Ketlen Vieira Defeats Former UFC Champion Holly Hunt

Ketlen Vieira is proving she’s a title contender…

The 30-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist improved to 3-1 in her past four fought contests on Saturday, as she outpointed former champion Holly Holm (14-6) in a five-round main event to make her a new contender for the UFC‘s women’s bantamweight division title.

Ketlen VieiraThe 135-pound fight was very close. Two judges scored it 48-47 for Vieira, while a third had it 48-47 for Holm.

The victory could very well place Vieira (13-2) next in line for a title shot.

Current champion Julianna Peña will defend her belt against Amanda Nunes at UFC 277 on July 30. That bout is a rematch of their shocking title fight in December, which Peña won via submission in the second round.

Vieira has built her title résumé off two former champions. Prior to Saturday’s win over Holm, she took out another former champ in Miesha Tate in November.

Holm is a Hall of Fame professional boxer, but it was Vieira’s hands that appeared to be more dangerous on Saturday. She found her distance with the straight right hand as the fight progressed, scoring on Holm at range — where Holm is usually strongest. Vieira’s success at range actually forced Holm to close distance, which Vieira used to her advantage at times by landing counter rights.

Holm’s best work actually came in the clinch, which she tried to apply throughout the fight. According to UFC Stats, she accumulated over 10 minutes of control time by holding Vieira against the fence, where she landed short knees and punches. She out-landed Vieira in total strikes 188 to 122, but many of those short shots along the fence did not carry much weight.

Holm did score one knockdown with a sidekick to Vieira’s body in the fourth round, and she landed a pair of powerful front kicks in the fifth. Vieira’s offense was just heavier, however. She also nearly submitted Holm in the second round with a standing rear-naked choke, after Holm got careless in a takedown attempt.

For Holm, the loss snaps a two-fight win streak. The Albuquerque native had been knocking on the door of her first title fight since 2019, when she suffered a first-round knockout to Nunes.

Manu Ginobli to Reportedly be Inducted into Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

It’s a Hall of a moment for Manu Ginobli

The 44-year-old Argentine former professional basketball player is among those reportedly set to be inducted in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2022.

Manu Ginobili

Over a 23-year professional career, the former San Antonio Spurs star became one of only two players to have won a EuroLeague title, an NBA championship and an Olympic gold medal.

Ginobili was a four-time NBA champion, two-time NBA All-Star and former NBA Sixth Man of the Year during his 16-season career with the Spurs.

He joins a roster of reported inductees that includes WNBA icon Swin Cash, NBA star Tim Hardaway, former longtime NBA head coach George Karl and West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins.

A formal announcement of the 16-member 2022 class is expected on Saturday, but The Athletic first reported news on the five inductees Thursday.

The 2022 class is slated to be enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on September 10.

Lorena Ochoa to be Inducted into the LPGA Hall of Fame

Lorena Ochoa is heading to the Hall of Fame…

The 40-year-old Mexican former professional golfer is getting a spot in the Ladies Professional Golf Association’s LPGA Hall of Fame along with eight of the organization’s founders.

Lorena OchoaThe LPGA announced modifications to its Hall of Fame criteria on Tuesday, which includes lifting the requirement that players complete 10 years on the tour.

LPGA players earn two points for a major and one point for a win or major award. The requirement for its Hall of Fame is 27 points, 10 years on tour and one major or award. Ochoa had 37 points but played only seven years before retiring to start a family.

Ochoa, who played on the LPGA Tour from 2003 to 2010, was the top-ranked female golfer in the world for 158 consecutive and total weeks (both are LPGA Tour records), from 23 April 2007 to her retirement on 2 May 2010, at the age of 28.

As the first Mexican golfer of either gender to be ranked number one in the world, she is considered the best Mexican golfer and the best Latin American female golfer of all time.

Ochoa had previously been inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2017.

The LPGA also is inducting the remaining eight founders — five previously made it into its Hall of Fame — through the honorary category. They are Alice Bauer, Bettye Danoff, Helen Dettweiler, Helen Hicks, Opal Hill, Sally Sessions, Marilyn Smith and Shirley Spork, the one still alive. T

he LPGA was founded in 1950.

Smith previously was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

The LPGA’s Hall of Fame committee also decided to award a point for an Olympic gold medal retroactive to the 2016 Rio Games. Inbee Park, already in the LPGA Hall of Fame, won in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro and Nelly Korda won last summer in Tokyo.

Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez Defeats Julio Cesar Martinez By Unanimous Decision

Roman Gonzalez is celebrating a big win…

The 34-year-old Nicaraguan professional boxer, known by his nickname “Chocolatito“,  schooled Julio Cesar Martinez and once again demonstrated why he’s a future first-ballot Hall of Famer with a unanimous-decision victory over the weekend in San Diego.

Roman "Chocolatito" GonzalezGonzalez was “very surprised” that Martinez made it to the final bell after absorbing a brutal beating, and the scores (118-110, 117-111 and 116-112) belied how truly one-sided the contest was.

“My corner told me not to give him any rounds,” Gonzalez, ESPN‘s No. 2 115-pound boxer, said in Spanish via a translator. “He was very courageous. He took a lot of punishment.”

The punishment was inflicted by combinations delivered in classic “Chocolatito” fashion: with precision and impeccable technique. The beauty of Gonzalez’s game is the way he flows offense and defense. Even as he unloaded 1,076 punches, Gonzalez was able to fend off Martinez’s reckless attack with a high guard tightly wrapped around his ears.

Gonzalez landed 374 punches, more than double Martinez, who landed 182 of 713.

Gonzalez landed 58 of 129 punches in the final round, displaying the sort of elite condition that is a hallmark of his game.

Martinez, fighting out of Mexico City, held his hands low, providing an easy target for Gonzalez’s well-placed shots. The victory was Gonzalez’s 21st against a boxer from Mexico, the lone loss a highly controversial decision defeat to rival Juan Francisco Estrada in a 115-pound title unification last March. They were set to meet a third time on Saturday, but Estrada withdrew after he tested positive for COVID-19. Gonzalez defeated Estrada in a 108-pound title fight in their first fight in 2012.

Martinez, ESPN’s No. 1 112-pounder, stepped in for his countryman on six weeks’ notice and agreed to move up one weight class to 115 pounds. However, he was overweight Friday at 116.4 pounds. The fight proceeded after Martinez weighed 122.6 pounds Saturday, within the 126.5-pound rehydrating limit governed by the California commission (10% of contracted weight).

Martinez was also fined 20% of his $250,000 purse, with $25,000 paid to Gonzalez and the other half to the commission.

“He looked too small, he looked too inexperienced,” promoter Eddie Hearn said. “He’ll go back to flyweight.”

At 112 pounds, Martinez could be matched with fellow champion Sunny Edwards in a title unification bout.

Gonzalez, meanwhile, has plenty of options to sort through with Hearn. The trilogy battle with Estrada remains a compelling matchup for supremacy at 115 pounds.

“Everyone knows that the last fight I had with ‘Gallo’ Estrada, I won,” Gonzalez said.

Another tantalizing trilogy possibility: a meeting with Thailand’s Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, who owns a controversial decision victory over Gonzalez but also a devastating fourth-round knockout that left many wondering if “Chocolatito” would ever return to form.

Surprisingly, Gonzalez didn’t just return to the pound-for-pound list but clearly remains better than ever. Even against a highly regarded 27-year-old power puncher, Gonzalez was in total control from bell to bell in a masterclass performance that adds to his Hall of Fame legacy.

Age is particularly unforgiving to smaller boxers who rely on speed and reflexes and absorb more damage than bigger boxers, but Gonzalez has never been held back by conventional wisdom.

“‘Chocolatito’ seems to be getting better and better, that was just a sublime performance tonight,” Hearn said. “You saw the difference between a very good world champion and a pound-for-pound legend.”

Alex Rodriguez Among 13 First-Timers on Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot

Alex Rodriguez is getting his first chance…

The 46-year-old Dominican American former professional baseball shortstop and third baseman, businessman and philanthropist is among 13 first-time candidates on the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame ballot of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Alex RodriguezA-Rod, as he’s nicknamed, is joined by fellow first-timers David Ortiz, Ryan Howard, Tim Lincecum, Justin Morneau, Jimmy Rollins, Jake Peavy, Carl Crawford, Prince Fielder, Joe Nathan, Jonathan Papelbon, A.J. Pierzynski and Mark Teixeira, the Hall and BBWAA said.

A-Rod and the first-timers join 17 holdovers.

