Kevin Iole

  • Questionable scoring once again steals the show

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago

    LAS VEGAS – It happens in courtrooms across the country every day. Two people witness the same event but their testimony is 180 degrees the opposite.

    And that's how it was on Saturday at The Cosmopolitan in a pair of nationally televised boxing matches.

    In the first one, Jose Benavidez lifted the interim WBA super lightweight title from Mauricio Herrera by a wide margin in a bout that nearly all of the veteran boxing writers at ringside scored for Herrera by a wide margin.

    And then in the main event, Timothy Bradley had to suffer for a less-than-satisfying split draw in a bout that, again, most journalists felt Bradley had won going away.

    Judge Julie Lederman scored it 116-112 for Chaves, giving the Argentine the final four rounds and six of the final seven. Burt Clements scored it 115-113 for Bradley, while Craig Metcalfe gave the final four rounds to Chaves to finish with a 114-114 score.

    Yahoo Sports scored it 117-111 for Bradley, giving Chaves Rounds 6, 10 and 11. Most other journalists scored the fight for Bradley, by similar or wider margins.

    But he talked at length to Yahoo Sports in the locker room and Bradley was perplexed by the outcome.

  • Mauricio Herrera appears to school Jose Benavidez, but bizarre verdict costs him WBA belt

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 5 days ago

    LAS VEGAS -- There have been some outrageous decisions in boxing's long and often sordid history, and Saturday's verdict in favor of Jose Benavidez Jr. over Mauricio Herrera in their bout at The Cosmopolitan for the interim WBA super lightweight title was far from the worst.

    But Herrera seemed to do far more than enough to retain his title in the opinion of just about everyone watching except for the three judges whose verdict counted.

    Max DeLuca and Eric Cheek had it 116-112 for Benavidez, while the third judge, the normally reliable Dave Moretti of Las Vegas had it 117-111 for Benavidez. That scored conflicted with fans in the arena, watching on television and the majority of long-time boxing writers at ringside.

    Yahoo Sports scored it 117-111 for Herrera, as did Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Dan Rafael of ESPN.com and Steve Kim of UCN Live.com. 

    Benavidez went to the ropes repeatedly and covered up, as Herrera pounded at his midsection. Herrera threw more and landed more, but it didn't matter.

    Benavidez, though, said he fully expected to win when the fight ended.

    No matter, though, as the victory and the title went to Benavidez. 

  • Floyd Mayweather mentions Manny Pacquiao's name, but interview offers little hope

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 6 days ago

    It was a first step -- a tiny, insignificant first step -- but at least Floyd Mayweather spoke about Manny Pacquiao in an interview during a boxing card on Showtime on Friday. Mayweather's self-serving words really were not new and shouldn't cause fans to begin planning travel arrangements to see the fight.

    If I had to guess, the fight is still not going to happen.

    Oh, Mayweather mentioned Pacquiao's name and that in and of itself is a step in the right direction. But he took none of the blame for there being no substantive negotiations for years, and he put on conditions that seem designed more to paint Pacquiao as the bad guy rather than really come to an agreement.

    Frankly, it's getting wearisome listening not only to his nonsense but also the way that Showtime babies Mayweather.

    That, though, is more Showtime's failing rather than Mayweather's.

    Yeah, that's fair. (Insert sarcastic look of your choice here).

  • Carla Esparza dominates Rose Namajunas to win UFC strawweight title

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    LAS VEGAS – After three submissions in as many fights during the filming of "The Ultimate Fighter," Rose Namajunas was the trendy pick to win the inaugural UFC strawweight championship.

    Even Carla Esparza, who held the 115-pound belt in Invicta, wondered if she had what it took to beat Namajunas.

    "You know, I had a lot of expectations on me, being the No. 1 seed, being the first pick, coming in as the champ," Esparza said. "I didn't know if I could do it."

    But she easily did, using her wrestling to throttle Namajunas repeatedly before finishing the fight in the third round with a rear naked choke.

    Namajunas tapped at 1:26 of the third round, but the fight was over long before that. Esparza was too strong, too smart and simply too good for the far less experienced Namajunas.

    "I just have to go back and ponder everything and try to evolve and grow as a woman," a dejected Namajunas said. "I felt like a kid in there."

    Namajunas raced out of the corner firing strikes and kicks at Esparza, who bided her time until she could get her distance.

    It was a dominant, one-sided performance that left no doubt who deserved to be the champion.

  • Dana White has found UFC's next Ronda Rousey on 'The Ultimate Fighter'

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago

    LAS VEGAS – Season 20 of the UFC's reality series, "The Ultimate Fighter," was the first to feature an all-female cast and marked the first time the winner of the season would win the championship.

    UFC president Dana White raved about the bouts on the show before it went on the air and predicted fans would be enamored by the season because it represented the best 16 strawweight fighters in the world competing against each other.

    Finalists Rose Namajunas and Carla Esparza, who meet in the Fox Sports 1-televised finale for the inaugural UFC title on Friday at The Palms, are clearly elite-level fighters.

    Namajunas was regularly the most aggressive fighter and she won all three of her bouts in the house by submission. She submitted Alex Chambers with a rear naked choke and defeated Joanne Calderwood and Randa Markos by Kimura to make it to the finale.

