BOB’S SUPERFIGHT PICK: MAYWEATHER, OF COURSE
Most boxing fans believe Floyd Mayweather will win Saturday’s “superfight” showdown against UFC superstar Conor McGregor.
Many mixed-martial arts fans are picking McGregor.
Both combatants are boldly predicting victory by knockout. Mayweather on ESPN Wednesday gave a “100 percent guarantee” that the fight will not go the distance. McGregor said he is the “new God of boxing” and doesn’t see how Mayweather can last “more than one or two rounds.”
Latest odds from Oddshark: Bet $400 to win $100 on Mayweather...bet $100 to win $300 on McGregor.
Las Vegas sportsbooks are saying the vast majority of the relatively small bets have been on McGregor. Most of the really big bets have been on Mayweather. My guess is that a portion of those wagers were placed by Mayweather or members of his camp.
If this were a mixed-martial fight, I’d pick McGregor without hesitation. But it is a boxing match and Mayweather is 49-0 against boxers.
I realize that Mayweather is 40 years old and it will be 714 days since his last fight. But observers say he is in top shape and ready to pad his career record to 50-0 (breaking his 49-0 tie with Rocky Marciano among undefeated boxing champions).
McGregor is 28 and super confident. He doesn’t think he can lose – at least that what he says. In terms of his bank account, he’s a sure winner. Everyone says he has the “best hands in mixed-martial arts.” So I suppose he could connect with a quick punch and take out Mayweather.
My pick is Mayweather by TKO.
I’m sticking to my off-the-wall scenario that a frustrated McGregor might save some face by being disqualified for illegally taking Mayweather to the floor and getting in a few smacks before the referee stops the fight.
I give both guys credit for being great athletes and even better promoters. They earned this mammoth pay day with their skills in the ring and Octagon and even more with their undeniable charisma and ability to promote themselves.
But isn’t once enough?
BUXTON A KEY FOR THE SURPRISING TWINS
The surprising Minnesota Twins entered Friday as the leader for the second wild-card berth in the American League.
I don’t view the young Twins as a legitimate threat to make the playoffs this season, but their 65-62 record is commendable coming off last year’s brutal 59-103.
The Twins are 13-6 in their last 19 games and center fielder Byron Buxton is a big reason why.
Since a three-game rehab stint with the Rochester Red Wings June 28-29-30 (.417; 5-for-12; 2 HRs; 3 RBI), Buxton has enjoyed a solid month of August for Minnesota: .298 batting average (25-for-84), 16 runs, 3 doubles, 2 triples, 5 HRs, 14 RBI, 6-for-6 stolen bases). He is arguably baseball’s best defensive center fielder and one of the two or three fastest runners.
Minnesota still needs more pitching, particularly in the bullpen, but this clearly is a team to be reckoned with in the future. The terrific young outfield of Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario and Buxton figures to be around for a long time. The best is yet to come.
THE GOVERNORS’ CUP AND THE RED WINGS
The Buffalo Bills aren’t the only team in western New York fighting a drought.
The Rochester Red Wings haven’t won the Governors’ Cup in 20 years – the longest championship drought in team history.
The Red Wings appear to be in good shape in the battle for the fourth and final berth in the 2017 IL playoffs. They entered Thursday night with a four-game lead over Lehigh Valley with 12 games remaining in the regular season.
In the 84-year history of the four-team Governors’ Cup playoffs, Rochester has made the most appearances (44) and has most wins (151) and losses (158). The Red Wings are tied with Columbus for the most Cup championships (10) and have lost in the finals a record 11 times.
The Red Wings have made the playoffs only twice (2006 and 2013) in the past 19 seasons. Rochester last won the Governors’ Cup in 1997
Rochester’s Governors’ Cup champion teams: 1939, 1952, 1953, 1956, 1964, 1971, 1974, 1988, 1990 and 1997 (20 years ago).
The Wings are overdue.
SPRAYING HITS (AND MISSES) TO ALL FIELDS
The Los Angeles Dodgers entered Friday night with an amazing 90-36 despite a 3-2 “slump” in their last five games. They’d have to go 27-9 in the remaining 36 games of the regular season to finish 117-45 and set the record for the most victories in a MLB regular season. With rookie slugger Cody Bellinger (34 HRs and 79 RBI in 101 games) and starting pitcher Alex Wood (14-1 record, 2.41 ERA) on the disabled list, that seems unlikely.
Who leads MLB in total bases? You know your baseball if you answered Colorado’s underrated Charlie Blackmon (319). His closest pursuers: Giancarlo Stanton (300), Nolan Arenado (291), Jose Altuve (273), Joey Votto (267), Paul Goldschmidt (266) and Jose Abreau (265).
