Unbeaten former champion Luis Nery shared updates from his training camp as he prepares to take on undefeated Aaron Alameda for the vacant WBC Super Bantamweight World Championship in the co-main event of part two of a SHOWTIME PPV doubleheader Saturday, September 26 in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
For this fight, Nery is training for the first time under the guidance of Eddy Reynoso at his gym in San Diego, alongside Canelo Alvarez and former heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr., amongst others. Although Nery enters this fight on an 11-fight knockout streak, he has been able to hone other facets of his arsenal under Reynoso.
“Coach Reynoso has been helping me a lot with my defense,” said Nery. “We’re working on boxing with my hands up and on my accuracy. He’s helping me do everything possible to maximize my power and speed. I feel very strong and I’ve been sparring 12 rounds for a while now. I’m extremely ready for September 26 and focused on nothing but that.”
Nery and Alameda were set to square off in a bantamweight battle on SHOWTIME® in March, before the pandemic delayed that showdown. With Rey Vargas vacating his 122-pound title due to an injury, the rescheduled fight came with the addition of that title being on the line. While he knows Alameda will bring his best, Nery is confident in continuing his winning streak.
“I know that Alameda is a tough, undefeated fighter who’s going to leave it all in the ring,” said Nery. “I know he wants to win, just like me, and I know he’s working every day so that he can perform to his maximum potential. I believe that my speed and my overall talent will make me the winner. The postponement has given me even more time to train and prepare for this matchup. I’m 100% ready.”
Nery has long established himself as a force in the bantamweight division, winning his title in 2017 by traveling to Japan and handing Shinsuke Yamanaka his first loss via fourth-round stoppage. While September 26 is his first championship fight at 122-pounds, he has his sights set on dominating the super bantamweight division and beyond.
“At this moment, I want to fight at both 118 and 122-pounds,” said Nery. “There are a lot of great fights to be made in those weight classes. Sometime next year, I want to move up to 126-pounds so that I can dominate all three divisions.”
The stacked September 26 PPV undercards feature a wealth of champions and top talent at both the 118 and 122 weight classes. If he’s victorious next Saturday night, Nery has his eyes on a fight against WBA Super Bantamweight Champion Brandon Figueroa, who defends his title against Damien Vazquez in the co-main event of part one of the doubleheader.
“After I win this belt on September 26, I want Brandon Figueroa next,” said Nery. “I’m not overlooking Alameda at all, but if I had my choice, me and Figueroa would give the fans a great show my next time in the ring.”
Saquon Barkley and his offensive coordinator today delivered figurative stiff arms in response to what has become the media’s issue of the week regarding the Giants: the third-year running back’s pass protection skills.
The tempest was ignited when Tiki Barber – the Giants’ career rushing leader- criticized Barkley for his pass protection.
Barkley, who rushed for six yards and caught six passes in the Giants’ 26-16 season-opening loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers Monday night, has received criticism for his blocking in the past and he’s not losing sleep after hearing it again.
“Obviously, Tiki is a legend,” Barkley said. “He has done a lot of great things for this franchise. I’m not going to look at it as disrespect; I’m going to look at it as a challenge. Same thing with him, like everyone else, I really don’t care about outside opinions. I’m really focused about the opinions in this building. Try to come to work every single day and get better.”
Barkley said pass protection is just one point of emphasis in practice, because he continually works to elevate all facets of his game.
“I come to work every single day with the mindset, try to improve in everything,” he said. “Focus on the little things. Whatever the drill is, focus on that. If it’s the pass game, focus on catching the ball, if it’s pass pro, if it’s run game, focus on making the run cuts and the right reads. When I’m in the open field work on my moves and work on finishing scoring touchdowns.
“I know this is going to be the question or the kind of the theme of this media session about my pass pro. I understand that I probably made some mistakes in pass pro and I put it on film. I know it’s going to keep coming, people are going to keep challenging me. It’s a good way to keep me in and stop me from getting to open space and making plays there too also. I just have to keep working at it, keep getting better and that’s going to be my same answer for the rest of the pass pro questions.”
Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett conceded Barkley’s blocking wasn’t perfect against Pittsburgh, but he fully supports the third-year back.
