November 28, 2009
New York – Bring two of the premiere college basketball programs to New York City, Duke and UConn and put them on the floor at Madison Square Garden. At the end of November it looks almost like April and the last two standing at the NCAA Men’s Championship. LSU and Arizona State, the other finalist tried to do their best to make it more interesting at the NIT- Tip Off this week.
Except the Garden was half full Wednesday evening, and again for the finals Friday afternoon, 13, 179, which in someway diminished the intensity of what is seen in April. Perhaps the Thanksgiving Day holiday had something to do with it. The faithful who came from Arizona and Louisiana, (LSU) took a four day holiday break and watched basketball in between.
Duke would defeat UConn 68-59 taking the championship Friday. When it comes to their fan base, Duke enjoys coming to the Garden with plenty of alumni residing in the vicinity of New York City. UConn is almost up the road in Storrs Connecticut and Madison Square Garden is familiar territory as a member of the Big East Conference.
So there they were the seventh ranked Duke Blue Devils and their storied history with Coach Mike Kryzewski in his 30th year. Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun envisions his Huskies to make a second consecutive trip to the Final Four come April in Indianapolis. Two Hall of Fame coaches with over 800 career wins on opposite benches, a first for an NCAA Division 1 game.
“Duke physically handled us the physical presence,” said Calhoun. “Obviously the rebounding was in my opinion a major problem with the game.” His Huskies were manned off the boards, Duke got 25 offensive rebounds, and they failed to convert a three-point shot. Despite the disappointing outcome Calhoun thought his team did what they had to do.
“Duke played with a great deal of heart and toughness. I think we were better than we played. I think we have to respond when we get knocked inside a little bit. We have to do a better job,’ he said. It was the third time his Huskies have been in the Tip- Off where they have failed to come home with the title.
The predominant Huskie crowd at the Garden saw Duke go on a 16-6 run and lead by nine points at the half. After that, there was that typical talk from Calhoun to his players with hopes of getting back in the game. They would make a brief run of it in the second half, but in the end it was all Duke (6-0), and showing this early in the college basketball season that they could be the team returning to the Final Four.
“Open shots were hard to come by,” commented Krzyzewski. “We haven’t experienced a team like that this year. We missed 53 shots and got 56 rebounds. We didn’t give up a three today. We played against two different types of teams and two teams that I think are going to be in contention in their conference,” said Kryzewski who got win 839 of his career as Duke won their fourth overall Tip-Off championship led by tournament Most Valuable Player Scheyer who scored 19 points. Duke has now won five straight at the Garden and 12 of their last 13 at the famous arena. Wednesday evening the Blue Devils defeated Arizona State 64-53 to reach the championship game.
Earlier, Arizona State (5-1) took third place in the consolation game with a 71-52 win over LSU. It was a second half effort by the Sun Devils who forced the Tigers (3-2) to miss 15 of their first 17 shots opening the second half. Derek Glasser scored a career high 24 points for the Devils and Eric Boateng added 17.
“We had a very good defensive effort in the second half,” commented Sun Devils coach Herb Sendek. He added, “At the same time, with that type of run to occur they missed some shots that in the first half they were knocking down. We were much better in the second half and our defense allowed us to get in the game and get the win.”
This was the first time Arizona State has participated in the NIT Tip- Off and the coach strongly believes the tough competition this early in the season will only help. “We tried to participate in an event like this every year,’ he said. “It’s always extra special coming to New York and playing at the Garden.”
It’s a wonderful experience for a team. And I think anytime you play against outstanding competition like we did this week there is always a lot there to learn. And so we’ll continue to watch the tapes and take all these experiences and try to build on them,”
The senior Glasser who earned Pac-10 Al Tournament honors, by averaging 13.7 points in the first three games of the season said “I think overall it was a good experience for us. Especially to play a team like Duke. Just to see where we are as a team.”
e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com
November 25, 2009
“Attention Wal-Mart shoppers – you are now free to buy cheap 50-inch televisions, IPods and laptop computers without guilt…”
PHILADELPHIA (BASN/FRO): In a courtroom in Kennett, Missouri, the “Show – Me” state showed everyone the antediluvian attitudes which accelerated the influx of assholes there are alive – in hell.
The trial of Heather Ellis, a 24 year old schoolteacher who stood to do 15 years in prison – for allegedly cutting in line at a local Wal–Mart – was concluded when lawyers for Ms. Ellis agreed to a plea bargain of a year’s unsupervised probation; as part of a lesser sentence for disturbing the peace and resisting arrest.
While it seems a victory of sorts was won for Ms. Ellis, let’s not get this twisted: the people involved – and much credit to Dr. Boyce Watkins, Ms. Ellis legal team and everyone who helped stand up to defend her – only managed to nick a draw before final whistle.
Surely, if Heather Ellis were a white woman, this scenario would be very unlikely to happen; no need for security to step in, no calling the police, no outcry over cutting in line; it would be “thank you for shopping at Wal-Mart” and have a nice day.
In the race for humanity’s soul, the forces running toward 1850 seems to have a slight lead over those running toward 2010. That Heather Ellis almost became the new Dred Scott wasn’t lost on the few who spoke up and rallied to her defense.
I can still hear Dame Shirley Bassey singing in the background, “and it’s all just a little bit of history repeating…”
Welcome to New Congo Square Mall
Now, before I hear, “what does this have to do with sports?” let’s mosey on over to the New Congo Square Mall – site of the NCAA (Negroes Carrying Athletic Aspirations) Claim Center Store.
Looks like University of Kansas head football coach Mark Mangino is at the Returns Desk – let’s listen in, shall we?
(Male voice: May I help you, Coach Mangino?)
“Let’s take a look at this,” Mangino said. “We’ve improved graduation rates here for football. We have set semester records for team GPA. We’re graduating kids, we’re putting kids out into the world that are prepared. But I can’t do the work of some parents, what they should have done before they got to me.
