8:00 PM WDTV reports witness intimidation charges against West Virginia running back Wendell Smallwoodhave been dropped. Smallwood faced the charges involving a 2012 shooting death in Wilmington, Delaware.
7:45 PM Former pro wrestler & Minnesota governor Jesse Venturawon a $1.8 million defamation lawsuit against the estate of former Navy SEAL turned author Chris Kyle. Kyle claimed in his book "American Sniper" that he punched out Ventura at a bar, an incident Ventura denied ever happened.
If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if Deputy Barney Fife became a ringside television boxing reporter — and I know you have — then you need to see the video following the jump, below, of HBO’s Max Kellerman.
Kellerman has absolutely no intention of letting Floyd Mayweather speak following the boxer’s victory over Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday. When Shane Mosley breaks in and wants to jaw with Mayweather, Kellerman does the broadcasting equivalent of fumbling in his shirt pocket for a bullet, before cutting Mayweather off completely. Reaction around the Internets has been pretty harsh on the former ESPN “Around the Horn” host.
You might have thought that the only suspected cheater boxing Saturday night was Shane “BALCO” Mosley. But it’s looking like his opponent might have been engaging in the type of shenanigans usually found in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. The LOS ANGELES TIMES reports that the California State Athletic Commission is investigating Antonio Margarito’s hand wraps, which were removed from his hands before the fight, to see if they had been doctored to give him an unfair advantage.
It turns out that Margarito needed every advantage he could get, as Mosley stopped him in the ninth round. What Margarito is being accused of is making his wraps thicker with extra padding and heavier by dipping them in plaster. In boxing, this is beyond a big no-no - it’s about the worst thing a boxer can be accused of.
Last weekend Oscar De La Hoya showed his face in public at a sporting event for the first time since he had it pounded in by Manny Pacquiao in December. Of course, it wasn’t where most people would have figured Oscar would show up. Considering that his good friend and business partner Shane Mosley was fighting Antonio Margarito for the welterweight title in Los Angeles, you would have thought Oscar would be in attendance to show his support.
Instead, De La Hoya was down the street in Anaheim attending Affliction: Day of Reckoning, where Fedor Emelianenko was knocking out Andrei Arlovski in the first round as he continued his “Knock Out All The Former UFC Heavyweight Champions Tour.” But why was De La Hoya at the Affliction show instead of supporting his good friend Mosley? Well, if you were to ask Larry Merchant it’s because Affliction was paying Oscar $5 million to be there.
It’s not every year that the final regular season of the NFL game means something. NBC flexed their way to the Chargers eliminating the Broncos in a semi-playoff game to capture the AFC West berth into the playoffs. The Dolphins, Vikings, Eagles, and Ravens were the other teams to punch their tickets in the 11th hour, and you know how airlines hate it when you check in late. This leaves our 12 teams arranged for your graphic pleasure as such:
The four divisional games will skip hand in hand toward the Emerald Cigar City in hopes of overcoming the evil flying monkeys known as “losing in the playoffs.” Those swell games begin Saturday. That’s six days. I hope you’ve already found a couch in which to park your butt.
A telltale sign your team is on a roll: two people are open for the same pass. When LaDainian Tomlinson wasn’t going long for the pass, he was passing San Diego native Marcus Allen for career touchdowns, finishing the regular season with 126 for second most all time.
The 52-21 rout of the Broncos creates an 8-8 playoff team for the eighth time in NFL history, and the first time in the AFC since the 1991 New York Jets. While the Chargers are rollin’ like James Brolin, only twice have 8-8 teams won a playoff game, and they both happened in 2004 (Minnesota over Green Bay, St. Louis over Seattle). They will host the 12-4 Colts. Hmm. I wonder if these two teams have played each other in the playoffs before.
This man is Lonnie Cooper. You’ve never heard of him, unless he was your Secret Santa, or if you are one of nine NBA coaches that called him “my agent” at the start of the season. The NBA called six of those coaches “fired” in a span of 24 days:
The firings began Nov. 22, when P. J. Carlesimo was dismissed by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Two days later, Eddie Jordan was fired by the Washington Wizards. Sam Mitchell (Toronto) was the next to go, then Randy Wittman (Minnesota) and Maurice Cheeks (Philadelphia). The purge continued Dec. 15, with the Sacramento Kings firing Reggie Theus.
His active clientele still includes Doc Rivers, Jim O’Brien, and Nate McMillan, and Kings interim coach Kenny Natt is his client, too. But to have three of nine coaches make it. Three of nine. Three of nine. Hmm. Maybe Shaq should inquire about his services.
As we gust our way to the finish line:
If you watch closely, you can actually see the string Bill Belichick pulls that gets Matt Cassel’s punt down to the 1-yard line. It’s so nice to see cheating coaches get back to the fundamentals of impish tomfoolery. Funner fact: the last time a Patriots quarterback punted it away: Tom Brady in 2003. And where did his land? Why, the 1-yard line, of course (last item).
LOSER WITH SOCKS notices that Charter Cable subscribers in Montgomery, Alabama will tentatively be without FOX on January 2, but all they’ll miss is the Sugar Bowl. But it’s Friday night. Go and get some friends or throw a Boggle party. Expand your mind, ya’ ingrates.
DEADSPIN has video of Eagles owner Jeff Lurie. He is so jazzed to have his team in the playoffs, he’s willing to slap his wife in the face in the form of a high-five.
