Boxing: Jake Paul signs multi-fight deal with Showtime

One of the hottest names in boxing and in combat sports has a new home. Internet celebrity turned boxer Jake Paul (3-0) has signed a new exclusive deal with Showtime Sports. Moving forward, Showtime will host Jake Paul’s future boxing matches.

ESPN’s Marc Raimondi broke the story last night that Paul had signed a deal with Showtime. Paul’s representatives confirmed the news to Raimondi and stated that they were making progress on Paul’s next opponent in the boxing ring.

Jake Paul’s adviser Nakisa Bidarian told ESPN, “Jake is proud of the events he participated in with Triller and appreciates the opportunities they afforded him. Jake is excited to continue his boxing career with Showtime Boxing. Fight announcement coming soon.”

At this time, there is no word on who the potential opponent will be for Jake Paul’s next boxing match. For the last few months, Paul has been targeting the MMA community. Back in April, he fought former world champion Ben Askren.

Paul scored a first round knockout and proceeded to call out some of the bigger names in the MMA community like Daniel Cormier. Plenty of additional MMA fighters have voiced their interest in jumping into the boxing ring with The Problem Child.

Showtime Boxing’s New Star

One thing to keep in mind about Jake Paul’s new boxing deal is the fact that Showtime also has an exclusive deal with Bellator MMA. That alone can create opportunities for Jake Paul to compete against some MMA fighters.

Bellator and Jake Paul are now exclusively on Showtime and you can imagine that Showtime execs are already brainstorming. As mentioned by Paul’s adviser, a fight announcement is coming and they are closing in an opponent.

One name to watch here would be Dillon Danis (2-0). Danis and Paul have been calling each other out for some time and Danis fights for Bellator. Perhaps Showtime executives could convince Scott Coker to let Danis participate in a boxing matchup with Jake Paul.

There have been some whispers about Diego Sanchez (30-13). However, I pray that is just talk and there’s nothing serious there. Former UFC champion Tyron Woodley (19-7-1) has been calling Jake Paul out since he became a free agent, but I can’t see Paul accepting that fight.

Jake Paul’s next boxing matchup will be against someone with MMA experience with limited striking skills. Paul can be a star for Showtime and I guarantee they don’t want to risk him losing after just inking him to a multi-fight deal. This will definitely be something to watch in the coming weeks.

Mets’ recovering star excels in rehab start; Jacob deGrom will make one on Thursday

New York Mets, Noah Syndergaard, yankees

The New York Mets have been hit hard by the injury bug in recent days, but not everything is bad news. Noah Syndergaard, who is on the final stages of his Tommy John surgery recovery, had his first rehab start on Wednesday, for Class-A Port St. Lucie.

The stellar right-hander was very good on Wednesday, covering four innings in his first official start in more than a year. He struck out five foes and allowed just a single run on one hit. Reports indicate that he sat on the 93-95 mph range, touching 97. That velocity is still a tick or two below his peak mark, but it represents an extremely positive number for this stage.

As for his potential return date, the Mets would like to have Syndergaard back by mid-June, but late-June would be a more realistic target as long as there are no setbacks in the way.

Since Taijuan Walker is also going to the injured list with left side soreness, the Mets needed some good news on the injury front when it comes to pitchers.

The Mets’ ace will make a rehab start of his own on Thursday

Another good news is the current status of Mets’ ace Jacob deGrom, who has been sidelined with right side soreness.

The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, according to the Mets’ official site, felt good after throwing a bullpen session Tuesday and will make a rehab start for the Low-A St. Lucie Mets on Thursday. The announcement was made by manager Luis Rojas.

If the Mets deem his start successful, deGrom will return from the injured list next week.

The Mets are targeting a return for the series against the Colorado Rockies.

Right now, the Mets could almost field a rotation of injured players, with deGrom, Walker, Syndergaard, and Carlos Carrasco, currently rehabbing from a torn hamstring.

Islanders need to bring the pain tonight to shift the series back in their favor

One of the talking points going into the Islanders’ series with the Penguins was how much physicality would play a factor. The Isles, as we know, are a heavy team. They have had to be to survive the past few seasons in an ultra-competitive Metro Division that features three of the heftiest teams in the league.

