Sunday, January 29, 2023

Boxing Challenge: Beterbiev grinds down Yarde

     Is it possible that a fight plays out exactly as you thought it would yet be very entertaining, the winner loses nothing in their victory, and the loser gains credibility and fans in defeat?

The answer to that query was yes as Artur Beterbiev retained his WBC, IBF, and WBO light heavyweight titles via eighth-round TKO over a dead game Anthony Yarde in London.

The bout would see each fighter land booming shots against the other for seven hard-fought rounds and the scorecards were divergent with scores that ranged from Beterbiev up by several rounds to cards that had Yarde ahead by a similar amount.

Two judges had Yarde in the lead after seven rounds at 68-65 and 67-66 with the dissenting judge scoring Beterbiev as the leader at 67-66 which is the same score as mine.

Yarde had success from the outside and when he would attack at times as well but he seemed to lose some energy after the first few rounds in which he seemed to be fighting with nervousness and that would take its toll as the fight progressed.

Each fighter would cut the other around the eye in the sixth round with Beterbiev's cut along his left eyelid with Yarde's located just under his right eye.

Beterbiev hammered Yarde with a right hand and then dropped him with a follow-up right that sent him to the mat on his hands and knees.

Yarde beat the count but when the best finisher in boxing is charging you there is little that one can do after eating two more rights, the Yarde corner climbed the steps and signaled to referee Steve Gray for an honorable surrender for their fighter, who gained much in defeat with a valiant effort.

For Beterbiev, he is hoping for a unification for the only title that he doesn't own against WBA champion Dmitry Bivol but that will be difficult as Beterbiev's promoter Bob Arum has stated that a Beterbiev-Bivol affair must take place on his network-ESPN.

Bivol has other options, such as a lucrative rematch with Canelo Alvarez which would be a higher purse and lesser risk since Bivol has already defeated Alvarez.

Should such a match not occur, Beterbiev will likely have a mandatory from the WBC for former WBA and WBC super middleweight Callum Smith to deal with, which is another interesting fight that may not be a lot different than the usual Beterbiev battle.

In the co-feature, Artem Dalakian retained his WBA flyweight title via a controversial unanimous decision over his mandatory challenger, minor beltholder David Jimenez.

Dalakian didn't fight with his usual fervor and Jimenez's aggressiveness did seem to carry the day on my card, which was 115-113 for Jimenez.

The official scores were 116-112 and two scores of 115-113 for the champion and even though I thought Jimenez won a close fight, I didn't think it was a robbery.

That differed from ESPN's Andre Ward and Tim Bradley, both of whom ranted after the fight about the problems and injustices from bad scoring etc that affect careers etc, which I thought was rich when you consider that each of the biggest victories in their own careers (Bradley over Manny Pacquiao and Ward over Sergey Kovalev in their first fight) were almost universally condemned for their awful scoring.

It was a close fight that I thought Jimenez deserved but wasn't a decision to spend time complaining about.

In the evening from Inglewood, California, welterweight contender Alexis Rocha steamrolled late replacement George Ashie and finished him with a spectacular knockout in the seventh round.

Rocha knocked Ashie down late in the third round and the bell might have saved Ashie from a stoppage then and there, which may have been better for Ashie's health than continuing to take punches for the Ghana native.

Rocha could face WBO champion Terence Crawford next as Crawford was in the Golden Boy offices earlier Saturday and with a dearth of contenders that aren't affiliated with PBC and Rocha rated third by the WBO, I could say there are worse fighters for Crawford to stay busy against.

Still, I don't see Rocha having much of a chance against Crawford and I'm not very excited about the fight other than keeping Crawford in action, which is never a bad thing for boxing.

Boxing Challenge

TRS:16 Pts (6)
Ramon Malpica: 15 Pts (5)
Vince Samano: 10 Pts (0) 

Saturday, January 28, 2023


  The conference championships are up for grabs with tickets to the Super Bowl at stake.

Last Week: 3-1
Overall: 156-98

Bengals over Chiefs 41-35

Eagles over 49ers 26-24

Boxing Challenge

  The boxing world once again is centered in the U.K. for the weekend with the light heavyweight king in action with a mandatory title defense on the road.

WBC, IBF, and WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev will defend his three championships against his top challenger in the WBO rankings against hometown contender Anthony Yarde in London on ESPN Plus.

Beterbiev has ground every opponent to pieces under his unrelenting aggressiveness as no one has survived to the final bell against the three-belt champion.

Beterbiev impressively grabbed the WBO title last June with a two-round demolition of another big puncher in Joe Smith and has to be in consideration as the bigger puncher in the sport.

Yarde is no slouch with twenty-two knockouts in his twenty-three wins but is best known for his loss to then-WBO champion Sergey Kovalev, in which he fought well but tired badly in the late rounds before being stopped in 2019.

Yarde has won five of six since, the loss coming via split decision to Lyndon Arthur with Yarde evening the score in the rematch with a fourth-round knockout.

Yarde should have success early but if he wilted against a fading Kovalev, what makes anyone think that he will hold up against the suffocating pressure of Beterbiev.

The co-feature will showcase the smooth boxing WBA flyweight champion Artem Dalakian facing his mandatory contender David Jimenez.

Dalakian has defended the title five times since upsetting Brian Viloria in February 2018, including a ninth-round knockout of Luis Concepcion in his most recent defense in November 2021.

Jimenez earned the title opportunity with a majority decision win over Ricardo Sandoval last July on the Ryan Garcia-Javier Fortuna undercard.

The other challenge bout is the evening main event on DAZN from Golden Boy as welterweight Alexis Rocha continues his rebound from his only loss to Rashidi Ellis in 2020.

Rocha has defeated Blair Cobbs and Jesus Campos in his four-fight winning streak and could be on the verge of reaching contention later this year.

