Holyfield, Hopkins, Thurman, others predict the outcome of Spence-Garcia

Boxing legends, champions, top fighters and trainers gave their predictions for the FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View main event between unified welterweight champion Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. and two-division champion Danny “Swift” Garcia ahead of their showdown this Saturday, December 5 from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Buy the pay-per-view now on www.foxsports.com/ppv and watch on any screen.

Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, Man Down Promotions and DSG Promotions, are on sale now, and can be purchased at SeatGeek.com, the Official Ticketing Provider of AT&T Stadium.

Of those polled, 20 predicted that Spence would retain his titles, while 16 favored Garcia to come out with the victory on Saturday night. Here is what the predictors had to say about the highly anticipated welterweight clash:

Evander Holyfield, Boxing Legend

Spence W 12: Errol Spence is a very technical fighter, and Danny Garcia’s a great counter-puncher. But Errol is the best, so I’ve got Errol winning by decision.

Bernard Hopkins, Boxing Legend

Garcia UD 12: I believe that Danny Garcia will defeat Errol Spence by unanimous decision in a very hard, tough battle of wills.

Keith Thurman, Former Unified World Welterweight Champion

Spence W 12: Danny Garcia’s the biggest puncher I’ve faced in the ring in my entire professional career. Danny’s got great timing and a chip on his shoulder from losing two close fights to myself and Shawn Porter. So Errol Spence better not let him land one of those bricks.

But styles make fights, and my gut says Spence wins without a home-run being hit by Garcia. Spence has all of the skills and technique to come out with the ‘W’ against Garcia, whom I was able to hurt with a big punch in the first round.

Spence has that right hook, which he can land to the temple, and those pot-shots as well as a long and stiff jab to go with a height and reach advantage that led to his complete shutout of Mikey Garcia.

But if Spence has that ‘Man-Down philosophy,’ and he’s not a fighter who plays with his food. When he gets you hurt, he gets you outta there. But it could come down to who lands the biggest punch first, and a lot of folks want to know how Spence is after that car accident.

Andre Berto, Three-Time World Welterweight Champion

Garcia KO 5: Errol Spence‘s confidence is going to be sky high after battling back from everything he’s gone through. But at the same time, it’s the accident that’s going to cost him in the ring against Danny Garcia.

Both guys are going to come out swinging and tire themselves out, but Danny’s going to bring it early and often to make Errol prove he’s fully recovered in a donnybrook. My man Garcia’s going to keep punching, and then, you know – Blammo! Garcia KO 5.

Yordenis Ugas, WBA World Welterweight Champion

Spence SD 12: I have Errol Spence winning by a split-decision over Danny Garcia. It will be an exciting fight where at times, either will box, and at times, either will bang, but there will be no knockdowns.

Mikey Garcia, Four-Division World Champion

Spence W 12: Danny Garcia will be competitive and have his moments, but Errol Spence will box more effectively and win by a decision.

Robert Guerrero, Three-Time World Champion

Garcia W 12: If Errol Spence boxes the way that he did with Mikey Garcia, he wins by decision over Danny Garcia. If Spence tries to bang it out with Garcia, then he might get knocked out. But I’m going with Danny Garcia to win by decision.

Jamal James, Interim WBA World Welterweight Champion

Spence W 12: I think Errol Spence will win a 12-round decision, but I’m not counting out Danny Garcia.

Julian Williams, Former Unified World Super Welterweight Champion

Garcia W 12: It’s basically a 50-50 fight, but I’m leaning toward Danny Garcia to defeat Errol Spence in a close fight. I’m pretty sure that Danny’s locked in and extremely motivated, feeling as if everyone is looking past him.

Ronnie Shields, Trainer of Undefeated WBC World Middleweight Champion Jermall Charlo

Spence W 12: I think Errol Spence is going to win a close decision. Danny has a chance if he can start fast and make his presence known with that left hook.

But Garcia’s not much of a fast starter, and I think he’s going to run into some problems because Spence can out-box him if he chooses to.

Andre Rozier, Trainer of Former World Middleweight Champion Daniel Jacobs

Garcia SD 12: Danny Garcia’s family, but he’s also the underdog going into this fight with Errol Spence. Still, Danny’s hungry to build upon his legacy. Danny has the power to stop Errol, who has tremendous boxing skills, and it could happen in what I believe is going to be a tremendous battle of wills.  But I think this fight will go the distance, and in the end, Garcia will win this in a definitive fashion that will secure his trip to the Hall of Fame.

