Being Optimistic With Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather

Note: This is a column I wrote for Creators.

Well fight fans, I didn’t think it would happen but it’s been confirmed. UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor will face one of the greatest boxers of all-time – Floyd Mayweather Jr. – in a boxing match at 154 pounds. The match will take place Aug. 26 at the T-Mobile Arena. It’s my mother’s birthday, so I think my sister and my buddies might be able to talk her into going to a restaurant to watch the fight.

In all seriousness, to say worlds are colliding would be an understatement.

In one corner you have the undefeated Mayweather, who will step back into the ring for the first time since his win against Andre Berto in September 2015.

In the other, you have McGregor, the biggest star in MMA, who when we last left him had beaten Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title, becoming the first fighter in UFC history to simultaneously hold championships in two divisions. – he also held the featherweight belt at the time.

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Max Holloway’s “Blessed” Era Begins – a Fan’s Perspective

Note: This is a column I wrote for Creators.

When interim titleholder Conor McGregor defeated Jose Aldo to unify the UFC featherweight titles in 2015, it marked the end of the Aldo era.

When Max Holloway finished Aldo to unify the 145-pound titles last Saturday at UFC 212, it was the beginning of the “Blessed Era.”

Holloway finished Aldo at UFC 212 in the third round to become the top featherweight in the world. Even being several adult beverages in – a result of finishing a Comic Con Pub Crawl – I was enthralled by the match, a little sad that Aldo lost – he’s one of my favorites – but excited to Holloway win the big on. It was the culmination of a five-year journey for the “Blessed” one that began at UFC 143 where he lost to Dustin Poirier.

To read the rest of the column, follow the link.

Megan Anderson’s Championship Legacy Begins at Invicta FC 24

Note: This is a column I wrote for Creators.co

There’s an old adage in combat sports – it’s one thing to win a championship but it’s another to successfully defend it. Invicta FC featherweight champion and Australia’s pride and joy Megan Anderson is going to learn this first hand on July 15.

Invicta Fighting Championships announced that Anderson will make her first title defense against undefeated Ukrainian prospect Helena Kolesnyk at Invicta FC 24. This will be Kolesnyk’s first foray in the Invicta cage.

Anderson won the Invicta featherweight title in January when she finished Charmaine Tweet in the second round – a bout that was originally for the interim 145-title. She was promoted to undisputed featherweight champion after former titleholder Cris “Cyborg” Justino opted to compete in the UFC full-time.

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On CHS boys tennis

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It’s been almost a week since the CHS boys’ tennis team wrapped up their season. This year the Blackhawks (3-5 league, 5-6 overall), who had run the GNL for the last couple of years, finished third in the league standings. It might seem like a downer since the team didn’t get to add another league title to its resume, but considering the lack of experience – only one varsity returner among a team of former JV players and first-year athletes – they did well.

There were a couple of high points this season. In singles play, athletes like Eric Van Wig, Hunter Pohl, Aaron Fillmore and Dixon Gerber contributed to team wins. Several players also shined on doubles – including Logan Ray, Jesse Black and Saul Bautista, who will be graduating this year.

As a doubles team, Gerber and Fillmore picked up wins and finished third in the District 7 tournament.

While it’s a little bittersweet that my coverage of the boys tennis team is done this year, I’m looking forward to next season. The team potentially has a lot of returning players next year who are – to borrow a phrase from Cheney football head coach Bobby Byrd – “battle tested.”

Coach Jesse Erickson said he feels like his guys could win the league next year and he might be right.

Crunch Time: Joshua-Klitschko is a big time boxing bout done right

Note: This is my Crunch Time column I wrote for the May 4 issue of the Cheney Free Press.

Saturday, April 29 will go down as a “knockout” for boxing fans.

In one of the most anticipated heavyweight bouts in recent years, International Boxing Federation champion and British fighter Anthony Joshua successfully defended his title against former heavyweight titleholder Wladimir Klitschko after he stopped him in the 11th round of their fight.

In addition to keeping his title, Joshua claimed the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Organization heavyweight belts in the process. Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs), who is less than four years into his professional boxing career, became the first fighter in 13 years to finish Klitschko.

The fight between Joshua and Klitschko was heralded by boxing fans as one of the best bouts in years.

For me, the bout was like something out of a boxing movie. After the two traded punches for four rounds, Joshua came out fast and furious in the fifth and sent Klitschko to the canvas.

To read the rest of the column, follow the link.

Katie Taylor wins first pro title, ready for more gold

Note: This is a column I wrote for Champions.

Rising boxing star, Olympic gold medalist and Ireland’s pride and joy, Katie Taylor, took the first big step in her professional boxing career.

Less than one year after her inaugural professional fight, Taylor returned to Wembley Stadium April 29 to defeat WBC youth female super featherweight champion Nina Meinke for the WBA female Inter-Continental lightweight title in a 10-round affair – marking the first 10-round contest of Taylor’s career.

Fighting on the undercard of the Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko heavyweight title main event, Taylor dominated much of the fight with her aggressiveness and combinations. She stopped Meinke in the seventh round to capture her first professional boxing title for her already impressive trophy case.

To read the rest of the story, follow the link.

Amanda Serrano Makes History and is Ready for Primetime

Note: This is a column I wrote for Champions

Amanda Serrano etched her names in the annals of boxing last night.

During the undercard of the Shawn Porter vs. Andre Berto showdown, Serrano – in front of a hometown crowd in Brooklyn – knocked out Dahiana Santana in the eighth-round to win the vacant WBO women’s bantamweight championship. The fight was broadcast on Showtime Extreme.

Serrano dominated the fight from the get-go, landing lefts and body shots. The ringside doctor almost stopped in the fourth and seventh rounds after Santana had swelling over both eyes.

In the eighth round, Serrano delivered some devastating shots in that forced the referee to stop the fight. According to CompuBox statistics, Serrano landed 152 of her 486 punches – compared to Santana, who connected with 60 out of her 293 shots.

With this latest addition to her impressive trophy case, Serrano has become the first woman fighter, as well as the first Puerto Rican competitor in the Sweet Science, to win championships in five weight classes. Besides bantamweight, “The Real Deal” has held belts in the junior featherweight, featherweight, junior lightweight and lightweight divisions. What’s impressive is while most fighters will move up in weight to win championships, Serrano has dropped down in weight for her world titles – lightweight to bantamweight.

To read the rest of the column, follow the link.