Rocha's original opponent was scheduled as veteran Anthony Young but Young was forced out of the fight with a nose injury suffered in sparring with the replacement slot going to George Ashie.

Ashie is a veteran who at 38 has never beaten a fighter of world-class talent but has never been stopped so should Rocha win by knockout it would be a feather in his cap.

Boxing Challenge

WBC/IBF/WBO Light Heavyweight Titles. 12 Rds 
Artur Beterbiev vs Anthony Yarde
Ramon Malpica: Beterbiev KO 3
TRS: Beterbiev KO 8
Vince Samano: Yarde Unanimous Decision

WBA Flyweight Title. 12 Rds
Artem Dalakian vs David Jimenez
R.L & TRS: Dalakian Unanimous Decision
V.S: Jimenez KO 10

Welterweights. 10 Rds
Alexis Rocha vs George Ashie
R.L and TRS: Rocha Unanimous Decision
V.S: Ashie Unanimous Decision 

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Boxing Challenge: Smith knocks out Eubank!

 If you had selected the least likely result for Saturday's middleweight clash between Chris Eubank Jr. and Liam Smith before the fight, you likely would have picked a Smith KO.

Smith has never been known as a big puncher, and Eubank has always shown an excellent chin, so combined with Eubank being the natural middleweight and Smith moving up to the division, it was only natural to think Smith's best chance to win was via decision.

And as so often happens in boxing, the least likely result was exactly what happened as Smith landed a left uppercut that sent Eubank slumping in a corner, and on very unsteady legs after he rose.

Smith grabbed the opportunity to floor Eubank again and after he rose from the floor, his coordination looked even worse and the fight ended in round four.

As the post-fight began a large lump under Eubank's right eye began to appear and in hindsight, Eubank may have had major problems with the eye not swelling shut as the fight progressed.

For Liam Smith, it's the biggest win of his career and may have earned him a potential title fight later this year as the defeated Eubank was rated in the top five in three of the rating organizations.

Smith may have to repeat his win over Eubank as there is a rematch clause, should Eubank choose to activate his option but if not Smith certainly will be in line for bigger fights.

As for Eubank, this loss isn't one to finish a career but he will need to bounce back from this, if not with a win over Smith in a rematch, a win over someone to regain his standing in the division.

Eubank is capable of winning a rematch as he looked very good in the third round and looked to be ready to swing the fight his way, so I would imagine that he could justify a rematch by stating he just caught perfectly by an average puncher and could win a rematch.

Eubank had better win that rematch if he asks for it as a second loss could leave him as permanently damaged goods.

In the co-feature, undefeated Richard Riakporhe knocked out former WBO cruiserweight champion Krzysztof Glowacki in the fourth round for the biggest win of his career.

Riakporhe fended off the occasional rushes of Glowacki and came close to ending the fight in round two as he rocked Glowacki late in the round before the round ended.

Riakporhe punished Glowacki in the fourth round and after raining punches on the veteran and trapping him in a corner, the referee bailed Glowacki out with an honorable stoppage before he would take even more of a beating.

Riakporhe looks to be in line for a challenge of WBO cruiserweight champion Lawrence Okolie next or fight for a possible vacant title, should Okolie decide to leave the division.

As for Glowacki, with knockout losses in three of his last fights, he seems to be well past his prime and should consider retirement.

In the other challenge fight, former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker rebounded from his knockout loss to Joe Joyce with an easy unanimous decision over awkward former cruiserweight Jack Massey.

Massey looked almost frail next to Parker and the southpaw did try to be effective. especially in the tenth round when he rallied a bit.

Massey lost a point in the eighth round for holding and there wasn't a ton of action for Parker to brag about a big win.

Scorecards saw Parker a winner at 97-93, 96-93, and 97-92.

I scored Parker the winner at 98-91.

Boxing Challenge

Ramon Malpica: 10 Pts (4)

TRS: 10 Pts (3)

Vince Samano: 10 Pts (3)


Saturday, January 21, 2023

Boxing Challenge

    The boxing weekend is centered around one card for the second week in a row as this time it's in London for a Frank Warren-promoted card that will be seen on DAZN in the USA.

The main event pairs domestic middleweights Chris Eubank Jr. against Liam Smith with the winner likely to position themselves for a title shot against one of the three division champions.

Eubank is rated in the top five in three organizations, while Smith is moving up from junior middleweight for this fight and is unrated in the division but a win would place him firmly into the title picture.

Chris Eubank is the naturally larger fighter having fought at middleweight and super middleweight and is coming off a nice win over Liam Williams (Williams lost two fights to Smith in 2017) last February before a catchweight fight with unbeaten welterweight Conor Benn was canceled when Benn tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

Smith is on a three-fight winning streak that includes late-round stoppage wins over former contender Jessie Vargas and countryman Anthony Fowler and seems as sharp as he has been over the course of a career that once saw him hold the WBO title.

I lean toward Eubank as the bigger man and I'm not sure Smith has the quality to overcome that disadvantage but he is the more tested fighter and while it might take the performance of his career for Smith to win, I think he has a chance to win a very intriguing fight.

The semi-main event is a very interesting battle with undefeated Richard Riakporhe taking on his sternest test against former WBO cruiserweight champion Krzysztof Glowacki.

Riakporhe owns a few good wins at European-level, most notably a split decision win over Chris Billam-Smith, which is the only loss of Billam-Smith's career and is attempting to move to world-class opposition in former champion Glowacki.

Glowacki took fierce punishment in knockout losses to Mairis Briedia in 2019 and Lawrence Okolie in 2021 before a comeback soft touch win in Poland last April.

Glowacki could be finished and one more knockout defeat could end his status as a world-class contender, so both fighters enter the bout in desperate need of a victory.