“There’s some things for 18 years that happened in their lives that I can’t change in four years of college. Can’t change their behaviors, can’t change their attitudes.”
(MV: Oh, so you’re saying your Negroes are defective? Well, given the four-year warranty has run out, I’m afraid we can’t offer a refund on them; but then again, you could have bypassed those people if you didn’t have such a hard-on for making a seven figure salary off these same Black men you treat like Niggers because they don’t bow and scrape.
That a scum-sucking parasite like you would stoop to blaming parents is the reason why your Negroes won’t work, muthafucka; and if I were the parent of any of those kids you made the negative asides about, I would bounce your fat ass up and down this mall.
What those parents should have done was avoid KU altogether. How many lies did you tell; how many times behind closed doors did you complain about how “those people” are lazy and stupid? Well, attention shoppers – Niggers are on sale right now at the University of Kansas! Our Black Friday Special – Shot Homies, alcoholics and ghetto trash – now 50% – offed! Prices are slashed because products were slightly used by a self-serving, smug sonuvabitch who should be stomped into submission by the very people he looks to belittle.
Now stick that up your BCS, you punk-ass muthafucka!)
A tall young Black man (and, yes, he fits the description) named Alshon Jeffrey had the chance to choose between several schools, and had decided on the University of South Carolina. New Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin, in an effort to convince Jeffrey to come to UT, put on his best rap – and it didn’t work.
According to accounts by Jeffrey, who had committed earlier to Southern Cal, later told head man Pete Carrill he changed his mind. Carrill, who many felt showed his true colors in his bitch-fit press conference after quarterback Mark Sanchez left early to go pro, threatened to flex on Jeffrey, but his efforts failed.
Kiffin, however, was even worse. After Jeffrey made it clear he was going to play for the Gamecocks, Kiffin told Jeffery that if he chose the Gamecocks, he would end up pumping gas for the rest of his life; like all the other players from that state who would dare to choose somewhere other than his school.
With that, we now go back to our Help Desk and our Claim Center Customer Service Department…
(MV: Young Jeffrey’s situation is a clear case of Bait-and-Beeyotch. The would-be coach gets all hot and bothered when he thinks he’s caught something when wooing the talent. Then, depending on the level of pettiness after finding out otherwise, insults the prospect, letting him know in his own special way that he was just another Nigger he wanted to help him win games – and get paid. Hey – cop-and-blow – every pimp would know. Next, please?)
I’m sure Alshon Jeffrey takes comfort in knowing that three other young men who chose to come to Tennessee won’t be pumping gas, either; at least not for the moment. Nu’Keese Richardson, Michael Edwards and Janzen Jackson went from assets to assholes when they attempted to rob someone outside of a convenience store.
Robbing someone is bad enough, and the people involved deserve to be punished; but what would motivate three collegiate football players to rob someone? After playing in front of thousands of fans on Saturday afternoon, they’re broke Saturday evening – and the school, the coach, the networks – everyone except the players – get paid.
As if that weren’t bad enough, Richardson was the subject of a situation that marked Kiffin’s indoctrination into the Southeastern Conference, whereas Kiffin implied Florida head coach Urban Meyer cheated to secure Richardson. The statement resulted in Kiffin being reprimanded by the SEC, but keeping Richardson.
Now, Richardson has been kicked off the team – and will be lucky if he gets to pump gas; so much for taking care of his recruit – gee, thanks, Coach…
Meanwhile, back at the mall, Boise State head coach Chris Petersen slinks into the Claim Center…
(MV: Afternoon, coach – are you having a problem with your Negroes? I heard that nasty Negro person LeGarrette Blount is coming back to Oregon. Heavens to Nike! Aren’t you concerned?
“We have tremendous respect for Oregon. Those coaches, we know most of those guys very well. And so, whatever they decide we’re 100 percent behind. I think that’s good for all involved if that’s what they chose to do.”
It appears Coach Petersen wasn’t as much worried about Blount as he was whitewashing his own team’s involvement in one of the nastiest episodes in collegiate sport. Not since Johnny Bright’s being savaged in broad daylight by scumbags from Oklahoma A&M, has there been such a polarizing event.
It is also interesting how most mainstream sports media labeled this the LeGarrette Blount incident and not the Byron Hout/LeGarrette Blount incident, Hout being the jackass from Boise State who pulled on Blount’s jersey and called him Nigger after winning a decisive 19-8 victory against Oregon earlier this season.
Hout was summarily knocked on his ass, and all hell broke loose.
Now – how do we know Blount was called Nigger? My friend and colleague Zennie Abraham, in his City Lights column for the San Francisco Chronicle, produced the following information:
Abraham writes: This is the contents of the blog post I wrote outlining my source’s claim that Hout said the N-word to Blount:
Twitter was the source of the latest information torpedo in the (unfortunately) still unfolding story behind the “punch seen round the sports World” by Oregon Running Back LeGarrett Blount to Boise State Defensive End Byron Hout.
Track athlete E.J. Prince used Twitter to blast this:
@realskipbayless Just talked to Jamere Holland (from Oregon WR) said that L. Blount socked dude from Boise State cuz he called him a n_____
Jamere Holland is Oregon’s wide receiver.
Prince also tweeted this:
@q17 yeah I just hope the news about LaGarett Blount being censored gets out to people like @jemelehill
@jemelehill is ESPN Columnist and Analyst Jemele Hill.
There’s no indication that she responded to Prince’s Twitter feed. He also sent a tweet to Skip Bayless; no tweet back to Prince from Bayless. Basically it seems that Prince’s story is being ignored by certain mainstream media people. I can’t confirm that, but it seems that way.
