Spence Ready For First Title Defense

Spence Open Workout

It’s a big weekend for DeSoto native Errol Spence Jr. The IBF welterweight champion will make his first title defense on Saturday in the first high-profile boxing match of the year.

Spence will take on former two-division finalist Lamont Peterson at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The 27-year old Spence had one of the most impressive wins of 2017 by beating Kell Brook in Round 11 of their title fight in England.  He goes into this title fight at 22-0 with 19 knockouts.

“I don’t feel any pressure at all,” Spence said. “I don’t think the pressure can amount to going overseas for my first title fight and fighting the champion in his hometown. If there is any pressure, I enjoy it. It makes me work harder and keeps me focused.”

The 33-year old Peterson has won titles at 140 and 147 pounds, He relinquished the WBA 147-pound title for a shot at Spence.

“It’s a statement fight,” Spence said. “Lamont Peterson has a name. He’s been in there with a lot of great fighters. It’s a statement fight for me to know that I can show everybody that I am the best welterweight in the division. “

The two are familiar with each other in the ring. When Spence was an amateur, he sparred with Peterson. Now, both will meet under the bright lights in New York with the world welterweight title on the line.

“This is what you work for,” Spence added.

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Darvish Still Available, Are The Rangers Interested?

World Series - Houston Astros v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Seven

Courtesy: Getty Images

There is less than a month before pitchers and catchers put on the Texas Rangers uniform and report for spring training to Surprise, Arizona. No doubt, there are plenty of questions surrounding the team going into the season.

One question currently on the table- is Yu Darvish returning to Arlington?

It didn’t seem likely a few months ago when the righty was pitching in the World Series for the Los Angeles Dodgers but here we are. The 31-year old is a free agent and still on the market. He didn’t exactly rule out a return to the mound to The Globe when he was traded at last year’s trade deadline.

Money talks but will the price be right for the Rangers?

Most teams around the league seem to be looking to trim payroll rather than increase it, which may explain why many consider the offseason boring this time around. Darvish might be looking for something in the six-year, $160-million dollar range. The thought process of possible back-loaded contracts apparently doesn’t seem to be high on the priority list for teams such as the Rangers.

However, that’s not ruling out a reunion between the organization and its former ace. Darvish still lives in North Texas and is apparently working out at Highland Park.

One team that is considered the front-runner for Darvish is the “evil empire” themselves, the New York Yankees. However, the whole payroll thing is an issue, even with the Bronx Bombers.  The Yankees have no plans to blow past the luxury-tax threshold this year and are shopping outfielder Jacob Ellsbury and his heavy contract. If they find someone willing to take it, that might free up some space to put Darvish in the famous pinstripes.

The Minnesota Twins and Chicago Cubs are also in the mix. Twins general manager Thad Levine was with Texas when Darvish arrived in the Lone Star State in 2012. The familiarity could play a part in maybe a move to the Twin Cities.

Of course, the asking price could come down and things get really interesting after that. The Rangers likely won’t offer anything more than four years and the price tag of $25 million a year just isn’t happening.  The team has also made moves in the offseason to fill out the pitching staff but they did lose lefty Martin Perez for the start of the season due to elbow surgery on his non-throwing arm after a farming mishap. That could open a door or two.

Another twist to this, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels has maintained a good relationship with Darvish and both sides even got together for dinner recently.  Crazier things have happened.

The hot stove could still be heating up even with spring training right around the corner. File this under the “to be continued” category.

FC Dallas Adds Four Players in 2018 MLS SuperDraft

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Courtesy: nbcdfw.com

FC Dallas made additions to the organization on Friday, courtesy of the 2018 Major League Soccer SuperDraft.

It was an early start to the day for the club, who traded $200,000 of General Allocation Money to the Montreal Impact for the No. 4 pick, which was used to select forward Francis Atuahene from Michigan. The 21-year old native of Ghana played three seasons with the Wolverines, scoring 24 goals and 11 assists in 49 matches.

“My game is a very, very fast-paced style,” Atuahene said in a press release from FC Dallas. “I make a lot of runs and get up and down the field. I am always cutting and trying to make moves in the final third. That is something FC Dallas fans are going to like. I’m going to bring that exciting game of mine to the team. Just work hard every day and adapt to the system.”

FC Dallas a second born player from Ghana at No. 11 with the selection of Ewa Twumasi. The 20-year old played at Wake Forest and scored 16 goals with 11 assists in two seasons.

“I didn’t expect to have him available at No. 11,” said FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja. “It was a luxury to get him. He can complement well with the players we have and [Francis and Ema] can help each other. They developed together when they were young. They will feel more familiar being close to one another. Those things are positives for FC Dallas.”

Both Atuahene and Twumasi are Generation adidas players from the Right to Dream Academy in West Africa.

With the No. 29 selection in the MLS SuperDraft, FCD selected former SMU forward Marco Cichero. The 22-year old scored 22 goals with 17 assists in 51 matches with the Mustangs.

The club also added midfielder Chris Lema at No. 24. A four-year starter at Georgetown, the 21-year old scored five goals and had 12 assists for the Hoyas.

The third and fourth rounds will be held via conference call on Sunday, January 21. FC Dallas holds the No. 57 and 80 overall selections.