Ugas: ‘I’m gonna answer all the doubters’

Former WBA welterweight champion Yordenis Ugas is back in the ring on Saturday night for the first time since being stopped by former unified 147-pound champion Errol Spence Jr. in April of 2022 when he battles Mario Barrios in a 12-round bout for the interim WBC welterweight title on the undercard of Canelo Alvarez-Jermell Charlo at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas(Showtime PPV).

Before his loss to Spence, which was stopped due to a broken orbital bone Ugas suffered in the fight, he had won four straight, including a big win over Manny Pacquiao, and after over a year out of the ring, the 37-year-old is excited to be back.

“I’m really excited to be here once again,” he said at a press conference on Thursday. “I’m fighting a former world champion, so this is gonna be a great show. I’m ready for the challenge.

“I’ve spent seven years fighting the best in the division and I’m gonna answer all the doubters on Saturday. They’re gonna see what I’m capable of.”

Ugas (27-5, 12 KOs) believes he and Barrios (27-2, 18 KOs) will put on a great show on Saturday night, and he expects to show the top contenders at 147 that he still has a lot left in the tank.

Yordenis Ugas and Mario Barrios/Photos from Esther Lin/SHOWTIME

“We’re two former champions who put on great fights,” he said. “Look at the opponents that we’ve fought. The resumes speak for themselves.

“I’ve spent my entire career coming back from adversity over and over again. If you want to see what I still have left, you’ll have to watch Saturday night. It will all be revealed.”

The Cuban native loves his country, and he loves to represent his country. Ugas says that he not only fights for himself, but he fights for the political prisoners in Cuba.

“Everyone knows that I’m a world champion, but I’m also a man of the people and someone who represents the Cuban community, and that’s really important to me,” he said. “I have a very important fight on Saturday, but I fight on another front and that’s for my people and the message I want to provide for them. In Cuba there are political prisoners and I carry their message and fight for them. I represent their message.”


Jets’ Zach Wilson talks criticism from Namath

This week, Jets legend and Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath was critical of Jets quarterback Zach Wilson.

Namath was critical of Wilson’s performance in the team’s 15-10 loss to the Patriots last Sunday. The third-year quarterback completed 18/36 passes for 157 yards, and New York’s offense struggled in that game.

“I wouldn’t keep him,” Namath said on The Michael Kay Show on ESPN Radio.”I’ve seen enough of Zach Wilson.”

On Thursday, Wilson, who said he met Namath during his rookie season, discussed the Hall of Famer’s criticism.

“He’s passionate,” Wilson said. “He’s obviously one of the greats, so as an offense, we have to do everything we can to try to prove him wrong. Keep doing what we can and improve. I think the guys are feeling very optimistic. We all believe in each other; we’re all right there. So, excited for this week.

According to the 24-year-old, he and his teammates are working to get better.

“Obviously, Joe is an unbelievable player, but this locker room is very tightknit,” Wilson said. “We’re working to get better. I’m working to get better. I know I need to improve and I promise I’m doing everything that I can to keep trying to get better. The focus is just to rely on each other in this locker room, lean on each other because that’s all that we got at the end of the day and we’re going to do everything we can to keep improving.”

For some, criticism motivates them to be better. However for Wilson, that’s not the case; he ignores it.

“I don’t know if I would say it fuels me because I like to ignore it,” Wilson said of the criticism. “I get the passion and the frustration absolutely, but my job as a quarterback is to focus on how I can get better, how I can help this offense score, how I can help us win games. It needs to improve, it needs to get better, but that starts in the film room with the coaches checking out those plays and then just doing my job from there. I wouldn’t say that’s necessarily my focus point of where the fuel comes from.”

Wilson has and probably will continue to struggle. He’s near the bottom in all statistical categories among starting quarterbacks in the NFL(467 yards, two touchdowns, four interceptions, 52% completion percentage). The challenging part for Jets fans is they believed that this team was built to win now, which it was, and they also think Wilson is holding this team back, which he probably is.

