Saturday, September 30, 2023


    The PPM returns after a crazy week in football and another one on tap.

Last Week: 13-3
Overall: 44-14

Middle Tennessee State over Western Kentucky 35-33
N.C. State over Louisville 21-17
Oregon State over Utah 31-27
Texas A&M over Arkansas 27-26
Texas Tech over Houston 24-13
Boise State over Memphis 30-21
Georgia Southern over Coastal Carolina 28-24
Georgia Tech over Bowling Green 26-14

Games of the Week
Texas over Kansas 28-16
Notre Dame over Duke 27-20

Browns over Ravens 21-13
Chargers over Raiders 34-27

Games of the Week
Bills over Dolphins 31-28
Broncos over Bears 24-14

Boxing Challenge

    The boxing weekend is set around another PPV as the world super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez defends his four titles against world junior middleweight king Jermell Charlo in the main event.

Alvarez will be making his second appearance of the year after an easy unanimous decision win over John Ryder.

Charlo has been inactive since winning the final piece of his four titles at 154 pounds (WBO) last May with a tenth-round knockout of Brian Castano and Charlo will be stripped of that title as soon as the bell rings to begin his fight with Alvarez, due to his decision to fight Canelo rather than mandatory challenger Tun Tszyu in a bout that Charlo agreed to and then postponed to a hand injury.

One cannot blame Charlo for accepting the much larger purse for this fight than a smaller one against the dangerous Tszyu but it comes at a price- a higher price should Charlo lose as he is expected to do in making a two-division jump.

Charlo has beaten (other than Tszyu) the best of a division that hasn't been packed with elite fighters and he's never faced a fighter of the ability of Alvarez.

Alvarez is in the first of a three-fight deal with PBC and due to a recent WBC ruling, assuming that he wins, his next fight is expected to be against David Benavidez, should Benavidez win his next fight against Demetrius Andrade.

The undercard has two interesting fights, one for a minor title that could eventually become a full version and another that could be very explosive.

Junior middleweights Jesus Ramos and Erickson Lubin hook up in what seems to be an almost guaranteed barnburner.

The undefeated Ramos has beaten some quality fighters on his way to contention including Brian Mendoza, the recent conqueror of Sebastian Fundora, Luke Santamaria (who had beaten Ramos's relative Abel before losing to Jesus) and impressively dismantling Joey Spencer in his last fight and even though Spencer had been overhyped by PBC, Ramos ran through Spencer like a knife through butter.

Lubin has fought many of the best in the division and is a strong puncher who always comes to fight but was knocked out in both of his career losses to Jermall Charlo and Sebastian Fundora.

I'd be surprised if this wasn't an action fight and this one is very possible to end in a knockout.

The other fight is in the welterweight division for a WBC minor title that would see the winner elevated to full champion status when Terence Crawford leaves the division.

Former WBA champion Yordenis Ugas faces one of the most fortunate men in boxing, Mario Barrios for the interim title.

Ugas is most remembered for his win over Manny Pacquiao in 2021 in what proved to be the last fight in the Hall of Famer's career but hasn't fought since his fight in April 2022 when he was stopped in ten rounds by Errol Spence and suffered a broken orbital fracture in the defeat.

Barrios really doesn't deserve the chance to fight for what could be the eventual world title with losses to Gervonta Davis and Keith Thurman before he stopped journeyman Jovanie Santiago in eight rounds in February.

Still, Barrios put up good efforts in both of his losses and should Ugas not be recovered from injury or not back into form, Barrios could pull the upset.

The other fights are outside of the United States with DAZN broadcasting from London, Jai Opetaia's first defense of his IBF cruiserweight title since dethroning Mairis Bredis in a great fight in July 2022.

Opetaia suffered a broken jaw in that fight and has been idle since the title win and his opponent will be unbeaten Briton Jordan Thompson, who is unbeaten but has only one win over European quality opposition, so Thompson is untested against world title competition.

An untelevised fight from Turkey pits heavyweights Otto Wallin and Murat Gassiev in a twelve-round fight that could be very entertaining.

Wallin is remembered for his 2019 fight with Tyson Fury when Wallin badly cut Fury's right eye and lost a fairly close decision in what is Wallin's only loss.

Wallin hasn't been able to capitalize on that performance with only five fights since and only one against a good opponent in defeating Dominic Breazeale.

Gassiev was a destroyer as IBF and WBA cruiserweight champion and made it to the finals of the World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight tournament where he lost a decision to Oleksandr Usyk with all four titles in the division at stake.

Gassiev lost the decision to Usyk in July 2018 and announced his intention to move to heavyweight but has fought only four times since, none of those times against good opposition.

The winner of this could be in line for bigger fights such as an eliminator from a sanctioning body, and the loser might be headed for oblivion.

World Super Middleweight Title 12 Rds 
Canelo Alvarez vs Jermell Charlo
Ramon Malpica; Alvarez KO 8
TRS: Alvarez KO 8
Vince Samano: Charlo KO 11

Junior Middleweights 12 Rds
Jesus Ramos vs. Erickson Lubin
R.L: Ramos Unanimous Decision
TRS: Ramos KO 10
V.S: Ramos KO 6

Welterweights 12 Rds
Yordenis Ugas vs Mario Barrios
R.L; None
TRS and V.S: Ugas Unanimous Decision

IBF Cruiserweight Title 12 Rds
Jai Opetaia vs Jordan Thompson
All: Opetaia Unanimous Decision

Heavyweights 12 Rds
Otto Wallin vs. Murat Gassiev
R.L; Gassiev Unanimous Decision
TRS and V.S: Wallin Unanimous Decision

Friday, September 29, 2023

TRS Boxing Ratings- Part Two

   Part two of the TRS boxing ratings will cover the light flyweights through the lightweight division.

Thanks to our voters and for giving me some grace in getting these posted.

World Champion Devin Haney
1: Gervonta Davis 23 Pts
2: Vasyl Lomachenko 19 Pts
3: Shakur Stevenson 16 pts
4: William Zepeda 9 Pts (Unranked)
5: Frank Martin  4 Pts
Also Received Votes: Isaac Cruz, Raymond Muratalla

Junior Lightweights
1: Emanuel Navarrete WBO Champion 25 Pts (Up Four)
2: Joe Cordina IBF Champion 15 Pts (Up Two)
3: Hector Luis Garcia WBA Champion 11 Pts
    Oscar Valdez (Down One)
5: O'Shaquie Foster WBC Champion 8 Pts (Unranked)
Also Received Votes: Shavrat Rakhimov, Roger Gutierrez, 

1: Luis Alberto Lopez IBF Champion 25 Pts (Up Two)
2; Leigh Wood WBA Champion 15 Pts (Up Three)
3: Robeisy Ramirez WBO Champion 12 Pts (Unranked)
4: Brandon Figueroa 11 Pts (Unranked)
5: Rey Vargas WBC Champion 7 Pts (Down Four)
Also Received Votes: Mauricio Lara, Mark Magsayo, Josh Warrington

Junior Featherweights
1: Naoya Inoue WBC/WBO Champion 25 Pts (Unranked)
2: Stephen Fulton 17 Pts (Down One) 
3: Marlon Tapales WBA/IBF Champion 13 Pts (Unranked)
4: Luis Nery 12 Pts
5: Murodjon Akhmadliev 7 Pts (Down Three)
Also Received Votes: Zolani Tete

1: Emmanuel Rodriguez IBF Champion  25 Pts (Up One)
2: Jason Moloney WBO Champion 18 Pts (Up One)
3: Takuma Inoue WBA Champion 15 Pts (Unranked)
4: Alejandro Santiago WBC Champion 13 Pts (Unranked)
5: Nonito Donaire 3 Pts (Down Four)
Also Received Votes: Gal Yafai

