Amanda Serrano Defeats Heather Hardy to Retain Undisputed Featherweight Titles

Amanda Serrano is keeping her titles…

The 34-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer, mixed martial artist and professional wrestler won a unanimous decision over Heather Hardy — 99-91, 100-90, 100-90 — to retain her undisputed featherweight titles.

Amanda Serrano,The friends had known each other for more than a decade and as much as the opportunity to win a title, this was about taking care of one another.

Hardy earned her biggest payday — her first six-figure paycheck — at age 41. Serrano got some good work in and dominated throughout, outlanding Hardy 278-149 and outthrowing her 739-557.

“Heather is a hell of a fighter,” Serrano said in the post-fight interview inside the ring. “She’s as tough as they come. We knew that. Who gets kicked in the face and still wants to fight.

“So, I love Heather.”

Saturday’s fight, which often saw one-sided rounds with Serrano landing 46.9% of her power punches, felt different from a typical title fight. In the lead-up to the fight, Serrano and Hardy discussed how they care for one another and how they often helped each other out throughout their careers.

Even on fight night, the two hugged before the start of the bout. Hardy apologized midfight after her mouthpiece fell out, briefly pausing the action. The bout didn’t have a feeling of disdain or hatred, but of a fight between two Brooklyn natives who had been boxing pioneers, who carried the sport before it took off in the past five years, facing off against each other one last time.

To wit: When Serrano, ESPN‘s No. 3 pound-for-pound fighter, was asked about her performance, she shrugged the question off.

“I’m more happy that I gave Heather an opportunity to make six figures,” Serrano said. “That was my goal tonight, to show that she’s skilled, she’s as tough as they come. Women can fight.”

Serrano, who had Saweetie as part of her walkout as she wore an homage to the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders heading to the ring, landed more than 25 punches in half of the rounds. Hardy landed more than 20 in only the seventh round, when she connected with 36.5% of her punches — her best percentage of the fight. Serrano landed 68.8% of her power punches in the first round and over 50% of her power punches in four rounds. Hardy landed more than 40% of her power punches in only the seventh.

There were multiple times when it seemed as if Serrano (45-2-1, 30 KO) was about to stop Hardy — she was staggered in multiple rounds, was bleeding before the start of the second round and the referee asked her if she wanted to continue going into the ninth round.

Hardy (24-3, 4 KO, 1 NC), who walked out to Alicia Keys‘ “Girl on Fire,” had no doubt — of course she wanted to continue.

“To have her grab my hand and say, ‘Come on, Heat, let me help you because I know what you went through,’ it just means everything,” Hardy said. “I gave everything I had today.

“I gave everything for three months. I have no excuses. That was everything.”

Tony Romo Wins American Century Championship for Third Time

Tony Romo is back in the winner’s circle…

The 42-year-old Mexican American former Dallas Cowboys quarterback has won the American Century Championship for the third time.

Tony RomoThe current NFL television analyst beat Mark Mulder and Joe Pavelski with a 5-foot birdie putt on the second hole of a playoff on Sunday.

Romo also birdied the par-5 18th in regulation to earn three points and match Mulder and Pavelski with 62 points at Edgewood Tahoe in the modified Stableford scoring system event.

Romo also won at Edgewood Tahoe in 2018 and 2019.

Tony Romo“I had to keep patient,” Romo said. “Coming from behind is a great feeling. All the wins here are special, but this one was different because my boys are 10 and 8 years old and they were into it.”

Mulder won three straight times from 2015 to 2017.

Annika Sorenstam and Adam Thielen tied for fourth with 58 points.

Isaac Cruz Set to Fight Yuriorkis Gamboa in Lightweight Bout This April

Isaac Cruz has lined up his next opponent…

The 23-year-old Mexican professional boxer has reportedly agreed to a lightweight fight against Yuriorkis Gamboa on April 16 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, according to ESPN.

Isaac CruzThe bout will serve as chief support to the April 16 Showtime PPV headlined by the Errol Spence Jr.Yordenis Ugas welterweight title unification, sources said.

The 147-pound bout between Radzhab Butaev and Eimantas Stanionis also will appear on the undercard, leaving one more slot.

Cruz (22-2-1, 15 KOs) stunned the boxing world by pushing star fighter Gervonta Davis to the brink in a December decision loss. Cruz accepted the fight on a month’s notice after Rolando Romero withdrew from the bout, and Cruz established himself as a player in the stacked 135-pound division with the spirited effort.

Despite being a major underdog, Cruz lost by just two rounds on two cards and four on the third.

Now, Cruz will receive another night in the spotlight on the undercard of the anticipated Spence-Ugas fight at the home of the Dallas Cowboys.