Regis Prograis, Former WBA World Super Lightweight Champion

Spence UD 12: Errol Spence wins by unanimous decision over Danny Garcia.

David Benavidez, Two-Time WBC World Super Middleweight Champion

Spence SD 12: This is a crossroads fight for both of them. Errol Spence wants to demonstrate that he’s still the great champion that he was before the car accident, and this may be one of Danny Garcia’s greatest opportunities to show he still is a great champion.

It’s going to come down to who can dictate the pace and the pressure. I think Errol‘s pressure could be too much for Garcia, but Spence had problems with the pressure Shawn Porter applied as well. If Spence invests in the body against Danny Garcia, his body shots can slow Garcia down and give Spence the edge. On the other hand, Garcia has that eraser of a left hook. But I’m giving Spence the edge and a decision.

Jose Benavidez Sr., Father and Trainer of David Benavidez

Garcia SD 12: I’ve got Danny Garcia winning because of his experience taking a split-decision, but it’s a 50-50 fight because Errol Spence is younger, has a lot of hunger and weighs a little bit more.

Kevin Cunningham, Trainer of Super Welterweight Contender Erickson Lubin

Spence UD 12: I have Errol Spence winning by unanimous decision over Danny Garcia, but at the same time, I’m like everybody else: I’m waiting to see how Errol Spence‘s health is after his experiences with the effects of that car accident.

Steve Cunningham, Two-Time World Cruiserweight Champion

Garcia SD 12: I see Danny Garcia winning a close, split-decision over Errol Spence. Garcia’s the underdog again, but how many times have we seen this? Garcia was supposed to lose to Erik Morales, Lucas Matthysse, Amir Khan and so many others, but he beat them all. Spence is talented, but I see Garcia fighting with that Philadelphia pride and bringing another world championship home.

Nonito Donaire, Four-Division World Champion

Spence W 12: A lot depends on whether Errol Spence is 100 percent after his car accident. But either way, I anticipate him using his height, reach and ability to fight from a distance. Spence will counter Danny Garcia’s power and mid-range fight abilities on the way to winning a close decision.

Abner Mares, Three-Division World Champion

Spence TKO 8: If Errol Spence had not been in that car accident, I would have picked him to defeat Danny Garcia, hands down. But now it’s a 50-50 fight because we don’t know how he’s going to come back from the injuries, physically and mentally.

But it seems like Errol‘s 100 percent ready to take on the big task of Danny Garcia for the simple fact that his boxing abilities are far superior. I think it’s going to be a stoppage. With his skills, Errol Spence knows how to pick you apart round by round.

Danny Garcia’s vulnerable because he’s a guy that’s a big puncher who is always in a fight during any given round, but he opens up a lot. I see Errol Spence out-boxing and breaking him down for a TKO say, by the eighth round.

Vito Mielnicki Jr., Undefeated Welterweight Prospect

Garcia SD 12: This is going to be a tremendous, 50-50 fight that can go either way, with Errol Spence being an excellent boxer with power. Danny Garcia has that one-punch power, so it’s a fight where anything can happen. It’s really tough to make a choice, but I think Danny will be the winner of a hard-fought split-decision.

Gary Russell, Jr., WBC World Featherweight Champion 

Spence W 12: I think Errol Spence may get him, but he can’t mess around. Danny Garcia’s only got a puncher’s chance. Danny has been looking a little sharp and crisp. I edge it out to Errol, but it’s not going to be a walk in the park.

If Errol gets reckless, Danny could clip him.  I’m going with Errol. I think Errol is going to be more physical and will out-work Danny.  Danny is going to look for that one, nice shot. Errol is going to try to work him and rough him up.

Gary Russell, Sr., Trainer of Gary Russell Jr.

Garcia W 12: This fight will be Errol Spence‘s biggest fight. I like Danny Garcia in this fight, personally. Spence can’t go to the body and not get hit. If Danny gets close enough to hit Spence, he is going to fire. Danny has power in both hands. I wouldn’t be surprised if Danny upsets Spence.

Gary Antonio Russell, Undefeated Bantamweight Contender 

Spence W 12: Danny Garcia has the puncher’s power to stop Errol Spence, but I believe Spence is too much for Danny. Spence is too aggressive and has too much dog and tenacity for Danny. I’m just worried about which Errol will come to fight. Will the old Errol be able to perform to his old standard prior to his accident? I feel like Errol can win this fight.