Junior Bantamweight
1: Juan Francisco Estrada WBC Champion 25 Pts
2: Roman Gonzalez 19 pts
3: Kazuto Ioka WBA Champion 13 Pts (Up Two)
4: Fernando Martinez IBF Champion 9 Pts
    Junto Nakatani WBO Champion (Unranked)

1: Sunny Edwards IBF Champion 23 Pts
2: Jesse "Bam" Rodriguez WBO Champion 22 Pts (Unranked)
3: Julio Cesar Martinez WBC Champion 14 Pts (Down One)
4: Artem Dalakian WBA Champion 11 Pts (Down One)
5: David Jimenez 4 Pts (Down One)
Also Received Votes: Angel Ayala

Light Flyweights/Strawweights
1: Kenshio Teraji WBA/WBC Lt.Flywt  Champion 24 Pts
2: Jonathan Gonzalez WBO Lt.Flywt Champion 17 Pts
3: K.O. Freshmart WBA Strawwt Champion 11 Pts (Unranked)
4: Sivenathi Nothshinga IBF Lt.Flywt Champion 9 Pts (Up One)
5: C.P. Freshmart WBC Strawwt Champion 6 Pts (Unranked)
Also Received Votes: Oscar Collazo WBO Strawwt Champion, Carlos Canizales, Hekkie Budler, Masamichi Yabuki

Thursday, September 28, 2023

TRS Boxing Ratings: Part One

      The TRS boxing ratings are a bit overdue as I was waiting for one of the voters to get back to me but I haven't heard from them yet, so keep in mind that the points for this period will be from five voters, not the normal six.

Hopefully, this is only a temporary thing and will be back to normal next time.

1: Tyson Fury WBC Champion 25 Pts
2: Oleksander Usyk WBA/IBF/WBO Champion 20 Pts
3: Deontay Wilder 13 Pts
4: Anthony Joshua 12 Pts (Up One)
5: Zhilei Zhang 4 Pts (Unranked)
Also Received Votes: Andy Ruiz

1: Jai Opetaia IBF Champion 22 Pts
2: Yuniel Dorticos 19 Pts (Up One)
3: Mairis Bredis 13 Pts (Up One)
4: Badou Jack WBC Champion 9 Pts (Unranked)
5: Lawrence Okolie 4 Pts (Down Three)
Also Received Votes:  Chris Billam-Smith WBO champion, Richard Riakporhe, Arsen Goulamirian WBA Champion, Illunga Makabu,

Light Heavyweights
1: Artur Beterbiev WBC/IBF/WBO Champion 24 Pts
2: Dmitry Bivol WBA Champion 21 Pts (Down One)
3: Callum Smith 13 Pts (Up One)
4: Joshua Buatasi 5 Pts (Unranked)
    Gilberto Ramirez  
    Anthony Yarde (Down One)
Also Received Votes; Joe Smith

Super Middleweights
World Champion: Canelo Alvarez
1: David Benavidez 24 Pts
2: David Morrell 17 Pts (Up Two)
3: Demetrius Andrade 10 Pts (Up One)
4: Caleb Plant 8 Pts (Down Two) 
5: Christian Mbilli 7 Pts (Unranked)
Also Received Votes: John Ryder, Jaime Munguia, Billy Joe Saunders

1: Janibek Alimkhanuly WBO Champion 21 Pts (Up Two)
2: Carlos Adames 17 Pts (Upn Three)
3: Jermall Charlo WBC Champion 11 Pts (Down One)
4: Gennady Golovkin 10 Pts (Down Three)
5: Erislandy Lara WBA Champions 7 Pts (Unranked)
Also Received Votes: Liam Smith, Chris Eubank Jr., Michael Zerafa, Vincent Gualtieri IBF Champion

Junior Middleweights
World Champion: Jermell Charlo
1: Tim Tszyu 25 Pts (Up One)
2: Brian Mendoza 20 Pts (Unranked)
3: Magomed Kurbanov 12 Pts (Unranked)
4: Sebastian Fundora 9 Pts (Down Three)
5: Jesus Ramos 5 Pts (Unranked)
Also Received Votes:  Erickson Lubin, Brian Castano

World Champion: Terence Crawford
1: Jaron Ennis 22 Pts (Up Two)
2: Errol Spence 19 Pts (Down One)
3: Eimantis Stanionis 12 Pts (Up Two)
4: Vergil Ortiz 10 Pts
5: Yordenis Ugas 7 Pts (Unranked)
Also Received Votes: Cody Crowley, Keith Thurman

Junior Welterweights
1: Teofimo Lopez WBO Champion 24 Pts (Unranked)
2: Regis Prograis WBC Champion 18 Pts (Up One)
3: Jack Catterall 13 Pts (Down One) 
4: Subriel Matias IBF Champion 6 Pts (Unranked)
    Josh Taylor (Down Three)
Also Received Votes: Jose Ramirez, Arnold Barboza, Ryan Garcia,

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

I Tell Ya' Herbie

 I Tell Ya' Herbie is back with our weekly thoughts on college football.

I Tell Ya' Herbie:

                             I have to say I LOVE the idea produced and is circulating around the Group of Five schools and was promoted in an article by ESPN's Bill Connelly on bringing relegation to college football.

I don't think it has a large chance of happening but I really like thoughts of a title game and two other games that have next year's conference alignment at stake.

One of the things that attracted me to the English Premier League (once I picked a team etc.) was that the relegation system makes late-season games for bad teams mean something and nothing is more important than more money for playing in the best league.

I don't think relegation will ever hit American pro sports (mainly because cities would quit building sports palaces for teams that might be playing the Rochester Red Wings or Hershey Bears should hard times hit but I could see a form of relegation in college football eventually.

I Tell Ya Herbie:

                            I'm hearing and reading that Ryan Day was an awful person for his post-time promo on Lou Holtz because Holtz is in his eighties and a one-time stroke victim.

I've already written about that in a previous post but Holtz's occasional media beefs and that of fellow octogenarian Lee Corso did make me think about what would be considered fair game for two former coaches and studio talking heads who are both older than our elderly current President and his almost as elderly likely challenger.

Holtz and Corso are paid to offer opinions on football.

Both should be held accountable for those opinions as any other commentator and their age and health history should be beside the point.

If either man or their supporters think that their age makes them immune to criticism due to their age, then perhaps it is time for both to step aside from the pundit circuit.

I Tell Ya' Herbie:

                             Maryland is undefeated and will face Ohio State next Saturday in what could be the biggest Maryland game in years, should they remain unbeaten.

While Indiana doesn't appear to be a threat, needing four overtimes last week to defeat Akron, the Hoosiers might be the perfect trap opponent as the Terrapins look forward to traveling to Columbus.

Maryland trailed Charlotte at the half, was tied with Virginia and neither team is going to be confused with a contender in their conference.

I Tell Ya' Herbie:

                             One of the weekend's anticipated games is Kansas visiting Texas in a battle of Big 12 unbeaten and could be setting up for Texas to be surprised should they be looking forward to the following week's game against rival Oklahoma.

Lance Leipold's job in making the Jayhawks even competent from the lows of the previous decade in only three seasons ranks with the best coaching jobs and if the Jayhawks could somehow pull a massive upset, Leipold might be able to write his ticket for any open job of his choice.

I think Texas at home should win this game but at this stage, nothing that Lance Leipold could pull off would really surprise me.

I Tell Ya' Herbie:

                            I can foresee a scenario where the Pac-12 gets two teams in the CFP and the SEC gets none.

Unlikely but if LSU loses a game but wins the SEC West and would then upset Georgia in the SEC title game followed by the Oregon-Washington winner (October 14) running the table and the loser doing the same or USC winning every game with the Oregon-Washington winner only losing to USC, it's possible that could happen.