“Great respect for Tiki, first of all,” Garrett said. “He was a teammate of mine (from 2000-03). I’ve known him for a long time and I really respect him as a person and as a player in this league. Having said that, we really try to focus on what we need to do with our guys and do internal evaluations of how they play.
“One of the things we love about Saquon is his desire to be a complete back. That’s running the football, both inside and outside, as a pass receiver and also as a pass protector. Having said that, he can improve in all areas. That’s something that we like so much about him, is his desire to come in and get better and strive to be a complete back. There were some examples of him blocking well in the passing game the other night. There were some examples of him not blocking as well as he needs to. He knows that. We’re working on that, we’re trying to get him better in that area. But we love his approach, we love his desire to be a complete back, and that’s going to help him and our team going forward.”
Head coach Joe Judge yesterday was the first member of the organization to field a question about Barber’s remarks. And as he most often does, he aimed his response at the team instead of one player.
“Look, we’re all working hard every day to get better at everything we do,” Judge said. “We’re coming out of training camp, we have one game under our belt. There’s not a player or a coach on our team that doesn’t have to improve going into Week 2, and then consistently throughout the season. We have to go ahead and make up some ground quickly. But we have confidence in all of our players. We’re going to work on every technique we have to in all aspects of the game.
“People pay a price to watch us play. Everyone’s opinion is valid if they’re a fan. We have to make sure on the inside we understand what we’re doing and that we prioritize on what we have to work on. But I respect Tiki. Obviously, he’s a guy that knows the game. He’s been a great player for this organization. But we’re going to go ahead and make sure we get everybody rising.”
Though this is not unchartered territory for Barkley, it’s a place he has visited infrequently since his arrival two years ago. The 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year is more accustomed to receiving acclaim than negative analysis. He’ll deal with this as he does all games that don’t meet his lofty standards.
“It happened. The game happened,” Barkley said. “I had 15 carries for six yards. I think I tied for the second-lowest (yardage) of all time with 15 carries or more. Guess what? I came to work this week with a smile on my face, ready to work and ready to get better. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you praise me or you say negative things about me. I’m not going to use that motivation because my motivation is to be great myself. I don’t need you guys to push me that way. I need to focus on myself and try building up myself. This week, there’s no extra motivation. There’s no this or that or the third. It’s just try to come in and get the W for the Giants.”
No one expected much out of the Jacksonville Jaguars when the season started. On paper, many believed the Jaguars had one of the worst teams in football. However, the Indianapolis Colts might think differently after the Jaguars’ 27-20 victory over Indianapolis last Sunday.
Jacksonville(1-0) got outstanding quarterback play out of Gardner Minshew(19/20, 173 yards, 3 TDs). Furthermore, the Jaguars were opportunistic on defense and created two turnovers.
Even after this victory, the doubters are still out there, which DE Josh Allen addressed on Thursday.
“A lot of good players left our organization, and they really saw that, and they’re just like, ‘Oh, they’re weak now.’ But little do they know, they’re not in the locker room with us, they don’t see the guys that we have, and they don’t see how well we play together,” Allen said. “We’re a family, man, we play for each other, we play as one. And that’s just how our mindsets [are], and I’m just excited to get going again.”
Jacksonville will be tested on Sunday when they go on the road to battle the Tennessee Titans(1-0), who made it to the AFC title game last season.
Allen discussed what it would mean to beat Tennessee.
“I feel like [there’s] always going to be that doubt when people think about us, and that’s just the status quo we have to change around here,” Allen said. “But we’re really focusing on ourselves and how we play week-in and week-out. Because we’re not really focused on the outside noise, we hear it all the time, since probably Jalen [Ramsey] left that we weren’t going to be a good team and everybody that left after that, it’s just been getting worse and worse. And now, they saw us play last week, and now they’re surprised.
“So, yeah, I think it’s a big game for us, it’s a big game because it’s a divisional game. It’s a game we must have. If you win, if you go undefeated in our division or any division, there’s a good chance you’re going to go to the playoffs. So, we see this as a big challenge because it’s a second divisional game, and starting off 2-0 in that would be major. So, yeah, we’re excited about this weekend, we can’t wait to get going.”
Defeating the Titans won’t be easy, but If the Jaguars can find a way to beat Tennessee on Sunday, all the doubters will indeed become believers.
