chin against Chisora's toughness.

In the co-feature, a second try at a WBA junior middleweight eliminator worked just as the first time- without a winner as Israil Madrimov battered Michel Soro in the second round and appeared poised to finish the Frenchman in the third but as he charged after Soro to start the round, an ugly head clash opened a bad cut over Soro's left eye and forced the fight to be stopped immediately.

While the cut was bad, it wasn't any worse than the one that Kubrat Pulev would fight through and now with another no-victor result, the WBA will likely order these two to fight again for a third time to determine their mandatory contender to Jermell Charlo.

In Ekaterinburg, Russia, Magomed Kurbanov decisioned former WBO champion Patrick Teixeira to become Charlo's mandatory challenge in the WBO junior middleweight rankings.

I haven't watched this one yet but I've read Kurbanov knocked Teixeira down in the first round on his way to the unanimous decision.

Showtime and PBC put together what proved to be an excellent three-bout card from San Antonio, Texas, and the Alamodome.

In the main event, former WBC junior featherweight champion Rey Vargas moved up in weight to the featherweight division and pulled a mild upset in winning the WBC championship from Mark Magsayo via split decision.

Vargas has been known for his less than interesting victories but engaged more against Magsayo and built a solid lead into the middle rounds against Magsayo, who ended the long-time reign of Gary Russell in his last appearance.

Magsayo had fallen behind on the cards against Julio Ceja in his fight before the Russell win and needed to score a come from behind tenth round knockout to win, and Magsayo almost did the same to retain his title against Vargas, knocking Vargas down in round nine to tighten the scorecards.

Magsayo looked like he scored another knockdown in the tenth, but it was surprisingly scored a slip and by the end of the round, Magsayo had allowed his final and best chance to pass him by.

The eleventh and twelfth rounds were pretty evenly fought and while it wasn't the most exciting fight I've ever seen, it was far more action-filled than any previous fight from Vargas.

Vargas won on two cards 115-112, which was the same as my score, with Magsayo taking the fight according to one judge 114-113, which seemed to be a stretch for me.

Vargas called for WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz after the fight, but the WBA, who has allowed Santa Cruz to keep their title for 41 months and counting without a fight in the division and still hasn't announced a mandated fight against Leigh Wood but he's more likely to face the WBC mandatory contender Brandon Figueroa.

Figueroa earned the mandatory spot with a sixth-round knockout of Carlos Castro in the co-feature that Figueroa controlled but Castro occasionally established himself in the action.

Figueroa knocked Castro down in the third round and Castro barely beat the ten count, but survived the round and landed a few good shots over the rest of the fight.

Castro started the sixth round strong and trapped Figueroa along the ropes before Figueroa was able to turn things around, trapping Castro along the ropes himself and battering him with several combinations forcing the referee to step in and end the fight.

I had Figueroa ahead 49-45 at the time of the stoppage.

It was an excellent outing for Figueroa, who was returning after his narrow majority decision loss to Stephen Fulton last November (I scored Figueroa a close winner), and whenever he would face Rey Vargas, it seems to be an interesting mix of styles.

In the opening fight, lightweight prospect Frank Martin received a good fight from late replacement Jackson Marinez before pulling away in the late rounds and stopping Marinez in the tenth and final round.

Martin almost finished Marinez in the ninth round, knocking him down with the bell ringing to end the round before the fighters could be brought back together to continue.

Martin polished Marinez off quickly in the tenth, scoring a knockdown and ending the fight within thirty seconds.

I had Martin ahead 78-71 entering the last round, so it was very impressive how Martin ended the fight rather than cruise to the finish.

Martin is the best lightweight prospect that PBC currently promotes and clearly has the potential to eventually be a title contender but considering PBC's lack of top fighters in the division other than Gervonta Davis and Isaac Cruz, neither of which Martin is quite ready for currently, look for a few more fights for Martin against fighters on the level of Marinez.

That may not be totally a bad thing for Martin's development but it may not make for many competitive battles.

