Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Boxing Challenge: Prograis knocks out Zepeda

    The boxing weekend saw a world championship filled and the new champion staking a claim for a chance for a rematch to prove that he is the best fighter in the division.

Regis Prograis controlled his fight from the outset against Jose Zepeda for the vacant WBC junior welterweight title for most of the ten rounds and then convincingly finished Zepeda in the eleventh, leaving a beaten Zepeda sagging along the ropes and Prograis making an argument for a rematch with Josh Taylor.

Zepeda seemed to be making a late run at the win when he had his best round of the fight in the tenth before Prograis finished the evening in the following round.

I scored Prograis leading 98-92 entering the final round.

Prograis will defend his title for the first time against former WBC and WBO champion Jose Ramirez in a fight that was rumored and planned years ago and both would enter the fight with only one career loss- each of the duo losing to Josh Taylor in close fights.

Prograis-Ramirez is yet another excellent match that one could easily select either fighter to win.

However, after watching this effort from Prograis, I'd favor him as the victor.

In the co-feature, junior middleweight Charles Conwell won a majority decision (98-92, 96-94, 95-95) over veteran Juan Carlos Abreu in a WBC eliminator and moved on to another eliminator in the future.

I haven't watched this fight as of this writing, so I have no scorecards, etc.

The other two big bouts of the weekend would hail from London but on two competing cards.

Frank Warren's Queensberry promotion's main event saw a disappointing ending as Zach Parker surrendered after the fourth round due to a broken right hand.

I thought Parker won three of the first four rounds but Ryder continued to press forward as he typically does and one could see Parker throwing fewer and fewer right hands in the third ad fourth stanzas.

With the win, Ryder becomes a minor WBO champion but more importantly is now the mandatory challenger for unified champion Canelo Alvarez and the organization has ruled that if Alvarez fights anyone other than Ryder in his next two fights, they will be forced to remove their title from the Mexican star.

Ryder's not flashy and against elite boxers can be outpointed but he never stops coming forward and will give even the best of his division a physically taxing battle.

On the other side of London, Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing heaved a sigh of relief after Dillian Whyte won a majority decision over previously undefeated Jermaine Franklin of the United States.

Whyte and Franklin divided most of the middle rounds after Franklin started quickly in winning the first two rounds.

Franklin hurt Whyte in the ninth and appeared to be on the verge of an upset but Whyte staggered Franklin in the tenth and finished the fight strongly in the final round when he again stunned the American.

I thought the fight was close (I scored it a draw at 114-114) and didn't have a complaint with Whyte getting the win, although the scores of 115-115 ( I hate scoring even rounds and this judge scored two of them) and 116-112 x2, seemed a bit weird.

7-5 either way or a draw is an acceptable card, 8-4 (as two judges saw it for Whyte) for either fighter would be too much of a margin.

For Franklin, it re-establishes himself as a fighter that is deserving of future fights against contenders, and for Whyte, the win likely allows him to stay in line for a 2023 rematch with former champion Anthony Joshua.

Joshua and Whyte fought an action-filled battle in 2015 when both men hurt and pounded the other before Joshua stopped Whyte in the seventh round.

Joshua has been rumored to be in negotiations for a match against Deontay Wilder that has been wanted by boxing fans for years but Whyte makes sense in the event that Joshua-Wilder cannot reach an agreement.

Boxing Challenge

TRS: 194 Pts (4) 
Ramon Malpica: 166 Pts (2)
Vince Samano: 158 Pts (4)  

Browns bounce Brady and Bucs in OT!

  David Njoku's incredible one-handed, over-the-head grab and pull of the ball into his torso while leaping into the air and managing to stay inbounds fourth down catch with thirty-two seconds remaining in regulation forced overtime. 

Nick Chubb scored on a three-yard run with nineteen seconds remaining in overtime lifted the Cleveland Browns to a 23-17 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and kept any mild heartbeat of a postseason berth alive.

Chubb finished with 116 yards rushing and Amari Cooper caught seven passes for ninety-four yards including a deep catch late in overtime that set up the game-winning score.

Cleveland improved to 4-7 with the win and will travel to Houston next week with some fellow named Watson starting and making his team and season debut at quarterback.

Brownie Bits

1) The catch by David Njoku to allow the Browns to reach overtime is one that has to be seen to be believed.

2) It's the type of play that Njoku has occasionally delivered in his seasons with the Browns and that the team hoped it would see more consistently after signing him to a long-term contract.

Njoku has so much talent and such tremendous physical attributes that he should be among Travis Kelce as the best in the league at his position.

3) And the forgotten man arrived as Anthony Schwartz suddenly appeared in the first half to score on a thirty-one-yard running play and caught a pass for seventeen yards.

Schwartz has been a disappointment since being selected in the third round in 2021 and for all of his vaunted speed, he hasn't been very good as in his kick-returning appearances either.

Perhaps Schwartz's best role may be to stop depending on him as a contributor among the team's top five receivers on the depth chart and use him as a "Swiss Army Knife" to use the current phrase for multi-dimensional contributors.

4) Myles Garrett may have re-injured his shoulder in the Browns win but he was in the Tampa Bay backfield all afternoon and finished with a sack and a half.

Garrett seemed to be pounding Tom Brady on every play in the final period and overtime and that's the type of impact that Garrett can have on a game when properly inspired.

5) Amari Cooper had a topsy-turvy game that began when a wide-open Cooper dropped a well-thrown ball from Jacoby Brissett in the fourth quarter on a fourth down.

The drop was so out of character that I was more than mildly surprised to see Cooper unable to catch the ball.

6) Cooper more than redeemed himself in overtime with a forty-five-yard catch to the Tampa three-yard line that would set up the winning touchdown.

The acquisition of Cooper certainly ranks at the top of the moves that Andrew Berry has made since taking charge.

7) Speaking of high/low, Cade York smacked another fifty-plus yard field goal and yet shanked a 39-yard try about as badly as a weekend duffer could doink a golf ball.

Such are the travails of dealing with a rookie kicker.

8) The Browns continued their pattern of first-drive dominance as they scored a touchdown on that drive and added a field goal on their next drive.

I'm not sure what it means that Kevin Stefanski has such control over the planned drives and struggles on the fly on play calling thereafter but the data on this is building in a particular direction.

9) I was surprised that Kevin Stefanski didn't go for the two-point conversion after David Njoku's touchdown reception,  not that kicking the extra point wasn't the right call but considering Stefanski's reliance on analytical projections that going for two seemed to be more of what I expected from him.

10)  The Browns now will own a unique note in football annuals.

The win was the first time that Tom Brady led by seven points or more with one minute remaining in the game and lost.

11) Jacoby Brissett was better than the Browns could have expected in his eleven games as the starter.

The Browns' 4-7 record under Brissett wasn't what they needed or hoped for when the handover to DeShaun Watson takes place but give the Browns a win that they literally handed to the Jets and 5-6 would have been more in the range hoped for.

Brissett wasn't great and some of his play showed why he has been a career backup but his play never reached the level of awfulness that cost the Browns games, which is more than they could have asked for.

Jacoby Brissett turned out to be what the Browns needed, a steady hand that may not have won as many games as hoped but blended a team with some class and professionalism that badly needed it.

12) And now we start seeing just what the Browns traded three first-round picks for in DeShaun Watson.

Don't expect miracles right away, although I do expect a win in his game against the terrible Texans but this will be a pre- pre-season of sorts to prepare Watson for what is hoped to be an excellent season next year.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Buckeyes throw a Shoe, lose to Michigan 45-23

   In what was expected to be a redemption game for the Ohio State Buckeyes, Ohio State put forth the most puzzling performance from the program in years and they were manhandled by the Michigan Wolverines in a 45-23 loss at Ohio Stadium in Columbus.

C.J. Stroud threw for 349 yards and two touchdowns along with two late-game interceptions for Ohio State.

Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka each finished with over 120 yards receiving yards and a touchdown reception from each player.

