Paul-Fury, Serrano-Carabajal set for August 6 at MSG

Jake “The Problem Child” Paul will take on longtime nemesis and undefeated pro boxer Tommy “TNT” Fury, and Amanda “Real Deal” Serrano will defend her Unified Featherweight World Title against power-punching Argentine Brenda “La Pumita” Carabajal in co- main events at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, August 6 live on SHOWTIME PPV.

Paul and Fury were originally slated to settle their differences in December, but Fury withdrew from the bout because of a medical issue. Paul went on to record a scintillating one-punch knockout of Tyron Woodley who stepped in as a late replacement for a rematch of the pair’s August 2021 clash. While Paul expressed little interest in granting Fury another opportunity, he has since changed his mindset. The Sports Illustrated 2021 Breakout Boxer of the Year wants to punish Fury for withdrawing from their December fight and to silence the naysayers who have questioned the quality of his opposition so far in his young career. The 25-year-old Cleveland native started his pro boxing journey in January 2020 and is facing an opponent in Fury who is a more experienced boxer than he has faced and comes from a renowned boxing family.

“I wasn’t sure I was going to say yes to another potential matchup against Tommy after he pulled out of our matchup last year,” said Paul, who will face Fury in a scheduled eight-round cruiserweight bout. “But ultimately, knocking out a Fury was too appealing to pass up. I’ve proven I am dedicated to boxing in and out of the ring, from promoting fights, championing fighters and fighter pay, to knocking out my opponents. The Furys cannot say the same, they are selfish tossers. On August 6, at the mecca, Madison Square Garden, the world will see why I am on my way to being a world champion. I’m honored to fight under the same lights as some of the greatest professional boxers in history.”

The half-brother of WBC Heavyweight World Champion Tyson Fury, Tommy won four of his first five bouts by stoppage after turning pro in 2018 and most recently dominated a 10-1 opponent in April to capture his eighth win in front of 94,000 fans. Fighting out of Manchester, England, Fury started boxing at 12 years old and won two regional titles, reaching the U.K. national final in 2016.

“The Paul brothers’ boxing charade is about to come to an end once and for all,” Fury said. “I am a boxer. My opponent plays boxing. Jake Paul has been dressed up to look like a boxer against retirees from other sports. On August 6, I will show the world that he does not belong in the ring. Thank you to my promoter Frank Warren, Most Valuable Promotions and SHOWTIME® for letting me permanently shut up Jake Paul. I look forward to headlining Madison Square Garden and knocking out this clown.”

After knocking out British YouTube star AnEsonGib in his boxing debut and defeating former NBA star Nate Robinson with a highlight-reel knockout, Paul made quick work of former MMA champion Ben Askren in April 2021 with a first-round knockout. Paul has since defeated Woodley twice on SHOWTIME PPV – the second time with one of the most devastating knockouts in recent memory in front of a sold-out crowd. Paul is fighting out of Puerto Rico under the tutelage of Danny Smith and B.J. Flores.

After becoming the first female boxer to headline Madison Square Garden in her unforgettable battle against Katie Taylor in April, Serrano is back as the only female boxer to headline MSG twice. She takes on interim WBO Featherweight Champion Carabajal, a battle-tested opponent who has never been knocked out.

Having won titles in every division between 115 and 140 pounds, Serrano, a Puerto Rican southpaw from Brooklyn, holds the Guinness World Record for most women’s boxing world championships (7) won in different weight classes. Her narrow split-decision loss to Taylor in a lightweight championship bout at Madison Square Garden drew a raucous, sold-out crowd of 19,187 who observed Serrano nearly finish Taylor off with a barrage of punches in the fifth round.

“I’m still in shock that I’ll be headlining The World’s Most Famous Arena twice in less than six months,” Serrano said. “Brenda is a very tough opponent and has never been knocked out, so I know I will need to be on my A game to change that. But I promise you, I am not leaving the outcome for the judges to decide. I am looking forward to fighting in front of my hometown crowd again on the biggest stage in the world and giving them the show they deserve.”