The main problem has been that none of the main actors in this play are talking. LeGarrette Blount’s not moving his lips. Byron Hout’s lost his voice. Both schools are silent on the question.
(And on that note, my first blog post speculated on the use of the N-word, not claimed that Hout used it as one blogger inaccurately wrote; this is different.)
E. J. Prince’s value in this story rests on his tweet that he talked to (not tweeted) a friend of Oregon receiver Jamere Holland who plays for Oregon and who I will not name here.
Abraham’s contention about mainstream media’s silence is significant. A writer with the Denver Post and a University of Oregon graduate, when told of the incident, said he “couldn’t believe Hout said the N-Word.” After revealing our source in this matter, he would later say, “If Hout did call Blount the N-word, he deserved to get hit.”
The same reporter would later contact my colleague Tony McClean, advising that according to his sources, Hout never called Blount the N-word; as if our source couldn’t possibly be correct …
Abraham, however, was later hit with a deluge of negative comments implying he “played the race card” – but let’s be real here – who played whom?
Let’s review: Boise State won the game, fair and square; but showed they had no fucking class; the scoreboard said everything needed to be said. They could’ve walked off and partied or whatever behind closed doors.
If Hout doesn’t go seeking out Blount, pulling on his jersey and calling him Nigger, we have no incident; and we would have no sociologists coming on prime time news to attempt to ascertain the mindset of the “savage Black beast “that lurketh under the helmet.
And let’s be frank – with Hout being a D-lineman, he figured no little running back was man enough to take him out; it just goes to show everybody’s got somebody’s number.
But Hout or Coach Petersen was never publicly disgraced for their poor sportsmanship and lack of moral character; nor was Coach Petersen punished for losing control of his team. Boise State didn’t punish Hout for instigating the situation, nor did the WAC or NCAA punish Boise State for their role in this travesty.
And let’s not let Oregon off the hook, either. If it weren’t for the glare under which this event manifested itself, they would’ve (in my humble opinion) tried to force Blount off the team and kill his scholarship; I moreover believe Blount’s parent’s were ready to layeth the legal Smackethdown on Oregon’s ass – hence Blount staying put.
If I am the parent of a potential student-athlete, I’m thinking, “Fuck Boise State – and double Duck fuck Oregon – for what they did and didn’t do.”
Abraham goes on to explain his rationale in highlighting this incident:
“I do it also because I’ve received a number of subsequent messages and emails explaining that many Boise State Football fans were referring to Blount using the N-word in online forums. That lends weight to the assertion that Boise State fans uses of racial slurs in taunting Blount.
Since Boise State never officially explained exactly what Hout said, the speculation plus the assertions of my sources that he did use a racist term have been given more and more value.
That was bad PR on Boise State’s part, plus the news that Hout would not be punished as Blout was and that it would be handled “internally” by the Boise State Football team gave rise to more speculation on what Hout said and did.
I also press this because of the desire by some to cover it up. People need to see society as it is before it can become what we want it to be. We’ve still got a lot of problems to straighten out. Hiding from the truth in any situation does not allow us to make progress in making ourselves better.
LeGarrette Blount took his punishment and reportedly proved himself in the classroom and in the Oregon college community during his suspension. I welcome him back, but with the sad realization that the “tests” he had to pass to rejoin the team are the same ones that should be applied to many of the people who taunted him in the first place, but they never will be.”
So, with words like “contrition” and phrases like the deadly “role model” inserted into the discourse like suppositories up one’s ass, the phrase parents of potential student-athletes should be caveat emptor; beware of those smiling faces who come into your life promising the moon, then taking the star from your child because they refuse to work the plantation the way Massa wants.
Do your research and find out about the school’s graduation rate, curricula offered, and, most important – when that coach looks you in the eye and tells you he will take care of your son or daughter like he or she was his own – you make sure he ante’s up and does just that.
I’ll conclude by saying this: the likelihood that a young Black man is going to be told he will be “sent back to the ‘hood to be shot by his homies,” will be significantly less likely to be uttered by a Black head coach or a coach at a historically Black college or university – an HBCU.
Because, if you can play, they will find you; and if they find you at an HBCU, they will also likely find you – graduated, and with a degree.
November 25, 2009
MIAMI 34 DUKE 16
Though the final score suggests it, this was anything but a blowout. Duke was winning 13-10 at the half and looked to be in the middle of an ACC upset. However, Miami quarterback Jacory Harris had different plans in the fourth quarter. Throwing for 348 yards and two touchdowns on the game, Harris led the Hurricanes to a 21-point run in the fourth quarter to knock the Blue Devils out of bowl contention. Now having scored in 7 straight games, Miami running back Damien Berry went for 76 yards and a score on the ground, as receiver Leonard Hankerson caught 8 passes for 143 yards one touchdown. I think the Cane’s offense didn’t wake up until it was almost too late and just about caused them another loss. Meanwhile, on the other sideline, Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis wasn’t having that bad of a day in his hometown, going 27-40 for 303 yards and one score. However, it just wasn’t enough; while Miami picked up in the second half, the Blue Devils failed to respond. Donavan Varner had a career day; catching eight passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns. But he was unable to spur Duke past Miami, losing their 55th straight road game vs. ranked opponents. Ultimately, this game marked the end of the reign of Thaddeus Lewis, as he’s finishing his career without a bowl game appearance. And… well… doesn’t really do much for Miami, as they’re sitting at third in the Costal division anyway.
