September 18, 2014

 

By Kenneth D. Miller

Assistant Managing Editor

 

  

LAS VEGAS—Boxing’s pound for pound king and the highest paid athlete in the world Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather’s 18 year reign took another step towards the end after he polished off Marcos Maidana last Saturday Sept. 13 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

 

His unanimous 12-round decision against Maidana bumped his undefeated record to 47-0 and his $32 million guaranteed payday continued to catapult him into another stratosphere.

 

Mayweather gave himself a C-minus for his effort.

 

“I felt a lot better for this fight, but I think I was better in the first fight. My defense was a lot better and my legs was a lot better but I got hit too much.”

 

His lip was swollen and he wore designer sunglasses to shield his eyes.

 

However, while many of the 16,144 at the Grand Garden Arena may have been rooting for him to lose and disappointed in the way he approached his rematch, he will not be around too much longer.

 

Mayweather has just two fights remaining on this historical $200 million contract with Showtime and while he may have agreed to the deal, he is short on controlling options.

 

The fight was attended by sports heavies such as Hall of Famer Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson, NBA superstar Kevin Durant. Academy Award winning actor Jamie Foxx, mega movie star Will Smith, former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson and a bunch of others.

 

Tickets went from the low of $350 in the nosebleed section to $15,000 for floor seats, but the market for ‘Money’ is shrinking as quick as his days in the ring are evaporating.

 

Several thousands seats were empty, veteran boxing writers are refusing to cover him; other prominent websites are dissecting his history of domestic violence against women.

 

The mother of his children Josie Harris attended a domestic violence conference the day he was fighting and is publishing a book about her troubled relationship with him.

 

Another former mistress Shantel ‘Miss’ Jackson has hired the attorney men love to hate Gloria Allred and is accusing him of an assortment of allegations.

 

Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather might escape the sport of boxing filthy rich and unscathed, but outside the ring the wagons of doomsayers are circling him.

 

His former friend Curtis ‘Fifty Cent’ Jackson attacked his literacy, accusing him of not being able to read.

 

Mayweather was apt in mentioning how many Teleprompters he reads during his promotions and strategically addressed that subject during his post fight press conference.

 

“When I was younger I used to read about myself. I use to read a lot of the articles that was written about me, but I got to appoint to where I blocked everything out. Even today I will Google to read about certain things, but as I have gotten older and wiser, what’s more important is taking my promotional company, my family and different investments,” Mayweather said.

 

He also dealt the volley of questions reading his final two opponents, namely whether or not he will finally fight Manny Pacquiao.

 

“As of right now I want to enjoy my time off. We don’t know whom we are going to be fighting in May. We don’t know what particular opponent. We are not in a rush, because once again we’re the A-side and we are always going to be the A-side.”

 

Mayweather has the most savvy and shrewdest business people on his side in Leonard Ellerbe, his promoter and long-time friend, and advisor Al Haymon.

 

He collects money from everything that is sold at the MGM Grand during one of his fights, from beer sales, to T-shirts and might also be receiving a cut of the gambling revenues from the hotel.

 

If he so happens to spend all of the money that he’s made, Haymon has established a shelter that will pay him millions annually for the rest of his life, but it’s his legacy in the ring that is being questioned now.

 

Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson was among those in attendance at the post fight presser.

 

Asked why he came and his answer was resolute.

 

“I came to see Floyd Mayweather! He is without question one of the top five boxers in history all-time,” Robinson said.

 

So, come May 2015 it will mark the beginning of the end, whether its two fights or as some suspect three fights, it will soon be over.

 

Speculate all you might as to who he will or should fight, the next time you see him in the ring could be the last time.

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September 11, 2014

 

By Fred Hawthorne

LAWT Sports Writer

 

You can call him Floyd…or you can call him Money…or you can call him Mayweather, but regardless of your preference Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather deserves to be respected.

 

He deserves to be respected as a first ballot hall of fame fighter. He deserves to be respected as a father to his children. He deserves to be respected for the loyalty he demonstrates to his family and he deserves to be respected for the mountains of money that he’s earned in the ring.

 

The 17-year climb to the pinnacle of the sports world has not come easy for Mayweather.

 

It has not come without its huge challenges, some from within, some self inflicted and many not warranted at all.

 

As a Black man I want to start with the Black community.

 

If Floyd Mayweather were White he would be held in greater esteem than Rocky Marciano.

 

He would receive all the credit for producing record pay per view numbers. He would be considered as a craftsman in the ring and not someone who is accused of running.

 

He could fight stumble bums once per month and there would be no complaints.

 

Just look at Oscar De La Hoya and then try as best you can explain to me what would makes De La Hoya deserving of a statute  outside Staples Center instead of Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather having one at say the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas? Go ahead, I’ll wait…

 

When Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather climbs into the ring at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday Sept. 13 against Marco Maidana he will have only two fights remaining in his career.

 

This week he already announced that This Is It.

 

Two more to go.

