Garcia to face Matthysse in title bout on Sept. 14

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Garcia to face Matthysse in title bout on Sept. 14

One of the most anticipated boxing cards in recent history just got even bigger.

Philadelphia native and unified junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia will square off against interim titleholder Lucas Matthysse on Sept. 14 as the co-feature match to Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s junior middleweight unification bout with Saul "Canelo" Alvarez.

"This is the fight I wanted and the fight that I asked for," Garcia said in a statement. "That is why I'm so happy this fight has been made and will be a part of this huge event. I'm more confident than ever in my abilities and I'm going to show it on September 14. Matthysse is a good fighter and has a big punch, but I'm a talented fighter with what it takes to be a champion and stay that way. This is an opportunity for the world to see what I can really do in the ring."

"I'm glad I finally get a chance to fight Danny Garcia," Matthysse said. "This is the fight that the entire boxing world (especially my country Argentina) and I wanted. I want to thank my promoters Golden Boy Promotions and Mario Arano for making this fight possible. On September 14, I will show the world that I am the best 140 pound fighter on the planet."

The event will take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Showtime Pay-Per-View. Prior to adding the Garcia-Matthysse fight, tickets for the highly-anticipated card had already sold out in less than 24 hours.

"Boxing is at its finest when the best step up to fight the best, and this is what we have with Mayweather and Canelo and now Garcia and Matthysse," boxing legend and president of Golden Boy Promotions, Oscar De La Hoya, said. "September 14 will be one of the most memorable nights of boxing we have been treated to in a long time."

Garcia (26-0, 16 KOs) is coming off a unanimous decision win over Zab Judah on April 27 to retain his WBA, WBC and The Ring 140-pound titles. Garcia has fought current or former champions in each of his past six bouts.

Matthysse (34-2, 32 KOs) put on a show in his last fight, delivering a third-round knockout of titleholder Lamont Peterson on May 18. Matthysse's 94 percent knockout mark is one of the highest for a world champion in the history of the sport.

Wayne Simmonds stars as Flyers top Predators, push win streak to 5 games

Wayne Simmonds stars as Flyers top Predators, push win streak to 5 games

BOX SCORE

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Dave Hakstol likes Wayne Simmonds’ net-front play more than that of any player in the league.

The Flyers' power forward showed on Sunday why his coach thinks that way.

Simmonds’ two power-play goals in front of the crease helped extend the Flyers’ win streak to five, their longest of the season, in a 4-2 win over the Nashville Predators on Sunday night (see Instant Replay).

“If there’s a better guy in the league at net front, whether it’s on power play or 5 on 5, I don’t know who that is,” said Hakstol said after Sunday's victory. “He did a great job there tonight.”

Simmonds’ first goal came when he deflected Jake Voracek’s shot past Juuse Saros, giving the Flyers a 1-0 lead at 18:12 of the first period.

“They had great movement around the top of the box and Jake told me to go back door if he was going to get it for a one-timer,” Simmonds said. “So I stuck my stick out back door and he hit it, and it went in the net.”

Then Simmonds batted a puck through Saros' legs for a 2-1 advantage at 6:47 of the second period for his team-leading 13th goal of the season.

“It was kind of a little bit of a cluster and the puck comes to me, and I’m alone in front of the net so I just put it five-hole and it worked,” Simmonds said.

The right wing’s father was watching in the sellout crowd of 17,113 at Bridgestone Arena during the Flyers' annual father-son trip.

“It was nice, obviously,” Simmonds said. “I just went outside and saw him. He didn’t really say much to me, but I know he’s glowing on the inside.”

Simmonds has now scored 10 career goals in 20 games against Nashville.

“What I really like about Simmer is he’s at net-front, he’s scoring goals, he’s on the power play, but he’s a great, hard-nosed, 200-foot player,” Hakstol said.

Simmonds’ goals gave the Flyers an early spark on Sunday.

“It was huge,” said Flyers left wing Michael Raffl, who scored the winning goal at 16:37 of the second period when made a power move on a rush and tucked the puck past Saros. “That gives us all the momentum.”

The Flyers improved to 7-3-1 in their last 11 games.

“We’re just trying to take care of pucks and maintain the pressure that we have,” Simmonds said. “The next shift up every game is the most important shift and that’s how we’re trying to play it here.”

Predators coach Peter Laviolette, a former Flyers coach, wasn’t surprised by his former team’s power-play success. The Flyers entered the game tied for the third best power play in the league cashed in twice on seven chances on Sunday.

“We knew going in that their power play was really good,” Laviolette said. “Their players have a lot of time together and cohesiveness and they’re pretty set in what they do. They bring pucks to the net and when they do that, things can happen. That was a difference in the game tonight.”

Winning goalie Steve Mason has started 10 of the last 11 games. He made 30 saves Sunday to improve his record to 8-8-3.

“This is the situation I want to be in, so it’s a workload that all summer you prepare for even when I was not getting the work load I wanted,” Mason said. “You prepare for it and now that it’s here I’m making the most of it.”

Sources: Phillies close to signing reliever Joaquin Benoit

Sources: Phillies close to signing reliever Joaquin Benoit

WASHINGTON – It looks as if the Phillies will have some action at the winter meetings.

The team is close to signing veteran reliever Joaquin Benoit, sources tell CSNPhilly.com. The winter meetings officially begin on Monday. The signing is expected to be announced before the meetings end on Thursday.

Benoit, 39, is a veteran of 15 seasons in the majors. He is coming off a strong 2016 season in which he pitched in 51 games for Seattle and Toronto and recorded a 2.81 ERA.

Benoit, a right-hander, has pitched for six teams in his career and has a lifetime ERA of 3.79 in 712 games.

Entering the offseason, Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said he wanted to improve the bullpen. He opened the offseason by trading for veteran right-hander Pat Neshek and last week claimed lefty David Rollins off waivers from Texas. Now, Klentak is poised to add Benoit.

Benoit has pitched mostly in a setup role in his career, but he does have closer experience. It is unclear what role he’d pitch in for the Phillies. The Phils have Jeanmar Gomez and Hector Neris returning to the back of their bullpen in 2017. Benoit could complement that pair or the Phillies could chose to trade Gomez or Neris. Neris pitched in 79 games in 2016 and had a 2.58 ERA, so the Phillies would only deal him if they were to get a strong package of talent in return.