Bellator Summer Series Heavyweight Tournament Begins June 19th From WinStar World Casino Live on Spike
May 16, 2013
Newport Beach, CA. –As Bellator prepares for its long awaited Summer Series return, the full fight card has been completed as Bellator MMA returns to WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma Wednesday, June 19th live on Spike TV. The night will feature a Lightweight World Championship fight between reigning Bellator Champion Michael Chandler, as he defends his belt against Dave Jansen. The night will also feature the start of the Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight Summer Series Tournaments, as well as the return of the always controversial War Machine.
The event will broadcast LIVE starting at 6 p.m. CST and feature three hours of action on Spike TV. The preliminary card will be streamed LIVE and FREE on Spike.com.
Minakov enters the tournament undefeated at a perfect 10-0, including seven straight stoppage victories. Possessing a dominate ground game thanks to his extensive Sambo background and a developing striking arsenal, Minakov enters the tournament as one of the favorites and has his sights set on a Bellator World Title.
“I want everyone to know that I’m not here just to ‘take part’ in a Bellator Tournament, but to win it all and become a Bellator Champion.”
Minakov will have no easy test in the Semifinals of the Light Heavyweight Tournament as “The Monster” Ron Sparks returns to Bellator looking to punch his ticket to the Finals with a victory June 19th from WinStar World Casino. Sparks isn’t looking to play head games coming into this fight, and knows Minakov will be well aware of what the Louisville native is bringing to the table.
“Everyone knows I’m looking stand in that cage and throw bombs, no questions asked,” Sparks said. “I think the heavyweight tournament is going to be awesome. I am looking forward to it being a four-man tournament. It will give the fighters more opportunities to fight and I want my shot at the title.”
The other side of the bracket will feature fan-favorite and Bellator veteran Rich Hale as the Arizona native battles the imposing Brazilian Vinicius “Spartan” Queiroz. Hale burst onto the scene with inverted triangle win over Nick Fekete in 2011 and his continued his assent up the heavyweight ranks.
“I am really looking forward to the heavyweight tournament and my training has been going great,” Hale said. “I’ve been working hard and making adjustments to the game plan to come in and get the heavyweight belt.”
“This event is insanely stacked, and it’s the reason we are making this a jam packed three hour show,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “With a Lightweight Title fight, Mo, Babalu, War Machine and the start of our heavyweight tournament, this is going to be an amazing show start to finish on Spike.”
Following the event, Spike will air the premier of Fight Master: Bellator MMA, which features 32 of the best welterweight fighters on the planet as they compete for a spot in the Bellator MMA Tournament and a $100,000 prize.
Kendrys Morales powers Mariners past Athletics
May 13, 2013
SEATTLE — Joe Saunders has no idea why he can’t win on the road when he can’t lose at home.
The Seattle pitcher won his ninth straight decision at Safeco Field, throwing 6 1/3 effective innings Sunday as the Mariners beat the Oakland Athletics 6-1.
Saunders is 3-0 with an 0.94 ERA in four home starts this year, but is 0-4 with a 12.54 ERA on the road.
“It’s killing me,” Saunders said. “I know I have it in me, it’s just a matter of doing it on the road. Hopefully we can turn the page a little bit and get a good start on the road.”
In 13 career appearances at Safeco, Saunders is 9-0 with a 1.72 ERA.
“I don’t think that’s going to keep up. It’s kind a fluky trend here early on,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. “He’s smart, he has a good feel, his stuff’s been really good. I’ve been impressed with his stuff, so I don’t think that’s going to continue.”
Saunders (3-4) allowed one run and five hits, striking out six and walking three.
Kendrys Morales gave Saunders an early cushion with a three-run homer in the first inning, and the Mariners kept adding more.
Tommy Milone (3-5) lost his fifth straight start, giving up five runs, six hits and three walks in five innings. This was the first time during the skid he failed to pitch into the seventh inning, and he has a 3.62 ERA over that span.
