Gilroy's Guerrero returning to ring to face Katsidis


Gilroy's Guerrero returning to ring to face Katsidis


Better late than never?A year after dropping out of a title defense and surrendering his world title to care for his wife as she prepared for her battle with leukemia, Gilroys Robert The Ghost Guerrero will jump back in the ring against that formerly scheduled opponent. And it just might be for another belt for the already three-time world titlist.Guerrero (28-1-1, 18 knockouts) will finally face Australias Michael Katsidis (27-3, 22 KOs), but this time at lightweight, as the co-featured bout in an HBO pay-per-view show on April 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The main event of the Golden Boy Promotions card will be between Erik Morales (51-6, 35 KOs) and Marcos Rene Maidana (29-2, 27 KOs) for the WBAs vacant light welterweight title.The time has come for Katsidis and I to step in the ring, Guerrero said in a statement. Weve come full circle from last year when we were supposed to fight for the title, but I had to pull out to aid my wife as she was going through her bone marrow transplant. Im excited for this fight and Im looking to put on a great show for the fans.Guerrero, 27, was to make his first defense of the IBF super featherweight title he claimed on Aug. 22, 2009 with a unanimous decision over Malcolm Klassen against Katsidis, who was to come down from lightweight, on March 27, 2010.But with Guerreros wife Casey ill, he dropped out to be by her side. With Caseys leukemia now in remission she has been ringside for his two most recent fights - he returned to the boxing game and has won his last three fights, against Roberto David Arrieta, Joel Casamayor and Vicente Escobedo, while moving up a weight class.Guerreros most recent victory a dominant 10-round unanimous decision over Woodlands Escobedo on Nov. 6 made him the mandatory challenger for WBO lightweight kingpin Juan Manuel Marquez.But with Marquez not giving Guerrero the title shot, there are rumblings he could be stripped of the title, making the Guerrero-Katsidis winner the new champ. Guerreros previous three titles were twice at 126 pounds and once at 130, both for the IBF.And the 30-year-old Katsidis most recent fight? A ninth-round TKO loss to Marquez in November after knocking him down in the third round.Guerrero is leaving for Las Vegas to begin training camp on Feb. 20.Late last month, Guerrero flew to Golden Boy headquarters in Los Angeles and called out Marquez, accusing the future Hall of Famer of ducking him.Ive come to the realization that Marquez absolutely wants no part of me, Guerrero said at the time. Im his mandatoryI dont want to hear any nonsense that I dont have a big enough name, or that hes not going to make the money he wants fighting me.Im a three-time world champion. Ive fought on national T.V. numerous times. And, more importantly, I believe this is a fight the fans want to see.Guerreros manager, Bob Santos, also got in on things.Outside of (Manny) Pacquiao and (Floyd) Mayweather, Marquez will make more money fighting Guerrero than he would anyone else, Santos said. So money isnt the issue. The fact is, Marquez knows Guerrero will beat him. Honestly, Marquez has become the fighter hes always complained about, when he was avoided by (Marco Antonio) Barrera and Morales.It was thought that Marquez was angling to face Morales while holding out hope of facing Pacquiao a third time. They fought to a draw in 2004 and Pacquiao eked out a split decision in 2008. Pacquiao faces Shane Mosley in a WBO welterweight title fight on May 7.Marquez, meanwhile, has maintained silence over Guerreros claims and has no fight scheduled.So Im not going to wait around for Marquez, Guerrero added. Im just going to move forward with my career and strive for that fourth world title. I take him avoiding me as a victory.In reality, though, Guerrero has a chance to make up for lost time against Katsidis.

GMs have taken all the fun out of Trade Deadline day


GMs have taken all the fun out of Trade Deadline day

The NHL trade deadline came and went Monday night when the Washington Capitals went chips-in on St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.

(For the record, the actual details of the trade are so absurdly complicated that all you will be permitted to know here is that the Caps got Shattenkirk).

But the fact is that, yet again, all the air rushed out of Wednesday’s trade deadline balloon for the hockey media, and the poor sods on set to babysit all the deal-lets and non-deals will weep bitterly as their phones spit out hour after hour of non-information.

At least that’s the way it is playing now. Maybe Pittsburgh will finally close that long-rumored (well, by me, anyway) Sidney Crosby-for-Phil Di Giuseppe deal, but that’s not the way to bet.

But the trade deadline has been slowly but surely dying as general managers find far greater advantage in making their deals away from the time crunch and the persistent phone calls from other general manager, agents and worst of all, media weasels.

For example, the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans broke the NBA trade deadline as well as the All-Star Game by doing the DeMarcus Cousins deal four days early and midway through the first half, in that order.