One big reason why the Rochester Red Wings have overtaken Lehigh Valley in race for the International League’s one wild-card playoff berth is that the IronPigs lost slugging first baseman/outfielder Rhys Hoskins to promotion to the Philadelphia Phillies August 10. With Lehigh Valley, the probable IL MVP Hoskins was hitting .284 and leading the IL with 29 HRs, 91 RBI and 233 total bases in 115 games. He started 0-for-10 in his first three games with Philadelphia. In his 12 games since, he is 15-for-43, with 8 HRs and 19 RBI (including 2 HRs and 8 RB I in his last two games).
DO YOU PREFER THE CAVALIERS OR THE CELTICS?
The two-best records in the NBA Eastern Conference last season were Boston’s 53-29 and Cleveland’s 51-31.
After this week’s blockbuster NBA trade sending Kyrie Irving to Boston and Isaiah Thomas to Cleveland, the Celtics and Cavaliers still look like the two best teams in the East.
Which team do you think has the best chance to represent the East in the 2018 Finals:
Boston – Irving, Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, Marcus Morris, Jaylon Brown, Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, Jayson Tatum, Aaron Baynes, Shane Larkin, Semi Ojeleye...will miss departed Kelly Olynyk and Avery Bradley.
Cleveland – Thomas, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Tristan Thomas, JR Smith, Derrick Rose, Jae Crowder, Kyle Korver, Iman Shumpert, Jose Calderon, Channing Frye, Richard Jefferson, Ante Zizic, Edy Tavares...probably will not miss Deron Williams.
WHAT’S WRONG WITH ARROGATE?
2016 Horse of the Year Arrogate finished second to stablemate Collected in last Saturday’s Pacific Classic at Del Mar in California. Arrogate’s seven-race winning streak had ended with a dull fourth-place finish as the 1-to-20 favorite in his previous start – also at Del Mar – in July.
Arrogate looked like a superhorse when he reeled off consecutive victories in the Travers Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic last year, and the Pegasus World Cup and Dubai World Cup this year. But his speed figures diminished in his subsequent two losses as a huge favorite?
Has four-year-old Arrogate lost some of his ability and desire after only 10 races? Trainer Bob Baffert doesn’t know.
Racing fans are anticipating Arrogate’s return in the Breeders’ Cup Classic Nov. 4 – again at Del Mar. Would he be favored over Collected? Would he bounce back or be one race closer to being retired to stud?
Dave Creighton, one of the early scoring stars for the Rochester Americans, died last week. He was 87. In his three seasons with Rochester (1958-59 through 1960-61), the veteran center had 162 points (69 goals + 93 assists) in 162 games. He also in the AHL played for Hershey, Buffalo, Baltimore and Providence (AHL Most Valuable Player in 1968 as player-coach). In 615 NHL games, he had 314 points (140 goals + 174 assists)...Dave Creighton’s son, Adam, also played for the Amerks in the 1984-85 and 1985-86 seasons (22 goals + 24 assists for 46 points in 38 games
Cheers to former Nazareth basketball coach John Beilein, the coach of the Michigan Wolverines for the last 10 years, for being as easy weinner of “Cleanest Coach in High-0Masjor College Basketball” in a CBS Sports survey of 100+ college coaches. Subsequent results will include the coaches most likely to bend rules. That will be more interesting.
The incredible shrinking International League: 144-game schedule in 2016...142-game schedule 2017...will have a 140-game schedule in 2018. For the record, the 1929 Red Wings, in their first season at Red Wing Stadium, played a 168-game schedule.
Former UFC star Randy Couture, who easily beat boxer James Toney in a mixed-martial arts fight in 2010, is giving Conor McGregor a 10 percent chance to upset Floyd Mayweather Saturday night.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...
Friday, August 25
Caris LeVert (23)...Angela Park (29)...Justin Upton (30)...Adam Warren (30)...Gary Matthews (43)...Marvin Harrison (45)...Robert Horry (47)...Albert Belle (51)...Cornelius Bennett (52)...Nate Odomes (52)...Oddibe McDowell (55)...Rollie Fingers (71). Rachel Ray (49), Billy Ray Cyrus (56), Gene Simmons (68), Regis Philbin (86) and Sean Connery (87) are invited to the birthday party.
Saturday, August 26
Cole Schneider (27)...James Harden (28)...Elvis Andrus (29)...David Johnson (30)...David Price (32)...Jared Allen (36)...Jamal Lewis (38)...Roger Kingdom (55)...Jeff Parrett (56)...Donnie Shell (65)...Tom Heinsohn (80). Macaulay Culkin (37) is invited to the birthday party.
Sunday, August 27
Breanna Stewart (23)...A.J. Achter (29)...Darren McFadden (30)...Jim Flanagan (46)...Jim Thome (47)...Brian McRae (50)...Michael Dean Perry (52)...Adam Oates (55)...Bernhard Langer (60)...John Lloyd (63)...Mack Brown (66)...Buddy Bell (66).