Archive for March, 2013

Robert Guerrero’s gun arrest was pure foolishness

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Robert Guerrero (right) will have a hard time coming up with a reasonable explanation for trying to bring a gun onto a plane. (Getty)

Robert Guerrero (right) will have a hard time coming up with a reasonable explanation for trying to bring a gun onto a plane. (Getty)

NEW YORK — Just one question came to mind when I first heard the news Robert Guerrero had been arrested in New York for gun possession.

Seriously?

A gun? In New York? A state that just passed the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, the toughest gun laws in the country? A state ready to go to war with a well-funded NRA to keep them? A state that locked Super Bowl-winning wide receiver Plaxico Burress up for 20 months for shooting himself in the leg?

Again…seriously?

“I hope that Mr. Guerrero fights better than he thinks,” Queens, N.Y., District Attorney Richard A. Brown said. “For anyone who hasn’t gotten the message, let me be crystal clear. You cannot bring an unlicensed weapon — loaded or unloaded — into this county or this city. And if you do you will be arrested and face felony charges.”

Guerrero’s decision to bring an unloaded weapon — along with three empty high-capacity bullet magazines — into New York ranks as one of the dumbest decisions a high-profile athlete has made in recent memory. Guerrero was in New York to promote his May 4 fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. His itinerary included a press event in Manhattan, a trip to the ESPN studios and an appearance on The 700 Club, a Christian talk show.

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  • Published On Mar 28, 2013
  • Anthony Johnson is bigger if not better in WSOF victory over ex-UFC champ

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    Johnson has rarely struggled once the bell rings, but rather only loses to the scale. (Marc J Sanchez / Icon SMI)

    Johnson has rarely struggled once the bell rings, but rather only loses to the scale. (Marc J Sanchez / Icon SMI)

    Less than a year and a half ago, Anthony Johnson was competing in the UFC’s 170-pound division. And thriving. His October 2011 TKO of Charlie Brenneman was his fifth victory in six outings and earned him a bonus check as Knockout of the Night.

    The man known as “Rumble” was moving on up. In more ways than one.

    He’d seen success inside the octagon all right, but he’d struggled in the other venue so vital to mixed martial arts: the scale. Johnson twice had weighed in above the welterweight limit. So he moved to middleweight for his next fight … and missed the limit by 11 pounds. A promising future with the sport’s top promotion came to a screeching halt.

    Johnson eventually found a home in the brand-new World Series of Fighting … in the light heavyweight division. Back in November, in the promotion’s first event, Johnson stopped a 205-pounder, D.J. Linderman, as if he were a lightweight, dropping him in the first round.

    On to bigger and better things?

    Well, bigger, anyhow. Johnson headlined Saturday night’s second WSOF event in Atlantic City, N.J., by getting the better of Andrei Arlovski — who as a 34-year-old journeyman is a mere shadow of the  UFC heavyweight champion he once was — via unanimous, if uninspiring, decision.

    The bout did have its moments early on, as the fighters traded shots in the first round until Johnson (15-4) dropped the Belarusian just before the end of the round and pounced. He was on the verge of ending the fight when the horn sounded.

    It would have been better for both guys, not to mention the fans, if “Rumble” had finished the job right then. The two rounds that followed were tedious slow motion, with Arlovski (19-10) putting forth little offense and Johnson mysteriously settling for clinches and takedowns.

    The explanations came afterward, when Johnson complained of an injured hand and Arlovski’s team said its fighter suffered a broken jaw in the first round. One could quibble that neither injury explains the two empty gas tanks we watched lumbering around the cage for the better part of the final 10 minutes. But since Johnson and Arlovski were injured, we’ll simply say they were warriors. That didn’t make their fight pleasant to watch, though.

    Apparently it wasn’t so pleasant even for the winning fighter. “The man hits like a ton of bricks,” Johnson said afterward, in reiterating his earlier statements that the heavyweight bout was a one-time departure from his home at light heavy. “These guys like Andrei Arlovski are too big for Anthony Johnson.”

    –Jeff Wagenheim


  • Published On Mar 24, 2013
  • Ex-HBO exec. Ross Greenburg following Floyd Mayweather to Showtime

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    Ross Greenburg speaks with Bill Russell at SI's 2010 Sportsman of the Year party. (Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

    Ross Greenburg speaks with Bill Russell at SI’s 2010 Sportsman of the Year party. (Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

    If you are familiar with the boxing industry, the following sentence will sound strange: Ross Greenburg is working for Showtime.