I doubt it because the Pac-12 is so deep and Georgia would have to look very vulnerable in finishing with one loss but still, it's not impossible.

Cleaning out the Inbox: Passings

    Fortunately, there haven't been as many passings lately to write tributes for (which is always a good thing) so this post has taken a while to be completed.

Goodbye to Henry Boucha at the age of 72.

Known as "the Chief" for his Native American heritage and the headband that he wore on the ice in the helmetless age of the NHL, Boucha was the offensive star for the United States national team that grabbed a surprising silver medal in the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan.

Boucha scored thirty-three goals for Detroit in his first two seasons in the NHL before being traded to the Minnesota North Stars for Danny Grant before the 1974-75 season.

Boucha was in the midst of his first season with the North Stars before the incident that ruined his career when he was beaten by the stick of Dave Forbes of the Boston Bruins which resulted in a broken orbital bone and blurred vision that never cleared for Boucha.

Boucha attempted brief comebacks with the WHA's Minnesota Fighting Saints and the then-Kansas City Scouts in the 1975-76 season but would retire after nine games in 1976 with the Colorado Rockies.

Boucha would spend much of his post-hockey life working on Native American issues and causes.

Goodbye to Paul Roach at the age of 95.

Roach was a legend in Wyoming football history as their athletic director and head football coach, all happening after his tenure in the pros as an assistant with the Raiders, Packers, and Broncos.

Roach was hired as the Wyoming athletic director in 1986 and after Dennis Erickson left after one season to take the job at Washington State, Roach hired himself as the Cowboys head coach in 1987 despite being sixty years of age and never having held a head coaching job.

Roach would win the WAC title twice in his four years as head coach and would reach three bowls with the Cowboys finishing with a record of 35-15 in his stay in Laramie.

Roach would retain his job as the AD for six more years before retiring in 1996.

Goodbye to Phil Sellers at the age of 69.

"Phil The Thrill" was a second-team (1976) and a third-team (1975) All-American at Rutgers and was the leader of the 1975-76 edition of the Scarlet Knights that finished 32-0 and reached the only Final Four in school history before losing to Michigan in the semi-finals and then to UCLA in the consolation game.

Sellers averaged a double-double in his final year at Rutgers averaging nineteen points and ten rebounds a game as a 6'4 power forward with a game similar to that of Adrian Dantley.

Rutgers retired Sellers's jersey as one of only three ever retired by the school and to this day, Sellers is still the all-time scorer and rebounder at Rutgers.

Sellers was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in the third round of the 1976 draft and played one season there, averaging 4.5 points in 45 games in a transition to guard that Sellers admits was beyond his skills after a career at forward.

Goodbye to Mark Manges at the age of 67.

The Cumberland, Maryland native led Maryland to an undefeated season in 1976 and a berth in the Cotton Bowl at a time when ACC football was regarded as a cut below the other major conferences and did not have an automatic bid for their champion.

Maryland would lose to SWC champion Houston 30-21 in the Cotton Bowl but Maryland's season put Manges on the cover of Sports Illustrated during the 1976 campaign and made Manges a Heisman contender for 1977 as a senior.

Manges injured his hand early in 1977 and missed most of the season before being drafted by the Rams in the fourth round in the 1978 draft.

Manges was released by the Rams in camp and spent the season with the St.Louis Cardinals, where he would take one snap in the season finale before a brief period with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the CFL.

Goodbye to Bob Sheridan at the age of 79.

Known as the Colonel, Sheridan was the voice of Don King Productions when DKP was at the top of the boxing game and it was Sheridan behind the mic for so many great fights of the seventies and eighties for King's closed circuit broadcasts and later his pay per views.

Sheridan also called games of the Miami Hurricanes and Miami Dolphins, and in the 1980s when ESPN started their "Superbouts" series which replayed great fights of the past, Sheridan announced many of the episodes with voice-overs.

I have never cared for voice-overs of fights because they sound so rehearsed (which cannot be helped as the fight isn't live) and even during live fights, Sheridan could come off a bit campy and was a sort of forerunner for Showtime's Mauro Ranallo's style of calling boxing matches. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Boxing Challenge: Hitchins dominates Zepeda

    I forgot to post the other fight in last week's boxing challenge as Richardson Hitchins dominated former world title challenger Jose Zepeda in winning the DAZN junior welterweight main event from Orlando Florida.

Hitchins controlled the fight from the outside with his jab keeping Zepeda at bay and when Zepeda was able to get semi-close to Hitchins, Hitchins grabbed Zepeda, tied him up, and waited for the break.

That sums up this one as two judges scored Hitchins the winner at 120-108 (as I did) with the other giving Zepeda one round at 119-109.

Hitchins isn't an exciting fighter to watch but he is a very effective one and in a talent-laden junior welterweight division, Hitchins is a fighter that defines high risk and low reward for the champions and top contenders at 140 pounds.

As for Zepeda, he has reached the stage of his career where if he is going to be effective, he'll have to be matched against fighters who are willing to stand and fight with him as he simply isn't quick enough to chase down boxers that move.

Boxing Challenge 
TRS: 150 Pts (2)
Ramon Malpica: 137 Pts (2)
Vince Samano: 105 Pts (2) 

Monday, September 25, 2023

Browns bully Titans 27-3

     The Cleveland Browns had to wonder how they would respond in a short week after a heartbreaking loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The response was more than sufficient as the Browns pummelled the Tennessee Titans 27-3 by Lake Erie to improve to 2-1 on the season.

DeShaun Watson finished with 289 yards passing with two touchdowns with Amari Cooper catching seven passes for one hundred sixteen yards and one of the Watson touchdown passes.

Cleveland finished with five sacks with three and a half of those sacks from Myles Garrett alone.

Cleveland will host 2-1 Baltimore next Sunday before their off-week.

Brownie Bits

1)  The game could have been even more lopsided after one of the worst calls that you will see made against the Browns in the first half.

DeShaun Watson hit Amari Cooper down the sideline for what would be a twenty-five-yard gain and Cooper avoided the tackle try of Kristian Fulton and raced to the end zone uncontested.

But the whistle had blown as Cooper was ruled out of bounds after the catch.

Replays showed Cooper not only didn't step out of bounds, he wasn't even close to stepping out of bounds.

2) While the terrible call didn't cost the Browns the game in a 27-3 win, Cleveland would not score a touchdown on the drive, settling for a Dustin Hopkins field goal but it did cost DeShaun Watson a third touchdown pass and a three hundred yard passing day.

Watson showed a few signs out of the pocket from his days in Houston and he avoided the mistakes that cost the Browns so badly in Pittsburgh.

3) Much of that was due to an improved performance from the offensive line, who did allow three sacks of Watson but was much better than in their defeat in Pittsburgh.

Dawand Jones virtually eliminated the Titans' best pass rusher, Harold Landry, from the game, not allowing Landry a sack and only one solo tackle.

They may not have been perfect but their effort allowed DeShaun Watson to relax and perhaps for the first time as a Brown, allow the game to come to him rather than act out of impatience.

4) Kareem Hunt did play after being signed earlier in the week, carrying five times for thirteen yards, and while Hunt's numbers were far from outstanding, simply having the faith of Kevin Stefanski to see the field after only a few days of practice is a good thing and shows that Hunt is entering the season in good shape despite missing training camp.

5) It didn't hurt the Browns but the reviews on the first game for a Nick Chubbless running back group were very mixed.

Jerome Ford did catch a touchdown pass and ran for another score but his rushing numbers were a tiny nineteen yards on ten carries, the most for any Brown.

Pierre Strong's twenty-seven yards on six carries led the Cleveland ground game.

6) And then there was the Cleveland defense, which notched its third dominant game in as many outings.

Cleveland held the Titans to 94 yards of total offense, sacked Ryan Tannehill five times, and Derrick Henry to only twenty rushing yards on eleven carries.