CLEMSON – 34 VIRGINIA – 21
Outplaying the Cavs in the second half, Clemson fulfilled their season-long goal of going to the ACC championship. Tiger quarterback Kyle Parker threw for 234 yards and two scores and is starting to look like a very promising quarterback, especially since it’s his freshman year. Watch out for Parker in year’s to come. Heisman hopeful CJ Spiller carried Clemson on his back all year and he didn’t plan on stopping. Racking up 114 all-purpose yards, Spiller edged the Tigers over Virginia to clinch their first ACC title appearance in 18 years. Senior receiver Jacoby Ford led Clemson in receiving, catching six passes for 106 yards and a score and second string back Andre Ellington ran one in as well. All in all, Clemson finally pulled themselves together and stringed together wins when needed to reach the ACC title. They’ll be playing a very tough opponent in Georgia Tech. But if they can pull off the upset, they’ll be in a BCS bowl.
FLORIDA STATE – 29 MARYLAND – 26
Finishing the Terps off in the fourth quarter, the Seminoles made Maryland’s season just that much more miserable. Though Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel had a TD-INT ratio of 0-3, he handed the ball off to Lonnie for two scores, leading the Seminoles past Maryland. Coming into the season, I had the Terps as perhaps the Atlantic champions. But currently residing at the last spot in the ACC, Maryland hasn’t lived up to the hype.
NORTH CAROLINA – 31 BOSTON COLLEGE – 13
UNC came out firing, taking a prompt 21-3 lead in the first quarter and, though they didn’t score again until the fourth quarter, didn’t look back. Though Tarheel running back Ryan Houston scampered for a tough 45 yards and two scores, the rest was one on the other end of the ball. Running both a fumble and an interception back for a touchdown, the UNC defense simply came to play as they shattered a good Boston College team 31-13.
November 20, 2009
Bronx, NY – Fordham University men’s basketball coach Dereck Whittenburg had a reason to finally smile Wednesday evening up in the Bronx at the Rose Hill Gym. His Rams (1-2) won their first game of the season with a 76-66 win over Sacred Heart, and in the process snapped a 12-game losing streak that carried over from last season.
And though this is a much different Fordham team, eight new players joining five veterans, the win came at the right time because most don’t expect Fordham to be any more competitive than their 3-25 finish of last season. “The streak is over,” commented Whittenburg now in his seventh year at Fordham. “It’s a new season,” he said.
There is some optimism that this could be the beginning of the resurgence up at Rose Hill. Whittenburg alluded to the lack of chemistry with some of the seniors last season. Clashing with the coach behind the scenes, or as he says, “outside influences that got into the kids heads,”
In other words it was the ugliest season in Whittenburg’s tenure at Fordham with the exception of the first year in 2003-2004 when the Rams finished 6-22. The Rams finished last in the Atlantic 10 Conference and for the first time failed to qualify for the A-10 post season tournament with a 1-15 conference mark.
You saw things in their third game that offered some optimism, though Sacred Heart offers no comparison to some of the nationally ranked teams in the A-10. Things that the coach liked coming from 6-7 freshman Chris Gaston who scored 22 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked five shots.
“I saw him as a freshman and how he can be in there with the bigger guys,” said Whittenburg who recruited Gaston out of New Hampton Prep School in New Hampton, New Hampshire where he averaged over 17.0ppg and 12 rebounds. In the season opener against Maine last week, Gaston got his first collegiate double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Gaston made 8-of-16 shots for the Rams. He showed confidence on the floor, but Whittenburgh cautioned he is still a freshman. “I want to keep him focused,” he said about Gaston. “I had a talk with him. If you don’t play defense and just concentrate on scoring then I’m taking you out of the game.”
Gaston listened to that talk in the second half. Perhaps what happened last season was that lack of communication. Whittenburgh sees the difference with Gaston and some of the other newcomers. “We executed better,” said the coach, words that were hardly said all last year.
“I am just going to do everything that I can to show them my ability,” said Gaston. He knows that his ability could lead the Fordham program back to respectability. “It’s been developing all week as to what I can do,” he said. “This is a team effort and all we have to do is execute and take control.”
Part of that execution against Sacred Heart (2-1) was Fordham going on a 21-2 run over a span of 7:25 in the second half. That gave them a 72-51 lead. Gaston had eight points during the run and senior guard Brenton Butler, 15 points, also had eight during that span.
So it was a team effort and reason for optimism before traveling to Hartford, and taking on the Jaspers at Manhattan College for the annual Battle of the Bronx all in the next ten days.
“We’re gonna see the true test of our team,” said Whittenburg.
E-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com
November 18, 2009
The fight generated over two million buys on pay-per-view, Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto put on quite a show, at least for the first four rounds. Now the next fight that will generate interest and tremendous revenue is Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. The problem though is how much will it take to get it done, where and when?
As soon as they finished trading jabs, Pacquiao the clear winner in the ring late Saturday night, Mayweather started to make some noise. “Pacquiao does not want to fight me or he would have said so himself,” said Mayweather. His people want ot get the fight done, so does Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach who called for the undefeated Mayweather immediately.
It has been explained to yours truly, from a source at Top Rank, the promoters of Paccquiao that the problem getting this fight together is dealing with Mayweather. Bob Arum, promoter of Top Rank has a malicious attitude towards Mayweather his former fighter. So the negotiations that reportedly have started are going nowhere.
Mayweather wants more of the money form the purse to pay-per-view revenue. This has a potential to be the mega fight of this new boxing era, and could easily top the revenue of previous PPV fights that Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya have accomplished. It is a fight that will keep boxing in the picture because these are two fighters now that generate that type of interest.
Not since we have seen Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns and Sugar Rey Leonard, the prime fighters of the 1980’s have we seen a fighter like Pacquiao. The Philippine sensation made boxing history Saturday night becoming the first seven-time division champion in the sport and easily dominated Miguel Cotto.
Cotto is now a second thought. What once was talked about, a trilogy between Cotto and Pacquiao, now can become a three- time deal with Pacquiao and Mayweather. Cotto can continue to fight and work his way back into the picture. Possibly a return bout with WBA welterweight champion Shane Mosley at Madison Square Garden in June, the place where Cotto reigns and always fights on the eve of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City.