After the acquisition of Tom Brady in the offseason, many were ready to give the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the Lombardi Trophy. However, after losing to the Saints in the season-opener last Sunday, the same people prepared to crown the Buccaneers(0-1) are now the same people ready to jump off the bandwagon, which Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians discussed on Wednesday.
“I was amused when they handed us the Lombardi trophy in July,” Arians said. “It’s part of the business. You go with it, and it’s one week at a time [and] one day at a time. We win a few games in a row, and everybody will be back on the bandwagon [and] happy. It’s just part of the game. If we lose this week, the world will come to an end.”
The NFL is a week-to-week league. Meaning one week, a team can look like world-beaters, and the following week, a team can look very bad. Tampa definitely did not play their best football against the Saints. However, after watching the film, Arians believes all that went wrong can be corrected.
“You’re very disappointed [after the game], and then you look at it, and you take all the good things that happened,” he said. “The things that were bad – could they be correctable? They were very correctable, and we’re on to Carolina now.”
Additionally, there won’t be many times when Brady will throw two interceptions in a game, which he did against the Saints. After that game, Arians was critical of Brady, but according to Arians, he and Brady are on the same page.
“Tom and I are fine, so I don’t really care what other people think,” he said. “It’s just what he and I think. We left the stadium fine [and] we showed up today fine, so there [is] nothing to talk about.”
Tampa Bay has a chance to get right in their home opener against another division foe, the Carolina Panthers(0-1), who also lost in their season-opener against the Raiders, so both teams will be desperate for a win on Sunday. According to the USA Today, since 2007, 107 teams have started 0-2. Only 11.2% of those teams turned things around to make the playoffs.
If the Buccaneers lose against the Panthers, fans will panic, and many will continue to jump off the bandwagon. But, at this point, it’s never wise to bet against Brady.
Top super welterweight contender Erickson “Hammer” Lubin knows that a convincing victory over Terrell Gausha will put him back in position to capture a world title, as he nears their WBC Super Welterweight title eliminator showdown this Saturday, September 19 headlining action live on SHOWTIME in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
“I respect him as a fighter, but I don’t think Gausha is on my level,” said Lubin. “He’s standing in my way of becoming a world champion, so I need to take care of business Saturday night, and look good doing it. I have to make a statement in this fight.”
Lubin and Gausha were set to meet on SHOWTIME last October, before Gausha was forced to withdraw due to a hand injury. Gausha presents the biggest test for Lubin in his pro career since his only defeat against WBC Super Welterweight Champion Jermell Charlo.
“Gausha is a U.S. Olympian who’s fought at the championship level, so I know he’s going to bring that experience to the table,” said Lubin. “This is a chance for me to show my growth in the ring and really separate myself as one of the elite fighters in this division.”
The 24-year-old Lubin has won four-straight fights since his 2017 defeat to Charlo, with three coming by stoppage. The winning streak has coincided with him bringing in renowned trainer Kevin Cunningham, who was also the head trainer for former world champions Devon Alexander and Cory Spinks, amongst others.
“We’re out here in West Palm Beach, Fla. and training camp has been going as planned,” said Lubin. “It’s just hard work and dedication day after day. Coach Cunningham and I are working great together. Everyone knows that he’s a no-nonsense type of trainer, so that mindset is contagious. I’ve done everything that’s been demanded of me so far in training. I’m in great shape and will be ready to go into deep waters if the fight goes the distance.”
Lubin returns to fight on a SHOWTIME platform for the fourth-straight bout and his second consecutive headlining appearance after his October 2019 unanimous decision victory over Nathaniel Gallimore in the main event.
“It’s always a great feeling to be fighting on the big stage on SHOWTIME,” said Lubin. “This is a title eliminator, so everything is on the line for me. I have to bring the heat from the opening bell. We are in the business of entertaining the fans, so I’m coming with everything I’ve got. Fans can expect to see an explosive fight on Saturday night.”
Mavericks guard Luka Dončić was named to the 2019-20 All-NBA First Team, the league announced on Wednesday. Dončić was joined on the All-NBA First Team by LeBron James(unanimous), Giannis Antetokounmpo(unanimous), James Harden, and Anthony Davis.
