Antics of Terence Crawford’s trainer riles foe’s connections

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) Dierry Jean couldn’t find his passport, so he wasn’t able to travel from Canada to appear at Monday’s news conference announcing his October fight against unbeaten WBO junior welterweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford.

But Jean’s image made it to Nebraska. Crawford co-manager and trainer Bryan McIntyre held up a poster of the fighter, scribbled over his face and laid the poster on the floor.

“That’s what I think of Dierry Jean. For real,” McIntyre said.

Crawford, 26-0 with 18 knockouts, will be making his first defense of his junior welterweight title in the Oct. 24 HBO bout at CenturyLink Center. Crawford also holds the WBO lightweight belt.

Jean, 29-1 with 20 knockouts, has won four straight since losing a 12-round decision to Lamont Peterson last year.

Camille Estephan of Eye of the Tiger Promotions said Jean asked for the fight, and he welcomes the opportunity to come to Crawford’s hometown. Estephan noted that he himself has visited the CenturyLink Center for investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting, and he expects another enjoyable evening in two months.

Jean’s trainer, Mike Moffa, said that while Crawford is a great champion, he is beatable.

“You’ve got speed, you’re intelligent, you’ve got power, you’re slick,” Moffa said, looking at Crawford. “I would say you’re even more complete than (Floyd) Mayweather. It’s the truth, man. Sometimes you get a little too excited in that ring and put (out) too much for the fans. That’s why HBO loves you. We’ve been watching you, some videos, and we’ll find a way to leave with that belt, Terence.”

Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti then took a playful jab of his own.

“This is what he looks like,” Moretti said, holding up the Jean poster and then laying it on the floor to look like a knocked-out boxer, “and this is what he might look like on Oct. 24.”

Moffa yelled, “Never did he go down in his life.”

When McIntyre picked up the poster, scrawled over Jean’s face and put it back on the floor, Estephan took umbrage.

“You made it personal, putting this paper on the ground. Big mistake, buddy. Karma is going to get you, I’m going to make sure of that,” Estephan said.

Crawford said Jean will be in for a long night.

“Yeah, he’s a good fighter. I take nothing away from any fighter,” Crawford said. “Oct. 24, I’ll be 100 percent ready, probably more than 100 percent. But mark my words, he will lose.”

This story corrects the spelling of Mike Moffa’s last name.

‘It’s about time’: Trump pardons late boxer Jack Johnson

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WASHINGTON (AP) President Donald Trump on Thursday granted a rare posthumous pardon to boxing’s first black heavyweight champion, clearing Jack Johnson’s name more than 100 years after what many see as his racially-charged conviction.

“It’s my honor to do it. It’s about time,” Trump said during an Oval Office ceremony, where he was joined by boxer Lennox Lewis and actor Sylvester Stallone, who has drawn awareness to Johnson’s cause.

Trump said Johnson had served 10 months in prison for what many view as a racially-motivated injustice and described his decision as an effort “to correct a wrong in our history.”

“He represented something that was both very beautiful and very terrible at the same time,” Trump said.

Johnson was convicted in 1913 by an all-white jury for violating the Mann Act, which made it illegal to transport women across state lines for “immoral” purposes, for traveling with his white girlfriend.

Trump had said previously that Stallone had brought Johnson’s story to his attention in a phone call.

“His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial,” Trump tweeted in April. “Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!”

Johnson is a legendary figure in boxing and crossed over into popular culture decades ago with biographies, dramas and documentaries following the civil rights era.

He died in 1946. His great-great niece has pressed Trump for a posthumous pardon, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., have been pushing Johnson’s case for years.

The son of former slaves, Johnson defeated Tommy Burns for the heavyweight title in 1908 at a time when blacks and whites rarely entered the same ring. He then mowed down a series of “great white hopes,” culminating in 1910 with the undefeated former champion, James J. Jeffries.

McCain previously told The Associated Press that Johnson “was a boxing legend and pioneer whose career and reputation were ruined by a racially charged conviction more than a century ago.”

“Johnson’s imprisonment forced him into the shadows of bigotry and prejudice, and continues to stand as a stain on our national honor,” McCain has said.

Posthumous pardons are rare, but not unprecedented. President Bill Clinton pardoned Henry O. Flipper, the first African-American officer to lead the Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War, and Bush pardoned Charles Winters, an American volunteer in the Arab-Israeli War convicted of violating the U.S. Neutrality Acts in 1949.

Linda E. Haywood, the great-great niece, wanted Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president, to pardon Johnson, but Justice Department policy says “processing posthumous pardon petitions is grounded in the belief that the time of the officials involved in the clemency process is better spent on the pardon and commutation requests of living persons.”

The Justice Department makes decisions on potential pardons through an application process and typically makes recommendations to the president. The general DOJ policy is to not accept applications for posthumous pardons for federal convictions, according to the department’s website. But Trump has shown a willingness to work around the DOJ process in the past.

Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report.

Lomachenko stops Linares in 10th, wins lightweight title

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NEW YORK (AP) Vasiliy Lomachenko stopped Jorge Linares in the 10th round of their lightweight championship fight Saturday night, winning a title in his third weight class in just his 12th pro bout.

Lomachenko landed a hard left to the body during a flurry of precision punches that sent Linares went to a knee. Linares finally got up just as the count was reaching 10 but referee Ricky Gonzalez called an end to the fight at 2:08 of the round.

Linares knocked down Lomachenko in the sixth and the fight was all even after nine rounds before Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) put an overpowering end to his first fight at 135 pounds, adding that title to his belts at 126 and 130 pounds.

Linares (44-4, 27 KOs) hadn’t lost since 2012 and used his size advantage to do some damage, but in the end Lomachenko did more in an exciting Madison Square Garden match.

The fighter widely known as Vasyl said this week he prefers to use Vasiliy, his legal name. And now he can be called lightweight champion after picking up the WBA’s version of the belt in front of a crowd of 10,429 that chanted “Loma! Loma!” and waved blue and gold flags for much of the night.

It was Lomachenko’s eighth straight victory by stoppage, but this one was much tougher than a recent stretch of clinics in which his last four fights ended when his opponents’ corners wouldn’t let them take more punishment from the Ukrainian.

Lomachenko had joked he should be called “no mas Chenko” for his habit of making opponents quit, but Linares made him earn this victory.

The Venezuelan was on a 13-fight winning streak and was giving the two-time Olympic gold medalist the test he wanted, one that he said would bring out the best in what many already consider the most skilled fighter in the world.

Each fighter was ahead 86-84 on a judge’s card, while Julie Lederman had it 85-all after nine rounds.

Lomachenko said Thursday he needed to finally be put in danger to show his complete array of skills, and then on display in the 10th round with a series of shots that Linares couldn’t defend, especially the left to his midsection that took the biggest toll.

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