Milone walked two in the first — more than he had allowed in all but one of his seven previous starts this season.
“I was maybe trying to be a little too fine in the first inning,” Milone said. “Just tried to paint the black and that’s probably what caused me to get behind.”
Defending AL West champion Oakland has lost six of seven. The A’s start a series Monday at division-leading Texas.
“You go through ups and downs, but this is not very fun now,” said Oakland’s Brandon Moss, who struck out four times.
Morales hit his fourth home run of the season in the first, a drive into the Oakland bullpen in left field that followed Michael Saunders’ leadoff single and Kyle Seager’s one-out walk.
“Kendrys came up with a huge hit and kind of got the ball rolling. Three runs in the first is kind of setting us up for a big game,” Michael Saunders said. “We continued to keep adding runs throughout the game, and it was a great team game today.”
Josh Donaldson and Luke Montz hit consecutive doubles in the second, and the A’s had runners at the corners with no outs when Nate Freiman grounded to shortstop Brendan Ryan, who threw out Montz at the plate. Saunders retired the next two batters.
“Not too many shortstops make that play,” Wedge said. “His awareness out there is tremendous. It would be a tough double-play the way the ball was hit.”
Joe Saunders was as surprised as anyone when Ryan threw home.
“He about took my head off,” Saunders said. “It was a heads-up play, he made a great throw and great tag.”
Seattle stretched its lead on Jesus Montero’s run-scoring single in the fourth and Seager’s sacrifice fly in the fifth. Jason Bay added his fourth home run in the seventh inning, a drive to center off Jerry Blevins.
“We’re playing good baseball right now,” Michael Saunders said. “We’re doing all the little things right, and it’s showing.”
Former NFL WR Titus Young arrested for third time in a week
SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. — Authorities say former Detroit Lions wide receiver Titus Young has been arrested in California for the third time in a week.
Orange County Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Joe Balicki says the 23-year-old Young was arrested late Friday in San Clemente for allegedly breaking into a home.
Balicki says Young fought with deputies after a foot chase. He has been charged with attempted burglary, assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest. He is in custody Sunday on $75,000 bail.
“There was a brief struggle,” Balicki said, according to the Detroit News. “He wanted to fight with the deputies. They ended up subduing him.”
Young also was arrested last Sunday in Riverside County on suspicion of driving under the influence, then was arrested again the same day for trying to take his car from a tow yard.
The Lions waived the troubled Young on Feb. 4. A second-round draft pick in 2011, Young was disciplined multiple times last season and was told to stay away from the Lions’ facility because he intentionally lined up wrong in a Week 14 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
During his time with Detroit, Young also was sent home by the team on three different occasions — once for punching teammate Louis Delmas during an offseason workout program, then twice for repeated insubordinate behavior.
Young was claimed off waivers by the St. Louis Rams but ultimately released 10 days later.
Tiger pounces, as Sergio chokes
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — A weekend filled with sharp words between Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia came down to one last showdown Sunday in The Players Championship, this one staged across the water in a tiny, terrifying section of the TPC Sawgrass.
Tied for the lead with two holes to play, Woods kept his shots on land and made two pars.
Garcia hit three balls into the water for a quadruple-bogey-double-bogey finish.
If there was special satisfaction in beating Garcia again, Woods kept that to himself. What mattered was having a chance to win, closing it out like he does so often, and capturing the richest prize on the PGA Tour for the first time in a dozen years.
“We just go out there and play,” Woods said. “I had an opportunity to win the golf tournament when I was tied for the lead today, and I thought I handled the situation well and really played well today when I really needed to. And that’s something I’m excited about it.”
Woods allowed the final hour to turn into a tense duel by hooking his tee shot into the water on the 14th hole for double-bogey. But his short game bailed him out to save par on the 15th and make a critical birdie on the 16th, and he was solid on the final two holes for a 2-under 70.
If only it were that simple for the Spaniard.
