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Is activity enough to make Gervonta Davis a PPV star or does he need a marquee opponent?

first_imgThe obvious lede most boxing writers chose to run with in their stories from Saturday night’s one-round drubbing from rising star Gervonta Davis of late substitute Hugo Ruiz was that Davis’s ring entrance lasted longer than the fight.Perhaps Davis and his team knew the action in the ring was going to be brief. Instead of facing future Hall of Famer Abner Mares in an opportunity to score the first signature win of his burgeoning career, Davis had to face a guy coming in on less than two weeks notice. Ruiz had won a 10-round decision over his own late-notice opponent in the Jan. 19 pay-per-view opener of Manny Pacquiao’s win over Adrien Broner. Ruiz had twice been stopped at 122 pounds in the past four years, and was fighting at 130 pounds for the first time. Yet the promotion tried to present the bout as just as tough of a challenge as Mares would have been. Davis is certainly going to be the name that everyone is targeting. One of the things Mayweather said he loved about Tank is that “he’s got a mean streak in him, he got dog in him, he’s hungry.” But the longer you feed a hungry dog opponents who have their mouths duct-taped shut, the less they have to flex their full skills.The good news is that we’ll be seeing a lot more of Davis. He told Sporting News prior to his fight that if he got Ruiz out of there in five rounds or less, he was going to try and fit another fight in before a projected Baltimore homecoming in July. He got Ruiz out of there in one round. That puts him on pace to fight at least four times in 2019, maybe even five. That’s something that Mayweather did in his true breakout year.Mayweather punctuated that 1998 with a win over Angel Manfredy, a guy who had built himself into a solid name off his persona more than his skills. I remember the winner of that fight being the likely Fighter of the Year, as Manfredy upset Arturo Gatti before the Mayweather showdown. Is there a similar possible opponent out there for Davis for sometime in 2019? If they’re not looking to make a Lomachenko fight, it doesn’t seem like it. If he’s going to become the pay-per-view star his team foresees, he needs a legitimate dance partner to help him reach that level. Join DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a yearThe “Thriller” entrance that Davis made, alongside some zombie dancers, lit up social media just prior to the fight. It’s one of the more entertaining entrances we’ve seen since the days of Naseem Hamed, who himself made a “Thriller” more than two decades ago. Maybe the most comical part of the entrance was that Davis almost didn’t know how to match the bravado as he walked to the ring. Though he’s a confident fighter, it seems like he’s still coming to terms with the level of star power his handlers and much of the public have prophesied. Hamed shimmying and swaggering to the ring this was not.The one-round knockout was a beauty, but premeditated by all in the know. Sources told Sporting News that had Mares not suffered a detached retina and was forced to pull out of the fight, the outdoor venue in Carson were intent on adding bleachers in order to set a new attendance record for the space.That doesn’t mean that Davis didn’t make a splash. At least a half-dozen A-list athletes and musicians pulled up in support of Davis and his promoter Floyd Mayweather Jr., including Drake, Odell Beckham Jr., Antonio Brown, Meek Mill, and Lil Wayne. It was beneficial that GRAMMY week descended upon Los Angeles just a quick 20-minute drive away, but you can’t discount the fact these celebrities came to an outdoor show in 52-degree weather, which is cold for southern California.Davis did what you’re supposed to do against a late substitute — he didn’t waste any time and got him out of here. Can you remember the last time one guy broke another guy’s nose with a sweeping hook? That’s what Davis managed to do and that forced the usually-gritty Ruiz to a knee and referee Jack Reiss to halt the bout with one second left in the first round.But before and after the fight, when asked about potential future foes, it became quite clear that Mayweather Promotions is in no hurry to push Davis into marquee matchups.