NorCal Roundup: Donaire, Mendez, Khan KO foes

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NorCal Roundup: Donaire, Mendez, Khan KO foes

San Leandro’s Nonito Donaire might have locked up the Fighter of the Year after thrashing Jorge Arce in three rounds Saturday night at Houston’s Toyota Center to effectively defend his junior featherweight world title.

After a first round where he measured his foe, Donaire (31-1, 20 KOs) dropped Arce as the two traded right hands in the second stanza.  From that point forward, Donaire dictated subsequent terms of the bout, and they would be one-sided.

In the final minute of the third round, Donaire sent Arce (61-7-2, 46 KOs) to the canvas once more with another right hand and two solid left hooks.  Although the warrior from Los Mochis, Mexico, would get up on shaky ground, the East Bay fighter would swiftly finish him off with another signature spectacular left hook.

As Arce lay on his back, referee Laurence Cole called a halt to the bout at 2:59—the same time when Mexican star Juan Manuel Marquez knocked out Donaire’s fellow Filipino, Manny Pacquiao, last week in the sixth round.  

“There were a lot of fans who were telling me, ‘You gotta get him for Filipino respect,’” said Donaire, who proudly sported a Filipino crest on his trunks and was accompanied into the ring by Filipino musician Apl.de.ap of the Black Eyed Peas.  “But I’m friends with a lot of Mexicans.  My trainer, Robert Garcia, is Mexican.”

National pride aside, Donaire’s performance was another stark reminder of how dominant he has been in 2012.  In his four victories, he floored each of his opponents, but he saved his most sensational one for last.  

“My career is over,” said Arce, who retired after the bout.  “I lost to the best man.”

Following the fight, Donaire revealed that he's not done cleaning out the 122-pound division, with the other two beltholders, Abner Mares and Guillermo Rigondeaux, waiting in the wings.

“I want to get Mares and he’s calling me out,” Donaire said.  “But if that doesn’t happen, we always have Guillermo Rigondeaux next.”

The pair of challengers will have to wait until 2013 to get their chance at the throne.  By then, they could probably be facing the reigning Fighter of the Year.

MENDEZ BLASTS GONZALEZ IN FIVE

In Salinas, middleweight Paul Mendez of Walnut Creek paralyzed Lester Gonzalez’s legs with a crippling body attack and eventually stopped him in the fifth round at the Storm House.

Mendez (11-2-1, 5 KOs), who appeared earlier this week on Chronicle Live, was fighting with a heavy heart.  His amateur trainer, Mike Dallas Sr., passed away due to leukemia last month.  In addition, Mendez was raising money to help pay for the medical bills of Sy Sherman, a 10-year-old boy from Salinas who is currently battling liver cancer.

With Sherman watching the fight from a balcony overlooking the ring, Mendez knocked Gonzalez (12-8-4, 6 KOs) down in the third round with a right and left to the ribcage.  Gonzalez, a Cuban who now resides in San Diego, would recover, but the end would come two frames later.

In the fifth, a thunderous left hook from Mendez exploded on Gonzalez’s midsection.  As Gonzalez gasped for air, Mendez took advantage and unleashed a series of power shots that had referee Ed Collantes stopping the fight with the Cuban still on his feet.  Official time was 2:35.

“It feels great to win it for them both.  I see you up there, Sy,” Mendez said, pointing to the area where a delighted Sherman lay in a makeshift bed.  “He said I would win by knockout and I had to follow through.”

KHAN TOO MUCH FOR MOLINA IN 11

Amir Khan made his maiden bout with new trainer Virgil Hunter a successful one, stopping a game Carlos Molina in the 11th round of their junior welterweight contest at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.

Khan (27-3, 19 KOs), who hails from Bolton, England, but now trains in Hayward, overwhelmed Molina (17-1, 7 KOs) with rapid-fire salvos and a high volume of punches.  Though the Rosemead, Calif., product amped up his output as the fight progressed, he lacked the power to make Khan respect his offense.  

After repeatedly getting tagged, blood began to stream down Molina’s left eye.  With his face a swollen mess, the fight was stopped before the 11th was under way.

With the victory, Khan broke a two-bout losing streak and is back in the mix with the big names at 140 and 147 pounds.

In the co-feature, junior middleweight Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo (22-2, 18 KOs), who also moved his training camp to Hayward to work with Hunter, pounded out a competitive 10-round decision over upstart Jorge Silva (19-3, 15 KOs) of Tijuana, Mexico, on the Khan-Molina undercard.  Scores were 97-93 across the board in a clash where Silva was outgunned but still managed to land several solid shots.

MORE RESULTS FROM SALINAS

• Look out for Jonathan Garcia (10-0, 8 KOs).  The junior welterweight from Watsonville impressed yet again, stopping the tough Rodolfo Armenta (12-8-1, 9 KOs) in one round on the Mendez-Gonzalez undercard.  Utilizing a variety of combinations, namely a triple left hook that he can aim in whichever direction he pleases, Garcia has established himself as one of the region’s top prospects.