Steroids-tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens make their 10th and final appearance on the BBWAA ballot along with Curt Schilling, who fell 16 votes shy of the necessary 75% in last year’s balloting. Schilling appeared on 71.1% of ballots, Bonds 61.8% and Clemens 61.6%.

Holdovers include Bobby Abreu, Mark Buehrle, Todd Helton, Tim Hudson, Torii Hunter, Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent, Andy Pettitte, Manny Ramirez, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa, Omar Vizquel and Billy Wagner.

Sosa also will be on the ballot for the final time after receiving 17% last year.

BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years of membership are eligible to vote. Ballots must be postmarked by December 31 and results will be announced Jan. 25.

Any players elected will be inducted into the Hall at Cooperstown on July 24 along with anyone elected by the Golden Days Era and Early Baseball Era committees, which are scheduled to meet on December 5.

No one was elected by the BBWAA in last year’s vote, and Schilling asked after the vote that the Hall remove him from the ballot.

“It’s all right, the game doesn’t owe me anything,” he said during a live video stream on his Twitter account.

Clemens has denied using performance-enhancing drugs and Bonds has denied knowingly using them. Bonds also has been accused of domestic violence and Clemens of maintaining a decade-long relationship with a singer who was 15 when they met.

Rodriguez was suspended for the 2014 season for violating MLB‘s drug policy and collective bargaining agreement, and Ortiz’s name was alleged to have appeared on a list of players who tested positive during 2003 survey testing.

Minnie Miñoso Among 10 Men Nominated by Golden Days Era Committee for MLB’s Hall of Fame

The late Orestes “Minnie” Miñoso is having a golden moment…

The late Cuban professional baseball player, who was known as “The Cuban Comet” and “Mr. White Sox,” is among the 10 men on the ballot of the Golden Days Era committee for baseball’s Hall of Fame.

Minnie MiñosoMiñoso, who died in March 2015, began his baseball career in the Negro leagues in 1946 and became an All-Star third baseman with the New York Cubans.

He was signed by the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball (MLB) after the 1948 season as baseball’s color line fell. Miñoso went on to become an All-Star left fielder with the Indians and Chicago White Sox. The first Black Cuban in the major leagues and the first black player in White Sox history, as a 1951 rookie he was the one of the first Latin Americans to play in an MLB All-Star Game.

Minnie MiñosoMiñoso was an American League (AL) All-Star for seven seasons and a Gold Glove winner for three seasons when he was in his 30s.

In addition to Miñoso’s name, the Golden Days Era ballot also includes Gil Hodges, Roger Maris, Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Jim Kaat, 83-year-old Cuban former professional baseball right fielder, designated hitter and coach Tony Oliva, Billy Pierce and Maury Wills also are on the ballot along with former Pittsburgh manager Danny Murtaugh, the Hall said.

The vote by the 16-person committee, whose members will be announced later, is scheduled for December 5 at the winter meetings in Orlando, Florida. Its ballot considers players whose primary contributions were from 1950 to ’69.

A separate 16-person early baseball era committee also will meet to consider pre-1950 candidates. Its ballot includes seven players from the Negro Leagues: John Donaldson, Bud Fowler, Vic Harris, Grant “Home Run” Johnson, Buck O’Neil, Dick “Cannonball” Redding and George Scales.

They are joined by Bill Dahlen, Lefty O’Doul, Allie Reynolds and George Scales.

To gain election from either committee, a candidate must appear on at least 75% of ballots.

Anyone elected will be inducted in Cooperstown on July 24 along with any players elected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, whose balloting will be announced January 25.

First-time BBWAA ballot eligible players include David Ortiz, Ryan Howard, Tim Lincecum and Alex Rodriguez.

Steroids-tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens will be on the BBWAA ballot for the final time.

Hodges, an eight-time All-Star first baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers and manager of the 1969 World Series champion New York Mets, received 63.4% of the ballots in 1983, falling 44 votes shy of election in his final appearance on the BBWAA ballot.

Miñoso peaked at 20.9% in his second BBWAA ballot appearance in 1986. He got just 14.7% in his final appearance in 1999.

Maris, a two-time AL MVP who hit 61 home runs in 1961 to break Babe Ruth‘s single-season record, received 43.1% in his final BBWAA ballot appearance in 1988.