He meets Gamboa, a former two-division champion and Olympic gold medalist. At 40, Gamboa hasn’t shown much in recent bouts, but he has proved durable.

 

The Cuban boxer’s previous two fights came against Davis and Devin Haney.

Gamboa (30-4, 18 KOs) tore his Achilles tendon in the defeat to Davis but made it to Round 12 before he was stopped. Eleven months later, Gamboa was shut out on two scorecards in a unanimous decision loss to Haney.

Tony Romo Developing Football Drama Series for Showtime

Tony Romo is bringin’ the drama to the small screen…

The 41-year-old former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and current NFL analyst is teaming up with star Chace Crawford, executive producer and Showtime to develop a football drama.

Tony RomoThe series, currently in the early stages of development at the ViacomCBS-owned network, follows a fictitious first family of football and the players, coaches, and power brokers behind the high stakes world of America’s biggest professional sport.

The network is searching for a writer for the untitled project, which comes from eOne, where Comins and his Creative Engine Entertainment is based.

Romo and Crawford are brothers in law. Romo, who is currently an announcer for CBS after spending 14 seasons with the Cowboys, is married to Crawford’s sister Candice.

The project has been described as a cross between Succession and Friday Night Lights.

Canelo Alvarez to Fight Callum Smith Next Month in Texas

Canelo Alvarez is heading back to the ring…

Following months of conflict between the 30-year-old Mexican boxer, his promoters and his broadcast partners, Alvarez is finally ready to rumble.

Canelo Alvarez

Alvarez will meet Callum Smith in Texas this December to unify WBA super middleweight titles, according to ESPN. This will be Alvarez’s first appearance since his 11th-round TKO victory over Sergey Kovalev in November 2019.

The target dates for the fight are December 18, 19 or 20.

Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) faces “Mundo” Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) after he announced himself as a free agent last week. His first business partner will be Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing. It’s very possible that DAZN, the broadcaster partner Alvarez was working with before severing ties with longtime promoter Golden Boy Promotions, could carry the fight in the U.S.

The fight — targeted for AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, or the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas — will come a year after a meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, where Smith’s trainer, Joe Gallagher, spent a few minutes with Eddy Reynoso, Alvarez’s trainer, to tell him about his interest in an Alvarez-Smith fight.

Smith, 20, is seven inches taller than Alvarez and has about eight inches reach advantage. Smith, like Alvarez, hasn’t fought since last November when he scored a contested unanimous decision victory over John Ryder.

Smith is the WBA “super” super middleweight world titlist, and Alvarez has the WBA “regular” belt, but the fight could also be for the WBC super middleweight title that was left vacant when David Benavidez missed weight for his fight against Roamer Alexis Angulo in August and was stripped of the belt.

Alvarez starts a new era as his own promoter with a title fight against a legit opponent. Smith is considered one of the elite fighters in the division, and is ranked No. 1 by ESPN.

Disney+ Releases Sneak Peek at Season Two of Pedro Pascal’s “The Mandalorian”

Pedro Pascal is ready to blast off…

Disney+ offered a special sneak peek at season two of The Mandalorian, starring the 45-year-old Chilean actor as the title character, during ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

Pedro Pascal as The Mandalorian

The spot, which aired during halftime of the game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Dallas Cowboys, reveals a bit more detail of the plot for the new season, with The Mandalorian (Pascal) now seemingly on a mission to return The Child (aka Baby Yoda) “to his kind” while also searching out other Mandalorians who can help him.

“Wherever I go, he goes,” Mando says about his charge.

The upcoming season follows the successful Season 1 of the first live-action Star Wars spinoff series, which scored 15 Emmy nominations including for Outstanding Drama Series, and won seven. Shooting had already wrapped on the second season before the coronavirus-related production shutdown in mid-March. Work is already underway on Season 3.

The new season of the Lucasfilm-produced returns Pascal as The Mandalorian, aka Din Djarin, and The Child who continue to attempt to evade ruthless Imperial Remnant officer Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito). Gina Carano and Carl Weathers also return from Season 1, with cast newcomers including Rosario Dawson (reportedly as Ahsoka Tano), Temuera Morrison as Boba Fett, Katee Sackhoff, Michael Biehn and Timothy Olyphant among others.

Directors for the new season include Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rick Famuyiwa, Weathers, Peyton Reed and Robert Rodriguez.

Season 2 of the series will debut on Disney’s streaming platform next Friday, October 30.

Danny Garcia’s Fight Against Errol Spence Jr. Moved to December at the Dallas Cowboys’ Stadium

Danny Garcia is heading into enemy territory…

The bout between the 32-year-old Puerto Rican boxer, a and former two-division titleholder, and unified welterweight titlist Errol Spence Jr. will now take place on December 5 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas – the home of the Dallas Cowboys.

