This weekend featured some interesting boxing and MMA action. Headlining the results was Manny Pacquiao’s victory over the defending super welterweight champion, Keith Thurman who had not lost a fight until Saturday.
Thurman entered the fight with Pacquiao as the WBA super welterweight title holder but the 40 year old Pacquiao not only knocked down the champ in the first round, he went on to win a split decision and add more hardware to his trophy case. The new champion was already the WBA welterweight champion and this was his 62nd win in 71 fights. For Thurman, this is an embarrassment of sorts. The only saving face is that he lost to one of the greatest fighters ever.
Leading up to the fight Thurman had declared that he would knock out Pacquiao before the sixth round was over and that would make the “PacMan” disappear. As in any sport, if you talk the talk you must walk the walk. There is nothing more annoying than a fighter who boasts about what he is going to do then goes out and lays an egg.
At least the former champion was humbled following the fight:
“I have an 0, I’m not afraid to let it go. If you can beat me, beat me. Manny Pacquiao beat me tonight.”
Thurman had been 29-0 with 22 knockouts and Pacquiao had given away 10 years in age in this bout. The seven losses Manny Pacquiao has suffered came at the hands of Jeff Horn, Floyd Mayweather, Juan Manuel Marquez, Timothy Bradley, Erik Morales, Medgoen Singsurat, and Rustico Torrecampo. All were by decision with the exception of a KO by Torrecampo, TKO at the hands of Singsurat, and a shocking knockout delivered by Marquez.
In the loss to Mayweather, Pacquiao had allegedly been dealing with a shoulder injury issue but went forward with the fight anyway. He lost the unanimous decision but there has never been a rematch. Mayweather continues to toy with ideas about fighting Conor McGregor again or another MMA fighter but what he should do is give the PacMan a rematch. The fans would crave for it and it would make both men much richer. That and I think Mayweather loses this time and suffers his first-ever pro defeat.
For the record, the scorecards from last Saturday night came in as: Dave Moretti and Tim Cheatham: 115-112, Glenn Feldman: 114-113. ESPN scored the fight Pacquiao 117-110 so not quite sure what fight these guys were watching or this is a case of ESPN being way off in the scoring. Pacquiao summed up his most recent triumph with these words:
“It was fun. My opponent is a good fighter and boxer. He was strong. Even though Thurman lost, he did his best. He's not an easy opponent. He's a good boxer, and he's strong. I was just blessed tonight.”
Spoken like a true champion.
Also on Saturday was the UFC on ESPN, Edwards vs. dos Anjos. The lineup looked good on paper but did not deliver in the Octagon at least in my opinion. The main event went to Edwards by a unanimous decision and he immediately called out Jorge Masvidal but the man who disposed of Ben Askren in five seconds and then opened a cut on Edwards backstage, shooed off the idea of that fight.
Walt Harris pulled a Masvidal like move and disposed of Aleksei Oleinik in just 12 seconds. The third fight down was yet another easy win for Greg Hardy who is acting like he believes he is talented. He is NOT.
Juan Adams was throwing some really good jabs that landed at Hardy then for some stupid reason, he decided to try for a takedown and had Hardy by the ankle as the former NFL player rained down on Adams with strikes some to the back of the head as Adams continued to just hold Hardy’s ankle without making any other effort.
Obviously but not defending and not moving, the fight was stopped just 45 seconds in. Adams protested the stoppage but he has no basis for this because when you just lay there and take strikes you are going to lose. But Hardy’s performance was FAR from impressive and as I’ve been saying, put him in there with a seasoned and well rounded fighter and he is going to get SMOKED. That day is coming believe you me.
Dan Hooker and James Vick appeared to be on paper the best fight on the card but instead, Hooker KOs Vick in the first round with a great strike. In one of the worst decisions I’ve seen a in a long time and maybe ever, Alexander Hernandez who just so happened to be from San Antonio where these fights took place, appears to have received a hometown decision when he defeated Francisco Trinaldo by unanimous decision in a bout that certainly had the look of a Trinaldo victory. Following the reading of the cards, Trinaldo was obviously upset and his team had to escort him from the Octagon.
In the old man veteran’s fight, Andrei Arlovski easily disposed of Ben Rothwell over three rounds in a decision and the former champion looked reborn in winning. There were seven fights on the preliminary card all ending in either unanimous or split decisions. The seven winners were: Alex Caceres, Raquel Pennington, Klidson Abreu, Jennifer Maia, Ray Borg, Mario Bautista and Felipe Colares. The losers were and are listed in the same order as the winners just mentioned as to who they lost to: Steven Peterson, Irene Aldana, “Smiling” Sam Alvey (and he was very upset thinking he got the win), Roxanne Modafferi, Gabriel Silva, Jin Soo Son, and Domingo Pilarte.