Candidates for the early-days balloting were picked by a special early baseball overview committee of five Negro Leagues historians — Gary Ashwill, Adrian Burgos Jr., Phil Dixon, Leslie Heaphy and Claire Smith — and five BBWAA members who have served on the Hall’s historical overview committee: Jim Henneman, Steve Hirdt, Rick Hummel, Jim Reeves and Glenn Schwarz.

Candidates for the golden era vote were selected by Henneman, Hirdt, Hummel, Reeves, Schwarz, Bob Elliott, Dave O’Brien, Jack O’Connell, Tracy Ringolsby, Susan Slusser and Mark Whicker.

The Today’s Game Committee (1988 to present) will consider candidates in December 2022 and the Modern Baseball Committee (1970-87) will meet in December 2023.

Nelson Cruz Receives Major League Baseball’s Roberto Clemente Award

Nelson Cruz is being celebrated for his charity…

The 41-year-old Dominican-American professional baseball designated hitter and right fielder for the Tampa Bay Rays has been awarded Major League Baseball‘s Roberto Clemente Award for his character, community involvement and philanthropy.

Nelson Cruz

Cruz, the 50th winner of the honor, received the award before World Series Game 2 on Wednesday night.

“Growing up as a Latin, you always heard about Roberto Clemente,” he said. “I never had a chance to see him play. I knew what a great player he was. Once I came to the States I found out, oh, he’s not only a good player, he’s a great human being.”

Cruz, a 17-year MLB veteran and seven-time MLB All-Star, provided financial support to 1,200 families in his hometown of Las Matas de Santa Cruz, Dominican Republic, during the COVID-19 pandemic, helping feed 700 families.

After a fire destroyed the home of a childhood friend, Cruz provided the town with a fire engine, 80 firefighter uniforms and an ambulance for transportation for people to the nearest hospital, which is about an hour away.

His Boomstick23 Foundation began construction of an education and technical center last year and he will stock the center with computers to assist athletes in their education.

Cruz also organizes dentists and optometrists to go the town’s clinic for checkups, medicine and eyewear, and 500 patients received dental services last year.

He helped arrange for MLB, the Major League Baseball Players Association and the union’s Players Trust to donate $400,000 to the Dominican Republic for medical equipment and food aid during the pandemic.

“We first started with the dental clinic, and the next year we started asking how we can do the mental [health] and the eye doctors,” he said. “We started doing everything all at the same time. We even went to schools and provided kids with all the books and stuff that they need.”

Cruz was nominated by the Minnesota Twins, who traded him to the Rays  in July. He joined Hall of Famers Rod Carew (1977), Dave Winfield (1994) and Kirby Puckett (1997) as Minnesota players to win the award.

Nikki Bella to Serve as a Judge on NBC’s “AGT: Extreme”

Nikki Bella is taking things to the Extreme

The 37-year-old half-Mexican American reality television personality, entrepreneur and retired professional wrestler, one half of The Bella Twins with her sister Brie Bella, will serve as a judge for NBC’s extreme version of America’s Got Talent.

Nikki Bella

In addition to Nikki Bella, the other judges for AGT: Extreme include Travis Pastrana and Simon Cowell.

Terry Crews, who is host of the main AGT series, will host.

Nikki Bella is a former WWE Hall of Famer, who is the star of E!’s reality series Total Bellas.

The series is set to launch midseason on NBC and is produced by Syco Entertainment and Fremantle.

It will showcase the most outrageous and jaw-dropping daredevil acts. Each week extreme contestants will go head-to-head in the most wild, wacky and craziest stunts to vie for the ultimate title.

Daddy Yankee to Be Inducted Into Hall of Fame at 2021 Billboard Latin Music Awards

Daddy Yankee is heading into the Hall (of Fame)

The 45-year-old Puerto Rican singer, songwriter and rapper, known as the “King of Reggaetón,” will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at the 2021 Billboard Latin Music Awards, Billboard and Telemundo have announced.

Daddy Yankee

Given to artists who have achieved worldwide recognition for their work, transcending musical genres and languages, the accolade will honor the “Con Calma” hitmaker for his fruitful career that spans over three decades as a pioneer and top exponent of reggaeton.

Daddy Yankee will receive the award during the ceremony set to take place Thursday, September 23, live from Miami where he will also perform his latest hit “Métele al Perreo” for the first time on television.

The chart-topping, global star — known for reggaeton anthems such as “Gasolina” and “Dura” — has sold more than 17 million albums and placed 84 entries on the Hot Latin Songs chart, with seven of those hitting No. 1 and 36 landing in the top 10.