However, after signing veteran quarterback Trevor Siemian this week and not any of the other quarterbacks on the market, including Carson Wentz; it appears New York is still all in on Wilson for the 2023 season.

The Jets are currently 1-2 and host the world-champion Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night, so if this offense does not play better, New York could be 1-3 after four weeks; if that happens, Wilson will get most of the blame.

Berchelt to battle Ruiz on October 14

Former World Champion Miguel “El Alacrán” Berchelt (38-3, 34 KOs) of Yucatan will make a redemptive return to the ring as the main event of Golden Boy Fight Night on DAZN: Mexico Edition in a lightweight match against former world champion challenger of Tucuman, Argentina, Diego “El Profeta” Ruiz (24-7-1, 12 KOs). The 10-round lightweight fight is presented in co-promotion with Zanfer Boxing on Saturday, October 14 at the Poliforum Zamna in Mérida, MX.

The last time we saw Berchelt, he was stopped by Jeremia Nakathila in March of 2022, which was his second straight loss.

In the co-main event, Mexico City’s undefeated Angel Ayala (16-0, 7 KOs) will have his clean record tested by former world champion of Managua, Nicaragua, Felix “El Gemelo” Alvarado (39-3, 34 KOs) in an IBF Eliminator fight scheduled for 10-rounds.

Also making his grand return to the ring, Aaron Silva (13-0, 10 KOs) of Monterrey, Mexico will participate in a 10-round super middleweight fight against a soon-to-be-announced opponent. Opening the DAZN broadcast and also from Monterrey, Irvin Turrubiartes (25-0-1, 15 KOs) is scheduled for a 10-round featherweight match against Oaxaca, Mexico’s Sergio Sanchez (20-1, 12 KOs).

In the preliminary fights, Texcoco’s Juan Ayala (12-1, 7 KOs) will participate in a 10-round bantamweight fight. In an eight-round super featherweight fight, Guadalajara’s Bryan Anco (9-0, 8 KOs) will look to continue his knockout streak. Opponents for both will be announced soon.

Stevenson-De Los Santos set for November 16 in Vegas

Shakur Stevenson will attempt to become a three-weight world champion when he takes on Dominican puncher Edwin De Los Santos for the vacant WBC lightweight world title Thursday, Nov. 16 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In the world championship co-feature, Mexico’s Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete defends his WBO junior lightweight strap against Brazilian two-time world title challenger Robson Conceição.

This world title twofer — broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT — kicks off the highly anticipated race week in Las Vegas.

“This is a huge week for Las Vegas and a tremendous platform for Shakur Stevenson to show, once again, why he is well on his way to reigning as the sport’s pound-for-pound king,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Many fighters turned down the opportunity, but Edwin De Los Santos eagerly accepted. Emanuel Navarrete and Robson Conceição fighting for supremacy at 130 pounds adds to a spectacular card that is loaded from top to bottom.”

Stevenson (20-0, 10 KOs), from Newark, New Jersey, won titles in two divisions in his first five years in the paid ranks. After earning a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics, he debuted as pro in 2017 and compiled a 12-0 record before toppling Joet Gonzalez to win the vacant WBO featherweight world championship in October 2019. Two years later, he captured the WBO junior lightweight title with a 10th-round TKO over Jamel Herring before adding the WBC strap to his collection with a 12-round decision over Oscar Valdez in April 2022. The 26-year-old southpaw defeated Conceição last September before moving up to lightweight and scoring a sixth-round stoppage win over Japanese contender Shuichiro Yoshino in April.

Stevenson said, “Edwin De Los Santos is a good fighter and he’s going to come to fight. I give him credit for actually taking this fight when so many other so-called ‘fighters’ ran from it. I’m the biggest boogeyman in boxing, and on November 16, the world will see why when I put on another great performance for the fans. Come out to T-Mobile Arena or tune in to ESPN and watch me become a three-division world champion.”