Carabajal captured the interim WBO Featherweight World Title beating fellow Argentine Debora Dionicius by majority decision in May. In 2019, Carabajal became the first Argentine female boxer to ever win a world title on American soil when she scored a unanimous decision over Elena Gradinar in Atlantic City, N.J., for the vacant interim WBO Featherweight belt. Born in the small town of Palma Sola in the northern province of Jujuy, Argentina, Carabajal was Argentina’s super featherweight champion from 2015-17 and was a silver medalist in the South American Games. She has faced six world champions and has stepped into the ring against notable names like Gradina, Maria Moderna, Paola Ibarra, Maria Capriolo and Tamara Nunez.

“This is the most important bout of my career,” said the 31-year-old Carabajal. “I know that my opponent is one of the best female boxers in the world but I want to face the best fighters. This chance finds me in my best physical and mental shape, so I’m going to take advantage of it. Nothing is impossible. I dare to dream of becoming world champion again, but this time in the majestic Madison Square Garden.”

Canelo-GGG III to land at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas

Undisputed Super Middleweight World Champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and ​Unified Middleweight Champion Gennadiy ‘GGG’ Golovkin will clash in a blockbuster trilogy fight at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas Saturday, Sept. 17. The fight, presented by Matchroom, Canelo Promotions and GGG Promotions, will broadcast live on DAZN PPV in the U.S. and Canada as well as around the world on DAZN (excluding Mexico, Latin America, and Kazakhstan)​.

Alvarez and Golovkin will return to the scene of the​ir previous two epic battles, T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas – the first fight ​​in September 2017 ending in a draw and the second ​in September 2018 with Alvarez leaving victorious via majority decision.

​Canelo and GGG will come face-to-face for the first time since their last battle at​ a red carpet press and fan event in Los Angeles on Friday, June 24, followed by another press conference on Monday, June 27 in New York. ​Both events will be covered live on DAZ

Joshua: ‘The fight with Usyk, he bust my a** for some rounds’

On August 20, in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, former unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has revenge on his mind as he battles unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk.

The last time these two met was in December 2020 in London, and on that night, Usyk dominated and defeated Joshua by unanimous decision. Since then, things have changed for Joshua. He has a new deal with DAZN and a new trainer in Robert Garcia.

“Things happen in life, but resilience, mental toughness, and consistency will always prevail,” Joshua said at a press conference on Tuesday. “We’re still on the road; we’re still on the road to Undisputed for sure. It’s just a little blip in the road, but I’m focused on the target which is sitting over there (points to Usyk).”

The 32-year-old Joshua acknowledged that Usyk got the better of him in their first fight, but this time around, he plans to keep it simple.

“The fight with Usyk, he bust my ass for some rounds,” Joshua said. “I have to take that defeat like a man as well. I hold myself accountable. I’m someone who can admit when I’m wrong and hold my head high when I’m right. The fight in September, he was right, and I was wrong. Simply, I have to reverse that role on August 20. I don’t like to overcomplicate the situation because there’s simplicity in genius. Sometimes if you keep things simple, you can achieve great things, so I’m just going to keep things simple, move forward, and the date will soon come.”

Garcia believes Joshua has the necessary tools to handle Usyk in the rematch.

“He’s the bigger man, he’s the stronger man, he’s got the reach advantage, so we’re going to take advantage of all that,” Garcia said. “Come that day; I think without a doubt we’re going to have a three-time Heavyweight Champion of the World. We’ve got to be prepared for everything. Usyk is a great fighter; he’s got skills, reflexes, accuracy – he’s got everything. I think Anthony has the tools to beat him. We just have to do the things in the gym.”

Skills pay the bills, and Usyk has all the skills in the world, so getting revenge won’t be easy for Joshua on August 20.

Courtesy: Saudi Ministry of Sport

Cavs exercise fourth-year team option on Dean Wade

The Cleveland Cavaliers have exercised their fourth-year team option on forward Dean Wade, the team announced on Wednesday.

The 25-year-old Wade will make $1.9 million next season and can become an unrestricted free agent following the 2022-23 season.

Last season, Wade appeared in 51 games (28 starts) for the Cavaliers, averaging 5.3 points and 2.9 rebounds in 19.2 minutes. Wade missed the final 15 games of the season after undergoing surgery on his right meniscus in March.

The third-year forward had his moments last season as he scored in double figures in 11 of his 28 starts and shot .429 (21-49) from beyond the arc over his final 12 outings as a starter (Jan. 24-March 12).

