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If there was anything more surprising than Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez closing 2020 by becoming a network and promotional free agent without having to endure a lengthy court battle, it might be that he chose to return Saturday for one fight with the broadcaster he just divorced. 

Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) will return in the main event (8 p.m. ET on DAZN, sign up now) inside the Alamodome in San Antonio when he challenges Callum Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) for the full WBA and the vacant WBC super middleweight titles. Alvarez, who also holds the WBA and lineal middleweight titles, previously captured the WBA “regular” title at 168 pounds but has yet to defend it. 

In some ways, it’s par for the course for boxing in this already crazy year to see the 30-year-old Alvarez, now fully estranged from Golden Boy Promotions, create the Smith fight out of thin air on short notice in an odd reunion with DAZN. But it’s likely a tease towards Alvarez’s free-agent future in 2021 where he, as boxing’s pound-for-pound king and biggest star, calls his own shots on a fight-by-fight basis. 

DAZN, which launched in the United States in 2018 by announcing it was killing the boxing pay-per-view structure in favor of a monthly streaming charge, originally signed Alvarez to a record $365 million contract for 10 fights. It was a deal DAZN was ultimately unable to honor in 2020 given the realities of the pandemic.

Despite guaranteeing Alvarez a purse of $35 million per fight, DAZN began offering just over half of that and regularly quibbled with the fighter and his promoter over which opponents the all-sports streaming app deemed to be on the “premiere” level.

“Thank God what’s done right can’t go wrong so we are here with DAZN fighting again,” Alvarez told “Morning Kombat” on Wednesday. “We prepared, we are ready and it was the best deal we were able to get and that’s why we are back here fighting with DAZN. We are free agents and we can work with whomever we want, as well, but we are back with DAZN.”

This weekend’s fight will be exclusively promoted by Smith’s team of Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Sport which, like Golden Boy, holds an exclusive deal with DAZN. CEO Oscar De La Hoya and his Golden Boy team, however, will have nothing to do with it. 

 As far as what next year will look like for Alvarez remains uncertain. Will he shop himself out to the highest bid from networks and promoters for each fight or will he do what many experts suggest is only a formality, which is sign a multi-fight deal with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, which can offer him the deepest pool of potential opponents at and around 168 pounds? 

“Yes, this is definitely a complicated fight but we want to close 2020 with a great and grand finale. What’s next, I can’t say,” Alvarez said. “But in short term, we do want to fight at 168, unify [titles] and I can’t say what broadcasters and promoters we will use. We will see then.”

The good news for fans, along with Alvarez’s documented history of consistently accepting the most dangerous challenges, is that he can conceivably fight across three divisions including light heavyweight, where he won a world title by knocking out Sergey Kovalev in 2019 before immediately vacating it. 

But should Alvarez stay true to his word and focus exclusively on 168 pounds, there are no shortage of big options available. 

Can’t get enough boxing and MMA? Get the latest in the world of combat sports from two of the best in the business. Subscribe to Morning Kombat with Luke Thomas and Brian Campbell for the best analysis and in-depth news.

PBC would make the most sense at super middleweight given its deep roster that includes IBF champion Caleb Plant and former WBC champions David Benavidez and Anthony Dirrell. The PBC also represents unbeaten WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo and just about every big name at 147 and 154 pounds, should fighters like Errol Spence Jr., Jarrett Hurd or Jermell Charlo look to move up. 

Remaining friendly with DAZN could also be prosperous for Alvarez given its relationship with unbeaten WBO super middleweight titleholder Billy Joe Saunders, former middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs (whom Alvarez edged by close decision in their 2019 unification bout) and multi-fight rival Gennadiy Golovkin.

Shortly after Alvarez’s DAZN return against Smith was announced, news broke that GGG would return to the ring one night earlier in Florida to defend his IBF middleweight title against largely unknown Kamil Szeremeta.

Given Alvarez’s history with Golovkin, which features a pair of all-action PPV classics that ended in disputed decisions, more than a few close to boxing started wondering whether the two fighters were being set back up on a collision course for a trilogy bout that DAZN was ultimately unable to secure despite signing Golovkin to a $100 million deal largely for that purpose. 

