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Olding On: 84-Year-Old Student Graduates In Engineering

At 84, Mr. Felipe Espinosa, a produce vendor, managed to graduate as an engineer from a Mexican university. (Courtesy of BUAP)
At 84, Mr. Felipe Espinosa, a produce vendor, managed to graduate as an engineer from a Mexican university. (Courtesy of BUAP)


By Julio Guzmán

It is never too late to achieve one’s dreams. At 84, Mr. Felipe Espinosa Tecuapetla, a produce vendor in a market at Puebla, Mexico, graduated in Processes and Industrial Management Engineering from the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP).

Motivated by people around him and inspired by his eldest son — also an engineer — Mr. Felipe enrolled in the university in 2016, at 79. He is the oldest student the university has registered so far. His experience in an electrical and welding workshop and some knowledge in construction gave him the confidence to move ahead professionally.

“I thought there were older people at the university. But I was the only one,” Espinosa told Zenger.

“Many people told me, ‘You should study.’ When the university opened enrollment, I said, ‘I’ll go for it.’ It was easy for me: I wanted to study; I am a patient person, and I pay attention.”

Mr. Felipe had to travel 3 hours by bus every day, from his house to the campus and back, but the length of those trips did not hold him back. He would get up very early to go to the university and later sell his produce at the market.

Héctor Medina Cruz, the BUAP’s engineering department coordinator and a teacher at the San José Chiapa campus, says Mr. Felipe was the first student to arrive at the university and the last to leave. Medina Cruz remembers Mr. Felipe carrying a sack with his supplies and acknowledges he has a much better memory and is more skilled than many young students.

“He is very coherent and connects ideas very well. He was very enthusiastic, arrived on time, never missed a class, and always participated. While young people used tablets and computers to take notes, Mr. Felipe wrote in his notebook,” Medina Cruz told Zenger.

Mr. Felipe with his engineering professors. (Courtesy of Héctor Medina)

When Mr. Felipe began attending classes, his story went viral. He has a massive following on social media. The photo studio that worked on Mr. Felipe’s graduation pictures uploaded a couple of images of him with his degree on August 30. The post has over 42,000 likes and over 1,700 comments and has been shared more than 44,000 times.

Mr. Felipe finished high school eight years ago. He believes it is essential to continue preparing himself to face the challenges of the contemporary world.

“If you do not have studies, you will struggle more. Some young people have no desire to improve or work; they might not even know what I’m talking about. People must get caught up with 2021; we’re living through critical times. Devaluations, the economy, diseases: people must pay attention to current events,” he said.

Mr. Felipe hopes to find a job with more income. He does not rule out the possibility of becoming a professor or pursuing a graduate degree. The university is willing to support his choice.

“Let’s see if he decides to pursue a master’s degree. We’ll see if we can support him with a scholarship for graduate school. If he decides to work, we’ll try to help him through the career center and the different agreements the university has,” said Medina Cruz.

Mr. Felipe’s granddaughters have helped him get caught up with technology devices. (Courtesy of Erika Pozos)

Mr. Felipe is a widower. He has five children, 10 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren, all of whom are very proud of him and follow every piece of advice he gives. His grandchildren help him get involved in new technologies and social media. They have learned from him that nothing in life is impossible.

“I am very fortunate to have such a living example. I don’t think anyone else has a grandpa who graduated from college at that age. He’s a source of inspiration … He has taught us to be steadfast when pursuing our goals,” Mr. Felipe’s granddaughter, Erika Pozos Espinosa, told Zenger.

“It seems incredible to me that at his age, he doesn’t want to waste a single moment of his life. He sets a living example that there are no limits to what you can achieve,” she said.

While another opportunity arises, Mr. Felipe holds on to his roots, continuing to work as a vendor, a job he defines as “a blessing.” Today, he says he is grateful for having concluded his undergraduate degree and hopes to inspire people to follow their dreams, regardless of their age or other people’s opinions.

“It’s never too late to learn. When people ask me how old I am, I answer, ‘It’s not my age [that matters], but the desire to move forward.’ What has been basic for me is to work as if I were going to live forever, and that’s what I do. You can achieve whatever you want if you truly want it. I usually tell young people: life is not easy, but you have to give it your all until the last minute,” he said.

Translated by Gabriela Alejandra Olmos; edited by Gabriela Alejandra Olmos and Melanie Slone



The post Olding On: 84-Year-Old Student Graduates In Engineering appeared first on Zenger News.

CBD From A Vending Machine? Manufacturers Face Opportunities And Challenges In Growing Industry

Nick Wilson an employee at Green Toad Hemp, a member of the AgriUnity cooperative, sifts through smokable hemp for CBD for stems on April 19, 2021 in Metter, Georgia. The AgriUnity cooperative is a group of Black farmers formed to better their chances of success by putting their resources together in order to reduce their overhead costs of farming, allowing for market expansion and creating a demand for their products to help bring higher profits and building a sustainable economic plan. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
Nick Wilson an employee at Green Toad Hemp, a member of the AgriUnity cooperative, sifts through smokable hemp for CBD for stems on April 19, 2021 in Metter, Georgia. The AgriUnity cooperative is a group of Black farmers formed to better their chances of success by putting their resources together in order to reduce their overhead costs of farming, allowing for market expansion and creating a demand for their products to help bring higher profits and building a sustainable economic plan. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

By Lisa Chau

New York —  In 2018, CBD-infused products sales totaled $1.9 billion, according to research by Colorado-based BDS Analytics in partnership with Arcview Market Research. That number is forecasted to grow to a whopping $20 billion by 2024, spurred by greater accessibility and an ongoing introduction of new products.

Setting the stage for that explosive growth was the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized industrial hemp cultivation for products manufactured with cannabis sativa plants containing less than 0.3 percent THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis. As a result, the active compound in hemp, CBD (cannabidiol) has infiltrated the beauty, health, and food markets. While THC and CBD are both natural compounds found in plants of the cannabis genus, the latter does not produce a “high” or euphoric sensation for users only seeking to alleviate pain or anxiety.

Casco Bay Hemp product lines (Lisa Chau)

Evidence of the expected rapid growth in the CBD product category was on display at the White Label World Expo New York, an online retail sourcing show held earlier this fall at the Javits Convention Center.

There, Andre Addison explained that his Canaboxx invention is a CBD products vending machine, known as a “dispensary in a box.”