Through two postseason games so far, they’ve shown they are willing to throw the body at will. More so in the opening contest on Sunday did the Islanders really take it to the Pens, where they amassed 72 hits. Leo Komarov registered an astounding 14 of them. In the 2-1 loss on Tuesday, only 46 checks were recorded. That’s a considerable drop and maybe one of the reasons head coach Barry Trotz noted his team was “light in some areas”.

“We didn’t make it hard enough on them,” Trotz said after game two. “We’ve got to raise our level.”

The Isles’ bench boss loves to use the phrase “man’s game” when the physical nature of the game is ratcheted up. Now the Islanders, who got punched in the mouth in game two, have to get back to that part of their game and start throwing their weight around early. Knowing they are back on home ice and will be in front of 6,200 rabid fans — it will probably feel like it’s a packed house based on the noise and low ceiling — should provide some good motivation to make that happen.

The last time the Islanders hosted Pittsburgh in the playoffs was two years ago, and that Penguins squad had no answer for how much the Islanders went after them. This series is a little different because Pittsburgh is built differently. They still have their speed and skill, but they have guys who can dish it out too — Mike Matheson (Islander fans know that name well), Brandon Tanev, Jared McCann. However, the Isles are no spring chickens either.

They’ve seen how much a toll it can take on teams when they keep getting the body taken to them. Just ask the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers from last summer, the two clubs the Islanders defeated on their way to the Eastern Conference Final.

The hitting is due to pick up again in this series with tonight’s game three being a possible turning point of the series after the teams split in Pittsburgh. Goals and better defense aside, The Islanders can put themselves in a better spot if they bring the physical element from the get-go. They need to bring the pain and bring it all evening long.

Tonight marks the first time in over two years the Islanders will host a playoff game at the Coliseum. They have had success in the postseason dating back to 2015 when the old barn was supposed to be shut down for good having gone 4-0-1 in their last five games.

That’s a good sign.

Oh, so is the fact they were 21-4-3 on home ice in the regular season.

 

Slugger Pete Alonso joins a long list of injured Mets’ players

New York Mets, Pete Alonso

The New York Mets’ injury crisis gets deeper every day. Pete Alonso, the regular first baseman, did not play in the team’s series finale against the Atlanta Braves, which they dropped 5-4 thanks to a Ronald Acuña Jr. walk-off home run.

He was believed, according to the Mets’ official site, to be available for the game. He did not make an appearance, however, and after the game, manager Luis Rojas explained that Alonso’s left wrist was bothering him, describing the feeling as ‘soreness.’

The Mets don’t want to take any chances and will have Alonso undergo an MRI this week to have a better grasp at the extent of the injury.

“Pete was not available,” Rojas said. “I know we were talking pregame and I did not reveal that. I just think it’s not prudent for the team to reveal that Pete is not available. For me it’s a competitive disadvantage when you say that.”

The Mets think that Alonso’s wrist is sore after being hit by a pitch in the series against the St. Louis Cardinals, on May 5. That would mean the slugger has been dealing with the issue for at least two weeks.

The Mets are hopeful it’s not a long-term issue

For now, the Mets hope that with a couple of days of rest, Alonso will be available to play on Friday in their series opener against the Miami Marlins.

“He had X-rays done and everything there, and everything was negative. The area was checked, we passed it and he kept playing and he was good with it,” said Rojas. “Yesterday he felt just a little bit of it. Not having the start with the day off connected, we felt that was going to put him in a good spot for Friday so he can play.“

Alonso has hit six homers for the Mets so far, with a .236/.336/.433 line and a .769 OPS.

Alonso’s absence is another one for a team that is already missing Jeff McNeil, Luis Guillorme, JD Davis, Brandon Nimmo, Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, Taijuan Walker, and others.

PFL 5 matchups announced; Rory MacDonald – Gleison Tibau to headline

The PFL has announced their matchups for their fifth event of the 2021 season. This fifth event will feature the second matchups between the welterweights and the light heavyweights of the PFL.