Dominance in the numbers and on the field.

7) The key play of the game was late in the first half, with the Browns leading 13-3 but Tennessee was in the Cleveland red zone without a timeout.

Ryan Tannehill has a shot at the end zone and knows he has to go to the end zone because anything in-bounds will end the half with Tennessee getting zero points for the drive.

Myles Garrett runs over his man, Tannehill doesn't have the slightest chance of getting rid of the ball and Mike Vrabel starts walking to the locker room, not even trying to get his field goal team on the field.

The game was only 13-3 but you could sense Tennessee had the life taken from them.

8) Tennessee's second-half possession is as follows; punt, punt, punt, punt, end of game.

Tennessee didn't gain more than nineteen yards on any possession in the second half and didn't run more than six plays on any of those possessions.

9) Myles Garrett must have heard the talk after the Steeler loss comparing him to T.J. Watt and not favorably so.

While Watt is a more consistent player, Garrett's peak games might be better than those of Watt but those don't appear every week.

Garrett had one of those games this week and he just wrecked every Titan in his wake.

At his best, Myles Garrett can be the best pass rusher in the league, he just needs to play that way more often.

10)  Now the Browns will host Baltimore, who were upset in overtime at home by the Colts, who were playing Gardner Minshew at quarterback.

That's a really ugly loss and Baltimore will come to town ready for redemption.
Cleveland needs the win going into their bye week as they will be hosting San Francisco, who looks as strong as any team in the league through the three weeks following the off week.

Cleveland is the only team in the league with four home games in their first five games and at minimum need to be 3-2, so in order to have no pressure against San Francisco, a win against the Ravens is a must.

Baltimore hasn't dazzled in their wins over Houston and Cincinnati and today's loss to Indianapolis is a bad one but they will be ready as they always are for the Browns.

It should be a good one.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Ohio State nudges past Notre Dame 17-14!

     Chip Trayanum burrowed his way into the end zone with one second to play to give the Ohio State Buckeyes a 17-14 win over the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame in South Bend in a game that will be remembered for a long time by both teams and their fans.

Kyle McCord finished with 240 yards and notched his name into Buckeye history with a final drive that saw him throw for third or fourth down conversions three times.

TreVeyon Henderson finished with 104 yards rushing with sixty-one on a third-quarter touchdown gallop with Emeke Egbuka leading the receivers with seven catches for ninety-six yards.

Ohio State improves to 4-0 and will have next Saturday off before playing currently undefeated Maryland in two weeks,

Olentangy Offerings

1) Jim Ross used to call particularly intense matches in pro wrestling as "one of the most physical battles etc...." and that phrase came to mind watching this game as both teams pounded away at each other with offenses that may not have been terrific but with power.

The hitting was hard and the grit was through the roof, so that's what one loves to see from high-level college football.

2) Ryan Day may have given Buckeye fans what they have been looking for with his post-game comments with NBC's Kathryn Tappen (more on that later) but his play calling again ranged from great to questionable.

His going for it in this first half rather than kicking a field goal made the game-winning drive more stressful than it had to be and I wondered about his play call on 4th and one with a jet sweep with Emeka Egbuka.

Day talked about toughness after the game which I liked but with the game possibly on the line, Day rolled the die with a finesse play.

3) The winning touchdown drive by Kyle McCord was one that no matter how McCord's career plays out will make him a player memorable to Ohio State fans.

McCord's cool demeanor allowed him to convert two third downs, including a third and nineteen to move the ball to the Notre Dame one and a fourth down on the final drive to give OSU the win.

I wouldn't say that McCord has taken away every worry about the offense but he did come through when Ohio State needed him most.

4) The forgotten play might be Kyle McCord hitting Julian Fleming for exactly seven yards on a fourth and seven.

McCord put the ball exactly where he needed to and give Julian Fleming credit for driving forward against the Notre Dame tackler because where Fleming caught the ball, he needed to push past the defender to be assured of reaching the first down line.

5) Some of the reasons that Notre Dame began to wear down the Buckeye defense was the amount of time that the defense was on the field in the second half.

Ohio State had only two possessions in the third quarter and one of those drives lasted only one play when TreVeyon Henderson ran sixty-one yards for a touchdown.

When a physical team like Notre Dame has the ball for that much time, any defense will wear down a bit.

6) Still, the Ohio State defense stood tall against Sam Hartman and looked very good for most of the game.

They didn't force turnovers but for the most part, they made the stops when they needed to (with the exception of the last Irish score) and it is easy to be generally happy for the defense.

7) And the final drive never happens if the defense doesn't step up and stop Notre Dame on five plays shortly after Ohio State was stopped on a fourth and one.

Sam Hartman hit Rico Flores for a twelve-yard gain on first down and Aurdic Estime ran for eleven on the next play, and it wasn't unrealistic to think one more first down could put Ohio State against the wall and two could mean never touching the ball again.

8) Instead, the Buckeyes dropped Sam Hartman for a loss of five, J.T.Tuimolau blew up a Hartman screen pass, almost intercepted the ball, and he would have walked into the end zone then and there for a score before stopping a run play for three yards to force a punt.

9) In the first half, Chip Trayanum was barreling over the Irish, and with a third and goal from the one, Trayanum came out and Miyan Williams came in and was stopped cold.

Ryan Day decided to go for it and Kyle McCord's pass was incomplete, leaving the Buckeyes with nothing to show for a strong drive.

10) My issue with Ryan Day's playcalling in clutch situations is this- all too often the play he calls on third down suits fourth down better and vice versa.

Take the example of number nine, the time to catch the defense off guard when they expect a run and have Kyle McCord throw is on third down and on fourth down, when the defense has to count for any possibility, that's when you slam the ball at them.

11) The short yardage game needs some work, failing on two fourth and one opportunities, and making the Chip Trayanum game-winner much closer than it had to be, especially against what proved to be only ten Irish defenders.

You can bet your Buckeye that Penn State, Michigan, and Wisconsin are watching the Buckeye struggles in short yardage and taking notes.

12)  Marvin Harrison Jr. injured his ankle in the third quarter but did return to the game after checking out medically.

Harrison did move the chains with a diving catch for nineteen yards on the final drive but I'm glad that Buckeyes have an off week next Saturday to give Harrison some time to hopefully return his ankle to the lineup.

13) Finally, the Ryan Day promo to Kathryn Tappen.

Day was fired up by something former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz had said earlier in the week, picking Notre Dame because Ohio State was always soft in the clutch.

Day got pretty emotional about Holtz's comments and discussed his teams' toughness along with the doubts that some in the media have had on the topic.

Ryan Day hasn't always been easily accepted by the fanbase as someone from outside of Ohio as the head coach and his rant has to be embraced by Buckeye fans.

I understand why he is sensitive to the criticism of the program's perceived toughness and it has to feel good to win a game than came down to toughness to a degree.

14) I really liked the Notre Dame green jersey and like it better than their regular navy blue version.

Wish the Irish would consider using them more often.

15)  All things considered, this wasn't the smoothest game ever or the biggest win but it might rank near the top for Ryan Day, and it might be a win that helps a young team gain confidence in themselves for a road win against a top ten rated team.

How important it eventually becomes will play out over the season but it was a win that Ohio State needed for their state of mind and for the perception of the program.

Boxing Challenge: Zhang Poleaxes Joyce

     Joe Joyce made the case after his loss to Zhilei Zhang that Zhang never hurt him and it was only the swelling of his right eye that cost Joyce a victory as Joyce was wearing Zhang down and would have finished him late as Joyce did to Daniel DuBois and Joseph Parker.

Joyce will be unable to make a similar case after being knocked out by Zhang in the third round of their London rematch with a brutal right hook that sent Joyce to the floor and unable to beat the count.