“Every time he has came to me, when I say, ‘Who you wanna fight?,’ he say, ‘It doesn’t matter,’” Mayweather said at Thursday’s press conference. “So, he don’t pick and choose. So, if y’all wanna criticize anybody, criticize me, criticize Leonard Ellerbe or criticize whoever. But don’t criticize the fighters. The fighter’s job is to go out there and fight and be the best that they could possibly be.”Mayweather said after the fight that Davis isn’t “gonna go out there and call out certain names” and “whoever we put in front of you, just go out there and do your job.”But that’s the antithesis of what Mayweather himself did in his career. He won his first Fighter of the Year in 1998 at the age of 21 after fighting seven times that year, picking up his first world title at 130 pounds. Davis is 24-years-old. By that point in his career, Mayweather already had a marquee win over Diego Corrales and followed it up with wins over solid names Carlos Hernandez and Jesus Chavez.The problem for Davis is he is currently in no man’s land at 130 pounds. The rising star is undoubtedly the biggest name in the division. He needed extra time to make the super featherweight limit at Friday’s weigh-in, though his team says he’s not killing himself to make weight. There are some big names at featherweight that could provide Davis with a chance to add a legitimate scalp to his resume — Leo Santa Cruz and Gary Russell Jr. for starters. But the fight everyone sees as an evenly-matched showdown is one with Top Rank pound-for-pound star Vasyl Lomachenko.Mayweather came up with a number of excuses about a fight with Lomachenko. A few years ago, it was that nobody knows who Lomachenko is. This time, it was even sillier.“We’re not going to call any particular fighter out, and it’s not like we’re ducking and dodging anyone,” Mayweather told reporters after the fight Saturday. “Lomachenko has to fight as many fights as possible, extremely quick, because he’s very, very old. Tank is like 10 years or 11 years younger than Lomachenko. Lomachenko will be 40 before you know it.”The three-division champion is actually only 30-years-old. Leonard Ellerbe was similarly dismissive of the idea that Davis needs a marquee fight when speaking with Sporting News.“He don’t need anything,” Ellerbe said to Sporting News after raising the point that he’s still in search of a signature win. “It’s not about Hugo Ruiz, it’s about Gervonta Davis, what he brings to the sport. He brings excitement, entertainment. And this is what the new generation — that old s— is out. He has that special connection with this younger generation. You see — look at the guys who come out to support him for this.”When asked about Lomachenko, with one reporter saying that’s “the big one,” Ellerbe wasn’t so sure.“It could be — Gervonta Davis with anybody is going to be a big fight,” Ellerbe said. “Because he has that star power. He is the guy. He is the guy that all of these guys are going to be gunning at.”Join DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a yearlast_img read more

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The Courier’s 2018 City League Football Preview—Allderdice wants to repeat as champs

first_img KESHAWN TOWSOND is back for another year with the Brashear Bulls. BRASHEAR’S CHEERLEADERS hope to help propel their team to a City League title in 2018. ALLDERDICE won the City League football championship for the first time in 50 years last year in a victory over Brashear. Can they repeat as champs this year? (Photos by Courier photographer Will McBride)Just days after winning a city title last November, Allderdice coach Jerry Haslett was already thinking about this season. If he could repeat last season, he would win the City League Championship and all the accompanying glory once again.They even beat Brashear, a team that historically has given them problems in the City League Championship game.While the goal for the season remains the same as last year, Allderdice may have to find a new identity to reach it.“We have to replace both our running backs and receivers, so we are lacking in the skill department,” Haslett told the New Pittsburgh Courier. “But we return 315-pound Justin Salmon, Kenny Hardin and Andrew Williams on our offensive and defensive lines and 6-foot-5 quarterback Dalen Dugger.”On the other side of the spectrum, when Ed White took over as Carrick’s coach four years ago, he soon realized he faced a massive rebuilding job. Since then, White’s biggest concern hasn’t just been with wins and losses, but with fielding a full team that can compete on a weekly basis. ALLDERDICE’S CHEERLEADERS witnessed history last year, as the Dragons won their first City League title since 1967. You would be hard-pressed to find anybody who expects Carrick to make the playoffs this season. And that’s no job at Carrick. The Raiders simply have not had much success in recent years. They went 1-8 last season and only averaged one touchdown per game. The offense will be led by quarterback L.J. Orbovich and running back Tayvon Greene.At University Prep, after starting last season with a losing record, U-Prep’s coach, Louis Berry, moved his best player, running back and defensive back, Dorian Jackson, to the quarterback position. After the move, U-Prep surged, going 4-1 in City League play. It speaks to the talent level of Jackson who was primarily a rusher and defense-minded player prior to the switch.A goal for U-Prep this season is to become more disruptive on defense, a potentially difficult task with the absence of Jackson in the backfield. The outcome of U-Prep’s season may depend on how well new players step up and lead the charge offensively and defensively.