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Stephen A Smith rant about Brad Stevens promotion being White privilege is completely wrong if he had taken the time to review Celtics hiring practices for the past 17 years. Yes Brad had a bad year since the Celtics team was better than their record but he has taken the Celtics to seven playoffs in a row including three Eastern Conferences. Since 2004, Celtics have had two head coaches, both of whom had “bad years” but overall had substantial winning records.
In 2004-5, Doc Rivers was hired as head coach after he was fired by the Magic. He won 45 games and took Celtics to first place in the division but a quick out in the playoffs. This was followed by 33 wins and 24 wins, numbers that get most coaches fired but Ainge stuck with Rivers. Rivers rewarded him with taking the big three of Allen, Pierce, and Garnett to a NBA title and six minutes away from a second title.
Celtics would have fired Stevens after this year since it wouldn’t have fit the character of this Celtic organization. And it appears that Ainge had been planning this move for awhile and Stevens may prove to be the right guy for the top job in the organization. He does have a great basketball mind which no one debates and if he was fired, another NBA team would have hired him quickly.
Celtics did not fire Doc Rivers after the 2007 season (and Rivers is black) but instead view 2007 as a rebuilding year and Celtics essentially tanked the year. They gave Rivers a chance to coach a championship caliber team. From 2008 season to the present, Rivers has been one of the best coaches with the Celtics, Clippers, and 76ers but it was not obvious that Rivers would have the record as a head coach that he presently have in 2007.
Smith is not just wrong in this case but Stevens showed himself to be a quality NBA coach with years that he took overachieving Celtics team to the playoffs and to say that if Stevens was black, he would have been fired. False and Doc Rivers proves that. ( I will wager that the next Boston head coach will be black. Personally I think it is time for Sam Cassell to get his chance to be a head coach.)
By Tom Donelson / Author, Member Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA)
In 2007, Nonito Donaire defeated the fearsome Vic Darchinyan, who was at the time undefeated and a killing machine. Donaire defeated him by TKO at the age of 24 years old. Last Saturday night, the 38-year-old Donaire fought yet another undefeated fighter for the title and just as he did 14 years ago, he defeated Nordien Qubaali. The previous fight he lost a tough decision to Naoya Inoue, the super bantamweight and for this fight, he moved downward in weight .
Donaire fought a smart fight as he proved patient in fighting the defending champion and used his skills as he set Qubaali up for his patent left hook. The first two rounds, he boxed and landed solid shots but in the third round, he nailed Qubaali with a solid left hook that sent the champion down. He continued to pressure the champ and at the end of the round, he landed another left hook that sent Qubaali down . Quabaali barely got up from the knockdown and wasn’t quite sure where his corner was, but he was allowed to continue since he had a minute between round to collect his senses.
In the fourth round, Donaire stopped Quabaali as he landed yet another left hook that stopped Quabaali and Donaire became the oldest fighter who captured the bantamweight division .
In the preliminaries, Gary Antuanne Russell fought Jovanie Santiago and won easily, Russell is the younger brother of Gary Russell Jr., the featherweight champion. Santiago previous fight was a close loss to Adrian Broner so this would be Russell toughest test in a career that Russell had yet to see the fifth round. Russell did see the sixth round, but he literally dominated from the start. Santiago’s corner saw enough and decided to stop the fight after the sixth round . He has his brother defensive skills but more power as he stopped his 14 fighters in 14 fights.
Subriel Matias fought Batyrzhan Jukembayev in an intriguing match. Both men had power and Jukembayev was making his United States debut. Matias had won all his victories by knock out but had one loss by decision and Jukembayev had never been defeated.
Jukembayev showed technical skills over the first two rounds as he used angles and landed solid shots against Matias. Matias had the bigger reach and had a slender body versus the more muscular Jukembayev but by the third round, Matias started to let his hands go more as he put pressure on his undefeated opponent and in the fourth round, his power came through as he sent his opponent down.
Jukembayev came out in the fifth with solid left against Matias and while Matias started to take control of the fight, his defense was often found wanting as Jukembayev connected on straight left out of his southpaw stance and right hooks . Going into the eighth round, I had the fight 67 to 65 but Matias let his hands go in the eighth round as he pummels his opponent. In between rounds, Jukembayev’s corner saw enough and stopped the fight.