Ohio State finishes the season at 11-1 and 8-1 in the Big Ten and with the defeat, they will now wait to see how the conference championships play out for their postseason destination and foe.

Olentangy Offerings

1) So many negative things to say and I hate to be one of those people griping about a one loss season.

However, if you ignore the issues, one never repairs them, so please forgive what will likely read as a tantrum over one defeat.

2)  Ryan Day is receiving heavy criticisms for some of his decisions during this game but most of those decisions I was basically fine with other than one time that he chose to punt early in the second half on a fourth and five on the OSU 49 after Michigan had scored to take the lead.

Ohio State's punt bounced into the end zone and Michigan drove eighty yards for a touchdown.

I would have gone for the first down there but otherwise the decisions were understandable.

3) Day is especially receiving some heat for his decision to kick a field goal with under eight minutes to go in the game on a fourth and four from the Michigan nine yard line.

I was okay with that as well for this reason- you are running out of possession so cut the lead to eight and hope your defense can hold.

It didn't as Donovan Edwards ran for a seventy-five yard score on the first play of Michigan's drive to place the game safely in their win column but I would have kicked the field goal as well.

4) None of that is to say that I have zero criticisms of Day, who has regressed as a play caller before my eyes over the last two seasons.

It's hard to believe that the bright innovative playcalling that earned Day the head job to begin with has degraded to this screen pass/short out pattern reliance that has become so predictable.

I think Day should give serious consideration to either handing that duty to Kevin Wilson or Brian Hartline or hire someone else because much like Kevin Stefanski with the Browns, Day has become almost bland after starting as the head man.

5) Don't believe me?

C.J. Stroud will be a top ten pick in next year's NFL draft, Marvin Harrison Jr. is the best wide receiver in the nation, Emeka Egbuka is developing to the point that he is a likely 2024 first rounder, and Julian Fleming was the top rated wideout in his recruiting class and could be anything from a first to a third rounder in his eventual draft class.

And for all of that talent, J.J. McCarthy threw more times downfield than C.J. Stroud did.

Not completed ( although that applies as well), attempted.

That's not using your talent properly.

6) When Ryan Day is asked about Dallan Hayden, he always refers to Ball Security as an issue despite Hayden not fumbling in his first season in Columbus.

I know Miyan Williams was able to return to the field (thirty-four yards on eight carries) in limited action and Chip Trayanum in his first major action at running back rushed well in leading the team with eighty-three yards (Trayanum played running back for Arizona State but transferred to OSU as a linebacker) but Hayden rushed so well against Maryland and I would have thought that performance (146 yards and three touchdowns) would have earned him more than two carries.

7) And with three long touchdowns allowed from the passing arm of J.J. McCarthy (one was a short pass with some awful arm tackling and the other two appeared to be blown coverages) how much blame should fairly go to defensive coordinator Jim Knowles?

Depends on if you blame Knowles for coverages that allowed Michigan the type of passing game big plays that one expects to see from Ohio State.

Were they bad coverages called or player breakdowns?

In either case, Ohio State isn't paying Knowles almost two million dollars a year to watch a performance like that on the team's largest stage of the season.

8) And in hindsight, a backbreaker was a Michigan eighty yard drive that ate almost eight minutes and could have been a Buckeye spark in holding Michigan to a field goal after rushing J.J. McCarthy into a hurried heave to the back of the end zone.

However, Ronnie Hickman was called for pass interference and even though an argument could be made for the pass being uncatchable, Michigan was bailed out and would score a touchdown on a McCarthy rush.

9) Five touchdowns of forty-five yards or longer against a Michigan team not known for its explosiveness looks really bad and I really can't blame the front seven all that much until the final two drive of the visitors.

10) J.J. McCarthy was a Buckeye fan growing up and as a recruit was thought to be a potential commitment but Ohio State decided to move towards Kyle McCord as their preferred passer in that recruiting class and McCarthy decided to commit to Michigan.

McCord has the inside track to start next season and prove that to be the correct decision but McCarthy has the attitude that it takes to win this game.

You may not like it or him but gotta respect the passion.

11) C.J. Stroud likely has played his final game in Columbus and he will likely leave with a legacy of the most decorated quarterback that didn't win anything.

I know the Rose Bowl win over Utah is nice but that doesn't carry the weight that it used to in program importance.

Stroud is rattled by a good pass rush and he's not the most mobile guy in the pocket.

I understand the financial aspect for Stroud and I can't blame him for leaving with the money involved for his draft projection but he needs another year of development in my opinion.

12) The worst part of this?

Ohio State will enter next year with another first year starting quarterback in either Kyle McCord or Devin Brown and will play the 2023 game in Ann Arbor, which is really a tough out and why winning this game was so important.

13) Because one loss can be explained as an aberration, two is a pattern, and the potential for three is there, Ryan Day thinks he will have heat on him for this year?

Try losing next year's game and fans will tag him with the hyphenated name of Ryan Cooper-Day.

14) This is also a tough loss for recruiting as recruits won't remember all the dominance of Ohio State in the series, they will only remember 2-0 and with the Covid year, next year's recruits would have been high school freshmen when Ohio State last defeated Michigan and the recruits that will be worked out for the following class would have been in middle school for the last Buckeye win.

The players want to win and play on the biggest stage possible and this isn't a problem for Ohio State yet but another loss or two and it could become one.

15) As for the playoff hopes, I really don't think that they deserve to after this but they are still alive with losses by LSU and Clemson on Saturday as well.

I think Ohio State may get in should TCU or USC lose their title games (TCU vs Kansas State, USC vs Utah) and almost definitely should both teams lose.

No one has a better loss of the one loss teams and Ohio State brings the two things that shouldn't count so much but do- Traveling fans and eyeballs on TV.

I think it would be very tough to take Ohio State over an undefeated TCU and maybe even over a one loss USC but from what I saw against Michigan, and while I want the Buckeyes to be successful, I'm not sure it matters if Ohio State would slide in at the fourth seed and play Georgia for the right to have the fact that Ohio State has become a finesse' program slammed into my face.


Saturday, November 26, 2022

Boxing Challenge

 Thanksgiving weekend isn't always one that is associated with boxing but this weekend will have four interesting matchups that include a vacant world championship to be filled, a minor title that may produce an eventual challenge of Canelo Alvarez, a comeback for a heavyweight contender, and a title eliminator for arguably the most talented fighter that is off the radar.

The biggest fight of the weekend is on pay-per-view from the surprise winner of the purse bid, MARV Sports as one of the three junior welterweight championships that have been vacated by Josh Taylor will have a new titleholder as former WBA champion Regis Prograis faces longtime contender Jose Zepeda in Carson, California.

Prograis has only one loss, a close majority decision defeat to Taylor in 2019 that cost him the WBA title in the finals of the World Boxing Super Series, and has fought only three times since against limited competition.

 Zepeda has lost in both of his title challenges, losing to Terry Flanagan for the vacant WBO lightweight title in 2015 when Zepeda separated his shoulder in the second round and losing a majority decision to Jose Ramirez in a 2019 try for the WBC junior welterweight strap, that many thought Zepeda deserved the victory.

Since the Ramirez loss, Zepeda has won six straight fights including a win over Jose Pedraza, destroying once-touted prospect Josue Vargas in one round, and the classic 2020 fight of the year against Ivan Baranchyk that saw the two fighters combine for eight knockdowns with Zepeda ending the fight in the fifth with a spectacular KO.

On paper, this should be a terrific fight with both fighters having their share of supporters but I wouldn't be surprised if Prograis dominates this fight.

Prograis is the bigger puncher and who knows how much the Baranchyk fights have taken out of Zepeda?

I've underestimated Zepeda before and I would not be surprised to see him do it again but this feels like Prograis to me.

The co-feature will pit 2016 Olympian Charles Conwell and veteran Juan Carlos Abreu in a WBC junior middleweight eliminator.

It's a lower-level eliminator but a needed one for the very talented and underexposed Conwell, who I think only needs an opportunity and a platform to display just how good he could be.