Garcia was standing on the 17th tee shot, staring across to the island green to watch Woods make his par. He took aim at the flag with his wedge and hung his head when he saw the ball splashed down short of the green. Then, Garcia hit another one in the water on his way to a quadruple-bogey 7. The meltdown was complete when Garcia hit his tee shot into the water on the 18th.
“It’s always nice to have a chance at beating the No. 1 player in the world, but unfortunately for me, I wasn’t able to this week,” Garcia said.
Woods was in the scoring trailer when he watched on TV as Swedish rookie David Lingmerth missed a long birdie putt that would have forced a playoff. It raced by the cup, and Lingmerth three-putted for bogey.
“How about that?” Woods said to his caddie, Joe LaCava, as he gave him a hug.
Woods finished on 13-under 275.
Woods won the Players for the first time since 2001 and joined Fred Couples, Davis Love III, Hal Sutton and Steve Elkington as the only two-time winners at TPC Sawgrass. It was his 78th career win on the PGA Tour, four short of the record held by Sam Snead.
Lingmerth closed with a 72 and finished two shots behind along with Kevin Streelman (67) and Jeff Maggert, who also was tied for the lead until finding the water on the 17th to make double-bogey. The 49-year-old Maggert birdied the 18th for a 70.
Garcia took 13 shots to cover the final two holes — 6-over par — and tumbled into a tie for eighth.
Woods made this drama possible by hooking his tee shot into the water on the 14th hole and making a double-bogey, dropping him into a four-way tie with Garcia, Maggert and Lingmerth. The final two holes came down to Garcia and Woods, most appropriate given their public sniping at each other this weekend.
It started Saturday when Garcia complained in a TV interview that his shot from the par-5 second fairway was disrupted by cheers from the crowd around Woods, who was some 50 yards away in the trees and fired them up by taking a fairway metal out of his bag. He said Woods should have been paying attention, and it became a war of words the next two days.
“Not real surprising that he’s complaining about something,” Woods said.
“At least I’m true to myself,” Garcia retorted. “I know what I’m doing, and he can do whatever he wants.”
When they finished the storm-delayed third round Sunday morning, Garcia kept at it, saying that Woods is “not the nicest guy on tour.”
Woods had the last laugh. He had the trophy.
Garcia, when asked if he would have changed anything about the flap with Woods, replied, “It sounds like I was the bad guy here. I was the victim.”
The real villain was the infamous 17th hole, which knocked out Garcia and Maggert.
“When you’ve got water in front of the green, that’s not a good time to be short of the green. You know, it was close,” Maggert said. “What can I say? A wrong shot at the wrong time and you get penalized on this golf course.”
It was at the 17th hole five years ago where Garcia won The Players Championship, when Paul Goydos hit into the water in a sudden-death playoff. This time, the island green got its revenge on him. Garcia hit a wedge and felt he caught it just a little bit thin, which is usually all it takes.
“That hole has been good to me for the most part,” Garcia said. “Today, it wasn’t. That’s the way it is. That’s the kind of hole it is. You’ve got to love it for what it is.”
Woods finished on 13-under 275 and earned $1.71 million, pushing his season total to over $5.8 million in just seven tournaments. This is the 12th season he has won at least four times — that used to be the standard of a great year before he joined the PGA Tour in 1996.
It also was the quickest he has reached four wins in a year. The only other time he did it before June 1 came in 2000, when he proceeded to win the next four majors, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
It was the second time Woods has won on Mother’s Day, the other coming at the 1998 Bell South Classic.
“Sorry, Mom,” he said into the camera. “I think she might have had a heart attack. I was in control of the tournament, and I just hit the worst shot I could possibly hit.”
Typical of Woods these days, there were questions about where he took the drop — some 255 yards from the hole. NBC Sports analyst Johnny Miller suggested the drop was “really, really borderline.” But Mark Russell, vice president of competition for the PGA Tour, said there was nothing wrong with the drop. Woods conferred with Casey Wittenberg, who said there was “no doubt” that Woods took the drop in the right spot.