Joyce looked like he tried some things in the first round to get around the southpaw stance of Zhang but he didn't solve anything and Zhang landed some thudding lefts and the right hook that would end the fight began to be a factor in the second.

Zhang controlled the third round and with seconds remaining, Zhang landed a straight left that led Joyce into a crunching right hook that sent Joyce to the floor to be counted out after the bell rang.

Joyce couldn't be saved by the bell and it didn't matter as he couldn't get up in time anyway, so Zhang is in line for a potential 2024 shot at Oleksandr Usyk, although he called out Tyson Fury after the fight and that is more intriguing to me on matchup alone.

While I could see Usyk outboxing the lumbering Zhang and taking an easy decision, Tyson Fury might be a different story.

It's true, that Fury has the boxing skills to easily outpoint Zhang but I don't think as highly of Fury's chin as many do. While Zhang isn't the puncher that Deontay Wilder is, Zhang has the size and body frame to bang with Fury in the trenches that other Fury opponents have lacked, which may render Fury's tactic of leaning and lying on the opponent to wear them down obsolete.

You would favor Fury, of course, but I must admit I'd give Zhang a chance of pulling the upset, and I would like to see how Fury fares against an opponent of similar height and weight.

As for Joe Joyce, I'd say his future isn't bright at 38, his second loss in a row, and for a fighter that has relied on his chin taking punches to wear the opponent out, being knocked out takes away some of his invulnerability.

I'm not willing to say Joyce is through, it could be that he just can't figure out Zhilei Zhang, and things like that in boxing have happened before but Joyce will need to be matched carefully to rebuild his confidence and there may be some money still with opponents inside the U.K. but one more loss would be the end of the line for Joyce as a plausible contender.

Boxing Challenge

TRS: 148 Pts (2) 
Ramon Malpica: 135 Pts (2)
Vince Samano: 103 Pts (2)

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Boxing Challenge

     The boxing challenge will have only the main events of two cards as the sport waits for next weekend's Canelo Alvarez's title defense against Jermell Charlo.

ESPN+ is live in the afternoon from the UK with a heavyweight rematch that may see the winner gain an eventual championship chance as Zhilei Zhang of China attempts to keep his minor WBO title and more importantly his spot as the eventual WBO mandatory challenger against Joe Joyce, who formerly held that position.

"The Juggernaut" Joyce had looked indestructible in his wins over Daniel DuBois and former WBO champion Joseph Parker as Joyce took the best shots from both fighters and wore them down in late-round knockout victories before losing to Zhang as the heavy favorite.

Zhang hit Joyce with every jab that he threw, closing Joyce's right eye, and forcing a stoppage in round six.

Joyce activated his rematch clause and should he win, he would be back into the slot that was in before the first fight- holding a minor WBO title and back in line as a future mandatory challenger for Oleksandr Usyk.

Should Joyce lose, however, Joyce might never receive a title shot at his age (38), and even with only two losses, Joyce could be headed to heavyweight purgatory.

Zhang had no choice but to take the contractually obligated rematch but Zhang is even older than Joyce at forty, and a defeat would cost him all that his victory had given him.

I had Zhang ahead by one point at the time of the stoppage, so it's not unreasonable to think Joyce could reverse the result but Joyce will have to change tactics to reduce the jab that closed his eye in the first fight.

Joyce has the better chin, as Zhang was hurt badly in his draw with Jerry Forrest, and Joyce is at least the equal if not better puncher, so I can see Joyce winning- if he can make Zhang miss even a little with the jab

It may come down to that one factor- can Joyce avoid the right jab of Zhang?

Over on DAZN on a Matchroom card from Orlando, Florida, the main event will be a junior welterweight ten-rounder with durable former world title challenger Jose Zepeda battling unbeaten prospect Richardson Hitchins, who is taking his leap into contention against world-class opponents.

Zepeda has lost three times with all three defeats against former world champions (Terry Flanagan, Jose Ramirez, and Regis Prograis)  and took a pounding from Prograis, who stopped Zepeda for the first time in his career, in the eleventh to win the vacant WBC title.

Zepeda won an easy decision over journeyman Neeraj Goyat in his only fight since the Prograis loss.

Hitchins has an excellent jab and will base his gameplan around smacking Zepeda from the outside with the jab but Hitchins has fought no one near Zepeda's quality.

Hitchins isn't a big puncher but it will be interesting to see how Zepeda takes punishment after losing in brutal fashion to Regis Prograis.

I lean toward Hitchins here based on style and some concerns about Zepeda possibly being past his best days but Hitchens has never been tested and if Zepeda is in form, this could be an excellent fight.

Boxing Challenge

Heavyweights.12 Rds 
Zhilei Zhang vs Joe Joyce
Ramon Malpica: Zhang KO 5
TRS: Zhang KO 9
Vince Samano: Zhang KO 6

Junior Welterweights  10 Rds
Jose Zepeda vs Richardson Hitchins
All: Hitchins Unanimous Decision

Friday, September 22, 2023


   The PPM is back after a strong week in college but a lesser week on the NFL side.

Last Week: 10-6 
Overall: 31-11

Ohio State over Notre Dame 30-24
Texas Tech over West Virginia 34-24
Boise State over San Diego State 30-21
N.C. State over Virginia 26-17
Oregon State over Washington State 36-32
Georgia Southern over Ball State 29-14
Ohio U. over Bowling Green 17-13
Tennessee over UTSA 32-17
LSU over Arkansas 34-20
Colorado State over Middle Tennessee State 31-26

Games of the Week
Oregon over Colorado 45-17
Utah over UCLA 27-17

Browns over Titans 17-10
Vikings over Chargers 34-31

Games of the Week
Eagles over Buccaneers 31-14
Packers over Saints 24-21


Thursday, September 21, 2023

I Tell Ya Herbie

    We are back for another edition of I Tell Ya Herbie, our weekly bootful of thoughts and notes from the world of college football.

Also, I have gotten one note about the gentleman to the right- Super Toe and I plan on a future post on the long (or short) range kicking toy of the 1970s!

I Tell Ya Herbie:

                           I wouldn't go as far as to say that I am all-in as a believer in the Deion Sanders experience in Boulder with the Colorado Buffaloes but I will say this, no matter if you are rooting for or against the Buffs, they are a fun team to watch.

Colorado's wild double-overtime comeback win over rival Colorado State may have been aided by a meltdown by the Rams but Colorado has been fun to watch win or lose and even though I believe that the wheels are about to come off as Colorado plays Oregon this week and without Travis Hunter, the Buffaloes are still worth watching.

I Tell Ya Herbie:

                            I'm not sure who Michigan State hires to replace Mel Tucker but that job isn't nearly as attractive as it could have been in the past.

The Spartans will be playing in an even tougher Big Ten next season with the new teams arriving and adding in what seems to be some sort of scandal every few years, Michigan State, while still a very desirable job, may not be what it once was.

I Tell Ya Herbie:

                            Mel Tucker may not be very smart or at least did a very dumb thing on his phone sex charges but one thing cannot be denied- Michigan State jumped on an opportunity to prove their commitment to the treatment of women in the workplace after their past issues with Larry Nassar in the athletic department but even more important (to them) was having the chance to shed themselves of the ridiculous contract that they signed Tucker to of their own making.

Michigan State signed Tucker to a ridiculous ten-year, ninety-five million dollar contract in 2021 when Tucker won his first eight games in East Lansing that most people thought was a premature extension for much more than a relatively unproven head coach should have been signed for.

Tucker's teams are 10-9 since the extension and it's no secret that Michigan State would have loved a reason to get out from under that contract.

Tucker's behavior may have answered Michigan State's prayers.

I Tell Ya Herbie:

                            Has the year finally arrived for the mighty SEC to not be the best conference in college football?