Former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker returns to the ring for the first time since his September knockout loss in the eleventh round to Joe Joyce in a sensational battle.

Parker's defeat was his first ever by knockout and it'll be interesting to see if that has an effect at all on the New Zealand native.

Parker will be facing Jack Massey. who has only one defeat- a unanimous decision loss to Richard Riakporhe in 2019.

It's Massey's only fight against a top opponent and now he'll be facing the experienced Parker but giving away size as well.

Boxing Challenge

Middleweights 12 Rds 
Chris Eubank Jr. vs Liam Smith
Ramon Malpica & TRS: Eubank Unanimous Decision
Vince Samano: Eubank KO 9

Cruiserweights 12 Rds
Richard Riakporhe vs Krzysztof Glowacki
R.L: Riakporhe KO 7
TRS: Riakporhe KO 5
V.S: Riakporhe KO 9

Heavyweights. 10 Rds
Joseph Parker vs Jack Massey
R.L: Parker Unanimous Decision
TRS: Parker KO 8
V.S: Parker KO 6


 Conference Semi-Final Weekend for a trip to the conference championship is at stake in this week's games.

Last Week: 3-3
Overall: 153-97

Bengals over Bills 36-34
Chiefs over Jaguars 45-13

Cowboys over 49ers 27-24
Eagles over Giants 31-21

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Browns hire Jim Schwartz as Defensive Coordinator

    The Cleveland Browns interviewed their candidates and hired what seems to be the best fit to attempt to fix a defense that underachieved in 2022 in veteran coach Jim Schwartz as their choice to replace Joe Woods as defensive coordinator.

The 56-year-old Schwartz spent last season as a defensive advisor with the Tennessee Titans after leaving the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2021 season.

Schwartz also was the head coach for the Detroit Lions from 2009-2013, finishing with an overall record of 29-53 with one playoff appearance.

Schwartz's tenure with the Eagles as their defensive coordinator saw the Eagles win their first Super Bowl and Schwartz was successful in his stops as a coordinator in Tennessee and Buffalo, both statistically and in developing players, particularly defensive tackles, a position that the Browns were, let us say, weak last season.

Schwartz performed wonders with the talents of Albert Haynesworth in Tennessee and Marcell Darius in Buffalo, both high first-round draftees that were considered disappointing before working with Schwartz and turning into dominant All-Pro level players under his tutelage- a level of play that neither would consistently reach after their time under Schwartz was completed.

Schwartz coaches the 4-3 defense, which is what the Browns have been using, and has drafted their talent to fit that alignment, so any problems of Schwartz's shoving a new system that would not suit the players on the roster is slim.

Schwartz's success at his three stops as a defensive coordinator speaks for the quality of this hire and I don't see where anyone could have problems with Schwartz getting the job.

However, I would have been equally as pleased had the Browns chosen Brian Flores (former Dolphins head coach and current Pittsburgh assistant) for the position.

I love Schwartz's experience in developing defensive tackles as the Browns are certainly to address the position and Schwartz's input in evaluating potential upgrades can't hurt a team that has struggled under Andrew Berry in attempting to improve the talent there (Drafting Jordan Elliott and Tommy Togiai, signing Taven Bryan).

I'm hoping that Schwartz's work will pay dividends with Perrion Winfrey, who started to show some hope late in the year of at least reaching decent status as a player and would be the only one of the tackle group that I would definitely want to keep around.

Schwartz is a no-nonsense coach that won't tolerate players telling him when they will play and when they won't (Jadeveon Clowney) or put up with players that have to reach the point not starting or playing at all due to behavior or non-professionalism (Grant Delpit and Perrion Winfrey).

Schwartz also isn't likely to toady to Myles Garrett, who the Browns have often deferred to when he does some dumb things (helmet throwing and fast speed driving), and that could bring out of Garrett what he is truly capable of rather than no matter how he plays, fans still feel that there is even more than the Browns are seeing.

One final word on Schwartz is this, should the Browns stumble in the first half and a potential change at head coach would be made, Schwartz (and Bill Callahan as well) would be a competent interim head coach to fill out the season.

That is a very minor point but it is one to be considered with the addition of Schwartz to the staff.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Cleaning out the inbox: Passings

    Another version of the inbox as we pay our respects to some notables that have passed away recently.

Goodbye to Gerrie Coetzee at the age of 67.

Coetzee won the WBA heavyweight title via tenth-round knockout over Michael Dokes in Richfield, Ohio in 1983 after failed attempts at that title against John Tate and Mike Weaver and was scheduled twice to unify the heavyweight title with Larry Holmes, with Holmes dropping the WBC title and give legitimacy to the new IBF.

However, the fight never occurred with Coetzee needing surgery on his chronically painful "Bionic" right hand, and the prospective promoters never actually arriving with the promised financial backing with Coetzee losing the title via knockout to Greg Page in his first defense over a year later in Coetzee's home country of South Africa.

The loss to Page was controversial as the round lasted 3:40 when Coetzee was counted out and he wouldn't receive a rematch as Page would drop the title to Tony Tubbs in his first defense (followed by Tubbs losing to Tim Witherspoon in his initial defense).

Coetzee's biggest win in his career other than the Dokes upset as he destroyed former champion Leon Spinks in one round to earn the shot against John Tate for the title vacated by Muhammad Ali after winning his rematch against Spinks.

Goodbye to Charles White at the age of 64.

The 1979 Heisman winner for USC, White was one of several Heisman-caliber running backs for the Trojans from 1965-81 (Winners Mike Garrett, O.J. Simpson, White, and Marcus Allen along with Heisman runner-up Ricky Bell)  and was the first-round pick by the Cleveland Browns in 1980.

White rushed for over two thousand yards and scored nineteen touchdowns in his Heisman season, dethroning 1978 winner Billy Sims of Oklahoma, denying Sims a record-tying second Heisman.