Boxing Challenge

TRS:  127 Pts  (9)
Ramon Malpica: 105 Pts  (6)
Vince Samano: 102 Pts  (6)

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Boxing Challenge

    The boxing weekend has two cards of note with a world championship on the line on Showtime and DAZN countering from London with a matchup of two veteran heavyweights that could make an entertaining battle.

In the afternoon (in the USA) Matchroom's show from DAZN will pair two veteran bombers that lack the legs to move around the ring and may not have decided to move even if they had the pins to do as former title challengers Derek Chisora and Kubrat Pulev are likely to have a very fun fight to watch.

The aging heavyweights (Chisora 38, Pulev 41) may not have enough at their ages to make a championship run but both can give even the best of the division an interesting few rounds with their aggressiveness and pure toughness.

Pulev decisioned journeyman Jerry Forrest less than two months on a Triller PPV in his first fight since being stopped in a title challenge against then-champion Anthony Joshua in nine rounds in December 2020 and looked decent enough against Forrest, who most thought had upset contender Michael Hunter in Forrest's previous fight.

Chisora has lost his last three fights but losses to current champion Oleksandr Usyk and two decision defeats to former WBO champion Joseph Parker last year are excusable losses for any heavyweight, especially considering that Chisora lost via split decision in the first fight (scoring a knockdown) and some (including me) thought he won along with showing tons of heart in losing the rematch.

This should be a fun fight with both fighters known for fatiguing over the second half of their matches which means that the late rounds could be Creed-Balboaesque with neither fighter having the energy to move away or it could be six rounds of grab and hold!

The co-feature is a junior middleweight title eliminator and a rematch between Israil Madrimov and Michel Soro after a wild ending to their first battle last December where Madrimov ended a close fight with a ninth-round knockout that saw Madrimov hurt Soro seconds before the bell, the bell ringing to end the round and the referee allowing Madrimov to continue the assault on a dazed Soro before stopping the fight, awarding to Madrimov via TKO.

The result was deservedly changed to a no-contest after an appeal by Soro and the WBA ordered a rematch to determine their mandatory challenger to unified world champion Jermell Charlo.

Showtime's PBC card from San Antonio has the only championship defense of the weekend as Mark Magsayo makes the first defense of his WBC featherweight title against former junior featherweight champion Rey Vargas in the main event of a three-fight telecast.

Magsayo upset long-time champion Gary Russell in his most recent fight to win the title but Russell suffered an injury in the fight and I wonder if Magsayo is a star in the making or someone that caught Russell on a perfect night?

Vargas is undefeated and a former champion at 122 pounds but has fought only once in three years and is a tediously dull performer, although a technically proficient one.

I can see Vargas outboxing Magsayo and winning a less than stimulating decision but it is just as likely that Magsayo wears Vargas down and stops him late as Magasayo was able to do against Julio Ceja in his fight before winning the title.

Either result would not be a surprise to me.

The second fight is an eliminator to determine who will next face the Magsayo-Vargas winner as former WBC junior featherweight champion Brandon Figueroa rises in weight against Carlos Castro.

Figueroa rises in weight after losing his title in an exciting unification fight against Stephen Fulton via majority decision that he could have won (I scored Figueroa a 115-113 winner) and decided to move up rather than chase a Fulton rematch right away.

The once-beaten Castro suffered his first loss in February via a split decision to Luis Nery, the same Nery that Figueroa knocked out in seven rounds in May 2021, so Figueroa should be a strong favorite.

The curtain-jerker will feature highly-touted lightweight Frank Martin in his first step up in class against late replacement Jackson Marinez in a ten-rounder.

Martin looked extremely impressive in stopping Romero Duno in four rounds on New Year's Day and Marinez is a small step up from Duno for the classy prospect.

Marinez is remembered by most for dominating Rolando Romero and getting robbed of the decision in August 2020 but was knocked out in six rounds by Richard Commey in February 2021, which may show that Marinez is a level below world-class.

Still, an impressive win by Martin would be an excellent notch on his resume' at this stage of his career.

