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Weekend Recap: A Punk, A Heartbreak & A Rumor

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It’s been a while since we have had an over abundance of sports headlines to discuss. So much so we had to consolidate it all into one article.

The weekend brought along interesting developments in each of the major sports. But 2 of the 3 topics we touch on here have to do with the sports not often mentioned at the major sports networks.

Who would have thought that on SportsRantz we would be focusing on 3 of the biggest stories and the topics would be a WWE match, Women’s Soccer and a Trade Rumor in baseball?

Sure there were other newsworthy topics but these 3 stories stole the spotlight and also impacted their respective sports more so than the run of the mill daily news thread.

CM Punk wins WWE Title at “Money in the Bank” PPV

It’s been a while since “Pro Wrestling” has had a really intriguing topic of interest. And please let’s differentiate between a buzz story and an actual news story. Snooki “Oompa-Loopa” Polizzi waddling around a ring at WrestleMania 28 is NOT a news story. But how CM Punk just flipped the wrestling world upside down, is.

Most of you read my blog post about CM Punk’s now legendary shoot promo he cut a couple of weeks ago on Monday Night RAW that was both passionate and edgy.

It all came to a head this weekend at WWE’s PPV “Money in the Bank”. In the past the WWE has failed to deliver what the fans have been clamoring for. Year after year WWE would at times develop a somewhat decent storyline of angle only to sorely disappoint it’s fans and pro-wrestling enthusiasts.

But they hit pure gold with CM Punk. Instead of letting it piss away in the wind, WWE embraced and seemingly delivered. At the end of the PPV many would assume that John Cena (or “SuperCena”) would make an improbable comeback and retain the title as he does at every WWE event. There was no way CM Punk was going to leave that night and the WWE (his contract expired last night) with the WWE title.

But WWE did the improbable, they delivered the unexpected. They heard the passionate crowd in Chicago, the responses on the internet dirt sheets and delivered. They teased a “Montreal Screwjob” and a “typical WWE ending” yet still delivered what the fans wanted. CM Punk (one of the best, if not THE best in the business today) won the title clean and ran out of the arena as the champion of a company he no longer worked for.

CM Punk is one of the best workers on the mic, with the media and in the ring. It didn’t take him long after his win over John Cena for the WWE title for him to take to Twitter to ask “it’s 12:00 do you know where your WWE title is”? Brilliant!!! He even tweeted this pic:

Women’s World Cup – Japan Deserves This

Another surprise, soccer actually stole the spotlight this week. Women’s soccer at that. While a nation tuned in to a magical run by the United States Women’s soccer team to the World Cup Final a huge realization hit the American people; “We are watching soccer”.

Shocking I know! But for what it is worth Hope Solo, Amy Wambach and the rest of the US Women’s National Team gave us promise that a soccer World Cup was very possible for the United States.

As the head into Sunday’s Finals match against Japan (a team they never have lost to) America seemingly had a cake walk to the Cup. It was only a matter of time before the Americans would be doing their Media Rounds with the World Cup in hand as America pretended for 5 minutes that Soccer was a sport that really mattered to Americans.

But with under 4 minutes to go in a game the American’s were leading 2-1 and seemingly had “in the bag”, the roof caved in.

Japan, the under dog, came back and stole victory from the jaws of defeat and stunned the Americans.

We tend to love the come from behind, under dog story. Japan as a team and a country gave the World that such thing. A country ripped apart by tragedy this year and a team that was the proverbial “David” facing “Goliath”, Japan showed it not only deserved the Cup more than anyone else but showcased a true championship heart.
Ubaldo Jimenez Trade?

Then there is the big news of a trade rumor. Ubaldo Jimenez who last year was considered one of the most dominant pitchers not only in the National League but also in the Majors, is being shopped by the Colorado Rockies.

And it’s no surprise who is the leading candidate to get him. The New York Yankees.

But Jimenez isn’t exactly have a typical “Ubaldo Year”. His ERA balooned and he has seemed to struggle and labor through a underachieving year.

He pitched very well the past month and posted a sub 3 ERA during the past several weeks. He also had a very strong outing at Yankee Stadium that gave Yankee fans a taste of what may be coming.

But just like Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and Johan Santana will the Yankees balk when the asking price soars?

Surely the Yankees will be asked to include stud prospect Jesus Montero and may also be asked for Ivan Nova. But is that too much? Stay tuned for a blog later this week where we look into this.

 

So as the weekend passed these are my 3 major headline stealers. What are yours?

Anthony DiMoro is the creator of Sports Rants and the CEO of Elite Rank Media and DiMoro Enterprises LLC. He is a former Contributor for Forbes and the Huffington Post where he covered sports, social media, and SEO. Anthony hosts the Anthony DiMoro Show podcast, and formerly hosted the 'Forbes SportsMoney Podcast'.

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Boxing

25th Annual Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night, A Charity Knockout Event

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Photo Credit: Monica Alvarez

The stars came out last night to give, show support, perform, and to continue to raise money and awareness in hopes of one day find a cure to knockout Parkinson’s disease.

Going back to year number 1, The first ever event was held at the Ritz-Carlton operated on a much smaller scale than today, which is now held at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa.

At the very first Celebrity Fight Night With the help of Phoenix Suns Charles Barkley, Dan Majerle, and the valley of the sun’s very own Louie Espinoza, Tony Baltazar, and boxing champion Michael Carbajal who by the way fought in the ring with over sized boxing gloves.

The ”Puttin on the Fists at The Ritz” first Celebrity Fight Night scored a knockout win and is STILL punching on through today for the Greatest Of All Time, The late great Muhammad Ali.

