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.

Russell Westbrook made triple-double history on Monday night

Russell Westbrook has done it. He broke a record that many thought was unbreakable when he recorded his 182nd triple-double against the Hawks on Monday night, which surpassed Oscar Robertson for the most triple-doubles in NBA history. 

Westbrook had 28 points, 21 assists, and 13 rebounds last night, but he would miss a potential game-winning three at the buzzer, and the Wizards would fall to Atlanta 125-124 at State Farm Arena.

Westbrook, who has a league-leading 36 triple-doubles this season and is averaging 22.0 points, 11.6 assists, and 11.6 rebounds a contest, feels honored to be mentioned with some of the all-time greats in NBA history.

“It’s just a blessing,” Westbrook said after the game. “You put so much into the game, so much time, you sacrifice so much, to be able to just be mentioned with guys like Oscar, Magic [Johnson] and Jason Kidd, those guys is something I never dreamed about as a young kid growing up in L.A. Truly grateful for moments like this.”

Besides Robertson, never in our wildest dreams did anybody think any player in the NBA could average a triple-double for a season, and Westbrook has done it four times. We all thought if there were one player that would have done it, LeBron James would have been the guy, but Westbrook has beaten the odds, and now, he’s the king of triple-doubles.

With the loss on Monday night, Washington(32-37), who was without Bradley Beal(hamstring), is now 1/2 game behind the Pacers(32-36) for the ninth-seed in the Eastern Conference, and they are 1.5 games behind the eighth-seeded Hornets. 

Washington has three games left, including their season finale against Charlotte, so if they can get in striking distance of the Hornets, their last game of the season could be for the eighth-seed, which would be huge because Washington would have to win only one game, instead of two to advance in the Play-In Tournament.

Cavs’ Bickerstaff was happy with team’s effort in loss to Pacers

The Cleveland Cavaliers(21-48) lost again on Monday night as they fell to the Pacers(32-36) 111-102 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. 

Cleveland has now lost a season-high 11 straight and has dropped 14 of their last 15 games.

Domantas Sabonis had 21 points and 20 rebounds for Indiana, and Kelani Martin scored a career-high 25 points off the bench.

The Cavaliers’ Isaac Okoro had 20 points and a career-high 10 rebounds and Dean Wade had 19 points and a career-high 12 rebounds.

Cleveland had only nine players available on Monday night, and was without Kevin Love, Darius Garland, Larry Nance Jr., and six others, but they fought in this game. The Cavaliers led 60-53 at halftime. However, Indiana would take a two-point lead into the fourth quarter.

Following an Okoro running layup that tied the game at 91 midway through the fourth quarter, Indiana went on a 14-4 run to take complete control of the game. 

While the Cavs lost their 11th straight, head coach J.B. Bickerstaff was pleased with the team’s fight against the Pacers.

“They laid it on the line tonight,” Bickerstaff said. “They gave us everything they had tonight. We just came up a little short.”

After the game, some of the talk was about assistant Lindsay Gottlieb, who will be leaving the team to become the head coach for the USC women’s basketball team. 

Collin Sexton, who had 25 points, eight assists, and five rebounds on Monday night, had a great relationship with Gottlieb and really enjoyed the advice she gave him.

“She always going to give me the real advice and the true advice that I need,” Sexton said about Gottlieb. “At the end of the day, she’s not going to sugarcoat anything. if she feels like I’m not playing up to my potential, she’ll let me know.”

Cleveland will complete their three-game homestand on Wednesday night when they host the Celtics. The Cavaliers will finish their season on the road when they battle the Wizards on Friday and Brooklyn on Sunday.

Cavs’ Lindsay Gottlieb headed to USC

Cavs assistant Lindsay Gottlieb is going back to the college game. Gottlieb will be the new head coach for the USC women’s basketball team, it was announced on Monday.

Gottlieb, 43, will finish out the season for Cleveland, which ends on Sunday night in Brooklyn against the Nets.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Gottlieb got a six-year deal at USC.

