Natanael Cano to Participate in “On the Rise” Panel at LatinFest+

Natanael Cano is on the rise…

The Mexican singer and songwriter at the forefront of the 21st century trap corridos movement will be one of the featured speakers at this year’s LatinFest+ in Las Vegas. 

Natanael Cano

Cano, who recently released his album Mi Verdad, will be one of the panelists for the panel On the Rise — The New Generation of Urban Men and Women: A Candid Conversation.

In addition to Cano, who is ushering the trap-inspired corridosmovement, up-and-coming artists to take part in the panel include Argentine trap queen Cazzuand reggaetón crooner Sech.

The On the Rise panel will take place April 22 at Billboardand Telemundo‘s LatinFest+ in Las Vegas.

Other stars confirmed so far to participate at LatinFest+ include OzunaJ BalvinRosaliaand Los Tigres del Norte

The inaugural Latinfest+also marks the 30th anniversary of Billboard’s Latin Music Conference, the longest-running and biggest Latin music gathering in the world. Latinfest+ will be an immersive, week-long experience for the Latin entertainment industry, artists, executives and fans and will include superstar conversations, industry panels and workshops, celebrity fireside chats, live concerts, fan experiences and live activations of some of Billboard’s most celebrated franchises, including Growing Up Latino.

The three-day music event culminates with the 2020 Billboard Latin Music Awards, which will air live April 23 on Telemundo. 

Dascha Polanco to Star in the Superhero Thriller “Samaritan”

Dascha Polanco is a good Samaritan…

The 37-year-old Dominican actress is set to star in MGM’s superhero thriller movie Samaritan

Dascha Polanco

Polanco joins a cast that includes Javon ‘Wanna’ WaltonSylvester StalloneMartin StarrPilou Asbækand Moises Arias.

Walton will play a young boy who’s out to discover if a mythic superhero, who vanished 20 years earlier following a tragic event, is still alive.

Julius Avery is directing from a screenplay by Bragi F. Schut, with additional writing by Mark L. SmithZak Penn, and Chuck MacLean

The story is based on Schut’s original idea. 

The film is scheduled for release on December 11 via United Artists Releasingwith Universal handling foreign. 

Polanco portrayed Dayanara Diaz on Netflix’s Orange is the New Blackfor seven-seasons and starred in Ava DuVernay’s 2019 Netflix limited series When They See Us. She’ll soon be seen in her first lead film role in Adrian Martinez’s indie dark comedy iCreep, and Warner Brothers’ adaption of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In The Heightsthis summer. Her additional credits include the FXanthology series The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Storyand films including JoyThe Perfect MatchThe Cobblerand Gimme Shelter

Arias first made a name for himself as series regular on the Disney Channel hit original series Hannah Montana, and has since gone on to appear in several Sundance films including Kings of Summer, The Land and Stanford Prison Experiment. Last year, he appeared in CBS Films’ Five Feet Apart as well as the Sundance World Dramatic Competition Special Jury Award winner Monos and the SXSW opening weekend film The Wall of Mexico

Penelope Cruz to Reunite with Antonio Banderas for the Spanish-Language Film “Competencia Oficial”

Penélope Cruz is proving her competence…

The 45-year-old Spanish actress is set to star opposite Antonio Banderas in the Spanish-language feature Competencia Oficial, which is due to get underway in Spain at the end of February. 

Penelope Cruz & Antonio Banderas

Veteran Argentine actor Oscar Martínez will also star.

Banderas and Martínez will play actors with very different track records whose methods clash during the preparation for a movie financed by a notorious and over-eager millionaire. Cruz will play the film’s prestigious but eccentric director.

The film is co-written and co-directed by Argentine filmmaking duo Mariano Cohnand Gastón DupratAndrés Dupratalso scripted. 

Additional cast includes José Luis GómezCarlos HipólitoKoldo OlabarriIrene EscolarNagore AramburuPilar Castro and Juan Grandinetti.

This is the latest project to feature Cruz and Banderas…

They most recently starred in Pedro Almodovar’s Pain and Glory. They’ve also starred in Almodovar’s I’m So Excited.

A release date for Competencia Oficial has yet to be announced.

Aimee Garcia Joins Voice Cast of Marvel’s “M.O.D.O.K.” at Hulu

Aimee Garciais joining the Marvel Universe

The 41-year-old Puerto Rican and Mexican American actress will be part of the voice cast Marvel’s animated supervillain family sitcom M.O.D.O.K. at Hulu.

Aimee Garcia

With executive producer Patton Oswalt starring as the constantly foiled Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing, the adult-centric comedy is set to debut this year on the Disney-controlled streamer.

