Photos: Teofimo Lopez’s media workout

Former lightweight king Teofimo Lopez hopes to conquer a second weight class. That journey begins Saturday against Pedro Campa in the 10-round junior welterweight main event at the Resorts World Event Center at Resorts World Las Vegas.

In the eight-round co-feature, unbeaten Puerto Rican junior middleweight standout Xander Zayas takes on Elias Espadas. Lopez-Campa and Zayas-Espadas will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

The undercard — streaming live and exclusively on ESPN+ — includes the return of Las Vegas-born junior lightweight contender Andres Cortes against the bruising Abraham Montoya.

Lopez kicked off fight week Wednesday with a media workout at the Top Rank Gym.

Lopez (16-1, 12 KOs), whose run up the lightweight ranks included a legacy-defining victory over Vasiliy Lomachenko, went through the paces for more than 30 minutes. He hit the mitts with his father/trainer, Teofimo Lopez Sr., and even conducted an impromptu pushup session in the middle of the ring. Following last November’s split decision loss to George Kambosos Jr., he sets his sights on Campa (34-1-1, 23 KOs), an accomplished veteran who is 7-0-1 since the lone defeat on his ledger.

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Cavs announce four-game preseason schedule

The Cleveland Cavaliers will begin their four-game preseason slate on October 5 on the road against the 76ers, the team announced Wednesday.

After the 76ers, Cleveland will have back-to-back games at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse against the 76ers (October 10) and Hawks(October 12). The Cavs will conclude their preseason schedule at Orlando on October 14.

With young talents like Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen, The Cavs, who were the seventh seed(44-38) in the East but were unable to make it to the playoffs after losing to the Hawks and Nets in the Play-In Tournament, hope to take that next step in the 2022-23 NBA season.

2022 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS PRESEASON GAME SCHEDULE

Date              Opponent                                  Time (ET)

Oct. 5            at Philadelphia                          7:00 p.m.

Oct. 10          PHILADELPHIA                          7:00 p.m.

Oct. 12          ATLANTA                                   7:00 p.m.

Oct. 14          at Orlando                                 7:00 p.m.

Figueroa: ‘Honestly, there was a time when I was a little bit jealous of (Adrien)Broner’

Former World Champion Omar Figueroa Jr. held a San Antonio media workout on Tuesday as he nears his super lightweight battle against four-division world champion Adrien “The Problem” Broner Saturday, August 20 live on SHOWTIME from Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla., in a Premier Boxing Champions event.

The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast will feature top 140-pounders Alberto Puello and Batyr Akhmedov squaring off for the vacant WBA Super Lightweight World Championship in the co-main event and WBA Super Featherweight World Champion Roger Gutierrez defends his title against unbeaten Hector Garcia in the telecast opener.

Figueroa Jr. was joined on Tuesday by his brother, former super bantamweight world champion and current featherweight contender Brandon Figueroa and his father and trainer Omar Figueroa Sr. at the media workout.

Here is what Figueroa had to say:

OMAR FIGUEROA JR.

“We grew up kind of poor coming from the Valley. San Antonio was the biggest city that we could get to and enjoy. For us, this was like the maximum. So being able to camp here being so close to home has been a game changer. Obviously, I have my family here as well. I won’t say everything in this camp has gone perfect, because perfection is so hard to acquire, but everything has gone pretty close to perfect. We’re excited.

“I’m just worried about this fight. I’m not looking at anything else. I don’t know how I’m going to feel, physically and mentally. So much has changed in the past year. I’ve gone through so much since I was diagnosed regarding my mental health. It’s been tough. I’ve been doing this for 27 years now. So, I’m really looking forward to this fight.

“The biggest thing for me the past few years has been my mental health diagnosis. After my last fight, I knew there was something wrong. We did everything we needed to do in camp, we prepared right to make sure we were 100%. Everything went wrong in that fight. I started questioning myself and wondering why the heck everything went so badly. I spoke to my doctor and then I was diagnosed with all these mental health issues and that’s when I realized maybe the problem was me all along. I’ve been working on myself so much. I’m just grateful to SHOWTIME and my team and we’re excited to show how far we’ve come.

“Growing up in the Mexican culture, it’s a lot of ‘It’s all in your head. It doesn’t really exist.’ So, I had to look into it alone. I didn’t have the support of my family when it came to that. Even now, they still kind of struggle to see that. I feel it’s very taboo to a lot of people. Thankfully, I’m in a position where, having the platform I have, I’m able to shed some light on it and show that we’re all just human. Us boxers may look like we’re invincible, getting punched and cut and fighting through it, but we’re human at the end of the day. I finally took a break and looked inward and started taking care of myself, accepting the fact that I’m human, that I hurt, that I can get anxiety and that I can get depressed.

