Evander Holyfield’s son wins pro boxing debut in 16 seconds

It’s safe to say Evan Holyfield’s pro boxing career is off to a strong, if slightly controversial start.

The 22-year-old son of boxing legend Evander Holyfield won his first career pro boxing match in just 16 seconds, with a TKO of Nick Winstead, 21, that might have been the result of a somewhat premature ref stoppage.

Holyfield went out and landed a number of shots on Winstead from the outset, eventually knocking him down with a strong left hook. Referee Robert Hoyle immediately stepped in and called the fight.

Winstead was clearly unhappy with Hoyle’s decision to give Holyfield the win so quickly, as was the crowd.

Despite the controversy, it’s hard to deny that Holyfield looked impressive in the junior middleweight bout, which was part of the undercard for Canelo Alvarez’s title fight with Sergey Kovalev.

Mother of all tantrums – Serena Williams wrecks another bid to change her angry image

By Will Swanton (The Australian).

An advertisement on auto-loop during American television coverage of the US Open featured Serena Williams as a mature and fiercely determined mother, kissing her toddler daughter goodbye before walking on to a tennis court and declaring to her rivals in a calm yet threatening manner, “I’m gonna knock you out. Mamma said knock you out.”

The lyrics from rapper LL Cool J’s 1990 song are used in the Chase Bank ad to push the new image of Williams as a firebrand transformed into a wise old soul now there’s a baby on board. Every media outlet has given blanket coverage to Williams’s attempt to win her first major championship since the birth of Alexis in September last year. And every storyline carried the same theme: The mother of all victories is upon us.

When the moment arrives, she’s nearly hyperventilating as she steps on to the Arthur Ashe Stadium court for the US Open final. She can equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 major wins if she beats the quietly spoken, and visibly trembling, Naomi Osaka from Japan. All the scripts have been written; all the public-relations lines have been spun. But then mamma knocks herself out with hysterical behaviour and ­illogical complaints.

She loses 6-2 6-4, Osaka is the first Japanese player to win a major. Williams’s ego-driven behaviour is compounded by a feral crowd behaving like they’re on the set of The Jerry Springer Show. It’s been terrible from them. Terrible from Williams. And terrible from Katrina Adams, the boss of the US Tennis Association.

The New York Post reports: “It’s hard to recall a more unsportsmanlike event. Here was a young girl who pulled off one of the greatest upsets ever, who fought for every point she earned, ashamed. At the awards ceremony, Osaka covered her face with her black visor and cried. The crowd booed her. Katrina Adams … opened the awards ceremony by denigrating the winner and lionising Williams — whose ego, if anything, needs piercing. ‘Perhaps it’s not the finish we were looking for today,’ Adams said. ‘But Serena, you are a champion of all champions.’

“Addressing the crowd, Adams added, ‘This mamma is a role model and respected by all.’ That’s not likely the case now … ”

No one doubts Williams’s passion for women’s rights and the seriousness of the racism she’s encountered in her life. But neither is relevant here. She’s been playing a tennis match, and that is all. She’s been losing the contest when she’s lost the plot. That’s important. Her meltdown may be a shock to the casual observer but those who have watched tennis over the years have seen this before from her. On the same court. At the same tournament. The same discombobulations, if not worse.

Against Belgium’s Kim Clijsters in the 2009 semi-finals, she’s blown a gasket after being called for a foot-fault at 4-6, 5-6, 15-30. It’s on her second serve, which means she faces match point. She waves her racquet at the female line judge and says, “I swear to God, I’m f. king going to take this f. king ball and shove it down your f. king throat, you hear that? I swear to God.” The lineswoman walks to the umpire, Louise Engzell, and tells her what has been said. (Williams has already received a code violation for smashing a racquet. A second violation equals a penalty point. A third violation, a penalty game. A fourth violation, the match.) Because it’s match point against Clijsters, that’s all she wrote. Clijsters wins. The tournament director arrives on the court. In their three-way discussion, Williams tells the lineswoman, “I never said I would kill you! Are you serious? I never said that!” Two days later, Clijsters beat Caroline Wozniacki to become the first mother to win the US Open.

Meme published in the International Guardian depicts Serena’s court drama. Williams has done against Osaka what she’s often done in New York. Lost all rational thought. Thrown the toys out of the cot.

In the 2011 final against Australia’s Sam Stosur, Williams has been billed as the all-American heroine who will win the national championship on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The hype, then and now, has been too much for her. She descends into gamesmanship at best, or outright cheating at worst, by yelling “Come on!” as Stosur is attempting to hit a groundstroke. The female umpire, Eva Asderaki, correctly awards the point to Stosur. A petulant Williams tells Asderaki, “I am not giving her the game. You’re nobody. You’re ugly on the inside.” At the next change of ends, she shouts at the umpire: “You’re totally out of control. You’re a hater and unattractive inside. What a loser.” Williams is thrashed 6-2 6-3 before Stosur says in her laid-back Australian drawl: “Serena did something you can’t do.”