Gary Antuanne Russell, Undefeated Super Lightweight Contender

Spence W 12:  Both Errol Spence and Danny Garcia are phenomenal fighters. Style makes fights. Errol Spence is more agile and more of a boxer-puncher. Danny is more of a poised, counter-puncher and seasoned boxer with more in-the-ring experience.

Danny has more of a puncher’s chance, having fought champions and ex-champions, beating most of them. Errol definitely has a puncher’s chance as well to go with a high IQ and the ability to lure Danny into a position where he can hurt Danny. Errol can knock Danny out with a hard punch or a slew of hard combinations, but Danny could catch Errol with a counter punch, so the fight could go either way. Still, I’m leaning toward Errol Spence, who he has more in his arsenal than Danny.

Chris Colbert, Undefeated Interim WBA World Super Featherweight Champion

Spence UD 12: I see Errol Spence winning by a unanimous decision over Danny Garcia because Garcia’s got a granite chin, and we’ve never seen Garcia buzzed, battered or hurt.

Stephen Fulton, Undefeated Super Bantamweight Contender

Garcia W 12: This places me in a very difficult position because this is a 50-50 fight, a really hard fight to pick, and Errol Spence is the hungry, younger fighter who has a lot of skills. But if I have to pick a winner, I’ll go with the underdog, Danny Garcia, because I believe a lot of people are underestimating him, and guys like that can tend to sneak up on you. That’s why I’m picking Danny Garcia to rise to the occasion and win a great fight.

Luis Collazo, Former World Welterweight Champion

Garcia KO 10: Errol Spence gets careless too much, and Danny Garcia’s got a puncher’s chance. I’m going with the underdog, Danny Garcia, by ninth or 10th-round knockout in a helluva fight.

Erislandy Lara, Two-Time World Super Welterweight Champion

Spence W 12: This is going to be a fun fight to watch because both Errol Spence and Danny García are true warriors. Spence is the naturally bigger man and has more tools in his box.  Garcia is tough, but I think Spence will be too much for him. Spence wins by decision.

Omar Figueroa Sr., Trainer of Omar Figueroa Jr. & Undefeated WBA World Super Bantamweight Champion Brandon Figueroa

Garcia W 12: Danny Garcia is a smart, great fighter and I like the way that he thinks. I say Danny Garcia wins by decision over Errol Spence.

Erickson Lubin, Super Welterweight Contender

Spence D 12: If Errol Spence isn’t affected by the car accident, I have him winning a unanimous decision over Danny Garcia. We already know Danny’s going to come to fight and seems more focused than ever. Going off of what I only know right now, I’ll say they’re going to fight to a draw.

Omar Douglas Jr., Lightweight Contender

Garcia SD 12: I respect Errol Spence for coming back from that car accident and accepting such a tremendous challenge in Danny Garcia, but there are a lot of questions about which Spence will show up after his accident.

I think Spence should have taken a tune-up fight to see where he was before stepping up to this level. I’ve seen up close that Garcia’s one-punch knockout power is special, and I think that will be the difference in him winning a close, split-decision.

Sebastian Fundora, Undefeated Super Welterweight Contender

Spence TKO 10: Errol Spence is the best fighter in the whole division, and I believe he’ll come into the ring wanting to prove that in a great fight against Danny Garcia. I know Spence was involved in that terrible car accident after beating Shawn Porter, but I think that he can knock out Garcia.

Ivan Redkach, Welterweight Contender

Garcia SD 12: I like Danny Garcia to win a split-decision over Errol Spence as a result of his timing, punching power and experience. Errol Spence may look good in sparring and training since his car accident but sparring and training are not like being in a real fight, and that’s what he’s in against Garcia.

Joey Spencer, Undefeated Middleweight Prospect

Spence UD 12: Errol Spence and Danny Garcia are two champions with great chins and good defense, but I’m picking Errol by decision just because of his work-rate.

Danny will be in the fight, will counter effectively and avoid taking too much damage because of his solid defense, but again, he won’t sustain the work-rate with Spence.

Richard Commey, Former IBF World Lightweight Champion

Garcia SD 12: Errol Spence is still a great fighter, regardless of what happened with the car accident. But I believe the night will belong to Danny Garcia. I expect Garcia to start fast, pressuring early and using his patience and power to control the fight on the way to winning a decision.

