[SPORT/ MUSIC] LeBron James & Kevin Durant – It Ain’t Easy

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For years, there was a myth that Kevin Durant and LeBron James recorded a song together during the 2011 NBA lockout. It had been reported about, talked about in basketball circles and about a year ago, a snippet leaked. While we’ve seen these two on the court together (even playing on the same team during pickup games and the 2012 Summer Olympics), this is the first time, and possibly the only time, we will hear them on a song together.

“It Ain’t Easy” is more of a light-hearted collaboration, and not the trap aggressive rap you’d expect nowadays, but then again, it’s about seven years old.

It’ll be interesting to see what the two say about the song when asked.

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[SPORTS] Crawford wins welterweight title in ninth round

Terence “Bud” Crawford put the welterweight division on notice in a major way.

Crawford, already a winner of world titles in two weight classes, aimed to make a big impression in his first fight in the talent-rich 147-pound division that several of the sport’s best call home, and he did so by utterly dominating Jeff Horn.

Crawford punished Horn in a one-sided fight, stopping him in the ninth round to win a world title in his third division on Saturday night in the main event of the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN+ card before 8,112 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

“Like I told you all before, I’m strong. I was way stronger than him. You all kept telling me how strong he was, so I had to go and show you,” Crawford said. “I just had to get in the ring and prove it. You saw what I did in there. My power carried up, my physicality. Now I want all the champions at welterweight.”

Crawford, of Omaha, Nebraska, came into the fight already universally considered one of boxing’s best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. The near-flawless performance against Horn should only burnish his reputation.

Crawford had already won a world title at lightweight and then moved up to junior welterweight, in which last August he became only the third fighter of the four-belt era to unify the titles of all four major sanctioning bodies when he blitzed Julius Indongo in a third-round knockout to take his two belts and become the undisputed champion at 140 pounds.

Then it was on to the welterweight division that boasts fighters such as titleholders Errol Spence Jr. and Keith Thurman, not to mention former champion Manny Pacquiao and former titleholders Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who has promoted fights for more than 50 years, was very impressed with Crawford and compared him to a legend.

“His future is unlimited. He’s a terrific fighter. It’s the highest praise I can give a fighter, a welterweight, that he reminds me of Sugar Ray Leonard,” said Arum, who promoted several Leonard fights. “That to me is a great, great compliment because I always thought Leonard was the best, and this guy is equal or better than Ray.”

Crawford, Horn’s mandatory challenger, put his name into the mix for major fights with any of them if they could be made, but first he had to deal with Australia’s Horn, who made his United States debut for the second defense of the world title he lifted from Pacquiao by controversial decision last July before 51,000 people at Suncorp Stadium in his hometown of Brisbane.

Crawford’s dominance was illustrated by the CompuBox punch statistics. He landed 155 of 367 punches (42 percent), while Horn landed 58 of 257 (23 percent), none of which seemed to do much of anything.

“He was hard to tag, and he just kept me guessing,” Horn said. “He’s a classy fighter who fought a great fight.”

The 30-year-old Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs), who came out immediately in a southpaw stance, caught Horn (18-1-1, 12 KOs) with a hard left hand in the first few seconds of the fight to knock him off balance. Crawford’s speed advantage was evident immediately in a round Crawford appeared to win easily.

Horn, aiming for another huge upset, had a big contingent of fans who chanted, “Hornet! Hornet!” but they couldn’t fight for him, as Crawford continued to land in the second round, including a straight left hand down the middle that rocked Horn.

Crawford was in total control the entire fight, including the third round as he landed right hooks, straight left hands and clean jabs that rocked Horn’s head back. Horn, who suffered a small cut over his right eye in the fourth round, had no answers for anything, and it didn’t get much better.

Crawford, meanwhile, looked like he was having fun. He stuck his tongue out and wound up with some punches as he nailed Horn with heavy shots from all angles, especially straight lefts, in what was easy work.

When Horn, 30, bulled Crawford to the ropes in the sixth round, Crawford got away after landing a left uppercut that stunned Horn.