But the fight boxing fans and the sport needs is Pacquiao against Mayweather. Arum said the past few days that it will have to happen. How much each fighter will get has to be determined and where it will take place is another factor before the fighters sign on the dotted line.
The original idea was to stage Cotto again against Pacquiao at the new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Perhaps Cotto or Pacquiao opposing Mayweather there, however, Arum now has a change of thought because of a tax structure in the state of New York that would hinder the earnings of the fighters, promoters and pay-per-view outfit, most likely HBO Pay-Per-View.
Las Vegas is the most probable option. Promoters get rooms on the house, and the Nevada tax structure is so much easier to work with. Then there is the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium being discussed as a possible venue for the fight. Unless the New York politicians give in, and their greed and bickering won’t allow it, Pacquiao and Mayweather is not coming to Yankee Stadium.
So where do we stand? Boxing fans want an answer soon because the sport is in need of this mega fight. They are looking at a date in May to get this done. Reports are Dallas is the lead contender to host the fight. And the Cowboys Stadium has the largest video board for a sports venue that will allow those with the cheaper tickets to attend and see the fight from the upper rafters.
Arum, even with all his past animosity with Mayweather, knows also that the sport needs to stage this fight and is willing to put differences aside. And though Pacquiao has not commented about an impending meeting with Mayweather, he too knows the significance of this potential fight to be.
After a vacation with family, Pacquiao with a clear mind and rest should be more than ready to make a deal. Mayweather also needs to meet him half way and also knows differences with Arum will be put aside to get this fight done. It is for the betterment of the sport to make sure that Pacquiao and Mayweather touch gloves soon.
If not, the boxing world puts itself in the same situation. Less interest and fights of minimal value that carry no weight, or do nothing to bring the sport back to respectability. Cotto and Pacquiao gave us some hope that sparked some mainstream media interest again for the sport. Now we need Mayweather and Pacquiao to continue the process.
e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com
November 15, 2009
Las Vegas – Manny Pacquiao had another epic performance and for Miguel Cotto it was a fight for survival as referee Kenny Bayless stepped in and stopped the fight at 0:55 of the 12-round in the most anticipated fight of the year. With his win, Pacquiao once again secured his position as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the business and also dethroned Cotto as WBO welterweight champion.
Pacquiao out punched Cotto from the fourth round on, and like he has done with previous opponents he used speed and power to his advantage/. Pacquiao also becomes the first seven-time division champion and up next is a potential lucrative pay day with the undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“The strategy of the fight was to take time and not hurry,” said Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38KO’s). “We were very careful in the early rounds,” he said as Cotto tried all he could to use his devastating left hook that had little impact on Pacquiao. “Im trying to test his power in the early rounds that’s why I wanted to get hit in the body and the head,” he said.
Pacquiao also used good strategy against Cotto that his trainer Freddie Roach preached in their intense training camp. “I was looking for a knockdown shot, he said. “That’s why I didn’t throw a lot of punches. That’s why in the last seconds, I threw the good right hook. I kept pressuring him and was very careful of his counter.”
But the counter never seemed to work for Cotto. After the fourth round it was all Pacquiao who knocked down Cotto with a left hook in the third round, and he knocked Cotto down again late in the fourth round as Cotto advanced to him.
The first four rounds reminded many about the Hagler-Hearns wars of the 1980’s with Cotto and Pacquiao trading and taking some punches, but Pacquiao was able to do more and took command of the fight after that. It was all Pacquiao, who led on all of the judges scorecards as it appeared Cotto took the first round and he barely won the fifth with some good counter punching.
“We were trying our best to try and knock him out because that is what my trainer said,” commented Pacquiao. But Cotto with a swollen face and blood flowing form his nose, with cuts showed his pride and determination by refusing to quit. His trainer Joe Santiago thought about stopping the fight earlier but saw that his fighter had the ability to continue,
“I thought in the 11th round they were going to stop the fight. I was surprised,” said Pacquiao about the fight not being stopped sooner. Pacquiao also said that he would not consider moving up in weight class again. “154 is too big for me,” he said.
On a possible fight with Mayweather, a name the sold old crowd at the MGM Arena started to chant, Pacquiao said “My job is to fight in the ring and that depends on my promoter Arum (Bob) to negotiate that fight.”It was a hard fight. Cotto is a tough opponent,” he said.,
A battered and defeated Cotto (34-2 27 Ko’s) will take some time and think about his options. His last fight back in June he barley defeated Joshua Clottey at Madison Square Garden in New York City. “You don’t have to tell me anything,” he said, “Its part of my job. I’m pretty proud of what I have done in the ring.”
He added, “ I did not protect myself from the punches I fought everybody Miguel Cotto came to fight all the big names and Manny is one of the best of all time.” And about his trainer stopping the fight earlier, Cotto said, “I told Joe to stop the right when the round was over,,” he commented about the 11th,” but I think better it was my decision. I will continue fighting.”
Now fight fans await the negotiations. Roach wants Mayweather and Arum will have a rough time at the table because Mayweather is an adversary. “I said we were going to break him down and we did,” said Roach about Cotto.” Manny put pressure down and early in the fight he was assessing Miguel’s power.”
MORE TO COME e-mail Rich Mancuso Ring786@aol.com
November 15, 2009
Hinckley, MN – Queens-born, Minneapolis-based slugger Phil Williams lost a close fight to tough and wily veteran Matt Vanda tonight at Grand Casino in Hinckley, Minnesota.
Williams (11-2 with 10 knockouts) boxed well, landing effective counters and hard single shots that occasionally thrilled the crowd, but Vanda prevailed by virtue of his unbreakable chin, superior workrate, and some showmanship that got the sellout crowd on his side.
