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Photos: Fury dominates Schwarz

Tyson Fury came to Las Vegas. He fought. He conquered.

Fury (28-0-1, 20 KOs), the lineal heavyweight world champion, defended his title for the fourth time via second-round TKO over previously undefeated German challenger Tom Schwarz (24-1, 16 KOs) at MGM Grand Garden Arena.

“I came here to put on a show for Las Vegas and I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as i did,” Fury said. “I want to thank everyone for putting on a great show. ESPN was promoting the show every day for four weeks. There was a 2.5-hour documentary on ESPN last night. {Top Rank is} the greatest promotional company in the world.”

Fury, who entered the ring to James Brown’s “Living in America” in an homage to Rocky IV,  was never threatened by his challenger. A knockdown early in the second was the beginning of the end. Shortly thereafter, Schwarz’s corner threw in the white towel and referee Kenny Bayless stepped in to end the carnage.

Photos/courtesy: Top Rank/Mikey Williams

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Ramsey on Josh Allen: ‘I definitely thought he was the best player in the draft’

Jaguars rookie LB Josh Allen comes to the team with a lot of expectations. Allen was seventh overall pick by Jacksonville in the 2019 NFL Draft, and in his last season at Kentucky, Allen had a team-high 88 tackles, 17.0 sacks, 21.5 TFL, and five forced fumbles, earning consensus first-team All-America honors, SEC Defensive Player of the Year.

Allen’s 17.0 sacks were the most by an SEC player in a single season since the NCAA started official sack records in 2000 and he ranked second nationally in sacks, fourth in fumbles forced and sixth in TFL.

Allen’s ability to get after the quarterback is something the Jaguars can use, and according to Jaguars corner Jalen Ramsey, Allen has the ability to be a special player.

“I watched him in college, and I thought he was a dog,” Ramsey recently said about Allen. “I thought he was a good player and I guess he was on his visit or something here and he mentioned me in one of his stories and I saw it. I DM’d him back. I definitely thought he was the best player in the draft. I got to see him when he was in Orlando for the bowl game, and he had like 4.0 sacks. Then after the game, just his swag and his whole demeanor about it, he was like, ‘If I’m not the No. 1 overall pick, I don’t know who will be.’ That sh** just … Yeah, that’s me right there. You all know, I love that. That type of mentality as well as actually putting it out there on the field, that’s what I’m all about. I think he will fit in well. I hope he can get healthy; I don’t know what all is going on with that.”

Allen has been slowed during minicamp with a knee injury, but if healthy, he should help. Jacksonville amassed 37 sacks last season, which was tied for 22nd in the league, so if Allen has the goods, that Jacksonville pass rush should be stable for years to come.

Photo/courtesy: Jacksonville Jaguars

Pacquiao: ‘Keith Thurman does not scare me; Keith Thurman does not intimidate me’

Senator Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) returns to Freddie Roach’s Hollywood-based Wild Card Boxing Club to begin phase two of his training camp in preparation for his rumble with undefeated WBA  welterweight super champion Keith “One Time” Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs), from Clearwater, Florida  — his third world championship fight in the past 12 months.   

What a whirlwind journey it has been for the Amazin’ Manny over the past 11 months.  It started out with him knocking out defending WBA welterweight world champion Lucas Matthysse in the seventh round of  their July 15, 2018 bout, which took place at Axiata Arena in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia.  He returned to the ring, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, on January 19, and blitzed former four-division world champion Adrien Broner.  And next month, at age 40 1/2, he will look to complete his world welterweight championship hat trick against Thurman.  And in between?  There has been no down time for Manny.  He maintains a schedule that keeps the international icon thriving.  Manny traveled to the United Kingdom at the invitations of the prestigious Oxford Union and Cambridge Union to speak about his life and answer questions from the student members on consecutive days.  Then it was back to the Philippines and his duties as a Senator.

Up until last week’s Senate recess, it was 14 to 16-hour days divided into two-part rigorous training sessions and a full work day dedicated to his senatorial duties. Once the Philippine Senate session ended, on June 7, Team Pacquiao returned home to General Santos City to focus on training

“At age forty I want to prove I can still beat an undefeated champion,” said Manny.  “I like being an underdog in this fight.  It is nothing new and it is fun.  I have been an underdog my entire life.  Keith Thurman does not scare me.  Keith Thurman does not intimidate me.  Keith Thurman has inspired me.  I am training harder than ever.  This is the biggest test of my career.  It is a story that is forty years in the making.”

Now it’s off to Hollywood, California and his second home, Wild Card Boxing Club,  where Manny will endure the most intensive part of his training in preparation for his title fight against Thurman.  Holidays will be work days for this training camp.  Manny plans to hold off on celebrating July 4.  He will set off his fireworks when he steps into the ring with Thurman.

Listen to Go4it! Guest: Rider University assistant basketball coach Marlon Guild

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We’ll talk about it all!