On the Latin Airplay chart, he has logged a total of 73 titles, including 24 No. 1s and 42 top 10s.

On the social front, his philanthropic work through “Daddy’s House” has been recognized by Billboard with the spirit of hope award.

Past recipients of the Billboard hall of fame award include José José, Vicente Fernández, Rocío Durcal, Marco Antonio Solís, Joan Sebastian, Marc Anthony, Franco de Vita and Alejandro Fernández, among others.

The Billboard Latin Music Awards will be broadcast live on Telemundo, kicking off at 7:00 p.m. ET with the traditional red carpet special, followed by the awards show at 8:00 pm.

Canelo Alvarez Nearing Deal to Fight Caleb Plant to Crown Undisputed Super Middleweight Champion

Canelo Alvarez is closing in on the biggest fight of his career…

The 31-year-old Mexican boxer is nearing a deal with Caleb Plant for a November fight that would crown an undisputed super middleweight champion, according to ESPN.

Canelo Alvarez

A fight between Alvarez and Plant was agreed to last month for September 18, sources said, and officials were simply awaiting signatures when the deal fell apart at the 11th hour.

After talks collapsed, Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs) turned his attention to a 175-pound title fight with Dmitry Bivol. When that matchup couldn’t be finalized in time to stage the fight on Mexican Independence Day Weekend (Sept. 18), Canelo decided to delay his return until November.

Now boxing’s top star is deep in talks with PBC for a one-fight deal that would feature him on Fox PPV, sources said.

The prospect of a fight between Alvarez, ESPN‘s No. 1 pound-for-pound-boxer, and Plant, an undefeated 168-pound titleholder, was dead just two weeks ago. With Alvarez and PBC’s Al Haymon locked in a stalemate, Alvarez moved on to talks with Bivol. When the Mexican star decided to forgo Sept. 18 and instead fight in November, the possibility of Plant returned to the table.

It’s the fight Canelo wanted all along. After Alvarez stopped Billy Joe Saunders in Round 9 of their May fight, picking up his third 168-pound belt, he issued a message to Plant: “I’m coming, my friend.”

Becoming undisputed champion has long been Canelo’s goal, a feat he hasn’t accomplished despite a Hall of Fame résumé that includes titles in four weight classes. Alvarez was set to earn upward of $40 million guaranteed — a career best — in the proposed deal for Sept. 18.

Plant (21-0, 12 KOs) was slated to make $10 million-plus, also a career high. The original pact disintegrated, Plant told ESPN last month, over last-minute “ridiculous requests” from Team Alvarez.

“One that is absurd: If I get injured or sick, then he gets a late replacement for the same amount of guaranteed money, but if he gets sick or injured, then we gotta wait for him,” Plant, ESPN’s No. 3 super middleweight, said after the deal fell apart. “… His bark is bigger than his bite.

“We’ve been waiting for him to get done with his wedding, shooting his TV show, his golf tournament and now have tried to give him everything he wants and more to make this fight,” the Nashville native added. “I’m more than willing, able and ready to fight Canelo Alvarez on any date.”

Those issues could be ironed out now, it appears. This is the third consecutive year Alvarez won’t fight on the coveted September date, a holiday he starred on against bitter rival Gennadiy Golovkin in 2017 and ’18. Another drawn-out negotiation in 2019 forced Alvarez to instead fight in November, a KO victory over Sergey Kovalev.

If he can strike a deal with PBC, it will mark Alvarez’s return to pay-per-view, a platform he has headlined nine times since his fight with Shane Mosley in 2012. Those bouts included a megafight with Floyd Mayweather in 2013 and a pair of matchups with GGG.

Alvarez signed a landmark 11-fight, $365 million deal with DAZN after the GGG rematch, but following four fights, he sued his then-promoter, Golden Boy, along with the streaming platform. After the lawsuit was settled, Alvarez remained with DAZN for a December 2020 win over Callum Smith, then linked up with Matchroom‘s Eddie Hearn on a two-fight deal. The contract for that partnership expired after the Saunders win, opening the door for Alvarez to seek a one-fight deal with Haymon’s team and a chance at undisputed status.

Canelo and Plant were training to fight each other when talks came to an abrupt halt — Alvarez at his San Diego gym and Plant in Las Vegas. This time, the hard work in the gym might lead to what they both want: a showdown for super middleweight supremacy.