Pedraza-Rodriguez added to Stevenson-Nakathila undercard

Former two-weight world champion Jose “Sniper” Pedraza has set his aim on another title. Pedraza, from Cidra, Puerto Rico, will take on the undefeated Julian “Hammer Hands” Rodriguez in a 10-round junior welterweight tilt Saturday, June 12 at The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.
 
Pedraza-Rodriguez will serve as the co-feature to the WBO interim junior lightweight title bout between Shakur Stevenson and Jeremiah Nakathila. Both bouts will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (simulcast on ESPN+) at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
 
The undercard will showcase the return of undefeated Puerto Rican welterweight prodigy Xander Zayas (8-0, 6 KOs) in a six-round bout. Zayas is coming off a first-round knockout on April 24 in Kissimmee, Florida.
 
Promoted by Top Rank, tickets priced at $200, $100, $75 and $50 go on sale Friday, May 14 at 12 p.m. PT, and can be purchased by visiting Etix.com.

“This is a classic matchup featuring a former world champion in Pedraza against a young kid in Rodriguez, who is eager to prove he belongs at the world level,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “I am also excited to see Xander Zayas, who has grown so much as a young man and a fighter since Top Rank signed him as a 16-year-old.”
 
Pedraza (28-3, 13 KOs) is 2-1 since moving up from lightweight, where he won the WBO world title over Ray Beltran before falling short in a unification matchup against Vasiliy Lomachenko. He had an inauspicious junior welterweight debut when he lost a one-sided decision to Jose “Chon” Zepeda, but he has since notched unanimous decisions over Mikkel LesPierre and Javier Molina. Ranked No. 6 by the WBO, Pedraza hopes a win over Rodriguez leads to another crack at world title glory.
 
“It has been almost a year without fighting.  I can’t wait to get back in the ring, to bring home another win that will bring happiness to my people,” Pedraza said. “I like that this fight is against a hungry contender like Julian Rodriguez. I always like the idea of facing the best opponents because they bring the best out of me. I know that with a big win on June 12, I will get closer to a world title shot. That’s what we are fighting for.”
 
Rodriguez (21-0, 14 KOs), from Bergen County, New Jersey, turned pro in 2013 following a storied amateur career that included a 2013 National Golden Gloves title and victories over the likes of former world champion Robert Easter Jr. He is 5-0 with four knockouts since returning from a nearly two-year layoff in July 2019, including a first-round knockout last August over the previously undefeated Anthony Laureano. Rodriguez has long called for a step-up bout, and if he beats Pedraza, he’ll immediately enter the ranks of the top 140-pound contenders.
 
Rodriguez said, “I know what I bring to the table. There’s not one thing in his arsenal that’s sharper than mine. He brings the experience, but he’s been broken a few times. This opportunity is a long time coming. I’m focused. It’s hard to look at my two children and not be determined to go in there and break that guy’s ribs.”

Vikings trade Hughes to Chiefs

The Minnesota Vikings have traded CB Mike Hughes and a seventh-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft to the Kansas City Chiefs. In exchange, Minnesota receives a sixth-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, the teams announced on Thursday.

The former first-round pick for the Vikings back in 2018 missed ten games last season due to a neck injury. The 24-year-old Hughes struggled with injuries throughout his three-year career. He tore his ACL in 2018 and injured his neck in 2019.

In 24 games(seven starts) with the Vikings, Hughes had 80 tackles, two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. 

Minnesota bolstered their secondary in the offseason with the addition of three-time Pro Bowl corner Patrick Peterson, which made Hughes expendable.

For Hughes, he has an opportunity to resurrect his career with the Chiefs, and if he can stay healthy, maybe things can work out for him in Kansas City.

Porzingis on playoffs: ‘I feel like we are going to enjoy this’

The Dalllas Mavericks got F/C Kristaps Porzingis back on Wednesday night against the Pelicans after missing seven games due to a knee injury as Dallas routed New Orleans 125-107 at American Airlines Center. 

With the win, the sixth-seeded Mavericks(41-29) remain tied with the fifth-seeded Blazers(41-29) and have a one-game lead over the seventh-seeded Lakers(40-30).

In 22 minutes of action, Porzingis had 19 points and five rebounds. He had 17 of his 19 points in the first half, including 12 in the opening quarter. After the game, Porzingis discussed his performance.

“Tonight was pretty good,” Porzingis said. “I was all over the floor – shot some 3s, got some post-ups, and made some shots from there. Just little stuff all over. And then I was just trying to make the game easier for my teammates by setting screens and things like that to make the game easier for them. My legs are feeling good and fresh and ready to go.”

Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle added on Porzingis: “I thought [Kristaps] Porzingis was great. Got us off to a great start; three-point play on the first possession was huge. I thought his rhythm looked surprisingly good for a guy that’s been out for close to two weeks. Defensively, his positioning was strong. He was a presence around the rim. It’s pretty clear that we need him.”

If the Mavericks can stay out of the seventh spot, the playoffs will start for them either May 22 or 23 and according to Porzingis, he’s been waiting for that moment all year long. 

“It is easy to get your energy going when it is playoff time,” Porzingis said. “That is when you want to put everything out there. I am looking forward to that, and the closer we get, the more energy we are going to have. I feel like we are going to enjoy this.”

Dallas is 11-3 in their last 14 games and is playing well at the right time, but any matchup they have in the first round(Denver or Clippers) will be difficult. However, if they’re healthy, Dallas can compete with anyone in the NBA. 

Dallas will host the Toronto Raptors on Friday night before closing out the season in Minnesota against the Timberwolves.

Notes:

-Luka Doncic finished game with 33 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists. This is his league-leading 22nd game with 30+ points, 5+ rebounds and 5+ assists. It also marks the 19th time this season (54th career) that Dončić led the Mavericks in points, rebounds and assists.

-Tim Hardaway Jr. continued his tear and recorded 27 points on 10-18 shooting to go with 4 rebounds and 2 assists. Over his last 8 games (since April 29), Hardaway Jr. is averaging 26.0 points on 73-131 (.557) shooting from the field and 38-77 (.494) from deep. He connected on his 204th 3-pointer of the season tonight, which ties his career-high for most in a season (204, 2019-20).

-The Mavericks improved to a perfect 26-0 when leading after the first quarter and improved to 38-2 when they build a double-digit lead at any point in the game. They are also 18-0 when they score 120+ points in a game.

Buccaneers begin regular season against Cowboys

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 2021 regular season schedule, released Thursday by the National Football League, is highlighted by five primetime appearances, marking the second consecutive season that Tampa Bay has been scheduled for the maximum number of primetime games.

The NFL also announced the preseason schedule on Wednesday, which features the Buccaneers hosting the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1 on Saturday, Aug. 14 followed by the Tennessee Titans in Week 2 on Saturday, Aug. 21. Both games will kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The Buccaneers and the Dallas Cowboys will kick off the 2021 NFL season with a Thursday night showdown on Sept. 9 at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC. Tampa Bay will be making its first appearance in the NFL Kickoff game since its inception in 2002. The Buccaneers and Cowboys have played twice in Week 1, with the most recent meeting occurring in 2009.

Tampa Bay’s first divisional matchup of the year will take place in Week 2 when the Buccaneers host the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, Sept. 19 at 4:05 p.m. ET (FOX). Bruce Arians will look to improve on his 12-4 record (includes interim year) against rookie head coaches as first-year head coach Arthur Smith comes to Tampa Bay.

In Week 3, the Buccaneers will hit the road for the first time, traveling to the West Coast to face off against the Los Angeles Rams in Tampa Bay’s first ever trip to SoFi Stadium – the site of Super Bowl LVI. The 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff (FOX) on Sunday, Sept. 26, will mark the Buccaneers’ first visit to Los Angeles since setting a franchise record for points scored in a 55-40 win over the Rams at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in 2019.

When Tampa Bay travels to play the New England Patriots in Week 4, it will mark quarterback Tom Brady’s first trip back to Foxborough as a visiting player, facing the team with which he won the first six of his NFL-record seven Super Bowl titles. The Patriots are the last remaining team that Brady has not beaten over the course of his historic 21-year career. He will get the chance to pick up that win on Sunday Night Football, with an 8:20 p.m. kickoff on NBC.

The Buccaneers will be looking for their fourth consecutive home win against the Miami Dolphins in Week 5 with a 1 p.m. ET kickoff on CBS. Overall, the Buccaneers have won five of their past six matchups with the Dolphins, and Miami has never beaten Tampa Bay at Raymond James Stadium.

Tampa Bay plays its third primetime game of the season in Week 6 on Thursday, Oct. 14 at 8:20 p.m. ET (FOX/NFL Network/Amazon) when the Buccaneers travel to play the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday Night Football at Lincoln Financial Field. Tampa Bay will be playing in Philadelphia for the first time since 2015, when the Buccaneers earned a 45-17 win.