In another fight, Delvin Haney won a decision over veteran Jorge Linares but had to survive a Linares surge as Linares nailed Haney with a solid shot that stunned Haney at the end of the tenth round. While he won the decision, many fans remembered his survival at the end of the fight as opposed to his performance in the early part of the fight.
Haney connected on twice as many punches throughout the fight and showed his technical prowess. He may be the best boxer in the lightweight division but not the most powerful puncher.
This past weekend, a future hall of fame fighter reclaims his place in the present boxing as he turned back father time and won a title and young fighters like Russell, Matias and Haney showed that they have the talent to challenge for at title or in the case.
By Tom Donelson / Author, Member Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA)
Andy Ruiz may be the fourth best heavyweight or even the third if you believe he could be Deontay Wilder. It was not that long ago he defeated Joshua for his heavyweight title before losing it in a rematch. When Ruiz fought Joshua in his rematch, he weighed 285 pounds but for Chris Arreola, this was his last opportunity for a big event. Having lost three shots for the heavyweight title, Arreola last bout was a loss in 2019, pre pandemic and at 40, he was the overwhelming underdog.
Andy Ruiz does not have the svelte body, but he has some of the heavyweight fastest hands and at 31, he was at his peak compared to Chris Arreola. There was a time that Arreola was the guy everyone thought could be the first Mexican American heavyweight but that was never to happen as he fell short, Ruiz did become the first Mexican-American to win the title. Arreola has been a good fighter who never seem to be able to be part of the elites of the division . Ruiz on the other hand, has been to the top and shown that he could compete with the elites as his first victory over Joshua showed when he stopped the British fighter. Coming overweight in the rematch, Joshua out boxed Ruiz and used his reach to stay out of harm’s way of Ruiz.
Ruiz won the first round and it looked like a long night for Arreola but in the second round, Arreola nailed Ruiz with a right hand and sent Ruiz down. Ruiz got up quickly but discovered that there was still dynamite in Arreola’s right hand . At the end of the second round, Arreola nailed Ruiz with another solid right at the end of the round.
From that point, Ruiz settled in and dominated the bout. In the middle of fight, Arreola appeared to have injured his shoulder, but he gamely continued. After the third round, this fight was all Ruiz as he landed combinations and Arreola could not compete with Ruiz .
The stats told the story as Ruiz connected on 161 punches vs only 109 for Arreola. Ruiz threw more punches and hit at a slightly higher rate. I had the fight 118-109 with Ruiz taking 11 rounds and two of the judges agreed with and the third gave Arreola an extra round for a 117 to 110 . Ruiz did what he was supposed to do, beat Arreola but maybe fans viewed this as fight that would not go the distance.
Ruiz is now back in the hunt for the heavyweight title and just waiting for Fury-Joshua fight to happen or who knows, maybe a third Wilder-Fury fight before we get to Joshua. In the world of boxing, who knows what will happens until contracts are signed and fighters show up at the weigh in. Ruiz will keep fighting to stay in contention.
By Tom Donelson / Author, Member Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA)
Saul Canelo Alvarez prepared for a unification bout with undefeated Billy Joe Saunders, a slick southpaw boxer. Alvarez has been fighting professionally for 16 years, since he was a teenager . He has had two draws, one of those with Gennady Golovkin, and his only defeat was against Floyd Mayweather whose slick boxing and defensive skills for the Super Welterweight title befuddled the younger Alvarez. Alvarez is one of the best pound-for-pound with 55 wins, only one loss, and two draws and if you want to measure Mayweather’s greatness, his victory over Alvarez was that lone loss.
The first round saw Alvarez go for the body while Saunders jabbed but didn’t connect as Alvarez slipped many of those jabs.
The second round began with Saunders jabbing and missing. Canelo landed body shots with both hooks and uppercuts, then followed up with a big right snapping Saunders’ head back. Throughout the third round Saunders’ jab missed and while he feinted a lot of times, Canelo proved hard to hit. Canelo landed a right hand to the body and then a series of right hands to the head. Hooks nailed Saunders’ side as Canelo’s goal was to weaken his opponent .