De Los Santos (16-1, 14 KOs) is a hard-hitting southpaw from the Dominican Republic. He debuted in 2018 and notched his first 13 victories in his home country. In his U.S. debut, he suffered a razor-thin split decision loss to William Foster III. He hasn’t lost a fight since. In 2022, he took two unbeaten records, knocking out Luis Acosta with a left hand in the second round and dropping Jose Valenzuela twice before stopping him in round three. In his last fight, De Los Santos dominated Joseph Adorno over 10 rounds in July. This will be De Los Santos’ first shot at a world title.

De Los Santos said, “I want to thank Top Rank, the WBC, ESPN and my promoter, Sampson Lewkowicz, for this opportunity to put on a great fight and win my first world championship. I am a proud Dominican warrior who fights for my people! Shakira, I’m going to kick your ass.”

Navarrete (38-1, 31 KOs) captured his first world title by defeating Isaac Dogboe for the WBO junior featherweight crown in December 2018. He made five defenses before moving up to featherweight, where he beat Ruben Villa for the vacant WBO title in October 2020. The 28-year-old defended his belt three times before moving up to 130 pounds. In February, Navarrete became a three-division champion by defeating Liam Wilson via ninth-round TKO for the WBO junior lightweight world title. He solidified his dominance at 130 pounds with an emphatic 12-round decision win against Valdez in August. Navarrete looks to make the second defense of his strap as the possibility of a title opportunity in a fourth weight division emerges on the horizon.

Navarrete said, “I am very happy to be able to defend my title again in 2023. My motivation is to continue achieving great victories for Mexican boxing and to bring glory to this beautiful nation. Conceição is a complicated opponent, but I want to be the best 130-pounder in the world, and for that I must face the best. I have never shied away from any rival. Whoever they put in front of me, ‘Vaquero’ Navarrete will always be ready to battle.”

Conceição (17-2, 8 KOs) made history as Brazil’s first Olympic boxing gold medalist, turning pro under the Top Rank banner less than three months after the 2016 Rio Games. In September 2021, he earned his first shot at a world title against Valdez, who was then the unbeaten WBC champ at junior lightweight. Though losing a close points verdict, he proved himself as a worthy title contender. Less than five months later, he traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and upset the previously unbeaten Xavier Martinez over 10 rounds. Conceição then had his second opportunity at a world title, an unsuccessful but valiant effort against Stevenson last September. Conceição will now get a third opportunity to call himself a world champion in the pro ranks.

“This is great opportunity in front of a great champion. I needed three Olympics Games to finally capture gold and become Olympic champ, and it looks like history is repeating itself. On November 16, I will fight to the end, and I will not miss this opportunity to become a world champion and once again bring gold to Brazil.”

The ESPN+-streamed undercard will be highlighted by a battle between unbeaten welterweights as well as a host of emerging prospects.

Undefeated standouts Brian Norman Jr. (24-0, 19 KOs) and Quinton Randall (13-0-1, 3 KOs) will collide in a 10-round welterweight battle. Norman has boxing in his blood. His father, Brian Norman Sr., was a light heavyweight contender in a career spanning 30 bouts. The younger Norman is on the path to contender status as well, having bested Rodrigo Coria in January and Jesus Campos in May. Randall tallied a sixth-round TKO victory against Terry Chatwood in June and an eight-round decision versus Willie Jones in July.

In an eight-round junior featherweight duel between two of Las Vegas’ top prospects, Floyd “Cashflow” Diaz (9-0, 3 KOs) and Max Ornelas (15-1-1, 5 KOs) will battle for intra-city bragging rights. Diaz returns after beating Luis Fernando Saavedra on the Devin Haney-Vasiliy Lomachenko undercard in May, while Ornelas is coming off a highly controversial split decision loss against Hector Valdez last October.

U.S. Olympian Troy Isley (10-0, 4 KOs) steps up in class in an eight-round middleweight fight against Mexico’s Vladimir Hernandez (14-5, 6 KOs). The 25-year-old had an impressive 2022 in which he scored five victories. He heads into the biggest fight of his career after one-sided wins over Roy Barringer in April and Antonio Todd in July. Hernandez holds wins over Mexican action star Alfredo Angulo and former unified world champion Julian Williams. In August, he handed touted prospect Lorenzo Simpson his first pro defeat.