The Buccaneers will attempt to win their third consecutive home meeting with the Chicago Bears in Week 7 at 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS). The matchup will mark the seventh time in the last eight seasons that the two teams have played one another.

Tampa Bay and the division rival New Orleans Saints will go head-to-head for the first time in 2021 on Sunday, Oct. 31, at 4:25 p.m. ET (FOX). It will be the first matchup since the Buccaneers defeated the Saints, 30-20, in the Divisional Round of the 2021 NFL Playoffs. Tampa Bay will play on Halloween for the first time since 2010 when the Buccaneers defeated the Arizona Cardinals, 38-35.

Following a Week 9 Bye, the Buccaneers head to FedExField to face the Washington Football Team. FedExField was the site of the Buccaneers’ 31-23 Wild Card victory on their path to a Super Bowl LV championship. Including the postseason, the Buccaneers have won three of their past four road meetings with Washington dating back to 2010. The game will kick off at 1 p.m. ET (FOX).

For the second consecutive season, Tampa Bay will play the New York Giants on Monday Night Football. The Buccaneers and Giants are matching up for the fifth time in as many years, marking the longest streak of consecutive seasons the two franchises have met.

The Week 12 matchup with the Indianapolis Colts marks Bruce Arians’ second trip back to Indianapolis since he served as the Colts interim head coach in 2012, and his first with Tampa Bay. Arians owns a 6-0 record all-time at Lucas Oil Stadium, including five wins as an interim head coach. The game will kick off at 1 p.m. ET (FOX).

After a Week 13 road meeting with the Falcons on Sunday, Dec. 5, at 1 p.m. ET (FOX), a pair of conference title game participants from last season will match up in Week 14, as the Buccaneers host the Buffalo Bills. The Bills most recent trip to Raymond James Stadium came in 2013 when Tampa Bay topped Buffalo, 27-6, earning the third consecutive home win against the Bills.

Tampa Bay will play back-to-back divisional games in Weeks 15 and 16, hosting the Saints on Sunday Night Football on Dec. 19, at 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC) and visiting the Panthers on Sunday, Dec. 26, at 1 p.m. ET (FOX). The Week 15 game will mark Tampa Bay’s fourth appearance on Sunday Night Football over the past two seasons.

The Buccaneers will take on the New York Jets in Week 17 at 1 p.m. ET (FOX) on Sunday, Jan. 2, before concluding the season with a 1 p.m. ET kickoff (FOX) on Sunday, Jan. 9, vs. the Panthers in Week 18, as part of the NFL’s first 17-game season in league history.

 

Philadelphia Eagles announce 2021 schedule; Philly begins season against Falcons

The Philadelphia Eagles announced their complete preseason and regular season on Thursday. Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni will make his coaching debut against the Falcons on the road in Week 1 of the 2021 regular season.

Below is the Philly’s complete preseason and regular season schedule.

2021 Philadelphia Eagles Schedule

Preseason

 

Thursday, August 12

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

 

7:30 pm

 

NBC10

 

Thursday, August 19

 

New England Patriots

 

7:30 pm

 

NBC10

 

TBD*

 

at New York Jets

 

TBD

 

TBD

 
   

Regular Season

 

Sunday, September 12

 

at Atlanta Falcons

 

1:00 pm

 

FOX

 

Sunday, September 19

 

San Francisco 49ers

 

1:00 pm

 

FOX

 

Monday, September 27

 

at Dallas Cowboys

 

8:15 pm

 

ESPN^

 

Sunday, October 3

 

Kansas City Chiefs

 

1:00 pm

 

CBS

 

Sunday, October 10

 

at Carolina Panthers

 

1:00 pm+

 

FOX

 

Thursday, October 14

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 

8:20 pm+

 

FOX/NFLN/Amazon^

 

Sunday, October 24

 

at Las Vegas Raiders

 

4:05 pm+

 

FOX

 

Sunday, October 31

 

at Detroit Lions

 

1:00 pm+

 

FOX

 

Sunday, November 7

 

Los Angeles Chargers

 

4:05 pm+

 

CBS

 

Sunday, November 14

 

at Denver Broncos

 

4:25 pm+

 

CBS

 

Sunday, November 21

 

New Orleans Saints

 

1:00 pm+

 

FOX

 

Sunday, November 28

 

at New York Giants

 

1:00 pm+

 

FOX

 

Sunday, December 5

 

at New York Jets

 

1:00 pm+

 