White struggled in his four years in Cleveland, rushing for 942 yards in that time, and never earned a starting position before being released after the 1984 season.

White's issues stemmed from drug addiction and he would serve as a backup for the Rams and college coach John Robinson for two seasons before an unlikely comeback year in 1987 as White stepped in for Eric Dickerson, who was holding out and then was traded to the Colts at midseason and gained 1,374 yards with eleven touchdowns in a strike season.

White was named to the Pro Bowl in 1987 and would play one more season before his retirement.

Goodbye to Kenton Edelin at the age of 60.

Edelin was a walk-on at Virginia and played his freshman year on the junior varsity before making the varsity as a sophomore as the physical backup center and occasional enforcer for Ralph Sampson.

A hard-nosed rebounder and defender, Virginia made the Final Four in 1984 with Edelin at center- not Sampson, who had been drafted first overall by the Houston Rockets in 1983.

Edelin was drafted in the seventh round in the 1984 draft by the Indiana Pacers and made the team as a seldom-used reserve, playing in only ten games.

Edelin retired after his rookie season and became a successful attorney and agent.

Goodbye to Cliff Gustafson at the age of 91.

The legendary baseball coach at the University of Texas led the Longhorns to seventeen trips to the College World Series (a still-standing record) and two national championships (1975 and 83) during his twenty-nine coaching career.

Gustafson also won the SWC regular season title twenty-two times and the league tournament on eleven occasions and coached numerous future major leaguers and first-round draft picks, most notably Roger Clemens.

Gustafson's 1983 National Champions produced four future big leaguers from the pitching staff alone: Clemens, Calvin Schiraldi, Bruce Ruffin, and Mike Capel.

Goodbye to Bill Campbell at the age of 74.

Campbell appeared in seventy-eight games for the Twins in 1976, winning seventeen and saving twenty, and was lucky enough to be part of the first class of free agents in 1977 coming off a career season.

Boston signed Campbell, who responded with thirteen wins, a league-leading thirty-one saves, and his only All-Star selection but the sixty-nine appearances combined with his use in Minnesota caused Campbell's decline that would never see him reach the same level of effectiveness again.

Campbell was named the American League Fireman of the Year for both 1976 and 1977.

Campbell would pitch until 1987 with five more teams after leaving Boston after the 1981 season.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Boxing Challenge: Boring Night in Verona

  Top Rank and ESPN had the entire boxing Saturday to itself from Verona New York and gave viewers a boring card that really isn't worth the time to type.

In the main event, heavyweight Efe Ajagba won a unanimous decision over Stephan Shaw in what would be a heavy favorite for the worst main event of the year.

All three judges scored 96-94 for Ajagba, who stuck the jab out and that was pretty much the offensive output for either fighter in this snoozer.

I gave Ajagba a 97-93 edge as he won his second fight since losing to Frank Sanchez in his only defeat.

The loss was the first for Shaw, and I'm going to try my best to forget this one.

The co-feature was just as dreadful for six rounds as heavyweight prospect Guido Vianello dominated but didn't excite anyone against journeyman Jonnie Rice until late in the sixth round, Rice landed a long right hand that created a massive slice over Vianello's left eye.

The fight was stopped early in the seventh round with referee Benji Estevez ruling that the cut was from a headbutt.

In Estevez's defense, if you didn't see the punch land, the cut was so deep that you would naturally think it came from a butt but it did not.

This is key because if the cut is from a headbutt, the scorecards are involved and Vianello gets a unanimous decision ( I had him leading 60-54 at the time of stoppage) victory.

However, Joe Tessitore and Andre Ward were screaming at ringside that the cut had come from a Rice punch, which was not only factual, it didn't favor the promoter's house fighter in Vianello so full credit to them.

That got the attention of the commissioner at ringside and since this fight was held on a tribal reservation, they could change the rules on the spot and approved a replay review which showed the cut resulting from a punch- giving Rice a TKO win.

While I am happy that the right fighter won, I do wonder about changing the rules on the fly and hopefully, this won't come back to haunt boxing in the future if someone uses that power improperly.

For this evening, justice was properly served.

In the other challenge affair, featherweight Abraham Nova scored two knockdowns of rugged veteran Adam Lopez to win a unanimous decision by scores of 98-90 x2 and 97-91.

I had it a tad closer at 96-92 but clearly, Nova did enough to rebound from his first loss to Robiesy Ramirez and should get another tv try soon.

Boxing Challenge

TRS: 7 Pts (3)

Vince Samano 7 Pts  (2)

Ramon Malpica 6 Pts(2)

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Boxing Challenge

 ESPN+/Top Rank

Heavyweights. 10 Rds 
Efe Ajagba vs Stephan Shaw
Ramon Malpica: Ajagba Split Decision
TRS: Ajagba KO 4
Vince Samano: Shaw KO 7

Heavyweights 10 Rds
Guido Vianello vs Jonnie Rice
R.L: Rice Unanimous Decision
TRS: Vianello KO 6
V.S: Vianello KO 3 

Junior Lightweights. 10 Rds
Abraham Nova vs Adam Lopez
R.L: Lopez Unanimous Decision
TRS and V.S: Nova Unanimous Decision


 Been feeling under the weather this week so this and the boxing challenge are going to be written in the Jack Webb style.

Last Week: 4-2
Overall: 150-94

NFL Playoffs
Seahawks over 49ers 20-17
Chargers over Jaguars 32-21
Bills over Dolphins 34-14
Vikings over Giants 28-17
Bengals over Ravens 24-10
Cowboys over Buccaneers 29-21

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Cleaning out the Inbox

   The inbox cleaning is a bit overdue and most of the links are to the Athletic, so if you aren't a subscriber this inbox might be a bit short for you!