 

For fight fans like me it’s going to be sad. Where are we going to go to see another Event in the sport of boxing.

 

He has sustained us longer than Mike Tyson. He made the sport hip and cool again.

 

Instead of celebrating him, Blacks and reporters want to bash him, and hope that he loses.

 

It’s the fuel that is really not necessary, and when he is gone you all really understand what I mean.

 

There will never be another Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather! Ask Adrien Broner?

 

There may be another athlete that makes as much money, Lebron James is on the way, but in the sport of boxing he has done something that Mike Tyson could not do. Keep It.

 

And for those of you who think he’s going to squander it? Warren Buffet does not come to see fools train for a fight.

 

So, you haters enjoy the ride while the train is still full of steam. When it’s off the track you will be stuck at the depot.

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August 28, 2014

 

Associated Press

  

Doc Rivers is staying with the Los Angeles Clippers for another five years.

 

In Steve Ballmer’s first big move since taking over as the new owner, he gave Rivers a contract extension through the 2018-19 season.

 

Ballmer said Wednesday it was one of his top priorities to ensure that Rivers remains as the long-term leader of the team. Rivers was a stabilizing force for the franchise during the upheaval created by former owner Donald Sterling’s racist remarks that led to his ouster after 33 years of ownership.

 

“Not only is Doc one of the best coaches and executives in the game, but he continually embodies the hardcore, committed and resilient character and winning culture that the Clippers represent,” Ballmer said, repeating the “hardcore” theme he uttered during last week's fan rally.

 

Interim CEO Dick Parsons testified during Sterling’s court battle with his estranged wife to keep the team, saying Rivers would quit if Sterling was successful.

 

“I didn’t think I was going to have to, honestly,” Rivers said last week. “But I think a lot of us would have been willing to, for sure.”

 

Now, Rivers can settle in knowing he has a new owner who is passionate about the game and eager to support the team.

 

“With Steve’s leadership, we have this opportunity to be this great organization,” Rivers said last week. “That’s probably what makes me the most excited because I know if you get that part right, the basketball part will become easier in some ways, and that’s good.”

 

Rivers joined the team in June 2013 and added president of basketball operations to his responsibilities two months ago.

 

The 52-year-old coach guided the Clippers to the best record in franchise history at 57-25 and a second straight Pacific Division title last season. They lost to Oklahoma City in the second round of the playoffs.

 

Rivers has a career regular-season record of 644-498 and a 70-64 playoff mark, with previous head coaching stints in Boston, where he won the 2008 NBA title, and Orlando.

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September 04, 2014

 

By SCHUYLER DIXON

Associated Press

  

Former Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent is being allowed to return to the NFL, though he won't play right away.

 

The NFL on Tuesday September 2 outlined a series of conditions Brent must meet to be eligible to play when the Cowboys return from their bye week in November.

 

Brent retired last year and was sentenced to 180 days in jail after a trial in January in the intoxication manslaughter death of teammate Jerry Brown, a practice squad linebacker for the Cowboys. A 10-year prison sentence was suspended.

 

The league says Brent will be suspended for the first 10 games of the season and can’t participate in team activities for the first six weeks. He won’t be allowed to visit the team’s practice facility for the first six weeks except to meet with people associated with his rehab.

 

The 26-year-old Brent must have “no further adverse involvement with law enforcement” and faces potential banishment for what the league called “prohibited alcohol-related conduct.”

 

Brent’s agent, Peter Schaffer, said an appeal of the suspension was planned.

 

Brent can start attending meetings and doing individual workouts in Week 7, but can’t practice or travel with the team. He can begin practicing two weeks after that.

 

If he meets all the conditions, Brent’s first possible game is Nov. 23 at the New York Giants.

 

Brent crashed his Mercedes sedan on a suburban Dallas highway on the way back from a nightclub in December 2012. Brown was in the passenger’s seat. Witnesses recalled seeing Brent trying to pull Brown, his former teammate at Illinois and his roommate in Texas, from the wreckage of the vehicle.

 

Tests later showed Brent to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.18 percent, more than twice the legal limit for drivers in Texas.

 

Brent faced up to 20 years in prison for intoxication manslaughter, and prosecutors pressed hard for prison time, saying his case would send a message to other would-be drunken drivers. But Brown’s mother, Stacey Jackson, testified she had forgiven Brent and that “you can’t go on in life holding a grudge.”

 

The Cowboys open the season Sunday at home against San Francisco with many questions about their defense, including the rotation among defensive linemen. They are trying to replace franchise sacks leader DeMarcus Ware, who was released during the offseason in a salary cap move.

 

Brent was mostly a backup in three seasons with Dallas, but was starting in place of the injured Jay Ratliff at the time of the crash.

 

The Cowboys took a step toward replacing Ware by moving up to get defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence in the second round of this year’s draft, but the rookie will start on the season on short-term injured reserve with a broken right foot.