Danny Garcia

This event, which had been scheduled for Nov. 21 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, will have fans in attendance. At the time, holds were put on other venues around the country in hopes that the fight could be moved somewhere with a live audience.

 

“Every time Spence fights in front of his hometown fans, it is an unforgettable and energetic evening,” said Tom Brown, president of TGB Promotions, who is staging the card. “We’re excited to be able to bring those fans this great matchup.”

In March 2019, Spence — a native of DeSoto, Texas — defeated Mikey Garcia in the same venue in front of more than 47,000 fans.

Spence, who suffered a serious one-car crash a year ago, said fighting in front of his hometown fans adds some extra motivation.

 

“It means even more because I’m going up against a great champion in Danny Garcia,” Spence said. “I know people are looking out to see if I’ve lost a step or won’t be at my best, but I’m 100% focused and everything is on point in training camp. I just can’t wait to go out there … and put on a show.”

Garcia was the unified and lineal junior lightweight champion before moving up to welterweight, where he won the WBC title against Robert Guerrero in 2016. In his most recent fight, Garcia defeated Ivan Redkach by decision in January.

“This matchup is a megafight unification bout,” Garcia said. “It’s my opportunity to reclaim my spot at the top in this division and become a five-time world champion. Training and sparring has been going really well. I’m extremely prepared for this already, and it can’t get here soon enough.”

The pay-per-view card includes Sebastian Fundora vs. Jorge Cota in a junior middleweight bout, a welterweight battle between Josesito Lopez and Francisco Santana, and Julio Ceja vs. Eduardo Ramirez in a featherweight bout.

This event will have tickets sold in seating “pods” to maintain social distancing and follow other coronavirus guidelines. All in attendance must wear masks, according to the promoters.

Dany Garcia Among the New Owners of the XFL

It’s game on for Dany Garcia

The 51-year-old Cuban American businesswoman and producer, her former husband Dwayne Johnson and RedBird Capital Partners have bought the XFL, a twice-unsuccessful professional football alternative to the NFL fronted by WWE chief Vince McMahon, for $15 million.

Dany Garcia

Garcia and her business partners were selected as the winning bidder for the assets controlled by Alpha Entertainment, the parent company of the XFL.

The transaction is subject to bankruptcy court approval at a hearing this Friday. Assuming that closing conditions are satisfied, the acquisition is expected to close on or shortly after August 21.

In announcing the deal, Garcia and her fellow projected new owners said they have secured “the ability to option live entertainment intellectual property for further expansion across sports, live events and original entertainment programming.”

The XFL, which had two single-season attempts to go up against the NFL, one in 2000 and the second this year, was fronted by McMahon and the WWE, which owned a 23.5% stake in the league. After starting its season in February, the XFL was forced to shut down due to COVID-19 in March. It filed for bankruptcy in April.

“For Dwayne, Gerry and myself, this property represents an incredible opportunity. It is the confluence of great passion, tradition and possibility” Garcia said. “Sports and entertainment are the foundations of the businesses I have built. Melding our expertise combined with our commitment to deliver exciting and inspiring unique content, has us all focused on developing the XFL brand into a multi-media experience that our athletes, partners and fans will proudly embrace and love.”

Johnson has a connection to the sport, having played college football at Miami.

“The acquisition of the XFL with my talented partners, Dany Garcia and Gerry Cardinale, is an investment for me that’s rooted deeply in two things – my passion for the game and my desire to always take care of the fans,” Johnson said. “With pride and gratitude for all that I’ve built with my own two hands, I plan to apply these callouses to the XFL, and look forward to creating something special for the players, fans, and everyone involved for the love of football.”

Jeffrey Pollack, president and COO of the XFL, called it a “Hollywood ending” to the process of seeking a sale.

Garcia and Johnson are co-founders of Seven Bucks Companies, a multi-platform enterprise pioneering original content for television, film, emerging technologies and digital networks.

RedBird was founded by former Goldman Sachs partner Cardinale. He has orchestrated a range of major sports deals over the past 20 years involving his clients and teams like the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys as well as leagues like the NFL.

The XFL was the latest in a long line of failed attempts to dislodge the NFL from its perch as the No. 1 sports league in America. Football fans haven’t tuned in en masse for leagues like the Alliance of American Football, the United States Football League or the World Football League.

The first XFL season, in 2000, provided a brief summertime splash in the ratings for NBC, which was a part-owner of the league at the time, before quickly fading.