“This camp has shed some light on being vulnerable and how much it helps to allow myself to be human. Now, I talk to my family differently. If I’m having a tough day before I get here to the gym, I’ll talk to my mom or my sister. Or when I’m feeling low, we’ll just embrace. I tell them how much I love them, how much I appreciate them for being here for me. Honestly, being human is one of the best things I decided to do.

“Honestly, there was a time when I was a little bit jealous of Broner. He had such an amazing career and, like me, things got to us. As we all know, things haven’t gone the smoothest for us. So, I’m getting the word out about mental health, doing more to bring it to the mainstream and I’m glad my opponent is Adrien Broner because he’s a great advocate for that too. I feel he can make a huge difference if he sheds a little bit of light on it. Other than that, this is a great opportunity and I know it’s going to be a hell of a fight.

“I don’t watch his stuff online and see what he’s doing. Even if he does start trash talking, it’s all part of the show. He’s been through his share of struggles and I can say I honestly respect Adrien Broner.

“I’m not sure what kind of dance partner I’ll see. This is going to be a great fight for the fans of the sport.”

Photo: Francisco Perez/Premier Boxing Champions

Official: Spurs sign Gorgui Dieng

The San Antonio Spurs have signed center Gorgui Dieng, the team announced on Tuesday.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, it’s a one-year deal.

This is Dieng’s second stint in San Antonio after appearing in 16 games for the Spurs in 2020-21, 

Last season, the 6-10 Dieng spent the 2021-22 season with the Atlanta Hawks, where he averaged 3.5 points and 2.8 rebounds in 8.4 minutes in 44 games while shooting 47.3% from the field. 

A 10-year NBA veteran, Dieng, 32, holds career averages of 7.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in 20.5 minutes in 597 total games played. 

A native of Senegal, Dieng was selected in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft (21st overall) by the Utah Jazz; he was dealt to the Timberwolves on draft night and spent his first six-plus seasons with Minnesota.

Eubank Jr.-Benn set for October 8 in London

Chris Eubank Jr. and Conor Benn will collide in a colossal catchweight clash at The O2 in London on Saturday October 8, shown exclusively live on DAZN around the world and on DAZN PPV in the UK and Ireland, 30 years on from their iconic father’s second showdown at Old Trafford.

Eubank Sr, and Benn’s father, Nigel, captured the imagination of British fans with their bitter rivalry during the early nineties. The pair laid it all on the line in front of millions on terrestrial TV, sharing two legendary battles in 1990 and 1993. Eubank Sr. stopped his foe in the ninth round of their first bruising battle at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.

It took three years for the rematch to happen which took place at a sold-out Old Trafford in Manchester. The clash for the WBC and WBO Super-Middleweight Titles ended in a draw and the pair never fought each other again. But their sons will reignite the family feud in one of the biggest fights the UK has ever seen.

Eubank Jr (32-2, 23 KOs) heads into his blockbuster bout with Benn coming off the back of an impressive shutout points win over Liam Williams at the Motorpoint Arena Cardiff in which he showed his class by knocking down the Welshman four times.

Having previously campaigned at Super-Middleweight, the 32-year-old is a former two-time IBO Super-Middleweight Champion. He captured the IBO crown with a 10th round stoppage win over Renold Quinlan in 2017, before defending the belt against German legend Arthur Abraham and Avni Yildirim.

Following a huge clash with George Groves for the WBA 168lbs World Title in February 2018 in which he was defeated on points, Eubank Jr reclaimed the IBO Title in 2019 with a spectacular performance against rival James DeGale at The O2 in London.

Returning to the Middleweight division, Eubank Jr claimed the WBA Interim Middleweight World Title for the second time with a TKO win over former World Title challenger Matvey Korobov in December 2019, while making his US debut at the Barclays Center in New York.

Benn (21-0, 14 KOs) has exploded onto the world Welterweight scene with a series of eye-catching wins that have propelled the big-hitting 25-year-old Essex native into the top five rankings with all of the recognised governing bodies.

He sent out a vicious warning to his 147lbs rivals by wiping out Samuel Vargas inside the opening round at the Copper Box Arena in April 2020, living up to his nickname as he took just 1 minute and 20 seconds to viciously halt the durable Colombian.