Last night I was honored to attend and speak to a few of the stars, one was NFL legendary kicker Nick Lowery, Mr. Lowery now spends most of his time at charitable endeavors and advocating for alternative medicine research and is also a spokesman for Kannalife, Inc to raise awareness for CTE and players safety in hopes of one day having intercellular “helmets,” like Kannalife’s CBD and KLS-13019, is so important to potentially treat the brain.

I asked Lowery what is his favorite Ali memory, and Lowery’s response: ” Taking Ali to the NBA All-Star game one year as we sat behind Jay-Z and Beyonce and watching Beyonce wave to Ali, Beyonce spoke to us, she is the sweetest person. Also taking Ali to the locker rooms and watching Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, and all the other all stars turn into children at the sight of seeing their hero the greatest of all time Muhammad Ali walk through the doors, what an experience that was.”

In asking the very same question to R&B Singer Brian McKnight, ”I have so many Ali memories but my favorite was watching Ali knockout George Foreman at home with my dad. The odds were against Ali and Ali being the great fighter that he was he beat the odds and stopped a much younger powerful puncher in Foreman. You know, I am still a big boxing fan today, I enjoy watching Tyson Fury out of the current heavyweights.”

And what did legendary former champion boxer, Micheal Carbajal have to say? ”It’s truly an honor to attend this great event, at the very first one proceeds went to my 9th street boxing gym and now 24 years later it’s still going strong, a great charity”. Mr. Carbajal went on to talk some boxing with me,

Carbajal- ” You see Spence/Garcia?”

Me- ” Yes, it was brutal, what did you think?”

Carbajal- ” Not good for Mikey Garcia at all, but he is still my favorite current boxer, and he beats everybody at 135 pounds if he can make the weight there. Mikey would knockout Lomachenko in 4 rounds at 135.”

Me- ”Wow, you really think that? Both are great technical boxers but I can’t see a 4 round fight between them, so you really think it would only take Mikey 4 rounds to stop Lomachenko?”

Carbajal- ” I KNOW so!”

Special honorees for the evening include fabled American music producer and 27-time Grammy Award-winner Quincy Jones, Arizona State University President Dr. Michael Crow and Dr. Abraham Lieberman, the medical director of the Movement Disorders Clinic at Barrow Neurological Institute and Renee Parsons of the Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation.

“For 25 years, we’ve treated Celebrity Fight Night audiences to the world’s greatest entertainers and this year will be no different as we welcome Barry Manilow,” said Jimmy Walker, Founder of Celebrity Fight Night. “With the help of our celebrity friends and incredibly generous donors, we are once again excited to raise millions of dollars and make a difference in the lives of those who need our support.”

Individual tickets for Celebrity Fight Night start at $1,500 – $10,000.  To purchase tickets or to get more information on the event, please visit www.celebrityfightnight.org, or call (602) 956-1121.

About Celebrity Fight Night
Celebrity Fight Night has gifted more than $86 million over the past 24 years benefiting the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, as well as several other worthy charities.

The black-tie event features a cocktail reception, silent auction, elegant dinner, and an exciting live auction including one-of-a-kind luxury items and experiences. Celebrity Fight Night Foundation is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1994 by Jimmy Walker and supports the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, as well as numerous other charities. For more information, visitwww.celebrityfightnight.org.

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Olympic Cyclist Kelly Catlin Dead at 23

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Olympic track cyclist Kelly Catlin, who competed in the 2016 Rio Janeiro Games, was found dead in her California home this past Friday due to an apparent suicide, according to an announcement from her father, according to Reuters.

“There isn’t a minute that goes by that we don’t think of her and think of the wonderful life she could have lived,” her father, Mark Catlin said, according to VeloNews. “There isn’t a second in which we wouldn’t freely give our lives in exchange for hers. The hurt is unbelievable.”

Catlin, 23, took the silver medal in Rio and was part of the teams who took home the gold in 2016, 2017, and 2018 World Championships.

Catlin had reportedly struggled with mental health in the past and her sister, Christine Catlin, said that Catlin was “a really special person – kind, funny, empathetic, and talented at literally everything she did, per the Washington Post. She just felt like she couldn’t say no to everything that was asked of her and this was her only escape.”

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Kansas City Chiefs

Tom Brady And Pats Play Record 8th AFC Championship Game, Seek 6th Superbowl

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It’s Championship Sunday and one of the NFL staples remain atop the league. The New England Patriots are appearing in their record 8th AFC title game in hopes of competing for a sixth title.

A season that most organizations would be happy with, was one of challenge for the Patriots. Usually a top tier team, they suffered bad losses to the Jaguars, Titans and Dolphins. However, in Patriot fashion along a weak AFC East, the Patriots finished 11-5, won a 10th straight conference title and secured a first round bye.

Kansas City will host New England in the AFC Championship game in what is a rematch from week six. That game featured an offensive clinic ,  As reported by CBS Boston, Brady went 24-35 passing for 340 yards and touchdown in that game; Mahomes went 23-36 passing for 352 yards and four touchdowns. The AFC Championship could very well play out the same way.

The Chiefs will be a tough out, They won their first home playoff game in 25 years last week against the Colts and are riding one of the most prolific offenses in history behind quarterback whisperer Andy Reid and phenome Patrick Mahomes who is arguably the NFLs best young QB.

In what is a David and Goliath matchup, Brady seems to imply they are the underdog. As he told CBS’s Tracy Wolfson, “I know everyone thinks we suck and, you know, cant win games,”.  Will the dynasty continue? Or will Reid and Mahomes hoist the Lombardi?

I’m leaning towards the game plan of Bill Belichick and veteran experience of Tom Brady in this one. I think a Patriot/Saints matchup is in order. Either way, it will undoubtedly be one for the ages.

Game Time: Sunday January 20th at 6:40ET/5:40CT on CBS.

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