Wade is a decent shooter and is a solid piece off Cleveland’s bench, and he’s expected to have a similar role next season.

Ruiz-Ortiz, Cruz-Ramirez set for September 4 in Los Angeles

 Former unified heavyweight champion Andy “The Destroyer” Ruiz Jr. and top contender Luis “King Kong” Ortiz will meet in a much-anticipated 12-round WBC Heavyweight Title Eliminator headlining a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View on September 4 in a Labor Day Weekend clash from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.

The pay-per-view telecast will begin at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and feature a stacked lineup of rising and accomplished stars in high-stakes matchups. In the co-main event, hard-hitting Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz will step in to take on fellow Mexican and veteran contender Eduardo Ramírez in a 12-round WBC Lightweight Title Eliminator in the co-main event.

The action will also see the return of popular three-division champion Abner Mares in his first action in three years as he battles former title challenger Miguel Flores in a 10-round super featherweight attraction, plus exciting rising star José Valenzuela duels former world champion Jezreel Corrales in the 10-round lightweight pay-per-view opener.

Ruiz (34-2, 22 KOs) shocked the boxing world in 2019 when he was brought in as a late replacement to face heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua and turned the tables on the champion, knocking him out in the seventh round and taking home the titles. The 32-year-old from Imperial, California lost his rematch with Joshua by unanimous decision, but returned to the ring in May 2021, bouncing back from an early knockdown to defeat all-action contender Chris Arreola by unanimous decision in a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View. Ruiz has taken down a slew of contenders throughout his heralded career, which dates back to a prolific amateur run that included two Mexican Amateur National Championships.

“I’m so excited to get back in the ring in front of all of my fans in Los Angeles on September 4,” said Ruiz. “This is my chance to prove to everyone that I’m going to be heavyweight champion of the world again. I’m super motivated to be facing a great fighter like Luis Ortiz, so my fans can expect to see me at my best. Everyone has wanted to see this fight and we’re going to give everyone a war on fight night.”

With exceptional power and sublime technical skills, Ortiz (33-2, 28 KOs) has been a fixture atop heavyweight rankings for years, with his only defeats coming in memorable contests against former longtime heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder. Born in Camaguey, Cuba and trained by longtime coach Herman Caicedo in Miami, Ortiz won three bouts between Wilder contests, defeating Travis Kauffman, Christian Hammer and Razvan Cojanu. Most recently, Ortiz topped a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View on New Year’s Day, recovering from early adversity to floor former heavyweight world champion Charles Martin on his way to a sixth-round knockout.

“I’m blessed to be back in a position to get closer to achieving my goal of becoming the first heavyweight champion of the world from Cuba,” said Ortiz. “Anyone who doubts me, has only fueled me to keep going. I know that I have to make a big statement in this fight, and that’s my plan on September 4. I respect Andy Ruiz, but he’s standing in my way and I’m going to do whatever it takes to go through him.”

The 24-year-old Cruz (23-2-1, 16 KOs) returned to the ring in April with a knockout over former champion Yuriorkis Gamboa after dropping a competitive decision against three-division champion Gervonta Davis last December. A native of Mexico City, Cruz shot up the lightweight rankings in 2020, announcing his presence with an electrifying first-round knockout over veteran Diego Magdaleno in October. Cruz followed that up in 2021 by winning a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Matías Romero in March and by defeating former champion Francisco Vargas by decision in June ahead of the Davis clash.

“I’m very happy and motivated to come back in the ring in front of the great fans in Los Angeles on September 4,” said Cruz. “I’ll be facing a very good opponent and I’ll be back at the same arena where I faced one of the best fighters in the division in Gervonta Davis. Stepping back into the ring there is pumping me up even more and I can’t wait to start throwing my hands on fight night.”

Fighting out of Sinaloa, Mexico, Ramírez (27-2-3, 12 KOs) has moved himself into title contention with five-straight victories as he looks to make a splash in his lightweight debut against Cruz. The 29-year-old most recently earned a decision victory over Luis Melendez in May, which followed up a dominant decision against Miguel Marriaga in December 2021. Ramírez is currently riding wins in seven of his last eight fights since losing to then featherweight champion Lee Selby in 2017.