Gottlieb, who was hired as an assistant by then Cavs head coach John Beilein in 2019, was the first NCAA women’s head coach to be hired by an NBA team. Before coming to Cleveland, Gottlieb was the head women’s basketball coach at Cal. After Beilein’s departure, Gottlieb continued as an assistant under J.B Bickerstaff.

On Monday, both Gottlieb and Cavaliers GM Koby Altman released statements:

Gottlieb:

“I am very thankful for the opportunity to serve as an assistant coach with the Cavaliers for the last two years. This has truly been a basketball dream come true for me to work not only in the NBA, but hand-in-hand with this incredible coaching staff that has taught me so much. I’d especially like to thank Koby Altman and J.B. Bickerstaff for believing in me and providing an inclusive environment to enhance my coaching acumen. This is a very special group of players who have a tremendous amount of talent and work ethic, and it was an honor to work and develop relationships with them as well. The vision of this organization is what attracted me to Cleveland, and I look forward to seeing the continued development of this team and all that these guys can become in the future.” 

“This was a very difficult decision and even tougher to say goodbye, but the opportunity at USC was something I could not let pass. What I see is a program steeped in tradition with a history of excellence and one of the nation’s strongest brands. I look forward to becoming part of that legacy and helping bring the Women of Troy back to national prominence.”

Altman:

“Lindsay Gottlieb has been a tremendous asset to this organization since joining us two seasons ago, and I couldn’t be more excited for this incredible opportunity ahead of her at the University of Southern California. Lindsay brought an extensive coaching and culture-building background to Cleveland that fit seamlessly with the existing direction in place for this team. What really stands out about her time with the Cavaliers was how well she was able to communicate with our players, while demonstrating different perspectives on a daily basis that helped change the outlook of the game for many of our guys. We were fortunate that she was willing to leave her position at Cal to join us, and we are not surprised that she has remained a sought after Head Coach at the highest level of women’s college basketball. Lindsay will always be part of the Cavaliers family and we wish her, along with her husband Patrick and son Jordan, the very best as they embark on this new journey back in California and at USC.”

Roman: ‘I know in my heart I will become a world champion once again’

Former unified super bantamweight world champion Danny Román will look to take one step closer to regaining his champion status when he takes on Ricardo Espinoza Franco in the co-main event of action live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) this Saturday, May 15 in a Premier Boxing Champions event from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

The 31-year-old Román (27-3-1, 10 KOs) made his ring return after losing his unified titles in January 2020 last September, when he bested former champion Juan Carlos Payano on his way to a unanimous decision. The Los Angeles-native captured his first title with a 2017 stoppage of Shun Kubo, before unifying belts with a triumph over T.J. Doheny in 2019, and eventually lost the belts via a narrow decision against Murodjon Akhmadaliev.

Here is what Román had to say about his training camp, his matchup Saturday and more:

On his recent training camp:

“The final days of camp are wrapping up now before we head to the bubble. As always, the sparring we got was top notch. My coach Eddie González and I have relentlessly been working every day to get me in the best shape of my life. These last two months have been demanding, but I know all the hard work will all pay off on fight night.”

On fighting in Southern California on SHOWTIME:

“Everyone knows Southern California is a breeding ground for boxers and the fans always show support for their hometown fighters.  SHOWTIME has had some tremendous fights showcased out here and I plan to keep that tradition going strong. I plan to put on an entertaining fight for the fans by being explosive with my effort.”

On his matchup with Ricardo Espinoza Franco:

“This is not going to be an easy fight because I know my opponent is a tough fighter from Tijuana who is coming with everything he’s got. He’s got a lot of power, so I must be smart on how I throw my combinations. I believe my experience in big fights is going to be the difference on May 15. I’m expecting a rough fight and I’m ready for an intense battle.”

On his quest to become a world champion once again:

“Everything I do in boxing from here on out is to regain my status as a world champion. I’ll do whatever it takes to put me back in that position.  A victory on May 15 will get me one step closer to that goal. I know in my heart I will become a world champion once again.”

Photo: Kyte Monroe/Thompson Boxing Promotions

  

QB Blaine Gabbert re-signs with Tampa Bay

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers today re-signed quarterback Blaine Gabbert. 