Williams has done against Osaka what she’s often done in New York. Lost all rational thought. Thrown the toys out of the cot. It makes a mockery of the Chase Bank ad and suggestions that she’s grown some sort of halo since bringing her daughter into the world. That whole marketing campaign has now crashed and burned. Again, no one doubts Williams has fought like a lioness to go from the violent streets of Compton, Los Angeles, to the top of world sport. Her passion for women’s rights is genuine. Her pride in her young family is real.

If she hasn’t changed her on-court behaviour one bit since putting the mother into the hood, that is no bad thing. But looking up at the umpire’s chair in NYC, she’s been barking up the wrong tree. She’s been the victim of nothing. Things have escalated because of her and no one else. Umpire Carlos Ramos has followed the rules to the letter. With the match spiralling out of control in direct correlation with her emotions, she’s forgotten the law of holes — when you’re digging yourself one, stop bloody digging.

It’s a three-stage unravelling.

Stage one: Mamma has lost the first set. At 1-1 in the second set, she receives a warning about courtside coaching. Her mentor, Patrick Mouratoglou, has made hand gestures that encourage Williams to get to the net more often. (Mouratoglou later admits to “100 per cent coaching”.)

Williams’s coach Patrick Mouratoglou watches the match. Picture: Getty Images
Williams’s coach Patrick Mouratoglou watches the match. Picture: Getty Images

Both the coaching and the warning are common occurrences on tour. Mentors motion to their players or use coded signals — if I scratch my left ear, serve to his backhand. Some of them freely talk to their players. It’s often ignored by umpires, but when it is cautioned, there’s rarely drama. The normal response is for players to shrug and play on while the coaches sit on their hands for the rest of a match. When Ramos announces the warning, Williams tells the umpire her coach has given her a thumbs up and that it’s no secret code. “I know you don’t know that and I understand why you thought that was coaching, but I’m telling you it’s not. I don’t cheat to win. I’d rather lose. I’m just letting you know.” It’s been an emotional but relatively unremarkable dialogue. More to come.

Stage two: Leading 3-2 in the second set, Williams is docked a point for her second code violation. She smashes a racquet on the court. It’s a little difficult for her to argue with this one. Destroying a racquet is an automatic violation on tour. “This is unbelievable,” she tells Ramos before rambling about the previous transgression. “Every time I play here I have problems. What? That’s a warning? I didn’t get coaching. I didn’t get coaching. You need to make an announcement that I didn’t get coaching. I don’t cheat. I didn’t get coaching. How can you say that? You need to … you owe me an apology. You owe me an apology. I have never cheated in my life. I have a daughter and I stand for what’s right for her and I never cheated. You owe me an apology. You will never do another one of my matches!”

Stage three: At 3-4, Williams tells Ramos from her courtside chair at a change of ends: “For you to attack my character, it’s wrong. You’re attacking my character. Yes, you are. You owe me an apology. You will never, ever, ever be on another court of mine as long as you live. You are the liar. When are you going to give me my apology? You owe me an apology. Say it. Say you’re sorry.”

No apology. Williams says: “Well, then, don’t talk to me. Don’t talk to me. You stole a point from me. You’re a thief, too.”

Ramos decides to talk. “Code violation,” he says from his microphone. “Verbal abuse. Game penalty, Mrs Williams.”

She’s gone from 3-4 to 3-5. She’s one game from losing the match. With the crowd cheering for her, Williams says: “Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? Because I said you’re a thief? Because you stole a point from me. But I’m not a cheater. But I told you to apologise for me. This is out. Excuse me, I need the referee.”

While Osaka — another woman, it has to be said — is doing her best to stay calm in the most important moments of her career, tournament referee Brian Earley and WTA supervisor Donna Kelso arrive on the court. Williams tells Earley: “Because I’m a woman, you’re going to take this away for me? You know how many other men do things that are much worse than that. This is not fair. There’s a lot of men out here who have said a lot of things, and because they are men, that doesn’t happen to them.” Williams is told that she knew she risked a game penalty by berating Ramos, after two earlier violations. “No, I don’t know the risk because if I say a simple thing — a thief because he stole a point from me — that does not make … there are men out here that do a lot worse,” she says.

“You know it, and I know you can’t admit it, but I know you know it’s not right. I know you can’t change it but I’m just saying that’s not right. I get the rules but I’m just saying it’s not right. And it’s happened to me at this tournament every single year that I’ve played here. That’s just not fair. It’s all I have to say. It’s not fair.”

Osaka wins. Williams refuses to shake Ramos’s hand. The crowd turns shamefully ugly by booing Osaka as she steps up to accept the trophy.