“I am coming up in weight for this fight, but that just means I’ll be that much stronger,” said Ramírez. “I’m excited for this opportunity, because after I win, I will be recognized as a top fighter in my new division. He’s not going to outbox me and he can’t knock me out, so he has no way to win. I’m planning on showing the world what I can do against a perfect opponent for me.”

One of the most accomplished fighters of this era, Mares (31-3-1, 15 KOs) will return to the ring in a bid to continue adding to his already sterling resume in the sport. Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico and now living in Montebello, Calif., Mares was a member of the Mexican Olympic boxing team in the 2004 Athens Olympics before going on to win world titles at bantamweight, super bantamweight and featherweight. His two battles for the featherweight world title against Leo Santa Cruz epitomized the kinds of high-volume clashes that set Mares apart from many of his contemporaries. Throughout his career, Mares owns victories over top contenders and champions including Daniel Ponce De Leon, Vic Darchinyan, Joseph Agbeko, Anselmo Moreno and Jesus Cuellar.

“I know everyone is used to seeing me suited and booted on T.V. talking about the beautiful sport of boxing, but let me remind everyone, I’m a bad m-f’er in the ring, and on September 4, the world is going to remember what they missed,” said Mares. “I’m the best in boxing in speed, power, intelligence, and good looks. Miguel Flores is on my radar, and I’m sorry to say, he’s going back to elementary school after meeting me. I’m a master in this game, and I’m back. Welcome to Team Mares 2022.”

Flores (24-4, 12 KOs) bounced back from back-to-back defeats in his previous outing that took place last June, as he earned a decision over Diuhl Olguin. The 29-year-old had lost a pair of contests in challenging four-division champion Leo Santa Cruz in November 2019 and top contender Eduardo Ramirez in December 2020. Born in Mexico and now residing in Spring, Texas, Flores turned pro in 2009 at just 17-years-old and was victorious in his first 22 bouts.

“I’m very motivated to be on the big stage once again and I’m excited to get into the ring,” said Flores. “This is a huge opportunity for me against a three-division champion and I’m doing everything I can to make the most of it. This is Michoacán vs. Guadalajara and we’re going to give all the fans a great show on September 4.”

The 23-year-old Valenzuela (12-0, 8 KOs) trains as a stablemate of unbeaten two-time world champion David Benavidez as he looks to continue cementing his contender status in 2022. Valenzuela was sensational his last time in the ring as he blasted out former world champion Francisco Vargas via a round-one knockout in April. Born in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, Valenzuela turned pro in 2018 and rode a five-bout knockout streak before earning his first 10-round decision in a victory over Deiner Berrio in September 2021.

“I’m extremely motivated for this fight,” said Valenzuela. “My opponent is an accomplished former champion and this is the kind of challenge that I’ve been asking for. I’m going to come into this fight extremely prepared to make another statement on September 4 and give the fans a great show like I always do.”

The 30-year-old Corrales (26-4, 10 KOs) has won three-straight fights since moving up to lightweight in 2021 and has ascended to the number two ranking in the WBA. Fighting out of San Miguelito, Panama, Corrales won a super featherweight title in 2016 when he went to Japan and knocked out Takashi Uchiyama before winning a decision in their rematch. He also owns victories over current former champion Rene Alvarado and veteran contender Robinson Castellanos.

“Valenzuela is a good young fighter with some skills, but he doesn’t have the experience to handle what I’m bringing to the ring,” said Corrales. “This is going to be like when the great Panamanian champion Roberto Duran took Davey Moore to school. Class is going to be in session on September 4 and no amount of studying is going to have him ready for what I’m planning to do.”

Magsayo-Vargas, Figueroa-Castro, Martin-Nunez set for July 9 in San Antonio

WBC Featherweight World Champion Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo will take on former world champion Rey Vargas in a battle of unbeatens that headlines action live on SHOWTIME Saturday, July 9 from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will feature hard-hitting former world champion Brandon “The Heartbreaker” Figueroa taking on Carlos Castro in a WBC Featherweight Title Eliminator in the co-main event, plus the Derrick James-trained, unbeaten lightweight contender Frank Martin battles Panama’s power-punching Ricardo Núñez in the 10-round telecast opener.