“The technology automates the way consumers purchase CBD products much the same way banks integrated ATMs as a system for convenience,” said Addison, the company’s owner and president. “Additionally, the Covid pandemic has created a greater need for no-contact sales and social distancing.” He imagines a world where such vending machines will be on every street corner once all 50 states have deregulated marijuana usage.

Canaboxx President Andre Addison explains how his vending machine works. (Lisa Chau)

Meanwhile, Milkweed Cannabis Confections’ Will Fleming is focusing on the top end of the spectrum, with edibles for luxury clients.

“The vast majority of cannabis edibles in the market today are commodity products: mediocre quality, mediocre ingredients, lackluster flavors,” said Fleming, the company’s director of sales and operations. “Milkweed Cannabis Confections is the brain-child of former New York City pastry chef Andrew LeStourgeon, whose mission is to bring luxury cannabis edibles to the market… utilizing local and high-quality ingredients, creating unique and compelling flavor profiles, and executing all of this at a top-tier level.” His team imagines a world where their products are widely enjoyed  at upscale weddings.

Carolindica CEO and Founder Chris Karazin launched his company in 2019 as a craft CBD manufacturer, specializing in tinctures and vape cartridges. Over time, he branched out into a variety of other product types, including gummies, capsules, topicals and candy.

“Like tectonic plates, being involved at this time in the hemp industry means we get to fill in the huge cracks that develop as the industry shifts, flowing like lava to adapt to the emerging niches,” Karazin said. “Currently, the market for pure CBD products is extremely saturated, so the industry is trending towards working with the more unique hemp compounds in order to expand the benefit offerings and stay ahead of the curve.”

Milkweed Cannabis Confections (Lisa Chau)

Carolindica segments itself by working with just about anything they can extract from the hemp plant, including CBD, but also CBG, CBC, CBN and Delta 8 THC. Each of these compounds has different properties.  For instance, CBN is the most sedative and provides the best benefits for sleeping, while Delta 8 offers the most recreational value to consumers.

By blending these cannabinoids together with terpenes, the company creates formulations that target specific issues like sleeping difficulties, pain and anxiety, while blending the lines between recreational enjoyment and pure medicinal value. There are well over 100 cannabinoids in the hemp plant, and the industry can only work with a tiny percentage of them currently.  Karazin fully believes that the future of this industry will revolve unique compounds focused on both the medicinal and recreational values offered by the hemp plant.

Deborah and her son Stephon Morton entered the industry in 2019, by launching four major products: Mor-Hemp CBD coconut oil, “Ladi Mary” smokable CBD Flower, and TUSK Hemp-infused Vodka and Rum.  As a new liquor brand, they’ve found it difficult to partner with distributors in major states because the company cannot provide a proven track record of consistent profits.

Moreover, their family-owned business Mor-Hemp has faced challenges getting grants for minority farmers to purchase farming equipment, supplies and facilities needed to effectively expand. For example, they applied for a grant for disadvantaged farmers in Halifax County, Virginia.

“We submitted all the proper paperwork and patiently awaited the outcome. After months of no pertinent feedback or information, we did our due diligence of communicating with the office. Only when we reached out were we informed that the agency was changing directors and our paperwork suddenly went missing, and we were not awarded the grant,” Deborah Morton said.

In 2018, CBD-infused products sales totaled $1.9 billion. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

As explosive as the growth of the CBD has been in recent years, there are still many unknowns and hurdles to overcome. Trojan Horse Cannabis Founder and CEO Christopher Fontes currently serves on the Government Affairs Committee for the National Industrial Hemp Council. He says the next big trend for the industry is the realization that Delta-9 THC is a legal product, so long as it is hemp-derived from a Farm Bill-approved program and remains below the federal threshold of 0.3 percent Delta-9 THC by dry weight. If that happens, attempts to create THC alternatives like D8, D10 and THCp will start to slow down or disappear.

More and more manufacturers are realizing that FD&C [Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act] regulations will treat their products like dietary supplements regarding safety and truth-in-labeling, Fontes said. “The industry fully expects hemp-derived ingestibles to be regulated as a dietary supplement at some point by the Food and Drug Administration. Doing so creates a regulatory framework of consumer safety, and is welcomed by the good actors in the industry.  This could also have significant impacts on the hemp supply chain.”

Recent laws legalizing commercial hemp farming have led to an explosive growth in the CBD industry.  However, the marketplace is still is its infancy as many obstacles and unknowns remain.

Minority farmers need grants, and a stigma still remains— some studies have shown that CBD “users were frequently labeled as irresponsible and unreliable ‘potheads’ by a variety of people including employers, colleagues, and even healthcare providers”. Consumers are increasingly interested in the benefits of CBD, but quality control and safety need to be addressed and regulated quickly.

Edited by Matthew B. Hall and Bryan Wilkes



The post CBD From A Vending Machine? Manufacturers Face Opportunities And Challenges In Growing Industry appeared first on Zenger News.

Easy Peasy: Huge Genome Study Set To Boost Chickpea Yields 

Genomic sequencing of chickpea varieties may lead to improved yields and climate-resiliency, say the authors of a new study. (ICRISAT)
Genomic sequencing of chickpea varieties may lead to improved yields and climate-resiliency, say the authors of a new study. (ICRISAT)

By Martin M Barillas

In the biggest plant genome sequencing project ever, an international team assembled a pan-genome from thousands of chickpea lines in 60 countries, which may lead to increased yields for this essential legume.

Researchers identified 29,870 genes in chickpeas (Cicer arietinum), including 1,582 previously unreported ones. The India-based International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) conducted the study, placing chickpeas among the few crops to have had such an extensive genome map. The study was published in the journal Nature.

“By employing whole genome sequencing, we have been able to affirm the history of chickpea’s origin in the Fertile Crescent and identify two paths of diffusion or migration of chickpea to the rest of the world,” the study’s lead researcher, Rajeev Varshney, said. “One path indicates diffusion to South Asia and East Africa, and the other suggests diffusion to the Mediterranean region (probably through Turkey) as well as to the Black Sea and Central Asia (up to Afghanistan).”

Chickpea seeds show their genetic diversity. (ICRISAT)

Varshney and his team sequenced the genomes of 3,366 chickpea lines from 60 countries. The world’s third-most cultivated legume, chickpeas are essential in many nations’ diets.