In the main event of the evening, former Bellator champion and top UFC contender Rory MacDonald (22-6-1) will be taking on UFC veteran Gleison Tibau (35-15). The fifth PFL card of 2021 will take place on June 17th.

MacDonald will be making his second appearance with the Pro Fight League. He was the promotion’s biggest signing prior to the 2020 season, but last season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the PFL up and running in 2021, MacDonald made his debut at PFL 2 when he submitted Curtis Millender in the first round. MacDonald is being looked at as the favorite to become the Pro Fight League welterweight champion.

Standing in his way on June 17th is the tough Gleison Tibau. Tibau lost his opening matchup at PFL 2 by decision. That loss snapped a two-fight winning streak which included a victory over former Bellator champion Will Brooks.

At 37 years old, Tibau is now fighting in the welterweight division after spending the majority of his career at lightweight. He’s been in there with some of the best in the world and he’s looking to pull a massive upset at PFL 5.

Other matchups to watch at PFL 5

I’m incredibly excited to see the 2019 PFL champion Ray Cooper III (21-7-1) compete in a few weeks. Cooper had a dominant first round submission victory back in April to start his 2021 season.

Ray Cooper III made his PFL debut in the 2018 season. He started 4-0 which included two stoppage wins over former world champion Jake Shields. Cooper was then submitted in the finals. However, he bounced back to win the 2019 season and become welterweight champion.

He will be taking on Nikolay Aleksakhin (24-5, 1 NC) on June 17th. Aleksakhin had his first matchup of the season end in a No Contest after an accidental eye poke back in February. That was Aleksakhin’s second appearance in the PFL cage.

His first came back in 2019 when he scored a TKO win over Jesse Ronson. That No Contest snapped a seven-fight win streak. He should be a good test for the former PFL champion in a few weeks.

I’m also very excited to see the matchup between light heavyweights Vinny Magalhaes (19-12, 1 NC) and Antonio Carlos Jr (11-5, 1 NC). The two UFC vets are two of the best submission artists in the game. If you’re a fan of grappling this is definitely one to watch at PFL 5.

You can check out the full lineup for the Pro Fight League’s fifth event of 2021 below.

New York Yankee History: A look at all the Yankee’s No-Hitters

Jim Abbott

The New York Yankees, the most illustrious winning sports franchise in all sports worldwide, has had their share of no-hitters in their history. They also own the only World Series perfect game in the history of baseball.

First, it’s important to know the difference between a no-hitter and a perfect game. A no-hitter seems pretty simple; you allow no hits. But there are some fine nuances. The definition, according to Baseball-Reference.com when a pitcher (or pitchers) allows no hits during the entire course of a game, which consists of at least nine innings. In a no-hit game, batters can get on base and even score, which leaves it open to you to decide whose no-hitter seems integral than another. Walks, errors, hit by pitches, passed and wild balls, and catcher interference that allows a hitter to reach or score is allowed, and it is still a no-hitter.

If you want to bring the integrity of a no-hitter up still another notch, we come to the definition of a perfect game, and it’s far easier to describe. No one gets on base, period in a nine or more inning game. In this writer’s opinion, the best no-hitter to take place in a Yankees uniform was Jim Abbott’s accomplishment on September 4, 1993. Although Abbott allowed 5 runners, none scored. He is the only pitcher to ever throw a no-hitter after being born with no right hand. Don Larsen threw the finest perfect game against the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1956 World Series. To date, it is the only perfect game to be thrown in a World Series.

A note of interest is that previous to 1991, MLB allowed no-hitters and perfect games to occur in games that only had seven innings. MLB and MLBPA (player’s union) changed that in an agreement before the 1991 season. Now they must occur in a nine or more inning game. Much to the chagrin of the Arizona Diamondbacks and their starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner, on April 25, 2021, as part of a seven-inning doubleheader on that day, Bumgarner had a “no-hitter outing.” Still, per MLB official rules, it will not be considered a no-hitter even though he had no control over the game’s length.

The New York Yankees has had 12 no-hitters, all 30 MLB teams have had 268 no-hitters recognized by MLB in the modern era. That is from 1901, when the American League was formed. According to Sporting News, the Los Angeles Dodgers (Brooklyn Dodgers) have had the greatest number of no-hitters (26). According to MLB.com, Nolan Ryan had the most no-hitters in his career (7).