Additional coverage will include a pair of bouts streamed live on the SHOWTIME SPORTS YouTube channel  beginning at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. The action will see unbeaten welterweight contender Rashidi Ellis facing Argentine Olympian Alberto Palmetta in a 10-round duel, plus San Antonio’s own Ramon Cardenas battling Venezuela’s Michell Banquez in a 10-round bantamweight attraction.

The Filipino sensation Magsayo (24-0, 16 KOs) fights out of Pasig City, Metro Manila by way of Los Angeles, Calif., and became the latest champion from the boxing-rich nation in January when he outpointed longtime champion Gary Russell Jr. to capture the 126-pound title on SHOWTIME. The 26-year-old earned the opportunity by knocking out former champion Julio Ceja in the 10th round of a fight he trailed on the scorecards in August 2021. Magsayo is trained by Freddie Roach in Southern California and owns 12-round decision victories over Shoto Hayashi and Ramiro Robles, in addition to a sixth-round stoppage of former title challenger Chris Avalos.

“I am very thankful to my team for giving me the opportunity to defend my title in San Antonio,” said Magsayo. “I’m excited to be fighting in the same venue where my idol Manny Pacquiao fought Marco Antonio Barrera. That was the first fight I ever saw and the reason I started boxing. We are preparing for a strong Mexican fighter in Rey Vargas. Everyone knows what the Philippines vs. Mexico boxing rivalry brings to the ring and I’m excited to display my talents for the boxing fans in Texas and watching around the world.”

The former WBC 122-pound world champion, Vargas (35-0, 22 KOs), returned from a layoff due to injury to score a near shutout decision victory over Leonardo Baez in his featherweight debut in November 2021 on the undercard of Canelo vs. Plant. The 31-year-old went on the road to the U.K. to capture his title in 2017, winning a decision over previously unbeaten Gavin McDonnell. A native of Mexico City, Vargas made five successful defenses of his title, defeating top contenders Oscar Negrete, Ronny Rios and Azat Hovhannisyan. His fifth successful title defense came via unanimous decision over former world champion Tomoki Kameda in July 2019.

“This fight on July 9 will be a great battle against the Filipino warrior Mark Magsayo,” said Vargas, who trains under the tutelage of Hall of Fame trainer Ignacio “Nacho” Beristáin. “This is going to be exciting combat from start to finish. We know that he has great power, but we’ll be ready to counter that, and anything else he brings to the ring. This is going to be a magnificent fight and I can’t wait to step in there and compete.”

The 25-year-old Figueroa (22-1-1, 17 KOs) will debut at 126 pounds after dropping a 2021 Fight of the Year contender against Stephen Fulton Jr. in November on SHOWTIME, in which the two champions traded blows for 12 grueling rounds, eventually leading to what some observers thought was a controversial majority decision loss. Figueroa used his youth and relentless pressure to become the first person to defeat Luis Nery in their championship clash on SHOWTIME prior to the Fulton fight. A native of Weslaco, Texas, who has previously fought in San Antonio six times, Figueroa added to his family’s legacy by capturing the world title, joining his brother Omar Figueroa, who previously held the lightweight world championship.

“I’ve been waiting to get back in the ring to do what I love,” said Figueroa. “Carlos Castro is a great fighter and we both have to prove why we belong at the top of the 126-pound division. I can’t wait to fight in San Antonio in front of my fans, it’s really one of my favorite places to compete and I’m planning on giving everyone who comes out a great show like always.”

Castro (27-1, 12 KOs) was born in Sonora, Mexico and came to the U.S. as a child. Now living in Phoenix, Ariz., Castro most recently dropped a narrow split-decision against two-division champion Luis Nery in February, with one point on the cards ultimately holding Castro back from keeping his unbeaten record intact. The 28-year-old made his name as a 122-pound contender, but has also competed at featherweight, including a 10th round TKO victory over veteran contender Oscar Escandon in August 2021.

“I’m thrilled to be back in the ring,” said Castro. “I have some real business to handle against Figueroa on July 9. There’s no better fight for me to show that I’m back. I’m ready to show that I’m capable of being in the mix at the top of the division and to earn a shot at the title.”

The 27-year-old Martin (15-0, 11 KOs) rose up the lightweight rankings in 2021 with a pair of impressive victories before most recently delivering a New Year’s Day KO over Romero Duno. In 2021, Martin knocked out the previously unbeaten Jerry Perez in a dominating performance in April, before earning a unanimous decision over Ryan Kielczweski in August. Originally from Indianapolis, Ind., Martin now trains in the Dallas-area under the guidance of top trainer James alongside unified welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr.