In the eighth round, Crawford, who is adept at switching stances, turned right-handed and continued to find a home for his blows. He had Horn in big trouble as he lashed him with crushing punches that probably would have put opponents away when he fought in the smaller junior welterweight and lightweight divisions. But Horn, who earned $1.75 million to Crawford’s $3 million, sopped up the enormous punishment and showed a great chin to take the shots.

But he could take them for only so long. Crawford continued to pound him in the ninth round, landing two right hands and a left that hurt him badly and forced him to touch his gloves to the canvas for a knockdown. Crawford was all over him when the fight resumed, and as he blasted him with both hands, referee Robert Byrd jumped in to stop the fight at 2 minutes, 33 seconds.

The fight was originally scheduled for April 14 but was postponed when Crawford suffered a deep bone bruise on his right hand while training. But he sure didn’t appear to have any issues with the right hand, which he used liberally.

Crawford closed the show by landing 47 of 77 power shots in the last two rounds. Horn threw only 59 punches in the last two rounds.

Arum said Crawford is on his way to stardom and will stay active.

“One thing with this ESPN platform is we have the dates,” Arum said. “We’re going to have ‘Bud’ fight as many times as he and [trainer Brian McIntyre] want. If he wants to fight three times a year or four times a year, we’ve got the dates for him. It’s up to him how busy he wants to be.”

Crawford flashed a smile at Arum and said, “Let’s get that money.”

Glenn Rushton, Horn’s trainer, gave credit to Crawford for a fine performance but complained about the stoppage.

“Crawford was just sharp in there,” Ruston said. “He kept on countering Jeff’s shots one at a time. I thought there were some close rounds in there, and it was definitely a premature stoppage. He got hit harder by Pacquiao.”

But Byrd had called off the fight, and when it was over, Crawford ran to the ropes and climbed atop one of the ring posts, drinking in the cheers from the crowd as he pumped his fist.

The welterweight division was on notice.

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[Sports]Favre on his future: ‘Tomorrow I may not remember who I am’

Football is a dangerous game. Brett Favre knows all about that. Over the course of a 20-year career, Favre got hit. A LOT. In all, he would take 525 sacks. He would play through countless injuries. Given all this, he knows that tomorrow is uncertain. In fact, he doesn’t know what tomorrow may hold.

“I’m able to function the way I so choose, at least up to this point. I stay active. … Tomorrow may be totally different. Tomorrow I may not remember who I am, I may not know where I live, and that’s the frightening thing for us football players.”

But what about the future of football? What about his grandchildren? Favre knows that with his name comes a legacy. But he’s in no rush to see them play the game he spent decades playing

“I’m not going to encourage him to play football. I’m not saying I would discourage him, but I would be cringing every time I saw my grandson get tackled, because I know, physically, what’s at stake.”

His oldest grandchild, who is eight years old, is still very much a child. But Favre knows how early this game can grab you. He also knows how quickly this game can break you. As the years pass, more and more concussions come to the forefront. But it’s not just concussions, it’s the general meat grinder that the game of football can be. Bodies are broken on a weekly basis, and as the game gets faster the injuries get worse. Especially when it comes to the brain.
Favre knows there’s no reason to push it. The irony being, of course, that the gunslinger would make a career out of pushing it. Sometimes it just takes folks a little bit of time to realize it.

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[Boxing News]Neither Victor Ortiz nor Devon Alexander can afford to lose


Neither Victor Ortiz nor Devon Alexander can afford to lose
Victor Ortiz and Devon Alexander fight Saturday in Texas, writes Joe Walker

VICTOR ORTIZ 32-6-2 (25) will fight former two division world champion Devon Alexander 27-4 (14) on Saturday night (February 17), headlining a TGB Promotions Premier Boxing Champions card on FOX from the Don Haskins Center, El Paso, Texas.
While the big fights in the welterweight division of Errol Spence and Keith Thurman may be some way off, both fighters will hope to take a step in the right direction on Saturday.