While Georgia is ranked first, Alabama appears to be in the midst of a down year, LSU has lost to Florida State in a game that wasn't close, Tennessee was pounded by Florida, the same Florida that was punished by Utah, and other than Missouri's surprising win over Kansas State with a sixty-one-yard field goal at the gun, the league lacks a big non-conference win.

It is possible at this point that both the Pac 12 and Big Ten could be better than the SEC by the end of the year.

I Tell Ya Herbie:

                           The Mountain West looks to be the best league in the Group of Five and this past week proved it in losses along with wins as Colorado State almost stunned Colorado in a double overtime loss and Wyoming gave Texas all they wanted in Austin two weeks after the Cowboys upset Texas Tech.

Fresno State shut out Arizona State 29-0 in Tempe, two weeks after beating Purdue on the road, UNLV knocked off SEC member Vanderbilt on the last play of the game, and that is before counting the two usual powers of the league in Boise State and San Diego State.

The Mountain may not grab the G-5 bid to a New Years Bowl but they look to be the best of the group at this stage of the season. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Browns sign Kareem Hunt

  The Cleveland Browns had been rumored to be considering trades for running backs to try to replace Nick Chubb after his catastrophic injury on Monday night.

And while no matter who would be added to the roster, very few could be expected to approach the production that Nick Chubb provided other than maybe holdout Indianapolis runner Jonathan Taylor, and Taylor could be far too expensive for a team that has spent three years on first-round draft picks on DeShaun Watson.

The Los Angeles Rams have reportedly shopped Cam Akers around the league but Akers's injury history and spotty production would have been a risk for more than a late-round pick.

Akers would be traded with a 2025 seventh-rounder to Minnesota for a 2025 sixth-round later in the day.

But the back that made the most sense was living in the area, knew the offensive system, and would cost the Browns money instead of draft picks, so Cleveland signed veteran Kareem Hunt to a contract for the remainder of the season for what could be up to four million.

Hunt rushed for 468 yards and caught thirty-five passes last season as the primary support for Nick Chubb and he'll be backing up Jerome Ford and possibly Pierre Strong on the backfield depth chart.

Hunt was never the back for the Browns that he had been in Kansas City but he was a solid performer and on a team with Nick Chubb, Hunt was never going to be given the carries that he did as a Chief to match those statistics.

I would say this about the signing, if the Browns and their fans are realistic about their expectations for Kareem Hunt, this could help the team in their time of need.

At 28, Hunt still runs with power and breaks tackles well with the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, so Hunt isn't washed up by any means but he doesn't have the speed that he once did and he has never been a runner that has been known for his speed.

Kareem Hunt is a signing that builds the depth behind Jerome Ford and may be able to allow Ford to take the occasional breather on the sidelines.

However, should Hunt be placed in the lineup for an extended period of time in the event of a Ford injury, I'm not sure how long Hunt would hold up or how effective he might be as a full-time back.

Hunt may not be a high-reward signing but under the circumstances, he is at least low-risk and a popular choice with the fan base.

Hopefully, the Browns will have the luxury of parceling out his snaps and will not have to hope that Hunt can carry the load as an every-down player.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Browns lose Nick Chubb in Steeler loss

   The Cleveland Browns defense did its job and other than one play deserved to win.

Instead, the Browns received awful play from most of their offense, handed Pittsburgh two of their three touchdowns, and even worse, looks to have lost Nick Chubb for the season to a devastating knee injury in a 26-22 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh.

Nick Chubb rushed for sixty-four yards on ten carries before his knee injury and the Browns received 106 yards with a receiving touchdown from his replacement Jerome Ford.

DeShaun Watson finished the game at a mediocre twenty-two of forty for 235 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Cleveland falls to 1-1 with the loss and will host the Tennessee Titans next week in Cleveland.

Brownie Bits

1) Before I get into the game and the many criticisms, I don't always feel bad for players when they are injured. 

Of course, I don't wish for them to be injured but injuries are part of the game and most players are paid well to play.

However, Nick Chubb is a player that does everything right.

Chubb plays hard, leaves all on the field, is a team player, and you hear nothing negative about him off the field.

He's exactly the type of player that you want representing your team and to suffer an injury to the same knee that needed major reconstruction at Georgia at minimum makes him unlikely to return in a similar manner as he has performed thus far in his career, well I feel bad for Nick Chubb and wish him the best in his recovery.

He deserves all the thoughts that he's been receiving all night.

2) Now the Browns have claimed to be "All In" this season, should the Browns consider trading for Indianapolis running back Jonathan Taylor?

Depends on the cost as the Browns have the previous two drafts and next year's first-rounder gone to Houston for DeShaun Watson and would have to move their 2025 first-rounder.

Can Cleveland afford to lose four first-round picks in a row?

3) Jerome Ford played very well in replacing Nick Chubb but he didn't look great in short yardage and there is only Pierre Strong behind Ford.

Could the Browns make an overture to Kareem Hunt, who is still available, it would make sense but Hunt and the Browns didn't part on great terms it seems.

4) DeShaun Watson wasn't good.


I won't fault Watson for either of Pittsburgh's defensive touchdowns as Harrison Bryant should have caught the ball that ricocheted to Alex Highsmith on the first play of the game and Watson was crunched from the blind side and never saw Highsmith coming on the play that decided the game as T.J. Watt grabbed the loose ball and scored the winning touchdown.

5) But otherwise, I saw very little to get excited about other than a few good throws and there weren't more than a smattering of those.

Watson's inaccuracy was almost Mayfeldesque and he never seemed comfortable all evening.

I'm not sure if the problem is DeShaun Watson or his fit into Kevin Stefanski's system or both but one thing is for sure- If this is the player that the Browns are paying sixty-five million in each of the next two seasons and mortgaged the franchises draft picks for, someone is going to pay with their job and it better be the whole damn bunch.

Not only one of DePodesta, Berry, and Stefanski- ALL of them.

6) While I'm running out of patience as some continue to excuse Watson's play last season and this, the one break that I can give him is the offensive line has been unable to protect him.

Andrew Berry has invested big money into Watson's protection and while Joel Bitonio and Wyatt Teller were fine and rookie Dawand Jones was decent enough for his first pro start against T.J. Watt, Jedric Wills was terrible and seemed to give up after he was beaten and Ethan Pocic was called twice for holding penalties.

7) Considering the money the Browns are paying out, even a strong pass-rushing team like Pittsburgh shouldn't have collected six sacks, and without Watson's mobility, the total could have been in double digits.

From what I saw against Pittsburgh, a concrete statue of Bob's Big Boy might be a better option at left tackle than Jedric Wills.

8) Amari Cooper deserves kudos for his seven catches for ninety yards considering that he was playing with a groin injury that appeared to have kept him out of the lineup as late as Monday afternoon.

Cooper made a key catch in the fourth quarter that had Watson not fumbled on the drive, might have been the talk of Cleveland.

Not bad from a guy that wasn't going to play.

9) The Cleveland defense gave the Browns every chance to win this game.

Other than the blown coverage on a 75-yard touchdown by George Pickens (and boy am I glad Andrew Berry was scared off by his "character" questions), you could not ask for more than the defense did in this game.

10) The Pickens score was the only touchdown allowed by the defense and they confused Kenny Pickett throughout the game.

11) I have one thing that I cling to from this game.

Pittsburgh has tied their future to Kenny Pickett and he looks pretty pedestrian to me as the Steelers quarterback for the next few years at least.

I'm pretty sure on this one, Pittsburgh isn't going to be able to win every game like they did this one, and sooner or later, this will bite the Steelers.

Watching the Browns and their parade of below-average quarterbacks, I like to think I know what a bad quarterback looks like, Pittsburgh may have one.

12) Grant Delpit intercepted a pass (although he fumbled it out of bounds) and continued his strong play and the secondary played well all around other than the one big play.