Abreu has failed in each attempt to step up to title contention but he has only been stopped once in his six defeats, to Jaron "Boots" Ennis which is far from a black mark on a career, so should Conwell score a stoppage, it would be an impressive performance.

The remainder of the challenge is fought in England from two cards, two promoters, and two networks on Saturday afternoon.

ESPN Plus and Frank Warren promotions have a WBO minor Super Middleweight title that could eventually result in a few ripples in the 168-pound division as undefeated prospect Zach Parker will face rugged warhorse, John Ryder.

Parker has fought veterans and trial horses but will be in his first fight against a top-ten opponent.

The mauling Ryder is entering the fight after a split-decision victory over Daniel Jacobs that was somewhat controversial (I scored Jacobs a close winner) although the best win of his career.

Ryder made his name a few years in a title bid against Callum Smith that he lost a decision that I thought he should have been given.

The winner not only adds a belt to their trophy case but eventually could be the opponent for Canelo Alvarez, should Canelo ever follow through on his occasional comments on wanting to appear once in the United Kingdom.

On DAZN, Eddie Hearn's Matchroom promotion will match heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte against undefeated American Jermaine Franklin in a twelve-rounder that will try to add some shine to Whyte after his knockout loss to Tyson Fury.

Whyte is still clearly a top-five to top-ten level contender in the division despite being knocked out in two of his last three fights to Fury and Alexander Povetkin but needs a win to keep him in that range.

Whyte generally makes exciting fights and I could see Whyte having a career like his rival Dereck Chisora, where he never has problems getting fights even as he drops a level for that reason.

As for Franklin, at one time he was thought to be the best of the young American heavyweights but he has fought only one time in the last three years and that was against 20-21 (Record not year!) Rodney Moore and his best win is a decision over veteran Jerry Forrest, so even a somewhat damaged Whyte is easily the best opponent that Franklin has fought.

A Franklin win would send him jumping up the ratings and might have him in a bigger fight next year.

Boxing Challenge

Vacant WBC Junior Welterweight Title. 12 Rds 
Regis Prograis vs Jose Zepeda
Ramon Malpica: Prograis Unanimous Decision
TRS: Prograis KO 6
Vince Samano: Prograis KO 11

Junior Middleweights 12 Rds
Charles Conwell vs Juan Carlos Abreu
R.L and V.S: Abreu Unanimous Decision
TRS: Conwell Unanimous Decision

Super Middleweights. 12 Rds
Zach Parker vs John Ryder
R.L: Parker Unanimous Decision
TRS: Parker Split Decision
V.S: Ryder Unanimous Decision

Heavyweights. 12 Rds
Dillian Whyte vs Jermaine Franklin
R.L: Whyte KO 7
TRS: Whyte Unanimous Decision
V.S: Franklin KO 6

Road Trip: Ernie Davis and The Office

   The trip ended with another blustery wind blowing all morning and afternoon and it was colder still as we departed Batavia with our plans for the day for lunch on the way home set for a must-stop for any fan of "The Office".

However, fate threw an interesting turn when Cherie needed to stop and the next exit was Elmira, New York.

I couldn't seem to find any place to stop in Elmira.

No fast food stops, no convenience stores, no gas stations- Nothing.

However, as I toured Elmira, I saw a sign that read Ernie Davis Statue.

I instantly became intrigued as Ernie Davis was the 1961 Heisman Trophy winner from Syracuse, was the top pick in the 1962 draft by Washington before being traded to Cleveland for future Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell but would never play a game for the Browns as he would die of Leukemia in 1963.

Davis was also the subject of the 2008 film "The Express". which starred Rob Brown and Dennis Quaid.

Cherie wasn't totally familiar with Davis but I had to keep looking for a place for her and finally found her a Mcdonalds', which bought me some time to Google "Ernie Davis Statue".

Back on the road, armed with what I thought was the address, I traveled to the statue's presumed location and found what looked like a business located in a former school.

And no Ernie Davis statue.

So, I begin retracing my steps to try to remember where I saw the sign.

And after about ten long minutes, I saw the sign and wondered why there weren't any other signs.


The statue was in front of the Ernie Davis Academy that we had passed earlier but in the rush to find Cherie a place to stop, it didn't register that the statue was in front of the school!

So I felt like an idiot as I exited the car to snap a few pictures and it truly is a wonderful tribute to Davis with several granite blocks around the statue, two of them listing Davis's achievements and the rest each giving a portion of Davis's character to a block.

It's extremely well done and while I didn't know it existed until a chance encounter, I'm really glad that that was the exit that we needed to stop.

And that led us to Scranton and our planned lunch at Cooper's Seafood House.

 Fans of "The Office" know how authentic the show is about its connections to the city used as its TV home with its various items, mentions, and visits to Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Cooper's Seafood House is often mentioned on the program and on occasion, characters have eaten there (on the show, not the actual restaurant), and when I looked up Cooper's on the web, they have a very extensive gift shop of items from "The Office", which made it a natural stop for us as huge fans of the show.

The wind was cutting through the air sharply and it kept us moving quickly inside Cooper's!

The building has a wide base and it stretches out quite far from the dining room to the bar and the gift shop.

I loved the decor with lots of news clippings from the area, board games from the 70s and 80s hanging from the wall, and lots of items from The Office and Gilligan's Island!

I'm really not sure what the Gilligan's Island connection is but there was a small model of display for the show and its characters and plenty of pictures of Tina Louise and Dawn Wells.

After we checked the gift shop out to have an idea of what we would purchase after our meal, we walked to the other end of the restaurant to actually order.

The place was pretty busy but our food came out quickly under the circumstances with my order of a lobster roll sandwich and Cherie's crab version of the same proving to be quite good.

It wasn't the biggest sandwich that I have ever seen and it sure wasn't the cheapest but it was very good in its own right.

Cherie and I split a piece of Key Lime pie, which was quite large and the slice was more than enough for each of us to share.

I wouldn't rate it as good as the gold standard at Cootie Brown's but worth the order in any case.

We then returned to the gift shop, buying several gifts for others and each other for Christmas before heading down the road to return home.

Scranton is roughly three hours from home, so the drive was uneventful to finish the trip and I had a great time all told.

I'd definitely make this trip again, maybe a little earlier in the year to take better advantage of Antique World but I certainly would return.

A very enjoyable few days away from home and some nice items found for the collection made this trip a memorable one 

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Cleaning out the Inbox: Non-Sports Passings

 We return with more tributes to persons that have recently passed away with this being entirely devoted to persons outside the sports world.

Goodbye to Jim McDivitt at the age of 93.

McDivitt commanded two missions in space, one Gemini and one Apollo, and both were key missions in American space history.

McDivitt's Gemini mission would see the first American (Ed White) take a spacewalk outside the capsule and his Apollo 9 mission that took place in Earth orbit was important in testing the lunar module before sending it to the moon.

An Air Force fighter pilot during the Korean War, McDivitt was selected as one of the second group of astronauts in 1962 and his Gemini flight established McDivitt as the first American astronaut to command his first flight in space.

McDivitt claimed, at first, to have seen a UFO during the Gemini flight but shortly after changed his story to the UFO's merely shadows of bolts on the outside of the spacecraft.

McDivitt would also appear as himself in an episode of "The Brady Bunch" during the show's final season in the episode where Greg is pulling a hoax on Peter and Bobby about UFOs.

Goodbye to Louise Fletcher at the age of 88.

Fletcher was a longtime character actress in television with two memorable roles with one winning the Oscar for best actress in 1975 for her role in "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" which starred Jack Nicholson and would win the Oscar for best film with Nicholson adding best actor, Milos Forman for best director, and best-adapted screenplay for a clean sweep of the five largest awards.

Fletcher never capitalized on her role as "Nurse Ratched" to move onto stardom but she continued to work in television and film in supporting roles with her most memorable performances as the ruthless and pious Bajoran religious leader "Kai Winn" in the Star Trek series "Deep Space Nine".