Eimantas Stanionis, Undefeated Welterweight Contender

Spence W 12: This is a very difficult fight for Errol Spence because of his very long layoff and the car accident, so nobody knows how he will feel. But if Spence is the same fighter, I see him winning. Danny Garcia always has that left hook, and he can always hurt you with either his left or right hand. But Spence has good defense, so he may be able to account for that. With all things being considered, I think it will be Errol Spence winning by a decision.

Jonathan Walley, Co-Trainer of Welterweight Contender Sergey Lipinets

Garcia TKO 8: It’s a 50-50 fight, and I think Errol Spence tries to box before eventually engaging with Danny Garcia. But that’s to the advantage of Garcia, who counter-punches well and I think he’ll catch Spence at some point and knock him out.

Final Count:

Spence20

Garcia: 16

Photo: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions

Giants’ Barkley on whether he will be the same player after injury: ‘No doubt in my mind’

Saquon Barkley and Adrian Peterson first met on Oct. 28, 2018, when Peterson scored two touchdowns and Barkley totaled 111 yards from scrimmage in Washington’s 20-13 victory against the Giants in MetLife Stadium. The two stellar running backs came together at midfield following the game and expressed their mutual admiration and Peterson told the then-rookie, “the sky’s the limit for you.”

Before retreating to their respective locker rooms, the future Hall of Famer had four words of advice for Barkley: “stay focused and keep grinding.”

More than two years later, that counsel has become particularly poignant to Barkley.

On Sept. 20, he suffered a serious knee injury in the Giants’ second game of the season. Barkley underwent surgery on Oct. 30 to repair a torn right anterior cruciate ligament. He spoke publicly today for the first time since that operation on a Zoom call with reporters when he was asked if he has any uncertainty about becoming the same player he was before the injury.

“No doubt in my mind,” Barkley said.

That confidence comes from his dedication to an arduous rehabilitation and his determination to return to the level of play that made him the 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and the first player in Giants history to exceed 1,000 rushing yards in each of his first two seasons. It also emanates from the example Peterson set nine years ago.

On Dec. 24, 2011, Peterson, then a fifth-year pro with the Minnesota Vikings, tore his ACL and MCL in a game in Washington. He ended his season with 970 rushing yards, his first season with less than 1,000.

Peterson more than made up for it in 2012, when he led the NFL with a career-high 2,097 yards and was named the league’s Most Valuable Player, still the last non-quarterback to win the award. Now with the Detroit Lions in his 14th season, Peterson has 14,660 career rushing yards and 115 touchdowns – including 7,908 yards and 51 scores since his surgery.

It’s no surprise Barkley would like to emulate Peterson’s on-field exploits.

“Someone who’s really important to me would be A.P.,” Barkley said. “Obviously, when you hear this injury, the first person that comes to your mind is the season that A.P. had. I reached out to him or he reached out to me. He put me in contact with his trainer, I was able to ask him a lot of questions. Also, I think the day before surgery, I got to chat with A.P. for a very long time. I could see myself continuing to chat with him throughout.”

The post-injury production of Peterson and numerous other running backs has helped convince Barkley he will be the same dynamic player he was before his surgery.

“That’s the mindset,” Barkley said. “I’m never going to go in it with a negative approach. I feel like you should never go into anything in life with a negative approach. I think a positive mindset is going to be the thing that helps you get through a lot of things in life. That’s the mindset I’m going to have. I know that I’m going to be able to come out and be a better player. That’s what I’m going to challenge myself with. I know that starts with today.”

Though he exudes confidence, Barkley made no grandiose promises or boasts. He wouldn’t say when he expects to return to optimal health.

“No target date in mind,” he said. “Just coming every single day trying to get one percent better and continuing to trust in the medical staff and the trainers here.”

 

But Barkley admits it has been difficult being a spectator. After 625 touches in his first two years, he had just 19 rushing attempts and six receptions before the injury ended his season.

“It’s definitely a challenge,” he said. “Just the fact that the game that I love and been playing since I was seven is taken away from me a little bit. That definitely is challenging. But I’m just trying to be as supportive as I can. I love seeing my guys out there balling, doing their thing, especially the way we’re playing right now. That definitely makes life a lot easier. I have a lot of great people in my corner, with my family, my friends staying with me and pushing me through. That’s really the focus.

“Yes, I’m a competitor and I would love to have this over yesterday. But that’s not the case, so just have to come with that mindset of taking the same approach as I would if I was on the football field, trying to get better every single day, taking that into rehab.”