Jon Jones has been in trouble several times before legally. There was the infamous hit and run episode where he injured a young lady, then the PED suspensions. Now comes a story that reportedly took place this past April. Jones is being accused of choking a waitress in a New Mexico strip club and the allegation carries a misdemeanor battery charge if true.
Natrually the light heavyweight champ is vehemently denying the accusation, but according to the alleged victim, the MMA fighter put her in a chokehold and picked her up off the ground. The report continues to say that when told to stop, Jones instead continued. He is also being accused of slapping the waitress. The incident reportedly ended when Jones left on his own free will.
Believe it? Given his history it’s believable. Jon Jones is a scumbag and then tries to put on a nice guy front when standing before a camera but his spokesperson put this spin on the story today:
“Today, the media told Mr. Jones about a false accusation launched against him and that paperwork had been sent to an incorrect address. However, after receiving the documents from the press, Mr. Jones immediately went to pay the small fee, and he, and multiple witnesses, stand ready to factually refute the malicious lies being told about him to the public.”
As for Jones, his Twitter account had this posted today:
“I’m definitely not in any trouble my friend, don’t be so quick to believe everything you read on the Internet.”
Speaking of illicit activity, in the National Football League, wide receiver Tyreek Hill of the Kansas City Chiefs was being investigated for domestic violence specifically against his own son who is just three years old. The poor little boy’s arm was broken discovered in one of two trips Kansas City police had made to Hill’s home where he lives with is fiancé Crystal Espinal.
So the NFL has decided evidence does not support a suspension but the Kansas Department for Children and Families is reportedly still investigated. The child had been removed from the home but Espinal turned over to authorities a recording of a conversation she had with Hill while they were at an airport this after the child had suffered the injury. Hill’s remarks to her are disturbing and just based on this conversation, he ABSOLUTELY needs to be suspended:
Crystal Espinal: "He is terrified of you. And you say that he respects you, but it's not respect."
Tyreek Hill: "He respects me."
Crystal Espinal: "He is terrified of you."
Tyreek Hill: "You need to be terrified of me, too, bitch. That's why you can't keep a f*cking man."
Crystal Espinal: "He started crying & you were like, 'Shut up, shut up, stop crying, stop crying.'"
Tyreek Hill: "Right."
Crystal Espinal: "And then he kept crying because he was scared. He's terrified. You grabbed onto him somehow or he fell? 1 of the 2."
Tyreek Hill: "I didn't do nothing."
Crystal Espinal: "Then why does he say, 'Daddy did it.'? Why?"
Tyreek Hill: "He says Daddy does a lot of things."
Crystal Espinal: "A 3-year-old is not going to lie about what happened to his arm."
The tone of his speech to her is appalling. He should be ashamed of himself. Of course, today when he has been cleared his all apologetic but it’s not genuine.
"The last few months have been very difficult for me, especially as a father. The false allegations originally reported in March were highly publicized and involved the care of my son. I am grateful for so many thing and grateful for so many people who have supported me during this challenging time. I fully respect and accept the NFL's decision. To my children, my beautiful children: I love you all dearly and I promise you all that I will continue to strive to be the best father, the best friend, the best role model, and the best mentor that I can be.”
BULLSHIT. Incredibly, some NFL experts are attempting to accept the NFL’s decision. One of the biggest names in NFL reports is ESPN’s Adam Schefter and he had this so say:
“Keep in mind, that audio came on an 11-minute tape. There was context if you listen to the full 11 minutes. Anybody who listened to the full 11 minutes of that tape might have a different opinion. I’m not defending this; I’m just explaining to you why the league decided to do what it did.”
Whatever…the NFL’s official statement read as such:
“Local law enforcement authorities have publicly advised that the available evidence does not permit them to determine who caused the child's injuries. Similarly, based on the evidence presently available, the NFL cannot conclude that Mr. Hill violated the Personal Conduct Policy.”
Mike Tomlin may be a bit confused. Everyone that is a fan of the NFL especially Steelers fans know that the absence of Le’Veon Bell last season for the entire season was his decision and it had to have had an affect in the locker room. More damage was done however from the mouth of Antonio Brown and then on the sidelines Joey Porter was making some ugly noise away from the field.
So now all three are gone and perhaps the chemistry will be much better in 2019, but we won’t know that until the season is well underway. But in an interview recently, Tomlin appeared to deny there was any issues with an unsettled locker room. Say what?
“I don’t know that our locker room wasn’t calm a year ago. The circus that was associated with being us — from time to time — attention that comes with it, there is a perception that there is a lack of calm. But I don’t know that there was a lack of calm within our group. The circus that surrounds our group can be described as that. But the group itself, these guys are professional. We have no control over the storylines. We just prepare and play. And play to win.”
Ahhh…excuse me, there would not be any story lines if there were not stories to tell. I like Mike Tomlin as a coach and having his teams prepared to win but when comments like this come out I have to wonder if he truly is not an idiot. Tomlin is so far less a hard nosed coach when compared to the likes of a Bill Cowher and many of Steelers Nation’s fans want to see that type of coach again, someone who will kick ass with his team when discipline is necessary.