Ortiz comes off the back of a fourth round stoppage over little known fighter Saul Corral in Bakersfield last July, which did not do much to shrug off his loss to Andre Berto a year and a half ago in their rematch. With a successful acting career and other ventures, many thought Ortiz’ boxing career was ending. Now, aged 31 he faces a stern test in Devon Alexander.
“I’ve been counted out many times in this sport. Being on this stage is very significant for me, thankfully I have people who don’t stop believing in me.
“I’ve seen both sides and been in the middle, at this point, the only place I’m focused on going is up,” Ortiz said in a pre-fight press conference.
Alexander finds himself at a similar point in his career to Ortiz. A win last year, preceded by two defeats to Aaron Martinez and Amir Khan, he can afford nothing but a win if he hopes to turn his career around.
“Beat this guy, that’s all I’m going to do, that’s all I’m prepared to do, that’s all I want to do, it’s all I’ve been dreaming about doing so anything else doesn’t mean anything.
“You guys want to see me win and get back to the top, so that’s what I plan on doing, so get ready,” said Alexander.
Ortiz has been in a few wars in his career, choosing to stand and trade with fighters he should have out boxed such as Josesito Lopez, Berto and Luis Collazo, who in return handed him shock defeats. If he boxes Alexander he stands a chance of winning, but if Alexander can take the fight to the later rounds he could take this one.
Ortiz has been known to quit as fights have progressed in the past, against Marcos Maidana in a career defining moment, he withdrew after he was put down in the sixth round. Against Floyd Mayweather, frustrated and beaten he threw a head butt, of which Mayweather responded by knocking him down as they touched gloves to recontinue.

How much of Alexander’s speed and power he has left remains to be seen but he’ll hope to find gaps in Ortiz’s defence to use his fast right hand that has devastated opponents in the past, namely Marcos Maidana who didn’t have any answers for it back in 2012.
This fight will mark the end of one of the fighter’s long careers and it’ll come down to who wants it more.

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[Boxing] Fight Results “Spence vs. Peterson”

With violent efficiency, Errol Spence forced a corner retirement from Lamont Peterson that reminded that not all corner retirements are the same. The look on the face of trainer Barry Hunter, the anguish in deciding whether to halt the fight or not, was as touching a moment as boxing might have in 2018.
That was the face, the decision, of a man who truly loved the fighter in the corner. Peterson made a game effort, especially coming off the floor in the fifth. Peterson fought to stay on his feet, to make the bell, with the same grit that has marked so much of his career.
It was to little avail. The man in front of him is too good right now.Spence is the future of the new era of boxing. Spence vs. Thurmond should be exciting later this year.



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Amir Khan will announce his plans to return to the boxing ring in 2018 on Wednesday.
The 31-year-old, who has not fought since losing to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in May 2016, will be making a major announcement at the Dorchester Hotel, Mayfair, London.
The former unified world champion was most recently in the public eye when he appeared on ITV programme ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ in the latter half of 2017.

In November last year, Khan said he still wants a fight with Kell Brook, but admitted they both need to rebuild their careers with wins before settling their long-running rivalry.
Khan has previously said he wants his next fight to be in the UK.

Amir Khan is over my opinion is done. He is Rich and young

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[SPORTS] Papa John’s says NFL protests are hurting sales

Papa John’s is blaming the NFL for hitting its bottom line.

The pizza company, which has been a league sponsor since 2010, sliced its sales and profit forecasts on Tuesday. And Papa John’s founder and CEO John Schnatter wasn’t shy about who he thinks is to blame for the “debacle”: Commissioner Roger Goodell.

“Leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership,” Schnatter said on a conference call with investors Wednesday. “The NFL has hurt Papa John’s shareholders.”

NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart declined to comment on Schnatter’s comments.

NFL ratings, like the rest of network television, are in a slump. Through Week 7, NFL viewership is down 5% overall from the same point last year.

Though the ratings slump has many causes, some NFL fans may have tuned out because of the controversy over players kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police violence.

President Trump has called on fans to boycott the NFL if the league doesn’t crack down on protests. Last month, Vice President Mike Pence left an Indianapolis Colts game after San Francisco 49ers’ players took a knee during the anthem.

At a league meeting last month, Goodell and the NFL owners opted not to force players to stand during the Anthem.

The NFL may be part of the problems Papa John’s faces, but it’s far from the only one. The stock is down 24% this year, while competitors including Domino’s (DPZ) have performed well (Domino’s stock is up 12% this year).