“This research provides a complete picture of genetic variation within chickpea and a validated roadmap for using the knowledge and genomic resources to improve the crop,” Varshney said.

Once the initial 2013 sequencing was complete, the sequencing of more lines led to an understanding of chickpea genetic variation, including wild types, and domestic landraces (domesticated varieties developed by farmers). The authors sequenced 3,366 accessions, which represent the chickpea’s genetic diversity in a much larger global collection.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, an accession is a “distinct, uniquely identifiable sample of seeds representing a cultivar, breeding line or a population, which is maintained in storage for conservation and use.”

The taxonomic name of the chickpea species is Cicer arietinum. The authors found that the cultivated species diverged from its wild progenitor species, Cicer reticulatum, about 12,600 years ago. The wild plant now grows only in the southeast corner of Turkey, where it may have been domesticated. Chickpea seeds are stored at several gene banks.

A chickpea plant with its pods seen up close. (ICRISAT)

The number of chickpea varieties reached a minimum about 1,000 years ago but saw a strong expansion in the last 400 years, suggesting a renewed interest in the legume. By analyzing the branching out of eight chickpea species over time, researchers can identify misclassification or duplication of accessions. This should result in better management of chickpea germplasm held at gene banks.

“The demand for chickpea is set to increase in the coming years as the world’s population rises,” yields increase and crops become more climate-resilient, according to study coauthor Trilochan Mohapatra.

“By developing many genomic resources for chickpea over the last decade, ICRISAT has helped the crop shed its ‘orphan’ tag. With our partners in agricultural research for development, we will continue to research chickpea and translate findings into crop varieties that benefit farmers, consumers and nations,” said Jacqueline Hughes of the crop research organization.

Comparison of the genetic variation in cultivated chickpeas and its wild progenitor helped in identifying genes that reduce crop performance. These genes were more abundant in the wild progenitor because over time they were bred out of cultivated lines through selection and recombination. In the future, deleterious genes can be further purged through genomics-assisted breeding or gene editing.

The authors identified haplotypes (blocks of genes) in landraces that can significantly improve yield, climate resilience and seed characteristics. The study examined historical data of all chickpea varieties released between 1948 and 2012, providing insights into the use of haplotypes in varieties of chickpeas.

Study lead Rajeev Varshney examining chickpea plants. (ICRISAT)

“We examined 129 varieties released in the past. Though a few superior haplotypes were detected in some of these varieties, we found that most varieties lacked many beneficial haplotypes,” said study co-author Manish Roorkiwal. The research team uncovered 56 promising lines that can “bring these haplotypes into breeding programs to develop enhanced varieties,” he said.

The crop research institute’s efforts have resulted in the last three years in seven improved chickpea varieties in India and Ethiopia. “Genomic resources are crucial for accelerating the rate of genetic gains in crop improvement programs,” researcher Arvind Kumar said. “Genomic resources are crucial for accelerating the rate of genetic gains in crop improvement programs.”

The team hopes the study will help breeders “revolutionize chickpea breeding without eroding its genetic diversity,” Kumar said.

The authors of the study suggest three breeding approaches based on genomic prediction, with the aim of improving 16 species traits. The study shows that by applying them, an increase in yield ranging between 12 and 23 percent can be expected.

Edited by Richard Pretorius and Kristen Butler



The post Easy Peasy: Huge Genome Study Set To Boost Chickpea Yields  appeared first on Zenger News.

She’s Charting A Path To Improving Quality Child Care

“Caring for children and making sure they have everything they need to have a head start to education has always been a passion for me,” says Tamika Farr, CEO of Pathways LA. (Courtesy of Pathways LA)
“Caring for children and making sure they have everything they need to have a head start to education has always been a passion for me,” says Tamika Farr, CEO of Pathways LA. (Courtesy of Pathways LA)

By Evan T. Henerson

By her own admission, Tamika Farr is every inch a “glass half-full” person.

That’s an important mindset to have when leading a 43-year-old nonprofit, whose mission is to bring quality child care and educational services to disadvantaged communities.

Farr, who took over as executive director of Pathways LA, in Los Angeles, California, in May, recognizes the challenges her agency faces and embraces her new position with the enthusiasm and commitment of someone accustomed to getting things done.

“I am a problem-solver. I’ve always been that way, and I see opportunities,” Farr said. “If the answer isn’t ‘no,’ then there is an opportunity. And even in ‘no,’ there is opportunity to shift and find a different resource or a different path.

“I’m always looking for a way to accomplish our goal, especially when we’re looking at our youth and creating paths for them,” she said. “We can’t give up on them. You can’t quit.”

Farr frequently uses the word “path” when talking about her nonprofit work and her own journey. That her career has led her to Pathways LA — established in 1978 and now serving 4,000 children annually — seems fortuitous.

For Farr, the Pathways post is a perfect fit, a position her education and previous work prepped her for.

Born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Farr grew up in a small, close-knit and predominantly African-American community.

“I came from humble means, but we always had everything we needed,” she said. “We supported each other because we had all our basic needs met, and everyone was healthy and happy. But it’s not until you leave your own community that you get an awareness of the world at large.”

Farr moved with her family to the San Francisco Bay Area when she was in high school. The experience of being able to board a BART train and see different communities was eye-opening. She began to observe the effects of systemic issues, particularly the ways in which factors such as the lack of education, feelings of hopelessness and mass incarceration affect young people.

The experience inspired her to study child development.

The Diaz-Rocha family, clients of Pathways LA. (Courtesy of Pathways LA)

“Caring for children and making sure they have everything they need to have a head start to education has always been a passion for me,” said Farr, a mother of two children, ages 13 and 6. “I believe education and healthy attachment with adults is very important in a child’s life and a child’s development. Those are determining factors that can break intergenerational poverty.”

Farr previously worked at Rosemary Children’s Services, a nonprofit that supports children who have suffered abuse, neglect and abandonment. She was also executive director of the YWCA of Pasadena-Foothill Valley and executive director of El Centro de Amistad, a nonprofit that provides mental health services to California families.

After earning a master’s in business administration, Farr felt her passion for working on behalf of children and her skills as an administrator could be put to good use with an organization that shared her mission and values. Pathways LA checked the boxes.

Founded as the Children, Youth and Family Services Agency, it was one of the first nonprofits to receive public funding in support of children with disabilities and special needs. Through partnerships with municipal agencies, Pathways LA helps families obtain affordable child care and promote school readiness for children from disadvantaged communities. The agency has a $32 million annual operating budget.