• Former welterweight contender Jose Celaya of Salinas was unable to make a triumphant return to the ring after a three-year absence, falling by unanimous decision to Fresno’s Loren Myers (9-17-1, 2 KOs).  Now a light heavyweight, Celaya (31-7, 16 KOs) had his moments but was decked twice by Myers.  Scores were 39-35 and 38-36 twice for the Fresno fighter.

• Oscar Godoy (9-2, 4 KOs) has found moving down from 154 to 147 pounds to be the right choice, as the Watsonville welterweight earned a third-round technical knockout of Javier Gomez (13-10, 9 KOs).  After an even two rounds, Godoy let his hands go with a two-fisted attack and hurt Gomez, causing the Tijuana, Mexico, native to take a knee.  Moments later after Gomez ate another Godoy barrage, referee Marcos Rosales waved off the fight at 0:48.

• Welterweight Preston Freeman (3-0, 1 KO), a St. Louis native who now trains in Salinas with Garcia Boxing, remained unbeaten with a four-round unanimous decision win over Tulare’s Vicente Guzman (0-1), a former amateur standout who was making his pro debut.  Freeman controlled the pace in the center of the ring, coolly staying out of his foe’s range and then striking when necessary; he put Guzman down in the second with a counter left hook.  All three judges scored the bout 40-35.

• Rounding out the card, San Francisco junior welterweight Jonathan Chicas (8-1, 4 KOs) incurred his first defeat as he was stopped by Chico’s Moris Rodriguez (4-1, 3 KOs) in the third round.  Chicas was doing fine on the outside until he traded left hooks with the heavy-handed Rodriguez, whose shot landed first and sent Chicas to the canvas.  Chicas would beat the count, but his legs would ultimately give way and cause Ed Collantes to halt the bout at 1:00 of the stanza.

CSN Bay Area Boxing Insider Ryan Maquiñana is a voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and panelist for Ring Magazine’s Ratings Board.  E-mail him at rmaquinana@gmail.com, check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.

The Ranadive Paradox: Every choice Kings face almost guarantees failure

The Ranadive Paradox: Every choice Kings face almost guarantees failure

Sacramento Kings general manager Vlade Divac declared he had a better offer for DeMarcus Cousins two days before he took the New Orleans Pelicans offer, which means that this is not the worst trade in the history of the franchise.

It is, however, the one that best explains the history of the franchise.

The cavalcade of Kingsiana, from their halcyon days in Rochester to their fringes-of-good years in Cincinnati to their mostly thin years in Kansas City and Omaha down to the desiccated decades in Sactown, is summed by this – Boogie Cousins, a disputatious star traded for less than he was worth and for less than they could have gotten a couple of days before.

[RELATED: Report: Vivek Ranadive thinks Buddy Hield has Steph Curry potential]

And in its wake, a battered marketplace turns on itself yet again to rage against the amorphous blob of a team they horship and loathe in alternate moments. The fans are left to argue among themselves whether Cousins is better or worse than no Cousins, and whether the reward for no Cousins was sufficient.

Now they know, from their general maanger’s mouth. It wasn’t. Yay Kings!

The pro-Boogie and anti-Boogie factions break down along simple party lines. The anti-Boogies explain that Cousins was a volatile, ball-hogging non-leader who also was an easily distracted rage-a-holic who never made the Kings better than they were, and that any trade that removed him (and to a lesser extent the freshly waived Matt Barnes) could only help team and organizational chemistry.

But the pro-Boogie folks, while acknowledging his manifest faults, point out one thing the anti-Boogie folks cannot refute, namely:

There is no guarantee that this front office would take whatever bounty it received in a Cousins trade and not turn it into yet another colossal mess along the lines of everything they have ever done in the years bracketing the Rick Adelman Era.

And yes, this predates the Vivek Ranadive Era, although his unhealthy obsession with the Warriors has tinged his decision-making to the point in which he said that Buddy Hield has “Stephen Curry potential.”

Hey, thanks for that one, boss. You want to make Tyreke Evans Michael Jordan, or the second-round pick the reincarnation of Wilt Chamberlain? Or maybe just cut to the chase and say, “I am now going to make Buddy Hield’s future a horror show of unmet/unjustified/unrequested expectations?”

[RELATED: Isaiah Thomas' reaction to DeMarcus Cousins trade includes an 'LOL']

The point here is that Ranadive isn’t all that undermines the monarchy, but he is the first truly megawealthy Kings owner to maintain the low standards that have dogged the franchise since the early 1950s. The rest of the time, they could plead short-walleted owners, unresponsive audiences or miscellaneous meatheadery. Now, they have plenty of money, an avid fan base and . . . well, two out of three keeps you out of the playoffs if the third one isn’t solved.

Besides, while this trade will be marked as one that was meant to get DeMarcus Cousins out of town, the enduring problem is still right there. The Kings do things like this because they are the Kings, in the same way that the Warriors used to do stupid things because they were the Warriors. In that way, Ranadive has achieved his aim to be more Warrior than the Warriors. He just got the timeline horribly wrong.

And now we have this deal, which cannot be explained except by invoking two essentially untenable concepts – getting rid of your best player just because he is a monumental irritant and leaving the mechanism that makes deals like this necessary (a record held by many), and the idea that making yourself worse now is just making yourself better eventually (now known as the Hinkie Paradox).