19-year-old lightweight phenom Abdullah Mason (10-0, 8 KOs) will make his fifth appearance of 2023 in a six-round fight against Texas’ Jose Cardenas (7-1, 5 KOs). Mason, from Cleveland, Ohio, is 4-0 with three knockouts this year.

Junior lightweight contender and Las Vegas native Andres Cortes (20-0, 11 KOs) takes on Nicaragua’s Freddy Fonseca (30-6-1, 20 KOs) in a 10-round tilt. Cortes was last seen notching his best victory to date, a seventh-round stoppage win over Xavier Martinez in July.

Kazakh Olympian Ablaikhan Zhussupov (4-0, 3 KOs) returns in a welterweight clash scheduled for eight rounds versus Mark Dawson (11-1-1, 4 KOs).

Report: Lillard dealt to Bucks in three-team deal

The Portland Trailblazers have finally traded Damian Lillard, but it was not where many expected.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Lillard goes to Milwaukee as part of a three-team with the Suns and Blazers; Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, Toumani Camara, a 2029 unprotected Milwaukee first, and unprotected Bucks swap rights in 2028 and 2030 go to the Blazers.

Phoenix lands Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little, and Keon Johnson.

The Blazers remain engaged elsewhere on deals and are expected to immediately engage contending teams on trade talks to move on Jrue Holiday, according to the report.

Lillard joins two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton to form a big three in Milwaukee. The 33-year-old requested a trade from the Blazers in July, and everyone expected the Heat, but that did not happen.

Obviously, with the addition of Lillard, the Bucks, whom the Miami Heat eliminated in the first round of last season’s playoffs, are one of the favorites to win an NBA title. Last season, the seven-time All-Star averaged a career-high 32.2 points to go along with 4.8 rebounds and 7.3 assists per contest.

Portland gets a building block in Ayton, who was a disappointment with the Suns last season. Ayton needed a change of scenery, and he gets it.

The Blazers hope Ayton, rookie Scoot Henderson, and Anfernee Simons can be critical pieces going forward. In addition, they should be able to get picks or a quality player for Holiday.

Canelo, Charlo arrive in Las Vegas

Undisputed super middleweight champion and global superstar Canelo Álvarez and undisputed junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo made their grand arrivals in Las Vegas on Tuesday as they kicked off fight week events for their historic showdown headlining a SHOWTIME PPV this Saturday, September 30 from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Canelo Promotions will present the Premier Boxing Champions pay-per-view. 

Canelo and Charlo will meet in the first matchup of the four-belt era pitting two reigning male undisputed champions against each other, as Canelo puts his 168-pound titles on the line. Both fighters expressed their excitement about the fight in front of throngs of fans at MGM Grand.

Canelo vs Charlo Grand Arrivals/Photos from Esther Lin/SHOWTIME

“I feel the love and support from my people and I’m proud to represent my country,” said Canelo. “I am 100% right now and ready to show you a different Canelo on Saturday. Charlo is a great fighter who knows how to box. He is strong and has nothing to lose. He came to my division to win it all. But I’ve been in this position for a long time and I’m ready.”

Canelo vs Charlo Grand Arrivals

“These fans think Canelo is the best in the world, but I’m going to come here and show that I’m the best,” said Charlo. “I do this for the dogs, the hungry ones. I do it for the animals. I’m made for this. After I beat Canelo, the world will be screaming ‘Charlo, Charlo!’ You dig? Now it’s my turn, my time, my moment. I’m going to shine on Saturday night. We can’t talk about it; we have to be about it. Come fight night, you’ll all see what that means.”

Canelo vs Charlo Grand Arrivals





Hurts battles illness, beats Tampa Bay for first time in career

In Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals, Michael Jordan, who battled the flu, scored 38 points as he led the Bulls to a big win over the Jazz. Jordan would go on to win his fifth NBA title.

On Monday night, another great player in a different sport, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, was battling flu-like symptoms, and while he was not as good as Jordan, Hurts was good enough. 

