Eva Longoria to Direct & Executive Produce HBO Max’s “The Gordita Chronicles” Pilot

Eva Longoria has lined up her next directorial project…

The 45-year-old Mexican American actress/producer will direct and executive produce The Gordita Chronicles pilot at HBO Max.

Eva Longoria

The single-camera family comedy hails from Josh Berman’s Osprey ProductionsZoe Saldana’s Cinestar Pictures, and Sony Pictures Television, where Berman’s Osprey Prods is under a deal.

Written by Claudia Forestier, The Gordita Chronicles centers on a willful, chubby, 12-year-old Dominican who struggles to fit into hedonistic 1980s Miami as her family pursues the American Dream.

Brigitte Munoz Liebowitz serves as executive producer and showrunner. Longoria executive produces via her UnbeliEVAble Entertainment. Zoe Saldana, Mariel Saldana and Cisely Saldana executive produce for Cinestar Pictures.

Sony Pictures Television is the studio.

Longoria will be making her film directorial debut with Searchlight’s Flamin’ Hot, an inspiring biopic about the janitor turned executive who created the flaming hot Cheetos snack. She’ll also direct the workplace comedy 24/7 and star alongside Kerry Washington for Universal and direct the action comedy Spa Day for Sony.

The former Desperate Housewives star made her television directing debut on Devious Maids in 2014. Her television producing/directing credits also include ESPN 30 for 30 documentary Versus, and episodes of Black-ish, The Mick and Telenovela.

Longoria made her pilot directing debut with the CW’s Glorious.

 

Rita Moreno to Take Part in Paley Center’s International Women’s Day Panel Discussion “Choosing to Challenge”

Rita Moreno is leading the way…

To commemorate International Women’s DayThe Paley Center for Media will host a quarterly series of conversations exploring the media’s role in providing a diverse and inclusive platform for women, with the 89-year-old Puerto Rican legendary actress among the women set to take part.

Rita Moreno

The series will kick off with its inaugural event on International Women’s Day, Monday, March 8 at 10:00 am ET/7:00 am PT on the Paley Center’s dedicated channel on Verizon Media’s Yahoo Entertainment.

Choosing to Challenge: How Women Are Leading the Way, will focus on women’s roles as leaders in our society and address some of the most significant issues facing all women, according to the organization.

In addition to Moreno, the panel will include Misty Copeland, ballerina, author, and philanthropist; Hon. Val Demings, U.S. Representative (FL-10); Cynthia Erivo, Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award-winning actress, singer, and producer; Julie Foudy, espnW writer and soccer commentator, ESPN; Rita Moreno, actor and activist; Norah O’Donnell, anchor and managing editor, CBS Evening News; Phylicia Rashad, actor and director; and moderator Alicia Menendez, anchor, MSNBC’s American Voices with Alicia Menendez.

The series is made possible by support from John H. Josephson and Carolina F. Zapf.

“The Paley Center for Media is thrilled to present the first of a series of programs with influential women, who will share their experiences and raise awareness about the significant role the media can play in equality, opportunity, and representation to help create a more inclusive world,” said Maureen J. Reidy, the Paley Center’s President & CEO. “We are grateful to John H. Josephson and Carolina F. Zapf for their most generous support of this in-depth series, as well as Verizon’s continued commitment to providing a platform for diverse voices.”

“This PaleyImpact series will convene prominent women to discuss the media’s influence in amplifying women’s voices and the role it plays in helping to create a more gender equal world,” said Josephson and Zapf. “We are proud to support the Paley Center and we look forward to hearing the perspectives of the many distinguished women joining for this important series and to celebrate their numerous achievements and contributions to society.”

The quarterly series is part of The Paley Center for Media’s commitment to promoting diverse voices in media and entertainment. Similar programs have included the Paley Center’s series addressing antisemitism, racial justice and social equality, COVID-19, and celebrations of Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, and the LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month.

Jose Ramirez to Fight Josh Taylor in Junior Welterweight Unification Title Bout

Jose Ramirez is ready to expand his belt collection…

The junior welterweight unification title bout between the 28-year-old Mexican American boxer and Josh Taylor will take place on May 22 at a to be determined Las Vegas venue.