Vanda started strong – pressing the action, pursuing Williams around the ring, and occasionally taunting the larger, more powerful Williams. Williams looked best in the late rounds, especially in eight and ten, surprisingly hanging in with the smaller but busier man and landing bombs that would have flattened a lesser opponent.
Vanda, a 13-year veteran with a 42-9 record (22 wins by knockout), was supposed to be a step-up opponent for Williams, who was coming off a thrilling 7th-round knockout win against former contender Antwun Echols. Instead, Vanda won his third straight bout – the first time Vanda has won three straight since 2005-06.
The good news is that Williams could have won – would have scored more – if he had just let his hands go. It looked like Vanda’s experience and bravado allowed him to get inside Williams’ head. Williams dished out plenty of punishment, but Vanda was just the wrong opponent – a tough-as-nails veteran who is always fit and loves to trade isn’t the best match for an inexperienced slugger. But the fight was an exciting back-and-forth affair, and Williams gave boxing fans the kind of fight they love, if not the result that his own fans had hoped for.
In other action on tonight’s card:
- Wilton “The Pretty Warrior” Hilario of the Dominican Republic improved to 12-0 with 9 knockouts by thoroughly dominating the usually slick and elusive Leon Bobo of St Louis, MO. Bobo’s record fell to 18-4. The result was a unanimous decision in Hilario’s favor.
- Undefeated prospect Ceresso Fort of St Paul and 6-4-1 Lamar Harris of Saint Louis engaged in a tremendously entertaining brawl, with Fort (now 8-0 with 7 knockouts) winning by unanimous decision. Fort was credited with a knockdown in the first and generally controlled the first half of the bout, but Harris came on in the last three rounds.
- Former top-ranked amateur Javontae Starks of Minneapolis made his professional debut, winning by second-round TKO over Dan Copp. Starks felt Copp out for a round, then tore into him in the second. Starks hit Copp with a body shot that put Copp (now 1-2) down on his knees, moaning in agony.
- Tim Taggart (3-2-1) and Sam Morales (3-3-1 battled to an entertaining draw in a four-rounder. Morales seemed to get the better of Taggart, but the judges made it a majority draw.
- Zach Schumach got his first pro win, improving to 1-2, against Don Tierney (now 1-1). Tierney, interestingly, had former IBO world junior welterweight titleholder Mike Evgen in his corner – unfortunately for Tierney, Evgen had to stay in the corner.
November 13, 2009
Las Vegas – Miguel Cotto the WBO welterweight champion and Manny Pacquiao the six time champion are ready for their 12-round encounter on HBO pay-per-view this Saturday evening from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas They know the significance of this anticipated fight, so does their promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank.
“In this fight, he is not the star of the show,” said Arum about Cotto at the final news conference for a fight that needs no hype. Cotto and Pacquiao proudly have nine world titles in seven weight divisions, Cotto (34-1, 27KO’s) of Caguas Puerto Rico with three titles to his credit. Pacquiao (49-3.2, 37 KO’s) from the Philippines is also considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the business.
“But he plays a role that has made this fight what it is,” says Arum about Cotto. “Miguel Cotto is the biggest obstacle in Manny’s path. He is a true welterweight with a heart as big as this room. When the bell rings there won’t be one icon and one great fighter. There will be two great fighters in the ring and they will be fighting for their country and their families.”
And also fighting for the sport of boxing because this has become one of the most anticipated and talked about fights in years. Not since the great welterweight wars that involved Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns and Sugar Rey Leonard has boxing seen the magnitude of two great fighters like this.
There is no telling how far this fight will go, but the implications after the result will also create interest in what is perhaps the premiere division in the sport. Waiting in the wings for the winner is an inevitable clash with the undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. Reportedly a Pacquiao win could have him facing Mayweather at the new billion dollar Yankee Stadium in New York, or the comparable new football home of the Dallas Cowboys.
But Cotto can change the entire scope of where Mayweather fits in the picture. “I know the skills of Manny,” commented Cotto who had, what has been claimed to be the hardest and best training camp of his career in preparation for this mega fight, “We created a game plan for this fight and we are pretty sure this is going to be a great fight for boxing all over the world but especially for the Latin fans and the Puerto Ricans.”
Though Cotto never thrives on the future and Mayweather, looking in, is not a priority to him at least for the moment. Pacquiao has lived up to his distinction as being the top fighter in the game and in many ways, so has Cotto. The difference is Cotto fighting again at his natural weight and Pacquiao has moved up to another weight division which has never proved to be a problem.
To that Pacquiao said, “This fight is the most important of my boxing career .because if I win this fight I will go down in history. It’s a big honor for my country, for my family and myself. That’s why I work hard.” And it has more to do than the winner getting the new WBC Diamond Belt. The winner is guaranteed more lucrative pay days and pay-per-per-view revenue that could surpass previous earnings of Mayweather and
Oscar De La Hoya.
And Pacquiao is claiming, “This is a once in a lifetime fight.” Arum, who promotes both fighters, is in the driver’s seat either way. When the fight was officially announced with a five city coast-to-coast tour in September, the kickoff at the new Yankee Stadium, there was mention of a trilogy between his two fighters, the next one at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.
Then Mayweather started to make some noise, of which Arum has had a previous and bad history with “Mayweather is just a showman and not a fighter,” said Arum when asked if Cotto or Pacquiao is in the plan to fight Mayweather. But the most likely and lucrative fight, even before Cotto and Pacquiao talk trilogy is Mayweather taking on the winner after the final result is in Saturday evening.
The pick here: Pacquiao in eight rounds by TKO. He may be too quick for Cotto and if he gets his opponent in the ropes it spells trouble for Cotto.
THROWING THE PUNCHES: The Nevada State Athletic Commission which is sanctioning the Cotto-Pacquiao fight recently approved the use of instant replay to be used in televised fights in their jurisdiction/ Though it is not known if the rule will be implemented for Cotto-Pacquiao.