William’s has broken three rules of tennis and been called out on all of them. None of them concerned equal rights at a tournament that provides equal pay for men and women. You cannot receive courtside coaching. If every other player and coach do it, it’s still no excuse. The smashed racquet speaks for its poor, busted self. You cannot accuse an umpire of stealing a point. You’re calling him a cheat.

“I’m here fighting for women’s rights and for women’s equality and for all kinds of stuff,” Williams says in her post-match interview, still digging. “For me to say thief and for him take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark. I’m going to continue to fight for women.”

Which is an admirable thing to do in areas of relevance. On this occasion, she’s been playing sport against another woman. It’s not possible to have a more level playing field. She’s been throwing punches in the wrong direction.

Mamma has KO’d no one but herself. Williams has received what she deserved … and so has Osaka.

The boos and jeers have stopped, but she still has the trophy. And her reputation.


Cross court shots


John McEnroe’s legendary repeated cry of “You cannot be serious” starts with a line call from umpire Edward “the absolute pit of the world” James. McEnroe was fined $US1500 but went on to win at Wimbledon.


In the fourth round of the Australian Open, McEnroe becomes the first player since 1963 to be disqualified from a Grand Slam for misconduct. After receiving code violations for glaring at a lineswoman and smashing racquets, McEnroe argued with Grand Slam chief supervisor Ken Farrar, prompting umpire Gerry Armstrong to rule: “Default, Mr McEnroe. Game, set, match.”


Britain Tim Henman becomes the first player to be disqualified from Wimbledon in the open era. He angrily tried to smash a ball into the net after missing a shot but hit a ballgirl in the ear. Henman’s doubles partner Jeremy Bates was also disqualified.


Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis smashes four racquets after Stanislas Wawrinka jumps to a two-set lead at the Australian Open.


Australian Nick Kyrgios is fined $23,500 for imitating a lewd act with a water bottle during his loss to Marin Cilic at the Queen’s Club in London in June.

♦ Culled from The Australian. (Author Will Swanton).

Harvey death toll reaches 9 as flooding continues, plus photo gallery

HOUSTON — The remnants of Hurricane Harvey pelted Texas on Monday as forecasters warned that the soaking rains would continue for days and major flooding would spread to neighboring states.

Texas officials said that at least nine people had died statewide as a result of the storm, as floodwaters continued to turn streets into waterways and gush into buildings Monday, a full two days after Harvey made landfall. Authorities expect the death toll to rise as rescue efforts go on and as more rain, rising rivers and surging floodwaters pummel the Gulf Coast.

President Trump late Monday pledged swift action by the federal government to provide relief to states affected by Harvey, and he is scheduled to visit Texas on Tuesday.

Subscribe to the Post Most newsletter: Today’s most popular stories on The Washington Post

“Recovery will be a long and difficult road, and the federal government stands ready, willing and able to assist in that effort,” he said during a joint news conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto.

First responders and good Samaritans took to boats to rescue stranded residents, with authorities warning that more than 30,000 people across the region could be forced from their homes by the time skies are expected to clear later this week.

“We are not out of the woods yet,” Elaine Duke, the acting Homeland Security secretary, said during a Monday briefing in Washington. “Harvey is still a dangerous and historic storm.”

Fears also grew beyond Texas, with particular concern centering on flood-prone Louisiana, where forecasts have called for as much as two feet of rainfall in some areas. Trump on Monday declared “emergency conditions” in Louisiana, evoking memories of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

As if to underscore those fears, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers early Monday began releasing water from two Houston dams to relieve pressure from the downpour, which has deposited as much rain in a few days as the region averages in an entire year. Most of the damage in New Orleans wrought by Katrina occurred when levees burst, allowing waters to inundate the city.

New Orleans is under a tornado and flash flood watch until Thursday, and the National Weather Service forecasts that the city could see five to 10 inches of rain in the next few days.

The immediate focus for many remained on Houston, the country’s fourth-largest city and a sprawling metropolitan area that has seen its share of floods. But the deluge of the past two days is unprecedented.

Every major waterway in the city spilled over its banks. Gullies overflowed. Even neighborhoods far from a creek or bayou flooded. The hardest-hit areas were in the south and southeast, the downstream end of the waterways.

But the southwest will be the next theater for catastrophe. The Brazos River, which runs through Fort Bend County about 20 miles west of downtown Houston, has been swelling as the runoff from the storm collects in its banks. National Weather Service models showed the river rising to 59 feet by Tuesday, topping the previous record of 54.7 feet.

Fort Bend County Judge John Hebert warned Monday night that more than a hundred square miles along the river could flood overnight and into Tuesday as the river swells to unprecedented heights.

“They can guarantee we’ll have a record flood in for Bend County,” he said. “In areas under mandatory evacuation, the danger is very real.”