Farr was recruited through an executive search. She began her tenure at Pathways LA at the end of the 2020-2021 fiscal year, just as Gov. Gavin Newsom was in the final stages of planning the state budget. Farr had the added challenge of being the person selected to replace Jessie Salazar, who had been with the agency for 27 years.

“A lot of people had worked with our previous director before, and we needed someone who could come in and handle the situation with grace and also strategically move the agency forward,” said Pathways LA board president Jenn Hsu. “Tamika is a lovely person with good energy. She has really come in and been able to take charge.”

“What I love about Pathways’ mission,” Farr said, “is that we are engaged with families and engaged with children early on, allowing families the dignity to go out and earn and provide for their children or to further their education. It’s also putting children in environments where they can grow and blossom and be prepared for school readiness.”

She references data that shows children who are raised in a healthy environment have a greater chance of growing up to attend college and earn higher wages.

“We have looked at the homeless population in Los Angeles and how it’s growing beyond what Measure H [passed in 2017 to put money toward homelessness and other social services] dollars are prepared to support. From my perspective, L.A. County has not proposed a solution. Building housing for residents who don’t have housing is reactionary. That’s not getting to the root of the issue. I know our mission does get to the root of reducing homelessness and embracing success in school.

“I know the work we’re doing has a long-term impact that will affect L.A. County as a whole.”

Like all nonprofits, Pathways LA — and its leadership — face challenges, particularly as the nation emerges from the pandemic. Pathways LA advocates to increase the reimbursement rate for child-care providers, which, for many years, was stuck at the 2016 level.

“Many of our providers are women of color, and they have an enormous responsibility to provide care for children and create an environment where they can grow socially, emotionally and academically,” Farr said. “Ideally, we would be at the 2020-2021 reimbursement mark, but for so long, it had been at the 2016 rate.

“We’re up to the 2018 standard, which is where my glass half-full perspective comes in,” she said. “We’re making progress.”

Edited by Judith Isacoff and Fern Siegel



The post She’s Charting A Path To Improving Quality Child Care appeared first on Zenger News.

6-Year-Old ‘Champion’ Wants His Clothing Line To Help People ‘Feel Better About Themselves’

“My shirts are affirmations,” says 6-year-old Champion-Ikaika Nettey of his a href=http://alohakingchamp.etsy.comu Aloha King Champ/u/a clothing line. (Courtesy of Neki Nettey)
“My shirts are affirmations,” says 6-year-old Champion-Ikaika Nettey of his a href=http://alohakingchamp.etsy.comu Aloha King Champ/u/a clothing line. (Courtesy of Neki Nettey)

By Lem Satterfield

For young entrepreneur Champion-Ikaika Nettey, some days are busier than others.

“On my days off, I like to play soccer or go running, or I might go on my scooter and stuff,” said “Champ,” who also makes time for his “older by a couple of days girlfriend.”

“On another day, I might also take a nap, just in case I’m tired. Or I might have my downtime — my TV time. Today I’m going to go to the pool and swim.”

Champ might be all business on other days, selling T-shirts from his Aloha King Champ clothing line for “$25 a pop” in sizes for kids on Alohakingchamp.etsy.com.

“Aloha means, ‘Hi,’ in Hawaiian. I’m Hawaiian and of African descent,” said Champ, an Olney, Maryland, resident who primarily operates out of his mother Neki’s, KaribFit dance studio in downtown Silver Spring.  “We’re still working on developing jumpers, hats, jeans, maybe some kids shoes or something. You can buy them by checking out my website or getting the address to the studio.”

Not bad for a home-schooled 6-year-old.

“My shirts are affirmations. Like, ‘You’re excellent,’ and, ‘You’re a rock star.’ I remind children to know how great they are,” said Champ, whose business began when he was 5. “I design my own shirts. People tell me they’re awesome and cool. When people wear my clothing, I want them to be happy, excited and generally to feel better about themselves.” (Using Champ’s designs, the apparel is produced by a shop whose name Champ’s mom declines to disclose.)

Ask Champion-Ikaika about his own name, and he not only knows what it means, but why he’s named the way he is.

“It means that I’m powerful and that I’m a survivor, because when I was a baby, I couldn’t breathe or anything,” he said. “They [doctors] had to put this little mask thing on my mouth and my nose, so I could get some oxygen. It was a little scary.”

Champ’s two elder siblings are loving role models.

Rei Nettey, 14, is a distance runner who is a nationally ranked, 11-time All-American who competes while barefoot. Rei is learning to support himself, making “extra cash” cleaning the properties owned by his uncle, Tetteh, a physical therapist.

Armon, 19, is a former high school wrestler who placed third in each of the Montgomery County and Maryland public school’s state tournaments with a regional championship earned between the two. Armon is now a college sophomore wrestling at Alderson Broaddus University in Philippi, West Virginia.

From left, Rei, Armon, Neki, and Champion Nettey.  (Courtesy of Neki Nettey)

Beyond his T-shirts, Champ has other responsibilities at the KaribFit studio. He plays drums on Mondays and Tuesdays during esteem-building-themed children’s classes for all ages.

“KaribFit empowers, encourages and enlightens through fitness and dance. Champ does some African drumming alongside the adults that are drumming for the kids and the adults’ classes. We use movement to connect our people and to connect the community to the cultures of Africa and the Caribbean, primarily,” said his mother.

“All of our classes start with affirmations of gratitude for what our bodies can do and gratitude for what they allowed us to do that day. We have yoga classes that focus on healing, mentally and physically. It’s a means of helping people to feel grounded, energized and to relieve stress.”

Champ spent a recent Tuesday studying Hawaiian and Yoruba, a Nigerian language spoken in West Africa. The length of time he spends on his schooling depends on his interests and the unit of study, according to his home-schooling mother.

“Today, we were working on phonics … . We also worked on different things to incorporate science, math and things like that,” said Neki Nettey.

“We don’t go on time, it’s more about what he’s interested in and what he wants to work on for that day. For example, today, we were supposed to stop after doing a few things, but he wanted to keep going, so we wound up spending an extra 45 minutes on assignments for the day.”

As a 7-year-old, Champ’s brother, Armon, began an annual Christmas-time gift-giving tradition to the homeless.