Good for boxing when it comes to controversial scoring decisions based on the discretion of a referee when it comes to a knockdown or slippage. Sometimes the knockdown as opposed to the slip can be vital in the final scoring of the judges as to a 10-8 or 10-9 round….
The career of Hector Camacho Jr, has been revived after his recent unanimous decision win over the veteran champion Yori Boy Campos. Camacho, son of former champion Hector of Spanish Harlem came in the ring at his heaviest weight, 174 and claims he can be a contender now in the welterweight division. His next target, Fernando Vargas, who has made noise about coming out of retirement after leaving the ring a few years ago with a bad back…
So Paul Williams gets his date in Atlantic City, December 5th on HBO but it is not for the middleweight championship against Kelly Pavlik. Instead Williams, a definite threat to Pavlik, draws Sergio Martinez the exciting puncher from Argentina. Pavlik pulled out of the fight last month when it was well known his bad left hand would not heel in time. So what happens?
Williams gets to keep his HBO date and Pavlik weeks later, when it was said he could not fight for another seven weeks, signs on to defend his middleweight title against the lesser known and easier opponent Miguel Espino in his hometown of Youngstown Ohio. Pavlik also makes out on the deal getting a more lucrative deal as the fight will be televised on HBO PPV.
A good under card bout on the Williams card in Atlantic City, now moved to a ballroom instead of the more known Boardwalk Hall. Welterweight Johsua Clottey of Ghana and now residing in the Bronx, who gave Cotto a scare in June at Madison Square Garden, takes on the tough Carlos Quintana…
John Ruiz the two-time heavyweight champion is a stubborn and persistent fighter who believes his time is still coming to make boxing history. The first heavyweight champion of Latino descent form the United States gets his chance when he takes on newly crowned WBA champion David Haye. Haye made history becoming the second light heavyweight champ to take a part of the heavyweight title, the first being Evander Holyfield…
January 30th out in Vegas another compelling welterweight bout. Andre Berto the WBC champ taking on veteran WBA title holder Shane Mosley, also on HBO and a fight that makes it more interesting for Cotto, Pacquiao and Mayweather. Do we smell possible unification of the title again, or maybe not because the promoters and sanctioning bodies don’t want it that way,,,
The 42-year old Bernard Hopkins, partner with Oscar De La Hoya Golden Boy Promotions wants to make his hometown Philadelphia proud when he steps in the ring to defend his light heavyweight title on December 4th at the Liacourras Center when he opposes the unknown Enrique Omeles… …
And the busy end of the year boxing calendar continues on December 13th, the interesting and return 12-round bout that fans anticipated after their first bout. Paulie Malignaggi of Brooklyn New York, the junior welterweight meets Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz this time at a neutral venue, the UIC Pavillon in Chicago Illinois to be televised on HBO
Many felt that their first encounter on August 22, in Diaz’ hometown of Houston Texas was a hometown decision as Malignaggi threw more punches and got the best of Diaz. “I am not going to dwell on the past,” said Diaz this week when the fight was announced. “This time it is a different city and a new and different game plan.”
Said Malignaggi, the former junior welterweight champion who revived his career in that first bout, “I made enough of a stink after the first match to help get the rematch,” And indeed he did as his promoter, Lou DiBella, one who is very vocal about bad decisions immediately petitioned Diaz and his management, Golden Boy Promotions, to put the gloves on again and do it at any other place but Houston Texas where Diaz still resides and is extremely popular.
e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com
November 13, 2009
To go from AFC Championship to a 4-4 start in the next season could be pretty depressing to the fans of a certain NFL team. Well, that’s exactly what has happened to the Baltimore Ravens. People who look at how the Ravens’ 2009 season has unfolded halfway through could say that this team could realistically be 6-2 If things had fallen their way. Saying this could be misleading, because through 8 games, any team could be 8-0 If things had “fallen their way.” But really, this Ravens team has not had the best of luck thus far in a long NFL season. Let’s take a look at how the Ravens have gone from one game away from the Super Bowl and NFL elite to a .500 team.
Baltimore was off to a hot start when they started 3-0 with one of those wins coming on the road against the San Diego Chargers. The following game, the Ravens were down by six with the ball, at Gillette Stadium In New England, poised to score the go-ahead score with time running out. On a fourth down play, quarterback Joe Flacco targeted Mark Clayton only to have Clayton drop a perfect pass, giving New England a chance to kneel the rest of the time out. A play or two before, Derrick Mason dropped a touchdown in the corner of the end zone. If either of those balls had been caught, It would have been a go-ahead touchdown or a fourth down conversion to keep the drive alive. That loss dropped the Ravens to 3-1. The next week, the Ravens lost another close game against the Cincinnati Bengals, 17-14 at home, to fall to 3-2. The Bengals’ Cedric Benson, rushed for 120 yards, which was the first 100 yard rusher against the Ravens in 40 games.
Now going on the road against the Brett Favre-led Vikings was a real test for Baltimore. The game was within reach when the Ravens lined up for a game-winning field goal with only a few seconds left. Only kicker Steven Hauschka missed the attempt wide-left to send the Ravens to three straight losses. With the team now at 3-3, their next game was a tough one at home against the 6-0 Denver Broncos. Joe Flacco completed 80% of his passes to lead the Ravens to a 30-7 win. Coming off of a game like that, you would think Baltimore would come out firing on all cylinders against the Bengals, who they had lost to at home In week 5. Only the Ravens came out flat with Joe Flacco throwing two Interceptions and losing 17-7, to drop both games against their AFC North rivals.