‘The Destroyer’ secured a stunning knockout win over former World Champion Chris Algieiri in December 2021, taking out the American with a brutal right hand in the fourth round of their top of the bill clash at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool.

Another devastating early finish followed at Manchester’s AO Arena in April as Benn demolished South Africa’s Chris van Heerden inside two rounds to send an emphatic message to the top names in the ultra-competitive 147lbs division.

Now one of the hottest properties in world boxing, Benn dares to be great by leaping up in weight to challenge himself against former Super-Middleweight World Title challenger Eubank Jr in a fight that will bring the UK to a standstill.

“I grew up watching their legendary battles and always wanting to emulate that, and find my own arch nemesis… could this now be Conor Benn? We will find out,” said Eubank Jr.

“He has walked the same path as I have. I know his struggle. Living in the shadow of a legend and trying to break out of that shadow and make his own name. If he can beat me, his name will be made, and he will never walk in his father’s shadow again.

“It’s a fight that’s going to spark the imagination of the British public, that’s what I’m happy about. In terms of anticipation, legacy and hype it’s the biggest fight of my career.”

“This fight is for the legacy and was an opportunity I felt I couldn’t pass up,” said Benn. “My team and I had other options on the table as I’m currently ranked top 5 with all governing bodies at Welterweight and no doubt I’m looking for a World Championship fight very soon, but this fight is embedded with so much history and I know it’s one the public really want to see. To me this fight is personal – it’s more than titles and rankings, this is unfinished business between our families!”

Commanders’ Rivera on firing of Mills III: ‘Just a difference in philosophy’

The Washington Commanders fired defensive line coach Sam Mills III, head coach Ron Rivera announced on Tuesday.

Assistant defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina will take over the position.

“I made a change on the coaching staff. I relieved Sam Mills III of his duties,” Rivera said. “Just a difference in philosophy for the most part, and we’ll go from there…

“Just some observations, and to me, it was I just felt it was a change that I needed to make, feeling there was a little bit of difference in the philosophy.”

When asked what the differences in philosophy were, Rivera said, “I’m going to keep that to myself.”

Mills is the son of Hall of Famer Sam Mills Jr., who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last Saturday in Canton, Ohio. He has been with the Commanders since 2020. Mills held a few coaching positions with the Panthers since 2005 and was with Rivera when he became the team’s head coach in 2011.

The 44-year-old was named defensive line coach in Carolina in 2018 and held the job until Rivera was fired in 2019.

Jets’ Becton could be out indefinitely with leg injury

New York Jets RT Mehki Becton played one game in 2021 due to a right knee injury he suffered in Week 1 against the Panthers. Unfortunately, he may have suffered another significant right leg injury on Monday at Jets training camp. 

Initially, there was some optimism about Becton’s condition, who limped off the practice field and did not return.  

“The only thing I got is that it’s stable,” Jets head coach Robert Saleh said about the knee. “Everything seems fine. Preliminary. Obviously, we just have to get it checked for precautionary reasons. But as of now, it doesn’t seem like it’s a big deal, but knock-on wood. Hopefully, that stays the case.”

However, that optimism has faded.

According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, Becton’s knee injury is more concerning than the team originally believed following practice today; it’s a new injury unrelated to his previous knee injury. 

The 23-year-old, the 11th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, had a brace on his right knee Friday and did not get many snaps at Saturday night’s practice, which Saleh discussed Monday.

“The limited snaps on Saturday, that was the first time we had been on the fake stuff and we just wanted to make sure we gave him just enough dosage to see how he came off and how he felt off of that day, which everything checked out great from the Green & White, but that’s what that pitch count was for,” Saleh said.

Before the injury, Becton reportedly looked labored at practice, which may have come from the sweltering heat. Last season, Becton’s knee injury was not supposed to keep him out the whole season. However, conditioning played a role in the third-year tackle not returning to the lineup.

If Becton’s injury is severe, the Jets might have interest in 36-year-old free agent OT Duane Brown who played for the Seahawks last season and was around the team over the weekend,

When asked about Brown, Jets coach Robert Saleh said, “That’s a Joe (Douglas) question.”

In addition to Becton’s injury, OT Conor McDermott injured his ankle at the team’s Green and White practice Saturday night. According to Saleh, McDermott is expected to miss 1-2 weeks.

Barthelemy: ‘I showed I can compete with the best young fighters in boxing’

After a week to digest his disputed early stoppage to Gary Antuanne Russell (16-0, 16 KOs), Rances Barthelemy (29-2-1, 15 KOs), feels his latest performance will garner him another fight against a big name in the super lightweight division.

