Matthews: Is Manny Pacquiao Versus Floyd Mayweather JR. II In The Works?

IS MANNY PACQUIAO VERSUS FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR. II IN THE WORKS?

Manny Pacquiao is a slight favorite over WBA super welterweight champion Keith Thurman Saturday night at MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.

Thurman is 29-0, with 22 knockouts. He’s 30 years old.

Pacquiao is 61-7-2, with 39 knockouts. He’s 40 years old.

The betting odds: Pacquiao -125 (bet $125 to win $100...Thurman +125 (bet $100 to win $125).

Pacquiao has a big advantage in top-shelf competition. He’s had 24 pay-per-view fights with almost 20 million buys and $1.2 billion in PPV revenues. This will be Thurman’s first pay-per-view fight.

Why does Pacquiao continue to fight? Because he’s a ring legend, a national hero, still a decent fighter, likes making money and lots of boxing fans still pay to watch him.

He’d also like another shot at Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Mayweather defeated Pacquiao via unanimous decision in “The Fight of the Century” May 2, 2015. It was a major disappointment. Pacquiao said he suffered a right shoulder injury during training, felt well enough to make the fight, but reinjured the shoulder in the fourth round. He wasn’t his usual aggressive self.

It was a huge betting fight and Pacquiao supporters were not happy that he was less than 100 percent healthy before and during the fight and couldn’t give a top effort.

Mayweather hasn’t been in the ring since his victory over UFC star Conor McGregor August 2017 and says he is enjoying retirement.

Believe it or not, many boxing experts believe Mayweather-Pacquiao II could be the biggest money fight in history involving boxing champions.

Mayweather to this point has expressed no desire to again fight Pacquiao. But he’s expected to attend the Pacquiao-Thurman fight. If Pac-Man wins, would anyone be surprised if Mayweather enters the ring and challenges Pacquiao?

They’d both be old and rusty, but many of us couldn’t resist caring and watching them fight one more time.

THE TWINS COULD BE FEELING THE HEAT

Remember when the 2019 The Minnesota Twins were slamming home runs at a record pace and leading the second-place Cleveland Indians by 11 ½ games in the American League Central?

Since then the Twins are 19-18, the Indians are 65-10 and Minnesota’s lead is down to 4 games entering Friday night.

Should the Twins be worried? Yes. Some shoddy fielding and lack of clutch hitting have been problems of late. (They’re still hitting home runs. They’re on pace for 302 HRs. The MLB record is 267 by the 2018 Yankees).

Minnesota is the significantly stronger hitting team but Cleveland has better pitching and ace Corey Kluber is expected to return to the rotation soon.

The trading deadline is July 31 and it will be interesting to see if either team or both teams will make a major deal.

The Twins could use a starting pitcher and/or a relief pitcher. The Indians could use a power bat, preferably an outfielder.

Hitting

Team batting average – Twins .271; Indians .246

Runs – Twins 535; Indians 434

Home runs – Twins 177 (on pace for 302 HRs this season; the MLB record is 267 by the 2018 Yankees); Indians 125

Total bases – Twins 1.667; Indians 1,331

Stolen bases – Indians 65; Twins 24

OPS (on-base % + slugging %) – Twins .831; Indians .744

Pitching

Earned-run average – Indians 3.85...Twins 3.91

Batting average against – Indians .237; Twins .245

Strikeouts – Indians 911...Twins 828

Walks – Indians 262...Twins 266.

The Indians have committed 51 errors and the Twins 20.

Minnesota leads the series 5-4 this season with 10 games remaining: at Minnesota August 8-9-10-11 and September 6-7-8 and at Cleveland September 13-14-15.

VIEWING TIP FOR FANS OF THE LATE BUT GREAT WESTERN NEW YORK FLASH

The Western New York Flash, arguably the all-time greatest women’s soccer club team for a period of three or four years, moved to Cary, North Carolina January 9, 2017. The North Carolina Courage have been the best team in the National Women’s Soccer League for the last two seasons.

ESPN and NWSL have a 14-game package this season, and Sunday’s game – the North Carolina Courage at Chicago Red Stars (6 p.m., on ESPN2) -- will showcase more than a dozen players who appeared in the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

North Carolina’s roster includes USWNT stars Crystal Dunn and Same Mewis, Debinha (Brazil), Abby Erceg (New Zealand; captain of the 2016 NWSL champion Flash) and Stephanie Labb (Canada).

The Red Stars roster includes U.S. national team stars Julie Ertz and goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, Australian star superstar and former WNY Flash player Sam Kerr and Tierna Davidson, the youngest player on the 23-member U.S. national team squad at the World Cup.

Former members of the WNY Flash now playing for North Carolina include Mewis, Erceg, Abby Dahlkamper, McCall Zerboni, Jessica McDonald, Lynn Williams and Kristen Hamilton (recently tied a NWSL record with four goals in one game). Former U.S. national team star Heather O’Reilly also is on the Courage. Debinha signed with the WNY Flash January 5, 2017, but she never had a chance to enjoy a Garbage Plate because team was sold and moved to North Carolina four days later.