We start with the story of the New York Islanders' "Gorton Fisherman" logo that was so reviled in its day and lasted only a few years before the Islanders returned to their original logo as quickly as they could!

The Gorton Fisherman only was used for two seasons (1995-96 and 96-97) and is remembered to this day for its "unique' look with fans jeering the Islanders at home and on the road with the chant "We Want Fishsticks" as the team finished forty games under .500 while wearing the sweaters!

The logo is making an occasional return this season for the Islanders as part of the NHL's "Reverse Retro" series.

The Athletic writes on the long-defunct World Football League with more tales of the crazy league's legendary tales off the field as well as a few from on the gridiron as well.

These articles on the defunct leagues of the seventies and eighties are always a fun read but they also sometimes tell the same stories that have been told before.

This one has a few different ones with a different twist on some of the teams that moved in the middle of their only season and just how bad the finances and debt really were.

This article deals with 1-AA football power North Dakota State, the issues with their fan base, and if they could eventually move to Division I, and if so, what conference?

Any school wishing to move to Division I from a lower level must have a conference invitation in order to make the move.

Flightline would win the Breeders Cup Classic by eight and quarter lengths in what would be his final start but for a horse with few starts in his career (a mere six) Flightline is being talked about as an all-time great in the sport of thoroughbred racing by more than only his team.

This piece by Dana O'Neil looks at what was being said about Flightline before the race and when you read the article, imagine his classic victory by the biggest margin in the history of the classic.

Flightline will stand at Lane's End Farm in Kentucky for a fee of $200,000.

Finally, the only non-Athletic link in the inbox- ESPN writes of Andrew Luck and what Luck has been doing since his surprising retirement in 2019.

Luck also mentions some of his thinking in the run-up to his announcement, why he made the decision, and why he thinks he may decide to coach eventually.

Luck also discusses his many injuries and just how difficult his rehabilitation was for his injured shoulder in 2017.

It's a very depth look into Andrew Luck and how he is far from the stereotypical athlete in some ways and yet has the same mentality in others.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Boxing Challenge: Davis stops Garcia

 Gervonta Davis continued his recent run of late knockouts and big crowds as Davis forced WBA junior lightweight champion Hector Luis Garcia to surrender in his corner following the eighth round in Washington D.C before a sellout crowd at the Capital One Arena.

Davis landed a big left to the head of Garcia late in the eighth round that spun Garcia into the ropes and with a bit more time, Davis would have likely finished Garcia off then and there.

Garcia told his corner that he couldn't see and the fight was stopped before the start of round nine.

Davis was well ahead on the scorecards (79-73 x2 and 78-74, my scorecard was 77-75) when the end came and despite some early round success from Garcia, one never had the feeling that he was going to keep Davis off him all evening.

Davis will hopefully face Ryan Garcia as planned in April but he has to avoid potential jail time from a hit-and-run charge that will see his trial next month in Baltimore.

I haven't seen the undercard fights but the results of the boxing challenge are noted.

Should I watch them soon, I'll update this page.

Jaron Ennis unanimous decision over Karen Chukhadzhian

Demetrius Andrade unanimous decision over Demond Nicholson

Roiman Villa majority decision over Rashidi Ellis.

Boxing Challenge

Vince Samano: 5 Pts

Ramon Malpica: 4 Pts

TRS: 4 Pts 

Another Wasted Year-Browns bumped in Pittsburgh

    The Cleveland Browns concluded another mediocre season with a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh 28-14.

DeShaun Watson threw two touchdowns and two interceptions in the loss with Nick Chubb rushing for seventy-seven yards to lead the offense.

The Browns finished the 2022 season at 7-10 and would have picked in the 12th position in the first round but they will transfer that selection to the Houston Texans in return for DeShaun Watson.

Brownie Bits

1) I'm not going to get too into detail on the loss in Pittsburgh as much as write on a few different Browns topics but a major concern suddenly is the offensive line.

An offensive line that looked to be a strength of the team allowed seven sacks of DeShaun Watson and might have allowed even more if not for the ability of Watson to avoid the pass rush.

2) Some of the woes may be corrected by a training camp with Watson to develop the chemistry and "feel" for what Watson needs for his protection.

The Browns lacked that this year and hopefully that will help- I believe it will.

3) I've written before about the Browns having to make a key decision on activating their option on Jedrick Wills for his fifth season during this off-season.

A decision that has become more difficult with the second consecutive disappointing season from Wills after a pretty good rookie season as the Browns first-rounder in 2020.

I liked Wills entering the draft and rated him as my second-rated player at the position in a year that was an excellent crop at tackle.

The Browns could have drafted my top tackle, Tristan Wirfs from Iowa but selected Wills instead.

Wirfs landed with Tampa Bay at the 12th slot and has been a Pro Bowl selection in each of the last two seasons

I do not envy the Browns position here.

4) I haven't written about the comments by Jadeveon Clowney this week about the Browns which led to him not joining the team for the game against the Steelers.

Clowney's comments about being held back as the team preferring to place Myles Garrett against a more favorable blocker may be valid but not the reasons for favoritism as Clowney claimed.

The Browns are hardly in a position to care about where production is coming from and I'm going to side with the coaching staff on this one.

5) Nick Chubb needed a huge rushing day to have a chance of winning the rushing title and he would fall short as he was given only twelve carries for his seventy-seven yards.

That was never going to be enough to overcome the eventual winner (Josh Jacobs of the Raiders) or Derrick Henry, who nosed Chubb out for second by thirteen yards.

6) Part of the reason that Chubb was not going to receive the workload was the decision to throw twenty-nine passes with DeShaun Watson and while that may not have been the best path to a victory in Pittsburgh, it was part of the following plan...

7) So much of what has happened in the final six games of the season has been about DeShaun Watson and preparing him for next season.