“He asked me exactly where it crossed,” Wittenberg said. “I told him I thought it crossed on the corner of the bunker, right where he took his drop. And it’s all good.”
Woods wound up with a double-bogey, and he nearly fell out of the lead on the 15th until he saved par with an 8-foot putt. He followed with another up-and-down from the bunker on the par-5 16th for birdie. Garcia, playing in the final group behind Woods, two-putted the 16th to regain a share of the lead and then walked over to the 17th tee where it ended with two swings.
Woods and Garcia played four tension-free holes Sunday morning to complete the third round, and they shook hands without words when they finished — Woods with a 71, Garcia with a 72 to share the 54-hole lead with Lingmerth.
With a three-way tie, Garcia wound up in the final group because he was first to play at the start of the third round.
Garcia, however, continued to fuel the bad feelings between them.
He told Sky Sports, “I’m not going to lie, he’s not my favorite guy to play with. He’s not the nicest guy on tour.” And then he told Golf Channel, “We don’t enjoy each other’s company. You don’t need to be a rocket engineer to figure that out.”
Woods downplayed the episode and said it didn’t matter who joined him on the tee.
“I’m tied for the lead, so I’m right there,” Woods said.
Mike Tyson to have a cartoon on Adult Swim.
May 10, 2013
NEW YORK — Adult Swim says it’s turning Mike Tyson into a cartoon detective.
The network announced Friday it will show a new animated series called “Mike Tyson Mysteries” that will feature the retired boxing champion.
On the show, a cartoon version of Tyson will solve wacky problems, assisted by a trusty associate: a foul-mouthed pet pigeon. The network said Tyson will voice the animated character, as well as make live-action appearances.
The show is targeted for next season, but no premiere date was specified.
Daniel Snyder “We will never change the name of the team.”
Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder told USA Today the team’s name will not change.
“We will never change the name of the team,” Snyder told the newspaper in an interview this week. “As a lifelong Redskins fan, and I think that the Redskins fans understand the great tradition and what it’s all about and what it means, so we feel pretty fortunate to be just working on next season.”
The team’s nickname has faced a new barrage of criticism for being offensive to Native Americans. Local leaders and pundits have called for a name change. Opponents have launched a legal challenge intended to deny the team federal trademark protection. A bill introduced in Congress in March would do the same, though it appears unlikely to pass.
“We’ll never change the name,” Snyder told USA Today. “It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”
A recent Associated Press-GfK poll showed that nationally, “Redskins” enjoys widespread support. Nearly four in five Americans don’t think the team should change its name, the survey found. Only 11 percent think it should be changed, while 8 percent weren’t sure and 2 percent didn’t answer.
David Grosso, a member of the Washington D.C. Council, said he plans to submit a resolution calling on the Redskins to change their nickname because it is “racist and derogatory” and suggested “Redtails” in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen, a pioneering group of African-American pilots who served the United States in World War II, as a replacement.
Although 79 percent favor keeping the name, that does represent a 10 percent drop from the last national poll on the subject, conducted in 1992 by The Washington Post and ABC News just before the team won its most recent Super Bowl. Then, 89 percent said the name should not be changed, and 7 percent said it should.
David Ortiz denies PED use
May 9, 2013
Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz said Wednesday he was “hurt” by a Boston Globe story that raised the question of whether his strong start to the season has been aided by performance-enhancing drugs.
Ortiz, speaking to ESPN’s Pedro Gomez in the Fenway Park dugout before Wednesday’s game against the Minnesota Twins, said reporters have “no reason” to link Ortiz to PEDs.
“I have bad Aprils [and] they bury me, or some reporter buries me because of that,” Ortiz said. “I have a good April [and] it’s bad, too.”
Ortiz had his 27-game hitting streak snapped in Wednesday’s loss, going 0-for-5, but is still hitting .381 with four home runs and 17 RBIs in 16 games.
Ortiz, who said he is a “big, firm believer” in Major League Baseball’s drug-testing program, told Gomez he was tested Tuesday night. Ortiz also told the Globe he has been tested “probably” five times this season.