Authorities issued mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders for parts of that area and warned that anyone who ignores mandatory evacuation orders will not be aided by first responders when the waters rise. But with virtually all the main thoroughfares already closed because of high water, many of the affected residents saw no way out.

Kim Adoubeif, 60, was among about a dozen residents of the Greatwood subdivision who stood in the rain atop a levee on the Brazos River on Monday to gaze at the water and ponder their fate. She said she checked online traffic maps and couldn’t find a route to safety.

“Every way out, there are roads that are flooded,” she said, holding an umbrella against the rain. “So we might not even find a way out.”

In the River Park subdivision, Byron Golden, 60, and his wife planned to stay put in their home. Other neighbors had tried to leave, only to meet flooded roads separating them from Interstate 10, a main artery out of town.

“We did plan an escape route, but at this time it may be too late to leave,” Golden said. He figured it would be better to get caught in a flood in his two-story house than in his car on the road.

Golden and his wife spent the day putting important documents and sentimental possessions into plastic bags and carrying their important things upstairs.

Some who did evacuate ran into difficulties Monday as they tried to reach shelters. In north Houston, for example, rescuers who picked up people forced out of their drenched homes brought them to a fire station to be transported to the M.O. Campbell Center, a school gym and activity center that had been converted to a shelter.

But when the shelter reached capacity, its doors were shut, and at least 300 people were stranded at the fire station.

The horror stories led authorities to urge patience and persistence on the part of residents needing help.

“Please don’t give up on us. None of us are going to give up,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said at a news conference Monday.

One of the largest shelters, the George R. Brown Convention Center downtown, took in hundreds of evacuees Monday. Officials there said that people were lined up to take refuge and that Red Cross officials were prepared to accept 5,000 of them in total.

Among those helping with the rescue efforts alongside first responders were volunteers with boats. On Monday afternoon, dozens from both groups crowded near the Grand Vista subdivision on Harlem Road in the Brazos River area, on the edge of the water that stretched from the road to the rainy horizon.

Boats were unloading evacuees — among them the elderly and children — onto the road, then turning back into the flood.

“It messed me up seeing the kids and babies,” said Jorge Ramirez, 28, who brought over his Alumacraft flat-bottom boat after seeing on Facebook that folks were stuck in this neighborhood. “That’s who we’re trying to get out first.”

He said he’d made about five trips in four hours.

Authorities also faced new questions about whether they should have evacuated Houston. Asked Monday about the decision to recommend that people shelter in place rather than leave the city, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said there was no point in thinking about past decisions.

“We are where we are now,” he said.

In a sign of the growing federal response, the Department of Homeland Security said late Monday that it was activating a “surge capacity force” that would allow non-Federal Emergency Management Agency employees across the department to deploy to the storm zone to assist with recovery missions.

Abbott, a Republican, praised the federal government’s response to the disaster.

National Guard units from across the country had readied cargo jets and Black Hawk helicopters to help with the response, the Pentagon said Monday. FEMA said federal agencies have more than 5,000 employees working in Texas.

Abbott also said that a crisis continued to unfold in Rockport, Aransas Pass and other coastal communities that took the brunt of Harvey when it spun into land as a Category 4 hurricane. Local media reported that rescue workers were continuing the hunt for missing residents.

Of those confirmed dead late Monday, six were in Harris County, which includes Houston; one was in Rockport, near where Harvey made landfall; and another person was discovered in La Marque, near Galveston. Police said a woman in her 60s died in Porter, a town north of Houston; she was napping in her bedroom when a large oak tree landed on her mobile home.

Somashekhar and Berman reported from Washington. Emily Wax-Thibodeaux in Katy, Tex.; Ed O’Keefe, Wesley Lowery, Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Katie Zezima in Washington; Brittney Martin in Houston; Ashley Cusick in New Orleans; and Mary Lee Grant in Corpus Christi, Tex., contributed to this report.

The Most Brutal Photos From The Mayweather-McGregor Fight

Houston prepares for Super Bowl 2017’s week of events

Sunday, Feb. 5, at 5:30 p.m. the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons will be playing in the 2017 Super Bowl at NRG Stadium in Houston. These teams will be going head to head in hopes that one of them will receive the National Football League’s Vince Lombardi trophy. Even though Houston’s beloved Texans did not make the cut, Houston gets the honor of hosting the week-long celebration of Super Bowl 2017. Tickets to the game range from $4,000 to $16,674…each.

For some, getting tickets to the Super Bowl is a breeze; they won’t even flinch when making the purchase. But most of us, especially college students who live life on a budget, will have to be content with attending Super Bowl parties and events instead of the big game. If buying tickets to the Super Bowl is not on the list of to-do items, then I suggest going out to Houston’s week of Super Bowl parties and events that won’t break the bank!