Barkley is heartened by the Giants’ recent success, three consecutive victories, as they prepare to play the Seahawks Sunday in Seattle. That includes the improvement of the team’s rushing attack, which initially struggled without Barkley, exceeding 100 yards just once in the first five games. But the Giants have exceeded that figure in each of the last six games, the team’s longest such streak since 2010. Wayne Gallman has rushed for 293 yards and six touchdowns in the last five games.

“Wayne Train, I’m so proud of him,” Barkley said. “He’s playing amazing. Not only him, but Alfred (Morris), EP (Eli Penny), the offensive line, they’re playing amazing. I remember after the Steelers game, when obviously, I guess you could say the run game wasn’t so pretty (totaling 29 yards in the season opener), I remember talking to the offensive line right there and saying, ‘We know what we have here. We’re going to get this thing figured out.’

“Honestly, I wish I was able to be a part of it. But I’m still part of it, to be completely honest. That’s my mindset. I’m still part of it in a way. But to see those guys open up those holes and seeing the running backs run in a way that Wayne is running is honestly amazing. It’s really helped the team.”

Barkley said he is “doing pretty well” mentally and emotionally while acknowledging that challenges lie ahead.

“I imagine there are going to be some more dark places coming up,” he said. “I would say really, probably the darkest time for me was right when it happened. Even though it wasn’t diagnosed what it was, I kind of had a feeling what happened. Obviously, that kind of brings you to tears. It’s tough in that moment. I know how hard I worked. I know how hard we worked as a team and what I wanted to help this team do this year, and I knew that was all taken away at that moment.

“But kind of have to suck it up. You can’t cry about it too long. You can’t complain about it too long. You have to move on. Everything happens for a reason. I have to have that mindset. Like I said, I have amazing people in my life, an amazing team and an amazing staff here and teammates and all those guys who help me and are continuing to help me get through this.”

So is the example set by Adrian Peterson.

Via: giants.com

Barrios: ‘I want to fight all the big names, that includes Spence and Garcia’

Undefeated WBA Super Lightweight Champion, Mario “El Azteca” Barrios (26-0, 17 KOs), who is fresh of his impressive knockout victory over Ryan “Cowboy” Karl (18-3, 12 KOs), will be eyeing the winner of Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. (26-0, 21 KOs) vs Danny “Swift” Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs), as he contemplates making the move to welterweight.

Spence vs. Garcia is one of the most anticipated boxing matches of the year headlining a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View this Saturday, December 5, at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

Barrios, who stands 5’11”, is out growing the Super Lightweight division, hence him contemplating moving up to welterweight. The San Antonio native feels the move is inevitable, just a matter of time. Barrios says a fight with Spence or Garcia will be a mega fight for the fans.

“Everyone knows I’ll be moving up to welterweight at some point,” said Barrios. “I feel I still have a few more fights at super lightweight, but it’s getting harder to make the weight at this stage in my career. When I do move up to 147, I want to fight all the big names, that includes Spence and Garcia. I know a fight with either of them will be huge in every aspect, in addition to every other big name at welterweight.”

Barrios believes Spence vs. Garcia will be one of the most exciting action-packed fights of the year and encourages everyone to order the PPV.

“This is going to be a fight where both Spence and Garcia are going to give the fans an all-out war,” Barrios continued. “Garcia is never in a boring fight and we know he’s going to bring it. Spence is exciting in every way and they will both be leaving it in the ring.”

As far as who Barrios thinks is going to win, he’s leaning toward a Spence knockout.

“Although Garcia has never been stopped, he’s never been in the ring with a powerful puncher like Spence,” Barrios concluded. “It’s going to be a great fight and I’m picking Spence to win by late round knockout.”

Week 13: Playoff scenarios for Chiefs, Steelers, Saints

As we enter the finals weeks of the 2020 NFL season, teams are jockeying for playoff spots in both conferences. The Chiefs and Steelers could clinch their respective divisions in Week 13, while the Saints could clinch a playoff spot.