With the team now at 4-4, everybody that Is curious about this team would start wondering what exactly is wrong with them. With a game-winning field goal against the Vikings sailing wide left, and two crucial dropped passes in the final minute against the Patriots, the Ravens just aren’t finishing games in which they should have or could have won. Looking at something that is running through my mind, the Ravens used a three-headed-monster last year In the running game with La’Ron McClain, Willis McGahee, and Ray Rice. Starting this season, the Ravens used McGahee and Rice exclusively. McGahee had 5 TD’s In the teams’ first 3 games. Since then, 0 TD’s and 11 yards in 5 games. Rice has stepped up as the lead back with 5.3 yards per carry and 4 games with 75+ yards. Joe Flacco is close to exceeding his statistics from last year with 12 TD compared to 14 all of last season.
But here is the thing, the Ravens lost defensive coordinator Rex Ryan to the Jets, when he became their head coach. They also lost linebacker Bart Scott and Jim Leonhard to New York, as well. Perhaps the loss of those three cornerstones of a defense has affected the team. But not so fast; the Ravens still rank 9th in the NFL in points per game given up on defense. But on the flip side, they are 19th in the NFL In pass yards allowed. The offense Is becoming the strength of the team, as opposed to previous years. When It comes to points per game, total yards per game, pass yards per game, and rush yards per game, the Ravens rank 9th, 10th, 10th, and 13th, respectively in each category. It’s hard in sports to say “what if”, but I’m sure the Ravens and their fans are floating around those words when they start talking about games earlier In the year that have resulted in their 4-4 start. A missed field goal and a few dropped passes are the difference in .500 and being tied in first place with the Bengals at 6-2.
The NFL season is a long road for any team. Halfway through, with the team 4-4, anything can happen. They made the playoffs last year at 11-5 but with almost the same amount of losses this year In 8 games as they did last year in 16, it might be time to hit the panic button. But really, I don’t expect the Ravens to do that. They have games against Cleveland, Detroit, and Oakland. Those are games that this team should win, with the way those teams are playing right now. A game apiece against Green Bay and Chicago are roadblock games. But then again, two games against Pittsburgh, and a game against Indianapolis are going to be real tell-all games. With 8 games remaining, like I said, anything could happen. Down the stretch, If the Ravens want to make the playoffs again, they will need to prove that the loss of Rex Ryan hasn’t changed this teams’ defensive attitude and the offense will have to keep up the balanced passing and rushing attack. We’ll see what happens the rest of the way.
November 13, 2009
#5: RIVERS SHOCKS GIANTS
It was the type of mid-season drive that can change a season for both teams, and depending on what happens in the remainder of the 2009 season, it just may. The Chargers had come to the Meadowlands with a 4-3 record, winners of two straight after a very mediocre start to their season, looking to gain on Denver in the AFC West, and also keep pace in the very competitive AFC wild-card picture. The Giants meanwhile, were looking to get back on track after following a 5-0 start with three consecutive losses. So, a big game for both sides, and a bigger finish for San Diego and quarterback Phillip Rivers. Five years after being traded from the Giants for Eli Manning, Rivers got revenge on both, with a brilliant two-minute drill to win the game. Bouncing back from an interception that looked to seal the Chargers’ fate on their previous possession, Rivers and San Diego caught a big break when the Giants couldn’t score after a first-and-goal at the Charger 4-yard line, and New York had to settle for field goal. Rivers took advantage, completing 6 of 8 passes, taking the Chargers 80 yards in 8 plays, in just 1:44, throwing hid third touchdown pass of the game, an 18-yarder with just 21 seconds left, to upset the Giants, 21-20.
#4: CINCY ‘D’ RIPS RAVENS
In a big AFC North showdown, the Bengals, normally know in past years for their offense, have stepped up the defense this year, and they were all about the ‘D’ in beating the Ravens, 17-7. Shutting out Baltimore over the first three quarters, Cincinnati finished the game with six sacks, while forcing three turnovers, and allowing just 215 total yards. Instead of letting the Ravens tie the Bengals at 5-3, a game behind 6-2 Pittsburgh, the Bengals’ dominant defensive performance allows them to play the Steelers for first place next week, with both teams at 6-2, while Baltimore fell back to .500 at 4-4.
#3: TURNER TURNS IT UP
Atlanta running back Michael Turner was turned loose against Washington and he made the Redskins pay with a game-high 166 yards on just 18 carries, for a 9.2 ypc average. He also rushed for two touchdowns. His second came in the fourth quarter, on a 58-yard run, just 1:42 after Washington made it a game at 24-17, early in the fourth quarter. Turner accounted for all but 15 of the Falcons’ 181 rushing yards in helping Atlanta get to 5-3 at home.
#2: WARNER’S HUGE TURNAROUND
Talk about a change! Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner threw five touchdown passes one week after throwing five interceptions, in the Cardinals’ 41-21 win in Chicago. Warner led first-half drives of 81, 74, 70, and 86 yards the first four times Arizona touched the ball, with all resulting in touchdown passes. The Cardinals built a big 31-7 halftime lead on the strength of those scoring drives, and Warner finished the game 22 of 32 for 261 yards, and this time, no interceptions.
#1: IN THE OLD THREADS, THE BUCS STOP LOSING
I know a lot of people don’t like them, and I do like the new threads, but I still have a soft spot for the old light orange Tampa Bay uniforms and the old logo. The Buccaneers might like them better this season now, too. It took wearing their throwbacks, giving 2009 first-round pick, quarterback Josh Freeman his first start, and comebacks from 14-7, 21-14, and 28-17, but Tampa Bay finally got their first win of the season and broke the league’s longest losing streak, which stood at eleven games, dating back to least season. Freeman was only 14 of 31 for 205 yards in his NFL debut, but he threw just one interception and three touchdowns, including two in the fourth quarter to rally the Bucs to a 38-28 victory. Tampa Bay also had a blocked punt returned 31 yards for a touchdown which tied the game 14-14 in the second quarter, and iced the game, returning a touchdown 35 yards with 35 seconds left.