CBS

 

Sunday, December 12

 

BYE

         

Sat., Dec. 18 / Sun., Dec. 19*

 

Washington Football Team

 

TBD+

 

TBD

 

Sunday, December 26

 

New York Giants

 

1:00 pm+

 

FOX

 

Sunday, January 2

 

at Washington Football Team

 

1:00 pm+

 

FOX

 

Sunday, January 9

 

Dallas Cowboys

 

1:00 pm+

 

FOX

 

 

 

Postseason

 

Saturday, January 15 and Sunday, January 16 – AFC and NFC Wild Card Playoffs

 

Saturday, January 22 and Sunday, January 23 – AFC and NFC Divisional Playoffs

 

Sunday, January 30 – AFC and NFC Championship Games

 

Sunday, February 13 – Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA (NBC)

 
   

* specific date and time TBD

 

^ nationally televised game

 

+ game time subject to change due to flex scheduling

 
   

All games will be broadcast live on 94.1 WIP

 

Flexible scheduling: “Flexible scheduling” will be used in Weeks 11-18. Additionally, in Weeks 5-10, flexible scheduling may be used in no more than two weeks. In Weeks 5-17, the schedule lists the games tentatively set for Sunday Night Football on NBC. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game would be moved to an afternoon start time. 

For Week 18, two Saturday games and the Sunday night game will be announced no later than six days prior to January 9. The schedule does not list Saturday games or a Sunday night game in Week 18, but games with playoff implications will be moved to those time slots.  Flexible scheduling ensures quality matchups in all Sunday time slots in those weeks and gives “surprise” teams a chance to play their way into primetime.  

Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday or Monday nights.

Scheduling notes:

  • Philadelphia will begin the 2021 season against Atlanta on the road at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Eagles last played the Falcons on kickoff weekend in 2018, when they opened the NFL’s schedule with a home victory coming off their Super Bowl LII-winning campaign in 2017.

  • A national audience will once again be treated to an Eagles-Cowboys matchup in Week 3 on Monday Night Football. With the exception of a nationally televised 2014 Thanksgiving afternoon contest, the division rivals have squared off in primetime every season dating back to 2007.

  • Philadelphia will host the Super Bowl LV Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football in Week 6. The Eagles are one of only two teams with an undefeated record on Thursday Night Football (5-0) since 2016, joining the Seahawks.

  • The Eagles’ final flight of the season will happen in Week 10 when they travel to Denver. Philadelphia will then play four of its last seven games of the season at Lincoln Financial Field. Following their Week 14 bye, the Eagles will close the season with four consecutive games against NFC East opponents, three of which are in front of a home crowd.

 

Complete regular season schedule for Jaguars; Jax battles Texans in Week 1

 The Jacksonville Jaguars have unveiled their 2021 preseason and regular season schedules, the team announced on Wednesday.

NFL Kickoff Weekend begins on Thursday, Sept. 9 and the regular season ends on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022. Super Bowl LVI will take place on Feb. 13, 2022 at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, while the 2022 Pro Bowl is slated for Feb. 6, 2022 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

Here is the complete preseason and regular season schedule for Jacksonville:

2021 JAGUARS PRESEASON SCHEDULE

GAME

DATE

OPPONENT

ET

TV

1

TBD

Cleveland Browns

TBD

TBD

2

Aug. 23

at New Orleans Saints

8 p.m.

ESPN

3

TBD

at Dallas Cowboys

TBD

TBD

2021 JAGUARS REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE

WEEK

DATE

OPPONENT

ET

TV

1

Sept. 12

at Houston Texans

1 p.m.

CBS

2

Sept. 19

Denver Broncos

1 p.m.

CBS

3

Sept. 26

Arizona Cardinals

1 p.m.

FOX

4

Sept. 30

at Cincinnati Bengals

8:20 p.m.

NFL

5

Oct. 10

Tennessee Titans

1 p.m.

CBS

6

Oct. 17

Miami Dolphins (London)

9:30 a.m.

CBS

7

BYE WEEK

8

Oct. 31

at Seattle Seahawks

4:05 p.m.

CBS

9

Nov. 7

Buffalo Bills

1 p.m.

CBS

10

Nov. 14

at Indianapolis Colts

1 p.m.

CBS

11

Nov. 21

San Francisco 49ers

1 p.m.

FOX

12

Nov. 28

Atlanta Falcons

1 p.m.

CBS

13

Dec. 5

at Los Angeles Rams

4:25 p.m.

