‘Anything is possible’ ‘That could never happen’ ‘Nothinglasts forever’

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Rams

It was a weekend that spanned the spectrum of clichés, what with the Dolphins beating the Patriots on a 69-yard touchdown (featuring two laterals) as time expired, the Steelers losing to the Raiders in the final seconds on a missed field goal and with the 49ers beating…well, anyone.

The Los Angeles Rams had done extremely well against the toughest teams in the league, suffering only a single loss on their way to Chicago.

The Bears were 8-4 going into the game, and had just lost to the Giants. So they didn’t seem to pose a big threat.

But the only thing stiffer than the wind off of Lake Michigan was the Bears defense. They completely stifled L.A.’s running game, holding Los Angeles to an anemic 52-yard total for the day.

Thankfully the Rams “D” is also very stingy.

Subsequently, neither team saw the end zone in the first half. They traded field goals in each of the first 2-quarters and hit the locker room tied, 6-6.

Back for the second half, the Rams received the kickoff.

They were then flagged for holding, lost yardage on a handoff, and were driven into the end zone for a safety, 6-8.

Chicago scored on their next possession, and that was it.

The Rams (11-2) went down in defeat, 6-15.

Quarterback Jared Goff had 4-interceptions and Running back Todd Gurley rushed for a paltry 28-yards.

It’s a safe bet other teams are studying Chicago’s defensive strategy.

Boxing

Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater was filled to the rafters for the title unification bout between Vasyl “Vasiliy” Lomachenko (12-1, 9 KO’s) and Jose Pedraza (25-2, 12 KO’s).

In front of a capacity crowd, both Lomachenko (WBA Super World Lightweight title) and Pedraza (WBO World Lightweight title) were defending their respective belts for the first time.

Last August Pedraza replaced a mandatory challenger and took the WBO title fight against Raymundo Beltran on short notice.

It was an exciting bout with toe-to-toe action from the start.

Pedraza took control in the middle rounds, dropped Beltran in the 11th, and went on to win by unanimous decision.

It’s a safe bet other teams are studying Chicago’s defensive strategy.

Southpaw Lomachenko won the WBA belt in May, when he TKO’d Jorge Linares on a shot to the liver…but Vasyl paid a price.

During the 2nd round Lomachenko dislocated his right shoulder, popped it back into place and fought the rest of the fight with a torn labrum.

The surgery to repair the shoulder was successful, but it remained a concern going into Saturday’s title fight.

It certainly didn’t seem to be a problem in the ring. Although Vasyl went very light on hooks (most stressful to the joint) he threw nearly four hundred jabs.

In a bout that went the distance, Vasyl was large and in charge from start to finish. He wasn’t putting all his weight into his punches but he was landing at a lofty 33 percent and an accumulation of punches sent Pedraza to his knees two times in the last minute of the 11th.

Vasiliy Lomachenko won by unanimous decision but the scores (119-107 and 117-109, twice) were overly generous to Pedraza.

***

On the undercard at MSG was a match for the vacant NABF Lightweight title…which lasted less time than it takes to tie a pair of boxing shoes.

Undefeated Teofimo Lopez (11-0, 9 KO’s) fought like he was double-parked and Mason Menard (34-4, 24 KO’s) didn’t know what hit him.

Half a minute into the bout Lopez measured off an overhand right to the head. A few seconds later he delivered the same punch, this time from the perfect distance, and Menard was literally “out on his feet.”

Frozen in his boxing stance Menard fell like a plank, face-first to the canvas.

The referee knelt to start the count but immediately waved it off and called for the ringside doctor.

Good call, ref.

With that one-punch knockout, Teofimo Lopez proved himself a worthy contender.

God Bless and don’t be cliché.

Mark Felicetti would like to hear your thoughts. He won’t agree with them…he just wants to hear them. Reach him at mark@tolucantimes.com.  

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