Goodbye to Jim Bohannon at the age of 78.

The long-time host of the Westwood One radio network had hosted "The Jim Bohannon Show" which replaced "The Larry King Show" on the night owl shift in 1993 and Bohannon retired from the show only last month due to the illness that would take his life.

Bohannon also hosted "America in the Morning" for Westwood One (Formerly Mutual) from 1984-2015 and my favorite Bohannon program, a brief daily snippet entitled "The Offbeat" which would also air on his other two programs.

Bohannon is an inductee in two broadcasting Hall of Fames, the national Radio (2003) and the NAB version in 2021.

Goodbye to Robert Clary at the age of 96.

Known best for his portrayal of " Corporal LeBeau" on the 60s sitcom "Hogan's Heroes", Clary was an actual prisoner in World War II and spent almost three years in German concentration camps.

Clary was the final surviving member of the ensemble cast of "Hogan" and was part of the show for the entire six-season run.

Goodbye to John Y. Brown at the age of 88.

Brown's varied resume' lists owned the Kentucky Colonels to their only ABA title, folded the Colonels and take a buyout instead during the ABA-NBA merger that left Louisville without pro hoops ever since, took the money from the Colonel's sale and bought the Buffalo Braves, traded the Braves for the Boston Celtics with the new owners of the Braves moving them to San Diego, leaving a second town without pro basketball since, drove Red Auerbach nuts to the point that he almost left Boston to run the rival New York Knicks, and without consulting Auerbach, traded three first-rounders for Bob McAdoo.

That's just the sports portion as you then add Brown as the man that bought Kentucky Fried Chicken from the venerable Colonel Harlan Sanders, co-founded Kenny Rogers Roasters, married NFL Today star Phyllis George, served as Governor of Kentucky, and is the father of CNN's Pamela Brown.

Quite a life, even if it wasn't all for the greater good. 


 It's rivalry week in college football with so many trophies on the line in those games and the NFL heads toward the playoff stretch run in the PPM this week!

Last Week: 13-4 
Overall: 121-71

Ohio State over Michigan 31-21
Oklahoma over Texas Tech 40-37
Boise State over Utah State 24-13
Ohio over Bowling Green 32-21
North Carolina over N.C.State 28-17
Oregon State over Oregon 31-28
Arkansas over Missouri 23-17
Houston over Tulsa 38-24
Appalachian State over Georgia Southern 30-24
Middle Tennessee State over Florida International 28-13

Games of the Week
USC over Notre Dame 34-31
Cincinnati over Tulane 24-19

Buccaneers over Browns 27-17
49ers over Saints 34-17
Chargers over Cardinals 35-20

Games of the Week
Cowboys over Giants 24-17
Titans over Bengals 27-24

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Road Trip: Buffalo and Clarence

     The second day of the trip saw the rain go away but the wind arrived in its place as we traveled to Clarence, New York to visit the Antique World that I had wanted to visit since I had watched the video that I posted on the previous post.

While Antique World was a bit different than I expected, I still nabbed a few items and would definitely return under different conditions.

 We left early to hit Antique World upon its opening but only of its four buildings was open, so we drove for a while to kill some time for the other buildings to open their doors.

So we drove into what was the outskirts of Buffalo and after stopping at a few places to break up the time, I saw a Duff's in the distance.

Duff's is known for their famous wings and they are also known for its rivalry with the Anchor Bar, which originated the Buffalo wing.

Fred Landucci and I had visited the Duff's on a visit to Rochester a few years back and while I had forgotten about them in planning the trip, I was instantly reminded of how delicious the food was at the previous Duff's and asked Cherie if she was hungry.

We planned a small lunch and ordered accordingly as we shared some boneless wings and a beef on week sandwich, the local sandwich of renown.

The food was terrific as I remembered as well as an excellent waitress named Kayla, who was equal to the food.

Cherie remarked how much she enjoyed Duff's and I'll certainly return on a future visit.

After we finished, we drove back to Antique World and I realized that this trip could be good but the place would be even better in warm weather.

One of the larger buildings has multiple storage units and there are several rows of units outside the main buildings that a few folks had opened up but I would imagine that would be perhaps hundreds more available in a summer visit.

In one building, I bought a Christmas present or two and bought Cherie a picture of the Flintstones with their Water Buffalo hats entitled "Let's Go Buffalo"!

After striking out in building two, other than seeing perhaps the most creepy mannequin head that I've ever seen (it was listed as from the 1800s) and buying nothing from the outdoor units, the final stop was the remaining open building (the fourth large building had a sign that stated it was open during the weekdays) and this is more like the antique malls that cater to collectors of who knows what as it had numerous showcases and collectible areas.

I saw several interesting items but I hadn't seen anything that I had to have until late in the visit.

I looked through many cases and saw a few things that I considered until Cherie called over to me that she had found a stuffed Dino from a Days Inn which was from the early 90s.

She then said that she had found a pile of pennants and in that pile was the pennant that I had been looking for and arguably came for - a Buffalo Braves blue version shown above.

I was a little reticent because it was a little more than I wanted to pay and I might have saved a little money buying on eBay.

It did have three small pinholes from where it must have been originally hung and a slight bend that didn't affect the look of the pennant, which was quite bright and vibrant for a pennant of over fifty years of age.

I asked if they would consider working with me on price and I was told that if I paid in cash rather than via credit they would knock twenty percent off, which I agreed to with much thought.

Cherie made me decide when she (she's often my voice of reason on these things) commented "If you are agonizing over the decision, you want it and should just buy it".

So I did and bought one other item along with the pennant.

In one case, there were many items from the Braves and Buffalo Sabres from a gentleman that must have worked at the Buffalo Auditorium as he had an old business card from the Aud inside the case along with a book that he authored about collecting the teams from Buffalo.

I bought a glass from the case with a basketball player shooting with the Braves logo along with an ad from the Braves official radio station, which is always interesting to me on any item of the era.

We ended the day returning to Batavia and stopping at a Walmart for Cherie to pick up a few things for her friends before deciding to stay in for the evening with a light snow beginning to fall.

I had wanted to return to Bourbon and Burgers, a Batavia eatery that Mike Oravec and I had enjoyed on a 2016 visit but considering it was a long day and a Saturday night, we decided to order from a pizza place, and after receiving two recommended choices from the front desk, we chose Ficcarella's.

We ordered a small pizza to split and a chicken finger sandwich.

The pizza was fine but not exceptional, the sandwich was tremendous!

The chicken was breaded but not overly so and the bread was perfectly suited to the chicken- Highly recommended!

It was a nice day hunting for the Braves and spending time with my lovely wife as the snow lightly fluttered in Eastern New York (at a far lesser rate than it would only one week later!), I thought of how lucky I am for all that is wrong with me, I have a lot that is right with the people around me.

I need to remember that more often.

The trip home was fun with a stop straight from "The Office" and a neat find of something that I never knew existed but I'm glad that I found!

Boxing Challenge:Munguia Mangles Coria

   In Guadalajara, Mexico on Saturday, former WBO junior middleweight champion and top middleweight contender Jaime Munguia notched the latest victory in his line of uncompetitive opponents as he knocked out Gonzalo Coria in three rounds.

Munguia knocked the awkward Argentine down in the second round with a counter right hand before digging into the body of Coria with a series of body shots that sent him to one knee where he would remain as the referee ended the evening.

Not much else to add to yet another Munguia mismatch but we may see shortly just what Munguia has as he called for WBA and IBF champion Gennady Golovkin after the fight but Munguia isn't rated first by either of those organizations.

However, he is by the remaining two sanctioning bodies and the WBO ordered their champion Janibek Alimkhanuly to next defend against Munguia.

The WBC rates Munguia first with their champion Jermall Charlo having a defense agreed to with Munguia earlier this year before the fight fell apart due to broadcasting issues.

A Munguia challenge of Alimkhanuly would be very interesting with both men having plenty to prove considering that each would be facing the best opponent of their career and Alimkhanuly lost a bit of luster after a less than impressive decision win over Denzel Bentley, so each has questions that this fight could answer.

