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Sports news from Los Angeles and beyond
Showtime boxing head displeased after 'Canelo' Alvarez signs with HBO

Three weeks ago, the executive who runs Showtime’s boxing operation, Stephen Espinoza, said he received a proposal for a multifight, multiyear package to televise the bouts of popular Mexican fighter Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.

“We accepted it,” Espinoza said. “And [Alvarez promoter] Oscar [De La Hoya] said, ‘Canelo’s going to be here for several years and we’ll fly him up for a celebratory dinner [in New York].’ ”

That meal will not be happening.

On Tuesday, De La Hoya announced the 24-year-old Alvarez (44-1-1, 31 knockouts), who starred alongside Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the highest-grossing pay-per-view fight in history in September 2013 on Showtime, is returning to HBO after a five-fight stint.

Sources close to the situation said the HBO deal will begin in December with Alvarez fighting a light-middleweight bout either Dec. 6 in Houston or Dec. 13 in San Antonio, against likely foe Joshua Clottey, with heavy-handed James Kirkland still in outside contention.

“The announcement didn’t come...

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Kings' Doughty, Quick hoping to play in late exhibition games

Defenseman Drew Doughty, who sustained an upper-body injury in what he described as a freak accident during an on-ice session back home in Canada before the Kings opened training camp, said Tuesday he’s “good to go” and is awaiting clearance to play in an exhibition game.

“I still don’t know the status on that but I’ve been feeling good. Feeling good for a while, no problems,” he said after the morning training camp session at El Segundo.

“Whenever the coaches and medical staff deem me ready to play, I’ll be ready to go.”

Goaltender Jonathan Quick, who underwent wrist surgery during the summer, participated in Tuesday’s morning session and said he’s progressing well. He said he planned to talk to Coach Darryl Sutter and the training staff to plan on when he might play in an exhibition game. He said he’s eager to get back in there.

“I’m getting there. Every day I feel a little bit better than the day before,” Quick said.

“I would like to play. Anything you could do at this time, it...

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Ducks' John Gibson in net tonight after Frederik Andersen shutout

The Ducks will field a youth-heavy team Tuesday night in their second exhibition game, a home date against the Arizona Coyotes.

Among the youngsters will be goalie John Gibson, the 21-year-old top NHL prospect who won two regular-season games to clinch the Western Conference top seed, then replaced injured Frederik Andersen in the postseason to beat the Kings twice before losing games 6 and 7.

“There’s jobs to be had on this team,” Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said after the team’s morning skate at Honda Center Tuesday. “The young kids who play, it’s a competition. Gibson’s playing. I’m sure he saw what Freddie did yesterday.”

Andersen shut out a split-squad Colorado roster, 4-0, Monday with 27 saves, impressing the coach with his calm and movement.

Gibson, a tremendous athlete who last year was deemed hockey’s No. 2 prospect by The Hockey News, originally impressed Boudreau last year by getting beat up by the Kings in the exhibition season, and imploring the coach to put him right back...

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U.S. Soccer dealing with its own domestic-abuse case: Hope Solo

The NFL isn't the only sports organization dealing with a domestic violence controversy.

The U.S. women's national soccer team is taking some heat for allowing standout goalkeeper Hope Solo to play in three friendlies despite the fact she is facing a November trial on two misdemeanor charges stemming from a family altercation in June.

But U.S. Soccer officials argue that the case of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and Solo are vastly different.

Rice was suspended indefinitely by the NFL after TMZ broadcast a video showing the player punching his then-fiance in the face and dragging her unconscious body out of an elevator at an Atlantic City, N.J., casino last winter. Solo was arrested after allegedly punching her 17-year-old nephew and then attacking the boy's mother -- Solo's older half-sister -- when she tried to intervene.

"U.S. Soccer takes the issue of domestic violence very seriously," U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati said in a statement. "From the beginning...

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Ryder Cup players antsy to get things started

The 2014 Ryder Cup got started on Tuesday with blustery skies and a full day of practice for the U.S. and European squads.

Hundreds of fans crowded around the driving range at 8:30 a.m. Even a veteran such as Graeme McDowell talked about the excitement of gathering with teammates and how good it feels to "just sort of tune into that vibe."

But with two more practice days ahead, getting keyed up too early can be a problem. Jet lag is also an issue for players who flew across the Atlantic to get to Scotland.

The real matches begin with foursomes and fourballs on Friday. In the meantime, Matt Kuchar offered some words of advice.

"Guys are chomping at the bit probably already," he said. "The veterans kind of have to take guys aside and just let them know, ease into it."

Twitter: @LATimesWharton

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Former Manchester United coach to address European Ryder Cup team

As if a boisterous home crowd weren't enough, the Europeans will turn to an unlikely source for motivation before the upcoming Ryder Cup.

On Tuesday, Captain Paul McGinley confirmed that he has asked legendary soccer coach Alex Ferguson to address the team.

"This is about fun," McGinley said. "The areas that I'll be talking to the players about, him relating it to football and getting some football stories."

Ferguson retired last year after coaching Manchester United to dozens of major trophies over more than two decades.

McGinley had tried to keep his keynote speaker a secret. He acknowledged that "I'm not a Man-United fan, as everyone knows. I'm a West Ham fan. But I've always loved the way his teams played."

Ryder Cup play begins Friday and runs through the weekend.

