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Photo Credit: Hogan’s Photos

When 21-year old Jamie Munguia blasted out Sadam Ali in four rounds to capture the WBO light middleweight title, the boxing world could barely contain itself.

It was a debut that couldn’t have been written better. In Ali, Munguia destroyed a known commodity coming off his biggest win (a decision over a faded Miguel Cotto), picked up a belt, and had the right nationality (read: Mexican) to be cultivated as a future star in HBO’s top-heavy but overall barren stable of stars.

This set the stage for this past Saturday when Munguia faced off against former belt-holder Liam Smith. Most writers framed this as Munguia’s “coming-out party” with the only drama being whether he could take out Smith faster than Canelo 9th round, body shot KO last year.

Liam Smith had other ideas.

“I’m not going to come here and lie down,” he vowed. “It’s not the Jaime Munguia show for me.”

Those words were backed up by the repeated hooks Smith bounced off Mungia’s head in the opening three rounds. The UK veteran was not opposed to being dirty with his young foe. In one cagey sequence, he blocked Munguia’s bullying attempts with a stiff elbow to the throat followed by a brutal hook.

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To Munguia’s credit, he gave as good as he got. He taunted Smith to keep throwing while digging vicious left hooks downstairs. He launched wild uppercuts in anger, trying to split Smith’s guard and send his head into the third row. The crowd went wild at every exchange, particularly when the precocious young champ smashed Smith with a left hook for a sixth-round knockdown.

Fortunately for those in attendance, they were spared some of most audacious hot takes ever heard from the HBO commentary team. Jim Lampley said Munguia’s stance and feints resembled a young Oscar De La Hoya. Later, he compared his power to George Foreman.

If only all of us could find someone to love us as unconditionally as Lampley apparently loves Munguia.

It’s not hard to figure out why HBO is making such absurd statements about Munguia. With Top Rank (ESPN) and Al Haymon (PBC, Showtime) having taken their business elsewhere, HBO finds its cupboard bare of marquee talent. Outside of Canelo and to a lesser extent GGG, there are not any PPV caliber talents. Last night’s over the top lovefest was a transparent attempt to fast-track Munguia as a worthy successor to GGG and Canelo in the coming years.

This hyperbole does Munguia no favors. On Saturday night, we saw an exciting kid who still has much to learn before he can be mentioned with the elite at 154, let alone the suddenly deep middleweight talent pool. Munguia’s power, which looked devastating when inflicted on the smaller Ali, never overwhelmed Smith despite the knockdown.

Munguia’s defense or lack thereof showed that the Nevada State Athletic Commission was wise in nixing him as a replacement opponent for GGG. It almost assuredly saved his confidence and some brain cells.

Jamie Munguia isn’t the monster some thought he was. But in a way, he’s something much more dynamic — he’s a champion less than a year removed from being a prospect and working through his flaws against the higher-caliber competition that comes with being a title-holder.

With title defense #1 under his belt, we can only hope HBO now accepts Munguia for who he is and not who they want him to be.

 

 

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6ix9ine ft. Nicki Minaj – “FeFe”

Posted: July 22, 2018 by Ismael AbduSalaam in Music News
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Tekashi has a flow now?! Hip-Hop’s favorite rainbow-haired has teamed up with Nicki Minaj for the melody-driven “FeFe.” 6ix9ine is serviceable but Nicki steals. We’ll see how Tekashi’s alleged robbery impacts this track’s reception.

Shazam

DC Comics might finally have a franchise the whole family can enjoy. The trailer is here SHAZAM!, which tells the origin story of the iconic super-hero and his teenage alter-ego, Billy Baston (Asher Angel).

Baston is a troubled foster kid who gets his powers after a chance encounter with a wizard. Now whenever he yells the word “shazam,” he turns into a brawny, spandex-clad hero with the strength to rival Superman’s. Of course, such god-like powers in the hands of a teenager can lead to comedic scenarios as seen in this trailer. For one, Baston has to learn basic super-hero techniques (flying) while preparing for a showdown against the nefarious Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong).

Unlike previous DC films, SHAZAM! looks to have a clear tone in making this a light-hearted family affair. If that sticks, they could potentially have a unique property that captures every demographic.

