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Reid sounds warning to Baggies

first_img Their next four fixtures see them play Hull at home on Saturday, Tottenham away on Boxing Day, West Ham away on December 28 and then Newcastle at home on New Year’s Day. And looking ahead to those games, Reid, quoted by the Birmingham Mail, said: “We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. “We have the biggest few fixtures of our campaign – this period will define our season. (With) the form we’re in at the minute we need to dig in. “Make no mistake about it, we are in it. We are in a relegation fight with other clubs and we can’t forget that.” In their statement announcing the news of Clarke and Keen’s dismissals on Saturday, West Brom also said that joint-assistant head coach Keith Downing would oversee first-team affairs while the club “consider all available options” for a new boss. And Downing looks set to be in charge of the side for the Hull game, with the Baggies having subsequently confirmed that he will be doing the pre-match media duties at a press conference at Albion’s training ground on Thursday. West Brom are not making any comment regarding who their new permanent boss might be, but a host of people have been linked with the vacancy since Clarke’s departure, with one of the latest being Mauricio Pellegrino, the former Liverpool player and coach who is currently in charge of Estudiantes in his native Argentina. And regarding the Baggies’ search, Reid said: “The board have got it right with the last few appointments. Press Association Albion sacked their head coach Clarke and his assistant Kevin Keen on Saturday following a 1-0 loss at Cardiff, which was their fourth straight defeat. The Midlands outfit are currently 16th in the Barclays Premier League, two points above the relegation zone. “Roberto Di Matteo got it and took us on to promotion (to the Premier League in 2010). “Roy (Hodgson) took us to another level of mid-table safety and Steve Clarke gave us our best-ever Premier League finish (eighth, last season). “It will need to be a top-class coach, which is something we’ve had over the last couple of years. “I wouldn’t have thought someone will come in and break it away because what we’ve been doing the last few years has been the right way. “The board will hope the new man gives the players a lift and gets us some results.” Another candidate for the job is former Manchester United and Norway striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who is currently boss at Molde in his home country and has guided them to two league titles since taking over in 2011. The club’s chief executive Tarje Nordstrand Jacobsen was quoted by Norwegian media on Wednesday as saying that Molde had received enquiries from overseas about Solskjaer, but no indication was given as to exactly who from, or when. Nordstrand Jacobsen, quoted on www.rbnett.no, said: “I can confirm that we have received formal requests, but will not say when they arrived or where they came from. “Ole has a name that will always make him attractive. And he has a standing in England that makes him often a candidate there.” Asked if he was prepared for Solskjaer to leave Molde soon, Nordstrand Jacobsen said: “Yes. We are aware that is a possible scenario. “Ole has won three titles (including a cup) in three years with Molde. “It is obvious that this can be good timing for him if he wants to further his career.” West Brom defender Steven Reid is in no doubt that the club are in a relegation battle and has emphasised the need for them to “dig in” while the search for Steve Clarke’s permanent successor continues.last_img read more

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The inexplicable resurrection of Manny Pacquiao’s boxing career