Watching hisbrother, Armon, 19, give food to those experiencing homelessness “makes me want to do more good things for people,” said 6-year-old Champion-Ikaika Nettey. (Courtesy of Neki Nettey)

“Armon has many times visited Washington, D.C., whether it was the museums or my mom or the different festivals and things. But with all of those big things going on around him, Armon’s focus was on those who were in need. He always sees and always has been someone who roots for the little guy. So he wanted to do something to give at Christmastime when everyone else was getting,” Neki Nettey said.

Armon, Rei and Champ do the gift-giving every year, with last Christmas the most successful, despite the pandemic.

“Last year, we had so much given to us before Christmas that we needed two days, so it was on Christmas and the day after Christmas,” Neki Nettey said. “There were sandwiches, there were chips, there were treats, water and also some masks and sanitizer and things like that. There was a lot of stuff.”

Champ enjoys helping Armon.

“Giving food to people helps them to survive more,” Champ said. “That makes me want to do more good things for people.”

But for Champ, the real motivation is something else.

“I make a lot of money,” he said. “That’s why I’m selling shirts right now. I’m a piggy bank pioneer.”

Edited by Judith Isacoff and Matthew B. Hall



The post 6-Year-Old ‘Champion’ Wants His Clothing Line To Help People ‘Feel Better About Themselves’ appeared first on Zenger News.

VIDEO: Astroworld Tragedy Is Nothing New, Mass Concerts Have Massive Problems 

At the 2019 Knotfest, in Mexico City, angry fans created chaos, performances were canceled and instruments and production equipment were set on fire. (Julio Guzmán/Zenger)
At the 2019 Knotfest, in Mexico City, angry fans created chaos, performances were canceled and instruments and production equipment were set on fire. (Julio Guzmán/Zenger)

By Julio Guzmán

MEXICO CITY — The death of eight people at Travis Scott’s Astroworld concert in Houston is a tragic reminder of the dangers mass concerts pose, especially when they have organization problems.

Mexico City commemorates a similar tragedy on Nov. 30.

The 2019 Knotfest, an international heavy metal festival, could have been an unforgettable event, but instead angry fans unleashed chaos and destruction. The result was a burned drum kit, severe damage to equipment, performance cancellations and assaults.

Challenges began before the performance of the American band Evanescence, at 9:10 p.m., on the Oceanía Sports Club’s main stage. Slipknot was to be the band closing the festival.

But thousands of attendees battered down one of the fences between the main and VIP sections and overcrowded the stage area. Security officers were unable to control the crowd.

Live Talent was the event organizer. Concerned about the lack of security, its employees requested attendees to step back from the fence. The company announced through social media that the remaining bands would play if the audience followed the safety protocols. However, most attendees could not understand the reasons for the delay because there was no cell signal.

The problems mass concerts present are not new. The 2019 Knotfest, in Mexico City, echoes what happened in Travis Scott’s deadly Astroworld concert. (Julio Guzmán/Zenger)

Four and a half hours later, the impatient attendees began hurling insults. Some jumped over the fence surrounding the stage, dismantled Evanescense’s drum kit and threw some pieces to the public, along with production equipment.

Later, they burned chairs, the drum kit and several pieces of sound equipment. The members of the security team hired for the event ended up hiding, rather than confronting the agitators. Some attendees shouted profanity, others were assaulted, and still more took selfies with the flames in the background.

“It was a bittersweet experience. They [the bands] brought some of the best audio equipment in the world, and they were good bands. It’s not surprising because the organizers have had problems at all their events. Bands often cancel their presentations,” Francisco Acevedo, who was at the event, told Zenger.

Knotfest was not the first time that Live Talent has been involved in controversy.

The company canceled the performances of Rob Zombie, Testament and other star bands announced for the 2018 Force Fest festival.

Mass concerts have presented similar challenges for a long time. The Nov. 6 concert in Astroworld only proves the problem and the risks remain.

Translated by Gabriela Alejandra Olmos, Edited by Gabriela Alejandra Olmos and Fern Siegel



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Access To Capital Remains A Problem For Most Black Businesses

The 2021 Black Business Owner Spotlight survey conducted by Bank of America reflects a general sense of optimism among its respondents, but continued worries about finding financing. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
The 2021 Black Business Owner Spotlight survey conducted by Bank of America reflects a general sense of optimism among its respondents, but continued worries about finding financing. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

By Kevin Michael Briscoe

By many accounts, access to capital has stunted the ability of minority business owners to maintain cash flow and cover operating costs. In fact, more than half of black business owners polled in a recent national survey cite lack of access to cash as the main hindrance to their ability to grow.

One potential solution is invoice factoring, in which a company “sells” its invoices to a third party for collections. Such factoring gives businesses near-immediate access to cash for expenses like contract ramp-ups, staffing or paying suppliers.

“With a traditional line of credit, the bank is giving you money that you can draw from, and it doesn’t pay too much attention to it beyond that. There’s an interest rate, and its gets paid back over time,” said Chas Justice, business development officer for altLINE, the commercial financing division of The Southern Bank Co. based in Birmingham, Ala. “With factoring, clients actually submit individual invoices to us for funding. If they have a $1,000 invoice, they submit it to us, and we typically forward 80 to 90 percent of that invoice to their operating account immediately.”

Factoring Pros and Cons

The typical factoring customer is a rapidly growing but cash-strapped company challenged by meeting payroll or other operating costs, and tend to come from the staffing, consulting, manufacturing and distribution industries that generally bill customers at an hourly rate or sell products on 30- or 60-day terms.

“For staffing and consulting companies, our financing is helping them speed up their cash flow to meet payroll,” Justice said. “For manufacturing and distribution companies, we help them pay their suppliers or buy more raw materials.”

Chas Justice, business development officer, altLINE. (Courtesy The Southern Bank Co.)

Early in the growth of her Washington, D.C. area-based social marketing firm, Wendy Campbell had to demonstrate her capacity to purchase a $500,000 media buy as part of her certification application for a U.S. Small Business Administration set-aside program. On the advice of a colleague, she was able to connect with a factoring company that provided the funds to satisfy the SBA requirements.

“If you need funding to ramp up for a contract, this is the way to do it, and if it’s government work, it’s practically guaranteed,” said Campbell, president of Campbell & Co. Communications. “The good news is that you can use it when you want to cover out-of-pocket costs, or if you need to hire additional consultants.”