With that out of the way, and A.B. gone, much will be expected of JuJu Smith-Schuster but I think a newcomer heading in from the Jacksonville Jaguars is going to do very well in 2019. Donte Moncrief is no joke but he is facing a challenge from sophomore James Washington. Read on.
Predicting winners of 7 intriguing training-camp battles
Jack Browne, theScore.com
NFL training camps are all about competition. It's the first time players are truly allowed to go full tilt in the offseason, and with livelihoods on the line, no one wants to ease up. Let's examine the seven most interesting camp battles and predict who will emerge as the winners.
Donte Moncrief vs. James Washington
Antonio Brown's messy departure leaves an enormous hole in the Pittsburgh Steelers' passing attack. How enormous? Well, Brown's averaged 171 targets, 114 catches, 1,524 yards, and 11 touchdowns per season since his breakout 2014 campaign, according to Pro Football Reference. That's a career year for some Hall of Fame wideouts, which highlights just how difficult it will be to replace Brown.
Emerging star JuJu Smith-Schuster will, of course, step into the No. 1 role after a 111-catch, 1,426-yard sophomore season. Even if he can take a third of Brown's average intended passes, Ben Roethlisberger needs another receiver capable of taking on 100-plus targets. The leading contenders to start alongside Smith-Schuster are Moncrief and Washington, though it's not out of the realm of possibility that third-round pick Diontae Johnson will force his way into the conversation in training camp. Moncrief looked set to emerge as the Indianapolis Colts' No. 2 weapon after racking up 733 yards in 2015, but he has failed to exceed that mark since. In fairness, Andrew Luck was banged up for most of the remainder of Moncrief's time in Indy and the Jacksonville Jaguars' passing game was barely functional last season (and he still put up 668 yards).
Washington, meanwhile, was a relative disappointment as a rookie. We've come to expect great things from any highly drafted Steelers wideout, and Washington's 42.1 percent catch rate last season is worrisome. Still, not everyone can be Smith-Schuster right out of the gate. Despite spending less time in Pittsburgh's system, Moncrief was the "slam-dunk No. 2" over Washington in offseason workouts, according to The Athletic's Mark Kaboly. The Steelers need both Washington and Moncrief to step up if the team is going to make it back to the playoffs, but it will be the former Colt who emerges in camp thanks to his greater experience and potential as a red-zone weapon.
Predicted winner: Donte Moncrief
Around the Diamond
The trend of the Pittsburgh Pirates collapsing in the second halves of a baseball season continues. This past weekend the Bucs dropped two out of three to the Philadelphia Phillies and have now lost seven of the last 10 and are a full six games under .500, 7 ½ games behind the Chicago Cubs. With Major League Baseball trading deadline next week, it remains to be seen who will stay with the team and who will be playing elsewhere the rest of the season.
The one shining moment of the weekend at PNC Park was the honoring and 40th anniversary of Pittsburgh’s last World Series team which took place on Saturday in front of an officially announced 38,380 fans. It was the 1979 “We Are Family” team that won the World Series in dramatic fashion coming from behind a three games to one deficit to defeat the Baltimore Orioles. I was fortunate enough to attend all three games played at home in Three Rivers Stadium the one and only time I had attended a World Series.
Led by the late and beloved Willie “Pops” Stargell, a handful of the players from that roster were in the park tipping their hats. The roster had these men on it:
Ed Ott, Willie Stargell, Rennie Stennett, Tim Foli, Bill Madlock, Bill Robinson, Omar Moreno, Dave Parker, Phil Garner, John Milner, Steve Nicosia, Lee Lacy, Dale Berra, Manny Sanguillen, Mike Easler, Frank Taveras, Matt Alexander, Doe Boyland, Alberto Lois, Gary Hargis, Bert Blyleven, John Candelaria, Bruce Kison, Don Robinson, Jim Bibby, Jim Rooker, Ed Whitson, Kent Tekulve, Enrique Romo, Grant Jackson, Dave Roberts, Joe Coleman, Rick Rhoden, Dock Ellis.
Photos from the celebration below:
The starting lineup in the batting order was the following that includes my short summary of my opinion of each player.
Then there were the starting and relief pitchers.
Players that came off the bench that were notable:
The Baseball Hall of Fame placed its newest members into the hallowed halls this weekend and they are: Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Lee Smith, and Harold Baines. IMO, only Rivera is HOF worthy and possibly Smith. But that is how it goes these days, you don’t need elite numbers to be enshrined.
Tiger Woods won this year’s Master’s and everyone was thinking…he’s back. Well that was temporary. Unable to win the U.S. Open, Woods didn’t even make the cut last Friday for the British Open now known as simply “The Open Championship.” Instead, Shane Lowry won the first place price of over $1.9 million. Tommy Fleetwood finished second and still won $1.120 million.