CBS

14

Dec. 12

at Tennessee Titans

1 p.m.

CBS

15

Dec. 19

Houston Texans

1 p.m.

CBS

16

Dec. 26

at New York Jets

1 p.m.

CBS

17

Jan. 2

at New England Patriots

1 p.m.

CBS

18

Jan. 9

Indianapolis Colts

1 p.m.

CBS

* Sunday night games in Weeks 5-17 are subject to change.

Notes on the Jaguars’ schedule:

 MILES TRAVELED: The Jaguars will travel 13,284 miles during the 2021 regular season, including eight away games and one home game at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The team’s trip to London is the longest of the season (4,250 miles), followed by Seattle (2,443) and Los Angeles (2,153).

WEEK 1 IN H-TOWN: The Jaguars head to Houston to open their 2021 regular season slate on Sept. 12. The Jaguars tallied 10 sacks and forced four turnovers in a 29-7 rout the last time Jacksonville kicked off the season at Houston in 2017. LB Myles Jack was the game’s leading tackler (14), and DE Lerentee McCray posted 1.5 sacks.

THE MORE, THE MERRIER: On March 30, NFL owners approved a 17-game regular season schedule in 2021. This season, AFC teams will play host for the additional game, with the Jaguars playing the Falcons at TIAA Bank Field on Nov. 28.

Jacksonville has a 2-1 record against Atlanta at TIAA Bank Field with its last win (13-7) on Sept. 16, 2007. The Jaguars’ most memorable victory against the Falcons came during the teams’ first encounter on Dec. 22, 1996, when Atlanta K Morten Anderson missed a 30-yard field goal in the final seconds to secure the Jaguars’ first playoff appearance in their second season as a franchise. Jacksonville advanced to the AFC Championship game weeks later.

AGAINST THE EAST: The Jaguars will battle each team from the AFC East in 2021. Jacksonville hosts Miami on Oct. 17 in London and Buffalo on Nov. 7 and has back-to-back road trips to the New York Jets on Dec. 26 and New England on Jan. 2.

The Jaguars have won four of their last six contests against AFC East foes, including two wins against the Jets, one against Miami and one against New England. In addition, Jacksonville is 5-1 in its last six contests against the division at TIAA Bank Field.

The Bills last traveled to Duval County on Jan. 7, 2018 for the AFC Wild Card game in which the Jaguars advanced to the AFC Divisional round with a 10-3 victory. LB Myles Jack tallied six tackles, including 1.0 sack, and two passes defensed.

WILD, WILD WEST: The Jaguars will also compete against teams in the NFC West this season. The Jaguars have played three teams in the division – Arizona, San Francisco and the Los Angeles Rams – the fewest times (five games apiece) out of any other opponent in franchise history.

The Jaguars will visit the Seahawks on Oct. 31 and head to the City of Angels for the second time in franchise history when they battle the Rams at SoFi Stadium on Dec. 5.

THURSDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: Jacksonville travels to Cincinnati in Week 4 for a prime-time showdown with the Bengals on Thursday Night Football. The game marks Jacksonville’s 14th Thursday Night Football game and fourth on the road. The Jaguars have won four out of their last seven contests on Thursday nights.

Jacksonville defeated Cincinnati, 23-20, in the one previous prime-time game between the two teams on Sunday Night Football in 2005. 2021 marks the third consecutive season the Jaguars have had a Thursday Night Football game in September.

HOMETOWN HEROES: Several Jaguars will return to their home and college states during the 2021 season.

In Week 1, LB Dakota Allen (Humble), DT Malcom Brown (Brenham), DE/LB K’Lavon Chaisson (Houston), OL Walker Little (Houston), LS Ross Matiscik (McKinney), RB Devine Ozigbo (Sachse) and WR Laviska Shenault Jr. (DeSoto) will return to their home state. In addition, Allen (Texas Tech), Brown (Texas), WR Collin Johnson (Texas), K Josh Lambo (Texas A&M), Matiscik (Baylor) and DT Roy Roberston-Harris (Texas-El Paso) attended college in the Lonestar State. Chaisson posted four tackles for loss, including 2.0 total sacks and one strip sack, and a blocked kick to help North Shore Senior High School capture the 2015 state championship game at NRG Stadium. The Houston native sniffed out a jet-sweep pass on fourth-and-goal in overtime to seal the win.