13) I could add even more and maybe I will later in the week but the Browns season looks to be in big trouble at 1-1 when they could have jumped to a large advantage over Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.

With a questionable quarterback, their top offensive weapon out for the year, little depth behind him, and an expensive offensive line that is offering the type of pass protection that one would expect from security at the local Dollar Tree, the Browns will play their next three games at home against Tennessee, Baltimore, and San Francisco.

Any less than winning two of those three games and the Browns season could be behind the eight-ball with twelve games to go.

This loss was that bad...

Monday, September 18, 2023

Boxing Challenge: Teraji, Nakatani retain titles

   Early Monday morning in the United States on ESPN+, two champions retained their titles in Tokyo, Japan against solid but overmatched opposition.

In the main event, Kenshiro Teraji kept his WBA and WBC junior flyweight titles with a ninth-round knockout of former strawweight and light flyweight champion Hekkie Budler.

Budler did reasonably well in the early going as he was very aggressive and managed to back Teraji up in the first two rounds.

Teraji started to turn the tide in the third when his counters started to find their mark against the rushes of Budler, who never stopped coming forward but was less effective by the round and was hampered by a damaged right eye

Teraji stung Budler late in the ninth with a strong right and jumped on the hurt veteran along the ropes, throwing punches until Budler appeared almost ready to go down with the referee ending the fight to allow the brave former champion to end the fight on his feet.

Teraji mentioned and is expected to make a unification match next with WBO champion Jonathan Gonzalez, which was scheduled for earlier this year with Gonzalez falling out of the fight when he caught pneumonia two weeks before the fight.

In the co-feature, Junto Nakatani made a successful first defense of his WBO junior bantamweight title with a unanimous decision win over veteran Argi Cortes.

Cortes gave WBC champion and future Hall of Famer Juan Francisco Estrada a difficult fight in 2022 but he struggled against the taller Nakatani, who knocked Cortes down twice in the fifth round and once in the ninth with bodywork.

Give Cortes credit for hanging tough enough to last the distance and battling through several rocky periods but Nakatani was easily the winner by scores of  119-106 (X 2) and 118-107.

I scored Nakatani a 119-106 winner as well.

Rumors are flying of a possible unification match between Estrada and WBA champion Kazuto Ioka and Nakatani would be interested in the winner, especially if Ioka would emerge with two titles as Ioka held the same WBO title that Nakatani holds but gave it up to face then-WBA champion Joshua Franco in a rematch of a 2021 draw rather than face Nakatani in what would draw a large gate in Japan.

Boxing Challenge

TRS:  146 Pts (3)
Ramon Malpica: 133 Pts (2)
Vince Samano: 101 Pts (3)  

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Boxing Challenge: Zepeda rolls over Gesta

   The Saturday main event from Golden Boy/DAZN from Commerce, California listed lightweight contender William Zepeda as a prohibitive favorite over Mercito Gesta in their twelve-round battle.

Prohibitive may have been too close to describe Zepeda's destructive domination as he backed Gesta up from the opening bell, firing both quantity and quality punches to the head and body with Gesta often trapped along the ropes, reserved to only throw an occasional punch to try to stave off the Zepeda attack.

Those attempts had the success of a fly against a window- it may connect but it's not hurting the window.

And midway through the sixth round, Gesta's corner decided that they had seen enough and gave their man an honorable surrender after five and a half rounds of a brutal mismatch that proved only that Zepeda is ready to face the best of the division to see how he sizes up against those at the top.

The problem for Zepeda is that Golden Boy doesn't have a top-level lightweight to face Zepeda to see how good he is unless Ryan Garcia could be convinced to return to lightweight, which is unlikely due to Garcia's issues making 135 pounds and Zepeda being the definition of high risk, low reward for Garcia, who is coming back from his first loss.

Zepeda is ranked second by the WBA but should Devin Haney give up that tile, Gervonta Davis will likely be promoted from minor champion and defend against the WBA number one contender Isaac Cruz in a rematch of their 2021 fight.

The WBC has Zepeda ranked fifth and he was offered a chance at Shakur Stevenson for the vacant title but he was unavailable as he had the Gesta fight signed that took precedence.

In the IBF rankings, Zepeda is sixth ( the IBF currently lacks a number one) but each of the contenders ahead of him are affiliated elsewhere, George Kambosos and Vasyl Lomachenko (Top Rank) Cruz (PBC), and Maxi Hughes (Matchroom).

The WBO ranks Zepeda seventh behind Lomachenko, Cruz, Stevenson, Denys Baranchyk, Angel Fierro, and Frank Martin.

I don't know if Baranchyk has an American promoter, Martin is with PBC, and Fierro is with Matchroom, so maybe DAZN's involvement with Golden Boy and Matchroom could help make an exciting All-Mexico battle that I would favor Zepeda to win.

Zepeda overwhelmed Gesta with volume and I wonder how effective he would be against the division's best.

Zepeda has been knocked down in the past and while I wouldn't say that his chin is vulnerable, I would say that I wonder how his chin will hold up against better fighters than he has been fighting in his career.

One thing that I will say about William Zepeda is this- whenever he receives the chance against a top opponent, Zepeda is going to leave everything in the ring.

Boxing Challenge

TRS:  143 Pts (1)
Ramon Malpica: 131 Pts (2)
Vince Samano: 98 Pts (1)  

Ohio State crunches Western Kentucky

   Kyle McCord celebrated his first start as the designated first-team quarterback by throwing three touchdown passes as the Ohio State Buckeyes blew out the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 63-10 at Ohio Stadium.

Marvin Harrison Jr. caught five passes for one hundred twenty-six yards, one of the catches a seventy-five-yard touchdown and Emeka Egbuka caught two touchdowns out of his four scores.

TreVeyon Henderson rushed for eighty-eight yards with two touchdowns and the Buckeye defense scored two touchdowns on their side of the ball.

Ohio State improves to 3-0 and will travel to Notre Dame next Saturday night for their first season test against the Fighting Irish.

Olentangy Offerings

1)  Ryan Day announced earlier in the week that Kyle McCord had finally won the starting quarterback job over Devin Brown and the decision seemed to allow McCord to relax a bit.

McCord completed nineteen of twenty-three passes for over three hundred yards and three touchdowns and for the first time this season, looked comfortable and poised in the pocket.

2) McCord also played more than you would expect in a non-conference pummeling but that was more to get McCord extra snaps, which carries the risk of injury.

However, getting a quarterback who hasn't played that much in three years as many snaps as you can before the biggest game of the year to date is worth that risk.

3) Marvin Harrison Jr.'s seventy-five-yard touchdown catch and run showed why the numbers don't always matter and why he is still the nation's best wide receiver.

Give McCord credit for the throw but Harrison had five yards on the defensive back and it was just flawless how he shifted gears.

4) The offensive line protected Kyle McCord and later Devin Brown well in the game and the Hilltoppers finished with just one sack on the afternoon.

5) The Buckeyes scored thirty-five points in the second quarter and few teams can match that output but the thing that I liked best was getting the ball back with under a minute to go in the first half with Ryan Day throwing the ball to go for the throat of the Hilltoppers, ending with a fourteen-yard strike to Emeka Egbuka.

Day can be such a strong playcaller but tends to almost show mercy at times.

When Day is aggressive, Ohio State is tough to defeat!

6) Ohio State forced four turnovers, two interceptions, and two fumble recoveries and while Western Kentucky isn't a top team, they do move the ball and rank among the best offensive teams among the Group of Five level, which is very encouraging as far as my hopes for the defense.

7) I loved the physical play from the linebackers and secondary!

Denzel Burke and Jordan Hancock both delivered jarring hits that forced Western Kentucky fumbles that Ohio State recovered with Burke's hit resulting in a fumble recovery for a touchdown by Tyleik Williams.