She joins a list of newcomers to the animated series that includes Sam Richardson, Wendi McLendon-Coveyand Ben Schwartz.

“I’m blown away by our insanely talented and hilarious voice cast, who have all brought their specific kind of magic to this weird and wonderful corner of the Marvel Universe,” EP and showrunner Jordan Blumsaid of the additions to the series.

Karim ZreikMarvel Television StudiosSVP Original Programming & Production added in a statement today: “Patton and Jordan have done a phenomenal job in laying the groundwork for this exceptional ensemble. We’re thrilled to include this cast in the Marvel family,”

M.O.D.O.K.follows the extremely dysfunctional home life of the ex-A.I.M. member, who made his comics premiere way back in 1967.

In addition to Richardson, McLendon-Covey, Schwartz and Garcia, the cast additions include Melissa FumeroBeck Bennetand Jon Daly.

In Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K.,the megalomaniacal supervillain M.O.D.O.K. (Oswalt) has long pursued his dream of one day conquering the world. But after years of setbacks and failures fighting the Earth’s mightiest heroes, M.O.D.O.K. has run his evil organization A.I.M. into the ground. Ousted as A.I.M.’s leader, while also dealing with his crumbling marriage and family life, the Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing is set to confront his greatest challenge yet: a midlife crisis!

Garcia will play Jodie, M.O.D.O.K.’s wife and mother to his children, has had a late-in-life awakening — excited to pursue her mommy-blog turned lifestyle-brand empire and discover who she is as an independent woman in her forties. There are just too many things to do in this world and not enough time to waste being held back by negativity. And unfortunately for M.O.D.O.K., the thing weighing her down the most… is him.

Fumero will portray Melissa. Even with her father’s “features,” 17-year-old Melissa has risen the ranks to become the Heathers-like queen bee of her school and a star in the world of teen figure skating. Every popular kid either wants to date her or avoid her terrifying wrath. But for all of her success, Melissa secretly yearns for her father’s approval.

Garcia’s previous credits include television credits include George LopezDexterVegasand Lucifer.

Fumero’s television credits include Brooklyn Nine-Nineand One Life to Live.

Aventura to Perform at Radio City Music Hall in March

Aventurais making its triumphant return to the Big Apple… 

The bachata group, comprised of Romeo SantosLenny SantosHenry Santos and Max Agende Santos, is returning for its first U.S. tour in more than 10 years and the band just added the date for the New York City show.

Aventura

Aventura’s NYC fans were concerned that the tour’s initial announcement didn’t include a date for the city, a major base of support for them. But, the wait is over as the group has officially revealed thatthey’ll perform at Radio City Music Hall on March 16.  

Produced by Live Nation, the tour will kick off on February 6 in Los Angeles and make stops in Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Boston and Washington D.C., and Miami. 

Tickets for the New York City date are officially on sale at LiveNation.com.

Jose Martinez Traded to the Tampa Bay Rays

Jose Martinez is headed to the Sunshine State…

The St. Louis Cardinals have traded the 31-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball player and Randy Arozarena to the Tampa Bay Rays for touted left-handed pitching prospect Matt Liberatore and low-level catching prospect Edgardo Rodriguez, the teams announced Thursday night.

Jose Martinez,

St. Louis also sent a competitive balance Round A pick (38th overall) to Tampa Bay, which sent its Round B pick (66th overall) to the Cardinals.

The Cardinals and Rays had been in active conversations with multiple teams as Tampa Bay tried to add outfield help and St. Louis sought to divest itself of its surplus, according to sources with knowledge of the teams’ intentions.

Liberatore, 20, is a consensus top-100 prospect and is regarded by some as the second-best left-handed prospect in the minor leagues behind San Diego’s MacKenzie Gore.

Chosen with the 16th pick of the 2018 draft, Liberatore spent 2019 in the Rays’ low-A affiliate with Bowling Green of the Midwest League and posted a 3.10 ERA over 78⅓ innings. He struck out 76, walked 31 and allowed only two home runs.

With a farm system regarded as the best in baseball, Tampa Bay reached into its cache of prospects to supplement its major league team, which won the American Leaguewild-card game and took the Houston Astrosto a deciding fifth game in the division series.

The Rays had been targeting outfield help to complement left fielder Hunter Renfroe, center fielder Kevin Kiermaierand right fielder Austin Meadows. They should get it with Martinez, a right-handed batter who hit .305 with 17 home runs and 83 RBIs in 2018. His numbers dipped some this past season, as Martinez posted a .269-10-42 line and missed time in August with a shoulder injury.

Martinez has a .296 batting average since his first full season in the majors in 2017, which is the eighth-best mark in the National Leagueamong the 83 players with at least 1,000 at bats, per ESPN Stats & Informationresearch.