“Well, that is strange,” Alvarez said about fighting one night after Golovkin. “It is strange that he had to wait for Canelo to announce for him to do that. It has to be difficult for him to shadow Canelo, very difficult for him. We did have serious conversations in 2019 but unfortunately because of the pandemic [a trilogy bout] didn’t happen. So we will see, we will see what the future brings.”

The relationship between Alvarez and Golovkin began to sour shortly after a failed drug test for Alvarez in 2018, which delayed their much-anticipated rematch by four months and led to multiple allegations from GGG. 

After winning the rematch by close decision, Alvarez began souring on the idea of ever fighting him again. But the soap opera only continued in 2019 when Alvarez, pressured by DAZN to make the fight happen, was told by Golovkin it would have to wait until he first granted Szeremta, his mandatory opponent, a seemingly unnecessary fight that was only further delayed by the pandemic.

“Nope, no, I don’t like talking about [Golovkin],” Alvarez said. “We have had our differences and he has spoken about me and it’s obvious because he wants to have a fight with me. I understand that and I understand that he wants to fight. But no, I don’t like to talk about people. I like to see people in the ring but we have had our differences. That’s understandable.”

While Alvarez seemed largely bored when asked about Golovkin this week, GGG took it to a greater extreme during the teleconference to promote the Szeremeta by reportedly having his team inform media members that questions about Alvarez were off limits.

One thing Alvarez is not focusing on as he continues free agency into 2021 and likely makes a return to traditional PPV is whether newcomers to the space — including the Youtube stars Jake and Logan Paul or even a returning Mike Tyson at age 54 — might serve as competition for him commercially. 

“With the pandemic, people can watch things on television and do whatever they want or watch whatever they want but I’m very happy,” Alvarez said. “I’m very proud of Mike Tyson that he’s back and he’s a legend. He is looking very good and I’m just happy for him.”



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Newly acquired LeVert out indefinitely for Pacers with mass on kidney

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INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Pacers will be without newly acquired Caris LeVert indefinitely after an MRI showed a mass on his left kidney during a physical to complete this week’s blockbuster four-team trade.

Team officials made the announcement Saturday on Twitter. They say he will undergo more tests and additional details will be released at a later date.

“On behalf of my family and myself, we want to thank the Indiana Pacers for their support and guidance,” LeVert said in a statement. “We are grateful for their extreme thoroughness during the physical process and I am looking forward to joining the team and being part of this great organization as soon as possible.”

The 26-year-old LeVert was acquired Wednesday in the deal that sent Harden to the Brooklyn Nets and two-time All-Star Victor Oladipo to Houston.

LeVert was expected to replace Oladipo and help replace forward T.J. Warren, who is out indefinitely after having surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot.

It’s unclear what the Pacers will do without LeVert.

“We acquired Caris because of who he is as a young man first and foremost,” Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said. “His basketball skill and on-court play speaks for itself and we know he has a great career ahead of him. We will support Caris through this time and know that he will join us on the court as soon as he is able.”

The Pacers expected to get several advantages from the acquisition.

LeVert’s contract is $4.8 million cheaper this season and likely cheaper than it would have been to re-sign Oladipo after this season.

Plus, LeVert is signed through 2022-23, as are three other Pacers starters. And while the 28-year-old Oladipo continues his comeback from a ruptured quad tendon in his right knee, LeVert looked like a player on the rise.

His scoring totals improved each of his first four seasons in the league and despite largely coming off the bench, this has been his best all-around season. He’s averaging 18.5 points and a career-best 6.0 assists and 4.3 rebounds.



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India vs Australia Live streaming 4th Test

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How, where and when to watch Australia vs India 4th Test live match at 5:00 AM IST on January 17, 2021

Tim Paine’s half-century, Cameron Green’s 47 and crucial contributions from Australia’s tail took them to 369 on the second day of the fourth Test against India in Brisbane. For the visitors, T Natarajan, Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur grabbed three wickets each to apply the brakes. Once Paine and Green’s 98-run partnership was broken, India made further inroads; but Pat Cummins gave Australia the perfect start by removing Shubman Gill for a low score. Rohit Sharma then fell for 44 to Nathan Lyon, as heading into the third day, India’s hopes rest on Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, who took them to 62 for 2.