“You’re going to make me look like that just because I’m hitting good through 15 games?” Ortiz said. “I mean, it makes no sense.”
Ortiz, 37, told Gomez he never has entertained the idea of using PEDs.
“This is a stage in my career that it’s never crossed my mind … to get involved with anything related to PEDs,” Ortiz said.
Ortiz has been linked to PEDs in the past. The New York Times reported in 2009 that Ortiz tested positive for PEDs during the 2003 season. Ortiz later said a combination of then-legal supplements and vitamins likely caused a positive test.
“It’s disappointing to me because of the hot start he’s got to face that question, when, as he said yesterday, when he didn’t get off to a good start a couple of years ago, he’s got to face questions the other way,” Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said on WEEI radio. “It’s a disappointing thing. I guess we understand in the big picture where those questions come from. But, as David said, he’s part of a program as every player on our team is, every player in baseball is. It ought to take a little bit more than a hot streak to raise that question, in my opinion.”
MLB and the players’ association said some of the players on the list never tested positive for performance-enhancing substances.
Tyrone Spong Enters GLORY 9 New York Light Heavyweight, One-Night Tournament On June 22
SINGAPORE– Twenty-seven year-old martial arts fighting superstar Tyrone “King of the Ring” Spong (69-6-1 43 KOs) of Boca Raton, Fla. via Suriname will compete in the one-night, single-elimination GLORY 9 New York tournament featuring a lineup of the world’s top light heavyweight (209 pounds/95 kilograms) kickboxers, at Hammerstein Ballroom at Manhattan Center in New York City on Saturday, June 22, Glory Sports International (GSI) announced today.
“We are excited to enter Tyrone into this historic, first GLORY championship series event in the U.S. that will determine who is physically and mentally the top athlete in kickboxing’s light heavyweight division,” said Glory Sports International CEO Andrew Whitaker.
“Tyrone’s recent performances in the ring have distinguished him as one of the best and most powerful martial arts fighters in the world who can showcase our great sport at its highest level,” continued Whitaker, “so we look forward to seeing him compete against the other superstars who have been enlisted for action in the tournament.”
In his last GLORY start on March 23, Spong, a member of the vaunted Blackzilians fight squad that boasts the likes of fellow martial arts fighting greats Rashad Evans, Alistair Overeem and Vitor Belfort, triggered a changing of the guard in the ring at ExCel Arena in London, England, decimating Remy “The Flying Gentleman” Bonjasky, a three-time champion of the old K-1 series and one of kickboxing’s greatest athletes of all time, with a vicious right hook in the second round (2:02) of their highly-anticipated main event showdown.
The explosive KO marked Spong’s fifth consecutive kickboxing victory. One fight prior, on June 30, 2012, Spong toppled another icon of the sport and future Hall of Famer, Peter Aerts, scoring a thunderous KO on Aerts in the third round (2:10) of their matchup in Brussels, Belgium.
Since turning professional as a middleweight in 2003 and winning 12 fights that year, Spong, a former protégé of retired heavyweight kickboxing legend Ernesto Hoost, has since climbed his way to the top in four different weight divisions. He has faced and defeated a host of top-ranked rivals in addition to Bonjasky and Aerts, including Kaoklai Kaennorsing, Ray Sefo and Melvin Manhoef.
Also slated for battle in the star-studded, eight-man single-elimination tournament, are hard-hitting KO artist Brian Collette (19-1, 16 KOs) of Norfolk, Va.; developmental Road To GLORY USA light heavyweight tournament winner Dustin Jacoby (9-3, 7 KOs) of Arenzville, Illin.; four-time world champion Danyo Ilunga (51-4, 41 KOs) of Germany; Muay Thai sensation Filip Verlinden (40-9-1, 16 KOs) of Belgium; Aerts-protégé Mourad “The Silent Power” Bouzidi (75-20-2, 34 KOs) of Tunisia; world Muay Thai and Karate champion Steve McKinnon (42-5, 29 KOs) of Australia; and Michael Duut (38-3, 17 KOs) of The Netherlands.