In hindsight, it is very clear that some of the game plans (Watson throwing so much in the freezer-like conditions against the Saints as one example) were not planned to give the Browns the best chance of winning that particular day but were to see how Watson would react to certain conditions or situations to prepare for next season.

By having film on what he may do and actually did, Kevin Stefanski and the staff have some concrete ideas on what Watson needs work for 2023 and how they can best use those skills.

8)  The Browns fired Joe Woods as the defensive coordinator after the game and there are quite a few big names available.

I'm going to write about that later in the week about my preferred candidates but I'm pretty sure that this was a needed move.

9) The Browns have enough people that are on the proverbial "Hot Seat" next season that they could not afford to add Joe Woods to that ship.

There could be enough changes next season if the Browns stumble to a poor first half that the team couldn't gamble on a third season in a row for a bad defensive start.

10) Finally,  

It's another disappointing season for the Cleveland Browns and I'm not sure how I feel about the future.

The Browns seem to have their quarterback and that's something but there are many holes on this team and I'm not brimming with confidence that they can be filled by the current administration.

On offense, a wide receiver to move opposite Amari Cooper is a must and cannot be ignored again.

On the defense, anything along the defensive line is must have and the same at linebacker as well.

This is not what has been portrayed by the Browns as a team in need of only a quarterback to take them over the top.

This is a team that has some talent but isn't a surefire plug and play contender.

The clock should be running on Andrew Berry, Kevin Stefanski, and especially Paul DePodesta, let's see what they have in mind.

Saturday, January 7, 2023


  It's the final week of the NFL year and the college title game is on Monday, so hoping for a strong finish.

Last Week: 3-3
Overall: 146-92

Georgia over TCU 46-31

Steelers over Browns 20-16
Saints over Panthers 23-20
Chargers over Broncos 31-14

Games of the Week
Packers over Lions 28-21
Bengals over Ravens 24-21

Boxing Challenge

  The 2023 boxing challenge begins Saturday with an excellent PPV from Washington D.C. and PBC with standout minor beltholder Gervonta Davis attempting to take his name out of the headlines for the wrong reasons and keep it there for the right ones.

Davis has a tentative agreement to face Ryan Garcia in a battle of young superstars needing a top opponent later this year but both fighters decided to approach that fight in varying manners.

Garcia agreed to a fight against slightly past his prime veteran Mercito Gesta and then decided to face Davis without a tuneup.

Davis decided to take an interim fight and it isn't a squash either as the opponent is the WBA junior lightweight champion Hector Luis Garcia, who is entering the fight after two upsets in 2022 that earned him a title shot by dominating highly regarded Chris Colbert, and won the title over Roger Gutierrez.

Garcia is not the normal foe that one selects for a stay-busy affair, so give Davis plenty of credit for accepting him as an opponent as I think this could be interesting for a few rounds and while Davis usually gets stronger in the second half of his appearances, it's fair to wonder if his various legal issues have distracted him during his training.

If that's the case, Garcia may have an opportunity for another upset and this one would be the largest one of all!

The three supporting fights have stars returning to action and one evenly matched battle that could be the best of the card.

The welterweight that no one wants to face fights for an IBF interim title that is worthless other than it will force Errol Spence to eventually face him or give up his title, as Jaron "Boots" Ennis will take on virtually unknown Ukrainian Karen Chukhadzhian.

Chukhadzhian has only one loss in twenty-two bouts and has a notable amateur record but his best wins are over former fringe contenders Ali Funeka and Ryan Martin and I've seen little that makes me think he can do anything effective against Boots Ennis.

It's sad for boxing and its fans that Ennis is fighting the opponents that he is forced to fight, receiving no challenge at all because no one wishes to face him.

I hope that ends soon but I have a feeling that it will not for a while.

Former WBO junior middleweight and middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade returns as a super middleweight with PBC in an attempt to have a big fight before his career ends.

The undefeated and generally unthreatened Andrade has made some poor career decisions but his style and effectiveness have left few willing to take the risk of a defeat against a skilled opponent.

Still, Andrade turns thirty-five next month and it's not unreasonable to wonder if he may have already passed the peak against lesser opposition, so give him credit for giving one final push by signing with PBC to try to find an elite-level boxer willing to fight him.

Andrade's opponent is veteran Demond Nicholson, who has won four in a row against clubfighters after lasting ten rounds as the first opponent to take Edgar Berlanga more than one round.

Nicholson shouldn't be a threat to defeat Andrade but it'll be interesting to see if Andrade steps up the pace and attempts to have a spectacular PBC debut by winning by knockout.

Welterweights Rashidi Ellis and Roiman Villa battle in an eliminator in a fight that could go to either combatant.

The undefeated Ellis appeared to be a title contender when he handed Alexis Rocha his only loss in 2020 but that was his only fight in 2020, didn't fight again until July 2022 and hasn't fought since.

Villa has 24 KO's in his 25 wins and in his last fight on SHObox, looked very impressive in whipping undefeated Janelson Bocachica via unanimous decision.

Ellis is a major jump from Bocachica for Villa, so I lean towards Ellis slightly but don't count Villa out.

Boxing Challenge

Lightweights 12 Rds
Gervonta Davis vs Hector Luis Garcia
Ramon Malpica: Davis KO 8
TRS: Davis KO 10
Vince Samano: Davis KO 6

Welterweights 12 Rds
Jaron Ennis vs Karen Chukhadzhian 
R.L: Ennis KO 5
TRS: Ennis KO 2
V.S: Ennis KO 3

Super Middleweights 10 Rds
Demetrius Andrade vs Demond Nicholson
R.L: Andrade KO 6
TRS: Andrade KO 5
V.S.: Andrade Unanimous Decision

Welterweights. 12 Rds
Rashidi Ellis vs Roiman Villa
All: Ellis Unanimous Decision


Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Cleaning out the Inbox-Non-Sports Passings

It may be the holiday season but sadly the passings never stop in our world, so here are a few notable passings from the non-sports world.