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Giants sign rookies DeAndre Baker, Dexter Lawrence

The Giants announced that defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence and cornerback DeAndre Baker – two of their three first-round draft choices – today signed their first NFL contracts. The team has signed eight of its 10 selections in the 2019 draft.

The two players who have yet to conclude their contract negotiations are quarterback Daniel Jones, the sixth overall choice, and Oshane Ximines, the outside linebacker selected in the third round, 95th overall.

Lawrence, 6-4 and 342 pounds, was the 17th overall selection. In three seasons at Clemson, he played in 40 games with 36 starts and was a three-time All-ACC selection and two-time national champion. One of the nation’s dominant defensive tackles, his career totals included 145 tackles (74 solo) 19.0 tackles for losses, 10.5 sacks, one forced fumble, three fumble recoveries, five passes defensed, one interception, and 43 quarterback pressures.

In 2018, Lawrence was a first-team American Football Coaches Association All-America and first‐team All‐ACC selection. He started all 13 games in which he played for the national champion Tigers and was credited with 44 tackles (30 solo), 7.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and 15 quarterback pressures. Lawrence also blocked one kick and score one rushing touchdown.

Baker, 5-11 and 189 pounds, played in 51 games with 34 starts at right cornerback in four seasons at Georgia. His statistics included 116 tackles (83 solo), seven interceptions which he returned for 145 yards (20.7-yard avg.), 24 pass breakups, four tackles for loss, one sack, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

As a senior in 2018, Baker received the Jim Thorpe Award, given annually to the nation’s best defensive back. He was a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, presented to the nation’s top defensive player. Baker was selected first-team All-America by the AP, ESPN.com, AFCA, SI.com, and Walter Camp, and first-team All-SEC by the AP and the league’s coaches. He started all 13 games and was credited with 40 tackles (career-high 31 solo), a team-high two interceptions, a career-high 10 pass breakups, two tackles for loss, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.

Article/courtesy: Michael Eisen

Malignaggi: ‘This fight ends with Lobov’s face falling off’

Former two-division boxing world champion Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi shared insights from his training camp as he prepares for his anticipated grudge match against UFC veteran Artem “The Russian Hammer” Lobov that headlines Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) action on Saturday, June 22 live on pay-per-view from Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall in Tampa, Fla.

The televised portion of the can’t-miss night of fights will begin at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT and will also see former UFC veteran Chris Leben in his second BKFC attraction, as he takes on longtime MMA veteran Dakota Cochrane. Plus, the finals of the BKFC Lightweight Tournament will pit Reggie Barnett against Johnny Bedford in a showdown for the BKFC Lightweight Championship.

Here is what Malignaggi had to say from training camp at the 5th Street Gym in Miami:

1) How has training camp has been going in California, New York and Miami?

“My training camp has been really good. We started in New York, went to California for a few weeks, then back to New York, and now Miami. It’s been a traveling training camp and that’s what’s made it fun. It can become tedious being in the same spot and doing the same things over and over again. We’ve tried different things, while also sticking with our basics. I’m up to par both mentally and physically.”

2) Did you do anything special to prepare for Lobov and your bare knuckle debut that you may not have done during training for your boxing matches?

“To prepare for Artem I hit the punching bag a lot more, because Artem is basically a punching bag with legs. I wanted to get used to that and get my fists accustomed to it. We’ve also done some other things to be prepared specifically for my bare knuckle debut.”

3) What will this last week entail heading into fight night next Saturday?

“We’re just making our final preparations now and doing the final overview of our game plan. We’re already sharp and we’re maintaining it. We’ll make a full-on decision soon about the approach we’ll take into the fight.”

4) How do we expect your fight against Lobov to play out stylistically?

“This is going to be a painful night for Artem. This is a world-class fighter against a punching bag with feet. He’s going to be very stubborn, but he’s going to get hit nonetheless. I think you’re going to see that I’m a different class of fighter. I’ve been a champion and I’ve been in the ring with many champions. He doesn’t have that experience. You’ll see what difference that makes on fight night.”

5) What would a victory at BKFC 6 mean for your professional fighting career?

“This would be another feather in my hat to get this win. I’m taking part in a new kind of combat and it would show that I can be successful and victorious in anything I put my mind to.”

6) What’s your prediction for how this fight ends?

“This fight ends with Lobov’s face falling off. I’m going to cut him up. I hope he lasts, because I want to beat him down round after round.”

Photo/courtesy: BKFC

Hooker on Ramirez fight: ‘This fight will define my career’

Maurice Hooker says the pressure of fighting at home in a career defining fight will bring the best out of him when he meets WBC World Super-Lightweight ruler Jose Ramirez in unification clash on Saturday July 27 at the College Park Center in Arlington, Texas, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.

Hooker (26-0-3 17 KOs) fights in his Dallas backyard for the first time as a World champion following three fights in enemy territory. Hooker puts his title on the line for the third time after ripping the WBO crown from Terry Flanagan in Manchester, England last June and travelled to Oklahoma City to get off the canvas and stop Alex Saucedo inside seven thrilling rounds in November. ‘Mighty Mo’ met Brooklyn’s Mikkel LesPierre in Verona, New York in March, flooring the unbeaten challenger in the ninth round of a dominant points win.