He completed 23 of 37 passes for 277 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions. Hurts ran for another 28 yards and a touchdown on the ground. The rushing touchdown was the 29th of his career, the most ever by an NFL quarterback in their first 50 career games.

With Hurts, a potent running game(201 yards rushing), and a stifling defense, the Eagles(3-0) defeated the Buccaneers(2-1) 25-11 at Raymond James Stadium.

All Hurts does is win. Philadelphia has won 20 of its last 21 regular-season games (.952) started by Hurts). 

“It’s not the first time I’ve dealt with this or had to play with something like this,” Hurts said about playing through illness. “And it always happens on Monday night for whatever reason.” 

Hurts, who got revenge after losing to the Bucs in his previous two matchups, has won each of his last ten regular-season away games dating back to Week 17 of 2021. It is the longest such streak in franchise history.

The Eagles amassed 472 yards of total offense, and the passing game was improved as Hurts’ 277 yards was a season-high, but despite some success in the passing game, which included a 34-yard touchdown pass to Olamide Zaccheaus, Hurts is still not satisfied.

“I think whether we win or lose, I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied,” Hurts said. “That’s always the mentality. So there’s an eagerness – always, win, lose, or draw to get better.”

Philadelphia should be encouraged by what the offense did on Monday. D’Andre Swift had another 100-yard game(130), and the passing game looked better. The interceptions were not good, but the first one was a byproduct of miscommunication between Hurts and Swift. On the second interception, Bucs safety Dee Delaney made a great play on the ball.

The Eagles have yet to play a complete game this season, but they are still 3-0 and are one of only three remaining undefeated teams in the NFL through the first three weeks of the season, joining Miami and San Francisco. Philadelphia should have no issue going to 4-0 when they battle the Commanders at home on Sunday.

Official: 76ers sign Kelly Oubre Jr.

Philadelphia 76ers have signed Kelly Oubre Jr., the team announced Tuesday.

According to reports, it’s a one-year deal.

In a related move, the team has waived Marcus Bagley.

Last season, Oubre Jr. after averaged a career-high 20.3 points (43.1% FG, 31.9% 3FG), 5.2 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 48 games (40 starts) with Charlotte. In addition, the eight-year veteran had a career-best 1.4 steals in 2022-23.

In 527 career NBA games with Washington, Phoenix, Golden State, and Charlotte, Oubre Jr. has averaged 12.8 points on 43.4% shooting (33.0% 3FG), 4.4 rebounds, 1.0 assist, and 1.0 steal.

The 27-year-old has produced at least 15.0 points in each of his last five seasons dating back to 2018-19, while tallying back-to-back seasons with at least 100 three-pointers and 50 steals.

This is a solid acquisition for the 76ers. You get a guy who can score the basketball off the bench. Oubre is athletic, solid shooter, and good enough defender. He will help the Sixers in 2023-24.

Haney-Prograis set for December 9 in San Francisco

Devin Haney and Regis Prograis will clash in a Super-Lightweight blockbuster at Chase Center in San Francisco, California on Saturday December 9(DAZN PPV).

Haney (30-0 15 KOs) returns to his Bay Area roots in his quest to become a two-weight World champion, moving up from 135lbs having become undisputed after beating George Kambosos Jr in Australia in June 2022, and then successfully defended his crown twice, once in a rematch Down Under in October and then against modern-day legend Vasiliy Lomachenko in Las Vegas in May, and now the San Francisco-born 24-year-old can make more history in his first fight on his home turf.

Prograis (29-1 24 KOs) puts his WBC title on the line for the second time after successfully seeing off the Danielito Zorrilla on his New Orleans home patch in his first defense in April. ‘Rougarou’ became a two-time holder of the green and gold belt in November when he knocked out Jose Zepeda in the 11th round in Carson, California – and the 34-year-old returns to The Golden State to face the former undisputed Lightweight king.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Haney. “It’s been a dream of mine to fight in my hometown. I’m excited for the opportunity to become two-division World champion in The City [The Bay] where it all started. The energy in the building is going to be electric. I haven’t fought at home since I was an amateur, so I’m looking for my city to show up and show out.