8) TreVeyon Henderson has often been criticized for running "soft" but I have seen a difference this year with a willingness to put his shoulder down a bit more.

Perhaps that is due to the competition being smaller but Henderson is gaining a bit of physicality to his game, hope the trend continues.

9) The defensive breakout player so far has been defensive tackle Tyleik Williams, who made more impact than his fumble recovery in the end zone.

Williams finished with a sack, and a tackle for loss, and was in on seven tackles on the afternoon.

Williams is stuffing the run well and adding a pass rush up the middle from the interior line.

10) And now the preliminaries are over, it's on to Notre Dame and the conference schedule and even though the opener against Indiana is a league game, the feeling is that the real season starts next week in South Bend.

Things appear to be rounding into shape a bit but we will know far more after next Saturday!

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Lopez fends off Gonzalez

  In Corpus Christi, Texas (an underrated fight town by the way), Luis Alberto Lopez fended off the challenge of Joet Gonzalez to retain his IBF featherweight title by a unanimous decision

The scorecards were wider than I thought Gonzalez deserved at 118-110, 117-111, and 116-112, although I gave Lopez the narrow edge at 115-113.

Lopez started faster, putting many of the early rounds in the bank and causing bruising around both of the eyes of Gonzalez with sharper punches than those of the challenger.

Gonzalez did make a late charge to make the fight closer, winning four of the final five rounds but Lopez's earlier work was enough to win on my card and the fight clearly wasn't in question on the official slates.

I feel bad for Gonzalez, who was making his third and likely final try at a world title unless he works his way back to a title chance in the future and he may be doomed to a fate of being good enough to be a solid top ten boxer but missing that little something that puts him over the top to grab a championship.

Although let's be honest, Gonzalez had this shot fall into his lap being a Top Rank fighter at a time when Top Rank has two of the four featherweight champions in Lopez and WBO boss Robiesy Ramirez and looking for opponents in the 126-pound division.

As for Lopez, who defended his title for the second time, his mandatory isn't due yet and he may have a choice in unification fights with Ramirez and his WBO belt as a fellow Top Rank fighter and while WBA champion Leigh Wood and his challenger next month, former IBF champion Josh Warrington, are signed with Matchroom, the companies worked together before when Lopez dethroned Warrington last year, Lopez is known in the UK after his wins over Warrington and Michael Conlan, and should Warrington win, a rematch would be very viable.

Should Wood keep his title, Wood vs. Lopez would make sense but lacks the natural storyline of Lopez-Warrington II.

An interesting portion of the Top Rank/ESPN+ card was Timothy Bradley's trip to a judging seminar and Bradley stated- damage doesn't count in scoring pro boxing.

And it's not supposed to but unless you see something occur such as a headbutt for example, damage is accomplished through punches and it is not a reach to say that is fairly easy to see.

However, some fighters bruise up more than others and it's not always a fair way to judge who won or lost a fight but it can sway fans that don't watch the entire fight or watch the match closely and influence their thoughts on who deserved the win.

I don't think I learned anything that I didn't know from Bradley's visit but it did make me think a little about the above statement and perhaps that has a lot to do with the constant disagreements with jidgeing by fans.

The fight may be the same but the judges and the fans are looking at the fight from two different aspects of what is and isn't important.

Boxing Challenge

TRS: 142 Pts (1) 
Ramon Malpica: 129 Pts (1)
Vince Samano: 97 Pts (1)

Friday, September 15, 2023


  The PPM returns after a strong week two with another football weekend.

Last Week: 13-3
Overall: 21-5

Ohio State over Western Kentucky 45-20
Texas Tech over Tarleton State 43-14
Boise State over North Dakota 24-10
UTSA over Army 21-13
Wisconsin over Georgia Southern 38-21
N.C. State over VMI 39-10
Oregon State over San Diego State 30-21
Middle Tennessee State over Murray State 31-17
Michigan over Bowling Green 41-10
Arkansas over BYU 24-21

Games of the Week
West Virginia over Pitt 30-28
North Carolina over Minnesota 43-18

Browns over Steelers 24-14
Chargers over Titans 30-17

Games of the Week
Lions over Seahawks 28-17
Bengals over Ravens 27-21

Boxing Challenge

 The boxing challenge will be spread out over three days this week with bouts on Friday, Saturday, and Monday morning with three world titles and a top contender in action. 

Friday night on ESPN will be in Corpus Christi, Texas for Luis Alberto Lopez's defense of his IBF featherweight title against Joet Gonzalez.

Lopez won his world title on the road in England with a majority decision win over Josh Warrington in 2002 and defended it in May with another road victory, stopping Michael Conlan in the fifth round in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Gonzalez won his first twenty-three fights before being dominated by Shakur Stevenson in 2019 for the vacant WBO featherweight title and again by Emmanuel Navarrete in 2021 for the same title.

Both losses were by unanimous decision, so Gonzalez's chin is steady and his exciting 2022 split decision loss to Isaac Dogboe could have been given to either man but Gonzalez might be in his last try for a world title as he only has a decision win over Enrique Vivas in April since losing to Dogboe.

Saturday night, Golden Boy and DAZN are in Commerce, California with their exciting lightweight contender William Zepeda as he battles veteran Mercito Gesta in a twelve-rounder.

Both men have decisioned former junior lightweight champion Joseph Diaz in the last year but Zepeda looks to be a possible star and at least a top-notch action fighter at worst.

Gesta's win over Diaz was his second win in his two-fight comeback after taking three years off from boxing and while Gesta is a solid underdog, he is expected to make Zepeda work for the win and it should be an action fight.

ESPN+ takes back the spotlight Monday morning from Tokyo with two world title fights.

In the main event, Kenshiro Teraji will defend his WBA and WBC junior flyweight titles against former strawweight and WBA and IBF light flyweight king Hekkie Budler of South Africa.

Teraji has looked unstoppable in his three fights since his only loss to Masamichi Yabuki, which he immediately avenged with a third-round knockout to regain the WBC title that he lost to Yabuki.

Teraji then added the WBA title of countryman Hiroto Kyoguchi when Terajo stopped Kyoguchi in seven and Budler accepted a payment to step aside so Teraji could attempt to add another title in a unification fight against WBO boss Jonathan Gonzalez in April.

Gonzalez dropped out with an illness and Terajo stopped late replacement Anthony Olascuaga in nine rounds. 

Budler has won three straight since losing his titles to Hiroto Kyoguchi by tenth-round knockout in 2018 with the biggest win over former WBO champion Elwin Soto in Soto's native Mexico.

The co-feature will pit Junto Nakatani in the first defense of his WBO junior bantamweight title against Argi Cortes.

Nakatani defended the WBO flyweight title twice before moving up to win the vacant junior bantamweight title with a final-round knockout over a game Andrew Moloney of Australia to stamp him as a star on American television.

Cortes is best known for his surprisingly tough effort against Juan Francisco Estrada in losing a unanimous decision last year.

Boxing Challenge

IBF Featherweight Title. 12 Rds 
Luis Alberto Lopez vs. Joet Gonzalez
Ramon Malpica; Lopez KO 10
TRS: Lopez KO 6
Vince Samano: Lopez KO 8

Lightweights. 12 Rds
William Zepeda vs. Mercito Gesta
R.L:  Zepeda KO 9
TRS and V.S: Zepeda Unanimous Decision

WBA/WBC Light Flyweight Titles. 12 Rds
Kenshiro Teraji vs. Hekkie Budler
R.L: Teraji Unanimous Decision
TRS: Teraji KO 11
V.S: Teraji KO 7

WBO Junior Bantamweight Title. 12 Rds
Junto Nakatani vs. Argi Cortes
R.L: Nakatani KO 6
TRS: Nakatani KO 10
V.S: Nakatani KO 8