“Last year’s quarterback situation was a revolving door until we moved Dorian Jackson to quarterback and we made the playoffs,” Berry told the Courier. “The kids are hungry to try to get back on that big stage.” It’s no secret senior Damon Macklin will be U-Prep’s star in 2018.SMOKIN’ JIM FRAZIERHIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALLMacklin has been in the starting lineup for the last three years and Coach Berry doesn’t plan on going away from Macklin for the sake of surprise or keeping defenses honest. In fact, Macklin will likely get even more touches than he did as an underclassman.After sharing the spotlight with Jackson for a couple of seasons, Macklin will step up as the undisputed workhorse for U-Prep in 2018, and whether the Eagles can return to the City League playoffs will rely largely on how much help they can give him and how much he needs in the first place.Macklin, a 5-foot-5, 145-pound tailback who also plays cornerback, is also a great receiver and kick-return specialist. The Eagles will be led by seniors Macklin and fullback Tyrese Wright.Former NFL coach, Chuck Knox, who was born in Sewickley, earned the nickname “Ground Chuck” for the emphasis he placed on the running game. At Westinghouse, Coach Monte Robinson offers a similar philosophy. His team runs the ball 70 percent of the time. “Ground Monte,” anyone?OK, so it doesn’t have the same ring as “Ground Chuck.” But there is no denying that Robinson prefers land travel.The Bulldogs made the playoffs the last two years and will be led by middle linebacker and running back Eryk Burgess, Dana Morris and Willie Knight.Brashear has reached the final four years in a row, winning titles in 2014 and 2015, and finished as a runner-up in 2016 and 2017. The Bulls are led by All-City defensive back Jayon Blair, Keshawn Towsond and Anthony Carrington.Perry was once known for its winning football tradition, but the program hasn’t seen those heights in recent years.Coach Rod Rutherfordwas hired last year. He was part of Perry’s prior success as a quarterback for the program 20 years ago. Under coach Gus Catanese, Rutherford helped the Commodores win City League titles in 1997 and 1998. It’s tough to establish a winning culture, but Rutherford has confidence in not only his roster, but his coaching acumen. Besides former Perry coach Catanese, Rutherford spent time at Pitt, his alma mater, as the quarterbacks coach, and at IUP as the wide receivers coach.While he appreciates his time as a college coach, coaching high school has always been his true passion. And he said he’s embracing the challenge of bringing good times back to his former high school as a head coach. Perry will be led by quarterback Jakar Tucker and tight end Nate Miles.“We have some really good players at the skill positions and if our players keep the faith, we have a chance to be good,” said Rutherford. “This game is fun when you’re winning. We got to do the little things because doing the little things right leads to victory and winning is fun.” Like us at https://www.facebook.com/pages/New-Pittsburgh-Courier/143866755628836?ref=hlFollow @NewPghCourier on Twitter  https://twitter.com/NewPghCourier DAMON MACKLIN is prepped to lead University Prep to a star-studded season.last_img read more

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Serena Williams’ treatment resonates among Black women

first_imgWillingham isn’t a tennis star, but she is a Black woman. She and others like her say Williams’ experience resonates with them because they are often forced to watch their tone and words in the workplace in ways that men and other women are not.And if they’re not careful, they say, they risk being branded “Angry Black Woman.”