“As a kid, I always envisioned fighting at The Oracle in Oakland. Now with Chase Center, I have two dream locations with a bridge between them. So, my first order of business is to blow the roof off Chase Center on December 9 with an amazing event. I picked a focused and hungry champion to invite to my hometown. Regis is going to be trying to knock me out and that’s exactly what I need him to be TRYING to do. This is what you do when you are the youngest promoter in boxing. I’m the real face of boxing. December 9. Legacy and Money.

“On paper this is a tough fight because it’s my first fight at a heavier weight division. I’m comfortable with the plan have. God willing, I’m going to be stronger and faster than ever. I’m going to dominate him, and the Welterweight division will be put on notice.

“It’s never personal, this is a business at the end of the day. We’re two gentlemen at the end of the day, but when we get in the ring, we don’t have respect for each other. I’m going to go in in there and do my job.”

“Finally, we’re ready to go on Saturday, December 9 and I can’t wait to put on a show,” said Prograis. “I’ve already started training camp and I’ll be more than ready to do what I do best.

“Devin has done well at 135 pounds, but I’m the best in the world at 140 pounds, and I will prove that once again!

“Since my last fight they mentioned Devin’s name and that’s the only person I’ve had on my mind. I will not only beat him, but I will beat him up. I will hurt this kid. It’s nothing he can do that’s going to stop me from dominating. It’s going to be a massacre. Again, I will hurt him.”

“It’s been quite a journey from East Oakland,” said Bill Haney, Devin’s father and trainer. “Everything us represents “The Bay.” Strong and independent. It’s surreal to finally get a chance to go home where The Dream started.

Haney vs. Prograis is the first boxing event to be held at the world-class Chase Center in San Francisco. Opening its doors in 2019, Chase Center is an award-winning 18,064-seat sports and entertainment arena in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood that is home to the seven-time NBA champion Golden State Warriors and San Francisco’s top events and performances.

Commanders’ Rivera talks Sam Howell’s struggles against Bills

Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell had his “Welcome to the NFL” moment as the Commanders(2-1) were routed by the Buffalo Bills 37-3 on Sunday at FedExField.

Coming into Sunday’s game against the Bills, Howell was undefeated as a starter(3-0) and has played reasonably well. However, he was off against Buffalo.

The second-year quarterback completed 19/29 passes for 170 yards and four interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.

Despite his struggles, Commanders head coach Ron Rivera kept Howell in the game, and he explained why on Monday.

“Well, right now we are 2-1,” Rivera said. “Sam’s won three games in four starts. So, we’ll just continue to go from there and see how things go. We kept Sam in because we felt the only way he’s going to grow and get better is to play. That’s why we did what we did.”

According to Rivera, Howell was a little indecisive on Sunday.

“I think the biggest thing is just, again, sometimes he gets a little indecisive,” Rivera said. “He gets through his progression, and he’s a little bit of a hiccup, and sometimes he’s just got to trust it and go ahead and go with it, and other times just get rid of the ball.”

The 23-year-old was sacked nine times by the Bills, some of that was on the offensive line, while other times it was a case of Howell holding the ball too long. Going forward, Rivera knows Howell has to get the ball out sooner.

“You’d like him to reach the ball before he gets hit,” Rivera said. “Sure. I’m being serious. Whether that’s in your mindset saying, okay, there is a two-and-a-half second clock, which we all know and understand and believe in, but at the same time, because of his agility and abilities, sometimes he can extend the play and which we’ve seen, and we’ve seen him do it successfully. But we’ve also seen it where there’s that little hesitation; it’s cost him a little bit. So again, we wanted to continue to go with the clock in his head, but at the same time, we don’t want him to miss opportunities if they’re there. Upfront, we’d like to hold our blocks a little bit longer if we can.”

Things will only get more challenging for Howell and the Commanders as they travel to Philadelphia to face the undefeated Eagles, who have one the best pass rushes in the NFL. First, the offensive line has to be better, and next, Howell has to get the ball out quickly. Otherwise, he could have another long day at the office.