When the Jaguars travel to the Buckeye State to play the Bengals on Thursday Night Football in Week 4, Head Coach Urban Meyer (Toledo), TE Luke Farrell (Perry), DT DaVon Hamilton (Pickerington), OL Andrew Norwell (Cincinnati), DE Aaron Patrick (Dayton), OL Austen Pleasants (Ironton), CB Josiah Scott (Hamilton), DL Dawuane Smoot (Groveport) and S Jarron Wilson (Akron) will return to their home state. DT Doug Costin (Miami), Farrell (Ohio State), Hamilton (Ohio State), RB Carlos Hyde (Ohio State), Norwell (Ohio State) and Pleasants (Ohio) competed collegiately in Ohio.

In Week 13, the Jaguars return to the West Coast to face the Rams, where several Jaguars grew up and played college football. WR Jamal Agnew (San Diego), CB Luq Barcoo (San Diego), LB Leon Jacobs (San Pedro), WR Collin Johnson (Los Angeles), WR Marvin Jones Jr. (Long Beach), CB Sidney Jones IV (West Covina), DT Roy Roberston-Harris (Oakland) and K Aldrick Rosas (Orland) all hail from The Golden State. Six Jaguars went to college in California: Agnew (San Diego State), Barcoo (San Diego State), LB Myles Jack (UCLA), Jones (California), OL Walker Little (Stanford) and DT Jay Tufele (Southern California).

In Weeks 16-17, the Jaguars will make back-to-back trips to the Northeast during the holiday season. DE Josh Allen (Montclair, N.J.), RB Ryquell Armstead (Millville, N.J.), S Andre Cisco (Queens, N.Y.), TE Tyler Davis (North Bellmore, N.Y.), TE Chris Manhertz (Bronx, N.Y.) and DT Kenny Randall (Atlantic City, N.J.) will return to the New York Metropolitan area when Jacksonville faces the Jets on Dec. 26. 

STIFF COMPETITION: The Jaguars will compete in seven games – Tennessee (twice), Indianapolis (twice), Seattle, Buffalo and the L.A. Rams – against teams that qualified for the 2020 postseason.

Three of those teams include 2020 division champions: Titans, Seahawks and Bills.

LONDON CALLING: The Jaguars will return to London in 2021 to play the Dolphins in Week 6 after a brief hiatus from crossing the pond in 2020 due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions. For the eighth time in the last nine seasons, Jacksonville will play host in England.

For the first time in franchise history, the team will play at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Completed in 2019, the stadium is the third-largest football stadium (62,850) in England and the largest club stadium in London. The venue features its own football field which rests below its soccer pitch and is used exclusively for NFL games. Tottenham Hotspur Stadium debuted as a host venue for the NFL International Series when it hosted two NFL games in 2019.

Falcons-Jets, Jaguars-Dolphins to battle in London

The National Football League today announced that it will return to playing International Series Games in 2021, with two games to be held at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The Atlanta Falcons will host the New York Jets on Sunday, October 10 and the Jacksonville Jaguars will be at home against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, October 17, with both games kicking off at 2.30 p.m. UK time (9.30 a.m. ET)

The NFL’s London Games series has comprised 28 games over 13 consecutive seasons from 2007-2019.  This season’s games will represent the continuation of this important international initiative after the coronavirus pandemic forced all games in 2020 to be played in the United States.

“The Jaguars are honored to return to London, our home away from home, and continue in our mission to grow the NFL and promote Jacksonville in the UK and beyond,” said Jaguars team owner Shad Khan. “With Urban Meyer as our head coach, we’ll be arriving with an entirely new look and attitude that I’m confident will meet the approval of our Union Jax supporters. I’m also hoping that many of our loyal fans in Jacksonville can join us in London for a great experience and to ratchet up the homefield advantage. Go Jags!”

The Jaguars will be playing their eighth home game in London, while the Dolphins will play in the UK for the fifth time, and second time as the road team. The Falcons and Jets will both take the field in London for the second time.

The full 2021 NFL regular-season schedule will be announced later today, at 8:00 p.m. ET (1:00 a.m. UK time).

Charlo on fight with Montiel: ‘Get ready for a special, explosive night’

 Undefeated WBC Middleweight World Champion Jermall Charlo will enter the ring for a Juneteenth Day celebration in his hometown when he takes on hard-hitting Juan Macías Montiel on Saturday, June 19 at Toyota Center in Houston headlining a Premier Boxing Champions event live on SHOWTIME.

SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING will begin at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and feature rising lightweight contender Isaac Cruz battling former world champion Francisco Vargas in the 10-round co-main event. Kicking off the telecast, former world champion Angelo Leo returns to take on Mexican contender Aaron Alameda in a 10-round super bantamweight bout.