And though this wasn’t actually a trade, the Golden State Warriors broke the market back in July by maneuvering their way for the prize of the summer – Zaza Pachulia.

Oh, and the other guy.

In short, the general managers seem to have figured out the simplest way to foil the pressures of the trade deadline – by ignoring the deadline and acting ahead of time, creating their own spoiler alerts by spoiling everyone’s fun before they were fully alerted.

And that leaves the rest of us faced with an empty day of blather after we’ve all gone to the trouble of doubling down on beer and chips.

Ultimately the idea behind the coverage of a trade is to break the news of the trade whenever it happens. And the idea of the trade from the general manager’s view is to better the team and minimize the chance of being fired.

All laudable goals, by and large.

But a trade deadline without some recognizable trades is just another day when you can’t fake working, and who needs that?

What’s needed here then is a trade deadline with teeth and real tangible punishments for everyone involved. I mean, we have chips and guacamole to think of.

For instance, there is no reason why the leagues couldn’t install rules that say that no trade can be announced even to any of the principals (players, agents, medioids, et. al.) except on the day of the deadline. Any teams involved in a deal that breaks the embargo is fined a massive amount of the owners’ (as in both teams’ owners) money.

To make this work, the teams would have to agree no trade could be made between, say, Thanksgiving and the deadline. Or Christmas, depending on how you feel about tryptophan overdosing. But the point is, nothing could get done until the agreed-upon deadline, and it could only be announced to anyone on the day of the deadline.

This is profoundly unfair to the players, of course, but that little issue has never bothered management before when the alternative was money.

It is also not much fun for the media, which has to twiddle its opposables floating rumors that can’t be proven or disproven except on that one day when everyone works from midnight to midnight, wired to the eyelids on six-buck coffee and enough green tea to turn a gall bladder into a souvenir ash tray.

No, this is about making a worthwhile and ironclad trade deadline for the good of the sport, and the business.

Okay, this is about our amusement.

We all like trade deadlines. It gives order to the market, and it centers everyone’s focus on one hyper-adrenalized day to watch out for double-, triple- and quadruple-crosses from general managers wanting to jump each others’ action in search of their own personal Shattenkirks.

It spikes Verizon stock, it makes lots of business for movers and real estate vultures, it provides cheap and disposable fame for about two-thirds of the players in the league, and it makes everyone involved look like twitchy red-eyed zombies on television.

It beats the Bachelorette every time, because among other things it looks a lot more like parents do when they’ve been up all day and night with the colic farms.

In short, a trade deadline is a precious thing not to be discarded just because it’s inconvenient for a few suits and about-to-be-moved employees.

So yeah, Kevin Shattenkirk could have held another day or so. You know, for the good of the game.


Curry blames weatherman for career-worst 0-for-11 from 3-point range

Curry blames weatherman for career-worst 0-for-11 from 3-point range

In the wake of a 119-108 Warriors win over the 76ers Monday night in Philadelphia, Stephen Curry had a ready explanation for his 0-of-11 shooting 3-point distance.

He didn’t properly account for the change in weather.

“The weatherman said it’s like a low-pressure system that was coming in (and) I forgot to adjust to the thickness of the air,” he told reporters at Wells Fargo Center.

Curry’s comment may open to interpretation, but it was clear his sense of humor remained intact even after a career-worst shooting night beyond the arc.

He wasn’t the only Warrior finding it difficult to score from deep. Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green combined to go 5-of-20. The Warriors were 6-of-29 from deep, their second-lowest total of the season.

“It’s weird,” he said. “Not to discredit anything they did. The first half we had a lot of open looks that didn’t go in. Klay made a couple down the stretch. KD made one. Draymond made one from the corner.

“Other than that we still took really good shots that didn’t go in. But for us to still have moxie to withstand that and still pretty much have the lead the whole game and allow our defense to get us a win tonight was kind of our M.O.”

Given that Curry owns the single-game record for triples (13) as well as the single-season record (402), it was most alarming that he couldn’t find at least one. And he had opportunities.

“It happens but you have to try and find other ways to impact the game,” he said. “I was trying to get to the paint a little bit more and just try to make plays. One thing is I don’t get down on myself. Obviously, that’s why I got 11 of them up. I still have confidence the next one is going in and that will stay the same tomorrow.”

The Warriors face the Wizards Tuesday in Washington. In Curry’s last appearance at the Verizon Center, last Feb. 3, he went for 51 points. He was 11-of-15 from deep.

“What I love about Steph is he went 0-11 tonight from three but you wouldn’t know it if you looked at his face,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He never loses confidence; he never hangs his head. It is a sign of a guy with ultimate confidence in his ability and the awareness that it is one of those nights.

“He is likely to come out tomorrow and make about seven in a row at some point. So that’s what I love about Steph. He keeps playing.”