The fighters threw within five total punches of each other per round across the bout, including combining to throw 361 power punches out of 515 total thrown. At the time of the stoppage, the score totals were 49-46 twice and 48-47 in favor of Russell.

“Although I thought my fight against Gary Antuanne Russell was stopped early, I feel I gave the fans an exciting fight.” Barthelemy stated. “I was letting my hands go and I almost got him out of there in the opening round. Orlando Cuellar is my new trainer and he has me fighting in a more aggressive style. I know I have power and I know I can still compete at the championship level. I’m seeking another big fight by the end of the year.”

Barthelemy’s loss to Russel took place July 30th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on the undercard of Danny “Swift Garcia vs. Jose Benavidez Jr. live on SHOWTIME, a Premier Boxing Champions event.

“I love this sport and I will always have respect for the referees that work our bouts,” continued Barthelemy. “I just feel that Murdaugh made a suspect decision by stopping this fight. I showed I can compete with the best young fighters in boxing, and I just want an opportunity to close out my career with honor, without any controversy.”

Photo: Stephanie Trapp/TGB Promotions

Eagles’ Brown, Davis shine Sunday night

Sunday night at Lincoln Financial Field, the Philadelphia Eagles held a practice in front of almost 30,000 fans. 

According to Eliot Shorr-Parks, QB Jalen Hurts was 11/18, touchdown. That touchdown was a beautiful 30-yard pass to A.J. Brown.

In addition, rookie DT Jordan Davis, who has been impressive at camp, showed off his tremendous strength. Eagles coach Nick Sirianni discussed what he sees from Davis.

“Size, strength, right? Just a big man who is still figuring out the NFL,” Sirianni said. “That’s an ongoing process.What you see more than anything is just the sheer size of the man and then just his strength. The guys that we went against that have that enormous size in the middle right there, they pose problems.

“So that’s what’s stood out the most to me so far.”

Brown, who was traded to the Eagles from the Titans in the offseason, and signed a four-year, $100 million contract with the team, was excited by the fan support on Sunday night.

The Eagles continue to prepare for their preseason opener, which is Friday night at home against the Jets. At this point, Sirianni is unsure how much the starters will play against New York.

“Still sorting through all that,” he said. “We don’t have to make that decision until Friday. We’ll probably make it a little bit sooner than that, but still sorting through that. Last year we played them, I want to say two series each. We felt like that was a good formula. I’m not committing to that yet. But we’re still thinking it through at this time.”

Diaz-Zepeda set for November 5

Out to prove they are worthy of fighting for a world championship fight in the near future, South El Monte’s Joseph “JoJo” Diaz, Jr. (32-2-1) will face Mexico’s undefeated rising star, William “Camarón” Zepeda (26-0, 23 KOs) of San Mateo Atenco, Mexico in a dangerous, 12-round lightweight main event that will be broadcast live worldwide exclusively on DAZN on Saturday, November 5.

In the crossroads matchup, former IBF junior lightweight titlist Diaz, Jr. has his eyes locked on continuing his campaign to take over the lightweight division despite a minor setback after facing Devin Haney in December 2021. By taking on this fight, Diaz, Jr. proves, yet again, that he is willing to take on any of the toughest challengers.

“I am very excited to be back in the ring and do what I love,” said Diaz, Jr. “I’m going to take on the toughest challenge that will bring out the best in me. I’m going to show the shrimp what it’s like to swim with the sharks.”

Undefeated Zepeda will be looking to climb the ranks with a victory over Diaz, Jr. giving him a spot to become a top contender for a world title. With an impressive knockout ratio over 90 percent, Zepeda will be looking to impress fans with his aggressive style.

“I am ready to dance with JoJo and give him trouble,” said Zepeda.

“This fight proves that Golden Boy Promotions isn’t scared to put its fighters in tough matches to give fight fans the boxing entertainment they’re looking for,” said Oscar De La Hoya. “JoJo Diaz, Jr. and William Zepeda are both hungry fighters ready to put their reputation on the line to prove they are worthy contenders in the lightweight division. Both are aggressive southpaw fighters who come forward and are unafraid to give fans a show.”

“The lightweight division continues to be one of the most compelling in boxing today and this exciting matchup between JoJo Diaz, Jr. and William Zepeda is going to be an exciting showdown between two serious contenders,” said Joseph Markowski, EVP, DAZN. “We look forward to broadcasting this event worldwide on DAZN as part of an ever-growing lineup of fight nights this fall.”

More information on the venue, tickets, and the undercard will be announced in the coming weeks.