One of the many events Houston will be hosting is The NFL Experience which will be held at the George R. Brown Convention Center from Jan. 28, until the Sunday of the Super Bowl. The NFL Experience will give fans a chance to meet and receive autographs from NFL football players. There will be youth football clinics, games for all ages and an opportunity to run a 40-yard dash against NFL players on LED screens. Tickets for children 12 and under are $25 while they are $35 for adults.

There will be numerous parties to choose from during the week of Super Bowl 2017. For those seeking more of a nightclub atmosphere, I recommend Club Nomadic, located in the Washington Avenue arts District. This is a collapsible, three-story club that was built specifically for the Super Bowl. Bruno Mars will be performing Friday, Feb. 3, and Taylor Swift will be performing Saturday, Feb. 4.

Houston also welcomes Super Bowl fans to its 13th annual ESPN party event Friday, Feb. 3. The ESPN party will be in a warehouse by the Arts District in downtown, Fergie and DJ Khaled will be entertaining the crowd throughout the fun-filled night.

Remember the amount of traffic that Houston puts out, and then triple it, and consider taking the METRO bus or Uber to get to these events. There will be more than 140,000 people traveling to Houston during the week of Super Bowl, which means security will be on high alert. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) posted tips to keep everyone safe during Houston’s week of Super Bowl events. The most important tip is to have a designated driver because a blood alcohol concentration of .08 will land you in jail. NHTSA also suggests that fans find a ride from the many organizations in Houston that are available.

The METRO buses will be expanding their services starting Saturday, Jan. 28. There will be shuttles traveling from The Galleria to downtown Houston and to NRG Stadium. The Houston Super Bowl Host Committee CEO Sallie Sargent put out a statement for the locals telling them to “leave your car at home, park and ride, take Metro, take the bus, and you’ll have a good, enjoyable time.” The Houston Super Bowl Host Committee has also partnered with Uber and will provide a pickup and drop-off zone around Super Bowl LIVE Welcome Center on Rusk Street.

Super Bowl 2017 in Houston will bring much more than just football and fans to the area. More than 30 charitable activities have offered their services for the week of Super Bowl. These charities include the NFL Play 60 Kids’ Day At NFL Experience, Houston Habitat For Humanity Superbuild, and Super Bowl Legacy Grant Event. So, get out and support the community; enjoy the parties and events during Super Bowl week.

♦ Signal’s mobile journalism team

Super Bowl 2017: The Complete Guide to Events and Parties

DJ Khaled, Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars

From a custom multilevel space built for ESPN to Taylor Swift performing for DirecTV Now, here’s what’s happening at the hottest bashes — three of which will feature DJ Khaled — happening around the big game in Houston.

Hollywood is hitting Houston for Super Bowl LI.

Before Tom Brady and Matt Ryan face off and Lady Gaga takes the stage for the much anticipated halftime show, there’s a slew of parties and performances happening off the field.

Taylor Swift will perform for DirecTV Now’s Super Saturday Night, Bruno Mars sold out tickets to his show at Club Nomadic in less than a minute, The Chainsmokers and Sam Hunt will perform at the same club the night before that, and DJ Khaled is party hopping and performing all weekend long.

Below is The Hollywood Reporter‘s full guide to all of the hottest happenings for Super Bowl weekend.

Thursday, Feb. 2

EA Sports Bowl
Club Nomadic, 2121 Edwards St, 7p.m.

The 2-month-old, 62,500-square-foot nightclub will first transform into a Madden and FIFA ’17 tournament and then, Billboard chart-toppers The Chainsmokers and country star Sam Hunt will perform.

TAO Group Takeover
Spire, 1720 Main St., Feb. 2-5

Joining forces with upscale hospitality team The Cle Group, the TAO Group will be hosting a weekendlong takeover. DJ Carnage is taking over Thursday Night and RL Grime on Friday, and the Playboy Party will take over Spire on Saturday with a special performance by Flo Rida.

Friday, Feb. 3

Art After Dark
Club Nomadic, 2121 Edwards St, 9 p.m.

Super Bowl 50 headliner Bruno Mars stars in this sold-out gig at Club Nomadic, also featuring DJ Khaled. The night is hosted by PepsiCo’s new premium bottled water, LIFEWTR.

Club Nomadic
Club Nomadic

Planet New Era
Vrsi, 820 Holman St., 9p.m.

Rapper Bun-B will host the New Era Cap event at Houston hotspot Vrsi, which will feature performances by 2Chainz, Migos, Lil Uzi Vert and Will Smith’s son Trey, otherwise known as DJ Ace. Khloe Kardashian’s ex James Harden of the Houston Rockets is expected to be there, as is the Chicago Bulls’ Dwyane Wade.

The Barstool Party
Rich’s Houston, 2401 San Jacinto St., 9p.m.