Goodbye to Bob McGrath at the age of 90.

McGrath was an original member of the Sesame Street cast in 1969 and stayed with the show through 2016.

McGrath was the lead tenor for the four-year run of "Sing Along with Mitch" on NBC from 1960-64, which was memorably parodied on the Flintstones at the time as the "Hum Along With Herman" show as the Flintstones were broadcast by ABC and didn't want to publicize a rival network's program.

Goodbye to Stuart Margolin at the age of 82.

Margolin was a major character actor in the seventies and eighties and would later transition into directing.

Margolin shows up in many seventies shows and was one of the ensemble players on "Love American Style" that would do sketches between the two or three segments of the show.

Margolin's biggest role as "Angel" a prison mate of James Garner's "Jim Rockford" on "The Rockford Files" who assisted Rockford on his P.I. cases, for which Margolin would win the Emmy for "Best Supporting Actor" in both 1979 and 1980.

Margolin spoke of having his choice between a regular role on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and a previous James Garner show "Nichols" and selecting Nichols mainly because he thought he would have more fun working with Garner, which developed into his role as Angel on Rockford Files years later.

Goodbye to Diane McBain at the age of 81.

McBain was a popular actress in the sixties with a burst of stardom brought by a role in TV's "Surfside 6" and a major role in the film "Parrish", a hit in 1961.

McBain would later appear in four episodes of "Batman" (two two-parters) as a moll of David Wayne's Mad Hatter and in another as the star villain "Pinky Pinkston" in the storyline that crossed over with "The Green Hornet", which starred Van Williams, a co-star of McBain's in "Parrish", as well as a guest star on the "Wild Wild West".

McBain's career slowed in the seventies as she raised her son and did return for occasional roles in eighties television.

Goodbye to Walt Cunningham at the age of 90.

Cunningham was the lunar module pilot for the Apollo Seven mission in 1968, the first Apollo mission following the tragic 1967 fire of Apollo One that cost the lives of Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee and is thought of by some as the most important Apollo mission.

Apollo Seven is regarded as such because NASA likely would have ended the Apollo program had Seven been an unsuccessful mission after NASA's widescale cleanup after the Apollo One disaster.

Cunningham would leave NASA in 1971, write a memoir in 1977, and would become involved in various business ventures after leaving the agency.

Cunningham was the final surviving member of his Apollo mission at the time of his passing. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Boxing Challenge: Franco-Ioka ends in Majority Draw

   The final match of the 2022 boxing challenge finished the year in unsatisfying manner as a junior bantamweight unificaton match ended with a majority decision draw and both WBA champion Joshua Franco and WBO counterpart Kazuto Ioka keeping their titles.

Franco took command from the start and banked most of the first half of the fight  before Ioka rallied a little in the latter half but not enough for my tastes as I scored Franco a 116-112 winner.

Franco simply threw more punches and while I wouldn't say he overwhelmed Ioka with his output, Franco certainly had the advantage over the course of the fight.

Two judges scored the fight even at 114-114 with the dissenting judge giving the edge to Franco 115-113.

Ioka has been mandated to face former WBO flyweight champion Junto Nakatani in what could be a strong action fight but stated he would consider vacating his title in order to face Juan Francisco Estrada for his WBC brand in the division, which should also give fans a competitive bout.

Should Ioka vacate his title, Nakatani would face either Australia's Andrew Moloney, who has two losses against Joshua Franco, or countryman and multi-division champion Kosei Tanaka, who was beaten by Ioka by eighth round knockout in his only defeat in 2019.

My guess is that the WBO gives Japan what would be a huge fight there with Nakatani against Tanaka, while mandating that Moloney fight the victor.

As for Franco, I believe he is a promotional free agent and could go to Matchroom for an Estrada fight, that Estrads pulled away from earlier this year, or even to PBC for a potential unification against IBF champion Fernando Martinez, should a deal work out.

The final Boxing Challenge Standings for 2022

TRS: 213 Pts 
Ramon Malpica: 180 Pts 
Vince Samano: 165 Pts 

Monday, January 2, 2023

Browns win in Washington 24-10

 DeShaun Watson threw three touchdown passes, two of those to Amari Cooper, and Nick Chubb rushed for 104 yards on only fourteen carries to lift the Cleveland Browns to a 24-10 victory over the Washington Commanders at Washington.

Cooper would finish with over one hundred yards receiving and the Browns would intercept Washington quarterback Carson Wentz three times in the win that lifted the Browns to 7-9 on the season with one game remaining- in Pittsburgh next Sunday against the Steelers.

Brownie Bits

1) Washington entered the game with playoff hopes but it was the Browns that played harder and with more passion.

Cleveland could have thrown in the towel after a pretty bad first half but instead dominated the second half to earn a victory that meant little in the standings or draft position.

2) I've always been a believer in Grant Delpit and even when Delpit was badly beaten at times earlier in the season, I still thought Delpit could be a standout with his ability if used properly.

Delpit was drafted as a ball-hawking Ed Reed type to play center field and run to the ball, yet wasn't being utilized as such until late, and Delpit had only two interceptions in his career before the loss to New Orleans.

Delpit intercepted one pass against the Saints and added two more vs Washington, one of those in the end zone and seems to be starting to make a move toward being a standout for next season.

3) DeShaun Watson struggled in the first half but led the Browns to three consecutive touchdowns in a row in their first three second-half possessions.

The arm is still there for Watson and he still needs plenty of snaps before next season but I think that Watson will only get better after a training camp and should be where he needs to be for the opener in 2023.

4) Nick Chubb ran for over one hundred yards and did this on only fourteen carries.