SHORT SHOTS

The hot-hitting Rochester Red Wings are 48-49 after Thursday’s 9-4 road win over the Norfolk Tides to boost their record to 48-49 and could boost their record to .500 Friday night at Gwinnett for the first time since they were 1-1.

Since July 1, Rochester leads the 14-team International League in batting average, runs, hits, total bases, on-base %, slugging % and OPS.

Xxxx The Rochester Lancers, playing their first playoff game in 42 years, finally beat the Ann Arbor Mighty Oak on penalty kicks Thursday night in Erie, Pa., to advance to the National Premier League Midwest Region semifinals Friday afternoon against Cleveland SC (8-2) at Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck, Michigan.

The Rochester (record now 7-2-2) versus Ann Arbor game began Tuesday night in Ann Arbor and was stopped in the 69th minute due to inclement weather with the score 0-0. There were no lights at the stadium and the league at first ruled that the winner would be decided by a coin flip on Wednesday.

The teams agreed to play the 21 remaining minutes of regulation and possible overtime Thursday night on a neutral field. Isaac Kissi scored for the Lancers scored in the 88th minute and the Mighty Oak scored the tying goal in the next minute. After two scoreless 10-minute overtimes, penalty kicks decided the match and Rochester won 5-4.

XxxxConor Orr of Sports Illustrated’s MM/QB projects a 6-10 record for the 2019 Buffalo Bills. If the Bills don’t win at least seven gamer I’ll be surprised.

HAPPY SPORTS BIRTHDAY TO...

Friday, July 19

Patrick Corbin 30...Trent Williams 31...Jon “Bones” Jones 32...Yan Gomes 32...LaMarcus Aldridge 34...Rick Ankiel 40...Vitali Klitschko 48...LeRoy Butler 51...David Segui 53...Craig Muni 57...Steve Shields 47...Alvan Adams 65...Jayson Stark 68...Ilie Nastase 73. Riley Curry 7 and Rachel Robinson 97 are invited to the birthday party.

Saturday, July 20

Ben Simmons 23...Shaquen Griffin 24...Steven Adams 26...Stephen Strasburg 31...Troy Smith 35...Antoine Vermette 37...Pavel Datsyuk 41...Ray Allen 44...Peter Forsberg 46...Jozef Stumpel 47...Jimmy Carson 51...Murray Craven 55...Tony Oliva 81. Gisele Bundchen is invited to the birthday party.

Sunday, July 21

Taylor Lewan 28...Whitney Mercilus 29...DeAndre Jordan 31...Kellen Winslow II 36...CC Sabathia 39...Tamika Catchings 40...David Henry Ellard 58...Joe Bock 60...Doug Collins 68...Al Hrabosky 70...former Red Wings manager John Hart 71...Slick Watts 68.

ON THIS DATE IN SPORTS...

July 19

1910 (109 years ago), Cleveland’s Cy Young won his 500th MLB game, 5-4 in 11 innings over Washington.

1922 (97 years ago), future Tarzan movie star Johnny Weissmuller became the first simmer to break the one-minute barrier for the 100-meter freestyle: 58.6 seconds.

1980 (39 years ago), the 22nd modern Summer Olympics opened in Moscow; the boycotting nations included the United States.

1989 (30 years ago), NFL owners voted unanimously to form the World League of American Football (1991 through 2007).

1992 (27 years ago), Nick Faldo won his third British Open by one stroke over American John Cook.

2009 (10 years ago), American Stewart Cink won his only major golf championship, the British Open, by six strokes in a four-hole playoff with five-time champion Tom Watson.

July 20

1858 (161 years ago), the first admission for a baseball game was 50 cents for New York’s 22-18 victory over Brooklyn.

1938 (81 years ago), Finland was awarded the 1940 Summer Olympics after Japan withdrew.

1954 (65 years ago), 19-year-old tennis champion Maureen Connolly’s career ended when her right leg was crushed in a horse riding accident.

1969 (50 years ago), Eddy Merckx of Belgium won the 56th Tour de France.

1976 (43 years ago), Hank Aaron hit his 755th and last MLB home run.

1994 (25 years ago), O.J. Simpson offered a $500,000 reward for evidence of his ex-wife’s killer.

2014 (5 years ago), Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland won the British Open wire-to-wire by two strokes over Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler.

July 21

1945 (74 years ago), the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Athletics played a 24-inning 1-1 tie.

1957 (62 years ago), the Boston Red Sox were the last MLB team to use a black player – Pumpsie Green.

1963 (56 years ago), Jack Nicklaus won his first of five PGA Championships.

1968 (31 years ago), Julius Boros became the oldest winner of a golf major, beating Arnold Palmer and Bob Charles by one shot in the British Open.

2013 (6 years ago), Phil Mickelson won the British Open by three strokes over Sweden’s Henrik Stenson.

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