“So much of what she experiences we experience in the workplace, too,” said Willingham, a professor of criminal justice at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. “As Black women … we’re expected to stay in our lane, that lane that has been created for us. Any time we step out of that lane, then we become a problem.”The stereotype of the “Angry Black Woman” is alive and well, said Felicia Martin, 36, a federal employee who lives in Brooklyn. She recalls once seeing a white female co-worker cursing and throwing things and not facing repercussions, while she’s been told to calm down for expressing her own upset in a normal tone of voice. Martin and others pointed to a cartoon by an Australian artist as the clearest example of the stereotype facing Black women. Mark Knight of Melbourne’s Herald Sun depicted Williams as an irate, hulking, big-mouthed Black woman jumping up and down on a broken racket. The umpire was shown telling a blond, slender woman — meant to be Osaka, who is actually Japanese and Haitian — “Can you just let her win?”“I was deeply offended. This is not a joke,” said Vanessa K. De Luca, former editor in chief of Essence magazine, who wrote a column about the U.S. Open furor.The cartoonist “completely missed the point of why she was upset,” De Luca told The Associated Press. “It was about her integrity, and anybody who doesn’t get that is perpetuating the erasure that so many Black women feel when they are trying to speak up for themselves. It’s like our opinions don’t matter.”Some Black women say they have to worry perpetually about how they’re coming across to make sure they’re not dismissed as angry or emotional. In this Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, file photo, Serena Williams, right, talks with referee Brian Earley during the women’s final of the U.S. Open tennis tournament against Naomi Osaka, of Japan, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger, File) Retired professional tennis player Zina Garrison defended tennis player Serena Williams after Williams was hit with three code violations that led to a $17,000 fine at the U.S. Open final, saying some of the chair umpire’s calls were unfair. (Sept. 10)“If I’m upset about something, I should get to express that to you,” Martin said.During Saturday’s championship loss to Naomi Osaka, Williams got a warning from the chair umpire for violating a rarely enforced rule against receiving coaching from the sidelines. An indignant Williams emphatically defended herself, denying she had cheated. A short time later, she smashed her racket in frustration and was docked a point. She protested that and demanded an apology from the umpire, who penalized her a game.Many people, Black women among them, echoed Williams’ contention that she was punished while men on the tennis circuit have gotten away with even harsher language.Serena Williams argues with the chair umpire during a match against Naomi Osaka, of Japan, during the women’s finals of the U.S. Open tennis tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, in New York, on Sept. 8, 2018. (Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/AP, File)“A lot of things started going through my head in that particular situation. You know, first and foremost, what was going to be said about her the next day? The typical angry black woman, you know … when she really was just standing up for herself and she was standing up for women’s rights,” said former tennis champion Zina Garrison, who is Black. “A woman, period, is always, when we speak up for ourselves, then you have the situation where people are saying, you know, they’re too outspoken. They’re acting like a man, all of that. But then a Black woman on top of that, the angry Black woman, who does she think she is?” Serena Williams hugs Naomi Osaka, of Japan, after Osaka defeated Williams in the women’s final of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki) “It’s exhausting,” said Denise Daniels, 44, of the Bronx, who works in professional development for educators. “It does diminish from the work satisfaction that other people get to enjoy because it is an additional cost.”Willingham thinks that was part of Williams’ experience on Saturday as well, but that it was also about a career’s worth of frustrations that she has had to endure, such as when the French Open banned the type of catsuit she wore.“I felt it for her. I felt she was fed up, she was tired of this,” Willingham said. “How much is she supposed to take, really? How much are any of us supposed to keep taking?”___Associated Press video producer Noreen Nasir contributed to this report from Washington.___Deepti Hajela covers issues of race, ethnicity and immigration for The Associated Press. Follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dhajela. For more of her work, search for her name at https://apnews.com. NEW YORK (AP) — When Serena Williams told the umpire at the U.S. Open final that he owed her an apology, that he had stolen something from her, and then she got penalized for her words, Breea Willingham could relate to her frustration and anger.last_img read more

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