Dončić, who was 21 years, 168 days old on the final day of the 2019-20 regular season (Aug. 14), becomes the sixth player to earn All-NBA First Team honors at age 21-or-younger, along with LeBron James (2006), Max Zaslofsky (1947), Kevin Durant (2010), Tim Duncan (1998) and Rick Barry (1966). James (21 years, 110 days) and Zaslofsky (21 years, 114 days) are the only players to achieve the feat at a younger age than Dončić. In fact, if the season would have ended on its originally scheduled date (April 15), Dončić would have been the youngest to ever do it.
The second-year guard becomes the first player named to the All-NBA First Team in either his first or second season since Duncan in 1998-99 (Duncan made the First Team in each of his first eight seasons from 1997-98 to 2004-05).
Dončić averaged 28.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 8.7 assists in 54 games before to the restart (through March 11). The 2018-19 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year saw his numbers increase in the bubble, as he nearly averaged a 30-point triple-double (30.0 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 9.7 apg) in Orlando en route to being named a unanimous Kia NBA All-Seeding Games First Team selection. Dončić finished the regular season with averages of 28.8 points, 9.4 rebounds and 8.8 assists in 61 games (all starts), becoming just the third player in NBA history to average at least 28-9-8 for a full season (Oscar Robertson, Russell Westbrook).
The 21-year-old recorded a league-high 17 triple-doubles in 2019-20, becoming the youngest player in NBA history to lead the league outright in the category. Dončić not only broke Jason Kidd’s Mavericks single-season triple-double record (nine in 1995-96), but he became the franchise’s all-time leader in the category as well (25). Twelve of his triple-doubles were of the 30-point variety, and he again joined Robertson and Westbrook as one of three players to record at least 12 30-point triple-doubles in a single season.
Dončić also finished the season as the league leader in 25-point, 10-rebound, 15-assist games (five), 30-10-7 efforts (18) and 20-5-5 games (50).
Dončić ranked sixth in scoring (28.8 ppg), 17th in rebounding (9.4 rpg) and third in assists (8.8 apg). He became the seventh player since the ABA/NBA merger (1976-77) to finish a season ranked in the top-20 among qualifiers in scoring, rebounding and assists (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Grant Hill, Kevin Garnett, James, Westbrook).
Voting for the 2019-20 All-NBA Teams was based on games played through March 11 (prior to the hiatus).
2019-20 NBA All-NBA Second Team:
Kawhi Leonard (L.A. Clippers)
Nikola Jokić (Denver Nuggets)
Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
Chris Paul (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Pascal Siakam (Toronto Raptors)
2019-20 NBA All-NBA Third Team:
Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics)
Jimmy Butler (Miami Heat)
Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz)
Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers)
Russell Westbrook (Houston Rockets)
Dillian Whyte has an immediate opportunity to exact revenge over Alexander Povetkin on Saturday November 21 as the Heavyweight rivals collide in a blockbuster rematch, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK.
Whyte (27-2, 18 KOs) was sensationally knocked out by Povetkin (36-2-1, 25 KOs) as the Russian viciously halted ‘The Body Snatcher’s’ World Title ambitions in the finale of Matchroom Fight Camp in Brentwood, Essex, last month.
Brixton’s Whyte had completely controlled the fight, flooring his opponent twice in the fourth round, but was smashed by a perfect left uppercut 30 seconds into the fifth that ended his hopes in a flash.
The 32-year-old will be hoping to regain his Mandatory position for the WBC Heavyweight World Title by levelling the score with Povetkin in what is the most important fight of his career to date.
“I’ve rested well, spent time with my family, and now that the date of the rematch is known, I will soon return to my training camp and prepare as thoroughly as I did for the first fight,” said Povetkin. “As I said before the first fight and after it too, Dillian Whyte is a good, strong boxer. I will be ready to enter the ring on November 21. I hope it will be another beautiful fight for the fans.”
“I’m over the moon to have the rematch,” said Whyte. “As soon as I got out of the ring, I was looking for confirmation that the fight would be on. I can’t wait to get back in the ring and get back what is rightfully mine. I’m looking to do what I said I would the first time and that’s beat Alexander Povetkin.
“There won’t be any major adjustments, but I just need to be more switched on and not get distracted. He was able to use his experience against me. I will be a lot more focused and sharper in the rematch. I’m coming to win and knock him out. I’m coming to even the score and the only way to do that is by knocking him out.”