Here are the playoff scenarios for the Steelers, Chiefs, and Saints:

AFC

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (10-1) (vs. Denver (4-7), Sunday, 8:20 PM ET, NBC)

Kansas City clinches AFC West division title with:

  1. KC win + LV loss or tie OR

  2. KC tie + LV loss

Kansas City clinches playoff berth with:

  1. KC win OR

  2. KC tie + BAL loss or tie + IND loss OR

  3. KC tie + LV tie + BAL loss or tie + IND tie OR

  4. KC tie + LV tie + MIA loss + IND loss or tie OR

  5. KC tie + LV tie + MIA loss + BAL loss or tie OR

  6. KC tie + MIA loss + BAL loss or tie + IND tie OR

  7. LV loss + BAL loss + IND loss

PITTSBURGH STEELERS (11-0) (vs. Washington (4-7), Monday, 5:00 PM ET, FOX)

Pittsburgh clinches AFC North division title with:

  1. PIT win + CLE loss + PIT clinches strength of victory tiebreaker over CLE​

Pittsburgh clinches playoff berth with:

  1. PIT win or tie OR

  2. LV loss or tie OR

  3. MIA loss or tie OR

  4. IND loss or tie

NFC

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (9-2) (at Atlanta (4-7), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

New Orleans clinches playoff berth with:

  1. NO win + CHI loss or tie OR

  2. NO tie + CHI loss + MIN loss + SF loss or tie OR

  3. NO tie + CHI loss + MIN loss + ARI loss or tie

Instant analysis: Wizards trade John Wall, first-round pick to Houston for Russell Westbrook(VIDEO)

In a move that has been rumored for weeks, the Washington Wizards have reportedly traded six-time All-Star John Wall and 2023 protected first-round pick to the Rockets for former league MVP Russell Westbrook, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Both Wall and Westbrook reportedly wanted to be traded, and if that’s true, they both got their wish. Both players have three years left on their contracts at $132 million. The 30-year-old Wall missed all of last season with a ruptured left Achilles tendon. Wall will now be teamed with James Harden in Houston, which should be interesting because there were reports that Harden wanted out of Houston. However, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, Houston hopes to be competitive with him this season and does not envision a scenario where Harden would be traded before the opener.

For the 32-year-old Westbrook, this is an opportunity to reunite with his former coach in OKC, Scott Brooks, and a chance for Westbrook and Bradley Beal to lead the Wizards back to the playoffs, which should happen for Washington. 

Both players probably needed a change of scenery, and both players will have a lot to prove. Is Russell Westbrook, who averaged 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 7.0 assists per game last season, a declining asset? For Wall, can he become the player that he used to be before the injuries? 

Time will tell.

Listen below:

Eagles’ Schwartz on Metcalf: ‘I can’t believe paying a compliment to a player has become such a big thing’

Before the Seahawks defeated the Eagles on Sunday night, their star WR D.K. Metcalf found a little a motivation. According to the second-year player, who had 10 catches for 177 yards against Philadelphia on Monday night, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who coached Calvin Johnson in Detroit, told Metcalf that he’s not “Megatron.”

The comment, according to Metcalf, motivated him against Philadelphia and led to him having a big game on Monday night.

On Wednesday, Schwartz responded to Metcalf’s comments:

“I can’t believe paying a compliment to a player has become such a big thing. Before I even go into that, I want to say everybody needs to know the high esteem that I hold Calvin Johnson in,” Scwartz said. “Calvin was not only the best player I’ve ever coached, he was the best player I ever coached against, and I think he’s one of the great players in the history of the National Football League. I had five years up close and personal of every defensive coordinator’s number one job was to stop Calvin Johnson and ran every tricked up defense known to man and he still made the plays and he was an incredibly hard worker, underreported with him. Great person. And just the honor of my career to coach a guy like Calvin Johnson.

“So, it’s, in my mind, it’s a little bit funny, anytime you even speak somebody’s name in the same sentence as Calvin Johnson I don’t know how you could take offense to that. So I tried to pay the guy a compliment, said I read his story, knew he had overcome injury, heard he was a hard worker, and said he reminds me a little bit of Calvin and congratulated him after the game. At the time he told me, ‘Hey, thanks, Coach, that means a lot to me.

“So if anybody wants to take offense to being compared to who I think is one of the greatest players in the history of the National Football League, then, yeah, if you get your motivation that way, then fine, but we’re not going to worry too much about that. I think that the only person in the whole thing that deserves or that has any sort of whatever in that thing would be a guy like Calvin. But again, you just have to understand how much esteem I hold Calvin in, and like I said, the greatest honor of my coaching career was coaching that guy day-in and day-out. He’s meant a lot to my kids and family and everything else. So, tried to pay a guy a compliment. I chatted with Russell Wilson before the game because I respect him so much and saw DK on the sideline in between plays and wanted to compliment him on his work ethic and overcoming injury and stuff like that. So, there it is.”