The speedy Arozarena, meanwhile, was called up by St. Louis in August when Martinez went on the injured list. The Cuba-born 24-year-old was hitting .344 in the minors before his call-up, and then went 6-for-20 for the Cards during the regular season before making five postseason appearances (0-for-4). 

Rodriguez, 19, was in the Gulf Coast League this past season, hitting .400 in limited action (25 at-bats).

Pablo Larrazabal Wins Alfred Dunhill Championship in Dramatic Fashion

Pablo Larrazabal has pulled off a big win…

The 36-year-old Spanish golfer won the European Tour’s season-opening Alfred Dunhill Championship on Sunday after losing a three-shot overnight lead and then making three birdies on his last four holes for a dramatic one-stroke victory.

Pablo Larrazabal

Larrazabal birdied the par-5 No. 18 as he finished 8 under overall and just ahead of Sweden’s Joel Sjoholm.

Larrazabal said he struggled with blisters on his feet throughout the final round, when he fell three shots behind at one point. He made a litany of errors and closed with a 75 after six bogeys and a double bogey, but his rousing finale still enabled him to clinch a fifth European Tour title and first in four years.

Pablo Larrazabal

“I woke up this morning and I didn’t think I was going to play,” Larrazabal said. “I couldn’t put my shoe on, I couldn’t walk to the buggy. I really struggled on the back nine. I have a big blister on my right toe and I said to myself ‘If Tiger [Woods] can win a U.S. Open with a broken leg’ and I just fought hard.”

Larrazabal’s victory at Leopard Creek Country Club came at the event where he began his professional career 12 years ago.

Charl Schwartzel (70) finished tied for third at 6 under on his return to tournament action for the first time in eight months because of a wrist injury. Branden Grace (73) and Wil Besseling (74) were also in that tie for third.

Besseling led or held a share of the lead through much of the final round but he made bogey on the last after his approach flew too far and landed among some rocks behind the green.

That opened the way for Larrazabal to win it on the last. He laid up with his second and then fired his third shot in close to tap in for birdie and the win.

Patrick Teixeira Wins Hard-Fought Bout Against Carlos Adames to Earn Vacant Interim World Title

Patrick Teixeirais officially a world titleholder…

Despite a bloodied face, the 28-year-old Brazilian professional boxer and junior middleweight won a hard-fought unanimous decision over Carlos Adames to win a vacant interim world title on Saturday night at The Chelseaat The Cosmopolitanof Las Vegas.

Patrick Teixeira

The judges scored the fight 116-111, 114-113 and 114-113 for Teixeira, who earned the winning margin on two scorecards on the strength of a knockdown in the final moments of the seventh round.

“It was tough with the cuts, but I was able to get through it because of my experience,” Teixeira said. “It was a little harder, but my corner did an excellent job on the cuts. I am very happy to bring a world title back to Brazil. I want to make boxing bigger in Brazil. Soccer is our biggest sport, and this is a great moment for boxing in my country.”

Patrick Teixeira

It was an action-packed battle that began as a boxing match as Teixeira, a southpaw, gave Adames trouble with his movement and jab in the early going. But the aggressive Adames got into the fight in the third round when he found a home for his body shots. He also landed stiff, straight right hands and looked like he would be able to overpower Teixeira.

The Robert Garcia-trained Adames (18-1, 14 KOs), 25, of the Dominican Republic, opened a cut under Teixeira’s swelling left eye in the fourth round and continued to force him back with heavy shots. He opened a cut under his right eye in the fifth round even though Teixeira rebounded in the round to land combinations that had Adames a little shaky.

The seventh round was a wild one. Adames was pounding Teixeira and landed three tremendous uppercuts that rocked his head back. It looked like he might stop Teixeira at any moment when the Golden Boy-promoted Teixeira (31-1, 22 KOs) suddenly rebounded to connect with multiple rights hooks and then a left hand to the chin that dropped Adames to his rear end along the ropes in the final seconds of the round. It was the first time Adames had been knocked down, and it ultimately cost him the fight.

They continued to battle on seemingly even terms, with Adames the heavier hitter but Teixeira’s movement and punches from unusual angles giving Adames problems.

“We are so proud of Patrick Teixeira,” Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoyasaid. “It was a brutal and bloody war, but Teixeira really dug deep to earn himself the most important win of his career against a very dangerous fighter. We look forward to starting the new year with yet another champion in our stable.”

Teixeira won his fifth fight in a row since his only defeat, a second-round knockout to former world title challenger Curtis Stevensin May 2016.