Teams that have to tank almost always put themselves in that position because they are poorly run. People point to the San Antonio Spurs’ one year of suck before the Tim Duncan draft in 1997, but the Spurs’ history has almost exclusively a parade of winning teams going back to the NBA-ABA merger in 1976.

The Kings? They’ve had 11 winning seasons in that time, and every choice that confronts them now almost guarantees failure. That is the Ranadive Paradox.

The Cousins deal is endemic of who the Kings are, what they are, and what they have almost always been. It is, to strain the analogy, a bit like the Oscar Robertson deal in 1970, when the best player in franchise history raged against years of failure and his own coach, Bob Cousy, and was moved to Milwaukee for the talent haul of Flynn Robinson and Charlie Paulk. Robertson landed with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, won one NBA title and two division titles in the collaboration and ended his career far more cheerily than at any time in Cincinnati.

Nobody thinks the Pelicans are similarly positioned, although comparing Abdul-Jabbar and Anthony Davis is comparing generational with brilliant. But most folks agree that the Kings dealt their best player from a position of profound and ongoing weakness that they have built for themselves, didn’t get what they could have but are almost certain to get what they deserve.

Again.

Kings trade Cousins: 'Winning begins with culture and character matters'

Kings trade Cousins: 'Winning begins with culture and character matters'

Programming note: Watch Vlade Divac's press conference today at 12:30pm streaming live right here.

The Kings acquired guards Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and 2017 first and second-round draft selections from the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for forward/center DeMarcus Cousins and forward Omri Casspi, the team announced on Monday.

“It was time for a change and I decided this was the best direction for the organization, said Divac. “Winning begins with culture and character matters. With the upcoming draft class set to be one of the strongest in a decade, this trade will allow us to build the depth needed for a talented and developing roster moving forward. We thank DeMarcus for his contributions and wish him all the best in New Orleans. The fans in Sacramento are the best in the world and we are all committed to building a team that will continue to make Sacramento proud.”

[RELATED: Report: Vivek Ranadive thinks Buddy Hield has Steph Curry potential]

A 6-5 guard and 2015-16 recipient of the John R. Wooden Award bestowed on the nation’s best collegiate basketball player, Hield joins the Kings in his rookie campaign after New Orleans tabbed him with the sixth overall selection in the 2016 NBA Draft out of Oklahoma. In 57 contests with the Pelicans this season, he accrued averages of 8.6 points (.392 FG%, .369 3pt%, .879 FT%), 2.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 20.2 minutes per game in 57 contests (stated 37). 

Evans returns to Sacramento where he earned 2009 Rookie of the Year honors after being selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. An eight-year league veteran, he has amassed 16.3 points (.444 FG%, .289 3pt%, .757 FT%), 4.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.3 steals and 32.5 minutes per game in 459 NBA games (started 370). The Memphis Tiger enjoyed his most prolific seasons in a Kings jersey, registering 17.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.4 steals and 35 minutes per contest in 257 games (started 247).

In his third NBA campaign, Galloway averaged 8.6 points (.374 FG%, .377 3pt%, .769 FT%), 2.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 20.4 minutes per contest in 55 games for New Orleans this season. The St. Joseph’s alum previously spent parts of two seasons with the New York Knicks, where he saw action in all 82 games in 2015-16. 

Cousins departs the Kings ranked prominently in Sacramento-era annals as the leader in career rebounds (5,060), double-doubles (278) and free throws attempted (3,546) second in points scored (9,894), free throws made (2,604), and blocks (577), third in steals (661), field goals made (3,557) and attempted (7,747) and fifth in games played (470). Recently named to his third consecutive Western Conference All-Star team, he currently ranks fourth in the league in scoring, 11th in rebounds and 10th in double-doubles while averaging  27.8 points (.451 FG%, .354 3pt%, .770 FT%), 10.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.2 blocks and 34.4 minutes per contest in 55 games (all starts). 

[RELATED: Isaiah Thomas' reaction to DeMarcus Cousins trade includes an 'LOL']

Originally drafted with the fifth overall selection in the 2010 NBA Draft, Cousins posted 21.1 points (.459 FG%, .322 3pt%, .734 FT%), 10.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.2 blocks and 31.9 minutes per contest in 470 games with Sacramento (started 448).    

Casspi was selected 23rd overall in the 2009 NBA Draft and played two seasons in Sacramento (2009-10 – 2010-11) with stops in Cleveland (2011-12 – 2012-13) and Houston (2013-14) before returning to the Kings prior to the 2014-15 season. Limited by injury this year, the 6-9 forward averaged 5.9 points (.453 FG%, .379 3pt%, .571 FT%), 4.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 18 minutes per game in 22 contests (started 2).         

Additionally, Divac announced that the team has waived forward Matt Barnes. A 14-year NBA veteran, the UCLA alum is averaging 7.6 points (.384 FG%, .327 3pt%, .758 FT%), 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 25.3 minutes per contest in 54 games (started 13) for Sacramento after joining the team prior to the start of this season.

Sacramento Kings media services