Barstool Sports is throwing a bash with performances by Ja Rule, Ashantie, Mike Stud and more.

ESPN the Party

10 p.m.

The invite-only party takes off at a 65,000-square-foot warehouse outside of Houston’s downtown arts district. For the 12th consecutive year, Tony Schubert of Event Eleven will design and produce the annual bash, transforming the warehouse into a multilevel, interactive party with over 1,000 LED tubes and moving lights, a live muralist and photo booth. Last year, Nick Jonas took the stage and this year Fergie and DJ Khaled are partnering up to get the party weekend started.

ESPN the Party 2017 Rendering
ESPN the Party 2017 Rendering

Saturday, Feb. 4

30th Annual Leigh Steinberg Super Bowl Party
Hughes Manor, 12 p.m. 

Presented by BBVA Compass, sports agent Leigh Steinberg will return to Super Bowl weekend to host his annual charity event. Past attendees have included George Clooney, Oliver Stone, Gabrielle Union and Jay Leno. This year Cuba Gooding Jr., David Arquette and 2Chainz are expected to attend.

The Giving Back Fund’s Big Game Big Give
Private Home of Michael and Lisa Holthouse, 6:30 p.m.

Josh Brolin hosts and David Schwimmer emcees at the annual benefit ($1.6 million was raised in 2016) at the estate of Michael and Lisa Holthouse. Tickets are $3,000, but 100 percent tax deductible. For the first time ever there will be a celebrity poker tournament afterparty hosted by Jamie Gold and Michael Phelps. Rob Riggle will emcee and Common will perform at the afterparty.

Taste of the NFL
University of Houston, 4800 Calhoun Rd., 7 p.m.

The University of Houston hosts this event to fight hunger where NFL teams partner with chefs from across the country to prepare tastings and pour wine for 3,000.

The MAXIM Party
Smart Financial Centre at Sugarland, 8 p.m.

It’s a three-fer for DJ Khaled, who’ll perform at Smart Financial Centre along with Travis Scott for the likes of Anthony Anderson and Chace Crawford. The party is presented by Thomas J. Henry and produced by Karma International.

Bootsy Bellows Big Game Pop-Up
Vrsi, 820 Holman St., 9 p.m.

Vrsi will be the spot for another party. This one will be hosted by rapper G-Eazy with Falcons fan Justin Bieber, Patriots fan Kellan Lutz as well as Drake, Katy Perry, Alyssa Milano, Tobey Maguire, and Kendall and Kylie Jenner expected to attend.

Super Saturday Night
Club Nomadic, 2121 Edwards St., 11 p.m.

Chrissy Teigen and Michael Strahan are among those slated to watch Taylor Swift at the DirecTV Now event at Club Nomadic presented by AT&T.

Sunday, Feb. 5

On Location Experiences Pre-Game Party
NRG Center

On Location Experiences is hosting a preparty with performances from Lady Antebellum, O.A.R and Tyler Farr.

In Los Angeles . . .

Sunday, Feb. 5 

The Bungalow Super Bowl Parties
The Bungalow Santa Monica and The Bungalow Huntington Beach, 12 p.m.

The Bungalow’s two outposts in Santa Monica and Huntington Beach will be hosting viewing parties for those not making the trek to Houston. Those looking to party can purchase a table and receive seven “house beers” in Santa Monica. There will also be jalapeno poppers, stadium nachos, cheeseburgers and hot wings cooked up by Chef Yousef Ghalaini. In Huntington Beach there will be fish sliders, Ahi poke nachos and the Bungalow’s famous tacos.

Where are you partying this weekend? Are you hosting your own viewing party? Did you book a trip to Houston? Who are you rooting for on game day? Sound off in the comments section below.

Serena Williams Showcases Her Engagement Ring in Reddit Post with Fiancé Alexis Ohanian

Venus Williams Shares the Inspiration Behind Her 2016 U.S. Open Outfit

The Williams sisters are known as much for style as their incomparable athletic prowess. So every summer, like clockwork, we await the grand reveal of their respective U.S. Open outfits–and just like years past, the fashionable duo has delivered. We got the exclusive scoop on Venus’s getup for her 2016 tour: a multicolor print dress by her brand, EleVen (naturally).

4a7d7480adb35ea7410440a4e0781ca1 ea8f83d2b312be17c481e86de9b7b0f3

The so-called Chela Dress ($98; elevenbyvenuswilliams.com), pictured above and below, is an A-line style made with EleVen’s signature Pro-Dri moisture-wicking fabric, which engulfs sweat and offers extra breathability (you know, for those impossible-to-get-to drop shots). It also features a form-flattering cobalt piping across the bodice.

“It’s inspired by a prism of light,” Williams recently told InStyle of the look. “When you look through a prism, you see a ton of fun colors–and we love colorful prints. Life is filled with color, so we always make sure to have a lot of color in our collection.”