Here are all the New York Yankee’s no-hitters:

  1. George Anthony Mogridge. April 24, 1917, against the Boston Red Sox. The final score was tied for the smallest victory, 2-1 with 3 baserunners allowed. It was the first no-hitter ever thrown at Boston’s Fenway Park. Morgridge played for the Yankees from 1915 to 1920. He accomplished his feat at the age of 28 and spent 15 years in the major leagues.
  2. Samuel Pond Jones. September 4, 1923, against the Philadelphia Athletics. The final score was 2-0, with 2 runners allowed. It is the only no-hitter in MLB hitter where the pitcher did not strike out a single batter. His 22 consecutive seasons pitching in one league is a major league record shared with Herb Pennock, Early Wynn, Red Ruffing, and Steve Carlton.
  3. Montgomery “Monte” Pearson. August 27, 1938, against the Cleveland Indians. The final score was a Yankee blowout, 13-0 with 2 runners allowed. It was in the second game of a weekend doubleheader and was the first no-hitter ever throw at Yankee Stadium.
  4. Allie Pierce Reynolds. July 12, 1951, against the Cleveland Indians. The final score was 1-0, tied for the smallest scoring game. He allowed 3 runners, two walks, and an error.
  5. Allie Pierce Reynolds. September 28, 1951, against the Boston Red Sox. The final score was 8-0 with 4 runners allowed. Reynolds is the only New York Yankee pitcher to ever have two no-hitters in his career; what made it even more amazing is that they were within the same season. He was one of only six MLB pitchers to pitch two no-hitters in the same season. Reynolds pitched for the Yankees for 8 years between 1947 and 1954. During that time, he was one of the best Yankee pitchers ever, going 131-60.
  6. Don James Larsen. October 8, 1956, against the Brooklyn Dodgers. The final score was 2-0 with no runners. It was the sixth ever perfect game in MLB history and the first for the New York Yankees. It was also the only perfect game during a World Series (Game 5, 1956). The odd thing is that Larsen had a five-year losing record with the Yankees, but on this one day, he was perfect. It just goes to show you why baseball is so wonderful; you never know what could happen on any given day.
  7. David Allan Righetti. July 4, 1983, against the Boston Red Sox. The final score was 4-0, with 4 runners allowed. The was a very special no-hitter for deceased Yankee owner George Steinbrenner as it was against his most hated team and occurred on his birthday. This is likely the first no-hitter thrown in most present-day Yankee fans’ memory.
  8. James Anthony Abbott. September 4, 1993, against the Cleveland Indians. The final score was 4-0, with 5 runners allowed. This is my favorite Yankee no-hitter for two reasons. Knowing the history of this player and what he achieved in his baseball career was already inspiring. He is the only pitcher to pitch a no-hitter with only one hand in MLB history. The other reason was that I was honored to be in attendance at the old Yankee stadium, far up the third tier, to witness this remarkable achievement.
  9. Dwight Eugene Gooden. May 14, 1996, against the Seattle Mariners. The final score was 2-0, with 7 runners allowed. This was the last non-perfect no-hitter to the thrown at the old Yankee Stadium. 
  10. David Lee Wells. May 17, 1998, against the Minnesota Twins. The final score was 4-0, and it was the second perfect game thrown in Yankee history and the 15th in major league history. Wells would later admit his accomplishment was made while pitching with a hangover. 
  11. David Brian Cone. July 18, 1999, against the Montreal Expos. The final score was 6-0, and it was the Yankees’ third perfect game thrown and the 16th in major league history. It was also the only perfect game to be thrown in interleague play. Notable is that it occurred on Yogi Berra day. The catcher that caught the first-ever perfect game for the Yankees. Joining him in the stands that day was the Yankees’ Don Larsen, who pitched the only perfect game in World Series history, a record still today.
  12. Corey Scott Kluber. May 19, 2021, against the Texas Rangers. The final score 2-0, with one runner allowed. What makes this no-hitter so remarkable is that it is the only no-hitter that was short, just a walk from becoming a perfect game. Also somewhat like Jim Abbott, Kluber overcame many struggles for the 2 time CY Young Award winner to return to form after not pitching for nearly two years.
 

