- Created on 24 November 2013
- Manny Pacquiao, from the Philippines, right, lands a right to Brandon Rios of the United States during their WBO international welterweight title fight Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in Macau. (AP Photo/ Vincent Yu)
MACAU (AP) — Manny Pacquiao reversed the decline in his boxing career and provided some desperately needed inspiration to the disaster-stricken Philippines with an authoritative victory over Brandon Rios on Sunday.
Pacquiao entered the fight coming off successive defeats, having spent a year out of the ring and with his own trainer publicly declaring he should retire unless he convincingly beat Rios.
In addition, Pacquiao carried the burden of being the favorite son of the Philippines and the man the nation looked to as a source of joy and hope in the wake of deadly Typhoon Haiyan.
Thousands of fans watched the fight on screens set up in the plaza of Tacloban, the Philippine city hit worst by the Nov. 9 disaster that killed more than 5,000 people and left huge numbers of the population homeless.
If Pacquiao felt pressure, he didn't show it in the ring at The Venetian casino in Macau, putting on a vintage display of his trademark combinations to wear down a gallant Rios and take a unanimous decision, claiming the WBO international welterweight title.
The judges scored it 120-108, 119-109 and 118-110. The Associated Press scored it 119-109.
"This is not about my comeback," Pacquiao said in the ring. "My victory is a symbol of my people's comeback from a natural disaster and a national tragedy.
"My journey will continue. I said we will rise again, and that's what happened."
Pacquiao's points loss to Timothy Bradley last year was widely regarded as a judging error, but when that was followed by a severe knockout at the hands of veteran Juan Manuel Marquez, many doubted the Filipino lawmaker could get back to the kind of form that had made him the world's pound-for-pound champion.
Once again he failed to stop his opponent — he has not done so since 2009 — but everything else about Pacquiao's performance suggested he could revive his career, even with his 35th birthday looming next month.
Problems still exist in setting up a much-discussed bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr., but Pacquiao remains eager for it to happen.
"Anybody who wants to fight with me, I can fight," Pacquiao said. "I am willing to fight Floyd, but it's up to him, if he is willing also."
Pacquiao got the better of Rios over the first two rounds, sending the American to the canvas in the opening frame, although the referee ruled it as a slip rather than a knockdown.
Rios asserted himself in the third, landing some crisp blows that raised hopes of a genuine contest. But Pacquiao — spurred on by a capacity crowd at the 13,000-seat Cotai Arena dominated by Filipino fans — controlled the remainder of the contest.
Rios was game, absorbing plenty of punches and continually walking forward to challenge Pacquiao, but was unable to land any significant blows.
After seven rounds, Rios was getting attention to cuts under both eyebrows, and with the scores going against him, needed something special.
Pacquiao was on guard throughout the closing rounds, mindful of getting knocked out in his previous fight when he walked into a savage right by Juan Manuel Marquez. He didn't have to worry. A tiring Rios offered little threat.
"Recovering from the knockout and giving a good show was what I wanted to prove to myself and everyone," Pacquiao said. "I am so happy, my time is not over."
Rios trained for the bout with the quickest sparring partners his camp could find, but even that could not prepare him for the fusillade of Pacquiao punches from all angles.
"What got me was just the speed and his awkwardness," Rios said. "He never hurt me at all, and I never got stunned at all, but the quickness just caught me off guard."
Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, was frustrated by another fight without a knockout, but was enthusiastic about his fighter's performance.
"Manny looked great tonight," Roach said. "There were no signs of him slowing down whatsoever.
"Manny let him off the hook, I wanted the knockout and it was there, but I was very happy with the way he performed."
Promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank said the tentative date for Pacquiao's next fight is April 12, likely in the United States.
A rematch with Bradley or a fight against Russian Ruslan Provodnikov looms as more likely than a rematch with Marquez due to the Mexican's high asking price. Arum also holds out hope that the Mayweather fight could happen.
"I know it's a fight that should happen and where there is a will there is a way," Arum said, expressing his frustration that the fighters' conflicting affiliations continued to be an impediment. "If all sides cut out the crap, it can be done."
Rios, who has now lost his past two bouts after having previously being undefeated, had come up two weight classes in three fights, but said he would now stay at welterweight and perhaps even move up to super welterweight.
- Created on 22 November 2013
Denver Nuggets guard Andre Miller, left, and Nuggets forward Darrell Arthur, right, defend against Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson, center, in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Chris Schneider)
DENVER (AP) — Once Nate Robinson stopped worrying about missing shots, he started making them, and the timing couldn't have been better.
Robinson and Jordan Hamilton each hit back-to-back 3-pointers to start the fourth quarter, helping the Denver Nuggets pull away for a 97-87 victory against the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night.
"I've been battling little injuries, and been in a little slump, not wanting to take the shots I usually take just because I didn't want to miss them and hurt my team," said Robinson, who scored 10 of his 11 points in the fourth quarter.