Ramirez (24-0 16 KOs) also puts his crown on the line for the third time having landed the vacant title at Madison Square Garden in New York in March 2018 against Amir Imam. The 26 year old’s first two defenses were on home soil in Fresno, putting Antonio Orozco on the deck twice in a points win in September and then a tight contest with Jose Zepeda in February where he held onto his title via majority decision.

“This fight will define my career,” said Hooker. “I will either be the star at 140-pound or I’ll have to start over again and try to build my name back up. I’m pumped up for this fight. I can fight at home and hopefully win some new fans at home as they can see me fight in person. The fight could have happened in New York or Las Vegas, it doesn’t matter, but I’m pumped for the first time that people can see me fight at home as a World champion.

“People have been hitting me up for tickets and getting excited about it, but I’m focused, I’m back in San Diego and working hard in camp. Everyone is going to be there and that’s more motivation for me. There’s pressure on me to win this fight for the fans as they have always given me great support, so I have to win it for them.”

A stacked undercard in support of the main event will see more World title action added to the card which already features the hotly anticipated debut of Murat Gassiev, who moves up from Cruiserweight and meets Philadelphia’s Joey Dawejko.

Houston-based rising talent Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams (2-0 2 KOs) is in action for the third time in the paid ranks, and the impressive 23-year-old can make it three straight first round KOs in his home state.

Photo: Matchroom Boxing

 

Vikings’ Zimmer: ‘I think Kirk [Cousins] had a really good spring’

Year 2 for Vikings QB Kirk Cousins in Minnesota is a big one. Last season, Cousins came to Minnesota with the hope that he can be the team’s franchise QB, and anytime you sign a three-year, $84 million deal, the expectations are going to be very high.

Unfortunately, the Vikings missed the playoffs last season. When you are the quarterback, you get too much of the credit, and you get too much of the blame, which was the case for Cousins last season. Fortunately, for Cousins, he has another chance to right the ship, and it seems he is off to a good start.

On Thursday, the Vikings concluded mandatory minicamp, and Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was pleased about what he saw out of Cousins this spring.

“I think Kirk [Cousins] had a really good spring,” Zimmer said. “I think he did some really good things and some of the things that we felt like he needed to work on, he was working on them. We gave him a lot of different looks, things that people attacked us with their defenses last year.

“We put some stuff in just so we can get some earlier looks at it and not wait until Week One when we’re playing Atlanta or whatever. It’s like every player, there’s certain ways you want things done, and you’re going to coach them into doing those things. They’re all really receptive to coaching and the way that you try to get them better, and that’s really what we try to do with everybody.”

Cousins(4298 passing yards, 30 TDs) was not bad for the Vikings last season. However, he is 34-37-2 as a starter, and Minnesota was 8-7-1 last season. So, after seven seasons in the NFL, is Cousins better than average or is he the epitome of average.

We’ll answer that question sometime in 2019.

Drake reacts to the Raptors winning an NBA title(VIDEO)

The Toronto Raptors have done it! Toronto did something that many thought seemed impossible.

Behind the play of Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and the clutch shooting of Fred VanVleet, the Raptors were able to beat the Warriors 114-110 to capture the first title in franchise history.

After the game, rapper/actor and super fan Drake reacted.

Here is what he had to say:

 

Eagles’ Pederson: ‘I’ve seen that excitement and that chip, so to speak, on the guys’ shoulder’

For a good portion of the 2018 season, the Philadelphia Eagles had some struggles as they tried to defend their Super Bowl title, and after ten games, the Eagles were 4-6, and at that point, the playoffs seemed like a long shot.

However, Philly was able to win five of their final six games of the season, and with a little help from the Bears(beat Vikings in Week 17), the Eagles were able to make the playoffs. Philly would beat Chicago in the Wild Card Round but would lose heartbreakingly to the Saints in the Divisional Round.

On Wednesday, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson discussed last season and how that might help the team this season.

“I kind of mentioned I think the other day that these guys were disappointed in how our season ended,” Pederson said. “They felt like we were really kind of catching our stride again late in the year. Disappointed on how we finished our season so close to potentially moving on and being in the NFC championship game.

“It was unfortunate we lost that game. I think it resonates with players, and that was my message at the end of the season when we sat here in January was: We have to remember these moments, remember these times because that’s what’s going to make us stronger in the future.

“I’ve seen that excitement and that chip, so to speak, on the guys’ shoulders, and they’re working hard. They’re all building towards the regular season.

“Now, it’s a long season; we understand that. One-game-at-a-time mentality. But there is a little different vibe with the guys this off-season that’s been very positive.”

It’s hard to repeat in the NFL, and it did seem at times that Philly had a little hangover, but the way things ended last season, might propel the Eagles to greater heights moving forward. The talent seems to be there, and on paper, this team looks like it can make some noise 2019, but as we all know, you don’t win games on paper.