 

Lawrence can’t start practicing until after the sixth game and can’t play until Week 9 against Arizona on Nov. 2. Dallas filled Lawrence’s spot by signing defensive end Jack Crawford, cut by Oakland last week, to the active roster.

 

Offensive tackle John Wetzel and defensive back Jemea Thomas were added to the practice squad.

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August 21, 2014

 

Associated Press

  

 

There’s something stunning happening on Michael Vick’s head.

 

You can’t see them from far away, but up close, tiny gray hairs are starting to emerge — color-sapped reminders that the New York Jets quarterback is no longer the speedy youngster fresh out of Virginia Tech.

 

He turned 34 in June, making him “old” in today’s NFL. During minicamp in June, Vick even had a young fullback address him as “sir” in the huddle.

 

“That baffled me a little bit,” Vick said at the time with a chuckle. “I’m not that old and I have to reiterate that over and over again.”

 

But in the time-warped world of professional sports, anything past 30 opens conversations about players being past their prime. If you get to 35, well, then the geriatric jokes start flying.

 

Rocking chairs and walking canes. “Grandpa” and “Graybeard.”

 

“I think so much of it’s a mindset,” said 35-year-old Saints quarterback Drew Brees. “If I tell myself I am 25, I’m 25 and that’s honest to God. That’s my mindset. I can play for another 10 years. That would be my goal, but I’m taking it one year at a time. There’s no reason why I couldn't do that.”

 

He would be a rarity in the NFL, where the average age ranges between 25 and 27. The lifespan of most careers in the league lasts somewhere between 3 1/2 and almost seven years, meaning retirement comes at an age when people in most other professional fields are just getting started.

 

For several players, though, age is an opponent to defy.

 

The Colts’ 41-year-old Adam Vinatieri is the NFL’s oldest active player. While he might not have the leg he did while leading the Patriots to three Super Bowl titles and another with Indianapolis as “Automatic Adam,” he’s still one of the league’s most reliable kickers.

 

“As long as my body’s feeling healthy, I can’t see why I can’t continue to play,” Vinatieri said when he re-signed with the Colts for two years in March.

 

It's likely no one will ever get close to George Blanda, who was still kicking at 48 for the Raiders in 1975. But there are plenty of other kickers and punters who are nearly right there with Vinatieri.

 

San Francisco’s Phil Dawson (39), Atlanta’s Matt Bryant (39), Arizona’s Jay Feely (38), Buffalo’s Brian Moorman (38), Houston’s Shane Lechler (37) and Oakland’s Sebastian Janikowski (36) are among those booting away Father Time.

 

There are plenty of other big-time stars at the so-called “skill” positions who are also still thriving. Just look at Denver’s Peyton Manning (38) and New England’s Tom Brady (37), who are still setting passing records, along with Brees, nearly every season.

 

“Peyton Manning was what, 37 years old last year and arguably (had) his best year in his career,” Brees said. “Brett Favre arguably had his best year of his career when he was 40. There have been perfect examples of the near history that prove that you can continue to play at a very, very high level. I think there are lots of things that go into that.”

 

Preparation, training, strict diets and consistent sleep habits are among them.

 

“I look forward to driving over here every day,” Manning said. “I think as soon as you go, ‘Golly, I do not want to go over there today,’ that’s when you’ve got to get out.”

 

Even at positions that require top-notch speed, some veterans are competing with the youngsters. Washington’s Santana Moss is 35 and still a valuable part of the Redskins’ offense.

 

“I still can play,” said Moss, entering his 14th NFL season. “I told myself I’m not going to count myself out. I’m going to go as long as I can go. I didn’t have this dream as a kid to say, ‘OK, one day I’m going to put it up.’ I’m going to go until I can’t go no more.”

 

Baltimore wide receiver Steve Smith knows the feeling. He’s also 35 and feels rejuvenated after spending his first 13 seasons in Carolina.

 

Some defensive backs, such as Charles Woodson (37), Champ Bailey (36), Terrence Newman (35), Adrian Wilson (34), Ike Taylor (34) and Ryan Clark (34) could all be going up against some players 12-15 years younger than them this season.

 

When you last as long as a guy such as Bears linebacker Lance Briggs, who’s 33 and in his 12th season, coaches come and go, and so do teammates. It’s a strange experience, especially when you’re the only one still there.

 

“There’s new guys coming in filling up those numbers and those lockers,” Briggs said. “That’s life. That’s the way it is. It’s business.”

 

Experience, though, is important to helping a winning franchise. Woodson says it only takes looking at the NBA’s champion San Antonio Spurs to know that veteran leadership is key, along with strong play.

 

“I look at the NFL, every team wants to get younger,” said Woodson, entering his 17th season. “They push a lot of the older guys out, guys who can still play the game. I don’t think there’s any question that it’s undervalued. ... Our best days are not behind us just because other people say our best days are behind us.

 

“We’re going out there to play good football and win games, and that's what we intend to do.”

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