WBC champion, Jermall Charlo, has fought only once in the last twenty-four months, and his uninspiring win over journeyman Juan Montiel in June 2021 didn't make observers lust to see him in action again with his reluctance to face top opponents.

Just as an Alimkhanuly-Munguia would answer some questions, the same would be true of a Charlo-Munguia fight with both fighters facing the best opponent of their career as well.

Alimkhnauly would be the likelier foe as his organization asked for the fight and Charlo's hasn't as of this writing and it's more likely that an agreement can be made with Alimkhanuly's promoter (Top Rank) with Munguia's team (Golden Boy) than that of Charlo, who is aligned with PBC.

I'm very intrigued by Munguia as I see parallels with Gilberto Ramirez both as fighters with large frames for their divisions and possessing plenty of talent.

Both fighters were somewhat protected and I am anxious to see how Munguia fares when he steps up as Ramirez lost to Dmitry Bivol when he faced a top-of-the-game fighter for the first time.

Boxing Challenge

TRS: 190 Pts (2) 
Ramon Malpica: 164 Pts (2)
Vince Samano: 154 Pts (2) 

Monday, November 21, 2022

Road Trip: Erie/Buffalo/Niagara Falls

    I haven't hit the road very often this season.

With the changes in my work life combined with the various reasons that drove me from the autographing hobby (from the in-person version anyway), there had been only two opportunities to go anywhere, both with Mike Oravec for day trips to Fredericksburg Virginia and Washington Pa for two new stadiums.

However, I had planned this trip for months with Cherie as there was a convention scheduled in Indianapolis with Dave Foley (Newsradio and Kids in the Hall) attending.

Dave Foley, along with Tim Daly, is at the top of Cherie's celebrity meet list and I was excited to have the chance to make that happen for her but something that constantly looms in the celebrity convention business reared its head and changed our plans with just two weeks before the trip.

Celebrities usually book their convention appearances months if not years in advance but there is always a clause for the actor/actress that if they are offered a role in a film, television show, or stage show, the celebrity can take the part.

While that sucks for the attendees, I can certainly understand why an actor needs to take the role because one never knows where that could lead but Dave Foley had to drop out and with neither of us having enough interest in the remaining attendees that would be worth the drive to Indianapolis, I didn't really know what or where we would do or go.

The saving grace was of all things YouTube as over the summer I had watched a video on an excellent antique center with multiple buildings and many of the things that I collect and I had remarked on a few occasions that I really needed to go to this place and see what I could find.

So, I was surprised when Cherie mentioned that she'd like to see Niagara Falls (Mike and I had seen the Falls on a visit to Northeast New York a few years back) and added that she picked that so I could hit the antique center as well!

I was pretty happy with that and hoped to do well with items for the collection!

I decided to avoid the Pennsylvania Turnpike and go by Erie, Pa for a figure store named Action Toy Man.

We drove through the remnants of the recent Hurricane/Tropical Storm that had drifted north throughout the day and going into Action Toy Man, I was amazed at the amount of space and figures from various decades!

If you collect anything, three floors of items that have both opened and unopened figures from sports, comics, or any other genre' that generated collectible items are available there.

I actually felt like I didn't see as much in the store as I would have liked!

I purchased one item, the 1976 Mego Muhammad Ali figure for thirty dollars and I plan to take this Ali, which was missing gloves, robe, and headgear all of which I have with my childhood figure, and use the accessories with this Ali as my Ali is missing a hand which was a problem with the Ali figures.

Leaving Erie, we had questioned whether we should try Niagara Falls today as planned or wait until the following day when the weather was expected to clear but we decided to hit the Falls and brave the rain.

It was a good decision as, despite the rain, the views were very good, the other visitors were few, and even though we did get quite wet, we had an excellent visit.

I parked closer to the Falls than I did for my previous visit due to the rainfall and it did make a difference in my enjoyment as I can only imagine the amount of water that would have sunk into our clothing without the parking proximity.

On our way to the Falls, we drove through Buffalo and its Skyway that takes their interstate over the city rather than through it, and on the exit that we needed to connect on our way, we ran near Orchard Park, the home of the Buffalo Bills.

Cherie was kind enough to allow us to move a little out of the way to see the stadium and take some pictures of the exterior.

The Bills are building a new stadium in the next few years, so I was happy to visit the place that so many great players called home in the last fifty years.

I had reserved our hotel through my good friend Derreck and stayed in Batavia, which I had visited on a baseball trip a few years ago in my previous Buffalo/Niagara Falls visit.

Batavia was close enough to everything that we planned to visit yet far enough away to avoid the crowds from the weekend home game for the Bills and our hotel seemed pretty close to new with excellent breakfast and room.

We hadn't eaten all day and with dark approaching, we were looking for anything close and fast, so we chose a Chinese buffet when we wound up in its parking lot after a wrong turn.

The food was fine but the waitress was very rude but an added bonus was a loud concert from the cashier who apparently decided that tonight was her big break in the entertainment industry and made sure she made the best of the opportunity.

After dinner, it was back to the room to recharge for the next day with a warm room waiting to dry us off!

I'll be writing more about the remainder of the trip and a trip I took this weekend over the next few days.

Still Catching Up

  Due to a weekend trip, I won't have coverage of the Ohio State win over Maryland or the Browns loss in Detroit to the Bills (No Typo).

I watched the second half of the Buckeyes and listened to the Browns but without seeing the games, I don't have the knowledge without my notes to write about them.

I do hope to have the boxing challenge in the next day or so as I haven't watched those yet either.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Boxing Challenge

    The boxing should have been anchored by the biggest fight in boxing (Errol Spence vs Terence Crawford) as it was this weekend that was projected for its spot on the calendar.

With most promoters staying away from the date to not compete, the weekend is light with a lack of big fights and leaves a less than interesting card from Golden Boy/DAZN from Guadalajara, Mexico for boxing fans.

The only fight in the boxing challenge will be the latest squash match in Jaime Munguia's career as he faces Argentina's 21-5 Gonzalo Coria.

To quickly dispatch any chance of Coria winning, he has five losses, only eight knockouts, no victories of note, and has lost convincingly to the only two fighters that would be considered to be world-class in Janibek Alimkhanuly ( before he won the WBO title) and Fedor Czerkaszyn, so I'm not expecting much against Munguia.

As for Munguia, who has had a WBO title shot waiting for him whenever he wanted one for over three years, he continues to fight opponents past their prime, untested B-level prospects, or fighters that are nowhere near his level.

If this is Golden Boy or Munguia's management thinking they are protecting their fighter while he (and they) while collecting multi-million dollar paychecks then the last three years have proven to be quite successful.

However, the jury is still out on if this is improving Munguia as a fighter and I, for one, have had enough of these pro wrestling-type showcase affairs and can't wait to see how Munguia reacts when a top middleweight tests him in a tough fight.

Boxing Challenge

Junior Middleweights. 12 Rds
Jaime Munguia vs Gonzalo Coria
Ramon Malpica: Munguia KO 10
TRS: Munguia KO 6
Vince Samano: Munguia KO 8


 Another weekend of football where we sadly will miss out on what could have been a classic snow game with the Browns-Bills game moved from Buffalo to the dome in Detroit.

Last Week: 11-7
Overall: 108-67

Ohio State over Maryland 47-17
Texas Tech over Iowa State 24-20
Oregon State over Arizona State 25-17
Louisville over N.C. State 24-21
Ole Miss over Arkansas 31-28
Toledo over Bowling Green 30-20
Houston over East Carolina 42-31
Boise State over Wyoming 27-24
Marshall over Georgia Southern 25-23
Middle Tennessee State over Florida Atlantic 29-24

Games of the Week
Oregon over Utah 30-27
USC over UCLA 39-32

Bills over Browns 31-17
Chiefs over Chargers 34-24
Rams over Saints 24-13

Games of the Week
Jets over Patriots 20-17
Cowboys over Vikings 30-27

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Cleaning out the Inbox - Passings

 It's time for the tributes that pay our respects to persons that have recently left us but will never be forgotten as we start with a longtime favorite.