first_imgFor the first time in a long time, boxing fans from all over believe in Pacquiao again. He’s no longer being viewed as a politician who moonlights as a boxer in his spare time. All signs point toward Pacquiao being fully committed to the sport that granted him access to riches and a career outside of boxing. Now it’s time for him to pay it back.    “Beating an undefeated champion at 40 years old means that I can still fight,” he said. “This is an opportunity to add to my legacy.“I’m not finished yet.” LAS VEGAS — Almost a year ago to the day, this writer penned a column titled “Manny Pacquiao is fighting again and nobody cares.” It was published the day before Pacquiao was set to fight Lucas Matthysse in Malaysia on the relatively new ESPN+ streaming platform. He was a year removed from losing a controversial decision to a fighter he would have run laps around in his heyday when he lost to Jeff Horn in Australia. The prevailing thought was that boxing’s only eight-division champion was preparing to take a farewell tour around the globe and beat up on lesser opponents with his diminishing skill set. After all, he had looked like a shell of his former self and the man that ransacked multiple divisions needed to focus on his senatorial duties while leveraging high-reward, low-risk fights to pad his bank account on the way out.  Watch Manny Pacquiao vs. Keith Thurman on FITE.TVThe idea that a 40-year-old Pacquiao would be facing the undefeated 30-year-old Keith “One Time” Thurman would have been a joke a year or two ago. But the roles have reversed. One year since that column ran, the one who was supposed to be washed up has been reborn; while the hungry young lion has seemingly become full while nursing an injury on the sidelines. It’s the perfect time for these trains collide as Pacquiao will challenge Thurman for the WBA (Super) welterweight title on July 20 in a fascinating showdown where we will find out how much of their respective narratives is true, and how much happens to be smoke and mirrors.   It all started when Pacquiao scored his first knockout in just shy of a decade by flattening Matthysse in the seventh round. It was a far cry from the Filipino fighter who was uninterested in inflicting damage upon his opponents as he took his foot off the gas in fights against the likes of Timothy Bradley, Jessie Vargas, Chris Algieri and Brandon Rios. Something changed. Freddie Roach told Sporting News that his dwindling return on pay-per-view sales was a catalyst for Pacquiao finding his killer instinct. But he also pointed at two fights that began shifting his mindset. “I’m happy that he lost to Floyd Mayweather and Jeff Horn,” Roach revealed about his star pupil. “Those performances were disappointing, but they made a difference in him. He wants to be better.” After blitzing Matthysse, Pacquiao was paired with the brash Adrien Broner for a January showdown. It didn’t take long for Pacquiao to impose his will on “The Problem” and spark an idea that maybe the old Manny Pacquiao was truly back. A huge left hand in the 9th round sent Broner into the ropes. Unlike his previous fights, Pacquiao stormed in for the kill and hurt Broner badly before the sound of the bell rescued him from unconsciousness. Was Pacquiao really back or did he look good against fading opponents? We’ll get to find out when he faces Thurman at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. “I could say this fight is the most important fight in my career,” Pacquaio said earlier in the week. “At the age of 40 I have to prove something and my opponent is very good at talking.”The latter part is interesting. Although he’s been all smiles, a particular line from Thurman’s bag of barbs has clearly rubbed Pacquaio the wrong way. “I know he likes to quote Bible verses so I’ll let you know – he’s getting crucified,” Thurman said at a press conference in Beverly Hills when the fight was announced.  Fast forward to fight week where Pacquiao has gleefully relished the opportunity to be back in the spotlight. It’s his second pay-per-view fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in less than a year and the boxer-slash-politician is fielding questions in a room full of select media.Pacquiao has never been one to show a lot of emotion outside of the boxing ring but when that quote is brought back up, he pauses. “I think the thing he said to motivate me more than anything else is that he’s going to crucify me,” Pacquiao said before pausing again as he pondered his next verbal offering. “I want to teach him a lesson.”Although he would reinforce the idea that it was all business, Roach suggested that there is certainly some underlying anger that his pupil plans to unleash in Las Vegas. “Keith has talked it up to make Manny angry and now he’s going to get a more aggressive Manny,” Roach said. “Whenever Manny is upset or dislikes an opponent, he fights much better. And when he’s more aggressive he’s a much better fighter.”While Roach wouldn’t go as far to guarantee a knockout, he does believe that Pacquiao’s aggression could force Thurman into a shell — much like Broner — where the goal is survival. “I do think he’ll go into a shell after he feels Manny’s power,” Roach said. “I’m kind of counting on that because I know his trainer very well and I think he’s going to send his guy out there to show us that he’s the bigger and stronger guy. I would do the same. But the thing is, once he feels Manny’s power and speed and that will change everything, the fight will change.”Pacquiao told Sporting News that he hopes that Thurman comes to fight, but wouldn’t be surprised if he turtles up either. “I want to make a good fight for the fans with good action,” Pacquiao said. “I think I can handle him because he’s not fast like Broner. But if I hurt him, I don’t know what his reaction will be. We’ll see.”Join DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a yearThe fact remains in that there hasn’t been this much excitement surrounding a Manny Pacquiao fight since he faced Floyd Mayweather just over four years ago. Few, if any, fighters find a second wind in their boxing career as they enter 40. Most fighters are chewed up and spat out by the sport when the exit their prime years. But Pacquiao isn’t like most fighters. According to Roach, the issue with Pacquiao was never physical ability.; it was all mental. And it’s a hurdle that he’s seemingly overcome in the past 12 months. “He hasn’t lost his killer punch but because of his religion he didn’t want to hurt anybody,” Roach explains. “I told him that if he doesn’t want to hurt anybody these decisions will keep happening to him. When you knock them out there are no questions asked.”last_img read more

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