According to the Tampa Times Rick Stroud, it’s a one-year deal worth $2.5-million. Gabbert backed up Tom Brady last season and is expected to do so again in 2021.

Gabbert, 31, appeared in four games with the Buccaneers last season, completing 9-of-16 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns. He was originally signed with Tampa Bay back in 2019 2019 but spent his first season with the Buccaneers on Injured Reserve due to a shoulder injury.

The 11-year veteran, who was a first-round pick (10th overall) of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2011 NFL Draft, spent three seasons with the Jaguars (2011-13) before playing for the San Francisco 49ers (2014-16), Arizona Cardinals (2017) and Tennessee Titans (2018).

Gabbert has appeared in 60 career games, with 48 starts, completing 851-of-1,514 passes for 9,206 yards. He has thrown 50 touchdowns and 47 interceptions for a 72.3 passer rating. 

Ramirez on fight with Taylor: ‘In my mind, I’m supposed to win this fight’

 The countdown is on, and WBC/WBO junior welterweight world champion Jose Ramirez is 12 days away from a legacy-defining undisputed showdown against Josh Taylor, Scotland’s IBF/WBA/Ring Magazine kingpin.

It’s business as usual for Ramirez, the 2012 U.S. Olympian from California’s Central Valley who hopes to become the first four-belt undisputed champion of Mexican descent. He’s spent the better part of two months training in Riverside, California, with Robert Garcia, who has guided his career inside the ring since after his March 2018 title-winning effort over Amir Imam.

With fight week seven days away, Ramirez (26-0, 17 KOs) is the prohibitive underdog for the first time in his professional career, as Taylor (17-0, 13 KOs) is a more than 2-to-1 favorite at most sportsbooks. Ramirez is aware of public perception, but it doesn’t faze him as he enters the sixth world title fight of his career. Taylor earned the prestigious Ring Magazine belt with his October 2019 decision over Regis Prograis, but on May 22, the sport’s loftiest prize will be on the line.

As training camp winds down, this is what Ramirez had to say:

“I’ve always been the underdog. That’s my mentality. I am fighting for my place in boxing history. No boxer of Mexican descent has ever held all four world title belts. I’m aware that most people are picking against me, but that only fuels me further.”

“In my mind, I’m supposed to win this fight. I don’t let the outside noise get to me. No matter what you do, or who you beat, there’s always going to be somebody else out there. At this moment, that person is Josh Taylor.”

“We both wanted the fight, and I respect him for taking on the challenge. Josh and I are out to make history, and I know I will be the better man on May 22.”

“The odds are what they are, but the best junior welterweight, the undisputed champion, will be crowned May 22.”

Doncic gets ejected, but Dallas still rolls over Cleveland

The Dallas Mavericks(40-28) got one step closer to avoiding the Play-In Tournament, and the Cleveland Cavaliers(21-47) got another step closer to more lottery balls on Sunday night.

Despite Luka Doncic getting ejected due to a flagrant 2 foul on Collin Sexton, Dallas routed the Cavaliers 124-97 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Dallas beat the Cavaliers for the second time in three days. The Mavericks defeated Cleveland 110-90 in Dallas on Friday night.

Dallas has won four straight, and the Cavs have now lost ten consecutive games for the second time this season.

Tim Hardaway Jr. led Dallas with 25 points; Josh Richardson added 20. Sexton had 24 points for Cleveland, and Mfiondu Kabengele poured in a career-high 14 points off the bench. 

The story of the night was the ejection of Doncic. Early in the third quarter, the third-year guard was battling for position underneath the basket with Sexton when Doncic appeared to hit Sexton in the groin. After the referees reviewed the video of the incident, Doncic was issued a flagrant 2 foul, which led to an automatic ejection.

Dallas led 68-57 when Doncic got ejected, but at the end of the third quarter, the Mavericks pushed the lead to 98-72.

After the game, Doncic, who is one technical foul away from a one-game suspension, and Sexton explained what happened, and according to both players, what transpired was not a big deal.