The challenge down the line will be evolving the character when Shazam interacts with other DC heroes and later realizes he has to become serious in dealing with the coming cosmic threat that is Darkseid.

SHAZAM! will be released on April 5, 2019.

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To build we have to destroy? The ante has been upped for Warner Bros. “Monsterverse” with the emergence of Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah in the first trailer for Godzilla: King of Monsters.

We learn that Earth is experiencing a mass extinction event of our own doing. To save us, a paleobiologist named Dr. Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) proposes we unleash the hidden “Titans,” apparently our new word for Godzilla and friends. Unsurprisingly, she and her daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) are kidnapped by a mysterious organization who have sinister intentions for the creatures.

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As this is the first trailer, we’re only allowed teasing images of Mothra, Ghidorah and Rodan. However, what we do see looks gorgeous. The battle is being fought on an Earth that’s torn asunder. Mothra has an angelic, soothing appearance while Rodan flies with the force of a hurricane. And Ghidorah, presumably our main antagonist, descends on the planet like the Beast of Armageddon.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters hits theaters in May 2019.

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Srisaket Sor Rungvisai is not the man you want to face after a 15-month layoff. Young Gil found himself in this unenviable position and could offer little resistance to the WBC super flyweight champion before being dispatched under a barrage of southpaw left hands in round one.

The 38-year old Gil Bae last fought in April 2017. The rust was apparent as he looked unsure of himself under Rungvisai’s constant assaults. His attempts to protect himself behind a high guard were thwarted by Rungvisai’s well-placed body shots.

Rungvisai trapped Gil Bae in a corner and unleashed several overhand lefts. The referee called the bout as Gil Bae slumped to the canvas backside first.

The non-title affair was Rungvisai’s first since signing a co-promotional deal with MMA-focused One Champion. The Asian company will split their promotional duties of Rungvisai with Nakornloung Promotion. His first bout under this agreement will take place on October 6 with an opponent to be determined.

The new deal will cause Rungvisai to miss out on the September’s Superfly 3 card. Rungvisai headlined February’s Superfly 2 event with a Fight of the Year candidate and decision win over Juan Francisco Estrada.

[Video] Ciara – “Level Up”

Posted: July 18, 2018 by Ismael AbduSalaam in Music News
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Regardless of the song quality, you can always count on a quality dance video from Ciara. After a well-received version of the “In My Feelings” challenge, she’s back with new visuals for the catchy “Level Up.” It’s interesting to see her doubling down on that title after getting social media pushback a few months back. Everyone up for a Ciara album to close out the summer?

Joshua-Povetkin

Anthony Joshua is returning to Wembley. The unified WBA/WBO/IBF champion will make the sixth defense of his titles when he faces Alexander Povetkin on September 22.

The fight marks Joshua’s first bout at Wembley since his 2017 Fight of the Year victory over Wladimir Klitschko.

Joshua’s last victory was a tactical unanimous decision over Joseph Parker to capture the WBO heavyweight title. Povetkin competed on the undercard and delivered a Knockout of the Year candidate with a left hook stoppage of David Price.

“I can’t wait to get back in the ring – the end of March feels a long time ago now,” Joshua told the BBC. “Povetkin is a serious challenge that I will prepare meticulously for. He has serious pedigree and only a fool would underestimate what he brings to the table.”

This will be Povetkin’s second world title shot, having dropped an unanimous decision to Wladimir Klitschko in 2013. Since then, Povetkin is on an eight-fight win streak with knockout wins over Mike Perez (TKO1), Carlos Takam (KO10) and Mariusz Wach (TKO12). He is the mandatory challenger for Joshua’s WBA title.

Ticket prices are expected to be announced in the next two weeks.

****

Count me as one of the people who didn’t delude themselves into thinking Joshua-Wilder was getting made this year. Outside of that, this is the best heavyweight fight Joshua could make.

Povetkin is very dangerous when he gets inside. Problem is, I don’t see the Russian being able to consistently work there due to Joshua’s thudding jab and improved footwork. More often than not, Povetkin will be caught in mid-range where Joshua’s massive right hand will be waiting.

In the meantime, Wilder can get his own WBC mandatory out of the way this fall against Dominic Breazeale. I fully expect both champions to get knockout wins and bring the anticipation to a fever pitch for the biggest and most historic fight for 2019.