Ward dominates Abraham, moves to Super 6 final


Ward dominates Abraham, moves to Super 6 final

May 14, 2011

(AP) CARSON -- Andre Ward felt like the road team in his home state when he walked to the open-air ring amid a chorus of boos while hundreds of Armenians waved red-blue-and-orange flags.Ward took the abuse and smiled. Arthur Abraham would have needed a white flag to stop Ward from steamrolling him on the way to the Super Six tournament final.Ward overwhelmed Abraham with power and speed in nearly every round of an unanimous decision victory Saturday night, defending his WBA super middleweight title in the Super Six semifinals. Ward (24-0, 13 KOs), the Olympic gold medalist from Oakland, Calif., put on another clinic in patient, tactical boxing while dismantling Abraham (32-3), the Armenian-born German who had a perfect record until losing three straight in the Super Six.The Los Angeles area's sizable Armenian population turned out in force for Abraham, but Ward had answers for all of them."We're going to the final, baby," Ward said. "Arthur is strong, and he's a hard hitter, (but) we showed that we can win in a way other than our original game plan."Ward is one fight away from the tournament title that should establish him as the 168-pound division's top fighter. England's Carl Froch is favored to beat Glen Johnson in the other Super Six semifinal bout in Atlantic City, N.J., on June 4, and the final is expected this fall.Ward felt even less at home when the referee wouldn't allow him to fight Abraham on the inside, repeatedly breaking up the fighters when the action got close. After Abraham managed a few lively exchanges during the early rounds, Ward took control with an excess of speed and precision, peppering Abraham with jabs and combinations.Abraham largely stopped throwing good punches when he realized he was hopelessly overmatched at Home Depot Center, just south of Los Angeles."I wish the ref had let me fight on the inside, because that's what I had planned for," Ward said. "But we made adjustments and got the win. ... I'm going to stay humble. I'm going to keep working hard. I want to be a champion for a long time and take the least amount of punishment possible."Judge Stanley Christodoulou scored it a 120-108 shutout for Ward, while German judge Ingo Barrabas and The Associated Press favored Ward 118-110. Dr. James Jen Kin gave it to Ward 118-111.Ward still hasn't lost since he was a 12-year-old amateur. The Bay Area fighter starred in Athens, winning the only U.S. boxing gold in the past three Olympics.Abraham had the fans' backing in just his third U.S. appearance. Hundreds of rowdy fans jeered Ward and chanted "Ar-Tur! Ar-Tur!", but Ward quickly quieted the crowd with another clinical display of his superior technical skill."I started well, and I thought I did good the first three rounds," Abraham said through a translator. "He didn't hit me, and I was blocking a lot of his shots. But then I tried for the knockout, and I couldn't do it. I cramped up, and I got too tense."Ward used his jab aggressively in the opening rounds, but Abraham showed more aggression than in his previous two bouts, even rattling Ward with a right hand behind his ear in the third round.Ward weathered those attacks and took charge. He never came close to stopping Abraham, but he battered Abraham into the ropes with an overhand right in the final minute of the 12th round.Ward threw 289 jabs over 12 rounds, landing 178 of his 444 total punches. Abraham got credit for more power punches and landed a similar percentage of total punches, but Ward landed all the blows that counted.Ward emerged as an elite pound-for-pound fighter while dominating the group stage of this now-ramshackle tournament matching the world's top 168-pounders outside of Canada's Lucian Bute, the likely challenger for the Super Six winner.Although injuries led to the withdrawal of half the original field, Ward earned one-sided victories over Mikkel Kessler and Allan Green to reach the semifinals against Abraham, who advanced despite losing twice.The Super Six hasn't worked out well for Abraham, an unbeaten middleweight champion and presumptive tourney co-favorite when it began.After knocking out Jermain Taylor in his first bout, he received his first career defeat when he was disqualified late in a fight he was losing to Andre Dirrell. Abraham then was trounced by Froch in his last bout, thoroughly unable to keep up with the English star.Earlier at the Home Depot Center, slimmed-down heavyweight contender Chris Arreola stopped Nagy Aguilera in the third round in an impressive performance. Arreola, who lost his title shot against Vitali Klitschko in September 2009, dedicated himself to conditioning before beating Aguilera, who lost when he couldn't defend himself on the ropes.

Instant Analysis: Raiders overwhelmed, stunned by Washington in season's first loss


Instant Analysis: Raiders overwhelmed, stunned by Washington in season's first loss


LANDOVER, Md. – The first two Raiders games went according to plan. They established an early lead, played solid defense and cruised to victory. The offense proved a dynamic and defenders exceeded expectation.

That streak snapped on Sunday night, when nothing went right.

The Raiders fell off the rails early and never recovered, losing a 27-10 decision to Washington at FedEx Field.

They made an average Washington squad look like a juggernaut. A prolific Raiders offense wilted under Washington pressure. Their mighty offensive line had its worst day in a while and typically reliable quarterback Derek Carr was off target.

The Silver and Black had just 128 yards of total offense, and gave up explosive plays on defense. They were beat soundly on both lines, and were never able to dig out of a early rut.

The Raiders were uninspired in most instances, but Marquette King gave his team some life. He forced a muffed punt late in the third quarter that James Cower recovered. Carr found Jared Cook on a 21-yard touchdown that ended the shutout.

The defense didn’t allow a comeback to take shape, giving up a 74-yard reception to running back Chris Thompson – he had 188 yards of total offense – that set up a field goal that put the Raiders down three scores.

Cory James forced a fumble deep in Washington territory, but the Raiders only mustered a field goal

The Raiders laid an egg in the first half. They got manhandled on both sides of the ball, committed silly turnovers and gave Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins far too much time to work.

He picked the Raiders secondary apart on two touchdown drives that established a two-score halftime lead. Former 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, seeing more time with Jordan Reed hurt, had five catches for 58 yards and a touchdown.

The Raiders have long struggled covering tight ends, and made the veteran look like his old self, when he was dominant as a 49er.

The whole team seemed flat early in this game. Marshawn Lynch struggled to get the ground game going, Carr threw too many to the other team and the Raiders fell in an early hole.

Carr’s rough start: Derek Carr’s first pass was an interception. It wasn’t the only one. The typically reliable Raiders quarterback was out of sync to start this nationally televised contest, and the offense sputtered as a result. He was sacked on consecutive plays, as the offensive line struggled to maintain a pocket.

Washington scored after both Carr interceptions, and he finished the first half with just 32 passing yards.

Marquette strikes again: Raiders punter Marquette King puts some English on his punts. They’re tough to catch when he does that.

He forced a muffed punt for the second time in as many games, Sunday night, which helped the Raiders get on the scoreboard. James Cower recovered the muffed punt, and Carr found Jared Cook a few plays later to score the team’s first touchdown.

Kings owner Ranadivé releases statement on Trump's 'deeply disappointing' comments


Kings owner Ranadivé releases statement on Trump's 'deeply disappointing' comments

Sacramento — Sacramento Kings Owner and Chairman Vivek Ranadivé released the following statement.

“I have a deep respect for our nation’s unwavering commitment to free speech and support all Americans’ right to freely express themselves. The President's recent comments are deeply disappointing, because our focus should be on fostering a culture of sensitivity and inclusion. Our mission at the Sacramento Kings has always been to unite our community and use our platform to create positive change, so we continue to stand with our players, and all people, who use their platform to raise awareness and make Sacramento and our country proud.”

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