The final challenge fight is one that isn't televised in the USA as another junior middleweight eliminator takes place in Russia as Magaomed Kurbanov faces former WBO champion Patrick Teixeira in a WBO-style eliminator.

This was a fight scheduled for last December and Kurbanov fell ill literally minutes before the bout in the locker room with Covid-19.

Kurbanov decisioned Liam Smith last May in a close decision, while Teixeira knocked out Paul Valenzuela in the second round but after Valenzuela put on an acting performance, Teixeira was disqualified in his return to the ring after dropping the WBO title to Brian Castano.

Boxing Challenge

WBC Featherweight Title.12 Rds 
Mark Magsayo vs Rey Vargas
Ramon Malpica and Vince Samano: Magsayo Unanimous Decision
TRS: Vargas Unanimous Decision

Featherweights. 12 Rds
Brandon Figueroa vs Carlos Castro
R.L and V.S: Figueroa KO 9
TRS: Figueroa KO 5

Lightweights. 10 Rds
Frank Martin vs Jackson Marinez
R.L: Martin KO 5
TRS: Martin KO 7
V.S: Martin Unanimous Decision

Heavyweights.12 Rds
Derek Chisora vs Kubrat Pulev
R.L: Pulev KO 7
TRS: Chisora Split Decision
V.S; Chisora KO 8

Junior Middleweights. 12 Rds
Ismail Madrimov vs Michel Soro
R.L: Madrimov KO 10
TRS: Madrimov KO 8
V.S; Madrimov Unanimous Decision

Junior Middleweights 12 Rds
Magomed Kurbanov vs Patrick Teixeira
All; Kurbanov Unanimous Decision

Friday, July 8, 2022

Devils draft Simon Nemec

   The New Jersey Devils jumped up in the draft lottery to the second overall pick and pulled a mild surprise in selecting defenseman Simon Nemec of Slovakia.

The Devils had been most connected to Slovakian winger Juraj Slafkovsky but Montreal moved off the player that had been rated as the top player in the draft for most of the past year in center Shane Wright and plucked Slafkovsky with their first overall selection.

The decision placed the Devils and general manager Tom Fitzgerald in a bit of a pickle- do you draft the player rated by many as the top prospect in Shane Wright that plays a position that you already have two young players (Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes) that have already signed long-term extensions?

Or do you take a player that may be a little lower on the board but could be an eventual impact player at a position where the Devils are not nearly as deep (defenseman) and other than 2021 first-rounder Luke Hughes lack a young player with top-pairing potential?

Fitzgerald decided on the latter and added Nemec to a defensive corps that could need bolstering, perhaps sooner than later, should Damon Severson leave via free agency following the upcoming season.

Nemec was regarded along with another Slovakian native David Jiricek as the top defenseman in this draft and played most of last season in the top Slovakian pro league at 17 (Nemec turned 18 last February) along with playing in the World Championship for Slovakia and may have at least a chance of making the Devils next season, although I wouldn't guarantee that happening.

A right-handed shot, which Tom Fitzgerald mentioned in his press conference as something the team was looking for in a defenseman, Nemec is regarded as an excellent skater and passer and has drawn some comparisons to Victor Hedman, which means that Nemec would be offensively minded and solid at both ends of the ice.

If the Devils received even close to a Victor Hedman-level player in Simon Nemec (Hedman was also drafted second overall in his draft year), the Devils have done very well with Nemec.

The 6'1 Nemec seems to be the solid choice at a position of need but I do have to admit that I am a bit disappointed that the team had a chance to add the best player in the draft and they passed on him for a position of need.

From what I read ( and highlights) and see from Nemec, the Devils haven't blown this pick, t's just that I'm a big believer in taking the best player on the board in any draft.

Hopefully, Tom Fitzgerald has added a player that can slot into the lineup for the next ten years and possibly could become a building block for the next time that the Devils are ready to contend for a Stanley Cup.

TRS Boxing Ratings-Part Two

 Part two of the TRS boxing ratings will feature the lower weight divisions ranging from the lightweight division to the under-flyweight group and the always controversial pound-for-pound ratings!