The fifth-round saw Saunders connecting more as he landed his jab and even a few body shots. Saunders landed two straight jabs and landed two body shots . And in the sixth round, Saunders flicked his jabs, connecting to Canelo’s head, but this was a close round as Saunders’ jab connected repeatedly while Canelo landed body shots. Halfway through the fight, I had it even 57-57 .
Throughout the seventh round, Canelo pressed the action, but Saunders absorbed the attack and landed his own shots. In the second half of the fight, Canelo landed a right hook to the body along with an uppercut to the body.
Canelo landed straight rights to the body in the opening moments of the eighth round and Saunders tied up Canelo after getting nailed with body shots . Canelo continued the attack as he landed clean lefts to the body. Saunders start to wilt and at the end of the round, Canelo landed an upper cut to the face of Saunders that shut Saunders’ eye. Saunders went back to his corner hurt by that shot and simply could not continue in the ninth.
Saunders went to the hospital to have his orbital bone fracture treated. I had it 77-75 and the judges had it 78-74, 78-75 and 78-74. So while I had Canelo winning 5 rounds, they had Canelo winning 6 rounds.
Canelo landed 73 of his 206 punches for 35% compared to 60 punches connected out of 284 punches for Saunders. Alvarez now holds the WBA, WBC and WBO Super Middleweight titles and now he wants Caleb Plant, and the IBF belt.
The key to the fight was power punches as Canelo landed more than half of his power punches while Saunders only landed 26% of his power punches.
Canelo showed why he could be the best boxer today pound-for-pound as with one punch, he stopped the fight and shut Saunders’ eye.
ESPN is showing some classic bouts, first the Ali-Foreman, the rumble in the jungle and Holyfield- Foreman as Foreman fell short in regaining his title at the age of 42. (Foreman would win his title in an upset victory over Michael Moorer.)
Ali was the heavy underdog against Foreman, who had already destroyed Joe Frazier and Ken Norton. Ali began the first round by moving but came to conclusion that he couldn’t keep that up against a hard charging Foreman, so he resorted to the Rope-a-dope. He stayed on the rope and countered against Foreman. This strategy was risky since Foreman was one of the hardest punchers and most fighters who would attempt just a strategy would end up on the canvas. Foreman nailed Ali with vicious shots but during the rounds, Ali countered effectively. Through the first five rounds, it was a close fight as Foreman attacked and Ali played the matador against the raging Bull Foreman.
By the sixth round, Foreman started to slow down, and Foreman’s punches lost steam. Ali landed four rights in the eighth and the final right sent Foreman down for good in one of boxing’s biggest upset.
Foreman at the age of 42 stood toe to toe against another great heavyweight Evander Holyfield and went the distance against a fighter at his peak. Foreman had his moment, but Holyfield was too quick for the older champion.
Foreman would win the title three years later. For nine round, Michael Moorer dominated Foreman and there was a question if Foreman would make it to the end. A Foreman right hand stopped Moorer in his path and Foreman with one punch erased an overwhelming Moorer’s lead.
The 1970’s was the golden age of boxing as Joe Frazier, George Foreman and Larry Holmes were three of the greatest heavy weight fighters but it was dominated by Ali as he came back from a three year exile due to his refusal to be inducted into the service and first lost a classic fight to Frazier before winning back his title in 1974. Larry Holmes would take command of the heavyweight division which he would control until the mid-80’s and his loss to Michal Spinks. He would come back from retirement and lose to Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield.
The 90’s proved a second golden age as Tyson, Holyfield, Riddick Bowe and Lennox Lewis. While Tyson and Holyfield were the more popular fighters and Lewis had a suspect chin as he lost to two fights, one to Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman by knock out, (He revenged both losses with victories.) Lewis would end up as the premier boxer of this era as he also introduced the era of super big heavyweights as he stood 6’5” and 250. Lewis was a skilled technician who combined skills and power. His last fight was a TKO victory against Vitali Klitschko.
Now in 2020, we may be witnessing a third golden age as Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder are now competing against each other. Wilder is one of the biggest sluggers of the division but Fury may be the best technician of the bunch and may prove the best of this era but there are heavyweights like Joseph Parker, Anthony Ruiz, Dillan Whyte, and Olekandr Usyk. We will see over the next three years more about this era of heavyweight.