Australia vs India 4th Test is available to view in India on Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 3 and Sony Six channels.

When does the Aus vs Ind live streaming start?
The Aus vs Ind live streaming will start at 5:00 AM India time on January 17, 2021.

Where is the Aus vs Ind match being played?
The Aus vs Ind match is being played at the Gabba in Brisbane.

On which TV channels will Aus vs Ind live coverage be available?
In India, Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 3 and Sony Six will telecast the match live.

Where can one find Aus vs Ind live score and commentary online?
The fastest and most comprehensive live score and details will be available here: Aus vs Ind live

Who are the captains for the Aus vs Ind game?
The captains are Tim Paine (Australia) and Ajinkya Rahane (India).

Who are the umpires for the Aus vs Ind game?
The on-field umpires for tomorrow’s game are Bruce Oxenford and Paul Wilson. The TV umpire will be Paul Reiffel.

Who is the match referee for tomorrow’s Aus vs Ind game?
The match referee for is David Boon.

All telecast and streaming timings are according to information received from the host broadcaster.

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Browns’ Garrett wants to ‘leave an impression’ on Chiefs’ Mahomes

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CLEVELAND — Myles Garrett has only respect for Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, a generational talent on another level from other players in the NFL.

Reverence aside, Garrett hopes to make Mahomes remember meeting him in the playoffs.

Forever.

“I want him to be able to go home when he has his kid or kids and tell them that he went against Myles Garrett,” the Browns‘ star defensive end said Friday after he and his teammates had their last full practice before facing top-seeded Kansas City in Sunday’s divisional playoff game.

”It is not just me versus him — it is the Browns versus the Chiefs,” Garrett said. “But individually, I like to leave an impression on everybody I go against.”

Garrett’s ready to take on the Super Bowl champions, and he believes the Browns (12-5) are as well.

Cleveland’s not being given much of a chance at Arrowhead Stadium, but that was the case a week ago when the Browns went into Heinz Field as underdogs and stunned the Steelers despite missing their coach and two top players because of COVID-19.

The Browns are healthier, and Garrett insists hungrier. Satisfaction hasn’t been attained.

“You have to prove what you are worth day in and day out,” Garett said. “Every time those lights are on and we are on the field, we have to show that we are a great team. Here is another opportunity to show that.”

It’s a monumental task for the Browns, who will be facing an offense with no weaknesses and a quarterback capable of turning the mundane into magical.

There is no one like Mahomes, who has 38 TD passes this season and can lean on playoff experience Garrett and the Browns lack.

“He is kind of regarded as the face of the league right now,” Garrett said.

Since coming back after missing two games with COVID-19, Garrett has played well but isn’t delivering the same game-swinging plays he did earlier this season, when strip-sacks and fumble recoveries were common place for the All-Pro.

Garrett’s been close. He wants to be closer this week against Mahomes.

“I’m due,” Garrett said.

Is now the time?

“Absolutely. This should be the game to do it,” said Garrett. “One of the best teams in the league, if not the best team in the league, but they have to go in there and they have to prove it, and we have to prove that we can battle with anybody.”

Garrett has done plenty of studying on Mahomes, and knows the Browns can’t take a play off. None.

The key to stopping the Chiefs is forcing mistakes, and Mahomes rarely makes any.

“The guy is great with his feet and he is great throwing off of the run,” Garrett said. “He can make plays in any part of the field so we have to be prepared for that. Do not jump for those ball fakes. If you take your shot at him, make it clean and try to take the ball away from him.

“The best place to be on the field with Patrick is with the ball in our hands instead of him because he is great with it.”

The Browns have gone further than anyone outside the team expected.

Garrett wants to keep going.

“We are here. We might as well be great,” he said. “Nobody is excited about just getting a ticket to the dance. Like I said, you want to dance with the pretty girl. You want to shoot your shot, and the worst she can say is no.

“As long as you go out there and you take your best shot, you will be proud of the result, but we are not satisfied until we see how far we can get.”



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