The fight was initially slated to be a title eliminator for the right to become the mandatory challenger for 154-pound world titleholder Jaime Munguia, but on Tuesday, the WBO sanctioned the bout for its interim belt because Munguia announced his next fight would be at middleweight. Munguia likely will vacate the junior middleweight belt, and Teixeira is expected to be upgraded to the full titleholder during next week’s annual WBO convention in Tokyo.

Oscar Valdez Defeats Adam Lopez to Earn Shot at World Title

Oscar Valdez has earned his shot at another world title…

The 28-year-old Mexican former featherweight world titlist made a successful move up to the junior lightweight division on Saturday night to earn a shot at a world title in a very tough fight.

Oscar Valdez

Valdez survived a second-round knockdown and some shaky moments, but stopped Adam Lopez in the seventh round of their 130-pound world title elimination bout in the main event of the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN+ card inside The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitanof Las Vegas.

Valdez was supposed to face Adrian Gutierrez, but he showed up at Friday’s weigh-in at a shocking 141 pounds, 11 over the contract weight.

Oscar Valdez

Lopez was supposed to face Luis Coriain a 10-round preliminary bout at featherweight, but with Gutierrez so heavy, Top Rank offered Lopez the opportunity to face Valdez, whom he has known for years and wanted to fight. Lopez consulted with trainer Buddy McGirt and agreed to the new assignment and a bigger paycheck.

Lopez (13-2, 6 KOs) gave a tremendous effort and had his moments, but Valdez (27-0, 21 KOs), a two-time Olympian from Mexico, drew on his vast in-ring advantage.

“My experience made me win the fight,” Valdez said. “I have a great amateur background and a lot more experience than him, and I think that’s what made me win the fight. He’s a great fighter, but I think my experience made me win.”

The victory propelled Valdez, who earned $300,000 to Lopez’s $75,000, into a mandatory shot against countryman Miguel Berchelt, who was all smiles in the ring after the fight when he and Valdez embraced.

Lopez looked like he might pull the upset against Valdez when he connected with a clean left hook to the chin that knocked him down with about 50 seconds to go in the second round. Valdez, who hit the mat awkwardly, never saw the shot coming and looked a little unsteady when he got to his feet, but he made it through the round without taking too much more damage.

“I was very surprised [by the knockdown],” Valdez said. “I take my hat off to Adam Lopez. He’s a great fighter, great warrior, just like his father [the late Hector Lopez] was. I just got hit. This is boxing. I prepared myself for two, three months for Gutierrez. Got a new opponent, but that’s no excuse. This kid is a warrior.”

According to CompuBox statistics, Valdez landed 91 of 330 punches (28%) and Lopez connected with 92 of 436 blows (21%). Although Valdez had some problems, he closed the show by outlanding Lopez 21-7 in power shots in the seventh round.

“I would love a rematch with Oscar. He’s a true fighter,” Lopez said. “I’m not a 130-pounder, but I’m a real fighter as well, so I’ll take on anybody, anywhere. Let’s get a rematch. I’m glad people know who I am now. I can fight. People love my style. This is what I do. It’s in my blood.”

Indeed boxing is in his blood. His father, the late Hector Lopez, was a 1990s lightweight and junior welterweight contender and 1984 Olympic silver medalist for Mexico. He died at age 44 in 2011.

Valdez, who was in his third fight since switching trainers to Eddy Reynoso— who also trains Canelo Alvarez— made six featherweight title defenses before vacating his 126-pound belt in early August to move up in weight. With Lopez vanquished, Valdez will next get a shot at Berchelt (37-1, 33 KOs), 28, who has made six title defenses and is generally considered the No. 1 fighter in the world at 130 pounds.

“Miguel Berchelt is a true champion inside the ring and outside the ring,” Valdez said. “The fans love him. He’s a champion. That’s the one I want to fight. He has that WBC belt, and he’s trying to take it back home.

Yan Gomes Agrees to Two-Year, $10 Million Deal with Washington Nationals

Yan Gomes is a 10-million dollar man…

The 32-year-old Brazilian veteran catcher has agreed to a two-year, $10 million deal to return to the World Series champion Washington Nationals, according to ESPN.

Yan Gomes

Gomes, caught the final out of Washington’s World SeriesGame 7 win over the Houston Astroswill rejoin Kurt Suzuki as the Nationals’ catching tandem.

Gomes was acquired from the Cleveland Indians in a four-player trade in November 2018 and started 90 of 93 games he played last season while splitting duties behind the plate with Suzuki. He hit .223 with 16 doubles, 12 home runs and 43 RBIs while throwing out 30% of attempted base stealers.

Gomes has a .245 average with 99 homers and 351 RBIs in seven big league seasons.