Monthly Archives: February 2017

WBO fight goes to the end, Australian Jeff Horn gets unanimous decision

  It went all the way and ended in a contentiously bitter loss, the opposite of the outcome Manny Pacquiao’s handlers predicted for his WBO welterweight world title fight against Jeff Horn. Pacquiao’s long-time trainer Freddie Roach tipped a “short and sweet” knockout win for the 11-time world champion in Sunday’s so-called Battle of Brisbane, but Horn got a unanimous points decision in his first world title fight—delighting the 51,000-strong crowd at his hometown Suncorp Stadium, a record for Australian boxing. The 38-year-old Philippines senator arrived in Brisbane a week ahead of the fight with a chartered plane carrying more than a hundred supporters and as the hot favorite to beat Horn, reports the AP. He leaves without the WBO belt. All three judges awarded it to Horn, with Waleska Roldan scoring it 117-111 and both Chris Flores and Ramon Cerdan scoring it 115-113.

Some critics slammed it as a hometown decision, saying statistics had Pacquiao landing twice the number of power punches as Horn. “That’s the decision of the judges. I respect that,” Pacquiao was quoted as saying by ESPN. “We have a rematch clause, so no problem.” But Pacquiao’s conditioning trainer, former Australian heavyweight Justin Fortune, was critical of the referee and the judging. “Manny lost the fight, but Jeff Horn looks like a pumpkin. Those scores, that card? It should be the other way,” he said. Roach had said earlier in the week that he’d think about advising Pacquiao to retire if he lost the fight, but they’re already considering a rematch. Pacquiao’s camp had talked about a rematch with Mayweather if he got past Horn, hoping to avenge his loss on points in the 2015 mega fight. That seems to be a distant chance now.

Kevin Durant passes on about $4 million of his $28 million salary next season to have room to keep Andre Iguodala and others

 Kevin Durant is set to make a new contract deal and stay with the Golden State Warriors, but the new NBA champions did lose a legendary player on Monday, June 19 (Tuesday in Manila time).

Multiple reports said Durant, the Most Valuable Player of this month’s NBA Finals triumph over Cleveland, will opt out of his contract but re-sign with Golden State in a money-saving move under NBA salary cap rules.

But the Warriors lost Jerry West, a member of the team’s executive board who on Monday was named a consultant to the Los Angeles Clippers.

The 79-year old Hall of Fame guard was an iconic star for the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA’s logo is designed around his silhouette.

Durant, who joined the Warriors last July after finishing his contract with Oklahoma City, plans to decline his player option for the 2017-18 campaign and become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, according to reports.

The 10-year NBA veteran would then re-sign with the Warriors, the move enabling the team to have more money for contracts with forward Andre Iguodala and other players.

Durant was to be paid about $28 million in salary next season, but he will take about $4 million less than the maximum deal he could have been paid.

That will better enable the Warriors to keep together the championship roster that includes Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Georgian center Zaza Pachulia and reserves.

Durant won his first NBA crown and helped Golden State claim a second in 3 seasons by averaging 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists in the best-of-7 NBA Finals, which the Warriors won over Cleveland in 5 games.

Warriors guard Stephen Curry becomes a free agent, but has taken less than maximum money in recent years to set up an expected 5-year deal worth $205 million. Curry made $12.1 million last season.

West said his two-year deal to return to Los Angeles came down to being wooed by Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, coach Doc Rivers and executive vice president Lawrence Frank.

“For them to want me to come here and maybe think I can help, I am really flattered,” West said. “I think they want to establish their own identity in this town and that is what to me is most important, establish their own identity and ability to win at the very highest level.”

West spent the past 6 seasons with the Warriors. The two-time NBA executive of the year was Lakers general manager/executive vice president of basketball operations for 18 years during which the team won four NBA crowns. He also served as the president of basketball operations for the Memphis Grizzlies from 2002-2007, the team making its first 3 playoff appearances during West’s tenure.

As a player, West was a 14-time All-Star who went to the NBA Finals 9 times but won only once. He averaged 27 points, 6.7 assists and 5.8 rebounds for his career.

2 German Triumphs

Germany’s players were still embracing on the field, some minutes away from lifting the Confederations Cup trophy, when the congratulatory messages started to pour in. They came from some of the country’s most famous, most decorated players, winners of the World Cup and the Champions League: Mesut Özil, Toni Kroos, Jérôme Boateng and a host of others.

Some, like Kroos, expressed their delight at Germany’s defeat of Chile in St. Petersburg — victory in the country’s first appearance in what may yet be the last iteration of this tournament — without words, communicating their happiness instead exclusively through emojis.

Other players were only a little more garrulous. “How great is that?” asked Mats Hummels. “What a triumph, what a squad,” said Ilkay Gundogan. Thomas Müller advised his countrymen, presumably based on his own experiences, to make sure they “have fun while celebrating.”

None of those players were on the field in Russia, waiting to take to the podium. Like Manuel Neuer, Sami Khedira, Marco Reus, Julian Weigl, André Schürrle and many others, they had not been included in Joachim Löw’s squad for the competition. They were all watching, from home or from holiday, as their country proved its soccer resources run so deep, so wide, that it can triumph without them.

As Löw was quick to point out as he reflected on Germany’s victory, winning the Confederations Cup, even with “such a young side,” does not mean that the Germans, the current World Cup champions, are certain to retain their crown when they return to Russia next summer. Nor does the European Championship won by its under-21 team last week in Poland mean that Germany can be assured of success in the senior continental tournaments in 2020 or 2024.

Major competitions do not subscribe to such straightforward logic. In the international game, more so even than at club level, tournament soccer is more complex, more chaotic than that.

In the concentrated, intense span of a World Cup or a continental championship, the fleeting and the unforeseen take on an outsize significance. One bad game, after all, is all it takes, and years of preparation can be wasted.

A raft of injuries, or poor form, might take hold. A referee — even one with a video monitor — might make a mistake. A rival — Brazil or Argentina, Italy or France — might build a momentum so impressive it takes on the air of destiny. The best team in the world does not always win the World Cup; the best team in the world that month ordinarily does.

Whether Germany wins twice on Russian soil in two years, though — and it is worth noting both that no winner of the Confederations Cup has ever won the subsequent World Cup, and that a World Cup winner has never repeated since Brazil in 1962 — should not detract from the broader pattern its latest gilded summer has brought to the surface.

Soccer superstar of Cristiano Ronaldo

He has given no other information about the twins or their mother, but unconfirmed reports from Portuguese TV channel SIC say that they were born in the U.S. last Thursday through a surrogate and have been named Eva and Mateo.

Ronaldo posted on Facebook to say that he was “body and soul” in the service of his national team despite the birth of his sons. “I’m very happy, finally, to be with my children for the first time,” he said.

The Portugal captain’s firstborn child, Cristiano Ronaldo Jnr, was born to an anonymous American woman in 2010. A picture he added to Instagram in May also led to speculation that his long-term girlfriend, Georgina Rodríguez, is expecting.

The Real Madrid striker made the announcement hours after his Portugal team was kicked out of the Confederations Cup on penalties by Chile.