By Tom Donelson / Author, Member of Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) … Contributor to dmboxing.com since 2008 with outstanding input and expertise – Thank You!
Tyson Fury fought the best fight of his life and adopted from his previous fight. He simply was the aggressor and dominated from the opening bell. There wasn’t a round that he didn’t lose, and he impose his will upon Wilder.
Wilder began throwing jabs in the first round to Fury’s middle to slow the bigger Fury and Wilder nailed Fury with a big right and nothing, Fury withstood the punch. Fury lands his own combinations to end the round and force Wilder to cover up.
Wilder did land a good right that forced Fury to clinch and continues his jab to Fury’s body and missed with a big right but Fury counter with a one-two that forced Wilder to hold and as the bell rang ending the second round, Fury connected on another combinations.
As the third round opened up, Fury steps up the pace and landed big right hands, and one of them sent Wilder to the canvas near the end of the round. Wilder came off the canvas on unsteady legs and blood pouring from his mouth. Fury took the fight to Wilder and while this had its risk, Fury own power made the gamble work in the third round.
Wilder fell to the ground in the fourth round, but it was ruled a slip by the referee. Wilder is barely able to slow the Fury assault and best that could be said, he survived. In the fifth round, Fury sent Wilder down again by a ferocious body shot. Fury lost a point for butting his head in a clinch but after the fifth round, it was obvious that Fury was the better fighter this evening, but the question remained, did Wilder have one big shot left to end the fight.
Fury continued his assault in the sixth and seventh round, and the Wilder corner simply threw in the towel. At this point, Fury won every round easily and there is no doubt now who is the king of the heavyweight. Anthony Joshua has a mandatory defense against Kubrat Pulev and then there will be only one fight. Joshua versus Fury which would easily fill one of the British football stadiums and be a big PPV draw.
Joshua boxed his way to recapturing his title over Ruiz but after Fury performance against Wilder, one can only surmise that the Gypsy King wouldn’t be the favorite?
As for Wilder, this was a beat down and kind of the fight that won’t be easy to recover. Wilder not only lost but he thoroughly beaten. Wilder wanted to continue but his corner decided that his future was more important. Wilder now must rebuilt his career as a contender. While Fury prepares for his bout with Joshua, Wilder must start thinking where to go from here. There are plenty of fights for him including a bout with Anthony Ruiz, but the mantle of invincibility is gone as he been defeated.
Like most pundits, I got this fight wrong and what we missed, Fury ability to adopt his style. Instead of being a boxer, he used his weight and size to his advantage while changing his style. He decided to be more aggressive against Wilder who didn’t have an answer. Fury team showed they were ready to adopt from the last fight and they won a big victory.
Wilder needed one punch to erase a four-round deficit on two of the judges’ scorecard and a two-round deficit on the other card. (I had it 59-55 and many others had it 60-54.) Ortiz seemed in control and connected on counter punches as it would appear that Wilder hesitated to throw punches. In their first fight, Ortiz stunned Wilder in the sixth round and like in this fight, was ahead on the scorecards when Wilder stopped him. Ortiz had the power to stop Wilder and Wilder understood that, so he played it safe.
When looking at the Compubox data, the actual connect rates were close. Going into the seventh round, Ortiz only connected on three more punches, but he had a 20-8 advantage in power punches through six rounds. Interesting enough, Ortiz only landed more punches in three of the first six rounds and Wilder landed more punches in two of those rounds with both landing two punches in the fourth round. Ortiz was winning rounds, but he was not dominating the fight. He succeeds in keeping Wilder off balance and never allowing Wilder to set on his punches, in particular his right hand.
In the seventh round, Wilder landed one punch and down went Ortiz. What this fight showed is that Wilder did adjust to his first fight but maybe he over adjusted and just like the Fury fight, he allowed Ortiz to set the pace before using his right hand to save the day. Against Fury, his two knockdowns salvaged a draw as Fury controlled the pace.
Fury-Wilder is now a reality in February. Wilder is not the most technically sound fighter, but he does have an effective jab and that jab sets up his right hand. Fury is a slippery fighter who for a big man can maneuver around the ring and is not an easy fighter to hit consistently, which Wilder found in their first match.