Jose Ramirez

Ramirez, the WBC and WBO champion, and Taylor, the IBF and WBA champion, had initially been planning to fight on May 8, but the fight was moved as to not conflict with the Canelo AlvarezBilly Joe Saunders title fight. Instead, they’ll fight later in the month, headlining a card on ESPN and simulcast on ESPN+.

“This is the best boxing has to offer, two elite fighters in the prime of their careers colliding in a legacy-defining matchup for the undisputed championship of the world,” Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said in a news release. “It’s a true 50-50 fight, one that the fans and both fighters demanded.”

Ramirez (26-0, 17 KO) last fought in August, winning a majority decision over Viktor Postol in his first defense as both the WBC and WBO titleholder. He has held the WBC belt since March 17, 2018, when he beat Amir Imam and the WBO belt since July 27, 2019, when he TKO‘d Maurice Hooker in the sixth round.

Taylor (17-0, 13 KO) won the IBF title in a May 2019 decision over Ivan Baranchyk and the WBA belt in a majority decision win over Regis Prograis in October 2019. Taylor, 30, last fought in September 2020, knocking out Apinun Khongsong in the first round.

Both Taylor and Ramirez fought as lightweights in the 2012 London Games, each losing in the quarterfinals in a division won by Vasiliy Lomachenko. On the same side of the bracket, they would have met up in the semifinals had they kept winning. Now, they’ll fight to unify a professional world title instead.

Terence Crawford was the last fighter the unify the division, a feat he accomplished in 2017. Crawford then vacated the titles with a move up to 147 pounds.

Triller to Promote Teofimo Lopez’s Next Fight

Teofimo Lopez is looking to trill in his next fight…

Triller has just thrown its name into the ring to promote the next fight of the 23-year-old Honduran American boxer, one of the sport’s rising stars.

Teofimo Lopez Jr.

The upstart tech company won the rights to promote Lopez’s lightweight title defense against George Kambosos with a bid of more than $6 million, a source told ESPN, confirming multiple reports.

Triller, which was founded in 2015, beat out established boxing outfits like Matchroom and Top Rank, Lopez’s current promoter, in a purse bid hosted by the IBF on Thursday.

The rights to promote Lopez’s mandatory defense hit the open market after Lopez and Top Rank failed to reach an agreement on a purse. Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) became the unified lightweight champion after beating Vasiliy Lomachenko in October 2020 to win the IBF, WBA and WBO belts in the 135-pound division.

“I love ESPN and the platform and everything they have done for Team Lopez and The Takeover. However, I am very thankful that my team and I stuck to our guns,” Lopez said in a statement to ESPN’s Mark Kriegel. “We knew what we were being offered was disrespectful, and we expected the open market would value us differently. And it showed today. The $6 million from Triller, right there, says that Top Rank doesn’t value the best fighter on their roster. I look forward to my title defense against George Kambosos. Stay tuned for the fight date.”

Triller made headlines when it promoted the exhibition bout between former heavyweight champions Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr as a pay-per-view attraction. According to reports, the fight generated more than 1.6 million buys.

Because of the IBF’s purse-split rules that give the champion 65%, Lopez’s share will be just under $4 million. Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs) is set to receive $2.1 million in his third fight in the United States. The Australian is coming off a split-decision victory over Lee Selby last October in London.

Ryan Kavanaugh, the CEO of Proxima Media, the company that owns Triller, said that Lopez vs. Kambosos will “probably be a co-main event” on a Triller card in May paired with an “influencer-celebrity-type event.”

“We don’t view them as an undercard. It’s just a matter if we have a co-main [event] that brings a different audience than them or not,” he said.

Kavanaugh said Triller would be open to bid for more fights in the future.

“If it’s an attractive purse bid like this where it’s for a significant title with well-known talent and people that we think will attract the right audience, then absolutely,” he said.

Top Rank president Todd duBoef said the agreement means “at the end of the day, everybody wins.”

“If Teofimo comes out successful and has a successful defense against Kambosos, terrific,” he said. “If they do a bunch of promotion and he gets bigger on the social platform, terrific and we have a long career together going forward.”

UFC Flyweight Champion Deiveson Figueiredo to Face Brandon Moreno in Highly Anticipated Rematch

Deiveson Figueiredo is getting a rematch…

The 33-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist and reigning UFC flyweight champion will fight Brandon Moreno once again on June 12, according to ESPN.

