Pacquiao-Matthysse to air on ESPN+

The next chapter in the storied career of former eight-division world champion and future first-ballot Hall of Famer, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, will stream live and exclusively in the United States on Saturday, July 14 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN+ — the recently-launched multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN. This will be Pacquiao’s first fight since headlining cable television’s highest-rated and most-watched boxing telecast since 2006, when he fought Jeff Horn in July of 2017 on ESPN.

Pacquiao will challenge Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse for the WBA welterweight title at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In addition, in the world championship co-feature, Filipino power puncher Jhack Tepora (21-0, 16 KOs) will face Edivaldo “Indio” Ortega (26-1-1, 12 KOs) for the vacant WBA featherweight title. Pacquiao and Matthysse are expected to enter the ring at roughly 11:30 p.m. ET. ESPN+ is available to all fans on the ESPN App and ESPN.com.

Pacquiao-Matthysse will cap a full day of boxing on the ESPN family of networks, as Regis “Rougarou” Prograis will defend the WBC Diamond super lightweight title against Juan Jose Velasco, and lightweight sensation Teofimo Lopez will face William Silva, live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 7 p.m. ET and via streaming on the ESPN App from the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans. Undercard action from New Orleans will stream live on ESPN+ starting at 4:30 p.m. ET.

“I am very happy that all of my fans in America will have a chance to watch my next fight on ESPN+, and I am looking forward to putting on a show,” Pacquiao said. “Matthysse is a great opponent. I am training with all of my heart because I want to be champion again.”

“This extraordinary event only affirms ESPN’s commitment to providing boxing fans with the biggest and best fights in the sport,” said Bob Arum, Top Rank’s founder and CEO. “Manny Pacquiao is one of the greatest champions in boxing history, and his fight against Matthysse promises to be a sensational one.”

“This matchup is a perfect example of the world-class caliber of events we envisioned for ESPN+ when we announced our agreement with Top Rank,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN Executive Vice President of Programming and Scheduling. “Pacquiao vs. Matthysse, which will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+, shows the commitment we have to delivering fans the best of boxing year-round on our direct-to-consumer platform.”

Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs), the living legend from General Santos City, Philippines, will look to score his first knockout victory since 2009. Before losing the WBO welterweight world championship to Jeff Horn via controversial unanimous decision last July, Pacquiao recaptured the title on November 5, 2016 by defeating then-champion Jessie Vargas at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. In a career that has spanned more than two decades, Pacquiao has victories against legendary fighters like Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, and Ricky Hatton.

Matthysse (39-4, 36 KOs) won the vacant WBA welterweight title Jan. 27 in Los Angeles with an eighth-round knockout over Thailand’s Tewa Kiram. One of boxing’s best punchers, pound-for-pound, he is an all-action brawler who has participated in multiple Fight of the Year contenders, including an 11th-round knockout win over John Molina in 2014 and a 12-round majority decision victory over Ruslan Provodnikov in 2015. Matthysse has won two straight since a 10th-round knockout loss to then-undefeated Viktor Postol on Oct. 3, 2015.

Upcoming exclusive boxing on ESPN+ includes the July 28 battle for the vacant World Boxing Organization 130-pound title as Puerto Rican star Christopher Diaz faces Masayuki Ito at the Kissimmee Civic Center.  Diaz-Ito will stream live and exclusively in the United States at 9:30 p.m. ET with undercard action starting at 6:30 p.m. ET

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Report: Lance Stephenson to join the Lakers

According to Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania, Lance Stephenson has agreed to a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. It’s a one-year deal worth $4.5 million, according to ESPN.

Now, Stephenson will join his arch nemesis LeBron James in Los Angeles.

This should be fun!

Highlights from Week 1 of the BIG3

In front of a sold-out crowd of 16,341 at the Toyota Center in Houston,  players such as Nate Robinson, Baron Davis, Metta World Peace, Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis, Drew Gooden, Amar’e Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer,  and Chris ‘Birdman’ Andersen made their BIG3 debuts.

Also, Nancy Lieberman, the first female coach to lead an elite men’s professional team, earned a historic victory last night.

Here are highlights from all 4 games:

 3 Headed Monsters (50; 1-0) vs. Ghost Ballers (48; 0-1)

In a rematch of the first ever BIG3 game, 3 Headed Monsters earned another two-point win over the Ghost Ballers.  After a back-and-forth first half that saw nine lead changes, 3 Headed Monsters led for most of the second half before falling behind 44-43. The two teams traded the lead before new acquisition Reggie Evans collected his own rebound off a missed free throw for a layup, which he followed with a made two-point free throw to put the 3 Headed Monsters up by two. Following a Ricky Davis tying bucket, the sweet-shooting Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf re-entered the game to seal the win with a jumper from the elbow.

Highlights:

 3’s Company (51; 1-0) vs. Killer 3s (30; 0-1)

 The new-look 3’s Company dominated Killer 3s in the second game with a 21-point win that was never in doubt. 3’s Company opened the game on fire, racing out to a 20-4 lead. Co-captain Baron Davis led the way in his BIG3 debut with 13 points, topping a balanced scoring effort in which four players scored more than seven points.  For the Killer 3s, BIG3 newcomer Metta World Peace lead the team with 12 points, while Co-Captain Stephen Jackson contributed 10.