"But I got to the stage where I'm like, 'Forget it. Just play and be you,'" he said. "I'm no longer going to worry about missing shots. I'm just going to shoot when I'm open and play aggressive, get my teammates involved and play as hard as I can for as long as I can and enjoy the minutes that I get."
Hamilton finished with 17 points to lead the Nuggets, who won their seventh straight against the Bulls at the Pepsi Center. J.J. Hickson had 14 points, Kenneth Faried had 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Randy Foye also scored 12 points.
Derrick Rose had 19 points for the Bulls, who snapped a five-game winning streak.
Robinson, who spent last season with the Bulls, started a 12-0 burst when he hit successive 3s opening the final period. Hamilton matched him by making 3s on consecutive possessions, and the Nuggets' lead ballooned to 82-62 with 9:40 left.
"He's a sparkplug, man," teammate Ty Lawson said. "Nate is never down and out, so if he misses through three quarters, he's going to come through in the fourth quarter. That's what he did for us."
Chicago managed to pull to 94-83, but Robinson responded by hitting a 12-foot bank shot to help quash the Bulls' late momentum.
"You can't let your guard down against them," Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau said. "I thought their bench hurt us. Hamilton had a big game for them, Nate had the two big shots to start the fourth, (Timofey) Mozgov hurt us in the paint. Lawson puts a lot of pressure on you, and (Wilson) Chandler puts a lot of pressure on you. You've got to use your team to slow them down.
"Our turnovers hurt us," Thibodeau added, "but the big thing is we gave them easy scoring opportunities. We should have been able to count on our defense. Ninety-seven points, 46 percent (shooting), it's too much."
Darrell Arthur hit a baseline jumper to give the Nuggets a 69-60 lead with 1:09 left in the third, matching their biggest lead of the night. Denver was in front 70-62 going into the final period.
The Bulls outscored the Nuggets 8-2 in the last two minutes of the second quarter, pulling to 50-48 at halftime. Chicago hit the offensive boards in the surge, getting tip-ins from Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah during the sequence.
NOTES: Chicago's Mike Dunleavy started at shooting guard in place of Jimmy Butler, who is week to week because of a toe injury. ... Chicago's Taj Gibson was ejected with 1:15 left after drawing his second technical foul. ... Chicago hasn't won in Denver since a 110-107 victory on Feb. 8, 2006. ... Faried has 10 or more rebounds in five of his last six games.
- Created on 21 November 2013
Jameis Winston Volunteered DNA To Police, Lawyer Says: Alleged Assault Victim Linked To FSU QB's Sample
Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston (5) calls a signal in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against North Carolina State on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phil Sears) | AP
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston volunteered a DNA sample last week to the Tallahassee Police Department as part of the sexual assault investigation, his attorney said Thursday, adding that he believes Winston will be exonerated and any DNA does not prove guilt.
Winston's lawyer Tim Jansen said at a press conference Thursday morning that the sex between his client and the accuser "absolutely" was consensual, but then retreated when pressed by reporters who asked him to confirm what he just said.
"I'm not saying that," Jansen said. "I'm saying the eyewitnesses that were there will verify that any material that was found, or any evidence that was found, is consistent with him (doing) nothing wrong."
ESPN first reported Wednesday night that Winston's DNA matched a sample taken from the underwear of the accuser.
Jansen said he has not seen the results of the DNA tests and found out watching television.
"All I know is it's very suspicious that the only news reporting agency that (State Attorney) Willie Meggs met privately with yesterday in his office was the one that reported that last night on television," Jansen said. "And that would be ESPN."
Meggs denied that he — or anyone in his office — released the DNA information to the media. He called the release of the information "problematic." He said he did not know who the source of information was for ESPN.
Read the rest of the story here.
- Created on 18 November 2013
UConn is No. 1 again in The Associated Press' women's basketball poll. The Huskies received all 36 first-place votes from the national media panel Monday.
They had their most challenging week in a long time, but swept through it beating three Top 25 teams. UConn topped then-No. 3 Stanford, No. 8 Maryland and then-No. 14 Penn State by an average of 18 points.
Here are five things to know about this week's Top 25:
BUSY WEEK: Connecticut has a long week ahead with four home games. While the talent isn't the caliber of the teams they just played, having four games in five days will be a test for the short-handed Huskies, who are down to seven scholarship players after injuries last week to Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Morgan Tuck.
"I think the thing that has always been key for us it that we always try to approach every game the same way, regardless of who or where we're playing," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "If we keep getting better, it's going to be harder to beat us, whether on the road or at home. If we stay stagnant and don't move forward from here, we're setting ourselves up to get beat."
FREE FALLING: No. 17 California was the only Top 25 team to lose to an unranked opponent when the Golden Bears fell at George Washington 75-72 on Friday, dropping them seven spots in the poll. The rest of the poll went 30-0 against non-Top 25 teams winning by an average of 27 points.
WELCOME TO THE POLL: No. 25 DePaul became the first member of the new Big East conference to get ranked. Before the conference split this season, the Big East had at least one team ranked for every poll since Feb. 23, 1993. DePaul was last ranked in the preseason poll last season.