Browns fans often talk about not using Chubb enough and maybe that argument would be a winner with Chubb averaging over seven yards a carry against the Washington run defense.

5) Amari Cooper only had four passes thrown to him but caught three and two for touchdowns.

Cooper still needs some help on the other side at wide receiver for next season and should Andrew Berry land such a threat, the Browns could have just what DeShaun Watson needs to move to the next level.

6) Cooper's touchdown of forty-six yards saw him break tackles and elude Commanders as he ran down the sideline for a score.

I thought for a minute that the Commander's defense looked like the Browns with such poor attempts at tackling!

7) The Browns are still taking things very slowly with DeShaun Watson and he threw only eighteen times (completing nine) but the second half seemed a little (just a little) more open in the play calling to loosen up the offense.

8) Watson was sacked five times by Washington's talented defensive front and that makes me think of a key decision coming up on left tackle Jedrick Wills in the off-season.

Wills will come up for the team to pick up his fifth-year option in the summer and the team has a big decision to make.

Wills hasn't really improved since a strong rookie season but left tackles are expensive on the open market and without first-round picks in 2023 and 2024, it is unlikely the Browns can address this position in the draft.

Cleveland may be forced to activate the option whether they really want to or not.

9) Washington's one touchdown was a ninety-eight-yard drive that saw over eleven minutes removed from the clock.

That drive alone is what accounted for the lower-than-usual offensive plays from the Browns.

10) Washington held their playoff destiny in their own hands entering the game.

A win over Cleveland and a win next week over Dallas and Washington would be playoff bound.

Instead, the loss combined with other results saw the Commanders eliminated from contention..

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Late missed kick sinks Buckeyes in Peach Bowl

  Noah Ruggles field goal attempt with seconds remaining from fifty yards came nowhere near the uprights and therefore ended the Ohio State Buckeyes season in the Peach Bowl with a 42-41 loss to the top-seeded Georgia Bulldogs.

C.J. Stroud threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns with an effort that may have erased his non-clutch reputation at Ohio State with Emeka Egbuka and Marvin Harrison Jr, each finishing with over one hundred yards receiving with Harrison grabbing two touchdowns and Egbuka another.

Ohio State finishes the 2022 season with a disappointing 11-2 record and returns to action on September second kicking off the 2023 campaign against the Indiana Hoosiers.

Olentangy Offerings

1) Give C.J. Stroud all the credit that you can give for the type of effort that redeemed himself for his previous shortcomings in big games.

Stroud had often rolled up acceptable statistics in games that Ohio State lost, yet always seemed to come up short.

In those games, I've felt the argument was reasonably fair but in this one, C.J. Stroud stood tall and deserved better.

2) Stroud battled through his running game missing TreVeyon Henderson and getting Miyan Williams for only three carries, losing tight end Cade Stover in the first half and the biggest loss of all-Marvin Harrison Jr in the third quarter, and yet had his team in position to win with a long field goal.

What a game from Stroud and he nor the Buckeyes have anything to be ashamed of.

3) Stroud had often been criticized for not running enough over his career and yet it was his twenty-seven-yard run that placed Ohio State in a position to try the game-winning field goal

It's funny after all the quarterbacks that saw various criticisms (J.T Barrett) for running too much, Stroud was the entire opposite.

4) Where the game seemed to turn was on a third down throw to the back of the end zone to Marvin Harrison Jr in the last minute of the third quarter.

The throw seemed to be Stroud throwing the ball away (Chris Fowler called the pass out of the back of the end zone in live action) but Harrison came very close to grabbing the score before he was blasted by a Georgia defender.

Initially, a personal foul was called, which would have given Ohio State a first and goal from Georgia's one with a touchdown that would have stretched the lead to eighteen points.

Instead, after a review, the call was overturned and OSU settled for a Noah Ruggles field goal and a fourteen-point lead- AND the loss of Marvin Harrison Jr for the remainder of the game,

5) After the loss of Harrison, Ohio State was outscored 18-3 without its biggest offensive threat and despite the play of Emeka Egbuka, seemed to lack a big play threat to the Dawgs.

6) But the biggest issue came against a defense when Lethan Ransom fell down and left Arian Smith wide open for a seventy-eight-yard strike that would cut the lead to three after a successful two-point conversion.

Until that moment, I felt Ohio State would hold on for the win but not as much after.

7) Ryan Day called an excellent game for three quarters and seemed to be the innovative play-caller of days past and then when Ohio State needed it most, crawled back into a shell.

On first down, Day called a run play with Dallan Hayden for the loss of a yard, and then two incomplete short-range passes at the time that Ohio State still needed a chink of yardage to feel safe about a Ruggles field goal try,

8) In other words, Day spent most of the game throwing the ball down the field and opening up holes for their receivers and then decided to reign Stroud in when he had his best game of the season with a wide-open offense.

9) I'm not going to beat Ryan Day too much for this because he had confidence in his kicker and showed that he hasn't lost his touch for play calling but he still will need work on his tendency to play things too safely in big games.

It's easy to fire off about Day in the fourth quarter but for now, I'm going to choose to remember his best work and not his lesser from this game.

10) Day also called for a fake punt in the fourth quarter that worked for what would have been a key first down and kept Georgia off the field but just as the ball was about to be snapped, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart saw the lack of coverage by his team and managed to call a timeout.

That alone may have been the play that saved the Dawgs.

11) In the end, despite the disappointment of losing, Ohio State redeemed itself with its performance and showed its qualifications to be in the final four.

However, between the losses to Michigan and then Georgia, it's tough to say that this was anything other than a disappointing season.

Not awful, disappointing.

I wouldn't say Ryan Day is on the hot seat or anything ridiculous as that but it will be interesting to look back at this time next season and see what may have changed in his status then.