    Namajunas' boyfriend, former UFC heavyweight Pat Barry, predicted long ago that Namajunas would win the world title. She fought like she was defending the belt, fighting with a passion few others showed.

    White told reporters before the season aired that he'd found the second coming of Ronda Rousey.

     

  • Keith Thurman hopes decision won't ruin shot at facing Floyd Mayweather Jr.

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago

    LAS VEGAS – Keith Thurman is young and talented but fortunately for him, also rational and introspective.

    The interim WBA welterweight champion, whose powerful left hook has helped make him one of the sport's most popular rising stars, was on the verge of big things after his victory over Julio Diaz in April.

    That third-round stoppage left Thurman at 23-0 with 21 knockouts and rapidly moving up the ladder for some hefty paydays.

    But Thurman is one of those rare guys who thinks long term in what is very much a now business. His left shoulder was giving him problems, and even though it didn't hurt when he punched and didn't require surgery, Thurman made the astute decision to do something about it before it became a problem.

    So after the win over Diaz, Thurman went into physical therapy to help with the inflammation of the tendons in his shoulders. He missed a paycheck he could have used and, more importantly, lost a bit of the momentum he'd been building.

    But because he projects ahead, Thurman knew he had to take care of the shoulder before it got to a point where he wouldn't have had a choice in the matter.

  • How a major move helped improve UFC lightweight Rafael dos Anjos' career

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago

    Rafael dos Anjos knew that from the moment he joined the UFC, he was good enough to compete with the best fighters in the world.

    His record, though, didn't always show that.

    He lost his first two UFC bouts and was 4-4 after eight. He was a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu wizard, but his striking wasn't up to par and, with all the distractions he encountered at home in Rio de Janeiro, he wasn't improving the way he thought he should.

    So, he moved to Southern California three years ago to train at Kings MMA in Huntington Beach, Calif., under legendary coach Rafael Cordeiro.

    The results in the eight fights since prove dos Anjos was very astute.

    He's 7-1 since the move to the U.S. and is coming off the most impressive win of his long career, a first-round stoppage of former lightweight champion Benson Henderson in August.

    He faces Nate Diaz in the co-main event of a Fox Sports-televised card Saturday at the US Airways Center in Phoenix, knowing a good performance will put him in position for a major 2015.

    His only loss was to the unbeaten Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is likely to get the next crack at lightweight champion Anthony Pettis.

    More UFC coverage:

  • Tim Bradley on Palm Springs Walk of Stars with Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago

    LAS VEGAS – For years, when he was an unknown and largely uncared about boxer with a dream, Timothy Bradley did good deeds in his hometown of Palm Springs, Calif.

    He spent time helping out at the Coachella Valley Boys & Girls Club. He coached Pop Warner football. He passed out turkeys to the needy on Thanksgiving.

    He regularly gave of himself and his time, even when things were so tight he wasn't sure he'd have enough money to pay the bills.

    He once contemplated leaving boxing and getting a full-time job so he would be able to provide for his family and not be so cash-strapped. His wife, Monica, urged him not to give up, and ultimately his boxing dreams came true.

    When he became rich and famous, after he won a world title and began to earn seven-figure paychecks, he didn't change. He remained the same humble, approachable, eager-to-help guy that he'd always been.

    They're all there.

    None of those legends deserved the honor any more than the humble boxer who grew up in a rough section of North Palm Springs and always found a way to carry himself with dignity and treat others with respect.

    No amount of PR or marketing on behalf of someone else can take that away.

  • Rapper spoke with Floyd Mayweather's camp shortly before murder-suicide

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 10 days ago

    Quoting an unidentified police source, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s camp had conversations with rapper Earl Hayes on Monday not long before Hayes murdered his wife and then turned the gun on himself and committed suicide.

    The Times' report follows a Monday report from TMZ in which the celebrity news site reported that Mayweather was having a conversation over Apple's FaceTime during the actual murder-suicide. The Times reported it could not confirm TMZ's version of events.

    The bodies of Hayes, 34, and his wife, dancer Stephanie Moseley, 30, were discovered inside their condominium in the Fairfax neighborhood of Los Angeles.

    Hayes was reportedly a friend of Mayweather's.

  • Devon Alexander, trainer prep for fight with heavy hearts amid Ferguson turmoil

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 10 days ago

    LAS VEGAS – The last thing that Kevin Cunningham wants to do is make things more difficult for Devon Alexander.

    The southpaw from St. Louis already has a tough assignment, as he faces Amir Khan on Saturday in the main event of a Golden Boy Promotions card at the MGM Grand on Showtime.

    But there is more meaning in this fight than there has been in most for Alexander, a former world champion, and Cunningham, his highly respected trainer.

    Cunningham, who grew up in Ferguson, Mo., and attended Ferguson Junior High and McClure High School, spent nine years on the St. Louis police force. He recently opened a business, Knockouts Bar & Grill, in Florissant, Mo., which is located on the border between Florissant and Ferguson.

    It has been a traumatic four months for people like Cunningham and Alexander, who live in and around Ferguson. Ever since Aug. 9, when unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown Jr. was fatally shot by then-Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, the city and its residents have been embroiled in controversy.

    Through it all, Cunningham and Alexander needed to prepare for one of the biggest fights of Alexander's life.

    He narrowly avoided another tragedy.