But while invoice factoring enables companies to get cash quickly, it’s not cheap, generally averaging between 1 percent and 5 percent of the principal amount.

“The pros of invoice factoring are it gets cash into the hands of companies that can qualify for a bank loan, and the application process is quicker than that of an accounts receivable loan,” said Saji George, business development officer for InterNex Capital, based in Harrison, New York “The cons are the higher costs of funds and the greater degree of lender management.”

“It works mainly for [my] government contracting clients because payment …is slow, and they need to pay employees, but I recommend clients stay away because interest rates are too high,” said Sharif J. Small, a Baltimore-based tax accountant and chief executive officer of SJS Financial.

Justice at altLINE counters that a lack of transparency among factoring companies has been to blame for the industry’s bad public relations.

“Most of the lenders in our industry are not federally-regulated banks like we are,” he said. “They basically do what they want.”

Saji George, business development officer, Internex Capital. (Courtesy Internex Capital)

Unlike other factoring companies, Justice said altLINE does not engage in so-called “float days,” a practice that has hurt factoring’s reputation.

“Let’s say we have a rate of 2 percent per 30 days that we’re funding an invoice, and then it goes up by 1 percent every 15 days after that,” he said. “If the invoice is paid on day 28, 29 or 30, we stop the interest rate clock on the day the invoice is paid, and we charge the borrower the 2 percent for the 30 days; that’s our fee.

“With the vast majority of the other factoring companies, they’ll take three to five days to clear the payment, so the payment on day 28 is not cleared until day 32 or 33. Now, the borrower is paying 3 percent, and their financing costs just went up by 50 percent. If they’re told one rate and pay a higher rate, all of a sudden they’ve mispriced all of their customers, and find themselves behind the eight-ball. [Factoring] is always going to be more expensive than traditional bank financing, which is fine if people know what they’re paying for.”

What to Look For

There are two types of factoring: recourse and non-recourse.

In a recourse arrangement, businesses are required to buy back the invoices and repay the factoring company in the event of its customer’s default on an invoice payment. In a non-recourse situation, businesses are not required to pay back the funding if bankruptcy is the cause of the default. However, factoring companies that offer a non-recourse arrangement are playing a game of smoke and mirrors, according to altLINE”s Justice.

“As a full-recourse bank, we tell our customers to purchase trade credit insurance, which is a policy that pays out in the event of non-payment due to financial difficulties on the part of the customer,” he said. “That’s really all the non-recourse companies do; they buy insurance policies. You can do the same with us, except you’re in control of the policy, not the non-recourse company. So, we’re not going to mark up the rate of your policy and mask it in our fees. It’s more cost-effective to the borrower in the long run.”

Sharif J. Smalls, CEO, SJS Financial (Courtesy SJS Financial)

Surveys Detail Scope of the Funding Woes

Whatever the funding mechanism sought, two major recent surveys make it clear access to capital is still a major problem for black entrepreneurs.

The 2021 Black Business Owner Spotlight survey conducted by Bank of America reflects a general sense of optimism among its respondents, with nearly half (48 percent) expecting their revenue to increase this year. Yet, almost six out of 10 cited the challenges accessing capital as a barrier to their business’ growth.

The Small Business Credit Survey: 2021 Report on Firms Owned by People of Color, conducted by the U.S. Federal Reserve System, supports this assertion. This report found that across all owner groups by ethnicity, black-owned firms that applied for traditional forms of financing were least likely to receive all the financing they sought. Hispanic- and Asian-owned firms (20 percent and 31 percent, respectively) were also less likely than white-owned firms (40 percent) to receive all the financing for which they applied.

Even among firms with good credit scores, black-owned firms were half as likely as white-owned firms to receive all the financing they sought (24 percent versus 48 percent).

AltLINE’s Justice estimated his minority invoice factoring customer base at “around 50 to 60 percent,” but, as of this posting, was unable to provide numbers on the total dollar amount provided to his minority customers.

“If you’re an early-stage company, and you get this great contract, but they’re paying you in 60 days, and you’ve got to pay your payroll on a weekly or biweekly basis, or you have to pay your suppliers in 30 days, 15 days, or cash on demand, [invoice financing] gives you the ability to grow the business without having to sell equity or give up ownership in your company.”

Edited by Matthew B. Hall and Bryan Wilkes



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It’s Here! Sneek Peek Of Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’

strongSpielberg's ‘West Side Story’ will be released on Dec. 10. (EPK.TV)/strong
strongSpielberg's ‘West Side Story’ will be released on Dec. 10. (EPK.TV)/strong

By Mina Castillo

The Walt Disney Company released the new “sneak peek” of Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” on Oct. 27, fueling the audience’s anticipation for the film.

Spectators look forward to its release for many reasons. Some wish to relive the nostalgia of the 1961 movie, directed by Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise.

 

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Most lead roles were not left to Latinos in the 1960s film. For some, Spielberg’s “West Side Story” provides the opportunity to pay off this debt.

For others, Spielberg’s “West Side Story” will be the “full circle” moment for the revered actress Rita Moreno, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Anita in the 1961 version. Moreno has a pivotal role in the new movie while taking on a new position as one of the executive producers.

Rita Moreno, who won an Oscar for the role of Anita in the 1961 film, also stars in the remake, besides taking on a new role as one of the executive producers. (EPK.TV)

The film stars Rachel Zegler and Ansel Elgort. Ziegler will make her feature film debut in the role of Maria while Elgort will play Tony.

The cast of several hundred actors and dancers includes Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, Mike Faist, Josh Andrés Rivera, Corey Stoll, and Brian d’Arcy James. Choreography is by Justin Peck.

Born to a Colombian mother, Ziegler is a singer and songwriter raised in New Jersey. She was among the 30,000 persons auditioning for the role and managed to land it. Spielberg’s “West Side Story” is quite a leap for Zegler, who first played Maria’s role in a Performing Arts School presentation at Bergen Performing Arts Center.

 

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“West Side Story” is one of the most beloved musical romantic dramas. Spielberg is also co-producer, and Tony Kushner, its writer, is one of the executive producers.

The film went into development in 2014, at 20th Century Fox. Kushner began writing the screenplay by 2017. Spielberg came on board in 2018, and casting began late that year. The filming started in July 2019, with the shoot taking place in New York and New Jersey. The production stopped running during the COVID-19 lockdown, pushing back the release to Dec. 10.