WBC Super Welterweight World Champion Jermell Charlo showed off his skills for fans and media Tuesday during a virtual media workout as he nears the historic unification showdown against WBA and IBF 154-pound champion Jeison Rosario that headlines part two of a first-of-its-kind SHOWTIME PPV doubleheader Saturday, September 26 in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
Here is what Charlo had to say at today’s media workout:
“I’m excited and I’m ready for September 26. This is the time to prevail and for me and my brother to be the Charlo Twins. It’s time to be the best Jermell Charlo.
“Me and my brother have come so far together. It’s not just in boxing, but everything in our lives. We’re proof that all you have to do is keep pushing and trying. September 26 is the day that I have to make all of the time I put into this sport worth it.
“Fighting on SHOWTIME PPV is amazing. This is the one. We have a hard fight and that’s all we ever wanted. This is a great challenge for us to overcome.
“This is a different kind of media day, but the real fight will be different also. When you’re a real champion, you make those adjustments. I’m used to fighting in front of a massive crowd, so it’s really important to show that we’re giving our all every day for our fans.
“I used the pandemic to invest in myself and created a gym in my home. I’ve been getting in shape since it started. For this fight to be here in a week, I’m just more than prepared for it. I’m on weight and I’m hitting hard.
“I bounced back from that loss in 2018 last year, but there were still things I needed to learn and develop. We’re going to end 2020 with a bang. This is the Charlo show on SHOWTIME.
“All I’m doing is continuing to grow as an individual every day. We have to set our minds the right way and know how to roll with the punches. I’ve taken it upon myself to be even more dedicated and focused. Every time I feel pain, I think about all the other boxers out there pushing through pain. Now you see where we’re at because of it.
“I ended my last fight in the 11th round, so I’ve been able to finish in the later rounds. Everyone knows I can end the fight early too. Rosario got his chance and won the titles, but I always felt I was the best fighter in the division. When I’m at my best, I don’t see anyone that can compete with me. I always wanted all the belts, and I knew I was going to have to take them from somebody.
“After I lost in 2018, I told everyone that it just gave me jet fuel, and that when I come back, I’m coming back full throttle. That’s what I’m about. I have nothing to lose. I’m not letting him take anything from me.
“I’m even more dangerous than I was before. I’m an old school fighter right here. I’ve been dedicated to this game and I’m not going anywhere. Stay out of my way, because I’m the man trucking things.”
Photo: Andrew Hemingway/SHOWTIME
With Giants RB Saquon Barkley fully healthy, many believe he could have a big season for New York in 2020. However, on Monday night, he struggled, and ultimately the Giants would fall to the Steelers 26-16 in the team’s season-opener at MetLife Stadium.
The third-year running back, who struggled with an ankle injury last season, did not have many holes against Pittsburgh’s defense and had 15 carries for only six yards.
“We just have to go back and watch the film and learn,” Barkley said after the game. “Something I’m proud about with the team today is the way we fought, especially when we were hit with adversity. We just have to go back and watch film, continue to believe in each and come ready to work next week and get ready for Chicago.”
Many can blame the offensive line for Barkley’s subpar stats, but according to Barkley, he has to be better.
“I have to be better, I have to be better for the team,” he said. “We have to find a way to get the run game going. That’s how I truly believe. I have to go back and watch film to give you an honest answer. I can’t just talk off of emotions. One thing that just pops in my mind is find a way to get the run game going for this team. I know that’s going to be a key part of our success. I truly believe, and I still believe in it. Keep grinding at it, keep working at it, and find a way.”
While the Giants struggled on the ground against Pittsburgh, head coach Joe Judge believes the team needs to stay aggressive with the run game.
“You know, every week is going to be a little bit of a different challenge based on the scheme we’re going to see, that’s obviously a very talented front we played tonight,” Judge said after the game. “But look, we’re going to stay aggressive with the run game. Saquon is a key part of our team, he’s going to be a difference-maker in how successful this team is going to be, so we’re going to stay with him. We have a lot of confidence in him, I have a tremendous amount of confidence in our offensive line.”
If the Giants want to have a successful season, Barkley and the offensive line will have to play better, but fortunately for New York, it’s only one game. so they have time to clean things up.