The GLORY 9 New York light heavyweight tournament’s quarterfinal stage matchups will be announced soon.
In one of several Superfights also scheduled for the event, heavyweight superstar and former secret service agent Daniel “The Savage Samurai” Ghita (46-9, 35 KOs) of Romania will face Muay Thai champion Brice Guidon (28-8, 13 KOs) of France.
In other Superfight action, hard-hitting “Bazooka” Joseph Valtellini (8-1, 7 KOs) of Toronto, Ontario Canada will square off with fellow rising star Francois Ambang (9-2, 4 KOs) of Mechanicsville, Va. in a welterweight (170 pounds/77 kilograms) matchup.
Valtellini has earned six of his eight professional career victories in New York. Ambang emerged the winner of the development, eight-man, developmental Road To GLORY USA tournament, created to identify new talent and potential future champions for GLORY’s championship series, at New York City’s Capitale on March 22.
Phil Nurse protégé Brett Hlavacek (8-1, 3 KOs) of New York, N.Y., the runner-up in the developmental Road To GLORY USA tournament on March 22, will face three-time Muay Thai titlist Paul Marfort (10-5, 4 KOs) of Orlando, Fla. at welterweight.
World-Ranked Contenders Jean & Pendarvis Battle For IBF 140-Pound Top Spot Friday on ShoBox on SHOWTIME
May 8, 2013
NEW YORK – In what will be a hard-fought, high-stakes matchup for the No. 1 spot in the IBF’s 140-pound division, undefeated Dierry “Dougy Style” Jean (24-0, 16 KOs), of Quebec, Canada, will face southpaw Cleotis “Mookie” Pendarvis (17-3-1, 6 KOs), of Los Angeles, Calif., in the 10-round main event this Friday, May 10, on ShoBox: The New Generation live on SHOWTIME® (11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast). Jean and Pendarvis are ranked No. 3 and No. 7, respectively, in the IBF.
Unbeaten middleweights John “Apollo Kidd” Thompson (11-0, 4 KOs) of Newark, N.J., and left-hander Geovanni “Tarantula” Rodriguez (8-0, 5 KOs), of San Juan, Puerto Rico, clash in the eight-round co-feature from Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Okla. This will be the toughest fight for both of them.
All four boxers will be making their ShoBox debuts; more importantly all of them will have an opportunity to make a name for themselves. Due to the significance of the fight and the exposure they’ll be getting on SHOWTIME, this is especially true for the main eventers.
“The main event is a little bit different because it features two prospects who are fighting for a guaranteed shot at the IBF world title,’’ said ShoBox expert analyst Steve Farhood. “Dierry Jean is undefeated but untested at the highest level. Pendarvis has three losses, but has more impressive wins than Jean does.
“This is a good style matchup; Jean is a fast-handed counter-puncher, Pendarvis an awkward boxer- puncher. I’m looking forward to it.’’
As for the co-feature, Farhood said, “This is a typical ShoBox contest featuring two undefeated prospects. We don’t know how good they are, but we’re going to find out on Friday night.’’
The 5-foot-7, 31-year-old Jean, who was born in Haiti, will be making his second start in the United States. All his other fights took place in Canada, 23 of them in Montreal. His lone U.S. outing came in January 2008 in Hollywood, Fla. In his most recent fight, he registered two knockdowns en route to retaining his NABF title with a second-round TKO over Juan Rivera on Feb. 16 in Gatineau, Canada.
A solid amateur before turning pro at the age of 26 in December 2006, Jean is an excellent boxer who likes to work the body. His two most significant victories came in back-to-back fights in 2012, a dominant TKO 11 over Ivan Cano on Oct. 26 and a lopsided 12-round decision over Lanardo Tyner on May 19.