Deiveson Figueiredo

A location for the event, which is expected to be UFC 263, isn’t set yet.

In December, Figueiredo (20-1-1) and Moreno (18-5-2) fought to an exhilarating draw that was considered one of the best bouts of 2020.

The fight capped off a memorable year for Figueiredo, the UFC’s flyweight champion, who went 3-0-1 last year and was considered the consensus male fighter of the year. He won the flyweight title in July when he defeated Joseph Benavidez.

 

Both Figueiredo and Moreno are unbeaten in their past six fights.

Jessica Andrade to Fight Defending UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko 

Jessica Andrade is taking on a champion…

The 29-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist and former strawweight champion is set to take on defending UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 261, according to Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White.

Jessica Andrade

The 125-pound title fight will take place at the April 24 pay-per-view event, for which the UFC hasn’t yet finalized a location. It will mark Shevchenko’s fifth attempted title defense.

Shevchenko (20-3) has dominated the weight class since she dropped to 125 pounds from 135 pounds in 2018. She won the vacant belt by defeating another former strawweight champion in Joanna Jedrzejczyk in late 2018, then has looked more or less unbeatable in defenses against Jessica EyeLiz CarmoucheKatlyn Chookagian and Jennifer Maia.

Andrade (21-8) is widely perceived as the greatest threat to Shevchenko’s reign.

She won the UFC’s 115-pound championship by knocking out Rose Namajunas in May 2019 before surrendering the belt to current champ Zhang Weili three months later. She moved up to the 125-pound division in October, and scored a first-round knockout over Chookagian.

ESPN ranks Shevchenko and Andrade the No. 2 and No. 6 female pound-for-pound fighters in the world, respectively.

Marwin Gonzalez Signs One-Year, $3 Million Deal with Boston Red Sox

Marwin Gonzalez is in the red

The 31-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball utility player, a free-agent infielder, has agreed to a one-year, $3 million deal with the Boston Red Sox, according to ESPN.

Marwin Gonzalez

Gonzalez spent the past two seasons with the Minnesota Twins. He hit .211 with five home runs and 22 RBIs last year in a pandemic-shortened schedule.

Before his stint in Minnesota, he played seven seasons with the Houston Astros. His best season was in 2017, when he hit .303/.377/.530 with 23 homers and 90 RBIs and helped the team win the World Series.

A switch-hitter known for his defensive versatility, Gonzalez played first base, second base, third base and right field for the Twins last season.

Boston’s agreement with Gonzalez, which was first reported by MLB.com, comes a day after the Red Sox traded Andrew Benintendi to the Kansas City Royals in a three-team deal that yielded outfielder Franchy Cordero and two players to be named later.

Jonathan Villar Agrees to One-Year Deal with the New York Mets

Jonathan Villar has Mets his match…

The 29-year-old Dominican professional baseball player will be joining his fifth team in four seasons, agreeing to a one-year deal with the New York Mets, according to ESPN.

Jonathan Villar

Villar’s deal is for $3.55 million, according to multiple reports. His agreement with the Mets was first reported by MLB Network.

Villar, a switch-hitter, had a .232 batting average with 15 RBIs and 16 stolen bases in 52 games between the Miami Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He has shown his versatility in the field, playing second base, shortstop, third base and outfield during his career.

He adds infield depth behind new shortstop Francisco Lindor and second baseman Jeff McNeil.

Entering his ninth MLB season, Villar has also played for the Baltimore Orioles, Milwaukee Brewers and Houston Astros since 2013.

He has a career .259 batting average with 80 home runs, 283 RBIs and 218 stolen bases.

Teofimo Lopez Jr.’s Next Likely Opponent: George Kambosos Jr.

Teofimo Lopez Jr. has an idea on who his likely next opponent will be.

The 23-year-old Honduran American professional boxer, a lightweight star, is focused on keeping all five of his lightweight titles as he gears up for his next fight.

Teofimo Lopez Jr.

Mandatory IBF challenger George Kambosos Jr. is the front-runner to fight Lopez next, in a bout that would likely take place in the early spring in the United States, sources told ESPN.

Top Rank, which manages Lopez, is in talks with Kambosos’ team on a deal. There was early talk of this fight being in Kambosos’ homeland of Australia, where there could be a larger crowd, but the intention now, according to sources, is for the bout to take place in the U.S. due to COVID-19 restrictions and quarantine requirements in Australia, among other things. New York has been mentioned as an early location option.

Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs) became the IBF mandatory challenger after defeating Lee Selby by split decision in October.

Lopez is coming off the biggest win of any boxer in 2020, defeating former ESPN No.1 pound-for-pound fighter Vasiliy Lomachenko in October to win the IBF, WBO, WBA, WBC franchise and The Ring magazine titles. He’s the supreme belt holder in an extremely exciting lightweight division that also features young undefeated stars Ryan Garcia, Gervonta “Tank” Davis and Devin Haney.

 

Lopez told ESPN his ideal plan for 2021 is fighting Haney at lightweight before moving up to the junior welterweight division to face the winner of the May 8 Jose RamirezJosh Taylor undisputed title bout. That could still be in store as the year goes on, but he knows Kambosos is likely next.

“The only thing that is holding it up is my mandatory. I have to pay my respect to that guy. He fought his way up, the same way I had to fight my way up to be IBF lightweight world champion before I got to the point where I fought Vasiliy Lomachenko,” Lopez told ESPN. “I’ll deal with that process first, negotiate, see what happens, and if they agree with all the terms, that will have to be the guy. It’s not because it’s who I want but because it’s my mandatory. A lot of people say I’m ducking a lot of people, but I’m not. I got to go through the process — that’s just part of the game. If things go south, Devin Haney is the next guy, and hopefully we can make that fight happen without him trying to overprice himself.”

“I’m a true champion. I’m not letting go of any of my belts.”

If Kambosos’ team doesn’t agree to a deal this week, the IBF will send a letter for a purse bid Saturday. Approximately a week and a half after the letter is sent, a purse bid would be set to lock in the pay structure of a fight. If Kambosos still doesn’t accept the purse bid deal, Lopez and Top Rank will seek to move on to other, more appealing options.

Coming off a banner year in which he was named Fighter of the Year by multiple outlets, Lopez plans to continue to be in big 50-50 bouts and add to his large collection of titles.

Lopez told ESPN he is at about 70% coming off foot surgery after the Lomachenko fight. He shed a walking boot and has begun running. He plans to get back into the ring by the end of the month and expects to be 100% by his next fight date, which is currently expected to be in late April or May.

Nelson Cruz Reportedly Agrees to One-Year, $13 Million Contract with Minnesota Twins

Nelson Cruz is twinning again…

The 40-year-old professional baseball player, a designated hitter and right fielder, and the Minnesota Twins are reportedly in agreement on a one-year, $13 million contract, according to ESPN.

Nelson Cruz

Cruz has been a linchpin of the Bomba Squad Twins‘ lineup. And he’ll be back right in the middle of it in 2021.

The slugger, who hit .303 with 16 home runs, 33 RBIs and a career-high OPS+ (169) in the pandemic-shortened season, finished sixth in the American League MVP voting and was selected as the Marvin Miller Man of Year in the annual Players Choice Awards.

The award goes to the player whom his peers “most respect based on his leadership on the field and in the community.” Cruz donated a fire engine and an ambulance and helped build a police station in his hometown of Las Matas de Santa Cruz in the Dominican Republic, and his Boomstick 23 Foundation has contributed wheelchairs and crutches, and he set up a clinic to provide medical and dental care.

His mission to help his hometown and other towns in the Dominican Republic led to him receiving the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award at the 2020 ESPYS.

Cruz played last season on a $12 million deal after swatting a team-high 41 home runs while reaching 108 RBIs in 2019, despite two stints on the injured list for a wrist problem. He has reached the 40-homer mark four times in his career; Barry Bonds and Babe Ruth hold the all-time mark with five seasons. Cruz also was the 57th player in major league history to reach 400 career home runs.

His .992 OPS in 2020 ranked fourth in the AL and was the fifth-best mark in MLB history by a player in his age-39 season or older, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. And he led all major leaguers with a 1.182 OPS on pitches in the strike zone over the past two seasons.

From 2014 to 2018, no player in the majors hit more home runs than Cruz (203). In 16 major league seasons, Cruz, a six-time MLB All-Star who has three Silver Slugger Awards, has hit 417 home runs with 1,152 RBIs and a .278 batting average for the Twins, Seattle Mariners, Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers and Milwaukee Brewers.