Still, Schnatter put the NFL squarely at fault. He specifically cited the anthem protests as the root of the problem.

“This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago,” Schnatter said. “The controversy is polarizing the customer, polarizing the country.”

In response, Papa John’s has pulled some of its planned commercials from NFL games this season. Schnatter said the NFL has promised to give the pizza company future spots in return.

“It indeed appears that National Football League strife may be weighing on same-store sales to some degree, with Papa John’s as the NFL’s Official Pizza Sponsor bearing some brunt of this issue,” Instinet analysts wrote in a research note Tuesday. “Sponsorship of NFL = No Free Lunch.”

Papa John’s still expects sales to increase by 1.5% in North America this year, but that’s down from its previous estimates.

Shares of Papa John’s (PZZA) tumbled 9% on the lowered estimates.

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Cuba’s Luis Ortiz has failed a drug test only weeks before he was due to challenge for the World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight title.
WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman revealed they were notified of the positive drug test by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA), part of the governing body’s clean boxing program.
Ortiz was due to box WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder on November 4 in a major event at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in New York City.
While Ortiz can appeal, this is not the first time he has failed a drug test.
He was World Boxing Association interim heavyweight champion from 2015 to 2016 but his first reign was nullified via no contest when he was stripped of the title when it was revealed he had tested positive for prohibited substance in 2014.
The 38-year-old, nicknamed “The Real King Kong”, has won 27 of his 29 professional fights, 23 of them by knock-out.
Before turning professional in 2010, Ortiz won 343 of his 326 amateur fights.
Among the titles he won was the World Cup in Moscow and the Panamerican Championships in 2005.
The winner of Wilder-Ortiz would have been most likely to fight Anthony Joshua, in one of the most lucrative showdowns in the sport, in 2018.
Wilder, the Olympic bronze medalist at Beijing 2008, has lost out on big fights  before due to opponents failing drug tests, notably a significant showdown with Alexander Povetkin in Russia in 2016.
Ahead of a fight in February this year, his original opponent Andrzej Wawrzyk also tested positive for a banned substance.
At least, there are substitutes on the November 4 bill, with former world champion Bermane Stiverne and former world title challenger Dominic Breazeale  due to box each other.

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[SPORTS] Fans upset by protests can get Sunday Ticket refunds

DirecTV is offering unprecedented refunds for fans who want to cancel their NFL Sunday Ticket package, if they inform the company that they are doing so due to the recent protests during the national anthem, a source confirmed.

Once the season starts, fans usually cannot cancel their subscriptions, but AT&T, which owns DirecTV, decided to change the policy due to the sensitivity of the issue. The price of the package, which allows fans to get out-of-market games, is about $280.

An AT&T spokesperson declined to confirm the cancellation policy and said the company would have no numbers to share.

The exemption was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Roughly 180 players chose not to stand for the national anthem in Week 3, while three teams — the Tennessee Titans, Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks — did not come to the sideline for the anthem. On Monday night, the Dallas Cowboys chose to kneel in unison before the anthem.

Players were emboldened after being challenged by President Donald Trump, who Friday night at a speech in Alabama, encouraged NFL owners to “fire” players who didn’t stand for the national anthem.

The stance, which Trump continued to assert throughout the weekend, had the opposite effect. Almost all of the league’s owners responded with statements affirming the players’ right to protest, as players and executives went as far as to coordinate their actions.

Not everyone was happy.

At some stadiums, fans booed the players. Others took to Twitter to say they were canceling their Sunday Ticket subscriptions.

An NFL spokesman says ratings overall were up 3 percent for Week 3 compared with Week 3 of last year, thanks in large part to the competitive game on Monday Night Football involving the Dallas Cowboys.The increase also was due to the fact that last year’s Monday Night Football game was competing against a presidential debate.

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[Sports] Donald Trump says Warriors not welcome at White House

President Donald Trump tweeted Saturday morning that the Golden State Warriors are not welcome at the White House to celebrate their 2017 NBA championship.

There had been no previous indication of a White House invitation for the Warriors. ESPN reported late Thursday night that the NBA had been in communication with the White House on the matter and believed an invitation would be extended, if the team decided as a group to attend.

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