We remain on holiday schedule here at The Tolucan Times, which means the deadline for my article hits several days before some of the scheduled events actually occur.
Because of this time warp restriction on my reporting I will not be able to cover the Los Angeles Rams in real-time for their last game of the season.
Please forgive any crossover tenses.
The Rams final game will have been against the San Francisco 49ers, in Los Angeles.
Going into that game the Rams were seeded #2 in the NFC behind the New Orleans Saints.
L.A. made mincemeat of the Cardinals, beating them decisively (31-9) in Arizona.
That same day the 49ers lost a tough one to the red hot Chicago Bears. The Niners beat themselves with penalties and suffered several egregious calls (against them) and still only lost by a single possession.
The Saints will remain seeded #1, no matter what else happens in week 17 and if the Rams are victorious, they keep their position and get a first round bye.
But if the Niners come out as spoilers and manage to hand the Rams a defeat, and the Bears beat the Vikings, then Los Angeles will have dropped to the #3 seed and lose their bye.
And all of that will be set in stone before this edition’s ink has dried.
Among the nice cards I received for Christmas, the one from Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn was the most exciting.
Topping the bill was a pair of title fights featuring the Charlo twins.
The lead-in bout was in the heavyweight division pairing Dominic Breazeale (20-1, 18 KO’s) with Carlos Negron (20-2, 16 KO’s)…and these two were big.
Negron tops out at 6’6” and Breazeale stands 6’7” but they were slow.
The bell rang and the lumbering began. Breazeale lumbered a little faster and controlled the action from the start.
Negron backed away and tried to counterpunch. He also kept switching from orthodox to southpaw but that was out of frustration rather than being a tactical ploy…he was equally bad with both hands.
Their modicum of effort became all for naught in Round 9 when Breazeale connected with a crisp right hook to the side of the head.
Negron spun and dropped to his knees. The ropes kept him from falling face out of the ring.
The referee wisely called an end to the competition.
Good call, ref.
Breazeale called out Deontay Wilder who was sitting ringside.
Lightning fast Wilder would finish him in less than a round.
The lump of coal in this year’s stocking was the horrible decision rendered in Jermell Charlo’s fight. Defending his WBC World Super Welterweight belt for the fourth time, Jermell faced off with Tony Harrison.
He controlled the tempo and pace, moving forward with effective aggression and landing more punches with greater power. Harrison fought in retreat the entire match.
Jermell should have won by a 3-4 point margin. “Should have” being the key phrase in that sentence.
All three judges gave a unanimous decision (112-116 and 113-115, twice) to Harrison.
Those judges need to be pulled, questioned and forced to take a re-education program in scoring, ‘cause they were the only three that thought Harrison won.
After watching this travesty of adjudicating it was Jermall’s turn.
Older brother (by a minute or two) Jermall faced Matvey Korobov in a contest for the interim WBC World Middleweight title.
Jermall’s original opponent pulled out five days before the fight. Korobov (a southpaw) was on the undercard and jumped at the chance to fight in the main event.
Korobov was in shape and up to the challenge…and looked like he might pull off another upset in the early going.
Jermall stayed patient, threw more, landed more and took the starch out of Korobov’s knees a couple of times in the later rounds.
Jermall was awarded the unanimous decision victory and took the title.
God Bless you in the New Year!
Mark Felicetti will be celebrating the New Year well into May. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.