As for her sister’s ensemble? “I don’t know what Serena’s wearing–it will be a surprise to me too!” (Ultimately, Venus’s younger sister opted for a black and pink Nike tennis dress.)

With lawsuit pending, Eugenie Bouchard out at U.S. Open; Serena, Venus win

Eugenie Bouchard of Canada during her U.S. Open first-round match against Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic at the new Grandstand Stadium in New York, Aug. 30, 2016.  (CHANG W. LEE / NYT)
Eugenie Bouchard of Canada during her U.S. Open first-round match against Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic at the new Grandstand Stadium in New York, Aug. 30, 2016. (CHANG W. LEE / NYT)

Eugenie Bouchard wrung her hands at her post-match news conference. She rubbed her lower lip. She squeezed her left arm.

While her body language screamed discomfort Tuesday, when the main topic of discussion was Bouchard’s ongoing lawsuit against the U.S. Open rather than her first-round loss, her words were measured. The once rising star answered every question.

A year ago at Flushing Meadows, Bouchard got a concussion from a fall at the facility and withdrew before playing in the fourth round, and then missed most of the rest of the season. She filed suit against the U.S. Tennis Association in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn in October, and that case is still pending, putting the 2014 Wimbledon runner-up in the odd position of competing this week at an event whose organizers she is suing.

“If I sit down and think about it, yeah, it’s definitely a strange situation. But it’s something that’s so far in the back of my mind. I don’t think about it on a daily basis, at all. I have people, lawyers, working on that side of it,” Bouchard said. “So it’s really not something I think about much at all. Obviously, being here, it’s crossed my mind. But besides that, I mean, it has nothing to do with my day-to-day life.”

Her 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 exit against 72nd-ranked Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic, a player who only once has been as far as the third round at a major tournament, was filled with 46 unforced errors by Bouchard, who also was treated for blisters on her feet. It represented the latest early loss for a 22-year-old Canadian who reached three Grand Slam semifinals two years ago — and none since.

In other first-round action on Day 2 at the year’s last Grand Slam tournament, Serena Williams started her bid for a record-breaking 23rd major title by showing zero signs of trouble from a right shoulder she’s said was sore, hitting 12 aces in a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Ekaterina Makarova. Also under the lights: Andy Murray got off to a similarly easy beginning to his attempt to become the fourth man in the Open era to reach all four Grand Slam finals in a single season.

Serena Williams hits a return to Ekaterina Makarova during their  U.S. Open  match on Aug. 30, 2016, in New York.
Serena Williams hits a return to Ekaterina Makarova during their U.S. Open match on Aug. 30, 2016, in New York.

The 2012 champion at Flushing Meadows and seeded No. 2 this year, Murray beat Lukas Rosol 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. Murray lost to No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the finals of the Australian Open in January and French Open in June, and then won his second Wimbledon title last month.

Earlier, Williams’ sister Venus got through a tougher-than-expected 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 win against Kateryna Kozlova.

“It was great to be challenged and to be pushed,” said the 36-year-old Venus, a two-time U.S. Open champion, “because I had to get in those situations that you know you’re going to face in the tournament.”

There were various upsets around the grounds during the afternoon, including 19-year-old American Jared Donaldson’s 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-0 elimination of 12th-seeded David Goffin, and a loss by No. 29 Sam Querrey, who stunned Djokovic at Wimbledon. Three seeded women departed, including former No. 1 and 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic.

When she was at her peak, and a seeded player, an early major loss by Bouchard was rather newsworthy. Her up-and-down 2015 and 2016 have changed that, in part because she is ranked only 39th now, after a best of No. 5.

She lost 14 of 17 matches leading into the 2015 U.S. Open but, after working a bit with Jimmy Connors, appeared to be back on the upswing in New York by reaching the fourth round. Then came her slip-and-tumble, and the concussion diagnosis, and she pulled out of what would have been a matchup against eventual runner-up Roberta Vinci.

It took her until January to return to the tour full-time.

“I didn’t feel like, on the court, I was back to where I was,” Bouchard said Tuesday, meaning that her level of play wasn’t at its peak at the start of 2016. “But physically, since the beginning of the year, I’ve been feeling good.”

USTA spokesman Chris Widmaier said the organization would not comment on the “substance” of litigation.

“However, it is truly unfortunate that a year after her accident, Genie’s focus is on matters other than playing to her best ability,” Widmaier said, noting that Bouchard’s lawyers asked for an extension of the case.

He said the USTA “has remained ready, willing and able to bring the litigation to a conclusion as expeditiously as is possible, whether through settlement discussions or a fully litigated process.”

Widmaier added that the lawsuit “had no impact on how Genie was treated at the U.S. Open in any manner.”