Goodbye to Fred Hickman at the age of 66.

Hickman worked for several networks including ESPN and the YES Network in sports as well as working in news for smaller stations including WDVM in Hagerstown.

However, to most sports fans, it will be Hickman's tenure with CNN and especially his team with the late Nick Charles on CNN's nightly sports wrapup program "Sports Tonight" that brings a smile to their face.

CNN's Sports Tonight aired at 11:00 PM and 2:00 AM dueling with ESPN's Sportscenter for the audience and while it only occasionally won a rating battle, I always preferred Hickman and Charles (as well as Vince Cellini and Bob Lorenz along with Headline News's Van Earl Wright) to the ESPN personalities, although I enjoyed most of their anchors as well with two exceptions!

Hickman and Charles hosted the show on the first day that CNN bounced off the satellite in 1980 and would team for most of the next twenty-one years (Hickman left for Detroit in 1984-85) before Hickman left CNN for good in 2001 to help with the beginning of the YES! network with broadcasts of Yankees and Nets games.

Hickman always seemed so professional with his delivery but his love of sports still came through to the viewer and that's a difficult line to walk.

Too detached and one can seem as if they lack the passion for the games that they report about but if too emotional and it's easy to look out of control as more of a fan than a broadcaster.

Fred Hickman and Nick Charles both walked that line so well with Sports Tonight.

Goodbye to Dave Butz at the age of 72.

A defensive tackle, Butz was drafted fifth overall by the then-St. Louis Cardinals in 1973 from Purdue but would spend the following fourteen seasons in Washington after being signed as a rare free agent of the time by George Allen.

A clause in the contract that Butz signed as a rookie with the Cardinals allowed him to become a free agent with Allen quickly signing him for Washington.

However, the rules of the time forced the signing team to pay compensation and the Cardinals would receive Washington's first-rounder in 1977 and their first and second-round selections in 1978.

Butz would make All-Pro in 1983 (with a career-high of eleven and a half sacks) and 1984 and won two Super Bowls in Washington as the bulwark of their interior defensive line.

Goodbye to Brent Moss at the age of 50.

Moss, along with Terrell Fletcher, began Wisconsin's running back tradition under Barry Alvarez and led the Badgers to a shared Big Ten title in 1993 and a victory over UCLA in the Rose Bowl with Moss winning the game MVP after rushing for 158 yards and two scores

Moss rushed for over 1,600 yards in 1993 with sixteen touchdowns in the 1993 season as he won the Big Ten player of the year award.

Moss would be suspended by Alvarez midway through the 1994 season for cocaine possession, wouldn't be drafted in 1995, and would carry only twenty-two times in the NFL, all for the Rams in 1995.

Goodbye to Chuck Carr at the age of 55.

Carr was a member of the original Florida Marlins in 1993 after being selected from the Mets in the expansion draft and would finish fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting for 1993.

Carr stole 58 bases for the 1993 Marlins, which led the National League and followed up with 31 steals in 1994.

Carr finished his career with Houston in 1997 when he homered off John Smoltz in the NLDS in what would be the final at-bat of his career.  

Monday, November 14, 2022

Boxing Challenge: Janibek, Edwards retain titles

 Only two bouts in the boxing challenge this weekend and next weekend will be even lighter as rival promoters kept cards on the November 19th date to not challenge the expected Errol Spence-Terence Crawford superfight that was unable to reach an agreement between the two camps.

Saturday night from Las Vegas, Top Rank, and ESPN+ offered the first championship defense of the so-called "Boogieman" Janibek Alimkhanuly's WBO middleweight title that he was promoted to after Demetrius Andrade vacated the championship to move to 168 pounds rather than face Alimkhanuly.

Alimkhanuly retained his title by unanimous decision over unheralded Briton Denzel Bentley but he looked far from a champion that anyone is avoiding in defeating Bentley, who had been knocked out in three rounds by the best fighter that he had faced in Felix Cash.

Alimkhanuly won handily (116-112 x 2 and 118-110, which seemed a bit harsh to Bentley) with my score of 116-112 giving Bentley a few of the middle rounds when he took advantage of Alimkhanuly's taking a few rounds off.

Bentley put up a good performance in a fight that he was brought in to make Alimkhanuly look spectacular but never was a serious threat to Alimkhanuly, who finished strongly and hurt Bentley in the final round.

Perhaps Alimkhanuly overlooked Bentley and took him lightly but after wins over former minor champions Hassem N'Dam and Rob Brant and a blowout win over another Brit in Danny Dignum. it was understandable to expect a better performance.

Alimkhanuly doesn't appear likely to have a unification fight in his future against WBA and IBF champion Gennady Golvokin (both are countrymen) or WBC titleholder Jermall Charlo (PBC) but Jaime Munguia (Golden Boy) can have the fight whenever he wishes.

However, Munguia's promoter has been reticent in Munguia accepting the opportunity against Andrade and I haven't seen signs that they are in any hurry for their man to fight anyone that will hold their hands up and fight back., which would eliminate Alimkhanuly as well.

One thing is certain, Alimhanuly's performance didn't scare anyone away- if there was anyone interested in fighting him to start with.

On Friday from Sheffield, England, Sunny Edwards held off the late-round comeback of former WBA and IBF light flyweight champion Felix Alvarado to win a close unanimous decision to retain his IBF flyweight title.

Edwards used his smooth boxing skills to frustrate the constantly in-motion Alvarado in winning most of the early and middle rounds to build a huge lead on the scorecards before he tired after the eighth round as the bodywork and aggression began to pay dividends for Alvarado as he swept through those rounds to hammer the tiring champion.

However, Alvarado's comeback wasn't enough to overcome the number of rounds that Edwards had earned earlier in the bout with Edwards winning by scores of 116-112 and 115-113 x 2 (same as my card).

Edwards had been calling for WBC flyweight champion Julio Cesar Martinez in recent months but has changed his tune since Jesse "Bam" Rodriguez gave up his WBC junior bantamweight title to return to the flyweight division, where Rodriguez is preparing to face Cristian Gonzalez for the WBO 112 pound championship that was vacated by Junto Nakatani last month.

However, both Martinez and Rodriguez are promoted by Eddie Hearn and Matchroom, and Edwards along with his brother Charlie, a former flyweight king, have feuded with Hearn in the past.

Edwards is promoted by Probellum, which means that Edwards couldn't enter the United States for a fight due to the sanctions against Probellum's former benefactor Daniel Kinahan, and could make a difficult fight to sign even harder.

Boxing Challenge

TRS: 188 Pts (3)
Ramon Malpica: 162 Pts (4)
Vince Samano: 152 Pts (0)

Browns sunk in Miami, lose 39-17

  The Cleveland Browns season of hope essentially ended on Sunday in Miami s the Miami Dolphins punished the Browns run defense for 195 yards and pushed them off the field as Miami grabbed a 39-17 victory on an over 100-degree day in South Florida.

Jacoby Brissett threw for 212 yards and a touchdown with Donovan Peoples-Jones his main target with five catches for ninety-nine yards.

Cleveland drops to 3-6 on the season and will travel to Buffalo next Sunday.

Brownie Bits

1) Before we dig into the loss, toss away any playoff hopes now.

Considering the final two games before DeShaun Watson's return are at Buffalo and Tampa Bay at home, winning both to reach the circled amount of five wins in the Jacoby Brissett zone.

It's not happening and while I'd take a surprise in winning both, I've seen little from this team to have hopes that could happen.

2) Kevin Stefanki's in-game playcalling continues to baffle me.

Stefanski's planned first drive (or more depending on the number of plays involved) is usually a pretty strong set and the Browns scored a touchdown on their first drive against Miami.

3) It is the disjointed decisions thereafter that mark the questions that I have.

For example, Amari Cooper after a great game against the Bengals will have only three passes to him.