“I’ve been training hard in Dallas and I’m just excited and ready to go,” said Martin. “Núñez is a boxer-puncher, so I expect him to mix it up with some fast combinations and to try and throw my movement off, but I’ll be ready for all of that. Fight fans are going to enjoy an action fight with this one. We’ve got the speed, power and athleticism to put on an exciting show on July 9.”

Representing La Chorrera, Panama, Núñez (23-3, 21 KOs) enters this fight with knockout victories in his last two fights, including most recently stopping Richard Solano in the first round in October 2021. The 28-year-old moved back up to lightweight for those two victories after challenging three-division champion Gervonta Davis in July 2019 for a 130-pound title. Núñez has fought professionally since 2010 and has a brother also named Ricardo who is a veteran pro fighter in the featherweight division.

“I’m very happy to be back in a big fight on July 9,” said Núñez. “You’re going to see a whole new fighter against Martin. I’m coming to fight and impose my style on my opponent. Martin is a good boxer who’s made it to a high level, but he still has to show what he’s made of. I’m going to give one hundred percent to stop his rise and be the first person to beat him.”

The 29-year-old Ellis (23-0, 14 KOs) returns to the ring for the first time since October 2020, having earned a unanimous decision over the previously unbeaten Alexis Rocha in his last outing. Originally from Lynn, Mass., Ellis also owns a pair of victories over veteran contender Eddie Gomez, including a first-round knockout over Gomez in December 2016, before winning by unanimous decision in their 2019 rematch. He takes on the Buenos Aires, Argentina native Palmetta (17-1, 12 KOs), who represented his home country at the 2016 Olympics before turning pro in November 2016. The 32-year-old has won his last 11 fights, with 10 coming by stoppage, including most recently defeating Yeis Solano in October 2021.

“I’m excited to be back in the ring on July 9,” said Ellis. “I want to thank my whole team, and I can’t wait to deliver fireworks for everyone watching this fight. I’m looking to steal the show and I’m training hard to make sure I do just that. You definitely want to tune in and see what I’m going to do in this one.”

“This fight is very special because it is the same day as Argentinian Independence Day,” said Palmetta. “Four years ago, I made the decision to leave my home and travel to the United States to further my boxing career. I want to face the biggest opponents, so I can earn the opportunity to become a world champion. This fight against Ellis is the big step I’ve been looking for. On July 9, get ready, because I’m coming with hunger, hard work, and determination. It hasn’t been easy for me; I have fought through the pain and struggle, and because of it, I remain humble and more motivated than ever.”

Bucs GM Licht on Gronk: ‘It is always difficult to see a great player walk away from the game’

After 11 seasons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski has decided to call it quits. Gronkowski announced his retirement from the NFL via Instagram on Tuesday.

The 33-year-old spent the last two seasons with the Buccaneers after spending the first nine seasons with the Patriots. After retiring in 2019, Gronkowski returned in 2020 and followed Tom Brady to Tampa Bay, where the two won their fourth Super Bowl together. 

Gronkowski ended his career with 621 receptions, 9286 yards, and 92 touchdown catches. His receiving touchdowns total is tied for the third-most by a tight end in NFL history, trailing only Antonio Gates (116) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez (111)

The five-time Pro Bowler was honored as one of five tight ends selected to the NFL 100 All-Time Team and one of two chosen for the NFL and Pro Football Hall of Fame All-Decade Team for the 2010s.

Here is a statement from Buccaneers GM Jason Licht on the retirement of Gronkowski:

“Rob is a true professional who left it all on the field for us the past two seasons and helped establish a championship culture in our building. He played a crucial part in our Super Bowl LV championship season in 2020 and battled through a number of injuries last year while on the way to one of the most productive receiving yardage seasons in his 11-year career. It is always difficult to see a great player walk away from the game when he is still enjoying that kind of success, but the overwhelming emotions I feel today are gratitude and respect for one of the greatest tight ends who ever played the game. While his on-field accomplishments will surely earn him a gold jacket and a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it is his humble attitude and team-first approach to the game that truly defined his career.”