Wilder could not penetrate Fury defenses easily and equally had a difficult in penetrating Ortiz’s defense. Ortiz is a good fighter and while he is 40, he is still a very good heavyweight and the only fighter who defeated him was Wilder. Ortiz will still be a threat as contender and in addition to his power, Ortiz is a good boxer. (Ortiz has 26 knockouts in 31 wins.)
Fury easily defeated Tom Schwartz after the Wilder fight, but he had issues with Otto Wallin and had to survive a serious cut from a Wallin’s punch to win a decision. Fury was heavily favored against Wallin but a big punch nearly derailed Fury. Fury will be vulnerable to Wilder punches. Fury has the boxing style to frustrate Wilder as he did in their first fight but Wilder has the great equalizer. What adjustment would either fighters make in this fight will be interesting but for me, will Wilder be more aggressive against Fury and push the issue with his jab to set up his right hand?
Showtime special on Sonny Liston, Pariah: The Lives and Deaths of Sonny Liston, reveals the various controversy and conspiracy theories surrounding Liston career and death. Liston, like Joe Frazier, George Foreman and even Larry Holmes were overshadowed by Muhammad Ali and his talent has often been ignored and never truly appreciated. He was not just a powerful puncher or brawler, but he had good boxing skills to go with that awesome power.
The problem with Liston is that the truth about his life often overshadowed his skills in the boxing ring and often led to various conspiracy stories. There is no doubt of his connection to organized crime and his rise to prominence occurred during the time in which Mob controlled boxing and he did work for the mob as an enforcer outside the ring.
During the 50’s, mob control of the boxing became part of congressional investigation and Liston connection to the mob became part of the hearing. This did two things. It first delayed his shot at a title as Cus D’Amato had a good reason to keep Liston from fighting Patterson despite Liston defeating top contenders. The second thing is that reinforce Liston as a villain.
As the 1950’s ended and the 60’s begin, the Civil Rights movement was in full swing, challenging the racism existed and the documentary made it clear that many in the Civil Rights movement didn’t want Liston as a representative of their movement, a man perceived as a thug by much of American. Floyd Patterson was the polite gentleman who many viewed as a role model plus he was the heavyweight champion.
Floyd Patterson decided that he had to give Liston a chance for the title while many around him knew Patterson couldn’t beat Liston. Liston knocked Patterson out in one round and follow up that victory with another first round knockout of Patterson. It is here where the documentary goes in interesting directions with various conspiracy theories like the Ali-Liston fights were fixed. One individual who is listed as expert on fight fixing made the case of the first fight between Ali-Liston was fixed but anyone who saw the fight and most of those interviewed agreed with me, this was Ali beating up Liston. Ali pounded Liston, open up a cut under his eye and one individual observed, Liston may even laced his gloves with compound designed to burn Ali’s eye and blind him. Throughout the fifth round, Ali moved around the ring nearly blind, but Liston failed to finish him. At the end of the round, Ali’s eyesight returned and nailed Liston with a combination. In the sixth round, Ali nailed Liston with powerful combinations. Liston did not come out for the seventh round as he merely had enough. The indestructible Liston ended the fight on his stool. Ali won the second fight with a first round knockout. I agree with Mike Tyson view that you can get knock out by the punch you don’t see. There is not doubt that the right hand, for years called the phantom punch nailed Liston and Liston didn’t see the punch. I remember an amateur kick boxing match I fought in. It was a tough fight with both of us nailing each other with kicks and punches but the in the final round, I hit my opponent with a punch that caught him off guard and send him down It wasn’t the hardest punch of the fight but it hit my opponent perfectly. (He got back up to finish the fight, but it showed me that a punch no matter how hard landing in the right place can send another fighter down.) Liston with his contact with the mob lend itself to many conspiracy theories and why would the mob give up the heavyweight title, especially since the fighter who won it was beyond their control.
After the second fight, Liston career was pretty much over even though he would continue to fight. He was never a true contender after that and the only time that he would even been remotely liked as a fighter was the second Ali fight as more Americans feared the recent Nation of Islam convert Ali than Liston. He found himself back at the bottom of the contender ring. The reason is that his past reputation hurt him and other fighters like Jerry Quarry and Joe Frazier became the new contenders. Liston would fought sixteen more fights winning 15 of them. All of his victories but one by knock out but the one fight that ended his chance any shot at a title was his loss to Leotis Martin.