Who knows what to believe. Maybe Metcalf is telling the truth; maybe Metcalf is pulling a Michael Jordan and trying to make up stories to find motivation. Who knows, but one thing for sure, Metcalf is a stud, but at this point, he’s not Calvin Johnson just yet.

Martinez-Rodriguez to battle on Canelo-Smith undercard

Julio Cesar Martinez will defend his WBC World Flyweight title against Francisco Rodriguez Jr on the undercard of Canelo Alvarez’s World title clash with Callum Smith at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas on Saturday December 19, live on DAZN in 200+ countries and territories worldwide and on TV Azteca in Mexico.

Martinez (17-1 13 KOs) puts the famous green and gold strap on the line for the third time and comes into the bout fresh from a savage second round KO win over Moises Calleros in Mexico City in October.

The Mexican talent is quickly becoming a must-watch fighter with his all-action style guaranteeing excitement and the 25 year old returns to Texas having beaten British challenger Jay Harris over 12 rounds in Arlington in February.

On a huge night for Mexican boxing with pound-for-pound king Alvarez back in action, Rodriguez Jr. (33-4-1 24 KOs) will be aiming to rip the belt from his fellow countryman in his second World title fight. The 27 year old, ranked #2 in the WBC, landed the WBC Latino title at Super-Flyweight in his last outing in November 2019, picking up the 24th KO win of his career over Jose Maria Cardenas.

“I’m here in San Diego preparing and I’m very excited to be here,” said Martinez. “I’m completing almost two months of camp. I’m so honored to be fighting on the undercard of Saul. I’m going to leave everything to God as always and have faith that he’ll ensure it all goes well. Hopefully that night I’ll get a knockout.

“We know that this guy is very strong, that he’s coming very well prepared. It’s going to be a tough fight but we know as always we’ve prepared 1000 per cent and we have no fear. Going to leave everything in the ring. I still have three kilos to lose but I have two, almost three weeks left to lose that. I’m excited and anxious.

“I’m appreciative of everything from Mr. Eddie Hearn and Matchroom for all of their support. I want to also thank Eddy Reynoso and my trainer Mauricio Aceves who are always so attentive as well as my family. “Somos con todos menos con miedo”. Blessings”

“I want to thank Martínez and his team as well as Matchroom for giving me this opportunity,” said Rodriguez Jr. “It is a pleasure to fight in the biggest card of the year. Martinez is a solid champion and a good fighter but with all due respect he hasn’t fought someone like me, I been waiting for this shot for almost five years and it comes at a perfect timing – I won’t waste it,”

“Julio Cesar Martinez is arguably the most exciting pound-for-pound fighter in boxing right now and this is the perfect stage to continue his ride,” said Eddie Hearn. “This is perhaps the toughest challenge of his career right now and the fans in Texas can expect a Mexican war for the WBC World title on December 19.”

Martinez’s clash with Rodriguez is part of a huge night of action in Texas, topped by Alvarez once against reaching for greatness, challenging WBA and Ring Magazine World champion Smith – and more undercard fights will be announced later this week.

Reggie Jackson re-signs with Clippers

The LA Clippers have re-signed free agent Reggie Jackson, the team announced today.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s a one-year deal.

After being waived by the Pistons in February, the 30-year-old Jackson would sign with the Clippers. In 17 games with Los Angeles last season, Jackson averaged 9.5 points, 3.2 assists, and 3.0 rebounds while shooting 41.3 percent from beyond the arc.

At times, Jackson played well for the Clippers last season and will probably have a bigger role with the team in the 2020-21 season. 

The 6-foot-3 guard holds career averages of 12.8 points, 4.4 assists, and 3.0 rebounds in 561 appearances across nine NBA seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Pistons, and Clippers.  

While the Clippers lost JaMychal Green and Montrezl Harrell this offseason, they were able to replace those guys with Serge Ibaka and Nic Batum, which is not bad at all, and now they retain Jackson, who will definitely give this team scoring off the bench.

 

Mavs’ Richardson: “I think me coming here and him(Seth Curry) going there(76ers) was good for both parties’

Last season, Mavericks G Josh Richardson came to the 76ers and was expected to be key piece to a championship-caliber team. Philadelphia acquired Richardson in a trade that sent Jimmy Butler to the Heat. However, things did not go the way many expected for Richardson and the 76ers in the 2019-20 season.