Cooper caught all three for a mere thirty-two yards.

4) Compare that to the targets of backup tight end Pharoah Brown, who is known for his blocking and not his pass-catching and was thrown to five tines, catching two for thirteen yards.

5) As other teams have done, yet another squad uses a game against the Browns to turn into a ground game bully as the Dolphins rushed for 195 yards and two touchdowns.

When teams use backs such as Jeffrey Wilson and Rakeen Mostert to batter you, you have a severe problem.

6) The Browns under Andrew Berry and Paul DePodesta have made it pretty clear that they don't value defensive tackles and linebackers as highly as other positions.

To a certain degree that's understandable as under a salary cap, a team can't be super at every position but the Browns are getting below-average production at these positions and their weakness at those spots is why the opponents are punishing the Browns run defense or lack thereof.

7) This makes me think of this- Will Berry/DePodesta admit in the off-season that perhaps their decision to devalue these positions and bargain shop (with the exception of the 2021 second-round drafting of Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah) for cheap alternatives hasn't worked out as planned?

Or will they double down and rather than try to upgrade, continue to stay with their position and hope for the best?

8) The defense was terrible as besides the 39 points allowed, Cleveland didn't force a Miami punt throughout the game and only made one stop on fourth down.

No excuses for that terrible performance.

9) I can't hammer Kevin Stefanski for not using Nick Chubb enough (eleven carries, sixty-three yards, and one touchdown) as the Browns trailed most of the game and needed to score quickly but I can about his lack of use for Kareem Hunt, who carried six times for nine yards but was thrown to only one time.

Wasn't the advantage of having Hunt around due to the various ways that he could be used in the passing game?

10) Offensive line issues were easy to see in this game as Wyatt Teller attempted to return after a two-game absence with a calf injury but didn't take long to discover that the calf was not in strong enough condition for Teller to play.

The Dolphins sacked Jacoby Brissett three times and pressured him constantly as Jedrick Wills and Jack Conklin struggled with the speed rushes of newly acquired Bradley Chubb and veteran Melvin Ingram.

I know this is a better run-blocking line than pass-blocking but Wills has disappointed in his last two seasons and Conklin seems to be breaking down at the end of a fine career.

11) This seems like someone has made mistakes in either team building, banking on the wrong coaches, or errors in talent evaluations.

No one is perfect and mistakes will always occur but the Browns sold the premise of being an elite team that was close enough to justify the three first-round selections etc package to land DeShaun Watson despite the baggage that arrived with him from Houston.

The flaws of this team don't make a strong case that the premise was a correct one.

Someone will likely pay for those errors unless DeShaun Watson gives the Browns a super-sized jolt over those final six games.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Back Soon

 Due to a trip, I won't have coverage of Ohio State's thrashing of Indiana as I was away and didn't see the game.

I will try to catch up on the boxing weekend and the Browns against Miami over the next day or so.

Thanks for reading.


    Another PPM  as the stretch run begins for conference title races and NFL teams cope with bye weeks.

Last Week: 7-10
Overall: 97-60

Ohio State over Indiana 45-14
Texas Tech over Kansas 31-28
Bowling Green over Kent State 20-17
Georgia Southern over Louisiana 37-31
LSU over Arkansas 27-17
Houston over Temple 41-24
N.C. State over Boston College 30-17
Middle Tennessee State over Charlotte 26-21
Boise State over Nevada 28-21
Oregon State over California 30-14

Games of the Week
Alabama over Ole Miss 45-35
Tulane over Central Florida 27-20
Texas over TCU 50-45

Dolphins over Browns 24-17
Steelers over Saints 20-15
49ers over Chargers 27-21

Games of the Week
Bills over Vikings 35-24
Seahawks over Buccaneers 21-20

Friday, November 11, 2022

Boxing Challenge

  The boxing weekend is rather light this weekend but two championships will be defended, one each on Friday and Saturday.

Friday's fight is on Fite TV, which mostly caters to MMA and pro wrestling, which I don't subscribe to, from Sheffield, England as Sunny Edwards defends his IBF flyweight title against former IBF light flyweight champion Felix Alvarado.

The undefeated Edwards is a very smooth boxer that lacks power with only four knockouts in his eighteen wins and will be making his third defense of the title that he won in  April 2021 from Moruti Mthalane.

Alvarado vacated his light flyweight title in order to move up and take a shot at Edwards and he has the punching power that Edwards doesn't with 33 knockouts in his thirty-eight wins.

It's a close fight and either fighter winning would not be an upset but I lean toward Edwards by a shade.

Saturday on ESPN, Janibek Alimkhanuly makes the first defense of his WBO middleweight belt against Denzel Bentley in Las Vegas.

Alimkhanuly won the organization's interim title with a second-round knockout of an overmatched Danny Dignum and was promoted to the full championship when champion Demetrius Andrade vacated the title to move to super middleweight rather than face Alimkhanuly.

Alimkhanuly notched impressive wins over former contenders Hassan N'Dam and Rob Brant before wiping out Dignum and he is thought of as a coming star in a weak division.

Denzel Bentley is a former British champion with a loss to the most notable opponent of his career when he was knocked out in three rounds by Felix Cash in April 2021.

The undefeated Cash is a nice fighter but he is nowhere near the talent of Alimkhanuly and I fear that Alimkhanuly will be in another mismatch against an overwhelmed British opponent.

Boxing Challenge

IBF Flyweight Title. 12 Rds 
Sunny Edwards vs Felix Alvarado
Ramon Malpica and TRS: Edwards Unanimous Decision
Vince Samano: Alvarado Unanimous Decision

WBO Middleweight Title. 12 Rds
Janibek Alimkhanuly vs Denzel Bentley
R.L: Alimkhanuly Unanimous Decision
TRS: Alimkhanuly KO 2
V.S.:  Bentley Unanimous Decision

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Boxing Challenge: Bivol Zips by Zurdo

   In the most important fight of the weekend, Dmitry Bivol easily outpointed former WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez to retain his WBA light heavyweight title by unanimous decision in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Bivol won almost all the middle rounds after the first four rounds were split evenly between the two and capped off the fight with an excellent round twelve.

Ramirez did have some success hitting the body of Bivol but more often was far too slow and plodding for the slick Bivol, who used a basic jab and right hand to keep Ramirez away and was never threatened by his foe.

I scored it for Bivol 116-112, which was a little closer than the judges at 118-110 and 117-111 times two but I could easily see the fight wider for Bivol, if you give Bivol one or two of the early rounds that I gave Ramirez.

Bivol stated that he wants a unification fight with Artur Beterbiev for all four world titles and such a fight would rank among the best fights that could be made in the sport with the smooth boxer/puncher in Bivol against the feared bomber in Beterbiev, who has knocked out every opponent in his career.

Beterbiev has a WBO mandatory commitment against Anthony Yarde in January and such a fight couldn't take place until the summer of 2023 but hopefully, the fight can be signed.

The co-feature saw a strange ending as Shavkat Rakhimov won the vacant IBF junior lightweight title with a ninth-round knockout of Zelfa Barrett to fill the title vacated by Joe Cordina, who needed surgery for an injury.

Both fighters signed a contract before the fight that agreed for the winner to fight Cordina when he is physically able to return.

Barrett stormed out of the gates and dominated the first four rounds blending boxing off the jab and whipping power punches on Rakhimov like he had spent his training camp watching Emanuel Steward teaching at the Kronk gym.

Barrett knocked Rakhimov down with an uppercut in the third round and appeared to be on his way to a mild upset but like a speed horse running at a distance, Barrett started declining in the fifth and Rakhimov began to slowly grind Barrett down in the middle rounds.

In the ninth, Barrett either suffered a leg injury or simply had nothing left as Rakhimov's pressure sent Barrett gamely but ineffectively around the ring, and even though the punches may not have been the cause as much as Barrett's legs, Rakhimov scored two knockdowns before the Barrett corner tossed in the towel of surrender.