    Greenburg, of course, was the President of HBO Sports from 2000 to 2011 — and an executive producer at the network for nearly two decades before that — before being forced out in the summer of 2011. With Showtime, Greenburg will produce a one-hour documentary that will air on CBS chronicling the last year in the life of Floyd Mayweather, including his time in prison. In addition, Greenburg will work on Showtime’s All Access reality show, a carbon copy of the the 24/7 series Greenburg created at HBO in 2007, that will air in the weeks leading up to Mayweather’s fight against Robert Guerrero on May 4th.

    “This has always been in my blood,” Greenburg told SI.com. “I have always been a producer at heart. I love telling stories. It’s refreshing. There are not a lot of headaches. I didn’t have to put out too many fires. I really enjoyed the people I work with.”

    Since leaving HBO, Greenburg has worked closely with NBC, producing documentaries on Earl Campbell (which was nominated for a Sports Emmy), the 1972 Summit Series between Canada and the Soviet Union, the 1952 U.S. Open and the 1991 Ryder Cup. Greenburg also worked on Costas Tonight on NBC Sports Network — including Mayweather’s appearance on the show last year — and consulted for the NHL, Discovery Channel and Under Armour.

    Now, Greenburg is back in boxing, working with the archrival of the network that he had a big hand in turning into a powerhouse.

    “I guess I feel like [Kevin] Youkilis and [Johnny] Damon going into the [Yankees] locker room,” Greenburg said. “I’m just interested in helping [Showtime Executive Vice President] Stephen [Espinoza] as much as I can. It’s been very easy for me. They have welcomed me like family. It’s like Jeter putting arm around Youkilis. I’m back doing what I want to do. I have to take care of my family. I’ll always remember and cherish the glorious past. I had a wonderful 33 years [at HBO].”

    It’s been comfortable for Greenburg to work with Mayweather, who he maintained a close relationship with during his time with HBO. And despite the fact that since Mayweather became a star on 24/7 in 2007 his story has been told repeatedly, Greenburg believes the events of the last year have left a rich tale to tell.

    “There is the evolving relationship between Floyd, Roger [Mayweather] and Floyd Sr.,” Greenburg said. “Floyd himself spent 62 days in solitary. It changed his whole point of view on life. We spent the last three or four days with Floyd in the gym. Floyd and Roger are both there. Floyd Sr. is very involved. It’s an interesting evolution of that relationship. Floyd and his father are very close. The time he spent in prison did change him.”

    Greenburg wouldn’t say if his relationship with Showtime could last beyond this fight (“We’ll see,” Greenburg said) but said he had no regrets about his time at HBO.

    “No, not at all,” Greenburg said. “I did my job. The HBO sports department is something I will always remember. I think we built a hell of a franchise and a brand. The boxing program when I left it was as strong as it ever was. I have no regrets whatsoever. I took a lot of criticism, most of it unwarranted, but that is OK. I’m a big boy. I’ll pick myself back up. I have so many great memories. All fond memories.”

    Well, almost all. Greenburg admits he still wishes he could have made the mega fight between Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.

    “It’s funny, there weren’t that many times that I couldn’t make a fight,” Greenburg said. “I tried twice and got very close. To this day, I’m not going to put the blame on anyone because I couldn’t figure out why it didn’t happen. But I think boxing can recover. It didn’t happen, and it was not meant to be. It’s unfortunate because it probably would have been an epic buildup, even though I’m not sure it would have been a good fight. I know Floyd has moved on. He continues to be asked about Pacquiao and his attitude is much like mine, that if it was meant to be, fine. He believes his third act, over the next couple of years, is going to be special.”

    – Chris Mannix


  • Published On Mar 22, 2013
  • Commission to reevaluate Nevada’s drug testing policy for fighters

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    Lavar Johnson tested positive for elevated testosterone levels after his UFC 157 fight. (Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

    Lavar Johnson tested positive for elevated testosterone levels after his UFC 157 fight. (Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

    The Nevada State Athletic Commission Steroid and Drug Testing Advisory Panel is reevaluating the state’s drug testing policy which allows athletes a testosterone-to- epitestosterone level of 6-to-1, compared with the World Anti-Doping Agency’s allowable limit of 4:1.

    The panel made recommendations Thursday to begin researching the baseline testosterone-to- epitestosterone levels of combat sports participants, including boxers, mixed martial artists, and kickboxers.  The panel recommended anonymously testing a collection of past samples taken from athletes competing in Nevada to develop a profile of hormone levels specific to fighters.  The idea, says Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Keith Kizer, is to gather data specific to the average fighter rather than the population at large.

    If the commission is not able to test the samples collective from previous fights, the panel suggested using samples from future fights to create the baseline.

    The information could be the first step in lowering Nevada’s allowable levels, which are higher than those permitted in Olympic sports and by Major League Baseball.