Ivan Dychko: ‘I am ready for big fights’

Ivan Dychko takes his 100% KO record to Argentina this week as the giant Kazak returns to the ring.

The hammer-fisted Dychko will be looking to secure a 12th knockout from as many pro fights in Buenos Aires on Thursday (June 23) when he locks horns with local favorite Kevin Espindola.

The 10 round heavyweight clash takes place on the WBA’s KO Drugs Boxing Festival and will see 6’9” Dychko fight for the first time under the Probellum banner, having signed with the global promoters earlier this year.

Dychko, a former sparring partner of Wladimir Klitschko, Tyson Fury and Deontay Wider, says that once he has dealt with Espindola, he will only be looking for “big fights”.

Dychko, a two-time Olympic bronze medallist, said: “I am ready for big fights and very soon, I will be ready to fight the world champions in the heavyweight division.

“I had a great amateur career and now I have picked up a lot of KOs in the pros.  Everybody knows I have good technical ability, but my 11 knockouts show that I punch very hard.

“I know my heavyweight rivals are watching me.”

Suns name Morgan Cato assistant GM, VP of basketball operations

The Phoenix Suns named Morgan Cato assistant general manager and vice president of basketball operations, the team announced Monday.

With the hire, Cato becomes the first woman of color in NBA history to be an assistant GM.

“We’re excited to welcome Morgan to the Valley and to the Suns organization,” Suns General Manager James Jones said via a press release. “With the league office Morgan played a pivotal role on countless initiatives to grow the game and strategically develop for it to be played at its best. The addition of her background and knowledge will allow us to elevate our basketball operations in several areas.”

According to the team, Cato will report to Jones and work with Head Coach Monty Williams to lead the team’s strategy and business processes for basketball growth and performance with a focus on coaching development, player engagement and front office personnel operations. Cato becomes the first woman of color to hold the Assistant General Manager title for an NBA team. 

Cato joins the Suns after spending the last decade with the NBA league office, most recently as Associate Vice President of Business Operations for NBA League Operations. 

Complete schedule for 2022 NBA Summer League

The NBA announced today the game and broadcast schedules for the 2022 NBA Summer League 2022, which will take place July 7-17 at the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

All 75 games of the 11-day competition will air live on television on ESPN networks or NBA TV.  Games will also be available to stream on ESPN+ and the ESPN App.

The 17th NBA Summer League will feature all 30 NBA teams playing five games each.  After every team plays four games July 7-15, the two teams with the best records from the first four games will meet in the Championship Game on Sunday, July 17 at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN.  The tiebreak criteria to determine the participants in the Championship Game are available here.  The 28 teams that do not play in the Championship Game will play a fifth game on July 16 or July 17.

NBA Summer League 2022 will tip off on Thursday, July 7 with a doubleheader on ESPN.  First, the Orlando Magic, which owns the No. 1 overall pick in NBA Draft 2022 presented by State Farm, will face the Houston Rockets, who have the third and 17th overall picks, at 10 p.m. ET.  In the second game, the Detroit Pistons (No. 5 pick) will meet the Portland Trail Blazers (No. 7 pick) at 12 a.m. ET.

NBA TV will begin its live game coverage of NBA Summer League with three games on the second day of action (Friday, July 8), starting with a matchup between the San Antonio Spurs (Nos. 9, 20 and 25 picks) and Cleveland Cavaliers (No. 14 pick) at 5 p.m. ET.  ESPN networks will air the other four games on the seven-game schedule, including the Indiana Pacers (No. 6 pick) taking on the Charlotte Hornets (Nos. 13 and 15 picks) at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

On Saturday, July 9, the top four picks in NBA Draft 2022 presented by State Farm will potentially be in action when the Magic (No. 1 pick) meets the defending NBA Summer League champion Sacramento Kings (No. 4 pick) at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN and the Oklahoma City Thunder (Nos. 2 and 12 picks) faces the Rockets (No. 3 pick) at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2.  In addition, the Trail Blazers (No. 7 pick) will play the New Orleans Pelicans (No. 8 pick) at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

The top two picks in NBA Draft 2022 presented by State Farm will potentially go head-to-head on Monday, July 11, when the Magic faces the Thunder at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.  The NBA Draft will be held on Thursday, June 23 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC and ESPN.