Thanks as always to Ramon Malpica, Vince Samano, John Herndon, and C.J.Burney for their time and consideration.

World Champion: Devin Haney
1: Vasyl Lomachenko 24 Pts (Up One)
2: Gervonta Davis 23 Pts (Up One)
3: George Kambosos 14 Pts (Down Two)
4: Ryan Garcia 9 Pts (Unranked)
5: Isaac Cruz 5 Pts (Unranked)

Junior Lightweights
1: Shakur Stevenson WBC/WBO Champion 25 Pts
2: Oscar Valdez 18 Pts
3: Shavkat Rakhimov 17 Pts (Up One)
4: Joe Cordina IBF Champion 5 Pts (Unranked)
    Roger Gutierrez WBA Champion (Up One)
Also Received Votes: Hector Luis Garcia, Jamel Herring

1: Emmanuel Navarette WBO Champion  25 Pts
2: Mark Magsayo WBC Champion 18 Pts
3: Mauricio Lara 14 Pts
4: Josh Warrington IBF Champion 7 Pts
5: Gary Russell 5 Pts
Also Received Votes: Leo Santa Cruz WBA Champion, Brandon Figueroa, Leigh Wood

Junior Featherweights
1: Stephen Fulton WBC/WBO Champion 25 Pts
2: Murodjon Akhmadaliev WBA/IBF Champion 20 Pts
3: Brandon Figueroa 11 Pts
4: Daniel Roman 8 Pts
5: Emmanuel Aleem 5 Pts
Also Received Votes: Angelo Leo, Luis Nery

1: Naoya Inoue WBA/WBC/IBF Champion 25 Pts
2: John Riel Casimero 19 Pts (Up One)
3: Nonito Donaire 10 Pts (Down One)
4: Jason Moloney 8 Pts (Unranked) 
5: Emmanuel Rodriguez 5 Pts (Unranked)
    Gary Antonio Russell (Unranked)
Also Recieved Votes: Paul Butler WBO Champion, Takeshi Inoue, Nordine Oubaali

Junior Bantamweights
1: Juan Francisco Estrada WBA Champion 24 Pts
2: Roman Gonzalez 18 Pts
3: Jesse "Bam" Rodriguez WBC Champion 17 Pts (Up One)
4: Joshua Franco 6 Pts (Unranked)
5: Kazuto Ioka WBO Champion 5 Pts
    Fernando Martinez IBF Champion (Unranked)
Also Received Votes: Srisaket Sor Rungvisai 

1: Junto Nakatani WBO Champion 23 Pts
2: Julio Cesar Martinez WBC Champion 21 Pts (Up One)
3: Artem Dalakian WBA Champion 13 Pts (Down One)
4: Sunny Edwards IBF Champion 12 Pts
5: Crisofer Rosales 3 Pts
    Ricardo Sandoval (Unranked)

Junior Flyweights/Under
1: Hiroto Kyoguchi WBA Champion 24 Pts
2: Kenshiro Teraji WBC Champion 18 Pts
3: Jonathan Gonzalez WBO Champion 11 Pts (Up One)
    KO CP Freshmart (Up One)
5: Felix Alvarado 7 Pts (Down Two)
Also Received Votes:  CP Freshmart, Masamichi Yabuki

Pound for Pound
1: Naoya Inoue 48 Pts (Up One)
2: Terence Crawford 43 Pts (Up One)
3: Errol Spence 31 Pts (Up Two)
4: Artur Beterbiev 30 Pts (Up Five)
5: Tyson Fury 27 Pts (Down One)
6: Oleksandr Usyk 25 Pts
7: Canelo Alvarez 12 Pts (Down Six)
    Devin Haney (Unranked)
9: Vasyl Lomachenko 11 Pts (Down Two)
    Shakur Stevenson (Unranked)
Also Received Votes: Dmitry Bivol, Bam Rodriguez, Gervonta Davis, Stephen Fulton, Jermell Charlo