    The advisory panel will meet in late April to begin discussing its marijuana policies. All recommendations by the panel are just that — recommendations — and require adoption by the full Nevada State Athletic Commission.

    – Melissa Segura


  • Published On Mar 21, 2013
  • Arthur Abraham looking to continue comeback with Robert Stieglitz rematch

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    Arthur Abraham (left) defeated Robert Stieglitz in a close decision in Aug. 2012. (Boris Streubel/Getty Images)

    Arthur Abraham (left) defeated Robert Stieglitz in a close decision in Aug. 2012. (Boris Streubel/Getty Images)

    It has been nearly two years since we thought Arthur Abraham’s career was over.

    It was May, 2011. Abraham was in Carson, California, competing in the semifinals of Showtime’s Super Six tournament. Well, not really competing. Against Andre Ward, Abraham was dismantled over 12 lopsided rounds, shut-out on one judge’s scorecard and blown out on two others. It was Abraham’s third straight loss in the Super Six, coming after one-sided beat downs to Andre Dirrell and Carl Froch.Preview Changes

    At 31, Abraham appeared to be done.

    Since then, Abraham has pieced his career back together. He has won four fights in a row, including a win over WBO titleholder Robert Stieglitz. On Saturday, Abraham will defend his title in a rematch with Stieglitz in Magdeburg, Germany (Epix/EpixHD.com, 4 pm).

    After beating Stieglitz (43-3) in a close decision last year, Abraham (36-3) made it clear that he wants to leave no room for doubt in this fight.

    “It´s time for the rematch and we have a clear goal,” Abraham said. “We have to destroy him and we will do everything we can to reach our goal, which showed during our preparations. We have a lot of respect for our opponent but once we step into the ring I have to destroy him, no question.”

    Countered Stieglitz, “Those are some big words. We will see what happens. I am in great shape and want to take revenge. There is a reason why I was the world champion for more than two years, and I want the crown back. It was a close decision (the first fight). I am excited to be fighting in Magdeburg. The fans will help me to take revenge and I am looking forward to that.”

    There is a lot at stake for the winner: The super middleweight division has become one of the most high profile divisions in boxing, with cash driving stars in Ward, Froch, Lucian Bute and Mikkel Kessler. The winner will not only have a title, but will be in line for a good payday.

    – Chris Mannix


  • Published On Mar 20, 2013
  • HBO announces it won’t televise Golden Boy Promotions’ fights

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    Rising star Adrien Broner, right, will no longer be featured on HBO after Monday's announcement.

    Rising star Adrien Broner, right, will no longer be featured on HBO after Monday’s announcement. [Richard Vogel/AP]

    For the last year, HBO has watched as Golden Boy Promotions has moved many of its top fighters from HBO to Showtime. On Monday, HBO struck back: The network announced that it would no longer buy any fights from Golden Boy Promotions.

    “In order to achieve our goal of the best fighters in the most compelling matchups we’ve decided to focus our efforts and resources on those strategic relationships where we better share common goals and business philosophies,” HBO Sports President Ken Hershman said in a statement.

    The decision is a decisive move from HBO to strike back at Golden Boy. Since Stephen Espinoza — a former Golden Boy attorney — took over as the head of the sports department at Showtime, Golden Boy has pulled several of its top fighters including Danny Garcia, Amir Khan, Canelo Alavarez and Andre Berto off of HBO and onto Showtime. Last month, Floyd Mayweather — who works closely with Golden Boy —announced he was leaving HBO, his broadcast partner for virtually his entire career, to sign a lucrative deal with Showtime.

    Among the casualties of HBO’s decision is Adrien Broner, a rising star who has been a staple on HBO. HBO sources made it clear that it was nothing against Broner, but they will not put him on the network as long as Golden Boy represents him. Likewise for Bernard Hopkins, a longtime HBO fighter who last week became the oldest man to win a major title when he defeated Tavoris Cloud on HBO.

    The decision to stop doing business with Golden Boy is being called indefinite.

    Golden Boy CEO called the decision “retaliation” and “ill advised.”

    I’m not really surprised,” Schaefer told SI.com. “I have not had a conversation with Ken Hershman since last November or December. They are upset at me, I’m sure they are upset at Al Haymon. But the ones getting hurt are the subscribers. Whether you like Golden Boy or you don’t, our stable is second to none. I wished them well. (HBO Vice President) Kery Davis, (VP) Mart Taffet, (CEO) Richard Plepler, I consider them friends. But there are people making decisions in the HBO sports department that don’t know the difference between Floyd Mayweather and Jessie Vargas.”