The 76ers would get swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics, and from there, the organization made changes. Philadelphia fired their head coach Brett Brown and hired Doc Rivers to replace him. Also, they brought in Daryl Morey to be the team’s president of basketball of operations. With changes in the front office and on the bench, you knew there would be changes with the roster, which included trading Richardson to the Mavericks for Seth Curry on draft day.

According to Richardson, who averaged 13.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.9 assists in 55 games (53 starts) last season with the 76ers, he had an idea that he could get moved.

“I kinda had an idea that something was going to happen, but it was between a few teams, so I wasn’t really sure,” Richardson said via a Zoom press conference on Tuesday. “I’m really glad I ended up here. Hopefully, I can bring some positive things to this city and to this team.”

While things did not work out the way he wanted them to in Philly, the 27-year-old Richardson enjoyed his time with the 76ers, but he feels Dallas’ system will fit him better.

“I’m thankful to the city of Philly for everything they did for me and that organization,” he said. “They have great players there, so it was great to be able to play with some of the best players in the league. Coming here is going to be a different look for myself. It’s a different playstyle: I think it kind of fits me more.”

Ultimately, the fifth-year veteran believes the trade that sent him to Dallas and Curry to Philly will benefit both teams. 

“I think that Seth(Curry) will fit in Philly well because he’s a great spot shooter, and I think that’s one of their big things they’ll need,” Richardson said. “I think me coming here and him going there was good for both parties, but I think a change of scenery is nice.”

This is a move that probably will benefit both teams. Philly needed shooting, and Curry fills that void, while the Mavericks needed a reliable, athletic defender, who can score, and Richardson does that for them. So, yes, Richardson is right. The Mavericks and 76ers will be happy with this move.

Eagles’ Graham: ‘We know the offense is going to get it right’

It has been a struggle for Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles(3-7-1) in 2020, and on Monday night against the Seahawks, the struggles continued. The fifth-year quarterback was 25/45 for 215 yards, two touchdowns, and a costly interception in the red zone late in the fourth quarter. Ultimately, Philly would fall to the Seahawks(8-3) 23-17 at Lincoln Financial Field.

Wentz has a lot of bad attached to his name this season. He has thrown the most interceptions(15)in the NFL, he is the most sacked(46) quarterback in the league, and he leads the league in off-target incompletions(95). You add that all together, and you could argue that Wentz is one of the worst starting quarterbacks in football right now. With Wentz’s poor play, the talk has been about the possibility of rookie QB Jalen Hurts getting more time on the field or even possibly starting for Philadelphia. However, according to Wentz, he’s not concerned about losing his job. 

“As a quarterback – ever since you were a kid – you’re prepared for any of those. Nothing is ever guaranteed.,” Wentz said after the game. “So, for me, I don’t think about that, though. I just try to go out and be the best player I can be. In practice, I prepare my tail off, compete my tail off, and hopefully, we can get this thing turned around. I don’t think about those things. I’m going to give it everything I got every time I step on the field.”

While the Eagles’ offense struggled against Seattle, Philly’s defense came to play. They got consistent pressure on Russell Wilson and held Seattle, who third in points per game(31.0) to 23 points. Although the offense has sputtered, Eagles DE Brandon Graham believes things will get better on that side of the ball.

“We just have to figure out a way to keep on encouraging each other,” Graham said after the game. “Keep fighting. Make sure we stay consistent on defense. We know the offense is going to get it right. I just saw [Eagles QB] Carson [Wentz]. It means something to all of us. Obviously, things haven’t been happening the way we want it to, but at the same time, there is no quit in us, and we have five games left.”

Right now, the Eagles are a bad football team, but they play in the NFC East, so at 3-7-1 after 11 games, Philly is 0.5 game behind the first-place Giants(4-7), so if they can find a way to turn it around, they could win the division, which Wentz discussed.

“We’re frustrated, we’re frustrated,” Wentz said. “I know I’m frustrated. I hate losing, and it’s very frustrating to have this result these last couple weeks and be where we’re at this season. But the crazy thing about this league and this division, especially, is it’s still wide open, and guys know that. Guys know that, and we’re looking ahead to next week and getting this thing turned around, getting it going in the right direction and, hopefully, surprise some people.”

Philly does have a chance in the NFC East, but it does not matter if they can’t win games, so for that to happen, Wentz has to be better, and that starts against the Packers at Lambeau on Sunday. If Wentz does not improve, the Eagles might not win another game in 2020. it’s that simple.