It’s Here! Sneek Peek of Spielberg’s ”West Side Story” was published in collaboration with LatinHeat Entertainment.

Edited by Gabriela Alejandra Olmos and Melanie Slone



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Justina Machado Co-Stars In Lifetime’s Drama ‘Switched Before Birth’ 

Justina Machado co-stars in the Lifetime movie. In the picture, she arrives at Variety and Lifetime's ‘Power of Women’ at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on Sept. 30. (Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Variety)
Justina Machado co-stars in the Lifetime movie. In the picture, she arrives at Variety and Lifetime's ‘Power of Women’ at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on Sept. 30. (Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Variety)

By Julio Martínez

Justina Machado takes a dramatic step forward in her career with the Lifetime movie “Switched Before Birth.” Machado is best known for her comedic roles as Penelope Alvarez on the Netflix and CBS sitcom “One Day at a Time” and Darci Factor in The CW’s “Jane the Virgin.”

Now, Machado is portraying Anna Ramirez, a woman who wishes to become a mother but struggles to conceive. Directed by Elizabeth Rohm, the film premiered on Oct. 23.

 

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“Switched Before Birth” follows Olivia Crawford (Skyler Samuels) and her husband Brian (Bo Yokely), who stretch themselves to financial limits after multiple failed in vitro fertilization (IVF) trials and miscarriages. While going through her latest round of IVF, Olivia meets and becomes friends with Anna Ramirez (Machado), who is struggling to have a child after years of focusing on her successful restaurants.

“I really don’t have a formula for this,” Machado said in a joint interview with her friend and the film’s director, Elizabeth Rohm. “I’m always looking at the character. And I really could relate to what she had to offer. Anna Ramirez loved everything that was going on in her life. The only thing she couldn’t deal with was what she couldn’t have. We all know what that feels like.”

When Olivia and Anna become pregnant, they both celebrate and prepare for their babies’ arrival. But Anna suffers a devastating miscarriage and struggles to move forward, while her marriage to restaurateur Gabe Ramirez (Yancey Arias) crumbles.

When Olivia and Brian finally welcome their twins, Olivia feels her life is complete. But the couple’s world is turned upside down when they discover one of the babies is biologically Anna and Gabe’s child, who had been implanted into Olivia by mistake. Pitted against each other, Olivia will do anything to keep the baby she delivered, while Anna will stop at nothing to bring her son home.

“Justina just kills it as Anna,” said Rohm. “People don’t know how we have our miracle babies. … I think this movie will do a lot to help people understand what is possible in this modern age.”

“This powerhouse was also the director. I’ve acted with her,” said Machado pointing to her friend. “Elizabeth is a talented lady. As for me, I just dig into the script. It is so much fun to be able to be this character and truly show what she is going through.”

The actor and director might work together on another project. Rohm hinted that she and Machado may team up again to reboot the 1980s police drama “Cagney & Lacey.”

Justina Machado Co-Stars in Lifetime’s Drama ‘Switched Before Birth’ was published in collaboration with LatinHeat Entertainment.

Edited by Gabriela Alejandra Olmos and Melanie Slone



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Canelo Alvarez Keeps Word, KOs Caleb Plant To Become Boxing’s First Undisputed 168-Pound Champ

“Canelo is a beast. A monster, said three-division champion Abner Mares of four-division and IBF/WBA/WBC/WBO undisputed 168-pound title winner Canelo Alvarez with trainer Eddy Reynoso (left). “Canelo is on top of all the great Mexican fighters.” (Sean Michael Ham/TGB Promotions)
“Canelo is a beast. A monster, said three-division champion Abner Mares of four-division and IBF/WBA/WBC/WBO undisputed 168-pound title winner Canelo Alvarez with trainer Eddy Reynoso (left). “Canelo is on top of all the great Mexican fighters.” (Sean Michael Ham/TGB Promotions)

By Lem Satterfield

Canelo Alvarez sought to “break” the “jaw” of a boastful Caleb Plant, predicting an eighth-round knockout in advance of Saturday’s undisputed 168-pound unification bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Alvarez took a little longer than he expected to finish the job and didn’t quite inflict the pounding he promised, but he did batter Plant around the ring before getting his third knockout in as many fights this year with 1:05 left the 11th round before a sold-out, boisterous, pro-Alvarez crowd of 16,586.

Alvarez (57–1–2, 39 KOs) scored two final-round knockdowns, adding “Sweethands’” IBF crown to his WBA/WBC/WBO versions to become the first fully unified super middleweight champion and the first fighter of Mexican descent to accomplish the feat.

Plant (21–1, 12 KOs) was forced to eat his words in the form of tenderizing body shots, rapier-like jabs, and, ultimately, double-fisted power. Alvarez out-landed him in overall punches (117–101), power shots (102–59) and body shots (53–13) while trailing in jabs (42–15).

“It hasn’t been easy to get to this point,” said Alvarez, who reportedly earned a guaranteed $40 million compared to Plant’s $10 million, before pay-per-view proceeds. “But with your support, my family and my team we’ve gotten really far. This is for everybody, especially for Mexico. This is another one for our team. We did it tonight.”

Alvarez secured his fifth stoppage in seven bouts, a victory over an undefeated champion for the seventh time, and one over an unbeaten rival for the eighth, all on the 45th birthday of his trainer, Eddy Reynoso.

“Caleb is a good fighter,” Alvarez said. “I have a lot of respect for Caleb Plant. He was a difficult opponent with a lot of ability, and I do respect him.”

A four-division champion who has unified titles at 154, 160 and 168 pounds, “Canelo” became the sixth fighter to reach the undisputed plateau, joining cruiserweight Oleksandr Usyk, middleweights Bernard Hopkins and Jermain Taylor and junior welterweights Terence Crawford and Josh Taylor.

“This means so much for the history of Mexico to become an undisputed champion,” Alvarez said. “There are only six undisputed champions in history. It keeps me happy and very motivated to be one of the six.”

Alvarez already was being compared to fabled Mexican legends including three-division champions Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. and Marco Antonio Barrera, four-division title winners Juan Manuel Marquez and Erik Morales, two-division champ Ruben Olivares, and long-reigning titleholders Ricardo Lopez, Salvador Sanchez and Carlos Zarate.