    — Chris Mannix


  • Published On Mar 18, 2013
  • Timothy Bradley takes out Ruslan Provodnikov in welterweight fight

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    Timothy Bradley improved his record to 30-0 with a 12-round unanimous decision over Ruslan Provodnikov. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

    Timothy Bradley (left) improved his record to 30-0 with a 12-round unanimous decision over Ruslan Provodnikov. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

    Three thoughts on Timothy Bradley’s wildly entertaining win over Ruslan Provodnikov:

    Who saw this coming?

    Bradley, the defending champion who has spent his career competing against top competition, was a heavy favorite coming in against Provodnikov, a 140-pounder best known for being Manny Pacquiao’s sparring partner. But from the opening bell, it was clear this was no mismatch. Both Provodnikov and Bradley came out aggressive, but while Bradley landed the higher volume of punches, Provodnikov’s carried more steam behind them. Provodnikov had Bradley rocked multiple times in the first two rounds, including a shot in the first that appeared to knock Bradley down, to the point where he stumbled twice just trying to get up. Referee Pat Russell ruled it a slip, and Bradley recovered to control the action until the 12th round, when an aggressive Provodnikov swarmed him with power punches and put him down with less than 20 seconds to go. The final scores (114-113, twice, and 115-12) were right, given that judges are handcuffed by what the referee calls. But if Russell had ruled a first-round knockdown, the fight would have been scored a draw.

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  • Published On Mar 17, 2013
  • Ronda Rousey to coach “The Ultimate Fighter” with male and female fighters

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    Ronda Rousey, who beat Liz Carmouche at UFC 157, will be one of the coaches in next season's "The Ultimate Fighter." (Jae C. Hong/AP)

    Ronda Rousey, who beat Liz Carmouche at UFC 157, will be one of the coaches in next season’s “The Ultimate Fighter.” (Jae C. Hong/AP)

    MONTREAL — Somebody’s about to learn the armbar.

    We knew the UFC was only getting started riding the wave of Ronda Rousey’s barrier-busting appeal. And here comes the next breaker, rolling in from the horizon.

    The indomitable 135-pound champion, who just three weeks ago transformed the first women’s fight in UFC history into an event that transcended mixed martial arts and even the sports page in general, has been enlisted to breathe new life into another facet of the fight promotion’s business. Company president Dana White announced during Saturday night’s UFC 158 prelims telecast on FX that Rousey will coach the next season of The Ultimate Fighter along with the winner of the April 13 bout between former Strikeforce champ Miesha Tate and Cat Zingano.

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  • Published On Mar 16, 2013
  • With no evidence, Nick Diaz accuses Georges St-Pierre of steroid use

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    Things got testy during Nick Diaz and Georges St-Pierre's weigh-in for UFC 158. (Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports)

    Things got testy during Nick Diaz (right) and Georges St-Pierre’s weigh-in for UFC 158. (Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports)

    MONTREAL — Saturday night will merely be an encore. Whatever Nick Diaz does in his fight with Georges St-Pierre will only add to the theater of the absurd he’s provided all week in the leadup to UFC 158.

    On Wednesday, Nick neglected to show up for the open workouts the fight promotion schedules prior to its events to get fans up close and personal with the athletes, and his absence overshadowed all of the fighters who bothered to be there.

    On Thursday, he livened up a monotonous pre-fight press conference at the Bell Centre by spewing more of the incomprehensible babble we’ve been hearing from him ever since the St-Pierre fight was announced. And by baiting the welterweight champion into a repeat performance of the acrimonious exchange they had last week during a conference call with members of the media.

    On Friday, Diaz jutted a sharp elbow toward GSP as they squared off after weighing in, prompting UFC president Dana White to jump into harm’s way to ensure the fighters didn’t get physical until it was time to get physical in front of a paying audience.

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  • Published On Mar 16, 2013
  • Injury could spell the end of Dominick Cruz’s UFC reign at bantamweight

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    Dominick Cruz may be stripped of his bantamweight belt because he's been out with a knee injury for more than a year. (Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

    Dominick Cruz may be stripped of his bantamweight belt due to injury. (Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

    MONTREAL — One UFC champion might be dethroned this weekend. And the fight promotion also could soon unseat another champ without him even setting foot in the octagon.

    Or because he isn’t setting foot in the octagon.

    During a conversation with reporters at the Bell Centre following Thursday afternoon’s press conference to hype UFC 158 — and in particular, the main event, Georges St-Pierre’s welterweight title defense against Nick Diaz — company president Dana White was asked if he had any news to share about another of his belt holders, Dominick Cruz. The bantamweight titlist is recovering from a second knee surgery after the first one failed to fix a torn ACL. He has not fought in nearly a year and a half.

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  • Published On Mar 15, 2013


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