“Except for the one week I took off after my last fight, I’ve been in the gym training for this fight,’’ Jean said. “I’ve been sparring with a few left-handed fighters. I don’t like fighting lefthanders, but I’m pretty comfortable with them. I’ve fought two or three of them as a pro. My first fight was against a lefthander.
“Pendarvis is a pretty good fighter. He’s quick, but he makes many mistakes. I’ll make him pay for every mistake he makes.’’
Jean has lived in Canada since he left Haiti with his brother, aunt and grandparents when he was 10. His parents had died three years earlier. He didn’t take boxing seriously until he was 18. “Before that, I played basketball, soccer and did martial arts,’’ said Jean, who speaks French, English and Creole.
Regarding his nickname, Jean said, “I got it from another boxer, Matthew Jerman, who liked the way I fought and said I fought like him. So he gave me ‘Dougy Style’’ because I can do everything in the ring. I can move forward and put pressure on you, I can move away and box and I can just brawl.’’
Pendarvis is a 5-foot-7, 26-year-old, eight-year pro who has won six consecutive fights and 12 of his last 14 dating to December 2006. Both defeats came on points in tight fights; one on an eight-round majority decision to then-unbeaten Mauricio Herrera (12-0) in October 2009 and the other on an eight-round split nod to veteran Terrance Cauthen in June 2010.
A resident of Long Beach, Calif., Pendarvis won the USBA junior welterweight title two outings ago and retained it in his last start with a sixth-round TKO over Michael Clark on Dec. 21, 2012. Mookie scored two knockdowns in the third, rocked Clark several times and eventually wore him down with body punches.
A top amateur before turning pro in October 2004, Pendarvis is primed to take advantage of the biggest opportunity of his pro career.
“I’m ready,’’ he said. “This is my chance and I will go out and perform. It’s going to be entertainment, and the world will know who I am. I stay in the gym. I’ve been preparing for this fight for almost two months.
“To be honest, they’ve been disrespecting me with some of the articles they’ve been putting out. So I don’t really think much of Jean or his team. I just want to go out, prove myself and do what I’ve got to do.
“I will beat him. I know I’m going to beat him. That’s what I do – go out and upset fighters. I get stronger and better every day. I’m just ready for war. That’s all I think about every day, going to war. I want to say thanks to SHOWTIME for giving me the opportunity to showcase my talents and to let the world see me.
Mookie won his toughest fight long ago. “I was born in Inglewood, Calif., and I have three brothers and one sister,’’ he said. “My mom has been paralyzed since a car accident in 2010. I’ve been through a lot. I went through the foster-care system. I experienced the streets. It was rough, but it made me who I am today.
“I just want to send a message out to all the kids that are out there looking for something to do with their lives in the belief that there’s no tomorrow. All I want to say to them is that there is a tomorrow, that there’s always a brighter day. You just have to work hard and stay focused.’’
Doug Fischer, the editor at RingTV.com (Ring Magazine online) has known Mookie for years and has always been impressed with his talent.
“I used to watch him train when he was still a kid at the Broadway gym in the Watts area where he grew up,’’ Fischer said. “Besides having the best name in boxing — Cleotis ‘Mookie’ Pendarvis – he has always had a lot of natural talent. “He was a good amateur, and made it to the Western Olympic Trials in 2004.
“Mookie’s problem in the pro ranks was that he never had a real promoter behind him, thus he always lacked consistency. However, he has been a part of many world-class training camps and has helped top fighters such as Shane Mosley, Amir Khan and Antonio Margarito get ready for explosive southpaws such as Zab Judah and Manny Pacquiao.
“Now that he has a solid management team behind, he’s finally strung some wins together and has remained in training for more than a year. I think this consistency along with his natural ability makes him a threat in the 140-pound division. I think he will beat Dierry Jean on Friday.’’
Thompson is a 6-foot-1, 24-year-old who is trained by former world champion Buddy McGirt and trains out of McGirt’s new gym in Nutley, N.J. A bronze medalist at the 2007 National Golden Gloves Championships, Thompson scored several impressive victories during an accomplished 111-fight amateur career, including two over 2008/2012 Mexican Olympian Oscar Molina and Detroit prospect Domonique Dolton.