STEROID NATION has news of a notable baseball player taking steroids. Just kidding, I said “baseball player” to get your attention because there’s no other way to get people to care about non-baseball players taking steroids. BALCO bigwig Victor Conte details “Sugar” Shane Mosley’s purchases of EPO and anabolic steroids. Would it help your interest if I photoshopped a baseball on top of Mosley’s pectoral muscles?
Oh, it looks like Brad Penny is eversoclose to a one-year deal with the Red Sox, so sayeth FOX SPORTS’ Ken Rosenthal, who can quietly add another point into the non-white player to Boston category.
Sportswriters who cover the Cotton Bowl get their own swag, HUNTSVILLE TIMES’ Paul Gattis notes. When ‘Bama was in the Cotton Bowl in 2005, this valiant sportswriter received, among other things, get free tickets to Frank Caliendo. Ooh, I wonder if he did his John Madden impression? Have you seen it before? OF COURSE YOU HAVE. YOU OWN A TV.
Staying with the OREGONIAN motif, rich nerd Paul Allen doesn’t let his Blazers sleep in his executive bedroom, except for Greg Oden because he’s taller and therefore better than everyone else. Fun fact: Sam Bowie was the only one allowed to play with Larry Weinberg’s Rubik’s cube.
It’s best to just let THE DUGOUT spin out as much as they can on Kyle Farnsworth, for we are all better off for it, even if not everyone knows this.
And finally, a bowl game happened last night. In the Independence Bowl, Northern Illinois fell 17-10 as Louisiana Tech wins their eighth game of thzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Being a college football coach is a high-pressure business - maybe not being an air traffic controller or a heart surgeon, where if you screw up people die, but it can be pretty intense. And if your team is getting a nasty reputation for late-season collapses, it might start getting to you after awhile. Witness South Florida coach Jim Leavitt: THE WIZ OF ODDS has video of him losing his mind during a press conference:
This is exactly how my cousin Aldo used to act, right before he took to chasing after the ice cream truck with his pants off and trying to recruit local children to “help repel the Huns.” Despite the lack of blustery, screaming theatrics, I’d still like to suggest that Leavitt ask his doctor if Paxil is right for him.
If ever there was an appropriate way to recap a ridiculously high-scoring (i.e. actually fun to watch) Week 12 in the NFL, the Saints’ 51-29 thrashing of the Packers was it. New Orleans became the 12th team to score 30 or more points this week, more than during any other week this season.
Drew Bress continued his assault on the NFL record books, throwing for 323 yards and four TDs, but the Saints’ MVP might have been Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers, who had a very Brett Favre-like performance on Monday night, except this was the bad Favre of 2005-2006. Translation: Rodgers threw three interceptions and the Packers had no chance.
And finally, a word to the wise - if you are going to shoot someone flashing a random group of tailgaters before a Cowboys game, try not to do it from directly behind them. Then again, if the flasher in question looks like a 45-year-old high school softball coach, maybe it’s for the best:
Here are some other stories you might have missed last night as you, like the rest of the US, were an emotional wreck after hearing about the Hannity and Colmes divorce:
Not even Tiger Woods is recession-proof: BLOOMBERG says that GM is pulling out of its endorsement deal at the end of the year, meaning that he’ll get to quit pretending that he really loves driving a Buick.
RIVALS.COM has a depressing look at Northwestern, the worst basketball program of the major conferences and the only which which has never been to the NCAA tournament. But at least their football team has a rich history of…ugh, never mind.
Your usual video of a student’s first trip to the Montana/Montana State rivalry, including drinking, push-ups…and a pretty solid catfight at about 1:05 in. (The problem with catfights in Montana in November: too much clothing to rip off.):
The Clippers/Knicks trade is in limbo because of questions about Cuttino Mobley’s heart, says David Aldridge on NBA.COM. Literally - the Knicks have concerns about a possible pre-existing heart condition.
Mike Shanahan tells the AP that he’s OK with players taking out idiot fans who run out onto the field during games. How does he expect his team to tackle rowdy fans if they can’t even stop the Raiders?
Bob Arum confirms to ESPN.COM that the fight between Antonio Margarito and Shane Mosley is back on for Jan. 24 in Las Vegas, as boxing continues to respond to rumors of its demise by putting out decent fight cards.
Eric Thomas, who helped lead Kent State to the Elite Eight back in 2002, has been sentenced to eight years in prison for burglary and assault. The DAILY KENT STATER says that’s enough to get a banner with his accomplishments pulled off the rafters, but not enough for his number to be unretired.
Roger Goodell tells BROADCASTING & CABLE that despite the BCS package going to ESPN, we shouldn’t expect NFL playoff games on cable anytime soon. Also of note: the BCS considered a package that would have put all the BCS games on FX, which is just weird.
Big-time boxing returned to Los Angeles on Saturday night, as a local hero and one of the most popular boxers of his generation in Shane Mosley took on the colorful Ricardo Mayorga. And Los Angeles boxing fans responded by staying at home in droves, with only 5,798 showing up to the Home Depot Center.
To put that into context, that’s about three times less than the crowd who showed up to the Chivas USA soccer game at the big stadium that night. Those who did show up had some excitement in the final round, as Mosley knocked Mayorga down late and then finally out with one second left in the fight. (You can see video of the final round after the jump:)
Well, let’s not get carried away with “elite level” - his big win on his comeback was against Fernando Vargas, perhaps one of the few fighters who is more shot physically than Mayorga. Before that, the last we had seen of Mayorga, Oscar de la Hoya was turning his face into hamburger meat. Before that, it was Felix Trinidad’s turn to pound on Mayorga.