Charlo has established himself as a force in two divisions and will seek to thrill his hometown crowd against Mexico’s Montiel, in a first-of-its-kind Juneteenth Day boxing celebration. Charlo will fight in Houston for the fourth time as a pro and look to keep his undefeated record intact against the upset-minded Montiel.

Charlo (31-0, 22 KOs) will return to fight in his hometown for the first time since a June 2019 unanimous decision victory over Brandon Adams on SHOWTIME. The 30-year-old most recently scored an impressive victory over top middleweight contender Sergey Derevyanchenko in their September 2020 showdown. Charlo has held the WBC middleweight belt since 2019, after a championship reign at 154-pounds that lasted from 2015 through 2017. He has compiled a perfect 6-0 record since moving up to middleweight and owns victories over former champions Julian Williams, Austin Trout and Cornelius Bundrage at super welterweight.

“It’s great to be back in the ring, headlining on SHOWTIME and defending my title in front of my hometown fans in Houston,” said Charlo. “Fighting on Juneteenth means a lot to me because there is a battle going on far greater than this. That said, I have to handle my business on June 19. Montiel is a tough, young, power puncher. I know he wants my crown, but I’m hungrier than ever and ready to put on a show for my fans. Get ready for a special, explosive night.”

Representing his native Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, Montiel (22-4-2, 22 KOs) has earned knockouts in all 22 of his pro victories, as the heavy-handed brawler established himself as a hard-hitting force. The 27-year-old has put together an unbeaten streak since moving up to middleweight, first competing at the weight in September 2017, and most recently scoring a first-round knockout victory over longtime contender James Kirkland in December 2020. He owns stoppages of Marco Reyes and Gustavo Castro, and a draw against Hugo Centeno, Jr. at middleweight. Montiel had previously campaigned at welterweight and super welterweight, dropping a February 2017 bout to former champion Jaime Munguia in a 147-pound fight.

“I know that I am fighting the best middleweight in the world, but he has never faced someone who can punch like I can,” said Montiel. “All my losses in the past are from not training properly and trying to win by one-punch knockout. I’ve grown up and become a man since then. I proved that I was different when I beat Marco Reyes in 2019, and I haven’t left the gym since then. I’ve worked hard every day to become world champion and I will display everything I’ve learned on June 19.”

The 22-year-old Cruz (21-1-1, 15 KOs) shot up the lightweight rankings in 2020, announcing his presence with an electrifying first-round knockout over veteran Diego Magdaleno in September.

“Me and Vargas are going to show the fans true Mexican-style boxing on June 19,” said Cruz. “He is also from Mexico City, so I know this fight will be toe-to-toe. It’s my time to show the fans that I’m the best Mexican lightweight in the world. In with the new, and out with the old. I want to thank my promoter, Senator Manny Pacquiao, for his support and belief that I will become world champion very soon.”

Also a native of Mexico City, Vargas (27-2-2, 19 KOs) won a 130-pound title in 2015 by defeating Takashi Miura in one of the year’s best fights. The 36-year-old would go on to fight Orlando Salido to an action-packed draw before losing his title to Miguel Berchelt in another memorable affair.

“I only know how to fight wars and the fans should expect nothing less on June 19,” said Vargas. “I am a warrior, and people are going to remember the reasons why I was in two Fight of the Year battles when they see me in the ring with Isaac Cruz. I want to thank my whole team for putting together this fight that I know the fans will enjoy.”

Leo (20-1, 9 KOs), who fights out of the Mayweather Promotions stable, became the first world champion from his hometown of Albuquerque, N.M., since legendary three-division champion Johnny Tapia, when he defeated Tramaine Williams by unanimous decision in August 2020. The 26-year-old dropped the belt when he lost a decision to unbeaten Stephen Fulton Jr. in January on SHOWTIME. Leo, who trains in Las Vegas, will look to re-establish his position in the stacked 122-pound division on June 19.

“I’m excited to get back in the ring for this fight,” said Leo. “I wasn’t the same fighter in my last fight, as I was when I won the title. That’s given me a big chip on my shoulder. I figured out my mistakes and learned a lot about myself. I’m here to show people that I’m still a top contender and a threat in this division. Alameda is a real contender and he’s not an opponent I’m taking lightly. Whoever comes out on top in this fight will be right there for another title shot and I plan on that being me.”