Bouchard’s coach, Nick Saviano, was asked whether her ability to play tennis Tuesday had been affected at all by any possible distractions created by the lawsuit.

“I can’t really speak to that,” Saviano said. “She was in a good frame of mind coming in. She went out, she was ready to play, and the other girl played well.”

Associated Press

U.S. Soccer Goalkeeper Hope Solo suspended 6 months for ‘cowards’ comment

The United States Soccer Federation announced Wednesday that it has suspended Hope Solo for six months for her comments after the U.S. women’s national team’s Olympic quarterfinal loss to Sweden.

Solo called the Swedes “cowards” and “cowardly” following the match, which the U.S. lost on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw during 120 minutes of regulation and extra time.

Solo’s U.S. national team contract has also been terminated, though she reportedly will still be able to play for her club team, the NWSL’s Seattle Reign.

Solo, 35, released the following statement on Twitter:


The suspension comes almost two weeks after Solo said the following:

“I thought that we played a courageous game. I thought we had many opportunities on goal. I think we showed a lot of heart. We came back from a goal down. I’m very proud of this team. But I also think we played a bunch of cowards. The best team did not win today. I strongly believe that. I think you saw American heart. You saw us give everything we had today.

“Sweden dropped off. They didn’t want to open play. They didn’t want to pass the ball. They didn’t want to play great soccer. It was a combative game, a physical game. Exactly what they wanted and exactly what their gameplan was. They dropped into a 50. They didn’t try and press. They didn’t want to open the game. And they tried to counter with long balls. We had that style of play when [Sweden coach Pia Sundhage] was our coach. I don’t think they’re going to make it far in the tournament. I think it was very cowardly. But they won. They’re moving on, and we’re going home.”

U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association director Rich Nichols told Wahl that an appeal would be filed:

U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said in a statement that he had private conversations with Solo about her conduct — which has also been controversial in the past — and that those played into the suspension.

“The comments by Hope Solo after the match against Sweden during the 2016 Olympics were unacceptable and do not meet the standard of conduct we require from our National Team players,” Gulati said. “Beyond the athletic arena, and beyond the results, the Olympics celebrate and represent the ideals of fair play and respect. We expect all of our representatives to honor those principles, with no exceptions.

“Taking into consideration the past incidents involving Hope, as well as the private conversations we’ve had requiring her to conduct herself in a manner befitting a U.S. National Team member, U.S. Soccer determined this is the appropriate disciplinary action.”

Some of Solo’s teammates spoke out publicly about a week after the Sweden game, saying they were disappointed with Solo’s comments. “That’s not our team,” midfielder Megan Rapinoe said. “That’s not what this team has always been. That’s not what this team will be in the future.

“It’s frustrating sometimes as an athlete, you’re thrust into the spotlight, and I think this team has always done a really amazing job of understanding that we have this incredible platform, let’s do something good with it. Let’s inspire, let’s be badass, let’s be fierce, let’s be competitive. But we’re gracious and we’re humble, and we play the game a certain way, whether we win or lose. And we’ve been on the winning side quite a bit, and when we find ourselves on the other side, we need to handle that graciously, and unfortunately that wasn’t the case.”

Solo’s U.S. national team contract has also been terminated, though she reportedly will still be able to play for her club team, the NWSL’s Seattle Reign.
Solo’s U.S. national team contract has also been terminated, though she reportedly will still be able to play for her club team, the NWSL’s Seattle Reign.

Former U.S. national team player and current ESPN analyst Julie Foudy was also critical of Solo in the immediate aftermath. “I shook my head. I thought, why is that necessary?” Foudy said. “There’s a long history and tradition with our national team of respecting others when you lose, so I don’t agree with it at all… To call them cowards for playing a tactically smart game is ridiculous and classless, and it really doesn’t represent the house that we built with the U.S. team.”

It’s not the first national team suspension for Solo. The U.S.’s top goalkeeper was also suspended for 30 days last year for an “incident” during a January training camp. Solo was reportedly in a car with her husband, former NFL player Jerramy Stevens, when Stevens was pulled over at 2 a.m., arrested and charged with driving under the influence.

That incident came a year after Solo was accused of domestic violence following an altercation with her half-sister and 17-year-old nephew. Those charges were eventually dismissed, but that decision was reversed on appeal. The case is still in court.

The six-month ban might take into account the 2015 suspension and the 2014 incident, as well as comments from Solo in the past. She infamously criticized coaches after being benched for Briana Scurry in a 2007 World Cup semifinal. “It was the wrong decision, and I think anybody that knows anything about the game knows that,” she said in 2007. “There’s no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves. And the fact of the matter is it’s not 2004 anymore. … It’s 2007, and I think you have to live in the present. And you can’t live by big names. You can’t live in the past.”

x Close

Like Us On Facebook