Jeff Eisenberg

  • Toughest jobs in sports: Sparring partner for Manny Pacquiao

    Jeff Eisenberg at Boxing1 day ago

    VENTURA, Calif. — Moments after going five rounds with a sparring partner who outweighed him by nearly 25 pounds last month, David Rodela climbed out of the ring, walked directly to the closest mirror and assessed the damage.

    "You got me good," he told Abraham Lopez, pointing to a welt near his Adam's apple. "I don't know if that was a jab or a hook, but I'm going to feel that one later."

    Bruises like that hardly faze Rodela anymore because he has endured far worse pursuing a line of work in which he gets beaten up for a living. The 31-year-old boxer is a professional sparring partner, one of the least glamorous and most punishing jobs in sports.

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  • Introducing the 'Toughest Jobs in Sports' series

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Turnstile2 days ago

    For the past two months, I've asked the same question to everyone from friends to colleagues to athletes to executives: "What are the toughest jobs in sports?"

    Their nominees have helped spawn a series of stories spotlighting eight dauntingly difficult jobs and the people who find them rewarding.

    Some of the jobs are glamorous; others thankless. Some of the jobs are lucrative; others barely profitable. Some of the jobs are physically strenuous; others don't even require breaking a sweat. The only thing they all have in common is none is an easy way to earn a living.

    Schedule for the series:

    July 21: Manny Pacquiao's sparring partner — From black eyes to bloody noses to broken bones, David Rodela has suffered a litany of injuries trading blows with some of the world's best boxers. He explains why he loves his job anyway. 

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  • Bill Self also was among the college coaches pursued by the Cavs

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger7 days ago

    Turns out John Calipari, Tom Izzo and Billy Donovan weren't the only high-profile college coaches to have conversations with the Cleveland Cavaliers this past spring.

    Kansas coach Bill Self also had a chance to coach the franchise that eventually landed LeBron James last week.

    Self revealed to the Kansas City Star on Monday that the Cavaliers contacted him about their vacancy, but he would not go into specifics about how serious the discussions were or whether he was ever offered the job. On June 20, Cleveland ultimately hired David Blatt, a highly successful European coach in Israel and Russia.

    “I talked to the Cavs’ people a lot throughout their evaluation process and the draft, but I’ll just leave it at that,” Self told the Star. “That wasn’t anything I wanted to become public certainly, and they didn’t either.”

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  • Emmanuel Mudiay's decision to turn pro is a huge blow to SMU

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger8 days ago

    When the selection committee left SMU out of the field of 68 last March, the Mustangs dulled the pain of settling for NIT bid by dreaming of the possibility of a deep NCAA tournament run next season.

    Suddenly that goal no longer seems as realistic.

    Emmanuel Mudiay, the top-rated point guard prospect in the class of 2014, will play professionally overseas next season rather than enroll at SMU, the school announced Monday. Yahoo Sports was the first to report earlier Monday that Mudiay was considering bypassing college altogether due to eligibility concerns.

    In a statement to, Mudiay insisted his decision had nothing to do with academic or amateurism issues despite little evidence supporting that claim.

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