With the win, Cooper became the first coach to win a game in the NBA, WNBA, D-League, NCAA and BIG3.

Highlights:

 Power 51 (1-0) vs. Ball Hogs 31 (0-1)

Power rolled to an impressive victory over the Ball Hogs. New additions Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis and Chris ‘Birdman’ Andersen and a returning Corey Maggette gave Power a more dynamic attack than the 2017 team that finished third in the league. The game’s highlight came when Andersen made a thunderous block on an attempted Josh Childress tomahawk dunk. Following the block, the ball kicked out to Maggette who took advantage of the loose ball and finished with a jam.

 The win earned basketball Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman the first win by a female coach for a top-flight men’s professional team.

Highlights:

 Tri-State 51 (1-0) vs Trilogy 34 (0-1)

 Nate Robinson, dubbed “The Human Spark Plug” by new teammate Amar’e Stoudemire, lived up to his new nickname with an electric, highlight-reel performance. Robinson brought the night to a close with a show-stopping three-pointer over sparring partner for the night, Rashad McCants. The trio of Co-Captains, Robinson, Stoudemire and the returning Jermaine O’Neal, proved too much for Trilogy, who were missing Co-Captain Al Harrington.

Highlights:

Report: Leonard wants out of San Antonio; interested in Lakers

Not much of a surprise here, but according to ESPN, Kawhi Leonard no longer wants to play in San Antonio. Leonard is frustrated with how the organization handled his quad injury and feels the franchise turned on him once he sought a second opinion, according to the report.

The two-time All-Star’s preferred destination is the Los Angeles Lakers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

You wonder what type of impact this will have on free agency.  Could this be a set up for a super team in Los Angeles with the Lakers?  Should be interesting to see how this plays out.

The Spurs can offer Leonard a supermax contract at five-years, $219 million, so the Spurs have that working for them. Leonard has two years left on his contract, but he has a player option in the 2019-20 season.

 

Freddie Mitchell commends LeBron James; rips McNabb via Twitter

What J.R. Smith did last night was inexcusable. Late in the 4th quarter, with the game tied at 107. George Hill was at the free throw line with an opportunity to put the Cavs up by one, but he would miss the free throw. However, Smith would get the rebound, but because he thought the Cavs were in the lead, Smith decided to dribble out the clock.

Ultimately the game would go to OT, and the Warriors would win 124-114.

After the game, Cavs star LeBron James was supportive of Smith, which gave former Philadelphia Eagles WR Freddie Mitchell an opportunity to take a shot at his former teammate Donovan McNabb.

You remember Mitchell, who teamed up with McNabb to help the Eagles get to the NFC Championship Game back in the 2003 season by converting on 4th & 26 against the Green Bay Packers.

However, Mitchell is not a big fan of McNabb, and he went to Twitter on Friday to take a shot at his former QB:

Maybe one of these days McNabb and Mitchell can work it out.

Roger Goodell talks sports betting

Last week, the Supreme Court struck down a federal law that prohibits sports gambling, which gives states the ability to legalize betting on sports.

Today, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement about legalized sports betting.

Here is the statement from Goodell:

As it was for my predecessors, there is no greater priority for me as the Commissioner of the National Football League than protecting the integrity of our sport.  Our fans, our players and our coaches deserve to know that we are doing everything possible to ensure no improper influences affect how the game is played on the field. This week’s ruling by the Supreme Court has no effect on that unwavering commitment.

We have spent considerable time planning for the potential of broadly legalized sports gambling and are prepared to address these changes in a thoughtful and comprehensive way, including substantial education and compliance trainings for our clubs, players, employees and partners. These efforts include supporting commonsense legislation that protects our players, coaches and fans and maintains public confidence in our games. We are asking Congress to enact uniform standards for states that choose to legalize sports betting that include, at a minimum, four core principles:

  1. There must be substantial consumer protections;

  2. Sports leagues can protect our content and intellectual property from those who attempt to steal or misuse it;

  3. Fans will have access to official, reliable league data; and

  4. Law enforcement will have the resources, monitoring and enforcement tools necessary to protect our fans and penalize bad actors here at home and abroad.

Mayweather: ‘If Gervonta(Davis) would have dropped Loma, he would have finished him'(AUDIO)

Vasyl Lomachenko added another belt in a third weight class after stopping Jorge Linares last Saturday night at MSG.

During the fight with Linares, Loma was dropped for the first time in his career. Loma was able to survive and ultimately would win the fight.

However, according to Floyd Mayweather, who promotes Gervonta Davis, if Loma would have been dropped by Davis, Loma would not have been able to survive:

“If Gervonta(Davis) would have dropped Lomachenko, he would have finished him because he is a finisher,” Mayweather told Fighthype.com. “When he gets you hurt, it’s not like a “Money Mayweather,” it’s like a “Pretty Boy Floyd.”