Four-division champion Canelo Alvarez (right) used masterful counter punching, a sharp jab and a brutal body attack during his two-knockdown, 11th-round knockout of Caleb Plant, adding Plant’s IBF 168-pound title to his WBA/WBC/WBO versions to become Mexico’s first undisputed super middleweight champion and boxing’s first in the division. (Premier Boxing Champions)

Considered by many to be the all-time greatest fighter in Mexican history, Chavez Sr., who served as ringside commentator for a Spanish network on Saturday, was 89–0–1 before losing his first bout and retired with a record of 107–6–2 (86 KOs).

“I’m not afraid to say that Canelo is on top of all the great Mexican fighters,” said three-time champion Abner Mares, who served as a ringside commentator. “Speaking of numbers, Canelo has surpassed everyone. Right now Canelo is the man. He is the face of boxing. Every Mexican champion deserves his respect, and Canelo has done it in his time.”

During a June event at Jalisco Stadium in Guadalajara, Mexico, Chavez Sr. told Alvarez, “My time has passed, but yours is NOW!,” adding, “My history and legacy are already written. You are now the greatest Mexican fighter,’” according to boxing journalist Claudia Trejos, who works for DAZN and Telemundo Deportes among other affiliations.

“Tonight was an outstanding display of boxing, incontrovertible control and power,” Trejos said. “Canelo took his time and systematically tore down Caleb’s tools. He created the space and capitalized on the opportunity to hurt Caleb and to finish him off in the 11th round.”

The 5-foot-8 Alvarez’s relentless pressure overcame an early and effective stick-and-move, jab-and-grab strategy employed by the savvy Plant, a 6-foot-1 boxer-puncher who won the first round on the cards of all three judges.

“Caleb was making the fight pretty difficult,” Alvarez said. “But Eddy told me to just stick to the game plan in the last two rounds.”

Four-division champion Canelo Alvarez (right) scored a pair of knockdowns in the 11th and final round of Saturday’s knockout of previously unbeaten Caleb Plant, adding Plant’s IBF 168-pound title to his WBA/WBC/WBO versions to become boxing’s undisputed super middleweight champion. (Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions)

Alvarez increased the intensity as slugger and aggressor through the middle rounds, his masterful counter punching, sharp jab and body attack morphing into a brutal inside game of crisp combinations placed with sniper-like accuracy.

“Caleb was doing great, initially not letting Canelo use his skills before Canelo started closing the gap and penetrating Caleb’s impressive defenses,” said Leo Gonzalez of ESPN Deportes. “But Canelo finally found an opening and was able to hurt Caleb and score the first knockdown. After that, Canelo became like a shark when he smelled blood.”

A head-swiveling left hook to the jaw 31 seconds into the 11th wobbled Plant and was the beginning of the end. A teetering Plant ducked into a vicious follow-up right uppercut, which started his descent toward the canvas before a hybrid left hook-uppercut caught his left ear while he was on the way down to his gloves and knees against the ropes.

A valiant Plant rose at referee Russell Mora’s count of four but never recovered, stumbling across the ring into a neutral corner. Plant, a Tennessee native, was asked to raise his gloves.

“Do you wanna fight?” Mora asked.

“Yeah,” Plant said.

Alvarez’s fight-ending sequence consisted of nine unanswered punches, the first a searing left hook to the chin that knocked Plant into the ropes. The final four punches were a right-left-right-left combination that dropped Plant to his back with his left leg resting on a rope. Plant attempted to rise, but Mora stood over him, already having waved an end to the fight.

“In the end, I got him. That’s the way it had to finish. He was already hurt, and I went for the kill,” Alvarez said of Plant, who trailed, 96–94, 97–93 and 98–92 at the time of the stoppage, and was taken to University Medical Center as a precaution. “He wanted to fight me and still continue. I told him there’s no shame. We are both men at the end of the day. We had a great fight tonight.”

Alvarez is 15–0–1 (9 KOs) since falling by majority decision to five-division champion Floyd Mayweather in September 2013. Mayweather ended the then-23-year-old Alvarez’s run at six defenses, dethroning him as WBA/WBC junior middleweight champion.

Four-division champion Canelo Alvarez gets a lift from trainer Eddy Reynoso following Saturday’s 11th-round knockout of Caleb Plant. By adding Plant’s IBF 168-pound title to his WBA/WBC/WBO versions, Alvarez become the first-ever Mexican undisputed super middleweight champion and also the first in the sport, doing so on Reynoso’s 45th birthday. (Sean Michael Ham/TGB Promotions)

Mexican-American two-time 168-pound champion David Benavidez (24–0, 21 KOs) was an interested observer on Saturday during a break from training in Los Angeles for a Nov. 13 clash with Kyrone Davis (16–2–1, 6 KOs).

“It was a good fight. Caleb Plant showed a lot of skills, taking advantage when Canelo’s defense lacked a little bit, and, of course, I think an all-Mexican fight between myself and Canelo would be a great event,” Benavidez told Zenger on Saturday night.

“I think Caleb Plant would have done a little better had he gone to the body a little bit more. But Canelo did what Canelo does, cutting down the angles. Caleb Plant had initially opened in the ring, applying pressure and scoring a great knockout in a very exciting fight and ending it in a spectacular way.”

Beyond a Benavidez matchup for Alvarez are potential legacy fights against undefeated WBC 160-pound champion Jermall Charlo (32-0, 22 KOs), who was ringside on Saturday, or WBO counterpart Demetrius Andrade (30-0, 18 KOs) if not WBA 175-pound titleholder Dimitry Bivol (18-0, 11 KOs) or IBF/WBC counterpart Artur Beterbiev (16-0, 16 KOs).

Alvarez said he plans to enjoy his victory while considering his next options for an opponent and a likely return in May 2022 during the Cinco de Mayo Mexican holiday weekend.

The victory came nearly two years to the day since Alvarez rose two weight classes in November 2019 for a sensational 11th-round knockout that dethroned WBO 175-pound titleholder Sergey Kovalev and made him a four-division champion.

“Canelo is a beast, a monster. Canelo’s one of the few fighters who can carry his power all the way into the 12th round,” Mares said. “People still doubt Canelo to this day, and I don’t see why. He proved himself again with another knockout against another champion and one of the best in his weight class in Caleb Plant.”

Edited by Stan Chrapowicki and Kristen Butler



The post Canelo Alvarez Keeps Word, KOs Caleb Plant To Become Boxing’s First Undisputed 168-Pound Champ appeared first on Zenger News.