Rahkimov-Cordina is a very interesting fight and in a division that now lacks Shakur Stevenson, could be in a position to establish themselves at the top of the division with WBA champion Hector Garcia and the winners of the two bouts to fill the vacancies left by Stevenson (WBC O'Shaquie Foster vs Rey Vargas and WBO Oscar Valdez vs Emanuel Navarrete).

The evening card from Showtime from Minneapolis ends with a sad note as the main event has taken a tragic turn.

Minor Super Middleweight champion David Morrell dominated his top-rated challenger Aidos Yerbossynuly over eleven rounds and delivered a beating, although entering the final round, Morrell had yet to score a knockdown.

Morrell had busted open Yerbossynuly's nose early in the fight, causing impressive bleeding that stained the trunks of each man with a pink hue and while Morrell was too much for Yerbossynuly, Yerbossynuly never stopped trying and never stopped coming forward, and when he ran into a straight left that knocked him down a few seconds into the round, Tony Weeks perhaps should have stopped the fight then and there, considering the state of the scorecards (I gave Yerbossynuly only of the eleven rounds) and how much punishment Yerbossynuly had taken.

Perhaps the corner could have stopped it considering Zelfa Barrett's corner earlier in the day stopped the fight to protect their man who had taken many fewer punches to the head.

Instead, the fight continued with Morrell landing at will in search of the knockout he promised and Yerbossynuly trying to grab and hold to make it to the final bell.

Tony Weeks deducted a point from Yerbossynuly for holding but allowed the fight to continue with Morrell continuing to land with impunity and Yerbossynuly taking shot after shot before a right floored Yerbossynuly again with Weeks ending the fight.

Dan Rafael is reporting, as of this writing, that Yerbossynuly is hospitalized and in a medically induced coma and I just feel that it didn't have to be this way.

The corner and the referee are employed to protect the fighter from themselves, and this is the type of fight that tragedy often occurs- a fight that doesn't see many knockdowns from a fighter that is a good but not spectacular power puncher against an opponent that is overmatched in talent but not in heart and results in a sustained beating to the head.

Hopefully, Yerbossynuly will be okay, although he should certainly retire.

As for Morrell, he won his eighth fight, the seventh by KO, and adds an impressive victory over the best opponent of his career but I'm not sure what's next for the Cuban.

Morrell isn't going to prove anything by dominating fighters of the class of Yerbossynuly but with Canelo Alvarez out for a few months with hand surgery, and others ahead of Morrell on the mandatory list, Morrell may be forced to fight these types of fights and maybe hope that eventually, he could face one of the David Benavidez-Caleb Plant combatants.

Ironically, Morrell might be more likely to face the loser of that fight scheduled for early 2023 as the winner will not be likely to risk a shot at Canelo Alvarez against the high-risk low-reward Morrell.

The co-feature saw a mild upset as late replacement Brian Mendoza knocked out former WBA and IBF junior middleweight champion Jeison Rosario in the fifth round of a middleweight ten-rounder.

Mendoza replaced the very talented prospect Yoelvis Gomez and maybe for Rosario's sake, that was a fortunate development.

Rosario has always had issues with taking punches with all three of his defeats entering the fight by stoppage and he had shown a tendency to crumble under body blows but still on pedigree Mendoza's chance was to catch Rosario and hope he wilted.

And that's exactly what happened as Mendoza worked the body and dropped Rosario in the second with Rosario barely surviving the stanza and even though Rosario courageously fought back, it seemed like the fight was Mendoza's to win- he would do just that with an uppercut in the fifth that ended the fight and Rosario's career as he announced his retirement following the fight.

That's likely a good idea as Rosario's punch resistance isn't going to improve as he fights more.

Mendoza will appear more on PBC cards after a solid win and I wouldn't be surprised to see him against former WBA and IBF junior middleweight champion Julian Williams, who lost his titles to Rosario and won a fight on the YouTube streamed undercard.

On the YouTube undercard, former contenders Andre Dirrell and Yunieski Gonzalez squared off in a light heavyweight bout that proved to be a good battle.

I wrote in the preview that fights like these can be quite fun with two veterans that perhaps don't have the skills and the legs that they once have but losing those attributes can make their fights more entertaining than in their prime.

Dirrell at 39 and Gonzalez at 37 were matched properly and the result was a back-and-forth fight that saw each man have their peaks with Gonzalez starting fast, Dirrell turning the tide in the middle rounds before Gonzalez hurt Dirrell in the ninth round.

That took a lot from Gonzalez and Dirrell ripped Gonzalez in the tenth and scored the stoppage with Gonzalez taking punches along the ropes

Dirrell was cut early in the fight and over Dirrell's career, he has often found a way to lose in strange ways that haven't always been the most courageous.

That's not the case in this one as Dirrell fought hard and found a way to win but I'm afraid that this win might have earned him a fight against a younger fighter looking to make his name and that wouldn't end well for Dirrell...

Boxing Challenge

TRS: 185 Pts (4) 
Ramon Malpica: 158 Pts (4)
Vince Samano: 152 Pts (4) 

Everyone Knows It's Windy- OSU dodges Northwestern

     On a day that the windy weather was the biggest story of the afternoon, the Ohio State Buckeyes struggled through the breeze and slid by the Northwestern Wildcats 21-7 in Evanston, Illinois.

Miyan Williams was the offensive standout with two rushing touchdowns and 111 yards on the green.

Ohio State improves to 9-0 overall and 6-0 in the Big Ten and will host Indiana in Columbus next Saturday.

Olentangy Offerings

1) This was one of those crazy days of weather that occasionally show up in autumn and with winds of a consistent thirty miles per hour with gusts every few seconds of up to fifty MPH, it was next to impossible to score moving into the wind.

2) Of the 28 points scored, only seven were scored into the wind- the final touchdown of the day in the fourth quarter by Ohio State, and that was set up not by a pass but by...

3) A run by C.J. Stroud of forty-four yards to take the ball down to the Northwestern five.

Stroud is noted for not running, which Ryan Day says is due to Day, not Stroud.

On a day that Stroud threw for only seventy-six yards and without a touchdown pass, it was his running that slammed the door on the Wildcat's upset bid.

4) Miyan Williams took a while to get started on a day that the Buckeyes leaned on Williams in the absence of TreVeyon Henderson but he finished strongly.

Williams rushed for only twenty-eight yards on his first thirteen carries and eighty-three yards on his final thirteen rushes.

5) Ohio State did finish with 207 rushing yards and they were wearing Northwestern down but in the third quarter with Williams starting to get rolling, Ryan Day suddenly decided to start throwing the ball including a long incomplete pass on a third and two.

The running game has been erratic this year to a degree but often just as it gets the kinks out, Ohio State decides to throw more often.


6) Northwestern finished with 206 rushing yards and Ohio State allowed the Wildcats to run on them without a throwing threat at all.

The Wildcats finished with only one fewer yard than Ohio State and it does concern me considering the Michigan offense is very similar in scheme to Northwestern with improved talent.

7) Jim Knowles has been receiving criticism after the game with the Wildcat's running success.

I say otherwise.

Ohio State stopped Northwestern on multiple fourth-down tries throughout the game and allowed just seven points in awful conditions.

8) While I understand the concern about the run defense, I can't pass that concern onto Jim Knowles considering the job that he has done this season.

Ohio State had every chance to allow Northwestern to pull an upset with just one big play and the defense wouldn't allow it.

Tough to be mad about that.

9) The late touchdown that Ohio State scored allowed them to continue a string of scoring twenty or more for seventy games in a row and breaking the NCAA record of sixty-nine held by Oklahoma from 2016-21.


10) This should be the final time for the Buckeyes to visit Ryan Field and it's not soon enough for me.

I like old stadiums with their quirks and charms even more than the next guy but as I used to say about Hagerstown Municipal Stadium, there is a difference between old and charming and a dump. 

Ryan Field is an embarrassment to the conference and its schools and the sooner Northwestern's new facility is ready to open will be better for the university and the conference.