The up-and-coming, well-conditioned youngster has been kept busy since going pro in June 2011. He fought three times that year, seven times in 2012 and once so far in 2013 (TKO 5 over Blake Grayson on Feb. 9). He actually had two fights scheduled after Grayson but both fell though.
“I’ve been working with Buddy going on a year now, and it is the best thing that ever happened to me,’’ Thompson said. “Buddy brings a lot of things to the table. He just opened up a new gym in Nutley. I started working with him after my fight in June last year. The December fight was my first with him.
“I’m a boxer. I’m very fast, so I use my speed to my advantage. Some people are fast or strong. Me being fast and having the smarts and the ability to adapt to people has helped me a lot. I’m just ready to fight, and am very excited to be fighting Friday on ShoBox.’’
Offers McGirt: “This kid has a lot of talent; he’s progressing all the time. We’re just adding some polish to what’s already there. He has a lot of confidence and he thinks he’s good, but he really doesn’t know how good he can be. But that will come; he’ll find himself. It’s been really great working with him and his father. No problems at all.’’
Thompson, whose father, John Thompson III, started training him when he was four and will be in his corner on Friday, works part-time at the Newark Liberty Airport in the baggage department. He’s also an accomplished artist/painter and has an art business. Little wonder he pictures himself as a future champion.
Rodriguez is a 24-year-old, 5-feet-11 southpaw who’s making his 2013 debut. Like Thompson, he was also an outstanding amateur, winning silver medals at both the 2009 Jose “Cheo” Aponte Tournament and the 2007 Puerto Rican National Championships. He made his pro debut in October 2009.
While he hasn’t been as busy as Thompson – this is Rodriguez’ first start in eight months, and he only fought twice in 2012 and one time in 2011, the latest in the line of promising, Puerto Rican prospects is fit, determined and confident of a victory on Friday.
“I’ve been preparing very hard for this fight and I’m ready to make a good impression,’’ said Thompson, who recorded a fifth-round TKO over Daniel Rodriguez (no relation) last Sept. 12. “I’ve trained almost two months, at two different gyms. I know absolutely nothing about the guy I’m fighting.
“I’m an aggressive southpaw, a strong, hard puncher. You’ll see what I can do on Friday.’’
Jacksonville Jaguars owner sounds doubtful on Tim Tebow
Any hopes Jacksonville Jaguars fans had of Tim Tebow coming their way took yet another hit Tuesday.
Jaguars owner Shad Khan said at the NFL Career Development Symposium that he was intrigued by all the interest in Tebow going to his team. But Khan pointed out there were many players in the league — and his team has a long list of needs, beyond quarterback.
Khan also implied that he planned on leaving personnel decisions to general manager David Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley . So fan pleas to Khan might not have much, if any, impact.
“My goal was to get the couple of key people, Dave Caldwell, Gus (Bradley), in and really empower them to do the right thing,” Khan told NFL.com’s Kimberly Jones. “So I think they’re over 3,000 now professional football players in the league. Who they decide to pick, they need to come up with the best players who’s gonna put us in a position to win.”
How does Caldwell feel about Tebow? Caldwell didn’t say “no” directly to Tebow when asked on SiriusXM NFL Radio , but he also was far from saying yes. Caldwell simply said, “We just wanted a fresh start.”
Tebow grew up in the Jacksonville area, where he became a high school football star, and spent his successful college career at the University of Florida in Gainesville, just a short drive away. So there always has been a contingent of Jaguars fans intrigued with the idea of the quarterback returning home to lead the team.
Tebow’s recent release from the New York Jets made that seem all the more likely. It even inspired a petition to the White House, asking President Barack Obama to try and convince the Jaguars to make the move.
The petition later was removed from the “We The People” petition system because it violated the site’s policy terms.