Cody Garbrandt focused on becoming a two-division UFC champion

This weekend at UFC Vegas 27, former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt (12-3) returns in the main event. Garbrandt is taking on the surging contender Rob Font (18-4) in a pivotal matchup for the bantamweight division.

The last year has been really difficult for the former UFC champion. Garbrandt last fought at UFC 250 last June where he knocked out Raphael Assuncao in the second round with a savage right hand.

It was a massive win for Garbrandt who snapped a three-fight losing streak with that win. After the win, Garbrandt came out and said that he was going to drop to flyweight and challenge for the UFC‘s flyweight title.

The promotion booked him against the champion Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1-1) at UFC 255. However, after a battle with COVID, Garbrandt had to pull out of the fight. Figueiredo ended up defeating Alex Perez that night and fought to a draw a few weeks later against Brandon Moreno (18-5-2).

At UFC 263, Figueiredo and Moreno will rematch after their first fight was scored a draw. That delayed Garbrandt’s chances at the flyweight title and as a result, he decided to stay at bantamweight to fight Rob Font.

The former UFC champion now finds himself in a unique spot. If he wins on Saturday, he could be one of the first in line to fight for the bantamweight title. However, he also could be the next in line for the flyweight title after UFC 263.

Garbrandt’s two-division UFC dream

In speaking to the media this week prior to UFC Vegas 27, Garbrandt made it clear that he sees two titles in his future. He laid out a scenario in which he can become a two-division champion in the next year.

Garbrandt pointed out the fact that if he wins Saturday and the winner of Figueiredo/Moreno comes out clean, he could fight the winner in a few months. That would be his chance to capture the UFC flyweight title.

If that were to happen, Garbrandt could then move back up to challenge the bantamweight champion. Champion Aljamain Sterling (20-3) and Petr Yan (15-2) are expected to rematch in the fall after Sterling won the title by DQ at UFC 259.

TJ Dillashaw and Cory Sandhagen are fighting in July and the winner of that matchup might be next. However, Garbrandt could be the second in line after Sandhagen/Dillashaw.

If “No Love” wins at UFC Vegas 27 then drops down to become the flyweight champion, he very well could fight for the bantamweight title next year. It’s a steep ask, but Garbrandt seems up to the challenge. You can see his full pre-fight media scrum below.

Yankees’ teammates congratulate Corey Kluber: ‘Baseball history!’

New York Yankees, Corey Kluber

In a masterful performance against his old team, New York Yankees’ starter Corey Kluber threw a no-hit, no-run against the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night, sparking the Bombers’ 2-0 win in a night in which offense was scarce.

Kluber’s teammates with the Yankees celebrated the accomplishment both in the field and via social media, amazed at the veteran right-hander’s form.

“Congratulations on the no hitter and thank you for allowing me to be a part of an incredibly special night I will never forget!” were the words of Yankees’ catcher Kyle Higashioka, who was there for the whole game.

Kluber threw the 12th no-hitter in Yankees’ history, and the first since 1999. It was a night to remember, and there is no doubt about it.

“Wow what a moment to be a part of! Congrats @CKluber on the no hitter!!” Yankees infielder Tyler Wade, who hit an important extra-base hit last night, wrote in his official Twitter account.

Jonathan Loaisiga, the Yankees’ relief ace, wrote a message in Spanish, congratulating his teammate and wishing good health for him.

“Wow what a performance from Kluber!!!!!!!! Hell yeah !!! Baseball History!!,” was the message of center fielder Aaron Hicks, currently sidelined with a wrist injury.

An emotional night for the Yankees

The pitcher himself, known for showing little emotion, was spotted smiling multiple times yesterday. “I’ve never been part of one [or] witnessed one, let alone thrown one,” Kluber said to the Yankees’ official site. “So, more than anything, it was a lot of fun to be a part of.”

“I was doing a little hyperventilating on the bench between the eighth and ninth innings,” Higashioka said. He then added, with a smile, “Luckily Corey didn’t notice.”