“After I saw the video, I knew I hit him, but it wasn’t nothing on purpose,” Doncic said. “That kind of stuff happens a lot in the games… two guys fighting for a rebound.”

Sexton added: “It was just a box-out play, and usually whenever someone is hand-checking, you punch down, swing down. It’s all good.”

Barring a collapse, it appears the Mavericks, who have four games left, will avoid the Play-In Tournament. The fifth-seeded Mavericks have a one-game lead over the sixth-seeded Blazers and a two-game lead over the seventh-seeded Lakers, so things look good for Dallas.

Regarding Cleveland, this team had a ten-game losing streak back in February and is undermanned right now without Darius Garland, Larry Nance Jr., and others, so with four games left, all against playoff teams, Cleveland might not win another game this season. Currently, they are in a four-way tie for the third-worst record in the NBA. Losing out might not be the end of the world, especially if it leads to more lottery balls.

Cleveland will host the Pacers on Monday night, while the Mavericks go to Memphis to battle the Grizzlies on Tuesday night.

Watch below as Doncic and Sexton talk Doncic’s ejection:

 

Mavs’ Doncic: ‘I think we are playing pretty well’

On Friday night in Dallas, one team was playing for the playoffs, and the other team was playing for pride, and the team that was playing for the playoffs, was the team that dominated.

The Dallas Mavericks(39-28) led the Cleveland Cavaliers(21-46) by 25 points at halftime and cruised to a 110-90 victory at American Airlines Center. Dallas continues to keep their hold on the fifth seed and has a one-game lead over the sixth-seeded Blazers and a two-game lead over the seventh-seeded Lakers.

Dallas has won three straight and nine of their last 11, while Cleveland dropped its ninth straight.

Luka Doncic had 24 points and eight rebounds; Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 20 points for Dallas. For Cleveland, Collin Sexton had a game-high 27 points. 

The Mavericks clinched the 2020-21 Southwest Division title. This is the fourth division title in franchise history and the first since 2009-10.

While winning your division does not mean as much as it once did, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle is happy with the accomplishment. 

“Listen, I think it’s something that’s always worthwhile,” he said. “It shows that you’re one of the better teams and certainly the best team in your region of the league and all of that kind of stuff. It’s a rivalry division; the southwest has been — talk about San Antonio, Houston, Memphis — these teams have a history of a lot of rivalry stuff, a lot of playoff stuff. It’s big. It’s big, and we’ll take it. Like I said, it’s important to get this win, try to get through this game unscathed, and get ready for Sunday.”

After starting the season 9-14, the Mavericks have gone 30-14 since, which Doncic discussed after the game.

“We just weren’t ourselves at the beginning,” he said. “We had a couple of new guys, and we had to get to know each other. But since then, I think we are playing pretty well.”

Dallas will play the Cavs again on Sunday in Cleveland, and while this another game Dallas should win, it’s always challenging to beat a team twice in a back-to-back situation, so the Mavericks cannot take anything for granted.

Notes: 

-The Mavericks improved to a perfect 24-0 when leading after the first quarter and a perfect 13-0 when holding their opponent to under 100 points. The Mavs are also now 36-2 when they build a double-digit lead at any point in the game.

-This was the 833rd win of Coach Rick Carlisle’s career, which moves him into sole possession of 15th place on the NBA’s all-time wins list. Carlisle passed Cotton Fitzsimmons (832) to move into the top 15 and currently sits at 833-687 (.548) for his career.

-Cedi Osman had 22 points, five rebounds, and seven assists tonight. This is Osman’s fourth career game, recording 20+ points, five-plus rebounds, and five-plus assists.

 

Pels’ Williamson out indefinitely with fractured left ring finger

The New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson has a fractured left ring finger, the team announced on Friday.

According to the Pelicans, Williamson will be sidelined indefinitely. A timetable for his return will be determined upon further evaluation.

Williamson is averaging 27.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game.

New Orleans(30-36) is in Philadelphia to face the 76ers on Friday night. Currently, the Pelicans are 1.5 games behind the Spurs for the 10th and final spot in the Western Conference playoffs.