Davis does have power and is a great finisher, but is he good enough to drop Loma? We probably won’t found out anytime soon. While Mayweather wanted to Davis to fight Lomachenko next, Davis called out the winner of Tevin Farmer-Billy Dib after beating Jesus Cuellar last month. The IBF has ordered Farmer and Dib to fight for the interim super featherweight title.

Listen to the interview below:

 

Photo: Top Rank

Loma: ‘I want to put my name in the history of boxing’

Vasiliy Lomachenko and Jorge Linares took their talents to the streets of Manhattan on Wednesday, as they participated in an open workout on the corner of 33rd Street and 8th Avenue, just outside Madison Square Garden.

Lomachenko, a two-weight world champion, is looking to conquer a third weight class when he challenges WBA/Ring Magazine lightweight champion Jorge Linares on Saturday at MSG.

This is Lomachenko’s first fight at 135. The 30-year-old Ukrainian believes he has to fight in multiple weight classes and get titles in those different weight classes, to be one of the best in boxing.

“I want to put my name in the history of boxing, and this is one of the steps I have to take, to fight in different weight classes, different titles,” Lomachenko said his media workout on Wednesday. That’s what will put my name in the history of boxing.

“I already proved where I am, and I plan on being at the top of the sport for a very long time. I do not plan on slowing down.”

Lomachenko’s last fight against Guillermo Rigondeaux was easy, but he does not expect that to be the case against Linares:

“Linares is one of the best fighters in his weight class. I don’t think it’s going to be easy work,” Lomachenko said. 

Linares vs. Lomachenko will be televised live and exclusively at 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, and undercard bouts will stream live on ESPN+, available through the ESPN App, beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET.

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Jermell Charlo: ‘Me and my brother talk the talk and we walk the walk’

Unbeaten WBC junior middleweight world champion Jermell Charlo and former world champion Austin Trout went face-to-face Tuesday as they met with media in Los Angeles to discuss their showdown Saturday, June 9 live on SHOWTIME from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

One thing about the Charlo brothers is they like to talk, and talk loud. However, both fighters are undefeated, and both fighters have been champions at 154. Now, Jermall is trying to get another belt at 160.

“Me and my brother talk the talk and we walk the walk,” Jermell Charlo said on Tuesday. “From this point on in our careers, we’re going full force and it’s going to be nothing but knockouts.

“Every fight in my life is important because the man standing across from me is there to beat me. Kobe Bryant used to talk about how he knew everyone was going to come at him extra hard whether it was practice or a game, because of who he was and the status he had. I know that I can’t take anyone lightly.

“Our careers and our records are growing and you’re getting to see more of the Charlos. We’re jolts of lightning for this sport. We’re giving people real problems. We just get in there and do what we do.

“We’re ready to keep putting on shows for everyone. My brother just did his thing in Brooklyn and now we’re taking it to the West Coast. I love Los Angeles. I live here and I love training here. Me and Jermall both have knockouts at STAPLES Center and we’re going to turn it out on June 9.”

Jermall Charlo beat Trout two years ago in a very tough fight, but that does not concern Jermell:

“I know that I have to get in there, put my mind to it and do what I have to do. It’s his job to beat me and I’m preparing to stop him. The ‘Charlo Show’ is going to keep going. I’m not worried about Trout’s fight with my brother. Every fight we’ve been growing and changing.”

 

If Jermell Charlo gets by Trout, IBF/WBA junior middleweight champion Jarrett Hurd could be next in a unification fight. This is the biggest fight that can be made at 154.

Regarding Jermall, who stopped Hugo Centeno back in April, maybe he can get his hands on Danny Jacobs or Gennady Golovkin at some point.

Photo: Chris Farina/SHOWTIME

Gary Russell Jr.: ‘My last fight will be against (Vasyl) Lomachenko’

WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell Jr. (28-1, 17 KOs) is going home on May 19 as he will battle Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. (26-0, 14 KOs) live on SHOWTIME from MGM National Harbor in Maryland.

The Washington D.C. native has big plans for his career. He wants to dispatch Diaz, unify at 126, and eventually move up to fight Mikey Garcia:

“As far as a hit list of my next opponents goes, we are first going to take care of JoJo,” Russell said at a press conference on Tuesday. “I would love to get a unification bout with Leo Santa Cruz after that. If we don’t get that, I plan on moving up in weight and challenging whoever has the title in that division. You want to know who I really want, though? I want Mikey Garcia.”

Russell, 29, also has some interest in WBA junior lightweight champ Gervonta Davis:

“Of course I would entertain a fight with Gervonta Davis,” Russell said “We’re cool. He’s somebody that I actually watched grow up and develop as a fighter, but you have to stay in your lane. When I move up in weight, he’s got to get out of the way or he’s going to get ran over too.”

When it’s all said and done, Russell would love to avenge his only loss, which would be a rematch against Vasyl Lomachenko:

“My last fight will be against (Vasyl) Lomachenko. I want to conclude my career with breaking my foot off of him. That will be the conclusion of it. I’m willing to wait, though. Right now, we’re good.”

Russell has a lot of ability and talent. He has the potential to be a star in the sport, but he can’t overlook Diaz on May 19.

Photo: Rosie Cohe/SHOWTIME