It was a special night for the Yankees, in a season in which no-hitters have been plentiful. That doesn’t take anything away from Kluber and his amazing feat, though.

Yankees could be without two more outfielders as Frazier, LaMarre struggle with injury

nyy, yankees, clint frazier

As the New York Yankees push forward in the 2021 regular season, they are beginning to pick up injuries at an astronomical rate. Every year skipper Aaron Boone and his staff deal with injury issues, and that is no different this season as the outfield has been decimated the past few days.

The Yankees are already without Aaron Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton, two everyday starters that are considered impact players. Hicks has been struggling this year to get going offensively, hitting just .194 with four homers and 14 RBIs. He was starting to pick up the pace over the past seven games, though, hitting .368, striking out just five times over 19 at-bats. An unfortunate time for him to tear the sheath in his left wrist, which could keep them out for a considerable amount of time.

Stanton, on the other hand, has a quad strain that will keep them out for at least a week, maybe more. Given the history of his injuries and how long it takes him to recover, I estimate he will be out for at least two weeks. However, it is not a long-term ordeal and he should be available for a majority of the season.

Two other outfield injuries the Yankees are dealing with:

Clint Frazier:

Aaron Boone stated that Frazier is dealing with some neck issues:

“He’s dealing with some neck things. I don’t know if its stiffness or what, but we’re looking into all that and what it could mean. He’s been getting treatment and going through different testing. He’ll be out for BP and going through his routine. We’re just taking the precaution there.

The injury to Frazier does not seem too serious, as neck soreness could be a result of sleeping on his pillow oddly. Clint has looked better as of late, similar to Hicks, as he’s hitting a measly .151 with four homers and seven RBIs this season. He desperately needs to get his strikeout right down from 27.2%, as he currently hosts a -0.7 WAR.

Ryan LaMarre:

The other outfielder to go down was Ryan LaMarre on Wednesday, being replaced by Tyler Wade in right field. LaMarre suffered a hamstring injury, which the Yankees are still diagnosing in terms of seriousness. Hopefully, it won’t be debilitating, and LaMarre will be available in the coming weeks, but hamstring injury’s are tricky and can be tough to return from.

Knicks Vs. Hawks schedule released, offering New York perfect opportunity to start strong

New York Knicks, RJ Barrett

The New York Knicks are gearing up to take on the Atlanta Hawks in their first postseason appearance in nearly a decade. The Knicks surprised everybody this season with the rise of Julius Randle and the impact of head coach Tom Thibodeau. However, this was a team effort, finding their way to the playoffs despite most believing they would be one of the worst teams in the NBA.

They finished the regular season with 41 wins, 10 games above .500, and locked in the 4th seed with three consecutive wins to close out the season. Thanks to a Hawks defeat, the Knicks earned home-field advantage for the first two games of the series, which is a significant deal given the atmosphere at MSG and the fact that New York recently just opened up to increase the capacity at the arena.

Here’s what the Knicks Vs. Hawks schedule looks like for the series:

  • Game 1 – Sunday, May 23 – Atlanta at New York – 7 pm ET – TNT
  • Game 2 – Wednesday, May 26 – Atlanta at New York – 7:30 pm ET – TNT
  • Game 3 – Friday, May 28 – New York at Atlanta – 7 pm ET – ESPN
  • Game 4 – Sunday, May 30 – New York at Atlanta – 1 pm ET – ABC
  • Game 5 (If Necessary) – Wednesday, June 2 – Atlanta at New York – TBD
  • Game 6 (If Necessary) – Friday, June 4 – New York at Atlanta – TBD
  • Game 7 (If Necessary) – Sunday, June 6 – Atlanta at New York – TBD

With the positive energy swirling at MSG, the Knicks have a fantastic opportunity to take an early lead against Atlanta in the series. The first game will be on Sunday at 7 PM, with the second game in New York that following Wednesday at 7:30 PM. The Knicks will then travel to Atlanta, or they can close out the series with a few more victories. However, the postseason is largely based on momentum, so if Thibodeau can will his team to victory in the first two contests, the Knicks will be in a fantastic position to steal the first series and move on in postseason play.