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Reports: Rob Bironas tried running two vehicles off road before crash

Former Tennessee Titans kicker Rob Bironas attempted to run at least two vehicles off the road while speeding and driving erratically Saturday night before crashing to his death, multiple media outlets are reporting.

In one of the alleged incidents, Bironas verbally threatened four Belmont University students who were riding in a white pickup truck around 10:30 p.m. that night, soon after his wife had reported her husband missing and near the location where Bironas died, according to the Nashville Tennessean.

"His window was down, and we pulled up and I said, "Hey man, just a heads up, something's burning from your exhaust. Your exhaust smells horrible, just wanted to let you know,'' truck passenger Connor Fraley, 20, told the Tennessean. "He looked over at me and said "I'm going to kill everybody in your ... vehicle. It was so random, so bizarre I was like, "'What?' And he said the exact same thing again."

Fraley said the white SUV chased them and at one point "he tried to sideswipe...

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Major League Soccer announces dates for title playoffs

Major League Soccer on Tuesday announced the dates for its playoffs that will culminate with the MLS Cup championship game Dec. 7.

The top five teams in each of the MLS' Western and Eastern conferences qualify for postseason play.

The playoffs start with the conference knockout round, in which the fourth- and fifth-place teams in each conference play a single game to see which of those clubs advance to the conference semifinals. The knockout-round matches will be Oct. 29-30.

The two-game conference semifinals, which are decided by aggregate goals, will be Nov. 1-2 and Nov. 8-9.

The winners of the semifinals advance to the conference championships, which also are two games decided by aggregate goals. The conference championships will be played Nov. 22-23 and Nov. 29-30.

The MLS Cup final will follow Dec. 7.

The league said this would be the first time that its postseason would extend past Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 27), a change that allows for more weekend games than in the past.

The...

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Derek Jeter's used game socks are for sale -- just $409.99 each

You know the old saying -- one man's dirty laundry is another man's collector's item worth hundreds of dollars.

In this case, the first man is retiring New York Yankees great Derek Jeter.

The second man (or woman or wealthy child) is whomever is willing to pay $409.99 for "Derek Jeter's game used sock" -- that's the exact listing for an item for sale on the Steiner Sports memorabilia website.

The product description assures that "this Derek Jeter product is guaranteed authentic," although there's probably other ways of knowing that as well.

Seriously, I know that Jeter is a legend and that many Yankees fans would love to have just about any piece of his greatness, but isn't this taking things a bit too far?

Or maybe not. If you're into clothing worn by sweaty, dirty athletes at their sweatiest and dirtiest, the game sock is actually a bargain on the Steiner site.

A game-used Jeter wrist band will run you $609.99. A single batting glove costs as much as $859.99. A spring training...

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'Canelo' Alvarez returning to HBO in 'multifight, multiyear' deal

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez will return to HBO, Golden Boy Promotions will announce Tuesday morning.

The opponent, date and site for Alvarez's next bout have yet to be fully negotiated. Former welterweight world champion Joshua Clottey is the front-runner, with heavy-punching James Kirkland an outsider after originally pricing himself too high.

Houston’s Minute Maid Park or Reliant Stadium on Dec. 6 or San Antonio’s Alamodome on Dec. 13 are the sites in discussion.

Alvarez (44-1-1, 31 knockouts) has fought his last five bouts on Showtime, including the most lucrative pay-per-view event in history when he dropped a majority decision to unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr. in September 2013.

He also claimed a breakthrough victory on Showtime, beating then light-middleweight champion Austin Trout by unanimous decision in San Antonio in April 2013.

Yet, reflecting a new direction since he reassumed full leadership of his company earlier this year from resigned Chief Executive Richard Schaefer, Golden...

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James Harrison announces his return to Steelers on Twitter

James Harrison tweeted just three days ago: "Retirement is good!"

But that was a day before his longtime team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, lost two starting linebackers in one game.

Suddenly his Twitter feed took a different tone. On Monday night he tweeted, "I'll give it one more year," followed by "Done deal!" on Tuesday morning, along with an Instagram photo of the 2008 defensive player of the year signing a contract.

And just like that, Harrison is a member of the Steelers again.

Harrison was a key part of Pittsburgh's success over the last decade. He and fellow outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley were a fearsome duo, each racking up double-digit sacks in three straight seasons from 2008-10 and helping the Steelers advance to the Super Bowl twice, winning one, during that period.

But Harrison left the team in 2012 when the two sides weren't able to agree on a contract extension. After a lackluster season in Cincinnati last year, Harrison decided to call it quits and retired with much...

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What we learned from the Kings' 4-3 exhibition shootout victory

Some thoughts on the Kings’ first home preseason game, a 4-3 shootout victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Monday night at Staples Center:

Marian Gaborik is a scoring machine

You could probably awaken Gaborik from a nap, put him on the ice, and give him a stick and a puck, and he’d find the middle of the net.

The Slovakian winger scored the Kings’ second and third goals Monday -- both off nifty setups from Anze Kopitar -- in a split-squad exercise for both teams.

Gaborik was the top goal scorer in the NHL playoffs last spring with 14, and he seemed to pick up right where he ended.

“It feels like we never left,” he said. “We did some good things. We need to work on some things. But for the first preseason game, it wasn’t bad out there.”

Gaborik said he felt good despite the short summer. Or, as he called it, short but sweet. “We didn’t have a whole lot of time to have some rest and to work out, but it seems like the whole team, we’re in good shape,” he said. “I think we’ll be fine.”

Adam...

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