The 27-year-old Aaron Alameda (25-1, 13 KOs) was able to stop Luis Nery’s knockout streak but came up on the short end of the decision in their super bantamweight title fight last September. Prior to the Nery fight, the Sonora, Mexico native had back-to-back knockouts over Jordan Escobar and Breilor Teran. A pro since 2014, his previous action in the U.S. saw him earn a sixth-round knockout over Andre Wilson in 2016.

“I can’t wait for another big fight on June 19,” said Alameda. “I showed that I belong with the best in my last fight against Luis Nery, and I will be even better against Leo. My goal is to become world champion and I plan on displaying everything I’ve worked on in this fight. I’m excited to battle Leo and give the fans a great show.”

Doncic on loss to Grizzlies: ‘That game was obviously one of the worst I’ve ever played’

In the final week of the NBA season, both the Dallas Mavericks(40-29) and Memphis Grizzlies(36-33) have a lot to play for. Dallas is trying to hold onto at least the sixth seed in the Western Conference to avoid the Play-In Tournament, while the Grizzlies are trying to move up to the eighth seed, which would mean they would have to win one game to advance in the Play-In Tournament.

The Grizzlies defeated the Pelicans 115-110 on Monday night, so you would think Dallas, who was off on Monday night, would be the fresher team, but that was not the case.

Behind Ja Morant’s 24 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds, and Dillon Brooks’ 22 points, Memphis routed the Mavericks 133-104 at FedExForum. 

Memphis had seven players in double-figures on Tuesday night and outscored Dallas by 11 points in the third quarter to take complete control of the game. The Grizzlies led by as many as 29 points in the fourth quarter.

For Dallas, Tim Hardaway Jr. led the way with 19 points, and Willie Cauley-Stein had a season-high 16 points. Luka Doncic struggled against the Grizzlies. He shot 4/16 from the field and had 12 points. Doncic also had five turnovers.

“I wasn’t myself,” Doncic said after the game. “We’ve got to bounce back, but that game was obviously one of the worst I’ve ever played. I’ve got to be better than that.”

According to Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle, the game changed in the first quarter when the Grizzlies went on a 11-2 run to close the quarter, and Memphis led 28-27 after one.

“Obviously, we didn’t play well over the course of 48 minutes,” Carlisle said. “A key part of this was the way we ended the first quarter… They were able to finish the quarter, I think, on a 9-0 run to take the lead. They got the momentum from there, and we were never really able to get it back. Very disappointing loss, but we gotta get ready for tomorrow.”

This was a game Dallas needed to have and to play as poorly as they did, was disappointing. Dallas and Portland have identical records, but Portland is now the fifth seed, while Dallas has fallen to six. Dallas has a 1.0 game lead over the seventh-seeded Lakers.

The good news for Dallas is they are expected to get Kristaps Porzingis back on Wednesday against the Pelicans, who missed his seventh consecutive game due to a knee injury. However, they will be without JJ Redick, who left the game in the third quarter with a right heel injury and did not return. Redick missed 21 games with that same injury.

All is not lost, but Dallas needs to bounce back against New Orleans if they want to continue to be in a position to avoid the Play-In Tournament.

Lopez-Kambosos Jr., Crews-Dezurn-Cederroos set for June 19

Teofimo Lopez and George Kambosos Jr. will now take place on June 19 in Miami, Triller Fight Club announced on Tuesday.  

In the co-main event, four belts will be on the line—IBF, WBA, WBO, WBC, and the Ring belt, as Franchon Crews-Dezurn battles Elin Cederroos.

The PPV event will be the first-ever boxing event held at loanDepot park in Miami.

Lopez-Kambosos Jr was initially scheduled for June 5 but was moved after Floyd Mayweather-Logan Paul was announced for June 6 in Miami.

The 23-year-old Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) is the current undisputed lightweight world champion, having held the IBF title since 2019 and the WBA, WBO, WBC, and Ring magazine titles since defeating Vasiliy Lomachenko in 2020.  

The Australian Kambosos, 27, has held the IBF Pan Pacific lightweight title since 2017. Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs) became the IBF mandatory challenger after defeating Lee Selby by split decision in October, a winner-take-all undisputed championship bout.

The four-hour show will also feature a WBA World Title Heavyweight Eliminator bout between Michael Hunter (19-1-1) and Mike Wilson (21-1), as well as the WBC International Super Featherweight Silver Championship matchup between Andy Vences (23-2-1) and Ireland’s Jono Carroll (19-2-1). 

Additional fights will be announced in the coming weeks.