Liston was hoping for one more shot and in 1969, Ali was stripped of his title when he refused to enter the United States Army so there was opportunity for one more shot at the title. A win over Leotis Martin could have put him in the position for another title and he knocked Martin down in the fourth and was winning on points before Martin stopped him in the ninth round.
His last fight was a battering of Wepner and in the documentary, it was stated that he was supposed to take a dive against Chuck Wepner, but Wepner wasn’t called the Bayonne Bleeder for nothing as a Liston piston like jab open up a cut. If there was a fix, it would have been difficult to throw a fight when the guy you are fighting bleeding all over and the fight was stopped over Wepner cuts. Again I don’t buy this conspiracy theory.
Drug overdoes was listed as one reason for Liston’s death and while he officially listed as dying as result of an overdose, the one conspiracy theory that I can buy is that Liston was murdered and didn’t die from an overdose. The one theory is the Mob decided to punish him for money lost in the Wepner fight (even though I don’t buy that the fight was fixed. Why fix a fight with Wepner whose reputation was bleeding during the nation anthem) but he did hang out with many unsavory characters in Las Vegas and got into to the drug scene including pushing so it is more realistic that he was murdered by one of those characters who he dealt with. The special mention one raid that he was caught in by FBI, but they allowed him to go free and this may have led others to think he was informant. (FBI agents involved in the raid were shocked to see him there and decided to get him out there while arresting the others.)
Liston had a stellar career with 50 wins and only four losses, that in between violent crimes, prison and allegations of fixes and he was not just a powerful fighter but a technically skilled to go with his power. He couldn’t read or write, a black man with a troubled past and while he appeared as tough and sullen, the documentary showed that he was sensitive and loved to be around children. Throughout his career, Sports writers attacked him and labeled him a ignorant thug and he didn’t talk to them. When he won his championship, he thought that he would be treated differently but there were no parades or even acknowledgment of his accomplishment.
Before the Ali fight, he was considered indestructible, but Ali destroyed Liston image as the tough guy in the ring and while he continued to fight, he became invisible to fight fans as the thug was defeated and boxing fans moved on.
The documentary viewed Liston as a black man lost in 1950’s and 1960’s America as much of the Black leadership flocked to Floyd Patterson, and more radical blacks as well as the political left drifted to Muhammad Ali. Liston was abandoned by his own race and much of America as well, he was the villain throughout his career except for one brief moment in Lewiston Maine but that fell apart in one minute.
The Donelson Files@Donelsonfiles·7mFor years the NBA was the social warrior league, willing to take stances against what their coaches and owners viewed as injustice. The recent China-NBA has exposed something ugly.
The NBA is not the only businesses kowtowing to the Chinese but Charles Barkley in a statement defending the NBA made it clear. It is about the billion of dollars the NBA has at stake. Barkley is not wrong and while you may disagree with his stance, he is being truthful.
The question that will be raised, does this hurt the moral authority of the league, players and coaches who speak out on other issues. I would say yes, others may disagree.
NBA is not the only business that has surrender to the Chinese but it does show a disturbing trend, the number of companies willing to censor themselves to keep making billions. Chinese have succeeded in getting Americans give up principles for money.
We are getting a taste of what Chinese dominated world will look like. It will be a dark age for liberty and rise of National socialistic or fascist states throughout the world, subservient to China.
As for American companies, the very people who were the biggest defenders of free market will look askew at these companies and capitalism in general when they see companies giving up their freedom for almighty dollars.
For years the NBA was the social warrior league, willing to take stances against what their coaches and owners viewed as injustice. The recent China-NBA has exposed something ugly.
Astros vs Yankees for American league pennants and Cards vs Washington Nats. Thoughts, Astros go for second World Series in three years, Yankees haven’t won a title in a decade, which is a lifetime for Yankee fans. Cards were not the powerhouse but they did win Central.
Plus they have won more world series than any other National League teams and number two behind Yankees. Two World Series this century. This is the third edition of Washington baseball.
The original Senators ended up in Minnesota, the second Senators went to Texas and this edition came from Montreal. No fans from Washington have seen a team in the World Series since 1933 and seen a winning World Series since 1924. They won the AL pennant in 1924 and 25.