The latest iteration of the XFL differed from the first attempt in that it didn’t try to amp up the violence or present more scantily clad cheerleaders. Kickoffs, a routine feature of games that experts have linked to high rates of concussions, underwent a dramatic change in the XFL, with teams lining up close to each other so as to eliminate running-start collisions. Other innovations included microphones on the sidelines, enabling fans to follow the game in more detail.

Tony Romo to Compete in Fundraising Golf Tournament at the Dallas Area’s Maridoe Golf Club

Tony Romois ready to swing his club for a good cause…

The 40-year-old Mexican American former Dallas-Cowboys-quarterback-turned-NFL-commentator is set to take part in a 54-hole fundraising tournament involving a handful of Dallas-area pros and top amateurs.

Tony Romo

The golf tournament will take place this week, with entry fees earmarked for the caddies at Maridoe Golf Clubin Carrollton, Texas.

Golf Channelfirst reported the event, and Alison Morrison, managing member at Maridoe Golf Club, confirmed the details of the tournament to ESPN, with 18 holes to play Tuesday through Thursday, mostly by members of the club.

The event, called the Maridoe Samaritan Fund Invitational, was conceived only a little more than a week ago, Morrison said, and quickly turned into a sellout that required the club to turn away potential players.

“We’re a caddie-only club, and our caddies have not been working because of COVID-19,” Morrison said. “We thought, why don’t we have a little bit of a match, so to speak, sharpen our blades, put on a 54-hole, social distancing event. Leave the pins. No rakes in bunkers. Let’s play for them, basically. And within a day, I had 24 members who said yes.”

The event will feature 72 players, who each pay $250 to enter, with those fees going to the club’s caddies. A separate pool is being raised as a purse for the pros who compete in the event, with Morrison expecting portions of any winnings to also go to the caddies.

The club has remained open during the coronaviruspandemic, but there will be strict rules in place, including the various social distancing guidelines that are in effect around the country. The driving range has been converted to a short, par-3 course where players can warm-up — but they will not be permitted to arrive more than 30 minutes before their tee time.

The players will compete in threesomes but are required to carry their own bag or use a pull cart. No caddies will work the event, except as walking scorers in each group. Players will not turn in scorecards.

Three-time major champion Jordan Spiethis a member at Maridoe but won’t be able to compete, Morrison said, though she expects him to attend.

Among the pros who are in the field are Viktor HovlandScottie Schefflerand Harry Higgs. Former NBAguard Deron Williamsis also listed among the entries, as is Romo.

The event will be separated into three flights by handicap, including an elite flight in which the various pros in the field will compete for a small purse.

“We believe confidently that we can do this and have a great event and show that this is a fantastic sport to enjoy in these times,” Morrison said. “We hope others embrace it, as well. This is bigger than shooting a good score.”

Texas is scheduled to be the location for the first official PGA Tourevent in June when a revised schedule has the Charles Schwab Challengeat Colonial in Forth Worth, June 11-14. The tournament is to be played without spectators.

“Maridoe embraces the social-distancing responsibilities and is particularly suited to meet all the necessary criteria to have a safe and healthy tournament,” the club’s owner, Albert Huddleston, said in a statement. “This was a beautiful opportunity to contribute to the Maridoe Samaritan Fund and help those caddies who have been affected.”

Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez Defeats Kal Yafai to Win Junior Bantamweight World Title

Roman Gonzalez is once again a world title holder… 

The 32-year-old Nicaraguan professional boxer, known by his nickname “Chocolatito,” dominated Kal Yafai en route to a ninth-round demolition to take his junior bantamweight world title in the co-feature of the Mikey GarciaJessie Vargas card on Saturday night at The Ford Center at The Star, the training facility of the Dallas Cowboys.

Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez

As an up-and-coming fighter, Yafai, who was making his sixth title defense and in the biggest fight of his career, idolized Gonzalez. He watched his fights and even traveled to them when he could. And now he can say he was battered by Gonzalez, who won a 115-pound world title for the second time and added to an already impressive legacy.

Gonzalez (49-2, 41 KOs), who has won world titles at strawweight, junior flyweight, flyweight and junior bantamweight, hadn’t been in the spotlight for the past couple of years following a pair of losses to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in 2017, some lower-profile bouts and a 15-month layoff caused by a knee injury that required surgery. 

But after getting healthy and winning a tune-up fight in Japan in December, he was ready to challenge Yafai for the title, and he dominated.

“I have God’s strength, and God gave me this title back,” Gonzalez said through an interpreter. “Everyone has the same blessing I got tonight. I always ask God for a blessing. I have a good team around me that brought me back. I thank Mr. [AkihikoHonda, [of Teiken Promotions],Eddie Hearn and DAZN. They gave me the opportunity to once again become a world champion.”